40. 2nd Jamgon 1904 – 1953
“I pray to you, source of all qualities, the one rich in faith, discipline, learning, generosity, intelligence, modesty, and humility.”
— Very Venerable Bokar Rinpoche, Karma Ngedon Chökyi Lodrö
The Second Jamgon Kongtrul, Pälden Khyentse Öser was born in the wood-dragon year at Tsurphu Monastery in the Valley of Tölung as a son of the Fifteenth Gyalwa Karmapa, Kungzang Khakyab Dorje. He was recognized as the main embodiment of Jamgon Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye and enthroned at Tsurphu Monastery by the Gyalwa Karmapa.
Jamgon Khyentse Öser spent most of his life at Kungzang Dechen Ösel Ling, which was Jamgon Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye’s small hermitage situated on the hillside of Tsadra Rinchen Drak in Derge, East Tibet. Khyentse Öser studied with the most excellent masters of the time and received the full education and Mahamudra Lineage transmission from His Holiness the Fifteenth Karmapa. He studied, mastered, practiced, taught and transmitted many times over the Sutras, Tantras, and the “Five Treasures” composed by Jamgon Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye the Great to monks, nuns, and numerous disciples and inspired them to practice and train in the path to liberation. He was one of the most renowned Kagyüpa masters and passed the innermost Mahamudra Lineage to the Sixteenth Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje.
When he visited Tsurphu Monastery, Khyentse Öser wrote a song of homage to honour the achievements of his heart-disciple, the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa, who in turn would become his Root Guru in his next life. The introduction and a few verses (published in “The Rain of Wisdom”) are:
“Through resolving to rely on nothing other than the guru and through the powerful longing of a mind saddened by the ways of this dark age, I sang this song which is called ‘The Mirror that Shows What is to be Accepted and Rejected,’ in the melody of the cuckoo bird, the queen of spring.
“Lord of incomparable kindness, lord guru,
Glorious Vajradhara, widely renowned,
The Karmapa of completely victorious buddha activity,
Is he not the glorious Khakyab Dorje?
With a mind of devotion, your son cries out.
Does the father jetsün hear me?
“From the pinnacle of the height of existence down to the hell realms,
All beings are tormented by suffering;
Please look upon them with an eye of compassion.
In general, there is no happiness in the state of samsara.
In particular, the beings in an age when the five corruptions are rampant
Insatiably practice evil deeds.
Their minds are not in accord and one hates the other.
Even loving parents are murdered.
People are arrogant and think that they are not capable of hypocritical actions.
What preparations have they made to benefit their next life?
Even their present actions have no more than a sesame seed’s concern for the ultimate goal.
No matter how I look at this, I feel sad. (…)
“Listen here, old Päldenpa!
If you act now, act virtuously.
If your mind plans, plan for the next life’s benefit.
The teachings of the sutras and tantras are vast and limitless.
Fully realizing the complete dharma
Is not for you of unworthy karma.
Although you may be trustworthy, how could someone like you
Carry the burden of the spiritual and temporal teachings?
(…) “Contentment is the inexhaustible wealth, the essential jewel.
Fill your treasury with this jewel that cannot be lost; that will be good.
Do not let loose the enemy, the five poisons.
If the father guru ornaments the top of the head, that is beautiful. (…)
“The refuge of beings of ill-fortune in the snow land of Tibet,
The Great Compassionate One, should be supplicated.
Sing the respected little song of six syllables.
Do not keep your body ordinary; meditate on it as a deity. (…)
“The infallible jewels are the supreme refuge.
They are all embodied in the glorious guru.
Keep your trust in him, both now and in the future.
It is up to you, guru, whether this lowly one is happy or sad.
This servant has no one to depend on but you.
Father Karmapa, please look on me with kindness.
“Thus, the lazy one called Karma Pälden Khyentse Öser, who is crowned with the name of the Dharmaraja Jamgön, wrote down spontaneously whatever arose in his mind.”
It is recorded in “Light of Dharma”: “As he was leaving his seat at Tsadra Rinchen Drak for Thrangu Monastery to perform the Parinirvana ceremonies for Traleg Rinpoche, he indicated, in a light-hearted way, to one of his general secretaries, the late Changdzo Buddha, that he would not be returning after the ceremonies. On the way, he visited the 9 th Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche at Benchen Monastery. There, he told Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche that he may die and would be very happy if he would visit him if that should happen.”
Furthermore: “In the cave of Je Mipham Rinpoche in Thrangu Monastery, Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche arrived just before Pälden Khyentse Öser dissolved his mind in Parinirvana. He called out the name of the 15 th Karmapa, Palden Khyentse Oser’s Root Teacher, and the Second Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche smiled and passed away peacefully and joyfully.” It was
the tenth of May in the year 1953 – he was 49 years old.
As his last testament, “he told his chanting master and close disciple, Umze Kanjam, that he would soon die and take rebirth in Central Tibet, and they would meet again. Umzwe Kanjam asked Rinpoche where he would be reborn in Central Tibet. In reply, the Second Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche told him that they should ask the Karmapa.” Accordingly, in a first letter of recognition, the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa wrote the following prophesy: “In the central part of the country, surrounded by snow mountains, (…) from a wealthy family of pure ancestry, a body of the wood-horse year with excellent signs is without any doubt Jamgon, the incarnation of Lotsawa Vairocana. Raising the victory banner of the teachings, he will give life to all Buddhist traditions and especially to the lineage of Gampopa.”
Kudung Stupa of Pälden Khyentse Öser
The biography of the Third Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche in “Light of Dharma” tells us: Lodrö Chökyi Senge “was born in Central Tibet as foretold by his previous incarnation. The circumstances of his birth were prophesied by the 16 th Gyalwa Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje. Born in the wood-horse year, 1954, the Third Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche would become an exemplary practitioner, master, guide, and humanitarian, and his activities for the Buddhadharma and sentient beings would span the East and West.
“His devotion to his Root Teacher the 16 th Karmapa was perfect and exemplary of Guru-disciple relationship. He was considerate and gentle in manner, and in the words of the Very Venerable Bokar Rinpoche, ‘with clear wisdom of the world and of Dharma, he soothed the mental sufferings of others, cut through the net of their doubts, and guided them to the right path through direct and indirect means.’ Sensitive to the needs of others, particularly the plight of the destitute, he used his connections with others who shared similar ideals for humanity and founded a network of organisations (…). Rinpoche shared his ideals and stories of the plight of others with his monks and created in them an awareness of the world beyond their community.
“The Third Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche dissolved his mind in Parinirvana on the 26 th of April 1992. (…) Though the Third Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche’s life was short, his deeds were vast and many. He left a wealthy legacy from his life as a Buddhist monk, a disciple, a teacher, a spiritual master and guide, and a human being.”
In the foreword to ” His Eminence Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche the Fourth, EMAHO! The Reincarnation of the Third Jamgon Kongtrul,” Venerable Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche wrote “A Sweet Song of Unending Connection”: “In general, at a precise moment in time, when disciples’ merit and the Lama’s compassion connect with each other, the great and genuine beings will give up one emanation body and appear in another. Once again, disciples will be able to meet face to face with the supreme emanations, and to enjoy their portion of the nectar of their Lama’s speech.”
A Long Life Prayer for
His Eminence the Fourth Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, Lodrö Chökyi Nyima
Om Svasti Siddham.
Noble Lama, you are the great treasury of the compassion and blessings
Of all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, the three sources and wisdom Dakinis.
May White Tara, the Wish-fulfilling Wheel, who imparts the splendour of immortality,
And the deities with the power of life,
Bring to fulfilment these virtuous prayers for your long life!
Simply to see you in the youthful resplendence of your major and minor marks of perfection liberates us.
Simply to hear your soothing, melodious voice, with its sixty qualities, liberates us.
Simply to think of you, sovereign of love and knowledge, and refuge of beings, liberates us.
May Amitayus, the Buddha of Limitless Life, create all that is auspicious for you!
While never moving from Dharmadhatu’s expanse,
You remain the protector of all Buddhist teachings and their essence, the Practice Lineage.
Out of the breadth of your realisation of the ultimate and relative,
The thousand-fold radiance of your wisdom blazes.
Its luminous warmth, inconceivably deep and tranquil,
Completely burns away the thickness of the two obscurations,
And the brilliance of your inexhaustible, compassionate activity shines forth.
Supreme and precious sun who illuminates the practice instructions,
May you remain forever in your vajra form!
In the line of the Jewel Rosary for the transmission of meaning,
Of the impeccable Karma Kamtsang teachings,
May you, the naturally present glory of the flawless expanse of totality,
Remain for a hundred aeons upon your Dharma throne!
Firmly rooted in the ground of your discipline, the three types of Buddhist training,
Is the wish-fulfilling tree of your mind of Awakening.
It is laden with the fruit of your Vajrayana practice.
On your throne for the teaching of the Three Yanas, may you remain long!
Your expedient and ultimate instructions, like cool, refreshing streams of nectar,
Extinguish the torment of all beings.
May you fill the three levels of existence with the brilliance of all the traditions,
And may you live long as the Lord of beings and the Buddhist doctrine!
The essence o f the final cycle of the Buddha’s teaching is profound and true.
Free from conceptual extremes, it is the great Middle Way.
It is not refuted by the three means of analysis, but is realised directly.
May you, the embodiment of this extraordinary truth, life long!
The essential truth does not reject projections of the conceptual mind.
The key point of naturalness is freedom from intellectual analysis of conditioned phenomena.
Intrinsic wisdom is effortless.
This is the great result, which you, the perfect embodiment of enlightened form and wisdom,
Directly reveal to your students, through your undiminishing, deep, vast radiance and melodious words.
Great embodiment of the right capacities to bring others to spiritual maturity and liberation,
May you remain forever for a hundred aeons on your vajra throne!
You are Ananda, Vairocana, Taranatha, Jamgon Lodrö Chökyi Senge, and others.
As the culmination of your previous aspirations, and your path as a Bodhisattva,
You are now the youthful epitome of them all, a sacred being.
May you, the essence of the three sources and deities with the power of life, live long!
May the thunder of Dharma resound throughout the three levels of existence!
May the ancient tradition of the ultimate meaning swirl powerfully like the Ganges River!
Through our noble intentions and words of aspirations, with the power of truth, like that of the sages,
May the brilliance of the fulfilment of these wishes bring liberation throughout all the worlds!
(This prayer of aspiration for the long life of Jamgon Lodrö Chökyi Nyima Tenpey Dronme, the fourth incarnation of Jamgon Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye, has been adapted from the “Prayer for the Swift Rebirth of H.E. the Third Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche” by His Holiness the Seventeenth Gyalwa Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, at the request of Tenzin Dorjee, Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche’s General Secretary. May all virtue and goodness blossom! Translated by Ingrid McLeod.)
May the wonderful presence and magnificent activities of
H.H. the Seventeenth Gyalwa Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, and
H.E. the Fourth Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, Lodrö Chökyi Nyima,
long light the path to liberation from cyclic existence and to realization of Buddhahood!
Kagyu Office of His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, “The Golden Rosary” (2008).
Jamgon Kongtrul Labrang, “The Past Incarnations of H.E. Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche,” in: “Light of Dharma. A Soothing Song of Spontaneous Fulfilment of Good Wishes,” Pullahari Monastery in Nepal, 2004, pages 4-6.
Ven. Bokar Rinpoche, “H is Eminence Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche the Fourth,” in: “EMAHO! The Reincarnation of the Third Jamgon Kongtrul,” published by Jamgon Kongtrul Labrang, Pullahari Monastery in Nepal, 1998, pages v & 4-8.
“The Rain of Wisdom. The Vajra Songs of the Kagyü Gurus,” transl. under the direction of Chögyam Trungpa by the Nalanda Translation Com., Boston & London, 1980, pages 112-117.
See the collection of instructions presented by His Eminence the Third Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche worldwide in “Teachings in English” in the link “Audio, teachings and others” in the download section of this website.
Photo of precious Kudung Stupa of Pälden Khyentse Öser is usually inside the 3-year retreat center of Thrangu Tashi Chöling in East Tibet. In the year 2004 a landslide crashed in on the retreat, so the Stupa could be seen. Thank you Lena Fong for taking the photo and for sending it to me; article compiled and written by Gaby Hollmann, responsible for all inadequacies. Munich, Sept. 2008; revised May 2009. All rights reserved.