Pema Lingpa, the Treasure Hunter
Pema Lingpa (1450-1521), a Bhutanese cleric, was one of the well-known chosen »treasure hunters«. He was born into a line of descendants of the tantric priests from the Nyingmapa school, which belonged to the most respected of the eastern Himalayas. He was to become one of the most famous holy men of Bhutan whose religious legacy, up until today, shapes the spritual life of the kingdom.
His line of reincarnations leads back to the great Lamas of the Nyingmapa* school up to the Guru Rinpoche himself. Pema Lingpa never accepted Lamas nor learned men as spiritual teachers. All his knowledge was given to him through the dreams and visions of Guru Rinpoche himself. Therefore, Pema Lingpa represented the purest form of the Guru's teachings.
The Legacy of Guru Rinpoche
Through dreams Guru Rinpoche led Pema Lingpa to many of his »treasures« (terma*). Next to statues and ritual objects, these consisted especially of sacred scriptures. While the master was still alive, mankind was not advanced enough to understand all of his religious insights. When the time was ripe the Guru, through visions and dreams, led suitable men to these »treasures«. The »treasure hunter« (tertön*) bore these treasures and translated these out of the secret »treasure language« into the language of their time.
Conveyed in this manner those texts, Pema Lingpa's legacy, filled more than twenty volumes. Until today, many of his rituals are performed for the good of the state.
One of the treasures, which Pema Lingpa discovered, contained a list of deities from pre-Buddhist religions. Pema Lingpa could subjugate them all by magic. Since he also learned from the texts the correct way to perform the rites for these deities, in many regions he obtained an overly important status.