Namkha Khyung Dzong Tradition

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Mount Kailash

Namkha Khyung Dzong (Tib. ནམ་མཁའ་ཁྱུང་རྫོང་, Wyl. nam mkha' khyung rdzong) Tradition is the name of a Dudjom Tersar sub-tradition which was established by Degyal Rinpoche, a student of Dudjom Lingpa, on the slopes of and later around Mount Kailash.

The Foundation

Founded by Degyal Rinpoche in the 1910's

In the early 1900’s, and while being still in Golok, Degyal Rinpoche was asked by his teacher Dudjom Lingpa to soon travel to the Mount Kailash region, at the far Western part of Tibet. Then, Dudjom Lingpa passed away in 1904, and Degyal Rinpoche traveled with many students to Pemakö, where Dudjom Rinpoche was recognized in 1907 as an incarnation of Dudjom Lingpa. While arriving in the Mount Kailash region, Degyal Rinpoche began a series of closed retreats. Years later, disciples began to gather around him, and slowly the Namkha Khyung Dzong place was established. Over the years, this tradition became known as the Namkha Khyung Dzong Tradition.

Dudjom Töluk and Dudjom Méluk

The particular way of practicing Tröma Nakmo (Dudjom) in the Namkha Khyung Dzong Tradition became known as the Dudjom Töluk, (Wyl. bdud ‘joms stod lugs), the Upper tradition of Dudjom Tersar, which comes directly from Dudjom Lingpa. Later, the particular way of practicing Tröma Nakmo (Dudjom) tradition established by Dudjom Rinpoche became known as Dudjom Méluk [Wyl. bdud 'joms smad lugs], the Southern tradition of Dudjom Tersar.

According to Shiva Rinpoche, [1]

Dudjom Töluk is the Tibetan appellation for the Upper tradition of Dudjom Tersar. ‘Upper’ means ‘Western Tibet’ and more precisely the area of Mount Kailash. Why that? Because it is there that Degyal Rinpoche – one of the heart sons of Dudjom Lingpa, born in Golok (Eastern Tibet) and an emanation of Vairotsana – had settled to spend his life in meditation. His cave became a small hermitage called Namkha Khyung Dzong and this hermitage gathered many disciples from various places of Tibet and Himalaya in order to receive teachings each summer and to practice in retreat during winter.
The most famous disciple of Degyal Rinpoche was Golok Serta Rinpoche who came also from Golok. It is striking to know that he was considered as an emanation of Yudra Nyingpo who was in the 8th century the main disciple of Vairotsana. About the name of Namkha Khyung Dzong?
Outwardly, it refers to Degyal Rinpoche’s place and to his special lineage but inwardly, we can find signs of the true meaning in Dzogchen tantras and Longchenpa’s works: In the Lion's Perfect Expressive Power, one of the Seventeen Tantras of the Category of Pith Instructions, we can find the following verses:
chos nyid ming dang bral ba'i nam mkha' la, mtshan ma'i yul med rang snang gser gyi bya khyung lding, bcos ma ma yin rang gi bde ba 'byung
In the sky [namkha] that is the true nature of phenomena, free of labels, soars the garuda [khyung] of awareness’s own manifestations, with none of what characterizes the objects of senses. It is uncontrived self-knowing awareness that is experienced as blissful.
Here Namkha refers to the empty essence of the primordially pure base, Khyung refers to the luminous nature which is spontaneously present and Dzong refers to the unceasing and all-pervading compassion which manifests as self-knowing awareness (rang rig). The inseparability of those three aspects of the base is Namkha Khyung Dzong. But Dzong is more especially explained in the self-commentary of Treasury of Dharmadhatu by Longchenpa, where awareness is timelessly fashioned as the “fortress” [dzong] of the vajra heart essence.

The Stages of Practice

When asked “How are the three roots— Lama, Yidam, Dakini— practiced in the Namkha Khyung Dzong tradition?”, Lama Pema Dorje Rinpoche replied, “In the Namkha Khyung Dzong tradition, Lama is Tröma Nakmo (Dudjom), Yidam is Tröma Nakmo (Dudjom), Dakini is Tröma Nakmo (Dudjom)”.[2]

The Major Texts

The major texts of the Namkha Khyung Dzong tradition are as follows:

Tantras

  1. Neluk Rangjung
  2. Sherik Dorje Nӧnpo Gyü
  3. Zungdzin Trülpa Rangdröl

The main Dzogchen instructions text is Nang Jang.

Sadhanas

The ngöndro practised in the Namkha Khyung Dzong tradition are mainly the Sater Ngöndro, and the Tröma Nakmo (Dudjom) Ngöndro. The sadhana practised is mainly Tröma Nakmo (Dudjom). The arrangements of the short Tröma and the long Tröma sadhanas are specific to the Dudjom Töluk.

Another important practice is a nyungné (Wyl. smyung gnas), a fasting practice based on Avalokiteshvara, which comes from the lineage of Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Tayé. This is the main practice for laypeople in the Namkha Khyung Dzong tradition.

The Lineage Holders

Some of the main lineage holders and practitioners of the Namkha Khyung Dzong tradition are listed below:

  1. Ani Pema Khandro, student of Golok Serta Rinpoche.
  2. Chhoje Rinpoche 7th, (Wyl. chos rje rin po che) who accomplished six years of retreat under the guidance of Degyal Rinpoche
  3. Chöying Palmo, wife of Lama Kadak.
  4. Dawa Chödak Rinpoche, son of Lama Kadak, brother of Lama Pema Dorje Rinpoche, and student of Dudjom Rinpoche.
  5. Degyal Rinpoche, student of Dudjom Lingpa.
  6. Gangri Tenzin, student of Golok Serta Rinpoche.
  7. Gelong Drimé Özer (Wyl. dge slong dri med 'od zer), from Kham
  8. Gen Rigsang Dorje Rinpoche, student of Degyal Rinpoche, and later of Dudjom Rinpoche.
  9. Getse Togden, (Wyl. dge rtse rtogs ldan),from Getse, student of Degyal Rinpoche.
  10. Golok Serta Rinpoche, student of Degyal Rinpoche.
  11. Gonpo Tashi (Wyl. Egon po bkra shis), student of Degyal Rinpoche.
  12. Gyepa Rinpoche, son of Second Degyal Rinpoche.
  13. Kharak Chöying Dorje (Wyl. kha rag chos dbyings rdo rje), the father of Lama Gyaltsen
  14. Karti Lachung, student of Choktrul Tsokhang Rinpoche (Kusho Tsewang).
  15. Khyungpo Ngawang Trinlé[3]
  16. Khyungtrul Rinpoche, student of Degyal Rinpoche.
  17. Khusho Ajam, aka Gyaltsab Rinpoche.[4]
  18. Kusho Chime Purang[5]
  19. Kusho Chöden Rinpoche[6]
  20. Lama Akar, student of Gen Rigsang Dorje.
  21. Lama Bum, student of Golok Serta Rinpoche and Second Degyal Rinpoche.
  22. Lama Chime Rinpoche, (Wyl. bla ma 'chi med), student of Degyal Rinpoche, Khyungpo Rinpoche and Dudjom Rinpoche.
  23. Lama Dawa, student of Golok Serta Rinpoche.
  24. Lama Dondhup Chungma, student of Second Degyal Rinpoche.
  25. Lama Gyaltsen, son of Kharak Chöying Dorje.
  26. Lama Gyamtso, student of Golok Serta, Choktrul Tsokhang Rinpoche (Kusho Tsewang) and Second Degyal Rinpoche.
  27. Lama Kadak, student of Golok Serta Rinpoche and Dudjom Rinpoche.
  28. Lama Namgyal, father of Thinley Dorje Lama.
  29. Lama Pema, student of Golok Serta Rinpoche and Second Degyal Rinpoche.
  30. Lama Pema Dorje Rinpoche, son of Lama Kadak, student of Gen Rigsang Dorje and of Dudjom Rinpoche, brother of Dawa Chödak Rinpoche.
  31. Lama Rangrig, son and student of Tsokhang Choktrul Tsewang Dorje, student and grandson of Golok Serta Rinpoche.
  32. Lama Rikdrol, student of Second Degyal Rinpoche.
  33. Lama Tekchok Dorje, student of Degyal Rinpoche and of Dudjom Rinpoche, father of Lama Yeshi Phuntsok.
  34. Lama Thupten Phuntsog Rinpoche, student of Golok Serta Rinpoche and of Dudjom Rinpoche.
  35. Lama Yedrol, student of Golok Serta Rinpoche and of Dudjom Rinpoche.
  36. Lama Yeshi Phuntsok, son of Lama Tekchok Dorje, student of Dudjom Rinpoche.
  37. Namkha Dorje, (Wyl. nam mkha’ rdo rje), from Ladakh, India
  38. Pema Gepel (Wyl. pad+ma dge 'phel), from Nagchu
  39. Rolpai Dorje (Wyl. rol pa’i rdo rje), from Nangchen
  40. Second Degyal Rinpoche, son of Golok Serta Rinpoche.
  41. Sherab Yeshe Zangmo, wife of Lama Tekchok Dorje.
  42. Shiva Rinpoche, son of Second Degyal Rinpoche, grandson and incarnation of Golok Serta Rinpoche, student of Dudjom Rinpoche and Thinley Norbu.
  43. Tarna Lama (Wyl. rtar na bla ma ), student of Degyal Rinpoche.
  44. Thinley Chöpel (Wyl. phrin las chos 'phel), student of Degyal Rinpoche.
  45. Third Degyal Rinpoche
  46. Tokden Paksam Gyatso aka Ngagi Wangpo (Tib. རྟོགས་ལྡན་དཔག་བསམ་རྒྱ་མཚོ, Wyl. rtogs ldan dpag bsam rgya mtsho), or the Eighth Drukpa Yongdzin (birth 19th century)
  47. Tulku Döndrup, son of Second Degyal Rinpoche, grandson of Golok Serta Rinpoche.
  48. Tsokhang Choktrul Tsewang Dorje, aka Kusho Tsewang, son and student of Golok Serta Rinpoche.
  49. Tsokhang Tulku, incarnation of Tsokhang Choktrul Tsewang Dorje.
  50. Tulku Takhyung
  51. Tulku Pema Rigtsal, son of Second Degyal Rinpoche, student of Dudjom Rinpoche, and Thinley Norbu.
  52. Tulku Sangye, son of Second Degyal Rinpoche, grandson of Golok Serta Rinpoche.
  53. Yeshe Palden, from Khunu[7]

The Main Dharma Places of Activity

Some of the main places of activity of the Namkha Khyung Dzong tradition are listed below.

Tibet

Nepal

  • Namkha Khyung Dzong (Nepal), aka Namkha Khyung Dzong Yalbang Monastery, Humla, Nepal. It is under the direction of Tulku Pema Rigtsal, and is a residence of Third Degyal Rinpoche.
  • Namkha Khyung Dzong Rigdzin Chöling, Buddhanilkanta, Kathmandu, Nepal. It is under the direction of Gyepa Rinpoche, and is close to Nagi Gompa
  • Pema Chödzong, gompa of Lama Kadak, Yolmo, Nepal.
  • Retreat place of Second Degyal Rinpoche, Nepal.
  • Tulku Döndrup’s place, in eastern Nepal.
  • Villages in the Mugu region, Nepal.
  • Yu Khyem

India

Notes

  1. Post on Facebook.
  2. Private conversation with Lama Pema Dorje, Pema Osel Ling, January 2018.
  3. Khyungpo Ngawang Trinlé (Wyl. khyung po ngag dbang phrin las) was from Kham, and a close student of Golok Serta Rinpoche.
  4. Kusho Ajam, aka Gyaltsab Rinpoche was the most senior student of Degyal Rinpoche. After Degyal Rinpoche passed away, Kusho Ajam became the first abbot of Namkha Khyung Dzong Monastery. Source: private conversation with Gyepa Rinpoche.
  5. Kusho Chime Purang (Wyl. sku mchog ‘chi med pu rang) was a lineage holder of Degyal Rinpoche. He was a very famous Lama from Ngari Purang, Nepal, and was scholar. His incarnation is Tulku Pema Rigtsal. Source: private conversation with Gyepa Rinpoche.
  6. Kusho Chöden Rinpoche (Wyl. sku mchog chos ldan rin po che) was a senior student of Degyal Rinpoche. After Kusho Ajam, Kusho Chöden Rinpoche became the second abbot of Namkha Khyung Dzong Monastery. Source: private conversation with Gyepa Rinpoche.
  7. Yeshe Palden (Wyl. ye shes dpal ldan) was a lineage holder of Degyal Rinpoche. He used to have many Tröma Nakmo (Dudjom) students in Spiti, Nepal, and some of them are still there now. Source: private conversation with Gyepa Rinpoche.

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