According to tradition, Lhatsün Chenpo Namkha Jikmé was born in the late 1590s at Jaryül in southern Tibet. He was considered to be the incarnation of two great masters: the great pandita and Dzogchen master Vimalamitra, and Longchen Rabjam, the omniscient Longchenpa.
Ordained as a novice by Tulku Orgyen Paljor at Sungnyen, he received the ordination name Kunzang Namgyal. He pursued shedra studies at the monastery of Thangdrok. During this time he focused on the practice of the Kagyé ( ‘Eight Great Herukas’) and Lama Gongdü and mastered all these practices.
He spent seventeen years studying with the Dzogchen master Sonam Wangpo. From him, he received instructions on the Dzogchen Nyingtik, attaining realization.
Lhatsün Chenpo Namkha Jikmé practiced for many years at a number of sacred pilgrimage places of central and western Tibet, perfecting his accomplishment. It is said that due to this practice, he completely unraveled the knot of his throat center channels and thus every word he spoke was correct and full of understanding.
Throughout his career, he displayed other miraculous powers. He obtained the help of all the local deities in restoring the temple of Samyé. And at Tsari, he brought a huge avalanche to a stop by making the ‘threatening mudra’ as he stared at it.
Lhatsün Namkha Jikmé was a terton or treasure revealer. During his solitary retreats in Tibet, he experienced many ‘pure visions’. In one of these visions, he revealed the terma, the Dorje Nyingpo Tringyi Tollü Chökor (The Spontaneous Song of the Clouds: the Nucleus of Indestructible Reality). This terma is considered to be the summary of the inner teachings from all terma lineages.
Lhatsün Namkha Jikmé in Sikkim
His teachers, the tertöns Jatsön Nyingpo and Düddul Dorje encouraged him to travel to Sikkim in order to fulfill a prophecy that this would bring great benefit to the Dharma. Following that instruction, in 1646 he traveled to Lhari Ösel Nyingpo in Sikkim. There he founded a temple and hermitage, which became famous as a sacred pilgrimage location.
In Sikkim, he had another pure vision while meditating in the cave of the Heart of the Deity (Lhari Rinchen Nyingpuk) located north of Drakkar Tashiding. This location was blessed by Guru Rinpoche during his stay in Sikkim. The mind treasure he revealed was the cycle of the “The Life-Force Practice of the Vidyādharas’ (Rigdzin Sokdrup) which includes the famous practice of Riwo Sangchö. This practice is said to contain unsurpassed instructions on Dzogchen.
It is said that because of his practice of Riwo Sangchö, he overcame all human and non-human obstacles to the Dharma in Sikkim. Thus he is credited with opening Sikkim as a ‘secret land’ of the teachings. Thus he had no obstacles in teaching Dzogchen throughout Sikkim, establishing an ongoing lineage, known as ‘Sikkim Dzogchen’.