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Religious Life and History of the Emanated Heart-son Thukse Dawa Gyeltshen Lham Dorji 2005-12

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 Religious Life and History of the Emanated Heart -son
Thukse Dawa Gyeltshen*
Lham Dorji"
This article relates a few episodes from the biography of
Tuksey Dawa Gyeltshen (thugs sres zla ba rgyel mtshen), the
heart son of Terton Pema Lingpa. Titled "sprul pa'i sres chen
zla' ba rgyal mtshen gyi rnam thar ring chen rgyen mrzes (The
Ornament of Precious Jewel: the biography of the Great
Emanated Son Dawa Gyeltshen), the biography was written
by Jatshon Mebar (Ja' tshon me 'bar). It is difficult to
ascertain the exact period of this biographical compilation,
but Jatshon Mebar acknowledges that it was Benchen Gyep
(dben chen rgyep) and Thukse Dawa's loyal patron Tenzin
(bston 'zin) were inspiration behind the work. It is now one of
the rare documents on Thukse Dawa's spiritual
accomplishments and other accounts of his life. Like any
other Buddhist biography, it contains elaborate descriptive
accounts of Thukse Dawa's life such as miraculous birth,
mythical beginning of early life, destiny of a child's religious
roles, religious activities, mystical experiences, description of
his good deeds, events surrounding his death and lastly his
teachings. The present article also partially relied on some
The author of this biography has identified himself as Jatshen
Mebar. It is hard to find reference to this author elsewhere. He
claims himself to be a simple hermit in the high mountains and
accept that he is not the learned master of debate, phonetics and
poetry, and but a simple layman who is actually unworthy to write
the biography of the great Thukse Dawa Gyeltshen. He mentions in
the biography that he had to write this biography not being able to
bear the weight of the command given by the Drung of Benchen
(dben chen rgyes) and the request of his close friend Tenzin, the
devouted patron of the great son.
Researcher, the Centre for Bhutan Studies
 Religious Life and History ofthe Emanated Heart-son
Thukse Dawa Gyelsten
oral sources to enrich this biography. One drawback is
various anecdotes have no dates even if they provide a wealth
of details on Thukse Dawa's travels in Tibet and neighbouring
There is a huge corpus of literature on Terton Pema Lingpa's
life, but that of his sons are yet come to light, except for oral
tradition. It seems that his biography is not available for the
wider readership even in Bhutan, and absence of research
creates a gap in our understanding of Pema Lingpa's lineage
sons. Thukse Dawa Gyeltshen, the second lineage son was
one of the greatest Buddhist luminaries and Heruka-
incarnate who displayed ten extra-ordinary qualities in his
lifetime. He is the one who possessed ten perfections and the
one who was free from six human poisons. His greatness and
good qualities are summarized in the biography as described
The emanated son is thus born to a great lineage; talented in
every field; invulnerable to false deeds; impartial to every
religion; endowed with six great personalities; the great
protector of every sentient beings; and the learned scholar to
whom the other masters and students alike can submit and
pay reverence. He possessed vigor to reach any places where
sentient beings were in need of his help; possessed power to
clear suffering like medicines to cure diseases; owned enough
resources to help sentient beings like abundant monsoon
rain; his actions (body, speech and mind) commanded
unsolicited respects; he was freed of ignorance even as a lay
person; acquired magical power to transform five elements of
nature; controlled his own life and lived longer than the
average life-time; possessed power to perceive paradise, listen
to sermons and comprehend the Buddha's action; and he was
endowed with wisdom to dispense the sufferings of the
samsaric worlds.
It is obvious from the above abstract that the emanated son
acquired great spiritual prestige in Tibet and played
important   religious   roles,   particularly   in   propagating   the
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terma tradition in Bhutan, Tibet, Mustang in Nepal, and
Arunachal Pradesh, particularly in Shardongkha. He made
substantial contribution in spreading terma teachings in
Bhutan and Tibet at the time of growing competitions
between Nyingmapa and Gelugpa tradition in Tibet. He
traveled across Tibet and visited several great monasteries
and maintained good relationships with local rulers and
ecclesiastical leaders of various Tibetan principalities and
quasi-political units including the Seventh Karmapa Chodra
Jamtsho and Drigung Rinpoche Rinchen Phuntsho. His
contacts with several native leaders and Tibetan clergies were
mostly spiritual in nature, but some of them had political
significance such as his role in bringing peace between the
feuding rulers and religious lords, and the power of his terma
in preventing Tibeto-Mongol war (hor dmag).
Auspicious Birth and Mystical Early Years
Thukse Dawa Gyeltshen was born as one of the three lineage
sons of Pema Lingpa. The two other sons were Khedrup Kinga
Wangp1(mkes grub kun dga' dbang po) and Drakpa Gyeltshen
(sgrag pa rgyal mtshen). Khedrup Kinga Wangpo settled at
Kochung (mKho'u-chung) in Kur-stod and started mKho'u-
chung Chos-rje from which Tenpa Gyeltshen (bstan-pai rgyel-
mtshan) established a branch of family of Dung-dkar Chos-
rje. The ancestors of the present monarch originated from
Dungkar Choje (dung-dkar Chos-rje). Thukse Dawa
Gyeltshen settled at Tra-kar (spra-mkhar) and his
descendants came to be known as Chume Dung (chu-smad
gDung). Drakpa Gyeltshen inherited the temple of Tamzhing
(gtam-zhing) in Chos-'khor valley of Bumthang and became
the principal progenitor of Tamzhing Choje.
Five important reasons are cited in the biography as raison
d'etre for Thukse Dawa's birth - time, place, dharma, father
and mother - all time and context framed. His birth
corresponded to the 'mythic time frame' when Buddhism was
in the state of degeneration, and he was pre-destined as one
of the revivers of Buddhism.  Bumthang was considered a
 Religious Life and History ofthe Emanated Heart-son
Thukse Dawa Gyelsten
suitable birthplace, as at that point of time, the place was
known as Mon though Guru Rinpoche had blessed it several
times. Pre-Buddhist faith, Bon religion dominated the region
and the natives were still disillusioned and less mindful of
Buddha's teachings. He chose Terton Pema Linga as his
father for his virtuous characteristics and upholding his
lineage. Ingenuous and kind-hearted mother Are-mo (also
known as Trimo-spr imo according to Lama Sanga) conceived
him, as she was woman of super-Dakini characteristics of
Khando Yeshey Tshogyal (mkha' gro yes shes mtsho rgyal). It
was also prophesized in terma text called ' brel rtsal that 'in
future, to a person named Pema, the incarnate of rigs sum
mgon pa (three Bodhisattvas) would be born'.
Terton Pema Lingpa and mother Are-mo saw many good
dreams at the time of pregnancy. Are-mo dreamt that she was
in the blissful state of youthful play with a dakinis (attendant
goddesses). In her dreams she saw the simultaneous rise of
sun and moon; and perceived the vajra rising from the sky
entering her head and dissolving into her body. This dream
was ominous. She interpreted the concomitant rise of sun
and moon as indisputable sign of the birth of the
extraordinary child with spiritual qualities like his father and
vajra as the 'unexcelled unborn'. In his father's dream, the
sun and the moon rose simultaneously and the sound
resonated from all directions that the son-to-be can equal
him, if not excel him. Accordingly, the great son was born on
10th day of Earth Female Sheep Year (1499) at Tang
Chelzhong Gonpabi (tang chel gzhong dgon pa sbis) amidst
inconceivably innumerable propitious signs. The sky was
filled with wonderful rainbows, pleasant sounds and wafting
aroma. In his parents' dream, the newborn was being
cleansed by one of the dakinis and saw a group of dakinis
escorting him to a beautiful meadow amid prayers and songs.
He spent most of his childhood in Dechenling and Gangte
(dga steng). Thukse Dawa moved to Gengte Gonpa as soon as
he discovered about the re-incarnation of his father,
Gyalwang Tenzin Drakpa. Thukse Dawa taught and looked
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after the re-incarnation. Several years later, while observing
'gtor bzlogs ritual to dispel bad spirits, the boy left his
footprint (zhabje) on a stone symbolizing his acquisition of the
state of non-self In Mani Gonpa where the ruins are found in
the forest below Kunzangdrak, the boy developed tendencies
to appreciate the masterpieces of his father and grandfather
and gradually mastered craftsmanship in pottery, painting
and blacksmithy (garzo). When he grew up, he began to travel
to various places with his father. On one occasion, when he
was traveling with his father from Chokhor to Bumthang
Chel, a large group of devotees lined the road to see the great
son and receive their blessings. The enthusiastic devotees
saw a huge entourage accompanying them though the father
and son were the only travelers and reached Pemaling
without any other associates. The devotees were perplexed at
this and inquired who actually made up the large retinue. The
great son remained silent, but the father clarified those
acquaintances were super-natural beings who came to pay
respects to the great emanated son, and urged them to give
his son the highest reverence just like the non-humans.
The Seventh Karmapa Chodra Gyeltshen2 (1456-1506), the
most powerful spiritual leader of Tibet and the hierarch of
Karma Kagyu School, rejoiced the birth of Thukse Dawa. He
prophetically extrapolated, "if the treasure revealer was Pema
Lingpa, the son born to him is Dawa," and sent a note that
the son was to be named Dawa Gyeltshen. This name was
also mentioned in the secret prophecy, interpreted as 'the one
who can clear darkness (ignorance) of all sentient beings'.
Amid such respects and praises, a few people actually
resented the birth of this child. Deb Thuba Tashi (thub pa
bkra shis), the adamant ruler of Chokor, and the one who
once tried to defame Pema Lingpa in front of a large crowd in
Tang Mebartsho (me 'bar mtsho), also tried to belittle the
great son. He verbally debased the son in one of the religious
ceremonies in Yuwazhing (yu ba shing) publicizing, 'You, the
sons of Pema Lingpa would not practice dharma but take
wives and roam all across the region." Unable to restrain such
 Religious Life and History ofthe Emanated Heart-son
Thukse Dawa Gyelsten
insult, the son retorted, "We are born enlightened even if we
do not practice dharma," and left his handprint on the stone
to exhibit his super-natural qualities and accomplishment.
These awoke neither fear nor reverence to the son, but Deb
Thupa and his servants went further even to pass the
judgment that the great son's house was shoddier than fox's
burrow. Thukse Dawa justified that for spiritually
accomplished beings like him needed no ordinary houses, for
three realms of Samsara were like Nirvana to them.
Once in 1511, on invitation of the young king (possibly Jo-
'phag Dar-ma) of Shardongkha, lower Mon in Arunachal
Pradesh, Pema Lingpa and his son set out on the long journey
and after traveling for thirteen days arrived at Dungtsho
Karmathang3(dung mtsho skar ma thang) where hundreds of
devotees had gathered to receive blessings and teachings from
them. They stopped in Karmathang for two days and gave
several discourses on the holy dharma to lay-monks and
other devotees. The king arrived at Karmathang accompanied
by fifteen horses adorned with exquisite saddles and soldiers
wearing armours. At that time, the king dreamt that he was
guiding Pema Lingpa and Thukse Dawa to a mysterious place
akin to dragonhead ('brug mgo), profused with precious jewels
(rin chen norbu) where they were being greeted with grand
celebrations in Indian style even surpassing the grandeur of
heaven. When the entourage finally arrived Shardongkha, the
king and queen welcomed them to his palace with exuberant
respect and grand ceremonies.
The king entreated the father and son (yab sres) to save him
and his relatives from the evil force that inflicted his family
for generations due to which his parents and grandparents
mostly died before the age of twenty-five. To obviate such
demonic power, the king's family had to customarily sacrifice
hundreds of humans, goats, and thousands of cattle for
Lhachen Wangchuk (Shiva). The king disfavoured this
iniquitous deed of bloody sacrifices and requested Trulku
Zham-nagpa  (zham  nag  pa-Black  Hat  Incarnation)   in  the
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previous year to relieve the family of such burden who had
the power to protect the king's family only for three years.
Knowing the spiritual supremacy of the father and son, the
king prayed to them "since two great masters are here today, I
pray you-the father and son- to rescue us from such
adversities and bless us with long-life without having to
sacrifice animals." Pema Lingpa and the son assured the king
of protection (skyabs mgon) for next thirty-nine years and
subsequently a son was born to the king.
In the royal altar room, fine Indian thrones were set up- the
middle throne was for Pema Lingpa, the left one for Thukse
Dawa while on the right throne was placed a life-size statue of
Dorji Chang (rdor rje 'chang-Vajradhara) said to have
belonged to the king's father, all surrounded by ritual objects
of gold and silver. With folded hands and unwavering
devotion, the king and royal members prayed to Yabtse
(father and son) to deliver them the precious teachings of
Buddha-Dharma. Step-by-step teachings of Lama Norbo
Gyamtsho terma4 (bla ma nor bu rgyam mtsho) discovered by
Pema Lingpa from Lhodrak Senge Dzong and numerous
sacred empowerment of klong gsel (profoundly clear), dgongs
pa kun 'du' dbang (accumulated wishes-empowerment), gra
poi' dbang (wrathfulness-empowerment), rta mgrin dbang
(Hayagriva-empowerment), phyag rdor dbang (Vajrapani-
empowerment) and tshe dpag med (longevity-empowerment)
were graciously delivered. The thug rje chen po smun sel gron
me dbang (empowerment of radiant light of merciful ones)
was delivered to the public. The king and his subjects
presented them a large number of precious objects, textiles,
and animals on the next day.
One evening, Thukse Dawa revealed his extra-ordinary power
by riding the king's horse which was not tamed and wild that
no one had ever dared ride it. He rode the horse alone
through a thick forest and came to a mountainside where he
dismounted from the horse and left several handprints on
stones. His thoughts penetrated the deepest profundities of
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Thukse Dawa Gyelsten
non-self and came back to the palace unhurt. He received
congratulations on his mount of the feral horse and inspired
considerable admiration of the king and subjects likewise.
Thukse Dawa's return to Kunzangdrak Gonpa- a mountain
sanctuary in Bumthang where most of Pema Lingpa's sacred
relics are preserved, coincided with the offering rituals (tshog
skor) conducted by monks, nuns and several lay-people. He
saw most of them singing songs in a druken state. He rejoiced
the occasion by throwing a cup into the air that remained
floating there for sometime. That night, the valley below also
witnessed several lucky signs, which the people
posthumously ascribed to the great son who modestly
acknowledged that it was not result of his miraculous power
but the blessings of Pema Lingpa and Guru Rinpoche. After
seven days of intense meditation, Thukse Dawa went to his
father to share his meditative experiences. Pema Lingpa
praised the son for the achievements and considered this as
the sign of Thukse Dawa's long life.
Travels and Teachings within Bhutan
Before entering Nirvana, Pema Lingpa entered the samdhi
state for seven days and in the end spoke his last words to all
his sons.
"Listen to me, my sons, and heed my words! All of you are my
blood-descents who were pre-destrned to escape samsaric
torments and become accomplished even without the dharma
practice. All of you are bound to attain the greatness of my
lineage, but be not swayed away by pride. Abide by the law of
'cause and effect' (les rgyu 'bres) even if you become adept
masters. Respect others' religion even if you achieve
profundities and understand subtleties of mind. Pursue your
own spiritual quests but do not neglect others' welfare. Let no
jealousy prevail between you- my sons- but live in harmony.
Learn and practice all my teachings to help all sentient
Towards the  end,   Pema Lingpa's right hand gestured the
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'counting of rosary beads' (phreng ba); Thukse Dawa
understood that his father needed a rosary. He offered him
the rosary who right away returned it to him along with the
ritual dagger (phurba). The great son realized that his father
was going to pass away soon. He prayed to his father to live
little longer [for the benefit of all the sentient beings], but died
uttering syllable "a" several times and holding Thukse Dawa's
right hand. The demise of father left all his sons grieve-
stricken for a long time.
At Pangkhar (spang khar), Pema Lingpa appeared in Thukse
Dawa's dream and placed all terma texts on his head saying,
"Now you have obtained most of the text and oral
transmission from me." In yet another dream, he saw his
father at the holy spot of medicinal water (smen chu) in Chel
valley, indicating him that terma of medicinal substances
(smen rzres) were hidden there. He instructed the great son to
guide a man from Kham (eastern Tibet) [who would arrive at
Tamzhing on 15th day of 10th Bhutanese month] to the same
sacred site and aid him to extract terma. The son deliberately
eluded the arrival of the man from Kham, fearing
embarrassment and enkindling skepticism of terma5 tradition
in the people if the vision proved inconsistent. Instead, he
visited the sacred space with Umze Dendup Pelbar (dbu mzod
ldan grub dpal 'bar) and other relative-lamas on the lookout
for terma; all of them glimpsed a tall man on the way but he
vanished as they reached ter-go (door of sacred site where ter
was hidden). They saw a small stone fissure enclosed with
grasses and leaves in umbrageous corner from where came
forth some pleasant aroma (dre bzang). On delving further, a
radiant human skull was found but failed to discover the
medicinal substances. It was at that time Thukse Dawa
realized that Guru Rinpoche had actually visited the place in
the form of the magniloquent person. The great son
innumerably apologized to Guru Rinpoche for his neglect and
prayed for his help in discovering the hidden religious
treasures. In the end, the great son discovered a statue of
Chana Dorji (pyag rdor)  and a vessel containing mothers'
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Thukse Dawa Gyelsten
skulls of seven generations (skyes bdun a ma thod pa). These
terma were distributed everywhere and whoever got them
gained the karmic seeds of dharma and entered the realms of
At that time, the monks and other Bhutanese patrons invited
the great son Dawa to Dechenling Gonpa (bde chen gling
mgon pa). He accepted and bestowed on them initiation of
kun bzang dgongs pa kun 'dus and empowerment of longevity
surrounded by many miracles and auspicious signs. While
Thukse Dawa was meditating in Chelphu Gonpabi (chel phug
mgon pa sbi), he transpired into three different
manifestations: one physical body appeared inside the temple
of Gonpabi (dgon pa sbi), another inside Pema Lingpa's house
and the third one in Chel. These three manifestations were
said to have delivered religious discourses all at one time to
different groups of devotees.
When traveling to Kurilung, Thukse Dawa and his entourage
halted for a night in a water-scarce place. He was known to
have extracted water from the area using his miraculous
power. Dzongnyer Tshewang Penjor (rdzong gnyer tshe dbang
dpal 'byor) invited the great son to Dowo Dzong to consecrate
thangka (religious painting). The grain-like object was seen
hanging on the sides of the thangka for three nights thus
enhancing the Dzongnyer's appreciation and respect to him.
When the great son was in Kunzangdrak (kun bzang brag), he
saw a vision in which two white and two blue dakinis
escorted him to eternal paradises of Sharchok Ngen-gai Zhing
(shar phyog mngon dgai') and Yechok Tukpoi Zhing (dbus
pyogs stugs po) where his father gave him the final teachings
and empowerment.
The great son and his attendant Tenzin (rten bzed) descended
through the gorge of Naringdrak6 (sna ring brag) in Bumthang
and arrived at lake Barap (sba rabs). Out of excitement, two
of them were engaged in mirthful sport and were trying to
drive their horse into water when the great son stepped on a
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stone and left his footprint. At once he overturned the stone
and concealed his footprint. Later on, Thukse Dawa
instructed Umze Dendup Pelbar to obtain him the stone, but
he returned empty-handed. The great son went to look for the
stone but he too failed to locate it. One night, he saw Ani
Pema Tshodrel (mtsho sgrol) in his dream who informed him
that dakinis7 (mka' 'gro ma) had moved the stone. She showed
him the place where the stone was hidden. The stone was
brought home and later presented to Choje Ngawang (chos rje
nga dbang) and it is still preserved in Paro Lho Lingkha (spa
gro lho gling kha).
Travel to Places in Tibet and Rise of his Reputation
When residing in his seat residence in Dechenling, a girl predestined through his dream that time had come for him to
unravel terma from Nanringdrak. It was to be revealed to
prevent Mongolian (Hor) war with Tibet. He went to
Naringdrak with Tenzin and discovered the terma that was
brought to Dechenling. Chogden Gonpo (1497 to 1543), the
former student of Pema Lingpa, mentor of the king Nyida
Drakpa (nyi zla grag pa) of Gungthang8(gung thang) in Tibet
and also Trulku of Chodrupling Gonpa (chos grup gling mgon
pa), heard about this terma and the associated vision. He
sent the message to the great son, "I heard about terma that
will be effective in preventing Hor war (hor dmag) against
Tibet; we will discuss in a secret place and at appropriate
time about how to prevent the war for the sake of all sentient
beings". The important role of Chogden Gonpo in averting the
Hor war was prophesized by Pema Lingpa, who left the note,
which stated, 'the emanation of Lord Hayagriva, would be
born as Chogden Gonpo to avert the Hor war.'
Upon receiving this message, Thukse Dawa went to
Gungthang and advised the king (mnga ri gung thang rgyal
po) to order his subjects to organize jointly a ritual (hor bzlog)
of war aversion. The general public, elite and humble citizens
alike organized rituals for seven days. The great son, on the
other    hand,    conducted    gtor    rzes    'phang    ritual,    and
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Thukse Dawa Gyelsten
accordingly, thunder of dragon, lightening and hailstorms
heralded from the sky throughout the region even in winter
season. Such supernatural occurrences induced fears in the
opponents, aroused respects of sceptics, and encouraged
adherents to erect gyaltsen (victory banner) on the hills of
Lhunpo9 to mark bravery and triumph.
Thukse Dawa then went to Relphug (rel phug); his advent was
accompanied by three nights of incessant rains. In this place,
he saw a dream in which a dark man whispered to him to
retain half of his treasures in Relphug to ward off Hor war. He
fulfilled this vision and traveled to Tshampa (mtsham pa)
where he stayed for two nights, and moved farther to Saphu,
Yurwog and Tshoyul (mtsho yul) and stayed two nights in
each of these places. He was greeted well on his journey from
Lhalung to Nangso (nang sos), and the people of Taklung10
(stag-lungpa) and Nakartse (sna dkar rtse) rendered his
entourage the warm hospitality. Even Shiga Rinchen Pungpa
(gzhi dga's rin chen dpung pa) came to greet him. He traveled
furtively to many places like Zhablung11 (zab lung), Lhasa,
Yerpa, Samye, and Gungthang. Wherever he went, powerful
auspicating signs of deterring of Hor war were seen. The
probable warfare was successfully forestalled. The Tibetans
ascribed peace and prosperity in the region to the goodwill
and untiring effort of the great son. He gained his eminence
in Tibet and surrounding areas. Trulku Chogden Gonpo of
Chodrupling built a statue of Ugyen Rinpoche as the inner
relics of Dersheg (Bder gsheg) temple. Thukse Dawa
performed the consecration ceremony.
The great son then traveled to three sacred sites of Shar
Lawog: Tagtshang (stag-tshang), Dom-tshang and Ze-tshang
(gzigs tshang) consisting of hundred and eight mountains. For
an ordinary person, it was a day-long pilgrimage in each of
these sacred places, but the great son visited all these sacred
sites within a day by means of his supernatural power. He
brought the statue of Jampel Yeshey Sempa (jam dpal ye
shes sems dpa') from one of these pilgrim sites to Bumthang.
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When the great son was in Shar Gorakphu (shar sgo ra
phug), he went on a casual walk and saw a natural holy water
of longevity from where he collected several 'holy medicine of
long life' (tshe ring), which helped revitalize the health and
vigor of numerous people. Chogden Gonpo and his lineages
turned up there to receive teachings and empowerment.
Thukse Dawa bestowed on them empowerment of Pema
Lingpa's entire terma and also the initiation of Ugyen
Thangyig and Pema Kabum (pad ma bka' 'bum). He then went
to Menthang (smen thang), a new town and met Karmapa
Mekyod Dorji (kar ma pa mi-skyod rdo rje)-1507-1554. These
two great masters discussed in length their teachings and
renewed their karmic connections for the sake of sentient
beings of six realms. They presided over the public blessing
and empowerment ceremonies.
Thukse Dawa was traveling once again in central Tibet on
invitation of Choje Dendup (chos rje ldan grup), when on the
way he encountered military troops from Yardrok (ya 'brog)
and Nagartse (sna dkar rtse) at Lhodrak (lho brag). These
armies were at the verge of waging war. The great son
sympathetically intending to resolve the conflict stayed there
for seven months. He was able to resolve conflicts between
these two opposing armies, as their leaders were all his
patrons (sbyin bdag). The soldiers returned home in peace.
The son then arrived at Denkedrak (gden bskyed gra) where
people of Dargyecholing (dar rgyes chos gling) welcomed him
in a grand fashion. In Kunga Rawa Gonpa (kun dga' ra ba)
too, he was welcomed in the aura of happiness. The air was
filled with aroma of foods from India. At that time, the great
son received a letter from the king Rinchen Phuntsho (rin
chen phun mtshog) of Drigung ('bri gung) stating that the
king planned to meet him. Due to some unavoidable
circumstances, the king failed to come and see Thukse Dawa.
Meanwhile, the people of Nangpa Tashiling (nang pa kra shis
gling) requested the heart-son to visit their place. The lord of
U-med (dbu med) also invited him to Samye (bsam yes). He
declined this invitation at first as he thought he had nothing
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Thukse Dawa Gyelsten
substantial to offer to the great temple. But, he realized that
time has come upon him to re-discover terma in Samye and
decided to go.
Choje Pal Dendup came to greet him (on his way to Samye) at
Kil-Ruru (dkyil ru ru), who also requested him to envisage
through dream whether Drigung Rinpoche ('gri gung rin po
che) would also come. Thukse Dawa instructed Choje
Nyerang (choje nyed rang), Benchen Gyep, Choje Khenrab
(chos je mkhyen rabs) and Lama Kunga Yeshi (kun dga' yeshi)
to individually see their dream and foretell the arrival of
Drigung Rinpoche. Benchen Gyep alone dreamt of
simultaneous rise of the sun, the moon, and stars
illuminating the entire land. It was considered ominous. On
arriving at Gyalchenling (rgyal chen gling), the heart-son
conferred the families of Deb with the initiations of long life
empowerment of the yidam Tandrin (Hayagriva). The other
Lamas accompanying him were again solicited to see their
dreams about the possible visit of Drigung Rinpoche;
Benchen Gyep again dreamt of two swans flying from the
other side of the river while another swan flew from another
direction and met together for sometime, and then departed.
Thukse Dawa interpreted this dream as fulfilment of a
prophecy of meeting with Drigung Rinpoche. His retinue by
then reached Drayang Kharu (gra yang kha ru) where Nya
Ponpo (nyen dpon po) cordially welcomed them and invited
the great son to visit Samey Utse Rigsum (bsam ye dbu rtse
rigs tsum). In Samey, the great son performed three-day
grand religious ceremony of bskong bshag and performed
ritual of Yeshey Sempa (ye shes sems pa) dedicating them to
the temple's guardian deities. Deb Utshel (sde pa dbu tshel
pa) and Chashel Khenchen (cha shel mkhen chen) came to
pay him their respect who were in turn given numerous text
initiation and oral transmissions.
Ponpo Phenyul Choje Mentse ('phen yul chos rje smen rtse)
welcomed the heart-son in Dargyecholing and asked Choje
Pal Dendup to request Thukse Dawa to presage Drigung
Rinpoche's proposed visit. The heart-son replied that Drigung
 Journal of Bhutan Studies
Rinpoche was at that moment in Lhasa [in front of the statue
of chug chig zhey] and predetermined his arrival there on the
next day, which had proved true. The Ponpo was so
astonished with this prophecy and his respect for the heart-
son grew; he spread the words far and wide that Thukse
Dawa was no ordinary being, but the true emanation of triple
gem. He presented him the rosary (nor bu spos shel phreng
ba), silk cloth and a large turquoise.
As envisaged earlier, Drigung Rinpoche Rinchen Phuntsho
and his subjects came to Dargyecholing to invite Thukse
Dawa. Drigung Rinpoche revered the heart-son through 'ati
pu ho' tradition while the great son reciprocated by 'trati-
dzaho' tradition. In view of the fact that the former was the
royal descent of Muthri Tsenpo, the great son insisted that he
should seat on the higher throne. He refused and sat on the
floor with folded hands, focusing his eyes [as clear as the
moon and sun on the clear day] on the great son's face,
shedding tears of intense faith. The sky was cast with
rainbows and people began to gather from all directions.
Eventually, on the request of Drigung Rinpoche and other
devotees, the great son agreed to sit on the throne. Two
Lamas delivered their teachings: the unfaithful were made
loyal; evils were moved to good path; and all practitioners
were inspired to path of virtues. In the evening, two great
masters retired to Lhakhang for meditation. The great son
saw in his vision Drigung Rinpoche as two-faced while
Drigung Rinpoche narrated his previous dream in which he
saw a nun telling him that the great son was the emanation
of yidam Tandin. The nun identified herself as the queen of
Kor. In his dream, the son was portrayed as a red-faced lord
with red hands. He was holding a rosary of lotus (pad ma ra
ga) on his right hand and a holy water glass vase (shel bum
nes chu) on his left hand; water was dropping ceaselessly
from this vase. He also saw a statue of Tandin on his hand,
which he saw was being enfolded in a fine silk and preserved
as a relic. He also saw that this statue was being placed on
high throne and displayed to all sentient beings.
 Religious Life and History ofthe Emanated Heart-son
Thukse Dawa Gyelsten
The people of Henlong Melok (hon long me log) considered the
proposed trip of Thukse Dawa as significant and they met
together to discuss about how to welcome him. Men waved
white scarves and colourful clothes while women sang songs;
the sky was also filled with the music of religious
instruments. The great son gave his teachings and blessings
and unfurled terma or relics discovered by Lama Kuenga
Yeshi. In the end, people presented the great son with gift of
clothes, land and wealth. The great son was likewise invited
to Wachen Teoke (ba chen tu' syes) and meditated for five
days in Rul. He gave lot of religious discourse to the devotees
of Gonling Nishar ('gon gling nyi shar), Sengdongkha and
Tashi Wogphel. Although he was invited to different places, he
could not visit all the places, but those places that he went
were really blessed and elevated them to the position of
Trulku of Dargaycholing again invited the great son to Tibet.
Upon reaching Samey, he met Drigung Rinpoche who
presented him a well-bred horse. These two great masters
discussed elaborately about teachings and decided to give
various teachings and empowerment to the people of Tibet,
particularly to prevent misfortunes and wars. The great son
traveled in the western Tibet where eminent figures like
Utselpa (dbu tshel pa), Khamsumpa (khams gsum pa),
Darapa (sgra rabs pa) and Karpowa (dkar po ba) welcomed
him to their respective places. He traveled further to Monkhar
Namseyling (mon mkhar rnam sres gling) and delivered the
empowerment of tshe rta sbrag and then went to Thrathruk
(khra krug) and Ney Dongtse (sne gdong rtse) where he
conducted several rituals to prevent the Hor war which was
accompanied by so many auspicious signs of fulfillment of
war aversion rituals. Terton Dechen Lingpa also came to see
the great son who showed several termas that he had
The king of Taktse (stag rtse) sent his emissaries to invite the
great son to his palace. The king had many enemies and was
passing through. He had a sword (gri) that was later taken by
 Journal of Bhutan Studies
a monk named Chezang (chos bzang). The heart-son told the
king that the sword was placed in upright position indicating
the coming of war and misfortunes. To prevent the conflict
and peacefully outwit his enemies, the great son advised the
king to go along with his queen to obtain the sword. The king
was obviously reluctant to follow the advice. Consequently, it
resulted in alot of disturbances in the palace. The king and
royal members became afraid of the mere thoughts of fearful
prophecy and, therefore visited the great son with so much of
offerings. But the son expressed his regret that obtaining the
sword would do them no help and predicted several
misfortunes. The king became sick and regretted for not
heeding the advice of Thukse Dawa. The king was made to
bathe in a holy water and smoke of burning incense, but his
health worsened. Seven experts were consulted but none of
them could diagnose the disease; the great son diagnosed the
disease as 'geg-chu' known by this name in the Monyul and
as 'pebe' in Tibet. He made the king to drink a large amount
of wine and cured him. The king in reciprocation organized
grand celebrations and made vast offerings to the great son.
Thukse Dawa traveled to Lhudrup Dzong and blessed Deb
Kunzang and his subjects. He went to Nagartse on repeated
invitations from his devotees. Nagso Rinpoche requested him
to give the public religious initiations and the blessings of
Chador. He visited Nagso Sherig (nag so shar ri), Nagso Drag
(nag so brag) and other places. The people of Lingthongmen
(gling mthong smen) offered him the land. In Nagartse,
Thripon (khri dpon) showed him around several holy places.
Trulku Do-Nga Lingpa invited the great son Dawa to his
temple. The king of Taglung (stag lung) also invited him to
stay a night at his palace. The lineage of Terton Choki
Wangchuck of Lhodrak invited him where in one of the
temples the great son gave blessings of long-life and displayed
the relics of Jowo to the public. He spent a night each at
Lhalung and Tshogyal Drakar (mtsho yul brag dkar). He
stayed some days in Chukher Worwog (chu khyer wur 'og)
and finally arrived at Bumthang.
 Religious Life and History ofthe Emanated Heart-son
Thukse Dawa Gyelsten
In one autumn season, the re-incarnation of Kachen Kunga
Drakpa (dkar chen kun dga' grags pa), Tenzin Norbu went to
Dechenling and delivered the teachings and initiations of
Lama Norbu Gyamtsho, dgongs pa kun 'dus and tshe 'krid
rdo rje phreng ba. At that time, he was immersed in an
intense feeling that Thukse Dawa was the true emanation of
Chenrezi. The re-incarnate of Rigzin Chogden Gonpo, Donga
Lingpa (mdo snga gling pa) attended the elaborate teaching
observances when he saw a white monkey, the manifestation
of Thukse Dawa, which later he began to see as the real
Tandin. He was awestruck with this and cried out of
reverence to Thukse Dawa.
On one event, when the great son reached a beautiful flower
garden at Babren (bab ron), possibly Baribrang in Bumthang,
his other disciples dispersed for alms-begging. The chief
disciple (rgyal rses) stayed with the great son. He asked the
great son why Benchen Gyepa (dbon chen rgyes pa) despite
his kind-heart, intellect and scholarlicism was born in Mon.
He probed further about the deep esteem and importance
that the great son attached to Benchen Gyep. Thukse Dawa
responded saying, "it would be a self-praise to tell the truth,
but mention about Benchen Gyep, Ama Jor (ama dbyor) and
their descendants are found in Sherab Mebar's prophetic
Religious Activities in Bhutan
Accompanied by Lhalung Deb Duddul Dorji (bdud 'dul rdo
rje), the heart-son went to Paro where he was welcomed by
Choje Ngawang of Paro Lholingkha (spa gro lho gling kha). He
delivered numerous teachings and empowerment and even
kept the footprints of his horse. He went to Paro Taktshang
and presented one of the relics of Khadro Yeshey Tshogyal to
Choje Ngawang as sign of immense blessing.
Karma Zilnen (kar ma zil gnon) of Yowashrngshing was
leading secretly the warriors of Chokor in war against the
people of Chume-Trakar. The great son saw this through his
clairvoyance while in meditation in Menthang (Mustang) in
 Journal of Bhutan Studies
Nepal. Out of the concern, he stood up from the meditative
absorption; the simple action as this had larger impacts- the
army of Chokor saw the valley filled with soldier of Chume,
and saw that they were being chased and were forced to run
away. However, the people of Chokor knew that it was the
super-natural making of the great son who in turn attributed
it to the triple gem. Even though, they grudged this defeat,
they did not venture to wage a war with the people of Chume
Trakar then on.
Thukse visited Kheng Buli (sbu li) and Tali with an intent to
build a temple in Tali. On the day of settling on the temple's
site, he gave the public empowerment of long life (tshe byang).
In the middle of this ceremony, he slumbered a while when he
saw in his dream that Guru Rinpoche, Khandro Yeshey
Tshogyal and Terton Pema Lingpa all had come to attend
blessing and empowerment ceremony. The public, however,
saw them in the form of three vultures. It was an unusual
phenomenon which they had never witnessed in their lifetime.
A monk disturbed his sleep untimely, and therefore, the great
son envisaged that some misfortune would ensue to the
people. On that day, the devotees also saw a display of three
kinds of rainbows in the sky.
In Bumthang, a powerful Deb of Thrapa (khra pa) invited the
son where Thukse Dawa's son Dewatsandag (de ba rtsan da)
and other eminent lamas came to see him. The king, queen
and prince of Gyelkhar (rgyal mkar) welcomed him with
heavenly offerings. The king Gawa Gyalpo (dga' ba) also came
to Zangyul Kungarawa (bzang yul kun dga' ra ba) along with
the queen to welcome the great son and organized the public
blessing of long life (tshe byang) and grapo gsum gril.
His lineage Sons
Thukse Dawa married the daughter of Chokor Deb, Buthri
(bu khrid) and seven sons were born to them. There is no
written record of the other four sons. His eldest son Pema
Thrnle was born in 1564 at Tang Chel and recognized as (pad
ma 'phrin les)  the re-incarnation of Khenchen Tshulthrim
 Religious Life and History ofthe Emanated Heart-son
Thukse Dawa Gyelsten
Peljor (mkhen chen tshul khrims dpal %yor). He was brought
up in Samdrup Chodzong (bsams grub chos rdzong) and
mediated in Kunzangdrak and Thowadrak. Later, he
established Gangte Sanga Choling12 (sgang steng gsang sngas
chos gling). His youngest son Dewa (ldhe va) spent most of his
life in Gangte. The middle son was known as Tenpa Nima
(bsten pa nyi ma). While meditating in Tang Dechenling, he
saw a vision in which he was asked to build a temple in three
sided-rock above the Chume river. As envisaged, he started to
build a temple; it was known that the non-humans also
helped to build the temple. The people also saw many white
monkeys helping in the construction, and thus the temple
was named as Tra-khar (spra mkhar). He married the
daughter of Chume Dung, the descendant of Langdarma's
son Yodsung ('od srung).
Back to Tibet
Following his long stay in Bhutan, Thukse Dawa again
proceeded to Tibet on invitations by several of his patrons and
devotees. In Tse-lam (tshe lam), he conducted longevity
rituals for three days. Two Deb brothers of Thrapa came to
greet Thukse Dawa and invited him to a temple. At that time,
Changdrok (spyang bro) and Lugar (glu gar) from Lungar
(lung dgar) came to invite the heart-son. Deb Yulowa and
Sharipa had come to invite the great son but he was already
gone to Jangchubling where he delivered three-day
empowerment ceremony. He then traveled to Kurte (bkur sti)
and Tangrak lema (gtang rag blus ma). He gave the
empowerment to Deb Tenzin of Lhunpo dzong (lhun po
rdzong) and went to Taglung.
In Nagartse, the great son got the message about the coming
of Sacha Rinpoche (sa kya rin po che) the very next day. Since
the would-be visitor was a well-known religious master,
Benchen Gyep discussed with Thukse Dawa about making a
grand reception arrangement for him, but the latter came to
know about this and therefore did not turn up on the
proposed day even though the son invited him. Thus, they
 Journal of Bhutan Studies
had to promise him that no arrangement would be made only
upon which the Lama agreed to come and finally arrived. On
that day, several empowerment ceremonies: rta mgrin dbyan,
phyag rdor byang, drag po' byang and tshe byang were
delivered. Benchen Gyep also offered the text of Pema
Jenshing and other religious texts such as Lama Norbu
Gyamtsho to Shacha Rinpoche on behalf of the great son who
in turn invited the son and Benchen Gyep to Zhablung (zab
lung) to perform preliminary traditional hair-cutting
ceremony for his son but declined the request by justifying
that a palmist had predestined them not to do so and that
Benchen Gyep also had also seen bad dreams or inauspicious
Zhabdrung Nawang Jigdra (zhabs drungs nga dbyan jig brag)
from Shiga Rinchenpung sent two of his attendants to invite
the great son without stating any reason. The heart -son
agreed to go. Before reaching the place, the attendants
informed Thukse Dawa that Zhabdrung Jigdra was the reincarnation of Lhasey Muthig Sangpo (mu tig btsan po); some
said he was the incarnation of Lhasey Murug (lha sres mu
rum); some claimed that he was the incarnate of Lha sey
Damzin (dam 'dzin); and some regarded him as the incarnate
of Mahashri. Whatsoever he was, he was the most learned
man; but was often compelled to commit sins by virtue of
being the king. The great son considered invitation from him
as special, as relative peace and happiness in the region
largely relied on him and thought two of them would also
meet in the next life because of their present karmic link.
With such thoughts of reverence, he moved to Rinchen
Pungpa where he was received by Zhelngo Tshangma (zhel
ngo tshang ma) with grand offering of tea and various sweets,
heaps of raisins, dru and edible goods, much more than the
Lha Tshangpa can offer. He discovered the hidden place of
Gophu which was once blessed by Ugyen Rinpoche. He said
that if the Buddha's teachings were to flourish, the rock
would increase in its size, and after seven days the rock had
grown bigger and broken into three pieces. Prayers of meeting
in the next life were made and these two masters departed
 Religious Life and History ofthe Emanated Heart-son
Thukse Dawa Gyelsten
from each other.
Transmigration to Nirvana and the related Events
For the welfare of sentient beings and more importantly the
land of Tibet and Mon, the great son decided to build the
religious monument (not identified). Benchen Gyep, and
Yonchen Wangdi (dbon sres dbang 'dus) donated huge
amount of their riches and Paro Choje Ngawang Ponlop (chos
rje nga dbang) and the people of Talampa and Dongkarwa
(mdongs dkar ba) offered gold. For the consecration
ceremony, Chozed Drakpa (chos mzod grags) offered khadar
and copper, Yumchen Thara, Yumjor Ashi Ugyen and Aum
Tshewang made a huge offering of foods and drinks. Lhutsun
(lha btsun) bDe'wa, Pedling, Rakhi, Lha-kid also offered the
rituals for the sake of all death souls. Yumchen was no
ordinary woman. Once, in Thukse Dawa's vision (while
meditating in phudrak, Mangdelung), he saw her as
possessing super-natural power of clairvoyance; she was also
seen as instructing Umzed Tshangpa and Kuenga Gyalpo to
open the relics of tutelary deities and make offerings of five
different kinds. On opening the relics, it was found out that
the statue of Tandin was shedding the tears and witnessed
several auspicious signs of rainbows and sounds of religious
instruments. Shedding of tears by the statue of Tandin
symbolized the sad event that was to ensue soon.
One night, Thukse Dawa saw three girls dressed in white,
yellow and red prophesizing him to go to Selphuk (mtshel
phug) in Melak Gonpa's (me la gon pa) which is equivalent to
Maratika13 of Nepal and meditate for sometime. He woke up
and then left for Melak Gonpo. On reaching gyed gling, the
people of Latoed (les stod) and Nagpa Dorji (snags pa rdor rje)
came to invite them but since he had already promised to
arrive at Goen Sephu (gon tshel phug), their invitations had
to be declined. In Tshamdrol Dong (mtshams grol gdong), the
people from Goen (gon), Wang, Kabisa (skar sbis rchang) and
Paro (spa gro) came in a large number to see the heart-son.
 Journal of Bhutan Studies
On reaching his own homeland, people from Latoed had come
all the way from Kulpalchung (bskul dpal chung) to invite
Thukse Dawa and king Gawa (who was among the
entourage). The king Gawa agreed to go, as he thought he
could meet the powerful king of Latoed, while the son thought
it was right occasion to spread further Pema Lingpa's
teachings and uphold his lineages in the region. But, Deb
Ngawang Namgyal objected the proposed visit to Latoed
arguing that the great son had become too old and feeble and
Latoed was far away for him to travel. The great son regretted
the fact that he had to send message of regret through two
messengers who were asked to take lot of gifts and apologies
to the people of Latoed. During that time, a strong request
came to him from Ngartse Deb Tshewang Rinzin to come to
his place, but because of the road conditions, they could
reach only up to Jangchubling and then go to Riwodrak
where he stayed for a month. At that time, he also received an
invitation from Shiga Rinpungpa Norbu Dendup (gzhi dga'
rinchen dpungs pa's Norbu ldan drup). From then on, he
traveled to Chrngna ('chrngs snga), Tagtse (stag rtse)
Dargyecholing, Shigatse14 (gzhis dga% Rinchenpung and
But when Thukse Dawa reached Taglung, his son Ruwa (rhea
ba) and his attendants from Bumthang and Mangde (making
twenty in number) came to escort him back home. When they
reached Dragophu (brag gu phu), son Ruwa looked back and
felt that he would not meet his father. He cried deeply. His
attendant Drakpa (gra pa) consoled him saying that this
would not be the case, but he replied that he saw some bad
dreams and that it would come true. He prostrated thrice
towards Taglung and continued the journey.
 Religious Life and History ofthe Emanated Heart-son
Thukse Dawa Gyelsten
Thukse Dawa arrived at Nagartse, and after several days of
stay there, he became ill. His three nephews and other
followers did everything to restore his health but in vain. They
decided that Thukse Dawa should be immediately taken to
his homeland. Although, the great son wanted to meet
Zhabdrung Ngawang Jigdra (who had asked him to) and
proceeded to Zhabdrung's place. The situation was not in his
favour and he regretted for not seeing him. The entourage
arrived Yaroed (yar sred) where Thukse Dawa's health
deteriorated further; he saw no good visions. He remembered
the prophecy that stated 'the re-incarnate of Tandin is bound
to die upon reaching kharaphu or the borders of the Mon'.
The great son instructed his disciples and religious patrons to
take him further through Lawoglung. The disciples and
patrons discussed among them that it would be even
impossible to get his body remains if they take the great son
to Shiga (gshis dga') and unanimously decided to return.
Upon arriving Ke (skyes), Debs of Pal Dewa (dpal sde)
welcomed him and gave him their great respects and offerings
equaling that of the wealth of Namsey (rna sres). On coming
to Dablung ('dab lung), Deb Yulowa (gyu lo ba) came to see
the son and apologized him for his bad words that he spoke
once against him. He admitted his embarrassment for this
mistake to which Thukse Dawa said 'for those accomplished,
there is nothing like feeling shame; embarrassment by itself
does not exist'. In Nakartse, Thukse Dawa resided in a
Lukhang (klu khang) and told the Deb that his death was
nearing. The Deb pleaded him to reborn in human form to
which the son said can be possible depending on the
His condition began to worsen and his followers all began to
sob. Benra (dben ra) who was one of the blood relatives and
good followers cried intensely; the great son presented him a
sacred statue of Tandin indicating that he should take over
his position when he died. His followers requested the great
son for a final teachings, but the son said that he had nothing
to say except to ask them to furnish the temple that he had
built with relics.  From Lhote (lho stod), Deb Sangdag Dorji
 Journal of Bhutan Studies
(gsang bdag rdor rjes) and Jowo Ugyen Sonam (ugyen bsod
rnams) came to meet the son at Tshamaphu. On the way, the
great son asked several questions about Lhodrak and
Bumthang and asked his followers to join him in visiting
several places as he had little time by then. He went to
Taklung and gave Deb Tenzin and his subjects the
empowerment of longevity who in respect sent Jowo Ugyen
Sonam (ugyen bsod rnams) as the son's escort to Lhote. In
Lhote, people saw rainbows in the sky for days and nights
and considered them as omens that the great son's life was
drawing to an end. The son said that all of them must not
mourn over his death. He said, "for me, there is no difference
even if I die or not." He further said that he would stay seven
days in each of the six suffering realms fkor ba drug) before
departing to paradise. On the 17th of 9th month, Tuesday
(1587), the great son transmigrated to land of eternal bliss.
His body was not cremated but preserved as sacred relic. His
disciples prayed that they would be born as his disciples in
their next lives and mourned for the death soul and made
extensive offerings. They consoled themselves saying 'by
virtue of our prayers and supplications, our connection with
Thukse Dawa will be maintained."
Thuke Dawa's son was at Jangchubling in Kurilung (byan
chub gling) at that time. He dreamt his father (Thukse Dawa)
telling him "time has come for two of us to go, alight the
horse"; Thukse Dawa was seen holding a horsewhip. In
Khenpalung (mkhen pa lung) Phagpa Dawa (phag pa zla ba)
dreamt that his father who had already entered Nirvana
instructing him to come with him. They arrived at a mound of
Tshoyul (mtsho yul) where the Thukse Dawa told him that he
would have grown tired and therefore, must go back home.
He also dreamt that the father was presenting him the gift of
clothes woven out of wool (spu thag) and apologized that he
could come not to meet him when he was alive; it was the
reason why he came to Khenpalung to meet him probably for
the last time.
Two days later, Jowo Ugyen Sonam, Benchen Gyep and other
 Religious Life and History ofthe Emanated Heart-son
Thukse Dawa Gyelsten
disciples made many offerings of scarves and clothes and
wrapped the body with them. The royal families of Lhote
became the great sponsors: supported the son's endeavor to
flourish terma teachings; revered him even after death; and
prayed that their children would conduct meritorious deed in
his memory. Because of their faith in him, rainbows appeared
in the sky after six days. In the same year, extremely cold
places like Laya and Yadrok (ya 'brog) witnessed blossom of
flowers. The body was taken to Zara and arrived at Kharila
(mkha' ri la)- where two rainbows emerged from the high
mountains of Mon. The body was taken to Saphu (sa phug)
and Chukher (chus khyer) where various hermits came to pay
their respects to the kudung (body remains). The people of
Ngang (ngang) above Tang and Karangkhasa (ka rang mkhar
sa) received the body with offerings of wine and woolen
clothes (spu thag). The kudung was kept a night in each of
these two places. Upon arrving at Kikila (skyi skyi la), fifteen
dogs accompanied the kudung for 15 days. These dogs were
believed to be non-humans who came to protect the body.
Devotees from Bumthang came to receive the body on the way
and took it to Trakar (spra dkar) in Chume.
On the 10th Hor month, Benchen Gyep, his descendants, and
non-humans began a year-long Kangzhag (bskang bshags),
confessional prayers for the kudung. Benchen Gyep went to
Tali, where he had promised the great son to re-build the
temple. He offered the temple 300 pieces colourful cloths.
Dewa Drung came to Kurilung and sent four vessels (khro),
four copper vessels (zang) and woolen cloth to build temple in
memory of the great son. Ponpo Tshe offered one copper
vessel, Tangbi (sta sbis) Nima Zangpo (nyimma bzang po)
offered one copper vessel, Benchen Gyep presented six copper
vessels totaling twelve vessels. Paro Choje Ngawang penlop
offered 38 serzho (dram of gold between one or two pound),
Deb Yulowa offered three serzho, Deb Butshe (bu tshel)
offered one serzho, Shiga Rinpungpa offered 40 Zhabdrung's
silver dram, the king Sadag (sa bdag) offered 100 silver
drams, Deb Tenzin offered 100 quicksilver to be used to build
the statue of Buddha Sakya Thupa of 11 finger spans. The
 Journal of Bhutan Studies
temple was built in his memory (possibly in Trakar- the name
ofthe temple is not mentioned). The inner relics and statues15
were sponsored by Yum Paljor (dpal 'byor). Benchen Gyep
also sponsored the mural paintings16. The grand twenty-one
types of consecration ceremony was presided over by Thukse
Dawa's son and Benchen Gyep. Countless miraculous signs
appeared indicating good forces. In the end, the kings,
religious lords, the descendants and other devotees offered
vast prayers for the well being of all living beings and decided
that there was no better way to repay kindness of
unsurpassed Thukse than to dedicate themselves to virtuous
The local oral sources hold that today the lower part of body
relic of Thukse Dawa is now contained in Trakar Lhakhang
while the head is preserved in Trongsa Dzong. For some time,
the body was kept in Trongsa Gaga; people of Chume had to
take trouble traveling to Gaga every year to perform Peling
Kuche (sku chos) in Gaga, and once discussed to bring the
body relic to Trakar. They went with lavish amount of drinks
and in the end of the Kuche, served the people of Gaga with
plenty of drinks. While they were enjoying the excessive
drinks, some men from Chume stole the body and ran away
towards Chume. On realizing that the body had been stolen,
some people from Gaga followed the steps and brought back
its mummified head while the lower part of the body was
taken to Trakar.
One can make out from the above historical accounts that
Thukse Dawa was an extensive traveller, preacher, and a
great visionary. He had traveled widely in Tibet and
neighbouring states, giving his teachings to people, high and
low, and guiding them to virtuous paths. His religious
teachings aside, he had tried to inspire and transcend the
shortcomings of the various Tibetan rulers, and make effort to
live in peace and harmony. Thukse Dawa was not only
popular among the great religious and provincial rulers of
 Religious Life and History ofthe Emanated Heart-son
Thukse Dawa Gyelsten
Tibet but commanded respects and faith from the provincial
rulers (dpon) and religious lords (chos rje) of Mustang and
Arunachal Pradesh. Even though, this paper contains more of
the great son's travel to Tibet, it adds some new information
on the lineage of Pema Lingpa in the form of some small
biographical accounts. From the biography, we get the notion
that he spent tremendous amount of time traveling in Tibet;
but this should not mislead us that his religious activities
were confined to Tibet and remote border regions. He would
have done so much in his native land, which remains up to
this day as unexplored field of research. I pray that more
such biography shall be found out in the course of time to
enrich the historical research on this great heart-son of Pema
Lingpa. I conclude with homage to all the enlightened beings!
Sanga, Lama (1994). 'brug gi smyos rabs gsel bai' me long,
Tshewang,   Pema,   et   al   (1995).   The  Treasure   Revealer   of
 Journal of Bhutan Studies
1 He was born in Budren in 1505, settled in Khochung-situated near
Khenpa Jong and started the family of Khochung Choje. His great
sons- Dreka and Langkha started the family of Dungkar Choje from
where Jigme Namgyal, the father of the first hereditary king of
Bhutan descended. His body remains are housed in Bartsham
Bremung Lhakhang. The other name of this Lhakhang is
2 Known as the emanation of Avalokiteshvara who maintained good
previous karmic connection with Pema Lingpa in three lives.
Karmapa Chodran Gyamtsho was recognized as having powers that
any siddhas from Bhutan, Tibet and India could surpass, who
revered Pema Lingpa and invited him to Rinpung to receive his
terma teachings.
3 Dungtsho Karmathang is the Lake is located above the hill of
present day Khar. Terton Pema Lingpa (1450-1521) revealed a ter (a
sacred hidden treasure) from this lake. The lake dried up later and
the humans started to settle in this place; these settlers became the
ancestors of Khoche nobility in Dungsam Mipham Tenpai Nyima
(1567-1619), the father of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal also visited
this place. A mysterious epidemic struck the settlement at Dungtsho
Karmathang, and the people died except for two khoche brothers
who escaped to others places. The ruins of Dungtsho Karmathang
can be still seen submerged beneath the earth today.
4 The secret guideline to the religious treasures mention about
Lhodrak Drak Karpo which said thar 'mind terma' would be found
inside the cliff looking like a lion. This terma was extracted in the
tenth day of eigth month in the Rabbit year by Terton Pema Lingpa.
5 Termas are religious treasures of three kinds: objects such as
statues, bells and ritual daggers, religious texts and holy medicinal
substances that are revealed by tertons.
6 Pema Lingpa stood on the rock at Naring Drak above Mebar tsho
and jumped into the swirling waters under the coercion of Deb
 Religious Life and History ofthe Emanated Heart-son
Thukse Dawa Gyelsten
7 In Dzongkha mkha' 'gro ma, meaning female guide or sky farer
8 Lama Zhang (1123-93) founded Gungthang monastery near Lhasa
in 1175 in the district known as Mtshel after which the school was
9 The mount of Tashi Lhunpo near Shigatse. There is an important
monastery which was founded by Tshongkhapa.
10 Taklung monastery was founded in 1185 by Thang-pa
11 Zhablung monastery was started by Bus-ton where he spent his
whole life.
12 'brug gi myos rabs gsel bai' me long by Lama Sanga, 1994
13 Maratika is located in Solu Khumbu region of Nepal where Guru
Rinpoche had practiced the means of attaining longetivity. Buddha
Amitayus the Buddha of Infinite Life) actually appeared to Guru
Rinpoche at the cave and granted him the power to control the
duration of his life. Guru Rinpoche is believed to have attained the
state of immortality after drinking water.
14 Monastery of Tashilhunpo is located near Shigatse and was once
dominated by the powerful prince of Rinpung
15 The statues were of: Ugyen Rinpoche, Khando Mendarawa, Khadro
Yeshi Tshogyal, Pema Jungney, Nima Yoezer, Shakya Singe, Singye
Dradrok and Dorji Drolo.
16 The mural paintings were of Cheku Kunzang Yabyum (chos sku
kun bzang yab yum), Longku Dorji Sempa (longs sku rdo rje sems
dpa'), Trulku Garab Dorji ( sprul sku dga' rabs rdor rje), Rinzin Shri
Srinda ( rig 'zin shri ri srhi), Ugyen Pema Jungney ( orgyan pad ma
'byung gnyes), Machig Yeshey Tshogyal, Lotsawa Viaroccana, Terton
Pema Lingpa, Thukse Dawa Gyeltshen, Wangchen Tandin, Phurpa
Dorji: On the door, there were also the painitings of : Dorji Namsum,
Eight forms of gods- Kuwi Rinzin Jampel Shenyen, Sungi Rinzin
Ngazuna, Thuki Rinzin Huchen Kara, Yonten Rinzin Dewa Chantra,
 Journal of Bhutan Studies
Drey Ngaigi Rinzin Shente Grapa, Choje Ngagi Wangpo, Choje
Kencho Zangpo, Choje Drukpa Gyalpo. In the right room were the
paintings of: Ngade Ngang, Guru Chewang Ledresel, Dorji Lingpa.
Dorji Zhey, Marmezhey, Shaya Thupa, Jampa Gonpo, Tsepame,
Sangay Nampar Nangze, Rigsum Gonpo, Nampar Gyalmo, Gyalwa
Choyang, namkhai Nyingpo, Ludrup Nyingpo, etc.


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