Lama Karpo

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Lama Karpo, courtesy of Naljor

Lama Karpo, aka Mön Ngagchang Lama Karpo or Tshewang Dorje (Tib. མོན་གྱི་སྔགས་འཆང་བླ་མ་དཀར་པོ་, Wyl. mon gyi sngags ‘chang bla ma dkar po) (1917-1972) was one of the most exceptional Dzogchen masters of the 20th century. Born in Bhutan, he first studied with his father Lama Kota, then went to Lama Ling, Tibet, to study with Dudjom Rinpoche. He later settled in Bhutan, established Yongphula Monastery, and widely spread the Dudjom Tersar lineage in Bhutan.

Family & Birth

Lama Karpo was born to Lama Kota and Sithumo in the year Fire Monkey 1917 at a place called Kurtoe, in Lhuntse Dzongkhag, Bhutan. According to oral lineag stories, Lama Karpo was later recognized as an emanation of one of the Eighty-four mahasiddhas of ancient India.

Training

Studying with his father Lama Kota

First, he studied under his father’s guidance, Lama Kota, who was had received earlier a special lineage of Tröma Nakmo from a direct student of Dudjom Lingpa. His father also granted and trained him the Longchen Nyingtik.

Being trained in the Drukpa Kagyü tradition

Lama Karpo was also trained in the the Drukpa Kagyü tradition [1]

Going to Lama Ling, in Tibet, to study with Dudjom Rinpoche

Later, Lama Karpo went to Lama Ling, in Kongpo, Tibet, at this time the main centre of activity of Dudjom Rinpoche. He stayed and was fully trained there during many years.

According to Kunzang Longdrel, one of the direct disciple of Lama Karpo, “The epiteth Lama Karpo, the one who wears a white robe, was given to Lama Karpo by Dudjom Rinpoche when he was receiving teaching from him in Kongpo, Tibet.’

Doing a retreat in Paro Taktsang

After receiving all these empowerments and instructions, Lama Karpo spent much of his life in retreat at different places such as Kurtoe, Lhodrak Karchung, and Kongpo in Kham in Tibet. Under the supervision and instructions of Dudjom Rinpoche, Lama Karpo did a nine months retreat in Paro Taktsang, in Bhutan. According to oral lineage stories, ‘While meditating in the cave where Guru Rinpoche had meditated, Lama Karpo heard a clear voice from the satue of Guru Rinpoche voice. He was astonished by this and thought it was an illusion. But later, he found out that that very Guru Rinpoche's statue actually had talked to him. Later, that very same Guru Rinpoche’s statue talked out to him for another time, and during that time he had another conversation with the statue.”

Activity

Being instructed to leave Kurtoe and to settle in Yongphula by Dudjom Rinpoche

In 1959, as prophesied by Dudjom Rinpoche, Lama Karpo had to leave Kurtoe in Bhutan in order to settle at Yonphula in Eastern Bhutan. After reaching Kanglung, Lama Karpo first settled in Gorthung then to Ashom Drelo, to Gonpa Singma and finally to the present monastery of Yonphula. According to Bhutanese Calendar, Rinpoche came to Yongphula in the ‘Earth Hog Year 1959’. The activity of Lama Karpo was sponsored by Dasho Tashigangpa. There, Lama Karpo widely taught and propagated the Dudjom Tersar. In the early 1970s, Lama Karpo enlarged the monastery and established a Drupdra.

Granting extensive teachings and empowerments in Bhutan

In the 1950s, as requested, Lama Karpo gave extensive teachings of Longchen Nyingtik to more than hundreds dzogchen masters at Paro, Bhutan. Lama Karpo became known for his ability to give introduction and teachings on the nature of mind.

In 1969, receiving Kagyé empowerments from Dudjom Rinpoche in 1969

Lama Karpo was among the many participants of the Kagyé Deshek Düpa empowerments given by Dudjom Rinpoche in 1969, in Darjeeling. According to Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal[2]

In 1969, sponsored and organized by the Tsechu Association led by Golok Tulku, [Dudjom Rinpoche] gave empowerments and transmissions of the Kagyé Deshek Düpa, The Eight Herukas — Embodiement of All the Sugatas at old Ghoom monastery in Ghoom, Darjeeling, India. Attending were Minling Trichen Rinpoche, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, Dungse Thinley Norbu Rinpoche, as well as dakini Sangyum Rigdzin Wangmo, Dungse Shenphen Dawa Rinpoche, Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche, Sakya Khenchen Sangye Tendzin Rinpoche, Sera Gomde Rinpoche, Khachöd Rinpoche of Pema Yangtse Monastery in Sikkim, Lama Pema Longdrol, Lama Karpo and Lama Ngagpo Pema Wangchen, Jetsün Kuzhok Pema, and Yogi Sönam Kazi, Ladakh Nono Rinpoche, Pema Wangyal Rinpoche, and may other great scholars, teachers, ngagpas, and men and women practitioners—thousands came, including Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal.

In 1977-78, receiving the Dudjom Tersar empowerments from Dudjom Rinpoche in Boudhanath

Lama Karpo was among the many participants of the Dudjom Tersar empowerments given by Dudjom Rinpoche in 1977-78, in Dudjom Gompa, Nepal. According to Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal[3]:

Late 1977 through early 1978, Dudjom Rinpoche gave his last major teachings. The perfect place was Dudjom Gompa, Orgyen Dongak Chökhorling, the monastery of Dudjom Rinpoche in Boudnath, Nepal. […] The perfect teachings were the Dudjom Tersar cycle that included both his own and his previous incarnation Dudjom Lingpa’s teachings. The perfect retinue included such students as Trulshik Rinpoche, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, Palyul Choktrul [aka Chogtrul Rinpoche], Palri Kyabgön, Gangten Tulku Kuzang Namgyal, Lhalung Sungtrul, Dungse Thinley Norbu Rinpoche, Dungse Shenphen Dawa Rinpoche, Khenpo Tsöndrü, Khenpo Palden Sherab, Shar Khumbu Tengpoche Tulku, De-u Rinpoche, Tsang Gampa Gomchen, Dzatrul, Dragtrul, Nagtrul, Doshul Lama Gyalchog, Ladakh Nono, Ladakh Chhoje Rinpoche, Gyatrul Rinpoche, Yogi Lama Tsewang Lhagyal, Yogi Khetsün Zangpo Rinpoche, Mön Ngagchang Lama Karpo, Yogi Lama Nagpo Pema Wangchen, Lama Pema Longdrol and Lopön Nikula, and so forth, the great masters from the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism. It included Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche and Vakracharya Tenga Rinpoche, Digung Yudra Tulku, Kuzhok Tsechu, and Dazang Tulku, Bhutan’s Je Khenpo Kunleg, and Khenpo Khedrup and so forth, and a great many other masters from the practice lineage of the Kagyü School of Tibetan Bhuddhism. It included Kyabje Chogye Trichen Rinpoche, Traruk Rinpoche, Dhongthog Rinpoche, Khenpo Rinchen, and many others great masters from the Sakya School of Tibetan Buddhism. The retinue also included many others possessing the great wealth of the three trainings and of the realization of the two stages from among the assemblies, a total of over ten thousand devotees.

Students

Among his students are:

Family

Lama Karpo had a wife, with whom he had a son, Lama Jigme Tenzin, aka Yongphula Rinpoche, who became one of his main lineage holders.

Final Years

Lama Karpo passed away in 1972.

Notes

  1. Some sources of information say that Lama Kota was trained by Tokden Shakya Shri but as Tokden Shakya Shri passed away in 1919 and Lama Karpo was born in 1917, it seems it is unlikely that it happens. Lama Karpo must have been trained by direct disciples of Tokden Shakya Shri.
  2. Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal, Light of Fearless Indestructible Wisdom: The Life and Legacy of H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche (Ithaca: Snow Lion, 2008 p.132.
  3. Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal, Light of Fearless Indestructible Wisdom: The Life and Legacy of H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche (Ithaca: Snow Lion, 2008 p.140.