A Brief History of the Sacred Image of White Tara ‘The Wish-Fulfilling Wheel’ of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo’s residence, known as ‘The Garden of Immortality,’ in Dzongsar Monastery, Derge, East Tibet
by Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche
Throughout his life, the great master Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo Kunga Tenpe Gyaltsen Pal Zangpo had many visions of White Tara, during which the wisdom deity actually dissolved into this image. From time to time, she would deliver prophecies, grant teachings and advice, and bestow empowerments by sending out miraculous rays of light, as well as inspiring countless pure visions.
Khyentse Wangpo’s main students and heart-sons too, such as Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye, Terchen Chokgyur Lingpa and Terton Sogyal, received blessings from this image directly and in pure visions. This is clearly described in their own biographies and is also well known from oral accounts.
There is also mention in the secret biography of the second Jamyang Khyentse, Chokyi Lodro, of how this image of White Tara granted empowerments, delivered prophecies and bestowed the blessings of longevity, and how other devoted students were able to receive advice from it directly. It is also said that the crackling noise of a butter lamp placed before this very image brought about the revelation of a terma. Therefore it is this very image, which is so sacred and powerful, that has inspired countless pure visions over the years, and which features in so many well-known stories.
In 1967, as the monastery was on the brink of destruction at the hands of communist Chinese hostile to the teachings, a devoted and quick-witted disciple took the image from the wall, concealing it carefully in a cloth, and placed it in a secure location. Later, when the current incarnation of the wish-fulfilling jewel, Dzongsar Khyentse Thubten Chökyi Gyatso, travelled to the reconstructed Dzongsar monastery, the image was taken out and offered to him, and then, after this auspicious event, it was brought to India.
This brief history, written in response to the request of the supreme tulku Sogyal Rinpoche, and to mark the printing of one hundred thousand copies of this sacred image as a support for those with fortunate karma, was composed by Orgyen Tobgyal, who remains under the compassionate protection of the successive incarnations of the Jamgön Lama.
Translated by Adam Pearcey, 2000.