The Life and Works of Tsulchen Rinpoche (2)

The Sun of Teachings, Tsulchen Thegchog Tempai Nyima Rinpoche (2)

The meaning of Rinpoche’s name is ‘the sun of teachings of noble sect’. He was born in Dzakhog township in Derge, Kham region of eastern Tibet. This was the same hometown of Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen Rinpoche (1859-1934) who realized the rainbow body of the great Phowa Dzogchen, and was also the root guru of the 2nd Tsulchen Rinpoche.

Tsulchen Rinpoche was born into a large agricultural family. His father named Ambum came from a pure clan. His mother named Okar Lamtsho. The year that he was born was the 16th year of the Tibetan’s sixty year cycle (Rabchung), which was called “Wangchug” meaning bountiful, prosperity, and powerful. Accordingly, it was in the year of Fire-Ox, on a Thursday, waxing moon day. Both parents had auspicious dreams. While his mother was giving birth there were also many auspicious signs: pleasant smell of fragrance filled the air inside and outside of their home, the sound of a dragon, bountiful rain, as well as an appearance of the rainbow.

At that time, Gyaltsab Lodro Gyatso, who was a representative of Shardza Rinpoche came to their house and bestowed the empowerment for long life. He rejoiced in the occasion and gave the prediction that the boy will be the important holder of Yungdrung Bon’s teaching. He urged the parents to take good care of their son.

The young boy studied Tibetan linguistics and grammar with ease. Terton Kalsang Tempai Gyaltsen and Gyaltsab Lodrol Gyatso gave him the name “Chime Thegchog Tempai Nyima” which means ‘the sun of teachings of noble sect, the immortal one.” It is an auspicious name that has outer, inner, and innermost meanings.

When he was four years old, the boy who later became Tsulchen Rinpoche was recognized as the reincarnated 2nd Tsulchen Rinpoche. This recognition was upheld from many prophecies that led to the investigation until they found the boy with such characteristics in his own root guru’s (Shardza Rinpoche) hometown.

In the year of the dragon, on 13th of the first month, he was enthroned at Tokden monastery which was more than a thousand kilometers from his hometown. At that time, traveling across region was a difficult journey that can be done mainly on foot or by animal ride.

To receive and welcome him, there were dharma practitioners, disciples of the previous Tsulchen Rinpoche, and devotees of Yungdrung Bon and other schools including King Meu (King of Ngawa). At such a young age, he could miraculously recite prayers to remove obstacles and dedication prayers.

Thanks to Migmar for her help with the translation.


In Gratitude (3)



“May this Buddha image represent my prayers and blessings for your Dharma work. Although it doesn’t have much value, it is fully blessed. It has been in my retreat house since I came to live here, said Tsulchen Rinpoche,Tokden Monastery.

ขอกราบขอบพระคุณพระอาจารย์ซูเช็น ริมโปเช ที่ได้ให้กำลังใจและได้แสดงมุทิตาจิตแก่การงานของอ.กฤษดาวรรณและมูลนิธิพันดาราด้วยการมอบองค์พระพุทธรูปให้ ท่านบอกว่าองค์พระไม่ได้มีค่าอะไรแต่เปี่ยมด้วยพร องค์พระนี้ได้อยู่ในห้องจำศีลของท่านตั้งแต่ท่านได้มาจำพรรษาที่วัดตกเต็น ท่านขอให้เป็นองค์แทนตัวท่านขณะที่ท่านยังไม่สามารถมาเมืองไทย

Guru Rinpoche Festival in Aba, Sichuan Province (Amdo Tibet)

8-14 April 2010

I planned to attend the famous Guru Rinpoche empowerment at Tokden Monastery for 3 consecutive years. This year I managed to go there with Yonten and On, who offered to take photos for us. It was a joy to attend the ancient ceremony with several hundreds of Tibetans in the middle of the night. The empowerment was over at around 5 am. We went outside the main shrine to feel fresh cold air. Our spirit renewed with Guru Rinpoche blessings.

Guru Rinpoche or Padmasambhava at the main shrine, Tokden Monastery

Smoke offerings to dharmapalas before the empowerment

Serious praying monks

and playing ones

Circumambulating the shrine before empowerment which took place at 3am

Tsulchen Rinpoche conducting the empowerment