White Conch monastery & Dharma Center

 

Biography of the female incarnation of
Venerable Domo Geshe Rinpoche

 

 

 

Page contents:Biography of Domo Geshe Rinpoche’s ninth incarnation | Photos
Go to: Record of miracles in the ninth incarnation | Interview with Domo Geshe Rinpoche, April 2003

On September 10, 2001, the eighth Kyabje Domo Geshe Rinpoche passed away peacefully at his beloved private residence, Gangjong Namgyal, in upstate New York. Just before passing, several extraordinary events occurred and to this time remain unrecorded. This biography conveys some of those events in addition to the biography of the ninth incarnation. For a short history of the previous incarnations of Domo Geshe Rinpoche, please read his biography in the 1995 edition of extensive Blue Annals. This rare text is dedicated to recording the ongoing life stories of older lineage Rinpoches in the Tibetan system, and includes extensive infromation on the previous two incarnations of Domo Geshe Rinpoche: Ngawang Kalsang and Gyalten Jigme Wangchuk.

Domo Geshe Rinpoche’s eighth incarnation was a quiet, private, self-contained and powerful guru who did not share personal details of his life to others except as necessary. Few know that he was ill since 1962 after being released from Chinese prison in Tibet. For three years prior to his passing, Rinpoche secretly fought colon cancer, during which time he performed many miracles in order to continue his work in his eighth incarnation. His illnesses prevented travel later in life, and this emphasized Rinpoche’s already famous hermit-like qualities.

As Rinpoche was nearing the end of his eighth incarnation, his monk in-charge from Tharpa Choling in Kalimpong came to see him. At that time, Rinpoche was thinking of returning in the normal manner. However, he insisted that his in-charge not look for him in the normal way. Already on Rinpoche’s mind was a strong request from a very special Western student.

Westerners have spent hundreds of years developing an understanding of physical sciences. By contrast, Tibetan Buddhists have been studying the mental sciences for thousands of years. The concepts of mental sciences are just now beginning to be understood in the West. New information from Tantric Buddhism describes practitioners commonly called reincarnate lamas, tulkus, or Rinpoches. These beings can maintain control of their minds during the time period between lives and direct themselves to their next birth. This ritual of transference of consciousness is rarely taught or even understood either in the Orient or the West as it requires great ability and belongs to a class of skills that have been nearly lost. Directing the consciousness to the next incarnation is done near the time of passing, but while the lama is still alive in their human form. For Domo Geshe Rinpoche, this process was begun one year and three months before he passed away.

Rinpoches who are new to the reincarnational process usually take birth close to the family. Incarnates with a long lineage tend to go to the place where they are most needed, or the place where they are most able to complete their work. When Rinpoches go to baby bodies, there is a certain amount of memory loss of their previous lives. The "training" they receive is to refresh their memories. A Rinpoche's training is focused on Dharma, not ordinary events, as this training is the most important information for a Rinpoche to retrieve. This training can take up to thirty years, despite the fact that an authentic reincarnate is born with more knowledge and memories than usual.

A student of nearly 30 years came to understand that Rinpoche was going to pass away shortly. The student was developing a bodhisattva attitude necessary for ultimate enlightenment. She could not tolerate that Rinpoche might pass away early leaving his work unfinished for up to thirty years while he again grew up and completed training. She knew that the world today would suffer greatly while waiting for Domo Geshe Rinpoche’s return.

Near the time of Rinpoche’s passing away, the Western student made strong private requests that instead of transferring to a baby body, the guru transfer to her adult body. This request was made so that Rinpoche could continue his work. The student was referring to a method of consciousness transfer to an adult body that is recorded in the tantras but has not been emphasized or taught for a long time. It is so high that few gurus are capable of accomplishing it. This method of consciousness transfer to an adult body is used in cases of extreme need, and usually only at the time of the adult’s passing. This should not be confused with phowa, which is entirely different.

The Western student requesting this transfer was already on the way to enlightenment. She was able to make the request in such a skillful way that as a result, Kyabje Domo Geshe Rinpoche decided to use his famous way of “checking” to choose the best method for reincarnating. His famous “checking” is well known by Tibetans to be one of the most powerful and reliable indicators in choosing an appropriate action. Rinpoche found that indeed he was able to incarnate as an adult.

Rinpoche also checked to see if coming in a female form would pose too many obstacles. Rinpoche has long felt that it will be especially helpful for both men and women to have more models of female bodhisattvas. Historically, Rinpoches have returned to human form as male because there was only a male monastic educational system available. In that way, it is not through a bias toward male bodies, but through the conditions of existing social and educational structures that men have historically had the most influence and success. Through again checking, Kyabje Domo Geshe Rinpoche found that all conditions indicated there was no obstacle to incarnate as a woman.

Immediately, Rinpoche began the necessary work. Maintaining his private nature, he informed his in-charge at the New York residence that she should not look for him in the usual manner. However, to maintain tantric secrecy, he did not tell her his plan to move to an adult incarnation. The secrecy he maintained at the time is no longer possible with recognition of Rinpoche’s new incarnation.

The Western student gained so much merit and wisdom from her strong requests and development of compassion that she was able to move on in her enlightenment process. By her choice, she departed from her human body and moved to a pure realm to continue her bodhisattva work.

As Rinpoche passed from his eighth to ninth incarnation, the process of ensuring that his memories, abilities, and skills transferred correctly took some time. Rinpoche had to do strong work to ensure a smooth transfer. The result of this type of consciousness transfer is that Rinpoche does not suffer from the partial memory loss that can accompany transference of a guru's mind to a baby body. Once the transfer was complete, there were no lasting changes on Rinpoche's mind or personality. To this date, Rinpoche remains the same as the eighth incarnation except in outer appearance and the experiences gained since his passing.

When Rinpoche came to the female body he had his English ability from his previous. As a foreign born person it was not perfect. As Rinpoche stabilized in his new incarnation, the American shared all of her memories so that he could communicate effectively in his new culture and language. Going back and forth between two languages is time consuming and limiting in learning the nuances of a new language. In order to learn quickly, Rinpoche tucked away the mastery of Tibetan language and spoke only English. Now Rinpoche’s English is clear and precise except when she is thinking from her Tibetan side. Then the English you will hear is not so precise, but still good.

As Rinpoche arrived in the new incarnation, the miracles that are associated with the Domo Geshe lineage were witnessed. The scent of attar of roses, closely associated with the previous Domo Geshe Rinpoche, began to fill the new incarnate’s living quarters.

Witnesses reported seeing the deity that is secretly associated with Rinpoche’s closely held personal practice. The students immediately began to inquire as to the characteristics of this Buddha form – a form with which they were completely unfamiliar. Due to Rinpoche’s secrecy this Buddha was never mentioned by his eighth incarnation. Naturally, a Buddha associated with Rinpoche’s personal practice would accompany him to his new incarnation. This highest yoga tantra practice is now being given openly as the Blue Healing of Wisdom practice. In addition to the dissemination of this high practice, Rinpoche has perfomred miraculous Lama healings in the West and in the Orient.

Various colors and rainbow lights have been seen near and surrounding Rinpoche. Dakinis and other enlightened beings are often seen on various levels by students who come to request teachings from the new incarnation. Practitioners have also reported experiences of being visited by Domo Geshe Rinpoche's previous incarnation. Many of these students had never seen the previous incarnation and did not recognize the guru until being shown his picture after the experience. The new incarnate has carefully discussed these occurrences with the students, and verified that the experiences are his inner form still actively working for the benefit of each student who is relying on him. During one night of the annual retreat [summer of 2002, California], many moving lights were witnesses inside the tented teaching hall. The lights darted inside the screened tent for some time. Later, practitioners confirmed there were no lights near, nor were candles burning. The lights reappeared on two different nights.

Due to this unique method of incarnating, Rinpoche has retained the authentic Tibetan Buddhist training and also has American cultural context. This results in profound, clear and authentic dissemination of the Dharma enhanced by analogies to Western educational systems, TV programs, work environments, sciences, social interactions, and basic ways of life. Rinpoche brings clarity and humor to the experience of inner and outer transmission.

Historically, Western and Tibetan cultures were so different that even the gurus who have mastered the English language still have difficulty understanding how their words might be understood or misunderstood. Rinpoche has transcended this difficulty in her new incarnation.

It comes as quite a shock to some that a quiet introverted high lama has become very outgoing. Rinpoche has intentionally developed a charismatic speaking style since arriving. American students witnessed this intentional training as the ninth incarnation was emerging. The quiet, shy guru slowly became more comfortable in groups. Prepared lesson plans soon disappeared as Rinpoche was able to confidently transmit teaching to larger groups of students.

No matter what the form they take on the outside, Guru-Buddhas have both male and female aspects in their essential nature. Domo Geshe Rinpoche continues to embody that dualistic nature. The ninth Domo Geshe Rinpoche is not a channeled being. She is a true reincarnate as a Tibetan male guru in a female incarnation. Rinpoche’s female student has moved permanently to a pure realm. All of this has been accomplished so that Rinpoche can continue to teach students in a clear outer and inner method.

The inner way of the Lama healer sees the healing process on an individual basis to be of primary importance. While group teachings are important and available, Rinpoche insists that one-to-one guidance is essential. Serious students from any culture, location, or background can begin their studies at White Conch Dharma Center and benefit from the clarity and one-to one guidance that is so vital to rapid spiritual progress.

Rinpoche is able to bring the Tantric and Mahayana traditions into sharp focus with a rich array of techniques. Teaching methods are selected according to the needs of the students, and all serious practitioners are given equal opportunities according to their abilities and needs. This extends to the monastery, which houses both male and female monastics in separate quarters. Monastic teachings are disseminated to ordained male and female practitioners equally, and individual guidance is provided to each on an ongoing basis.

The rapid development of inexperienced Buddhist seekers into strong practitioners is a testament to the abilities of Domo Geshe Rinpoche’s ninth incarnation. May the ninth incarnation live a very long time, may the teachings remain pure, and may the ninth incarnation’s work be instantly and joyfully accomplished.

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Images of Venerable Domo Geshe Rinpoche

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Tsong offering, Boudhanath Stupa, Nepal -- January 2003

 

Ganden Namchu, Boudhanath Stupa, Nepal - December 2002

 

Portrait - September 2002

 

In the garden, smiling - April 2002

 

Manjushri retreat, California - October 2001

 

Annual Retreat - August 2001

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