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Kathok Lineage

Kathok Lineage

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Kathok Lineage and Monastery
HH Getse, September 28, 2007 – Translated by Paloma and edited by David AyersAs many people know, Buddhism came to Tibet from India owing to the compassion of threemain propagators: Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava), the Great Bodhisattva Khenpo, andthe Dharma King Trisong Detsun.While there were many students and famous accomplished masters that came from GuruRinpoche, the most well known are the 25 disciples of Guru Rinpoche. One of these, NyakJnana Kumaradza, became the owner and transmitter of the Nyingma teachings called Do,Gyud, Sem - Sum, which means the three categories of Sutra, Tantra and Mind teachings.These three categories of teachings were transmitted in their entirety from master to studentas follows: From Nyak Jnana Kumaradza to to Nup Chen Sange Yeshe to So Yeshe Jungneto Zur Chen Sakya Jungne to Zhur Chung Sherab Trakpa to Samdrak Dro Tukpa to ZamtenGyalwe Gampo to Kathok Kadampa Deshek Sherab Senge.Kathok Kadampa Deshek, the founder of Kathok, not only received these three categories of Nyingma teachings in their entirety, but he also studied all of the other Dharma traditions inexistence at that time. While there was not yet a Gelug tradition, there were the KadampaGeshes, and from them he learned the Bodhisattva path of the Lam Rim, the gradual stagesof the path. From the Sakya master Sonam Padmo and others he received instructions onLam Dre, the Path and Fruition. And from the Kagyu tradition he studied from Milarepa'sstudents Rechungpa Dorje Drakpa, Repa Zhiwa Öd and Gampopa, whose Tibetan name wasTakpo Sagye, receiving all of the Mahamudra and other instructions of that tradition. So notonly had he received all of the lineage of the Nyingma tradition in its entirety, but also all of the different lineages of Dharma that were being transmitted at that time. There was noDharma that he hadn't received and wasn't a holder of, so all of the lineages converged inhim and he studied them all.
HH Getse – Kathok LineageSeptember 27, 2007Page 1 of 10
 
Kathok Kadampa Deshek was born in eastern Tibet in Kham, in the area of Derge. After having studied all of the teachings that he received, he was given Lung-Ten, a prophesy byboth of his root teachers, Zamten Gyalwe Gampo and Takpo Sagye (Gampopa). Theprophesy was that if he were to go to the mountain of Kumbo, he would achieve RainbowBody, but if he were instead to establish a monastery of Kathok, then his teachings wouldremain for 1000 years and 100,000 beings would be able to gain enlightenment there.Following this prophesy, many manifestations of the great Bodhisattvas Avalokiteshvara,Manjushri, and Changhan Dorje (Vajrapani) appeared to him, and he thought to himself,"Those three Lords would have an opportunity to manifest and benefit beings, and soimmense benefit would come through that." And then he thought to himself, "It's OK if I don'tattain Rainbow Body as long as I can bring about this great benefit and enable others to doso." So then he remained there in Kham and when he was about 30 years old, heestablished the Kathok monastery there as a seat for receiving Dharma teachings.The land on which Kathok Monastery was established was given by Guru Rinpoche in aprophesy in one of his writings. And Guru Rinpoche himself spent 25 days there on thatplace, so it's very blessed, one of the sacred spots in Tibet. It's called Ka Thok Dorje Den,one of perhaps 25 very holy sites of Guru Rinpoche in the area of Do Kham. In that specificlocation there is a thin flat rock that has the depiction of a double crossed Vajra, which wascalled "Dorje Gatramo". And on top of that was the syllable Ka (the first letter of the Tibetanalphabet). And so "Kathok" means, "On top of Ka". The monastery was built right there ontop of that Ka, situated with that double Dorje on that rock. And so it is a very special place.The words, "Dorje Den" are the same in Tibetan as for Bodh Gaya. All together Ka ThokDorje Den means "The Vajra Seat of Kathok". This monastery was first established around845 years ago or so (sometime around 1159 - 1162 CE).Between Kathok Kadampa Deshek and his two main students Tsong Ten Dorje Gyalten andSand Dak Shampa Bum, they ordained and taught about 80,000 students. Their mainstudents were “the 3 supreme listeners of Rong-Bo”, who were from an area of Gyarongwhich is near the Chinese and Tibetan border. At that time the primary Buddhist practice in
HH Getse – Kathok LineageSeptember 27, 2007Page 2 of 10
 
Do-Kham was the Nyingma tradition, and at that time there weren’t other schools within theNyingma. It wasn’t as it is today.Then later the next three major holders of the transmitted lineage that were the Bumpa NamSum, who were the three Bumpa. And they were primarily the students of Champa Bum,who was mentioned before. Then after them Lhungten Bum Zhi, the four sons of Lhungten.[Paloma interjects, “Someday I will actually know these names because I’m translating theKathok historical things.] And then they did a lot of work – they began to establish manybranch monasteries like branches of Kathok, other monasteries. At that time the person whostayed in the main monastery was Sonam Bumpa of the four sons of Lhungten. SonamBumpa, was the one that actually stayed in Kathok and held the seat at the monastery.[Paloma adds, “So I think what it is is that each of their names probably has Bumpa in it andthey’re all four sons of one lama, so they called them the four sons of Lhungten, or somethinglike that.”]So we’re not going in a completely linear manner, the three that we previously mentionedwere Sonam Bum, Yeshe Bum, and Changchup Bum. At this point there were around180,000 students practicing within the Kathok tradition, all of them fully ordained monks andpractitioners. And these 180,000 different practitioners were not just merely individuals whopaid lip service to the teachings and their vows, but sincere practitioners of great knowledgeand adept accomplishment. For instance, they included the omniscient Jigme Lingpa, andthe Kathok Getse Maha Pandita, and His Holiness Jigdrel Yeshe Dorje, who was theprevious emanation of Dudjom Rinpoche and so forth. And so within the Nyingma traditionwe have some very famous and accomplished masters.[Paloma adds, “This is not a linear history at this point; we’re just looking at some of themasters that you find historical reference to, and that happen to be of the Kathok lineage.”]At that time there were so many practitioners that when they got together for Sor-Jung for purification of their vows, and also for their traditional 45 day summer retreat they of coursecouldn't fit in a shrine room, so they stayed throughout the forest and valleys, which werefilled with monks. For the ceremonies they all wore their patched yellow robes, and therewere so many of them that the radiance from the yellow cloth on their backs made the sky
HH Getse – Kathok LineageSeptember 27, 2007Page 3 of 10

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