His Eminence
Kunzang Thegchok Yeshe Dorje Rinpoche

H.E. Kuzang Thegchok Yeshe Dorje Rinpoche, or more commonly referred to as Lopon Rinpoche, was born in Mongar, Bhutan in 1957. At the age of twenty-two, he travelled to Chorten Monastery after hearing the name of H.H. 4th Dodrupchen Rinpoche, in which he experienced an immense joy and a deep sense of devotion. From H.H. 4th Dodrupchen Rinpoche, he received the entire Longchen Nyingtik (The Heart Essence of the Vast Expanse) as well as the pith instructions of the Tantras, which he then spent numerous years in retreat to practice them. His discipline and perseverance was so immense that H.H. 4th Dodrupchen Rinpoche once remarked to the late Nubri Lama Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche that, “we have a monk here at our monastery named Thegchok. His effort in spiritual practice is like a raging river. His wisdom is like a roaring fire.” Like a vase filling to the brim, he acquired great realization on the path of ripening and liberation. Under the instruction of H.H. 4th Dodrupchen Rinpoche, Lopon Rinpoche began to turn the wheel of the Dharma. He wrote many authoritative commentaries for instructions in Chorten Monastery, Paro Ton Chos Khor in Bhutan, Sangchen Rabten Norbuling in Nubri, Nepal and Dodrupchen Monastery in Tibet. As the one and only heart son of H.H. 4th Dodrupchen Rinpoche from whom he received countless compliments and blessings, his presence is like a mandala of majestic splendor manifested for the sake of the Buddhadharma and sentient beings.

Early Years

The great Vidyadhara, H.E. Kunzang Thegchok Yeshe Dorje Rinpoche, or commonly referred to as Lopon Rinpoche, was born in Mongar, Bhutan in 1957. From a very young age, Lopon Rinpoche showed a character of genuine compassion and a deep devotion to the Buddhadharma. He learned to read and write from his uncle, Lopon Chopel, and learned religious painting from Lopon Konchok Tenzin. He also studied astrology from his brother. Everyone commended his exceptional intellectual abilities. He later studied traditional Tibetan medicine under Menbi Rinpoche and became his beloved disciple.

After three years of traditional medical study, he returned to a hermitage near his uncle’s residence. Then, he began to build a small retreat hut for his own spiritual practice and, in the meantime, practiced medicine to benefit others. An intense desire to study the Buddhadharma gradually built up in his mind and even manifested in his dreams. His uncle was pleased to hear his nephew’s keen desire to pursue deeper spiritual practice, and decided to help him to study in a monastic learning center.

Entering the Gate of the Dharma

Lopon Rinpoche then visited another uncle in India named Kunchok Tsephel, a spiritual disciple of Dudjom Rinpoche, to whom he explained his difficulty. Kunchok Tsephel offered Lopon Rinpoche excellent advice about the prospects of pursuing higher spiritual practice under different reputable masters. His uncle then mentioned that H.H. 4th Dodrupchen Rinpoche, the holder of vast tantric knowledge including that of the Longchen Nyingtik, was residing in Sikkim.

the holder of vast tantric knowledge including that of the Longchen Nyingtik, was residing in Sikkim.

During his stay at the Chorten Monastery, Lopon Rinpoche studied so rigorously that he became emaciated. H.H. 4th Dodrupchen Rinpoche once remarked to the late Nubri Lama Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche that, “we have a monk here at our monastery named Thegchok. His effort in spiritual practice is like a raging river. His wisdom is like a roaring fire.” Many such compliments followed.

Later, Lopon Rinpoche studied Drop of Nourishment for the People, The Middle Way, Traditions of Two Chariots, Trilogy of Natural Ease, Root Text of the Vinaya, Guhyagarbha (The Essence of Secrets) Tantra, and The Way of Bodhisattva under Dzogchen Lama Gyalwang Nyima, Dzogchen Khenpo Daser, Khenpo Tsonseng of Dodrupchen monastery, and Khenpo Thupten Woser.

Lopon Rinpoche was frequently reminded that the worldly life of a layperson can be an obstacle to higher spiritual practice. As such, he approached H.H. to request for ordination several times but did not receive approval. Lopon Rinpoche then decided to abide by his root guru’s advice and remain as a lay devotee for this lifetime.

Accomplishments

Lopon Rinpoche spent numerous years engaging in the practices of profound higher Tantras. He also practiced the Longchen Nyingtik (The Heart Essence of the Vast Expanse), including the two root texts from the Terma revealed by Jigme Lingpa. He also received the oral transmissions and direct pith instructions of the Tantras. Like a vase filling to the brim, he acquired great realization on the path of ripening and liberation. When recollecting the kindness of his root guru H.H. 4th Dodrupchen Rinpoche, Lopon Rinpoche would shed tears of great devotion.

Lopon Rinpoche continues to turn the wheel of the Dharma. Many of his disciples are lamas, reincarnate lamas and masters who are now guiding others in spiritual practice. Moreover, he also guided the retreat practice of the higher and lower traditions of Tantra. Apart from teaching, he has further written thirty authoritative commentaries based on the treatises of Kangyur and Tengyur as well as the works by Rongzom Mahapandita, Longchenpa, Jamgon Mipham and many other accomplished Tibetan Buddhist scholars.

Today, his written works are used as authoritative texts for instructions in Chorten Monastery, Paro Ton Chos Khor in Bhutan, Sangchen Rabten Norbuling in Nubri, Nepal and Dodrupchen Monastery in Tibet. In addition, his commentaries have received critical acclaim from many highly accomplished practitioners including Chadral Sangye Dorje Rinpoche. Specifically, H.H. 4th Dodrupchen Rinpoche had asked Lopon Rinpoche to write a commentary on the Guhyagarbha (The Essence of Secrets) Tantra.

In summary, Lopon Rinpoche is a secret yogi, and the one and only heart son of H.H. 4th Dodrupchen Rinpoche from whom he received countless compliments and blessings. His presence is like a mandala of majestic splendor manifested for the sake of the Buddhadharma and sentient beings.

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