Z.E. Mingyur Rinpoche
Mingyur Rinpoche's 'emanation-basis' is Vajrapani, the Lord of Secrets, who in the realm of Chang-Lo Chen is the single embodiment of all buddhas' power, strength and ability; the noble being Niruddha, who at the Vajra Throne had the most eminent power over miracles among the disciples of Buddha Shakyamuni; in the snowy ranges of Tibet, he was the eldest son of King Trisong Deutsen, the Dharma ruler prince Mutri Tsenpo, who was one of the twenty-five disciples. Who can fully describe all their successive emanations who appeared in Tibet to spread the Buddha's teachings as emissaries of Padmasambhava?
To mention a few: The great vidyadhara Gokyi Demtruchen, who among the regents of Padmasambhava appeared, in the center and four directions, as the treasure revealers with the name Lingpa who had the nature of the five buddha families, as well as those in the four intermediate directions. Among these were Terchen Dorje Lingpa in the East, Pema Lingpa in the West, and Shikpo Lingpa in an intermediate direction. There was also Rinchen Puntsok, the great terton of Drigung, the vidyadhara Jatson Nyingpo, and Namcho Mingyur Dorje. Among their following reincarnations were twenty-one major tertons with the name Nuden, among which was the first incarnation of Yongey Mingyur Dorje. Born in the Lhatok region of Kham, in his early years he had visions of Padmasambhava, Karma Pakshi, Hayagriva, Vajra Varahi and Mahakala and composed a guru sadhana for Karma Pakshi fashioned as a mind treasure received in a pure vision.
The 10th Karmapa, Choying Dorje, gave him the name Rigdzin Mingyur Dorje Drakpo Nuden Tsal. He also became a learned and highly accomplished master through his scrupulous studies of Sutra, Tantra and the general sciences. On one occasion the Kagyu lineage was severely weakened due to invasion, as well as outer, inner and innermost obstacles. At that time, in accordance with Guru Rinpoche's prediction, Yongey Mingyur Dorje revealed the complete teaching cycle of Guru Dorje Drolo which he then offered, in secret, to the 10th Karmapa, Choying Dorje. This lord himself also applied it in practice. The great terton personally practiced the approach, accomplishment and activity applications of Dorje Drolo for nine months and by doing so vanquished the outer, inner and innermost unfavorable circumstances and obstacles, including the invading army. Thus he caused the Kagyu teachings to shine like the rising sun.
In the later part of his life, he followed the yogic lifestyle of a mahasiddha. He subjugated and brought to the path of liberation many samaya violators, evil influences and obstructing forces who harm the Buddhadharma and sentient beings. In particular, he bound under oath the Nine Demon Brothers and their retinues, evil forces that wreak disaster in the world. In these ways, he assisted the Dharma and beings immensely.
Yongey Mingyur Dorje's other terma teachings included the Peaceful and Wrathful Padma Vajra and the longevity sadhana known as Tabshey Khajor, the Union of Means and Knowledge. These were his three main termas and they include many subsidiary activity practices and so forth. Directly and indirectly a great number of noble beings, lamas, tulkus and sangha of all schools received his terma teachings. But his primary recipients for these teachings were predicted in his own revelations and were the sublime Tai Situ Kunkhyen Chokyi Jungney and terton Kuchok Dorje. To quote his terma prediction:
In the Uta valley Tai Situ will wield the vajra copper sword in the sky.
In a future time of strife, when the five degenerations are rampant,
First entrust this to your Dharma heir Amita,
Then soon after to the one called Parni.
Entrust it without keeping secret and the ruler's dispute will subside.
This describes the recipient of the teachings.
You are an emanation of the Lord of Secrets.
I am the buddhas of the three times, as well as Shakyamuni,
Who protects with compassionate light rays the beings of the dark age.
Never missing the right time, the power of true aspirations,
Birth after birth, the guru will speak to you.
Pray and don't hold back your faith and devotion.
Keep this in your heart, my worthy noble son.
Strong is your samaya, princely ruler;
You will greatly serve the Buddha's teachings.
In this way his activity to benefit beings was truly in accordance with the predictions of the master of Uddiyana.
Yongey Mingyur Dorje's second incarnation was born into the Batok family in the Lhatok region. He was known as Three-Eyed Yongey and was an extraordinary individual who had three eyes and the signs of the five buddha families on his body. It was as if an emanation of Guru Dorje Drolo had appeared in person. Through his three qualities of being learned, virtuous and noble-minded he vastly benefited the Dharma and sentient beings.
The third incarnation was also born into the Batok family. The fourth incarnation took birth in Derge, in the Dalang family. The fifth incarnation was born in Derge in the Shakhar family. The sixth incarnation took birth in Derge at Mesho into the Nera family and was known by the name Nera Mingyur Dorje. All these incarnations studied, reflected upon and practiced Sutra, Tantra and the sciences so that for themselves they discovered perfect wisdom and hence captured the dharmakaya throne of nonmeditation. For the benefit of others, through the three qualities of wisdom, compassion and capability they accomplished an immense benefit of the Buddhadharma and sentient beings.
Yongey Mingyur Dorje's present incarnation is the seventh in this string of incarnations and was born in 1976. His father was the eminent Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche from the divine Tsangsar bloodline of Nangchen. His mother is Sonam Chodron, a descendant of the two Tibetan kings Songtsen Gampo and Trisong Deutsen.
Before Mingyur Rinpoche was born, his father Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche dreamt that a lama of majestic presence dressed in white ngakpa robes appeared and said, "I am Yongey Mingyur Dorje. I have come to borrow a dwelling in your home." About one month before his birth the moon was seen to be connected to the house by a white beam of light. It connected to the front and roof so many times that the local people were amazed and commented on it.
His father gave him the name Lhundrub Dorje. Rigpey Dorje, the sixteenth Karmapa, identified him as being the authentic reincarnation of the previous Yongey Mingyur Dorje and bestowed upon him the name Karma Gyurmey Tendzin Chokyi Dorje.
Around the age of six he thoroughly learned and mastered reading and writing. Around then, Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche told his grandfather, Lama Tashi Dorje, and his parents, "This child is Mingyur Dorje's reincarnation as the Karmapa says. But he is also the rebirth of the terton Kangyur Rinpoche, Longchen Yeshe Dorje. How? The previous Mingyur Rinpoche and the former Kangyur Rinpoche both have the same emanation basis, thus these two lamas have now incarnated in a single form and come as this rebirth. This is similar to myself, for instance, as I am regarded as a tulku of three different lamas." Accordingly, the children and disciples of the previous Kangyur Rinpoche trust this to be true. In 1984, at the age of nine, according to the Tibetan way of counting, he moved to the hermitage of Nagi Gompa to study with his father, the eminent Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche. There, in the manner of guidance through personal experience, he studied, over a period of approximately two and a half years, such Mahamudra teachings as the Four Dharmas of the peerless Gampopa, as well as instructions on the Trekcho and Togal aspects of Dzogchen. Even though a given teaching may have been quite short, he trained by practicing each point for several days.
At the age of eleven, he was prompted by the eminent Jamgon Tai Situ Rinpoche to come to Sherab Ling which is like a second Palpung. There he learned from the master's own tutor, the retreat lama Tsultrim, the practical applications of the daily rituals of Karma Kamtsang and the tantras according to the tradition of Marpa. Studying these with great perseverance he learned them thoroughly. From Jamgon Tai Situ Rinpoche and the eminent tulku Saljey Rinpoche, he received over a stretch of one year the empowerments, reading transmissions and guiding instructions of the Kamtsang system.
Then, in 1988, the first retreat was about to begin at the retreat center at Sherab Ling. Though Mingyur Rinpoche was only thirteen at the time, he expressed his wish and determination to enter the retreat and Situ Rinpoche's gladly gave his approval. So for the next three years, he practiced the pithy instructions of the ocean of Kagyu siddhas, ranging from the preliminary practices through the main part of development stage for the deities such as Gyalwa Gyamtso, Chakrasamvara and Vajra Varahi; through the completion stages involving the path of means of Naropa's six doctrines; to the path of liberation which includes the profound practice of Mahamudra. In short, he practiced with tremendous perseverance, whether day or night, development stage, completion stage and the path of liberation resulting in an extraordinary level of experience and realization being born in his stream of being.
In his seventeenth year, Mingyur Rinpoche came out of retreat in the first Tibetan month and soon after was told by Situ Rinpoche that he must assume the position of retreat master for the second retreat which was about to begin. Accordingly, in that year, to the approximately fifteen monks and thirteen nuns who were entering their respective retreats, he gave the empowerments, reading transmissions and instructions for both the preliminary practices as well as the main part. While acting as the retreat master, he personally did what corresponds to several years of retreat in the monks' practice center.
At the end of his nineteenth year, he joined the Dzongsar monastic college. Under the tutelage of Khenpo Kunga Wangchuk, he studied, among other topics, the Abhisamaya Lamkara and Prajnaparamita. In his twentieth year, Situ Rinpoche told him to assume the responsibility of being his representative at the monastic seat Sherab Ling and in that year Mingyur Rinpoche became the main person responsible at Sherab Ling. During this time he established a new monastic college where he also personally studied.
Beginning in his twenty-first year, he worked as the assistant teacher in Sherab Ling's monastic college while simultaneously carrying out the task of being retreat master for a third retreat of another 30 or so monks and nuns. He continued to do this until he was twenty-five, though often remained in retreat for one to three months at a time.
For one hundred days, stretched over the next several years, Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche passed on to Mingyur Rinpoche the Hearing Lineage of Trekcho and Togal, primordial purity and spontaneous presence, a lineage that bears the seal of secrecy and is passed on to only one person at a time. Each day, without break, there was one teaching session after which he practiced the meaning. In this way he fully received the pith instructions known as The Great Guidance through Personal Experience. (He has also received the Chokling Tersar from Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, and the Damngak Dzo from Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche.)
As Jamgon Tai Situ Rinpoche was unable to visit India, Mingyur Rinpoche continued supervising all the affairs of Sherab Ling's college and retreat centers. There, over a period of seven years, he studied with great diligence and mastered the topics of Madhyamika, Prajnaparamita, Abhidharma, Pramana and Vinaya, in short, the five traditional volumes of authoritative scriptures with their subsidiary topics. Moreover, though he now is extremely learned, he continues his personal studies and practice, and also teaches, writes and engages in debate, to benefit others.
Written by Kungo Kalsang and Tsoknyi Rinpoche.
Translated into English at the command of Drubwang Tsoknyi Rinpoche by Erik Pema Kunsang. Edited by Michael Tweed.