Lingchen Repa Pema Dorje (1128-1188), also known as Drubthob Naphupa, was born in the village of Langpo Na in the Nyang Tod district of the Tsang region in central Tibet. He was the youngest of four children born to Gyalpo Kyongwe, a Tantric practitioner, and his wife Sugmo Darchung.
By the age of nine, Lingchen Repa had mastered reading and writing. Then he offered a plot of land to Lhaje Remen and studied medicine under him. By age 13, he gained complete knowledge of medicine. At age 17, he began his spiritual education under Lopon Ling. He also received many teachings from Lopoh Palyang.
Lingchen Repa once had a dispute with one of the local chieftains and was subjected to harassment. He resorted to black magic to take revenge on the chieftain and it is said that Lingchen Repa sometimes performed 20 black magic rituals in a month. As a result, the chieftain’s entire family became extinct. In those days, Lingchen Repa was renowned for his black magic powers in the whole of the Nyang Tod region.
At Rinang Mila Gompa, Nyang Tod, Lingchen Repa met Lama Shang of U and received many teachings. He also received teachings on Chakrasamvara and Vajra Varahi from Ra Lotsawa. From Lama Khyung Tsangpa, the Guru of Ra Lotsawa, he received the transmission of the teachings of Naropa. On the advice of Lama Khyung Tsangpa, Lingchen Repa became a monk and received his ordination vows from Geshe Womthangpa.
At age 37, Lingchen Repa thought he had received all the teachings and therefore decided to travel to Bhutan to contemplate and meditate. However, one night he dreamt that a man in white denuded him and inspected his body from head to toe. The man then said to him, “Don’t go to Bhutan. Your wish will be fulfilled in four and a half years’ time.” So Lingchen Repa abandoned his plans of meditating in Bhutan.
Four years later, Lingchen Repa went to Damshod, where he heard the name of Phagmo Drupa, and decided to request Phagmo Drupa’s teachings. On the sight of Phagmo Drupa, Lingchen Repa was immediately filled with devotion, and began to see not only his guru, but even his own friends and other sentient beings, as the Buddhas.
Lingchen Repa spent most of his life in solitary retreat, and because he too wore the white cotton cloth and led the life of a yogi, he was also known as “Repa”. His power of mind and spiritual accomplishment gained him the reputation of “The Saraha of Tibet”.
Lingchen Repa had many disciples. Tsangpa Gyare Yeshe Dorje continued Lingchen Repa’s tradition, and founded the Drukpa Lineage, of which he is considered as the 1st Gyalwang Drukpa.