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Tulku Tsulo (Tsultrim Zangpo) (1884-c.

Tulku Tsurlo (Tshulthrim Zangpo)
Tulku Tsulo, also known as Tsultrim Zangpo**, one of the greatest Tibetan schola
rs of the last century, was an important student of Tertn Sogyal Lerab Lingpa, as
well as the author of his secret biography and a lineage-holder of his terma te
achings. He was also a student of the Third Dodrupchen Jikm Tenp Nyima and of Amye
Khenpo Damch zer of Dodrupchen Monastery. Khenpo Damch said of him on one occasion
, I am just a dog, but I have a lion for a student. Although it was notoriously di
fficult to meet Dodrup Jikm Tenp Nyima in his later years, Tsulo was able to do so
because of his work as a scribe. He copied many texts for Dodrupchen Rinpoches p
ersonal library and used the work as an opportunity to get access to Rinpoche an
d to receive clarifications.
Tsultrim Zangpos father was Gonpo Wangyal and his mother was Shyiwam Tso, daughte
r of Khordong Terchen Nuden Dorje. His main residence was at Shukjung (shugs byun
g) monastery in the Do Valley, which is located about 15 to 20 miles from Dodrup
chen Monastery and which belongs to the Northern Treasures (Byang gTer) traditio
n. He also spent time at Khordong monastery, which was under the care of his you
nger brother, Gyurme Dorje.
Tulku Tsulo was a monk who upheld the Vinaya, as well as an accomplished tantric
adept, and among his writings is a two-volume commentary on Ngari Panchens Ascer
tainment of the Three Types of Vows (sDom gSum rNam Nges), as well as several te
xts on Dzogchen, including an instruction manual (Khrid Yig) for the Gongpa Zang
thal, which has been translated into English by Tulku Thondup#, and a commentary
on the famous Prayer of Kuntuzangpo. His other writings include a commentary to
Padmasambhavas Garland of Views+ and many works related to the tantras of the Ne
w Translation tradition.
Those who saw him say that he looked statuesque, seated in meditation posture, h
ardly ever moving, and with an impressive white beard.
He was the root teacher of Khordong Tertrul Chhimed Rigdzin Rinpoche, popularly
known as C.R. Lama (1922-2002), as well as Tulku Gyenlo and Zhichen ntrul, who pa
ssed away recently in Tibet.
He had two main reincarnations, Chkyi Nyima Rinpoche of Nango Gonpa Trango and Tu
lku Longtok or Lungtok.
* The birth year of 1884 is given in Tulku Thondups Masters of Meditation and Mir
acles. According to the Khordong website he died at the age of seventy-three. We
know that he wrote the secret biography of Tertn Sogyal in 1942.
** There are several ways to transcribe his names: Tshulthrim Zangpo, Tulku Tsur
lo, Tulku Tsollo, Tulku Tsorlo and others. The Tibetan writing in Wylie is Tshul
Khrims bZang Po aka Sprul sKu Tshul Lo.
# This translation of the commentary to the Gongpa Zangthal is partly now availa
ble here The Five Nails A Commentary on the Northern Treasures accumulation prax
+ The Garland of Views by Padmasambhava was translated by James Low and is avail
able in his book Simply Being: Texts in the Dzogchen Tradition (Antony Rowe Publ
ishing Services, 2010). Also available in French and German.