BIOGRAPHY OF THE 9th TOGDAN

His Eminence Togdan Rinpoche is the spiritual leader of the Drikung Kagyu Tradition in Ladakh. The title Togdan means “endowed with realisation”. The previous Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche Shiwai Lodro recognised the young boy as the incarnation of Togdan Tulku when he was only 18 months old.

He was born into a poor family of Konchog Tsultrim and Kelsang Dolma in 1939 in Durbuk, a small village situated 110 km east from Leh in Changthang. Only a few months later the young boy lost his mother and was taken care of by his aunt. At the time of his mother’s death, the family goat gave birth to new offspring and Rinpoche could drink its milk.

Having been recognised by the 36th H.H. Kyabgon Chetsang as the 9th Togdan Rinpoche, Rinpoche was given the leadership of the unbroken Drikung tradition in Ladakh. This included the responsibility for over 50 monasteries and the cultivation of the Drikung tradition in the region.

Today at 75 years of age, Rinpoche’s live achievements make him a model example for the dharma practitioner of the modern times; attaining excellence in both worldly and spiritual life. Rinpoche has been referenced to in many popular books and have appeared in two documentary films about Tibetan Buddhism.

Rinpoche on the top of the roof of his house in Saboo

Rinpoche’s complete name is H.E. 9th Choje Togdan Rinpoche, Terton Rigched Dorje, Konchog Tenzin Thupthen Tenpei Gyaltsen and he is the Drikung Dharma Lord (Choje) of Ladakh. He and his lovely wife Lha-cham have raised a dharma family of two sons and three daughters.

In a long-life prayer to Rinpoche, H.H Dudjom Rinpoche wrote that “he is the northern heavenly king and the bestower of glory…the river of nectar of the Nyingmapa tradition…the Bodhisattva akin to the youthful moon leading countless star constellations…the Vidyadhara of Long Life.”

In the current 9th incarnation of Togdan Rinpoche, is also included the manifestation of Rigzin Jatson Nyingpo. A great terton master who spent 17 years in a sealed hermitage retreat and was the root guru of such renown masters as Kathog Dudul Dorje, Lhatsun Chenpo, 10th Karmapa, 1st Drikung Chungtsang, 5th Drugchen and many others during the 16th century.

Rinpoche is also recognised as the manifestation of Jaluepa NyangBen Tingdzin Zangpo, the Tibetan minister of religion in the 8th century. He was the first abbot of Samye monastery and the heart disciple of the great guru Vimalamitra.

Tingdzin Zangpo was the first abbot of Samye Monastery and have been credited for suggesting the king to invite Padmasambhava to Tibet