Enlightened Vagabond/Patrul’s Root Guru

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The nephew of the prior Palge lama, Önpo Könchog, was in charge of the Palge estates as treasurer-administrator. He brought the young tulku to the Palge Labrang, the large stone mansion that Palge Samten Phuntsok had built and that now served as the main residence of the Palge tulkus. At his enthronement ceremony, Patrul first met Jigme Gyalwai Nyugu, the highly accomplished practitioner who would become his root guru.[1]

Jigme Gyalwai Nyugu, the heart-disciple of Jigme Lingpa, had spent many years in solitary retreat on a windswept mountainside of Dzagyal Trama Lung, Valley of Dry Twigs.[2]

For his retreat, this master did not take shelter in cave or a retreat hut but lived out in the open, below a natural overhang or in a shallow hollow in the ground. Taking his nourishment from wild plants and roots, he was the very model of a determined ascetic, having simplified his life down to bare essentials. Gyalwai Nyugu made a vow to remain where he was until he had achieved realization. Jigme Gyalwai Nyugu often came to the Palge Labrang to teach Patrul, beginning when the tulku was very young. He confided to his old disciple Umdze Sangye Palzang, “When I come to Upper Dza, it’s only for the sake of the Palge Tulku.”

Jigmed Gyalwai Nyugu.png


  1. Among Patrul’s other teachers were Dola Jigme Kalzang, Jigme Ngotsar (one of four “fearless disciples” of Jigme Lingpa), and Gyalse Shenphen Thaye. From these masters, Patrul received the transmission of Longchenpa’s Trilogy of Resting at Ease, Shantideva’s Way of the Bodhisattva, and the Guhyagarbha Tantra, and instructions on the various traditional sciences.
  2. Dzagyal Trama Lung (rdza rgyal khra ma lung).