Protectors of the Three Courts
The following is a brief description of three of the lesser-known protectors mentioned in “Protectors of the Three Courts,” a chant composed by the Kongma Sakyong, Jampal Trinley Dradül.
Along with Ekajati and Vajrasadhu, Rahula is generally considered to be one of the three principal protectors for the Nyingma tradition, especially of the ati teachings of the Longchen Nyingthik. He is usually depicted with nine heads, a thousand eyes all over his body, which is dark in color, and four arms, which hold a bow and arrow, and often a lasso and victory banner. He is wrathful in appearance, ablaze with fire, and his lower body has the form of a snake. Rahula is a sa, a class of deities associated with the heavenly bodies. Originally a demon, he was subjugated by Padmakara and commanded to protect the dharma.
Along with Magyal Pomra, Nyentak Marpo (“Red Nyen Tiger”) is Gesar’s most loyal protector. While Magyal Pomra is connected with enriching action, Nyentak Marpo is connected more with magnetizing action and clearing away obstacles. He is like Gesar’s kusung, accompanying him everywhere and immediately performing his activity. Nyentak Marpo is especially connected with Namkha Drimed Rinpoche, to whom he appeared in numerous visions: he is both His Eminence’s personal protector and the protector of his Wrathful Gesar terma.
Nyentak Marpo has a wrathful human form, red in color and riding a red horse. His face is very rough, even to the point of being ugly, perhaps covered with moles or boils. His costume is red and his armor is made of red metal, such as copper. He holds a spear adorned with a red triangular banner, which symbolizes wrathful activity.
Sometimes considered to be the leader of the tenma goddesses, twelve indigenous female deities commanded by Padmakara to protect the land of Tibet, Dorje Yudrönma (“Indestructible Turquoise Torch Lady”) is an important protector in the Nyingma tradition and is particularly associated with Longchenpa, one of the early, great Nyingma masters. She was the deity that the Vidyadhara Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche invoked when performing prasena. Though she can be depicted in a variety of colors and holding various implements, in the sadhana by Jamgön Mipham Gyatso Rinpoche that the Vidyadhara used when performing the mirror divination, she is brilliant white in color and holds an arrow with silks of the five colors in her right hand and a silver mirror in her left. Often she rides a mount. She is considered to have a special connection with Ekajati and to be an emanation of Vajravarahi.