The Breeze That Carries the Auspicious Melody

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English | བོད་ཡིག

Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo

Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa

The Breeze That Carries the Auspicious Melody

Replies to Questions Arising from the Life Story of the Great Treasure-Revealer, Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa

by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo

Oṃ svasti siddhirastu.[1]

Important questions arise with regard to the vast and profound Auspicious Melody,[2] which presents the common life story of the great treasure revealer Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa. In order to answer these, I have compiled the following notes. I shall begin with the meaning of the full title of this life-story supplication, The Melody of the Auspicious Spiralled Conch.[3]

Generally speaking, the compositional styles of guru supplications show great variation in their expression of words and meaning. In brief, they are of three types: prayers to a master’s garland of incarnations, written primarily about previous lifetimes; supplications known as life-story prayers written primarily about present activities; and longevity prayers for times to come.

Here, we are dealing with a life-story prayer, the second type of supplication. Its very title equates it with the sweet sound of the most supreme of auspicious objects—a white conch with a clockwise spiral. Indeed, there are good reasons for this analogy of the white conch with a clockwise spiral to represent the subject—the life story that spans the three times.

The first reason is as follows: just as the white conch with a clockwise spiral has uninterruptedly taken the form of a conch for five lifetimes, its sound thereby becoming melodious and pleasing to all beings, this precious emanated treasure-revealer has likewise taken birth exclusively as a sublime being throughout his previous lifetimes, and now fulfills the wishes of disciples.

The second reason is that, just as the white conch with a clockwise spiral has three extraordinary qualities, this venerable master’s life story is likewise endowed with three extraordinary qualities. The defining characteristic of the white conch with a clockwise spiral is its pure white color and the fact that it is supreme among auspicious objects. In the same way, the causal aspect of the biography, Chokgyur Lingpa’s extraordinary bodhicitta resolve, is wholly pure. Wherever he directs his mind, auspiciousness prevails—benefiting both the teachings and the beings of degenerate times, both now and ultimately. Also, just as the conch’s shape is a clockwise spiral, so the resultant aspect of the biography, Chokgyur Lingpa’s extraordinary awakened activity, manifests in ways appropriate to each disciple, thereby guiding them individually on the excellent path of higher rebirths and liberation. Finally, just as the conch’s function is to resound melodiously, so the essence aspect of his extraordinary life story captivates the attention of every fortunate person who hears it. This is a life where awakened resolve and activity are indivisible, where the great treasury of profound termas, mysterious and unprecedented, is upheld. Overcoming the contagious decline of the degenerate age, it is a story that raises the victory banner of virtue, fulfilling whatever one may wish for within saṃsāra and nirvāṇa.

The third reason is as follows: The white conch with a clockwise spiral that possesses these three extraordinary qualities of form, function, and defining characteristics will bring the abundant splendor of auspiciousness to any abode of gods, nāgas, or humans in which it appears in times to come. Likewise, wherever the sublime and noble master appears in the infinite manifestations of his future rebirths, his life story bears this extraordinary cause, result, and essence that will provide disciples with every benefit and all the happiness that they desire.

Verse 1

The first verse of four lines gives the definitive meaning of the life story as the natural state, referencing ultimate reality, in which ground and fruition are unfailingly indivisible, as explained in the tantras of the Māyājāla, The Net of Illusion (Gyutrül Drawa).[4]

Verse 2

The second verse, the life story of expedient meaning, condenses all the common biographies into a single stanza. It can therefore stand alone as a short supplication.

Verse 3

The third verse, on the path of the four magical tamings,[5] can be explained in detail according to the third chapter of the Māyājāla Root Tantra.

Verses 4 & 5

Among the general, condensed life stories of Chokgyur Lingpa’s previous incarnations, the following detail regarding his qualities is mentioned in the Basic Framework for the Sādhanas of Profound Auspicious Coincidence (Tendrel Zabmö Drubtab Doching), from The Ten Teachings to Ensure the Welfare of Tibet and Kham (Bökham Detab Chöchu):

Lhasé, the superior qualities of your body[6]
Are concealed as the fortune of the king, your only father.
Read them carefully, and uplift your mind with courage and confidence.

Thus, one can learn about the superior qualities of his past and present incarnations from their description in the various biographies of his past lifetimes, where they are praised extensively as bringing benefit to whomever he encountered.

Verses 6 & 7

The first of the ten amazing accounts,[7] a description of his youth, begins in precise detail with the phrase, “Among the mountain passes of Yertödra[8]…” His place of origin is included, as are his noble family lineage, the year, month, and day of his birth, his astrological charts, and so forth. These details are explained using reliable sources, with reference to terma predictions. In particular, the wonders that occurred when he was playing as a child are related without exaggeration or understatement.

Verse 8

In the third account, in accordance with the terma prophecies and the oral tradition, four teachers are mentioned—on the outer level, the preceptor who conferred the vows of individual liberation; on the inner level, the spiritual guide who helped form the resolve to awaken; on the secret level, the vajra master who brought wisdom to maturity through the empowerments of the vajra vehicle; and on the ultimate level, the root guru who introduced the natural state, the Great Perfection of definitive meaning. As it is said, “the four great teachers of the beginning, middle, and end…”

The first of these great teachers, and the one from whom Chokgyur Lingpa received the novice monastic precepts at the age of thirteen, was Ngawang Tenpé Nyima, the glorious Taklung Ma Rinpoche Dojo Tulku, an emanation of the great translator Kawa Paltsek and foremost among ten million upholders of the Vinaya.

The second was Karma Ngedön Tenpa Rabgyé, the Khenchen Dapzangchok Tulku, a monk and great bodhisattva who was an emanation of Nyak Jñānakumāra, and from whom Chokgyur Lingpa expressly received the bodhicitta vows at the age of twenty-five. That occurred on the fourth day of the sixth month in the female Water Ox year (July 10, 1853), the day the Victorious One turned the Wheel of Dharma. He held his commitments steadfastly, including that of not eating meat for three years, and there effortlessly arose in him the mind of awakening that holds others dearer than oneself.

The third teacher was Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thayé Pema Gargyi Wangchuk Tsal, great charioteer of this world and emanation of the great translator Vairotsana, foretold in the prophecies of the Victorious One. Chokgyur Lingpa expressly received from him the ripening empowerment of The Great Compassionate One, Assembly of All Sugatas, thereby actualizing the authentic tantric vow, the union of bliss and emptiness. This took place in the waning part of that same lunar month,[9] at the time of the gathering of the ḍākinīs (the twenty-fifth day of the lunar month, July 30, 1853).

Fourth, we met for the first time, he and I,[10] on the eighth day of the waxing period of the ninth month of that year (October 10, 1853). I offered him empowerments as a spiritual link, thereby dispelling the hindrances connected to his obstacle year. In particular, when he expressly came to see me in the eleventh month of the following year, the male Wood Tiger year (December 1854–January 1855), and stayed for over a month, I offered him numerous further teachings and empowerments, in particular the ripening empowerment, the instructions, and the reading transmission of The Great Perfection Quintessence of the Guru, Wish-Fulfilling Jewel (Lama Yangtik Yizhin Norbu). As the wisdom blessing for the unelaborate empowerment showered down, the guru[11] appeared to him as Vimalamitra in person, with ḍākinīs holding peacock feather parasols over the crown of his head, and great hosts of ḍākinīs circling him counterclockwise. During the pointing-out instruction that followed, Chokgyur Lingpa said that he recognized awareness in its naked state. At the end of the empowerment, as I was entrusting him with the life-force empowerment of the mantra protector, a magnificent thing occurred: it was as if the earth were shaking, and we both saw Ekajaṭī in person. She said, “In three years, I will grant a great siddhi to both master and disciple!” This was the sign foretelling the revelation of The Three Sections of the Great Perfection (Dzogchen Desum).

Verse 9

In particular, concerning the line that says “Pema Wangchen, an actual manifestation of Padmasambhava,” the following is mentioned in a prophecy from the Lotus-Crested Great Compassionate One:

As for the manner in which the Dharma holders will appear at that time,
Upon the summit of the Glorious Mountain, on the left bank of the golden river,
An emanation of my speech, by the name of Pema Nyinché,
Will maintain the line of the conquerors and plant the banner of practice.
He will hold aloft a torch in the darkness of the final age,
Perfect the practice of longevity, and reach the age of eighty-five.
If the circumstances are right, he may uphold the teachings for ninety years.
Lhasé will meet him at the age of twenty-five.
Without reservation, he should entrust himself fully to him.
Then many auspicious circumstances will be naturally, effortlessly established.

Thus it was that Chokgyur Lingpa and Pema Wangchen Situ Rinpoche met when the former was twenty-five, in the first month of the Water Buffalo year (February–March 1853). Chokgyur Lingpa offered Situ Rinpoche the text of an extensive empowerment of Vajrakīla, along with various other termas. From Situ Rinpoche’s side, a sequence of obstacles was cleared away, establishing the auspicious circumstances for long life. He confidentially advised Chokgyur Lingpa of the need to perform the treasure sādhanas and to keep the seal of secrecy, and so forth, to the fullest degree. Situ Rinpoche demonstrated the highest esteem for Chokgyur Lingpa, using the kīla he had given him as a practice support in the large Kīla Hall during the thread-crossing ceremony.[12]

Verse 10

In particular, regarding this occasion, the following is said in The Basic Framework of Auspicious Coincidence:

The profound treasures concealed in Namkha Dzö, the Sky Treasury,[13]
Will not remain there, but will be revealed by a man with aspirations.
Lhasé, this will be your last incarnation.
At that time, most of the translators and scholars, the king and disciples, will assemble.
In particular, the ruler and his son will meet,
And, assisting one another, their karmic propensities will gradually awaken.
They will receive my[14] ultimate instructions
and will meet me in person in pure visions.
There, I will give them direct instructions for the practice of Secret Mantra teachings.
Applying these in their own experience, they will effortlessly attain accomplishment,
And will have numerous disciples who also achieve accomplishment.

There are many outer, inner, and secret prophecies that describe these events in this way, with extreme clarity. Accordingly, when he was twenty-seven years old, the master purposely came to see me in the ninth month of the Wood Rabbit year (October–November 1855), and I offered him the Kīla empowerments and teachings according to the Khön tradition. He reported that he subsequently had an excellent sign in his dreams of slaying thirty-one negative spirits who were creating obstacles against the profound treasures. In particular, when I presented him with the grand empowerment for The Nine Deities of Perfect Purity (Yangdak Lhagu), he perceived the sky turning the color of lapis lazuli, in the center of which he beheld the guru[15] as Heruka in person, who then dissolved into him through the crown of his head. Thus the knots at his heart center came undone. This great wonder is in accordance with the Lamdré[16] teachings, where the devoted person’s elements are described as gathering inward, his nāḍi[17] knots coming undone through blessings. It also accords with the key point of the yogic mudrā practice taught in the pith instructions of the Guhyasamāja (Sangwa Düpa) lineage of Nāgārjuna.

Vajra songs then sprang forth from him unhindered, and, though he had previously found it difficult to decode the symbolic script of The Guru’s Heart Practice, Dispeller of All Obstacles, from that moment on he was able to understand it without trouble. We also found that not only was it identical in meaning with The Heart Practice, Embodiment of Sugatas that I had received, but that for the most part the words were extremely similar as well.

As mentioned in the terma prophecy for The Bindu of Liberation: Spontaneous Liberation of Wisdom (Droltik Gongpa Rangdrol):

Except for secret prophecies, you will be able to edit each other’s texts:
By trusting in one another, confusion will be cleared away.

In this way, Ngari Paṇchen Rinpoche and the omniscient Prajñāraśmi (Sherab Özer) corrected their respective termas—The Assembly of All Vidyādharas (Rigdzin Yongdü) and The Bindu of Liberation: Spontaneous Liberation of Wisdom—and harmoniously trusted in one another.

Similarly, we were able to translate the symbolic script exactly as it occurred, without adding any words of our own, in complete secrecy and without any obstacles. Also, when we performed the terma practices together, we had boundless pure visions of being invited in by Guru Rinpoche and his consort, in person. In addition, there appeared location lists for many further treasures. In this way, many unfathomable auspicious circumstances came together.

Personally, I performed the approach and accomplishment practices for The Three-Kāya Guru (Lama Kusum) that same winter, and thus created the circumstances for the hindrances to my life to subside and for this profound teaching to be disseminated widely. It is solely because of this that I presume to be of service to the teachings of Guru Rinpoche, and to those who uphold them. This accords with the vision of the thousand buddhas that the master Chokgyur Lingpa had in the year of the Fire Snake (1857–58), in which they assured him that I would repay the teachings and establish great objects of worship.[18] More on this can be known in detail by means of the supreme secret life story, which will be forthcoming separately.

Verse 15[19]

The seventh amazing account, that of his treasure discoveries, concerns the three cycles of guru sādhana, which are generally known as The Two Teachings and Three Cycles of the Guru. The “two teachings” are distinguished here as (1) the means, on the sūtra level, for individually accomplishing the hundred and eight names of the Conqueror, Śākyamuni; and (2) on the tantric level, the means and instructions for individually accomplishing the hundred and eight names of Guru Padmasambhava.

The “three cycles” refers to the sādhanas for practicing the guru as dharmakāya, samboghakāya, and nirmāṇakāya. In this respect, The Ultimate Instructions of Dharmakāya (Chöku Döntri) is for accomplishing the guru as dharmakāya. The Net of Illusion of the five families of Amitāyus is for accomplishing the guru as sambhogakāya. For the guru as nirmanakāya, there is Padmasambhava as peaceful, wrathful, and as both combined. For the peaceful aspect, there is the outer sādhana, The Dispeller of All Obstacles (Barché Kunsel); for the inner sādhana, The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Wishes (Sampa Lhundrub); and for the secret sādhana, The Heart-Essence of Pema (Tsokyé Nyingtik). For the wrathful aspect, there is The Most Secret Powerful Vajra Wrath (Yangsang Dorjé Draktsal). For the combination of both, there is The Guru Ocean of Siddhis (Lama Ngödrub Gyatso) and The Heart Practice, Embodiment of All Realization (Tukdrub Gongpa Kundü).

As to how his thirty-seven earth treasures were successively revealed, some of these appeared with the seal of secrecy and others were concealed again as terma, and so forth. It is quite difficult to explain in detail, and I will only relate what we, master and disciple, experienced together:

1. To begin with, when Chokgyur Lingpa was thirteen years old, in the spring of the female Iron Ox year (1841), he encountered Orgyen and his consort, in person, at a place called Manika. There, in accordance with their prediction, he revealed from Drakkar Dzongchung (White Cliff Small Fortress) the vajra that was the mark of Prince Lhasé’s realization, together with his mirror and the twenty-four sādhanas that were his personal practice. Later, the tertön gave the mirror to Lama Jamgön Kongtrul and the vajra to me.

2. Following this, he revealed many more treasures, in due time and in accordance with the location lists he had found beneath Sheldrak (Crystal Rock) during the winter of his thirteenth year. At the age of fourteen, the tertön revealed a profound terma from the White Stūpa at Samyé; however, due to the nature of the circumstances and signs, he reconcealed this terma immediately.

3. At the age of twenty, on the tenth day of the ninth month of the Earth Monkey year (November 7, 1848), Chokgyur Lingpa revealed The Heart Practice, Dispeller of All Obstacles (Tukdrup Barché Kunsel) as a secret terma from under the foot of Drak Palchenpo (Great Glory Cliff), at Danyin Khala Rongo (Sun and Moon Valley Pass).

4. At the age of twenty-one, the tertön was at Nabün Dzong. Here, at noon on the tenth day of the eighth month in the female Earth Bird year (September 27, 1849), he revealed The Lotus-Crested Great Compassionate One (Tukjé Chenpo Pema Tsuktor), as well as several other objects, including an image credited with the power of “liberation upon seeing” and another of the Great Compassionate One that had been made from the bones of the Dharma King.[20]

5. At the age of twenty-seven, Chokgyur Lingpa revealed The Four Teachings to Dispel Obstacles, which are subsidiary teachings of the Dispeller of All Obstacles. He extracted these as a secret treasure from Kardzong Drak (White Fortress Cliff), the practice place of the Precious Master Guru Rinpoche at the summit of Wangzhu Mountain.

6. At the age of twenty-eight, in springtime at Damchen Drak (Cliff of the Oath-Bound One) in Akaniṣṭha Karma, the tertön revealed The Sevenfold Cycle of Profundity (Zapa Khordün), including Vajrasattva’s Peaceful and Wrathful Net of Illusion (Dorjé Sempa Gyutrül Drawa Zhitro). These are wonderful, profound teachings, utterly complete in terms of the tantras, statements, and instructions.[21]

7. That summer, Chokgyur Lingpa went to the Yegyal Namkha Dzö (First King Sky Treasury), also known as Lawa Kangchik (One-Legged Deer), in Kham. There, from a great casket of teachings, he revealed countless profound Dharmas, mainly including the ancillary teachings to The Sevenfold Cycle of Profundity, together with two Guru representations (kutsab).

8. During the second month of autumn, the tertön was at Drak Palchenpo (Glorious Cliff). From a crevice at the top, he retrieved the summary list for the Heart Practice (Tukdrub), the guidebook to the sacred site, and various other things, including samaya articles bearing the seal of secrecy.[22]

9. On the third day of the twelfth month (January 28, 1857), we, master and disciple, were up at the Pema Shelpuk (Lotus Crystal Cave) on Meshö Dzamnang Mountain. Together, we publicly revealed the sacred teaching of The Three Sections of the Great Perfection (Dzogchen Desum). Thereafter, most of the treasures were revealed in public.

10. On the tenth day of that same month (February 4, 1857), from the summit of that sacred site, Chokgyur Lingpa revealed as a surface treasure the relics of the vidyādhara Garab Dorje and the two Heart-Essences.[23]

11. At the age of twenty-nine, on the first day of the first month (May 24, 1857), from Pawo Wangchen Drak (Mighty Hero Cliff), he revealed The Summary List of the Twenty-Five Major Sacred Sites.

12. On the ninth day of that same month (June 2, 1857), we were at Drinyen Dong, the sacred site of the body aspect of awakened qualities. Here, from the Great Secret Cave, the tertön revealed as a secret terma The Heart-Essence of Mañjuśrīmitra (Jampel Shenyen Nyingtik).

13. On the fifteenth day (June 8, 1857), from the summit of Sengchen Namdrak (Great Lion Sky Cliff), the sacred site of the activities aspect of awakened qualities, Chokgyur Lingpa revealed description lists for various profound termas, along with The Heart-Essence of Tsogyal (Tsogyal Nyingtik).

14. On the nineteenth day (June 12, 1857), from beneath the uppermost rock, the tertön publicly revealed a great treasury of teachings, images, and sacred substances. These included the practice cycle of The Sacred Dharma in Six Parchments, The Vajra-Arrayed Scripture (Lungchen Dorjé Köpa), a secret book, Orgyen Rinpoche’s crown, Prince Lhasé’s seal, Buddha Śākyamuni’s robes, Dharma medicine from Garab Dorje, and various other articles.

15. On the twentieth day (June 13, 1857), from Drak Rinchen Barwa (Blazing Jewel Cliff) in the same area, Chokgyur Lingpa revealed a reliquary box of dharma medicine belonging to the king and the twenty-five disciples, as well as a cycle of teachings.

16. On the twenty-second day (June 15, 1857), from Mengyel Drawé Drak (Rock that Resembles the King of Healing) the tertön revealed a medicine treasure as well as a piece of yellow parchment. The medicine he gave to me and the yellow parchment he kept secret. All the treasures that he revealed from rocks were revealed in public.

17. On the road leading to Lhonda, at the Khandro Shelpuk (Ḍākinī Crystal Cave) at Dzimé, Chokgyur Lingpa revealed a guide to the sacred site that had been written on a piece of the robe of Khenpo Śāntarakṣita, along with Gyalwa Chöyang’s earrings and sundry other things.

18. From Dorjé Chongpuk (Vajra Bell Cave) at Kerong, the tertön revealed a longevity substance left by Orgyen and his consort, together with a dzi onyx casket and several description lists.

19. In the waning part of the tenth month (December 12, 1857), while in the Pema Wangpuk (Mighty Lotus Cave) at the sublime place of Karmé Bumdzong, at sunrise on the sacred twenty-fifth day when ḍākinīs gather, Chokgyur Lingpa revealed the four Dharma cycles of The Great Compassionate One Who Dredges the Depths of Saṃsāra (Khorwa Dongtruk), as well as some sacred substance cycles.

20. Within the Bumdzong lake, the nāga demon Kāla Rakṣha personally entrusted the tertön with a stone casket containing The Dharma-Protector Cycle (Chökyong Khor).

21. At Bumdzong, from Uḍḍiyāna’s throne in the innermost part of the Nyingpuk Cave, Chokgyur Lingpa revealed the Tārā statue of self-arising compassion, along with pills made from the flesh of the Brahmin Prabhāhasti, and The Six Practice Cycles of Zurza. In particular, as I personally entreated him based on prophetic guidance, he also revealed the extraordinary cycle of tantra, statement, and instruction that is The Lotus Net of Illusion of the Great Compassionate One, along with various other articles.

22. At the age of thirty, in the year of the male Earth Horse (1858–59), at Palkyi De’u (Resplendent Hill) in Akaniṣṭha Karma, the tertön revealed The General Chanting Notes for the Mother Deities (Mamo Chidü), as well as relic pills of awakened body, speech, and mind, from above the gate to Mamo Rolpé Dzong (Palace of the Play of Mother Deities).

23. On the tenth day of the ninth month of that same year (October 17, 1858),[24] as I had exhorted him in accordance with successive visions and predictions that I had received, Chokgyur Lingpa revealed, from Drak Rinchen Barwa (Blazing Jewel Cliff) of the Kela Norbu Pünsum (Three Jewel Brothers of Kela), the Dharma cycle of The Guru’s Heart Practice, Wish-Fulfilling Jewel (Tukdrub Yishin Norbu), The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Wishes (Sampa Lhundrub), and an image of Guru Rinpoche.[25]

24. During the tenth month (November–December 1858), the tertön revealed, from Öbar Drak (Radiant Cliff) in Gotö, the sacred substance known as The Display of Awakened Activity (Trinlé Rolpa), together with the practice framework and the Dharma-protector practice known as The Wish-Fulfilling Jewel Sādhana of the Great King Vaiśravaṇa (Gyalchen Namsé Drubthab Yizhin Norbu).[26]

25. When he was thirty-one, on the tenth day of the seventh month of the female Earth Sheep year (September 6, 1859), while we were at Devikota Tsadra Rinchen Drak (Devikota-Caritra-like Precious Cliff), the upper hermitage above Palpung, Chokgyur Lingpa revealed The Secret Vital Essence Cycle (Sangtik Nyingpo Khor), together with the sacred site’s guidebook and the sacred substance known as Jewel Crest (Rinpoche Tok)–the pill that contains relics from all the sugatas.

26. In the early winter of that year (1859), from the Rinchen Sheldrak Cliff at Meseng in Gatö, the tertön revealed a tsa-tsa with a golden top and a turquoise base, inside of which was a single relic-pill magically produced from Guru Rinpoche’s tooth. He also revealed description lists containing the major and minor sacred sites of Tibet, along with numerous other treasures. Some of these, such as the guidebook for Doti Gangkar Mountain, he decoded into writing, while others were not propagated.

27. From Yudrak (Turquoise Cliff) in Gatö, Chokgyur Lingpa revealed Vimalamitra’s White Tārā longevity substance known as Moon Essence (Dawé Nyingpo), together with the Inner Heart-Essence (Tuktik Nyingpo) and others. For these, he maintained the seal of secrecy with utmost strictness.[27]

28. When the tertön had reached the age of thirty-six, on the tenth day of the waning half of the fourth month, Sagadawa, in the male Wood Rat year (May 30, 1864), while at Yubel Rock, situated on the southern slope of Yegyal Mountain in Namkha Dzö, he revealed the vast and profound Dharma cycle of tantra, scripture, and instructions known as The Assembly of All Sugatas (Deshek Kündü) from the Eight Pronouncements (Kagyé), together with a statue and some sacred medicine.

29. On the western slope of that same mountain, from the rock at Khawa Teng known as Tsezhel Drak or Tsegyé Drak, Chokgyur Lingpa revealed an extraordinary longevity substance from Guru Rinpoche and his consort, as well as the sādhana cycle of The Amṛtakuṇḍali Longevity Tantra (Tsegyü Dütsi Khyilpa), along with various other articles.

30. At the age of thirty-eight, on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month of the Fire Tiger year (November 2, 1866), both of us, master and disciple, met at Chimé Karmo Taktsang (Deathless White Tigress Lair) in Rongmé. On the twenty-seventh day (November 4), from the right-hand secret cave,[28] the tertön revealed The Essential Sacred Dharma in Five Cycles (Damchö Nyingpo Khor Nga), along with several other things.

31. Following that, he successively broke the cave’s thirteen seals, and, on the morning of the ninth day in the waxing part of the tenth month (November 16), Chokgyur Lingpa revealed The Heart Practice, Powerful Vajra Wrath (Tukdrub Dorjé Draktsal)[29] from the left-hand secret cave.[30] At dawn on the tenth day (November 17), he revealed Guru Rinpoche’s personal vajra, among other things.

32. On the tenth day of the following month (December 17), Chokgyur Lingpa performed the amazing feat of revealing, without any hindrance, a great lake treasure[31] from the Mipham Sengö Yumtso (Invincible Wild Turquoise Lion Lake), along with several other things.

33. At the age of thirty-nine, on the twenty-eighth day of the second month in the Fire Rabbit year (April 2, 1867), from the Deshek Düpé Podrang (Palace of the Assembly of Sugatas) at Dzongshö, the hidden sacred site of qualities, the tertön revealed tsa-tsas of the Abbot, Master, and Dharma King, together with a parchment scroll.

34. On the tenth day of the waxing part of the third month (April 14, 1867), from the sublime site of Pema Shelri (Lotus Crystal Mountain), Chokgyur Lingpa revealed the sacred substance pills known as Swirling Expanse of Space (Khalong Khyilpa), which are praised as supports of the Buddhadharma and which bring benefit through merely being seen. In addition, he also revealed the profound parchment of The Ḍākinīs’ Secret Practice.

35. On the eleventh day of that month (April 15), as master and disciple together, we revealed a stone casket with compartments in which lay The Heart-Essence of All Vidyādharas (Rigdzin Yongdzok Nyingtik), together with sacred substances. We also revealed a terma casket shaped like a curved knife and containing The Heart-Essence of the Assembly of Herukas (Heruka Düpé Tukthik). This was at Khyung Tsangdrak (Garuḍa Nest Cliff), which is the sacred site of the ḍākinīs’ awakened mind.

36. On the eighth day of the fourth month, Sagadawa (May 11), Chokgyur Lingpa revealed three stone caskets from Rudam Gangtrö Dewa Chenpo (Great Bliss Glacial Ranges of Rudam), the primary site of awakened qualities. Within the caskets were The Union with Buddhasaṃvara (Demchok Sangyé Nyamjor), the guidebook for the snowy ranges of Rudam, and the sacred substance known as The Nectar That Embodies All Herukas (Heruka Düpé Dütsi).

37. On the fifteenth day of the seventh month (September 13), as we journeyed toward Lhasa, we expressly went to the Norbu Pünsum (Three Jewel Brothers) Cliffs of Kela. This was at my persistent request, based on the prophetic guidance I had received. There, the tertön revealed The Sacred Dharma in Seven Jewel Cycles (Damchö Norbu Kordün), along with the ornaments of Guru Sengé Dradrok, several sacred images, and various other things.

This is the extent of my knowledge of the treasures of Chokgyur Lingpa, including the teachings and sacred substances that he revealed. In addition, he revealed numerous minor material treasures and description lists. For instance, as part of the single profound treasure from Sengchen Namdrak, the tertön retrieved seven kinds of lists pertaining to various other treasure sites. These were the earlier and later description lists, the main description list, the list of essential points, the summary list, the inner list, and the quintessential list.

When he was twenty-seven, after revealing the ancillary cycle for The Heart Practice from Kardzong Drak (White Jagged Rock), as mentioned above, Chokgyur Lingpa went to the base of Wangzhu Mountain. Here, from above the entrance to Namkhé Nyingpo’s practice cave, he revealed relic pills from Buddha Śākyamuni and various types of soil taken from the Māratika Cave.

At the age of twenty-eight, in the ninth month (October–November), the tertön revealed from Mikyé Cliff the skull of the brahmin Black Heruka. At the age of thirty-one, in the springtime, he traveled to the sacred site of Pa-ok Burmo, where he revealed a pill containing the bodhicitta of Guru Rinpoche and his consort, along with a secret treasure from Tsogyal. In the autumn of that same year, from Gyamgyal Yumtso Lake, he revealed relic pills from the perfectly awakened Buddha Kāśyapa.[32]

Generally speaking, the prediction lists concerning the two of us, master and disciple, stated that we were to “receive one hundred treasures from sites of the awakened body, speech, mind, qualities, and activities.” Thus, in terms of representations of the awakened body, Chokgyur Lingpa revealed about twenty-five, including a statue of Guru Rinpoche and various images of buddhas, bodhisattvas, and yidams. In particular, he revealed material for a statue of Guru Rinpoche that was unknown from previous treasure revelations. From this material, he produced new Guru Rinpoche statues that became widely renowned—the secondary representations.

In terms of representations of awakened speech, there appeared vast and profound Dharma teachings, countless in number. There are said to be one hundred Heart-Essence teachings alone, so the number in the above prediction should merely be understood to indicate plurality. For instance, if one were to enumerate the sections of major Dharma texts, The Sevenfold Cycle of Profundity contains seven, The Three Sections of the Great Perfection (Dzogchen Desum) can be subdivided into seven Heart-Essence categories, and so forth. These divisions are inconceivably numerous, and one can learn about them from the profound treasure inventory lists that have been recorded elsewhere.

In terms of representations of awakened mind, Chokgyur Lingpa revealed numerous kinds of symbolic implements, including vajras and kīla daggers. However, of primary importance were the countless sacred substances that liberate by taste. Their manner of transmission can be known from the index of sacred substances and the explanations of the treasure texts; it would be too much to go into detail here.

In particular, concerning the manner of transmission of the teachings, the Oral Transmission (kama), Treasure (terma), and pure vision (daknang) categories may be further divided into the “seven transmissions”: (1) Of these seven, the first category is the long lineage of Oral Transmission. In terms of the Oral Transmissions for the generation stage, completion stage, and the Great Perfection, Chokgyur Lingpa received most of the transmissions that are still in existence today. Due to the profound blessings of these lineages, he also taught and greatly propagated their various aspects, including Scripture,[33] The Net of Illusion or Māyājāla, and the Mind Section.

He gave the grand empowerment for Scripture to the assembly at the Nyingma section of Glorious Riwoché. He also conferred empowerment on the many great scholars and vajra holders at Ewam Chögar and Orgyen Mindrolling, among other places, giving explanations on the tantra for The Illusory Display of the Peaceful and Wrathful Ones (Gyutrül Zhitro). On numerous occasions, primarily to a gathering of fortunate disciples at glorious Samyé Chimpu, he turned the Dharma Wheel for the unexcelled secret of the Great Perfection. Furthermore, although the unprecedented cycles of Scripture, Māyājāla, and Mind Section that appeared among this master’s supreme treasures are labeled as “terma,” in essence they present the very same tenet systems and Dharma terminology as the teachings of the Oral Transmission lineage. They are truly marvels in this way.[34]

There are two types of short-lineage Treasure Transmission teachings (terma): the vast earth treasures (sater) and the profound mind treasures (gongter). The first of these may be further subdivided into two manners of transmission:

(2) the earth treasures proper that are destined for a particular treasure-revealer,
(3) the rediscovered treasures (yangter) of another treasure-revealer.

The thirty-seven revealed treasures described above are examples of (2), the first type of earth treasure, the earth treasures proper.

The second type, the rediscovered treasures (3), refers to those treasures that were reconcealed by previous treasure revealers as yangter. These can be physically re-revealed or can reappear through the power of blessings, or be revived as direct lineages when the texts alone remain but the lineage of empowerment, reading transmission, explanation, and study has been interrupted. One such example is the reappearance of The Heart-Essence of the Wrathful Guru: The Red Hūṃ, a yangter from the master’s previous incarnation as the great treasure revealer Sangyé Lingpa. It was thus through the power of blessings that he again received its transmission. Another such example is the short lineage transmission of The Mother Tantra of the Ḍākinīs’ Secret Practice on the ḍākinī Kunga Bum, which Chokgyur Lingpa revived and then bestowed upon Lama Jamgön Kongtrul.

There are also two modes of transmission for the profound mind treasures: (4) the most profound mind treasures proper, and (5) the recollected treasures (jedren).

The first of these, (4), occurs when, due to the blessings of the Three Roots and so forth, the treasury of profound secrets that is concealed within the luminous expanse of the revealer’s wisdom-mind bursts open and pours forth. This is what happened with The Profound Essence of Tārā (Zabtik Drolma), when the noble Lady Tārā gave her confirmation by exclaiming, “Excellent, excellent, excellent!”—and the mind treasure revealed itself to Chokgyur Lingpa.

The second mode of transmission (5) refers to treasures written down on the basis of present recollections of oral instructions received from the master’s chief deity or guru in previous lifetimes. For example, the master wrote down the instructions for The Vajra-Arrayed Scripture (Lung Dorjé Köpa), which he had received during a previous lifetime as Khulungpa Yönten Gyatso of Nub. These instructions had been in the form of parting advice from Nubchen Sangyé Yeshé as he was about to pass away. He also wrote down a short version of Nub’s Boasting (Nupki Khapo) remembered from that same incarnation. He recalled various types of melody from those times too, including the four styles of chanting the rulu mantra, and he remembered countless dance movements. Furthermore, based on memories from his previous lifetime as the awakened emanation Sangye Lingpa, Chokgyur Lingpa established in precise detail the instructions for performing the yogic exercises of The Embodiment of Realization, The Yoga of the Ninefold Forceful Activities (Gongdü Tseltruk Namgü Trülkhor). He had these and many other extensive recollections.

Third, there are also two modes of transmission regarding profound pure visions:

(6) the way of profound pure visions proper (zapmo daknang), and.
(7) the way of the most profound whispered lineage (yangzab nyengyü).

The first of these, the way of profound pure visions proper (6), is when, due to the coming together of one’s previous aspirations and current profound auspicious coincidences, the Three Roots and the Dharma protectors reveal themselves directly to one’s senses in pure visions, giving profound instructions. For instance, when opening up the sacred site at Wangzhu Mountain, Chokgyur Lingpa had a vision in which Vimalamitra’s practice cave became a dome of light. There in the center was the great paṇḍita himself, who instructed him in The Profound Guru Sādhana of Vimalamitra (Bimé Ladrub Zapmo). It can also happen that a clear and stable vision of the guru or deity speaking in person may arise in meditative experience, even without anything appearing directly to one’s senses. In the same way, writing may appear in the sky, one may hear the sound of teachings or have visions during dreams. All these experiences belong to this same category.

The way of the most profound whispered lineage (7) refers to those cases where one actually travels to a pure realm in the illusory wisdom body that is made up of mere vital essence (prāṇa) and mind, or when ordinary experience subsides completely and is transformed into a pure land, complete with palace and deities. In such cases, instructions are transmitted directly to the ears of the individual from the mouth of the Three Roots themselves. For example, when Chokgyur Lingpa traveled in person to the Glorious Copper-Colored Mountain, he received The Heart-Essence of the Profound Meaning of Ati (Ati Zapdön Nyingtik) from Guru Rinpoche himself. Events such as these, which occur during extremely stable meditative visions and dreams, all belong to this category.

The meaning and categories of the scheme of the Seven Forms of Transmission is widely renowned. Nevertheless, to clearly illustrate the terminology, I would like to quote a prediction from The Three Sections of the Great Perfection (Dzogchen Desum) regarding this most supreme of treasure revealers, Chokgyur Lingpa:

The unbroken Oral Lineage from the scriptures,
Profound actual treasures and mind treasures,
Rediscovered and recollected treasures,
Pure visions and whispered lineage—
The river of these seven forms of transmission
Flows as the fortune of the king and his son,[35]
Doing great honor to the teachings in these degenerate times.
Vast and profound, they will spread further than sunlight.

Thus the seven appear in this and many other texts. Here, I have indicated them only briefly; a more extensive explanation can be given based on scriptures and reasoning.

Verse 16

The manner in which he opened the gates to countless important vajra sites should be understood on the basis of The Concise Prophetic Guide to the Twenty-Five Major Sacred Sites. The details and clarifications can be found in the individual sacred-site guidebooks that were revealed as earth treasures, or that arose in his wisdom experience, or were given to him by deities and ḍākinīs.

Verse 17

The eighth account, concerning his students, should be explained with reference to the prophecies, such as those concerning the holders of his teachings.

Verse 19

The ninth account, regarding his sanctification of the environment, primarily concerns his outer life story. The main feature here is that he performed an estimated thirty-three great accomplishment (drubchen) gatherings endowed with the four stages of approach and accomplishment.[36] This is the amazing and marvelous tradition adopted by all great vidyādharas belonging to the Nyingma School of the Early Translations. The enumeration of thirty-three is as follows:

1. First, when the master had reached the age of twenty-five, during the waxing part of the tenth month in the female Water Ox year (November 1853), he went directly to the foot of Wangzhu Mountain, a major sacred site. While there, Chokgyur Lingpa perfected the practice of the great accomplishment of Ratna Lingpa’s Most Secret Unsurpassable Heart Practice (Tukdrub Yangsang Lamé) in the unelaborate kusulu[37] style. He later said that, on this occasion, only the master and a few disciples were present, so there were few distractions, and the practice was able to reach its vital point. The tertön also said that the experience was gratifying, notably because he had a vision of the precious master of Uḍḍiyāna.

2. Following this, at the age of twenty-eight, Chokgyur Lingpa performed a great medicine accomplishment (mendrub) in the vicinity of the Pema Shelpuk (Lotus Crystal Cave), using The Eight Sādhana Teachings (Kagyé Dzongtrang). On that occasion, even though it was midwinter, the weather became summer-like, and, although they had forgotten to add yeast and other things to the mixture of sacred medicine, it matured perfectly and had an exquisite color, smell, and taste.

3. At the age of twenty-nine, during the first month, Chokgyur Lingpa performed a great medicine accomplishment at Dergé Lhündrup Teng, combining The Assembly of Sugatas of the Eight Sādhana Teachings and the Dzongtrang.

4. During the fourth month, the tertön performed the great medicine accomplishment of The Eight Sādhana Teachings at Karma.

5. During the ninth month, he performed The Combined Great Accomplishment Practice of Yangdak Heruka and Vajrakīla (Yangphur).

6. When he was thirty, at Akaniṣṭha Karma, Chokgyur Lingpa performed the great medicine accomplishment of The Eight Sādhana Teachings, as a result of which wonderful signs of rainbow lights appeared. It was therefore named the great medicine accomplishment of Shining Light.

7. At the Nyingma section of glorious Riwoché, the tertön bestowed the grand empowerment of Scripture, in combination with The Sādhana of the Great Assembly of Akaniṣṭha (Ogmin Tsokchen Düpa), bringing the audience to full maturity.

8. At the end of that same year, at Chang Lochen, near the royal palace of Dergé, he performed and bestowed the empowerments for the great accomplishment of The Assembly of Sugatas from The Eight Sādhana Teachings.

9. At the age of thirty-one, in the vicinity of Pawo Wangchen Drak, Chokgyur Lingpa performed a great medicine accomplishment using The Guru’s Heart Practice, Assembly of All Realization.

10. In the grand assembly hall of Palpung, he performed a great accomplishment combining The Secret Assembly of the Great Compassionate One (Tukjé Chenpo Sangdü) and the new Hayagrīva treasure from The Sevenfold Cycle of Profundity.

11. At the major sacred site of the Khandro Bumdzong, Chokgyur Lingpa performed The Heart Practice Great Medicine Accomplishment, sponsored by the Jedrung and Phakchok monastic offices of Riwoché hermitage.

12. At the age of thirty-three, in the Iron Bird year (1861–1862), the tertön performed a series of great accomplishments in the Yermoché monastic temple at Akaniṣṭha Karma; they were sponsored by the encampment at Tsurpu. Gathered in a single grand assembly were the master himself, the glorious Fourteenth Karmapa, lord of this world, his eminent nephew,[38] the incarnated lamas of Zurmang, the supreme Chagmé Tulku of Nendo, and many other great beings, lords of the Dharma, and upholders of the doctrine. Together they performed the following series of great accomplishments from the New Treasures: The Gathering of the Great Assembly from the Vajra-Arrayed Scripture (Lung Dorjé Köpa Tsokchen Düpa); The Heart Practice, Embodiment of All Realization; The Lotus Net of Illusion of the Great Compassionate One; The Peaceful and Wrathful Māyājāla; and The Thirteen-Part Great Accomplishment that Includes the Mantra for Subjugating the Haughty (Drekdül Drak-ngak) and White Amitāyus (Tsekar) from The Sevenfold Cycle of Profundity. The assembly, which consisted of many tens of thousands, received confirmation that they would indeed reach the level of the fourfold liberation. In this and other ways, it was a most wondrous occasion, unprecedented in terms of place, time, teacher, retinue, and teaching.

13. At the age of thirty-four, at Karma Gompa, Chokgyur Lingpa produced a large quantity of sacred medicine, in combination with the great accomplishment for The Eight Sādhana Teachings.

14. At age thirty-five, in the winter, he performed The Eight Sādhana Teachings Great Accomplishment at Zurmang Namgyal Tsé.

15. At age thirty-six, in the summer, Chokgyur Lingpa performed The Wealth-Deity Guru (Lama Norlha) great accomplishment at Gegyal Nang.

16. At Zurmang, the tertön performed an elaborate sādhana ceremony with dances that combined The Tenth-Day Secret Assembly (Tsechu Sangdü) and The Heart-Practice Great Accomplishment.

17. At age thirty-seven, he performed The Heart-Practice Great Accomplishment at Tsawa Gang.

18. When establishing the new monastery of Tenchok Gyurmé Ling at Neten Gang, Chokgyur Lingpa performed The Vajra-Arrayed Scripture Great Accomplishment.

19. At age thirty-eight, he performed The Heart-Practice Great Accomplishment at Detabehu Tsangsar in Gatö.

20. At Thrangu Monastery, the tertön performed a Vajrakīla great accomplishment.

21. At the great Dharma institute of Palpung, he performed The Embodiment of Realization Great Medicine Accomplishment.

22. At the Lotus Crystal Cave in Dzamnang, Chokgyur Lingpa performed an elaborate and condensed great medicine accomplishment using The Truly Perfected King of Yidams (Yidam Ngöndzok Gyalpo), which forms part of The Three Sections of the Great Perfection (Dzogchen Desum).

23. At Zangyak Namkha Dzong in Drakmar, with the Dharma king of Dergé as benefactor, the tertön performed elaborate great accomplishments for The Heart Practice, among others, together with feasts and dances.

24. At the age of thirty-nine, during the first month, Chokgyur Lingpa acted as vajra master for the sādhana ceremony of the Great Assembly of Akaniṣṭha, performed at the glorious Katok Dorjé Den Monastery.

25. In the eleventh month, immediately after establishing in writing for the first time the practice framework and so forth for The Assembly of All Sugatas of the Eight Teachings, the tertön performed its great accomplishment to maturity in the grand Deshek Düpé Podrang at Dzongshö. It is said that there appeared distinctive signs that he had thereby repelled the threat of a foreign invasion, at least for a while. Personally, I strongly felt the power of the blessings, as my own experience was to perceive infinite tantras being read aloud at the Śāṅkarakūṭa Stūpa.[39]

26. During the waxing part of the third month, on the hilltop estate in front of the sacred Dagam Wangphuk Cave, he produced sacred medicine in connection with the great accomplishment for the Assembly of All Sugatas of the Eight Sādhana Teachings.

These last two great accomplishments were in fact also preparatory practices for the revelation of termas. Therefore, after performing the latter, he went directly to the sacred site known as Lotus Crystal Mountain, having been exhorted to do so by vajra command. There, on the evening of the eighth day, he had a detailed vision of journeying to the great palace of Lotus Light on Copper-Colored Mountain, where, together with Orgyen Guru Rinpoche and his assembly of vidyādharas, he practiced The Eight Sādhana Teachings and was given the entirety of the empowerments, tantras, and instructions.

27. During the waning part of that month, at the great Dharma institute of Orgyen Samten Chokling at Dzogchen, the tertön acted as vajra master for the feast-offering ceremony of The Scripture of the Embodiment of Realization (Gongpa Düpé Do).

28. During the fifth month, at Shechen Tennyi Dargyeling, he performed The Tenth-Day Ceremony and The Eight Sādhana Teachings Great Accomplishment.

29. During the sixth month, at Palpung Tupten Chökhor Ling, Chokgyur Lingpa performed a great accomplishment combining The Heart Practice, Embodiment of All Realization, and The Dispeller of All Obstacles. This was a marvelous, extensive great accomplishment, complete with all the practices and activities exactly as they are described in The Concise Manual of Oral Instructions (Sheldam Nyingjang).

While at Zangyak Namkha Dzong in Drakmar, the tertön wrote down a brief version of The Cycle of Ten Teachings of Excellent Coincidence to Ensure Happiness for Tibet and Kham. With this completed, he then arranged for extensive commemoration ceremonies to be held at Katok, Dzogchen, and Palpung monasteries for the Abbot, Master, and Dharma King.[40] In combination with this, he had the monks perform sutra ceremonies and expound the Dharma, while the tantric practitioners were performing sādhana rituals, and grand vajra feasts and dances were being held. In this way, Chokgyur Lingpa arranged extraordinary, auspicious circumstances for the flourishing of the Buddhadharma, with its three aspects of teaching, practice, and activity.

30. During the waxing part of the seventh month, he performed The Combined Practice of Yangdak Heruka and Vajrakīla Great Accomplishment at Donang.

31. At the age of forty, he performed countless great accomplishments and dances for The Combined Practice of Yangdak Heruka and Vajrakīla at the glorious Tsurpu of Akaniṣṭha.

32. At the age of forty-one, in the Earth Snake year (1869–70), the tertön returned from Central Tibet and went immediately to Neten Ridge. There, he performed authentic versions of the group sādhanas for the grand maṇḍalas of The Scripture of the Embodiment of Realization, The Peaceful and Wrathful Net of Illusion, Yangdak Heruka, Yamantaka, Vajrakīla, and Amitāyus—all as great accomplishment combinations of kama and terma, as well as a mamo terma practice. The tradition of performing these is still flourishing today.

33. In the summer he went to Gegyal, where he performed an extensive version of the Heart Practice and Net of Illusion, together with their root dances.

Moreover, as described above, when Chokgyur Lingpa performed practices such as The Heart-Practice Sādhana at Wangzhu Mountain and the great medicine accomplishment at Pema Sheldrak, the Lotus Crystal Cave, the gatherings were sometimes small, which meant that these practices were not performed in a detailed or elaborate manner. However, since all parts of the ritual, including the preparation, main part, and conclusion, were performed to completion, and because they were endowed with the splendour of blessings, they were in fact none other than genuine great accomplishments.

Verse 12

In addition to these group practices, the following is a rough outline of the master’s solitary practice. While still young, Chokgyur Lingpa frequently performed the approach and accomplishment recitations for The Most Profound Assembly of the Three Jewels (Yangzab Könchok Chidü) and The Most Profound Longevity Practices (Yangzab Tsedrub) from the Drikung tradition, among others. In Palpung, later, he learned from Lama Sang-ngak Tendzin the ritual practice details for The Three Kāyas of the Peaceful Guru (Lama Zhiwé Kusum), a terma by Ratna Lingpa. Practicing the sādhanas authentically, Chokgyur Lingpa also performed the approach recitations for the Wrathful Guru and Vajrakīla. Likewise, he effectively completed the recitations of approach, accomplishment, and activities for Mañjuśrī, Lion of Speech (Jamyang Mawé Sengé), from the Dampa tradition. He also performed the appropriate number of recitations for the activities connected with the Sovereign King of Nāgas (Luwang Gyalpo) and Vajrapāṇi, Subjugator of the Haughty (Chakdor Drekdül), according to Ledrel Tsal. At different points in time, as appropriate, the tertön would perform the approach and accomplishment for the Eight Sādhana Teachings according to the Nyang termas, the approach and accomplishment for The Innermost Essence of the Great Compassionate One (Tukjé Chenpo Yangdü) according to Guru Chöwang, and likewise the approach and accomplishment for The New Treasures of Mindrolling, The Great Compassionate One Embodying All Sugatas (Tukjé Chenpo Deshek Kündü).

In particular, at the age of twenty-eight, in the year of the Fire Dragon (1856–57), directly after writing the terma parchment for The Sevenfold Cycle of Profundity, Chokgyur Lingpa traveled to various extraordinary major sacred sites, where he practiced the treasure sādhanas until signs appeared.

When he was thirty-one, starting in the late winter of the female Earth Sheep year (1859–60), the tertön remained for three years in the retreat center at Akaniṣṭha Karma, where his main practice was to complete the approach and accomplishment recitations for the root and auxiliary texts of The Dispeller of All Obstacles, to their full effect. He also performed the treasure sādhanas for most of his other treasures, such as The Guru’s Heart Practice, Spontaneous Fulfillment of Wishes, and The Lotus Net of Illusion of the Great Compassionate One, in their extensive or condensed form, as appropriate. In addition, he recounted that when performing the approach and accomplishment for the secret sādhanas of Tsokyé Dorjé, his experience blazed forth so that he was able to suspend his vajra and bell in mid-air.

By his own account, Chokgyur Lingpa also obtained auspicious signs at various times during the approach and accomplishment sādhanas for White Tārā of the Karma Kagyü tradition and The Heart-Essence of the Sublime Lady of Immortality (Chimé Pakmé Nyingtik).

Verse 20

In Tsurpu, by means of these amazing activities, Chokgyur Lingpa established the tradition of performing the authentic great accomplishment of The Combined Practice of Yangdak Heruka and Vajrakīla, together with the middle-length version of the root dances. This was at the Dharma center in Tölung known as Jikten Wangchuk Gyepé Podrang. Likewise at Zurmang Dogön Monastery, the tertön established the same tradition of performing the great accomplishment of The Combined Practice of Yangdak Heruka and Vajrakīla, with liberation dances that emphasize the lower activities. Later, when performing the land-taming ceremony at Norbu Ling, he performed the extensive version of the root dances––a tradition that endures there still.

At Ladro Monastery in Gyamzhung too, Chokgyur Lingpa firmly established the tradition of performing the great accomplishment and dances for The Combined Practice of Yangdak Heruka and Vajrakīla, as well as the extensive sādhana practice (drupchö) for The Great Compassionate One Who Dredges the Depths of Saṃsāra, and The Ritual of The Fourfold Maṇḍala (Mandal Zhipé Choka).

At the lamas’ residence in the upper hermitage of glorious Riwoché, the tertön established a retreat center and a daily practice for the sādhana of the Great King Vaiśravaṇa.

At the lamas’ residence in Palpung Tubten Chökhor Ling, he established a new protectors’ shrine for Vaiśravaṇa and requested that a continuous practice be held of The Guru’s Heart Practice, Spontaneous Fulfillment of Wishes, with Vaiśravaṇa as protector. In particular, at the great practice center of Devīkoṭi—the upper hermitage of Künzang Dechen Ösel Ling—Chokgyur Lingpa established The Secret Vital Essence as the retreatants’ daily practice and the Six-Armed Terma Guardian as the primary protector.

These are a few examples of how Chokgyur Lingpa established the uninterrupted practice of most of the yidams and Dharma guardians of The New Treasures in the various monasteries of the area, thereby bringing great benefit both to beings and to the teachings.

At Dzigar, he had a new temple built for The Guru’s Heart Practice, and correspondingly established there the continuous unfolding of the twofold Heart Practice.[41] Furthermore, at Sang-ngak Chöling, the monastic seat of the omniscient Drukpa, Chokgyur Lingpa recommended establishing the daily practice of Yamāntaka from The Sevenfold Cycle of Profundity. At Namgyal Tsé Monastery of Zurmang, he bestowed an extraordinary statue of Guru Rinpoche and spoke of the need to establish a regular practice there, for the grand Tenth-Day Ceremony. The tulku brothers accepted, and this request will certainly be carried out. These examples show how Chokgyur Lingpa’s activity will expand into the future as well.

Most important of all, the teaching cycle of The Guru’s Heart Practice, Dispeller of All Obstacles is spreading and flourishing in all directions, and there is likewise a flourishing of the many other cycles he established—for instance, The Guru’s Heart Practice, Spontaneous Fulfillment of Wishes, The Combined Practice of Yangdak Heruka and Vajrakīla, and The Great Compassionate One Who Dredges the Depths of Saṃsāra.

Verse 18

There are many great masters among the doctrine-holders who have explained and propagated Chokgyur Lingpa’s terma teachings. These include Vajradhara Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thayé, the one foretold by the Victorious One, along with the many others connected to Chokgyur Lingpa as both guru and disciple. Even I myself am there on the outskirts, a silly man who, due to mundane concerns, is far removed from the two traditions.[42] Many such masters have explained and propagated the threefold aspect of empowerment, reading transmission, and instruction, and have one-pointedly offered their services in the spreading of the great and minor accomplishment practices (drubchen and drubtren), the making of the secondary representations,[43] and the continuing of the tradition of sacred substances that liberate through taste.

Among these, the great Vajradhara Jamgön Kongtrul received the Dharma nectar of teachings such as the Sevenfold Cycle of Profundity sometime around the male Fire Dragon year of the fourteenth calendrical cycle (1856–57).[44] Journeying to Central Tibet immediately afterward, in the Fire Snake year (1857–58), he opened wide the door of the teachings for noble beings such as the gurus and chief disciples of the Karma and Drukpa Kagyü lineages, and others such as Minling Trichen Rinpoche, for example.[45] The mighty Ganden Palace provided the finest resources and services, ensuring that the approach, accomplishment, and activities for the Heart Practices and The Sevenfold Cycle of Profundity were performed at the three great doctrinal centres (Samyé, Lhasa, and Tradruk) and at the sacred hermitage sites related to body, speech, mind, qualities, and activities. Due to this kindness, the benefit and welfare of both beings and teachings increased even further in Central Tibet and Kham.

The extraordinary great accomplishment of Amṛta at Sheldrak (Crystal Rock) is just one example of how the spiritual life of Chokgyur Lingpa can be known in all its vast profundity. Its elegant explanations, imbued with a hundred thousand melodious aspects, are uttered as elixir for the ears of the fortunate and wise. Also, the annual practice of The Three Roots of White Amitāyus (Tsasum Tsekar) that Chokgyur Lingpa established at Chimé Yamalung has remained until today and continues to expand. The grand empowerment rituals for the twofold Heart Practices are like jeweled lamps of scripture, no different from the words of the Guru himself, shining with ever-brighter radiance. They are like eyes to see with, for all intelligent disciples.

With the master as well as others providing the funds, Chokgyur Lingpa performed the Sādhana practice for the Guru’s Heart Practice, Dispeller of All Obstacles, both in its primary and subsidiary aspects, until he became fully ripened. This is just one example of how he perfected the sādhana practices for the New Treasure cycles. In general, this great charioteer for the Dharma in this world was repeatedly praised, and the manner of his coming foretold, by Śākyamuni, victorious Lion of the śākyas, the truly and completely Awakened One, as well as by the Second Buddha, master Padmasambhava, and his disciples. There is no one else who, in their mere pretence of learnedness or accomplishment, can contend with him. Even if they did presume to challenge him, it would be like a firefly competing with sunlight. As for the prophecies concerning him, they are nothing like those that foretell ordinary dignitaries—painted lamps that don’t actually do anything. The prophecies concerning Chokgyur Lingpa are full of meaning—like a bright torch of the teachings held high, his illumination of the vast topics of Sūtra, Tantra, and the sciences in general, and particularly his elucidation of the vast and profound treasuries of the Secret Vajra Vehicle, including his own teachings as supreme treasure revealer, are vast and unstoppable.

Even a fraction of this wonder cannot be matched by the great beings and doctrine-holders of the present day—even those renowned as buddhas, in that just to connect with them is sufficient. Nor can it be matched by Vinaya holders, or by scholars as conceited as the great Brahma; nor by those proclaimed far and wide as tertöns or siddhas, who are really just like crazed elephants charging across a battlefield; nor yet by those realized meditator renunciates, who soar freely through the sky, like winged lions.

This great wonder will never be understood by anyone puffed up with jealousy and prejudice. Conversely, those whose intelligence is impartial and who investigate thoroughly will indeed understand. Moreover, although even what is stated here may not be fully understood at this time, the accounts of Chokgyur Lingpa’s sublime life story will spread and become increasingly renowned in the future. This is inevitable.

Verse 21

In the tenth amazing account, the wonderful signs surrounding the year, month, and particular time of Chokgyur Lingpa’s passing are all presented in detail, along with descriptions of the memorial services and funerary stūpa that was built. According to the calendrical calculations of the Tsurpu tradition, it appears as though he departed this world on the first day of the fifth month, although the Phuk tradition gives a different account in this respect. According to the Phuk system, the intercalary months[46] are not counted, and thus it was on the first day of Sagadawa (the fourth month) that he departed. My own opinion is that the scheduling of commemoration ceremonies and so forth should be made on the basis of the Phuk system.

Although I have written here the rough extent of what I know, a mere seed, it is nevertheless still important to investigate repeatedly and to ask questions of knowledgeable and truthful people. For example, there may still be errors in terms of the years, months, and particular dates given here. The content of the master’s life story should be written truthfully, without any exaggeration or understatement in its expression.

Regarding the virtue at the end, generally speaking, the terma predictions state the manner in which he will continue to act for the welfare of beings in his future incarnations here in Tibet—by means of the five emanations of his body, speech, mind, qualities, and activities—as well as other details. Attempting with the mind of an ordinary person to fully evaluate the life-example of someone who has attained the level of a noble being would be like presuming to pass the entire sky through the eye of a needle. Nevertheless, in this context, by considering unmistaken vajra pronouncements free from exaggeration and understatement that the venerable master uttered on various occasions, we may gain an understanding of what will happen in the future. With these pronouncements as a basis, we may also consult texts such as The Profound Embodiment of the Families of the Three kāyas, as well as the aspiration for rebirth in the Lotus-Covered Realm, taken from Jamgön Lama’s vajra speech.

In general, there are countless ways of composing a life story—according to the expedient or definitive meaning, according to the outer, inner, and secret level, and so forth. In this case of Chokgyur Lingpa, however, his life story of the three times can be eloquently and clearly organized into the following seven topics:

1. The spiritual life stories of his former incarnations, or the biographies of his succession of lives, combined with the terma predictions.

2. The general, common biography of his present life, which is entitled Ocean of Qualities of Auspicious Speech. This text is not “common” in the sense of the opposite of “special.” While its focus is on the outer biography, it does also go into the inner, secret, and most secret biographies. Thus it is “common” in the sense that it is general rather than specific.

3. The general biography on the outer level, which consists of accounts of where he traveled and stayed. The specific outer biography traces the vajra predictions of Orgyen Rinpoche. Included within this specific biography are the auspiciousness of explanation, namely his explanations of sūtra and tantra; the auspiciousness of practice, namely his showering of vajra blessings upon major practice sites; his performance of great accomplishment practices; and the auspiciousness of activity, which includes the hitherto unknown vajra feasts and dances that he performed. Common to all of these are some important aspects of his activity, such as the various commemoration ceremonies he held for the Abbot, Master, and Dharma King.

4. The general biography on the inner level, which concerns his treasure discoveries by means of the seven types of transmission, and the specific biography. The specific inner biography describes the all-pervasive propagation of his activity involving the treasure substances that liberate by sight and taste, and gives an account of how he directly and indirectly opened the gates of the vast and sacred major vajra sites.[47]

5. The secret biography concerning his boundless pure visions.

6. The supreme biography of ultimate reality regarding his supreme experiences and realization. One aspect of this is his manifestation of the great qualities of tummo, as demonstrated when he dried freezing wet sheets and blankets through this practice.

7. The biographies of his future incarnations, including the basis of emanation and the ocean of emanations.

These accounts have been drawn from the statements and reasonings provided by great spiritual teachers. Skilled translators have fashioned them into melodious poetry. Bright people have eulogized them with Samantabhadra wheels,[48] and teachers with experience and realization have discussed them with reference to the paths and bhūmis. Even I, who know nothing at all, have honestly written down what I have seen and heard, without exaggeration or understatement.

In short, by disseminating this sublime master’s biography far and wide, we should plant excellent seeds of happiness and well-being in our own and others' minds, flinging wide the doors of auspicious coincidence that will propagate in numerous ways the precious Dharma of teaching, practice, and activity.

This was written in response to insistent written requests and encouragement from the eminent Karma Rinchen Dargyé, the vow-holder and great upholder of both Tripiṭaka and Tantra, the preceptor of Tupten Ewam Chögar. It was written by Mañjughoṣa,[49] who is but a lowly reflection of an uninvolved renunciant. It is a mere seed, based on whatever I have heard and whatever I know, without exaggeration or denigration. May it bring virtuous goodness!.

Sarvadā kalyāṇaṃ bhavatu. May there always be auspiciousness!

| Translated by Samye Translations (trans. Oriane Lavolé and Paul Thomas, ed. Peter Woods, Stefan Mang and Libby Hogg), 2023.

Primary Sources

dkon mchog ’gyur med. "gter chen mchog gyur bde chen gling pa’i rnam thar bkra shis dbyangs kyi yan lag gsal byed ldeb." In sprul pa’i gter chen o rgyan mchog gyur bde chen zhig po gling pa phrin las ’gro ’dul rtsal gyi zab gter yid bzhin nor bu’i mdzod chen po, Vol. 38. Kathmandu: Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery, 2004.

'jam mgon kong sprul. "sprul pa'i gter chen mchog gyur bde chen gling pa'i rnam thar gsol 'debs bkra shis 'khyil ba'i dbyangs snyan." In sprul pa’i gter chen o rgyan mchog gyur bde chen zhig po gling pa phrin las ’gro ’dul rtsal gyi zab gter yid bzhin nor bu’i mdzod chen po, Vol. 39: 13-16. Kathmandu: Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery, 2004.

mkhyen brtse'i dbang po. "gter chen rnam thar las 'phros pa'i dris lan bkra shis dbyangs snyan bskul ba'i dri bzhon." In sprul pa’i gter chen o rgyan mchog gyur bde chen zhig po gling pa phrin las ’gro ’dul rtsal gyi zab gter yid bzhin nor bu’i mdzod chen po, Vol. 39: 17-63. Kathmandu: Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery, 2004.

mkhyen brtse'i dbang po. "gter chen rnam thar las 'phros pa'i dris lan bkra shis dbyangs snyan bskul ba'i dri bzhon." In mkhyen brtse'i bka' 'bum, Vol. 24: 257-298. Khams sde dge rdzong sar dgon: Rdzong sar blo gros phun tshogs, 2020.

Secondary Sources

Chokgyur Lingpa. Exquisite Melody of the Auspicious Tamboura. Trans. Samye Translations, 2023.

Doctor, Andreas. Tibetan Treasure Literature: Revelation, Tradition, and Accomplishment in Visionary Buddhism. Ithaca, N.Y.: Snow Lion Publications, 2005.

Düdjom Rinpoche. The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, Its Fundamentals and History. Trans. and ed. Gyurmé Dorjé and Matthew Kapstein. Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1991.

Jamgön Kongtrül Lodrö Thayé. The Autobiography of Jamgön Kongtrül: A Gem of Many Colors. Trans. Richard Barron. Ithaca: Snow Lion Publications, 2003.

Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thayé. The Life of Jamyang Khyentsé Wangpo. Trans. Matthew Akester. Delhi: Shechen Publications, 2012.

Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo. A History of the 'Display of Awakened Activity' Samaya Substances That Liberate Upon Taste and the Two 'Representative' Statues That Liberate Upon Sight. Trans. Samye Translations, 2020.

Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche. The Life and Teachings of Chokgyur Lingpa. Trans. Tulku Jigmey Khyentse and Erik Pema Kunsang. Kathmandu: Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 1990.

Samye Translations. 2023. The Great Tertön, Revised Edition. Kathmandu: Samye Translations.

Version: 1.0-20230207

  1. This Sanskrit expression means: 'May there be accomplishment!'  ↩

  2. Auspicious Melody (bkra shis dbyangs) refers to both Chokgyur Lingpa’s autobiography A Melody to Delight the Fortunate and to Jamgön Kongtrul’s The Melody of the Auspicious Spiralled Conch.  ↩

  3. Note found in the original text: “If we take the Sanskrit vimokṣa as the source for the Tibetan rnam thar (‘complete liberation,’ used here in the sense of ‘story of liberation’) we may interpret the term as follows: The Sanskrit verb root muc (referred to in the Dhātupāṭha as muc mokṣane (mucll grol ba la’o), when preceded by the prefix ‘vi,’ can refer equally to liberation from saṃsāra and the lower realms, and to the opening and blossoming of a flower. Based on this latter meaning of vimuc, the term rnam thar signifies the elucidating of the guru’s life story—the life story being rather like a blossoming lotus. Moreover, the special meaning of the word is ‘form of liberation’ (thar pa’i rnam pa), or ‘representation of liberation.’ Put briefly, the biographies of extraordinary sublime masters can be understood in terms of the entirety of the five paths, starting with the path of accumulation. Thus, one may ‘give instruction by means of teaching the life story.’ From this and other examples, we can see that the significance of the term rnam thar may be explained in vast detail.  ↩

  4. In his extensive biography of the first Chokgyur Lingpa, the second Chokling incarnation, Könchok Gyurmé, explains this reference as follows: “The Māyājāla Tantra states, ‘Unbound, not liberated, / primordially, spontaneously perfect: such is the Buddhadharma.’ Although, in the context of cyclic existence, the mind appears to be bound, and in the context of nirvāṇa, it appears to be liberated, in reality, the true nature of mind is neither bound nor liberated and is the basis, or essence, of both saṃsāra and nirvāṇa.” dkon mchog ’gyur med 2004, 8.  ↩

  5. The four magical tamings (’dul ba bzhi) refer to the taming of students through (1) body, (2) speech, (3) mind, and (4) miracles. This is a reference to one of the ten superior qualities of a treasure revealer. The full list of ten is as follows: (1) superior intellect, (2) superior body, (3) superior qualities, (4) superior learning, (5) superior contemplation, (6) superior meditation, (7) superior confidence, (8) superior debating, (9) superior recollection, and (10) superior patient endurance. dkon mchog ’gyur med 2004, 29–30.  ↩

  6. The particular meaning here is that life stories hidden as treasures recount the superior qualities of Prince Murub Tsenpo, so that his future reincarnations can also read about them and be inspired.  ↩

  7. This presentation follows the framework established by Kongtrul and Khyentse for this life story: “The main body of the text is structured into three sections: (1) a brief teaching on the definitive and expedient hagiographies, (2) an expanded explanation by means of ten amazing accounts, and (3) a conclusion by means of supplication and aspirations.” The ten amazing accounts are the following: “(1) his youth, (2) the awakening of his karmic potential, (3) his teachers, (4) his spiritual development, (5) his meditative realization, (6) his visionary experiences, (7) his treasure discoveries, (8) his students, (9) his sanctification of the environment, and (10) his passing into nirvāṇa.” Doctor 2005, 79–80.  ↩

  8. Yertödra (yer stod grwa) is an unclear geographical reference.  ↩

  9. Throughout this text, the first half of the lunar month is referred to as the waxing period, while the second half is called the waning period.  ↩

  10. Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and Chokgyur Lingpa.  ↩

  11. Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo refers to himself in an indirect way as “the guru,” so as not to appear to identify with this experience or take any pride in it.  ↩

  12. The thread-cross (mdos), according to Kyabjé Düdjom Rinpoche, “is a wooden-framed structure crossed with many layers of thread or silk. Used as a device for the trapping and exorcising of evil forces, its structure varies in size and appearance depending upon the deity invoked and the function of the rite.” Düdjom Rinpoche 1991, 60.  ↩

  13. Namkha Dzö, or “Sky Treasury” in English, is Chokgyur Lingpa’s birthplace and the site of numerous treasure revelations.  ↩

  14. This is quotation spoken by Guru Rinpoche.  ↩

  15. The guru here is Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo.  ↩

  16. Lamdré (lam 'bras), literally “Path and Fruition,” is the generic name for the highest teachings of the Sakya School, to which Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo belonged.  ↩

  17. nāḍi are knots in the energy channels (nāḍi) of the subtle body.  ↩

  18. Könchok Gyurmé’s extensive version of the biography cites the assurance given by the thousand buddhas, as follows: “The general and extraordinary awakened activities of both the great emanated treasure-revealer and the omniscient Jamgön (Khyentse Wangpo) are the utmost repayment for the precious teachings of the Conqueror, through which they have established and will establish great objects of worship beneficial to beings.” dkon mchog ’gyur med, gter chen, 153.  ↩

  19. Please note that Jamyang Khyentse's commentary does not strictly follow the sequence of the verses in Jamgön Kongtrul’s Melody of the Auspicious Spiralled Conch.  ↩

  20. Note found in the original text: “Some manuscripts mention that this took place during the Dog Year (1850–1851), when he was twenty-two. However, when I personally received the first empowerment and reading transmission and asked for details, he told the story as I have recounted it here.”  ↩

  21. The tantras, statements, and instructions (rgyud lung man ngag) refer to the teachings of Mahā-, Anu- and Atiyoga respectively.  ↩

  22. Note found in the original text: “In the decoded lists for this sacred place, some copies mention that he was twenty-nine when he retrieved these treasures. However, he was twenty-eight at the time, and twenty-nine when he later decoded the summary list for The Heart Practice. Therefore, it seems that this was a mistake.”  ↩

  23. The two Heart-Essences traditionally refer to the Dzogchen teachings by Guru Rinpoche and Vimalamitra respectively, compiled in The Four Branches of Heart-Essence (Nyingtik Yabzhi) by Longchenpa.  ↩

  24. According to Jamyang Khyentsé Wangpo’s colophon to the Sampa Lhundrub Sādhana as well as Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thayé’s account of the event (2012, 198) the revelation took place one month later, that is on the tenth day of the tenth month (November 16, 1858). According to these sources, the treasure was subsequently transcribed on the tenth day of the eleventh month (December 15, 1858). Following these accounts, it is likely that the 24th treasure revelation took place in the eleventh month (December–January 1858), as also suggested by Andreas Doctor (2005, 217-218 fn. 256 & 258).  ↩

  25. That is the famous Guru Kutsab Ngödrub Palbar (Glorious Blaze of Siddhis).  ↩

  26. Along with the samaya substance Chokgyur Lingpa also revealed the Guru Kutsab Tukjé Ötro (Radiant Light of Compassion). The history of the samaya substance along with the two Guru Kutsabs Ngödrub Palbar and Tukjé Ötro were revealed by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo in a separate text that can be found here.  ↩

  27. Note found in the original text: “This sacred site was opened by Düdül, and a guidebook for it exists. The precious Great Tertön Chokgyur Lingpa identified it as Hedrak, the sacred site for the activity aspect of the awakened body, one of the twenty-five major sacred sites.”  ↩

  28. Also referred to as the Orgyen Sangpuk (Guru Rinpoché’s Secret Cave, o rgyan gsang phug).  ↩

  29. Along with a representative statue (kutsab) of Guru Drojé Draktsal, Chokgyur Lingpa revealed The Gradual Path of Wisdom Essence (Lamrim Yeshé Nyingpo, lam rim ye shes snying po). Chokgyur Lingpa revealed associated sādhana, The Secret Practice of Dorjé Draktsal (gsang sgrub rdo rje drag rtsal), from Yegyal Namkha Dzö.  ↩

  30. The cave is also called the Tsogyal Sangpuk (mtsho rgyal gsang phug).  ↩

  31. This refers to gold which Chokgyur Lingpa drew forth from the lake. For a detailed account of this revelation, see the Exquisite Melody of the Auspicious Tamboura and Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche 1990, 14–16. Additionally, Jamyang Khyentsé Wangpo retrieved a treasure entitled The Magical Net of the Three Roots (Tsasum Gyütrul Drawa, rtsa gsum sgyu ’phrul drva ba) from the lake, which is found in Volume 3 of his Collected Writings.  ↩

  32. Note found in the original text: “On the journey to Lhasa, at the age of forty, in the Earth Dragon year (1868–1869), Chokgyur Lingpa is said to have stopped at Yangdzong Cliff, where he revealed Nubchen Rinpoche’s thumb ring and a page of yellow paper. This is merely a rumored event, and no one knows the precise details. On this same occasion, according to another rumor, the tertön also went to Chimpu and, arriving at Shotö Tidro at the beginning of the Earth Snake year (1869), revealed some kind of profound terma from this site too.”  ↩

  33. The Scripture (mdo) refers to the Scripture of the Embodiment of Realization (dgongs pa ‘dus pa’i mdo), the fundamental Anuyoga text of the Nyingma system; Māyājāla refers to an important Nyingma Mahāyoga text, the Net of Illusion; and the Mind Section refers to one of the three categories of teachings in the Great Perfection. Khyentse Wangpo’s statement thus indicates that Chokgyur Lingpa received and taught all three of the inner tantric vehicles according to the Nyingma system: Mahāyoga, Anuyoga, and Atiyoga.  ↩

  34. Note found in the original text: “Annual sādhana ceremonies have been established at the great dharma institute of Namgyal Changchub Ling for the twenty-seven great maṇḍalas of all the existing empowerment and reading-transmission traditions of the Oral Transmission Lineage of the Early Translations. This followed from our combined request, master and disciple, to Do-Ngak Tendzin, the Gyatrül Rinpoche of Palyul, and is just one more amazing aspect of the awakened activity of Chokgyur Lingpa. The carving of new woodblocks for the entire set of Oral Transmission scriptures at Palyül is also the work of this master and his sons. This note was added by Jñāna.”  ↩

  35. The king and his son are Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and Chokgyur Lingpa, respectively.  ↩

  36. The four stages of practice are known as (1) approach, (2) close approach, (3) accomplishment, and (4) great accomplishment.  ↩

  37. A kusulu is a type of yogic practitioner who, externally, does not appear to put effort into his practice, but internally practices what their teacher has taught. On the outside, they therefore appear to be lazy and not do anything more than take care of their vital necessities. The word is formed from three Sanskrit root syllables ku, su, and lu that respectively stand for eating, sleeping, and excreting.  ↩

  38. What is translated here as “his eminent nephew” (rje dbon zung) might also be a reference to another master.  ↩

  39. Known in Tibetan as the Chöten Deché Tsekpa (mchod rten bde byed brtsegs pa), this is the stūpa of Śītavana, the charnel ground near present-day Bodh Gaya where Khandroma Lekyi Wangmo revealed the Eight Sādhana Teachings to Guru Rinpoche and the eight vidyādharas of India.  ↩

  40. The Abbot, Master, and Dharma King are Śāntarakṣita, Padmasambhava, and Tri Songdetsen, respectively.  ↩

  41. The twofold Heart Practice designates the Guru’s Heart Practice, Dispeller of All Obstacles and the Guru’s Heart Practice, Spontaneous Fulfillment of Wishes.  ↩

  42. The two traditions refer to the tradition of teaching and the tradition of practice.  ↩

  43. This refers to the Guru Rinpoche statues that were made from a special terma substance that Chokgyur Lingpa had revealed.  ↩

  44. Though the Tibetan text indicates the Wood Dragon year, this appears to be a mistake, as Chokgyur Lingpa was still very young and had not yet met with Jamgön Kongtrül at that time. According to Jamgön Kongtrul’s autobiography, this event occurred in the Fire Dragon year, for which the dates are indicated in the translation. Similarly, the next sentence erroneously refers to the Wood Snake year in the original text.  ↩

  45. According to Jamgön Kongtrül’s autobiography, Chokgyur Lingpa met at that time with the Karmapa and visited many other monasteries. Jamgön Kongtrül Lodrö Thayé 2003, 114.  ↩

  46. This refers to extra months (zla bshol) that are sometimes added to the Tibetan calendar to even out the year.  ↩

  47. Note found in the original text: “There is also an extensive explanation that may be given, starting here, with the meaning of the inscription on his personal great seal, which reads, ‘Universal master encompassing Kama and Terma.’”  ↩

  48. A Samantabhadra wheel (kun tu bzang po'i 'khor lo) is a traditional poetry technique in which a text is written in a grid, and, in a manner similar to a crossword puzzle, has meaning whether it is read vertically, horizontally, or diagonally.  ↩

  49. Note found in the original text: “Mañjughoṣa refers to Zhabdrung Rinpoche, Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo.”  ↩

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