In Praise of Sönam Palge

Praise | Tibetan MastersDodrupchen Jigme Tenpe Nyima | Tibetan MastersRogza Sönam Palge

English | བོད་ཡིག

Dodrupchen Jigme Tenpe Nyima
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In Praise of Sönam Palge

by Dodrupchen Jigme Tenpai Nyima

Namo guru!
Noble guru, even your name is a treasury of merit,
Your liberative life a splendour of learning and joy.
If we pray to you, you are a source of all
The virtue and goodness of the attainments.[1]

Your family was that of the noble Mukpo Dong,
And within it tyou belonged to the merchant class.
You were born into the noble Drama household,
And the year of your birth year was the male Iron Monkey.[2]

You were large in stature and your senses acute;
Your limbs and torso were stout and physically strong;
Your head was broad like a parasol;
And your upper body resembled that of a lion.

Your mind was clear and you were eloquent and bold.
You were brave, steadfast and courageous.
Your character was thus exceedingly positive—
Compassionate and enthusiastic for Dharma.

The lotus of your noble character,
With such natural qualities as these,
Was first enhanced by the water-like
Instructions of the Dzogchenpa of Do Valley.[3]

You then followed many other learned and accomplished ones
And studied the works of the great scholars of India and Tibet,
So that you became just like an excellent vase
Filled with the nectar of empowerments, transmissions and instructions.

Through the sevenfold mind training, the paths of generation and perfection,
And especially through training single-pointedly
In the yoga of the luminous heart-essence,
You attained profound, flexible meditative absorption.

Together with the king of yogic adepts,[4]
You roamed among the great vajra places,
And through drinking the wine of the blessings
Of vīras and ḍākinīs you were constantly intoxicated.

With vital and downward-clearing winds dispersed in the space of the central channel,
The light of caṇḍālī pervaded and overcame the other two channels,
So that you were filled with supreme vernal joy,
And saw the definitive truth of the Middle Way.

Everything—environment and beings—arose as bliss,
And this rapturous display continued day and night,
So that you moved about as fearlessly as a lion
Through this world of sorrowful existence.

Your explanations were erudite, your compositions magnificent,
Your answers were always profound and grounded in reason,
So that even amidst many precious masters of mantra
You stood out like smelted, crafted and burnished gold.

A guide to beings and an eye for this world,
You served as the guru of many sublime beings
Including Orgyen Chökyi Wangpo,[5]
And became a vital trunk of the Dharma of Nyingtik.

Still, you kept your yogic discipline hidden,
And while maintaining the lifestyle of a tantric householder,
You brought great benefit to those who saw or heard you.
While talking little to those without depth.

Until your eighty-fifth year you lived[6]
Without any trace of physical illness.
Then, while reciting the text of Mañjuśrīnāmasaṃgīti,
You passed into the realm of absolute peace.

When I think of the great fortune
Of those of us who touched the feet
Of such an accomplished heruka, I rejoice,
And fold my hands together in devotion a hundred times!

| Translated by Adam Pearcey, 2020.

Bibliography

Editions Used

'Jigs med bstan pa'i nyi ma. gsung 'bum/_'jigs med bstan pa'i nyi ma/ ('bras ljongs sgang tog). TBRC W23907. 5 vols. Gangtok, Sikkim: Dodrupchen Rinpoche, 2000?. Vol. 1: 223–224

'Jigs med bstan pa'i nyi ma. gsung 'bum/_'jigs med bstan pa'i nyi ma/(bdud 'joms rin po che'i dpe mdzod khang du bzhugs pa'i shing par dang lag bris 'dres ma/). TBRC W23627. 5 vols. Gangtok: Dodrub chen Rinpoche, 1974–1975. Vol. 4: 187–189

Secondary Sources

Ricard, Matthieu. Enlightened Vagabond: The Life and Teachings of Patrul Rinpoche. Boulder: Shambhala, 2017.

Tulku Thondup, Masters of Meditation and Miracles: The Longchen Nyingthig Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. Boston: Shambhala, 1996.


  1. This verse incorporates the syllables of Sönam Palge's name, which literally means Merit, Splendour and Virtue.  ↩

  2. This corresponds to 1800.  ↩

  3. i.e., the First Dodrupchen Jigme Trinlé Özer.  ↩

  4. Most likely a reference to Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje.  ↩

  5. i.e., Patrul Rinpoche (1808–1887). Sönam Palge was also a teacher to Orgyen Tenzin Norbu (1841–1900).  ↩

  6. His dates were thus 1800–1884. As no full biography is available, this text appears to be the only source for these dates.  ↩