Part II Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo Transmissions – The Collected Works and Texts: Origin and Editions

For Part II of my write-up and research on the Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo transmissions in Siliguri, India, January 2020, I focus on the origin and published editions of the collected works of JKW (of which the complete oral transmission of 25 volumes was given in 14 days) as well as the other texts transmitted.

Lineage and preservation
HE Schechen Rabjam Rinpoche during the transmissions at Siliguri monastery, India, January 2020.

On the final day of the transmissions and teachings, HE Schechen Rabjam Rinpoche explained that:

‘’Today, I am very delighted that without any obstacles I successfully managed to offer the reading transmission of the entirety of the 25 volumes of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo’s collected works, and in addition to that, also the empowerments, reading transmission and liberating instructions of the Tsasum Ösel Nyingthik (Clear Light Heart Essence of the Three Roots); the Chetsun Nyingthik (Heart Essence Teachings of Chetsun Senge Wangchuk), transmitted as a remembrance to Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, and which is the essential instruction of Vimalamitra’s Heart Essence teachings; the Khandro Sangwa Kundu (Condensed Teachings of Dakini’s Secrets); and Rongzom Mahapandita’s empowerments of Padma Dakini Kurukulle, and others.

This year, 2020, marks the 200th birth anniversary of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and it was a great tendrel, an auspicious circumstance that was effortless and coincidental that I was able to offer the empowerments and reading transmission of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo’s kabum….

Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Dorje Chang had included Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche’s and my names in the colophon of the empowerment manual that he compiled. This shows Kyabje Rinpoche’s vision that he had in his wisdom mind that one of us should confer the empowerments in the future….

 I happened to hear that Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, in one of his talks, mentioned that there is a danger that the works of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo may be lost due to negligence, as they are like a commonwealth that is owned by all.’’

Rabjam Rinpoche also mentioned, on the first day, that he asked HE Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche if he should give the transmission to people. It is wonderful to read and hear that Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoch, along with his other inspiring and far-reaching activities, is also behind the drive to transmit, preserve and translate these precious texts.

Editions and Origin of the Collected Works (Seven Transmissions)

There is not much information online in English about the origin and contents of the Kabum (Collected Works) of JKW.  The Collected Works are called the All-Seeing Seven Transmissions (bka’ babs bdun ldan kun gzigs ‘jam dbyangs mkhyen brtse’i dbang po kun dga’ bstan pa’i rgyal mtshan dpal bzang po’i bka’ ‘bum).  The ‘seven tranmissions’ (bka’ babs bdun) here refers to Kama (bka’ ma), earth treasure (sa gter), mind treasure (dgongs gter), re-concealed treasure (yang gter), visionary transmission (dag snang), recollection (rje dran) and hearing lineage (snyan brgyud). According to one source, this classification of transmission vectors appears to have originated with Khyentse Wangpo, who used it in his biography of Chokgyur Lingpa, and it serves as an organizing structure for most hagiographies of him as well. Alak Zenkar Rinpoche, in his brief biography of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, which has been translated into English here, details the contents of the original collected works of 13 volumes:

His writings, which date from his youth to just before he passed away in his seventy third year, comprise some thirteen volumes in all. As made clear in the index to his collected works, entitled Key to the Treasury of Excellent Explanations, these works can be divided into nine main categories:

    1. a collection of prayers and praises, which is like heavenly music to delight the victorious buddhas and their heirs;
    2. a collection of advice on various topics, which is like a great ship in which one might set sail across the vast ocean of learning;
    3. numerous profound points on buddhist philosophy, ‘the science of the inner meaning’, which are like great gatherings of clouds;
    4. elegant explanations to shed light on the meaning of sūtra and tantra, which are just like the brilliant orbs of the sun and moon;
    5. sādhanas and ritual arrangements related to infinite yidam deities, which are like the glorious insignia of Vajrasattva;
    6. clarifications on all the major and minor sciences, like a great lake to delight the goddess Sarasvatī;
    7. histories, biographies and chronicles of abbatial succession, which are like a wondrous and enchanting garden;
    8. works on various other essential topics, which are like a powerful monarch capable of granting our every wish; and
    9. a cycle of profound vajra songs of realization, which is like a spontaneously arisen secret treasury of indestructible luminosity.

For those who read Tibetan, there is an outline of the contents of a later 24 volume edition (and some links with English) 1977 Gangtok edition here. Hopefully this outline will be translated into English in the near future.  This ‘Gonpo Tseten’ edition, published in Gangtok, Sikkim is also available for download on TBRC at W21807. It has been reproduced from a set of prints of the original Dzongsar Monastery wood blocks (see information below) and is a beautiful illustrated edition, as can be seen here from this text taken from it:

Image of the text from the first volume of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo’s Collected Works (Gangtok edition, 1977)

The published edition of the Collected Works used at the Siliguri transmission, was a computer input edition of a set of 25 volumes including termas, sadhanas and commentaries, based on the edition that was originally published by the Dzongsar Monastery Publishing House, Kham Derge by Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro (this edition is available for download on TBRC at W3PD1002). The colophon of it states:

Previously, the second Jamyang Khyentse, Chokyi Lodro, having sought out and collected together the works, arranged the edition into 13 volumes on wooden printing blocks. After these wooden blocks were lost due to the change in circumstances, the Sikkimese Khyentse Labrang in India made a re-print of 23 volumes. Having done the print base, Dzongsar Lodro Phuntsok took care of them. Then, from 2007, the female computing class of Dzongsar Tibetan Medical Centre started to enter them into a computer. After many continual edits and revisions, it was published again in 2014.

The colophon then refers to additional  texts that were added to make the 24 volume edition, as well as the addition of the 25th volume, the life story of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, composed by his close friend Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye.  Some of these additional texts are referred to in Khyentse Wangpo’s biography on Treasury of Lives:

Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo also participated in the production of Jamgon Kongtrul’s well-known “Five Treasuries” (mdzod lnga). According to traditional accounts, it was in a dream that Khyentse Wangpo had in 1861 in which he had a vision of a five-doored stupa, which signified to him that Jamgong Kongtrul ought to create “five treasuries.” Khyentse Wangpo proposed the Kagyu Ngakdzod (bka’ brgyud sngags mdzod) in 1848, declaring that the available liturgies for the Ngok (rngog) maṇḍalas were inadequate, and he repeated the request from Tibet, where he received a prophesy that Jamgon Kongtrul should undertake the job of collecting ritual manuals for the Kagyu tantras. In 1855 Khyentse Wangpo suggested the organization of the Rinchen Terdzod (rin chen gter mdzod), and he advised which treasures to include. And, while it was the Kagyu lama Dabzang Tulku Karma Ngedon (zla bzang sprul sku kar+ma nges don, 1808-1867) who asked for the root text of the Sheja Kunjab (shes bya kun khyab), it was Khyentse Wangpo who insisted that Jamgon Kongtrul write a lengthy auto-comentary. Khyentse Wangpo also worked with Kongtrul on his Damngakdzod (gdams ngag mdzod), a collection of religious instructions (gdams ngag). Only the last of the five, Jamgon Kongtrul’s collected miscellaneous writing, lacked input from Khyentse Wangpo.

Well before he put the idea to his colleague to create five great treasuries, Khyentse Wangpo had begun his own massive collection, the Drubtab Kundu (sgrub thabs kun btus), a compendium of Sakya sadhanas that he first began when he was staying at Sakya in the late 1840s. According to Jamgon Kongtrul, he gave the empowerment for the collection in 1852 at Pelpung for a group of about twenty prominent lamas. Khyentse Wangpo was the main inspiration and patron of Jamyang Lhoter Wangpo’s (‘jam dbyang blo gter dbang po, 1847-1914) Gyude Kuntu (rgyud sde kun btus) in thirty-two volumes, a collection of  initiations manuals for the 132 maṇḍalas of the Sakya tradition. According to Lodro Puntsok (blo gros phun tshogs) he also produced a collection of Lamdre Lobshe (lam ‘bras slob bshad) teachings in seventeen volumes, and eight volumes of songs and instructions from the eight practrice lineages (sgrub brgyud shing rta brgyad kyi zhal gdam gsung mgur), although this later collection is not included in the works associated with Khyentse Wangpo on TBRC. In addition, thirteen additional volumes of material not included in the above which constitute his personal collected works (bka’ ‘bum), which runs to twenty-four volumes.

Edition of the Luminous Heart Essence of the Three Roots

In terms of the edition and origin of the Luminous Heart Essence of the Three Roots, the original edition was written by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo himself. There is an online edition on TBRC W22093 of the scanned copy of this edition produced by HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche from the handwritten notes and published in Paro, 1982 in Umey script. See the preface to it below, which states that the manuscript was preserved with Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo’s relics in a golden shrine at Derge, Eastern Tibet and was saved by Pewar Tulku Kunga Sonam when the shrine was destroyed during the struggles in Tibet:

The text is also available in the Rinchen Terdzo (one of the five treasuries compiled by Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye), which can be read on the Tsadra Foundation website here.

Other texts

Other texts transmitted diring the event were liberating instructions of the Tsasum Osel Nyingthik (Luminous Heart Essence of the Three Roots); the Chetsun Nyingthik (Heart Essence Teachings of Chetsun Senge Wangchuk), transmitted as a remembrance to Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, and which is the essential instruction of Vimalamitra’s Heart Essence teachings; the Khandro Sangwa Kundu (Condensed Teachings of Dakini’s Secrets); and Rongzom Mahapandita’s empowerments of Padma Dakini Kurukulle, and others. More on those texts and empowerments in a later post.

Apologies for any errors, which are all mine. May it be of benefit!

Written by Adele Tomlin, 29th January 2020.


[1] Jamyang Loter Wangpo ( ‘jam dbyangs blo gter dbang po) aka Thartse Pönlop Loter Wangpo (1847-1914) — an important Rime Sakya master of Ngor Thartse Monastery who played a key role in the Rimé movement. He was a disciple of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and a teacher of Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro.

2 thoughts on “Part II Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo Transmissions – The Collected Works and Texts: Origin and Editions

  1. Can you tell me how to find a copy of a Tibetan text? I want the White Tara of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo.

    I have the English, I need the Tibetan.

    Thanks !

    1. Best place to find Tibetan text is Regarding the White Tara text, what English translation do you have? I can see one has been published by Tony Duff, but it doesn’t say at all in that publication what the Tibetan name of the text is, where it has been published and/or who he got the oral transmission on it from either. If you are using that one I would suggest to contact him. Normally a translation should give the Tibetan name of the text and where it is published though.
      If its not that translation you are using, then whose is it? You need to know the name of the Tibetan text first ideally, or the English translation of that title.

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