Dzogchen Patrul Rinpoche
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"Shinje Cave" (near Dzogchen Monastery) where Patrul Rinpoche wrote Words of My Perfect Teacher (picture by Sangye Trinley)

Dzogchen Patrul Rinpoche Jigme Chokyi Wangpo (1808-1887), was among the greatest Nyingma masters of the nineteenth century. Considered the speech incarnation of Jigme Lingpa, he wrote a number of important works that are still influential not only in the Nyingma school, but throughout Tibet. Moreover, his influence both as a teacher in monastic universities, and as a wandering adept was widespread throughout East Tibet, both with respect to monastic institutions and among the lay people of the region.

Born in the Dzachuka Valley at the beginning of the nineteenth century, he was ordained as a monk by Sengtuk Pema Wangyal of Dzogchen Monastery. His principal teachers were Do Khyentse and Jigme Gyalwe Nyuku, and he also received the Longchen Nyingthik transmissions from the fourth Dzogchen Rinpoche and the first Kushok Gemong Rinpoche at Dzogchen Monastery. During this time, he lived as a wandering yogi in the Shinje Cave and Tsering cave in the Gangtro mountains near Dzogchen monastery.

While in residence in caves near Dzogchen Monastery, he composed Kunzang Lame Shalung (translated as The Words of My Perfect Teacher (Harper Collins 1994)), perhaps the most famous of the "written instructions" (Tib. khrid yig). An explanation of the preliminary practices of the Longchen Nyingthik, Patrul Rinpoche described the work as a "compendium" of the oral teachings given to him by his own teachers.  This classic work is known for the clarity and directness of its explanations.

He also did long retreats at Ari Nak and in the Yule mountains in Golok, and as many disciples began to gather around him he became a renowned teacher.

In the late 1860's  Patrul Rinpoche returned to Dzogchen Monastery, where he taught at Shri Singha monastic university and elsewhere. He taught many important texts there. He spent his final years in the region of his birthplace in Dzachuka. In the last few years of his long and wondrous life, he exchanged transmissions with the Fifth Dzogchen Rinpoche. Dzogchen Patrul Rinpoche entered into parinirvana at the age of 80.

The yogis of Dzogchen

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