by Khenpo Konchog Gyaltsen
Excerpted from Prayer Flags: The Life and Spiritual Teachings of
by Khenpo Konchog Gyaltsen
Om Svasti The victorious Shakya saw the Five
He showed the victorious path, and to expand the Teachings
Took birth as the victorious Regent, Ratna Shri.
I prostrate to Him.
The glorious Phagmo Drupa
3 had five hundred disciples who possessed the white umbrella
4 ;but, as he said
again and again, his successor would be an Upasaka who has attained
the tenth level of a Bodhisattva. This is the story of that successor,
the peerless Great Lord Drikungpa, Jigten Sumgon.
Limitless kalpas ago, Jigten Sumgon was born as the Chakravartin Tsib-Kyi
Mu-Khyu. He was the father of a thousand princes, but renounced the
kingdom and attained enlightenment and was called the Tathagata Lurik
Dronma. Although he had already attained Enlightenment, he appeared
later as the Bodhisattva Kunsar Wangkur Gyalpo. At the time of the Buddha
Kashyapa, he appeared as the potter Gakyong. At the time of the Buddha
Shakyamuni, he appeared as the stainless Licchavi, who was inseparable
from the Buddha himself. Later, he was born as the Acharya Nagarjuna.
5 Through these births, he benefited the Buddha's teachings
and countless sentient beings
Then, so that the essence of the Buddha's teachings might flourish,
he was born to a noble family of the Kyura clan in Tibet. His father
was Nalijorpa Dorje, a great practitioner of Yamantaka, and his mother
was Rakyisa Tsunma. Many marvelous signs accompanied the birth. He learned
the teachings of Yamantaka from his father, and became expert in reading
and writing by the age of four. From his uncle, the Abbot Dharma, the
great Ra-Dreng Gom-Chen, the Reverend Khorwa Lung-Khyer, and others,
he learned many sutras and tantras. At that time, he was called Tsunpa
Kyab, and later, Dorje Pal.
Jigten Sumgon's coming was predicted in many sutras and tantras. For
example, in the Yeshe Yongsu Gyepa Sutra it is said:
" In the northern snow ranges will appear a being called Ratna Shri.
He will benefit my teachings and be renowned in the three worlds."
In the Gongdu Sutra it is said:
"At a place called Dri, the Source of the Dharma, Ratna Shri will
appear in the Year of the Pig. He will gather a hundred thousand fully
ordained monks. After that, he will go to the Ngonga Buddha-Field. He
will be called Stainless White Sugata and will have a large retinue."
In the Gyalpo Kaithang it
" From glorious Samye
6 to the northeast, at a place called Drikung, the source
of the Dharma, the Lord-King Trisong Desen will be born in the year
of the Pig as the Sugata Ratna Shri. He will gather a hundred thousand
bodhisattvas. He will go to the Ngonga Buddha-field and be called Stainless
White Sugata. In that Buddha-field, he will become the Fully Perfected
Thus he was clearly predicted.
"A hundred thousand incarnate
When Jigten Sumgon was still young, his father passed
away; the family's fortunes declined; and he supported them by reciting
scriptures. Once, he was offered a goat. As he was leading it away it
tried to break loose. He pulled back, but the goat dragged him for a
short distance and his footprints remain in the rock to this day. When
he was eight, he had a vision of Yamantaka and on another occasion,
while meditating at Tsib Lungmoche, he saw all the dharmas of samsara
and nirvana as insubstantial appearance, like a reflection in a mirror.
Even when he was in Kham 7 he was renowned
as a yogin.
Jigten Sumgon realized the practices of Luminosity and
Mahamudra (clarity and emptiness), and in his sleep visited the Arakta
Padmai Buddha-field. From the great Ra-Dreng Gom-Chen he learned all
the teachings of the Khadampa 8 tradition. From Lama Lhopa
Dorje Nyingpo, he received the teachings of Guhyasamaja and others.
Once, when there was a drought in Kham, he took the food that was offered
to him and distributed it to those who were starving, thus saved many
Many important people began to approach Jigten Sumgon for teachings.
One, Gonda Pandita, who came from Central Tibet, told him about Phagmo
Drupa. Just by hearing the name of Phagmo Drupa, Jigten Sumgon's mind
was moved like the leaves of a kengshu tress are moved by the wind.
With great hardship, he traveled from Kham to Central Tibet. A rainbow
stretched the entire length of his journey, and the Protector, Dorje
Lekpa, took the forms of a rabbit and a child, thus attending him and
looking after his needs. Coming to the dangerous, rocky path of Kyere,
he found a natural formation of the six-syllable mantra
9 transformed itself into a vision of the face of Phagmo
Sumgon traveled day and night. On the way, he met a woman and man who
said, "We have come from Phagmo Dru." Seeing them as the guru's
emanations, he prostrated. Arriving at the Phagdru Monastery at midnight,
he was invited inside by a Khampa
10 . When he met Phagmo Drupa, the Guru said, "Now all
of my disciples are present. " Jigten Sumgon then offered his teacher
a bolt of silk, a bolt of cloth, and his horse - but Phagmo Drupa refused
the horse, explaining that he did not accept offerings of animals. Jigten
Sumgon also offered a bag of food, and Phagmo Drupa used it to perform
a feast-offering to Chakrasamvara. Then Phagmo Drupa gave Jigten Sumgon
the Two-Fold Bodhisattva Vow and the name Bodhisattva Ratna Shri. 11 As one vessel fills another,
Phagmo Drupa gave Jigten Sumgon all the teachings of sutra and tantra.
At that time, there lived a woman who was an emanation of Vajrayogini.
Phagmo Drupa suggested to Taklung Thangpa 12 that he stay with her;
but Taklung Thangpa, not wishing to give up his monk's vows, refused,
and because of that the emanation passed away. Another disciple, Lingje
Repa 13 then fashioned
a cup from the woman's skull. This made him late for the assembly, and
the food offerings had already been distributed by the time he got there.
Taking the skull-cup, he circulated among the monks, receiving offerings
of food from each. The monks gave only small portions, but Phagmo Drupa
gave a large amount, filling the skull-cup completely, and Jigten Sumgon
gave even more, forming a mound of food which covered the skull-cap
like an umbrella. Lingje Repa then walked again through the assembly,
and as he walked he spontaneously composed and sang a song of praise
in twenty verses. Finally, he stopped in front of Jigten Sumgon, offering
the food - and the song - to him. From this time onwards, Jigten Sumgon
was recognized as Phagmo Drupa's Chief Disciple.
One day, Phagmo Drupa wanted to see if any special signs would arise
concerning his three closest disciples, and he gave each of them a foot
of red cloth with which to make a meditation hat. Taklung Thangpa used
only what he was given. Lingje Repa added a piece of cotton cloth to
the front of his hat, and Jigten Sumgon added a second foot of cloth
to his, making it much larger. This was considered very auspicious.
On another occasion, Phagmo Drupa called Jigten Sumgon and Taklung Thangpa
and said,"I think that the Tsangpo River is overflowing today. Please
go and see." Both disciples saw the river following its normal course,
and returned; but Jigten Sumgon, thinking there was some purpose in
guru's question, told him, "The river has overflowed, and Central Tibet
and Kham are now both under water." This foretold the flourishing of
Jigten Sumgon's activities, and he became known as a Master of Interdependent
At this time, in accordance with the predictions made by Phagmo Drupa,
Jigten Sumgon still held only the vows of an Upasaka. One day, Phagmo
Drupa asked him to remain behind after the assembly and instructed him
in the seven-point
15 posture of Vairochana. Touching him on his head, throat,
and heart centers, he said, "OM, AH HUNG" three times and told
him, "You will be a great meditator, and for this I rejoice.".
Jigten Sumgon attended Phagmo Drupa for two years and six months. During
that time, he received all of his guru's teachings and was told that
he would be his successor. At the time of Phagmo Drupa's parinirvana,
a radiant five-pronged golden vajra emanated from his heart-center and
dissolved into the heart-center of Jigten Sumgon, this being seen by
all the other disciples. Jigten Sumgon then gave all his belongings
to benefit the monastery and to help build a large memorial stupa for
After this, he met many other teachers.
From Dakpo Gomtsul 16 he received the Four
Yogas of Mahamudra. A patroness then promised him provisions for three
years and Jigten Sumgon, earnestly wishing to practice the teachings
he had received, retired to the Echung cave to meditate. In those three
years, he gained a rough understanding of the outer, inner, and secret
aspects of interdependent origination. He then realized that the cause
of wandering in samsara is the difficulty prana has in entering the
avadhuti, and hence practicing on prana, saw many buddhas and bodhisattvas
face-to-face, and had visions of his mind purifying the six realms. 17 Then he went on a pilgrimage
to Phagmo Dru and other holy places.
On his return to Echung Cave, he meditated with one-pointed mind. In
the same way that maras arose as obstacles to Lord Buddha at the time
of his enlightenment, and Tsering Chenga and others tried to hinder
Milarepa; the final fruition of Jigten Sumgon's karma arose, and he
contracted leprosy. Becoming intensely depressed, he thought, "Now,
I should die in this solitary place and transfer my consciousness."
He prostrated to an image of Avalokiteshvara that had been blessed many
times by Phagmo Drupa. At the first prostration, he thought, "Among
sentient beings, I am the worst. "At the second, he thought, "I have
all the teachings of my guru, including the instructions of bardo and
the transference of consciousness, and need have no fear of death."
Then, remembering that other beings didn't have these teachings, strong
compassion arose in him. In that state of mind, he sat down and generated
compassionate thoughts towards others. His sickness left him, like clouds
blown away from the sun, and at that moment he attained Buddhahood.
He had practiced at the Echung Cave for seven years.
Shortly after this, he had a vision of the Seven Taras. Because he had
a full understanding of interdependent origination, and realized the
unity of discipline (shila) and Mahamudra, he took the vows of a fully-ordained
monk. From this time, Jigten Sumgon did not eat meat. As he had already
been named by Phagmo Drupa as his successor, the chief monks of his
guru's monastery invited him to return.
After taking the abbot's seat at the monastery, Jigten Sumgon insisted
on a strict observance of monastic discipline. One day, some monks said,"
We are 'nephews' of Milarepa and should be allowed to drink chang ."
Saying this, they drank. When Jigten Sumgon counseled them, they replied,
"You yourself should keep the discipline of not harming others."
Phagmo Drupa then appeared in a vision to Jigten Sumgon and said to
him, "Leave this old, silken seat and go to the north. There you
will benefit many sentient beings."
Jigten Sumgon went north, and on the way, at Nyenchen
Thanglha, he was greeted by the protector of that place. At Namra, a
spirit-king and his retinue took the Upasaka vow from him, and Jigten
Sumgon left one of his foot-prints behind for them as an object of devotion.
He gave meditation instruction to vultures flying overhead, and they
practiced according to those teachings. Once, at a word from Jigten
Sumgon, a horse returned to him that was running away. He also sent
an emanation of himself to pacify a war in Bodhgaya
18 begun by the Duruka tribesmen.
On another occasion, at Dam, he gave teachings and received many offerings.
At the end of a day which had seemed very long, he told the crowd, "Now
go immediately to your homes," and suddenly it was just before dawn
of the next day. To finish his talk Jigten Sumgon had stopped the sun.
When he was at Namra Mountain, Brahma, the king of the gods, requested
the vast and profound teachings. On the way to Drikung, the great god
Bar-Lha received him. The children of Jenthang built a throne for him,
and from which instructed the people of that town. Even the water, which
has no mind, listened to his teachings and made the sound, Nagarjuna.
Then he came to Drikung Thel. In his thirty-seventh year, he established
Drikung Jang-Chub Ling, the largest monastery and the main seat of the
Drikungpa Kagyupa in Tibet and appointed Pon Gompa Dorje Senge as supervisor
for the construction of the monastery. Many monks gathered there and
enjoyed the rainfall of the profound dharma.
In Tibet, there are nine great protectors of the dharma. Among them,
Barlha, Sogra, Chuphen Luwang, Terdrom Menmo, and Namgyal Karpo bowed
down at Jigten Sumgon's feet, took the Upasaka vow, and promised to
protect the teachings and practitioners of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage.
At one time, water was very scarce in Drikung, and in order to relieve
the situation, Jigten Sumgon gave 108 turquoise to his attendant, Rinchen
Drak, with instructions to hide them in various places. Rinchen Drak
hid all but one, which he kept for himself and put in his robe. The
turquoises that were hidden became sources of water, and the one he
kept turned into a frog. Startled, he threw it away, and in falling
it became blind in one eye. Where the frog landed, a stream arose which
was called Chumik Shara. Most of these streams were dried up by fire
when Drikung Thel was destroyed during the middle of the fourteenth
century, but some still remain.
On the new and full moon each month, Jigten Sumgon and his monks observed
a purification ceremony called Sojong. Once when some monks arrived
late and Jigten Sumgon decided to discontinue the practice, but Brahma
requested him to maintain that tradition, and he agreed.
Jigten Sumgon continued to look after Densa Thel, his old monastery.
He also visited Dakla Gampo, the monastery of Gampopa. From Gampopa's
image inside the monastery, light rays streamed forth, merging inseparably
with Jigten Sumgon and he attained both the ordinary and the extraordinary
siddis of the Treasure of Space. Once, the dakinis of the Tsari came
bringing the Dakpar Shri, an assembly of 2,800 yidams on a net of horse-hair
and presented them to him. In the memory of Phagmo Drupa, he built an
auspicious stupa of many doors and placed the 2,800 yidams inside, with
a door for each one of them. From this there came down the tradition
of building stupas in this way. In a vision, he met with Ananda
19 and discussed the teachings.
Once, Lama Shang 20 said, "This
year, the dakinis of Oddiyana will come to invite me and the great Drikungpa
to join them. He is a master of interdependent origination and won't
have to go there, but I should go." Soon after this, the dakinis
came for him and he passed away; but when they came to invite Jigten
Sumgon, he refused, and the dakinis changed their prayer of invitation
into a supplication for the guru's longevity. Then all the dakas and
dakinis made offerings to him and promised to guide his disciples.
Jigten Sumgon had many important disciples,
among them: the two Chengas 21 , the Great Abbot Gurawa,
Nyo Gyalwa Lhanangpa 22 , Gar Choding, Palchen
Choye, Drubtob Nyaske, the two Tsang-tsangs, and others. These were
the leaders of the philosophers. The Vinaya-holders were Thakma Dulzin,
Dakpo Duldzin, and others. The Kadampa Geshes were Kyo Dorje Nyingpo
and others. The translators were Nup, Phakpa, and others. The leaders
of the tantrikas were Tre, Ngok, and others. The leaders of the yogins
were Dudsi, Belpo, and others. Whenever Jigten Sumgon taught, rainbows
appeared and gods rained flowers from the sky. Machen Pomra and other
Protectors listened to his teachings, and the kings of Tibet, India,
and China were greatly devoted to him. By this time, Jigten Sumgon had
55,525 followers. To feed this ocean of disciples, Matro, the King of
the Nagas and the source of all the wealth of Jambudvipa, became the
patron of the monastery
Near Drikung Thel there was a rock called "Lion-Shoulder", which Jigten
Sumgon saw as the mandala of Chakrasamvara. He established a monastery
there and, to spread the teachings thus benefiting all sentient beings,
he built another Auspicious Stupa of Many Doors, using a special method.
At this time he also repaired the Samye monastery.
The Chakrasamvara of Five Deities was Jigten Sumgon's main yidam practice
and he manifested at times in that form in order to train the more difficult
disciples. When a war began in Minyak, in eastern Tibet, he protected
the people there through his miracle powers. The number of his disciples
increased to 70,000. Many of the most intelligent of these attained
enlightenment in one lifetime, while those of lesser intelligence attained
various bhumis, and everyone else realized, at least the nature of his
or her own mind.
In one of the predictions about Jigten Sumgon, it was said,
(Tulku) Great Beings will gather."
Here, "Tulku" meant that they would be monks
and have prefect discipline, and "Great Beings" meant that they would
all be Bodhisattvas. In other life-stories, it is said that in an instant
Jigten Sumgon visited all the Buddha-fields, saw Buddhas like Amitabha
and Ashobya, and listened to their teachings. Jigten Sumgon himself
said that whoever so much as had the chance to go to Layel, in Drikung,
would be freed from birth in the lower realms, and that whoever supplicated
him - whether from near or far away - would be blessed, and his or her
meditation would grow more firm. He also said that all sentient beings
living in the mountains of Drikung, even the ants, would not be born
again in lower realms.
From the essence of the instructions of sutra and tantra, Jigten Sumgon
gave teachings which were compiled by his disciple Chenga Sherab Jungne
(Chen-Nga Drikung Lingpa) into a text called "Gong Chik", which has
150 topics and forty appendices.
At one time a naga-king named Meltro Zichen went to Drikung for teachings.
Jigten Sumgon sent a message to his disciples to remain in seclusion
in order that those with miracle powers would not harm the naga and
those without such power would not be harmed themselves. The message
was received by everyone except the Mahasiddhi Gar Dampa, who was meditating
in the depths of a long cave. When the naga arrived, he made a thundering
noise which was heard by all including Gar Dampa. Gar Dampa came out
of the cave to see what was happening and saw a frightful, dark-blue
snake whose length encircled the monastery three times and whose head
was peering in the window of the palace. Without examining the situation,
he thought the naga was there to harm his guru and thus manifested himself
as a giant garuda and chased the naga away. At Rolpa Trang, there is
a smooth, clear print left by the garuda when it landed on a rock. Near
the river of Kyung-Ngar Gel, there are marks left by both the garuda
and the naga.
A Ceylonese Arhat, a follower of the Buddha, hearing
that the Mahapandita Shakya Shri Bhadra was going to Tibet, gave to
the Mahapandita's brother a white lotus requesting him to give it to
the Mahapandita who in turn would give it to Nagarjuna in Tibet. When
Shakya Shri Bhadra arrived in Tibet, he ordained many monks but did
not know where to find Nagarjuna. When giving ordination, he would distribute
robes and once an ordinary disciple of Jigten Sumgon's approached him
for ordination and then asked for a robe but was told that there were
none left. He insisted strongly. One of Shakya Shri Bhadra's attendants
pushed him away; he fell and blood flowed from his nose. Prior to this
happening, Shakya Shri Bhadra had always seen Tara in the morning when
he recited the Seven-Branch 23 Prayer, but
for the six days following this incident she did not show herself. Then,
on the seventh day she appeared with her back turned towards him. "What
have I done wrong ?" he asked her.
"Your attendant beat a disciple of Nagarjuna," she replied, and
brought blood from his nose.". When he asked how he could purify
this misdeed, Tara told him,"Make as many Dharma-robes as you have
years, and offer them to fully-ordained monks who have no robes."
Shakya Shri Bhadra then searched for the monk who had been turned away.
When he found him and learned the name of his teacher, he realized that
Jigten Sumgon was Nagarjuna's incarnation. He sent one of his attendants
to offer the white lotus to Jigten Sumgon. In return, Jigten Sumgon
sent many offerings of his own and asked that Shakya Shri Bhadra visit
Drikung, but the Mahapandita could not go, though he did send many verses
of praise. Although Nagarjuna had knowingly taken rebirth as Jigten
Sumgon in order to dispel wrong views and was teaching in Tibet, Shakya
Shri Pandita saw that there was no need to go see him.
At this time, many lesser Panditas were visiting Tibet.
One of them named Bi Bhuti Chandra, said,"Let us talk with the Kadampas;
the followers of Mahamudra 24 tell lies."
Shakya Shri Pandita said to him,"Do not say that," and recounted
the above story. "Because Jigten Sumgon is a great teacher,"
he continued,"you should now apologize for having said these things."
Bi Bhuti Chandra then went to Drikung, made full apology, and constructed
an image of Chakrasamvara at Sinpori Mountain.
One day, a great scholar by the name of Dru Kyamo came
to Drikung from Sakya to debate with Jigten Sumgon. When he saw the
guru's face he saw him as the Buddha himself, and his two chief disciples
- Chenga Sherab Jungne and Chenga Drakpa Jungne 25 - as with Shariputra
and Maudgalyayana. There was no way he could debate with Jigten Sumgon
after this. His devotion blossomed fully and he became one of Jigten
Sumgon's principal disciples. Later, he was called Ngorje Repa and wrote
a text called "Thegchen Tenpai Nyingpo" as a commentary on Jigten Sumgon's
The number of Jigten Sumgon's disciples continued to increase and at
one rainy season retreat, 100,000 "morality sticks" were distributed
to count the number of monks attending. Not long after this, 2,700 monks
were sent to Lachi and equal numbers were sent to Tsari and Mount Kailash,
but by the next year 130,000 monks had once again gathered at Drikung.
Karmapa Dusum Khyenpa
26 came to Drikung after visiting Daklha Gampo. At Bam Thang
in Drikung, Jigten Sumgon and his disciples received him warmly. At
that time the Karmapa saw Jigten Sumgon as the Buddha, and his two chief
disciples as Shariputra and Maudgalyayana surrounded by Arhats. When
they returned to the assembly main hall, the Serkhang, the Karmapa again
saw Jigten Sumgon as the Buddha, with his two disciples appearing as
Maitreya and Manjushri surrounded by Bodhisattvas. Thus, Dusum Khyenpa
showed great devotion and received many teachings. He also saw the entire
area of Drikung as the Mandala of Chakrasamvara.
The question arose of who would hold the lineage after Jigten Sumgon's
passing. Jigten Sumgon had confidence in many of his disciples, but
had thought for a long time that the succession should pass to one of
his family clan, the Drugyal Kyura. Since he had been born in Kham,
he sent one of his disciples, Palchen Shri Phukpa, to teach the members
of his family. Displaying miracles power and proclaiming his guru's
reputation, Palchen Shri Phukpa taught Jigten Sumgon's uncle Konchok
Rinchen and his uncle's son, Anye Atrak and all the grandsons. When
their minds turned and they became attracted, they moved to Central
Tibet. Their stories are told in the Golden Rosary of the Drikung
One day, Jigten Sumgon told his disciple Gar Choling to go to the Soksum
Bridge and offer torma to the nagas living in the water. You will receive
special wealth," he told him. A naga-king named Sokma Me offered Gar
Choling a tooth of the Buddha and three special gems. Generally, it
is said that this tooth had been taken by the naga-king Dradrok as an
object of devotion. This was the same naga who usually lived in the
area of Magadha, but had access to Soksum by way of an underground gate.
Gar Choling offered the tooth and gems to Jigten Sumgon, who said, "
It is good to return wealth to its owner," indicating that the tooth
had once been his own. "As you are wealthy," he continued, "you should
make an image of me and put the tooth in its heart." A skilled Chinese
artisan was then invited to build the statue, and the tooth was enshrined
as a relic. Jigten Sumgon consecrated this statue hundreds of times.
It was kept in Serkhang and called Serkhang Choje (Dharma Lord of Serkhang).
Its power of blessing was regarded as being equal to that of Jigten
Sumgon himself. It spoke to many shrine-keepers, and to a lama named
Dawa it taught the Six Yogas of Naropa. Later, when Drikung was destroyed
by fire, it was buried in the sand for protection. When the Drikung
Kyabgon returned to rebuild the monastery a search was made for the
statue, which came out of the sand itself, saying, "I am here." Thus,
this image possessed great power. Gar Choling made many other images
of Jigten Sumgon during this time.
Jigten Sumgon was by now growing very old, and could not travel often
to Debsa Thel so Chenga Drakpa Jungne was sent there as his Vajra Regent
and his activities there were very successful. Under the leadership
of Panchen Guya Kangpa, Jigten Sumgon sent 55,525 disciples to stay
at Mount Kailash. Under Geshe Yakru Paldrak, 55,525 disciples were sent
to Lachi. Under Dordzin Gowoche, 55, 525 were sent to Tsari. Even at
the time of Chungpo Dorje Drakpa, the fourth successor to Jigten Sumgon,
there were 180,000 disciples at Drikung.
Once when Jigten Sumgon went to Dorje Lhokar Cave, he said that the
cave was too small and so stretched, causing the inside of the cave
to expand, leaving the imprint of his clothes on the rock. Because the
cave was dark, he pushed a stick through the rock, making a window.
He then made shelves in the rock to hold his belongings. All of these
can be seen very clearly. In his travels, he left many foot-prints in
the four directions of the area of Drikung.
When Jigten Sumgon fell ill one day, Phagmo Drupa appeared to him in
a vision and explained a yogic technique by means of which he became
well again. To Jigten Sumgon's many disciples, taught according to their
need and to some, according to their disposition, he gave instructions
in the practice of the Eight Herukas of the Nyingma 27 tradition.
Towards then end of his life, he predicted a period of decline for the
Drikung lineage. Taking a small stick that he used to clean his teeth,
he planted it in the ground and said, "When this stick has reached a
certain height, I will return." This foretold the coming of Gyalwa Kunga
Rinchen, the 15th successor of Jigten Sumgon. Jigten Sumgon then asked
Chenga Sherab Jungne to be his successor, but the latter declined out
of modesty. Then he asked the Great Abbot, Gurawa Tsultrim Dorje, and
At the age of seventy-five in the year of the Fire-Ox, Jigten Sumgon
entered parinirvana in order to encourage lazy ones to the Dharma. His
body was cremated on the thirteenth day of the month of Vaishaka. Gods
created clouds of offerings and flowers rained from the sky to the level
of one's knees. His skull was totally untouched by the fire and his
brain appeared as the Mandala of the Sixty-Two Deities of Chakrasamvara.
This was as clear as if a skilled artisan had made it. His heart, also
untouched by the fire turned to a beautiful golden color. This showed
that he was an incarnation of the Buddha himself. Likewise, countless
After Jigten Sumgon's passing, most of the funerary responsibilities
were taken by Chenga Sherab Jungne, even though he earlier declined
the succession. He went to Senge Phungpa Mountain to view the Mandala
of Chakrasamvara and there saw Jigten Sumgon. Thus he felt that a memorial
should be built there. Jigten Sumgon again appeared in a vision on the
mountain of the Samadhi Cave and said to him, "Son, do as you wish,
but always follow my intention." Then he disappeared. Doing as he wished,
Chenga Sherab Jungne built an auspicious Stupa of Many Doors called
"Sage, Overpowerer of the Three Worlds." In that stupa, he put Jigten
Sumgon's heart and many other relics. Following his guru's intention,
he built the stupa "Body-Essence, Ornament of the World," which was
made of clay mixed with jewel dust, saffron and various kinds of incense.
In that stupa, he put Jigten Sumgon's skull and brain, along with many
other relics including the Vinaya texts brought from India by Atisha
and the 100,000-Verse Prajnaparamita.
Jigten Sumgon now abides in the Eastern Great All-Pervading Buddha Field,
surrounded by limitless numbers of disciples from this earth who died
with a strong devotion to him. When such people die, they will be reborn
there immediately and Jigten Sumgon then places his hand gently on their
heads, giving blessing and welcoming them there.
Return to Drikung
Kagyu Home Page