Chökyi Lodrö's Miscellaneous Writings
Literary Genres › Karchak | Tibetan Masters › Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche | Tibetan Masters › Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
Repository of Every Form of Dharma That Might Be Wished For
A Catalogue to the Published Miscellaneous Writings of the Venerable Guru Jamyang Chökyi Lodrö
by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
Oṃ svasti siddhaṃ!
From the clouds of the immaculate liberation of Mañjughoṣa,
An array that is equal to the dharmadhātu,
Appears the form of a guide with inexhaustible intellect and eloquence—
May you remain as my enduring refuge until awakening!
From the glorious interlacement of your compassion-filled mind,
Arose the nectar of excellent explanations, profound and vast,
As medicine bringing benefit and happiness to the teaching and beings without bias.
Thus, with a mind of pure and noble intention, I pay reverence.
This brief catalogue of the noble guru’s miscellaneous writings has three parts: 1) The greatness of the author of these treatises; 2) the character of the texts themselves; and 3) a brief account of the publication process.
1. Greatness of the Author
All that follows is according to what I have heard. Ultimately, our glorious lord and precious guru was none other than a treasury of wisdom containing the twofold omniscience of all the buddhas. That is to say, he was the one who holds the splendour of liberation and activity of the victorious ones and their heirs and is renowned throughout all the realms of the ten directions as noble Mañjughoṣa. The sphere of activity of this great figure is regarded as inconceivable. Yet it is possible to say a little, following the words of the teacher, the tathāgata.
In the past, in the pure realm known as Equalness (Skt. Samā) he manifested as the Buddha Nāgavaṃśāgra and led innumerable students to the three levels of awakening. Now, in the realm of Eternally Joyous, Attractive and Inspiring, which lies to the north of this world of Patient Endurance, he resides as the Buddha Joyful King of the Jewel Pile and continues to teach the Dharma. In future, he will manifest as the Buddha Protector All-Seeing in the realm of Immaculately Pure Collection to the south and, as a buddha, establish the support and supported elements of the pure realm. It is also said that countless ages ago Mañjuśrī was born as King Sky in the presence of the Buddha Dragon’s Roar in the eastern realm of Excellent Element. Having generated bodhicitta, he vowed to train in the oceanic conduct of the heirs of the victorious ones as the Youthful Mañjuśrī and to bring beings to maturity through the kind of activity that even hundreds of billions of buddhas could not accomplish, as stated in the Sūtra of the Devaputra Susthitamati's Questions. Moreover, in every aeon Mañjuśrī acts on behalf of sentient beings in ways that many billions upon billions of buddhas could not, as explained in the Sūtra of the Array of Virtues of Mañjuśrī's Buddha Realm. In addition, in several great tantras of the secret mantra, he is described as the lord who presides in all the maṇḍalas of every buddha family.
Now, in the era of our Teacher, the Lord of Sages, who is the fourth guide to appear in this Fortunate Aeon, he appears as the foremost bodhisattva heir and performs wondrous deeds of liberation, such as inspiring the turning of the Dharma Wheel of the profound and vast teachings, dispelling the remorse of King Ajataśatru, and so on. He cared for all the learned and accomplished masters of India, such as the glorious protector Ārya Nāgārjuna, the bodhisattva Śāntideva, the great abbot Śāntarakṣita and others, and he unerringly revealed the intent of the Mahāyāna in all its vastness. Later, he appeared as Ācārya Mañjuśrīmitra, the great paṇḍita Vimalamitra, and others, as well as the great champion of the teachings in Tibet, the sole father Trisong Deutsen, as well as Nubchen Sangye Yeshe, who held the life-force of the teachings of the Early Translations, the omniscient king of Dharma Longchen Rabjam, as well as the noble lord Milarepa, who was the crowning jewel among siddhas in the Land of Snows and was renowned as an emanation of Ācārya Mañjuśrīmitra; as Situ Jamgön Tenpé Nyinje from the Kagyü; as the Dharma Lord Jamyang Sakya Paṇḍita and others from the Sakya, and as the great luminary Lobzang Drakpa and other figures of the Kadampa tradition. As these examples attest, he carried out the activity of the buddhas and served the teachings without sectarian bias in countless magical emanations who were great masters in both India and Tibet.
In just the same way, the Tibetan master who was unrivalled in carrying out the activity of the second buddha during the present age of great degeneration was the noble guru Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo. He had all the experience and realization of a siddha and bore all the signs of excellent activity; and he had the wisdom that arises from vast learning and reflection based on an unbiased discernment of views and philosophical tenets. By reaching the limits of practice in sūtra and tantra, he fully developed the signs of meditative attainment. And he extended the vital force of the teachings of the victorious one through explanation, debate and composition. This master, whose liberational life was so wondrous, reappeared in five supreme emanations—of body, speech, mind, qualities and activity. One of these was praised in vajra statements as the supreme emanation of the endless ornamental cycle of activity. He was prophesied in the unobscured pure wisdom vision of the great omniscient Jamyang Lodrö Thaye and was renowned as Jamyang Chökyi Lodrö Rimé Tenpé Gyaltsen Palzangpo.
This master was born in the year of the female Water Snake in a hidden land known as Sa-ngen—the ‘earth knot’ among four so-called knots connected with the four elements in Kham. His father, Gyurme Tsewang Gyatso, was a great vajra-holder and a heart-disciple of the two Jamgön dharma-kings and Minling Trichen Sangye Kunga. He, in turn, was the son of a master known as the Old Tertön of Ser Valley, an emanation of Vairotsana in the family line of Terchen Düdul Dorje, who lived to be more than 150 years old and was without rival in wisdom, realization and capacity.
When the master reached his seventh year, he was invited by Katok Situ Orgyen Chökyi Gyatso, a champion of the great secret teachings of kama and terma, to the great centre of Katok Dorje Den in accordance with a prophecy of the great Jamgön Kongtrul. There he was enthroned as a supreme nirmāṇakāya emanation of the omniscient Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo. During the formal hair-cutting ceremony he received the name Jamyang Chökyi Lodrö Tsuklak Lungrik Mawé Sengé. Situ Rinpoche then appointed his own tutor, Khenchen Tupten Rigdzin Gyatso, to be Jamyang Khyentse’s teacher. It was with this tutor that Jamyang Khyentse first learned to read and write. He gained an understanding of the stages of Dharma practice and easily mastered the major and minor treatises on grammar.
Jamyang Khyentse also studied with Situ Paṇchen Dharmasāra, Shechen Gyaltsab Rinpoche, Adzom Drukpa Natsok Rangdrol, Dodrupchen Jigme Tenpai Nyima, Terchen Lerab Lingpa, the Fifth Dzogchen, Khenchen Kunzang Palden and other teachers of the Ancient Secret Mantra tradition. His Sakya teachers included Tartse Pönlop Rinpoche Jamyang Loter Wangpo, Shabdrung Rinpoche Tashi Gyatso, Gatön Dorje Chang Ngawang Lekpa, Khenchen Samten Lodrö, and Dezhung Choktrul Kunga Gyaltsen. His main Kagyü teachers were Jamgön Situ Rinpoche Pema Wangchok Gyalpo, Gyalse Jamgön Choktrul, Khewang Tashi Chöpel, Zurmang Ter and Trungpa. Among the Gelug, his teachers included the previous and present omniscient Dalai Lamas, who are the supremely victorious guides of gods and men, as well as the lord of scholars Geshe Jampal Rolpé Lodrö. Without the slightest trace of pride, he prostrated himself at the lotus feet of these great masters of this Snowy Land, as well as other supremely realized and diligent practitioners in isolated mountain retreats.
Insatiably, he amassed a treasury of dharma teachings that included the ten major and minor sciences, the Buddha’s word and the commentarial treatises, the transmitted word (kama) of the Ancient Translations, the majority of major extant treasure (terma) teachings, empowerments and instructions from the four major and eight minor Kagyü lineages, the Sakya teachings on the Path with Its Fruit (Lamdré), the Compendium of Tantras and Compendium of Sādhanas, the teachings of the old and new Kadam, the glorious Kālacakra according to the Jonang and Zhalu traditions, and the Five Great Treasuries. He mastered the views and practices of all these traditions without mixing or adulterating them, so that when it came time for him to pass the instructions on and guide disciples, he served each tradition as if he were its own second Buddha. Without partiality or attachment and aversion, he revitalized and propagated endangered teachings and spent his entire life receiving and teaching Dharma. He made practice the heart of his liberational life and completed countless recitations for major and minor tantric practices of Old and New traditions, kama and terma, both for the Three Roots in general and for individual deities. He had none of the haughtiness that comes from the eight worldly concerns and never resorted to flattery or deception for the sake of food and clothing. Instead, he remained a great lord of yogis and a vanquisher of delusion with the confidence born of inner yoga. He continually experienced pure visions in which he was guided by the yidam deities and received prophecies from vidyādharas and ḍākinīs. He went on pilgrimages to forge connections with great vajra places, and he also opened up new sites. There are even several transmissions of terma that derive from such occasions. He founded centres of study and practice and established funds to sponsor monks in all the major and minor monasteries with which he was connected. This includes the scriptural college known universally as Kham-jé (after the sandy plain in which it is located beneath Dzongsar Tashi Lhatsé Monastery), where fifty intelligent monks could study at a time; the retreat centre of Rongmé Karmo Taktsang, where seven retreatants (plus a retreat master) could focus on all eight chariots of the practice lineage; and a centre above Lhundrup Teng in the capital of Derge, where fifty retreatants could undertake practices from the aural lineage of the glorious Sakya tradition; as well as the tantric college and retreat centres of Katok, which he arranged to be restored and extended. His activity was thus truly without bounds.
His disciples included the throne-holders and their heirs from the two Sakya palaces, who are sovereigns of all the teachings; all the abbots and vice-abbots (shabdrung) of Ngor; the Sixteenth Gyalwang Karmapa; Tai Situ Pema Wangchen; the eighth Khamtrul Dogyü Chökyi Nyima and others from the Kagyü tradition; Minling Khenpo and Minling Chung Rinpoche; Minling Dung Rinpoche; the supreme incarnations and holders of the teachings from Katok, Palyul, Shechen and Dzogchen; the two incarnations of the great Tertön Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa; and countless other great beings from Kham and Central Tibet; as well as Tibetan government officials and lay people from Derge, Nangchen, Lhatok; the three of Go, Dra and Mar; the two of Ri and Chab; Lingtsang, Gyarong, and the various states of Hor; the regions of the Golok chieftains; Jangpa, the three of Bapa, Lithang and Gyalthang; the dharma-king of Sikkim and so on. People from all walks of life prostrated themselves at his feet and received ripening and liberating nectar. He thus brought countless beings to the level of purification and emancipation.
He transmitted the ripening empowerments and liberating instructions for the great Precious Treasury of Revelations (Rinchen Terdzö) once, the Compendium of Sādhanas three times, the Treasury of Instructions (Damngak Dzö) twice, the congregational and discipular Path with Its Fruit (Lamdré) four times, the earlier and later Nyingtik, the treasures of Mindrolling and the treasures of Chokgyur Lingpa four times. In these and other ways, he turned the Wheel of Dharma without interruption.
He sponsored innumerable statues including the central figure of Mañjughoṣa in the upper-storey temple at Dzongsar, together with the images of Guru Rinpoche and glorious Atiśa to his right and left; elegant life-size gold and copper images of the five Sakya patriarchs, as well as many hundred golden statues of deities from the Old and New tantras, for which the central figures are up to an arrow’s length in height and the major figures of the retinue are a cubit in height while the lesser figures are a handspan in size. In the Temple of the Emanations of the Three Families at Kham-jé he sponsored the gold and copper image of Maitreya, which is thirty-two hands in height and studded with various jewels. He also sponsored the gilded copper Buddha statue at Katok which is more than three storeys in height. He commissioned numerous painted images, including sets of thangkas for the Buddha’s previous lives according to The Wish-Fulfilling Vine, the successive Kalkī kings [of Shambhala], and the previous lives of the lord guru Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo. He sponsored the carving of printing blocks at Derge Gönchen, Katok, Shechen and Dzongsar, including those for the thirteen volumes of Lord Khyentse Wangpo’s collected writings, two volumes of Mipham’s writings, and three volumes of the Khecarī Compendium. Together with the imagery that he sponsored at Kham-jé college and the Taktsang retreat centre, this illustrates his vast contribution in the sphere of activity.
Having completed his spontaneous activity for his own and others’ benefit, he displayed the act of withdrawing his rūpakāya form into the dharmadhātu in the temple monastery at Gangtok, the capital established by Chögyal Phuntsok Namgyal in Sikkim, which is a hidden land first opened by Lhatsün Namkha Jigme, one of the master’s own previous incarnations.
2. His Writings
Generally, any text that has the three qualities of a Buddhist treatise, which has been written by someone with the three qualifications for composition and which avoids the six faults of heterodox treatises, is a product of the precious teachings of Buddha, as the Tathāgata stated. Lord Maitreya said:
Whatever those of perfectly undistracted mind have expounded,
Solely in accordance with the teaching of the Victorious One,
And conducive to the path for attaining liberation,
Should also be placed on the head, like the Buddha’s own words.
Although this is certainly the case, since sublime beings have no arrogance, their minds are peaceful and controlled. As a result, whenever anyone requested the sublime guru to compose something, he would say, “For the likes of me to write such a thing would achieve nothing more than my own fatigue. It would be far more beneficial to teach, propagate and practise the words of the great masters of the past.” He would repeatedly say such things. He thus had no intention that his writings should ever be compiled; in fact, he usually gave away the original to whoever requested a particular text. That is why most of the writings from the period of his youth have been dispersed in all directions. Later, when he lived with Khandro Rinpoche Tsering Chödrön at his seat, there were several volumes to his collected writings. But, owing to the turbulence of the period, not all of these could be taken. When passing through the major sites of Ü and Tsang the master composed mainly miscellaneous works, such as praises and guru sādhanas. Now, at Khandro’s request, there has been an effort to gather whatever disciples have in their possession and to copy whatever is still to be found in his own handwriting. The devoted, intelligent student and renunciant monk Jamyang Trinlé has earnestly done the work of checking everything. When the master’s handwritten texts were copied out, his shrine-master Lama Jamyang Lodrö Chokden, proofread them, put them in order and so on, on the basis of his familiarity. Amenities during the printing process were provided by the steward Ngawang Chöpal Gyatso, who undertook hardships of body, speech and mind; and the proofreading of the blocks was carried out by the master’s personal calligrapher Tsering Tashi. Könchok and all the other workers at the printing house for the preservation of enlightened speech at Kyabje Khamtrul Rinpoche’s monastery in Tashi Jong in the noble land of India made great efforts out of pure motivation and produced these two volumes of writings.
As to the contents, the first volume, which bears the sign of É, contains the following:
ka) To begin, the especially sublime autobiography of the master, which engenders confidence.
kha) A collection of praises, delighting all the victorious ones and increasing the splendour of the two accumulations.
ga) A collection of supplications, like dancing clouds filled with the nectar of blessings, and longevity prayers, vajra words of truth for bringing about immortality.
nga) Guru yoga practices, which grant the supreme experience of wisdom nectar.
ca) A collection of sādhanas, like a store of all the attainments that could be wished for.
cha) A collection of practical guides and instructional notes, refining the essential nectar of profound meaning.
The second volume, which bears the sign of WAṂ, contains:
ja) A collection of advice, like garlanded beams of nectar from the moon of universal benefit.
nya) A collection of songs, which is a secret treasury of spontaneous vajra gīti.
ta) A collection of petitionary offerings to the dharma protectors, which resemble lightning flashes of swift activity.
tha) A collection of commentarial notes, which provide a feast for intelligent minds.
dhīḥ) Special miscellaneous works in five parts, which are like a jewelled treasure vase that bestows twofold accomplishment.
hrīḥ) A collection related to the profound meaning of the perfection stage, which resounds with the splendid music of co-emergent wisdom.
śrīḥ) A collection of pilgrimage guides, like a magical script of wondrous virtue and goodness.
a) A collection of aspiration prayers, which is like an ocean in which to enjoy the splendour of spontaneously accomplishing twofold benefit.
3. The Publication Process
When notice was given of this publication, the sovereign of all the buddha’s teachings, our lord and refuge, the object of veneration for all existence and quiescence, the holder of the white lotus and supremely victorious one, Ngawang Lobzang Tenzin Gyatso offered 500 Indian rupees together with words of encouragement, like the great drum of the gods. He praised the omniscient lord and guru as especially sublime, superior to other holders of the teachings in Kham and Tibet and extraordinary in his loving care. He said that since the master was so wondrous in his vast, impartial vision for the Dharma, the publication of his writings would greatly advance the cause of non-sectarianism among the teachings and beings, and the task should therefore be swiftly accomplished.
The two precious tutors offered 50 rupees each. The guru’s heart-son, the precious incarnation of the great Tertön Chokgyur Lingpa, offered 300 rupees. The great holder of the glorious Drukpa Kagyü teachings Khamtrul Döngyü Nyima offered 300 rupees. The great dharma lord of Punakha in the magnificent dharma country of Bhutan, Khenchen Jamyang Yeshe Senge made an advance payment of 2000 rupees, which served as a basis for printing most of the collection. Karma Yönten Taye, a monk from Zurmang, donated 150 rupees. The Tibetan monk Jigme Ngödrup donated 50 rupees. The monk Tenpa Sangye donated 10 rupees. Derge Trakya Yiga donated 20 rupees. Rigdzin Dorje offered 30 rupees. Nyala Bumdrak Rinpoche offered 100 rupees. The Bhutanese nun Purbu Drolma offered 20 rupees. Damchö Gamo, another nun from Bhutan, donated five rupees. The supreme incarnation Zhadeu Trulshik Gyurme Ngawang Dongak Tendzin offered 100 rupees. With this as a basis, I myself offered whatever else was needed to cover the costs of printing, as well as the expenses for editing and proofreading.
Thus, with this task now accomplished, I hope that in future it will be possible to publish in stages whatever remains, those writings of the precious guru that are certainly still in the possession of his devoted followers, as a supplement to the present volumes.
From the flowers of the Dharma of the victorious ones, which is profound and vast,
The wondrous essence of the hearts’ oceanic dhāraṇī and confident eloquence,
Is lovingly arranged as a delightful, healing medicine for the bee-like ones of fortune,
Set out with fingers of kindliness—how wonderful this is!
Pleasant words, well arranged, like a vast hundred-petalled lotus, soft and gentle,
Profound in meaning, wondrous and rich with the honey of a hundred tastes,
Succinct and easy to understand, a reviving cure for all, supreme and ordinary,
Which grants the youth of liberation to beings who pervade the whole of space.
Even in fragments, such writings are like excellent refined gold;
And so, with some concern, we set about this virtuous task
To offer them as a splendour of lotus-like intelligent minds.
May they provide a feast of benefit and happiness!
With the precious guru’s profound realization perfected in basic space,
May the life of his supreme incarnation be long and his activity vast.
May his teaching, practice and fourfold activity be unconfined.
And the non-sectarian teachings of the victorious ones spread and endure.
May the armour of dharmic and secular self-governance in Tibet hold firm.
May the holders of the teachings live harmoniously and may dharma practice and activity thrive.
As the brilliant light of a new golden era dawns,
May the qualities of the higher realms and definitive goodness bloom!
May I and others, all who are connected on this path,
Always be cared for by the Mañjughoṣa Guru.
Before all the buddhas in all the infinite realms of the ten directions,
May we perfect the oceanic conduct of the noble.
Seizing the vital energy of the chariot of all the buddha’s teachings,
This path of delighting the victorious through explanation, debate and composition,
May I gain the strength to uphold it, untainted by considerations of self-interest,
For as long as space itself endures.
The force of unfailing memory and confident eloquence,
By adopting this, the armour of Vajra Sharpness,
May I be able to follow the liberating life of all the buddhas,
And bring a gentle rain of Dharma, secret and profound.
On the occasion of completing this virtuous act, since the all-seeing lord’s calligrapher, the learned Tsering Tashi repeatedly requested me to write something of this kind, I, Tashi Paljor Tamché Drubpé Dé, a servant sustained by the uncommon kindness and affection of the gentle lord and dharma king, wrote this in the hall of the Mahāguru Subjugating Appearance and Existence (complete with retinue), which was recently constructed by Queen Kalsang Chödrön at the Kyerchu temple to the south-west of Rinchen Pungpa Dzong in Paro, in the Southern Medicinal Land of Four Districts. May this be a cause of never turning from the light of delighting the glorious protector guru. Sarvadā maṅglam.
| Translated by Adam Pearcey, 2019. With many thanks to Alak Zenkar Rinpoche for his gracious assistance and to the Khyentse Foundation and Terton Sogyal Trust for their generous support.
Dil mgo mkhyen brtse. “rJe btsun bla ma ‘jam dbyangs chos kyi blo gros kyi gsung thor bu’i skor spar du bsgrubs pa’i dkar chag chos tshul mi zad ’dod dgu’i bang mdzod” in 'Jam dbyangs chos kyi blo gros/ (rgya gar bir'i par ma/). TBRC W21814. 2 vols.
______. “rJe btsun bla ma ‘jam dbyangs chos kyi blo gros kyi gsung thor bu’i skor spar du bsgrubs pa’i dkar chag chos tshul mi zad ’dod dgu’i bang mdzod” in 'Jam dbyangs chos kyi blo gros kyi gsung 'bum. TBRC W1KG12986. 12 vols. Bir, H.P.: Khyentse Labrang, 2012. vol. 12: 383–401
Aris, Michael. “'The Admonition of the Thunderbolt Cannon-Ball' and Its Place in the Bhutanese New Year Festival” in Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies vol. 39 No. 3 1976, pp. 601–635.
Dilgo Khyentse. The Life and Times of Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö: The Great Biography by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and Other Stories. Boulder: Shambhala. 2017
This is explained in the Śūraṃgama-samādhi Sūtra. ↩
rab dga’ rin chen brtsegs pa’i rgyal po ↩
This is seemingly based on the Aṅgulimālīya Sūtra. ↩
rdul bral yang dag bsags pa ↩
As explained in the Karuṇāpuṇḍarīka Sūtra. ↩
rgyal po nam mkha’ ↩
i.e., Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye (1813–1899). ↩
i.e., Jamgön Kongtrul and Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo. ↩
i.e., Katok Situ Chökyi Gyatso (1880–1925). ↩
i.e., Minling Trichen Gyurme Kunzang Wangyal (1931–2008). The Tibetan also refers to his sibling(s) (sku mched). ↩
i.e., the Bodhisattvāvadānakalpalatā of Kṣemendra, an anthology of stories. ↩
mkha' spyod be'u bum, a collection of ritual practices related to Vajrayoginī in the Sakya tradition. ↩
Uttaratantra V, 19. ↩
i.e., H.H. the Fourteenth Dalai Lama. ↩
i.e., H.H. the Dalai Lama’s senior tutor Ling Rinpoche and junior tutor Trijang Rinpoche. ↩
This is a reference to the 65th Je Khenpo, who served in that role from 1965 to 1968. This helps in dating the publication of the collection and the present catalogue as it means that Dilgo Khyentse could not have written the latter before 1965. ↩
rDo rje rnon po, an epithet of Mañjuśrī. ↩
Literally the magnetizing direction (dbang phyogs). ↩
i.e., Bhutan. On this term see Aris 1976: 43 n. 63. ↩