How the Seventh Dzogchen Rinpoche was Recognised
Translated from Tibetan
One evening after the Sixth Dzogchen Rinpoche Jigdral Jangchup Dorje was cremated Khenpo Yonten Gonpo suddenly started to write something. Early the next morning he gave his nephew a note written in red ink and instructed him to keep it very safely.
After three months of constant travel, Khenpo Yonten Gonpo and his students had succeeded in passing unseen beyond the valleys of Dzajut Tromza and Bonbo. However on the evening of the new moon, the master passed away, in a manner which made it seem as though he was dependant on external conditions.
Not long after Khenpo’s death, young Pema Kalsang Rinpoche was released from jail in Dege and returned to Dzogchen. It was five years later, in 1964, that Sonam Dopten offered him the symbolic prophesy that Khenpo had written. Taking it, Pema Kalsang Rinpoche hid the paper along with the complete remains of Dzogchen Rinpoche, although he suffered both interrogation and beatings.
The Prophesy of Great Khenpo Jigme Yonten Gonpo
To every lord Buddha, the true Vajradhara,To Padmakara’s boundless grace,I pray with all my heart,May hope and dharma accord. Below white eastern clouds, He, the very blood of my heart, Will join the young familyOf Dhvaja and Tara. Meditative visions burst forth In joy from my sorrowful mind.Keep this secret in your heart,For a time yet to come.
An explanation of the prophesy:
In the first verse Guru Rinpoche, also known as Padmakara, is invoked. This ensures that the events detailed will be in accord with the dharma, and will not suffer harm from demons or malevolent spirits. The need to pray to Guru Rinpoche is evident, because all the previous incarnations of Dzogchen Rinpoche were identified and named in reliance on Guru Rinpoche’s treasure prophesies. Great Khenpo considered that this text was also one of Guru Rinpoche’s prophesies.
The second verse states that Rinpoche’s birth place will be in the East. The present Dzogchen Rinpoche was born in Eastern Tibet. It also mentions the names of his parents in Sanskrit; Dhvaja is Gyaltsen in Tibetan and Tara is translated as Dronma. Rinpoche’s father was called Tsering Dondrup, but as a child was known as Tsering Gyaltsen. His mother is called Dondrup Dronma.
The third verse mentions how the text suddenly appeared to the great Khenpo as a meditative vision, and instructs those who trust the prophesy to wait for a suitable time before revealing it.
Dokden Lama Recognises the Seventh Dzogchen Rinpoche
One day during teachings Dokden Lama suddenly paused and, turning to Tenzin Longdock Nyima, placed a silk scarf around his neck and announced him to be the Seventh Dzogchen Rinpoche. The master also gave him a small hand-written paper which revealed a prophesy.
Dokden Lama’s Prophesy ‘Releasing the Knots of Doubt’
Lotus born, union of Buddha and Lama, I pray single-mindedly,With veneration of entire being, Inseparable protector bless me! From the empty luminous Dharmakaya,Limitless emanations arise,The power of Bodhisattva Jigdral’s prayers,Unmistaken truth of karmic connection. Lama Gonpo’s prophesy speaksOf white eastern home clouds,A new family, the name Dhvaja,And a symbolic heart drop. My vision held a crystal boulder,Arising with splendorous jewelled light,This brings testimony toEnlightened Lama’s insight. Our precious teacher,If given essential respect,Will spread the truth of dharma,And benefit beings unnumbered. These disjointed words,Whatever came to mind,Are nothing poetic, butContain the profoundest truth. Lamas of the lineage, bless my heart.Root deities, rain down accomplishments.Dharma protectors, stay forever close.May all virtuous wishes be accomplished!Virtue! Sarwa mangalam.
Dokden Lama said Great Khenpo Jigme Yonten Gonpo knew through joyful meditative visions who the re-incarnation of Dzogchen Rinpoche would be. ‘The other day I decided to see in meditation whether Rinpoche would be given the title and enthroned, and what benefit he would bring to Dzogchen monastery and all beings. In a visionary experience, which was unlike a dream, a white mass descended from the sky and landed in this valley of Rudam. After a moment a tremendous illuminating light shone out and filled the entire space. This symbolic vision indicates that in the future the teachings of Dzogchen will not wane, but will continue and be propagated. This is the fortunate connection of enlightened activities. So it was that yesterday this old man ventured to offer our Rinpoche his title and a silken scarf!’
Dzogchen Tulku Drime Ozer’s Prophesy
Another prophesy was made by Dzogchen Tulku Drime who was known to be the emanation of Dho Khyentse’s attendant. It was he who recognised most of the Dzogchen Tulkus of his time, including the Sixth Dzogchen Rinpoche Jigdral Jangchup Dorje, and all knew him to be a genuine treasure revealer. Before the great changes took place, Tulku Drime produced a secret letter that clearly predicted the coming situation in Tibet, and described the rises and falls that Dzogchen monastery and the teachings would undergo. From this master come these words concerning the Seventh Dzogchen Rinpoche:
The seventh incarnation Pema Gawang, Tulku of Samten Choling, holder of the teachings, will honour the great king of China and show off the Khenpo’s ruby hat. In the valleys of Hana, Dadrin and Barchen, along with Mongalam and Samedra, communities of ordained monks, mantrins and nuns will form. Between the meadows of Tulchunyak and Yaktangchu the villages of Tibet and China will join.
An explanation of the prophesy:
The seventh incarnation or Tulku of Dzogchen Rinpoche is sometimes called Pema Gawang. This also is the name that Dokten Lama uses. The Dzogchen valley is called Rudam Urgyen Samten Choling. The line ‘honour the great king of China’ refers to Rinpoche’s good association with the Chinese authorities. Upon the confirmation of his identity, Rinpoche was quickly presented with an official paper recognising him as one of the most important incarnate lamas in Tibet, and many of the regional leaders were in attendance at his enthronement. In this way it can be said that Rinpoche honoured China.
The line ‘show off the Khenpo’s ruby hat’ refers to Rinpoche’s scholarship; he is an authority on the scriptures of the Nyingma tradition and holds the status of Khenpo or professor in Shira Sing Scriptural College. Also, during his enthronement Rinpoche was awarded the title of Shungchen Ramjam, or Master of the Great Scriptures, and was presented with the maroon hat, the symbol of a great pandita.
The valleys named in the second line of the prophesy lie to the east and west of the Rudam valley, and it remains to be seen if new gatherings of monks, tantrins and nuns will come to settle there. The final line is an indicator of time, and in recent years is has indeed happened that the meadows that once separated the Chinese administrative buildings from neighbouring dwellings have been built on and occupied.
In addition to these a number of other lamas made prophesies regarding Rinpoche’s rebirth and activities, including the Great Treasure Revealer Yonre from Litang and Lingzhe Lama from Zamit. The reincarnation of Mipham Rinpoche, the great Gerong Gyalse Rinpoche, wrote that it is certain Tenzin Longdock Nyima is the rebirth of Dzogchen Rinpoche and many other great masters of wisdom in Tibet and India also confirmed Rinpoche’s identity.