His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgön Chungtsang, the 36th throne holder of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage and the 8th reincarnation of the Chungtsang Rinpoche is the manifestation of Manjushri.
The Drikung Kyabgön Chungtsang, Tenzin Chokyi Nangwa, was born in the Water-Horse-Year 1942 in Lhokha as the youngest of five sons into the prominent aristocratic Lhagyari family. His father was Trichen Kelsang Nyendrak and his mother Rigzin Chodzom. The Lhagyari family is one of the oldest noble houses of Tibet descending from the ancient royal dynasty and the family branch is called Dewa Lhagyari Trichen.
After the passing of the 7th Chungtsang Rinpoche, Tenzin Chökyi Jungne (1909-1940), Tenzin Chokyi Nangwa was recognized as the reincarnation of Chungtsang Rinpoche in 1946 and was then enthroned in Drikung Thil Monastery. There were many signs, divinations and consultations of oracles that confirmed his reincarnation. Gyabra Tritsab had a vision at Lake Lhamo Latso which was substantiated by further divinations by H.H. the 16th Karmapa and by H.H. Taklung Matrul. The Tibetan Government authenticated the reincarnation as well, and Chungtsang passed the traditional test of selecting religious items belonging to former reincarnations.
At the age of eight, he started to learn to read and write, memorize texts, and to perform rites and rituals. His main spiritual instructor (yongzin) was Gar Khensur Tsangyang Norbu Rinpoche and from 1955 onwards, Thritsab Gyabra Rinpoche and Ayang Thubten Rinpoche. He received transmissions, empowerments and teachings of the Kagyu and Drikung Kagyu tradition from Thritsab Gyabra, Ayang Thubten, Lho Bongtrul Rinpoche and other eminent Lamas.
After the Tibetan Uprising in 1959, Chungtsang Rinpoche had to undergo communist indoctrinations and severe struggle sessions at Nyima Changra Shedra where the Chinese Army had established their regional headquarters. He was badly mistreated and put to jail in December 1959. Chungtsang Rinpoche remained in prison for 23 years until 1982. During the Cultural Revolution, he went through harsh reformation programs and was then transferred to the infamous prison camp at Kongpo Ningtri.
In 1983, Rinpoche was released from prison during the political liberalisation in China and was then given a post in the Regional People’s Congress and subsequently a leading position in the Department of Religious Affairs of the Tibet Autonomous Region.
In 1985, Chungtsang Rinpoche was allowed to travel to India for the first time to meet his brothers who had left the country. He also went to visit the Drikung monasteries in Ladakh and there he met Chetsang Rinpoche again after 26 years. The second time when he was allowed to travel abroad was in 1992. Chungtsang Rinpoche then went for the inauguration of the Drikung Kagyu Institute, Jangchubling Monastery in Dehra Dun during the year of Monkey and gave the traditional Monkey Year Teachings together with Chetsang Rinpoche. For the Drikungpas, the sun and moon had finally conjoined again. At that time, Chungtsang Rinpoche was promoted to be the deputy secretary general in the office of the Religious Affairs in Lhasa till today.