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1st Rigzin Kunzang Sherab

The First Throne Holder, the great Rigdzin Kunzang Sherab, was prophesied in the Gongdu Kagyama:

This Gedun Zangpo, the present elder monk, by the compassion of the king,

Will possess the pledge of the secret treasury.

In the future, to propagate the Gongdu, the single expanse of the wisdom mind, The one bearing the name Prajna will make use of this teaching of the profound meaning. As prophesied, in 1636 in the village known as Ahchog, Rigdzin Kunzang Sherab was born to father Dorje and mother Guru Tso. At the feet of the sublime master Chöchong Gyatso, he offered the hair on the crown of his head and received the lay practitioner's vow, taking the Three Jewels as his refuge. Thus, the mind of renunciation arose and he forcefully cut his attachment to the appearances of this life. Later he became fully ordained in front of Chagme Rinpoche and was given the name Rigdzin Kunzang Sherab. From the vajra holder Gyaben Konchog Tashi he received most of the Nyingma tantras, such as the seventeen tantras of the early translation of the Nyingma School and so forth. Trulzhig Tenpa Gyaltsen extensively bestowed the maturing instructions on him. He said that this sublime Trulzhig was his extraordinary root guru for introducing him to the innate nature of awareness. During the reign of the Dharma king Dege Jampa Phuntsog, Dege Sangye Tenpa along with the great Lama Jampa Phuntsog enlarged a small monastery which was situated in a place called Namgyal Tse. When the hermit Serlo Tenpa Gyaltsen was invited there to be the vajra holder, he declined, saying he wouldn't be able to, due to his old age and so forth, but if Lama Kunzang Sherab were invited, he would be of extensive benefit to the teachings and to all sentient beings. He was thus invited, and in the year 1665 he came to that monastery coinciding with an auspicious inauguration ceremony. The monastery was then given the meaningful name Namgyal Jangchub Chöling. After that, he initially bestowed the vows of individual liberation on the whole sangha community, upholding the three activities of vinaya as a basis and bound their mind streams with the precepts of the two traditions. By solely sustaining the maturing instructions such as the common preliminary mind training, to the uncommon Namchö Dzogchen (Buddha in the Palm of Your Hand) and so forth, it became a great monastic community of teaching and practice. Furthermore, the oral lineages of Dü Dho Tsogchen Düpa, etc., were passed down to him from different dharma holders and the accomplishment practices of Kama, Terma and Pure Vision along with their mandalas were newly established. Up to the present the blessing of these lineages has flourished extensively without decline. As a supreme Vinaya upholder, he bestowed full ordination on the initial disciples. Unfathomably accomplished masters such as Dzogchen Pema Rigdzin, Pema Lhundrup Gyatso, Drubwang Pema Norbu and so forth, received the profound instructions from him. Not only that, for the benefit of future disciples he also composed the preliminary instructions for the Namchö Buddha in the Palm of Your Hand and teachings similar in number to the five major sciences, which were kept for fortunate disciples. In the year 1698, at the age of 63, he temporarily dissolved his bodily form into the expanse of the dharmadhatu (ultimate reality)