Scholar Humchen Chenaktsang introduces us to the world of the the ngakpa (yogin in Sanskrit), a lay practitioner of Tantric Buddhism. In the eighth century, Padmasambhava established the ngakpa tradition in Tibet so that lay people could receive spiritual and cultural education. Through study and practice, both men and women practitioners can attain the highest spiritual realization and develop powerful skills, such as the ability to make divinations, perform tantric rituals, and even control the weather. They are highly regarded in their communities and often play more social roles of giving medical advice, astrological predictions, and counseling for individuals. Humchen Chenaktsang’s talk will provide specific focus on the ngakpa community of Rebkong (Rebkong ngakmang), in Amdo, who are also known as the "Thousand Phurba-holders," so named for the ritual dagger, or phurba, used in Tantric and other rituals. The Rebkong community is the largest group of ngakpa and is famed as being the most powerful.
Humchen Chenaktsang is a scholar of the ngakpa tradition in Amdo. Since 1994, he has worked as an editor in the Literature and Arts section of the Tibetan-language newspaper Qinghai Tibetan News. As cofounder of the Ngakmang Institute, established in 1998, he has collected and edited rare ngakpa texts which he publishes in a series entitled Ngakmang Collected Works. To date, the series has over thirty volumes, several of which have been funded by Trace Foundation. In 2004, Humchen founded the Ngakmang School in Rebkong. He also established a ngakmang school for girls, the first of its kind. He has presented at international conferences and is involved in several ngakpa-related projects with institutes around the world. He currently lives in Xining.