The Third Gemang, Garwang Lerab Lingpa b.1930 - d.1959
Name Variants: Kuzhab Gemang 03 Garwang Lerab Lingpa
The Third Gemang, Garwang Lerab Lingpa (sku zhabs dge mang 03 gar dbang las rab gling pa 1930-1959) was born in the Derge kingdom of Kham (sde dge) in 1930, the iron-horse year of the sixteenth sexagenary cycle. His father, Ngokhyoi Tubten (sngo khyo'i thub bstan), was a minister who served as advisor to the King of Derge, Tsewang Dudul (tshe dbang bdud 'dul 1916-1942). His mother was Sonam Lhamo (bsod nams lha mo).
According to his hagiography, the Fifth Dzogchen Drubwang, Tubten Chokyi Dorje (rdzogs chen grub dbang 05 thub bstan chos kyi rdo rje, 1872-1935) informed the parents that their son was the reincarnation of the Second Gemang, Tubwang Tenpai Nyima (dge mang 02 thub dbang bstan pa'i nyi ma, c. 1857-c,1927.) while he was still in his mother's womb. Shorty after his birth, he was brought to Dzogchen Monastery in Rudam (or rgyan bsam gtan chos gling).
According to Tendzin Lungtok Nyima's (bstan 'dzin lung rtogs nyi ma, b. 1974) contemporary history of Dzogchen, the Fifth Dzogchen Drubwang had previously recognized another boy, Tubwang Zhenpen Dawa (thub dbang gzhan phan zla ba, d.u.), the son of the King of Ling, Wangchen Tendzin (gling tshang rgyal po dbang chen bstan 'dzin b. c.1942), as the reincarnation of Tenpai Nyima. However, the king reportedly did not allow his son to be enthroned as such, and so it is said the young incarnation deliberately passed away at an early age. Thus, Dzogchen Monastery does not include him in their list of the Gemang incarnations.
At Dzogchen Monastery, Garwang Lerab Lingpa's principal tutor was Khenpo Pema Chopel (mkhan po pad+ma chos dpal, d.u.), with whom he studied many subjects, including the traditional monastic curricular texts on Madhyamaka, Abhisamayālaṃkāra, Vinaya, and Abhidharmakośa. His additional teachers, from whom he received extensive commentarial teachings, empowerments, esoteric instructions, and oral transmissions, included the yogi Jadrel Kunga Pelden (bya bral kun dga' dpal ldan, b.1878); Abu Lhagyel Pema Tekchok Loden (a bu lha rgyal pad ma theg mchog blo ldan, 1879-1955), the twentieth abbot of Dzogchen; the Sixth Nyitul, Tubten Osel Tenpai Nyima (thub bstan 'od gsal bstan pa’i nyi ma, 1926-1964); Dzogchen Khenchen Jigme Yonten Gonpo (rdzogs chen mkhan chen 'jigs med yon tan mgon po, 1899-1959); and Lingtrul Tubten Trinle Gyatso (gling sprul thub bstan phrin las rgya mtsho, d.u.).
Garwang Lerab Lingpa's hagiography reports that he had visions and dreams of Padmasambhava, enabling him to discover many mind treasures (dgongs gter), whose titles include Three Roots of Nyingtik (snying thig rtsa gsum) and Sadhana of White Tsogyel (mtsho rgyal dkar mo'i sgrub thabs). His was also said to have discovered several material terma (rdzas gter), including a white conch shell full of medicinal pills (dung dkar sman sgrub kyis gang ba) from the upper part of Rudam Valley (ru dam zhabs chung lung phu); a six-inch tall bronze statue of Vajradhāra from the peak of Rudam Tseringjong (ru dam tshe ring ljongs kyi rtse); a statue of Buddha Śākyamuni from Drakri Yangkar, a retreat cave in Hor Lakargang Mountain (hor lwa dkar sgang ri phug brag ri gyang khar); another statue of Śākyamuni from within a well above Śrī Siṃha College; and an image of Padmasambhava from Yarlungkhok (yar lung khog).
Additionally, he is believed to have discovered a treasure containing instructions on how to make medicine by mixing fresh herbs. Based on these instructions, he purportedly performed rituals for seven days to make medicinal pills, during which he experienced a vision of the Medicine Buddha (sangs rgyas sman lha). It is said Garwang Lerab Lingpa became a well known medical practitioner, treating many people throughout his region.
At some point, Garwang Lerab Lingpa went on a pilgrimage to Lhasa and Samye (bsam yas). While there, he encountered the Tibetan State Oracle, possibly Nechung Chogyel, Lobsang Namgyal (gnas chung chos rgyal blo bzang rnam rgyal 1894-1945), in a trance amidst a large crowd. According to tradition, the oracle invited Lerab Lingpa to sit with him on a throne at the forefront of the gathering. He then instructed him to restore the protector temple at Śrī Siṃha College (shrI seng chos drwa'i bla rten btsan mkhar), and build a new Vajrakīlaya Temple (phur pa khang). It is said the Oracle offered Garwang Lerab Lingpa his own gold and silver mirror, as well as a gold-threaded brocade apron from China as parting gifts.
He returned to Śrī Siṃha College, and for the next few years gave comprehensive commentaries, empowerments, instructions, and oral transmissions, from both the Nyingma and Sarma traditions, to a diverse array of students who would assemble several times annually.
Gemang Lerab Lingpa is purported to have been known for the accuracy of his divinations, specifically in regards to predicting national events and forecasting individual's lifespans . Accordingly, he is said to have foreseen the invasion of Tibet and destruction of Dzogchen Monastery. He was arrested during the Tibetan resistance to the Communist take-over of Tibet and was imprisoned in Dartsedo (dar rtse mdo), along with Katok Situ Chokyi Nyima (kaH thog si tu 04 chos kyi nyi ma, b. 1928). He died soon after, likely in 1959, at the age of twenty-nine.
In 1978, the Second Dudjom, Jikdrel Yeshe Dorje (bdud 'joms 02 'jigs bral ye shes rdo rje, 1904-1987), identified Kunzang Pema Wangchen (kun bzang pad+ma dbang chen, b. 1975) as the Fourth Gemang Incarnation.
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: Krung go'i bod rigs dpe skrun khang, pp. 382-383. TBRC W27401
View this person's associated Works & Texts on the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center's Web site
- Historical Period