Dudjom Lingpa Biography

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Pema Rigtsal Rinpoche

Dudjom Lingpa

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Brief Biography of the Great Treasure-Revealer Dudjom Lingpa

by Pema Rigtsal Rinpoche

Dudjom Lingpa was an emanation of Drokben Khyeuchung Lotsawa. He was born into the family line of Nub Sangye Yeshe in Chakung. His father was called Aten and his mother was called Bodzok and belonged to the Mutsa Ga clan. He was born in the female Wood Sheep year of the 14th 60-year cycle (1835), accompanied by many amazing auspicious signs.

As a young child, he naturally knew how to read and write, without being taught. From the age of two or three, he had direct visions of the wisdom ḍākinīs and of Guru Rinpoche. He possessed inconceivable clairvoyance and miraculous powers. Everyone who met him, whether high or low, felt absolute certainty that he was the emanation of a sublime being.

As he wrote in his autobiography, at the age of twenty-three:

.... One night in a dream a white man with a gold topknot appeared saying he was Lord Protector Chenrezik, All-Seeing Eyes.[1] He told me, “My child, by the force of excellent karma and merit, and by the might of pure aspirations throughout many previous lifetimes, you are a fortunate individual who has perfected the qualities of the stages and paths of awakening. In the present you have the good karma to bring some benefit to beings and the doctrine. Therefore, eat this casket.”* It was a thumb-sized crystal casket.* Upon its surface the letters Om Hung Tram Hri Ah shone in five colors, like a reflection appearing in a mirror. As soon as he handed it to me, I swallowed it.

The exalted bodhisattva proclaimed, “This is called The Profound Doctrine Overflowing into the Expanse of Wisdom Mind (Zabchö Gongpa Longdöl).”* Then he dissolved into me.

After that, for a while I stayed in retreat relying on the meditation and recitation practice of Jampal Mawé Sengé, Gentle Splendor Lion of Speech. One afternoon my house filled with a delicious aroma. At that time I actually saw the deity. He gave me a golden casket the size of a small bird’s egg and told me to eat it.* Immediately I swallowed it, and he said, “This is called Wisdom’s Infinite Matrix of Pure Phenomena (Daknang Yeshé Drawa).”* Then he dissolved into me.

On another occasion I saw a great wrathful deity who said he was Great Glorious Chana Dorjé, Vajra-in-Hand.[2] He was impossible to look upon; I was incredibly frightened when I met him. The Lord of Secrets[3] said, “Great one, listen to me without dread, panic, or fright. I am called Great Glorious Chana Dorjé: I am the essence of the fusion of the might and power of all victors of the past, present, and future; I am the source of all arrogant guardians of the doctrine. You, as well, are my wisdom mind emanation. I acclaim you as my emissary who enacts the benefit of beings.” He had a thumb-sized turquoise stupa, within which arose the images of the Sanskrit alphabet’s vowels and consonants and the Heart of Interdependent Origination formula.* He handed it to me, and told me to eat it. When I placed it in my mouth as instructed, it became insubstantial but I made the motion of swallowing it anyway.

He said, “This is called The Space Treasury of the Nature of Reality (Chönyi Namkhé Longdzö),”* and then dissolved into me. From that time forth, the three cycles of pure vision arose in my mind as if a precise copy had been made there.[4]

Furthermore, Dudjom Lingpa met with Guru Rinpoche and Mother Yeshe Tsogyal, and he also met hosts of vidyādhara gurus and countless myriad buddhas with their spiritual heirs. He received their nectar speech and they blessed his mindstream.

As for his profound treasure, The Profound Doctrine of the Heart-Essence of the Ḍākinīs (Khandro Nyingtik), he writes in his autobiography:

I received the prophetic lists for the earth treasure The Profound Doctrine of the Heart-Essence of the Ḍākinīs in this way: From within the sites Ba Treasure Cliff of Mar, Tsunmo Ngulgö Cliff, Margyi Potsong Stupa, Gyédrö Stupa, Tashi Gomang, and Chak Ri-chen, I retrieved prophetic lists, supplementary lists, and the like in miniature caskets made from rock, bamboo, earth, wax, and wood.* I also found them written on parchment without a container, as well as within a pile of charcoal. That’s how I obtained them.[5]

These profound teachings, Dudjom Lingpa’s three cycles of pure vision and his earth treasure The Profound Doctrine of the Heart-Essence of the Ḍākinīs, contain very great blessings. Indeed, through these teachings, thirteen masters—Dudjom Lingpa’s thirteen holy disciples—attained the rainbow body in their very lifetimes, without discarding their physical bodies. Dudjom Lingpa made reference to this in his autobiography when he said:

Whoever has the karma to encounter these teachings is fortunate, for this will be their final worldly existence.

This really is how it is. Moreover, in his autobiography, Dudjom Lingpa writes:

While I was transcribing the practice cycle of Ḍākinī Tröma, a great whirlwind emerged, carrying the written pages away in every direction. I understood this as an omen that these texts would reach absolutely everywhere in every land.[6]

His own treasure revelations contain prophecies by Guru Rinpoche foretelling his appearance:

In the future age of degeneration,
an emanation, no different from me,
will appear in the form of a hidden crazy yogi.
He will directly realize the innate nature
and all the teachings will surge forth within him.
They will be distilled within his three treasures.
He is the illusory display of the spontaneously-accomplished vidyādhara,
the blood-drinker Traktung Dorje Drowolö,[7]
sovereign of the Lotus Born’s wisdom-speech treasury.

He was also prophesied in the teachings of the great treasure revealer Chöjé Lingpa, Dodrup Kunzang Zhenpen, and others. He is renowned as the great treasure-revealer Dudjom Lingpa, emanation of Drokben Khyeuchung Lotsawa, indivisible from Guru Dorje Drolö himself.

Extracted from A Garland of White Lotuses: An Account of the Teaching and Teaching Holders of the Pal Drakmar Namkha Khyungdzong Tradition.

| Translated by Laura Swan, edited by Libby Hogg, 2021. First published on Lotsawa House, 2024.

Version: 1.0-20240226

  1. Tib. Chenrezik. Skt. Avalokiteśvara. Eng. All-Seeing Eyes.  ↩

  2. Vajrapāṇi.  ↩

  3. An epithet of Vajrapāṇi.  ↩

  4. A Clear Mirror, by Traktung Dudjom Lingpa. Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 2012. Minor changes made by the translator are marked by *.  ↩

  5. Ibid.  ↩

  6. Ibid.  ↩

  7. Dorje Drolö (or Drowolö) is one of the eight manifestations of Guru Rinpoche.  ↩

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