The land of Tibet lies at the very roof of the world. As prophesied by our teacher, the omniscient Buddha Shakyamuni, this land was to be the sphere of influence of the realized Avalokiteshvara (Chenrezig). Gyalwa Pukang Monastery of the Ngakgyur Nyingma School is located in this sublime place. It was established in 1764 by the great siddha Pema Rinchen.
Gradually, its educational and practice centers developed and flourished, producing a continuous stream of learned and spiritually accomplished individuals, great saints who maintained the Buddha’s teachings. This has continued down to the present day. The Sutra and Mantra teachings, as well as the traditional sciences, have been taught and studied, meditated upon and accomplished, and through this, the Buddhist teachings have been maintained and not allowed to deteriorate. A community of more than one thousand fortunate students resides continuously at this monastic complex. It greatly enriches the Buddha’s teachings, and those of the Nyingma School in particular, through the dedicated practice of study, contemplation, and meditation.
The second Pukang Rinpoche was named Gyurme (Jurmed) Nyedon Tenpel. He was born in 1796. His principal dharma teacher was Gyaltsap Tenzin Chogyur among others. He studied with many great teachers. His knowledge of the Buddhadharma was vast and profound. The second Pukang Rinpoche gave written transmission of the Kanjur to Patrul Rinpoche as well as other Rinpoches and Khenpos from Shechen, Dzogchen and Katok monasteries. During his lifetime Pukang Rinpoche gave many empowerments and teachings to Khenpos and monks in the Kham region and worked for the benefit of all sentient beings.
Pukang Monastery belongs to the lineage of monasteries descended from Mindroling Gonpa.
Mindroling is renowned as the “headwater of the teachings of the supreme secret,” because its tradition has, like the sun, illuminated the philosophical system unique to the Nyingma school. The Mindroling tradition is an inspiration to all who are associated with the Early Translation (Nyingma) school, for it does not require support from any other source, but rather stands on its own. Its influence on both the kama and terma traditions in their entirety has been unparalleled in terms of the explanation and promulgation of maturing empowerments and liberating instructions and the passing on of traditional rituals and sadhanas.
The fifth Pukang Rinpoche and Abbot of Pukang Monastery is Gyurme Rigzin Garab Dorje. The fifth Pukang Rinpoche was born in 1977, in the Derge Region in Kham in eastern Tibet. His name is Gyurme (Jurmed) Rigzin Garab Dorje. At age six, he was recognized by H.H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and by H.H. Sakya Trinzin Rinpoche and other prominent Rinpoches.
The fifth Pukang Rinpoche came to Pukang Monastery when he was eleven years old. Upon entering the monastery, he studied Tibetan language and writing as well as the traditional monastic disciplines. As a young person, Pukang Rinpoche displayed a profound compassion for the suffering of all sentient beings.
In the summer of 1988, the young Pukang Rinpoche was enthroned as the supreme abbot of Pukang Monastery. The enthronement celebration lasted seven days. High lamas and Rinpoches from over thirty other monasteries joined the celebration with government officials and thousands of local Tibetans.
At the age of fifteen years, Pukang Rinpoche entered the shedra program Pukang and studied under Khenpo Pema Tsewang Rinpoche, Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche and others. His course of study included Buddhist philosophy including Madhyamikya, Paramita and traditional meditation practice. While at the shedra, he also completed a three year meditation retreat under Khenpo Pema Tsewang.
The fifth Pukang Rinpoche resides at the monastery in Kham, Tibet. He continues his enlightened activities and leads a community of over one thousand monks and five hundred nuns. Under his direction, the Pukang Monastery has seen many improvements.