Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, Konchog Tenzin Kunsang Thrinle Lhundrup, was born on the 4th day of the 6th Tibetan month of the Fire-Dog-Year 1946 into the aristocratic family of Tsarong in Lhasa. This auspicious day marks the anniversary of the Buddha’s first turning of the Wheel of Dharma. Many prodigious signs and visions accompanied his birth. His grandfather, Dasang Damdul Tsarong (1888-1959), has been the favorite of the 13th Dalai Lama (1876-1933), Commander General of the Tibetan army and one of the most influential political figures in the early 20th century in Tibet. Chetsangs father, Dundul Namgyal Tsarong (b. 1920), held a high office in the Tibetan Government and he was still active in important positions for the Exile Government in Dharamsala after the escape of the Dalai Lama and the cabinet ministers. His mother, Yangchen Dolkar, is from the noble house of Ragashar, which descended from the ancient royal dynasty.
Few years after the passing of the previous Drikung Kyabgon, Shiwe Lodro (1886-1943), two parties began to look for his reincarnation throughout Tibet. Based on a vision of the Drikung regent Tritsab Gyabra Rinpoche (1924-1979) at the oracular lake Lhamo Latso and on many additional divinatory signs, in 1950 the son of the Tsarong family was recognized as the reincarnation of the Drikung Kyabgon. The boy subsequently passed numerous tests, such as identifying religious items and ritual objects of his former incarnations. His incarnation was further confirmed by divinations performed by Taktra Rinpoche (the Regent of Tibet), H.H. the 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, and H.H. Taklung Matrul.
Enthronement at Drikung Thil 1950 In the fall of 1950 the formal enthronement as Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang took place at Drikung Thil, the main monastery of the Drikung Kagyu order. Immediately thereafter the first Chinese invasion of Tibet took place. Rinpoche was allowed to travel to Kalimpong in Northern India with his family, in order to stay in a safe place. His older brother and his two sisters were attending boarding-schools in Darjeeling. After some months Rinpoche was met by a delegation from the Drikung monastery and brought back to Tibet.
His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang is the 36th Throne Holder and the 8th Reincarnation of Chungtsang Rinpoche, after the foundation of the Drikung Kagyü Lineage by Lord Jigten Sumgön. He is considered a manifestation of Manjushri.
The Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang, alias Tenzin Chokyi Nangwa, was born in Lhokha in 1942, the year of the Water Horse. He is the youngest of five sons, of the well known, aristocratic Lhagyari family. His father was Trichen Kelsang Nyendrak and his mother Rigzin Chodzom. The Lhagyari family is one of the oldest aristocratic families in Tibet and are direct descendants of the former royal dynasty. This branch of the family holds the name of Dewa Lhagyari Trichen.
Soon after the early death of the 7th Chungtsang Rinpoche, Tenzin Chökyi Jungne (1909-1940), his reincarnation was found in the Lhagyari family and enthroned in Drikung Thil Moanstery in 1946. His reincarnation was accompanied by many signs. Prophecies as well as the consultation of an oracle confirmed his rebirth. Gyabra Tritsab had a vision at Lake Lhamo Latso, which was confirmed by further prophecies by H.H. the16th Karmapa and H.H. Taklung Matrul. The Tibetan government confirmed his reincarnation and Chungtsang passed the traditional tests of choosing the religious objects belonging to his former reincarnation.
Garchen Rinpoche was recognized and enthroned in eastern Tibet by the former Drikung Kyabgon Zhiwe Lodro. When he was seven, he was brought to Lho Miyal Monastery, which he administered from the age of eleven. Studying and practicing under the direction of the Siddha Chime Dorje, Garchen Rinpoche received vast and profound instructions on the preliminary practices (ngondro), the fivefold practice of Mahamudra and the six yogas of Naropa.
Then, at the age of 22, after completing a two and a half year retreat, he was imprisoned for 20 years during the political turmoil of China's Cultural Revolution. While in the labor camp, he received meditation instruction from his root lama, the Nyingma master Khenpo Munsel. Enduring hardship and practicing secretly, Garchen Rinpoche attained realization of the lama's wisdom mind. Since his release from prison in 1979, Garchen Rinpoche has made great effort to rebuild the Drikung Kagyu monasteries, reestablish the Buddhist teachings, and build two boarding schools for local children in eastern Tibet. Rinpoche is the founder and spiritual director of the Drikung Garchen Institute in Munich, Germany.
Garchen Rinpoche is known for his vast realization, as well as for his great kindness.
For his long biography please click here.
Drubwang Karma Norbu (links), Khenpo Münsel (mitte), Khenpo Münsel mit Payül-Khenpo Tenzin (rechts).
Drubpon Tsering Rinpoche im traditionellen Drei-Jahres Retereat.
Venerable Drupon Tsering Rinpoche is the resident Lama of the Drikung Garchen Institute of the Drikung Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism.
At the age of eight, Rinpoche took refuge from His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche. Three years later, Tsering Rinpoche received his novice ordination, the Bodhisattva vow as well as Mahamudra instructions from the great Siddha Karma Norbu, from the Karma Kagyu School.
Since his eleventh year, Rinpoche lived and studied under the guidance of His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche at Gar Monastery in East Tibet, where he completed the preliminary practices of the Drikung Dzogchen Yangzab and the Longchen Nyingthig tradition.
At Gar Monastery, Tsering Rinpoche served as the shrine master for five years, and performed many ceremonies, rituals, and Drubchens with Garchen Rinpoche.
Konchok Palkyi has completed her three-year retreat in 2011 in India and is staying at the DGI since august 2013. She was born in Dehradun/India, where she studied Buddhist philosophy at Drikung Samtenling Nunnery and also served as head chant master. She became a nun at 13 years and besides her spiritual education, she is also a talented musician and dancer. At the moment she is concentrating on learning German, and she will lead the regular pujas at the DGI during Drubpon Tserings absence.