Khandro Nyingtik

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mkha' 'gro snying thig
The Heart Essence of the Dakinis


A Terma revealed by Padma Ledreltsal that contains Dzogchen teachings from the lineage of Padmasambhava and Yeshe Tsogyal. This profound collection of Dzogchen teachings was transmitted through Padmasambhava to Princess Pema Sal, King Trisong Deutsen's dying daughter, at Samye Chimphu. Along with the Vima Nyingthig, Dzogchen teachings from the lineage of Vimalamitra, these teachings form part of the Nyingthig Yabshi, the famed set of instructions compiled by the master Longchenpa.

Two groupings of texts form the core of the Khandro Nyingthig cycle: The Six Tantras of Liberation through Wearing (btags grol rgyud drug) and the Three Testaments of the Buddha (sangs rgyas kyi 'das rjes gsum pa). The former are the root tantras of the Khandro Nyingthig. The latter contains a series of three short texts with instructions on the Great Perfection given by Vajradhara to the master Garab Dorje.

In addition to those written by Longchenpa himself, important commentaries on the Khandro Nyingthig were written by Terdak Lingpa and the third Dzogchen Rinpoche, Ngedon Tendzin Zangpo.

Commenting on the unique character of these teachings, Terdak Lingpa writes:

"In the other classes of tantra found in the Vajrayana, the meaning is hidden using vajra words. In contrast, this meaning is taught clearly in the Seventeen Tantras and the commentaries that elucidate their essential meaning. In particular, "The Six Essence Tantras of Liberation through Wearing", "The Three Testaments of the Buddha", and the key instructions on these teachings composed by the Great One of Oddiyana and his partner, which teach the innermost realization of all the Buddhas with a single word and a single melody. This eminent and supreme path of the profound and secret Great Perfection is referred to as the “Heart Essence of the Dakinis.” It brings about a swift realization of the way things truly is the unsurpassed entrance for those fortunate individuals with a karmic connection to the teachings."(SLSC 518) CJD

Dzogchen Khandro Nyingthig Introduction by Dzogchen Lama Choga Rinpoche

In 90 A.B.B. (After Buddha's Birth), eight years after Buddha's Parirnirvana, the first emanation of the Buddha, Padmasambhava, came into this world and received the complete teaching from many enlightened masters. Padmasambhava taught the Dzogchen Khandro Nyingthig to numerous beings in India's eight great sacred places and China, and introduced and spread Buddhism throughout Tibet. His main disciple, the Dakini Yeshe Tsogyal, also taught the Dzogchen Khandro Nyingthig to many practitioners who achieved the enlightenment of Buddha. This tradition was handed down through the ages and later passed from Longchen Rabjam through to Dzogchen Padma Rigdzin. Today, the Dzogchen Khandro Nyingthig lineage lives in the hearts' of the Vajra masters at Dzogchen Monastery.


The following passage from the The Essence of Liberation through Wearing explains the lineage transmission of the Khandro Nyinghtig:

The teachers Samantabhadra and consort
Blessed their embodiment Vajrasattva,
A recipient none other than themselves.
Entrusting him with a single understanding that liberates all—
Beyond the confines of bondage and liberation.
Through the blessings of Vajrasattva,
This arose in the heart of the naturally-arisen Garab,
Who entrusted the tantra to Siṃha.
This supreme, perfect fruition—
The Tantra of Liberation through Wearing—
Was then entrusted to Padma of Oḍḍiyāṇa.
Teach the five-fold to a fortunate child!

In his commentary on the Khandro Nyinthig, The Excellent Chariot, Ngedon Tendzin Zangpo, the 3rd Dzogchen Rinpoche, explains further:

the perfect place is the pure Densely Arrayed Realm, the palace of the sphere of reality. There, the perfect teachers, glorious Samantabhadra and Samantabhadrī, spontaneously arose out of the dharmakāya, a state free from projections, and manifested perfectly as the five sambhogakāya families. The perfect teaching is the natural Great Perfection, the doctrine of the spontaneously present five-fold rainbow light. This was taught through natural blessings to the perfect retinue, the sambhogakāya buddha Vajrasattva, in the unchanging moment of fundamental perfection, the perfect time.

At the vast Charnel Ground of the Blazing Mountain, Vajrasattva put these teachings into a series of elegant verses and taught them to the incarnation Garab Dorjé. Through his own direct realization, Garab Dorjé then taught them to the great master Śrī Siṃha at the Charnel Ground of the Wild Jungle. Śrī Siṃha went on to teach Padma Tötreng-tsal of Oḍḍiyāna at the great Sosa Ling Charnel Ground, where, in a non-conceptual way, he showed him the true nature of reality. Padmasambhava then used what he had directly ascertained to teach Yeshé Tsogyal, a ḍākinī inseparable from Vajravārāhī, at the White Rock of Zhotong Tidrö. The blessings of the clear and profound realization of Master Padma and consort—the true wisdom that was to be revealed—was then transmitted to the fortunate master of this teaching, Princess Pemasel, and then sealed with aspirations and empowerments. The lineage of coded verse was set down in writing as the vehicle for this realization, entrusted to the ḍākinīs and treasure guardians, and hidden at Taklung Tramo Rock. Later on, once the five degenerations and fifty rendings had become rampant, past aspirations reawakened and this treasure, the primary cycle of The Heart Essence of the Ḍākinīs, was removed by the incarnation Pema Ledrel Tsal. The lineage was then gradually transmitted and passed on to the Gyalsé Lekpa, Rinchen Lingpa, and others.

In accordance with the treasure’s prophecy, the actual form of the treasure revealer Pema Ledrel Tsal was to succumb to the influence of obstacles. Consequently, his work for the benefit of beings was left unfinished. His subsequent incarnation traveled throughout the sambhogakāya pure realms and eventually became Longchen Rabjam. This prophesied embodiment of wisdom was known by many names, including Drimé Özer. He was blessed directly by both Padmakara and his consort at Chimpu Rimochen, and then went on to clarify the key instructions they taught him concerning the profound points of the primary Heart Essence. These instructions were given to Guru Yeshé Rabjam and the lineage was then passed down through the following masters:

the learned and accomplished Samtenpa
the great saint Jinpa Zangpo
the one known as Dzogchen Shakya
Sonam Rinchen
Chakyungwa Ngakwang Padma
Dzogchen Sonam Wangpo
Rigdzin Chökyi Gyatso
the great saint Pema Rigdzin

Pema Rigdzin gave these teachings to a master who was the sovereign of all classes and maṇḍalas and who was inseparable from the all-pervasive, primordial protector. It is difficult to refer to such a supreme, sacred guide using words, but since it is necessary, I will refer to him as Namkha Ösel (Luminous Space). This sacred individual, protector of all beings including the gods, was given these teachings as if liquid were being poured from one vase into another. He then opened the door of this excellent treasure, the wealth of instructions that was the very essence of this sacred master’s enlightened mind, and in so doing matured and liberated those who were fortunate.

This lineage has been passed down from these masters to ourselves. Its stream of blessings and compassion has not been broken, nor have its instructions been corrupted. The lineage has also been well maintained; no lapses of the samaya vows have crept in. Though there are many different approaches and lineages, this one is the ultimate—the profound, true lineage. Therefore, you should have confidence and conviction in these teachings." (STSP 1-8, 196) CJD

Literature in Tibetan

One of Dzogchen Monastery's Lines of Transmission By Dzogchen Lama Choga Rinpoche
༄༅། །རྫོགས་ཆེན་མཁའ་འགྲོ་སྙིང་ཐིག་བླ་བརྒྱུད་ཕྱོགས་བསྒྲིགས་བཞུགས་སོ། །
ཆོས་སྐུ་ཀུན་ཏུ་བཟང་པོ་དང་ཀུན་ཏུ་བཟང་མོ། །ལོངས་སྐུ་ཞི་བའི་ལྷ་ཚོགས་དང་ཁྲོ་བོའི་ལྷ་ཚོགས། །སྤྲུལ་སྐུ་རྡོ་རྗེ་འཆང་ཆེན་ དང་རྡོ་རྗེ་ཕག་མོ། །སྟོན་པ་དགའ་རབ་རྡོ་རྗེ། །རིག་འཛིན་ཤྲཱི་སིངྷ། །གུ་རུ་པདྨ་ཀཱ་ར། །མཁའ་འགྲོ་ཡེ་ཤེས་མཚོ་རྒྱལ། །ལོ་ ཆེན་བཻ་རོ་ཙ་ན། །དགེ་སློང་ནམ་མཁའི་སྙིང་པོ། །ཆོས་རྒྱལ་ཁྲི་སྲོང་ལྡེའུ་བཙན། །སོ་ཡེ་ཤེས་དབང་ཕྱུག །ཟུར་པོ་ཆེ་ཤཱཀྱ་ འབྱུང་གནས། །ཟུར་ཆུང་ཤེས་རབ་གྲགས་པ། །གནུབས་ཆེན་སངས་རྒྱས་ཡེ་ཤེས། །གཉགས་ཛྙཱ་ན་ཀུ་མ་ར། །གཡུ་ཐོག་ཡོན་ ཏན་མགོན་པོ། །འོད་ལུས་པ་སངས་རྒྱས་མགོན་པོ། །རོང་ཟོམ་ཆོས་ཀྱི་བཟང་པོ། །ལྷ་ལྕམ་པདྨ་གསལ། །གཏེར་སྟོན་པདྨ་ལས་ འབྲེལ་རྩལ། །ཀློང་ཆེན་རབ་འབྱམས་བཟང་པོ། །རྣལ་འབྱོར་ཡེ་ཤེས་རབ་འབྱམས། །མཁས་གྲུབ་བསམ་གཏན་པ། །གྲུབ་ཆེན་ སྦྱིན་པ་བཟང་པོ། །རྫོགས་ཆེན་བླ་མ་ཤཱཀྱ། །བླ་མ་བསོད་ནམས་རིན་ཆེན། །མཁན་གྲུབ་ངག་དབང་པདྨ། །གྲུབ་ཐོབ་བསོད་ ནམས་དབང་པོ། །རིག་འཛིན་ཆོས་ཀྱི་རྒྱ་མཚོ། །གྲུབ་ཐོབ་ཀརྨ་ཆགས་མེད། །རྫོགས་ཆེན་པདྨ་རིག་འཛིན། །གཏེར་སྟོན་ཉི་མ་ གྲགས་པ། །འདྲེན་མཆོག་ནམ་མཁའ་འོད་གསལ། །རབ་འབྱམས་སྨྲ་བའི་སེང་གེ །ཁྱབ་བདག་ཐེག་མཆོག་བསྟན་འཛིན། ། ཐེག་མཆོག་བསྟན་པའི་རྒྱལ་མཚན། །པདྨ་ཀུན་གྲོལ་རྣམ་རྒྱལ། །ཨ་ཏི་བསྟན་པའི་རྒྱལ་མཚན། །པདྨ་གསང་སྔགས་བསྟན་ འཛིན། །ཁྱེའུ་རིག་འཛིན་ཆེན་པོ། །འཇིགས་མེད་པདྨ་རྣམ་རྒྱལ། །ནམ་མཁའ་ཚེ་དབང་མཆོག་གྲུབ། །མི་འགྱུར་ཕན་བདེ་རྒྱ་ མཚོ། །རྡོ་གྲུབ་ཀུན་བཟང་གཞན་ཕན། །མི་འགྱུར་ནམ་མཁའི་རྡོ་རྗེ། །ནམ་མཁའ་ཆོས་ཀྱི་རྒྱ་མཚོ། །ཀུན་བཟང་བསྟན་པའི་ཉི་ མ། །བླ་མ་རིག་འཛིན་བཟང་པོ། །པདྨ་འགྲོ་འདུལ་རྩལ། །ཀློང་ཆེན་རོལ་པ་རྩལ། །བླ་མ་ཟླ་བའི་འོད་ཟེར། །སེང་ཕྲུག་པདྨ་ བགྲ་ཤིས། །འཇིགས་མེད་རྒྱལ་བའི་མྱུ་གུ། །རྒྱལ་སྲས་གཞན་ཕན་མཐའ་ཡས། །གཅོད་སྨྱོན་པདྨ་ཚེ་དབང༌། །མཁན་ཆེན་པདྨ་ རྡོ་རྗེ། །འཇམ་དབྱངས་མཁྱེན་བརྩེ་དབང་པོ། །ཆོས་དབྱིངས་རོལ་བའི་རྡོ་རྗེ། །ཐུབ་བསྟན་ཆོས་ཀྱི་རྡོ་རྗེ། །རྒྱ་བསྐུང་མཁན་ ཆེན་གཞན་དགའ། །འཇིགས་མེད་པདྨ་བློ་གསལ། །བྱ་བྲལ་ཀུན་དགའ་དཔལ་ལྡན། །མཁན་ཆེན་ངག་གི་དབང་པོ། །ཐུབ་ དགའ་ཡིད་བཞིན་ནོར་བུ། །གཡུ་ཁོག་ཆོས་དབྱིངས་རང་གྲོལ། །རྫོགས་ཆེན་ཨ་བུ་ལྷ་དགོངས། །མཁས་གྲུབ་ཡོན་ཏན་མགོན་ པོ། །མཁན་ཆེན་ཚེ་དབང་རིག་འཛིན། །འཇའ་ལུས་བསོད་ནམས་རྣམ་རྒྱལ། །སྤྲུལ་སྐུ་དྲི་མེད་འོད་ཟེར། །ཡབ་རྗེ་ངག་དབང་ ནོར་བུ། །འཇིགས་བྲལ་ཡེ་ཤེས་རྡོ་རྗེ། །གྲུབ་དབང་པདྨ་ནོར་བུ། །གུ་རུ་ཐུབ་བསྟན་ཚེ་རིང༌། །མཁའ་འགྲོ་ཟླ་གསལ་དབང་ མོ། །གུ་རུ་བདེ་ཆེན་རྣམ་གྲོལ། །མཁན་ཆེན་ཐུབ་བསྟན་ནོར་བུ། །མཁན་པོ་སྐུ་གནུབས་འོད་ཟེར། །བྱ་བྲལ་སངས་རྒྱས་རྡོ་རྗེ།། །།

Literature in English

Translated by Cortland Dahl. Ithaca: Snow Lion Publications, 2007.
Translated by Cortland Dahl. Ithaca: Snow Lion Publications, 2007.
Kathmandu: Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 2006.

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