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Jamgön Kongtrül, also Jamgoin Gongzhü in official transcription, is a name of a prominent line of Tibetan Buddhist teachers (lama), primarily identified with the first Jamgon Kongtrul, but also the name shared by members of a lineage held by tradition to be his subsequent reincarnations (tulku), to date.
The first Jamgon Kongtrul, Jamgön Kongtrül Lodrö Thayé, was one of the preeminent scholars in 19th century Tibet. Tibetan Buddhists believe that he had multiple simultaneous emanations; only one of these, Khyentse Özer, was called the second Jamgon Kongtrul. The recognition of the fourth Jamgon Kongtrul is in dispute, complicated by the ongoing controversy regarding the recognition of the genuine reincarnation of the 17th Karmapa.
The Jamgon Kongtruls are honored as lineage-holders of all the lineages of Tibetan Buddhism, although they are primarily identified with the Karma Kagyu lineage. The Jamgon Kongtruls have had a profound influence on many teachers and masters of the different schools.
- 1 The First Jamgon Kongtrul (1813-1899)
- 2 The Second Jamgon Kongtrul (1902-1952)
- 3 The Third Jamgon Kongtrul (1954-1992)
- 4 The Fourth Jamgon Kongtrul (born 1995)
- 5 Other tulkus of Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye
- 6 Works by Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye
- 7 Terma
- 8 Notes
- 9 External links
The First Jamgon Kongtrul (1813-1899)
The first Jamgon Kongtrul, named Jamgön Kongtrül Lodrö Thayé (Wylie: 'jam mgon kong sprul blo gros mtha' yas) was one of the most prominent Buddhist masters in Tibet in the 19th century. He is credited as one of the founders of the Rime movement of Tibetan Buddhism and he compiled what is known as the Five Great Treasuries. He achieved great renown as a scholar and writer, and authored more than one hundred volumes of scriptures.
The Second Jamgon Kongtrul (1902-1952)
The 15th Karmapa's biography mentions that he had a vision in which he saw 25 simultaneous emanations of the master Jamgon Kongtrul. Preeminent among these was Karsey Kongtrul (1904–10 May 1952) (Tibetan: ཀར་སྲས་ཀོང་སྤྲུལ་ Wylie: kar-sras kong-sprul)), who was said to embody Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye's mind. Karsey Kongtrul was born as the son of the 15th Karmapa. Karsey means "son of the Karmapa"; his formal religious name was as Jamgön Palden Khyentse Özer (Wylie: 'jam dbyangs mkhyen brtse'i 'od zer).
Karsey Kongtrül was identified and enthroned by his father at age twelve in 1902, in Samdrub Choling at the monastery of Dowolung Tsurphu. Karsey Kongtrül resided at Tsadra Rinchen Drak, the seat of his predecessor in eastern Tibet. He received the full education and lineage transmission from the Karmapa. Among his other teachers were Surmang Trungpa Chökyi Nyinche, the 10th Trungpa tulku. He attained realization of the ultimate lineage, was one of the most renowned Mahamudra masters and transmitted the innermost teachings to the sixteenth Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpa’i Dorje. On many occasions, he gave teachings, empowerments, and reading transmissions from the old and new traditions, such as the Treasury of Precious Termas (Rinchen Terdzö), and he rebuilt the retreat center of Tsandra Rinchen Drak, his residence at Palpung Monastery. According to his student Chögyam Trungpa, Karsey Kongtrül was captured by the communist Chinese and died in jail. Karsey Kongtrül died on 10 May 1952 at the age of 49.
The Third Jamgon Kongtrul (1954-1992)
The third Jamgon Kongtrul, Karma Lodrö Chökyi Senge, a tulku of Khyentse Özer, was born on 1 October 1954. He fled to India in 1959 in the aftermath of the 1959 Tibetan Rebellion and grew up at Rumtek Monastery under the care of the 16th Karmapa. Following the Karmapa's death, the third Jamgon Kongtrul was actively involved in the search for his successor. However, he died in a car accident on April 26, 1992, before the search could be completed.
The Fourth Jamgon Kongtrul (born 1995)
As we have seen, Jamgon Kongtruls have not necessarily only one reincarnation. There are two Jamgon Kongtrul IV:
- Lodrö Chökyi Nyima (officially recognized by Ogyen Trinley Dorje and the 14th Dalai Lama)
- Migyur Drakpa Sengge (officially recognized by Thaye Dorje and Penor Rinpoche)
The first recognition occurred in August 1996 and was formally installed by Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje later that year with the name Lodrö Chökyi Nyima. He had been born on November 26, 1995 near Chushur Dzong in Central Tibet. In 1997, he travelled to India and has since lived at the monastery established by the previous Jamgon Kongtrul in Lava, West Bengal. This recognition was confirmed by the 14th Dalai Lama, Sakya Trizin, the head of the Sakya sect, and Mindroling Trichen, the now deceased head of the Nyingma tradition. All three performed hair-cutting ceremonies and bestowed names, as is traditional.
The second recognition occurred in December 1996, when Karmapa Thaye Dorje gave him the name Karma Migyur Drakpa Sengge Trinley Kunkhyab Palzangpo. The child, often referred to as Jamgon Yangsi, had been born the son of Beru Khyentse Rinpoche on 17 December, 1995 in the Kathmandu valley, Nepal on the anniversary of the birth of Tsongkhapa (the 25th of the Tibetan month). When Thaye Dorje first visited Bodhgaya on 23 December 1996, Yangsi Rinpoche despite his young age was able to spontaneously pick up some rice and toss it into the air as a mandala offering, signifying the auspicious connection between Karmapa and Jamgon Kongtrul. In 1997, at Beru Khyentse Rinpoche's request, the Dalai Lama performed the hair-cutting ceremony for Jamgon Yangsi in Bodhgaya. In 2000 Penor Rinpoche, then head of the Nyingma sect, again reconfirmed Jamgon Yangsi as reincarnation of the Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye. Beru Khyentse Rinpoche writes in his book "Beautiful Garland of White Lotus" (pg. 85) about an event on the 16th December 1995 : "Suddenly Kyabje Chogyad Trichen Rinpoche spoke of the existence of two Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoches" meaning that this great master of the Sakya lineage predicted two reincarnations.
Other tulkus of Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye
In addition to Karsey Kongtrul Khyentsé Özer (1904–1953) (the principal incarnation), there were four other reincarnations of the first Jamgon Kongtrul: Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, Dzogchen Kongtrul Rinpoche, and Shechen Kongtrul Rinpoche. Kalu Rinpoche, also recognized post-facto as the incarnation of Lodrö Thaye's activity, was never enthroned as such.
Works by Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye
The main corpus of Jamgön Kongtrül Lodrö Thaye vast scholarly activities (comprising more than ninety volumes of works in all) is known as the Great Treasuries:
- The Treasury of Encyclopedic Knowledge (shes bya kun la khyab pa'i mdzod), summarizing the entire sutric and tantric paths.
- The Treasury of Precious Instructions (gdams ngag rin po che'i mdzod), a compendium of empowerments and oral instructions of what he formulated as the "Eight Great Chariots" of the instruction lineages in Tibet.
- The Treasury of Kagyü Mantras (bka' brgyud sngags kyi mdzod), a compendium of rituals, empowerments and oral instructions for the Yangdak, Vajrakilaya and Yamantaka deities of the Nyingma kama tradition, and the tantra cycles from the Sarma lineages of Marpa and Ngok.
- The Treasury of Precious Termas (rin chen gter mdzod), a massive compilation of termas.
- The Uncommon Treasury (thun mong ma yin pa'i mdzod), which contains Jamgön Kongtrül Lodrö Thaye's own profound terma revelations.
- The Treasury of Extensive Teachings (rgya chen bka' mdzod), which includes various related works, such as praises and advice, as well as compositions on medicine, science and so on.
The Treasury of Knowledge
Jamgon Kongtrul's (1813–1899) 'The Infinite Ocean of Knowledge' (Tibetan: ཤེས་བྱ་མཐའ་ཡས་པའི་རྒྱ་མཚོ, Wylie: shes bya mtha' yas pa'i rgya mtsho) is constituted by ten books or sections and is itself a commentary on the root verses 'The Encompassment of All Knowledge' (Tibetan: ཤེས་བྱ་ཀུན་ཁྱབ, Wylie: shes bya kun khyab) which is as well the work of Jamgon Kongtrul. The Encompassment of All Knowledge are the root verses to Kongtrul's autocommentary The Infinite Ocean of Knowledge and these two works together are known as 'The Treasury of Knowledge' (Tibetan: ཤེས་བྱ་མཛོད, Wylie: shes bya mdzod).
Of the Five, the Treasury of Knowledge was Jamgon Kongtrul's magnum opus, covering the full spectrum of Buddhist history, philosophy and practice. There is an ongoing effort to translate it into English. It is divided up as follows:
- •Book One: Myriad Worlds (Snow Lion, 2003. ISBN 1-55939-188-X)
- •Book Two: The Advent of the Buddha (parts 2, 3, and 4 forthcoming)
- Part One: The Teacher's Path to Awakening
- Part Two: The Buddha's Enlightenment
- Part Three: The Buddha's Twelve Deeds
- Part Four: Enlightenment's Bodies and Realms
- •Book Three: The Buddha's Doctrine—The Sacred Teachings
- Part One: What Are the Sacred Teachings?
- Part Two: Cycles of Scriptural Transmission
- Part Three: Compilations of the Buddha's Word
- Part Four: Origins of the Original Translations' Ancient Tradition (Nyingma)
- •Book Four: Buddhism's Spread Throughout the World
- Part One: Buddhism's Spread in India
- Part Two: How Buddhist Monastic Discipline and Philosophy Came to Tibet
- Part Three: Tibet's Eight Vehicles of Tantric Meditation Practice
- Part Four: The Origins of Buddhist Culture
- •Book Five: Buddhist Ethics (Snow Lion, 2003. ISBN 1-55939-191-X)
- •Book Six: The Topics for Study
- Part One: A Presentation of the Common Fields of Knowledge and Worldly Paths
- Part Two: The General Topics of Knowledge in the Hinayana and Mahayana
- Part Three: Frameworks of Buddhist Philosophy (Snow Lion, 2007. ISBN 1-55939-277-0)
- Part Four: Systems of Buddhist Tantra (Snow Lion, 2005. ISBN 1-55939-210-X)
- •Book Seven: The Training in Higher Wisdom
- Part One: Gaining Certainty about the Keys to Understanding
- Part Two: Gaining Certainty about the Provisional and Definitive Meanings in the Three Turnings of the Wheel of Dharma, the Two Truths and Dependent Arising
- Part Three: Gaining Certainty about the View
- Part Four: Gaining Certainty about the Four Thoughts that Turn the Mind
- •Book Eight: The Training in Higher Meditative Absorption (Samadhi)
- Part One, Two: Shamatha and Vipashyana; The Stages of Meditation in the Cause-Based Approaches (forthcoming)
- Part Three: The Elements of Tantric Practice (Snow Lion, 2008. ISBN 1-55939-305-X
- Part Four: Esoteric Instructions, A Detailed Presentation of the Process of Meditation in Vajrayana (Snow Lion, 2008. ISBN 1-55939-284-3)
- •Book Nine: An Analysis of the Paths and levels to Be Traversed (forthcoming)
- Part One: The Paths and Levels in the Cause-Based Dialectical Approach
- Part Two: The Levels and Paths in the Vajrayana
- Part Three: The Process of Enlightenment
- Part Four: the Levels in the Three Yogas
- •Book Ten: An Analysis of the Consummate Fruition State (forthcoming)
- Part One: the Fruition in the Dialectical Approach
- Part Two: The More Common Attainment in the Vajrayana
- Part Three: The Fruition in the Vajrayana
- Part Four: The Fruition State in the Nyingma School
Other works published in English translation
• The Great Path of Awakening : The Classic Guide to Using the Mahayana Buddhist Slogans to Tame the Mind and Awaken the Heart translated by Ken McLeod, Shambhala, 2000. ISBN 1-57062-587-5
• Buddha Nature, The Mahayana Uttaratantra Shastra with Commentary Arya Maitreya, with commentary by Jamgon Kongrul Lodro Thaye and Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, Snow Lion, 200. ISBN 1-55939-128-6
• Cloudless Sky commentary by Jamgon Kongrul the Third. Shambhala, 2001. ISBN 1-57062-604-9
• Jamgon Kongtrul's Retreat Manual translated by Ngawang Zangpo. Snow Lion Publications, 1994. ISBN 1-55939-029-8
• The Torch of Certainty Foreword by Chogyam Trungpa. Shambhala, 2000. ISBN 1-57062-713-4
• Creation and Completion: Essential Points of Tantric Meditation translated by Sarah Harding. Wisdom Publications, 2002. ISBN 0-86171-312-5
• The Autobiography of Jamgon Kongtrul: A Gem of Many Colors translated by Richard Barron, Snow Lion Publications, 2003. ISBN 1-55939-184-7
• Sacred Ground: Jamgon Kongtrul on Pilgrimage and Sacred Geography Snow Lion Publications, 2001. ISBN 1-55939-164-2
• Enthronement: The Recognition of the Reincarnate Masters of Tibet and the Himalayas Snow Lion Publications, 1997. ISBN 1-55939-083-2
• The Teacher-Student Relationship Snow Lion Publications, 1999. ISBN 1-55939-096-4
• Essence of Benefit and Joy Siddhi Publications, 2000. ISBN 0-9687689-5-4
• Timeless Rapture : Inspired Verse from the Shangpa Masters Snow Lion, 2003. ISBN 1-55939-204-5
• Light of Wisdom, Vol. 1 by Padmasambhava, commentary by Jamgon Kongtrul, translated by Erik Pema Kunsang, Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 1999. ISBN 962-7341-37-1
• Light of Wisdom, Vol. II by Padmasambhava, commentary by Jamgon Kongtrul, translated by Erik Pema Kunsang, Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 1999. ISBN 962-7341-33-9
• Light of Wisdom, Vol. IV by Padmasambhava, commentary by Jamgon Kongtrul, translated by Erik Pema Kunsang, Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 2001. ISBN 962-7341-43-6 (restricted circulation)
- Trungpa, Chögyam. Transcending Madness (Boston, MA: Shambhala, 1992), ISBN 0-87773-637-5, p. 169
- Rigpa Wiki: Jamgön Kongtrul Rinpoche - Rigpa Wiki
- Kongtrul Lodro Taye (author, compiler); Kalu Rinpoche Translation Group (translators) (1995, 2003). The Treasury of Knowledge, Book One; Myriad Worlds: Buddhist Cosmology in Abhidharma, Kãlacakra, Dzog-chen. ISBN 1-55939-188-X, p.9
- Kongtrul Lodro Taye (author, compiler); Kalu Rinpoche Translation Group (translators) (1995, 2003). The Treasury of Knowledge, Book One; Myriad Worlds: Buddhist Cosmology in Abhidharma, Kãlacakra, Dzog-chen. ISBN 1-55939-188-X, p.36
- A Brief Biography by Ven. Bokhar Rinpoche
- A Brief Biography by Alak Zenkar Rinpoche
- 3rd Jamgon Kongtrul Karma Lodro Chokyi Senge according to Beru Khyentse Rinpoche, father of one recognition
- 4th Jamgon Kongtrul Karma Migyur Drakpa Senge recognized by Thaye Dorje, son of Beru Khyentse Rinpoche
- 4th Jamgon Kongtrul Chokyi Nyima recognized by Ogyen Trinley Dorje and the Dalai Lama