H.H. Vajradhāra Ngawang Kunga Thutop Wangchuk

His Holiness Vajradhāra Ngawang Kunga Thutop Wangchuk – The Fortieth Sakya Trizin (c. 1900 – c. 1950)

Sakya Throneholders
Sakya Phunstsok Phodrang

Ngawang Thutob Wangchug Dragshul Yonten Gyatso Tashi Dragpai Gyaltsen Pal Zangpo is the fortieth throne holder of Sakya. His father was the thirty-eighth Sakya throne holder, Zamling Chegu Wangdu and his mother was Chonyi Wangmo from the noble family of Thunmi Sambhota. Many wondrous auspiciousness signs were witnessed when he was born.

It is said that he was the emanation of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo. He was renowned to be the reincarnation of Vimalamitra, Ghantapada, Trisong Detsen, Dromtonpa, Jetsun Dragpa Gyaltsen, Gampopa, Longchen Rabjampa, Thangtong Gyalpo, and many accomplished masters.

So, from a young age he mastered all the rituals of the main Sakya Monastery with extraordinary ease and perfection. His main gurus were his father (Zamling Chegu Wangdu), the great thirty-ninth Sakya throneholder Dragshul Thrinle Rinchen, Khangsar Khenchen Dampa Rinpoche, Jamyang Thubten Zangpo, and Luding Gyalse Chokyi Nyima. He received all the precious Sakya teachings and teachings from other Tibetan traditions such as water from one vase being poured into another without any sectarian biases or errors.

He was enthroned in the main Northern Monastery in 1937. Having received so many precious teachings and empowerments from his precious masters, he taught tirelessly to unfathomable gatherings of disciples.

To indicate his inner realization, when he bestowed the Vajrayoginī blessing to Dhiphu Choje Tulku from Amdo, the Tulku experienced the descent of primordial wisdom and levitated about fifteen inches from his cushion, remaining in levitation for a long time and his seat shaking vigorously as a result. Moreover, when he conferred the Hevajra empowerment to Tanag Khenchen Ngaggi Wangchug, the great abbot gained the power of connate primordial wisdom, resulting in special power to arise within him.

Once, when leading a puja at Ganden Phodrang, as he threw white mustard seeds at a torma and produced sounds with nectar came out of it. Everyone heard the roar of thunder as the presence of the Dharma Protectors he summoned caused a ritual vessel to combust into many pieces.

Another time, during a puja to propitiate the Dharma Protectors, as he beat the drum, countless sparks of fire emitted from the beater, and as he played the cymbals, huge flames blazed out from it, filled the room and then returned back into the instruments.

When he was at Palmo Palthang, he miraculously extracted water from the ground for the local populace to drink. At the Great Temple of Sakya, he commissioned renovation work where he discovered hidden stone pillars, staircases, and special materials.

In another instance, he was travelling when there was an avalanche, but he repelled the avalanche back up the mountain.

When his noble father passed into final nirvana, he was nowhere to be found, causing great concern. Suddenly, after three days he appeared out of nowhere. He explained that he had escorted his Noble Father to the pure land of Shambhala and brought back a wondrous flower that no-one had ever seen before to prove it.

After renovating three temples and one of the colleges in the south of Sakya, expanding temples in many places, and commissioning stupas, he undertook several pilgrimages, including to India. During his time in India, he granted an audience to Mahatma Gandhi.

On the anniversary of Jetsun Dragpa Gyaltsen in 1950, he passed into final nirvana in the very room he was born. Not only did the people of Sakya cry in lament, even the hills crumbled down as though the land itself was in mourning. During the cremation, the body was burnt yet the whole skull, tongue, eyes, and hair on his head remained intact among the many relics.

Among his many famous disciples was his elder son, Jigdal Dagchen Dorje Chang Ngawang Kunga Sonam.

Extracted from Biography of H.H. Vajradhāra Ngawang Kunga Thutop Wangchuk, by H.E. Avikrita Vajra Rinpoche (Source: Sakya Calendar App).