Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Great Perfection revealed at Lotus Crystal Cave

Surrounded by white mountain cliffs, the valley of Meshö is like an open lotus flower and the foothills covered with meadows and forests. Flowers grow abundantly in summertime and water flows here and there. In the middle, the heart of the lotus, is a huge white rock with a cave in the center called Padma Shelpuk, the Lotus Crystal Cave. The rock, cave and surrounding area are all white in color. The cave contains many naturally appearing images and letters. Yeshe Tsogyal practiced in a small cave to the left, which has windows which also appeared naturally, though they look man-made. The practice caves of Vairotsana and Shri Singha with their naturally-appeared thrones are at the top of the rock.
Terma statue said to have been revealed
with the Dzogchen Desum
The Padma Shelpuk, which people called the Ghost Cave, was a cave no one dared visit. Whoever went there was eaten right away. People sometimes saw a one-eyed woman they said was the ghost. A bald-headed man riding on a goat was also seen. Chokgyur Lingpa, Jamyang Khyentse and Jamgön Kongtrül went there knowing that they would receive the Dzogchen Desum terma. People said (about Chokgyur Lingpa), “Today Kyater is going to take out a terma. The ghost will eat him.” Someone else said, “Since Khyentse and Kongtrül are here maybe he will indeed take out a terma.” Then a large crowd followed the three masters.
Many rainbows appeared in the sky. On arriving, they made a big burnt offering. Kongtrül offered the serkyem, the offering to the Dharma protectors, and Khyentse, holding a vajra, sang the Lhasum Damdrak song of command to the local deities. People said (about Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo), “Something special must be happening today because Tulku Rinpoche is doing something.” Everyone was then told to recite the Vajra Guru mantra and to supplicate Guru Rinpoche. The three masters and some others went inside the cave while those who could not fit stayed outside by the opening.

As everyone chanted the Vajra Guru mantra and the Seven Line Prayer, Chokgyur Lingpa’s experience blazed. Normally you can’t reach it, but he flew up and reached the ceiling. . From the ceiling he extracted the terma box containing Dzogchen Desum. As the terma object, he took sacred medicine and nectar blessed by Shri Singha, as well as some hairs of Yeshe Tsogyal and Vairotsana. The terma box was wrapped in one of Guru Rinpoche’s garments. Chokling blessed Khyentse, Kongtrül and everyone nearby with the terma box. People now knew he was a true tertön. Chokling told them, “All who came here are most fortunate. If things work out, I have many things left to do. The kindness of Guru Rinpoche and his consort is inconceivable..” Jamyang Khyentse continued, “Chokling is a great tertön, a very precious one. His terma teaching is extremely precious, as is this place. Everyone should make offerings and circumambulations. The three of us have now opened the gate to this sacred place. When you die, you will all go to the Copper Colored Mountain -- I promise.”

pp 8-9, in The Life of Chokgyur Lingpa (PDF file)

Tsewang Norbu was quite humble; he once told Samten Gyatso, "I'm nothing special, not at all. I don't have any great qualities, not a single one, except for one thing: even though I was just six months old at the time, I clearly remember receiving the Three Sections (Dzogchen Desum) from the two great treasure masters." [Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and Chokgyur Lingpa] As a matter of fact, the Three Sections had just then been revealed [at Pema Shelpuk, see this post]. 

Twenty-five people were present at this event, including Khyentse and Karmey Khenpo. The moment the terma was revealed Chokgyur Lingpa called out to the child's mother, "Bring the kid here!" She brought the baby over, wrapped in blankets, and sitting on a tray of woven reeds covered with a layer of dried sheep droppings and then with a couple of layers of cloth, This was all in typical Khampa style for an infant, leaving the child free to pee whenever need be. 

Tsewang Norbu sat right between Khyentse and Chokling while he received the empowerment. Chokgyur Lingpa first conferred the empowerment on the baby and only then upon Khyentse. But because of the command that this empowerment only be given one on one, no one else received it--not even Kongtrul. That is also why the many lineages for the Three Sections all went through Tsewang Norbu. 

from Blazing Splendor, pg. 71


Unknown said...

Thank you for posting this marvelous Terma statue, especially on Chokhor Duchen. I rejoice in the merit of Chokgyur Lingpa to reveal it, and also you to share it.

May all beings benefit.


Anonymous said...

Could you say more about this statue?

pensum said...

John: my pleasure. you even noticed my motivation for posting it today.

Anonymous: i have added to the post a couple of excerpts describing the revelation of the Dzogchen Desum.

Obama Tashi said...

We rejoice in the kindness and inconceivable blessings of the gurus! May we all be reunited in the Copper Colored Realm!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much!

Liaa Covert said...

You remind everyone that part of the spiritual journey is choosing to get to know reasons for fear and trembling. The journey is one from narrowness to open attentiveness, from fear to fearlessness. Fully enlightened beings remind us it is possible to recall the nature of fearlessness. Just reaching out and moving outside the illusion of self is a step in the 'right direction.' As they say, "the path is the goal."

anon-linker said...

Is this statue one of the few possessions Kyabje Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche personally carried out of Tibet? Which was one of the most precious objects of Chokling lineage. Which he offered to the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa who later gave it to dharma king Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche after asking TUR if it is OK to do so. To which TUR replied "OF Course", knowing the omniscience of the Karmapa as unmatched. If it is the same statue, then it is still in the collection of precious objects of Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche in Italy as he still has it. If this is not the statue in Italy, then where is it?

Also the book "Hidden Teachings of Tibet: An Explanation of the Terma Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism" by Tulku Thondup Rinpoche is the best guide on the workings of termas and tertons' practices explaining all the categories and circumstances and information on this most miraculous series of events on earth which still takes place and benefits many and in a few cases still produces rainbow bodies. This simply amazing book should be read by all practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism.

pensum said...

Another very good book on the terma tradition is Tibetan Treasure Literature by Andrea Doctor, i highly recommend it.

I am not sure of the history or whereabouts of this statue, I had assumed it to be in the possession of Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche as he has numerous precious objects related to the Chokling Tersar. I had not heard the story you relate, however there is no question that Tulku Urgyen had great respect for and devotion to the Karmapa.

I should note that I do find it odd that in neither of the accounts of the revelation is a statue mentioned. So until someone with authority confirms that the above picture is of such a terma statue i remain a touch skeptical.

anon-linker said...

I've read Andreas Doctor's book too. It is excellent and I think emerged from his PhD thesis. After an introduction it has a mid section of about 30 pages which generally describes terma categories. Most of the book towards the end is on Chokling Tersar's Kilaya at the Maha level. Though there are more secret Anu and Ati levels revealed by the great terton too. The Tuluku Thundop book is totally unique and different though. It goes into the detailed workings of termas and tertons. The actual variety of these and processes and sub-categories are vast and have to be read to be believed. They are just amazing.

The photo of the statue above does not seem to be as old as the usual termas. I think Chogyur Lingpas major Padmasambhava statue is the one now in Italy. Although there are other objects he discovered now in Nepal and elsewhere including a silver-gold box known as "Ngo drub Pal bar" which has a small bas relief of Avalokiteshvara in a larger pattern of a flowering tree and patterns. It is very beautiful. There is a small photo of that in Tuluku Thundop's book. I think the statue which TUR carried on his person out of Tibet might be one of the 25 main Ku tshabs (major statues made or blessed by Guru Rinpoche as himslef) which according to Nyingma scripture are the most important. Some of these 25 main ku tshabs have not yet been discovered. There are of course the yellow dakini scripts, phurbas, and other ritual objects and orbs and stones and even more amazing objects too rarely mentioned. The terma teachings and ractice cycles are the main point though. They are to be practiced for results. Some of major known terma lineages are still to be revealed too as well as new tersar cycles.

pensum said...

I have seen the statue of Guru Rinpoche that was revealed with the Kunzang Tuktig and it is in impeccable shape, it looks practically new.

I have no idea what statue the one in Italy might be.

How true that it is the teachings and practices that are the main point of termas, but without actually engaging in studying and practicing them even they are of little value--a single prostration from the deepest core of one's being is more powerful than memorizing all the scriptures and commentaries in Tibet.

anon-linker said...

Once an old artifact is cleaned it can look new. My point was on the workmanship and style of the photo in this post. Most small statues from the time of Guru Rinpoche are not in metal or do not have the level of detail this one has. The level of detailing in statues and tankhas improved in time in Tibet and styles changed too. However there are some, such as the Guru Rinpoche metal statue from his time, 1200 years ago, that Sangye Lingpa dug up 600 years ago which is even more detailed and fine than the photo here. So this photo can be a terma too but it seems nobody knows which statue this is. There are different styles depending on the era, artists and locales too. The process of verifying terma and their accompanying objects is totally different though and is explained in detail by Tulku Thudop.

As Buddha said, being in real contemplation (rigpa or real nature of mind) during the time an ant crosses the forehead from the top of one's nose to the hairline s more precious than a whole life of physical practice. However those moments are brought about by relaxing and resting the body in all it's physical and subtle aspects, speech including all energies and mind levels in the true sense. Meanwhile the best thing to do is help others and accumulations of merit and wisdom, study, contemplation and practice. As Chatral Rinpoche says other worldly things are useless and endless and we will do them anyway.

Anonymous said...

Doctor's book appeared recently in a used bookstore, and quite frankly I was quite surprised to see it there. Of course I purchased it and agree it's very good.

Thank you anon-linker for all your helpful hints and posts and quotes. Very much appreciated by this woeful
and inadequate practitioner.

Magnus Tigerschiöld said...

I heard that this particular statue belongs to the Neten Chokling. This makes it highly unprobable that this statue is the the one that Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche received from the Karmapa. By the way, I see that Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche will give teachings from the Dzogchen Desum terma very soon.


Anonymous said...

The Dzogchen Desum teachings will take place via live webcast from Margarita, Venezula, November 5th - 11th. It isn't clear to me whether or not it is an open or closed webcast.

pensum said...

Thanks for the heads up.

it does appear that Namkhai Norbu will be giving a public teaching on the Desum in Venezuela. info can be found here (in Spanish). i couldn't find anything about the webcast but definitely worth checking when the time comes.