The First Chonyi Gyatso, Chopa Lugu

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The First Chonyi Gyatso, Chopa Lugu b.late 17th cent. - d.mid 18th cent.

Name Variants: Bepai Neljorpa Chopa Lugu ; Chonyi Gyatso; Chonyi Gyatso 01 Chopa Lugu; Gyanak Drakchopa Chopa Chonyi Gyatso; Lungzin Chonyi Gyatso ; Yeshe Gyatso

The "hidden yogi" Chopa Lugu (sbas pa'i rnal 'byor pa gcod pa lu gu), the First Chonyi Gyatso (chos nyid rgya mtsho 01) was an accomplished practitioner of Zhije and Chod. He was active in the first half of the eighteenth century and also known by the names Chonyi Gyatso (chos nyid rgya mtsho) and Yeshe Gyatso (ye shes rgya mtsho). Details of his birth, childhood, and parents are not known.

A well-known story of his activities relates to a pilgrimage he once made to Mount Emei in Sichuan – Langchen Gyingri (glang chen 'gying ri) in Tibetan. On his way back he travelled with a prominent trader from Dege. Because of his rigorous commitment to renunciation Chopa Lugu did not want to place his tent within the trader's encampment – presumably because of it's worldly atmosphere – and instead made his lodgings just outside the latter's camp. The sounds Chopa Lugu would make during his rituals irritated the businessman and one day he set up his camp at the foot of a cliff, leaving no room for Chopa Lugu. The chief said, “If your nightly bellowing of bone-trumpet and shouting of phet has any efficacy then carve out a tent-sized hollow into the cliff and sleep in there! I'll sit here and watch you try to do that." Chopa Lugu absorbed himself in contemplation on Troma Nakmo (khros ma nag mo) and then picked up an ax and carved out a space for himself the size of a large house. The loud noises made by the rocks falling into the river below sent the trader's horses running in fright and consequently delayed their journey the next day. Due to this the trader and his retinue came to believe in the saintliness of Chopa Lugu, made generous offerings to him, and received his initiations and instructions. Henceforth Chopa Lugu was renowned as The Chod Yogi Who Split a Cliff in China (rgya nag brag bcad gcod pa).

This great Chod Yogi traveled to Katok Dorjeden (kaH thog rdo rje ldan) and received the complete empowerments, esoteric instructions, and transmissions for the Longsel Dorje Nyingpo (klong gsal rdo rje snying po) revelations of Rigdzin Longsel Nyingpo (rig 'dzin klong gsal snying po, 1625-1692) from Gyelse Sonam Deutsen (rgyal sras bsod nams lde'u btsan, 1679-1723) and Tashi Ozer (bkra shis 'od zer, d.u.); the son and younger brother of Longsel Nyingpo, respectively. Katok Drungpa Namkha Gyatso (kaH thog drung pa nam mkha' rgya mtsho, d.u.) was the chief among his disciples.




'Jam dbyangs rgyal mtshan. 1996. Rgyal ba kaH thog pa’i lo rgyus mdor bsdus. Si khron mi rigs dpe skrun khang, pp.101-102.


Samten Chhosphel
December 2011