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 https://lhaseylotsawa.org/library/brilliant-sunlight-of-threefold-devotion
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
: 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 www.rangjung.com
. The book can be purchased through Amazon.