Ngakpa Dawa—who is mostly known for the Dorje Yudrönma mélong divination—was born in 1951; on the tenth day of the third month of the Iron-Hare year. He met Ngak’chang Rinpoche on one occasion when Ngak’chang Rinpoche was with Kyabjé Künzang Dorje Rinpoche. They partook of fermented curd together with Künzang Dorje Rinpoche who wanted them to be friends and remain in contact with each other. Unfortunately Ngakpa Dawa’s tragically early demise intervened – and they were never able to meet again.
Ngakpa Dawa was the youngest son of Lama Kathak of the Jo-wa family in the village of Namru, Namtso Kha, northern Tibet. When he was seventeen, Ngakpa Dawa was accepted at the Varanasi Sanskrit University, where he was awarded the title of Acharya (equivalent to an MA Buddhist philosophy).
Ngakpa Dawa received Kalachakra and Drölkar (White Tara) empowerment and practised Drölkar root mantra extensively. Kalachakra and Drölkar remained part of his daily practice until his death in 2017.
From his youth Ngakpa Dawa was interested in Dorje Yangchenma (Saraswati). In 1979 he received the empowerment of Yangchen Mar-mo (Red Saraswati) from Kyabjé Dilgo Khyentsé Rinpoche, a gTérma which was discovered by gTértön Chökyi Go-cha. The protectors connected with Yangchen Marmo are Dorje Yudrönma and Black Dzambhala. Under Kyabjé Dilgo Khyentsé Rinpoche’s guidance, Dawa Chödak Rinpoche entered retreat and gained success in the Dorje Yüdrönma mirror empowerment of prediction. In 1961-62 Ngakpa Dawa received the teachings of the Nyingma Kama from Kyabjé Düd’jom Rinpoche Jig’drèl;l Yeshé Dorje in Kalimpong. Ngakpa Dawa completed the five stages of gTérsar Ngöndro and the practice of the Three Roots of Tantra (Lama, Yidam, and Khandro / dPa’wo). He also received the Nyingma Gyüdbum and the empowerment and instruction of the Düd’jom gTérsar from Kyabjé Düd’jom Rinpoche. By the command of Kyabjé Düd’jom Rinpoche, he went to study with Chag’düd Tulku Rinpoche. Under Chag’düd Tulku Rinpoche’s guidance he began the practice of the Khandro Thugthig. Ngakpa Dawa then proceeded to study with Kyabjé Künzang Dorje Rinpoche. In 1989 Ngakpa Dawa was invited to the USA where he founded a centre in California named Thubten Chöling.