tHE catalogue translation project

for the profound tREASURE corpus Of

Orgyen Jigme Namkha Lingpa & Dakini Tare Lhamo

Lama Dechen Yeshe Wangmo

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May the enlightened activities, in the manner of wish-fulfilling jewels, of Namkha Lingpa, a mind emanation of Padma, and Tare Devi, a manifest Tsogyal, spread to the four continents [of Mount Meru], expand and remain for a long time!

In the 1980’s and ‘90s, Dakini Tare Lhamo and Orgyen Namkha Lingpa (Namtrul Rinpoche) lived together as an eminent tantric couple, dedicating themselves to revitalizing Buddhism after the devastation of the Maoist period.

Dakini Tare Lhamo (1938-2002) was born the daughter of Apang Terchen, son of Dudjom Lingpa. On pilgrimage to central Tibet as a five-year old with her family, Dudjom Rinpoche praised her as a rebirth of Sera Khandro. She was alsoesteemed as an emanation of Yeshe Tsogyal and a man called Tra Gelong. To Westerners, she is best known, if at all, for recognizing Dudjom Sangye Pema Zhepa Rinpoche as a rebirth of Dudjom Rinpoche Jigdral Yeshe Dorje. Toward the end of her life, Khandro had visions of traveling to dakini lands and conversing with Vajravarahi who assured her they were inseparable. She passed away after a sudden illness. (Learn more about Tare Lhamo.)

Namtrul Rinpoche aka Orgyen Namkha Lingpa (1944-2011) was enthroned as the Fourth Namkai Nyingpo and was regarded as a rebirth of Apang Terchen. In a private conversation with Holly Gayley, Rinpoche cited a prophecy that the couple’s treasure teachings would one day reach America.

For almost twenty years, the eminent couple collaborated in revealing and disseminating treasures, organizing and sponsoring renewal projects and instituting new programs of study and practice at numerous monasteries.

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My first connection with Dakini Tare Lhamo and Namtrul Rinpoche came about in 2009 during my first visit to Tsogyal Latso, the birthplace of Yeshe Tsogyal in Tibet. In learning the history of Tsogyal Latso, I was told that the revitalization after the Cultural Revolution was due in large part to the seven-day visit of Tare Lhamo and Namtrul Rinpoche in 1992. At this time, the couple bestowed empowerments, commissioned new statues from Samye and initiated the construction of a nunnery. Khandro Tare Lhamo observed that the eyes of the main Yeshe Tsogyal statue had blinked.

Back home, I found a biography of Namtrul Rinpoche translated into French and also discovered the fascinating work of Holly Gayley on the lives of Tare Lhamo and Namtrul Rinpoche.


In 2016, I went to Golok hoping to visit Nyenlung Monastery, the administrative center of Tare Lhamo and Namtrul Rinpoche. On the way, I stopped in Chengdu and had the great fortune to meet their Dharma heir, Tulku Lhaksam Namdak Rinpoche and also the rebirth of Namtrul Rinpoche. Tulku Lhaksam welcomed me and my friends and kindly bestowed a few transmissions from the treasure writings of the couple. A few days later, I was denied entry into the Serta county where Nyenlung is located and all attempts to circumvent the problem failed. At that point, Tulku Namdak intervened and had a lama from Nyenlung meet me at the border with all the volumes of the couple's treasure writings as well as those of Tare Lhamo's father. Altogether 28 books! It was a fun and joyous occasion! (Read more about my journey to Nyenlung.)

The catalogue Translation Project


The literary legacy of Dakini Tare Lhamo and Namtrul Rinpoche includes their life stories, twelve volumes of collaborative treasure writings, and personal correspondence. There is a prophecy that their treasure writing will one-day reach a Western audience.

In "Love Letters from Golok," Holly Gayley portrays the eminent couple as emissaries of Padmasambhava whose mission it is "to awaken Padmasambhava's entrustment of treasures (gter) and follow his command in propagating the teachings contained therein." Their treasures are also regarded as a "means to reverse the strife of degeneration".  Although "strife" refers to the local traumatic events of the Maoist period, it can also include the overall process of decline in the entire human realm known as the kaliyuga and thus make these treasures relevant to everyone.

It's also worth repeating that in general, treasures are intended to reveal spiritual instructions which adapt or update the traditional ones and at the same time, provide much-needed connectedness and lineage blessings.

It's with this in mind that I decided to produce an English catalogue of these treasure writings, hoping to imprint them on my own mind, receive their blessings and create a means of connection for Westerners.


The Catalogue Project consists of translating from Tibetan into English the titles of all the texts in A Sky Treasury: The Treasure Writings of Orgyen Jigme Namka Lingpa and Khandro Tare Lhamo. (Edition published in Chengdu 2003.) Titles will appear in Tibetan script, Wylie and English. The approximate number of titles is 600.

The Catalogue will be published as a PDF and also as a searchable data base using categories such as authors, genre, topic, deity, and other information gleaned from the colophons.

The translator is Lama Dechen Yeshe Wangmo. Translation started August 28, 2017 and is targeted to complete by the end of the year.

Tare Lhamo's Supplication to Yeshe Tsogyal

Update October 11, 2017

Early on, I decided to do this work as a semi-retreat, meaning that during this time, I focus only on this project with as little interference as possible from other responsibilities. I love this idea and as you can imagine, I look forward to many Catalogue Retreats!

On August 29, I started my first Catalogue Retreat. A few days and 15 solid hours later, the titles of the texts and some colophons in Volume One were translated! A few more hours and I created this overview:

There are 98 texts in Volume One. All of them are Guru texts and I've provisionally categorized them as follows: 

•    Feast Offering: 10
•    Supplication: 4
•    Aspiration Prayer: 1
•    Transference: 1
•    Other: 8

•    Guru Yoga: 35
•    Guru Accomplishment Sadhana: 23
•    General Guru Sadhana: 6
•    Empowerment: 10

In addition, a few texts are for particular masters or deities:

 •    2 for Amitabha
•    2 for Kalachakra
•    4 for Orgyen Norlha, Guru Rinpoche’s wealth form
•    3 for Pema Gyalpo, the Lotus King, one of the Eight Manifestations of Guru Rinpoche and the form in which Padmasambhava originally appeared in our world.
•    2 for the mahasiddha, Thangtong Gyalpo
•    1 for Treasure Protectors

The most common attributed authorship is Namtrul and Tare Lhamo and variations thereof, such as Jigme Namkha Lingpa and Tare Dechen Lhamo. Often, Tare Lhamo is called the Mantra-Born Tare Devi and Namtrul the old mantrin or the aimless Jigme. In many cases, Namtrul refers endearingly to Tare Lhamo as his life-long companion.

When the colophon includes a location, the most common is Rikzin Gatshal, the private residence of the eminent couple at Nyenlung, their administrative seat. There are a few that were written at Apang Rinpoche’s monastery, Tsimda. Five were written on pilgrimage in Central Tibet at the Jokhang, Kangri Tokar or Samye Chimphu. However in the majority of cases, a location is not specified. Several other minor places unknown to me are also indicated for some texts. Next Catalogue Retreat starts October 14, 2017 onto Volume Two and More! —Lama Dechen Yeshe Wangmo

how to connect & help fund the catalogue project

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