Zabsang Khandro Nyingtik

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Zabsang Khandro Nyingtik, ‘The Profound Doctrine of the heart Essence of the Dakinis’, is one of the four main cycle of termas revealed by Dudjom Lingpa in 1862 from several treasure sites in Eastern Tibet. This cycle of practice is the only sater (earth-terma) cycle of Dudjom Lingpa.

Revelation of the Terma

In his biography, Dudjom Lingpa recounts[1]:

In 1862, in the last autumn month, someone called Chö-nyön Drakpa, Renowned Madman Severance Practitioner, offered me a drum, a hand drum, a thighbone trumpet, and a pair of volumes of Jikme Lingpa’s Longchen Nyingtik. He asked, “Transcribe a text from the Zabsang Khandro Nyingtik (The Secret Treasury of the Dakinis) and I will do that practice. […]. The next night, when I saw images of Rigdzin Jikme Lingpa, Longchen Rabjam, and Guru Padmasambhava fused together in a single coemergent form, the trio placed upon my head the two volumes Chö-nyön Drakpa had given me. They declared, “We grant you empowerment and transmission of what words can express; the empowerment and transmission of the inexpressible meaning; and the close-lineage empowerment and transmission that is complete in itself. May you receive them! May they be complete!” Having said that, their form appeared to vibrate and quiver. I exclaimed, “Those earthen images are astonishing. They are amazing!” At that, an old man jeered, “I laugh at your impure eyes! Seeing even these illusory wisdom forms as earthen images—what is it that all about?” As soon as he said that, I woke up. When I transcribed a practice from the Zabsang Khandro Nyingtik, I felt confident, and spectacular good omens arose. A dense canopy of rainbow light emerged, while simultaneously a small flock of vultures descended; delightful aromas wafted in mists, and a naturally arisen symphony resounded.

In another part of his biography, Dudjom Lingpa recounts[2]:

I received the prophetic lists for the earth treasure Zabsang Khandro Nyingtik, ‘The Profound Doctrine of the Heart Essence of the Dakinis’ in this way. From within the sites Ba Treasure Cliff of Mar, Tsunmo Ngulgö Cliff, Margyi Potsong Stupa, Gyedrö Stupa, Tashi Gomang, and Chak Richen, I retrieved prophetic lists, supplementary lists, and the like in boxes made from rock, bamboo, earth, wax, and wood. I also found them written on parchment without a container, as well as within a pile of charcoal. That’s how I obtained them.

In another part of his autobiography, in a dialogue with Lekpé Lodrö, The Ancestor of the World, Dudjom Lingpa says[3]:

“I have a sater (earth-treasure) cycle of revelation called Zabsang Khandro Nyingtik, ‘The Profound Doctrine of the heart Essence of the Dakinis’. The treasure sites were Ba Treasure Cliff of Mar, Ngulgö, and Sermé Ngala Taktsé.

Texts of the Cycle

The Zabsang Khandro Nyingtik cycle includes:

  • a complete ngöndro practice
  • A chö practice which was revealed after a vision Dudjom Lingpa had of Jigme Lingpa, Longchen Rabjam and Padmasambhava.
  • The Tukdrub Sangwa Gyachen, the ‘Sealed Secret Heart Practice’, which is a Vajrakilaya terma included in Volume Ca of Dudjom Lingpa’s Collected Works. It is on the basis of this terma text that Dudjom Rinpoche arranged the Namchak Pudri Vajrakilaya practice.


In a prophecy given to him by a dakini through a vision, Dudjom Lingpa was told that[4]: "In the year I turned twenty-two, […] a dakini appeared saying she was Yeshe Tsogyal. She sang: 'You will encounter a precious earth treasure—Zabsang Khandro Nyingtik—, [a] few disciples will practice that.'


  1. Traktung Dudjom Lingpa, A Clear Mirror: The Visionary Autobiography of a Tibetan Master, translated by Chonyi Drolma, North Atlantic Books, 2011, page 85.
  2. op. cit. page 131.
  3. Dudjom Lingpa, ‘A Clear Mirror’, The Visionary Autobiography of a Tibetan Master’, The Outer Autobiography, translated by Chönyi Drolma, Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 2011, page 139-140.
  4. op. cit. page 258.

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