Drokmi Śākya Yeshe

ISSN 2332-077X

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Drokmi Śākya Yeshe b.992? - d.1072?

Name Variants: Drokmi Lotsāwa; Shakya Yeshe

Drokmi Lotsāwa Śākya Yeshe ('brog mi lo tsA ba shAkya ye shes) was a member of the Ban (ban) branch of the Drokmi ('brog mi) clan. Little is known about his early life, but his year of birth is given as 992. He traveled to India and Nepal, learned Sanskrit, and then studied grammar, epistemology, writing, astrology, and tantra. In Tibet and Nepal, he translated nearly seventy tantric texts with South Asian Buddhist masters such as Gayādhara, Prajñendraruci, also known as Viravajra, the Ceylonese yogini Candramāla, Ratnavajra, Ratnaśrīimitra and possibly Prajñāgupta as well.

His two most important teachers were Gayadhāra and Prajñendraruci under whom he studied the Lamdre (lam 'bras) teachings, and the Hevajra Tantra together with its explanatory tantras, the Vajrapanjara and Samputa, collectively known as the Kyedor Gyusum (kye rdor rgyud gsum).

In Tibet he is said to have taught Sanskrit to Marpa Chokyi Lodro (mar pa chos kyi blo gros, 1002/1012-1097). He stayed at the Mugulung cave complex (mu gu lung) with his students and his consort Lhachamchik (lha lcam gcig), also known as Dzeden Wochak (mdzes ldan 'od chags), a princess of Lhatse (lha rtse).

Drokmi’s most important disciple in the Lamdre lineage was the shepherd Seton Kunrik (se ston kun rig, 1029-1116) through whom both the Zhama (zha ma) and Sakya lineages of the Lamdre derive. One of Seton Kunrig’s students was Zhangton Chobar (zhang ston chos 'bar, 1053-1135) who later taught the Lamdre to Sachen Kunga Nyingpo (sa chen kun dga' snying po, 1092-1158). Drokmi also taught Lamdre to Sachen's father, Khon Konchok Gyelpo ('khon dkon mchog rgyal po, 1034-1102), who also taught Seton.

After a long career of study and teaching, Drokmi spent the last twenty years of his life in solitary meditation. He passed away in around 1072.




Grags pa ’byung gnas and Rgyal ba Blo bzang mkhas grub. 1992. Gangs can mkhas grub rim byon ming mdzod. Lanzhou: Kansu’u mi rigs dpe skrun khang, Mtsho sdon zhing chen zhin hwa dpe khang.

Snellgrove, David. 1959. The Hevajra Tantra, vol 1 and 2. London: Oxford University Press, (London Oriental Series 6).

Stearns, Cyrus. 2001. Luminous Lives: The Story of the Early Masters of the Lam ‘bras Tradition in Tibet. Boston: Wisdom Publications, Inc, pp. 85-101, ff.

van der Kujip, Leonard W. J. 1994. “Apropos of Some Recently Recovered Texts Belonging to the Lam ’bras Teachings of the Sa skya pa and Ko brag pa : [Tibetan texts in the China Nationalities Library of the Cultural Palace of Nationalities, Beijing.” Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, 17, no. 2: 175-201.


Cameron David Warner
December 2009