Biography of

The 12th Chamgon Kenting Tai Situpa

When His Holiness the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa was in Beijing to discuss the affairs of Tibet he had a vision of Mahakala concerning the 12th Kenting Tai Situpa’s birth. Following this His Holiness wrote the prediction letter for the discovery of the 12th Kenting Tai Situpa which accurately foretold the signs surrounding his birth and dwelling. The 11th Kenting Tai Situpa, Pema Wangchog, also described the circumstances of his next incarnation before passing away. This enabled a search party to quickly discover the 12th Kenting Tai Situpa.

The 12th Kenting Tai Situpa, Pema Donyo Nyinje Wangpo, was born in the male wood-horse year (1954) in the Palyul section of the Derge province to a family of farmers completely in accordance with the prediction of the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa. On the day of his birth the entire region witnessed two solar orbs illuminating the sky.

The 12th Kenting Tai Situ Rinpoche

Kenting Tai Situpa was taken to Palpung monastery and at eighteen months was enthroned there by the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa. Also present was the King of Derge with his ministers, representatives of His Holiness Dalai Lama, many Kagyu Rinpoches and representatives of China. At that time it was acknowledged that he clearly recognized his old attendants and disciples.

At the age of five Kenting Tai Situpa went to Tsurphu, where, for the first time, assisted by the 9th Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche, he performed the ceremony of the Red Vajra Crown at the chamber of His Holiness 16th Karmapa. At the age of six, due to the political conditions and on the advice of the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, he left Tibet, traveling first to Bhutan, and later joining the Gyalwa Karmapa in Rumtek Monastery, Sikkim, India.

Kenting Tai Situpa received all the transmissions of the lineage from his Vajradhara, His Holiness 16th Gyalwa Karmapa. He also received pith instructions from the 9th Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Kalu Rinpoche and Saljay Rinpoche. Much of his philosophical training he received from the Very Venerable Thrangu Rinpoche, the late Drikung Khenpo Konchok and the late Khenpo Khedup, among others.

The 12th Kenting Tai Situ Rinpoche In 1974, at the age of 21, Kenting Tai Situpa went to Ladakh at the invitation of the late Drupon Dechen Rinpoche and stayed there for one year to turn the wheel of dharma. In 1975, at the request of his Tibetan followers who had settled in Bir, northern India, he assumed his traditional responsibilities by founding the monastic seat of Sherabling.

In 1980 he made his first tour to Europe, and has since traveled widely in North America, Europe and South-East Asia teaching Buddhist philosophy and meditation at the request of Buddhist, humanitarian and multi-faith organizations.

In 1983 Kenting Tai Situpa founded the Maitreya Institute, a nonsectarian forum for inter-religious dialogue. That year he also received the Rinchen Terzod, the great Treasury of Hidden Treasure Teachings, empowerments and teachings from the 1st Kalu Rinpoche.

In the winter of 1984 Rinpoche made his first return trip to Tibet. “It was a completely non-political religious trip,” he emphasized, “prompted by the spiritual needs of the people.” He was invited to an enormous number of monasteries of all traditions, where he gave teachings and empowerments, one of which was at Palpung monastery and attended by many thousands of people—which is astonishing given its remoteness.

In 1989 he led the Pilgrimage for Active Peace to inspire people to take an active involvement in world peace.

He returned again to Tibet in 1991 where he ordained more than 1200 monks and nuns and transmitted a series of empowerments that were attended by over 65 reincarnate lamas, an estimated 5000 ordained sangha from 92 monasteries and countless lay people.

His root teacher, the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, passed away in 1981 and on 25 June 1985 took birth into a nomad family in Eastern Tibet. In 1992, following traditional methods, the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, was recognized according to the prediction letter left by the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa and entrusted to the 12th Kenting Tai Situpa. This was also confirmed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and the Karmapa was soon after enthroned at Tsurphu monastery in Tibet by the 12th Kenting Tai Situpa, joined by His Eminence Goshri Gyaltsab Rinpoche.

Since the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa's daring escape from his monastery in Tibet in January 2000 Kenting Tai Situpa is now guiding Karmapa’s spiritual training and giving him all the transmissions of the Mahamudra Lineage.

The present Kenting Tai Situpa continues the traditions of the profound unbroken practice lineage of the Tai Situpas and as a renowned Buddhist teacher is training the next generation of Buddhist masters. As a highly sought after Buddhist master he tours widely giving teachings and empowerments at the request of monasteries and dharma centers. On a more personal level, the present Tai Situpa is a scholar, poet, calligrapher, artist, author, architect and geomancer.

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