History of the Great Stūpa

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Ngakchang Shakya Zangpo

The Stūpa of Jarung Kashor

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Liberation Upon Hearing

The History of the Great Jarung Kashor Stūpa

by Padmasambhava
Discovered by Lhatsün Ngönmo and
Rediscovered by Ngakchang Śākya Zangpo


Dharmakāya Amitābha, Boundless Light,
Saṃbhogakāya Mahākāruṇika, the Great Compassionate One,
Nirmāṇakāya Padmākara, the Lotus-Born —
Three kāya lineage gurus, to you I pay homage!

This is the story of the Great Jarung Kashor Stūpa, support for the dharmakāya, indivisible from the wisdom-mind of all buddhas and bodhisattvas, in all the ten directions, past, present and still to come.

On the tenth day of the Monkey month of the male Fire Monkey year, in the middle storey of the great monastery of Glorious Samyé, the Unchanging, Spontaneously Accomplished, a grand empowerment for The Guru’s Utterly Secret Heart Practice[1] was being conferred to the Dharma King and the twenty-five disciples. 

On this occasion, the disciples requested the Precious Master of Uḍḍiyāna to take a seat upon nine brocade cushions. Offering him a golden goblet filled with wine, they invited him to enjoy an assortment of all kinds of foods. Then they offered him twenty-one pieces of turquoise, the most splendid of which was from the king’s own neck and known as ‘Radiant Lamp.’[2] They also presented five measures of gold dust, seven gold bricks, one hundred bolts of fine silk, and countless other goods and enjoyments. 

The King, Tri Songdeutsen then prostrated himself one hundred times, and said: 

“O great master! Though born in this uncivilized country of Tibet, land of red-faced demons, I have succeeded in inviting Abbot Bodhisattva of the land of Zahor, and the scholar Padmākara of the land of Uḍḍiyāna, both of whom are genuine nirmāṇakāya emanations. In accordance with my solemn vow, we have completed this support for beings to gather merit — a residence for the Three Precious Jewels, this great monastery of Glorious Samyé, the Unchanging, Spontaneously Accomplished, which is unrivalled by any in southern Jambudvīpa! Now this uncivilized land of Tibet, which was like a darkened isle, sees the teachings of the Three Jewels spreading like the rising sun upon the snow-capped mountains.
“Pray, tell us how this golden age has come to pass, an era when all beings listen to and expound the holy Dharma, just like in the central land of Magadha. Tell us how, during the time of the Tathāgata Kāśyapa’s teachings, in the Maguta district of Nepal, teacher and disciples alike were born as the four sons of a poor poultry-woman, and how they built the Jarung Kashor Stūpa. How did they come to build the stūpa, and what types of aspirations did they make? If you tell us how this present age is the fruition of our past aspirations, then confidence, faith and inspiration will grow. Please, then, recount this for us in great detail!"

When the king had spoken thus, the Mahāguru offered his reply: “O, great king, listen carefully and remember it all!”

Chapter 1: Construction and Consecration

“What follows is the history of the Great Jarung Kashor Stūpa. Countless eons ago, beyond measure, the Bodhisattva, the Mahāsattva, Noble Avalokiteśvara made an aspiration in the presence of the Tathāgata Amitābha — to liberate all beings from the swamps of cyclic existence. After rescuing countless wandering beings from saṃsāra’s ocean, he returned to his palace on the peak of Potala Mountain, thinking, ‘Now there’s not a single sentient being left.’ But when he looked out, he saw that the beings of the six realms hadn’t lessened in number at all: they were as numerous as the left-over grains at the bottom of a brewing cask. ‘I must be completely incapable of rescuing beings from the ocean of saṃsāra!’ he thought, and he began to cry. Wiping a tear with each of his ring fingers, he flicked them away with the prayer, “In the future, may these two tears benefit wandering beings!’ 

“At that time, in the Heaven of the Thirty-Three, two daughters were born to Indra, the King of Gods — royal goddesses by the names of Pūrṇā and Little Pūrṇā. But Little Pūrṇā transgressed the impeccable law of the realm by stealing a divine flower, and so was cast down into the human realm. There she was born into a family of poultry-farmers in the Maguta district of the Kathmandu Valley, in Nepal. The name of her father was Prabhāsvara, and her mother was Pūrṇā. They called her Samvarī, and together they raised chickens.

“Later, Samvarī gave birth to four sons from lying with four outcast men. The father of her eldest child was a horse-keeper, the second a swineherd, the third a dog-keeper, and the fourth child was born from her stay with another poultry farmer. As their mother, she saved what she earned from raising chickens and managed to set up her sons as respectable householders. On top of this, her remaining savings amounted to quite a fortune, so a thought arose in her mind: ‘Well, now I have set up my four sons as respectable householders with the money I’ve saved raising chickens, I have some money left over. I will put this wealth to good use. I will build a support for the wisdom-mind of all the buddhas, my own yidam, a place for beings to accumulate immeasurable merit, a great stūpa whose essence is the Tathāgatas’ relics. First things first, I must go and request the great king of this country for a grant of land.’ 

“Arriving in the presence of the great king, she prostrated, circumambulated and, kneeling with palms together, supplicated: ‘O great king! Though I am but a poor, single poultry-woman, I have raised four sons, born of four fathers, and, with my earnings from raising chickens, I have set them up as respectable householders. The money left over amounts to quite a fortune, and so I request that I may build a place where beings may accumulate immeasurable merit, my own yidam, a support for the wisdom-mind of all the buddhas, a great stūpa which holds the essence of the Tathāgatas’ relics. Please grant me [a parcel of land to do so]!’

“Great kings do not make their decisions without due examination, so for a moment he sat in contemplation and thought, ‘This poor, single, poultry-woman brought up four sons born of four fathers, with the earnings from raising chickens, and set them up as respectable householders. Now she wishes to build a great stūpa with the money left over — this is truly amazing!’ and, as this thought arose in his mind, he declared, ‘Let it be done (Jarung)!’ The poultry woman leapt with joy and utter delight, and again she prostrated herself and circumambulated many times, and then returned home. 

“So the mother, her four sons, and a single servant all loaded up an elephant and a donkey with bricks and delivered them to the site, where they began building the foundations for the great stūpa. Once it was three tiers high, the Newar people began to confer amongst themselves: ‘If this poor, single poultry-woman can build a stūpa like this, then what kind of stūpa should the king, his ministers, the wealthy and the powerful seek to build? They’ll all be ridiculed and censured!’ They decided to request the great king to withdraw his agreement and call a halt to the building. And so it was that the Newar folk all gathered together and made their request: “O great king, you have made a grave mistake! If this poor, single poultry-woman makes such a stūpa, then what kind of stūpa, what kind of support for gathering the roots of merit will be left for all you powerful folk to build — you the king, your ministers, the wealthy and so on? If this construction continues, then each and every one of you will be harshly criticised. Get the stones removed and taken back to where they came from! Agree that the building must go on no longer!’

“The great king duly gave his reply: ‘All of you, listen carefully! This poor, single poultry-woman, through gathering earnings from raising chickens, established her four sons born of four fathers as respectable householders. Not only that, with her remaining wealth she builds a stūpa such as this. I thought this to be truly amazing, and so the words “Let it be done” (jarung) slipped from my tongue (kashor). Kings speak but once!’

So, although these people tried, they were not able to prevent the construction. Thus the stūpa became known by the name Jarung Kashor. (“Let it be done, Slip of the tongue”)

“Thereafter, the building continued, summer and winter without cease, and, four years later, everything up to the dome was completed. At that time, Samvarī the poultry woman realized that her life had almost reached its end, so she spoke to her four sons and their servant: “You all, continue to build this field for the infinitely countless, wandering sentient beings to accumulate merit, my yidam, this great stūpa, supreme above all! Please, place the relics of the Tathāgatas within, and perform an elaborate consecration. Not only will this fulfill my wish, but the enlightened intent of all the buddhas of the three times will be fulfilled to perfection. You will also accomplish something vastly meaningful for this and future lives as well.” Upon saying this, she passed away. At that same moment, there were sounds and music, and a thick rain of divine flowers fell from the sky, all accompanied by streams of rainbow lights. Due to the merit of building this great stūpa, Samvarī the poultry-woman attained buddhahood as Samayadevī Pramohā."

“Her sons then discussed among themselves: ‘Though our old mother was born but a poor poultry-woman, she set us up as respectable householders and then, with the earnings left over, she built this great stūpa, rare to find throughout the whole of Jambudvīpa, something marvelous and supreme! If she could do this, then we sons can now repay her kindness, our mother’s virtuous roots, by adding the dome to her stūpa.’ They all agreed and, as before, the sons loaded up their elephant and donkey with bricks, aided by a single servant. Together they kept building for another three years, and, finally, after seven years in total, the construction was complete."

“Within the stūpa’s life-pillar, they placed a full Magadhan measure of the Buddha Kāśyapa’s relics, and then arranged gatherings of offerings beyond measure. When the time came to toss the flowers of consecration, not only did Buddha Kāśyapa and his entourage arrive in the sky before them, but so did all the buddhas and bodhisattvas of the ten directions, surrounded by countless arhats, as well as the buddhas of the five families, the lords of the three families, and innumerable peaceful and wrathful deities. It was completely inconceivable, like a sesame pod split open, overflowing!"

“As they threw flowers and uttered elaborate words of auspiciousness, divine music of all types resounded, a thick rain of divine flowers fell, and the sweet scent of divine incense filled every direction. The whole earth trembled three times, and then, from the awakened forms of the gathered Tathāgatas, countless light rays shone so that for three days it seemed there was no difference between day and night!”

This completes the first chapter of The History of the Great Jarung Kashor Stūpa, which illustrates how the stūpa was built and consecrated. Samaya! Seal! Seal! Seal!

Chapter 2: Prophecy and Aspirations

Once more, King Tri Songdeutsen made a request to the precious master saying, “O great master! Please tell us the history of how the aspirations made before this great stūpa, the stūpa none other than the immeasurably marvelous Jarung Khashor, were fulfilled.”

The Mahāguru replied, “Listen then, great king! When the great stūpa was consecrated with the scattering of flowers and marvelous miraculous signs, an immeasurable gathering of buddhas and bodhisattvas all spoke in perfect unison, saying, ‘O, fortunate sons of noble family! Listen up! It is with utterly pure intention that you have constructed a stūpa such as this, a supreme representation of the dharmakāya, no different from the wisdom mind of all the victors throughout the three times. The virtuous result of this will be the accomplishment of all your individual aspirations, just as you wish. Thus, make aspirations!’

“At this, the sons discussed amongst themselves. ‘Our sweet old mother laid out and constructed the foundation for this stūpa with such immense altruistic intentions. Yet she has now since passed away. Thus, by the virtue of having completed it, together with our mother’s roots of virtue, all the buddhas and bodhisattvas of the ten directions have directly revealed themselves to us her sons, saying, ‘Whatever aspiration you make will be fulfilled. Thus, make aspirations!’ Having obtained such a boon, we should each make rather grand aspirations!’

“The eldest son, the son of the horse-keeper, thought to make an aspiration as grand as possible. ‘Presently there is a frozen borderland of ice in the kingdom to the North. All of its mountains are buried in snow. Its valley floors are filled with water. In summer its waters are the home for many birds, but in the winter they turn into frozen plains. There is a prophecy that, once the waters have all dried up, this is the place that the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara will transform into a tamed land for the teachings of the Tathāgata Śākyamuni. Thus, I must aspire to establish the Buddha’s teachings in that very land where they will flourish.’

“With that in mind, he made the following aspiration: ‘It was with an utterly pure intention that we completed our mother’s stūpa. By virtue of this, may I be born in the future times of the five rampant degenerations as a great king who nourishes the Dharma, the teachings of the Tathāgata Śākyamuni, in that frozen borderland of ice. May I thereby establish the precious teachings of the Buddha!’

“After that, the son of the swineherd made his aspiration, ‘By virtue of completing our mother’s stūpa, you will be born as a king who protects the Dharma and establishes the Buddha’s precious teachings, elder brother. When that happens, the foundation of the teachings, the community of saṅgha, will need to be established in that frozen borderland of ice. May I therefore be born as a pure, fully ordained monk, a great preceptor who will ordain the entire saṅgha!’

“After that, the son of the dog-keeper spoke his aspiration: ‘By virtue of completing our mother’s stūpa, one of you will establish the Buddha’s teachings and one will uphold them in that frozen borderland of ice, my two elder brothers. When that happens, may I be born not from a womb but miraculously upon the anthers of a lotus flower. I shall cut the cycle of birth and death, and my lifespan will equal that of the sun and moon. Having been born as the one who can mightily tame gods, demons, and humans, may I subdue all malevolent spirits and demons within that very borderland and help fulfill the wishes of you both! May I be born as a powerful mantra master, to protect the entirety of the Buddha’s teachings.’

“After that, the son of the poultry-keeper made his aspiration: ‘By virtue of completing our mother’s stūpa, one of you will establish the Buddha’s teachings, one will uphold them, and one will protect them in that frozen borderland of ice, my three elder brothers. When that happens, it is not guaranteed that you will all be born in the same location. Therefore, may I be born as a royal minister, one who delivers the messages that will allow you all to reunite.’

“At that time, all the buddhas and bodhisattvas spoke in perfect unison, saying, ‘O, fortunate sons of noble family, you have made grand aspirations — excellent, excellent! The buddhas all rejoice! Even if all the buddhas throughout the three times were to try to measure the extent of such a mass of merit as this, they couldn’t possibly succeed.’ The buddhas and bodhisattvas of the ten directions then gathered together into a sphere of light and dissolved into the stūpa. Thus, this stūpa is also renowned as The Stūpa of the Gathering of All Buddhas.

“However, in that same moment, a mosquito[3] landed on the neck of the horse-keeper’s son and started sucking his blood. Bothered by this, he brushed it aside with his hand and immediately found the mosquito’s dead body. Feeling immense compassion, he made the following aspiration: ‘When I am born as a Dharma protector king in the frozen borderland of ice, may this very insect be born as my heir, the prince, and may he practice the Dharma.’

“The donkey thought that an aspiration prayer would then also be made for him, yet no such prayer was made. At that he became enraged and made the following aspiration: ‘When the eldest brother is born as a Dharma protector king in the frozen borderland of ice and establishes the teachings of the Buddha there, may I be born at that time as a prime minister who despises the Dharma, someone who can render all of his activities useless.’

“The loyal servant heard these words and accordingly made the following aspiration: ‘When the donkey is born as that demonic minister and creates obstacles for the Dharma, may I be born as a minister of religion who can skillfully avert all of his crafty schemes and put an end to his power.’

“The elephant also thought that an aspiration prayer would be made in his favour, yet no such prayer was made. At that he too became enraged and made the following aspiration: ‘I’ve been carrying all these stones and dirt around, but they haven’t made any prayer for me whatsoever. So be it! May I be born as a son or grandson of the king, and may I extinguish the teachings that they have established.’

“A passing raven heard these words and, with the intention to benefit others, made the following aspiration: ‘When he is born as a royal son or grandson and tries to extinguish the Buddha’s teachings, may I be born as a great bodhisattva and kill that demonic prince.’

“In that moment, two skinny Brahmin youths who were wearing the holy thread made the following aspiration: ‘When you all establish the precious teachings of the Buddha in the frozen borderland of ice, may we both be born as the lotsāwas who will translate the entirety of the sublime Dharma.’

“At the same time, two royal daughters with keen minds made the following aspiration: ‘When you all establish the precious teachings of the Buddha in the frozen borderland of ice, may we both be born superbly skilled in all the literary arts, as scribes for the sublime Dharma. May we then commit the entirety of the words of the Buddha into writing, along with all the commentaries.’

“Additionally, other prayers were made at that time for the benefit of the teachings, unfathomable and beyond number. All the aspiration prayers described above, without exception, were fulfilled. Thus, the eldest brother, the son of the horse-keeper, who aspired at that time to be king — is you, Tri Songdeutsen, the royal protector of the Dharma.

“The son of the swineherd, who aspired to be the preceptor, is now the great abbot Śāntarakṣita.
“The son of the dog-keeper, who aspired to be the master of mantra, is now me, the scholar from Uḍḍiyāna, Padmasambhava.
“The son of the poultry-keeper, who aspired to be the minster, is Bami Trizher from Yarlung.[4]
“The mosquito, whose rebirth they prayed for as heir to the king, is the princess Pemasel, who passed away at a young age.
“The donkey, who made the perverted aspiration to be born as a demonic prime minister, is now the minister known as Mashang Trompa Kyé.[5]
“The servant, who aspired to be born as the minister of religion who would overcome this demonic minister, is now the minister Gö Pema Gungtsen.[6] “The elephant, who made the perverted aspiration to be born as the evil king and extinguish the teachings, will be an evil king by the name of Lang, born three generations after you, O king, and he will attempt to extinguish the Buddha’s teachings. “The raven, who aspired to kill that evil king in order to benefit others, is now the prince Murub Tsenpo. In the future, when the evil king by the name of Lang appears and attempts to extinguish the Buddha’s teachings, a bodhisattva by the name of Lhalung Palgyi Dorjé[7] will be born and will kill the evil king. “The two Brahmin youths, who made aspirations to be born as lotsāwas, are now Kawa Paltseg and Jokro Lu’i Gyaltsen.[8]
“And the two royal daughters, who made aspirations to commit the sublime Dharma to writing, are now Denma Tsemang and Legjin Nyima.”[9]

King Tri Songdeutsen and all those gathered there were mesmerized at the Great Guru’s words. Filled with faith, they prostrated themselves so many times it seemed their skulls would pop out of their heads. Tears streamed down their faces, and again and again they made heartfelt prayers for the benefit of the teachings and sentient beings.

This completes the second chapter of The Story of the Great Jarung Kashor Stūpa, which illustrates the prophecies of the buddhas and bodhisattvas, the aspirations that were made, and their fulfillment. Samaya. Seal! Seal! Seal!

Chapter 3: Benefits of Circumambulation and Making Offerings

The Dharma King Tri Songdeutsen asked, “O great master! What are the benefits of prostrating, circumambulating, and making offerings to this great stūpa, the very embodiment of all the buddhas of the three times?”

The Great Guru replied saying, “Listen then, great king, and give rise to sincere faith! This stūpa is the wisdom-mind-support of the buddhas and bodhisattvas of the three times; having merged inseparably, it is here that they remain. All supplications and aspirations made here will be effortlessly and spontaneously accomplished, just as with a precious wish-fulfilling jewel. For those with pure intent, the benefits of prostrating, circumambulating, and making offerings cannot be expressed even by all the buddhas of the three times; they are immeasurable. Yet, in order to encourage enthusiasm in sentient beings yet to come, I will briefly recount the benefits.

“This great stūpa is the supreme wisdom-support of all the buddhas of the three times, serving as the field of offering for the world with its beings and gods. All aspirations made in supplication are effortlessly accomplished. It bestows all common and extraordinary siddhis, just like the precious wish-fulfilling jewel. This is the great stūpa called Jarung Khashor, ‘Let it be done, Slip of the tongue’…

“Whoever sees it with their eyes, for them the doors to the three lower realms will be closed.
“Whoever hears of it with their ears, for them the seed of supreme enlightenment will be sown.
“Whoever thinks of it with their mind, for them all psychosis, faintings, and seizures will be alleviated, leading to the arising of excellent samādhi.
“Whoever joins their palms before it will abide on the perfect path.
“Whoever prostrates before it will be born as the cakravartin of a thousand-fold universe.
“Whoever circumambulates it will be endowed with the seven good qualities of the higher realms.
“Whoever supplicates it will spontaneously accomplish the benefit of self and others.
“Whoever makes offerings to it will be born without hunger or thirst.
“Whoever offers flowers will completely attain the freedoms and advantages.
“Whoever offers incense will attain perfectly pure discipline.
“Whoever offers butter lamps will awaken from the darkness of ignorance.
“Whoever offers scented water will be freed from depression and all suffering.
“Whoever offers food and drink will be sustained by the sustenance of samādhi.
“Whoever offers music will proclaim the melodious sound of Dharma throughout the ten directions.
“Whoever offers cymbals will attain complete and unending eloquence.
“Whoever offers bells large and small will attain clear and melodious speech, and the voice of Brahmā.
“Whoever offers maṇḍalas will perfect the two accumulations of temporary and lasting results.
“Whoever offers maṇḍalas of the five precious jewels will be free of poverty and attain an inexhaustible sky treasury.
“Whoever offers maṇḍalas of the seven precious jewels will in passing enjoy the seven royal possessions and will ultimately attain the body with the seven aspects.
“Whoever offers maṇḍalas of the five medicinal herbs will be liberated from the four types of illness[10] and from the eon of sickness, with its chronic diseases of saṃsāra and so forth.
“Whoever offers a maṇḍala of the five essences[11] will be completely freed from the suffering of the five kinds of beings, and will attain the bodies of the five buddha families.
“Whoever offers maṇḍalas of the five grains, whatever seeds are sown, all will be excellent, and they will enjoy the harvests of crops that need no cultivation.
“Whoever offers the five kinds of incense will have a pleasant fragrance and be attractive to everyone.
“Whoever offers the five perfumes will attain the pure abodes and be rid of all defilements.
“Whoever offers the five gifts — for them, merit, might, riches, and all enjoyments will proliferate.
“Whoever offers parasols and victory banners will have all afflictions in their entirety pacified, and they will be worthy of veneration and respect.
“Whoever offers silken ribbons and banners will attain a complete abundance of pleasant things and be freed from the eight great fears.
“Whoever offers garlands and tassels will attain the sacred bliss of gods and humans adorned by the seven precious jewels.
“Whoever offers butter lamps will see the manifest faces of the buddhas and bodhisattvas of the ten directions.
“Whoever offers grain oil lamps will be clarified of all obscurations of ignorance.
“Whoever offers the fire for butter lamps will radiate, the light rays of the dharma throughout the ten directions.
“Whoever offers the Precious Wheel will turn the wheel of dharma.
“For whoever offers the Precious Gem, anything they desire will shower down like rain.
“For whoever offers the Precious Queen, pure intelligence will arise in their minds.
“Whoever offers the Precious Minister will become the sacred guide, skilled in means aplenty, able to lead all beings.
“Whoever offers the Precious Elephant will realize the meaning of the supreme Mahāyāna.
“Whoever offers the Precious Horse will be endowed with the four limbs of miracles.
“Whoever offers the Precious General will defeat all opponents.
“Whoever offers the seven royal possessions will become master of a great dharma kingdom.
“Whoever offers the eight auspicious symbols will attain a body adorned by the marks and signs.
“Whoever offers the eight auspicious substances will enjoy the majesty of auspiciousness and the abundant riches of humans and gods.
“Whoever offers a variety of clothes and garments will enjoy divine robes of five-coloured fabric and all kinds of clothes that are pleasing to the touch.
“Whoever offers coats of white-wash will become dazzling, majestic, and perfect – overpowering all gods, demons, and humans.
“Whoever offers the three white foods will enjoy the wish-granting cow and herds of cattle.
“Whoever offers the three sweets will enjoy the manifold delicacies of the gods.
“Whoever offers foods of whole grains will never go hungry, and the doors to rebirth as a preta will be blocked.
“Whoever offers distilled essences of grain will enjoy the brew of ocean-like amṛta.
“Whoever offers fruits and fresh-grown produce will enjoy foods of a hundred flavours.
“Whoever offers gaṇacakra will accomplish the common and extraordinary siddhis, and all that they wish for.
“Whoever offers the five perfumed bath waters will purify all sickness arising from defilements and all obscurations, and have a perfect and attractive complexion.
“Whoever offers supreme lotus seats will obtain soft and beautiful thrones of fearless lions, and will take miraculous rebirth from a thousand petalled lotus.
“Whoever acts as caretaker of the stūpa will be liberated from the suffering of the three lower realms and become endowed with all the qualities of perfection.
“Whoever offers ceremonial service will make offerings to all the buddhas and will accomplish the entire enlightened activity of the buddhas.
“Whoever washes away the dust and filth will attain an excellent form, fine clothes, and great beauty.
“For whoever sweeps away rubbish and grime, all negativities and obscurations will be cut from the root.
“Whoever makes it their yidam will attain the level of a mahāmudrā vidyādhara. “Whoever recites its prayers will attain the level of a matured vidyādhara.
“Whoever makes it their guru will attain the level of a spontaneously-accomplished vidyādhara.
“Whoever makes offerings to it will attain the level of a vidyādhara with power over life.
“Whoever rebuilds it will accomplish the four enlightened activities and all that they desire in this life, and will attain precious, unsurpassable enlightenment.
“Whoever applies plaster and concrete to the stūpa — for every particle they apply, they will attain the state of a cakravartin.
“For whoever hauls loads of rocks and earth — obstacles to life and vitality will be pacified and they will attain a perfect body, long life, and freedom from disease.
“The body, speech, and mind of whoever sincerely strives in service [to the stūpa], will be infused with the blessings of the enlightened body, speech, and mind of all the buddhas.
“Whoever serves as a virtuous friend [of the stūpa] will, in this and all future lives, genuinely engage in the path of the ten virtues, never being separated from spiritual guides, and will gain every sacred siddhi that they wish.
“Whoever serves as a supervisor will be born as the principal child of all the buddhas of the ten directions, and will accomplish infinite enlightened activity.
“Whoever serves as a craftsman and architect will become completely adept in the five outer sciences.
“Whoever takes seven steps toward this stūpa will attain seven pure human rebirths and be able to remember those lifetimes.
“Whoever speaks of its benefit will be ornamented with the qualities of the scholar.
“Whoever writes of its benefit will be listened to by all beings throughout all their [future] lives.
“Whoever mends even the slightest cracks will attain human and god forms and enjoy the sublime Dharma.
“Whoever makes aspirations that it remain for a long time will attain mastery of the immortal vidyādhara.
“Whoever consecrates the stūpa will pacify war, famine, and pestilence throughout the three times, spreading peace in every nation.
“Whoever protects it from harm will be freed from any fear of untimely death.
“Whoever speaks to others of its good qualities will speak of all the qualities of the buddhas and bodhisattvas of the three times without exception.
“Whoever learns and teaches [about the stūpa] will perform all the activities of the buddhas of the three times.
“Whoever paints and makes relief statues of it will have the power to reach buddhahood and will rest in space-awareness, beyond meeting and parting.
“Whoever writes down its history and hagiography will in turn have written down the condensed words of all the buddhas of the three times and ten directions.
“Whoever offers their admiration will give rise to every quality of the buddhas within their minds.
“Whoever requests the blessings of the stūpa will attain the empowerment of all the buddhas.
“Whoever brings to mind the stūpa while they are dying will be miraculously reborn in the heart of a lotus flower in Sukhāvatī, the Western Pure Land of Bliss.
“Whoever harms the stūpa will have all kinds of inauspiciousness happen to them in this life, and later be reborn in the great Incessant Hell, where there is no opportunity to escape or express remorse and make confession.

“In conclusion, this great stūpa is likened to a precious, wish-fulfilling jewel. Whoever makes an aspiration will attain the common and extraordinary siddhis, along with anything else that one wishes. Thus, it is renowned as The Stūpa Which Fulfills All Aspirations.”

The king and entourage were filled with wonder, amazed beyond measure. Immense faith arose within them and tears fell from their eyes. Their bodies hit the floor as they offered a thousand prostrations [before the Guru].

“Emaho! The benefits and qualities of such a stūpa are so wondrous! Since not even the buddhas could express it, and since it is beyond the conceptual thought of us beings, how could we even begin to put it into words?! From now onward, in lifetime after lifetime, may we make vast offerings, gatherings beyond measure, to this great stūpa!”

This completes the third chapter of The History of the Great Jarung Kashor Stūpa, which illustrates the benefits of circumambulating and making offerings. Samaya! Seal! Seal! Seal!

Chapter 4: The signs and the time for restoration

Once again King Tri Songdeusten asked, “O great master, please tell us whether or not the power of the corrupted age will cause this great stūpa, which is like a wish-fulfilling jewel, to deteriorate and decay? If it does break down, decay, or degenerate, what kinds of inauspicious signs will appear in this world? And if there are such ill omens, what will be the proper time and means for its restoration?”

In answer, the Mahāguru responded, “Listen here, great king. Ultimately this great stūpa is indivisible from the dharmakāya of all the buddhas, so no breakage, decay and degeneration will occur. But according to conventional appearances, some breakage and decay will appear due to the four elemental conditions. Some emanation of the Lords of the Three Families[12] will then repair it, or the Frowning One,[13] Noble Lady Tārā.

“To be more specific, when strife arrives and lifespans are reduced to fifty years, the teachings of the Victorious One, Śākyamuni, will degenerate. The monastic communities will be filled with laypeople, the temples will become fighting rings, and monastic institutions will be made into slaughterhouses. 

“Mountain-dwelling yogis will descend to the valleys; great meditators will take up farming; and realized yogis will watch over the cattle. Fully ordained monks will adopt a householder’s life, with renunciant monks committing robbery and banditry of all different kinds. In communities, trouble will rise up like a whirlwind, as conflicts and contradictory views fan out from the centre [of the land].

“Nuns will kill their own bastard children. Family estates will be looted by others, and family homes will no longer be in the hands of their heirs. Local leaders will act like barbarians. Young girls will roam about monk’s quarters. Heretics will call out “So!” in silent places of retreat.[14]

“The wealth of monasteries will be seized, the scriptures of the Sugatas and sacred shrine offerings pawned off. The representations of enlightened body, speech and mind will be stolen and then sold on the market at a price. Temple basements will become barns for horses and cows, and their dung will pile up high.

“At such a time, gyalpo spirits will possess the hearts of monks, māras will possess the hearts of mantrikas, tsen will possess the hearts of heretics, gongpos will possess the hearts of men, the’urang the hearts of children, and senmo the hearts of women. Damsi will possess the hearts of nuns, and dremo the hearts of girls.[15] In short, the heart of each and every Tibetan will be possessed by a demon.

“As signs of their possession, the people will cover their bodies with clashing assortments of clothes. Monks will prettify themselves, and nuns will gaze in the mirror. Everyone will arm themselves with weapons, and people will pour virulent poisons into each other’s food. Evil-minded khenpos and lopöns will teach.[16] No longer will people be able to believe their district heads and governors. Men won’t be able to keep their discretion and honour. Women won’t be able to guard their bodies. Monks won’t be able to keep their discipline, and mantrikas won't be able to keep their samayas.

“Negative forces—earth lords and the planet Rahula, gyalpos, gongpos, and the’urangs—will become widespread, and people’s speech, jewellery and clothing will change, year after year.

“Ordinary folk will teach the Dharma, and old ladies will speak high words about the view. Charlatans will bestow fake empowerments, and liars will act like great meditators. Sly and silver-tongued folk will make themselves out to be learned, and proud folk with degenerate samaya will be held in high esteem. Common subjects will take over the throne, and the king will be reduced to a commoner. Leaders will be slaughtered, and the most respected will be those who have the most sin. 

“Gurus who teach the profound Secret Manta will wander about like dogs, and perverted disciples with no samaya will roam like lions. These demonic manifestations will pay lip service to views practiced in error. With the gurus hidden, these imposters will display their own greatness as much as they can, disparaging those siddhas and learned ones who are acting in accord with the Buddha’s word. Fakes and frauds, they will conduct themselves in secret, with all sorts of mockery.

“Ordinary people will wear cotton cloth and put on monks’ attire, while monks will don Mongolian dress. Even butchers who’ve committed murder will wear the saffron dharma robes! People will learn spells and black magic, and monks will brew poison by engaging in deception and profiteering. All kinds of mistaken dharma will be written and published, and the true Word of the Conqueror and the true transmission of the Vajra Master will start to become confused. 

“All kinds of mistaken dharma, never seen before, will be practiced. All kinds of mistaken practices will spread, and actions previously unthinkable will occur. Unrecognisable new precedents will be established. All good traditions will be set aside, and all kinds of harm will be perpetrated. The property of the three precious jewels will be plundered, and their oaths quickly forsaken, becoming food for the greedy.

“Through this, all beings will enter all manner of wrong paths. Through the force of committing every kind of negative deed, they will forget the virtuous dharma protectors, who will no longer protect them. Time, the stars and the planets will deviate from their normal course, and constellations and comets will appear that have never been seen before. Timely rains won’t come, while rain water in the valleys will rise. 

“Many bad years of famine, frost and hail will come, one after the other. The mamo and tenma spirits will be angered, and many unidentifiable diseases will spread like wildfire among humans and animals. Out of nowhere, the earth will shake, the waters will rise, fires will blaze, great winds whip up, and the monasteries, stūpas, towns and the rest will all of a sudden be wiped out. At such a time, this great stūpa will also break down and fall into decay.

“Due to these flaws, the time will come when the Dharma Wheel will degenerate at India's Diamond Throne,[17] and warfare will rise up like the wind in the land of Nepal, with no letting up…

“When for a generation there is famine in the land of India,
“When for a generation there are all kinds of infectious diseases in the heart of Nepal,
“When for a generation there are earthquakes in upper Ngari,
“When for a generation there are infectious diseases and famines in the heart of Ü-Tsang,
“When the earth collapses in the area of Kyishö,
“When the glacial mountains erode in the land of Mön,
“When on a five-peaked mountain in Tibet three powerful fortresses arise, “When retreat centers are set up in Bear’s Den Ravine in Mön,[18]
“When the sun rises twice in the area of Kham,
“When the Chinese king suddenly dies,
“When four border armies come to Ü,
“When the Mongols, the Hor,[19] defeat Ngari,
“When the Jang[20] army enters Kham,
“When the Turk army conquers India,
“When the Kashmiri army destroys the teachings,
“When the Rasa Trulnang[21] is threatened by water,
“When Glorious Samyé collapses and falls into decay,
“When the dharma wheel of the Tratruk Stūpa[22] becomes crooked,
“And when the great holy sites of Tibet are left empty,
“When the heretics cry of “So!” fills the places of retreat,
“When all the great monastics are dying from poisoning,
“When the teachings of explanation and practice are fragmented by quarrels,
“When those beings who uphold the teachings suddenly pass away,
“When charlatans play tricks, with degenerate samayas,
“When wolves donning yellow robes[23] sing long-songs,
“When Tibet and Kham are filled with demonic emanations,
“When the silken knot of the divine dharma[24] is loosened,
“When the grass rope of the humane principles[25] is cut,
“When the golden yoke of royal law is split,
“When the cheerful lake of local law dries up,
“When the modest coat of personal law is shed,
“When dharma practitioners become lowly and powerless,
“When those bereft of dharma and without shame become powerful leaders,
“When abbots, teachers and geshes act and serve as governors,
“When ordinary folk preside over gaṇacakras, teach Dharma and bestow empowerments,
“When there’s hope for flattery and recompense when gathering merit,
“When the people are being led by demented butchers,
“When the mountains, valleys and roads are flooded with bandits,
“When those who are the hope of Tibet are beaten by whoever’s able,
“When all is fragmented, devoid of samaya, law, or leader,
“And when, by their own conduct, Tibet and Kham are conquered —

“When all these terrible times arrive in this world, it will be because of this great stūpa’s collapse and decay. Indeed, these are the signs that the time for its restoration has come. At that point, one who has good fortune and a karmic connection will cast aside all thoughts of this life, and, generating a vast and superior wish, they will undertake the restoration, and it will be accomplished.”

The King Tri Songdeusten and all those assembled felt bewildered and terribly frightened. Feeling shaken, his heart unsettled, one among them let out long, deep sigh and then rose from his seat: it was the minister of religious affairs from the Gö clan, Pema Gungtsen. He first offered one hundred full prostrations and then declared, “O great āchārya! May I be the one, at that evil, corrupt time, to restore the great stūpa!”

“May it so be done!” the Mahāguru prayed, as this request was echoed by the abbot and lotsāwas, while the Dharma King rejoiced and made his own aspirations to help.

This completes the fourth chapter from the History of the Great Jarung Kashor Stūpa, which illustrates the signs and times when restoration will be necessary due to the decay that will occur during the degenerate age, when lifespans have dwindled to fifty years. Samaya. Seal! Seal! Seal!

Chapter 5: The Restorers and the Benefits of the Restoration

Again, King Tri Songdeutsen requested, “O great āchārya! In the degenerate age, when the life-span of beings has diminished to fifty years, when the great stūpa needs to to be repaired as you foretold, where will my minister, the old Pema Gungtsen of the Gö clan be born? Which name will he have and what marks will he bear? How many virtuous helpers will emerge? And, what benefits will there be from their restoration of the great stūpa?”

The Mahāguru replied, “O great king, listen well! Your questions are excellent! In the future, in the degenerate age, when the life-span of beings has diminished to fifty years, when one hundred and one bad omens appear, the minister of religious affairs of the Gö clan, Pema Gungtsen, will take birth, due to his former aspirations, in upper Nyima in Tsang.[26] He will be born into a family of Mantrikas in the bird or pig year. He will be named Pal or Zangpo,[27] and he will be bright, courageous and strong. Due to genuine aspirations made long ago, his karmic potential will awaken, and so already from his youth he will have great faith and devotion in the precious Three Jewels and the temples and representations of enlightened body, speech and mind. He will set out upon the Mahāyāna path with a mind filled with compassion towards all sentient beings, and especially towards those who are destitute and impaired. Being of the Mahāyāna type, he will be brave, and he will have trust in the profound meaning. Having mastered wrathful enlightened activity, he will let loose the roar of the fierce and wrathful teachings. He will perfect the approach and accomplishment of his yidam deity, and thus the Dharma protectors and guardians will listen to his command as he binds them under oath. Above all, from his youth onwards he will have fierce, unwavering devotion in me, Uḍḍiyāna.

“If this individual remains untainted by broken samayas or familial defilements,[28] then in his twenty-fifth year he will restore the great stūpa. If the work is postponed, but begun in his thirty-third year, the restoration will still be completed. If the work is postponed beyond this, then war will break out between Tibet and China, rising up like the wind. The negativity of this calamity will triple the weight of the non-virtue that preceded it. Epidemics and famine will clear out the land and cut short the nightly ritual of sleep.[29] An army of barbarian Mongols as numerous as five measures of mustard seed will invade Tibet from the highlands. For several years, terror will resound as though the sky were breaking apart. From the southern lowlands, an army will invade, equal to nine measures of mustard seeds. Thus nothing but constant terror will resound, like a roaring dragon. The armies will come racing like flashes of lightning, defeating everything up to and including the land of Choga in Ngari.[30] Then an army from the highlands will come and overthrow everything as far as China. Two-third of Tibetans will be slain by these swords, and all the temples, stūpas, statues and scriptures will crumble. All across Tibet there will be ruin and desolation. The remaining survivors will flee to Lhoka,[31] Bhutan and the hidden valleys. Those who stay behind, attached to land and possessions, will be slaughtered by barbarians from Mongolia — and thus the people and wildlife of Tibet will be completely obliterated.

“Desiring to be liberated from such suffering, this person who possesses my blessing will arouse bodhicitta for the benefit of beings. Disregarding his own body and life, he will make fierce efforts, on a vast scale, to exhort all beings of India, Nepal, Mon and Tibet to move towards virtue. All those of virtue in Tibet, united and focused on a single goal, will have to strive to support him [in the task of restoring the stūpa]. However, since most Tibetans have been seized by the demon of wrong views, there will only be a few — as rare as stars in the day time — with devotion and faith in him. Nevertheless, he will be attended by a host of 130,000 with virtuous karmic connection, by 1,006 connected through profound aspiration prayers, by 108 who have been matured by advice on the key points of samaya, by fortunate benefactors — 16 male and 7 female. He will also have with him 8 bodhisattva emanations, 8 virtuous spiritual friends, 25 faithful male disciples, 5 ḍākinī emanations, 7 beings who carry the blessings of the ḍākinīs, and 25 maidens of high and noble birth. Together, they will dispel hindrances and obstacles. In particular, they will meet an emanated heart-son of myself, Uḍḍiyāna (Padma Lingpa), an abbot (Drigung Kunga Rinchen) and a Dharma king (Karpo Kundrak).[32] Through their blessings, then, the restoration of the great stūpa will be accomplished on a vast scale.

“If the restoration is accomplished, beings living in southern Jambudvīpa will enjoy abundant harvests and happiness for 25 years, and beings living in India, Nepal and Bhutan will enjoy abundant harvests and happiness for 33 years. In particular, in the snowy land of Tibet, invasions by barbarian Mongol armies will be averted for 60 years, and the Tibetans will enjoy abundant harvests and happiness for 40 years. All the dharma practitioners of Tibet – all that they wish for will be accomplished. All the places of Dharma, the temples and monasteries of India and Tibet, such as Bodhgaya in India and glorious Samyé in Tibet — these will remain unharmed by the four elements. All the obstacles to study and practice of the Dharma will be pacified, and the Dharma will spread far and wide. The lives of noble holders of the Dharma will be firm and their activities will be vast. Whatever deity or mantra is practiced by the mantrikas of Tibet — they will easily and quickly accomplish them. Power, wealth, enjoyments and merit will flourish for the descendants of King Tri Songdeutsen and all leaders who abide by the Dharma and the rule of law. All the gongpo spirits who lay waste to Tibet, and evil beings incited by demons — all these will be eliminated.

“In essence, all sentient beings who make a connection with this restoration will obtain, within three rebirths, the perfect body of a god or human. And, finally, they will go on to attain buddhahood in the western buddhafield of Sukhāvatī. All those with faith, devotion and respect, and who rejoice in this great restoration, will, within seven rebirths, join the ranks of the vidyādharas in the Palace of Lotus Light on the Glorious Mountain. Any being who hears, sees, remembers or touches this great restored stūpa — their obscurations caused by negative actions accumulated through 60,000 great eons will be completely and utterly purified. All those who make a connection with this being who leads the great restoration will attain supreme or ordinary accomplishment, depending on their greater or lesser devotion and faith. Finally, they will certainly abide within the stages of the vidyādharas in the presence of myself, Uḍḍiyāna. In essence, the benefits of making offerings and prayers to this great stūpa should be understood from reading the chapter on the benefits, as described extensively above. The totality of such merit could not be uttered, even by all the buddhas of the ten directions and three times, even if they were to recite them constantly for 100,000 eons. Therefore, the qualities of this dharmakāya [stūpa] transcend the realm of the expressible.”

As soon as the Mahāguru had spoken these words, everyone there was filled with marvel and astonishment. For the granting of this blessing and for the prophecy of such vast accomplishment of the roots of virtue in the dark ages of the final era, the whole assembly gave thanks and praised the speech of the great Uḍḍiyāna.

This completes the fifth chapter of The History of the Great Jarung Kashor Stūpa which identifies the restorers and illustrates the benefits of the restoration. Samaya! Seal! Seal! Seal!

Khandroma Yeshé Tsogyal recorded in writing what Uḍḍiyāna had spoken. Together with the cycle of teachings on the practice of The Guru’s Utterly Secret Heart Practice, this teaching was then hidden as a terma treasure behind the statue of Mahāvairocana in the upper storey of the great temple at Glorious Samyé, the Unchanging, the Spontaneously Accomplished. Aspiration prayers were made that it would be found in future by someone with the right karmic connection.

This completes the great Liberation Upon Hearing: The History of the Jarung Kashor Stūpa.

Samaya! Seal! Seal! Seal! Treasure Seal! Hidden Seal! Entrustment Seal! Commandment Seal! Thus the four seals are placed!

I, the treasure revealer Lhatsün (Lhawang Gyatso Drolo) Ngönmo, having discovered the terma treasure behind the statue of Mahāvairocana, copied down this history spoken by the precious Uḍḍiyāna. In accordance with the prophecy instructing me to reconceal the terma in a treasure site, I left a yellow parchment behind and hid the copied text in the southwestern side of the lion throne of the red stūpa at Samyé, making this aspiration prayer: “May it be discovered in the future by someone with the right karmic connection!”

Samaya! Seal! Seal! Seal!

I, Ngakchang Śākya Zangpo, through the compassionate blessing of Uḍḍiyāna, received a prophecy in my dreams. Thus I discovered the terma treasure in the year of the male Water Monkey, on the eighteenth day of the Sheep month. May it benefit all sentient beings!

| Samye Translations, Boudha, 2017. (Translated by Peter Woods, Lowell Cook, Kaleb Yaniger and Stefan Mang. Reviewed by Samten Dorje. Edited by Libby Hogg.)


Tibetan Edition Used

Sngags 'chang śākya bzang po. “Mchod rten chen po bya rung kha shor gyi lo rgyus thos pas grol ba bzhugs so.” In Gnas yig phyogs bsgrigs, Dge 'dun chos 'phel sogs kyis mdzad (ed.), 302-339. Si khron mi rigs dpe skrun khang: Khreng tu’u, 1998.

Secondary Sources

Childs, Geoff. “Refuge and Revitalization: Hidden Himalayan Sanctuaries (sbas-yul) and the Preservation of Tibet’s Imperial Lineage.” In Acta Orientalia 60, (1999), 126-158.

Version: 1.3-20240506

  1. Lama Yangsang Tukdrup (Tib. Bla ma yang gsang thugs sgrub, Eng. The Guru’s Utterly Secret Heart Practice)  ↩

  2. Salwa Ödrön (Tib. gsal ba ‘od sgron, Eng. Radiant Lamp)  ↩

  3. Tib. sbrang bu tre ma.  ↩

  4. Bami Trizher (Sba mi khri gzher) is more commonly known under the name Nanam Dorje Düdjom (Sna nam rdo rje bdud 'joms)  ↩

  5. Mashang Trompa Kyé (Ma zhang khrom pa skyes)  ↩

  6. Gö Pema Gungtsen (Tib. ‘Gos pad ma gung btsan)  ↩

  7. Lhalung Palgyi Dorjé (Lha lung dpal gyi rdo rje)  ↩

  8. Kawa Paltseg (Ka ba dpal brtsegs) and Jokro Lu’i Gyaltsen (Lcog ro klu’i rgyal mtshan)  ↩

  9. Denma Tsemang (Ldan ma rtse mangs) and Legjin Nyima (Legs byin nyi ma)  ↩

  10. Arising from wind, bile, phlegm, and their combination.  ↩

  11. The essence of space, turquoise; the essence of earth, gold; the essence of wind, silver; the essence of fire, agate; the essence of water, clear crystal.  ↩

  12. The Lords of the Three Families (rigs gsum mgon po) are Mañjuśrī, Avalokiteśvara and Vajrapāṇi.  ↩

  13. “The Frowning One” (Khro gnyer can, Bhṛkuṭī) is a reference to a wrathful emanation of Tārā.  ↩

  14. “So” (bswo), a heretic (bon po) war cry to the victory gods.  ↩

  15. Gyalpo (rgyal po), māra (bdud), tsen (btsan), gongpo (‘gong po), the’urang (the’u rang), senmo (bsen mo) and dremo (‘dre mo) are various kinds of evil spirits. For more information, see Rigpa Wiki.  ↩

  16. Khenpo (mkhan po) and lopön (slob dpon) are titles used to refer to the teachers at monastic universities.  ↩

  17. Bodh Gaya, the seat of the Buddha’s enlightenment and the centre of the Buddhist world.  ↩

  18. Mön Domtsang Gyirong (Mon dom tshang gi rong), near the holy mountain of Tsari.  ↩

  19. The Mongols, the Hor (mu dur hor). Geoff Childs suggests that mu dur could be connected to mu ngur, a term used to refer to Mongols. See: Geoff Childs, “Refuge and Revitalization: Hidden Himalayan Sanctuaries (sbas-yul) and the Preservation of Tibet’s Imperial Lineage,” in Acta Orientalia 60, (1999), 133, footnote 18.  ↩

  20. Jang (ljang or ‘jang) refers to a region below Kham, located in present day Yunnan province.  ↩

  21. Rasa Trulnang (ra sa ‘phrul snang) is an ancient name for the Jokhang temple in Lhasa.  ↩

  22. In the Yarlung region, Central Tibet.  ↩

  23. Referring to ill-intentioned people wearing monastic robes.  ↩

  24. The divine dharma (lha chos) refers to the religious laws set in place by King Tri Songdeutsen for his subjects to follow  ↩

  25. These humane principles (mi chos) refer to sixteen laws of general conduct set by King Tri Songdeutsen. For example, the young should honour their elders, while the elders should care for the young.  ↩

  26. Tsang (Tib. gtsang) is one of the two main provinces of Tibet.  ↩

  27. He will be named Pal or Zangpo (dpal lam bzang po’i ming can). Pal translates as glorious and Zangpo as excellent.  ↩

  28. Familial defilements (dme grib) refer to a specific kind of defilement that comes from disagreements between close family relations, due to incest.  ↩

  29. Literally, “cut the rope of sleep” (nyal thag gcad pa), meaning to no longer sleep at night, thus, to be dead.  ↩

  30. A locality in the area of western Tibet known as Ngari (mnga’ ris lco ga).  ↩

  31. A region in the southeastern part of central Tibet, bordering Bhutan to its south.  ↩

  32. Padma Lingpa (Pad+ma gling pa), Drigung Kunga Rinchen (‘Bri gung kun dga’ rin chen) and Karpo Kundrak (Dkar po kun grags).  ↩

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