Buddhist Daily Practice
Daily Practice from the Dalai Lama
The Dalai Lama has asked that the following practice be shared with as many people as possible. A group recently spent five days visiting with the Dalai Lama focusing upon what they believe are the five most important questions to be considered as we move into the millenium.
The five questions were:
1. How do we address the widening gap between
rich and poor?
2. How do we protect the earth?
3. How do we educate our children?
4. How do we help Tibet and other oppressed countries and peoples of the world?
5. How do we bring spirituality (deep caring for one another) through all disciplines of life?
The Dalai Lama said all five questions fall under the last one. If we have true compassion in our hearts, our children will be educated wisely, we will care for the earth, those who "have not" will be cared for. The group asked the Dalai Lama, "Do you think love on the planet is increasing or staying the same? His response: "My experience leads me to believe that love IS increasing."
He shared a simple practice that will increase love and compassion in the world. He asked everyone in the group to share it with as many people as they can.
1. Spend 5 minutes at the beginning of each
day remembering we all want the same things (to be happy and to be loved)
and we are all connected to one another.
2. Spend 5 minutes breathing in cherishing yourself, and breathing out cherishing others. If you think about people you have difficulty cherishing, extend your cherishing to them anyway.
3. During the day extend that attitude to everyone you meet. Practice cherishing the "simplest" person (clerks, attendants, etc.) as well as the "important" people in your life, cherish the people you love and the people you dislike.
4. Continue this practice no matter what happens or what anyone does to you. These thoughts are very simple, inspiring and helpful.
The practice of cherishing can be taken very deep if done wordlessly, allowing yourself to feel the love and appreciation that already exists in your heart. Will you commit to creating Peace in yourself and thereby "On Earth" by spending 10 minutes a day with this simple meditation? Peace on Earth, Good will To All. It's not a season. It's a daily practice. Please pass this on to as many people as you can.
This Practice Found at: http://www.silcom.com/~snospx/events.htm
Preliminary Practices - Ngondro - pp154-55
For the masters introduction to be fully effective however the right conditions or environment. Only a few special individuals in history, because of their purified karma, have been able to recognize and become enlightened in an instant; and so the introduction must always be preceded by the following preliminaries. It is these preliminaries that purify and peel away the ordinary mind and bring you to the state where in your Rigpa can be revealed to you.
First meditation, the supreme antidote to distraction, brings the mind home and enables it to settle into it's natural state.
Second, deep practices of purification, and the strengthening the positive karma through the accumulation of merit and wisdom, start to wear away and dissolve the emotional and intellectual veils that obscure the nature of mind. As my master Jamyang Khentse wrote:
"If the obscurations are removed, the wisdom of one's own Rigpa will naturally shine."
These purification practices, called Ngondro in Tibetan, have been skillfully designed to effect a comprehensive inner transformation. They involve the entire being - body, speech, and mind - and begin with a series of deep contemplations on:
These reflections inspire a strong sense of "renunction," an urgent desire to emerge from samsara and follow the path of liberation, which forms the foundation for the specific practices of
All these practices build up to and center around Guru Yoga, which is the most crucial, moving and powerful practice of all, indispensable for the opening the heart and mind to the realization of the state of Dzogchen.
Third, a special meditative investigation into the nature of mind exhausts the mind's restless hunger for thinking and research, and its dependence on analysis, and references, and awakens a personal realization of the nature of emptiness.
I cannot stress strongly enough how important these preliminaries are. They have to work hand in hnad systematically, to inspire the student to awaken the nature of mind, and to enable the student to be ready and prepared when the master chooses the time to show himor her the original face of Rigpa.
Source: Above excerpts from "The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying ~Sogyal Rinpoche Rider Paperback - 7 May, 1998 - Paperback - 440 pages new edition (7 May, 1998) Rider; ISBN: 0712671390 (read more - amazon.co.uk)
The Three Causal Ve
1. The BASE - The primordial State or Base (Xi) of every individual
2. The PATH - lam
3. Realization or The FRUIT (Drasbu)
Source: The Crystal and the Way of Light -Sutra, Tantra and Dzogchen, The Teachings of Namkhai Norbu
Chöd is one of the four daily offerings of the Bön tradition. The other three are smoke offering (sang chöd), water offering, and burnt food offering (sur chöd). In the chöd practice we transform into the deity and cut our illusory body and offer it to all the enlightened and sentient beings. Offering our body (lu gyin) in this way allows us to cut attachment to ego and cultivate generosity toward others. Through this practice we cut through our misunderstanding of our own real condition and reconnect to our own true nature. There are many chöd liturgies within the Bön tradition. "Laughter of the Skygoers" was composed by Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen, who achieved the rainbow body in 1934. This is the sadhana currently used at both Bönpo Monasteries of Menri (Himachal Pradesh, India) and Triten Norbutse (Kathmandu, Nepal).
Indigenous healing and spiritual traditions around the world are based on an understanding of the five elements. In the Tibetan tradition, these are known as space, air, fire, water and earth, and are understood as the underlying energies from which the physical world, our bodies, our emotions, and our minds arise. The elements are addressed in all nine levels of teachings of Bön, including shamanism, tantra and Dzogchen.
The Experiential Transmission Part 1: Ngondro
The Ngöndro or 'foundational practices' comprise the first chapter of the Experiential Transmission of Zhang Zhung (Zhang zhung nyams rgyud), a Bön Dzogchen text that delineates a complete path to liberation for a practitioner to follow. This Ngöndro has nine practices, divided in three sets of three. The first set contains the practices for taming oneself, the second set for purifying oneself, and the third set of three for perfecting oneself. Rinpoche and all the lamas of our tradition emphasize the importance of the ngondro as the way to enter the dharma. These practices are not only the key to liberation but they are the life-long companion to the practitioner.
Zhine: Calm Abiding Zhine, the practice of calm abiding, develops concentration and mental stability. "Concentration practices such as zhiné are found in many traditions, for example, Sutric and Tantric Buddhism and the many forms of Hinduism. In all these traditions, it is considered a necessary and fundamental practice. In Dzogchen, zhiné is considered a preparation for the essential practice of contemplation. In fact, it is very difficult to get very far in the practice of Dzogchen contemplation without first having practiced." - Wonders of the Natural Mind, pg. 79. "Once we have achieved a strong and reliable steadiness in calm presence, we can develop this steadiness in all aspects of life. When stable, this presence can always be found, and we will not be carried away by thoughts and emotions." - The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep, pg. 89.
There are chapters in each of the books by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, Wonders of the Natural Mind, and The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep, in which the practice is described as well as advice given on how to overcome the obstacles that may arise in practice.
Six Sessions: Short Meditation The Meditation Practice in Six Sessions is a Dzogchen contemplative practice compiled by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche for his students. It consists of the Nine Breathings of Purification, Securing a Boundary, Guru Yoga, Refuge, Bodhicitta, and Contemplative Breathing Practice. "In Dzogchen, nyamshag, contemplation, has a precise and specific meaning. It indicates presence in the state of the inseparability of clarity and emptiness. In the symbolic language of Dzogchen, this is the 'union of mother and son.' Contemplation is the foremost Dzogchen practice. What we must develop as Dzogchen practitioners is the contemplation of the inseparability of emptiness and clarity in the natural state of mind. As these are already inseparable, in Dzogchen we do not try to unite them, as Tantric practitioners do, but simply to recognize their indivisibility." -- from "Wonders of the Natural Mind" by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche (pgs 90-91) As with all practices, if one wishes to truly engage with them, it is necessary to receive transmission (permission/blessing) by a qualified Bon teacher. With regards to this booklet, it is available to those who have not received the transmission but who intend to do so.
The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep It is said that the practice of dream yoga deepens our awareness during all our experiences: the dreams of the night; the dream-like experience of the day; and the bardo experiences of death. The practices of dream and sleep are powerful tools of awakening, used for hundreds of years by the great masters of the Tibetan traditions. Unlike the Western psychological approach to dreams where the content of the dream is interpreted for meaning, the ultimate goal of Tibetan dream and sleep yogas is the recognition of the nature of mind itself, or enlightenment. Extensive teachings on the Tibetan yogas of dream and sleep can be found in the Mother Tantra of the Bön tradition. "The Mother Tantra says that if one is not aware in vision, it is unlikely that one will be aware in behavior. If one is not aware in behavior, one is unlikely to be aware in dream. And if one is not aware in dream, then one is unlikely to be aware in the bardo after death." -- The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep, by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, pgs. 81-82.
: Atiyoga is a means to liberate the meaning of primordial Buddhahood into its own state, and it is the nature of freedom from abandonments and acceptances and expectations and fears. The six million four hundred verses of Atiyoga scriptures are divided into three divisions by Jampal Shenyen.
These divisions are:
The first two of these were introduced into Tibet by Vairochana; the third by Vimalamitra. Those teachings that were originally transmitted by Padmasambhava and then hidden in various places in Tibet are also part of the Series of Secret Instructions. This kind of text, known as "terma" (gter ma) or "treasures," began to be rediscovered from the 13th century onwards. Those texts which, on the other hand, were transmitted orally from the time of Garab Dorje onwards, are known as the "oral tradition" (bka' ma).
There are two major categories of training in Mengagde:
(a). Thregchod (Cutting Through): there are four stages of realizations through meditation: dwelling, unmoving, equalness, and spontaneity.
(b). Thodgal (the Direct Approach): there six crucial means of training, the four visions arise gradually. The four visions are: the direct realization of Ultimate Nature, development of Experiences, perfection of Intrinsic Awareness, and Dissolution of phenomena into the Ultimate Nature.
Thodgal is for breaking out of the cycle of existences (samsara) by directly experience of "naked," or "ordinary," mind, which is the basis of all activities of consciousness. In addition to approaches of this kind that are oriented toward emptiness and intended to be applied without goal-oriented effort, Thregchod places the emphasis on the clear light aspect of primordial knowledge. Their goal is realization of the "rainbow body," i.e., the dissolution of the physical body that is, of the four elements that constitute the body into light.
A daily meditation on Vajrasattva, the diety of Purification. Includes instructions for visualization as taught by Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche, and the Hundred-syllable Mantra. Note: You MUST recieve empowerment from a qualified Lama or Rinpoche to practice this sadhana. http://members.tripod.com/~Vajra108/vajrasattva.html
http://members.tripod.com/~Vajra108/padmas.html Guru Rinpoche Sadhana -A daily meditation on Guru Rinpoche, Padmasambhava. Padmasambhava was an 8th century Indian Master who brought buddhism to Tibet. Includes the Seven-Line Prayer, Instructions for visualization as taught by Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche, and the Twelve-syllable Mantra.
"When the iron bird flies and horses run on wheels, the people of Tibet will be scattered like ants across the world and the dharma will come to the land of the red man." --Guru Padmasambhava, Eighth century. OM AH HUM VAJRA GURU PADMA SIDDHI HUNG!
Various Aspects of
by His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche
Translated by Gavin Kilty. Prepared by Michael Lewis.
Printed in From Tushita,
edited and published by Michael Hellbach, Tushita Editions, 1977.
The Relationship between Buddhist Tantra and Hindu Tantra
Although some scholars
have maintained that Buddhist tantra was derived from Hinduism, this is
not correct. The theory, prevalent among those who adhere to the tenets
of the Hinayana, is based on a superficial resemblance of various elements
of the two systems, such as the forms of the deities, the meditations on
psychic veins and airs, the fire rituals, etc. Though certain practices,
like the repetition of mantras, are common to both Hindu and Buddhist tantric
traditions their interpretation, i.e. the inner meaning, is vastly different.
Furthermore, Buddhist tantra is superior because, unlike Hinduism, it contains
the three principal aspects of the Path: renunciation, the enlightened attitude
and the right philosophy.
To elaborate: as even animals want freedom from suffering, there are non-Buddhist practitioners who wish to be free from contaminated feelings of happiness and so cultivate the preparatory state of the fourth absorption (Dhyana). There are even some non-Buddhists who temporarily renounce contaminated feelings of happiness and attain levels higher than the four absorptions. However, only the Buddhists renounce all these as well as neutral feelings and all-pervasive suffering. Then by meditating on the sufferings together with their causes, which are mental defilements, they can be abandoned forever. This is why, while non-Buddhists meditate on the form and formless states and attain the peak of worldly existence, samadhi, they cannot abandon the mental defilements of this state. So, when they meet with the right circumstances anger and the other passions develop, karma is created and the wheel of the circle of rebirth begins to turn.
Because of this and similar reasons, such practices are not fit to be included in the Mahayana. They resemble neither the common sutra path comprising: the attitude of renunciation which wishes for freedom from the cycle of rebirths; the wisdom which correctly understands egolessness, which is the right philosophy acting as an opponent to ignorance-the root of cyclic existence; and the development of the mind which aims for complete enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings; nor do they resemble the practices of the exclusive tantric path of the Great Vehicle.
The Origin of Tantra
The tantras were spoken by the Buddha himself in the form of his supreme manifestation as a monk, also as the great Vajradhara and in various manifestations of the central deity of specific mandalas. The great beings, Manjushri, Samantabhadra, Vajrapani and others, urged by the Buddha, also taught some tantras.
In terms of the four classes of tantra, the Kriya tantras were taught by the Buddha in the form of a monk, in the realm of the thirty-three gods on the summit of Mt. Meru, and in the human world where Manjushri and others were the chief hearers.
The Pung-Zang tantras were taught in the realm of Vajrapani. Others were taught by the teacher, Buddha himself, and with his blessings some were explained by Avalokiteshvara, Manjushri and Vajrapani while others were spoken by worldly gods.
The Carya tantras were also taught by the teacher Buddha in the form of his supreme manifestation in the celestial realms and in the realm called Base and Essence Adorned with Flowers.
The Yoga tantras were taught by the Enlightened One when he arose in the form of the central deity of each mandala in such places as the summit of Mt. Meru and in the fifth celestial realm of desire.
The Anuttara tantras were also taught by the Buddha. In the land of Ögyan the Buddha, having manifested the mandala of Guhyasamaja, taught King Indrabodhi this tantra. The Yamantaka tantras were taught by the teacher Buddha at the time of the subduing of the demonic forces and they were requested by either the consort of Yamantaka or by the consort of Kalacakra. The Hevajra tantra was taught by Lord Buddha when he arose in the form of Hevajra in the land of Madgadha at the time of destroying the four maras. The tantra was requested by Vajragarbha and by the consort of Hevajra. Having been requested by Vajra Yogini, the Buddha, in the manifestation as Heruka on the summit of Mt. Meru, taught the root tantra of Heruka and, when requested by Vajrapani, taught the explanatory tantra. As for the Kalacakra tantra, the mighty Buddha went south to the glorious shrine of Dharnacotaka and there, manifesting the mandala of the Dharmadhatu speech surmounted by the mandala of Kalacakra, taught this tantra to King Chandrabhadra and others. Although he appeared in many different manifestations, actually the tantras were taught by the enlightened teacher, Lord Buddha.
What happens during an initiation
In the initiations of each of the four classes of tantra there are many differences, some great and some small, and so therefore one initiation is not sufficient for all mandalas. At the time of initiation some fortunate and qualified disciples, when receiving the initiation from a qualified master, develop the wisdom of the initiation in their mind streams. Unless this happens, sitting in initiation rows and experiencing the initiations of the vase and water, etc. will implant instincts to listen to the Dharma but little else. An initiation is necessary to study tantra because if the secrets of tantra are explained to someone who has not received initiation, the guru commits the seventh tantric root downfall and the explanation will be of no benefit whatsoever to the mind of the disciple.
The relationship between Sutra and Tantra
and bodhicitta, there is no difference between Sutrayana and Tantrayana,
but regarding conduct there is. Three kinds of conduct have been taught:
the disciple who admires and has faith in the Hinayana should separate himself
from all desires; the disciple who admires the Mahayana should traverse
the stages and practice the perfections; while he who admires the deep teachings
of tantra should work with the conduct of the path of desire.
From the point of view of the philosophy, there is no difference in emptiness as an object of cognition but there is a difference in the method of its realization.
In the sutra tradition the conscious mind engages in meditative equipoise on emptiness, while in tantra the innate wisdom, an extremely subtle mind, is involved and the difference therefore is great. The main practice of Sutrayana, engaging in the path as a cause to achieve the form body and wisdom body of a buddha, is the accumulation of wisdom and virtue for three countless eons and the accomplishment of one's own buddhafields. Therefore, Sutrayana is known as the causal vehicle. In tantra one concentrates and meditates, even while still a beginner, on the four complete purities which are similar to the resultthat is, the completely pure body, pure realm, pure possessions and pure deeds of an enlightened being. Thus tantra is known as the resultant vehicle.
The Four Traditions
As for the sutra tradition, the explanation of the Hinayana and Mahayana is the same in all the four great traditions. Also, as far as the preliminary practices are concerned, there are no differences apart from the names. In the Gelug tradition they are called the Stages of the Path of the Three Motives; in the Kargyü they are known as the Four Ways to Change the Mind; the Sakya refer to Separation from the Four Attachments; while the Dri-gung Kargyu speak of the Four Dharmas of Dag-pa and the Five of Dri-gung.
In tantra, the individual master's way of leading the disciples on the path depends on his experience and the instructions of the tantric root texts, together with the commentaries of the great practitioners. These result in the entrance into practice being taught a little differently. However, all are the same in leading to the final attainment of the state of Vajradhara.
Gyud, or Tantra, is one of the most profound teachings in the Yungdrung Bön tradition. Such teachings take place against a backdrop of belief in the notion of Samsara (Cyclic Existence), whereby sentient beings go through a succession of rebirths within the various modes of existence. The type of birth which one takes within Samsara is believed to be determined by the karma one has accumulated over previous lifetimes. The ultimate aim of all sentient beings is said to be to liberate themselves permanently from the suffering of Samsara. This is done by achieving Sang-gye (Enlightenment) / Buddha-hood. It is believed that liberation from Samsara / Buddha-hood may be achieved through three paths:
1) Panglam the Renunciation Path
2) Gyur-lam the Transformation Path (known as Ngag in Tibetan or Tantra in Sanskrit)
3) Drol-lam the Liberation Path.
Of the three paths, Gyur-lam and Drol-lam are the most subtle and difficult. Unlike Panglam, which is the safest path generally taking many life-times for the attainment of Enlightenment Gyur-lam and Drol-lam have the great advantage of allowing the practitioner to attain Enlightenment in this very life and body.
The aim of Ngag or Tantric practices then, is to transform ones body, speech and mind into those of a fully enlightened Buddha. This can be achieved by following practices which have been very carefully prescribed and passed down through the centuries.
In selecting a tantric
teacher, one should take care to ensure that one is being taught by a fully
qualified Lama who stands in the unbroken succession of the Masters of the
Teaching. Khemsar Rinpoche is one such Master.
Tantric masters give their teachings in three main way ways:
1) Wang (Empowerment) through which the master empowers the student to meditate on a deity etc.
2) Loong (Transmission) in which the master bestows the blessing of the text containing the tantric teachings.
3) Trid (Instruction)
whereby the master explains the method of practising the particular
During this retreat, Rinpoche will be giving Wang, Lung and Trid and, in the course of doing so, will cover vital meditative points, such as ones Nature of the Mind from the Ma-gyud text entitled Ma-gyud Thug-je Nyi-mei Drol-lam Rin-chen Phur-kyen. He shall also introduce his students to the Kyil-khor (mandala), the Lha-tsog (pantheon) and the Yi-dams (personal deities) in this case, the Yab (male figure) being Yi-dam Sang-chok Gyal-po and the Yum (female figure) being Kha-dro Kye-ma Wöd-tso both of whom are central to the practice.
Finally he shall impart Ma-gyuds consolidated practice, known as Ma-gyud Gong-Chhöd Nam-som The Threefold Inner Nature Practice of Mother Tantra - thus providing the student with tantric keys with which to open the door to Enlightenment / Buddha-hood. It is then up to the student whether he or she shall be able to turn the key in the lock in order to effect the transformation. The oil which eases the turning of the key, or the transformation process, is that of sustained practice.
http://www.yungdrungbon.com/schedule.htm LAMA KHEMSAR RINPOCHE
As with learning anything new, it is essential to have a starting point, or foundation, upon which to build, and this is the primary purpose of the Ngon-dro Foundation Teachings. It is through them that we are introduced to the hooks upon which to hang all of the subsequent teachings. Rinpoche points out that it is during the Ngon-dro that one is given all the background information and introduced to the different deities, practices and so on. It therefore follows that one is at a distinct disadvantage if one has not completed them, prior to proceeding to more advanced teachings, since the necessary hooks will be lacking. Also as these are the foundations upon which all the other teachings are built, it is essential to ensure that they are strong and capable of supporting further building and this is achieved through regular practice. Without this, Rinpoche says, "It is like building a house on a frozen lake. When the ice melts !!!!!"
When asked about the function of the Ngon-dro in relation to the more advanced Teachings, Rinpoche advises that traditionally the more advanced teachings are only imparted to those whose mind-streams are sufficiently ripened to benefit from them, since there is no point in pouring clean /clear water into a dirty or cracked vessel, where it is likely to be sullied or to leak out. Ngon-dro helps purify and seal the vessel thus helping the student prepare the mind and clear away the obscurations which could impede further progress.
The Ngon-dro Teachings are divided into Outer, Inner and Secret Ngon-dro. The Outer Ngon-dro covers Lho-Dhok Nam-Zhi (The Four Thought Transformations) where one is taught about the preciousness of human birth, the impermanence of life, Karma (the Law of Cause and Effect), and the benefit of the Liberation Path which helps us release ourselves from the suffering of Samsara (Cyclic Existence).
Although the number of Inner Ngon-dro differs among the various traditions, all such Ngon-dro are generally considered mutually acceptable by Lamas of the different traditions. In the Inner Ngon-dro, Rinpoche teaches nine foundations (Ngon-dro gu) as follows:
1) Sem-kyed: Meditation on the generation on the Enlightened / Compassionate Mind.
2) & 3) Kyab-dro & Chak: Meditation Going for Refuge and making prostrations to the Sublime Refuge Objects.
4) Yig-gya: A purification practice based on the meditative recitation of a mantra of 100 syllables.
5) Mandal Bulwa: The accumulation of further merit through symbolic Mandala offerings.
6) Lamei Neljor: Meditative practice for the achievement of the Lamas wisdom knowledge including the empowerment of body, mind and speech.
7,8 & 9) Nying-po Nam Soom: Meditative practice of the three Mantras Sale Wöd, Matri and Dhu-tri Su - these three mantras being the consolidated essence of all the teachings of Yungdrung Bön.
Secret Ngon-dro is what is experienced and realised through the practice of Outer and Inner Ngon-dro.
The Ngon-dro teachings given by Rinpoche are derived from the Bön-Pos popular teaching Aa-trid whose commentary, Aa-trid Kaloong Gya-tsho, was written by Sharza Tashi Gyaltsen. Aa-trid is one of the three streams of Bönpo Zog-chen teachings (Aa-trid, Nyen-gyud & Zogchen). Sharza Tashi Gyaltsen (1855-1935) achieved Jalu Wöd-ku (Rainbow Light Body) in 1935. Sharza Rinpoche was one of the Masters of the late Neljor Tsondru Gyaltsen Rinpoche, who was one of Lama Khemsar Rinpoches Root Lamas.
As previously mentioned, Rinpoche stresses the importance of Ngon-dro teachings to those who sincerely wish to make spiritual progress. Without his students having received such teachings, he feels it would be like casting seeds on stony ground. The Ngon-dro teachings serve to plough and fertilise the field in readiness for the seeds to be sown, to grow to fruition, and for the harvest to be reaped. He also indicates that by attending the Ngon-dro teachings more than once, each repetition gives rise to a new depth of insight and ones unripened stream of mind becomes increasingly ripened. As the seedling, which travels up through the soil and constantly reaches out to the warmth of the sun, is nourished by each new dawn until it eventually ripens to fruition, so those who repeatedly open themselves to the light of the Ngon-dro teachings receive nourishment from them and shall surely flourish.
(TRANSFERENCE OF CONSCIOUSNESS)
Before proceeding to Phowa itself, it might be useful to set it in context.
Central to Bön Teachings is the notion of Samsara or Cyclic Existence whereby sentient beings go through a succession of rebirths within the various modes or realms of existence.
It is believed that there are six realms of existence 3 higher and 3 lower. The higher realms consist of humans, gods and demi-gods and the lower realms consist of animals, hungry ghosts and hell-beings. The type of birth which one takes in Samsara is said to be determined by the karma which one has accumulated in this (and previous) life-times. The ultimate aim of all sentient beings is viewed as being to liberate themselves permanently from the suffering of Samsara and to achieve Sang-gyey (Enlightenment), however, it is believed that departure from Samsara is only possible where one has been born into the human realm since, in all the other realms of existence, beings are unable to recognise ignorance and desire as being the driving forces of Samsara in order to be able to overcome these obstacles. They therefore remain trapped within the cycle of birth and death.
What part then does Phowa play in this scenario?
According to Master
Gong-Zod Ri-Trod Chenpo, "The profound and esoteric teaching of Phowa
is needed by all sentient beings for the achievement of Enlightenment."Such
teachings cover the dissolution of the bodys elements during the death
process and the associated practice of consciously leading the transference
of consciousness from the body at the time of death in order to direct it
towards Enlightenment. It is however a common misconception that
Phowa lends itself exclusively to the dying process since, when we start
to truly realise our own impermanence and the inevitability of death, even
the most ordinary activities in our daily lives can take on a new hue. Yes,
Phowa teachings do indeed cause us to face up to the fact that the only
certainty in life is death, however, with this realisation, we are presented
with a myriad of golden opportunities if we wish to avail ourselves
This is the kick-start to motivate us to make the most of the chances presented to us through our human births to start to wipe the karmic slate clean by purifying obscurations and mental poisons and generating positive merits. By doing so, not only do we enrich our own lives, but we can also affect positively the lives of those around us thus Phowa enhances our lives as well as preparing us to handle the death process.
During Phowa retreats, Rinpoche provides the practitioner with both the esoteric exercises of Phowa (Ngon-dro and Ngo-zhi) and with ample opportunity to rehearse and become well grounded in the practical application of Phowa (Je-kyi Ja-wa). These exercises include energy work on the central channel and this is believed to have a very beneficial effect on our own health and to help to prolong the lifespan of the practitioner. More importantly however, by practising regularly, Phowa practitioners ensure that, when death strikes, they are in the position to retain and hold the rudder, which enables them to increase their chances of steering their ship of consciousness safely through the transition stages of Bardo (the intermediate stage between death and life) toward the shore of Enlightenment.
Khemsar Rinpoche stipulates that, in order to gain full benefit from attending his more advanced retreats, it is advisable to have been taught (and to have practised) the Ngon-dro (Foundation Teachings), since these act as the foundations upon which the advanced teachings will be built. Without these, it can be difficult for students to make sense of the more advanced teachings since these often refer or relate back to Ngon-dro.
In the event that such
teachings have not been received, he may consider permitting attendance
at his retreats upon receipt of a signed Agreement to Receive and Practice
Ngon-dro teachings at a future date. An agreement form has been included
at the back of this schedule for this purpose and should be returned with
the booking form in such cases.
LAMA KHEMSAR RINPOCHE
May those who see and hear this,
All bring forth the resolve for Bodhi, And when this retribution body is over,
Be born together in Ultimate Bliss.
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