Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche

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Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche
Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche.jpg
DiedFebruary 13, 1996
ReligionTibetan Buddhism
Senior posting
SuccessorHis four sons
ReincarnationChowang Tulku

Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche (1920[1] – February 13, 1996[1]) (Tibetan: སྤྲུལ་སྐུ་ཨོ་རྒྱན་རིན་པོ་ཆེ་, Wylie: sprul-sku o-rgyan rin-po-che) (Nepali: टुल्कु उर्ग्येन् रिन्पोचे) was a Buddhist master of the Kagyü and Nyingma lineages[1] who lived at Nagi Gompa hermitage in Nepal. Urgyen Rinpoche was considered one of the greatest Dzogchen masters of his time.[2]


Born in Kham in Eastern Tibet[3] in 1920,[1] he was recognized by Khakyab Dorje, 15th Karmapa Lama as the reincarnation of both the Chowang Tulku and Nubchen Sangye Yeshe,[1] one of the 25 principal students of Padmasambhava.

Urgyen's father was Tsangsar Chimey Dorje, a vajrayana instructor who began giving Urgyen transmission for the Kangyur, the Buddha, and "The New Treasures of Chokgyur Lingpa."[3] As he grew older, he studied Dzogchen with Samten Gyatso.[3]

He had four sons, each of whom is now an important Buddhist teacher in his own right (Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche, Tsikey Chokling Rinpoche, Tsoknyi Rinpoche and Mingyur Rinpoche); one of his grandsons is Kyabgön Phakchok Rinpoche.

Urgyen spent 33 years at Nagi Gompa Hermitage, where he spent two decades in retreat, and eventually established six monasteries and retreat centers in Nepal.[1] This included a monastery close to the Great Jarung Khashor Stupa in Boudhanath (Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling monastery).[4] Another is the Tergar Osel Ling Monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal.[5]

Urgyen Rinpoche died on the morning of February 13, 1996.[1]


Tulku Urgyen was the author of the two-volume As It Is, which deals with the subject of emptiness. His main transmissions were the Chokling Tersar and the pointing-out instruction.

Buddhist teacher and writer Marcia Binder Schmidt wrote of him:

Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche's special quality was to begin with the view rather than end with it; to train in devotion, compassion, and renunciation, perfecting the accumulations, and removing obscurations, all within the framework of the view. The practitioner was encouraged to see all these aspects of practice as the very expressions of the view itself. That was Tulku Urgyen's unique style.[6]

Author and neuroscientist Sam Harris was a student of Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche. Describing the Dzogchen instruction he received, Harris wrote:

"The genius of Tulku Urgyen was that he could point out the nature of mind with precision and matter-of-factness of teaching a person how to thread a needle and could get an ordinary meditator like me to recognize that consciousness is intrinsically free of self... I came to Tulku Urgyen yearning for the experience of self-transcendence, and in a few minutes he showed me I had no self to transcend... After a few minutes, Tulku Urgyen simply handed me the ability to cut through the illusion of the self directly, even in ordinary states of consciousness. This instruction was, without question, the most important thing I have ever been explicitly taught by another human being. It has given me a way to escape the usual tides of psychological suffering - fear, anger, shame - in an instant."[7]

Yangsi Urgyen Rinpoche


  1. ^ a b c d e f g A Brief Biography of Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche Archived 2011-01-17 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Keeping A Good Heart
  3. ^ a b c Interview for Vajradhatu Sun, 1985
  4. ^ Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche and Erik Pema Kunsang (1981). "Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche Biography". Rangjung Yeshe Publications. Archived from the original on January 4, 2013. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
  5. ^ "Kathmandu Tergar Osel Ling Monastery". Tergar.org. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
  6. ^ Marcia Binder Schmidt (2002). The Dzogchen Primer: Embracing The Spiritual Path According To The Great Perfection. Shambhala Publications. p. 15. ISBN 1-57062-829-7.
  7. ^ Sam Harris (2014). Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1451636017.

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