Chökyi Wangchuk travels in Central Tibet. In the new year of the Water Horse 1942 traveled toward the regions of Ü and Tsang. During the journey he visited sacred places and objects, establishing bonds with realized sages in various places. Upon reaching Reting, he was invited by the former regent,2 who rendered him much honor and who received from him the entire Longchen Nyingthig.
One day during a stay in Lhasa, he set off walking around the Lingkor.
Chökyi Wangchuk in Central Tibet
When he arrived under the Chagpori hill, a young woman offered him a candid skull cup brimming with chang, a drink brewed from barley, and then vanished instantly. The yogin Togden Chamten and a few disciples witnessed this scene. Other disciples with less spiritual capacity saw only him, apparently resting, and in his hand a skull cup filled with chang.
The lama meted out a drop to each of those present, saying “a ho maha sukha ho” and then drank all that remained in the cup. To disciples who asked him how he happened to have that skull cup full of chang, he answered, “The beautiful girl who just left gave it to me a moment ago.”
This story was told to me by two of his disciples, Togden Chamten and Kunsang Tendzin. What could be more extraordinary than this pure vision of Heka Lingpa that manifested concretely?
In a later period, I saw that skull cup several times in the coffer where the master kept relics and sacred objects belonging to him. Although I asked him insistently to tell me its story, I never obtained a really clear answer.
One day, Chökyi Wangchuk conferred on Togden Chamten one of his profound mind treasures, a teaching of the Vajrayoginī,8 and as I happened to be present, I had the good fortune to receive it. On that occasion, Heka Lingpa said, “These are the instructions revealed through the symbol shown to me by the yoginī I met in Lhasa on the Lingkor.”
Another time, on the tenth day of the lunar month, while practicing a cycle of one hundred thousand gaṇapūjas before the statue of Padmasaṃbhava of Yamalung,9 onlookers saw a flash of white light appear suddenly before the statue. Humchen Heka Lingpa remained in silence in the state of contemplation, and slowly the chanting of the gaṇapūja halted. All those present paused.
, remaining in contemplation, said, “Bring me something to write with.” Then, his eyes open, he gazed into space and began to transcribe twelve symbolic characters.
Still in the state of contemplation, he asked Togden Chamten and Kunsang to transcribe, quickly and precisely, what he was about to dictate. Thus in only three hours he transmitted the extraordinary and profound terma Shiwa Yongdü, a text of more than eighty pages.
These are the alphabetical signs that appeared clearly, the twelve profound symbolic characters of the essential practice in the Shiwa Yongdü.
A few years later, in the year of the Water Snake (1953), while Heka Lingpa was giving teachings on the Nyingthig Yazhi, disciples of Togden Chamten asked him for the initiation and explanations of the essential practice in the Shiwa Yongdü. On that occasion I too obtained the transmission.
Another interesting happening occurred when he went to practice a gaṇapūja in the Tragmar Keutsang cave12 of Chimpu. While he was asleep in the state of clear light,14 the guardian of that sacred place, Tsiu Marpo,15 appeared and exhorted him, saying, “The symbolic characters of the Trogyal Yongdü16 can be found upon a rock in a cave of triangular form. Ask the help of the guardian protector of the teaching, and go and find them.”
The following day, before the statue of Guru Rinpoche, he practiced the gaṇapūja and began the offering to Tsiu Marpo. At the end of the request for actions, he picked up a torma17 and carried it to the foot of the rock wall. Heka Lingpa, having clearly identified the cave with the triangular form, sat on the ground together with those who had accompanied him and placed the torma on a stone.
Again those present made offerings to Tsiu Marpo, the protector of the teaching, and asked him to intercede. At that moment a crow flew out of the cave and alighted near them. Slowly it edged toward Chökyi Wangchuk, holding in its beak a cylinder of dark red paper measuring six thumbs. It dropped the scroll on the rock and gazed at Heka Lingpa, nodding its head several times to the right and left. Then, moving very slowly, it gripped the torma and flew off into the sky.
This extraordinary event really happened before the eyes of numerous disciples of Chökyi Wangchuk who had accompanied him on pilgrimage and of many monks and laypeople who lived in that area. Everyone was astonished, and, animated by the stories circulating about this event and by the consequent surging reputation of the master, many people began to gather there, arriving from all directions.
For a few days great commotion reigned. In his heart, Chökyi Wangchug considered the uproar that was causing his fame to soar a demonic obstacle, and to distance himself from it, he fled from that place without delay.
ix thumbs across by four cubits in length, it was written in antique block characters whose slender form, however arduous to read, revealed a marvelous teaching on the actions of the Jampel Shinje tantra. At a later time, because of the kindness of Togden Chamten, I also received the profound instructions contained in the root text and clearly deciphered by Heka Lingpa.
After that happening, Chökyi Wangchug visited many monastic residences, among the principal ones Dorje Trag and Mindroling, where he encountered numerous knowledgeable and realized masters with whom he exchanged profound teachings.
Adren Champa Geleg and Tendar, uncle and nephew, two of the disciples who accompanied him on his pilgrimages to sacred places, recounted to me that one day, while they were in the meeting hall of Yarlung Sheldrag practicing a series of one hundred thousand gaṇapūjas of the Shiwa Kündü, a young woman approached suddenly, holding out a platter heaped with fruit, which she offered with great respect to Heka Lingpa.
The girl then stepped before the statue of Guru Rinpoche, withdrew under the baldachin that surmounted it, and vanished from sight. Heka Lingpa immediately picked up the plate, on which there was only fresh arura fruit, and gave one to each person present.
After these events, he went to Sakya monastery to meet with Trichen Thutob Wangchug and, in particular, Dagchen Kunrin, with both of whom he exchanged profound teachings. The subsequent leg of his journey took him to Ewam Chögar monastery, where he received teachings, principally from Khenchen Tampa, and from many lamas and tulkus of Ngor, notably teachings of the Lamdre tradition and a complete monastic ordination from the khenpo, who conferred on him the name Jigdral Tubpai Tenchö Chökyi Gyamtso.
While he was there in 1942, a messenger arrived both with the news that Tsewang Düdul, the great king of Derge, had died without warning, and with the request that ritual practices for his death be done. From that moment, for approximately a week in the Thartse palace of Ngor, the khenpo, his disciples, and all those who were linked by the same teaching united to perform a perfect practice for the dead king.
Sometime later, on the return trip, on a clear and mild day, as they were nearing the Thanglha massif, they stopped for a short rest.
Chökyi Wangchug said, “Now prepare an abundant serkyem.” Once the disciples who were accompanying him had readied copious offerings for the local divinity Thanglha, he added, “Bring me an ashe scarf to present to Nyenchen Thanglha.” Adren Champa Geleg offered a nyinmo deleg scarf of excellent quality. Immediately thereafter, the lama in the state of contemplation repeated the life mantra of Thanglha several times. Rolling the ashe scarf from its ends, he knotted it and flung it skyward, where an unexpected vortex of wind conveyed the scarf in the direction of Thanglha.
This scene was witnessed by his disciples and also by most of the monks from eastern Tibet traveling with him who had gone to central Tibet to receive the Lamdre teachings and the complete monastic ordination. Thus his celebrity spread in the entire region of eastern Tibet. From that moment on, an unshakeable faith and an attitude of absolute obedience were acquired by Adren Champa Geleg and various other individuals who were traveling with him.
When he arrived in the region inhabited by the nomads of Nangchen, he exorcised an evil spirit that had possessed the body of a man, driving him insane. The spirit, defeated in the end, snarled, “You may have driven me out, I, the one who has provoked the disturbances of this man, but now I will seize his vital energy.” These words were pronounced in a clear voice while the dogs outside the tent howled.
The following day, the man, although he was himself again and no longer crazed, was so completely lacking in strength that he was unable to move. For three days, Chökyi Wangchug and a few disciples practiced a ritual to ransom his vital energy, and freed him definitively.