Nyingma Perspective on Obstacles to the Revelation of Treasures (gter ma)

by Jean-Luc Achard

While the discovery of Treasures is generally seen as a very auspicious sign, in particular for those attending a “public revelation” (khrom gter), as well as for the immediate environment of the treasure site (gter gnas) and the locals, situations (lit. “defects”) resulting from not revealing Treasures (ma thon pa’i skyon) are the particular causes of ominous events. Thus, when the circumstances surrounding a revelation fall under the power of demonic forces (bdud), the Treasure Revealer will potentially lack the specific “good fortune” necessary to carry out his revelation. In a wider perspective, this is often portrayed in apocalyptic literature as a dramatic state of affairs leading to the arising of intense sufferings for Tibet and its inhabitants. In such a context, both the “king of Tibet” (bod kyi rje) and the population will face dire obstacles. To illustrate this situation, in his Precious Garland (Rin chen phreng ba), Setön Pema Wangchen first quotes a passage from the Seven Topics of the Crucial Precepts of the Heart Drops (sNying tig gnad kyi man ngag don bdun), a treasure revealed by tertön Zangpo Drakpa, in which it is said:

If, having fallen under the power of the demons, (the tertön) lacks the good fortune to reveal Treasures,
The Tibetan king and his people will experience unbearable sufferings.

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  1. I would like to thank Marianne Ginalski for her kind suggestions and corrections. []
  2. As quoted by Setön in his Precious Garland (Rin chen phreng ba), p. 391: gal te bdud kyi dbang du gyur nas gter thon pa’i skal ba dang mi ldan na: bod kyi rje ‘bangs bzod pa’i thabs med pa’i sdug bsngal la sbyor ro/. []

Apocalyptic Times and the Revelation of Rigdzin Gödem’s Transparent Contemplation of Samantabhadra

by Jean-Luc Achard


In his Garland of Jewels (Rin chen phreng ba), a fascinating work devoted to the “General Presentation of the Cycles of Teachings of the Northern Treasures” (Byang gter gyi chos skor rnams kyi spyi chings), Setön Pema Wangchen (15th c.) provides a brief analysis of the period in which Rigdzin Gödem was to reveal the treasure of the Transparent Contemplation of Samantabhadra (Kun bzang dgongs pa zang thal). Basing himself on a series of prophecies, Setön uses five main sources from which he has extracted brief excerpts. These are the subject of the present short paper.

In general, termas are said to be revealed during particularly difficult moments in history, in the course of degenerate times and situations. In traditional Tibetan context, this is often described as periods plagued with spiritual decay, a general decline in virtues, a fall of the royal (or local) Houses, internal conflicts, a general disintegration of familial structures, moral corruption and so forth. This degeneration of times is also expressed in the form of demonic manifestations, the spread of vicious behaviors, epidemics, epizootics, etc. For instance, in the Three Kinds of Lamps (sGron ma rnam gsum), the conditions requiring the revelation of Gödem’s terma are termed as follows:

During the period of degeneration and bad times (associated with) this Treasure,
At the time when the king falls into the populace,
When butchers become leaders of men,
When quarrels rage between fathers and siblings,
When divine supports2
 are destroyed and broken to pieces,
When one is being deceived by beloved companions,
When discord spread between masters and disciples,
When teachers are put to the sword,
When tantrikas perform (only) village rituals,
When foxes wear the hide of lions,
When Gongpo spirits carol songs,3

When scholars sell (teachings) like charlatans,
When attachments and aversions blaze like fire,
When human corpses are scattered
4 across the plains,
A noble emanated individual (arising)
From this Compassion of mine, (Orgyen) Pema,
Will come before this mountain
And, at that time, will excavate this treasure
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  1. I would like to thank Marianne Ginalski for her kind suggestions and corrections. []
  2. See below for details. []
  3. On ‘gong po, see Nebesky-Wojkowitz,Oracles and Demons of Tibet, pp. 283-285. []
  4. The verb that is used is ‘grems pa (spread out, display, etc.) in the original text. Funnily enough, Setön, in his Garland of Jewels (Rin chen ‘phreng ba, p. 30) reads that as ‘grims pa, as if understanding the verse as meaning something like “zombies rambling in the flatlands”. []
  5. sGron ma rnam gsum, p. 36: gter ‘di dus ngan snyigs ma’i dus: rgyal po dmangs su ‘bebs pa’i dus : shan pas mi mgo byed pa’i dus:  pha spun dme ‘khrug byed pa’i dus: lha rten bshig nas brdung ba’i dus: snying brtse’i grogs kyis bslu pa’i dus: slob dpon slob ma rnyog pa’i dus: dge bshes gri ru ‘chi ba’i dus: sngags pa grong chog byed pa’i dus: seng lpags wa yis gon pa’i dus: ‘gong pos rgyang glu len pa’i dus:  mkhas pas zog po brin pa’i dus:  chags sdang me ltar ‘bar ba’i dus: mi ro thang la ‘grems pa’i dus: padma nga yi thugs rje las: sprul pa’i gang zag dam pa gcig:  ri bo ‘di’i mdun du ‘byung :  de dus gter ‘di ‘don par ‘gyur:. []

Alien and Internal Prophecies regarding Rigdzin Gödem according to Setön Pema Wangchen

by Jean-Luc Achard

Setön’s brief analysis of the prophecies related to Gödem in his Generalities about the Northern Treasures (Byang gter spyi bcings) consists of a mere, yet logical, twofold list, enumerating first the main prophecies that are to be found in alien Terma literature (gter kha gzhan nas), i.e., outside the corpus of the Northern Treasures (Byang gter), and then listing those that are included within that corpus. In doing so, he intends to demonstrate the manifest importance of Gödem in the Nyingma tradition as a whole, and not only within his own lineage.

1. Prophecies made outside the Northern Treasures

In this first category, Setön quotes seven main sources—all of gter ma origins—, some of which have supposedly been discovered prior to Gödem’s birth. The first text that is quoted is The Prophecy of the Treasure (revealed by) Künkyong Lingpa (Kun skyong gling pa’i gter kha’i lung bstan),2 in which appears the following prophetic statement:

His miraculous power will be said to fulfill the aspirations of those to be tamed;
This man with a vulture feather on his head
Will retrieve all treasure vases (from) Trazang;
How can the summary of these be thoroughly sufficient?

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  1. I would like to thank Marianne Ginalski and Jay Valentine for their kind suggestions and corrections. []
  2. So far I have been unable to locate this title. Kun skyong gling pa is said to have been born in 1396 or 1408 and to have passed away at the age of 82 (either in 1477 or in 1489). See Samten Chhosphel, “Kunkyong Lingpa”, https://treasuryoflives.org/biographies/view/Kunkyong-Lingpa/2232. []
  3. Se ston, pp. 382-383 : rdzu ‘phrul (p. 383) gdul bya’i re ba bskong ba zhes: rgod kyi ldem phru dbu la skyes pa ni: bkra bzang gter gyi bum pa thams cad ‘byin: de rnams mdor bstan zhib tu ga la ldang:. The last verse of the quatrain simply means that there would be much more to say. []

The Proto-Historical Origins of the Northern Treasures according to Se ston Padma dbang chen (15th c.)

Jean-Luc Achard

In the first part of his Garland of Jewels (Rin chen ‘phreng ba), Se ston Padma dbang chen briefly describes the origins of the Northern Treasures tradition, dating it back to the imperial period. We shall briefly recall here the well-known narrative that structures these origins. Se ston explains that in “earlier times” (sngon gyi dus na),2 there came an emanation of Mañjughoṣa (‘Jam pa’i dbyangs) who manifested as a king protecting Dharma under the name of Khri srong lde’u btsan (r. 755–797). At the age of thirteen, the young prince took hold of the royal seat and started to govern the country.3 Soon, his heart started to turn toward virtues and he became interested in Buddhist teachings. At the time, he was eighteen. He financed the building of temples (gtsug lag khang) that would lay the basis for the spread of Buddhism in the Tibetan kingdom, styled as a “region of darkness” (mun pa’i gling). To ensure this diffusion he decided to invite important masters from India, starting with the abbot Śāntarakṣita who was born in Zahor and whom Tibetans nicknamed “Abbot Bodhisattva”. The Abbot performed the ritual for subjugating the soil (sa ‘dul) and workers started to build the first Buddhist temple in bSam yas. However, as the now famous story goes, what was built by humans during the day was destroyed during the night by ill-intentioned demons.

Since the abbot failed to succeed in the building of the temple, the king was rather displeased. To counter the situation, Śāntarakṣita advised him to invite the ācārya Padmasambhava from India. Presented as having been miraculously born from a lotus on a lake, this master was described as not covered by the impurities of the womb. He had furthermore obtained the immortal Diamond Body (‘chi ba med pa rdo rje’i sku) and was said to be able to perform the activities of a thousand Buddhas.4 In India itself, he was already renown as an Emanation Body (sprul pa’i sku) capable of binding the Eight Classes of Gods and Demons (sde brgyad) into servitude.5 In reality, he was the concrete manifestation of Buddha Amitābha, living in the cave of Yari Gong (g.Ya’ ri gong) in India. Thus, three envoys were dispatched with gold in order to invite him.6 They met him in India and owing to the latter’s aspiration prayers formulated in a previous rebirth, Padmasambhava accepted the invitation to go to Tibet.7 The anachronistic date of their departure for Tibet is said to have been the 15th of the middle winter month of an Earth-Male-Horse year.8

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  1. Thanks to Marianne Ginalski and to Jay Valentine for their suggestions and corrections. []
  2. I.e., during the 8th century. []
  3. At that time, the kingdom of Tibet was not limited to Central Tibet but embraced large parts of Central Asia, Northern China, most of the Himalayan regions, and so forth. However, this state of affairs was not to last long. []
  4. With such a Body, Padmasambhava is said to have obtained power over his lifetime (tshe la dbang ba). []
  5. On these eight classes, see Samten Karmay, “Une note sur l’origine du concept des huit catégories d’esprit”, passim. []
  6. These three envoys were sBa mi khri zher (of Yar klung), Śākya pra ba (of the ‘Chims clan), and Shud pu dPal gyi seng ge. []
  7. His aspiration prayers associated with a previous rebirth are an explicit reference to the legend surrounding the Bya rung kha shor (Bodnath) Stūpa on which see sNgags ‘chang Śākya bzang po, mChod rten chen po bya rung kha shor gyi lo rgyus thos pas grol ba, pp. 302-339. See the excellent translation of this work by Adam Pearcey, “Liberation Upon Hearing —The History of the Great Jarung Kashor Stūpa”, passim. []
  8. P. 4: sa pho rtsa dgu zla ‘bring po’i tshe bco lnga. The date is anachronistic because the addition of the element (‘byung ba) only happened after the introduction of the Kālacakra calendar in Tibet in the mid-11th century. []

A Short Note on the Classification of Treasures according to Se ston Padma dbang chen (15th c.)

by Jean-Luc Achard


Se ston Padma dbang chen is the author of an interesting work dedicated to the Northern Treasures (byang gter), entitled The Garland of Jewels, a General Presentation of the Cycles of Teachings belonging to the Northern Treasures (Byang gter chos skor rnams kyi spyi bcings rin chen ‘phreng ba).1 In this text, his purpose is to explain the specific nature of this tradition according to eight main topics, namely: 1. where the Treasures were hidden; 2. for whom they were intended; 3. the prophecies regarding the individuals that will reveal them; 4. the time when they should be revealed; 5. the defects resulting from not excavating them; 6. the qualities resulting from discovering them; 7. how they should be taught; and 8. what are their contents.

Among these topics, he first discusses the literary category of gter mas or Treasures. He thus explains that, in general, in the system of hidden Treasures, there exist several categories of Ter (gTer) such as:

  • great Treasures (gter chen),2
  • minor Treasures (gter phran),
  • arch-minor Treasures (gter yang phran),
  • Treasures of the Heart (thugs gter), as well as
  • Treasures connected to a profound Oral Transmission (snyan brgyud zab mo’i gter).3

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  1. For the approximative period in which Se ston Padma dbang chen lived (the early 1400’s), I rely on D. Martin, Tibetan Histories, no. 168 (which follows E. Smith). The text itself was written during a me mo yos year (p. 107) which possibly corresponds to 1447 CE. []
  2. It would seem that these great Treasures are identical with the rgyal po’i bla gter mentioned in Gu ru Chos dbang’s gTer chos bka’ rtsi them byang (quoted in Byang gter chos skor rnams kyi spyi bcings rin chen ’phreng ba, p. 6). Later in the text (p. 7), the author quotes his own prophetic work in which he explains that great Treasures (gter chen) are revealed by Emanations Bodies (sprul pa’i sku), while minor Treasures are excavated by “fortunate ones with the proper karmic connection” (las ‘phro can). []
  3. Ib., p. 5. []


བསྟན་པ་ཚེར་རིང་ (Tenpa Tsering Batsang, IFRAE, INALCO)


རྩིམ་ཡིག་འདིར་དུས་རབས་བཅོ་བརྒྱད་ནང་སོག་པོ་ཇུན་གར་བས་བོད་ལ་བཙུན་འཛུལ་མ་བྱས་གོང་དགའ་ལྡན་ཕོ་བྲང་གི་དབང་འཛིན་མི་སྣ་དང་རྡོ་བྲག་རིག་འཛིན་པདྨ་འཕྲིན་ལས་སོགས་རྙིང་ཕྱོགས་ཀྱི་བསྟན་འཛིན་སྐྱེས་ཆེན་ཚོའི་དབར་གྱི་མཆོད་ཡོན་གྱི་འབྲེལ་བ་དང་། དེ་རྗེས་ཇུན་གར་བས་བོད་ལ་བཙན་འཛུལ་བྱས་པའི་བརྒྱུད་རིམ་ནང་རྙིང་བསྟན་བསྣུབས་པར་ཀུན་སློང་བྱེད་མཁན་སོག་རིགས་སྒོ་མང་མཁན་པོ་བློ་བཟང་ཕུན་ཚོགས་གཙོས་དགེ་ཕྱོགས་ཀྱི་བླ་གྲྭ་ཉུང་ཤས་མཉམ་ཞུགས་བྱས་ཡོད་པ་རྭ་སྤྲོད་ཀྱིས་གླེང་སློང་བྱས་ཡོད།


དགའ་ལྡན་ཕོ་བྲང་། རྒྱལ་དབང་ལྔ་པ་ཆེན་པོ། སྨིན་གྲོལ་གླིང་། རྡོ་རྗེ་བྲག ཇུན་གར་བ། རྙིང་བསྟན་བསྣུབས་པ། བཙན་འཛུལ། ཕྱོགས་ཞེན།


མིས་རང་གི་སྐྱེ་ཁུངས་མ་ཤེས་ན། །ནགས་ནང་གི་སྤྲེའུ་དང་འདྲ། །
མི་རང་གི་ཆོ་འབྲང་མ་ཤེས་ན། །སྒོ་ཁའི་ཕྱུགས་ཟོག་དང་འདྲ། །
ཡབ་མེས་ཀྱི་ཆེ་དགེ་ཡིག་ཚང་མ་ཤེས་ན། །མཛོ་རྒྱན་འཁྱམ་པོ་དང་འདྲ། །

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The Location of Zang zang lha brag according to Se ston Padma dbang chen’s General Presentation of the Northern Treasures and the Concealment of the Treasures

by Jean-Luc Achard

1. The identification of Zang zang lha brag

 According to Se ston Padma dbang chen’s Byang gter spyi bcings,1 the sanctuary where Rig ‘dzin rGod ldem’s Five Treasuries (mDzod lnga) were discovered is known as a rocky mountain similar to a heap of snakes (brag ri lto ‘phye spungs ‘dra).2 It is located in the north-west direction from Bu le glacier (Bu le gangs), close to a large river flowing to the north.3 It is to be found north-east of rGyal thang, in a location which is famous for being a place where Sa bdag and Klu gnyan gather together, and where the eight categories of gods and demons (lha srin sde brgyad) roam. It is also styled as a mountain where abide the five classes of bTsan spirits (btsan rigs sde lnga). It is actually called “the Rock of the Gods” (lha brag) because it is a place where serpents (lto ‘phye) present offerings to the gods. And since it is a region where the four categories of “naked earth lords” (sa bdag zang ma) abide, it is called “Northern Zang zang” (byang gi zang zang).

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  1. P. 9, quoting the Lam byang gsal ba’i sgron ma (p. 9). []
  2. Se ston’s main sources for this section of his work are the Lam byang gsal ba’i sgron ma and the ‘Dzeng rdo dkar po’i shog dril gnyis pa. []
  3. Bu le gangs itself is a large mountain in lower La stod. See Wangdu & Diemberger, Shel dkar chos ‘byung, p. 47. See also, Thubten K. Rikey, “The Nature-Deities of Tibet”, p. 136, where Bu le gangs is presented as a place inhabited by gods and demons (lha ‘dre) according to the Padma bka’ thang by O rgyan gling pa. See however the very same O rgyan gling pa’s dPal bka’ ‘dus kyi rig ‘dzin brgyud pa’i gsol ‘debs ‘bring po, in which Bu le gangs is described (p. 337) as an agreeable or charming secluded place (dben gnas nyam dga’ ba). Note also that, as we shall see below, Jo bo Bu le is also the name of the Treasure Lord (gter bdag) to whom scrolls of the Northern Treasures were entrusted. His other name is Nor bu bzang po. []

The Lineage of the Ka dag rang byung rang shar according to the Preliminaries known as The Five Nails (gZer lnga)

by Jean-Luc Achard

The Natural Emergence of the Self-Arisen Primordial Purity (Ka dag rang byung rang shar) revealed by Rig ‘dzin rGod ldem (1337–1408) in 1366 in Zang zang Lha brag is sometimes regarded as a secondary or complementary rdzogs chen cycle associated with the famed Transparent Contemplation of Samantabhadra (Kun bzang dgongs pa zang thal).1 Here I shall briefly introduce the structure of its preliminary practices (sngon ‘gro) and present its two main lines of transmissions.2 The principal source for this short note is The Five Nails making up the Key Points of the Precious Preliminaries (sNgon ‘gro rin po che gnad kyi gzer lnga) which is the second text belonging to the collection.3

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  1. See the complete analytical description of this cycle in Peter Schwieger, Die Werksammlungen Kun-tu bzaṅ-po’i dgoṅs-pa zang-thal, Ka-dag raṅ-byuṅ raṅ-śar und mKha’-‘gro gsaṅ-ba ye-śes-kyi rgyud, pp. 114-132. []
  2. These lines of transmission are described in Schwieger, op. cit., p. 115. We shall see another line of transmission according to the main Supplication (gSol ‘debs) text of this cycle (duly described in Schwieger, ib., p. 116) in a forthcoming short note to appear on this website. []
  3. On this system of five preliminary practices described according to the dGongs pa zang thal, see Tulku Thondup, Boundless Vision, pp. 65-79; id., The Five Nails, passim. See also S. Arguillère, Manuel de la transparution immédiate, p. 117 et seq. []

A Line of Transmission of the dGongs pa zang thal according to the History of the Lineage known as the Garland of Gems (brGyud pa’i lo rgyus nor bu’i ‘phreng ba)

Jean-Luc Achard


The brGyud pa’i lo rgyus nor bu’i phreng ba is a late work that has been included in some of the later editions of the dGongs pa zang thal.1 It was authored by one ‘Jam dbyangs bSod nams rgyal mtshan dpal bzang po who is supposed to have been the 25th Sa skya khri chen, also known as Grags pa blo gros (1563–1617).2 I have so far been unable to identify any reference to the transmission of the dGongs pa zang thal in his biography, nor have I succeeded in locating in the same biography any interest of this master for rDzogs chen teachings. However, in the present narrative, he explains the lineage from which he has received transmission, including direct teachings from Chos kyi rgyal mtshan dpal bzang po, Rig ‘dzin Nam mkha’ grags pa and rNam rgyal mgon po, among others. This direct proximity raises questions about his dates.3 He states (p. 68) that the transmission he obtained from Nam mkha grags pa occurred 74 years after the gter ma revelation by rGod ldem. This would correspond to 1439 (sa mo lug).4 He also explains that the transmission lasted until 1441 (lcags mo bya), covering a period during which he received the various empowerments of the dGongs pa zang thal.5 The teachings he received are connected to the following line of transmission:

  1. ‘Od mi ‘gyur ba/Samantabhadra (pp. 45-46)6
  2. Buddhas of the Five Clans (rigs lnga) (p. 46)
  3. Mahā Vajradhara/Vajrasattva (p. 46)
  4. Vajrapāṇi (pp. 46-48)7
  5. dGa’ rab do rje (pp. 48-49)
  6. ‘Jam dpal bshes gnyen (Mañjuśrīmitra) (pp. 49-52)
  7. Shrī seng ha (Śrī Siṃha) (p. 52)
  8. Padmasambhava (p. 52)
  9. Vairocana (p. 52)
  10. Vimalamitra (p. 52)8
  11. Chos rgyal Khri srong lde btsan (p. 53)
  12. (Ye shes) mTsho rgyal (p. 53)9
  13. gTer ston Rig ‘dzin smug nag (p. 56)10
  14. bSod nams bzang po (p. 66)
  15. Rig ‘dzin chen po Nam mkha’ grags pa (p. 66)11
  16. rNam rgyal mgon po (p. 68)12
  17. Sa skya ‘Jam dbyangs bSod nams rgyal mtshan dpal bzang po (p. 69)

The issue about the author of this text is thorny because his dates on the Sa skya side seem to be well established while they in fact do not fit with the chronology he himself gives of the transmission he received. A solution would be to suggest there has been two Sa skya ‘Jam dbyangs bSod nams rgyal mtshan dpal bzang po-s, but I think it is pretty much unlikely.




sNga ‘gyur byang gter chos skor phyogs bsgrigs, s.l., 2015, 63 volumes, BDRC W2PD17457.

Rig ‘dzin rGod ldem (1337–1408)

— Byang gter phyogs bsgrigs: sNga ‘gyur byang gter chos skor phyogs bsgrigs, s.l., 2015, 63 vol. BDRC W2PD17457.

— Byaṅ gter rdzogs chen dgoṅs pa zaṅ thal and Thugs sgrub skor, Collections of texts from two cycles of rediscovered teachings of the Byaṅ-gter or Rdo-rje-brag tradition of the Rñyiṅ-ma-pa school, revealed from their place of concealment by Rig-‘dzin Rgod-kyi-ldem-‘phru-can. Reproduced from ancient manuscripts from the monastery of Gsaṅ-sṅags-chos-gliṅ in Spiti. Published by Orgyan Dorji, Suma, Kinnaur Distt., 3 volumes, 1978.

‘Jam mgon A mes zhabs (1597–1660)

sNgags ‘chang grags pa blo gros kyi rnam par thar pa bying rlabs char ‘bebs zhes bya ba, in The Biographies of Sa-skya Lo-tstshā-ba ‘Jam-pa’i-rdo-rje (1485–1533) sṄags-‘chaṅ Grags-pa-blo-gros (1563–1617), and ‘Jam-dbyaṅs bSod-nams-dbaṅ-po (1559-1621), Reproduced from clear prints of the Sde-dge Dgon-chen blocks, Sakya Centre, Dehradun, 1984, pp. 39-91.

‘Jam dbyangs bSod nams rgyal mtshan dpal bzang po (*1563–1617)

brGyud pa’i lo rgyus nor bu’i phreng ba, in sNga ‘gyur byang gter chos skor phyogs bsgrigs, vol. 1, pp. 43-71.

Schwieger, Peter

Die Werksammlungen Kun-tu bzaṅ-po’i dgoṅs-pa zang-thal, Ka-dag raṅ-byuṅ raṅ-śar und mKha’-‘gro gsaṅ-ba ye-śes-kyi rgyud, Tibetische Handschriften und Blockdrucke, Teil 9,  Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, Wiesbaden, 1985.

Cite this article as: Jean-Luc Achard, "A Line of Transmission of the dGongs pa zang thal according to the History of the Lineage known as the Garland of Gems (brGyud pa’i lo rgyus nor bu’i ‘phreng ba)," in Northern Treasures Histories, 21/02/2023, https://fchnt.hypotheses.org/1166.


  1. It is not, for instance, included in the 1978 three volume edition of the Byang gter rdzogs chen dgongs pa zang thal and Thugs sgrub skor. Nor is it contained in the A ‘dzom chos sgar edition. []
  2. About his life, see ‘Jam mgon A mes zhabs, sNgags ‘chang grags pa blo gros kyi rnam thar, pp. 39-91. His name is given on p. 43 as sNgags ‘chang Grags pa Blo gros rgyal mtshan dpal bzang po, and as ‘Jam dbyangs bSod nams rgyal mtshan dpal bzang po on p. 48. []
  3. The fact that he belong to the Sa skya lineage and that he therefore might really be the 25th Sa skya khri ‘dzin, is hinted at in the Nor bu’i phreng ba itself in which he introduces himself at one point as being of Sa skya lineage (p. 69: bdag sa skya ‘jam dbyangs bsod nams rgyal mtshan dpal bzang pos/…). []
  4. There is a discrepancy of about one century and a half when comparing these dates with those that are traditionally associated with the 25th Sa skya khri ‘dzin. []
  5. The list he gives enumerates: spros bcas dbang, spros med dbang, shin tu spros med dbang, rab tu spros med dbang, as well as thugs dbang, and rtsal dbang. []
  6. ‘Od mi ‘gyur ba (“Immutable Light”) is the name of the primordial Buddha as it appears in several Tantras of the dGongs pa zang thal (and elsewhere). This name can be interpreted as symbolically referring to the natural state (gnas lugs) which is defined as the nondifferentiation of Emptiness and Clarity (stong gsal dbyer med). The Emptiness aspect (stong cha) of this state is to be associated with the “Immutable” (mi ‘gyur ba) Essence (ngo bo) of the Buddha, while the “Light” or Clarity aspect (gsal cha) is connected to his Nature (rang bzhin). See also P. Schwieger, Die Werksammlungen Kun-tu bzaṅ-po’i dgoṅs-pa zang-thal, p. xix. []
  7. Starting with the next in the line of transmission, i.e., dGa’ rab rdo rje, all masters belong to the human realms, while nos. 1-4 were associated with divine abodes. []
  8. Padmasambhava, Vairocana, and Vimalamitra are traditionally presented as having all been disciples of Śrī Siṃha, although not at the same time. []
  9. She was a disciple of Padmasambhava (no. 8), not of Vairocana or Vimalamitra. And even though she had been married to king Khri srong lde btsan she was in no way his disciple either. []
  10. This is of course Rig ‘dzin rGod ldem (1337–1408). In the lineage of the Ka dag rang byung rang shar (Byang gter phyogs bsgrigs, vol. 3 p. 11), he is described as a great Knowledge-Holder (rig ‘dzin chen po) having a dark red or brown complexion (sku mdog dmar smug). []
  11. bSod nams bzang po and Nam mkha’ grags pa are both direct disciples of Rig ‘dzin rGod ldem. []
  12. He was Rig ‘dzin rGod ldem’s son. []