Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Teacher (Lama)

བླ་མ། 喇嘛
(item no. 73402)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Nyingma and Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Private
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Interpretation / Description

Chetsun Sengge Wangchug, the systematizer of the early Nyingtig teachings.


Chetsun Sengge Wangchug (b.1100?) (lce btsun seng ge dbang phyug) was born into the prominent Che (lce) clan in Central Tibet, the son of Che Tupei Wangpo of Nyangro Nyentso. He was the main disciple of the early Nyingtig master Dangma Lhungyal (ldang ma lhun rgyal), who as caretaker of Sha Temple discovered the 17 tantras of the Nyingtig, or Men-ngag class that Myang Ting-nge Dzin (myang ting gne 'dzin) hid there in the early 9th century. Receiving the Dangma's complete translation, Chetsun systematized the Nyingtig teachings and spent the rest of his life in retreat.

Some time after receiving Dangma's transmission Chetsun went to see his teacher intending to offer his teacher a great deal of family wealth. Learning that Dangma had passed away, Chetsun gave the gifts to the monastic community at Nyetang (snye thang), giving teachings there to Nyang Kadampa of Maldro (mal dro nyang bka' dams pa).

Chetsun is said to have received teachings from Vimalamitra during a two-week long visionary experience while in retreat at Chimpug ('phyim phugs), urged on to practice there by a prophecy received from a wandering yogin who claimed to be Vimalamitra himself.

Chetsun concealed the Nyingtig teachings he received from Dangma in three locations: Langdro Chepa Tagdra (lang gro'i chad pa ltag), Uyuk (u yug), and Jelpug (Jal gyi phug), all in Central Tibet. Shangpa Repa revealed the treasures hidden at Langdro; Shang Tashi Dorje discovered those at Uyuk in 1117, as well as those at Jelpug.

When Chetsun Sengge Wangchug was more than a hundred years old, he met Shangton Tashi Dorje (zhang ston bkra shi rdo rje), to whom he entrusted the teachings of his lineage. After this, he dissolved his body into rainbow light at the cave of Oyuk.

His teachings were continued in the oral lineage of the Bima Nyingtig. Moreover, in the nineteenth century Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, who was regarded as a reincarnation of Chetsun, revealed as treasure a teaching cycle known as the Chetsun Nyingtig (lce btsun snying tig), The Heart Essence of Chetsun, which constitutes the main Dzogchen teaching of Khyentse Wangpo.

Sources:

Nyoshul Khenpo. A Marvelous Garland of Rare Gems. Richard Barron, trans. Junction City, California: Padma Publication, 2005, p. 85.

Dudjom Rinpoche. 2002. The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism. Gyurme Dorje and Matthew Kapstein, trans. Boston: Wisdom, p. 557 ff.

Roerich, George, trans. 1996. The Blue Annals. 2nd ed. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidas, p 192 ff.

Karmay Samten. 1998. The Great Perfection. Leiden: Brill, p. 210.

Zhang ston bkra shis rdo rje. 1985. Rdzogs pa chen po snying thig gi lo rgyus chen mo. In Rnying ma bka' ma rgyas pa. Kalimpong: Dupjung Lama. Vol. 45, pp. 503-675. Biography begins on page 648.

Jakob Leschly, August 2007

[Extracted from the Treasury of Lives, Tibetan lineages website. Edited and formatted for inclusion on the Himalayan Art Resources website. November 2009].

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Teacher: Chetsun Sengge Wangchug
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