Category Archives: 14th century

The Five Repositories of the Zangzang Lhadrak Discovery and Further Conditions of Revelation

 Jean-Luc Achard
(CNRS, CRCAO)1

The Termas revealed by Rigdzin Gödem (1337–1409) in Zangzang Lhadrak2 are known under the collective appellation of the “Five Repositories” (mdzod lnga). They were found in a chest of rhinoceros hide (bse sgrom) divided into five parts: a central one and four sections, dispatched in the four directions. Each of these sections makes up a repository containing a specific set of teachings. Thus, according to the Root-Sādhana of the Knowledge-Holders (Rig ‘dzin rtsa ba’i sgrub thabs), these teachings are organized as follows:

In the eastern direction, within the White Conch Repository,
There is a statue of guru Vajrasattva
And the practice (to perform) in the mode (characterizing) pacifying (activities).

In the southern direction, within the Golden Yellow Repository,
There is a (statue of) the master (in the form) of the great and glorious Heruka
And the practice (to perform) in his wrathful form for increasing (activities).
 

In the western direction, within the Red Copper Repository,
There is a (statue of) the master (in the form) of the Protector Amitāyus
And the practice (to perform) in the mode of the subjugating (activities).

In the northern direction, within the Black Iron Repository,
There is a (statue of) the master (in the form) of the Blood-Drinking Heruka
And the practice (to perform) in the mode of the wrathful (activities).

In the central direction, within the Brown Heart Repository,
There is a (statue of) the master (in the form) of the Emanation Body of the Knowledge-Holder3
And the practice of secret methods
.4

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  1. Thanks to Marianne Ginalski and Jay Valentine for their suggestions and corrections. []
  2. On Mount Zangzang Lhadrak, see Achard, “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.” []
  3. I.e. Padmasambhava. []
  4. From Se ston, Byang gter spyi bcings, pp. 408-409: shar phyogs dung mdzod dkar po na: bla ma rdo rje sems dpa’ sku: zhi ba’i tshul du sgrub pa yod: lho phyogs gser mdzod ser po nas: bla ma dpal chen he ru ka: rgyas pa khro bo’i tshul du sgrub pa yod: nub phyogs zangs mdzod dmar po na: bla ma mgon po tshe dpag med: dbang gi tshul du sgrub pa yod: byang phyogs lcags mdzod nag po na: bla ma khrag ‘thung he ru ka: drag po’i tshul du sgrub pa yod: dbus kyi snying mdzod smug po na: bla ma rig ‘dzin sprul pa’i sku: gsang ba thabs (p. 409) kyi sgrub pa yod:. The original text is actually slightly different and reads as follows (p. 114; parts in bold show the variant reading): shar phyogs dung mdzod dkar po na: bla ma rdo rje sems dpa’i sku: zhi ba’i tshul du sgrub thabs yod: lho phyogs gser mdzod ser po na: bla (missing: ma) dpal chen he ru ka: khro bo’i tshul du sgrub thabs yod: nub kyi zangs mdzod dmar po na: bla ma mgon po tshe dpag med: dbang gi tshul du sgrub thabs yod: byang phyogs lcags mdzod nag po na: bla ma khrag ‘thung he ru ka: drag po’i tshul du sgrub thabs yod: dbus kyi snying mdzod smug po na: bla ma rig ‘dzin sprul pa’i sku: gsang ba thugs kyi sgrub thabs yod:. []

རིག་འཛིན་རྒོད་ལྡེམ་གཏེར་ནས་བཏོན་པའི་རྫོགས་པ་ཆེན་པོ་ཀ་དག་རང་བྱུང་རང་ཤར་སྤྱིར་བསྟན་དང་ཁོག་དབུབ་སྐོར།

Jean-Luc Achard
CNRS, CRCAO

གཏེར་ཆེན་རིག་འཛིན་རྒོད་ལྡེམ་གཏེར་ནས་བཏོན་པའི་རྫོགས་པ་ཆེན་པོ་ཀ་དག་རང་བྱུང་རང་ཤར་ཞེས་བྱ་བ་ཨོ་རྒྱན་པདྨའི་སྙན་རྒྱུད་ཁོངས་སུ་གཏོགས་ཏེ་སྤྲོས་པའི་མཐའ་སྤྱོད་པའི་སློབ་དཔོན་ཆེན་པོའི་སྙན་རྒྱུད་ཡིན།  ཨ་འཛོམ་ཆོས་སྒར་གྱི་དཔེ་སྐྲུན་བཞིན་ཡང་ཟབ་གནད་ཀྱི་ཆོས་ཚན་ནི་ཆོས་སྡེ་བཅོ་ལྔ་ཐེམ་བྱང་དང་བཅས་པས་ཆོས་ཚན་བཅུ་དྲུག་ཡོད།  ཁྱད་པར་དུ་ཆོས་ཚན་དེ་རྣམས་དབང་དུ་བྱས་ན་ཞུས་ལེན་གནད་ཀྱི་ཡི་གེ་དང་གཅིག།  ཞལ་ཆེམས་རིན་ཆེན་གཟེར་བུ་དང་གཉིས།  མ་རིག་མུན་སེལ་དང་གསུམ།  སྙིང་པོ་བསྡུས་པ་རིག་པའི་དབང་དང་བཞི།  གནད་ཏིག་ཞལ་གདམས་ཟབ་མོའི་ཐེམས་དང་ལྔ།  ངོ་སྤྲོད་རང་རིག་རང་གསལ་དང་དྲུག།  གེགས་སེལ་ནོར་བུ་རཏྣའི་བང་མཛོད་དང་བདུན།  མན་ངག་གསལ་བའི་སྒྲོན་མ་དང་བརྒྱད་དོ།  རྒྱུད་གཉིས་ནི་ཀུན་གྲོལ་རྡོ་རྗེ་སེམས་དཔའི་རྒྱུད་ལེའུ་དགུ་པ་དང་།  རང་བྱུང་རང་ཤར་རྩ་བའི་རྒྱུད་ལེའུ་བཅུ་གསུམ་དང་བཅས་པའོ།  ཆོས་སྐོར་ཀུན་ཀྱང་ཚིག་དོན་གང་ཞེ་ན་མཉམ་པར་བཞག་པ་ཏིང་ངེ་འཛིན་གཙོ་བོར་སྟོན་པའི་ཡང་གསང་བླ་ན་མེད་པའི་སྙན་བརྒྱུད་ཡིན་ནོ། ༡༩༧༣ ལོར་པད་མ་ཆོས་ལྡན་གྱིས་པར་སྐྲུན་བྱས་པའི་དཔེ་ཚོགས་དེའི་སྙིང་དོན་ནི་གཤམ་གསལ་ལྟར་ཏེ།

དཀར་ཆག།

༠༽ཐེམ་བྱང་།་་་་་༡-༢

༡༽སྔོན་འགྲོ་རིན་པོ་ཆེ་གནད་ཀྱི་གཟེར་ལྔ།་་་་་་་་༣-༣༡

༢༽གསོལ་འདེབས།་་་་་་་་་༣༣-༣༩ Continue reading

Revisiting the Revelation of the Gongpa Zangthel

Jean-Luc Achard
(CNRS, CRCAO)1

The cycle of the Transparent Contemplation of Samantabhadra or Künzang Gongpa Zangthel (Kun bzang dgongs pa zang thal) contains several non-doctrinal narrative works explaining the history of the lineage, the contents of the collection, prophecies, and other similar texts.2 At the very outset of the first volume, the collection includes an interesting short work dedicated to the story describing the actual revelation of the treasure (gter ma). What is even more interesting is that it is written in the first person, which means that what we read in this text is said to have been directly written down by the tertön, namely Rigdzin Gödem (1337–1408) himself.3

The narration itself is very straightforward and replete with details which give it a definite flavor of authenticity. As will be seen in the translation, extraordinary marvels and wonders are at the core of the story, but given the nature of the event, the intervention of such elements in the narrative does not come as a surprise. As a matter of fact, the role played by atmospheric miracles and the encounters with the Guardians of the Treasure (gter srung) are standard topics occurring in such a revelatory context. Therefore, they should not be automatically dismissed as superstitions since there are numerous elements at play during the revelation of a terma that would easily challenge the most skeptical minds.4 Many of these elements—provided they have not been produced by the imagination of the tertön—are impossible to analyze from a scientific perspective but would nevertheless definitely deserve to be investigated in an emic perspective. I have just mentioned two of them—atmospheric “events” and contacts with local entities5—as these are central in the text translated below, but other modalities such as prophecies, environmental disturbances, collective karma, astrological conjunctions, etc., play crucial roles before, during, and after the revelation itself.

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  1. My thanks go to Marianne Ginalski for her corrections and suggestions on the original draft of this paper. []
  2. These appear either as compositions or as revealed material. The text translated below is a composition. []
  3. There are other works directly attributed to rGod ldem’s hand, such as The Symbolic Omens Appearing in Dreams, in Eight Chapters (mNal lam brda’i ltas le’u brgyad ma) which will be discussed in another paper. []
  4. I am not formulating here a panegyric of some sort of the gter ma phenomenon but the recurring nature of these elements during the revelation of a treasure must certainly be studied on its own, even if only for proposing a hermeneutic interpretation of some of its components. Having recourse to hackneyed arguments limiting the interpretative process to cultural representations that have no reality at all is evidently a dead-end that has deviated research into fossilized, clearly uniformed opinions. The process of revealing treasures is much more complex as is evidenced by the Third rDo grub chen rin po che (1865–1926)’s work on the topic, entitled The Ocean of Wonders (Ngo mtshar rgya mtsho); see the translation of this text in T. Thondup, Hidden Teachings of Tibet, passim. []
  5. The first ones can possibly be witnessed by a third party but not necessarily the second ones. []

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

by Jean-Luc Achard
(CRCAO, CNRS)1

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.
2

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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

(CNRS, CRCAO)1

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
.5
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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
(CNRS, CRCAO)1

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?
3

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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
(CNRS, CRCAO)1

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

(CNRS, CRCAO)

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. []

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
(CNRS, CRCAO)

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
(CNRS, CRCAO)

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. []