Born in 1910 in the East of Tibet, Kyabje Dilgo Rinpoche was one of the great Masters of this century. His father, a minister to the King of Dergé, already had three sons, one of whom had died, and the others had taken monastic orders. So his father wanted to make this son his successor. However, Tashi Peljor – as he had been named at birth – was more attached to a spiritual life than to worldly responsibilities.
Moreover, several great Masters, including Mipham Rinpoche himself, brought pressure to bear on his father to allow the child to take monastic vows. But his father refused to let him go. When he was ten, the child was seriously burnt, and had to stay in bed for a whole year. So, his life being in danger, his father finally gave in. At the age of eleven, he was sent to the Shechen monastery, where he became a disciple of Shechen Gyaltsap Rinpoche, who recognised him as the mind incarnation of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo.
The abbot of Shechen, Rabjam Rinpoche and Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö were his two other principal Masters. Khyentse Rinpoche studied with many other Masters and completed many years in retreat in various caves and other solitary places. Following the invasion of Tibet, he left Tibet with his wife, their two daughters and some others, and settled in Bhutan, where he became spiritual director to the royal family.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche was unanimously recognised by all the schools of Tibetan Buddhism as an outstanding Master. He was a pillar of the rime (non-sectarian) movement, and as such held an impressive number of transmissions and teachings of all the Tibetan schools, which he transmitted to practitioners of the respective lineages.
I had the chance to receive many teachings and initiations from Rinpoche and did the 3 years’ retreat under his spiritual guidance. Rinpoche visited us in the retreat many times, giving teachings and empowerments. Being in his presence was a blessing in itself!