The 9th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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In Tibetan Buddhism, Dorje Pakmo (Tibetan: བསམ་སྡིང་རྡོ་རྗེ་ཕག་མོ་སྤྲུལ་སྐུ།, Wylie: bsam-sding rdo-rje-phag-mo sprul-sku, ZYPY: Samding Dojêpagmo Zhügu, literally The Diamond Sow; simplified Chinese: 桑顶多吉帕姆活佛 (多杰帕嫫); traditional Chinese: 桑頂多吉帕姆活佛 (多傑帕嫫); pinyin: Duōjí Pàmǔ (Duōjié Pàmó); Sanskrit: Vajravārāhī), also known as Sera Kandro, is believed to be the reincarnation of the consort of the wrathful deity Demchok (Heruka).
History and background
Her seat, Samding (literally, 'the temple of soaring meditation') was in many ways unique in that about half of the inhabitants were monks and the other half were nuns, while the head of the monastery with all its branches was (and still is) a woman.
- The present incarnation [i.e. in 1882] of the divine Dorje Phagmo is a lady of twenty-six, Nag-wang rinchen kunzag wangmo by name.
- I learnt that the Dorje Phagmo, or the "Diamond Sow," is an incarnation of Dolma (Tara), the divine consort of Shenrezig (Chenrezig).
- Finally the Buddha and gods held council to compass about Matrankaru's destruction, and it was decided that Shenrezig should take the form of Tamdrin ("Horse-neck"), and his consort, Dolma, that of Dorje Phagmo ("the Diamond Sow").
When the two had assumed these forms they went to the summit of the Malaya mountains, and Tamdrin neighed three times, to fill the demon with terror, and Dorje Phagmo grunted five times, to strike terror into the heart of Matrankaru's wife, and soon both were lying prostrated at the feet of the two divinities.
In 1716, when the Jungar invaders of Tibet came to Nangartse, their chief sent word to Samding to the Dorjo Phagmo to appear before him, that he might see if she really had, as reported, a pig's head.
He found it deserted, not a human being in it, only eighty pigs and as many sows grunting in the congregation hall under the lead of a big sow, and he dared not sack a place belonging to pigs.
- When the Jungars had given up all idea of sacking Samding, suddenly the pigs disappeared to become venerable-looking lamas and nuns, with the saintly Dorje Phagmo at their head.
- "Her monastery belongs to one of the red hat or unreformed orders, which are frowned on by the prevailing yellow-hat hierarchy, but an exception has been made in her case, and she is treated with royal honors by the Lhasa government, sharing with the Tashi- and Dalai-lamas the privilege of riding in a sedan-chair when she travels.
She married into the royal family of the principality of Southern Lato that is she married/was married to the prince of southern Lato (La stod lho) defined as a keen supporter of Bonpo practices – but, after the death of her only child, a daughter, she renounced her family and royal status to become a Buddhist nun circa 1442.
- She rapidly became famous as a dynamic and inspirational follower, possibly a tantric consort (phyag rgya ma), of three of the outstanding religious tantric masters of the era.
Chokyi Dronma died at the age of thirty-three, leaving a tangible mark on history not only through her own deeds but even more through what happened after her death: her disciples searched for the girl in whom she had reincarnated and thus initiated a line of female incarnations that became the first and most famous in Tibet."
She died at the Manmogang Monastery in Tsari to the southeast of Dakpo, near the Indian border, in 1455. Diemberger also says that [..... "the Venerable Lady passed away into the dakinis' heaven (khecara), her true home.
The great siddha Thangtong Gyalpo had said earlier, 'A skull with special features will come to this sacred place, together with a mountain dweller from Ngari', and thus the prophecy had come true, greatly enhancing the devotion of the Kongpo people."]
In premodern Tibet, the successive incarnations of Dorje Pakmo were treated with royal privilege and, along with the Dalai and Panchen Lamas, (and when they were in Tibet, the Chinese Ambans) were permitted to travel by palanquin or sedan chair.
Unlike most other nuns, Dorje Pakmo was allowed to wear her hair long, but was never to sleep lying down – in the day she could sleep sitting up in a chair, but was expected at night to remain in a meditative position.
Diemberger writes: "Three names in particular frame her identity according to a classical Tibetan threefold model: as a royal princess she was called Queen of the Jewel (Konchog Gyalmo), her 'outer' name; when she took her vows she became known as Lamp of the Doctrine (Chokyi Dronma), her 'inner' name; as a divine incarnation she was called Thunderbolt Female Pig (Dorje Phagmo), her 'secret' name." The wylie transliteration is given by Diemberger as Chos kyi sgron me.
Also: "The princess's three main names seem to refer to three distinct modes of manifesting herself in different contexts: Konchog Gyalmo (Queen of the Jewel), her birth name; Chokyi Dronma (Lamp of the Dharma), the name she was given when she was ordained as a novice; and Dorje Phagmo (Vajravarahi), the name attributed to her when she was revealed as an emanation of this deity.
Her outer name is Lady Queen of the Jewel (bDag mo dKon mchog rgyal mo); her inner name is Female Teacher Lamp of the Doctrine (sLob dpon ma Chos kyi sgron ma); her secret name is Vajravarahi (rDo rje phag mo). Her residence is undefined."
IT says: "the incarnates of this monastery were the bsam sdings rdo rje phag mo and the reembodiment of ras chen dpal 'byor bzang po gu bkra'i chos 'byung."
She understood its meaning in the instant of its appearance.
She knew immediately that there would be no obstacle to her fulfilment of these practices.
The lifestory of A-YU KHA'DRO (Tsewang Dorje Paldron 1839–1953) refers to the teachings of Khadro Sangwa Kundu, declared to be a gongter of Jamyang Khentse Wangpo and in fn6 explained to be the teaching given to Jomo Memo (1248–83) by Dorje Phagmo in the cave of Padma Sambhava.
Twelfth Samding Dorje Pakmo
The twelfth Samding Dorje Pakmo was very young at the time of the Chinese occupation, but her exact date of birth is contested, some people claiming she was born a year before the death of the previous incarnation (and therefore cannot be the true reincarnation).
However, she was recognised by the present 14th Dalai Lama as a true incarnation and served as a vice president of the Buddhist Association in 1956 while he was president, and the 10th Panchen Lama also a vice president.
She was trained in the Bodongpa tradition but remains the head of the Samding Monastery while also holding the post of a high government cadre in the Tibet Autonomous Region. She has, as a result, been accused by many of "collaborating" with the Chinese.
After the 2008 Tibetan unrest and prior to the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Xinhua, the Chinese official government news agency, said that the twelfth Samding Dorje Phagmo, who is also the vice-chairwoman of the standing committee of the Tibetan Autonomous Regional People's Congress, was quoted saying that,
According to Diemberger there also is a Dorje Phagmo line in Bhutan. She writes: Currently there is a Dorje Phagmo Tulku in Bhutan who was recognized by the Sakya Lama Rikey Jatrel, considered an incarnation of Thangtong Gyalpo (1385–1464 or 1361–1485).
The distinctive black hat of the Samding Dorje Phagmo, which can be seen in both ancient and modern mural paintings and in photographs of the later reincarnations, is very similar to that of the Karmapa and is linked to the dakinis and Khandro Yeshe Tshogyal in particular.