Dzogchen Nyingma Lineageof Khenpo Sherab Sangpo
Dharmakāya Samantabhadra and Samantabhadri
Saṃbhogakāya Vajrasattva and Vajratöpa
Nirmāṇakāya Garap Dorjé (Garab Dorje) was the first human master of Dzogchen. It then passed to Mañjushrimitra. At the time of his parinirvana, Garab Dorje ascended into the sky and dissolved into rainbow light. At this, Mañjushrimitra cried out in despair and distress, and made a very beautiful plea: “What will become of us now that you are passing away? You are the light of the world…” This moved Garab Dorje and his hand reappeared that held a small golden casket containing the teaching of Hitting the Essence in Three Words. He let this casket fall into the hand of Mañjushrimitra. As soon as he received it, his mind became the same as the wisdom mind of his master Garab Dorje.
Decide upon one thing and one thing only,
Confidence directly in the liberation of rising thoughts.
Nirmāṇakāya Garap Dorjé
Vidyādhara Śrī Siṃha
Vimalamitra spent thirteen years in Tibet, and then, promising to return to Tibet every hundred years as an emanation to further the Clear Light teaching of Dzogpachenpo, he left for the Wutai Shan mountain in China. There he remains, in the rainbow body, the ‘Body of Great Transference’, and there he will remain until all of the 1002 buddhas of this Fortunate Aeon have appeared. When they have all done so, he will once again go to Vajrasana in India, where he will manifest the state of complete and perfect enlightenment.
My mother, the space of all things, Samantabhadri,
My line, the indivisibility of awareness and space,
My name, the glorious Lotus Born,
My homeland, the unborn dharmadhatu,
My sustenance, consuming dualistic thoughts,
My destiny, to accomplish the actions of the buddhas of past, present and future.
Padmasambhava from Oḍḍiyāna
Dharmaraja Trisong Detsen
Dākīni Yeshé Tsogyal
Vairotsana was born into the Pagor (Tib. སྤ་གོར་, Wyl. spa gor) clan, and was sent to India by Trisong Detsen to study with Indian panditas. He also travelled widely in China, Khotan, Nepal, Shangshung and elsewhere. He was one of the original seven monks ordained by Shantarakshita.
His principal teacher was Shri Singha, from whom he received the instructions and empowerments of sem dé, long dé and mengak dé. He also received direct transmissions from Mañjushrimitra, who appeared to him in his wisdom body. In realization, Vairotsana became equal to Guru Rinpoche.
After returning to Tibet, he was eventually sent into exile in East Tibet; there he taught Yudra Nyingpo, Sangtön Yeshe Lama, and the old man, Mipham Gönpo before Trisong Detsen recalled him to Lhasa.
He translated many of Shri Singha’s works as well as many other mantrayana texts. He also translated part of the 100,000 verse Prajnaparamita text and other sutras. The exact number of his translations cannot now be traced, as the names of early translators were not always recorded by later translators.
Rongzom Chöyki Zangpo
Longchenpa studied and practiced teachings from a variety of lineages and masters. He received and mastered so many teachings, in fact, that he became known as Samye Lungmangwa, the One of Samye with Many Transmissions. Though he is associated primarily with the Nyingma lineage, he also studied many teachings of the Sarma, or New Schools, including the Kalachakratantra, Chöd, and the Path and Result teachings of the Sakya lineage. He shared a particularly close relationship with the third Karmapa, Rangjung Dorjé, with whom he studied under the Dzogchen master Rigdzin Kumaraja.
Longchenpa passed away at the age of fifty-six. He left over two hundred and fifty treatises behind, many of which are still regarded as the most comprehensive and authoritative works yet written concerning the view and practice of the Great Perfection. His most important students include the 3rd Karmapa, Rangjung Dorjé, with whom he exchanged teachings, Özer Kocha, and his son, Tülku Trakpa Özer.
Kunkhyen Longchen Rabjam
His mother was Yum Lhandzin Yangchen Drölma, who was a direct descendent of the Chögyal Dynasty of the great kings Songtsen Gampo and Trisong Detsen.
His father, Sangdak Thrinley Lhündrup, was the reincarnation of Nubchen Sangyay Yeshe, one of the twenty-five disciples of Guru Padmasambhava. Sangdak Thrinley Lhundrup himself, born at Chak Jangchubling in 1611 (iron female pig year), was the son of Khedrub Don-Nga Tenzin, a learned and accomplished teacher of the Nyö clan. Sangdak Thrinley Lhündrup was a renowned scholar and teacher who studied with more than 30 highly-accomplished masters of the time. He then bestowed these profound and vast teachings on his supreme spiritual son of body, speech and mind, the great treasure finder Chögyal Terdak Lingpa Rigdzin Gyurme Dorje.
Minling Terchen Gyurme Dorje (Terdak Lingpa) was the founder of Mindroling Monastery in 1676. This is the “Gyurme” that Khenpo Sherab Sangpo names his Dharma students after when he bestows refuge vows.
nang drak rik sum lha ngak chökü ngang
May appearance, sound and awareness in the state of deity, mantra and dharmakāya
ku dang yeshe rolpar jamlepé
Merge boundlessly as the display of kāyas and wisdoms,
zabsang naljor chenpö nyamlen la
In the profound and secret practice of the Great Yoga,
yermé tuk kyi tikler ro chik shok
And may they be of one taste, indivisible with the tiklé of the wisdom mind.
Rigdzin Gyurmé Dorjé
When Dharmashri was fifteen, he received novice monastic vows from the Fifth Dalai Lama, from whom he also received full ordination when he reached the age of twenty. Fulfilling the instruction of the Dalai Lama, he later received the pure lineage of the Lower Tibetan Vinaya of the Nyingma. This was the Vinaya lineage from Kham that had survived the persecution of the buddhadharma by King Langdarma. Dharmashri became a great preserver of this tradition, widely propagating its explanation and practice. He and his elder brother, Terdak Lingpa, both sought out the great doctrine holders of the time and received an enormous number of transmissions on an equally vast number of topics.
In his twenty-eighth year he started a strict retreat concentrating his meditation on the development and perfection stages. He experienced many visions of Guru Rinpoche, Yeshe Tsogyal, Manjushrimitra and others, each further awakening his inner wisdom. One evening with an unbearable devotion to Guru Rinpoche in his heart, he experienced flying through the sky to the circumnambulation path of the Bodhnath stupa. In the courtyard of the stupa, a dakini entrusted him with a wooden casket containing yellow scrolls and crystal beads. Encouraged by another dakini, he swallowed these and instantly experienced the full awakening in his mind of all the words and meaning of the Longchen Nyingthik cycle.
Three years later during a retreat at the Chimpu caves, the highest realisation of Dzogchen awakened in him through three visionary transmissions of the Longchen Nyingthik teachings from Longchen Rabjam. He kept them secret for seven years, until a clairvoyant disciple beseeched Jigme Lingpa to transmit them. Swiftly the teachings reached every corner of the Nyingma world and became the heart essence of meditation instructions for many realised meditators to this day.
Rigdzin Jigmé Lingpa
During these he was overcome with revulsion for the lying and cursing practiced by laypeople. When his brother died at age 18, this more than any other single event, turned his mind resolutely to Dharma, but relatives put great pressure on him to marry and take care of the family. He was forced to run away from home and traveled to Central Tibet with a like-minded friend. At Samye they met with the first Dodrupchen who advised them to see Jigme Lingpa. When they reached Tsering Jong and beheld Jigme Lingpa, Jigme Gyalwe Nyugu experienced incredible joy. They received empowerments, transmissions, and detailed instructions on Dzogchen.
After several more retreats in east Tibet he returned to Tsering Jong and experienced once more the great joy of seeing the omniscient Jigme Lingpa, who invited him to stay for three years. He explained frankly that he had to go back home because of obligations. He returned to Kham and did many years retreat around Dzogchen, and in Dzachuka, he had many extraordinary experiences. As advised by Jigme Lingpa, he devoted the entire latter part of his life to teaching whoever came to listen, giving empowerments or meditation instructions to all who were devout and sincere. During this period, he gave Patrül Rinpoche teachings on the Ngöndro of Longchen Nyingtik 25 times as well as the teachings on Tsalung and Dzogchen.
Jigmé Gyalwé Nyugu
Patrül Rinpoché studied with many different masters. His two main teachers, however, were Jigme Lingpa’s second main disciple, Jigme Gyalwe Nyugu, and the great tantric yogi Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje, the mind incarnation of Jigme Lingpa. Under these and other important lamas, he studied a vast array of topics, from the foundational teachings of the Hinayana up to the most profound and secret oral instructions of the Great Perfection.
At the age of twenty, Patrül Rinpoché left the residence of his predecessor and took up the life of a wandering hermit. For the rest of his days, Patrül wandered from mountain retreats to large monasteries, practicing the teachings, instructing students, and composing commentaries on important texts and practices. Though he was master of the Great Perfection teachings, he had a passion for teaching the Mahayana as well. He taught Shantideva’s Bodhicaryavatara over a hundred times. Throughout his life, Patrül Rinpoché demonstrated the impeccable life of a true siddha-scholar; he kept few possessions, had no fixed abode, and was often mistaken for a beggar due to his humble appearance.
Patrül Rinpoché’s heart disciple was Lungtok Tenpé Nyima, who lived with him for twenty-eight years. His other disciples include some of the 19th century’s most outstanding masters. Among them were Mipham Rinpoche, Khenpo Künpal, the 3rd Dodrupchen Rinpoche, the famed tertön and teacher of the 13th Dalai Lama, Lerab Lingpa, and Adzom Drukpa. Patrül Rinpoché Rinpoche died at the age of 80.
Jamyang Khyentsé Wangpo
Mipham’s primary teachers were Patrül Rinpoche and Jamyang Khyentsé Wangpo, both incarnations of the tertön Jigmé Lingpa. Khyentsé Rinpoche requested Mipham to preserve the Nyingma teachings through teaching, debate, and composition—a task in which he admirably succeeded. About his remarkable student, Khyentsé remarked: “In this time, there is no one else on earth more learned than Lama Mipham.”
He excelled not only in study and teaching, however, but in practice as well. The numerous retreats he completed were always accompanied by miraculous signs of accomplishment.
Mipham Rinpoche’s collected writings comprise twenty-seven volumes and cover a vast array of topics. Among his most influential writings are The Speech of Delight—a commentary on Shantarakshita’s Ornament of the Middle Way, Gateway to Knowledge—which provides an overview of the Buddha’s teachings, and Beacon of Certainty—an elucidation of the view of the Great Perfection and its relationship to the Middle Way teachings.
Mipham Jamyang Namgyal
Khenchen Yönten Gyatso
zab shyi trödral ösal dü ma ché
Profound and peaceful, free from complexity, uncompounded luminosity—
dütsi tabü chönyi dön tok né
Having realized the nectar-like nature of reality,
gang la gang dül tabkhé chöpa yi
May I gain the power to guide infinite beings
pakyé drowa drenpé tu tob shok
Through the skillful conduct of training each according to their needs.
Khenchen Thupten Chöphel
He finally reached Dzogchen Monastery in eastern Tibet and studied with all of the gurus, tulkus, khenpos, and teachers residing there, investigating the thirteen great source texts and teachings from the sutras, tantras, and other fields of knowledge. He himself joined the ranks of the learned. From Dzogchen Tupten Chökyi Dorjé, he received many empowerments and oral transmissions for the practice of tantra. Dzogchen Rinpoche took responsibility for Bötrul Do-ngak Tenpai Nyima and accorded him many honors. For example, he conferred the title of tulku on him, seated him during large gatherings on a throne that stood in the center at the back of the hall, and assigned several monks as his attendants when he traveled. Everyone honored him as Böpa Tulku. […]
Do-ngak Tenpai Nyima attracted many students from all directions and upheld and fostered Mipam Rinpoché’s teaching methods. Among his students were Khen Chöchap, Pema Tsewang Lhundrup, Khen Tupten of Mepa, Khen Tupten of Rahor, Khen Dazer, and many other learned masters. He wrote numerous extensive and more concise works, including The Delineation of the Tenets of the View, An Overview of the Perfection of Sublime Knowledge, and A Word-by-Word Commentary on the Perfection of Sublime Knowing.
Böpa Tulku Dongak Tenpe Nyima was a disciple of Kunpal Rinpoche who upheld the pure tradition of Jamgön Mipham Rinpoche. He was born during the fifteenth calendrical cycle in the eastern part of central Tibet, in the region of Dakpo. From an early age, his enlightened potential was awakened and he entered the path of the Dharma. In time, he joined a party of traders and pilgrims returning to Eastern Tibet, and went with them to Kham in search of teachings.
Being young and a great distance from home, he had to face countless hardships, similar to those faced by Jetsün Milarepa, as he lacked the provisions needed to practise, had only poor clothes to wear and so on. Eventually, he made his way to Dzogchen Monastery in Dokham, and there received teachings from the resident lamas, tulkus, khenpos and acharyas on the various disciplines of the sūtras and tantras, but especially on the thirteen great classical scriptures. Through this training, he joined the ranks of the learned.
He also received many empowerments and oral transmissions from the [fifth] Dzogchen incarnation Tubten Chökyi Dorje. Dzogchen Rinpoche treated him with great affection, and accorded him the title of tulku, gave him a throne, and appointed a pair of monk-attendants to accompany him wherever he travelled. So it was that everyone honoured him with the name ‘Böpa Tulku’, i.e., the tulku from central Tibet. […]
This brief biography was supplemented by his direct disciple Khenchen Pema Tsewang Lhundrup whilst he was travelling in the foreign land of England furthering the Dharma tradition of the Ancient School.
Dongak Tenpé Nyima
In 1958, Adzom Gyalsé was arrested and put in prison where he gave teachings to his fellow inmates. He passed away in 1969 with many miraculous signs, and left a letter predicting the date and place of his future rebirth and the names of his future parents.
Gyalsé Gyurmé Dorjé
Khenchen Padma Tsewang
Khenchen Jigmé Phuntsok
Khenchen Chöying Chapdal
Please visit our website page devoted to Adzom Drukpa Thupten Padma Trinlé to read his biography, learn about Khenpo Sherab Sangpo’s connection to his root teacher, and view a slideshow of photos.
Adzom Drukpa Thupten Padma Trinlé
Khangsar Tenpé Wangchuk
Nyingma Refuge Tree
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