A brief biography of Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche of Benchen monastery (1932-2012)
"Ven. Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche was born in eastern Tibet, the northern snow-enclosure, the cool land of the dharma valleys, the segment of the mandala field known as "the six ranges of lower Dokham" [...] , on the fourth day of the sixth lunar month in the Water-Monkey year of 1932. To be more specific, Rinpoche was born in the region of Dokham known as Ga. His father was descended from the upper eastern clan of the miraculously born Magyal Pomra known as Drong Sekar Gyalpo and their descendants. Rinpoche's father was Gönpo Tobgyal, one of the sons of the then Drong district official. His mothers name was Rigdzin Drölma, who came from the Gegyal Barma family clan. While the baby was in her womb, she dreamed one night of Drongpa Lama Tendzin Chögyal (Rinpoche's previous incarnation) who gave her a turquoise and told her to wear it around her neck. After that she was in high spirits and experienced no physical discomfort whatsoever. Other than that, said Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche, there were no special signs. So he was told by his mother.
The previous 9th Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche had gone to see the 11th Tai Situpa Pema Wangchok Gyalpo, in order to request the details of the rebirth of the tulku. With his totally unobscured wisdom eye, Situ Rinpoche clearly beheld the family into which the tulku had been born, which was the same family clan as the previous incarnation's, the fathers name as being Gönpo, and the mothers name as Drölma. He stated the year of the tulkus birth as the Monkey year, that there were wondrous signs acompanying the birth, and said that if one were to search in the eastern direction, but not very far from Benchen monastery, the rebirth would surely be found. The 15th Karmapa Kakhyab Dorje had also had visions and provided a letter with his predictions concerning the precious rebirth, the names of the parents, drawings of the family's house etc., which were in total agreement with Situ Rinpoche's pronouncements. Thus the incarnation was unanimously agreed upon.
At around age six and seven Rinpoche learned reading and writing from his father. With Lama Pesam, Rinpoche studied a special type of calligraphy according to the Karma Gadri school of painting and writing. He also learned the "Four Session" Guru Yoga practice, as well the "Confession of Misdeeds" etc. by heart. At age 11 to 12, together with relatives, he engaged in a pilgrimage in order to go and behold the Jowo in Lhasa. At age 14, on the seventh day of the tenth month, Rinpoche finally arrived in Benchen. On the next day, the eighth, he was enthroned by Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche upon the golden throne of his predecessor, as the authentic rebirth of Drongpa Lama Tendzin Chögyal.
From the Benchen Khenpo Karma Guru, Rinpoche received extensive explanations on the drawing and construction of mandalas. From Benchen Khenpo Söpa Tharchin, he received the "Fivefold Mahamudra" in a most perfect way, and auspicious experiences and occurances were all-pervading. At this time, one of the main statues in the shrine-hall at Benchen was a statue that was said be a good likeness of the 13th Karmapa Düdül Dorje. It took off its crown, that liberates by sight, when Rinpoche came in front of it, at the time of which the skies filled with rainbows of many different colours and shapes, such as eight-petaled lotuses and other special designs.
(A little background information is in order here: this statue was known to occasionally "take off" its hat and place it in front of itself. No one would ever see how it did so. The hat would just appear to rest on the table in front instead of on the statues head. Thus the lamas, monks and people of Benchen would always know that something highly auspicious was about to occur. This particular event here is said to have occurred on the eve before Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche's formal enthronement.)
Then, staying at the monastery, Rinpoche studied under Khenpo Söpa Tharchin, who was a student of Rinpoches previous incarnation. He took him as his spiritual friend and began to initially study the teachings and practices of Cakrasamvara, Vajravarahi and Jinasagara according to the Karma Kagyu tradition. This was followed by Sarvavid Vairocana, Akshobya, Amitayus, the tenth day rituals of Guru Padmasambhava and Shing Kyong Kunga Zhonnu (the special protector of Benchen). Then followed various collections of liturgical texts and the extensive protector rituals, all of which he committed to memory without any difficulties whatsoever.
In the same way Rinpoche continued to study the mandalas of Cakrasamvara, Vajravarahi, Jinasagara, Sarvavid Vairocana, Akshobya and the protector Mahakala Dorje Bernagchen. He studied the design and construction, as well as the consecration rituals of the eight types of stupas and the design of the fire-hearths for the four activities and much more. From his uncle, Lama Lodrö Rabsal, he studied the science of medicine. He memorized its tantras and studied the various branches of medical knowledge for a long time."
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Videon innehåller Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche's sista instruktioner till sina elever.