The Gyaltsab Rinpoches have always been the Vajra Regents of the Karmapas and caretakers of the Karmapa's monasteries.  Gyalsab Rinpoche, through his long line of incarnations, has been known for being an expert in meditation.  In Tibet, Rinpoche was known as Tsurphu Gyaltsab Rinpoche, because Rinpoche was the Regent of the Karmapa at Tsurphu monastery.

Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche is the emanation of the Bodhisattva Vajrapani.  In the past, Rinpoche incarnated as Ananda, the disciple of the Buddha Shakyamuni who had perfect memory and was responsible for reciting all of the sutras (teachings) of the Buddha before the assembly. Therefore Ananda was responsible for keeping all the words of the Buddha perfectly intact.

Gyaltsab Rinpoche also incarnated as one of the main ministers of the Dharma King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet.  He was also Palju Wangchuk, one of the twenty-five principle disciples of Guru Padmasambhava.  During Milarepa’s lifetime, Rinpoche appeared as Repa-zhiwa U.

The 1st Gyaltsab Rinpoche Paljor Dondrub (1427-1489) received the glorious title Goshir from the Emperor of China.  He took birth in Nyemo Yakteng.  His Eminence, who was cared since childhood by the Karmapa, was appointed as the Karmapa’s secretary and regent at fourteen years old.  He received the complete transmission of the lineage from the Karmapa, Jampal Zangpo, and the 3rd Shamar Rinpoche.  He became the main teacher to the next Karmapa.

The 2nd Gyaltsab Rinpoche Tashi Namgyal (1490 - 1518) received the Red Crown which liberates on sight from the Karmapa.  This Red Crown indicates the inseparability of the Karmapa and Gyaltsab Rinpoche, and also indicates that their enlightened minds are equal in nature.  Rinpoche recognized the 8th Karmapa and was responsible for his education.

The 3rd Gyaltsab Rinpoche Drakpo Paljor (1519-1549) took birth south of Lhasa and was appointed as the Karmapa’s main regent.

The 4th Gyaltsab Rinpoche Dragpa Dundrub (1550-1617) was also born near Lhasa and received the transmission of the lineage from the Karmapa and the 5th Shamarpa.  He was renown for his commentaries and attracted hundreds of disciples.

The 5th Gyaltsab Rinpoche Dragpa Choyang (1618-1658) was enthroned by the 6th Shamar Rinpoche.  He spent the majority of his life in meditation.  He was also very close to His Holiness the 5th Dalai Lama, as they were strongly connected spiritual friends.  Before the 10th Gyalwa Karmapa fled Tibet due to the Mongol invasion, the Karmapa handed over the mantel of the lineage to Gyaltsab Rinpoche.

The 6th Gyaltsab Rinpoche Norbu Zangpo (1660-1698) was enthroned by the 10th Karmapa, after taking birth in Eastern Tibet.  He meditated very deeply and wrote numerous commentaries.

The 7th Gyaltsab Rinpoche Konchog Ozer (1699-1765) took birth near Lhasa and was enthroned by the 12th Karmapa.  He became one of the main root gurus of the 13th Karmapa, and transmitted to the Gyalwa Karmapa the lineage.

The 8th Gyaltsab Rinpoche Chophal Zangpo (1766-1817) had the 13th Gyalwa Karmapa and the 8th Situ Rinpoche as his main teachers.  He became a renown master of meditation and accomplish high states of realization.

The 9th Gyaltsab Rinpoche Yeshe Zangpo (1821-1876) and the 10th Gyaltsab Rinpoche Tenpe Nyima (1877 - 1901) closely guarded the precious transmissions of the Kagyu lineage: receiving them and passing them onto the other lineage masters.  Both spent their lives in deep meditation.

The 11th Gyaltsab Rinpoche Dragpa Gyatso (1902-1949) was recognized by the 15th Gyalwa Karmapa and transmitted the lineage.

The 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje recognized the present and 12th Gyaltsab Rinpoche while He was still in his mother’s womb.  His parents were from Nyimo, near Lhasa.  Soon after his recognition in 1959, His Eminence fled into exile with the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa.

The Gyalwa Karmapa carried Rinpoche on his back while traveling across the Himalayas into exile.  He soon settled at Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim and received the necessary transmissions. 

Rinpoche's father wished for him to study in a modern school. However, Gyaltsabpa left the school one night and traveled ten miles back to Rumtek alone.  His devotion to the Karmapa and to the lineage was unparalleled.

His Eminence learned the dharma with the other heart sons of the Karmapa such as Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche and Tai Situ Rinpoche.  Like most of his incarnations, he spends his life in meditation and taking care of the seat of the Karmapa.  He currently in Sikkim and is the Regent there representing the lineage.  He oversees the activities and functions of Rumtek and at his own monasteries, such as Ralang, in Sikkim. 

In 1992, Gyaltsabpa and Tai Situpa enthroned the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa in Tibet.  The Karmapa has since fled to India and Gyaltsab Rinpoche will help prepare for His Holiness the Karmapa’s return to Rumtek.

Like Situ Rinpoche, Gyaltsab Rinpoche is one of the main teachers of HH the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa and already has bestowed transmissions (such as the Rinchen Terdzo) to His Holiness.

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