painting of Rang-rig Togden sitting upon a tiger skin

Tiger Skin and Bare Feet

the ancient appearance of a drüpthab

Rang-rig Togden sits upon a tiger skin in the manner of many of the mahasiddhas in the ancient Indian tradition. He has bare feet in similar style – as do many of the representations of Aro gTér Lamas. He wears conch earrings and has his hair piled up on his head.

Naljorpa Bar-ché Dorje comments:
This special appearance is characteristic of the gö-kar chang-lo’i dé. Some people imagine that this costume is limited to gTértöns, but the vows which accompany ngak’phang ordination include permission to wear all these signs. It has sometimes been said that ngakpas and ngakmas should not wear their hair in this style in the presence of monastic Lamas – but this is something of a social moré of recent centuries. The gö-kar chang-lo’is the valid costume and ornamentation of all those who take the ngak’phang vows and so it is important for them to display them in honour of their tradition or ordination. At this time it is vital that there are practitioners who maintain this line – especially as Buddhism becomes rooted in the West. It needs to be seen that family life is as much a part of a highly committed Buddhism as monasticism and non-celibate asceticism.