H. E. Chungpo Gyalton Rinpoche

H. E. Chungpo Gyalton Rinpoche is one of the incarnated lamas of Palpung Sherab Ling Monastic Seat. Gyalton Rinpoche is an incarnation of the religious head of Khyungpo monastery in Kham, Tibet.

The previous incarnation, Urgyen Jigme Chokyi Senghe, was born in Khyungpo Gyalton valley in 1908. He was recognised as the reincarnation of Saltong Shogom, an incarnation of one of Gampopa’s three main disciples, known as Three Men from Kham, an emanation of Manjushrimita, Nubchen Sangye Yeshe and Tsondru Senge. From an early age on he persuaded studies of Tibetan Buddhism, reading and writing. He was one of the principal disciples of The 11th Chamgon Kenting Tai Situpa, Pema Wangchug Gyalpo and of Dzongsar Khyentse Chokyi Lodro. He completed more than 100 million Amithaba Mantras and accomplished the practice of many other deities in retreat, prostrated from Kham to the Jokhang and Tsurphu.

The 16th Gyalwang Karmapa awarded him the title of Khenchen of Kagyu lineage for his high attainment and learning while Rinpoche was in Tsurphu monastery in Tibet. Even Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche and Choling Rinpoche awarded him with this title. During The 16th Gyalwang Karmapa‘s pilgrimage to holy places to India in 1956, Gyalton Rinpoche accompanied him and remained in Sikkim. Ath the request of the Chogyal of Sikkim, Rinpoche was appointed spiritual guru to the Sikkimese king by The 16th Gyalwang Karmapa. He was also one of the teachers of Guru Vajradhara H. H. 12th  Chamgon Kenting Tai Situpa, along with Thrangu Rinpoche, Kalu Rinpoche and the previous Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche. Towards the end of his life, he went on a pilgrimage to Nepal, giving away what lilttle he had. Gyalton Rinpoche remained in the Royal Palace monastery, continuing the daily routine and passed away March 22, 1970, remaining in the posture of Vajradhara for more than 48 hours.

The present, 7th incarnation, Karma Palden Lungtok Thrinley Rabgye, was born in Sikkim, recognised in 1983 by The 12th Chamgon Kenting Tai Situpa and consequently enthroned by Situ Rinpoche at Rumtek monastery. In 1989 Gyalton Rinpoche came to Palpung Sherab Ling for the first time, remaining there for two years. He then went to a regular English medium school and university for about ten years and took up science as his main stream. During that time, Rinpoche learnt different languages such as English, Hindi and Nepali. In 2002, Rinpoche returned to Palpung Sherab Ling and was appointed Dorje Lopon until 2006. In 2007 he entered the shedra at Palpung Sherab Ling and started with the given curriculum to then be the director of the new primary school project at Palpung Sherab Ling and later undertook the traditional three-year’s retreat at the monastery’s retreat center. Now Rinpoche has taken up various responsibilities at Palpung Sherab Ling Monastic Seat.

excerpted fromThe Himalayas and Beyond