Dorje Denma Ling: Indestructible Place of Denma


Dorje Denma Ling is a Tibetan name meaning “Indestructible (Dorje) Place (Ling) of Denma.” In True Command: The Teachings of the Dorje Kasung, “Denma” is defined as follows:

[Denma is] one of the great generals who  commanded the troops of the Tibetan warrior king Gesar of Ling. Denma was particularly known as a master archer and strategist. The Dorje Dradul [Trungpa Rinpoche] suggested Denma as the name and inspiration for the Dorje Kasung leadership training college.

In 2008 Dorje Denma Ling commissioned a thangka of Denma from the renowned thangka painter Ngodrup Rongae, which resides in our main shrineroom. According to Jigme Rinpoche, Denma was the direct emanation of Saraha, one of the greatest Indian siddhas. Denma was a young boy at the time of Gesar of Ling’s birth, and continued to live after Gesar passed away; thus, he was reported to have lived for a long time, nearly 200 years.

Denma is described as the one who is ahead of the regiment of warriors, always leading it, and thus is called the hawk who sees what is ahead. He is gifted with intelligence and skillfulness in ensuring victory by knowing what is needed and using his power accordingly. It is said that Denma lived the longest of all the warriors of the mandala, and was the one who did the last ritual ceremony for all of the warriors, including Gesar.  Jigme Rinpoche said, “It’s like the whole mandala of the wrathful warrior manifested when there was a mission, a purpose; they completed it, and then they began to dissolve as well.”

Since King Gesar never had a son, he was succeeded by the son of his brother (Gyatsa Shelkar), whose name was Drala Tsegyal. Denma remained with this heir to the throne, and what continued Gesar of Ling’s lineage is from Drala Tsegyal onward. The Dege area in Kham is now called Lingsam, which means the place of Ling, and is the location of the Kingdom of Ling.

His Eminence Namkha Drimed Rinpoche said that the Mipham lineage is the emanation of Denma (manifested in our Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche), and that Trungpa Rinpoche was an emanation of Gesar of Ling’s nephew, Drala Tsegyal. His Eminence is, himself, the incarnation of Gesar’s brother, Gyatsa Shelkar. In these ways we are directly descended from the noble and magical lineage of Gesar and the Kingdom of Ling, whose warriorship and compassion continue to be manifested, practiced and proclaimed.