H.H.Sera Yangtrul Rinpoche


(se ra yang sprul rin po che rnal ‘byor pa tshul khrims rgya mtsho lam gter ston rig ‘dzin gsang sngags gling pa, 1925-1988)

Sera Yangtrul Rinpoche, Naldjorpa Tsultrim Gyatso aka Tertön Sangngag Lingpa

Sera Yangtrul Tsultrim Gyatso aka Naldjorpa Sera Yangtrul Rinpoche Tsultrim Gyatso aka Tertön Rigdzin Sangngag Lingpa was was a close disciple of Sera Khandro and Düdjom Rinpoche, with whom he discoverd termas. Recognized as Tragthung Düdjom Dorje’s son Tulku Drime Özer he became a great master, yogic practitioner and treasure finder or tertön (gter ston).

Tsultrim Gyatso was born with many auspicious signs on the great plain of the upper Nyi river valley in Washul Serta, Qinghai province (dbal shul snyi lung stod kyi na thang chen mo’i nye ‘gram) in 1925. His father was Barchung Sherab Zangpo (‘bar chung shes rab bzang po) and his mother was Tongza Dechen Tshomo (stong bza’ bde chen mthso mo). Sera Khandro Dewa’i Dorje (se ra mkha’ ‘gro bde ba’i rdo rje) aka Kunzang Dekyong Wangmo (kun bzang bde skyong dbang mo, 1892-1940, the great female tertön and spiritual consort of Tulku Drime Özer, aka Terse Drime Özer (sprul sku/ gter sras dri med ‘od zer), or Pema Drodul Sangngag Lingpa, the fifth son of Tragthung Dudjom Dorje aka Chagkong Tertön (khrag thung bdud ‘joms gling pa/ lcags skong gter ston, 1835-1904), and The Fourth Awo Sögen Tulku Natsog Rangdrol aka Sötrul Orgyen Natsog Rangdrol (a bos bsod rgan sprul sku o rgyan sna tshogs rang grol/ bsod sprul sna tshogs rang grol, 1869–1935), recognized the young boy as an incarnation of Tulku Drime Özer. 

According to prophesies made by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo (‘jam dbyangs mkhyen brtse’i dbang po, 1820-1892) Apang Tertön aka Apang Terchen Pawo Chöying Dorje (a paM gter ston dpa’ bo chos dbyings rdo rje, 1895-1945), and Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö (‘jam dbyangs mkhyen brtse chos kyi blo gros, 1893-1959) confirmed the recognition and named him Tertön Rigdzin Sangngag Lingpa (gter ston rig ‘dzin gsang sngags gling pa). Moreover, he was recognized as the incarnations of Awo Lama Lozang Özer (a bo bla ma blo bzang ‘od zer) from Sera Monastery, and named Sera Yangsi (se ra yang srid sprul sku). His original residence was Sera Monastery or Awo Sera Monastery, Pal Sera Thegchog Chökhor Ling in Washul Serta, Golog, Qinghai province (mgo log dbal shul gser rta/ thar se ra dgon lam a bos se ra dgon lam dpal se ra theg chen chos ‘khor gling).

Age thirteen, Sera Yangrul, together with the Fourth Awo Sögen Tulku Natsog Rangdrol (a bos bsod rgan sprul sku o rgyan sna tshogs rang grol/ bsod sprul sna tshogs rang grol, 1869–1935), and Chogtrul Jigme Gawa’i Dorje aka Tulku Jigga (mchog sprul ‘jigs med dga’ ba’i rdo rje/ sprul sku ‘jigs dga’, ca. 1930-2003), received the complete empowerments, reading transmission, teachings, and oral pith instructions of Düdjom Lingpa’s and Tulku Drime Özer’s profound treasure teachings (bdud ‘joms yab sras kyi zab gter yongs rdzogs kyi gdams zab rnams) from Sera Khandro. In addition, she also transmitted her own treasure teachings.

In the following six years Sera Yangtrul studied at Mindroling Monastery in Central Tibet (o rgyan smin grol gling) with Tragthung Düdjom Lingpa’s incarnation Düdjom Rinpoche Jigdral Yeshe Dorje (bdud ‘joms ‘jigs bral ye shes rdo rje, 1904-1987), and Minling Chung Rinpoche Ngagwang Chödrag (smin gling gcung rin po che ngag dbang chos grags, 1908-80), who conferred upon him the Treasury of Precious Termas (rin chen gter mdzod). Moreover, Tsultrim Gyatso received many teachings, transmissions, and empowerment according to both, the Sarma and Nyingma traditions, from eminent masters in Central Tibet. In the retreat cave od Dragmar Keutsang above Samye Chimphu (bsam yas mchims phu’i brag dmar ke’u tshang), Sera Yangtrul and Düdjom Rinpoche revealed several treasures concealed water (chu gter). Tsultrim Gyatso discovered a kapala filled with nectar and a big treasure casket (thod pa bdud rtsi gtams pa zhig dang gter sgrom che ba). Thereupon, Dudjom Rinpoche took the kapala in order to bestow the four empowerments with it so that the treasure casket opened and one of the twenty-five precious representative statue of Guru Rinpoche (gu ru sku tshab nyer lnga). Then, Sera Yangtrul went to Longchenpa’s retreat place Gangri Thökar (gangs ri thod dkar), where he discover Guru Rinpoche’s treasure casket filled with yellow scrolls (gu ru’i sgrom shog ser gtams), such as the Padmasambhava’s Biography of the Immaculate White Lotus (o rgyan rnam thar dri med pad+ma dkar po). Moreover, he discovered many material and mental treasures (rdzas gter dang dgongs gter).

Around age forty-five Tsultrim Gyatso returned Sera Monastery. There and at many other places in Kham he bestowed countless teachings, instructions, and transmissions. Moreover, he continued to have visions and discover hidden treasure teachings before, and even during the hard times of imprisonment during the Cultural Revolution. In those and the following years he lived a simple life full of realization in the style of a great yogic practitioner or naldjorpa chenpo (rnal ‘byor pa chen po) gaining experiences and realization. Following this, he bestowed teachings and transmissions to fortunate disciples, such as Akhyug Rinpoche aka Drubwang Lungtog Gyaltsen (a khyug rin po che grub dbang lung rtogs rgyal mtshan, 1927-2011) and Khenpo Achö aka Khenpo Chöying Rangdrol (mkhan po a chos/ chos dbyings rang grol, 1918–1998), who both attained the rainbow body. Among his other students are The Fourth Dodrubchen Rigdzin Tenpe Gyaltsen aka Dodrubchen Rigdzin Jalü Dorje (rdo grub chen rig ‘dzin bstan pa’i rgyal mtshan’am rig ‘dzin ‘ja‘ lus rdo rje, 1927-1961), Tare Lhamo Namkha’i Bumo aka Tare Dechen Gyalmo (tA re lha mo nam mkha’i bu mo/ tA re bde chen rgyal mo, 1938-2003), the great tsalung practitioner Tsophu Dorlo Rinpoche (mtsho ‘phu rdor lo rin po che, 1930-2004), Nyagtrul gyurme Dorje (nyag sprul ‘gyur med rdo rje, 20th cent.), and Lama Rigdzin Nyima (bla ma rig ‘dzin nyi ma, 20th cent.)

Moreover, there are several groups of lineage holders of Sera Yangtrul’s profound terma teachings, such as the Ten Yogic Practitioners Wearing White Robes and Long Matted Hair (gos dkar lcang lo can gyi sde tshan bcu), the Four Renunciant Yogic Practitioners from the Rocky Cliffs (bya bral brag ri ‘dzin pa’i rnal ‘byor pa bzhi), and the Five Vagabonds of the Tigress’ Mountain Ridge. These terma include the above mentioned biography, the Preliminary Practices known as Rigdzin Tsadrub Ngöndro’i Dechen Lamzang Pema’i Nyingtig Zabpa Dorje’i Gyachen, the Main Practices known as Ngözhi Tenpa’i Rimpa, and the Ancillary Practices known as Lamgyi Yenlag Tenpa’i Rimpa, etc.

Sera Yangtrul passed away in 1988; in the early morning he adopted the position of Guru Rinpoche Nangsid Zilnön (snang srid zil gnon) ‘Padmasmabhava Prevailing over all Appearances and Existences’, with the right hand held in the threatening mudra of direct introduction to the sky above (g.yas phyag gis sdigs mdzub), and with the left hand held in the earth subduing mudra (g.yon phyag sa la gtan), gazing three times up to the right and three times down to the left. Then, remaining in the state of instant presence of rigpa he gazed straight ahead into the pure dimension of the space (spyan gnyis hrig ger nam mkha’i dbyings su gzigs pa) and passed away. His physical body remained unwavering in this meditative position or thugdam (thugs dam) for the next seven days.