Jamyang Gyeltsen b.1929
Name Variants: Katokpa Jamyang Gyeltsen; Khenchen Jamyang Gyeltsen; Tubten Jamyang Lekshe Tenpai Gyeltsen
Khenchen Jamyang Gyeltsen (mkhan chen 'jam dbyangs rgyal mtshan) was born in 1929, the earth-snake year of the sixteenth sexagenary cycle, in Lhe (lhas) valley near Katok Dorjeden (kaH thog rdo rje gdan) Monastery in Kham. His father, Paksam Wangdu (dpag bsam dbang 'dus) worked as a steward for Setang Dapon (sras thang mda' dpon), a regional leader. His mother was named Sodrol (bsod sgrol).
Dzongsar Khyentse Jamyang Chokyi Lodro (rdzong sar mkhyen brtse 'jam dbyangs chos kyi blo gros 1893-1959) performed his tonsure ceremony and gave him the name Jamyang Gyeltsen. At the age of nine, he went to live near Chokyi Lodro and commenced his studies in reading and writing. He subsequently studied grammar, poetry, astrology, and other traditional subjects at Katok Monastery, then took his vows full ordination (bhikṣu), for which he received the name Tubten Jamyang Lekshe Tenpai Gyeltsen Pel Zangpo (thub bstan 'jam dbyangs legs bshad bstan pa'i rgyal mtshan dpal bzang po) from Jamyang Khyentse.
He is said to have completed five hundred thousand repetitions of each section of the Dzogchen Nyingtik (rdzogs chen snying thig) preliminary practices (sngon 'gro) basing his practice on Dza Patrul Rinpoche's (rdza dpal sprul rin po che, 1808-1887) Words of my Perfect Teacher (kun bzang bla ma'i zhal lung). He then performed tsa-lung (rtsa rlung) practice, and studied the Vinaya and Bodhisattvacharyāvatāra. He received comprehensive instruction on the spoken workd and treasure (bka' gter) teachings of the Nyingma tradition along with their empowerments, and reading transmissions, and learned the rituals, chants, and ceremonial music according to the Mindroling (smin grol gling), Dorjedrak (rdo rje brag), Longchen Nyingtik, Dulong (bdud klong), and Ratna Lingpa (rat na ling pa) traditions. He also became skilled in the monastic arts and was known for making drawn and embossed maṇḍalas, different types of thread-cross structures (mdos), and ransom tormas (glud gtor) used for various rituals. He is said to have restored these methods at Katok monastery.
Jamyang Gyeltsen studied the five treatises of Maitreya, Prajñāpāramitā, Madhyamaka, the Guhyagarba Tantra, teachings from both the new and old translation traditions (bka' rnying sogs), and many other topics with Khenpo Sherab Rabsel (mkhan shes rab rab gsal, d.u.) and Khenpo Gyeltsen Ozer (mkhan rgyal mtshan 'od zer, d.u.) at Katok.
He received instructions on the Dzogchen (rdzogs chen) practices of Trekcho (khregs chod), Togal (thod rgal) and Yeshe Lama (ye shes bla ma) from Lama Pelden Yeshe (grub dbang bla ma dpal ldan ye shes, d.u.), according to the hearing-lineage of Katok Khenpo Ngawang Pelzang (kaH thog mkhan po ngag dbang dpal bzang, 1879-1941). He then put them into practice at various meditation caves, two of which were named Sapuk (sap phug) and Gepuk (gad phug). After he completed his retreat, he reported his experiences to his teacher and made a large offering of rice and molasses. He then studied the preliminary, main, and tsa-lung (sngon dngos rtsa rlung) practices of the treasure revealer Longsel Nyingpo (rig 'dzin klong gsal snying po 1625-1692) with the third Katok Getse, Gyurme Namgyel (kaH thog dge rtse 03 'gyur med rnam rgyal, 1886-1952).
Jamyang Gyeltsen eventually rose to prominence as one of the principal abbots at Katok Monastery, renowned in the region for his mastery of both study and practice. He was connected to over two-dozen of the most prominent and influential teachers throughout Tibet and in diaspora, including Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro; Dilgo Khentse (dil mgo mkhyen brtse, 1910-1991); Dudjom Jigdrel Yeshe Dorje (bdud 'joms 'jigs bral ye shes rdo rje, 1908-1988); the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, Tendzin Gyatso (ta la' bla ma 14 bstan 'dzin rgya mtsho, b. 1935); the Sixteenth Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpai Dorje (karma pa 16 rang byung rig pa'i rdo rje 1924-1981); the Eleventh Minling Trichen, Gyurme Kunzang Namgyel (smin gling khri 11 'gyur med kun bzang dbang rgyal); and many highly renowned lamas at Katok including Khenpo Ngawang Pelzang; Khenchen Munsel Rinpoche (mkhan chen mun sel rin po che, 1916-1994), and the fourth Katok Situ, Chokyi Nyima (kaH thog si tu 04 chos kyi nyi ma, b. 1928) whom he accompanied on a pilgrimage to U-Tsang and Bodhgaya.
His biography in the introduction to his history of Katok Monastery includes an extensive list of teachings he received and requested, including a note indicating he requested the Rinchen Terdzo (rin chen gter mdzod) a total of eight times.
He became a widely renowned teacher in his own right, giving teachings on a great range and variety of topics including the Nyingma tantras, the treasure teachings of Longsel Nyingpo and Dudul Dorje (bdud 'dul rdo rje, 1615-1672), the collected works (gsung 'bum) of Dza Patrul Rinpoche, the Thirteen Great Texts of Katok, the Guhyagarbha Tantra, and many topics from the Vinaya and the Mahāyāna such as Madhyamaka, the Bodhisattvacharyāvatāra.
Katok was completely destroyed during the early years of Chinese rule in Tibet. When conditions improved in the 1980s, Khenpo Jamyang participated in the rebuilding of the Monastery and the reestablishment of its traditions. He taught the Longsel Nyingtik (klong gsal snying thig) and Longsel Tsalung and Tummo (klong gsal rtsa rlung gtum mo) alternatively each year on the eleventh month of Tibetan calendar. He granted monastic vows to large numbers of devotees who traveled widely to meet him. A large number of both his lay and ordained disciples entered long-term mountain retreats.
He produced a large number of scholarly compositions on a great variety of subjects, including commentaries on both the sūtras and tantras, manuals on building drawn and embossed maṇḍalas, texts on offering maṇḍalas, notes on performing rituals, long life prayers, chronological event tables, works on astrology, astronomy, Sanskrit phonetics, grammar and poetry, and constitutional resolutions (bca' yig). He also composed biographies and histories of teachers from every Tibetan school without bias, and published a comprehensive historical record of Katok Monastery including the life stories its important incarnation lines and teachers.
Khenpo Jamyang died in a car accident at Katok in 1999.
Nyag rong ba thub bstan bsod nams bstan pa. 1996. Rtsom pa po'i mdzad rnam. In Rgyal ba kaH thog pa'i lo rgyus mdor bsdus. Chengdu: Si khron mi rigs dpe skrun khang, pp. 1-11. TBRC W20396
View this person's associated Works & Texts on the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center's Web site
- Historical Period