Tobgyal was born in Kardak Township, Cona County, Tibet Autonomous Region, China, in May 1958. In 1972, during the middle of the Cultural Revolution, his grandparents sent him to a propaganda team. As a youth, he had his first on stage experience by reciting Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung in a theater in Tibet. Two years later, he returned home to be a farmer. In 1976, at the age of 18, he became a coal miner in Shigatse. At the end of that year, Tobgyal was elected as a trainee in the Tibet Autonomous Region Drama Troupe. He was sent to Shanghai Theatre Academy to study acting on government scholarships. On the graduation ceremony, he played as Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, a tragedy written by William Shakespeare early in his career about two young star-crossed lovers whose deaths ultimately reconcile their feuding families.
Tobgyal made his film debut in Mysteries of the Potala Palace (1988), playing a Khenpo.
In 1995, he had key supporting role in Snow Tremor as Gonpo, which earned him an Outstanding Supporting Actor Award at the Flying Apsaras Awards.
Tobgyal earned critical acclaim for his performance as a tribal chief in Red River Valley (1996) by Feng Xiaoning, for which he received a Best Supporting Actor nomination at the Golden Rooster Awards.
Tobgyal has made a number of guest appearances on other television shows, including Tibet Situation, Princess Wencheng, Once Upon a Time in Lhasa, When All Is Said And Done, The Living Buddha, Tea-Horse Road, and Snow Territory Day Road.