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Gampopa and Rechungpa?

Posted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 4:33 am
by Tenma
So, I noticed that Gampopa is referred to as the "sun-like" disciple while Rechungpa is referred to as the "moon-like" disciple. Why did Milarepa exactly consider Gampopa over Rechung when Rechung was a student of Milarepa WAY longer than Gampopa? Garchen Rinpoche said that Gampopa was able to benefit more beings, but how did Gampopa exactly benefit more beings than Rechungpa? By being a doctor? Or what?

Re: Gampopa and Rechungpa?

Posted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 10:50 am
by TsultimNamdak
I don't know what Garchen Rinpoche specifically was referring to, but it was Gampopa who became the originator of the later Kagyu lineages - the four great and eight lesser. He was also a great scholar who created the systematic approach to Mahamudra still in use today. There is some discussion amongst academics about whether the traditional description of Rechungpa as the one who always got it wrong very well could be later Kagyu propaganda, in order to slightly diminish the status of Rechungpa to the benefit of the great forefather Gampopa. Otherwise it could be difficult to explain the precedence of someone who only spent a few months in Milarepa's company to someone who was with him for many years. I can recommend Peter Alan Roberts: Biographies of Rechungpa for a very thorough treatment of Rechungpa - and for the changing biography of Milarepa as well.

Re: Gampopa and Rechungpa?

Posted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 11:01 am
by Crazywisdom
It’s because Gampopa was a monk who took his teachings back to a monastic community. Rechungpa stayed in isolated ngakpa community or was alone w just a few disciples. After Je Mila was enlightened Gampopa went back to Rechungpa to get the rest of the transmissions he didn’t have to to receive before, the Rechung Nyengyud, which are arguably the main body of Milarepa’s teachings.

Gampopa Mahamudra is not that important really. It’s more of a primer. When they go on 3 yr retreat they do Chakrasamvara and Vajravarahi. Even Five Fold Path Mahamudra does not originate with gampopa. It is a method of Vajravarahi that goes back to Lawapa and is very precious. Gampopa sort of generalized it and embellished on it. Milarepa refers to this method in a song very secretively. It was his main practice.

Re: Gampopa and Rechungpa?

Posted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 11:24 am
by Grigoris
Rechungpa went on to found the Shamngpa Kagyu lineage or Rechung lineage of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism.

Being called "moon-like disciple" by Milarepa is hardly a kick in the ass...

Rechungpa's terma was discovered by the founder of the Drukpa lineage, so one cannot say that Rechungpa was not important or influential.

Re: Gampopa and Rechungpa?

Posted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 11:48 am
by dzoki
Tenma wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 4:33 am
Why did Milarepa exactly consider Gampopa over Rechung when Rechung was a student of Milarepa WAY longer than Gampopa?
He did not, it is a monastic propaganda, nothing more. In fact Rechungpa was also one of Gampopa´s gurus.

Re: Gampopa and Rechungpa?

Posted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 2:30 pm
by Crazywisdom
Two excellent points. This is Cone’s department.

Re: Gampopa and Rechungpa?

Posted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 3:53 pm
by Grigoris
I think Gampopa was good at standardising the teachings in a way that made extremely nuanced and complicated techniques and practices, accessible to anybody willing to sit their ass down in a gompa for three years.

Otherwise you had to hang with a bunch of dirty hippies living in mountain caves.

Re: Gampopa and Rechungpa?

Posted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 4:05 pm
by Malcolm
Grigoris wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 11:24 am
Rechungpa went on to found the Shamngpa Kagyu lineage...
No, Khyungpo Naljor founded the Shangpa Kagyu lineage.

Re: Gampopa and Rechungpa?

Posted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 4:19 pm
by Norwegian
From Rangjung Yeshe Wiki:
Now, without wanting to belittle the great achievments of Je Gampopa in the least, it has to be pointed out that Rechungpa has been consistently mispresented in Tibetan history, especially that of the various Kagyu lineages. The majority of historians of the Kagyu lineages who wrote after the 15th century, and who were invariably members of one or the other of the established dwags po bka' brgyud schools, i.e. the schools that trace their lineage back to Gampopa, naturally had an interest to represent their "founder" as THE main student of Milarepa.

Having become powerful and influential, both politically and economically, it did not sit too well with them to admit that Gampopa actually was not mentioned at all among the closest students of Milarepa in some of the early biographies of Milarepa and Rechungpa (several of which were deemed lost but have come to light again in recent years, such as the works authored by don mo ri pa, rgya ldang pa bde chen rdo rje, mon rtse kun dga' dpal ldan, Lama Zhang and the 3rd Karmapa rang byung rdo rje etc.), but merely as one of "six scholarly students who appeared late in Milarepa's life" (see "bzhad pa rdo rje'i rnam thar mgur mching dang bcas pa" also known as "bu chen bcu gnyis", much of it written by ngan dzong ras pa byang chub rgyal po and ras pa zhi ba 'od, two other prominent students of Milarepa).

On top of that, both Milarepa and Rechungpa often seem to have severely critcised monasticism and its establishments, again a fact that is hard to accept and repeat for members of any of the surviving Kagyu schools which are predominantly of a monastic nature. From the materials available again nowadays, it is very clear that Rechungpa was Milarepa's undisputed master student and lineage holder and that Milarepa passed on the entirety of his teachings to him, whereas other students, Gampopa among them, received only introductions and general outlines of teachings which Rechungpa had received in full. After Milarepa's passing Gampopa even requested, and received, some transmissions from Rechungpa which he had not managed to get from Milarepa before. Likewise, one of Gampopa's foremost students, the 1st Karmapa dus gsum mkhyen pa (1110-1193) went into the presence of Rechungpa and requested transmissions from him. Lingje Repa Pema Dorje (1128-1188), one of the founders of the Drugpa Kagyu lineage, attempted to meet Rechungpa but reached at his residence only the year after he had passed away (in 1162). He then proceeded to study under Rechungpa's students Khyungtsangpa and Sumton.

For more, please refer to the available Tibetan sources or to Peter Roberts' masterful doctoral thesis "The Biographies of Rechungpa - The Evolution of a Tibetan Hagiography", Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford, Oct. 2000, or to his very recent publication "Biographies of Rechungpa"

Re: Gampopa and Rechungpa?

Posted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 6:13 pm
by Tenma
Okay, I believe this is sufficient enough, thanks, everyone!

So just to sum up: Gampopa was able to benefit more people as Garchen Rinpoche stated in the recent Milarepa teachings because as explained in the forum, Gampopa was an approachable monk for the public whereas Rechungpa was a superior student who was a yogi that people wouldn't really like to go to in isolation?

Re: Gampopa and Rechungpa?

Posted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 6:55 pm
by conebeckham
Gampopa's innovations, to call them that, are seen as more widely "approachable" than the tantric path which Rechungpa advocated.

But Rechungpa is quite important for Karma Kagyu, and not merely due to the Rechung NyenGyu, which is mostly held by the Surmang sub-branch.

It's also somewhat true that Gampopa's approach was more monastic, but his approach was passed on to laypeople as well.

Rechungpa is the main source of Chenrezig Gyalwa Gyamtso, in the Kamtsang, and he passed on the transmissions of the "disembodied dakinis."


And Shangpa Kagyu is completely unrelated to Rechungpa, as Malcolm notes. Though Gampopa had some relations with some Shangpa lineage holders, and vice versa.

Re: Gampopa and Rechungpa?

Posted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 6:58 pm
by Grigoris
Malcolm wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 4:05 pm
No, Khyungpo Naljor founded the Shangpa Kagyu lineage.
conebeckham wrote:And Shangpa Kagyu is completely unrelated to Rechungpa, as Malcolm notes. Though Gampopa had some relations with some Shangpa lineage holders, and vice versa.
Yes, you are right, I should be more careful when copy-pasting. :emb:

Re: Gampopa and Rechungpa?

Posted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:22 pm
by Crazywisdom
The background to the OP is Drikung Kagyu. They are going with the Milarepa book of songs and basically canonizing it. So Rechungpa becomes the naughty boy to Mila just loved but wasn’t the bodhisattva disciple of the Buddha manifestation like Gampopa. In there Mila always have to teach Rechungpa lessons about one obstacle after another.

Re: Gampopa and Rechungpa?

Posted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:49 pm
by Malcolm
Crazywisdom wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:22 pm
The background to the OP is Drikung Kagyu. They are going with the Milarepa book of songs and basically canonizing it. So Rechungpa becomes the naughty boy to Mila just loved but wasn’t the bodhisattva disciple of the Buddha manifestation like Gampopa. In there Mila always have to teach Rechungpa lessons about one obstacle after another.
I would say more Dwagpo Kagyu, i.e., Phagmo Drupa.

Re: Gampopa and Rechungpa?

Posted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 9:35 pm
by Crazywisdom
Malcolm wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:49 pm
Crazywisdom wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:22 pm
The background to the OP is Drikung Kagyu. They are going with the Milarepa book of songs and basically canonizing it. So Rechungpa becomes the naughty boy to Mila just loved but wasn’t the bodhisattva disciple of the Buddha manifestation like Gampopa. In there Mila always have to teach Rechungpa lessons about one obstacle after another.
I would say more Dwagpo Kagyu, i.e., Phagmo Drupa.
Ha. Where’s their monastery?

Re: Gampopa and Rechungpa?

Posted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 9:54 pm
by Malcolm
Crazywisdom wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 9:35 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:49 pm
Crazywisdom wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:22 pm
The background to the OP is Drikung Kagyu. They are going with the Milarepa book of songs and basically canonizing it. So Rechungpa becomes the naughty boy to Mila just loved but wasn’t the bodhisattva disciple of the Buddha manifestation like Gampopa. In there Mila always have to teach Rechungpa lessons about one obstacle after another.
I would say more Dwagpo Kagyu, i.e., Phagmo Drupa.
Ha. Where’s their monastery?
What I am saying is that Jigten Sumgon got his training from Phagmo Drupa, as did the founder of Drukpa Kagyu.

Re: Gampopa and Rechungpa?

Posted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 10:54 pm
by Crazywisdom
Malcolm wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 9:54 pm
Crazywisdom wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 9:35 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:49 pm


I would say more Dwagpo Kagyu, i.e., Phagmo Drupa.
Ha. Where’s their monastery?
What I am saying is that Jigten Sumgon got his training from Phagmo Drupa, as did the founder of Drukpa Kagyu.
Oh yeah. Definitely.

Re: Gampopa and Rechungpa?

Posted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 11:02 pm
by conebeckham
Malcolm wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 9:54 pm
Crazywisdom wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 9:35 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:49 pm


I would say more Dwagpo Kagyu, i.e., Phagmo Drupa.
Ha. Where’s their monastery?
What I am saying is that Jigten Sumgon got his training from Phagmo Drupa, as did the founder of Drukpa Kagyu.
Interestingly, the founder of the Drukpa was originally a Rechung Kagyu practitioner. Even now, Rechungpa is important to the Drukpa, and there is apparently a terma of Rechungpa's became one of the prinicpal backbones of the Drukpa transmission.

Re: Gampopa and Rechungpa?

Posted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 11:41 pm
by Crazywisdom
conebeckham wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 11:02 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 9:54 pm
Crazywisdom wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 9:35 pm


Ha. Where’s their monastery?
What I am saying is that Jigten Sumgon got his training from Phagmo Drupa, as did the founder of Drukpa Kagyu.
Interestingly, the founder of the Drukpa was originally a Rechung Kagyu practitioner. Even now, Rechungpa is important to the Drukpa, and there is apparently a terma of Rechungpa's became one of the prinicpal backbones of the Drukpa transmission.
They don’t say Drukpa Kagyu since a few years back. Just Drukpa. The dragons. They’d be so cool if it weren’t for their ugly hats. But their chanting is pretty wow.

Re: Gampopa and Rechungpa?

Posted: Sun Jan 06, 2019 12:09 am
by Miroku
Crazywisdom wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 11:41 pm
conebeckham wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 11:02 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 9:54 pm


What I am saying is that Jigten Sumgon got his training from Phagmo Drupa, as did the founder of Drukpa Kagyu.
Interestingly, the founder of the Drukpa was originally a Rechung Kagyu practitioner. Even now, Rechungpa is important to the Drukpa, and there is apparently a terma of Rechungpa's became one of the prinicpal backbones of the Drukpa transmission.
They don’t say Drukpa Kagyu since a few years back. Just Drukpa. The dragons. They’d be so cool if it weren’t for their ugly hats. But their chanting is pretty wow.
I think those hats are the most badass. Would love having one. Ofc it is not as cool as Garchen Rinpoche in the huge lama hat he puts on during empowerments, but fashionable. Gives those dragons slightly french spin.