Lineage Practices
Four Armed Mahakala (Tib: Gonpo Chagshi)
Dechen Choekhor Mahakala Thangka.jpg

Lineage History:

Lineage of Palchen Galo Namgyal Dorje

Palchen Galo Namgyal Dorje, also widely known as Ga Lotsawa is a great Tibetan mahasiddha and translator who visited India and brought back many precious teachings to Tibet, particularly the Mahakala practices. He is the very specialist in the Mahakala tantra, and holds all the essence of the Mahakala teachings from India. Later, instead of restrain it under a single lineage, he spread and transmitted the Mahakala practices into all the four school of Tibetan Buddhism. Any Mahakala teachings originated from Palchen Galo are regarded as the authentic and reputable sources.

* Palchen Galo Namgyal Dorje is one of Choegon Rinpoche's line of incarnations.

Lineage Transmission:

Buddha Vajradhara -> Vajrapani -> King Indra Bhuti -> Lü Naljorma -> Saraha -> Nagajurna -> Aryadeva -> after number of Indian Mahasiddhas -> Palchen Galo Namgyal Dorje* ->  Tsultrim Jungne-> Dorje Wangchuk -> Phagmo Drupa -> Shang Tsalpa -> Rinchen Repa -> Tsangpa Gyare -> after number of Lineage Holders -> Drukpa Choegon & Drukpa Yongzin Rinpoches of Dechen Choekhorling about 500 years ago.

Deity Introduction:

Mahakala, also known as the chief Dharmapala, is the guardian protector of the Buddha's teachings. Dharmapalas are basically emanations of Buddhas who undertake the role to protect the doctrine, its upholders, and practitioners.

Mahakala practices were taught by Lord Buddha Sakyamuni in the tantra teachings. Any teachings that are taught in the tantra is the ultimate practice; which means, through such practices, one can achieves enlightenment. Thus, Mahakala can be practiced as the Three Roots - Lama, Yidam and Protector.

The Four-armed Mahakala, is a completely enlightened Bodhisattvas manifested in the form of a wisdom Dharma protector. He is a wrathful, powerful and ferocious manifestation of Heruka Chakrasamvara, embodying the power, wisdom and fierce compassionate activities of the Buddhas. Wrathful compassion of Mahakala is able to overcome all obstacles and negativities one faces on the path to enlightenment.

In the Tantra, it is said that when Lord Buddha meditates under the bodhi tree, just right before He attains enlightenment, the power and wisdom that arose in His mind, and through it, He manifested to defeat and overcome the immense hindrances, negative forces and evil spirits, is the Mahakala. In short, the strength, power, capability, and wisdom that Lord Buddha manifest to conquer all obstacles and negativities, if ever have a form, it is the Mahakala.

Similarly, the power and wisdom that Guru Rinpoche manifested to tame and subjugate all the evil forces in Samye, is also, the Mahakala. 

There are many different colors and forms of Mahakala, but generally he is recognized universally in all schools of Vajrayana as one of the prominent guardians and great protectors of the Dharma.

For example, Maning Mahakala of the Nyingma Tradition, Mahakala Bernakchen (Black Coat Mahakala) - the Two-Armed Mahakala of the Karma Kagyu school, the Four-Headed Mahakala (Shar She Pa) of Sakya Tradition and the Six-Armed form of Mahakala is the principal protector of the Gelugpa.

Objective & Benefit of the Practice:

The intructions on Mahakala practice and meditation can only be presented to advanced practitioners. In order to meditate on Mahakala, a disciple must have completed the Ngöndro (the preliminary practices) and a Yidam practice. This is the reason why instructions on Mahakala are not presented to a general audience nor in public - it is not a common practice and would not bring the intend benefits for those who are not ready.

The objective of Mahakala practice is to assist practitioners in removing any hindrances and challenges that impedes their spiritual practice, as well as to encourage exertion and devotion, and at the same time purify the subtlest obscuration and defilements.  With earnest prayer and diligent practices, blessings will be bestowed and obstacles will be pacified. 

Mahakala Practice and The Drukpa Choegon Lineage: 

The Four-Armed Mahakala is the main among the eight manifestations of Mahakala. It is also the main form practices in Mindroling monastery, in Drukpa Kagyu lineage and the Nyingma tradition. Drukpa Choegon and Drukpa Yongzin Rinpoches of Dechen Choekhor strongly hold the Mahakala practice, particularly the Drukpa Choegon Lineage.

The line of incarnations of the Choegon Lineage is closely linked to the practice of Mahakala. The early lives of Choegon Rinpoche such as Palchen Galo Namgyal Dorje, Phuljung Samgyal Khache, Sangdak Namkha Palzang, etc. are all great-accomplished masters of the Mahakala practices. The first Choegon Rinpoche, Shabdrung Druk Choekyi Gonpo is also renowned for his great attainment in the Mahakala practices.

Thus, the Mahakala practices are explicitly connected and are pivotal to the Choegon Rinpoche Lineage. The Drukpa Choegon Lineage is renowned as the incomparable accomplished master in the practice of the Mahakala, Chakrasamvara and Vajrapani. The Drukpa Choegons is revered as the most powerful Mahakala practitioner of Drukpa Kagyu.

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