Zilnön Namkhé Dorjé

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Zilnön Namkhé Dorjé (Wyl. zil gnon nam mkha'i rdo rje) (1868-20th c.) was a tertön from Kham, Tibet. One of his main termas is the Chime Soktik which he transmitted first to Khakhyap Dorje and later fully transferred to Dudjom Rinpoche who made it the main long life practice of the Dudjom Tersar lineage.

Birth, Family, Recognition

Zilnön Namkhé Dorjé was recognized as an incarnation of Vairochana and of Nanam Dorje Dudjom[1].

According to Gyatrul Rinpoche[2]:

The Chime Soktik originated at the time of Guru Rinpoche, who traveled to Nepal with his Indian consort, Mandarava, in order to accomplish immortality. They went to the cave way up in the mountains in Nepal, the famous long life Maratika cave. There in the cave they practiced for three years this particular method […]. After three years they achieved immortality, passing beyond death. The practice is very, very profound. While Guru Rinpoche and Mandarava were in the cave practicing, Buddha Amitayus, the Buddha of Long Life, actually came and gave the empowerment, transmissions, and teachings to them directly. The directness of his presence was just like pouring water from a full vase into an empty one. It was not a dream. After three years of retreat, practicing the long life methods in the cave, the two of them, Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) and Mandarava his consort, both achieved the state of Buddha Amitayus: immortality. They passed out of the round of cyclic existence through the force of the practice to become fully enlightened. After this Guru Rinpoche travelled to Tibet, taking with him the scripture of the teachings that had been given to him by Amitayus. In Tibet he then decided to bury the teachings as a terma, and prophesized the time of its revelation, and the details surrounding that revelation. He gave the full transmissions to two of his main disciples, who were two of the original twenty­five disciples. One of them was Vairochana, and the other Nanam Dorje Dudjom. Afterwards, the termas were concealed physically as well as within the minds of the disciples.

Activity

Revelation of the Dorjé Purpa Yangsang Trinlé Chüdril in 1902

In 1902, on the northern part of Pemakö, southeast Tibet, on the slopes of the mountain Namchak Barwa[3], Zilnön Namkhé Dorjé revealed a Vajrakilaya practice called Dorjé Purpa Yangsang Trinlé Chüdril (rdo rje phur pa yang gsang phrin las bcud dril), Condensed Essence of the Heart of Vajrakilaya. The terma revelation consisted of an image of Vajrakilaya and a yellow scroll (Wyl. shog ser)[4].

Revelation of the Chime Soktik in 1904

In 1904, in the Mönkha Sengé dzong caverns, the 'Mon Kha Lion Fortress cave of Yeshe Tsogyal associated with her Vajrakilaya practice, in Bhutan, Zilnön Namkhé Dorjé revealed the Chime Soktik as an ancillary practice of the Dorjé Purpa Yangsang Trinlé Chüdril[5].

According to Gyatrul Rinpoche[6]:

At the end of the 19th century, these two disciples, [Vairochana and Nanam Dorje Dudjom reincarnated] in the form of one lama who was a great Tertön, known as Zilnön Namkai Dorje. Zilnön Namkai Dorjé went to Bhutan to the practice cave of Dakini Yeshe Tsogyal where he found this terma by pulling it out from behind a rock in the cave. This was not done in secrecy, but rather as a public treasure. This means that when it was revealed, it was revealed in the presence of many hundreds of people. All the people came to witness the revelation, at which time rainbows appeared in the sky, the sound of roaring dragons reverberated throughout space along with countless other wonders. Then for many years he kept the terma secret. It was meant to be revealed for the first time to the terma' s owner. That owner was Dudjom Rinpoche.

According to Shenphen Dawa Rinpoche, the revelation of the Chime Soktik happened symbolically on the exact birth year of Dudjom Rinpoche.

Transmission of the Chime Soktik to Khakhyap Dorje, in the 1910's

During the beginning of the 20th century, Khakhyap Dorje, the fourteenth Karmapa, became connected with Zilnön Namkhé Dorjé and received several empowerments, including those of the Dorjé Purpa Yangsang Trinlé Chüdril and of the Chime Soktik. The fourteenth Karmapa later expanded and wrote several key texts on the Chime Soktik.

Transmission of the Chimé Soktik to Dudjom Rinpoche in 1925

In 1925[7], Zilnön Namkhé Dorjé gave the empowerment of all his termas, including the Chime Soktik, to Dudjom Rinpoche who was then fourty-one years old and had been staying in Mindroling Monastery in Central Tibet. According to Shenphen Dawa Rinpoche, this beneficial meeting was foretold by Guru Rinpoche himself: [8]

Guru Rinpoche, who hid these teachings, wrote instructions in the terma indicating that Dudjom Rinpoche would crown the discovery of this terma. Specifically, the gold secret scroll in the Dakini script instructed Zilnön Namkhé Dorjé' to give Dudjom Rinpoche these teachings along with the gold scroll, the empowerments and the pith instructions.
Similarly, my father Dudjom Rinpoche had a prophecy in his terma to meet Zilnön Namkhé Dorjé' from whom he would receive teachings that Guru Rinpoche had kept for him.

According to the own words of Dudjom Rinpoche[9]:

On a impulse I went to see the Tertön Zilnön Namkhé Dorjé, and he received me with a joyful face. After a while he said, “I am old now, and I don’t know how long I have to live, but seeing you, I know that I will be able to pass the dharma treasures I hold to their rightful heir.” He predicted future events and gave me detailed advice. He said, “My terma teaching predicted you, and you will be of great benefit to the Nyingma school.” Then I requested, “Please, would you transcribe the activity sections of the Vajrakilaya teachings from the yellow paper scrolls you have discovered?” He replied, “We’ll see about that, but understand that now I’ve transferred my terma teachings to you, and it’s up to you to decide what you’ll do with them.”
Then he bestowed Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Tayé’s secret empowerment of Guru Dorje Drolö. He looked at me with eyes wide open and shooted, “Phat!” In that instant my body, perception, and mind became unimpeded, all notions of solidity disappeared. “That is the absolute wisdom empowerment. Supra tishta soha! ” Saying this, he tossed barely grains skyward. From that time on, my mind remained relaxed and open. I felt no need to boast about spending months and years in retreat; nor did I feel the need to focus forcefully in my meditation, nor cling to practice schedules. I knew the power of the lineage realization of absolute truth had been transferred to me. This karmically connected great teacher was none other than Guru Rinpoche.

Writings

Among his main termas are:

  • Chime Soktik
  • Dorjé Purpa Yangsang Trinlé Chüdril (rdo rje phur pa yang gsang phrin las bcud dril), Condensed Essence of the Heart of Vajrakilaya[10]

Students

Among his many disciples were:

  • Khakhyap Dorje (1870/1-1921/2)
  • Tendzin Chökyi Gyaltsen (1894-1925), the 9th Pema Lingpa Sungtrul.[11]
  • Dudjom Rinpoche (1904-1987)
  • Padma Shyepé Wangpo (Wyl. Padma bzhad pa’i dbang po)[12][13]
  • Padma Chokzik Gyatso (Wyl. Padma mchog gzigs rgya mtsho)[14]

Notes

  1. Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal, Light of Fearless Indestructible Wisdom, The life and Legacy of Dudjom Rinpoche, Snow Lion, 2008, p89.
  2. Gyatrul Rinpoche, Chimed Tsog Thik: The Abbreviated Practice of the Immortal Essence, Los Angeles May, 1985.
  3. Namchak Barwa means Blazzing Meteoric Iron Mountain.
  4. C. Cantwell, R. Mayer, ‘’The Creation and Transmission of a Textual Corpus in the Twentieth Century: The ‘Chi med srog thig’””, in Collectanea Himalayica 3, Indus Verlag, 2010).
  5. C. Cantwell, R. Mayer, ‘’The Creation and Transmission of a Textual Corpus in the Twentieth Century: The ‘Chi med srog thig’””, in Collectanea Himalayica 3, Indus Verlag, 2010).
  6. Gyatrul Rinpoche, Chimed Tsog Thik: The Abbreviated Practice of the Immortal Essence, Los Angeles May, 1985.
  7. Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal announces 1925 as the year of this meeting and age 21 for Dudjom Rinpoche, Shenphen Dawa Rinpoche announces 1945 and age 41 for Dudjom Rinpoche for this meeting.
  8. Shenpen Dawa Rinpoche, Teachings on the ‘Chime Sog Thig, The Abbreviated Practice of the Immortal Life Essence; The Essential Bindu of Deathlessness’, Yeshe Melong, 2015.
  9. Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal, Light of Fearless Indestructible Wisdom, The life and Legacy of Dudjom Rinpoche, Snow Lion, 2008, p89.
  10. Khakhyap Dorje wrote an empowerment manual on this practice in 1916, at the request of Tertön Zilnön Namkhé Dorje. https://www.tbrc.org/#!rid=O00RNP205%7CO00RNP20501JW27779$W22081
  11. TBRC-tag.png TBRC Profile
  12. In his Record (of Teachings) Obtained Dudjom Rinpoche received four texts of teachings from Padma Shyepé Wangpo. (C. Cantwell, R. Mayer, ‘’The Creation and Transmission of a Textual Corpus in the Twentieth Century: The ‘Chi med srog thig’””, in Collectanea Himalayica 3, Indus Verlag, 2010).
  13. Padma Shyepé Wangpo made textual addition to the Dorjé Purpa Yangsang Chüdril of Zilnön Namkhé Dorjé'.
  14. A Chokzik Gyatso, presumably the same student, is mentioned in Dudjom Rinpoche’s Record (of Teachings) Obtained. He is credited with texts related to Vajrasattva and Chakrasamvara cycles of Zilnön Namkhé Dorjé (C. Cantwell, R. Mayer, ‘’The Creation and Transmission of a Textual Corpus in the Twentieth Century: The ‘Chi med srog thig’””, in Collectanea Himalayica 3, Indus Verlag, 2010).

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