The Wish-Fulfilling Tree

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Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa

Guru Padmasambhava

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The Wish-Fulfilling Tree: The Life Story of the Master of Uḍḍiyāna

As Found in Padmasambhava’s Sevenfold Cycle of Profundity

revealed by Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa

Chapter One

Emaho! How marvellous!
I, Padma, shall here present the story of my life—
How I mastered the sacred Dharma of the three vehicles
How my deeds for beings became a constant flow
And how I have unceasingly spun the Wheel of Dharma.

Each and every sentient being of the sixfold classes
Incessantly strays through samsara, confused, unknowing.
Especially in the Age of Strife, the dregs of time,
Beings are steeped in the five poisons and act in errant ways.
To inspire them, difficult as they are to change,
The dharmakāya buddhas directed their attention;
The sambhogakāya buddhas asserted their command;
And the nirmāṇakāya buddhas in conference all agreed
That I, the Lotus Master, should appear in this world, Jambudvīpa.

Perceived by some, I magically appeared in Uḍḍiyāna,
Upon a lotus flower on the waters of Dhanakośa.
Perceived by others, I was the son of Uḍḍiyāna’s king.
Perceived by still others, I descended like a thunderbolt
Onto the peak of Mount Meteoric Iron.

In any case, it was twenty-four years after Śākyamuni’s passing
That Amitābha took the form of a bodhisattva,
The Great Compassionate One,[1] and from his heart
He magically conjured me, Padma, as the letter hrīḥ.

What’s more, I arrived in all the worlds like the rain,
Descending upon countless millions of billions of places.
Indeed, the deeds of the Conquerors surpass the reach of thought:
Who could ever measure them or limit their scope?

Nevertheless, conjured I was to Jambudvīpa,
As the destined son of Uḍḍiyāna’s king.
Over that kingdom I reigned, turning the Wheel of Mahāyāna Dharma,
So that everyone would together realize true awakening.
Then, I journeyed through the lands of India
And learned to perfection the fivefold fields of knowledge.[2]

This was the first chapter in Padma’s Wish-Fulfilling Tree, my story of liberation, on how I came into this world and trained in the fields of knowledge.

Chapter Two

In India, I raised questions on the sūtras with Ānanda,
Buddha Śākyamuni’s close disciple.
In Prabhahasti’s presence I became a renunciant monk,
And studied all the teachings of the triple yogas.[3]

Then I went before the master Prahevajra[4]
And requested every doctrine on the Heart Essence of the Great Perfection.
And at the feet of master Buddhaguhya,
I received the Secret Essence, Net of Illusion[5] hundreds of times.

At Śrī Siṃha’s feet I then bowed down,[6]
Receiving every tantra of Mahottara Heruka.[7]
I went before the master Mañjuśrīmitra
And received all the tantras of Mañjuśrī Yamāntaka[8] without exception.

Then I went to Nāgarjuna, the great master,
To request the tantras and sādhanas of Lotus Speech. [9]
I visited the great master Hūṃkāra and received 
All the tantras and sādhanas for Yangdak, Mind of Perfect Purity. [10]

In the presence of the master Vimalamitra 
I received the tantras and sādhanas of Amrita Qualities. [11]
I went before the master Dhanasaṃskṛta 
And requested the tantras and sādhanas of Kīla Activity. [12]

Once again, I journeyed back to Prabhahasti 
And received from him the hundred thousand verses of the Sublime Knowledge of Kīla.[13]
At the feet of Śāntigarbha, the great master,
I received the tantras and sādhanas for Jikten Chötö[14] and Möpa Drakngak.[15]

Furthermore, from accomplished masters in great numbers
I received a plethora of empowerments, explanations, and instructions 
On a plethora of tantras, statements, and sādhanas 
Of the Tripiṭaka[16] and the outer and inner Secret Mantra. 

This was the second chapter in Padma’s Wish-Fulfilling Tree, my story of liberation, on how I requested key instructions from all the masters and resolved all uncertainty.

Chapter Three

Then I reached perfection in my practice 
In India’s eight major charnel grounds and sacred places, 
And with diverse siddhi signs, I overcame the hordes of māras. 
Above all, when trouble arose at the Vajra Throne[17] of India 
By evil-minded teachers preaching extreme beliefs, 
I settled it with logic and used my power to defeat them. 
Five hundred paṇḍitas then placed me on a throne, 
And as the Buddha’s regent I preserved the doctrine for a hundred years. 
Later, Vimalamitra, the great paṇḍita, became my successor. 

I, Guru from Uḍḍiyāna, went to the land of Zahor, 
Where the ruler, in his ignorance, had me burned alive. 
I displayed a miracle, transforming the pyre into a lake, 
Which set everyone in the kingdom onto the Dharma path. 
There I upheld the Buddha’s teachings for two hundred years. 

Then I went to attain immortality in Māratika, 
And Lord Amitāyus appeared before my eyes 
To bestow one hundred and eight sādhanas on longevity. 
I then proceeded to the Akaniṣṭha Realm of Dense Array,[18]
And to the pure realms of the five buddha families. 
There I requested tantras from all the sugatas 
And conversed with all the nirmāṇakāya buddhas, who declared: 
“There is no buddha apart from this: your mind!” 

In the upper practice cave of Yangleshö, [19]
In order to attain the siddhi of the Great Seal, [20]
I performed the practice of glorious Yangdak Heruka. 
Hindrances arose, inflicting pain upon India and Nepal, 
So I asked my masters to send me Dharma methods to repel them. 
The messengers carried back the Sublime Knowledge of Kīla, 
And by its mere arrival in Nepal, all hindrances were quelled. 
Thus, I achieved the supreme siddhi—the Great Seal. 

While I was practicing at Yari Gong, Upper Slate Mountain,
Argumentative extremists again challenged the Vajra Throne. 
Ḍākinīs appeared before a group five hundred Buddhist scholars,
And told them to send a message to Sūrya Siṃha, the Indian king,
And to his priests, to call me back to the Vajra Throne.
There, I once again defeated all extremist teachers.

With the eight great masters[21] I then travelled to Cool Grove cemetery,[22]
And for seven days we remained in meditation there.
On the final night, at the Great Enchanting Mound Stūpa,[23]
We were all meditating when we beheld
That the stūpa was glowing with light, sparks flashing—
A ḍākinī[24] appeared and gave us each a casket of treasure teachings.
While I personally received the instructions for the Assembly of Sugatas,[25]
Each of the masters also received a mandate of their own.
For a long time we remained at the Vajra Throne, preserving the Dharma.

This was the third chapter in Padma’s Wish-Fulfilling Tree, my story of liberation, on how I upheld the teachings in the land of India and established every country in the Dharma.

Chapter Four

Then, through the force of aspirations in the past,
Tri Songdeutsen, who was a Dharma-upholding king,
Gave rise to deep-felt wishes that a temple be built,
And invited Śāntarakṣita, the great paṇḍita, to pacify the site.
But, while the land was tamed without a problem,
The paṇḍita pretended otherwise and prophesied my arrival;
Three emissaries[26] were thus sent with an invitation and gold.

They requested permission from the Indian king and his priests,
Who discussed whether I should be allowed to come.
Even though the Indian lands were under threat from extremist teachers,
The predicted time had come for spreading Dharma in Tibet.
They decided that I should undertake the journey
And signed the letter; the messengers were sent ahead.
That was when I set out from India.

As I approached central Nepal, the Tibetan gods and demons
Grew concerned—soon all became wracked with worry.
Once again, five more messengers were sent,
And we met in Mangyul; they were the first Tibetans
To have faith in my miraculous abilities.

In Tibet, on the shore of Nyima Khü, Sun Rim Lake,
I bound the yakṣas and rākṣasas under oath.
I bound the Tenma Sisters atop Khala Pass,[27]
Gangkar Shamé,[28] Tingmen of Jang
And Tinglomen,[29] and local guardians of Jang.[30]
In Tsang at Oyuk, on the dreadful pass of Shang,
I subdued Dorjé Lekpa,[31] and in Yeru and Yönru
The malicious mountain spirits Osham and Tanglha.[32]

On sacred Mount Kailash I subdued the gyukar constellation gods,[33]
And on Targo’s Snowy Range I bound the zadü planetary demons.[34]
At Namtso Chükmo I bound the mentsün medicine ladies[35] to oath,
And at Ma Tsongön I subdued the lumen nāga goddess.[36]
At Dentig Cliff I bound the Magyel mountain god,[37]
And at Rotam Nakpo, likewise, the mayam plague mothers.[38]

In Atarong Gorge I bound the gongpo demons,[39]
And at Melung Cliff I subdued the genyen.[40]
At Red Wang Shümar I bound the lhatsen warrior deities[41] under oath,
And on Kam’s snowy range, the lutsen warrior nāgas.[42]

At Divine Zhakra Peak I bound the kulha body guardians,[43]
And at Black Thökar Nakpo I subdued the lhatsen warrior deities.
At Black Trigo Nakpo I bound the gya deities under oath,[44]
And at Dark Changra Mukpo, all the gyalpo sovereign spirits[45] under oath.

In Tsawarong Gorge I bound the sadak earth lords under oath,[46]
And at La Kangchik, all the theurang hammer-wielders.[47]
At the Bo Gorge I bound the lutsen warrior nāgas,
And across the Six Ranges of Nédruk Gang, all the ludü demon nāgas.[48]

At Anchung Dzong Fortress the genyen spirits came to greet me,
And at Sengé Dzong I bound the yapang spirits of meadows and crags. [49]
At Namkha Dzong I bound the lhanyen spirits[50] under oath,
And at Māra’s Rock of Dükyi Drak, all the barlön deputy spirits.[51]

At Mayo Glacier I bound the great nyenchen spirits,[52]
And on Poyi Drak Cliff I subdued a dümen demoness.[53]
At Khyungto Nakpo I bound a dütsen warrior demon,[54]
And at Düri Nakpo Mountain, a dügyal demon king[55] as well.

At the holy site of Buchu[56] I bound the minor lutren nāgas,
And at Lharu Tse I subdued the menial lhatren gods.
At the holy site of Dakpo I bound the gurlha hunting gods,[57]
And likewise, at the site of Maldro, all the nāgas.

In the southern land of Mön[58] I bound the mudü demons,[59]
And in Sikkim, Land of Crops, the rongdü valley demons[60] as well.
On Lapchi’s snowy range I bound the four semo sisters,[61]
And, at the Jamtrin Temple in Kyirong, all the mamo mother goddesses.[62]

In the valley of Tsang gods and humans welcomed me,
And everyone in Tölung came to greet me as well;
All along the way there emerged springs of siddhi nectar.

At Drakmar’s Tamarisk Grove, the king came forth to greet me,
And although he was emperor, an emanation of Mañjuśrī,
The veil of his human birth was extremely dense,
And so he failed to see my qualities in full.

High and mighty, full of pride, the king’s attitude was offensive.
Therefore I sang a song of my greatness and displayed my magic.
The emperor’s faith was kindled; he bowed down low
And presented a throne of gold and gifts in great abundance.
All of Tibet’s gods and humans then came to pay their respects.

This was the fourth chapter in Padma’s Wish-Fulfilling Tree, my story of liberation, on how the monarch of Tibet invited me to his land and how the gods and demons were subdued.

Chapter Five

Then I summoned every god and demon in the kingdom of Tibet,
Gave them orders, bound them to oaths, and consecrated the whole land.
With vajra dance and song of hūṃ, they were brought under my command.
During the daytime, the people laid down Samyé’s foundations,
But the gods and demons built throughout the night.
The Four Great Kings[63] assisted, supervising their work;
And as the walls went up with joyful, clamorous song,
Gods and demons raised them even higher at night than humans by day!

Meanwhile, between the king and nāgas a covenant was made,
And the nāgas were assigned to fill the land with golden dust.
Samyé was constructed according to different designs:
The central temple with three stories was built like Mount Meru,
The two yakṣa temples like the sun and moon,
And the whole was ornamented with the four continents and eight minor isles.
One hundred and eight stūpas placed upon the Iron Mountain wall,[64]
And four female dogs of copper were set upon four stone pillars.

The three stories were made in the styles of India, China and Tibet.
Samantabhadra was the central figure in the upper story,
With the maṇḍala of Vairocana’s Awakening.[65]
In the middle story, the chief figure was Vairocana,
Surrounded by the deities of the Vajra Space Maṇḍala.[66]
Central on the ground floor was the Great Awakened One,[67]
With all the buddhas of the ten directions and their closest heirs.

All the temples were consecrated, flower petals strewn,
And wisdom deities descended into every statue for all to see.
Rays of light blazed forth and the sound of music was heard.
All the gods showered down a rain of flowers,
And the nāgas came to offer gifts of precious gems;
Thus the world was filled with every auspiciousness.

The male and female protectors arrived to flank the temple’s sides.
The stone pillars shot forth flames, and the dogs growled and barked.
Three times arura fruits[68] were showered down like rain.
Over all Tibet and Kham[69] auspicious signs and goodness reigned.
Both gods and men were filled with joy, again and yet again—
And so the banner of fame was unfurled across the land.

This was the fifth chapter in Padma’s Wish-Fulfilling Tree, my story of liberation, on how I built the monastery of Samyé and performed its consecration.

Chapter Six

Then, we, Abbot and Master,[70] conferred:
“This kingdom of Tibet is a land of savages;
They don’t know good from evil, so how can Dharma’s truth be taught?
Since Tibet’s ministers have become filled with jealousy,
Once the king’s wishes are fulfilled, to our own lands let us return.”

The emperor caught wind of their discussion,
And he grew deeply saddened, shedding many tears.
He then presented us with yet another priceless golden maṇḍala.

“Masters, out of your deepest kindness pay heed!
The wishes of I, Tri Songdeutsen, are grand indeed,
For this land of Tibet is savage, shrouded in darkness;
Not a single word of the Dharma here resounds.
Masters, perhaps you’re disappointed, but take pity upon us:
I beg you, please, care for us with your awakened compassion!”

“As enlightened emanations you entered this wretched land,
And, as bodhisattvas, your work is to care for others.
You have no other task than to fulfill the needs of beings.
I, Tri Songdeutsen, beseech you—please fulfill my prayers!

“Although I have built shrines for the awakened body, speech, and mind
And brought the Dharma of sūtra and Tantra to Tibet,
It still must spread through study, practice and meditation.
So, masters, please ensure that this takes place!
Abbot, Master, I beseech you both—do not leave; stay here, in Tibet!”

We, Master and Abbot, discussed, and we decided to remain.
I could foresee all those Tibetan children of noble birth
That should be assembled, we taught them how to translate.
From among this multitude, one hundred lotsāwas[71] emerged,
Including Ka, Chok and Zhang,[72] and Vairocana above all.
While I led the translation of all the outer and inner tantras,
The Abbot was in charge of all aspects of sūtra and vinaya.

Since the basis for the Dharma is the precious Saṅgha,
Eleven hundred Tibetan youngsters then took the vows of monks.
We then told them the names of each and every Indian master,
And sent the hundred lotsāwas off to the land of India.

One hundred great paṇḍitas were invited to Tibet—
Vimalamitra, Buddhaguhya, and others of their kind.
Paṇḍitas, lotsāwas, and the Abbot and Master—we took our seats in the temple
Upon beautiful and lofty thrones, all wrapped in rich brocade,
And we were served the finest treats and offered maṇḍalas of gold.

The teachings of sūtra and tantra we translated in their entirety.
The three collections of vinaya, sūtra and abhidharma,
The pāramitā[73] in its longer, medium and shorter forms—
Thus, all the sūtra teachings, without exception, we translated.
The definitive teachings, such as the Mahāparinirvāṇa sūtra[74]
All of them, without exception, we translated.

Kriyā and Yoga tantras such as the Vajra Summit[75]
All the outer tantras, without exception, we translated.
The eight tantras of the Net of Illusion, including the Secret Essence,
The Scripture of Assembly transmissions, the Mind Section cycles,
The Eight Sādhana Teachings, and the five root tantras
And ten specific tantras, fifteen in all—
An untold number of Secret Mantra’s inner tantras we translated.

Moreover, countless teachings of sūtra and Tantra
Were, day and night, translated, studied, and explained.
Throughout the Tibetan kingdom we established Dharma schools
And compiled sūtras and tantras into myriad volumes.

With parasols and banners, pennants and streamers,
With articles of offering, countless in number,
All so very beautiful and resplendently arranged,
The volumes were carried upon the shoulders of monks,
While in between they carried all kinds of offerings.

The paṇḍitas and lotsāwas were seated in horse-drawn chariots,
With parasols floating above and banners at their flanks.
Untold numbers of instruments filled the air with music,
As they circled the temples, led always by fragrant incense.
This was the day when Namkhé Nyingpo displayed miracles,
And all the scriptures were ceremoniously installed in the middle story.[76]

Then thrones were erected upon Yobok Meadow
And they were each offered a golden maṇḍala and a golden brick,
A set of garments each, and a roll of silk and wool.
They were offered a horse, a mule, and a male and female dzo,[77]
A lamb’s wool coat, a woollen jacket, a leather case, and a block of tea,
As well as a hundred coins of gold, and a thousand pieces of silver, each.

Once these were offered, the king rose from his seat.
He spoke about his royal lineage, Tibetan customs, and his vision,
And he extoll the virtues and kindness of the paṇḍitas and lotsāwas.
Then Vimalamitra and other great paṇḍitas spoke
Of the origins of the Dharma and the reasons for its greatness.

Next, Vairocana and the other lotsāwas spoke
About the great paṇḍitas’ virtues and the translation of Dharma.
Gö and other ministers also distributed gifts
And spoke of the ways in which their wishes had been fulfilled.
All the citizens, in turn, created merit, each according to their means.

Then the great paṇḍitas, each escorted by their lotsāwa,
Embarked upon their journeys home to their own lands.
Like the rising sun, the Dharma now shone upon Tibet.

This was the sixth chapter in Padma’s Wish-Fulfilling Tree, my story of liberation, on how paṇḍitas and lotsāwas were invited to translate the sūtra and Tantra teachings.

Chapter Seven

Then I, the Lotus Master, was engaged in sādhana practice
At the secluded hermitage of Samyé Chimphu,[78]
When King Tri Songdeutsen, as the monarch of Tibet,
Accompanied by Namkhé Nyingpo and Sangyé Yeshé,
Gyalwa Chöyang and Lady Yeshé Tsogyal,
Palkyi Wangchuk and Dorjé Düdjom,
Vairocana and the other royal subjects
Presented me with maṇḍalas of gold and requested
Repeatedly that I reveal the Assembly of Sugatas maṇḍala.

Then, after I had revealed the maṇḍala to the king and subjects,
I conferred the Assembly’s grand empowerment upon them.
This was when the monarch’s flower fell upon Mahottara,[79]
Namkhé Nyingpo’s flower fell upon Yangdak Heruka,
While Sangyé Yeshé’s flower fell upon Yamāntaka.
Gyalwa Choyang’s flower landed upon Hayagrīva,
And Yeshé Tsogyal’s flower fell upon Kīla.
Palkyi Wangchuk’s flower landed on Mamo,
While Dorjé Düdjom’s fell upon Jikten Chötö,
And Vairocana’s flower landed on Möpa Drakngak.
And so they practiced, each within their destined maṇḍala.[80]

The king and disciples all brought forth signs of accomplishment:
Tri Songdeutsen overpowered others’ experience with his splendor;
Namkhé Nyingpo rode on the sun’s rays, as though astride a horse;
Sangyé Yeshé plunged his dagger into the solid rock;
Gyalwa Chöyang sent forth horse neighs from his crown;
Yeshé Tsogyal could revive human corpses;
Palkyi Wangchuk caused paralysis by pointing his dagger;
Dorjé Düdjom moved about freely, as fast as the wind;
And Vairocana employed the spirits as his servants.
Indeed, the king and disciples showed many other siddhi signs as well.

Additionally, I gave the ripening empowerments and the liberating instructions
For the myriad maṇḍalas of the Embodiment of the Gurus’ Realization, Embodiment of the Yidams’ Realization, Embodiment of the Ḍākinīs’ Realization,
And the Embodiment of the Protectors’ Realization.
Thus, I spread the teachings for the retreat centers of Tibet.

This was the seventh chapter in Padma’s Wish-Fulfilling Tree, my story of liberation, on how I gave the ripening empowerments, and how the king and disciples showed the signs of accomplishment.

Chapter Eight

It was then that I, the Lotus Master, had a realization:
“Here in Tibet, the teachings of both sūtra and Tantra,
Of the outer, inner, and innermost Vajrayāna,
Have been studied, meditated upon, and practiced, siddhi signs achieved.
Yet the essence of them all, an indispensable teaching—
The Ocean of Dharma, the Gathering of Transmitted Precepts[81]
I must now bestow upon the king and disciples with care.”
It was at that moment that the king, together with the three princes,
Requested me to give it in the expanded way, inside Chimphu Cave.

Later, while I was concealing many treasures of the awakened mind,
The Tibetan emperor, King Tri Songdeutsen,
With Muné Tsenpo, who was the senior prince,
And the second prince, whose name was Murup Tsenpo,
And Mutik Tsenpo, the youngest prince,
Along with Gyalwa Chöyang and the Lotsāwa of Langdro,
The great Jñānakumara of Nyak, with others,
Vairocana and Palkyi Sengé of Shübu,
Tingdzin Zangpo and Dorjé Düdjom,
Palkyi Wangchuk and Wangchuk of Odren,
Ācārya Salé and Dorjé Tso of Shelkar,
Drokben Lotsāwa and Tsogyal with three servants,
The three brides of the three princes, among others—
All came, each with their following, to Namkha Dzong in Kham.

After unveiling the Ocean of Dharma, the Gathering of Transmitted Precepts,
I gave the king and disciples the ripening empowerments
And thoroughly explained the essential liberating instructions.
After practicing this one-pointedly for seven years, retinue alongside,
The king could freely move through rocks and mountain,
Muné Tsenpo beheld the deity in person,
Murup Tsenpo gained the wakefulness of greatest bliss,
Mutri Tsenpo saw the very essence of his mind,
Vairocana soared like a bird into the sky,
Gyalwa Chöyang transformed his body into a bonfire,
Könchok of Langdro’s form became a fiery mass of light,
Sangyé Yeshé arrived at the stage of Universal Light,
The great Jñāna of Nyak realized the exhaustion of phenomena,
Kharchen Tsogyal drew immortal nectar out of solid rock,
Salé the Ācārya shattered boulders with bare hand,
Drokmi Palkyi Yeshé’s gaze burned down forests,
Dorjé Düdjom’s gaze evaporated an entire lake,
Tingdzin Zangpo pierced straight into a mountain wall,
Lady Shelkar [82] used the mamo spirits as her servants.
Many were the signs of siddhi displayed by the disciples.

All the scriptures were then written down in magical letters
And concealed as treasures at seven supreme sites.
Moreover, I predicted those who would reveal them,
Sealed them with commands, made wishes, and conferred empowerments.
In the Age of Strife,[83] when the lifespan is but thirty years,
I predicted that these treasures would appear; such is my samaya!

This was the eighth chapter in Padma’s Wish-Fulfilling Tree, my story of liberation, on how I revealed the Ocean of Dharma, the Gathering of Transmitted Precepts and concealed it as treasure.

Chapter Nine

After this, I wrote down all of the profound Dharma teachings
In five kinds of writing upon parchment of five kinds of material,
And inserted it in caskets, extraordinary and wondrous.
In Lhasa, Samyé, and in Yoru Tramdruk,
At the Border Taming and Further Taming Temples,[84]
At the Sheldrak Cave of Yarlung and the Lhodrak Cliff of Kharchu,
At the Yangdzong Fortress of Drak, and in Dawaphuk Cave at Yerpa,
In Yamalung Valley and Zabu Valley in Tsang,
At Mount Trapzang and at Riwoché in Tsang,
On Lapchi’s snowy range and Yolmo’s snowy ridge,
At Namkechen and the eight sites of Bhutan,
At Tsari Gyala and the holy site of Sengdam Buwo,
At the extraordinary Drakar Cliff of Tidro,
And at the twenty-five sacred places of Upper and Lower Kham—
Five for awakened form, five for speech, and five for awakened mind,
Five for qualities and five for the awakened activities—
At all these places I practiced, consecrating the sites,
Where I concealed countless treasures, both major and minor.

Even though the teachings now shine like the light of the sun,
Within three generations of the present king’s descendants
There will appear a king with ox-shaped head and malicious plans.[85]
That is when, due to a trouble-making minister with raven-like head
The Buddha’s teachings will be torn to the ground.

Afterwards, the royals and disciples now present
Will in the future, owing to their noble aspirations,
Appear as two supreme treasure revealers,[86] twenty Lingpas,[87]
Another hundred tertöns, lords of the teachings,
With a thousand and two minor tertöns in their retinue.
Moreover, re-concealed termas will be countless in number.

The propagators of these teachings, doctrine-holding masters,
Will appear by the hundreds, accompanying each great tertön.
Each area will have its own revealer of treasure,
And the places of my sādhana practice will each have a treasure site.

In each district there will appear a siddha of renown,
And every town will have a master as object of veneration.
For each householder there will be a monk, worthy of offerings,
And a yogin to subdue their hindrances and threats.
Thus, in the future, the teachings will fill every corner of the land.
All of this shall be the work of my awakened emanations.
So bring forth pure perception, future people of Tibet and Kham!

This was the ninth chapter in Padma’s Wish-Fulfilling Tree, my story of liberation, on how I concealed the treasures and predicted their revealers.

Chapter Ten

Then I declared, “Our teacher Śākyamuni Buddha,
In the Sūtra of Predictions in Magadha, spoke these words:
'The rākṣasas will pour out from the lands of the southwest;
They will invade and extinguish this Jambu continent.’
My work for the Tibetans is now complete, in my direct form,
So I shall go to the southwest, to tame the rākṣasa ogres.”

When the prince[88] heard these words,
He cried out before me, deeply saddened,
And tried to dissuade me from departing.
Out of kindness and to benefit the people of Tibet,
I foretold representatives of my body, hid treasures to represent my speech,
And entrusted my heart-realization to predestined heirs—
As I explained this point, the prince’s sadness disappeared;
And so I decided to travel to the land of rākṣasas.

Everyone escorted me to the mountain pass of Mangyul,
Where I gave my testament to the prince and the Tibetan people,
Along with thirteen pith instructions that clear away obstacles
And protect your descendants, in the form of a prayer,[89]
And the inner sādhana with its many applications.[90]
These were concealed at Khala Rongo in Mangyul.

All those who could not meet me, all beings of the times to come,
Should study and recite my story of liberation.
Memorize to perfection and understand it to its depths.
When you read this biography during your six sessions,
Bring me to mind, and then call upon me in this way:

“Emaho! Dharmakāya Samantabhadra and Vajradhara, the Sixth,
Vajrasattva, our teacher, and the blessed King of Śākyas,
Lord of Boundless Life, Amitāyus, and All-Seeing Avalokiteśvara—
To you, Padma, who is inseparable from them all, we pray!
In essence, your awakened body is Mañjuśrī Yamāntaka;
In essence, your awakened speech is mighty Hayagrīva;
And, in essence, your awakened mind is Yangdak Heruka—
To you, our Wish-Fulfilling Guru, we pray!
Your overwhelming qualities are Mahottara Heruka;
Your awakened activity Vajrakumāra, in essence;
And you rule over the mamos and ḍākinīs as Ngöndzok Gyalpo—
To you, Supremely Glorious Tötreng Tsal, we pray!
Your form encompasses the illusory net of peaceful and wrathful deities,
The melody of your speech holds the twelve special qualities,
And your unimpeded wisdom pervades everywhere—
To you, Overlord of the Ḍākinīs, we pray!
You foretold representatives of your body, hid treasures for your speech,
You entrusted your heart-realization to destined heirs,
And you left your loving testament for all the Tibetan people—
To you, the kindest of awakened emanations, we pray!
We recall your overwhelming kindness, Guru Rinpoché—
Please remember your promise to hold us in your embrace,
For in these troubled times we have no hope but you.
Look upon us with compassion, awakened emanation of Uḍḍīyana!
With your power and strength, dispel the turbulence of this dark age,
Bestow your blessings and the great empowerment of wisdom,
Increase the strength of our experience and realization,
Grant us powerful skills to benefit the teachings and beings,
And bring us, we pray, to buddhahood in this very life!”

After instructing them to call upon me in this way, I mounted a fine horse held aloft by four ḍākinīs.
“Once every month I shall return for the sake of the Tibetans. In particular, on the tenth day of the Monkey month, I will come to clear away the troubles of all Tibetans. Call upon me, don’t forget!” Then I turned my gaze directly to the southwest and took my leave. The prince and the other Tibetan disciples returned to their homes, where they each continued with their own practice.

This was the tenth chapter in Padma’s Wish-Fulfilling Tree, my story of liberation, on how I gave my testament and then departed to subjugate the rākṣasas in the southwest.

I, Tsogyal, later wrote down this biography and concealed it as a treasure. May it meet with the worthy one endowed with the right karma. Having met with him, may its benefit for beings be boundless. Samaya, seal, seal, seal.

I, Orgyen Chokgyur Lingpa, one of the great incarnated revealers of treasure, brought this forth from Akaniṣṭha Karma’s Damchen Drak Cliff.

| Erik Pema Kunsang and Samye Translations (revised and edited by Oriane Sherap Lhamo, Peter Woods, Stefan Mang, and Libby Hogg), 2020. The “Testament Prayer” in Chapter 10 was improved with reference to the version by Rigpa Translations (2015).


Primary Sources

mchog gyur bde chen zhig po gling pa. "zab pa skor bdun las: o rgyan rnam thar dpag bsam ljon shing." In mchog gling bde chen zhig po gling pa yi zab gter yid bzhin nor bu'i mdzod chen po, Vol. 12: 389-415. Kathmandu, Nepal: Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery, 2004.

Secondary Sources

Nebesky-Wojkowitz, René de. Oracles and Demons of Tibet. 1956. Reprint, Kathmandu, Nepal: Tiwari’s Pilgrim’s Book House, 1993; and Kathmandu, Nepal: Book Faith India, 1996.

Rikey, Thupten K. “The Nature-Deities of Tibet: A discussion on the tale ‘The Subduing and Putting under Oath of Tibet’s Malignant lha ’dre’ in Padma bka’ thang,” in Studia Orientalia 109: Himalayan Nature, Representations and Reality, ed. Erika Sandman and Riika J. Virtanen. Helsinki: Finnish Oriental Society, 2011.

Version: 2.0-20230517

  1. That is, Avalokiteśvara.  ↩

  2. The five fields of knowledge are craftsmanship, logic, grammar, medicine, and the “inner science” of Dharma.  ↩

  3. This is a reference to the three outer tantras of kriyā-, caryā-, and yoga-tantra.  ↩

  4. Prahevajra is the Sanskrit name for Garab Dorjé.  ↩

  5. The Net of Illusion, the Secret Essence Tantra or Māyājāla Guhyagarbha Tantra is one of the eighteen main Mahāyoga scriptures of the Nyingma School.  ↩

  6. This biography lists Śrī Siṃha instead of Rambuguhyacandra as one of the eight vidyādharas.  ↩

  7. Mahottara Heruka or Chemchok Heruka is the central figure of the Eight Sādhana Teachings.  ↩

  8. Mañjuśrī Yamāntaka or Jampel Shinjé is the central figure of the Mañjuśrī Cycle on Awakened Form from the Eight Sādhana Teachings.  ↩

  9. Lotus Speech refers to the Lotus Tantras on Awakened Speech from the Eight Sādhana Teachings, whose central figure is Hayagrīva or Tamdrin.  ↩

  10. Mind of Perfect Purity refers to the Tantras on the Perfectly Pure Awakened Mind from the Eight Sādhana Teachings, whose main deity is Yangdak Heruka.  ↩

  11. Amrita Qualities refers to the Amrita Tantras on Awakened Qualities from the Eight Sādhana Teachings, whose main deity is Amṛtakuṇḍalin.  ↩

  12. Kīla Activity refers to the Kīla Cycle on Awakened Activity from the Eight Sādhana Teachings, whose main deity is Vajrakīla or Dorjé Phurba.  ↩

  13. Sublime Knowledge of Kīla or Vidyottama Tantra is one of the main Vajrakīla tantras.  ↩

  14. Jikten Chötö or Lokastotrapūjā (‘Mundane Worship’) is a reference to the Offerings and Praises to Protect the Teachings, one of the three worldly practices from the Eight Sādhana Teachings.  ↩

  15. Mantrabhīru or Möpa Drak-ngak or Mantrabhīru, “Fierce Mantras,” is a reference to the Cycle on Fierce Mantras one of the three worldly practices from the Eight Sādhana Teachings.  ↩

  16. The Tripiṭaka is Sanskrit for the Three Collections of Scriptures (sde snod gsum) comprising the common teachings of Buddha Śākyamuni: Sūtra, Abhidharma, and Vinaya.  ↩

  17. The Vajra Throne, or Vajrāsana is the traditional Buddhist name for Bodh Gaya, the seat of the Buddha’s awakening.  ↩

  18. Also known as Gaṇḍavyūha.  ↩

  19. Namely, the Asura Cave.  ↩

  20. ‘Great Seal’ is a direct translation of Mahāmudrā.  ↩

  21. The “eight great masters” mentioned here are the eight vidyādharas of India.  ↩

  22. Śītavana or Silwé Tsel, which is in the vicinity of the Vajra Throne at Bodh Gaya.  ↩

  23. The Śaṅkarakūṭa Stūpa or Chöten Deché Tsekpa.  ↩

  24. The Ḍākinī Karmendrāṇī or Khandroma Lékyi Wangmo is the one whom Vajradharma entrusted the teachings of Kagyé which had been sealed in caskets and placed within the Śaṅkarakūṭa Stūpa in the Cool Grove charnel ground in India.  ↩

  25. The Eight Sadhana Teachings, Assembly of Sugatas or the Kagyé Deshek Düpa was later revealed as a terma by Nyangrel Nyima Özer (1124/1136–1192/1204).  ↩

  26. Nanam Dorjé Düdjom, Palgyi Sengé, and Śākyaprabha.  ↩

  27. The Tenma Sisters or Twelve Guardian Sisters are a group of twelve goddesses connected to twelve different mountains and lakes in Tibet.  ↩

  28. Gangkar Shamé or the Fleshless Lady of the White Glacier is a “female deity of the mountain Lha bu gangs dkar in Shangs.” Guru Rinpoché subdued her and gave her the secret name Turquoise Lamp, Fleshless Vajra Lady (Sha med rdo rje g.yu’i sgron ma, Shamé Dorjé Yü Drönma). Rikey 2011, 125 & 129.  ↩

  29. Tinglomen (Ting lo sman) is “the goddess of Lake sMan sdong in the west of Ru thog in northern Tibet.” Ibid., 125. The northern region of Tibetan is known as ‘Jang’, which literally means ‘the North’.  ↩

  30. Local guardians (gzhi bdag) are local spirits protecting various parts of the Tibetan land. Nebesky-Wojkowitz 1956, 246.  ↩

  31. Dorjé Lekpa (rDo rje legs pa), or Vajrasaddhu is an important protector deity.  ↩

  32. Osham and Tanglha seem to refer to Yar lha sham po and gNyan chen thang lha, two mountain deities. Rikey 2011, 125.  ↩

  33. Constellation gods (rgyu skar) are “the deities ruling the twenty-eight lunar mansions.” Nebesky-Wojkowitz 1956, 223.  ↩

  34. Planetary demons (gza’ bdud) are spirits ruling the planets of our solar system.  ↩

  35. Medicine ladies (sman btsun) are aboriginal Tibetan goddesses (sman mo). Nebesky-Wojkowitz 1956, 199.  ↩

  36. nāga goddess (klu sman) is a type of female nāga spirit, cross between the menmo goddesses and the nāgas. Ibid., 202.  ↩

  37. This is a reference to the deity of Mount Magyel (rMa rgyal). Ibid., 209.  ↩

  38. Plague mothers (ma yams) are a particular type of mamo goddess. Ibid., 307.  ↩

  39. Gongpo demons ('gong po) are a type of malevolent spirit hostile to the Tibetan rulers. Ibid., 283.  ↩

  40. Genyen (dge bsnyen) is also the name for householders holding the lay vows. The spirits of that name seem to be of different sorts and often in the retinue of other deities. Ibid., 305.  ↩

  41. Warrior deities (lha btsan) seem to be a type of warrior spirit (btsan), which are sky-travelling, war-like demons. Ibid., 166.  ↩

  42. Warrior nāgas (klu btsan) are a cross between nāgas and warrior spirits. Ibid., 309.  ↩

  43. Body guardians (sku lha) are a type of spirit that specifically protects the human body. Ibid., 266.  ↩

  44. The gya deities (rgya lha) might be a reference to gods of the Gya heaven.  ↩

  45. Sovereign spirits (rgyal po) are higher ranking spirits who ruled the land before the advent of Buddhism. Nebesky-Wojkowitz 1956, 107.  ↩

  46. Earth lords (sa bdag, sadak) are local spirits who dwell in the earth. Ibid., 265.  ↩

  47. Hammer-wielders (the’u rang) are a type of sky-travelling spirit who possess children and cause disunity and quarrel. As patrons of the blacksmiths, they sometimes hold hammers and ride goats. Ibid., 283.  ↩

  48. Demon nāgas (klu bdud) are a cross between māras and nāgas. Ibid., 260.  ↩

  49. ‘Spirits of meadows and crags’ is a literal translation for the Tibetan g.ya’ spangs.  ↩

  50. Divine nyen or lhanyen (lha gnyan) are in fact spirits of an evil nature, said to make people lame. They usually dwell between the sky and the earth. Nebesky-Wojkowitz 1956, 288.  ↩

  51. Literally, ‘deputy ministers’ (bar blon), these are spirits attending on other, higher-ranking spirits. Indeed, many protectors have their own “court,” including ministers to attend them. Ibid., 21.  ↩

  52. Great nyen or nyenchen (gnyan chen) are a type of nyen. There also exist minor nyen (gnyan phran). Ibid., 205.  ↩

  53. Dümen (bdud sman) possibly refers here to a cross between a nāga and a menmo goddess.  ↩

  54. Warrior demons (bdud btsan) are a cross between māras and warrior spirits (btsan).  ↩

  55. A demon king (bdud rgyal) is a king of māras.  ↩

  56. May be a reference to Buchu Lhakang (bu chu lha kang) of Kongpo, one of twelve geomantic temples built during the reign of Songtsen Gampo to tame a supine ogress (srin mo) stretched out across Tibet, and thus guard the country.  ↩

  57. Hunting gods (mgur lha) are a set of thirteen deities who are ancestral spirits of the kings. Rikey 2011, 121.  ↩

  58. Mön refers to the sourthern border region of Tibet, which includes modern day Bhutan and Sikkim.  ↩

  59. Mudü (rmu bdud) are a type of māra, possibly related to the Mu clan, one of the six principal clans of Tibet.  ↩

  60. Valley demons (rong bdud) are a type of māra.  ↩

  61. The four semo sisters (bse bzhi) are part of the twelve tenma goddesses.  ↩

  62. Mother goddesses (ma mo) are a type of ferocious goddess. Nebesky-Wojkowitz 1956, 269.  ↩

  63. The Four Great Kings are also known as the Four Guardian Kings of the cardinal directions, namely Dhṛtarāshtra (East), Virūḍhaka (South), Virūpākṣa (West) and Vaiśravaṇa (North).  ↩

  64. This description of Samyé corresponds to the Indian cosmological order, as presented in maṇḍalas. Indeed, Mount Meru is believed to be at the center of the universe, flanked by the sun and moon. Around these, in the four cardinal directions and eight intermediary directions, are the four great continents and eight minor islands, respectively. The whole is within an ocean surrounded by a rim of iron mountains.  ↩

  65. Vairocana’s Awakening or the Vairocanābhisambodhi Tantra is major caryā tantra scripture.  ↩

  66. The Vajra Space maṇḍala or the Vajradhātu maṇḍala consists of 37 deities. Its central figure is Vairocana, who is surrounded by the four Buddhas: Akṣobhya, Ratnasambhava, Lokeśvararāja (Amitābha) and Amoghasiddhi. The Vajradhātu maṇḍala appears in several tantras of both the Nyingma and Sarma Schools. For example it is the primary maṇḍala of the Sarvatathāgatatattvasaṃgraḥa.  ↩

  67. The Great Awakened One, or Mahābodhi (byang chub chen po), is an epithet of Buddha Śākyamuni.  ↩

  68. The Latin botanical name for Arura is Terminalia chebula. In Tibetan medicine arura is considered a panacea. Due to its great healing power, the Medicine Buddha is depicted carrying a arura branch in his right hand.  ↩

  69. In the oft-seen expression “Tibet and Kham,” Tibet refers exclusively to Central Tibet, while Kham refers to Eastern Tibet.  ↩

  70. The Abbot and Master are Śāntarakṣita and Padmasambhava, respectively.  ↩

  71. lotsāwa is the Indian word for ‘translator,’ which is also used in Tibetan (lo tsA ba).  ↩

  72. The three—Ka, Chok and Zhang—are Kawa Paltsek, Chokro Lui Gyaltsen and Zhang Yeshé Dé, respectively.  ↩

  73. Pāramitā is short here for Prajñāpāramitā, the sūtras of the Perfection of Wisdom (shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa).  ↩

  74. The Mahāparinirvāṇa sūtra is an important Mahayāna scripture on tathāgatagarbha or ‘buddha-nature’, belonging to the third or final turning of the wheel of the Dharma.  ↩

  75. The Vajra Summit Tantra, or Vajraśekhara Mahāguhya Yogatantra (rdo rje rtse mo rgyud) is one of the four major sections of Yoga Tantra.  ↩

  76. The famous middle story of Samyé, that is.  ↩

  77. Dzo (mdzo) is a type of cattle, a cross between a yak and a cow.  ↩

  78. The caves of Samyé Chimphu represent Guru Rinpoche’s enlightened speech. Guru Rinpoche 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 that runs parallel and to the northeast of the Samyé Valley, about 13 km from Samyé itself.  ↩

  79. Mahottara is short for Mahottara Heruka.  ↩

  80. These eight respectively correspond to the principal deities of each of the Eight Sādhana Teachings.  ↩

  81. The Ocean of Dharma, the Great Gathering of Transmitted Precepts (bka’ ’dus chos kyi rgya mtsho) is a teaching cycle that focuses on the Kagyé deities. It was discovered as a terma-treasure by Orgyen Lingpa and it was subsequently rediscovered as a yangter by Jamyang Khyentsé Wangpo.  ↩

  82. Likely a reference to Dorjé Tsomo of Shelkar (shel dkar rdo rje mtsho mo), one of Khandro Yeshé Tsogyal’s closest students.  ↩

  83. Also known as the Kaliyuga.  ↩

  84. The Border Taming (mtha’ ’dul) and Further Taming (yang ’dul) Temples are two sets of four temples built by King Songtsen Gampo, Tri Songdeutsen’s ancestor and first Dharma king of Tibet, in geomantic locations, in order to subdue negative forces of the land.  ↩

  85. That is Langdarma, the last king of the Tibetan empire, who ruled from 838 to 842 AD. He was assassinated by Lhalung Palgyi Dorjé.  ↩

  86. The two supreme tertöns are Guru Chökyi Wangchuk and Nyang Nyima Özer.  ↩

  87. Lingpa (gling pa) is a characteristic tertön name.  ↩

  88. Here referring to Prince Mutri Tsenpo, who received the “Sampa Lhundrupma” prayer and associated practice cycle from Guru Rinpoché.  ↩

  89. That is, the “Sampa Lhundrupma,” the “Prayer that Spontaneously Fulfils All Wishes.”  ↩

  90. This refers to the famous Sampa Lhündrup practice cycle.  ↩

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