Dhubthob Rinpoche, Tibetan Buddhist Monk

Dhubthob Rinpoche, Tibetan Buddhist Monk

Interesting People I Have Known

Dhubthob Rinpoche, Tibetan Buddhist monkHe had been living the quiet life of the ascetic in a remote monastery in Tibet when the Communist Chinese invaded in 1959 and threw him in prison with all the other monks as subversive. A group of monks held in the same prison went to their captors and pleaded for his release, explaining that he was a great healer sent to help everyone, not just his people, to which the Chinese demanded proof of his abilities: Rinpoche was sealed in a cave without food, air, light or water and left for ninety days; let's see him get out of that one, the Chinese said.

Medical science dictates that no human can survive without water for forty days; Rinpoche was deprived of all life-sustaining elements for twice that long, yet when his captors rolled away the stone that sealed his tomb he emerged looking exactly like he did on the day he went in. Believing it was some sort of trick and that the monks had somehow secreted him sustenance, the Chinese dragged Rinpoche into the center of a public square and hung him by the neck in broad daylight; let's see him get out of that one, they laughed. But when the Chinese cut him down hours later, he revived consciousness.

The watchdogs at Amnesty International documented that the Chinese proceeded to hang Dhubthob Rinpoche by his neck six more times but couldn't kill him. Each time they cut him down he miraculously revived and after the seventh failed attempt let him go– according to ancient Chinese custom– fearing Rinpoche was either a god or a demon; either way, he was not to be tested further.

Upon his release Rinpoche fled to Nepal, where he built seven monasteries as monuments to his victory over the Chinese and founded a school in Kathmandu. Not only did Rinpoche perform the duties as abbot of Thukje Choeling Monastery, he was the family lama to the Dalai Lama's family and to the Tibetan community living in exile around Kathmandu, where his extraordinary powers were called into practice on a daily basis. He was celebrated for healing the sick with a prayer and a touch of his hand, and divined the future with an uncanny accuracy, which he claimed to be a mere by-product of a life spent in meditation.

I met with Rinpoche for two lengthy periods in 1996 and 1998 when he visited the Tibetan Buddhist mission in Atlanta, where I worked in various capacities. I saw him perform miracles. But when the local news media looked into the story of the faith healer they backed off. "It might make it easier to do this story if it was about a Christian faith healer rather than a Buddhist monk that doesn't even speak English," a producer admitted…which is why you haven't heard about Dubthob Rinpoche until now.

For more of Rinpoche's remarkable story:|11piy

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