Simdha Getok Tulku Gyurmey Tenphel Choesang Rinpoche
Simdha Getok Tulku Gyurmey Tenphel Choesang Rinpoche was born around 1814 in a place called Tashi Lhayi Gatsel. His father was named Rinchen, his mother was named Dronma, and his birth name is recorded as Asang.
According to legend, soon afterwards when the Third Dzogchen Tulku of Simdha Monastery, Gyurmey Thekchok Tenpa Namgyel (1786-1839) was traveling in the area of Lelung where the previous Getok Rinpoche has been offered tea, and was invited to tea by the family. Upon noticing the newborn he requested that they give him the child for his monastery. The parents answered, “This is our only child, so we have to keep him. However, since refusing the request of a great Rinpoche such as yourself could bring very negative results, you may take him.” The third Simdha Dzogchen Tulku gave the boy refuge vows, and named Gyurmey Tenphel Choesang and gave an amulet to the parents to wear.
Later, when others were searching for the reincarnation of Simdha Getok Getse Pema Rinpoche Rinpoche , Dzogchen Rinpoche told them, “Just go and get that boy I found. That’s him.” The boy was recognized and enthroned, and began his studies with all the great masters of the time. He received teachings and transmissions, did practice and retreat, visiting Mindrolling and other monasteries; later he taught extensively and had many great disciples, and was renowned as being like Milarepa in the way he practiced and taught. Whatever offerings or donations he received he immediately gave them away to anyone in need, or to save and feed animals, and so on.
He was especially well known for his authenticity and non-attachment, and would never brown-nose or suck up to anyone. One quote from him reads:
"Although I don't have any experience or realization, I have realized a small part of what I promised. So I think I'm fortunate among those of degenerate times, And I'll have no regrets when my time of death comes."
Little is known about his life. He presumably spent most of his time at Shechen Monastery and Simdha Dzogchen Monastery in Jomda ('jo mda') with close ties to Mindroling. He is said to have studied from many of the great masters of the time, included Gyurme Tutob Namgyel (b. 1787), the Fourth Shechen Rabjam, Garwang Chokyi Gyeltsen (1811-1863), and the Third Shechen Gyeltsab, Orgyen Rangjung Dorje. He visited Mindroling and other monasteries, and has had a great many disciples.
His short hagiography includes two statements attributed to him:
Gyurmey Tenphel Choesang passed away in 1860. On the eve of his death the Fourth Simdha Dzogchen Tulku, Gyurme Sizhi (1840-1890) and some of his other disciples asked him to live longer. He told them: "Birth results in death. This is how things are and here is no way to change it. But I have done what I needed to do in this life. Just as one leaves behind the boat after one has crossed the river, I'm leaving this body. There is no reason to be upset."
The Fourth Simdha Dzogchen Tulku Gyurmey Sishi Phuntsok performed the rites after his death; his relics are said to survive at Simdha to this day.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: The Treasury of lives