Tulku Dawa Rinpoche

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Tulku Dawa Rinpoche courtesy of aroter. In the picture, Tulku Dawa is wearing a lotus-hat which was revealed as a terma object by Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa. This hat was used by Guru Rinpoche himself.

Tulku Dawa (Tib. སྤྲུལ་སྐུ་ཟླ་བ་ཕི༹ན་པོ་ཆེ་, Wyl. sprul sku zla ba) aka Jikmé Lodrö Sengé (Wyl. ‘jigs med blo gros seng ge) (1923?-2002), was a main master of the Dudjom Tersar lineage based in the lower region of Pemakö. He was a direct student of Dudjom Rinpoche, who recognized him as an incarnation of his own master Gyurme Ngedön Wangpo.

Birth, Family

Tulku Dawa was born in Pemakö sometimes after 1923[1] He was the younger brother of Tulku Pema Yeshe (whose incarnation was Shenphen Dawa Rinpoche).


In the mid-1920’s, Dudjom Rinpoche recognized Tulku Dawa as the reincarnation of his own master Gyurme Ngedön Wangpo, a direct disciple of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Tayé and of Dudjom Lingpa who, afer the passing of Dudjom Lingpa, went from Golok to Pemakö to identify and train one of his incarnations, Dudjom Rinpoche.


Becoming a main disciple of Dudjom Rinpoche in Pemakö

In Pemakö, Tulku Dawa became one of the close direct disciples of Düdjom Rinpoche and established a very good connection with him, with regular letters writing and phone calls.[2].

Doing a three three-yar retreat under the guidance of Garwang Sangye Dorje

Tulku Dawa Rinpoche did three-year retreat in upper Powo, at Pulung Rinchen Ling, under the guidance of Pulung Sangye (aka Garwang Sangye Dorje). [3]. His main practice was the Dudjom Tersar lineage.

Becoming really learned

According to Lopön Ogyan Tanzin Rinpoche, “Tulku Dawa was really learned.”[4] He became well respected by all people in Pemaköd.

A vajra brother of Togden Kunzang Longdrol

Tulku Dawa was a close vajra brother of Togden Kunzang Longrol.


Tulku Dawa’s activity was focused on Pemakö, and especially in lower Pemakö.

Developing Palying Dem in lower Pemakö

First Tulku Dawa was based in upper Pemakö. At a certain time, his older brother Tulku Pema Yeshe went to visit lower Pemakö, joined by Tulku Dawa.

According to Lama Rigdzin Phuntsok,

While visiting this part of Pemakö, Tulku Pema Yeshe tamed bad spirits and healed many sick people. This made the people from lower Pemakö very happy, and they offered him some land, in a village called Nyering.’ [5] Later, Tulku Pema Yeshe passed away. When Tulku Dawa Rinpoche went back to the land offered to his brother long before, he cleared it and after this was achieved, he moved there and so did his followers. The place became known as Palying Dem.

It was there that Tulku Dawa Rinpoche built a temple dedicated to practicing mainly the Dudjom Tersar lineage. Many activities were performed: Drupchens such as the Namchak Pudri, and monthly practices for Guru Rinpoche Day and Dakinis Day. In Palying Dem, Tulku Dawa Rinpoche gave empowerments and teachings, but never for large gatherings, only for selected groups of his close students.

Being requested by Dudjom Rinpoche to always stay in Pemakö

Dudjom Rinpoche requested directly to two lamas to always stay in Pemakö: Tulku Dawa should stay in Tuting, and Jedrung Trakpa Gyaltsen (the Pemakö-based direct incarnation of Jedrung Trinlé Jampa Jungné) should stay in Pemaköchung.

To these two lamas, Dudjom Rinpoche said, “Stay here, in Pemakö, don’t go South, to India. Stay in Pemakö until you own death, and continue your Dharma activities there.” Because it is close to Pémakö Chimé Yangsang, maybe Dudjom Rinpoche’s hope was that there could be a chance of opening Pémakö Chimé Yangsang, so he wanted them to stay there, in Pemakö. It did not happen, but still, that was the request of Dudjom Rinpoche.[6].

Recognising the incarnation of Tokden Kunzang Longrol

Tulku Dawa Rinpoche recognized Tulku Orgyen Phuntsok as an incarnation of Tokden Kunzang Longrol. Tulku Orgyen Phuntsok shared the following story,

Tulku Dawa Rinpoche was my first teacher. He was the reincarnation of Dudjom Ripoche’s root teacher, Gyurme Ngedön Wangpo.
After I was recognized, at Dudjom Rinpoche’s advising, Tulku Dawa Rinpoche enthroned me and wrote a long life prayer for me. I was fortunate to be held in his care and to receive empowerments and teachings from him at a young age. He even taught me ritual performance for the whole Dudjom Tersar lineage, and Tibetan calligraphy.
I still remember hearing the sound of constant chanting in his low, buzzing voice, and occasional higher pitch when he read Dohas. He was a very gentle being, nothing seemed to ever disturb him. Tulku Dawa never once said anything to discipline me, but I knew that I must be engaged in either study or practice whenever I was in his presence.
It was always joyful and awakening to spend time with him. I spent most of my time with him at his other hermitage, called Shelbok, which was far away from all villages.
One anecdote that I can share is of the day we were receiving the teaching of Neluk Rangjung from him. We were in a small temple up in the high mountains called Kimipodong. Toward the end of the texts, there were tears streaming down his face as he read the verses. Looking at him, I was also shedding tears, feeling that Rinpoche was very much a part of myself. [7]


Among his students are:

Final Years

Tulku Dawa passed away in 2002.

  1. Gyurme Ngedön Wangpo passed away in 1923. So as his reincarnation, Tulku Dawa must have been born sometimes after 1923.
  2. Private conversation with Lopön Ogyan Tanzin Rinpoche.
  3. Conversation with Lama Rigdzin Phuntsok, notes written by Tulku Orgyen Phuntsok.
  4. Private conversation with Lopön Ogyan Tanzin Rinpoche.
  5. Conversation with Lama Rigdzin Phuntsok, notes written by Tulku Orgyen Phuntsok.
  6. Private conversation with with Lopön Ogyan Tanzin Rinpoche.
  7. Conversation with Lama Rigdzin Phuntsok, notes written by Tulku Orgyen Phuntsok.