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An inspiring biography of a twentieth-century Tibetan yogin, The Rainbow Body: The Life and Realization of a Tibetan Yogin, Togden Ugyen Tendzin, presents the remarkable life story of Togden (a title meaning “endowed with realization”) Ugyen Tendzin (1888-1962) who, at the end of his life, attained the “rainbow body.” Described as the release of the physical body to the essence of the five elements leaving no material body after death, the rainbow body has been achieved by advanced Tibetan masters in the Dzogchen tradition. It is believed that the rainbow body is an immaterial body, invisible to the physical eye, which continues to exists, actively working for the benefit of all sentient beings.
Tendzin’s nephew, author and Tibetan teacher, Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, developed the book from extensive interviews with Tendzin and information received from one of his closest disciples. Written mainly in first person, as if Tendzin himself were retelling the events of his life, the book traces his childhood struggles and the circumstances which led him to his teacher Adzom Drugpa Drodul Pawo Dorje, one of the greatest Dzogchen masters of the last century. Describing the lessons and instructions Tendzin received from his master, the book ends with a powerful account of Tendzin’s final days in 1962 when he was imprisoned by Chinese revolutionaries. Imprisoned in a small barn, he continued to practice the bodily movements, and breathing and mental concentration exercises his master had taught him, until his physical body “dissolved” into the rainbow body.
“Chögyal Namkhai Norbu is one of the greatest Tibetan meditation masters and scholars teaching in the West.”–Lama Surya Das, author of Awakening the Buddha Within and Awakening the Buddhist Heart, and the founder of the Dzogchen Foundation in Massachusetts