In 1665, the Eleventh Rabjung year of the Wood Snake, the great Vidyadhara Kunzang Sherab (1636-1699), at the age of 30, arrived at the newly built Palyul Monastery to assume his position as the first throne holder of The Palyul Lineage.
His root guru, the hidden treasure revealer Migyur Dorje (1645-1667) had instructed him: “According to Padmasambhava’s prophecy, the time has now ripened for you to work for the welfare of sentient beings. You must go to take charge of this monastery and it will become an exhaustless source of dharma, propagating the Nyingmapa Doctrine.”
Each of the great throne and lineage holders of the Palyul tradition became well known as great scholars of sutra, tantra and the outer and inner sciences. The successive throne holders and monks of the mother and branch Palyul monasteries practice the vinaya code of ethics as the foundational discipline. Upon this foundation, the second root practice, the mind training of the great vehicle of Mahayana called bodhicitta is placed. The aspirant trains to develop both aspirational and practical bodhicitta for the purpose of benefiting all sentient beings. The full list tracing the Palyul Dzogchen Linegage is here.
The tradition of practice that these highly disciplined monks strictly enforced has caused The Palyul Lineage to become known as the tradition of acccomplishment. The first practice in this tradition is the 30-day preliminary practice retreat. This is followed by the 44 day Tummo Tsa Lung practice; the 400,000 repetitions of the preliminary practices; the 40 day Tögal transmission; the 40 day inner clear light Tögal practice; the 30 day darkness practice; the training in sound; the dream state; and pure realms. Each of these practices are undergone according to the practitioner’s level of understanding and realization. At the conclusion of each level, examinations are given which must be passed before moving onward to the next level. When all the requirements are fulfilled, the practitioner is then qualified to enter the three year retreat.
During the three year retreat, the recitations of the Three Roots (lama, yidam and khandro) are performed and accomplished, followed by the practice of Trekchö. The successful completion of the three year retreat is marked by achieving all the signs of true accomplishment after which the practitioner receives enthronement and the title of Vajra Acharya (Tantric Master). Only at this time is the practitioner fully authorized as a qualified spiritual teacher (lama) with the potential to give empowerments, teachings, special ceremonies and practices for the purpose of benefiting sentient beings.
This excellent establishment of pure traditional conduct and practice in the Palyul tradition is originally due to the strength and kindness of the great Vidyadhara Kunzang Sherab, whose inconceivable compassion, activities and prayers continue to this present day. Read about The Palyul Lineage, from the souvenir book Oasis of Liberation published especially for the opening of the new temple in 1999 and read about the current incarnation of Kunzang Sherab, Gyatrul Rinpoche.