Khenpo Jamyang Gyaltsen

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མཁན་པོ་འཇམ་དབྱངས་རྒྱལ་མཚན།

mkhan po 'jam dbyangs rgyal mtshan

The great Khenpo of Dzongsar Shedra

Short Biography

Khenpo Jamyang Gyaltsen or Khenpo Jamgyal was the third khenpo of Dzongsar shedra. He was a student of Ponlop Rinpoche Loter Wangpo as well as Khenpo Shenga. He was a teacher of Dezhung Rinpoche and Khenpo Appey Rinpoche. He also played a pivotal role in the preservation and propagation of the teachings of Gorampa Sonam Senge. According to Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche:

Lama Jamyang Gyaltsen, of the Gakhok region, who was an incredibly learned and accomplished master and a very strict monk, was also a student of Ngawang Lekpa. On one occasion, Ngawang Lekpa Rinpoche went around the rooms of all his students, and opened up their torma boxes in order to see what they were practicing. When he went to the room of Jamyang Gyaltsen he found the tormas for the lama, yidam and khandro of the Longchen Nyingthik. When he saw this, he thought to himself: “Jamyang Gyaltsen is incredibly learned. I had thought that he would go on to uphold the pure Sakya tradition, and make a great contribution to its development in the future. Now even he is practicing Nyingtik! It seems most of the learned and accomplished lineage holders in [[Sakya] are becoming followers of the Nyingma school. The Nyingma tradition is becoming as well known as the sun and moon, while the Sakya school is certainly on the wane.” He was so concerned by this situation, that he could hardly sleep.

Later Lama Jamyang Gyaltsen went to Dzongsar and met with Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro and Ponlop Loter Wangpo, and asked them what he could do to further the Sakya tradition. Loter Wangpo and Jamyang Khyentse both said, “If you really want to make a contribution to the Sakya school, then you must publish the collected works of Gorampa.” Since the Tibetan government had long ago banned the printing of Gorampa’s writings, Lama Jamyang Gyaltsen had to spend many years searching throughout Central Tibet before he had found all the texts and was ready to take them back to Kham. He put all the books together in a sack and tied it to the back of a mule and started on his way. When he reached the Derge region, he had to cross a narrow bridge over the Drichu river, but as he did so the mule slipped and fell, and with it went the sack of texts. When he saw this, Lama Jamyang Gyaltsen was distraught. He called out to Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro, Pañjaranatha and Four-armed Mahakala, and put on his robe and his hat and invoked them. As he did so, the mule miraculously came ashore.

When they began the work of publishing the works of Gorampa, many obstacles arose, so Jamyang Khyentse, Lama Jamyang Gyaltsen, and an assembly of 108 monks assembled on the twenty-fifth of the month in the Namgyal Protectors’ shrine at Dzingkhok monastery to perform many hundreds of thousands of fulfillment offerings to the protector deity Pañjaranatha. To people watching from a distance, it looked like the temple was on fire, and many people came on horseback to see what was happening. At the end of the practice, all the obstacles were overcome. You should know that the fact that Gorampa’s collected works are available today is due entirely to the kindness of Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro.

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