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Abridged Biographies: The Lineage of the Do Family

Over innumerable eons that came to pass,

He accomplished the completely liberating teachings.

Yet, to train those difficult to tame,

He appeared as the heroic accomplished master,    

The pre-eminent Jikdrel Yeshe Dorje.


Befitting the dispositions, capacities, and intentions of an array of disciples,

He conducted himself in the diverse deeds of the noble ones.

From the example of the moon’s reflection in water containers,

I’m going to narrate an extremely tiny [portion of his life story], merely an iota of a hair tip. 

The great knowledge-holder Jikdrel Jigme Lingpa (1730–1798)[1] was born in the central Dra[2] area in the Yo Region of [Tibet]. He was an emanation of the Sovereign Divine Flower of Brahma (Tri Songdetsen).

For three years he practiced in Chimphu[3] and was cared for by the primordial wisdom body of the omniscient [Longchenpa] Drime Ozer (1308–1364).[4] His primordial wisdom flourished, an omniscient intelligence that had no need for learning.


Being learned, an adept, and inseparable from the victorious Vajradhara, he gave his assurances. In keeping with one of those guarantees, the birthplace of his emanation, Jikdrel Yeshe Dorje, was to be in Go.[5] It is an area close to the Zalmo Gang Mountain Range in Madza, Dokham.[6]

His father, [the deity] Lhanyen Tanglha,[7] and his mother, Daza Tsewang Men,[8] brought him into this world through an act of their love. This was in the morning on the fifteenth day of the tenth month of the Iron Monkey Year (1800), the year called Fierce.[9]

As soon as he was born, he sat in the cross-legged vajra posture and clearly recited the vowels and consonants. Three days after his delivery, at dawn, Dakki Pema Bumde[10] took him in her hands and set off to Khechara. There he was blessed by many lamas and dakinis. Three days came and passed, and at the break of dawn, he [instantly] appeared in the upper cavity of the small black tent and descended onto his mother’s lap. 

When he was a few months old, he stood up unsupported and gazed into the southwestern direction with his palms joined together; the Glorious Copper-Colored Mountain and its sacred objects emerged in his vision. 

After some time had passed, he travelled to Barzhi Rong.[11] One day, Yingchuk Khandro[12] hoisted him up and placed him on the rooftop. Nyangrel [Nyima Ozer (1124–1192)][13] appeared before him in an expanse of a rainbow and commanded, “Track down Sanggye Lingpa’s reincarnation, Do Drub Sonam Choden!” It was from this prophecy that he recollected his former lives.

When he was about a year old, the young child repeatedly uttered the name Do Drub. Even Do Drubwang himself thought about the child and came to meet him. Upon this encounter, Lord Yeshe Dorje perceived Do Drubwang as the great Orgyen himself.

“Do you know who I am?” Lama Do Drubwang inquired.

In response Yeshe Dorje proclaimed, “Sonam Choden, of course I recognize you!” Through recognizing Do Drubchen [Jigme Trinle Ozer (1745–1821)],[14] Yeshe Dorje was assuredly recognized as an unmistaken emanation of the knowledge-holder Jikdrel Lingpa.

When Lord Yeshe Dorje was two years old, he was invited to Do Drubchen’s monastic seat of Shukchen Takgo.[15] After staying there for a month and a half, he returned to [Barzhi] Rong.

In the Water Dog Year (1802), Do Drubchen traveled to the area of Derge. Lord Yeshe Dorje and his accompanying entourage arrived at Rudam Lhalung Do.[16] There, Yeshe Dorje saw the path leading to Lhasa and the places of Samye,[17] Chimpu, the residence of Tsering Jong,[18] and others clearly arose in his mind.

At a later time at Cholung Dong,[19] the Lord Yeshe Dorje conferred empowerments and oral transmissions of the ocean-like collected works of Lord Do Drubchen [Jigme Trinle Ozer] and the omniscient [Longchenpa] and his heir [Jigme Lingpa] to the many lamas and emanations of Katok Monastery,[20] Dzogchen Monastery,[21] Shechen Monastery, and other monastic institutions.[22] At that time, he saw the form of Guru [Rinpoche] in many different guises, and notably, the forms of Ekajati, Rahula, and Dorje Lekpa appeared. Then both gods and men from Tsering Jong invited him to Tsering Jong, and [shortly after], he met the inviting party of aristocratic officials, such as the attendants of Drigung [lama’s residence].


At Lhalung Khuk in Derge, to create belief in the minds of the queen and prince of Derge, as well as the representatives of Shechen Monastery and Dzogchen Monastery, Do Drubchen himself presented a test to the Lord Yeshe Dorje to see if he was able to recognize the accoutrements of his previous life. He identified each and every one without a mistake, and everyone became elated on account of his recollection. The welcoming party, the Lord [Yeshe Dorje], his sister, his parents, and the entourage all traveled to central Tibet.

As he, in particular, had teacher-student connections throughout many lives with Drigungpa, Yeshe Dorje received an extensive enthronement ceremony at Yangri Gang.[23] At Lhatse Potrang,[24] Rahula appeared before him, displaying his form. In accordance with the promises of his previous birth, he was encouraged to study at Tsang Tekchok Ling.[25] However, due to the power of other people, this was disregarded, and he stayed at Drigung Til Monastery,[26] Podrang Dzongsar,[27] and other [Drigung establishments].

When Zhabdrung Rinpoche was teaching the instructions for the Six Yogas of Naropa, Yeshe Dorje saw Milarepa (1040–1123)[28] on the throne, and he listened to the teachings. The Throne Holder of Nyi Dzong, Kham,[29] gave extensive and detailed explanations on Drigung’s Two Teachings, One Intention.[30] He comprehended all of these like he had a photographic memory and explained them to others during the night.

When he had turned ten years old, he stayed there for three years. For a long while he served at the lotus feet of a number of excellent beings, such as Zhabdrung Rinpoche, Gyelse Rinpoche (1793–1826),[31] Tsurpu Gyeltsab (1821–1876), the Throne Holder of Nyi Dzong, Tsogyel Tulku of Pelri, Longchen Rolpa Tsel, and Gyelse of Zurkhar Tekchok Ling.[32]

He received the maturing empowerments and studied the liberating instructions of several religious approaches as found in the sutras, tantras, oral lineages, treasure lineages, pure vision teachings, and the practices as explained in the textual commentaries. As a result of this, he reached the highest degree [of understanding].

As Yeshe Dorje went on pilgrimage to a mountainous retreat, Padmasambhava appeared and blessed him in the meditation hut. Thereafter he went to the monastic seat of Tsering Jong and met with the queen mother and the omniscient one, Wonpo [Gyelse Rinpoche], along with countless disciples that congregated there. Next, he went to the Crystal Cave, where light rays emanated from the heart-center of the regent statue of Guru [Rinpoche] and dissolved into him.

Once again, as he was traveling to Kham, his father Tanglha came in a dream and encouraged him by saying, “Son, do not be disheartened about going to Kham. Go and receive all the instructions from your karmically connected lama.” When he arrived at a place called Darlung Nyak in Do Me,[33] there were signs of welcoming by the local deity Nyenpo Yutse,[34] such as rainbow lights in the sky and sounds of music. There he reunited with his father in the presence of Do Drubwang.

He stayed there for three years, completely filling his mind with maturing empowerments and liberating instructions that are vast like the ocean. The common and uncommon profound teachings that he received from his lama included an extensive, detailed commentary on the Treasury of Qualities, Gampopa’s Jewel Ornament of Liberation, the instructional manual Unexcelled Primordial Wisdom (Yeshe Lama), practices for the channels and winds, and Seventeen Tantras of [Dzogchen]. 

In the year when he turned sixteen years old, Do Drubwang sent him once again to central Tibet, as he had five reasons for doing so. While traveling by boat through the rocky environs of the Drichu River, Drupai Wangchuk of Ranyak aimed a gun loaded with copper bullets at Yeshe Dorje’s heart—He fired. Not only was Yeshe Dorje not harmed, but an extraordinary realization was born within him. Obstacles were dispersed, and [signs occurred], such as the body of Hayagriva emerging on a stone. He also received the power over life,[35] fulfilling the first of five reasons. Eventually, he arrived at Drigung Til Monastery. 

Then he went to Samye and offered a hundred thousand mandalas in front of the Great Enlightened One[36] [statue]. Consequently, the primordial wisdom dakini actually appeared and led him to the Vairocana [statue] in the uppermost room. Vairocana, becoming alive, bestowed upon him seven crystal scrolls and other items through which he received empowerment along with prophecies, fulfilling the second of five reasons.

Yeshe Dorje practiced the approach and accomplishment [stages of meditation] for the practice of the Guru at the Tsogyel’s upper secret cave in Chimpu. For this reason, he had visions of the various forms of the Guru as the light from their hearts filled the sacred dwelling. However, what is more pertinent is that at dawn for seven days, he traveled to the Heaps of Joy [Realm] by his powers of manifestation and discovered extensive and profound accomplishments, fulfilling the third of five reasons.

For three days at Samye Kardzo Ling,[37] he stayed at the root of the life-force tree[38] of Pehar, three days beside the [protector’s] mask, and one day at the door of Dzamling Sokdu.[39] The following morning the dharma protector came, opened the door, and invited him inside. Immediately upon entering, the door closed shut, and a multitude of restless provocations of gods and demons appeared, and he overwhelmed them with his splendorous gaze.[40] The following morning, when all these challenging magical displays ceased, the dharma protector once again opened the door and escorted him out with incense and music. The dharma protector offered him his own soul-stone[41] placed on silk and pledged his servitude, fulfilling the fourth of five great reasons.

Next he went to the Crystal Cave, and the regent statue of [Guru Rinpoche] opened his eyes and smiled. That night the great Chetsun (12th c.)[42] and Namkha Jigme Trulzhik Wangdrak Gyatso[43] showed themselves to him and gave him oral instructions.

Since he [went on pilgrimage] and made connections at Chakzam Chuwori Monastery,[44] he had a vision of Tangtong Gyelpo (1361–1485)[45] who gave him prophesized commands. The following morning he extracted a treasure, a reddish-gold regent statue of the Guru that liberates upon seeing, fulfilling the fifth of five reasons.


Then Yeshe Dorje returned to Drigung Til Monastery where he received teachings from Jigme Lingpa’s Gyelse Rinpoche, such as the empowerment of the Sutra of the Assembly[46] from the lineage of the previous omniscient one [Jigme Lingpa]. He returned to Kham once again, and on the way, he actually saw Lhanyen Tang Lha (his father) and Tang Lha’s ancestors, wife, and children.

Upon reaching the age of seventeen, he returned to Do Drubwang, who bestowed upon him the instructions of the channels and winds, all the commentaries of the Guhyagarbhatantra from the lineage of the previous omniscient one [Jigme Lingpa], along with supportive oral transmissions, and entrustments.

In accordance with Do Drub’s command, at Katok Monastery, he served at the feet of a number of great beings of Kham, including the great lord of the proponents of the five sciences, Getse Mahapandita [Gyurme Tsewang Chokdrub] (1761–1829),[47] the lord of adepts, Zhingkyong,[48] and Gyarong Namkha Tsewang.[49] He studied, contemplated, and meditated upon an unfathomable amount of doctrinal systems of sutra and mantra, causing him to perfect his skill of wisdom. He also received the Nyingma tantras from Kilung Lama Jigme Ngotsar.[50] It was at that time that completely comprehended the Vimalamitra’s (8th c.)[51] tantric commentary on the appearance of clear light.[52]

Next as he traveled to upper Ma,[53] the leader of the thirteen deities of the [mountain] peaks, White-Silver Tārā,[54] extended him an invitation. As the time of the auspicious interdependent connections had befallen him, a cycle of the Lotus King’s teaching[55] came upon him in a pure vision. In his revelation, he saw the Noble One Gesar wearing a mi muk[56] bard’s hat and singing a song of brilliantly overwhelming the eight classes.

On the tenth day of the fifth month of the Earth Rabbit Year (1819), he began wearing white clothes and his hair in braids. Whatever things he possessed—supplies for the encampment, accoutrements for offerings, a horse, a mule, clothes, and food—he offered them all without exception to Drigung Lama, displaying his abandonment of all things.

That night in a state of brilliance, the king of the doctrine, Longchenpa, gave him the instructional teachings of the great Yangtik [practice cycle], and he integrated the instructions.

Furthermore, a number of his special deities and the primordial wisdom dakini took care of him. By virtue of this, he perfectly completed the qualities of knowledge, love, and capability and was able to master the four enlightened activities. He paid respects to excellent ones from various orders, particularly the knowledge-holder Jikdrel Lingpa’s supreme heart son Jikme Trinle Ozer, also known as the custodian of the teachings Jangchub Dorje and the lord of the family.

He thoroughly filled his excellent vase-like mind with the exegetical lineage of the Great Perfection—the natural essence of the teachings of the victors of the three times—and the nectar of the pith instructions of the aural lineage all in their entirety. Great blessings of the wisdom mind diffused into him, and he progressed into a high state of accomplishment, becoming realized and liberated simultaneously. Do Drubchen then bestowed the seals of entrustment, recited prayers, and made prophecies. 

Yeshe Dorje went to the Great Compassionate One in Trokyab, Gyelrong[57] where the statue uttered the six-syllable mantra three times. He made aspiration prayers and supplications. Everyone heard that he received help through making these prayers.

He then traveled north to the Amye Mu Mountain in Linggya,[58] where he opened the door of the sacred site, which contained a thousand naturally-arisen buddhas.

When he was in the vicinity of Jamo Plain in Rebkong,[59] he contracted smallpox, and he roamed all pure realms in his state of lucidity. Later he went to the Glorious Copper-Colored Mountain, where he completely received the four empowerments from Guru [Rinpoche]. He performed limitless benefit for sentient beings, such as annihilating evil gods and demons.

On the thirteenth day of the month of miracles in the Iron Snake Year (1821), Lama Do Drubchen gave his final testament in full. Yeshe Dorje then journeyed to the eight sacred sites of the accomplished ones in Rebkong. At the Jang Yama Tashi Khyil,[60] he taught the preliminary practices of the Heart Essence of the Vast Expanse[61] to a group of about fifty people. Then for a while he stayed at the newly established hermitage at Linggya. There he gave empowerments and oral transmissions for teachings, such as the Heart Essence of the Vast Expanse and The Eight Pronouncements, as well as individual and suitable instructional advice and direct introduction [to the nature of mind] to monastics and practitioners of mantra of the area. Hundreds of mantra practitioners escorted him to Golok, Yarlung Pemako,[62] Derge, Rudam, and Dzato.[63] They were cared for by the connection of seeing, hearing, remembering, and being in physical contact with him. Since Yeshe Dorje attained freedom from appearances and mental perceptions, he enacted the conduct like that of the [the great hunter], glorious Shavaripa, through performing limitless miracles such as killing animals and reviving them, giving disciples no other option but to become faithful. In front of the Great Compassionate One in Trokyab, he practiced the Natural Liberation of Suffering,[64] and as a result, the statue laughed, and the nectar boiled.

In the four areas of Golok, he gave instructions of the preliminary practices of the channels and winds to a group of about a hundred people, including Pema Senge, and the signs of warmth manifested.

According to the prophecy of the dakinis, in the Water Sheep Year (1823), he opened the doors of the auspicious interdependent connections. In remote and pleasing locations, he held tantric feasts resulting in the manifestation of excellent signs shared by all. These included all the leaders of the entourage undergoing the thrilling experience of the dawning of suchness, swirls of rainbow light appearing around the maṇḍala, and people giving up on sleep as their bodies were in a carefree state. Since he perfected auspicious interdependent connections, the dakinis enthroned him with the title Lord of Adepts.

Once again, Yeshe Dorje traveled to Dzirka, Golok, upper and lower Tsang, and Yukhok, as it was time to teach his disciples. By connecting with people of superior and inferior capacities, he made the gatherings more meaningful. He gave ripening instructions of the Heart Essence of the Vast Expanse to those of superior faculties led by Sengtsang Lama Tengye.[65] Then he stayed in the Drongdzong Hermitage in Trokyab for a while. Again he journeyed to Derge, Dzogchen Monastery, Shri Simha [College],[66] Shechen Monastery, and Chaktsa.[67]

Yeshe Dorje made dharmic connections and gave introductions of the view to fortunate ones, such as the direct disciples of the Omniscient One [Jigme Lingpa]. Then he met Jigme Gyelwai Nyugu (1765–1842)[68] and Getrul Rinpoche as they came to Dza Darthang.[69] They mutually gave each other empowerments and so forth, resulting in the single integration of their enlightened minds. Through engaging in the approach and accomplishment practices at places, such as the sacred site of Pema Bum, he liberated any physical obstacles he had.

The Lord Yeshe Dorje took care of the majority of humans and non-humans of the eighteen kingdoms of Gyelrong. He also looked after Rebkong, Golok, and Minyak Rabgang, as well as the king of Somang and Trokyab [King] Miwang Tsewang Namkha, in particular.[70] He accepted them as his disciples and gave them empowerments, instructions, and advice.

Numerous people gained instant liberation through his supporting acts of compassion, such as seeing his face, hearing his voice, being touched by his hand, and even being scolded or physically reprimanded. Yeshe Dorje accomplished unfathomable benefit for beings through acts such as establishing even the unruly in the doctrine through his myriad miraculous powers and binding the evil gods and demons into oaths. In the Fire Tiger Year (1866) of the fourteenth calendrical cycle, he passed away accompanied by several wondrous displays such as sounds and light.

The Lord Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje’s sister was Losel Drolma (1802–1861).[71] Her father was Chokor Sonam Pen,[72] and her mother was Tsewang Men. She was born on the tenth day of the Resultant month (the 10th month)[73] of the Water Dog Year (1802) of the thirteenth calendrical cycle. In the early morning of her birth, a great resounding of [Tārā’s] ten-syllable mantra was clearly heard, and many amazing signs manifested, such as a green light pervading the entire house.

By relying upon her root lama, Do Drubwang, and his teachings and advice, her mind-stream was liberated. She received all the instructions of the Exceedingly Secret Enlightened Heart Essence[74] from the Lord Yeshe Dorje, most notably. She achieved accomplishment by engaging in these practices, and she saw the faces of the primordial wisdom dakini and a number of her personal deities. The dharma protectors and the hosts of haughty ones obeyed her in servitude, and she became renowned for being the emanation of the mother Tare and Vajravarahi.

Every so often, she would appear in a cross-legged position in the air, and by reciting pat, she would teleport to a new place and later reappear in a corporal form. She mastered miraculous powers such as these. She was a holder of the treasures and a custodian of The Enlightened Heart Essence’s teachings and passed away at the age of fifty-nine.

The noble daughter of the supreme Refuge Lord Yeshe Dorje was Khaying Drolma (1823–1854),[75] born in the Water Sheep Year (1823) of the fourteenth calendrical cycle. She received teachings and instructions from her father through which a special realization developed in her. She was bequeathed to the King of Trokyab, Tsewang Namkha,[76] as his queen. She passed away at the age of thirty-two on account of [an illness caused by] bad food. Her body shrank to about the size of one cubit, and through offering it to the fire [for cremation], many rainbow lights appeared, and tiny pearl-like relics were found.

The noble son Sherab Mebar (1829–1842)[77] was the compassionate manifestation of Do Drubwang and also was blessed by Manjugosha. From the time he was small, he knew how to read and write his letters, as well as other things, without the need to learn them. He was naturally empowered with kindness, compassion, and bodhicitta, and he understood all phenomena through his teachers’ mere indications.

From time to time, Manjushri and his consort revealed themselves to him. Sherab Mebar placed a barley grain under his tongue, and after a moment, a long sprout emerged with the A Ra Pa Ca [mantra of Manjushri] visibly apparent on its side of the stem. A few fortunate ones perceived the flames of [Manjushri’s] blazing golden sword but could not see the body [of Manjushri].

On the account of considerably unusual things such as that, in addition to a polluted samaya, he was born in the Earth Ox Year (1829) but passed away in the Water Tiger Year (1842). His body shrank to no more than a cubit in height.

Gyelse Rigpai Reltri was born in the Iron Tiger Year (1830) of the fourteenth calendrical cycle. He was the reincarnation of Jigme Lingpa’s son, Jigme Nyinche Wangpo. At the time of his birth a ruddy-gold sword the size of a cubit fell into the hands of the Lord of Refuge Yeshe Dorje, who named him after it.

He attended many great and excellent beings, such as his Lord Father Yeshe Dorje, Dzogchen Khenpo Pema Vajra (1807–1884),[78] Paltrul Rinpoche (1808–1887),[79] and the Forth Dzogchen Tulku [Mingyur Namkhai Dorje] (1793–1870).[80] He received the general teachings of the sutras and tantras as well as the oral, treasure, and pure vision teachings. Most notably, he received in their entirety the empowerments, instructions, transmissions, supportive teachings, and entrustment of The Exceedingly Secret Enlightened Heart Essence, the wisdom-mind treasure of the great Vajra Holder, his Lord Father Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje.

On account of practicing those single-pointedly, he realized without any delusion the essential meaning. He did not accept a group of many lamas or disciples and lived in a hidden way. However, he did accept a few with high acumen and who possessed the fortunate karma. 

On the fifteenth day of the Victorious month when he was sixty-six years of age, it is said Vairocana came forth as he peacefully died accompanied with sounds and lights. When his body was cremated, it reduced in size to about the size of one cubit. At that time a few wondrous signs occurred—the three levels of existence [the sky, earth, and subterranean levels] were filled with visuals like images of endless knots—a dazzling and colorful form of a dragon of white and rainbow clouds circling above, and lights in the shapes of spokes, vertical beams, spheres, and squares. Azalea flowers also blossomed simultaneously.

The son of Lord Rigpai Reltri and Ragza Rigche Wangmo[81] was Khamsum Zilnon Gyepa Dorje (1890–1939).[82] He was born on the fourth day of the Saga month in the Iron Tiger Year (1890) of the fifteenth calendrical cycle. Drubwang Do Khyentse’s prophecy foretold:

“Light rays will emanate from the tip of the sword of skillful means [and enter] into the golden lair of a knowledgeable earth-snake, giving birth to a person who will press down the necks of eighty tigers.”

In accordance with the prophecy, just after his birth, Rudam Gemang Tulku, Tubwang Tenpai Nyima (1857?–1925)[83] recognized him as the reincarnation of Do Rinpoche Drime Drakpa (1846–1886),[84] made long-life prayers, and crowned him with his name.

At the age of five, he learned to read and write simply by some gesturing from his tutor. He completely received all the empowerments, oral transmissions, instructions, entrustments, and aspirational prayers of his father’s Enlightened Heart Essence cycle of teachings [lineage] and was enthroned as a regent. When he was nine years old, he traveled to Dodrub Monastery.[85] He attended Dodrub Tenpai Nyima, the Fifth Dzogchen Rinpoche [Tubten Chokyi Dorje] (1872–1935),[86] Ju Mipham (1846–1912),[87] Minyak Tsokshul Norbu Tenzin,[88] Khenchen Ratnakirti,[89] and the Second Gemang [Tenpai Nyima].

He received and trained in many systems of teachings contained in the vehicle of characteristics, such as the texts of the Middle Way (Madhyamaka), Perfection of Wisdom (Prajnaparamita), Monastic Conduct (Vinaya), and The Treasury of Abhidharma (Abhidharmakosha). He additionally trained in the mantra [vehicle] of the oral, treasure, and pure vision teachings, such as the Seventeen Dzogchen Tantras and the Seven Treasuries. As a result, he was replete with the skills of supreme knowledge. He also received the uncommon cycles of the Dzogchen aural lineage from Drukpa Drodul Pawo Dorje (1842­–1924).[90]

Drubchok Zhechenpa, Kugo Tenpa Gyeltsen,[91] abruptly introduced him to the [nature of] mind utilizing examples, meaning, and symbols. By engaging in the practice of The Garland of Fiery Meteors of the Wrathful Guru[92] in the golden-boulder cave, a practice cave in Minyak, he had a vision of the Guru. Then he bound into servitude the goddess Chandali, the guardian of The Exceedingly Secret Enlightened Heart Essence.

Then Manjushri emanated as a person dressed in white and entrusted implements, an arrow, and a piwam lute. But in particular, the wisdom body of Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje cared for him and showered the blessings of his wisdom mind upon him. Due to that, all apparent existence manifested as symbols and texts, and he realized the scriptures as instructional advice. Everything he did during his life spontaneously accomplished the benefit of others.

Up to and including his eighteenth year, he looked after his disciples in the eighteen kingdoms of Gyelrong and in the land of eastern Minyak. When he was twenty years old, he journeyed north and in Dranak Khasum, upper and lower Golok, Rongpo in Rebkong, upper and lower Trokho,[93] caring for the majority of monastics and laypeople of a variety of capacities and established them in [path of] maturating empowerments and liberating instructions. He then constructed the Tri Dargye Jamchen Chokhor Ling Monastery in Mekhok.[94]

He passed away at the age of fifty on the thirteenth day of the second month. When his body was being cremated, the sky was filled with rainbow clouds, and his body produced an unimaginable amount of tiny pearl-like relics.

Tsedzin Wangmo (1894–1953),[95] who shared the same parents with Lord Khamsum Zilnon Gyepa Dorje, was born in the Wood Horse Year (1894) of the fifteenth calendrical cycle. She learned to read and write from Do Rinpoche’s tutor, Osel Nyima.[96] She learned the science of medicine from Ju Mipham’s disciple, Troru Jampel.[97] She received lessons on poetry and grammar from Adzom Drukpa Rinpoche and the cycles of teachings of the “red” practical instructions of the aural lineage of the father and heir, [Longchenpa and Jigme Lingpa]. She was very generous, continuously giving alms to beggars. Most notably, out of her love, she gave the destitute whatever medicine they wanted while not accepting any money in return. All people near and far respected her as a mother. She passed away on the twenty-fifth day of the Water Snake Year (1953) of the sixteenth calendrical cycle. The warmth of her body did not diminish for seven days, and when her body was being cremated, the sky was utterly clear. Her body left behind five kinds of large pearl-like relics. 


Gyelse Rigpai Reltri and [Sonam Wangmo],[98] the queen of [Tsegon Rigdzin] King of Somang,[99] had a son who was the reincarnation of Khaying Drolma, daughter [of Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje]. Somang Choktrul (1855–c.1935) was born in the Wood Rabbit Year (1855) of the fourteenth calendrical cycle. He ruled the throne after the king's death and quelled illnesses, famine, and conflict in the region of Trochu.[100] The might of the ministers, people, and political dominion grew immensely. He attended to lamas, such as his Lord-Father Rigpai Reltri and Do Rinpoche Drime Drakpa. He was renowned as a pundit in the fields of science, and his son was called Trungsar,[101] who did not leave behind any descendants.

At [Do] Gar,[102] Do Rinpoche Khamsum Zilnon Gyepa Dorje took ordination, and the familial lineage was broken. [Before this], when Do Khyentse was passing into the pure realms, Do Rinpoche Drime Drakpa, Abu Tulku, and other heirs asked him, “Where will the emanation be?” Do Khyentse responded, “Many emanations of mine will come forth, but you will not find them by searching. They will return since they know their own home.” The monks and lamas of Kyilung Monastery[103] came and asked him again. He answered as he had done before, and they returned to their own monastery.

Later, at Gartok, Do Rinpoche Gyepa Dorje’s younger brother, both sharing the same mother, was recognized as the emanation Rangjung Dorje. He was born in the Earth Monkey Year (1908) of the fifteenth calendrical cycle. Do Rinpoche taught him to read, and from Drok Khen and Khen O[104] of Pelyul Darthang Monastery,[105] he learned calligraphy and the majority of the textual traditions of Indian and Tibetan scholars, such as An Introduction to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life (Bodhicaryavatara), Treasury of Precious Qualities, and Wish-Fulfilling Treasury. Although he was innately intelligent, he always remained humble and did not harbor any conceit.

He received many profound teachings from tantras, pith instructions, and oral transmissions from several great beings, such as Adzom Drukpa, Gyelse Gyurme Dorje (b. 1895),[106] the famed Dzogchen abbot and vajra-holder Tubten, and other lamas and emanations of Dzogchen Monastery. He particularly received the empowerments, oral transmissions, and instructions for The Heart Essence and The Enlightened Heart Essence from his elder brother. Realization manifested within him through secretly engaging in those practices.

He went to Tsering Jong, the residence of the Omniscient One [Jigme Lingpa], where he bestowed the empowerments and oral transmissions for The Words of My Perfect Teacher and two sections of The Heart Essence to the disciples of that area. Apart from this, he never gave empowerments or the like to anyone else. He passed away on the twenty-second day of the second month at the age of thirty-nine, his body shrinking to the size of a cubit.

Having promised at Kyilung Monastery, he [Do Khyentse] returned as the emanation of the great lord of adepts, Amdo Zenkar[107] and established all beings of all capacities of that area onto the path of liberation. He recollected his previous life, including how he built the monastery. He also gave many teachings [during his life]. He passed into the space of peace, having lived a full life. 

That Lord’s reincarnated emanation was [the Third Alak Zenkar] Tubten Lungrik Mawai Nyima (b. 1943).[108] He was born in the Water Sheep Year (1943) to his father Nyima Ozer and mother Rinchen Lhamo of Gyelrong.[109] He learned to read simply by some gesturing from his tutor Pelri Orgyen.

When he was twelve years old, he went to Rudam Dzogchen Monastery. He received and comprehended the teachings from Dzog Trul [Jikdrel Jangchub Dorje] (1935–1959),[110] Khen Tubnyen (1883–1959),[111] Jamyang Khyentse Tulku Jamyang Gawai Lodro (1893–1959),[112] and his tutor Khen.[113] He additionally learned poetry from Khen Ngak Nor[114] and An Introduction to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life from Khen Pema Tsewang (1902–1959).[115] They only needed to simply teach him through gesturing, [as he already understood].

He served at the feet of a number of excellent ones at Dodrub Monastery, such as the two supreme emanations of Do Drubwang, [developing] an extensive capacity of knowledge concerning sutras, mantras, and the other fields of knowledge. These days he is the crown ornament of scholars in the Land of Snow. Many countries inside and outside [of Tibet] extend invitations and respect to him, as he is a source for their veneration. He lives for the glory of the teachings and beings. This he had assured.


Some faithful people proclaimed The Biographies of the Lineage of the of the Do Family ought to be composed. Dasel Wangmo, a surviving descendant of the Do family, wrote this mere introductory text upon their behest. May virtue and excellence pervade. May it be auspicious! Mangalam!


[1] 'jigs med gling pa, BDRC P314

[2] g.yo ru grwa'i dbus

[3] bsam yas mchims phu, BDRC G3528

[4] klong chen rab 'byams pa dri med 'od zer, BDRC P1583

[5] mgo

[6] mdo mkham rma rdza zal mo

[7] lha gnyan thang lha

[8] mda' bza' tshe dbang sman, BDRC P1PD76598

[9] The original Tibetan states that the year he was born is called rab 'dod. This corresponded to the thirteenth year of the calendrical cycle, the Earth Rabbit Year called myos ldan. However, this is not the name of the Iron Monkey Year, which matches to drag po. 

[10] Dak+ki pad+ma 'bum sde

[11] bar bzhi rong

[12] dbyings phyug mkha' 'gro

[13] nyang ral nyi ma 'od zer, BDRC P364

[14] rdo grub chen 01 'jigs med 'phrin las 'od zer, BDRC P293

[15] shugs chen stag mgo ru phan bde 'gro don gling, BDRC G4952

[16] ru dam lha lung mdo

[17] bsam yas, BDRC G287

[18] tshe ring ljongs, BDRC G351

[19] chos lung gdong

[20] kaH tog dgon, BDRC G17

[21] rdzogs chen dgon, BDRC G16

[22] zhe chen dgon, BDRC G20

[23] yang ri sgang

[24] lha rtse'i pho brang

[25] gtsang theg mchog gling, BDRC G00AG01698

[26] 'bri gung mthil dgon, BDRC G340

[27] pho brang rdzong gsar

[28] mi la ras pa, BDRC P1853

[29] khams nyi rdzong khri pa

[30] bri gung bstan gnyis dgongs gcig—Please contact us if you have any information concerning this text.

[31] 'bri gung chung tshang 04 bstan 'dzin chos kyi rgyal mtshan, BDRC P2233. He is the son of Jigme Lingpa.

[32]  zhabs drung rin po che; rgyal sras rin po che, BDRC P2233; mtshur phu'i rgyal tshab, BDRC P10583; nyi rdzong khri ba; dpal ri'i mtsho rgyal sprul sku; klong chen rol ba rtsal; zur mkhar theg chen gling pa'i rgyal sras

[33] mdo smad dar lung nyag

[34] gnyan po g.yu rtse

[35] This is possibly referring to attaining the second level of a knowledge-holder.

[36] byang chub chen po

[37] bsam yas dkor mdzod

[38] bla shing

[39] 'dzam gling srog sdud

[40] This is referring to the practice of severance (gcod).

[41] bla rdo  

[42] lce btsun seng ge dbang phyug, BDRC P0RK1222

[43] nam mkha' 'jigs med 'khrul zhig dbang drag rgya mtsho

[44] lcags zam chu bo ri, BDRC G3320

[45] thang stong rgyal po, BDRC P2778

[46] 'dus pa mdo

[47] 'gyur med tshe dbang mchog grub, BDRC P2943

[48] grub pa'i dbang phyug zhing skyong; dri me zhing skyong 02 'jigs med rig 'dzin mgon po, BDRC P5992. The translators have not been able to confirm this BDRC citation. However, it was sourced from the Treasury of Lives page of Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje. Please contact us if you can confirm.

[49] rgya rong nam mkha' tshe dbang

[50] 'jigs med ngo mtshar rgya mtsho, BDRC P2881. Date of birth is proposed to be around 1750/1760.

[51] bi ma la mi tra, BDRC P5011

[52] 'od gsal snang ba

[53] rma stod

[54] dngul dkar sgrol ma

[55] This is pertaining to the treasure cycle of Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje.

[56] Footnote 133 from FitzHerbert, S. G., & Ramble, C. 2021. An Early Tibetan Gesar sang Text. Archiv orientální, 84(3), 467–526. Retrieved from  “Mi’u rus drug dgra-bla bsang. The “six little men” are proto-ancestors of the six ancient tribes of Tibet. For in-depth treatment of these clan names, see R. A. Stein, Les Tribus Anciennes. The Gesar epic likes to play on the theme of the six original tribes. Gesar and the Gling-bas belong to one of them: the ldong, specifically the smug po gdong (sic).”

[57] rgyal rong khro skyabs thugs rje chen po

[58] gling rgya'i a mye mu ri

[59] reb skong 'ja' mo thang

[60] g.ya' ma bkra shis 'khyil, BDRC G3703

[61] klong chen snying thig

[62] yar lung pad+ma bkod, BDRC G3983

[63] rdza stod

[64] sdug bsngal rang grol

[65] seng tshang bla ma bstan rgyas

[66] shrI sing+ha bshad grwa, BDRC G3219

[67] phyag tsha

[68] 'jigs med rgyal ba'i myu gu, BDRC P695

[69] rdza dar thang

[70] reb skong /_mgo log_mi nyag rab sgang /_so mang rgyal po/_yang sgos khro skyabs mi dbang tshe dbang nam mkha'

[71] blo gsal sgron ma/sgrol ma, BDRC P1GS138134. The text reads Losel Dronma; however, we have adjusted it to match with BDRC and with other texts on Tib Shelf.

[72] chos skor bsod nams 'phan, BDRC P1PD76596

[73] smin zla

[74] yang gsang thugs thig

[75] mkha' dbyings sgrol ma, BDRC P1PD76599

[76] khro kyabs rgyal po tshe dbang nam mkha', BDRC P1PD76602

[77] rdo grub 'jigs med 'phrin las 'od zer 02 shes rab me 'bar, BDRC P1PD76603

[78] pad+ma badz+ra, BDRC P6744

[79] dpal sprul o rgyan 'jigs med chos kyi dbang po, BDRC P270

[80] rdzogs chen grub dbang 04 mi 'gyur nam mkha'i rdo rje, BDRC P1710

[81] rag bza' rig byed dbang mo, BDRC P1PD76607

[82] rdo grub 'jigs med 'phrin las 'od zer 04 khams gsum zil gnon dgyes pa rdo rje, BDRC P8431

[83] dge mang 02 bstan pa'i nyi ma, BDRC P3AG53

[84] rdo grub 'jigs med 'phrin las 'od zer 03 dri me grags pa, BDRC P8006

[85] rdo grub chen, BDRC G375

[86] rdzogs chen grub dbang 05 thub bstan chos kyi rdo rje, BDRC P701

[87] mi pham rgya mtsho, BDRC P252

[88] mi nyag tshogs shul nor bu bstan 'dzin

[89] mkhen chen rat+na kirti

[90] a 'dzom 'brug pa 01 'gro 'dul dpa' bo rdo rje, BDRC P6002

[91] grub mchog zhe chen pa sku rgod bstan pa'i rgyal mtshan

[92] gu drag gnam clags me 'phreng

[93] sbra nag kha gsum/_mgo log stod smad/_ reb skong rong bo/_ khro kho stod smad

[94] rme khog tu khri dar rgyas byams chen chos 'khor gling gi dgon pa

[95] tshe 'dzin dbang mo, BDRC P1PD76609

[96] 'od gsal nyi ma

[97] khro ru 'jam dpal, BDRC P1PD76610

[98] bsod nams dbang mo, BDRC P1PD76617

[99] so mang rgyal po tshe mgon rig 'dzin, BDRC P1PD76613

[100] khro chu

[101] 'khrung gsar

[102] Around Zhaktra Mountain there is a place called Ma Khaka (rma kha ka). In that area is the place called Yu Tso (g.yu mtsho). There Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje built the Do Gar Mountain Hermitage (mdo sgar ri khrod); however, it no longer exists.

[103] skyi lung gsang sngags chos sde ling, BDRC G353

[104] 'brog mkhan and mkhen 'od

[105] dpal yul dar thang dgon, BDRC G523

[106] a 'dzom rgyal sras 'gyur med rdo rje, BDRC P741

[107] a mdo gzan dkar ba chos kyi seng+ge; BDRC P3JM46

[108] a lags gzan dkar 03 thub bstan nyi ma, BDRC P2362

[109] nyi ma 'ozer, BDRC 8698; rgyal rong bar in chen lha mo, BDRC P8699

[110] rdzogs chen grub dbang 06 'jigs bral byang chub rdo rje, BDRC P750

[111] thub bstan snyan grags, BDRC P6958

[112] 'jam dbyangs mkhyen brtse chos kyi blo gro, BDRC P733

[113] yongs 'dzin mkhan

[114] mkhan ngag nor

[115] pad+ma tshe dbang rgya mtsho, BDRC P2JM378

Photo Credit: BDRC W1KG987


Zla gsal dbang mo. 2007. Mdo tshang gi brgyud pa'i rnam thar mdor bsdus. In Gsung thor bu, pp. 283–297. Pe cin: Mi rigs dbe skrun khang. BDRC W1GS60403


This text provides us with an insight into the life of Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje by presenting a concise biography of the master in addition to those of his family. It, moreover, offers stories from the life of his half-sister and spiritual partner, Losal Drölma—an honored teacher in her own right and a figure on the fringe of the Yeshe Dorje tales told in temples.


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Abridged Biographies: The Lineage of the Do Family

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