Lama Dawa Chhodak Rinpoche is a friend of Ngak’chang Rinpoche and a co-disciple of Kyabjé Künzang Dorje Rinpoche. He was born a year earlier than Ngak’chang Rinpoche: in 1951 – on the tenth day of the third month of the Iron-Hare year.
He is the youngest son of Lama Kathak Rinpoche of the Jo-wa family in the village of Namru, Namtso Kha, northern Tibet. When he was seventeen Dawa Chhodak Rinpoche was accepted at the Varanasi Sanskrit University, where he was awarded the title of Acharya (masters degree in Buddhist philosophy, in which he gained first class honours).
Dawa Chhodak Rinpoche studied with some of the greatest meditation masters of the twentieth century, and achieved success in many avenues of Vajrayana practice. He is most well-known for his attainment in the Dorje Yudrönma mélong divination.
In 1989 Dawa Chhodak Rinpoche was invited to visit the USA where he founded a centre in California named Thubten Chöling. Dawa Chhodak Rinpoche received Kalachakra and Drölkar (White Tara) empowerment and practised Drölkar root mantra 1,300,000 times. The Essential Kalachakra and Drölkar remain part of his daily practice.
From his youth Dawa Chhodak Rinpoche has been interested in Dorje Yangchenma (Saraswati), the female yidam who embodies wisdom. In 1979 he received the secret empowerment of Yangchen Marmo (Red Saraswati) from Kyabjé Dilgo Khyentsé Rinpoche, a gTérma which was discovered by the gTértön Chökyi Go-cha. The protectors connected with Yangchen Marmo are Dorje Yudrönma and Black Dzambhala. Under Kyabjé Dilgo Khyentsé Rinpoche’s guidance, Dawa Chhodak Rinpoche entered retreat and achieved the full attainment of the Dorje Yudrönma mirror empowerment of prediction – on the basis of which he is able to see into past, present and future. Through his divinations several incarnations in the Aro gTér line have been discovered and various important connections have been made.
In 1961-62 Lama Dawa Chhodak received the complete teachings of the Kama (the unbroken transmission of teachings of all Nyingma Masters) from Kyabjé Düd’jom Rinpoche at Kalimpong, India. Under Kyabjé Düd’jom Rinpoche’s instruction Dawa Chhodak Rinpoche completed the five stages of gTérsar Ngöndro and the practice of the Three Roots of Tantra (Lama, Yidam, and Khandro / Pawo). He also received the Nyingma Gyüdbum (the hundred thousand Nyingma tantras) and the full empowerment and instruction of the Düd’jom gTérsar (new gTérmas of Düd’jom Rinpoche) from Kyabjé Düd’jom Rinpoche. By the command of Kyabjé Düd’jom Rinpoche, he went to study with His Eminence Chagdüd Tulku Rinpoche. Under HE Chag’düd Rinpoche’s guidance he began the practice of the Khandro Thugthig (Dakinis’ Heart Essence). He also received the secret instruction of Dzogchen from HE Chag’düd Tulku Rinpoche.
Lama Dawa Chhodak then proceeded to study with the great rTsa rLung Master – Kyabjé Künzang Dorje Rinpoche (also known as His Holiness Karma Gyalpo Rinpoche).