Among the succeeding incarnations of Gardampa Chodengpa, Gar Tenpa Gyaltsen became the regent of Their Holinesses the two Drikung Kyabgons (lineage holders). In that capacity he benefited all beings. Another incarnation, Gar Choekyi Nyima, chanted the Chakrasamvara mantra more than 13 billion times and became a mahasiddha. He could perform great miracles, such as curing diseases, preventing wars, eliminating hunger, etc. From the first Gar Tenzin Phuntsok to the present 8th Gar Konchok Nyeton Tenpei Nyima, all the succeeding lamas have been the supreme personal guru of the Nangchen kings.
The Biography of the Present
8th Gar Konchok Nyetong Tenpei Nyima Choekyi Palsangye
His Eminence was born in 1936 in Nangchen Kham. The King of Nangchen personally took responsibility for searching for the reincarnation of the 7th Gar Tinley Yonkyab. Rinpoche was recognized and enthroned by His Holiness the late Drikung Kyabgon Shiwei Lodoe. At the age of seven Rinpoche was brought to Lho Miyalgon, where he was offered ceremonial clothes and other items. He pointed to a painting of the Drikung lineage's founder, Jigten Sumgon, and proved his authenticity as the reincarnation by saying, "He is my Guru." This made people around him confident that he was the true reincarnation. From that time until the age of 22 Rinpoche lived at and administered this monastery.
Under the tutelage of Chime Dorje, Rinpoche received many teachings. At the age of 13 he received the Drikung Kagyu lineage teachings from Lho Thubten Nyingpo Rinpoche of Lho Lunkar Gon. He received oral transmission, explanation and empowerment for Mahamudra and the Six Yogas of Naropa. He completed Ngondro practice and went into a three year retreat. He later did twenty years of retreat, during which time he met Khenpo Munsel, a great disciple of the renowned Nyingmapa Khenpo Ngagchung. From Khenpo Munsel he received Dzogchen teachings and practiced secretly. Khenpo Munsel was astonished at Rinpoche's great achievement and commented of him: "He is an emanation of a Bodhisattva."
Since 1979, His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche has been looking after the welfare of his monastery. He has been gracious and kind to poor people. He has given all the offerings he received to the monastery and has decided not to use anything for himself, his relatives, or his mother.
In recent years, Garchen Rinpoche has shouldered responsibility for rebuilding all of the Drikung Kagyu monasteries in Eastern Tibet, while at the same time wholeheartedly giving profound teachings of the lineage to others. In addition, His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche received the empowerment and transmission (lung) of Yamantaka (Jampel Shinje) from Garchen Rinpoche, and composed a long life prayer for him. In this prayer H.H. Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche regards Garchen Rinpoche as a great Drikung Kagyu yogi of the present time.
His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche is very considerate and humble to all people regardless of position, age or gender. His advice for people who drink, smoke, gamble and engage in other wrongdoings has been very effective in correcting their behavior. By nature he is able to work for the benefit of others and has earned great respect from the public. His Eminence has never betrayed the expectations of his disciples or others. He is extraordinary in this age of degeneration.
This brief biography was compiled by His Eminence's disciples Konchok Toga, Abao Lama and Bunima Lama, in consultation with the present Garchen Rinpoche. This is like a drop of water out of his accomplishments, which are as vast as the ocean. This originally was completed on the 17th of September, 1996.
For information on a biography that is being written on
His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche's life go to www.garchenbiography.net