A Brief Biography of Vajra Master Lama Tsultrim Topden Rinpoche
Lama Tsultrim Topden Rinpoche was born in a place called Dechok located in the bordering area of Ladakh and Tibet in 1963, after Tibet lost its independence. The name of his native place is Ge-tsi in the Upper Ngari region of Tibet. He was taken care of by his father as he lost his beloved mother at an early age. Fortunately, at the age of about 5, he had the opportunity to receive the blessing of His Holiness the 16th Karmapa during H.H. Karmapa’s visit to Nyoma, Changthang, Ladakh. Due to the high altitude and the extreme cold condition of that place, his father took him under his robe to receive H.H. Karmapa’s blessing. During that time his father requested H.H. Karmapa through Drupon Dechen Rinpoche to name the orphan and bless him with his holy feet. As requested, H.H. Karmapa blessed him with his holy feet on his back which is still vividly remembered by him. He used to have a very sharp memory from his childhood and he still clearly remembers what others said and did although he did not know whether they were good or bad. At the age of six, his aged father offered him to His Eminence Chime Rinpoche to become a novice monk. He successfully completed the monastic education under the kind supervision of Chime Rinpoche including prayer recitations and ritual practices, and he passed the examination with encouraging results.
In due course of time, he served the monastery and took responsibility in all capacities. After that, he went for the three years retreat in Drubde Yiwong Samten Ling based in Rumtek, the main seat of H.H. the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa in order to reflect on what he had learned. In 1992, after completing the three years retreat, he returned to his previous monastery, Karma Dupgyud Choeling Monastery in Leh-Ladakh. Choeje Chime Rinpoche told him to take full responsibility of the monastery as he was getting old and appointed him as the Vajra Master. He could not reply anything apart from saying yes to his root guru. Since then, he has been discharging the responsibilities of Rinpoche and actively serving the monastery till today.
After the Parinirvana of H.E. Choeje Chime Rinpoche in 1999, H.H. Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche appointed him as the Distinguished Lama of the monastery. In 2002, during the Kagyu Monlam Chenmo, H.H. Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche designated him as the head of Karma Dupgyud Choeling Monastery and H.H. the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje also wrote an official letter conferring him the title ‘Rinpoche’ and its status.
For a long time, Rinpoche had an intention to build a retreat centre for people from all walks of life including lay practitioners who wish to have a place conducive for Dharma practices. And so in 2010, Karma Chagchen Jampa Ling Monastery was built at Choglamsar. Eight nuns are currently enrolled there where they successfully established a holy sangha. H.H. the 17th Karmapa has very kindly accepted to grace the inauguration and consecration ceremony of this monastery during his forthcoming visit to Ladakh in 2015.