His major work is the Seven Treasures, which encapsulates the previous 600 years of Buddhist thought in Tibet. Longchenpa was a critical link in the exoteric and esoteric transmission of the Dzogchen teachings.
He was abbot of Samye, one of Tibet's most important monasteries and the first Buddhist monastery established in the Himalaya, but spent most of his life traveling or in retreat. Longchenpa (1308-1363) (Longchen Rabjampa):
The date for Longchen Rabjampa's parinirvāṇa (his relinquishing of the appearance of his physically manifest form to others — or, in common parlance, his "death" or "demise") is often incorrectly given as having been during 1363.
The discrepancy is due to carelessness in assessing the year, which is, with little trouble, validly interpretable; having been (as implied by some other entries here) a remarkable scholar, his entire life has been (by himself, therefore) well-chronicled.
Longchenpa (Tib. ཀློང་ཆེན་པ་, Wyl. klong chen pa), also known as Longchen Rabjam (Tib. ཀློང་ཆེན་རབ་འབྱམས་, klong chen rab 'byams), ‘Infinite, Vast Expanse of Space’, or Drimé Özer (1308-1364), was one of the most brilliant teachers of the Nyingma lineage.
He was born in the Tra Valley of Southern Tibet to master Tenpasung, an adept at both the sciences and the practice of mantra, and Dromza Sonamgyen, who was descended from the family of Dromtönpa Gyalwé Jungné.
During a stay in Bhutan (Tib., Mon), Longchenpa founded several monasteries, including Tharpaling near Bumthang, and fathered two children, his son Tulku Drakpa Özer (b. 1356), going on to become a holder of the Nyingtik lineage.
- The delight of traders at making vast fortunes at sea,
- Or the lords of the gods who vaunt their victory in battle;
- Or of those sages who have entered the rapture of perfect absorption.
- So just as a traveller who sets out on the road when it is time,
- I, Pema Ledrel Tsal, will not remain in this world any longer,
- But will go to dwell in the stronghold of the great bliss of deathlessness.
Sogyal Rinpoche writes:
- The figure of Longchen Rabjam stands out as one of the greatest Dzogchen masters in the Nyingma tradition, and amongst the most brilliant and original writers in Tibetan Buddhist literature.
- As Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche explains: “Kunkhyen Longchenpa’s Seven Treasuries (Dzö Dun) were written to elucidate the extraordinarily profound meaning of the seventeen main Tantras of Dzogpachenpo as well as the teachings of all Nine Yanas.
For the purpose of the actual practice of Dzogchen according to these Tantras, Longchenpa gathered his own termas as well as those of Chetsün Senge Wangchuk (who was later reborn as Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo) and Pema Lédrel Tsal (Longchenpa’s previous incarnation) in the form of the thirteen volume collection known as the Nyingtik Yabshyi.
- The Wish Fulfilling Treasury (Tib. ཡིད་བཞིན་མཛོད་, Yishyin Dzö; Wyl. yid bzhin mdzod)
- The Treasury of Pith Instructions (Tib. མན་ངག་མཛོད་, Mengak Dzö; Wyl. man ngag mdzod)
- The Treasury of Dharmadhatu (Tib. ཆོས་དབྱིངས་མཛོད་, Chöying Dzö; Wyl. chos dbyings mdzod)
- The Treasury of Philosophical Tenets (Tib. གྲུབ་མཐའ་མཛོད་, Drubta Dzö; Wyl. grub mtha' mdzod)
- The Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle (Tib. ཐེག་མཆོག་མཛོད་, Tekchok Dzö; Wyl. theg mchog mdzod)
- The Treasury of Word and Meaning (Tib. ཚིག་དོན་མཛོད་, Tsik Dön Dzö; Wyl. tshig don mdzod)
- The Treasury of the Natural State (Tib. གནས་ལུགས་མཛོད་, Neluk Dzö; Wyl. gnas lugs mdzod
- Dispelling Darkness in the Ten Directions (Tib. གསང་སྙིང་འགྲེལ་པ་ཕྱོགས་བཅུ་མུན་སེལ་, gsang snying 'grel pa phyogs bcu mun sel)
- Dispelling Darkness of the Mind (Tib. གསང་སྙིང་སྤྱི་དོན་ཡིད་ཀྱི་མུན་སེལ་, gsang snying spyi don yid kyi mun sel)
- Dispelling Darkness of Ignorance (Tib. གསང་སྙིང་བསྡུས་དོན་མ་རིག་མུན་སེལ་, gsang snying bsdus don ma rig mun sel)
- Finding Comfort and Ease in the Nature of Mind (Tib. སེམས་ཉིད་ངལ་གསོ, Wyl.sems nyid ngal gso)
- Finding Comfort and Ease in Meditation (Tib. བསམ་གཏན་ངལ་གསོ་, Wyl. bsam gtan ngal gso)
- [[Finding Comfort and Ease in the Illusoriness of Things[[ (Tib. [[སྒྱུ་མ་ངལ་གསོ་]], Wyl. sgyu ma ngal gso)
- The Natural Freedom of the Nature of Mind (Tib. སེམས་ཉིད་རང་གྲོལ་, Semnyi Rangdrol)
- The Natural Freedom of Reality (Tib. ཆོས་ཉིད་རང་གྲོལ་, Chönyi Rangdrol)
- The Natural Freedom of Equality (Tib. མཉམ་ཉིད་རང་གྲོལ་, Nyamnyi Rangdrol)
Longchen Rabjampa was born at Gra-phu stod-gron in g.Yo-ru in Eastern dBus in Central Tibet on the eighth day of the second lunar month of the Earth-Male-Ape year (i.e., Friday, 1 March 1308; which was at the beginning of that Tibetan calendrical year)
The date of Longchen Rabjampa's 'parinirvāṇa' was on the eighteenth day of the twelfth lunar month of the Water-Female-Hare year (i.e., Wednesday, 24 January 1364; which was at the end of that Tibetan calendrical year) at O-rgyan-rdzong in Gangs-ri thod-kar, Tibet.
David Germano, in his doctoral thesis on the Tsigdön Dzö (tshigs don mdzod) (one of the Seven Treasuries), frames the brilliance of Longchenpa within the wider discourse of the Dzogchen tradition (found in the Bonpo Zhangzhung and Indo-Tibetan traditions of Buddhism):
- "Although at least five hundred years (800 CE - 1300 CE) of thought, contemplation and composition in this tradition (which may not have been a clearly self-conscious tradition in the beginning) preceded him such that all the major themes, structures,
it was Longchenpa (1308-1363) who systematically refined the terminology used by the tradition with a series of subtle yet clear distinctions; brilliantly revealed its relationships with mainstream exoteric Buddhist thought;
and overall pinpointed the inner quintessence of the tradition with writings that not only systematized every major topic, but also creatively explained each to render crystal clear the unprecedented revolution in the content,
Apart from Longchenpa's names given below, he is sometimes referred to by the honorary title "Second Buddha" (Tib. rgyal ba gnyis), a term usually reserved for Guru Padmasambhava and indicative of the high regard in which he and his teachings are held.
- Longchen Rabjam (klong chen rab 'byams; realization of vast knowledge)
- Longchen Rabjampa (klong chen rab 'byams pa)
- Longchenpa Drimé Özer (klong chen pa dri med 'od zer)
- Künkhyen Longchenpa (kun mkhyen klong chen pa; the omniscient Longchenpa)
- Künkhyen Longchen Rabjam (kun mkhyen klong chen rab 'byams)
- Künkhyen Chenpo (kun mkhyen chen po; Omniscient Great One)
- Künkhyen Chenpo Drimé Özer (kun mkhyen chen po dri med 'od zer)
- Künkhyen Chökyi (kun mkhyen chos kyi rgyal po; [[All-knowing [harma King]])
- Gyalwa Longchen Rabjam (rgyal ba klong chen rab 'byams)
- Gyalwa Longchen Rabjam Drimé Özer (rgyal ba klong chen rab 'byams dri med 'od zer)
He thus received the combined Kadam and Sakya teachings of the Sutrayana through his main Sakya teacher, Palden Lama Dampa Sonam Gyaltsen, in addition to the corpus of both old and new translation tantras.
Kumaraja) from whom he received the Dzogchen empowerment and teachings in the mountains, the uplands of Yartökyam at Samye where he was traveling from valley to valley with his students under the most difficult of circumstances.
- "Last night I dreamt that a wonderful bird, which announced itself to be a divine bird, came with a large flock in attendance, and carried away my books in all directions.
Therefore, someone will come to hold my lineage."
Kumaraja accepted no outer tribute from Longchenpa for the teachings he received as Kumararaja through his supernormal cognitive powers discerned that Longchenpa was blameless and had offered his tribute internally.
Through the efforts of these three, the diverse streams of the "Innermost Essence" (nying thig) teachings of Dzogchen were brought together and codified into one of the common grounds between the Nyingma and Karma Kagyud traditions.
He is credited with more than 250 works, both as author and compiler, among which are the famous Seven Treasures (mdzod bdun), the Trilogy of Natural Freedom (rang grol skor gsum), the Trilogy of Natural Ease (ngal gso skor gsum),
He is also a commentator of the Kunyed Gyalpo Tantra (Tib., kun byed rgyal po'i rgyud; "The King Who Creates Everything"), a text belonging to the Mind Class (Tib., sems sde) of the Ati Yoga Inner Tantras.
As scholar Jacob Dalton summarizes,
and the Snying thig ya bzhi (Seminal Quintessence in Four Parts) is a redaction of his three snying thig commentaries together with their predecessors, the Vima snying thig and the Mkha' 'gro snying thig.
Longchenpa combined the teachings of the Vima Nyingtig lineage with those of the Khandro Nyingtig, thus preparing the ground for the fully unified system of teachings that became known as the Longchen Nyingthig (by Jigme Lingpa).
- Dowman, Keith, Old Man Basking In the Sun: Longchenpa's Treasury of Natural Perfection, Vajra Publications, 2006
- Guenther, H.V., Kindly Bent to Ease Us [trans. of The Trilogy of Finding Comfort and Ease (Ngal-gso-skor-gsum), vols. 1-3, Dharma Publishing, 1975-6
- Guenther, H.V. and the Yeshe De Translation Group, Now That I Come to Die [trans. of the parting injunctions (zhal-chems gnad-kyi me-long)], Dharma Publishing, 2007
- Klong-chen rab-'byams-pa, Looking Deeper: A Swan's Questions and Answers, translated by Herbert V. Guenther, Timeless Books, 1983
- Rabjam, Longchen (Longchenpa) (2000). You Are the Eyes of the World. (trans of kun byed rgyal po by Kennard Lipman & Merrill Peterson and with an introduction by Namkhai Norbu). Snow Lion Publications; Revised Edition.
- Longchen Rabjampa, 'The Four-Themed Precious Garland: An Introduction to Dzogchen, with commentaries by Dudjom Rinpoche and Beru Khyentse Rinpoche; translated by Alexander Berzin, LTWA, 1978
- Longchen Rabjam (author), Richard Barron (trans): The Precious Treasury of the Basic Space of Phenomena (Chöying Dzöd). Padma Publishing
- Longchen Rabjam (author), Richard Barron (trans): A Treasure Trove of Scriptural Transmission: A Commentary on the Precious Treasury of the Basic Space of Phenomena. Padma Publishing (2001)
- Longchen Rabjam (author), Richard Barron (trans): Precious Treasury of the Way of Abiding. Padma Publishing (1998)
- Longchen Rabjam (author), Richard Barron (trans): The Precious Treasury of Philosophical Systems (Drupta Dzöd): Padma Publishing (2008)
- Longchen Rabjam (author), Richard Barron (trans): The Precious Treasury of Pith Instructions (Man-ngak Dzöd): Padma Publishing (2007)
- Longchen Rabjam, The Practice of Dzogchen, translated by Tulku Thondup, Snow Lion, 2002
- Longchenpa, Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, Longchenpa's Advice from the Heart, Shang Shung Publications, 2008