Oral teachings of Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche
and his spiritual sons

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Nenang Pawo

Pawo Rinpoche

An emanation of Vajra-Pani, Guardian of the Secrets and progenitor of the Tantras, himself the heart son of Amitabha Buddha Boundless Light, was born as the Nalanda abbot Maha-Pundit Prajnakara (Panchen Sherab Jungne). In fulfillment of prophecy in “The Injuctions of GuruPadma” (Padma Thangyig), he was reborn in Tibet as the Treasure Revealer Ugyen Rinchen Lingpa. This was during the period of the Mongol invasions, a time when there was great danger of a demon doctrine taking over Tibet. As the Treasure revealer, Ugyen Rinchen Lingpa was to extract a Treasure text from Kore-drag in Drinthang (between Assam and Bhutan, in the vicinity of Pemakö), all of which came to pass as predicted.

A later incarnation of his, in turn, was born in Yarlung, Central Tibet, in 1455, as Chöwang Lhundrup. At a very early age he viewed the world as illusory and was able to walk on the surface of copper Lake (Zang-tso) as if it were solid ground, moreover, he extracted from the lake various sacred images and was soon named Pawo “the Heroic One.” Marpa Chokyi LodroAround that time, His Holiness the Seventh Karmapa Chödrak Gyatso (1454-1506), was moving his huge “tent camp monastery” in the Lhodrak region of Southern Tibet, the site of Marpa Lotsawa’s residence at Drowo-lung and where Marpa’s disciple, Majestic Lord Milarepa, had built his famous tower, at Sekhar Guthog. Already previous to the encounter there between the Seventh Karmapa and “Pawo” Chöwang Lhundrup, the local inhabitants had requested the latter to establish Sekhar as the principal seat of his lineage, he only withdrew his refusal upon the insistence of the Seventh Karmapa, where upon he also took it upon himself to restore and enlarge the Sekhar Guthog complex as his personal headquarters of this new line of the Pawo Rinpoches, being the first one on Tibet to bear this honorific title. It was also due to the Karmapa’s influence that, from his earlier exclusive Nyingma adherence, he now assumed his role as a major teacher in the Kagyü school of Buddhism in Tibet.

Shortly thereafter the First Pawo accompanied the Karmapa to Central Tibet. In the vicinity of Nyethang Ganggyü (near Gongkar), where he enjoyed the hospitality of one of his long-term hosts, he passed away, but only after having announced, as if referring to a future visits that he would “soon return.” He did so, taking rebirth as Tsuglag Threngwa the Second Pawo (1504-1566.) From him onwards, all the Pawo Rinpoche have carried the term Tsuglag (“the collection of the doctrine”) as part of their name, as a sign of their responsibility in guarding the Buddha’s teaching in unaltered form. Soon the Second Pawo’s fame as an outstanding scholar spread all over Tibet. He continued the expansion and renovations at Sekhar Guthog and established Lhalung Gompa in Southern Tibet as his second seat. His works include the famous Buddhist Transmission History known as The scholarly Banquet, besides a large commentary on Shantideva’s Entering the Bodhisattva Way of Life (Bodhisattva - Charya-Avatara) and major works on astrology, sacred biographies, etc.

Due to the change in the circumstances during the period of the fifth Dalai Lama, from the fourth in line onwards (Tsuglag Trinley Gyatso), the spiritual head quarters of the Pawo Rinpoche in 1684 shifted to Nyenang, with further branch monasteries at Drag, below the Guru Rinpoche cave of Drag Yangzom (between Samye and Dorje-drag,) and all nunneries in the region of Kongpo. Accordingly, from being referred to as the “Lhodrag Pawo’s”, their general appellation now became the “Nyenang Pawo’s” instead.

The Pawo Tsuglag Gawa (1738-1803) established a first firm connection with Nepal when, in 1758, he was responsible for the reconstruction of the Swayambhu Stupa, after renovations initiated by the famous Nyingma Master Rigzin Tsewang Norbu of Katog (1698-1755.) This he undertook in collaboration with the Seventh Drugchen Rinpoche, Kagyü Thrinle Shingta (1718-1766) after due permission had been obtained from King Jaya Prakash Malla of Kathmandu (ruled 1735-1768) and King Prithvi Narayan Shah of Gorkha (ruled 1743-1755), all of which is clearly mentioned in the Bilingual stone inscription still posted at Swayambhu.

It was the Tenth Pawo Rinpoche, Tsuglag Marme Wangchug (1912-1991) who in 1985 established the Nyenang Phuntsok Chöling monastery in the vicinity of Boudha, another one of “The Three (principal) Stapes of Nepal 3.” Earlier on, during his travels in Tibet, he had been a close disciple of the fifteenth Karmapa, the Second Jamgön, the second Khyentse, the Katog Situ (in Nyingma line), the Dingchi Chogtrul (of Drukpa adherence) and many others. In turn, he functioned as the mentor for such illustrious disciples as His Holiness the sixteenth Karmapa and their eminencies the four Regents, as well as for other Tulkus such as H.H. the present Drugchen Rinpoche, H.H. the late Dilgo Khyentse, Kalu Rinpoche, etc. At the request of His Holiness the present Dalai Lama XIVth, Pawo Rinpoche taught at the Sanskrit University of Varanasi (1962-1966,) where he passed on the six yoga transmissions of Mahamudra to a number of Indian disciples and also assisted numerous scholars in their post graduate research, later continuing these efforts at Sarnath’s Institute for Higher Buddhist Studies. For health reasons, he subsequently moved to Europe where he attracted and taught disciples from many countries. Throughout his life he scorned the “eight worldly Dharmas” and acted as a hidden yogi.

His incarnation, Tsuglag Tenzin Künsang Chökyi Nyima, at present resides at the partly renovated scared site of Nyenang, in Central Tibet.

As mentioned, the Nyenang Phuntsok Chöling monastery was established by the previous Pawo, north of the Bouddha Stupa, a few minutes walk beyond “the White Monastery.” Located on the ground floor is the main temple that houses the huge icons of the Three Buddha Bodies (Trikaya) under the forms of Amitabha Buddha Boundless Light, Avalokiteshvara the All-encompassing Glance and the Lotus-born Guru Padma Sambhava. The frescoes represent the twelve deeds of Buddha Sakyamuni, the Sixteen Arhat disciples (Sthaviras) and the chief Gurus of the Eighth fold Lineage of the Practice Vehicle (Drupgyü Shingta-gye), besides the portraits of the Lamas according to “The Golden Rosary of the Kagyü Transmission.” Adjacent to the main temple is a chapel that houses a monumental Mani Prayerwheel and as yet not completed protectors Chapel.

Located on the second floor is the memorial Stupa for the late Pawo Rinpoche, as well as the library that houses an important collection of Kagyü and Nyingma scriptures, besides Buddhist texts selected on a non-sectarian basis, such as the Collected Works of important Lamas, sacred biographies, and so forth.

The third floor includes Rinpoche’s residence. Work is underway on the fourth floor that will eventually become the site for a sculptural representation of the Dharmakaya within a small chapel. As with earlier mentioned protectors chapel and library, funding so far has been insufficient to also complete these tasks, the monastery has especially experienced financial difficulties since the passing away of the previous Pawo Rinpoche in 1991.

In such a time as the world is experiencing now: so much suffering, sickness, international disputes and on going warfare, it is within the purpose of the Nyenang monastery to help pacify these obstacles and pray for the peace and welfare of all living beings, true Dharma activities that are at the antipodes of “the eight worldly concerns.” The monk’s daily schedule, starting at 5:00 AM, includes the four Foundations, i.e. the preliminaries connected with Mahamudra, the rite for Tara the Savories, the ritual to the Sixteen Arhat disciples (Sthaviras) of the Buddha and the Puja for the Medicine Buddha. Late afternoons are dedicated to the meditation rites for the Dharma Protectors, as well as dealing with specific requests from our sponsors, including dedicatory rites for deceased relatives, etc. Much of the day is taken up by study in the scriptural tradition, starting from reading, writing, grammar, and so forth, as adapted to the specific level of the students.

Special activities include: (1) the Ganachakra rite and offerings for Chakra Samvara and Vajra Varahi on the 10th and 25th of the moon calendar, (2) the Posodha rite of confession and renewal of the monastic vows on the 15th and 30th, (3) the special rite for the six-armed Mahakala on the 29th, and (4) the Lama Gongdü rite on the 12th of the seventh month, the day of the previous Pawo Rinpoche’s Para-Nirvana.

At present, since Pawo Rinpoche’s passing away, the abbotship has been taken up by his main disciple, Lama K. Tsultrim, who from the age of ten onwards received with the late Pawo all the same teachings and transmissions. Together with Lama Chöphel his efforts have been directed towards the completion of the monastic foundation, not withstanding the financial difficulties experienced since 1991. They ensure the ongoing training (and upkeep) of the monks and novices, mostly drawn from the regions of northern Nepal and Tibet, with Lama Chöphel functioning as their guide.

In the year 1985, the Nenang Phuntsok Choeling Monastery was established by the 11th Nenang Pawo Rinpoche. It is located near Boudha Stupa and can be found behind the westside of the Kanying Shedrupling Monastery (the white mon- astery).

In the interior part of the monastery, there are stat- ues of the three Kayas; Dharma Kaya, Sambhogkaya and Rupkaya. The monastery also features the Kagyur and Tengyur (the collection of Buddhist canons) , the Picture of the Twelve Deeds of Lord Buddha, and the Sixteen Arahats. Near the Monastery there is a Stupa containing the re- mains of holy beings. A huge prayer wheel is also nearby.

In the morning, the monks recite the principal Bodhicitta Mind Training, the preliminary practice of the Great Seal. Prayer is dedicate to the Arahats. At Noon there is a study of Tibetan gram- mar, scriptures, poetry, as well as other languages also. In the evenings, prayers are uttered to Pro- tectors. On the 29th of the Tibetan calendar Six Hands Protector, and confession and restoration take place on the waxing and waning of the moon. The Avaloketsvara meditation and recitation is held at 5 p.m. The outside gate opens at 4 a.m. and closes at 9 p.m.

Nyenang monastery. Boudhanath, Kathmandu, Nepal. Ph: 481447.




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