15. Patrul Rinpoche
Paltrul Rinpoche (Orgyen Jigme Chokyi Wangpo) was born in the Dzachuka valley of Eastern Tibet. Although he is generally considered to have been the speech incarnation of the great terton Jigme Lingpa, Patrul Rinpoche was originally recognized as an incarnation of Palge Tulku, a lama from Dzogchen Monastery. The first Dodrupchen Rinpoche, one of Jigme Lingpa´s two main disciples, entrusted young Patrul with the Longchen Nyingthik lineage shortly after the recognition. He practiced, studied, and taught this lineage throughout his life. Patrul Rinpoche studied with many different masters. His two main teachers, however, were Jigme Lingpa´s second main disciple, Jigme Gyalwe Nyugu, and the great tantric yogi Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje, the mind incarnation of Jigme Lingpa. Under these and other important lamas, he studied a vast array of topics, from the foundational teachings of the Hinayana up to the most profound and secret oral instructions of the Great Perfection. At the age of twenty, Patrul Rinpoche left the residence of his predecessor and took up the life of a wandering hermit. For the rest of his days, Patrul wandered from mountain retreats to large monasteries, practicing the teachings, instructing students, and composing commentaries on important texts and practices. Though he was master of the Great Perfection teachings, he had a passion for teaching the Mahayana as well. He taught Shantideva´s Bodhisattva-caryavatara over a hundred times. In addition to the many stories of his life and exploits, which remain a much treasured part of Tibetan Buddhist lore, Patrul Rinpoche´s writings have proven to be some of the most influential in recent history. His texts range from scholastic tomes on Mahayana philosophy to pithy poems on how to apply Buddhist principles in daily life. In particular, his text The Words of My Perfect Teacher, a commentary on the Great Perfection preliminary practices, is studied in all of Tibetan Buddhism´s four main lineages. He also composed a profound commentary on The Three Words that Strike the Vital Point, known in Tibetan asTsigsum Nedek.