Nyag’s Vajrakīlaya and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche’s Revelation

“Anyone who harms a translator is also injuring the teachings in general.”

–Vimalamitra to Translator Nyag

The remarkable Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Today, on the anniversary of the paranirvana of HH Dilgo Khyentse Tashi Peljor (dil mgo mkhyen brtse bkra shis dpal ‘byor (1910-1991) ), as an offering of devotion and respect to the life and works of this outstanding Buddhist master, is this short research post and translation on his mind-treasure of Nyag’s Vajrakīlaya.

I was delighted to see the recent photos of HE Schechen Rabjam Rinpoche at Thegchog Choki Gatshel, Paro, Bhutan participating in a drubchen of Nyag’s Kīlaya (gnyags lugs phur ba) as revealed in a treasure of his root lama, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, and also of another treasure he revealed, Pema Tshe Nyingtig, being performed at Schechen nunnery, Bhutan. Dilgo Khyentse was a prolific and accomplished treasure-revealer.

HE Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche at the Nyag Vajrakīlaya Drubchen, Paro, Bhutan (October 2020)

In this post, I will consider Dilgo Khyentse’s mind-treasure revelation of Nyag’s Vajrakīlaya by first giving some details about Nyag Jñānakumara (gnyags dznya na ku ma ra)’s life, an overview of some of the great Indian Vajrayana and Tantric works he translated (often with the aid of his teacher, Indian mahasiddha, Vimalamitra) and the lineage of Vajrakīlaya he received from Vimalamitra. Then, I give an overview of Dilgo Khyentse and his discovery of the treasure, with a short catalogue of the texts he composed that came from that treasure cycle, contained in his Collected Works[i] (scroll down to end of post for the catalogue).

I also translate and publish for the first time a supplication to the Nyag Vajrakīlaya lineage, which is the first text in the volume of the Dilgo Khyentse treasure. For more on the astonishing life and works of Dilgo Khyentse, scroll down to the bottom of this post for Youtube videos.

The face of love, compassion and wisdom embodied in one
Nyag Jñānakumara: Student of Padmasambhava and Master Translator/Practitioner
Nyag Jñānakumara

Having recently written a post on the Seven Profound Kīla treasure cycle here, I was intrigued to find out more about another Vajrakīlaya tradition that came from one of the most extraordinary early Tibetan master translators, Nyag Jñānakumara, also known by the Tibetan version of his name, Yeshe Zhonnu (yes shes gzhon nu), who was born into the Nyag (gnyags) clan in Po (‘phos), in Yarlung (yar lung) in the mid eighth century. He was one of Padmasambava’s main students.

According to his Treasury of Lives bio:

“He received his ordination from Śāntarakṣita, and was initiated by Padmasambhava into the Vajrāmṛṭa (rdo rje bdud rtsi) maṇḍala, one of the eight Heruka, after which he practiced at Yarlung Sheldrak (yar lung shel brag), obtaining the ability to bring forth water from the earth. Padmasambhava also initiated him into the Kabgye (bka’ brgyad), and his flower fell on the on the central deity of the maṇḍala, Chemchok Heruka (che mchog he ru ka). However Jñānakumara is primarily known for his Vajrakīla practice and transmission, which he received from Vimalamitra. His transmission lineage is known as the Nyag Vajrakīlaya (gnyags lugs phur ba).


Nyag Jñānakumara seems to initially have had a difficult time finding sufficient support for his activities. Following the death of King Tri Songdetsen (khri srong lde’u btsan) he was, along with most translators, driven from the court by a hostile queen, Tsepongza (tshe spong bza’) and slandered by his brother, Nyag Geton (gnyags dge ston), who claimed that Jñānakumara was a practitioner of black magic. He was driven out of Chim (mchims) by an angry shepherd whose flock Nyag had scattered, and he was pursued by a hunter in U after he inadvertently startled his prey. It was at the end of these ordeals that Vimalamitra transmitted the Vajrakīla teachings to him, giving him the power to resist such obstacles and put and end to his tendency to flee danger. He used his new strength to obliterate the family of the shepherd and murder his brother. Jñānakumara’s disciple Sokpo Pelgyi Yeshe (sog po dpal gyi ye shes, d.u.) is said to have torn out Geton’s heart himself.

Nyag assisted Vimalamitra in the translation of the Guhyagarbha Tantra (gsang ba’i snying po), the root text of the Mahāyoga, and he was central in the transmission of Padmasambhava’s commentary on it, the Man-ngak Tawai Trengwa (man ngag lta ba’i phreng pa). He is considered an early master of the three Mahāyoga scriptures, the Gonpa Dupai Do (dgongs pa l’dus pa mdo), the Māyājāla (rgyud sgyu l’phrul drva ba) and the Guhyagharba. Nyag also transmitted the Semde (sems sde) and Longde (klong sde) Dzogchen teachings to Sokpo Pelgyi Yeshe and Wodren Pelgyi Zhonnu (‘o bran dpal gyi gzhon nu), both of whom taught Nubchen Sanggye Yeshe (gnubs chen sangs rgyas ye shes, c.832-c.962).

Nyag is known to have combined in one person the “four great rivers of transmitted precepts” (bka’i chu babs chen po bzhi) derived from the great masters Padmasambhava, Vimalamitra, Vairocana, and Yudra Nyingpo (g.yu sgra snying po). These were, respectively: textual exegesis; the hearing lineage; the blessing and empowerments; and the practical techniques. He is considered the first of the three originators of the three lineages of the Kama, (bka’ ma), or spoken transmission of the Nyingma tradition, the other two being Nubchen Sanggye Yeshe and Zurchen Śākya Jungne (zur chen shAkya ‘byung gnas, 1002-1062).

Nyag’s most accomplished students were known as the “eight glorious adepts of Vajrakīlaya:” Pelgyi Yeshe, Wodren Pelgyi Zhonnu, Nyenchen Pelyang (gnyan chen dpal dbyangs), Taksang Pelgyi Dorje (thags bzang dpal gyi rdo rje), Lamchok Pelgyi Dorje (lam mchog dpal gyi rdo rje), Tarje Pelgyi Trakpa (dar rje dpal gyi grags pa), Tra Pelgyi Nyingpo (dra dpal gyi snying po), and Lhalung Pelgyi Dorje (lhalung dpal gyi rdo rje).”

One of the most important works translated by Nyag is the Guhyagarbha Tantra with annotation; translated by Vimalamitra, Nyag Yeshe Zhonu, Ma Rinchen Chok.  Dan Martin (1987) says:

Other works Nyag translated are found in the Tengyur such as the Confession tantra and A graduated path of Vajrayana by Buddhaguhya (rdor rje theg pa’i lam gyi rim pa rnam par bkod pa/) Revised translation by Vimalamitra and Yeshe Zhonu. In terms of other translations that Nyag completed (often with Vimalamitra) that are contained in the Tengyur, I have a compiled a short catalogue (see below).

The Nyag Vajrakīlaya
Vimalamitra: Vidhydhara of Nectar-Qualities.
Source: https://www.himalayanart.org/items/79631

According to a teaching by Orgyan Tobgyal Rinpoche:

“Once Guru Rinpoche left Tibet for the realm of the rakshasa demons on the subcontinent of Chamara, and after the Dharma King Trisong Deutsen passed away, Mune Tsenpo, the king’s eldest son, assumed the throne of Tibet. But he only ruled for three years and six months because he was murdered–poisoned–by one of Trison Deutsen’s queens, Lady Margyen of Tsepang. She was Mune Tsenpo’s own mother! Vimalamitra miraculously returned to Samye from the Five-peaked Mountain in China for the funeral ceremonies and Nyag Jñanakumara seized the opportunity to visit him. In the folds of his robes, Nyag Jñanakumara carried three measures of gold, and he offered it all to Vimalamitra.

“Well, translator,” said Vimalamitra, “Are you happy?”

“There are too many obstacles to Dharma practice,” replied Nyag Jñanakumara, “Too many people are creating too many problems. So no, I’m not happy.” This was very bad news.

“Anyone who harms a lotsawa (translator) is also injuring the teachings in general,” said Vimalamitra.

He then transmitted the Nyag Tradition Kilaya (Nyag Luk Phurba) to Nyag Jñanakumara, and gave him the empowerment and explained the tantras and pith instructions[ii]. The teachings were then concealed as a terma and later revealed by wisdom dakinis.”

I was unable to find the source/Tibetan words of this fascinating oral exchange (if anyone knows please let me know). However, as a translator, I was particularly moved to read this story about Nyag and his trials and tribulations as a translator and what Vimalamitra said to him about it. Being a Dharma translator, even these days, is no easy (and often a thankless) task, with very little funding or status in it. A Dharma translator has to do these things out of love for the Dharma and beings, and I can only imagine the far more challenging obstacles Nyag and other translators faced when trying to translate the Indian Buddhist texts into Tibetan. No laptops, USB sticks, airplanes, phones, internet and online dictionaries to  use then! However, as they say obstacles are a sign of success!

The treasure terma of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
Dilgo Khyentse in monastic robes with Zhechen Kongtrul Rinpoche

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche was born in 1910, in Denma, Tibet and both his parents were disciples of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo. He was given his name by Ju Mipham when he was one month old.  Dilgo Khyentse’s elder brother was the Ninth Sanggye Nyenpa, Karma Shedrub Tenpai Nyima (ban chen sangs rgyas mnyan pa 09 karma bshad sgrub bstan pa’i nyi ma, 1897-1962), a major tulku based at the Karma Kagyu monastery Ga Benchen (sga ban chen dgon) in Yushu.

Shechen Gyeltsab formally enthroned Tashi Peljor as a reincarnation of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, giving him the name Gyurme Tekchok Tenpai Gyeltsen (‘gyur med theg mchog bstan pa’i rgyal mtshan). The formal recognition seems to have deepened the warm relationship that Tashi Peljor enjoyed with Dzongsar Khyentse Chokyi Lodro.

Treasure revelation

In 1934, after  renounced his novice monastic vows due to serious sickness and pairing with Khandro Lhamo (mkha’ ‘gro lha mo), with whom he had two daughters he was urged to reveal treasures by Chokyi Lodro and the Tenth Zurmang Trungpa, Karma Chokyi Nyingche (zur mang drung pa 10 kar+ma chos kyi nyin byed, c.1879-1939). One of the many remarkable anecdotes shared by her in the autobiography, Brilliant Moon is his deep passion and love of books:

“Rinpoche always used to ask for books, mostly volumes from the Treasury of Precious Termas, so I used to carry books back and forth. There were so many books that they didn’t fit in his room and were kept in another room. When Rinpoche first got the Treasury of Precious Termas, the cloth around the books was white, but because he used them so much, the color completely changed. In fact, Rinpoche’s small room was so stacked with books that there was no place for a shrine. So a shrine was made out on a small veranda, though lots of books were stacked there as well. I planted many flowers out there, which Rinpoche liked a lot. Once, when we were receiving the reading transmission for the Kangyur, there wasn’t enough room for the lama giving the transmission to sit inside, so they arranged a place for him to sit outside on the veranda among my flowers. At night Rinpoche would never lie down; he would sleep sitting up straight in a wooden box. In the evening, after supper, he would start his session and would not speak until lunchtime the next day. After his early morning breakfast he would do practice until noon, without breaking his session. At lunchtime his brother would call me, and I would have lunch with Rinpoche and talk a little; then he would start another session and not see anyone till evening.”

According to his Treasury of Lives bio:

“The following year he revealed the first section of one of his most celebrated treasures, Pema’s Heart Essence of Longevity (pad+ma tshe yi snying thig) at Doti Gangkar (rdo ti gangs dkar), near Ladro Samdrub Lhaden Chokor Ling (gla gro bsam ‘grub lha ldan chos ‘khor gling) in Nangchen. The revelation was completed the following year at Pema Shelpuk (pad+ma shel phug), a treasure site opened by Khyentse Wangpo and Chokgyur Lingpa (mchog ‘gyur gling pa, 1829-1870) near Dzongsar Monastery (rdzong sar dgon).

In 1944 Tashi Peljor spent an extended period of time at Dzongsar with Khyentse Chokyi Lodro, who gave him the transmission for the Nyingma Kama and for Jamgon Kongtrul’s Treasure of Knowledge (shes bya kun khyab). They visited the sacred sites of the Mesho valley where in the nineteenth century Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, Jamgon Kongtrul, and Chokgyur Lingpa had revealed treasure and engaged in other rituals. Tashi Peljor performed feast offerings and decoded treasures the three earlier masters are said to have revealed. At the start of the wood bird year, 1945, Khyentse Chokyi Lodro gave him and one hundred other lamas the transmission and empowerments for the Rinchen Terdzod (rin chen gter mdzod), the collection of revealed treasures compiled by Jamgon Kongtrul.

The next year Tashi Peljor traveled around Kham, visiting sacred sites of Chokgyur Lingpa’s treasure revelations and monasteries. In Nangchen he met the holders of Chokgyur Lingpa’s lineage, including Terse Tulku Gyurme Tsewang Tenpel (‘gyur med tshe dbang bstan ‘phel, d.u.), the reincarnation of Chokgyur Linga’s son Wangchuk Dorje (dbang byug rdo rje, d.u.). There he also met the two reincarnations of Chokgyur Lingpa, the young Third Tsike Chokling (rtsi ke mchog gling 03, c.1940-1952) and the Third Neten Chokling, Pema Gyurme (gnas brtan mchog gling 03 padma ‘gyur med, 1928-1974), whom he had befriended during the Rinchen Terdzod transmission at Dzongsar the year before. Examining the treasure objects of Chokgyur Lingpa, Tashi Peljor found and decoded a sheet of ḍākinī script, producing a treasure cycle of the Kabgye (bka’ brgyad).”

The Treasure of Nyag’s Vajrakīlaya
Dilgo Khyentse with Chokyi Lodro

Nyag’s Vajrakīlaya, is a terma that was revealed by Dilgo Khyentse during a short trip to Nangchen, during the early years of Chinese communist rule, at Karma Gon (karma dgon), the original monastic seat of the Karmapa incarnation line[iii]. According to sources, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche saw a scroll emerge from the sleeve of a statue of Gonpa Bernakchen (Mahakala of Kamtsang tradition), which contained the Nyag Vajrakīlaya teachings. He returned to Sakar to decode it, he then went to Dzongsar to show it to Khyentse Chokyi Lodro and while there he wrote rituals for the sadhana, daily practice, exorcism, and empowerment (see catalogue below).


The daily sadhanas in this treasure cycle are the classic three heads (white, dark blue and red), six arms one. A thangka painter, Ugyen Gyalpo, claims that Nyag’s Vajrakīlaya is nine heads and eighteen arms:

Nine-head form from Schechen Archives: https://www.himalayanart.org/items/15280

According to his website, a thangka of the deity was recently commissioned by Dilgo Khyentse Yangsi, seen here in this photo with it:

Dilgo Khyentse yangsi with the commissioned thangka of Nyag’s Vajrakīlaya
Dilgo Khyentse’s Lineage Supplication Prayer of Nyag Vajrakīlaya Tradition

Servant of the Descent of Primordial Wisdom: Nyag Vajrakīlaya Tradition’s Supplication Prayer to the Four Tantras Lineage of Vajrasattva [i] is the first text in the volume of Dilgo Khyentse’s Collected Works on this Kīlaya tradition. As it is a Supplication, it is not a restricted text. For download of the text as pdf file with Tibetan and phonetics, click here: Nyag’s Vajrakilaya and Dilgo Khyentse’s Treasure Revelation.


རང་བྱུང་ཞི་བ་ཆོས་བྱིངས་ཀུན་ཏུ་བཟང་༎                    ཡེ་ཤེས་སྒྱུ་འཕྲུལ་རིགས་ལྔ་རྡོ་རྗེ་སེམས༎

མཆོག་གི་སྤྲུལ་སྐུ་དགའ་རབ་རྡོ་རྗེ་ལ༎                         གསོལ་བ་འདེབས་སོ་རྡོ་རྗེའི་ཡེ་ཤེས་སྩོལ༎

Naturally arisen, peaceful, Dharmadhātu, Samanthabadra,

Primordial-awareness, illusory emanation of the five families, Vajrasattva,

Supreme nirmanakāya, Garab Dorje,[ii]

Please bestow the vajra primordial wisdom!

ཁྱབ་བདག་ཧེ་རུ་ཀ་དངོས་ཤྲཱི་སིངྷ༎                             པཎ་ཆེན་བི་མ་རྡོ་རྗེ་ཧཱུཾ་མཛད་དང་༎

རྩ་གསུམ་ཀུན་དུས་རྡོ་རྗེ་ཐོད་ཕྲེང་ལ༎                         གསོལ་བ་འདེབས་སོ་རྡོ་རྗེའི་ཡེ་ཤེས་སྩོལ༎

All-pervasive Heruka, Śrī Siṃha [iii]

Great Pandita Vima[iv], Dorje Hūṃkāra [v]

Embodiment of three roots, Vajra Thothreng [Padmasambhava]

Please bestow the vajra primordial wisdom!

འཇམ་པའི་རྡོ་རྗེ་ཁྲི་སྲོང་ནམ་མཁའི་སྙིང་༎                    འཇིག་རྟེན་མིག་གཅིག་བཻ་རོ་གཉགས་ཆེན་དང་༎

གསང་བ་རྒྱ་མཚོའི་མཛིན་མཁར་ཆེན་བཟར༎                གསོལ་བ་འདེབས་སོ་རྡོ་རྗེའི་ཡེ་ཤེས་སྩོལ༎


Manjushri Lord Thrisong[vi], Namkhai Nyingpo[vii]

‘Eyes of the World’[viii], Vairo[cana][ix], Great Nyag,

Holder of the ocean of Secrets, Lady of Garchen [Yeshe Tshogyel]

Please bestow the vajra primordial wisdom!

བཀའ་བབ་བདུན་ལྡན་པདྨ་མདོ་སྔགས་གླིང་༎                གང་དེས་བྱིན་བརླབས་རྡོ་རྗེ་ཐུགས་མཆོག་རྩལ༎

ཆོས་ཀྱི་བདག་པོ་ཡེ་ཤེས་རྡོ་རྗེ་ལ༎                              གསོལ་བ་འདེབས་སོ་རྡོ་རྗེའི་ཡེ་ཤེས་སྩོལ༎

One with the seven transmissions, Pema Dongag Ling,[x]

From whom the blessing of the supreme vajra-mind is displayed,

The ‘owner’ of Dharma, Yeshe Dorje,

Please bestow the vajra primordial wisdom!

བདེ་ཆེན་རིགས་ཀུན་ཁྱབ་བདག་རྡོ་རྗེ་སེམས༎               རིགས་གསུམ་རིགས་ལྔ་རྡོ་རྗེ་རྣམ་པར་འཇོམས༎

རིགས་བརྒྱའི་དཀྱིལ་འཁོར་ལོ་བསམས་ཡས་ལ༎             གསོལ་བ་འདེབས་སོ་རྡོ་རྗེའི་ཡེ་ཤེས་སྩོལ།

Great bliss, master who pervades all families, Vajrasattva,

Three families, five families, Vajravidarana,[xi]

Infinite mandalas of a hundred families,

Please bestow the vajra primordial wisdom!

གནས་གསུམ་དཔའ་བོ་ཌཱ་ཀི་འབུམ་ཕྲག་ཡངས༎                        རྡོ་རྗེ་ཆོས་སྲུང་རབ་འབྱམས་ནོར་ལྷ་སོགས༎

དག་པ་རབ་འབྱམས་མཉམ་ཉིད་བདེ་ཆེན་ཀློང་༎             གསོལ་བ་འདེབས་སོ་རྡོ་རྗེའི་ཡེ་ཤེས་སྩོལ༎

Hundreds of thousands of heros and dakinis of the three abodes,

Countless vajra Dharma-protectors, gods of wealth and so on,

Infinite purity, impartial equality,

Please bestow the vajra primordial wisdom!

དད་དང་ངེས་འབྱུང་སྙིང་ རྗེ་སྔོན་འགྲོ་བས༎                             དབང་དང་གདམས་པས་རིགས་ཀྱི་ནུས་པ་གསོ༎

རིམ་གཉིས་རྡོ་རྗེའི་གསེང་ལམ་སྙོག་པ་ཡིས༎                             སྐུ་བཞིའི་གོ་འཕང་ཚེ་འདིར་མངོན་གྱུར་ཤོག།

Empowerment and instructions that refresh the power of awareness,

Earnestly pursuing the two-stage, short vajra path,

May we directly manifest in this life the state of four kāyas!

ཟབ་གསལ་གཉིས་མེད་གཞི་ཡི་རྡོ་རྗེ་སེམས༎                  བདེ་སྟོང་གཉིས་མེད་ལམ་གྱིས་མངོན་བྱས་ནས༎

དབྱིངས་རིག་གཉིས་མེད་འབྲས་བུའི་མཐར་སོན་པའི༎     གསང་བ་མི་ཟད་རྒྱུན་གྱི་མཆོག་བརྙེས་ཤོག༎

Ground of non-dual profound luminosity, Vajrasattva,

May you directly manifest via the path of non-dual bliss-emptiness!

Reaching the result of the non-dual awareness-expanse,

May we find the supreme continuous, inexhaustible secret!


Compiled, translated and edited by Adele Tomlin, 5th October 2020. Apologies for any errors. May it be of benefit to beings and the teachings, to the Nyag tradition of Kīlaya, to the flourishing of the Schechen and Khyentse lineage and activities, and to ‘eyes of the world’ Dharma translators!


[i] gnyags lugs rdo rje phur pa rdor sems rgyud sde bzhi ‘brel gyi brgyud pa’i gsol ‘debs rdo rje’i ye shes ‘bebs pa’i pho nya/ Volume 20 of Work TBRC W21809, pp.9-12.

[ii] Garab Dorje (Skt. Prahevajra/Pramodavajra/Surativajra; dga’ rab rdo rje) — the lineage of Dzogchen, unbroken to the present day, is traced from the dharmakaya Samantabhadra to the sambhogakaya, represented by the five buddha families and Vajrasattva, and then to Garab Dorje. It then passed to Mañjushrimitra. was the semi-historical first human to receive direct transmission teachings from Vajrasattva.

[iii] Śrī Siṃha (shri sing ha) was the teacher of Padmasambhava, of Vimalamitra, and of Vairocana. He was a principal student and dharma-son of Mañjuśrīmitra in the Dzogchen lineage, and is credited by the Nyingma school with introducing Dzogchen to Tibet.

[iv] For more on Vimalamitra see his life-story at Treasury of Lives.  Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo (‘jam dbyangs mkhyen brtse’i dbang po, 1802-1893) is believed to have been the combined emanation of Vimalamitra and Tri Songdetsen.

[v] Hūṃkāra (hUM ka ra or hUM mdzad)was one of the eight vidyadharas of India; he received the Shri Heruka (Yangdak Heruka) tantra from the Kagyé cycle. See: https://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Humkara

[vi] King Trisong Detsen (khri srong lde btsan) (742-c.800/755-797 according to the Chinese sources) was the thirty-eighth king of Tibet, son of King Me Aktsom, second of the three great religious kings and one of the main disciples of Padmasambhava. It is said that due to his efforts, the great masters Shantarakshita and Guru Padmasambhava came from India and established Buddhism firmly in Tibet.

[vii] Namkhai Nyingpo (nam mkha’i snying po) was one of the twenty-five students of Padmasambhava is counted amongst the principal “twenty-five disciples” (rje ‘bang nyer lnga) of Padmasambhava. sNub Ben Namkha’i Nyingpo was a realized practitioner of Śāntarakṣita’s tradition of Sutrayana “gradualist” Mahayana Buddhism as well as simultaneously being one of the most accomplished Tibetan practitioners of the East Mountain Teaching of Chan Buddhism, which transmits the “subitist” tradition of Mahayana Buddhism.

[viii] The Tibetan term here ‘jig rten mig cig, is the Tibetan translation of the Sanskrit word Lotsāwa, which means ‘translator’.

[ix] Vairocana (Wylie: ba gor bai ro tsa na) was a lotsawa or “translator” living during the reign of King Trisong Detsen, who ruled 755-97 CE. One of the 25 main disciples of Padmasambhava, he was recognized by the latter as a reincarnation of an Indian pandita. He was among the first seven monks ordained by Śāntarakṣita, and was sent to Dhahena in India to study with Śrī Siṅgha, who taught him in complete secrecy. Śrī Siṅgha in turn entrusted Vairocana with the task of propagating the semde and longde sections of Dzogchen in Tibet. He is one of the three main masters to bring the Dzogchen teachings to Tibet, the two others being Padmasambhava and Vimalamitra, and was also a significant lineage holder of trul khor.

[x] Pema Dongag Lingpa is the treasure-revealer name of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo.

[xi] A wrathful form of Vajrapāṇi.

Catalogue of Nyag’s Vajrakīlaya in Dilgo Khyentse’s Collected Works

TBRC W21809. In the Sixth Section called Profound Treasures (Zab gter)

  • Nyag Vajrakīlaya Tradition’s Supplication Prayer to the Four Tantras Lineage of Vajrasattva. gnyags lugs rdo rje phur pa rdor sems rgyud sde bzhi ‘brel gyi brgyud pa’i gsol ‘debs rdo rje’i ye shes ‘bebs pa’i pho nya/ page 9-12  in Volume 20 of Work W21809
  • Essence of Nectar of the Great Secret” Explanation of the Secret Bindu of primordial awareness , sadhana of Vajrasattva, peaceful yidam of the Nyag Kīlaya. nyan brgyud snying gi gsang mdzod las/ gnyags lugs rdo rje phur pa’i yi dam zhi ba rdo rje sems dpa’i sgrub thabs ye shes gsang thig gi rnam bshad gsang chen bdud rtsi’i snying khu/ page 239-310 in Volume 20 of Work W21809, 36ff. (p.116-161)
  • Melodious Vajra Sounds of Dudjom Lineage Supplication of Nyag Kīlaya. do rje phur pa gnyags lugs kyi brgyud pa’i gsol ‘debs bdud ‘joms rdo rje’i dbyangs snyan/ page 11-16 in Volume 21 of Work W21809.
  • Completel Liberation of the three realms main ritual arrangement of the ‘existence kila’ of wrathful Vajrakīlaya (Dorje Zhonnu) of the Nyag Kīlaya. rdo rje phur pa gnyags lugs kyi yi dam khro bo rdo rje gzhon nu’i bskyed rim srid pa phur bu’i rtsa ba’i las byang bklag chog tu bkod pa khams gsum gdug pa yongs sgrol/ page 17-72 in Volume 21 of Work W21809, 28ff. (p.4-31).
  • Roaring Laughter of the Ferocious Great Heruka that Tames Demons: Mending/Fulfilling Offering of Nyag Kīlaya. gnyags lugs rdo rje phur pa’i bskang ba bdud ‘dul dpal chen rngam pa’i bzhad sgra/ page 73-84 in Volume 21 of Work W21809. 6ff.(p.32-37).
  • The Object of the Intention of the qualities at the time of accomplishing Nyag Kīlaya. gnyags phur sgrub pa’i skabs yon tan la dmigs pa’i dzapa dgongs/ page 147-148 in Volume 21 of Work W21809. 1ff.(p.69).
  • Life-force bindu of the essential activities, daily yoga of nyag kīlaya. snyan brgyud snying gi gsang mdzod las/ gnyags lugs rdo rje phur pa’i rgyun gyi rnal ‘byor snying po phrin las srog tig/ page 163-170 in Volume 21 of Work W21809. 4ff. (p.77-79).
  • The Essential Juice of the activities: Daily yoga of Nyag Vajrakīlaya. snyan brgyud snying gi gsang mdzod las/ yi dam rdo rje phur pa gnyags lugs kyi rgyun gyi rnal ‘byor phrin las bcud snying / page 171-180 in Volume 21 of Work W21809. 5ff. (p.81-85).
  • Magical wheel of meteoric iron: Appendix on the Way of Giving Blazing Meteroic Iron. The Extensive Activities of Protector’s of the Teachings of the Nyag Vajrakīlaya. gnyags lugs phur pa’i bka’ srung mgon po lcam dral gyi phrin las rgyas pa gnam lcags ‘bar ba gtong tshul zur ‘debs gnam lcags ‘phrul ‘khor/ page 181-202 in Volume 21 of Work W21809: 11ff. (p.86-96).
  • Supreme Vajra Primordial Awareness, Self-empowerment of Nyag Vajrakīlaya. snyan brgyud snying gi gsang mdzod las/ gnyags lugs rdo rje phur pa’i bdag ‘jug rdo rje’i ye shes mchog gi dpal skyed/ page 211-224 in Volume 21 of Work W21809. 7ff. (p.101-107)
  • Mantra manual of Nyag Kīlaya. gnyags phur sngags byang / page 225=226 in Volume 21 of Work W21809. Location: 1ff.(p.108)
  • Garland of Indranila: Stages of Practice of the Nyag Vajrakīlaya. gnyags lugs rdo rje phur pa’i sgrub pa chen po’i las rim rin chen in+d+ra nI la’i chun ‘phyang / page 227-314 in Volume 21 of Work W21809. Location: 44ff. (p.109-152).
  • Massive Vajra Cannon: Stages of Practice of Excorcism/Repelling Rtiual of the Great Red Torma of the Yidam in Nyag’s tradition. gnyags lugs thugs dam phur gcig ma’i dmar chen gtor zlog gi las rim rdo rje’i sgyogs chen/ page 315-370 in Volume 21 of Work W21809. 28ff. (p.153-180)
  • Great Valley Stream of Primordial Awareness Nectar: Maturation by Reading of the Great Nyag Tradition of Vajrakumara. dpal rdo rje gzhon nu gnyags chen lugs kyi smin byed bklag pas grub pa ye shes bdud rtsi’i klung chen/ page 449-620 in Volume 21 of Work W21809. 86ff.(p.220-305).
  • Naked Instruction on Practice of the Generation and Completion Stages of the Nyag Tradition Vajrakīlaya, the Tradition Founders’ Intention: dpal rdo rje phur pa gnyags lugs kyi bskyed rdzogs nyams len dmar khrid kyi yi ge grub mchog dgongs pa’i srol ‘byed/ page 11-140  in Volume 22 of Work W21809. Location: 65ff. (p.1-65).
  • Delightful Adornment of the Nyag Kīlaya Approach. nyan brgyud snying gi gsang mdzod las/ gnyags lugs phur pa’i bsnyen zin phrin las rol pa’i rgyan/ page 141-156 in Volume 22 of Work W21809. Location: 8ff. (p.66-73).
  • Daily Practice of the Heart Essence Meaning of Nyag Tradition Vajrakīlaya. gnyags lugs phur pa’i rgyun khyer gyi go don snying po/ na mo gu ru shrI he ru ka sogs/ page 157-164 in Volume 22 of Work W21809. Location: 4ff. (p.74-77).
  • Opening the Door to the Two Accomplishments: Notes on the Torma of Nyag Tradition Vajrakīlaya . rdo rje phur pa gnyags lugs kyi gtor ma’i zin bris grub gnyis sgo ‘byed/ page 165-168 in Volume 22 of Work W21809. Location: 2ff. (p.78-79).

[i] The Collected Works by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche Rabsal Dawa (1910-1991) (skyabs rje dil mgo mkhyen brtse rin po che’i bka’ ‘bum) Twenty-Five Volumes. TBRC W21809. Printed from the carefully edited version produced at the order of Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche and Khandro Lhamo.

[ii] It has been accepted in many sources that the Phur-pa teachings transmitted from Vimalamitra are the cycles of Phur-pa-phun-sum-tshogs-pa and Phur-pa-gsham-sngon-can. Nyang-ral records that Vimilamitra was first invited by Khri-srong-lde’u-btsan and later again by rMa-rin-chen-mchog during the time of Ral-pa-can.

However, theIDe’u chos ’byung states that Khri-srong-lde’u-btsan sent gNon Klu’i-dbang-po to invite Vimalamitra but he only arrived in Tibet during the time of Ral-pa-can.

gTsang-mkhan-chen states that the two cycles that are summarized from the Phur pa gsang ba ’i rgyud, were transmitted by Vimalamitra .Other sources indicate otherwise, namely that the cycle of Phur-pa-phun-sum-tshogs-pa is based on the Phurpagsang ba’i rgyud while the cycle of Phur-pa-gsham-sngon-can is abridged from the ba’i rgyud drug and Kilaya tantra bcu gnyis.’ Later, Vimalamitra taught these two cycles to gNyags Jnanakumara, which is known as gNyags-lugs who then transmitted them to his disciples. Shing-bza’ V sKal-bzang-chos-kyi-rgyal-mtshan (1925-1998) states that the cycle of Phur-pa-gsham-sngon, which is based on the Phurpagsang ba’i rgyud, still existed during his time.

[iii] It was founded in 1147 by the First Karmpapa, Dusum Khyenpa, in northeastern Kham. It was the seat of the Tai Situ incarnation line until the Eighth Situ, Chokyi Jungne moved his seat to Pelpung Monastery in Derge in the early eighteenth century.

[iv] gnyags lugs rdo rje phur pa rdor sems rgyud sde bzhi ‘brel gyi brgyud pa’i gsol ‘debs rdo rje’i ye shes ‘bebs pa’i pho nya/ Volume 20 of Work TBRC W21809, pp.9-12.

Further reading

Treasure of Lives biographies:


Nyag Lotsawa

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche


Bradburn, Leslie, ed. 1995. Masters of the Nyingma Lineage. Cazadero: Dharma Publications, 1995, pp. 41-42.

Dilgo Khyentse. 2008.Brilliant Moon: The Autobiography of Dilgo Khyentse. Ani Jinpa, trans. Boston: Shambhala.

Dodrupchen Rinpoche. 1967. The Biography of the Mahāpaṇḍita Vimalamitra. Calcutta, India: Sarat Press.

Martin, Dan. “Illusion Web—Locating the Guhyagarbha Tantra in Buddhist Intellectual History,” in Christopher I. Beckwith, ed., Silver on Lapis: Tibetan Literary Culture and History, Bloomington, Indiana: The Tibet Society, 1987. 

Valby, Jim. 2002. The Great History of Garab Dorje, Manjushrimitra, Śrī Siṃha, Jnanasutra and Vimalamitra. Italy:Shang Shung Edizioni.

Journey to Enlightenment: The life of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche By Matthieu Ricard.

Ricard, Matthieu. 2001.The Spirit of Tibet: The Life and World of Khyentse, Spiritual Teacher. New York: Aperture.

Adele Tomlin/Dakini Publications 2020. Copyright.

3 thoughts on “Nyag’s Vajrakīlaya and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche’s Revelation

  1. Fascinating… I have just purchased ‘The Great Image The Life Story of Vairochana, the Translator’ looking forward to getting stuck into that. Really enjoying your work Adele, marvellous!