Author Topic: The Mukpo Family Lineage  (Read 12943 times)

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The Mukpo Family Lineage
« on: August 01, 2012, 07:36:09 PM »

Top: left to right, Rölpe Dorje Rinpoche, Karma Senge Rinpoche, Khenpo Tsering Gyurme, Gesar Mukpo, Lady Diana Mukpo, Ashoka Mukpo, Garwang Rinpoche, Lamen Dr Mitchell Levy. Front: Chandali, David Mukpo. Taken at Surmang Namgyaltse, 2002.

Surmang is the spiritual home of the lineage of reincarnated Buddhist teachers known as the Trungpa Tulkus. They trace their ancestry back over the centuries. The Vidyadhara, the Venerable Chögyam Trungpa was the eleventh Trungpa Tulku. He was born into the Mukpo clan of Tibet, whose great ancestor was the famous monarch Gesar of Ling.

The Mukpo clan includes the Vidyadhara’s surviving family, who also bear the name Mukpo, in addition to any other honorific titles or religious names also given to them.

This direct family connection between the Mukpo clan and Surmang—the religious and temporal seat of the Trungpa Tulkus—is at the heart of the Konchok Foundation.

The Foundation is named after Lady Kunchok Palden, the mother of the Vidyadhara’s eldest son, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. She fled Tibet into exile with the Vidyadhara in 1959 and revisited Surmang again for the first time in 2001 when she accompanied the Sakyong.

Lady Diana Mukpo, the Vidyadhara’s widow and holder of the title Druk Sakyong Wangmo, is one of the founders of the Konchok Foundation. Together with her current husband, Acharya Mitchell Levy, MD, she visited Surmang in 2002.

Lady Diana Mukpo and Lamen Dr Mitchell Levy

Tagtrug Mukpo is half-brother to Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Chogyam Trungpa’s eldest son. As a young child, Taggie was recognized by His Holiness the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa as one of several incarnations of Surmang Tenga Rinpoche, a tulku in the Kaygu lineage. He currently lives in northern Vermont near Karme Choling.

In early childhood, Tenga Rinpoche developed a profound seizure disorder and was diagnosed with autism and has been living with these conditions ever since. Tagtrug requires 24-hour-a-day care and supervision.

Gesar Mukpo and Ashoka Mukpo, new breed of Western Tulkus

Chandali Mukpo and husband, Eric Wilson

David Mukpo with cousin Chokyi (Gesar's daughter)

Some news as of winter 2010

The Druk Sakyong Wangmo, Lady Diana Mukpo, is currently in Florida, campaigning her horse, Pascal, on the winter dressage circuit. She has had considerable success this winter at the Gran Prix (Olympic) level. She continues to teach programs in various Shambhala centres throughout the United States, and co-directed the Warrior Assembly at Shambhala Mountain Center this summer with Acharya Levy. Her health remains strong and she is as vibrant as ever.

The Lamen Kyi-Kyap, Acharya Dr Mitchell Levy is now Chief, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Brown University. He recently received a $2.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study knowledge translation and performance improvement in health care. His work with the Kalapa Council continues.

Tagtrug Mukpo is doing well, living in Vermont, and recently spent Thanksgiving with the Mukpo Clan in Providence.

Gesar Mukpo continues to pursue his career as a filmmaker. He recently flew to Los Angeles to meet with Oliver Stone and discuss Gesar’s latest film project on the Druk Sakyong.

Ashoka Mukpo is currently working towards his masters degree at The School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. The program is demanding and requires long hours of study, which makes the rest of the family very happy!

Chandali Mukpo is being a full time mother, caring for her daughter, Dechen. Dechen, along with her cousins Jetsun Drukmo and Chokie (Gesar’s daughter), are likely to take over the Mukpo family quite soon!

David Mukpo is graduating from the Dalhousie Business School in May of this coming year. He is living in Halifax.


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Re: The Mukpo Family Lineage
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2012, 10:10:45 AM »
By the way, Taggie Mukpo is a tulku, and he is autistic. It is not easy to care for an autistic person and even as an adult, they are not capable of taking care of themselves and they require full time assistance from another person, all the time. Luckily, there is a special system in place that has been created to solve this issue, and this has ensured Taggie's survival until now.

A Brief History of Tagtrug Mukpo's Life
Tagtrug Mukpo, the oldest son of the Vidyadhara, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Lady Diana Mukpo, was born in 1971. While still a toddler, Taggie began to exhibit signs of developmental difficulties. He underwent thorough medical investigations and, although no "definitive" diagnosis could be established, his condition was determined to fall into the general category of autism. Around that time he began having complex seizures, sometimes numerour diffent types in one day.

A variety of different care situations were created for Taggie over the years, including several attempts to have him live with his family aided by caregivers. In the mid-1970's, Taggie lived at Karmê Chöling, where he was cared for by David Nudell.

When His Holiness the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa visited, he suggested that Taggie come to stay with him at Rumtek monastery in Sikkim; he thought Taggie might be suffering from what the Tibetans call "tulku's disease," and that the monastic environment and His Holiness's attention might bring benefit. Money was raised to accomplish this and Taggie moved to Rumtek when he was six and lived there most of the time until in his late teens. By then His Holiness Karmapa and His Eminence Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, each of whom had taken special interest in Taggie's well-being, had both died; when Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche visited his brother in Rumtek, he felt it best for Taggie to return to North America.

In 1989, after attempts to set up adequate care situations for him in Boulder and Halifax had not worked out, Taggie moved back to Karmê Chöling, residing at his father's former home near there, Bhumi Pali Bhavan (BPB), for a time. Jeannine Hawkins, a social worker who first assisted Taggie during this period and who, in 2003, was instrumental in obtaining the Medicaid waiver which now provides the majority of Taggie's support, says of that time,

(It was)..." November 1989, around then. He had just come back from India. He had no benefits. He was living at BPB at the time, and he had various people that were caring for him, and he was burning them out quite quickly. At the time he was extremely active. When I first met him he was just darting, darting all the time. You know, you couldn't get him to focus on any one thing; he was just off."

Shortly after this, because of Taggie's level of agitation, propensity to violent reactions, and need for full-time attention, his family came to the reluctant decision that they were unable to maintain the level of care he required. Taggie's guardianship and support was assumed by the State of Vermont, which placed him in Dayspring Group Home for those with developmental delays.

Jeannine Hawkins was also Taggie's social worker when he was at Dayspring. While Taggie's self-sufficiency increased there-he learned to dress himself, brush his teeth, and make his bed-other aspects were difficult. Jeannine remembers that Taggie's medications at the time were ineffective and resulted in negative side effects. He experienced frequent seizures and the emotional upheavals of other Dayspring residents, who were also autistic and/or had varying degrees of mental retardation, caused over-stimulation. Taggie became increasingly violent. Jeannine says, It became intolerable for Taggie, and it was clear that he couldn't stay in that environment.

In 1991, Herb Elsky, a sangha member living at Karmê Chöling, petitioned the state for legal guardianship and moved Taggie back to BPB. Jeannine continued as Taggie's social worker during that transition. Along with Herb, other staff members from Karmê Chöling assisted with Taggie's care.

Jeannine reflects, "It was very difficult over the next few years for those good-hearted people to know exactly what to do to provide an appropriate environment for Taggie. They persevered ... much to their credit."

She remembers one visit to BPB. ..."this poor young man was running around frantic, not knowing what to do, and Taggie was just running circles around him. She said to the young man, I think you have to be a little bit firmer setting the boundaries." During this time, Eric Gunsalus, who had been one of the caregivers at Dayspring, was hired to give Herb Elsky much-needed relief. Eric remained as one of Taggie's caregivers for the next decade, providing stability through two staffing transitions.

During 1992, Robert and Chris Chandler replaced Herb Elsky. The Chandlers provided a family environment for Taggie. Over several years, in consultation with Jeff Fortuna, they realized the necessity of establishing a consistent care model, including setting tight boundaries and giving up all expectations for Taggie's "improvement." A long term approach to Taggie's care evolved from these important efforts made by the Chandlers. The evolution of Taggie's care model remains on the underpinning of stability hard won during this time based on not only the long-term, hands-on experience of a group of highly dedicated caregivers but also in consultation with Drs. Edward Podvoll and Jeff Fortuna, a pioneers in the field of contemplative psychology and home care, as well as Taggie's psychiatrist, neurologist, and nurse practitioner.

Although in the early years the approach to Taggie's care was to try to "fix" him, engaging in goal-oriented efforts to make his behavior more "normal," Dr. Podvoll proved prescient when he said he expected Taggie's gains would be "glacial." Eventually those around Taggie realized the need to cut through their own hope and doubt and stop looking for rapid improvement, freed them to see Taggie's situation more clearly. From this perspective, writes Christine Chandler, who lived with Taggie for six years, "it is important to eliminate all talk about "gain," or at least to put the gains in a context of Taggie unfolding, because he can now relax around the social world surrounding him-because people understand him better, are more keyed into what he is trying to "say." That is what his precious teaching and manifestation is: "Expect nothing. Relax and everything is perfect, just as it is."

The social world into which Taggie can now relax is provided by diligent maintenance of his individualized care plan, which involves setting firm behavioral boundaries and allowing him to unfold into social situations as he can. His legal guardian, Susan Taney, MSN, ANP, has researched alternative care models for autism and has, to date, found no other program that matches the level of care and governmental support Taggie now receives. The state of Vermont is very helpful in providing what is needed for developmentally delayed adults.

As Jeannine Hawkins, BS, Developmental Services Supervisor, Northeast Kingdom Human Services, says, "...a care plan has evolved that provides the secure boundaries within which Taggie can relax and be happy. It is because of this that I worked hard on Taggie's behalf to get the maximum amount allowed by the state to help to provide what is needed to maintain what he has in place."

Continuity is a key to Taggie's health. All the health care providers and professionals involved with Taggie's care over the years-his doctors, pharmacist, social worker and so forth-continue to be amazed and encouraged with his slow but sure increase in stability and calmer way in which he can begin to interact with others.


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Re: The Mukpo Family Lineage
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2012, 07:43:42 PM »
There's a new addition to the Mukpo family - Jetsun Drukmo Yeshe Sarasvati Ziji Mukpo, daughter of the Sakyong and Sakyong Wangmo. And a very nice message from Lady Diana Mukpo ( )

To the noble sangha

I recently had the opportunity to pay my first visit to Jetsun Drukmo. What a beautiful, strong baby. As I held her in my arms I realized that I was holding the future of The Kingdom of Shambhala. This is my third granddaughter and clearly this is the time of the mother lineage. How fortunate for this lovely elegant being to be born into the Mukpo clan. I have no doubt that she will live up to her name.

I was so happy to see the radiance of natural motherhood from Khandro Tseyang and the look of pure joy on the Sakyong’s face each time he held his new daughter. It is obvious to me that she has captured his heart. My profound love and affection goes out to the newest member of the Mukpo clan. A new era for our lineage has begun.

Yours in the vision of Shambhala lineage

The Druk Sakyong Wangmo

Now, on another note, I don't quite understand the situation with Taggie Mukpo, and the report shared by Ensapa only increased my confusion. First of all, seing as Taggie is a recognized and confirmed reincarnation, I suppose it is possible for him to suffer from Tulku disease. However, as he was in the monastery for a significant amount of time, and in the "correct" environment, why didn't his condition improve, as it should?

Secondly, I am wondering why the Sakyong decided to bring Taggie back to the USA, and why Taggie remained in the USA despite his condition getting worse. And why did his condition continue to deteriorate? Assuming it was Tulku disease, wouldn't it be best for him to return to the monastery? Or, being in the USA in the care of his family who are also Tulkus, wouldnt they know how to improve his situation?

Lastly, I am curious as to why Taggie is even in this situation at all. Tulkus are reincarnated lamas, and to my knowledge, there are both high Tulkus and "lower" Tulkus, with differing degrees of control. In Taggie's case, H. E. Zurmang Tenga Rinpoche is currently in his 12th reincarnation, and is a very highly regarded Tulku of Zurmang, being one of the 3 main Zurmang Tulkus.

So, I find it very odd that Taggie is suffering from his present condition. I've thought about it for a while, but the only remotely possible conclusion is that Taggie has reincarnated into his current body and situation intentionally, for some reason. Perhaps it is for others to collect merit by serving him? Perhaps he has a different purpose to fulfill in this life? What else could it be?


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Re: The Mukpo Family Lineage
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2012, 09:26:55 PM »
Lastly, I am curious as to why Taggie is even in this situation at all. Tulkus are reincarnated lamas, and to my knowledge, there are both high Tulkus and "lower" Tulkus, with differing degrees of control. In Taggie's case, H. E. Zurmang Tenga Rinpoche is currently in his 12th reincarnation, and is a very highly regarded Tulku of Zurmang, being one of the 3 main Zurmang Tulkus.

So, I find it very odd that Taggie is suffering from his present condition. I've thought about it for a while, but the only remotely possible conclusion is that Taggie has reincarnated into his current body and situation intentionally, for some reason. Perhaps it is for others to collect merit by serving him? Perhaps he has a different purpose to fulfill in this life? What else could it be?

Due to the care of the support team, it seemed that the condition of Tagtrug Mukpo (“Taggie”) has improved. Although Taggie continues to be cared for by his Shared Living Provider, Erin Christie, he is now being referred to as “Tenga Rinpoche” since this is how Tagtrug has recently been introducing himself.

A New Era for Tagtrug Mukpo
April 20, 2012
Article by Acharya Suzann Duquette
Shambhala Times

Tenga at a recent Shambhala Art program at Karme Choling, to his right is Erin Christie, to his left is Randie Fox
photos by Ted Ballou at a recent Shambhala Art program at Karme Choling


Tagtrug Mukpo, affectionately known as Taggie, is the autistic son of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and his wife, Lady Diana Mukpo. On March 10, Taggie celebrated his 41st birthday at Karme Choling. It was a wonderful event, with more than ten people at Taggie’s head table, lots of momos, spring rolls and a homemade cake. It was a special event with a number of magical moments. After the second round of cheerful birthday by the entire dining room, Taggie said quietly, “Thank you very much.” At the end, he shook hands with everyone who came over to say goodbye to him.
Taggie was back two weeks later for lunch at Karme Choling, and happy to be here. His primary caregiver, Randie Fox, asked him earlier that day what he wanted to do, and he said he wanted to go to Karme Choling. After lunch, he was taking his plate to the dish room and Randie asked Taggie to take hers. He did. When he returned, I had just finished eating and she asked if he would take my tray to the dish room. He smiled and took it right there.
It feels like a new era for Taggie. Over the past nine years, I have been honored to serve as one of six volunteer members of the Tagtrug Mukpo Support Team and Trustee for the Tagtrug Mukpo Trust. In particular, I have appreciated the one-pointed vision of the support team members to ensure Taggie’s physical health and also to facilitate his ability to manifest as fully as possible in this life. I have felt a strong bond with the support team as friends and colleagues and in all of our work together. I am thankful for what I have learned from and along with everyone about how to view and best support Taggie, and am particularly thankful to Ashoka Mukpo, as a representative of his family, for assuming leadership of the support team. It is wonderful that David Mukpo is also part of the support team.
I first met and started working with Taggie fifteen years ago when I was co-director of Karme Choling. Along with many others, I have been amazed at Taggie’s development over these years. It has been a journey for him and all of us. When I first met him, he spent a lot of time tearing pages of books or other paper into small bits or watching television, and there was always an edge of alert to possible aggressive outbursts and his frequent grand mal seizures. I don’t recall any eye contact. His caregivers, supported by Karme Choling at the time, emphasized that he needed “alpha” caregiving, and psychological advisors assessed that any progress for Taggie in this life would be “glacial.” With Susan Taney’s guidance, changes in Taggie’s medications and approach to his physical and psychological care have improved his overall health. Especially in the past three years, with Erin Christie’s love, protectorship and skill as Shared Living Provider (SLP), and her tenacity with dietary changes and the addition of alternative health care, Taggie has begun to manifest truly differently. As Erin has said, depending on the occasion, he might be Taggie or Tenga, or even, on occasion, Tenga Rinpoche, one of several incarnations of Surmang Tenga Rinpoche, as recognized by the Sixteenth Gyalwang Karmapa.

While Taggie still has many past behaviors we are familiar with, he also has evolved in several remarkable ways. These include his higher tolerance for people, confusion, and input; his presence; and his interest in communicating. Many anecdotes about Taggie from Erin, but also from previous caregivers, point to Taggie’s perceptiveness. As we’ve all seen, though, Tenga is now demonstrating more ability to connect, arise to daily activities, take on additional responsibilities, and indicate his needs verbally. It is amazing to hear him speaking in full sentences, see him holding eye contact, and to know that he is finding his voice through music. Erin and Randie Fox, his current SLP, are encouraging these, and more. Personally, I have had conversations with Tenga, including direct eye contact and complete interactions – verbal and nonverbal – that have amazed me. None of this was possible or even dreamt of when I first met him.

It is a relief to know that at that this point Taggie is in a loving and supportive family. Randie Fox has known and worked with Taggie in different capacities for close to nine years. And, as Randi said when she applied to be SLP, she feels Taggie is part of her family. Her children connect with Taggie and her husband has said, “This is where Taggie should be; he should be with us.” It is fortunate, too, that not only is Erin continuing to be involved with Taggie’s care directly and as an advisor, but also her father, mother, and her sister, a respite caregiver for Taggie, are all integrally woven into Taggie’s life. Taggie’s caregiving team is strong.

While performing this painting, Tenga said "May I free all beings"

Currently, with the family’s continuing support and other committed donor support, which complements and extends Taggie’s state and federal support, Taggie also has fundamental financial stability.
While it is never certain or guaranteed, I trust that Taggie will continue to flourish. This will be due to so many factors, but certainly among those are his family’s ongoing love and attention, Susan Taney’s strong and consistent guardianship, Erin Christie’s attention and advice, and the dedication of other support team members: Michael Greenleaf, Gerry Haase, and Bill Brauer. This is in addition to Michael Taney, Carol Hyman, David Wilde, Olive Colon, and others who are involved with Taggie’s support in a variety of ways.
I am so grateful and proud of everyone involved with Taggie. He is strong, his living situation is loving and stable, and his circle of support is fierce. After much consideration, and given other responsibilities to support Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche’s vision for Shambhala, this seems to be an auspicious time to step back from my responsibilities on the support team. At the same time, I hope to stay in touch with Taggie’s developments and, as is our Shambhala tradition, am happy to be called back if needed to help.
For more stories about Taggie, please also see Taggie’s website:



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Re: The Mukpo Family Lineage
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2012, 11:24:02 AM »
I've always find it interesting to read about the Mukpo clan and how they've evolved and till this day... their Father Chongyam Trungpa's legacy continues to grow. Chogyam Trungpa, the founder of Shambala has a remarkable vision and this vision continues to grow and take shape because of their Guru Devotion and believed in their Father's vision. It is admirable!

It is remarkable that all these Tulkus choose to be born in this family and made Diana Mukpo their carrier/mother. It must be for a higher reason and I think even if Taggie was born as an autistic child must be for a reason... yes perhaps to allow people to collect merits from serving him and Gesar continues to pursue film making instead of sitting on a throne. Perhaps the new era for their lineage is to spread Dharma via non-conventional way. This is also not very surprising a their father Chgyam Trungpa was not very conventional anyways.... x

The legacy of the Vidyadhara, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche remains vital today in the institutions he founded, the teachings he presented, and the dedicated practice of his students. It is also being preserved for the benefit of future generations in the following ways:

The Shambhala Mandala

One of the greatest accomplishments of the Vidyadhara, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche was the establishment of the Shambhala mandala, a global basis for the transmission of the vision, teachings and practices he brought to the world. The teachings and transmissions passed on by the Vidyadhara are studied and explored in the expanding association of centres, groups and other entities he founded and which are now directed by his son and spiritual heir, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. In addition to centres and groups on five continents, the Shambhala mandala includes a range of other programs and institutions, reaching out into education, health care, social work, organizational change and innovation, publishing, and a broad spectrum of the arts.


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Re: The Mukpo Family Lineage
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2012, 12:44:33 PM »
Here's a brief history on Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. This is how new titles and new lineages are created, that will benefit many people in many years to come. It is an interesting read on how Chongyam Trungpa groomed him into a Dharma teacher as he is not formally educated, but he became a teacher anyway. This shows that Chongyam Trungpa is an authentic teacher.

About The Sakyong, Jamgön Mipham Rinpoche

The Sakyong, Jamgön Mipham Rinpoche, is one of Tibet’s highest and most respected incarnate lamas. The Sakyong—literally, “earth protector”—is king of Shambhala. The first king of Shambhala, Dawa Sangpo, was empowered directly by the Buddha.

The   Shambhala tradition emphasizes confidence in the enlightened nature of all beings—windhorse—and teaches courageous rulership based on wisdom and compassion. It holds that these qualities are ultimately more stable than aggression and greed. It shows how to use worldly life as a means to ripen this spiritual potential. It practices turning the mind toward others as a discipline that creates lungta, windhorse, the ability to attain success that occurs from acting virtuously. Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche leads a global community of over 150 meditation centers rooted in these principles.

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche is unique in that he bridges two worlds. The eldest son of the Vidyadhara Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, who was instrumental in bringing Buddhism to the West, he is the incarnation of Mipham the Great, who is revered in Tibet as an emanation of Manjushri, the buddha of wisdom. He descends from the Tibetan warrior-king Gesar of Ling. He also holds the Kagyü and Nyingma lineages of Tibetan Buddhism.

He is the head of the Shambhala Buddhist lineage and is spiritual director of Shambhala, a borderless kingdom of meditation practitioners committed to realizing enlightenment and social harmony through daily life. He is the lineage holder of Naropa University, which is dedicated to advancing contemplative education.

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche was born in 1962 in Bodhagaya, India, to Lady Könchok Palden. He spent his early years receiving a Buddhist education, later joining his father in the West, where he continued his study of Buddhist philosophy and ritual. He has studied with the great masters His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche—teacher of the HH Dalai Lama and the king of Bhutan—and HH Penor Rinpoche. He is married to Princess Tseyang Palmo, daughter of His Eminence Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche, head of the Ripa lineage.

The Sakyong has written two books, the national bestseller Turning the Mind into An Ally, and the prize—winning Ruling Your World. He is a poet and an artist. He has run marathons to raise money for Tibet through the Konchok Foundation. In September 2006 he offered the first Living Peace Award to HH the Dalai Lama at the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya in Colorado. He travels extensively, teaching throughout the world.