Dorje Lingpa and His Rediscovery of the “Gold Needle” in Bhutan - Samten G. Karmay


Among the Buddhist ritual traditions that are still preserved and carried out as the central religious constituents of the annual festivals in Bhutan today those of Dorje Lingpa (1346-1405) stand out strikingly. This is particularly so in Bumthang area, Central Bhutan.

In 1998 and 1999, I have had the good fortune to witness these spectacular festivals in Ogyen chöling and, in 1999, at Jampa Lhakhang in Bumthang itself.

Dorje Lingpa is considered as one of the five great “treasure revealers” (tertön) among the Nyingmapa and an important Dzogchen master by the Bonpo tradition. He was thus an exceptional figure who clearly adopted an impartial approach to both Buddhist practices and the Bon, the non-Buddhist religious tradition in Tibet, in his spiritual quest. His approach therefore made him the precursor of what is later known as the “eclectic” (rime) movement of the nineteenth century (Smith 1970).

Like many other Tibetan men of religion, Dorje Lingpa never settled himself in one place. He travelled around incessantly carried away by the motivation of disclosing hidden manuscripts and it was mainly because of this urge in him that he travelled to Bhutan, then known as Mönyul or Lhomön (Cf. Pommaret 1999), where he flourished particularly. He had left in Bhutan not only his ritual legacy but also his family descendants.

Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris

Due to the studies of Michael Aris (1979: 158) and Françoise Pommaret (1997: 408, 414), the accounts of Dorje Lingpa’s descendants who established themselves there as well as those of his reincarnations are now relatively well known. In a study of the Dzogchen of the Nyingmapa tradition, I myself had the occasion to deal very briefly with his revelation of Bonpo Dzogchen manuscripts from one of the caves of Tagtshang in Paro (Karmay 1988: 216-219).

In this article I therefore intend to take up the account of Dorje Lingpa’s visit to Bhutan focusing on the question of his connection with a Bonpo religious establishment in Bhutan which then existed, and this, within a wider perspective of his activities in Bhutan based on my own field observations and more importantly Dorje Lingpa’s own writings now available in 22 volumes. They were not all accessible to me while I was carrying out research into the Dzogchen tradition in the 1970s.

The Early Life of Dorje Lingpa

Dorje Lingpa was born in 1346 in the district of Dra, south of the Tsangpo river in Lhokha, Central Tibet. He lost his mother, Karmogyen, at the age of 3 and father, Sonam Gyaltshen, at 7. He was brought up by an aunt. His childhood name was Ogyen Zangpo. At the age of 8 he was symbolically ordained as a novice at Lharikha. At 13 he rediscovered for the first time hidden manuscripts from the ancient temple of Tradrug. Among the manuscripts he found there were the khachang “guides” that indicated the existence of manuscripts concealed in other places. At 15, he disclosed a large number of manuscripts at Namchagdrag amongst which he found the text Tawa Longyang. It became the basis of his Dzogchen teachings in later life. In this work he held some radical views on the main Dzogchen theories that aroused a good deal of interest amongst his followers as well as eliciting severe criticisms from the Gelugpa dialecticians (Karmay 1988: 186). From the same place he also revealed the Lama Kadu amongst other ritual cycles.1 The Lama Kadu is the ritual component of the annual festivals in several places in Bhutan today.

In 1362 aged 17, he became known as Dorje Lingpa for the first time and is said to have revealed more manuscripts in four volumes that contained texts on such subjects as medicine, the Bon religion, astrology and the dö rituals,2 but these have not found their way into the collected writings. He continued to engage in similar ventures in various places before he made his first visit to Bhutan. His rediscovery of hidden manuscripts of texts were so numerous that Sogdogpa Lodrö Gyaltshen describes them as “the mad treasures”(ternyön)3 and most of these Dorje Lingpa claims to have already achieved before the age of twenty - incredible as it may sound.

Pilgrimage of Dorje Lingpa to Bhutan

In 1369 aged 24, Dorje Lingpa was staying in the hermitage of Chuwori in Yartö, Central Tibet. In this place he claimed to have obtained a “guide” to the “concealed manuscripts” by Vairocana. In a dream a monk gave him a flat bell (shang) and a thunderbolt (dorje) pointing with his finger toward the south and said “O! your wealth portion (norkal) and your would-be converts are down there, that way!”

Vairocana was an eighth century Tibetan Buddhist monk believed to have practised Buddhism and Bon, the flat bell being a symbol of the Bon religion and vajra that of tantric Buddhism. Dorje Lingpa believed himself to be an embodiment of the monk and took the dream as an indication for finding hidden manuscripts in Tagtshang Sengge Samdrub in Paro.4 He therefore set out on a pilgrimage with the hope of divulging hidden manuscripts. On the way he stopped in various places such as Ralung and Phagri in Dromo from where he entered Mönyul. When he saw Paro Chagkhar from a distance he was moved by its sight. He composed a song expressing that although he now found himself in a country that he did not know he felt very happy about everything that he could see.5

In 1370, Dorje Lingpa stopped at Paro Tagtshang and revealed for the first time a certain number of hidden manuscripts that contained religious texts of Buddhist tantras and Bonpo Dzogchen meditation. I shall deal with these findings below.

He continued his journey down to Changyul at the confluence of the Phochu and Mochu rivers in the Punakha valley where he met a certain number of nuns who asked him to give religious instructions (dampa), and he felt very sorry for them since they did not know much about Buddhism. On this occasion he improvised a song that expresses his sad feelings for the fishermen spending their lives fishing in the place.6

In the same year he was in Khothang samten rinchenling (today Kothangka) in Shar, one of the eight establishments of Longchen Rabjam (1308-1363). Dorje Lingpa describes this place like the opening of a flower and where he wrote a song whose theme is the main ventures in his own life.7 He continued to search for more manuscripts and found some in Namthang Langdrag in Tang, but he did not disclose them till 1374.8

In 1371, Dorje Lingpa performed what is known as the “public revelation” (tromter ) in at least two places: at Ugyen Yiblung Dekyiling,9 accompanied by three hundred people, and at Pungthang Dewa Dhenpo (Punakha).10 He seems to be the first among the Nyingmapa tertön to initiate this tradition. It consisted in disclosing manuscripts and other sacred objects from a hidden place with the public witnessing the action of disclosure.11

When he was at Punakha he was again asked to give religious instructions by a group of nuns and on this occasion he composed a eulogy to the place as being pleasant and appropriate for practising Buddhism.12

Departure for Bumthang from Western Bhutan

In 1374 he set out to go to Bumthang and tried to cross over two high passes covered with snow, but he suffered from snow-blindness and was obliged to retreat. He finally arrived at Bumthang. In the same year he revealed more hidden manuscripts from the cave Nganlung situated near the lake Durtsho nagmo located in the Upper Chökhor, Bumthang.13

Bumthang became the main seat of his activities in Bhutan. There is an old house reputed to have been his residence. In 1999, it was occupied by the Chagkhar Lama, a Nyingmapa adept.14

Dorje Lingpa spent less than three years in Bumthang. Towards the end of 1376, in which year he returned to Tibet, he went into retreat at Yangdzong Shelgyi Dragphug (probably today Shebrag in Tang, Bumthang) for seven days in the second month of the year.15 In the fifth month, he gave teachings on Dzogchen based on the Tawa Longyang. One night he had a dream of a woman who appeared to be in Lhasa. She gave him long religious instructions and the next morning he wrote them down.16 During the seventh month of the same year he again gave teachings on Dzogchen and this seems to have been the last teaching he delivered in Bumthang.17 In the eighth month he returned to Tibet taking the ancient route of Mönla karchung from Bumthang to Lhodrag. On the way he stopped in a place called Kampotshol where again he wrote down a dream he had there. He arrived in Lhodrag in 1376.

The Question of Dates of Dorje Lingpa

The dates of Dorje Lingpa have been a subject of discussion among the Nyingmapa18 and Bonpo chroniclers. All the dates in this article are based on the dating 1346-1405. These dates are mainly based on TTGL (pp.210, 549) where fire-dog (me khyi, 1346) of the 6th sexagenary cycle is given as the year of his birth. The same source states that he lived till the age of sixty, hence 1405 as the year in which he died. These dates fit in with those of his contemporaries such as Karmapa Rolpai Dorje (1340-1383) and Miwang Dragpa Gyaltshan (1374-1432) and the Bonpo Lama Dru Sonam Lodrö (1337-1401) whom Dorje Lingpa met. Moreover, 1346-1405 perfectly corresponds to the accounts of his life given in his own writings. Some of his songs, however, give years that are inconsistent. For instance, he states that he was in Mön Dangchu (in Shar) and wrote a song in a horse year.19 In the period considered, the horse year has to be earth-horse, 1378 when he was aged 33 and this is contradicted by the letter in which he says he wrote it in 1378 when he was in Rinpung in Tibet.20 In another song he gives a sheep year and says that he was in the place called Benanglung in Thed when he was 34.21 The sheep would be earth-sheep, 1379 and Thed refers to the Punakha district, often known as Thelung in written sources. These dates contradict other statements in for example the song in which he says that he returned to Tibet when he was 31 (1376).22

As mentioned I intend to focus here only on the activities of Dorje Lingpa in Bhutan. In 1378 when he was 33 he revealed more hidden manuscripts and on this occasion he began to have the name Padma Lingpa, which name he often, uses thereafter.23 There is a cryptic suggestion that he returned to Paro in a monkey year which is probably 1380,24 but this remains ambiguous. However, he certainly returned to Bumthang in 1388, aged 42. In this year he was in a place near Mount Kula Khari in Lhodrag from where he came down to Bumthang. He initiated a restoration of Jampa Lhakhang and assigned a person to recite the mani mantra at Kujedrag. During this time the chief of the people who received him were Tshomo Dorje (probably a woman) and the ruler (tsepo) of the four tribes in Bumthang.25 The four tribes (tshozhi) in Bumthang are Chökhor, Tang, Chume and Ura.26

Dorje Lingpa wrote at least two letters to his people in Bhutan in his later years. One, dated 1381, was sent when he was at Rinpung in Tsang. It is addressed to Kunzanggyal who lived in the “Cypress wood forest of the South”..27 This person is described as “the little boy” (buchung), possibly one of his own sons.28

The other letter was written in 1384 at Chuwori. A nun called Togden Sonamgyal paid a visit to him and offered to take the letter as she was leaving for Bhutan. It is addressed to all his disciples and benefactors in Paro, Thimphu, Thed, Sharchog (here it means the Shar disrict), Khothang (in Shar), Phurig (?) Dangchu (in Shar) and Gönyul in Thed (Punakha). In this letter he mentioned that he intended to come to Bhutan in the summer of the current year, but was worried that he might be accompanied by too many followers and that it would be too hot for them in Bhutan. He indicated that he might stay for two months if he managed to travel during the winter instead and wanted to build a “gate” for the Khothang temple as well as to meet all his disciples.29 However, it does not seem that he managed to make the visit. At any rate, there are no records of travelling after 1384 in the Collected Works.

Kubum, the Bonpo Establishment in Bhutan in the Fourteenth Century

Kubum was the place where Dorje Lingpa spent some time when he was in Bhutan. As I mentioned above, one of the principal reasons for visiting Paro was to reveal some hidden manuscripts in one of the caves of Tagtshang. The “Gold Needle”30 is the main work of the manuscript collection. It contains a remarkably original exposition of the Dzogchen doctrine, which he claims to be in accordance with the Bon tradition. In the colophon of this work he signed with the name Bonzhig Lingpa and gives the year pig, which corresponds to 1371, as we shall see.30 In another work he provides a more detailed account of his finding of the “Gold Needle” and its supplementary texts. Here is a summary of the account:

“On the third of the 7th month, earth-bird year (1369) I, Bonzhig Lingpa, was 24 and was at Yartö Chuwori where in a dream I received prophetical indications of finding manuscripts of the Bonpo and Nyingmapa traditions in Tagtshang, Paro. On the 10th of the 1st month, iron-dog year (1370) I, accompanied by Togden Gyabum, went to look for the manuscripts. We found a copper box in the Dzutrul cave which is at Kyangring Chenpo near Orgyen Drubchu. From the box emerged the texts that were concerned with the Chipung tantric teachings31 and Dzogchen texts, such as the Serthur (the “Gold Needle”).32

In the 7th month, iron-pig year (1371) I gave teachings based on my own text the Damtshig Dorje Sempai Nyingthig at the behest of the Lama Kön-gyal at Kubum. It was there that my disciple Rinchen Gyaltshen urged me to reveal the Dzogchen texts of the Bon tradition that I rediscovered at Tagtshang, but I hesitated since the Bon manuscripts were in sixteen different scripts. In a dream, I then had a vision of Padmasambhava with a swastika swirling about his crown. I thought, “this is not Padmasambhava”. At that moment the figure said: “I am Padmasambhava. I am Tshewang Rigdzin.33 I am Shakya Thubpa. I am Shenrab Miwo.... Many texts were concealed in the box that you found. The Bon texts are like the heart... It is now high time that you reveal them to others....” To this I replied: “From my childhood I learned only Buddhism. I have no knowledge of Bon and will be unable to propagate it.” The figure gave a philosophical explanation emphasizing the importance of the Bon and finally said: “There is nothing that you cannot know about Bon. The time has come. If you do not remove the cataract of ignorance from the lens of the eye, what is the use of the “Gold Needle”? 34

On the 21st of the 10th month at Samling, just below Kubum, the seat of the precious Lama Dulwa, whilst I was giving teachings my disciples Tönpa Tsöndru Gyaltshen and Rinchen Gyaltshen urged me again to reveal the manuscripts which were in the Tibetan language, but written in sixteen different “scripts” contained in two scrolls. When I transcribed them all they came to thirty-nine sections (Bontshen) and a list of the sections (themyig).” 35

It is hard to know what kind of scripts they were. In fact Dorje Lingpa does enumerate them (p. 428) including Indian, Chinese and Zhangzhung scripts. I do not mean here to demystify a terma tradition, such as the present one. However, what is certain is that we do have a volume entitled the Dzogchen Serthur and it is dated 1371 and as such there is no doubt that it contains genuine writings of Dorje Lingpa.

The Lama Dulwa Rinpoche is well known in the Bonpo sources. He was known as Tshanden Dulwa Rinpoche and his full name was Dru Tshanden Dulwa Gyaltshen (1239-1293) He was born to the sacred Bonpo family called Dru.36 A member of this family founded Bagor Wensakha monastery and it was the tradition that male members of the family often became its abbots. Bagor is the name of the district in which the area called Wensakha is located. It is to the north of the Tsangpo river and east of Shigatse.

Dru Dulwa Gyaltshen was first an abbot of the monastery. In his later life he is said to have abandoned his monastic community in order to become a recluse and pursue his spiritual quest in solitude. He took up residence in the hermitage of Kharchu in Lhodrag, and also travelled down to Bumthang and Lhoma Ngönlung in Mönyul.37

The place-name Lhoma is a misreading for Lhomön and Ngönlung corresponds to Nganlung38 which is the name of a valley in Shar. The place where the temple complex is located is in a valley called Phobjikha (Pho-sbis-kha in written sources).

Dorje Lingpa enjoyed a good relationship with the Bru family whose seat was at Bagor near Wensakha monastery.39 At a feast Dru Sonam Lodrö (1337-1401) sang a song on the theme of the “Nine Vehicles of Bon”.40 Where upon in reply Dorje Lingpa sang a song called “The Buddhist song of the Nine Vehicles”41 in which he proclaimed that he was also called Yungdrung Lingpa.42

On another occasion Dorje Lingpa gave teachings at Bagor Wensakha based on his Dzogchen text, the “Gold Needle” to eighty-seven people including Drutön Kyawa and Togden Namkha Sengge. At the completion of the teaching a feast was organised and the Lama Nyima of Dru said to him: “Please give religious instructions to our young disciples, instructions that are an introduction to their spiritual practices, so that they can discuss them in the public and rejoice for all of us!” The master sang a song which is in its gist a praise to Dzogchen doctrine.43 All this indicates that in the fourteenth century there was mutual appreciation between the two religious traditions. The “Impartial Way” (rime) which Dorje Lingpa declared that he pursued is further proved by yet another song entitled “The mystical song of the realization of the oneness of the Bon religion and (Tibetan) Buddhism”.44

In another contemporary source Pa Ten-gyal Zangpo states: “this Yungdrung Lingpa of our time is said to be a descendant of a tantrist family in the vicinity of Samye. When he was twenty-three he received prophecies and went to Tagtshang in Paro from which he extracted manuscripts of the Dzogchen Serkyi Thurma that had been concealed by Vairocana....”.45

To the findings at Tagtshang, I should add the volume of the Tsewang Pöyul Ma which the Bon tradition maintains to be the terma of Yungdrung Lingpa. As mentioned above the most odd thing about this work is that it contains the story of Dranpa Namkha, the Bonpo sage, as the father of the twin sons who are Tshewang Rigdzin and Padma Thongdrol (=Padmasambhava).46 However, it does not seem to be mentioned anywhere in the collected works of Dorje Lingpa so far published. The chief deity of the Tshewang Pöyul Ma ritual cycle is Tshewang Rigdzin which name, as we have seen, appeared in his dream. The ritual cycle is very popular among the Bonpo and it is performed with the chanting and music that has no parallel among the Bonpo ritual traditions.

Where is Kubum Then?

It was Michael Aris (1979: 151) who mentioned Kubum for the first time in his work, but did not elaborate on it.47 Researching into Dzogchen, I, in the 1980s became aware of the considerable importance of the role Dorje Lingpa had played in the development of Dzogchen thought. I therefore made a résumé of the “Gold Needle” and discussed the singular way in which the author has presented Dzogchen in accordance with what he considered as the Bon tradition (Karmay 1988: 216-219).

As seen, Dorje Lingpa claimed that he revealed the manuscript of the work in question and its supplementary texts from one of the caves of Tagtshang in Paro and later edited it at Samling near Kubum.

In 1999, while travelling in Bhutan, I literally stumbled over what looked like a Drukpa Kagyupa temple. Once inside I found the usual figures of the Drukpa and Nyingmapa orders in the form of images and wall paintings which looked to be of recent origin. The ground floor was still under renovation. On the wall high up on the right-hand side as one enters the temple, a monk is painted in the flying position in the sky with an inscription mentioning Tshanden Dulwa Gyaltsen.

On the first floor, the only storey of the building, at the west side there was a room that had the appearance of an ordinary gönkhang. In it an ancient drum stood beside a seat; in front of the seat there was a small table covered with thick dirt over which lay a much used manuscript of poti format. On the walls of the left-hand side were affixed as decoration what is known as tsakali, miniature paintings, normally used in initiation rites; on the wall of the right-hand side was hung with helmets, swords and shields. The room had also an inner sanctuary with wall paintings and inside it was totally dark.

I picked up the dilapidated manuscript just out of curiosity. To my great surprise it contained a long prayer to Tshanden Dulwa Gyaltsen and the main text of the Bonpo ritual cycle known as Walsel48 It was then clear to me that I found myself in a building which was formerly a Bonpo establishment. For some reasons the gönkhang was kept for the propitiation of Bonpo deities despite the fact that everything else has changed.

The temple complex is situated up in the valley of Phobjikha on the edge of a small village called Phobjithang and hidden away by the low ridge of a green mountain so that it cannot be seen from the distance below, but from its own position up in the valley it has a magnificent view over the whole valley with its fertile basin where there are marshes and in Bhutan it is one of the home of the black-necked cranes coming from Tibet for the winter period. It is about four kilometers to the north-west of Gangteng monastery.

Below the temple, there was the ruin of what looked like a trace of a burned temple. A half destroyed stupa still stood inside the torn and half standing walls. In the accounts of Dorje Lingpa the complex of the temple buildings had consisted of two separate establishments, one was Kubum and the other was Samling which was situated just below Kubum and that was where he said he stayed.49 Perhaps the ruin is the trace of the establishment called Samling.

Modern Bhutanese Sources Concerning Dorje Lingpa and Kubum

Among the well known modern Bhutanese historians, Lopön Nado (1986: 73) in his exceedingly interesting work has mentioned Dorje Lingpa, but makes no remark about Kubum. Lopön Pema, who is also considered as an authority on the history of Bhutan, passes it in silence altogether. However, Gedün Rinchen, better known as Geshe Dragphupa, the 69th Je Khenpo, i.e. the head of the Drukpa Kagyu, the state religion in Bhutan, has in passing devoted a short passage to Kubum in his BN. It is written in the traditional style of the chöjung type of work and was completed in 1972, a truly monumental work on the historical development of Buddhist institutions in Bhutan. Here is a translation of the passage on Kubum:

"As the Bon religion was established in Tibet before Buddhism flourished there, so it was also established in Bhutan during the period of the later diffusion of the Doctrine. From the seat of Yungdrungling (monastery) in Ralag where was upheld the religious system of Shenrab, the Master of Bon from Zhangzhung, the Zhabdrung Tshanden Dewa came to this country. He gradually established his seats by founding Kubum monastery in Shar and (another seat) in Sewagang, etc. and so the religion spread (in this country). To this day, performing of the atonement rite according to the Bon tradition and the propitiation rite to Sri Gyalmo have continued (at these establishments)."50

Yungdrungling is one of the three Bonpo monastic establishments in Central Tibet. It was founded only in 1834 and is situated above the village Ralag to the north of the Tsangpo river on a plateau just across the river where the well-known ferry Tagdrukha is located. The name Tshanden Dewa is certainly a deformation of Tshanden Dulwa. In this case the term bde ba is simply an onomatopoeic mispronunciation of 'dul ba. It is about Dru Dulwa Gyaltshen (1239-1293) who was often called Tshanden Dulwa and whom I have already mentioned above. The term tshanden (mtshan dang ldan pa, lit. "one who possesses marks") is often used as a title for a master considered highly qualified. In a song Dorje Lingpa applies it to Padmasambhava as "father, the Lama who possesses all the marks".51 It is interesting to note that the Je Khenpo uses the title Zhabdrung for this Bonpo Lama even though it is not often used among the Bonpo themselves and in any case never for the Lama in question.

Sri Gyalmo is of course Ma Sripa Gyalmo, the Bonpo religious protectress whose image is painted on the wall in the inner sanctuary of the gönkhang in Kubum. I have not been able to find any information with regard to Sewagang, obviously the name of a place.

The passage written by the Je Khenpo which I came to analyse suggests that Kubum would seem to have been founded by Tshanden Dulwa Gyaltshen and this agrees with the words of Dorje Lingpa who clearly stated "Kubum, the seat of Lama Rinpoche Dulwa". Kubum therefore was founded in the thirteenth century by Tshanden Dulwa. The passage also suggests that the transformation of Kubum into a Buddhist temple might have been of a recent date. The Je Khenpo was writing his work in 1972 and he emphatically stated "to this day" implying that the place was still a Bonpo establishment.

The Songs of Dorje Lingpa

There are no real detailed accounts of Dorje Lingpa's life. No "biography" of the namthar genre exists except a sketch account called namthar included in the collected works.52

Apart from the bulk of the ritual texts of terma origin, which make up the whole of the collected works, Dorje Lingpa wrote a number of songs in verse. In this enterprise he seemed to have formed a habit of writing down as soon as the daybreak began what he could remember of religious instructions and prophecies that he believed to have received from the sages in his dreams during the night. There are other types of songs containing didactic verses. A certain number of these songs are dated. I call them simply song, but in fact they are mostly what is known as gur, "mystical utterance", a connotation of the term that developed later in the Tibetan religious tradition. They are improvisations and often given on the spur of the moment when one of the faithful asked for them. While he was in Bhutan he wrote a number of them. One of these was specially aimed at the monks and nuns for whom he seems to have developed a profound attachment, but comments on the behaviour of some of them in the following terms:

"Investigating well about the Dharma How few in fact there are here among the learned Lamas and monks! Outwardly they look like monks, but they deceive the people! I, Dorje Lingpa depart to meditate in solitude.

Food and wealth are offered in faith A prayer is said for them, but in reality they are used to feed one's own family Blind leads the blind! I, Dorje Lingpa depart to meditate in solitude.

No interest in salvation from the Samsara, All they hope is for solving the immediate problem, such as illness. They are the benefactors who have no thoughts of hereafter! I, Dorje Lingpa depart to meditate in solitude.....

Learning how to write and read When hoping to be a learned person One sees them carried away by the demonic girls! I, Dorje Lingpa depart to meditate in solitude.

Learning and taking "refuge" When hoping one day to expound classics and philosophy One sees them sinking in the impure mud of women! I, Dorje Lingpa depart to meditate in solitude.

Starting to learn how to meditate When hoping to become a spiritual master Their minds are seized by the lap of women

I, Dorje Lingpa depart to meditate in solitude....." 53

Not long after his return to Tibet, he is said to have paid a visit to Chöje Barawa, a friend of his, in Shang. This is probably Barawa Gyaltshen Pelzang (1310-1391) who is known to have made visits to Bhutan on two occasions. There is an interesting story that tells how Dorje Lingpa was received by a conventional establishment after his roving about in such a country as Mönyul in the fourteenth century.

When Dorje Lingpa arrived at the Shang valley in Tibet, Barawa came to meet him bringing a pot of chang, a carcass of mutton and a roll of white nambu cloth as gifts. He said to Dorje Lingpa: "our country Shang is a place where Buddhism flourishes. You have been for too long in Lhomön, "the unlit land". Your clothes are worn out. Tomorrow morning when you come up, the monks and nuns will pay you their respects. You must dress yourself properly. Otherwise our people will be shocked. I request you and your entourage all to come well dressed." Barawa went home. The next morning a procession came along with the chief ladies wearing tiger and leopard masks led by Lamas and learned monks. Thereupon, Dorje Lingpa said: "All the Samsaric and Nirvanic elements are much alike, but men of religion here have taken the notion of acceptance and rejection as their main religion. Today I shall sing a song. Each man must hold the hands of a woman in chain fashion!" He led the Lamas by holding the hands of Lama Tongdenpa with his right hand and the hands of the chief lady wearing a mask with his left hand. The lap parts of their dresses were trussed up on their right and left hand sides and they began to dance. He started to sing a song called "The brewing of the chang ale using the annual provision":

"Say that Dorje Lingpa, the chief of impostors, has come to this land. Say that all the (barley), the provision to last all the year round is now being used for brewing the chang. Say that those who have faith in him are performing the rite of the sacrificial cake. Say that those who gather here are joyous in singing and dancing Say that those who regard him as heretical are vexed (by the presence of him)".54

This song suggests that Dorje Lingpa's behaviour must have looked scandalous especially since his friend Barawa warned him to be decent, but there is no record of what happened after the public meeting between the two. However, Barawa himself is known to have made visits to Bhutan so that they must have had a common interest in the meeting.

Dorje Lingpa has tried different poetic styles which witnesses to his being a fine writer. In a short poetic verse he gives instructions to himself in a self-deprecating tone:

"You claim to be a recluse, but you do more than anybody else; You claim that you do not need much, but you need more things than anybody else; You claim that you do not want to have a fixed place of abode, but you have more than anybody else; You wished to have no enemies, but you have more than anybody else...." 55

The author again writes verses in six syllables on much the same theme as the previous poem, but this time he was suffering from an illness which inspired him to write a long poem. Here are five lines from it:

"You, small minded and naive, From the beginningless Up till now However much you suffer (being in the Samsara). Nothing that wearies you!56...... The texts of the songs are found in the collected works, Vols. 18 and 19 in ume scripts, each in a different hand. They are reproductions of a manuscript set preserved at Ogyen Chöling. These are beautifully executed manuscripts in the ancient style, common among the Dunhuang documents. The words, for instance, ending in a vowel have often the 'a as suffix, e.g. bsngo'a. Another characteristic is the shad in the form of two dots one on the top of the other often found in Dunhuang manuscripts. They are called tershe and this is invariably


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