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Tai Situpa, 12th , Pema Tonyo Nyinje
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The twelfth Tai Situpa, Pema Tonyo Nyinje was born in 1954, in the Tibetan year of the Male Wood Horse. He was born in the Palpul district of Dege, Eastern Tibet, to a farming family by the name of Liu. His birth was accompanied by the auspicious signs that are associated with the birth of a high incarnated lama, including the recognition of his birth by the sixteenth Karmapa. The Karmapa was visiting Beijing as part of a delegation with the Dalai Lama when he became aware of the imminent birth of the twelfth Tai Situpa. He composed a letter in which he gave a clear description of identity of the parents and their place of residence, and that letter, coupled with the unmistakable signs surrounding the birth and unusual physical phenomena such as a rainbow inside the house and an earthquake, enabled accurate recognition of the current incarnation. At the age of eighteen months he was escorted to his monastic seat, Palpung Monastery, to be enthroned there by the Karmapa according to tradition. When political hostilities became acute in Eastern Tibet he was taken to the Karmapa’s main monastery, Tsurphu, near Yangpachen in Central Tibet, where he performed his first Red Crown Ceremony, a practice that has become a tradition since the fifth Tai Situpa received the Red Crown from the ninth Karmapa. He stayed in Tsurphu Monastery for one year. At the age of five he left Tibet with his attendants for Bhutan, where King Jigme Dorje and the Queen Mother had been disciples of the previous Situpa, Pema Wangchok. He then went to Sikkim, where he lived in Gangktok until he fell ill with tuberculosis, at which time he moved to Darjeeling, where he could be close to medical facilities. After his recovery he return to Sikkim, this time the Rumtek Monastery, where he remained under the care of the Karmapa and received his formal religious training under his guidance.
At the age of twenty-two, Situ Rinpoche assumed responsibility for founding his own new monastic seat on some land that had been offered to him by disciples from Dege and Nangchen. With the blessing and encouragement of the Karmapa, he left Sikkim for Himachal Pradesh, a Himalayan state in Northern India. There he had tents set up on some forested land in the hills near Palampur, close to the Tibetan community of Bir, and began construction of Sherab Ling Monastery.
For many years the monastery grew slowly. Along with the monks came a small group of Western students, some of whom sponsored the construction of retreat houses on the land, where people could engage in serious meditation practice under Tai Situpa’s direction. He made his first visit to the West in 1981, when he taught at Samye Ling Tibetan Center, Scotland. He made his first teaching tour of America in 1982, having been therefore once before, unofficially, at the time of passing of the sixteenth Karmapa in Chicago in November of e also divided between international teaching tours and his own quiet monastery in the hill of Himachal Pradesh.
Beside his role as a Buddhist monk, teacher, and abbot, Situ Rinpoche is particularly committed to world peace, which resulted in 1989 in his Pilgrimage for Active Peace, involving religious leaders and humanitarians around the world in the effort to evolve practical means by which individuals can actively contribute to developing inner and outer peace for themselves and others.
During the 90’s, he traveled the whole world to give Dharma teaching and benefit Western and Eastern people a lot. After 1999 H.H.. Karmapa came out from Tibet to India, Tai Situ Rinpoche mainly stays in India to transfer the transmissioned Dharma to young Karmapa.
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