150th Parinirvāṇa Anniversary
On June 22, 2020, we celebrate the anniversary of the renowned tertön (treasure revealer) Chokgyur Lingpa.
About Chokgyur Dechen Shikpo Lingpa
(Tib. མཆོག་གྱུར་བདེ་ཆེན་ཞིག་པོ་གླིང་པ་, Wyl. mchog gyur bde chen zhig po gling pa) (1829-1870)
The emanation of Prince Murub Tsenpo, he was born in Nangchen in Kham, east Tibet. He was a contemporary of the Rimé masters Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and Jamgön Kongtrul, and like Khyentse Wangpo, was entrusted with the seven special transmissions. His terma revelations, the Chokling Tersar, include the Tukdrup Barché Kunsel, the Lamrim Yeshe Nyingpo, and the Three Classes of the Great Perfection.
For those who are not acquainted with his life story, you can find a short description on the website Treasury of Lives. Practitioners of the Chokling Tersar lineage can find more details in the indispensable book The Great Tertön, compiled by our in-house translation group, Lhasey Lotsawa. In this volume, we discover more than a history–it also contains a collection of oral instructions. The Great Tertön presents the life-stories of Guru Rinpoché, Chokgyur Lingpa, and all the subsequent Chokling incarnations.
We refer to this genre of Tibetan life stories as namthar (Tib. rNam thar). This term translates as “complete liberation”, and indicates that the lessons we can absorb from this text focus on spiritual attainment. In addition, our translators have gathered stories relating to a number of the main lineage masters. This line of transmission continues unbroken to this day with Phakchok Rinpoché.
Advice from Phakchok Rinpoche on Reading the Life Story of Chokgyur Lingpa
Phakchok Rinpoche advises us to read the liberation stories of masters with a different perspective than we apply to our usual study. He counsels that we need to read with a humble and compassionate attitude:
“Therefore, please relax your critical mind and try to generate some devotion and some pure perception…”
Reflection on Parinirvāṇa
On the anniversary of Chokgyur Lingpa’s Parinirvāṇa, we can reflect on the great devotion and faith demonstrated by the master. Here, we can turn to one of the accounts included in The Great Tertön, called “Nectar for the Ears of the Fortunate.” Könchok Gyurmé Tenpé Gyaltsen, the second incarnation of the tertön, narrated this account of Chokgyur Linpa’s Visionary Journey to the Copper-colored Mountain.
In this extraordinary voyage, the master journeys with the ḍākinīs, stopping at many sacred sites along the way. They stop at the site of the Buddha’s own parinirvāṇa, in modern Kushinagar.
Once they arrive there, we read that the Tertön “made supplications in a state of profound and irreversible faith, filled with admiration, yearning, and trust”. Also, his body hairs stood on end, and his face shown with tears.
And at that point the head ḍākinī advised him,
“Son of noble family, it is taught that the Buddha never passes away, and the dharma likewise never disappears. Regarding the meaning of this:
In one’s own mind is the original buddha.
Is this not what is called the sugata essence?
In the five-colored sphere in the center of your heart
The buddha resides, never parting.
Samādhi! Hoh, ah, ah, ah!”
Quote from The Great Tertön, p. 256.
Supplication and Aspiration: Advice for Practitioners
You also can explore Lhasey Lotsawa’s site for translations of pithy advice written by Chokgyur Lingpa for the benefit of practitioners just like us. One example is Some Advice to Take to Heart, a short verse that reminds us all how to check ourselves and practice correctly.
On this day of commemoration, may we also recollect this teaching and may all beings realize and remain in the natural state! Two years ago, Phakchok Rinpoche reminded us of how best to practice on this important anniversary. You can find that audio teaching here.
Today is an excellent day to reflect on the great kindness of the terton. This Supplication to Chokgyur Lingpa chanted by Khenpo Pema Namgyal elicits great devotion.
And to benefit the infinite number of sentient beings, we can recite the Aspiration for Chokgyur Lingpa’s activity to flourish:
Download the aspiration in .pdf format here.