The history of Benchen Phuntsok Ling goes back to the year 1979. In march of that year, while the Venerable Tenga Rinpoche was in Europe, His Holiness the late 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje expressed his wish for and clarified the great benefit of founding a Dharma centre in Europe in the following letter:
To the illuminator of the teaching of the Practice Lineage, the incomparable Vajra Master Venerable Tenga Rinpoche, a special message.
I was delighted recently to receive the detailed correspondence that you sent to me.
Here, myself, the great tulkus, the general secretary and his family, are all in good health, and continue to work for the benefit of the teachings and all beings.
Regarding yourself, it had given me great pleasure to know that both in the past and currently, in many countries, but particularly East and West Germany, your dharma teachings and guidance have been of great benefit.
Nevertheless, please keep in the centre of your heart my special advice, that, whilst spending considerable time in various countries, but particularly East and West Germany, you should establish where possible new dharma centres as sources for the heart teachings of the Practice Lineage.
Now, and in all future lives, you will remain in and never be excluded from, the walled tent of virtuous refuge and protection, and I pray that we meet again, not in a long time, but soon.
Written in Shedrub Cheukhor Ling, on the 27 th of the third month, in 1979, with the very greatest of best wishes,
(Translated by Edward Henning, Allmuthen, July 2001)
In May 1999, all favourable and necessary conditions finally came together. After purchasing the premises in May 1999, in the summer of this very year the first major restoration workings started. During that time, every evening Tenga Rinpoche would meditate together with his disciples in the garden under the open sky.
Already in the following year 2000 the first summer course could take place at Benchen Phuntsok Ling. Tenga Rinpoche established the Dharma centre Benchen Phuntsok Ling as the European seat of both Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche and Tenga Rinpoche and thus could fulfil the wish of His Holiness.
The name ‘Benchen Phuntsok Ling’ was chosen by Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche to express the connection with Benchen Phuntsok Dargyeling monasteries in both Nepal and in Kham, Eastern Tibet. As the ever-growing number of students from both Rinpoches in Europe longed for a centre they could call their ‘own’, the founding of Benchen Phuntsok Ling was anticipated with great joy.
Since the summer of 2000, Tenga Rinpoche and Sangye Nyenpa, if his schedule allowed it, have been conducting extensive teaching and meditation courses during the annual month long summer course.
Since 2003 a Resident Lama is living at Benchen Phuntsok Ling to look after the Dharma activities of the center. Starting 2010 now two Resident Lamas
are taking care of the center.
Thrangu Rinpoche, Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, Chokling Rinpoche and Ringu Tulku Rinpoche followed Tenga Rinpoche's invitation to visit the center.
During the first summer course,Tenga Rinpoche composed and shared with his students the following song of inspiration:
GYAL WAI TEN PA LUNG DANG TOG PAI CHOE
DE DZIN DZE PAI KYE BUE LOB TSOG NAM
RIM NYI LAM KYI TSAL CHEN RAB DZOG TE
DAG PA SANGYE SHING DU DZOM PAR SHOG
Through the teaching of the victorious Buddha, dharma of transmission and realisation,
and through the skillful accomplishment of the twofold path of creation and perfection,
may both the great holders of these teachings, as well as their hosts of disciples,
gather together in the pure realms of the Buddhas!
(Translated by Thomas Roth)
This song is sung at least once a day during the summer courses ever since.