H.H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Rinpoche's Reincarnation





Khyentse Rinpoche was born in 1910 in the Denkhok Valley, Dergé, eastern Tibet, to a family descended from the royal lineage of the 8th century king Trisang Deutsen. Before his birth he had been recognized as an extraordinary incarnation by Mipham Rinpoche, who later gave him the name Tashi Paljor, Auspicious Glory. At age eleven, upon entering Shechen Monastery in Kham, he was formally recognized and enthroned by Shechen Gyaltsap, his root guru and Mipham Rinpoche's Dharma heir, as an incarnation of the wisdom mind of the first Khyentse Rinpoche, Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo (1820-1992). 

One of the last of the generation of great lamas who completed their education and training in Tibet, Khyentse Rinpoche spent over 20 years in retreat and became a holder of countless transmissions in all the major schools of Tibetan Buddhism, particularly in the Nyingma, the "early transmission" school founded by Padmasambhava in the 8th century. He was the exemplary present day exponent of Tibet's Rimé or ecumenical movement and was renowned for his ability to transmit the teachings of each lineage according to its own tradition. His Holiness was a scholar, sage, poet, and a tertön, a discoverer of spiritual treasures hidden at the time of Padmasambhava. He was a master of the pith-instructions of Dzogchen which directly introduce the student to the nature of mind. He was the spiritual advisor of the Royal Family of Bhutan, the main Nyingma teacher of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and a guiding light to thousands of students around the world. 

Khyentse Rinpoche was a most imposing figure - a "mountain" of a man with inexhaustible energy whose only motivation was to benefit others. In Nepal he built Shechen Tennyi Dargyeling, a magnificent monastery housing a large community of monks who are continuing the tradition as it had been practiced in Tibet. He was a master of every aspect of monastic life, including the many ceremonies and ritual dances, and supervised the education and spiritual training of the monks. He was a married lama who raised a family and counseled an extended lay community on all matters, spiritual and mundane. Until his passing in 1991 he traveled extensively in the East and the West working tirelessly to preserve and transmit the Buddha's teachings.

His Holiness taught at precisely the level appropriate for each audience. In a spontaneous, effortless manner he drew on an inexhaustible ocean of wisdom which he delivered in an uninterrupted stream of blessings and Dharma teachings. It would seem that he never paused to compose his thoughts or choose his words, yet each phrase would be flawlessly constructed even when expounding the subtlest philosophical point. Such a discourse could be transcribed unedited into a definitive reference text for future generations.

Khyentse Rinpoche was a national treasure, the embodiment of the highest qualities and ideals of the Tibetan culture. To be around him was to be in the heart of Tibet, at the center of a sacred realm where philosophy, art and ritual, as well as the most ordinary activities of daily life, are the expression of primordial awareness, pointing to its own intrinsic purity - the enlightened mind of all the Buddhas. His Holiness attended to the varied affairs of the many people who visited daily with the same care and concern that a mother has for her only child. Even in the midst of a whirlwind of activity he remained unperturbed, immersed in the vast wisdom mind of Guru Rinpoche, inspiring all who encountered him with his extraordinary presence, simplicity, dignity and humor.

Homage to Khyentse Oser, Radiance of Wisdom and Loving Kindness
Om Ah Hung Vajra Guru Padma Siddhi Hung

(above right) :Khyentse Rinpoche's re-incarnation at the age of 4, Tulku Ugyen Tenzin Jigme Lhundrup. Tulku Ugyen was enthroned on December 5, 1997 in Shechen Monastery in Boudha, Nepal.

Photo: Mathieu Ricard

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