The Cuckoo’s Call

Pilgrimage | Tibetan MastersJigme Lingpa

English | བོད་ཡིག

The Cuckoo’s Call

A Guide to Glorious Samye Chimphu

by Rigdzin Jigmé Lingpa

Homage to the Mahāguru!

The Buddha’s final deed
Was his preparation for miraculous rebirth;
I bow at the feet of the Indian Mahāpaṇḍita,
The omniscient Lotus-Born Buddha!

Now follows a short historical account of Glorious Samyé Chimphu. As is commonly taught, faith is the door through which the Dharma can appear:

Developing faith at the outset
Secures and increases all good qualities.
It clears away doubts and frees us
From the river of suffering.
Faith is like a citadel of happiness and goodness.
It helps the mind to settle and grow lucid.
Eliminating pride, it is the source of devotion.
Faith is the greatest of riches, supports, and resources,
Like a hand it collects and gathers up the roots of virtue.

If faith is lacking, virtuous states will not develop and certainty will not arise. This will inhibit the suffusion of blessings. Therefore, generate faith above all else!

In the southern continent of Jambudvīpa lie the inconceivable twenty-four great sacred places and the thirty-two sacred lands where ḍākas and ḍākinīs gather. Places such as these were primordially self-arisen from the benevolent aspiration of Buddha Immense Ocean Vairocana.

In the snowy land of Tibet, hub of the Dharma, lie three temples unsurpassed in eminence, constructed through the aspirations of the Three Kings,[1] who were themselves emanations of the Three Protectors[2] Like a collar fastened to its shirt, each of the temples is connected to extraordinary places of accomplishment. Of these, the Glorious Samyé Chimphu valley is known as the hermitage of enlightened speech. The Pema Kathang[3] states:

The valley of Chimphu is like a blossoming lotus.
Outwardly, it is shaped like open petals;
Inwardly, it is Vajravārāhī’s source of Dharmas,[4] possessing the three liberations;
Secretly, it is the expanse of the Vajra Queen’s bhaga.
In its centre is Drakmar Ke’u-tsang, the Red Rock Treasure Nest, which rests on mountain slopes that rise like a victory banner.

As it is said:

In the Red Rock Cave of Samyé Chimphu,
You matured those fortunate ones, the king and subjects,
Empowering them into the maṇḍala of the Secret Mantrayāna, the great sādhanas of Kagyé.
You made the resultant vehicle of the secret mantras spread far and wide.[5]

The second Buddha, the great ācārya, opened the maṇḍala of Kagyé Deshek Düpa, the Assemblage of the Sugatas, for the Sovereign King Tsangpa Lha'i Metok, Divine Flower of Brahmā,[6] and for his other seven fortune disciples. He bestowed on them the profound ripening empowerment. Each student tossed a single golden flower into the maṇḍala. The king’s fell in the middle, upon Chemchok Heruka, and through practicing this supreme deity he, in an instant, realized the Samadhi of the Exalted Grounds and Paths. Additionally, he wrote the treatise Perfect Measure of the Words of the Victorious Ones.[7] The other great adepts each accomplished their own extraordinary siddhis, attaining all sorts of miraculous powers. When the primordial wisdom descended upon them, the earth itself began to shake and tremble. Rocks, crags, and mountains shook all around them, and there appeared the self-arisen form of Chemchok Heruka known as, Trakchen Trowo, Wrathful Boulder. When the wisdom maṇḍala dissolved into the upper rock vault, countless self-arisen rock emanations appeared.

For two and half years, Guru Rinpoche remained in this special place, turning the Dharma wheel for his fortunate disciples. It was during this time that he summoned back the consciousness of the deceased Princess Pema Sel, who had died of a bee sting.[8] He then bestowed the empowerment of the Khandro Nyingtik, Heart Essence of the Ḍākinīs, and sealed it away for the immense benefit of future beings. A vivid imprint of the princess’ body appeared, shaped like the source of Dharma. Thinking to provide future beings with a source for accumulating merit, Vairotsana and Thami Göntsön fashioned a statue of Guru Rinpoche and his two consorts. It was of clay, like the jewelled sands of an ocean isle, meaningful to behold. As soon as the wisdom maṇḍala entered into the statue, its majestic presence was unrivalled, liberating all who saw it. Due to its tremendous blessings, ḍākinīs of the three places, along with the five classes of spirits, continuously swirled around the statue, chanting in their secret language “MA MA KHA SHA SHAM.” Those fortunate enough could actually see and hear them swirling above.

In those days, the spirits of Tibet still bore evil intentions. Once they crumbled a large craggy mountain in order to flatten an image of the great ācārya. However, with his gaze and Hūṃ he forced the great mass skyward where it remained suspended in the air, forming the visible syllable Hūṃ. He left innumerable footprints in the boulders there, as if stepping on mere clay.

At nearby Drakchen, a stream of long-life nectar flows from a self-arisen long-life vase. In the Ludul cave, Guru Rinpoche emanated as a garuḍa and tamed the savage land spirits bent on harming Tibet. At Lönpo Gul[9] is another meditation cave, where for three months Guru Rinpoche and the Twenty-Five disciples stayed. At Ge’u Og, Guru Rinpoche miraculously left a footprint about four metres long in solid rock, along with imprints of his head and walking stick, as if pressed into clay. There he taught the Lama Gongdü, The United Intent of the Gurus,[10] to the king, prince, and disciples. He sealed away countless great treasures, and blessed all the sacred mountains in their self-arisen state. Likewise, here can be found the boulder Maben Chenchok,[11] cut through as if it were dough, and the dry bed where Shubu Palgyi Sengé reversed the flow of its river. There is also the cave of Nyangben,[12] and below that the cave of King Trisong Deutsen.

On the mountainside to the right, in the heart of a self-manifested figure of Vajravārāhī, is the cave of Yeshé Tsogyal, where she practiced for twelve years. In Vajravārāhī’s lap lies a great charnel ground, similar to Śītavana, where the deceased is purified and spared from lower rebirth. The protector of this charnel ground has been seen carrying off bodies at dawn, and without a doubt, boundary protectors come and partake in the gaṇacakra gatherings that are still offered in this terrifying place. At Wen Tsa is the cave where Gyalwa Chökyang accomplished Hayagrīva, and along the slope to the right is the cave of Lady Tsogyal called Ringmo Puk, the Long Cave. Below this is Drakmar, the Red Rock Cave, where the second buddha, Omniscient Lord of Speech,[13] practiced for three years. Having met directly the assembly of Three Root deities, amassed like an opening sesame pod, he received the Longchen Nyingtik instructions. When his life’s work finally came to an end, he made the proclamation, “It is far nicer to die in this sacred place than to take rebirth elsewhere!” At these words, the earth shook as he took repose in his material form. Likewise, when Acārya Sa’i Nyingpo passed away here, the signs were amazing enough to raise alarm that it was perhaps his teacher Vimalamitra who had died.

In brief, having traveled here themselves, numerous realized siddhas and paṇḍitas have praised this site as being equal to the Twenty-Four Sacred Places. These include Vimalamitra and Vairotsana, the three translators — Lotsawa Kawa Paltsek, Chokro Lu’i Gyaltsen, and Shang Yeshé Dé — , as well as others such as Ma Rinchen Chok, Nyak Jñanakumara, and Nubchen Sangyé Yeshé. During the early stages of the second spread of the Dharma teachings, Jowo Atiśa spent time here while instructing his close disciple Naljorpa in the profound and hidden path of secret mantra method. Numerous realized beings, such as Lotsawa Gyatsön Sengé, Naktso Lotsawa, Rok Shakya Jungné, Lhajé Zurpoché, and Nyang Shawa Chen have raised the victory banner of accomplishment in this place. It was here that the victorious Longchen Rabjam, Karmapa Rangjung Dorjé, Ngaripa Pema Wangyal, and the Omniscient Prajña Rasmi[14] attained the path of seeing and crossed the ocean of all philosophical systems, revealing indisputable treasures and substances of dharma. Since this place is itself the essence of the great Twenty-Four Sacred Places, the Pema Kathang states:

There is Samyé at Chimpu, the Crystal Rock of Yarlung, the Moon Cave at Yerpa,
Samyé Monastery, and the Tradruk Temple of Rasa —
All places for achieving unity, places of attainment;
There are no pure lands of Paradise other than these.
Stay and practice in these three places, and the common and supreme siddhis will be attained.
Practice here, and anything can be accomplished.
Making pilgrimage here, one enters the ranks of the Vidyādharas,
And leaving one’s mortal body here, one reaches the realm of Khecara.

Therefore, by practicing in these sacred places the supreme accomplishments will be attained. There is no doubt as to that. Since inconceivable good qualities come through making pilgrimage, performing circumambulations, performing gaṇacakra and the fulfillment offering, making offerings, and then finally discarding one’s body in such sacred places, one should genuinely strive in accumulating merit and purifying obscurations, using various methods, always sealing the practice with dedication and prayers of aspiration.

This was spoken by Dzogchenpa Rangjung Dorje, before the medical practitioner with the name of the 'water-born' (i.e., lotus). This concludes the 31st chapter of the Collection of Stories.

| Translated by Kaleb Yaniger, 2017. Edited by Libby Hogg.


  1. Songsten Gampo, Trisong Deutsen, and Tri Ralpachen.  ↩

  2. Mañjuśrī, Avalokiteśvara, and Vajrapāṇi.  ↩

  3. The Pema Kathang (Tib. pad+ma bka' thang), Chronicles of Padma, is one of the most famous and influential biographies. It was revealed by Orgyen Lingpa (b. 1323).  ↩

  4. Double intersecting triangle.  ↩

  5. From Le'u Dünma—The Prayer in Seven Chapters to Padmākara, the Second Buddha, Chapter 5, The Prayer Requested by Nanam Dorje Dudjom  ↩

  6. Tsangpa Lha'i Metok, Divine Flower of Brahmā, is an epithet of King Trisong Deutsen.  ↩

  7. Tib. bka' yang dag pa'i tshad ma, Eng. Perfect Measure of the Words of the Victorious Ones. This is a work on logic composed by King Trisong Deutsen  ↩

  8. In his Marvelous Garland of Rare Gems, Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche says that the cause of her death was a lethal reaction to a bee sting. This prayer mentions a srin pho, which would seem to be an ambiguous word for worm/insect, as well as demon.  ↩

  9. Within the Nyenchen Tanglha Mountains.  ↩

  10. Lama Gongdü (Tib. bla ma dgongs 'dus), The United Intent of the Gurus, is a cycle of practices revealed as a terma by Sangye Lingpa (1340-1396), and one of the most important terma cycles of the Dzogchen tradition.  ↩

  11. Ma Rinchen Chok  ↩

  12. Nyang Tingdzin Zangpo (Tib. myang ting 'dzin bzang po) was a key figure in the establishment of Buddhism in Tibet and more particularly in the early transmission of the Vima Nyingtik. He was one of the few masters in history said to have attained the rainbow body of great transference.  ↩

  13. Jigmé Lingpa  ↩

  14. Also known as Trengpo Sherab Özer, or Drodul Lingpa, founder of Palri Monastery.  ↩

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