The Bhakha Tulkus have been considered incarnations of Dorje Lingpa, the Great
terton of the East (who was considered an emanation of one of Tibet's preeminent
translators and Dzogchen masters, Vairotsana), the Great Terton of the West,
Pema Lingpa as well as the Great Terton of the indeterminate direction, Shikpo
Lingpa.Bhakha monastery is in Powo, located in Guru Rinpoche's hidden land of
Pemako, just north of the Indian Border with Tibet.
The present Bhakha Rinpoche was first recognized as the incarnation of Pema
Lingpa by Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro, who asked his family take good care of
him and to keep him safe from defilements and impurities.
After receiving the empowerments and transmissions of the Rinchen Terzod and
Dudjom lineages from His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche at Yurigon Monastery in upper
Powo, Bhakha Rinpoche went to Kongpo with His Holiness, where he received more
precious teachings including the 13 cycles of the Pema Lingpa treasures. He then
practiced intensely under His Holiness' guidance.
Bhakha Tulku's second incarnation was a monk known as Rigzin Chokyi Gyamtso. He
focused his life on the practice of dzogchen, particularly the Chetsun Nyinthig
tradition, which he fully accomplished. He was a contemporary of the Fifth Dalai
Lama, and was famous as the primary teacher of the first Dzogchen Rinpoche, Pema
Rigzin of Derge. His hermitage was a cave among the rocks on the slope of a
snowy mountain that faces the monastery from across the river. His biography
describes how he flew back and forth between the cave and the monastery.
At the time, the Dzungar Mongols were ravaging all parts of Tibet. Though remote
and difficult to access for the Mongol cavalry, the Powo valley was not spared.
They destroyed the castle of the king of Powo and Pemako, Kanam Gyalpo, along
with several monasteries. The king was a descendent of Trigum Tsenpo, ruler of
Tibet long before the time of the Tibetan empire of Songsten Gampo. Having
demolished Kanam Castle, the Mongols saw Bhakha Monastery in the distance and
set out to attack it as well. They were stopped by the river, and lacking boats
to cross the strong current, their chief summoned Rigdzin Gampo to cross to
their side. Rigdzin Gampo approached the river with a single attendant, but they
had reversed their identities; his attendant wore an ornate brocade hat, while
Rigzin Gampo wore a lotus style hat that had been a terma object found during an
earth terma discovery.
With his prodigious power he spread his upper robe on the water like a raft, and
together with his attendant, rowed to the other side with a walking stick as an
oar. He approached the astonished Mongols and prostrated his body three times
before the commander's throne. The commander suddenly fell from his seat, with
blood gushing from his mouth, dead. He then instructed the remaining soldiers to
return peacefully to their homeland.
The Mongols retired from Powo and never returned. For his service in saving the
region from the invaders, Rigdzin Gampo was granted an honorary rank and red
seal by the Central Government of Tibet.After the Chinese invasion of Tibet,
he escaped to Bhutan, where he again received all 13 cycles of the Pema Lingpa treasures
from Tamshing Lama Phuntsok,Bhutan's main holder of the Pema Lingpa lineage.
He practiced thoroughly all the teachings he received with Thuksey Rinpoche in retreat
in holy places such as Shugdrag and Kundrag.
Today, the Tenth Bhakha Tulku Rinpoche is venerated as the holder of this great
unbroken lineage by all his contemporary teachers at the main Pema Lingpa seat,
Lhalung Monastery in Tibet, as well as at Tamshing Monastery in Bhutan.
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