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Alak Zenkar Rinpoche

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A Brief Biography of Jamgn Kongtrul Lodr Thaye
by Alak Zenkar Rinpoche

The sublime Kongtrul Ynten Gyatso (1813-1899) was born in the hidden valley of
Rongyap, which lies in front of Pema Lhartse in Drida Zelmogang in East Tibet, in
the Water Bird year of the fourteenth calendrical cycle.

His father, was Tendzin Yungdrung of the royal Khyung clan of accomplished
practitioners, and his mother was the yogini Tashi Tso.

From his fifth year, he studied the basics of the alphabet and so on. Then, from the
age of about ten, he began to study on an enormous scale and without sectarian bias,
receiving teachings from many spiritual guides of various traditions, including
Gyurme Thutob Namgyal of Zechen, Tai Situ Pema Nyinche Wangpo and Jamyang
Khyentse Wangpo. He learned all the common sciences, such as Sanskrit grammar,
logic and epistemology (prama), arts and crafts, medicine and so on, and he
studied, reflected and meditated upon all the uncommon topics of learning, including
the Madhyamika, Prajpramit, Vinaya and Abhidharmakoa of the vehicle of
characteristics, as well as the tantras, commentaries (gama) and pith instructions
(upadea) of the mantra vehicle, from both the kama and terma and both the old and
new translation schools.

To provide guidance for fortunate disciples, he composed and edited the ninety
volume collection of texts universally renowned as the Five Great Treasuries:1

1. The Treasury of Encyclopedic Knowledge, which brilliantly reveals the


ground, path and fruition for the whole of sutra and mantra, from the
paths of the common sciences all the way up to Dzogchen Atiyoga, which
is the culmination of the nine vehicles in the uncommon approach.

2. The Treasury of Precious Instructions, which is a compilation of the most


profound maturing empowerments and liberating instructions belonging
to the eight great chariots of the practice lineage.

3. The Treasury of Kagy Mantras, which is a compendium of mandala


rituals, maturing empowerments and liberating instructions, such as
Yangdak, Vajraklaya and Yamntaka from the Nyingma kama, and the
tantra cycles from the new translation lineages of Marpa and Ngok.

4. The Treasury of Precious Termas, which distills the quintessence of an


ocean of profound termas within the Nyingma school.

5. a) The Uncommon Treasury, which contains the unique secret treasures of


his own profound terma revelations.

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b) The Treasury of Extensive Teachings, which includes various related works,
such as praises and advice, as well as compositions on medicine, science and
so on.

In addition, he dedicated his whole life to teaching and spreading the Dharma, by
giving empowerments, instructions, advice and reading transmissions for both sutra
and mantra, kama and terma, old and new translation schools, without any sectarian
bias.

Finally, at the age of eighty seven his physical manifestation was absorbed into
absolute space.

His students included lineage holders from the Kagy school, headed by the
fourteenth and fifteenth Karmapas and the tenth and eleventh Tai Situpas, as well as
masters of the Sakya and Ngor traditions including Jamyang Loter Wangpo and
Chje Kunga Jamyang, holders of the Early Translation teachings including Mipham
Jamyang Namgyal and Tertn Lerab Lingpa, and masters from the Riwo Gendenpa
tradition, including Gyme Khenpo Yeshe Gongphel and Drakyab Dongtrul Khechok
Ngawang Damch Gyatso. In short, his disciples were incredibly vast in number and
came from all over Tibet, from the provinces of and Tsang in Central Tibet and
also from the upper, middle and lower regions of East Tibet.

Written by Thubten Nyima.

| Translated by Adam Pearcey, Rigpa Translations, 2005.

1. For a detailed description of these Five Treasuries see also E. Gene Smith,
Among Tibetan Texts, Wisdom Publications, 2001, pp. 262-7 and the appendix
to The Autobiography of Jamgn Kongtrul: A Gem of Many Colors, transl.
Richard Barron, Snow Lion Publications, 2003.

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Brief Biography of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo the
Great (1820-1892)
by Alak Zenkar Rinpoche

Jamyang Khyentse was born in the region of Yaru Khyungchen Drak in Dilgo in
Derge, East Tibet, on the fifth day of the sixth Tibetan month of the Iron Dragon year
during the fourteenth sexagenary cycle. His father was Rinchen Namgyal, a secretary
in Derge belonging to the Ny clan, and a descendant of Drikung Changchub Lingpa.
His mother Snam Tso was a daughter of Gerab Nyerchen Gntse of the Sogmo
family.

Jamyang Khyentse learnt to read at the age of four or five, and from an early age his
intelligence grew so keen he was able to master reading, writing and other skills
without any difficulty. At twelve, he was recognized by Thartse Khenchen Jampa
Kunga Tendzin as the incarnation of the great khenpo of Evam Tharpatse, Jampa
Namkha Chime, and he was given the name Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo Kunga
Tenpe Gyaltsen Palzangpo. At twenty-one, he received full ordination from Minling
Khenchen Rigdzin Zangpo. In all, he had more than one hundred and fifty teachers,
who were great masters from all four major schoolsSakya, Gelug, Kagy and
Nyingmafrom the regions of and Tsang, as well as eastern Tibet, including
Minling Trichen Gyurme Sangye Kunga,1 Shechen Gyurme Thutob Namgyal,
Sakyapa Dorje Rinchen2 and the great khenpo brothers of Thartse,3 as well as many
other exponents of the scriptures learned in the five sciences.

Through his studies in the ordinary sciences of craft, medicine, grammar and logic,
and the various secondary disciplines, as well as the major treatises of the causal
vehicle of characteristics on Madhyamika, Prajpramit, Vinaya and Abhidharma,
and the profound instructions of the tantras such as Cakrasavara, Hevajra and
Guhyasamja, as well as the Guhyagarbha and the Klacakra and other tantras of the
resultant vehicle of Secret Mantra, he dispelled any doubts and misconceptions.

He studied with masters from every authentic tradition of practice with an unbroken
lineage which existed at that time in the Land of Snows, but especially the so-called
Eight Chariots:

1. The teachings of the kama, terma and pure vision traditions within the
Nyingma School of Ancient Translations, which had come down in an
aural lineage transmitted by countless learned and accomplished masters,
all thanks to the kindness of Khenpo ntarakita, Guru Padmasambhava
and the Dharma-King Trisong Deutsen.
2. The divine teachings4 of the Old and New Kadam traditions, founded by
the incomparable and glorious Lord Jowo Atia and further developed

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through the magnificent efforts of Lobsang Drakpa, who was Majur in
person.
3. The essential instructions of the Path together with its Result (Lamdr),
the heart-essence of the Mahsiddha Virpa, which came down to the
glorious Sakyapa founders and their heirs, and were then passed on by the
various lineages including those of Sakya, Ngor and Tsar.
4. The four streams of teachings5 within the Kagy tradition that stems from
Marpa, Milarepa and Gampopa, and branched into the four major6 and
eight minor 7 Kagy lineages.
5. The golden doctrine of the kin Niguma from the glorious Shangpa
Kagy, which comes from the learned and accomplished Khyungpo
Naljor.
6. The Six-Branched Application, which emphasizes the Vajra Yoga of the
perfection stage of the splendid Klacakra, and which came to Tibet from
the noble dharma-kings of India and others such as Klapda in early,
intermediate and later phases, and developed into seventeen traditions,
which were then brought together and passed on by the renunciate Tukje
Tsndru8 and others.
7. The noble teachings of the Pacifying of Suffering Tradition coming from
Padampa Sangye together with the profound teachings on the objects of
severance, or Chd, which were passed on by Machik Labdrn and others.
8. The approach and accomplishment of the Three Vajras, the teachings
bestowed on the mahsiddha Orgyenpa Rinchen Pal by the mother of the
buddhas, Vajrayogin herself.

He received these teachings in their entirety and in the proper way, imbibing all the
ripening empowerments, liberating instructions and supporting reading
transmissions from the whispered mouth-to-ear lineage into the glorious eternal
knot of his wisdom mind.

With great diligence, and forsaking all physical hardship, he received the reading
transmissions for about seven hundred volumes in total, representing the complete
unbiased teachings of India and Tibet, including especially whatever transmissions
still remained for the Precious Translated Teachings of the Victorious One (Kangyur),
the Collection of Nyingma Tantras (Nyingma Gybum), and the Translated Treatises
(Tengyur).

Not only did he come to possess infinite learning, he also developed unsurpassable
qualities of experience and realization through perfecting the practice of meditation.
In time, his fame spread throughout Tibet and the name of Pema sal Dongak
Lingpa, holder of the seven special transmissions (ka bab dn),9 was heard
everywhere like claps of thunder resounding through the land. He received these
seven special transmissions in the following way:

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1. Inspired by the blessings of Guru Tsokye Dorjes wisdom mind and the
bestowal of the symbolic empowerment,10 he received the authority to
teach and transmit the sutras and the tantras of the new schools and the
original canonical teachings (kama) and revelations (terma) of the ancient
tradition, including all the maturing empowerments, liberating
instructions and supporting oral transmissions.
2. By revealing treasure caskets in places such as Drakmar Drinzang,
Damsh Nyingdrung and Terlung Pema Shelri, he received the
transmission of earth treasures.
3. Deciphering the secret code which appeared before his eyes or clarified
itself spontaneously in the expanse of his wisdom mind, he was granted
all the empowerments and instructions in their entirety all at once by
Guru Rinpoche in the form of various treasure revealers, thereby receiving
the short lineage of rediscovered treasures.
4. Through the power of seeing various yidam deities face to face and
receiving their blessings, vajra words no different from those of the
tantras came to him spontaneously and he received the transmission of
profound mind treasures.
5. He received the transmission of recollected teachings, consisting of
teaching cycles formulated based on memories of places and events from
the past.
6. He also received the transmission of pure visions and
7. the transmission of the aural lineage.

All that he himself had received of the sutras, tantras and pith instructions, he passed
onto his disciples in accordance with their own inclinations and karmic fortune. By
continuously giving empowerments, transmissions and teachings, he ensured that
his followers were thoroughly grounded in the complete non-sectarian teachings of
the Buddha, and established many on the path of maturation and liberation. The
most important of his many countless disciples who were holders of the teachings
were Kongtrul Ynten Gyatso, Ju Mipham Jamyang Namgyal Gyatso, Dodrupchen
Jigme Tenpe Nyima, Terchen Chokgyur Lingpa and many other learned and
accomplished masters of the Nyingma school; the great Sakya throneholder Tashi
Rinchen, Zimok Rinpoche of Nalendra monastery, many of the venerable khenpos of
Ngor and many other precious masters of the Sakya tradition; the fourteenth and
fifteenth Gyalwa Karmapas, the tenth and eleventh Situ Rinpoches, Taklungma
Rinpoche and other holders of the Kagy teachings; Knchok Tenpa Rabgye, the
great Nomihan of Drakyab, Lithang Khenchen Jampa Phuntsok, Horkhang Sar
Gyalwa and other great geshes of the Riwo Gendenpa tradition, as well as many
other studious scholars and renunicate meditators, as well as holders of the teachings
of the Yungdrung Bnpo tradition.

With the offerings he received from devoted disciples, he commissioned the crafting
of around two thousand statues of the Buddha, made from gold and copper, as

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representations of the Buddhas enlightened body. As representations of enlightened
speech, he commissioned the carving of woodblocks for almost forty volumes of texts
and was responsible for around two thousand volumes being copied out by hand. As
representations of the Buddhas enlightened mind, he commissioned the construction
of more than a hundred stpas in gold and copper, the foremost of which was the
great stupa at Lhundrup Teng. To house these representations of enlightened body,
speech and mind, he built some thirteen temples and shrines, large and small, where
the members of the sangha received veneration, and undertook regular daily
practices and periodic ceremonies. In addition, he offered timely aid to monasteries
damaged during the civil disturbances and unrest of the time, and made vast
donations to support offerings and so on. He advised officials from China and Tibet,
as well as the kings and ministers of Derge, and in doing so brought reconciliation.
Such were his unparalleled deeds in the activity sphere of work to benefit the
teachings and beings.

Bringing to an end such vast and magnificent deeds, he demonstrated passing into
nirva on the twenty-first day of the second month of the Water Dragon year
during the fifteenth sexagenary cycle.

His writings, which date from his youth to just before he passed away in his seventy
third year, comprise some thirteen volumes in all. As made clear in the index to his
collected works, entitled Key to the Treasury of Excellent Explanations, these works
can be divided into nine main categories:

1. a collection of prayers and praises, which is like heavenly music to delight


the victorious buddhas and their heirs;
2. a collection of advice on various topics, which is like a great ship in which
one might set sail across the vast ocean of learning;
3. numerous profound points on buddhist philosophy, the science of the
inner meaning, which are like great gatherings of clouds;
4. elegant explanations to shed light on the meaning of stra and tantra,
which are just like the brilliant orbs of the sun and moon;
5. sdhanas and ritual arrangements related to infinite yidam deities, which
are like the glorious insignia of Vajrasattva;
6. clarifications on all the major and minor sciences, like a great lake to
delight the goddess Sarasvat;
7. histories, biographies and chronicles of abbatial succession, which are like
a wondrous and enchanting garden;
8. works on various other essential topics, which are like a powerful
monarch capable of granting our every wish; and
9. a cycle of profound vajra songs of realization, which is like a
spontaneously arisen secret treasury of indestructible luminosity.

Moreover, it was this great master who was responsible for arranging the major

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collections such as The Compendium of Sadhanas, and it was through his enlightened
activity that Jamgn Kongtrul Rinpoches Five Treasuries, Pnlop Loter Wangpos
Compendium of Tantras and Palyul Gyatrul Dongak Tenzins Collection of the
Twenty-seven Maalas of the Nyingma Kama were all compiled and edited. So it was
that his enlightened activity continued, bringing all these teachings to his own
fortunate followers and so many other students of the Dharma.

Composed by the devoted Thubten Nyima.

| Translated by Adam Pearcey, Rigpa Translations, 2006.

1. The seventh Minling Trichen.

2. It was from Sakyapa Dorje Rinchen that he formally took the bodhisattva vow.

3. Ngorpa Thartse Khenpo Jampa Kunga Tendzin (1776-1862) and Thartse Pnlop
Naljor Jampal Zangpo (b. 1789), who were the nephews of Jamyang Khyentse
Wangpos previous incarnation Namkha Chime. Short biographies of the two
brothers may be found in Jamyang Khyentse Wangpos
. See
, , pp. 93-98.

4. This is a reference to the so-called Seven Divine Doctrines of the Kadampas


(), the three piakas (Stra, Vinaya and Abhidharma) and four
deities (kyamuni, Acal, Avalokitevara and Tr).

5. These are the teachings of the so-called long lineage which Tilopa received
and passed on to Nropa. As Gene Smith has noted however, Tibetan sources
differ considerably regarding the lineage and content of these currents.
According to most accounts, the teachings concern what have come to be
known as the six yogas of Nropa. There is disagreement over the list of
teachers from whom Tilopa received these teachings. Shechen Gyaltsab, in his
history of the eight practice lineages, gives them as Ngrjuna, Domb Heruka,
Lihupa and Sukhsiddh.

6. The Kamtsang or Karma Kagy founded by the 1st Karmapa Dsum Khyenpa
(1110-1193), the Barom Kagy founded by Darma Wangchuk (1127-1199), the
Tsalpa Kagy founded by Zhang Yudragpa Tsndr Drakpa (1123-1193), and
the Pakdru Kagy founded by Phagmo Drupa Dorje Gyalpo (1110-1170).

7. The Drigung Kagy founded by Drigung Kyobpa Jigten Sumgn (1143-1217),

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Taklung Kagy founded by Taklung Thangpa Tashi Pal (1142-1210), Tropu
Kagy founded by Gyal Tsha Rinchen Gn (1118-1195) and Kunden Repa
(1148-1217), Drukpa Kagy founded by Lingje Repa Pema Dorje (1128-1188)
and Tsangpa Gyare Yeshe Dorje (1161-1211), Marpa Kagy founded by Marpa
Drubthob Sherab Senge (no dates available), Yelpa Kagy founded by Drubthob
Yeshe Tsegpa (born 1143), Yabzang Kagy founded by Sharawa Kalden Yeshe
Senge (d. 1207) and Shukseb Kagy founded by Gyergom Chenpo Zhnnu
Drakpa (1090-1171).

8. 1243-1313, the original founder of Jonang monastery.

9. . For more on these seven, and especially how they were received
by Jamyang Khyentses contemporary and spiritual counterpart Chokgyur
Dechen Lingpa, see Andreas Doctor, Tibetan Treasure Literature: Revelation,
Tradition and Accomplishment in Visionary Buddhism, Ithaca: Snow Lion, 2005,
pp.84-101.

10. This is a reference to a vision Jamyang Khyentse had in his sixteenth year
during which he went to Ngayab Ling and met Guru Rinpoche, who introduced
him to the nature of mind with the following verse:

Unstained by objective clinging,


Unspoilt by the grasping mind,
Sustaining the naked and empty awareness
Is the wisdom mind of all the buddhas!

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A Brief Biography of Dza Patrul Rinpoche (1808-
1887)
by Alak Zenkar Rinpoche

Dza Palge Tulku or Dzogchen Patrul Rinpoche was born in the Earth Dragon year of
the fourteenth calendrical cycle in Getse Dzachukha, in the nomadic area of
northern Kham, to a family with the name of Gyaltok. He was recognized by
Dodrupchen Jigme Trinle zer as the incarnation of Palge Samten Phuntsok and was
given the name Orgyen Jigme Chkyi Wangpo.

At an early age, he learned to read and write without any difficulty. He took
ordination with Khen Sherab Zangpo. With Dola Jigme Kalzang, Jigme Ngotsar,
Gyalse Shenpen Thaye and other teachers, he studied the Trilogy of Finding Comfort
and Ease, The Way of the Bodhisattva, Secret Essence Tantra and many other works
related to stra and tantra, as well as the ordinary sciences. From Shechen ntrul
Thutob Namgyal, he received the reading transmission for the Translated Word of the
Buddha (Kangyur) and teachings on Sanskrit grammar. He received the transmissions
for the Kangyur and Tengyur in their entirety, together with the excellent writings
of the omniscient father and son1 of the Nyingma tradition, as well as the works of
Sakya Paita, Lord Tsongkhapa, and many other great masters of the old and new
translation schools, and by studying and reflecting on them with diligence and
persistence and without any sectarian bias, he attained a perfect level of scholarship.

Not only did he receive instruction on the Longchen Nyingtik preliminaries some
twenty-five times from Jigme Gyalwe Nyugu, he completed the required practices
the same number of times. 2 In addition, he received instruction on tsa-lung practice
and Dzogchen, and studied many of the cycles of practice found in the canonical
scriptures (kama) of the Nyingma school. Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje introduced him
directly to the pure awareness of rigpa while exhibiting wild and eccentric
behaviour. He trained for a long time in the Longchen Nyingtik tsa-lung practices,
and he received immense amounts of nectar-like Dharma from Dzogchen Rinpoche
Mingyur Namkhe Dorje and other masters.

While dwelling for long periods near Dzogchen Monastery in the isolated hermitages
of Rudam, such as the Yamntaka cave and the Long Life cave, he put all his energy
into the practice of meditation and attained a realization that was as vast as space.

From the age of thirty, he travelled to Serthar, Yarlung Pemak and other places,
teaching extensively on the Secret Essence Tantra to gatherings of fortunate
vidydharas. To assemblies in Serthar and in the upper and lower regions of the Do
valley he bestowed countless gifts of the Dharma, teaching on The Way of the
Bodhisattva, Mai Kabum, Aspiration Prayer of Sukhavati and so on. He put an end to
robbery and banditry and abolished the custom of serving meat at special gatherings.

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He went to Dzamthang and studied the six yogas with Tsangpa Ngawang Chjor,
and he went to Minyak, where he had extensive discussions with Dra Geshe
Tsultrim Namgyal on the prajpramit and other topics. In this way, he went
about as a renunciate, having abandoned all worldly concerns, and worked
impartially for the sake of others, without any fixed agenda or itinerary.

In Shri Singha college at Dzogchen Monastery and at Peme Thang and other places,
he turned the wheel of Dharma uninterruptedly, teaching on the treatises of
Maitreya, the Middle Way, Abhidharma, Secret Essence Tantra, Treasury of Precious
Qualities, Ascertainment of the Three Vows and other topics. In particular, when he
taught on The Way of the Bodhisattva in the vicinity of Dzogchen Shri Singha for
several years in succession, large numbers of flowers called Serchen, with between
thirty and fifty petals, blossomed all of a sudden, and they became known as
bodhicharyvatra flowers.

When Tertn Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa took the terma of Demchok Sangye Nyamjor
from Rudam Kangtr, the snow hermitage at Dzogchen, he appointed Patrul
Rinpoche as the custodian of this and other cycles, including The Heart Essence of the
Three Families (Riksum Nyingtik), and offered him all the necessary empowerments,
reading transmissions and instructions.

He went to Kathok Dorje Den, where he offered prostrations and circumambulated


the reliquaries of the three great masters Dampa Deshek, Tsangtn Dorje and Jampa
Bum. At the request of Situ Choktrul Chkyi Lodr and others, he gave extensive
explanations on The Way of the Bodhisattva to the whole assembly of monks. He
went to major monasteries of the Riwo Gendenpa tradition such as Sershul, Labtridu,
Chuhor and others and taught elaborately on The Way of the Bodhisattva and other
topics. Since he taught clearly and succinctly, relating everything to the key points of
practice, even many holders of the title Geshe Lharampa scattered flowers of praise
and bowed before him in devotion.

He established a teaching centre in the vicinity of Dzagyal Monastery. When


repairing the great complex of walls of mai stones built by his previous
incarnation Palge Samten Phuntsok, it became exceedingly beautiful and even bigger
and taller than before, and thereafter became known as the 'Patrul Stone Complex'.

This great master devoted his life entirely to study, contemplation and meditation for
his own benefit and teaching, debate and composition for the sake of others. In so
doing, he helped to make the teaching and study of texts such as The Way of the
Bodhisattva, the treatises of Maitreya, the Three Sets of Vows and Treasury of Precious
Qualities as widespread as the very stones and earth throughout the upper, middle
and lower regions of East Tibet. In particular, when the tradition of teaching the
Secret Essence Tantra, and the traditions of experiential guidance and tsa-lung
practices for the Longchen Nyingtik were just like lamps whose fuel is almost spent,
through his great kindness he revived them and made them even stronger and more

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widespread than before.

The chief disciples of this great master who did so much to preserve and spread the
teachings of the vajra essence of clear light included such learned and accomplished
masters of the Nyingma school as Kathok Situ Choktrul Chkyi Lodr, the Fifth
Dzogchen Rinpoche Thubten Chkyi Dorje, Gyarong Namtrul Kunzang Thekchok
Dorje, the second and third Dodrupchens, Jigme Phuntsok Jungne and Jigme Tenpe
Nyima, Dechen Rigpe Raldri, who was the son of Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje, the
supreme incarnation Shenpen Chkyi Nangwa [i.e., Khenpo Shenga], Adzom
Druktrul Droddul Dorje, Tertn Lerab Lingpa, Ju Mipham Namgyal, Khenchen Pema
Damch zer [aka Khenpo Pema Vajra], Nyoshul Lungtok, Alak Dongak Gyatso and
others. In addition, his disciples included many great masters and holders of the
teachings of the Sakya, Gelugpa and Kagy schools, such as Sershul Lharampa
Thubten, Palpung Lama Tashi zer and Ju Lama Drakpa Gyaltsen.

Finally, on the eighteenth day of Saga Dawa in the Fire Pig year of the fifteenth
calendrical cycle, he displayed the signs of dissolving his form body into the all-
pervading space of reality.

Patrul Rinpoche composed countless works to suit the individual minds of his
disciples and fulfil their aspirations, and although they cherished these and kept
them for themselves, they were not collected by the master himself or by his
attendants, and thus many of them were never carved into printing blocks. Those
which were printed and which are now to be found, like nectar upon which we
might feast our eyes, comprise volumes equal in number to the six pramits.
Amongst these compositions, we find all manner of works, including commentaries
on and structural outlines (sa bcad) for the treatises of Maitreya, The Way of the
Bodhisattva, Treasury of Precious Qualities and other texts, profound crucial
instructions for guiding students experientially, such as The Words of My Perfect
Teacher, collections of advice and miscellaneous writings including The Drama in the
Lotus Garden, collections of praises and so on. In all that he wrote, he never went
into excessive detail simply to show off his knowledge, but explained things in order
to fit the capacity of students.

The extraordinary and special character of his teachings was described by


Dodrupchen Jigme Tenpe Nyima in his biography of Patrul:

If analyzed by the wise, they are found to be very meaningful. If heard by the
dim-witted, they are easy to understand. As they condense the vital points,
they are easy to remember. Just the right length, everything is coherent and
connected from beginning to end. They are delightful to the ear, and
whatever words he uses, hard or gentle, they become of one taste with the
instructions, and so captivate the minds of all, whether wise, confused, or
somewhere in between.

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Written by Thubten Nyima

| Translated by Adam Pearcey and Patrick Gaffney, Rigpa Translations, 2006.

1. Longchen Rabjam and Jigme Lingpa.

2. In other words, he completed some two and a half million prostrations, and the
same number of hundred syllable mantras, maala offerings and repetitions of
the Seven Line prayer. Few masters in Tibetan history have accomplished such
a feat. Two notable exceptions are the great Je Tsongkhapa, who famously
completed three and a half million prostrations and approximately ten million
maala offerings, and, in more recent times, the Sakya master Gatn
Ngawang Lekpa, who accumulated a vast number of prostrations and other
practices during his fifteen years of strict retreat.

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The Life of Shechen Gyaltsab Gyurme Pema
Namgyal (1871-1926)
by Alak Zenkar Rinpoche

The supreme master Shechen Gyaltsab Gyurme Pema Namgyal was born in a place
called Dzokyi Tsolung, which belongs to the regions of Lhatok and Derge, in the Iron
Sheep year of the fifteenth calendrical cycle (1871). His father, Sherab, belonged to
the Adro clan and his mother, Namkha Drolma, was the daughter of a family of
Drongpa officials.

He was recognized by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo as the reincarnation of Orgyen


Rangjung Dorje, given the name Gyurme Pema Tenzin Khedrup Gyatsi De, and
ceremoniously installed on a great Dharma throne as the fourth Gyaltsab, or
regent, of Shechen Tennyi Dargye Ling monastery. From his own uncle, Pema
Wangchenor Kyi Yang as he was widely knownhe learned how to read and
received teachings on the common sciences, including The Mirror of Poetics,1 the
three systems of Sanskrit grammar (known as Kalpa, Candrapa and Srasvata), The
Treasure Mine of Composition,2 the major texts of the white and black astrological
traditions and so on.

He received the vows of a novice monk from Dzogchen Khenpo Pema Damch zer
and was given the name Pema Namgyal. He went on to receive full ordination from
Gemang Khenpo Ynten Gyatso,3 and maintained the outer pratimoka discipline
without the slightest transgression in terms of what should be adopted or
abandoned. He studied the discipline of the bodhisattva vows with masters such as
the great Khenpo Karma Tashi zer, the fifth Rabjam Rinpoche and so on, and
followed all the points of the inner training of the bodhisattvas concerning what to
do and what not to do, so that his mind became completely filled with bodhicitta, and
he sought only to benefit others.

From Jamgn Khyentse Wangpo, he received empowerments and instructions on the


practices of the Nyingma kama and terma, such as Kagye, Gongd and Vajraklaya.
He also studied Je Rinpoches Great Exposition of the Stages of the Path (Lamrim
Chenmo), Karmapa Rangjung Dorjes Pointing Out the Dharmakya and many other
traditions of secret mantra from the Sarma schools . He received the ripening
empowerments, liberating instructions and supporting transmissions for the
Treasury of Precious Termas (Rinchen Terdz) from Jamgn Lodr Thaye and
Zurmang Trungpa Rinpoche, Karma Chkyi Nyinche.4 The sublime Kongtrul
Rinpoche also bestowed on him an explanatory reading transmission for all three
volumes of his Treasury of Knowledge (Sheja Dz), from the opening verses of
homage through to the colophon at the end. Kongtrul Rinpoche placed the texts on
his head and granted him formal permission to transmit these teachings in future.

14
He also received the Treasury of Kagy Mantra (Kagy Ngak Dz) and the Collection
of Nyingma Tantras (Nyingma Gybum). He received the Treasury of Instructions
(Damngak Dz) and the Treasury of Extensive Teachings (Gyachen Kayi Dz) in their
entirety, together with the empowerments, reading transmissions and instructions,
from the great Khenpo Karma Tashi zer.

From Jamgn Mipham Rinpoche, he received the Great Secret Commentary on the
practice of Yangdak, the cycle of Jampal Dzogpachenpo, An Explanation of the Kagye,
Entrance to the Way of Knowledge (Khenjuk) and he was able to clarify the difficult
points in the major texts of stra and mantra. He also received clarifications on his
own practice.

In addition, he relied on such great masters as the fifth Shechen Rabjam, Khenpo
Kunpal, Kathok Situ, Palpung Gyatrul Kunzang Tenpe Nyima, Dzogchen Khenpo
Pema Vajra and Patrul Jigme Chkyi Wangpo as his teachers. His studies were vast
and included a great number of commentaries and collected writings of the great
masters of the past. Most notably, he received the reading transmission of the
precious Translated Words of the Buddha (Kangyur) on two occasions, from
Barchung Choktrul Thubten Gelek and from the great Troshul Khenpo Tsultrim
Gyatso.

For more than twenty years, he focused his practice on the key points of the
generation and completion phases, with the result that his qualities of experience
and realization reached the very highest level. He gained all the advanced
realizations of the paths and bhmis, and through taking to heart the essential points
of the practice of Clear Light Dzogpachenpo, he purified the fixations of the
conceptual mind. As he gained naturally arising realization, the great treasure of his
wisdom mind overflowed.

The brilliant light of his enlightened activity in explanation, debate and composition
shone in all directions, and many great masters and holders of the teachings became
his students, including Dzongsar Khyentse Jamyang Chkyi Lodr, the sixth Shechen
Rabjam Kunzang Tenpe Nyima, Jamyang Loter Wangpo, Dilgo Khyentse Rabsal
Dawa, the incarnation of Kongtrul, Palden Chkyi Wangchuk, Pema Drime Lekpe
Lodr, Dzogchen Lingla Tulku, Khenpo Soch, Abu Lhagang, Kathok Khenpo Nden
and many others, just like a garland of stars in a constellation.

The writings of this great master fill thirteen volumes and can be summarized in
sections equal in number to the stages of realization, or bhumis:

To begin with, there is the virtuous beginning ensuring a worthy project


reaches completion, which in this case is the first section for gathering the
two accumulations of merit and wisdom, a cycle of preliminary practices
and rituals for making offerings.
Secondly, in order to make the composition even more beneficial, there is

15
the second section, which is a collection of praises.
Thirdly, to ensure the spontaneous fulfillment of the twofold benefit of
self and other, there is the third section of prayers, including prayers for
masters' longevity.
Fourthly, there is the virtuous main part, which clarifies the meaning of
the texts, beginning with a section on the history of the teachings in order
to generate confidence.
The fifth section is on grammar, poetics, astrology and so on, to clarify the
common sciences.
The sixth section consists of advice in order to highlight what is to be
adopted and what is to be avoided.
The seventh section consists of instructions on the general teachings.
The eighth section consists of the uncommon practices of the generation
and completion phases and commentaries of various kinds.
The ninth section includes his miscellaneous writings on various topics.
The tenth includes prayers of dedication, aspiration and auspiciousness.

The exact names of the different texts are given in the index to his writings, The
Garland of Jewels.

In this way, this great master undertook the three practices of listening, reflecting
and meditating for his own benefit, and the three activities of teaching, debating and
writing for the benefit of others.

Finally, at the age of fifty-five, in the Fire Tiger year of the fifteenth calendrical cycle,
on the eighteenth day of the fifth month, he demonstrated merging his wisdom mind
into the dharmadhtu, the inseparable union of basic space and wisdom.

Written out of devotion by Thubten Nyima.

| Translated by Adam Pearcey, Rigpa Translations, 2005.

1. (Kvydara) by the Indian scholar Dain (c. 6-7th century).

2. by Minling Lochen Dharmar (1654-1718).

3. Author of the famous two part commentary on Jigme Lingpas Treasury of


Precious Qualities (ynten dz).

4. 1879?-1939. The tenth in the line of Zurmang Trungpa incarnations. The


eleventh was Chgyam Trungpa Rinpoche (1940-1987).

16
A Brief Presentation of the Nine Vehicles
by Alak Zenkar Rinpoche Thubten Nyima
Our teacher, the fourth guide of this fortunate aeon, the incomparable lord of sages,
kyamuni, gave infinite teachings as means to enter the Dharma of the causal and
resultant vehicles, in accordance with the particular temperaments, spiritual faculties
and attitudes of disciples. Nevertheless, they may all be included within the three
vehicles, which, in turn, may be further subdivided into nine successive stages.

As it is said in The General Stra:1

The ultimate definitive vehicle


Certainly appears as three in number:
The vehicles of leading from the origin, Vedic-like asceticism,
And powerful transformative methods.

And The Immaculate Confession Tantra says:

The samayas of the nine successive vehicles


Three vehicles related to the three piakas of characteristics,
The outer three of kriy yoga and so on, related to tantras of asceticism,
And the inner three yogas related to tantras of skilful methods.

Thus the classification of nine successive vehicles, which is found in the Nyingma
Early Translation tradition, is made up of:

three outer vehicles of leading from the origin [of suffering] or those
related to the three piakas of characteristics,
three inner vehicles of Vedic-like asceticism2 or those of the three outer
classes of tantra, and
three secret vehicles of powerful transformative methods or those of the
three inner classes of tantra.

Let us elaborate a little on the meaning of these, first of all by considering what is
meant by the term vehicle or yna. It is said in The Condensed Stra:3

This vehicle is the supreme of vehicles for reaching


The vast sky-like palace of happiness and bliss.
Riding in this all beings will reach nirva.

This refers to the literal meaning of the Sanskrit term yna, a vehicle or means of
conveyance, since it is that which carries us along the paths and bhmis, bringing us
ever greater enlightened qualities.

17
I. The Three Outer Vehicles Leading from the Origin
The three causal vehicles of characteristics are: the rvaka vehicle, pratyekabuddha
vehicle and bodhisattva vehicle.

Why are these three called vehicles leading from the origin? It is because they lead
us along the path to the result of liberation from samsara by abandoning all the
actions and kleas which are the cause or origin [of suffering].

1. The rvaka Vehicle


Generally speaking, the Sanskrit word rvaka has both the meaning of listening
and of hearing, so [the Tibetan translation nyenth literally means] listener-hearer.
Alternatively, the term can be understood to mean listening and proclaiming, in the
sense that the rvakas rely on masters and then proclaim to others all the words
their teachers have spoken.

The initial entry point, the view, the meditation, the conduct and the results of the
rvaka vehicle will now be explained below.

i. Entry Point
The rvakas are motivated by a feeling of renunciation, the wish to escape from all
the realms of samsara by themselves alone. With this motivation, they receive one of
the seven sets of pratimoka vows, those of a male or female lay practitioner, novice
monk or nun, probationary nun, or fully ordained monk or nun, and having received
these vows, they practise moral restraint, keeping their vows unimpaired, repairing
any impairments that do occur, and so on.

ii. View
As the basis of their path, they determine their view by focusing upon all phenomena
included within the five aggregates and realizing that they are devoid of any
personal self. They do not understand that all material and conscious phenomena are
devoid of true reality, and, asserting a truly real partless particle in perceived objects
and an indivisible moment of consciousness, they fail to realize the absence of
phenomenal identity.

iii. Meditation
In terms of the path, they practise both amatha and vipayan meditation. They
realize the state of amatha by abandoning obstacles and cultivating factors
conducive to samdhi, according to the nine stages of resting the mind and so on,
and generate the wisdom of vipayan by meditating on the sixteen aspects of the
four truths.

18
iv. Conduct
They keep to the twelve ascetic practices4 that avoid the two extreme forms of
lifestyle, over-indulgence in sense pleasures5 and excessive self-punishment.

v. Results
They attain any one of eight levels of fruition, corresponding to the degree to which
they have abandoned the kleshas of the three realms. There are eight levels because
the four results of stream-enterer, once-returner, non-returner and arhat are each
divided into the two stages known as the emerging and the established.

2. The Pratyekabuddha Vehicle


Pratyekabuddhas, or self-awakened are so-called because, having a more profound
depth of wisdom than the rvakas, they manifest their own awakening through the
power of their own wisdom, without needing to rely on other masters.

Let us elaborate slightly by presenting the initial entry point, view, meditation,
conduct and results of the pratyekabuddha vehicle:

i. Entry Point
As with the entry point to the rvaka vehicle, the pratyekabuddhas take up any one
of the seven sets of pratimoka vows and then keep them unimpaired.

ii. View
When it comes to the basis of their path, how they determine the view, they realize
the absence of a personal self completely, but only realize half the absence of
phenomenal identity, because although they realize that the partless particles of
perceived objects are not real, they still believe in the true existence of indivisible
moments of consciousness.

iii. Meditation
When it comes to their path, and their practice of meditation, the uncommon
approach of the pratyekabuddhas is to meditate on how the twelve links of
interdependent origination arise in their progressive sequence and how they cease in
the reverse order.

iv. Conduct
Like the rvakas, they keep to the twelve rules of ascetic practice.

19
v. Results
As their fruition, those with sharper faculties attain the level of a rhinoceros-like
pratyekabuddha arhat and those with duller faculties become parrot-like6
pratyekabuddha arhats.

Moreover, they reach their final existence as a result of three specific aspiration
prayers. They pray that their last existence may be in a world without buddhas and
rvakas, that they may attain awakening by themselves, without relying on any
teacher, and that they may teach the Dharma silently through physical gestures.

3. The Bodhisattva Vehicle


The bodhisattva vehicle is the part of the mahyna that belongs to the vehicle of
characteristics. It is called the vehicle of bodhisattvas because once it has been
entered it has the power to lead someone to great enlightenment, because its domain
of experience is vast, in terms of its extensive skilful methods and its profound
wisdom, because it brings about benefit and happiness, in the higher realms in the
short term, and ultimately at the stage of definitive good, and because it carries one
to greater and greater qualities as one progresses along the paths and stages. It is
called a vehicle of characteristics because it has all the characteristics of a path that is
a direct cause for bringing about the ultimate fruition, the level of buddhahood.

I will now a give a brief outline of its initial entry point, view, meditation, conduct
and results.

i. Entry Point
The bodhisattvas practise on the basis of their wish to benefit others. They are
motivated by bodhicitta, which has as its focus all sentient beings and is
characterized by the wish to establish them all at the level of perfect buddhahood,
free from the causes and effects of suffering and endowed with all the causes and
effects of happiness. With this motivation, they take the bodhisattva vows of
aspiration and application in the proper way, through the ritual of either the
tradition of Profound View or Vast Conduct. They then observe the points of
discipline concerning what should be adopted and abandoned, and heal and purify
any impairments.

20
ii. View
Concerning the basis of their path, how they determine the view, if we speak in
terms of philosophical tenets, the approach of Mind Only is to assert that outer
objects are not real and all phenomena are but the inner mind, and to claim that the
self-aware, self-knowing consciousness devoid of dualistic perception is truly real.
The approach of the Middle Way is to realize that all phenomena appear in the
manner of dependent origination, but are in reality emptiness, beyond the eight
extremes of conceptual elaboration.7 Through these approaches, on the basis of the
explanation of the two levels of reality, they realize completely the absence of any
personal self or phenomenal identity.

iii. Meditation
Concerning their path and how they practise meditation, the bodhisattvas realize and
train in developing their familiarity with the indivisibility of the two levels of reality,
and, on the basis of the yogic meditation that unites amatha and vipayan,
meditate sequentially on the thirty-seven factors of enlightenment while on the path
of training.

iv. Conduct
They practise the six transcendent perfections for their own benefit and the four
means of attraction for the sake of others.

v. Results
They attain the level of buddhahood, which is the ultimate attainment in terms of
both abandonment and realization since it means abandoning all that has to be
eliminated, the two obscurations including habitual traces, and realizing everything
that must be realized, included within the knowledge of all that there is and the
knowledge of its nature. They accomplish the two types of dharmakya for their own
benefit and the two types of rpakya for the benefit of others.

II. The Three Inner Vehicles of Vedic-like Asceticism


These are the three outer classes of tantra: the vehicle of kriy tantra, the vehicle of
cary tantra and the vehicle of yoga tantra.

You might wonder why are these called vehicles of Vedic-like asceticism. It is
because the three outer classes of tantra stress aspects of ascetic conduct, such as
ritual purification and cleanliness, and in this respect they are similar to the Vedic
tradition of the brahmins.

21
4. The Vehicle of Kriy Tantra
The kriy tantras, or action tantras, are so-called because they are concerned mainly
with external conduct, the practices of ritual purification and cleanliness and so on.

The entry point, view, meditation, conduct and results of this vehicle are as follows:

i. Entry Point
The initial point of entry to the path of secret mantra vajrayana is ripening
empowerment, so here one receives the water empowerment, which establishes the
potential for ripening into the dharmakaya, and the crown empowerment, which
establishes the potential for ripening into the rpakya. Then one keeps the general
samayas of the kriy yoga as they are explained in the particular texts themselves.

ii. View
In terms of determining the view, the basis of the path, one realizes that the ground
of purification, the nature of mind itself, is the wisdom of empty clarity, and is
ultimately beyond all extremes of elaboration, such as existing, not existing,
appearing or being empty. Then one views the aspects of relative appearance, which
are what must be purified, as the characteristics of the completely pure deity.

iii. Meditation
As for the path and the way of practising meditation, it centres around the four
realities: 1) the reality of oneself, and 2) the reality of the deity, which is practised by
means of the six aspects of the deity,8 by visualizing oneself as the samaya form and
then invoking the wisdom being into the space in front, considering oneself as a
servant and the deity as ones master. One then focuses upon 3) the reality of the
mantra recitation which is the sound, and on the mind and the ground, and meditates
upon 4) the reality of concentration, which consists of remaining in the flame,
continuation of sound and culmination of sound.

iv. Conduct
One performs the three kinds of ritual purification,9 changes the three types of
clothing,10 adopts a diet of the three white foods11 and practices ritual fasting and
mantra recitation.

v. Results
In the short term, one becomes a desire realm vidydhara, and ultimately one attains
awakening as Vajradhara of one of the three buddha families: of the family of
enlightened body, Vairocana, of the family of enlightened speech, Amitbha, or of the
family of enlightened mind, Akobhya.

22
5. The Vehicle of Cary Tantra
The vehicle of cary or conduct tantra is so-called because it places an equal
emphasis on the outer actions of body and speech and the inner cultivation of
samdhi. It is also called the tantra of both (ubhaya tantra) because its view
conforms with that of yoga tantra, while its conduct is similar to that of kriy.

I will now say a little about its entry point, view, meditation, conduct and results.

i. Entry Point
One is matured by means of the five empowerments, which include the
empowerments of the vajra, bell and name in addition to the water and crown
empowerments, and then maintains the samayas of cary tantra, as described in the
particular texts themselves.

ii. View
The view is determined in the same way as in the yoga tantra, so it will be explained
below.

iii. Meditation
One visualizes oneself as the samaya being and visualizes the wisdom deity, who is
regarded as a friend, in front of oneself, and then practises the conceptual
meditations on the syllable, mudr and form of the deity, and the non-conceptual
meditation on absolute bodhicitta by means of entering, remaining and arising.12

iv. Conduct
The conduct here is the same as in kriy tantra.

v. Results
In the short term, one attains the common accomplishments and ultimately one
reaches the level of a vajradhara of the four buddha families, i.e., the three mentioned
earlier plus the ratna family.

6. The Vehicle of Yoga Tantra


The vehicle of yoga tantra is so-called because it emphasizes the inner yogic
meditation upon reality, combining skilful means and wisdom.

Its entry point, view, meditation, conduct and results are as follows:

23
i. Entry Point
Having been matured through the eleven empowermentsthe five empowerments of
the disciples (water, crown, vajra, bell and name) as well as the six empowerments of
the master (the empowerment of irreversibility, empowerment of seeing secret
reality, authorization, prophecy, confirmation and praising encouragement)one
keeps the samayas as described in the particular texts.

ii. View
The ground, the way in which the view is established, is as follows. Ultimately, all
phenomena are realised to be clear light, beyond conceptual elaboration. Through
the blessing of this, the relative is seen as the deities of the vajradhtu.

iii. Meditation
One meditates on the yoga of skilful means, visualizing oneself as the deity by means
of the five aspects of awakening and the four miraculous things,13 and summons the
wisdom being, who then dissolves into oneself, and is sealed by means of the four
mudrs, and so on. There is also the yoga of wisdom, in which one rests in a state in
which ultimate non-conceptual wisdom is inseparable from the relative appearance
of the deity of the vajradhtu.

iv. Conduct
One practises ritual purification and cleanliness simply as a support.

v. Results
As a worldly attainment, one becomes a celestial vidydhara, and as the
supermundane accomplishment, one attains enlightenment in Ghanavyha, as one of
the five buddha families (in addition to the four families previously mentioned, there
is also Amoghasiddhis buddha family of enlightened activity).

III. The Three Secret Vehicles of Powerful Transformative Methods


These are the three inner classes of tantra: the vehicle of mahyoga, the vehicle of
anuyoga and the vehicle of atiyoga.

You might wonder why are these are called vehicles of powerful transformative
methods. It is because they include powerful methods for transforming all
phenomena into great purity and equalness.

7. The Vehicle of Tantra Mahyoga


The vehicle of mahyoga, or great yoga, is so-called because it is superior to
ordinary yoga tantra since all phenomena are realized to be a magical display in
which appearance and emptiness are indivisible.

24
Once again, I will briefly describe its point of entry, view, meditation, action and
results.

i. Entry Point
Once ones mind has been matured through receiving the ten outer benefiting
empowerments, the five inner enabling empowerments and the three secret
profound empowerments, one keeps the samayas as they are described in the texts.

ii. View
By means of extraordinary lines of reasoning, one establishes and then realizes the
indivisibility of the [two] higher levels of reality, according to which the cause for
the appearance of the essential nature, the seven riches of the absolute,14 is
spontaneously present within the pure awareness that is beyond conceptual
elaboration, and all relative phenomena naturally appear as the mandala of deities of
the three seats.15

iii. Meditation
When it comes to the path and the practice of meditation, the main emphasis is on
the generation stage. In the practice of generation stage yoga, one sets up the
practice through the three samdhis, ensures that the three of purifying, perfecting
and ripening are complete within the visualization, and, once the visualization is
complete, seals it with the instruction on the four nails securing the life-force. In the
practice of the completion stage yoga, one activates the vital points of the vajra body,
its subtle energies, essences, luminosity and so on.

iv. Conduct
One maintains elaborate, unelaborate and extremely unelaborate conduct.

v. Results
In the short term one reaches the four vidydhara levels, which are the results
belonging to the path, and finally one gains the ultimate fruition, and reaches the
level of the Vajradhara of unity.16

8. The Vehicle of Scriptural Transmission Anuyoga


The vehicle of anuyoga, or following yoga, is so-called because it mainly teaches the
path of passionately pursuing (or following) wisdom, in the realization that all
phenomena are the creative expression of the indivisible unity of absolute space and
primordial wisdom.

Once again, let us say a little about its point of entry, view, meditation, conduct and
results:

25
i. Entry Point
Ones mind is matured through the thirty-six empowerments in which the four rivers
outer, inner, accomplishing and secretare complete, and one keeps the samayas
as described in the texts.

ii. View
Through logical reasoning one determines that which is to be known, the fact that all
phenomena are characterized as being the three mandalas in their fundamental
nature, and realizes that this is so.

iii. Meditation
Meditation practice here consists of two paths. On the path of liberation one
practises the non-conceptual samdhi of simply resting in a state that accords with
the essence of reality itself, and the conceptual samdhi of deity practice, in which
one visualizes the mandala of supporting palace and supported deities simply by
reciting the mantra of generation. On the path of skilful means one generates the
wisdom of bliss and emptiness through the practices of the upper and lower
gateways.

iv. Conduct
One practises the conduct that is beyond adopting or abandoning in the recognition
that all perceptions are but the display of the wisdom of great bliss.

v. Results
At the culmination of Anuyogas own uncommon five yogas, which are essentially
its five paths,17 and the ten stages18 that are included within these five, one attains
the level of Samantabhadra.

9. The Vehicle of Pith Instruction Atiyoga


The vehicle of Atiyoga, or utmost yoga, is so-called because it is the highest of all
vehicles. It involves the realization that all phenomena are nothing other than the
appearances of the naturally arising primordial wisdom which has always been
beyond arising and ceasing.

The following is a brief explanation of the entry point, view, meditation, conduct and
results of this vehicle.

i. Entry Point
Ones mind is matured through the four expressive power of awareness
empowerments (rigp tsal wang), and one keeps the samayas as explained in the
texts.

26
ii. View
The view is definitively established by looking directly into the naturally arising
wisdom in which the three kyas are inseparable: the empty essence of naked
awareness beyond the ordinary mind is the dharmakya, its cognizant nature is the
sambhogakya, and its all-pervasive compassionate energy is the nirmakya.

iii. Meditation
The meditation consists of the approach of cutting through resistance to primordial
purity (kadak trekch), through which the lazy can reach liberation without effort,
and the approach of the direct realization of spontaneous presence (lhundrup tgal),
through which the diligent can reach liberation with exertion.

iv. Conduct
The conduct is free from hope and fear and adopting and abandoning, because all
that appears manifests as the display of reality itself.

v. Results
Perfecting the four visions of the path, one gains the supreme kya, the rainbow
body of great transference, and attains the level of glorious Samantabhadra, the
thirteenth bhmi known as Unexcelled Wisdom (yeshe lama).

| Translated by Adam Pearcey, Rigpa Translations, 2005, revised 2016 (with thanks to Han Kop).

An earlier version of this translation was published in Kyabje Zenkar Rinpoche & Pema Lungtok
Gyatso Rinpoche, The Nine Gradual Vehicles: Two Complementary Presentations . Brussels: Wisdom
Treasury, 2015.

1. The General Stra of the Gathering of All Intentions ('dus pa mdo), the central
scripture of Anuyoga.

2. An alternative translation sometimes given is the inner vehicle of gaining


awareness through austerities but that would not accord with Zenkar
Rinpoches explanation given later in this text.

3. i.e., The Condensed Prajpramit Stra.

4. According to The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, vol. 2, p. 169: 1)


Wearing clothes found in a dust heap, 2) owning only three robes, 3) wearing
felt or woollen clothes, 4) begging for food, 5) eating ones meal at a single
sitting, 6) restricting the quantity of food, 7) staying in isolation, 8) sitting
under trees, 9) sitting in exposed places, 10) sitting in charnel grounds, 11)
sitting even during sleep, and 12) staying wherever one happens to be.

27
5. This is rather a free translation of 'dod pa bsod nyams kyi mtha'

6. They are called parrot-like because they remain together in groups, unlike the
rhinoceros-like pratyekabuddha arhats who stay by themselves.

7. The eight extremes of conceptual elaboration are: ceasing, arising, being non-
existent, being permanent, coming, going, being multiple and being single.

8. The aspects of emptiness, syllable, sound, form, mudr and characteristics.

9. Purification of the body by washing, purification of downfalls and purification


of thoughts.

10. Changes ones outer clothing means to put on clean clothes, changing ones
inner clothing means to guard ones vows, and changing ones secret clothing
means to visualize the deity.

11. Curd, milk and butter.

12. Entering refers to the realization that all phenomena are beyond arising,
remaining means to abide once the non-conceptual nature has manifest and
arising means developing intense compassion for all beings who do not
realize this.

13. i.e., samdhi, blessings, empowerment and offering.

14. Enlightened body, speech, mind, qualities and activity, plus absolute space and
primordial wisdom.

15. The aggregates (skandha) and elements (dhtu) are the seats of the male and
female buddhas, the sense faculties and their objects are the seats of the male
and female bodhisattvas, and the limbs are seats of the male and female
wrathful ones.

16. Unity here means the unity of dharmakya and rpakya.

17. 1) The yoga of the aspiring spiritual warrior on the path of accumulation, 2) the
yoga revealing the great enlightened family on the path of joining, 3) the yoga
of great assurance on the path of seeing, 4) the yoga of receiving great
prophecy on the path of meditation, and 5) the yoga of perfecting the great
creative power on the ultimate path.

18. 1) The stage of uncertain transformation, 2) the stage of stable foundation, 3)


the stage of significant purification, 4) the stage of continuous training, 5) the
stage of supportive merit, 6) the stage of special progress through stability, 7)
the stage bringing focus on the result once the path of seeing has arisen

28
through clear light, 8) the stage of steadfast remaining, 9) the stage of
expanding reality, and 10) the stage of riding on perfection.

29
Prayer for the Long Life of Alak Zenkar Rinpoche
Composed by Kyabje Trulshik Rinpoche


om svasti, rabjam tselha gyats jin t l
O Svasti! Through the power and blessings of an infinite ocean of long-life deities,


khyents yeshe dorj sip gar
May the life of this emanation of Khyentse Yeshe Dorje,


tubten nyim tsenchen shyabzung ten
The one named Sun of the Buddhas Teachings, Thubten Nyima,


ten dror menp shy dn yongdrub shok
Remain secure, and may all his aspirations for the benefit of the teachings and beings be
fulfilled.



According to the requests of Sogyal Rinpoche and the Rigpa Sagha in Lerab Ling, made together with the support
of an offering, and out of my own feelings of devotion and inspiration, I, the one named Ngawang Chkyi Lodr,
who bears only the outward signs of a buddhist monk, made this aspiration and wrote it down on the 6th day of the
10th month of the Wood Bird year (7th December 2005). Jayantu!

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Bodhicaryvatra: Teaching Methods & Overview
by Alak Zenkar Rinpoche

The Bodhicaryvatra in East Tibet (Kham)


In Kham, Eastern Tibet, the followers of all four schoolsSakya, Gelug, Kagy and
Nyingmastudied the Bodhicaryvatra, this classic text of the great bodhisattva
ntideva, in which the teachings on the way of the bodhisattva are compiled and
explained. In fact, especially in Kham, this text was so popular and so widely taught
that it became as widespread, it is said, as the very stones and earthand this was
particularly true during the time of Dza Patrul Rinpoche.

If we take the example of the Sakya School, in the most important teaching centre of
Kham, which was the incomparable Dzongsar shedra, and also in npo Gar, the
residence of nt Khyenrab, and in other places, the teaching of the
Bodhicaryvatra was extremely popular. These Sakya teachers relied especially
upon the interlinear commentary (chendrel) of Khenpo Shenga, and then added to
that the special oral teachings of Dza Patrul Rinpoche.

In the great Kagy monasteries too, such as Palpung, they also followed Patrul
Rinpoches tradition.

Then, if we consider the Gelug monasteries, one of the main Gelug centres in Kham
was Dza Sershul Gn, where all the genuine traditions of stra and mantra were
taught, and of the four great debate manuals (yikcha), they followed that of Sera Je.
They too would follow Patrul Rinpoches tradition when teaching the
Bodhicaryvatra.

In Minyak there was one very famous scholar known as Minyak Khenpo Kunzang
Snam, who wrote a great commentary on the Bodhicaryvatra. (In Derge they call
this the H commentary, but the only reason for this seems to be that when they
carved the woodblocks to print it, they wrote a H on them. There doesnt seem to
be any other reason!) In this commentary, the first eight chapters follow Dza Patrul
Rinpoches approach exactly, but the ninth chapter follows the Gelug approach,
because Kunzang Snam was connected with this Dza Sershul monastery, and so he
was told by Patrul Rinpoche that he should write this part according to his own
tradition, and especially that he should follow the commentary of Gyaltsab Darma
Rinchen (known as the Dar ik). So this chapter is a little different from the Nyingma
commentaries and follows more of a purely Sarma approach, but all the other
chapters follow Patrul Rinpoches own teaching tradition very strictly.

The tradition of teaching the Bodhicaryvatra was incredibly widespread


throughout Kham. To give an example, consider the case of nt Khyenrab, who,
after the great Khenpo Shenga, was the most important khenpo at Dzongsar. In most

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shedras, they would teach the thirteen great texts one after another from one class to
the next, but nt Khyenrab would teach the Bodhicaryvatra all the time
throughout the whole year, summer and winterand whenever he finished the text,
in that same session he would go back and start again at the beginning of the text. In
fact, it is said that he taught the Bodhicaryvatra continually throughout his entire
life.

In Minyak, the main tradition for teaching the Bodhicaryvatra was to follow the
commentary of Khenpo Kunpal. Sometimes they would also use the commentary of
Gyalse Tokme Zangpo, which is of just the right length, neither too elaborate nor too
brief.

Patrul Rinpoches Tradition


Patrul Rinpoches tradition, of course, includes a thorough commentary on the text,
as you find in the commentary of Khenpo Kunpal. But it is not just an explanation of
the words of the text; the main characteristic of his approach was to teach the text in
the manner of a pith instruction, by relating it to experience.

According to this approach, the meaning of the entire text from beginning to end can
be summarized in the famous four line prayer:

O precious, sublime bodhicitta:


May it arise in those in whom it has not arisen;
May it never decline where it has arisen;
May it go on increasing further and further!

The whole text can be summarized entirely and without error in these four lines. So
the meaning of the text is basically bodhicittato cause bodhichittta (both relative
and absolute) to arise where it has not arisen, to prevent it from declining where it
has arisen, and to cause it to go on increasing further and further. Then there is the
dedication of whatever merits have been gained. So the ten chapters of the
Bodhicaryvatra can be grouped into four parts.

There are three chapters for causing relative and absolute bodhicitta to
arise where they have not arisen. Firstly there is the chapter on the
benefits of bodhicitta to inspire us, secondly there is the chapter on the
confession of negative actions, which are not conducive to arousing
bodhicitta, and thirdly, there is the chapter on fully taking hold of, or
adopting, bodhicitta.
Then there are three chapters which prevent bodhicitta from declining
where it has arisen. There is the chapter on carefulness, which is a
meticulous concern in carrying out positive actions and avoiding negative
ones. Then there is the chapter on vigilance, which means continually
keeping watch over the state of our minds. Then there is the chapter on

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patience.
Then there are three chapters for increasing bodhicitta further and
further: diligence, meditative concentration and wisdom.
Finally, there is the chapter on dedication, dedicating for the sake of others
the benefits of increasing bodhicitta in this way.

This way of including the ten chapters within these four points is the tradition of
Patrul Rinpoche.

bodhicitta is extremely important. There is no way we can attain buddhahood if we


lack the means of great compassion. So the special unique feature of the Mahayana is
the mind of bodhicitta, which is the union of love and compassion. Generally we
define bodhicitta as:

For the sake of others, longing to attain complete enlightenment.

This is bodhicitta with its two aspects.

For the first aspect, the objects of focus are all sentient beings, and the attitude is one
of compassion, which is the wish that they might be free of suffering, and love, or the
wish that they have happiness.

In the second aspect the object of focus is complete enlightenment.

We can illustrate this further. The focus is on all sentient beings, but when we have
all sentient beings as our focus, what do we do? We focus on all beings and say to
ourselves: I will ensure that you are freed from suffering and its causes, and that
you have happiness and its causes, and that you all reach the precious level of
enlightenment. This is bodhicitta complete with the two aspects: the aspect of
focusing on sentient beings with altruism, and the aspect of focusing on perfect
enlightenment with wisdom.

This is the general definition of bodhicitta, especially relative bodhicitta. This is what
we cultivate when we meditate on equalizing ourselves and others, exchanging
ourselves and others, and considering others as more important than ourselves. The
crucial point here is that all sentient beings have been continuously circling in
samsara throughout beginningless time as a result of our self-cherishing. So when
we arouse bodhicitta we need to reverse completely our usual pattern of thinking,
and the way that we can bring about such a radical shift is by slowly transforming
our self-cherishing into an attitude of cherishing others. This is like the life-pillar of
bodhicitta.

In order to eradicate our self-cherishing we will also need to generate the wisdom of
selflessness. This wisdom is extremely important. Of course, usually we talk about
the importance of the wisdom of realizing emptiness. First of all, we need to study,

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reflect and meditate on selflessness and then arrive at some certainty about it. Then
we bring this certainty to mind again and again, so that the wisdom which realizes
selflessness arises. Through this, our usual way of thinking, which is based on the
view of self, and on the strong notion of self and other, will gradually grow
weaker.

At the same time as this ego-centric view loses strength, we will appreciate more
and more that if we really want to attain enlightenment, we cannot do so without
the support of all sentient beings. We will arrive at a genuine and uncontrived
realization of the extraordinary importance of all sentient beings. Quite naturally, we
will begin to cherish others just as we currently cherish ourselves. When this
happens, as soon as we see others sufferingeither undergoing blatant suffering or
gathering the causes for future sufferingwe will feel unbearable compassion in our
minds. When we feel this compassion, and recognize their suffering, we wont
simply feel a passive wish that they might be freed from suffering; we will feel a
deep urge to do whatever we can to free them from their pains, and we will long to
take upon ourselves the task of bringing about their welfare.

When we arouse this kind of bodhicitta and grow more and more familiar with it, the
wisdom which realizes selflessness and the great compassion focused on others work
together and combine as the union of skilful means and wisdom. This is what it
means in the texts when it says:

Emptiness of which compassion is the very essence


Is only for those who want enlightenment.

The dawning of this kind of bodhicitta, which is the union of emptiness and
compassion, is also the dawning of absolute bodhicitta. After this has arisen,
whenever we practise the bodhisattvas actionsthe trainings in generosity,
discipline, patience, diligence, meditation and wisdomit will cause this bodhicitta
that is the union of emptiness and compassion to increase further and further. In
other words, our actions will enhance our bodhicitta. Then eventually we will reach
complete and perfect enlightenment.

In this, as we have said, the Bodhicaryvatra is extremely important, because if we


are seeking enlightenment we will need to cultivate the inseparable union of the
wisdom which realizes selflessness and great compassion. The way that we put this
inseparable unity of wisdom and compassion into practice is through generosity,
discipline, patience, diligence, meditation and wisdom. So all the necessary teachings
are included here, completely, without error, and all written in an incredibly
practical way, so that if we look into the text, each and every word can readily be
applied to ourselves. If we really examine each word of the text, using the four
principles of reasoning , we can see that everything it says is completely true.

Since the Bodhicaryvatra includes all these crucial points of the teachings it is

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extremely important. We say that bodhicitta is the single path followed by all the
buddhas of the three timesthe path which was taken by all the buddhas of the past
and which will be followed by all the buddhas of the future, the essence of the
practice of all the buddhas of the present, and the ground of the path of the
mahyna. If we want to arouse bodhicitta, then we can rely on this text just as
blind people might rely on a guide in order to walk along a particular path. Just like
that, the Bodhicaryvatra is incredibly important for us.

The text clearly explains all the points of the practices of generosity, discipline,
patience, diligence, meditation and wisdom. Of these, the chapter on patience is
especially important. It clearly describes the reason for practising patience, the
objects of patience, the actual practice itself, the benefits of patience, and the dangers
of not practising patience and of being angry, and so on. It is incredibly clear and
extremely crucial. Then the chapter on meditation explains very clearly and
elaborately the practices for cultivating precious bodhicitta which I mentioned
earlier, equalizing and exchanging ourselves and others.

The wisdom chapter is all about establishing the truth of selflessness: the selflessness
of the individual and the selflessness of phenomena. When this is taught in terms of
philosophy, the views of non-buddhist schools are presented and then refuted, and
then the tenets of the four main schools of buddhist philosophy are presented and
the faults of the lower views are pointed out from the perspective of the higher
schools. In particular, the text describes how the view of selflessness is established
from the perspective of the Prsangika Mdhyamika, and how it is cultivated in
meditation and so on. This is extremely important.

Whenever we do any practice, it is crucial that we apply the three noble principles. If
these three principles are present then that is sufficient for attaining enlightenment,
but without them, there is no way we can become enlightened. In the beginning we
need to apply the noble principle of bodhicitta, in the middle, the main part has to be
free from conceptual reference, and at the end, we must dedicate the merit. So in the
tenth chapter we dedicate our merits, not only so that they do not go to waste, but so
that they increase further and further. As it is said:

Just as a drop of water that falls into the great ocean


Will never disappear until the ocean itself runs dry,
Merit totally dedicated to enlightenment
Will never disappear until enlightenment is reached.

So dedication of merit is of crucial importance, and the tenth chapter shows how to
dedicate and how to make prayers of aspiration.

Altogether the text shows the entire path to the achievement of buddhahood clearly
and without error, so it is extremely importantperhaps, you could say, the most
important of all.

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Experiential Instruction (Nyam Tri)
If the text is taken as an experiential instruction, then when it explains the benefits
of bodhicitta, we dont leave the explanation as something written in the book, but
really apply it to ourselves. First of all, in order to arouse bodhicitta we need to have
the necessary support or basis on which to do sothe physical support and the
mental support. The physical support is what we usually refer to as the precious
human body complete with the eighteen freedoms and advantages, which is shown,
by means of cause, examples and numerical comparisons, to be difficult to obtain.
This is something we need to contemplate and meditate on again and again. It is only
a single verse in the text, but we must meditate on it repeatedly.

Then there is the mental support, which is the basis within the mind that is necessary
in order for us to arouse bodhicitta:

Like a flash of lightning on a dark and cloudy night,


Which sheds its brilliant light for just an instant,
Every now and then, through the buddhas power,
A mind of virtue occurs briefly to people of the world.

We have found the right kind of physical support, and sometimes we do feel
compassion, but we need to recognize how amazingly beneficial this is and how rare
it is for such things to occur.

Then, when it comes to the benefits of bodhicitta, there is the explanation of the
change in name and status, and the explanation by means of examples. Through
studying these benefits, we come to be inspired, and think to ourselves, If I have not
cultivated this bodhicitta, which has all these wonderful qualities and advantages, I
must do so!

If we want to cultivate bodhicitta, we need to know the different types of bodhicitta.


So the text explains bodhicitta in aspiration and in action, by saying:

Understand that, briefly stated,


Bodhicitta has two aspects:
The mind aspiring to awaken,
And bodhicitta thats enacted.

Then the text explains the specific benefits of the bodhicitta in aspiration and then
the specific benefits of the bodhicitta in action.

After reading this, you think to yourself, How wonderful it is that I have read this
first chapter of the Bodhicaryvatra. bodhicitta has such incredible benefits! From
now on, I will check my mind every instant to see whether or not bodhicitta has
arisen. This is how to inspire and encourage ourselves.

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When we have developed this inspiration, we consider how all sentient beings
throughout beginningless time, up until the present, face many obstacles to the
practice of Dharmaouter obstacles, inner obstacles and secret obstacles. Where do
these obstacles really come from? They come about because of all the actions that we
have accumulated in the past, our negative harmful acts and all our destructive
emotions. We need to acknowledge and confess these actions. It wouldnt be right if
we failed to do so. So then the text explains the confession of negative actions, which
are incompatible with arousing bodhicitta.

This chapter on confession begins with offering. This includes offerings of things
that we possess and things that are not owned by anyone, as well as the offering of
our own body, and mentally created or imagined offerings. Then there is the offering
of prostration and homage. This is all part of the seven-branch offering. Then there is
refuge.

In the practice of confession itself, we need to ensure that all four powers are
present: the power of support, power of regret, power of resolve and power of action
as an antidote.

Having confessed the negative harmful actions which are incompatible with
bodhicitta, we come to the chapter on fully taking hold of bodhicitta itself. This
includes taking the vows of the bodhicitta of aspiration and action. Before this, there
are the branches of rejoicing, requesting the buddhas to turn the wheel of Dharma,
requesting the buddhas to remain, and the dedication in which we dedicate our body,
possessions and merits to others. Then, when all the incompatible factors have been
confessed and purified and the more conducive positive factors have been assembled
through the seven branches, we come to the actual generation of bodhicitta and the
taking of the bodhisattva vow.

When we have taken the bodhisattva vow, we say to ourselves, From now on, I
have entered the ranks of the bodhisattvas! And then we make a promise or a
commitment to all sentient beings, saying: From now on, I will devote myself
entirely to being of service to you and to benefitting you all! Having done this, we
encourage all others to rejoice in what we have done. This is what it means to take
hold of bodhicitta.

It wont be sufficient to do this just once or twice, because our minds have grown
thoroughly habituated to negative patterns throughout beginningless time. So it is
extremely important that we keep constant watch over our minds. At all times and in
all situations, we need to practise carefulness and to be meticulous about what we do
and what we avoid. We need to make sure that we carry out the positive actions that
are to be adopted and that we shun all negative actions that are to be avoided. That
is covered in the chapter on carefulness or conscientiousness.

If we are not constantly vigilant and watchful, we might incur some fault without

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even realizing it. Our minds cannot stay still even for a moment; they are always
thinking of all sorts of thingspositive, negative and neutral. So unless we are
extremely careful, even if we are not doing anything negative with our body or
speech, we might still do something negative with our minds. That is why we need
to exercise mindfulness and vigilance, as explained in the chapter on vigilance.

At all times, therefore, we must be careful about what we do, and we must keep
guard over our minds.

We never want to suffer, but still we experience suffering. Whenever we suffer, we


find it difficult to bear. We face all kinds of harm from hostile forces in the outer
world and from other beings. We are harmed by sentient beings, and we are harmed
by illness and harmful influences, and secret obstacles and so on. So what do we do
when we face these harms and difficulties? We could get upset or respond with
anger. In these situations, we can reflect, and by doing so we will see the need to
cultivate the patience of putting things in the right perspective. If we cant put this
kind of patience into practicethe patience of making light of what causes us harm
by putting it into perspectivethen we are going to face lots of disturbances, and lots
of obstacles. In order to avoid being harmed by such obstacles, we need to don the
armour of patience. If we do this, we will be able to remain completely unperturbed.

Whenever we are harmed by others, by enemies or illness or harmful influences, we


can recognize that this is simply the result of our own past actions. We might not
think that something is our fault, and we might not even be to blame in the
immediate situation, but if we consider all the lives we have had in samsara
throughout beginningless time, then we can see that at some time or another we
have definitely harmed those who are harming us now. This means that the harms
we face now are part of our karmic debt.

We can also consider that without enemies we would not be able to practise
patience, because there would be no objects to cultivate patience towards. So the
person harming me is actually helping me! If we think like this again and again, we
will no longer feel any anger towards our enemies or those who harm us. After a
while, we wont feel any aversion towards enemies or attachment towards our
friends, and we will start to develop equanimity. Finally, we will recognize the
kindness of those who harm us, and by remembering their kindness, we will feel a
sense of joy and compassion. When this happens, our patience will grow stronger
and stronger and we will no longer be harmed at all. What might have harmed us in
the past will no longer have any effect on us at all. Our patience will be like
impenetrable armour. When there is no longer anything that can harm us and our
minds are completely unperturbed, as immovable as Mount Meru, we feel
tremendous courage.

When we have developed this courage, then whenever we face negative situations
we wont respond with anger, because we will have some form of the pramit of

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patience. Nevertheless, whenever we meet attractive objects (pleasant sights, sounds,
smells, tastes or textures) or attractive people, we might become distracted, and this
would become an obstacle to our attaining enlightenment.

Sometimes we might also experience laziness. We might think, The Dharma is so


difficult. I will never be able to practise it. This is the laziness of self-
discouragement. Then again, sometimes we might start all kinds of meaningless
projects, thinking they are important, and put our energy into them. This might look
like diligence, but it is really a form of laziness, the laziness of being attracted to
negative behaviour. For example, while we are supposed to be studying, reflecting
and meditating, we might get distracted and think that we should devote our time to
learning something else, like painting, or writing, or something like that. When this
happens, we are no longer diligent in reciting prayers or practising meditation.

The laziness of self-discouragement occurs when, for example, we think, Oh, these
bodhisattva activities are only for special beings. I am just an ordinary person. How
could I ever manage to do such things! With this, we only discourage ourselves.
Then there is also the laziness of inactivity, which is to think, I wont do this today.
Ill take a break today and do this tomorrow. Then when the next day comes, we
think, I wont do this today after all. But I will definitely do it tomorrow. This
constant procrastination is also a form of laziness. The antidote to these different
kinds of laziness is diligence, which is defined as taking delight in what is
wholesome. It is a heartfelt delight or enthusiasm for all the virtues of body, speech
and mind, with which we think, I must practise this!

If we have this kind of diligence then it spurs us on and encourages us, and we are
able to accomplish any task, no matter what it might be.

Even when we have this diligence, we might still find that our minds are not always
stable, calm and still. In particular, whenever we come into contact with attractive
objects, our attention might be swept away by them. This is what we call
distraction. The antidote to this is meditative concentration. This means not being
distracted by outer objects, and our attention being concentrated within and held,
with one-pointed focus, on a particular object. In order to perfect this kind of
meditative concentration, we must first train in amatha. In order to practise virtue
we need a mind that is really workable and pliable, but at first the mind is not really
like this, so in order to make the mind more workable we practise focusing one-
pointedly on a particular object. Then, whether we are practising amatha with an
object or amatha without an object, the mind will not be distracted by outer objects.
But it is not enough simply to avoid being distracted by outer phenomena; we also
need to ensure that our meditation is free from the faults of dullness, agitation and
lethargy. For this, we need to employ the techniques of the six powers and four
mental engagements, in order to go through the nine ways of resting the mind. Then
we will be able to practise amatha well.

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When we accomplish amatha to some degree, so that our minds are workable, and
we can direct them and focus them as we wish, then we can practise the union of
amatha and vipayan, or alternate between amatha and vipayan. We can focus
on the wisdom that realizes selflessness, and practise by alternating resting (or
settling) meditation and analytical meditation. At first we establish selflessness by
means of analysis, then when we arrive at some certainty about it, we gain the
wisdom of vipayan, and when we settle and focus the mind upon the basis of this
wisdom of vipayan, that is settling meditation. By practising these two, one after
another, we can arrive at the union of amatha and vipayan. Through this, it is
said, we will progress step by step and reach the various paths and stages.

| Translated by Adam Pearcey, Rigpa Translations, 2008, from an audio recording. Many thanks to Alak
Zenkar Rinpoche for granting permission to make this available.

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Light from the Wisdom Sun

A Sdhana of Noble Majur, Supreme Deity of Deities


by Alak Zenkar Rinpoche


Wisdom of the infinite buddhas all gathered into one,


Treasury of the wheels of inexhaustible adornments,


Foremost friend to all beings, teacher to all three worlds,


You who are inseparable from Majughoa, to you I bow!


Here I shall set down a brief method for accomplishing Noble Majughoa, consisting of preparation, main part
and conclusion.


The first part, the preparation, includes the refuge and bodhichitta and the seven branch practice.

1. Taking Refuge and Arousing Bodhichitta


namo sangye ch tsok kndp
Namo! I take refuge in Majughoa,


jampalyang la kyab su chi
Embodiment of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.


dro nam changchub tob chirdu
So that all beings may attain enlightenment,

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jampal drub la tsnpar gyi
I shall exert myself in the practice of Majur!

2. The Seven Branch Practice


ng sham yitrul chp tsok
Plentiful gifts, both actual and imagined,


miz dz kyi khorlor bul
As an inexhaustible treasury, I offer.


shying gi dul ny l trul n
Emanating bodies as numerous as atoms in the universe,


go sum gp chaktsal lo
I offer homage, as devotion fills my body, speech and mind.


ch rang khana mato kn
All wrongs, whether naturally harmful or transgressions,


nong shying gyp sem kyi shak
I confess, my mind overflowing with regret and remorse.


mikm yeshe dampa dang
Genuine wisdom that is beyond all concepts,


snam g la yi rang ngo
And ordinary merit tooin all forms of virtue, I rejoice!


rikchen nam la gang tsampar
In accordance with the capacities of beings,

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ch kyi khorlo korwar kul
Turn the wheel of Dharma, I implore you!


dampa nya ngen da shy nam
Great saints intent on passing into nirvana:


jisi bardu shyuk su sol
Stay until the very ends of existence, I pray!


di tsn g tsok ji sakpa
All the virtue this represents, all that has been amassed,


lam changchub tob chir ngo
I dedicate towards unsurpassed enlightenment.

The Main Practice


rang dn namkhar ja long
In the space before me, amidst an expanse of rainbow light,


p d den la kechik gi
Upon seats of lotus and moon-disc, there instantly appears


pakchok jetsn jampal yang
The supreme and noble Majughoa,


shyal chik chak nyi dzum shyalchen
With one face, two hands and a smiling expression.


chak y raldri yn pema
He wields a sword in his right hand, and clasps a lotus with his left.

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shyab nyi kyiltrung longch dzok
His two legs are crossed, and he in sambhogakya form,


dar dang rinchen gyen gyi tr
His body bedecked with the silk and jewel adornments.


tong sal kyi kyilkhor chen
Empty yet appearing, with a mandala of light,


sangye changsem drubp tsok
He is encircled completely


nam kyi yongsu korwar sam
By buddhas, bodhisattvas and accomplished adepts.


tuk da teng dhih yik l
In his hearts centre, upon a lunar disc, is a syllable Dh,


tr dak la timpa yi
Radiating light, which dissolves into me.


choktn ngdrub kn tob n
Through this, may I gain all supreme and ordinary siddhis,


drib nyi mnpa kn sel shying
May the darkness of the two veils be dispelled entirely,


shej n nam khyenpa yi
May the eight treasures of perfect eloquence,


pobp ter gy drolwa dang
Which are born of universal knowledge, be released,

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dn nyi lhn gyi drubpar shok
And may I spontaneously fulfill my own and others aims.


om ah ra pa tsa na dhih
o arapacana dh
After reciting the mantra, continue the practice with:

Conclusion
This has four parts.

1. Offering and Praise


nang shying sip ch nam kn
The whole of appearance and existence,


tingdzin chtrin gyatso yi
Filled with clouds of offerings through samadhi


kang t jetsn jamyang la
To you, Noble Majur, I offer


chp snam tsok dzok shok
Through this, may I perfect the accumulation of merit!


om arya manjushri argham padam pushpe dhupe aloke gandhe naivedye shabda
pratitccha svaha


s ch gyalwa tamch kyi
Embodiment of all the enlightened activity

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trinl chikd drow gn
Of all the buddhas and their bodhisattva heirs


jetsn jampal pawo la
Brave warrior Majur, to you


chok tu dep chaktsal t
With the utmost faith and devotion, I offer homage and praise!

2. Prayer


deng n tserab tamch du
From now on, throughout all my lives,


jetsn khy kyi jezung n
May you always care for and protect me,


ch ts tsom la tokm p
And grant me the wisdom of a lord of speech


maw wangchuk sherab tsol
Unhindered in explanation, debate and composition.

3. Dissolution


z n tenjung nangnyen du
From the very beginning, as a reflection of dependent origination,


sharw yeshe gyum ku
Arisen, illusory body of wisdom,

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trdral jamyang khy nyi ni
Beyond all conceptual elaboration. Majur, you


mach deshyin long du tim
Dissolve into the expanse of unaltered suchness.

4. Dedication of Merit


di drubpa l jungwa yi
May whatever sources of virtue there may be


getsa jiny chipa kn
Arising through this practice


dro nam jampal pawo yi
All be dedicated so that beings everywhere


gopang chok la g chir ngo
May attain the supreme status of the warrior Majur.


Aboard the great ship of the three marvellous wisdoms


May all beings set sail, and propelled by the golden oars of aspiration


May they cross over the ocean of existence


To reach the primordial kingdom.



It had been my intention for some time to compose this sdhana of Majur entitled Light from Wisdoms Sun, but

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then, in response to the requests of Dechen Drim,1 I, Thupten Lungrik Maw Nyima,2 composed this. May it be the
cause for all beings arriving at the level of the warrior Majur.
| Translated by Adam Pearcey 2009. With many thanks to Alak Zenkar Rinpoche for kindly granting the reading
transmission and correcting errors in the text.

1. Dechen Drim was Alak Zenkar Rinpoches disciplinary tutor.

2. Rinpoche composed the text when he was fifteen years old, c. 1958.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.

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