Born in 1932 in the region of Kongpo in south-eastern Tibet, His Eminence Dagpo Rinpoche, also known as Bamchoe Rinpoche was recognised by His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama as the reincarnation of Dagpo Lama Jampel Lhundrup at the age of two.
Dagpo Rinpoche began his monastic life at the tender age of six when he entered Bamchoe Monastery and studied the basics of Sutra and Tantra. When he was 13, Dagpo Rinpoche enrolled in Dagpo Shedrup Ling (also known as Dagpo Dratsang), a monastic college founded by Lama Tsongkhapa’s 6th successor, Je Lodroe Tenpa. Dagpo Shedrup Ling is known for its stringent standard of education with particular emphasis on Lamrim or “Stages of the Path to Enlightenment”.
Dagpo Rinpoche was educated in the purest and strictest monastic tradition. He has studied under 34 Buddhist masters and holds a large number of transmissions of the Buddha’s teachings. Among the many illustrious teachers he has had the opportunity to study under are His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and his two tutors, His Holiness Kyabje Ling Rinpoche and His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang; and the Mongolian master Geshe Ngawang Nyima.
The lineage of Dagpo Rinpoche encompasses many great masters who can be traced all the way back to the time of Buddha Shakyamuni. To illustrate, there is the famous Taktunu who, during the time of Buddha Shakyamuni, sold a piece of his own flesh to make offerings to his spiritual master; the Indian yogi, Virupa; the scholar Gunaprabha and Atisha’s main spiritual guide, the great Suvarnadvipa Dharmakirti (Lama Serlingpa) who gave Atisha the transmission of the teachings on Bodhicitta; the great 5th Century translator Marpa Lotsawa who founded the Kagyu school of Buddhism and who was the teacher who guided Jetsun Milarepa to Enlightenment by very severe training; Longdeul Lama Rinpoche Ngawang Losang, the disciple of His Holiness the 7th Dalai Lama and several abbots of Dagpo Shedrup Ling Monastery.
Interestingly, the guru-disciple relationship between Atisha and his teacher Lama Serlingpa was “re-enacted” again in more recent times when Atisha was born as His Holiness Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche and received teachings on Bodhicitta from Dagpo Jamphel Lhundrup, Dagpo Rinpoche’s predecessor. Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche then gave a 24-day commentary on the Lamrim based on his own personal experiences, which was recorded down and published as the definitive text, “Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand”. This teaching has become a core text when studying Lamrim literature.
Dagpo Rinpoche remained in Gomang Dratsang until the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1959, after which he followed His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama into exile in India. After less than a year in India, Dagpo Rinpoche was invited to France to assist French Tibetologists in their scientific research. And so, from 1961 until his retirement in 1993, Dagpo Rinpoche taught the subjects of Tibetan language and civilisation as well as Buddhism at the School of Oriental Studies (I.Na.L.C.O.), a part of Sorbonne University. In that time, he also co-authored a number of books on Tibet and on Buddhism.
In 1978, Dagpo Rinpoche established his main Dharma centre, Guepele Tchantchoup Ling, in Paris which received Buddhist congregation status from the French state and became Ganden Ling Institute in 1995. In 2005, Dagpo Rinpoche established another temple in Veneux-les-Sablons, Paris where study weekends and retreats are organised regularly. In the same year, Dagpo Rinpoche also completed a long term project – the reconstruction and transfer of Dagpo Shedrub Ling Monastery to the Kullu Valley in Northwest India.
Dagpo Rinpoche is often invited to teach in other Dharma centres in Italy, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, France, England, Canada, U.S.A., India, Indonesia and Malaysia and so it is hardly surprising that he has also founded Dharma centres in France, the Netherlands, Malaysia, Indonesia and India.
Even though Dagpo Rinpoche is currently retired, he continues his personal research, practice as well as studies and is known to travel to India annually to maintain contact with his teachers and the monasteries.
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