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Teacher: Yungton Dorje Pal Biography

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Yungton Dorje Pal Biography:

Yungton Dorje Pel (g.yung ston rdo rje dpal) was born into the Len (glan) clan in Tsongdu (tshong 'dus) in 1284, the wood monkey year. His father was named Yung Jose (g.yung jo sras). It is said that in his youth he mastered the Abhidharmasamuccaya. His birth name appears to have been Dorje Bum (rdo rje 'bum).

He was a disciple of Zurton Jampa Sengge (zur ston byams pa seng+ge, d.u.), who gave him the important Nyingma tantras of the Gongpa Dupai Do (dgongs pa 'dus pa'i mdo) the Māyājāla, and the Dzogchen Semde. He composed a highly regarded commentary on the Guhyagarbha titled the Clear Mirror (gsal ba'i me long).

Together with Zurton he went and studied Yamāntaka with Shangpa Shākya Bum (shangs pa shAkya 'bum). It is said that when Zurton was later murdered by Lhakhu Bonpo (lha khud bon po, d.u.), Dorje Pel used the power of Yamāntaka to destroy the murder's family and fields. According to Dudjom, he sang "I am merely the subduer of my guru's mortal foe!"

While still a young man Dorje Pel went to China where he performed a rain-making ritual at the Yuan Emperor's request. Sources do not indicate which emperor. When rain subsequently came, the Emperor gave Dorje Pel considerable gifts, which he brought back to Tibet and gave to his teachers.

Dorje Pel studied with a number of important teachers, including Buton Rinchen Drub (bu ston rin chen grub, 1290-1364), from whom he received the Kālacakra, and Rangjung Dorje, the Third Karmapa (karma pa 03 rang byung rdo rje, 1290-1364), from whom he received Mahāmudrā teachings. He is counted, due to that connection, as the tenth in line of the Karma Kagyu Mahāmudrā lineage. According to Dudjom, Dorje Pel received Dzogchen teachings from Rangjung Dorje as well.

Late in life he took ordination from Tsokpa Cholungpa (tshogs pa chos lung pa, d.u.), at which time he received the name Dorje Pel.

Dorje Pel spent time at the sacred mountain of Pungpo Riwoche (phung po ri bo che), near Shigatse (gzhis ka tse); Ratum Drak (ra tum brag); and Paro (spa gro), Bhutan. At Pungpo Riwoche he taught the famous Sakya scholar Yakde Paṇchen Tsondru Dargye (g.yag sde paN chen brtson 'grus dar rgyas, 1299-1378) from his treatise The Difference Between Buddhahood Attained Through Sutra and Tantra (mdo sngags kyi sangs rgyas la khyad par phye ba bstan bcos), a work that does not appear to be extant. In addition to Yakde Paṇchen, Dorje Pel taught Rolpai Dorje, the Fourth Karmapa (karma pa 04 rol pa'i rdo rje, 1340-1383).

He passed away in 1284, the female wood snake year, at the age of eighty-two.

(Alexander Gardner is Director and Chief Editor of the Treasury of Lives. He completed his PhD in Buddhist Studies at the University of Michigan in 2007. Published November 2011).


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