Orgyen Padma’s Enlightened Deeds
Courtesy of Himalayan Art Resources
A Concise History of Orgyen Padma’s Enlightened Deeds
by Orgyen Lingpa
In the language of Uḍḍiyāna: Buddha Dharma Saṅgha Dhaya
In the language of Tibet: Sangyé Chö Dang Gendün La Taktu Güpé Chaktsal Lo
[In the English language: Homage and Devotion to the Buddha, Dharma and Saṅgha!]
This story is a teaching on the life and liberation of
Pema Jungné, guide of beings,
Who took birth for the benefit of those to be tamed.
It is a story to protect the dedicated, fortunate, and wise.
In the three-storeyed temple at Samyé,
Offerings were made by Prince Mutri Tsenpo
To Padmasambhava seated on a throne of nine-layered silks,
To Khenpo Śāntarakṣita on a throne of five-layered silks,
And to Vairocana and the three chief lotsawas,
On silken cushions to the right and left.
The prince offered an abundance of precious jewels
And, after many prostrations, spoke the following words:
Great Son of the Victorious Ones, you who know the three times —
My lord and father, Trisong Deutsen, has passed away,
And you, beacon of the teachings, are leaving for the land of rākṣasas,
Whilst we Tibetans are stuck with our short lives, fraught with distractions.
And so, in this final age, for those who remain,
I request a concise teaching on the sacred Dharma’s meaning —
A powerful prayer to you, our Guru,
A summary of your life and liberation!”
The Guru then replied:
“Listen well, Mutri Tsenpo!
Here is my concise teaching
In benefit for the future.
The story of my life and liberation
features all of the following:
Eight life-giving fathers,
Eight mothers who conceived me,
Eight emanated sons,
Eight dwelling places,
Eight masters whom I followed,
Eight yidam visions,
Eight signs of accomplishment,
Eight great charnel grounds,
Eight disciples who hold my lineage,
Eight solitary places,
Eight favoured consorts,
Eight enlightened deeds,
Eight hidden treasure sites,
Eight profound practice lineages,
Eight treasure-revealers, Lords of the Dharma.
First, my manifest forms are eight in number:
Gathering into great bliss all sentient beings of the three realms, I am Guru Pema Jungé, the Lotus-Born.
Sovereign of the teachings, Lord of the Dharma, I am Guru Padmasambhava.
Never tainted by flaws, embodying the three baskets, I am Guru Pema Gyalpo, the Lotus-King.
Perfect embodiment of all bliss, I am Guru Dorje Drolö, Wild Wrathful Vajra.
Equality of all yānas, pervading space, I am Guru Nyima Özer, Rays of the Sun.
Embodying all eight manifestations in a single form, I am Guru Śākya Senge, Lion of the Śākyas.
Proclamation of the Dharma throughout the six realms, I am Guru Sengé Dradrok, Lion's Roar.
Knowing the entirety of phenomena, I am Guru Loden Choksé, Wise Seeker of the Sublime.
This concludes the first chapter, My Eight Manifestations.
Second, my eight life-giving fathers:
My father who knows the all-encompassing unity of space and awareness is the dharmakāya, Samantabhadra.
My father who has abandoned the display of life and death is the protector Amitāyus.
My father, lord of all noble ones and all six classes of beings, is the Buddha Amitābha.
My father, the root of the Dharma, the mind of bodhicitta, is the sambhogakāya, the Great Compassionate One.
My father, the father of the Saṅgha, the foundation of the Dharma, is the nirmāṇakāya, Śākyamuni.
My father, the king of the great lineage, is King Indrabodhi.
My father, the first to welcome me, was the minister of religion, Triguṇadhara.
My father who gave me loving advice was ‘Sacred Golden Light.’
This concludes the second chapter, My Eight Life-Giving Fathers.
Third, the eight life-giving mothers who conceived me:
My mother of Lake Dhanakośa is the heart of a lotus.
My mother of unestablished great bliss is the immaculate Samantabhadrā.
My mother who praised my nirmāṇakāya form is Vajrayoginī.
My mother who honoured me as a worldly ruler was the queen, Prabhāvatī Devī.
My mother of the charnel grounds, who joined me in yogic conduct, is the glorious Vajravārāhī.
My mother who bestowed the four empowerments is the nun Kunga Mönlam.
My mother who entrusted me with the Kagyé is Khandro Leki Wangmo.
My mother who planted the life-tree of the teachings is the noble lady Tārā.
This concludes the third chapter, The Eight Mothers who Conceived me.
Fourth, my eight emanated sons:
My son who turned Tibet towards the Dharma was the Dharma King Songtsen Gampo.
My son who spread the sublime teachings was the Dharma King Trisong Deutsen.
My son who has kept the Dharma from vanishing is Prince Mutri Tsenpo.
My son who genuinely upholds the Dharma is the citizen Lu’i Wangpo.
My son who quelled and pacified violence is the Indian Kṛṣṇa Acārya.
My son who revitalized the Dharma is the refuge and protector of the degenerate age, Jowo Atiśa.
My son who tamed disciples according to their needs is Tilo Prajñāpāra.
My son who upholds the teachings of great meditators is the physician Candragomin.
This concludes the fourth chapter, My Eight Emanated Sons.
Fifth, my eight destinations:
I journeyed to Uḍḍiyāna, where I took birth in a lake.
I journeyed to Zahor, where I acted as the prince.
I journeyed to the land of heretics, where I defeated the four māras.
I journeyed to Vaiśālī, where I gave displays of miracles.
I journeyed to Kashmir, where I listened and reflected.
I journeyed to Khotan, where I benefited beings.
I journeyed to Nepal, where my fame was undisputed.
I journeyed to Tibet through the power of previous aspirations.
This concludes the fifth chapter, My Eight Destinations.
Sixth, my eight dwelling places:
I lived in Magadha, where I established the three baskets of the teachings.
I lived in Bodhgaya, where I followed monastic discipline.
I lived in the pleasure groves of the ten directions, and my fame spread far and wide.
I lived in my homeland, remaining free from partiality.
I lived in Siṃhala and trained in bodhicitta.
I lived in Gloomy Willow Grove, where I abandoned self-grasping.
I lived in the cave at Yangleshö, where I magnetized the three realms.
I lived in Samyé’s central temple, at the king’s invitation.
This concludes the sixth chapter, My Eight Dwelling Places.
Seventh, the eight masters whom I followed:
I followed the great Śrī Siṃha, who gave me the Great Perfection teachings.
I followed the Indian scholar Prabhahasti, who ordained me and gave me monk’s robes.
I followed Leki Wangmo, chief dākinī, who gave me the Eight Kagyé — peaceful and wrathful.
I followed Puṇḍarīka, king of the six realms, who gave me all the Kālacakra teachings.
I followed Vimalamitra in Kashmir, who gave me Amṛtakuṇḍali — peaceful and wrathful.
I followed Mañjuśrīmitra in Siṃhala, who gave me Mañjuśrī — peaceful and wrathful.
I followed Nāgārjunagarbha in Zahor, who gave me Padma — peaceful and wrathful.
I followed Dhanasaṃskṛta at Nālandā, who gave me Mamo — peaceful and wrathful.
This concludes the seventh chapter, The Eight Masters Whom I Followed.
Eighth, my eight yidam visions:
Upon opening the eight Kagye maṇḍalas, I attained the accomplishments of each sādhana.
Following this, in each of the eight terrifying charnel grounds I had a vision:
At Chilly Grove, through the sādhana of Amṛta, I had a vision of the deities of Amṛta’s Qualities.
At the Great Hūṃ Cave, through the sādhana of Śrī Heruka, I had a vision of the deities of Śrī Heruka’s Mind.
At Terrifying Grove, through the sādhana of Yamāntaka, I had a vision of the deities of Mañjuśrī’s Body.
At Lotus Mound, through the sādhana of Hayagrīva, I had a vision of the deities of Padma’s Speech.
At Zombie Grove, through the sādhana of Vajrakīla, I had a vision of the deities of Vajrakīla’s Activity.
At Spontaneous Mound, through the sādhana of Mamo, I had a vision of the deities of Mamo Bötong.
At All-Pervading Utter Joy, through the sādhana of the Worldly Deities, I had a vision of the deities of Lokapūjāstrota.
At Loka Mound, through the sādhana of the Fierce Mantras, I had a vision of the deities of Mantrabhīru.
This concludes the eighth chapter, The Sādhanas Practised in the Eight Charnel Grounds.
Ninth, my eight signs of accomplishment:
Exiled to the borderlands by the king of Uḍḍiyāna, I displayed the sign of subjugation, bringing the whole host of ḍākinīs under my control.
Impaled on a stake by the King of India, I displayed the sign of my own body’s invulnerability.
Cast into a river by the heretic king, I displayed the sign of being unaffected by water.
Burned alive by the king of Zahor, I displayed the sign of being unaffected by fire.
Personal guru to the king at Samyé, I displayed the sign of subjugation, bringing the eight classes of spirits under my control.
When the king hesitated to bow to me, I used magic to set his clothes on fire, displaying the sign of superiority.
When evil ministers spread rumours, plotting against me, I displayed the signs of disabling, paralysing and putting them to death.
When subduing the demons of the northwest, I displayed the sign of establishing them in the Dharma.
This concludes the ninth chapter, My Eight Signs of Accomplishment.
Tenth, my eight disciples who hold the Dharma lineage:
Namkhé Nyingpo, who rides the rays of the sun,
Sangye Yeshé, who pierces solid rock with a phurba,
Ngenlam Gyalchok, who sings the horse’s neigh,
Yeshé Tsogyal, who restores the dead to life,
Drogmi Palgyi, who makes mamos his servants,
Langchen Sengé, who overpowers haughty spirits,
Vairocana, whose realization is equal to Orgyen’s,
And the ruling monarch, sending forth his own emanations.
This concludes the tenth chapter, My Eight Disciples who Displayed Miracles.
Eleventh, my eight solitary places, as foretold in the prophecies:
Mönka Śrī Dzong,
This concludes the eleventh chapter, My Eight Solitary Places.
Twelfth, my eight favoured consorts:
The Indian princess, Mandāravā,
The qualified disciple, Yeshé Tsogyal,
The supreme attendant, Chogro Shagrön,
The supreme devotee, Margyen Shaltsho,
The four divine royal princesses –
Shalkar Tsedrön, supremely realized,
Lhacham Tromgyal, pre-eminent in land and riches,
Lhacham Pemasé, who captured the heart of the king,
Nüjin Salé, who captured the heart of the queen.
This concludes the twelfth chapter, My Eight Consorts.
Thirteenth, my eight enlightened deeds:
Unattached to saṃsāra, I engaged playfully in various amusements.
Equal to all the buddhas, I displayed various miracles.
Engaging in yogic disciplines, I accomplished the corpse practice.
Teaching the Dharma to wandering beings, I acted as mother and father.
Defeating the hosts of Māra, I cultivated the awakened mind of the Buddha.
Turning the wheel of Dharma, I established the land of Tibet.
Spreading the teachings far and wide, I concealed countless terma treasures.
Subjugating the rākṣasas, I established the world in bliss and happiness.
This concludes the thirteenth chapter, My Eight Enlightened Deeds.
Fourteenth, my eight hidden treasure sites:
I hid mind treasures, foreseeing the needs of different times.
I hid secret treasures — to arise upon seeing and hearing.
I hid profound treasures in symbolic script on yellow parchment.
I hid re-concealed treasures, wondrous and amazing.
I hid wealth treasures — as protection from poverty.
I hid minor treasures — to tame beings in myriad ways.
I hid two treasures that cannot be classified.
I hid heart treasures — for the protection of all that is precious.
This concludes the fourteenth chapter, My Eight Hidden Treasure Sites.
Fifteenth, my eight profound practice lineages:
These include the four collections and the four parts:
First, the four collections:
The Collection of the Lama Kagyé,
The Collection of the Yidam Kagyé,
The Collection of the Khandro Kagyé,
The Collection of the Dharmapāla Kagyé.
The four parts:
The Sun of the Great Perfection,
The Stages of Entering into Secret Mantra,
The Incantation of the Wrathful Guru,
The Noble Black Wrathful Mother.
This concludes the fifteenth chapter, My Eight Profound Practice Lineages.
Sixteenth, the eight revealers of my treasures, who are Lords of the Dharma:
These eight are the emanations of the eight great bodhisattvas:
Orgyen Lingpa, in the centre, Dorje Lingpa in the east,
Rinchen Lingpa in the south,
Padma Lingpa in the west,
Karma Lingpa in the north,
These eight great treasure revealers will be emanations of myself, Orgyen.
This concludes the sixteenth chapter, The Eight Revealers of My Treasures, who are Lords of the Dharma:
Listen well, great king!
I, Padma Jungné possess the five mundane and the five super-mundane perceptions.
It is with these perceptions that I know and understand.
Previously, I have been the Buddha of Infinite Light, Amitābha, the Protector Avalokiteśvara of Mount Potala, and Padma Jungné of Dhanakośa. Although these each arise as the expression of the three kāyas, they are ultimately inseparable and indivisible.
Abiding in the dharmadhātu is Samantabhadra; in Ghanavyūha is the great Vajradhara; and in Bodhgaya is the Great Sage himself. Inseparably, they are all spontaneously accomplished within myself, Orgyen.
Therefore, always pray to me!
The king’s descendants will be a hundred and thirteen in number, after which a Tartar emperor from China will lead an invading army into Tibet, laying to waste the people and the land, and destroying my temples.
At that time, there will be a man known as Sakya, an emanation of mine.
In the region of Tö, there will be a man named Jampal and a woman named Drolma.
They will be the parents of a son, Kunga Gyaltsen, Noble Protector of Beings.
He will rebuild my temples and spread the teachings of Secret Mantra far and wide, bringing happiness and wellbeing to the people of Tibet.
Later, greedy kings will take the throne, some of them acting like Dharma kings, and others like demons.
Some kings will establish the laws of Dharma, while others will destroy them.
During these times, people will constantly rise and fall.
An emanation of Atiśa, foretold by the Buddha and known as Lobzang, will appear in the mountain ranges of Do Kham. Through him, happiness and wellbeing will dawn once again in this land of Tibet, and virtuous people will regain courage.
A fort will be built in Lower Nyang at Nyima Do and a temple will be built on the red mountains at Lhasa.
Then, my emanation, Orgyen Lingpa will appear and reveal twenty-five treasures.”
At these words, the king began to weep.
Prostrating many times, and offering a maṇḍala, he asked:
“Guide of beings, Great Teacher, please tell me of the future of my lineage and the wellbeing of the Tibetan people. Great Mahāguru, please tell me these things.”
He then bowed in deep devotion.
The great Guru replied: “From this time on, your royal lineage in Tö will start to disappear, like fog on a mirror.
A new king will come, an extraordinary bodhisattva emanation, endowed with the characteristics found in the Sūtra of the Fortunate Aeon.
This freckle-faced king will have dominion over Tibet’s great cities, and the sun of happiness will shine without casting any shadows.
However, in the horse, sheep and monkey years, a Chinese army will come.
In the water male monkey year, there will be a military camp at Yarlung.
Finally, Tibet will be annexed under Chinese rule.
There will be discord within families and there will be war with mounted cavalry.
In Bumthang, there will be defeat in all sectors of the kingdom.
Then an emanation of myself will return to protect the Dharma, right across the empire.
There will be civil war in Nepal and the sun of happiness will grow dim in Tibet.
Have no doubt: it is bad conduct that brings forth dark times.
The times don’t change themselves — it is people who change them.
At this time, beings will not be known for their merit.
During the day, always pray to me, Pema Jungné.
Meditate on the Great Compassionate One;
Direct your hearts to others’ benefit, recite the maṇi mantra.
Show kindness to the six classes of beings, all of them your fathers and mothers.
At night, meditate on me, Pema Jungné,
And recite for your own benefit the vajra guru mantra.
I will protect all sentient beings throughout this degenerate age.
I will watch over you uninterruptedly, throughout the three times.
Thus, even if you are reborn in the three lower realms, you will be redeemed.
Although I’ve shown great kindness to Tibet, beings remain persistently ungrateful.
Yet, through the power of continuous prayers to me, I will avert all negativity, even at the very worst of times.
At that darkest of points, an emanation of Maitreya, named Trudün will appear, and liberate beings from suffering.
Once again, times will turn positive and happiness will increase.
Again and again, beings will have visions of the Buddha.
Day in and day out, I will come for the benefit of Tibet
And I will sleep at the door of all those who have faith.
My human body will never again pass away or take rebirth.
You, Mutri Tsenpo, will benefit beings for seventeen lifetimes
And then you will go to Uḍḍiyāna, the land of the ḍākinīs.
You, Lotsawa Vairocana, must take this profound life story,
the Dharma of Padma,
and hide it in the main temple of glorious Samyé,
to be passed on, in the future, to someone with the right karmic connection.
I cannot stay longer, but must go to tame the rakṣasas,
To turn them to the Dharma, without a single exception.
And so I take my leave,
Now that Tibet has been established within the Dharma.”
With these words, Padma Jungné turned his gaze to the south-west.
Samaya! Seal! Seal!
I, the treasure revealer Orgyen Lingpa, revealed this treasure from Samyé Chimphu.  Fortunate ones with a karmic connection, keep it close to your heart, this treasure of the profound life and liberation of the Guru Padma! If you read it once — clear, correct and in a pleasant tone — this will be equal to reading the whole of the Pema Kathang.  Sentient beings of this degenerate age have short lives and manifold diseases. They are afflicted by plagues of planetary spirits, nāgas and gyalpos, which bring hindrances and death. Succumbing to distractions, sentient beings have lost the support and protection of deities and spirits. If you set your mind in alignment with this story of life and liberation, and recite it a hundred or a thousand times, you will find that negativity will decrease and positivity increase.
Thus, having pacified all adventitious obstacles,
All evil spirits, all obstructing forces,
May our bodies become indestructible, like vajras!
Throughout this life, may all adversities be pacified,
And in the next, may we be reborn in the realm of Lotus Light!
The quintessence of this concise Life and Liberation
Of the Great Orgyen, Pema Jungné,
Has been put into writing by me, his devoted follower
In order to benefit both myself and others.
May the lives of great beings be long!
May there be an ocean of happiness and bliss!
May all mother-like beings,
Starting with my parents,
Purify their obscurations,
Perfect the two accumulations,
Swiftly attain the unexcelled state,
And be reborn in the sovereign pureland — Lotus Light!
May virtue increase!
| Translated by Kaleb Yaniger and Stefan Mang, 2016. Edited by Libby Hogg.
This does not apply exclusively to humans, but to any sentient being with good karmic connections, with discernment and dedication. ↩
More commonly known as King Indrabhūti. ↩
Triguṇadhara (trik na ‘dzin pa; trig na ‘dzin pa; or tri na ‘dzin pa) was King Indrabhūti’s principal Dharma minister. He was the first to set eyes on Guru Rinpoche, and it was he who suggested that Indrabhūti adopt him as a son. ↩
‘Sacred Golden Light’ (Suvarṇaprabhāsottama; gser ‘od dam pa) was the name of the eighth of the twelve Atiyoga Teachers (rdzogs chen ston pa bcu gnyis). Note – there is a sūtra bearing the same name. ↩
Prabhāvatī (Tib. ‘od ‘chang ma) is the name of the queen of Uḍḍiyāna, whom Guru Rinpoche took as his wife. (Alternative Sanskrit translations of her name are Prabhādharā and Bhāsadharā). ↩
Chief of all the wisdom ḍākinīs who manifest in various forms. She is also known as Guhyajñānā. ↩
Khön Lü'i Wangpo (Tib. ‘khon klu’i dbang po) was a disciple of Guru Rinpoche, and one of the first seven monks to be ordained in Tibet — the so called “seven men to be tested.” Together with his younger brother Ratnavajra, he received teachings on Vajrakīlaya and Yangdak Heruka; by practising these, he attained signs of realization. ↩
Kṛṣṇācārya, one of the 84 mahāsiddhas, was an East-Indian scholar of the Yoginītantras, especially of the Cakrasaṃvara, Kṛṣṇayamāri and Hevajra tantras. For a biography of Kṛṣṇācārya, see: David Templeman, Taranatha’s Life of Krsnacarya/Kanha, (Dharamsala: Library of Tibetan Works & Archives, 1989). ↩
Tilopa (988–1069), source of the Kagyü tradition. ↩
Candragomin was a major religious and literary figure in 7th century India. Many works of the Tibetan Tengyur are attributed to him. Candragomin was a lay master and scholar who dressed in the white robes of the yogic tradition and mastered the morality of the five precepts. ↩
Sri Lanka. ↩
Tib. lcang ra smug po. ↩
Puṇḍarīka (Tib. pad+ma dkar po) was a famous commentator on the Kālacakra Tantra, also believed to have been one of the kings of the Śambhala kingdom. ↩
This refers to Mamo Bötong (Tib. ma mo rbod gtong), one of the eight Kagyé deities. ↩
Tib. bsil ba’i tshal. Skt. Śītavana. Eng. _Cool Grove. ↩
Tib. h+UM chen brag. Eng. The Great Hūṃ Cave. ↩
Tib. ‘jigs byed tshal. Eng. Terrifying Grove. ↩
Tib. padma brtsegs. Eng. Lotus Mound. ↩
Tib. ro langs tshal. Eng. Vetāla Grove or Zombie Grove. ↩
Tib. lhun grub brtsegs. Eng. Spontaneous Mound. ↩
Tib. ma mo rbod gtong. Eng. Inciting and Dispatching Mamos. ↩
Tib. bde chen brdal ba. Eng. All-Pervading Utter Joy. ↩
Tib. 'jig rten mchod bstod. Skt. Lokastotrapūjā. Eng. Mundane Worship. ↩
Tib. lo ka brtsegs. Eng. Loka Mound or Mound of the World. ↩
Tib. dmod pa drag sngags. Skt. Mantrabhīru. Eng. Maledictory Fierce Mantra. ↩
King Trisong Deutsen. ↩
King Trisong Deutsen. ↩
Re-concealed termas (Tib. yang gter) are termas which, following discovery by a treasure revealer, are re-concealed and then rediscovered at a later date by another tertön. ↩
This refers to the eight terma treasures described here as collections and parts, revealed by Orgyen Lingpa. ↩
Orgyen Lingpa, the revealer of this biography, is in the centre, surrounded by his eight treasure revealers. ↩
Upper or Western Tibet. ↩
Eastern Tibet. ↩
The Sūtra of the Fortunate Aeon (Tib. bskal pa bzang po’i mdo. Skt. Bhadrakalpikasūtra) is a Mahāyāna sūtra taught by Buddha Śākyamuni in Vaiśālī at the request of Bodhisattva Pramuditarāja, which describes in detail the 1002 buddhas of this fortunate aeon. For an English translation of the sūtra, see: Dharma Publishing, The Fortunate Aeon: How the Thousand Buddhas Became Enlightened (Tibetan Translation Series), 4 Volume Set (Berkeley: Dharma Publishing, 1986). ↩
The Yarlung Valley is considered to be the cradle of Tibetan civilization. According to legend, it is where a monkey and a rock ogre together begat the Tibetan people, and where the first kings descended from heaven upon a sky-cord, landing on the summit of Mount Yarlha Shanpo. Back in the 7th century, it was here that Tibet civilization found its unified location, long before its resettlement in Lhasa ↩
This most likely refers to the Bumthang district of Bhutan, which borders modern day Tibet. Bumthang is known specifically for its affiliation with the Nyingma lineage. During the 14th and 15th centuries, the three great Nyingma masters, Longchen Rabjam, Dorje Lingpa, and Pema Lingpa (who was born in Bumthang), devoted much of their time to practice within the hills of this sacred land. ↩
The caves at Samyé Chimphu represent Guru Rinpoche’s enlightened speech. He resided in the Chimphu caves while Samyé monastery was being constructed, and he spent long periods there in retreat. The caves are located at the head of the valley, running parallel and to the northeast of the Samyé Valley, about 13 km from Samyé. ↩
The Pema Kathang (Chronicles of Padma), was also revealed by Orgyen Lingpa, the author of this text. It is one of the most famous biographies of Guru Rinpoche. For a summary of the Pema Kathang, see A Beautiful and Wondrous Udumbara Garland by Jamyang Khyentsé Wango. For an English translation of the complete Pema Kathang, see: Yeshe Tsogyal, The Life and Liberation of Padmasambhava, Vol. I & II (Emeryville: Dharma Publishing, 1978). The Tibetan version of the Pema Kathang can be easily found on TBRC. ↩