Kyobpa Jigten Sumgön: Gongchig

The Gongchig (The Single Intent or the Unified Enlightened-Thought) is regarded as the most distinctive teaching of the Drigung Kagyu lineage. It represents the culmination of Kyobpa Jigten Sumgön’s (1143-1217) study, practice and realization of sutra and tantra teachings as bestowed exclusively on his heart-son, Chenga Sherab Jungne (1187-1241).

It is of great benefit not only to the followers of the Drikung Kagyu lineage but for Dharma practitioners in general that this highly significant text is now available for the first time in an English as well as in a German translation. It was translated by the Drikung Kagyu Institute’s translator training program under the guidance of Khenchen Konchog Gyaltsen Rinpoche. The translation not only includes the root text of Kyobpa Rinpoche’s teachings as recorded by Chenga Sherab Jungne, but also the Nyima Nangwa (nyi ma snang ba), an important commentary by the 1st Chungtsang Rinpoche, Rigzin Chökyi Drakpa (1595-1659).

The title of the treatise, The Single Intent, points to the fact that Jigten Sumgön’s and the Buddha’s intentions were the same. As Rinchen Jangchub, the younger brother of Sherab Jungne and the first commentator of the Gongchig put it: “Each of the vajra-statements has a different meaning, yet in every single statement the meaning of all is summarized. Therefore this teaching is identical with the intention of the Buddha.”

The Gongchig consists of 152 main vajra-statements (rdo rje’i gsung) with forty-six auxiliary or supplementary vajra-statements. Chenga Sherab Jungne later organized these vajra-statements into eight chapters:

  1. The Synopsis of the Vital Points of the Wheels of the Dharma (thirty statements),
  2. The Synopsis of the Vital Points of Dependent Origination (fifteen statements),
  3. The Synopsis of the Vital Points of the Vinaya Pratimokśa (twenty statements),
  4. The Synopsis of the Vital Points of the Bodhisattva Training (twenty-four statements),
  5.  The Vows of the Knowledge-bearers of the Secret-Mantra (twenty-eight statements),
  6.  The Special View, Meditation and Conduct (twenty statements),
  7. The Resultant Ground of Buddhahood (fifty statements) and
  8.  The Auxiliary Statements (forty-six statements)

The meaning of the term “vajra statement” has been explained by Khenchen Konchog Gyaltsen in his introduction to Rigdzin Chökyi Dragpa’s Nyima Nangwa in the following manner: “Since (these statements) cannot be separated from the ultimate nature of the interdependent origination of all phenomena, they are called “vajra”; since they cannot turn away from that natural state to something else, they are called “vajra”; since it is difficult to make them the objects of the intellectual sphere of dialecticians, they are called “vajra”; and since they totally uproot non-realization, erroneous notions and doubt – the great mountain of ignorant error – they are called “vajra.”

After its dissemination, the profound but sometimes radical contents of the Gongchig sparked many debates among the Tibetan masters in the course of the centuries. A number of treatises have been written opposing and praising the Gongchig. Among those are commentaries by Chödrak Yeshe (the 4th Red-Hat Karmapa, 1453-1524), Mikyö Dorje (the 8th Black-Hat Karmapa, 1507-1554), and Chökyi Wangchuk (the 6th Red-Hat Karmapa, 1584-1635). Recently the learned Drikung Kagyu scholar Dagpo Chenga Rinpoche published The Ornament of Gongchig, a detailed refutation of criticism brought forward against this text.

Jigten Sumgon
Gongchig. The Single Intent, the Sacred Dharma
With commentary entitled
The Lamp Dispelling the Darkness
by Rigdzin Chokyi Dragpa
From Tbetan to English
By Markus Viehbeck
280 pages
Price: € 18,80 + shipping
ISBN 978-3-933529-28-2
The work may be ordered directly from the publishers at