Part VIII: Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, ‘The Heart Essence of Chetsun’ and ‘The Heart Essence of the Noble Lady of Immortality’

HH Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche bestowing empowerments on the 14th Day of the Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo transmissions, Siliguri, India.

On the last but one day of the Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo transmissions, Siliguri, January 2020, the life-force of the protectors of the Luminous Essence of the Three Roots, the empowerment of the oral instructions of Dzogchen, the Heart Essence of Chetsun  (Chetsun Nyingtig) and the mind-treasure (gongter) of the the Heart Essence of the Noble Lady of Immortality (Chime Phagme Nyingtig) longevity empowerment were bestowed.  Of course, these texts cannot be read or practised without the requisite empowerment and transmission from a qualified lineage master.  Here is a little (non-secret) introduction and background to the latter two below. Photos of this day can be seen here.

The Heart Essence of Chetsun
Chetsun Senge Wangchuk

In terms of the Heart Essence of Chetsun, it is named after an eleventh century yogi called Chetsun Senge Wangchuk (see a short bio here).  In terms of the terma text’s history and content, one online information resource here explains:

Chetsün Nyingtik (lce btsun snying thig) — among the “seven authoritative transmissions” of the great Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo (1820-1892), the profound cycle of teachings known as Chetsün Nyingtik belong to the category of ‘recollection’ or ‘reminiscence’ ( jé dren). When Jamyang Khyentse was twenty-four years old, he visited the sacred place of Uyuk in the Tsang province of Central Tibet. His perception of ordinary phenomena vanished into an experience of pure luminosity and he clearly remembered Chetsün Senge Wangchuk (11th Century) attaining the rainbow body in that very place. Before achieving the rainbow body, Senge Wangchuk had, for a whole month, experienced a vision of Vimalamitra, in which he bestowed upon him the quintessence of his teachings, the Vima Nyingtik.

Following this reminiscence, Khyentse Wangpo, who was an emanation of both Vimalamitra and Senge Wangchuk, put into writing the root text of the Chetsün Nyingtik, the ‘Heart Essence of Chetsün’. He practised these teachings and kept them secret for many years. Then, when he was thirty-eight years old, the protectress Ekadzati requested him to disclose these teachings and impart them to others. Khyentse Wangpo first gave a ‘one-to-one’ transmission to Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thayé.

Later on, he imparted the transmission to a few others among his main disciples, such as Adzom Drukpa (1842-1924), Tertön Sogyal Lerab Lingpa (1856-1926), Jedrung Trinlé Jampa Jungné (1856-1922) and Khenchen Tashi Özer (1836-1910). Following this, his main Dharma heir, Jamgön Kongtrul the Great, wrote a series of texts for practising the cycle.

According to Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, among the teachings revealed by Khyentse Wangpo which relate to Dzogpachenpo, the Chetsün Nyingtik represents the profound aspect, while the Bimé Lhadrup from the Chime Phakme Nyingtik cycle represents the vast aspect.

Lerab Lingpa wrote a famous commentary on the Chetsün Nyingtik. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche said that after Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo gave the teachings on Chetsün Nyingtik to a few close disciples on one occasion, he asked them what other teachings they would like to receive. They all requested that the Chetsün Nyingtik teachings be given once again, and this time, after every session, Lerab Lingpa put them into writing. At the end, he presented his notes to Khyentse Wangpo, who looked over them and said, “This is exactly what I said, with nothing missing and nothing added.

 English translations of these  texts have been published by the Light of Berotsana translation group.

The Heart Essence of the Sublime Lady of Immortality (White Tara) (Chime Phagme Nyingtig)
A Thangka of Chime Phagme Nyingtig that is said to have belonged to Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo

Orgyan Tobgyal Rinpoche, whose website has an excellent set of teachings on the The Heart Essence of the Noble Lady of Immortality (འཆི་མེད་འཕགས་མའི་སྙིང་ཐིག་, ‘chi med ‘phags ma’i snying thig) , says:

Of all the teachings that Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo received through the seven methods of transmission, the Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik is said to be the most profound because not only does it bring about a long life, but a that is life free of obstacles. It also causes wisdom to blossom and is said to have the most blessings.

The Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik was the heart practice of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo’s student Jamgön Kongtrül Lodrö Taye, and of the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth Karmapas—Thekchok Dorje, Khakyab Dorje and Rigpe Dorje. Other great Kagyupa masters, like the previous Situ Rinpoche, Situ Pema Wangchuk Gyalpo also practised it, as does the present Sakya Trizin—who has said of this practice, “This is my sole yidam”—and most Nyingma lamas.

The Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik cycle contains a tantra and associated sadhanas, as well as individual Lama sadhanas for accomplishing Guru Rinpoche, Shri Singha and Vimalamitra. Dzogchen is referred to throughout—Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche gave an incredible commentary on the Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik which fills an entire volume, and it’s all about Dzogchen. It’s also the cycle that contains the longer sadhana [View pdf] we’ve been practising during this drupchen, for which Jamgön Kongtrül Lodrö Taye wrote a retreat manual [View pdf], a self-empowerment[1] and a fire offering practice[2].

From another online resource on Chimé Pakmé Nyingtik:.

Is a long life practice discovered as mind terma by Jamyang Khyentsé Wangpo in 1855. It features a mandala of White Tara (in the form of White Tara Wishfulfilling Wheel) in union with the Lord of the Dance (Amitayus).

Jamyang Khyentse revealed the terma of Chimé Pakmé Nyingtik in 1855 at his seat Dzongsar Tashi Lhatse in a vision of the three masters who attained the level of vidyadhara with power over life: Guru Rinpoche, Vimalamitra and Shri Singha.

Through its power and blessings, many masters, including the great Jamgön Kongtrul, have been able to remove obstacles. In fact, according to prophecies, the life of Jamgön Kongtrul would have had many obstacles, and he would not have lived very long, but for this practice of Chimé Pakmé Nyingtik.

The highly respected master Jamyang Khyentsé Chökyi Lodrö, in his biography, said that he received this transmission about ten times, and held this as his most important practice. It was also the main heart practice of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, who completed all the required practices seven times in retreat. More recently, one of the main holders of this practice was Kyabjé Trulshik Rinpoche, who every year spent at least a month in retreat practising Chimé Pakmé Nyingtik at Maratika cave in Nepal, the place where Guru Rinpoche accomplished the level of a vidyadhara with power over life.

Daily Practice Text
White Tara, Wish-fulfilling Wheel in union with White Amitayus

‘The Daily Yoga Practice of Chimé Pakmé Nyingtik as a Single Deity– The Heart Essence of the Sublime Lady of Immortality’ ( ‘chi med ‘phags ma’i snying tig las/ rgyun gyi rnal ‘byor phyag rgya gcig pa) is a briefer version of the root sadhana called ‘The Wisdom Light of Enlightened Activity’ (phrin las ye shes snang ba).

The great news for those of us with the transmission and empowerment is that the daily sadhana has already been translated into English and compiled with the Tibetan at Lotsawa House, see here.

Orgyan Tobgyal Rinpoche has also given some very clear and detailed instructions on how to practice the daily and longer sadhana, which can all be accessed here.  He says:

I received these teachings many times from Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. He practised the Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik every day without fail and always recited the combined mantra of the three main deities, one thousand times. He never missed a single day!

If that’s not inspiration to practise it then what is?!

Tibetan texts
  • འཆི་མེད་འཕགས་མའི་སྙིང་ཏིག་ལས། རྒྱུན་གྱི་རྣལ་འབྱོར་ཕྱག་རྒྱ་གཅིག་པ་, ‘chi med ‘phags ma’i snying tig las/_rgyun gyi rnal ‘byor phyag rgya gcig pa

འཕགས་སྙིང་རྒྱུན་ཁྱེར་, ‘phags snying rgyun khyer

  • ‘chi med ‘phags ma’i snying thig las/_phrin las ye shes snang ba (by Khyentse Wangpo), in:

Loter Wangpo རྒྱུད་སྡེ་ཀུན་བཏུས་, rgyud sde kun btus, Vol. 22, za, pp. 180-194)

འཆི་མེད་འཕགས་མའི་སྙིང་ཏིག་ལས་ཕྲིན་ལས་ཡེ་ཤེས་སྣང་བ་, ‘chi med ‘phags ma’i snying tig las phrin las ye shes snang ba

  • འཆི་མེད་འཕགས་མའི་སྙིང་ཐིག་གི་བརྒྱུད་པའི་གསོལ་འདེབས་ཚེ་དབང་བཅུད་འཛིན་, ‘chi med ‘phags ma’i snying thig gi brgyud pa’i gsol ‘debs tshe dbang bcud ‘dzin
Conclusion  – Longing Ode to Longchenpa

The final day, in terms of empowerments, then concluded with an extremely moving rendition of a Calling the Lama from Afar (Gyanglu/rGyang glu) to the great Dzogchen master, Longchenpa, sung by Bhutanese singer, Tandin Bidha.

Tandin Bidha singing at the Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo Empowerments

The Tibetan and English of the song are here.  Not a dry eye in the room!

Written and compiled by Adele Tomlin, 8th March 2020.

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