Wednesday, November 30, 2005

From a collection of Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche's favorite songs

From The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa, p. 131-135-folio 56-58

Namo Guru.

Jetsün Milarepa then went from Kyirong in Mang-Yül to Nyanang and his former benefactors we overjoyed. “Please stay always here in Nyanang,” they begged. There was a cave below a belly-shaped boulder between some old trees, and while he resided there, the monk-teacher Shakya Guna and some laypeople of Nyanang came before him.
“While elsewhere in meditation in mountain retreats, please tell us about the progress you reached and the confidence that you attained,” they asked. In reply, the Jetsün sang this song.

I bow at the feet of Marpa the Translator.

While meditating at other mountain retreats,
I found a confidence in nonarising.
My clinging to former and future lives as two has dissolved.
The six types of experiences have turned to lies.
Doubts about birth and death are now cleared.

I found a confidence in equality.
My clinging to pleasure and pain as two has dissolved.
The experience of feelings has turned to lies.
Doubts about what to accept and reject are now cleared.

I found a confidence in indivisibility.
My clinging to samsara and nirvana as two has dissolved.
Training the path and levels has turned to lies.
Doubts about hope and fear are now cleared.

The laypeople then said, “What other realization arose in you?” Milarepa replied, “I realized the way to go about spiritual practice that accords with the understanding of common people.” He then sang this song.

When from outside arose the causal conditions of parents,
When from within arose the all-ground consciousness
And in between, when having attained the perfect human body,
Today I have avoided a rebirth in the three lower realms.

When from outside arose the experiences of birth and death.
When from within arose revulsion and faith.
And in between, when thinking of the sacred Dharma,
Today I have escaped the foe of family and home.

When from outside arose the circumstance of the father guru.
From within arose the intelligence of your former training.
And in between, when having gained a confident understanding,
I have no feeling of doubt about the Dharma.

When from outside arose the six classes of beings.
When from within arose impartial compassion.
And in between, when remembering the meditation experience,
My compassion avoids being mere selfish ambition.

When from outside arose the self-liberated three realms,
When from within arose self-existing wakefulness,
And in between, when possessing the confidence of realization,
I have avoided the dread of evil.

When from outside arose the fivefold sense-pleasures,
When from within arose the insight of no clinging,
And in between, when engaged in the conduct of equal taste,
I avoid clinging to the duality of pleasure and pain.

When from outside arose the vanishing of conceptual practice,
When from within arose the absence of hope and fear,
And in between, when free from the disease of deliberate effort,
I escape the clinging to good and evil as two.

The monk-teacher Shakya Guna then said, “The Jetsün’s realization has always been excellent! Though I met the Jetsün in the past, I have not received an instruction, in which I can trust and rely. Now please be kind enough to bestow empowerment and pith instructions upon me!”
After having given him empowerment and instruction, the Jetsün sent him to practice meditation. The monk-teacher gained some experience and related it to the Jetsün.
“If these perceptions and samsara do not exist, then there seem to be no need for practice. If the mind does not exist, then there seems to be no doer. If there is no master, then one does not know how to practice. Please clarify these and also give me the pointing-out instruction to the nature of mind.”
In response, Jetsün Milarepa sang this song.

The nature of perceptions is nonarising.
If something arises, it is your clinging to its reality.

The nature of samsara is groundless and rootless.
If something has ground and root, it is your thought.

The nature of mind is unity.
If there is partiality, it is your attachment.

The nature of a master is to possess a lineage.
If you invent your own, you are deluded.

While the mind itself is like the sky,
It becomes obscured by thoughts, like the clouds from the south.

The pith instructions of the qualified guru
Are like gusts of strong wind.

Thought as well is luminous wakefulness.
Experience shines like the sun and moon.

Vivid beyond the ten directions and three times,
Intangible, it is beyond words.

Its certainty shines like the planets and stars.
Whatever arises is great bliss.

Its nature is the simplicity of dharmakaya.
The six sense impressions are the continuity of emptiness.

Effortless, spontaneous, unconditioned,
In this state, beyond self and others,
I remain continuously in nonclinging wakefulness,
Without any separation from the three kayas, amazing!

Monk-teacher, do not cling to the fame and happiness of this life. Do not pursue words of sophistry. Equalize your life with practice! Since this is the way to be practiced by everyone, you should practice the meaning of these words.

Then Milarepa sang this song.

Fortunate and noble people,
Don’t you know that the things of this life are beguiling?
Don’t you know that enjoyments are magical displays?
Don’t you know that samsara is in fact nirvana?
Don’t you know that pleasures are just a dream?
Don’t you know that that praise and blame are just echoes?
Don’t you know that perceptions are just your mind?
Don’t you know that your mind is the buddha?
Don’t you know that the buddha is dharmakaya?
Don’t you know that dharmakaya is your innate nature?

When you realize this, all you experience is included within mind.
Day and night, look into this mind.
When looking into this mind, it is not a thing to be seen.
Let be in this state of not seeing.

I do not feel that Mahamudra’s nature
Can in any way be matched.
So, I remain in the state of nonclinging mind.

Meditation and post-meditation are indivisible,
So, I have no longer meditation stages.

Whatever is experienced is empty in essence,
So there is nothing for mindfulness to hold or lose.

I have tasted the flavor of nonarising,
And likewise realized its practice.

The training in karma mudra,
The practice of the nadis, pranas and bindus,
Reciting mantras and visualizing the deity,
Contemplating the four Brahma abodes, and so forth –
These are all ways to enter this Supreme Vehicle.

Even if you were to meditate on them specifically,
It will not suffice to give up desire and anger.

Perceptions are your own mind,
So, understand that this mind is empty.

When you no longer part from the experience of realization,
The keeping of discipline, making offerings, and so forth,
Are all contained within that.

After hearing this, the monk-teacher Shakya Guna only practiced and attained an extraordinary level of experience and realization. The Monk-Meditator, Töngom, became one of the close disciples.

This was the story of accepting the monk-teacher Shakya Guna in the Belly Cave at Nyanang.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Karsey Kongtrul - a great master of the ultimate realization

This great master, also known as Palden Khyentse Oser, received a special command from his father the 15th Karmapa to focus on the practice of Mahamudra and reached an exceptionally high level of realization, which he briefly mentions to Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche in Blazing Splendor.

Karsey Kongtrul once told me that he had performed a drubchen three times using the treasure Tukdrub Barchey Kunsel, and each time, without fail, there were special signs. “Please tell me what they were,” I asked.
“Once a profuse amount of nectar poured forth, very sweet and slightly sour like excellent chang; it flowed from the torma on the shrine all the way to the entrance of the temple. Another time, the liquid in the amrita and rakta vessels on the shrine began to boil, sounding like roiling water, and rays of rainbow light surrounded the shrine inside the assembly hall, extending to the farthest walls, for all two or three hundred participants to see. The third time we also prepared sacred medicine and its sweet fragrance could be smelled seven days’ walk away. In my whole life I have never witnessed signs as amazing as during those three times.
“If you want to ensure having extraordinary indications and signs, then the Tukdrub is outstanding,” Karsey Kongtrul said.
All this could also have been due to the combination of the profound terma teaching and such an extremely great master. “Wouldn’t these signs also have something to do with you being present?” I asked.
“How special am I compared to the Lotus-Born? Tukdrub is the method for realizing his mind. I am quite happy to have seen only a few tiny signs of his greatness.”

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Tashi who becomes the Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche

Last night was the yearly Thanksgiving party at Pam and Charles in Kathmandu and present was an old familiar face from the Boudha Stupa - Richard Tenzin. He has recently put up photos from the early days of the rockandrollraj under the web, and among his pic I found this one, which you just have to see. The small tulku has his mother Chimey to the right and to his left is his grandmother, the consort of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. The caption said "from the spring 1969" and you can see the stupa being repaired in the background.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Dilgo Khyentse with lamas in Boudhanath

Graham Sustein - a student of Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche - recently handed me this early photo of Dilgo Khyentse flanked Dabzang Rinpoche and Trulshik Rinpoche. Standing behind his left shoulder is the Rinpoche of Tengpoche Gompa. I'm not sure of the other lamas, so you are welcome to mention if you know them.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Heart Shrine Relic Tour

In Blazing Splendor, you often read about ringsel, relic-pills left behind in the ashes of great masters. Now some of these relics are touring the world and you can pay respect to them at various places.
PS. Lama Zopa Rinpoche is also a good friend of Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche.

The Maitreya Project Heart Shrine relics have been donated to and collected by Lama Zopa Rinpoche specifically for placing in the Heart Shrine of the 500ft/152m Maitreya Buddha statue. The statue will be the focus of Maitreya Project's vision of creating spiritual, social and economic benefit during the next millennium.The relics will travel the world until approximately 2010 when they will be placed in the completed 500ft/152m Maitreya Buddha statue. Until then, it is Rinpoche's wish that as many people as possible will have the opportunity of viewing these relics in their local communities.
In March 2001, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Spiritual Director of Maitreya Project, released this rare and precious collection of Buddhist relics for worldwide exhibition. Since then, these sacred relics have been displayed at temples, meditation centres, and other public locations all over the world.
The collection is truly extraordinary. There are many relics of Shakyamuni Buddha and of the Buddha's well-known disciples - Maudgalyayana, Ananda and Sariputra -as well as relics of many other saints and spiritual masters from the Chinese, Indian and Tibetan traditions.
Many living Buddhist masters from a number of traditions and countries, including Burma, Indonesia, Thailand, Tibet and Taiwan, have donated relics to be placed in the Heart Shrine of the Maitreya Project statue, including relics of Shakyamuni Buddha which were offered by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The relics are mainly pearl-like 'beads' collected from the ashes of spiritual masters after their cremation. There are also Buddhist artifacts in the collection.
Some of the relics were salvaged from statues in Tibet where they had been enshrined for thousands of years before the Communist occupation in 1959, other relics were donated by museums and monasteries. Lama Zopa Rinpoche has checked very carefully that the relics are genuine before displaying them.
The Heart Shrine Relic Tour exhibitions are open to the public and are free, giving everyone the rare opportunity to be in the presence of such priceless holy objects.
If you are interested in your community sharing in the precious opportunity to view this collection of relics, then please contact us for more details.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Patrul Rinpoche

Various of Tulku Urgyen's relatives had great devotion for Patrul Rinpoche and there are various tales about the great Patrul in Blazing Splendor. The following poem by him, though not in the book, is so good i can't help but put it up here.


Vajrasattva, sole deity, Master,
You sit on a full-moon lotus-cushion of white light
In the hundred-petalled full bloom of youth.

Think of me, Vajrasattva,
You who remain unmoved within the manifest display
That is Mahamudra, pure bliss-emptiness.

Listen up, old bad-karma Patrul,
You dweller-in-distraction.

For ages now you've been
Beguiled, entranced, and fooled by appearances.
Are you aware of that? Are you?
Right this very instant, when you're
Under the spell of mistaken perception
You've got to watch out.
Don't let yourself get carried away by this fake and empty life.

Your mind is spinning around
About carrying out a lot of useless projects:
It's a waste! Give it up!
Thinking about the hundred plans you want to accomplish,
With never enough time to finish them,
Just weighs down your mind.
You're completely distracted
By all these projects, which never come to an end,
But keep spreading out more, like ripples in water.
Don't be a fool: for once, just sit tight.

Listening to the teachings—you've already heard hundreds of teachings,
But when you haven't grasped the meaning of even one teaching,
What's the point of more listening?

Reflecting on the teachings—even though you've listened,
If the teachings aren't coming to mind when needed,
What's the point of more reflection? None.

Meditating according to the teachings—
If your meditation practice still isn't curing
The obscuring states of mind—forget about it!

You've added up just how many mantras you've done—
But you aren't accomplishing the kyerim visualizatiion.
You may get the forms of deities nice and clear—
But you're not putting an end to subject and object.
You may tame what appear to be evil spirits and ghosts,
But you're not training the stream of your own mind.

Your four fine sessions of sadhana practice,
So meticulously arranged—
Forget about them.

When you're in a good mood,
Your practice seems to have lots of clarity—
But you just can't relax into it.
When you're depressed,
Your practice is stable enough
But there's no brilliance to it.
As for awareness,
You try to force yourself into a rigpa-like state,
As if stabbing a stake into a target!

When those yogic positions and gazes keep your mind stable
Only by keeping mind tethered—
Forget about them!

Giving high-sounding lectures
Doesn't do your mind-stream any good.
The path of analytical reasoning is precise and acute—
But it's just more delusion, good for nothing goat-shit.
The oral instructions are very profound
But not if you don't put them into practice.

Reading over and over those dharma texts
That just occupy your mind and make your eyes sore—
Forget about it!

You beat your little damaru drum—ting, ting
And your audience thinks it's charming to hear.
You're reciting words about offering up your body,
But you still haven't stopped holding it dear.
You're making your little cymbals go cling, cling—
Without keeping the ultimate purpose in mind.

All this dharma-practice equipment
That seems so attractive—
Forget about it!

Right now, those students are all studying so very hard,
But in the end, they can't keep it up.

Today, they seem to get the idea,
But later on, there's not a trace left.
Even if one of them manages to learn a little,
He rarely applies his "learning" to his own conduct.

Those elegant dharma disciples—
Forget about them!

This year, he really cares about you,
Next year, it's not like that.
At first, he seems modest,
Then he grows exalted and pompous.
The more you nurture and cherish him,
The more distant he grows.

These dear friends
Who show such smiling faces to begin with—
Forget about them!

Her smile seems so full of joy—
But who knows if that's really the case?
One time, it's pure pleasure,
Then it's nine months of mental pain.
It might be fine for a month,
But sooner or later, there's trouble.

People teasing; your mind embroiled—
Your lady-friend—
Forget about her!

These endless rounds of conversation
Are just attachment and aversion—
It's just more goat-shit, good for nothing at all.
At the time it seems marvellously entertaining,
But really, you're just spreading around stories about other people's mistakes.
Your audience seems to be listening politely,
But then they grow embarrassed for you.

Useless talk that just make you thirsty—
Forget about it!

Giving teachings on meditation texts
Without yourself having
Gained actual experience through practice,
Is like reciting a dance-manual out loud
And thinking that's the same as actually dancing.

People may be listening to you with devotion,
But it just isn't the real thing.

Sooner or later, when your own actions
Contradict the teachings, you'll feel ashamed.

Just mouthing the words,
Giving dharma explanations that sound so eloquent—
Forget about it!

When you don't have a text, you long for it;
Then when you've finally gotten it, you hardly look at it.

The number of pages seems few enough,
But it's a bit hard to find time to copy them all.
Even if you copied down all the dharma texts on earth,
You wouldn't be satisfied.

Copying down texts is a waste of time
(Unless you get paid)—
So forget about it!

Today, they're happy as clams—
Tomorrow, they're furious.
With all their black moods and white moods,
People are never satisfied.
Or even if they're nice enough,
They may not come through when you really need them,
Disappointing you even more.

All this politeness, keeping up a
Courteous demeanor—
Forget about it!

Worldly and religious work
Is the province of gentlemen.
Patrul, old boy—that's not for you.

Haven't you noticed what always happens?
An old bull, once you've gone to the trouble of borrowing him for his services,
Seems to have absolutely no desire left in him at all—
(Except to go back to sleep).

Be like that—desireless.

Just sleep, eat, piss, shit.
There's nothing else in life that has to be done.

Don't get involved with other things:
They're not the point.

Keep a low profile,

In the triple universe
When you're lower than your company
You should take the low seat.

Should you happen to be the superior one,
Don't get arrogant.

There's no absolute need to have close friends;
You're better off just keeping to yourself.

When you're without any worldly or religious obligations,
Don't keep on longing to acquire some!

If you let go of everything—
Everything, everything
That's the real point!

This advice was written by the practitioner Trime Lodro (Patrul Rinpoche) for his intimate friend Ahu Shri (Patrul Rinpoche), in order to give advice that is tailored exactly to his capacities.

This advice should be put into practice.

Even though you don't know how to practice, just let go of everything—that's what I really want to say. Even though you aren't able to succeed in your dharma practice. don't get angry.

May it be virtuous.

Patrul Rinpoche (1808-1887) was the wandering turn-of-the-century Dzogchen master of Eastern Tibet, beloved by the people. He was renowned as the enlightened vagabond.

Translation by Constance Wilkinson

Friday, November 18, 2005

Lamas from the latest three-year retreat at the Asura Cave Temple

Monks with an earnest desire to devote themselves full-time to spiritual practice may, with the abbot's permission, set aside their academic studies and withdraw to the monastery's retreat center at the Asura Cave Temple in Pharping . In quiet and solitude, they may engage in either short retreats of a few weeks or undertake the traditional 3-year intensive meditation and practice retreat. Presently, a group of eight monks concluded a three-year retreat at the monastery's retreat center in Pharping and returnrd to the main monastery early this spring. The "big black beard" is lama Tenzin, right now teaching at Gomde in Denmark after a long visit in Gomde Austria/Germany.
These days, a new group is preparing to go into retreat - continuing the tradition of Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche and his sons.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Atisha's timeless teachings

Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche often quoted Atisha, the great master of the Kadam tradition, and here are some of these precious pieces of advice, from Rainbow Painting:

[picture of Atisha that "looked like him"]

Now I would like to explain three pieces of advice given by Atisha, called the Three Vajras. For a very, very, very long time, we have been roaming throughout samsaric existence from one life to the next. We have died and been reborn and died again, almost endlessly. It is as if we are moving through a huge ocean. The Buddha said, “Samsaric existence is like an endless ocean of sorrow.” Notice he did not say it was an ocean of bliss and happiness: samsara is always called the ‘ocean of suffering,’ never the ‘ocean of bliss’.
If we acknowledge this fact and have faith in it, if we truly desire to be free from this suffering, who can make us free? It’s not the ruler of the country we inhabit, nor our father or mother, our friends, our servants, our fame, or our wealth — none of this can free us from deluded samsaric existence. Only the spiritual endeavors we personally engage in can do so. Once we understand this, we should not let ourselves be dissuaded or falter from that path. So the first advice from Atisha is “Place before you the unshakable vajra of no dissuasion.”
To place before you the vajra of no dissuasion means: do not let anyone — no matter who they are, not even your spiritual teacher — discourage you from practicing the Dharma. A true master who wants you to be free will never say, “Do not pursue the Dharma.” So, the very first step on the spiritual path is to form the unshakable attitude, “I will let no one and nothing dissuade me from practicing the Dharma.” If your teacher tells you, “Do not follow your spiritual inclination,” you have probably made a mistake in choosing that guru.
Similarly, do not let anyone bribe or threaten you to make you not engage in spirituality. Someone may say, “I will offer you half the wealth of this world if you promise not to practice the Dharma any more. Just give up spirituality, and I furnish the money.” We should not let this kind of inducement tempt us. On the other hand, someone might threaten you, pointing a gun at your chest and say, “I will pull the trigger unless you promise to abandon all religious endeavors!” With your mouth, you should of course say, “Yes, I will give it up,” but from inside, from the core of your heart, you most definitely should not agree.
There is a less dramatic and more immediately practical application of this point, which is the reason I bring this up. We often hear the saying, ‘appearances are seductive, and mind is fickle’. Beguiling appearances means that when we see beautiful forms, hear pleasant sounds, smell sweet fragrances, eat delicious food, and feel soft textures touching our body, our mind is immediately attracted. These pleasant objects capture our attention and hold it. On the other hand, when we encounter what is unpleasant — ugly forms, harsh sounds, foul odors, disgusting tastes and rough textures —we feel repelled, maybe even aggressive. Dualistic mind is fundamentally unstable in this respect. The type of attention that is easily captivated or turned off is inherently unsteady. When this normal, unstable and fickle state of mind meets with an enticing phenomenon, it gets carried away. To avoid being constantly carried away, we need to make a firm, unshakable resolve. This is the first of the three points: lord Atisha tells us to make a firm decision, to “place before you the vajra of no dissuasion.”
The second of the Three Vajras is, “Place behind you the vajra of no shame.” When we first take up Dharma practice, we feel a strong wish to be free. We want to renounce further involvement in samsaric states through spirituality. Yet there is a common saying in Tibet: “The new meditator gives away gold, while the old meditator hoards his worn-out shoe soles.” In other words, in the beginning we have the feeling that nothing in this world really matters; we can easily give it all away, thinking, “I am not attached to anything!” Then slowly, two or three years later, we start to become jaded and numb. Even useless old shoe soles take on a new importance. Perhaps we think, “These can be cut up and used as tethers to tie the yaks together.” We start holding on to things, planing all sorts of later uses for them.
To place the vajra of no shame behind you concerns as well the impression we make on ourselves and other people. For example, when people know that an individual has stepped onto the spiritual path, there is an accompanying responsibility. If later on he or she turns back and gives it up, that action destroys the pure perception in others and may even ruin the Dharma for them. Thus, it is better to begin slowly and progress gradually on the path than to start out brilliantly and later become jaded and insensitive.
We should be like a mountain deer who has caught its foot in a trap. When it manages to yank its foot loose it will one-pointedly dart off to an unpeopled place. It is best that we adopt this kind of attitude. Then, in this very body and lifetime, we can abandon all attachment to our homeland and personal links. Living in unknown places, we can be like a child of the mountains. In this way, both ourselves and others will benefit. Others will see that the teachings work, and will gain the assurance that practice makes it possible to leave behind samsara in this very life and attain some accomplishment. Therefore, it is important to make up our mind at the outset, placing behind ourselves the vajra of no shame. Then later on we will not feel any regret for what we have done.
The third vajra is “Keep company with the vajra of pure wisdom.” Here, the purity of wisdom referred to is that of original wakefulness. This is our buddha nature, the enlightened essence, also called rangjung yeshe, self-existing wakefulness. We should first recognize this, decide upon it and gain confidence in our ability to liberate all thought states. After recognizing, we train in the strength of that recognition, until finally we attain stability. Making the decision to do so is the third vajra — “Keep company with the vajra of pure wisdom.” The ‘vajra of pure wisdom’ is the self-existing wakefulness that is always with us because it is our nature. To form the resolve, “I will recognize my own nature as it is!” is the last of the Three Vajras.
There is another series of Atisha’s sayings called the ‘Four Aims’. The first is “Aim your mind at the Dharma.” That means your final aim should be directed at what is true and meaningful rather than at mundane attainment. When we direct our aim toward the Dharma, we can attain liberation and enlightenment; but if we aim at mundane achievements, there is no way in the world we can reach liberation or enlightenment.
Atisha also said, “Aim your Dharma practice at simple living,” not great wealth. It is easier to pursue the teachings if we are simple practitioners. If we have accumulated great wealth before we begin to practice the Dharma, we feel we have to maintain a certain standard of living. It requires incredible effort to increase our wealth, to guard our assets, to make sure they are not depleted. There is much worry and involvement in that; so, it’s best to aim your practice at living simply.
The third aim is “Aim at simple living for your entire life,” not just for a short while. Do not think, “All right, I will practice Dharma as a simple practitioner for a little while and then later on I will make a break-through and become rich and important.” Do not think this way. Instead, aim at remaining a simple practitioner for your entire life, until the time of death.
Finally, Atisha said, “Aim your death at solitude.” This means decide to die alone and friendless in a retreat hermitage or unpeopled place, without being surrounded by attendants and companions. These were the ‘Four Aims’.
Atisha also told us to “keep a low seat,” meaning a low profile. Don’t strive to be high and important. Wear simple clothing, not fancy expensive garments; wear whatever you come by. Moreover, he said, “Let food, clothing and reputation take the defeat.” For example, when a dispute is settled, one party wins while another loses. Let food, clothing and reputation ‘lose the case’. In other words, do not let your mind become preoccupied with food, clothing, fame and importance.
Atisha moreover said, “Be your own teacher.” Be your own guide. Do not remain in a situation where you must always take orders from others. Live in a way that allows you to rely on yourself. If you can live like this, you have the possibility of being a pure practitioner.
The great master Atisha himself lived by these principles, and achieved great accomplishment. We should try our best to apply as much as we can of his advice.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Chatral Rinpoche & Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche with grandson

Here is an early picture of Chatral Rinpoche visiting Nagi Gompa above the Kathmandu valley. Standing behind Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche is Kunsang Dechen - the mother of Chokyi Nyima and Chokling - and the young Phakchok Tulku sits on his lap. It's a bright, sunshiny day.

Friday, November 04, 2005

A game of pool among sacred mountains

The mountain range in the background is supposed sacred to the five Sisters of Long Life, the Tsering Che-Nga. In the foreground you see a frostcovered platform for playing pool for high stakes, outdoors, under the bluest of the bluest sky. The location: half way between Dechen Ling and Shonda in Nangchen.

First snow at Fortress Peak

At Fortress Peak - the hermitage of Tulku Urgyen Rinppoche and his guru in Nangchen - there are still people in retreat. When the snow falls, the meditators gather the first snow and it is used for cooking and cleaning. Because of the high altitude, this place is perfect for particular types of Dzogchen practice, but it is also very cold. Still, the meditators were all smiles.

Vajra Speech is back in print

The real buddha is the nature of our mind. Right now, our buddha nature is covered by obscurations that we need to purify. We also need to gather the two accumulations of merit and wisdom. A practice in which we think that the buddha is outside of ourselves, while ignoring the buddha within, will, by itself, never bring complete enlightenment. If we expect an external buddha up there in the sky to give us all the common and supreme accomplishments, we are merely placing our hopes in an outer object. The ultimate deity is within our own mind. We attain enlightenment by recognizing our true nature and training in that recognition.
--Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche

Enacting the grand drama at the Great Stupa

Back in 1978, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche was invited to Nepal to bestow the complete empowerments and reading transmissions for the New Treasures of Chokgyur Lingpa (Chokling Tersar). This invitation had been extended by Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche to ensure the continuation of the lineage for the entire termas of Chokgyur Lingpa at Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery in Boudhanath, Nepal, to a large group of incarnate masters, ordained and lay practitioners, including reincarnations of Chokgyur Lingpa, Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, and Jamgon Kongtrül, headed by Trulshik Rinpoche, Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche, Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse, Chokling Mingyur Dewey Dorje, Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche and Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche, Tulku Pema Wangyal and Tulku Jigmey Khyentse, Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche and his son Jigme Norbu Rinpoche, and many many others.
At the end, an auspicious drama was performed to commemmorate how Buddhism was established at Samye in Tibet, showing the profound link between the wishes made in the past by Padmasambhava, King Trisong Deutsen and Shantarakshita. (I think you can see who those three actors were).

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Wide open space of wisdom

Wide open space of wisdom
Please read this piece by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche on buddha nature. He was a very close friend of Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche and the teacher of his four sons: One of the greatest masters of our times.