A Short Biography of His Eminence Chogye Trichen Rinpoche
The Twenty-fifth Throne-Holder of Nalendra
The Noble Clan into which He was born, And the Manner in which He was Enthroned As the Holder of the Main Seat
His Eminence Chogye Trichen Rinpoche was born as son of Sonam Senge Wangchuk and mother Chimey Dolkar, daughter of Pal-ling family, in the divine-luminous clan known as Kushang, in Shigatse, a province of great Tibet, on 4th of 8th lunar month of Tibetan calendar of Iron-Monkey year in 1919. The clan to which His Eminence was born is known as luminous Che-lineage, which produced the great lotsawas [translators] such as Gyana Siddha and Che Khyi-druk and so on. In the beginning of later dissemination of Buddha Dharma in Tibet, Chetsun Sherab Jungney, a disciple of the great Lotsawa Dorje Wangchuk, one of the Ten Renowned Men of Central Tibet established Shalu Serkhang. During the tenure of the tenth Khenpo at Shalu, Kushang Drakpa Gyaltsen invited the omniscient Buton to the main seat. He carried out three fold activities such as explanation, debate, and composition, and established Shalu Ribuk Monastery. In this way, this particular clan have had become a great source of Sutra, Tantra, and the other sciences by producing outstanding adepts such as Lotsawa Rinchen Namgyal, Chetsun Vajradahra Khyenrab Choje, Lochen Choe-kyong Sangpo, along with Tsarchen Dorje Chang and his prominent disciples. This is the greatness with which the divine Dharma of the Che clan is endowed.
At the time, when the Sakya reigned over Tibet, Che Sang-ye, a member of the clan, became the chief of Shalu prefecture, which was one of the Thirteen Prefectures of Tibet, with ten thousand families constituting one prefecture. This is the greatness of the worldly affairs of the members of the Che clan. A daughter of Che Sang-ye, Khandro Bum, was taken as consort of Drogon Chagna, and she gave birth to Dharmapala Rakshita. From that time onward, this clan was known as Shalu Kushang.
Shonnu Bum, the mother of Lama Dhampa Sonam Gysaltsen and his brother, was also from Shalu family. Thus this noble family has proved to be a supreme clan, which has been blessed with many revered ladies who have produced many Bodhisattavas. In this very sacred clan, His Eminence was born as the son of Sonam Senge Wangchuk, who successfully carried the lineage of the Shalu noble family. His Eminence's mother was also from a noble family, of the lineage of Drangti Gyal-nyen Kharphuk and Drangti Lotsawa Jaya Rakshita, who were counted among the nine expert physicians of the Dharma King Trisong Deutsen.
During the later dissemination of the Buddha Dharma in Tibet, Drangti Dharma Nyingpo of this noble clan had gained renown among the philosophers as the final source of the Abhidharma. He and many other scholars and adepts such as Thartse Penchen Namkha Palsang and his four uncles and nephews of the Thartse abbacy were also assets of this noble family, into which His Eminence's mother was born.
His Eminence's paternal uncle, Khansar Khenpo Jampal Nyingpo adorned him with the Dharma name, Kunsang Chimey Wangpo. At age 7, he began to learn the arts of reading and writing from his father and brother, Namkha Kunsang. He received the vow of Upasaka (the laypersons' vows of the five precepts) from Thartse Khenpo Jamyang Kunsang Tenpae Gyaltsen. As he had become seriously ill for a period of almost three years, his mother made a pledge that the child should be handed over to the protection of his uncle, Khangsar Khen Rinpoche. Nevertheless, his father was in favor of sending him to the care of his brother who was living at Thartse. However, in 1929, when His Eminence reached the age ten, some treasurers from the Chogye Lama Palace came to invite him to Nalendra, carrying a letter of recognition with seal by 13th Dalai Lama. Thus, at the age 12, he was installed on the Dharma-throne of the great Rongton [the founder of Nalendra]
Nalendra, the Great Seat
And the reason His Eminence was installed
As a Possessor of the Doctrine
The great Rongton, omniscient one was born as the son of the learned Gegoe King endowed with miraculous powers at Gyalmo Rong in the year of Fire-sheep, 1367. Until age eighteen, he executed the task of teaching, debating, and composing, according to the Bon tradition. Sherab Gyaltsen, the founder of Menri, the main seat of the Bonpo, was also Rongton's disciple. At age 18, he studied the four major sciences with Lingtoe Rinchen Namgyal at Sangphu Institute. At 22, from Khenpo Kunga Gyaltsen of Drosey etc, he received the vows of a novice and the Bhikshu vows of full monastic ordination. Thereby, he was adorned with Bhikshu name, Shakya Gyaltsen. At age 27, he had an opportunity to see the great scholar and adept Khenchen Yakpa, who had mastered multiple texts and received the arts of explanation related to the Sutras according to Sakya tradition. He also received from Thekchen Choje the Hevajra Tantra in Two Chapters and Lamdre, from Senge Gyaltsen of Yarlung, he received the Triple Tantra and so on, and he practiced the profound meaning of secret mantra. In brief, from the age of twenty-two to eighty-three, he dedicated all his time to teaching, debate, and composition. He composed commentaries on Sutra texts like Prajna Paramita in one hundred thousand verses, and so forth; and Tantra texts like Guhya Samaja, and so on; and commentaries on the five major treatises of Buddhist philosophy, as well as on forty other treatises.
He had produced many disciples such as the Four Great Pillars that Elevate the Doctrine; the Two Supreme Teachers and the Eight Ornaments Beautifying the Himalaya Region (Tibet); the Three Disciples having Identical Spiritual Activities; the Sixteen Masters who illuminate the Doctrine; and the Four Learned Masters endowed with the name Kirti (the famous ones). Moreover, he had produced Gorampa Sonam Senge and Shakya Chogdhen, the two lords of the scholars.
About six thousand Tripitaka holders such as the sixth Karmapa Thongwa Dhondhen; Dagpo Rabjam Tashi Namgyal; a throne holder of the Gelug, Lodue Choekyong; and Palden Senge, a throne holder of Drepung; and so on, also sought teachings from this unparalleled master, Rongton Shakya Gyaltsen. It is said that there were none who had better maintained the continuity of the teaching lineage, and produced so many direct disciples, such as Chapa Choeseng, Chomden Rigral, and the great omniscient Rongton. At the age of sixty-nine, in 1435, the year of the fire-hare, he established the main shrine of Nalendra; the upper and lower residences; and one hundred and thirty seven monk living quarters.
The winter and summer teaching semesters were held in similar fashion to that of Sangphu Institute where as many as eight hundred monks gathered. Gradually the number further increased to two thousand. Finally, he entered into Parinirvana in 1449, the year of the Earth-Dragon. The second throne holder, [first successor] Tashi Namgyal, taught Sutra and Tantra teachings from his heart every day. He defeated many scholars through his skill in debate, and was known to be endowed with clairvoyance. The third, Rigpai Wangchuk Gewa Gyaltsen, admitted that he was incomparable to any one below the worlds of Brahma when it came to the arts of explaining teachings through the use of quotations and wisdom. The fourth great scholar, Gungru Sherab Sangpo, was famed as one whose knowledge in composing texts was unprecedented. The fifth, Chogye Kunga Dorjee; The sixth, Khyenrab Tenpai Nyima; the seventh, Lobsang Namgyal Pal Sangpo were throne-holders of Nalendra, respectively.
For about twenty years, this monastic institution flourished, with the number of monks at that time reaching to three thousands. There were forty-five sections of houses; four monastic colleges; one main assembly; and two Lama palaces. Nevertheless, during the tenure of the last two abbots, this institute suffered an immense degeneration. This particular event led the monastery administrators to invite the owner of all the profound teachings of the Sakya, Dagchen Vajradhara Lodroe Gyaltsen. He then imparted the Lamdre teaching to some one thousand students. By holding Bodhichita-like spiritual aspirations for saving Nalendra from further deterioration, Shalu Khenpo Khyenrab Choje, the paternal uncle of the Che clan, the heart-son of Ngorchen and his disciples, was enthroned as the eighth throne holder of Nalendra. At the age of sixty-two, Khyenrab Chogye entered into Parinirvana, on the eighteenth day of the twelfth lunar month in the year of Fire-snake. At that period, the committee responsible for handling the after-death rituals happened to be known as Chogye (the 18th one). From that time onwards, many masters strictly committed to pure-samaya were born into the Che-noble family, and ascended to the throne. When the twenty-fourth throne holder Che-tsun Rinchen Khyentse Wangpo entered into Parinirvana, the thirteenth Dalai Lama recognized him (His Eminence Chogye Trichen Rinpoche) as reincarnation of the twenty-fourth throne-holder. Since he was the lineage holder of the paternal lineage of Chetsun, the doctrine of Rongton was handed over to him.
The eighth, Shalu Kushang Khyenrab Choje received the empowerment of Kalachakra through the direct lineage and became a renowned master. Sonam Chogdrup was the ninth throne-holder. The tenth throne-holder Jamyang Donyod Gyaltsen was invited by the Chinese emperor of Ming dynasty and offered him a crown, cloak, and golden seal. Neudung of Tibet offered him a monastic estate. The eleventh throne-holder was Shakya Dondrup. The twelfth was Lhatsun Sonam Lhundrup. The thirteenth was Chogleg Dorje; and the fourteenth was Che-tsun Tenzin Sangpo who also earned fame in disseminating his spiritual activities.
The fifteenth throne-holder was Khyenrab Tenzin Lhundrup. The sixteenth Khyenrab Jampa Ngawang Lhundrup, who gave Lamdre thirty times and Vajramala fifty times. They produced many disciples and became life-pillars of the Buddhist teachings in general, and of the Whispered Lineage of the Instructions for Disciples in particular.
The seventeenth throne-holder, Khyentse Rabten, established many monasteries in Kham area. The eighteenth throne-holder Gachen Khyabdag Nyingpo, was revered by his countless disciples in Tibet and China for his all-pervasive spiritual activities. The nineteenth throne-holder, Ngawang Kunchen, performed spiritual activities such as the dissemination of teachings and retreats for mantra recitation. He also meditated on Vipashyana for three years. The twentieth throne-holder, Tenpai Wangchuk Gyurmed Chogdrup, was said to have had a dream of seeing the rising sun transforming into Manjushree and absorbed in his body, and due to this event, his lotus-like wisdom blossomed.
The twenty-first throne-holder, Gedun Tashi Paljor, and the twenty-second, Zimog Chetsun Tenzin Nyendrag, mastered Lamdre and Prajanaparamita. He was also said to have gained accomplishment in reviving the dead. The twenty-third throne holder was Khyenrab Ngedon Samgpo. The twenty-fourth, Rinchen Khyentse Wangpo, was prophesied by Machig Labdron as the reincarnation of Rongton. He bestowed the Vajramala four times, the Buddha's canon three times, and the Lamdre several times; and he obtained back the title of Khenpo from the Tibetan Government. Thus, the twenty fifth His Eminence Chetsun Trichen Ngawang Khyenrab Thupten Lekshey Gyatso was the twenty-fifth throne holder of Nalendra. From among the eighteen Shalu Kushangs, the Chogye title was given starting from the ninth of them, Rinchen Sonam Chogdrup.
During those times, there were one assembly, two monastic colleges, 5 divisions of houses and 3 Lama palaces in Nalendra monastery, housing about 700 monks. Tashi Namgyal, who had established the Thongmon Lama College, handed the seat to Gewa Gyaltsen, and opted to live in the lower Lama palace. With special consideration of Choje Choe Gyaltsen, many scholars executed the duties of explaining and listening, to the extent that the whole surrounding region was filled with a swarm of scholars. Though the Institute suffered some degree of degeneration, the 17th throne holder, Khyenrab Jampa, was successful enough to restore the monastic college. He also established a philosophical Institute. Shabdrung Khyenrab Norbu was assigned as the main caretaker of the institute. His reincarnation, the 1st Zimog Ngawang Sangye Tenzin, the 2nd Zimog Ngawang Tenzin Trinlay, the 3rd Zimog Chetsun Tenzin Nyendrak, the 4th Zimog Ngawang Kunga Tenzin and the 5th Ngawang Tenzin Trinlay [now living in Switzerland], also made their share of contributions for keeping the Tsarpa tradition alive. Namrab Dagpo Dratsang founded by Tashi Namgyal; Shedrup Dhargyae Ling of Lithang founded by Khyentse Rabten, nephew of Khyenrab Jampa; and Dhiphu Choedhe in Amdho founded by Choje Choedak Sangpo; are the main branch monasteries of Nalendra Monastery. Lithang monastery, where even these days as many as five hundred monks reside, once became a spirce of Sutra and Tantra, and great scholars like Deshung Choktrul Rinpoche Jamyang Kunga Tenpae Gyaltsen and Nyendrak Lungrig Nyima, ornaments beautifying the earth, have blessed this monastery. In early times, Dhiphu Choeje monastery of Amdho housed more than one thousand monks. Therefore, Nalanda was famed as having one hundred and eight branch monasteries scattered all over Amdho, Gyalrong, Tsawa Rong, and Utsang. Originally, Nalendra was a great philosophical Institute, but later Dagchen Lodoe Gyaltsen converted it into a Tantric college. In later times, Khyenrab Tenzin Sangpo, Khyenrab Jampa Ngawang Lhundrup, and On Khyentse Rabten, and so on, from the Chogye Lama Palace; and Khedrup Sangye Tenzin, and so on, of the Zimog Lama Palace upheld the Tsarpa tradition.
On the Basis of Keeping Moral Precepts,
How His Eminence Engaged In
Hearing, Contemplation, and Meditation
At age 22, at Tanak Monastery, he received Bhikshu ordination, which is the root of the doctrine, from the great scholar and adept, Khenchen Ngawang Lodroe Shenphen Nyingpo, with the thought of renouncing all worldly things. His moral precepts remained pure, without having any stain of the eight worldly Dharmas or defilements and transgressions. His statement in his autobiography "I always try my best to engage in genuine precept without any pretense", justified these facts. For sake of infinite sentient beings, he received the Bodhisattva vows of two different traditions from the same Khenpo. His autobiography further reads, "Though I am deprived of any qualities by birth and by learning, as a result of my practice of patience, to the eyes of beholder, all that see me are pleased." This statement of his is sufficient to confirm that he had always maintained his Bodhisattva vows without failure. At the age 10, in order to accomplish the benefit of self and others with ease, he received empowerment of the Four Tantras from Khenchen Ngawang Lodroe Shenphen Nyingpo and Zimwog Jampa Kunga Tenzin, following which he took the Tantric vows and abstained from giving rise to any branch and root violations. Yet another statement from his autobiography reads, " I am satisfied, for I have never created until now a subtle fault in regard to observing discipline of relying upon the master" reveals that he valued his Gurus and the teachings that he received from them. This is because, pleasing one's Guru is the root of all the samaya vows of Tantra, and the source of all qualities.
He received teachings related to Literature such as Sumtak, (Tibetan Grammar) Sakya Leg-shed, 3rd chapter of Tibetan poetry, astrology and geomancy, commentary on Sumtak by Shenphen Thaye, commentary of sumtak popularly known as Situ Drelchen, from Khenpo Ngalo Rinpoche, Gephel Chogtrul Rinpoche, Dordrak, Tsewa Rinpoche, Minling Chung Rinpoche and Tanak Nag-gi Wangchuk respectively
He received philosophical teachings such as: Gyalsay Laglen, Bodhicharyavatara, Abhidharma Kosha, Domsum Jamyang Lamey Gong-gyen, Madhyamaka and Prajanaparamita etc from Geshe Tsephel and Khenpo Ngag-lo Rinpoche respectively.
He further received teachings on The Collection of Sadhanas from Kunga Choephel; an empowerment of Konchok Chidhu known as Eastern Treasure, exoteric Lamdre, oral transmission of Four-Volume Ngorchen Kabum, major and minor Mahakala empowerment, hundred explanatory teaching of Jonang tradition, Sadhana Dod-jo Bumsang of Nyingma tradition, Dudsolma empowerment, oral transmission and explanatory teachings of Namsey, Three Red male deity ones, Three Red Female ones, uncommon blessing of Lhamo Rabtenma, 14 volume The Collection of Sadhanas from Zimwog Rinpoche; an empowerment of Guhya Samaja of Manjuvajra from Vajra master of Nalendra; The Collection of Tantras from Khenchen Ngawang Shenphen Nyingpo; Three Red deities from His Holiness of Drolma Palace; oral transmission of Shuchen Kabum from Khangsar Jampal Nyingpo; an empowerment of upper and lower Vajrakilaya from Gongma Kunga Gyaltsen; an empowerment of Makzorma, blessings of twenty one female deities from Lhatsun Rinpoche; and the Nying-thig Yashi and uncommon Lamdre single transmission from Jamgon Khyentse Choekyi Lodroe. In that way, he had become a treasure of Tantra and pith instructions by mastering in explanation, debate and composition as result of extensive hearing and contemplation.
At age 12, he had gone through retreat practice of Tseta Sungdrel, Hayagriva and Bhutadamara; age 17 Guhyasamaja of Manjuvajra tradition, Mahakala Ten Wrathful deities, Simhamukha, white Manjushree, White Tara; at age 21, the Hevajra mantra accumulation retreat for nine months,; at age 22 Vajrayogini; at age 26 Vairochana and four-faced Mahakala; at age 27 Vajrabhairava of Tsarpa tradition; at age 35 Kalachakra; at age 36 general retreat on The Lords of three races and Four faced Mahakala; at age 38 Chakrasamvara; at age 40 Manjuvaksimha. In this way, he had gone through essential retreats on numerous tutelary deities and as result of which he no doubt gained manifold realizations. However, it has been the character of noble beings not to disclose their realizations whatsoever. To support this, from his autobiography, it reveals, "Though I have engaged in retreat practice of many deities in different time, I have no sign of realization. However, I have found stable and unfailing faith in the profound Dharma". This statement of His Eminence confirms further that he had fully satisfied himself with the food of devotion and had become a great Yogeshwara endowed with four authentic whispered lineages.
Some of His Eminence's remarkable academic activities
The giving of noble Dharma compassionately without error, for the sake of liberating sentient beings from fears of Samsara and Nirvana, had been His Eminence's main activity. At age 22, he gave the esoteric Lamdre teaching at the Chogye Lama Place to some one hundred and fifty Lamas and monks.
At 23, he gave to some hundred Lamas and monks the exoteric Lamdre teaching. At age 27, His Eminence also gave explanatory teaching on Madhyamaka at Thongmon Lama college of Nalendra. At age 34, at Tashi Chodhe monastery of Yarlung, he gave empowerment of numerous Tantras such as the Kalachakra empowerment according to Buton tradition, and the Chakrasamvara teaching known as Khandro Gyatso. Moreover, at Nalendra, he gave teaching of 12 Mandalas of Purification based on Mahavairochana. At Dephu Chodhe monastery in Amdho, he gave the Kalachakra teaching of the Buton tradition to Zongkar Rinpoche. He also gave many wisdom-introductory blessing, over forty great empowerments of Tantra, and explanatory teachings on Vajra Yogini, to the stationed and visiting Lamas and monks. At age 30, to over six thousand disciples, consisting of both lay and celibacies he gave Buton's Kalachakra. At age 37, His Eminence bestowed the esoteric Lamdre upon 170 Lamas and monks of Nalendra.
He restored the assembly shrine of Nalendra. At 33, he installed 3 gild Ganjiras [pinnacles] built of bronze on top of the Nalendra Assembly shrine, which were linked with closely woven tassels held by mythological birds known as Shang Shang, surrounded by Padmachuzar [gait in shape of lotus). At age 34, he established grand propitiatory rites of Vajrabhairava at the monastic college known as Sangchen. At 37, for graduated Geshes from philosophical colleges, he set up an institute for Hevajra Tantra study. At age 39, he built a three-dimensional Mandala of Akshobhya studded with various types of precious jewels-decorated with nine deities built of solid silver, and established a grand propitiatory rites of Akshobhya. Moreover, he acquired a gild plated image of Buddha, human size, one set of 16 Arhats, each two feet tall, a human sized image of Amitayus, one arrow size white Tara and Ushnishavijaya ; and a Green Tara and Guru Padma Sambhava of human size. All together, there were over 70 gold plated statues. Besides, he also built a bronze gold plated Ganjira, and eight victorious banners-all those statues were filled with authentic mantras. He also got many Thankas painted. This included painting of 35 deities of purification; seven deities of Amitayus (long life deity), embroidered Thankas, a complete set of mandalas of The Collection of Tantras. He also acquired 25 sets of vajra and bells to be used as empowerment substances. He provided the monastery with texts exceeding hundred volumes of Derge publications, in both manuscript and painted form. In this way, His Eminence accumulated immense merit by never letting any received offerings go to waste.
The first days of his exile in Mustang
At age 40 in 1949, in wake of sudden changes in Tibet, His Eminence left Tibet with Zimog Rinpoche, Tsetrul Rinpoche and elderly mother of Nagchen Shabdrung, and after three months arduous journey reached Lowo Tredkahr palace of the Mustang King, to whom his elder sister was married. In Sakya monastery in Mustang, he bestowed novice and Bhikshu vow to hundreds of monks. In some of the monasteries in Mustang, he introduced vinaya rites of the root precepts. He also established grand propitiatory puja of Hevajra. In other monasteries, he bestowed empowerment like, Path and Cause empowerment of Hevajra; one set of hundred Sadahnas (Sadhanashataka); and an explanatory teaching of VajraYogini. In 1961, he bestowed esoteric Lamdre and explanatory teaching on Ten Wrathful Deities of Mahakala family respectively at Lo Zong Chodhe in Chumig Gyatsa and Lo Monthang monastery. In autumn, he set for a pilgrimage tour to the holy places of India and Nepal. And again, he went back to Mustang several times, and at Monthang monastery, to over five hundred and fifty devotees, His Eminence bestowed empowerment of 12 mandalas of Vairochana; at Namgyal monastery, he bestowed 12 mandala of Vairochana, and the Vairabhairava of Ra Lotsawa tradition; to 300 disciples at Geme monastery, he gave the oral transmission of the complete works of Ngorchen Vajradhara; and at Tsarang monastery, Lamdre Lobshey, Chakrasambhara empowerment of Luipa and Krishpa tradition, . In a similar way, he bestowed the Kalachakra empowerment of Buton tradition, at the special request of Monthang Khenpo to over 3000 devotees.
Spiritual activities in India
In 1962, he went to Dharamsala and with mutual consent he stayed together with Zimog Rinpoche who had already been there in Dharamsala. At that time, he received Lamrim and Ngag-rim from 14th The Dalai Lama; Grand Empowerment of Guhyasamaja, Blessing of Vajra Yogini, explanatory teaching on Vairabha and Vinaya Sutra from Ling Ripoche; and Lamrim Namdrol Lakchang from Yongzin Trijang Rinpoche at Varanasi. From Sakya Khenchen Sangye Tenzin he received word commentary of Domsum Rabye (Trisambharaprabedhna). At same time, he bestowed Hevajra empowerment; the explanatory teaching of Vajra Yogini; and Sumtak and Nyengag of Tibetan grammar to some of the interested disciples at Puhreng monastery. In the year 1965, he went to Shri Lanka to attend a World Sangha Conference, representing His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Later, he served the Tibetan Government in Exile in his capacity as ecclesiastical secretary.
His days and activities in Nepal
In 1967, at the time when he went to visit his relatives at Mustang, he had a meaningful discussion with the Mustang King, and they made a unanimous decision to build a monastery at Lumbini. At request of Mustang King, the then King of Nepal, Raja Mahendra conferred upon him 10 Katas of land. In 1969, His Eminence immediately started building a monastery, and slowly completed it, including the external infrastructure, along with internal decoration of the monastery, including murals in the main shrine and the bronze gilded image of Lord Buddha. Thus he established the Sangha community at Tashi Rabten Ling. Selecting well qualified monk-practitioners among the Sakya, Ngorpa and Tsarpa, he established a Three Years Retreat Center for Lamdre practice. He gave guidance teachings to guide the practitioners. To keep consistency in the Lamdre practice, he also repeated similar retreat in Kathmandu, and guided the practitioners.
In year 1971, His Holiness Sakya Trizin purposely visited him at his monastery in Lumbini and requested him to bestow upon His Holiness the teaching of The Collection of Tantras, which he had formerly received from Khenchen Vajradhara Ngawang Lodrue Shenphen Nyingpo. His Eminence offered his consent to His Holiness, and as an auspicious beginning, he gave empowerment of Thuppa Dhamtsig Sumkod, (Three Samayas of Buddha). In 1972 and 1973, during this two years period, he gave the rest of the teaching on The Collection of Tantras to His Holiness at the latter's residence in Rajpur. At that occasion, Dorjee Trengwa (Vajramala) along with some other teachings, were given to the Sangha present, led by His Eminence Luding Khenchen Rinpoche.
With the bestowal of grand teachings like The Collection of Tantras consisting of 315 grand empowerments, 25 explanatory teaching, and Tantra explanation on Hevajra, to His Holiness Sakya Trizin, His Eminence made an unparalleled contribution to the Vajrayana doctrine, and for this we are obliged to be grateful to him. And Khenchen Ngag-lo Rinpoche offered all whispering lineage teachings that he received from Zimwog Rinpoche to His Holiness Sakya Trizin. Thus, It is due to this reason that the Sakya whispered lineage teachings are still alive in this world. Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo Rinpoche's statement "Nalendra is the source of Tantra and Pith Instructions", can be taken as his prophecy foreseeing the unparallel spiritual activities of His Eminence. To some of 330 devotees led by Lama Namgyal of Canada His Eminence bestowed Kalachakra empowerment of the Buton tradition. In 1980 during Lamder teaching by His Holiness, he bestowed oral transmission of Lamdre text and the blessing of Nairatma to the recipients of the Lamdre teaching. In 1982, he also gave Lamdre Martri (word to word explanation) to His Holiness Sakya Trizin. Since he offered the Esoteric Lamdre Lobshey teaching, along with many profound Sakya teachings, to His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama, he became the crown ornament of Padmapani (Dalai Lama).
At Lumbini, to some of foreign disciples, he gave teachings on Kalachakra of the Jonang tradition and empowerment of Guhyasamaja. At the request of Zimwog Rinpoche and Karma Trinlay Rinpoche, His Eminence bestowed The Collection of Sadhanas to the assembly of Sangha. In course of this time, His Eminence built a monastery, along with an image of Maitreya Buddha, on the plot of land granted by His Holiness and named it Jamchen Yiga Chodzin Ling, and it later became his principal residence.
At the request of Kriti Tsenshab Rinpoche and Zodpa Rinpoche, in order to restore the transmission of Wang-gya Norbui Trengwa (Shatabhisheka Ratnamala) of the Gelugpa tradition, His Eminence bestowed the teachings excerpted from the Collection of Tantras. He also gave teachings such as Kalachakra etc to public.
He established the retreat Center, Nyengyu Samten Choe-Ling and Chimey Phodrang which later to be used as Empowerment House, and gave the Esoteric Lamdre Lobshey there. The third Lamdre retreat was also held at that time. His Eminence had guesthouses and new monks' living quarters built for the ever-increasing numbers of the Sangha, and for the visiting sponsors and disciples.
At request of foreign devotees, he visited Singapore, Malaysia, America, Taiwan, Japan, Australia, Hongkong, Canada and Europe, and there he gave relevant teachings to his disciples. At Boston, U.S.A.; Kuching, Malaysia; and Taipei, Taiwan; Barcelona, Spain; he bestowed Kalachakra empowerment. With this, he placed numerous devotees of different walks of life upon the Vajrayana path, and matured them.
He also established several Dharma Centers. Later, at a special request, he went to France to initiate the 17th Karmapa, Thaye Dorjee, and gave him numerous empowerments from The Collection of Sadhana.
In response to Dharthang Rinpoche, Kunga Yeshi Dorjee's aspiration to establish the Monlam Prayer Festivals of the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism at the holy places of Lord Buddha, His Eminence became an inspiration behind forming the Sakya Monlam committee, and offered the initial facilities required. Thus, opening a new door of merit at Lumbini, the Sakya Monlam is held every year by Sakya monks, under the guidance and supervision of His Holiness Sakya Trizin. With a view to facilitate young monks in their further studies, and to accommodate Sakya monks coming to attend Monlam Festival, His Eminence had Tashi Rabten Ling monastery built, and it was successfully inaugurated in 2004.
Spiritual Disciples of His Eminence
The manner in which His Eminence had produced disciples has already been explained earlier. There are hardly any scholar-Lamas in India and Nepal who have never been his student. Needless to say, all the Rinpoches and monks of Sakya, Ngorpa, Tsarpa, and Zongpa, have either been his direct or indirect disciples.
His Eminence's Compositions
The three-chaptered Nyen-ngag Melong [Tibetan poetry text], and the commentary on the Abhidharma-Kosha which he composed earlier, were left behind in Tibet. While in exile, he has a few important texts to his credit. This included a Sakya History known as "Fortunate Feast of Mind: A Short History of the Glorious Sakya, Chariot of Sutra and Tantra of Tibet" and short manual of Lamdre known as "Jewel Mirror Revealing the Profound Meaning". His Eminence hardly ever deviated from his routine daily practice. Moreover, on top of that, in the latter part of life, he continuously and one-pointedly spent his entire time at spiritual practice in his personal meditation cell in Jamchen Lhakhang.
An Exhibition of His Last Days' Activities
His Eminence went to Lumbini for the 2006-Sakya Monlam Festival. After the completion of Monlam His Eminence shown some signs of the imbalance in his inner elements, and flew back to Jamchen monastery on the 17th of January 2007. As the doctors attending suggested that the state of His Eminence's health wasn't so well, he was brought to the serene place called Narayanthan, where the retreat center, Nyengyu Samten Choe-Ling is situated. At age 87, on 22nd January, corresponding to 4th of the twelfth lunar month of Tibetan calendar, at 6.30am, His Eminence passed from this world into Parinirvana.
Until the 19th day of the 12th lunar month, for an entire 16 days he remained in the post-death state of meditative absorption [Samadhi]. As a sign of achieving realization of luminosity, devoid of all fabrications and free from the stains of dualistic appearances of subject and object, his holy body remained radiant without any odor. As per the guidance of His Holiness, two grand propitiatory pujas of Mahavairochamna and Hevajra was held every day at Jamchen Monastery; two sections of the Sangha were involved in performing Mahakala puja; and at the retreat Center, Vajra Yogini's propitiatory puja was held. In order not to disturb the then on-going Samadhi, special care was taken to avoid unnecessary touch, sounds, and smells. A selected group of monks, led by Garshab Rinpoche, recited His Eminence's usual Sadhana that he used to perform during his lifetime.
His Eminence Gyana Vajra Rinpoche; His Eminence Dungsey Abhisheta Rinpoche; His Eminence Luding Khenchen Rinpoche; His Eminence Thartse Khen Rinpoche; His Eminence Tulku Dorjee Denpa Rinpoche; His Eminence Chogye Shabdrung Rinpoche, who is currently studying at Sakya College; Khenpo Gyatso and Khenpo Jamyang Tenzin, had arrived here in Kathmandu to seek an audience of the Holy Body. They, along with Shamarpa Rinpoche; Tulku Choekyi Nyima Rinpoche; Chogling Rinpoche; Phagchok Rinpoche; and Rana Rinpoche, who has been in retreat for Lamdre practice for over ten years, have seen the Holy Body, and made supplications to fulfill their aspiration.
At a time, there arose in the clear sky, an amazing formation of thin white clouds, and a multi-colored rainbow. On the nineteenth day of the twelfth lunar month, as a sign of rising from the Samadhi, his complexion lost radiance, his body became frail, and it showed significant physical changes.
To bring the Holy-Body from the Retreat Center at Narayanthan to Jamchen Monastery at Boudha, many Rinpoches and Lamas from different schools, members of Rana Rinpoche's center, people from Manang, Mustang, Sherpa, Tamang and Tibetans, voluntarily came together to coordinate with the main organizing committee. Acharya Narayan Rijal of Byoma Kusuma Dharma Center narrated the life history of His Eminence through a loud speaker, as his car drove him along, leading the cavalcade carrying His Eminence's Holy body. Forty Motorbikes carrying Sakya and Buddhist flags led the cavalcade, following which there were ten Jeeps fully decorated in colorful flowers, carrying monks with saffron robes holding numerous kinds of flags, victory banners, parasols, incense bowls and offering substances. Right after that five blissful looking damsels from Byoma Kusuma led by Guruma Niru Rana standing in a Jeep decked in flowers and multi-colored ribbons were scattering flowers on the road, guiding the truck carrying His Eminence's Holy Body. Then following that was a magnificent looking truck, awesomely decorated with yellow flowers, costly brocades, and silks forming loops and tassels. The high throne inside the truck supported the Holy Body, residing blissfully underneath a marvelous parasol turning left to right. Then fifteen well-decorated cars of representatives of the Dalai Lama; Rinpoches of different schools; Lowo Choegyal Chenpo; Norgyunma from Hongkong; Dr. Yulha Sherpa, President of Gumba Administration and Development Committee, and so on, followed the caravan in a rather striking manner. On the main road in between, there were ten well-decorated archways with banners depicting sweet and heart-rending verses in Tibetan and Nepali in His Eminence's honor. Standing between each gate were monks and nuns draped in the saffron robes of different monasteries of five traditions, including the Bonpos. Lay devotees in the thousands, from different parts of Nepal hoisted victory banners and parasols; filled the environment with incense; scattered flowers; and played numerous types of musical instruments. Thus, the long reception line evoked faith and devotion in the mind streams of all.
A countless number of people standing along the length of the main road, and especially at the circumference of Boudhanath area, inspired by faith, paid their respect to the Holy Body, which gave meaning to whoever comes into contact with it. A rain of flowers showered down from a helicopter. From the stupa, Khenpo Tenzin Sangpo and Brahman Khenpo Ngawang Tsultrim, and from the top of Jamchen Monastery, Lama Guru, Lotsawa Punya Prasadh Parajuli, and John Deweese, have narrated His Eminence's biography in Tibetan, Nepali and English respectively.
On that particular day the sky was crystal clear, and at the moment the bedecked truck carrying the Holy Body entered the circle of Boudhanath stupa, a rainbow parasol appeared in the sky, bright enough to hue the color of the saffron robes of the Sangha community. Witnessing this directly, devotees were moved and shaken by faith, and erupted into joyful comments. The bedecked truck was then guided to make one full circumambulation around Boudhanath stupa, and the Holy Body was finally installed, upon a roof-touching throne, erected in his usual meditation cell on top of the Jamchen Monastery. Though the Holy Body procession was started at 9am in the morning, it reached to Jamchen Monastery at 1 p.m., after taking an entire 4 hours in the route of 9 Kilometers, usually driving distance of 20 minutes. After a few days, there occurred a surprising snowfall in Kathmandu, in the form of a shower of flowers. As such, the after-death events of His Eminence also put the disciples in a state of spellbound rejoicing, which has prompted them to eulogize His Eminence.
On the 24th day of the second month of lunar calendar 2007, His Holiness Sakya Trizin will bless us by his visit, and thereafter he will be kindly presiding over the upcoming Cremation Rites of His Eminence, to be performed on the 3rd of March, corresponding to the fifteenth day of the first lunar month of the Tibetan calendar, on the day that the Buddha, endowed with Ten Powers, performed the Great Miracles.
Translated By: Jhampa Losal
Edited By: John Deweese and David