Top: 12th Trungpa Tulku and his older brother Koncho
standing in the ruins of Shelabum's castle. Photo
by Marvin Ross.
Trungpa XII at Serta, 2010 photo byJon Ransohoff
12th Trungpa Tulku, Chokyi Senge, March 2007 photo by Surmanf Khenpo
12th Trungpa Tulku, Chokyi Senge, July 2006 photo by Surmang Khenpo
12th Trungpa Tulku, Chokyi Senge, March 2007 photo by Surmang Khenpo
the Chakrasamvara Dance
at Surmang 2007
spring of 2010
Chokyi Senge, Trungpa XII Rinpoche
Choseng Trungpa XII Rinpoche, who is 24, now principally resides at Surmang Dutsi til, where he is engaged in teaching activities. Until recently, he had spent the majority of each year continuing his studies at Serta Monastery in Golok.
In September 2010, Trungpa XII Rinpoche recorded a statement in which he thanked those who have supported the rebuilding of the Surmang shedra. He also called for continued study of the teachings of his predecessor, Chogyam Trungpa XI Rinpoche , and requested that the works in English of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche be translated into Tibetan.
In the wake of the tragic earthquake in Jyekundo (Yushu) in April 2010, Trungpa XII Rinpoche spent many days there along with the other leadership of Surmang Dutsi Til. They initially helped search for survivors and subsequently met with and provided financial and food aid to families there. They also performed a number of pujas for the deceased.
12th Trungpa Rinpoche, Aten Rinpoche and monks performing prayers for thet people who died in the Jyekundo earthquake. Photo by Surmang Khenpo
In September 2009, Heleen de Graaf and Ymkje Repko visited Trungpa XII Rinpoche at Surmang. Heleen took the following photograph. A nice print of this photo is available on request to anyone who makes a donation to the Konchok Foundation.
The 12th Trungpa Rinpoche, courtesy of Heleen de Graaf www.tibetreis.com
“I wish our shedra was open right now!”
--Trungpa XII Rinpoche (in a recent comment to the Surmang Khenpo)
Trungpa Rinpoche has spent most of his time recently at Serta Institute in eastern Tibet. Serta is a great institute of dharmic learning established by His Holiness Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok. It is a university for all schools of Buddhist thought in Tibet, with more than 15,000 students. Serta has 40-50 khenpos, including the highly noted Khenpo Tsultrim Lodro and Tulku Tenzin Gyamtso.
The 12th Trungpa Rinpoche, taken at Serta in September, 2010 by Jon Ransohoff. A nice print of this photo is available on request to anyone who makes a donation to the Konchok Foundation.
Along with studying and receiving transmissions at Serta, Trungpa Rinpoche also spends time at Surmang. He continues to learn the dharma traditions particular to Surmang. In September/October of 2009, he studied the Chakrasamvara dance, and will be participating in the annual Chakrasamvara Dance on the 13th, 14th, and 15th days after Losar (Tibetan New Year). Traditionally, the Chakrasamvara Dance at Surmang is led by the current Trungpa Rinpoche, once he has mastered the intricate steps. In addition to performing practices and spending time with the Surmang monks, Trungpa Rinpoche accompanies the monks on visits to local villagers, doing prayers for those who are sick or dying.
Trungpa Rinpoche also spends some time each year with his family in Derge. Sadly, his mother passed away in 2006.
Trungpa XII Rinpoche at the dance leader's place of the annual Chakrasamvara dance at Surmang Dutsi Til, Photo by Surmang Khenpo, March 2007
Trungpa XII Rinpoche continues to learn the dharma traditions particular to Surmang. Traditionally, the meditational Chakrasamvara Dance at Surmang is led by the current Trungpa Rinpoche, once he has mastered the intricate steps. Trungpa XII Rinpoche has now fulfills this role. This dance ordinarily takes place annually on the 13th, 14th, and 15th days after Losar (Tibetan New Year).
While at Surmang, in addition to performing practices and spending time with the monks, Trungpa Rinpoche accompanies the monks on visits to local villagers, doing prayers for those who are sick or dying.
BIOGRAPHY OF TRUNGPA XII RINPOCHE
Family heritage: Trungpa Rinpoche's maternal grandmother Nyera was of the Nyeretsang family of Derge. Two of her brothers were Kagyu tulkus of Palpung monastery: Ongen Rinpoche and Mingyur Rinpoche, both of whom passed away in the late 1970s after having fled Tibet in 1959.
Since so many of us know the current Mingyur Rinpoche, this is an interesting sidelight...the previous Mingyur Rinpoche was the great uncle of the current Trungpa Rinpoche.
Chökyi Senge, “lion of dharma,” was born in 1989 in Derge to a nomadic family. His family herds yak and other animals, and has ties to the royal family of Derge (his grandmother’s father was a minister to the King). In 1991, during a tour of Tibet, His Eminence Tai Situ Rinpoche met his parents and asked them to bring their son to him. Soon after, they brought the young boy to him and Situ Rinpoche announced “this is the 12th Trungpa Tulku.” Chökyi Senge was enthroned a year later at Surmang Dutsi Til Monastery; Domkar Rinpoche, a high Kagyu lama who is also Chökyi Senge’s uncle, presided over the enthronement.
Following his enthronement, Chökyi Senge spent the next twelve years primarily with his parents in Derge, visiting Surmang frequently and beginning his education at the Palpung shedra. This shedra is part of Palpung monastery, the traditional seat of the Tai Situ Rinpoches in Tibet.
Trungpa Tulku, Surmang 2001, photo by Jane Carpenter Cohen
In the summer of 2001 Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, son of the 11th Trungpa Rinpoche and the head of Shambhala, traveled to Tibet and met Chökyi Senge Trungpa XII Rinpoche at Surmang. The meeting was a powerful experience for both of them, and they quickly became inseparable. In an especially moving ceremony, Mipham Rinpoche bestowed the Sadhana of Mahamudra empowerment on Trungpa XII Rinpoche – as well as the other monks and thousands of lay people of Surmang. Thus, the lineage transmission was returned to its source.
Sakyong Mipam Rinpoche and Trungpa Tulku duting the Sakyong's visit in 2001. Photo by Diana Church
In the summer of 2002 Lady Diana Mukpo, wife of the 11th Trungpa Rinpoche, along with her husband Acharya Mitchell Levy and children, visited Surmang and met Trungpa XII Rinpoche. Lady Diana bestowed important Shambhala empowerments and teachings on him. At this visit Lady Diana met with the leadership of Surmang and Trungpa Rinpoche’s father to discuss his future education and training. It was decided that he should take up residence at Surmang Dutsi Til, the traditional seat of the Trungpa Tulkus, for at least a portion of each year. One important reason for this is so that he can learn the special traditions of Surmang from the elderly monks. These traditions are in danger of dying out if they are not transmitted to the next generation.
Khenla, photo by Gary Allen
In 2003, Trungpa Rinpoche took up residence at Surmang Dutsi Til. The surmang Khenpo retained as his primary tutor Kenla, an elderly monk of Surmang who is extremely knowledgeable in the Surmang traditions. Selected as his attendants were Tsondru, who had been an attendant to Aten Rinpoche (the regent abbot of Surmang) for five years, and Yeshe Phuntsok, who had been picked by Trungpa Rinpoche’s father to be his attendant. Trungpa Rinpoche’s living quarters were located on top of the monastery shrine room, as is traditional in Tibet.
.Unfortunately, Kenla became sick after a short time and subsequently passed away. The tutor responsibilities were taken over by Nyima lama, an elderly lama who was a student of Karma Norbu Rinpoche, a disciple of the tenth Trungpa Rinpoche. Nyima lama gave him instructions on ngondro and the study of the view.
Later that year Trungpa Rinpoche received the abhisheka for Terser, an important terma found by the great Terton Chogyur Lingpa; it was given by the current Chogyur Lingpa at Terton monastery near Surmang. This terma has special significance for Surmang, where a drupchen and lama dancing are practiced for it every year. This abhisheka lasted about one and one-half months, after which Trungpa Rinpoche returned to Surmang, where he concentrated on his ngondro practice.
Aten Rinpoche and the 12th Trungpa Rinpoche, Surmang 2004
In the spring of 2004, Trungpa XII Rinpoche studied with Karma Senge Rinpoche, the nephew of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, at his monastery in Kyere. After these studies, he then began to study at Surmang Namgyaltse monastery. In the midst of his studies there, he went to Dzongsar monastery, where he received the Rinchen Terzod from Pewar Tulku. The Rinchen Terzod is an extremely important body of terma eachings, collected by Jamgon Kongtrul the Great.
Trungpa Rinpoche continued his studies at Surmang Namgyaltse until July of 2008. At that time, the maturing 12th Trungpa Rinpoche requested the Surmang Khenpo to enroll him in Serta, a renowned institute of dharmic learning founded by His Holiness Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok. Rinpoche wanted to meet the great teachers there and continue in further depth with his studies.
12th Trungpa Rinpoche with his two brothers and an attendant photo by Jon Ransohoff
Rinpoche's current yearly schedule includes his studies at Serta, short visits to his home in Derge, visits to other teachers and participation in empowerments, and time spent at Surmang Dutsi Til. He has been tutored by many learned monks. His Surmang training includes learning various mudras, styles of chanting, Dorje Loppon skills, and the lama dances and many other important specific traditions of Surmang Dutsi Til.
At the end of July of 2007, he was visited at Surmang Dutsi Til by Acharya Larry Mermelstein and his traveling party, and was presented with a formal greeting from Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and the Shambhala Community.
Konchok Foundation is committed to providing support annually for Trungpa XII Rinpoche’s living and educational expenses. Donations to help with this cost are gratefully accepted, and may be specifically designated for Trungpa Rinpoche’s support if you wish. Just write "for Trungpa Rinpoche" in the Instructions to merchant" while processing your donation.