Vidyadhara the Venerable Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche empowered Ösel Tendzin on August 22, 1976 as his Vajra Regent, dharma heir, and lineage holder. A few months later, around the time of the Tibetan New Year in February 1977, the Vidyadhara entered into a year-long retreat, leaving the teaching responsibilities and administration of his entire organization in the hands of the Vajra Regent. These responsibilities included Naropa Institute's annual president's course taught each summer by Turngpa Rinpoche. The Lonely Journey was the first such course taught by the Vajra Regent.
In The Lonely Journey, the Vajra Regent presents the experience of devotion as studied and practiced in the Kagyü lineage, and how the student-teacher relationship evolves as the student progresses along the stages of the Buddhist path.