Melody to Delight the Fortunate
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Courtesy of Himalayan Art Resources
Melody to Delight the Fortunate
A Brief History of the Treasure Revelations of the Awakened Emanation, the Great Tertön Chokgyur Lingpa
by Chokgyur Lingpa
I bow down to the guru, sovereign of the ocean of maṇḍalas!
Within the nondual expanse of space, nonconceptual great bliss,
You are the original protector of unity, endowed with the seven aspects of union,
Vajradhara, who performs the dances of the net of illusion.
With this I offer homage.
Now, to begin with, there is something on which all scholar-practitioners agree: Fortunate disciples’ qualities relating to scripture and realization unfold from generating faith and devotion toward their teacher. Thus, since histories, or biographies, are indispensable for instilling trust, I will at this stage say a little bit about myself.
I am the one known as the emanated Great Tertön, Chokgyur Lingpa. When I was still young, I met with Padmasambhava, Orgyen Rinpoche, in person, at a place called Manika. There I received a revelation regarding the location of a practice cave of Orgyen. At the age of thirteen, I found a prophetic guide in the Crystal Cave of Yarlung Shelpuk. When I was fifteen, I had many deluded visions, not knowing whether they were deities or demons. It turns out that most were obstacles, but a few were omens portending the revelation of profound treasures. Apart from these few, any others that I have written down have turned out to be meaningless.
Then, in Namru, in a meadow with many flowing streams, I found a concise prophetic guide written on a parchment scroll. At the age of twenty, on the tenth day of the eighth month in the Earth Monkey year (October 7, 1848), I revealed the Dharma cycles of The Heart Practice, Dispeller of All Obstacles from Danyin Khala Rongo Rock. They were placed under a seal of secrecy for eight years. When I was twenty-two, in the year of the Bird (late February 1849–late February 1850), I revealed The Lotus-Crested Great Compassionate One from the Misty Fortress of Bündzong. However, since some auspicious coincidences did not fall into place, there were also signs of obstacles.
When I was twenty-five, I met with Kyabgön Situ Rinpoche, and offered him some treasure teachings and sacred substances, among other things. At the age of twenty-six, in the Tiger year (February 1854–February 1855), I revealed ancillary teachings to The Heart Practice from White Lady Rock. At the age of twenty-eight, on the fifteenth day of the fourth month in the Fire Dragon year (May 19, 1856), I revealed The Sevenfold Cycle of Profundity as a secret treasure from the Damchen Drak Cliff at Akaniṣṭha Karma. On the tenth day of the Monkey month of that same year (July 12 or August 10, 1856), I visited the Vanishing Cliff of Wangzhu Mountain at Namkha Dzö. Here I revealed statues, including two physical representatives (kutsab) and a protector statue; various sacred substances such as the Great Display; seven cycles of prophetic guides such as the guide for Yu; and sections of teachings in various parchments, including the parchment of The Five Nectars (Dütsi Nga). Later, from Danyin Khala Rock, I revealed several sections of The Heart Practice and various sacred substances that carried a seal of secrecy. In the ninth month (late October–late November) of that same year, from Mikyé Cliff in Kham, I found the crown belonging to the brahmin Black Heruka, and a Dharma treasure that I did not reveal.
On the fifteenth day of the eleventh month (January 10, 1857), the seal of secrecy of The Heart Practice, Dispeller of All Obstacles was lifted, and I opened up the maṇḍala and bound the deities to their oaths. That night, the doctrine-holder Zhabdrung Rinpoche had a vision of the sky filled with extraordinary vidyādharas. Others received signs that they had received Orgyen Rinpoche’s blessings. All alike had a vision of purifying smoke coiling into five-colored rainbow light and the entire sky filling with dots and spheres of such light. The great medicine accomplishment gathering (mendrub) that we performed on that occasion was my first. On the tenth day of that month, I revealed Garab Dorje’s reliquary from the summit of that sacred site. I also revealed a minor treasure from nearby.
On the third day of the twelfth month (January 28, 1857), at Lotus Crystal Cave in Meshö Dzamnang Phu, I revealed the Three Sections of the Great Perfection for all to see, and this was the first of my public revelations.
On the first day of the new Fire Snake year (February 25, 1857), I revealed The Concise Prophetic Guide to the Twenty-Five Major Sacred Sites (Nechen Nyerngé Dojang) from the Warrior Cave of Wangchen Drak Cliff. In the guru’s residence at Palpung, I disclosed the terma that recognized the holy site known as Tsadra Rinchen Drak. From that site too, I revealed a few prophetic guides. On the eighth day, after performing a great medicine accomplishment gathering in the capital with Kongtrul, Öntrul, and Zhabdrung Rinpoches, we went together to Sengchen Namdrak Cliff. On the fifteenth day, within sight of everyone present, I revealed a vital elixir from the rock and medicinal water from the earth, both of which still flow today. Other than that, I revealed the secret robes of Orgyen, his brocade cloak, and hat; Vajradharma’s wheel that liberates on sight; a piece of the Buddha’s robes; a pair of Tsogyal’s earrings made from sapphire, ruby, and emerald, and thin leaves of the finest gold as well as gold from the river Jambu; the clothes of Tri Songdetsen, Tsogyal, and Mandāravā; the robes of Vairocana; ornaments of Vajrasattva made from unknown material; a statue of the Guru made out of the Orgyen's own nose blood; many different precious substances; a reliquary box filled with medicinal substances; Orgyen’s seal; and volumes of Treasure teachings bound with the seal of secrecy, which turned out to be Anuyoga cycles containing The Sacred Dharma in Six Parchments (Damchö Shokdé Druk) and six great transmissions. Even though there were only about six grams of camphor remaining in the treasure casket, the crowd snatched it all up greedily. In addition, from Dzi Lotus Crystal Cave, I revealed the Dharma robes of Khenpo Bodhisattva, and I withdrew a longevity substance from Kerong. In the vicinity of these sites, I found several material treasures.
In the fourth month of that year (May–June 1857), I performed my ninth great medicine accomplishment, which was a practice of Vajrakīla. On that occasion, there appeared signs of accomplishment for all to see, as nectar poured from the torma and overflowed from the vase, and sublime beings had visions of their yidams. There also appeared unique visions of our teacher, the Buddha, confirming prophecies, and many other wonderful signs of accomplishment, both outer and inner. After that, from the supreme sacred site of Pema Wangpuk Cave in Bumdzong, before the eyes of more than a thousand fortunate ones who had gathered there, including Garzur and Chöje Rinpoches, I revealed sacred substances and Dharma treasures, as the five classes of ḍākinīs identified the sacred site. Others saw only vultures in place of the ḍākinīs.
Inside a lake, the nāga demon Kāla Rakṣa entrusted me with a stone casket. I went inside the ancient holy site of Né Nyingpuk Cave, and Orgyen Rinpoche, together with an oceanic retinue of ḍākinīs, arrived. The father and mother lovingly gave me advice, manifesting many amazing physical aspects and behaving very playfully. From Orgyen’s throne, I revealed the Tārā statue of self-arising compassion, the relic pills of Prabhāhasti, The Six Practice Cycles of Zurza, and the Dharma cycle of The Lotus Net of Illusion of the Great Compassionate One (Tukjé Chenpo Pema Gyutrül Drawa). Later, in Chongjang Mukpo, I learned that there was a Dharma cycle of the Assembly of All Sugatas in the vicinity of Karma.
This account was given in the year of the male Iron Monkey (late February 1860–late February 1861). Let it be known to all.
| Translated by Samye Translations (trans. Oriane Sherap Lhamo and Paul Thomas, ed. Peter Woods and Libby Hogg), 2023.
mchog gyur gling pa. "sprul pa'i gter chen mchog gyur gling pa'i gter 'byung mdor bsdus skal ldan dga' ba bskyed pa'i dbyangs snyan zhes bya ba bzhugs so." In sprul pa’i gter chen o rgyan mchog gyur bde chen zhig po gling pa phrin las ’gro ’dul rtsal gyi zab gter yid bzhin nor bu’i mdzod chen po, Vol. 36: 197-204. Kathmandu: Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery, 2004.
Samuel, Geoffrey. Civilized Shamans: Buddhism in Tibetan Societies. Washington DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1993.
Samye Translations. The Great Tertön, Revised Edition. Kathmandu: Samye Translations, 2023.
Prophetic guides (kha byang) are lists of treasures and instructions usually received by a tertön prior to revelation; they indicate the particular place, time, retinue, and methods of revelation appropriate to each treasure. Samuel 1993, 137. ↩
Zhabdrung Rinpoche in this context refers to Jamyange Khyentse Wangpo. ↩
Note found in the original text: “It seems a location list for Jewel-Heaped Cliff was also written there.” ↩
This is another common title for Śāntarakṣita, the learned abbot from Nālandā who ordained the first Tibetan monks and worked with Guru Padmasambhava to translate the Dharma into the Tibetan language. ↩
Garzur Rinpoche refers to Zurmang Garwang Rinpoche. ↩
Likely an alternate spelling for Changra Mukpo (lcang ra smug po), which is mentioned in the Wish-Fulfilling Tree as where Guru Padmasambhava bound the gyalpo spirits under oath. ↩