Kyabje Zong Rinpoche
Kyabje Zong Rinpoche blessing retreat rosaries of Hans and Thomas
Zong Rinpoche (1980)
Kyabje Zong Rinpoche blessing Thomas and mine retreat rosaries during his legendary course in Dharamsala/India '82 Zong Rinpoche was not just a highly advanced scholar, but also an experienced tantrician and astrologer.
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Mandala of Heruka-ChakrasamvaraThe Late Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, a great scholar and tantra master of the Gelugpa lineage was born in 1905 (female wood-snake year) in the province of Kham, Eastern Tibet. Following various unusual observations accompanying his birth, he was declared as the rebirth of Tenpa Püntsok, a local monk and tulku. It is said that already in an early stage of his childhood he performed various magical miracles and was able to invoke a female naga goddess (mystical serpent being) in a nearby lake. In 1916 he went to Lhasa to study the dharma at Shartse college, where he studied the sutras (Buddhist ethics and philosphies) of the Prajnaparamita, Madhyamika, the Abidharma and the Vinaya. He quickly became famous as a sharp analysist and master of philosophical debate. In 1929 he successfully absolved his geshe examinations and was awarded with the highest degree, the Geshe Lharampa title (-compare also the bio of Geshe Rabten). In the following year he went to the Tantric College of Gyutö for further studies and in 1937 he became abbot of the Shartse college, putting special emphasis on the art of debate, monastic disciplin and the performance of tantric rituals. In 1946, he resigned from the abbot's throne to work as a magician against black magic, disturbances caused by various ghosts (Pretas) and lower gods, became a 'weather-maker', performed many fire rituals and lived in different parts of Tibet, being on a kind of continuous pilgrimage.

   So his name spread all over the country of being a powerful tantrician and he gave many empowerments and teachings on those subjects with a special emphasis on the tantras of Heruka, Hayagriva, Yamantaka, Gyelchen Shugden, Guhyasamaja, Vajrayogini, Green Tara, Mahakali, White Tara, Vaishravani and others. As a philosopher he was a follower of the Middle-Way school and gave many teachings on Madhyamika and Abhidharma. In 1959 following the Chinese invasion he went to India and worked there as a teacher at Serme College, in 1965 as principal of a college in Mussoorie, 1967 as principal of the Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies and in 1970 he settled at Mundgod in South India. He was also know as a talented astrologer and artist.

   Since 1978, on the request of Lama Yeshe he travelled together with Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa on several world tours to give tantric teachings, empowerments as well as sutra teachings. I followed many of his courses he gave in Europe and received all kinds of tantric empowerments and had two or three private meetings with him. A highlight was a 3-month tantric enlightenment experience in Dharamsala/India in 1982, where he gave empowerments and commentaries on nearly all major Anutara Yoga tantra's like Guhyasamajy, Heruka, Red Dakini, Yamantaka and others. When Lama Yeshe died in 1984 he performed the cremation ceremony (together with Lama Zopa) at Vajrapani Institute in California. 

   He was one of the last teachers of the old generation with the aura of authority and a kind of aristrocratic touch or vajra pride. In his teachings he followed very strictly the original texts. But, concerning his age, he was very open and patient to us Westerners, always kind, polite and helpful to answer our many questions concerning detailed tantra explanations.

   Rinpoche died very suddenly and soon after Lama Yeshe's death at November 15, 1984 at 9:30 IST at his monastery Ganden Shartse/Mungod, South India and was cremated on the 19th of November. His rebirth was later discovered and recognized by HH the Dalai Lama and enthroned again at Ganden Shartse monastery, India.
- Additional biographical notes on Kyabje Zong Rinpoche you can find here.

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New Dehli 1980 / Click for Enlargement (photo by Ricardo de Aratanha)
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Kyabje Zong Rinpoche (1979?) / Click for Enlagement (photo by Roger Kunsang)
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New Dehli 1980 / Click for Enlargement (photo by Roger Kunsang)
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Other Buddhist Pages on this Site
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Lama Yeshe, A Milestone in My Life
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