Short Life-Story of Dudjom Lingpa
While Traktung Dudul Dorje (the fourteenth in the line of Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche’s incarnations) was enjoying the feast of Dharma prosperity at Guru Rinpoche’s Palace of the Light of Lotus, Guru Rinpoche asked Dudul Dorje to go to Eastern Tibet in order to serve the faithful beings there, at the request of his spiritual consort Yeshe Tsogyal, by saying, ” Among your disciples, there will come three thousand people endowed with fortunate karmic connections with you. Over five hundred excellent people will attain enlightenment in their very lifetimes. The twenty-five King and Subjects will come to assist you. Ten tertons will appear with you as well, and seven esoteric masters will be born as your children and grandchildren.”
The Great Terton Dudjom Lingpa, also known as Garwang Dudjom Pawo, was thus born in 1835 at the Lower Ser Valley of Eastern Tibet, in the midst of rays of rainbows. His father was Aten of the Nub Clan from the Ah chak Dru lineage, while his mother was Po-dzog from the Mutsha-ga lineage. In the secret meaning, his body was the manifestation of Drokben Khyechung Lotsawa (one of the original 25 disciples of Guru Rinpoche), his speech was the manifestation of Yeshe Tsogyal, and his mind was the manifestation of Guru Rinpoche.
Dudjom Lingpa was born with the gift of great wisdom and spiritual powers. From early childhood onwards, he was already displaying his true natural powers that only a very few rare Great Masters could demonstrate.
Though he lived among ordinary people most of the time, Dudjom Lingpa had hardly been separated from the Buddha Fields. He received only limited teachings and transmissions from human teachers, including Lama Jigme, Lama Jamyang, Kathok Chak-tsa Tulku and Patrul Rinpoche. Yet he had received unceasing teachings from the various Buddhas and enlightened beings in his constant pure visions. Indeed, hosts of Buddhas, enlightened beings, Dakas and Dakinis were constantly protecting, cherishing and nourishing him spiritually, as well as physically.
Dudjom Lingpa was endowed with a strongly built body, with a dark-reddish brown complexion, a semi-wrathful face, together with wide and powerful eyes. He dressed in white tantric robes with ornaments and earrings. He had half of his long hair tied up into a topknot, while letting the remaining hair hang loosely.
During his life, Dudjom Lingpa faced many obscurations from various negative forces, but he was able to turn them all into supports for the spreading of the Holy Dharma. He himself was not in good health at the later years of his life, but he was able to heal many sick people through his spiritual power, sometimes even with a single gesture.
While he was looking straight ahead, even the closest disciples of Dudjom Lingpa did not dare to walk in front of him, just because of the great power and might of his staring eyes. It was said that the lay people in Golok prayed with the words, “Oh! The body of Dudjom,” instead of the saying the usual prayers to the body, speech and mind of the Lama, signifying the great charismatic presence of his body as something very extraordinary to the people.
At the age of 25, from among the rocks of Ba-ter of the Mar Valley, Dudjom Lingpa revealed the prophetic guide (kha byang) which had all the instructions of how he should discover and reveal his own Treasures (Ters).
In the same year, with the guidance from the prophetic guide Dudjom Lingpa started to discover and reveal his own major Earth Treasures from Ngala Tak-tse of the Ser Valley.
After this, Dudjom Lingpa discovered altogether twenty volumes of these concealed teachings, hidden in the ninth century by Guru Rinpoche himself, as well as many sacred objects as both Mind Treasures (Gong Ters) and Earth Treasures (Sa- Ters). These came to be known as The New Treasures of Dudjom (Dudjom Tersar).
It was reported that Dudjom Lingpa was invited by his two famous contemporaries Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and Jamgon Kongtrul the Great to include his New Treasures (Tersar) into their collection of the Precious Treasury of Terma (Rinchen Terdzo), but he politely declined their kind offer by saying that, “wherever the Rinchen Terdzo will be spread, it will be the same with my Tersar.”
Except for two brief visits to the Dza-chukha Valley, Dudjom Lingpa spent his life wholly in three main places, namely, the Ser Valley, the Do Valley and the Mar Valley in Eastern Tibet.
At the age of 46, Dudjom Lingpa again migrated to Lama-rong and other places in the Upper Ser Valley. Then, finally at the age of 54, he moved to the Li Gorge in the Upper Do Valley, where he built the Dartsang Kalzang Gon Hermitage, which was to become his residence for the rest of his life.
Towards the end of his life, it was Dudjom Lingpa’s intention to reveal and visit the sacred land of Pemakod in Kongpo Valley in Central Tibet, which is one of the four major Hidden Lands blessed by Guru Rinpoche as hiding places for the faithful Dharma practitioners in the Dark Ages. However, being unable to do so Dudjom Lingpa prophesized that his successor would be born there and reveal it himself.
Furthermore, it was also prophesized on his successor by Dudjom Lingpa that the billions of beings who come into contact with him will be liberated just by the sight, the recognition, the touch, and the experience, and they will be reborn in the Kingdom of Shambhala. With this, Dudjom Lingpa passed away in 1904, and took rebirth as Kyabje Dudjom Jigdral Yeshe Dorje (1904-1987), Dudjom Rinpoche the Second, in Pemakod.
Dudjom Lingpa had eight sons:
1. Tersay Drimed Ozer (1881-1924), a great scholar and Terton whose consort was the famous wisdom dakini Sera Khandro Dewai Dorje (1899 1952);
2. Jigme Tenpe Nyima (1865-1926), the third Dodrupchen Rinpoche;
3. Khyentul Dzamling Wangyal (1868-1907), a Tulku of Do Khyentse (1800-1866);
4. Tulku of Cheyo Rigdzin Chenmo, who passed away in early childhood;
5. Tulku Lhachen Topgyal ( or simply as Tulku Lhatop);
6. Tulku Pema Dorje (who had lived at Dodrupchen Monastery);
7. Patrul Namkhai Jigme, the Tulku of Patrul Rinpoche; and
8. Tersay Dorje Dradul (1891-1959), who became the successor of Dudjom Lingpa at the Dartsang Kalzang Gon Hermitage.
Besides this, there were thirteen disciples of the Great Terton Dudjom Lingpa who had attained the rainbow body; and that there were others of his lineage who had the same attainments, as was recorded by Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche in his work The Fundamentals and History of the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism (with the English translation by Gyurme Dorje and Matthew Kapstein and published by Wisdom Publications, 199 Elm St., Somerville, MA02144, U.S.A, 1990, Vol.1, p.919).