Gyagom Lekpa Gyaltsen


rgya sgom legs pa rgyal mtshan

Alternative Name(s):

Gyagom Legyel Bepé Naljor (rgya sgom legs rgyal bas pa’i rnal ‘byor)


Gyagom Ritröpa Chenpo (rgya sgom ri khrod pa chen po)


b. 1484?

Period: 13th–16th // Early Masters

Lekpa Gyaltsen was born in a Dragon year (1484?) in the Shang valley, not far from the birth place of Khedrup Khyungpo Naljor, into the Dong clan to father Önpo Tashi Gön and mother Delek Budren. Originally he was given the name Dzambhala and learned reading and writing very quickly when still very young. He also studied some medicine and diagnosis, without any difficulties. From his paternal uncle he received many Dharma teachings.

Then he went into the presence of Drubchen Namkha Gyaltsen and took refuge from him. At this time he received the name Lekpa Gyaltsen. Somewhat later he also received the complete Shangpa Kagyü transmissions from his teacher. At first he received the empowerment for the Deities of the Five Tantra Classes (rgyud sde lnga), and was given the secret name of Mikyö Dorjé on this occasion. He also received the Kālacakra transmission in entirety. From Chöjé Sengé Sangpo he received the teachings of the Kadampas, and from Dorjé Gyaltsen yet again the entire transmission of the Shangpa teachings. In particular he received the entire transmission of the teachings and practices of Jnanadakini Niguma in the Nyangmé Samding (nyang smad bsam sdings) lineage, as well as from the Jakpa (‘jag pa) lineage, which came down through Jakpa Gyaltsen Bum, Jakchen Jampa Pal and Lodrö Künga Pal. Additionally he received many other lineages as well.

Legka Gyaltsen established various hermitages, among them several in the Shang area. He fully perfected the practices of Illusory Body, Dream and Clear Light from among the “Five Golden Dharmas of the Shangpa”, especially from among “The Six Doctrines of Niguma”.

Because he chose to keep his accomplishments secret however, he was known as a so-called “Hidden Yogi” (Bepé Naljor). Once when he transferred the great empowerment for the practice of Illusory Form upon students, the inner offering in his small skull bowl became inexhaustible. In the later part of his life he established his main student, Jetsün Kunga Drölchok, as the very owner of the Shangpa transmission lineage, and gave everything to him, not leaving anything out whatsoever. When he finally passed away peacefully, many relics appeared from his precious remains. They were enshrined at Chölung Jangtsé.

Legka Gyaltsen is the last of the Later Seven Jewels of the Shangpa Kagyü.


Adapted from: dpal ldan shangs pa’i chos skor gyi ‘byung khungs yid kyi mun sel, by Jonang Tāranātha, vol. 34, p. 194-285, of his Collected Works, dpal brtsegs bod yig dpe rnying zhib ‘jug khang edition. (Translation from Tibetan by Lama Shérab Drimé)