Biography

A brief biography of the great mahasiddha Tulku Tseyang Rinpoche

Tulku Tseyang Rinpoche is regarded as a great mahasiddha whose fame spread beyond the frontiers of western Tibet, Nagchu and Tso Sum from the four provinces of the Dolpo region on the border of Tibet and Nepal.

The first Tulku Tseyang Rinpoche was born as Norbu Sangpo, who after perfecting the mastery of the sacred sutras and Tantras became known as Do-Ngag Norbu (The precious  Gem of Sutras and Tantras). The second reincarnation was Arjo Tulku who carried on the deep dedication and devotion left behind by his predecessor.

The third incarnation was born to Nagchu Nubchung and Tsering Dolma in central Tibet on the 12th day of the fourth month of the Tibetan calendar 2038 corresponding to the year 1911 A.D. On an otherwise ordinary day various auspicious signs like a rainbow in the clear sky was witnessed on the day of his birth. As a five year old, he was recognized as the incarnation of the famous Do-ngag Norbu Rinpoche by none other than his holiness the 15th Gyalwang karmapa and ordained as karma Tseyang Dupe Rigzen. At 12, he was enrolled at the Tol-Goshat monastic center under the tutelage of the Venerable Ogyen Sonam whose root teacher was the great 15th Karmapa himself. In a remarkable short span of five years Tulku Tseyang Rinpoche mastered the complete works of the Sutra and Tantra. At the same time he received complete instructions of Zogchen (Ngying–thik–kor–sum) and other sacred teachings.

From the age of 17, he undertook several years of strict meditation devoid of any human company refusing even to change his clothes in the process. In the meanwhile his mother expired and although Rinpoche was not informed of the demise, he foresaw the event and respectfully observed the necessary rituals under the circumstances.  While still at retreat he announced the birth of Shangpa Rinpoche at Tso-So-Nga (five districts) to his attendant. A month later as foretold earlier, Do- Tso, the mother of the new born Shangpa Rinpoche arrived to see the relics of the previous incarnation and to seek blessing from Tulku Tseyang Rinpoche. But since he was in strict meditation she had to return without his blessing. However, in his dream Rinpoche saw everything and in fact told monk Gyaltshen, in whose house the mother stayed, about the visit of Shangpa Rinpoche. Also when Shangpa Rinpoche was seriously ill in far away Dolpo, Tulku Rinpoche while still in Tekyem had foretold the happening.

When the people of the region heard of his exceptional powers they renewed their deep faith of his supernatural abilities. On one occasion when on their way to Dolpo Shelkar, a holy places, Rinpoche revealed the two Tibetan letter of “Ba” and “Na” on the surface of two flat stones on the circumambulation route of “Buchung Lhatso” on the right side of the “Yungdung Phugpa” retreat he left his hand print on a boulder which can be seen to this days. Then while passing through the region of "Phuk-Sum-dor”, Rinpoche again left his foot prints. Also he once revealed a naturally originated “Hri” letter on a dark brown flat stone on the top of Shelri (Crystal peak) Dolma pass. Such wonders are even mentioned in the tourist brochures of Dolpo Shelri.

He continued to observe long meditation in nearly caves, disturbed only on auspicious 1st, 4th and 6th months of the Tibetan calendar when he led his faithful followers to fasting and prayers, while preaching at the same time. Due to his austerity and simplicity of material needs, the people of Dolpo regard him as the second Milarepa. While at the Tekyem-Yungdung cave he confers instructions and important initiations to the faithful. Then at the age of 66 while preparing for a fasting retreat in eight pure stages, Rinpoche felt unwell and predicted his own departure from this earth. As his condition deteriorated he attained Nirvana in 1977 A.D. (25th day of the 6th month of the Tibetan 2101.)

The present Tseyang Tulku Rinpoche is the fourth in succession. He was formally recognized by H.E. Shamar Rinpoche and was given the name Karma Lungthok Tenpai Nyima. When he was three years old, his parents brought him to Tekyem monastery which had by then been destroyed by the people of Dolpo. He cried bitterly to see the destruction. There he grew particularly fond of a piece of cloth and insisted that it belonged to him. Later his previous life’s disciples confirmed that the cloth was used by him to cover his knees during meditation. The young boy also insisted on being taken to a far away stupa. Later it was discovered that the spot was the same place where the third Tseyang Tulku was cremated. Another striking thing is that like the previous Tseyang Rinpoche, who had his right ear pierced by a shell like the great Milarepa, the present incarnation too has a natural hole in his right ear. The formal enthronement ceremony and hair offering of Tseyang Tulku Rinpoche was made during the auspicious Kargud Monlam festival at Bodh Gaya on 25th December 1996 in the holy presence of His Holiness the 17th Karmapa Thaye Dorje and H.E. Shamar Rinpoche. Presently, Rinpoche resides in Jangchub Choeling Monastery at Pokhara, Nepal.