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 Dodrup Chen Rinpoche

Guru Rinpoche could see far into the future and hid special teachings called, "Terma" in order give teachings and practices appropriate for different times. He created auspicious connections for his main disciples to be reborn as special lamas (gurus) called, "Tertons" who would re-discover the hidden teachings and propagate them at the appropriate time. One such Terton was Jigmed Lingpa who re-discovered the Terma called, "Longchen Nyingthig" which is currently one of the foremost traditions in Nyingma. Jigmed Lingpa's main disciple, Dodrup Chen, vowed to preserve and protect the Longchen Nyingthig tradition in his current and future incarnations.

Currently, the 4th Dodrup Chen, Rinpoche ("Rinpoche" is a title lit. 'Precious One') is the head of the Longchen Nyingthig tradition. An incarnation of Guru Padmasambhava, H. H. Dodrupchen Rinpoche IV, Thupten Thrinle Palzang, is the holiest great dharma king within the Nyingma lineage.

Kyabje Dodrupchen Rinpoche Tubten Trinle Pal Zangpo was born in 1927 in the Golok province of Dokham in Eastern Tibet. The Fifth Dzogchen Rinpoche Tubten Chokyi Dorje prophesied his birth. The Fifth Dzogchen officially recognized him as the 4th Dodrupchen Rinpoche. When he turned four, he was enthroned at the Dodrupchen monastery. He reportedly had visions of the Buddha as a young child shortly after being enthroned. This was seen as an example of his attainment. In addition to studying at the Dodrupchen monastery, he also studied at the Dzogchen monastery. At the age of eleven, he received the empowerment and transmission of the Nyingtik Yabshyi and Longchen Nyingtik by Khenpo Kunpal. 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 Gyalrong 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 practiced under their guidance. [1] When he turned nineteen, he made a pilgrimage to Central Tibet and completed a retreat at Tsering Jong. He then built a Scriptural College at the Dodrupchen monastery. He also provided the woodblocks for the printing of the Seven Treasures of Longchenpa. Fearing over political unrest in Tibet he left in October 1957 to Sikkim, India.

His Holiness is the greatest living Dzogchen or Great Perfection master and the main lineage holder of the Longchen Nyingthik lineage, the highest dharma in Tibet for perfecting the rainbow body. The first Dodrupchen, Jigme Thrinle Oser (1745-1821), was the greatest disciple of Jigme Lingpa (1730-1798). The Third Dodrupchen Jikmé Tenpé Nyima (1865-1926), was both a great scholar and a remarkable yogi (see "DISCOURSES").

Much was lost when Tibet was conquered In the 1950's including monasteries, books, sacred art and artifacts. Dodrup Chen, Rinpoche went to Sikkim as a refugee and eventually established the Chorten Gonpa Monastery in Sikkim as his main seat. Several other monasteries of the Longchen Nyingthig tradition in Nepal, India, Tibet, Golog and other places follow Dodrup Chen Rinpoche as their root spiritual leader. Dodrup Chen Rinpoche has worked feverishly throughout his life to rebuild what was lost and to create facilities to train monks, yogis and lamas (gurus) and to re-publish books, re-create sacred art, and generally to do everything possible to build and preserve the Nyingma religion especially the Longchen Nyingthig tradition. In the US, he established the Maha Siddha Nyingma Center for those of us here who wish to practice this tradition.

 Monasteries

The Chorten Gonpa Monastery is in Sikkim, a Himalayan state of India. The monastery is located on the outskirts of the capital city of Gangtok. This monastery has become the main seat of the Head of the Longchen Nyingthig tradition, Dodrup Chen Rinpoche. Under his supervision it has grown from a handful of people in the 1960's to nearly 500 resident monks and nuns at present. About 10% are nuns. Most of the residents are children being schooled there. When they become adults, some will carry their religious training out into the world as laymen and some will continue to devote their lives to religious training and service. Being near a population center, this monastery provides many services and is, in part, an orphanage, a boarding school, and a nursing home. Funeral and other prayer services are available. The monastery has become a major source for religious articles such as religious texts, artwork, and ritual objects. Several smaller monasteries in Sikkim have developed a relation of being branch monasteries to Chorten Gonpa and sometimes derive some of their support from it. The Tshog Dag Foundation considers the support and continuance of the Chorten Gonpa Monastery to be of paramount importance.

The Nubri Monastery of Nepal, by contrast, it located in an extremely remote region where there is very little in the way of a surrounding community to support it. To learn more about Nubri Monastery, click here.

Back in the Golog region of Tibet is the Dodrup Chen Monastery, Dodrup Chen Rinpoche's namesake and original monastery. Prior to it's destruction in the late 1950's, the Dodrup Chen Monastery and it's branch monasteries were quite famous in the region. For many years, the people of the Golog region were not allowed to practice religion at all. They kept their faith, though, and in the 1980's restrictions gradually loosened and they were allowed to rebuild the monastery. Progress was slow due to the tremendous devastation and poverty. At great risk to himself, Dodrup Chen Rinpoche periodically returned to Golog to help re-establish religion there and help rebuild the monastery. In the 1990's the Chinese government offered to help rebuild the monastery. Communication and travel is difficult there, but the Tshog Dag Foundation does send some support as need and opportunities arise.

In the 1980's, the King of Bhutan invited Dodrup Chen Rinpoche to visit Bhutan and give teachings. Over the course of a few years, Dodrup Chen Rinpoche became very popular there and several monasteries have become devoted to following his tradition, especially the Yongla Gonpa and Pema Gatsal monasteries. In recent years, a situation has arisen which makes it difficult to support them, but we hope that in the future the Tshog Dag Foundation can help support these monasteries.

The Nubri Monastery of Nepal (Shri Sangchen Rapten Norbu Ling Gomba) is located in an extremely remote region where there is very little in the way of a surrounding community to support it. Life there is very hard, but for those who are serious practitioners, it provides a conducive place for concentrated practice with no distractions or entertainment. Some of the students who get their basic training at Chorten Gonpa come to Nubri for more concentrated practice. Nubri is nearly half nuns and is progressive in giving them an equal footing with the monks which is unusual in Asian monasteries. Under the supervision of Dodrup Chen Rinpoche, the Nubri monastery which had been only a few residents, now has attracted a hundred monks and nuns putting a great strain on the resources. They are in critical need of funding.

In order to insure long-term support for Nubri Monastery, The Tshog Dag Foundation has established The Remote Monastery Fund (RMF). The aim is to build an endowment which can be invested and eventually produce a steady stream of funding for the Nubri Monastery. These funds will be held and invested separately from other accounts of Tshog Dag.

With Courtesy from Maha Siddha

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