14. Garab Dorje (Tib. ‘Indestructible joy’ or ‘Vajra of Supreme Delight’), (dga’ rab rdo rje), Skt. Surati Vajra, also known as Prahevajra, and Pramoda Vajra)
The incarnation of Semlhag Chen, a god who earlier had been empowered by the Buddhas. Immaculately conceived, his mother was a nun, the daughter of King Uparaja (Dhahenatalo or Indrabhuti) of Uddiyana. Garab Dorje received all the tantras, statements and instructions of Dzogchen from Vajrasattva and Vajrapani in person and became the first human vidyadhara (‘knowledge holder”) in the Dzogchen lineage. Having reached the state of complete enlightenment through the effortless Great Perfection, Garab Dorje transmitted the teachings to his retinue of exceptional beings.
Manjushrimitra is regarded as his chief disciple. Padmasambhava is also known to have received the transmission of the Dzogchen tantras directly from Garab Dorje’s wisdom form. In addition to Garab Dorje this master was given three other names names:
* Joyful Zombie (ro langs bde ba)
* Ash-colored Zombie (ro langs thalm dog)
* Wisdom Nature (shes rab ‘byung gnas)
The Nyingmapa school of Tibetan Buddhism traces its origin to the Indian adept, Guru Padmasambhava, who came to Tibet in 817 C.E. at the invitation of King Trisong Deutsan (742-797) in order to subdue the evil forces then impeding the spread of Buddhism. Guru Rinpoche, as he is popularly known, bound all evil spirits by oath and transformed them into forces compatible with the spread of Buddhism. In collaboration with the great Bodhisattva Abbot Shantarakshita, Guru Rinpoche then built Samye monastery, which became a principal centre of learning and the site where many of the texts that would make up Tibet’s vast Buddhist literature were first translated into Tibetan.
Guru Rinpoche also gave widespread teachings from the highest classes of tantra and in particular to his twenty-five principal disciples. Seeing the disciples unripe and the time inappropriate for many of the other teachings he had to reveal, Guru Padmasambhava hid hundreds of Treasures in the forms of scriptures, images and ritual articles, with instructions for their revelation for the benefit of future generations. Subsequently, more than one hundred masters have revealed these Treasures and taught them to their disciples.
16. Yeshe Tsogyal (Tib. “Victorious Ocean of Wisdom”)
The different versions of her biography give varying details about her place of birth, the names of her parents and so forth. In his Ocean of Wondrous Sayings to Delight the Learned Ones, Guru Tashi Tobgyal states that her father’s name was Namkha Yeshe of the Kharchen clan and that she was born in Drongmochey of Drak. At first she was one of King Trisong Deutsen’s queens but later was given to Padmasambhava to be his spiritual consort.
During the empowerment of Assemblage of Sugatas, her initiation flower fell on the mandala of Kilaya. Through this practice she became able to tame evil spirits and revive the dead. She was the chief compiler of all the inconceivable teachings given by the great master Padmasambhava. Having remained in Tibet for two hundred years, she departed for the celestial realm of the Glorious Copper Colored Mountain, without leaving a corpse behind.
In the “Precious Garland of Lapis Lazuli”, Jamgön Kongtrül says, “Yeshe Tsogyal was a direct incarnation of Dhatvishvari Vajra Yogini in the form of a woman. She served Padmasambhava perfectly in that life, engaged in sadhana practice with incredible perseverance and attained a level equal to Padmasambhava himself, the ‘continuity adorned with inexhaustible body, speech, mind, qualities, and activities.’ Her kindness to the land of Tibet surpasses the imagination and her compassionate activity is no different from Padmasambhava’s and continues unceasingly.”