As Told by Himself
I, Dudjom Jigdrel Yeshe Dorje, was born in the year of the wooden dragon of the fifteenth rabjung cycle (1904). My birthplace was the hidden land of Pemako, and my father was Jampel Norbu Wangyal of the royal line of Kanam. When I was only three years old, I was recognized by the disciples of the great terton Dudjom Lingpa as the emanation of their master. They took me for their own, and thus I entered the door of Dharma.
“Reading and writing are the roots of knowledge,” my teacher said, and he made me study hard. At the same time, I had to memorize rituals, prayers, and so forth. I received instructions on the proper conduct of body, speech, and mind. I also studied history, spiritual tales, and the preliminary practices, and thanks to this, my intelligence developed a little. As the years went by, I was compassionately guided according to my ability by learned and accomplished lamas. I studied all the basic sciences such as grammar, spelling, poetry, astrology, and medicine, as well as the Dharma texts and commentaries of Madhyamika, Prajnaparamita the Five Doctrines of Maitrya, the
Bodhichaiyavatara, the Three Vows, and so forth. In particular, I revered the maturing and liberating tantras, their commentaries, and the profound instructions of the oral and treasure teachings of the Nyingma tradition. These ranged from the thirteen great activities of a vajra master to the rituals of the various practice traditions, making and decorating tormas, dancing, drawing mandalas, chanting, and music. Without overlooking anything, I trained most diligently in all the practical details of the vidyadhara lineage. Beginning with the accumulations and trainings of the preliminaries up to the main practice~ namely the approach and accomplishment sections of the creation stage, followed by the perfection stage practices, I persevered as much as I could, making up all the necessary numbers in the recitation.
However, I was led astray due to the fact that I have the unfortunate title of lama. I became a slave to the distracting activities that are said to be for the benefit of the doctrine and beings, and for that reason, I got about as much sign of accomplishment as feathers on a tortoise!
Whatever nectar of Dharma I received, most of it I explained and propagated as much as I could to others, according to their nature. And though not deserving to be numbered among the learned, yet so as not to disappoint those who requested me, and also in the hope that I might be of some service to the doctrine, I wrote and compiled more than twenty volumes. These include, for example:
The History of the Nyingma School, A General Survey of Nyingma Teachings, A History of Tibet, a word-for-word commentary on the Three Vows, and instructions and guidelines for many cycles of practice. It is said that the result of receiving teaching is the ability to compose—so I wrote all these works without expectation and trepidation.
Thanks to the kindness of my great and holy teachers, the eyes of my pure perception were not blinded and I never accumulated the evil karma of abandoning the Dharma, of having wrong views and denigrating the teachings of others, or of criticizing anyone at all. I am continually training myself in the wholesome attitude of avoiding all duplicity. But as I do not have the slightest doubt that I belong among the followers of the compassionate Buddha, albeit in the lowest ranks, I do occasionally have a slight feeling of pride. Which goes to show that I can’t even tell the difference between right and wrong! This is a short life story of myse1f an old tantrika.