Terton Pema Lingpa (1450 -1521) and the importance of the Padling Tradition

Pema Lingpa (1450–1521) was a famous saint and siddha of the Nyingma school of Vajrayana Buddhism. He was a preeminent terton (discoverer of spiritual treasures), and is considered to be the foremost of the Five Terton Kings. In the history of the Nyingma school in Bhutan, Pema Lingpa is second in importance only to Padmasambhava himself. Pema Lingpas legend has it that his previous incarnations were:
·         Lhachik Pemasel, daughter of the Tibetan King
         Trisong Detsen (742-    796).
·        The Nun Rikma Sangye Kyid from Tibet;
·        Pema Drol, the consort of Guru Chokyi Wangchuck (1212-1270);
·        Ngakchang Rinchen Drakpa;
·        The terton Pema Ledrel Tsel (1291-1315);
·       The terton and scholar Longchen Rabjampa (1308-1364); Pema Lingpa was born amidst auspicious signs in 1450, in Chel in Tang valley of Bumthang. As an emanation of Guru Rinpoche and incarnation of the Omniscient Longchen Rabjam, he was extraordinary even as a child. Learning was effortless, whether reading and writing or ironwork and carpentry. His formal religious training was not extensive, but from his early adult years onward his dreams and visions became the source from which he received instructions to retrieve 108 great treasures — texts and relics — which lay hidden throughout Bhutan and parts of Tibet. However, due to the karmic disposition of beings at that time, Pema Lingpa could reveal only 32 of the presaged treasures. However, the treasures which Pema Lingpa revealed contain the essence of all 108 treasures, which are summarized in the cycles of the three heart practices transmitted to Princess Pemasal by Guru Rinpoche, namely The Lama Jewel Ocean, The Union of Samantabhadras Intentions, and The Great Compassionate One: The Lamp that Illuminates Darkness.

One of Pema Lingpas most renowned treasure discoveries took place in Bhutan at Mebartso (Burning Lake), where before a large crowd he leaped into the deep water with a burning butter lamp in his hand, later emerging with a terma in one hand and the still burning butter lamp in the other. Pema Lingpa’s myriad enlightened activities attracted to him a following of ordinary folk as well as many significant political and spiritual figures of his time. He was highly regarded by all four of the principal schools of Vajrayana Buddhism. Pema Lingpa spent his life revealing the precious treasures of Guru Rinpoche; meditating in isolated locations; giving empowerments and teachings; building and restoring monasteries; and generating a tradition that endures to the present day.

H.E. Gangteng Truelku Rinpoche, Chairman of the Padling Choeki Ga Tshal Foundation, is the Ninth Body incarnation of Padling Gyalse Pema Thinley, son of Thukse Dawa Gyaltsen, the eldest son of Pema Lingpa.