How true is the myth?

Button_EngExamining the claim that Nechung had encouraged Tulku Dakpa Gyaltsen to arise into a wrathful form of a protector

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama says that it was Nechung who initially warned him against Dolgyal. This fact will become clearer if you read His Holiness’ successive advice against Dolgyal’s propitiation. If Nechung had encouraged Tulku Dakpa Gyaltsen to arise into the form of a wrathful protector, he should be the one to encourage His Holiness the Dalai Lama to propitiate Dolgyal: On the contrary, Nechung told His Holiness thus:

‘By keeping dark the stupa that needs to be attended,
You are unnecessarily painting white a rock hill.’

Nechung further complained that propitiation of Ase Kyampo [A stands for Tulku Dakpa Gyaltsen’s mother La Agya; Se means the son in Tibetan while Kyampo means a wonderer] was not right, and related about Dolgyal’s perilous nature to His Holiness. Thus, logically, if Nechung had actually motivated Tulku Dakpa Gyaltsen to arise as a protector, it would be very unlikely for him to complain about Dolgyal to His Holiness.

Perhaps you might say that Nechung was jealous of Dolgyal and could not tolerate him, as otherwise you have no sensible defense. Is it not paradoxical to maintain Nechung’s infallibility to prove Dolgyal’s authenticity, and yet, saying that Nechung was jealous of Dolgyal as if he were an ordinary wrathful spirit? Nechung is a Dharma protector of Tibet whose initial association with Tibet started during the time of King Trisong Detsen and Guru Padmasambhava who had laid the very foundation of Buddhism in Tibet. Nechung has been the protector for all the successive reincarnations of the Dalai Lamas. Thus, if it is true that Dolgyal took the form of a wrathful protector at the encouragement of Nechung, then as Nechung is the protector for the whole of Tibet, Dolgyal can never be a biased spirit who has such strong hatred for the teachings of Guru Padmasambhava. On the contrary, he would be a protector who would have a sound appreciation for all the schools in Tibet, and would never adopt a prejudicial stand. However, Dolgyal deceives his followers into believing that he is a genuine Geluk protector and leads them into the hideous sin of forsaking and denigration other forms of Buddhism. So, would Nechung really rely on such a cunning spirit to protect the Buddha Dharma in general, and particularly Tsongkhapa’s teachings?

If Nechung had encouraged Dolgyal, then why is it that Dolgyal’s followers dislike Nechung and the Nyingma teachings so much? Either you do not accept Zemey Rinpoche’s yellow book that speaks of so many examples of Dolgyal’s rancour against Gelukpa practitioners for associating themselves with Nyingma teachings, or you might not have seen the book. Perhaps you knew these well, but because you are bereft of other means of validating Dolgyal, and in order to create an impression that Dolgyal gets on well with Nechung, you went out of your way concoting these stories, not knowing that whatever reason you set forth actually disproves your claims, instead of confirming them; so, it appears that these are just lies which have kept on circulating for decades and people believe in them blindly?

Generally, a genuine Dharma protector’s greatness is established by his/her activities of benefiting the Dharma and its custodians. Citing stories of having killed more than thirteen great Lamas and officials to prove Dolgyal’s greatness is a very pathetic and childish endeavour of some who did not know much about Buddhism. It is definitely an act of helplessness: They tried hard to find reasons to support Dolgyal’s infallibility and found nothing, and in vain tried reasoning by setting forth some bogus claims. However, such fallacious reasoning will not go undetected when exposed to the wisdom eye of a good logician.

As a matter of fact, a genuine follower of Tsongkhapa would be familiar with the four kinds of greatness of the Lamrim Teachings, of which one is to be able to view all forms of Buddhism as non-contradictory. This happens once one understands that the different stages of path and different forms of practices were taught only to suit the needs of different individuals, and that even a single individual can include all forms of practices in his life. Therefore, a true upholder of Gelukpa’s doctrine, be it an individual practitioner or a protector, must have a pure perception of and respect for all forms of the Buddha’s teachings and their followers. In sharp contrast to this, killing many great Lamas — for embracing other forms of practice, although this actually is highly recommended — in the name of protecting Tsongkhapa’s doctrine is more in line with Dolgyal’s true face as a vicious devil than an activity of a protector since a genuine protector’s role is to protect the Dharma and its followers, and definitely not to kill them and cause mutual animosity, or to instill fear in people’s mind, restraining their engagement with other forms of Buddhism.

If Guru Padmasambhava is to be accepted as a genuine Buddhist master, his teachings of the Nyingma tradition would also be acceptable as infallible. However, Dolgyal and his followers maintain that a Gelukpa who practises any Nyingma teaching would incur the wrath of Dolgyal. This assertion is something widely known to all of them and is mentioned in their texts. So if the Nyingma tradition is to be rejected as invalid, consider this: All the traditions of Buddhism in Tibet are highly connected. With Geluk’s being the newest tradition, its lineage masters as well as teachings are all traceable to other traditions. We have the same origin and same lineage masters. All the empowerments and most of the transmissions of the Geluk tradition have been inherited from masters of other traditions. Tsongkhapa himself had teachers from Nyingma, Kagyu and Sakya. Thus, as Sakya’s establishment came after the Nyingma tradition, and since Domi Lotsawa — who initiated the Sakya tradition by receiving instructions from the great Indian masters such as Viruppa and others — practised Nyingma teachings, we have to accept that the Sakya tradition is not pure. If the Sakya tradition is invalid, how do you still maintain the infallibility of Tsongkhapa’s Lamas who were mostly from the Sakya tradition, and how do you also validate his lineages that were inherited from his Sakya masters? You inadvertently have to accept that Tsongkhapa’s lineage is also impure.

Also, as many Kagyu teachings are closely connected with past Nyingma masters, you have to accept that the Kagyu tradition is not valid. If this were the case, then as the Mahamudra teachings of Tsongkhapa and his lineage of Guhyasamaja Tantra came from the Kagyu tradition, you again have to accept unwillingly that Tsongkhapa’s Tantric teachings are impure since many of them are traceable to Marpa Lotsawa, Milrepa and Dakpo Laje. Finally all you have left to call as pure is your own tradition of Dolgyalism. As your tradition of Dolgyalism is traceable to the Kyon family of Sakya that also practised Nyingma teachings, even this cult practice is not free of impure lineages. Even Kyabje Phabongkha received many Nyingma teachings such as the whole set of The Sealed Secrets of the 5th Dalai Lama, the empowerments of Haryangriva and Vajra Kilaya. He also gave an empowerment of Haryagriva once. His radical change of approach from an ecumenical system of practice to a Geluk purist is definitely attributed to Dolgyal’s infiltration. Read the biography of Kyabje Phabongkha Rinpoche to confirm this. It is only when Dolgyal requested Kyabje Phabongkha with his cunning and devious means that Phabongkha later forsook his ecumenical form of practice. This is also mentioned in his biography.

As far as the tradition of Tsongkhapa is concerned, having well received many empowerments, oral and explanatory transmissions as well as instructions from masters of all other schools, with Atisha’s version of Lamrim as the foundation, Tsongkhapa complemented it with Nagarjuna and Asanga’s interpretation of the Sutras and the Tantras. He further added instructions that he had received from Manjushree as well as other past Indian and Tibetan masters who either appeared to him in person to impart their instructions, or his Tibetan masters in human form. He further invigorated his tradition by adding the lineages of Tantric practices that are traceable to the Kagyu and Sakya tradition. He adopted the style of monastic education on the five treatises that was already prevalent in the Sakya School. Tsongkhapa established the view of Arya Nagarjuna as interpreted and affirmed by Archarya Buddha Palitha and Archarya Chandrakirti. Thus, Tsongkhapa’s interpretation of the greater treatises is traceable to the versions of those great Indian masters. Although Kyabje Phabongkha Rinpoche was definitely a great master, we Geluk practitioners consider Tsongkhapa’s work and legacy as impeccable and more authoritative: His legacy is definitely more authoritative than any other Geluk Lamas. Tsongkhapa’s biography states that as Zogchen Teachings are the highest form of Tantric teachings, anyone who forsook them will go to the lower realms. The same is mentioned in one of the miscellaneous works of Khedrup Je where he responds to a question raised to him on Zogchen. Therefore, if you trust these two great masters, it is better for you to observe a respectful attitude towards other traditions.