Category Archives: Dzogchen


Jean-Luc Achard

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།




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

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

Continue reading

  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.


  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. []

An Unknown Master of Rig ‘dzin rgod ldem: Sba ston/rGa ston dpal ba and Mañjuśrī’s Dzogchen

Rigdzin Gödem – Unknown source.

An Unknown Master of Rig ‘dzin rgod ldem: Sba ston/rGa ston dpal ba and Mañjuśrī’s Dzogchen: Rig ’dzin rGod ldem in the ’Jam dpal rDzogs chen lineage stemming from Sar ban phyogs med (XIth century) and its possible connections with ’Jam dpal tshe bdag

During my preliminary investigation in the fifth Dalai Lama’s Record of Teachings Received (gSan yig), I spotted the presence of Rigdzin Gödem in the context of a little-known lineage, that of ’Jam dpal rdzogs chen. There is actually no doubt about his identity, as the next figures in the lineage are very well-known masters of the Northern Treasures.

Continue reading

Recovering the tantras of the Brahmin Cycle of the Dzogchen Yangti (rDzogs chen Yang ti bram ze’i skor)

In Rigdzin Gödem’s biographies, it appears that his father, Lopön Düdül (sLob dpon bDud ’dul, or Sidüdül–Srid bdud ’dul), was a practitioner of the Yang ti bram ze. What do we know about this little-known cycle of Dzogchen tantras?

There are clearly none extant practice instruction manuals (khrid yig), let alone masters who would know the practice in concrete terms. I could not even find a precise list of the tantras of this class. After a discussion with Jean-Luc Achard, I understood that we were indeed in such a total vagueness that his own efforts produced only a tentative list of these tantras by starting from the idea that the Yang ti was subdivided into two–Yang ti nag po and Yang ti bram ze. The Yang ti nag po being a living tradition, its tantras are well known (or at least, there is no ambiguity as to their list). It would therefore be possible to reconstitute the list of tantras of the Yang ti bram ze by eliminating the tantras of the Yang ti nag po from the whole of the tantras of the Yang ti (assuming that there are indeed only these two classes–which is not self-obvious, as, sometimes, one also finds mention of the Yang ti sangs rgyas mnyam sbyor, to which a cycle revealed by Guru Chöwang (Gu ru Chos dbang) belongs).

Continue reading