Tulku Dakpa Rinpoche was born on 25th November 1975 as a son of Venerable Lama Thubten Kalsang and Yongdu Wangmo and given the birth name Dakpa Gyaltsen. He was recognized by H.H. Mindrolling Trichen Rinpoche as the 3rd reincarnation of the Tibetan master Gegong Rogza Sonam Palge Rinpoche.
At the age of eight he began his Dharma studies with his father in the village of Dzogchen Monastery, one of the six main monasteries of the Nyingma tradition. There he learned the basic art of reading and writing in Tibetan and many ritual sadhanas, such as Konchog Chidu and Karling Shitro, or hundred wrathful and peaceful deities, a terma revealed by Karma Lingpa.
At the age of eighteen he enrolled at the Mindrolling Monastery in Dehra-dun, India, blessed by H.H. Mindrolling Trichen Rinpoche and H.E. Kho chhen Rinpoche. Mindrolling Monastery is the source or mother monastery of the whole Nyingma tradition. He was ordained a Getshul by H.E. Mindrolling Khenchen Rinpoche. Tulku Dakpa Rinpoche graduated from Ngagyur Nyingma College, the shedra of Mindrolling Monastery, as a certified holder of both sutrayana and tantrayana after studying there for nine years.
In the course of his studies he studied the common knowledge of history, poetics and valid cognition, as well as the uncommon knowledge of the Indian and Tibetan masters’ commentaries on the vinaya-, sutra- and abhidharma pitakas of Buddha’s three vehicles of teachings. Moreover he studied many texts on the great tantric knowledge, such as Guhyagarbhatantra commentaries by the great masters Lochen Dharmash ri and Kunkhyen Longchen Rabjam and Dzogpa Chenpo Semnyid Ngalso, or Great Perfection: the Nature of Mind, Easer of Weariness by Kunkhyen Longchen Rabjam.
During his nine years there he received most of the teachings from Khenchen Tshewang Rigzin, late Khe npo Jampal Tshering, and from many other khenpos in the college. During his studies he taught the history of Buddhism, poetics, valid cognition, madhyamika etc. to other classes in the college, following a dictate of the college’s khenpos. He was also the first editor of the Minling Editorial Committee for three years. During Rinpoche’s editorship the committee edited The History of the Mindrolling Lineage and Ethical Rules of the College.
Tulku Dakpa Rinpoche often visited H.H. Mindrolling Trichen Rinpoche to request blessings, transmissions and secret instructions. His Holiness is the sole father of Tulku Dakpa Rinpoche’s inner spiritual path and through his power of kindness and blessings Rinpoche’s mind is open to practicing dharma and progressing on the path of liberation. His devotion to His Holiness is deeper and deeper, regardless of whether His Holiness’ nirmanakaya form appears or not. He requested Kyabje Trulshik Rinpoche to compose a guru yoga of H.H. Mindrolling Trichen Rinpoche. Kyabje Trulshik Rinpoche very happily accepted and wrote a very profound and blessingful guru yoga, which the whole sangha of Mindrolling practices.
From time to time Rinpoche sought different lineage holders and received important teachings from them. He received empowerments and reading transmissions of Kama or the oral lineage of the Nyingma school from Kyabje Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche at Mindrolling Monastery. He received twice the empowerments and reading transmissions of Rinchen Terdzod, or Precious Treasures, once from H.H. Penor Rinpoche at Shechen Monastery with reading transmission from Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche, and once from Kyabje Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche at Mindrolling Monastery with reading transmission from Namkhai Nyingpo Rinpoche.
He also received a transmission of Dham Ngang Dzod, or Treasure of Instructions, a collection of profound lineage of pure visions of the eight different schools of Tibet by Jamgon Kongtrul, from Kyabje Trulshik Rinpoche at Shechen Monastery, as well as all of Mindrolling lineage’s teachings at Mindrolling. He also received transmissions of the root volumes of Longchen Nyingthig from Kyabje Pema Kalsang Rinpoche in Belgium and Kunkhyen Longchenpa’s Seven Treasures twice, once from Tulku Rigzin Pema Rinpoche at Payul Monastery in south India and once from Khenpo Geleg Tenzin at Mindrolling Monastery.
He has also received teachings from many other teachers such as Kyabje Khochhen Rinpoche, Khenchen Petse Rinpoche, Khenchen Thupten Rinpoche, Dagpo Rinpoche and Gyalse Rinpoche.
After H.H. Mindrolling Trichen Rinpoche entered parinirvana Tulku Dakpa Rinpoche met again Kyabje Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche, and received from him all of the Northern Treasures empowerments and for the second time the empowerment of Rinchen Terdzod and particularly the secret instructions on the nature of mind. Tulku Dakpa Rinpoche feels strongly that Kyabje Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche is a manifestation of H.H. Mindrolling Trichen Rinpoche’s great kindness to him. Kyabje Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche is one of Tulku Dakpa Rinpoche’s root teachers and he also prays to Kyabje Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche to remain in this world and continuously guide us.
In 2007 Rinpoche visited his previous monastery, the Gegong monastery, one of the five main Longchen Nyingthig monasteries in the region of Dzachuka in eastern Tibet, with many of his Finnish disciples. Many great Nyingma masters have come from this monastery, such as Dza Patrul Rinpoche, Khenpo Kunpal Rinpoche and Kunkhyen Bopa Tulku Rinpoche. The monastery and the whole village welcomed Rinpoche with big ceremonies. They offered Rinpoche important statues, stupas and texts of the whole of Buddha’s teachings, along with hudred yaks, hundred sheep and hundred horses, many different kinds of brocades and so on. They were extremely happy to see Rinpoche, and they requested him to return soon and stay for a longer time, guide the monastery and teach dharma.
During his vacations from college Rinpoche visited Europe for teaching by request of Dzogchen Center Belgium, and he visited different countries in Europe since year 1999. As a result he is currently residing permanently in Finland where he is the founder and spiritual director of Danakosha Ling, the mother dharma center of Rinpoche’s activity. He also guides Rangjung Osel retreat center, a private retreat center in southern Finland.
He frequently gives teachings to different levels of Buddhist practitioners and practices together with the sangha. His great generosity of teachings brings new wisdom of the path of enlightenment to people’s lives. His great knowledge, compassionate heart, dedicated nature and ability to guide beings are indeed very much appreciated. Rinpoche also travels to different places in Europe, Asia and USA for giving teachings in different dharma centers. He is the first Tibetan Buddhist master residing permanently in Finland, and we really wish that Rinpoche has a long life and that his vast vision for the benefit of sentient beings, particularly those who have a connection with him, is accomplished smoothly and effortlessly.
Written according to Tulku Dakpa Rinpoche’s explanation by his student Olli Pietiläinen.