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Paṇchen Namkha Pelzang

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Namkha Pelzang (nam mkha' dpal bzang) was born in Sangyul (bzang yul) in the Tsang region in 1464. He studied a wide range of sutra and tantra teachings under many different masters.

In particular, he received the complete Kālacakra initiation, explanation of the Kālacakra Tantra, and the esoteric instructions of the Jonang tradition from Namkha Chokyong (nam mkha' chos skyong, 1436-1507), who was the eighteenth abbot of Jonang Monastery.


He also received the Jang tradition (byang lugs) of the Kālacakra from Namgyel Draksang's (rnam rgyal grags bzang, 1395-1475) disciple Shangpa Kunga Pelden (shong ston kun dga' dpal ldan, d.u.).

He received further Kālacakra transmissions from the master Sherab Ozer (shes rab 'od zer, d.u.).

According to the hagiographies, when Namkha Pelzang practiced the six-branch yoga of Kālacakra he gained unimpeded clairvoyance, and, when the ten vital winds were drawn into the central channel during meditation, a great experience of bliss erupted and the ten signs of clear light and other indications of accomplishment became stable.

Namkha Pelzang founded the monastery of Drepung ('bras spungs, not to be confused with the great Geluk monastery of the same name), where he continuously taught the six-branch yoga to many male and female practitioners.

He also held the monastic seat of Namgyel Draksang at Ngamring (ngam ring) for eighteen years.

The Jang (byang) ruler Namkha Lekpa Gyeltsen Pelzangpo (nam mkha' legs pa rgyal mtshan dpal bzang po, d.u.) and his family and court became his disciples and received these teachings from him.

In the monasteries of Lega (sle ga), Drepung, and Lhundrub Ding (lhun grub sdings) Namkha Pelzang gave the Kālacakra initiation, the explanation of the Kālacakra Tantra, and the esoteric instructions of the six-branch yoga to many thousands of ordained and lay men and women.


Namkha Pelzang also transmitted the collected writings of the Dolpopa Sherab Gyeltsen (dol po pa shes rab rgyal mtshan, 1295-1361), the tantric traditions of Cakrasaṃvara, Hevajra, Guhyasamāja, Vajrabhairava, the Six Dharmas of Niguma, the teachings of Machik Labdron (ma gcig lab sgron, 1055-1149), Mind Training (blo sbyong), and so forth.


When he passed away, many marvelous signs are said to have occurred, and heaps of relics were found in his remains. Namkha Pelzang had many disciples, such as Lochen Ratnabhadra (lo chen ratna bha dra, 1489-1563) and the great expert Sherab Tashi (shes rab bkra shis, d.u.).

Sources


'Jam mgon a mes zhabs ngag dbang kun dga' bsod nams. 2000. Dpal dus kyi 'khor lo'i zab pa dang rgya che ba'i dam pa'i chos byung ba'i tshul legs par bshad pa ngo mtshar dad pa'i shing rta. In The Collected Works of A-mes-zhabs Ngag dbang kun dga' bsod nams, vol. 19: 1-532. Kathmandu: Sa skya rgyal yongs gsung rab slob gnyer khang, pp. 227–29.

Cyrus Stearns August 2008

Source