The Palyul Lineage

Palyul Monastery

Palyul Monastery

In Tibet, there were six moth­er monas­ter­ies which upheld the Nying­ma tra­di­tion. The fore­most of these was the glo­ri­ous Palyul which was estab­lished in 1665 and locat­ed in east­ern Tibet on land that was blessed by many great saints and bod­hisattvas.   It was dur­ing the time of the great Vidyad­hara Kuzang Sherab that the Palyul Lin­eage was formed and the monastery known as Palyul Nam­gyal Changchub Chol­ing became one of the major Nying­ma monas­tic insti­tu­tions. Like oth­er schools of Tibetan Bud­dhism, the Palyul Lin­eage is present­ly sus­tained by teach­ers and cen­tres around the world.  The rec­og­nized head of the Palyul is cur­rent­ly His Holi­ness Kar­ma Kuchen Rin­poche, who suc­ceed­ed his teacher, His Holi­ness Penor Rin­poche.

As with all Nying­ma Dhar­ma lin­eages, the Palyul holds the com­plete canon of the Mahayana sutras and tantras as well as the Kama (long), Ter­ma (short) and Pure Vision trans­mis­sions. How­ev­er, the Palyul lin­eage is dis­tinct in that it con­tin­ues to prac­tice, real­ize and trans­mit all the var­i­ous lin­eages and trans­mis­sions that were held and passed on by Kun­zang Sherab into one vast Dhar­ma Ocean.

Namcho Refuge Visualization

Nam­cho Refuge Visu­al­iza­tion

The Kama or long lin­eage is the com­bined oral tra­di­tion of Panchen Vimalami­tra, the trans­la­tor Vairo­cana and mas­ter Pad­masamb­ha­va on the inner yogas of Gen­er­a­tion Stage Maha Yoga, Trans­mis­sion stage Anu Yoga and the Great Per­fec­tion stage Ati Yoga. The Palyul also holds the Non-dual Great Seal Mahamu­dra – Great Per­fec­tion Ati Yoga, unit­ing the high­est Nying­ma teach­ings of Dzog Chen with the orna­ment of the Kagyu school, the Mahamu­dra of Marpa the trans­la­tor, fore­fa­ther of the Kagyu. From Kun­zang Sherab to the present throne hold­er, His Holi­ness Kar­ma Kuchen Rin­poche, as well as the greater Palyul sang­ha, this has been main­tained as a prin­ci­pal prac­tice which includes: clear light togyal, inner togyal, dark­ness prac­tice, dream prac­tice, train­ing in the nature of sound and pure realms prac­tice. The ter­ma or short lin­eage refers to spir­i­tu­al trea­sures (ter­ma) that were con­cealed by Pad­masam­ba­va and his close dis­ci­ples to be revealed at a lat­er, more appro­pri­ate time. These ter­mas were hid­den in both phys­i­cal ele­ments and with­in beings mind streams, to be remem­bered and revealed in lat­er incar­na­tions. As such, the lin­eage for these ter­mas is con­sid­ered “short” his­tor­i­cal­ly, as opposed to the long lin­eages orig­i­nat­ing with Sakya­mu­ni Bud­dha. The prin­ci­pal ter­ma lin­eages of the Palyul are those of Ter­ton Nyang, Guru Chowang, Rat­na Ling­pa, Jigme Ling­pa, Kar­ma Ling­pa and Mingyur Dor­je.  The Pro­found lin­eage of Pure Vision orig­i­nates with Ter­ton Mingyur Dorje’s Nam Cho Great Per­fec­tion rev­e­la­tions, trans­mit­ted direct­ly to Kun­zang Sherab.

For fur­ther read­ing please see: Zang­po, Ven. Tser­ing and Khan­dro, Sangye, A Gar­land of Immor­tal Wish Ful­fill­ing Trees: The Palyul Tra­di­tion of Nyingma­pa, Itha­ca, N.Y., Snow Lion Pub­li­ca­tions, 1988.

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