Ngödrup Gyeltsen, the great awareness-holder and treasure-finder, was the reincarnation of Nanam Dorje Düjom and one of the three supreme emanations.1) He was born, attended by extraordinary omens, on Tuesday 11 February 1337 (tenth day, month of miracles, fire female ox year, sixth cycle),2) into the household of Namolung, which hailed from the district of Thoyor Nakpo, to the north-east of Mount Trazang. He was the son of the master Düdül, who belonged to an unbroken lineage of accomplished masters of Vajrakila, descended from the clan of the Horpa king Kurser3). In accordance with a prophecy, when Ngödrup Gyeltsen was in his twelfth year three vulture feathers grew from the crown of his head, and five when he was at the age of twenty-four. Therefore, he became universally known as Rikdzin Gödemcen, the "Vulture-quilled Awareness-holder". During his youth he attained the limits of study, reflection and meditation upon all the Nyingmapa doctrinal cycles which were the doctrines of his forefathers.

There was one Zangpo Trakpa of Manglam who had discovered, in Gyang Yönpolung, eight doctrinal topics, including the Essential Inventory which Treats the Essence of the Esoteric Instructions in Seven Sections (snying-byang man-ngag gnad-kyi don bdun-ma). He realized that these were required as ancillary texts for the treasures to be revealed at Lhadrak, and for this reason he offered them to the great awareness-holder Gödemcen, sending them through Tönpa Sonam Wangcuk, Accordingly, on Sunday 19 April 1366 (eighth day, snake month, fire horse year)4), on the summit of Mount Trazang, at the three stone pillars of Dzengdrak Karpo, Rikdzin Gödemcen found the key to three great treasures and one hundred minor treasures, and at that place he concealed a substitute treasure. That treasure ground, which was then left as it was, is known today as Lungseng, "Windy Hollow". Even at present, new shoots sprout there at the beginning of each new year.

At dusk on 14 June (fourth day, sheep month) of that same year [1366], in the cave of Zangzang Lhadrak, on the slopes of the rock mountain of Tukdrül Pungdra, Rikdzin Gödemcen discovered a great profound treasure containing five treasure chambers in separate compartments inside a square, blue treasure chest. From the maroon core treasure chamber in the center he extracted three paper scrolls and three kilas wrapped in maroon silk; from the white conch treasure chamber to the east, the Doctrine which Ascertains the Causal and Fruitional Aspects of Deeds, of which the Intention is Vast as Space (las rgyu-`bras la-zlo-ba`i chos dgongs-pa nam-mkha` dang mnyam-pa); from the yellow gold treasure chamber to the south, the Doctrinal Cycle of the Four Aspects of Ritual Service and Attainment which is Luminous like the Sun and Moon (bsnyen-sgrub rnam-pa bzhi´I chos-skor nyi-zla-ltar gsal-ba); from the red copper treasure chamber to the west, the Doctrine of Auspicious Coincidence which is like a Sandalwood Tree (rten-`brel-can-gyi chos tsan-dan-gyi sdong-po lta-bu); and from the black iron treasure chamber to the north, the Doctrine which Pulverizes Enemies and Obstacles, and which is like a poisonous Plant (dgra-bgegs thal-bar rlog-pa`i  chos dug-gi sdong-po lta-bu). In short, he found countless doctrines, the Penetration of Samantabhadra`s Intention (kun-bzang dgongs-pa zang-thal) foremost among them, and sacramental objects. Because each of the five treasure chambers held one hundred doctrinal topics, there were five hundred in all. He established their yellow scrolls, and those of their branches, and propagated them amongst worthy recipients. In this way, his doctrinal teaching pervaded all the regions of Tibet.

Generally speaking, all the profound treasures exist only as means to increase the happiness and felicity of [the people of] Tibet and Kham during this and future lives; but, in particular, this Northern Treasure (byang-gter) contains, without omission, everything that anyone might require for increasing the teaching, turning back invading armies, terminating infectious disease, the pacification of civil war, exorcism of Gongpo spirits,5) restoration of governmental authority, and the control of epidemics and plagues. It contains various ways to promote the happiness of  Tibet, in general and in particular, from Khyunglung Ngülkar in Tö [western Tibet] to Longtang Drölma in Mekam [far eastern Tibet], and also the notices and keys for many sacred places and lands, foremost among which were seven great hidden lands. Therefore, this single treasure is universally known to resemble a minister who beneficially serves all Tibet and Kham.

In later life Gödemcen went to Sikkim and opened the gate to that sacred land. Chokdrupde, the king of Kungtang, revered him as his guru and by doing so promoted the happiness and felicity of Tibet. When Gödemcen had arrived at the completition of such deeds, in his seventy-second year [1408], his intention dissolved into the expanse of reality, accompanied by many wondrous omens.


The doctrinal streams which came through the lineages of his sons, consort and disciples have continued until the present day without decline. Among these doctrinal lineages there were many who passed away in the rainbow body and many who became accomplished masters. During the time of Rikdzin II, Lekdenje, who was the second Gödemcen, and of Trashi Topgyel Wangpöide, the Master of the Northern Treasure, who was the reincarnation of Ngari Pancen, the entire monastic community of their seminary became a wandering encampment, as a result of the depredations of Zhingshakpa, the governor of Tsang.6) Therefore, [its members] became known as Evamcokgarwa, the "Camp Troops of Evam Tower". During the lifetime of Rikdzin III, Ngagiwangpo, who was the son of that master of the Northern Treasure, the seat was re-established in Central Tibet and became universally renowned as Thupten Dorje Trak. Rikdzin IV, Zhapdrung Pema Trhinle, greatly increased the enlightened activity of the three spheres [exegesis, attainment and work] there, so that it became a fountain-head of the teaching of the Ancient Translation School. Up to the present day, the seat of Thubten Dorje Trak has been maintained by the successive emanations of Rikdzin Gödemcen and others. Accordingly, from Ladak in Tö Ngari, all the way to Dartsedo in lower Gyelmorong, there have been a great many centres of the doctrine which adhere to this doctrinal lineage.


1 Emanations of Padmasambhava; the two other highest emanations were Nyima Özer and Guru Choe Wang. HZ

2 This date is from the Tshurpu - School, an other possibility from the calculation of the Phakpa-School would be Sunday, the 12th January 1337.

3 Kurser is the legendary Horpa-King, who plays an important roll in the Gesar - Epos. See Stein, Recherches sur lepopee et le barde au tibet, index, S. 600, under "Gur-ser (E), roi des Hor".

4 Tshurpu calculation, as explained above. Both in Tshurpu and Phakpa-School is the snake month the fourth (in contrast to this is it the second in the Phukpa-School).

5 About the Gongpo ('gong-po), see especially Nebesky-Wojkowitz, Orakel und Dämonen Tibets, S.283-5

6 The ruler of Tsang, Zhingshakpa Tsheten Dorje supported active the Karmapa and persecuted the followers of the Northern Treasures (byang-gter). As a result of this he was "liberated" through Cangdak Trashi Topgyel in a higher level of the existence. See Dudjom Rinpoche, rgyal-rabs, S.492-3.

from: The Nyingmapa School of Tibetan Buddhism: Its Fundamentals and History / Dudjom Rinpoche, translated and edited by Gyurme Dorje in collaboration with Matthew Kapstein, Wisdom Publications, USA

* transcribing of the Tibetan as in the english book, may vary from the other texts, for example Rikdzin Gödemcen =Rigdzin Godem