Catalogue of Jigme Lingpa's Collected Works

Literary Genres › Karchak | Tibetan MastersGetse Mahāpaṇḍita | Tibetan MastersJigme Lingpa

English | བོད་ཡིག

Getse Mahāpaṇḍita

Jigme Lingpa

Further Information:
Download this text:

Precise Discernment of Dharmas[1]

A Catalogue of the Complete Collected Works of the Omniscient King of Dharma, Rigdzin Jigme Lingpa

by Getse Mahāpaṇḍita Gyurme Tsewang Chokdrup

bhavaṃ duṣāṃ secanajñānacakṣur
viśodhanoruṃ paraṃsaṃgatebhiḥ |
samastadharmodayādarśa caivaṃ
svayambhuvajraṃ lukaṃ bhāti nāmnā ||

With your eye of wisdom, you eliminate all the faults of existence.
Having gone to the other shore of great purity,
You are a mirror that reflects all phenomena.
Your name, Self-Arisen Vajra,[3] adorns this world.

The Buddha’s liberating wisdom is like an ocean, a swelling stream of pacifying nectar.
Through the power of great compassion, his vast, unrestricted path extends boundlessly, throughout the whole of space and time,
And removes the torment of saṃsāra without end; his speech is the supreme Dharma, from which the divisions of the Saṅgha arose—
These three manifest as spiritual friends in the form of wondrous treatises.

Our teacher, who is unrivalled throughout the three realms, is known everywhere in this world as the great omniscient Rangjung Dorje Jigme Lingpa. Here I shall give a concise account of the first edition of his collected writings published in numerous volumes. This has three parts: 1) a concise biography of Jigme Lingpa, 2) the actual catalogue, and 3) the conclusion: showing the benefits of this meaningful endeavor, and dedication and aspiration prayers

1. A Concise Biography of Jigme Lingpa

In reality, our teacher is just as Lord Maitreya described:

A buddha simultaneously displays a variety of deeds—
In some places turning the Dharma Wheel in many hundreds of ways, in some taking birth, in others not appearing,
In some showing different styles of birth, in some every kind of awakening, and in some the parinirvāṇa,
And yet all these are demonstrated without moving from that state.[4]

Within the great pure realm of the Unsurpassed, immeasurable and without limit or centre, there has always been the naturally arisen wisdom of uncompounded reality, Samantabhadra, who is the essence of awareness itself, the primordial Buddha. The cakravartins of the maṇḍalas—which have the nature of the illusory net and are endowed with all the supreme qualities—the rulers of the great kingdoms of Dharma adorned with the seven aspects of union, are the tathāgatas of the five families, Mahottara Heruka, Vajrayoginī and others who all enjoy the unending ornamentational wheels of body, speech, mind, qualities and activities. They never waver from the great display. As the Sublime Continuum says:

Just as on the pure ground of beryl
The reflection of the body of the lord of gods appears,
So on the pure ground of the minds of beings,
The reflection of the body of the Lord of Sages dawns.[5]

This citation shows that on the absolute level, the perfect Buddha Samantabhadra abides free from the extremes of singularity or plurality. Yet from that state, on the relative level and in accordance with the agent and the objects to be known, for extremely pure disciples, somewhat pure disciples, and impure disciples—the thus-gone buddhas, tenth-level bodhisattvas, and in the perception common to ordinary and noble beings—he appears in various innumerable forms such as, respectively, the sixth family lord of the victorious ones, the great saṃbhogakāya which is the self-appearance of basic space, the half-nirmāṇakāya, half-saṃbhogakāya and the supreme nirmāṇakāya. These displays of oceans of kāyas appear at once in a single instant within oceans of infinite pure realms, in unlimited ways and perform an incalculable variety of enlightened deeds. The Buddha matures beings in oceans of realms and appears, dependent on the perceptions of those to be tamed, in the form of bodhisattvas, noble śrāvakas, siddhas, paṇḍitas, śrāmaṇas, brahmins, universal monarchs, Brahmas, Indras, the kingdoms’ vassal kings, ministers, householders, gods, nāgas and yakṣas; as lions, horses, elephants, birds and deer, medicinal trees, edible plants, food, boats and bridges. All of these appearances manifest in order to tame beings in harmony with their constitutions, faculties and habitual tendencies; through skillful means he emanates in all of these different ways. With the indestructible play of the illusory net, he manifests infinite bodies and unending speech, through which he reveals countless gateways to the Dharma. He leads some disciples to the higher realms, some onto the path of definite goodness, and some he establishes in the path’s result.

Childish, ordinary beings like us fail to comprehend this. Our minds are biased and conceptual, and thus the only thing we are able to understand is as follows: The glorious Vajrasattva himself emanated as Devaputra Adhicitta in order to spread the Great Perfection teachings in the realm of the gods. In this world of human beings he emanated as the nirmāṇakāya teacher Garab Dorje, who was the first to reveal the teachings which are the heart of the Supreme Vehicle. During the time of Buddha Kāśyapa he was born as the son of King Kṛkin. In the perception of ordinary beings, it was then that he generated the mind set upon supreme awakening for the first time. During the time of our Teacher [Śākyamuni Buddha] he manifested as Nanda. In Tibet he manifested as the monk Akaramati, emanated by King Songtsen Gampo, and then as King Tri Songdetsen—Mañjuśrī in person, Princess Pema Sal, Gyalse Lharje, Yarje Tertön Orgyen Lingpa, the Omniscient Drimé Özer, Ngari Paṇchen Rinpoche—the Mighty Lotus King, Chögyal Püntsok from Drikung, the treasure-revealer Tashi Tobgyal Wangpode, master of the Northern Treasures, and Dzamling Dorje, the treasure revealer from Kongpo. In this way he manifested in a variety of forms, according to what was appropriate. Yet all of these emanations are in reality a single succession of births and are of one mind. Then, finally, as the vajra prophecies of the Great Master of Uḍḍiyāna found in the treasures of Orgyen Lingpa state:

In the district of Yor in Central Tibet will come a bodhisattva called Pema.
He will maintain the Nyingma Kama teachings and tame beings through his skill in means.

This citation shows that in this life, he will uphold both the lineage of explanation and the lineage of practice of the Early Translation School’s Kama teachings. Furthermore, the sealed prophecies of the Embodiment of the Guru’s Wisdom (Lama Gongdü)[6] and other sources clearly reveal the unchanging linchpin of signs, omens and bodily marks that he will possess.

In particular, in accordance with the indestructible oath that the master Vimalamitra himself took—that at a time when the profound Heart-Essence teachings have become almost imperceptible, like a tiny creek in autumn, he would emanate in the manner of a scholar and restore the teachings of the Heart-Essence—the great paṇḍita Vimalamitra, crown ornament of five hundred scholars, appeared in this land of snowy peaks as the Omniscient Rangjung Dorje Jigme Lingpa.

This holy being had always been completely awakened to the nature of all phenomena. He did not need to depend on listening to, contemplating and meditating upon the mere words of the Dharma like an ordinary person. Yet, in order to set a good example for disciples, he nevertheless proceeded gradually in studying and practicing the teachings. From ordinary spiritual friends, he received without ever being satiated the nectar of the Dharma consisting mainly of the Kama teachings. Then, when his mind and Buddha family were awakened, he had such measureless renunciation that he perceived the whole of worldly existence as a pit of fire and imagined himself to be among ferocious animals and savage men. Motivated by disenchantment, he focused one-pointedly and diligently on the most vital practices at Palri Monastery. At that time, he had visions within the expanse of great luminosity of the extraordinary Guru—the lord of the families and second Buddha—Padmasambhava, as well as the great master Mañjuśrīmitra. He received the symbolic and ultimate empowerment beyond conceptual elaborations many times. Thereafter, realization arose spontaneously; any grasping at experiences vanished; his karmic winds were brought under control; the false cave of appearances collapsed; and his awareness was tempered and became pliable. Whatever appeared to him became boundless, infinite purity; all phenomena burst forth as dhāraṇīs and the treasures of confidence. When looking at external appearances, all conventional designations and knowable objects were perceived as a mere veil. Yet in order to guide childish beings, he illuminated [the conventional truth] impartially and unhindered. The knots in his chakra of enjoyment dissolved into all-pervading space, and all the movements of his channels and wind-energies transformed into clouds of syllables. All sounds burst forth as the melody of the inexpressible, indestructible supreme nāda. All appearances arose as symbols and scriptures. He was able to comprehend anything that happened as pith instructions, and he wrote The Mirror of Wisdom and Love: A Detailed Commentary on the Ritual of the Embodiment of the Guru’s Wisdom. At the age of twenty-eight,[7] his rapture of devotion for the great master Padmasambhava, the lord of the families, caused all eighty ordinary conceptualizations to dissolve into all-pervading space. In that instant, the Lord Padmasambhava himself appeared flying in the sky, riding a lion. A wisdom ḍākinī placed a casket in his hands, which read as follows:

For disciples with pure perception,
You are Tri Songdetsen.
For disciples with impure perception,
You are Senge Repa.
This is the treasure of Samantabhadra’s wisdom mind,
The symbols of Vidyādhara Padma’s vast expanse,
The great secret treasury of the ḍākinīs. Let the signs be absorbed.[8]

Immediately boundless joy arose in his mind. He opened the casket and found five rolls of yellow scrolls and seven crystal beads the size of peas. He consumed them, and the words and meaning [of the Heart-Essence of the Vast Expanse] appeared vividly and clearly in his mind, as if they had been imprinted there. For seven years he kept them hidden within the expanse of his realization.

Then, while he was practicing one-pointedly in order to obtain the supreme accomplishment at the great black charnel ground of Chimphu, he had three visions of the wisdom body of the future Buddha Rirab Marme Gyaltsen, the Great Omniscient Drime Özer.[9] First, he received the blessing of his enlightened body and the ultimate transmission of the words and their meaning. Secondly, he received the blessing of his enlightened speech, empowering him as the ultimate regent of the Omniscient King of Dharma himself. He was entrusted with the teachings of the Seven Treasuries and the Three Chariots and mastered the excellent tenets of the ultimate, definitive meaning. He was empowered to teach them widely to others so that the teachings would not wane. In this way, his enlightened activities of explanation and composition of the authentic Secret Mantra became vast. Finally, he received the blessing of Longchenpa’s enlightened mind and became the regent of Samantabhadra. He was empowered by the transference of blessing of the powerful radiance of awareness, the suchness beyond all expression, and mastered the realization of the ultimate lineage.

At that time, he composed his Words of the Omniscient One and other texts, which contain few words yet are vast in meaning. The Answers to Khari’s Questions,[10] which contains prophecies revealed by Guru Chökyi Wangchuk, says:

In the East or South of the Red Tombs,[11]
It is possible that a monastery will be established with a Descent from Heaven stūpa.

In accordance with this prophecy, on a ridge in the direction of the auspicious tomb of King Songtsen and not far from the temple of Yoru Tradruk,[12] in the midst of a forest of bodhi trees, the temple of Tsering Jong was constructed and filled with sacred objects. It is here that Jigme Lingpa turned the wheel of Dharma—uninterruptedly, elaborately and without bias—to an assembly of Dharma practitioners, emphasizing the collection of teachings of the vidyādhara-bodhisattvas.

At that time, the principal ḍākinī of the five families created the auspicious interdependent conditions to open the gateway to the Dharma and decipher the symbolic scripts. The time had now come to write down the son scriptures of the Dharma of the Heart-Essence of the Vast Expanse, the mind treasures which Jigme Lingpa had revealed earlier; thus he wrote down clearly the most vital, crucial points.

It is certain that when Jigme Lingpa was thirty-five years old,[13] in the Wood Monkey year (1764), on the tenth day of the Monkey month,[14] he performed an offering ritual during which he had a vision of the Great Master of Uḍḍiyāna together with a gathering of heroic ones and ḍākinīs. In conformity with this vision, his first fifteen disciples—including several holy beings who had all made excellent aspirations in the past—gathered around him. It was to them that he first taught the ripening and liberating instructions of the Heart-Essence of the Vast Expanse. From then onwards, he taught the Heart-Essence of the Vast Expanse to suitable disciples, and it spread widely.

The Great Omniscient Longchenpa had previously entrusted him with all his teachings and enthroned him as his ultimate regent, based on which Jigme Lingpa composed, in verse, The Rain of Joy: The Treasury of Precious Qualities, which teaches the complete meaning of the Seven Treasuries and the Three Precious Chariots in a single text. He also composed an elaborate commentary on the meaning of its words in two parts. The first part, The Chariot of the Two Truths, covers the Vehicle of Characteristics, and the second part, The Chariot of Omniscience, extensively establishes the ground, path and fruition of the Resultant Vehicle of Mantra in general, and of the Clear Light Great Perfection in particular. With the plumb line of scripture and reasoning he established the foundation for the philosophical tenets of the vajra essence teachings. Within the valleys of the snowy mountains of Tibet, he tore down the martial banners of arrogance belonging to professors of logic who boast loudly of their own erudition. They then showered him with flowers of praise and joyfully bowed in reverence before him. In this manner, he eliminated the darkness of misguided thoughts among those who considered the followers of the Early Translation School to be ignorant concerning the various piṭakas, and thus caused the sun of pure perception to shine. His kindness in performing this one deed alone would be difficult for us ever to repay.

Unable to bear that the precious texts of the complete Collection of Tantras of the Early Translation School, the fruit of the amazing wisdom of the emanated Dharma King and bodhisattva translators and scholars, might go to waste, he compiled them anew. Some of the great scholars of the later translations, such as Butön[15]—one of the first to proclaim his partiality and bias—with their blurred vision failed to include the sections of the tantras of the three yogas within the Kangyur, with the exception of a few texts. This, they claimed, was based on reason: the names of those tantras could not be found in the chronicles or catalogues. Yet with profound and vast confidence, and backed by the three types of evidence,[16] this holy lord Jigme Lingpa composed An Ornament that Illuminates Every Corner of the World: A History of the Precious Collection of Tantras of the Earlier Translation School. With logic and scripture he swept away and cleansed all stains of misguided thought.

In a vision of Lang Palgyi Senge’s wisdom body, Jigme Lingpa received the sign that he had been empowered into the emanated maṇḍala of Vajrakīlaya.[17] Here in the Snowy Land of Tibet, there are several transmissions of Vajrakīlaya, of which the main ones are the Tradition of the King, the Tradition of Jomo, and the Tradition of Cham, yet ultimately their wisdom intent is one. Empowered in his vision, and having gathered all these various traditions, the interdependent circumstances were complete for Jigme Lingpa to arrange such tantras as the Vajrakīlaya Great Nirvāṇa Tantra, the Vajra Array, the Great Yoga, the Wisdom Peak, and the Great Yoga Root Tantra, and compile them into means for accomplishment (sādhanas). Such a collection had never been compiled before. Here I can only mention the main points and will not elaborate on all the details; I cannot go into all the various texts such as those on the wheel of activities, consecration and offering rituals, ransoming the life-force, the empowerment rituals and Dharma teachings, but all of these details can be learned from the Great Biography.[18]

In this way, this great Lord was, in this final five-hundred-year period, the sovereign of all the Bliss-Gone Ones, the Lord of the sixth family—Vajradhara— and his kindness to disciples who are difficult to tame exceeds that of all the buddhas. In the guise of a great vajra master, he worked for the benefit of beings. With valid cognition, he proved the authenticity of the Words of the Buddha and subsequent treatises. All his written teachings, whose subjects are of great significance, are adapted to the needs of disciples and are like skilful means through which one can eliminate all the negative emotions of the three realms. He was an exalted being comparable to the blessed Buddha, who showed the path to the peace of nirvāṇa and taught the causes and results of all phenomena. As the Venerable Maitreya said:

Whatever speech is meaningful and properly connected with Dharma,
Which removes all afflictions of the three realms
And shows the benefit of peace,
Is the speech of the Sage, while any other speech is not.[19]

The etymology is as follows: subhāṣita means eloquent speech. The sacred Dharma is good at the beginning, good in the middle, and good at the end. It is excellent in meaning, excellent in words and syllables. It is distinctive. It is totally complete. It is utterly pure. It completely purifies…and so on.[20] As for treatises, the Venerable 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.[21]

Thus, if the subject of a treatise is the teachings of the Buddha, and is in accordance with the path that leads to liberation, it should be viewed as being the same as the words of the Bliss-Gone One. The heart of all the teachings is the resultant Mantra Vehicle, and unsurpassed among all the piṭakas are the texts that principally discuss the inner generation, perfection and great perfection phases; one should know that these texts are similar to the Words of the Buddha, so excellently spoken.

Moreover, except for the practices of the Eight Great Maṇḍalas[22] and the Embodiment of the Guru’s Wisdom,[23] most of the activity manuals of the treasure revelations were composed with novice disciples of this degenerate age in mind. Yet because of that very clarity, most who rely only on the words are confused by what they appear to mean. In order to please the beings of these times, who are obsessed with words, the words of Jigme Lingpa’s writings are profound and of great meaning. Even those who are conceited as a result of their own intellectual games, no matter how many times they scrupulously analyze Jigme Lingpa writings, will find it difficult to fathom the depths of such profundity. These writings have the capacity to gradually lead anyone to the absolute space, and are very rare indeed. The power of the words and their meaning is such that intelligent people can understand them. They are so much more exalted than the treatises of other scholars, something that can be verified with direct perception. For future generations, these texts will become like pith instructions. In the holy land of India, right at the start of the later dissemination of Buddhism in Tibet and during the time of the six scholar-gatekeepers,[24] the works of the great master Abhayākarapāda[25] were considered more sublime than earlier treatises. So here, in the same way, if we are honest then we can understand that [Jigme Lingpa’s works are also more sublime than earlier treatises].

[Patrons of the Derge Palace]

The person who became the main cause for the publication of these excellent works, the original texts of this series of books, was the King of Derge.[26] This king ruled over the ‘maṇḍala of the earth’ of Dokham’s four rivers and six ranges. He was the guardian of the Dharma of this kingdom, like a wish-fulfilling tree amidst ordinary woodland. A mighty universal monarch, devoted to all the teachings and philosophical tenets of both the New and Ancient traditions of Tibet without bias, from those of the past through to those of the present, he made unsurpassable offerings and was the great patron of these eloquent writings that can now be found in this world.

In particular, when the excellent motivations and aspirations of the greatly revered Jigme Lingpa and the patron came together as one, the patron, [the King of Derge], was inspired by Jigme Lingpa’s scholarship and the spiritual accomplishments of his life and liberation. He became completely enchanted and could not help but place all his hope in Jigme Lingpa, who became his sole refuge. He served the sacred Dharma with great reverence and devotion, and through his offerings it was possible to publish Jigme Lingpa’s earlier writings. He provided his financial support everywhere, and as such his generosity for the Dharma was unheard of. Through his offerings he caused the interdependent circumstances to occur through which limitless doors [of Dharma] were opened, and the enlightened activities of the victorious ones did not go to waste.

The vajra prophecies of [Jigme Lingpa’s] mind treasure say:

The venerable Queen Ngang Tsul of Phogyong[27]

First, [Queen Tsewang Lhamo][28] was prophesied to be born as the princess Ngang Tsul Gyalmo. Later she was born as Queen Tsewang Lhamo, the consort and Dharma Queen of the King [of Derge, Sawang Zangpo]. She and [her son], the prince and Dharma King Tsewang Dorje Rigdzin and [daughter], the princess Tamdrin Wangmo,[29] had great faith in the teachings of the lord guru Jigme Lingpa. To prevent his teachings from diminishing, and so that they might flourish far and wide, they sponsored group practices of the great and glorious Peaceful and Wrathful Deities and Vajrakīlaya at the newly established monastery in the region of Dza[30] and the old monastic seats of Dzogchen, Gyalrong and Katok. They sponsored all these practices and prayers, and thus were worthy to be called great patrons of the Dharma. Because of the truth of the interdependent origination of the causes and results of these actions, which are undeceiving, and their perfect samaya [with Jigme Lingpa], and because of the bodhicitta and compassionate intention of their lord guru [Jigme Lingpa], he reincarnated as a supreme nirmāṇakāya here. In fact, at this very moment the investiture ceremonies at the seat of his previous incarnation are being performed.[31] As long as his enlightened activities endure, they will support him with their faith, influence and wealth.

[Jigme Trinle Özer]

The one who encouraged the compilation and publication of these earlier and later works was Jigme Trinle Özer. The vajra prophecies of [Jigme Lingpa’s] mind treasure say:

An emanation of the prince will open the gateway to the Dharma.[32]

This holy being, who was prophesied in this way, was born in the region of Shardo, one of the eighteen provinces of Dokham. From a young age, he practiced the instructions of Mahāmudrā and the Great Perfection. He received an ocean of ripening and liberating teachings and transmissions, and contemplated and meditated upon them extensively. He then stayed at sacred places such as Mount Kailash, absorbing himself in profound samādhi and practicing the skilful means of the Mantra Vehicle, through which he applied the key points of gathering the accumulations and purifying the obscurations, and penetrated to the depths of experience and realization. The spiritual friends he followed were all non-sectarian gurus, and from them he imbibed the nectar of the sacred Dharma in vast quantities. In particular, he met the Omniscient Guru [Jigme Lingpa], who had been the lord of his buddha-family throughout all his lives. Jigme Trinle Özer became his heart son and received all the teachings and transmissions, such as the old and new Heart-Essence, the Embodiment of the Guru’s Wisdom and the Great Collected [Nyingma] Tantras. He was entrusted with the ultimate teachings and crowned with the name Jigme Trinle Özer. He caused the Dharma and enlightened activities of Lord Guru Jigme Lingpa to flourish and spread throughout almost the whole of Dokham, all the way up to Gyalmorong in the East, thus becoming his true, great regent. He strongly urged the Great King and patron of the teachings to publish right away all the writings of the Omniscient Guru.[33] The son of the great king and his mother [the Queen Regent] were also delightedly agreed to this. Everyone who worked on the publication did so with utterly pure motivation and conduct in the beginning, the middle, and the end, and thus all the tasks required for the publication of the collected works were completed in an excellent manner.

2. The Actual Catalogue

Volume One

In volume one,[34] we find the Treasury of Precious Qualities, a treatise that encapsulates all of the teachings of sūtra and tantra. First there is the root text in thirteen chapters, and then this is followed by the auto-commentary on the first nine chapters, entitled the Chariot of the Two Truths, which perfectly teaches the meaning of the three baskets.[35]

Volume Two

Volume two consists of the Chariot of Omniscience, the second part of the auto-commentary, which comments on chapter ten, teaching the entire collection of scriptures on the vidyādhara practices, and the remaining three chapters, which establish the meaning of the ground, path and fruition of the Great Perfection’s extraordinary pith instructions.

Volume Three

Volume three begins with An Ornament Encompassing the World: A History[36] of the Precious Collection of Tantras of the Early Translation School, which has nine chapters. It first describes how our Teacher, the Buddha, came to this world, then offers a general and specific history of Buddhism as represented by the great holders of the teachings such as the Six Ornaments and the Two Supreme Ones,[37] and concludes with a presentation of the teachings of the sacred Dharma, an index of important Dharma texts, and prayers of dedication and aspiration.

Then, there is A Treasury of Transmission: A Treatise Consisting of Valuable Questions and Answers, which covers a range of topics related to both the Lesser and the Great Vehicles, in five chapters.

Volume Four

Volume four opens with the Mirror of Wisdom and Love: A Commentary on the Embodiment of the Guru’s Wisdom (Lama Gongdü). This treatise was written for the benefit of beginners who have set out on the path of the Mantra Vehicle; its words and meaning are not convoluted and are easy to understand.

Then there is An Ocean of Vehicles: A Collection of Advice,[38] which has seventy-three chapters that arbitrarily discuss various aspects of the sciences and other branches of knowledge.

1) The Ship of Vehicles: An Overview. [A Collection of Texts Pertaining to the Inner Science of Buddhism, such as Advice on the Tripiṭaka]
2) The Earrings of Planets: Analyzing the Heavens, A Discourse on Rāhula and the Stars & Constellations
3) The Mirror of the Eight Subjects of Scrutiny: Analyzing the Earth, A Discourse on the Southern Land of India[39]
4) A Treasure of Cintāmaṇi Gems: A Discourse on the Analysis of Precious Substances
5) A Treasury of Jewels: A Discourse on Poetry


6) Medicine to Heal the World: A Letter to the King and His Subjects, in two chapters
7) Royal Earrings: A Letter to the King of Derge
8) The Symphony of Rain Clouds: A Letter to the Prince
9) The Treasury of Advice for Excellent Beings: A Letter to the Queen, including a commentary on the meaning[40]
10) A Letter to the Subjects, with examples and a commentary on their meaning[41]
11) A Letter to the Regent of Tibet
12) A Letter to Holy Beings
13) A Letter Urging Great Teachers to Live in Solitude
14) An Ornament for Ministers and Advisors: A Letter to Disciples
15) A Discourse on our Spiritual Friend the Buddha
16) A Letter to the Spiritual Friend Trinle Tokme of Ganden Jangtse
17) A Letter to the Gurus
18) Brahmā's Earrings: A Letter to Lhodrag Sungtrul
19) A Discourse on Meditation
20) A Letter to Renunciant Meditators
21) An Investigation of the Ascetic Practices: A Letter to Bhikṣus
22) Pratimokṣa-Garbha: Advice to Those Who Have Gone Forth
23) Advice for Mantrikas: Illuminating the Ocean of Samayas, A Commentary on the Fourth Chapter of the Confession Tantra
24) Yakṣa’s Earrings: A Practice for the Eight Classes
25) The King[42] of the Asuras: A Practice for the Evil Spirits of the Ten Directions
26) Words of the Lotus Born: A Practice for the Spirits
27) The Cooling Shade of the Three Jewels: A Letter to Bandits
28) A Bouquet of Good Intentions: A Letter to Pilgrims

[Eulogies of Sacred Places]

29) The Ornament of the Desire Realm: A Guide to Samye Monastery
30) An Adornment of Truth: An Account of the Ārya Palo Ling Temple at Samye
31) The Kalaviṅka’s Call: A Guide to Glorious Samye Chimphu[43]
32) Ornament of the Heaven of Enjoying Emanations: An Account of the Consecration of a New Stūpa [at Samye]
33) An Account of the Image of the Lake-Born Guru[44] and his Precious Footprints
34) Song and Dance of the Ḍākinīs: An Account of the Temple of Zhutö Terdrom
35) A Flower of Dharma History: An Account of the Temple of the Hat[45] in Uru
36) An Account of Lho Mön Karpo Zang
37) A Treasury of History: An Account of the Auspicious Tomb of King Songtsen Gampo
38) Tassels of the Nyagrodha Tree: A Medium-Sized Catalogue of the Contents of the Auspicious Tomb of King Songtsen Gampo
39) The Lute of Vajra Sound: An Account of Palri Tekpa Chenpö Ling[46]
40) The Jeweled Necklace: An Account of Pema Ösal Tekchok Ling,[47] Its Images and Their Consecration
41) Flower of Faith: An Account [of Sang-Ngak Tekchok Ling,] the Jetavana Grove of Central Tsang[48]

[Accounts of the Publications of the Collected Tantras of the Nyingma School]

42) An Ornament of the Kalandaka Bird:[49] An Account of the Publication of the Collected Tantras at Tsona
43) The Drumbeat of the Sages: An Account of the Editorial Work Involved in the Publication of the Collected Tantras of the Early Translation School

44) The Purifying Ketaka Gem: An Account of the Tashi Öbar Stūpa [at Pallo Dönteng]
45) The Bodhi Tree: The Iconometric Proportions of the Eight Stūpas of the Sugata

46) Music from the Heaven of Enjoying Emanations: Advice on Making Offerings
47) Clouds of Merit: Advice on Maṇḍala Offering
48) The Excellent Path to Omniscience: Advice on Dedication
49) A Bouquet of Udumbara Flowers: Encouragements to Retreat to the Forest
50) Invoking Sadness for the Unfree States: A Discourse for the Birds
51) The Messenger of Renunciation: The Story of the Deer
52) Necklace of Rocky Mountains: The Story of the Steadfast Rabbit
53) The Peak of Intelligence: An Encouragement to Engender Sadness at the State of Distraction

54) The Advice of the Intelligent Bhramara:[50] Don’t Rely on the Words, Rely on the Meaning
55) The Tree of Virtue: A Discourse on the Ten Dharmic Activities
56) Oceans of Positive Qualities: A Discourse on Mindfulness
57) A Scalpel for Dissecting Meaning: A Discourse on Mindfulness and Vigilance
58) The Mirror of Suchness: Advice Based on The Perfection of Wisdom in Eighteen Thousand Lines
59) To Remedy the Sophists: A Discourse Clarifying the Tenet Systems
60) An Ornament of Precious Discipline: A Discourse Investigating the Prohibitions of the Ten Non-Virtuous Actions
61) The Ketaka Earring: A Discourse on Distinguishing the True Nature of Mahāmudrā and the Great Perfection
62) Earrings of the Garuḍas: Advice Concerning Unchanging Reality
63) Sorrow Caused by Unsuitable Arguments: A Discourse
64) The Gods’ Drum of Victory: Investigating the Approximate Ultimate
65) The Weapon of Diamond Splinters : An Explanation of How the Four Tenet Systems are Included in Atiyoga
66) Treasury of the Two Purities: A Discourse on Primordial Liberation and Alpha Purity
67) Treasury of the Songs of Realization of the Great Perfection: A Discourse on the Transcendental Perfection of Wisdom
68) A Discourse on Refuting Bias Concerning the Tantras
69) To Remedy Wrong Views: A Discourse on the Four Reliances
70) Profound Illumination: A Discourse on Insight
71) A Discourse Clarifying the Heart of Insight[51] Through its Homage
72) A Concise Discourse Clarifying the Heart of Insight Through its Homage
73) Advice on Taking Illness on the Path

Volume Five

Volume five contains 1) a collection of praises and 2) various minor compositions.

1. Collection of Praises

1) The Play that Delights the Kiṃnaras: A Collection of Poetic Aspirations Connected with the Previous Lives of the Buddha that is like a Sacred Vine
2) The Song of the Wish-fulfilling Tree: Praises to the Thirty-Five Buddhas
3) In Praise of the Lord of Sages ‘Going to the City’[52]
4) The Messenger of Faith: A Praise to the Thus-Gone Buddhas of the Three Times and Ten Directions Based on the Meaning of Their Names
5) In Praise of the New Publication of the Collected Nyingma Tantras[53]
6) In Praise of the Eight Perfect Stūpas of the Thus-Gone Ones
7) In Praise of the Great Saṅgha of the Eight Close Bodhisattva Heirs
8) A Commentary on the Meaning of In Praise of the Great Saṅgha of the Eight Close Bodhisattva Heirs
9) A Chariot of the Two Accumulations: Verses In Praise of the Festival of Great Miracles[54]
10) In Praise of the Secret Practice of the Blessed One, Play of Hayagrīva[55]
11) In Praise of the Copper-Coloured Mountain
12) In Praise of the Thirteen Pith Instructions Deriving from the Treasury of Excellent Qualities
13) In Praise of the Sindūra Biography
14) In Praise of the Vidyādhara
15) In Praise of the Scholar [Śāntarakṣita]
16) In Praise of the Master [Padmasambhava]
17) In Praise of the Dharma King [Tri Songdetsen]
18) In Praise of Sengé Dradok[56]
19) In Praise of Those Who Strictly Observe the Vows
20) In Praise of the Land of Longevity
21) In Praise of the Mighty Symbol With Ten Qualities[57]
22) In Praise of the Wheel of Liberating Sorcery
23) In Praise of the Eight Manifestations of Padmasambhava
24) The Queen of Spring's Far-Reaching Song: A Praise of Longchenpa, the Omniscient Lord of Speech[58]
25) A Concise Praise of the Great Omniscient One in Five Verses
26) Vajra Gamaka: Clarifications in Praise of Glorious Samye Chimpu

2. Various Minor Compositions

This has six sections: 1) a collection of liturgies and arrangements, 2) a collection of sādhanas, 3) a collection of activity manuals, 4) a collection of clarifications and commentaries, 5) a collection of texts for offering to deities and protectors and 6) miscellaneous texts

1. Collection of Liturgies and Arrangements

1) Blessing of the Speech[59]
2) Calling the Guru from Afar[60]
3) In Praise of the Twelve Acts of our Teacher[61]
4) A Prayer to the Lineage Masters of the Vehicle of Individual Liberation
5) Taking Aspiration as the Path: A Prayer to the Lineage Masters of the Precious Early Translation School
6) Paying Homage
7) General Confession
8) Invitation and Cleansing
9) Meditating on the Four Immeasurables
10) Promising to Follow the Path of the Great Vehicle: Taking the Bodhisattva and Mantra Vehicle Vows in Combination
11) An Aspiration to Give Rise to the Three Types of Knowledge
12) The Prayer that Swiftly Fulfils All Wishes[62]
13) In Praise of the Goddess Mārīcī[63]
14) An Aspiration Written for Gyarong Öntrul

2. Collection of Sādhanas

1) Chariot of Liberation: A Sādhana for the Peaceful Deities of the Illusory Net
2) The Actual Perfection of the Herukas: A Sādhana for the Wrathful Deities of the Illusory Net
3) A Ship to Cross the Ocean of Teachings: A Supplementary Ritual for the Sūtra of the Gathering of Intentions
4) A Concise Daily Practice for the Sūtra of the Gathering of Intentions
5) The Delightful Grove of Trees of Immortality: A Liturgy for the Maṇḍala of Amitāyus, Embodiment of the Three Kāyas[64]
6) A Liturgy for the Enlightened Activities of the Black Innermost Essence, the Dark Yoga
7) A Sādhana for the Single Maṇḍala Practice of White Tārā in the Tradition of Jowo Atiśa
8) A Daily Practice of White Mañjuśrī in the Tradition of Mati
9) A Daily Practice of the Sage Loktri
10) A Daily Sādhana for the Secret Practice of Hayagrīva
11) A Meditation and Recitation of the Medicine Buddha
12) A Sādhana of Sarasvatī in the Tradition of the Brahmin Bṛhaspati

3. Various Texts Concerning Enlightened Activities

1) Equipped with the Four Mudrās: A Universal Ritual for Consecrating Supports for the Enlightened Speech, Including Prayer Wheels
2) The Wisdom Ornament of Knowledge and Love that Clarifies the Crucial Points: An Empowerment Ritual for the Sphere of Liberation, Naturally Liberating Wisdom[65]
3) A Cleansing Ritual of the Dispeller of All Samaya Corruptions and Pollutions[66]
4) Notes on the Empowerment for the Sūtra of the Gathering of Intentions
5) The Loud Laughter of Yamāntaka: A Collection of Questions and Answers Relating to the Aversion Torma Ritual of the Eight Great Maṇḍalas: The Gathering of Bliss-Gone Ones[67]
6) Knowing One Liberates All: Explanations on the Suppression Ritual of the Three Combined Black Yamāntakas
7) The Nirmāṇakāya Wheel: A Method of Protection to Eliminate Obstacles in the Year of the Enemy
8) Black Mount Meru: The Stages of Activity of the Suppression Ritual
9) The Perfect Meaning of Tantra: A Cleansing Ritual of Ucchuṣma from the Cycle of ‘Arrogant Demon Taming Vajrakīlaya, the Iron Wheel of the Worst Karmic Deeds’

4. Illuminating Commentaries

1) The Highway of the Victorious Ones: A Commentary on ‘The Tree of Benefit and Happiness: An Aspiration for Awakened Conduct’ by the omniscient Śāntapurīpa[68]
2) The Excellent Path of the Vidyādharas: A Commentary on ‘The Abundant Feast: An Aspiration for the Secret Mantra Vehicle’[69]
3) Swift Path to the Glorious Mountain: An Explanation of the Practice and Visualization of Hūṃ, from the Perfect Heart Practice
4) The Surgical Spoon that Clears Away Illness: A Commentary to Remind us of Samantabhadra’s Aspiration[70]
5) A Mirror Illuminating all Doubts Concerning the Stages of Visualization of the Blazing Wheel

5. Prayers and Offerings to the Deities and Protectors

1) The Excellent Palace Containing Offering Clouds: A Ritual for Smoke Offerings and Amendments
2) Presenting an Ocean of Rewards: A Fulfilment with the Most Excellent Offerings
3) Fulfilling the Wishes[71] of the Oath Bound Ones: A Fulfilment and Amendment Practice for Four-Faced Mahākāla, the Glorious Protector
4) A Method for Making Offerings to Durtrö Lhamo
5) The Lady’s Necklace: An Offering to Dorje Yudrönma
6) A Concise Fulfilment and Amendment Practice for Dorje Yudrönma
7) A Fierce and Timely Messenger: A Fulfilment and Amendment Practice for the Yakṣa Tsimara[72]
8) A Concise Fulfilment and Amendment Practice for the Great King Vaiśravaṇa
9) A Concise Petition to Masang
10) Arming the Ocean-like Oath-bound Guardians of the Teachings[73]
11) A Practice of Fulfilment and Confession to an Ocean of Oath-bound Protectors[74]
12) Entrusting Activity to the Dharma Protectors in General, the prayer starting with “The Teachings of the Buddha…”

6. Miscellaneous Texts

1) Staircase to the Higher Realms: A Concise Path of the Actual Preliminary Practice
2) An Explanation of the Meaning of the Words of the Practice to Repay Karmic Debts through Offering Water Tormas
3) A Vine Leading to the Higher Realms:[75] A Ritual for Giving the Refuge Vows
4) A Practice of Paying Homage and Making Offerings to the Sixteen Elders[76]
5) Excellent Intention: A Simple Fasting (Nyungné) Ritual[77]
6) Cultivating the Pure Realm of Manifest Joy: A Guru Yoga based on Vajrasattva[78]
7) A Three-Kāya Guru Yoga based on Buddha Amitābha
8) A Prayer to the Great Founders of the Teachings of the Early Translation School
9) A Prayer to Jowo Rinpoche Combined with Aspirations and a Means to Receive the Four Empowerments[79]
10) A Prayer Combining the Ten Deeds with the Four Empowerments
11) An Aspiration to Accomplish Perfection, Maturation and Purification
12) A Prayer to the Guru to Expose One’s Faults
13) A Prayer to Rigdzin Jigme Lingpa Invoking His Previous Incarnations[80]
14) A Prayer Recalling the Life and Liberation of the Great Perfection Adept Rangjung Dorje (‘Naturally Arisen Vajra’), Jigme Lingpa[81]
15) A Prayer that Condenses Everything Into a Single Jewel-Like Practice
16) Four prayers
17) Three prayers[82] for the long life of Jigme Lingpa
18) A Prayer for the Long Life of Gyalsé Nyinjé Özer
19) Prayer to the Garland of Rebirths of the Dzogchenpas of Eastern Tibet[83]
20) Two tea prayers
21) Concise Biographies of the Previous Incarnations of Rigdzin Jigme Lingpa
22) Some Intelligent Remarks Supplementing the Omniscient Lord of Speech's 'Treatise to Refute the Malicious and Erroneous Opinions Held Against the Early Translation Nyingma School'
23) The Play of the Kiṃnaras: A Collection of Jigme Lingpa's Official Letters
24) Sun and Moon Earrings: The Record of Teachings and Transmissions Received by Jigme Lingpa, comprising mainly of the precious Collected Tantras of the Early Translation School, the sādhanas and activity manuals of the Kama Teachings as illustrated by the Sūtra, Illusory Net, and Mind, the Seven Treasuries, the Heart Essence in Four Parts, and the earlier and later treasures.[84]
25) Full Discernment of Phenomena: A Catalogue of the Complete Collected Works of the Omniscient King of Dharma Rigdzin Jigme Lingpa[85]

Volume Six

Almost a hundred tantric Kīlaya texts, translated by various lotsāwas and paṇḍitas, can be found in the precious Collected Tantras of the Early Translation School. They have been gathered and condensed into the Tantra System Vajrakīlaya, which is found in volume six.[86] An index can be found in that volume.

Volume Seven

Volumes seven and eight contain the texts of the Heart-Essence of the Vast Expanse, or the ‘New Heart-Essence’, which hold the heart-essence of all the oceans of tantras and the quintessence of all the pith instructions related to the generation and perfection phases. The meaning of these mind treasures is profound, and their blessings swift. All the supplementary texts can be found here as well. A list of these texts is clearly set out in the catalogue An Illuminating Ornament of Brilliant Sunlight.[87] The first of these two volumes contains the sādhanas, activity manuals and background teachings which take the vase empowerment as the path and which relate mainly to the generation phase.

Volume Eight

Volume eight contains all the pith instructions and background teachings on how to take the three higher empowerments, such as the secret empowerment, as the path, and which relate mainly to the perfection phase.

Volume Nine

Volume nine contains The Husk Containing Noble Deeds: The Life and Liberation of Kyentsé Özer. This autobiography, which includes songs of realization, relates how Jigme Lingpa first received, read and contemplated the teachings, then practiced assiduously, and finally turned the wheel of enlightened activities. The meaning of his biography is summarized in An Adornment of Songs of Realization. Finally, this volume contains a collection of questions and answers on the meditation of the generation and perfection phases, and other spiritual advice.

3. The Conclusion

This consists of: 1) the benefit of this publication and 2) the conclusion by means of dedication and aspiration prayers.

1. The Benefit of this Publication

The Verses that Summarize the Perfection of Wisdom, the Mother of the Victorious Ones, says:

If you were to make stūpas from the seven jewels that symbolize the complete nirvāṇa of the Bliss-Gone Ones and make offerings to them, and fill billions of realms, as many as the grains in the river Ganges, with them, and then, for example, all sentient beings in those billions of realms were to do nothing but make offerings of divine flowers, light incense, and anoint them during all the aeons of the past, present and future, or even better still, if one were to write down this Mother of the Bliss Gone Ones, the source of our Guides, the buddhas who are endowed with the ten strengths, if one were to hold it, cast flowers upon it and honour it, the merit of making offerings to such a stūpa cannot equal this.


Compared to bringing all sentient beings in billions of realms numbering the grains of the river Ganges to the state of an arhat, if someone were to write down this transcendent perfection of insight, and then give the volume to an excellent sentient being, the merit of that would be far greater. Why? If supreme teachers train in this, they can reveal the emptiness of all phenomena. If śrāvakas hear it, they will be swiftly liberated, pratyekabuddhas will reach their awakening and potential buddhas will reach awakening.

Thus this is explained extensively. Just as it is said that the benefit of printing the Words of the Bliss-Gone Ones, the transcendent perfection of insight, is immeasurable, in the same way the benefit of printing just one text that reveals the teachings of the pinnacle of all vehicles, the transcendental perfection of insight that ascertains the true nature of all phenomena, the Great Perfection, and the teachings that belong to the piṭaka of the profound Mantra Vehicle, the utterly profound path of the vidyādharas, is completely inexpressible. As long as a printed version of texts with such inexhaustible qualities remains, the benefit will endure. You should also know that the benefit of listening to a teaching based on such a text and contemplating and meditating on it is immeasurable. Likewise, concerning the benefit of giving a Dharma text to someone else, the Extensive Mother[88] scripture says:

“Kauśika,[89] from all the beings that exist in all the billions of universes, if you were to lead some of them, sons or daughters of noble family, to the four meditative concentrations, the four immeasurables, the four formless absorptions, or the five super-cognitions, Kauśika, what do you think? The merit of those sons or daughters of noble family, would it not be a lot?”

The Blessed One said: “If a son or daughter of noble family were to give a text of the transcendental perfection of insight such as this to someone else in order to read, write out or recite, their merit would be much greater still. Why is that so? Kauśika, this transcendental perfection of insight teaches the undefiled dharmas extensively. To train in that…you will awaken as a completely perfect buddha.”

Thus, you should understand it to be just as stated here by the Buddha.

2. Stanzas for Dedication and Aspiration

Svasti bhavatu!

  1. From the great icy ocean[90] of the Lord of Sages, perfect in abandonment and realization,
    Arose the twelve perfect insights of cessation, the path, and so on.[91]
    Homage to the liberating sacred Dharma, which, like the moon
    Or the surface of fresh camphor, dispels our darkness.

  2. The truth of the path, affording the taste of peace and removing the suffering of saṃsāra,
    Has taken the form of names, syllables and words,
    And been printed with sublime intention, the magic of which
    Allows one text to be multiplied into many. Through this merit,

  3. The merit of all the good actions that arise
    From listening, contemplating and meditating,
    And all the merit from the past, present and future of all beings gathered together,
    May we enter the great ocean of the four kāyas of omniscience!

  4. Through the power of this merit, may the fire of suffering,
    Sprung from the thickets of the view of self, the cause of the unendurable sufferings of the hells,
    And intensified by the fierce winds of bad karma, be extinguished,
    So that all may attain excellent rebirths in higher realms.

  5. May the hungry ghosts as well be liberated from their torment,
    Internally, of hunger and thirst, and externally, of the extremity of the seasons.
    May their happiness, glory and wealth know no bounds,
    And may they enjoy the glorious wealth of the higher realms.

  6. May the endarkening vines and vegetation
    Of animals’ ignorance and servitude be cut down,
    And the sharp weapon of discerning knowledge
    Bring them the sacred, illuminating insight of selflessness.

  7. May human beings, by means of the excellent boat
    Of the freedoms and advantages, cross the four rivers,[92]
    Travel to the jewelled island of supreme liberation,
    And there take possession of the gem of supreme bliss.

  8. May the hostility of the asuras, which is so difficult for them to bear
    And leads to conflict, be doused by the waters of loving kindness.
    May they only assist one another, just like friends or relatives,
    And through bodhicitta, come to find a state of genuine tranquility.

  9. May the gods who are intoxicated by their desires
    Realize that craving for objects is a cause of bondage,
    And seeing things as hollow, like the moon’s reflection,
    May they set out joyfully on the path to nirvāṇa.

  10. May all beings, bewildered by the view of personhood
    And plagued by desire and other emotions, as if trapped
    In the jaws of a crocodile, be able to release themselves
    And attain a state of conscientiousness and calm.

  11. As if tricked by a mirage, childish beings are never content
    With their own possessions, and the weapon of their animosity
    Makes them jealous of others’ wealth and success—
    May their coarseness of thought and deed subside.

  12. May bodhicitta awaken in the minds of spirits as well,
    Enabling them to protect all beings.
    May degeneration of the environment and its inhabitants be naturally pacified
    And the splendour of the Age of Perfection gladden the world.

  13. At the end of time the illusory net of the buddhas manifests in the form of masters,
    A gathering of vidyādharas whose armour of bodhicitta
    Is impervious to the forces of darkness,
    And who beautify the earth with their qualities of knowledge and liberation.

  14. When the supreme essential teachings were in decline on this earth,
    May the kingdom of Nārāyaṇa,[93] whose courage is indomitable,
    The lord of Derge—land of the four pursuits[94] and the ten virtues—
    And of his Queen and family, never decline in excellence.

  15. May their lifespan, Dharma, wealth and family line never diminish.
    May their abundant fortune expand like a lake in summertime,
    May they sustain all beings as magnificently as Mount Meru,
    And may they be universally victorious and conquer the whole world.

  16. As the tree of giving is irrigated by the waters of compassion
    Its fruits of munificence prosper, and in its cooling shade
    The wishes of all beings are fulfilled, may the pāramitā
    Of enthusiastic and honest generosity be perfected!

  17. Restrained by vows that control the senses and eliminate negativity,
    Beings take delight in a state of tranquility—
    May the pāramitā of pure and pristine discipline,
    A treasure trove of millions of stainless qualities, be perfected!

  18. Seeing things as an illusion, and for others’ benefit,
    Never shirking from the most difficult of tasks,
    In which one thinks little of sacrificing even life and limb—
    May the pāramitā of sublime patience be perfected!

  19. With a stable commitment to deliver all beings,
    Who resemble an optical illusion, to nirvāṇa,
    And undefeated by the forces of laziness and doubt—
    May the pāramitā of steadfast diligence be perfected!

  20. Within the ocean of samādhi, unsullied by conceptual elaboration
    And undisturbed by the turbulent waves of thought,
    Is a treasure with the flavour of joyous bliss and realization—
    May we obtain the pāramitā of meditative concentration!

  21. With the stainless blade of the view of selflessness
    That cuts through the vines of ordinary concepts,
    And with the treasures of memory and courageous eloquence,
    May we obtain the pāramitā of insight that discerns all things!

  22. Unhindered as we lead all beings towards liberation,
    Accepted by a sublime protector and serving him devotedly,
    Through mastery of the archery of oceanic ripening and liberation,
    May we defeat the adversarial forces of existence!

  23. With all the adventitious faults, misdeeds and downfalls
    That obscure the sun of our own true face, the buddha nature, entirely purified,
    May our realization of the five paths—included within the four vidyādhara levels—increase,
    And may we realize the true meaning of the ground!

  24. May anyone connected to these efforts of body, speech and mind
    Experience only the exhaustion of bad karma and its results,
    And may they be among the very first circle of disciples
    Of the Buddha ‘Completely Victorious’,[95] foremost among humans!

  25. May the realizations of the path that arise from listening, contemplating
    And meditating on these works increase like the waxing moon,
    And may these successive volumes of teachings
    Adorn the throats of the vidyādharas upon this earth!

  26. Not focusing on those to whom this is dedicated or the one who dedicates, but with space-like non-conceptuality
    And seeing the dedication itself as like someone in a dream casting flowers in the sky—
    May we emulate the dedication of the supremely noble, who see reality beyond reference,
    And thus may the longed-for result come about, and our dedication be entirely pure!

I, Gyurme Tsewang Chokdrup from Katok Monastery, wrote this concise catalogue of the collected works of the omniscient Jigme Lingpa Rangjung Dorje following the command of the publisher (the ‘main cause’).[96] May virtue and auspiciousness abound everywhere and at all times!

| Translated by Han Kop with the generous and patient assistance of Khenpo Sonam Tsewang and Tulku Dawa, and edited by Barry Cohen and Adam Pearcey. Matthias Staber and Stefan Mang checked the translation and provided many valuable suggestions. First published, 2021.


Tibetan Editions

'gyur med tshe dbang mchog grub, tshe ring rgyal mtshan. "'jigs med gling pa'i gsung 'bum gyi dkar chag." In gsung 'bum/_'gyur med tshe dbang mchog grub. TBRC W15098. 9: 5 - 34. khreng tu'u: dmangs khrod dpe dkon sdud sgrig khang, 2001.

'gyur med tshe dbang mchog grub. "kun mkhyen chos kyi rgyal po rig 'dzin 'jigs med gling pa'i bka' 'bum yong rdzogs kyi bzhugs byang chos rab rnam 'byed" In gsung 'bum/ 'gyur med tshe dbang mchog grub/ (glog klad par ma/). TBRC W3PD229. 9: 1-25. khreng tu'u: si khron tang deb tshogs pa/ si khron mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 2014.

'jigs med gling pa mkhyen brtse 'od zer. "gsung 'bum dkar chag." In gsung 'bum/_'jigs med gling pa/ sde dge par ma/. TBRC W27300. 5: 3 - 28. gangtok, sikkim: pema thinley for dodrupchen rinpoche, 1985. (Derge edition)

'jigs med gling pa . "chos kyi bzhugs byang smos pa'i rab tu byed pa ste/skabs brgyad pa/ ." In gsung 'bum/_'jigs med gling pa/. TBRC W1KG10193. 3: 461 - 482. gangtok, sikkim: sonam t. kazi, 1970-1975.

Secondary Sources


dGaʼ baʼi rdo rje. ʼKhrungs dpe dri med shel gyi me long. Par gzhi dang po, Mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 1995. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), [BDRC bdr:MW20069]


Aris, Michael. ʼJigs-Med-Gling-Pa’s “Discourse on India” of 1789: A Critical Edition and Annotated Translation of the Lho-Phyogs Rgya-Gar-Gyi Gtam Brtag-Pa Brgyad-Kyi Me-Long. International Institute for Buddhist Studies of ICABS, 1995

Chattopadhyaya, Alaka & Lama Chimpa. Taranatha’s History of Buddhism in India. ed. Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya, 2nd edition. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 2010

Gardner, Alexander. “Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje.” Treasury of Lives, accessed October 07, 2021,

Goodman, Steven D. "Rig-'dzin 'Jigs-med gling-pa and the Klong-Chen sNyingThig", in Davidson, Ronald M. and Goodman, Steven D. (eds), Tibetan Buddhism: Reason and Revelation. New York: SUNY Press, 1992. pp.133–207.

Gyatso, Janet. Apparitions of the Self: The Secret Autobiographies of a Tibetan Visionary (A Translation and Study of Jigme Lingpa’s Dancing Moon in the Water and Dakki’s Grand Secret Talk) Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1999

Maitreya, Arya, Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Taye, and Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso. Buddha Nature: The Mahayana Uttaratantra Shastra with Commentary. Translated by Rosemarie Fuchs. Reprint edition. Boulder: Snow Lion, 2018.

Ronis, Jann. "Derge Queen Tsewang Lhamo," Treasury of Lives, accessed October 07, 2021,

Tulku Thondup. Masters of Meditation and Miracles: Lives of the Great Buddhist Masters of India and Tibet. Boston, MA.: Shambhala, 1996

van Schaik, Sam. "A Tibetan Catalogue of the Works of ’Jigs-med gling-pa", Revue d’Etudes Tibétaines, no. 29, Avril 2014, pp. 39-63.

______. Approaching the Great Perfection: Simultaneous and Gradual Methods of Dzogchen Practice in the Longchen Nyingtig. Boston, MA: Wisdom Publications, 2004

______. "Sun and Moon Earrings: The Teachings Received by 'Jigs med gling pa." Tibet Journal, vol. 25: 4, 2000, pp. 3-32.

Version: 1.1-20211008

  1. The title of the text plays upon the words of the standard definition of prajña, or insight, which is "the precise discernment of phenomena (dharmas)". Here dharmas (Tib. chos) refers specifically to the Dharma writings of Jigme Lingpa. Thus, the title might also be translated (somewhat loosely) as "A Survey of the Teachings."  ↩

  2. We have translated this Sanskrit praise based on the Tibetan, which conveys the same meaning, just below. The Sanskrit verse is followed by a short technical discussion of the meter, which has not been translated here. The Sanskrit was kindly written down and checked by Ryan Conlon.  ↩

  3. i.e., Jigme Lingpa  ↩

  4. The Ornament of the Mahāyāna Sūtras, chapter 10, verse 51. Jamgon Mipham and Asanga, A Feast of the Nectar of the Supreme Vehicle: An Explanation of the Ornament of the Mahayana Sutras, trans. Padmakara Translation Group (Boulder: Shambhala, 2018).  ↩

  5. Treatise on the Sublime Continuum, chapter 4, verse 308. Karl Brunnholzl, trans., When the Clouds Part: The Uttaratantra and Its Meditative Tradition as a Bridge between Sutra and Tantra, Illustrated edition (Boston: Snow Lion, 2015), 665.  ↩

  6. Tib. Lama Gongdü, bla ma dgongs 'dus. The citation is as follows: In the south [of Tibet] there will come a tulku named Özer. He shall liberate beings through the profound teachings of Nyingthig. Whoever is connected to him he will lead to the pure land of the vidyādharas. Tulku Thondup, Masters of Meditation and Miracles: Lives of the Great Buddhist Masters of India and Tibet, Boston, MA: Shambhala, 1996, 118.  ↩

  7. The Tibetan says twenty-nine, as a person is considered to be one year old already at birth.  ↩

  8. From Ḍākki's Grand Secret-Talk: An Expression of My Realizations. See Janet Gyatso, Apparitions of the Self: The Secret Autobiographies of a Tibetan Visionary–A Translation and Study of Jigme Lingpa’s Dancing Moon in the Water and Dakki’s Grand Secret Talk (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1999), page 57. 'Jigs med gling pa. “rtogs pa brjod pa DAk+ki'i gsang gtam chen mo ", in klong chen snying thig rtsa pod. 5 Vols. BDRC W1KG13585. Bodhnath, Kathmandu and Bodhgaya, Bihar: Shechen Publications, 1994. Vol. 1:10.  ↩

  9. i.e., Longchenpa  ↩

  10. Tulku Dawa comments that Khari here refers to Yeshe Tsogyal.  ↩

  11. The tomb of Emperor Songtsen Gampo (c.605–650)  ↩

  12. Yoru Tradruk (g.yo ru khra 'brug) is the first, or at least one of the first, Buddhist temples built in Tibet by King Songtsen Gampo. Together with Samye and the Jokhang it is one of the three most important temples in Central Tibet.  ↩

  13. Again, the text counts in Tibetan fashion and has thirty-six.  ↩

  14. That is, the Guru Rinpoche day during the seventh Tibetan month.  ↩

  15. i.e., Butön Rinchen Drup (1290–1364). Here we are following the Adzom edition which has bu lta bu, while Derge has de lta bu.  ↩

  16. The three types of evidence are: resultant evidence, natural, and non-observation.  ↩

  17. This paragraph details the revelation of the Vajrakīlaya Tantra Tradition (Gyüluk Phurba).  ↩

  18. Jigme Lingpa’s autobiography The Husk Containing Noble Deeds: The Life and Liberation of Kyentsé Özer.  ↩

  19. Uttaratantra V, 18.  ↩

  20. This is a citation from the Noble Sūtra of Recalling the Three Jewels.  ↩

  21. Uttaratantra V, 19.  ↩

  22. Tib. Kagye (bka’ brgyad)  ↩

  23. Tib. Lama Gongdü (bla ma dgongs ‘dus)  ↩

  24. These are probably Ratnākaraśānti, Prajñākaragupta, Vāgīśvarakīrti (ngag gi dbang phyug grags pa), Nāropa, Ratnavajra and Jñānaśrīmitra. See Alaka Chattopadhyaya & Lama Chimpa, Taranatha’s History of Buddhism in India, ed. Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya, 2 edition (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 2010), page 295, note 13.  ↩

  25. Presumably a reference to Abhayākaragupta ('Jigs med 'byung gnas sbas pa, active early to mid-12th century)  ↩

  26. Possibly Sawang Zangpo (sa dbang bzang po, 1768–1790), who passed away about a decade before this catalogue was written.  ↩

  27. Lady Gyalmo Tsün of Pho-gyong or Ngangtsul Changchub Gyalmo. A wife of the Tibetan prince Mutik Tsenpo, the second son of Tri Songdetsen, and a consort of Padmasambhava. The citation is from Jigme Lingpa’s A Casket of Enlightened Mind/Wisdom, the Prophetic Guide for the Heart-Essence of the Vast Expanse.  ↩

  28. See Jann Ronis, "Derge Queen Tsewang Lhamo," Treasury of Lives, accessed October 07, 2021,  ↩

  29. rta mgrin dbang mo, b. 1787.  ↩

  30. This must refer to Dza Kilung monastery, Orgyen Rigdzin Pelgye Ling, founded by Jigme Ngotsar Gyatso (c.1759–c.1834), the first Kilung Rinpoche.  ↩

  31. This passage likely refers to the enthronement of Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje as the incarnation of Jigme Lingpa at Tsering Jong. Dodrupchen Jigme Trinle Özer had already met Do Khyentse in 1801. See Tulku Thondup, Masters of Meditation and Miracles: Lives of the Great Buddhist Masters of India and Tibet, Boston, MA: Shambhala, 1996, p. 153: "In 1801, on a visit to Mar Valley, Dodrupchen met Do Khyentse (1800–1866), who was then about a year old." Also see Alexander Gardner, "Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje," Treasury of Lives, accessed October 07, 2021, "As a child, Yeshe Dorje was taken to U to be enthroned at Jigme Lingpa's seat, Tsering Jong."  ↩

  32. From Jigme Lingpa’s A Casket of Enlightened Mind, a Manual of Essential Instructions  ↩

  33. Although the chronology is unclear, the King of Derge referred to here might still be Sawang Zangpo, who was a devotee and patron of Jigme Lingpa’s work. As he passed away in 1790, he was not alive to see the final publication of Jigme Lingpa’s collected works in Derge around the turn of the nineteenth century.  ↩

  34. The volumes are identified by the letters of the Tibetan alphabet (ka, kha, ga…etc.), but for the translation we have used numbers instead.  ↩

  35. Skt. Tripiṭaka  ↩

  36. The Tibetan word here is rtogs brjod, a translation of the Sanskrit avadāna, which can be rendered in English as ‘accounts of noble deeds’.  ↩

  37. The Six Ornaments are Nāgārjuna, Āryadeva, Asaṅga, Vasubandhu, Dignāga and Dharmakīrti, and the Two Supreme Ones are Nāgārjuna and Asaṅga, or Guṇaprabha and Śākyaprabha.  ↩

  38. gtam tshogs. The Tibetan word gtam can mean discourse, advice, story, letter, history, etc. Here it is translated as ‘advice’ but throughout the catalogue it is translated according to the context.  ↩

  39. See ʼJigs-med-gling-pa, ʼJigs-Med-Gling-Pa’s “Discourse on India” of 1789: A Critical Edition and Annotated Translation of the Lho-Phyogs Rgya-Gar-Gyi Gtam Brtag-Pa Brgyad-Kyi Me-Long, trans. Aris, Michael (International Institute for Buddhist Studies of ICABS, 1995).  ↩

  40. See A Letter to the Queen, translated by Jann Ronis, in Gayley, Holly, and Joshua Schapiro, eds. A Gathering of Brilliant Moons: Practice Advice from the Rime Masters of Tibet. Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications, 2017. pp. 109–122.  ↩

  41. Written for Changchub Gyaltsen, i.e., Jigme Kündrol  ↩

  42. gtsug tor. Literally the uṣṇīṣa. Tulku Dawa comments that this sometimes refers to a king.  ↩

  43. The Kalaviṅka’s Call: A Guide to Glorious Samye Chimphu, trans. Kaleb Yaniger, Lhasey Lotsawa Translations, 2017.  ↩

  44. Tib. Tsokyé Dorjé (mtsho skyes rdo rje).  ↩

  45. Zha lha khang. See  ↩

  46. Founded by Trengpo Tertön Sherab Özer (1518–1584), this is the monastery of Jigme Lingpa’s youth.  ↩

  47. The monastery founded by Jigme Lingpa.  ↩

  48. Tsang is one of the two provinces of Central Tibet.  ↩

  49. According to Tibetan sources the Kalandaka is a bird, possibly a crow. The ʼKhrungs dpe dri med shel gyi me long asserts that it refers to the Eurasian tree sparrow (passer montanus). However, some Sanskrit and Pali sources suggest that it refers to the flying squirrel.  ↩

  50. A kind of bee.  ↩

  51. I.e., the Heart Sūtra.  ↩

  52. Tib. Drongkhyerma (grong khyer ma). This is a form of Buddha Śākyamuni in the standing posture that he adopted when begging for alms in cities and villages.  ↩

  53. Written in 1771.  ↩

  54. The Festival of Miracles is one of the four major Buddhist holidays. It occurs on the full moon (the fifteenth day) of the first Tibetan month. The first fifteen days of the year celebrate the fifteen days on which, in order to increase the merit and the devotion of future disciples, Buddha displayed a different miracle.  ↩

  55. One of the Eighteen Tantras of Mahāyoga according to the Nyingma tradition.  ↩

  56. seng ge sgra sgrogs. One of the Eight Manifestations (mtshan brgyad) of Guru Rinpoche.  ↩

  57. i.e., the Kālacakra symbol  ↩

  58. Nyoshul Khenpo Jamyang Dorjé, A Marvelous Garland of Rare Gems: Biographies of Masters of Awareness in the Dzogchen Lineage, trans. Richard Barron, Junction City, CA: Padma Publishing, 2005, 204–212.  ↩

  59. For a translation see The Excellent Path to Omniscience: The Dzogchen Preliminary Practice of Longchen Nyingtik.  ↩

  60. See The Excellent Path to Omniscience: The Dzogchen Preliminary Practice of Longchen Nyingtik.  ↩

  61. See Praise of the Twelve Acts of the Buddha.  ↩

  62. See The Prayer that Swiftly Fulfils All Wishes.  ↩

  63. See In Praise of the Goddess Mārīcī.  ↩

  64. This is a practice by Trengpo Tertön Sherab Özer (1518–1584)  ↩

  65. The Droltik Gongpa Rangdrol by Trengpo Tertön Sherab Özer (1518–1584)  ↩

  66. Based on the treasure text of Trengpo Tertön Sherab Özer.  ↩

  67. The Kagye Deshek Düpa by Nyangrel Nyima Özer (1124–1192)  ↩

  68. Śāntapurīpa is an epithet of Trengpo Tertön Sherab Özer.  ↩

  69. This is also by Trengpo Tertön Sherab Özer.  ↩

  70. Revealed by Rigdzin Gödem Ngödrup Gyaltsen (1337–1408).  ↩

  71. The Tibetan bla chags is rather difficult to render in English.  ↩

  72. As the basis for this text Jigme Lingpa used the treasures of Ngari Paṇchen Pema Wangyal (1487–1542).  ↩

  73. Translated by Rigpa Translations, unpublished.  ↩

  74. See A Practice of Fulfilment and Confession to an Ocean of Oath-bound Protectors.  ↩

  75. Getse Mahapandita has ‘A Vine Leading to Liberation’ (thar pa), which appears to be a typographical error. All editions of the collected works have ‘Higher Realms’ (mtho ris)  ↩

  76. See A Practice of Paying Homage and Making Offerings to the Sixteen Elders.  ↩

  77. See Excellent Intention: A Simple Fasting (Nyungné) Ritual.  ↩

  78. See Cultivating the Pure Realm of Manifest Joy: A Guru Yoga based on Vajrasattva.  ↩

  79. See A Prayer to Jowo Rinpoche Combined with Aspirations and a Means to Receive the Four Empowerments.  ↩

  80. See A Prayer to Rigdzin Jigme Lingpa Invoking His Previous Incarnations.  ↩

  81. See A Prayer Recalling the Life and Liberation of the Great Perfection Adept Rangjung Dorje.  ↩

  82. There appear to be four.  ↩

  83. See Prayer to the Garland of Rebirths of the Dzogchenpas of Eastern Tibet.  ↩

  84. See van Schaik, Sam. 2000. 'Sun and Moon Earrings: The Teachings Received by 'Jigs med gling pa.' Tibet Journal, vol. 25: 4, pp. 3-32.  ↩

  85. That is, the present text.  ↩

  86. Tib. Gyüluk Phurba, rgyud lugs phur pa  ↩

  87. By Jigme Losal Özer, written in 1802. Translation forthcoming.  ↩

  88. The Perfection of Wisdom in Twenty-five Thousand Lines (pañcaviṃśatisāhasrikā-prajñāpāramitā, sher phyin stong phrag nyi shu lnga pa)  ↩

  89. Another name for the god Indra.  ↩

  90. Tib. Gangs can mtsho.  ↩

  91. According to Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakośa, there are three stages in the understanding of each of the four truths of the noble ones, which gives a total of twelve insights. For each truth one knows the nature of the truth, knows what needs to be done in connection with that truth, and accomplishes what needs to be done.  ↩

  92. The four rivers are birth, old age, sickness and death.  ↩

  93. Here the King of Derge is compared to Nārāyaṇa (i.e.,Viṣṇu), as was the custom in Indian and South Asian culture.  ↩

  94. The four pursuits of human life (Skt. puruṣārtha) are 1) Dharma (righteousness, moral values), 2) artha (prosperity, economic values), 3) kāma (pleasure, love) and 4) mokṣa (liberation).  ↩

  95. The name of the Buddha that Jigme Lingpa is prophesied to become.  ↩

  96. Since Getse Mahapandita mentions the catalogue of the Longchen Nyingtik written by Jigme Losal Özer, An Illuminating Ornament of Brilliant Sunlight: A Catalogue of the Heart-Essence of the Vast Expanse, which was written in 1802, we must infer that this text was written either in 1802 or slightly later. Janet Gyatso mentions the request, probably in 1798, from the Derge kingdom to Jigme Lingpa to send authoritative copies of some of his writings to them. Given the date of the catalogue, we can estimate that the Derge edition of Jigme Lingpa's collected works must have been produced roughly between 1798 and 1802. See also Sam van Schaik, Approaching the Great Perfection, p. 39 and Janet Gyatso, Apparitions of the Self, p. 310, n. 2.  ↩