Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche


Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche is the fifth highest Lama within the Kagyu Lineage (after, the XVII Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, Tai Situpa Rinpoche, Gyaltsab Rinpoche and Shamarpa Rinpoche). His accomplishments far out weight that of numerous masters and his abilities have rarely been equaled in our world.

In India, Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche’s past incarnations included the Buddha’s attendant, Ananda, who was responsible for the establishment of the nuns’ order and also for memorizing all the Buddha’s teachings.

As the Aryadeva, the disciple of Nagarjuna, he taught the Middle Way Doctrine and cleared away misunderstandings concerning the dharma.

As the translator Vairotsana, who accompanied Guru Rinpoche, he brought numerous dharma scriptures to Tibet and transmitted them to the Tibetan people. Vairotsana attained the Clear Light Body at the time of his death.

In Tibet, Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche had numerous incarnations. These included:

Khyunpo Naljor (990-1139), the founder of the Shangpa Kagyu tradition. He was taught under the Indian female masters Niguma and Sukhasiddhi. His lineage is one of the eight transmission lineages of Tibet.

Sakya Pandita (1182-1251), one of the five founding fathers of the Sakya tradition. By one year old he was able to speak Sanskrit language and became a well known author. He received the Sakya transmission from Dragpa Gyaltsen and became the supreme temporal ruler of Tibet. He created the prototype for the Mongolian alphabet. He stopped the Mongols from waging barbaric battles and also prevented the Mongols from committing genocide against the Chinese.

Longchenpa (1308-1363), a manifestation of Manjushri, who deeply practiced the Sakya, Kadampa, Kagyu and Nyingma traditions. He was also close to the III Gyalwa Karmapa and composed hundreds of literary works.

Taranatha (XVI-XVII Century), who was the jewel of all Tibetan historians and preserver of the rare Jonang tradition which upheld the “Emptiness of Other” (Shentong), view of the Middle Way Doctrine. He also upheld numerous Tantras such as the Kalachakra.

Rigdzin Terdag Lingpa (1646-1714), a Terton and an unrivaled child prodigy, who established the Mindroling lineage. Mindroling became the most respected and highly prestigious institute of the Nyingma tradition. He was a respected teacher and a disciple to the V Dalai Lama. He was a teacher to all the Abbots of the Nyingma lineage and to the Sakya Trizin.

Jamgon Kongtrul was predicted in the Samadhiraja Sutra, in the termas of Padmasambhava and in the Larkauatara Sutra.

The first Jamgon Kongtrul, Lodro Thaye (1813-1899), manifested many miracles at birth, which indicated that he was the reincarnation of an enlightened being. As a young child, he proved beyond doubt to be learned and realized.

First he studied the Bon, the tradition established in Tibet before the Buddhist religion, since that was his family tradition. Even though Jamgon Kongtrul was a Bon master, he was a great Bodhisattva, whose disciples attained enlightened qualities.

However, Kongtrul Rinpoche soon turned to Vajrayana Buddhism which possessed the ultimate teachings on enlightenment. He took Nyingma ordination in 1832 at Shechen Monastery. The next year he became a Karma Kagyu monk and was reordained by the IX Tai Situpa Rinpoche.

Jamgon Kongtrul was spotted by Tai Situpa to be a young man of extraordinary qualities. Tai Situpa became his root guru, even though Kongtrul would also study with over sixty other Lamas from various lineages.

Jamgon Kongtrul, together with Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, of the Sakya lineage, and Chogyur Dechen Lingpa, of the Nyingma lineage, initiated the non-sectarian or Rime movement.

Jamgon Kongtrul also mediated political conflicts and turmoil in Tibet. Rinpoche received numerous rare and near extinct transmissions of Buddhism. By perfecting and collecting these transmissions, he revived numerous lineages and traditions. Therefore, traditions that were nearly lost became abundant throughout Tibet.

The “Five Treasures” of Kongtrul Rinpoche include the Rinchen Terdzo, which is composed of over sixty volumes, the Gyachen Kardzo composed of five volumes, the Ngadzo, the Dam Ngadzo and the Sheja Dzo, composed of three volumes.

In his relation with the Activity of the Karmapas, Jamgon Kongtrul was the main teacher to the XV Gyalwa Karmapa. Kongtrul Rinpoche passed away in his eighties and had five incarnations of body, speech, mind, quality and activity. However, his main emanation continued to be Jamgon Kongtrul, and another famous emanation, who was not enthroned, was Kalu Rinpoche. Some of his other incarnations included Shechen Kongtrul and Dzigar Kongtrul.

The II Jamgon Kongtrul, Khyentse Ozer (1902-1952), incarnated as the son of the XV Gyalwa Karmapa. Rinpoche received the lineage transmission from the XV Karmapa and Surmang Trungpa Rinpoche. His Eminence spent much time in meditation retreat and transmitted the lineage to the XVI Karmapa, Rigpe Dorje. He transmitted the Rinchen Terdzo in Tibet to thousands of followers. This ceremony was one of the key events of XX century in Tibet. Kongtrul Khyentse Ozer was one of the main teachers of the XVI Gyalwa Karmapa.

The III Jamgon Kongtrul, Chokyi Senge (1954-1992), was born near Lhasa in 1954. He was found through the prediction of the XVI Gyalwa Karmapa. He was also confirmed by His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama and later on, enthroned at Rumtek.

Rinpoche received his education and training from the Karmapa along side the other heart sons Tai Situpa Rinpoche, Gyaltsab Rinpoche and Shamarpa Rinpoche. Jamgon Kongtrul was also bestowed teachings from Thrangu Rinpoche. From Kalu Rinpoche, he received other transmissions, such as instructions on Yidam practices, Mahamudra, the Rinchen Terdzo, and the Six Yogas of Niguma (see the Six Yogas of Naropa)

In particular, his root guru was the Gyalwa Karmapa who transmitted all the empowerments and instructions, and especially the understanding of Mahamudra. Rinpoche accompanied the Karmapa on his world tours and after the Karmapa’s death, still served His Holiness by setting up charities and constructing a new building for the Karma Shri Nalanda College.

Jamgon Kongtrul returned to Tibet in order to give blessings, ordination and transmit the dharma there. Rinpoche also constructed Pullahari Monastery in Nepal and Lava Monastery in India.

After bestowing the Ngak Dzo transmission and consecrating the new statue for Rumtek Monastery’s shrine, Rinpoche passed away due to a car accident. His death was due to the obstacles caused by individuals in particular and the obstacles being faced by the Kagyu Lineage  in general.

The IV Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, Chokyi Nyima, was recognized by the XVII Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje. The Karmapa predicted the circumstances of his rebirth. His Holiness granted a formal letter, instructions and sketches for the search party to find Rinpoche. After some obstacles and doubts faced by the search party, the IV Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche was finally found in August of 1996, in the Shemey Shang village, in the Chushur district. When the search party returned and informed His Holiness of their findings, Karmapa simply unveiled a toy house he constructed. This toy house matched identically with the actual house of Rinpoche’s parents.
The Gyalwa Karmapa performed the Refuge Ceremony (haircutting ceremony) at Tsurphu Monastery on Lhabab Duchen in September of 1996, and gave Kongtrul Rinpoche the name Chokyi Nyima. Jamgon Kongtrul was then brought to India, where the Dalai Lama, Sakya Trizin and Mindroling Trichen confirmed his recognition and bestowed names unto the incarnation. Jamgon Kongtrul returned to His main seat of Pullahari in Nepal. There he is being trained along with Dolpo Shelri Rinpoche.

On the year 2008, He received the complete transmission of “The Five Treasures” of the first Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche by His Eminence the XII Tai Situpa Rinpoche, who asked him to give these transmissions of “The Five Treasures” in ten occasions during this same life.

(Extracted from the Web page www.jamgonkongtrul.org and reviewed by Trikaya)