Gili Wangli

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Gili Wangli (19th c.) was a student of Dudjom Lingpa from Golok, who became one of his two main sponsors (the other one being Gönten). By staying for a long time under the patronage of the Gili family, Dudjom Lingpa became popularly known as the Gili Terton. Gili Wangli’s nephew in Golok, a monk named Ngawang Gyatso, became one of Dudjom Lingpa’s first and most valued disciples.

In 1851, during a night, Dudjom Lingpa, then aged only 21 years old, was foretold by a dakini that he will forge a meaningful connection with two travellers from Golok:[1]

When a pair of travellers, coming from the east reaches this place, it’s as your worthy lama proclaimed: when you arrive in the east [Golok], familiar companions from the past will flank you inseparably as your subjects. The glorious qualities of conductive conditions will then ever improve and increase like the moon on the first lunar day. Resources, wealth, food, and possessions, will seem scarce at the beginning. In the end, you appear not quite so poor. […] When you gather fortunate disciples, it’s important to teach them the profound meditation instruction.

And, 'Next year an excellent companion [aka Gili Wangli] will appear one morning in the sixth month. At that time, go east with him to the land of Golok. You have a fine disciple there.'

One year later, in 1852, a visitor from Golok did arrive to the Lower Ser Valley, the native home of Dudjom Lingpa:[2]

In the year I turned twenty-three, on morning during the last summer month, a man named Gili Wangli came from Golok to Sertal on business, with his nephew Lodar. Lama Sangngak Drupchok, Supreme Accomplishment of Secret Mantra, gave sound advice entrusting me to them. As I went eastward with them toward Golok, we reached the trailhead to the mountain pass of the local god, Tak-yak of Mar. At that point, we encountered a bridal procession on their ascent. The people escorting the procession dismounted from their horses and poured two cups of alcohol. I thought, “To have something like this drink appear here in the grove of the local god—this must be a very auspicious connection!” Considering this, I became elated.
That night, a girl saying she was Dakini Zulé Men, Zulé Medicine Goddess, sang to me,
Ah! Ho! Do you understand today’s signs?
The maiden with beautiful attire and ornaments you met climbing upward on your ascent was an omen of you meeting a qualified consort of awareness.
Without a qualified consort of awareness, you channel of sublime insight will not open. Should that channel not open, the expansive treasury of wisdom mind won’t overflow. As a result, many writings of others are inconsistent with the tantras.
You were served nectar alcohol, a positive omen and auspicious connection indicating that the phenomena of your impure residue will shift into its pristine awareness.
This chief local god known as Tak-yak is a portent that both Za, Planetary God, and Nöjin Shenpa, Noxious Spirit Butcher, will protect your doctrine.

After this meeting, Dudjom Lingpa accepted to move to Golok, in the area where was later established Mardo Tashi Chöling Monastery.

According to Chönyi Drölma[3], ‘Dudjom Lingpa spoke of patrons as early as age eighteen. That someone believed in him enough to support him (in exchange for religious services) is indicative of his abilities.’


  1. Dudjom Lingpa, ‘A Clear Mirror’, The Visionary Autobiography of a Tibetan Master’, The Outer Autobiography, translated by Chönyi Drolma, Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 2011, p60-61.
  2. ibid, p62.
  3. Translator of Dudjom Lingpa, ‘A Clear Mirror’, The Visionary Autobiography of a Tibetan Master’, The Outer Autobiography, translated by Chönyi Drolma, Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 2011.

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