Nyakla Pema Dudul

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nyag bla pad ma bdud ‘dul


Trulshik Jangchub Lingpa
'khrul zhig byang chub gling pa

Brief Biography[edit]

A brief biography of Drubje Pema Duddul (1816-1872)



Dwelling neither in Samsara nor Nirvana, the all-pervasive nature of mind,
Sphere of the illusory network of diverse appearances, the sky-like scope
of spontaneously-accomplished primordial wisdom,
I prostrate, knowing my own nature to be inseparable from this,

The sunrays of grace, radiating one thousand perfect Buddhas,
Incarnation of Pema Totreng (PadMa Thod-Phreng),
Subduer of the Demon Force (bDud-‘dul),
Sole friend and protector of beings in this era of the five degenerations,
I beseech you to remain forever in the lotus lake of my heart.

Ordinary beings cannot fathom the minds of Buddhas.
Who is justified to appraise such immeasurable deeds?
Who amongst the unfortunate apprehends Samsara’s precipitous cliff?
I humbly request the Lama to purify the faults of my mind.

The stiff leather drum of this modern degenerate age,
When struck by the drumstick of the Buddha’s progressive teachings,
Resounds with unbearable noise, devoid of any harmony.
Holy ones, revitalize us and erase our stains.


Concerning the successions of abbots of this monastery, many centuries ago the residents of northern Minyak (Mi-Nyag) moved to the southern and eastern regions of the district. Even today residual traces of their dialect can be detected; for instance, Drakmargo (Brag-dMar-‘Go) is pronounced Rakmargo.

It was here that the omniscient Dharma lineage of Kunkhyen Kathokpa (Kun-mKhyen-Kah-Thog-Pa) gradually spread, and quite a few hermitages and lamaseries were established, including Anya Tsang (A-Mya-Tshang), Takpung Tsang (sTag-dPung-Tshang), Dudjom Tsang (bDud-‘Joms-Tshang), Riktsal Tsang (Rig-rTsal- Tshang), Tsolmyi Gyamtso Tsang (Tshogs-gNyis-rGya-mTsho-Tshang) and Gyurme Wangchuk Tsang (‘Gyur-Med-dBang-Phyug-Tshang).

Each residence had its own particular assemblage, traditional offering ceremonies and anniversary celebrations, complete sets of statues, ritual implements and other necessities.

However, this period in history is long past, and much has changed during the passage of time. These days, not only are there no reliable extant historical documents, even oral historical accounts are rare. There is an image of Palden Lhamo (dPal-lDan-Lha-Mo) constructed by the early lineage masters of Kathok which is definite testimony to the existence of Kathok's Dharma lineage. It was purely patrilineal.

If we consider Anya Tsang, for example, there is an unbroken bloodline succession of lineage holders originating with Lama Loden (bLo-lDan) and passed successively on to Sonam Chokdrup (bSod-Nams-mChog-Grub), Pema Dondrub (Padma Don-‘Grub), Pema Lhundrup (Padma Lhung-Grub), Chogyal (Chos-rGyal), Lhaphel (Lha-‘Phel), Drubchok Karma Palden (Grub-mChog Karma dPal-lDan), Sonam Tenzin (bSod-Nams-bsTan-‘Dzin), Sonam Palden (bSod-Nams-dPal-lDan), Chime (‘Chi-Med) and finally to Sonam Togyal (bSod-Nams-sTobs-rGyal).
At Tsigukma Labrang Tokma Tsang (rTsi-Gug-Mo bLa-Brang Thog-Ma-Tshang), the unbroken lineage of lamas has passed from Sonam Gyatso (bSod-Nams-rGya-mTsho) to Sonam Wangchuk (bSod-Nams-sTobs-rGyal), Sonam Chopel (bSod-Nams-Chos-dPal), Pema Kunsang (Padma Kun-bZang), Sonam Thaye (bSod-Nams-mTha’-Yas), Sempal Dorje (Sems-dPal-rDo-rJe), Kalsang (sKal-bZang), Pema Tenzin (Padma bsTan-‘Dzin) and finally to Sherab Oser (Shes-Rab-‘Od-Zer).


The founder of this particular [Kalsang] monastery, the exalted Saint Pema Duddul, the Rainbow Body of Lhangdrak (Lhang-Brag), is described thus in Cadu Sherab Gyaltsan's (lCags-mDud Shes-Rab-rGyal-mTshan) prophesy entitled The Crystal Mirror: "The mind emanation of Pema of Uddiyana (O-rGyan) will appear from the Jewel Rock bearing the name Duddul (bDud-‘Dul). In this Uddiyana sphere the Victory Banner of Buddhism will be unfurled."

Moreover, in the prophesies of such celebrated masters as Rigdzin Duddul Dorje (Rig-‘Dzin bDud-‘Dul-rDo-rJe), Terchen Longsel Nyingpo (gTer-Chen kLong-gSal-sNying-Po), Taksham Nuden Dorje (sTag-Sham Nus-lDan-rDo-rJe), Situ Pema Nyinche Wangpo (Si-Tu Padma Nyin-Byed-dBang-Po) and many others, the following details are clearly mentioned:

A son was born to Mr. Khangcik Gonpo (Khang-gCig-mGon-Po) and Mrs. Sersangsa Sonam Kyi (gSer-bZang-bZa’ bSod-Nams-sKyid). From the moment the child entered the womb, his parents had many extraordinary waking and sleeping experiences, and many of the sacred objects in the area manifested wondrous signs.

From the universal primordial ground, the spontaneously-accomplished natural condition sprung from nothingness which defies all extremes, there arises in one's perception form and emptiness, uncompounded, appearing as an ocean of miraculous Buddhas; the play of the five wisdoms appears just as the moon shining in the sky appears reflected unobstructed in a vessel of water.

Thus the karma and prayers ripened simultaneously in the region of Kham known as Adzi Nyak, in Delong (bDe-kLong) at the center of a vast expanse of bliss and happiness. The child was born on the tenth day of the ninth Tibetan month in the Male Fire Mouse year (1816) of the fourteenth Rabjung.

The sky was filled with rainbow light and a gentle light of large and tiny circles fell like strings of pearls. The land was filled with sweet fragrances in all directions, and the melodious sound of crashing cymbals was heard. Many flocks of vultures circled over the yak-hair tent seeming to perform a sacred dance. When the milk was churned, thirteen tormas of butter emerged.

As soon as he was born, the child sat in full lotus posture and after uttering "Ami Deva" (Om Amideva Hrih) and "Siddha" (Om Ah Hum Vajra Guru Padma Siddhi Hum) three times each spoke thus: "I am the mind incarnation of Orgyen." His uncle, Lama Kunzang (Kun-bZang), offered him the name Tashi Dondrub (bKra-Shis Don-‘Grub). Moreover, many saints spoke words of praise and many people personally witnessed the dakinis and Dharma protectors playing with him and venerating him with adoration.

When mother, father and child proceeded to the Sacred Place of Clear Sound, canopies of rainbow light appeared in the atmosphere and everyone heard the sweet sound of crashing cymbals. The Great Saint himself had many visions. His two little feet left impressions in the rock which are visible even today.

Weariness with samsara and the resolve to achieve liberation, love and compassion were constantly and naturally present [in his mind], and even without studying them he knew the three scripts of Uchan (dBu-Can), Ume (dBu-Med) and Lanja as well as Urdu. When he went to meet King Lingje Gesar, he [performed as a] storyteller and subsequently became known as Tashi Dondrup the Storyteller.
He had vivid knowledge of many of his previous lifetimes, and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in the pure realms of the ten directions appeared to him in visions and made prophesies. He established many sentient beings of the six realms on the path to liberation.

The dakinis and Dharma protectors instructed him in all the beneficial and harmful actions, and although he possessed unimpeded strength and power, he adhered to the law of cause and effect with care and precision for the sake of demonstrating such to others, never once forsaking the welfare of beings.

While receiving oral transmission at his Uncle Tala's (sTag-bLa) monastery, the dakinis made this prophesy and appeared to him in corresponding visions: "This sacred place, reknowned as Kalsang Sangye Choling, a wondrous temple heaped with auspiciousness, will equal the Glorious Dharma Wheel of Samye."

Although he appeared a mere child at that time, in reality he pervaded all the realms of Samsara and Nirvana and performed incomprehensible deeds in accordance with the enlightened wisdom of the Sutras and Tantras, manifesting as a supreme saint whose nature is beyond the scope of ordinary judgment.

His father, Gonpo, and his siblings then passed away, and nearly all the wealth and possessions of his secure, upstanding and influential family home was donated to support virtuous causes. The remaining buildings and possessions were all stolen and repeatedly plundered by thieves, leaving them suddenly in a state of wretched poverty, much like what happened to the Great Saint Milarepa.

Even now, just hearing the story makes one's eyes fill with tears. Mother and son were reduced to beggary and, adopting the life of mendicants, wandered the land begging for alms, simultaneously working for the benefit of beings.

Whenever demons and samaya spirits attempted to create obstacles, not only were they unable to pose a threat but, like oil being dumped onto a fire, their attempts became supports for spiritual progress [for mother and son]. Following a vision of Sublime Avalokitesvara in which he bestowed upon him a prayer wheel and told him to work for beings' welfare, he established many beings of the form and formless realms in the state of purity.

When he turned fifteen, he listened to many teachings from his uncle, Kunsang Dudjom (Kun-bZang-bDud-‘Joms), among others a Hidden Treasure Tara Teaching and Nyingthig (Nying-Thig).

From Lama Sonam Tsultrim (bSod-Nams Tshul-Khrims), Khyentse Yeshe Dorje (mKhyen-brTse Ye-Shes rDo-rJe), Namgyal Dongak Tenzin (rNam-rGyal mDo-sNgags bsTan-‘Dzin), Trosur Kalsang Deutsen (Khro-Zur bsKal-bZang lDe’u-bTsan) and many other holy beings, he received many empowerments, oral transmissions, instructions and guidance in the practices of channels and energies.

When he received empowerment and oral teaching from the Mahasiddha Pema Gyurme Sangye (Padma-‘Gyur-Med Sang-rGyas), he was given the name Pema Duddul.


When he was thirty years old in the year of the Male Fire Horse (1846), he went with some friends to the Eastern Wood Door Snow Fence to meet Mahasiddha Choying Rangdrol (Chos-dByings Rang-Grol). While he was visiting the lama, Vajradhara appeared to him in human form.

Like a vase being emptied into him in its entirety, he was given the empowerments, instruction and personal guidance in the Ground, Primordially Pure Trekchod, and the Path, Spontaneously Accomplished Leapover.

Afterwards, in accordance with the lama's prophesy that if he practiced in Lhang Drak, the Sacred Place of Clear Sound, he would attain confidence in liberation in this very lifetime and accomplish vast benefit for beings, he returned to Lhang Drak.

Renouncing fully the eight worldly dharmas of this life and all actions concerned with profit, fame, power, wealth and religious pretension, he sealed himself into a cave called Blazing Expanse of Great Bliss in the southerly direction of Lhang Drak and stayed there for nine years. For the first three years, he sustained himself on meagre amounts of water and solid food.

For the subsequent three years, birds of prey and songbirds offered him medicine, bees offered him honey, and he practiced essence extraction in accordance with a hidden treasure teaching he himself revealed called Sky-Encompassing Self-Liberation (Kha’-Khyab Rang-Dro).

During the final three years, he no longer needed to rely on substantial nourishment and sustained himself on meditative concentration. He gained firm stability in the wisdom of original purity which recognizes all phenomena within Samsara and Nirvana as a great primordial network of mirages appearing in one's own perception.

All phenomena condensed within Samsara and Nirvana appeared as a reflection of spontaneously-accomplished wisdom. He no longer depended on the four external elements or relied on the internal body of flesh and blood. Illusions faded into the empty expanse. He became a realized saint with dominion over appearance and existence.

In accordance with the Great One of Oddiyana's prophesy, he brought forth religious objects representing the body, speech and mind of the secret profound teaching entitled Sky-Encompassing Self-Liberation. The sacred site where the sublime golden sure teaching was brought forth is known as "Hidden Treasure Steppe" or "Plain of Prosperity and Happiness."

In front is a white boulder resembling a sleeping elephant upon which is written the letter AK, an indication of the treasure location which remains visible even today. Samsara and Nirvana appeared to him as clearly as the palm of his hand, and all appearance and existence arose as an illustration [of emptiness].

Having obtained the ability to issue forth emanations, he composed commentaries on many texts, including Sky-Encompassing Self-Liberation (mKha’-Khyab Rang-Grol), A Summary of Buddha's Sutra and Mantra Teachings (mDo-sNgags bKa’-‘Dus), Heart Essence of the Great Perfection: the Song of the Vajra (rDzogs-Chen sNying-Thig rDo-rJe’I sGra-dByangs), Katang , Self-Liberation of Whatever Arises (bKa’-Thang Gang-Sher Rang-Grol), A Billion Buddhas in A Billion Worlds, and A Billion Lotus-Borns. At present, however, a mere seven of these volumes remain.


The Great Saint himself, adhering to the simple life of a renunciate, never lived in one place for long, but stayed instead on mountainsides, along riverbanks, in dense forests and caves. Everywhere he went students gathered around him like bees to a flower, and he became known as the One-House Camper, Khangcik Garba (Khang-gCig sGar-Pa).

He instigated widespread expansion of the sect of white-clad, long-haired Ngakpas, Kusali tantrikas in possession of the three sets of vows. In addition, he hoisted higher and higher the Victory Banner of the Clear Light Vajra Core Dzogchen Heart Essence Teachings.

The local chieftain of the petty kingdom of Nyak and his son, as well, honored him with faith and reverence. During the period when the aristocratic landlord Punrabpa governed Nyak, the petty chieftains of the district were in disharmony and waged a great battle.

The Great Saint mediated between them and restored peace to the region, in return for which he was presented with a great number of guns and valuables. He had the guns destroyed and dumped into the river, and the valuables were donated to the government.

The Great Protector, His Holiness the Twelfth Dalai Lama Trinley Gyamtso (sKyabs-mGon Phrin-Las rGya-mTshos), presented him with a golden letter, golden stamp and accepted him as his revered teacher, offering him land and government estates for the monastery. Fifteen hundred pounds of barley to be sown on the land were contributed for use until the death of his nephew, Garab Dorje.

From that time on, the display of weapons was forbidden at the monastery, even in the side temple where the fearsome protector deities were housed. Moreover, an order was laid down stating that no guns were allowed to be kept in any of the other monasteries in the region.

As prophesied, many holy lamas of the Sakya, Kagyu and Gelug sects, including Karmapa Khakhyab Dorje (Karmapa mKha’-Khyab rDo-rJe), became like-minded in view, creating the auspicious condition of nonsectarianism between the New and Ancient Translation Schools. Masters of the Kathok , Palyul, Shechen and Dzogchen monastery lineages bestowed upon each other empowerments and exchanged teachings and spiritual instruction. Jasi Dechen Monastery, Jasi Jomo Tsogyal Monastery, Zur Jomo Dechen Monastery, Gojam Monastery and Samten Monastery were erected; restoration was done on Shiwa Lhatim Monastery and Chagdud Orgyen Ling, and the foundation land of the Bon monastery Yeshe Podud was consecrated.

In this way, [the Great Saint] performed deeds of the three Dharma Wheels and vastly benefited the Dharma and beings.


Then, on the new moon day of Saga Dawa in the Male Water Monkey year (1872) of the fifteenth Rabjung, as he was nearing the end of life, in the region of Tromyul Nyin, he spoke thus to his disciples:

"Deluded activities springing from ambitions for this life; imitation virtuous actions of the eight worldly dharmas; meaningless chatter about "the view"; mistaken meditation; insane, disturbed behavior; sectarian discrimination; benefiting others for the sake of one's own profit and fame--be rid of all of them. They will never be the cause of Buddhahood.

Crush the head of the eight worldly dharmas. Renounce the activities of this life. Don't be proud and superior, practice the Secret Mantra in secret. Mix your mind-stream with compassion and the twofold benefit of self and other will be spontaneously accomplished- then this old man's hopes will be fulfilled.

It is said that Padma Sambhava sleeps at the door of the faithful, and the same applies to me. Don't err ! Don’t err ! Work hard! " He concluded with a recitation of the verse which begins, "In all my rebirths may I be inseparable from the sublime lama..." and other prayers, and said, "Sew me inside my tent and for seven days no one is allowed to come."

After seven days, the earth shook three times and the sky filled with rainbows and points of light. Cymbals crashed from above, delicious scents wafted from every direction, and many other wondrous signs appeared. When the disciples opened the door of the tent the Saint had disappeared, leaving only his hair, finger- and toenails, clothing and seat behind.

He had followed in the footsteps of the accomplished saints of the past in India and Tibet, and had manifested the fruit of the Secret Mantra Ancient Translation Teaching of the Clear Light Great Perfection: the rainbow body.

One hundred days later, he appeared clearly before his chief spiritual son, Rigbi Dorje (Rig-Ba’I rDo-rJe). Through the realization of a dakini symbol, the mind of lama and disciple merged into one, Rigbi Dorje's realization became equal to the sky, and he worked limitlessly to benefit beings.

He continued the Dharma teaching of the precious Great Saint, and with the help of innumerable holy lamas erected a two-story reliquary stupa on the grounds of Kalsang Monastery. The hair, fingernails and clothing were sealed inside.

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