let me misuse my blog today for an announcement concerning the publication of two books (in German language) on Jigten Sumgön and his teaching. These books appeared as the result of the combined effort of Nubpa Rinpoche, Khenpo Nyima Gyaltshen, Yeshe Metog (Claude Jürgens), and Christine Sommerschuh, and with the generous support of the Garchen Foundation. One of these books contains the detailed biography of Kyobpa Jigten Sumgön and the biography of the author of that text, namely Chenga Sherab Jungne, chief disciple of Jigten Sumgön and author of the Single Intention (dGongs gcig). The other book contains the detailed retreat instructions of Jigten Sumgön, written down by Sherab Jugne and compiled by Nubpa Rinpoche. They are the first two books appearing in a new German book series called “Vajra-Klänge” (rDo rje sgra dbyangs).
Jigten Sumgön’s biography, Funkensprühen des kostbaren Vajra (rDo rje rin po che ‘bar ba), is one of the most unusual biographies of Tibetan masters. It was compiled immediately after the death of Jigten Sumgön and contains the combined accounts of his closest disciples. After its compilation, which is said to have happened within a single day, it was read to the entire assembly of monks and yogis in Drikung and approved by them. The great Tibetan historian Pawo Tsuglag Trengwa (1504-1566) lists it among the most remarkable historical sources of Tibet. Its contents is likewise remarkable. Far from being the usual eulogy of the great deeds of a bodhisattva or tantric master, it relates quite realistically the enormous struggles that Jigten Sumgön underwent on his path to complete realisation, including all faults committed, all disappointments, and all doubts and shortcomings. The book also provides a rare glimpse into the founding and establishing of one of the early Kagyüpa traditions.
Christine Sommerschuh has worked for several years painstakingly on this very difficult text that includes numerous expression in dialect not found in any dictionary. Having first established the Tibetan text of the biography, she received detailed explanations on it by Khenpo Nyima Gyaltshen, who was recently described by H.H. Drikung Kyabgön Chetsang Rinpoche as “one of the greatest Khenpos of Tibet and the most excellent Drikung Khenpo outside of Tibet.” The result of their efforts is a very legible and beautiful translation into German language. The book also includes my own translation of Sherab Jungnes biography, which was composed by Rinchen Phüntshog, two maps, numerous annotations, appendices with sources, a chronology, and indices of names and places.
The retreat instructions of Jigten Sumgön, Ein Meer von Nektar (bDud rtsi’i gter chen), are the key points of his “mountain Dharma” (Ri chos gnad bsdus), written down by the chief disciple Sherab Jungne. Numerous instructions on retreats in solitude can be found in seven works contained in Jigten Sumgön’s collected works, in the sections containing inner and hidden teachings. From this enormous amount of instruction, the learned and yogic master Nubpa Rinpoche compiled the Tibetan text for the present translation. Having received detailed explanations by Khenpo Nyima Gyaltshen, Yeshe Metog (Claude Jürgens) has translated this text beautifully into German language. Over a period of several years she researched these instructions, which contain as many obscure terms as the above mentioned biography. During this period Khenpo Nyima Gyaltshen never tired to answer her numerous questions.
We know of many “mountain Dharmas” (ri chos) in Tibet. I have, however, never seen one that goes into similarly subtle details concerning the dependent origination of mental, verbal, and bodily activities before and during the retreat. Jigten Sumgön, who has been praised as a master of dependent origination, is here chiefly concerned with instructions that help his disciples to achieve the best possible results by engaging in the right causes and avoiding the wrong ones. This contains for instance even the investigation of spontaneous thoughts that occur when one approaches the retreat area, the analysis of their results, the methods for enhancing positive results, and the remedies applied to avoid an unfavourable ripening. The book contains the complete Tibetan text on the even pages with the respective translation on the facing pages, indices of names and places, a list of source, and glossaries.
The books can be ordered for 22 and 17 Euros at: Garchen Foundation, Reimerdinger Str. 18, 29640 Schneverdingen, Germany, firstname.lastname@example.org
Chenga Sherab Jungne (2014) Funkensprühen des kostbaren Vajras: Der Lebensweg der völligen Befreiung des Dharmaherrn Jigten Sumgön, mit der Biografie des Verfassers, “Donnerklang des Ruhms,” Christine Sommerschuh (trl.), (Vajra-Klänge 2), edited by Jan-Ulrich Sobisch, München: Edition Garchen Stiftung, with a biography of Chenga Sherab Jungne by Rinchen Phüntshog trl. by Jan-Ulrich Sobisch, 301 pp., 2 maps, ISBN 978-3-945457-02-3.
Drikung Kyobpa Jigten Sumgön (2014) Ein Meer von Nektar: Die entscheidenden Punkte für eine Klausur in den Bergen, Yeshe Metog (Claude Jürgens, trl.), (Vajra-Klänge 1), edited by Jan-Ulrich Sobisch, München: Edition Garchen Stiftung, 183 pp., ISBN 978-3-945457-01-6