Gyaltsen Rinpoche’s Introduction

Ngak’chang Rinpoche and Gyaltsen Rinpoche, 1991

This page presents excerpts from Gyaltsen Rinpoche’s Introduction to Ngak’chang Rinpoche’s book Wearing the Body of Visions. This text confirms disputed facts concerning Rinpoche’s teachers, his incarnation, and the Aro gTér. It also includes the first known use of the word “ngakphang” (or “ngak’phang”), which I have put in bold for easy reference. The Introduction forms pages xi to xvii of the book; I have omitted irrelevant parts of the text but noted their topics in brackets. Gyaltsen Rinpoche refers to Ngak’chang Rinpoche as Ngakpa Chögyam Rinpoche, another name for the same person.

Having the honour of close friendship with Ngakpa Chögyam Rinpoche for many years, I am most happy to write this introduction to his third important work of Vajrayana, entitled: Wearing the Body of Visions. Rinpoche and I have the extraordinary relationship of vajra brotherhood: a sacred link originated and developed in the course of past incarnations. During my tenure as a member of the Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies (representing Tibetan people belonging to the Nyingma School) I first met Rinpoche again in this life and we quickly became firm friends. I was immediately impressed by his quality as ngakchang (mantra holder). Endowed with an attractive personality of natural friendliness, humbleness, courtesy and kindness; his activities have always concerned dharma, rather than dharma politics. By the time I met Rinpoche, he had studied under many important Lamas, especially with Kyabjé Dudjom Rinpoche, Kyabjé Dilgo Khyentsé Rinpoche, and Lama Kunzang Dorje Rinpoche. It was without doubt that he had rigorous knowledge of the theory and practice of Vajrayana.

Unlike some Western scholars I have met, he has the unmistakeable approach of genuine devotion, characteristic of Tibetan Lamas. This was clearly visible in his longing to visit the sacred lake of Tso Pema, and the memory of the pilgrimage we made together there is still very vivid in my mind.

[Account of pilgrimage omitted]

Ngakpa Rinpoche is recognized as the second incarnation of ’a-Shul Pema Legden (yogi, visionary artist, gTér-scribe and spiritual son of the mahasiddha and great gTértön Khalding Lingpa) by Khordong gTérchen Tulku Chhi-’mèd Rig’dzin Rinpoche. He was also recognised by His Holiness Dilgo Khyentsé Rinpoche as the incarnation of Aro Yeshé, the son of Khyungchen Aro Lingma (the discoverer of a cycle of dag-nang gTérma – the Aro gTér of pure vision revelation teachings).

Ngakpa Rinpoche was born in Germany and brought up in England: but early in his life the force of his noble karma (accumulated over many lives) drew him irresistibly back to the teaching of Vajrayana and the lineage of Guru Padmasambhava. In consequence of the great interest and devotion generated in his heart, he left for india as soon as he had concluded his Western education and began strong and determined study. In order to study in India he had to work in factories due to being born into a poor family and having no other means of help. On his arrival in India he was granted audience by His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama, who gave his blessings and warm approbation to Rinpoche's earnest pursuit of liberation for the benefit of all sentient beings.

During his visits to India and Nepal, he studied with many great Tibetan Lamas and received the highest and most important teachings of secret Tantra in the Ngingma tradition. He completed the four distinct levels of Ngondro; the four increasingly esoteric levels of the four Tantric preliminaries: Short Dudjom gTérsar ngondro, Long Dudjom gTérsar ngondro, Khandro Yangtig Ngondro and Troma Ngondro. He completed ngo-zhi and all necessary retreats. He also learnt the profound ritual methods of Maha yoga, including use of nga, dung, gyaling, rolmo, silnyen, kangling and dungchen in the profound rites of Tröma Nakmo (the Black Wrathful Mother) and other most secret practices. Despite his achievement, he was still unsatisfied with his knowledge and experience. He had long had the fervent aspiration to meet Khordong gTérchen Tulku Chhi-’med Rig’dzin Rinpoche, Supreme Lineage Holder of the Khordong gTér tradition of the Ngingma School. Through great sacrifice and continual effort, he was fortunate enough to realise this aim.

Through his single-minded determination and devotion to his gurus he became an illustrious disciple of the vast treasure of Nyingma teachings. After years of studies with his gurus and long retreat, he was empowered to teach and give initiation into the levels of the innermost Tantras. As such he wears the takdröl ornament of liberation in his hair as given by Khordong gTérchen Tulku in recognition of such achievement.

In accordance with tradition he is wearing ngakpa dress, known as gö-kar-chang-lo in Tibetan. In this tradition of secret mantra one is wearing the white robe below the waist, with ngakpa’s shirt and red, white and blue shawl (zän-tra). This he wears faithfully as an authentic upholder of the ngakphang tradition of the Nyingma.

In 1982 he returned from India and founded Sang-ngak-chö-dzong, under the patronage of His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche (Supreme Head of the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism), who bestowed the name to this valuable association which has been so helpful to students of dharma in the West. Through his world-wide teaching and the activity of Sang-ngak-chö-dzong, many people in Europe and America had the good opportunity to gain practical knowledge and deep understanding of Vajrayana Buddhism. Since returning to his homeland and teaching in many parts according to the wish of his guru, he has travelled far and wide, especially to California and New York in the US where success has followed him in all his tours. Four times in England and Wales he has had the honour to host the visit of Khordong gTérchen Tulku, at which many people received profound benefit of the most secret inner Tantra empowerment and detailed heart instruction of ati yoga.

In 1989 he was awarded with Doctorate of Tantric Psychology from the Indo-Tibetan Cultural Preservation Society under the Patronage of His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche.

[Praise for Ngak’chang Rinpoche’s books omitted]

[General description of Vajrayana and the Nyingma school omitted]

All these principles are elucidated in clear and simple language for the reader in the book Wearing the Body of Visions.

Lama Sonam Sangpo (Gyaltsen Rinpoche)
Kathmandu, Nepal