Ngaktrin Tulku Incarnations

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The Ngaktrin Tulku Incarnations

The first was Ngawang Trinley, the oldest of three sons in the Tsangsar clan. He received monk ordination from the Karmapa Yeshe Dorje, and as given the command to build the monastery Lachab Gompa. "It will bring great benefit to beings," the Karmapa said. Ngawang Trinley belonged mainly to the Barom Kagyu lineage, but he also practiced teachings from the Karma Kagyu and Nyingma. Barom Kagyu teachings he received from Tsangsar Rinchen Lhundrub and the Karma Kagyu teachings from the Karmapa Yeshe Dorje.

Ngawang Trinley became a great lama who upheld and spread the Dharma. He was famed as being an incarnation of Gonpo Chakshipa, a wisdom protector. He died at an age above 60.

The monastery he founded is named Lachab Jangchub Nordzin Choling and is situated in the Nangchen area of Kham. It lies in the nowadays Chinese province of Tso-Ngon, Blue Lake, about 200 kilometers south of Nangchen Dzong.

The second Ngaktrin Tulku was Chenrab Sherab and he was born in the Argong clan. His guru for the Karma Kagyu teachings was the Karmapa Jangchub Dorje and for the Barom Kagyu it was Dharmachakra. At the Palpung monastery in Kham he received mind-instruction from Situ Chokyi Jungney. Later in life he gave many empowerment, and he died at an old age.

The third Ngaktrin Tulku, born in the Chiltsawa clan, was known as Karma Choying Rangdrol and also as Yeshe Roltsal. He received monk ordination from Situ Pema Nyinchey and stayed in a three-year retreat at Palpung monastery. Having become extremely learned and accomplished, he died at the age of 50.

The fourth incarnation was Samten Gyatso. As the son of Orgyen Chopel of Tsangsar, a family clan, and Konchok Paldron, who was the daughter of the great treasure revealer Chokgyur Lingpa, he was recognized by the Karmapa Tekchok Dorje. His guru was Chowang Tulku, the uncle of his former life, the third Ngaktrin. (Chowang Tulku was reincarnated as Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche.) Among his other teachers were Tsangsar Lama Ayurdeva and Chokla Sonam Gyaltsen from who he received the Barom Kagyu teachings. The Nyingma and Chokling Tersar transmissions he was given by Tersey Tsewang Norbu, the son of Chokgyur Lingpa. He received monk ordination from the Karmapa Khakyab Dorje.

Samten Gyatso stayed variously in mountain retreats and sometimes at his monastery Lachab Gompa. He gave the complete transmission for the New Treasures several times: once to the Karmapa Khakyab Dorje and so became his guru, once at Druk Sang-ngak Choling, once at Taklung Yartang, and once at Taklung Martang Riwoche. To the next Karmapa, Rigpey Dorje he gave parts of the Chokling Tersar. Samten Gyatso also gave the complete Chokling Tersar transmission at Nangchen Tsechu Gompa and so became the guru of the king of Nangchen. During his life he build many monasteries and retreat centers, and later died in his 50's.

The fifth Ngaktrin Tulku is known as Tsewang Dechen. He was born in 1941 and is now 56 years old. He was recognized by the Karmapa Rigpey Dorje. In 1950, at the age of eight he was enthroned at Lachab Gompa and remained there studying until 1958. He received the New Treasures transmission from Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, and the Barom Kagyu teachings from Tsangsar Lodro Rinchen. The monk ordination he received from Dabzang Rinpoche.

From 1981 he worked for six years to rebuild the Dzogchen Monastery. Then he restored Dechen Chokhor Ling, a nunnery for 80 nuns, and a retreat center. He is also rebuilding Dzong-go Ling (Fortress Peak) with a meditation center for Kunzang Tuktig.

Since 1958 Ngaktrin Tulku was unable to live at the Lachab Gompa, which disappeared during the Cultural Revolution in 1962, and didn't live there for 22 years. In 1980 he received permission for rebuilding Lachab Gompa. It is now partly restored, not as big as before, but there are 130 monks and two separate three-year retreat centers: one for Barom Kagyu and one for New Treasures.

About his plans, the present Ngaktrin Tulku says, "I have no other plans than helping the Dharma. Since I was given the name Ngaktrin Tulku and there are no one else to take care, I feel responsible. In the past, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche went to Nepal where he died. Until now the local people have helped, but they are poor. The weather is also not friendly for full-scale work - the earth is frozen from the 9th to the third month. Nevertheless, it is my wish to restore the Lachab Gompa fully."

Name of monastery: Lachab Jangchub Nordzin Choling

Address: Tso-Ngon Yul-Hru Region Nangchen Dzong District Chinyi Srib Zhang, Lachab Gon

Dictated by Tsewang Dechen, the present Ngaktrin Tulku, and translated by Erik Pema Kunsang, 1997

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