Lapchi

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la phyi, la phyi gangs ra, 'brog la phyi gangs kyi ra ba


A view from the "Crest Cave" on Lapchi mountain, Nov. 2005. The mountain in the distance is known as "Dorje Kundragma" (rdo rje kun grags ma), seat of one of the twelve female protectors of Tibet, the Twelve Tenma Goddesses. Below, the temple of Chöra Gephel Ling.

An area mostly situated in Nepal, just at the border of Tibet and Nepal, north of Kathmandu. East of Nyanang (gnya' nang) and west of Drin Chubar (brin chu dbar). One of the most important places which where frequented by Milarepa, (rje btsun mi la ras pa) for a long time. Other great masters who stayed there, most of them of one or the other Kagyu school, include Rechungpa (ras chung pa, ras chung rdo rje grags pa), Nyö Lhanangpa (gnyos lha nang pa), Tsang Nyon Heruka (gtsang smyon he ru ka), the "Victorious Hermit of Lapchi" Lapchiwa Namkha Gyaltsen (rgyal la phyi pa nam mkha' rgyal mtshan) who was said to be an incarnation of Milarepa's mind aspect and who spent 31 years there before he passed away, and Shabkar Tsogdruk Rangdrol (zhabs dkar tshogs drug rang grol). Together with Kangkar Tise (or Kailash) and Tsari, Lapchi is one of the three holy mountain ranges that are believed to be the abode of Chakrasamvara. Together with the other two, Lapchi is listed among the "24 sacred places of the world" where it is identified as Godavari. There are twelve caves in Lapchi in eight of which Milarepa has meditated for considerable lengths of time: ze phug or Crest Cave, g.yu thog phug, sbas pa gong or Revelation of All Secrets, sbas pa 'og, sbas pa nub, ras chen phug, ras chung phug, stag tshang phug, seng khyams phug, bdud 'dul phug mo che, lung stan phug or Prophesied Cave of the Great Forest and gnam phug ma, the most famous one being bdud 'dul phug mo che, the "Cave of the Subjugation of Mara", where he subdued all evil forces. It is there where Milarepa survived for six month on only one measure of tsampa, after it had snowed continuously for 18 days and nights. He mastered the practice of Tummo (gtum mo) there and displayed various miracles like transforming his body into fire and water etc. A small monastery, Chöra Gephel Ling (chos ra dge 'phel gling), founded in the 1830s by Shabkar Tsogdruk Rangdrol, is situated just below this cave, on a small level plain called the chos 'byung ma thang. The actual mountain range of la phyi itself is considered to be the mandala of Chakrasamvara with a retinue of 62 deities. It is surrounded by three prominent mountains, the dkar po 'bum ye, nag po 'bum ye and gser po 'bum ye. These mountains are considered to be the palaces of Avalokiteshvara, Vajrapani and Manjushri respectively. The entire place is considered to be the essential mandala of Vajrayogini. Viewed from the highest cave, the ze phug, one can easily see the triangular shape of the area, with a triangle of sky above, a triangle of earth below and a triangle of water in between (see picture). For centuries Lapchi has been taken care of by masters of the Drikung Kagyu school. Since the mid-80s the Ven. Nubpa Rinpoche has supervised the reconstruction of this sacred place. Presently about 40 retreatants are in long-term retreats there.

Several Tibetan guidebooks (gnas yig) to Lapchi are available, one by g.yung ston zhi byed ri pa (15th cent.), one by the 6th Shamar Rinpoche gar dbang chos kyi dbang phyug (1584-1630), and the presently most popular one by the 34th throne holder (gdan rabs) of the Drikung Kagyu, bstan 'dzin chos kyi blo gros (1869-1906), composed in 1901.

For more information, check the LAPCHI Restoration Project website! [1]


Drigung Father and Son are the senior and the junior incarnates of Drigung Monastery, Drigung Chetsang (che tshang) and Chungtsang (chung tshang). The former was here Drigung Kyabgön Tendzin Padma Gyaltsen ('bri gung skyabs mgon bstan 'dzin pad ma rgyal mtshan, born in 1770), the twenty-seventh hierarch of Drigung and the reincarnation of Jigten Gonpo ('jig rten mgon po, 1143-1217). The latter was the reincarnation of Drigung Rigdzin Chökyi Trakpa ('bri gung chung tshang rig 'dzin chos kyi grags pa, 1597-1659). See Tendzin Pemai Gyaltsen's Account of the Various Masters of the 'bri gung bka' brgyud pa School. About their authority over Lapchi, see LNY and chap.11, pgs. 342-343, note 10 in (MR-ShabkarNotes)


Please expand other particulars regarding Lapchi here.

According to the Hevajra Tantra (see Snellgrove 1959, 1:70) these are: Jalandhara, Oddiyana, Paurnagiri, Kamarupa, Malaya, Sindhu, Nagara, Munmuni, Karunyapataka, Kulata, Arbuta, Godavari, Himadri, Harikela, Lampaka, Kani, Saurasta, Kalinga, Kokana, Caritra, Kosala, and Vindhyakaumarapaurika.

Other sources, such as the sadhana (sgrub thabs) of the Queen of Great Bliss (yum bka' bde chen rgyal mo) from the Longchen Nyingthig (see Tulku Thondup, 1985), give a different enumeration of these twenty-four sacred places. They abide on the vajra-body inherent in every sentient being, which is symbolized here by the body of Vajrayogini. These twenty-four are divided in three groups:

a) Eight celestial abodes (Skt. - khagacharya, Tib. - mkha' spyod): 1) The crown of the head is Jalandhara, 2) in between the eyebrows is Pulliramalaya, 3) the nape is Arbuta, 4) the urna (the hair at the center of the forehead) is Rameshvara, 5) the right ear is Oddiyana, 6) the left ear is Godavari, 7) the eyes are Devikota, and 8) the shoulders are Malava.

b) Eight earthly abodes (Skt. - gocharya, Tib. - sa spyod: 9) the throat is Lampaka, 10) the underarms and kidneys are Kamarupa, 11) the two breasts are Odra, 12) the navel is Trishanku, 13) the nose-tip is Koshala, 14) the palate is Kalinga, 15) the heart is both Kanchika and 16) Himalaya (Himavat).

c) Eight undergound abodes (Skt. - bhugarbha, Tib. - sa 'og gi gnas brgyad): 17) the genitals are Pretapuri, 18) the anus is Grihadeva, 19) the thumbs and the big toes are Maru, 20) the thighs are Saurashtra, 21) the calves are Suvarnadvipa, 22) the sixteen other fingers and toes are Nagara, 23) the knees are Kulata, and 24) the ankles are Sindhu.

Discussion

The following is from Matthieu Ricard (MR) in his The Life of Shabkar. The terms you may have been searching for will appear bolded in this wonderfully educational, and highly abbreviated geographic description of how the land of Tibet actually lives through it's cultural habitat, both historically and spiritually:

from chapter 11, pp. 342-343, note 10:

The White Snow Mountain, Kangkar Tise (gangs dkar ti se), Mt. Kailash (literally 'Silver Mountain'), is one of the world's great holy mountains, sacred to Hindus and Buddhists alike. It is one of the so-called "Three Holy Places of Tibet", associated with the body, speech, and mind aspects of Chakrasamvara and Vajravarahi. The other two are Lapchi (la phyi) and Tsari (tsa ri). These three are also listed among the "Twenty-four Great Sacred Places" (Tib. - gnas chen nyer gzhi), (Skt. - pitha) of the world, Mt. Kailash being identified as Himavat, Lapchi as Godavari, and Tsari as both Caritra and Devikota. There are several descriptions of and guides to Mt. Kailash, including one written by Konchog Tendzin Chokyi Lodro, the sixth Drigung Chungtsang ('bri gung chung tshang dkon mchog bstan 'dzin chos kyi blo gros, 1829-1906), and a recent one composed by Choying Dorje (1990), hereafter quoted as MK.

It is recounted in the Chakrasamvara Tantra and it's commentaries (as related in MK) that the world was once ruled by Bhairava, the wrathful form of Mahadeva, who made the land of Magadha the seat of his power. It is said also that four devas and four gandharvas descended from the sky and established their dominion in the eight places known as the Eight Celestial Abodes (mkha' spyod kyi gnas brgyad). Likewise, four yakshas and four rakshasas, already on the earth, made their way to Jambudvipa, where they established themselves in the Eight Earthly Abodes (sa spyod kyi gnas brgyad, while four [[naga]s and four asuras came to Jambudvipa from beneath the earth, to settle themselves in Eight Underground Abodes (sa 'og gi gnas brgyad). They invited Bhairava to visit their dwellings, twenty-four in all, but he, instead of coming personally, manifested in each place as a lingam to which these savage beings would make blood sacrifices.

These demonic forces prevailed from the "golden age" until the beginning of our present "era of strife and conflict." It was then, the tantra recounts, that the Blessed One, Vajradhara, knew that the time had come to subdue these unsuitable beings. Without his mind ever wavering from objectless compassion (dmigs pa med pa'i snying rje), he arose in the formidable wrathful display of a Heruka with four heads and twelve arms. He danced, and through the power of the nondual wisdom of all the Buddhas, trampled down Mahadeva and his consort together with their retinue, liberating their minds into the absolute expanse and establishing them in great bliss.

The Heruka then blessed each of the twenty-four abodes as a palace of Chakrasamvara and each of the twenty-four lingams as a mandala of sixty-two wisdom deities. The sixty-two are Chakrasamvara and his consort, and his retinue: the twenty-four male and twenty-four female Bodhisattvas, and the twelve goddesses.

At the nirmanakaya level, it is said that Mt. Kailash was miraculously blessed by Buddha Shakyamuni and five hundred arhats. Once, Ravana (mgon po beng) and his consort had taken to their palace in Lanka one of the three statues of Buddha Shakyamuni which the Lord himself had blessed. Desiring to place this statue on a worthy support, Ravana had planned to take Mt. Kailash on his back and carry it to Lanka. At the same moment Lord Buddha and five hundred arhats came flying through the sky and alighted to the west of Mt. Kailash, leaving their footprints in the rock. The Buddha stepped on all four sides of the mountain, leaving footprints in the rock which are known as the Four Immutable Nails of Kailash (mi 'gyur ba'i gzer bzhi). Ravana thus was unable to lift the mountain. Then the Buddha sat on a rock in front of the mountain and taught Dharma to the naga king Anavatapta, the lord of the Lake Manasarovar. He then taught the Lankavatara Sutra to Ravana, and blessed him and his consort as the Glorious Wisdom Protector, the Great Being and Consort (dpal ye shes mgon po beng chen lcam dral).

Mt. Kailash was later blessed by Guru Padmasambhava, and became famous after [[Jetsun Milarepa]] lived there and held his contest of miracles with Naro Bonchung. (When Jetsun Milarepa and the Bonpo Naro Bonchung held their famous contest of miracles to decide who would retain supremacy over the sacred mountain, they left imprints of their feet in the rocks and many other miraculous signs. See G. C. C. Chang, (1962, vol. 1, pp. 215-224). Later Gyalwa Gotsangpa (rgod tshang pa mgon po rdo rje), Linge Repa (gling rje ras pa) (1128-1188), and many other great meditators lived ascetic lives at the foot of Mt. Kailash.

In particular, holders of the Drigung Kagyu lineage frequented this place in great numbers. Drigung Jigten Gonpo ('bri gung 'jigs rten mgon po 1143-1217) had a dream in which the guardian deities of the Three Sacred Places of Tsari, Lapchi, and Kailash came and prostrated themselves before him, requesting him to go and bless their territories. Jigten Gonpo replied that he would send great meditators instead. Accordingly, he dispatched 80 hermits to each place. Some years later, he reputedly sent 900 hermits and finally 55,525 practitioners to each site (see Huber, 1989). At Kailash these were under the leadership of the great pandita Yakgangpa (pan chen yag sgang pa), who is also called (according to MK, pg. 59), Dorzin Guhya Gangpa (rdor 'dzin guh ya sgang pa); at Lapchi the practitioners were led by Geshe Paldrak (dge bshes dpal grags, 12th-13th century); and at Tsari they were under the guidance of Dorzin Gowoche (rdor 'dzin mgo bo che). In the Three Sacred Places of Tsari, Lapchi, and Kailash, Dorzin (rdor 'dzin = Holder of the Vajra) usually refers to a spiritual master or an administrator sent from Drigung Monastery as representative of the Drigung hierarchs. (see Petech 1978, 317.) (MR-ShabkarNotes).