"There is no one else like him. He is quite different to any other Lama in this area. He is often asked to come to our temple and give teachings because he is so respected. Other Lamas also ask him to give teachings in their temples". (A Yolmo villager some distance from Kanyling Shedup Ling Monastery when asked if he had heard of Karma Rejung Lama.)
|Karma Rejung Lama|
Karma Réjung Rinpoche is extraordinary. I spent a day and a night in his company at the gompa he built himself. He busied himself about the tasks of a ngakpa performing Mahayoga rituals, drawing amulets and making protective devices for the local villagers, offering teachings; and always, always reciting mantra softly. All the time he was both powerful and completely natural. Even when apparently engaged in trivia - his activity seemed as powerful as a vajra commitment.
He was born in 1935, the wood-pig year, at Geldhar, Nepal. His mother was Karmu Lamini and his father Bö-jung Rinpoche, a ngakpa Lama in the Karma Kagyüd tradition. Karma Réjung Rinpoche entered his family tradition in his arly childhood and following completion of the tantric ngöndro at Geldar Gompa he undertook six months retreat every summer instead of the customary three year continuous retreat. His teacher, a Ngakpa Nying-ta practised both Nyingma and Kagyüd gTérmas. From the age of 16 to 22 he practised either in retreat caves or studied the Nyingma and Kagyüd gTérmas with his teacher.
In 1957 when he was 22 he decided to build a monastery in the Yolmo area of Nepal; but having no money to do this he moved to Assam where he worked as a labourer building roads and saving his earnings. In 1959 His Holiness the Dalai Lama fled to India and Réjung Rinpoche received teachings, empowerments, and wangs from him. Because he could speak Hindi, he was quickly in demand from the Tibetan authorities and in exile as an interpreter and negotiator. He negotiated with the Indian authorities on behalf of Khamdrüp Rinpoche, Ong-pö Rinpoche, Khawang Rinpoche, Déchen Rinpoche and Goma Rinpoche. He also received teachings from them all. When His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche visited Darjeeling he gave Réjung Rinpoche empowerments of the Dudjom gTér cycle.
Meanwhile he continued his practice after work and by returning to Nepal periodically for retreats. He saved 13,000 Indian Rupees and he was able to start building his gompa in 1979. The site he chose was an old charnel ground. At first the neighbouring (mainly Hindu) villagers were unenthusiastic about his arrival and plans, but after a while as their crops increased in abundance and they became more prosperous, they were increasingly supportive. He raised a further 20,000 rupees from donations, and was able to finish the building of his gompa in 1981.
He spends his days looking after his fields and performing Mahayoga rituals - particularly during local festivals. People call on his help for sickness or to perform phowa for those who have died. He travels to neighbouring villages to give teachings or perform rituals for the local people. He has around 35 disciples who are sometimes resident at the Gompa and at other times practice in caves. They all come together at the Gompa each month for assembled ritual practice, and they are all in training to become ngak'phang practitioners of in the Kagyüd-Nyingma tradition.
He has been married for 48 years to Jomo Yangchen and he has three daughters and four sons.
Karma Réjung Rinpoche, Ka-Nying Shédrüp Ling Monastery, Yolmo, PO BOX NO 12662, Kathmandu, Nepal.