Rinpoche Biography

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Very Venerable 7th Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche Biography

Ref: Sherab Ling Web Site

Mingyur Rinpoche’s emanation basis is Vajrapani, the lord of secrets, who in the realm of Chang Lochen is the single embodiment of all Buddha 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 of Guru Padmasambhava. He can fully describe all disciples’ successive emanations that appeared in Tibet to spread the Buddha teachings as emissaries of Padmasambhava. To mention a few: The great Vidyadhara Goki Demtruchen who among the regents of Padmasambhava appeared in the centre and four directions as the treasure revealer with the name Lingpa, who had the nature of the five Buddha families, as well as those in four intermediate directions. Among these were Terchen Dorjee Lingpa in the East, Pema Lingpa in the West, and Shikpo Lingpa in an intermediate direction. There were also Rinchen Phuntsok, the great Terton of Drigung, the Vidyadhara Jatson Nyingpo and Namcho Mingyur Dorjee. Among their following reincarnations were twenty-one major tertons with the name Nuden, among which was the incarnation of Yongey Mingyur Dorjee.

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 as a mind treasure received in a pure vision. Choying Dorjee, gave him the name Rigzin Mingyur Dorjee 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 Dorjee revealed the complete teaching cycle of Guru Dorjee Drollo, which he then offered in secret, to the 10th Karmapa, Choying Dorjee. The great lord personally practiced the approach; accomplishment and activity applications of Dorjee Drollo 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 Mingyur Rinpoche 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 Buddha Dharma and sentient beings. In particular, he bound under oath the Nine Demon Brothers and their retinues; evil forces that reek disaster in the world. In these ways, he assisted the Dharma and sentient beings immensely.

In addition to Guru Dorjee Drollo, Yongey Mingyur Dorjee’s other terma teachings included the Shedro Padma Vajra and the longevity sadhana known as Tsedrub Tabshey Khajor. These were his three main termas and they include many subsidiary activity practices and so forth. A great number of noble beings, lamas, tulkus and sangha of all schools received his terma teachings directly or indirectly. But his primary recipients for these teachings were predicted in his own revelations and were the sublime Tai Situ Kunkhyen Chokyi Jungney and terton Kunchok Dorjee. To quote his terma predictions:

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 dispute will subside.

It continues to describes the recipient of the teachings:

You are an emanation of Lord of Secrets
I am the Buddha of the three times, as well as Shakyamuni,
Then soon after to the one called Parni,
Entrust it without keeping secret and the ruler dispute will subside.

In a future time of strife, when the five degenerations are rampant,
First entrust this to your Dharma heir Amita,
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 teachings.

By this way his activity to benefit beings was truly in accordance with the predictions of the master of Uddiyana.

Yongey Mingyur Dorjee’s second incarnation was born in 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 Dorjee Drollo 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 in the Batok family and was known as Rimod Mingyur Dorjee.

The fourth incarnation took birth in Derge, in the Lhalung family and was known as Tragyen Mingyur Dorjee.

The fifth incarnation was born in Derge in the Shakha family and was known as Shakha Minyur Dorjee. The sixth incarnation took birth in Derge at Meshod into the Neyra family and was known by the name Neyra Mingyur Dorjee. All these incarnations studied, reflected upon and practiced Sutra, Tantra and the sciences so that for themselves they discovered pure wisdom and hence captured the dharmakaya throne of non-meditation. Through the three qualities of wisdom, compassion and capability, they accomplished an immense benefit for the Buddha Dharma and sentient beings.

Yongey Mingyur Dorjee 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 Choedron, a descendant of the two Tibetan kings Songtsen Gonpo 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 Dorjee. I have come to borrow a dwelling in your home.” 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 the roof of the house so many times that the local people were amazed and commented on it.

His father gave him the name Lhundup Dorjee. The sixteenth Karmapa, Ranjung Rigpe Dorjee, identified him as being the authentic reincarnation of the previous Yongey Mingyur Dorjee and bestowed upon him the name Karma Gyurmey Tenzin Chokyi Dorjee.

He thoroughly learned and mastered reading and writing at age six. Around then, Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche told his grandfather, Lama Tashi Dorjee, and his parents that this child is not only Mingyur Dorjee reincarnation as the Karmapa says, he is also the rebirth of the terton Kangyur Rinpoche, Longchen Yeshe Dorjee. The previous Mingyur Rinpoche and the former Kangyur Rinpoche both have the same emanation basis, thus these two lamas have now reincarnated in a single form and come as this rebirth. 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 Gonpa 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 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 Tai Situ Rinpoche to come to Sherab Ling, the seat of the Tai Situpas in exile, the second Palpung. There he learned from the retreat master, Lama Tsultrim, the practical applications of the daily rituals of Karma Kamtsang and the tantras according to the tradition of Marpa. He studied Drama thoroughly and with great perseverance. Mingyur Rinpoche received his enthronement given by H.E. Tai Situ Rinpoche at Sherab Ling when he was twelve years old.

In 1988, the first retreat was about to begin at the retreat center at Sherab Ling, Tenzin Gephel Ling. Though Mingyur Rinpoche was only thirteen at that time, he expressed his desire and determination to enter the retreat and Situ Rinpoche gladly gave his approval. Mingyur Rinpoche 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 six doctrines; to the path of Liberation which includes the profound practice of Mahamudra. he practiced with tremendous perseverance, day and night, on development stage, completion stage and the path of liberation, which resulted in an extraordinary level of experience and realization in his stream of being.

When he was seventeen, Mingyur Rinpoche completed his retreat in the first Tibetan month. He was told by H.E. Situ Rinpoche that he must assume the position of a retreat master for the second retreat which was about to begin for fifteen monks and thirteen nuns who entered their respective retreats. He also received the Cholking Tersar from Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche and the Dam-nGak Dzod from Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche.

At the end of his nineteenth year, he joined the Dzongsar Monastic College. With the eminent Talku Urgyen Rinpoche’s suggestion and H.E. Tai Situ Rinpoche’s blessing, he studied under the tutelage of Ven. Khenpo Kunga Wangchuk, among other topics, the Abhisamaya Lamkara and Prajnaparamita.
In his twentieth year, H.E. 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 helped to establish a new monastic college at Sherab Ling. He worked as the assistant Khenpo in Sherab Ling monastic college while simultaneously carried out the task of being the retreat master for a third retreat of another 30 or so monks and nuns.

He performed these duties from age twenty-one to twenty-five, and often remained in retreat for one to three months at a time. As H.E. Situ Rinpoche was unable to visit India for some time, Mingyur Rinpoche continued supervising all the affairs of Sherab Ling monastic college, retreat center and gave guidance and advise on the ongoing work in the new Palpung Monastery.

In his twenty third year, Mingyur Rinpoche took his Gelong ordination from Tai Situ Rinpoche. For one hundred days stretched over the next several years, the Late Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche passed onto 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.

Over a period of seven years from 1993 to 1998, 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. Rinpoche is the youngest of six brothers who are all tulkus in their own right. The eldest is Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, a Kagyu master who is the abbot of Ka-Nying Monastery in Boudhanath, Nepal. The second brother is Choling Rinpoche, a Nyingmapa master who lives in Boudhanath, Nepal and is the father to the present Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. Tenpa, the third eldest brother, is the General Secretary to Tenga Rinpoche and chooses not to follow the tulku path although he was recognized. As is the case with the fourth brother Orgyen Jigme , who now lives and works in Taiwan. The fifth brother is Tsoknyi Rinpoche who is a Drugpa Kagyu master and has a monastery in Swayambhunath, Nepal. He teaches throughout the world and is the closest to Mingyur Rinpoche.


Recent Activities

In his twenty-fifth year, Mingyur Rinpoche began traveling abroad to give meditation and Dharma teachings. One of his first journeys was to Northern California in 2001 to consecrate the Enlightenment Stupa at Pal Karma Dorje Dzinpa Ling. Shortly after this visit, Mingyur Rinpoche’s first Dharma Center was established as the Yongey Buddhist Center with headquarters in Milpitas, California. In the following years, Mingyur Rinpoche increasingly traveled on extensive tours throughout Europe, North America and Asia to give Dharma teachings and hold Mahamudra retreats.

Along with his worldwide teaching activities, Mingyur Rinpoche was assigned by Tai Situ Rinpoche to oversea the building and establishment of the Tergar Rigzin Khacho Targye Ling Monastery in Bodhgaya. This impressive temple and monastery was successfully completed in the winter of 2006 and subsequently consecrated by His Holiness Karmapa. In the spring of 2007, Mingyur Rinpoche released his first book titled The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness (New York Times bestseller) followed in 2009 with Joyful Wisdom: Embracing Change and Finding Freedom. In the spring of 2009, Mingyur Rinpoche established the Tergar Institute as a central organization for his teaching and meditation activities and Tergar Meditation Centers for local groups worldwide. The following year, Mingyur Rinpoche took over the Tergar Osel Ling Monastery in Kathmandu from his brother, Tsoknyi Rinpoche, and is currently the abbot of this institution as well as the monastery in Bodhgaya.

In early June 2011, Mingyur Rinpoche left his monastery in Bodhgaya to begin a period of extended solitary retreat. Since then, two letters have been received from Mingyur Rinpoche with the good news that he is well and having a successful retreat.