Nechung Rinpoche and his lineage
Nechung Rinpoche Ogyen Thinley Choephel came from Mindrolling monastery to Nechung monastery In 1880's. His coming into Nechung was due to the unflagging grace of the great Dharma protector, and in particular his unique practice of the Treasured Doctrine. This happened during the time of the Eigth Medium, Shakya Yarphel. Rinpoche not only became the medium's spiritual guide, but also of Nechung's sangha, to whom he passed extensive transmission of the meditation practices on the energy channels, wind, and yantras (Tsa-Lung Khrul-Khor) of the generation and completion stage practices of the tantra.
In 1891, following the prophecies given by Nechung, and as instructed by the Tibetan government, he left for Do-Kham, eastern Tibet, to collect the heavily-blessed image of Guru Padmasambhava, a treasure object discovered by the great treasure master Ogyen Lerab Lingpa, from Zongsar Khyentse Rinpoche (1820-1892).
This image was later housed at the Tsuglag Khang in Tibet's capital Lhasa, so that the doctrine of the Buddha may flourish, and there will be timely rain, and especially that the great holders of the doctrine headed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama may live long, and that the dual polity of the Tibetan Government may be ever victorious. It was also to retain Jowo Shakyamuni's image (brought in the 7th century by the Chinese princess Wen-Cheng Kung-Chu as dowry for King Songtsen Gampo) on this universe so that it may not be taken away by the Nagas into their subterrestial realm.
Before Nechung Rinpoche actually headed for Doe-Kham, he requested for the advise of the Dharma protector, who said: "Initially there will be some pertinent problems. However, if you were to open the Ne-Ze (grain-cascade) of Khentse Rinpoche and open the sealed scroll contained in it, you will find a Guru Yoga text, a treasure object discovered by the great treasure master Ogyen Larab Lingpa, otherwise known as Terton Sogyal, and subsequently commission the sangha of Nechung to recite this text when they assemble, you will fulfill your mission."
Accordingly, Khentse Rinpoche also handed over the Guru Yoga text, alongwith the image of Guru Padmasambhava with great pleasure. Thus, on 22nd day of the ninth Tibetan month of the Iron-Hare Year, the day of the Buddha Shakyamuni's Descent from Heaven, the image was brought to Lhasa and housed in the Tsuglag Khang amidst a grand ceremonial welcome accorded by the Tibetan government.
On the 10th of every Tibetan month, a group of eight Nechung monks are required to make a Tsog offering based on Thug-Drub Drag-Po Tzal (Bestowal of Heart's Wrathful Accomplishment).
When Ogyen Thinley Choephel stayed at Mindrolling monastery, he was recognised as the incarnation of Langdro Kunchok Jungne, one of the 25 chief disciples of Guru Padmasambhava. Langdro Kunchok Jungne's reincarnation is recognised as the treasure master Ratna Lingpa (1403-1479) who is well-known in the history of Tibetan Buddhism. It is for this reason that Ogyen Thinley Choephel is considered the reincarnation of Ratna Lingpa.
After the demise of Ogyen Thinley Choephel Rinpoche, the Great Thirteenth Dalai Lama recognised Thupten Kunchok (1918-1982) as the reincarnation of Nechung Rinpoche. This incarnate Nechung Rinpoche became a great realised master. He also studied Tibetan literature and astro-science from a learned astrologer of Mindrolling monastery. From 1956 to 1959, he taught Tibetan language at China's Minority School in Beijing.
Following the Chinese occupation, he returned to Tibet, and was imprisoned for a few months. He ultimately escape from Tibet and reached India in 1962.
In accordance with his premonitions, Nechung Rinpoche was able to bring to Nechung monastery in India Se-Bag Mug-Chung (Precious Mask), one of the holiest and priceless belongings of the great Dharma protector, Nechung.
On December 2, 1964, Nechung Rinpoche became a professor at the Ladakh Buddhist Institute (Bodh Vihar) in Delhi.
In 1974 he founded Nechung Dorjee Drayang Ling Buddhist Centre at Hawaii in the United States, for the study of Buddhist meditation and culture. He made a few visits to his main monastery in Dharamsala and during his stay passed numerous lineages of initiations, oral transmissions and commentaries on the practices unique to the traditions of Nechung monastery.
On August 31, 1982, Nechung Rinpoche "manifested the act of passing away into Parinirvana in order to reveal the transitariness of human life." He remained in a state of absorbed meditation. But following the past tradition of Nechung monastery, he was released three days later from this state at the behest of Taglung Tsetrul Rinpoche.
The 14th Dalai Lama and the Nechung Oracle mutually recognized the reincarnation of the present Nechung Rinpoche in 1993. He was born in Lhasa on May 20, 1985. He went to school in Tibet for some years, and in September 1993 was literally smuggled to India. After reaching Dharamsala, he began his studies in earnest at the Nechung Monastery. On March 15, 1995 he was officially enthroned. He has successfully completed the memorization of the traditional ritual texts unique to Nechung, and also received extensive initiations from the most Ven. Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche. He is currently studying Buddhist Philosophy and other subjects at the monastery.