Thartse Khen Rinpoche

Thartse Khen Rinpoche (born: c. 1968)

Ngorpa Lineage

The seventy-seventh Ngor Throne Holder, Thartse Khen Rinpoche Ngawang Sonam Chokden, was born in April 16, 1968 in the Dharma region of Mustang, to father Gyurmey Rigzin and mother Thongdrol who was the niece of the Vajradhāra Late Chogye Trichen Rinpoche.

His birth was marked with many miraculous signs and went on to master writing and readings at an early age. He was given the name “Ngawang Sonam Chokden” at the time of receiving his Novice monk vow from the Late Chogye Trichen Rinpoche. Furthermore, he continued to spent time with Chogye Trichen Rinpoche and went on to receive numerous important teachings such as Collection of Sādhanās, Lamdré Lobshed and Kalachakra etc.

In the year of Iron Male Monkey, at the age of thirteen, while the dharma king His Holiness the Sakya Trichen was bestowing precious Lamdré Lobshed in Puruwala Magon, he was endowed with the position of Thartse Shabdrung amidst the ocean of Saṅghas led by His Holiness the Vajradhāra Sakya Trichen, His Eminence the Vajradhāra late Chogye Trichen Ngawang Khenrab Lekshed Gyatso, His Eminence Kyabjé Sharchen Luding Khenchen Jamyang Tenpai Nyima Rinpoche, His Eminence the 74th Ngor Throne Holder, late Thartse Khen Rinpoche Jamyang Kunga Tenpai Gyaltsen and many other outstanding lamas.

He then continued to engage in higher studies—after perfecting the rituals and memorization of Mantrayāna texts in Ngor Monastery—by completing the degree of Ka Chu Pa (equivalent to B.A) in Sūtrayāna subjects, under the tutelage of the wise teacher, Khen Rinpoche Sonam Gyatso in Sakya Magon Shedra, Puruwala. He chiefly received the explanatory teachings on subject related to tantras from the supreme and wisest among the teacher, late Khenchen Appey Rinpoche.

From the most compassionate guide of beings, the glorious Sakya Gongma Trichen, he received complete set of teachings on Lamdré Lobshed and Tsogshed, Collection of Tantras (Gyude Kuntu), Profound teachings of the whispered lineage and many more such teachings in vast numbers. He continued to receive many more instruction-based teachings such as Lamdré Tsogshed and Lobshed, whispered-lineage teachings of Sakya Tradition, from Vajradhāra Ngor Ewam Sharchen Luding Khenchen Dorjechang Jamyang Tenpai Nyima. He also went on to receive extensive teachings on Vinaya, Pramanasamuccaya and others from Khenchen Kunga Wangchuk, the jewel among the scholars and siddhas.

When he was twenty years old, during the fifteenth day of the first month of the Fire Female Hare year (Seventeenth Rabjung cycle), inside the upper shrine of Bodhgaya temple, he was endowed with Bhikshu (full monk ordination) by the complete set of Saṅghas, namely the supreme ornament of all Vinaya holders, His Eminence Vajradhāra Luding Khenchen Rinpoche Jamyang Tenpai Nyima as the abbot; precious jewel of all the three teachings holders, late Khen Rinpoche Kunga Wangchuk as the assistant khenpo; most venerable of vinaya holders, Khen Rinpoche Lungrik Senge as the secret preceptor; and the noble observant of vows and spiritual guide, Cho Phuntsok as the time keeper. He then continued to perfect the retreats on pantheon of chief deities such as Hevajra, Vairocana and Vajrayogini.

During his tenure as the successor (Shabdrung), he travelled to Tibet along with His Eminence Luding Khenchen Rinpoche and assisted His Eminence on spiritual activities by bestowing numbers of empowerments such as Vairocana empowerment, ocean of sādhanās and oral Transmission of The Collected Works of Ngorchen. He also fulfilled the role as the assistant abbot or secret preceptor, as per the requirements, whenever Khenchen Rinpoche was bestowing novice or full ordinations to vast numbers of Saṅghas in Tibet. He also played a vital role in reviving and reconstructing Ngor buildings in Tibet.

In 2001, during the colluding of auspicious stars on the fifth day of second month of Iron Snake year, he was enthroned to the seat of Ngor as the 77th throne holder by the protector and owner of maṇḍalas; the unrivaled compassionate one, His Holiness the Sakya Trichen and the true successor of Ngorchen Kunga Sangpo, His Eminence Luding Khenchen Rinpoche, witnessed by many dignitaries and venerable Saṅghas, in Ngor Monastery, India.

Right afterwards of the enthronement, Thartse Khen Rinpoche bestowed numerous teachings such as the precious Lamdré and empowerments of Twelve Maṇḍalas of Pariśuddha (purification). Again, in the year of Wood Monkey, he travelled to Tibet and bestowed numerous teachings on tantras such as the Vajramālā and the Twelve Maṇḍalas of Pariśuddha in Kyegu, Dergé and many other monasteries.

At present, besides administering the Ngor monastery, he continues to travel across the globe at the invitation of faithful devotees to guide them in the path of buddha’s teachings. It was also according to the aspirations of the abbots and directors of Mustang Monasteries to preserve the dynamics of the unique cultural and religious heritages, that he took up the responsibility as the chairman of the founding committee of Mustang Sakya Buddhist Association (MSBA) in 2007 and has played a crucial role in inviting the Throneholders of Sakya Tradition to Mustang, leading to strengthening the ties of dharma among humble devotees.

Furthermore, as per the requests of devotees in Jomsom, and to facilitate the journey of travelling Saṅghas of Mustang, the committee erected a new monastery in Jomsom and specially invited His Holiness the Sakya Trichen to inaugurate the monastery. During that period, the locals of Mustang were utterly blessed with His Holiness visiting their villages; leading the inaugural pujas and pujas for the local communities.

During his tenure as the chairman of the 2nd Executive Committee of Mustang Sakya Buddhist Association, he oversaw the reprint of the old manuscripts of the Collected Works of Lowo Khenchen Sonam Lhundrub in accordance to the objective to preserve cultural and religious heritage. Likewise, in order to protect and declining exercises of traditional languages, he organized regular interschool literary and oral competitions and participating local schools of Mustang

In short, he committed himself to the noble activities of Mustang Sakya Buddhist Association for whole thirteen years until his retirement. Currently, since 2010, as per the directives of His Holiness the 41st Sakya Trichen Rinpoche and His Eminence Kyabjé Luding Khenchen Rinpoche, he has been heading the old Tsedrang Monastery in Mustang in their principle activities such as the summer retreat, fundraising and construction etc. At the same time, he is also currently involved in running Ling Gesar School since he overtook it in 2017 as the caretaker. He is currently leading many dharmic activities and blessed with good health in doing so.  At present, His Eminence Luding Khen Rinpoche and Thartse Khen Rinpoche sit the throne for alternate years taking the responsibility of all the activities in the Ngor monastery.

Composed by H.E. Luding Khenchen Rinpoche and supplemented by H.E. Thartse Khen Rinpoche.