Pema Shelpuk Inventory

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English | བོད་ཡིག

Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo

Pema Shelpuk, Lotus Crystal Cave

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An Inventory of the Supreme Sacred Site of Power,[1] Pema Shelpuk

from The Pure Dharma Dzogchen Trilogy[2]

Namo Guru.[3]

1. General Introduction

In the Six Sections Gazetteer Trilogy[4] the Great Orgyen says this:

A ho! Of the celestial realms[5] embodied in the Indian landscape, only few have associated places in Tibet, and as a result the accomplishments of the Tibetan masters are slight.[6] Because of this I, Padma, practiced at and blessed places across the Tibetan land, and I invited all the vidyādhara deities and ḍākinī who abide in the celestial realms, and in the sacred places and charnel grounds of India, to dissolve into each sacred Tibetan site, which thereby became indivisible from the celestial realms. Investing them with inventories, I concealed treasure.

This has been the first chapter, an explanation of the general topic. Samaya gya gya.[7]

2. The Properties of the Place

The sacred site of Sosadvīpa in India having been invited to Tibet, the place into which it dissolved was Chimpu. That sacred presence then multiplied and spread to places including Dzaṃ in the Meshö Valley of Kham, a valley that resembles a blossoming lotus. In the saddle of the ridge above the central valley is a white cliff like a pitched crystal tent. There, at the meditation cave of Pema Shelpuk, I, Padma of Oḍḍiyāna, practiced the Union of Sugatas rite of great attainment.[8]

On the interior surfaces of the cave are nine naturally occurring maṇḍalas of the Expanse [class of Dzogchen tantras].[9] By merely viewing the place where the sugatas dissolved, one shuts the door to rebirth in the lower realms.

The right-hand slope of the valley resembles a flock of roosting bats. Its rocks and soil came from the great charnel ground of India. In the center is a spring of my accomplishment, and self-arisen [representations] of the buddha body, speech, and mind. The white cliff to the left resembles a victory banner. I, Orgyen, left a footprint there, and concealed treasures that will benefit beings, three treasure statues that will benefit whomever encounters them, three restorative earth-elixir treasures, six treasures that are unsuitable for extraction, and nine profound treasures.

I concealed five extremely important treasures in the inner area of the residential cave.

At the white cliff to the northwest, which is endowed with signs of the buddha's body, speech, and mind, I accomplished the practice of the protectors of the three families (Avalokiteśvara, Mañjuśrī and Vajrapāṇi). I saw their faces, and they merged into the cliff resembling a casket. The white cliff on the right side, on which there is a naturally occurring Heruka, resembles a splendid torma (paltor).

On the white cliff to the left, where there are naturally occurring essences of the three kāyas, I concealed jewel treasures that benefit Tibet. If they are extracted the ground's fertility will degrade, but if prayers are made there, supreme siddhis will occur, and if they are circumambulated property and lifespan will prosper and increase.

This has been the second chapter, the properties of the place. Samaya gya gya.

3. The Benefits

Third, an explanation of the benefits.

By circumambulating Pema Shelpuk itself one cleanses the impurities of karma. By performing a gaṇacakra the supreme siddhi will occur. By meditating there for seven days one increases one's experience and realization. Whoever venerates the place will complete the great accumulation of merit and will be established on the path of the ultimate realization.

Whoever wishes to pacify illnesses and demons should circumambulate this place; whoever wishes to extend their life and increase their merit should circumambulate this place; whoever wishes to increase their meditative experience and realization should practice here.

A single day's gaṇacakra here is superior to a year's practice elsewhere. Why is this? Because it is a feast maṇḍala in which ḍākas and ḍākinīs assemble. It is better to travel directly to a town and share in an experience than it is to invite a single person from that town. The point should be understood from that analogy. Samaya gya gya.

4. Conclusion

This inventory of the supreme site of power was spoken by the Lord Orgyen. Tsogyel herself transcribed it. May a fortunate one encounter it! Samaya gya gya.

The treasure-revealer Chokgyur Lingpa, the emanation of Prince Lhase Murub, using the treasure inventory that he revealed at the supreme sacred site of Namkha Dzö,[10] together with supplemental and essential inventories which were actually spoken by the precious master and his consort, actually retrieved this from the skylight[11] of Pema Shelpuk, the practice site of Orgyen Rinpoche in the land of Meshö Dzamnang, to the east of the palace of the dharmarāja of Derge, that auspicious place in Greater Tibet, on the third day of the twelfth month of the fire-dragon year (January 28, 1857), while a gathering of about twenty-five of us watched.

He then blessed the more-than-two-hundred fortunate ones who were gathered there, and he immediately deciphered the dark red scrolls, which caused everyone to develop unshakable faith. The renunciate Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo Kunga Tenpai Gyaltsen Palzangpo performed the virtue of transcribing it. By this may the holders of the teaching persist for a hundred aeons, and may the teachings of the profound treasures spread to all regions and remain for a long time. Sarvadā maṅgalam!

| Translated by Alexander Gardner, 2024.


Dkon mchog 'gyur med. Dkon mchog 'gyur med bstan pa'i rgyal mtshan. 1982–1986 (1921). Gter chen mchog gyur bde chen gling pa'i rnam thar bkra shis dbyangs kyi yan lag gsal byed. In The Treasury of Revelations and Teachings of Mchog-gyur-bde-chen-gliṇ-pa, vol. 38, 1–629. Paro, Bhutan: Lama Pema Tashi.

Huber, Toni. 1990. "Where Exactly are Cāritra, Devikoṭa and Himavat? A Sacred Geography Controversy and the Development of Tantric Buddhist Pilgrimage Sites in Tibet." Kailash 16, no. 3-4: 121-164.

'Jam dbyangs mkhyen brtse'i dbang po. 1982–1986. Gter chen rnam thar las 'phros pa'i dris lan bkra shis dbyangs snyan bskul ba'i dri bzhon. In The Treasury of Revelations and Teachings of Mchog-gyur-bde-chen-gliṇ-pa, vol. 39, 15–52. Paro, Bhutan: Lama Pema Tashi,

'Jam mgon kong sprul. 1982–1986 (1868). Mdo khams gnas chen nyer lnga yan lag dang bcas pa'i mdo byang gi gsal byed zin thung nyung ngu. In The Treasury of Revelations and Teachings of Mchog-gyur-bde-chen-gliṇ-pa, vol. 24, 125–143. Paro, Bhutan: Lama Pema Tashi,

Mchog gyur bde chen gling pa. 1982–1986 (1857). Bod kyi gnas chen rnams kyi mdo byang dkar chags O rgyan gyi mkhas pa Padma 'byung gnas kyis bkod pa. In The Treasury of Revelations and Teachings of Mchog-gyur-bde-chen-gliṇ-pa, vol. 24, 95–124. Paro, Bhutan: Lama Pema Tashi.

Mchog gyur bde chen gling pa and 'Jam dbyangs mkhyen brtse'i dbang po. 1982–1986 (1857). Dam chos rdzogs pa chen po sde gsum las dbang gi gnas mchog padma shel phug gi dkar chag. In The Treasury of Revelations and Teachings of Mchog gyur-bde-chen-gliṅ-pa, vol. 22, pp. 367–371. Paro, Bhutan: Lama Pema Tashi.

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

Version: 1.0-20240118

  1. Pema Shelpuk is number twenty-two on Chokgyur Lingpa and Jamgön Kongtrul's list of forty-two sacred sites in Kham, a list colloquially known as the "twenty-five great sites of Kham." Chokgyur Lingpa initially revealed the list as treasure, on February 25, 1857 (the first day of the fire-serpent year, fourteenth sexagenary cycle (see Mchog 'gyur gling pa 1857). Jamgön Kongtrul completed the list on February 9, 1868 (the twenty-fifth day of the twelfth month of the fire-hare year, fifteenth sexagenary cycle (see 'Jam mgon kong sprul).  ↩

  2. The Pure Dharma Dzogchen Trilogy was Chokgyur Lingpa's ninth revelation, as enumerated by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo (see Mkhyen brtse'i dbang po), which he dated to January 28, 1857, the third day of the twelfth month of the fire-dragon year, fourteenth sexagenary cycle. It contains dozens of texts, found in volumes 21–23 of Chokgyur Lingpa's collected works.  ↩

  3. This Sanskrit phrase, meaning "homage to the teacher," is common at the beginning of Tibetan texts, and in this context likely refers to Padmasambhava, the eighth-century Indian saint who is the originator of most revealed Tibetan scripture—terma (gter ma), meaning "treasure"—as well as sanctifying places via his presence and activity. Padmasambhava is referred to in this text by various epithets such as "the Great Orgyen," "Orgyen Padma," and "Padma."  ↩

  4. Sde drug gnas yig skor gsum, unidentified. It is tempting to read this as referring to the first text of the Pure Dharma Six-Section Paper (dam chos shog sde drug), part of Chokgyur Lingpa's fourteenth revelation. That text, The White Paper Conch Cycle: An Inventory of Sengchen Namdrak Drakri Rinchen Tsekpa and Important Advice from the Pure Dharma Six-Section Paper (dam chos shog sde drug pa las dung shog dkar po'i skor seng chen gnam brag gi g.yas phyogs brag ri rin chen brtsegs pa'i tho byang dang gal po che'i zhal gdams) is a description of the sacred site Drakri Rinchen Tsekpa (brag ri rin chen brtsegs pa) at Sengchen Namdrak (seng chen gnam brag). The quoted passage does not appear in that text, however. That treasure is dated to over four months later, June 12, 1857 (the twentieth day of the fourth month of the fire-snake year, fourteenth sexagenary cycle).  ↩

  5. Mkha' spyod dag pa'i zhing refers to the pure land of Vajravārāhī, but here, in the plural (khams rnams), it suggests "pure lands" in general.  ↩

  6. See Huber for a discussion of the Tibetan penchant for characterizing their sacred sites as replicas of Indian sacred spaces.  ↩

  7. This Sanskrit phrase, meaning "sealed with a vow," is commonly placed at the end of section breaks in Tibetan tantric and revealed scriptures.  ↩

  8. The Union of Sugatas (bde gshegs ’dus pa) is an important Mahāyoga tantra associated with Padmasambhava.  ↩

  9. Chokgyur Lingpa's Dzogchen Trilogy to which this gazetteer belongs is said to be the only revelation that includes the Expanse (klong sde) alongside the other two classes of Mind (sems sde) and Instructional (man ngag sde).  ↩

  10. Chokgyur Lingpa performed two revelatory events at Namkha Dzö the previous year, first on May 19, 1856 (the fifteenth day of the fourth month of the fire-dragon year, fourteenth sexagenary cycle), which resulted in the Seven Profound Cycles (zab pa skor bdun) and again on July 12, 1856 (the tenth day of the seventh month of the fire-dragon year, fourteenth sexagenary cycle), which produced additional material related to that same cycle. These are in volumes 12 to 19 of his collected revelations.  ↩

  11. Gnam mthongs. Dkon mchog 'gyur med (p. 225) has "skylight" or "smoke hole" (gnam khung), of which mthongs khung is a synonym. According to Orgyen Tobgyal (p. 9) Chokgyur Lingpa flew to the ceiling of the cave to extract the treasure.  ↩

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