Dodrupchen Chorten Monastery in Sikkim and the Tashi Choling Center for Buddhist Studies in Oregon have announced that Kyabje Dodrupchen Rinpoche, the Fourth Dodrupchen Rinpoche and one of the most important contemporary masters in the Nyingma and Dzogchen traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, passed into parinirvana on the afternoon of 25 January in Sikkim, northern India, and is now in a state of thukdam. His passing coincides with the 23rd day of the 11th month of the Iron Ox Year 2148 in the Tibetan lunar calendar.
In an emailed statement, Tashi Choling Center for Buddhist Studies stated:
With sorrow in our hearts, we offer our respectful condolences to the family and disciples of Kyabje Dodrubchen Rinpoche, who passed into parinirvana today.
An emanation of Vimalamitra, the Fourth Dodrubchen Rinpoche has been one of the most important figures in the Nyingma school and a primary holder of the Longchen Nyingtig tradition.
Dodrubchen Rinpoche and Gyatrul Rinpoche have always had a special connection. Gyatrul Rinpoche first met Dodrubchen Rinpoche when they were both very young. Gyatrul Rinpoche was staying with a very high realized master of the time named Yukhok Lama Choying Rangdrol. One day, Yukhok Lama told Gyatrul Rinpoche that an important guest was coming, who turned out to be a small boy who was shown great respect and reverence by everyone. In fact, this was Dodrubchen Rinpoche, and at the time, Yukhok Lama said, “this is none other than Guru Rinpoche himself!” Yukhok Lama instructed the two young boys that, in the future, they must always help each other. This was the beginning of a lifelong friendship between them.
Later, after a long separation, the two Rinpoches reconnected in India and their friendship continued as they both spread the dharma in foreign lands. On one occasion, Dodrubchen Rinpoche visited Tashi Choling and bestowed the Yabka and Yumka empowerments of the Longchen Nyingtig in Ashland, Oregon.
Whenever a great master passes from this world, their wisdom mind is considered to be omnipresent and accessible to all students who have faith and devotion, even those who did not have the fortune to meet the master in this life. Therefore, we encourage everyone to make efforts to practice during this important time. Gyatrul Rinpoche has often encouraged students to practice Vajrasattva and to make offerings such as butterlamps or feast offerings in order to connect with the wisdom mind of the master during parinirvana.
Dodrupchen Rinpoche was the principal lineage holder of the Longchen Nyingtik Cycle of Teachings (The Heart Essence of the Vast Expanse), a treasure teaching revealed by the terton Jigme Lingpa.
Dodrupchen Rinpoche, recognized for his gentle and unassuming demeanor that belied a powerfully charismatic presence, was widely revered in Sikkim for tirelessly attending to the day-to-day spiritual needs of the local Buddhist communities. Rinpoche’s root guru, Yukhok Chatralwa Choying Rangdrol is reported to have once stated of his student: “Among hundreds of students who practice the Dzogchen, there is no one greater than you, my son.” (Bhutan Today)
In a social media post, Kathok Yoesel Samtenling Monastery in Bhutan shared:
Kyabje Dodrubchen entered into Parinirvana and is now in the state of Thuk-Dam.
Kathok Baylangdra Monastery, Ngondro Practitioners and I join followers of Nyingma Longchen Nyingtik to offer heartfelt condolences to the family members and disciples of Kyabje Rinpoche.
This is a tremendous loss for all of us and particularly to the Nyingma Longchen Nyingtik tradition of which Rinpoche was a lifeline and a resource. When a great realized master passes into Parinirvana, those with faith and devotion must connect with the strong blessings of the master’s wisdom.
I request all to join me in saying prayers with open hearts and to remember his infinite qualities and activities. I pray for his swift return.
Kathok Situ, 26 January 2022. Phuntsholing, Bhutan
Kyabje Dodrupchen Rinpoche was born in 1927 in Golok Province, eastern Tibet, where he was recognized by the Fifth Dzogchen Rinpoche Tubten Chokyi Dorje. At the age of four, he moved to Dodrupchen Monastery to be formally enthroned.
Dodrupchen Rinpoche studied under the great khenpos of Dodrupchen and Dzogchen monasteries, and at the age of 11 received the empowerment and transmission of the Nyingtik Yabshyi and Longchen Nyingthik from Khenpo Kunpal, a disciple of the Third Dodrupchen Rinpoche.
Among the many masters from whom Dodrupchen Rinpoche received teachings were Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro, the Sixth Dzogchen Rinpoche, Shechen Kongtrul, Dzogchen Khenpo Gonpo, and Gyarong Namtrul Rinpoche. He received the final teachings on the meaning of Dzogpachenpo from Yukhok Chatralwa and Apang Terton, and practiced under their guidance.
Dodrupchen Rinpoche gave numerous major teachings, especially in eastern Tibet, established a scriptural college Dodrupchen Monastery, and provided woodblocks to print Longchenpa’s The Seven Treasures.
Rinpoche left Tibet in October 1957, traveling to Sikkim in northern India, where he settled in the capital Gangtok. He sponsored the publication of numerous sacred texts, including Longchenpa’s The Seven Treasures and the Trilogy of Comfort. He has two monasteries in Sikkim and presided over a monastery in Bhutan, where he conducted many initiations, transmissions, and teachings, as well as elsewhere in India and in Nepal.
Although based in northern India, Rinpoche made frequent visits to the West, sharing important Nyingma teachings, the root volumes of Longchen Nyingthik, essential Dzogchen empowerments, as well as numerous other teachings on liberation from the sufferings of samsara. During his first visit to the West, in 1973, Rinpoche established the Maha Siddha Nyingmapa Center in Massachusetts.
In 1972, Dodrupchen Rinpoche recognized the Seventh Dzogchen Rinpoche, whose enthronement took place at the royal temple in Gangtok.