The Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoches are members of the Karma Kagyü Order of Tibetan Buddhism. Members of the Sangye Nyenpa lineage are considered to be emanations of the Pandit Mriti Jhana. The first Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche was recognized by the 7th Karmapa Chödrak Gyatso and served as lineage holder of the Karma Kagyü passing on the full lineage transmissions to, His Holiness the 8th Karmapa, Mikyo Dörje. The seat of the Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoches was originally from Benchen Monastery, which lies 30km south of Jyekundo (SE Qinghai) and was built around the meditation cave of an earlier Sangye Nyenpa.
(1457-1525), the 1st Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche also known as Denma Drubthob or Denma Drubchen was born in Nyen Phodrang in the Thadul Gyi Tsuglag Khang in Den Lhakhang Drölma, in the East part of Tibet. A great important lineage master of the Kamtshang or Karma Kagyu tradition. At the age of six, he met His Holiness the 7th Karmapa Chödrak Gyatso in whom he developed extraordinary faith and stayed with for seven years. From Him, he received the name Tashi Paljor. At the age of eight, he received novice vows (later on the full ordination), empowerments and profound instructions from His Holiness the 7th Karmapa, and studied all the outer and inner sciences with great diligence under the guidance of Bengar Jampal Sangpo (15th-16th century).
The picture on the right: His Holiness the 7th Karmapa Chödrak Gyatso
His Holiness the 7th Karmapa then instructed him to meditate for three years at Kampo Nenang, two year at Tsurphu, two years at Palpung and one year in the Tangla mountains. It is said that for these eight years he relied solely on the "food of meditative absorption". After that he spent another five years meditating in seclusion on the Semodo island in the great lake known as Namtsho. Tashi Paljor was a disciple of His Holiness the 7th Karmapa Choedak Gyatsho.
The picture on the left: His Holiness the 8th Karmapa Mikyöd Dorje
When he was 43 years old, he stayed in his native place of Denma, once when he was staying on the top floor of a four storey building and great earthquake occured and instead of being killed and burried under the rubble, he flew up into the air and escaped unharmed. Many people witnessed this and since this incident he was called Mahasiddha Nyenpa. He passed into Nirvana at the age of 65, according to His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Sangye Nyenpa Tashi Paljor's "emanation basis" is the future Buddha Maitreya. He is also considered to be an emanation of the Indian master Jnanagarbha, one of the teachers of the great translator Marpa.
The following Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoches are:-
He found a particularly pleasant spot and made his camp there. Since he liked it so much, he thought that it would possibly be a good place to establish a monastery. One day, during meditation, he noticed a particularly large crow and the bird alighted upon a large rock and danced around on top of it, making a lot of noise. Intrigued by this unusual behavior, he went closer to have a look at the bird. As he came near the rock, he saw how the crow dropped something out of its beak and then flew away. Sangye Nyenpa climbed up the rock and found an object that the bird had dropped. It was a small turquoise image of the protector Dorje Bernagchen, the main protector of the Karma Kagyu lineage. This image was later enshrined in the main shrine of the monastery. As he considered this to be a very good omen, he immediately proceeded to find out who the land upon which he intended to construct his monastery belonged to.
The owner was a local chieftain named Rardha Pontsong (the Chime Rinpoche living in London is a direct descendant of that family). As Sangye Nyenpa related all that had happened, Rardha Pontsong was immediately very enthusiastic, gave all the land to Sangye Nyenpa and promised to help with the construction. Soon after, the construction began but strange obstacles such as storms, earthquakes, etc occured. It occured to Sangye Nyenpa, that this might be caused by the protector of the Rardha family, who had not been consulted or asked for permission to build the monastery.
Picture on the left: Shing Kyong Kunga Zhonnu Sangye Nyenpa then approached Rardha Pontsong relating all the problems and asked him who the family protector was. He later learned that is was Shing Kyong Kunga Zhonnu and right away started a one month retreat, propitiating the protector. When the protector finally appreared to Sangye Nyenpa, he promised to build a special shrine for him, worship him and make him the special protector of Benchen and his lineage. SInce then all the followers of the lamas of Benchen Monastery benefit particularly from keeping Shing kyong Kunga Zhonnu as their protector. The construction of Benchen Monastery went smoothly after that and since this time Benchen Monastery has been the seat of the Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoches and other lamas of the monastery. During the cultural revolution in the 1960's, Benchen was completely destroyed and in recent years it was re-constructed by the present 10th Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche.
His Eminence the 10th Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche was recognized by His Holiness the 16th Karmapa.
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