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    Tuesday, November 10, 2009

    Refuge Tree


    Longchen Nyingtik Lineage

    8 Close Sons of the Mahayana Sangha (Bodhisattvas)

    1. Kshitigarbha
    2. Akashagarbha
    3. Avalokiteshvara
    4. Vajrapani
    5. Maitreya
    6. Sarvanirvarana Vishkambin
    7. Samantabhadra
    8. Manjushri

    8 Supreme Ones of the Hinayana Sangha (Shravakas and Pratyekabuddhas)

    1. Shariputra (GDB: 1)
    2. Maudgalyayana (GDB: 67)
    3. Ananda
    4. Rahula
    5. Aniruddha (GDB: 183)
    6. Kashyapa (GDB: 107)
    7. Subhuti

    Buddhas of the past, present and future

    30. Kashyapa (previous buddha)
    31. Shakyamuni Buddha
    32. Maitreya (future buddha)

    Longchen Nyingtik Yidam Deities

    33. Mahakuruna/Avalokiteshvara
    34. Yamantaka
    35. Hayagriva
    36. Takyung Barwa
    37. Vajra Heruka
    38. Vishuddha Heruka
    39. Dechen Gyelmo (Queen of Great Bliss)
    40. Vajrakilaya
    41. Lion Faced Dakini

    Dzogchen Dharma Protectors

    42. Tseringma
    43. Gonpo Maning
    44. Rahula
    45. Ekajati
    46. Dorjé Lekpa
    47. Lhamo Ngen Nema
    48. Yodrönma

    Gurus of the Lineage

    1. Jigme Gyalwey Nyugu (MGRG: 215) (MMM: 211)
    2. Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo (MGRG: 270) (MMM: 215)
    3. Dodrupchen Kunsang Shenpen (MGRG: 428)
    4. Khenchen Pema Vajra (MGRG: 467) (MMM: 200)
    5. Thubten Chokyi Dorje/5th Dzogchen Rinpoche (MGRG: 428) (MMM: 256)
    6. Drodul Kargyi Dorje/Adzom Drukpa? (MGRG: 290) (MMM: 228)
    7. Gyalsé Shenpen Tayé (MGRG: 404) (MMM: 198)
    8. Khenpo Kunpel (MGRG: 223) (MMM: 258)
    9. Shri Simha (MGRG: 39) (MMM: 62) (TLB)
    10. Jnanasutra (MGRG: 40) (MMM: 65)
    11. Vairochana/Bairotsana (MGRG: 49) (TLB) (TGI)
    12. Samantabahdra (MGRG: 31)
    13. Vajrasattva (MGRG: 33)
    14. Garab Dorje/Prahevajra (MGRG: 37) (MMM: 55)
    15. Padmasambhava/Guru Rinpoche/Padmakara (MGRG: 41) (MMM: 74) (TLB)
    16. Yeshe Tsogyal (MGRG: 61) (MMM: 92) (TLB)
    17. Longchenpa (MGRG: 78) (MMM: 109)

    Reference Books for biographies

    1. MGRG: A Marvelous Garland of Rare Gems by Nyoshul Khenpo, Padma
    publishing 2005.
    2. MMM: Masters of Meditation and Miracles by Tulku Thondup, Shambhala
    publishing 1999.
    3. The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism by Dudjom Rinpoche, Wisdom
    Publications, 1991.
    4. GDB: The Great Disciples of the Buddha: Their Lives, Their Works, Their Legacy by Nyanaponika Thera. Wisdom Publications, 2003.
    5. TLB: The Lotus-Born: The Life Story of Padmasambhava by Yeshe Tosgyal,
    North Atlantic Books 2004.
    6. TGI: The Great Image: The Life Story of Vairochana the Translator , Shambhala

    Although there are many images of the Longchen Nyingtik refuge tree available on the internet, I have yet to find one that includes the names of all the figures in English.

    My teacher, Khenpo Sherrab Sangpo and Cortland Dahl along with help from Rob M. created the chart and list of names above. The tree itself pictures 65 distinct deity and guru images (counting yab-yum pairs as a single image) as well as a 66th representation of the Dharma in the form of pechas.

    What follows is my research into the various gurus, yidams and dakhinis.

    As you can see, almost all of the information about the various deities and gurus comes from the internet and so should be taken with a grain of salt. I have attempted to provide Sanskrit and Tibetan names with the English translation as much as possible. I have also provided the Wylie transliterations of the Tibetan whenever I was able to find them.

    Nonetheless, as I was researching the gurus who make up this lineage I was filled with a sense of awe and gratitude to all these great teachers who have passed down the teachings of the Buddha in a pure and uncorrupted form for the benefit of all sentient beings. As it is said, the Guru truly is kinder than the Buddha. And when I reflect that Lama Khenpo Sherab Sangpo is the heir to these enlightened masters I feel as though my heart will burst with gratitude that he has made his knowledge and wisdom available to us.

    Origin of the Longchen Nyingtik

    The Longchen Nyingthik (Tib. “Heart Essence of the Vast Expanse) is a Terma cycle revealed by the master Jigme Lingpa. Since its inception in the late 18th century, it has become one of the most widespread sets of teachings in the Nyingmapa tradition. It is particularly known and loved for its extensive commentarial literature, which includes practice manuals such as the famed Words of my Perfect Teacher.

    These teachings were originally transmitted by the master Padmasambhava to King Trisong Deutsen, the Dakini Yeshe Tsogyal and the Lotsawa Vairochana at Samye Monastery in central Tibet. As the time for these teachings to spread was not yet right, they were then written in symbolic script by Yeshe Tsogyal, entrusted to the Dakinis, and hidden to be revealed at a later time. The king later reincarnated as the Treasure Revealer Jigme Lingpa, who recalled the teachings he had received and, recognizing the time was ripe for them to be practiced, put them down in writing and began to teach.

    Jigme Lingpa, the Terton who revealed the Longchen Nyingthik cycle of teachings, was  as stated above, a reincarnation of two important masters, Vimalamitra and King Trisong Deutsen. As the embodiment of these two figures, Tibet's two primary Dzogchen lineages were combined in Jigme Lingpa -- the Vima Nyingthik and Khandro Nyingthik, both of which are contained in the Nyingthik Yabshi. Hence, the Longchen Nyingthik terma cycle is considered a condensation of these profound teachings.

    The texts that were revealed by Jigme Lingpa, in their present-day form, comprise three volumes, known as the Nyingthik Tsapod, (Wylie: snying thig rtsa pod) which is made up of numerous treatises, sadhanas and prayers. Its contenents deal primarily with tantric practice, in particular Development Stage and Dzogchen.