A Brief Biography of the 2nd Chime Rinpoche, Karma Choekyi Oezer Trinlay Lhundrup Pal Zangpo
In 2001, His Holiness the 17th Karmapa Trinlay Thaye Dorje, the manifestation of Avalokiteshvara as a human, was invited to inaugurate Venerable Shangpa Rinpoche’s monastery Drupgyud Choeling in Lumbini. The present Chime Rinpoche was in his mother’s womb at that time. Rinpoche’s parents went to visit H.H. Karmapa to request for a name for their coming child and H.H. Karmapa gave him the auspicious name Tashi Tsering. Rinpoche’s father, Karma Tsering Dhondup, also went to visit H.H. Shamar Rinpoche. At that time, H.H. Shamar Rinpoche told Karma Tsering Dhondup that his coming son was the tulku of the previous Chime Rinpoche. H.H. Shamar Rinpoche explained to the present Chime Rinpoche’s father that H.H. Karmapa had already recognised his son, and had done so in the exact same way the previous Karmapa used to recognise tulkus.
The present Chime Rinpoche was born in the sacred Buddhist place Boudhanath (Kathmandu, Nepal) on 25th November 2001, to an excellent family called GonjoTsang. His father’s name is Karma Tsering Dhondup and his mother’s name is Norbu Drolma. His mother experienced no pain or difficulties during his birth and he was born with auspicious signs. Rinpoche is the youngest of four children. The eldest is Je Karma Trinlay Rinpoche who is currently studying in Sakya College. Next is his sister Rinchen Tsomo who is studying at a university in New York (USA), followed by another brother Karma Dhondup Palsang who is attending high school in Dehradun (India). From a very young age, Rinpoche had many signs of being a holy lama. Within one day, one can observe Rinpoche’s facial expression changing three or four times. Sometimes he had a dark angry expression, sometimes a very happy expression; sometimes he had a very attractive expression, and sometimes his expression is not attractive. In April 2003 when Yangsi Rinpoche was one year and five months old, the General Secretary Gelong Woeda and treasurer Thabkhe from his previous monastery came to Nepal to meet him. As an auspicious sign they offered fruit, dried apricots and khatags. Although it was their first time meeting Yangsi Rinpoche, he gave them blessings with his hands in a very friendly and familiar way, and was very happy to see them. Rinpoche took a few of the dried apricots and gave them to the secretary, the treasurer, his parents, and all the people assembled there. Rinpoche then spent the whole day with them in their room. Ven. Shangpa Rinpoche had previously stayed in that room. Unbeknownst to all, he had left some blessing strings and coins in a drawer. Yangsi Rinpoche reached into that drawer and gave a blessing string to the treasurer and the coins to the general secretary. Later in the day, his parents wanted him to come out and greet some of the other guests but he cried and did not want to leave them.
As a young child he was content to play alone and did not need anyone to entertain him. Once he took two silver plates and played them like they were cymbals. At times he would sit up very straight in meditation posture and recite mantras and offer mandalas. When he first went to monasteries to meet high lamas there was no need to teach him anything, he already knew how to do prostrations, offer khatags and get blessings. On 15th April 2003, his Robe Ceremony took place in the presence of Lama Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche, Ven. Sangsang Rinpoche and an assembly of more than 200 people. On 29th April, Rinpoche, his family, the general secretary and all the monks went to New Delhi, India. There, Rinpoche underwent the hair-cutting ceremony and was ordained by H.H. Karmapa and Shamar Rinpoche. H.H. Karmapa bestowed upon him a new name: Karma Choekyi Oezer Trinlay Lhundrup Pal Zangpo.
On the 15th August of the same year he went to the monastery of the previous Chime Rinpoche in Ladakh, Karma Dupgyud Choeling Monastery. All the monks were lined up to welcome him, together with the head of the Monastery Association of Ladakh, the head of the Buddhist Association of Ladakh, the head of the Ladakh Refugee Settlement, other officials and many local people. When Rinpoche sat on his throne, the general secretary and the heads of the various associations made mandala offerings of body, speech and mind turn by turn to Rinpoche. The director of that ceremonial day was Ven. Tsultrim Topden Rinpoche. He made a welcome speech to all the guests and described the whole process of how Yangsi Rinpoche was recognised. He read out a letter from H.H. Karmapa and described the day’s program. Following that, the treasurer gave a speech expressing his thanks and finally all the guests; lamas, monks, everyone, offered flowers and khatags to Rinpoche and his family. It was a joyful ceremony. In the following days, Rinpoche went on a pilgrimage tour of Ladakh, visiting many sacred places and monasteries.
After spending a few days at Karma Dupgyud Choeling Monastery, he went back to Nepal with his family. Since he was still so young, he spent a few years in Nepal with his parents. One day when he was still very young and living in Nepal, he went missing. For the whole day his family searched for him high and low. They could not find him. At the end of the day his family were worried and thought, “Our son is lost”. They were very sad and could do nothing else. A man came to them and told them that a small child had been playing all day in Bairo Rinpoche’s Monastery. They quickly went to see and it was indeed Chime Rinpoche playing in the monastery compound. The monastery is 1 km from their home and nobody understood how he found his way there.
In 2006, Rinpoche began his studies. On 5th December 2008, on the third day of the Kagyu Mönlam, Yangsi Rinpoche was enthroned in Bodh Gaya at Beru Khyentse Rinpoche’s Karma Dhargye Choekhor Ling Monastery. The enthronement was done in the presence of H.H. the 17th Karmapa Trinlay Thaye Dorje, H.H. Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche, H.E. Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, H.E. Beru Khyentse Rinpoche, Ladakh Drikung Choeje Togden Rinpoche, Drupten Selche Tsungme Rinpoche, other Rinpoches, many khenpos, geshes, accomplished lamas, monks from Rumtek Karma Shedrup Choekhor Ling Monastery, monastery staff, laypeople, and followers from all over the world. There were many thousands of faithful devotees assembled there. They placed many different offerings in front of the Buddha statue and then H.H. Karmapa inaugurated the ceremony by lighting a lamp. After he sat on a throne, there was chanting and prayers. Chime Rinpoche offered a body, speech and mind mandala to H.H. Karmapa and to H.H. Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche, after which both His Holinesses gave blessings and khatags to Chime Rinpoche. Representatives of H.H. Karmapa, H.H. Shamar Rinpoche, H.E. Beru Khyentse Rinpoche and H.E. Jamgon Kongrul Rinpoche then offered mandalas to Chime Rinpoche. In turn, the tulkus, lamas, geshes, khenpos and monks all offered mandalas, khatags and gifts to Rinpoche, the general secretary and to his family. The general secretary then made auspicious offerings to H.H. Karmapa, H.H. Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche, H.E. Beru Khyentse Rinpoche and H.E. Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche. Tea and rice were served afterwards in the Lhakhang and then, a special lunch and gifts were offered to the monks. In the evening, there was a special dinner offered for the guests. It was a beautiful and auspicious ceremony.
In 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2014 Chime Rinpoche travelled to Malaysia, Europe and other places. Rinpoche received many empowerments from H.H. Karmapa and from H.H. Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche as well as from other high lamas. Rinpoche is currently studying Tibetan grammar and literature in Ven. Shangpa Rinpoche’s Jangchub Choeling Monastery in Pokhara.