Biography of Tulku Dorji Thogmay

Oṃ svasti! To Buddha Shakyamuni, the saviour of beings and the king of the Shakya clan,
The Lake-Born Buddha from Oddiyana who is the essence of all the buddhas.
And the emanated teachers, the crown ornaments of the teachings and beings,
I offer you respect from my three doors with wholehearted faith.

In all the limitless places of the world, with the auspicious occurrence of excellent merits and the harmonious activity and aspirational prayers of the disciples, the precious teachings of the Buddha are rising and continue to arise, along with the sublime teachers who have come and continue to come into the world with the intention to help beings. As a result, all beings are enjoying the teachings with satisfaction according to their own wishes. In particular, the following is a short elucidation of the deeds of Trulku Dorji Thogme called The Pearl Garland.

The First Incarnation, Gawé Shenyen Rigzang, and His Deeds

The First Deed: His Birthplace and Parents

His Eminence Gawé Shenyen Rigzang was born amidst auspicious signs to father Dorji Wangdi and mother Sangay Dolma in the year 1897 in Chumay Nangar, Bumthang, Bhutan.

The Second Deed: Approaching and Studying Buddhism

H.E. Gawé Shenyen Rigzang enrolled in Trongsa Choetse Dratshang at the age of ten and received a traditional monastic education consisting of ritual dance, mandala drawing, chanting ritual melodies,playing ritual instruments, making ritual offering cakes, reading and writing, various elements of grammar, and so forth.

The Third Deed: Studying in the Kham Region of Eastern Tibet

In 1917, when H.E. Gawé Shenyen Rigzang was twenty, owing to a prophecy and aspirational prayers from his past lives, Gongar Ugyen Wangchuk, the first king of Bhutan, advised him to go to the monastery of Dzogchen Shri Singha—one of the six mother monasteries of the Nyingma tradition in Tibet. After arriving there he met with Khenchen Shenga and received the full monastic ordination vows. He completed all his Buddhist studies in nine years, which included grammar, sutra and tantra, Buddhist logic and epistemology, astrology and ritual practices. Moreover he honoured Trulku Thubten Chokay Dorji—the 5th incarnation of Dzogchen Pema Rigzin—as his root guru. He also received empowerments, transmissions and teachings, including Dzogchen practices and pith instructions, from various other learned masters. After learning Tibetan medicine from Ani Thubten for three years, he served as a doctor caring for sick monks and locals in Tibet. In this way, he stayed for almost thirteen years in Tibet.

The Fourth Deed: Serving the Teachings and Beings Again in Bhutan

When H.E. Gawé Shenyen Rigzang returned to Bhutan in 1931, though the first king had passed away, His Majesty Jigme Wangchuk—the second king of Bhutan—with his great compassion gave him whatever assistance he needed and asked him to enter three-year retreats at Tafi Gompa and Palpung Gompa in Trongsa and Lugra Gompa in Bumthang. In his third three-year retreat, he showed many signs of realisationand came to be highly respected by others.Since he solely endeavoured in the teachings and practices, many disciples followed him. His chief disciples wereDorji Lopen Kado from Punthang Zhung Dratshang, and others like Nadog, Pasang, and Namgyel,who each became great masters. As prophesied by H.H. the 16 th Gyalwang Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, in 1951 he became the tutor of Banchen Khenpo's yangsi, the root guru of Ashi Wangmo, who was a sister of the second king of Bhutan, at Kortoe Takmo Chu.

The Fifth Deed: His Dharma Friends While Traveling to Tibet

Some lamas, like Zhudagpa Tenpa Gyeltshen, Haa-thruk Pasang, Gyeltshen from Punthang Dratshang, Geshe Pema Tshering, the former incarnation of presnt 70 th Je Khenpo Tulku Jigme Chodra, Rinchen Dorji, and Kalzang from Tongsa Choetse Dratshang travelled with Gawé Shenyen Rigzang to Tibet under the command of the first king of Bhutan. After returning to Bhutan, he served in various monasteries like Tharpaling through teaching and practice which is beyond our ordinary thought. His Yangsi Rinpoche (precious reincarnation) is now serving for the benefit of the Buddhadharma and beings.

The Sixth Deed: Entering into Mahaparinirvana

H.E.Gawé Shenyen Rigzang passed away into mahaparinirvana at the age of seventy at Kortoe Takmo Chu in 1967, on the 15 th day of the frist miraculous month, producing the significant sign of white and red bodhichitta fluid emerging from his nostrils. Moreover, his body remained in meditative equipoise for twenty-one days. A cremation was performed at Kuji Lhakhang in Bumthang according to Ashi Wangmo's advice. The public observed a rainbow in the sky during the cremation ceremony. Tears rolled down the cheeks of devoted disciples, who made fervent aspirations for the swift appearance of his reincarnation.

The Second Incarnation, Tulku Dorji Thogmay, and His Deeds

The First Deed: His Birthplace and His Parents

Tulku Dorji Thogmay was born with many auspicious signs to father Talipa and mother Sangay Wangmo in the Male Dog year, 1970, at Kheng Golayin Zhemgang, Bhutan.

The Second Deed: Recognition as the Unmistaken Incarnation

At around age six, Tulku Dorji Thogmay awakened his nature and recollected the experiences of his former life. He recalled the names of his former parents and siblings, recognized his belongings and detailed his former life story spontaneously. During that time his own disciple Lama Therchung Rinpoche visited the late Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and clearly reported the aforementioned stories. After hearing the stories, the child was recognized as the unmistaken incarnation of Gawé Sheynen Rigzang. Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse offered a white scarf as a sign of auspicious occurrence, as well as a statue of Guru Rinpoche;a sutra of Amitayus;a stupa of enlightenment; a vase; a vajra, and a bell, a ritual dragger and an amrita container to represent enlightened body, speech, mind, qualities and activity respectively. He also gave a certificate of recognition.

The Third Deed: Enthronement, Studies and Service in the Dratshang

At the age of seven, Lama Tharchung Rinpoche invited Tulku Dorji Thogmay to his Dratshang and enthroned him in a grand ceremony amidst thousands of lamas, tulkus, monks, nuns, government officials and members of the general public. After that he engaged in learning the subjects of monastic education like reading and writing, grammar, playing the conch and ritual trumpet, making ritual cakes and ornaments, and the three skills of ritual dance, mandala drawing and melodious chanting, until the age of 20. Later he served in the capacity of supervisor, treasurer, secretary, school teacher, and so forth, as an ordinary monk

The Fourth Deed: Learning Astrology at the Tshangkha Shedra

At the age of twenty-one, Tulku Dorji Thogmay studied astrology, grammar, poetry, prajnaparamita, madhyamika, pramana and abhidharma for three years under Lama Norbu Wangchuk—the lama who introduced Bhutanese astrology—at Tshangha Shedra in Trongsa.

The Fifth Deed: Studying at theNgagyur Nyingma Institute

Tulku Dorji Thogmay studied all the subjects of the sutras and tantras, including grammar, from Kyabje Pema Norbu Rinpoche's khenpos and lopens at theNgagyur Nyingma Institute for ten years (age 23–32) and received all the certificates of completion, along with awards and praise. In 1994, he received full ordination from Kyabje Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche, amidst hundreds of bhikshus in Bodhgaya, and received the bhikshu name Thubten Yeshi Dorji. He also received transmission and teachings of the Namchӧ Ngondro, Phowa, Tsalung, and Dzogchen (the Namchӧ preliminary, consciousness transference, wind channel, and great perfection practices) from Kyabje Penor Rinpoche, during his winter vacations.

The Sixth Deed: Receiving Other Empowerments, Transmissions and Teachings from Various Great Lamas

Tulku Dorji Thogmay received empowerments, transmissions and teachings of the Kangyur, Ngagyur Kama and Terma, Four-Fold Essence, Three Root Deities, Paling teaching, Jangter and Namchӧ from masters such as Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Kyabje Dodrup Rinpoche, Kyabje Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche,Kyabje Minling Trichen Rinpoche, Kyabje Jadrel Rinpoche, and Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche. He also received teachings and transmissions from H.H. the 14 th Dalai Lama, H.H.Karmap Rangjung RIgpe Dorje, H.H.Sakya Trizin and others. Signs of accomplishment appeared duing his three-year retreat.

The Seventh Deed: Visiting Taiwan and Other Countries for the Benefit of the Teachings and Beings

Since Kyabje Penor Rinpoche had mentioned that the people of Taiwan have a natural interest towards learning and practicing Dharma, Tulku Dorji Thogmay taught them the teachings of refuge, the four mind trainings, the preliminary practices, and five hundred thousand accumulation practices. Hence, he served the Dharma through bestowing empowerments and transmissions according to their faith and devotion. And, in order to benefit beings, serve his monks, and carry out the renovation work of monasteries in his home country, Bhutan, in 2005 he established three Dharma centres including the Ngagyur Shaydrub Choeling Dharma Centre in the capital city of Taiwan according to the unmistaken prophesy of vajra speech for future beings.

Furthermore, he imparted Dharma teachings in other countries like Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and New Zealand.

The Eighth Deed: Restoring the Serzong Dratshang in Gelephu

Tulku Dorji Thogmay raised a substantial amount of funds from his Taiwanese disciples, who were connected with past aspiration prayers, and used them entirely to renovate the Serzong Dongang Kunzang Choling Dratshang. He also built new residences for the monks, as well as eight Sugata stupas and an old age home, and he provided the necessities for the monks' livelihood and arranged for teachers, including for the English language. In this way he enriched the knowledge and practices of the sangha.

The Ninth Deed: Restoring the Tashiphu Nunnery in Gelephu

Tashiphu Ngagyur Shedrub Choling Nunnery's main temple was renovated both outside and inside, a new residence was built, and the necessities for the nuns' livelihood and the appointing of teachers, including for the English language, were provided for. In this way Tulku Dorji Thogmay enriched the knowledge and practices of the nuns too.

The Tenth Deed: Restoringthe Goling Temple

The main temple inTulku Dorji Thogmay’s village of Kheng Goling, in Zhamgang, Bhutan, was deteriorating with the passage of time. As such, the people of this village requested him to help renovate it. As requested, he started the temple renovation work, including the restoration of its sacred objects and the lama's residence, which had been initially built by some fortunate villagers. He worked sincerely and diligently for the benefit of the teachings and beings.

The Eleventh Deed: Constructing the Main Temple in Paro

The main temple in Paro, which is the winter residence for his sangha, is currently being renovated. It includes residences for khenpos, lopens and monks. In short, Tulku Dorji Thogmay is doing his best, according to his ability and the means available, to construct the main temple, residences, a new retreat centre, and so forth. Overall, he is engaged in various enlightened activities for the perpetual benefit of future beings.