Mingyur Rinpoche, beloved younger brother of our own Tsoknyi Rinpoche, made headlines in the world of Tibetan Buddhism when he returned to the public eye last November after four years as a wandering yogi.
“We are all so happy to have Mingyur Rinpoche home, especially my mother who is quite joyous,” Tsoknyi Rinpoche said. Mingyur Rinpoche is pictured with their mother, Amala.
Tsoknyi Rinpoche often refers to his brother during his teachings as an outstanding example of a Buddhist practitioner. In 2010 Rinpoche transferred management of Tergar Osel Ling Monastery in Kathmandu to Mingyur Rinpoche, in return taking other properties in Nepal for his nuns.
In Bodhgaya, India, Mingyur Rinpoche developed Tergar Monastery under the guidance of His Eminence Tai Situ Rinpoche. In June 2011 he left there to begin his nomadic retreat, taking little with him and telling no-one where he was heading.
Travelling incognito, during summer he visited pilgrimage sites in the Himalayas and in winter he went to sacred sites in the lowlands.
At times during his retreat Rinpoche was cold and hungry. Once at Kushinagar – the place where Buddha Shakyamuni entered parinirvana – he was so sick he had a near-death experience.
“I had some kind of dissolution, as they call it in the texts, and lost touch with my physical body altogether,” he said in an interview with Lion’s Roar magazine. “Then I had a wonderful experience. There was no thought, no emotion, no concept, no subject or object. Mind was clear and wakeful, like a blue sky with the sun shining, transparent and all-pervasive. It’s very, very difficult to describe. It cannot really be put into words.”
Subsequently, he says, he has felt a great sense of freedom. He plans to share that with students through a more experiential style of teaching, with greater emphasis on conduct in daily life.
The Seventh Mingyur Rinpoche was born in Nubri, Nepal in 1975 and three years later was recognised by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche as the incarnation of both Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche and Kangyur Rinpoche, who were renowned Tibetan yogis and tertöns (treasure revealers).
He trained at Sherab Ling in India, showing great aptitude in his studies, and mastered the five main branches of learning in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. At the early age of 13, Rinpoche entered a traditional three-year retreat. Four years later he was asked to become the retreat master and at the age of 20, to become assistant Khenpo of Sherab Ling, where a new monastic college was established under his guidance.
The two brothers have three teachers in common – their father, Tulku Ugyen Rinpoche, Adeu Rinpoche and Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche. Mingyur Rinpoche’s other teachers include the masters Tai Situ Rinpoche, Thrangu Rinpoche, Saljay Rinpoche and Lama Tashi Dorje. He has taught in the West many times, including visits to the UK.