Tushi Repa

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Tushi Repa (1164-1236 )

Among Dharma Wangchuks’ many disciples, Tushi Repa was one of the “two lineage sons” who held the Barom Kagyu lineage and widely propagated the teachings.

Tushi Repa was born in Ruktung Umar in an area called Damshod Narmo, in Pa-Tsab nomadic region, to the father Yub Datarawo and mother, Karsang Lubcham in 1164; the wood male-monkey year of third Rabshung (century) in Tibetan Calendar.

He was given the childhood name of Hordahk. From the age of 7, he was taught by Lopong Wanseng Tibetan literature, writing, astrology and many concepts, the 5 small philosophies (fundamental). After 5 years, at 12yrs old, he met Barompa, his precious Lama. At the age of 25 he took the novice monk vows on the 15th day (Saga Dawa) of the Monkey year.  Later when he was 32 he became a fully ordained Gelong.

Dharma Wangchuk took Tushi Repa to meet the Drigung and Taklung patriarchs for teachings at the main Drigung monastery, Dangsel Phul, and together with Khenpos Palchen and Kerwa he did one summer retreat there.

All together in his life he had five root lamas: Dharma Wangchuk, Talung Tonpa, Drugungpa, Sangye Gunpa, Shang Serpa,

At 31, Tushi Repa had a dream that he saw that the king of Minyak (Domad is the whole state at the time) passed away and he sees the new king has faith in Buddhism and many Lamas. The dream was very nice for him and he is inspired to go to Minyak.  A year later, at age 32 he meets a man that he saw in that dream.  He asks him where he is from to which the man replies that he is from Minyak.  The man explains that he is a business man, a merchant and he is from Minyak and on his way back.  He also tells Tushi Repa about the king having a belief and connection with Buddhism. This meeting increased his desire to go to Minyak.

He then requests to Dharma Wangchuk that he would like to go to Minyak and explains why.  He gives him permission and tells him you will benefit many if you go. Dharma Wangchuk goes part way with him, and he asks his Lama how long he should stay in Minyak for.  He tells Tushi Repa, “if I don’t die in a few years you come back.  If I die in a few years you stay, no use for you to come back.” In 1196, Tushi Repa was 32 years old at that time, and he makes a five pointed hat before leaving to represent the five root Lamas to protect him and guide him on his journey. This style of hat is still used in Barom Kagyu today. Tushi Repa arrives in Minyak in the Fire Dragon year of 1197 so it took one year for him to reach Minyak.  Dharma Wangchuk passes away at 73 in 1199 so Tushi Repa stayed in Minyak for another 30 years.

In 1206, the Minyak King, Gyel Ghut, is very happy with Tushi Repa and makes him a minister and in 1207 makes him a mentor of the Kingdom. The King is faithful to him and took many empowerments, blessings and initiations. He gave him his “Tushi” name, which was Minyak language at that time. “Tushi” means “giving initiation to Kings or Queens”, and “the task of the Lama who empowers religious preaching over the Kings Head” This is very rare and the King offers many precious items to him as well because of his devotion to Tushi Repa.  He offers a beautiful crystal statue of Barompa, a volume of text books made of Lapis Lazuli, with many special marks and signs, gold, silver, coral, turquoise, and many other valuable items.

At that time there were no Barom Kagyu monasteries in Minyak. He went to many different places and built four monasteries. He establishes Tsongka Kora Ghun, Kamchu Gurub Ghun, Minya Zungha Ghun, Kharlung Ghun, all in Minyak. All of the monasteries together had more than 10,000 resident monks combined.

At the age of 63, he told his King and disciples he wanted to go back to his main monastery in Barom. They didn’t want him to go and insisted that they needed him to stay and to teach dharma. At that time there was also a conflict between the Drigung and Talung in Barom (Lhasa). He had a connection with these monastic groups so for him it meant a lot to go and resolve the issues and bring harmony back to the community. The King reluctantly let him go and Tushi Repa goes to mediate in the conflict.

He visits all the monasteries of his root Lamas to give teachings, pay homage, makes statues of them and gives donations to the monks. After completing those activities he goes to Nangchen because Tselung Khampa invites him.  He stays in Gongtso Ghum, Dharma Wangchuk’s monastery. He stays in Nangchen another 1 to 2 years as he is also invited by the local minister and leader to stay and he teaches them dharma as well.

In 1236, while he is in Nangchen he is invited to a small house outside of the village. While staying there Atisha appears to him in a vision. Atisha tells him that in the future he will have started 18 monastic groups and they will follow his teachings. This refers to the 18 monastic lineages of the Barom Kagyu. Tushi Repa builds the Dannhe Chagon Lakhun- a small monastery on that very site. After building the monastery he did retreat at the cave on the mountain above and has many more dreams and premonitions. He also makes a Dupdahk (retreat area) below the cave where meditators could do 3 year retreats. During this time he does a lot of travel from the cave to the valley below to do dharma teachings and spends time at Dharma Wangchuks’ monastery as well. (Khunso Ghun)

He takes one of his main students Repa Karpo to Chakrasamvara mountain, and makes the prediction and he shows Repa Karpo in the valley that he will make a large monastery (Khum Bhum) with thousands of monks which did come true and it became like Nalanda in India . After Tushi Repa passes Repa Karpo does build the monastery. The 18 monastic groups did originate from there.

Tserwa and Tongperma, two villages below monasteries were fighting and he also dissolved those problems through mediation and that area also became harmonious again. After that Tserpa Kagya and Yerwa Kagya also had some disputes that he mediated. They also wanted him to stay but he said the problems are taken care of so it’s time to go. Tushi Repa became sick after taking care of those problems and talking to so many people.

The monasteries and communities he helped all did long life prayers for him but he continued to have health problems. This continued until his passing to Nirvana at Yophu Lhacham monastery at age 73, the Fire Monkey year 1236, 4th Rambshung, the first day in the 5th month. After his passing the students want to take his body to Nangchen but cannot cross the river. The river is in a high season so

Commemorative resting site

they do puja and the river parts for them to pass through.

He had many students and disciples from Tibet, China, Mongolia and Minyak. His one main disciple was the Minyak King, then Khenpo Rabdungwa, Khenpo Sherab Nyinma, Geshupa, Mongun Raepa, Sherab Dorje, Geshe Chungpo, Runkung Khunpo, Lhunkun Chorte, Trawoh Wangshik, Whachu Gunpa, Garlong Traya, Monkun Pakpa, Master Chosuk,….. he has countless main disciples,

He was so well known throughout Tibet and the neighbouring countries as his history is in Tibetan, Chinese, Mongolian, and Minyak history books.

Tushi Repa was adept at dream yoga and premonitions. He could actively be in his dreams.

When Drigungpa passed away he has a dream where he goes to Drigungpa’s monastery, and he saw the throne is empty, and there is another guy with a long beard sitting on the throne, so he knows Drigungpa passed away,

In another dream he sees Dharma Wangchuk in the Land of Dakinis in the form of Chakrasamavara and he was surrounded by dakinis, so he understood Dharma Wangchuk has passed away. He then did Chakrasamvara puja and thereafter every year the Barom Kagyu did this puja with Guru Yoga, and Tsog offering on the 4th month and 2nd day.

During his time in Minyak scholars predicted the king would be around for another 8 years, but Tushi Repa dreams it’s actually 5 more years to total 13 years. This was true as the King did pass away after 13 years.

In one of his dreams he sees Minyak is attacked by Mongols so he did Mahakala puja. In his dream he sees the king is killed by the Mongols. For 27 years he did Mahakala puja to protect Minyak. After 27 yrs, he couldn’t do it anymore because during the 3rd reign of Kingdom so many Mongols were killed. He stopped doing the protection puja because he saw it was time for the ripening of the Karma from the fighting, from so many Mongols being killed. Then the Mongols retaliate and are fighting back. Mahakala personally appeared to him while doing puja and Tushi Repa composes a way of chanting during that time that is called Minyak Ghungkarma that is still used today.

So many deities appeared to him, four armed  Mahakala, Palden Lhamo, Dorje Palmo, (Tumthing)-Hyagriva,  – Lion Zambala (Kubara) appeared to Tushi Repa many times and showed and guided him the way many times on his travels on which way to go.

He was very famous in China, Minyak, Kham/Tibet, and had many dharma students. His main disciples, Shanya Repa Karpo, Kerkarwa, Sankya Pandipta, Rulwan Longterwa,

He composed many volumes of text, Kagyu Semptung, the Rosary of Kadyupa, Barom, Talung, Drigung, (the three histories of Kagyu), the wish fulfilling jewel, he wrote in one text, Drigung has Galotsawa has Chakrasamvara brought from India, and he wrote with instructions, commentaries and sadhanas  combined with Chakrasamvara, Rallotsawa, he has Vajravahi sadhana, 7 goddesses of Phakmo sadhana, Demchog Tsog offerings to Chakrasamvara, wrote many different sadhanas and rituals relating to Chakrasamvara. He wrote 6 yogas of Naropa, Mahamudra, consecration rituals, pujas and commentaries for the four armed aspect of Mahakala, long life sutra texts, advice to the Sakya Pandita, ultimate single path advice, an “Instruction only” volume, “Rapuway” for conscecrations, blessing statues, stupas and monasteries. He wrote Long life of Amitayus ritual text, Sakyap Panchita advice and instructions to him, he also composed Vajra Songs(Dohas). He wrote a total of 4 volumes of text in his life.