by Naomi Levine
The first Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche was predicted by the Buddha. He travelled throughout Tibet and received all the transmissions that anyone had. Once he even received transmission from a blind person. When he was over 80 and his hand shook so much he couldn’t write, he tied a pen to his hand. He composed the well-known prayer for the well-being of Tibet.
The second Jamgon Kongtrul was the son of the 15th Karmapa, Khakyab Dorje. The father had great devotion for his son. They had actually discussed the reincarnation beforehand and worked out that Jamgon Kongtrul would reincarnate as the 15th Karmapa’s son. The 16th Karmapa would refer to the second Jamgon Kongtrul when he had doubts about Mahamudra. Thus he was also a teacher to the 16th Karmapa.
The third Jamgon Kongtrul passed away very young. Many people believe, said His Holiness, that had he not passed away, many problems in the Karma Kagyu may not have happened. He served the 16th Karmapa so well that the Karmapa said he would never be able to repay him.
‘When I was in Tibet there were some restrictions in recognising tulkus. However I recognised some 40 tulkus, some overtly and some secretly. Out of the forty that I recognised that of Jamgon Kongtrul was the clearest and the one I had the most confidence in. I request you all to support him in his activities.’
This morning the 4th Jamgon Rinpoche gave a reading transmission of Calling the Lama from Afar, to a packed audience in the shrine room at Tergar. There had been only a last minute announcement of this event sent round the circuit mainly by word of mouth. As he recited the last stanza of the prayer, his voice was so like that of the previous Jamgon Kongtrul that some of us dropped into the heart centre and wept spontaneously.
When he strode confidently out the door, it seemed that the 4th Jamgon Rinpoche had suddenly manifested his lineage through this spontaneous wave of devotion from his disciples. How wonderful to see it!