Himalayan Art Resources

Teacher: Rongpo Ngagwang Trinle Gyatso

Rongpo Ngagwang Trinle Gyatso | Gelug Teachers | Rebkong Monastery


Ngawang Trinle Gyatso (ngag dbang 'phrin las rgya mtsho) was born in Rebkong in 1678, the earth-horse year of the eleventh sexagenary cycle. His father, Chokyong (chos skyong), was a farmer. As a child he was identified as the reincarnation of Shar Kelden Gyatso (shar skal ldan rgya mtsho, 1607-1677), who converted the Sakya monastery of Rongwo Gonchen (rong bo dgon chen) to the Geluk tradition.

Around at the age of four he started studying writing and reading under the instruction of Yu-ngok Choje Gongma Gendun Gyatso (g.yu rngog chos rjes gong ma dge 'dun rgya mtsho, d.u.) at Rongwo Monastery. When he turned seven, Baso Jedrung Konchok Nyima (ba so rje drung ngag dbang dkon mchog nyi ma, 1653-1707) visited Rongwo and gave him lay vows and the name Ngawang Trinle Gyatso.

At Rongwo he studied with Tsultrim Tashi (tshul khrims bkra shis, d.u.) and with Sherab Tashi (she rab bkra shis, 1647-1716), who gave him the name of Pelgye Dorje (dpal dgyes rdo rje). Sherab Tashi taught him astrology, Madhyamaka, epistemology, and Prajñāpāramitā.

At the age of nineteen he received permission from Sherab Tashi to go to Lhasa to pursue advanced studies, and left the following year. In Lhasa he had an audience with the Sixth Dalai Lama, Tsangyang Gyatso (ta la'i bla ma 06 tshang dbyangs rgyal mtsho, 1683-1706) and with the Fifth Paṇchen Lama, Lobzang Yeshe (paN chen bla ma 05 blo bzang ye shes, 1663-1737). After visiting the holy sites, he matriculated in Gomang College of Drepung monastery, where he received teachings in sutra and tantra from the Fifth Paṇchen, Hor Mundrol Ngawang Trinle Lhundrub (hor smin grol ngag dbang 'phrin las lhun 'grub, d. 1699); Jamyang Zhepai Dorje ('jam dbyangs bzhas pa'i rdo rjes, 1648-1722), the Fiftieth Ganden Trichen, Gendun Puntsok (dga' ldan khri chen dge 'dun phun tshogs, d.u.); and the Forty-eight Ganden Trichen, Dondrub Gyatso (dga' ldan khri chen 48 don grub rgya mtsho, 1655-1727). From the Fifth Paṇchen he received his monastic ordination.

At the age of twenty five, in 1704, Ngawang Trinle Gyatso was invited to Dechen College of Ganden monastic university, where the Sixth Dalai Lama gave him the rank of Ganden Achitu Ertini Nominhan (a chi thu er te ni no min han ) with accompanying stamp and parasol.

Having returned to Amdo Ngawang Trinle Gyatso took charge of Rongwo Monastery, and he continued receiving teachings. He received tantric initiations from Ngakchang Jamyang Lodro (sngags 'chang 'jam dbyangs blo gros, d.u.), and, every summer, spent time with his master Sherab Tashi.

Among his students were Tsewang Tendzin (tshe dbang bstan 'dzin), and Lhakyab Mergen Deiching (lha skyabs me rgan dai ching).

At the age fifty, Ngawang Trinle Gyatso, with the permission and sponsorship of the local chieftain, Ngawang Lobzang (ngag dbang blo bzang), initiated an annual monlam chenmo (smon lam chen mo), or great prayer festival at Rongwo.

In 1734, at the age of sixty-two, he fulfilled a command of the Fifth Paṇchen Lama and established the Tantric College at Rongwo (rong bo rgyud pa grwa tshang). He passed away the same year.

His writing were collected into one volume .

Written by Tsering Namgyal, a scholar in Xining. Published April 2011.

[Extracted from the Treasury of Lives, Tibetan lineages website. Formatted for inclusion on the Himalayan Art Resources website. June 2018].


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Don rdor and Bstan 'dzin chos grags. 1993. Gangs ljongs lo rgyus thog gi grags can mi sna. Lhasa: Bod ljongs mi dmangs dpe skrun khang, p. 733.

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