Trulzhik Sengge Gyabpa Biography

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Longchen Rabjam

Trulzhik Sengge Gyabpa

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Biography of Trulzhik Sengge Gyabpa

from The Jewel Rosary History

by Longchen Rabjam

It was from this noble guru [i.e., Guru Jober] that the great Trulzhik received the complete instruction. Trulzhik was born in the village of Sogetreng in the Dra highlands in Yoru. His father was Tashi Ngödrup and his mother was called Pallek. At sunrise when he was born, everyone saw a canopy of rainbow light around the house. In his ninth year his enlightened potential awoke; he developed pure perception and boundless devotion, and turned his mind from ordinary concerns.

In his tenth year he understood the illusory nature of perception, how things are not as real or enduring as they seem. Appearance and existence arose as the guru. In his twelfth year, he developed disenchantment towards the phenomena of saṃsāra and a determination to be free.

One morning at dawn during his thirteenth year, he had a dream in which the sun and moon rose simultaneously. When he awoke, the Great Compassionate One delivered a prophetic command: "Ema! Fortunate one, contemplate the meaning of the most secret unexcelled Heart-Essence, which brings liberation in a single lifetime!" Having said this, the deity disappeared. From then on, Sengge Gyabpa said, his compassion grew beyond bounds, and he never let go of the idea that each and every being is like one’s only child.

In his eighteenth year, he realized how appearances and mind lack true reality. Adopting the uninhibited conduct of a crazy person, he trained in strengthening naturally arising wisdom. At this time, he took the fresh deity offerings that his parents had presented and cast the first portion, saying, "I offer to the gyalpo, the male demon, and I offer to the senmo, the female demon." They said, "How could we have had such a son?"

When Sengge Gyabpa was in his twentieth year, he was ordained by the preceptor Le’u Gangpa[1] and the ācārya Tashi Gangpa. From then on he studied and reflected upon the Vinaya.

In his twenty-fifth year he went to Sengge Gyab in Sizhal, where he received all the empowerments and related instructions of Zhang Tsalpa from [the intermediate] Sengge Gyabpa and put them into practice. From Lama Tsariwa he received The Entwined Lions’ Necks teaching on wind-energy. From other teachers, including Repa Drimé Ö, Lhari Pal, Zhönnu Bum, Tön Char, Changchub Yönten,[2] and Lobpön José, he received teachings on Severance (Chöd) and Pacification (Zhijé), Mahāmudrā, and several sādhanas, complete with their pith instructions, from both the Sarma and Nyingma traditions of secret mantra. Above all, he received the entire transmission of empowerments and instructions of the secret heart-essence of the Great Perfection from Guru Jober, the custodian of the teaching. He then spent several years in secluded valleys and mountain hermitages, in places such as Drowo, where he applied himself assiduously to the essential meaning.

Thereafter, he brought many fortunate ones to maturity and liberation.

He departed into the primordial sphere of dharmatā during his sixty-first year. Rainbows appeared in the sky during his cremation, and ringsel and deity images were discovered in the ashes, inspiring people with a sense of awe and faith.

| Translated by Adam Pearcey with the generous support of the Tsadra Foundation, 2024.


Tibetan Edition

klong chen rab 'byams pa dri med 'od zer. "lo rgyus rin po che’i phreng ba" In snying thig ya bzhi. 13 vols. Delhi: Sherab Gyaltsen Lama, 1975. Vol. 1: 111–113 (1.5 folios)

Secondary Sources

Dudjom Rinpoche. The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism. Translated by Gyurme Dorje and Matthew Kapstein. Boston: Wisdom, 1991.

Leschly, Jakob. "Trulzhik Sengge Gyabpa," Treasury of Lives, accessed February 06, 2024,

Nyoshul Khenpo. A Marvelous Garland of Rare Gems. Translated by Richard Barron. Junction City, California: Padma Publication, 2005.

Version: 1.0-20240207

  1. Our text has Le’u Gangpa (le’u sgang pa), but other sources, such as The Blue Annals, give the name as De’u Gangpa (lde’u sgang pa).  ↩

  2. Our text indicates that Tön Char (ston phyar) and Changchub Yönten (byang chub yon tan) were separate individuals, but later sources appear to conflate them.  ↩

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