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A Gift to Serious Practitioners: The Nag-Gyal-Phag-Sum Text

30th December – Bodhgaya.

As part of the commemoration of the Jamgon Kongtrul lineage celebration, the Gyalwang Karmapa has reproduced 300 copies of a rare text, the Nag-gyal-phag-sum, and offered it to practitioners who have completed a three year retreat, others residing in retreat centres, and leading rinpoches and lamas. The author and compiler of this text was the Fifth Shamarpa, Kunchok Yenla. The original was printed in gold ink on black paper. The main subject of the text is a practice to the three protectors Mahakala, Gyalwa Gyatso and Dorje Phagmo, hence the name. As this text was in danger of being lost completely, the intention of the Gyalwang Karmapa was to preserve this precious text for future generations.

The text originated in India. In the beginning, the three practices were separate but they were compiled into one book at the time of the Second Karmapa, Karma Pakshi, consequently the text is regarded as particularly sacred. In the meditation tradition of the Karma Kamtsang lineage the number of practices that exist is as vast as the ocean, but it will be very important for practitioners in future to practise this text.

This rare text has an amazing history. The previous Gyalwang Karmapas had so many statues, texts and sacred relics, yet, of all of them, this text the Nag-gyal-phag-sum was regarded as one of the most important. Tragically, during the upheavals in Tibet in 1959, many things were destroyed and even this pecha vanished.

However, a monk from Khampagar [Khamtrul Rinpoche's monastery in Tibet] happened to pass through Tsurphu during his escape from Tibet, and discovered a copy of the text there. At that time the previous Khamtrul Rinpoche was staying in Bhutan, and when the monk reached Bhutan, he offered the text to him. Because of this surviving text we are still able to receive both the oral transmission and the instructions. When the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa gave his heart sons the oral transmission and practice instructions, it was based on this text.

In order to reproduce the Nag-gyal-phag-sum, the Gyalwang Karmapa borrowed the text from the current Khamtrul Rinpoche at Khampagar Tashi Jong Monastery in Himachal Pradesh. It was carefully scanned and then three hundred copies were printed in Taiwan. This new edition contains an additional chapter of 17 leaves [34 pages] which gives the transmission history, and an introduction to the text written by the 17th Karmapa himself.

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