Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche
H.E. Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche (Tibetan: ཟུར་མང་གར་དབང་རིན་པོ་ཆེ, Wylie: zur mang gar dbang rin po che) was born on the 30th of June, 1965, and prior to his birth he was recognized by H.H. 16th Gyalwa Karmapa as the twelfth incarnation of the Gharwang Tulkus.
He is the supreme lineage holder of the Zurmang Ear Whispered Lineage (zur mang snyan rgyud).
This was the fulfillment of Tilopa’s prediction made after he received teachings directly from Vajrayogini in the Western land of Uddiyana, in which he had pledged to return to spread these teachings widely, after they had been transmitted through thirteen successive lineage holders.
Before Tilopa’s return this set of teachings was to be limited to a one to one transmission from each lineage holder to the next, and only upon Tilopa’s later emanation as the first Gharwang Tulku were they opened up to a larger audience.
His Holiness the Karmapa, who had alluded to his attendants that the next incarnation of Zurmang Gharwang would soon occur, was attending a performance of traditional Tibetan drama on the forecourt of Rumtek Monastery.
During the Tilopa dance, a Jewel offering was made to the Karmapa, and breaking with tradition, instead of accepting it himself he directed that the gift be given to the Gharwang Tulku. So saying, he pointed to the surprised mother-to-be and announced that she was carrying the 12th Gharwang Rinpoche.
However, before the messenger could leave the house, the late Saljay Rinpoche, the Karmapa’s emissary, with a party of monks was already at the door, bearing gifts and a letter containing the Karmapa’s blessings for the newborn child.
He is born in a warm country where fruits and flowers grow in abundance, and in the midst of bird song." Her description of the environment surrounding the birth of the new incarnation aptly befitted Sikkim.
The ceremony took place in the Assembly Hall of the Dharma Chakra Center in the presence of His Holiness the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa. It was well attended by many incarnate tulkus, monks, and state dignitaries.
Hundreds of well-wishers and devotees came from far and wide to witness the auspicious event. During the ceremonial installation, His Holiness the Karmapa gave Gharwang Rinpoche his name, "Karma Gharwang Chochung Tenpa Namgyal Thinley Kunkhyab Pal Zangpo," which means The Victorious Protector of Buddha Dharma With Excellent Qualities and All-Pervasive, Auspicious Activities.
In addition, His Holiness the Karmapa also predicted the founding of a new Zurmang Kagyu monastery outside Tibet which would become an important center for the teaching and practice of the Buddha Dharma.
In the years following his enthronement, Gharwang Rinpoche received many personal empowerments, textual transmissions, as well as oral instructions directly from his root lama, the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa. After the passing of His Holiness, Gharwang Rinpoche studied at the Nalanda Buddhist Institute between 1981 and 1991, and graduated as the top student in the year of 1991.
Among his many illustrious teachers were the late Kalu Rinpoche, the late H.E. Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, the late Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, the late Khenchen Pema Pedtse Rinpoche, Shamarpa, Situpa, and Gyaltsapa.
In addition, he studied under the guidance of renowned Buddhist scholars such as Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, Khenchen Tsultrim Gyamtso, Khenchen Chodak Tenphel, Khenpo Chokden as well as Khenpo Tenzin Phunshok.
In 1987, while still an undergraduate, Gharwang Rinpoche began his teaching career at the Nalanda Buddhist Institute. Since then, he has taught extensively in dharma centers all over the world, in Europe, America, as well as in Asia. Zurmang centers can now be found in Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
Among them, were a towering gold-plated Buddha measuring 15 feet high, a golden dharma wheel flanked by two listening deer, as well as a khengere (a bell-shaped object symbolizing the ever flourishing dharma), which is traditionally placed on the roof of a monastery.
In the same year, Rinpoche was inspired to establish the Zurmang Kagyu Buddhist Foundation, with the specific purpose of realizing his vision of a more benevolent society in accordance with the spirit of Buddhism.
In 1992, Gharwang Rinpoche commenced the construction of a new Seat for the Zurmang Kagyu Tradition in Lingdum, Sikkim. The site covers approximately 21 acres of forested slope on the same hill occupied by Rumtek. In under four years, he transformed the landscape of Lingdum into a magnificent monastic complex, fulfilling the prediction of the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa of a new Zurmang Kagyu monastery outside of Tibet.