Kyabjé Tsikey Chokling Rinpoche
The 4th reincarnation of Terchen Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa with the given name Tsikey Chokling Karma Mingyur Dewey Dorje was born accompanied by marvelous signs in 1953 on the tenth day of the sixth Tibetan month of the water snake year to Kyabje Karma Urgyen Tsewang Chokdrub Palwar, holder of the Tsangsar ancestral lineage and master of the definitive teachings, and Kunzang Dechen, the daughter of a noble aristocratic family. Smiling splendor of beings’ good merit, he was like a youthful moon bearing excellent characteristics and marks. In his youth, Tsikey Chokling Rinpoche’s disposition was naturally like that of a sublime being. Reading and writing, as well as every other subject of the scholarly arts, came easily to him and he became adept without effort. H.H. 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje recognized Chokling Rinpoche as the reincarnation of the 3rd Tertön Chokgyur Lingpa, and subsequently enthroned him. At age ten, Rinpoche moved to stay at H.H. Karmapa’s residence, Rumthek Shedrub Chokhor Ling. There, he receiving teachings from Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche, Khewang Tobga, Khenchen Thultrim Gyatso, Kunu Lama Tenzin Gyaltsen, and other great Rimé masters. Beginning with the common sciences, grammar, spelling, and astrology, he studied the sutric vehicle of characteristics, including the Three Vows, the Bodhicaryavatara, Mipham Rinpoche’s Gateway to Knowledge, the Vinaya, the higher and lower Abhidharma, the Root Verses of the Middle Way, the Madhyamakavatara, the 400 Verses by Aryadeva, pramana, and Maitreya’s Five Treatises. As for the inner and outer tantras, he studied the Profound Inner Meaning by H.H. 16th Karmapa, the second chapter of the Hevajra Tantra, and the Uttaratantra. He also completed his education in the ritual arts according to the Kamtshang tradition, including instrumentation, drawing and painting, dance, chanting, and mandala and torma making.
Without partiality, Chokling Rinpoche attended and served his lamas, receiving from them the sublime nectar-like dharma. According to Rinpoche himself, he received from H.H. 16th Karmapa Jamgön Kongtrul’s Gyachen Kadzo and the oral instructions from the Kamtshang teaching cycle, from H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama he received the bodhisattva vows, the 37 Practices of the Bodhisattva, the Bodhicaryavatara, as well as a long-life empowerment. From Kyabje Dudjom Jigdrel Yeshe Dorje, he received the Dudjom empowerments in full. From Kyabje Penor Rinpoche, he received the Dotshog Chendu teachings. From Kyabje Sakya Trichen Rinpoche, he received teachings on the Hevajra and Kilaya from the Khon lineage. From Kyabje Minling Trichen, he received the Minling long-life empowerment. From Kyabje Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche, he received the full empowerments for the Gongpa Sangtal from the Northern Treasures. From Kyabje Taklung Shabdrung Rinpoche, he received the entire Taklung cycle of empowerments and transmissions. From Kyabje Chogye Trichen Rinpoche, he received the Parting from the Four Attachments and the Chime Phagma Nyingtik empowerment. From Kyabje Trulshig Rinpoche, he received the transmissions of the Treasury of Pith Instructions, Nyingma Kama, Nyingtik Yabshi, the collected works of Khyentse, and Tertön Dudjom Lingpa’s teaching cycle. He received teachings from Kunu Lama Tenzin Gyaltsen, the Bhutanese Lama Sonam Zangpo, Kyabje Nenang Pawo Rinpoche, Khenchen Pema Tsewang, and Khenpo Dazer. He studied Buddhist philosophy with Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, Vajrayana rituals with Venerable Tenga Rinpoche, and the Six Doctrines of Naropa with H.E. Kalu Rinpoche. Both Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche transmitted the core teachings of the Nyingma tradition to Rinpoche. From H.H. 16th Karmapa, he receiving the Mahamudra instructions. From his father, Kyabje Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, he received the empowerments, transmissions, and oral instructions from the profound treasures of Chokgyur Lingpa, and, in particular, the outer, inner, and secret Great Perfection instructions. He therefore venerated both H.H. Karmapa and his father as his root gurus. Additionally, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche payed special attention to Rinpoche, bestowing onto him several Kama and Terma empowerments from the Old and New Schools, as well as the ripening empowerments, liberating instructions, and supporting transmissions Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche received from the previous Chokling Tulku––thus, becoming Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche’s heart son.
In 1974, at the age of 21,Tsikey Chokling Rinpoche and his older brother, Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche, left Rumtek and embarked on an overland journey to Kathmandu, where they reunited with their parents. As a family, they followed the command of H.H. 16th Karmapa and overcame hardship to build one of Nepal’s largest monasteries, Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling, which was subsequently inaugurated by His Majesty King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah and consecrated by H.H. 16th Karmapa in 1976. Additionally, Tsikey Chokling Rinpoche aided in the establishment of Nagi Tongsel Ling Nunnery and the Asura retreat hermitage, as well as establishing several foreign dharma centers, where he would protect the teaching and beings by conferring empowerments, transmissions, and oral instructions. Rinpoche also began the construction of the precious liberation-upon-seeing palace of Zangdog Palri near the holy site of Vajravarahi.
Tsikey Chokling Rinpoche was a tertön (treasure revealer) and lay practitioner with a wife and four children. Rinpoche married Tsewang Dronma, daughter to father Tashi Dondrub, descendent of the Lungshar family, and mother Dekyi Kasar. By receiving Tsewang Dronma as his consort, and giving rise to manifest co-emergent wisdom, his elder son, Riwoche Kyabgon Phakchok Rinpoche, recognized by H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama as an important Taklung Kagyu incarnation, and his younger son, the reincarnation of Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche were born.
Tsikey Chokling Rinpoche resided in the Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling monastery where he held the position of Vajra Master, presiding over the intricate and powerful Vajrayana rituals performed for the benefit of the monastic community as well as for the lay congregation. Having taken rebirth in order to continue the activities of Chogyur Dechen Lingpa that benefit both the teachings and beings, Chokling Rinpoche engaged unwaveringly in the three spheres of study, practice, and service.
Following persistent requests from Kyabje Kela Chokling Rinpoche and several faithful disciples, in 1992, at Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery, Chokling Rinpoche bestowed the full cycle of empowerments and transmissions of Chokgyur Lingpa’s profound treasures. Again, in 1996, at the request of Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche, Chokling Rinpoche bestowed the Chokling terma transmissions, empowerments, and oral instructions at Benchen Monastery to Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Yangsi and Tenga Rinpoche together with over one thousand monastics. In 2010, he offered the Chokling Tersar empowerments and transmissions to H.H. 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje in Delhi. In the 4th Tibetan month of 2013, to an assembly of several thousand disciples gathered from over sixty Nepalese districts, Chokling Rinpoche bestowed the complete empowerments and transmissions of Tertön Jatshon Nyingpo. At Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling monastery in the 11th Tibetan month of 2016 by request of Kyabje Tulku Urgyen Yangsi and Kyabje Phakchok Rinpoche, Chokling Rinpoche bestowed to Tulku Urgyen Yangsi, Phakchok Rinpoche, Dephuk Yangsi Rinpoche, along with an assembly of lamas, tulkus, khenpos, lopons and over a thousand monastics, the complete cycle of the Tukdrub Barché Kunsel empowerments and reading transmission of the Sheldam Nyingjang and preliminary practice instructions. In all, Chokling Rinpoche bestowed the complete cycle of Chokling Treasures three times. With the advancement of technology, Rinpoche had the entire forty volume collection of Tertön Chokgyur Lingpa’s works digitally entered and published. Additionally, Rinpoche traveled frequently from the east to the west establishing a multitude of disciples on the path of ripening and liberation, propagating the associated empowerments, transmissions, and oral instructions of the three roots.
In 2017, while in Singapore, Chokling Rinpoche developed a severe illness. At 10:12 a.m. on December 18th, 2020, in the iron bird year, at the age of 68, Rinpoche entered parinirvana in the presence of family members. Rinpoche entered the state of thukdam – an advanced meditative state practiced by Buddhist masters during the intermediate post-death period. For seven days, Rinpoche remained in the great expanse of pristine wisdom. The signs of the passing of a great bodhisattva, as described in the ocean-like texts of sutra and tantra, appeared: the sky was completely clear, the ground was free of dust, a ring encircled the sun, and rainbow lights decorated the sky. These and other marvelous signs appeared to all those present.
In January 2021, on the 17th day of the 1st Tibetan month, the Liberation-Upon-Seeing Kudung Rinpoche was flown to Nepal, where Rinpoche’s sacred remains were welcomed at Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling monastery by an offering cloud-like procession of lamas and monastics, followed by extensive ceremonies and offerings.
Rinpoche’s kudung will be cremated at Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling monastery on February 24th, 2023. Additionally, on February, 21st, 22nd, and 23rd, Kusum Rigdu Pūjā will be performed; and on February 25th, 26th, and 27th Vajrasattva Pūjā will be performed.
Adapted from A Bouquet of White Lotuses: A Brief Introduction to the Activities of the Chokling Tulkus and other sources.
We prostrate and make offerings in endless gratitude to Tsikey Chokling Rinpoche and make aspirations for the tradition of Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa to remain steadfast and unbroken for the benefit of all sentient beings. If you would like, your support of the Cremation of the Kudung of Kyabje Tsikey Chokling Rinpoche would be very welcome.
If you are unable to make an offering but would like to be included in the 3 days of Vajrasattva Pūjās associated with the Cremation of the Kudung of Kyabje Tsikey Chokling Rinpoche on February 25th, 26th, and 27th, please send your name(s) to firstname.lastname@example.org.