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Biographies: The Twelve Emanations of Pa Dampa Sangye and the Life of Bardok Chusang Rinpoche

The Short Life Story of The Previous Lives of Bardok Chusang Tulku, Mipham Trinley Gyamtso according to the rNamthar and recitation text.

1. According to the ancient lineage texts the first in this series of Bodhisattvas after the time of Gautama, the Buddha, was Oser Yeshes Tok Gyalpo. He was known as a great interpreter of sacred Buddhist texts and obtained Awakening in the two-fold Noble Path of Sutra and Tantra.

2. Following after the life of Oser Yeshes Tok Gyalpo, due to his vast Love and Compassion for all sentient beings he took rebirth in India as, Acarya Kamalashila. Acarya Kamalashila studied under many great masters, achieved the vision of his Yidam, and attained a high level of the Bodhisattva Stages of realization, such as the power over death by living to the age of 570. Different aspects of his enlightened wisdom and many emanations of him were seen in India, China and Tibet on at least five separate occasions. Thus he was able to benefit many sentient beings during this extraordinary lifetime.

Pa Dampa SangyeOser Yeshes Tok Gyalpo had once visited Dingri, Tibet because of a vision and prescience that his future disciples would at one time be found there. It was in Dingri, Tibet that he would come to be known as the future Pa Dampa Sangye. Residing at Dingri Langkhor Dag, Oser Yeshes Tok Gyalpo prayed that this location would in the future become as sacred and hallowed a place as the Vajrasana, Bodh Gaya. Through his saintliness he acquired many disciples there and before his death an unusual statue of him was found from no known material like wood, stone nor sand.

3. Panchen Nag Kyi Rinchen is next in the series of emanations of the Bodhisattva. He was born in the Tsang Region of Central Tibet and he acquired great renown as a yogi performing throughout his life many virtuous acts for the Dharma.

4. The next Tulku is mKhas dBang 'bum Rang Jampa Kunga Lodro. He was the main disciple of the great master of Jamyang Kunga Chusang. Of prodigious memory, he was able to memorize, study and practice innumerable Holy Scriptures.

Pa Dampa Sangye, 5th incarnation5. Next follows JaTang Tempe Gyaltsen, a disciple of great master Kunkyen Pema Karpo and rJe la Tsewang Namat Ngawang Tsangpo. He too achieved a high level of realization and retired to the retreat cave of Gotsang Pa where he built Chusang Byang Chup Ling monastery. He became a founder and master of the Drugpa Kagyu. It is during this particular lifetime that he became known as Pa Dampa Sangye and this is also how the name Chusang Pa was derived.

6. Ngawang Thupten dBangpo is next in this auspicious lineage of Bodhisattvas. He was born into the lineage lJagska-ba.

7. Bya bTang Jampe Yang Chos-pal followed, and was born into the same lineage of his predecessor lJagska-ba. He was the spiritual master of King Mipham Phola and through his erudition was awarded the degree of Khenpo Chenpo, or great abbot. Bya bTang Jampe Yang Chos-pal was highly regarded among all people.

8. Thereupon follows Mipham Yeshe Gyamtso. He too was born into the lineage of lJags ka ba. Mipham Yeshe Gyamtso was born in the village of Pha Duk (Ngo-ma Lung). A disciple of great Master Phin las Shing rTa and Ju Tsen Jamphal Pawo under whom he was able to study, as well as with many other great masters of contemporary Tibet. He became a master of wisdom and was directed by his master Kagyu Phin las Shing rTa, that in order to continue his studies he should journey to Pal Kyi Nazon for further guidance and instruction. From the teachers there he attained honors as master of sutra. By way of sacred indications and predictions and by way of visions of Dorje Palmo, Mipham Yeshe Gyamtso and his Guru Rigdzin Chen Mo Phins las Shing rTa both made the journey to Nepal in order to restore the Great Stupa of Svayambhunath.

9. This life was Pal Phyogs las Namgyal.

10. This life was Rigzin Pema Thaye.

11. The life was, Mipham Yeshe Ngawang.

The above short life stories of the Previous lives of Bardok Chusang Tulku are written and based on the recitation text of Yeshe dBang kyi Gyalpo. Since these and other sacred texts were destroyed by the Chinese during invasion of Tibet so also the written records of these above last three named lives were likewise destroyed.

12. Hereupon follows the current emanation of Pa Dampa Sangye,Mipham Trinley Gyatso. He was born in mDog gShung (Lhon lding), hLatok (North Tibet) in a small clan called Tara Sharma. His Father's name was Dhundrup and Mothers name was Pempa Kyi. The mother had a dream of the Tsug Lha Khang, or main shrine room, of a great monastery, where she received many blessings from lamas and of drinking sacred nectar. These dreams occurred often while she was carrying the baby Mipham in her womb. This was the Tibetan year was 2056, Iron Horse and 7th month full moon day, or the 3rd of September, 1930. At the time of his birth, the birth sack from the mother's womb covered part of the baby's body and this caused great worry for all thought the baby may be born dead, but since it was only part of the Mother's womb which covered the baby's shoulder, all were greatly relieved when the baby coughed twice and all rejoiced at such an auspicious sign.

Every one loved the baby Mipham Trinley Gyamtso. All thought surely that this loving boy must be incarnation of a bLama. At the same time near msTod Shel kar, in the small village of Shong Shin during one of the coldest winters in recent memory occurring in the last month of Tibetan calendar, and yet many different flowers were seen growing in the high plateau. With such an unusual occurrence so excitedly noticed by the people from this small village, they conferred and agreed that such signs called for consulting a yogi or saintly Lama. They agreed to visit the place of Lo Lo where the Great Yogi Ngawang Sangye was in retreat. They certainly wanted to know the purport of these flowers that so unseasonably grew and what could be the meaning of these and other auspicious signs. Yogi Ngawang Sangye indicated and predicted that either a Tulku was born in that village or a Tulku would soon visit there. As it happened and at this very time the baby Mipham Trinley Gyamtso and his family moved to Shong Shin because an uncle was attendant of Shel kar gLing kha Rinpoche.

A little earlier on the occasion of the funeral procession of his previous life, Mipham Yeshe Ngawang, puffs of smoke of cremation fire were seen to be streaming off in the direction of the future birthplace of Mipham Trinley Gyamtso. Not knowing this at the time, the attendants, abbot and disciples of Mipham Yeshe Ngawang, all prayed to the Deities for predictions and indications of where this further emanation's birth could be and if the direction of that first smoke of the funerary pyre might indicate the direction of their search. Confirmed that this indeed was so, the search party for rebirth of Pa Sampa Sangye reached the village of msTod Shel kar and inquired for indications of an unusual child recently born. It was here that they learned of Mipham Trinley Gyamtso and his family having moved to Shel kar. The Lamas search party found the family at Ja Sho.

To verify a Tulku many of the former items belonging to the previous incarnation are laid out with those seemingly identical to those owned by the previous life. The very young Mipham not only chose correctly but was even able to name his former abbot which surprised all greatly since the two had never had occasion to meet.

On another occasion a friend of the previous life, came to visit the young Tulku in order to ascertain if the Rinpoche would still remember him. When this friend did indeed approach, little Mipham Trinley Gyamtso called him as a friend and later even showed him the place where their friendship had begun. Indeed, there were other signs as well as these; such as to his being able to recognize his previous life's traveling carriage and all its animals. This cart was pulled by a combination of both horse and donkey. He recognized them instantly amongst the many that were corralled by a new owner, for they had been sold to the merchant named Nam 'Grog sBra Chen after his previous life's passing.

By the age of three or four this rebirth of Pa Dampa Sangye was about to be confirmed, but in order to make certain, his name had to be sent to the main Monastery, which was in Lho ka Gong kar Dechen Chos Kor. There, sKyab rJe Chos Gyon Rinpoche and mThub sTob Chos kyi Gyaltsen Pal Sangpo also made the same confirming visions and indications for this tulku of Pa Dampa Sangye and they sent word back to the village confirming that this is indeed the rebirth of Mipham Yeshe Ngawang.

Since the tulku was confirmed, a well attended and festive reception was held at the Chusang monastery in the La Teo region with Sri Ne Rang Rinpoche, Sri Sing Dak Rinpoche as well as many other lamas and local people in attendance. At the age of four and half, little Mipham Trinley Gyamtso was enthroned as tulku of Pa Dampa Sangye in a sacred ceremonial function at Sri Ne Rang Gompa for the first time. By the age of five, he had already begun his studies of Tibetan grammar and literature from Sri Ne Rang Rinpoche and Chusang dBu mDzed Lodro.

Lama Shakya SriAt the age of nine, he began his main studies under his Root Teacher and Great Master 'Khrul Shig Krid dprin Pema Chos Gyal, known as Tipun, who was one of the main disciples of the famed Shakya Sri. With him, Mipham Trinley Gyamtso studied the fundamentals of Vajrayana practice and the empowerments, Transmissions and secret mantra (rBang, rLung and Ma Ngag).

Mipham Trinley Gyamtso was re-enthroned as Tulku in a further ceremonial ordination, giving his hair locks to Kyab rJe Thuchen Chos kyi Gonpo who was then commencing pilgrimage to the sacred meditation places of Milarepa at Lupche. Thuchen Chos kyi Gonpo conferred on him the name Palden Ngawang Thutop Trinley Tso-pal Sangpo and was also given offerings and teachings of bDe mChog, Dru Chu Ma and many others.

From the Disciple of rDo dBang Shakya Sri, Drugpa Monlam Rab-sang and Brag-dKar Ka'gyu Rinpoche received not only the teachings of Holy Dharma, but their empowerments, transmissions as well as their threefold commentaries. From Sri Chusang Ka'gyur-Ba, he studied advanced Tibetan literature and grammar.

Meditation huts at Chusang Monastery, Dingri, Tibet.At the age seventeen and for the three years thereafter, he entered into retreat under Chime dGa Tsal. He practiced meditation having been well prepared for the traditional retreat of three years and three months. Upon completion of his retreat, he sought the help from the distant seven surrounding area monasteries as well as his own monastery of Chusang Byang Chub Ling Gompa. Support was indeed forthcoming for a new retreat center to be named Lhaden Kun Nang Dechen. By these efforts the practice tradition and monastery of Sri Gotsang Srid gSam gSel-Non was revived.

Later Rinpoche moved the Chusang Byang Chub Ling to the old forsaken monastery of Chos Je rDorje Ling. There everything was rebuilt including Tsug lha Khang, the main shrine hall, along with all the cells for the monks. Again, at the age of twenty-seven Chusang Rinpoche again entered into three year retreat.

Following the invasion of Tibet by Communist China, Rinpoche, as did H. H. the Dalai Lama and so many Tibetans, went into exile. They were to face so many hardships. Their arduous journey had them hide in caves during day time and walking fast during night time in order to cross the Snow Hill Pass (Nangpa La) to escape and elude the Chinese soldiers. They joined the rest of the Tibetan refugees in Shar Khumbu also known as Solu Khumbu (Nepal). With the help from the Tibetan Government now in exile and also with the help from many foreign organizations, a Tibetan settlement sprung up with name Delegs Ling in Solu Khumbu (Chalsa), Nepal. Rinpoche resided in this settlement for 33 years.

In 1966, Chusang Rinpoche organized the building of Thupten Chos Ling Monastery with the help and financial assistance from the Sherpa community and volunteers from the Tibetan settlers.

Rinpoche has received the Kalachakra initiation four times from H. H. The Dalai Lama as well as the sPhyung 'Chug and 'Chigs Byed. From Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Chusang Rinpoche received the teaching of sByod 'rKyud Shing rta bGyed.

This short rnamthar or biographical story is written upon the request of the incomparable American Ven. Karma Trinley Govinda. Ven Karma Govinda has strong faith in all four schools of Tibetan Buddhism, especially that of the H.H. Karmapa, and is a very good follower of H.H. Karmapa, he has studied under great master Kalu Rinpoche and from many other great lamas. He has vast love and compassion for all beings, is always ready to help others and to be a very good practitioner of Buddha Dharma.

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