How Drukpa Kunley (Kungpa Legpa)
became an Ascetic Wanderer and how he delivered
the Lady Sumchokma from the Ocean of Suffering
by Gershey Chaphu
Translated by Keith Dowman and Sonam Paljor
We bow at the feet of Kunga Legpa,
Possessor of the bow and arrow that slays the Ten Enemies,
Master of the hunting dog that kills dualizing tendencies,
And Bearer of the Shield of Loving Kindness, Compassion, and Patience.
The Master of Truth, Kunga Legpa was extremely precocious.
With full memory of his previous life, he imitated Naljorpas 1
in meditation, he practiced breathing exercises, and yoga was his full
preoccupation. These signs produced great faith in his family and devotees.
By his third year, he could read with ease. When he was older, his father
was assassinated in a family feud, and disillusioned with the world, he
decided to enter upon the religious life.
Leaving his home, patrimony, family, and friends, as though
they were so much dust under his feet, he took the precepts of layman and
novice from Lama Nenying Choje. Later, he received ordination as a monk
from Jekhyen Rabpa of Zhalu. The monk Sonam Chokpa taught him the Esoteric
Tantras of the Secret Mantra Tradition, while at the Lotus Feet of Gyalwong
Je, he learnt the complete doctrine of the Drukpa Tradition, concentrating
upon the Three Secret Teachings 2
of Palden Drukpa Rimpoche, the founder of his spiritual lineage.
At the Lotus Feet of the Sage Lhatsun Chempo and others
who combined meditative realization with dialectic skill he heard and assimilated
the teaching of the entire Doctrine, and attained realization of the inner
meaning of the Four Initiations and Empowerments. 3
He went on to absorb the secret treasury of initiation, precept, and advice
of many other Lamas.
Through a synthesis of the meaning of all the oral instruction
he had received, he discovered the key to all realization: BE AWARE! GUARD
THE MIND! Upon this understanding, he offered his robes to the image of
Buddha, and as a mendicant wandering wherever he would, he abandoned systematic
yoga and meditation. He summarized his understanding in these verses:
- ‘Failing to catch the spirit of the Buddhas.
What use is it to follow the letter of the Law ?
Without an apprenticeship to a competent Master,
What use is great talent and intelligence ?
Unable to love all beings as your sons,
What use is solemn prayer and ritual ?
Ignorant of the sole point of the Three Vows, 4
What is gained by breaking each in turn ?
Failing to realize that Buddha is within,
What reality can be found outside ?
Incapable of a natural stream of meditation,
What can be gained by violating thought ?
Unable to regulate life according to the seasons and the
time of the day,
Who are you but a muddled, indiscriminate fool ?
If an enlightened perspective is not intuitively grasped,
What can be gained by a systematic search ?
Living on borrowed time and energy, wasting your life,
Who will repay your debts in the future ?
Wearing coarse and scanty clothing in great discomfort,
What can the ascetic gain by suffering the cold hells
in this life ?
The aspirant striving without specific instruction,
Like an ant climbing a sand hill, accomplishes nothing.
Gathering instruction, but ignoring meditation on the
nature of mind,
Is like starving oneself when the larder is full.
The Sage who refuses to teach or write,
Is as useless as the jewel in the King Snake’s head.
The fool who knows nothing but prattles constantly,
Merely proclaims his ignorance to all.
Understanding the essence of the Teaching, 5
By the age of twenty-five, Kunga Legpa had gained mastery
of both mundane and spiritual arts. He was accomplished in the arts of
prescience, shape-shifting, and magical display. Returning home to visit
his mother in Ralung, 6
she failed to recognize his achievement and judged him merely by his outward
‘You must decide exactly who you are,’ she complained.
‘If you decide to devote yourself to the religious life, you must work
constantly for the good of others. If you are going to be a lay householder,
you should take a wife who can help your old mother in the house.’
Now the Naljorpa was instinctively guided at all times
by his vow to dedicate his sight, his ears, his mind, and his sensibility,
to others on the path, and knowing that the time was ripe to demonstrate
his crazy yet compassionate wisdom, he replied immediately, ‘If you want
a daughter-in-law, I’ll go and find one.’
He went straight to the market place, where he found a
hundred-year-old hag with white hair and blue eyes, who was bent at the
waist and had not so much as a single tooth in her head. ‘Old lady,’ he
said, today you must be my bride. Come with me!’
The old woman was unable to rise, but Kunley put her on
his back, and carried her home to his mother.
‘O Ama! Ama!’ he called to her. ‘You wanted me to take
a wife, so I’ve just brought one home.’
‘If that’s the best that you can do, forget it,’ moaned
his mother. ‘Take her back where she came from or you’ll find yourself
looking after her. I could do her work better than she.’
‘All right,’ said Kunley with studied resignation. ‘If
you can do her work for her, I’ll take her back.’ And he returned her to
the market place.
Nearby lived the exalted abbot Ngawong Chogyal, 7
an incarnation of the Bodhisattva of Compassion 8
as a chaste and holy man who sincerely practiced the Creative and Fulfillment
Stages 9 of
meditation. During a break in his devotions he thought to himself, ‘The
house belonging to Kunga Legpa and his mother needs some improvement. Every
lay devotee should have a shrine room, and while we’re about it we could
add a latrine. Now where should we build the latrine? The east side of
the house is definitely unappealing. The south side seems rather unsuitable.
The west is saline, and the north is infested with angry spirits….’
As Ngawong Chogyal was deliberating uncertainly in this
manner, Kunley returned from the market place. His mother greeted him with
this admonition, ‘A good son should be like Ngawong Chogyal. See how he
serves the monks, returns the kindness of his parents, works for the welfare
of all beings, and keeps himself spiritually pure. He’s a true servant
of the people!’
‘And yet your Ngawong Chogyal can’t even decide where
to build a latrine!’ laughed the Lama.
That night Kunley went to his mother’s bed carrying his
‘What do you went?’ asked his mother.
‘This morning you said you’d perform a wife’s duties,
didn’t you?’ he replied.
‘You shameless creature!’ responded his mother. ‘I said
I’d do her housework. Now don’t be so stupid. Go back to your own bed.’
‘You should have said what you meant this morning,’ the
Lama told her, lying down. ‘It’s too late now. We are going to sleep together.’
‘Shut up and go away, you miserable man!’ she swore at
‘My knee has gone bad and I cant get up. You’d better
resign yourself to it,’ he persisted.
‘Even if you’ve no shame,’ she said,’what will other people
think? Just imagine the gossip!’
‘If you’re afraid of gossip, we can keep it a secret,’
Finally, unable to find words to rebuff him, she said,
‘You don’t have to listen to me, just don’t tell anyone else. Anyhow, there’s
a proverb that goes, “To sell your body, you don’t need a pimp; to hang
a painted scroll you don’t need a nail; and to wither your virtue, you
don’t need a mat in the sun.” So do it if you’re going to!’
Her words fell into his ears like water into boiling ghee,
and he sprang up and left her alone.
Early next morning he went down to the market place and
shouted aloud, ‘Hey listen, you people! If you persist, you can seduce
even your own mother!’ When the whole crowd was aghast, he left. But by
exposing the hidden foibles of his mother, her faults were eradicated,
her sins expiated, and her troubles and afflictions removed. She went on
to live to the ripe old age of one hundred and thirty years.
Soon after this incident, he told his mother that he was
going to Lhasa, and that in the future he would live the life of a Naljorpa.
Then the Master of Truth, Lord of Beings, Kunga Legpa,
wandered to Lhasa as an itinerant Naljorpa. The market place of the capital
was as crowded as the night sky is with stars. He found there Indians,
Chinese, Newars, Ladakhis, and Tibetans from the Northern Highlands, together
with people from Kham, Mongolia, Central Tibet, Tsang, Dakpo, Kongpo, the
cis-Himalayas and representatives of every valley in the country. Nomads,
farmers, Lamas, officers, monks, nuns, Naljorpas, devotees, traders, and
pilgrims were all gathered together in the Holy City.
‘Listen to me, all you people!’ shouted the Lama. ‘I am
Drukpa Kunley of Ralung, and I have come here today, without prejudice,
to help you all. Where can I find the best chung 10
and the most beautiful women ? Tell me!’
The crowd was startled, and muttered to one another, ‘This
madman says he’s come here for the sake of all beings and then asks where
he can find alcohol and women! What kind of piety is that? He should be
asking who is the greatest Lama, which is the most desirable monastery,
and where is religion flourishing most strongly. But he has no such questions.
Most likely he’s the type of religious freak who binds girls to the Wheel
of Truth rather than demons!’
There was a man in the crowd with a white skin, a sooty
face, a head like a blacksmith’s hammer, staring bulging eyes, lips like
a sheep’s intestines, a forehead like an upturned begging bowl, and a neck
as thin as a horse’s tail with a vast goitre growing out of it. He shouted
back at the Lama, ‘You may try to tell us you’re a man, you idiot, but
you surely have no home; you may tell us you’re a bird, but you have no
perch; you may call yourself a deer, but you have no forest; you may call
yourself a beast, but you have no lair; you may call yourself a devotee,
but you have no sect; you may call yourself a monk, but you have no monastery;
you may call yourself a Lama, but you have no throne. You troublesome,
presumptuous beggar! In the day time you pick nits, and in the night time
you get drunk and steal other men’s wives to play with. You are no holy
man. If you were, you would have a spiritual lineage. Tell us your spiritual
‘Oh you mad dog! Sit down and keep quiet!’ Kunley shouted
in reply. ‘You want to know my origin and birth? You want to know my spiritual
lineage? Listen then, and I will tell you.”
- ‘This vagrant’s lineage is highly exalted,
It descends from the Vajra Bearer!
This vagrant’s Lama is truly exalted,
His name is Lama Palden Drukpa!
This vagrant’s Deity is truly exalted,
His name is Supreme Delight!
This vagrant’s Dakini is truly exalted,
Her name is Diamond Sow-Face!
This vagrant’s Protector is truly exalted,
His name is the Great Four-Armed Black One!’
When he had finished this verse his accuser was silent and
slunk away. Then an ancient man from Lhasa arose from the crowd and prostrated
to the Lama before singing this song:
- ‘Glorious Drukpa Kunley!
I live in the city of Lhasa
And Lhasa is famed for its beautiful women.
It s impossible to name them all
But here are the names of the best of them:
Palzang Buti, Wongchuk Tsewong Zangpo
Kalzang Pemo, Smiling Sangyay Gyalmo,
Sonam Dronma, Dancing Chokyi Wongmo,
And the Lamp of Lhasa Don Akyi.
Such are their names and there’s countless others.
And you’ll find good chung in Lhasa.
Is this to your liking, Najorpa?’
Kunley replied, ‘It seems that Lhasa is full of beautiful
women and good chung. I’ll enjoy your town sometime!’
Then an old man from Sakya stood up and sang this song:
- ‘Glorious Kunga Legpa!
I am from the Land of Sakya
Where the beauty of the women is legendary.
It’s impossible to name them all
But here are the names of our fnest:
Asal Pemo, the maiden Gakyi,
Bumo Andruk, Lhacho Wongmo,
Asa Tsering Drolma
Dekri Saldon, and Dasal Yangkyi
Such are their names and there’s many more besides.
And we have excellent chung in Sakya.
Does this appeal to you Naljorpa?’
‘Yah! Yah!’ said the Lama. ‘I’ll go to Sakya some day.’
Then an old man, this time from Ladakh, stood up and said
- ‘Glorious Kunga Legpa!
I come from the Land of Ladakh
Where beautiful women are honored.
If you ask me their names, I’ll mention
Tsewong Lhadron, the maiden Chokyi,
The Highland Girl Atsong Bumo.
Lhachik Buti, Ama Akyi,
Karma Dechen Pemo, and Sonam Gyalmo
Such are the names to remember.
We also have fine chung in Ladakh.
Will you come there to taste it Naljorpa?’
‘Yah! Yah!’said the Naljorpa. ‘I’ll come to Ladakh some day!’
Next, an old woman from Bhutan arose and said,’You Tibetans
talk too much! The Naljorpa’s name is Drukpa 12
Kunley not Tibetan Kunley!’ And she sang this song:
- ‘Glorious Drukpa Kunley!
I am from the Land of Bhutan
Which is full of sought-after beauties.
I cannot name all of our women
But here are some to remember:
Gokyi Palmo is the Dakini of Woche
The Lady Adzom is the Dakini of Gomyul Sar Stupa
Namkha Dronma of Pachang is the Dakini of Zhung Valley,
Palzang Buti is the Dakini of the Zhung Highlands,
Chodzom is the Dakini of Barpaisa in Wongyul,
Samten Tsemo, Lama Nyida Drakpa’s daughter, is the Dakini
Mistress Gyaldzom is the Dakini of Shar Khyungtsei Chanden….
There are some names and there are countless others besides.
And we too have excellent chung.
Does Bhutan appeal to you, Naljorpa?’
‘Yah! Yah!’said the Yogin. ‘One day I’ll visit Bhutan and
drink your chung and enjoy your women!’
Finally, an old woman from Kongpo had her say:
- ‘O glorious Kunga Legpa!
I am from the Land of Kongpo
And these are the names of our belles:
Lhacho Pemo, the maiden Palzang,
Rinchen Gyalmo, Tsewong Gyalmo,
Tenzin Zangmo, Tseten Lhamo,
And Virgin Sumchok.
These are some of their names
And there are numerous others besides….
And we, also, have first class chung.
Won’t you visit Kongpo, Naljorpa?’
‘Yah! Yah!’ said the Naljorpa. ‘It seems that even in Kongpo
there are many beautiful women. But it’s not sufficient merely to know
of their existence, one must see and experience them oneself. In particular,
the girl called Sumchok interests me. How old is she?’
‘She’s fifteen,’ replied the Kongpo woman.
‘Then I must go there quickly before it’s too late,’ said
the Lama. ‘Stay well all of you! I must go and find Sumchok!’
As the Lama was leaving Nyerong behind him on his way
to Kongpo (a province south-east of Lhasa), he encountered five girls on
‘Where are you from and where are you going?’ they asked
‘I come from behind me and I’m going on ahead,’ he smiled.
‘Please answer our questions,’ begged the girls. ‘Why
are you travelling?’
‘I am looking for a fifteen year old girl,’ the Lama told
them. ‘She has a fair complexion and soft, silky, warm flesh, a tight,
foxy, and comfortable pussy, and a round smiling face; she is beautiful
to behold, sweet to smell, and she has a sharp intuition. In fact she has
all the signs of a Dakini.’ 13
‘Are we not Dakinis?’ asked the girls.
‘I doubt it,’replied the Lama. ‘You don’t appear to be.
But there are many types of Dakini.’
‘What are they?’ they wanted to know.
‘The Wisdom Dakini, the Diamond Dakini, the Jewel Dakini,
the Lotus Dakini, the Action Dakini, the Buddha Dakini, the Flesh-Eating
Dakini, the Worldly Dakini, the Ashen Dakini, and many others.’
‘How can one recognize them?’ they asked.
‘The Wisdom Dakini is fair, flushed and radiant,’ the
Lama told them. ‘She has five white moles across her hair line, and she
is compassionate, pure, virtuous, and devout. Also, her body is shapely.
Coupling with her brings happiness in this life, and prevents any fall
into hell in the next. The Buddha Dakini has a bluish complexion and a
radiant smile. She has little lust, is long-lived, and bears many sons.
Coupling with her bestows longevity and a rebirth in the Orgyen Paradise
The Diamond Dakini is fair with a well-filled supple body. She has long
eyebrows, a sweet voice, and enjoys singing and dancing. Coupling with
her brings success in this life and rebirth as a god. The Jewel Dakini
has a pretty white face with a pleasant yellow tinge to it. Her body is
slender, and she is tall. Her hair is white, and she has little vanity
and a very slender waist line. Coupling with her gives one wealth in this
life, and shuts the gates of hell. The Lotus Dakini has a bright pink skin,
an oily complexion, a short body and limbs, and wide hips. She is lustful
and garrulous. Coupling with her generates many sons, while gods, demons
and men are controlled, and the gates to the lower realms are closed. The
Action Dakini has a radiant blue skin with a brownish hue, and a broad
forehead. She is rather sadistic. Coupling with her is a defense against
enemies, and closes the gates to the lower realms. The Worldly Dakini has
a white, smiling, and radiant face, and she is respectful to her parents
and friends. She is trustworthy and a generous spender. Coupling with her
assures one of the continuance of the family line, generates food and wealth,
and assures one of rebirth as a human being. The Flesh-Eating Dakini has
a dark and ashen complexion, a wide mouth with protruding fangs, a trace
of a third eye upon her forehead, long claw-like fmger nails, and a black
heart in her vagina. She delights in eating meat, and she devours the children
that she bears. Also, she is an insomniac. Coupling with her induces a
short life, much disease, little enjoyment of wealth in this life, and
rebirth in the deepest hell. The Ashen Dakini has yellow flesh which has
an ashen complexion and a spongy texture. She eats ashes from the grate.
Coupling with her causes much suffering and enervation, and rebirth as
a hungry ghost.’
‘What kind of Dakinis are we?’ asked the girls eagerly.
‘You are a rather different kind,’ replied the Lama.
‘What type?’ they insisted.
‘You are greedy but poor, and sexually frustrated but
friendless. Even if you do find some idiot to couple with you, no one will
gain anything from it.’
The Girls were deeply offended by the Lama’s words, and
went on their way sulking.
Henceforth, the Lama carried a bow and arrowrepresenting
Penetrating Insight and Skillful Means 15
to slay the Ten Enemies of the Ten Directions; 16
and he led a hunting dog to hunt and kill the habit of dualistic thinking.
His long hair was gathered behind his head and tied there; while from his
ears hung large round rings. He covered his torso with a vest and the lower
part of his body with a cotton skirt.
When he arrived in Kongpo, the Land of Ravines, the Lama
sat down in front of the Chieftain Ox-Head’s castle and leaned against
a prayer-flag pole. Having assured himself that no one else was in the
vicinity, he sang this song to awaken Sumchok (Three Jewels):
- ‘In this happy land of U, paradise of prosperity and
Immured within this mean fortress-prison of Samsara 17
Sumchok! charming virgin nymph,
Stop a moment and listen to me
A Naljorpa who aimlessly wanders abroad
Sings verses with hidden meanings to you.
‘Way up in the vast vault of the young night sky
The strong light of the white full moon
Extinguishes creatures ‘ darkness.
But surely the Dragon Planet is jealous.
Say he is free from envy and jealousy
And let me remove the gloom of the Four Continents.
‘In the garden of heavenly delight, thick with blooms
of various hues,
The flower that radiates bright scarlet light
Harbors the honey sucked by the bee.
But surely Drought and Hail are jealous.
Say they are free from envy and jealousy
And let me make an offering to the Three Jewels.
‘Here, paramount in Kongpo, in the center of U,
Sumchok, child of Kongpo, born of Emptiness,
If our bodies were to join in love
Surely Ox-Head would be jealous.
Say he is free from envy and jealousy
And let Sumchok awake a little and grow into Buddhahood.’
Sumchok was serving tea to the Chieftain when she heard the
Lama’s song quite clearly. Arising, she looked from a window, and as if
in a vision, the beggar leaning against the flag pole appeared as the rising
fifteen day old moon. Immediately she saw him her heart filled with devotion.
Although she had never seen him before, since she had heard the name of
Drukpa Kunley and heard stories of his signs of accomplishment and great
skill in magical transformation, she recognized him. And she sang this
song back to him:
- ‘Beggar, sitting in the wide green mountain meadow,
Full moon beggar, listen to me!
Your ashen body hides a Buddha’s heart
And your naked body radiates glorious effulgence;
A small shield of patience is slung on your back
And you carry bow ‘and arrow as Insight and Means;
You lead a dog to hunt confusing emotion
And you control the Three Realms 18
with your ascetic yoga.
You are either a shape-shifting demon
Or an Adept with miraculous powers
You seem too good to be true!
‘But if your currency is valid,
Look at this poor piece of iron on the blacksmith’s anvil,
Hammered by the smith at whim,
Caught by pincers, unable to escape.
If you are truly a skilled blacksmith’s son,
Do not leave me on this anvil forever,
But fashion me into a lock of the Jowo Temple; 19
The karma of iron exhausted
Let me gain Buddhahood.
‘Look at this meanest piece of wood, this doorstep,
Trampled upon by dogs and swine,
Held firmly in place by the doorposts.
If you are truly a skilled carpenter’s son,
Do not leave me a doorstep forever,
But shape me into a lintel for the Jowo Temple;
The Karma of wood exhausted
Let me gain Buddhahood
‘Look at Sumchok, the unhappiest of women!
Ox-Head s blows make my life unbearable,
But attachment to my world constrains me;
If you are truly a Buddha Lama,
Do not leave me in the mire of Samsara,
But take me with you wherever you go
And let Sumchok gain Buddhahood.’
Kunley and Sumchok, singing their songs back and forth to
each other, were overheard by Ox-Head.
‘What is that singing I hear?’ he called.
Sumchok with a sharp native wit replied immediately, ‘My
Lord, here’s a beggar with a fine voice at the door, and he’s been singing
me the news.’
‘What news has he been telling you?’ she was asked.
‘Apparently hunters have killed some animals in the mountains
today,’ she replied. ‘And probably, if you went up there yourself, as the
meat has not yet been distributed, you could bring as much as a hundred
carcasses back with you. If you’re lucky you will not need to go without
meat with your tsampa.’ 20
This was like refreshing rain in the desert to the ear
of the Chieftain. ‘If that is so, prepare provisions for a seven day journey
for myself and thirty servants,’ he ordered.
Sumchok obeyed him instantly. After he had departed, the
girl invited the Lama into the parlour and began to prepare tea.
‘There will be plenty of opportunity to serve me your
brand of tea later,’ said the Lama. ‘Prepare me this special brew which
I have carried all the way from the market in Lhasa! It’s ready immediately!’
And he caught her by the hand, laid her down on the Chieftain’s bed, lifted
her chuba and gazed upon her nether mandala. Placing his organ against
the piled white lotus mandala between the smoother-than-cream white flesh
of her thighs, and having seen that their connection was tightly made,
he consummated their union. Making love to her, he gave her more pleasure
and satisfaction than she had ever experienced.
‘O Sumchok! now serve me your tea,’ said the Lama when
he had done. She brought him tea, the first strainings of chung, together
with meat and tsampa, and everything that his heart desired. Finally he
got up to leave, ‘It is best if you stay here, Sumchok,’ he said. ‘I must
Sumchok, with undivided faith, prostrated before him.
‘Don’t leave this unfortunate girl in this mess. Take me with you,’ she
‘I will obey you in all things,’ Sumchok promised.
Then the Lama, knowing that it was destined, took her
with him. Coming to a cavern that had a black entrance shaped like a recumbent
lion high up upon the valley side, he said to her, “Sumchok, you must stay
here for three years.’
‘I’m afraid of this place,’ she whispered. ‘Then stay
here for only three months” he compromised.
‘You said that you would take me with you wherever you
went,, she whined. But finally, in order to keep her promise of obedience,
she agreed to stay for seven days.
‘If you’re afraid, go into the cavern, and I’ll seal up
the entrance,’ he advised her. So leaving her inside, he built a rock wall
across the cave mouth. At his departure Sumchok sang this song:
- ‘Listen Drukpa Kunley!
Fluff blows away on the breeze
And catches upon the top of a tree;
Don’t blame the pleasant breeze
When the fluff is so weightless!
Dead wood swept away upon the stream’s swell
Bobs up and down upon the water;
Don’t blame the river
When the wood is so buoyant!
This Sumchok, begotten in Kongpo,
Grieved at the sight of the cave;
Don’t blame yourself, Drukpa Kunley,
When my resolution is so weak!’
‘I don’t want to hear about your moods,’ Kunley told her.
‘When I have gone, gods and Dakinis will befriend you in the daytime, and
butterlamps and incense will calm you at night. Meditate praying to me
continuously.’ And with this advice, he left her for Samye.
Through a happy combination of the Lama’s compassion and
her own devotion, Sumchok gained contentment. Absorbed in the sound of
the gods and Dakinis by day, and the smell of incense and the light of
butterlamps by night, she had no thought of food for the first three days.
On the dawning of the fourth day, she gained release from all frustration
in a Body of Light, attaining Buddhahood. 21
1. Nal-byor-pa, yogin: an itinerant mystic. Tantric
Adept and meditator.
2. The Three Secret Teachings (gdam-sngags sdong-pe gsum) refer to oral
instructions upon the spontaneous purification of body, speech, and mind.
3 The Four Initiations and Empowerments (dbang-bskur bzhi) the Vase,
Secret, Wisdom, and Word Empowerments. consecrate the initiate as the Deity
in whose name the rite is performed, and confer the power to practice the
grades of Creation and Fulfillment associated with the Deity. A distinction
is made here between the external, formal empowerment and the real inner
4. The Three Vows (sdom-pa gsum) are the Hinayana vow
of strict moral and physical discipline, the Mahayana Bodhisattva Vow to
act always to beneft others, and the Vajrayana Tantnc Vow to maintain constant
spiritual union (SAMAYA) with the Buddha Lama, and subsidiary vows.
5. The Teaching (dharma, chos) refers to the entire corpus of instruction
upon the methods of escaping thc cycle of transmigration and attaining
6. Ralung is halt way between Lhasa and the Bhutan border: it is the
seat of the Drukpa Kahgyupas, the homeland of the Gya Clan, and close to
Drukpa Kunley’s birthplace.
7. Ngawong Chogyal (Ngag-dbang chos-rgyal) 1465-1540,
a scion of the Gya Clan, possibly a cousin of Drukpa Kunley, and abbot
of the Ralung Monastery, who made several evangelical pilgrimages to Bhutan,
is Drakpa Kunley’s fallguy, the personification of established religion.
8. Avalokitesvara (spyan-ras-gzigs). ‘He who gazes upon the world with
tearful eyes’, is depicted iconographically holding a crystal rosary, a
white lotus, and a Wishfulfilling Gem, in his four hands.
9. The Creative and Fulfillment Stages (bskyed-nm clang rdzogs-rim)
are technical terms referring to the complex, formal meditative processes
of generating a universal mandala and then attaining its consummation through
realization of its ‘Empty’ nature.
10. Chung (rhyming with tongue) is barley, wheat, rice,
or millet wine prepared by fermenting the boiled grain with the catalytic
agent ‘pap,’ saturating it with water and draining off the solution; it
is a ubiquitous food, beverage, and liquor, throughout Greater Tibet.
11. The following lines would inform the initiate of the great strength
and depth of Drukpa Kunley’s realizationthey indicate the Four Roots
of his spiritual being: his Lama, Palden Drukpa Rimpoche, reincarnated
as Lha-btsun kun-dga chos-kyi rgya-mtsho (1432-1505); his YIDAM or personal
deity, Chakrasamvara, the pancipal Deity of the Kahgyupas: his Dakini or
female counterpart, his anima of perfect awareness, Vajra Varahi; and his
Protector, The Four-Armed Mahakala.
12. The Bhutanese woman plays upon the double meaning of Drukpa an
initiate of the Drukpa Kahgyu School and a native of Bhutan.
13. The Dakini is the actuality of perfect awareness,
and may be encountered by the Adept as a wrathful and apparently malignant
adversary or a sublime ally who bestows the capacity for fully conscious
magical activities, as a spiritual entity or an incarnate woman. Orgyen
is the Land of the Dakinis.
14. Orgyen, geographically located in the Swat Valley, Pakistan, is
a mythic realm of Adepts, Dakinis, and Tantric Revelation.
15. The unity of these two aspects (shes-rab dang thabs) of the Buddhas
Being, symbolized by the Yab-Yum image, creates the invincible awareness
that destroys all kinds of emotional dullness and ignorance.
16. The Ten Enemies (zhing bcu) are vicious, obstructing
forces of temptation that populate every part of the spiritual universe.
17. Samsara is the realm of transmigration and emotional confusion.
18. The Three Realms (khams gsum) are the sensual realm, the aesthetic
realm, and the formless realma triple division of mundane consciousness.
19. The Jowo Temple (Rasa Tulnang) in Lhasa houses the
most sacred and ancient Tibetan image of Sakyamuni Buddha in the form of
Vairocanaa dowry gift to Srongtsen Gampo from the King of Nepal in the
7th century. A popular legend avers that Drukpa Kunley finally vanished
into the nostril of Jowo.
20. Tsampa is roast barley flour, eaten with tea or made into dough
with butter: tsampa and chung form the Tibetan’s staple diet.
21. The body’s substantiality dissolves into light upon the attainment
of Buddhahood beyond the Fourth Degree of Meditation (the 4th dhana).
©1980 Keith Dowman.
©1983 The Johannine Daist Communion.
The Laughing Man, Vol. 4. No. 1
The Divine Madman:
The Sublime Life and Songs of Drukpa Kunley
Keith Dowman (Translator)
Paperback / Published 1982
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