The lineage & incarnations of Kenting Tai Situpa
The lineage of the Kenting Tai situpas can be traced to one of the main disciples of the Goutama Buddha, the Bodhisattva Maitreya.
Since that time there have been a successive chain of incarnations, whose achievements are recorded in Sanskrit, Chinese and Tibetan annals, a direct lineage that continues to the present day.
Table of Contents
- 1 - Origin of the Kenting Tai situpa lineage
- 2 - Achievements & enlightenments
- 3 - Glossary of Tai situpas incarnations
- 3.1 - Padmasambhava
- 3.2 - Maitreya
- 3.3 - Marpa Lotsawa
- 3.4 - Dombi Heruka
- 3.5 - Drogon Rechen
- 3.6 - Taranatha
- 3.7 - Chokyi Gyaltsen
- 3.8 - Pema Kunzang Chogyal
- 3.9 - Pema Nyingche Wangpo
- 3.10 - Pema Wangchok Gyalpo
- 3.11 - Bang Tobchen
- 3.12 - Rabten Kunzang
- 3.13 - Pema Donyo Nyingche Wangpo
- 3.14 - Rinpoong Ngawang
- 3.15 - Sri Shinha
- 3.16 - Ta Shing Chen
- 3.17 - Tashi Namgyal
- 3.18 - Rigowa Rinjung
- 3.19 - Naljor Yeshe Wangchuk
- 3.20 - Pangkhen Ozer Lama
- 3.21 - Norbu Samphel
- 3.22 - Mitrug Gocha
- 3.23 - Mipham Trinlay Rabten
- 3.24 - Lochen Denma Tsemang
- 3.25 - Lekshe Mawai Nyima
- 3.26 - Gyim shang Shab
- 3.27 - Gonpo Tsultrim Nyingpo
- 3.28 - Darikapa
- 3.29 - Chokyi Jungne
- 3.30 - Chokyi Gyaltsen Gelek Palzang
- 3.31 - Tashi Paljor
Origin of the Kenting Tai situpa lineage
There are twelve incarnations crowned as Kenting Tai Situ till now.
Furthermore, according to some historical records and especially thangkas painted personally by the 8th Kenting Tai Situpa Chokyi Jungne recently uncovered during the renovation of Palpung Monastery, the lineage is rooted in the following incarnations :
- Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava
- Bang Tobchen
- Dombi Heruka
- Sri Shinha
- Gyim shang Shab
- Lochen Denma Tsemang
- Marpa Lotsawa
- Pangkhen Ozer Lama
- Rabten Kunzang
- Rinpoong Ngawang
- Gonpo Tsultrim Nyingpo
- Drogon Rechen
- Naljor Yeshe Wangchuk
- Rigowa Rinjung
- Ta Shing Chen
- Norbu Samphel
Crowned Kenting Tai Situpas
- Chokyi Gyaltsen – 1st Kenting Tai Situpa
- Tashi Namgyal – 2nd Kenting Tai Situpa
- Tashi Paljor – 3rd Kenting Tai Situpa
- Mitrug Gocha – 4th Kenting Tai Situpa
- Chokyi Gyaltsen Gelek Palzang – 5th Kenting Tai Situpa
- Mipham Trinlay Rabten – 6th Kenting Tai Situpa
- Lekshe Mawai Nyima – 7th Kenting Tai Situpa
- Chokyi Jungne – 8th Kenting Tai Situpa
- Pema Nyingche Wangpo – 9th Kenting Tai Situpa
- Pema Kunzang Chogyal – 10th Kenting Tai Situpa
- Pema Wangchok Gyalpo – 11th Kenting Tai Situpa
- Pema Donyo Nyingche Wangpo – 12th Kenting Tai Situpa
Achievements & enlightenments
These precious and great incarnations revealed many incredible achievements and enlightenments.
Dombipa and Darikapa are both one of the 84 Mahasiddhas in India.
Sri Singha is thought as emanation of Manjushri.
Taranatha is considered to be none other than Manjushri and was proclaimed a tenth-level bodhisattva, and he was a holder of the Shangpa Kagyu lineage and the Kalachakra transmission.
Marpa is renowned as the founding father of the Kagyu Lineage in historic Tibet, which became the source of an infinite number of accomplished masters.
In Tibeten Buddhism tradition, Kenting Tai situpa is considered as emanation of Bodhisattva Maitreya and Guru Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche).
That means the achievements of Kenting Tai Situpa’s incarnations were closely the same as these two Bodhisattvas.
Glossary of Tai situpas incarnations
This is the life and accomplishments of the members of Kenting Tai Situpa lineage.
Padmasambhava (Tib.: Guru Rinpoche) is the Indian founder of Tantric Buddhism in Tibet. In the 11th century with the rise of the Revealed Treasure tradition (Tib.: terma) the worship of Padmasambhava took on cult status.
Hundreds of new deity forms of Padmasambhava were created representing all aspects of iconography and Tantric activity; peaceful, wrathful, male, female, wealth, power, healing, etc.
Maitreya (Sanskrit), Metteyya (Pali), is regarded as a future Buddha of this world in Buddhist eschatology.
In some Buddhist literature, such as the Amitabha Sutra and the Lotus Sutra, he is referred to as Ajita.
Marpa Lotsawa, sometimes known fully as Marpa Chokyi Lodro or commonly as Marpa the Translator, was a Tibetan Buddhist teacher credited with the transmission of many Vajrayana teachings from India, including the teachings and lineages of Mahamudra. Due to this the Kagyu lineage, which he founded, is often called Marpa Kagyu in his honour.
Dombi Heruka or Dombipa was one of the eighty-four mahasiddhas and student of Virupa. He is usually depicted riding a tiger and holding a snake.
Drogon Rechen(1148-1218) is one of the masters in Karma Kargyu lineage tree.
He was also entrusted by the first Karmapa the prediction concerning the first Karmapa’s next rebirth.
Tāranātha (1575–1634) was a Lama of the Jonang school of Tibetan Buddhism.
He took birth in Drong, Tibet, on the birthday of Guru Padmasambhava. He is considered to be none other than Manjushri and was proclaimed a tenth-level bodhisattva.
He is widely considered its most remarkable scholar and exponent.
Chokyi Gyaltsen (1377-1448) was the first Tibetan incarnation conferred the honorific title “Kenting Naya Tang Nyontse Geshetse Tai Situpa” by the Chinese Emperor Tai Ming Chen (Yungle) in 1407.
The title, in shorter form “Kenting Tai Situpa”; or “Tai Situ”, means “far reaching, unshakable, great master, holder of the command”, the Emperor also conferred on Kenting Tai Situpa the titles “The Empowerment Master with Perfection, Magic, Subtle and Compassion”.
Pema Kunzang Chogyal
The tenth Kenting Tai Situpa, Pema Kunzang Chogyal(1854~1885), was born in Namtso in Jang, near to a lake, in the male wood-tiger year.
His formal enthronement was performed by the fourteenth Karmapa, Thegchog Dorje and the first Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye.
He spent the whole of his life perfecting the Kagyu teachings and became a Siddha.
Pema Nyingche Wangpo
The ninth Kenting Tai Situpa, Pema Nyingche Wangpo (1774 – 1853), was born in Yilung, near Derge in Kham, eastern Tibet in the year of the wood-horse.
He was recognized by the Karmapa and Pawo Rinpoche, who had received a prediction from Guru Rinpoche in a vision concerning Kenting Tai Situpa’s rebirth.
Pema Wangchok Gyalpo
The 11th Kenting Tai Situpa (1886-1952) was born in the male fire dog year in Lithang.
At the age of four years, he was recognized by the Gyalwa Karmapa and taken to the great Palpung monastery.
Kenting Tai Situpa spent the rest of his life partly in meditation and partly giving teachings to his many disciples.
At the age of sixty-seven, he passed away amidst many auspicious signs.
The Kenting Tai Situpa lineage was passed by Bang Tobchen from Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava to Dombi Heruka.
Born in 1414 CE as Rabten Kunzang of Gyantse, the Kenting Tai Situpa ruled a vast area according to Buddhist law.
In his lifetime, he founded the Great Stupa of 100,000 Buddhas at Gyantse.
Octagonal shaped, the Stupa contains astounding frescoes and images inside.
It stands as one of Tibet’s most renown works of art.
King Rabten Kunzang also began the Gyantse Horse Race festival, which is now one of the most important Tibetan folk events of the year.
Pema Donyo Nyingche Wangpo
Pema Donyo Nyingche Wangpo is a great scholar, philosopher, poet, artist, architect and geomancer.
He is the author of more than 20 books in English.
His compilation in Tibetan language reaches over 200 volumes and his writing reaches over 15 volumes to date.
As Ngawang Jigten Wangchuk, the Kenting Tai Situpa was a virtuous Buddhist prince.
He was the youngest son of the Rinpung King of Tibet, in the 16th Century.
The Prince was also a renowned poet and master of lyrical works.
The lineage of Shri Singha was passed onto Vimalamitra and Vairochana; these two masters, along with Padmasambhava, brought the Dzogchen lineage to Tibet.
Ta Shing Chen
Ta Shing Chen (1345-1376), was a Chinese government officer who made the first Chinese style closes for 18 arhats.
The 2nd Kenting Tai Situpa (1450-1497) was born in the iron-horse year, into a royal family of Tibet.
He was recognized by the 6th Gyalwa Karmapa.
The Karmapa enthroned him and bestowed to the Kenting Tai Situpa the entire lineage.
The 6th Karmapa also gave Karma Gon Monastery to be under the complete guidance of the 2nd Tai Situpa.
Karma Gon Monastery became famous for its collection of Sanskrit texts, artwork and scholarship.
The 2nd Kenting Tai Situpa became a tutor to the 7th Gyalwa Karmapa.
He visited many parts of Tibet, giving teachings and empowerments.
He was highly venerated by the Chinese Emperors who granted to the 2nd Kenting Tai Situpa an imperial edit written with golden ink and a crystal seal and other gifts.
Ratnabhadra was born into the well-known family of Soksam in the 14th Century CE.
He was considered to be an emanation of the Kenting Tai Situpa.
He received the full transmission of the Kagyu lineage from the 5th Karmapa Deshin Shekpa, through which he attained complete realization.
He became one of the supreme meditation masters of the time.
Naljor Yeshe Wangchuk
Naljor Yeshe Wangchuk (1220 – 1281), a preceding incarnation of the Kenting Tai Situpa, was the 2nd Gyalwa Karmapa’s closest attendant.
He re-consecrated the sacred tsaritra grounds in southern Tibet, which was previously unveiled by a disciple of Gampopa.
Until today, this site remains as a holy place to the Karmapas.
Pangkhen Ozer Lama
Pangkhen Ozer Lama was a holder of the Kadampa lineage of Mind Training, the lineage of the great Chekawa.
The Kadampa lineage was brought to Tibet by the Indian master Atisha. It emphasized a gradual path to enlightenment, categorized into progressive stages and practices.
The Kadampa tradition also focused on mind training, and the development of bodhicitta.
It encourage practitioners to live by the monastic code (vinaya).
Gampopa incorporated this tradition into the Kagyu lineage.
Norbu Samphel ( 1566 – 1578 )
The 4th Kenting Tai Situpa (1542-1585) was born in Tsigyu, near Surmang, in the water-tiger year.
He was recognized and enthroned by the 8th Karmapa, from whom he received all of the teachings.
The Karmapa acknowledged the Kenting Tai Situpa as a disciple identical to himself.
Kenting Tai Situpa continued as the great leader of Karma Gon Monastery, renowned for his knowledge and insight.
The 4th Kenting Tai Situpa in turn recognized and found the 9th Gyalwa Karmapa.
Kenting Tai Situpa bestowed the long life empowerment of Amitayus on the Karmapa after his discovery.
The Kenting Tai Situpa’s recognition was later on confirmed by the prediction letter left behind by the 8th Karmapa, which was in the possession of the 5th Shamarpa.
Mipham Trinlay Rabten
The sixth Kenting Tai Situpa(1658 -1682), Mipham Trinlay Rabten, was born in Mesho, Dege to the family related to Dege King Kunga Phuntsok Phundo.
He was recognized and enthroned by Choying Dorje, the tenth Karmapa who passed all of the teachings to him.
He studied at Tsurphu and Karma Gon monasteries where he impressed everyone with his great learning and insight.
When war and conflict broke out in central Tibet due to the Mongol invasion, the Kenting Tai Situpa went with the Gyalwa Karmapa to Yunnan, in southern China.
Lochen Denma Tsemang
As the bilingual Denma Tsemang, a helper to the translators, he was accepted as a disciple by the king of spiritual instructions from Oddiyana, Guru Rinpoche.
Denma Tsemang became the main recipient of the Wrathful Mantra deity meditation instructions, and served as a scribe for many of the yellow parchment texts.
Lekshe Mawai Nyima
The 7th Kenting Tai Situpa, Lekshe Mawai Nyima (1683 -1698), was born as the son of the royal family of Ling.
He studied previously in a Sakya University.
Kenting Tai Situpa was immediately recognized as the reincarnation of the Kenting Tai Situpa and was nurtured spiritually by the 11th Karmapa Yeshe Dorje.
Unfortunately, he passed away at young age before having received the full transmission and essence of the Kagyu teachings.
Gyim shang Shab
As the Chinese master Jampal Sangwa (also known the venerable Gyim Shang), he provided the original analysis of the geomancy of Samye, Tibet’s first monastery, through mastery of mantras and astrology.
He built the enclosure wall of Samye Temple according to the positions of stars.
Gonpo Tsultrim Nyingpo
As the master known as Gompo Tsultrim Nyingpo, the Kenting Tai Situpa intentionally took rebirth to sustain the vitality of the inner doctrine of the practice lineage.
As the nephew of Gampopa, the incomparable doctor from Dakpo, he was the main inheritor of the transmission of Great Seal (Mahamudra) realization.
Darikapa is one of the eighty-four mahasiddhas in India.
He also taught Tilopa one of the four major teachings which later transmitted to Naropa through Tilopa.
The eighth Kenting Tai Situpa, Chokyi Jungne (1700-1774), was born in the province of A-Lo Shega at Atarong as the prophecy. His father was Ngawang Tsering and his mother Tranguma.
The 8th Kenting Tai Situpa was one of the most famous masters in Tibetan history.
He was acknowledged as a supreme scholar who had no equal in the five knowledge. He is honored a unique title “Maha Pandita”.
His fame reached well beyond the borders of Tibet at this time. He also built or rebuilt many monasteries of different lineages.
These monasteries became Palpung’s satellite monasteries, even in mainland China, exceeding well beyond a hundred.
His foremost disciples were the thirteenth Karmapa, the tenth Shamarpa, Gyalwang Drukpa Trinley Shingta, Drikung Chokyi Gyalwa, Pawo Tsuklag Gyalwa, Drubtop Choje Gyal, Khamtrul Chokyi Nyima, and Lotsawa Tsewang Kunchab.
Chokyi Gyaltsen Gelek Palzang
The 5th Kenting Tai Situpa (1586-1657) was born in the male fire-dog year.
He was recognized by the 9th Gyalwa Karmapa, and from the Karmapa received all of the teachings.
Kenting Tai Situpa traveled to Jangsadam at the invitation of the King and bestowed teachings to numerous devotees.
He was also bestowed by he Chinese Emperor the titles “The Kindness Master who performs empowerments” and “The Master of Ming”, and many other gifts.
The third Kenting Tai Situpa, Tashi Paljor, was born in the earth-horse year to a family descended from the kings of Tibet.
He was recognized and enthroned by the seventh Karmapa and from him he received the complete teachings.
He resumed the responsibilities of the lineage of Kenting Tai Situpas at Karma Gon monastery.