17. Longchenpa (klong chen pa) 1308-1364 (Tib. “great expanse”)
Longchenpa was the reincarnation of Princess Pemasal, the daughter of King Trisong Deutsen and direct student of Guru Rinpoche. His birth in the Tra Valley of Southern Tibet was accompanied by miraculous events and auspicious omens. He began his Dharma training at the age of seven, when he received empowerments and teachings from his father, a tantric yogi. At twelve, he took novice monastic vows at Samye monastery.
Longchenpa studied and practiced teachings from a variety of lineages and masters. He received and mastered so many teachings, in fact, that he became known as Samye Lungmangwa, the One of Samye with Many Transmissions. Though he is associated primarily with the Nyingma lineage, he also studied many teachings of the Sarma, or New Schools, including the Kalachakratantra, Chöd, and the Path and Result teachings of the Sakya lineage. He shared a particularly close relationship with the third Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje, with whom he studied under the Dzogchen master Rigdzin Kumaraja.
Rigdzin Kumaraja was Longchenpa’s most important master. He lived with him for two years, practicing the Dzogchen teachings of the Heart Essence of Vimalamitra under extremely harsh conditions. Rigdzin Kumaraja eventually empowered Longchenpa as the lineage holder for these teachings. Longchenpa also reawakened a connection with the Heart Essence of the Dakinis, the Dzogchen lineage of Guru Rinpoche, and practiced these teachings for years in isolated mountain retreats.
Longchenpa’s influence upon the Nyingmapa lineage is unparalleled. He united and compiled teachings concerning the two main Dzogchen Heart Essence lineages in a work entitled Four Volumes of the Heart Essence, adding three commentaries of his own to the teachings of Guru Rinpoche and Vimalamitra. He also wrote the famed Seven Treasuries, texts that present various aspects of the view, meditation, and conduct of the Nyingma school’s nine vehicles.
Longchenpa passed away at the age of fifty-six. He left over two hundred and fifty treatises behind, many of which are still regarded as the most comprehensive and authoritative works yet written concerning the view and practice of the Great Perfection. His most important students include the 3rd Karmapa, Rangjung Dorjé, with whom he exchanged teachings, Özer Kocha, and his son, Tülku Trakpa Özer.
19. Manjusrimitra/Jampal Shenyen (Tib. “Gentle Splendor Spiritual Friend”)
A great Indian pandita of the Dzogchen lineage who was the chief disciple of Garab Dorje and later the guru of Shri Singha and Guru Padmasambhava. He was one of the eight Vidyadharas of India.
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