The Twenty-four Sacred Places

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Blue Lake, (in Tibetan, mtsho sngon po; in Mongolian, Kokonor; in Chinese, Qinghai, the Blue Sea) is located in the north of Amdo, a province of Greater Tibet presently assimilated to the Qinghai province of China. The lake is also known as Trishok Gyalmo (khri shog rgyal mo), the "Queen who Destroyed Ten Thousand." This name is explained as follows by Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche: "A long time ago the site of the lake was a vast plain; at its center was a spring. There lived an old woman who each day sent her daughter to fetch water from the spring. Knowing that it was not an ordinary spring, she told her daughter always to be careful to put back the flat stone that kept the spring covered. One day, the girl forgot. The water kept on flowing, filled the whole plain and destroyed ten thousand homes, hence the name of the lake." This account is almost identical to the one given by Sumpa Khenpo (see the Bibliography), who, however, spells the name khri shor rgyal mo, the Queen Who Swept Away Ten Thousand. The legend also says that Guru Padmasambhava came to the lake and miraculously manifested a small hill that covered the spring and stopped the flood. This hill was Heart of the Lake Island, Tsonying Mahadeva (mtsho snying mahadeva). Sumpa Khenpo quotes early references to this lake, e.g. in the writings King Songtsen Gampo who speaks of the "Bodhisattva Naga Minister from the Ocean that Flooded Ten Thousand" (khri bshos rgya mtsho'i klu blon byang chub sems.) The lake is said to be inhabited by the naga king Bodhisattva and by four naginis, the four Menmo (sman mo) sisters, one of whom is Trishok Gyalmo. These four sisters also happen to be, with the White Mahakala (mgon dkar) and Vaishravana (rnam thos sras), the guardians (gter srung) of the rta phag yid bzhin nor bu (see Appendix 4). [MR-ShabkarNotes]