Himalayan Art Resources

Indian/Kashmiri Teacher: Bhikshuni Shri (Gelongma Palmo)

Bhikshuni Shri | Avalokiteshvara (Bhikshuni Shri)

Bhikshuni Shri Lakshmi (Tibetan: Gelongma Palmo).

(For paintings with depictions of Bhikshuni Shri as a minor figure see HAR #40, HAR #73515 and HAR #102225. Also see the Fasting Ritual Lineage and Thematic Set for Avalokiteshvara with Eleven Faces).

Jeff Watt 5-2009

Blue Annals Contents | Blue Annals Outline

Extracted from the Blue Annals (pages 634-645) of Go Lotsawa Zhonnu Pal (1392-1481) using the digitized text of THDL.

Book XIV
PART 14 (PHA): Great Compassion Cycle, the Adamantine Garland and others [12 CHAPTERS] {25 folios. Chandra 893-943; Chengdu 1173 1236; Roerich 1006-1061}.

{14.1 The Lineage of the Shri System of Great Compassion (thugs rje chen po dpal mo lugs kyi brgyud pa'i skabs}
i. Introduction
{R1006} The Cycle of the Mahakarunnika (thugs rje chen po'i skor); and that of the Vajravali (rdo rje phren ba). Just as the Bodhisattva Manjusri took over China, in the same manner the Bodhisattva Mahasattva Arya Avalokitesvara protected this country of Tibet. By his blessing the sound of the 'Mani' resounds in the mouths of men, women and monks, even children. One can obtain blessing by praying to a tutelary deity, therefore for us (Tibetans) the quickest way to obtain blessings is to follow after Avalokitesvara himself.

The sacred images and monasteries (viharas) erected by Sron btsan sgam po, a manifestation of Avalokitesvara in the form of a king, are the chief places of worship for the Tibetans. The mountain, on which has been built the Palace where the king resides, received also the name of Potala (the Abode of Avalokitesvara). It is known that many had attained the realization of Yamantaka and other deities adhering to the precepts of the mantra, enunciated by the king.

Though the Commentary by a teacher, who had followed on this Doctrine enunciated by the king, does not exist at present, there still exist parts of the book on propitiating rites. The saint dngos grub discovered the hidden book on the Sadhana of Avalokitesvara. Rog shes rab 'od obtained (them) at the monastery of spa rnams. He gradually handed them down to his own son, and disciples. Further, the nirmanakaya myang ston obtained (them) from the saint dngos grub. He (myang ston) transmitted (the Doctrine) to the bla ma ras pa mi bkyod rdo rje, the bla ma sakya seng ge bzan po, the doctor (Iha rje) dge ba 'bum , the sister (lcam mo) ye shes mchog, byang sems chus gom, mtha' bzhi bya bral, bsod nams seng ge, bkra shis rgyal mtshan, {R1007} and the bla ma blo gros rgyal mtshan. From the (last) two the bla ma bsod nams bzang po. The latter to rgod phrug grags pa 'byung gnas.

ii. The Lineage of thug rje chen po {R1007}
The Lineage of thugs rje chen po rgyal ba rgya mtsho : snang ba mtha' yas (Amitabha), thugs rje chen po (Mahakaru?ika), Padmasambhava (pad ma 'byun gnas), phag mo of bhangala, (up to) ti pu pa, ras chung pa, zangs ri ras pa, sangs rgyas ras then, spom brag pa' karma pa shi, the mahasiddha urgyan pa, rang byung rdo rje, khams chen rgan lhas pa, stag ston gzhon nu dar, bag ston gzhon tshul pa, the mahaupadhyaya shes rab rdo rje, chos sgo ba chos dpal shes rib, rgod phrug pa grags pa 'byung gnas, and many others. The rite and initiation of the Kulalokanatha sadhana originated with the yar kluns lo tsa ba grags pa rgyal mtshan. He bestowed its Tantra of 53 slokas together with its Commentary on lo tsa ba dus 'khor ba bsod she, from whom a numerous Lineage originated. The Cycle of Padmajala which was expounded to bu ston by the Kashmirian pa??ita Sumanahhsri, also belongs to the Cycle of the Mahakarunika

[The System of Shri Lakshmi]:
iii. Transmission by the man of spiritual realization. {R1007}. The manner of transmitting the Doctrine preached by the Man who had attained spiritual realization (grub pa thob pa'i skyes bu), an emanation of Avalokitesvara: There existed a method of taking a vow through the rite of the Mental Creative Effort towards Enlightenment, as well as the degree of transit meditation according to the: Madhyamaka system written by the Bodhisattva Candradhvaja, an indisputable manifestation of Avalokitesvara. The Degree of propitiation Arya Avalokitesvara by performing the rite of fasting was preached by the nun Laksmi (dpal mo) personally blessed by Arya Avalokitesvara. {1008} She taught it to the pa??ita ye shes bzang po blessed by her. He to bal po pe nya ba, blessed by him. They all were saints. The Bodhisattva Candradhvaja obtained (the Doctrine) from him (pe nya ba).

{Candradhvaja (R1008)}. The story of his recognition by other people as the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara himself: In the temple of Sa_vara (bde mchog lha khan) in Nepal many ddakiniis {(2a)} gathered. The temple keeper saw (them) and inquired: From where did you come? What are you doing here? The ddakiniis replied: we have come from Pu??ravardhana. Avalokitesvara Pundravardhana himself is residing here. We have come to make offerings to him. The keeper continued: Who is he? The ?akini s answered: He is the Bodhisattva Candradhvaja!

When the on po lo tsa ba was sleeping in the Temple of Arya Wati, Wa ti himself foretold that Candradhvaja was Arya (Avalokitesvara) himself, and now many people accepted (him as Avalokitesvara). Many legends exist, such as for example the following: When Candradhvaja was searching for something which could benefit the purification of sins of living beings, he discovered that by fasting once in the presence of Arya Avalokitesvara, one was able to remove a great sin, and obtain (rebirth) in a human form, and that in the end such a person was to go to Sukhavati. But I did not cite them here. The bla ma sachen (kun dga' sning po) acted for a long time as attendant of Candradhvaja. This establishes the time of the appearance of (Candradhvaja). (Candradhvaja) was also the Teacher of 'gro ba'i mgon po dpal phag mo gru pa and of the siddha la gyag pa.

nying phug pa {R1008}. The siddha nying phug pa obtained from him (Candradhvaja) the sadhana of Avalokitesvara. His parents were natives of Zhang Zhung. He was born in the year Wood Male Dog ('sing pho khyi 1094 A.D.) in the valleys of stag bde seng ge, after they had come to la stod {R1009} His parents fearing that he might lose his caste, took him in childhood to spu rangs. At the age of seven, he felt faith in karma and retribution. At the age of 14, he proceeded to dbus, and came to the residence of the zangs dkar lo tsa ba who was then building the bo dong monastery. He was ordained by khyung and received the name of chos kyi brags pa. For one month he studied the Doctrine with the Lord (rje) 'bum phrag gsum pa He stayed for six years in the presence of zansdkar (lo tsa ba), and obtained the Cycle of Sa_vara, etc. He was fed at chu mig ring mo, he received ordination from mnga' ris 'jam dbyangs, when the latter came to lho brag. He obtained the Prajnaparamita from 'bre shes rab 'bar. He preached it on 15 occasions. He studied the teachings of the kalya?amitra dkon mkhar with the latter's assistant preacher. From khyung he obtained the Madhyamaka system and the Nyaya. Further, he obtained the Teaching of rgya dmar from the latter's assistant preacher. From the great nur smrig pa (he obtained) the Abhidharma. It is said that he obtained the Doctrine of Maitreya from mar pa lo tsa ba of stag tshal. This must have been (mar pa) do pa. From the kalya?amitra lcan ra ba he obtained the Doctrine of Maitreya according to the system of btsang. From spa tshab lo tsa (he obtained) the Six Treatises of Madhyamaka (dbu ma rigs tshogs drug). From the kalyananmitra gshen the Six Doctrines of tsa lo tsaba. From mnga' ris skyi ston the Cycle of Sa?vara according to spu hrangs lo chung. From rnog gzhun pa the Hevajra (Tantra). From dpyal kun dga' rdo rje and snubs phag mo lungpa the Hevajra (Tantra) and the Cycle of (Vajra) Varahi. From mtha' bzhi the Tantra (snags) and the Vinaya. In the intervals, he attended on the Bodhisattva Candradhvaja, and obtained from him many doctrines. He also obtained many doctrines from rgya chu mig pa bla ma lho pa. From 'khon gad pa kiirti, he obtained the exposition of the Pancakrama. From lha rje gtsang shod pa the Mahamudra. From the {1010} Nepalese A su the Cycle of phyag chen snying po. Under sne'u zur pa (he studied) the bka' gdams pa doctrine. From dags po lha rje (he obtained) the Six Doctrines of Naro(pa). From phar sgom, an attendant of se mkhar chung ba, he obtained the Path and Fruit Doctrine (lam 'ras).

In general, he did not study texts of the rnying ma school, and used to say that there did not exist texts belonging to the New (Tantras) which he had not studied. He spend eight full years in the snows of rta sgo, then six years during which time he spent either the winter or the summer in meditation, in all he spent 14 years in meditation. He developed the faculty of prescience. The local divinity (lha btsan) of rta sgo asked him for religious instruction. He offered his life mantra (srog snying). During his residence there, jo pad attended on him. After that he journeyed to ldog. The acarya ldog asked him: Do you possess the faculty of prescience? He, thinking that it was improper to tell a lie to his own Teacher, answered: Yes, I do. The Teacher asked him further: What are the villagers doing? And: What is in my hand? He gave correct replies, and the acarya convinced said: You must recite the Prajnaparamita. When he read the sentence the nature of the sphere of Heaven is limitless, an extraordinary trance was produced in him.

After that he did not differentiate between the Intuitive Knowledge of a Saint and the Knowledge of the Saint acquired after the state of concentrated trance. After that he stayed at nying phug. {R1011} He constantly practiced fasting and recitation (of sacred texts). At that time he and others saw countless holy visions. He laboured extensively for the welfare of others, and passed away at the age of 93 in the year Fire Male Horse (me pho rta 1186 A.D.).

Srupa rdo rje rgyal po {R1011}. His disciple sru pa rdo rje rgyal po: he was a native of sru yul sgang. From the age of seven, he mastered writing and reading. Once an upasaka who had gone for fasting to nying phug, gave him some food, which was left by the Teacher and some holy water for ablution. The boy was filled with a desire to go, and proceeded into the presence of nying phug pa. The later said about him: This child will become the successor of the son of the Jina. He then took the boy on his lap and seemed pleased. Then he ordained him, and bestowed on him the vows, from the upasaka vows up to those of the final monastic ordination. He then mastered the Vinaya Sutra Afterwards he requested that he might be permitted to fast till his death. The Teacher became pleased, and presented him with an image of Avalokitesvara made of crystal on which Candradhvaja used to meditate. He continued his fast and meditation for five full years, and had a vision of Arya Avalokitesvara. One night he saw in a dream himself alone surrounded by many Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, who included Amitabha.

Bhaissajyaguru and others, speaking among themselves: We shall adopt as son one who is the most pleasing among us. Among the retinue there was a young child of white complexion who said: During seventeen existences he had established a Karmic bond with me. He is my son! He then saw rays of light filling him, and woke up from his dream. When he was about to die, zhang stop dgra 'jigs took over the abbot's chair, and he passed away. After the cremation, many images of the Great Merciful One (Mahakaru?ika), and many other relics were recovered (from the ashes).

zhan ston {R1011}. His disciple was zhan ston. He was a native of srug gan pa. His birth was accompanied by a strong thunder, {(3b); R1012} lightning and earth tremours. They (the family) had an enemy who remarked: Such things were taking place that I became afraid! Because of this the child became known as Enemy's Terror (dgra 'jigs). At the age of seven, he learned writing. He was ordained by sru pa. He was a very strict (monk). At.the age of 23, after studying the Seven treatises on Logic at Sa skya, he went on a round of monastic colleges to conduct philosophical debates, and became famous as a learned man. After that he studied the Five Treatises of Maitreya (byams chos lna), the Five Stages, the Abhidharmakosa, and the Abhidharmasamuccaya (mnyon pa gong 'og). After that he proceeded to the residence of the kalyanamitra zhing mo che pa, who asked him to become an abbot, and to labour for the Doctrine. He then became abbot and great was the benefit for the Doctrine. He used to preach the Vinaya agama by heart and gathered (round him) about 500 monks. He held the Bhaisajyaguru and the Tara as the chief objects of his mental concentration, but on advice of a Bodhisattva that this doctrine of Avalokitesvara (the rite of fasting) was beneficial for this ?Dark Age? and that he should practise it, he practised it and had a vision of the Tara. About midnight he saw a vision of bhaisajyaguru, and at Dawn he had a vision of the one thousand armed and one thousand eyed Avalokitesvara. They initiated him, and uttered prophecies. Then he requested Sru pa to allow him too go to a solitary place, but the latter told him: You should occupy the chair for three years more! and presented him with a crystal image of Avalokitesvara.

Then after the {R1013} lapse of three years, he entrusted the chair to the kalyanamitra byang yes and proceeded to the upper part of the valley, towards a rocky mountain called rin chen spungs pa, and there practiced fasting for three months without being seen by any one. For seven months he performed nightly the rite of gcod. In the morning he used to fly over to the Western mountains, and there stay in the sru, in the evening he flew back to the slope of the rock of sru. He blocked the river of sru for half a day with his walking staff and performed (other) miracles, similar to those mentioned above. At the hour of death he said: My heart will remain unburnt. Send it to ga' rong. My tongue will (also) remain behind. Send it to don mo ri% . He died at the age of 61. After his cremation, a full measure (bre) or relics was recovered (from the ashes). He bestowed the Doctrine on the mahi upadhyaya rtsi 'dul ba thugs rje byangs chub.

rtsi 'dul ba thugs rje byangs chub (R1013}. The {(4a)} latter was ordained in his youth. He was learned in the Doctrine in general, and in particular (he was learned) in the Prajna-paramita. Having become very famous through his learning, strictness, and goodness, he built vihiras and founded monastic communities. He supported monks and upheld the moral code, and gathered round himself over a thousand monks. Though in general he was learned in all the doctrines, he especially studied the Vinaya and possessed the perfect fragrance of morality.

He held as the chief objects of his meditation Bhaisajyaguru and Tara One night be saw in his dream a woman who told him: Son of good family! Avalokitesvara being the essence of all the Buddhas of the Three Times, make a request to zhang stop dgra 'jigs at ldog long%, who was to preach next morning the rite of the Mental Creative Effort. Benefit for all living beings will arise! and saying so, the woman disappeared. He met zhagn ston and requested that he might be given the rite of the Mental Creative Effort towards Enlightenment.

The latter then bestowed on him the permission (lung) to read (the rite) of the {R1014} Eleven faced Avalokitesvara together with its (meditative) practice, its sadhana and propitiation . He became very pleased and made the vow to fast on a thousand occasions. On his 300th fast, on the 16th day of the saga month, he saw a vision of the Great Merciful One (Mahakarunika), who spoke to him. After that he had again and again visions (of the Bodhisattva), and helped the emanicipation of living beings.

ldog long pa shakya byang chub {R1014}. After that he {rti 'dul ba thugs rje byangs byangs chub} bestowed (the Doctrine) on ldog long pa shakya byang chub whose native place was lower ldog. At the age of seven, he received ordination. At the age of 15, he mastered the Prajnaparamita, the Vinaya, and preached them both. He was especially learned in the Vinaya. He made Bhaisajyaguru and the Tara the objects of his meditation. He had a vision of the seng ldang nags sgrol, who foretold the erection by him of the monastery of ldog ltod, and advised him to proceed to the residence of {(4b)} rtsi 'dul, and request the latter (to teach him) the sadhana of Arya (Avalokitesvara). Following this advice, he started at sunrise, met the Teacher, and obtained from him the permission (lung). The Teacher said to him: You should recite the required number of mantras for 21 times at my place. Accordingly, he took up residence there. After that his fortune increased, and he had yearly about 21 disciples who were able to teach the Praj?aparamita and the Vinaya. He also made the vow of observing 5000 fasts.

On the occasion of his 300th fast, in the night of the main rite (dngos gzhi), a white beam of light appeared in front of him. He grasped it with his hand and was carried away, and reached Potala. Arya Avalokitesvara said to him: Son of good family! Your coming (here) is welcome! and a white beam of light penetrated (his) heart, and his body was filled with bliss. Again (Avalokitesvara) said to him.: Till death, labour for the welfare of living beings! After your death, I shall send for you! and he woke up from his {R1015} dream. During the day he used to preach the Pi?aka and preach the Doctrine to individuals according to their desires. At night, he listened to the Doctrine at the feet of Arya Avalokitesvara. He practised numberless meditations. His disciple was the maha upadhyaya byan chub 'bar of chu bzangs.

byan chub 'bar of chu bzangs {R1015}. He was born at ngang dkar of mus. At the age of 11 he received the upasaka vows from ldog long pa. After that he took up ordination, and studied the BodhicAryavatara and the Madhyamaka system. At the age of 20, he took up the final monastic ordination. One night he saw in his dream a white man, who said to him: Because you and I have a Karmic bond (las 'brel), ask ldog long pa pa, who isn?t different from me, to bestow on you the permission (lung) to read a sacred text and the sadhana (of Arya Avalokitesvara), and saying so the man disappeared. Next day he went into the presence of ldog long pa and told him about the dream. Ldog long pa said: It is the Lord! I take Refuge in Him! I also had a dream, and saying so, he imparted to him the permission (lung), together with the sadhana and its rite. byang chub 'bar said to him: After completing a hundred fasts, I am going to bde ba can. The Teacher said: Wait once more for a vision of Avalokitesvara! Again he said: Now along time has passed. I shall go. The Teacher said: You are different from other people! Quick, meditate! Thus on the occasion of his 300th fast, after midnight of the 15th day, his whole cell became filled with light, and he thought that it must be an eye deception. {(5a)} He then saw Avalokitesvara surrounded by teachers of the bka' gdams pa Lineage. Next morning he prostrated himself before ldog long pa, who spoke to him: O son! Were you happy last night? He replied: My mind became free from thought constructions. Then the Teacher said to him: Now you may go to wherever you desire, and labour for the welfare of living beings.

After that he proceeded to mus, and his fortune increased. Each month he used to perform a great fasting rite and had {R1016} visions of many tutelary deities. He passed away at the age of 88. After his cremation, many images of gods and relics were recovered (from the ashes). He bestowed (the sadhana of avalokitesvara) on snag phu pa bsod nams dbang phyug.

snag phu pa bsod nams dbang phyug {R1016}. The latter was born at mus dang ma gling skya. At the age of 5, he became an upasaka and studied reading and writing. At the age of 11, he was ordained in the presence of the maha upadhyaya shakya mgon and the acarya 'od zer rtse mo. At the age of 13, he studied the Vinaya sutra (of Gunnaprabha) at ldog long with the maha upadhyaya kun rgyal, and the assistant preacher zhang stop 'gyur med dpal. In the presence of mus chen pa he studied the Five Treatises of Maitreya. From the acarya byang seng (he obtained) the (Pramannavinisscaya). From the acarya shes rab ral gri the Pramannavartika and the Bodhisattva bhuumi (sa sde). He also made a round of monastic colleges for the purpose of conducting philosophical debates.

Once in a dream a woman told him: You will not live more than seven days! The maha upadhaya chu bzangs pa said to him: Fasting is the best of the life preserving ceremonies! Accordingly he fasted and his life was prolonged. He received final monastic ordination from the maha upadhyaya chu bzags pa and obtained many bka' gdams pa doctrines at mus gle lung. He occupied the abbot's chair of gro mo che for five years. From the Dharmasvamin nyan chen pa he obtained the Path and Fruit (lam 'bras) doctrine and the Cycle of the Doctrines of dam pa (sangs rgyas). From the acarya grags tshul he obtained many sadhanas of the mandalas belonging to the Outer and Inner Tantras. For three years he observed a fast during the month of Vaisakha. After that his supporters built the monastery of snyag phu and presented it to him. He considered the following to be his root teachers : {R1017} nyang chen pa, chu bzangs pa, mus chen pa, and rgyal mtshan dpal. Further, he was the disciple of 42 teachers. Wishing to spread the deeds of Avalokitesvara, he resolved to observe 10,000 fasts. After finishing the 2000th fast, (he found) that all his means had become exhausted. But then following an auspicious dream, his means again increased. He completed his fast within three years. He also spread the practice of fasting. Numerous other persons saw him as Avalokitesvara in their visions. He passed away at the age of 68 in the Hog year (phag lo 1371 A.D.?).

His disciple was the Precious maha upadhyaya bsod nams bzang po. The facts about his parents, his ordination and final monastic ordination, their dates, his pecuniary situation in his youth, are to be known from other sources.

bsod nams bzang po {R1017}. After his ordination, he became, in general, the chief among the holders of the moral code till his death, and, in particular, he observed throughout his life the vow of staying on one mat (i.e. taking food without rising from one's seat), and abstaining from meat, without complaining of old age. As regards his knowledge, he attended on many scholars, such as nya dbOn po kun dga' pa and others. He became very learned in the Pitaka of the Suutras, headed by the Vinaya of the Holy Doctrine. In the Tantras, (he was especially) learned in the Sri Kalacakra Tantra. The Master of philosophical debates and great scholar g.yag brugs sangs rgyas dpal, and others were unable to defeat him. He had vision of numerous tutelary deities and was endowed with a transic meditation of the Sampannakrama degree of the Sadanga yoga, and others. He was the chief disciple of the Dharmasvamin phyogs las rnam par rgyal ba (the bo don pan chen). At the age of 80, signs of death having manifested themselves, he practised pranayama for one month and succeeded in prolonging his {(6a); R1018} life. The year of his birth was the year, Iron Female Serpent (Rags mo sbrul 1341 A.D.). He passed away painlessly at the age of 93 in the year Water Female Ox (chu moglan 1433 A.D.).

His disciples included the Dharmasvamin de bzhin gshegs pa, mthong pa don ldan and others. Numerous scholars gathered round him, similar to bees around a flower. Among them smra ba'i seng ge rong ston and others. His (present) wealth: Vaishravanna used to assist him at will. All great men, such as dbang grags pa rgyal mtshan, used to place his foot on their heads, Sri Vanaratna (nags kyi rin chen) siddheshvara (grub pa'i dbang phyug) used to say He is the best yogin in Tibet! Such a great kalyanamitra bestowed the precepts of Arya Avalokitesvara on bsod nams dar the maha Arya sthavira. He also observed the pure vows of an ordained monk. A Mental Creative Effort towards Enlightenment was born in him. He was the chief among those who are satisfied with little and lived contentedly. He used to propitiate continuously Arya Avalokiteshvara. There were many monks who followed after him. Nowadays they are divided into two groups known as the dbus 'phags and gtsang 'phags. Small groups consisting of ten or fifteen monks, the smallest consisting of five, were found in dags po and kong po, at dbus and g.yor, in south and north la stod. They benefited greatly the Doctrine.

The Chapter on the Lineage of the system of dpal mo (Laksmi) of the Cycle of Avalokitesvara.