A Biography of Longchen Rabjam (25) : The Main Disciples (second part)

Publié le 26 Mai 2021

Guru ’Od gsal rang grol: what is known about him comes from the few pages that sMyo shul mkhan po devotes to him (op. cit., p. 87-91). Born in g.Yor po gzhung, he became in his ninth year the disciple of a paradoxical yogin. Then he received the minor religious consecration [““ordination””] from Dam pa bSod nams rgyal mtshan, and, in his twenty-fifth year, he took the full consecration from Zur phu pa and Shāk don pa. With thirteen masters he studied the teachings of the Sa skya pas, the rNying ma pas, the Dwags po bka’ brgyud pas, the Shangs pas, those of Zhi byed and of gCod. He devoted himself mainly to meditative practice and, according to sMyo shul mkhan po, he obtained many signs of accomplishment. He practiced courageously in many hermitages enduring great austerities; he brought experiences and understandings to perfection. He went to Bum thang in Bhutan with a group of Tibetans who, as sMyo shul mkhan po describes, were half practitioners, not very focused on asceticism; ’Od gsal rang grol alone devoted himself tirelessly to meditation and therefore, says sMyo shul mkhan po, he gained a good reputation and the nickname of Rin po che gu ru pa.

It was at this time (1354 ? 1355 ?) that Klong chen rab ’byams arrived in Bum thang; ’Od gsal rang grol came to meet him. But some western Bhutanese had invited Klong chen rab ’byams to lDan long, where ’Od gsal rang grol also went. He conceived full faith. He offered his possessions to Klong chen rab ’byams who took him with himself as a servant (zhabs phyi) to Men log kha, i.e. Shar Kun bzang gling, where he taught him all the precepts of sNying thig. He seems to have served Klong chen rab ’byams until the end of the latter’s life. It is during this time that he is reputed to have received all the precepts of the sNying thig five times, among other instructions. He was considered as their master by Klong chen rab ’byams’ disciples themselves, including Grags pa ’od zer, Klong chen rab ’byams’ son. After Klong chen pa’s death, he devoted himself exclusively to meditative practice in Chims phu itself (where Klong chen rab ’byams had ended his days). He imparted all the teachings he had received from Klong chen rab ’byams to ’Khrul zhig Sangs rgyas dbon po, of whom we have just spoken. He saw Grags pa ’od zer again when the latter came from Bhutan to central Tibet. They exchanged all kinds of gifts and teachings. Then he returned to Chims phu, where he resumed practice according to his vow. There he passed away after completing a holy life. sMyo shul mkhan po indicates that he had some spiritual posterity.

sPrul sku dPal ’byor rgyal mtshan: sMyo shul mkhan po devotes only three lines to it, which do not tell us anything useful about Klong chen rab ’byams.

’Dan sgom Chos grags bzang po : this is Klong chen rab ’byams’ biographer. We have already examined his life in some detail.

mKhas grub bDe legs rgya mtsho (op. cit., II, pp. 94-96): a native of dBu ru, he took his monastic consecration [“ordination”] in Phra phu. He was trained in particular by sGo mo sKye mchog rdo rje and rGyal sras Legs pa rin po che. Looking for a master, he met Klong chen rab ’byams and followed him. Klong chen rab ’byams imparted to him all the transmissions and precepts and distinguished him among his disciples as his “only heart-son.” He practiced meditation mainly in Zhog phu bSam gtan gling and in ’Gar phug. He obtained the fruit of this and in turn instructed many fortunate disciples.

sTag ’go bya bral Chos rje bKra shis ’byung gnas (op. cit, II, pp. 96-97): born in ’Phan yul; nephew of the previous one, consecrated (novice) in his sixth year by Dam pa bSod nams rgyal mtshan, disciple of sPyan snga Byams chos pa, Jo gdan Blo gros dpal, Bla ma Sangs rgyas ’od, ’Phan yul sGo mo pa and Guru Kun gzhon pa, he received the full consecration [““ordination””] of bDe legs rgya msho. He also obtained Klong chen rab ’byams’ entire teachings. Guru bKra shis (op. cit., p. 224) mentions three years that he spent in mountain hermitages. When, after the death of the master, his close disciples were entrusted with the monasteries, temples and hermitages that belonged to him, bKra shis ’byung gnas received sTag mgo in ’Phan yul, where he established himself and from which his activity radiated. He had many disciples. sMyo shul mkhan po, after Guru bKra shis, draws our attention to the fact that this figure is sometimes called Sangs rgyas dbon because of his relationship with bDe legs rgya mtsho and that this causes confusion with ’Khrul zhig Sangs rgyas dbon, who was a descendant of Klong chen rab ’byams.

According to Guru bKra shis, he passed on his spiritual lineage to Guru gZhan phan pa, son of Dam pa seng ge of the dMar clan, a disciple prophesied to Phyag rdor ba of lHo brag by his yi dam deity, and followed the teachings of this master for six years, after which he had the vision of the deity. Then he received in dBu ru (i.e., probably in the Zhwa’i lha khang) the Four branches of sNying thig from sTag mgo bya bral ba. Guru gZhan phan pa is the founder of Dung dgon monastery in rGyal smad. He was succeeded by his son Nam mkha’ rdo rje, who passed on his tradition to his own son, ’Od gsal klong yangs, who was also the disciple of Thang stong rgyal po, Padma gling pa, etc. Guru bKra shis tells us that he lived more than eighty years. His main spiritual heir was Dam pa rin chen, who passed the lineage to Kun mkhyen Ngag dbang padma (grandson of dPal ldan seng ge, the main disciple of Sangs rgyas gling pa), who passed it on to rDzogs chen pa Dam pa dbang po (1550-1625, contemporary of Sog bzlog pa Blo gros rgyal mtshan, who composed some verses in his honor; he died in his seventy-sixth year), who passed it on to lHa btsun Kun bzang rnam rgyal and (if these are indeed two distinct persons) to lHa btsun Nam mkha’ ’jigs med (1597-1653[1]; sMyo shul mkhan po mentions gTer bdag gling pa among his disciples, but it is not without difficulty if the latter’s dates are 1643-1714), who bequeathed it to rDzogs chen pa Klong rdzogs mtha’ bral, through whom it ended up in Grub dbang Padma Rig ’dzin, the first rDzogs chen rin po che, whose spiritual filiation, linked to the history of the rDzogs chen Monastery, is quite well known in the rNying ma school.


[1] 1650 according to Gene Smith / TBRC.

Rédigé par Stéphane Arguillère

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