Jigten Sumgön

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Jigten Sumgön
Jigten Sumgon.jpg
Jigten Sumgön
Tsungu (tsu ngu), Kham
Resting place"Body-Essence, Ornament of the World" stupa
LineageFounder of the Drikung Kagyu
Other namesJigten Gonpo; Welbar Tar (dbal 'bar thar); later changed to Tsunpa Kyab (btsun pa skyabs), and later on Dorje Pel (rdo rje dpal); Drikung Kyobpa Jikten Gönpo Rinchen Päl, Drikung Kyobpa Jikten Gonpo; Drikungpa Rinchen Pel; Kyobpa Jikten Gonpo; Rinchen Pel; Kyobpa Rinpoche (Wylie: ‘Bri-gung sKyob-pa ‘Jig-rten dgon-po rin-chen dpal),
Monastic nameRinchen Pel
TempleDensatil; Drikung Monastery
Senior posting
TeacherPhagmo Drupa Dorje Gyalpo, Tsilungpa (tsi lung pa), Lama Menyag (bla ma me nyag)
SuccessorGurawa Tsultrim Dorje (gu ra ba)
PostDrigung Monastery

Jigten Sumgön (1143-1217), was the founder of the Drikung Kagyu lineage[1] and main disciple of Phakmo Drüpa.[2] He founded Drikung Thil Monastery in 1179.[3]

Jigten Gonpo and the Drikung lineage are best known for the set of teachings known as The Five Profound Paths of Mahāmudrā (phyag chen lnga ldan). Some of Jigten Sumgön's sayings were collected by Sherab Jungne into what is known as "Gongchik - The Single Intention" (dgongs gcig),[4] a profound philosophical compendium that further developed in commentarial works written in the following generation.[5] Some of Jigten Gonpo's teachings were collected by another disciple into what is known as the Heart of the Great Vehicle's Teachings (theg chen bstan pa'i snying po).[6]


His great-grandmother was Achi Chokyi Drolma, who prophesied his birth and vowed to protect his lineage. His father was Naljorpa Dorje, a practitioner of Yamantaka, and his mother was Rakyisa Tsunma.[7] Jigten Sumgön born in to a famous clan called the Kyura (skyu ra) in the Kham region of Tibet by the name of Tsungu, in 1143. His father was a devote Vajrayana practitioner, but died when Jigten Sumgön’s was still a boy. At that time, Jigten Sumgön started to support his family by reciting scriptures. When he was only eight years old, it is said that he understood that all phenomena were like a reflection in a mirror.[8]


The meaning of Jigten Sumgön is "The Lord of the Triple Words". Jigten Sumgön is known under various names: Drikung Kyobpa Jigten Gonpo Rinpoche, Drikung Kyobpa Jikten Gönpo Rinchen Päl, Lord Jigten Sumgön, Kyobpa Rinpoche, and many others.

Because his mother had a connection with Bon tradition, upon his birth Jigten Sumgön was initially given a Bon name, Welbar Tar (dbal 'bar thar).


Lord Jigten Sumgön was one of the most notable masters of Tibetan Buddhism, and his teachings had wide-reaching influence for centuries to come, and up to 130,000 monks and practitioners came to his teaching at one time.[9]

The 8th Karmapa referred to Jigten Sumgön philosophical text Gongchik as “siddhanta of the Kagyupas",[10] suggesting he considered it to be the definite text outlining the philosophical tenets of all Kagyu schools. Seven centuries later, H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche quotes Jigten Sumgön[11] on something else he emphasized, the significance of the preliminary practices (Ngöndro):

Other teachings consider the main practice profound, but here it is the preliminary practices that we consider profound.

In a praise to his guru Sherab Jungne said about Jigten Sumgon:

He teaches according to the four kinds of proof:

First, the instructions of the holy lord lamas;

Second, the teachings of Sutra and Tantra of the Sugatas;

Third, the experience of you yogins;

Fourth, the history of the dharma of interdependence.

Regarding Buddhist philosophical tenets, Jigten Sumgon and his followers generally held dismissive attitudes towards their usefulness. Thus, Jigten Sumgon states in the Single Intention (4.13): The truth is veiled by all [philosophical] tenets whatsoever. He also wrote:

May those who mistake the system of tenets, which is a knot of the mind, as the Buddha’s intention, realise true reality and may their mindfulness be purified in itself.[12]

Moreover, echoing the Mahasiddha Saraha, he says:

All the views starting from the Non-Buddhists’ view of permanence and nihilism and up to the Madhyamikas’ [view] are something that is a mind-made duality. Since I have not studied these views of the various tenets, I do not know them.[13]

Due to his fame, many great masters came to study and practice in Drikung Thil for many centuries after Lord Jigten Sumgön's passing to Parinirvana. Perhaps the most famous of these was Lama Tsongkhapa, the founder of Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism. While staying near Drikung Thil, Lama Tsongkhapa received the Drikung teachings on the Six Yogas of Naropa as well as all of the outer and inner texts by Jigten Sumgön. Many Gelugpa, including H.H. Dalai Lama, uphold the Lama Tsongkhapa's lineage of Naropa's yogas until today.[14]


  1. ^ Gyaltsen, pg. 269
  2. ^ Cuevas, pg. 52
  3. ^ Stewart, pg. 130
  4. ^ "Kyobpa Jigten Sumgön: Gongchig". www.drikung.org. Retrieved 2017-06-19.
  5. ^ For the Gongchik see the blog by Jan-Ulrich Sobisch (Copenhagen University) dgongs1.com.
  6. ^ Martin, Dan (August 2008). "Jikten Gonpo Rinchen Pel". The Treasury of Lives: Biographies of Himalayan Religious Masters. Retrieved 2013-10-07.
  7. ^ "Lord Jigten Sumgon - Founder of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage". Drikung Kagyu Official Website. Retrieved 2013-10-07.
  8. ^ "Jikten Gonpo Rinchen Pel". The Treasury of Lives. Retrieved 2017-06-19.
  9. ^ 1953-, Trinlay Chödron, Khenmo,. Opening the treasure of the profound : teachings on the songs of Jigten Sumgön and Milarepa. ISBN 9781611800708. OCLC 819383486.
  10. ^ "Is the Single Intention a philosophy? A first glance at the 8th Karmapa's commentary". dGongs1. 2016-12-27. Retrieved 2017-06-19.
  11. ^ Rinpoche, Dudjom. "Extracting the Quintessence of Accomplishment Oral Instructions for the Practice of Mountain Retreat Expounded Simply and Directly in Their Essential Nakedness" (PDF).
  12. ^ Phag mo gru pa, lHan cig skyes sbyor in Schiller, Alexander (2014) Die „Vier Yoga“-Stufen der Mahāmudrā-Meditationstradition, (Indian and Tibetan Studies 2), Hamburg: Department of Indian and Tibetan Studies, Universität Hamburg. p. 454.
  13. ^ Phag mo gru pa, lHan cig skyes sbyor in Schiller, Alexander (2014) Die „Vier Yoga“-Stufen der Mahāmudrā-Meditationstradition, (Indian and Tibetan Studies 2), Hamburg: Department of Indian and Tibetan Studies, Universität Hamburg. p. 454 sems dang rnam rtog chos sku gsum// dang po lhan cig skyes pa de// gdams pas sems su sbyor ba’i phyir// lhan cig skyes sbyor zhes su bshad//.
  14. ^ "Six Yogas of Naropa". Wikipedia. 2017-05-17.


  • Cuevas, Bryan J. (2006). The Hidden History of the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Oxford University Press US. ISBN 019530652X, ISBN 9780195306521
  • Dorji, Sangay (Dasho); Kinga, Sonam (translator) (2008). The Biography of Zhabdrung Nga wang Namgyal: Pal Drukpa Rinpoche. Thimphu, Bhutan: KMT Publications. pp. 146–7. ISBN 9993622400.
  • Gyaltsen, Khenpo Konchog (2006). The Great Kagyu Masters. Snow Lion Publications; 2nd edition. pp. 226–255. ISBN 1559392444
  • Stewart, Jampa Mackenzie. The Life of Gampopa, Second Edition. Snow Lion Publications (July 25, 2004). ISBN 1559392142

External links[edit]