Dzogchen Lineage Masters
In the Dzogchen teachings, our true nature, the Ground of all that appears, is given the name the 'Primordial Buddha'. It represents the absolute, naked, sky-like primordial purity of the nature of our mind. His name, Kuntuzangpo in Tibetan, Samantabhadra in Sanskrit, means ‘always good', ‘always well’ or ‘unchanging goodness’. When in union with his consort Samantabhadri (Kuntuzangmo), they are considered the expression of one's true nature - the inseparability of awareness and emptiness.
The Sambhogakaya buddha Vajrasattva is the sovereign of all the buddha families and mandalas. The lineage of Dzogchen is traced from the Dharmakaya Samantabhadra to the Sambhogakaya—the five Buddha Families and Vajrasattva, who are Samantabhadra’s own self-reflection.
The lineage of Dzogchen, unbroken to the present day, is traced from the Dharmakaya Samantabhadra to the Sambhogakaya Vajrasattva, and then to the first human master Nirmanakaya Garab Dorje. At the time of his parinirvana, Garab Dorje ascended into the sky and dissolved into rainbow light. Whereupon Garab Dorje’s hands reappeared, holding a small golden casket containing the teaching of Hitting the Essence in Three Words, which he let fall into the hand of Mañjushrimitra.
Manjushrimitra was a disciple of Garab Dorje and the main teacher of Shri Singha. He is famous for arranging the Dzogchen teachings into three classes: the Mind Class (sem dé), Space Class (long dé), and Pith Instruction Class (mengak dé). His last testament, which he conferred upon Shri Singha before passing into the rainbow body, is called the Six Experiences of Meditation.
Shri Singha was originally from the kingdom of Khotan located in the present day Xinjiang province of China. He was a disciple of Mañjushrimitra and the main teacher of Jñanasutra. He is famous for arranging the teachings of the Pith Instruction Class (mengak dé) into four cycles: outer, inner, secret and innermost secret unsurpassed. His last testament, which he conferred upon Jñanasutra before passing into the rainbow body, is called the Seven Nails.
Jnanasutra is one of the early masters of the Dzogchen lineage. He was a disciple of Shri Singha and the main teacher of Vimalamitra. His last testament, which he conferred upon Vimalamitra before passing into the rainbow body, is called the Four Means of Abiding.
Vimalamitra is one of the most learned Indian Buddhist masters. He went to Tibet in the ninth century, where he taught extensively, and composed and translated numerous Sanskrit texts. The quintessence of his teaching is known as the Vima Nyingtik, one of the Heart-essence teachings of the Great Perfection.
Guru Rinpoche, the ‘Precious Master’, is the founder of Tibetan Buddhism and the Buddha of our time. Whereas Buddha is known primarily for having taught the teachings of the sutra vehicle, Padmasambhava came into this world, and to Tibet in particular, in order to teach the tantras. While Buddha Shakyamuni exemplifies the buddha principle, the most important element in the sutrayana path, Padmasambhava personifies the guru principle, the heart of Vajrayana Buddhism, therefore known as ...
King Trisong Detsen was the thirty-eighth king of Tibet, son of King Me Aktsom, second of the three great religious kings and one of the main disciples of Guru Rinpoche. It was due to his efforts that the great masters Shantarakshita and Guru Padmasambhava came from India and established Buddhism firmly in Tibet.
Vairotsana was the greatest of all Tibetan lotsawas. Together with Padmasambhava and Vimalamitra, he was one of the three main masters to bring the Dzogchen teachings to Tibet.
Yeshe Tsogyal was the principal consort of Guru Padmasambhava. She was Vajravarahi in human form and also an emanation of Tara and Buddhalochana. She specialized in the practice of Vajrakilaya and experienced visions of the deity and gained accomplishment. Through the power of her unfailing memory, she collected all the teachings given by Guru Rinpoche in Tibet and concealed them as terma. At the end of her life, it is said, she flew through the air and went directly to Zangdokpalri.
Also known as Longchen Rabjam, ‘Infinite, Vast Expanse of Space’, or Drimé Özer (1308-1364), was one of the most brilliant teachers of the Nyingma lineage. He systematized the Nyingma teachings in his ‘Seven Treasures’ and wrote extensively on Dzogchen. He transmitted the Longchen Nyingtik cycle of teachings and practice to Jikmé Lingpa, and it has since become one of the most widely practised of traditions.
Jigme Lingpa is regarded as one of the most important figures in the Nyingma lineage. He was a great scholar and visionary, and discovered the Longchen Nyingtik cycle of teachings and practice through a series of visions from the great fourteenth century master, Longchenpa. With the patronage of the Dergé royal family, Jikme Lingpa published the compilation of Nyingma tantras known as the Nyingma Gyübum and composed a catalogue to accompany it.
Jikme Gyalwe Nyugu (Tib. འཇིགས་མེད་རྒྱལ་བའི་མྱུ་གུ, Wyl. 'jigs med rgyal ba'i myu gu) (1765–1843) was one of the foremost disciples of Jikme Lingpa and a teacher of Patrul Rinpoche.
Patrul Rinpoche was an enlightened master, who was one of the most illustrious spiritual teachers of the nineteenth century. From his teacher Jikmé Gyalwé Nyugu he received no less than twenty five times the teachings on the preliminary practices of the Longchen Nyingtik, as well as many other important transmissions. From time to time he would write a text of his own and these treatises were later collected into six volumes of his writings. Among them is The Words of My Perfect Teacher.
Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo was a major treasure revealer—the last of the Five Sovereign Tertöns—and one of the most eminent masters of the nineteenth century. He was a contemporary of Chokgyur Lingpa (1829-1870) and Jamgön Kongtrul the Great and was regarded as the combined reincarnation of Vimalamitra and King Trisong Deutsen. He became the founder of the Rimé (ecumenical) movement.
Mipham Rinpoche was a great Nyingma master and writer of the last century, student of Jamgön Kongtrul, Jamyang Khyentsé Wangpo and Patrul Rinpoche. Blessed by Manjushri, he became one of the greatest scholars of his time. His collected works fill more than thirty volumes. His chief disciple was Shechen Gyaltsab Pema Namgyal.
His Holiness Jigme Phuntsok Jungné (1933-2004) was an incarnation of Tertön Sogyal Lerab Lingpa and an emanation of Mipham Rinpoche. He revealed a number of termas in Tibet, Bhutan, China, Nepal and India. He played an extremely important role in the revival of Buddhism in Tibet after the Cultural Revolution. In the later part of his life more than 10,000 students gathered around him at Larung Gar in Sertar in Eastern Tibet.