Thursday, January 28, 2010

Lineage of the Ninth Ogyen Tulku Rinpoche

The first in the line of the Ogyen Rinpoches is said to be Dhanasamskrita, born in the Thogar area of Uddiyana: one of the Eight Vidyadharas of India.

Dhanasamskrita received and practiced the Mamo Bötong, the "border" tantra, or "command of mamo" from the Kagye cycle (the Liberating Sorcery of Mother Deities, or Matarah). Some comments briefly explaining the Mamo Bötong are provided here, taken from a presentation by Jigme Rinpoche in 2009:
"Mamo means ‘feminine world’ or ‘feminine aspect’. It’s a complete section devoted to the feminine deities. It is called ‘semi-worldly’ because the mandala has two parts, a beyond-worldly part and a worldy part. The first part, the original mamo, is called Mamo Mukhali. Mamo Mukhali is known as the Queen of Space.

When we talk about this, we should understand that there are the three aspects of the feminine quality of appearances. Appearances include both appearing phenomena and non-appearing [intangible] phenomena. The first aspect relates to outer phenomena. Outer phenomena are the solid physical world. This is made from substances and energies that are very tiny and not perceivable. Those non-perceivable energies are called the five elements. The five elements are the basic substances, or ingredients, you might say, the energies that contribute to the formation of the solid physical, tangible world. [The five elements are earth, water, fire, wind and space.]
Within these five elements, the basic foundation is the element of space. Space and [and the other] four elements are known as feminine energy, feminine in character. From among these five, the mother of all the feminine universe, feminine quality or energy, is the mother of space. That is Mukhali. Mukhali is not considered a worldly energy or a worldly deity. Rather it is seen as the dharmadhatu, [the space of phenomena], the source of all happenings, because it is space. Therefore, this aspect of Mamo Bötong can only be a wisdom entity. But her retinue is all worldly deities. That is why Mamo Bötong is called ’semi-worldly’, there’s the boss, which is wisdom, and retinue which are all worldly.
Due to the five elements coming together, the physical world is created. The emotional world arises due to linking with the physical world. The outer elements have a direct link to the inner elements in our body. The inner elements are the different elementary energies present in our body in a physical form—like heat, breathing (wind), flesh (earth), and so on. These are directly related to the five elements. The five outer elements have a function to maintain, to continue, and to eventually disintegrate the physical world. The inner elementary world is also responsible for giving birth to life, sustaining it, and disintegrating in the end. That is the physical world.
In addition to and depending upon the five outer elements of the physical world and the inner elements of the body, is the subtlest part of the inner entity. This is inner world that is based on the tsa, lung, and tigle. Tsa, lung and tigle (channels, winds, and essence) are the most subtle, highly refined state of the energy which interacts with the more gross physical, more solid entities. The more solid entities are our bodies, our sense fields or organs, which then interact with the outer physical world.
As long as there is unity and harmony, a good relationship, between these, there is health. There is happiness, bliss, emptiness, and so on. When there is disharmony, disintegration starts, and therefore pain, suffering, destruction, and all sorts of things like that begin. So Mamo Botong is a practice for restoring, for reconnecting, for stabilizing, for harmonizing the elementary energy of the feminine world. This is basically our outer physical world, the inner body world, and the innermost tsa lung tigle world.
That is the reason [for Mamo Bötong practice]. Any obstacles leading to that are hopefully reversed or overcome by the practice of Mamo Bötong. It’s actually, essentially a feminine world of outer, inner, innermost substance."

The second Ogyen Rinpoche was Palgyi Yeshe: one of the twenty-five disciples of Guru Rinpoche. He was born at Yadrok, in the Drokmi clan, and gained renown for translating the tantra of Mamo Bötong, through which he attained supreme accomplishment, at Yarto Shambo Khyangkyi Rawa.

The third Ogyen Rinpoche is reckoned as Gyalmo Yudra Nyingpo, another of the twenty-five disciples,  an eminent translator and scholar, and a personal disciple of Vairochana. He is the main Tibetan recipient of the sem sde tradition of Dzogchen.

According to the biographical notes maintained by the Palyul:

The fourth Ogyen Rinpoche expressed his intentions as the famed Terton Samten Dechen Lingpa.

The fifth Ogyen Rinpoche expressed his intentions as Chima Dechen Lingpa, or the second Dechen Lingpa.

The sixth Ogyen Rinpoche is reckoned as Dudjom Dungral Lingpa.

The seventh Ogyen Rinpoche was known as Kyabdral Dorje.

The eighth Ogyen Rinpoche was known as Dorje Chang Palden Yeshe Zangpo: famed for his complete mastery of the highest stages of Dzogchen.

Trahkya Lama Palden Yeshe Sangpo, was a great master born in the Aago family from Trahkya in Nyagrong, in the Kham region of Tibet. Immediately after his birth, he cultivated a deep sense of renunciation and could recite the six-syllable mantra of Avalokiteshvara. Later, he entered a monastery in Nyarong and remained there as an ordinary monk.

At the monastery, he met Lama Yeshe Dorje, the disciple of the Nyakla, the rainbow-body-attained Lama Pema Dhudul. He then entered Phowa Khug monastery and studied the Dzogchen preliminary and main practices called Essence of the Clear Vajra Nature (Long-sal Dorje Nying-po) and Stages of the Path according to the Kathog (a branch of the Nyingma lineage: Ka-thog pa’i lugs-kyi lam-rim). He also did the practice of controlling winds and channels, whereby they eventually became pliant and serviceable. In winter he managed with only a single loin cloth. He avoided meat and rich clothing. He continued his practice by subsisting on nonphysical spiritual food, which is quite unusual even for advanced meditators. Draped in white woolen or cotton robes, he wore a pair of conch ear-rings and a tuft of hair. Later he approached Khenchen Ngawang Pelsang and received Nyoshul Lungtog Tenpae Nyima’s oral transmissions on The Innermost Essence Teachings of Longchenpa (Long-chen nying-thig) and several other teachings. Causing all conceptualized mental elaboration to dissolve, he gained the wisdom directly cognizing emptiness. 

Thereafter, Khenchen Ngawang Pelsang was taken as his uncommon and principal Lama, who stated that the expression “beings attaining liberation in one life-time and one body by Dzogchen practice,” as explained in teachings, referred only to someone like Trahkya Palden. He was strict and careful in his practice of meditation. He lit lamps over his head and sat motionless meditating in his cave. Without a bed, not removing his belt, he undertook meditation retreat for many years. He always practiced in remote places on snow mountains or high hills. He mostly did his practice in Kabur snow mountain in the Dhomey region, where the cave remained closed throughout the year except during the first fortnight of the fifth Tibetan month. 

One year, the snow did not melt for the whole year and none of his generous patrons could make their annual offerings to the Lama. Then in the next summer, they became worried about Lama, saying that they would like to take his mortal remains out of the cave for a proper funeral service and offering. But when they cleared the thick snow and ice that blocked the cave’s opening, they were stunned and astonished to see the Lama sitting in peaceful and serene meditative equipoise with his physical appearance glowing radiantly. When the cave door opened the Lama burst out in laughter and said, “By the Triple Gem’s grace I’m well and good. Why did you do this?” 

During those two years, by the power of his Dzogchen practice of non-conceptual space-like Yogic meditation and the Wheel of Clear Light, winter or summer, day or night, made no difference to him. By his practice, he gained the wisdom understanding the pure nature of phenomena, where internal and external objects appeared in an unobscured form, unclouded by ideas of good and evil. Spontaneously arisen universes and their inhabitants appeared in the form of pure realms and celestial beings. When he was discovered to be alive, people experienced strong devotion and requested Lama to turn the wheel of Dharma. 

During the later years of his life, he mostly remained at the retreat center of Sengri Dorje Yuzong, which was founded by Terchen Drimey, of Kathog monastery, and Pema Gyaltsen, an incarnation of Kongtrul Thinleypa. To his followers coming from Vashul, Trom-thar, Adzi, Nyagrong, Gojo, Linga-shipa, Kathog, Ragchab and others he gave dharma teachings on upper and lower Long-chen Nying-thig and The Complete Purified Essence Teachings of Longchenpa (Long-sal Do-rje nying-po’i chö-’khor). He wrote Unobscured Dharma Treasure of the Primordial Buddha’s Deep Essence, Combined Practices of the Highest Stages of Dzog-chen (Dri-med Ter-choe kun-zang zab-tik gi drel-pa treg-chod toe-gal zung-jug gi shed-pa zog-rim), a text like a golden Vajra, and countless other texts which are still preserved in Tibet. As a sign of his having destroyed his craving and desire for worldly things, he did not have any interest in gaining wealth, riches, or other material comforts. Also Choeje Paltrul Rinpoche’s biography recounted that this great Lama Trahkya Palden Rinpoche had only a small bag of tsampa (roasted barley flour) at the time of his dying. Finally, at the age of eighty eight, he passed away for the benefit of all sentient beings. At the time of his dying, a rainbow graced the sky, relics were left behind, and many auspicious signs of an enlightened being were seen. All his close disciples from Kathog Monastery, Ragchab Monastery and many other disciples who were great Lamas and Tulkus of his area made great efforts in spreading his teachings. and looked after his monasteries at Sengrigar and Ragchab, and Trahkya.

When the Chinese came to Tibet and were about to take over the country, Trahkya Palden warned the couple who would become the parents of his next incarnation that they should leave Tibet because bad times were coming. He told them specifically that he would meet them at a later time and gave them some precious stones like turquoise, coral and onyx from his Mandala offering set. When his next incarnation was conceived, a Boddhi-tree grew in the middle of the front yard without being planted; no seeds for that plant are found in that area. When he was born there was a rainbow in the sky. When he started talking, he told his mom “You have kept my present very well,” pointing at her necklace where she had the turquoise.

H.H. Pema Norbu Rinpoche gave him an honorific name, when he was 10 days old. H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche also gave him an honorific name which means Oddiyana, the place of Guru Padmasambava, unchangeable, powerful victory. In 1978, on the 10th day of the Monkey month, at the holy Jarung Khashor stupa in Nepal, he was formally recognized by His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche, the crown jewel of the Nyingma Lineage and the regent of Guru Padmasambhava. 

In 1981, corresponding to 25th day of the fifth month of Tibetan lunar year 2110, he was enthroned by H.H. Dilgo Kyentse Rinpoche and H.H. Pema Norbu Rinpoche, the incarnation of the great scholar Vimalamitra, in the presence of more than three thousand Tulkus, Khenpos and Lamas, at the East Victory Palyul monastery Namdrolling, in India, the sister monastery of the principal Palyul monastery in Tibet, the center of religious learning and meditation for the Nyingmapa lineage. Before the age of thirteen he had mastered the skills of leading sacred rituals, making mandalas, presenting ritual dances, powa (transference of consciousness) and other essential parts of the Palyul tradition of spiritual practice. Along with these, he learned Tibetan traditional Medicine and Astrology from his uncle, the seventh generation physician Lama Pema Sherab. From the age of thirteen, he studied the teachings of the Sutras and Tantras, and other fields of Buddhist science at Ngagyur Nyingma Institute for nine years. After graduation, he was sent to Asia by His Holiness Penor Rinpoche to teach Buddha Dharma. As soon as he returned, His Holiness appointed him to be one of the professors at the main Nyingmapa university and nunnery college.

He received the empowerments, oral transmissions and instruction on the whole Kama and Terma teachings (The distinct Nyingma teachings of the transmitted precepts and the rediscovered treasure teachings) from H.H. Dilgo Khentse Rinpoche, Namch‘o’e (Sky Treasure Dharma), Nying-tig (Innermost Essence) and Do-wang (Sutra Initiation) from His Holiness Pema Norbu Rinpoche. He also received other precious and secret empowerments, oral transmissions and teachings of the Nyingma tradition from The Dzogchen masters H.H. Jadral Sangye Dorje Rinpoche, H.H. Minling Trichen Rinpoche, H.H. Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche, Tulku Thubsang Rinpoche, Ngoshul Khenpo Jamyang Dorje, Khenpo Pema Sherab, Khenpo Jigme Phuntsog, Khenpo A-choe Rinpoche, and others.

Thus, so it happens that the enlightened vows and intentions of the previous Ogyen Rinpoches have now come together in the unmistaken incarnation of Dorje Chang Palden Yeshe Zangpo: Tulku Ogyen Rinpoche. He normally resides in India and the United States, but also regularly travels to Taiwan and Canada. He additionally travels to his monasteries in Tibet, which are located in Kham.

You can gain more information about his activities here, or by following the information on this web page. He is a very candid, very straightforward, very direct and wholesome, kind and generous person, who operates beyond deception in the immediately arising here and now.

How completely refreshing, you know?

[Adapted from the post "Beyond Deception," at Digital Tibetan Buddhist Altar used by permission, and other sources.]


  1. Wonder-full! I am fortunate!

  2. I am blessed,fortunate!