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Our Yogis

Category: Our Yogis

The Three Divine Madmen

15th century Tibet saw the emergence of the Nyonpa or 'crazy yogi' phenomenon. These yogis came to be called Nyonpa, or crazy, because of their unconventional behavior and activities. The three greatest representatives of the Nyonpa tradition were Tsangnyon Heruka (1452-1507), Unyon Kunga Sangpo (1458-1532) and Drukpa Kunleg (1455-1529), all three are regarded as belonging to the Drukpa Lineage. Tsangnyon wrote the most well-read biography and Gur Bum of Marpa and completed the compilation of the Nyen Gyud Yigcha. He also edited the golden manuscript of the thirteen-volume Nyen Gyud Yizhin Norbu. There is also an interesting account of how Unyon converted heretics into Buddhism:

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Category: Our Yogis

The 'Look-Like-Me' Naropa statue in a cave at Dzongkhul Gompa, Zanskar, depicting Naropa in his younger years

Naropa's Ornaments

The origin of the Six Ornaments of Naropa goes back to the eleventh century. At this time, the Tibetan translator Marpa Choekyi Lodro of Lhodrak visited India three times and Nepal four times, encountering hundreds of erudite and accomplished Masters.

His principal Gurus were the learned Naropa and Lord Maitripa from whom he received the complete empowerments, and the essential instructions that contain the ultimate meaning of all the Sutras and Tantras. Under these Masters, he also studied the extraordinary teachings of Mahamudra and the Six Yogas of Naropa. By perfectly accomplishing those practices, he obtained full and ultimate realization.

The crown ornament of Naropa

Finally, Lord Naropa declared to Marpa: "The blessings of Master Krishnacharya breathed life into the lineages of Eastern regions, the Master Aryacharya has blessed the lineage of the South, and the King Indrabhodi transmitted his spiritual influence to the Western lineages. I bestow the waves of grace to the lineages of the North, the Lands of Snow. You have nothing more to do here - return to Tibet. I impart to you the power of my legacy; I appoint you my regent on the Roof of the World. The Land of Snow abounds in potential disciples, worthy vessels for my teachings."

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Category: Our Yogis

Gyalwa Gotsangpa

Drukpa Lineage is essentially a lineage of yogis. Many great yogis, through practicing the unique and profound methods developed by the Drukpa masters, became enlightened within one lifetime. Not only that, they were able to benefit many beings during their lifetimes. One of the most celebrated masters of the Drukpa Lineage, besides Tsangpa Gyare himself and his successive reincarnations is: Gyalwa Gotsangpa (1189-1258) - He was one of the most accomplished disciples of Tsangpa Gyare who charted the route for circumambulation of the Mountain and the Lakes and started the tradition of circumambulation. The total distance, covered in a complete circumambulation of Mount Kailash according to the route charted by Gotsangpa, is 52km and takes about 13 to 15 hours.

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Category: Our Yogis

Mahasiddha Naropa

Life History of Naropa

According to 'The Wand that Opens the Eyes and Dispels the Darkness of Mind' (the abridged collection of biographies of the successive Gyalwang Drukpas), Naropa was born around AD 956 and passed away around AD 1050. However, other sources record him as living between AD1016 and 1100. Naropa was born in the small kingdom of Bengal. His father was a royal chieftain of an area named Shantivarman and his mother was called Srimati. His yearning for spiritual development was so strong that, when he was eight years old, he journeyed to Kashmir (one of the main seats for Buddhist studies in historical times) in order to study with the master Gaganakirti. It was from Gaganakirti that he received his lay ordination.

Naropa remained in Kashmir for three years, learning Buddhist teachings and philosophies from many great masters. By the end of his stay there he was an erudite scholar and, upon returning home, already had a number of students following him as their master.

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