Choeje (King of Dharma) Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche, an incarnation of Terchen Lerab Lingpa, also known as Terchen Sogyal, was born in Dokhog, Dokham, Eastern Tibet in 1933. Guided by many great scholars and teachers of his time, he studied and mastered all aspects of the general Buddhist teachings as well as the distinct Kama and Terma tradition of Nyingma School.
At the age of twenty-four through his boundless compassion and profound wisdom, he began teaching. Under the Chinese occupation of Tibet when there was no religious freedom, he hid himself within secluded caves and secretly gave teachings to a handful of students despite the great danger to his life. Until his final days, he never stopped teaching. He bravely sacrificed his life to benefit sentient beings and preserve the sublime Buddha dharma.
In 1980 when Tibetans began to have some religious freedom, Khenchen Jigme Phuntsok established in Serta the Larung Ngarig Nangten Lobling, a monastic institution whose sole objective was to uphold and disseminate Tibetan Buddhism. Under his compassionate spiritual leadership, the institute prospered, becoming one of the world’s largest Buddhist centers of learning. Monks and nuns from all four Tibetan Buddhist traditions studied under one roof. Students from all over the globe including China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and other places flocked to hear his words of wisdom and to sow the seed of enlightenment within themselves. During special religious ceremonies over one hundred thousand disciples gathered and about fifteen thousand monks and nuns stayed permanently.
Seeing his enlightened vision, Panchen Lama visited Larung Gar Institute and gave recognition to both Choeje and his institute. Choeje was also appointed as a visiting professor at Advanced Buddhist Studies in Beijing.
In 1990, he traveled to India and met His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamshala, offering him Nyingma teachings including Dzogchen instructions. Therefore, HH the Dalai Lama considers Choeje as one of his root spiritual masters. In the same year, he went to Namdroling Monastery in South India and met HH Penor Rinpoche. He also visited Bhutan, the United States, France, Canada, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore , and other countries where he gave teachings including empowerment, oral transmission and spiritual advice to many followers.
After benefiting beings and the teachings through his manifold enlightened activities, on January 7, 2003, having reached the age of 70, he passed into parinirvana at a military hospital in Chengdu.
Many sutras and tantras teach on the benefit of remembering and celebrating the anniversaries of one’s spiritual masters. Enormous merit is accumulated, bad karma and obscurations cleansed, and the aspirations of one’s guru are fulfilled, all of which are essential for accomplishing one’s spiritual pursuits. Therefore, on 26 December 2004, I, Khenpo Namdrol, along with other monk students of Choeje in India organized the 1st anniversary of Choeje Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche at Bodh Gaya in a grand way. HH Penor Rinpoche and many other great masters presided over the ceremony.
Subsequently, the 2nd, 3rd and 4th anniversaries were held at the same place, being coordinated by Choeje’s students outside of Tibet.
This year the 5th Anniversary will also be held at Bodh Gaya, one of the most sacred Buddhist places, where over five thousand monks, nuns and lay practitioners are expected to assemble. HH Penor Rinpoche has already agreed to grace the auspicious occasion. Many other masters and scholars will also participate. All of Choeje Jigme Phuntsok’s disciples outside Tibet will join the prayers. The Nyingma Palyul Retreat Center, Nepal; Dazhong Vajrayana Group, Singapore; and Lin Ying Chi Li Shin (DerkwonTemple), Taichung, Taiwan will jointly organize this anniversary.
I, Khenpo Namdrol, will be coordinating the anniversary prayers. During this year’s Nyingma Monlam Chenmo, I requested all the great living masters, Tulkus, Khenpos, Lopons, ordinary monks, nuns and lay practitioners of the Nyingma Tradition to participate in the anniversary.
Follow this link to view the announcement and invitation of the 5th anniversary of Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche.