#6 Tertön Terdak Lingpa’s Mindroling Vajrasattva
Mindroling Vajrasattva is an important practice coming out of Mindroling Monastery. This is the monastery that Lama Gyurme (the artist of our temple) is from. Minling Terchen Gyurme Dorje, aka Terdak Lingpa (1646-1714), was a great tertön and founded Mindroling Monastery in 1676. His brother was the well-known artist and scholar Lochen Dharmaśrī. He played an important role in the transmission of the Nyingma Kama (Oral Tradition), bringing together the Rong lineage of Central Tibet and the Kham lineage of Eastern Tibet. The two brothers also compiled the terma collection known as the Döjo Bumzang, which was a precursor of the Rinchen Terdzö. He was the Dzogchen teacher of the Fifth Dalai lama. Terdak Lingpa’s final words were the “Namdrak Rig Sum” Prayer for the Post Meditation that we say at the end of each practice. This mandala is for the Minling Vajrasattva Yab Yum practice. Terdak Lingpa also had a Chöd lineage from Machig Labdron. In 1717 the Dzungar Mongols invaded Tibet, driving out the rival Khoshot Mongols who had ruled since the middle of the seventeenth century. Radical partisans of the dominant Gelug tradition, they unleashed a wave of anti-Nyingma violence. The destruction of Nyingma institutions reached Mindroling, and those inhabitants who were not arrested or killed escaped to other locales. Lochen Dharmaśrī and Pema Gyurme Gyatso were arrested and executed in Lhasa, as were many other male leaders of the Nyingma community. Mingyur Peldron’s brother Rinchen Namgyel (rin chen rnam rgyal, 1694-1758) managed to escape to Kham, and his daughter, Mingyur Peldrön, who was trained as a Dzogchen master in his lineage, fled to Sikkim and was shortly followed by her mother and sister. After their departure, most of the buildings at Mindroling were destroyed, and many of the remaining inmates killed. As might be expected, this was a traumatic time for all members of Mindroling, and Mingyur Peldrön experienced significant loss, as well as hardship and illness during her journey to Sikkim. She then returned to Mindroling, and together with her brother, Drinchen Rinchen Namgyal, rebuilt the monastery with the support of Polha Taiji, who was then the leader of Tibet residing in Lhasa.
#7 Tertön Guru Chowang’s Lama Sangdu (Secret Lama) Guru Rinpoche
Chokyi Wangchug (1212-1270), popularly known as Guru Chöwang, was born in Lhodrag. Guru Chöwang is said to have revealed eighteen troves of earth treasure (that is, texts and objects physically concealed in the earth) and one trove of mind treasure (a scripture concealed in his own mind stream in a prior incarnation at the time of Guru Rinpoche.) Among the most influential are the Lama Sangdu, a sadhana and practice on Padmasambhava that includes the widely used prayer known as the Seven Line Supplication; the Sangdu Lamai Tugdrub; and the Kabgye Sangwa Yongdzog, one of the three treasure cycles on the Kabgye, or Eight Commands, central to the Mahāyoga section of Nyingma tantra. The Lama Sangdu cycle is also the core of an extensive sacred dance ceremony performed yearly at most Nyingma monasteries, usually on the anniversary of Padmasambhava, the tenth day of the fifth (or sometimes sixth) month of the lunar calendar, known as the Eight Aspects of Guru Rinpoche.
Khandro Kunga Bum is a famous female tertön in the Rinchen Terdzod, one of the two female tertons included in that collection. Machig Kunga Bum was born in a monkey year in the thirteenth century in a place called Tashi Dokhar in the On region. She entered a retreat in the so-called Clear Light Cave at the Drak Yongdzong cave complex for seven years, seven months, seven days and seven hours. While there she received various prophecies from dākinīs, including one from Vajravārahī that she would reveal a treasure text there titled the Secret Mother Tantra, Daily Practice Cycles. She transmitted this treasure to people across the U region. She also transmitted her treasures to Dungsto Repa, with whom she is said to have engaged in consort practice, and they collaborated on teaching. At the end of her life she entered another retreat at Tashi Yanggon in On, and at a hermitage near the Jemo Stūpa. She passed away after seven days, reportedly amidst the great sign of accomplishment, the attainment of the rainbow body.
By the nineteenth century her lineage had been lost, but was revived by Jamgon Kongtrul (1813-1899) and Chokgyur Lingpa (1829-1870). Kongtrul reported in his One Hundred Treasure Revealers that he located a copy in Yarlung Sheldrak and another in Drakyong Dzong, which she is said to have re-concealed as treasure. In the same source, Kongtrul relates a dream from 1859 in which he saw himself in the form of Dungtso Repa, and that he thereby received the transmissions for both Dungtso Repa’s and Kunga Bumpa’s treasures.
Chimé Pakmé Nyingtig, ‘The Heart Essence of the Sublime Lady of Immortality’, a longevity practice discovered by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo featuring White Tārā (in the form known as Wish-fulfilling Wheel) in union with Avalokiteśvara (in the form known as Lord of the Dance.) So it is a Yum Yab practice rather than Yab Yum, with the female deity as the primary figure, which is extremely rare.
#17 Tertön Düddul Dorje’s Saraswati Yangchenma
Tertön Rigdzin Düddul Dorje (1615-1672) was a Nyingma tertön and one of the main students of Jatsön Nyingpo. In the middle of the 17th century, he played a critical role in re-strengthening the Katok Monastery lineage and its initial monastery which had fallen into disrepair. While Rigdzin Düddul Dorje journeyed to the kingdom of Powo, situated at the entrance to the vast wilderness of the Yarlung Tsangpo gorge of the hidden land of Pemakö, he revealed a terma. According to the local tradition, he mapped a circumambulatory pilgrimage path around Pemakö, called Padma-Sri. Rigdzin Düddul Dorje revealed numerous termas and contributed to open the hidden-land of Pemakö. The Yarlung Tsangpo gorge is written about in Ian Baker’s book The Heart of the World: A Journey to Tibet’s Lost Paradise. The area is known to be the body of Vajrayogini and various sites are her chakras.
#18 Jomo Menmo Yangter Khandro Sangwa Kundu
Khandro Sangdü, or Khandro Sangwa Düpa, the ‘Secret Gathering of the Dākinīs’, is a rediscovered terma from Jomo Memo. It is rediscovered by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, a reincarnation of her consort Guru Chowang. The cycle contains practices of the enlightened body, speech and mind of Vajravarahi, as well as a sadhana of all the dakas and dakinis of the twenty-four great sacred places and thirty-two hallowed lands. This practice is one of the most sacred practices for purifying samayas. When samayas are purified, we can attain the ordinary and supreme accomplishments immediately.
According to the hagiography written by Jamgon Kongtrul (1813-1899), on the tenth day of the seventh month, Jomo Menmo and her two companions performed a feast offering on the summit of Drak Lhari in U. All three then ascended into the sky and flew to Padmasambhava’s pure land, Zangdok Pelri.
In the nineteenth century Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo rediscovered Jomo Menmo’s treasures, based on his identification as the reincarnation of Guru Chowang. Jamgon Kongtrul thus included the Gathering of all the Dākinī’s Secrets in the Rinchen Terdzod, for which composed his hagiography of her. Her biography is in Lama Tsultrim Allione’s Women of Wisdom.