Kunzang, the only son of Tulshuk Lingpa, describes his father: "My father was just like the eighth emanation of Padmasambhava, Guru Nyima Özer. Guru Nyima Özer was like a sadhu, a wandering holy man, never staying in one place. He was not a stable type of person. He was a crazy yogin like my father. And like my father, he drank a lot."
Birth & Family
Tulkshuk Lingpa was born in the Golok region of eastern Tibet with the name Senge Dorje.
His father was Kyechok Lingpa, a lama at the Domang Monastery in eastern Tibet. His father was forced by the invading Chinese to flee over the Himalayas to India with his wife, Kilo. Kyechok Lingpa then had a monastery in Patanam, a few days' march from Tulshuk Lingpa's monastery in Simoling, Lahaul, until he died.
Tibet and India
Tulkshuk Lingpa was recognised as a tertön by Dorje Dechen Lingpa (also know as the Domang Tulku) at the Domang Monastery in eastern Tibet. Dorje Dechen Lingpa made an attempt to open Beyul Demoshong in 1920's, which failed. He died on his return journey. While still young, Tulkshuk Lingpa was able to catch a phurba, a namter, sky-treasure. Tulkshuk Lingpa moved to India in his early twenties, lived and had monasteries in Himachal Pradesh, in India's western Himalayas.
Sikkim: an Attempt to Open a Beyul
In the early 1960s, Tulshuk Lingpa came from Tibet to the then independent Kingdom of Sikkim in the Eastern Himalayas—sandwiched between Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, and Indian Bengal—in order to ‘open the way’ to a hidden valley of immortality fabled in Tibetan tradition.
After receiving visions that indicated he was to open the hidden valley in Sikkim, Beyul Demoshong, he went to Sikkim with 300 followers.
Among his students are:
- Géshipa, once the rainmaker for the king of Buthan
- Lama Tashi, from Simoling, he was the umdzé, or head of rituals, at Tulshuk Lingpa's monastery in Simoling, Lahaul.
- Lobsang, a close disciple and a very learned lama
- Mipam, a close disciple and learned lama. Originally from Lahaul, and a great practitioner of Chöd, he now leaves in deep retreat in a cave in Bhutan
- Namdrol, one of Tulshuk Lingpa's closest and most learned lama disciples. He was the one to hand-copy the texts that Tulshuk Lingpa wrote or received as terma.
Tulshuk Lingpa was also close to Tarthang Tulku.
With his first wife Phuntsok Choeden, he had several children:
- Sangyum Kamala, his eldest daughter, wife of Chatral Rinpoche
- Kunsang, his only son, also known as Dungsey Rinpoche
- Penzom, another daughter. She once said to Thomas K. Shor that 'We call the highest ranking man in the military man a general; in the same way, we call the highest of the lamas a lingpa'.
With his khandro, or consort, Chimi Wangmo, from the village of Koksar in Lahaul, he had one daughter: Pema Choekyi. She was born shortly before Tulshuk Lingpa went into the snow mountains to open Beyul Demoshong. Her son is Gyurme.
Notes & References
- Phunsok Choedon was a great practitioner and dakini who devoted her entire life to Dharma practice. She was from central Tibet and came very young with Tulshuk Lingpa to India. When she passed away at age 83, her body remained in meditation for 7 days, and a circular rainbow appeared in the sky over her room.
- Thomas K. Shor, 'A Step Away from Paradise: The true story of a Tibetan Lama’s journey to a Land of Immortality' (City Lion Press, 2017)