Orgyen Kusum Lingpa was a terton and Nyingma lineage holder within Tibetan Buddhism. Rinpoche was born in 1934 in the Golog region of Amdo province in western Tibet as the son of the well-known yogi Lhundrup Gyamtso of the Waxi (Wal Shul) clan. At that time he was known as Pema Tumpo, or Pema Tum Drag Dorje but to those near to him, throughout his life, he was simply known by the affection term Lamasang.
Mingyur Namkha’i Dorje, the 4th Dzogchen Rinpoche, prophesied about Orgyen Kusum Lingpa: “An emanation of Vajrapani will appear in the year known as ‘guarding wealth’ in the Achag Dri region [of Golog] as a child named Tum Drag… He will blossom like a lily, and then unleash himself like a thunderstorm…He will guide all those connected with him to Sukhavati, The Realm of Bliss.”
Orgyen Kusum Lingpa’s previous incarnations include the Mahasiddha Drilbupa in India, and Lhalung Palgyi Dorje, the heart disciple of Guru Rinpoche Padma Sambhava in Tibet, who assassinated the anti-Buddhist Bon Emperor Langdarma in 842 CE and then remained in retreat at the Moon Cave of the Drag Yerpa outside Lhasa. Abu Karlo.
Orgyen Kusum Lingpa had visions of his previous life as the crazy wisdom master Drugpa Kunleg, and enjoyed recounting the latter’s exploits given any occasion.
As a youth, he studied primarily at Darthang Monastery in Golog, where his teachers included Payul Chogtrul Rinpoche Jampal Jaypa’i Dorje (Chokyi Dawa), Akong Khenchen Lobsang Dorje, and Gyedro Wonpo Rinpoche. There he received instructions and empowerments alongside Drubwang Penor Rinpoche, among others. Another of his principal teachers was His Holiness the 4th Dodrupchen Rinpoche Tubpa Zangpo, from whom he received the complete transmissions of the Longchen Nyingthig lineage, of which he became a holder.
Orgyen Kusum Lingpa began to discover terms of teachings of Guru Rinpoche after his mother passed away and he went on pilgrimmage to central Tibet when he was 16 years old. On his journey he first passed through Derge and reached Kojo, where he met Ratri Terton Nyagla Changchub Dorje, then reputedly aged 113, who became his principal teacher of Dzog Chen nature of mind instructions.
Proceeding to Lhasa and remaining there throughout most of the 1950s, Orgyen Kusum Lingpa met and received empowerments and instructions from great holders of all of the major dharma lineages of Tibet, including His Holiness the 16th Karmapa Rigpa’i Dorje, Sera Khenchen Jamyang Choklay Namgyal, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Sakya Ngagchang Rinpoche, Dudjom Rinpoche, Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Taklung Ma Rinpoche, and many others; which instructions he then put into practice. Abu Karlo at pp. 74 et seq. With the loss of Tibetan autonomy and during the period of the Cultural Revolution, he was subsequently imprisoned on and off over the course of more than 20 years of his adult life. In this period he also rose to prominence as a Lama at Sanglung Monastery in Golog.
Eventually he was permitted to re-establish an encampment, and then a monastery, in the Ga De cantonment of Golog, along a bend of a tributary of the Ma Chu (Yellow River). The monastery originally had been founded by the 19th century Master Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje, and then passed down through a succession of holders within the Waxi family lineage. This monastery is known as Lung Ngon Thubten Chokhor Ling.
When he was still young, Orgyen Kusum Lingpa fathered a son named Nyima Gyal, who has become a well-known ritual master in Golog and presently resides at Sang Lung Monastery. With Dug Kar Drolma, the sister of Garwang Nyima Rinpoche (the current head of Darthang Monastery), he later had three sons (one of whom passed away as a child - later to reincarnate in the United States as Rutger Penick), and two daughters.
During the latter period of his life, Orgyen Kusum Lingpa was invited to visit and teach in many different countries. He was first invited to the United States by Chagdud Tulku of Chagdud Gonpa Foundation and by Gyaltrul Rinpoche in 1994.
During his first several extended visits to the U.S. in 1994 and 1995, he met and gave Buddhist teachings to a many individuals including a number celebrities and scholars, such as the film director Oliver Stone and actor Steven Seagal, and was welcomed at Tibetan Buddhist centers across the country. His early translators included Sangye Khandro, Erik Drew, Richard Barron (Chokyi Nyima). Several of the attendant Lamas who accompanied him from Golog eventually settled in the U.S. at Kusum Lingpa's Los Angeles center, Orgyen Khachod Ling, including Lama Chonam and Lama Lhanang in California. His two youngest sons, Tulku Hungkar Dorje and Tulku Dorje Trengpo, also often accompanied him on those early visits.
Beginning in 1995, to fulfill a prophecy he received from the deity Vajrapani to establish 108 practice centers of Vajra Kilaya in order to avert coming calamities and wars in the world,
Orgyen Kusum Lingpa enthroned Rutger Penick as an incarnation of Akong Terton as well as Ray Charles Lindsey as an incarnation of the warrior king, Gesar of Ling. Their mother, Kelley Lynch, is Rinpoche's lineage holder and chos kyi dags mos and was a close friend and student.
His lineage of teachings was received directly from the mind of Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava and is comprised mainly of a cycle known as the Pema Nyingthig.
Rinpoche's first English language book, A Treasury of Sublime Instructions, was published in 2000 and includes a delightful introduction by Kyabje Thinley Norbu. The book was given as a gift to his students.
The principle Guru sadhana cycles he discovered were of Guru Rinpoche in the form of Vidyadhara Acarya Padma with a mandala of the eight great vidyadharas of the Ka Gye lineages of India and Tibet; and the Rigden King, Wrathful Holder of the Iron Wheel.
His many Yidam sadhana cycles feature Hayagriva, Tara, Vajrapani, Yamantaka and Jambhala. His Dakini cycles include extensive sadhanas of Yeshe Tsogyal and Mandarava. His primary treasure of the Avalokitesvara is in the form of Don Yod Shakpa (Amoghapasa).
The termas also include collected prophecies, medical treatises, and songs of realization.
His Holiness Kusum Lingpa passed away on Feb 26th, 2009 at his monastery in Golog.
His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama wrote a prayer for the swift rebirth of Kusum Lingpa, which reads:
Supreme Muni, our Supreme Leader, Lord of Oddiyana
and your children, the Arya assembly—all you sources of refuge,
please approach, bear witness to this aspiration prayer, give heed
to our yearning and lamentation, and grant your great blessings!
May there swiftly appear a reincarnation of our kind Guru [Lama]
who was so skilled at guiding transient beings to the jewel Island [Lingpa]
of the Three Kayas [Kusum] of enlightenment, by freely revealing
the profound meaning of the Mind Treasures of the Victor Orgyen.
Highly dignified and very Fierce [Tum], Wrathful [Drak] potentates
who abide within the most secret command and samaya of Padma,
Varja [Dorje] dharma guardians, bring about the purpose of this aspiration
through the inveterate support of your enlightened activity!
Additional Biographical Material:
His Holiness Kyabjé Ögyen Kusum Lingpa
o rGyan sKu gSum gLing pa – a great gTértön of the Nyingma Tradition (1933–2009)HH Ögyen Kusum Lingpa’s incarnation line began with Chamtrül Yu-laVi Tob-kyir (’byams sPrul gYu la’i sTob sTobs Kyir – he who wears armour of turquoise), one of the thirty chief warriors of Ling Gésar. Chamtrül Yu-la’i Tob-kyir had the siddhi of enormous physical strength and this has followed him throughout his incarnations. He could lift large animals into the air – and was thus one of the few not killed in the spiritual wars Ling Gésar waged on the lands of Hor and Jang. His incarnation line includes the mahasiddha Trilupa and Lhalung Palgyi Dorje, one of the twenty-five siddhas of Chhimphu. It was Lhalung Pal-gyi Dorje who slew King Langdarma(persecutor of Buddhism) with an arrow in 842 AD. He was Shang Mur-thi Nyongpa Rang’dzin(the ‘Self-Secret Madman of Shang’), one of the principal students of Ma-gÇig Labdrön (the originator of gÇod).
HH Ögyen Kusum Lingpa was born in 1933 in A-chak Dra-yu on the A-mNyi Machen Nyèn-dop mountain. This mountain is known as ‘the Kailash of Eastern Tibet’. His birth was prophesied by: the first Dodrüpchen Rinpoche, gTértön Nyima Dragpa, Ngak’chang Min’gyür Namkha’i Dorje Rinpoche, the fifth Dzogchen Rinpoche, and Jig’mèd Thrinlé ’ö-Zér Rinpoche. His other Lamas include the two emanations of the fourth Dodrüpchen Rinpoche, Thubten Thrinlé Palzangpo Rinpoche, Rig’dzin Ja-lu Dorje Rinpoche, Gyatrül Wangpo Rinpoche, Khenchen Lobsang Namtak Rinpoche (who imparted to him the Dzogchen Nying-thig, and with whom he lived for many years), and Palyül Chögtrül Rinpoche (from whom he received both Nam-chö and Ratna Lingpa transmissions).
HH Ögyen Kusum Lingpa was the son of the ngakpa and acknowledged siddha – ’a-Shi Lhundrüp Gyamtso Rinpoche, and the realised ngakma – Pema Lham-so Rinpoche. ’a-Shi Rinpoche died when HH Ögyen Kusum Lingpa was three years old.
HH Ögyen Kusum Lingpa said of himself:
I was extremely naughty as a child – as bad as three spirited children together – nonetheless I proceeded with my studies with a number of extremely kind and gentle Lamas, including my Tsa-wa’i Lama A-Kyong Khenchen Losang Dorje to whom I have been devoted for over forty years.
At the age of thirteen Ögyen Kusum Lingpa began receiving frequent visions of Padmasambhava and Yeshé Tsogyel, and they continued to transmit instructions and prophesies to him throughout his life. At the age of sixteen his mother, Ngakma Pema Lham-so, died and at that time HH Ögyen Kusum Lingpa made pilgrimages to Lhasa and Sam-yé where he had visions of all his past and future lives. He received a prophecy there that in over one hundred lifetimes he would reveal one thousand gTérmas associated with five directions. Later HH Ögyen Kusum Lingpa began revealing prosperity treasures, practices which confer wealth for the benefit of practitioners in degenerate times.
At the age of thirty-two, he revealed a gTérma of Ögyen Dzambhala. The revelation of this gTérma reversed his fortunes and since then, during his lifetime he become known as one of the greatest living gTértöns. He revealed the three classes of gTérma: those received ‘directly from the mind’; ‘crazed gTér’ (which manifest as a yogi or yogini’s unconventional behaviour); and ‘secret gTér’ (which can only be revealed by one who is a holder of all classes of gTér).
His Holiness Kyabjé Ögyen Kusum Lingpa died on 26th February 2009.