The Seventh Gangteng Tulku: H.E. Tenpai Nyinje

The 7th Gangteng Tulku, Tenpai Nyinjé was born at Dramitse in Mongar, a place previously blessed by the sister of Pema Lingpa, Ani Chöten Zangmo. The Tulku was born to mother Singye Drolma, descendent from the lineage blessed by Gyal Yum Ingki Wangchuma, and father Kencho Wangdü, a descendant from the Peling lineage. Amongst the three eminent Tulkus born to the same parents, the eldest was Zhabdrung Thuktrul Jigmed Chögyal, the middle son Tango Tulku Künga Drakpa and the younger son was the 7th Gangteng Tulku, Tenpai Nyinjé. The three sons were popularly known as the “Zhabdrung Punsum” or the “Chöje Nam Sum”.

The 7th Gangteng Tulku was born around 1875 and soon after was recognised and enthroned at his official seat in Gangteng Gönpa. From eminent teachers and masters of the time such as Gyalwa Sacha Gyaltsen, the Tulku received the complete teachings of the basic and advanced Buddhist studies.

Feeling a great sense of gratitude and inspired by the first and second Gangteng Tulkus, who developed the monastery tirelessly and at the same time understanding the transient nature of personal material wealth, the Tulku used whatever was offered to him for the growth of the Lhakhang. He gilded the pinnacle of the Utse or the central sanctum of the Gönpa and established the meditation centres at Kunzang Chöling, Gorgoen Lhakhang, ZiZi Lhakhang, and Pangkhar Samten Chöling at Chitokha. He also established a retreat centre at Khenpa Jong and numerous fortunate disciples were benefited through the treasure teachings of the Peling tradition.

During this time, news reached that the Tulku’s father had passed away and following the instructions from his elder brother Lam Zhabdrung, Tango Tulku and he proceeded to Dremitse, followed by Lam Zhabdrung himself later.

The three brothers performed a grand and extensive cremation ceremony for their late father. Moreover, for the benefit of sentient beings in general and their parents in particular, the three Tulkus created many body, speech and mind representations of the Buddha. Then, having entrusted the place to their sister Tshewang Drolma, the Tulku came towards West Bhutan.

Having travelled to the Dagana region, the Tulku blessed and inspired numerous practitioners committing them to the practice of the Dharma.

At one time, Gangteng Gönpa was badly affected by a severe earthquake and the Gönpa had to be repaired. The Tulku undertook the task in such a manner that it looked even better than before.

Adding numerous outer and inner treasures, even the frescoes were painted anew using good colours. For the consecration, the elder brothers Zhabdrung Rinpoche and Tango Tulku Rinpoche as well as other eminent lineage holders were invited and the consecration and thanksgiving ceremonies performed in a grand manner.

Soon after the consecration, the Tulku was taken seriously ill. Despite numerous rituals and life-extending prayers being performed by his elder brother Lams, the Tulku showed no sign of recovery. Thus, all of them went to Chitokha Gönpa.

Feeling the inconvenience even there, the Tulku was brought to Norbugang Gönpa. Although, numerous rituals were performed and medications administered there, the Tulku could not be cured.

Hence, in 1905, the Tulku passed into parinirvana amidst numerous auspicious signs. The last cremation rites were held at the Gangteng Gönpa.

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