Dudjom Jigdral Yeshe Dorje 1904-1987
18: Dudjom Jigdral Yeshe Dorje, 1904-88.
Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye, who led a life encompassing the activities of one hundred tertons (treasure revealers), has said that Mopa Od Thaye (Dudjom Rinpoche's future incarnation as the last Buddha of this Light Aeon) will have the activity of one thousand Buddhas. That this great being will perform the activity of all his previous lives and have many disciples is all due to his own power of Bodhicitta and prayers.
- "In the future in Tibet, on the east of the Nine Peaked Mountain, in the sacred Buddhafield of the self-originated Vajravarahi, there will be an emanation of Drogben, of royal lineage, named Jnana. His beneficial activities are in accord with the Vajrayana although he conducts himself differently, unexpectedly, as a little boy with astonishing intelligence. He will either discover new Terma or preserve the old Terma. Whoever has connections with him will be taken to Ngayab Ling (Zangdok Palri) [The Copper-colored Mountain]."
- Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche was born in the Water Dragon year of the 15th Rabjung Cycle- (1904), early in the morning of the tenth day of the sixth month, with many amazing signs. (on June 10, 1904), into a noble family in the southeastern Tibetan province of Pemakod, one of the four "hidden lands" of Guru Rinpoche. Dudjom Rinpoche was of royal lineage, descended fron Nyatri Zangpo and from Puwoo Kanam Dhepa, the king of Powo. His father, Kathok Tulku Norbu Tenzing,was a famous tulku of the Pema Köd region, from Kathok monastery; his mother , who had descended from Ratna Lingpa and belonged to the local member of the Pemakod tribe, was called Namgyal Drolma.
- "Now in this degenerate age, go to the secret land of Pema Köd. Whoever relies on me, go in that direction! Before you young ones get there, I the old one will already be there."
- He was already three years old when they recognized his reincarnation. Since His Holiness was a direct emanation of Dudjom Lingpa, he could remember his past lives clearly.
- It had been Dudjom Lingpa's intention to visit southern Tibet to reveal the sacred land of Pemakod, but being unable to do so, he predicted that his successor would be born there and reveal it himself. Za-Pokhung Tulku Gyurme Ngedon Wangpo, who was a holder of the teachings of Dudjom Lingpa, and Lama Thubten Chonjor of Ling came to Pemakod and enthroned him. Gradually the disciples of the previous Dudjom came and paid their respects to him... as we have said, Phuktrul Gyurme NgedonWangpo and Lama Thubten Chönjor of Ling came to Pema Köd to enthrone him. Gradually the disciples of the previous Dudjom arrived. His Holiness was taught reading, writing and the five common sciences.
- Rinpoche's studies began with texts and commentaries under Khenpo Aten. By the age of five, Dudjom Rinpoche was already discovering treasure texts and practices. He studied under Dudjom Lingpa's doctrine holders, Patrul Rinpoche's disciples, Mipham Rinpoche's disciples and Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro. He studied many texts and commentaries, such as the Dom Sum (Three Precepts), Chod Juk, etc.
It was said by Lama Konrab that at the age of five, he started discovering Ter. When he was eight years old, he began to study Santideva's "Bodhicaryavatara" with his teacher Urygen Chogyur Gyatso, a personal disciple of the great Patrul Rinpoche (A.D.1808-1887). He studied for sixteen years with Za-Pokhung Tulku Gyurme Ngedon Wangpo and had great realizations on the teachings of Dzogpachenpo. From Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro, he received the tantric teachings (Gyud, Lung, and Men-Ngag) of the "Sangwa Nyingthig". He further received Dzogchen teachings from Jedrung Thinley Jampai Jungne (Dudjom Namkhai Dorje) of Riwoche.
- In his teens, Dudjom Rinpoche attended the great monastic universities of Central Tibet, such as Mindroling, Dorje Drak and Tarje Tingpoling, as well as those of East Tibet, like Kathok and Dzogchen. It was to Mindroling that he returned to perfect his understanding of the Nyingma tradition. Thus from the Mindroling Vajracarya, Dorzim Namdrol Gyatso, he learned the rituals, mandalas, songs, dance and music of Terdak Lingpa, along with many other teachings. There were many other great teachers from whom Rinpoche had received all the teachings of the Nyingma School.
- From Phokang Tulku Gyurmed Ngedon Wangpo, his guru, who had been the foremost disciple of Dudjom Lingpa, His Holiness' previous incarnation he received the Dzogchen Nyongtri lineage .
- Dudjom Rinpoche attended various monastic shedras such as Mindroling, Dorje Drak, Kathok and Dzogchen. He also became learned in the rituals of the Terton Terdak Lingpa. He received all the Dzogchen teachings from Jedrung Rinpoche and was considered his heart son. Rinpoche became accomplished in the Vajrakilaya practice. He meditated at many isolated places and signs of accomplishment occurred.
- As he was taught, the power of his awareness blazed like fire. Whatever he learned he could comprehend through a mere indication. He studied many texts and commentaries, such as the Dom Sum, Chod Juk, etc. It is said by Lama Konrab that at the age of five, he started discovering Ter.
He studied for sixteen years with Phuktrul Gyurme Ngedon Wangpo, who was a holder of the teachings of the previous Dudjom. From Khyentse Rinpoche he received the tantric teachings (Gyud, Lung, and Men-Ngag) of the Sangwa Nyingthik as if he were a vessel being filled. He also received the "rediscovered teachings from Gedrung Thinley Jampa Jungne of Riwoche and Gyurme Ngedon Wangpo that he could really understand.
- With the first Lama, he started fron Ngondro to Ngo Shi, studying completely. By listening to the She Rig Dorje Nonpo Gyud, the display of his own intelligence burst open. All of the tantras of Vajrayana, as vast as the ocean, and all of their difficult points, unfolded naturally. His Holiness would often say, "All I know is thanks to the She Rig Dorje Nonpo Gyud."
- Ngedon Wangpo said to him, "The Terdzöd represents the activity of Khyentse and Kongtrul. I have given this teaching five times and you will give it ten times. The deep teachings of the previous ones have been offered as a mandala in the hands of the 'Wealth Holders'.
Now as I have obeyed my teacher's orders, likewise use your experience for the sake of beings." His Holiness obtained realization through this. He himself said that while very young he always had various visions, and his karma to discover the deep 'treasures' awoke. At thirteen he met Guru Rinpoche (Yab-Yum) in person, and after having received the legacy of the self-appearing non-human teacher, the wisdom Dakinis gave him the yellow papers and he wrote down Ters.
- From Togden Tenpa he received both the wang and lung of the Dzogchen Nyingthig Yabshi, which was the lineage of Nyoshul Lungtok Tenpai Nyima. Then he went to the center of the country and from Jedrung Rinpoche of Riwoche, Dudjom Namkhai Dorje, he received the Kangyur lung, Dam Ngag Dzöd, the seventeen Sangchen Ngepai tantras, Nyingthig Yabshi, etc., and all the teachings of the Dzogpachenpo. He received them completely and was considered his teacher's heart son. From Tulku Kunzang Thekchog Tenpai Gyaltsen he also received many deep teachings.
- From Ngagtsun Gendun Gyatso he received all the teachings of Pema Lingpa, the Dzöd Dun, and others. From Mindroling Vajracharya, Namdrol Gyatso, he learned the rituals, mandalas, songs, dance and music of Tertag Lingpa, along with many other teachings. From the great Khenpo Jamde, also called Pande Odzer (a disciple of Mipham Rinpoche), he received the Nyingma Kama, Khagyed empowerments, Sangye Lingpa's Lama Gongdu and Sangwa Nyingpo according to the Zur tradition; as well as the cycle of the Odsel Sangwa Nyingthig. He also received many tantra commentaries like the great commentaries of Mipham himself, the Nyingthig Yabshi, etc. - thus receiving an ocean of deep and detailed teachings. His Holiness considered Khenpo Jamde as his second kindest Lama and took many vows of Pratimoksha, Bodhisattva, and the Vajrayana from him.
- He also received teachings from the great beings who were disciples of the great Khenpo Nyoshul: Ngawang Palzang, Chatral Sangye Dorje, Lama Orgyan Rigdzin, Kathok Chagtsa Tulku, Pulung Sangye Tulku, and others. He received teachings from them and he gave teachings to them.
- Taking his practice very seriously, he sent to a secret place called Kenpa Jong or Punsuk Gatsel, and accomplished the Dorje Phurba of "Dudjom Namchag Pudri". He practiced throughly the gradual path of Dudjom Namchag Putri. At Buddha Tse Phuk he did Tse-Drub and his Tse-chang boiled. He received the auspicious signs when he was practicing the gong-ter of Duddul Drollo (the Dudjom Dorje Drollo gong-ter).
When in Paro Taksang (the Tiger's Nest), he rediscovered the Putri Repung, the Tsokye Thugthig and the Khadro Thugthig, for which he wrote down the main parts. As he was trying to preserve the old Ter, he did not make much effort to rediscover new ones. (At Samye and at Taksang, even though they were there he did not take them.) In short, in all these important holy places where he practiced he always experienced the signs of accomplishment.
- Then he started benefitting beings. As his teachers prophesied. he gave the Rinchen Terdzöd (Empowerments and Transmissions) ten times, Pema Lingpa's Palden Chö Kor three times, the previous Dudjom Lingpa's work many times; the Jatsun Po Truk, the complete empowerment and transmission of Nyingma Kama and innumerable other teachings.]]
- Dudjom Rinpoche was world famous as a very prolific author and a scholar. His writings are celebrated for the encyclopaedic knowledge they display of all the traditional branches of Buddhist learning, including poetics, history, medicine, astrology and philosophy. A writer of inspirational poetry of compelling beauty, he had a special genius for expressing the meaning and realization of Dzogchen with a crystal-like lucidity.
- His "Collected Works" (Sungbum), numbering twenty-five volumes, did not include his complete output. Among the most widely read of his works are the "Fundamentals of the Buddhist Teachings" and "History of the Nyingma School", which he composed soon after his arrival in India. These works have now been translated into English by Gyurme Dorje and Matthew Kapstein and published by Wisdom Publications, while his Chinese spiritual representative Lama Sonam Chokyi Gyaltsan (Guru Lau Yui-che), with the help of Ming-chu Tulku, had also translated it into Chinese and published by the Secret Vehicle Publications in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
- Another important and major part of his work was the revision, correction and editing of many ancient and modern texts, including the fifty-eight volumes of the whole of the Canonical Teachings of the Nyingma School ("Nyingma Kama"), a venture which he began at the age of 74, just as Jamgon Kongtrul had collected the Terma teachings. His own private library contains the largest collection of precious manuscripts and books outside of Tibet.
- In Pema Köd, he established many new monasteries for both Gelong (ordained monks) and Ngagpa (Yogis). He regrouped many texts. Nowadays, in this tradition both the books and the stream of empowerment exist and survive solely due to his kindness, which is impossible to measure. In Kompo region he reconstructed the Thadul Buchu Lhakhang and close to it he built anew the monastery of Zangdokpalri.
He erected anew the tantric center of Lama Ling; at Tso Pema (Rewalsar) he established a retreat center; at Darjeeling, Tsechü Gompa; in Orissa, Dudul Rabten Ling; and in Kalimpong he founded the Zangdok-Palri Monastery. In North America he established many Dharma centers, named Yeshe Nyingpo, as well as many retreat centers; in Europe he established Dorje Nyingpo in Paris and Urgyen Samye Chöling Meditation and Study Center in Dordogne, France. Many other Dharma centers around the world were under his guidance.
- Whenever he gave teachings in Tibet and India, great teachers - like the two Mindrolings, Trulshik Rinpoche, Chatral Sangye Dorje, and others - came to receive them. Among all the high lamas there are none who didn't receive teachings from him. They all had great confidence in his realization. So numerous were his disciples that they can't possibly be counted. Nyingmapas from Tibet, Bhutan, India, Ladakh and all around the globe were his students.
- Unique in having received the transmission of all the existing teachings of the immensely rich Nyingma tradition, Dudjom Rinpoche was famous in particular as a great Terton (treasure revealer), whose Termas are now widely taught and practiced, and as the leading exponent of Dzogchen.
Indeed, he was regarded as the living embodiment of Guru Rinpoche and His representative in this time. A master of masters, he was acknowledged by the leading Tibetan Lamas as possessing the greatest power and blessing in communicating the nature of mind, and it was to him that they sent their students when prepared for this "Mind-direct" transmission. Dudjom Rinpoche was the teacher of many of the most prominent lamas active today.
- As his teachers had prophesized, Rinpoche gave the "Rinchen Terdzod" ("Treasury of Precious Termas") ten times, Pema Lingpa's "Pedling Cho Kor" three times, the "Kangyur" and "Nyingma Gyudbum", the Drupwang of "Kagyed", "Jatson Podruk", the complete empowerment and transmission of the "Nyingma Kama", as well as teachings according to his own Terma ("Dudjom Tersar") tradition, and innumerable other important teachings.
Dudjom Rinpoche's main area of activity was in Central Tibet, where he maintained the Mindroling tradition, and especially at Pema Choling and his other seats in the Kongpo and Powo regions of southern Tibet. In Pemakod, Rinpoche established many new monasteries and two colleges for both Gelong (ordained monks) and Ngagpa (yogis). In the Kongpo region, he reconstructed the Thadul Buchu Lhakhang, and close to it he built anew the monastery of Zangdok Palri. He also erected anew the tantric centre of Lama Ling. Dudjom Rinpoche became renowned throughout Tibet for the brilliance of his spiritual achievements, for his compassionate Bodhisattva activities, as well as for his unsurpassed scholarship.
- Upon leaving Tibet, Dudjom Rinpoche settled in Kalimpong in India in 1958, and then in Kathmandu, Nepal in 1975. When the Tibetan culture was at a difficult time, Rinpoche played a key role in its renaissance among the refugee community, both through his teachings and his writings. He established a number of vital communities of practitioners in India and Nepal.
At Tsopema (Rewalsar), he established a retreat centre; at Darjeeling, Rinpoche established Tsechu Gompa; in Orissa, he founded Dudul Rabten Ling; and in Kalimpong, Rinpoche founded Zangdok Palri Monastery. Near the Great Stupa at Boudhanath, Nepal, Rinpoche erected the Dudjom Gompa. He also actively encouraged the study of the Nyingma tradition at the Tibetan Institute for Higher Studies in Sarnath.
- In other parts of the world, Dudjom Rinpoche had also made tremendous progress in various Dharma activities. He founded many Dharma centres in the West, including Dorje Nyingpo and Orgyen Samye Choling in France, and Yeshe Nyingpo and Orgyen Cho Dzong in the United States.
Over the last one-and-a-half-decades of his life, Dudjom Rinpoche devoted much of his time ot teaching in the West where he has successfully established the Nyingma tradition. In his first world-wide tour in 1972, Dudjom Rinpoche visited the centre of his Chinese spiritual representative Lama Sonam Chokyi Gyaltsan in Hong Kong, and also visited London at the invitation of Ven. Sogyal Rinpoche.
- His first wife was called Sangyum Kusho Tseten Yudron, and they had altogether six children, including two daughters and four sons. Their eldest daughter, Dechen Yudron, is now in Lhasa, Tibet and is taking care of Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche's seat Lama Ling in Kongpo.
- Their eldest son Kyabje Dungsay Thinley Norbu Rinpoche, who is himself a great Nyingma scholar and master like his father. Their second son is Dola Tulku Jigmed Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche of mainly the Sakya lineage, and he is now the father of Kyabje Dudjom Yangsi Rinpoche. Their second daughter, Pema Yudron, lives near Dola Rinpoche in Qinghai. Their third son, Pende Norbu, who is also a tulku, is now living in Nepal. Their fourth son, Dorje Palzang, went to school in Beijing in the late fifties but was unfortunately killed during the Cultural Revolution.
- Kyabje Dudjom Rinohce's second wife is called Sangyum Kusho Rikzin Wangme, and they had three children, including one son and two daughters. Their eldest daughter is Chimey Wangmo, and their younger daughter is Tsering Penzom. Their son is Shenphen Dawa Norbu Rinpohce who is spreading his father's teachings in both Europe and the United States.]]
- Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye, who led a life encompassing the activities of one hundred tertons (treasure revealers), has said that Mopa Od Thaye (Dudjom Rinpoche's future incarnation as the last Buddha of this Light Aeon) will have the activity of one thousand Buddhas. That this great being will perform the activity of all his previous lives and have many disciples is all due to his own power of Bodhicitta and prayers. As Buddha Shakyamuni, even though enlightened, performed the illusory activity of dying for the benefit of worldly beings, likewise Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche entered into Mahaparinirvana on January 17, 1987.
- [This article was written with the acknowledgement of the following persons and articles: Nyoshul Khenpo Jamyang Dorje's "History of the Dzogchen Secret Quintessence, Life Stories of the Vidyadharas of the Lineage", in Terry Clifford (ed.) (1988) The Lamp of Liberation, pp.1-5. Gyurme Dorje's "His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche (1904-1987)" in The Middle Way, Vol. 62, No. 1 (May 1987), pp.25-28. "His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche 1904-1987", in Vajradhatu Sun, Vol.8, No. 3 (Feb./ Mar., 1987), pp.1-3. "The Passing of His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche", in Snow Lion, Spring, 1987, p.3. Interviews with Bhakha Tulku Rinpoche in Pharping (Yang Leshod), Nepal on 18th September, 1997.]
- The Great Terton Dudjom Lingpa (1835-1904)
- In general, the "Lineage" of a "Tersar" tradition comes from those new "treasures" (termas) of an individual terton, and should include the initiations (wang), scriptural transmissions (lung), and oral teachings (tri) of all the important practices and sadhanas of that particular tradition. Such are the cases with the "Chokling Tersar" and the "Dudjom Tersar" Hence, it is not necessary to include all the writings of the Terton himself (except those related commentaries on those practices). For example, the 25 volumes of Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche's Collected Works (Sungbum) include both his Tersar as well as his other writings.
- The "Dudjom Tersar" as a Lineage forms a whole system by itself, and thus it does not include the works or termas of other Masters. However, there are cases that the works and termas of other great Masters are also included simply because of the realizations of the terton himself, such as Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche, that he felt it to be more beneficial to all sentient beings by either having some of the long termas of other tertons to be condensed, or by elaborating on some of the more concise termas of other tertons, or both.
In any case, the terton himself had done so with a pure intention to benefit all others through his own realizations. For example, there are two important practices on the Khandro Thugthig which was written by Kyabje Chadral Rinpoche that has been included in the Vol.16 of the Dudjom Sungbum by Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche himself. Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche had done so when he was still in Lhasa, as he thought this to be most appropriate and beneficial to all sentient beings.
- Terchen Dudjom Jigdral Yeshe Dorje (1904-1987)
- One important thing that differentiates the important works of these great Masters, as compared with the commentaries on both sutras and tantras by other teachers, is the fact that these works are the true realizations of these great Masters who had truly experienced the Dharmata, in order that these works will have the blessings and the continuity of the Lineage all through its Lineage Holders. Kyabje Chadral Rinpoche was being appointed by Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche as his principal Doctrine-Holder (Chodak) of the "Dudjom Tersar" lineage. (Please refer to the letter written by Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche in appointing Kyabje Chadral Rinpoche as his Vajra Regent, as recorded in the life story of Kyabje Chadral Rinpoche.)
- Padmasambhava's tradition is the Early Translation Great Perfection School and Dudjom Lingpa is the chariot of the essential true meaning. May his profound treasure doctrine be preserved until the end of cyclic existence, without sinking, through study and practice.
- It was predicted by Urgyen Dechen Lingpa that "in the future in Tibet, on the east of the Nine-Peaked Mountain, in the sacred Buddhafield of the self-originated Vajravarahi, there will be an emanation of Drogben, of royal lineage, named Jnana. His beneficial activities are in accord with the Vajrayana although he conducts himself differently, unexpectedly, as a little boy with astonishing intelligence. He will either discover new Terma or preserve the old Terma. Whoever has connections with him will be taken to Ngayab Ling (Zangdok Palri)."
Dudjom Tersar is the collective name for the large collection of terma teachings revealed by Dudjom Lingpa and Dudjom Rinpoche. As a class of texts, Tersar (gTer gSar) means 'new or recently revealed treasure teachings'. Dudjom Rinpoche was a major terton (wylie: gTer sTon) or treasure revealer of hidden teachings. Dudjom Rinpoche is considered one of the 'Hundred Great Tertons' in the Nyingma lineage.
Most terma are small in scale and major cycles are rare. Those containing many major cycles such as Dudjom Tersar are even rarer historically. The Dudjom Tersar is possibly the most comprehensive suite of terma to be revealed in the twentieth century. Since terma traditionally are considered to be discovered during the time it is most needed, the most recently discovered terma may be the most pertinent to current needs. Recent terma is then considered to 'still have the warm fresh breath of the Dakinis'.
A set of preliminary practices known as Dudjom Tersar ngöndro has to be undertaken by beginners prior to higher initiations. Dudjom Tersar contains different cycles. Some are comprehensive, from beginning instruction through the highest Dzogchen teachings. There are also smaller cycles and individual practices for specific purposes.
¦ (b) The "Maha-Ati Yoga Zabcho Gongpa Rangdrol" cycle (The Profound Teachings on Naturally Self-liberating Enlightened Visions), such as the teachings of Chenrezig;
¦ (c) The "Chonyid Namkhai Longdzo" cycle (the Vast Space Treasure from the Wisdom Sky of the Ultimate Nature), with teachings of Thekchod and Thodgal; and
¦ (d) The "Khandro Nyingthig" cycle.
¦ (d) The "Dorje Drollod" cycle.
- Here in the "Dudjom Tersar" there is a cycle of "Khandro Nyingthig" discovered by Dudjom Lingpa, while there is another cycle of "Khandro Thugthig" discovered by Kyabje Dudjom Jigdral Yeshe Dorje. Then, there are two other two cycles of Dorje Phurba, namely:
(i) The "Thugdrub Sangwai Gyachan" cycle; and (ii)
The "Thugdrub Yeshe Nyima" cycle, both of which are included in the "Khandro Nyingthig" cycle of Dudjom Lingpa. At the same time, there is the cycle of "Namchag Pudri" revealed by Dudjom Lingpa, and the cycle of "Pudri Rekpung" revealed by Dudjom Jigdral Yeshe Dorje, both are of the yidam Dorje Phurba.