Dagpo Rinpoche


Rinpoche was born with the complete name of Losang Jampel Jhampa Gyatso in Februari 1932. His father’s name is Tsering Dondrup and his mother’s Drolma Tsering. Rinpoche was born in the land of Nandzong, a very vast land in South East Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, situated between Kongpo Province and Dagpo, the altitude between 2,500-3,000 metre above sea level. Rinpoche still has a family connection with His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama, i.e. his grandmother from his mother’s side was the cousin of His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama. Rinpoche’s father came from a wealthy family in Kongpo. His father was the second nephew of a great lama at that time, which is Dagpo Lama Rinpoche Losang Jamphel Lhundrup Gyatso.

  When Rinpoche officially joined the Bamcho and Dungkhar Monastery, he was welcomed by great ceremonies intersected by prayers, at the age of six. Bamcho Monastery was built in 1070 by a great Kadampa master. This monastery was rebuilt in the 15th century at the site it is now, by the followers of Gelugpa. At the age of seven, Rinpoche took his first exam in front of 359 biksu. Until the age of twelve, Rinpoche has taken eight exams, every one of them means memorization and recitation of texts—ranging from two hundred until four hundred pages thick. Exams would take days and days, the break only for prayers and tea. Rinpoche’s technique to pass the exam is to recite everyday what he has memorized yesterday to be repeated again the next day.

  Rinpoche only took eight exams in Bamcho Monastery, because he was required to join the philosophical monastery of Dagpo Dratsang at the age of thirteen. The rules in this monastery was well-known throughout Tibet to be the most disciplined one, and Rinpoche did not have the time to finish all twelve exams. Rinpohce was ordained as a monk at the age of seven. He was ordained by Phurtchog Rinpoche, reincarnation from one of His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama’s tutor. This is a rare event because normally first vow is taken at the minimum age of eight.

  When Rinpoche has not reached the complete age of ten, Head of Dagpo Dratsang invited Pabongka Dorje Chang to give the Lamrim teachings or Stages of the Path to Enlightenment. Stages of the Path is the core of Buddhist practice which can take someone to Buddhahood with an unbroken lineage of guru-disciple til this day. At that time, it was decided that Rinpoche would join the 3,000 attending participants.

 

Rinpoche studied in Bamcho Monastery from 1939 until 1944. Before leaving Bamcho and head to Dagpo Dratsang, guru Rinpoche suggested Rinpoche to memorize Abhisamayalamkra—one of the five important great treatises for the preparation to study Buddhist philosophical study. This treatise was given by Maitreya Buddha, the Buddha of Compassion, to Arya Asanga, the grean Indian sage who wrote this treatise in the 4th century.

  After knowing that His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama has already fleed to India, Rinpoche took a firm decision: to join His Holiness as soon as possible. The situation in 1959 in Tibet, especially in the Lhasa capital, was very chaotic. Day by day the situation has grown from bad to worse. Rinpoche left Lhasa at night time, together with people from Nyemo, traveling by foot and wearing ordinary clothes. This trip did not succeed since after two days of walking from Lhasa, the Chinese were guarding all the exits and shoot down all the travelers with no permit. Rinpoche and the group had to return. They returned to Lhasa to a friend’s place, a dedicated woman who did not expel Rinpoche though it was very dangerous to let Rinpoche stayed at that time.  

At the age of 28, in the year of 1960, Dagpo Rinpoche flew to France with Rockefeller scholarship, to teach Tibetan language and culture at the School of Oriental Studies in Paris for 30 years. With the support from his disciples, in 2005, Rinpoche rebuilt the unique tradition of Dagpo Dratsang Monastery in Kullu, India. This monastery has taken hundreds of monks, along with school providing free education for the Indian and Tibetan children.  

Despite his old age, since 1978 til the present days, Rinpoche has endlessly given guidance to those seeking advice for spiritual practice aiming to enlightenment. Considering and respecting Rinpoche’s total commitment, thousands of Rinpoche’s students from the centres spread throughout the world feel very fortunate to be able to meet him. With his modesty, love, and endless patience, whatever topics he delivers, he always do it with great clarity in order to bring great benefits for human kind.
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