The Eleventh Throne Holder
The Third Drubwang Pedma Norbu Rinpoche
Thubten Leshed Chokyi Drayang
Also Known As
Do-Ngag Shedrub Tenzin Chog-Lei Namgyal
Thubten Do Ngag Leg Shad Chokyi Drayang
Buddha's Doctrine Sutra Tantra Eloquent Speech Dharma Melodious Sound
(The Eloquent Melodious Sound of Dharma Speech of the Buddha's Doctrine)
His Holiness Pema Norbu Rinpoche was the 11th Throneholder of The Palyul Lineage of Nyingma. He was considered one of the of the foremost masters of the Buddhist tradition of Tibet. Throughout the Buddhist community he was respected for his vast knowledge and accomplishment and for the integrity and strength with which he upheld the Buddhist teachings. His Holiness attained Paranirvana on March 27, 2009.
The fifth Dzogchen Rinpoche, Thubten Chokyi Dorje, prophesized, “In a supreme and sacred place, in the upper region of Powo, close to an attractive, large, rocky mountain that is adorned with various trees, surrounded by large and small lakes and a large cold river flowing from the south, a child of noble birth will be born in the year of the Water Monkey. His parents of method and wisdom, will bear the names Sonam and Kyid. I have received indications that this child will be of great benefit to the doctrine and sentient beings.” The great Khenpo Ngaga Rinpoche supported this prophecy and recognized the new incarnation, composing his long life prayer.
The third Drubwang Pedma Norbu was born in 1932, the year of the Water Monkey, in the twelfth month. He was born in the ancestral heritage of Terton Duddul Dorje. His father’s name was Sonam Gyurmed and his mother’s name was Dzom Kyid. The third Drubwang Pedma Norbu was invited to the Palyul monastery in 1936, the year of the Fire Rat, and took his vows of refuge from the great Khenpo Ngaga Rinpoche.
One day at play, while still a small child, he accidentally broke the horn of a very old and precious vajra. Fearing that his teacher would reprimand him, Pedma Norbu quickly glued it back together with his own saliva, making the vajra much stronger than it had been originally. On another occasion, during the Cha-sum ceremony, he accidentally dropped his ritual bell onto the stone floor. Everyone present assumed that the bell had broken and yet, when Pedma Norbu picked it up, the ring was much more melodious than ever before. As a small child, the third Drubwang Pedma Norbu displayed many miraculous signs of accomplishment.
Pedma Norbu took upasaka (lay) ordination from the second Chogtrul Rinpoche and received the name Thubten Lekshed Chokyi Drayang. At Dago monastery, he received the Nam Cho Great Perfection one month preliminary practice teachings of Buddha in the Palm of the Hand and successfully completed all of the practices.
When Pedma Norbu was thirteen years of age, at the Dago retreat centre, he took novice ordination. During the ceremony Khenpo Legshed Jordan was his khenpo, Khenpo Khentse Lodro was his sangton (secret teacher) and Tsamdo Khenpo Sonam Dondrub his helper.
From Pedma Jigmed, the third Drubwang Pedma Norbu Rinpoche received the transmissions of Jigmed Lingpa’s Nine Volumes; the thirteenth chapters of Karma Chagmed’s Ah Cho; and So Wangdrag Gyatso’s Ka Bum. While receiving these transmissions, Pedma Norbu made intricately woven knots in blessings cords with his tongue. These sacred tongue-woven blessing cords are extremely rare and can be made only by a highly accomplished lama. He continued to make these wondrous special blessing cords until 1958.
On another occasion, Pedma Norbu casually drew in ink the syllable “Ah” on a white conch shell. Later, when the ink wore away, the syllable was luminously embossed on the shell. This shell, cherished as an object of veneration, is presently kept in the Palyul monastery in Tibet . The third Pedma Norbu twice completed the full retreat of the Illusory Body of Manjushri (a mind Treasure of Mipham Rinpoche). Just at the conclusion of the second retreat, a very melodious sound could be heard coming from his room and brilliant light radiated from the mirror on his altar.
In the Darthang monastery, Pedma Norbu received all the transmissions of the precious Kagyur and Tengyur, as well as completing a Vajrakilaya retreat. He then entered into retreat with his root guru, Chogtrul Rinpoche, for four consecutive years. During these four precious years that they remained together, Chogtrul Rinpoche, who was already quite elderly, suffered from extremely poor vision. It was with great personal difficulty and hardship that he gave the third Drubwang Pedma Norbu Rinpoche all the empowerments, transmissions and secret oral instructions of Terton Migyur Dorje’s Nam Cho, Ratna Lingpa’s revelations and virtually every single transmission practiced in the great Palyul tradition. Pedma Norbu Rinpoche then successfully completed all the stages of practice directly under Chogtrul Rinpoche’s guidance. Among his accomplishments were the root recitations of the Three Roots, the Nam Cho preliminary practices, tummo-tsalung; the actual foundation practices of the Great Perfection Buddha in the Palm of the Hand, which include trekchod, clear light togyal, inner togyal practice, darkness practice, training in the dream state, the nature of sound and the pure realms. It was during this time that Chogtrul Rinpoche was known to have said, “If I am unable to successively transmit all empowerments, transmissions and teachings to the third Pedma Norbu Rinpoche before I leave this world, then my precious human rebirth will have been wasted.” The third Drubwang Pedma Norbu Rinpoche is the only great lama alive today who holds entirely the pure lineage of Terton Migyur Dorje’s Nam Cho and Ratna Lingpa’s revelations.
In 1957, in an attempt to reverse the onset of the Chinese occupation, Pedma Norbu selected some monks to perform, in individual groups, an extensive one month Vajrakilaya accomplishment. While these accomplishments were underway, various signs arose indicating that the Communist Chinese occupation of Tibet was irreversible. It was then that the third Drubwang Pedma Norbu Rinpoche made his decision to depart for India , leaving the Palyul monastery for the purpose of the doctrine and sentient beings. On the long, dangerous journey that followed, Pedma Norbu passed through central Tibet and crossed over border into India . He was constantly befriended and safeguarded by the meditational deities and dharma protectors during this difficult journey.
Once in India , he began activating expansive miraculous activities and shortly after he decided to settle in Mysore , South India , close to the sacred Drekar Pungwa Stupa, where Buddha first taught the Kalachakra Tantra.
In 1963, Pedma Norbu Rinpoche built the new Thekchog Namdrol Shedrub Dargye Ling (Namdroling) monastery and he established the sangha community. To date, this monastery has a sangha community of about three thousand lamas and has become the single largest Nyingmapa monastic institution out of Tibet consisting primary school, higher scholastic institute, a retreat centre, a nunnery, an old age home and so forth. In fact it has all the facilities to study the aspects of the Nyingmapa tradition.
In India , during one of the Dharma Medicine Accomplishment Ceremonies of Nyingthig Palchen Dupa, rainbows arose from the mandala, the nectar in the skull cup overflowed and many other extraordinary signs of accomplishment were viewed by many. For the last thirty-seven successive years since arriving in India , the third Drubwang Pedma Norbu has continued the annual tradition of performing the accomplishment of the one hundred million mantra repetitions.
Since 1985, Pema Norbu Rinpoche has spread dharma and established many centres in United States , Britain , Greece , Canada , Hong Kong , Taiwan , Philippines , Nepal , and Singapore , besides other monasteries around northern part of India .
The third Drubwang Pedma Norbu Rinpoche continually satisfies the needs and desires of his people by performing ceremonies to stop or create rain, to transfer the consciousness of the dead and dying, as well as after-death intermediate period ceremonies, exorcisms, long life blessings, healings, and so forth. There is no limit to the extent of his selfless, enlightened activities and powerful miraculous deeds. His efforts for the doctrine and sentient beings are equal only to the limits of space. There is no doubt that his enlightened activities will continue to illuminate the darkness of ignorance in this world and that there will be good fortune to continue his historical works for the benefit of the Buddha’s doctrine and all sentient beings.
(Summarized from the book called “A Garland of Immortal Wish-Fulfilling Trees”.)