The First Peling Tukse, Dawa Gyeltsen

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The First Peling Tukse, Dawa Gyeltsen b.1499 - d.1587

Name Variants: First Peling Tukse 01 Dawa Gyeltsen

Dawa Gyeltsen, the First Peling Tukse (pad+gling thugs sras 01 zla ba rgyal mtshan), was born in 1499, the earth-sheep year, on the tenth day of the seventh lunar month. His father was Terton Pema Lingpa (gter ston pad+ma gling pa, 1450-1521) and his mother was Sitar (srid thar), who was said to be an emanation of Shelkar Tsodron (shal dkar mtsho sgron). He was said to be an extraordinary child, such that Pema Lingpa reportedly told his disciples that even the deities revered him.

Pema Lingpa transmitted his treasure revelations, such as the Lama Norbu Gyatso (bla ma nor bu rgya mtsho), Dzogchen Kunzang Gongdu (rdzogs chen kun bzang dgongs 'dus), and Tukje Chenpo Munsel Dronme (thugs rje chen po mun sel sgron me), which he practiced and about which he displayed signs of experience.

Dawa Gyeltsen is said to have received blessings and empowerments, via visionary experience, directly from Padmasambhava in sexual union with his consort, and to have traveled to Padmasambhava's pure land Zangdok Pelri (zangs mdog dpal ri) and those of the five buddha families where he received direct transmission and blessings.

When Dawa Gyeltsen was twenty-three years old, his father passed away; a relic from his father's heart, an image of a turquoise girl, is said to have dissolved into him. Soon after he began to reveal treasure items. In the Chel (cal) region in Tang he discovered the statue of Vajrapāṇi and, from the Menchu (sman chu) River, precious seven-rebirth mother pills in the form of a joined skull. From Naring Drak (na ring brag) he discovered precious substances that had the power to repel invading armies.

In places such as Lhasa and Samye Monastery in Tibet, Dawa Gyeltsen performed numerous army repulsions, consecration ceremonies, drubchen (grub chen) ceremonies, blessings and empowerments.

When the Drigung Kagyu hierarch Rinchen Puntsok Chokyi Gyelpo (rin chen phun tshogs chos kyi rgyal po, 1509-1557) met Dawa Gyeltsen at Dargye Choling (dar rgyas chos gling), he reported perceiving him as Avalokiteśvara in red form, with one face and two hands. While the right hand held the jewel rosary, the left held the crystal vase, and in the heart of this enjoyment body manifestation, he saw the image of Hayagrīva in a red form, carrying an amulet and rope in his hands. Following this vision he came to regard Dawa Gyeltsen as a true master, and received from him numerous empowerments and transmissions.

Dawa Gyeltsen gave teachings across Bhutan, and established the monasteries of Lhundrub Deyang (lhun drub bde dbyangs) at Trakar (spra mkhar) in Chume (chu smad) and Gongto Sergyi Lhakhang (dgongs stod gser gyi lha khang) at Tali in Kheng (rta li mkheng).

His son, Gyelse Pema Trinle, (rgyal sras pad+ma 'phrin las, 1564-1642), was recognized as the reincarnation of Pema Lingpa's disciple Khenchen Tsultrim Penjor (mkhan chen tshul khrims dpal 'byor), and later took the title of Gangteng Tulku.

Tukse Dawa Gyeltsen passed into nirvana at the foot of Mt Kulagangri at the age of eighty-eight in 1586, on the seventeenth day of the ninth month of the fire-dog year of the sixteenth sexagenary cycle.




Anon. 1978. Sprul pa'i sras mchog zla ba rgyal mtshan gyi rnam thar rin chen rgyan mdzes. In Bka' thang mun sel sgron me. Sumra, H.P.: Urgyan Dorji.

Dge 'dun rin chen. 1976. Lho 'brug chos 'byung. Thimphu: Gges don zung 'jug grub pa'i dga' tshal.

Sgang steng sprul sku. 2009. Sgang steng gsang sngags chos gling dgon pa’i bla bgyud rim byon.


Acharya Karma Rigdzin
April 2011