Gochen Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche
Born into one of the oldest families in Tibet, which eventually came to be known under the name Namchak, or “sky iron,” in an area called Chamdo in the Kham region of Tibet in 1952, Rinpoche was recognized in early childhood by the great rimé lama [representing all traditions of Tibetan Buddhism], Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö [1893-1959], as well as by the former Zigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, to be the reincarnation of the Gochen Tulku.
The third and fourth incarnations of great tertön Tsasum Lingpa were successively reborn into the Namchak family, which was responsible for maintaining the local monastery of Namchak Ritrö, the historical hermitage of Tsasum LIngpa, located in Chumbo. Therefore Tulku Sang-ngag’s family had high hopes that he was the 5th reincarnation of Tsasum LIngpa. To their dismay, however, he himself insisted he was actually the Gochen Tulku, and it was soon thereafter that he was formally recognized and confirmed as the 6th incarnation of Gochen Tulku. It was Tsasum Lingpa who first predicted and named the site for Gochen Monastery, which was then built by the first Gochen Tulku, Gyalwa Gyatso.
As a young boy, Tulku Sang Ngag studied with his father, Namchak Tashi, learning his family’s tradition of religious rituals and liturgies, as well as traditional Tibetan medicine. Imprisoned by the communist Chinese during the Cultural Revolution, he spent his ten-year incarceration in the company of many great lamas, tulkus, and scholars, from whom he received further teachings. Released from prison, he made his way to India and then Nepal. He spent fourteen years serving H.H. Khyentse Rinpoche at Shechen Monastery, where he also served for seven years as vajra master and professor.
In Tulku Sang Ngag’s own words, “The teacher who really caused me to mature spiritually was Tulku Orgyen Chemchok. In particular, His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche was very kind to me, providing me with food, clothing, and spiritual teachings…the tertön Padgyal Lingpa was also very kind in formally recognizing me as a custodian of his hidden treasure revelations and bestowing the ripening empowerments and liberating teachings for this cycle. These are my principal masters.”