Skip to content Skip to footer

Terton Pema Lingpa’s Dharma Activities

Amongst the five Tertön Kings prophesied by the second Buddha Guru Rinpoche, one was Tertön Ugyen Pema Lingpa, the incarnation of Lhacham Pemasal.

According to the prophecy given in the Word of Padma (Padma Thangyig), it was foretold:

At Phari in Gos, when homes fall under the fortress ༔
At Tagur in Lato, when the streets become a poison bazaar ༔
Warned by these signs not to fail to bring to light ༔
The treasures hidden in the Burning Lake (Me Bar Tsho) ༔
Ugyen Pema Lingpa will appear ༔

Accordingly, in the Iron Male Horse Year, 1450, amidst auspicious signs, Pema Lingpa was born in Bumthang of Lhomon ( Bhutan) as the son of Döndrup Zangpo, a descendent of the Nyö clan and mother Drogmo Peldzom, who was bestowed with all the signs of a dakini.

As the true incarnation of Kunkhyen Longchenpa Drimé Özer, when he was a child Tertön Pema Lingpa learnt effortlessly the art of reading and writing as well as ironwork and carpentry. Once while residing at Mani Gönpa, on the 10 th day of the Monkey Month and Year, he had a vision of Guru Rinpoche who appeared in person, blessed him and handed him the addresses of 108 treasures to be revealed.

When he was 27 years old, at the foot of the cliff shaped like a long nose (Naring Drag), he discovered the first part of the profound treasure Quintessence of the Mysteries of Luminous Space (Longsal Sangwa Nying Chu). Also at Tang Mebartso (Burning Lake) in Bumthang, witnessed by a large crowd, Pema Lingpa leaped into the deep water with a burning butter lamp in his hand. After some time he emerged with a Terma casket, the size of a pot, under one arm and the still-burning butter lamp in the other hand. His amazing, profuse and enlightened activities inspired unshakable faith in the people and his undisputed fame as a true and great Treasure Revealer spread everywhere like the light of the sun and moon.

At Samye Chimphu, he reavealed the treasure of the Great Completion Union of Samantabhadra’s Intentions(Dzogchen Kunzang Gongdu). From various other sacred places he revealed: the cycle of the Small Child Tantra belonging to the non-dual Great Completion; theLama Jewel Ocean (Lama Norbu Jamtsho); the Great Compassionate One, Lamp Dispelling Darkness (Thukje Chenpo Munsel Drönme); the Eight Transmitted Teachings, Mirror of the Mind (Kagyé Thug-ki Melong)Kilaya, Most Secret Blade of Vitality (Phurba Yangsang Soki Pudri)the Elixir Medicine Sadhana (Dutsi Mendrup); Vajrapani as the Haughty Tamer, and as the Fierce Youth(Chador Dregdul and Tumchung), the Greater, Extensive and Abbreviated Sadhanas of Wrathful Guru (Drakpo Che Dring Chung Sum); the Adamantine Necklace of Instructions on Longevity (Tshetri Dorji Threngwa), the Longetivity Practice, Applying Jewels on the Path(Tsedrup Norbu Lam Kher); the Three Black Cycles (Nakpo Korsum); and numerous other teachings. Likewise, he discovered countless precious substances such as the Nyangdrol Ke DuenKutshab Pema Guru etc.

Of the 108 treasures authorised and originally destined to be revealed by Pema Lingpa, thirty two treasures were actually revealed and their teachings propagated for the sake of sentient beings.

Regarding the retinue of his followers and lineage holders, it is mentioned in the Treasure (Terlung) prophesies as follows:

Ten thousand disciples connected through Karma ༔
Eleven disciples connected through profound methods ༔
One thousand and two disciples connected through aspiration ༔
Seven mandala holder sons ༔
And three heart-sons will come ༔

Accordingly, countless followers and disciples were connected through good fortune and all their minds introduced to the treasure teachings, ripening their beings with the profound practices.

In addition, he performed many miraculous deeds and prophesied that in future, in the Pureland of Pema Ködpa, he would become the Buddha Dorji Nyingpo and that sentient beings who had the good fortune to associate with him would also be born in that Pureland. Having said thus, in the Iron Male Snake Year (1521), on the 3 rd day of the first lunar month, with his body in the vajra position, uttering the syllables “A, Ā” ( ཨ ་) many times, placing his right hand in the hands of Thugsé Dawa Gyaltsen, he entered into Dharmadhatu, at Lhundrup Chöling in Tamshing, Bumthang.

At the time he passed away, people in Dechenchöling and Kunzang Drak heard auspicious sounds and saw lights turning to five–coloured rainbows, space filled with the scent of incense accompanied by auspicious rains of flowers. His bodily remains when looked at in parts seemed intact and unchanged whereas when viewed as a whole looked to be only a little over a foot in size. It was later preserved in a reliquary stupa and kept at Lhundrup Chöling in Tamshing, Bumthang. However, one account says that later, the 7 th Sungtrul Rinpoche advised that if the reliquary stupa was kept at Yungdrung Chöling, the country would enjoy spiritual and temporal benefits. Thus, it is said to have been moved to Yungdrung Chöling. The other account says that the stupa was enshrined as an object of offering and devotion in the Pungthang Dewachenpoi Phodrang (Punakha Dzong), alongside the reliquary stupa of the invincible Dharma King, Zhabdrung Rinpoche.

Of the speech incarnations of Pema Lingpa or Peling Sungtrul, the first was Gyalwa Tendzin Drakpa, the second Tshultrim Dorji, the third Ngawang Kunzang Dorji, the fourth Tendzin Drupchog Dorji, the fifth Kunzang Tenpai Gyaltsen, the sixth Ngawang Chöki Lodrö, the seventh Kunzang Tenpai Nyima, the eighth Tendzin Chöki Gyaltsen, the ninth Ngawang Chöki Gyaltsen and the tenth is the present Jigdrel Kunzang Pema Dorji. Their enlightened activities for the benefit of all sentient beings are as limitless as the sky.