Guru Padmasambhava had 25 main disciples in Tibet. In the Tibetan language, they are known as the Gyebang Nyernga. Düdjom Lingpa (1835-1904 C.E.) was the body emanation of Kheuchung Lotsawa, one of these 25 disciples. His incarnation had been prophesied for centuries by many sublime beings, including Padmasambhava. During his lifetime, Düdjom Lingpa revealed the lineage known as the Düdjom Tersar, which consists of a number of texts and 22 volumes of teachings. He stated that these teachings were especially profound and appropriate for these degenerate times. Following this fresh and undiluted path, 13 of Düdjom Lingpa’s disciples attained rainbow body in their own lifetimes, and a thousand others attained the level of rigdzin, or “awareness holder.”
His Holiness Düdjom Rinpoche
Düdjom Lingpa’s immediate reincarnation was His Holiness Düdjom Rinpoche, according to the incarnate lineage of the Düdjom tradition.
In the past, Düdjom Rinpoche was Rigdzin Nüden Dorje; in the future, it is said, he will be born as the sugata, Möpa Thaye; while in his lifetime he manifested as the representative of Padmasambhava, Drogben. His Holiness’s previous incarnations have included some of the greatest gurus, yogis and scholars, among them Shariputra, Saraha, and Khyeu Chung Lotsawa.
It was said in the prediction of Urgyen Dechen Lingpa, “In the future in Tibet, on the east of the Nine Peaked Mountain, in the sacred Buddhafield of the self-originated Vajravarahi, there will be an emanation of Drogben, of royal lineage, named Jnana. His beneficial activities are in accord with the Vajrayana, although he conducts himself differently, unexpectedly, as a little boy with astonishing intelligence. He will either discover new terma or preserve old terma. Whoever has connections with him will be taken to Ngayab Ling (Zangdok Palri) [The Copper-colored Mountain].”
And, indeed, Düdjom Rinpoche (Jigdral Yeshe Dorje) was of royal lineage, descended from Nyatri Tsenpo, the first king of Tibet, and from Puwoo Kanam Dhepa, the king of Powo. His father, Kathok Tulku Norbu Tenzing, was a famous tulku of the Pemaköd region, from Kathok monastery; his mother was descended from Ratna Lingpa, and was called Namgyal Drölma. His Holiness was born in the Water Dragon year, 1904, early in the morning of the tenth day of the sixth month, with many amazing signs. His previous incarnation, Düdjom Lingpa, had told his disciples: “Now in this degenerate age, go to the secret land of Pemaköd. Whoever relies on me, go in that direction! Before you young ones get there, I, the old one, will already be there.” This came to pass exactly as predicted. He was already three years old when they recognized his reincarnation. Since His Holiness was a direct emanation of Düdjom Lingpa, he could remember his past lives clearly.
Phuktrul Gyurme Ngedon Wangpo and Lama Thubten Chönjor, two of Düdjom Lingpa’s students, came to Pemaköd and enthroned him. Gradually the disciples of the previous Düdjom arrived. His Holiness was taught reading, writing, and the five common sciences. As he was taught, the power of his awareness blazed like fire. Whatever he learned he could comprehend through a mere indication. He studied many texts and commentaries. It is said by Lama Konrab that at the age of five, he started discovering terma, or treasure teachings.
He studied for 16 years with Phuktrul Gyurme Ngedon Wangpo, who was a holder of the teachings of the previous Düdjom. He also received the “rediscovered teachings” of the previous Düdjom from Jedrung Thinley Jampa Jungne of Riwoche. Ngedon Wangpo said to him, “The Terdzöd represents the activity of Khyentse and Kongtrul. I have given this teaching five times and you will give it ten times. The deep teachings of the previous ones have been offered as a mandala in the hands of the ‘Wealth Holders.’ Now, as I have obeyed my teacher’s orders, likewise use your experience for the sake of beings.”
His Holiness said that, while very young, he always had various visions, and his karma to discover the deep treasures awoke. At age 13 he met Guru Rinpoche (Yab-Yum) in person, and after having received the legacy of the self-appearing non-human teacher, the wisdom dakinis gave him the yellow papers and he wrote down these mind treasure teachings.
Then he started benefiting beings. As his teachers prophesied, he gave the empowerments and transmissions of the Vajrayana throughout Tibet. His Holiness wrote about 23 volumes of various gong-ter (mind terma) and treatises, all of which have been published. He also collected all the kama teachings of the Nyingma lineage, as Jamgon Kongtrul had collected the terma teachings.
In Pemaköd, he established many new monasteries for both gelong (ordained monks) and ngagpa (yogis). He regrouped many texts. In Kongpo region he reconstructed the Thadül Buchu Lhakhang, and close to it, he built anew the monastery of Zangdokpalri; he erected anew the tantric center of Lama Ling; at Tso Pema, he established a retreat center; in Orissa, he established Düdül Rabten Ling; and in Kalimpong he founded the Zangdok-Palri Monastery. In North America he established many Dharma centers, named Yeshe Nyingpo, as well as many retreat centers; in Europe he established Dorje Nyingpo, in Paris, and Urgyen Samye Chöling Meditation and Study Center, in Dordogne, France. Many other Dharma centers around the world were under his guidance.
Whenever he gave teachings in Tibet and India, great teachers came to receive them. Among all the high lamas there are none who did not receive teachings from him. They all had great confidence in his realization. So numerous were his disciples that they cannot possibly be counted. Nyingmapas from Tibet, Bhutan, India, Ladakh, and all around the globe were his students.
Lodrö Thaye, who led a life encompassing the activities of one hundred tertons (treasure revealers), has said that Möpa Thaye (Düdjom Rinpoche’s future incarnation) will have the activity of one thousand Buddhas. That this great being will perform the activity of all his previous lives and have many disciples is all due to his own power of bodhicitta and aspiration prayers.
The Düdjom Lineage
As previously mentioned, Düdjom Lingpa revealed the lineage known as Düdjom Tersar, consisting of a number of texts and 22 volumes of teachings. He stated that these teachings were especially profound and appropriate for these degenerate times. Following this fresh and undiluted path, 13 of his disciples attained rainbow body in their own lifetimes, and a thousand others attained the level of rigdzin, or “awareness holder.”
His Holiness Düdjom Rinpoche also revealed about 23 volumes of various gong-ter (mind treasures) and treatises, all of which have been published and are available today.
So the Düdjom Tersar lineage, from Düdjom Lingpa and Düdjom Rinpoche (Jigdral Yeshe Dorje), are fresh, vivid, and direct, with no loss of meaning, words, or blessing. These teachings, from Guru Rinpoche to Düdjom Rinpoche and then to us, are a direct, short lineage. Therefore this lineage is uncontaminated and has not degenerated through broken samaya. The blessing and attainments are immediate.
Padmasambhava’s tradition is the Early Translation Great Perfection School (and) Düdjom Lingpa is the chariot of the essential true meaning. May his profound treasure doctrine, until the end of cyclic existence, be maintained without waning through study and practice.
Bhakha Rinpoche’s Connection to H.H. Düdjom Rinpoche
Bhakha Rinpoche has been closely connected to His Holiness Düdjom Rinpoche through his previous two lifetimes, including his present incarnation as the 10th Bhakha Rinpoche. In his previous lifetime as the 9th Bhakha Rinpoche, known as Rigdzin Kunzang Longdrol, he met His Holiness in Pemaköd, where Bhakha Rinpoche had been involved in preserving and propagating the Pema Lingpa tradition. Düdjom Rinpoche gave the 9th Bhakha Rinpoche all the empowerments and transmissions of the Düdjom lineage. Thereafter, up through the present, Rinpoche’s practice has incorporated the Düdjom traditions.
In his present lifetime, Bhakha Rinpoche’s parents were sponsors and students of His Holiness. Upon meeting the young child, Düdjom Rinpoche recognized him as the 10th incarnation of Bhakha Tulku, as had other contemporary masters, including Jamyang Chökyi Lodro and the 16th Karmapa. His Holiness was asked to give the young Bhakha Tulku all the empowerments and transmissions of the Rinchen Terzod and the Düdjom lineages at Yurigon Monastery, in upper Powo. After receiving all these lineages, the young Bhakha Tulku went with Düdjom Rinpoche to Kongpo, where he received more precious teachings, including the 13 cycles of the Pema Lingpa treasures. While in Kongpo, Düdjom Rinpoche guided Bhakha Rinpoche in intense practice.
As a young teenager, Bhakha Tulku was sent by Düdjom Rinpoche to Mindroling Monastery to explore the different aspects of Buddhist philosophy, and to further his study of the ritual traditions of the Nyingma lineage. He pursued his studies at Mindroling up until the Chinese invasion of Tibet. Shortly after His Holiness the Dalai Lama escaped from Tibet in 1959, Bhakha Rinpoche fled to Bhutan because of his many connections there.
Several years later, Düdjom Rinpoche sent Bhakha Rinpoche to Dalhousie, where many young tulkus have studied. There, for three years, he furthered his studies in language and religion along with many other young tulkus from the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism, among them, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche.
From 1965 to 1972, Bhakha Tulku served His Holiness Düdjom Rinpoche as a clerk, and received all the teachings given by His Holiness during this time. In 1989, His Holiness recommended that Bhakha Rinpoche travel and teach the Dharma. Since then, Bhakha Tulku has been involved in preserving and spreading the Dharma, and, in particular, the great Düdjom tradition, in Nepal, India, Bhutan, Tibet, Taiwan, and now here in the United States.