Arising from pure morality which is like an oyster,
Are the pearls of the throne-holders of Palyul monastery,
Which form a glorious rosary of an unbroken lineage,
Ornamenting and beautifying the enlightened tradition.
The 1st Throne-Holder: VIDHYADHARA KUNZANG SHERAB (1636 – 1699 )
Kunzang Sherab was born in 1636, the eleventh rabjung year of the Fire Rat, in the province of Do-Kham in the region of Bubor. The name of the village in which he was born is Ah Chog. As a child, he possessed compassion for all sentient beings and never harmed even the smallest creature. Unlike ordinary children, he awakened his innate primordial awareness at an early age and was gifted with the ability to memorize many prayers. He underwent many hardships while doing his practices, including tying his head up by his hair at night in order to completely abandon sleep. With dedicated enthusiastic perseverance, he was able to actualize realization of the precious oral instruction he received from many great teachers and achieved the signs of true accomplishment on the path.
King Lhachen Jampa Phuntsog and Trichen Sangye Tanpa together built a new monastery and named it Palyul Namgyal Chanchub Choling. The King then sent a formal invitation to the great Vidyadhara Kunzang Sherab to be the head of the new Palyul Monastery. Kunzang Sherab asked his guru, Terton Migyur Dorje, who replied, “According to Guru Padmasambhava’s prophecy, the time has now ripened for you to work for the welfare of sentient beings. You must go to take charge of this monastery and it will become an exhaustless source of dharma, propagating the Nyingmapa Doctrine.”
In 1665, the eleventh rabjung year of the Wood Snake, Kunzang Sherab was in his thirtieth year when he arrived at the new Palyul Monastery to assume his position. He skillfully cared for and guided the sentient beings that met him. A great number of his disciples actualized signs of accomplishment through their meditative experience. Several disciples retreated to uncertain places to accomplish and actualized the Great Perfection tradition of transferring from this world. It is known that several of these disciples actually accomplished the rainbow light body.
In 1699, on the fifth day of the year of the Earth Rabbit, at the age of sixty-four, after partaking of his midday meal, Kunzang Sherab dissolved the rupakaya (form body) into the great sphere of truth. The moment he passed away, the weather became unseasonably warm and sprouts and buds suddenly bloomed. His principal disciples, along with three thousand monks, performed extensive offering prayers in his honor. During this time, the majority of disciples experienced unceasing clear light awareness. While his body was being cremated, celestial clouds mingled with rainbows to fill the pristine sky. A self originating syllable AH became embossed on his skull and many images and precious bone relics were observed. A stupa, one story high, made of stone and mud and covered with gold, was erected to contain his precious relics, as well as the Longsal Terma of Avalokiteshvara.
The 3rd Throne-Holder: THE FIRST DRUBWANG PEDMA NORBU RINPOCHE (1679 – 1757 )
The first Drubwang Pedma Norbu Rinpoche was born in 1679, the eleventh rabjung year of the Earth Sheep, in Chagril. Pedma Norbu was an emanation of the great Pandit Vimalamitra and the Vidyadhara Terton Jatson Nyingpo.
His principle root guru was Pedma Lhundrub Gyatso, from whom he received full ordination and all the transmission of the lineages of Kama and Terma as practiced in the Palyul tradition. He accomplished and perfected the practices of the stages of clear light togyal and confidently realized the view of original purity, trekchod. Because of these accomplishments in practice, Pedma Norbu received the title, Drubwang, meaning Powerful Lord of Accomplishment.
Once Drubwang Pedma Norbu was invited by the dharma King of Dege, Tenpa Tsering, to visit and bless his palace. During the visit, Drubwang Pedma Norbu said he would perform the Vajrakilaya lama dance, from the Sakya tradition. Although unfamiliar with this tradition having never practiced it before, Drubwang Pedma Norbu performed the dance flawlessly and several fortunate observers saw that his feet were not even touching the ground. Simultaneously, Sakya Dagchen Rinpoche, who lived far away in central Tibet , looked toward the east and said, “Today, in the eastern region of Kham, an Arya Bodhisattva is performing the Vajrakilaya lama dance, which will liberate the boundless sentient beings who see or hear of it.”
In 1757, at the age of seventy-nine, the first Drubwang Pedma Norbu Rinpoche dissolved his mind into the great sphere of truth, producing astonishing signs. His sacred body was placed just as it was, inside a large wooden stupa, erected within the innermost chambers of his private quarters.
The 4th Throne-Holder: THE FIRST KARMA KUCHEN RINPOCHE, KARMA TASHI (1728 – 1791 )
Karma Tashi was born in 1728, the twelfth rabjung year of the Earth Monkey, into the ancestral heritage of Kunzang Sherab, in the town of Ahchog .
As Drubwang Pedma Norbu’s closest heart disciple, he received all of the ocean-like empowerments and teachings on the Non-Dual Great Seal Mahamudra-Great Perfection Ati Yoga and Nam Cho Buddha in the Palm of the Hand. He was enthroned by Drubwang Pedma Norbu, the thirteenth Karmapa Duddul Dorje and the tenth Sharmapa Chodrup Gyatso, as the fourth throne holder of the Palyul tradition.
During the war between China and the King of Gyarong, Tsenlha Rabten, Karma Tashi was invited to China . King Tsenlha Rabten’s guru was a powerful Bonpo lama and by the power of black magic, this Bonpo lama caused a storm of stones to descend upon the Chinese troops. Karma Tashi gazed at the storm of stones and suddenly the storm was reversed. For the sake of protecting the Chinese soldiers, Karma Tashi produced many special protection cords which were so potent that they shook with energy. Not a single soldier was harmed after receiving the cords, which protected both body and mind from the fear of weapons. King Rabten of Gyarong and his Bonpo priest lost the war and, by the force of karmic results, the flag of China flew victorious in all directions. The Chinese Emperor, Chan Lung, was overwhelmed with faith and gratitude and authorized Karma Tashi as the royal guru of China and bestowed the title Tai Shree upon him.
At the age of sixty-three Karma Tashi’s enlightened activities were complete and he perfected his mind in the great sphere of truth. The stupa containing his precious bone relics was place inside the temple of Palyul monastery.
The 5th Throne-Holder: KARMA LHAWANG (unavailable)
Karma Lhawang was born into the ancestral heritage of the Vidyadhara Kunzang Sherab. As a child, he awakened his pure awareness Mahayana nature and displayed signs of accomplishment on the path. From his guru, Karma Tashi, he received all the transmissions for the kama lineage of the Maha, Anu and Ati Yogas, the Kagyed and Gongdu Termas and every essential transmission practiced in the Palyul tradition.
Karma Lhawang’s principal interest lay in uncontrived practice. Because of this, he was relatively unconcerned with the details and responsibilities involved in the running of a monastery, caring for a large entourage of disciples and the general maintenance of the surroundings. Spending most of his time in solitary retreat, he continuously manifested miracles, the sign of having mingled his mind with the true nature of appearance. In addition, he possessed the omniscience of unblocked perception into the minds of others. When the enlightened activities of his lifetime were complete, Karma Lhawang passed beyond this world.
The 6th Throne-Holder: THE 2ND KARMA KUCHEN RINPOCHE, GYURMED NGEDON TENZIN PALZANGPO
(1794 - 1851)
Karma Gyurmed was born in 1794, the thirteenth rabjung year of the Wood Tiger, into the Khanglep family in the Me-chu Gang area of Me Shod. From Karma Lhawang, he received all of the transmissions of kama and terma, as practiced in the Palyul tradition.
Like the majority of the great throne holders of this tradition, much of Karma Gyurmed’s life was spent in solitary retreat. His principal meditational deity was Vajrakilaya (of Duddul Dorje’s revelation) and he often had visions of all seventy-five deities in Vajrakilaya’s assembly. During one pure vision, Padmasambhava came and instructed him to begin the great Dharma Medicine Accomplishment ceremony in the Palyul monastery each year of the sheep. He also began the tradition of performing Guru Chowang’s pure vision tenth day Black Hat Dance at the Palyul monastery.
When Karma Gyurmed actualized realization of the Great Perfection Ati Yoga, each one of his disciples simultaneously developed insights by just hearing the sound of his voice. Without any obstruction, not only could he read the minds of others, he could also comprehend their innermost secret thoughts and needs.
Karma Gyurmed periodically displayed his miraculous powers for the sake of guiding sentient beings. On one such occasion, he focused his mind upon negative forces in order to subdue them and when he threw his vajra, it penetrated through three wall partitions. When he traveled to the hot springs of Tilung, the impression of his footprints remained clearly in the stones.
In 1851, the year of the Iron Pig, on the twelfth day of the fifth month, Karma Gyurmed was fifty-eight years old, when he experienced the presence of the Sugatas in every direction of space. Instructing his disciples to arrange many offerings, on the thirteenth day, he dissolved his mind into the great sphere of truth. His holy body shrank to the size of a cubit, eighteen inches in length, while his complexion remained very fresh and life-like. Astonishing signs, such as unusual cloud formations and rainbows appeared in abundance. His principal heart disciple, Gyatrul Rinpoche, built a temple and a two storey gold and copper stupa to contain the holy body of the second Karma Kuchen Rinpoche, Karma Gyurmed.
The 7th Throne-Holder: PEDMA DO-NGAG TENZIN NGESANG CHOKYI NANGWA (1830 - 1891)
In 1830, the fourteenth rabjung year of Iron Tiger, Gyatrul Rinpoche was born into the royal heritage of the Chinese emperor’s minister, in Tsakho Gyakha Bhoto village of Gyalmo Tsawai-rong.
At the time of his birth, there were many astonishing signs and, as a child, he displayed unusual signs of having awakened his innate pure awareness. While at play with other children, he would hold his vital air and, barefooted, balance himself on the point of a sharp knife. By receiving just one simple gesture, he would comprehend reading, writing and all subjects, as though he never forgot what he had learned in previous lifetimes.
He could also clearly recalled his past lifetimes as Rongton Shung-gya Shakya Gyaltsen and Kunzang Sherab, remembering also the area of Sangphu Neu Thong, where he had previously lived, the exact layout of the Palyul monastery, past events that had occurred there and other additional information. It was clear that the dharma protectors were watching over him and in particular, he was constantly assisted in the accomplishment of miraculous activities by Ekartsati, the principal female protector of the Secret Mantra.
Through the strength of his contemplation and the blessings bestowed by the meditational deities, Gyatrul Rinpoche clearly understood the meaning of all of these precious dharma scriptures and was able to ascertain the sutras and tantras by memory, as an exhaustless source of wisdom. Advancing his meditative experience in the generation, completion and Great Perfection stages, he manifested the pure qualities and signs of true accomplishment.
In 1891, at the age of sixty-two, on the twenty-second day of the fifth month, with all the signs of having reached the highest stages on the path to liberation, Gyatrul Rinpoche passed beyond this world.
The 8th Throne-Holder: THE 3RD KARMA KUCHEN RINPOCHE, ORGYEN DO-NGAG CHOKYI NYIMA
(1854 - 1906)
Prior to the passing away of the second Karma Kuchen Rinpoche, Karma Gyurmed, he left a letter on his table which said, “My incarnation will be born in Khyi-teng.” The new incarnation, Do-ngag Chokyi Nyima, was born in 1854, the fourteenth rabjung year of the Wood Tiger. At the time of his birth, marvelous rainbow light rays appeared in the sky and unusual and magnificent sounds reverberated in all directions. Born in the Dege village of Ahlo Khateng , his family name was Dilgo of the heritage Nyo.
As a youth, Do-ngag Chokyi Nyima’s mind was like pure gold with his every thought directed towards the betterment of mankind. He treated everybody with kindness and respect. While at the monastery, Do-gag Chokyi Nyima spent the majority of his time presiding over the many regular accomplishment ceremonies, as well as bestowing transmissions. He was never known to rest or take any personal time out, except for the practice of root and accomplishment mantras which he did while in retreat. It was his lifetime pattern to arise by three in the morning in order to recite all of his daily practices from both the earlier and later traditions of kama and terma. Just after dawn, he would offer sang and tormas to the hungry spirits. Intermittently he would perform at least one hundred prostrations and circumambulations. Although he maintained such a demanding schedule for the purpose of the doctrine, he never cut his own daily practice for any reason.
While he performed the great accomplishment ceremonies, nectar in the skull cups spontaneously overflowed and dharma medicine pills would increase, to roll down the mandala cord in his direction. During the descent of the blessings section of the practice, actual signs of spiritual attainment were regularly witnessed. He often left his footprints upon stone as a sign of having mingled mind with appearances. He possessed unobstructed power to see through and beyond rocks, houses and mountains and he could hear conversations being carried on from afar. Although he received many other extraordinary visions and prophesies, because of his prudent character, these experiences were kept concealed.
In 1906, the fifteenth rabjung year of the Fire Horse, when he was fifty-three years old, Chokyi Nyima dissolved into the exhaustless sphere of clear light. During the cremation ceremony, clouds in the shape of pitched tents appeared in the luminously clear sky, releasing gentle showers of rain. Many precious bone relics were found and devoted followers experienced wondrous visions.
The 9th Throne-Holder: THE 2ND DRUBWANG PEDMA NORBU RINPOCHE, PEDMA KUNZANG TENZIN NORBU (THUBTEN CHOKYI LANGPO) (1887 - 1932)
One night, Do-ngag Chokyi Nyima dreamed that he was in his own residence, on the middle level of the temple containing the stupas that encase the remains of great lamas. Suddenly a lama appeared who looked just like Kunzang Gyurmed, who said, “Oh look, Pedma Norbu is up there.” Looking up, Do-ngag Chokyi Nyima saw the first Pedma Norbu seated behind one of the stupa windows with very white hair. When Do-ngag Chokyi Nyima approached, Pedma Norbu turned into a small child. The child that he saw in this dream and the young incarnation of the second Pedma Norbu were identical.
Born in 1887, the fifteenth rabjung year of the Fire Pig, Pedma Norbu was brought to the Palyul monastery at the age of seven. When he was nine he had a direct vision of Padmasambhava and received blessings from him.
When Pedma Norbu was in his twentieth year, the third Karma Kuchen Rinpoche, Do-ngag Chokyi Nyima, left this world. Pedma Norbu was filled with sorrow at the passing of his precious guru. He felt especially great remorse because he had not received the great Kagyed Desheg Dupa (Eight Herukas-Essence of the Sugatas) transmission. Due to the impression that the intensity of his remorse made upon his mind, Do-ngag Chokyi Nyima came to him one night in a dream. For three consecutive days, Pedma Norbu received, while in the dream state, the entire transmission of the Kagyed Desheg Dupa.
Later in his life, when he was not bestowing specific empowerments, transmissions, and teachings, or presiding over important accomplishment ceremonies, Pedma Norbu remained in solitary retreat, practicing the root recitation mantra of Dugngal Rangdrol (Self Liberation of Sufferings). Pedma Norbu made boundless material offerings to accumulate great virtue. Literally abandoning everything, he again entered into retreat at the isolated place of Khachu Trag. It was then he began to show signs of physical illness.
In 1932, the sixteenth rabjung year of the Water Monkey, on the third day of the third month, the second Drubwang Pedma Norbu’s mind entered the foundational sphere of truth. He was only forty-six years old. Khenpo Ngaga made many prayers for his swift rebirth. During the cremation ceremony, there was an earthquake, the sound of countless self-originating dharma instruments reverberating throughout space, a wondrously sweet smell prevailing in all directions, circular rainbows filling the sky and other miraculous signs which filled the hearts of many of his disciples with renewed faith and devotion.
The 10th Throne-Holder: THE 4TH KARMA KUCHEN RINPOCHE, THEGCHOG NYINGPO
(1908 - 1958)
Thegchog Nyingpo was born in 1908, the fifteenth rabjung year of the Earth Monkey. The fifteenth Karmapa Khakyab Dorje prophesized that this child was indeed the reincarnation of the third Karma Kuchen Rinpoche Do-ngag Chokyi Nyima and gave him the name Karma Thegchog Nyingpo Drimed Yong Drub, which means the Stainless Fully Accomplished Essence of the Supreme Vehicle.
Thegchog Nyingpo received every important transmission in the Palyul lineage from the second Pedma Norbu, including minor transmissions for ritual practice, ransoming life, exorcism of negative forces and others. After receiving all transmissions, Thegchog Nyingpo entered into a three years retreat at the Palyul retreat centre to practice Ratna Lingpa’s Three Kaya Accomplishment.
After successfully completing the retreat, Thegchog Nyingpo began giving empowerments, transmissions and teachings to large gatherings. He also commissioned the paintings of ten thangkas of the Gongdu meditation deities. He was always very generous toward the dharma and greater sangha community, accumulating an abundance of great merit.
In 1956, the year of the Fire Monkey, the communist Chinese occupation of the Tibet began. In 1958, the year of the Earth Dog, Thegchog Nyingpo was fifty-one years old when he was captured and imprisoned by the Communist Chinese troops. After undergoing a great amount of torture, he was taken to the Mugngag Labour Camp. One day, Thegchog Nyingpo told the prison guards that he was planning to leave. Thinking he was planning an escape, the guards chided him saying, “We will see how far you get.” They intended that evening to watch him very closely, but were distracted when a tigress with four cubs came near the prison. All of the guards on duty rushed off to hunt the tigress and what they found when they returned is as follows: Some of the guards reported that Thegchog Nyingpo had completely disappeared, without leaving a trace behind (the great rainbow body transference), others said they found him sitting without breathing in meditative equipoise. The announcement was made to the general public that Thegchog Nyingpo had died suddenly of an unexplained illness.
The 11th Throne-Holder: THE 3RD DRUBWANG PEDMA NORBU RINPOCHE, THUBTEN LESHED CHOKYI DRAYANG, also known as Do-Ngag Shedrub Tenzin Chog-Lei Namgyal (1932 - 2009)
The fifth Dzogchen Rinpoche, Thubten Chokyi Dorje, prophesized, “In a supreme and sacred place, in the upper region of Powo, close to an attractive, large, rocky mountain that is adorned with various trees, surrounded by large and small lakes and a large cold river flowing from the south, a child of noble birth will be born in the year of the Water Monkey. His parents of method and wisdom, will bear the names Sonam and Kyid. I have received indications that this child will be of great benefit to the doctrine and sentient beings.” The great Khenpo Ngaga Rinpoche supported this prophecy and recognized the new incarnation, composing his long life prayer.
The third Drubwang Pedma Norbu was born in 1932, the year of the Water Monkey, in the twelfth month. He was born in the ancestral heritage of Terton Duddul Dorje. His father’s name was Sonam Gyurmed and his mother’s name was Dzom Kyid. The third Drubwang Pedma Norbu was invited to the Palyul monastery in 1936, the year of the Fire Rat, and took his vows of refuge from the great Khenpo Ngaga Rinpoche.
One day at play, while still a small child, he accidentally broke the horn of a very old and precious vajra. Fearing that his teacher would reprimand him, Pedma Norbu quickly glued it back together with his own saliva, making the vajra much stronger than it had been originally. On another occasion, during the Cha-sum ceremony, he accidentally dropped his ritual bell onto the stone floor. Everyone present assumed that the bell had broken and yet, when Pedma Norbu picked it up, the ring was much more melodious than ever before. As a small child, the third Drubwang Pedma Norbu displayed many miraculous signs of accomplishment.
Pedma Norbu took upasaka (lay) ordination from the second Chogtrul Rinpoche and received the name Thubten Lekshed Chokyi Drayang. At Dago monastery, he received the Nam Cho Great Perfection one month preliminary practice teachings of Buddha in the Palm of the Hand and successfully completed all of the practices.
When Pedma Norbu was thirteen years of age, at the Dago retreat centre, he took novice ordination. During the ceremony Khenpo Legshed Jordan was his khenpo, Khenpo Khentse Lodro was his sangton (secret teacher) and Tsamdo Khenpo Sonam Dondrub his helper.
From Pedma Jigmed, the third Drubwang Pedma Norbu Rinpoche received the transmissions of Jigmed Lingpa’s Nine Volumes; the thirteenth chapters of Karma Chagmed’s Ah Cho; and So Wangdrag Gyatso’s Ka Bum. While receiving these transmissions, Pedma Norbu made intricately woven knots in blessings cords with his tongue. These sacred tongue-woven blessing cords are extremely rare and can be made only by a highly accomplished lama. He continued to make these wondrous special blessing cords until 1958.
On another occasion, Pedma Norbu casually drew in ink the syllable “Ah” on a white conch shell. Later, when the ink wore away, the syllable was luminously embossed on the shell. This shell, cherished as an object of veneration, is presently kept in the Palyul monastery in Tibet . The third Pedma Norbu twice completed the full retreat of the Illusory Body of Manjushri (a mind Treasure of Mipham Rinpoche). Just at the conclusion of the second retreat, a very melodious sound could be heard coming from his room and brilliant light radiated from the mirror on his altar.
In the Darthang monastery, Pedma Norbu received all the transmissions of the precious Kagyur and Tengyur, as well as completing a Vajrakilaya retreat. He then entered into retreat with his root guru, Chogtrul Rinpoche, for four consecutive years. During these four precious years that they remained together, Chogtrul Rinpoche, who was already quite elderly, suffered from extremely poor vision. It was with great personal difficulty and hardship that he gave the third Drubwang Pedma Norbu Rinpoche all the empowerments, transmissions and secret oral instructions of Terton Migyur Dorje’s Nam Cho, Ratna Lingpa’s revelations and virtually every single transmission practiced in the great Palyul tradition. Pedma Norbu Rinpoche then successfully completed all the stages of practice directly under Chogtrul Rinpoche’s guidance. Among his accomplishments were the root recitations of the Three Roots, the Nam Cho preliminary practices, tummo-tsalung; the actual foundation practices of the Great Perfection Buddha in the Palm of the Hand, which include trekchod, clear light togyal, inner togyal practice, darkness practice, training in the dream state, the nature of sound and the pure realms. It was during this time that Chogtrul Rinpoche was known to have said, “If I am unable to successively transmit all empowerments, transmissions and teachings to the third Pedma Norbu Rinpoche before I leave this world, then my precious human rebirth will have been wasted.” The third Drubwang Pedma Norbu Rinpoche is the only great lama alive today who holds entirely the pure lineage of Terton Migyur Dorje’s Nam Cho and Ratna Lingpa’s revelations.
In 1957, in an attempt to reverse the onset of the Chinese occupation, Pedma Norbu selected some monks to perform, in individual groups, an extensive one month Vajrakilaya accomplishment. While these accomplishments were underway, various signs arose indicating that the Communist Chinese occupation of Tibet was irreversible. It was then that the third Drubwang Pedma Norbu Rinpoche made his decision to depart for India , leaving the Palyul monastery for the purpose of the doctrine and sentient beings. On the long, dangerous journey that followed, Pedma Norbu passed through central Tibet and crossed over border into India . He was constantly befriended and safeguarded by the meditational deities and dharma protectors during this difficult journey.
Once in India , he began activating expansive miraculous activities and shortly after he decided to settle in Mysore , South India , close to the sacred Drekar Pungwa Stupa, where Buddha first taught the Kalachakra Tantra.
In 1963, Pedma Norbu Rinpoche built the new Thekchog Namdrol Shedrub Dargye Ling (Namdroling) monastery and he established the sangha community. To date, this monastery has a sangha community of about three thousand lamas and has become the single largest Nyingmapa monastic institution out of Tibet consisting primary school, higher scholastic institute, a retreat centre, a nunnery, an old age home and so forth. In fact it has all the facilities to study the aspects of the Nyingmapa tradition.
In India , during one of the Dharma Medicine Accomplishment Ceremonies of Nyingthig Palchen Dupa, rainbows arose from the mandala, the nectar in the skull cup overflowed and many other extraordinary signs of accomplishment were viewed by many. For the last thirty-seven successive years since arriving in India , the third Drubwang Pedma Norbu has continued the annual tradition of performing the accomplishment of the one hundred million mantra repetitions.
Since 1985, Pema Norbu Rinpoche has spread dharma and established many centres in United States , Britain , Greece , Canada , Hong Kong , Taiwan , Philippines , Nepal , and Singapore , besides other monasteries around northern part of India.
The third Drubwang Pedma Norbu Rinpoche continually satisfies the needs and desires of his people by performing ceremonies to stop or create rain, to transfer the consciousness of the dead and dying, as well as after-death intermediate period ceremonies, exorcisms, long life blessings, healings, and so forth. There is no limit to the extent of his selfless, enlightened activities and powerful miraculous deeds. His efforts for the doctrine and sentient beings are equal only to the limits of space. There is no doubt that his enlightened activities will continue to illuminate the darkness of ignorance in this world and that there will be good fortune to continue his historical works for the benefit of the Buddha’s doctrine and all sentient beings.
The 12th Throne-Holder: THE 5TH KARMA KUCHEN RINPOCHE (1970 - current)
The 5th Karma Kuchen Rinpoche was born on August 28, 1970, in the year of Iron Dog, along with many auspicious signs in Southern India, to a noble religious family. When he was 2 years old, His Holiness Pedma Norbu Rinpoche (the 11th Throne Holder) notified his parents that their son is the reincarnation of a great mahasiddha, and his food and clothing have to be clean.
When H.H Karma Kuchen Rinpoche was 4 years old, both the late H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche (also the manifestation of Guru Rinpoche) and H.H. Penor Rinpoche confirmed that this child is the unmistaken incarnation of the 4th Karma Kuchen Rinpoche (Karma Thegchog Nyingpo) in their meditations. He was then invited to Namrdoling Monastery where Penor Rinpoche looked after him and provided him with basic education. Karma Kuchen Rinpoche studied and perfected the teachings of Namcho (Sky Teachings) preliminaries (ordinary and extraordinary), Tsalung and up to Dzogpachenpo under the direct guidance of H.H. Penor Rinpoche. He also took the Bhikshu and Bodhisattva vows, and received the Namcho, Ratna Lingpa’s revelations and Rinchen Terzoed empowerments from H.H. Penor Rinpoche. In addition, he received many teachings under the late H.H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Dodrupchen Rinpoche, Nyoshul Khenpo Rinpoche, and many other great siddhas.
He had displayed infinite wisdom and understanding of Vajrayana and Mahayana teachings when he gave a long discourse at the Ngagyur Nyingma Institute, in the presence of many high Khenpos.
Keeping in view of his wonderful qualities of a master, His Holiness Penor Rinpoche appointed him as the Head of the Palyul Mother Monastery in Tibet in 1994. On 14 August 2000, he was formally enthroned as the lineage holder of The Palyul Lineage and is now the 12th throne holder of The Palyul Lineage. Equipped with inconceivable wisdom, modesty, grace and boundless compassion, he has vowed to bring peace and happiness to all sentient beings and spread the supreme Dharma in the 10 directions. Penor Rinpoche on many occasions appreciated his efforts in holding the pure lineage of Palyul tradition and dissemination of Buddha Dharma in the Land of Snows.
The significant achievement of Karma Kuchen Rinpoche since his arrival in Tibet was that he had built many temples, stupas, prayer wheels, images of deities and other objects of veneration and faith. Under the direction of Penor Rinpoche, he is now planning to build a very grand and magnificent temple within the monastery premises.
Of the many remarkable qualities that he possesses, the most striking quality is his strict and pure observance of all the vows of a monk. He is thus the embodiment of pure conduct in these degenerate times.
the throne-holders of palyul monastery
The 2nd Throne-Holder: PEDMA LHUNDRUB GYATSO (1660 – 1727)
Pedma Lhundrub Gyatso was born in 1660, the eleventh rabjung year of the Iron Rat, in the Seng-gang area of Palyul. As the prophecy indicates, Pedma Lhundrub Gyatso was the reincarnation of Sogpo Lhapal, one of the twenty-five disciples of Guru Padmasambhava. From the Vidyadhara Migyur Dorje, he received all the Nam Cho empowerments, transmission and concealed secret instructions. At the age of sixteen, Lhundrub Gyatso went to Palyul Monastery and remained inseparable from his uncle, the Vidyadhara Kunzang Sherab.
When Pedma Lhundrub Gyatso reached his twenty-first year, by the ripening of past karma and with the blessings of the guru, he recognized his true face to be the emptiness-pure awareness nature of the mind.
After Kunzang Sherab passed away, at the age of fifty-four, he took full charge of the Palyul Monastery.
Pedma Lhundrub Gyatso attracted countless disciples who themselves received experiences such as visions and dreams of the root guru giving empowerments, introductions to the nature of mind and prophecies. Pedma Lhundrub Gyatso had visions of the Three Roots and Dharma Protectors bestowing blessings upon him, and he could easily understand the thoughts in the minds of others. He could pacify any illnesses or demonic force possession by simply focusing his mind on the problem.
In 1727, the year of the Fire Sheep, at the age of sixty-eight, at dawn, on the tenth day of Sagadawa, like a golden statue, he entered into meditative equipoise. In the clear light sphere of the four states of confidence, he dissolved his rupakaya body. At the time of his passing, in the clear sky of the east, loud sounds reverberated and flashes of light streaked the sky. During the cremation, mist turned into rainbows and clouds took on the shape of images, vases and wish-granting trees. The sound of the fire was extremely loud and, in the smoke, the forms of deities and their hand implements could be seen. In his remains, many precious bone relics were found.