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  • Chamtrul Rinpoché

Autobiography

Concerning the predecessor of Chamtul Pema Nangsel Dorje, the son of Terchen Deshek Lingpa, a reincarnation of Dampa Rinpoche of Kathok in Eastern Tibet (Kham), it says in the chronology of the abbots of Kathok Monastery:

THE VARJADHARA CHAMTUL KUNZIG JIGME DORJE WAS A PRINCIPAL DISCIPLE OF SITU CHOEKYI LODRO. HE WAS ERUDITE IN THE COMMON SUBJECTS AND THE TEACHINGS OF SUTRA AND TANTRA, IN WHICH HE ATTAINED FULL CONFIDENCE WITH INSIGHT AND REALIZATION. OWING TO ALL THIS, HE APPEARED AS THE SUN TO ILLUMINATE THE PRECIOUS TEACHINGS OF SCRIPTURE AND SPIRITUAL REALIZATION. HE HELD THE THRONE OF KATHOK MONASTERY FOR SEVERAL YEARS, AND IN THE LATTER PART OF HIS LIFE HE SOLELY CONFINED HIMSELF TO MEDITATION RETREAT. GETSE TSEWANG RIGZIN GYATSO, DZATUL KUNSANG NAMGYAL, MIPHAM CHOKLEY NAMGYAL, KHASAR TERTON, KHEN GEN RIGZIN GYATSO AND SO ON STUDIED AND TRAINED AT THE FEET OF THIS MASTER.

The second Kathok Chamtul Pema Nangsel Dorje was recognized by many holy masters as his unmistaken reincarnation. He dedicated all his life in the administration of his Monastery and to the Dharma, and left a great legacy contributing to the well-being of the Dharma and sentient beings. I have heard from reliable sources that even in his tender age he accompanied Dakas, Dakinis and Dharma Protectors, as if he was with human beings; he came across treasure troves of Dzi caskets and rosaries of Dzi stones (onyx); he had direct vision of the Tantric Guardian Eka Dzati, who gave him a blue knotted cord for his long life and disappeared; this protective blue cord was said to have been in his box of sacred artifacts even at later times. Especially, it was renowned that a single strand of his hair could be protection against artillery. The signs of his high spiritual attainments were witnessed commonly by people at the time. But without going much into such accounts, I wish to recount this story to illustrate the point: One day, someone by the name of Neyog tied a strand of the Master’s hair around the neck of a goat and shot a gun at it several times, but the bullets did not even pierce the goat!

In the Earth Pig year when the Communist Chinese took Chamtul Rinpoche to prison, he left a testament to his family, the members of the monastery and the lay people connected to him, in which he said, “After satisfying the Communist Chinese I will return to my family and monastery. So, we will be together again. I swear by the monastery of Dzamthang!” After saying this he went to prison. In the Iron Rat year, however, he passed away in a prison; he left an indelible mark of an accomplished master of the luminous Dzogchen practice as each drop of his blood transformed into rainbow light. This could be witnessed by all people.
Rinpoche with his mother and brothers

It is said that in the year of the Water Tiger, when I was in my mother’s womb, she had many miraculous signs. One amazing thing was that one night she dreamed of Chamtul Rinpoche emerging from a rainbow circle and telling her that he had arrived at his own home. He presented her with a cup of curd and urged her to take it. As she dreamed of finishing the entire curd she felt physically and spiritually blissful, and this feeling lasted several days. Finally, when I was born she noticed some whitish liquid covering my body and exclaimed to the midwives, “That is exactly the curd I had in my dream!” It was the year of the Water Rabbit.