Rinchen Tsultrim

rin chen tshul khrims
Birth: 1297
Death: 1368

Rinchen Tsultrim, who was one of Dölpopa’s fourteen major disciples, studied in many places as a young man, such as the Kagyu monastery of Tsurpu in Central Tibet and Sakya Monastery in Tsang. From Dölpopa and his other major disciples, Rinchen Tsultrim received a vast number of teachings, especially from the Kalacakra tradition. He later lived and taught in Central Tibet, emphasizing the study and practice of the Kalacakra. Rinchen Tsultrim was born in Jangzing (byang rdzing). He took novice ordination at Nenying (gnas rnying) monastery when he was eight years old and began to study the monastic code, the vehicle of the perfections, epistemology, and abhidharma. Then he went to Shalu (zhwa lu) monastery, where he studied many subjects under several masters, especially the Dharma lord Butön Rinchen Drup (bu ston rin chen grub, 1290–1364), from whom he received teachings such as the Hevajra Tantra and the Bodhisattvacaryavatara. Rinchen Tsultrim next traveled to Central Tibet and studied in many different places. In particular, at the great Karma Kagyu monastery of Tsurpu (mtshur phu) he received the Six Dharmas of Naropa, the transmission of the Doha instructions, and other teachings and initiations from the yogin Tokden Drakseng (rtogs ldan grags seng, d. 1349). He also received teachings such as the Hevajra Tantra and its commentaries and several major initiations from the third Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje (karma pa rang byung rdo rje, 1284-1339), who was very pleased with him, recognized him as an incarnation of the Indian master Asanga, and gave him a blessed image of Buddha Shakyamuni. The Karmapa then told Rinchen Tsultrim to go to the omniscient Dharma lord Dölpopa at Jonang, saying great benefit to the doctrine would result. On the way to Jonang, Rinchen Tsultrim stopped at many places in the region of Tsang, especially Sakya (sa skya) Monastery, where he received teachings from the master Jikmey Drakpa (‘jigs med grags pa) and others. There he studied many sutras and tantras, such as the Tantra Trilogy of Hevajra and the vehicle of the perfections, epistemology, and abhidharma. Next he traveled to Dzum Chölung (‘dzum chos lung) Monastery and received various instructions from the adept Jarinpa (grub thob bya rin pa). Rinchen Tsultrim finally arrived at Jonang monastery while the Dharma lord Dölpopa was teaching the Vimalaprabha to about two hundred monks. He remained with Dölpopa from when he was thirty-eight years old until he was fifty-eight. During these years he received the vows of complete ordination, the great initiation of Kalacakra in both the Dro (‘bro) and Ra (rwa) traditions, the Bodhisattva Trilogy (sems ‘grel skor gsum), the ten sutras of definitive meaning, the Madhyamaka treatises of Nagarjuna, the Five Treatises of Maitreya, the Tantra Trilogy of Hevajra, the treatises of the vehicle of the perfections, epistemology, abhidharma, the treatises of the monastic code, and many other transmissions of exoteric and esoteric Buddhism. Rinchen Tsultrim also received many Kalacakra transmissions from Dölpopa’s other major disciples, such as the Vimalaprabha from Kunpang Chödrak Palsang (kun spangs chos grags dpal bzang, 1283?–1363?), the Paramarthaseva (don dam bsnyen pa) and Sekoddesha (dbang mdor bstan) from Jonang Lotsawa Lodrö Pal (jo nang lo tsA wa blo gros dpal, 1299–1354), the Vimalaprabha and the six-branch yoga from Mati Panchen (ma ti pan chen blo gros rgyal mtshan, 12941376), and the Vimalaprabha and other teachings from Choley Namgyal (phyogs las rnam rgyal, 1306–1386). When Rinchen Tsultrim was fifty-eight years old, he was offered the monastery of Tölung Namgyal (stod lung rnam rgyal) in Central Tibet, which he made his residence. He taught the Vimalaprabha and other topics to many students and built a large gold image of the buddha Maitreya there. Mati Panchen was invited to perform the consecration of the image, and then Rinchen Tsultrim traveled to Gungthang (gung thang) Monastery and taught the six-branch yoga of Kalacakra. After returning to Tölung Namgyal, he taught the Vimalaprabha for the next three years. Many marvelous signs occurred when Rinchen Tsultrim passed away, and wonderful images manifested in his bones after cremation. This summary of Rinchen Tsultrim’s life is based on the work of the Jonang abbot Gyalwa Josang Palsangpo (rgyal ba jo bzang dpal bzang po): Brilliant Marvels: Abbreviated Biographies of the Great Omniscient Dharma Lord, the Spiritual Father, and His Fourteen Spiritual Sons. Chos kyi rje kun mkhyen chen po yab sras bco lnga’i rnam thar nye bar bsdus pa ngo mtshar rab gsal, 611–15. This text is included in the ‘Dzam thang dbu can edition of Dölpopa’s Gsung ‘bum, vol. 1: 559–629. The same work has also been published in Jangsem Gyalwa Yeshe (byang sems rgyal ba ye shes), Biographies of the Masters in the Lineage of the Jonangpa Tradition of Glorious Kalacakra. Dpal ldan dus kyi ‘khor lo jo nang pa’i lugs kyi bla ma brgyud pa’i rnam thar, 143–209. Beijing: Mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 2004. The following work was also used: Ngawang Losang Drakpa (ngag dbang blo gros grags pa). Moonlamp Illuminating the Glorious Jonangpa Dharma Tradition. Dpal ldan jo nang pa’i chos ‘byung rgyal ba’i chos tshul gsal byed zla ba’i sgron me, 35. Koko Nor: Krung go’i bod kyi shes rig dpe skrun khang, 1992.