Palyul is one of the six great “mother monasteries” following the Nyingma School, or Ancient Translation Tradition, of Tibetan Buddhism. The monastery was founded in 1665 in the Kham province of eastern Tibet (present-day Baiyu, Sichuan, China) by Kunzang Sherab, the First Palyul Throne Holder. His Holiness Karma Kuchen Rinpoche, the Twelfth Throne Holder, is the current head of the Palyul Lineage. As His Holiness Penor Rinpoche tells us in the introduction to A Garland of Immortal Wish Fulfilling Trees, by Venerable Tsering Lama Jampal Zangpo that “… many troubled times have passed. However, due to the strength of the profound prayers made by many realized beings of the past, this stainless lineage has been maintained in an unbroken line to the present day. The original, undefiled blessings have been kept in not only the mother monastery, but also in the thousands of branch monasteries.”
Venerable Gyaltrul Rinpoche, the current incarnation of Vidyadhara Kunzang Sherab, Palyul’s first throneholder, and His Holiness Penor Rinpoche, offer the kapala of the First Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo, (the sister of Kunzang Sherab who helped establish the Palyul lineage.) This precious relic was offered to Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo on August 22nd 1988 during the Rinchen Terdzod. The Rinchen Terdzod, is the most important collection of Terma Treasures of the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism. This was the first time His Holiness Penor Rinpoche had offered this extensive series of empowerments outside of Tibet. On September 24th, 1988, His Holiness enthroned Alyce Zeoli as Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo, Palyul lineage holder.