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Emaho![1] There was a yellow scroll of the profound inventory of Orgyen Pema’s [enlightened] mind-treasures,[2] extracted by Dragpa Ngönshe[3] at Samye and given to Pön Jam[palwa]. On account of past aspirations and karmic fortune, a person likened unto me, I, Chökyi Wangchuk, received it from the hands of one of his posterities.

On the third day of the first autumn month in the hot season of Black Water Snake year, as I was relying upon [the yellow scroll], I found a supplemental inventory[4] of [enlightened] mind-treasures at Drak Namkechen (“Crag with a Ladder to Heaven”). Then that night in a dream there was this woman[5] mounted atop a yak amidst a tribe of yak-herding nomads.

She proclaimed, “There’s not even a trace of folly[6] in you; this I know!” and she left.


Then,[7] the next night at dawn, I dreamed that at the bottom of a wide road rested a cave,[8] sizeable with a door of iron, where a black man with braided hair sat[9] on a gray stag.


“What are you doing here?” I enquired.


He rattled and tossed his large locks behind him, then touched his finger to the cave.


“Here are inexhaustible[10] belongings, that your ancestor[11] prepared for you,”[12] He rejoined. “I entrust them to you,[13] so do look after them.” Having uttered this, he mounted a black bull and soared into the west.


While I was wondering, “Should I unseal the entrance with its iron door?” A-Mamo, who was younger than before, appeared. While spinning a large key[14] overhead, she pronounced:


“Skillfully use this[15] to open the door, and

You who have nothing [449] will be wealthy![16]

The ocean[17] of milk surges, fish[18] gather—

Taking[19] a measure of food and drink is crucial.”


Having said this, she entrusted the key and departed. I consequently understood this to be the meaning of the lineage of the ḍākinī’s seal of entrustment.


Quickly I opened the door to the cave and out popped[20] a garuḍa-like[21] bird. Five-colored[22] flames blazed from its mouth, promptly burning my body.[23] However, by manifesting my mind[24] into the Great Compassionate One,[25] I mounted the garuḍa-like bird[26] and took off into the sky.[27]


Above the nine levels of rainbow clouds,[28] or the thirteen heavens,[29] in a pavilion of rainbow light[30] sat[31] a crystal[32] child, in the attire[33] of Vajrasattva.[34] He conferred empowerment utilizing a vase full[35] of nectar. After pouring it into my mouth,[36] there appeared a white A in the heart of his clear and lucid crystal body. In the center of his left eyeball was a white A, and in the space before was a white A. His bodily form then gathered into the A in his heart; the A in his heart amassed into the A in his eye; the A in his eye subsumed into [450] the A in the space [in front]; the A in the space [in front] dissolved into my heart,[37] causing a natural radiance, devoid of grasping,[38] to arise.


With the vase in my hand, I roamed carrying the vase full of nectar, and somehow, I found myself atop a giant throne. I gave nectar to the sixteen “sons”[39] and the eight[40]  “daughters.” I distributed nectar to the assembly[41] of monastics,[42] mantra practitioners,[43] and male and female yoga practitioners.


At that moment, the woman with the cowrie headdress grabbed it from my hand and said, “Their share of those over there[44] has been missed.” Having given bountiful alms, I gazed over, and the entire place was filled with a massive crowd in disarray.[45]


At that time, I woke up and considered this a very good auspicious connection, and I retrieved the great [enlightened] mind-treasure from Namkedrak. When I met with the glorious Vajrasattva, he bestowed The Stainless Crystal Garland: Pith Instructions for the Four Empowerments. But since fortunate ones were so few, the symbols dissolved into the center of my citta.



A1 and A2: Guru Chöwang (gu ru chos dbang). 1979. gu ru chos dbang gi rang rnam dang zhal gdams. 2 vols. rin chen gter mdzod chen po’i rgyab chos, vols. 8–9. Paro: Ugyen Tempai Gyaltsen. BDRC MW23802.


B1–3: Tertön Guru Chökyi Wangchuk (gter ston gu ru chos kyi dbang phyug). 2022. gter ston gu ru chos kyi dbang phyug gi ran rnam dang zhal gdams bzugs so, vols. 1–3. Edited by Dungse Lama Pema Tsewang (gdung sras bla ma pad+ma tshe dbang). Lamagaun, Nepal: Tsum Library.

[1] The dream unfolds at the locale of Namkechenma, known as "a place with a ladder to heaven."

[2] “[Enlightened] mind-treasures” is rendering the thugs gter. However, it should not be conflated with the later treasure classification of “mind treasure,” rendering dgongs gter.

[3] dge bshes grwa pa mngon shes pa, 1012–1090, BDRC P4655.

[4] yang byang.

[5] A1: 448.4 interpolation: ye+es kyi mkhro’ mas las can la gter sprod par go (“understood to be a primordial wisdom ḍākinī who gives treasure to the one with the karma”), which is connected to 448.3: bu+ed.

[6] Recte: gtam col (B2: 241.2); A1: 448.3, B2: 101.6: tla col; A2: 123.1: ta col.

[7] This is where the account begins in Guru Chöwang’s The Great Treasure History (gter ’byung chen mo); A2: 123.5 and B2: 241.9. 

[8] A1: 448.4 interpolation: gter gnas (“treasure location”), signifying that it is not an ordinary cave.

[9] A1: 448.5 interpolation: gter bdag klu bdud (“the nāga-demon treasure lord”), clearly describes the black man. This qualifier is not attested in The Great Treasury History, A2: 123.6: mi ngag po ral pa shab se ba 1 zhon nas ’dug pa la. He is, however, not only extant in Guru Chöwang’s outer biography, The Eight Chapters (skabs brgyad ma), A1: 22.7: gter srungs (B1: 31.3: srung) klu bdud mgo dgu pas (“the nine-headed nāga-demon treasure guardian”), but is a prominent character in Chöwang’s treasure narrative.

[10] A1: 448.6: spyad ’phro med pa (“will not be consumed however much one uses it”). Although the text does not literally read “inexhaustible” (mi zad pa), the translation was compressed into inexhaustible.

[11] A1: 448.5 interpolation: ayan chenos (“Great Orgyan”). B2: 101.10: mes po o rgyan chen pos. A2: 123.7: mes pos, excludes o rgyan chen pos variants. A1: 23.1, B1: 31.6: mes po chen pos.

[12] A1: 448.6 interpolation: chos dbang la (“for you Chöwang”).

[13] A1: 448.6 interpolation: gter bdgis rgya bkrol nas (“after the treasure lord unraveled their seals”).

[14] A1: 448.7 interpolation: kha byang (“inventory”).

[15] A2: 124.1: ’di. A1: 448.7 interpolation: thabs shes ldan pas (“as it has the means,” or “as it possesses method and wisdom”).

[16] A1: 449.1 interpolation: dgos ’dod ’byung ba’i thuD gter dang ’phrad bas (“because you will encounter the [enlightened] mind-treasure that fulfills all needs and wishes”).

[17] A1: 449.1 interpolation: mnag zab mo’i (“profound pith instruction”).

[18] A1: 449.1 interpolation: las can gyi skyes bu (“beings with the karma”).

[19] A1: 449.1 interpolation: ’dod yon la *chog (A1: choD) shes (“being content with sensory pleasures”).

[20] A1: 449.2 interpolation: sangys mnyaMs sbyor (“unification of the buddhas”).

[21] A1: 449.2 interpolation: *theg (A1: theD) pa thaMd kyi yang tse (“the highest peak of all vehicles”).

[22] A1: 449.2 interpolation: ye+es lnga’i ’od kyis (“with the light of the five primordial wisdoms”).

[23] A1: 449.3 interpolation: bdag ’dzin gyi lus bag chaD dang bcas pa (“a body of ego-clinging and karmic habituations”).

[24] A1: 449.3 interpolation: rang ’byung gi ye+es riD pa lhing ba (“a tranquil natural primordial-wisdom awareness”).

[25] Avalokiteśvara.

[26] A1: 449.3 interpolation: rdzoD pa cheno spyi ti *yo (A1: mo) ga don du gyur ba’i brda (“an actualized sign of Dzogchen Crown Yoga”).

[27] A1: 449.3 interpolation: gnyis med kyi mkha’ (“sky of non-duality”).

[28] A1: 449.3 interpolation: *theg (A1: theD) pa rim pa *dgu (A1: dgu’) yang rtse (“the peak of the nine vehicles”). This can be extrapolated to entail the nine vehicles of the Nyingma tradition. Although this note is not connected to anything specific with dots, the connection to ’ja’ sprin rim pa dgu’am is clear.

[29] A2: 124.4: bcu gsuM. B2: 101.18: bcu gnyis. A1: 449.3: bcu 3, interpolation: sa bcu gsuM rdo+e ’dzin pa’i gnon par go (“understood to be the mastering (sa gnon pa) of the Vajra Holder, the thirteenth stage”).

[30] A1: 449.4 interpolation: sku lnga’i klong na (“in the expanse of the five kāyas”).

[31] A1: 449.4 interpolation: ma gag pa’i ’gyu ba rang rtsal (“unceasing movement of natural expression”).

[32] A1: 449.4 interpolation: *rig (A1: riD) pa pa lhan 1 skyes pa’i yai (“coemergent primordial wisdom awareness”).

[33] A1: 449.4 interpolation: long sku’i cha luD (“saṃbhogakāya attire”).

[34] A1: 449.4 interpolation: rdo+e seM’i dngos dang mjalo (“encountering the real Vajrasattva”).

[35] A1: 449.4 interpolation: *rig (A1: riD) pa rtsal gyi dbang (“empowerment of the dynamic expression of awareness”).

[36] A1: 449.4 interpolation: rdo+e seM’i snyan rgyud dride shel phreng zer ba 1 yod par *’dug ste (A1: ’duD rte) *yig (A1: yiD) cha ma skyedo (“there exists a Stainless Crystal Garland of Vajrasattva’s aural lineage; but a textbook has not been created”).

[37] A1: 450.1 interpolation: naM kha’ gsum spruD kyi brda don brtan (“stabilizing the symbolic meanings of ‘stirring the three spaces’”). “Stirring the three spaces” (nam mkha’ gsum sprugs) is a system of “cutting rigidity” (khregs chod). See, Arguillère 2022, 278, n. 97.

[38] A1: 450.1 interpolation: bde gsal mi *rtog (A1: rtoD) ba’i (“bliss, clarity, and non-thought”).

[39] A1: 450.2 interpolation: bka’ babs kyi bu bcruD gis rang gzhan gter la spyod pa’i brda’ (“this is the sign of the sixteen prophesized sons partaking in the treasure for the sake of themselves and others”).

[40] A1: 450.2 interpolation: dgongs pa gsal ’debs kyi (“which clarified the intention”).

[41] A1: 450.2 interpolation: ’khor phra mo riD *’dus (A1: dus) kyi brda’o (“this is the sign of gathering the types of minor retinues”).

[42] A1: 450.2 interpolation: mkhan po dang dge+ong (“scholars and fully ordained monks”).

[43] A1: 450.2 interpolation: sngaD btsun (“mantra clerics”).

[44] A1: 450.4 interpolation: *’brel (A1: ’grel) gyur kyi las can rnams *kyi (A1: kyis) (“of those possessing karma of being affiliated”).

[45] A1: 450.4 interpolation: ’khor tshoM bu ’buM *phrag (A1: ’phraD) cu+iD dang bcastse sang+yas pa’i brda’o (“This retinue along with its 1.1 million clusters is a sign of buddhahood”), which relates to the large crowd.


Photo Credit: Himalayan Art Resources 

Published: April 2024




Guru Chöwang (gu ru chos dbang). 1979. gu ru chos dbang gis sne sngon du bu chung baM sgrub mdzad pa’i tshe gu ru dang mjal tshul lo. In gu ru chos dbang gi rang rnam dang zhal gdams. rin chen gter mdzod chen po’i rgyab chos, v. 8, 375–378. Paro: Ugyen Tempai Gyaltsen. BDRC MW23802.


Guru Chöwang (gu ru chos dbang). 1979. g+hu ru chosyi dbang phyugi rnalaM/ gnaM skas can ma bzhug s+ho i+thi leD s+ho ang. In gu ru chos dbang gi rang rnam dang zhal gdams. rin chen gter mdzod chen po’i rgyab chos, v. 8, 447–450. Paro: Ugyen Tempai Gyaltsen. BDRC MW23802.


Tertön Guru Chökyi Wangchuk (gter ston gu ru chos kyi dbang phyug). 2022. gu ru chos kyi dbang phyug gi rnal lam gnam skas can ma bzhugs so. (bar cha 2022: 101–102). In gter ston gu ru chos kyi dbang phyug gi ran rnam dang zhal gdams bzhugs so, vol. 2, 101–102. Edited by Dungse Lama Pema Tsewang (gdung sras bla ma pad+ma tshe dbang). Lamagaun, Nepal: Tsum Library.




Arguillère, Stéphane. 2022. “A History of the dGongs pa zang thal practice manuals.” Revue d’Etudes Tibétaines: For A Critical History of the Northern Treasures, 62: 233–298.


As such he said. 

Namkechenma: A Dream of Guru Chökyi Wangchuk 


With the “scroll of devastation” in his possession, having retrieved it from his father, Guru Chöwang heads out with a monk to excavate his first treasure. This early dream account narrates Chöwang’s initial encounter with the terrifying Nine-Headed Nāga Demon, lord of the treasure hoard.





20th Century



Tib Shelf

Namkechenma: A Dream of Guru Chökyi Wangchuk 

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