Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche
A SHORT BIOGRAPHY
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(Photo: courtesy Wolfgang Saumweber)
Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche was born in 1926 in the Amdo region of
eastern Tibet. He is also known as Je Losang Jigme Damcho Pelsangpo.
At the age of 8, he was recognized by the tenth Kirti Rinpoche
as the first reincarnation of Khensur Kramcho Phuntsog (Tsatrug
Geshe Tsang), the former abbot of Taktsang Lhamo (Kirti Monastery
in Amdo, Tibet). At the age of 9, Rinpoche took ordination as
a monk and he received his first Kalachakra empowerment in 1941.
He was appointed the abbot of Taktsang Lhamo (Kirti Gompa in
Amdo) in 1955, and a year later he made the arduous journey to
Lhasa to continue his studies at Drepung Monastery to avoid the
political instability posed by the Chinese in the Amdo area. During
this period, he became tsen-shab (debate partner) to Kirti Rinpoche,
debating with him and reviewing his daily teachings.
After escaping from Tibet, following His Holiness the Dalai Lama
in 1959, Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche taught Tibetan orphans at the
Tibetan Children's Village, Dharamsala, India, and later spent
many years in retreat. For health reasons, he was advised by His
Holiness the Dalai Lama to end his solitary retreat, and since
then Rinpoche has been teaching the Dharma worldwide, for example
in Australia, Germany, Holland, Hong Kong, Italy, New Zealand,
Singapore, Taiwan, United States, India, Russia, Brazil, Venezuela,
Puerto Rico, Colombia, Mexico, Lithuania and South Africa (and
Rinpoche holds a unique lineage of explanation of the main commentary
to the Kalachakra tantra (Stainless Light or Vimalaprabha), and
as such is one of the lineage lamas from His Holiness the Dalai
Rinpoche has given the Kalachakra empowerment at least 19 times.
He has also given the transmission of the Stainless Light Commentary
seven times, these transmissions were (from the Land
of Medicine Buddha website):
- Given to Serkong Thukse Rinpoche from Ganden Jangze Monastery.
Transmission took place in Dharamsala over a 6 month period.
- Given to Serkong Thukse Rinpoche, in Dharamsala over a 2
month period. This second transmission was necessary since Serkong
Rinpoche needed to be cleaer about the finest points before
passing on the lineage to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
- Given to Pang Nang Rinpoche (also known as Kangyur Lama)
from Loseling Monastery, Tehor Khamtsen. Transmission took place
- Given to Bakula Rinpoche from Ladhak. Transmission took place
- Given to the Abbot of Kirti Taktsang Lhamo Monastery. Transmission
took place in Dharamsala.
- Given to Khyongla Rato Rinpoche in New York.
- Given to 60 participants in Dharamsala, during the summer
of 2000, including Jangze Chozen Rinpoche, Jato Rinpoche (the
Abbot of Namgyal Monastery) and other 12 lamas.
At the end of that last transmission, His Holiness invited all
participants in the Palace and offered blessed objects such as
thankas, statues and photographs to all. Special thanks-giving
offerings were presented to Rinpoche. His Holiness requested Rinpoche
for a private transmission of the Stainless Light Commentary that
can be completed gradually over the period of 4-5 years due to
limitations imposed by His Holiness’ very busy schedule.
It was at the end of this transmission that His Holiness praised
Rinpoche for his humble character and commented on how many sentient
beings were being benefited by Rinpoche’s travels and teachings
all over the world. His Holiness recognizes Rinpoche as one of
His lineage lamas.
Rinpoche has fallen seriously ill mid 2006, and he passed away
on December 16, 2006. We kept a regular update of his illness
and passing away at Rinpoche's
At the age of 45, he began a fifteen-year meditation retreat
in a small stone hermitage above Dharamsala, "big enough
for a bed, prostrations, and a stove". Seven years were spent
in meditation on Lam Rim, 3 years on the 'Seven Point Thought
Transformation', and some generation and completion stage tantra.
Two years were spent only on generation and completion stages,
and during the final 3 years, Rinpoche repeated all of the above.
Rinpoche put an end to his retreat only after His Holiness the
Dalai Lama requested him to come out of retreat and teach.
Currently, Ven. Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche is abbot of 'Kirti Monastery'
Rinpoche is a very important lineage holder in the Kalachakra
tradition, as after the invasion of the Chinese in 1959, he was
the only living Master who held a rare lineage of the 'Vimalaprabha';
a very important Kalachakra text. As such, he is also teacher
of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche has said of Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche:
"(He) is a great Kadampa who shows real Kadampa Tradition...so
completely renounced. There's not one slightest worldly activity,
not the slightest eight world dharmas, no self cherishing thought.
Even talking, everything is as much as possible pleasing to sentient
Since the late 1980's, Venerable Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche has
been teaching worldwide, like in Australia, Germany, Holland,
Hong Kong, Italy, New Zealand, England, Singapore, Taiwan, United
States, Russia, Lithouania, Puerto Rico, Colombia and Brazil.
Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche passed away on 16 December 2006, and
will be dearly missed by many students around the world.
THE PERSUASIVE DRUM SOUND OF THE SPHERE
OF GREAT COMPASSION
INVOKING THE BLESSINGS OF THE QUICK RETURN OF THE INCARNATION
OF THE GREAT VIRTUOUS FRIEND
KIRTI TSENSHAB RINPOCHE
Realm of compassion of all Victorious Ones of the three times
Compassionate deity playfully manifesting the major and minor
Treasure of compassion, fortunate destiny of the migrators of
the Land of Snow,
Please enable the accomplishment of these pure prayers.
Profound, fearless intelligence of pure wisdom
Eloquent speech of the sublime Dharma
Spreading like a smiling garland of gentle waves
Treasure filled with a wealthy abundance of instructions
The virtuous friend, the great ocean
You are the one I miss from the heart.
Recollecting all qualities of your Holy Body, Speech and Mind
In distress I single-pointedly request:
Please, our Protector, in all lifetimes
Never let us slip from the lasso of your compassion.
Alas! Lacking the virtuous friend who is the sole Refuge
The teachings of the tender Saviour, Lama Tsong Khapa will end.
Migratory beings' happiness will darken like shadows of a setting
Therefore you must come to relieve this sad and urgent plight.
Training over an extensive period of time
You took responsibility for performing the great activities
Of the Buddha's Teachings as well as those of transmigratory beings,
And generated completely the full capacity of the Holy Mind.
Yet do you comprehend the nature of our devastation?
For we, the ignorant thick-skulled ones, are abandoned to a forlorn
While you enjoy the spheres of bliss and peace!
In this period when five degenerations' faults gather and explode
It is now especially critical that you adopt the armour of zeal.
Since this is the promise of the Heroic Sons of the Victorious
Quickly reveal again the Emanation Body's Holy Face.
Already the time of the Buddha's teachings has reached the end
of the five-hundred.
Almost all the Great Holy Beings who could wishfully descend to
have departed to the Sphere of Peace (Dharmakaya).
We, pitiful fledglings, find ourselves left behind - bereft and
Please recall the commitment generated in your Holy Mind:
To assume responsibility to uphold the Lamp of the teachings of
the land of Rongchen (region of Amdo).
Smiling face of the Supreme emanation, the creator of day,
Like the rising sun come quickly without delay.
Not degenerating qualities acquired across lifetime's trainings
The smile of the white cooling moon of explanation and attainment
Our only friend who cultivates the Kunu (flower) of the Victorious
May the youthful moon of your unmistaken manifestation immediately
Protectors of the words of the Lamas
Guardians of the Buddha's teachings
Special watchers over what has been requested
Great Victorious Active Heroes
And all Powerful Protectors
Please impel the unmistaken incarnation to arise.
In short, by the power of the incontrovertible dependent arising
Of the students' fervent faith,
Together with blessings of the Protectors of the Three Sublime
Like a wish-fulfilling jewel may our prayers without exception
be instantaneously accomplished!
I, the student disciple bearing the name of the incarnated Thashel
Kirti, Lozang Tenzin, having heard that at the age of eighty one
the incarnation of the Great Virtuous Friend Tsatrug Geshe Tsang,
the Holder of the Lineage of the Near Instruction, the Great Abbot
Vajradhara Jetsun Lozang Jigme Damcho Pel Sangpo had seriously
ailed and Gone Beyond, felt impelled to compose this requesting
prayer titled The Persuasive Drum Sound of the Sphere of Great
Compassion invoking the blessings of the Quick Return of the incarnation
of the great virtuous friend Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche. May my incontrovertible
pure prayers to the Three Supreme Ones in general and to the Supreme
Arya the Great Compassionate One in particular, be accomplished
as here expressed.
It was written in the village of the Sublime realm of Bodhgaya
on the 15th of the ninth month 2006.
The most devoted protector, Alak Rinpoche, attendent of Kyabje
Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche whose name is extremely rare to mention
and who is the embodiment of and kinder than the Buddhas of the
Three Times, and the Translator Voula who offered him so many
years of service requested me, the Mickey Mouse , Thubten Zopa
to translate this Requesting Prayer. With the help of the Venerable
Nun Jane, Venerable Tenzin Namdak and Ross Moore I have done so
with devotion. Due to the merits may all sentient beings of this
world be able to soon see the Smiling Face of the Unmistaken Incarnation,
and enjoy again the nectar of Kyabje Rinpoche's teachings, in
order to achieve Enlightenment as quickly as possible.
Sera Je Monastery , South India, January 2007.
Note: above prayer is now also available in Polish,
Spanish translation here) and in
|Prayer with combined guru yoga for quickly
receiving the blessings of Kirti Tsenshap Rinpoche, Venerable Losang
Jigme Damcho Pelsangpo, who holds the treasure of the lineage of
To you glorious lama, whose
body is the embodiment of the three refuges,
who rests on lotus and moon (disks) upon a lion throne on the
crown of my head
I pray that you please remain with me inseparably as my refuge
and bestow one me supreme and ordinary siddhis.
I prostrate to you, lama Kalachakra who spreads the festival
of immaculate dharma (damcho) with fearless (jigme) confidence
having seen the salient points of the teachings
of Losang [Drakpa], the second conqueror, exactly as they are.
I offer you an ocean of inner, outer and secret offerings,
and sincerely confess my negativities and downfalls accumulated
from beginningless time,
I rejoice in the activities of your holy body, speech and mind
and urge you to turn the wheel of dharma till the end of cyclic
I dedicate my entire accumulation of pure virtuous actions of
the three times
so that in all my future rebirths I will not be separated
from your lotus feet even for an instant,
and that the actions of my three doors will only become the cause
for pleasing you.
This ground anointed with perfume, strewn with flowers
adorned with Mt. Meru, four continents, sun and moon,
I offer visualized as a buddha field.
May all sentient beings enjoy this pure land.
IDAM GURU RANTA MANDALAKAM NIRYATAYAMI
I pray to you, unequalled glorious lama,
the protector who disseminates the scriptural and realized immaculate
with the fearless (jigme) lion’s roar of excellent explanation.
and with an excellent intelligence (lodroe) that is glorious and
I pray to you glorious lama, whose kindness
excels that of the buddhas of the three times and the ten directions,
you are inseparable from the all-pervading lord, the primordial
please bless my mindstream.
I confess all my transgressions of pratimoksha, bodhisattva and
secret tantric vows
that occurred when my three doors were controlled by karma and
and promise to guard them in future.
Please purify and cleanse my vows with the nectar of your compassion.
Bless me to pacify all adverse conditions for practicing dharma,
to establish all conditions conducive for dharma according to
and to establish the foundation of the two purposes
through study, reflection and meditation on the vast and profound
At the time of the joyous occasion
of the total defeat of the host of barbarians by Rigden Rudra
may you, venerable lama, and your spiritual children
engage in the Dharma of the great vehicle.
Through the might of white virtue illustrated by this prayer
may I never be separated from your lotus feet in all my successive
may I be able to please you by practicing in accordance with your
without ever thinking about my body or life.
In brief, may your life, lama, be stable,
may your teachings and practice of sutra and tantra spread in
the ten directions
and may every direction be completely filled
with perfect virtue and goodness for the environment and its inhabitants.
This prayer called “Prayer with combined Guru Yoga
for Quickly Receiving the Blessings” [was composed for]
the abbot Tsang who is now widely known as Kirti Tsenshap Rinpoche.
He is the re-incarnation of the Tsatrug Geshe Tsang, the previous
abbot of the great seat of Taktsang Lhamo (Kirti Monastery in
Tibet). This holder of the treasure of the oral tradition, the
great virtuous friend called Je Losang Jigme Damcho Pelsangpo,
now has reached eighty-one years of age, a time of potential illness
in the twelve year cycle. Therefore the general assembly of Kirti
Jepa Dratsang (Kirti Monastery) has strongly urged me to compose
a new prayer for his long life. I didn’t see any great need
for composing a new long life prayer when one already exists.
One should examine whether one strives to accomplish his instruction
or make pleasing offerings to him while discriminating him as
ordinary, even though one has a dharmic connection with him and
he has actual attainments. Those who take no interest in examining
what demarcates a lama and a student, or how faith and respect
should be practiced towards a lama who one is dharmically related
to, may strive in long-life prayers and establish some measure
of general virtue, but no potent result will issue from that.
Therefore, if those students within the family of internal and
external disciples with a dharmic relationship with Tsenshap Rinpoche,
recite many times this long life prayer and combined guru yoga,
with faith recalling the qualities of his holy body, speech and
mind, the relationship of pure faith that exists between the lama
and his students will be enhanced, and unexcelled benefit arise.
With this in mind I, Losang Tenzin with the name of Kirti tulku,
composed this prayer during an approximation retreat in Bodhghaya.
I dedicate the virtue of writing this as the cause to be happily
taken care of by immaculate, glorious lamas.
26th August 2006
Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche and
at the Jerusalem wailing wailing wall, Israel, 2006