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YESHE TSOGYEL (MKHAR CHEN BZA' YE SHES MTSHO RGYAL)




MKhar chen bza' Ye shes mtsho rgyal is the name of the consort of Padmasambhava according to the hagiographies of Myang ral, the 12th century teacher who first codified the Padmasambhava histories. She belongs to 25 Rig dzin, first disiples of Padmasambhava. Rig dzin means "holder of knowledge or awareness" (rig pa knowledge 'dzin pa, to hold, sanscrit: Vidyadhara). These masters are considered to be highly accomplished due to their meditations and ritual practices.

The title "knowledge holder " may refer to all masters who transmit esoteric teachings to their disciples, but there is a distinct group of eight masters, said to have meditated near Bodhgaya, to which Padmasambhava belonged during his studies in India. In this series of initiation cards, instead of the distinct group of eight Indian masters, there are both Tibetan and Indian masters' names on these initiation cards. Some of the Tibetans are known as disciples of Padmasambhava who were famous religious teachers traditionally believed to have lived in 8th to 9th century, in Tibet and the neighboring vallies in Bhutan.

The biographical literature for Padmasambhava was codified during the lifetime of the lama Myang ral (1124-1192 or 1204) who wrote the earliest known biography, but two other major biographies were compiled in the fourteenth century by rDo rje gling pa (1346-1405). The tradition of the group of the Rig dzin is present in the earliest biography by lama Myang ral, but more fully developed as rituals in the writings of Sangs rgyas gling pa (1340-1396).

Tsogyel was born princess of Kharchen. Kharchen was one of the seven Central Tibetan principalities subjected by Songtsen Gampo. Courted by princes of two other kingdoms, Kharchu and Zurkhar, Tsogyel would have neither and absconded to Womphu (the valley in which one of the three Taktsang power places is located). Finally, the Emperor married her when she was twelve or thirteen years old.

...The King Trisong Detsen was ensconced in the Samye monastery itself. While the Bon ministers sought the Guru's life, the King begged for initiation into the Tantra. Guru Pema insisted that Trisong Detsen wait a year for his initiation, and during that year the King married Tsogyel. Thus when the King again asked the Guru for initiation, he could offer Tsogyel along with his Empire as the initiation price.

The empire that Trisong Detsen offered his Guru included China, Jang (south of Lithang), Kham, Jar, Kongpo, Bhutan, Purang, Mangyul, Guge, Hor, Mongolia and the Northern Plains (Jang-thang)...

...At the age of sixteen (ca. 773) Tsogyel received initiation. The King's admission that he had given his queen to the 'vagrant sadhu' was the cause of a raucous quarrel in council between the Buddhist and the Bonpo factions. The senior ministers Lugung Tsenpo and Takra Lutsen were the most active opponents of the King. Mama Zhang (Ma-zhang) was also present in council but played no part in the dispute. The King felt sufficiently strong to decree the building of monasteries and hermitages, and that any opposition to himself or the Guru would be punished. The violent reaction of the Bon ministers caused the King to compromise - both Guru Pema and Tsogyel would be banished. However, with the King's connivance, they went to Tidro to meditate...

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