The Second Chakri Nyidrak, Pema Tekchok Tenpai Gyeltsen b.1712 - d.1771
Name Variants: Tenkyong Gyatso
Pema Tekchok Tenpai Gyeltsen (pad+ma theg mchog bstan pa'i rgyal mtshan) was born the in the Naksho (nags shod) region of Kham in 1712, the water-dragon year of the twelfth sexagenary cycle. He was the second son of his father, Lhamo Dar (lha mo dar), and his mother, Ngawang Tsomo (ngag dbang mtsho mo). According to some hagiographies, by the age of three he was narrating stories indicating that he was the reincarnation of Terchen Rigdzin Nyima Drakpa (gter chen rig 'dzin nyi ma grags pa, 1647-1710). It is said he would play with other children by pretending to reveal treasure, granting empowerments, giving dharma discourses, and would sit in meditation displaying specialized gestures and postures.
He was taught reading and writing around the age of four by an unidentified instructor. Around the age of five, he was brought to Sindzong Osel Drubde (sring rdzong 'od gsal sgrub sde), also known as Chakri Nyidrak Monastery (chags ri nyi grags dgon), which was founded by Nyima Drakpa in 1703. There, he likely met with Gyelse Orgyen Tendzin (rgyal sras o rgyan bstan 'dzin, 1701-1727), Nyima Drakpa's biological son. According to his hagiography, the young boy easily recognized images of his previous incarnation, as well as many his predecessor's personal items, including treasure substances and treasure scrolls. It is also said the young boy was able to read the coded script in which terma revelation was commonly recorded.
Orgyen Tendzin identified him as his father's incarnation and subsequently gave the young boy the complete teachings, empowerments, esoteric instructions, and oral transmissions of Nyima Drakpa's terma cycle. Kelzang Wangden (skal bzang dbang ldan, 1673-1757), another direct disciple of Nyima Drakpa, also gave him many important teachings. Following his identification he was known as the Second Nyidrak (nyi grags), a contraction of Nyima Drakpa.
In 1718, at the age of seven, he visited his predecessor's other main monastery, Takmogang Kelzang Puntsok Ling (stag mo sgang skal bzang phun tshog gling) at the invitation of the senior monk Lodro Gyatso (blo gros rgya mtsho, d.u.) and others. He then visited Rudam Orgyen Samten Choling (ru dam o rgyan bsam gtan chos gling), otherwise known as Dzogchen Monastery, which had been founded by the first Nyima Drakpa's main teacher, the First Dzogchen Drubwang, Pema Rigdzin (rdzogs chen grub dbang 01 pad+ma rig 'dzin 1625-1697) in 1684. There, he met the acting abbot, the First Dzogchen Ponlob Namkha Osel (rdzogs chen dpon slob 01 nam mkha' 'od gsal, d. 1726), who had been a direct disciple of Pema Rigdzin and a contemporary of Nyima Drakpa. The boy received many teachings and empowerments from him.
At the age of nine, he returned to his seat in Sindzong (srin rdzong) and commenced his studies of scripture, grammar, poetry, astrology and astronomy. Later he was taught the monastic arts of maṇḍala drawing, statue crafting, torma making, religious dance, and the playing of musical instruments for rituals and other performances.
He studied the different philosophical views of various Buddhist schools, analyzing their various systems of exposition from the point of view of both sūtra and tantra. Eventually, he adopted and asserted the view of the great Dzogchen scholar Longchen Rabjampa Drime Ozer (klong chen rab 'byams pa dri med 'od zer, 1308-1364) as his own.
He received his novice monk (śrāmaṇera) vows from Minling Khenchen Gyurme Donyo (smin gling mkhan chen 'gyur med don yod, d.u.), who gave him the name Pema Tekchok Tenpai Gyeltsen.
At some point, he travelled to Lhasa on pilgrimage and made numerous offerings and prayers at the monasteries and temples there. He returned and toured many monasteries around Kham, and continued to visit the monasteries and practice centers that had been associated with his predecessor, such as Dzogchen Monastery, Gyarong Hermitage (rgyal rong ri krod), and Takmogang Kelzang Puntsok Ling. During this time he exchanged teachings with many prominent lamas, including the Second Dzogchen Drubwang, Gyurme Tekchok Tendzin (rdzogs chen 02 'gyur med theg mchog bstan 'dzin, 1699-1758) and the fourth abbot of Dzogchen, Jewon Pema Kundrol Namgyel (rje dbon pad+ma kun grol rnam rgyal, 1706-1773).
He travelled to Lhasa for a second time and received an audience with the Seventh Dalai Lama, Kelzang Gyatso (ta la'i bla ma 07 bskal bzang rgya mtsho 1708-1757), who granted him the full monk's ordination (bhikṣu) and gave him the name Kunzang Tekchok Gyatso (kun bzang theg mchog rgya mtsho). Subsequently, he wrote a monastic constitution for Sindzong Osel Drubde, giving special attention to the codes of discipline in accordance with the Vinaya.
In 1746, probably at one of his monasteries, he began a strict retreat that lasted for fifteen years, during which he would only attend to his monastic and personal affairs during his break for lunch. At his retreat's end in 1761, he traveled to the royal residence in Derge at the request of the king. This was probably Lodro Gyatso (blo gros rgya mtsho, 1722-1774), who was also at the time the seventh abbot of Lhundrub Teng (lhun grub steng). There he gave teachings and empowerments, continuing his predecessor's connection with the royal family. In return, he was presented with significant offerings. The following month, he once again visited Takmogang Monastery, and in 1762 traveled to Dzogchen Monastery to attend the enthronement ceremony of the Third Dzogchen Drubwang, Ngedon Tendzin Zangpo (rdzogs chen grub dbang 03 nges don bstan 'dzin bzang po, 1759-1792). There he performed the young boy's tonsure ceremony and named him Kunzang Tenpai Gonpo (kun bzang bstan pa'i mgon po). He would later grant him the novice monk vows (śrāmaṇera) and name him Kunzang Tenpai Gonpo Ngedon Tendzin Zangpo (kun bzang bstan pa'i nges don bstan 'dzin bzang po).
Pema Tekchok Tenpei Gyeltsen is said to have been a dedicated meditator who began his practice in 1732, at the age of twenty-one. Over the course of his life, he conducted several strict retreats, altogether totaling twenty-one years. He is said to have become an expert in the yogas of nadī, prāṇa, and bindu, accomplishing the realization of clear light within the Dzogchen system. His hagiography reports he had visions of many deities such as Padmasambhava, Hayagrīva, and Vajrakīla, and had command over dharma protectors, including Sindzong Gyelmo (srin rdzong rgyal mo), the local protector of his region.
Outside his own practice, he is known to have given extensive teachings and empowerments to his disciples on great variety of topics. Specifically, he gave comprehensive teachings and empowerments on the Khadro Nyingtik terma cycle (mkha' gro snying theg), one of the main practices at Dzogchen Monastery, to selected disciples, including Kheyol Rigdzin Chenpo (khye yol rig 'dzin chen po, d.u.) and Kechok Guru Tashi (mkhas mchog gu ru bkra shis, d.u.), who would later compile an extensive history of the Nyingma school. He also exchanged empowerments and oral transmissions with the Third Dorjedrak Rigdzin, Kelzang Pema Wangchuk (rdo rje brag rig 'dzin 03 bskal bzang pad+ma dbang phyug, 1719/20- c. 1770), while the later was at Dzogchen Monastery on his way to Lhasa from Amdo.
According to his hagiographies he had indicated several times that he would not live for long. While staying in the lamas' Residence at Dzogchen Monastery, he fell ill. Rituals and prayers were conducted, but he decisively refused all requests to extend his life. Soon, in the iron-hare year of the thirteenth sexagenary cycle, he passed away at the age of sixty in 1771.
Among his large number of disciples, some prominent names include the Third Dzogchen Drubwang; the First Alak Gyelpo, Pelden Tashi (a lags rgyal po 01 dpal ldan bkra shis, 1688-1742) the leader of a large community of Ngakpas in Amdo; Drime Zhingkyong Gonpo (dri med zhing skyong mgon po, 1724-1760); the thirty-fourth abbot of Ngor, Pelden Chokyong (ngor mkhan chen 34 dpal ldan chos skyong, 1702-1769); Zhechen Paṇchen Gyurme Tutob Namgyel (zhe chen paN chen 'gyur med mthu stobs rnam rgyal, d.u.); the Second Zhechen Rabjam, Gyurme Kunzang Namgyel (zhe chen rab 'byams 2 'gyur med kun bzang rnam rgyal, 1713-1769); Dorjedrak Kelzang Pema Wangchuk; Guru Tashi; the Sixth Chakra, Ngawang Tulku (lcags ra 06 ngag dbang 'phrin las dpal bzang, 1730-1794); and Rigdzin Pawo Lerab Tsel (dpa' bo las rab rtsal, d.u.).
Pema Tekchok's compositions, including his constitution of Sindzong Osel Drubde, are said to have been collected into two volumes, but these are not extant at this time.
His reincarnation, Migyur Pende Gyatso (mi 'gyur phan bde rgya mtsho), was born at Yilung in Derge (sde dge yid lhung) in 1772.
Bstan 'dzin lung rtogs nyi ma. 2004. Snga 'gyur rdzogs chen chos 'byung chen mo (snga 'gyur grub dbang rgyal ba rdzogs chen pa'i gdan rabs chos brgyud dang bcas pa'i byung ba brjod pa'i gtam yid bzhin dbang gi rgyal po'i phrang ba). Beijing: Krong go'i bod rigs dpe skrun khang, pp. 486-489. TBRC W27401
Kun bzang yon tan bzang po. 2007. Gter chen nyi grags stag mo dgon gyi lo rgyus mdor bsdus, Chengdu [?]: bod rgyud nang bstan rig gnas zhabs 'debs, pp. 35-38; Digital pp. 22-24 (Digital pp. 1-37 Tibetan text; pp. 38-55 Chinese text). TBRC W00KG09970
Kun bzang bstan 'dzin. chags ri nyi ma grags pa sku phreng drug pa'i yang srid 'khrul bral ngos 'dzin byas tshul lo rgyus rags bsdus utpa la'i phreng ba. TBRC W23686
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- Historical Period