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Wisdom Spotlight - Issue #7 - Chokling Tersar Lineage


Wisdom Spotlight

August 4 · Issue #7 · View online

A monthly spotlight on Dharma education and practice resources from Samye Institute.

Chokling Tersar Lineage
2020 is the 150th Parinirvana Anniversary of Chokgyur Lingpa, the tertön (treasure revealer) and founder of the Chokling Tersar Lineage. 
The Importance of Lineage
This auspicious number encourages us to consider the importance of lineage, which goes beyond a simple inheritance. The oral transmission lineage began when Buddha Śākyamuni revealed his enlightenment and path to his five former comrades. It is a sacred trust through which the integrity of the Buddha’s teachings is preserved and is transmitted from one generation to another–by an authentic teacher to an accomplished devoted student. The recipient then becomes a lineage holder and is given the responsibility to preserve and maintain the lineage without degeneration of the purity of the essential transmissions.
The Chokling Tersar Lineage combines several unique features
Orgyen Chokgyur Dechen Zigpo Lingpa was the manifestation of Damzin Murub Tsenpo, the primary heart disciple and dharma regent of Padmasambhava. His appearance in this time of degeneration signified the need for clear and profound dharma, meant for this particular time. The Chokling Tersar termas were revealed and written down only a century and a half or so ago giving it a contemporary feel. The texts are concise, and straightforward, yet beautiful, which is compatible with our contemporary lives. Chokgyur Lingpa collaborated with Jamgön Kongtrül and Jamyang Khyentsé Wangpo in the inclusive spirit of the Rimé movement. They became revered as the “three family lords.”
There is a particular vibrancy when the transmissions take place between parent and daughter or son who are respectively authentic and accomplished. The Chokling Tersar has been passed down through blood relations for five generations to the living four sons and two grandsons of Tulku Urgyen Rinpoché. Chokling Mingyur Dewé Dorjé Rinpoché, Phakchok Rinpoché’s father, holds the Tsiké incarnation. This short, or “close” lineage thus has the advantage that it has not been tainted by the stains of samaya violation. The beautiful supplication “Brilliant Sunlight of Threefold Devotion” AKA “The Damdzin Namtrül” lists all the principles and family lineage holders and can be found at
Tulku Urgyen Rinpoché -the great-grandson of Chokgyur Lingpa- and Dilgo Khyentsé Rinpoché (an emanation of Jamyang Khyentsé Wangpo), who are still in living memory to students worldwide, gave transmission of the Chokling Tersar lineage to many prominent masters of the 20th century and some of the foremost teachers of today. Notable among these were the XVI Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpé Dorjé and Kyabjé Düdjom Rinpoché. In addition, the two transmitted the Chokling Tersar upon leading masters such as Dzongsar Khyentsé Rinpoché, Kyabjé Shamar Rinpoché, Kyabjé Situ Rinpoché, Kyabjé Jamgön Rinpoché, Jetsun Khandro Rinpoché, Dzigar Kongtrül Rinpoché, and many more.
The Fourth Neten Chokling incarnation, Kyapjé Neten Chokling Rinpoché, Rigdzin Gyurmé Dorjé, while not blood related, is very entwined with the Tsiké line. He was a close disciple of Dilgo Khyensté Rinpoché and a student of the great Dzogchen master Nyoshül Khen Rinpoché. Neten Chokling is married to Khandro Tenzin Chöyang who is the sister of Khandro Norbu La. Their son has been recognized as the reincarnation of Tulku Urgyen Rinpoché.
Female practitioners and leaders also feature prominently in this lineage. Chokgyur Lingpa’s daughter Mayum Könchok Paldrön, a great meditator herself, compiled and propagated her father’s teachings. Tulku Urgyen’s consort Mayum Künsang Dechen supported the monastery at KaNying Shedrub Ling and was in retreat for much of her life. This continues today as Sangyum Dechen Paldon, the wife of Tsiké Chokling, has been instrumental in supporting Rinpoche’s activities. Phakchok Rinpoché’s wife Khandro Norbu La manages many of his institutions and programs.
The significance, supplications, and particulars of this lineage are beautifully discussed in several posts by Phakchok Rinpoché, great, great-grandson of Chokgyur Lingpa. He also has recommended readings listed below which provides more detail and expounds on the Chokling Tersar Lineage. His online course “Path of Meditation Part One“ discusses the importance and methods for incorporating respect for the lineage in practice.
Teachings Regarding Lineage
Phakchok Rinpoché, in collaboration with Khandro Norbu La, Lhasey Lotsawa Translations, and senior students, has written a comprehensive namthar entitled “The Great Tertön–The Life and Activities of Chokgyur Lingpa. This exceptional and inclusive book contains the life story and activities of Chokgyur Lingpa and reminiscences of his dharma companions, Jamgön Kongtrül and Jamyang Khyentsé Wangpo, as well as others. Of particular interest are the descriptions of the origins of many of our most beautiful prayers of the Chokling Tersar lineage. Commentaries on these prayers are by Phakchok, Tulku Urgyen, and Tsikey Chokling Rinpochés. For more on namthar and how to read them see This book can be ordered at
Blazing Splendor: Memoirs of the Tibetan Master Tulku Urgyen Rinpoché” is an enjoyable collection of stories of the family lineage holders told by Tulku Urgyen. Marcia Binder Schmidt and Erik Pema Kunsang recorded and compiled these touching and informative stories which reveal the lives and accomplishments of practitioners often a century ago. A description of Blazing Splendor can be found on The book can be purchased through Amazon.

Wisdom Spotlight on Chokling Tersar
Several pages on discuss various aspects of the Chokling Tersar and how to incorporate lineage into your practice.
The Path of Meditation Home Practice Program
Phakchok Rinpoché has created an online meditation program that is suitable for beginners to dharma practice as well as seasoned meditators who wish to create more structure for their practice. In the Path of Meditation Part One, Rinpoché discusses the importance of lineage for our practices and gives instructions on how to utilize this inspiring method.
The Path of Meditation Level One - Online Study Course
Lineage Information - Samye Institute
A brief description of the life of Chokgyur Lingpa with instructions on how to study and a recording of the Supplication and Aspiration for his teachings to flourish. It includes a link to the book of the Terton’s life (a namthar). 
Chokgyur Lingpa - Supplicating the Great Tertön - Samye Institute
Khen Rinpoche Inspires with Stories of Chokgyur Lingpa - Samye Institute
Samten Gyatso in Zangdok Palri - Samye Institute
We are often directed to supplicate the Guru and the lineage masters. Here Rinpoché details why this is important. The article has a link to the Six Vajra Line Supplication.
Supplication - Samye Institute
6 Vajra Lines Supplication Accumulation - Samye Institute
Latest Wisdom Blogs
Samye Institute posts regular wisdom blogs, covering various aspects of Buddhist practice, ritual and education. Here’s what we posted in the last month.
Being Loyal to One’s Relatives and Close Friends - Samye Institute
Being Honest and Modest
How to Be Pure - Samye Institute
Educational Resources on Samye Institute
For those of you who want to learn in more detail, we have the following courses available on our platform. Each course is presented in a structured way and also has access to forums and instructor support.
Upcoming Virtual Retreat starting 14th August 2020
This 3-day (Aug 14th-16th, 2020) online practice retreat led by Erric Solomon will be a mix of teaching and experiential exercises based on Radically Happy: A User’s Guide to the Mind, which Erric co-wrote with Phakchok Rinpoche.
In order to make this event accessible to all, fees are based on a sliding scale, starting at $3.
About the Author
Ani Marcia was a resident for 16 years at Rangjung Yeshe Gomde in California engaged in study and center administration. Prior to that she was a student at Green Gulch Zen Center near San Francisco for a decade. She was a midwife and midwife educator prior to her move to Gomde. She now lives in Singapore near her family and is involved at Ranjgung Yeshe Oddiyana.
About Samye Institute
Do you know that we’ve published over 500 pieces of content since our inception? On we offer a large archive of audio, video, and written teachings including many teachings directly from Phakchok Rinpoche.
All of these articles include key points and many offer reflection exercises or contemplations. If you haven’t had a chance to listen to or watch these teachings before, we hope that you will take the time to explore them.
We encourage you to regularly browse the archive or search it for topics that may be of particular interest.
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Here are a few ways you can support Samye Institute and it’s activities.
  • ​A regular or one-time offering - We are a non-profit organization that relies heavily on volunteer and donor support. You can either become a supporting member by making a regular monthly offering or make a one-time offering by visiting
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