A Brief History of the Ripa Lineage
The Ripa Lineage was first established in Tibet in the 12th or 13th century by the Dharma practitioner Senge Wangchuk, the lineage founder, in the Bharom Kagyu tradition, one of the four major schools of the Kagyupa tradition in Tibetan Buddhism. The Lineage traces its origin to past authorities and ultimately to the founder of Buddhism. It was in the beginning of 18th century that the Ripa Lineage became more prominent, with the advent of one of the great masters or Tantric mystics in Tibet known by the name of ‘Je Pema Deje Rolpa’ (1803-1880). Je Pema Deje Rolpa was the first throne-holder and 2nd Ripa Tulku. He was the discoverer of the visionary treasure-teachings of his father Terton Rigzin Shiney Dorje, and his consort Sang-Yum Kyidmotso. He was recognized by the 13th Karmapa, Dhud-Dhul Dorje, as the reincarnation of the highly accomplished Tantric Yogi of the Kagyu tradition, Ripa Pawo. Ripa Pawo had gone to Nangchen, in Kham, where he became ‘a child of the mountains, clothing himself in mist, befriending wild animals, unconcerned with fame, food or clothing.’
Je Pema Deje Rolpa spent years following in the footsteps of his predecessor, wandering in solitude from one power place to another. As spiritual realizations dawned within him, his realization and spiritual accomplishments became widely acclaimed. He became simply known as ‘The Ripa Lama,’ ‘RI’ meaning mountain and ‘PA’ indicating dweller, or the one who dwells in the mountains and secluded retreat.’ He made the wilderness his companion and as his biography notes: “He took air for his food and dressed in clouds.” Carefree and fearlessly awake, the Ripa Lama was ultimately inspired to benefit countless beings by sharing his profound spiritual experience. His main teacher was the Nyingma master Pema Gyepe Dorje, the 4th holder of the Tagsham lineage.Guided in a vision by Padmasambhava, Je Pema Deje Rolpa journeyed to a valley in Tibet’s eastern province of Kham called Nyima Puk, the ‘Valley of the Sun,’ in that exalted setting, he witnessed dragon-symbols of power, grace and magic – rising into the sky with resounding roars. With this auspicious sign, he laid the foundation of ‘Rigon Tashi Choeling Monastery,’ later founding the Monastery in 1830, which became the main seat of the Ripa Lineage in Tibet. He is regarded both as an incarnation of Yeshe Tsogyal’s consort, Arya Sale and as the speech emanation of Tagsham Nuden Dorje.
Pema Deje Rolpa met his future root guru, Tagsham Samten Lingpa, a principle Terton of the time, and became the perfect holder of the Tagsham traditon, a ‘Vast Treasury of Terma Teachings.’ He practiced in strict retreat, and mastered the view, meditation and conduct of Trek-chod, and the four visions of Thod-gal, of the Great Perfection tradition of the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism. Terton Orgyen Samten Lingpa, also known as Tagsham Nueden Dorje, made him the holder of his vast Terma treasures. Tagsham’s Terma teachings also include the most extensive Life Story Account of Yeshe Tshogyal. Tagsham teachings come from a time prior to Je Pema Dejed Rolpa, and consist of the Nyingma Cycle of Teachings originated from Dakini Yeshe Tsogyal and her primary consort Arya Sale.
The Ripa Lineage developed as a hereditary line during the lives of successive masters. In Tibet, the tradition flourished until the Chinese invasion with more than 500 monks and nuns in residence at Rigon Tashi Choeling Monastery, and a community of tens of thousands of lay practitioners and supporters. An equal number of wild animals mingled freely amongst the monastic centers, retreat places, and caves. The lineage also represents the ascetic yogic tradition of both the Nyingma and Kagyu practices. The Ripa family line began during the 12th century as a hereditary lineage in the Barom Kagyü tradition, but it became firmly established with its present name because of Ripa Pema Deje Rolpa, a highly realized yogi whose realization and activity made the family decidedly Nyingma in orientation more than 180 years ago.
The Ripa Lineage Holders and the Succession of Ripa Incarnations
The Ripa Lineage was first established in Tibet in the 12th or 13th century by the Dharma practitioner Senge Wangchuk, the lineage founder, in the Barom Kagyu tradition, one of the four principle schools of the Kagyupa.
In the 18th century, the lineage became more prominent, with the birth of Ripa Pema Dejed Rolpa (around 1776), who was the first Ripa throne-holder (Den-Rab), lineage-holder (Dhung-Rab), and head of the Ripa family and Ripa Monasteries. He was recognized by the 13th Karmapa, Dudul Dorje, as the reincarnation of the highly accomplished Tantric master of the Kagyu tradition, as Ripa Pawo Thinley Dorje.
Ripa Je Pema Dejed Rolpa was the 2nd Ripa Chogtrul,
and since then, the tradition of the Ripa Lineage and Ripa Incarnations came into being. This tradition of the Ripa incarnations was followed by the 3rd Ripa Chogtrul, Pema Dhundrub Gyaltsen, and the 4th Ripa Chogtrul, Drubwang Azin Rinpoche, or Ritrul Rigzin Choegyal (1933-1997).
The 2nd Ripa family lineage-holder was Drubwang Nyedon Rinpoche (1844-1901); he followed sublime spiritual teachers such as his honorable father, the master Drubwang Tsoknyi, and others. During his and his brother Kyabgon Metok Gyalp’s reign,
from the seat of the Tibetan Government at the Ganden Podrang and from Kunling Pashod Labrang, he was decorated with the golden riding hat, a golden riding gown made of fine brocade, and his horse was covered with yellow armor, and a golden head-ornament. An official letter with a stamp and a ceremonial umbrella were also given. In this way, his position as a great Lama was honored. According to prophecy he accepted a daughter of the Dorma family of Dhoshul as his consort. While in the midst of engaging in the vast promulgation of the sacred dharma thorough his enlightened activity of sustaining ripening and liberation, in 1901 he demonstrated the act of allowing his physical body to dissolve into Dharmakaya.
The 3rd Ripa family lineage-holder was Drubwang Jigme Tsewang Chokdrub (1891-1954); he followed as his masters, his honorable father the Drubwang Bhyo Rigdzin. Renowned as an emanation of Dorje Drolo, he had great compassion and incredible power of speech. He took as his wife, Yungdrung Lhamo, daughter of the Bonkar family of Riwoche. Again, according to prophecy, that master took the descendent of Drubwang Shakya Shri, Palden Tsomo, as his consort. Thus through this visionary act of great kindness and union, the Ripa familial and Dharma lineage was secured. Finally, at the age of 63, in the Wood Horse Year, 1954, Drubwang Jigme Tsewang Chogrub passed away.
The 4th and current Ripa family lineage-holder is His Eminence Kyabje Terton Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche. He is supreme head of the Ripa lineage of the Nyingma of Vajrayana Buddhism and a living Terton. His Eminence is also head of the Ripa Monasteries in Tibet, India and Nepal, and Ripa Centers throughout world.
Dhungsey Tenzin Nyima Rinpoche was born in 1959 as the son of H.E. Terton Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche and spiritual heir of the Ripa lineage tradition. He currently serves as the spiritual and executive head of Rigon Tashi Choeling Monastery in Tibet and its surrounding population, promoting and propagating the Buddha Dharma, particularly practices of the Ripa lineage.
Dhungsey Gytrul Jigme Rinpoche was born in 1970 as the son of H.E. Terton Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche and spiritual heir of the Ripa lineage tradition. His mother Khandro Chime Dolkar, also descends from a noble family of Bhutanese descent. Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche is the holder of two spiritual lineages, including both the Ripa Lineage or hereditary line, into which he was born, and as well as the head of the Pema Lingpa Lineage of Gyeling Ogyen Mindrolling, in the hidden land of Pemako, which he carries forward from his previous life as, Tulku.
Dhungsey Lhuntrul Dechen Gyurme Rinpoche was born in 1976 as the son of H.E. Terton Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche and Sangyum Chime Dolkar. He is the spiritual heir of the Ripa lineage and recognized as the reincarnation of Jigme Tempay Gyeltsen, the 3rd Tamdrin Lhunpo Chogtrul. At Ngagyur Nyingma College, Mysore, he completed the study and contemplation of sutra, tantra, and general liberal arts topics, and completed the full nine-year program. He is currently executive head of Rigon Tashi Choeling Monastery, Nepal, and widely renowned for the beneficial power of his ritual performances for the well being of all sentient beings.
The Ripa Ladrang is the residence of His Eminence Terton Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche, his heirs and family members. ‘Ripa’ is the name of the Lineage and ‘Ladrang, bla-brang’ refers to the residence of the Lama or the holder of the lineage tradition. The descendants of family Lineages are considered particularly strong vehicles for transmitting the teachings because the imprints of the ancestral teacher’s blessings are held in both the body and mind of the present lineage holders. In addition to the Ripa family lineage, it is also very auspicious that His Eminence Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche’s maternal great-grandfather was Drubwang Shakya Shri (1853-1919), a highly accomplished master in both the Drukpa Kagyü and Nyingma traditions. Shakya Shri was also famous for rebuilding the Great Stupa of Boudhanath in Kathmandu, Nepal during the early 20th century.
The Ripa family line began during the 12th century as a hereditary lineage in the Barom Kagyu tradition, but it became firmly established with its present name ‘Ripa Ladrang’ because of the Ripa Pema Dejed Rolpa (1803-1880), who was renowned in the 19th century, as a Tantric mystic and a revered Terton. He was recognized as the reincarnation of the highly accomplished Tantric master, Ripa Pawo Tinley Dorje, and became the 1st Ripa throne-holder and 2nd Ripa Tulku.
The 2nd Ripa Lineage holder was Drubwang Ngedon Gyatso (1844-1901), the son of Ripa Pema Dejed Rolpa and his consort Sangyum Kartso. He was a powerful meditator who gave empowerment and instruction widely.
In the beginning of the 19th century, there was Jigme Tsewang Chokdup (1891-1954), the 3rd Ripa lineage holder, an emanation of Guru Dorje Trolo, one of the Padmasambhava’s wrathful manifestations. He was renowned for this compassion and the blessing power of his speech. According to a prophecy made by Padmasambhava, by marrying a highly accomplished Yogini named Sangyum Palden Tsomo, the grand-daughter of Togden Shakya Shri, their union would bring a powerful spiritual potency to the Ripa lineage tradition, and further established its commitment to encouraging high spiritual attainments among the non-monastic community. It also led to the birth of the late Drubwang Azin Rinpoche or Ritrul Rigzin Choegyal (1933-1997), the 4th Ripa Chogtrul and elder brother of the present 4th Ripa lineage holder, His Eminence Terton Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche, a living Terton of our age, who has discovered and codified volumes of hidden Mind Treasures.
The Ripa Lineage traces its historical roots, backgrounds, and origin to the great master Je Pema Deje Rolpa, the head of both the Ripa Family and Ripa Monasteries. The main practice of the Ripa tradition is the ‘Hidden Treasure Teachings of Tagsham Nueden Dorje’ or Terton Samten Lingpa (1655-1682). The Tagsham teachings come from a time prior to Pema Dejed Rolpa (founder of Ripa lineage), and are a Nyingma cycle of teachings originated from the Dakini Yeshe Tshogyal and her primary consort Arya Sale.
At the present time, both the Ripa lineage holder and the Ripa family is headed by H.E. Terton Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche and his sons, heir Dungsey Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche, and Dungsey Lhuntrul Dechen Gyurme Rinpoche. His Eminence’s seven children are all involved in preserving and propagating the teachings of the Ripa lineage. In Tibet, his son Dungsey Tenzin Nyima Rinpoche oversees Rigon Tashi Choeling at Nyima-Phug. Dhungsey Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche is known for his socially engaged activities, his fluency in English, and his lively, direct, fluid, humorous, and down to earth teaching style. Dungsey Lhuntrul Dechen Gyurme Rinpoche, is recognized as an emanation of Hayagriva. Currently, he is the Executive Head of Rigon Tashi Choeling Monastery in Nepal. He is widely renowned for the beneficial blessings of his ritual presence in the many Drubchod and Drubchens performed annually at the Ripa Monasteries. His Eminence’s three eldest daughters, Semo Sonam Peldzom, Semo Pema Dechen, and Semo Sonam Palmo are all accomplished singers and dancers in the Gesar tradition and help their father with his activities in Asia and the West. His Eminence’s youngest daughter, the Sakyong Wangmo, Dechen Choying Zangmo, is the wife of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and a principal figure in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition.
King Gesar of Ling and the Ripa Lineage
The enlightened warrior-king Gesar (1038-1119) of Ling was born into the family of Mukpodong clan, in a place of natural beauty between Dzachu and Drichu, in the middle of the highland pasture called ‘Sa-Chi-Soe-Yak’. The advent of King Gesar in Tibet has been predicted by Shakyamuni Buddha in the Tantra called ‘The Root Tantra of Manjushri’ (Jampal-Tsa-Jud). According to the predicted verses, it is clearly stated that he is the body emanation of Manjushri, speech emanation of Avalokiteshvara, and mind emanation of Vajrapani. He was one of the greatest Tibetan Bodhisattva-kings, a manifestation of Padma Sambhava of whom it is predicted that he will take birth in the Land of Snow during the era of degeneration ‘Kaliyug’.
Gesar’s childhood name was Choru, he was unique and always under the protection and guidance of divine forces. His courage, brilliant wisdom and gift of divine power brought hope and joy to his parents and friends. Before long, at the age of 13, against all expectations, he won his first victory, the famous Horse Race of Ling. He proclaimed himself Sengchen Norbu Dradul, the Great Lion, Wish-fulfilling Jewel, Subduer of foes. The youthful King Gesar assumed the Golden Throne of Ling. He was attired in warrior’s armor and carried a divine bow, arrows, swords, spear, helmet and a shield, all adorned with resplendent jewels. Gesar’s main mission on earth was to defeat the enemies of his people’s peace, bringing forth happiness and peace for the people, to propagate and preserve the Dharma. The warrior-king Gesar was recognized as the emanation of Padmasambhava and Padmasambhava himself prophesied that in future a ‘warrior-king’ would need to come in order to tame the malevolent forces of the times.
The profound connection between King Gesar and the Ripa Lineage could be explained in different ways, but the most important connection comes from the 4th Ripa Lineage-holder, H.E. Terton Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche. From childhood, His Eminence had a clear recollection of his previous life as King Gesar’s brother, Gyatsa-Zhelkar. His Eminence repeatedly encountered the Three Roots, especially the warrior-king Gesar, his brother Gyatsa, the great minister Dhenma etc., and blessings were bestowed upon him. Particularly, at the age of 13, His Eminence frequently dreamt and had direct experiential visions of Gesar Akar Werma, who became one of the principal meditation deities of His Eminence, and who blessed, prophesied, protected and guided him during the time of vulnerability in Tibet. After that time, His Eminence began revealing the Vast Cycle of Gesar Terma, which is entitled the “Jewel Mind Treasure of the Three Families” (Rig-Sum-Nor-Bue-Gong-Dzod). This corpus of Gesar Mind-treasures encompasses the different aspects of Gesar as a Guru, as a Yidam, and as a protector. The practices are categorized under particular classes, such as Gesar Lama Practice, Gesar Drala Practice, Pacifying Gesar Practice, Enriching Gesar Practice, Magnetizing Gesar Practice, and Wrathful Gesar Practice. In addition to the practice of the Tagsham Vast Cycle of teachings, the Gesar Treasure teachings of His Eminence are also the main practices of the Ripa Lineage.
Moreover, another important connection between King Gesar of Ling and the Ripa Lineage is the tradition preserving ‘Lingdro,’ which literally means the ‘Dance of Ling.’ ‘Lingdro’ is a ritual dance containing Dharma terms with poetic style that invokes the deity King Gesar of Ling in order to bestow blessings, strength, energy and courage. Historically, ‘Lingdro’ traces its origin back to the warrior-king Gesar of Ling, where this traditional dance was performed after and before the commencement of new activities, which represents auspiciousness and prosperity. It was later firmly established and disseminated by the 5th Radreng/Reting Rinpoche (1912-1947), who was the regent of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso. The performance of the ‘Lingdro’ was first started at Dzogchen Monastery in eastern Tibet, Kham, and, later on, it was performed at Radreng Monastery in Tibet. After a long time, it was again preserved and performed in the Orissan Tibetan Settlement Community initially under the guidance of Dropon Norsang. From then on, the first ‘Lingdro Association’ in exile was established in Orissa. Gradually, the Lingdro was mainly preserved by the Ripa family lineage under the guidance of H.E. Terton Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche. Dhungsey Karma Shedrub Rinpoche (brother of His Eminence) was one of the main responsible persons of the Lingdro Association after Dropon Norsang. Dhungsey Karma Shedrub had infallible faith and devotion to King Gesar from the time of his childhood. In 2003, in order that the this sacred tradition of Lingdro would not decline, he painstakingly founded the New Lingdro Association. In particularly, he edited and codified the ‘Main Text of Sacred Dance’ (Dro-Zhung) – derived from the Pure Vision Terma of Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche (1846-1912), and additional lyrical verses (Zur-Jug) composed by the 5th Radreng Rinpoche (1912-1947). The name of the text is entitled the ‘Dance of Ling, Music of Great Bliss – Marvelous Roar of Auspiciousness’ (Lingdro-Dechen-Rolmo-Ngo-Tshar-Shie-Pai-Ged-Jang).
Kyabje Dudjom Jigdral Yeshe Dorje repeatedly advised the Tibetans in Orissa that it is necessary to perform ‘Lingdro’ continuously, in order to pacify all degenerated and negative influences of the time and place, and to gain peace and prosperity. It is also one of the indispensable parts incorporated within other Sadhana practices of the enlightened warrior-king Gesar of Ling. His Eminence’s three eldest daughters, Semo Sonam Paldzom, Semo Pema Dechen, and Semo Sonam Palmo are accomplished singers and dancers in the Gesar tradition. His Eminence’s youngest daughter, the Sakyong Wangmo, Dechen Choeying Sangmo, is the wife of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and has taught ‘Lingdro’ to the community of the Shambhala Buddhist tradition in the West. This exceptional tradition of ‘Lingdro’ has been preserved and propagated by the ‘Odisha Lingdro Association,’ headed by the Ripa Dhungsey Tulku Karma Shedrub, Semo Sonam Palzom, Semo Pema Dechen and Semo Sonam Palmo.
The Dakini Prinicple: Integrating the Teachings with Life
The feminine role in the Buddhist tradition is one of the most important sources through which one obtains the inspiration to engage in the practice of the Buddha Dharma. There have been numerous significant female pioneers in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, begining with the ‘Primordial Mother Buddha, Samantabhadri’ (Kuntu-Sangmo), Arya Tara, Sarasvati, Sukhasiddhi, Niguma, Yeshe Tsogyal, Mandarava, Machik Labdron, Jomo Menmo, Sera Khadro, Tare Lhamo and many more. The Tibetan understanding of the feminine principle as mother was drawn from a variety of sources within the Buddhist tradition. The most important source was the Yumchenmo, the Great Mother Prajanaparamita-Sutra of Indian Mahayana, which dates from the second century B.C.E. and which continues to influence Tibet until the present day.
While the enlightened warrior-king Gesar of Ling demonstrates the best of masculine capacity, through authentic presence and compassionate blessings, so too does Yeshe Tsogyal demonstrate the best of the feminine capacity, through engaging with life with wisdom. It is the feminine that is particularly suited to cutting through defilements, obstacles, hindrances and ignorance. The feminine naturally accentuates mother-like loving kindness and gentleness, and yet is able to face experience fully and work directly with tantric energy in all its rawness. These abilities complement the strength of the masculine, and together, they support each other so that life is lived fully and engaged fully. Women integrate the practice of the ‘Twofold Method and Wisdom’ and through this union of method and wisdom, one leads to the state of enlightenment, which is free from the sufferings of Samsaric life. Therefore, no matter where and how one abides, one can contribute, in one of several ways – through generosity, through social engagement, through wisdom, or through practice. This is indeeed how one lives a worthy life.
According to Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism, it is clear that there is no difference between male and female in terms of practicing and accomplishing enlightenment. Moreover, it is importantly emphasized in the Vajrayana treatises that the great female practitioners play a key role in the spiritual journeys of all beings through guiding, teaching and empowering them, and have indeed benefitted countless sentient beings in the past. For Tibetans, the ‘feminine’ refers to the limitless, ungraspable and aware qualities of the ultimate nature of mind; it also refers to the intensely dynamic way in which that awareness undermines concepts, hesitation, and obstacles in the spiritual journeys of female and male Vajrayana practitioners. The ‘masculine’ relates to the qualities of fearless compassion and actions that naturally arise from the realization of limitless awareness, and the confidence and effectiveness associated with enlightened action. From this sacred view, we can understand how important it is to unite or couple together the masculine and feminine qualities in order to extend further the secret practices in Vajrayana Buddhism.
Vajrayogini (Dorje-Naljorma) is considered to be the queen of all Dakinis in the Tibetan Buddhist pantheon; she is the preeminent tantric form of the female Buddha. Vajrayogini is important in all the tantric lineages of Tibet and is said to have directly transmitted her teachings through the Siddhas Naropa, Maitripa, and Indrabhuti. She is partocularly connected in the ‘New Translation School’ (Sarma) of Tibetan Buddhism with Annutara-yoga-tantra, the Unsurpassable Meditation Approach that is the highest of the four orders of tantra. Vajrayogini also has alternate forms such as in the Cakrasamvara tradition, in which the form closest to Vajrayogini is Vajravarahi, the Vajra Sow (Droje-Phakmo). Kurukulla is yet another form of Vajrayogini, one that especially magnetizes passion and transforms it into wisdom. The most wrathful form of the meditation deity Vajrayogini is Troma-Nagmo, Kalika, Wrathful Black Lady. She is particularly associated with the ‘Chod’, Severance Practice, a tantric meditation discipline based on the Prajanaparamita. Troma Nagmo is also the supremely wrathful manifestation of Vajravarahi. The Dakini Yeshe Tsogyal was one of the most inspired and prominent consorts of Guru Padmasambhava and the speech-enamation of Vajravarahi. She embodies the full meaning of ‘sky-dancer,’ (dakini) when she appears, and her visionary form is classically understood to be dancing, which dynamically unfolds her wisdom, unceasingly manifesting the activities of the Buddha. She is called Sarasvati (Yangchenma), the great female Bodhisattva of learning, culture, and music, the peaceful consort of Manjushri. Yeshe Tsogyal in her visionary dimension was the radiant White Tara (Dolma-Karmo) the savioress who, with her compassionate seven eyes, attends to the health and welfare of beings in all quarters. In her most subtle, essential form, Yeshe Tsogyal is called ‘expanse of Mahasukha Kuntu Sangmo Samantabhadri, the all-good queen.’ This deity is called the primordial Mother Buddha, source of all enlightenment.
Yeshe Tsogyal was the founder-figure of the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism and the Nyingma tradition considers Yeshe Tsogyal as equal in realization to Guru Pamdasambhava himself. Her “Most Elaborated Life Story” is found in the Treasure-teachings (Ter-choe) of Tagsham Nuden Dorje. The Tagsham Yeshe Tsogyal practice and retreat is one of the prinicple practices of the Ripa Lineage. His Eminence Kyabje Terton Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche (The Supreme Head of the Ripa Lineage) leads the Tagsham Yeshe Tsogyal retreat and empowerment every year in the West. There are a large number of great Ripa masters who have been blessed by Guru Rinpoche and by the Dakinis. The role of female practitioners in the Ripa and Tagsham Lineage is recognized to be a key driving force authenticating the lineage.This is particularly true of the great practitionerssuch as Dakini Jomo Dolma, Yogini Tsunma Samten Tsultrim Choetso, also known as Kalsang Dolma, Gyalyum Ugyen Bhuti, His Eminence’s mother Mayum Palden Tsomo, his wife and his daughters.
The Visions and Practices of the Ripa Lineage
The Buddha’s teaching is summarized in the four line refrain: “Shunning all evil, performing every good; purifying one’s own mind – this is the teaching of all Buddhas.” As the source of Buddhist teaching, the various tenets of Buddhism are said to spring from these verses. In this way, Shakymuni’s message was conceived as a universal teaching transmitted to him through a line of predecessors, and handed down to his immediate disciples, then to various holders of the Buddha’s teaching. The Ripa lineage aims to present the Buddhist tradition of Tibet, especially the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, in a way that is both totally genuine, and as applicable to the lives and needs of humanity as whole. The vision is to fulfill the exalted thoughts and activities of the past great masters of the lineage. The Ripa Lineage is for the preservation and propagation of the precious Dharma with the perfect guidance and gracious of patronage of H.E. Terton Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche, his sons and spiritual heirs. It is the vision of the Ripa lineage that every practitioner and adherent of the lineage is responsible for imparting the sacred Dharma for the benefit of all living beings. Thus, in order to awaken from the dark stupor of ignorance, one should reflect on the nature of ‘Truth’ and ’Reality’ through training one’s own mind. This journey of awakening can be found from this lineage and its rich cycle of teachings, which are rooted in the direct practice teachings of Buddhism. This lineage draws on the wisdom of the Nyingma and Kagyu Schools as inherited by the founder of the Ripa lineage Je Pema Dejed Rolpa to the present 4th lineage holder H.E. Kyabje Terchen Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche, his son and spiritual heir Dungsey Tenzin Nyima Rinpoche, Dungsey Gytrul Jigme Rinpoche, and Dungsey Lhuntrul Dechen Gyurme Rinpoche. The vision of the Ripa Lineage also lies in working for the interest of others, and not only spiritual activities, but particularly activities that bring social benefit, including extended annual practices, or Drubchos and Drubchens, for ensuring the peace and prosperity of all peoples of the world, and more directly in this era of degeneration, assistance to individuals and communities, such as the Pure Water Project, health (especially an anti-malaria program), education, and care for the elderly. The New Treasures Project in Nepal seeks to restore, preserve, practice, and share this unique tradition, and is named after the original lineage seat in Tibet. The methods of the Ripa Lineage are based on the capacity and capabilities of each individual being for reaching higher spiritual attainments. This vision is the hallmark of the Ripa Lineage.
The main practices of the Ripa tradition are based on the Tagsham Terma Cycle of revealed teachings and the ‘New Cycle’ of His Eminence Terton Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche’s visionary revelations. The ‘Treasure Teachings’ Termas are rare and precious treasures often revealed in dreams, or visionary experiences. The Termas are extremely powerful, and bring great blessings, as they appear at precise moments in history and are uniquely suited to the times during which they are revealed. The Uniqueness as it is based on a hereditary line of descent as opposed to the more customary tradition of reincarnation and the practices. As revealed precious treasures represents unique system that combines the monastic virtues based on the Buddhist Sutras with highly developed Tantric skills that bring forth a profound spiritual awakening and awareness that is yet direct and easily accessible.
Tagsham Nuden Dorje was incredibly prolific and produced a copius volume of terma discoveries and instructions. The Taksham lineage termas place a strong emphasis on the practices of Hayagriva (the wrathful embodiment of the speech aspect of all the Buddhas), and the practices of Yeshe Tsogyal, the principal consort of Padmasambhava. Translations of Taksham Nuden Dorje’s terma-biographies of Yeshe Tsogyal, and Padmasambhava’s principal Indian consort, Mandarava, are well known in the West. The other pillar is the practices of Gesar of Ling, especially the Gesar Termas revealed by the present throne-holder of the Ripa lineage, H.E. Terton Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche. Gesar, the bodhisattva-warrior king of Ling in eastern Tibet, was an emanation of Padmasambhava, and he brought Tibetan culture back from the period of cultural and spiritual barbarism that ensued after the reign of Langdarma, the anti-Buddhist monarch who briefly eclipsed the dharma in Tibet during the 9th century. The practices, songs, stories, and dances of Gesar of Ling are maintained by the Ripa Lay and Monastic Communities and provide great inspiration and strength in our present era of speed and materialism.Thus the Ripa Lineage also stresses monasticism as well as the integration of Buddhist teachings with worldly commitments. The tradition of the mystic ‘Dance of Ling,’ called ‘LINGDRO’, is based on the ideal of spiritual warrior-ship, and so epitomizes the Ripa Lineage union of lay practice with profound spirituality.