Lho Ontul Rinpoche
The present Ontül was born in Kham Nangchen in Eastern Tibet in the year 1950. Ontül Rinpoche's family lineage is called Göpe, or also Pebön Thogtrul, which is one of the thirteen noble family lineages which are again explained as stemming from the inner lineage of Lodan Nyingpo, who is one of the four ancient Tulkus of Bön religion, before Padmasambhava's time.
In 1954, His Holiness The 7th Drigung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche and His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa Ranjung Rigpe Dorje recognized Ontül Rinpoche as the incarnation of Ontül, and was given the name Konchog Tenzin Thrinle Rabgye Palzangpo. Accordingly, in the same year Ontül Rinpoche was enthroned in the Monastery Dong Med Ogmin Thubten Shedrub Ling. Lama Kalsang Namgyal, the attendant of his previous incarnation, took the responsibility for giving him basic education such as in reading and writing, reciting texts, etc.
In 1959 when the Chinese Communist army occupied Tibet, his tutor Kalsang Namgyal and Ontül Rinpoche left their home monastery and, together with many monks and people of their village, they began their flight from Tibet to India. On the way they experienced terrible thirst and hunger, and were constantly threatened by the Chinese soldiers. In spite of many difficulties, they managed to cross the Tibetan border and arrived in India through Nepal. Life in India was also not easy because they did not have a place of their own to settle down. They were forced to wander from place to place for almost fourteen years.
In India, again Ontül Rinpoche met with Drikung Khandro Neni Rinpoche. She introduced Ontül Rinpoche to Ven. Khenchen Thubten Ozer, a great Nyingmapa teacher. The first teaching which Ontül Rinpoche received from the Khenpo was an extensive instruction on the Longchen Nyingthig Ngöndro practice. Later Ontül Rinpoche received teachings from Khenpo Thubten Ozer on several other important texts.
From the Yogi Khyunga Rinpoche, Ontül Rinpoche received teachings and his personal instructions on the fivefold profound path of Mahamudra. In the years which followed, Ontül Rinpoche went to Ladakh where he received most of the important empowerments, instructions and oral transmissions of the Drigung Kagyu tradition from H.E. Chöje Togden Rinpoche. Ontül Rinpoche spent several years in Ladakh and travelled with Togden Rinpoche extensively in Ladakh to visit several Drigung monasteries with him.
After coming back to India, in 1971 Ontül Rinpoche bought a piece of land at Tso Pema (Rewalsar, H.P.) from the donations which he received from the people of Ladakh. With the help of resident monks Ontül Rinpoche managed to construct a monastery on this piece of land. Tso Pema means the "Lotus Lake", and this is one of the sacred places where Guru Padmasambhava demonstrated his miraculous powers.
The purpose of his exhibiting miracles on that place was to subdue the king and the people of that region, which was then known as Sahor. It took many years for Rinpoche to complete the monastery with the sacred objects, ritual instruments, and other necessary things.
In 1983 Ontül Rinpoche made a journey to central Tibet and Kham, his first visit to Tibet after escaping in 1959. First stopping in Lhasa and then after making a short visit to Drigung Til, Ontül Rinpoche traveled to his main monastery in Eastern Tibet. It was one of the bigger Drigung monasteries in that area and it is located close to his birth place.
During the Cultural Revolution the main monastery was completely destroyed. Through the effort of three Tulkus (Tulku Thupten Nyingpo, Gyaltsep Tulku, Tulku Phuntsog), and Lopon Gonjam, monks, and the local people it is being rebuilt now, some parts have already been completed.
In this area Ontül Rinpoche spent almost six months attending several ceremonies in the monasetery, giving empowerments and teachings to the monks and local people. Ontül Rinpoche also initiated "Vajrakilaya Düpa" (annual ritual) in this monastery and since then it is done for ten days annually. The Monastery has several branch monasteries, among them is Bumang Monastery. Their Preceptors passed away during the Cultural Revolution. The new reincarnation, now eleven years old, was recognized by H.H. Drigung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche. Ontül Rinpoche's main monastery also has one branch nunnery which was destroyed completely by the Chinese communists. Since 1993 it is under reconstruction and some nuns are practising Dharma there.
From Kham, Ontül Rinpoche returned to Drigung Til in Central Tibet in the autumn of the same year. At Drigung Til monastery he had the opportunity to meet Yogi Pachung Rinpoche. From him Ontül Rinpoche received oral transmissions and teachings, which he, together with Ven. Gelong Tenzin Nyima, repeated thoroughly and then practised.
During this time Ontül Rinpoche met H.H. Drigung Kyabgon Chungtsang Rinpoche who was residing at Lhasa. After staying in Drigung Til for a period of nearly three weeks, Ontül Rinpoche came back to his monastery in Tso Pema, Northern India.