Khandro Choechen is a contemporary khandroma, born in 1958 in Kham. She fled from Tibet only recently, in 2004.
Since then, she first settled in India, Dharamsala, where she was welcomed and offered lodging by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, and then migrated to the United States.
Khandro Choechen is believed to have several extraordinary spiritual qualities: she is a “treasure revealer”, tertoen (gter ston), she is well-known for her healing capacities and she regularly experiences “pure visions” (dag snang), enabling her to pronounce prophecies (lung bstan), amongst other things. In addition, she has been recognised as a tulku (sprul sku) of a long female line.
From a Brief Introduction to Jnana Dakini Minyag Khandro Choechen (a short autobiography translated into English by Claire Barde).
During childhood, I received teachings on Chanting of the Names of Manjushri (Mañjuri Nama Samgiti; Jam-dpal mtshan-jod) and empowerments from Kyabje Khenchen Jigme Phuntsok, and from Sakya Loden Khenpo I received many teachings and life-empowerments. From Kathog Gertse Rinpoche, I heard preliminary teachings on the Tantra of Luminous Space (kLong-gsal) and many other spiritual advices.
In 2000, from Jampel Thinley, reincarnations of Nyintrul of Kathog Monastery, I received a transmission of the preliminaries of the Heart Essence [of the Vast Expanse] (kLong-chen Nying-thig) and from, Minyag Drugdrag Trulku, I received transmission of phowa (transference of consciousness) practice. From Khenpo Tromge Akhyug I received empowerments and transmissions of the Chod (Cutting through the Four Maras and Ego-Clinging) practices of Sera Yangtrul and Yonru Terchen Chimed Dorje, also kwon as Padma Namdrol Lingpa.
On the 22nd day of the ninth month, the day when the Buddha descended from heaven, of Wood-monkey year of the seventeenth sexagenary cycle, 2004, along with Zarong Shatrul Trulshig Dorje Chang and Shechen Rabjam Chogtrul Nagwang Choepal Gyatso, I received an empowerment and transmission of the collected teachings of Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche and Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. On the same day I also received empowerments to study Kama (the body of teachings translated chiefly during the period of Guru Padmasambhava’s stay in Tibet) and a transmission of the Four Branches of Heart Essence (sNying-thig ya-bzhi) from Trulshig Rinpoche. It was Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche from whom I received transmission of the teachings.
On the 17th September 2004, I found myself in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India, for the first time.
On the 23rd October of that year I had my first audience with His Holiness the present Dalai Lama during which His Holiness very kindly provided me with a lodging at Lhagyal Ri, Dharamshala.
In January 2006 I received the great empowerment of Kalachakra [from His Holiness] before the Amravati Stupa, South India.
On 16th March 2006, I received a transmission of Mila’s spiritual songs.
On 14th May 2006, I received a teaching on the Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, chapter on wisdom. On the day I also received empowerment on the Thirty-seven Practices of a Bodhisattva (Gyal-sras lag-len so-bdun ma) and a complete empowerment on the Sixteen Drops of the Scriptures and Kadam School’s Secret Instructions (bKa’-gdams thig-le bchu-drug). I also received empowerments on Praise of Dharmadhatu (Chos-dbyings bstod-pa), Praise of Dependent Arising (rTen-‘brel bstod-pa), Middling Stages of Meditation (sGom-rim bar-pa), Precious Garland: A Text on Philosophies (Grub-mtha’ rin-chen ‘phreng-ba), tantras of Guhyasamaja, Chakrasamvara and Bhairava, and a transmission of the greater, middling and lesser Treatises on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment (Lam-rim).
On 24th June 2006, I received [another] transmission of the Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life (sPyod-‘jug).
On 24th March 2007, Kyabje Garje Khamtrul Rinpoche, from heart, introduced me to the lotus garland of my lineage of reincarnations and on the same day, I received a supporting letter from His Holiness the Present Dalai Lama regarding my previous reincarnations.
On 19th May 2007, I received an oral transmission of the Fourfold Commentary (Zhi-sgrags), a commentary on the Tantra of Guhyasamaja, and the Five Stages (Rim-lnga).
On 17th March 2008, I received initiation, authorization and explanation on [the Fifth Dalai Lama’s] Pure Visions Called Bearing the Seal of Secrecy (Dag-snang gsang-ba rgya-chan).
Beginning with the days of entering intensive meditational retreats at Naeshi Monastery, I still continue to do so.
In 2000, at Zong-go Retreat Centre, Kathog, Kham, I recited the root verses of The Heart Essence of the Vast Expanse for five hundred thousand times.
In 2005, at Dharamshala, I was able to meditate on the three roots of the Fifth Dalai Lama’s Pure Visions Called Bearing the Seal of Secrecy and the general meaning of the Eight Sadhana Teachings (Ka’-brgyad).
In 2007, I entered a six-month long retreat to meditate of Guru Yoga (Bla-ma’i rmal-‘byor) and recite the Seven Line Supplication (Tshig-bdun gsol-‘debs) at Tsopema (Rewalsar).
After receiving the ripening empowerment and transmission of the Great Treasure Trove of Precious Hidden Teachings (Rin-chen gter-mdzod chen-mo) from Kyabje Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche Shedrub Nyinje Trinley Palsangpo, and Kyabje Lhodrag Namkhe Nyingpo Rinpoche Jamyang Yeshe Tenpai Gyaltsen, from the tenth day of the ninth month of the Earth-mouse year, 2008, till the first month of the Earth-ox year, 2009, I was able to receive teachings that introduced me to the stages of ripening and liberation.
On 17th April 2009, the private office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama very graciously provided me with a marvellous thang-ka (scroll painting) depicting the Great Mother Prajnaparamita, Buddhas of the three times, the Great Fifth Dalai Lama and the Great Present Fourteenth Dalai Lama. On the backside of the thang-ka is adorned with clear imprints of His Holiness the Present Dalai Lama’s hands.
In 2009, His Holiness the Present Dalai Lama bestowed upon me the spiritual name ‘Tenzin Yeshe Gyatso’ as a mark of auspiciousness; His Holiness very graciously gave me a lotus-crown of Padmasambhava.
Beginning on the twelfth day of the fifth month (December 2010), from Kyabje Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche Shedrub Nyinje Trinley Palsangpo I received a complete set empowerment and transmissions of the Collection of the Northern Treasure Texts (Byang-gter chos-skor) at Dragthog Monastery, Ladakh.
From 10 to 18 January 2011, I received an oral transmission of the Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life and the Middling Stages of Meditation, and empowerment of Avalokiteshvara and the life empowerment of White Tara from His Holiness the Present Dalai Lama at Varanasi.
On 19th December 2011, I received an oral transmission of the Three Principal Aspects of the Path to Enlightenment (Lam-gtso rnam-gsum), the Eight Verses of Training the Mind (Blo-sbyong tshig-brgyad ma) and Autobiographical Song of Experience (rTogs-brjod ‘dun-legs ma) at Thegchen Choeling Temple, Dharamshala.
On 31st December 2011, I received the Glorious Kalachakra empowerment and, an oral transmission of the Middling Stages of Meditation and the Thirty-seven Practices of a Bodhisattva at Bodhgaya.
From Kyabje Garje Khamtrul Jamyang Dondup I received an oral transmission of the The Words of My Perfect Teacher (Kun-bzang bla-ma’i zhal-lung): a hearing lineage of the Primordially Pure Dzogchen Practice of Cutting (rDzogs-pa chen-po ka-dag mkhreg-chod).
On 17 June 2012, I received an oral transmission of the Middlling Stages of Meditation.