Rigdzin Namkha Gyatso Rinpoche
Who is Namkha Rinpoche?
Rigdzin Namkha Gyatso Rinpoche -also known as Namkha Rinpoche- was born in Tibet in 1967, in the province of Kham, in a family with a yogic lineage going back eighteen generations.
His father -Thupten Sherab- and his mother -Dawa Sherab- gave him the name Drupa Tharchin. He was quickly recognised as a tulku (the reincarnation of a spiritual master), and so received the traditional education destined to such beings.
Namkha Rinpoche has received teachings from some of the most eminent Tibetan lamas (spiritual masters) of the 20th century. He is now the holder of two lineages: the Longchen Nyingthik "Heart Essence of the Vast Expanse", and the Dudjom Tersar "New Treasures of Dudjom".
Meeting his Root Lamas
In his early teens, Namkha Rinpoche left his province to go to Lhasa, Tibet's capital. Close to there, in the region of Kongpo, he met those who would become his root lamas: Semo Dechen Yudrön (Dudjom Rinpoche's daughter), and her husband Chönyi Rinpoche. They received him as the spiritual son they were expecting.
Namkha Rinpoche studied, trained, and lived by their side for six years, serving as their close attendant. Under their guidance, he completed the traditional three-year retreat. From them, he received the entire transmission of the Dudjom Tersar lineage, the essence of which he could practice and realise thanks to his extremely close connection to, and devotion for them.
Solitary Practice & Retreats
Later on, Namkha Rinpoche studied for four years in Dzogchen monastery Sher Sang Ha, in Kham. He then attended the Namdhun Buddhist school in Beijing, China, for another years. The school was founded by the 10th Panchen Lama, from whom Rinpoche received many teachings.
Namkha Rinpoche then decides to practice alone. He leaves Lhasa to embark on a long pilgrimage that took him all the way to Mount Kailash and the border of Bhutan, over the course of seven years. Along the way, he stops in numerous sacred sites blessed by sublime masters of the past, such as Milarepa. He accomplishes a number of short and longer retreats, including two retreats at Samye -the heart place of Guru Rinpoche- one lasting two years, the other six months.
On once occasion, Namkha Rinpoche decides to stay in retreat for a year on a tiny island in the middle of the lake of Namtso Chukmo, so immense it would take pilgrims over a month to go around. This lake is the sacred site of Dorje Kundragma, one of Tibet’s twelve local protector (Team chu-nyi). When the wind stops to blow and the surface of the lake is still, one can clearly see the marks of Guru Rinpoche’s hands.
In the wintertime, the surface of the lake freezes so that one can reach the island by foot. In the summertime, shore is inaccessible until the water freezes again the following winter. Namkha Rinpoche brings with him just enough tsampa (roasted barley flour) to stay in retreat for a year, but spontaneously decides to stay for another year in spite of the very little food he had. After his retreat, Rinpoche gathered around 48 monks and nuns who were his close disciples, and together they prostrated around the lake during eight months.