H.H. Dalai Lama visits Dorlop Kunzang Khedrub at Gonjang Monastery, India.

H.H. Dalai Lama visits Dorlop Kunzang Khedrub at Gonjang Monastery, India.

Dorlop Kunzang Kedrup during long life empowerment at Gonjang Monastery, India

Dorlop Kunzang Kedrup during long life empowerment at Gonjang Monastery, India

Dorlop Kunzang Khedrub

Dorlop Kunzang Khedrub was born in the year of the Iron Dog (1910). When he was young he trained under the guidance of his grandfather, one of the most important and renowned practitioners of Tibet's Gonjang Monastery. His grandfather was one of the Heart Sons of the 8th Gonjang Rinpoche and upon Gonjang Rinpoche’s passing became responsible for the monastery.

His father, Pema Ngawang, passed away when Dorlop Kunzang Khedrub was 21, leaving him responsible for 3 brothers, 2 sisters, and his mother. Fortunately, his mother was a very good practitioner, who inspired him with her dedication and motivation in the Dharma. She became the life force for Dorlop Kunzang Khedrub. She was consistent in her request that he should follow the Jangter Tradition of Gonjang Monastery.

Dorlop Kunzang Khedrub received the empowerments and oral transmissions of the Jangter Dup-kor-nam-sum (3 Guru Sadhanas) and the empowerment and transmission of Vajrakilaya Sadhana within the Gonjang Jangter tradition. At the age of 22 he began his Jangter Ngondro practices, followed by a three year retreat to complete the Dup-kor-nam-sum Sadhanas under the guidance of the 9th Gonjang Ngawang Yonten Gyatso. Gonjang Rinpoche was very strict and kind when teaching and guiding these practices.

He completed all of his practices, from Ngondro and the main Sadhanas of Dup-kor-nam-sum to Cham (dancing ritual) and the Vajrakilaya Sadhana, as well as all the associated rituals.The Vajrakilaya Sadhana of Gonjang lineage was practiced in strict retreat with deep devotion for one year. In his later years he said that while in retreat nothing special happened except that the seven water bowls as well as the two shrine kapals offered to the main mandala Phurba never needed to be replenished. The water in each bowl and the necter offerings in each kapala remained full for one year on their own.

After retreat he traveled to Nepal to visit all the holy places and begin his Chod practice in one of the great cemeteries. According to the Chod lineage, he was required to visit all eight great cemeteries and the 108 lesser ones. After receiving advice from his teachers, he visited a holy site called Choten Nyima in Tibet. According to the great teachers, Choten Nyima contains 108 hot-springs, which symbolize the108 cemeteries. In addition, there are 108 small hills with only one tree, which symbolizes the correct place to engage in the practice of Chod.

After completing all of his practices, he became one of the youngest Dorje Lopons appointed by Gonjang Rinpoche. He was now responsible for leading all the practice and dance rituals when Gonjang Rinpoche was absent. His main Yidam practice was Vajrakilaya, and it is said that he continued to recite his Yidam’s mantra for his entire life.

Due to his growing popularity within the community, he was empowered and advised by Gonjang Rinpoche to do the special practice of Dorje Gotrab (Vajra Armor practice) in order to be of utmost help to other sentient beings.

One of the practices he learned from Gonjang Rinpoche was the Sa-nyags (round piece of earth/clay). Sa-nyags requires special sadhanas, after which an earth/clay tablet can be blessed. It is useful for curing many types of diseases (including flu), wounds, and body aches because it is infused with the practice of pith instructions. In the Tibetan honorific, these tablets are called Sol dam. For his entire life, he continued this practice and made the tablets available to anyone who was in need.

He escaped from Tibet in 1959 and settled in Darjeeling, India. Along with other Gonjang Monastery members, he was responsible for locating the incarnation of Gonjang Rinpoche. The present Gonjang Rinpoche advised Dorlop Kunzang Khedrub to build a new Gonjang Monastery in Rangbull, Darjeeling, India. There he lived for the remaining years of his life.

One of his main annual activities was leading a Vajrakilaya and Cham ritual for the benefit of all sentient beings. The office of H.H. Dalai Lama requested all the Gonjang monastery Lamas to perform this Vajrakilaya and Cham ritual for the well being and longevity of H.H. Dalai Lama on his 37th birthday. Throughout this ceremony, led by Gonjang Rinpoche and Dorlop Kunzang Kedrup at Ghoom, Darjeeling, India, many people witnessed a rain of flowers.

Dorlop Kunzang Kedrup's main emphasis while living in the monastery in India was to care for the poor of the surrounding area. He never refused a request to perform rituals at a family home. Throughout his entire life, he never had any physical illnesses or ailments. Dorlop Kunzang Khedrub passed away in 2008 at the age of 99, according to Tibetan calculations. At the time of his passing, he remained in “Thugdam” in a state of meditative commitment (heart-vow) for five days.