Nyidrak Tulku Yonten Zangpo

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ཉི་གྲགས་སྤྲུལ་སྐུ་ཡོན་ཏན་བཟང་པོ་
nyi grags sprul sku yon tan bzang po

Photo Courtesy: Dorlop Ratna Rinpoche/Sublime Lotus

Brief Biography

It is the wish of this Lamas organization that the spelling be changed to Nyigrags, this being their reason:

the Nyigrags Lineage teacher Dorlop Ratna Rinpoche is the younger sibling of the current 7th Holiness Yonten Zang Po Nyima Gragspa, and he offered this explanation, "Nyidrag sound means wrathful. Nyigrags means famous. Nyima Gragspa is famous/shines as prophesied by Padma Jung-ne in the Pema Kathang".

as it is not possible to changed all the headings that are already in place under the Nyima Drakpa and Nyidrak category, I changed the name in just this page and put this Note here to try and please those who have contacted me with this request.

After the end of the Cultural Revolution, revival of the Buddha’s teaching began and, during that time, more than fifty large monasteries of Tibet such as Tagmo Monastery, Uru Monastery, Gyarong Monastery, Troshul Monastery, Aese Monastery, Norling Monastery, Damlatsang Monastery of Tsongon region, and learned masters such as Gegyal Khen Rinpoche repeatedly urged Kyabje Nyigrags Gyalse Rinpoche to search for and enthrone the reincarnation of the Sixth Nyigrags Rinpoche.

Once, while in the prison of Nagchu, the sixth Nyima Dragpa met Nyigrags Gyalse Rinpoche, and gave him an upper garment and spoke these words, “We will meet later.” That was the last time they saw each other and the statement was nothing short of prophecy.

Nyigrags Gyalse Rinpoche had dreamt of a small house, in which there was a small statue of Guru Padmasambhava. He saw the sixth reincarnation of Terchen Nyima Dragpa emerged from the left side of the statue. Touching foreheads with him with a great feeling of joy and pronouncing, “It is time for me to go. Look for where I go and we will meet again.”

Speaking thus, he saw the Sixth Nyima Dragpa leave the house from a back door at the right side of the statue. In the dream he saw himself thinking of the inappropriateness of his not knowing where Terchen Nyima Dragpa was going. With this thought, he saw himself climbing a tower in front of the small house. Looking from the roof of the tower he saw himself looking at Terchen Nyima Dragpa walking through an alley and going towards a house on the right side of the alley. In the dream he had a vivid vision of a river running through a small valley and on the left, he saw a larger valley with its geographical features clearly visible. Later on, when he actually visited Druya, he saw there the environment exactly as he had seen in his dream.

Upon visiting Yichung Lake of Singzong Khamshag on the 2nd of August 1985, corresponding to the 15th day of the 6th month of the Wood-ox year according to the Tibetan calendar, Nyigrags Gyalse Rinpoche saw, on the surface of the lake, houses, stupas, topography and two people walking around, which he later said were visions of the place of Druya. Besides Nyigrags Gyalse and Riwang Tenzin Rinpoche, many locals also witnessed the visions.

When Drikung Kyikar Rinpoche was sought for his spiritual guidance on where the reincarnation of the Seventh Terchen Nyima Dragpa would be, he said,

The place will have a junction where three roads merge into one, crop fields and a few stupa in ruins.
Beside the stupas, there is a winding road like a dragon leaping towards the sky.
It is at the east side of a huge cave, that there is a house on a piece of land in the shape of a moon.
It has domestic animals and a red watchdog.

Upon reaching Nangchen in Kham, Nyigrags Gyalse Rinpoche investigated and was certain Durya was indeed the place where roads from Tashung, Drushung, and Domphu met and it is located at east of a huge cave called Zaphug. The place also has stupas and a house with a watchdog as described by Drikung Kyikar Rinpoche. Moreover, a prophecy by a very well-known master named Khatsang Ngawang Gyaltsen said the following:

To the one born from the glorious lotus;
Gyalwang Rigzin Tsokye Je
And to lord and subjects and their retinue,
Bowing low, I pay a wholehearted homage.
In Dru, the land of perfect samaya,
The three Dragnag ascetic brothers
Are known as the three clad in ascetic’s attire
With much respect and devotion to the great treasure revealer.
A leader named Kunsang particularly confident in the treasure revealer.
Thus, he is continuously protected with compassion
A child conceived in the fire-dragon year.
By skilful means and compassion,
Amongst the ascetics of Druya
The child will merge with the rays of blessing
And the welfare of sentient beings will be well attended.
Particularly, to this reincarnation of Dordrag
Will make repeated prayers and aspirations for luck and success
He will repeatedly engage in the ritual of amending and restoring.
Harmonize with this reincarnate’s intentions and intellect,
And there will be benefit to religious and secular affairs.

The local deities mentioned in the prophecy are the three Dragnag brothers and the name of the reincarnate’s father is clearly mentioned as Kunsang. The prophecy also clearly mentioned the time of the reincarnate’s birth as the fire-dragon year.

Upon analyzing the above-mentioned prophecy and investigating according to custom, Dordrag Rinpoche concluded that Yonten Sangpo, born in Druya Kham, was the genuine reincarnate of Terchen Nyima Dragpa.

Moreover, a passage from a supplication composed by the Sixth Terchen Nyima Dragpa clearly mentions the name of Yonten Sangpo. Thus everyone was happy and satisfied with all prophecies that had reached a unanimous conclusion.

However, as the saying goes, “meticulously attend those that are important,” Kyabje Nyigrags Gyalse Rinpoche visited Takmo Monastery, Do-med and after discussions with elders including Karma Tashi of Takmo Monastery and sought help from dharma protectors. Also, when Kyabje Gyarong Ontrul Rinpoche was approached for help, the master gave the following prophecy:

In the magically produced city of Kamaru,
As prophesized by a miraculous glittering golden daki,
Appear the reincarnated Nyima Dragpa, lord of the profound treasures.
With the spread of sweet perfume from the lotus of
reincarnation skilfully look after the sentient beings of degenerate times.
Defilement of doubt from the minds of the triple world will be cleared.
The long-standing tradition of the supreme vehicle, the Great Perfection,
Will be practiced without partiality and spread throughout hermitages in the four directions
And the disciples bearing the banner of practice
Assume the formation of tigers, snow-lions, garudas and dragons.
The wise and skillful master will

With this vajra prophecy, Kyabje Gyarong Ontrul Rinpoche praised the reincarnate with great confidence and determinate awareness.

All the prophecies were true in that the reincarnate, entered Druya Monastery during his childhood and he was born in the dragon year in 1976. After seeking advice from Kyabje Minling Trichen, H.H. Drubwang Penor, H.H. the Sakya Trizin, Kyabje Dzarong Trulshik Rinpoche and many other imminent masters in Tibet and India, all reached a common conclusion concerning the reincarnation, and during the Guru Padmasambhava Festival Month of 1992 (corresponding to the Tibetan monkey year) all the monasteries upholding the teaching lineage of the Nyidrag Sharterpa welcomed Kyabje Nyigrags Gyalse Rinpoche to the birthplace of the young reincarnate.

After investigating the Tulku, Kyabje Nyigrags Gyalse Rinpoche was quoted as saying, “I am ever more convinced.” Therefore, it was decided that the seventh incarnation of Nyima Dragpa should be enthroned and, according to advices of Dodrag Rigzin Chenmo, in 1992 (corresponding to the Water Female Monkey year) Younten Sangpo, the true reincarnate, was welcomed to the historical main seat, Chargru Monastery in Sinmo Zong, where he began his studies and reception of empowerments and transmissions.

He showed such excellence in his studies that everyone was convinced that he was indeed the genuine reincarnation. Moreover, the reincarnate had made prophetic statements which were marvelled at and were widely known in the region, turned out to be true. The young reincarnate made many profound prophecies and recognitions of many reincarnates in Tibet. They were superbly accurate and precisely clear.

On the Festival of Buddha’s Decent from Heaven, in 1999 the young reincarnation was enthroned and the banner of victory for virtue was raised high. With an empowerment from Kyabje Nyigrags Gyalse Rinpoche, the current Lineage-holder of the Nyigrags teachings, the young reincarnate Yonten Sangpo became a Dharma propagator, a protector and preserver of the Buddha’s teachings.

Irrespective of spiritual traditions, the young reincarnate has received empowerments and transmissions from various masters such as Kyabgon Dorje Drag Rinpoche, Kyabje Gyarong Ontrul and Khenchen Thupten Namgyal. The reincarnate also entered the School for Higher Tibetan Buddhist Studies where he engaged in intensive practices of contemplation and meditation. Moreover, visiting all the monasteries upholding the Nyigrags Sharter teachings in the regions of Do-told and Do-med, the reincarnate bestowed many individuals with blessings so that they swiftly attain ripening good merits and liberation.

’’ extracted from the longer biography at[1]’’

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  • SUBLIME LOTUS DHARMA[2]