First Drubwang Rogza Palge Rinpoche

The supreme Drupwang Rogza Sonam Palge (གྲུབ་དབང་རོག་བཟའ་བསོད་དཔལ་དགེ་རིན་པོ་ཆེ།) was born in the district of Serta Rogza in Dokham. He was a student of the first Dodrup Chen, Jigmey Trinley Ozer and Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje. He was given the vast training of sutra and mantra. His root guru was Dodrup Chen, Jigmey Trinly Ozer, with whom he remained for a long time. In the manner a vase being filled with nectar, he received the instructions in the Luminous Great Perfection Longchen Nyingthig from Dodrup Chen Rinpoche — including the common outer and inner preliminaries, training in Tsalung and Yantra, and concluding with instructions on Trekchö (the originally pure basis) and Thögal (the naturally perfected path).

Dodrupchen Rinpoche did not live long. When the time came for the symbolic proclamations made by the dakinis, he announced that his time of death was imminent. Beginning with Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje, Dodrupchen Rinpoche then gave instructions to his students, along with predictions and aspirational entrustments. Having completed that, Do Khyentse and the rest of his students bowed and made strong aspirations. There was great anguish and broken hearts at the parting of guru and disciple. The inevitable occasion of going separate ways had arrived.

In Do Khyentse’s autobiography, it says, “My attendant Palgey, Lhaksam Rabkar, Lama Orgyen (who was acting as my assistant), Yong Drag, myself and some others went on pilgrimage. Other Dharma Brothers and sisters accompanied us to the confluence of valleys and then returned home.

When coming within sight of Gar lung Lakha, all the others went onward, but Lama Palge and I [Do Khyentse] stayed to do 100 prostrations, making one-pointed aspirations that we be cared for by our Guru without being separated from him in all our lifetimes, that our guru’s mind never be disturbed for a moment, that all our selfish thoughts for our own benefit be forcefully cut and that we be able to give up our bodies and life to benefit sentient beings. We then departed on the path.”

At the same time that Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje visited all the great places in East Tibet, removing the degeneration of Tibet, having established in samaya all the Damsri and Gongpos wandering around in human form and all the nonhumans. With various magical powers, he increased the Buddhist teachings and the well being of sentient beings with the four activities.

From time to time, the dakinis Shaza Khamoche, Simhamukha and so on would descend into Sonam Palge, removing obstacles to the longevity of the lineage holders with various symbolic utterances, and making aspirations and predictions about the happiness of the country.

As it is stated in Do Khyentse’s autobiography, “Next, I went to the pilgrimage site of Mahakarunika [a place in Dokham near Serta]. My spiritual brother Palge went too. We restored our vows in front of the image there and effectively accomplished the fasting ritual. A small amount of food I ingested activated an illness. The very strong pain I experienced was a sign of purifying an impairing obscuration.

After we performed the sadhana practice based on The Self Liberation of Suffering for thirteen days, the statue smiled and the amrita boiled, but the signs of accomplishment that arose were not better than those that had arisen previously. We intensely supplicated the Great One of Oddiyana and then one day, the dakini Shaza Khamoche descended into Palge. At first she only spoke in the symbolic language of dakinis. However, we endeavored strongly in the descent of the blessings and eventually her speech was interpretable as human speech. She said, ‘Do not be overwhelmed by sadness for past actions. In the future, if you don’t care about your behavior in a state of free of constraints, it is certain that one day your life will be wasted and your wishes will be carried off by the wind. At that time, if the dakinis of space become unhappy, it is certain there will be great obstacles to your life and the Dharma. Gather all samaya brothers and sisters, led by your oldest sister (who is an emanation of the goddess Tara). It is necessary for several years to arrange many kinds of positive dependent origination.’

At another time at the occasion of opening the gate of dependent origination, wisdom dakinis descended in person into the seven samaya brothers and sisters, beginning with Lama Palge and Do Khyentse’s elder sister. Simhamukha descended into Lama Palge and it is said that she drew the border of the mandala and so on.

Do Khyentse, the great person who attained siddhi, and this master, Rogza Sonam Palge, were close friends, had pure samaya and planted the victory banner of accomplishment in mountain retreats at pilgrimage sites and glacial retreats.

Rogza Sonam Palge exhibited an ocean of qualities, the signs of the path as taught in the texts of Secret Mantra Vajrayana. Since Rogza Sonam Palge went to high stages of accomplishment, he surpassed the objects of conventional authority. Though it is certain he did many amazing things to restore the declining teachings and benefit migrating beings, because he was one-pointedly committed to living as a hidden yogi, Rogza Sonam Palge’s spiritual biography is very brief. One can only guess at his accomplishments.

This master attained siddhi based on Tsalung practice; he could levitate crosslegged in space. Due to his power of swift running he was able to catch deer and wild Tibetan donkeys [rkyang], using them as mounts and so on. Since this was visible to everyone, he was known as Drupwang Rogza Sonam Palge.

Drupwang Rogza Sonam Palge left for Dzagyud according Do Khyentse’s prediction, and remained hidden in places such as in the region of Karchung and the monastery in Upper Getse called Rigzin Chimey Druppa Shedrub Gatsal, turning the wheel of the Dharma of the Great Perfection.

Dza Patrul Jigme Chökyi Wangpo, Gemang Khenchen Wönpo Orgyen Tenzin Norbu and so on asked him for many profound Dharmas, illustrated by the instruction of the essential points of the Tsalung practice of Longchen Nyinthig. In Patrul Rinpoche’s biography it says, “I trained for a long time with the hidden yogi Sonam Palge in the instruction of Tsalung of the Great Perfection Longchen Nyinthig.”

Further, Patrul Rinpoche said, “I sent a letter to Dola Tulku and his students, stating that they should request the teaching of Tsalung from Rog Lama Palge:

In the presence of the lama, tulku and nephew,

like an old lady on the outskirts of town caring for her family,

I, an old man living in the countryside, make this devoted request.

This Tsalung of the Longchen Nyinthig

was once widespread.

Red and white robes filled the land.

It is now very rare.

Apart from old Lama Palge,

there does not exist even a single lineage holder.

Now there is risk of the lineage dying out.

Please check and see if there is a risk or not

When this letter was read to the assembly of disciples, like bees attracted to flowers, the monks and lay people in the direction of Dzagyud paid their respect to Rogza Sonam Palge in the last part of his life. Rigzin Chimey Druppa Shedrub Gatsal monastery in Upper Getse is known to have been founded during the lifetime of both Chöje Patrul Rinpoche and this master of siddhas.

The lineage of instruction of the Longchen Nyinthig Tsalung from this master is written down in the Stainless Crystal Mirror, The Handbook of the Vidyadhara Lineage of the Yantra Yoga Method for Removing Obstacles to the Completion Stage of the Winds of Bliss and Emptiness of the Longchen Nyinthig. This text was composed by Khenchen Ngawang Palzang also known as Khenpo Ngaga Rinpoche. This lineage comes from Rigzin Jigme Lingpa, Dodrub Jigme Thinly Ozer, Rogza Sonam Palge, Patrul Jigme Chöki Wangpo, Je Wön Rinpoche, Khenchen Kunzang Chödrag, Khenchen Ngaga Rinpoche, Chatral Sangye Dorje Rinpoche, and from the latter, to my wonderful father and to an ocean of disciples. This is one of the main lineages of this profound teaching which is spreading in the world. There are also other existing lineages from that master.

The oral account states that his skin was brown, his eyes were red, he wore a blue chuba and rode a blue horse. He wore a long sword on his belt. Among ordinary people, he did not maintain the attitude of a great lama nor was he self-important. Nevertheless, in the area of Dzagyu, it was well known that human incarnations of the three Bodhisattvas, Mañjusri, Avalokitesvara and Vajrapani, arrived simultaneously: Avalokitesvara in person was Jigme Gyalwa Nyugu; Mañjusri in person was Patrul Orgyen Jigme Chokyi Wangpo; and the emanation of Guhyapati Vajrapani was Drupwang Rogza Sonam Palge. He was well known to the people of the region of Dzagyud, primarily in upper and lower Getse, who preserve stories about him to this day.

Since there were no suitable sources for a biography of this Drubwang, not even his birth year nor the year of his passing can be found. But it is known that he passed away at 85 years of age in the Doring valley in the village of Mamo Nakha. That which is presented here is taken from Do Khyentse’s autobiography, the biography of Patrul Rinpoche, the works of Khenchen Ngaga Rinpoche and adorned with some oral accounts.

This was written by Tulku Dakpa.

Read Dodrupchen Jigme Tenpai Nyima’s In praise of Sönam Palge here

Read the biography of the second Drubwang Rogza Palge Rinpoche here

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