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Buddha of Compassion
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The Great Perfection: dzogchen Teachings
His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Dzogchen (Great Perfection) Practice
The Special Features of Dzogchen
In the early translation school of the Nyingma, a system of nine yanas is taught. Three of these - the paths of the Sravaka,
pratyekabuddha, and bodhisattva - constitute the sutra tradition, while the tantric tradition consists of six levels - the three
outer tantras and the three inner tantras. The tradition of Dzogchen, or Atiyoga, is considered to be the pinnacle of these
nine yanas. The other, lower, yanas are said to be philosophical systems that depend on ordinary consciousness, and so the path
is based on that ordinary consciousness. Here the distinction being made is between ordinary mind - sem -
and pure awareness - rigpa. The ninth yana, the most majestic, is beyond ordinary consciousness,
for its path is based on rigpa, not on the ordinary mind.
Throughout beginningless time, there has always been present, within us all, a pure awareness - that in-dwelling rigpa which
in Atiyoga is evoked in all its nakedness, and which constitutes the practice.
...The ground for all the phenomena of samsara and nirvana is the fundamental innate mind of clear light, and these phenomena are its radiance or display.
While we are following the path, in order for all the impure aspects of our experience to be purified
on the basis of that rigpa - or, you can say, that fundamental innate mind of clear light - there is no other means apart
from that fundamental and innate state itself, which is therefore the very essence of the path.
Finally, when the fruition is made fully evident, it is just this fundamental innate mind of clear light itself,
free from obscuration, that constitutes the attainment of fruition.
...Any given state of consciousness is permeated by the clear light of rigpa's pure awareness. However solid ice may be,
it never loses its true nature, which is water. In the same way, even very obvious concepts... arise within the expanse of rigpa
and that is where they dissolve. On this point, Dodrupchen Jikme Tenpe Nyima says that all objects of knowledge are
permeated by clear light, just as a sesame seed is permeated by its oil. Therefore, even while the coarser states of the
six consciousnesses are functioning, their subtle aspect - that of clear light - can be directly introduced by means of
those states themselves, through blessings and through pith instructions.
Here lies the extraordinary and profound implication of the Dzogchen teachings. When you are basing your path on the
fundamental innate mind of clear light, you will employ skilful means to block the coarse and subtle states of energy and mind,
as a result of which the state of clear light becomes evident, and on this you base your path.
But in Dzogchen, even while the six consciousnesses are fully functioning, by means of those very states you can be
directly introduced to their subtle aspect of clear light in your immediate experience, and you then meditate by
focusing one-pointedly on that aspect. As you meditate in this way, resting in this non-conceptual state, gradually
your experience of clear light becomes increasingly profound, while coarser thoughts and concepts dwindle away.
The most difficult task is to differentiate between ordinary mind and rigpa. It is easy enough to talk about it.
You can say, for example, that rigpa has never been confused, while ordinary mind has fallen under the influence of
concepts and is mired in confusion. But to be introduced to the direct experience of the essence of rigpa
is far from being easy.
And so Dodrupchen says that although your arrogance might be such that you assume you are meditating
on the ultimate meaning of rigpa, there is a danger that "you could end up meditating on the clear, empty qualities
of your ordinary mind, which even non-Buddhist practitioners are capable of doing."
He is warning us to be careful.
-- from Dzogchen: The Heart Essence of the Great Perfection by His Holiness the Dalai Lama,
translated by Geshe Thubten Jinpa and Richard Barron (Chökyi Nyima), edited by Patrick Gaffney,
published by Snow Lion Publications
A Yearning Song of Prayer to Invoke the Wisdom Mind
of the Compassionate Teacher Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche)
by His Holiness the Dalai Lama
The absolute, which is beyond all limits and extremes is the fundamental nature of clear light,
The perfect sambhogakaya is resplendent with the spontaneously present major and minor marks,
And the nirmanakaya manifests in various forms to suit the different characters of beings—
You who are the mighty Lord of Sages, guard us at all times with your infinite compassion!
As the miraculous display of the wisdom, love and power of all the victorious buddhas,
Glorious and resplendent, for all living beings in the land of Tibet, you appeared,
Supremely accomplished and gracious master, Lake-born Vajra (Tsokyé Dorje)—
Now we cry out to you with this, our heartfelt plea: hold us in your compassion!
Embodiments of the five kayas, those who have reached perfect realization and abandonment,
View all with equanimity, and are entirely beyond all forms of partiality;
Even so, as a result of interdependent factors, such as the temperaments of beings,
You came to be the lord and protector over all who live within the Land of Snows.
In particular, when King Trisong Detsen and his son, the prince,
Urged you to care for the land of Tibet with your compassion,
You gave them your word, your unfailing pledge, that you would always work for our benefit,
And so now we call upon you: care for us with your compassion!
Destitute, forced into meaningless and worthless labours and reduced to misery,
The people live in constant fear of accusation, violence and other threats to life,
And the land itself has become like the terrible realm of Yama, Lord of Death—
O Dharma practitioners of the Land of Snows, where did we go wrong?
As a result of the impure actions we have committed in the past,
For decades now, we have endured so many sufferings, hard to even think about,
And we are worn down by all our experiences—such is our plight, our desperate situation.
Now we call out to you: look upon us with your special care, you who are a treasury of love and compassion!
Alas! The force of negative actions is powerful indeed!
Yet do not faith, positive intentions, concern for others and the force of blessings
Also have their power? So help us now to create the right circumstances,
In which our virtues will swiftly bear their fruit and bring us the fulfilment of our wishes!
Through the power and blessings of the Guru, the Three Jewels and all the oath-bound guardians of Tibet,
Together with the force of the devotion and commitment of the people of this Land of Snows,
And the strength of the infallible truths of cause and effect, appearance and emptiness,
May all our deepest wishes and aspirations swiftly be fulfilled!
This “Yearning Song of Prayer to Invoke the Wisdom Mind of the Compassionate Teacher Padmasambhava”
was composed in response to requests made by members of the Cabinet (kashag) and the Department of Religious Affairs
on the tenth day of the monkey month in the year of the Iron Monkey (1980). I, the Buddhist monk Tenzin Gyatso,
also saw the need for a prayer such as this, to the great Master Padmasambhava, in order to overcome those forces opposed
to the Dharma within the Land of Snows by means of compassion and love, and so I made this prayer of aspiration
on the 14th day of the 10th month of the same year with intense faith and longing.
Translated by Adam of the Lotsawa Group
Khenchen (Head Professor) Tsewang Gyatso Rinpoche is the spiritual director of Palyul Changchub Dargyeling Meditation
and Study Centers in the United States. His Holiness Penor Rinpoche (founder and head of Namdroling Monastery, Bylakuppe, India,
see www.palyul.org) has authorized Khenchen Tsewang Gyatso Rinpoche to represent Namdroling Monastery
and to teach, confer empowerments and to give personal instruction in Buddhist practice.
Khenchen Tsewang Gyatso Rinpoche is the representative of His Holiness Penor Rinpoche in the US.
He is an authentic and qualified teacher, a recognized scholar and accomplished Dzogchen master.
Khenchen Rinpoche is also one of the three senior Khenpos (Professors) at Ngagyur Institute at Namdroling Monastery
in India; where he is responsible for the last three years of the nine year training for Buddhist shedra (seminary) students.
Khenchen Rinpoche has been teaching in West for over 20 years; and his fluent English, sense of humor and deep insight
into Western culture make him a reputable and popular teacher. He graduated at the top of all four traditions of
Tibetan Buddhism in shedra (seminary school) and was awarded the Silver Medal
for academic accomplishment by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Khenchen Tsewang Gyatso Rinpoche has been our best-kept 'secret' in the US! His ability to simply and easily explain
and teach even the most complicated concepts in a very condensed form has led to his teaching commitments growing
expotentially beyond the US. This year, he is traveling and teaching in India, Singapore,
Taiwan, the Philippines, Germany and Australia, as well as the US.
Khenchen Tsewang Gyatso Rinpoche has received all of the major lineage empowerments and transmissions of the Nyingma
school and Palyul lineage and has done intensive dzogchen practice under the guidance of His Holiness Penor Rinpoche
and other eminent dzogchen masters including Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche,
Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche, Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche and Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche.
Palyul Changchub Dargyeling Dallas is honored to have Khenchen Rinpoche as Spiritual Director.
Instructions for Spiritual Practice by Shakyamuni Buddha
from the Kalama Sutta (Anguttara Nikaya Vol. 1, 188-193 P.T.S. Ed.)
Do not believe in anything (simply) because you have heard it.
Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.
Do not believe in anything because it is spoken and rumored by many.
Do not believe in anything (simply) because it is found written in your religious books.
Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.
But after observation and analysis when you find that anything agrees with reason
and it is conductive to the good and benefit of one and all –
then accept it and live up to it.
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