Tulku Pondse Jigme Tenzin—born Jorge René Valles Sandoval on Aug. 17, 1996, in Chihuahua, México—is considered the reincarnation of the great Bon master Lopon Sangye Tenzin Rinpoche (1917–1978).
Only a few weeks after Jorge René’s birth, Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche informed his parents, Caty and Jorge Valles, that Jorge Rene was the incarnation of Lopon Sangye Tenzin Rinpoche, who served as head teacher of Menri Monastery in India. (Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche had stayed in the Valles' house in September 1995 while giving teachings in Mexico and had felt a strong connection then with the family.)
His Holiness Lungtok Tenpai Nyima Rinpoche, the 33rd Menri Trizin and spiritual leader of the Bon tradition, soon afterwards confirmed that from his own dreams and other signs received, it was very clear that young Jorge René was the reincarnation of Lopon Sangye Tenzin Rinpoche.
In May 1997, H.E. Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche, the most senior teacher of the Bon tradition, visited México to meet with the young tulku’s parents to talk with them about the life of the late Löpon Sangye Tenzin and of the importance of caring for and protecting the reincarnated child. In July of that same year, His Holiness Lungtok Tenpai Nyima met with young Jorge René in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to offer his blessings and prayers for all the Valles family.
A year later, in July 1998, the first meeting between Tulku Jorge René and Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak took place in Santa Fe. Also present were Khenpo Tenpa Yungdrung Rinpoche, abbot of Triten Norbutse Monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal, and Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche.
Tulku Jorge Rene was enthroned at Menri Monastery in Dolanji, India, in December 1999 by His Holiness Lungtok Tenpai Nyima, who gave young Jorge the name of Pondse Jigme Tenzin. On Jan. 1, 2000, he also was enthroned at Triten Norbutsé Monastery in Khatmandu, Nepal, by Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche, Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and Khenpo Tenpa Yungdrung Rinpoche before the whole monastery community and Western practitioners.
Since that time, Tulku Jorge René has regularly spent time and received teachings at Triten Norbutsé Monastery in Khatmandu and Menri Monastery in Dolanji, India. He has received dharma instruction in his hometown in Mexico from various tutors, including Geshe Yungdrung Gyaltsen, Geshe Nyima Oser and Lama Kalsang Nyima.
From August 2008 to June 2009, Tulku Jorge Rene stayed for 11 months at Menri Monastery under the care and guidance of his tutor, Geshe Yungdrung Tsultrim. Over the next three years, Geshe Yungdrung Tsultrum spent many months in Chihuahua giving dharma instruction to the young tulku.
Since 2000 Tulku Jorge Rene has attended Summer Retreats at Ligmincha Institute at Serenity Ridge in Shipman, Virginia. He also has attended most of the retreats and seminars organized by Ligmincha Mexico, joining Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, Lopon Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche and Khenpo Tenpa Yungdrung Rinpoche.