His Holiness Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche Memorabilia

Dharmaraja

Brief Biography of H.H. Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche:

H.H. Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche was born in the year of the Water-Bird (1933) in Lhonor area of Sertha to Palden and his wife Yutso. He started his education around the age of six. His father passed away when he was nine.

When he was 14 he was ordained as a monk by Khenpo Sonam Rinchen and when he was 16 he went to Zachukha to study under Thoga rinpoche. At the age of 24 he returned to his hometown Lhonor and began teaching at the Lhonor Monastery.

In 1980 he founded the Larung Gar Five Sciences Buddhist Academy near Serthar. When the 10th Panchen Lama visited Serthar in 1985, Rinpoche had an audience with him.

In 1987 Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche traveled to Wutaishan (sacred Buddhist mountain site in Shanxi Province) accompanied by several thousand of his disciples. In 1989 at the request of the Panchen Lama, Rinpoche went to teach at the Tibetan Buddhist Institute in Beijing.

Biographical Timeline of H.H. Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche

1933. H.H. Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche was born the first son of a nomadic family in March in the Dzume Chola planes in present day Serthar near Drupchen Monastery.

1937. Terton Wangchuk and Khenpo Dontock Lharig recognized H.H. Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche as the incarnation of Terton Sogyal Lerab Lingpa (1856-1926), a teacher to the 13th Dalai Lama Thubten Gyatso.

1940. H.H. Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche’s father dies.

1947. Formally enters a monastery at the age of fourteen, receiving preliminary vows from the renowned scholar Khenpo Sonam Richen of Dragzong Monastery in Nyarong, eastern Tibet .

1951. At the age of eighteen, he begins six years of intensive study and solitary mediation retreats with Thubten Choepel Rinpoche at Cangma Monastery in Dzachukha region of eastern Tibet.

1949. China’s invasion of Tibet begins in and around H.H. Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche’s home area.

1950. H.H. Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche’s mother dies.

1955. At twenty two, he became a fully ordained monk maintaining over 250 vows.

1957. At twenty four, Rinpoche returned to his home monastery of Nubzor, where Terton Sogyal had passed away, to resume his spiritual and administrative role.

1959. 14th Dalai Lama flees Tibet and begins exodus of the majority of learned Buddhist teachers from across the Tibetan plateau. H.H. Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche remains in Kham and establishes mediation retreat centers in mountains near Nubzor and continues to give philosophical teachings and meditation instructions at various monasteries.

1960-1980. H.H. Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche evades the People’s Liberation Army, the Red Guard and Chinese authorities by wandering as a goat herder and nomad in the remote valleys of Serthar in eastern Tibet. During these years, he continued to practice mediation, write commentaries on Buddhist philosophical texts, as well as informally transmit teachings to students. In Kham, stories abound today of H.H. Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche’s miraculous abilities to evade capture during this period.

1980. In accordance with prophecy, H.H. Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche went with less than a dozen students to a desolate valley near Serthar and built simple earthen wall meditation huts for mediation retreats. This became Larung Gar Five Sciences Buddhist Academy.

1981. Begins to write his autobiography at the request of his close disciples. More than a hundred students live around H.H. Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche’s mud hut.

1983. H.H. Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche experiences his first problems with his heart at the age of 50. Continues to teach extensively at Larung Gar as the number of students building permenant earthen homes increases.

1982-1986. Numbers of students coming to Larung Gar to temporarily reside to study and receive teachings begins to increase by the thousands. By 1986, more than six thousand monks and nuns from all different regions of Tibet are attending the ecumenical teachings of H.H. Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche which included his commentary on texts of Padmasambhava, Sakya Pandita, Naropa, and Jé Tsong Khapa. H.H. Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche travels in throughout eastern Tibet teaching.

1987. H.H. Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche meets the Panchen Lama in Beijing.

1987. H.H. Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche makes a pilgrimage with thousands of students following to Wu Tai Shan, the Five Peaked Mountain in China, as well as Emishan Peak.

1988. H.H. Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche returns to Beijing to teach from Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya and Gelugpa texts at the Buddhist Higher Academy at the request of the Panchen Lama.

1988. H.H. Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche visits holy places in and around Lhasa and Shigatse at the invitation of the Panchen Lama.

1989. In June, H.H. Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche travels to Nepal on pilgrimage and makes arrangements to travel to India.

1989. July 16, H.H. Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche arrives in Dharamsala, India and exchanges religious teachings and empowerments with the Dalai Lama, renewing their previous lives’ student-teacher relationship. The Dalai Lama recognized H.H. Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche’s niece, Muntso (born 1966) as the incarnation of a famous female teacher of Mindroling monastery, Minling Mingyru Palgyi.

1990. H.H. Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche returns to Larung Gar to resume teaching. He continues to travel in China and Tibet giving religious discourse, empowerments, and pith instructions on meditative practices. Thousands of students continue to study at Larung Gar.

1991. At Larung Gar, nearly 150 students had graduated since 1980 with the degree of “Khenpo” under H.H. Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche’s intensive Buddhist curriculum of study, meditation, and debate. Within the next ten years, that number swells to 600. Thus, khenpos graduated from Larung Gar are able to return to their local monasteries throughout Tibet and China to teach the next generation of students. At Larung Gar, simultaneous translation into Chinese of H.H. Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche’s teachings by bilingual teachers if fully functioning, as the number of Chinese students from China, Singapore, Hong Kong and elsewhere continues to grow.

1993. H.H. Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche teaches and gives empowerments at the invitation of Buddhist centers in Singapore, Malaysia, France and the USA.

1994-1998. H.H. Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche continues to teach extensively and write commentaries from all schools of Tibet, spending most of his time at Larung Gar. Chinese authorities’ concern begins to grow for the large number of monastics at Larung Gar. Requests are made by local authorities to decrease the number of monks and nuns.

1998. The number of Chinese students of H.H. Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche’s residing at Larung Gar approaches 1,000.