Karmé Khenpo Rinchen Dargyé

karma mkhen po rin chen dar rgyas
Author: Samye Institute
Last Updated: June 16, 2022

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In the Words of Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche

Reincarnation of Śāntarakṣita, Lord Mahāpaṇḍita Ratna

This line refers to Karmé Khenpo Rinchen Dargyé. [Paṇḍita is the Sanskrit equivalent of khenpo, while ratna is Sanskrit for rinchen.] He was a reincarnation of the great Paṇḍita Śāntarakṣita, commonly known to Tibetans as Khenpo Bodhisattva. Śāntarakṣita came from the Indian country of Zahor and was the very first master to be invited to assist with the construction of Samyé in Tibet. Karmé Khenpo was often compared to Karmé Chagmé in terms of caliber. He had his own seat at the great monastery of Karmé Gön in Kham and, although he was a disciple of Chokgyur Lingpa, his background was Karma Kagyü.

Karmé Khenpo was an extraordinary master and looked just like one of the sixteen arhats. He was a completely pure monk and never let meat or alcohol touch his tongue his entire life. He said, moreover, that his hand had never even touched a woman. They say he never permitted a lie to cross his lips. Yet, even though he was so gifted and quite close to Chokgyur Lingpa, he still didn’t have the good fortune to receive the Three Sections of the Great Perfection in person. However, when the great tertön passed away, Karmé Khenpo did have a vision of Chokgyur Lingpa’s wisdom-body — and at that stage received the complete empowerments  and transmissions from him.

Karmé Khenpo was an exceptionally great master. Even Düdjom Rinpoché was amazed by his writings and once told me: “It’s so wonderful that someone like Karmé Khenpo could even exist in this world!” He lived, I believe, into his early eighties, and was then reborn as the son of Samten Gyatso’s sister.

The Great Tertön: The Life and Activities of Chokgyur Lingpa, Lhasey Lotsawa Translations, 2016, pp. 371-72.

Supplication to Karmé Khenpo Rinchen Dargyé

དམ་པ་གསུམ་གྱིས་རང་རྒྱུད་ལེགས་སྨིན་ནས། །
dampa sum gyi rang gyü lek miné
With the three perfections you ripened your being and

སྡོམ་པ་གསུམ་གྱི་ཚིག་དོན་གཞན་ལ་འཆད། །
dompa sum gyi tsik dön zhen la ché
expounded to others the three vows’ meaning;

བསླབ་པ་གསུམ་གྱིས་བསྟན་པའི་རྒྱལ་མཚན་འཛིན། །
lapa sum gyi tenpé gyeltsen dzin
with the three trainings you hoist the banner of the doctrine—

མཁན་ཆེན་བསྟན་པའི་ཉི་མར་གསོལ་བ་འདེབས། །
khenchen tenpé nyimar sölwa dep
Great Khenpo, light of the teachings, to you I pray.

From Supplications to the Chokling Tersar Lineage Gurus, Rangjung Yeshe & Lhasey Lotsawa Translations (trans. Erik Pema Kunsang, checked against the Tibetan by Laura Dainty and Oriane Sherap Lhamo, and ed. by Libby Hogg), June 2020.

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