Lam Naldjorpa


Naldjorpa Sönam Drugthob
(rnal ‘byor pa bsod rnams ‘brug thob rin po che, -1994)
sitting His disciple and heart son Naldjorpa Ngagwang Dorje Rinpoche, standing (rnal ‘byor pa ngag dbang rdo rje rin po che)

This wonderful photo shows the great Master Naldjorpa Sönam Drugthob who visited his disciple and heart son Naldjorpa Ngagwang Dorje Rinpoche during his seven year retreat which he started with age 30 in Dragkya Dorje Dzong (brag skya rdo rje rdzong).

Look at the simple construction of the shelter made of bamboo mats, the wood for cooking fire and the seren atmosphere!


།། རྣལ་འབྱོར་པ་བསོད་རྣམས་འབྲུག་་ཐོབ་རིན་པོ་ཆེ།།

Naldjorpa Sönam Drugthob
(rnal ‘byor pa bsod rnams ‘brug thob rin po che, -1994)

Sönam Drugthob was great yogic practitioner or naldjorpa (rnal ‘byor pa) who is therefore known as Lama Naldjor, Naldjorpa Rinpoche, or Lama Naldjorpa Rinpoche, the Precious Master Yogi. His ordinary name was Sönam Drugthob (bsod rnams ‘brug thob), Virtuous Qualities Accomplished Through the Dragon Thunder. He was an accomplished practitioner who mastered both Mahamudra (phyag rgya chen po) and Dzogchen (rdzogs pa chen po), and became the lineage holder of Tertön Pegyal Lingpa’s Treasure Teachings or Terma (gter ma), especially the Kusum Gongdü (sku gsum dgongs ‘dus), The Enlightened Intend of the Three Bodies.

Sönam Drugthob was born in Golok, Eastern Kham, Tibet. His paternal clan originated from the uninterrupted spiritual lineage of Aku Throthung and Ling Gesar. His grandfather was also a great yogi known as Rakhreng Gyongpo or Gowa Zangpo, who attained the rainbow body (‘ja’ lus). His father was Palden Samdrup (dpal ldan bsam sgrub) and his mother was Khandro Tsering Tsogyal (mkha’ ‘gro tshe ring mtsho rgyal). His mother remained childless until age forty five it. Therefore, it was most surprising that she finally conceived a child and gave birth to a healthy son in the wood pig year of 16th Rabjung cycle. During her pregnancy and while giving birth, many auspicious signs occurred. When she was pregnant his mother had a vision of a huge bee circumambulating her day and night for one week long, and when the boy was born at the very moment of the luminous sunrise at the auspicious eighteenth day of sixth month according to the Tibetan calendar. Therefore, he received the names Nima Trashi (nyi ma ‘kra shis), Auspicious Sun, and Sönam Drugtop (bsod rnams ‘brug thob), Virtuous Qualities Accomplished Through the Dragon Thunder, as preceding to his birth both day and night were filled with roaring thunder. In his childhood he turned out to be enthusiastic and compassionate spending most of his early life as a nomad herding animals. Although his father taught him the basics of reading, writing, and reciting basic prayers he accomplished it without effort by himself. Additionally, he had many auspicious visions indicating a spiritual life.

Consequently, when he became twenty-five years old he renounced his ordinary worldly life and became a monk. First, he studied with Golok Khenpo Thupchu, from whom he received the novice vows. Then, he continued his studies and became a fully ordained monk or bikshu under Luding Khenchen (klu sdings mkhan chen rin po che).

Moreover, his root master Togden Sönam Chöleg (rtogs ldan bsod rnam chos legs, 1892-1979) directly introduced him to the nature of the mind, the natural state of the dharmakaya. Togden Sönam Chöleg commonly known as Togden Chöleg was the main disciple of Dru Jamyang Drakpa (`jam dbyangs grags pa), Khamtrul Tenpa’i Nyima (khams sprul 06 bstan pa’i nyi ma, 1819-1907), Adzom Drukpa Dodul Pawo Drodul Pawo Dorje (a ‘dzom ‘brug pa ‘gro ‘dul dpa’ bo rdo rje) aka Natsok Rangdrol (sna tshogs rang grol, 1842-1924) and Drubwang Shakya Shri (grub dbang shAkya shrI) (1853-1919)..

As he lived according to the strict rules of a proper monk he never had any contact with ladies until he met Thangtong Tulku, Reke Jatang Rinpoche, who bestowed upon him the special Vajrayana vows related to the supreme yogic empowerment of the long braided hair or Ralpa’i Wangchog (ral pa’i dbang mchog). From this moment he began to live as a non-celibate yogic practitioner or naldjorpa (rnal ‘byor pa), practicing Tummo (gtum mo), Tsalung (rtsa rlung), and training in the practices related to the path of passions (chags pa’i lam), i.e.sexual yoga. This master advised him to rely on thirty-two consorts while practicing at various sacred sites. Thus, he led the life of an iterant yogi wandering from one sacred place to the next, sleeping in caves and living in wild and deserted places. Thus, he practiced at innumerable retreat places and at sacred sites of Tibet, Bhutan and India for the greater part of his life like Tibet’s Great Yogi Milarepa. He visited the twenty-four sacred caves, three great cremation grounds and three great hermits’ places. Most of the time he survived by eating nettles and wild ferns abiding under the trees and rock cliffs as a homeless yogi. Particularly, he devoted his entire life to solitary meditation remaining and abiding by the luminosity of Dzogchen Thögal.

While practicing and travelling Naldjorpa Sönam Drugthob also came across monasteries and met many master continuously asking for their guidance and teachings. Thus, he received countless empowerments, oral transmissions, instructions, and essential pith instructions (dbang lung khrid dang man ngag) from accomplished masters, such as Dudjom Jigdrel Yeshe Dorje, 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpa’i Dorje, Minling Trichen Rinpoche, Dilgo Khenstse Rinpoche, Khamtrul Dongyüd Nyima, Chöd la Lodrö Gyalpo, Taklung Tsetrul, Kham Golog Ani Jochung ,Yonggay Rigdzin Dorje, Zangzang Drupchen Rechungpa, Rakchen Karma Thaye, Gangtrul Rinpoche, Kathog Ontrul, Jang Do-kya Tulku Chöki Nyima, Dham Lachung Karma Gyalpo, Zurmang Lama Karma Lhachog, Lopön Gyetse Rigyam, Ma Khampa Lama Tsering, Zigar Jatang Wangchen Dorje, Drongpa Tulku Karchung, Dzogchen Pema Sengay, Za Gangshar Chonyi Dorje, Drakzhab Choying Rinpoche, Degye Polu Khenchen, Golok Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche, Golok Khenpo Thubten, Lama Kalzang, Lama Sherab Gyeltsen, Ladhak Bagu Rinpoche, Lama Phendhey Dorji, Golok Sertha Lama, Khamgar Dorzong Tulku, Derge Chagdud Tulku, Zhechen Bero Tulku, Kathog Drime Zhingkyong, Jang La Dhargye Chödrag, Drubthop Dorje Dradul, Tötingtse Akhu Lama, Sakya Sangnag Thinle, Terchen Tulzhug Lingpa, Zhabdrung Tulku, Dzongsar Khentse Tulku, Kurtöd Mani Lama, Chogling Rinpoche, Namru Lama Kadhak, Golok Khenpo Dhazer, Jang Taklung Matrul, Jang Drigung Khandro, and Ritse Drug Khenpo.

Tertön Pegyal Lingpa bestowed upon him the whole cycle of Kusum Gogdü treasure doctrine and entrusted him with the title Chödag (chos bdag) or Doctrine Holder, in order to continue the lineage of his treasure teachings (gter ma) of the Kusum Gongdü (sku gsum dgongs ‘dus), The Enlightened Intend of the Three Bodies. In the following years he organized, various Drupchen ceremonies of the Kusum Gondü, first in Kurtö Sengye Dzong (seng ge rdzong), the Lions Fortress near Kurtö, and later Yangtse Chörten Kora Dhurthrö (yang rtse mchod rten ‘khor ba dur khrod), the Charnel Ground of the Supreme Stupa Surrounding at Tashiyangtse.

Finally, he turned the wheel of the dharma giving empowerments, oral transmissions and essential pith instructions of Dzogchen and Mahamudra to many disciples at the Charnel Ground of Chörten Khora. With some devotees he spent the rest of his life in Pemaling (pad+ma gling) and Deleg Namkha Khyungzong (bde legs rnam mkha’ khyung mdzong). He also composed a book called Beltam Lungrig Nyima’i Nyingpo ( lung rig nyi ma’i snying po) or the Book of the Spiritual Discourse, the Center of the Sun. To the present day some of his direct disciples continue to practice Dzogchen and Mahamudra living like the previous great Master in remote mountain hermitages of Tashi Yangtse, Eastern Bhutan.

Naldjorpa Rinpoche married and has a son Drupön Lama Karma (sgrub dpon bla ma dkar ma), who is married to Khandro Tsering (mkha’ ‘gro tshe ring), the previous sangyum (gsang yum) of Rinpoche.