The Treasury of Lives

The Dzogchen Drubwang incarnations are the heads of Dzogchen Monastery in Derge, one of the six main Nyingma monasteries in Tibet. The line began in the seventeenth century with the treasure revealer Pema Rigdzin, who established the Dzogchen Monastery, which became a center for the Longchen Nyingtik teachings. The fifth incarnation, Tubten Chokyi Dorje, established Dzogchen Monastery’s monastic college, Śrī Siṃha.

Timeline

Biographies

The First Dzogchen Drubwang, Pema Rigdzin founded what became of Dzogchen Monastery in Dege, at the urging of the Fifth Dalai Lama and the patronage of the abbot of Dege Lhundrubteng, Sanggye Tenpa. Pema Rigdzin was a chief disciple of the great Karma Kagyu lama Karma Chakme and a teacher to Nyima Drakpa, the First Dzogchen Ponlop, and the First Shechen Rabjam, Tenpai Gyeltsen. He spent much of his life in retreat or on pilgrimage, giving teachings across the Tibetan Plateau, from Ngari in the West to his homeland of Kham. A supporter of treasure revealers and a holder of numerous treasure lineages, Pema Rigdzin was himself a terton, revealing several cycles of Dzogchen treasure.

The Second Dzogchen Drubwang, Gyurme Tekchok Tendzin was the third abbot of Dzogchen Monastery in Kham, from 1726 until shortly before his death. During his tenure he restored the monastery after a disastrous fire in 1853, and is credited with helping establish the Derge Parkhang in 1729. He was a close disciple of the second abbot, the First Dzogchen Ponlop, Namkha Osel, and received ordination vows and teachings from several important Nyingma lamas of U, including Terdak Lingpa and Lochen Dharmaśrī.

The Third Dzogchen Drubwang, Ngedon Tendzin Zangpo was the fifth abbot of Dzogchen Monastery, from 1773 to his death. During his tenure he sponsored the first printing of the so-called Tibetan Book of the Dead.

Mingyur Namkhai Dorje was the Fourth Dzogchen Drubwang and the seventh abbot of Dzogchen Monastery in Kham. A student of the First Dodrubchen, he was a widely venerated Dzogchen master who taught dozens of prominent masters across Kham, and forged close ties with Ninth Dalai Lama, with whom he shared a familial relationship. With the sponsorship of the king of Derge he restored Dzogchen Monastery after it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1842.

The Fifth Dzogchen Drubwang, Tubten Chokyi Dorje was instrumental in building Dzogchen Monastery’s Śrī Siṃha monastic college into a major center of learning. Having received teachings from many of the most prominent lamas of his era, he passed on the Dzogchen teachings to countless twentieth century Nyingma lamas of Kham and Amdo.

Orgyen Jikdrel Jangchub Dorje was the Sixth Dzogchen Drubwang. Born near Lhasa to a student of the previous Dzogchen Drubwang, he is remembered as a highly accomplished master despite passing away at a young age in 1959.