Born in Eastern Tibet in 1937, the 8th Kyabjé Garchen Triptrul Rinpoche was the incarnation
of a 12th century highly realized yogi named Gar Chodingpa, one of the heart disciples
of the famed Jigten Sumgon, Kyobpa Rinpoche – founder of the Drikung Kagyu lineage
that traces back to the translator Marpa Lotsawa and greatest poet-yogi of Tibet
by the name of Milarepa. Garchen Rinpoche is also considered to be the emanation
of Aryadeva, the lotus-born heart disciple of the great Nargajuna Bodhisattva.
8th Kyabjé Garchen Triptrul Rinpoche was recognized as a reincarnated lama at the
age of seven by Drikung Kyabgon Rinpoche, Shiwe Lodro, the 36th holder of the Drikung
Kagyu lineage. Then, at the age of twenty-two, soon after Rinpoche completed 2 and
a half years of sealed retreat, Tibet was invaded by China. Following the war, Garchen
Rinpoche was imprisoned for almost twenty years. It was in prison that he met his
root lama, the great Khenpo Munsel, and practiced diligently in secret until signs
of realization spontaneously appeared. Through twenty years of imprisonment and hardships,
Rinpoche was able to transform his body, speech and mind and emerged as a selfless
master of vast compassion and wisdom.
Following his release from the prison, Rinpoche
had worked tirelessly to rebuild his monastery in the Gar village, as well as many
other monasteries in the greater area of Eastern Tibet. For a period of ten years,
it was said that Garchen Rinpoche did not lie down to sleep at night. Rinpoche would
sit on a low table to meditate throughout the night and if he were too tired and
sleepily felt down from the table, he would get up and climbed back onto the table
to continue with his meditation.
The 8th Garchen Rinpoche was known throughout the world as a master of vast love
and compassion with the sole wish to benefit all beings without exception. He was
highly revered not only by masters and disciples of his own lineage but also masters
and disciples of other traditions as well. He always holds a prayer wheel in his
hand, continuously spins the wheel to pray for, and to radiate compassionate energy
to benefit all beings. The great compassionate Tara is Garchen Rinpoche’s main yidam
deity and his aspiration is to follow in her footsteps to bring love and compassion
to all. He has devoted all his time to traveling around the world to teach the Dharma,
especially the infallible law of karma cause and effect and the essence teachings
of the Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas, a commentary written by the Bodhisattva
Ngulchu Thogme Zangpo.
When the 8th Kyabjé Garchen Triptrul Rinpoche made it to India for the first time
in the late 1990’s and met with His Holiness Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, he did not
request for any high tantric teaching or empowerment as other reincarnated lamas
would normally request for. What Garchen Rinpoche wished to receive from His Holiness
Dalai Lama were the Bodhisattva vows which he felt that he had broken during the
war. During a public teaching the following day, His Holiness commented to the audience
how happy he was to have received a high reincarnated lama from Tibet who requested
for nothing but the Bodhisattva vows.