The I and II Chamtrul Rinpoches
Kunzig Jigme Dorje
and Pema Nangsel Dorje
The present and Third Chamtrul Rinpoche, Lobsang Gyatso, is the eleventh in a line of recognized reincarnations. The last three have formally been given the same title.
The First Chamtrul Rinpoche, Kunzig Jigme Dorje, was an eminent scholar, and a renowned master of Sutra and Tantra, as well as a teacher to a number of other masters. He held the throne for some time at the great Katok Monastery and in the latter part of his life he confined himself to meditation retreat.
Founded in 1159, Katok Monastery is the oldest of the six mother monasteries of the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, the oldest school in Tibet. Its influence, and of its 112 branch monasteries, stretches far and wide, and has brought immense benefit to many monastic and lay practitioners throughout the centuries.
Katok Monastery has produced some of the greatest scholars in the history of Tibetan Buddhism, and the Katok lineage is renowned for its tens of thousands of accomplished dzogchen practitioners.
The Second Chamtrul Rinpoche, Pema Nangsel Dorje, dedicated his life to the administration of his monastery, and worked tirelessly in the preservation and continuation of the Dharma. The legacy which he left behind still benefits many even today.
External physical signs of inner spiritual attainments have been shown throughout the centuries by the great practitioners of Buddhism. Many people who knew the Second Chamtrul Rinpoche witnessed many such signs - even right up to his death, where each drop of his blood transformed into light.
Occurences such as these have occured throughout Buddhist history, and are often the signs of accomplished practitioners of Tantra, and Dzogchen. In brief, Buddhism asserts that these occurences are due to the profound interdependence of external phenomena and the mind that perceives it. Therefore, great practitioners who gain control over the inner elements of their mind, can in turn affect the outer physical elements, which can then be witnessed by others.
Before passing away, the Second Chamtrul Rinpoche proclaimed that he had buried a special knife deep underground, and stated that whoever finds it will be his reincarnation.
The present and Third Chamtrul Rinpoche, Lobsang Gyatso, found that knife at the age of six. The many other signs that he showed, and the tests which he passed, and the prophecies and visions that were made by a number of great masters and high lamas, converge at one point - that he is the unmistakable reincarnation.
He was enthroned at Mardo Tashi Choling, one of the four main branch monasteries of Katok Monastery, during a cermeony that was attended by many.