Dzogchen Ponlop Pema Sangngak Tendzin

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rdzogs chen dpon slob padma gsang sngags bstan 'dzi

Short biography

The second Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche (1731-1805), was born in Pobo Gang to the nomadic family of Ge-phen as a son of Samphel in the Iron Female Pig Year. He was recognized, and invited to Dzogchen Monastery by the Dharma King of Derge, Chogyal Tenpa Tsering, and Dzogchen Rinpoche. He was enthroned in the seat of Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, where Dzogchen Rinpoche performed the hair cutting ceremony and gave him the name "Pema Sang-ngak Tenzin." From an early age, he did not eat any meat. At the age of ten, he travelled to central Tibet with Dzogchen Rinpoche and received the novice vow from Dorje Drak Shabdrung of the Dorje Drak Monastery, one of the six major seats of the Nyingma lineage. Mindroling Gyalse Rinchen Namgyal, heart son of the Lodrak Gyurme Chokdrub Palbar, Palri Trulku Losang Pema and others gave him many teachings and transmissions. Specifically, Dzogchen Rinpoche, Gyurme Thekchok Tenzin, and many others, gave him the complete empowerments, transmissions and instructions of the profound secret Dzogchen lineage, which he practiced diligently. He studied astrology and other sciences, and Nyitrak Choktrul Rinpoche was one of his teachers. However, his main emphasis was practice and he spent eleven consecutive years in strict retreat.

He traveled, taught and benefited many beings and also received many material offerings, which he spent mostly on dharma activities such as sponsoring practices and building stupas. In particular, he sponsored the carving of over 100,000 stone Mani mantras and built a library with all the woodblock printed texts of Kangyur, Tengyur and other texts available in that day.

Many people of the time regarded him as a realized yogi yet most of the time, he acted as a hidden yogi and hence generally did not engage in giving teachings, instructions and empowerments. He made an exception with the first Dodrupchen Jigme Trinley Ozer, to whom the second Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche transmitted the Khandro Nyingthik. Dodrupchen also conferred upon the second Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche the transmissions of Longchen Nyingthik.

Two or three times a year, the second Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche instructed students in practices, and inspired all devotees to exert themselves in the path of meditation. He had complete clairvoyance and everyone completely trusted and relied on his prophetic guidance.

After directing Dzogchen Monastery for three years, benefiting numerous beings, he left for the retreat center and mainly stayed in retreat, occasionally giving instructions to other devoted students.

At the age of 74, the Female Wood Ox Year, amidst wondrous signs, he passed into parnirvana at the main seat in Rudam. Many relics appeared from his cremation ground.

This account is based on A Religious History (1990 ed.), pp. 808-11, by Guru Tashi, who wrote between 1807 and 1863.

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