Brief Biography of Rigpey Yeshe Rinpoche

Homage to Buddha Shakyamuni!

Rigpey Yeshe Rinpoche was born in 1985 in Arik Dza, which is in Dzachukha, in China's Sichuan province. His father, Rolwey Dorje Rinpoche, is from a yogi family that has had many outstanding practitioners in the past. His mother, Mandha, is from the prominent family of Khenchen Pema Tsewang Rinpoche. He was born amid many miraculous signs, such as rainbows appearing in the sky and beautiful flowers blossoming from the frozen earth. Upon his birth, he recited the mantra of Manjushri - the Bodhisattva of wisdom - three times.

Before and after his birth, he was recognized as the reincarnation of Tigkye Wonpo Jigme Thamkhe Wangpo, the great master of Pukhung Monastery. When he was still in his mother's womb, Khandro Drolma Tsemtso, the mother of Tigkye Wonpo Jigme Thamkhe Wangpo, had a dream that her son had reincarnated in the family of Rolwey Dorje Rinpoche. When he was two years old, Drolma Tsemtso came to see him, and the little boy recognized her immediately. At that age, he could only speak a few words, but he already had a clear memory of his previous lives and dharma teachings. His uncle, Dor Sem Rinpoche, a great lama from Pukhung Monastery, tried to verify if he could recognize Tigkye Wonpo Jigme Thamkhe Wangpo's throne and dharma instruments, which he pointed out correctly. A terton by the name of Thubnam also recognized him as the reincarnation of Tigkye Wonpo Jigme Thamkhe Wangpo.

At the age of five, on a retreat with his father, he saw Manjushri in a vision. When he was nine years old, he received teachings from his root guru, Akyong Dokden Rinpoche of Dzogchen Monastery. Akyong Dokden Rinpoche was one of the most venerable masters in Tibet and a reincarnation of the great translator Vairochana, one of the twenty-five disciples of Guru Padmasambhava. Akyong Dokden Rinpoche told him, "You are my heart son, a real incarnation of Bodhisattva. You will benefit a tremendous amount of beings in the future. You can start to give teachings and empowerments right now." Akyong Dokden Rinpoche conferred the supreme lineage of Dzogchen traditions on him from that moment on.

Rolwey Dorje Rinpoche told Akyong Dokden Rinpoche that his son was very naughty. Akyong Dokden Rinpoche said: "He didn't do anything bad. On the contrary, all he does is very beneficial. He knows what he is doing. Gold shines brilliantly even when buried in earth."

After returning home, one spring day he was playing with his friends near a river. A little white dragon landed on his body. At first he didn't realize it was a dragon; so he caught it and put it on the riverbank. Then the little dragon transformed into an extremely large one and flew into the sky. There followed a thunder-like roaring three times, which was followed by rain. Everyone present was simply astonished and paid their heartfelt respects.

At the age of ten, he made a pilgrimage with his parents around Mount Amye Machen, a holy Buddhist site where many lamas and practitioners do retreats and circumambulations. The family met a holy dakini who could see people's past lives. She offered him a yellow scarf, saying that he was the incarnation of Tigkye Wonpo Jigme Thamkhe Wangpo, and that he would return to his monastery in the future, benefiting a lot of beings.

At this age he also studied under many great lamas, including Kunzang Shenphen Thaye Rinpoche, Khare Rinpoche, Chang Ra Kuchen Rinpoche, and several more.

When he was twelve, Rolwey Dorje Rinpoche brought him to the Buddhist Institute in Serthar and visited Jach? Lama there. Rolwey Dorje Rinpoche told Jach? Lama, "Many lamas said my son was a tulku. Please tell me exactly whose reincarnation he is. " Jach? Lama said, "In the holy land of Nirmaka (meaning Tigkye Wonpo Jigme Thamkhe Wangpo in the Indian language), born as an emanation of Manjushri."

At the Buddhist Institute in Serthar, he received teachings mainly from his other root guru, H.H. Khenchen Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche, and was trained intensively by many great khenpos. Generally, students there had two classes everyday, but he had eight. It took him five years to finish trainings that have taken others twenty or even longer.

In 2004 and 2005, Pukhung Monastery received him back and held two grand enthronement ceremonies presided over by Kathog Drukdreg Rinpoche. The ceremonies were long-awaited ones. People at Arik Dza had yearned for years for the return of Tigkye Wonpo Jigme Thamkhe Wangpo, but he could not return before he was 20 due to the miserable experience of Tigkye Wonpo Jigme Thamkhe Wangpo, who was tortured to death at the end of the 1950s. Before he died, his mother Drolma Tsemtso asked him not to reincarnate in that region, which he promised. For this reason, not long after the birth of the present reincarnation, many lamas and Drolma Tsemtso advised Rolwey Dorje Rinpoche to move the family away from Arik Dza for the longevity of the child. So when he finally came back, he was received amid great joy and celebrations by tens of thousands of people, some of whom had traveled for days by horse or even on foot to see him. Many auspicious signs and special incidents happened during his enthronement ceremonies, such as a rain of tiny hailstones that looked like wish-fulfilling jewels, and red sariras falling from the sky. It also rained and thundered all the way through the ceremony, and a small lake appeared on the flat meadow afterwards. Clouds with seven colors appeared in the sky, and next to the enthronement venue appeared a snow band stretching from the mountain top down to the stream at the foothills, looking exactly like a huge white scarf. Kathog Drukdreg Rinpoche was very happy, and told those at the ceremony that Rigpey Yeshe Rinpoche would do great things benefiting many sentient beings in the future.

(please click here for details of the 2004 and 2005 enthronement ceremonies)