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A Short Biography of Choje Togden Rinpoche.

HH.Dalai Lama & HE.Togden Rinpoche
Togden Rinpoche is the Choje (Lord of Dharma) the spiritual leader of the Drikung Kagyu tradition in Ladakh. Previously according to tradition, Chojes were sent from Drikung Thil monastery in Tibet to places such as Mt. Kailash, Tsari, Lachi, Ladakh etc.

But since the previous incarnation of Togdan Rinpoche was born in Ladakh, it became the tradition that his successive incarnations would be appointed as the Chojes there.

Togden Rinpoche is an incarnation of the great Indian Mahasiddha Hung-Chen Kara, who Centuries later incarnated as Kongbo Togden Tulku, a disciple of the Drikung Lama Terton Rinchen Phuntsog (1509-1557) His six following incarnations were born in Tibet, the 8th in Ladakh.

The present Togden Tulku Konchok Stanzin Thubstan Stanpai Gyaltsan in the 9th incarnation. He was born in 1938 into a poor family in Dorkhul ,a small village situated in east Ladakh. When he was one and half year old, while standing on a boulder, in front of his house, a clear impression of his foot print appeared which can still be seen today.

The previous Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche Shiwai Lodro Recognized him as the incarnation of Togden Tulku. In 1943 he was enthroned as Choje Togden Tulku in Shachukhul Monastery, one of the three largest monastery of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage in Ladakh which is also located very close to his birth place. He received the traditional education of this monastery, and in 1952 accompanied by his teacher Gegen Sonam, travelled through India to Drikung Thil Monastery in central Tibet, where he received teachings from many spiritual masters.

From 1954-1959 he studied at the philosophical school of Drikung Nyimai Changra. In 1959 when China over-took Tibet, accompanied by his teacher and many Ladakhi monks, he came back to Ladakh.

Since then, Rinpoche has been carrying out his responsibilities for fifty Drikung Kagyu Monastery in Ladakh while maintaining the Drikung Kagyu tradition there. Togden Rinpoche holds the special transmission Gongchig, Yangzab, Yamantaka, Phowa and Dharmapalas of Drikung Kagyu tradition. Besides being an important transmission holder of Drikung Kagyu, Rinpoche also holds the transmission for Rinchen Terzod of the Nyingmapa tradition.

In the beginning of 1967, Rinpoche arranged for the Rinchen Terzod empowerment to be given at Tso Pema, Rewalsar. One of the most sacred places of Guru Padmasambhava, where H.H. Dujom Rinpoche gave this empowerment to a great assembly consisting of thirty Tulku and several thousand people. Consequently, H.H.Dujom Rinpoche initiated him as his successor for imparting this great empowerment of Rinchen Terzod.

Years later, Rinpoche discovered several sacred hidden places and also revealed some mind treasured texts. His collected works comprise of one volume, which contains a short commentary on Gongschig. Togden Rinpoche invited Khyung Ka Rinpoche to Ladakh where he started a meditation centre at Shachukhul.

Later on, this meditation centre moved to Lamayuru. During 1981 after renovating the monastery of Atitse, north west of Lamayuru, Togden Rinpoche established a School for young monks. In 1978, also under the supervision of Togden Rinpoche a spectaular reception ceremony was held in Leh for His Holiness The Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche, who is the overall head of Drikung Kagyu. In this reception ceremony the monks of Phyang, Lamayuru and Shachukhul participated.

This was the first visit of His Holiness to Ladakh, having miraculously escaped from Chinese occupied Tibet only three years earlier. Since then he has been residing at Lamayuru and Phyang. This is the first time that a Kyabgon Ronpoche and Choje have together lead the spiritual activities of the Drikung Kagyud in Ladakh. The Following years, 1979 saw the 800th anniversary of the foundation of Drikung Thil Monastery by Kyobpa Jigten Sumgon in 1179 which was celebrated in Phyang Monastery.

In 1985 His Holiness Kyabgon Chungtsang Rinpoche also visited Ladakh, marking a most auspicious event because this was the first meeting of both the Drikug Kyabgon and Choje in Ladakh.

Dedicated to the impeccable perpetuation of the glorious Kagyu lineage and to the
success of its leaders and followers in accomplishing their commitment to
bring all sentient beings to the state of enlightened awareness.

May all mother sentient beings, boundless as the space, have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May they be liberated from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May they never be separated from the happiness which is free from sorrow.
May they rest in equanimity, free from attachment and aversion.