Dzogchen Ranyak Patrul Rinpoche was born in the valley of Dzogchen 1963. He is the incarnation of the great Dzogchen Patrul Rinpoche, who was a writer, wanderer and spiritual master of the 19th century. Two incarnations would follow before Dzogchen Ranyak Patrul Rinpoche was born.
Present Patrul Rinpoche has perfectly followed the footsteps of his teachers. He has studied with some of the most senior and accomplished masters of our time. He entered Dzogchen Monastery at the age of fourteen, where he would stay for six years. After he would continue his studies at Śri Siṃha University. He completed his studies flawless, within a timespan very few students can complete. He has great knowledge of the tantras and sutras, from which he can give teachings on any topic. He is holder of precious Longchen Nyingthik lineage. He gives teachings on this wonderous and profound lineage and bestows empowerments.
Patrul Rinpoche came to Belgium in the spring of 1996. He has established non-profit organisations, publishing house and as students have gathered around him he has started several Dharma Centers across Europe.
He has been teaching and spreading the Dharma ceaslessly. He managed the translation and publication of the vast amount of Tibetan buddhist texts. During summers he teaches general buddhist studies and advanced buddhist studies to his students.
Since early spring of 2020 he has started giving
a lot of teachings online. With hundereds
of hours of teachings available on the topic of
Words of My Perfect Teacher and other texts.
From Dzogchen in Tibet
The present incarnation of the great 19th century master, Dzogchen Patrul Rinpoche, was born in 1963 in the vicinity of Dzogchen Monastery, Rutam Orgyen Samten Chöling in Kham, Eastern Tibet.
Who is who?
Dzogchen Ranyak Patrul Rinpoche has been recognized as the third incarnation of the great Dza Patrul Rinpoche.
This is a concise presentation of the successive incarnations.
“No-one can bring back jewels from a treasure island
without relying on an experienced navigator.”
Words of My Perfect Teacher
Drukpa Rinpoche, Tulku Orgyen Rinpoche, Patrul Rinpoche
Patrul Jigme Chökyi Wangpo (1808-1887)
Patrul Rinpoche Orgyen Jigme Chökyi Wangpo was born in the Earth Dragon year of the fourteenth Rabjung (1808), in Dzachuka valley, the nomadic area of Golok in Eastern Tibet. He was the speech incarnation of Rigdzin Jigme Lingpa and one of the great Nyingma teachers and writers, as well as one of the masters who established the non-sectarian Rime movement. He worked tirelessly for the benefit of sentient beings, expounding the Dharma wherever he went, and his life story and writings are often cited by scholars. Many miraculous signs surrounded his birth.
Although officially recognised as a tulku of Palge Samten Phüntsok by Dola Jigme Kalzang, he was a tulku of Jigme Lingpa. The first Dodrupchen said, “I am bestowing the mind entrustment and aspirational transmission of the complete Longchen Nyingthik teaching upon him, with the name Orgyen Jigme Chökyi Wangpo”.
Palge Könchok, nephew of the last Palge, would bring Patrul Rinpoche to Palge Lastrang, the residence of the last Palge. There he would begin his studies.
Sengtruk Pema Tashi of Dzogchen Monastary ordained him as a monk. With Dola Jigme Kalzang, Jigme Ngotsar, Gyalse Shenpen Thaye and other teachers, he studied Longchen Rabjam‘s Trilogy of Finding Comfort and Ease, The Way of the Bodhisattva (Bodhicaryāvatāra), Secret Essence (Guhyagarbha) Tantra and many other works related to the sūtras and tantras, as well as the ordinary sciences. From Shechen Öntrul Thutob Namgyal, he received the reading transmission for the Translated Words of the Buddha (Kangyur) and teachings on Sanskrit grammar. He received the transmissions for the Kangyur and Tengyur in their entirety, together with the writings of many masters of the old and new translation schools.
However, his root teachers were Jigme Gyalwe Nyugu and Do Khyentse. He received instructions on the Longchen Nyingthik Ngöndro some twenty-five times from Jigme Gyalwe Nyugu and completed the required practices the same number of times. Later, he wrote down these words of his teacher on the ngöndro as the famous text, Künzang Lame Shyalung (The Words of My Perfect Teacher), an indispensable text for those seeking to pursue the path of Dharma, now known and read by many lay practitioners in the West. In addition, he received instructions on tsa-lung practice and Dzogchen, and studied many of the cycles of practice found in the canonical scriptures (kama) of the Nyingma Vajrayāna.
One day Do Khyentse, who was wandering while performing esoteric exercises, came to Patrul’s tent, called him out and forcefully introduced him to his enlightened nature. Patrul was torn by two conflicting feelings: shock over his own negative thoughts and amazement at Do Khyentse’s clairvoyance. Sitting up, he immediately meditated on the enlightened nature of his mind and a clear, sky like, open, intrinsic awareness arose in him. Thereupon, clear and total realisation like a rising sun awakened in him, over the dawn like realisation that he already had, as the result of the introduction he had received from Gyalwe Nyugu. From thereon he would use the name “old dog” as his esoteric name, as Do Khyentse had called him while pointing out the true nature of his mind.
When Patrul was about twenty, Palge Könchok, the chief administrator of Palge Lastrang, died. Patrul closed the residence of Palge and started living as a wandering hermit.
While remaining for long periods near Dzogchen Monastery, where he received the Nyingthik Yabzhi and Longchen Nyingthik transmissions from the fourth Dzogchen Rinpoche and Gyalse Zhenphen Thaye, he would stay in the isolated hermitages of Rudam, such as the Yamantaka cave and the Long Life cave. He put his energy into the practice of meditation and attained realisation that was as vast as space.
Although he was one of the greatest scholars of the Nyingma tradition, which would honour him with a high seat within the institution, he lived as a most humble and simple hermit. Wandering in the valleys of Ser, Do, Mar and Dzika, he would give teachings on the Bodhicaryāvatāra
and inspire the whole population to recite ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’.
Having completely realised the intrinsic nature of phenomena, he would appear in the guise of a simple beggar. At one point, while travelling, he met a lama who would teach him The Words of my Perfect Teacher, the very text he himself had written. Obviously, that lama was unaware of whom he was instructing and thought the fellow might benefit from such an extraordinary teaching.
Another story tells of him travelling with a poor widow. He helped her cook and take care of her children. When they arrived at the next village, he excused himself and said he had something important to do. The woman heard that the great Patrul Rinpoche was teaching at the monastery. When she went to listen, she was amazed to see the friendly beggar she had travelled with, sitting on the throne giving teachings to a big assembly. After the teaching he asked that all offerings should be given to her.
He would give teachings to laypeople of any stature in society, without making any distinction. Likewise, he would address those he talked to in a straight to the point manner with few social niceties. His words could be rough and honest, especially to his students. He spoke directly and loudly, but every word of his was a word of truth, wisdom and caring.
“Describing Patrul’s personality, the third Dodrupchen writes:
Patrul uses fearful and overwhelmingly tough words, but there is no trace of hatred or attachment in them. If you know how to listen to them, they are directly or indirectly only teachings. Whatever he says is solid like gold – it is true. He treats all people equally, neither flattering them in their presence nor backbiting in their absence. He never pretends to be something or someone else. So, everybody, high or low, respects him as an authentic teacher. He is not partial to high people, nor does he have any disregard for ordinary people. Whoever is involved in unvirtuous activities, unless the person is unchangeable, he digs out that person’s faults at once and exposes them. He praises and inspires people who are pursuing a spiritual life. He seems hard to serve, yet however close you are to him, it is impossible to find a single instance of dishonesty, dubiousness, instability, or hypocrisy in him. He is unchanging in friendship, easy and relaxing to be with. He has patience concerning both good and bad happenings. It is hard to separate from him. Although he remained a hidden practitioner all his life, he is wholesome from every point of view, as he never deviates from the bodhisattva activities. As a proverb says: “Even if the gold remains underground, its light radiates into the sky.” To the extent that you examine him, you will find him clean and pure. To the extent that you think about him, your faith in him increases.”
While wandering he would advocate abolishing the system of serving meat to the lamas when they came to perform ritual services, and he would instruct rules against stealing and hunting. He brought Dharma into everybody’s life and into every home, so that it was not limited to only monks and monasteries. Wild robbers and cruel hunters would be tamed by the power of his presence and words of truth. He taught the people of Marung, who had yet not learned the words let alone their meaning, the words of compassion ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’.
After wandering for about ten years through the valleys and hills of Do and Ser, giving teachings around the seats of Dodrupchen, Patrul returned to Dzogchen Monastery. He stayed in the hermitages of Padme Thang and Nakchung, and in Śri Siṃha College of Dzogchen Monastery. For several years he would continuously turn the wheel of Dharma, teaching on the treaties of Maitreya, the Middle Way, Abhidharma, Secret Essence Tantra, Treasury of Precious Qualities, Ascertainment of the Three Vows and many more topics.
Imbued with the wisdom and compassion of the buddhas, his words and actions were at all times directed towards the Dharma. His sole concern was to set beings onto the path, expounding the words of the Buddha, thus bringing them into the light of realising the true nature of mind, as the teachers before him had done, in a direct ascending line:
- Garab Dorje
- Śri Siṃha
- Trisong Detsen
- Yeshe Tsogyal
- Jigme Lingpa
- Gyalwe Nyugu
- Patrul Rinpoche
During the later parts of his life, Patrul lived around Dzagya Gon, the seat of his precious root teacher Gyalwe Nyugu. There he established an annual three-month retreat and teaching on the Bodhicaryāvatāra. He also presided over a one-week teaching and practice on the Pure Land of Amitābha, the Buddha of Infinite Light.
He established a teaching centre in the vicinity of Dzagyal Monastery and repaired the large complex of walls of mani stones that his previous incarnation Palge Samten Phuntsok had built. It became known as the Patrul Dobum.
Patrul Rinpoche would almost never accept any offerings, and if he did, he sent them immediately to the stone wall fund. With just enough tsampa to sustain himself, he would often leave food offered to him where it was. That way poor people who followed him could collect the offerings left behind.
At the age of eighty, as Do Khyentse had predicted, he started experiencing some health problems. On the eighteenth of the fourth month of the Fire Pig year (1887) he took his morning tea as usual. Then before noon, he sat up naked in the posture of Buddha and placed his hands on his knees. His assistant and devoted student Khenpo Künpal tried putting the clothes back on him, without any reaction. Patrul, who had his eyes open in a meditative glance, snapped his fingers once and rested his hands in the mudra of contemplation. In this moment, his mind merged into the primordial purity. On the twentieth of the month, Tsamtrül Rinpoche performed the ceremony of awakening Patrul’s mind from the absorption.
Patrul Rinpoche had left no materials of value. There was one set of monk’s robes, an alms bowl, a yellow shawl, a lower garment, food for about ten days, a set of five texts by Asaṅga and a copy of the Madhyamakāvatāra, five silver coins and a few scarves, to be sent to the stone wall fund. This is all Patrul Rinpoche had. He did not own any worldly possessions, not even many scriptures, and the few he had he would sometimes give away because he knew them all by heart. He did not have paper or a bamboo pen. Wherever he was during his wanderings, as he stood up, he would be ready to leave immediately.
In his life, Patrul Rinpoche gave many teachings on texts of the sūtras, tantras and Dzogpa Chenpo. He awakened the ultimate realisation in the minds of many fortunate disciples. On a very few occasions he gave tantric empowerments or held elaborate ceremonies.
His teaching, writing and practice were non-sectarian; thus, he emulated the entirety of the Buddhist traditions of Tibet.
His writings that have been preserved are collected in nine volumes, on Dzogpa Chenpo, tantra, sūtra, advice, poetry and drama. But despite this vast collection of profound work earning him the status of the highest scholars, he would remain a hidden yogi, perfectly following the example of his teacher.
He made a deep imprint in the minds and hearts of those who had the fortune to meet him. To this day his words resound and continue to lead beings to the heart essence of the Buddhadharma.
Words of my Perfect Teacher, Patrul Rinpoche, Translated by the Padmakara Translation Group, Revised edition 2011. Extracts from Introduction. ISBN 978-0-300-16532-6 (pbk)
Master of Meditation and Miracles: Lives of the Great Buddhist Masters of India and Tibet, Tulku Thondup, Edited by Harold Talbott, Shambhala Publications, inc. First paperback edition 1996. ISBN I-57062-509-3 (pbk) Pg. 201-210
Dza Patrul Rinpoche’s second emanation, the first incarnation as Ranyak Patrul Rinpoche, 1892-1917
The first Ranyak Patrul Rinpoche was born in 1892, and according to the Tibetan calendar on the seventh day of the fifth month of the 15th year of Water-dragon year of Rabjung.
The first Ranyak Patrul Rinpoche was declared the incarnation of Dza Palge, or Orgyen Jigme Chökyi Wangpo, by the great fifth Dzogchen Rinpoche, Thupten Chökyi Dorje, who recognised him as his own root lama.
Ranyak Drupchen Rinpoche, I need your youngest son because he is the true reincarnation of Dza Palge or Dzogchen Patrul Rinpoche and having confirmed his rebirth he will be placed on the throne supported by the fearless lions.
Patrul Rinpoche had taken birth into the family of Ranyak. He was born in the Dzajut region of Kham. His father, Ranyak Gyalse, known as Ranyak Drupchen Rinpoche b.1832-1909, was a highly realised being. Not only had he reached the highest attainment in the practice of Dharma, but he also had power over matter, with the ability to split rocks and bring animals back to life. He took an oath to perform the Ganachakra Puja while chanting the Guru Rinpoche mantra 100 million times. Read more about the amazing life story of Ranyak Drupchen Rinpoche.
Upon having his fourth child he told his wife, “It’s not good for a yogi to have a lot of children. But perhaps this child can be of benefit to sentient beings, right? In any event, the child in your stomach now will be my last child. In examining the signs from my meditation experiences and dreams this child certainly will be the reincarnation of a holy being. By the end of his life this child certainly will have been able to benefit the Dharma and sentient beings.”
With the birth of the first Ranyak Patrul Rinpoche, 1892, his father said that the boy would have many obstacles. He secluded himself to recite mantras and do yogic practice. Then he received a message during his meditations that he and his son should go to Dzogchen, in the area of Kham. Those at the Dzogchen Monastery were making preparations and would receive them grandly. On their arrival, the fifth Dzogchen Rinpoche immediately asked for an audience with the parents and the child.
Thupten Chökyi Dorje, the fifth Dzogchen Tulku said,
“Drupchen Rinpoche, among your sons and daughters your oldest daughter should be your family’s successor. Your youngest daughter is a nirmanakya manifestation of the flesh-eating Karma dakini and so should become a nun. Since your oldest son is the incarnation of Shakor Tulku someone to look after him will come to meet him. I said I needed your youngest son because he is the true reincarnation of Dza Palge or Dzogchen Patrul Rinpoche and having confirmed his rebirth, he will be placed on the throne supported by the fearless lions.”
The first Ranyak Patrul Rinpoche completed his studies at Shri Singha University in Dzogchen. He was endowed with great qualities and merit. He enjoyed the complete mastery of his realised mind. He would later travel to the province of Amdo, in northeastern Tibet, to spread the teachings there.
When he was twenty-five years old, travelling with his entourage, an argument broke out among them. He advised them to resolve the issue or he would leave them. As the situation showed no signs of coming to a resolve, he took his leave. He went into retreat for seven days and his followers would not see him again; having merged with the sphere of ultimate reality, he had attained the rainbow body. Only his hair and nails were left. His mind passed into the dharmakaya on the 25th day of the 4th month in the Fire-snake year of the 15th Rabjung or according to the western calendar in 1917.
The ceremonies that followed were conducted by his nephew, Thupten, and Shakor Tulku.
“Deep and peaceful, thought-free, luminous, unmade,
The nectar-truth, this now I have discovered.
Were I to teach it, none would understand,
And so I will remain, not speaking, in the forest.”
Buddha Shakyamuni, Lalitavishtara-sutra
The second incarnation, Patrul Rinpoche’s third emanation b.1937–1959
The second incarnation was born as Tsedjal, near the blue Lake Kokonor in northeastern Tibet 1937. His mother was Pema Tsoshid, the niece of the fifth Dzogchen Rinpoche, Thupten Chökyi Dorje, and her mother Konsto was the first Ranyak Patrul Rinpoche’s sister.
Jigtral Shongchup Dorje recognised him without a shadow of a doubt and enthroned him as the next incarnation of Dzogchen Patrul Rinpoche. As a young boy he exhibited all good qualities of learning, purity and compassion.
Sadly, his life would come to an end at a young age. He told his sister, Tsering Drolma, with whom he had a strong connection, that she was not to worry and that he would soon be back. As his enlightened mind turned elsewhere, he passed away, 1959.
Tsering Drolma married a man named Drupa, three years later she would have her second child with him. The child came to be known as the present and fourth emanation of Patrul Rinpoche, the third incarnation of Ranyak Patrul Rinpoche.