The Palyul network of monasteries is the largest of the six main subsects within the Nyingma sect. There are more than four hundred of its branch monasteries spread throughout Tibet and its dharma centers spread around the world. Not only is H.H. Dharma King Penor the lineage holder of the Palyul dharma lineage, he has been the supreme dharma king of the Nyingma sect.
H.H. Dharma King Penor is the nirmanakaya of Vajrapani Bodhisattva. In the autumn of 2007, the International Buddhism Sangha Association held an unprecedented Drawing Lots From a Golden Vase Ceremony to affirm the true reincarnated identity of H.H. Dharma King Penor and others. There were ten possible identities recognized by various rinpoches. One lot was drawn from among 120 lots to affirm the true reincarnated identity of H.H. Dharma King Penor. That drawing affirmed that H.H. Dharma King Penor is the nirmanakaya of Vajrapani Bodhisattva, which is the reincarnated identity that H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III recognized before that lot was drawn.
His Holiness was born in December of 1932 (the year of the water-monkey according to the Tibetan calendar) in a place called Powo (in ancient times called Bomi) in the western part of the Kham district in eastern Tibet. His father was called Sonam Gyurme and his mother was called Dzemkyi. No flowers can be seen in that village of Powo during the cold and dry winter. However, fragrant flowers amazingly blossomed forth there when the rinpoche was born.
At the age of five, Penor Rinpoche was escorted to the ancient Palyul Monastery in the western Kham district. A formal enthronement ceremony was performed for him there in which he sat on the same dharma king throne he sat on in his prior life. That ceremony was performed by the prior Thubten Chokyi Dawa and Karma Thekchok Nyingpo, who is the fourth Karma Kuchen Rinpoche and the tenth generation dharma king of Palyul. At that ceremony, he was formally recognized as the incarnation of the second Penor Dharma King, Baqian Douba. Thus, he became the eleventh lineage holder of the Palyul lineage.
Khenpo Ngaga (Kathok Kanqin Ngaga), an outstanding practitioner proficient in the Great Perfection, foresaw the special mission of this recently born incarnation. He therefore conferred upon the child the refuge precepts, a Manjushri Bodhisattva initiation, and a holy Buddha statue. He also wrote for the child a Long Life Prayer that is to this day recited by thousands of Buddhist disciples all over the world. When he was thirteen years old, Penor Rinpoche was formally tonsured in the prior Penor Dharma Kings palace. That ceremony was performed and witnessed by five important khenpos and monks. He was given the dharma name Dhongag Shedrup Tenzin Chokle Namgyal, which means All-Victorious Holder of the Teachings of Study and Practice of the Sutras and Tantras.
One day when the rinpoche when was still a small boy, an elderly man walked up to him and insisted that the rinpoche perform for him the Phowa Dharma. In his boyish innocence, the rinpoche consented and practiced that dharma in accordance with its rituals. After a short while, the rinpoche was surprised to discover that the elderly man had already passed away. Facing the corpse that lay before him, the rinpoche practiced dharma once more in order to revive the elderly man. After the elderly man regained consciousness, the rinpoche blew from his mouth a long puff. However, the elderly man said, Heavens! Why did the rinpoche cause me to return? I was already in the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss of Amitabha Buddha!
Later, the rinpoche received from numerous great masters, sutra teachers, and khenpos various essential dharma teachings that have existed for many generations. Such teachings include the Buddha in the Palm Great Perfection of the Nanque lineage, the Eight Great Black Lugas, the Great Jewel Terma, the Rena Lingpa Terma, the Great Perfection, the Great Perfection Mind Essence Dharma, the Secret Dharma Protectors, and so on. The rinpoche practiced such dharmas as he was taught and became accomplished. Later, at a place called Tatang, Penor Rinpoche entered a long-term retreat together with his master, Thubten Chokyi Dawa. Through practicing the fundamental preliminary practices and progressing all the way up to the profound Great Perfection, he returned to his dharma-nature true-suchness that has existed since beginning-less time. Dharma King Dilgo Khyentse, the second dharma king of the modern Nyingma sect, openly said, Dharma King Penor is already a holy being who has surpassed samaya. Numerous dharma kings have said that Dharma King Penor is an incarnated Buddha.
When the Dharma King was conducting a Medicine Buddha Dharma Assembly, rainbows soared from the mandala offering plate. Additionally, nectar overflowed from the skull-cup. One time when he was conducting a Magong Accomplishment Dharma Assembly, biscuits offered to the dakinis were clearly shaking.
Very few rinpoches who are at the same level of Dharma King Penor are able to endure the difficulties that Dharma King Penor has endured. Due to his great vows of great compassion and his ceaseless determination, the rinpoche is not troubled by any difficulty or obstacle he may face. Year after year he has given of himself. He rebuilt the main Palyul Monastery and the Palyul Buddhist Institute, which the rinpoche established in his prior life. In India, the rinpoche established the Namdroling Monastery and the Ngagyur Nyingma Buddhist Institute. He has gradually repaired all of the branch monasteries in his lineage that urgently needed repair. His Buddhist centers in places such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, mainland China, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, the United States, and Canada have recently spread to countries in Europe, including Greece, Germany, and France. His Namdroling Monastery in southern India has become one of the largest monasteries in all of Tibetan Buddhism in the world today, with more than three thousand monastics. It can be called the largest Nyingma monastery in the world outside of China. Never shirking hard work, the rinpoche is constantly rushing about in India, the Himalaya mountains, Southeast Asia, and Europe in order to spread the Buddha-dharma all around the world, thereby enabling all living beings to experience the benefits of the dharma.
The compassion of the dharma king has also benefited residents of local communities. He has built bridges, paved roads, and founded a general hospital that uses both western and Tibetan medicine. When there has been no seasonal rain in Tibet or India, the rinpoche is famous for having caused rain to fall promptly as a result of his prayers. Thus, local Indian residents have affectionately called the dharma king the Rain Lama.
The dharma king is a monk who flawlessly abides by the precepts and he himself has given the monastic precepts to over 2,500 monks and nuns. Day after day from morning until night, the dharma king selflessly benefits those living in the world, those who are about to pass away, and those who have already passed away.
At the Nyingma Monlam Chenmo Ceremony for World Peace that took place in 1993 at the vajra throne area where the Buddha attained enlightenment in Bodhgaya, India, the Nyingma dharma kings and eminent monastics who came from China and other places all over the world unanimously selected H.H. Dharma King Penor as the supreme dharma king of the Nyingma. Thus, His Holiness became the successor to the deceased Nyingma dharma kings of prior generations who possessed the Nyingma teachings. He is a person who in reality matches the title of supreme Nyingma dharma king! In order to teach the dharma and benefit living beings, the rinpoche has demonstrated the brilliant wisdom of Manjushri Bodhisattva, the compassion of Kuan Yin Bodhisattva, and the courage of Vajrapani Bodhisattva!
In August of 2007, H.H. Dharma King Penor read A Treasury of True Buddha-Dharma about H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III Wan Ko Yeshe Norbu. He thought that book is of limitless benefit to living beings. He was so moved that he wrote a letter of congratulations to rinpoches.