The Visions and Practices of the Ripa Lineage

The Buddha’s teaching is summarized in the four line refrain: “Shunning all evil, performing every good; purifying one’s own mind – this is the teaching of all Buddhas.” As the source of Buddhist teaching, the various tenets of Buddhism are said to spring from these verses. In this way, Shakymuni’s message was conceived as a universal teaching transmitted to him through a line of predecessors, and handed down to his immediate disciples, then to various holders of the Buddha’s teaching. The Ripa lineage aims to present the Buddhist tradition of Tibet, especially the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, in a way that is both totally genuine, and as applicable to the lives and needs of humanity as whole. The vision is to fulfill the exalted thoughts and activities of the past great masters of the lineage. The Ripa Lineage is for the preservation and propagation of the precious Dharma with the perfect guidance and gracious of patronage of H.E. Terton Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche, his sons and spiritual heirs.

It is the vision of the Ripa lineage that every practitioner and adherent of the lineage is responsible for imparting the sacred Dharma for the benefit of all living beings. Thus, in order to awaken from the dark stupor of ignorance, one should reflect on the nature of ‘Truth’ and ’Reality’ through training one’s own mind. This journey of awakening can be found from this lineage and its rich cycle of teachings, which are rooted in the direct practice teachings of Buddhism. This lineage draws on the wisdom of the Nyingma and Kagyu Schools as inherited by the founder of the Ripa lineage Je Pema Dejed Rolpa to the present 4th lineage holder H.E. Kyabje Terchen Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche, his son and spiritual heir Dungsey Tenzin Nyima Rinpoche, Dungsey Gytrul Jigme Rinpoche, and Dungsey Lhuntrul Dechen Gyurme Rinpoche.

The vision of the Ripa Lineage also lies in working for the interest of others, and not only spiritual activities, but particularly activities that bring social benefit, including extended annual practices, or Drubchos and Drubchens, for ensuring the peace and prosperity of all peoples of the world, and more directly in this era of degeneration, assistance to individuals and communities, such as the Pure Water Project, health (especially an anti-malaria program), education, and care for the elderly. The New Treasures Project in Nepal seeks to restore, preserve, practice, and share this unique tradition, and is named after the original lineage seat in Tibet. The methods of the Ripa Lineage are based on the capacity and capabilities of each individual being for reaching higher spiritual attainments. This vision is the hallmark of the Ripa Lineage.

The main practices of the Ripa tradition are based on the Tagsham Terma Cycle of revealed teachings and the ‘New Cycle’ of His Eminence Terton Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche’s visionary revelations. The ‘Treasure Teachings’ Termas are rare and precious treasures often revealed in dreams, or visionary experiences. The Termas are extremely powerful, and bring great blessings, as they appear at precise moments in history and are uniquely suited to the times during which they are revealed. The Uniqueness as it is based on a hereditary line of descent as opposed to the more customary tradition of reincarnation and the practices. As revealed precious treasures represents unique system that combines the monastic virtues based on the Buddhist Sutras with highly developed Tantric skills that bring forth a profound spiritual awakening and awareness that is yet direct and easily accessible.

Tagsham Nuden Dorje was incredibly prolific and produced a copius volume of terma discoveries and instructions. The Taksham lineage termas place a strong emphasis on the practices of Hayagriva (the wrathful embodiment of the speech aspect of all the Buddhas), and the practices of Yeshe Tsogyal, the principal consort of Padmasambhava. Translations of Taksham Nuden Dorje’s terma-biographies of Yeshe Tsogyal, and Padmasambhava’s principal Indian consort, Mandarava, are well known in the West. The other pillar is the practices of Gesar of Ling, especially the Gesar Termas revealed by the present throne-holder of the Ripa lineage, H.E. Terton Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche. Gesar, the bodhisattva-warrior king of Ling in eastern Tibet, was an emanation of Padmasambhava, and he brought Tibetan culture back from the period of cultural and spiritual barbarism that ensued after the reign of Langdarma, the anti-Buddhist monarch who briefly eclipsed the dharma in Tibet during the 9th century. The practices, songs, stories, and dances of Gesar of Ling are maintained by the Ripa Lay and Monastic Communities and provide great inspiration and strength in our present era of speed and materialism.Thus the Ripa Lineage also stresses monasticism as well as the integration of Buddhist teachings with worldly commitments. The tradition of the mystic ‘Dance of Ling,’ called ‘LINGDRO’, is based on the ideal of spiritual warrior-ship, and so epitomizes the Ripa Lineage union of lay practice with profound spirituality.