Jigten Sumgon (tib)
or RatnaShri (skrt)
The Drikung Kagyu Lineage is one of the Kagyu lineages which was founded
800 overs years ago, by the great spiritual master, Kyoba Jigten Sumgon
(Sanskrit; Ratna Shri). All these teachings were
transmitted to PhagmoDrupa by Dharma Lord Gampopa. Although Kagyu
came from the same root, at that time the Kagyu lineage flourished into
several different branches, each carrying the complete teachings and
enlightened blessings. Like the wish-fulfilling tree, which comes from
the same root, but is divided into different branches, each giving many
wonderful blossoms and fruits. Although PhagmoDrupa had hundreds of
thousands of disciples, Lord Jigten Sumgon was one of his closest and
chief disciples. Phagmo Drupa prophesied that the teachings and
blessings would be carried on by a Bodhisattva, (Jigten Sumgon), who
already attained the ten Bhumis.
Phagmodrupa's successor, Lord Jigten Sumgon, (1143-1217) who is the
embodiment of the Buddha of the Three Times and a reincarnation of Arya
Nagarjuna. He appeared at an auspicious time and place acting as an
inspiration to those determined to be free of samsara. Early in his life
he met with great masters, received all aspects of the teachings, and
eventually encountered Lord Phagmodrupa, from whom he received the
complete lineage teachings. To integrate these within his mind he
practiced day and night until he attained Buddhahood in the Echung Cave
at the age of thirty-five. At the request of humans and non-humans he
established a monastery at Drikung Thil (1179) thus becoming the founder
of the Drikung Kagyu order. His teachings were geared to his hearers'
through cultural differences and dogma, revealing the universal law of
causes and conditions. Though he had hundreds of disciples, he never
excluded any beings from his heart, wishing only to dispel their
suffering and establish them in freedom from samsara. The embodiment of
wisdom and compassion, he cut the link of their negative propensities.
Lord Jigten Sumgon wrote many commentaries and explanations, especially
the four volumes known as Inner Profound Teachings, in which he gives
meditation instruction and advice. One of his foremost works, the Gong
Chik, contains all the essential aspects of Vinaya discipline,
Bodhicitta, and Tantra. This text has many commentaries, both in detail
and concise, by such masters as Sherab Jungne, who was Lord Jigten
SumgonÕs own disciple, the 8th Karmapa, the Fourth Shamarpa, and Drikung
Current Drikung Kyabgons
Chungtsang Rinpoche & Chetsang Rinpoche
Since Lord Jigten Sumgon founded the
Drikung Kagyu Order of Tibetan Buddhism, who was regarded as a second
Nagrajuna, belonged to one of the highest Tibetan clans, the Kyura
family, known as the Miu Dhondruk clan. With the end of the Kyura
family, the elder of two brothers Konchok (1590-1654), who came to be
known as the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, and his younger brother, Kunkyen
Rigzin Chokyi Drakpa (1595-164), known as the Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang
Konchok Tenzin Chokyi Nangwa Rinchen Tenpa Gyaltsen. They took up the
leadership of the Drikung Kagyu Order. This arrangement was made under
two leaders, Drikung Kagyu practice has been transmitted in an unbroken
lineage until now. The present 36th Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang Konchok
Tenzin Chokyi Nangwa (1942), who resides in Tibet and the 37th Drikung
Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche, Konchok Tenzin Kunzang Trinley Lhundrup
(1946-), who resides at Jangchub Ling monastery in India.
Prayer to Lord Jigten Sumgon
Precious Englightenment, the Source of Benefit and Bliss
Emanation body, embodiment of the wisdom, compassion,
and ability of the buddhas and bodhisattvas
of the ten directions and the three times,
Drikungpa, protector of beings in the Land of Snows,
well-known as Ratna Shri,
please grant us the blessings of excellent virtue.
Though you have been enlightened, lord,
since beginningless time,
your manifestations of compassionate wisdom
will remain for as long as samsara exists.
You display various emanations again and again.
I bow down to you who bear the great burden
of protecting all beings.
You established, through the doors of study and practice,
the methods of the Mahayana in this Land of Snows.
The sun of your activities pervades the whole world.
I bow down to you, Lord Jigten Sumgon.
You promised to gaze, with unfailing compassion,
on whoever supplicates you with respect.
We are your followers in this degenerate age.
Who else can we rely on?
Therefore, now, when we supplicate you with devotion
from our hearts,
do not forget your former great promise.
Please spontaneously accomplish the essence of our wish
to increase the number of authentic masters
and to spread the teachings.
Please pacify the disheartening circumstances
of this degenerate age.
Further increase the glory and good qualities
of the world and its inhabitants.
Please grant your blessings so that all the gathered virtues
of the sacred and the secular without exception
may be expanded in this place.
The core of the thought of the victorious ones
of the three times
is the path of mahamudra, the pinnacle of the ultimate meaning.
Please establish and expand this path
in all directions and times.
Please grant your blessings to increase the good qualities
of the three trainings.
In this way, may these results that we have hoped for
ripen as we have wished.
By these excellent virtues, may the glory of auspiciousness,
the light of all that is marvelous,
pervade the three worlds.
Five-fold Profound Path of Mahamudra
Of the Glorious Drigung Kagyu Lineage
In the Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, Mahamudra
or the “Great Seal” is
considered the essence of the Buddhas’ teachings. It is also sometimes
referred to as the highest and most profound teaching of the Buddhas.
This Mahamudra is sometimes compared to Dzogchen (“Great Completeness”)
– the essence of the Buddhas’ teachings according to the Nyingma
lineage. Not surprisingly, there have been a number of figures in the
history of Tibetan Buddhism who taught the synthesis or union of
Mahamudra and Dzogchen. Others mastered both but taught them separately
to different students as they saw fit. There are yet others – in the
majority – who focused on mastering either Dzogchen or Mahamudra.
The Mahamudra lineage can be traced according to the “far-lineage” as
well as the “near-lineage.” The “far-lineage” is traced from the current
this profound lineage back all the way to the historical Buddha
Shakyamuni. The “near-lineage” on the other hand is traced from the
current holders back to the Indian mahasiddhas such as Saraha, Maitripa,
Tilopa and Naropa who received Mahamudra teachings directly from Buddha
Vajradhara. However, it should be pointed out that although these Indian
mahasiddhas received Mahamudra teachings directly from Buddha Vajradhara
(and hence is part of the “near-lineage”) they are also holders of the
“far-lineage” as they also received Mahamudra teachings from human
teachers who were holders of this “far-lineage.” Hence, the Mahamudra
lineages that are currently held by the various Kagyu lineages are both
of the “far” as well as “near” lineages. It should be pointed out that
Mahamudra lineages are also found in the Gelug tradition as several past
masters of this tradition also received Mahamudra instructions from
holders of the Mahamudra in the Kagyu tradition. This lineage of the
Mahamudra is known as the “Gelug-Kagyu Mahamudra” lineage – sometimes
translated as the “Gelug Whispered Mahamudra” or he “Gelug Oral
Most of Kagyu Mahamudra lineages stem from the Mahamudra teachings that
were given by Gampopa (1079-1153) to his students. Gampopa himself
received Mahamudra from his root-teacher Milarepa (1052-1135) who in
turn received it from his root-teacher Marpa (1012-1096). Marpa was a
Tibetan who traveled to India and Nepal and received many teachings from
the Indian mahasiddhas – the most important being Naropa and Maitripa
who transmitted to Marpa the complete Mahamudra ground, path and
fruition. Gampopa himself combined the profound teachings of Mahamudra
with the graduated approach of practice as taught by the Kadam
tradition. The Indian pandit Atisha founded the Kadam tradition in
Tibet. Gampopa was a monk in the Kadam tradition before he became
Milarepa’s disciple. Although there are many scholarly debates in
Tibetan Buddhist history over the status and types of Mahamudra, Gampopa
seemed to have mainly advocated two possible approaches to Mahamudra.
According to Gampopa, Mahamudra can be
approached via the way of sutra as well as via the way of tantra. Hence,
is sutra-Mahamudra and tantra-Mahamudra. Sometimes it is said that
Gampopa also taught a third approach to Mahamudra which is neither
sutra-based nor tantra-based.
The Kagyu Lineage Masters – Tilopa, Naropa and Marpa
From Gampopa onwards, many different Mahamudra lineages began to
crystallize according to the different styles of Mahamudra taught by
Gampopa and his spiritual descendents. Some of the Mahamudra traditions
that can be traced back to Gampopa or his descendents are the tradition
of “Simultaneous Production and Union,” the “Six Equal Tastes,” the
“Four Letters” and the “Fivefold Profound Path.” These traditions are
still upheld by the four surviving Kagyu lineages (Karma, Taglung,
Drukpa and Drigung Kagyu).
In the Drigung Kagyu, the main Mahamudra system is that known as the
“Fivefold Profound Path of Mahamudra” or also known as the “Possessing
Five.” Although Gampopa himself also taught this particular approach of
Mahamudra, its name was given by his successor Phagmo Drupa (1110-1170)
who was the root-teacher of the founder of the Drigung Kagyu, Kyobpa
Jigten Sumgon. Although this system of the Five-fold Profound Path is
chiefly held by Drigung Kagyupas, Phagmo Drupa himself also authored a
text on this system known as “Verses on the Fivefold Path.” Masters of
Trophu Kagyu (this particular Kagyu lineage no longer survive as an
independent lineage) and Taglung Kagyu have also written on this
particular system. Gyalwa Yang Gonpa, a teacher of the Drukpa Kagyu
wrote the “Drop of Nectar: the Fivefold Path.” The Omniscient Pema Garpo
of the Drukpa Kagyu also wrote about this system in his “Kernel of
Mind.” Situ Chokyi Jungne also wrote extensive commentaries on the
Fivefold Profound Path. In his “Preface” to Khenpo Konchog Gyaltsen
Rinpoche’s book “The Garland of Mahamudra Practices,” (a translation of
Gyalwang Kunga Rinchen’s [1475-1527] “Clarifying the Jewel Rosary of the
Fivefold Profound Path.”) His Holiness Drigung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche
points out that these days those who rely on this system mostly
follow the commentaries given by Drigung Dharmakirti. Many other Drigung
Kagyu teachers of the past also wrote extensive commentaries on this
system of the Mahamudra. It goes without saying that Kyobpa Rinpoche
himself also wrote several texts and many songs on this subject.
Dharma Lord Gampopa
According to this system then, the five “folds” of
this profound path of Mahamudra are
1) bodhicitta – the altruistic intention
of liberating all sentient beings from samsara,
2) yidam – practice of visualizing oneself as a supremely enlightened
3) guru-yoga – seeking union with the wisdom-mind of the Teacher,
4) mahamudra – actual engagement of Mahamudra and finally,
5) dedication – perfect dedication of one’s virtues.
Before one can begin to engage in the practices laid out in this system,
one first needs to focus on the foundational practices. Practice of the
first “fold” assumes the prior completion of what is known as the
“foundational practices” (Tib. ngondro). These foundational practices
are divided into the outer and inner. The outer foundational practices
refer to the “Four Thoughts that Turn the Mind” taught by Gampopa. These
are establishing in one’s mental-continuum the four realizations of
1) the good fortune of obtaining a precious human birth,
2) the universality of impermanence,
3) the infallible workings of cause and effect and
4) the nature of samsara as unsatisfactoriness.
After a firm foundation on these four thoughts has been established in
mental-continuum, one can begin to engage in the inner foundational
practices. These are:
1) going for refuge which confirms and
establishes one’s commitment to the
2) Vajrasattva purification practice for the eradication of one’s
karma and karmic imprints,
3) mandala-offering for the profound accumulation of merit necessary for
attainment of complete Buddhahood and
4) guru-yoga for the inspiration-blessings of the root and lineage
Only after these practices have been “completed” (100,000 practices of
each of the four) does one properly begin the first fold of the
Five-fold Profound Path
Regarding bodhicitta, Kyobpa Rinpoche sang in one of his many vajra-songs,
“If the steed of love and compassion
Does not run for the benefit of others,
It will not be rewarded in the assembly of gods and humans.
Attend therefore to the preliminaries.”
Drigung Kyobpa Rinpoche
Bodhicitta is briefly defined as the
“altruistic intention to free all sentient beings from samsara.” Very
often bodhicitta is confused with compassion. Although compassion is one
of the most important factors in the generation of bodhicitta, it is not
in itself bodhicitta. The arousal of bodhicitta begins by first
attending to the generation of loving-kindness for all sentient beings.
It is said that loving-kindness is the feeling that one gets when one
sees a newborn child. When we see a small child, we often automatically
think kind and friendly thoughts towards the child. We spontaneously
wish that the child be
safe, happy and protected from all harm. There is nothing as soothing as
sight of a soundly sleeping child. It is that warmth and unconditional
love that we are trying to generate for all sentient beings. We try to
regard all sentient beings as our own children whom we love
unconditionally. We pray for their well-being, safety and protection and
are willing to give up our own lives for their sakes. When we are able
to feel this way towards all sentient beings, we will naturally be able
to generate compassion. Compassion is the feeling of
wanting to free others from suffering and the causes of suffering. It is
the feeling that we get when we encounter someone suffering from a
terrible disease or undergoing intense physical and emotional pain. We
want to be able to help and to ease that pain; that suffering. Having
thus generated and cultivated both loving-kindness and compassion, we
can then arrive at the point when we are ready to truly generate
As defined earlier, bodhicitta is the “altruistic intention to free all
sentient beings from samsara.” Realizing that sentient beings are
completely under the
power of samsaric suffering, we come home to the powerful recognition
that only by arriving at the state of complete Buddhahood can samsaric
suffering be conquered once and for all. Although there are many ways to
ease the suffering of sentient beings, they are all temporary and
non-final. Only by completely uprooting the cause of suffering are we
then thoroughly free from suffering. And this is the state of ultimate
liberation; of complete Buddhahood. This knowledge – the knowledge of
the faults, cause, end of and path to the end of samsara is wisdom.
Hence, bodhicitta is the resolve that arises from
loving-kindness and compassion on the one hand and wisdom on the other
hand. When these two aspects come together, bodhicitta is generated.
The second section of the Five-fold Profound Path is the practice of
Yidam practice refers to the generation and completion practices of the
highest yoga tantra and in this particular case in the highest yoga
tantra system of the Chakrasamvara cycle of teachings. Although the
principal yidam of Marpa was Hevajra, his teacher Naropa predicted that
Marpa’s lineage would eventually rely on Chakrasamvara as their main
yidam. Hence, it was the practice of Chakrasamvara that Marpa
transmitted to his main disciple, Milarepa.
There are many different forms of Chakrasamvara appearing with different
number of faces, hands, and number of surrounding retinues. In the
Drigung Kagyu lineage, the most popular and common Chakrasamvara deity
practice is in the form of the Five-deity Chakrasamvara. The Five-deity
Chakrasamvara includes the central deity of the two-armed, single-faced
male Chakrasamvara deity in union with the female Vajravarahi deity
(these two in union are taken as a single deity) and four surrounding
dakinis in the four directions.
Yidam practice is a very special tantric practice in which one
normal, samsaric experience of reality into an extraordinary experience
true state of all phenomena. While the teachings of the sutra-level
ignorance as the root cause of samsaric existence, the tantric teachings
identify the ordinary appearances as the root cause of samsara. The
practice of Yidam is a special and profound method to quickly transform
ordinary appearances into enlightened appearances. To be more accurate,
this practice uncovers the actual state of appearances and reveal them
to be pure and empty unceasingly. Yidam practice does not make ordinary
appearances into something they are not – pure and empty of inherent
existence. Rather, it uncovers the purity and emptiness that have always
been there but obscured and unseen. Due to the tantric nature of these
teachings, it is best that one receive the details of these teachings
directly from an authentic teacher of the lineage. It is hoped that this
brief description of Yidam practice as the second section of the
Five-fold Profound Path of Mahamudra will encourage the reader to seek
out these profound teachings from a valid and reliable teacher of the
lineage when the time and conditions are right. Kyobpa Rinpoche sang,
“If one's body, the King of Deities
is not stabilized on this Unchanging Ground,
The retinue of dakinis will not assemble.
Be sure, therefore, of your body as the yidam.”
The third section of the Five-fold Path is the practice of Guru-yoga or
practice of attaining union with the wisdom mind of the Teacher (guru).
are many types of teachers – our parents as our first teachers, our
grade school teachers who taught us to read and write, teachers in the
secular arts and sciences, spiritual teachers who gave us the Refuge
vows, those who gave us the lay or monastic vows, the Bodhisattva-vow
preceptors, Vajra-teachers who conferred tantric empowerments on us and
finally those teachers who introduced to us the nature of our mind. In a
sense, the Teacher referred to here in the practice of guru-yoga is all
of them; all of these teachers. However, it is not so much a practice
directed at a particular individual or person whom we call our “Teacher”
but the basic wisdom-mind within all these teachers who have taught us.
By having confidence in and relying on this basic wisdom-mind that we
locate within our teachers (and in particular in the teacher(s) who
introduced to us the nature of our mind), we strive to recognize this
same wisdom-mind that is inherent in us. In particular, we need to rely
on an authentic and experienced teacher who has him/herself recognized
his/her own nature of mind and can help us recognize ours as well. The
Guru-yoga is extolled in the tradition as the most direct and profound
method to the quick recognition of the nature of mind. Many Kagyu
teachers have taught that the quickest and surest way to recognize the
nature of mind is a mind filled with devotion. When devotion is present,
recognition of the nature of
mind is not far. Kyobpa Rinpoche sang,
If on the Guru, the Snow Mountain of the Four Kayas,
The Sun of Devotion fails to shine,
The Stream of Blessings will not flow.
Attend, therefore, to this mind of devotion.
The Guru-yoga practiced as the third section of the Fivefold Profound
slightly more involved and detailed than the Guru-yoga practice found in
the set of practices found in the inner foundational practices (ngondro).
Specifically, the Four-kayas Guru-yoga” is practiced here. These four
kayas or “bodies” refer to the Emanational body (Skt. nirmanakaya, Tib.
trul-ku), Enjoyment body (Skt. sambhogakaya, Tib. long-ku), Reality body
(Skt. dharmakaya, Tib. cho-ku) and Nature body (Skt. svabhavikakaya, Tib.
ngowo nyi-ku) which is the inseparability of the first three bodies.
Within this context, the first three bodies are considered relative
truth and the fourth body is ultimate truth. A practitioner will first
practice the Emanational body Guru-yoga practice where the Teacher is
visualized in the form of Shakyamuni Buddha (herself in her ordinary
form). She then meditates on the Teacher on the Enjoyment body level as
Vairochana (and herself as the yidam) Buddha and for the Reality body in
the form of Vajradhara Buddha. Finally, when she arrives at the Nature
body level of guru yoga practice, the Teacher meditated on without any
form, color, name or shape.
The current Drigung Kyabgon Chetsang
“Externally are the three bodies of the Teacher, the relative truth
(On the level of) absolute truth the self-arising luminosity of the
Is the nature of one’s own mind.
The Teacher, one’s own mind and the Buddha are inseparable
Appearing as the manifestation of the Nature body.”
When the mind has become ripened through Guru-yoga practice, one finally
arrives at the heart of the Five-fold Profound Path – the actual
practice of Mahamudra itself.
Regarding the Mahamudra, again, the
present Drigung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche writes:
“Sustain the fresh, non-arising mind without delusion.
In this uncontrived, natural state
Completely avoid the fabrication of meditation and meditator
The non-meditating, undisturbed, ordinary mind
Remains non-attached and non-separated
Free from hope and fear, grasping and letting-go
Rejection and acceptance, meditation and post-meditation.”
We will not be discussing this topic any further as Mahamudra is best
directly from a living teacher. However, there is a link to a simple but
yet profound teaching on Mahamudra given spontaneously by one of the
most important Drigung Kagyu lineage masters alive today – His Eminence
Garchen Rinpoche who is the main Drigung Kagyu Rinpoche in Eastern
Finally, there is the section on Dedication as the fifth section of the
Profound Path. Dedication is one of the most distinctive features of
practice – a practice that is done at the end of all practices be it of
hinayana or mahayana (both sutra and tantra levels). By dedicating the
one’s practice for the welfare of all sentient beings’ complete
all suffering and the causes of suffering one ensures that one’s
remains pure and beneficial. As with most practices, there are relative
ultimate aspects (and it is important to remember that one does not
one aspect over the other but rather perfectly practice on both levels
are in reality inseparable). On the ultimate level of Dedication –
in the context of Mahamudra – one dedicates the merit with the
understanding of the emptiness of oneself, the merit dedicated and the
dedication itself; the
The Five-fold Profound Path of Mahamudra is a complete path to the
attainment of perfect enlightenment within one lifetime. Many
practitioners in the past have taken this Path and arrived at the other
shore of complete peace. At the present, there are also many sincere
practitioners of this Path practicing under the expert and compassionate
guidance of the lineage teachers of the Drigung Kagyu lineage. There are
also many other sincere practitioners of Mahamudra tradition of Gampopa
following the different Mahamudra traditions that have developed out of
Gampopa’s basic Mahamudra system. Furthermore, aside from the purely
Kagyu Mahamudra lineages, there is also the Mahamudra practice lineage
within the Gelug lineage. Mention should also be made of the “union” of
Mahamudra and Dzogchen practices derived from some lineage masters of
the Kagyu and Nyingma.
“In order that all beings who have been my mothers
May quickly be liberated from samsara and
May attain perfect enlightenment,
I dedicate all merit accumulated by
Myself, and all ordinary and enlightened beings in the three times
As well as the merit of the innately pure Buddha-nature.”
The Yang Zab (The practices of the Very Profound Vision) is regarded as
supreme among all the Yanas--it embodies the very essence of the tantric
teachings. As a Dzogchen practice, it is unique within the Drikung
lineage, as it was revealed by the Drikung Tertön (hidden treasure
revealer), Rinchen Phuntsog and he is also the 17 throne holder of the
Glorious Drikung Kagyu Order.
During the eighth century, King Trisong Deutsen of
Tibet, an emanation of Manjushri, invited Guru Rinpoche to the Land of
Snows in order to subdue demonic forces hostile to the Dharma. Having
accomplished his wishes and having founded Samye Monastery, the king
showed signs of approaching death, and soon passed away. The king's
son, Prince Mutik Tsenpo (also known as Sena Lek) became king, and
received the Yang Zab empowerments and instructions from Guru Rinpoche.
The youthful king found that his fathers duties were
were so numerous that he had little time to practice Dharma. Guru
Rinpoche foresaw a time in the future when the teachings of dharma would
degenerate due to the increasing power of ignorance and afflictive
emotions in the minds of sentient beings.
Guru Rinpoche gave the teachings of the "Very Profound " (Yang Zab) -
practices that he received through Kuntungzangpo (dharmakaya), the 100
peaceful and wrathful deities and the 5 buddha families (sambhogakaya),
and from Tulku Garab Dorje (nirmanakaya). Prophesizing that these
teachings would be most effective in future times of spiritual darkness,
he gave the teachings to Mandarava, who attained rainbow body, and to
Yeshe Tsogyal. Guru Rinpoche instructed him to put the practice into
text form and prepare six copies on durable sheets of gold, turquoise,
copper and other materials.
These were then wrapped in precious materials and
hidden by Yeshe Tsogyal in Zhoto Terdrom on the limestone massif to the
north in the Great Assembly Hall of the Sky Dancers cave ( Khandro Tsok
Khang Kiri Yang Zong Namkha Phug ) located in a towering peak.
The terma was revealed by the great omniscient Drikung
Tertön Rinchen Phuntsog, himself an emanation of King Mutik Tsenpo,
during the first half of the sixteenth century. The Yang Zab has been
transmitted uninterruptedly down through the Drikung lineage to the
Main Drikung Yangzab Website
Colorado Yangzab Study Group
The Aurora Sangha practices the Yangzab terma teachings. Currently, we
are doing the Yangzab Ngondro. Contact the
Aurora Sangha for further information.
Longchen Nyingthig of the Ancient Ones Tradition (Nyingma)
Its Origins and Transmission by Ven. Khenpo Namdrol Rinpoche
The teaching of Dzogpachenpo was first given in the pure realm of
Akanishtha, where the teacher Samantabhadra, in Sambhogakaya form,
communicates the teaching directly by means of his wisdom mind to
disciples who are not different from him in any way-sugatas and
bodhisattvas, male and female.
Now, in this world of ours, the first
to spread the teaching of Dzogpachenpo was the Nirmanakaya emanation
Garab Dorje. Dates given for Garab Dorje put his birth in the year
536BC; by comparison, one popular date for the passing away of Lord
Buddha, from the Theravada traditon of Sri Lanka, is 543BC. From the
glorious Lord of Secrets, Vajrapani, or it is often said Vajrasattva,
Garab Dorje received, in an instant and all together, the empowerments,
as well as the tantras, agamas, and upadeshas, of Dzogpachenpo. Then in
the north of the western land of Oddiyana, on the rugged mountain-peak
of Suryaprakasha, the vidyadhara Garab Dorje, along with the wisdom
dakinis, gathered and complied all the tantras in existence, both those
that were known and those that were unknown. Together they divided the
20,000 tantras which bore the name of Dzogpachenpo into ‘shlokas’ or
verses, and classified them into 6,400,000 verses. Garab Dorje’s
disciple, Manjushrimitra, then divided these 6,400,000 verses of
the outer category of mind-Semde,
the inner category of space-longde, and
the secret category of pith instructions-Mengakde.1
Looking first at
the outer category of mind- when the Semde teachings were translated in
Tibet, the land of snows, eighteen ‘mother’ and ‘child texts of the mind
class were indentified, although the Semde’ tantras can also be counted
as numbering twenty-one. These eighteen ‘mother’ and ‘child’ texts of
Semde’ consist of the first five to be translated, which were translated
by Vairochana, and given the name the ‘Five Earlier Translation’s, plus
the thirteen texts translated by his disciple Yudra Nyingpo, known as
the “Thirteen Later Translations of Semde’. When the ‘Three Major
Tantras’ of Semde’ are then added, that makes a total of twenty-one.
Vairochana received the cycle of Smede’ from the master Shri Singha, and
then transmitted it to the great Dharma king Trisong Detsen, Yudra
Nyingpo, and others as a result of which it spread throughout Tibet.
Next, the inner category of space, the Longdé, is reckoned to consist of
20,000 ‘volumes.’ These can be classified into three: white space, black
space, and variegated space, or they can also be categorized as nine
spaces. From Shri Singha, Vairochana received the Longdé pith
instructions, and composed ‘the Vajra Bridgé, a scriptural text, which
he transmitted in Tibet to Pang Sangye’ Gonpo. Pang Sangyé Gonpo and the
six successive disciples in his lineage left this world by dissolving
into a body of light.
Finally, as for the secret category of pith
instructions, it was divided by Manjushrimitra’s disciple, Shri Singha,
the outer cycle, which is like the physical body,
the inner cycle, which is like the eyes,
the secret cycle, which is like the heart, and
the innermost secret Nyingtik, which is like the whole body that
contains everything, all complete.
These four great cycles present the
Trekcho teachings in a similar way, but where they differ is in the
clarity, explicitness and detail of how the Togal techings are given.
Shri Singha gave the outer, inner and secret cycles of the category of
pith instructions to both Vimalamitra and Jnanasutra. He transmitted the
innermost secret cycle to Jnanasutra, who then passed it on to
The Vima Nyingtik
The first four masters in the lineage left this world in a
characteristic way. At the end of his life, the first human Dzogchen
master Garab Dorje disappeared into a sphere of rainbow light, leaving
his disciple Manjushrimitra his last testament ‘Hitting the Essence in
Three Words’, Tsik Sum Ne Dek. When Manjushrimitra departed from this
world, vanishing in a cloud of light, he gave his laste testament to his
disciple Shri Singha, entitled ‘Six Experiences of Meditation’, Gom Nyam
Drukpa. When Shri Singha passed away and dissolved into a body of light,
he bestowed his testament ‘Seven Nails’, Zerbu Dun, on Jnanasutra. He
too left this world by disappearing into a sphere of light, leaving his
disciple Vimalamitra his own testament ‘Four Methods of Contemplation’,
Shyak Tab Shyipa.
The lineage which passed from the primordial buddha Samantabhadra
through Vajrapani or
Vajrasattva to the vidyadhara Garab Dorje is known as the Mind Direct
Transmission of the Buddhas Gyalwa Gong Gyu. From Garab Dorje down
through Manjushrimitra, Shri Singha and Jnanasutra to Vimalamitra, the
lineage is known as the Sign Transmission of the Vidyadharas-Rigdzin Da
Gyu. Then from Vimalamitra onwards, the lineage is called the Oral
Transmission from Special Individuals- Gangzak Nyen Gyu. These are the
three transmissions according to the tradition of Vimalamitra. Within
the Innermost Secret Cycle of Nyingtik are the Seventeen Tantras. The
tradition of Vimalamitra adds to them the ‘Tantra of the Wrathful Mother, Protectress of Mantras’, to make eighteen in all, while
the tradition of Padmasambhava also arrives at a total of eighteen by
adding the ‘Tantra of the Blazing Expanse of Luminosity’. Generally,
however, both the ‘Tantra of the Wrathful Mother, Protectress of
Mantras’, from Vimalamitra’s tradition and the ‘Tantra of the Blazing
Expanse of Luminosity’ from Padmasambhava’s tradition and the ‘Tantra of
the Blazing Expanse of Luminosity’ from Padmasambhava’s tradition are
added to the Seventeen Tantras of the Innermost Secret
Nyingtik Cycle, making a total of nineteen altogether.
In Tibet, the
ones who made this Nyingtik teaching of Clear Light spread were the
great masters who possessed their special direct transmission, chiefly
the great pandita Vimalamitra, and Guru
Padmasambhava. In the room known as Utse’ Barkhang in Samye, Vimalamitra
gave the cycle of the Innermost Secret Nyingtik of Dzogpachenpo in
strictest secrecy to five disciples: the King Trisong Detsen, Nyangben
Tingdzin Zangpo, Prince Muni Tsepo, Kawa Platsek and Chokro Luyi
Gyaltsen. The tradition of Nyingtik which came down from this
transmission is known as the Vima Nyingtik. The Vima Nyingtik itself can
be categorized into tantras, agamas, and upadeshas, which are all taught
within it. The tantras here refer to the Seventeen Tantras of the pith
instruction. The agamas found in the Vima Nyingtik are the golden
lettered instructions, the turquoise lettered instructions, the copper
lettered instructions, and the conch lettered instructions. These are
what are called the ‘four volumes of profound instructions’. Then the
upadeshas refer to the 119 treatises of essential pith instructions.
Vimalamitra spent thirteen years in Tibet, and then promising to return
to Tibet every hundred years as an emanation to further the Clear Light
teaching of Dzogpachenpo, he left for the Wutaishan mountain in China.
There he remain until all of the 1000 buddhas of this Fortunate Kalpa
have appeared. When they have all done so, he will once again go to
Vajrasana in India, where he will manifest the state of complete and
Fifty-five years after Vimalamitra’s departure
for Wutaishan, Nyangben Tingdzin Zangpo, having
given the transmission of the Vima Nyingtik cycle to Be Lodro Wangchuk,
attained the rainbow body. Be Lodro Wangchuk gave the pith instructions
cycle of Nyingtik to Dangma Lhundrup Gyaltsen, who in turn passed it on
to Chetsun Senge Wangchuk. He transmitted it to Gyalwa Shyangton Tashi
Dorje, and then left this world in a rainbow body. Gyalwa Shyangton
passed it on to the great siddha Khepa Nyimabum, who gave the teachings
to his principal disciple Guru Jober. Then Guru Jober transmitted them
to Trulshik Senge Gyabpa. He in turn gave them to the great siddha
Drupchen Melong Dorje, who passed them on to the vidyadhara Kumaradza.
Kumaradza gave the teachings to the Omniscient Longchen Rabjam, and so
this is how the lineage flowed down to the Omniscient Longchenpa, who
was born in the year 1308.
In terms of what are called the ‘old’ and ‘new Nyingtiks, the Vima
Nyingtik came to be known as the old Nyingtik, and in terms of kama and
terma, it was classified as kama. This is how it is popularly defined.
The Vima Nyingtik is also called the ‘mother text’ (ma yik). Later on,
Longchenpa composed his own commentary on the Vima Nyingtik, which was
mainly based on the Dzogchen Tantra ‘Garland of Pearls’. It was called
the Lama Yangtik, ‘Wish Fulfilling Jewel’, and is subdivided into
fiftyone different treatises. Since it is a commentary on the Vima
Nyingtik, it is referred to as the ‘child text’ (bu yik). This is how
Vimalamitra’s lineage came to be passed down.
The Khandro Nyingtik
It was from Shri Singha that the great master Padmasambhava received the
teachings of Nyingtik. In Tibet, Padmasambhava taught his own complete
Nyingtik cycle of the Clear Light teaching of Dzogpachenpo in secret to
Yeshe Tsogyal, along with 100,000 wisdom dakinis, at the Shyoto Til Dro
cave. Then one day, king Trisong Detsen’s daughter, the Princess Pema
Sel, died unexpectedly at the age of only eight. The king was distraught
with grief, and so to console him. Guru Rinpoche drew a syllable NRI
over the little princess’s heart, caught her consciousness with the hook
of his samadhi, and brought her back to life. As soon as she opened her
eyes and could speak again, he gave her the whole cycle of the Khandro
Nyingtik by emans of the power he had to transfer blessings directly. He
empowered Princess Pema Seal to reveal this teaching in a future life,
and then the complete Khandro Nyingtik cycle was hidden as a terma.
Princess Pema Sel was reborn much later as Pema Ledrel Tsal, who
withdrew the terma of Khandro Nyingtik from its place of concealment at
the Daklha Tramo Drak rock in the province of Dakpo. He then transmitted
it to his main disciple Gyalse’ Lekden. Pema Ledrel Tsal was
reincarnated as the Omniscient Longchenpa, who received the whole cycel
of Khandro Nyingtik from Gyalse’ Lekden, and by so doing ensured that
the authentic lineage was kept alive.
According to the Khandro Nyingtik then, the Mind Direct Transmission of
the Buddhas is the same primordial expression of the Dzogchen teachings
in the Akanishtha heaven. The Sign Transmission of the Vidyadharas is
that which passed from Vajrapani to Garab Dorje, Shri Singha, Guru
Rinpoche, Yeshe Tsogyal and Princess Pema Sel. From Pema Ledrel Tsal on,
to Gyalse Lekden and the Omniscient Longchen Rabjam, is the Oral
Transmission from Special Individuals. The Khandro Nyingtik cycle itself
consists of the Twelve ‘mother’ and ‘child’ Tantras of the Takdrol Gyu,
the ‘Three Last Testaments of the Buddha’, and other teachings amounting
to a total of sixty-five different categories. When the
pith-instructions are given according to the Khandro Nyingtik, it is
these Twelve Tantras of the Takdrol Gyu and Three Last Testaments which
are quoted as references.
Guru Rinpoche’s Khandro Nyingtik came to be known as the ‘new’
Nyingtik, and is classified as
terma. As it was first taught to Yeshe Tsogyal and Pema Sel, who were
both dakinis, and the guardian of the teaching was the protectress Shaza
Khamoche’, it was given the name ‘Khandro’ Nyingti. Guru Rinpoche’s
Khandro Nyingtik is called the ‘mother text’, as is the Vima Nyingtik,
and so these two are known as the two ‘mother’s. The commentary on the
Khandro Nyingtik composed by the Omniscient Longchen Rabjam is the
Khandro Yangtik-’the Cloud-bank of Ocean-like Profound Meanings’, which
is called the ‘child text’. The two mother texts and two child texts of
the Nyingtik were called the ‘four parts’ - Yabshyi, and so became known
together as the Nyingtik Yabshyi. Longchen Rabjam also composed the
Zabmo Yangtik, which condenses the important pith-instructions of both
Vima Nyingtik and Khandro Nyingtik, but it is not comprehensive.
of the cycles of the Innermost Secret Nyingtik are famous as being
termas, and they can be categorized into elaborate, middle-length and
condense cycles of teachings. The most elaborate Nyingtik is the
Nyingtik Yabshyi itself. The middle-length Nyingtik is said to be the
Northern Treasure Gongpa Zangtal, ‘All-penetrating Wisdom Mind’, and the
condense one is said to be Minling Terchen’s terma Ati Zapdon Nyingop
‘Essence of the Profound Truth of Ati’.
The Continuing Lineage Between Longchen Rabjam and the vidyadhara Jikme
Lingpa, there are fourteen masters in the lineage of transmission,
However, when Jikme Lingpa practised, focusing on the Omniscient
Longchenpa, for three years in the Sangchen Metok Cave at Samye Chimphu,
Longchenpa actually appeared to him in a vision three times, and gave
them the entire blessing of the transmission of his wisdom mind. So this
was a short lineage which came directly and immediately down from
Longchenpa to Jigme Lingpa. From Jikme’ Lingpa, the teaching passed to
Jikme Gyalwe’ Nyugu, then to Jikme’ Chokyi Wangpo (Patrul Rinpoche), and
then to Nyoshul Lungtok Tenpe’ Nyima, who gave it to the great Khenchen
Ngakgi Wangpo (Khenpo Ngaga. In turn, he transmitted it to his disciple,
Shedrup Lungtok Tenpe Nyima, the incarnation of Nyoshul Lungtok. From
this great master, His Holiness Penor Rinpoche received, it is said,
almost all of the teachings of the Nyingtik cycle. The transmission
which Nyoshul Lungtok Tenpe Nyima gave to Khenchen Ngaga was in turn
passed on by him to the vidyadhara Palchen Dupa, the second Pema Norbu
Rinpoche. Khenpo Ngaga and Palchen Dupa were as teacher and student to
one another. So Plachen Dupa would offer Khenchen Ngaga many teachings
from the Nyingtik cycle, and likewise he received a considerable number
of Nyingtik teachings from the great khenpo. Now, Palchen Dupa gave the
transmission to Thubten Chökyi Dawa, the second Choktrul Rinpoche, who
passed it on to His Holiness Drubwang Penor Rinpoche. In this way, the
two lineages from Khenpo Ngaga merged into one. Finally, Penor Rinpoche
received the entire transmission of Nyingtik Yabshyi, along with the
detailed explanation of the texts, from His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse
This brief note on the Nyingtik Yabshyi was composed by Khenpo
Namdrol Rinpoche to mark HH Drubwang Penor Rinpoche’s granting of the
Nyingtik Yabshyi empowerments at the request of Sogyal Rinpoche and
Rigpa at Lerab Ling in July 1995. The Dzogchen teachings of Mengakde are
also differentiated according to whether they belong to the ‘Shé Gyü’ or
‘Nyen Gyü,’ the explanatory Tantras or oral transmission. It is
sometimes said that the Shé Gyü mainly contains the instructions for
enlightement in this lifetime and the Nyen Gyü for enlightenment in the
intermediate state. Another way in which this is explained is that the
Outer, Inner and Secret cycles are Nyen Gyü, and the Innermost Secret
Cycle belongs to Shé Gyü. The special fruition of the practice of the
Innermost Secret Cycle, the Nyingtik teachings, is to attain the
‘rainbow body.’ Through the perfection of the practice of Trekcho, the
physical body can be dissolved completely at death into particles, while
through the Togal practice, it is dissolved into a body of light or
rainbow body. There are two kinds of rainbow body: the general rainbow
body, where the body dissolves completely into light, and the ‘Rainbow
Body of the Great Transference’, Jalu Phowa Chenpo, where the ordinary
body is transformed into a rainbow-like body and the individual lives
for centuries for as long as they can benefit beings, appearing to them
from time to time. Such was the case with both Vimalamitra and Guru
Teachers Who Have Turned the Wheel of Dharma through
the Colorado Ratnashri Sangha's
Drikung Kagyu Teachers
2006: Loving Kindness & Bodhicita
2001: Commentary on Drikung Bandhe Dharmaradza's
The Jewel Treasury of Advice: A Hundred Teachings from the Heart.
Has given the following
His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche
2005: Loving kindness, Tuk Sum Nelek
(Patrul Rinpoche's commentary on the 3 words that strike
2002: History of the Drikung, Bodhicitta, Mahamudra
Has given the following
empowerments; Chod, Vajrayogini, Achi Choki Drolma, Chenrezig
Drupon Ningpo Rinpoche
2006: Ngondro-Mandala-Guru Yoga, TBD
2005: Ngondro-Mandala, Phowa, Bardo, Bodhisattva Path
2004: Ngondro-Vajrasattva, Heart Sutra
Has given the following
empowerments; Achi Chokyi Drolma, Green Tara, Amitayus, Chenrezig, Yangzab 3 Roots Torwang,
Drupon Samten Rinpoche
2004: Tantric Ritual Items and Torma Making, Bardo
Has given the following empowerments; Vajra
Vidharan, Guru Rinpoche, Vajrasattva, Shitro.
2002: Bardo, Phowa.
2002: Tilopa's Mahamudra Upadesha, path of vajrayana.
Has given the following empowerments; Amitayus, Green Tara.
Teachers from other Lineages
Anyen Rinpoche - Nyingma Longchen Nyingthig
2006: Outer-Inner-Secret Commentary on the 7 Line prayer to
Younge Khachab Rinpoche - Kagyu/Nyingma
2006: Simhamukha Tummo, Dzogchen-3 AH's.
2005: Tsa-lung, Dorjo Drollo
2004: Wisdom, Tolerance &
Compassion, Tsa- Lung, Guru Yoga from the Kunjed Gyalpo,
Commentary on the first chapter of Longchenpa's treasure
Choying Dzo , Uttaratantra, Interdependence, 4 Dharmas of
Has given the following
empowerments; Chenrezig, Manjushri, Vajrapani, Younge Dorje
Drollo, Rigpa Tsal and Simhamukha.
Loppon Rechungpa - Nyingma
2005: Commentary on Choying Dzo & Abhismayalamkara
2004: Bardo and Dzogchen, Longchenpa's Nelug Dzo or The Precious Treasury of the Way
H.H. Dorji Lopen - Drukpa Kagyu
2004: Introduction to the Jewel Ornament of Liberation & ngondro.
Has given the following empowerments; Milarepa, Amitayus,
Unishavijaya, Medicine Buddha.
Tulku Nyima Gyaltsen - Sakya/Nyingma
2005: 6 Paramitas.
given the following empowerments; Karma Lingpa's Shitro/Guhyagharba,
Terdak Lingpa's Vajrasattva and the Nam Cho Medicine Buddha.
You should know that the master is more
than the buddhas of a hundred thousand aeons,
Because all the buddhas of the aeons
Appeared through following masters.
There will never be any buddhas
Who have not followed a master.
The mater is the Buddha, the master is the Dharma.
Likewise the master is also the Sangha.
He is the embodiment of all the buddhas.
He is the nature of Vajradhara.
He is the root of the Three Jewels.
Keep the command of your vajra master
Without breaking even a fraction of his words,
If you breakthe command of your vajra master,
You will fall into the Unceasing Vajra Hell
From which there will be no chance for liberation.
By serving your master you will receive the blessings.