Advice for Khyunggö Tsal

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Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa

Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa

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Advice for the Vidyādhara Khyunggö Tsal[1]

from The Essential Amrita of Profound Meaning: Oral Instructions and Practical Advice Bestowed Upon Fortunate Followers, Eye-Opener to What Is to Be Adopted and Abandoned

by Chokgyur Lingpa

The hidden yogi who upholds the profound treasures,
The vidyādhara Khyunggö Tsal himself,
In his great kindness spoke excellent words
Of auspicious connection for my long life,
And offered abundant gifts of good fortune.

The questions he truthfully asked
Were no bother, but truly delightful.
I sincerely offer this humble answer
Regarding general, particular, and specific points.

In general, if one follows the Dharma,
Whether criticized or praised,
One is purifying obscurations.
Unfounded blame will definitely prolong one’s life.

Noble beings speak of qualities privately,
Ordinary people speak praises shamelessly.
Noble beings pay no attention to hollow fame.
Fools pursue food and wealth.

Bodhisattvas strive for others’ benefit.
Though the view and conduct of
Individual liberation, bodhisattvas, and mantra are limitless,
Having a good intention is the main rule.

So, though it may be difficult to accept some as bodhisattvas,
Those who’ve adopted the conduct of the Victorious One’s heirs
Have pledged never to criticize anyone.

Regarding the particular, more than a hundred monasteries
Accept the Dharma tradition of Nyima Drakpa.[2]
However much you refute it through scripture or reasoning,
They will never change their school of thought.

Mingyur Dorje classed him as a samaya violator,
And his doctrine holders and treasure practitioners
Were unanimously denounced by all the fathers and sons
Of the Karma, Drukpa, Nedo, and Zurmang Kagyü.

Whichever scripture or reasoning one uses in justification,
It is to no avail, and will be regarded as mere dry words.
Thus, there is no sense in my arguing about this.

Venerable Situ, who had an incurable tongue sickness,
Included Nyima Drakpa in his painting
Of three hundred tertöns, making him famous.
He thus manipulated auspicious connections to alleviate the curse.

No one is saying you must actually do this practice.
Eminent fathers and sons[3] of the past have already put a stop
To people practicing while holding onto doubt.
Gena Tertön,[4] who was at first seen as a tertön,
Was later rejected when obstacles arose.

As for me, I focus mainly on the oral lineage (kama) of the Early Translations
And supplement this with the treasure teachings
Of the two supreme tertöns, the thirteen Lingpas,
The five Drimé (Stainless Ones), and twenty-five Nüden (Powerful Ones).
For the sake of my own confidence, I practice my own treasures.

Aside from that, I do not dispute any of the tertöns
Who came before, or live now, or are yet to come,
But I leave them all be.

Regarding the specific, whenever you are first given a treasure teaching,
You should say that it is excellent.
You ask about the purpose of the empowerments and so forth
Of the lord root guru from Karma Monastery.[5]

In these degenerate times, there are numerous tertöns, good and bad.
It is best either to accept them all, as if making noodle soup,[6]
Or to leave them all equally aside.

Otherwise, accepting some and not others
Is a cause for attachment and aversion, and a condition for breaking samaya.
These are my thoughts on the matter.

Lord, with your wisdom sight,[7] you receive all extensively:
You have no particular experience of mistrust or criticism.
That is why we met as teacher and disciple.

Disparagingly saying that tertöns never talk to each other,
These biased people who criticize and praise
Are ablaze with exaggeration and denigration.

The behavior of people in these degenerate times lacks any purpose.
Their confusion especially, brought on by demons and evil forces,
Harms the teachings and is an obstacle to the paths and levels.[8]
Therefore, it is of utmost importance to be careful with one’s thoughts.

I hear there are people who criticize the Mindrolling followers—
Yet Mindroling is the primary basis of the Early Translation teachings!
It follows from both scriptures and reasoning that it accords with the genuine tantras.

If So, Zur, and Nub[9] have an authentic lineage,
Then their lineage-holders at Mindrolling also conform to the tantras.
If Dam, Tsang, and Jam[10] conform to the scriptures,
Then the associated Minling[11] conform to the Victorious One’s scriptures.
If Nyang, Gur, and Ling are likewise authentic,[12]
Then their Minling followers are endorsed through factual reasoning.

For you, too, it would be excellent to practice this tradition.
The Karma Kagyü are likewise closely connected to Minling—
Why else would their view and philosophy be so similar?
Above all, it is the Dharma lineage of Zhikpo Lingpa,
And the government told the Kagyü to exert their authority in this regard:
Official documents clearly state they should not assimilate their schools.
In addition, the son of the Minling Tertön, Rinchen Namgyal,[13]
Was the root guru of Tsewang Norbu.[14]

Beyond these, there are also many other reasons.
A tertön should benefit equally the teachings and beings.
If he establishes temples—the basis for the teachings—
And saṅghas—the root of the teachings—and so forth,
He is upheld as glorious among beings;
Spiritual service is the best way of practicing bodhicitta.

Within the Buddha’s tradition, I follow the traditional way;
The mother and child monastic assemblies are concordant with this.
For all these reasons, check for yourself whether thought and deed are virtuous.

Furthermore, here is my advice to you, based on the above:
Katok Dorje Den[15] is in the Mindrolling tradition;
Palyul and Shechen also conform to this tradition;
And Dzogchen Monastery—half of which is faithful
To the teachings and practices of Nyima Drakpa,
And the other half to those of Minling—is particularly remarkable.

This letter, together with inviolate, supreme samaya substances,
completely trustworthy precious accomplished medicine,
and a silken white scarf,
is offered by Chokgyur Lingpa.

| Samye Translations, 2024.


Source Text

mChog gyur gling pa, “rjes 'jug skal bzang rnams la bstsal pa’i zhal gdams bslab bya nyams len gyi skor spang blang mig 'byed zab don snying gi bdud rtsi.” In mchog gling bka’ ’bum skor. Vol. 36 of mChog gling bde chen zhig po gling pa yi zab gter yid bzhin nor bu’i mdzod chen po, 125–129. Kathmandu, Nepal: Ka-nying Shedrub Ling Monastery, 2004.

Version: 1.0-20240318

  1. The original text is untitled; this title has been added by the translators.  ↩

  2. Nyima Drakpa (1647–1710) was a prolific but controversial treasure-revealer, who was accused of using black magic to kill the Tenth Karmpa, Chöying Dorje (1604–1674). See Bryan Cuevas, "Nyima Drakpa," Treasury of Lives, accessed March 18, 2024,  ↩

  3. Literally “father and son” (yab sras) , this term usually refers to lineage masters and their disciples. In light of what follows, it seems it is here a reference to the Kagyü masters and disciples.  ↩

  4. Gena Tertön (sges sna gter ston) was one of the earliest treasure-revealers.  ↩

  5. Karma Monastery (karma dgon) was the main seat of the Karmapas in Tibet. According to Khyabjé Khenpo, Chokgyur Lingpa’s root guru there would have been Dabzang Rinpoche (zla bzang rin po che).  ↩

  6. That is mixing all the ingredients together in boiling water (long thug bkol bzhin).  ↩

  7. This might be a reference to the Karmapa.  ↩

  8. The paths (lam) and levels (sa) are the five paths and ten bhūmis of the bodhisattva vehicle.  ↩

  9. So, Zur, and Nub (so zur gnub) refer to three early masters of the oral lineage of the Early Translations.  ↩

  10. The first three founding fathers of Katok Monastery (dam gtsang byams gsum): Kadampa Deshek Sherab Senggé (kaH dam pa bde gshegs shes rab seng ge, 1122–1192), founder of Katok; Tsang Tön Dorjé Gyaltsen (gtsang ston rdo rje rgyal mtshan, 1126–1216), first Katok regent; and Jampa Bum (byams pa 'bum, 1179–1252), second Katok Regent.  ↩

  11. Minling (smin gling) is a contraction of Mindrolling.  ↩

  12. Nyangral Nyima Özer, Guru Chökyi Wangchuk and Dorje (?) Lingpa.  ↩

  13. 1694–1758  ↩

  14. Katok Rigdzin Tsewang Norbu (1698–1755).  ↩

  15. Katok Dorje Den (kaH thog rdo rje ldan) and the other monasteries listed are all important Nyingma monasteries in Tibet.  ↩

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