The Fourth Dzogchen Rinpoche, Migyur Namkhe Dorje

Never straying from the luminous state of dharmata, his actions were the self-expression of the unity of meditation and post-meditation

The 4th Dzogchen Rinpoche, Migyur Namkhe Dorje, was born in 1793 in Den Chökhor, near the Drichu River in Kham. His birth was prophesized by Jigme Lingpa and around the time of his birth, both his parents had many wondrous signs in their dreams. Not long after he was born, Migyur Namkhe Dorje repeatedly spoke the word Dzogchen and he would recite the bendza guru mantra whilst playing a drum, thereby revealing his superior karmic traces.

Teachers and teachings

At the age of seven, he was officially recognised as the 4th Dzogchen Rinpoche and was enthroned at the Dzogchen Monastery before numerous great lamas, practitioners and monks. He studied and contemplated with many accomplished and learned masters such as the eminent 1st Dodrupchen Rinpoche, Jigme Thrinle Özer and Minling Thrichen and so ripened his stream of consciousness. He received the Khandro Nyingthig, Sangwa Nyingthig and Dorsem Nyingthig from Namkha Tsewang Chogdrub.

The 1st Dodrupchen Rinpoche gave empowerments to the young 4th Dzogchen Rinpoche at Dzogchen Monastery and transmitted Yabzhi, Longchen Nyingthig, Nyingma Gyubu, and Dzodun.

From the age of 12, every year for seven years, he remained in strict retreat for at least six months. During this time, he received teachings and transmissions from the 1st Dodrupchen Rinpoche, Namkha Tsewang Chogdrub, Cheyö Rigdzin Chenmo, the 3rd Zhechen Rabjam, the 1st Zhechen Gyaltsab, Khenchen Rigdzin Zangpo, Gyalwe Nyugu, Jigme Ngotsar and Gyalse Shenpen Thaye.

At the age of 20, Dzogchen Rinpoche received many heart transmissions including Nyingthig Yabzhi, Gyu Chudun, Damcho Dechen Lamchok and Nyen gyu Dorje Zampa from Dodrupchen Rinpoche. Do Khyentse and Dzogchen Ponlop joined the young Dzogchen Rinpoche with a group of 60 others in Yarlung Pemako, to receive these precious teachings.


During this time, Dodrupchen Rinpoche offered Dzogchen Rinpoche a skull cap, full of chang beer. Although hesitant, due to his monastic vows, Dzogchen Rinpoche drank the alcohol with pure devotion, seeing it as a blessing from his master. Instantaneously the realisation and wisdom of Drodrupchen Rinpoche arose spontaneously within Dzogchen Rinpoche. Through the blessings of the Buddhas, Dzogchen Rinpoche had attained the state of Chonyi Zepa, complete dissolution of the relative perception into the ultimate view. From that day on, Dzogchen Rinpoche was renowned for his spiritual accomplishments and realisation of the absolute nature of phenomena.

Migyur Namkhe Dorje spent his entire life both practicing and expounding the great Dzogpachenpo teachings. He was renowned all over Tibet for having realised the great perfection, for his clairvoyance and that he alone conducted the identification of new tulkus in the region of Kham and Amdo.


The disciples of Dodrupchen Rinpoche included Dza Patrul Rinpoche, Gyelse Shenphen Thaye, Yukhog Gyatrul Lungrig Lingwa and Drug Chöying Rölwa Dorje. Patrul Rinpoche, who was living in the Shinje Cave deep in the Dzogchen Valley, would make his way by foot everyday to the Dzogchen Monastery to offer 100 prostrations to the master, saying that in this degenerate time he was the only master to have completed the four visions of the Great Perfection teachings and to reach the exhaustion of phenomena.

Together with Gyelse Shenphen Thaye, Migyur Namkhe Dorje established the famous monastic scripture college, Shri Singha, where the sutras and tantras were taught. Shri Singha became a model institution for studies and training for many other Nyingma monasteries.

Dodrupchen Rinpoche established a yearly recitation of Bumdrup Chenmo, an intensive group practice from the Könchog Chidü and the Tsechu tantric dances of Lama Sangwa Düpa, which were created from a pure vision of the Guru Chöwang.

Link between Dzogchen Rinpoche and Dodrupchen Rinpoche

There is a strong link between the Dzogchen Rinpoches and the Dodrupchen Rinpoches. Over their lifetimes they have exchanged teachings and transmissions and recognized each others successive incarnations. The 4th Dzogchen Rinpoche prophesised the birth of the 5th Dzogchen Rinpoche in the year of the monkey and this was confirmed by Jamyang Khentse Wangpo and Patrul Rinpoche. The 5th Dzogchen Rinpoche recognized the 4th Dodrupchen Rinpoche, Penor Rinpoche, Khatok Situ Chokyi Gyatso, Schechen Rabjam and he prophesized the birth of the 6th Dzogchen Rinpoche at Tsari. The 4th Dodrupchen Rinpoche recognised the present 7th Dzogchen Rinpoche, Jigme Losel Wangpo.

Migyur Namke Dorje's activity continually accomplished the two benefits and with a heart and mind stream filled with bodhicitta, he had steadfast armour of patience and non bias towards all beings. Never straying from the luminous state of dharmata, his actions were the self-expression of the unity of meditation and post-meditation.