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A Summary of the Stages of Visualization for Longchen Nyingthig Ngundro Practice

Namo Samantabhadra! In Tibet, (cloaked by) the darkness of the five impurities Based on the great chariot of immeasurable Bodhichitta Shines the ever increasing sun of the Vajrayana teachings Again and again, I remember Padmasambhava, King of Dharma. The indestructible vehicle of the Nyingma school, the essence of (view, meditation and conduct) Is unified as the heart essence of the Dakinis (like a) clear drop of wisdom Which skillfully appears as suchness itself. Lama, keeper of the Dharma, and master of the Heart Essence, watch over me! (Yours is) the unsurpassable, profound mind of Samantabhadra and the Vidyadharas, The essence of the Secret Mantra teachings, poured into one vase. (You) insatiably, effortlessly ripen and liberate fortunate beings. From now until enlightenment I will rely upon the kindness of the Lama. Having made this offering of words, I shall begin to compose this text, which should be known as, "The Chapter on the Longchen Nyingthig Common, Outer, and Inner Stages of Visualization." (1) When taking refuge, visualize the place you are as being made from many kinds of precious gems; a natural place of stunning beautiful. This place has no hills or valleys, but stretches out softly like the face of a mirror. In the middle of it, visualize yourself in front of a wishfulfilling tree with five branches, whose branches are adorned with leaves, flowers and fruit, and pervade the expanse of the sky to the east, south, west and north. The central branch is raised slightly higher than the rest. On it are eight great lions that hold above their heads a precious throne with cushions made from a lotus, the sun, and the moon, stacked upon each other. On top of them sits the glorious Root Lama, essence of the Buddhas of the three times, like a treasure that holds the essence of unparalled compassion. See (him) as Padmasambhava, the great Vidyadhara, with a red and white tinged complexion. He has one face and two arms, and is sitting in the posture of a king. In his right hand is a golden vajra with five prongs held in a wrathful mudra. His left palm is face up on his lap and on top of it lies a skullcap. Within the skullcap is the vase of immortality, filled with the nectar of undying wisdom. It is stopped with a wishfulling tree. (He is embracing), in the mudra of inseparability, the consort Yeshe Tsogyal. She is white in color and grasping a hooked knife and skullcap. He wears a brocade cloak, yellow robes, and a blue tunic with a red lotus hat on his head.

On the branch in front of him are the Buddha Shakyamuni and the retinue of the 1000 Buddhas of this Excellent Kalpa. Their bodies are of the colors white, yellow, red, green and blue. They are the supreme emanation of holy conduct, beautifully dressed. They have the excellent 32 major marks and 80 minor marks of the Buddhas, such as a long hair protruding from the crowns of their heads and the outline of wheels on the soles of their feet. They are sitting in vajra (full lotus) posture. On the branch to the right are the Bodhisattvas called the Eight Close Sons. Around them are the sangha of Bodhisattvas. They are free from any signs of sadness or fatigue (that could be caused by) their vow to benefit beings. They are standing with both feet together, and are ornamented by the 13 signs of the Sambhogakaya. On the branch to the left are the 2 supreme Shravakas, surrounded by the sanghas of Shravakas and Pratyekabuddhas. Their conduct is noble and chaste, and they are dressed in monastic robes. On the branch to the back, on a lattice of clear, rainbow light is the rare and supreme Dharma, represented by piles of bound volumes, all resonating with the sound of the Ali-Kali (mantra of the vowels and consonants). On the top are the 6,400,000 Tantras of Dzogchen. Above Padmasambhava's head, starting with the Dharmakaya Samantabhadra until you reach the Root Lama of great kindness, visualize the Lamas of the Dzogchen lineage, each one almost touching the seat of the one above it. In the surrounding sky above Padmasambhava's body are the holders of the Root Lama's lineage. In the middle section of the sky are the Tantric (Yidam) Deities. In the lower section of the sky are the Dakinis. In the borders between them (upper/middle and middle/lower) are the Dharma Protectors, established by wisdom and past actions. The males all face outward, looking toward the accomplishment of the sacred Dharma and enlightenment. Their activity is to reverse and dispel all outer obstacles so that they cannot come in. The female Dharma Protectors all face inwards, to prevent any obstacles to the accomplishment of sacred Dharma and enlightenment. Think that their activity prevents any inner accomplishment from leaking out. To your right is your father during this lifetime, and to the left, your mother. In front of you are any you perceive as "enemies," who cause you difficulty or anger, or who create harmful obstacles in your life. These make up the first two rows of beings, behind which are an ocean of sentient beings of the three realms and the six families. Respectfully, prostrate (with all beings) using the body. Respectfully, take refuge through the door of speech. Respectfully, through the door of the

mind, think to yourself, "Whatever happens--whether I am sent to hell, I experience happiness or suffering, or experience excellent or terrible conditions--from today forward, I will not ask for the advice of my mother and father, or decide on my own. I shall take refuge in and rely upon the Three Jewels." Offer yourself up. Think that whatever happens (you will bear without doubt). Then say the Refuge Prayer as much as possible. (When you have finished) Visualize the refuge tree with great faith and respect. White, yellow, red, green and blue colored light emanates from the bodies of the objects of refuge, piercing the bodies of yourself and all sentient beings. This purifies the mental afflictions and habitual tendencies accumulated since beginningless time, like the sun shining into a dark hole and cleansing it. After that, imagine yourself and all sentient beings dissolving into the objects of refuge like a flock of birds startled by a slingshot. The objects of refuge dissolve one into another in order: first, the Buddhas in the front dissolve into Shakyamuni; next the Noble Bodhisattvas to the right dissolve into Avalokitesvara; next the Shravaka and Pratyeka sanghas dissolve on the left dissolve into Shariputra. All of these dissolve into the texts in the back, the Jewel of the Dharma, which dissolve into Padmasambhava. The surrounding Lamas, Yidams, and Dharma Protectors altogether dissolve into Padmasambhava. The Lama, as Padmasambhava, also dissolves inward from the edges, and then disappears into light. Then, do not visualize, but without any mental object rest in meditation. When you "awaken" from that, again see all of existence as the objects of refuge, visualized clearly, and dedicate the merit. (2) When taking the vow of Bodhichitta, visualize the objects of refuge like before. (When dissolving the visualization, see the whole mandala dissolve into light from the outside into the Lama as Padmasambhava) Then, Padmasambhava dissolves into you. Think to yourself that all of the good qualities and blessings of the objects of refuge have arisen in the vessel of the mind, and have enabled you to generate ultimate Bodhichitta. The realization the profound path of, even by those of supreme birth, is impeded by non-virtue, obscurations, and habitual tendencies that must be purified. To this end, there is no more profound meditation than to meditate on the Lama as Vajrasattva. This is the way to meditate: See yourself in ordinary form, with a thousand-petalled lotus flower suspended about an arrow's length above the crown of your head. Upon the lotus flower is a full moon. Upon this moon see the white syllable HUNG, which transforms into the glorious Root Lama, treasure of unparalled compassion, essence of the Buddhas of the three times. Visualize (him) as the Sambhogakaya Vajrasattva, white as a snowy mountain lit up by a hundred thousand suns. He has one face and two arms. His right hand grasps the vajra of awareness and emptiness at his heart center. His left hand grasps the bell of

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appearance and emptiness at the base of the stomach (to the left). He is seated in the vajra posture. He embraces his consort, Vajratopa, in the mudra of inseparable union. Their bodies appear, but are empty of true nature. Within the clear heart center of Vajrasattva is a mandala of the full moon, and on it is the syllable HUNG as fine as if it were written by a hair. The 100 syllable mantra circles around it to the right, the syllables written like a circle of horns, one beside another. Recite the 100 syllable mantra, keeping a focus on the four powers of repentance. From the garland of syllables that make up the 100 syllable mantra, the white nectar of bodhichitta rains down. It falls through Vajrasattva's body, and comes out the secret door of his consort. It enters a small opening in the top of your head, cleaning and purifying the inside of the body of (all varieties of real and symbolic impurity such as): illness, epidemics, demons, obstacles, fish, snakes, frogs, tadpoles, scorpions, and bees. The water, dirtied by nonvirtue, looks as though it contains soot, ash, charcoal, and dust. Visualize it dripping out of your lower door, the soles of your feet, and the pores of your skin. The earth below you opens up and below are Yama, Lord of Death-representing your non-virtue in former lives--as well as all those male and female beings to whom you owe karmic debts, or who wish revenge on you. Visualize that the dripping water fills their mouths, and the hands and arms they raise expectantly towards you. Think to yourself that all karmic debts, accumulated from beginningless time, are satisfied. All resentments, nonvirtue and obscurations are purified. Finally, their mouths, hands and fingers close. The gap in the earth closes. Your body, both outside and inside, becomes like a stainless glass vessel that is completely clear. In the crown of the head, visualize the chakra of great bliss with 32 downward facing spokes. In the throat, visualize the chakra of enjoyment with 16 upward facing spokes. In the heart center, visualize the chakra of Dharma, with 8 downward facing spokes. At the navel, visualize the emanation chakra, with 64 upward facing spokes. Visualize these four chakras filled with the nectar of bodhichitta. Think that you have received the four empowerments: vessel empowerment, secret empowerment, primordial wisdom empowerment, and the precious word empowerment. The four types of obscurations are purified: karmic obscurations, afflictive emotions, cognitive obscurations, and obstacles. Think that you have attained the four types of kayas: the Nirmanakaya, Sambhogakaya, Dharmakaya and the Svabhavakaya (Body of Suchness). The Lama as Vajrasattva is overjoyed and smiles, saying, "You, daughter/son of the lineage, are purified of all non-virtue, obscurations, and defilements." Saying this, Vajrasattva melts like butter on a hot stone and dissolves into you, so that you become Vajrasattva. Visualize in your heart center a mandala of the moon, the size of a flattened mustard seed. In the center is the seed

syllable HUNG, blue in color. In front of it is a white OM. To the right is a yellow BENZA. Behind it is a red SA. To the left of it is a green TO. Speak the mantra "OM BENZA SATTO HUNG" while seeing light of the five colors emanating, delighting the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the 10 directions. Then, the light is reflected back into you, giving you the blessings of body, speech and mind. After the light has dissolved into you, think that you have attained the common and supreme accomplishments and the dependent arising to realize the state of the Dharmakaya, which is the "benefit of self." Next, light emanates (from the 5 syllables) downward to the six types of beings within the three realms, purifying their afflictive emotions, habitual tendencies, non-virtue and obscurations. Think that this whole world has become like the Buddhafield of Manifest Joy. All sentient beings appear as Vajrasattva in the colors of white, yellow, red, green and blue. Pray the mantra "OM BENZA SATTO HUNG" and hear the sound of all beings praying the Five Syllables together with you like the humming of the wind. Think that you have created the dependent arising to attain the Form Body (Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya), which is the "benefit of other." As you emanate and receive light, establishing the two benefits, the obscurations and conceptual thoughts are purified. At the end of your meditation, visualize that the whole universe, the Buddhafield of Manifest Joy, dissolves into beings, perceived as Vajrasattva. The beings then dissolve into you. Then you dissolve into light from the outside in, into the OM in the heart center. The OM dissolves into the BENZA, which dissolves into the SA, which dissolves into the TO, which dissolves into the HUNG. The HUNG dissolves into the "Shabkyu" (small shape at the bottom), which dissolves into the "Ah" (just above it), which dissolves into the body of the "Ha," which dissolves into the cresent moon, the disc, and finally the "Nada" on the top. Finally even that slight line disappears and you rest in meditation, free of any object for a few moments. Then, see all as the Buddhafield of Vajrasattva, and dedicate the merit. (4) Next, the instructions on offering the Mandala. First, the instructions on the Accomplishment Mandala. This mandala has 5 piles of precious stones that are arranged (in the four directions and one in the center) Put the first pile in the center to represent the Buddha Variocana and the deities of the Buddha Family. In the east (meaning towards you), place a pile of stones representing Vajrasattva and the deities of the Vajra Family. In the south, place a pile to represent the Buddha Ratnasambhava and the deities of the Precious Family. In the west, place a pile to represent the Buddha Amithaba and the Lotus Family. In the north, place a pile representing the Buddha Amoghasiddhi and the deities of the Action Family.

Alternately, you could visualize the pile in the center as Guru Rinpoche, inseparable from the Root Lama, with the lineage of Dzogchen Lamas above his head. The stones in front would represent the Buddha Shakyamuni and the retinue of 1000 Buddhas of this Excellent Kalpa. The stones to the left represent the Bodhisattvas called the Eight Close Sons, surrounded by the sangha of Noble Bodhisattvas. The stones on the right represent the supreme Shariputra and Maudgalyayana, surrounded by the sangha of the Shravakas and the Pretyekabuddhas. To the back would be the Jewel of Dharma, represented by stacks of bound volumes. After you visualize the objects of refuge, first clean the base of the mandala, while praying the mantra OM BENZA BHUMI AH HUNG. Then arrange the stones in the four directions around Mount Sumeru (in the center). These, along with a ring of iron mountains, symbolize a first-order universe of one thousand worlds. Putting together one thousand of these first thousand worlds is a second-order intermediate universe of one thousand times one thousand (one million). Taking one thousand of these, we create a third-order great universal system of one thousand million worlds (one billion). You should offer all the wealth of these world realms, made up of one thousand million worlds of four continents each, and inhabited by both gods and humans, to the Lama. This is called the Ordinary Nirmanakaya Mandala. Visualize all as the inconceivable realm of the Sambhogakaya Buddhas, such as the infinitely gorgeous Akanistha. (It is graced) by the sensual beauty of goddesses. Offer all of this to your Lama and the Sambhogakaya Buddhas. This is the Extraordinary Mandala of the Sambhogakaya. Use the (base of the) mandala as the unborn, natural state and the precious stones as conceptual thoughts. Offer them to your Lama and the deities of the Dharmakaya. This is the Extraordinary Mandala of the Dharmakaya. (5) When taking up the Kusali's Accumulation, abide in ordinary form. In the sky above you, visualize innumerable lions, elephants, peacocks, and winged horses holding the legs to precious thrones with cushions made of the sun, moon, lotus, and silken cushions stacked upon them; there are also those with cushions made of lotuses, suns, and decaying corpses. Above all of them sits the root Lama (on a throne piled with silken cushions). In the middle of the sky are gathered the Yidam deities, and in the lower sky, the Dakinis (all sitting on the various types of thrones). Surrounding them all are the Dharma Protectors. Below you, visualize the sentient beings of the six types and the three realms. If you are used to visualization, you should use the syllable PHET and send your consciousness out the central channel through the top of your head. At the same moment, visualize yourself as the wrathful black female deity.

If you are not used to visualization, visualize your mental consciousness as the wrathful female black deity the size of your fingertip. Saying the syllable PHET, send it out the crown of your head. The essence of your mental consciousness is that of Ma-chik Labdron, black in color with one face and two arms. In her right hand she holds a hooked knife that cuts through the three poisons. See your own body as being a huge, fat oily, rotting corpse, as large as the three-thousand worlds. Using this knife, she tears the skullcap from your head. Taking the skullcap, which is the size of three-thousand worlds, into her left hand. She places it upon three human heads as large as Mount Meru. With the hooked knife in her right hand she picks up the decaying corpse (that was your body) and puts it in the skullcap. Below the skullcap is the red syllable AH, which is of the nature of fire and is hot to the touch. Over the skullcap is the white syllable HANG, of the nature of nectar. From the AH, fire burns and melts the corpse, which becomes of the nature of nectar. It fills the skullcap holding the decaying corpse. Doing so, it purifies the corpse of all defilements. Visualize bubbles and dirty scum covering the top of the nectar. Also, by the warmth of the fire, nectar melts and continually falls from the syllable HANG. From the HANG, light emanates (offering up to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas which send back) the compassionate blessings of the wisdom beings, a nectar of blue light, which dissolves back into the skullcap. The HANG, also full of light, melts and dissolves into the skullcap's nectar. Because of this (it becomes) wisdom nectar the color of red mixed into white which boils. The steam forms the eight auspicious signs, the seven precious articles of royalty, religious sashes, umbrellas, victory banners, ceiling hangings, golden wheels with 1000 spokes, and conch shells that turn to the right. Offer these inconceivable offerings up. Joyfully offer the Yidam deities, Dakinis, and Dharma Protectors whatever delights them. To the six types of beings abiding below. offer them whatever they desire: whatever kind of food, clothing and shelter they want. Think to yourself that all of their wishes have been satisfied. This is called the variegated offering. Next visualize the Root Lama, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the root lineage who are inconceivably abiding above, sipping nectar through their tongues, which are hollow vajras. This delights and satisfies them. Think that the accumulation of merit has been completed and your obscurations have been completely purified, and the ordinary and supreme accomplishments have been attained. Next, the tongues of the Yidam deities all take the form of the objects in their hands: vajras, double vajras, wheels, lotuses and they drink the nectar. Think this perfects the accumulations and purifies the obscurations. Think that the ordinary and supreme accomplishments have been attained. Visualize the Dharma Protectors in the space above, established by wisdom and (skillful) activity, as drinking from the skullcap through their tongues--

which are hollow rays of light. Think that you have been protected from all contradictory causes and obstacles to the practice of the sacred dharma and enlightenment. If you are not used to visualizing, envision countless Dakinis, equal to the number of sentient beings, who work for the benefit of all. Give each of them a skullcap filled with wisdom nectar or visualize yourself as the Wrathful Black Mother ladling nectar from the skullcap and scattering it. This delights and satisfies sentient beings of the six families. It purifies and cleanses each being's karma, suffering and habitual tendencies. Most importantly, it purifies any resentments or debts that were accumulated in past lifetimes from beginningless time. For example, the result of killing in the past is a short life now. Sickness in this life is the result of abusing others in a past life. Poverty in this life is the result of stealing in the past. Those who saved your life or helped you in past lives must be repaid. Those who served you in past lives must be repaid. The love others showed you in past lives must be repaid. The great mansions that were built for you and the unfair taxes you imposed upon others must be repaid. Imagine that all of these debts, resentments, and former crimes were made right and repaid; the holders of those debts and resentments were satisfied and full of rejoicing. All of their negativities and obscurations were purified. All males transform into the state of the noble Avalokiteshvara and all females to the state of Arya Tara. Thinking that all have attained the state of Buddhahood, say the syllable PHET and the offering, offerer, and object of offerings all dissolve; and you remain without focus resting in the pure nature. This is the white offfering. (6) Led by the practice of Guru Yoga, the realization of wisdom will develop in the continuum of the mind. To transform all to a pure realm requires a strong and open mind, so imagine all appearances around you as the vast design of the completely perfect Palace of Lotus Light. To make sure that you are a vessel suitable to receive the empowerments, to create good dependent arising and arouse the wisdom possessed by Padmasambhava--that of bliss and emptiness--think that you have essence of the wisdom Dakini Yeshe Tsogyal and the form of Jetsun Vajrayogini. Her body is red in color, with one face, and three eyes. She is looking up towards the heart center of the Lama with great longing. In her right hand she is holding a damaru made of skullcaps, which resounds throughout space and awakens others from ignorance and confusion. In her left hand she holds a hooked knife, which eradicates the three poisons, resting at her hip. She is naked except for bone ornaments and garlands of flowers. She appears, yet her appearance has an insubstantial quality like a mirror reflection. On the crown of her head about an arrow's length above, is a lotus with one hundred thousand petals. On top of that is the sun, and on that, the moon. On top of these three is the essence of the Buddhas of the three times, treasure of compassion, the glorious Root Lama. See him in the form of the great Orgyen

Padmasambhava. He has one face and two hands. His right hand grasps a five-pronged golden vajra at his heart center, and his left holds a skullcap, inside of which is a vase full of the nectar of immortality and stopped with the branch from a wishfulfilling tree. In the crook of his left arm is the secret consort Mandarava, symbolized by a three-pronged trident. These three prongs represent the three qualities: (empty) essence, (clear) nature, and (all pervasive) capacity. The three kayas are symbolized by the three severed heads upon them: one dry, one fresh, and one rotten. Ornamenting the prongs are nine iron rings, which symbolize the nine stages of the three vehicles. The trident is also adorned with hair from the living and the dead symbolize the subjugation of the Dakinis and "mamos" at the eight charnel grounds. He wears a lotus hat and a brocade cloak. He has two legs and sits in the posture of a king. Surrounding him, on a lattice of five-colored light, like luminous drawings, sit the eight Vidyadharas, the Twenty Five Disciples of Tibet, and an ocean of the three roots: the Lama, Yidam and Dakini. Slowly, the impure appearances of the ordinary world fade. Say the Seven Line Supplication, beginning with "On the Northwest border in the land of Oddiyana" and ending with "Guru Padme Siddhi Hung." Based on this, see the Copper Colored Mountain, filled with Padmasambhava and his retinue of Dakinis, manifest into reality and then dissolve into the crowd of deities (Padmasambhava and the others, visualized first). Prostrate and, as though your mind were of the nature of wealth, make innumerable mental offerings. Think that all non-virtuous activities, obscurations, and habitual tendencies of the body, speech and mind accumulated by yourself and others since beginningless time have been condensed into a black paste on your tongue. Light emanates from the heart centers of the deities and bodhisattvas gathered before you, piercing you. Think that (the black paste) has been purified. Rejoice in the root of virtue, which has been accumulated in both conventional and ultimate reality, and request that the wheel of Dharma of the three vehicles be turned. Until Samsara is completely empty, request that the wisdom beings do not pass into Nirvana. Then, dedicate the root of virtue of the three times as the cause of great enlightenment. To request the bestowal of accomplishments, recite Padmasambhava's mantra as many times as possible (at the end of the Seven Line Supplication). Then, say the prayer beginning "Oh Lord Padmasambhava, you are the synthesis of the heart blessings" and ending with "I will rely upon you, venerable Lord Padmasambhava" and, again, say Padmasambhava's mantra however many hundreds of times you can. When requesting the blessing, complete your recitation of the mantra, and begin the prayer, "I have no other hope but you" until the line, "Purify the two obscurations, Powerful One," and again recite Padmasambhava's mantra as

many times as you can. Then continue praying as written in the text until you reach the Four Empowerments. When the accomplishments are bestowed, begin with the line, "From the midforehead of Padmasambhava," and continue until the four excellent empowerments are complete. When you are finished, a spontaneous feeling of devotion and yearning will enter your heart. The Root Lama's eyes reveal compassion and kindness, and he smiles joyfully. At that moment, warm red light emanates from his heart center and touches your own heart, as Vajrayogini. You are transformed into a sphere of red light, the size of a bean. With the sound of a spark cracking, you shoot up and dissolve into the Lama's heart. Then, in union with the Lama, rest without object in the uncontrived nature of the unborn Dharmakaya and dedicate the merit. This has been the root commentary of the Stages of Visualization for the Longchen Nyingthig Preliminary Practices, composed by Jigme Tinley Ozer, Khentse Wangbo and Chokyi Drakpa.