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Shri Singha

Śrīsiṃha (T. shrī sing ha ཤྲཱི་སིང་ཧ་)(fl. 8th century) was an important figure in the early transmission period (snga dar) of Buddhism from India to Tibet, especially of the Dzogchen teachings.[1]

He studied with Mañjushrimitra for twenty-five years.

He arranged the teachings of the Menngagde into four cycles: outer, inner, secret and innermost secret unsurpassed.[2]

Shri Singha's disciples included: Jnanasutra, Vimalamitra, Padmasambhava and the Tibetan translator Vairotsana.[2]

His last testament, which he conferred upon Jñanasutra before passing into the rainbow body, is called the Seven Nails.

Transmission of Dzogchen teachings

Sri Simha was a principal lineage holder of the Dzogchen Tradition.

It is also said that Sri Simha went to Bodh Gaya and extracted from the library of the Diamond-throne Monastery the Pith Instruction (Skt: upadesa, Tib.: men-ngak-de) of the Dzogchen Tradition that Manjusrimitra had previously deposited there. Sri Simha then took the Dzogchen teachings back with him to his home town in the Cina Valley and there he settled more or less for the rest of his life, becoming a famous teacher.

The Pith Instructions of Dzogchen consist of esoteric scriptures written down by Pramodavajra, the guru of Manjusrimitra. Thus the lineage of Dzogchen-holders is said to descend from Pramodavajra (Tib: Garab Dorje), to Manjusrimitra (Tib: Jampel She-nyen), to Sri Simha (Tib: Pel gi Sengge), and then to Sri Simha's two disciples, Jnanasutra and Vimalamitra. The latter introduced the tradition into Tibet in the time of the Sage-King Tri-srong Detsen, who reigned from circa 755 to 797 AD. The transmission of the tradition has ever since been passed down mainly through the Nyingmapa school in Tibet.

It is explained that Sri Simha divided the Pith Instruction into four sub-sections, and these are known as the Exoteric Cycle, the Esoteric Cycle, the Secret Cycle, and the Supreme Secret Cycle. Before his own death he deposited copies of the first three cycles in a rock cut crypt beneath the Bodhivriksha Temple of Sugnam (Sokyam) in the land of Cina. The texts of the Supreme Secret Cycle, however, he hid separately within the pillar of the "Gate of a Myriad Blessings". It is difficult, however, to clarify as to where these places in the Kinnaur Valley may have actually been. Perhaps future archeological work in the region will help one day to give us a better insight into the facts underlying the half-legendary and half-historical records of early Dzogchen?

It is further stated that Sri Simha conferred the first three cycles of Dzogchen instruction on Vimalamitra and the supreme esoteric cycle on Jnanasutra. This implies that Jnanasutra alone received the complete or final teaching.[3]

Further reading

  • Dudjom Rinpoche, The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, Its Fundamentals and History, trans. and ed. Gyurme Dorje (Boston: Wisdom, 1991), book one, pages 497-501.
  • Nyoshul Khenpo, A Marvelous Garland of Rare Gems: Biographies of Masters of Awareness in the Dzogchen Lineage (Junction City: Padma Publications, 2005), pages 39-40.
  • Tulku Thondup, Masters of Meditation and Miracles, edited by Harold Talbott (Boston: Shambhala, 1996), pages 62-64.
  • Nyoshul Khenpo Jamyang Dorjé. A Marvelous Garland of Rare Gems. Junction City: Padma Publishing, 2005.
  • Wellsprings of the Great Perfection, Rangjung Yeshe Publications. ISBN 9627341576
  • Padma, Sree. Barber, Anthony W. Buddhism in the Krishna River Valley of Andhra. 2008. pp. 159.


  1. Robert E. Buswell Jr., Donald S. Lopez Jr., The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism (Princeton: 2014), s.v. Śrīsiṃha
  2. 2.0 2.1 Rangjung a-circle30px.jpg Shri_Singha, Rangjung Yeshe Wiki
  3. Sri Simha, the Lion of Dzogchen, Dharma Fellowship

External links