Changkya Rolpai Dorji (1717-1782)

Button_EngIn Changkya Rolpai Dorji’s biography known as A Brief Biography of the Most Venerable Master Yeshi Tenpai Drolmai, the One Who is the Very Nature of the Pervasive Vajrasattva, Called the Beautifying Décor of the Doctrine of Gadenpa, its author Thuwuken Chokyi Nyima (1737-1802) writes on the front of page no. 221: [This biography is found among the volumes of Thuwuken Chokyi Nyima]

“Once when we were making circumambulations around [Gaden], I [Thuwuken Chokyi Nyima] pointed to a cloud of smoke coming out from a small village nearby and asked him [Changkya Rolpai Dorji] to look at that. When he asked me the name of the village, another person among us who knew its name replied that it was called ‘Tha Gyes’ [which literally means extending to directions]. Looking very pleased, he remarked ‘it is indeed auspicious’. This means that through Je Lama’s [Je Lama literally means the Lord-Master] compassion, Lord Tsongkhapa’s doctrine will spread to all directions and at all times, far and wide for a long time.

As we proceeded further, on all upper and lower parts of the circumambulatory pathway, we came across many statues and mantras that had appeared naturally without being crafted. There were also many footprints to be seen on the concrete rocks. A Geshe from the Tantric Monastery [at Sera] narrated stories about each of those objects [of wonder]. A rock depicting a clear and protruding image of Lama Tsongkhapa, known to have appeared at the time when the 7th Dalai Lama Gyalwa Kelsang Gyatso visited Gaden, was presented to him [Changkya Rinpoche].

When we saw a foot print with no explanation on who had left it there, Je Lama [Changkya Rinpoche] playfully commented: ‘It must have been left by a Nyingma practitioner. Therefore, all of you students of Phurbu Chok [Phurchok Ngawang Jampa] better avoid it.’ I [Thuwuken Chokyi Nyima] then responded in the same playful manner and said thus: ‘If any Nyingmapa could leave a footprint like this at Lord Tsongkhapa’s monastic seat, I might as well leave a footprint on the precious landscape of the pure land [of Buddha Amitabh].’ At this point, everyone burst into a hearty laughter. Later, when I enquired about it, I came to hear that the unknown footprint belonged to one of the descendants [Khonton Paljor Lhundrup] of the Khon family. It was doubtless that Je Lama was speaking from his clairvoyance of recollecting one of his own past lives.

Reaching the site of the cairn for Machen [Pomra], he said: ’In the past, Tsongkhapa and his chief disciples never propitiated any worldly god or protector. Even for Machen Pomra, the local deity of Tsongkhapa’s birth place, its cairn was not allowed within the circumference of the circumambulatory path of Gaden, but kept outside it’. Commenting on how one or two Gaden Tripas [hierarchal head of Geluk] in the past had propitiated Dolgyal, bringing about many inauspicious tragedies [for themselves as well as for Gaden], he told us in great detail how Trichen Dorji Chang [it literally means the great Gaden throne holder, a Vajra Dhara. In this context, it refers to Trichen Ngawang Chokden] destroyed his [Dolgyal’s] cairn and others [objects of worship of Dolgyal].

On the way back to Lhasa and even after getting there, time and again he said that he had very unique experiences at Gaden. Based on this, although it appears that he had many unique pure visions there, he never explicitly said anything about them to me”.

The cairn for Machen Pomra was situated [and might still be there if the Chinese had not destroyed it] on a small forested landscape below Gaden Monastery. The word ‘chief disciples of Tsongkhapa’ here refers to Gyaltsab Je and Kyedrup Je, and other direct disciples of Tsongkhapa at the time of founding the Geluk tradition. ‘Trichen Dorji Chang’ here refers to Trichen Ngawang Chokden, a tutor to Gyalchok Kelsang Gyatso, the 7th Dalai Lama. Trichen Ngawang Chokden hailed from the Amdo region of Tibet, and was also a Lama for Changkya Rolpai Dorji. He was a purely Geluk practitioner with no involvement with other traditions such as Nyingma and Kagyu. It is clearly from Trichen Ngawang Chokden’s biography as well as Changkya Rolpai Dorji’s biography that there had been one or two Gaden Tripas who propitiated Dolgyal before Trichen Ngawang Chokden totally forbade him in Gaden. It is also clear from these two biographies that the propitiation of Dolgyal resulted in many tragedies. It is also mentioned there that Dolgyal’s cairn was completely destroyed, and stones and earth from it were returned to where they were brought from. Trichen Ngawang Chokden’s biography was written by his vajra student Changkya Rolpai Dorji. Changkya’s biography was written by his vajra student Thuwuken Chokyi Nyima. All of these Lamas are renowned for their in-depth understanding and attainment. Changkya Rolpai Dorji was also one of the principle students of the 7th Dalai Lama Gyalwa Kelsang Gyatso.

Like Trichen Ngawang Chokden, Phurchok Ngawang Jampa and Changkya Rolpai Dorji were purely Geluk Lamas, with no trace of any involvement with any Nyingma or Kagyu teaching. Please read their biographies to know more about these erudite masters.

Excerpt from the biography of Changkya Rolpai Dorje on Shugden

Excerpt from the biography of Changkya Rolpai Dorje on Shugden

Excerpt on Shugden in the biography of Changkya Rolpai Dorje

Excerpt on Shugden in the biography of Changkya Rolpai Dorje