The third Gangteng Tulku, Kunzang Thinley Namgyal was born in Punakha region to mother Sonam Buthri, who was endowed with all the signs of a dakini, in the Fire Horse year of the 12th Rabjung (1727) amidst miraculous and auspicious signs.
The birth of a Tulku had been prophesied as follows, clearly indicating the location and the mother’s identity:
In a particular region in the west,
In the womb of Samkyid’s body.
Moreover, His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa had identified the child as the unmistaken reincarnation of the Gangteng Tulku and further instructed that the young Tulku be taken to Gangteng Gönpa.
The 5 th Peling, Tendzin Drupchok Dorji also recognized the child as the reincarnation of Tendzin Lekpai Döndrup. The 5th Thuksé was convinced and pleased at the way the young Tulku displayed his accurate remembrance of past events. Then, they went to Punakha Dzong to meet with the Desi and received some teachings and auspicious connections were established.
Then, in the course of time, he went to Lhalung region in Lhodrak, Tibet and completed the study of astrology, and other essential sciences such as mask dances, drawing, painting, ritual chanting etc. These studies helped in further increasing the loving kindness and compassion in the young Tulku who also became highly learned.
Then, coinciding with an auspicious day, the young Tulku was enthroned as the 3rd Gangteng Tulku amidst an elaborate enthronement ceremony.
Thereafter, the Tulku received the complete treasure teachings of the Terdag Lingpa from Thuksé Gyurmed Chokdrup Pelbar Zangpo. Then, the Tulku was fully ordained as a monk with Thuksé Rinpopche as the abbot, Gelong Gyurmed Pelzang as the secret teacher and the entire ceremony presided over by the Sungtrul Rinpoche, and was conferred the dharma name of Pema Kunzang Thinley Nampar Gyalwai De.
Although very young, the Tulku was incomparable in terms of his learning speed and abilities. The 10 th Je Khenpo, Tendzin Chögyal who had heard about the Tulku received many excellent signs which convinced him of the Tulku’s qualities. He then received transmission on the canonical texts (Kanjur), Nyingma Lineage Teachings (Nyingma Gyudbum), Lama Norbu Gyamtsho and Tshetri Dorji Trengwa from the young Tulku, who was then residing at Chitokha Phuntshog Rabten Ling monastery. The other remaining teachings were transmitted while the Tulku was later residing at Gangteng Gönpa.
Having fulfilled the Buddha activity and extensively spreading the precious teachings, at the young age of 32, due to the lack of merit of sentient beings, the Tulku passed into parinirvana in the Year of the Earth Tiger (1758).