Venerable Thupten Rinpoche is a incarnate lama and an early disciple of the
Centre's founder the late Venerable Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey.
He was invited to the Centre by Geshe Dhargyey himself, in order to continue the
transmission of Buddhist teachings in Dunedin. You can see in this video,
Thupten Rinpoche has entered Thukdam (death meditation).
We have the gross mind, subtle mind and very subtle mind. For conversation sake,
we have gross and subtle mind. Gross mind arises from the subtle mind. At the
time of death, the gross mind dissolves into subtle mind. The subtle mind abides
at the heart region. Ordinary people have no control over this mind, how long it
stays or when it leaves the body. In advanced meditation practices (Vajra
Yogini, Heruka, Guyasamaja, Yamantaka, Cittamani Tara, and other tantric paths),
one practices to `control' the movement of your mind within your body. When you
gain control over this mind, you can abide, stay, leave your body at will.
When the physical body `dies', the mind still can abide within the body. If the
mind abides within the heart region, there will be no decay, unpleasant smells,
rigamortis, hardening of the skin and the other signs of death. In fact you will
look like you are in a deep sleep. A person can stay in this meditation (mind
staying within the body) for days, weeks, even months. It is up to the
practitioner as they have control. The body never starts deteriorating as in
normal process of death as long as the mind resides in the body even if the
heart and breathing has fully stopped.
It is very important that we practice the fundamental steps in Dharma in the
beginning. Then familiarize ourselves with the intermediary prerequisites (Three
Principal Paths), then enter the most sacred practice of Tantra. Within Tantra,
embrace one yidam such as Vajra Yogini and go all the way with the practice. If
you go all the way with the practice surrendering attachments, projections,
excuses, laziness and dry scholarly talk, you will gain great attainments.
Controlling one's death is just one of the `small' benefits. One can experience
many realizations that directly help you to cease suffering although you abide
in a place filled with suffering (which is anywhere in samsara).
This Ven Thupten Rinpoche in today's modern day and age shows clearly that
tantra is relevant, has results and alive. Tantra is definitely powerful and
works for those who engage in the practice.
His passing displayed his complete mastery of Buddhism. He maintained his mind
within his body for 18 days after being certified as medically dead. The most
obvious signs being the body colour and skin tone remaining unchanged and lack
At this early age Thupten Rinpoche received a long life initiation and pre-novice ordination from Jamgön Dorje Chang.
“At four, I and my family were taken to the Samdrub monastery. At the monastery I was nurtured and looked after by my kind guru, Rinchen Tsetan, who taught me reading, writing and other aspects of my training.”
“At six I was ordained as a novice monk by refuge-protector, the venerable Geshe Jampa Khedrub, the then ex-abbot of the Trehor Dhargyey Monastery. He gave me the name Jampa Thupten.”
Among the many initiations and teachings Thupten Rinpoche received from this remarkable teacher are the great initiations of Guhya-samaja, Heruka and Vajrabhairava and the Lam. Rim Chen.mo commentary. He also received the Putri Barwa initiation from the Sershul Monastery lama, Pöntsang Tulku.
“At around 16, I went to Lhasa, the Tibetan capital city, to enter Sera Mahayana Monastery to pursue higher learning in Buddhist philosophy and practice. It was there that I met my refuge- protector, the incomparably kind late venerable guru, Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey, who until his passing away into the state of peace, like a loving parent caring for their only child, warmly held me in his compassion and cared for my material and spiritual needs.”
Thus Gen Rinpoche became Thupten Rinpoche’s tutor in 1957. While at Sera Monastery Thupten Rinpoche received many initiations and teachings from great lamas. From Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang, teachings on Lam.Rim, initiations of Guhya-samaja, Heruka, Vajra-bhairava and Kun.Rig, a commentary to Gan.dän Lha.gya.ma, and more. From Lhatsün Dorje Chang, initiations of White Tara, the Thirteen Golden Dharmas of the Sakya tradition, Mahakala and Vaishravana etc. From Lop Tengyal Rinpoche, Avalokitesvara and Tara initiations and from Gen Yeshe Wangdü, teachings on logic and debate.
“Following the brutal occupation of Tibet by Communist China, we fled Tibet in February 1959 to bring our kind guru to safety. We travelled for ten months, enduring immense hardships and often facing close encounters with our pursuers. We finally reached safety in India in December that year.”