Dudjom Drakngak Lingpa

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Dudjom Drakngak Lingpa, courtesy of Ian Baker

Dudjom Drakngak Lingpa (Wyl. bdud 'joms drag ngas gling pa) (1871-1929) was a tertön from Kham who, in the early 20th century, moved to Pemakö and revealed several secret places of this hidden land. There, in 1922, he invited Dudjom Rinpoche (then aged 18) to grant—for the first time—the empowerments of the Rinchen Terdzö, in Dewakota.[1]

Birth, Family

Dudjom Drakngak Lingpa was born in Lhatsedrak in 1871, a sacred place of the Five Manjushri Families in the Nangchen region of northern Kham.

Recognition

Identified as a reincarnation of Atsarsalé

In the néyiks, pilgrimages guides, he revealed, Dudjom Drakngak Lingpa is prophesied by Guru Rinpoche as an emanation of Acharya Salé, the renowned consort and disciple of Yeshe Tsogyal.

Identified as a reincarnation of Saraha

Dudjom Drakngak Lingpa is also celebrated in his hagiographies as the rebirth of Saraha.

Identified as a reincarnation of Taksham Nuden Dorjé

He is also celebrated as a rebirth of Taksham Nüden Dorje (1655-1708), an earlier tertön who also revealed texts on Pemakö’s innermost realms[2], [3]

His different names

As it often the case with tertöns, Dudjom Drakngak Lingpa was known under different names:

  • Primary name: Dudjom Drakngak Lingpa (Wyl. bdud 'joms drag ngas gling pa)
  • Secret Initiatory Name: Dorjé Rolpatsal (Wyl. rdo rje rol pa rstal)
  • Personal Name: Péma Düdul Rolpatsal (Wyl. pad+ma bdud ‘dul rol pa rtsal)
  • Secret Initiatory Name: Dorjé Kuchok Tsal (Wyl. rdo rje sku mchog rtsal)
  • Monastic name: Ngawang Gelek (Wyl. ngag dbang dge legs)
  • Primary Title: Rigdzin Namgyal Düdul Rolpatsal (Wyl. rig ‘dzin rnam gyal bdud ‘dul rol pa rtsal)

Training

Being trained by the first Drubwang Tsoknyi Rinpoche

His principal guru was the first Drubwang Tsoknyi (1828/49-1904) whose pith instructions guided him to tantric realization.

Receiving teachings from Jamgon Kongtrul

Dudjom Drakngak Lingpa also received teachings from Jamgön Kongtrul (1813-1899) who authenticated his realization and status as a tertön.[4]

Activity

In the early 20th c., migrating to Pemakö in search of the innermost womb and secret chakras of Vajravarahi

The first decade of the twentieth century was a period of major political disturbance in Tibet, with the violence instigated by the Qing dynasty official Zhao Erfeng against Tibetan monasteries in 1905 and his subsequent invasion of Eastern and Central Tibet. Nearly two thousands Eastern Tibetans (Khampas) migrated to Pemakö around that this time, many following tertöns and their néyik prophecies to further open the hidden land. These Khampas are now one of the main groups of inhabitants of Pemakö, along with people of the Adi, Mishmi and Memba tribes who are native inhabitants of the region. It was likely under these circumstances, sometime in the early twentieth century, that Dudjom Drakngak Lingpa migrated to Pemakö in search of the innermost womb and secret chakras of Vajravarahi.[5]

Revealing three néyiks on Pemakö

By the power of Dudjom Drakngak Lingpa’s past prayers and connection with Guru Rinpoche, he was impelled to wander through Himalayan hidden lands, opening their mandalas and receiving revelations, sometimes publicly.[6]

The three néyiks revealed by Dudjom Drakngak Lingpa describe salient portions of the Yang Sang (Wyl. yang gsang) or ‘Most Secret’ region of Pemakö. These néyiks were recorded by Dudjom Drakngak Lingpa through a process of rendering five cryptic syllables from his revealed terma.

Dudjom Drakngak Lingpa revealed three néyiks during a time of political conflict in Eastern Tibet at the start of the twentieth century. These texts illustrate a recent stage in the progressive opening of the hidden land of Pemakö along the lower Tsangpo River and up one of its tributaries, now known as the Yang Sang Chu (‘Most Secret River, Wyl. yang gsang chu). This further opening effectively extended Pemakö beyond its limits as they seem to have been previously understood, and placed her most sacred sites—the Vajravarahi’s womb and secret chakras (Wyl. yang gsang gnas)—on the India side of the Sino-Indian border where they have become accessible as pilgrimage sites to diasporic Tibetans.[7]

Revealing Guru Rinpoche’s throne in Dewakota, and assigning Pemakö’s womb chakra as the ‘Deathless Extreme Secret Place’

The throne of Guru Rinpoche revealed by Dudjom Drakngak Lingpa in Dewakota, Pemakö, courtesy of Norma Levine

A unique feature of Pemakö as a hidden land overall, and of Dudjom Drakngak Lingpa as a tertön, is the apocalyptic prophecy that assigns Pemakö’s womb chakra as the ‘Deathless Extreme Secret Place’ (’Chi med yang gsang gnas) from where the seeds of humanity will regenerate themselves after being extinguished at the end of the Dark Age. These seeds are said to be stored in a treasure chest under Padmasambhava’s throne at the top of Dewakota hill.[8]

Along with these néyiks, Drakngak Lingpa revealed part of Guru Rinpoche’s throne at the top of Dewakota.

According to Norma Levine[9],

We sat and meditated, listening till all sounds blended with the nature of mind. Hours passed before we slowly came to our feet and walked the stone stairs to the top of Dewakota. A clearing showed a modest stone temple – built by Terton Nang Gey then damaged in 1950 in a massive earthquake and rebuilt – a wooden shack for pilgrims’ retreats, another larger primitive wooden dwelling for guests and a jubilant band of proud cockerels who had been saved from the chop. A Lama with a white wispy beard and long gown, crinkled his face in ageless joy as he showed us to our beds in the guesthouse. He could have played the deathless Lama in Lost Horizon.
I walked to the temple to examine a pitch-black stone throne standing magnificently beside it. ‘This is the most important terma treasure of Pemako,’ said Ata. ‘It’s the stone throne of Guru Rinpoche.
This terma is just outside the temple [in Dewakota, Pemakö] and was originally revealed by Dudjom Drakngak Lingpa. Dudjom Rinpoche confirmed that this special terma, the throne of Guru Rinpoche, would benefit many beings in the future.

According to Dylan Esler[10] ‘Moreover, the prophecies of Guru Rinpoche foretell that when humanity is extinguished, it is from this place that the human race will regenerate itself. The terma consists, in part at least, of Guru Rinpoche’s seat. Unfortunately, however, it was damaged by a young lama who touched it prematurely.’

In 1920/22, inviting to Dewakota Dudjom Rinpoche to grant the Rinchen Terdzö for the first time

Dudjom Drakngak Lingpa shared a close collaboration with Dudjom Rinpoche (1904-1987). It was at the invitation of Dudjom Drakngak Lingpa that Dudjom Rinpoche first visited Pemakö in his late teens and bestowed the empowerments of the Rinchen Terdzö for his first time in Dewakota. These empowerments were completed in 1920/22. According to Lopön Ogyan Tanzin Rinpoche, ‘When Dudjom Rinpoche gave the Rinchen Terdzö here, in Dewakota, at the age of sixteen, not even he sat on the throne of Guru Rinpoche revealed by Dudjom Drakngak Lingpa. Why? Because inside that throne, it is said there are more termas than anywhere else in the rest of the world.’

In 1929, Dudjom Rinpoche predicted that Drakngak Lingpa’s termas will benefit many beings in the future

At the time of making this prediction concerning Dudjom Drakngak Lingpa’s terma, Dudjom Rinpoche was twenty-five. Dudjom Rinpoche in turn prophesied the benefit that the treasures of Dudjom Drakngak Lingpa would have for beings in future times.

Offering his daughter in marriage to Dudjom Rinpoche

Lopön Ogyan Tanzin Rinpoche shared the following story[11]

Dudjom Drakngak Lingpa promised Dudjom Rinpoche his daughter in marriage, and the later agreed that he would return to fetch her in Dewakota. Fulfilling his promise, Dudjom Rinpoche returned to Tuting when he was twenty-five, traveling from Kongpo (South Tibet). However, Dudjom Drakngak Lingpa’s secretary, who also coveted his daughter, took her away Dudjom Drakngak Lingpa thereupon declared this to be a terrible sin, forelling that many calamities would befall them. Indeed, his own daughter, being Dudjom Rinpoche’s predicted consort (Dudjom Rinpoche had five predicted dakini consorts), passed away a month later.

Students

Among Dudjom Drakngak Lingpa's students are:

Family

One of Dudjom Drangak Lingpa’s consorts was from the Rungsar family. Together, they had a son named Tulku Pema Yeshe. Dudjom Drangak Lingpa also had a daughter, whom he offered to Dudjom Rinpoche as consort.

Writings

The compilation of his termas and writings fill eight volumes[12]

Among his writings are three néyiks, pilgrimages guides, who are all termas:

  • The Crystal Mirror Chronicle of the Supreme Sacred Realm of Pretapurī (Wyl. gNas mchog pre ta pur ri’i gnas yig shel dkar me long bzhugs so)
  • The Chronicle of Devakoṭa That Clears Away the Darkness of Ignorance (from The Treasure of the Inexhaustible Wisdom Expanse of Secret Enlightened Intention (Wyl. dGongs gsang zad med ye shes klong mdzod las; Dai wa ko ta’i gnas yig ma rig mun sel bzhugs)
  • The Chronicle of the Most Secret Pema Shelri Mountain: The Lamp Which Dispels the Darkness of Ignorance (from The Unity of All Sublime Thought of the Three Roots) (Wyl. rTsa gsum dgongs pa kun ‘dus las: Yang gsang pad shel gnas yig ma rig mun sel sgron me bzhugs)

Final Years

In 1929, Dudjom Drakngak Lingpa died a natural death.

Reincarnation

His incarnation is Tulku Pema Rigdzin (20th), based in Pemakö.

Notes

  1. Most of the information of this page is extracted from Elisabeth McDougal, “Drakngak Lingpa’s Piligrimage Guides and the Progressive Opening of the Hidden Land of Pemakö”, Revue d’Etudes Tibétaines, no.35 April 2016, pp. 5-52.
  2. Elisabeth McDougal, “Drakngak Lingpa’s Piligrimage Guides and the Progressive Opening of the Hidden Land of Pemakö”, Revue d’Etudes Tibétaines, no.35 April 2016, pp. 5-52.
  3. sTag sham bsam gtan gling pa, an important seventeenth century tertön. Among sTag sham’s revealed treasures were descriptive texts about Pemakö as well as the life story of Yeshe Tsogyal. He is also said to have revealed the rTsa gsum yi dam dgongs ’dus terma cycle that is connected with Dudjom Drakngak Lingpa ‘s néyik ‘The Chronicle of the Most Secret Pema Shelri Mountain: The Lamp Which Dispels the Darkness of Ignorance (from The Unity of All Sublime Thought of the Three Roots).
  4. Notes from Cantwell 2015; sPrul sku padma rig ’dzin 2012).
  5. Elisabeth McDougal, “Drakngak Lingpa’s Piligrimage Guides and the Progressive Opening of the Hidden Land of Pemakö”, Revue d’Etudes Tibétaines, no.35 April 2016, pp. 5-52.
  6. Cantwell 2015.
  7. Elisabeth McDougal, “Drakngak Lingpa’s Piligrimage Guides and the Progressive Opening of the Hidden Land of Pemakö”, Revue d’Etudes Tibétaines, no.35 April 2016, pp. 5-52.
  8. Dylan Ester, A Brief Pilgrimage to the Hidden Land of Pemakö.
  9. Norma Levine, Blessing Power of the Buddhas: Sacred Objects, Secret Lands Paperback, 1993.
  10. Dylan Ester, A Brief Pilgrimage to the Hidden Land of Pemakö.
  11. Dylan Ester, A Brief Pilgrimage to the Hidden Land of Pemakö.
  12. This compilation is available on TBRC.

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