Azmael was a Time Lord guru and teacher who served as Master of Joconda towards the end of his life. Having previously lived as a hermit on his homeworld of Gallifrey, Azmael adopted the identity of K'anpo Rinpoche in his guise as a Tibetan Buddhist monk on 20th century Earth. His death came after he was deposed from the Jocondan leadership during the 23rd century.
The Doctor regarded Azmael as the finest teacher he ever had. (DW: "The Twin Dilemma") When he was a little boy, the Doctor lived with his family in a house that was perched halfway up the top of a mountain. Behind the Doctor's house there was a tree under which sat Azmael, by then an old hermit, who was said to have lived there half his life. According to the Doctor, Azmael had learned the secret of life. On what felt like the "blackest" day of his life, he went and asked the old man to help him. The hermit was silent and expressionless as he sat listening to the Doctor, who was too unhappy even for tears, pouring out his troubles to him. When the Doctor had finished, the hermit simply raised a hand and pointed to a little weed that was just like a daisy. Looking at it for a moment, he saw it through the hermit's eyes and found it to be "simply glowing with life, like a perfectly cut jewel", and the colours were deeper and richer than one could possibly imagine - the "daisiest daisy" he had ever seen. When the the Doctor later got up and ran down the mountain, he found the bare grey rocks were "red, brown and purple and gold", and that the snow, which had before seemed like a collection of pathetic little patches of sludge, was now "shining white in the sunlight." The Doctor remembered this day as being not only his "blackest", but also his best. (DW: "The Time Monster") He taught the Doctor how to look into his own mind and told him ghost stories about a race of giant vampires who could individually suck the life out of entire planets. (DW: "State of Decay", "Planet of the Spiders")
He later regenerated and travelled to Earth. In Tibet, he adopted the identity of K'anpo Rinpoche, a Buddhist monk. By 1975, he had entered the United Kingdom as a refugee and established a meditation centre near Mortimer in England. He was the abbot of the centre. With regeneration approaching, K'anpo was helped by a projection of his next incarnation. This projection took the form of his assistant Cho-je. (DW: "Planet of Spiders")