Venerable Pema Rigtsal Rinpoche was born on September 17, 1963. His father was the Second Degyal Rinpoche (Pema Jigme Namgyal) and mother, Kyama Tshering. At the age of three he was recognized as the reincarnation of “Chimed Rinpoche” who was an emanation of the Great Indian Siddha ‘Padampa Sangye’ and also spiritual head of the renowned Shedphel Ling Monastery in Ngari, Tibet, by His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche (The Head of the Nyingma Sect of Tibetan Buddhism) and Ling Rinpoche (The Great Tutor of H.H. the Dalai Lama). His main enthronement ceremony was held at the Shedphel Ling Monastery at Mongod, India, which was overseen by Ven. Pema Kundol Rinpoche in 1977.
Rinpoche received an early education in reading, writing and ritual practices from his father the Second Degyal Rinpoche. At the age of nineteen, in 1982, he became the disciple of the Great Master ‘H. E. Khenpo Daser Rinpoche’ from whom he received teaching of general sutra and tantra texts as well as thirteen major philosophical treatises (Shungchen Chusum) for ten years. He also received sutra and tantra teachings from the Eminent Spiritual Master and Ascetic Saint ‘H. E. Khenpo Cheokhyap Rinpoche. He received precious and secret tantric instructions, transmissions and empowerments of the Vajrayana tradition in the Nyingma lineage from the renowned spiritual masters: H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche, H.H. Dilgo Khentse Rinpoche, H.H. Dodup Rinpoche, H.H. Penor Rinpoche, H.H. Thinley Norbu Rinpoche, H.H. Khrulshig Rinpoche and H. E. Yangthang Rinpoche.
In 1985 Rinpoche managed to reconstruct the Namkha Khyung Dzong Monastery which follows the Dudjom New Treasure tradition of the Nyingma, the most ancient of the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism, completing its interior shrines and placing the necessary statues in Humla, Nepal. For over twenty-seven years, Rinpoche has given continuous teachings on the Shungchen Chusum as well as Mipham Rinpoche’s philosophical texts to the monks in the monastery. It has been his constant responsibility to manage all of the requirements for more than one hundred and fifty monks over the years and oversee the further development of the monastery.
To his credit, Rinpoche founded a Shedra (Bhuddhist philosophical study center) at the monastery. With all of his duties, he still managed to complete a “Three Years Three Months Retreat” in 2004. Every year Rinpoche presides over the Vajra Guru Prayer which is held in the month of November at the monastery. Almost one thousand people; monks, nuns, ngagpas, old, and young people attend this event. Rinpoche also holds Summer and Winter Dharma Teaching sessions every year for more than five hundred practitioners including monks, Ngagpas (Yogis) and nuns residing in Humla and Ngari, Tibet. Hundreds of hermits are practicing in caves and solitary locations in Humla, Nepal and Ngari, Tibet under his religious instruction and guidance. Recently there were thirty one practitioners of the Three Year Retreat (Losum Tsham) and one hundred and fifty practitioners of the six months retreat performing the five hundred thousand Preliminary Practices (Ngondro Bumgna) after receiving his teaching of the Great Perfection and Kunsang Lamai Shalung (Words of My Perfect Teacher) in 2007 alone.
Besides Nepal, Tibet and India, Rinpoche has many disciples in Taiwan, Singpore, Hong Kong and the U.S.A. Since 1993 Rinpoche has made visits to Taiwan to give Dharma teachings through the invitation of the Nyingmapa Winsisue Dharma Center in Taipei and also the Tainan Mahayana and Vajrayana Drukpa Kagyu School of Buddhism in Tainan. Similarly Rinpoche has made visits to the Universal Buddhist Merciful Society in Hong Kong to give teachings, empowerments and spiritual counsel.
In Dec. 2007 Ven. Pema Rigtsal Rinpoche visited the U.S. to see one of his main root gurus, Kyabje Thinley Norbu Rinpoche in California. During that visit, he also gave teachings on the Preliminary Practice of the Dudjom New Treasure in New York.
Rinpoche has written a commentary on the Lama Gyangbod ‘Nyugme Thollu’ (Calling The Lama From Afar) of H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche and a biography of the Ist Degyal Rinpoche. In addition, his first book on Dzogchen which is completed in a Tibetan version titled “Semkyi Sangwa Ngontu Chungwa” is translated into English titled The Great Secret Of Mind. It was published by Shambhala Publication, Boston, USA in 2013. This very book is also translated into Chinese and published in Taiwan in 2015.
Another of Rinpoche’s accomplishments in 2008 was the establishing of the Namkhyung Maha Maya School for monks and Namkhyung Charity Clinic monks and lay people. In 2015 Rinpoche also started nunnery called Namkhyung Pema Osel Choling, of which nuns quarters and class rooms has been built in Yangar, Humla. Main temple for nuns Namkhyung Pema Osel Choling Monastery is being initiated. At present there are more than three hundred and fifty monks & nuns managed under Rinpoche’s patronage and spiritual guidance.
Rinpoche regularly gives Dharma teachings and provides room, food, clothes and medicine etc. to the monks & nuns. Rinpoche travels only occasionally, spending most of his time at the monastery, in Humla. Namkha Khyung Dzong Monastery has been serving the people in the preservation of religion, culture and tradition. With the benefit of his spiritual guidance, the monastery has played a significant role as a symbol of peace and unity among the local people. Ven. Pema Rigtsal Rinpoche is one of the few spiritual masters of the present generation who has acquired spiritual knowledge, insight and wisdom from the great lineage holders of Nyingma. It is his wish to pass on this great legacy to sincere practitioners and to ensure the dissemination of Buddha Dharma to future generations.