Wood Valley Temple & Guest House
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Nechung Rinpoche

Nechung Choktrul Rinpoche

 

LINEAGE

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Nechung Rinpoche Ogyen Thinley Choephel came from Mindroling Monastery to Nechung Monastery in the 1880's. His coming to Nechung was due to the unflagging grace of the great Dharma protector, and in particular his unique practice of the Treasured Doctrine. This happened during the time of the Eighth Medium, Shakya Yarphel. Rinpoche not only became the medium's spiritual guide, but also of Nechung's sangha, to whom he passed extensive transmission of the meditation practices on the energy channels, wind, and yantras (Tsa, Lung, Khrul-Khor) of the generation and completion stage practices of tantra.

In 1891, following the prophecies given by Nechung, and as instructed by the Tibetan government, he left for Do-Kham, eastern Tibet, to collect the heavily blessed image of Guru Padmasambhava, a treasure object discovered by the treasure master Ogyen Lerab Lingpa, from Zongsar Khentse Rinpoche (1820-1892).

This image was later housed in the Tsuglag Khang in Tibet's capital, Lhasa, so that the doctrine of the Buddha may flourish, and there will be timely rain, and especially that the great holders of the doctrine headed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama may live long, and that the dual polity of the Tibetan Government may be ever victorious. It was also to retain Jowo Shakyamuni's image (brought in the 7th century by the Chinese Princess Wen-Cheng Kung-Chu as dowry for King Songtsen Gampo) in this universe so that it may not be taken away by the Nagas into their subterrestial realm.

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Before Nechung Rinpoche actually headed for Do-Kham, he requested the advice of the Dharma protector, who said, 'Initially there will be some pertinent problems. However, if you were to open the Ne-Ze (grain cascade) of Khentse Rinpoche and open the sealed scroll contained in it, you will find a Guru Yoga text, a treasure object discovered by the great treasure master Ogyen Lerab Lingpa, otherwise known as Terton Sogyal, and [if you] subsequently commission the sangha of Nechung to recite this text when they assemble, you will fulfill your mission.'

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Accordingly, Khentse Rinpoche also handed over the Guru Yoga text, along with the image of Guru Padmasambhava, with great pleasure. Thus, on the 22nd day of the ninth Tibetan month of the Iron-Hare Year, the day of the Buddha Shakyamuni's Descent from Heaven, the image was brought to Lhasa and housed in the Tsuglag Khang amidst a grand ceremonial welcome accorded by the Tibetan government.

On the tenth day of every Tibetan month, a group of eight Nechung monks are required to make a Tsog offering based on Thug-Drub Drag-Po Tzal (Bestowal of Heart's Wrathful Accomplishment.) Accordingly, Khentse Rinpoche also handed over the Guru Yoga text, along with the image of Guru Padmasambhava, with great pleasure. Thus, on the 22nd day of the ninth Tibetan month of the Iron-Hare Year, the day of the Buddha Shakyamuni's Descent from Heaven, the image was brought to Lhasa and housed in the Tsuglag Khang amidst a grand ceremonial welcome accorded by the Tibetan government.

When Ogyen Thinley Choephel stayed at Mindroling Monastery, he was recognized as the incarnation of Langdro Kunchok Jungne, one of the 25 chief disciples of Guru Padmasambhava. Langdro Kunchok Jungne's reincarnation is recognized as the treasure master Ratna Lingpa (1403-1479) who is well-known in the history of Tibetan Buddhism. It is for this reason that Ogyen Thinley Choephel is considered the reincarnation of Ratna Lingpa.

Reincarnations

After the demise of Ogyen Thinley Choephel Rinpoche, the Great Thirteenth Dalai Lama recognized Thupten Konchok (1917-1983) as the reincarnation of Nechung Rinpoche. This incarnate Nechung Rinpoche became a great realized master. He also studied Tibetan literature and astro-science from a learned astrology of Mindroling Monastery. From 1956 to 1959, he taught Tibetan language at China's Minority School in Beijing. Following the Chinese occupation, he returned to Tibet, and was imprisoned for a few months. He ultimately escaped from Tibet and reached India in 1962. In accordance with his premonitions, Nechung Rinpoche was able to bring to Nechung Monastery in India Se-Bag Mug-Chung (Precious Mask), one of the holiest and most priceless belongings of Nechung, the great Dharma protector. On December 2, 1964, Nechung Rinpoche became a teacher at the Vishesh Kendriya Vidyalaya in Janakpuri—Delhi, and worked there until October, 1975. During this decade, Rinpoche made regular visits to Nechung Monastery in Dharamsala. During his stays, he passed on numerous lineages of initiations, oral transmissions, and commentaries on the practices unique to the traditions of Nechung.

HH the Dalai Lama & Nechung Rinpoche, NDDL 1994, photo by Diego Hangartner

HH the Dalai Lama & Nechung Rinpoche, NDDL 1994, photo by Diego Hangartner

Nechung Rinpoche with the Nechung Kuten

Nechung Rinpoche with the Nechung Kuten

Nechung Rinpoche on a visit to Wood Valley in September 2018.

Nechung Rinpoche on a visit to Wood Valley in September 2018.

In 1973, he established Nechung Dorje Drayang Ling, a temple and meditation center in Hawaii for the study of Buddhist meditation and Tibetan culture. He resided in Hawai'i from 1975 until 1983. In August, 1983, Nechung Rinpoche "manifested the act of passing away into Parinirvana revealing the transitory nature of life." He remained in “tuk dam”, a state of absorbed meditation, and following the past traditions of Nechung Monastery, he was released three days later from this state at the behest of Taglung Tsetrul Rinpoche. His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Nechung Oracle recognized the reincarnation of Nechung Rinpoche in 1993. He was born in Lhasa, Tibet. A monk from Nechung Monastery in India, and two close disciples of his predecessor from Hawaii, accompanied him safely to India. Rinpoche took ordination as a monk and studied the scriptural texts and special rituals of Nechung Monastery until 2007. He then entered Mindroling Monastic College in Clement Town, close to Dehra Dun in northern India, and graduated in 2017. Rinpoche presently lives at Nechung Monastery in Dharamsala, India, and attends all the extensive rituals at the monastery. He visits his temple in Wood Valley in the spring & fall annually, giving teachings on Buddhist philosophy & meditation.