Tulku Nyima was born in the village of Skimdut, Tromthar District, Kham, in the Water Horse year 1942. When Tulku Nyima was born, rainbows were seen over his family’s nomadic tent. Lama Tatse was called to see the newborn child and he advised Tulku Nyima’s parents that he would become a highly-realized Lama and had to be kept clean. At the time of his birth, Tulku Nyima already had one tooth and hair.
In order to ascertain Tulku Nyima’s status, his father went to Gyatso Monastery for guidance. A senior monk at Gyatso put Tulku Nyima’s cap under his pillow that night. The Lama dreamt of Khenpo Ngawang. This was the first indication of Tulku Nyima’s prior incarnation. The Geat Jamyang Khyentse Choki Lodro recognized Tulku Nyima as the speech reincarnation of Khenpo Ngakwang when Tulku Nyima was just a small boy. At the age of 12, Tulku Nyima went to Ngushey Monastery and trained under many Masters, including his Root Teacher Arik Rinpoche, Orgyen Rigdzin, Khenpo Munsel, and Choktrul Pema Gyurme. During his time at Ngushey, Tulku Nyima studied and meditated on the classic works of Sakya and Nyingma traditions.
Tulku Nyima entered the Changchub Jonpalung Shedra at Nyushey Monastery and was able to master subjects under Lungtrul Rinpoche Lodro Shedrup Tenpai Nyima, Khenpo Munsel of Golok and Arik Rinpoche. Tulku Nyima received the earlier and later cycles of the Nyingtik teachings, the Four Higher Collections of the Heart Drop and Yeshe Lama, and two editions of the source texts for the Heart Drop of Longchenpa.
While at Nyushey, Tulku Nyima commonly restricted his food intake to lunchtime. Tulku Nyima also embarked on studies of the Thirteen Buddhist doctrines. During this period, Tulku Nyima had a vision of White Manjushri, in which Manjushri instructed Tulku Nyima to study and pray from two specific pages in The Guide to the Words of My Perfect Teacher. Tulku Nyima followed Manjushri’s instructions and consistently prayed from these pages. As a result of his studies and prayers, Tulku Nyima aroused his wisdom mind and was able to learn the Thirteen Buddhist doctrines and other matters with almost no study. Tulku Nyima has learned so much material that is would take forty days for someone to recite it all. Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche wrote of Tulku Nyima in a Marvelous Garland of Rare Gems, he “is a teacher of such extraordinary capabilities that he can teach works like the thirteen great source texts and Mipham’s Entrance to the Ways of the Wise from memory.”
Tulku Nyima has been Abbot of many different monasteries in Tibet since 1985 and has taught at universities in Tibet, China and America. He has many disciples, among them Lamas and Tulkus from many regions, including Central Tibet, Kham, Amdo and Inner Mongolia. In 2003, during his first visit to the United States, Tulku Nyima met His Holiness Sakya Trizin, who recognized him as a “genuine reincarnate Lama of the Sakya tradition.” His Holiness also described Tulku Nyima as “well accomplished.” His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche of the Drikung Kagyu tradition has publicly encouraged his students to receive teachings from Tulku Nyima.
A brief biography of Tulku Nyima Gyaltsen Rinpoche appears in A Marvelous Garland of Rare Gems: Biographies of Masters of Awareness in the Dzogchen Lineage, by Nyoshul Khenpo, translated by Richard Barron, Padma Publishing (pg. 540-541).