Lifelike Statue of Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen
Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen was an incredibly influential Buddhist master of the 14th century, whose teachings, though controversial and heavily disputed, continue to play an important role in our understanding of the true meaning of Buddhism today.
Born in Dolpo, Nepal, in 1309, Dolpopa's incredible intelligence and all-pervasive understanding allowed him to rise to prominence as one of the brightest and most original thinkers of his day. A contemporary of Buton, Longchenpa and Rangjung Dorje (the famous Third Karmapa, with whom Dolpopa exchanged teachings), by the end of his life Dolpopa's influence was immense.
Known during his lifetime as The Buddha from Dolpo, The Omniscient One, and Possessor of the Four Reliances, Dolpopa's legacy spread widely and has had a profound and continuing impact on the development of Tibetan Buddhism from the fourteenth century to the present day.
Dolpopa's primary innovation was the development of the Shentong ("other emptiness") view, in which he identified absolute reality with the Buddha Nature. Unlike relative phenomena, which are entirely empty of inherent existence, the Buddha Nature is, in actuality, "... a dynamic, positive Reality that can be directly experienced once the conceptual mind has been defeated" (Hookham, 1991, paraphrase). This approach holds tremendous appeal today, as evidenced by Tsadra Publishing's recently released Buddha Nature website.
Far from being a forgotten relic of ancient times, the Shentong view is still studied and taught in Buddhist shedras (universities) all over the Himalayas today. Important recent masters including Jamgon Kongtrul, Ju Mipham Rinpoche, Dudjom Rinpoche and Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamso have stated that the Shentong view is the ultimate position in Buddhist philosophical thought. The highly influential master Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro praised and taught Dolpopa's ideas and even wrote a guru yoga practice identifying Dolpopa as an emanation of Guru Padmasambhava.
More can be read about Dolpopa in Cyrus Stearn's incredible book The Buddha From Dolpo.
Because representations of this great being are extremely rare, we commissioned an artist to carve an entirely original, lifelike statue of the Master, in order that those who are drawn to the Buddha Nature can have him in their homes and retreat places. It is our hope that the presence of this statue will help bring about an insight into the undying, wholly transcendent nature at the core of each one of us.
These statues are filled with hundreds of blessed relics, ringsel, mantras and other holy substances collected from around the Buddhist world, along with a selection of Dolpopa's writings. Each statue also contains a small piece of the actual robe of Taranatha (1575–1634), Tibet's great historian and Jonang master, who considered himself an inheritor of Dolpopa's understanding, which he received in a number of direct visions of the Master. This relic was donated to us by Lotsawa Cyrus Stearns, and comes from the personal collection of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. Therefore, each statue is ready for immediate placement on a shrine or altar, where it can be an object of devotion for generations to come.
All funds raised through the sale of these images will be used to help Denver Dzogchen (Chönyi Ling) to spread the teachings of the Vajrayana, to continue to bring teachers from Bhutan, Tibet, India and Nepal to teach in the West, to build and place stupas, to support practitioners in meditation retreat, to translate unusual and important texts, and especially to help spread the Practice Lineage throughout the world.