It is mentioned in Lamrim Yeshe Nyingpo, The Gradual Path of the Wisdom Essence, by Guru Rinpoche, that there are four levels of heart-practice or guru sadhana: the outer is Barché Künsel, the inner is Sampa Lhündrup, the secret is Tsokyé Nyingtik, and the innermost secret is Dorjé Draktsal. The terma or treasure root text states:
Externally, in order to dispel all obstacles, ༔
by means of Nangsi Zilnön, the trikāya Padmākara, ༔
with the twelve manifestations of vidyādhara power-wielders, ༔
practice the approach in the general and special manners. ༔
Internally, in order to spontaneously accomplish supreme and common wishes, ༔
by means of Wish-fulfilling Great Bliss, Padmasambhava, ༔
together with the thirteen gurus, ༔
make the full approach of means and liberation, development and completion. ༔
Secretly, by means of indivisible space and awareness ༔
manifest in the mudra form as Padma Vajradhara, ༔
all the three roots condensed, and through the essence yoga, ༔
gain accomplishment of the unchanging coemergent wisdom. ༔
Most secretly, by means of Vidyādhara Dorjé Drakpo Tsel, ༔
the embodiment of all sugatas, the deity who has totally perfected all herukas, ༔
and through the nyegyü practice, the great accomplishment, ༔
realize the ultimate kāyas and wisdoms. ༔
Jamgön Kongtrul, in his commentary on the above quoted root verses of Lamrim Yeshé Nyingpo, explains the significance of Guru Tsokyé Nyingtik as follows:
“Secretly, the means is the indivisible unity of primordially pure space and spontaneously present awareness, which itself is the basic nature of your own mind and all phenomena. The meaning of this is manifest in mudra form as the great Padma Vajradhara, Tsokyé Dorjé Chang, the symbol, who is all Three Roots condensed into one. He is the self-existing wheel of great bliss, and through his profound path of the essence yoga of undivided development and completion, you reach ‘accomplishment’ of unchanging co-emergent wisdom….”
Jamyang Khyentsé Wangpo
A summary of Jamyang Khyentsé Wangpo’s life according to Alak Zenkar Rinpoche’s biography:
Jamyang Khyentsé was born in 1820 in the region of Yaru Khyungchen Drak in Dilgo in Derge, East Tibet. His father was Rinchen Namgyal and his mother Sönam Tso. Jamyang Khyentse learnt to read at the age of four or five, and from an early age his intelligence grew so keen he was able to master reading, writing, and other skills without any difficulty. At twelve, he was recognized as the incarnation of the great khenpo of Evam Tharpatse, Jampa Namkha Chime, and he was given the name Jamyang Khyentsé Wangpo. At age twenty-one, he received full ordination. In all, he had more than one hundred and fifty teachers, who were great masters from all four major schools—Sakya, Gelug, Kagyü and Nyingma. He studied with masters from every authentic tradition of practice with an unbroken lineage which existed at that time in the Land of Snows. He received these teachings in their entirety and in the proper way, imbibing all the ripening empowerments, liberating instructions, and supporting reading transmissions. Not only did he come to possess infinite learning, he also developed unsurpassable qualities of experience and realization through perfecting the practice of meditation. In time, his fame spread throughout Tibet and the name of Pema Ösal Dongak Lingpa, “holder of the seven special transmissions (ka bab dün),” was heard everywhere like claps of thunder resounding through the land. All that he himself had received of the sutras, tantras, and pith instructions, he passed onto his disciples in accordance with their own inclinations and karmic fortune. By continuously giving empowerments, transmissions, and teachings, he ensured that his followers were thoroughly grounded in the complete non-sectarian teachings of the Buddha and established many on the path of maturation and liberation. Bringing to an end such vast and magnificent deeds, he demonstrated passing into nirvana in 1892, the second month of the Water Dragon year.
In 1848, at the age of twenty-eight, when Jamyang Khyentsé Wangpo was in the vicinity of Gegyel on his way to central Tibet, he performed a feast offering on the auspicious occasion of Guru Rinpoche’s birthday, in the monkey month of the earth monkey year, which marks the year that Guru Rinpoche was born. His experience blazed forth. He then went outside and found a beautiful cave whose entrance faced the southwest. Curious, Khyentse Wangpo entered the cave and was immediately filled with joy. After practicing Guru Yoga there, he briefly fell asleep and was suddenly awoken by a loud noise. In the space in front of him, Guru Rinpoche appeared as the Guru of Zahor surrounded by a vast retinue. Guru Rinpoche blessed Khyentsé Wangpo and dissolved into his heart. As a result of this, the root practice of Guru Tsokyé Nyingtik (Lake Born Guru’s Heart Essence) appeared clearly before Khyentsé Wangpo’s mind, and he put the activity manual into writing right then and there.
Jamyang Khyentsé Wangpo then continued his journey and arrived at Samyé monastery on the Full Moon of the ninth month. He made vast offerings to the treasure statue of Guru Tsokyé Dorjé (Lake-Born Vajra Guru) revealed by the Great Tertön Nyangrel Nyingma Özer. As he was practicing, he had a vision of the statue becoming alive and granting him the empowerment and further instructions, finally to dissolve into his heart. The cycle’s auxiliary teachings also vividly arose in his realized experience, and he placed them under a seal of secrecy. The following winter, upon his fervent request, Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa received the Guru Tsokyé Nyingtik empowerment and instructions from Khyentsé Wangpo. That night, Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa had an extraordinary dream in which Guru Rinpoche empowered him as the custodian of these teachings. Through these blessings, Chokgyur Lingpa also revealed further related treasures from Sengchen Namdrak. Later, once he had completed the approach and accomplishment for the practice, at the occasion of a feast gathering on the tenth day of the month, his realization manifested as he hung up his damaru and bell in the air so that all those around could see. With these extraordinary signs of blessings, the Guru Tsokyé Nyingtik became the third of the four guru sadhanas common to the two great tertöns.
Alak Zenkar Rinpoche’s full biography of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, can be found here:
The initial quotation of the Lamrim Yeshé Nyingpo root text comes from:
- Padmasambhava. Lamrim Yeshe Nyingpo. Trans. Erik Pema Kunsang, ed. Marcia Dechen Wangmo. Rangjung Yeshe Publications: Hong Kong, 2016.
The quotation of Jamgön Kongtrul in his commentary comes from:
- Padmasambhava, and Jamgon Kongtrul. Light of Wisdom, Vol. II. Transl. Erik Pema Kunsang. Hong Kong: Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 1998, pp. 65-66.