His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgön Tenzin Chokyi Nangwa, the 36th throne holder of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage is a manifestation of Manjushri. He was born in the Water-Horse-Year 1942 in Lhokha into a Lhagyari family as the youngest of five sons. After the untimely passing of the 7th Chungtsang Rinpoche, the youngest son of the Lhagyari family was recognized as the reincarnation of the Chungtsang Rinpoche in 1946 and was 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 divination by H.H. the 16th Karmapa and by H.H. Taklung Matrul. The Tibetan Government authenticated the reincarnation as well, and His Holiness passed the traditional test of selecting religious items belonging to former reincarnations.
At the age of eight years he started to learn how to read and write, memorize texts, and to perform rites and rituals. His main spiritual instructor was 1st Gar Khensur Tsangyang Norbu Rinpoche, Tritsab Gyabra Rinpoche and Ayang Thubten Rinpoche. He received transmissions, empowerment, and teachings of the Kagyu tradition and the Drikung Kagyu tradition in particular by Tritsab Gyabra, Ayang Thubten, Lho Bongtrul Rinpoche, and other eminent Lamas.
In 1959 after the Tibetan Uprising, His Holiness had to undergo Communist indoctrination and severe struggle sessions at Nyima Changra Shedra, where the Chinese Army had established their regional headquarters. His Holiness remained imprisoned for 23 years until 1982. He was released from prison in the course of the political liberalization of 1983 in China and was 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 for the first time His Holiness was allowed to travel to India to meet his brothers who had left the country. He also came to visit the Drikung monasteries in Ladakh and there he met His Holiness Thinley Lhundup again after 26 years. In 1992, H.Holiness came for the inauguration of Drikung Kagyu Institute’s Jangchubling Monastery in Dehradhun. As it was a Monkey Year, he gave the traditional Monkey Year Teachings along with H.H. Drikung Kyabgon Thinley Lhundup. For the Drikungpas, the sun and the moon had finally conjoined again. At that time His Holiness was promoted to deputy secretary general of the Office of Religious Affairs in Lhasa, a post that he still holds today.