Drikung Kagyu Mahamudra Teachings
by H. E. Garchen Rinpoche Translated by Khenpo Könchog Gyaltshen Edited by Peter Barth
The Gar family has been renowned in Tibet for many centuries. In the seventh century, one of Garchen Rinpoche’s ancestors was considered to be a great government minister for the King Songsten Gampo.
During the twelfth century, Gar Chödingpa was one of Lord Jigten Sumgon’s foremost disciples. In later years, Gar Tenpay Gyaltshen benefited many sentient beings by serving as the regent of the Drikung Kagyü lineage. Also Gar Chökyi Nyima was known to be a great yogi.
The incarnations of Garchen Rinpoche have upheld the Dharma throughout the history of Tibet. His Eminence Gar Könchog Nyidon Nyima Chökyi Senge was born in 1936. His Holiness Zhiwe Lodrö (the prior Chetsang Rinpoche, 1886 – 1943) recognized him to be the incarnation of Garchen Thrinley Yongchap.
From the age of seven to twenty-two he stayed at the Drikung monastery called Lho Miyel-gon. At a young age he was given a special ordination during which he recognized Lord Jigten Sumgon in a portrait and said, “This is my lama.” During this period his former disciple, Chime Dorje, taught Rinpoche.
When Garchen Rinpoche was thirteen, Chime Dorje gave him the Mahamudra teachings. Thereafter he received all the Drikung Kagyü empowerments and teachings, started ngondro practice, and studied the Six Yogas of Naropa. During the Cultural Revolution there were no Dharma teachings.
However, he secretly received instructions from Khenpo Münsel. With great perseverance, he practiced the teachings for twenty years.
Khenpo Münsel was very pleased and said; “He is a very special bodhisattva incarnation. Of this there is no doubt.” Garchen Rinpoche is currently establishing a Buddhist College at his monastery Lho Longkar Gön for about one hundred monks. Whatever food or wealth he receives as offerings is always used for the monks and nuns.
He keeps nothing for himself. He is very respectful to all persons. With lovingkindness, compassion and bodhicitta he thinks only of how to benefit others. (Background notes are taken from the article “Introducing…His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche” in the Dharma Wheel, the quarterly newsletter of the Tibetan Meditation Center, Vol. 4, Spring, 1997).