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A Brief Biography of Bpa Tulku Dongak Tenpe

by Khenpo Petse Rinpoche

Bpa Tulku Dongak Tenpe Nyima was a disciple of Kunpal Rinpoche who upheld
the pure tradition of Jamgn Mipham Rinpoche. He was born during the fifteenth
calendrical cycle in the eastern part of central Tibet, in the region of Dakpo. From an
early age, his enlightened potential was awakened and he entered the path of the
Dharma. In time, he joined a party of traders and pilgrims returning to Eastern
Tibet, and went with them to Kham in search of teachings.

Being young and a great distance from home, he had to face countless hardships,
similar to those faced by Jetsn Milarepa, as he lacked the provisions needed to
practise, had only poor clothes to wear and so on. Eventually, he made his way to
Dzogchen Monastery in Dokham, and there received teachings from the resident
lamas, tulkus, khenpos and acharyas on the various disciplines of the stras and
tantras, but especially on the thirteen great classical scriptures. Through this
training, he joined the ranks of the learned.

He also received many empowerments and oral transmissions from the [fifth]
Dzogchen incarnation Tubten Chkyi Dorje. Dzogchen Rinpoche treated him with
great affection, and accorded him the title of tulku, gave him a throne, and
appointed a pair of monk-attendants to accompany him wherever he travelled. So it
was that everyone honoured him with the name Bpa Tulku, i.e., the tulku from
central Tibet.

It was at about this time that he developed an extraordinary conviction in the unique
tradition of Jamgn Mipham Rinpoche, and felt that he simply had to meet a
spiritual teacher who held this lineage. When he made inquiries, he learned that
Kunpal Rinpoche1 of Gegong Monastery was a direct disciple of both Patrul
Rinpoche and Mipham Rinpoche. So he went there to meet him, and stayed for a
long time in Dzagy, becoming supremely learned in stra and tantra and all the
branches of science. He went too to the hermitage of Changma where he met with
Bathur Khenpo Thubga.

A great many students came from all around and gathered together, so that the
tradition of Jamgn Mipham Rinpoche was upheld and maintained, as it passed to
the various disciples who came, such as Khenpo Chkhyab, Pema Tsewang
Lhundrup, Mewa Khenpo Tubten, Rahor Khenpo Tubten and Khenpo Dazer.

Bpa Tulku composed many major and minor treatises, including his Distinguishing
Views and Tenets and his overview and word-by-word commentary to the
Prajpramit. He had a vision of the regent Maitreya in a dream. In the dream, he

held a mirror in each hand, in which he clearly saw the root text and commentary to
the Abhisamaylakra. Following this a certainty arose in his mind, and he
composed his two commentaries to the Abhisamaylakra, entitled The Oral
Transmission of the Invincible Maitreya and An Adornment to the Vision of the
Invincible Maitreya.

He also went to Shechen Tennyi Dargye Ling, where he stayed at the shedra and
turned the wheel of Dharma. After Lama Kunpal passed away, he continued his
enlightened activity extensively throughout the region of Dzagy.

When he travelled to see Yukhok Chatral Chying Rangdrol (1872-1952), the master
announced that a great bodhisattva was to arrive that day, and went out to welcome
him. Amid great celebration, he greeted Bpa Tulku with boundless reverence,
recognizing him as an incarnation of the Dharma Lord Patrul Rinpoche, and saying
how he himself remembered being Dola Jigme Kalzang. The wisdom minds of these
two great masters merged as one. At that time in his life, Btrul Rinpoche spoke
only of the works of Jamgn Mipham Rinpoche, and Chatral Rinpoche praised his
exceptional understanding again and again.

Later, he travelled to the shedra of Drikung Nyima Changra in the northern part of
central Tibet and tirelessly gave teachings on attaining the pure lands, as well as
general stra and tantra teachings to many fortunate disciples.

This brief biography was supplemented by his direct disciple Khenchen Pema Tsewang
Lhundrup whilst he was travelling in the foreign land of England furthering the
Dharma tradition of the Ancient School.

| Translated by Adam Pearcey, 2005.

1. Khenpo Kunzang Palden, author of a famous commentary on the


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