Chöjé Lingpa

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Chöjé Lingpa (Wyl. chos rje gling pa) aka Gawalung Tertön (Wyl. dga' ba lung gter ston) (1682-1720/1725), or Dzamling Dorjé Tsal (Wyl. dzam ling rdo rje rtsal) was originally a main Kagyü tulku from Réchung Puk, in Yarlung. As a Tertön of the 18th century, he contributed greatly to the opening of the hidden-land of Pemakö.

Birth, Family & Recognition

Chöjé Lingpa was recognized as an reincarnation of a Kagyü master, Shyab Drung Chimé Wangpo (Wyl. zhabs drung 'chi med dbang po), and installed as the abbot of Réchung Puk (Wyl. ras chung phug) [1] in the valley of Yarlung[2].

Training

Like Gampopa Orgyen Drodul Lingpa, Chöjé Lingpa was first trained within the Kagyü tradition from 1687 to 1706, and his main seat was Réchung Puk. Although Chöjé Lingpa was a tulku of the Kagyü lineage, he was particularly drawn towards the teachings of the Nyingmapa[3]. Early in his life, Chöjé Lingpa received a prophecy from Taksham Nüden Dorje, designating him as one who would open the doors of the hidden land of Pemakö [4].

Activity

In Tsari

Around 1706, Chöjé Lingpa moved to Tsari, one of Tibet's oldest sacred sites, likewise located in the south-east, on the border with India[5].

Revealing termas in Kongpo and Powo

From there Chöjé Lingpa went to Kongpo and Powo, where he revealed numerous termas. These revelations occurred both in Kongpo Tadul Buchu Ser-Gyi Lhakhang (Wyl. bu chu gser gyi lha khang), the Tadul (Wyl. mtha 'dul) temple (Border temples) located in Kongpo, and in Powo Dungchü Lhakhang [6]. In Powo, Chöjé Lingpa met up with the tertön Taksham Nüden Dorje (b.1655) and was recognized by him as a Chödak of his termas cycles[7]. Chöjé Lingpa is also known as Gawalung Tertön (Wyl. dga' ba lung gter ston) [8], since he was the one who opened the site of Powo Gawalung (Powo dGa'-ba-lung) and brought to light there the cycle Yidam Gongdü Tachok Rolpa (Wyl. yi dam dgongs 'dus rta mchog rol pa). This cycle contains detailed information about the sacred site of Pemakö, including the distinction between the outer 12 territories (phyi gling bcu gnyis), the inner 40 ravines (nang sul bzhi bcu) and the 16 secret territories (gsang gling bcu drug).

One of his terma is the gsang ba ye shes chos skor cycle, whose chödak was Lelung Shyepé Dorje.

When he travelled to Pemakö in 1717, he received a note from the Kanan Denpa Powo ruler saying: ”Pemakö belongs solely to the people of Kanam; it is not a place that the inhabitants of ü and Tsang can enter”.

Moving to Central Tibet

During several trips to Central Tibet, Chöjé Lingpa met Lha-bzang Khan (regnal period 1705-1717) [9]. When the Dzungar Mongols sacked Lhasa in 1717, many tertöns familiar with the prophecies of Guru Rinpoche believed that the final wars signalling the decline of the Buddhist teachings were at hand.

Contributing to the opening of the hidden-land of Pemakö

According to Chöjé Lingpa, the time had come to escape to the hidden-land of Pemakö[10]. As the Dzungar armies carried their bloody campaign to the cloisters of southeaster Tibet, Rigdzin Chöjé Lingpa and his followers fled to Pemakö from the high passes in the kingdom in Powo:

[During a time of great unimaginable persecution of the Nyingma teachings by the Dzungars, [who were] the manifestation of [the Mara] Kamadeva, this master (aka Rigdzin Chöjé Lingpa] set his mind for the departure to the hidden land called ‘Lotus Grove’ (Pemakö). Having arrived in Powo, he endeavoured towards opening the ‘door’ of the sacred place of Pemakö… having written clarifications and guidebooks, he put his visions into writing. Bestowing the religious pronouncements onto the people of Klo who were like beasts, he laid down the inclination for religion. The Klo in turn paid homage and reverence according to the customs of the country.

While in Pemakö, Chöjé Lingpa was welcomed by the 'protector of the territory' (zhing-skyong)[11].

Students

Among his main students are:

Final Years

While in Pemakö, Chöje Lingpa suffered from a rheumatic disease caused by the subtropical climate and passed away shortly afterwards on the border between Glo and Powo. After his death, Klo-pa hunters of ‘pure’ disposition, reported seeing his emanational body surrounded by a retinue of dakinis deep in the jungle slopes[13].

Reincarnation

Chöjé Lingpa’s lineage endured and became the bedrock of Buddhism in the Klo-pa inhabited territories of Northern Pemakö[14]. Chöling Garwang Chimé Dorjé has been recognized as the reincarnation of Rigdzin Chöjé Lingpa.

Notes

  1. Réchung Pug (ras chung phug) is a famous Kagyüpa hermitage which sits on top of the Mila Tse spir which overlooks the bifurcation of the Yarlung and Chongye valleys. This is the retreat place of Rechungpa of Loro, the famous disciple of Milarepa. Following the example of his master, Rechungpa practised asceticism and meditation on the site which became known as Réchung Pug. Later, in 1488, while residing ad Réchung Puk, the yogin Tsangnyön Heruka, whose actual name was Sangye Gyeltsen, composed the ‘Life of Milarepa’ and the ‘Hundred Thousands Songs of Milarepa’, which have since become classic texts of Tibetan Buddhism. Formerly there were 1,000 monks at Réchung Puk, and some rebuilding has taken place since the destruction of the 1960’s (Source: Gyurme Dorje, Tibet Footprint, 3rd edition, p.203).
  2. Franz-Karl EHRHARD, ‘The Role of “Treasure Discoverers” and Their Writings in the Search of Himalayan Sacred Lands”, in T. Huber (ed.) Sacred Spaces and Powerful Places in Tibetan Culture. Dharamsala: Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, 227-39, The Tibet Journal 19,3 (1994).
  3. Hamid Sardar-Afkhami, ‘An Account of Padma-Khod: a Hidden Land in Southeastern Tibet’, Kalaish.
  4. Hamid Sardar-Afkhami, ‘An Account of Padma-Khod: a Hidden Land in Southeastern Tibet’, Kalaish.
  5. Franz-Karl EHRHARD, ‘The Role of “Treasure Discoverers” and Their Writings in the Search of Himalayan Sacred Lands”, in T. Huber (ed.) Sacred Spaces and Powerful Places in Tibetan Culture. Dharamsala: Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, 227-39, The Tibet Journal 19,3 (1994).
  6. Franz-Karl EHRHARD, ‘The Role of “Treasure Discoverers” and Their Writings in the Search of Himalayan Sacred Lands”, in T. Huber (ed.) Sacred Spaces and Powerful Places in Tibetan Culture. Dharamsala: Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, 227-39, The Tibet Journal 19,3 (1994).
  7. Franz-Karl Ehrhard, ‘The Role of “Treasure Discoverers” and Their Writings in the Search of Himalayan Sacred Lands”, in T. Huber (ed.) Sacred Spaces and Powerful Places in Tibetan Culture. Dharamsala: Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, 227-39, The Tibet Journal 19,3 (1994).
  8. Franz-Karl EHRHARD, ‘The Role of “Treasure Discoverers” and Their Writings in the Search of Himalayan Sacred Lands”, in T. Huber (ed.) Sacred Spaces and Powerful Places in Tibetan Culture. Dharamsala: Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, 227-39, The Tibet Journal 19,3 (1994).
  9. Franz-Karl EHRHARD, ‘The Role of “Treasure Discoverers” and Their Writings in the Search of Himalayan Sacred Lands”, in T. Huber (ed.) Sacred Spaces and Powerful Places in Tibetan Culture. Dharamsala: Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, 227-39, The Tibet Journal 19,3 (1994).
  10. Hamid Sardar-Afkhami, ‘An Account of Padma-Khod: a Hidden Land in Southeastern Tibet’, Kalaish.
  11. Franz-Karl EHRHARD, ‘The Role of “Treasure Discoverers” and Their Writings in the Search of Himalayan Sacred Lands”, in T. Huber (ed.) Sacred Spaces and Powerful Places in Tibetan Culture. Dharamsala: Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, 227-39, The Tibet Journal 19,3 (1994).
  12. TBRC lists Gampopa Orgyen Drodul Lingpa as a student of Chöjé Lingpa but there is a problem with dates (Death of Chöjé Lingpa is said to be 1720/1725, birth of Gampopa Orgyen Drodul Lingpa is said to be 1757).
  13. Hamid Sardar-Afkhami, ‘An Account of Padma-Khod: a Hidden Land in Southeastern Tibet’, Kalaish.
  14. Hamid Sardar-Afkhami, ‘An Account of Padma-Khod: a Hidden Land in Southeastern Tibet’, Kalaish.

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