the first practice in which Rigdzin Gödem obtained signs of accomplishment when he was just 12 years old

Publié le 12 Mars 2022

It is said that in his 13th year (so, in Western style, when he was 12), Rigdzin Godem obtained accomplishments through ‘The Wheel of Activities of Black Leprosy.’
This is a tantra that is not unknown, as it is found (under another title) in the Collection of the Ancient Tantras;* unfortunately, though it has in its colophon marks that show that it is a ‘hidden treasure,’ there are no clues about its discoverer that would help us to know more about the lineages that transmitted it.
In fact, though there is no clear information about the origins and transmission lineage of this tantra, it is clearly connected to Yamāntaka, not in his form ‘Mañjuśrī Master of Life,’ (’Jam dpal tshe bdag) more connected to the termas of Gyazhangtrom (and very much practised nowadays in Dorjedrak and its branch monasteries), but in the form Nāgarakṣa–to be understood, in this context: ‘Demon for the Nāgas,’ or ‘Guardian against the Nāgas,’ the chtonian spirits supposed to cause all sorts of illnesses that are put in the general category of ‘leprosy,’ but which in fact includes all kinds of diseases affecting body tissues that would be classified otherwise in moderne medical science–from eczema to cancerous tumours.
Nāgarakṣa is described as an

‘extraordinary wrathful form of the deity Mañjuśrī; he is black, either with ten heads and eighteen arms, the principal face being that of a rākṣasa and extremely wrathful or with nine wrathful faces; either way nine snake’s heads move in the air above; on the crown of the central snake’s head is the conqueror Akṣobhya; eight right hands hold knives or swords; eight left serpent nooses, while the first pair are together at his heart; his upper body is that of a rākṣasa; his back leaning on Mount Meru; his lower body is the tail of a snake, coiled in the depths of the sea; all his mouths are emitting hissing sounds; trampled beneath him a black caṇḍāla (outcaste), he abides amidst a blazing mass of fire.’ (TBRC/BDRC:, with a few spelling corrections).
Now, this form is found in the ‘treasures’ of Nyangral Nyima Ozer (1124-1192), as attested in the Rinchen Terdzö, and it is probably from that tradition that Rigdzin Gödem received it.
It is not a deity whose cult was ever widespread; still, in Rigdzin Gödem’s times, it may have regained some popularity through the activities of Meben Rinchen Lingpa (Me ban Rin chen gling pa, 1392-1392, not Ratna Lingpa, who is later by a century), a nowadays quite forgotten tertön, but who surely was very important in his days, as he played an important role in the revelation and the transmission of the Quintessence of the Ḍākiṇī (mKha’ ’gro snying thig) in the line that runs through Karmapa III (Rang byung rdo rje, 1284-1339) and not through Klong chen pa (1308-1364).

The Quintessence of the Ḍākiṇī matters very much for us, as it contains many elements also found in the Gongpa Zangthal.
And, by the way, Rigdzin Gödem was taught Dzogchen in his youth by a master called Rinchenpal, which sounds rather vague; but Rinchen Lingpa's personal name was RINCHEN Gyaltsen PALzangpo. I am now following that track…
* dPal yakṣa nag po gsang ba’i dug | rgya mtsho dug ri nag po, in rNying ma rgyud ’bum, mTshams brag edition, vol. Bi (45), pp. 134-198.

Rédigé par Stéphane Arguillère

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