The History and Background of the Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik Teachings


Lerab Ling, 18 August, 1996

Nothing but the truth - conversations with Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche

The History and Background of the Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik Teachings

Lerab Ling, 18 August, 1996

Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche gave this teaching the day before Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche gave the Rigpa Sangha and many other students, the elaborate empowerment of Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik. 


The Vinaya teachings report that the Bhagavan Buddha said, “Gather with friends to talk about the Dharma.”

And the Tantras say [1],

If you do not explain its history
You run the risk of people not trusting
The great secret ultimate teaching.

So first, the history must be explained. This means that when you give the great secret ultimate teaching, if you do not explain its history, those receiving the teaching will not trust it. Lack of trust is a problem, and that’s why recipients should first be told the history of the teaching before they receive it. This is what the Tantras say.

Therefore before a teaching is presented, to inspire the minds of those about to receive it, it is important to go into its background and origin.

1. The Five Perfections

First of all, you should know there are two ways the right circumstances come together. One is to create the auspicious conditions, and the other is that the conditions arise spontaneously, they are not created. On this occasion, all the right conditions have manifest spontaneously as all five perfections have come together naturally to create a situation that’s quite exceptional in this world.

Since everything arises interdependently, interdependent circumstances are of the utmost importance. As the perfectly enlightened Buddha said,

Not even one thing exists
That has not dependently arisen.[2]

It is because of ‘interdependence’ that all things, all phenomena in both samsara and nirvana, the good and the bad, appear and exist. Today, interdependent circumstances have naturally come together for this empowerment and I would like to tell you how I think that’s happened.

Perfect Place

Sogyal Rinpoche came to Europe many years ago and has taught all over the continent, particularly in France. And in France he found this place, Lerab Ling, which has been blessed by the two great Holinesses – Dudjom Rinpoche and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. Their blessings make it an extremely sacred place.

About a year ago, the incarnation of the all-knowing lord Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, made a prophesy. He said that if in a special place – like Lerab Ling – a Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik fire ceremony were performed, it would be extremely beneficial for the spread of the Buddhadharma generally, for specific teachings, and for the long life of Sogyal Rinpoche, his work and his students.

Perfect Time

The time is also excellent. We have gathered here during the summer, which is a time of growth and the increase of longevity, merit etc. Everything grows – branches, grass, trees, forests. It’s a time when beings naturally feel uplifted and want to celebrate.

Perfect Teacher

On top of that, as an expression of exceptional merit, Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche’s incarnation, Thubten Chökyi Gyatso [Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche], came to France to do a drupchen in the Dordogne, where he was joined by the incarnation of Chokgyur Lingpa who brought with him the right number of monks. So all the right circumstances have come together naturally, without having to be arranged or organized.

These two great incarnations – of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa – are also the incarnations of the Dharma King Trison Deutsen and his middle son Damzin Murub Tsenpo. For thirteen generations, the incarnations of these two great tertöns have maintained a connection as close as that of a father and son.

Specifically, with Jamgon Khyentse Wangpo
You have awakened the karmic link of father and son.
I supplicate you who, merging your minds as one,
Have opened hundreds of doors to wondrous coincidence. [3]

When the karmic connection between father and son was awakened, the minds of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa merged as one. As a result, in Tibet they were able to spread once more the treasury of dharma known as the ‘seven transmissions’, in a way that no other tertön could.

Along with these two great incarnations of the father and son, the Sangyum of Dorje Chang Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö herself is also here – which is so remarkable that I can hardly believe it myself. Many termas include prophecies about her, saying she is the incarnation of Shelkar Dorje Tso, the embodiment of all wisdoms and of all objects of devotion and reliance. So for Khandro Tsering Chödrön to be here is quite extraordinary.

As if that weren’t enough, the great Dzogchen teacher and light for the whole world, Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche, Jamyang Dorje – omniscient Gyalwa Longchenpa in the flesh – is also here.

Perfect Teaching

These are the conditions in which, over the next two days, the mandala of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo’s mind terma known as the Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik will be opened. The Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik will be the basis of our drupchö practice and fire puja.

The ripening empowerment in the elaborate abhisheka of Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik includes preparatory practices and a main section. There are three kinds of empowerment in the Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik: simple, medium-length and elaborate.

Of course, all the Buddha’s teachings are imbued with tremendous blessings, but the blessings of secret Mantra Vajrayana are especially powerful. Particularly the Mahayoga approach which emphasizes kyerim practice, and is the approach followed in the Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik. The Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik is a Mahayoga practice that condenses the special yidam deity of the three great vidyadharas of India – Shri Singha, Vimalamitra, Guru Rinpoche – and it was received by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo in the form of a mind terma. So the ‘Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik’ is an extremely blessed practice.

When and how did Jamyang Khyentse receive the Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik? At the age of 35, Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo the Great was in his residence – The Joyful Grove of Immortal Accomplishment – at his monastic seat of Dzongsar Tashi Lhatsé. As he focused intensively on the practice of Tara, he had a vision of the wisdom body of the three great masters Shri Singha, Guru Rinpoche and Vimalamitra. Then, like filling a vase to its brim, they gave him all the Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik tantras, including the empowerments and all the transmissions, pith instructions and sadhanas.

So, the entire root and branch teachings and practices of the Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik entered Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo’s wisdom mind as a result of the combined blessing of these three great masters – it was if the teachings had been perfectly reproduced in his mind like a photograph.

At first, when Khyentse Wangpo deciphered the terma, he wrote down just the sadhana of Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik. Then he began to practise it and receive its extraordinary power and blessings. Vimalamitra appeared to him again and again, blessed him and proof-read the text he had written. Khyentse Wangpo then transmitted the final draft to the Karmapa Khakyab Dorje, Terchen Chögyur Dechen Lingpa, Jamgön Kongtrül, and so on. This was how, having kept these teachings secret for five years, he gradually transmitted them.

The great Jamgön Kongtrül himself, having taken the practice of Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik as his special yidam, had a very long life. Many termas had predicted that Jamgön Kongtrül would face many obstacles and that his life wouldn’t be very long. However, by practising the approach and accomplishment of Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik, he was able to live his life to the full and to accomplish many great works – like the five great treasures – without any obstacles. Jamgön Kongtrül himself said that this was only possible thanks to the power and blessings of Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik.

So, Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, his student Jamgön Kongtrül, both the fourteenth and the fifteenth Karmapas – Thekchok Dorje and Khakyab Dorje – Shechen Gyaltsab, Tertön Sogyal, Dodrupchen Rinpoche Jikmé Tenpé Nyima, Drubwang Sakya Shri and all his other students focused on the practise of Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik and took it as their yidam.

Therefore Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik is extraordinarily blessed. You could say the warmth of the blessings of the dakinis has never cooled – that it's still hot with dakinis’ blessings.

Our root teacher, Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö himself received this elaborate empowerment about ten times from those great masters. He wrote in his journal that he practised the approach, accomplishment and activity extensively, three times. He also maintained the daily practice.

The Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik was also Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche’s main heart practice and he completed the entire retreat seven times. There was a prophecy that one of the Khyentse incarnations would live a very long life; Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche once said, “Perhaps it’s me as I have now lived for more than eighty years”.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama is an example of one of today’s great Rime masters who received the empowerment of the Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik from Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and practises it according to his instructions.

His Holiness Sakya Trizin says that this Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik is his main practice, that he has done many retreats, and practises it continuously. He attributes his success, his long life and the removal of many obstacles to the practice of Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik.

Similarly, the Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik is the special yidam of all Sarma and Nyingma teaching holders.

This incredibly blessed and powerful practice of Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik is what you are about to receive. The preparatory steps will take place tomorrow and the main empowerment next day. This is the ‘perfect teaching’.

Perfect Assembly

Those of us who are here have gathered because of our past karma and our aspirations. We would not be able to be here had we not accumulated vast amounts of merit during numerous past lives. Only those with a past connection to this teaching could be here today; without that connection they could not have come. So each and everyone of you should rejoice and recognize that you’ve accomplished the potential offered by this precious human birth.

So one point I wanted to make is that it’s extremely difficult for these five great perfections to come together in this world.

2. Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo

Secondly, you should know about Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, and Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö. 

Rinpoche went on to give a long account of the lives of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö, which he continued over the next two days. You can find Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo here, and Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö here.


[1] In the Union of Sun and Moon Tantra, Adzom Ed., Vol. 4, text Ma, p. 8a, l.3.

[2] Nagarjuna, Root Verses on the Middle Way, Chapter 24, verse 19, line 1-2.

[3] Translation based on the one given in “‘The Melody of the Auspicious Conch’, The Life Story Supplication To The Incarnated Great Tertön Chokgyur Lingpa”, in Precious Songs of Awakening, Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 2014.


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