Dodrupchen Rinpoche

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Kyabjé Dodrupchen Rinpoche

Kyabjé Dodrupchen Rinpoche, the Fourth Dodrupchen Rinpoche, Tubten Trinlé Pal Zangpo (Wyl. thub bstan phrin las dpal bzang po) aka Jikmé Trinlé Palbar (b.1927), is one of the most important living masters in the Nyingma and Dzogchen traditions. As the fourth incarnation of Dodrupchen Jikmé Trinlé Özer, the heart-son of Jikmé Lingpa who revealed the Longchen Nyingtik cycle, Dodrupchen Rinpoche is the principal holder of the Longchen Nyingtik teachings.

He was born in 1927 in the Golok province of Dokham in the eastern part of Tibet. His birth was prophesized by the great Fifth Dzogchen Rinpoche Tubten Chökyi Dorje, who later recognized him. At the age of four, he travelled to the Dodrupchen monastery, where he was enthroned. Up until the age of six or seven especially, he displayed many miraculous signs of attainment, including prescience and visions of the buddhas.

He studied with the great khenpos of Dodrupchen and Dzogchen monasteries, and at the age of eleven, he was given the empowerment and transmission of the Nyingtik Yabshyi and Longchen Nyingtik by Khenpo Kunpal, a disciple of the Third Dodrupchen Rinpoche. Among the many great masters from whom he received teachings were Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö, the Sixth Dzogchen Rinpoche, Shechen Kongtrul, Dzogchen Khenpo Gönpo and Gyarong Namtrul Rinpoche. From Yukhok Chatralwa, who was a manifestation of Vimalamitra, and from Apang Tertön, he received the final teachings on the meaning of Dzogpachenpo, which he practised under their guidance.

At the age of nineteen, he made a pilgrimage to Central Tibet, and completed a retreat in the room of Jikmé Lingpa at Tsering Jong. At Dodrupchen monastery, he built a Scriptural College, and he provided the woodblocks for printing the Seven Treasures of Longchenpa. He gave many major teachings, especially in the eastern part of Tibet.

On account of the changing political situation, Dodrupchen Rinpoche left Tibet and arrived in Sikkim in October 1957; from then on, he made Gangtok his permanent residence. Once again he subsidized the printing of many books, including Longchenpa's Seven Treasures and Trilogy of Finding Comfort and Ease. He has given many empowerments, transmissions and teachings in Sikkim, where he has two monasteries, in Bhutan, where he also heads a monastery, and in India and Nepal. Dodrupchen Rinpoche recognized the Seventh Dzogchen Rinpoche, whose enthronement was held in the Royal Temple at Gangtok in 1972.

A master whose quiet, gentle and unassuming demeanour is complemented by a tremendous presence, Dodrupchen Rinpoche attends to the everyday spiritual needs of the people of Sikkim, and personally looks after the welfare of over four hundred monks in his care.

He has made a number of visits to the West, his first being in 1973, when he established a centre called the Maha Siddha Nyingmapa Centre in Massachusetts. Dodrupchen Rinpoche has also visited Britain, France and Switzerland, and in 1975, gave the empowerment of Rigdzin Düpa at Sogyal Rinpoche's request in London. He was present at Rigpa's summer retreats at Brunissard in 1989 and Chateau de Cassan in 1991.

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Further Reading

  • Tulku Thondup, Masters of Meditation and Miracles, Shambahala, 1999, pages 314-331.
  • Nyoshul Khenpo, A Marvelous Garland of Rare Gems: Biographies of Masters of Awareness in the Dzogchen Lineage, Padma Publications, 2005, pages 326-338, contains the translation of an autobiography of Dodrupchen Rinpoche written in 1975.

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