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The First Experiential Transmission from the chag Tri

The Ngondro
with Khenpo Tenpa Yungdrung

LIGMI CHA INSTITUTE


Serenity Ridge Retreat Center
Shipman, Virginia
November 20-23, 2003

The First
Experiential Transmission
from the chag Tri
TheNgondro

with

Khenpo Tenpa Yungdrung

Serenity Ridge
Shipman, Virginia
November 20 - 23, 2003

2005 Ligmincha Institute all rights reserved.


No portion of this transcript may be photocopied or distributed
except by express permission of Ligmincha Institute.

"The First Experiential Transmission from the Chag Tri

The Ngondro" is a transcript

of the teachings presented by Khenpo Tenpa Yungdrung at Llgmincha Institute in the


fall of

2003.

This retreat was held at Serenity Ridge, located above the Rockfish River

in Shipman, Virginia. It began on Thursday morning, November


through Sunday afternoon, November

23, 2003.

20, 2003 and continued

Khen Rinpoche gave teachings each

morning and afternoon of the retreat. There were three additional practice sessions each
day.
Khenpo Tenpa Yungdrung has studied, practiced, and taught under the guidance
of His Holiness Lungtok Tenpa'i Nyima and Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak for many years.
In

1996,

Khen Rinpoche was appointed Ponlop, or head teacher, at Triten Norbutse

Monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal. He is responsible for the education of all the monks
at the Yungdrung Bon Academy of Higher Studies. In

2001, he became the abbot of the

monastery.
Khen Rinpoche teaches in fluent English. The transcript has been lightly edited
and wherever possible, Tibetan terms have been rendered in italics by pronunciation.
The practice manual for this ngiindro is available in a separate publication and may be
obtained through the Ligmincha Institute Bookstore.
We extend heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to Khenpo Tenpa Yungdrung for
his clear teaching style and dedication to making these precious teachings available to
Western students. We offer prayers for his long life free from obstacles.
Appreciation is extended to Candace Beyers who generously volunteered her time
to check the transcription of the retreat and to do the initial editing of the transcript, and to
Dean Grantham who designed and laid out the transcript for publication. We ask the pro
tectors to forgive any mistakes introduced into this transcript through the editing process.
May all beings benefit!
Marcy Vaughn, Editor
Director of Publications
Ligmincha Council

2005 Llgmincha Institute,

all rights reserved. No portion of this transcript

may be photocopied or distributed except by express permission of Ligmincha Institute.


Recordings, transcripts, and practice materials for other of Ligmincha Institute's programs
may be purchased from the Ligmincha Bookstore. For the teaching schedules of Tenzin
Wangyal Rinpoche and other Bon teachers, please contact:

Ligmincha Institute

22971
(434) 263-6304

Shipman, VA
http:

/ /www.ligmincha.org
@ aol.com

ligmincha

Ligmincha Institute Bookstore

22971
(434) 263-6305
free: (866) 522-5269

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Toll

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www.ligmincha.org store
store

Contents
Thursday, November 20
1

Opening Session
The three important preliminary practices which tame
one's own mind state

Guru yoga

The story of Tapihritsa

Instructions on the practice of guru yoga

13

Afternoon Session
Impermanence practice
The ten attainments

The eight leisures

Instructions on the practice of

impermanence

Friday, November 21
23

Morning Session
The results of the practice of impermanence
The four powers

C01fession

The instructions for the practice of

confessing misdeeds

Avoiding the ten non-virtuous actions

33

Afternoon Session
The three common preliminary practices which purify
one's mind state
enlightenment

The six steps to producing the mind of

The practice of bodhicitta

Saturday, November 22
43

Morning Session
The practice of refuge
The refuge visualization

The three jewels

The result buddha

Offering prostration

53

Afternoon Session
The accumulation of merit and wisdom
offering practice

The mandala

Offering the mandala with mudra

CONTENTS

Vl

Sunday, November 23
63

Morning Session
Offering one's own body as a ganapuja
The ninth practice: prayers of aspiration

The four guests


Signs or result of

practice

73

Afternoon Session
The ten virtuous .actions

The three excellences

Appendix
The Ten Virtuous Actions
Re,fiection on the Freedom to Practice the Dharma
or Eight Leisures
The Ten Basic Precepts

79

The First Expe riential Transmission


from the chagTri - The Ngondro

November 20, 2003

Opening Session

discover one 's own natural state of mind,


which is the absolute truth of existence. It
is the reality of this existence, and it is the
reality of what we are. Once we discover
this state, we have to practice and become
familiar with it. In this way, we can purify
our negative emotions, our defilements,
and all the causes and conditions that bring
us suffering and misery. The main teaching
of dzogchen is to discover this state.
The reality of what we are is always
with us, but still we can't recognize it. It is
so close that we do not realize it; therefore,
it is not easy to understand and recognize
it. Once we realize it, it is very special. In
order to discover and realize this state, we
have to prepare. It needs a lot of prepara
tion. The teaching today is the preliminary
practice as preparation to reveal our own
natural state of mind.
The text that I am reading from was
composed by Dru Gyalwa Yungdrung who
was a great lineage master of all the Bon
teachings of sutra, tantra, and dzogchen.
He is one of the lineage holders of the
Zhang Zhung Nyen Gyu teachings. He
was also one of the Abbots of Yeru Wasaca
Monastery, the biggest Bon monastery in
Tibet before the fourteenth century. He
composed these teachings after having
received all the teachings of the Zhang
Zhung Nyen Gyu from his master Tode

[Guru yoga, refuge, and bodhicitta


prayers from the Ma Gyu.]
would like to welcome you all to this
teaching. My English is not very good, but
I will try my best. If you have any doubts
or do not understand, ask me directly. It is
important that we understand each other.
Otherwise, if I say something and you
understand something else, it will not be
good.
I am very happy to be here and to
teach you. What I am going to teach is
called ngondro . Ngondro means prelimi
nary practice, and this particular ngondro
teaching is according to the Zhang Zhung
Nyen Gyu system. The Zhang Zhung Nyen
Gyu is one of the most important dzogchen
cycles of the Bon tradition. The lineage of
this teaching comes to you without any
interruption. There have been many times
of persecution in our tradition, but all of
the dzogchen teachings, particularly the
Zhang Zhung Nyen Gyu teachings, have
never been interrupted by these obstacles.
We consider it an extremely important and
essential teaching of the Bon tradition. We
are all very fortunate that we have met
with this teaching. We have to thank the
lineage masters who have preserved the
teachings up to this time.
Dzogchen teachings emphasize how to
I

THE FIRST EXPERIENTIAL TRANSMISSION FROM THE CRAG TRI

Tenpa Sherab. After having practiced, real


ized, and achieved the highest realization
of these teachings, he composed these
texts to help future beings as a manual or
guide text. Dru Gyalwa Yungdrung prac
ticed the dzogchen teachings and achieved
the realizations. Then, in accordance what
he knew intellectually and with his direct
experience, he wrote the text. Since then,
this text has been used by most dzogchen
practitioners as an essential guide of the
dzogchen teachings.
In this text there are nine different
teachings, therefore it is called "The Nine
Stages of the Preliminary Practices of Bon
according to the Oral Transmission from
Zhang Zhung for the Great Perfection
Teachings." There are nine stages of the
teaching. The first stage is the teaching of
the initiation and blessings in order to bless
one 's own mind stream. This refers to the
lamai naljor or guru yoga that we j ust sang
at the beginning of this teaching.
First of all, I would like to tell you a
little bit about how to listen to the teach
ings. Many of you know this already, but
it is always helpful to remind you. We are
all here, and I am trying to explain some
thing, and you are listening. What we have
to think is that we are not only doing this
as a benefit for ourselves, but we have to
listen to the teachings with the intention to
gain enlightenment for the benefit of all
sentient beings. That is the intention that
we have to take during this whole retreat,
even when you are not in the teaching or
meditating. If you begin, you have to begin
from the morning with this intention, and
be able to remind yourself with mindful
ness of this intention throughout day and
night. Then our whole retreat will not
only benefit us, but it will benefit all other
beings. Also, it is like practical bodhicitta
which I am going to teach you sometime

later in these teachings. This is the way


to form the appropriate intention for these
teachings.
The three important preliminary
practices which tame one's own
mind state
Guru yoga

The first practice among the three impor


tant preliminary practices is guru yoga,
a practice that connects us to the lineage
masters of these teachings so that we may
receive blessings and empowerments from
them. With this ngondro we are doing a
very important preparation. It is especially
true for these dzogchen teachings that the
preparation is not something that comes
only through our intellectual understand
ing or without any lineage. The teachings
depend very much on the blessings of our
lineage masters. Therefore, we have to
practice guru yoga very intensively. It is
very important. Without the blessings of
our lineage masters, we cannot reveal the
natural state of mind. Therefore, we have
to work to connect with the lineage mas
ters and to receive blessings from them.
Guru yoga is also a teaching about
empowerment or initiation. With any kind
of teaching, especially in the tantra and
dzogchen systems, we need to have an ini
tiation or empowerment to be able to hear,
read, or teach these teachings. We need to
have a special kind of empowerment or
initiation as permission. Usually we have a
transmission; a transmission is one form of
permission. Then there are empowennents.
There are several kinds of empowerments .
There is nyen bai wang, the empowerment
of listening which allows us to listen to
the teaching. There is the empowerment
which allows us to practice the teaching,
gom bai wang. Then, she bai wang is the

OPENING SESSION - NOVEMBER 20, 2003

empowerment that allows us to teach, to


instruct. Drub bai wang is the empower
ment that allows the result. So there are
different types of empowerments. So we
need to have the proper kind of permis
sion or initiation. If we have this initiation
and empowerment, then our practice will
be authorized. It will bring us more con
fidence and more historical and spiritual
background as a support. It will help us
make a connection with all the lineages
masters who have been practicing these
teachings from the beginning until now.
They will support our practice; therefore, it
is important to practice guru yoga. This is
the purpose of guru yoga practice.
Guru means teacher in Sanskrit; in
Tibetan we say lama, or tsa wai lama,
which means root guru. It refers to the
teacher who left this message behind for
us as well as the teacher who instructs us,
explains to us, and makes clarifications
for us. This is the outer teacher. Internally,
we refer to the guru or lama as our own
natural state of mind. That is the real lama,
our real guru. So guru yoga here gener
ally refers to practicing and then receiving
blessings from the external guru. Actually,
at the end of chanting the guru yoga, we
have to try to practice with the internal
guru, the natural state . Until we have
experience and an understanding of the
internal guru, we mainly have to depend
and rely on this external guru yoga prac
tice. Therefore, I will explain it in this first,
external way.
The story of Tapihritsa

Now practically, how do we do guru yoga?


First, we have to visualize the guru. In this
case we can visualize Tapihritsa; I think it
is easier. We can also do this practice with
Shenlha O kar, referred to as the root deity
of the ancient buddhas. Here I think most

of you are more familiar with Tapihritsa,


so I will explain how to do guru yoga with
Tapihritsa. Tapihritsa is not a mystical
being. He was a real human, j ust as we are
now, an ordinary person. He was a nomad
in Northern Tibet in the gth century; he was
very normal and human. Then he met his
teacher, Dawa Gyaltsen who was the 24th
lineage master of the Zhang Zhung Nyen
Gyu. Actually he was not only the 24th lin
eage master, Dawa Gyaltsen was also the
24 th consecutive Zhang Zhung Nyen Gyu
lineage master who took the rainbow body.
Starting with the first master through Dawa
Gyaltsen, the master and disciple took the
rainbow body successively without any
interruption through this very teaching,
this very teaching that we are gathered
to study and practice now. The teaching
is already there, now it depends on our
own work. They didn 't have any special
techniques that we don't have. What they
practiced is the same teaching that we have
now. Tapihritsa met this 24th Zhang Zhung
Nyen Gyu lineage master, Dawa Gyaltsen,
and then he practiced. He practiced mainly
in a place called Shelwa Tak which means
deer-like rock. This rock still exists in the
northern part of Tibet. In the future, if you
have a chance, it would be good to go see
it and receive some blessings. That would
be a great pilgrimage.
In his biography it says that having
received this teaching, he meditated nine
months in that place. After nine months
he was liberated. Finally, he took the rain
bow body through this teaching. Having
achieved the rainbow body, he had to
transmit this teaching to another disciple.
The most qualified disciple or student was
called Nangzher Lopo. He was a very, very
famous and learned person at that time.
He was also a priest of the King of Zhang
Zhung. He was full of pride because of

THE FIRST EXPERIENTIAL TRANSMISSION FROM THE CHAG TRI

these things. He was the most powerful


and popular teacher; he had everything.
Even though he was a great master and
had achieved a lot of high realizations,
he still had an obstacle that disturbed him
from fully understanding and realizing
the natural state of mind. It was his pride.
Tapihritsa realized he had this pride, but
he was still the most qualified student.
Nangzher Lopo had already received some
teachings from Tapihritsa's teacher Dawa
Gyaltsen, but he was not ready to receive
the single lineage teaching. Therefore, in
order to subdue and guide Nangzher Lopo,
Tapihritsa manifested as a young boy of
about eight or nine years old. He went to
this area as a beggar. He went to the richest
person of the area, and he asked for some
food from the rich nomad who said, "You
are very young, and you seem to be very
intelligent. Why don 't you work; can you
work?" Then Tapihritsa, this boy of light
said, "I can work. I can do anything. But
there is nobody who will give me a j ob."
Then the nomad said, "Well, if you can do
anything, you can work for me." Tapihritsa
agreed to work for this rich man, becom
ing the shepherd for his many sheep. He
worked there for a long time, did every
thing correctly, and was very helpful.
The rich nomad was very happy, so he
gave the boy a new name which translates
as "small boy good to be found." One day
Tapihritsa was carrying a lot of wood,
and he arrived where Nangzher Lopo was
meditating in a solitary place. Upon meet
ing Nangzher Lopo, he greeted him very
respectfully. Nangzher Lopo felt some
uncertainty thinking, "This boy must be
special to be able to make such a greeting.
He looks like he is well-educated." Then he
asked the boy, "Where do you live? Where
are you from? Who is your teacher?" They

discussed many things. It is a long story so


I shall tell you the short version. Finally,
they discussed some issues which they
didn't agree on, and as a result from within
Nangzher Lopo arose more pride. Finally
Nangzher Lopo said, "If you are that intel
ligent and scholarly, then tomorrow we
should go in front of the King and debate.
If I win, the King will punish you. If you
win, I will be your student." Tapihritsa
laughed very hard, and then said, "All this
conceptual debate, these intellectual and
philosophical ideas, are nothing but words.
All meditators are in a prison of concep
tual thoughts in the reality of the mind.
The reality of this existence is beyond all
these things." Nangzher Lopo was dumb
struck. He realized that the boy must be
something speciaL He felt intense regret
and asked him, "Who are you?" Then the
boy turned into the body of light within
a rainbow circle in front of him in space.
He looked just like he is painted in this
thangka, just like this. (Rinpoche points
to the large thangka of Tapihritsa behind
him.) He appeared in the space in front of
Nangzher Lopo in this fmm. Then he said,
"I am Tapihritsa. I came here in order to
teach you. You have so much pride, that's
why I came in this way. Now you are a
qualified student, so I am going to teach
you." Then he gave Nangzher Lopo some
teachings.
During this time all the sheep had
scattered, so the rich nomad was worried
about what was happening. "Where did
the boy go?" He came to the place where
Tapihritsa was teaching Nangzher Lopo.
Both men were filled with regret and con
fessed all the negative actions they had
done to Tapihritsa. They received these
teachings together. At that time Tapihritsa
disappeared into light. After some time

OPENING SESSION - NOVEMBER 20, 2003

had passed, Nangzher Lopo met with


Tapihritsa two or three times and received
all the teachings of the single lineage of
the Zhang Zhung Nyen Gyu. They were
transmitted to Nangzher Lopo who became
fully realized and attained the rainbow
body. That is the story, the background
about Tapihritsa, who he was, and why we
visualize Tapihritsa in this form.
I think it would be good to read more
of the biographies of the Zhang Zhung
Nyen Gyu lineage masters . I think they are
readable nowadays in English; they have
been translated. It would always be help
ful to read those biographies of the early
lineage masters; they give us much inspi
ration. Inspiration is very, very important
and not just with spiritual teachings. When
normal things inspire us greatly, then it
is not difficult to do them. Our work is
more effective. These teachings and this
practice require a lot of inspiration, aspira
tion, and devotion. Therefore, we have to
develop devotion. Devotion is also very,
very important. Without devotion we can
not get the proper inspiration or the proper
trust or belief in the teachings or the lin
eage masters. Devotion is not something
that you have to make as a rule. "You have
to do this, and you have to do that." It's
not like that. Devotion should come from
our understanding and through our own
experience. If you understand something
quite well and correctly, then we under
stand, "Oh, that means this." Then we have
trust; this trust is the basis for devotion.
Devotion is a form of trust or belief. If we
understand someone really well, then we
trust him. If we don 't understand some
one, even if we say "I trust you," we don't
really trust them. Real trust should come
from within our hearts . It comes from
understanding. If we read the biographies

of the early lineage masters, it will give us


more understanding of their background,
their practice, their knowledge, and what
they did. We will understand them. We will
naturally have the devotion, inspiration,
and aspiration towards them. Then it will
be much easier to follow their teachings.
If we trust someone from the bottom of
our hearts, then we will just follow them. If
we don't trust someone, there will always
be some difficulties, some obstacles to fol
lowing their instructions. If we cannot go
according to the teachings or instruction of
the teachings, then our practice will always
be obstructed, disturbed by those obsta
cles. There are three types of obstacles to
our practice : ma tok, or not understanding
or realizing; lo tok, or wrong understand
ing; and tet tsun, or doubt, not being deter
mined, being unsure.
Therefore, first of all we have to under
stand correctly. Once we understand, we
have to be able to gain the determination
to realize this understanding. Then we
have to be able to completely trust in this
without any doubt. Then our practice will
develop like fire on the dry grass. Even a
small spark on dry grass will increase, get
ting bigger and bigger. Our practice will
develop that quickly. Usually we practice
every day, but we still cannot continuously
develop all the time, remaining in a con
stant state of development. Sometimes our
practice seems to be getting worse ! This
is caused by our lack of determination. It
means somehow we have some doubt. We
may not even know what kind of doubt,
but in the back of our minds, there is some
thing wrong. That is a kind of doubt, a lack
of determination. We have to understand
it and purify this kind of thought. This is
why we have to do guru yoga practice.
Through the guru yoga practice we can

THE FIRST EXPERIENTIAL TRANSMISSION FROM THE CHAG TRI

develop our inspiration and our determina


tion. For every moment that we are doing
guru yoga practice, we can feel the bless
ings. We gain confidence. This is very
important, confidence.
Instructions on the practice
of guru yoga

How do we do the practice of guru yoga?


First of all, sit comfortably in the five point
meditation posture with crossed legs and
hands in equipoise. The spine should be
straight, which will help you to put all your
channels and joints in their own place. You
will not have any more pain or be physi
cally uncomfortable. Usually when we feel
back pain, it means something is in disor
der. Staying like this will put everything
physically in order. The neck should be
bent slightly,. as that will stop mental chat
ter. The eye gaze should be along the level
of the nose. It is not necessary to focus on
the point of the nose, but you should look
along the nose, which means your gaze is
not very high and not very low. Then the
arms should be a bit straight, as we say,
like a garuda's wing, or a vulture 's wing,
or an eagle's wings. So:
Assume the 5 -pointed posture :
Seated crossed-legged on the floor
Hands in equipoise position with arms
out like garuda wings.
Spine straight so the channels and
j oints are each in its own place,
[chest open] .
Neck slightly bent to cut the thoughts
Eyes gazing down the nose
Now, imagine a very clear space in
the sky before you. Within the space
you imagine a rainbow circle of light. In
the center of the rainbow circle imagine
Tapihritsa in the form of a being of light

in this five point meditation posture. Then


try to imagine all the details: his legs,
hands, face, eyes, eye brows, even the
pupils of his eyes. Try to imagine all this
very, very clearly, as clearly as if he were
really there. That is very important; the
more clearly you visualize Tapihritsa, the
more benefit you will have. Try to imagine
this fully. At the beginning, perhaps you
cannot imagine the whole figure fully. You
can imagine part by part as you would if
you were drawing Tapihritsa. When we
draw Tapihritsa, we cannot draw him all
at once. First we start either from the legs,
or the face, and then slowly, slowly we
build the image, then the eyes, and then
the nose. Visualizing Tapihritsa piece by
piece, we can imagine the whole. For
example, start by imagining Tapihritsa's
crossed legs very, very clearly, and then
slowly try to imagine the upper part of his
body. If you lose the image of his crossed
legs, it doesn 't matter. Just go slowly, and
try to imagine as clearly and as sharply as
you can. Try to make that clear, sharp part
stable for at least some moments . Then
imagine the face, the eyes, and the nose,
part by part; you have to imagine each part
very clearly. Finally, once you have every
thing, then focus on any part of the body
that is the clearest for you. If the eyes are
the clearest, just focus on the eyes. Allow
this to become as stable as possible for
as long as possible. After some time you
will lose this visualization, so then again
rebuild it-re-imagine his whole body. If
you do this again and again, slowly, slowly
you will be able to visualize more and
more of the entire figure. Eventually, you
will be able to imagine the entire figure all
at once, and the visualization will become
sharper and sharper. This is how to create
the visualization clearly.
While you are focusing on Tapihritsa,

OPENING SESSION - NOVEMBER 20, 2003

don't think of it as merely your own


imagination. It is not like a painting or
your imagination. You have to think that it
is the real form of Tapihritsa which is the
embodiment of the three j ewels, the three
kayas, all the lineage masters of Zhang
Zhung Nyen Gyu, even all the buddhas,
the dharma, and the sangha, the lama,
yidam, and khandro, whatever represents
enlightenment. He is the embodiment of
these things. He represents all these lin
eages masters and the three j ewels, all
the buddhas, thousands of buddhas. He
possesses the wisdom, compassion, and
all the abilities. We say he is the essence
of wisdom, or should I say embodiment?
He is full of wisdom, compassion, and
ability. Buddhas have the ability to arise
in different manifestations according to
the capacities of sentient beings; they can
arise as peaceful deities or wrathful deities.
Whatever the beings need, the buddhas
naturally come in response to that need. So
Tapihritsa possesses all the qualities of the
buddhas; in fact, we have to think of him as
a real, living buddha. We need to imagine
him in that way. First we have to start by
thinking of Tapihritsa this way. Then even
tually, once we can imagine Tapihritsa, our
thinking will bring us naturally to having
the mindfulness of Tapihritsa as a living
buddha or the embodiment of all the bud
dhas and lineage masters. That is what we
have to try to build and stabilize within our
meditation.
The more we are able to stabilize the
visualization of Tapihritsa and the realiza
tion of him as the embodiment of all the
buddhas and lineage masters, the great
er will be our devotion and inspiration
because of his knowledge and wisdom.
The reason why we have to visualize
Tapihritsa is to bring us inspiration for
devotion. Therefore, we have to build our

visualization and know that within him is


the wisdom and knowledge that can give
us more devotion. Focus on Tapihritsa
while thinking of him in this form as the
embodiment of the buddhas. Stay focused
as long as possible with the visualization
as clear and sharp as possible. That is
very important. This is how to focus on
Tapihritsa's form.
B efore ending the session of guru yoga,
imagine the red syllable RAM coming
from Tapihritsa's heart. This seed syllable
of the fire element turns into a very strong
fire which is the essence of the wisdom
of Tapihritsa and all the lineages masters.
The fire comes to you, touches you, and
burns all the negativities, defilements, and
karma that you have. Next from the heart
of Tapihritsa comes the green syllable
YANG of the wind element. It turns into
a very strong wind that blows all your
negativities, defilements, and karma away.
Finally, from the heart of Tapihritsa comes
the blue syllable MANG of the water ele
ment. It turns into a very powerful wave
that washes out all your remaining nega
tivities, defilements, and karma and any
traces left by fire and wind. Everything
is left purified and clean. When you are
imagining these three elements, they are
not in their normal elemental form. Think
of them as wisdom fire, wisdom wind, and
wisdom water.
Our negativities, defilements, and kar
mas can only be purified by knowledge
or wisdom. They cannot be purified by
any kind of normal material elements .
The reason why we have to imagine them
this way is that these three elements, we
call them kalpa sum, or three kalpas, are
the most powerful among all phenomena.
These three elements are also the elements
which destroy our universe in the end.
They are the most powerful; they purify

THE FIRST EXPERIENTIAL TRANSMISSION FROM THE CHAG TRI

and they destroy normal material things.


Because they have this power, we imagine
them in that way. Actually, we have to
think of these wisdoms as the real weapons
that destroy our negative emotions, nega
tive thoughts, and all the defilements and
karmic traces. Having been purified in this
way, we can think that we are completely
purified. "All my negativities and defile
ments are purified. I am fully pure and
as transparently clear as crystal. Now I
am qualified and ready to receive all the
teachings, blessings, and empowerments
of dzogchen from the dzogchen lineage
masters." We have to think and feel in that
way.
From Tapihritsa 's crown and forehead,
a white A, the seed syllable of the body,
comes to you and dissolves into the crown
of your head. As it does, you receive
all the empowerments and blessings of
Tapihritsa's and the lineage masters ' bod
ies. A red OM from Tapihritsa 's throat
comes and dissolves into your throat. As
it does, you receive the empowerment and
blessings of Tapihritsa and the lineage
masters ' speech. Finally, from Tapihritsa's
heart a blue HUNG appears, and dis
solves into your own heart. As it does, you
receive all the empowerments, blessings,
and knowledge of the mind of Tapihritsa
and the lineages masters. Having received
all the empowerments of the body, speech
and mind of Tapihritsa and the lineage
masters into your own body, speech and
mind, you become equally realized as
Tapihritsa and the lineage masters. In fact,
you are inseparable. Imagine yourself full
of knowledge and blessings. Feel that. That
is the real way you receive the initiation or
empowerment. We have to do the practice
that way, not just by thinking. The most
important thing is to make all these visu
alizations as clear and sharp as possible.

If your visualizations are clear and sharp,


then you will feel and not just think intel
lectually. Feeling brings more confidence.
Then you have to remain in this feeling or
state as long as possible. This is the guru
yoga practice.
With this experience you now recite or
chant the guru yoga prayer. This is the four
lined prayer that we chanted this morn
ing. With this prayer you ask the lineage
masters and your own guru to reveal your
own natural state of mind. Rang ngo rang
gi she par Jin gyi lob means, "Bless me to
recognize the real face of my own mind."
The real face of mind is the natural state of
mind, the reality of mind. You have to ask
for this blessing. It doesn't come by read
ing books or by getting instructions from
teachers. You do need to read books, and
you do need to receive instructions from
teachers, but you need very much to have
the blessings of the lineage masters. That
is very, very important. If you don't have
the blessings, only reading and getting
instructions is not enough to realize the
natural state.
The realization of the natural state is
the most essential for dzogchen practice.
We are now preparing for this. Therefore
the first step of the preparation is receiving
blessings and initiation from the lineage
masters. That is called guru yoga. This is
how to do guru yoga practice, and why we
have to do guru yoga practice. Is it clear?
If you have any questions we can discuss
it.
Q: Rinpoche we have been singing the
RAM YANG MANG out loud as a group
when we practice and the A OM HUNG as
well. Should we continue to do that?
KTY: Okay, you can do it like that too.
In the group practice if you do it this way,
I think it would be much more helpful if

OPENING SESSION - NOVEMBER 20, 2003

while you are singing, you can focus on


the RAM or YANG or whatever. It brings
you a sharper visualization. The main
thing that we have to get is a sharp and
very clear visualization. For this, we can
try whatever is best for us to have those
sharp and clear visualizations.
Q : Could you translate the four sen
tences of the guru yoga prayer?
KTY: The translation of guru yoga I
think you have. We have to do this prac
tice on a regular basis, not just sometimes
when you have more time. We have to do
this practice in the early morning and in the
evening. At least two times a day would be
very helpful and meaningful. That is very,
very important.
Q : Should we do it in English or
Tibetan?
KTY: Either. Some people say that if
you do it in Tibetan it gives you more
feeling, more connection. If you do it in
English it may help you much more in
knowing what to think. Actually the reci
tation is reminding us . When we say this
prayer, these very words are what we have
to think. Without thinking or imagination,
when you say something there may be
some benefit, but it is not very helpful .
Therefore when you say this prayer, your
imagination has to follow your words.
Then it helps you. Whatever way is com
fortable for you, whether it is Tibetan or
English, do it that way.
Q : Can we do the recitation at the end
of the visualization? For me the recitation
of the prayer helps to build the emotion
which kind of supports the visualization
and makes it stronger. Would it be okay to
do the recitation at the beginning and then
do the visualization?

KTY: Yes, that's also okay. Yes?


Q: Since I ' ve renounced pride I have to
ask you which thangka is Tapihritsa?
KTY: This buddha or deity is called
Tapihritsa. Tapihritsa is his name; it is a
Zhang Zhung word from the Zhang Zhung
language. He was just an ordinary person
as we are now. After having received this
teaching of Zhang Zhung Nyen Gyu and
practicing it, he became enlightened and
attained the rainbow body. He turned his
whole body completely into light; that is
what we call the rainbow body. Attaining
the rainbow body is the ultimate goal of
dzogchen.
Q : After RAM and YANG what is the
third word for water?
KTY: MANG
Q : So RAM YANG MANG represent
fire, wind, and water?
KTY: Yes. After this discussion you
will be practicing, and you can try to do
this. When you practice you will have
some questions and you can ask them later.
This practice is actually very logical; it is
not just like a rule . The more and more
you do it, the more and more you will find
it logical, powerful, and useful. This can
be used at any time for any purpose. For
example, if you are sick or anyone is sick,
you can do this practice for a healing pur
pose. Instead of sending the fire, wind, and
water to yourself, you can imagine send
ing them to the sick person to whatever
part of the body has disease. Get the fire
and then bum all the disease with the fire;
blow it out with the wind; wash it out with
the water. Then the disease is completely
cured, cleaned, and purified. There is rea
son for this. Disease is caused initially by
the three mental poisons, anger, desire, and
ignorance. If we purify these three, there

10

THE FIRST EXPERIENTIAL TRANSMISSION FROM THE CHAG TRI

will not be any disease. Buddhas purify all


disease, because buddhas purify all these
negative emotions. We can do it this way
too.
If you want to expel some evil or nega
tive spirits or obstacles, or what we call
don, you can also practice guru yoga.
Sometimes we have very strong obstacles
or evil spirits which can disturb our prac
tice or life, or harm living beings. In this
case, the fire goes to the spirits and chases
them all away. Since we think in the prac
tice of the guru yoga that Tapihritsa is the
embodiment of all the buddhas, all the
three kayas, the three j ewels, and has all
the abilities, there is nothing that cannot
be appeased by the power of this prac
tice . This is another option, alternative
purpose. It is a multi-function practice.
[Laughter. ] Okay, any questions? We have
five minutes.
Q: I am trying to review in my mind
the steps of the visualization. You also said
when you try to draw Tapihritsa?
KTY: Making the visualization is simi
lar to drawing. I am saying when we are
drawing, for example, a hat, we have to
make a round shape, this way, step by step.
In a similar way, we can imagine first the
head, and then the neck, then the upper
part of the body, and then the lower part of
the body, step by step. If we try to imagine
the whole body at one time it will be more
difficult to get a sharp visualization. You
can get something, but you cannot make it
clear and sharp. If you try to imagine step
by step, then whatever you imagine will
be more detailed, sharp, and clear. If you
do this again and again, then finally you
can get the full visualization of Tapihritsa 's
body with a clear, sharp form.
Q : So in the beginning you focus on one
part of the body?

KTY: Yes. While you are building the


visualization, once you get all the parts of
the body, then you focus on the part that
is the clearest. You try to focus on that;
it helps your mind to stabilize. It is like
zhine; it gets more and more stabilized.
Then you can get the entire visualization
of Tapihritsa's body sharp and clear.
Q : Rinpoche is there an ideal size?
Does it matter how big?
KTY: Doesn't matter. You can imagine
whatever size is clear for you. First you
have to imagine a big one, then slowly,
slowly you can imagine a smaller one.
Actually according to tantric practice, we
have to visualize a lot of deities. The way
of visualizing deities is to first imagine a
bigger one which is much easier. Slowly,
slowly as we get our mind stabilized, then
we try to visualize smaller and smaller
ones. When you are very well stabilized
and able to visualize the deities in normal
size clearly and sharply, then you have to
try to visualize in the size of a fingernail.
In the fingernail we can visualize the full
body of the deity in detail. Finally, we have
to even be able to visualize the deity the
size of a mustard seed, clear, bright, and
with detail . That is how we have to train in
visualization of the divinities . That much
detail is not required; if you could, that
would be good. Otherwise, it is not in the
text. In this case, we have to get a clear and
sharp enough visualization that it brings us
sufficient inspiration and devotion. That is
the main purpose.
Q: I read that part of the instruction is to
visualize Tapihritsa disappearing into light
and entering . . .
KTY: Oh yes. You can do it that way
too. There are many different ways accord
ing to different teachings. You can do it

11

OPENING SESSION - NOVEMBER 20, 2003

that way too. That is called dzogrim. It


is not necessary to do it that way. If you
feel more comfortable with that, you can
do it that way too. At the end, dissolve
the image into your own body, or dissolve
it into the space. Then you remain in the
indescribable state of mind. That is the
inner guru yoga. That will come in the
actual teaching of dzogchen, not now. We
are not ready now.
Q : Fire is heart to heart when you visu
alize the fire?
KTY: Fire, wind, and water all appear
from the heart, and then come to our body
and bum whatever the negative karma is.
It doesn't bum the body.
Q : Is it important to do the nine breath
ings of purification before guru yoga?

KTY: Yes, that is always good. It is


always good to begin the session with the
nine breathings.
So we will stop here. Now we will
make the dedication. After any practice
session, for any practice you do, even if
you do one single prostration, one single
circumambulation, one single prayer, or a
single recitation of the mantra, you have
to dedicate the merit. Then your virtue and
the merit of this practice will never be lost
and your practice will increase every day.
If you don 't dedicate, the merit can be lost
or destroyed by the influence of strong
negative emotions that can wipe out your
virtuous actions. Therefore the dedication
is always required after any practice.
[Dedication] .

The First Expe riential Transmission


from the ChagTri - The Ngondro

November 20, 2003

Afternoon Session

life, or after? We cannot be sure if we will


find the same situation, the same lifestyle.
Maybe it will be better, maybe worse, but
we cannot ever be sure. The future is just
the future. This very human lifetime that
we have now is in our hands. Whether we
use it in a good way or a wrong way is in
our hands. That is why it is called a pre
cious human life.

[Guru yoga, refuge, and bodhicitta


prayers] .
Impermanence practice

This morning we explained guru yoga


practice, the first of the nine stages of
the preliminary practices. Now I would
like to discuss impermanence practice.
The reason we practice impermanence is
to understand our life situation. It sounds
simplistic, but there are many things we
should understand about our lives. There
are many opportunities we miss in this
very precious life. Through impermanence
practice we realize many opportunities;
we begin to understand things we didn't
know. Reflecting on impermanence can
encourage us to practice Yungdrung Bon
and develop our realization.
First, we need to look at the precious
ness of this human life, the difficulty of
obtaining this precious human life. This
life is very precious; it is difficult to find
such a life again and again. This very life
is the result of many virtuous actions we
have accumulated over many lifetimes.
Knowing that, we begin to realize how
precious it is and how difficult to obtain.
We should ask ourselves whether we will
find such a precious human life in the
future. Is there any certainty that we can
find such a life in the future, in the next

The eight leisures

Traditionally, there are 1 8 good qualities to


a precious human birth. There are 1 8 good
qualities of leisure, ten special attainments
and eight leisures. We use the word leisure
because we have a lot of time and are free
to do anything. Leisure doesn't mean we
don't work or are lazy; it means we are
free to do anything. We are completely
free from the three lower realms : the hell,
hungry ghost, and animal realms. If we had
fallen into any of those realms, we would
have had no chance to practice the dharma.
We would not be free. First, because we
wouldn 't understand how to practice, we
would not meet the teachings. Second,
because even if we understood and had the
chance to meet the teachings, we would
never have any opportunity or free time
to practice. These three realms are under
the pressure of misery and suffering; they
don't allow a chance to practice. In the hell
13

14

THE FIRST EXPERIENTIAL TRANSMISSION FROM THE CRAG TRI

realm there is not one moment of leisure


time to practice. We suffer all the time.
We can briefly experience this when we
are sick and under the influence of pain or
an intense headache. When we are in pain,
even if we want to practice and spend time
in meditation, we cannot. We are under
the control of a headache or stomach pain.
This is similar to what a hell being expefr
ences. We know we have to practice; we
know how important it is to practice, but
we are completely under the control of the
pain of the headache or stomach ache. It is
not in our hands.
Imagine the beings in the hell, hungry
ghost, and animal realms . When we are
healthy and comfortable we say, "I don' t
know about a hell o r hungry ghost realm.
Where it is? Nobody has seen it." But what
about all the many beings that are under the
sea? We haven 't seen them either; some we
can't even imagine. In modem times we
have discovered so many things that we
have never seen. There are so many things
that are still to be discovered. This is one
very good example. Usually people say, "I
don't believe it because no one has seen it.
There is no scientific information. In this
2 1 st century with very advanced technol
ogy, when we can go to the moon, how can
there be worlds we haven't discovered?"
We can say that, but it is very clear there
are many things yet to be discovered. Look
at all the different types of animals in the
sea alone-so many different types of fish.
Whether big or small, animals are always
suffering from fear. Each harms the other;
there is always violence and suffering.
There is no peace. If we are reincarnated
into this kind of life, how would we have a
chance to practice? We should think of our
precious human life in this way.
We have a phrase in Tibetan Iha tse,
which means we are free from these three

lower realms. We have the three leisures


which are the opposite of the three lower
realms. The fourth leisure is Iha tse ring,
which means we are free from rebirth as a
long-life deity. In the desire realm there are
many gods. One is called Iha tse ring po.
This god has a very long, peaceful life. He
is almost enlightened, and because of this
he never thinks of practicing. Just before
dying when his life is exhausted, he real
izes his situation-he is not enlightened.
All the miseries and suffering appear at
this time, but there is no choice. Therefore
if you are reborn as a long-life deity, there
is no chance to practice. This is the fourth
leisure : to be free from birth as a long-life
deity.
Finally, even being born as a human
doesn 't mean we will have the chance to
practice. Among humans there are many
types of people. Some are blind or deaf
from birth with no chance to practice.
Some have sense organs that are too imper
fect. Being a little imperfect is okay, but if
our senses are too imperfect, completely
deaf, blind, or unfeeling, we can easily
see there is no chance to practice. Even
if our sense organs are perfect and we are
energetic, intelligent, and wish to practice,
sometimes we are completely under the
control of other people or forces. There are
many situations like this in our world; it
is not good. The fifth leisure is being free
from these situations.
The sixth leisure is being free from
wrong views such as not believing in the
practice and teachings, not believing in
the law of karma, not believing in enlight
enment, or not having faith in the three
j ewels. Believing only in this short breath
of a life is considered a wrong view. The
one who has two hands, two legs, and one
head, but who has utterly no spirituality is
subj ect to wrong views. Being free from

AFTERNOON SESSION - NOVEMBER 20, 2003

wrong views is the sixth leisure.


The seventh leisure is that we have the
opportunity to hear the teachings. Finally,
humans can have some spirituality, but
they take completely the wrong view,
opposite of the absolute truth. We are free
from this with the eighth leisure. We have
a fortunate human birth and the time and
opportunity to practice. These are the eight
leisures.
The ten attainments
Jor pa chu literally means the ten attain

ments. These are all talking about our pre


cious human life. First of all, we are born
in the right place. We are born in a central
place where Buddha's teachings are given.
Next, we have been born with our sense
organs intact, which is very important
in order to be able to listen and practice.
Then we have met with the teachings of
Buddha. All the teachings are available to
us. Sometimes we know about a teaching,
but it is too far away so we can ' t receive
it. What we say is, if the teachings are in
another world, even if we hear about them,
we can't reach them. If they are happening
in Shambhala, we cannot go there. We are
here in America; there would be no chance
for us to go there. We would say we are
obstructed by geography. But the teaching
is coming and flourishing in the West and
in the United States. Lamas are coming !
You are fortunate. Normally we have to
travel and do many hard things. The teach
ing is not disrupted by geography.
Then, another attainment means not
being disrupted by time. Many years ago,
in the 8 th or 9 th century, there were teach
ings for the rainbow body. These teachings
no longer exist. In this case, we cannot
receive this teaching because we are dis
rupted by time. We are too late. Another
example of being disrupted by time is that

15

we cannot see the Buddha Tonpa Shenrab


directly; we are too late. He lived 1 8,000
years ago; we are too late to see him face
to face. If you practice, that is a different
case. We are in the perfect time; the teach
ing is flourishing in America. We have this
human body and this opportunity. If we
had been born 1 00 years ago in America,
we would have been born too early to have
met the teachings, because they had not yet
arrived here. That is called being disrupted
by time. We are here in exactly the right
time when the teachings are flourishing.
We are in exactly the right place. Our
senses are intact, our timing and our age,
everything is right. This is the fifth attain
ment. Of the ten attainments, these are the
five attainments according to one 's own
situation.
Next are the five attainments in accor
dance to other. The Buddha came into this
world in the eon of light. We were born dur
ing the eon of the Buddha's birth. Buddha
gave the teachings; he left his message to
guide us . It has not expired; it is still here.
This message will last a long time; it is
still living, and will still be living. We are
living during this exact time of Buddha's
teachings. Not only was the message left
for us, but there is also a teacher who holds
this lineage, this tradition and who has the
experience of these teachings. This is the
fourth attainment according to other. The
lineage masters have the compassion and
intention to give these teachings for the
benefit of all sentient beings.
These are the ten attainments,jor wain
Tibetan. Jor wa literally means to obtain
or get something. These are the ten spe
cial attainments for our life. Most people
don 't have these ten attainments. They
may even seem to have a good life filled
with luxury, but really they lack the special
attainments.

16

THE FIRST EXPERIENTIAL TRANSMISSION FROM THE CHAG TRI

We have all these things; we have the


18 good qualities of a precious human life.
We have this as a result of the accumula
tion of our good and virtuous actions in
many lifetimes. We need to realize all the
good we have done, and not just think
of our negative side, "I have no time to
practice. I have to work." It is human
nature. Once born in samsara we cannot
go beyond this situation. Instead of think
ing about the negative, sometimes we need
to think of all that is positive in our lives.
It is better to think about how to use this
positive, fortunate situation in a good way.
This is what we have to practice here.
This life is not permanent. It is very
much connected to this material body,
composed of flesh and blood and full of
pain and misery. Although we have this
opportunity, it is impermanent and will not
last long. Compared to the many lifetimes
we have already had and the many we will
have in the future, this lifetime is an early
morning dew drop on the grass in summer.
It will not last. It can go at any moment, by
any cause and condition. It is impermanent
and uncertain. It is good, fortunate, and
also impermanent. It will not last long.
While we have this precious chance, we
have to use it in a good way so that in the
future, if we are able, it can bring a better
life and opportunity. This is called contem
plating this precious human life so difficult
to obtain. On the basis of this understand
ing, we think of the impermanence of our
body, our life, and all the lives of all sen
tient beings in all the worlds.
We also have to think about our so
called death. Death is natural, but people
have anxiety about death. The situation of
birth and death are actually the same situ
ation. They have the same nature. People
are happy to be born, but are afraid, anx
ious, and sad to die. Actually, if we are

born into this world, then death is natural.


There is nothing wrong or bad, but we
have this fear of death. We are afraid of
death even if we think there is no next
life, or if we think, "I will just disappear."
When death really comes, many cannot get
comfortable. That is big sign of the next
life. If not, why be afraid of dying? That is
a big sign that is moving within our basic
consciousness. We have stored a lot of
karmic traces in our mind. When karmic
traces are ripening, there is a result. To get
a life is the result of karmic traces. To die
is also because of karma. After death, to
get another life is also because of karmic
traces. It is natural that whenever things
have happened, just before they happen
we have some kind of feeling. I think most
people have had this experience. Signs
come, whether we are aware of them or
not, and usually we have some feelings or
judgments. It can be mental or physical,
but there is always something. This fear
of death is a big sign of the next life. If we
understand the law of karma and how it
works, then it is extremely important for us
to use this very lifetime for good. We know
we are going to die one day. It is natural,
but we don't trust karma. That means we
don 't realize the effect our actions have.
We may understand the law of karma intel
lectually and theoretically, but we don 't
really trust it. We haven 't realized it. When
we have truly realized something, we don't
wait, we do something. For example, if
someone casually says, "There is a fire
in your house," maybe we will get a little
worried, but even though we have been
told, we don 't really realize it. But when
someone urgently says, "Your house is
burning down," we not only worry, we
have to do something immediately. There
are two different types of feelings : there
is the feeling that gives rise to hearing,

AFTERNOON SESSION - NOVEMBER 20, 2003

and the feeling that gives rise to "seeing"


that our house is burning. They give rise
to different levels of effort to put out the
fire. If we fully realized, "I am going to die
tomorrow," then we would do something.
Here is another example. If someone
is poisoned and knows he is going to die,
then we urgently use any method to take
out the poison. If we know that he may
have been poisoned, but we don 't think
it is serious or deadly, we might postpone
action thinking, "Oh, I ' ll go to the hospi
tal tomorrow." There is a difference. We
know we may die, but we don't trust. Or
we reject the thought because we don 't
want to hear unpleasant things. This does
not help. How can we do something good
after death? Is there any way after death?
Is there any way to avoid death? What is
good to do in life? How can we use this
life in a good way? Some may think, "I
will enj oy life." So they drink and enj oy
life. Some people think that is a good way
to use life. Some people sleep, "Today I
have no work to do, so I will sleep until
10 in the morning." They think sleeping
is a good thing. Some drink; some sleep;
some gamble. There are also many types
of sports. It is possible to receive a tem
porary good feeling from this, but for the
sake of this temporary good feeling, our
good opportunity is wasted. We miss many
great things.
What kinds of things are good to do?
What is worthwhile to do with our life?
This is our question. If you ask that ques
tion then you have to ask, "What do you
want? What do you want to do? What do
you want the most?" We have to ask that
question. When we say, "I want this and
that thing," then we have to ask, "Why
do you want those things?" "I want them
because they give some comfort and hap
piness. I want to sleep one hour in the

17

afternoon. It gives me some comfort. I


want to drink a bottle of wine or whiskey."
"Why?" "It gives me happiness." "I want
to play some golf or football." "Why?" "I
feel happy. My mind becomes peaceful. "
This is very normal i n our lives. Whenever
we want something, it is for the sake of
happiness. Ultimately, we seek happiness.
We seek some comfort and happiness on
both an intellectual and physical level.
This is a complex answer to the question,
"What do you want?" Everybody, not just
human beings, but all other beings are
doing everything for the sake of happiness
and comfort.
We really want happiness that cannot
be lost or exhausted. That is what we actu
ally want. Some people don 't think about
it that way; some wouldn't describe it that
way, but that is actually what they want.
We try all different kinds of things to find
happiness, but if we think deeply, we real
ize that most of the methods we use to get
happiness and comfort gradually create
misery. Again, this is clear. For example,
first we try to earn a lot of money to have
a happy life. We are successful in business
and have money and property. Financially
we are in good shape, but we still need and
want something. Why? Because we haven' t
gotten what w e wanted initially-ultimate
happiness. That is a sign. If material things
could give us ultimate happiness, we would
be satisfied with them. Instead of giving us
happiness, material things may make us
more miserable than if we had nothing. We
are still in misery, a different type, but still
suffering. We no longer have the misery
of not having money; we now have the
misery of having money. Those who don 't
have material possessions have the misery
of not being able to get them. Those who
have material possessions have the misery
of not being able to properly manage or

18

THE FIRST EXPERIENTIAL TRANSMISSION FROM THE CHAG TRI

administer them. We cannot go beyond


this misery.
Another way of finding happiness is to
engage our mind. "I don't need to worry
about my finances. I have enough money
for 100 more lifetimes. What bothers me is
that I can only use it for a maximum of 60
more years. " In this case, we try to engage
our mind with something such as enj oying
sports, theatre, or the arts. We try different
things to escape from the stress and pain in
our minds. "When I work I feel stress and
pain. I am not happy, so I go to the club,
or play a sport, or visit friends and chat."
There are many different ways of avoiding
stress and pain depending on your life
style. People who love luxury play golf,
using a caddy to carry all their things, and
spending a lot of money. After doing that,
what do they get? Nothing. Those whose
budget is low do different things to escape
their suffering. At this point, we have to try
to understand the cause of happiness and
misery. This is the most important place to
focus our attention.
There is no inner misery or unhappiness
that does not come without causes or con
ditions . Everything, whether it is happi
ness or misery, always depends on causes
and conditions. Without causes and condi
tions, nothing can happen. If you plant rice
seed in the field, rice is the result. If you
plant barley seed in the field, barley is the
result, not rice. We don't get mixed results.
If we don 't plant any seed, even if the
field is good, even if there is adequate sun
and everything is perfect, there will be no
fruit because we lack the cause. If water is
lacking, even if the soil and seed are good
and the time is right, again the fruit cannot
come because we lack one of the necessary
conditions . Similarly, if everything else is
perfect, but it is not the right time, if you
plant the seeds in the wrong season, such as

in the middle of winter, again, nothing can


grow. To get the fruit from the rice always
depends on having the cause, which is the
seed, the conditions, which are the water,
soil, fertilizer, and heat, plus being the
right time. If one is missing, the result can
not come. The result is always dependent
on causes and conditions. There is nothing
without causes and conditions. We have to
understand this very well. Once we realize
this, we need to look at what kind of causes
and conditions are required for happiness
and for misery. This we cannot understand
very well. We cannot judge this well . We
do not have the knowledge to know this .
We have t o rely upon the advice from the
Buddha's teaching. Buddha has perfected
all knowledge, because ignorance has been
completely purified. The teachings he left
for us are based on his own experience. If
we follow these teachings, we will get the
result he obtained.
One great master, the author of the com
mentary on The Mother Tantra, said, "It is
certain that you will become as me if you
do as I did." That is his advice. Through
the path of all these teachings he left for us,
he attained the enlightened state . Therefore
we should follow the Buddha 's teaching.
Each branch of spirituality has the words
of its leader. For example, Christians have
Jesus ' words. In Buddhism we have not
only Buddha's words, but his experience .
Someone might ask, "How can we under
stand how Buddha became enlightened?
Who knows or has seen that Buddha
became enlightened?" We can see this our
selves, not only through his teaching, but
also historically from the many other mas
ters who achieved the same result. This is
our evidence. For example, in the case of
this tradition of dzogchen, before the 8th
century there was an uninterrupted succes
sion of 24, actually 25 or 26, who achieved

AFTERNOON SESSION - NOVEMBER 20, 2003

the rainbow body. Since then, from time to


time, people have become enlightened. As
late as 193 5 , Shardza Rinpoche achieved
the rainbow body, which many people
witnessed. This is very recent. In 1987,
another great master from Kham achieved
the rainbow body. There were no TV or
radio broadcasts, so no one heard about
it. These things are evidence of Buddha's
teaching. As I mentioned this morning,
by reading the biographies of the early
masters, we get important knowledge and
understanding. Reading a biography is bet
ter than meditating half asleep for months !
It gives you a much better experience.
Buddha said, "All misery comes from
ignorance. " The five mental poisons are
caused by ignorance, ignorance of the
absolute truth. Not knowing what the abso
lute truth is, not understanding what the
real situation of our life or existence is,
we have done many things on the basis of
ignorance. Ignorance leads us into many
situations that are the cause of misery.
Happiness comes from wisdom and virtu
ous actions.
Now we will discuss actions, !es in
Tibetan, or karma in Sanskrit. There is
virtuous karma and non-virtuous karma.
Even if we are still in samsara, virtuous
karma can lead us to a better realm in sam
sara. Even if we are in the lower realms, it
can give us better conditions . For example,
a dog is generally in the animal realm
mainly because of confusion or ignorance.
To be reborn as a dog is caused by non
virtuous action, but among dogs, some
are even happier than some unfortunate
human beings. This happiness of the dog
is caused by some virtuous actions. The
main result, the life of a dog, is the result
of a non-virtuous action. Then there is the
action of perfection, which gives the sec
ondary condition of this life. For example,

19

normally a dog 's life is unfortunate, but a


particular dog may have a very good care
taker, is healthy, and is well-fed well. This
is caused by a former action of perfection.
Karmic cause works this way.
On the positive side, being reborn in a
human life is caused by virtuous action. A
person who has been sick since the age of
five with an incurable disease must have
collected both perfection and non-virtu
ous actions too. That is how karmic cause
brings results in different shapes. Let's put
it this way: Sony produces good comput
ers, but they hire a lower status company
to do all their packaging. When we open
the box, we can see that the packaging is
not of good quality, but we can also see
the computer is good. It is like this. Did
you get this point? That is why we say, "in
this precious human life we have the 18
special qualities . " It is entirely done by the
Sony company, the packaging and every
thing ! We have to look at our lives this
way. Once we realize how precious it is to
have these 18 conditions, then we need to
realize how impermanent it is, how easy
it is to be distracted by other causes and
misfortunes. Even though we know this,
we still don't pay any attention. We are
careless and miss many things. That brings
regret. Understanding the impermanence
of our lives will deepen our realization
and encourage us to practice. It will help
us detach from worldly life conditions and
pursue the pure and effective development
of practice.
Instructi ons on the practi ce of
impermanence

Practically speaking, how do we do imper


manence practice according to the text?
Sit in the five-pointed meditation posture.
Think of all composite things as being
impermanent. All material things can

20

THE FIRST EXPERIENTIAL TRANSMISSION FROM THE CHAG TRI

change from moment to moment. All com


posite things will be destroyed, dissolved.
All gathered things can be dispersed. All
collected things will be exhausted. All
who are born will die. For any thing, any
case, any where, any aspect that we can
think of or analyze, there is nothing per
manent. Everything is without essence.
Everything is temporary and illusory, even
this precious life. We have to reconsider
everything that we think of as permanent,
solid, and concrete. Think what obj ects of
compassion we are !
Reflect on this. Usually we see our
property, ourselves, our house, our friends,
our country as permanent, but they are all
changeable, without any permanent condi
tions . They are unconditionally changeable
without any certain fixed time. Realize that
we have been circulating in samsara until
now. If we remain this way, we will cer
tainly continue to circulate and never be
satisfied. It is certain that death will come
one day. At that time, no one can help us.
We know this, but we still think of our
selves as permanent and immortal ! Reflect
in this way.
Then imagine yourself as Saddam
Hussein or King Bandhara in Nepal. You
live in a very protected palace in the mid
dle of a big city surrounded by armies with
weapons. You do not worry about food
or clothing. Most people have to worry
about basic food, clothing, and shelter,
but you don't have any worries about this .
You always enj oy the best food, clothes,
and so forth. Your living conditions are
perfect. You think it will stay like this for
your whole life, even longer! While you
are thinking this, without warning one
day everything turns upside down. All the
people that you consider your best friends
have become your worst enemies. All your
property is taken away. All your friends

and family are killed. All your castles and


protected lands are bombed and destroyed.
You are alone and helpless. You don't even
have a chance to see your closest friends or
family. Reflect on this.
The point is, what is the meaning? What
is the essence? In order to have the beauti
ful castles and property that you desire,
you have accumulated many karmic traces
related with the five mental conscious
nesses through non-virtuous actions. What
is the value of these things? When the situ
ation is reversed and everything is taken
away, there is no one who can help you
escape this condition. Your lost wealth
cannot help you. Reflect in that way.
We can also think of our own situa
tion. At the moment our situation is good;
our families and friends are good; all is
good. But the situation is not permanent;
it can be changed. It is not permanent; we
have no certainty. There is no guarantee.
What is left when nothing is permanent?
Nothing is left. Only misery and suffering
are with us and all the karmic traces that
brought these situations. We have to reflect
on our lives this way.
At the moment we have these good
conditions and situation, but imagine that
one day we get a disease. We are terribly
sick. We cannot even change the position
of our bodies. We need help just to do
this. Because we cannot move, everything
under our lower body is soiled, and our
upper body is parched It is a terrible situ
ation. We experience unbearable pain. At
that time, all our relatives, family mem
bers, and our loving friends surround us.
They are doing their best-inviting doc
tors and whatever else they can do for
our benefit-but nothing helps. Still we
get worse. Finally, the powers of the five
elements dissolve one by one . Even if we
want to stay alive one day longer, we have

AFTERNOON SESSION - NOVEMBER 20, 2003

no choice. We have no power. We cannot


buy another day; we cannot do anything.
The sense organs stop functioning one by
one. Finally our consciousness disconnects
from this body, this loving body for which
we did so many things. We accumulated so
much karma because of our body, some of
it bad, maybe some of it good, but we did
it for this body.
When the consciousness disconnects
from this body, there is only one day
before the body starts to smell. As soon
as we disconnect, this body becomes hor
rible-something that everyone is repulsed
by. Loving friends and family don't want
this body. They want to be clean of it as
soon as possible. What is the benefit of
doing so many things for this body in our
life? Why do we bother to keep it looking
nice, healthy, and happy? In the end it is
something that nobody wants. Only the
insects want it. Then it is cremated, and
it becomes a handful of ashes. If our fam
ily and friends are good, maybe they will
bring the ashes to a holy place. Otherwise,
the ashes will just disappear. That is what
our body is. If we bury it underground, it
will become full of insects. After death no
one wants to see this body. But our mind
has not disappeared; it is still alive. It is
actively alive; it feels more pain. It has
to suffer all the pain and misery from the
negative karma we have collected for the
benefit of this very body. Although the
body has disappeared, the negative karma
has not disappeared. It has attached to our
mind. Our relatives and friends talk about
how to divide our property. Sometimes
they mention our name. Maybe they will
mention us nicely, honorifically, maybe
not. Some will cry. What is left? Nothing is
left. What do we have? We have nothing.
What is the essence, the point of spend
ing our life on worldly activities? If we

21

practice something meaningful, that is our


ultimate permanent property. That is the
property that we can take with us which
can benefit us in this situation and after our
death. Reflect in this way.
At this point, our mind is completely
naked and alone, roaming in unknown
places with no intention of where to go
or what to do. The mind is just roaming
around like a feather blown by the wind. A
feather follows wherever the wind blows.
There is no control. We go wherever the
karmic winds blow us. If the karmic winds
blow under our feet, we go to hell. If the
karmic winds blow at the crowns of our
heads, we go to god realm. There is no
specific place to stay, no certain place to
go, but our minds still think. There are
many things we experience thinking we
are still in our previous lives, but we have
no power to do anything. We experience
many miseries in the condition of the
bardo state. Reflect on this. What would
we do if we were in this situation?
Think of all the people who have died
before us. When they were living, they felt
the same as we do. They didn 't want to die
so soon. They wanted good things, good
clothing, and good food. They wanted hap
piness. But without any choice, they had
to die. This will also happen to each of us.
This is not something that happens only to
others . Think about this .
Think o f all the people i n this world;
there are many who are happy; there are
many who are miserable. But things can
change. Those who have had a happy life
can become miserable, and those who were
miserable can become happy. Happiness
and misery are not permanent. The rich
can become poor ; the poor can become
rich. Reflect on how things can change,
how fast they can change. Enemies can
become friends; friends can become ene-

22

THE FIRST EXPERIENTIAL TRANSMISSION FROM THE CRAG TRI

mies. Good can become bad; bad can


become good. Actually, this depends on
our attitude. When our attitude is good,
everything becomes good. If our attitude is
bad, then everything becomes bad. This is
also a sign of impermanence. The power
ful become powerless, and the powerless
become powerful. This is clear.
We can use all the news on television
and radio as a part of our practice. Every
day on TV we see people dying or injured.
We hear this all the time. We can consider
all this . Someone is just driving to work
intending to have a great day. Without
warning, they have an accident and die.
It can happen to us. Having obtained
this precious life, anything can happen at
any moment. Think and practice more.
Whenever there is time, practice.
Even the way we account for time-a
year, month, a summer, a day-changes.
In an earlier time, food was one way of
counting time. In one day people ate three

meals. If we ate three meals, we counted


the time as one day. Realize that in any
moment, everything is changing, even the
measurement of time itself changes.
There is no one who has not died. In
future it is not possible that there will be
someone who will not die. Think: one
day I will die. It is not certain how, when,
or where, but my death is certain. When
death comes, we have to follow our karmic
traces. We have no choice. Reflect, think,
and feel these situations.
Discussing impermanence like this may
sound depressing, but this can bring a
good result. When we try to do something
impressive, it can be more depressing. We
have to choose . Reflecting in this way is
the practice of impermanence.
We will stop here and discuss questions
tomorrow.
[Dedication] .

The First Expe riential Transmission


from the ChagTri - The Ngondro

November 21, 2003

Morning Session

of time an average person will see and feel


some changes in their mind . This is the
conclusion of the impermanence practice
instruction.

[Guru yoga, refuge, and bodhicitta


prayers] .
The results of the practi ce of
impermanence

I would like to conclude yesterday 's teach


ing on impermanence with a few com
ments on the result of the practice. I
explained how to do the practice and the
purpose of the practice. As a result of
repeatedly reflecting on impermanence,
you will gradually develop a natural feel
ing of detachment from normal worldly
conditions. You will naturally have a feel
ing of wanting to practice. You will have
the feeling there is no time to rest without
practicing. The feeling will grow naturally,
and that is the main result of imperma
nence practice. Until you get this feeling
you have to try to keep practicing. But
once you get this feeling it doesn't mean
that you should stop reflecting on imper
manence ! Through this your understanding
of the practice deepens and becomes more
meaningful . If you practice, you can expe
rience it yourself. No one needs to explain
it. The text doesn't say how long you have
to do the practice, but at the beginning
you have to do this practice intensively a
minimum of five to seven days until you
get the result. The recommendation of five
to seven days means that within that period

Confession

Now we move to the next step, the third


stage which is called the teaching of con
fession in order to purify our negative
deeds. All the practices that we do are for
purification. This particular confession is
specifically to purify our negativities and
is part of ngondro practice. In fact, all the
practices of ngondro that we are doing are
part of confession practice.
To make confession means not only
to say that you are sorry for all your mis
deeds, but to deeply feel it. In order to
cultivate the feeling of remorse, we have to
understand what we did was wrong. If we
don' t know what a negative action is, we
don't get the feeling of sorrow or regret. It
is important to realize what kinds of things
are misdeeds or negative actions. We have
to recognize a negative action as a nega
tive action. Quite often we may consider
some negative actions as good actions,
as something we should do. By doing
such an action, we accumulate so many
karmic traces ; we are proud of a negative
action instead of feel ing regret. We have
the wrong view of our action. We think
23

24

THE FIRST EXPERIENTIAL TRANSMISSION FROM THE CHAG TRI

something is good which is bad. We have


to deeply understand what kinds of things
are good and what are bad.
As we explained briefly yesterday, we
have to rely on the teachings, the Buddha 's
teachings, not just our own ideas. One
hundred people have one hundred differ
ent opinions on one action. For example,
many people think the war in Iraq is bad,
while some think it is good. How can we
judge? Everybody has reasons on differ
ent levels. We have very limited under
standing. On the basis of these limitations
we judge whether an action is good or
bad. As a practitioner we have to think
more deeply. What kind of action ulti
mately brings a good result, a benefit?
What kinds of things ultimately bring bad
results? We should not only think of the
temporary feeling and result of an action.
Temporarily, things can seem to be good
but can ultimately bring very miserable
results. We have to think of the ultimate
result; that is the best way to judge. The
only way we can ascertain this is to study
and understand the Buddha 's teaching.
This is important. Once we understand
what non-virtuous actions and misdeeds
are, then we naturally feel regret. Almost
everyone has had this experience. When
we realize we have done something that is
very bad, we regret it deeply. Even if we
thought of it as good at the time but later
realize it is bad, we feel regret. Sometimes
we even cry when we realize what we have
done. Therefore, we have to understand
our negative deeds . Once we realize we
have done something wrong, it is possible
to purify it. It is not something that stays
permanently. All non-virtuous actions are
temporary. They are not permanent, and
they are not the nature of mind. When we
think of temporary things as permanent,

then they stay permanent and bring more


permanent misery. We should realize there
is a possibility to purify our negative
misdeeds. When we accumulate negative
actions, it is through our body, speech,
and mind. The only way to purify is also
through our body, speech, and mind. We
are not purified by someone else coming
and purifying us. We did it ourselves, and
we have to purify it by ourselves.
The four powers

Purification happens in four steps known


as the four powers. These four are required
in order to purify our misdeeds and nega
tive actions . The first is the power of
witness or support of our confession or
purification. We can make a confession
without the power of a witness, but if we
have the support of witness it brings us
more satisfaction and confidence. We open
up; we speak out all our misdeeds without
keeping any secrets. It feels more satisfy
ing for us. It is necessary to have the power
of witness. Here the witness is our own
root lama visualized in the space before us
as Tapihritsa or Shenlha O kar, along with
all the lineage masters and enlightened
beings.
The second is the power of regret for
the non-virtuous actions that we have done
previously. This is very important. If we
don't regret, there is no point in confess
ing. We confess because we are trying to
purify something that we have done that
is wrong- something we regret. Regret is
very necessary. lf we don't have regret, we
can ' t purify.
The third power is called the power
of the commitment to not repeat our mis
deeds in the future. We have to make this
commitment with determination. We have
to be completely determined that we are

MORNING SESSION - NOVEMBER 21, 2003

not going to perform negative actions from


now on. Making the commitment with
determination is very necessary and is the
third power.
The fourth is the power of virtuous
actions as the antidote for our misdeeds.
These four are necessary for the purifi
cation or confession. As you can see, mak
ing confession is much deeper than just
saying, "I am sorry." Instead of just saying
it, we have to feel the remorse, make a
commitment to not commit such deeds in
the future, and apply the antidote. That is
more effective.
The instructi ons for the practi ce of con
fessing mi sdeeds

For the first power, we visualize ourselves


as being in the presence of Tapihritsa,
the three j ewels, the refuge tree, and any
divinities or buddhas in whom we have
confidence and trust. If we don 't have trust
or belief in the divinities or the three j ew
els, then they cannot be a witness to our
confession. Here we can do the practice
with Tapihritsa. Although you can also
visualize the whole refuge tree, the dei
ties, the three j ewels, or the three kayas,
a simple way is to visualize Tapihritsa
because you are familiar with that image
from guru yoga. We visualize him in front
of us, deeply feeling the real presence of
Tapihritsa. As he is all-wise, he knows all
our good or bad actions. Whatever karmic
traces are stored in our minds are clearly
known by the buddhas and Tapihritsa.
Next, remember all your misdeeds.
Remind yourself; think and recount all
your non-virtuous actions in as much
detail as possible. It is not really possible
to remember all the things you have done
while circulating in samsara from begin
ningless lifetimes until now. We have

25

accumulated so many virtuous and non


virtuous actions. There are many you can't
remember, but try to recall what you
can from this life. Bring the non-virtuous
actions of body, speech, and mind to mind,
and feel genuine regret and remorse for
them. Think of them as a whole, "All the
non-virtuous actions from beginningless
lifetimes until now including . . . " You can't
go one by one, but you can think of all the
things you can remember and feel genuine
regret from the bottom of your heart. If
you are able to clearly bring these actions
to mind, then you can feel deep regret and
even feel, "Oh, what shall I do?" It is good
to have a feeling of distress about your
past actions for the confession practice.
After having felt deep regret, then we
make the commitment to ourselves: "I 'm
not going to do these things any longer."
With strong determination, make that com
mitment. That is important. That is the
third power.
As a result we have the fourth power,
the antidote. "Now, what can I do? I have
regret. I have made a commitment not to
do such things again, but what should I do
with all the collected karma?" We have to
apply the actual practice that can purify
the karmic traces and negative actions. For
this we go to the fourth power, the power
of virtuous actions . We apply the practice
of mantra, prayer, and meditation-all
kinds of practices that we do as part of
this fourth power of confession. In this
way, as I said before, all practices that we
do are part of our confession and purifica
tion practice. This particular method of
confession practice is the third stage of
the ngondro practices, but each of these
practices is linked and not separate. If you
develop one practice well, and it is well
established, then it brings the rest of the

26

THE FIRST EXPERIENTIAL TRANSMISSION FROM THE CHAG TRI

practices along naturally. All the practices


are linked. They are linked with the actual
practice of dzogchen, which we call ngo
zhi, or meditation in the natural state. This
is also linked. There are some people who
think once we receive the teaching of the
actual practice of dzogchen that ngon
dro is unnecessary. Ngondro is necessary
until we attain enlightenment; once we
attain enlightenment then we don't need it.
Otherwise, we need ngondro . This is how
we do confession, purification practice.
These four points are very important
whenever we confess any negative actions.
Whenever we practice confession and puri
fication, we always apply these four pow
ers . This is essential. If you neglect one of
those powers, for example, if you feel no
re gret, you can easily see that there is no
point in confession. If you have no deter
mination not to repeat the non-virtuous
action, then you will repeat non-virtuous
actions again. Your confession becomes
weak. If you don't apply your confession
to actual practice, then you feel the regret
repeatedly, but that is the way to depres
sion and not to purification. You just end
up feeling depressed. The way to dissolve
that depression is to apply the practice.
There is something that can purify
and dissolve the results of your negative
actions . The remedy is the actual practice.
Usually we recite the 1 00 syllable mantra
for the fourth power. This mantra is the
special mantra for purification, and we
apply it here.
The following description from the text
describes how to do the purification prac
tice : In the space in front of you, generate
and reflect on the refuge tree, the lama,
and all the buddhas and deities. Or simply
imagine Tapihritsa as the embodiment of
all the buddhas, the dharma, the sangha,
and the lama, the yidam , and the khandro .

He is the actual embodiment; it is not


just your thought. Feel his presence very
strongly; imagine the figure of Tapihritsa
as clearly as possible. Reflect that all
sentient beings including yourself from
beginningless time until now have been
circulating in samsara and suffering many
miseries. We are bound by self-grasping
ignorance and do not have one moment
of happiness or comfort. We suffer and
suffer. Circulating in samsara and being
bound by self-grasping and ignorance is
caused by our many non-virtuous actions
accumulated from innumerable lifetimes.
Think clearly in this way. The main thing
though, regardless of what you say or
think, is that you have to feel it deeply.
This is not easy. The best way to feel this
is to develop an understanding of how you
have accumulated so many non-virtuous
actions, and then you can feel it. If you do
this practice again and again, it will bring
a deeper understanding and feeling.
There are different categories of non
virtuous actions, but it may cause confu
sion to discuss all these things now. To
simplify, there are five boundless non-vir
tuous actions . If you commit those, after
death you go directly to the bottom of hell
without even having a bardo experience.
By doing these actions, there is not even
the boundary of the bardo ; it is a non-stop
express, a hell express. It is also known
as tsang de!, a word often used in the
dzogchen teachings. Tsang de! is without
obstacle; it is straight, direct. There are
two kinds of tsang de!: upward tsang de!
and downward tsang de!. Upward tsang
de! is for the great practitioner-you attain
enlightenment in this very lifetime without
going through the bardo . But the non
stop express to hell is also tsang de!, the
downward tsang de!. Usually the bardo
is referred to as the station of the six

MORNING SESSION - NOVEMBER 21, 2003

realms. Before going to enlightenment we


go to the bardo, and then we transfer to
enlightenment.
There are four related actions close to
the five strong actions. They are the four
heavy non-virtuous actions. There are also
the eight wrong non-virtuous actions, the
nine deluded non-virtuous actions, and the
ten common non-virtuous actions. There
are many different types of non-virtuous
actions we have done as well as hav
ing encouraged others to do. We have
even rej oiced when others have done such
things. If we rej oice in the non-virtuous
actions of others, we share the karmic
traces. If we rej oice in others ' virtuous
actions, we share the good karmic traces.
Rejoicing in the virtuous actions of others
is very important.
We don't realize at this moment all the
negative karma we have collected previ
ously by all these non-virtuous actions . We
are ignorant of what is stored in our minds.
Therefore, we include whatever we have
done with wrong action, acknowledging
that Tapihritsa sees it clearly. We state our
regret for all these actions and confess to
them. When thinking and saying this, try
to feel immense regret. Feel it mentally
and physically; feel the physical pain of
regret. Then say, "Now I put my stainless
mind as a witness. The buddhas are wit
nesses, and my own mind is a witness . "
We cannot escape from our own minds .
When you make your own mind as witness
it means you will feel ashamed of your
actions if you break your commitment.
The best witness is your own mind.
As you make your own mind a witness
to your commitment feel, "I am going to
enter the door of the great vehicle of the
practice. I am going to renounce and purify
all these negativities that I have accumu
lated. I will practice and apply all the vir-

27

tuous actions even if they are small. I will


not ignore even the smallest non-virtuous
action. I will escape those actions, as much
as possible. " This is the fourth power. In
this universe there are excellent beings
who are completely dedicated to doing
virtuous actions. "I rej oice in them. " Say
and feel this deeply. If you know someone
doing great things, remember and rej oice
in them. If you don't know anyone doing
these great things, just feel and know that
they exist and rej oice in them. Generate
this intention as strongly as possible, and
feel it as long as possible. The text shows
us what our frame of mind should be, "I
confess all negativities one by one, and
then I rej oice in all virtuous actions. "
If w e d o this practice, i t can purify all
the negative actions we have collected in
all of our previous lifetimes until now. We
can become qualified to receive the teach
ings of the great vehicle; we are ready. If
we have already received them, it helps
the development of our practice. The text
says that if you don't practice like this,
like a paper that is soaked with oil, it never
can take any letters; it cannot be written
on. Similarly, the impure mind cannot be
qualified to develop and receive the teach
ings of the great vehicles. Even if you
receive the teachings, you may hear them,
but what you hear cannot affect your mind.
Practice should affect your mind; it should
make some change. If there is no change
within your mind, and your mind remains
the same, it means the practice and the
teachings are not affecting you. Something
is wrong. Figure it out and purify it. Then
your practice will affect you. That is the
meaning here.
We have now completed the teaching
of the confession in order to purify. This
is the purification practice. To add a little
more to your understanding of the fourth

28

THE FIRST EXPERIENTIAL TRANSMISSION FROM THE CHAG TRI

power, as part of the confession, we have


to apply ourselves to whatever practice we
are doing. And we must try to avoid non
virtuous actions.
Avoiding the ten non-virtuous actions

The three non-virtuous action of body are


taking life, sexual misconduct, and steal
ing. Instead, with our bodies we should try
to build statues of buddhas, make circum
ambulations, and perform prostrations.
The four non-virtuous actions of speech
are : lying, slander, harsh words, and gos
sip. Try to avoid them; instead recite man
tras, prayers, and chants. Try to engage in
this.
The three non-virtuous actions of the
mind are : envy, anger that is long-lasting,
and wrong views on karmic cause. Having
wrong views is thinking that there is no
karma and result, that there is no Buddha,
and includes having the wrong view of the
ultimate truth. We try to engage the mind
with different levels of practice according
to our capacity, for example, developing
compassion, practicing refuge, or any kind
of meditation. Engage the mind with prac
tice. This is what we can do for ourselves.
We can also encourage others to do the
same . If they follow our advice, this brings
benefit as well. In the same way, if some
one is genuinely practicing, then we should
rej oice in them. When we cannot practice
ourselves and can't encourage others, we
can only pray to do the same with prom
ises and determination. We have to try to
engage our body, speech, and mind with
all these practices and actions. Then there
is no way to accumulate negative actions
through our body, speech, and mind. If we
are closed to negative actions, we avoid
accumulating new negative actions, and
by this practice all the old karmic traces
will be exhausted little by little. This is the

simple way to engage with our practice.


Try to engage in only good actions with
your body, speech, and mind non-stop, day
and night, and then there is no chance to
fall into negative actions. Then it is pure
practice and virtuous action. This is how
to do the confession practice. Are there any
questions?
Q: I have a question about the Buddha,
who killed someone once. He had wisdom
and practice and was able to cleanse his
karma. But what about the reaction of the
guy he killed. Buddha wasn 't able keep
this person from acting with wrong views.
KTY: This is intention. There are only
actions of the body, speech, or mind. If we
can control them, there is no way to accu
mulate negative actions. Among them, the
mind is the most important. All actions
come from our intentions. First we have
the intention and then body and speech fol
low after the mind's intention. Sometimes,
even when we think in our minds that we
have a very good intention, our body and
speech can appear to take a bad action.
We call this white intention, bad action.
This is the example you are talking about.
Another example would be someone who
is taking thousands of lives every single
day. Imagine that he is still young, aged
25 for example, and will live to 70 or 80.
Think of how many innocent lives will be
cut off. He is accumulating many negative
actions, but he is completely ignorant of
this and enj oys it. Think of those whose
lives are being taken, and also the person
who collects the bad karma. Feel strong
compassion for this person and the other
beings who have been killed. If we feel
true and genuine compassion, we will try
to help find a solution for him to stop this
action. But let 's say we cannot find any
solution. When we advise him not to take

MORNING SESSION - NOVEMBER 21, 2003

lives, he does not listen. Justice is not pos


sible. There is only one way to stop him
from doing these things. For his benefit,
we find the only solution is to take his
life. It is only one person's life. We feel
such strong compassion not wanting him
to go to hell for many lives that we feel it
is nothing if we go to hell for one person's
life. If we feel this really and truly, then
with this genuine intention, we may take
his life. We stop him from collecting
karma, and the others are free. This is
having a good intention, but the action is
bad because we took a life. Because of the
power of our good intention, we don't fall
into hell because we have taken his life.
This is called good intention, bad action.
This is a story. Among the three doors, the
most important and effective is the mind.
By contrast, if we desire meat and we
raise our pigs, chickens, lambs, or buffalo
very well, we do this because we want to
eat good meat or sell it for a lot of money.
It is our desire. This is a bad intention, but
the action of taking good care of our ani
mals is good. Even though we do this good
action by body, because our intention is
wrong we cannot get the benefit of taking
good care of our animals. Instead we will
get the punishment for desiring meat. This
is how karma works.
Q : As we are saying the 100 syllable
mantra, what are we imagining or visual
izing as we are saying that mantra?
KTY: This text doesn't describe any
special visualization. But according to
Shardza Rinpoche, we imagine the refuge
field, and in the heart of Shenlha O kar the
100 syllables are circulating. As we say the
mantras, the syllables circulate and radiate
light. The light comes to us in the form
of nectar and washes our bodies clean of
all negativities. The negativities come out

29

of the lower orifices of our bodies in the


form of smoky liquid that goes down into
the earth under us to the open mouth of the
Lord of Death. All these liquids fall into
his mouth, and all negativities are exhaust
ed and finished through this process. Then
the Lord of Death is completely satisfied
and he closes his mouth. In this way our
karmic debts are paid. We are free from all
negativities.
This is what we can visualize as we
recite the mantra continuously. Then, as
we complete this, radiant light again comes
from all the buddhas and Shenlha O kar and
the refuge tree. It fills us, and we receive
all the blessings and empowerments . We
receive all the knowledge and blessings
from them. With this intention we recite
the mantra a final ti m e and conclude the
practice with dedication.
You can practice in this way, otherwise,
the most important thing is to deeply feel
regret, and with a great generation of
determination and commitment say, "I 'm
not going to do such non-virtuous actions
again. I regret all my negative actions ."
Then while having this strong intention,
recite the hundred syllable mantra to puri
fy, thinking that as you recite this mantra
you are purifying all your negative inten
tions . I will read this mantra. You can
recite this slowly !
Q : Before the hundred syllable man
tra is listed in our book there is another
mantra.
KTY: Oh yes, OM MA TRI MU YE
SA LE D U is also a purification mantra,
particularly for purifying the six realms. It
comes from the Ma Gyu cycle. It is a very
popular and common mantra. It is a very
important mantra and can be recited as
purification. We can recite this mantra here
or in the mantra recitation later. In Bon we

30

THE FIRST EXPERIENTIAL TRANSMISSION FROM THE CHAG TRI

have three essential mantras : OM MA TRI


MU YE SA LE D U, A KAR A ME D U TRI
SU NAK PO ZHI ZHI MAL MAL, and A
A KAR SA LE 6 A YANG OM D U. These
three mantras are called the three essential
or three heart mantras. You can recite OM
MA TRI MU YE SA LE D U here or during
the mantra recitation later. Either is fine.
Q: To encourage virtuous actions, is it
good to imagine others with you when you
practice?
KTY: Yes, for example when you are
doing the confession, you imagine the
presence of all other sentient beings doing
this with you. When we take refuge, we
also imagine leading all sentient beings in
prostration.
Q: Let's say you have hurt someone in
your life, and you go to them and confess
to them. You say, "I have hurt you, and I
have lied to you." If they respond to you
in great anger and hatred, what is the best
thing to do?
KTY: Remember to practice patience.
Patience is the third perfection of the
ten paramitas. It should be easier to feel
patience because we also feel remorse . If
we feel a strong sense of remorse, and we
really want to apologize, then even if the
other person is angry, we still feel deeply
sorry. We should feel more patience; we
should not feel the need to react with
anger. We have to be patient because we
came to this person to confess. If you react
the same way this person does, you are not
really sorry. Have patience. It will help
if you deeply feel sorry. Then even if the
person reacts with anger, you won 't feel
much anger. You might feel uncomfortable
if you are not completely purified of your
negative emotions, but you can bear the
other person's reaction.

There is a story in Tonpa Shenrab 's


biography. There was a powerful king who
was doing a lot of non-virtuous actions all
the time. Finally a year, a month, and a day
passed, and he became terribly sick. Still
he had no regret for his bad actions. He
was terribly sick, suffered a lot, and died.
Immediately after his death the Lord of
Death came with a lasso and net and took
him straight to hell. He received a very
hard punishment and suffered a lot. During
the time when he had been alive, he had
had a chance to meet Tonpa Shenrab. He
received teachings, but he never changed
his mind about his actions. He remained
the same . When he died he experienced
a lot of suffering. After his death, his son
was upset and went to Tonpa Shenrab.
He invited him to their palace and asked
him to help his father. Tonpa Shenrab did
the practice of chan gu, a special practice
to guide beings from different realms to
the higher realms and finally to the state
of enlightenment. It is from the cycle
of the One Hundred Thousand Buddhas
ritual which is popular to this day. Tonpa
Shenrab emanated as a deity to subdue the
deity of hell, and he visited this man who
was being so badly punished. The king
was very weak, unlike when he was alive.
Tonpa Shenrab felt very strong compas
sion, and told him, "I am your teacher.
Now how do you feel? When you were
alive you didn 't listen to my teachings.
But now you are suffering so badly. Now
you should remember me and remember
the teachings. All that you are suffering is
the result of your karma, the non-virtuous
actions done in your lifetime. You have to
understand your misdeeds and understand
that they were wrong. " This woke the king
up. He felt a deep regret that he had done
all those bad things; he felt a strong sense
of remorse. Then he felt deep compassion,

MORNING SESSION - NOVEMBER 21, 2003

and he generated a compassionate mind.


He thought, "I have done so many bad
things. Now I don't mind. Please punish
me, and let me take on the suffering of
others. " He had this intention. After that,
he was able to bear the suffering with more
patience. With this patience he felt less
suffering because he understood. This is
one example.
Sometimes we feel very badly. We
may face a very difficult situation of sick
ness, or suffering. We may think, "Even
though I am practicing a lot, I still got sick.
Maybe there is no law of karma, no karmic
cause. If I am practicing, I shouldn't get
so sick." This is wrong thinking. We get
sick because bad karma ripens. It is not
the consequence of practice, but of the
actions of many lifetimes ripening. The
result of practicing in this lifetime may
come later in this life or in another life.
It doesn 't mean that the practice of this
lifetime doesn 't give a result. We have to
understand that. We have to think, "My
sickness is the result of my own deeds, my
own negative actions. Nobody is punish
ing me." We need to understand this and
think in this way. If we change our attitude
toward our sickness, we will feel more
patience for our sickness. We may not feel
more comfortable, but we can have a wider
understanding. Otherwise, we say, "Why
am I sick? Why only me? I haven't done
anything wrong. There are so many people
worse than me. " We complain more and
more, and that just makes us suffer more.
Complaining does not alter the suffering of
our body, but we add more suffering and
pain with our imagination and complaints .
Ifwe just open by giving up all these ideas,

31

knowing the pain is a result of our karma,


the pain will still be there, but we will have
more patience with it. So this is the way to
think. This is how we create patience.
Q : I saw this happen once with a fellow
worker in a similar situation. Someone
gave him some advice, and for one day his
mind was open. But he went back to his
habitual thinking right after that. He only
changed for one day. It was remarkable,
but then he went back to where he was.
It is difficult to know how to deal with
someone like that, difficult to know what
to do. It is sad.
KTY: Yes, I understand it is very dif
ficult if someone is completely unable to
believe in karmic causes, unable to listen
o r unable to open to listen. It is hard.
What can we do? We can meditate and do
practice on their behalf. That is our way.
The best way is to try to teach what we
practice, and change his attitude and ideas.
That would be better. If we are unable to
do this, then practice on his behalf and
dedicate the merits of your practice to him.
It can help. Most of the time, we create our
own pain with our mind and ideas. When
the body feels physical pain, it is often
the case that we think unnecessary things.
Those thoughts can bring us more hatred,
anger, desire, and jealousy. Pain can lead
to hatred and anger. Sometimes the one
who is sick doesn't even want to talk to
those helping them; they get angry. That is
the attitude that causes more suffering. We
will stop here .
[Dedication] .

The First Expe riential Transmission


from the chagTri - The Ngondro

November 21, 2003

Afternoon Session

huge mind. It seems impossible. We have


to develop this mind on the basis of great
compassion, nying je sem . Without great
compassion, this kind of intention cannot
arise. First, we have to develop great com
passion within ourselves. It is very impor
tant, and is one of the two main pillars
of the path of liberation. The two pillars
are method and wisdom, tap and sherab.
Method refers to great compassion as well
as bodhicitta.
There are two kinds ofbodhicitta. There
is the bodhicitta ofrelative truth, or relative
bodhicitta, and there is absolute bodhicit
ta. Wisdom refers to absolute bodhicitta.
Through meditation we gain knowledge of
the absolute truth or absolute bodhicitta.
Relative bodhicitta is this great intention
to help all other sentient beings. Method
refers mainly to great compassion and is
relative bodhicitta.
Without this great compassion we can
not become fully enlightened. In order
to become fully enlightened we have to
liberate ourselves from the two extremes,
the extreme of samsara and the extreme of
nirvana. When we are too peaceful, there
is the danger of falling into the extreme of
nirvana. We think only of our own benefit.
We have some level of realization. We
experience a special level of meditation,
or cessation. We can fall into this situa-

[Guru yoga, refuge, and bodhicitta


prayers] .
We have finished the first group of three
preliminary practices : guru yoga, imper
manence, and confession. In this text they
are called the three important preliminary
practices which tame one 's own mind
state.
The three common preliminary
practices whi ch puri fy one's mi nd state

The second group of three practices is


called the three common preliminary prac
tices which purify one 's mind state. The
first of these three is to generate or develop
the enlightened mind on the basis of great
compassion. This is the practice of bod
hicitta in Sanskrit and in Tibetan chang
chub gyi sem, which is buddha mind or
enlightened mind. To help and become
enlightened for the benefit of all sentient
beings is the mind of bodhicitta, chang
chub gyi sem . We are practicing not only
for our own benefit and peace; in fact
we are practicing for all beings, all sen
tient beings in all universes, not just this
universe. We believe there are millions
of universes. When we offer the mandala
offering, we offer millions of universes.
We are aspiring to help all sentient
beings in those universes. It is a very big,
33

34

THE FIRST EXPERIENTIAL TRANSMISSION FROM THE CRAG TRI

tion for a very long time. We experience


peace and seem to be completely purified
of all our negative emotions. It is possible
to remain in this for eons and eons. The
amount of time it would take one sentient
being now in hell realm to attain enlighten
ment is shorter than for one who falls into
this type of meditation. You stop there for
a long time. So this is the extreme of nir
vana. It is not the full result of nirvana. It
is a causal nirvana, a relative nirvana, not
full enlightenment. There are very subtle
defilements that have to be purified. It
seems as though we have no defilements.
We can fall into this state if we don 't have
this practice of method or great compas
sion. Great compassion reminds us to not
to stay for only our own peace and benefit.
It motivates us to get reborn into samsara
in order to help other beings. This brings
us more quickly to enlightenment. Great
compassion is the antidote; it is the prac
tice which protects us from falling into the
extreme of nirvana.
The extreme of samsara is to fall into
samsara. The main antidote for falling into
the extreme of samsara is wisdom, which
is the knowledge of the absolute truth. The
root of samsara can only be cut by wisdom
and not by any other practices . Other prac
tices can help us to develop the knowledge
of absolute truth and to suppress other
negative emotions, but they cannot cut the
root of samsara. The root can only be cut
by the knowledge of absolute truth or view.
View is most important. This view, or wis
dom, is always combined with method
great compassion, bodhicitta. Wisdom and
method are always joined. Therefore, we
say the path, lam tap she zung juk, is the
unification of method and wisdom.
There are two truths, the absolute truth
and the relative truth. This is nature also.
As a result, there are two types of bod-

ies or kayas. There are the rupa kaya and


the arupa kaya, the form and formless
bodies. Arupa refers to the dharmakaya
which has no form and is the absolute
state of the buddhas. But from this state
of the dharmakaya arise the rupa kaya
form of buddhas, like the sambhogakaya,
and the nirmanakaya. These are wrathful
and peaceful deities which appear accord
ing to beings ' capacity. The manifesta
tion of these deities appears according to
the capacities of sentient beings and as a
result of the compassion practice we have
done while on the path, before attaining
enlightenment.
There is the base, the path, and the
result. The result is buddhahood. The path
is the practice that brings us to buddha
hood. The base is the absolut e truth which
has the potential to bring us to enlighten
ment. If we don't have the potential to attain
enlightenment, then there can be no path,
no access through which we can reach bud
dhahood. The base refers mainly to the two
truths. We usually refer to this as buddha
nature; it is the natural state of mind and
a part of all sentient beings. Whoever has
mind has the natural state of mind. Mind
and the natural state of mind are insepa
rable, unified. Since there is a natural state
of mind there is always the possibility
to attain enlightenment. That is why it is
called buddha nature. In fact, the natural
state of mind itself is not better than the
buddha 's natural state of mind in the abso
lute sense. But in a relative sense, because
we don 't realize our natural state of mind,
it is the basis of samsara, the source of all
misery and suffering. It looks deluded, but
it cannot be deluded. Therefore it is called
the base. We are deluded not knowing the
reality of this state. Understanding to attain
the realization of the natural state is called
the path. When we fully realize it, it is

AFTERNOON SESSION - NOVEMBER 21, 2003

called the result. For this we always have


to combine these two practices of method
and wisdom. Therefore we have to develop
great compassion. The definition of being
a practitioner of the great vehicle depends
on whether we have compassion or not. If
not, the practice is not the great vehicle. It
is a vehicle, but it is not the great vehicle.
[Laughter.]
We practice bodhicitta because our
development relies on the basis and under
standing of the laws and the function of
karma. We practice it for this reason. This
karma is not only for us; all sentient beings
are circulating on the basis of karma. We
have circulated in samsara from begin
ningless time . There is no beginning for
us. No one can say when it started, even
Buddh a cannot say. Therefore there is no
beginning of ourselves. Samsara does not
exist. If it existed, it would be known by
Buddha. But he only said, "Beginningless
samsara." Imagine how many billions of
years have passed since the beginning of
beginningless time. That's how long we
have been circulating in samsara. We are
changing all the time, with different bod
ies and types of life. In each lifetime, there
are many different types of lives : some
life is with form, some without. Even if
we only imagine our lifetimes with form,
they are countless. When we take form,
we are dependent on parents, relatives,
and friends . We have connections. In each
lifetime these connections are not with the
same being or consciousness. The parent
in this life will not be the same conscious
ness as the parent in the next life. The
friend in this life, the brother or sister, will
change in the next life to another friend,
another brother and sister. In the life after,
again it changes . We can imagine all of
the different parents, relatives, and friends
of our past, present, and future lives. We

35

can see how our life is connected with


so many different beings in different life
times. Imagine our present parents and best
friend. In a previous lifetime we must have
had a best friend. If we are 30 now, that
means we had another best friend we very
much loved j ust 3 0 years before, but we
have completely forgotten them. It is only
a matter of remembering or not, the rela
tionship is always there with other beings,
but we do not realize who. In fact, all
sentient beings have been our best friend,
someone we most loved. While we are in
a deep relationship, when two people love
each other very much, they don't want to
leave each other. But somehow we have to
leave; we die. Then we completely forget
these things. If we could remember our
previous lifetimes, it might be nice, but it
might be difficult. It might be very confus
ing, difficult, and depressing.
This kind of knowledge comes though
understanding the law of karmic cause and
its effects. Yongdzin Rinpoche often gives
the example of putting a black seed into a
pot filled with white rice. Then we shake
it and shake it. At the end, there would
be not one single grain of rice remaining
which was not touched by the black seed.
Similarly, this black seed is like an indi
vidual's life. The rest of the grains of rice
are like all other sentient beings . The pot is
the six realms, and all sentient beings are
circulating, like shaking the pot. We have
already been circulating long enough that
there is not one sentient being remaining
who has not been touched by us, who has
not been in a relationship with us, who has
no connection with us . That is the example
of how we have connection with all other
sentient beings.
First we have to realize this, and then,
although we know it, all other beings are
ignorant of this . We know we are con-

36

THE FIRST EXPERIENTIAL TRANSMISSION FROM THE CHAG TRI

nected with other beings. We have the


greatest responsibility to try to help and
not harm them. We need to be in harmony
with them, not fight, harm, or hurt them.
We know that, but they don't know that.
They might harm us because they don't
know. Because we know, we shouldn 't
abandon our knowledge; we should try to
find a solution to help give other beings
the same understanding. The only way is
to practice. We have to think, "All sentient
beings have a deep connection with us. We
are all suffering all the time in misery."
As we spoke yesterday, we have to realize
there is no happiness within samsara. Even
if we think there is some comfort and hap
piness, it is just the beginning of suffering
or the cause of suffering. Different beings
have different kinds of suffering. We may
not be able to imagine the hell and hungry
ghost realms, but we can imagine the ani
mal realm. In the human realm there are
many different types of suffering: hunger,
cold, sickness. These are common. There
are many specific sufferings for individu
als. Everything is perfect, but still there are
many unbearable miseries. In fact, when
we began our lives, we began with misery
and suffering. When our lives end, we end
with misery and suffering. There are so
many different levels and types of misery
that in fact we don 't even remember when
we are suffering. When we were in our
mother 's womb, we have forgotten, but we
must have experienced difficulty, and then
we were born. During birth, we suffered,
but we don 't remember it, because now we
feel okay. At that moment we suffered and
suffered. Yesterday I had a headache, but
today I feel okay. Just because I feel okay
today doesn 't mean I didn 't suffer yester
day. We suffer.
As a baby we suffer because we want
something, and we can not speak out or

get it. Then when we are a little older, we


experience another type of suffering. We
fight with friends; we want something
another child has but can't have it. This is
common, and it is also suffering. All this
dissatisfaction is suffering. As a teenager
we suffer more. We are more engaged with
our life; our suffering is as deep as our
engagement with our normal lives. Adults
suffer even more. They have many respon
sibilities. I don't need to explain all this;
we all know it. Then we experience the
suffering of aging. The worry of aging is
always with us; we even don 't want to tell
other people our age. If someone asks how
old we are, we become uncomfortable.
That is another type of suffering. We are
shy to tell our age. Why? It is natural.

As we age, our body becomes weaker.


It starts from birth, but we don 't feel it
immediately because we are engaged with
other types of suffering. Suffering is not
purified, but we don 't remember it because
we are too engaged with other types of
suffering. We are always suffering. We get
wrinkles, lose our teeth, and cannot walk
as we used to; we cannot run; we get sick.
This is aging.
Then finally, we have to die. That is the
end of this life. When we die we experi
ence another big suffering. Actually we
experience the same kind of suffering
when we die as when we are reborn, but
people prefer to be reborn than to die.
Death is something we can perceive now,
understand now. We cannot remember our
rebirth. We can see others experiencing
birth; I don't know why we don't consider
birth suffering. We perceive death as a
maj or suffering, but according to the text
we do suffer with birth.
There are four major sufferings in each
lifetime : the misery of birth, the misery
of sickness, the misery of aging, and the

AFTERNOON SESSION - NOVEMBER 21, 2003

misery of death. These four great miseries


are experienced equally by all regardless
of social status; everyone goes through the
four miseries. Nobody can reject them or
deny them. Therefore, samsara is full of
misery.
All sentient beings are suffering, but
they don't know what is the cause or the
solution to avoid this kind of suffering.
We know, or are starting to know, there
is a solution. There is a special cause of
those miseries which can be purified. We
have to feel more responsible. If sentient
beings cannot purify the cause of misery,
they can never escape. They can never
liberate themselves; again and again they
will circulate in samsara. We have to feel
more responsibility toward helping, not
only to purify ourselves, but toward help
ing other beings. For example, if someone
who is close to us is getting sick or is being
burned in a fire, we can't just stand there
and watch, doing nothing. We need to have
the same kind of feeling of urgency to help
those circulating in samsara. Whether or
not we can help is a different question, but
we must try. We know they are suffering,
circulating, miserable; we cannot stand by
without doing anything. We try to find a
solution. We should try to produce the spe
cial intention to release the misery of those
sentient beings.
The strong intention to relieve sentient
beings, this great compassion, is called
nying je chenpa. It means, "How can I
release the misery of all sentient beings?"
We release them through loving kindness,
champa; we have to produce this. If we
don ' t feel love for someone, then even if
someone is suffering, we don 't really feel
the need to help them. If we are a good
person perhaps we try to help, but inside
our feeling is neutral towards them. But
if someone who is very close to us, whom

37

we love very much, falls into a difficult


situation, then of course we try to help . We
try to find a solution because we feel great
responsibility. We feel more pain when a
person we love experiences pain. Because
we love this person, the loving kindness
we feel causes us to take more responsibil
ity to help, to try and remove the pain of
this person. Without real love for this per
son, we can try to help, but we j ust don't
have this feeling. We need to have the
strong feeling of being responsible with
the strong intention to release the misery
of all sentient beings. This is great com
passion, bodhicitta.
The si x steps to produci ng the mi nd of
enli ghtenment

There are six steps to produce the enlight


ened mind in us. The first step is called
ma she pa, or realizing that all sentient
beings have been our mother, brother,
sister, or one to whom we have been clos
est. Imagine that all sentient beings at one
time have been the closest and most lov
ing being in our lives. If you are closest to
your mother, then realize that all sentient
beings have been your mother. If you have
been closest to your father, then realize
that all sentient beings have been your
father. If you are closest to a friend, then
realize that all sentient beings have been
your friend. Imagine it according to your
situation in this life.
The second step is called tin ten, to
remember the loving kindness of those
beings to whom we are most close.
The third step is called tin du dzo, to
remember to repay their kindness. This is
very simple . Even if someone gives us a
cup of good tea or a delicious dinner, we
say thank you and feel gratitude . This is
normal and common good behavior for
humans. Why don't we think of paying

38

THE FIRST EXPERIENTIAL TRANSMISSION FROM THE CHAG TRI

back the kindness of those beings who


have been extremely kind to us? We have
to think of their kindness and of repaying
their kindness. This is the third step.
The fourth step is called champa, lov
ing kindness. We have to produce and
feel loving kindness. For these reasons,
we begin to feel closer and closer to other
beings. We feel more love toward sentient
beings. It is not easy in the beginning, but
if you reflect on this over and over again,
it can bring you closer. The mind can open
more and more to other beings. This helps
us to live in society in peace and harmony.
Many conflicts come from our lack of con
nection and openness to others. We don 't
want to open and share with others . Not
opening, not listening to each other, is the
cause of many problems.
The fifth step is great compassion, nyin
je. If we are at this stage of understanding
with loving kindness, we naturally become
more open and connected with others; we
naturally understand other beings. Even
with animals, if we are peaceful when we
approach them, they will not run away. But
if when they come near, we hit them, next
time they see us they stay away. We can
see this with any kind of animal. Having
great compassion is not only about talking
or even understanding language. Our com
passionate mind enables great communi
cation with other beings, not just humans .
If we are in this state, that is great. Then
compassion comes naturally; it is not hard
to generate compassion for all sentient
beings. "How can I feel compassion for
my worst enemy?" If you don't understand
this long story, then it will be difficult to
generate this kind of compassion or to feel
loving kindness toward your enemy or
toward unknown or inconceivable beings.
The sixth step is called is lhak sam ,
supreme intention or supreme mind. When

we have great compassion we only think


of how to release the misery of all sentient
beings. But if we have supreme mind, if
we have this really strong intention, then it
can transform into the stage where we are
more responsible for removing the mis
ery of all sentient beings. "I have the full
responsibility because I know how to help.
I will do the purification and remove the
misery of all sentient beings. I will help all
sentient beings. I will do it." Being deter
mined in this way is called lhak sam.
All these steps are the cause of bodh
icitta, and it naturally transforms us. The
first question is, "But how can I remove
the misery of all beings? How can I help?
Do I have any power to help?" The sec
ond question asks, "How can I help those
beings I don ' t even know, who I cannot
see, who are invisible? There are many
beings who are invisible in this life. How
do I help them? Do I give these beings
clothing and food and shelter? Can this
help?" Yes, this can help. If a being has no
food, and we give them food, it is helpful,
but it's not enough. Even if we are able
to give, if we have enough property, we
cannot possibly give enough to help all
sentient beings . Even if we could give the
whole universe to share with all sentient
beings, there are still many, many more
sentient beings . How can we help? Even
if we give something to help temporarily,
it doesn 't remove their misery. Sometimes
our gift itself can cause more misery. The
best way is to remove the cause of misery.
This can only be removed by someone
who has the capability. "At the moment I
don 't have any power or ability to remove
negativities, ignorance, or the cause of suf
fering. I have the same suffering. How can
I release them from their suffering when
I haven't been released from my own?"
Then, after thinking and searching, we

AFTERNOON SESSION - NOVEMBER 21, 2003

realize that the only being who can help


is the Buddha. Therefore, in order to help
sentient beings, first we have to attain bud
dhahood; then we can guide all sentient
beings to release their misery. Therefore
we pray, "May I attain buddhahood in this
very life, at this moment in order to help
all sentient beings." This kind of strong,
genuine, and heartfelt intention and prayer
is called aspiration bodhicitta, or the bod
hicitta prayer. That bodhicitta is the result
of the six different stages of understanding
the relationship with all beings.
When we begin to practice bodhicitta
we have to use a lot of effort; it feels like
we are making it up. It is not our natural
behavior or intention. It is produced, it is
a made up intention. If we produce this
made up intention regularly, then slowly
it changes into a real intention. One day
it becomes natural and our real intention.
That is when we have obtained the real
bodhicitta, and we become a bodhisattva,
one of the three j ewels. That is great !
This bodhicitta practice is the base of all
the knowledge of the practice of the great
vehicles. It is like a good, fertile field. Any
seed we sow can grow if we have this bod
hicitta mind. Then all the knowledge and
good qualities of the great vehicle grows
naturally, rapidly, and in an effective way.
This is bodhicitta.
The practi ce of bodhi citta

Practically speaking, how does one do the


meditation according to the text? Again,
we generate in front of us the refuge field
or Tapihritsa as clearly and brightly as if
they are living there. We feel their pres
ence. In front of them, imagine that there
is no sentient being who has not been
our parent, child, relative, best friend, or
our most loved person. All these beings
are now circulating in samsara suffering

39

with so many miseries ! Try to imagine


their miseries; try to imagine how they
are suffering. Try to generate compassion
for them. Feeling a strong sense of com
passion for them, immense, unqualified
compassion, we think, "I have to help all
the sentient beings. This is my responsibil
ity to release these sentient beings from
their misery." Continue to reflect, "I have
the responsibility, but I don't have any
power. The only being who has the ability
is the Buddha. Therefore, in order to help
guide and release all sentient beings, may
I attain buddhahood in this very lifetime,
at this very moment. Then I can guide and
release all sentient beings to empty all of
samsara."
With this kind of intention you make
this prayer, and say it from your heart.
Feel this in your heart, not in your brain.
The brain is for thinking, not real feeling.
Feeling comes from the heart. This is what
I experience. I don 't know what you expe
rience; maybe people have different ways
of feeling. But we have to feel it. Usually
we say heartfelt. This is a good word. Have
a heartfelt feeling. We have to generate
this intention and have a strong aspiration
to attain enlightenment or buddhahood in
this very lifetime, at this very moment. It
will not necessarily transform you imme
diately into light, but this is our aspiration.
It can be as big as possible. Don 't think
small; don't have a limited aspiration. The
aspiration should be as huge as possible.
We imagine all these things carefully; try
to feel it again and again. Think and gen
erate the feeling of compassion toward all
sentient beings. If you don 't feel the inten
tion very strongly, again try to imagine
the misery of all sentient beings . Think of
the beings you are close to; doing that can
slowly bring you closer to compassion.
With the strong intention or aspiration

40

THE FIRST EXPERIENTIAL TRANSMISSION FROM THE CHAG TRI

to attain enlightenment in order to guide


all sentient beings, you say the bodhicitta
prayer. The prayer is a reminder of your
intention. When you say the prayer, think
of the intention of what you are saying,
and try to generate the feelings. This is
the bodhicitta prayer. [Rinpoche says the
prayer] :
Ji tar gyal wa phag pa Ji zhin du
Di sag du sum ge wai thu pal gyi
Sem chen sang gye thob par cha way chir
Dak ni chang chub chog tu sem kye do

The instruction of how to meditate


is described in the prayer. Basically, the
prayer means : as all the victorious buddhas
have done before, by the power of the vir
tuous actions o f the three times, including
what I do now, in order to help all sentient
beings to attain enlightenment, I generate
my buddha mind, I generate bodhicitta.
That means, "May I attain buddhahood in
order to guide all sentient beings. May I
attain buddhahood now, at this moment,
by the power of the virtuous actions of the
three times including this very practice in
order to guide all beings as the buddhas
have done."
All the buddhas have attained bud
dhahood in this way. This is the path of
the buddhas, the track the buddhas leave.
We follow their tracks . This is bodhicitta
practice. It is very important and becoming
more famous and popular. This is good. We
have to practice this as often as possible on
a regular basis. Even when you are not
meditating, but just sitting ordinarily, think
of this connection to other beings . This
can keep us from harming other beings;
it can help us be mindful of the aspiration
or wish to attain enlightenment to help all
sentient beings. This is prayer bodhicitta or
aspiration bodhicitta.
There is another kind of bodhicitta

called practical bodhicitta. As a result of


having the aspiration to become enlight
ened for the benefit of all sentient beings,
we now have to practice doing that. We
have to apply the practice of bodhicitta
to lead us to the state of buddhahood. We
can do any kind of practice, whatever
we know. We can recite mantras; we can
meditate. Meditating in bodhicitta itself is
the bodhicitta of action. Meditation into
the natural state is the best bodhicitta of
action. Even a single mantra is bodhicitta
of action. Whatever practice we do, we
have to start from the intention of bodh
icitta. It is the initial practice. All practice
begins from the intention of compassion
and bodhicitta. We do all our practices
in order to fulfill our bodhicitta practice.
When we generate bodhicitta, we have
the intention to attain enlightenment for
the benefit of all beings. We are doing this
practice to attain enlightenment. Why?
We are practicing to help all other sentient
beings. There are no practices which are
not part of bodhicitta. This is one way of
approaching the result of bodhicitta. All
our practices are connected. Bodhicitta is
connected to compassion, to guru yoga,
to impermanence, and also to confession.
Everything is connected. You have to be
aware of these connections between the
practices. This is bodhicitta practice. Do
you have any questions?
Q : Rinpoche, I have a question about
genetically inheriting something. Often
we hear, "Oh this is genetic." Can we just
say, "It is karmic?" Is genetic also karmic?
What is the truth about this?
KTY: It is karmic, surely. It can also be
genetic sometimes. Some diseases can be
transmitted genetically, but being genetic
doesn't mean that it is not also because of
karma. Being genetic does not disprove
that it is the result of karma. It is also

AFTERNOON SESSION - NOVEMBER 21, 2003

karma. For example, it is both the result of


karma and genetics to be born as a daugh
ter or son to specific parents. It is both
genetic and karmic.
Q : Are there two different bodhicitta
prayers?
KTY: There are many different bod
hicitta prayers. Every cycle has different
prayers, but the meaning is exactly the
same. This one is a very general prayer.
And the prayer we say at the beginning
of the teaching is from the Ma Gyu cycle,
the Mother Tantra. In the Mother Tantra
cycle we say, "I am entering into the Great
Secret, the Ultimate Secret of Sangchog
Gyalpo," which refers to the natural state
of mind. I enter this, meaning, "I practice
this in order to guide all sentient beings."
The meaning is the same. At the end, I
generate bodhicitta for the benefit of all
infinite sentient beings. I enter into the
door of Sangchog Gyalpo, into the state
of Sangchog Gyalpo, in order to guide
infinite sentient beings. First, I enter into
the state; I attain enlightenment, and then
I help all sentient beings. It is a different
way of saying it, but the meaning is the
same.
Q : In our practice in the morning,
should we start with the guru yoga, refuge,
and bodhicitta prayers from the Ma Gyu
and then begin?
KTY: This is up to you. You can do as
we did in the afternoon. You can do the
nine purification breathings; this is good to
refresh you. Then focus on guru yoga and
establish the figure of Tapihritsa clearly.
You should feel the presence of Tapihritsa,
the real presence which will bring you
more aspiration and devotion. Then, devel
op a deep devotion toward Tapihritsa,
thinking of his knowledge, ability, and
compassion. Try to feel, ask, or pray to

41

him for the blessing and empowerment to


realize the natural state of mind, the real
place of our own mind. This is guru yoga.
With this strong feeling, we have to pray.
You can pray more than three times; don't
stop at singing the prayer three times. If
when you pray you lose the visualization,
then first just visualize and think-and you
don't need to use words-j ust imagine his
image in your mind, and then finally you
can say the prayer. Some people feel that
saying the words gives a clearer visual
ization. If this is the case, say the prayer.
Use whichever method is good and com
fortable for you, which will improve the
development of your meditation. There is
no definite system, but as a group we have
to systematize it, otherwise it becomes
chaos when practicing in a group. But indi
vidually when you practice, do whatever is
best for you to establish the visualization.
The main thing is you have to have a real
expenence.
Q: Rinpoche, I sometimes feel over
whelmed by the pervasiveness of suffering
and that in itself is a kind of suffering. I
think it is referred to as the suffering of
suffering. Do you have advice for this feel
ing of being overwhelmed by the suffering
of others? It is just so pervasive. Is there a
specific antidote for that?
KTY: I don't understand your question.
You get overwhelmed by the suffering?
Q : Is there an antidote to the aware
ness that suffering is pervasive and
overwhelming?
KTY: Sure, the realization of suffering
is a good thing. We experience pain when
we realize suffering. That is a good thing,
a good suffering. If we don 't find the real
solution to it then it is j ust like normal
suffering, but if we find the solution and
apply it, then it encourages us to practice.
The solution is that when you think of this

42

THE FIRST EXPERIENTIAL TRANSMISSION FROM THE CHAG TRI

suffering, instead of holding on to how


the world suffers, change your intention to
finding the solution. The solution is prac
tice. For whatever practice you do, gener
ate compassion and dedicate the merit for
all the beings experiencing sufferings of
any kind. When you dedicate the merit,
you dissolve all the suffering. Practice
bodhicitta, generate compassion, or prac
tice guru yoga. There are many ways. You
can do confession, and it can be very help
ful. We actually have to meditate, go into
practice; it can help you. The suffering you
experience because of the understanding
of the suffering of sentient beings will not
be painful; instead, it will encourage your
practice. We have to realize the misery as
misery, and that is one of the truths.
Q: Would you say an antidote is when
you are in the natural state?
KTY: Of course ! But we are not ready
yet. Once you are ready, that is best.
Now I have to give some answers to
some of the questions you wrote to me.
[Editor s note: Students at the retreat
wrote some of their questions down for
Rinpoche to consider and respond to, so as
not to interrupt theffow of the teachings as
they were being presented.]

One question was about the soles of the


feet. Because we consider the soles of the
feet as a place of the hell realm, will bad
things happen if we massage the feet? I
don't think so. This is not genetic; this is
karma !
Another question asked why the crown
chakra is the palace of bliss, and why it
is not in the heart. This is an interesting
question. We say "the crown is the palace
of great bliss" in prayer. I will explain this

in two ways. In general, when we do guru


yoga, we imagine the guru in the space
above us on the level of the crown or
higher. We can also visualize our guru in
the heart. When we sit and visualize, we
visualize the guru in front of us, facing us
at the same level. When we are walking in
the daytime, we think of the root guru at
the crown chakra, on the top of our head.
When sleeping, we visualize the guru in
the middle of the heart. Whether walk
ing, sleeping, or meditating there are three
ways of visualizing the guru. That is what
it refers to in the case of guru yoga. In a
specific sense, we have six chakras. In the
crown, when we do tantric practices like
tummo and such, there is a special tech
nique to produce great bliss in our body,
which we integrate with our knowledge
of wisdom. The seed of this great bliss is
in the crown charka. It is said that in the
crown charka there is a subtle tigle; we
visualize this in the form of the seed syl
lable HA M upside down. We use it in the
practice of chod also. By the heat of our
internal fire, this tigle melts. It fills the
upper chakras and channels and comes
down lower and lower. We become full of
bliss. This is one way of producing bliss
through the technique of tummo practice .
This starts from the crown chakra. That is
why it is called the palace of great bliss.
The third question was about internal
guru yoga. Internal guru yoga is medita
tion in the natural state of mind. That is
the real guru; it is dharmakaya, basic dhar
makaya. This will come after the ngondro
when you receive the actual teaching of
dzogchen.
I don't remember the other question.
I ' ll answer it tomorrow.
[Dedication] .

The First Expe riential Transmission


from the chagTri - The Ngondro

November 22, 2003

Morning Session

[Guru yoga, refuge, and bodhicitta


prayers] .

we have to have a basic opening. We need


to have refuge within ourselves; we need
refuge practice. We have to take refuge in
the three j ewels. That is why it is next in
the preliminary practices. Sometimes we
practice refuge before bodhicitta; in this
case we practice refuge after the bodh
icitta. It is a different way of thinking. We
need to develop trust and believe in the
three j ewels.

Yesterday afternoon I explained bod


hicitta practice, or developing the strong
intention, mind, or wish to attain enlight
enment in order to help all sentient beings.
Through the practice of bodhicitta, we
develop the strong aspiration to attain
enlightenment for the benefit of all
beings.
As a result of that practice, we have to
step up to the next thing. What should we do
in order to attain enlightenment? Yesterday
we spoke of the wish to attain enlighten
ment. That is why it is called aspiration
bodhicitta. "May I attain enlightenment. "
A s a result o f the practice, w e have that
strong wish. Now in order to attain it, we
have to work. The obstacles to attaining
enlightenment are ignorance and the five
mental poisons, our negative emotions.
These are the obstacles which disturb us
from attaining enlightenment, from real
izing the absolute truth, the true nature of
ourselves and all existence.
Therefore, we have to purify. Until we
purify our defilements and the five nega
tive emotions, we cannot attain enlighten
ment. We have to enter the door of the
teaching, the yungdrung bon. We have to
practice this. Therefore, in order to enter,

The practice of refuge

[Rinpoche recites a long Tibetan phrase.]


That is the meaning of refuge. [Laughter. ]
Do you understand? [Laughter.] We have
to produce strong trust in the three j ewels.
Then we have to ask to be protected from
the misery of samsara. We should be afraid
of the misery of samsara. If we didn 't want
to be released from the misery of samsara
then we wouldn't take refuge in anything
or anyone. When we face a difficult situ
ation that we cannot control, we realize
we need to take refuge. When the Chinese
came to Tibet we had to take refuge in
India and Nepal . Tibetans couldn 't manage
by themselves. Similarly, if I were to meet
a strong robber while traveling, if I could
not protect myself, I would have to take
refuge in the police or nearby people. I
would immediately shout "Help me ! " That
is taking refuge. We have to take refuge in
43

44

THE FIRS T EXPERIENTIAL TRANSMISSION FROM THE CHAG TRI

a similar way. We have to have the strong


wish to be released from our misery.
There are two kinds of refuge. There
is the refuge in order to be released from
the misery of the lower realms, and the
refuge to be released from the misery of
general samsara. In the lower vehicles for
example, the four causal vehicles among
the nine ways of Bon, the teaching and
practice of these first four vehicles deal
mainly with the living conditions for the
benefit of beings. During our lives we
all need to deal with many difficulties. In
order to solve these transitory problems
we take refuge to release us from the mis
ery of the lower realms. It is not a ques
tion of trying to attain enlightenment or
purification; we are only concerned with
temporary miseries. We do believe in the
three j ewels, but we take refuge for a small
purpose. That is the refuge for the person
of lower capacity.
Taking refuge to be released from the
misery of samsara is the great vehicle's
way. We do this not only to be released
from sickness or to avoid being born in
hell in the next life. Ultimately, we should
always want to be released from the misery
of samsara altogether, not even wanting to
be reborn with a human life. Usually we
have a natural wish to be reborn in a good
human life. We want happiness and luxury.
It is human nature to have this wish. That
is a subtle kind of grasping in which we
think of our lives as happy or permanent.
We have desire in samsara. In order to get
rid of this desire, we have to realize sam
sara as a place of misery. That is not easy.
But slowly with thought and reflection we
can see that what seems to be a good life is
full of misery, many different types of mis
ery. Realizing this develops in us a very
strong wish, "How can I escape samsara?"
We have to feel frightened of the misery

of samsara. This fear and strong wish to


be released from samsara, this intention is
called nye jung. In English it means renun
ciation, the intention to be completely free
from samsara. When we have nye jung and
compassion we have the wish to release
all sentient beings from their misery. We
think of other beings; that is compassion.
We tum this focus on ourselves by asking
"How can I be released from samsara?"
This is called nye jung, or renunciation,
and it is the main cause for taking ref
uge. Compassion is the main cause for
bodhicitta practice. Bodhicitta and refuge
should be combined. They are the base for
the yungdrung hon practice. The teaching
says that the combination of bodhicitta
and refuge is the base of yungdrung hon
practice. Any practice we do has to be
based on these two. On one side we have
to take refuge, and on the other we have to
generate compassion. These two practices
should always go together.
Nye jung, or renunciation, is the main
cause of refuge practice. We ask, "How
can I be released, and who can protect
me from samsara ?" Is there anyone who
has the power, who can protect me from
this misery? If I ask my friend, or my
lawyer, he cannot protect me. The police,
the army cannot protect me. They cannot
do anything. If I were being robbed they
could help me, but in this case, because all
these miseries are inside me, not outside,
nobody can help me. Only the three j ewels
can help. We have to realize this first. For
them to help us, we have to know the three
j ewels.
The three jewels

What are the qualities of the three jewels?


If we don't know them, we won 't think
they can help us. Knowing the qualities of
the three j ewels brings more confidence,

MORNING SESSION - NOVEMBER 22, 2003

devotion, and trust in them. Then we can be


more comfortable in taking refuge in them.
If I know someone and know he can help
me, then I can take refuge in him without
any doubt. If I don't know someone very
well, if I have only heard he can help me,
then I can take refuge and ask for help, but
I won't have full trust in him. I may have
some doubt about whether he will help or
not. If I know someone well, their manner,
quality, and ability, then when I ask for
help, I have confidence that when asked,
this person will help me. Once I ask, there
is no doubt; I am comfortable. We need to
take refuge in that way. For this we need
to know the qualities of the three j ewels. In
order to take refuge, we need to know the
three j ewels.
The first of the three j ewels is the bud
dha, the enlightened one. The second is
the dharma, the yungdrung hon. The third
is the sangha, the bodhisattvas, those who
have genuine bodhicitta in them. These
are the three j ewels; these are the three
obj ects of refuge. The lama becomes the
fourth obj ect of refuge. If we don 't count
the lama separately, that doesn't mean that
the lama is excluded. He is counted as a
form of the buddha, and therefore included
whether he is a buddha or not. These are
the three j ewels .
Buddhas are the enlightened ones who
have completely purified themselves of
misery and suffering. They have the power
and ability to protect themselves from this
misery. Therefore we can take refuge in
them; they are the ultimate refuge obj ect.
The dharma is yungdrung hon. There
are three different aspects of yungdrung
hon. There is the yungdrung hon of knowl
edge. There is the yungdrung hon of the
precepts . This is all the teachings that
the buddha and the early masters left for
our guidance. It is all the teachings, texts,

45

words, and instructions of practice to attain


enlightenment. It is the way, the message
which shows the way to enlightenment.
The yungdrung hon of knowledge is all
knowledge, the realization, and the good
qualities that we have found through the
precepts. We read, listen, analyze, and
then we practice according to the buddhas '
and all the masters ' teachings. Through
this practice we have received some
knowledge and realization. Through these
teachings we have developed the practice
of bodhicitta and the practice of refuge.
These are the knowledge and qualities that
we got from the teaching. These are the
yungdrung bon of knowledge and the main
antidotes of our misery. Eventually we can
have the realization of emptiness . This is
the main know i edge. From the moment we
start our practice until we realize the state
of dharmakaya, all of this is yungdrung
hon. We have yungdrung hon within our
selves. This is important to know; we don 't
need to be disappointed or depressed. If
we work, we can develop yungdrung hon
within ourselves. This is an essential prac
tice which can help protect us from our
misery. We have to take refuge in order to
protect ourselves from misery. Practicing
the teaching itself is the real refuge. We are
actually applying the refuge in our knowl
edge and realization.
There are different levels of knowledge
and realization, but they are all yungdrung
hon. Generally, yungdrung hon means,
[long Tibetan phrase) . [Laughter. ] It means
we don 't consider it some kind of organi
zation or sect. It doesn 't mean that. But
later, in order to receive these teachings,
we put this name on the organization as
a form. It gives the opportunity or pro
vides the teaching. The real yungdrung
hon means any method, any knowledge,
any good quality which can cause one

46

THE FIRST EXPERIENTIAL TRANSMISSION FROM THE CRAG TRI

to purify one's individual defilements.


Practicing yungdrung hon causes the puri
fication of defilements and obscurations.
That is what yungdrung hon is whether
it is called yungdrung hon or not. Any
practice through which we can purify our
defilements and obscurations is yungdrung
hon. This teaching is yungdrung hon; that
knowledge is yungdrung hon.- It does not
rely on names or words. We have to check
our practice and see whether it purifies our
defilements or not. If it cannot, even if it is
called yungdrung hon, it is not. This is the
meanmg.
Therefore, for example, the dharmak
aya, sambhogakaya, and nirmanakaya, all
are yungdrung hon. All the Buddha's body,
speech, and mind are yungdrung hon. The
third category of yungdrung hon is the
stupas, temples, statues, the mandalas that
we have built. They are yungdrung hon,
but they are neither precepts or knowledge.
How can they purify us? They are a great
support. When we prostrate or circumam
bulate, we imagine the real presence of the
Buddha. We made the statue ourselves, but
when we take refuge we don 't think of it as
just a statue; we think of it as a real living
buddha. When we visualize Tapihritsa, we
think of Tapihritsa as being alive, not only
our imagination. We have to think of the
statues as the real Buddha. When we offer
circumambulation with this intention, we
get the same merit as if we had offered it
to the real Buddha. That is why the stupas,
statues, temples and mandalas are a part
of yungdrung hon. The main thing is the
yungdrung hon of precept and the yung
drung bon of knowledge. The precept is
very important to us; without this teaching
we cannot get this knowledge.
The knowledge is the main thing that
can directly purify our negative emo
tions . Even Buddha Tonpa Shenrab, a bud-

dha in whom we can take refuge, cannot


purify our negative emotions directly. If
he could, we wouldn 't be here, because he
is always wishing for the enlightenment
of all sentient beings. He wouldn' t leave
us this way ! Without our own capacity,
there is no way he can purify our negative
emotions. He can only give us advice. He
left all the messages in the texts for our
benefit. He has done what he can. Now
we have to do our part. When we put it all
together it works; that is the way. Through
his teaching we receive knowledge. The
knowledge is the real antidote. If we don't
experience the realization of emptiness,
if we don 't gain the knowledge from all
these practices ourselves, we cannot get it
from someone else. There are many who
have realized all these things, but we are
still circulating in samsara. That means we
haven 't worked. Now we have to work and
try to attain these realizations. If we only
have a small knowledge of compassion,
bodhicitta, and refuge, but we are still able
to produce genuine refuge, that is the best.
It is one of the refuge obj ects; we are in the
refuge action. This is the dharma, one of
the three j ewels.
The sangha refers mainly to the bod
hisattvas who have real bodhicitta within
them. We take refuge in them because the
bodhisattva 's intention is always to help
other beings. There is no selfish intention.
The bodhisattvas are always thinking to
benefit beings; they are ready to give their
lives for the benefit of others. There are too
many stories about this to tell them now.
This is why it is worthwhile to take refuge
in the bodhisattvas . They always guide any
being who needs help. We need a guide
who can show the real path of liberation.
Bodhisattvas cannot protect us directly,
but they can be our guides . In a relative
sense, if there were no real bodhisattvas

MORNING SESSION - NOVEMBER 22, 2003

but there were great practitioners, then the


sangha is defined as the community of the
real, genuine practitioners. We consider
it one of the obj ects of refuge, because it
is very helpful to have this genuine com
munity. They can lead, inspire, and purify
each other. This inspiration and guidance
is very important for the practitioner. A
genuine practitioner community is one of
the three j ewels. In a relative sense, we
can consider this the sangha, or a form of
bodhisattva. We take refuge in the sangha,
in ourselves !
These are the three j ewels. We have to
know their abilities and how they can help
us. That helps us develop more inspiration,
devotion, and trust in them. Then whatever
difficulty we face, whether the general
misery of samsara or a particular situa
tion, we immediately remember the three
j ewels. Doing that shows our genuine trust
in them. If we waiver, then we are still
not well established in trusting the refuge
provided by the three j ewels . We have to
establish well-rooted trust in the refuge of
the three j ewels.
This refuge is the base for everything.
Even when we take initiation, we first have
to take refuge. Without refuge, there is no
initiation. Without taking refuge we will
not have any commitment. Refuge is basic
because whether we are receiving initiation
in the yidam, or whatever it is, we practice
in order to gain some result, in order to
purify. To do this we have to have real trust
in the buddhas. All these purifications, ini
tiations, and teachings are the message that
the buddhas left. If we trust the teachings,
then we have to trust Buddha. If we say,
"I don't trust the Buddha, but I want this
teaching," it doesn 't work. The teaching
is Buddha's word. Whether the teaching
is real or not depends on the one who led,
whether or not they are telling the truth.

47

We have to understand the purity of the


buddhas; the genuine quality of the bud
dhas. When we take refuge in the Buddha,
there are two types : one is Tonpa Shenrab.
He is different from us. He became a bud
dha. There are many others who became
buddhas, and they are completely different
kinds of people than we are. We can take
refuge in them as our guides.
The result buddha

The real refuge object or result buddha


is when we practice, develop realization,
and then finally attain buddhahood. That
is our result buddha, the buddhahood of
the result of our own practice. This buddha
is the buddha who can directly protect us
from our negative emotions. In this case,
buddha can help us directly. Result buddha
means the dharmakaya. This is the ultimate
knowledge, the ultimate spiritual knowl
edge; this is the dharmakaya. There is not
any other dharmakaya. When we develop
our knowledge, little by little we come
closer to the dharmakaya. When we fully
develop our knowledge, we become all
wise, purified completely, and our mind or
consciousness becomes dharmakaya. This
is the essence of knowledge, ability, and
compassion. This is completely pure; it is
the real antidote of the final, most subtle
defilement. Once we have achieved this,
we are completely purified and ready to
help other beings. Once we have achieved
dharmakaya, then sambhogakaya and nir
manakaya come naturally. We don 't need
to work in a special way because we are
working with the combination of method
and wisdom. As a result of method or
compassion and bodhicitta, we realize the
sambhogakaya and nirmanakaya for the
guidance of other beings. The forms of
sambhogakaya and nirmanakaya are only
for the benefit of other beings . For the

48

THE FIRST EXPERIENTIAL TRANSMISSION FROM THE CHAG TRI

buddhas, the forms of sambhogakaya and


nirmanakaya are not necessary. The real
state of buddha is dharmakaya.
Thinking this, understanding this, we
develop trust. We also understand how
refuge practice works to help other beings
and ourselves. Just saying the refuge for
mula does not mean much, although it has
some benefit. We need to develop real trust
through our devotion, our understanding,
and our recognition of samsara as a place
of misery.
There are many things to say about the
three j ewels, but it is not necessary to say
everything.
Usually we say that anger is the worst
among the negative emotions, but in fact
attachment or desire is worse. Anger is
temporary. Desire or attachment is always
associated with all our activity, especially
when we do good things . When attachment
and desire come, they actually disturb us
and create obstacles for our good deeds .
We are reborn again and again because of
desire and attachment. We have attachment
and wish for a good life; this returns us
again and again to samsara. Even a rebirth
in hell is mainly because of attachment.
It sounds quite strange . Who is attached
to being born in hell? But there is a very
subtle attachment even to being born in
hell. Just before dying, if someone is going
to be reborn in hell, for example the hot
hell realm, then these people will feel very
cold. This causes them to desire more heat
in a very subtle way. That can cause the
seeds of the karmic traces of being born
in hell to come out. We all have different
karmic seeds . This desire for heat causes a
rebirth into the hot hell realm.
The refuge vi suali zati on

Following the text, this is how we have to


take refuge. If possible, visualize the whole

refuge tree in front of you. Visualizing the


whole refuge tree is particularly important
here. If you cannot do this, then you can
also visualize Tapihritsa as an embodiment
of all the three j ewels. Otherwise, visual
ize the whole refuge tree. I will briefly
describe the refuge field.
In the center of the sky before you is
a throne supported by eight lions. On top
of cushions of a lotus, sun, and moon is
the sambhogakaya deity, Shenlha O kar,
the essence of your master. From top of
his crown (but not touching), are all the
lineage masters from sutra, tantra, and
dzogchen rising straight up to Nyame
Sherab Gyaltsen, a 1 4th century great
master, the founder of Menri Monastery
and the main holder of all the traditions.
From Nyame Sherab Gyaltsen are divided
the three lineages of sutra, tantra, and
dzogchen. In the center is the Dzogchen
lineage going up to Kuntu Zangpo. There
are three dzogchen lineages . The center
line of the three are the lineage masters of
the Zhang Zhung Nyen Gyu; on the right
is the Drakpa Korsum lineage; and on the
above left of this group are the masters
of the Atri lineage. To the right side of
Nyame Sherab Gyaltsen are all the vinaya
sutra lineages up to the nirmanakaya bud
dha. On the left of Nyame Sherab Gyaltsen
are all the lineages of tantra up to the
sambhogakaya buddha. To the back of the
right side is Tonpa Shenrab surrounded by
the nine buddhas of the three times includ
ing himself as well as the buddhas of the
ten directions. To the front of the right
side are all the yidams of the cycles of the
outer, inner, and secret tantras. Above and
to the left side of Nyame Sherab Gyaltsen
is the main disciple of Tonpa Shenrab, Yi
Kyi Khye Chung surrounded by bodhisat
tvas of the five paths, ten bhumis, and ten
directions . Lower in the left front are all

MORNING SESSION - NOVEMBER 22, 2003

the dakinis with the chief dakini Kalpa


Zangmo. In the lower part of the refuge
tree on the right are all the siddhas. In the
front of Shenlha O kar at knee level are all
the male and female guardians led by Sidpa
Gyalmo facing outward and protecting.
Think they are present and imagine
Tapihritsa or Shenlha O kar very clearly
as the embodiment of the three j ewels
[outer: buddha, dharma, sangha; inner:
lama, yidam, khandro ; secret: tsa, lung,
tigle. ] Also imagine the texts and stupas
and statues filling the space along with all
the divinities. The three jewels are lively
and compassionate and their knowledge
appears for the benefit of all sentient
beings, guiding all sentient beings out of
the miseries of samsara. They are gorgeous
and bright. Arouse d e votion and inspira
tion in their presence.
In front of this refuge tree you multiply
your own body a billion-fold. Each of you
leads billions of sentient beings and all
of you go for refuge in front of the three
j ewels with immense devotion. Generate
strong devotion to the three j ewels and the
strong intention to release yourself and
all sentient beings from the miseries of
samsara.
We show devotion through actions of
the body such as prostration and circum
ambulation, through speech in chanting
prayer and recitation, and through mind
with devotion and trust and a feeling of
great happiness and j oy. In this way we
show respect from the three doors of body,
speech, and mind.
Generate a strong wish to escape from
the misery of samsara for all beings includ
ing you and pray for help, taking refuge in
the three jewels for protection from the
misery of samsara thinking, "Please help
all the sentient beings to release from
samsara. There is nobody that can help

49

except you. We can only rely on you and


go for refuge with body, speech, and mind.
Please help us." Without any hesitation,
with complete trust, generate this prayer as
strongly as possible, repeating it again and
again. With this intention, recite the prayer
of refuge while performing prostration.
This is the prayer of refuge. [Rinpoche
recites the refuge prayer.] The lamas are
the glorious source of the three kayas. The
buddhas of the three times are the protec
tors of all sentient beings. The statues,
images, stupas, and texts are the support
of the Buddha's body, speech, and mind.
All the bodhisattvas of the ten directions
are the light which shows us the liberation
of the path. These are the four obj ects . "I
prostrate to you four supreme obj ects of
refuge, and I take refuge in you." That is
the meaning of this prayer. Saying this,
you take refuge and generate the visualiza
tion. This is the refuge practice. Are there
any questions about this?
Q: Yungdrung . . .
KTY: Yungdrung bon i s what we are
learning now; dharma is the Sanskrit word.
Yungdrung bon is Tibetan. Cho is also
Tibetan, but it is mainly a Buddhist term.
Yungdrung bon refers to our knowledge,
our practice, and our teaching text.
I think that is enough. If you have any
questions you can ask me. I would like to
talk a little bit about yungdrung bon again;
it is quite important. The three j ewels are
not separate. For example, the dharmakaya
is all the three j ewels . The dharmakaya is
the buddha; the dharmakaya is yungdrung
bon, and the dharmakaya is a bodhisattva.
Buddha is also all the three j ewels. For
example, Tonpa Sherab is the Buddha,
Tonpa Shenrab is yungdrung bon, and
Tonpa Shenrab is also a bodhisattva as

50

THE FIRST EXPERIENTIAL TRANSMISSION FROM THE CHAG TRI

our teacher. In fact he is not a bodhisattva.


Bodhisattva means someone who has an
enlightened mind, but not a fully enlight
ened mind. Once we are fully enlightened,
we are more than a bodhisattva. We are
beyond bodhisattva. But we can take ref
uge in him as a bodhisattva, because he
does bodhisattva actions.
Yungdrung hon itself is the embodi
ment of the three j ewels. Yungdrung hon
has the aspect of buddha; all the bud
dhas are there. All knowledge, not only
Buddha 's knowledge, not only that of
someone who is highly realized, but even
our own knowledge, whatever we have
gotten from these teachings is yungdrung
hon. When we meditate with guru yoga
or refuge, this meditation is yungdrung
hon. This is one of the three j ewels . It pro
tects us and releases us from our miseries.
This is one of the methods to purify our
obscurations and defilements. Thinking
this way helps us develop the confidence
and enthusiasm to practice. It is impor
tant to have encouragement to practice,
especially if you live alone without other
dharma friends. You may feel lonely and
can sometimes become depressed. It will
be helpful to reflect; you will be encour
aged. Think in that way.
The next preliminary practice teaching
is the mandala offering. But refuge is the
basic foundation. Again, all our practices
are connected to refuge. Whenever we do
any kind of practice, we are taking ref
uge. We are taking action refuge, not just
praying refuge. When we practice, we are
taking refuge in yungdrung hon. We are
actually applying the refuge; we are in the
refuge .
The external obj ects of refuge are the
buddha, the dharma, and the sangha. The
internal obj ects of refuge are the lama,
yidam, and khandro. The lama, deities, and
dakinis are the tantric obj ects of refuge .
The secret obj ects of refuge are the tsa,

lung, and tigle, which are the channels, the


wind, and the tigle or bindu. This is the
secret refuge. Combining our natural state
of mind, rigpa, with the channels, the wind,
and the tigle is the secret refuge. It doesn't
mean we pray to our channels, "Oh, chan
nel, I take refuge in you ! " It's not like that.
It means we are actually applying what is
within our material body-our channels,
wind, and tigle-to the best way of prac
ticing; it is the secret and most profound
way of taking refuge. When we utilize this
in practice, it can bring us enlightenment
in this very lifetime. If we just keep pray
ing and praying, it may take longer. That
is why we have the external, internal, and
secret forms of refuge.

Q: Can you talk ab o ut the connection


between refuge and prostration?
KTY: Oh yes, I have to talk to you about
prostrations. There are the three doors to
show respect. They are body, speech, and
mind. We show respect through the body
by offering prostration or circumambula
tion. Prostration is one way to purify the
body and the most popular. When we do
prostrations we are not just exercising, but
we have a special visualization to help us
purify our negative karma.
Offering prostration

As we stand with our legs and feet togeth


er, we imagine and visualize we are offer
ing the whole universe to the three j ewels
in front of us. Imagine we are offering to
the real buddha, the real dharma, and the
real sangha right in front of us. We raise up
our hands and offer the whole universe to
the refuge obj ects. Then we put our hands
together and touch our foreheads thinking,
"By the merit of offering the whole uni
verse to the refuge obj ects I receive all the
empowerments and blessings of the body
of this refuge obj ect." We touch our hands
to our throats thinking, "I receive all the

MORNING SESSION - NOVEMBER 22, 2003

empowerments and blessings of speech of


this refuge object." We touch our hands to
our hearts thinking, "I receive all the bless
ings and empowerments of mind of this
refuge obj ect." By the power of receiving
all these blessings and empowerments, it
cleans out all the negative emotions, neg
ativities, defilements, and obscurations.
They go down in a dark liquid form; we
push them down with our hands. They go
out, and we are purified and clean as we
touch our hands, knees, and forehead to
the ground. We touch these five points to
the ground visualizing that the five doors
to the three lower realms and samsara are
closed. The seeds to be born in samsara
have been purified. As we stand up we
imagine we have become the body of great
bliss of dharmakaya. We have become the
enlightened body. Our surroundings are
pure; we are in the pure realm full of bud
dhas. We repeat this. When we do refuge
practice we do prostrations as a sign of
respect for the body.
We show respect for speech by reciting
the refuge prayer. We show respect for the
mind by generating the visualization and
by feeling happiness, j oy, and devotion
toward the three j ewels. When we do it
this way, our body, speech, and mind are
completely engaged in the refuge practice.
Then there is no way for other things to
come. If we do this 1 00,000 times, it keeps
the body, speech, and mind in control for
that much longer. This is a good way of
training. When we train only by thinking,
it doesn't work. lf we use our body, speech,
and mind then everything is engaged, and
it becomes more effective. It is a better
way. Using the body, speech, and mind
together in the normal world also makes
things work more effectively. So we have
to do prostrations ; each of the preliminary
practices should be done 1 00,000 times
traditionally. The average person who
does them 1 00,000 times will have some

51

experiences and will become more famil


iar. It doesn't mean that you will attain
enlightenment after having done each of
them 1 00,000 times. You have to do these
practices throughout your entire life until
you attain buddhahood. It is not compul
sory, but it is traditionally suggested to
do this . The main point is to make some
change in your mind. Even if you do them
1 00,000 times, if nothing has changed or
developed, it won't help. We have to find
which way is the best way to develop our
practice and affect our mind. That is the
main thing.
The best thing is to do these practices
on a regular basis, at least one or two times
a day, morning and evening. If you can
only do them once a day, then the morn
ing is preferred. You can also do them
any time you can. The main point is, don't
forget these things. Try to remind yourself
and engage in these practices. Take these
as part of your normal routine in life . This
is best.
Yesterday we were talking about renun
ciation or detachment from samsara.
Perhaps you are thinking, "Oh, I must
leave and go to a solitary place. " At the
beginning, it doesn 't work that way. It is
better to have your normal life but with
out too much attachment. We need to feel
satisfied, "This is enough for me." Try to
find the time to practice; the practice will
help you develop more detachment. If you
try to leave everything to be in solitude
before you have any foundation, later you
will change your mind. You will feel regret
and develop more attachment. That is not
the skillful way to do it. Until you have a
good foundation, integrate your practice
in your daily life. This is the skillful way
mentioned in the text. Make practice part
of your daily life, and then slowly you can
decide how and what to do.
[Dedication] .

The First Expe riential Transmission


from the chagTri - The Ngondro

November 22, 2003

Afternoon Session

offering prostrations, circumambulation,


building stupas, and offering butter lamps,
water, or food.
Accumulation of wisdom is the main
cause of the dharmakaya, the main anti
dote to purify our ignorance. To fully
realize this wisdom it is necessary to
have accumulated enough merit. If we
do not accumulate sufficient merit we do
not realize wisdom. These two are very
much related. Everything is related. From
samsara to nirvana, everything is inter
dependent. All existence is interdepen
dent. There are no independent existences.
Everything is dependent, that is why it
is called dependent arising. Even the nir
manakaya, the buddhas, the dharma, and
the sangha dependently arise. Nothing
is independent. Everything lacks inher
ent existence. Therefore, the path is also
dependent; everything is linked.
Among the different ways of accumu
lating merit, the mandala offering is one
of the best practices. It is easy and simple
to do, but it brings a big result. We have
nothing to lose and a lot to gain. Normally,
when we make an offering like a flower
offering, for example, we buy the flower
from the market. There is always some
influence of attachment with this offering.
Even though we give it up fully, we might

[Guru yoga, refuge, and bodhicitta


prayers] .
This morning we talked about the refuge
practice. Now we will talk about the third
in the second group, the practice of offer
ing the mandala.
The accumulati on of meri t
and wi sdom

In the base are two truths, relative and


absolute. Absolute truth is empty, but it
doesn 't mean we rej ect or avoid appear
ance, and it doesn't mean there is no
relative truth. The emptiness we refer to is
"special" emptiness : it has all the qualities,
and everything arises from there. Because
of these two aspects, relative and absolute,
we have to combine method and wisdom
when we practice. Method and wisdom
are the causes of enlightenment and are
referred to as the two accumulations or
tsog nyi. As a result of these causes,
rupakaya and arupakaya, dharmakaya, and
sambhogakaya naturally appear.
In our practice, one way to accumu
late wisdom is to engage in practices of
purification, and the other way, method, is
to accumulate merit through offering the
mandala. In addition, there are other tradi
tional ways to accumulate merit including

53

54

THE FIRST EXPERIENTIAL TRANSMISSION FROM THE CHAG TRI

bargain on the price, for example. So we


always have some feeling of loss from
our side. The influence of attachment is
always there. That is like dust on our offer
ing; it is not a fully pure offering. There is
always something there. If you make a big
offering, there is even more influence of
attachment. Sometimes we have to make a
big effort; we think it is so difficult to give
up what we offer. On some level there is
always some negative thought involved,
even when we are doing a good thing.
These thoughts pollute the practice, so the
mandala offering is the best offering. We
imagine it being as big and as wonderful
as possible. When we make the offer
ing we don't lose anything; we can give
fully and completely without any attach
ment or other influence; it becomes pure .
Therefore, it is one of the best ways of
accumulating merit.
I hope you understand the reason why
we have to make these offerings, why we
couldn't just meditate, concentrating some
where. We give these offerings because we
have to purify our mind stream. The most
dust, the greatest pollution in our mind
stream is attachment. We have to lose
our attachment; we have to purify this.
Practicing generosity and making different
offerings, even offering our body, which
will come tomorrow, is a way of losing our
attachment. We have to do it this way. I
think that is enough. If you have any ques
tions we can discuss it.
The mandala offering practi ce

I want to go through the text and show you


how to make the mandala offering. There
are different ways to offer the mandala.
The mandala represents the universe; we
offer the whole universe to the three j ew
els. When we make a normal offering, it
is just some part of the universe. But with

the mandala offering, we are offering the


whole universe-everything is included.
There is nothing left out. There are dif
ferent ways to make the offering. We can
offer the mandala with the support of the
rings or with our own body and mind.
We imagine our body as the universe and
offer it. We can also offer the mandala as
our base consciousness, or kunzhi. The
kunzhi, or base consciousness, is the store
of our karmic traces, good or bad. It is all
our experiences; whatever we have comes
because of the karmic traces in our kunzhi.
It is like a big mandala; we can imagine
and offer it. Another way of offering the
mandala is very secret. We offer our natu
ral state as a mandala; that is the real man
dala in which everything is perfected, all
samsara and nirvana. Being aware in this
state is the best mandala offering.
For our purposes, we are talking about
this general way of making the mandala
offering using the support of this instru
ment, the mandala rings . First, we prepare
the instrument. Traditionally, the base of
the mandala rings is the symbol for a big
ocean. Our whole universe is in this big
ocean. In the ocean there are four con
tinents and eight sub-continents. Mount
Meru is in the center surrounded by seven
golden mountains, seven lakes, and filled
with all the sentient beings of the six
realms. There is not only one universe;
there are billions and billions of universes.
The ocean is the base, and these three rings
are the symbol of the three-thousand-fold
um verse.
The first of the three-thousand fold uni
verses has a thousand universes each with
one Mount Meru and a sun and moon, four
continents, eight sub-continents, seven
mountains, seven lakes, and all six realms.
Each extends from the end of the desire
deva realm to the border of the first form

AFTERNOON SESSION - NOVEMBER 22, 2003

deva realm. The deva realm has three


within it: desire, form and formless deva
realms. It extends to each of these uni
verses. This full structure counts for the
first of the three thousand-fold universes.
There are a thousand universes; there are a
thousand Mt. Meru 's.
The second of the three thousand-fold
universes has a thousand thousand uni
verses. The third of the thousand fold has
1 ,000 x 1 ,000 x 1 ,000, or one billion Mt.
Merus and billions of suns and moons.
There is not just one universe. All of these
universes are stacked up in twenty-five
layers and in forty layers in the ten direc
tions, in different directions. Altogether
there are one billion universes. According
to our cosmology, this world is the thir
teenth one. We don 't need to see all of
them; whatever exists, exists. We can just
imagine that these three rings symbolize
the three-thousand-fold universe.
Sometimes the base has the shape of the
four continents and subcontinents carved
on it, but it is not necessary. The top repre
sents the palace of Indra at the top of Mt.
Meru. If possible, it should be made of
gold or silver. If not, it can be made from
copper or bronze or even wood or clay. If
it is made of gold or silver, it can be small.
When the material is of lower quality it
should be as big as possible. But if you
want to make an offering, it will take more
time. If you want to finish faster, then make
it with gold ! You have to choose-time or
expense ! [Laughter.]
When we prepare to make the offer
ing we should prepare the base and rings
well, making sure there are no scratches
or damage to them. Don 't use them if they
are damaged. Make it perfect. The offer
ing has to be done nicely and decoratively.
Once the base and rings are prepared well,
then we prepare the grain and ornaments .

55

Instead of using a grain like rice, it is best


to use gold, silver, semi-precious stones,
gold coins, or cowry shells-as many pre
cious things as possible. We use cowry
shells quite often because in early times
they were as precious as money. That is
why people use them. If we don't have
any precious things, we can mix different
types of grains, like rice, barley, wheat,
and maize. Or we can use plain rice. You
can also put coins in the rice if you have
some.
When we are actually making the man
dala offering, we have to visualize all the
obj ects of refuge very clearly. While mak
ing a motion as if cleaning the base, recite
the mantra OM NA MA A KAR SHA YA
NI SHA G SA LE SANG NGE YE SO HA .
Take the base in the left and and the first
ring in the right hand and clean by circling
clockwise three times with the wrist of the
right hand. While doing this imagine that
all the negativities of the past are purified.
Then clean or rub three times in the other
direction, and imagine that all negativities
and defilements that will be accumulated
in your future life are being purified. We
have not yet accumulated these defile
ments, but we have the seeds to accumu
late them in the future, so we need to clean
all these seeds . Continuing to recite the
mantra the whole time, rub straight across
the base three times, visualizing that all
the seeds accumulated in the present are
purified. Then imagine everything is pure;
put the ring on top of the base and recite
the mantra DR UM RI TI GAR MA LA HO
while putting one heap of grain in the cen
ter symbolizing Mt Meru. After that, while
reciting A YANG RA M MANG KHAM
DR UM SHA G SA LE SANG NGE YE SO
HA put heaps in the four directions. First
put a heap in the east (in the front, closest
to you), then north, west, and south, the

56

THE FIRST EXPERIENTIAL TRANSMISSION FROM

four continents. Reciting the same mantra,


put heaps to the left and right of the east,
and each of the other directions; they rep
resent the eight sub-continents. And then
reciting CHO PHUR SA LE HA LO SENG,
place heaps between the four directions
and Mt. Meru. They represent the four
mountains, the golden sun, the conch-like
moon, and all the good things in the uni
verse such as the eight auspicious things,
all this. Altogether, there are seventeen
clusters. There is one in the center, one for
each of the four directions, the eight cor
ners, and the four inner directions, which
altogether makes seventeen heaps. Then
while pouring, fill the rest of the ring with
grain. Visualize and imagine all kinds of
good things in the universe; feel the pres
ence of all t he good things in universe, and
put the second ring on.
For the second ring we don 't need
to do each part one by one. In fact each
universe has them all, but just think of
the whole second universe as you fill the
ring with rice. Put on the third ring and
fill it with rice while imagining the third
universe. Finally, put the symbol of the
palace of Indra on the top. Then hold up
the mandala, and imagine that it is as big
as possible, full of good things. Imagine
that there are billions of universes here,
and that it is as big as the sky. Imagine this
as clearly as possible and sing the man
dala offering prayer. The translation of this
prayer is "How wonderful ! Based upon the
five elements are the seven mountains and
concentric mountain rings, the four conti
nents and subcontinents together with the
external and internal pleasurable qualities,
and the billion universes ornamented with
sun and moon. I offer this from my heart.
Please accept this offering. "
Imagine the offering is accepted, and

THE CHAG TR I

you receive a lot of merit. After that recite


the mantra of dissolution of the mandala,
OM A DA DA DE DE CHO CHO SA LE
HA LO SENG. When we dissolve it saying
the mantra, first you take off the top. Don't
destroy it all together; you dissolve it level
by level. Take the first one off very nicely,
then the next ring, then the last ring. Then
we start again with cleaning the base.
When we repeat this offering again and
again, the first time we build the whole
thing. But the second time we do it, we
don't need to put in all these things. Just
put the first ring, fill it, put on the top, and
make the offering. Then dissolve the man
dala offering and repeat 1 00,000 times.
Does everybody understand this? This is
how to make the mandala offering.
Offering the mandala wi th mudra

There is an easy way to make the mandala


offering; it is by using the mandala mudra
with the hands. First, saying the mantra,
we clean the left palm, circling it three
times clockwise, then counter-clockwise,
and then across. There are people who
complete their 1 00,000 with the mudra, but
it is better to use the rings. It is good for
visualization and for making merit. If you
can clean and clear away your defilements
equally, the benefit in the next life or even
in this one is that your body becomes good
looking, your mind is very bright and intel
ligent, and your health is very strong. All
these things can happen. But don't think
this is the main purpose ! These are kind
of side consequences, not the main result.
The main result should be that you gain
great merit, and you are greatly purified.
Are there any questions?
Q: Rinpoche, would you explain what
a mudra is?

AFTERNOON SESSION - NOVEMBER 22, 2003

KTY: What is a mudra? Generally, for


any kind of mudra we do, there should
be five points : }or wa, dur, ching, trul, tu.
The meaning of jor wa is equanimity or
equipoise . Dur means transforming; ching
is the actual construction of mandala; trul
means the dissolution of the mudra; and
then finally tu bai means to touch.
When we do the equipoise mudra, it
represents the equanimity of the natural
state of mind, the state of emptiness, or
nam pa she pa. The whole universe arises
from this state. All samsara and nirvana
arise from this state. Then we do the jor
wa, the transformation, meaning from this
state everything arises and transforms.
Then for whatever mudra we are doing,
from this state it transforms into this struc
ture, ching. Then trul, [Rinpoche snaps his
fingers], the dissolution. We dissolve, and
then we bring our hands together at the
heart, tu. Then we go back into the same
source, we go back to the beginning again.
Come to the beginning, and then arise, and
then everything becomes good or bad, and
then finally everything dissolves into the
same source. This is the way of doing any
mudra. For any mudra we do, we have to
have these five points.
When we visualize any deity, the first
step is being in the natural state, or empty
nature. In the dimension of this empty
nature arises the wind element. Then the
other elements come, and they transform.
Then the mandala comes. Inside of it are
the seeds of the divinity, and they tum into
the deities. All this comes from the state
of equanimity. The deity dissolves into
the seed syllable, the seed syllable into the
mandala, the mandala into the elements,
the elements into lights, and the lights dis
solve back into emptiness. So emptiness is
the beginning and the end. Actually, every-

57

thing goes in this way whether it is samsara


or nirvana. That is why we do mudras this
way. The most difficult movement to do is
the jor wa, the transformation. So with the
offering through mudra, first we make the
movements to clean; then we do jor wa;
then we make the offering mudra
Directly according to the text, as for the
material to be used for the mandala, it says
it is best to use gold and silver; the next best
is a mixture of bronze and brass. The least
you can do is to use wood and clay. All the
qualities and the shapes should be perfect.
The necessary things should be prepared.
After having prepared all the materials, we
begin by cleaning the base and visualizing
all the negativities and defilements of all
beings including ourselves. We chant:
OM NA MA A KAR SHA YA NI SHA G SA
LE SANG NGE YE SO HA
DR UM RI Tl GAR MA LA HO
A YANG RAM MANG KHAM DR UM
SHA G SA LE SANG NGE YE SO HA
CHOD PHUR SA LE HA LO SENG

We fill the bottom ring with the sev


enteen clusters as instructed before. Then
we imagine all the refuge obj ects and the
refuge field in the space before us like
clouds. The space is wide and deep; visual
ize the deities like the stars in that space.
As for the mandala we are holding in our
hand, we imagine it is as big as the sky or
universe, the three thousand fold universe.
If we cannot imagine this, imagine it is at
least as big as one universe. Then imagine
this mandala is on golden ground. There is
not any dust or dirt; it is completely pure.
On that rests Mt. Meru, the seven moun
tains, four continents, eight sub-continents
and the boundaries of the worlds . Inside
this imagine all the types of offerings : the

58

THE FIRST EXPERIENTIAL TRANSMISSION FROM THE CHAG TRI

eight ausp1c1ous things, the seven pre


cious j ewels, all desirable obj ects, forms,
sounds, good smells, tasty foods, nice
touch. These are the five common desir
able things : the five senses. We desire five
obj ects for the sense consciousnesses; for
the eye we desire beautiful forms; for the
nose, fragrant smells; for the tongue, deli
cious tastes; for the ear, melodious sounds;
and for the body, nice touch. These are the
common and most wanted things. Then
inside this imagine all the inconceivable,
desirable things for the deities-unimagi
nable things. Imagine that all the surround
ings are full of those obj ects.
As in the refuge practice, we multiply
ourselves. There are billions of us, and
each of us leads billions of beings who
all make offerings. These beings tum into
offering goddesses who make offerings to
the divinities, the three j ewels. We make
offerings of whatever is needed. Deities
do not wish for this and that. But we com
pare them to our own desires, so we offer
them different choices : tasty foods, nice
sounds. We offer many different choices.
Those who want good food, get good
food. All the refuge obj ects get whatever
they wish although they don't wish for
anything. Whatever they wish for they
receive, including ourselves and all beings
making offerings .
We offer all of this without any hesita
tion, doubt, or attachment. We generate the
wish or prayer to attain realization, to have
higher experiences, and to realize the natu
ral state of mind. "Through the power and
merit of making the offering, may I realize
and experience the great view of the natu
ral state of mind." Thinking that, imagine
you receive the blessing that you can real
ize the true nature of mind in this way.
Then with this strong intention we read
the offering prayer and make the offering.

After that, we dissolve the mandala with


out disorder; we have to dissolve it nicely,
one by one. Then we make the dedication.
We do this at the end of the session. This
is how to do mandala offering with the
mandala rings.
In the early morning or late at night if
you are not going to do the offering with the
mandala rings, you can imagine your own
body as a mandala. Imagine this material
body as a mandala, a three thousand fold
universe, our eight consciousnesses, all the
consciousnesses, and offering goddesses.
Each of the goddesses makes an offering
of our body as a mandala to the three j ew
els. In this way we can make the mandala
offering prayer.
As a result of offering the mandala in
these ways, we accumulate merit. As a
consequence in this life and in the next
we become wealthy. In Tibet we say that
the founder of the Gelugpa school made a
lot of mandala offerings, and that is why
the Gelugpas are so very wealthy ! That is
what is said. It is said that the founder used
stones because he was in solitude. There
were many stones with holes in them
because he cleaned them again and again
in order to offer them. It is suggested to
make the mandala offering as many times
as possible to develop a strong aspiration
and greater desire to practice. We can try
it, and find out for ourselves. This is the
offering of the mandala.
We have finished the second group of
three practices : to purify one's mind stream
through the three common preliminary
practices. The next group of three is to
clean one's own mind stream through the
three excellent or supreme preliminary
practices. Do you have any questions?
Q: Could you slowly say the dissolution
mantra?

AFTERNOON SESSION - NOVEMBER 22, 2003

KTY:

OM A DA DA DE DE CHO CHO

SA LE HA L O SENG

Q : Would you say the mandala offering


prayer?
KTY:
E ma chung nge teng du ri rab
ri dun dang
Ling zhi ling dren chi nang do
yon che
Nyi di gyen pa che wa drag gya di
Dag gi lo lang bu/ lo zhe su sol

Q : Could you talk about making an


offering of a stupa?
KTY: Oh yes, the making of a stupa
offering. The buildings can be in the form
of the structure of the universe. Some stu
pas have the structure of buddhas in medi
tation posture. Our body is the structure of
the universe. In dzogchen and tantric prac
tices there are many methods. If we are
able to, this material body which we con
sider as impure can be utilized in a good
way. We can transform it into a mandala.
Q: Can you demonstrate the mudra?
KTY: OM NA MA A KAR SHA YA
NI SHA G SA LE SENG GE YE SO HA .
While saying this, we wipe our open left
palm with our right palm three times in
each direction, and then three times front
to back, straight across to clean the base.
Next, while making the mudra of gathering
the elements we say :
DR UM RI TI GAR MA LA HO
A YANG RAM MANG KHA M DR UM
SHA G SA LE SANG NGE YE SO HA
CHO PHUR SA LE HA LO SENG

Then we create the offering mudra and


while holding the mudra, we say the man
dala offering prayer. Then snapping the

59

fingers, we say the dissolution mantra.


Are there any more questions? Let's
move on now to the next set, the three
practices for perfecting oneself.
The three e xce llent or supreme
pre liminary practices - Three practices
for pe rfecting onese lf

The first of the three practices for perfect


ing oneself is to recite mantras in order
to purify our obscurations or defilements.
The second is the practice of offering one 's
own illusory body and mind as a ganapuj a
in order t o accumulate merit. The third
is prayers of aspiration like guru yoga in
order to receive blessings.
Purification through recitation
of mantra

The first, purification through recitation of


mantra, is an especially powerful and use
ful practice. To start, we have to visualize
in the space in front of us Shenlha O kar
or Tapihritsa, all the divinities, and all the
three j ewels. There are so many guardians
and protectors that they fill the earth and
sky. Visualize this as clearly as possible,
and then imagine that all the real divinities
come and dissolve into the imagined ones.
They become inseparable, and in this way,
the divinities you have imagined are real.
Feel their real presence.
Then while imagining this, sing a long,
slow HUNG. Sing it as long as possible; do
it several times according to your feeling.
While you are singing HUNG, many lights
and rays come from the divinities. They
pervade all places and beings ; they touch
all beings in all universes. When the rays
and lights touch sentient beings, the sen
tient beings tum into rainbows and lights .
All the lights merge into you and dissolve
into your consciousness. When the lights
and rays touch the external universe, the

60

THE FIRST EXPERIENTIAL TRANSMISSION FROM THE CRAG TRI

containers of all sentient beings become


light and rainbows. This light comes and
dissolves into your own body. Now there
is nothing left. There are no sentient beings
and no universes. Everything has been
turned into light and that light has merged
into your body and consciousness. Imagine
now in this huge space only your body and
your consciousness remain. Clearly imag
ining this, say PRAT very strongly. At the
same time, imagine your body becomes
bigger and bigger. It is as big as space, full
of space. Space has become full of your
body. Just as your body has become big
ger and bigger, your consciousness also
pervades everywhere. In the text it liter
ally says, "Both the body and conscious
ness become bigger and bigger. " Wherever
the body is, consciousness pervades. To
whatever extent space reaches, our body
is there. Our body becomes a big universe,
and inside our body there are so many
universes. There are so many sentient
beings in these different universes and
different realms as a manifestation of our
consciousness. Imagine all these beings
and universes are deeply connected to you.
They are a manifestation of your body and
mind. Normally we think, "I am one thing,
and that is something else. " We also feel
a big gap between ourselves and others,
a separation. We experience ourselves as
very private, so visualizing this opens the
door to others. The text doesn 't explain it
like this. The background comes from this
idea that everything is connected to us,
that all sentient beings are a manifestation
of our own mind. This whole universe is
just our own body, and all beings are our
own mind. Thinking this, imagine that all
sentient beings are suffering with different
miseries; try to generate compassion for all
these beings.
Then, because of having generated com-

passion, from the hearts of all the deities


we have visualized in front of us comes
a very strong wisdom fire. In essence it is
wisdom, but it comes in the form of fire.
It comes like lightning. It comes to touch
all sentient beings. When the fire reaches
these beings, the fire bums all their nega
tivities and defilements. In the same way,
from the hearts of the divinities comes
wisdom in the form of a strong wind which
blows away all negativities. This is quite
similar to guru yoga practice. Then again
from the hearts of the divinities comes
strong water. In essence it is wisdom, and
it washes away all the defilements and
obscurations of all beings. Imagine that
all sentient beings become very pure and
clean and ready to receive the blessings
and empowerments. Then imagine that
from the hearts of these divinities come
very white and bright A 's . There are many
different sizes of the white A . S ome are
big, and some small. The A 's dissolve into
the crown of each sentient being and each
becomes the essence of Kuntu Zangpo, the
dharmakaya. Then light coming from these
divinities reaches the universe, and turns
it into a mandala, the palace of divinity.
Now we can imagine all sentient beings
as Kuntu Zangpo and the whole universe
as a mandala, a great, pure, celestial pal
ace. There is no impurity whatsoever, no
impure vision. Everything is pure and
perfect. All sentient beings are the essence
of Kuntu Zangpo; they tum into the body
of Kuntu Zangpo. They enjoy the divine
activities. All songs are the sound of man
tras; all conceivable thoughts are the divine
mind of the deities, the natural state . With
this feeling, presence, and visualization,
recite A KAR A ME DU TRI SU NA G PO
ZHI ZHI MAL MAL SO HA as many times
as you can. Then it will be a very powerful
recitation of the mantra. If your imagina-

61

AFTERNOON SESSION - NOVEMBER 22, 2003

tion is sharp and clear, your practice will


be more powerful and more effective. This
is how to do the recitation of the mantra for
purification.
You can recite the mantra above, or you
can also recite OM MA TRI MU YE SA LE
DU or A A KAR SA LE 6 A YANG OM
D U. These are the three essential mantras.
Imagine all this ! You can recite the man
tras and for a moment you will be in the
celestial palace.
As a result of doing this practice, all
karmic traces, defilements, and obscura
tions that we have collected over many,
many lifetimes have no chance to stay or
remain. All will be blown up and disap
pear like small shrubs being uprooted by
a strong wind, or like the frost melting in
the sun. In that way our obscurations and
defilements will have no chance to remain
even if we wanted them to stay. Therefore,
the text says you must practice this every
day, as much as possible. This is the teach
ing of the recitation of mantra for the
purification of our defilements. This can
open our minds to other beings so there is
no difference between ourselves and oth
ers. There are no differences; we are of
the same nature. The only time there is a
difference is when we manifest as impure
things. In a pure state, we have the same
quality; there is no difference. When we

begin from empty space, space has no dif


ferences. We cannot say this empty space
is pure, and that empty space is not. It is
the same quality; we manifest from there.
When we manifest, there are many differ
ent qualities. There is anger and compas
sion and loving kindness; there is desire
and generosity. We view everything as
impure or pure. This is not nature; it is tem
porary. By this practice we can experience
our inseparability with all things. Literally,
this practice is called "sending light and
bringing it back." The back and forth func
tion of the light creates the purification.
Are there any questions about this?
Q: Do you have the explanations for
this on the CD from Triten Norbutse?
KTY: We recorded several mantras and
prayers chanting with the traditional melo
dy but using a modem keyboard. It is new
and quite nice. Maybe it can help people
on some level because people like to listen
to music. Instead of listening to rock and
roll, this CD creates good karmic traces,
and one can learn something. We have the
translation of these prayers, the translit
eration, and the melody. We have made 1 1
recordings. We will stop here and finish
tomorrow.
[Dedication] .

The First Expe riential Transmission


from the chagTri - The Ngondro

November 23, 2003

Morning Session

gest obstacle to realizing the natural state


of mind and the strongest cause to bring
us into cyclic existence, samsara. Until we
cut this ego, we cannot get out of samsara.
Chad is one way of cutting ego.
While we are alive, this ego, this self
grasping, grasps our body. While we are
alive we always think of "me" as this
body. The body is everything. We think
of the body as "my self." If our body gets
cold we feel, "I am cold. " If our body gets
sick, "I am sick." During whatever we are
doing, "me" is the body for the time being.
But in fact, the body is not the self; it is
only one of the properties or belongings of
self. The body is mine, but it is not me. But
we still perceive the body as "me" most of
the time. That is self-grasping. We grasp
"me" as being independent, as inherent, as
something individual . But in fact, it is not
independent. It is very dependent, and this
"me" is only a name given to a combina
tion of our five aggregates. If we disperse
the five aggregates, there is no "me." My
body is not me; my consciousness is not
me ; my feelings are not me; my discrimi
nation is not me. Each of the five is not me.
When we say "mine" we mean it belongs
to me but is not me. My "self' is the
owner to whom the thing-the body, the
consciousness, or the feelings-belongs .
"Me" is the lord, the master of body,

[Guru yoga, refuge, and bodhicitta


prayers] .
Offering one's own body
as a ganapuja

Today we go to the second practice in


the third group, or the eighth practice of
the nine preliminary practices. It is the
offering of one 's own body as a ganapuja
in order to accumulate merit. This is like
chad, a short and simple way of doing
chad. We all know that the chad practice
is one of offering our own body to the dei
ties, spirits, and all beings. Here the name
of the practice is not chad. It is offering
one 's own body as ganapuj a, an offering of
one 's body for the accumulation of merit.
Chad means to cut, to cut the self-grasping
mind, the grasping mind that thinks and is
attached to our body. We have strong ego
grasping. There are many ways of being
attached and many types of attachment;
the strongest attachment we have is to our
body. We consider our body as "self' or
"me." Wherever we go, whatever we do,
"self' or "me" always comes first. It is
the most important thing, and we always
put it first. "I am doing everything for the
benefit of myself. " We think this "me,"
this "self' is so very important. Everything
we do, any activity we do, is based on this
grasping. This ego of our "self' is the big63

64

THE FIRST EXPERIENTIAL TRANSMISSION FROM THE CHAG TRI

speech, mind, feelings, and consciousness.


What is "me"? When we check carefully,
except for the five aggregates, we cannot
find "me." We can see that we have just
put the name "me" on the aggregation of
these five things. These five aggregates
are not "my self. " It is not possible to find
a "me" that is something independent. It
is very much dependent, but we still have
a strong ego that grasps "me" as indepen
dent, solid, and concrete. We always put
this "me" first. For example, if there is
good food, first I want some, then I want
my best friends to have some, then my best
neighbors, then my country, then my con
tinent, and then my world. It always starts
with me and then moves from those closest
to me outwards. In that way, everything is
connected to "me. " We cannot do anything
without feeling it has a connection with
ourselves .
The "me" does not exist as an inde
pendent entity, but we have this strong
thought, this strong ego. This ego con
strains all of our activities; everything we
do is involved with this ego. Until we cut
this ego, we cannot go beyond samsara.
Offering our body and chod practice are
ways to cut the ego. While we are alive, the
body is the main obj ect we grasp as "my
self." If we detach ourselves completely
from our body and give it up completely,
that is one of the biggest detachments we
can make. If we are able to give our body
away, then other things are much easier
for us to give up. This is a special way of
practicing detachment from self and to cut
the ego of self-grasping.
This is not our imagination. All exis
tence is illusion; it is temporary and a man
ifestation of our own mind. All phenomena
we see, whether pure or impure, become
concrete because we grasp so tightly. By
grasping we become very familiar with it,

and it becomes solid. If we try to change


our perception by seeing all phenomena
as a pure offering, then by concentrat
ing more and more deeply it becomes an
offering. None of these obj ects inherently
exists; they are dependent upon our mind.
If our mind activates in a different way,
then all these visions can be changed into
another form. That is why we offer the
whole universe in the mandala offering
practice. We are not doing something that
is impossible. We are doing the possible. If
we just think about it without any under
standing, it looks like it's only a fantasy.
But it is not just a fantasy. There is a big
reason. If our concentration and visualiza
tion are clear and strong, then we can make
it real because everything is dependent
on our own mind. That is why we train
our mind in concentration and focus ; it
is very important for any kind of medita
tion. If the mind is stable and focused, it
is like a horse. It can take us wherever we
want to go. When our mind becomes quite
focused, we don't even need to focus on
just one thing. The obj ect of focus can be
changed to whatever we wish. The seed
syllable A is easy. Since we have stability
of mind, focusing on a divinity becomes
much easier; the visualization becomes
much brighter. In this way, zhine practice
is like an instrument. It is very general,
but if well-trained, we can use our mind
in a good way. It can also be used in the
opposite way if our mind is well-trained.
Zhine is the good instrument that we try to
use in a good way. This is the background
of this practice. Don't think of it as just a
fantasy or something that is not possible.
Whether or not it becomes a real offering
depends very much on our practice and
development. It depends on how strong
our concentration is. If our concentration is
weak, our offering does not seem real. As

MORNING SESSION - NOVEMBER 23, 2003

our concentration becomes stronger, we


will be more successful. We have to train
every day. In the beginning it won't come
perfectly, but as we practice and it devel
ops, it becomes better and better.
The four guests

Usually with any kind of offering we make,


the obj ect of the offering is the four guests.
The honorary guest is first; the second is
the guest of quality, those who have good
qualities. The third is the guest to whom
we owe karmic debts. These are the eight
classes of spirits. Finally, we offer to the
obj ects of compassion. This mainly refers
to the powerless beings of the three lower
realms. They are all the powerless beings
who have neither good fortune nor the
ability to harm others. They suffer and are
powerless. The first guests are the buddhas
and divinities. They belong to the class of
the three j ewels. They are honorary guests.
The second guests are the high class of
protectors.
There are different classes of protec
tors. The third guests are the normal local
spirits or any kind of very powerful and
harmful spirits. Normally, these spirits are
divided into eight classes of beings . They
always create problems for other beings
by bringing disease, sickness, or destruc
tion. These are the beings to whom we owe
karmic debts. The fourth guests are the
powerless beings .
We have to make the offering to all of
them, but when we make an offering, the
obj ect of that offering will determine what
we offer, how we offer it, and the purpose
of the offering because it will differ. The
first guests don 't need anything, not even
water or flour. They don 't need anything,
but we make an offering in order to accu
mulate merit and purify our karmic traces.
We make this offering with our pure mind.

65

We have to train the mind to be as pure as


possible. If we have good intention and
a pure mind while making the offering,
we accumulate merit. This is the purpose
of making an offering to the first guests.
To the second guests-the guardians and
protectors-we make an offering in order
to ask for something. We ask for protec
tion and help, to help make our practice
successful, and to protect the doctrine and
the practitioners. We invite them and offer
them a good meal, and then we ask for
their help. To the third guests, we offer to
repay our karmic debts. When they want
something from us that we have not given
to them, then we don't have success, or
we get sick. If we repay our debts to them,
they leave us alone. We are free from these
miseries. We make an offering to repay our
debt to them. To the fourth class we make
an offering of generosity. In Tibetan we
have a saying that means that generosity
should be shown to those with no power
or ability and to those who are suffering
greatly. They are powerless, so we offer
and expect nothing from them. These are
the purposes of making different types of
offerings to the four guests.
When offering, first we visualize in
front of us all these four classes of guests .
Imagine as in the refuge field, the three
j ewels, all the deities, buddhas, bodhisat
tvas, and dakinis in the space high above.
After that, visualize all the higher guard
ians and protectors you know; feel their
presence there. Next, we imagine all the
spirits of the eight classes of beings. There
are Iha, or devas; ya is yaksha, a gek spirit
in the class of spirit that makes obstacles;
mamo, a female spirit; du, an evil spirit or
devil; ru, a raksha or demon spirit; tsa or
tsa rupa, a tsen spirit abiding in high red
rocks or mountains and also in trees; sha
or shin je, the lord of death spirit; and na,

66

THE FIRST EXPERIENTIAL TRANSMISSION FROM THE CHAG TRI

naga, or lu, the naga spirits. These are the


eight classes of spirits; these are the third
class of guests. The fourth class is all the
powerless beings in the six realms. They
are mainly in the lower realms, but this
class includes all powerless beings.
These guests fill all the lower space
in front of us. Then suddenly a big hole
opens from our chest. Without warning,
the essence of our mind comes out of that
hole in the form of a sphere of light, like
the spark from a fire. Directly in front of
us, it immediately turns into a wrathful,
light blue deity holding a sword in its right
hand. Imagine our body and mind have
separated. Our mind is a wrathful deity,
and our body is now a corpse. Immediately
the deity cuts the four limbs and makes a
fireplace out of them. He cuts the skull and
puts it on the fireplace. The fireplace and
skull grow bigger and bigger, becoming
enormous. After that he cuts and chops up
the rest of the corpse and puts it all into
the skull. The contents of the body cook
inside the enormous skull and become a
large food offering. Immediately after this,
the wrathful deity becomes numerous,
beautiful offering goddesses. The contents
of the skull are divided into three parts :
the pure part, the liquid part, and the sub
stance part. The pure part becomes many
desirable offering obj ects. The offering
goddesses make the pure offering to the
highest guests, the three j ewels . By the
power of this offering, we purify our nega
tivities, receive blessings, and accumulate
great merit. The liquid part becomes an
ocean of nectars . The offering goddesses
offer it to the guardians, the second class
of guests. We imagine that they are very
satisfied with this offering. So we ask
them to protect our doctrine and teachings.
They actively engage in the protection of

the teachings, the practitioners, all sentient


beings, and the success of their practice.
The substance part becomes many desir
able qualities-whatever the guests wish.
The goddesses offer it to the third and
fourth guests. The third guests are meat
eaters; those who like meat receive meat;
those who like blood, receive blood or
bones, whatever they desire. They are sat
isfied, and we ask them not to harm any
beings. They are completely satisfied and
stop harming other beings. The fourth class
also receives whatever they desire : food,
drink, clothing, shelter, sound. Whatever
they desire, they receive from these offer
ings. They are completely satisfied and
free from misery. By the power of these
offerings we are purified; we receive merit,
blessings, empowerments, and completely
pay all our karmic debts. In this way our
body becomes a wonderful offering to
these guests .
Then you make the aspiration, "By the
power of this offering, may I receive the
empowerment and blessings to experi
ence the natural state of mind so that I
may immediately become enlightened."
Praying, say this and imagine that you
attain this state. At the moment you haven 't
had the instruction on the natural state of
mind. Once you have received this teach
ing, then when you have completed the
offering you would be in the natural state
as long as possible; you should integrate
with the natural state of mind. This comes
at another retreat.
This is the practice of offering one 's
own body as a ganapuj a. This is the eighth
stage. There is a one page prayer I can read
for you. I will translate this prayer as I read
the prayer:
"I offer my body as a ganapuja to all
the objects, the four guests . Please accept

MORNING SESSION - NOVEMBER 23, 2003

it. I place the four limbs as a fireplace, and


put the skull on it. Inside I put the flesh,
bones, blood, heat, breath, skin, fat, teeth,
hair, the winds, channels, every part of
the body, the sense organs, inner organs,
and everything. All this I put inside this
skull to increase it, and divide it into three
sections : the pure, the liquid, and the sub
stance parts. In this way I give this impure,
material body to you as an offering. Please
bestow on me all your excellent experi
ence, realization, and blessings in this
very moment. Having purified or paid all
my karmic debts by making this offering,
may all the beings who harm me and all
sentient beings be tamed by the supreme
state of enlightenment. By the power of
the blessings received through this non
conceptual offering, I dedicate the merit
so that all sentient beings may be liberated
from the bonds of self-grasping."
Your imagination can follow the prayer,
and that is enough. This is the ngondro
chod or the offering of the body practice.
Are there any questions about this?
Q: What if you offer everything, but
someone thinks you still owe them some
thing? It is in their mind that you owe them
something.
KTY: We offer ourselves. We do the
best we can, but it doesn 't mean that every
thing is immediately purified. By doing
this practice we can gradually help the
situation; it can purify our mind. The issue
isn't what the subj ect thinks we owe; it is
a matter of our own mind. We have to train
our mind to be as pure as possible. We fall
into samsara because of our own mind; no
one pushes us in. There are no other beings
involved. It is our own self-grasping ego.
As a manifestation of our ego we have the
five mental poisons. They cause us to take

67

many different actions again and again.


This is how we circulate in samsara. The
idea is to remove ourselves from involve
ment with the mental poisons and ego. We
are trying to rid ourselves of self-grasping.
By doing this practice, the body is offered;
the mind transforms into offering god
desses. What is left? Everything has been
given up. There is no "my self' or "me"
left. Giving the body is not easy. We can
easily give our property and belongings,
but if someone asks for a finger, that is
very hard. It is not easy to give any part of
our body away. If we train to give our body
away, then giving other things becomes
easy. We have to train in generosity this
way. Are there any other questions?
Q: If someone you love has died, and
you think they are in the hungry ghost
realm, can you do this chod practice to help
them move upwards from that realm?
KTY: Oh, yes ! We can do chod prac
tice; we can also do sur chod practice. It is
a burnt food offering. There are four gen
erosities. We do Iha sang chod, or smoke
offering in morning; in the late morning
we do a water offering or chu tor. In the
early evening at 5pm or so, we do the sur
chod offering. The burnt food makes spe
cial smells. In the night, we do the chod
practice. These four practices are called
the four types of generosity. We can do any
of these practices to help our friends, fam
ily members, and all sentient beings. All
of space is full of invisible beings. From
a few feet above the earth up into space
there are billions and billions of cities of
smell eater beings; it is a type of hungry
ghost. When we make a sur offering we
imagine all those beings receive our offer
ing. We do this through a combination
of our meditation and our concentration.

68

THE FIRST EXPERIENTIAL TRANSMISSION FROM THE CHAG TRI

Otherwise there is no way to communi


cate; we cannot send a fax or an email.
This is mind communication.
Q: What are the five aggregates?
KTY: In Tibetan? [Laughter.] The form
aggregate is the body. Then there is the
feeling aggregate, discrimination or per
ception aggregate, composite aggregate,
and then the aggregate of consciousness.
Q : What was the generosity offering in
the morning?
KTY: It is Iha sang, smoke offering. In
the late morning it is water. Whenever we
do these offerings, we think of and visual
ize the four guests. In fact, for any offering
we visualize and think of the four guests.
This is the eighth preliminary. We have
still some time this morning, I think it is
better to finish all nine. Then this after
noon we will have time to talk.
The ninth practice: prayers of
aspiration

By the ninth practice we are at the stage


to make an aspiration prayer to receive
the blessings of the lineage masters. It is
similar to guru yoga, but as I said earlier,
there are different dzogchen cycles and
teachings. For all of them, the meaning of
the aspiration prayer is the same, but the
way of giving instructions is different. You
may have noticed that when doing ngon
dro practice or when receiving ngondro
instruction, that this lama taught this way
and that lama taught that way. Perhaps you
are thinking, "There must be something
wrong?" Many people have this concern.
There is no need to worry; there are many
different ways of teaching. Normally, we
go according to the text, and sometimes
we give additional clarification that may
make it seem l ike the instruction is dif-

ferent. This sol deb is not separate. It is


similar to refuge and guru yoga practice.
Here in this text and in the A tri [A khrid]
text, it is additional and separate. The
author of this text, Dru Gyalwa Yungdrung
said that the sol deb is a very important
practice, especially so for beginners. It
is like one remedy which cures hundreds
of diseases. It is one teaching, one prac
tice that can take the place of many other
practices. If you develop this practice, if
it becomes strong and heartfelt, then all
other practices will develop more deeply
and easily. It is the best way to receive the
blessings of and make the connection to
the lineage masters. Even though milk is
the source of butter, if you don 't churn the
milk, it doesn't become butter. Iron ore is
the source of iron, but if you don 't melt
the ore, you won 't make iron. Devotion
and respect are the source of blessings
and empowerments, but if you don't make
aspiration prayers, then you won' t receive
the blessings .
First, we need to feel strong devotion.
On the basis of this devotion we make a
prayer of aspiration. It is called a sol wa
deb pa; it is a prayer requesting bless
ings from one 's own master. It is asking
and requesting. For what are we request
ing? We are requesting the blessings and
empowerments which cause us to realize
the natural state of mind and to develop
a successful spiritual practice. All this
we request on the basis of devotion; that
means we have trust and belief in the mas
ter, the blessings, and the empowerments.
Because of its importance, the author made
this a separate stage of practice. You will
notice it is very similar to guru yoga. Many
other texts do this as one practice within
guru yoga. Here, at the beginning, we do
the first stage of practice by receiving
the blessings and empowerments through
guru yoga. At that time, we are just try-

69

MORNING SESSION - NOVEMBER 23, 2003

ing to focus and establish concentration


on Tapihritsa and trying to receive his
blessings.
Additionally in this text, we have the
practice to receive the blessings. The name
of the practice is different, but the meaning
is more or less the same. It is the stage of
practice of aspiration prayer in order to
receive blessings. It is said that it is the
best to do this prayer from the heart every
day. This prayer has the deepest meaning;
from this we can get everything. In the A
tri it is very important. The author said
these were not his words; he urges us to
practice it for ourselves and see whether or
not it is true. It is strongly recommended. It
is important for you to focus on this prac
tice as much as possible. If you do, you
will see the signs. You don't need to wait
a long time; the signs will come very fast.
The author said, "Whether I am telling the
truth or lying, you will see very fast. Every
practice should be taken seriously, but take
this practice particularly seriously. " Again
and again he mentions this and suggests
that we do this .
We d o this practice i n the same way as
the refuge practice. We visualize the refuge
tree or if you cannot, visualize Tapihritsa,
the embodiment of the three j ewels. The
text again explains the structure of the ref
uge tree as in refuge practice. I will read
the text:
Visualize in front and above, one 's root
lama as Shenlha O kar in the sambhogaka
ya form on a cushion of the sun, moon, and
lotus. Above dzog ku Shenlha O kar are all
the lineage masters going upward. Outside
of that, imagine all the deities of the exter
nal, internal, and secret yidam and tantric
cycles, the bodhisattvas, the dakinis, all of
this. After imagining all the refuge obj ects
as clearly as possible, then single-mind
edly generate immense, genuine, heartfelt
devotion and respect towards them without

hesitation or doubt. It is important that we


generate genuine devotion and respect;
it cannot be faked. If we try to visualize
something when our mind or body is very
tired, we end up just thinking about it. We
cannot visualize it very clearly; the image
is foggy. That is not what we should do
for this practice. We need to try to make
the visualization as clear and sharp as
possible. Focus strongly; that would be
much better. Because of our devotion and
respect, wisdom light and rays arise from
the deities and refuge obj ects. They dis
solve into the crowns of all sentient beings
including our own crown. Upon dissolv
ing, they turn into streams of nectar which
wash away all the negativities of sentient
beings collected through many lifetimes.
All defilements of all sentient beings are
purified. Then, as in guru yoga, white,
red, and blue lights come from the deities
and dissolve into your crown, throat, and
heart. That light is not just material light;
it is the essence of the knowledge, bless
ings, and compassion of all the refuge
obj ects. Through these lights, we receive
all the siddhis, blessings, and empower
ments of the body, speech, and mind of
the three jewels. We are empowered and
blessed by them. Imagine that we have
received all the knowledge, compassion,
potentiality, experience, and qualities of
the refuge obj ects. We are equally enlight
ened; strongly imagine being in this state
and pray. We can do the same prayer, Chi
tsug dewa the guru yoga prayer, or any
prayer which creates strong devotion. I
would also suggest doing The Invocation
to Tapihritsa. I will give the transmission
on this later. It would be very good to do
the Invocation at the end of each session
of the preliminary practices since we begin
them by visualizing Tapihritsa during guru
yoga.
That is the sol wa deb aspiration prayer

70

THE FIRST EXPERIENTIAL TRANSMISSION FROM THE CHAG TRI

practice. It is very important. The text also


says that if there are some obstacles, strong
devils, or spirits that need to be expelled
from the house, then imagine that when the
three lights come from the body, speech,
and mind of the deities and Shenlha O kar,
the fire and flames come to the spirits. All
the obstacles, spirits, and devils are chased
away. Imagine it that way. If there is some
disease in you or others that needs to be
healed, then imagine a stream of nectar
coming from the deities and Shenlha O kar.
When the nectar reaches the disease, it
washes it out. If there is a need for protec
tion from obstacles, then visualize Shenlha
O kar as a wrathful deity. For long life
practice, visualize Shenlha O kar as a long
life siddha from whom the long life nectar
comes. There are many purposes for this
practice, but first we have to establish a
certain level of stability and focus of our
visualization. Later we can change the
visualization for different purposes. We
can use this practice for really good heal
ing purposes.
Now we have finished the nine stages of
the preliminary practice of Zhang Zhung
Nyen Gyu. It is important to do them on a
regular basis until we get a sign. Until now,
we have been doing them step by step, one
practice at a time. Now at each session we
have to do each of the nine. You have to
leave sufficient time to go through all the
nine practices, especially because we are
not yet very familiar with them. Spend the
time to become familiar with them. Once
you are more familiar with them, it will
be easier and quicker. You can spend less
time. But do them everyday, on a regular
basis. The text says to do all of the prac
tices every day in the early morning. Sit in
a good meditation posture. First do guru
yoga, then impermanence, confession,
bodhicitta, refuge, mandala offering, reci-

tation of mantra, offering one 's own body,


and aspiration prayer. Do each one three,
five, or more times; repeat them again
and again. Don't just visualize once and
then repeat the prayer. The best way to do
ngondro is to start with guru yoga; build
the visualization; concentrate; focus. Then
you will lose the visualization; then build
it again. You will lose it again, then focus
and build it again. Do this at least three or
five times. Then do the full practice and
finish guru yoga. In the same way, do the
impermanence practice; reflect, and finish;
then reflect again, and finish. Do it again,
and each time the visualization becomes
clearer. Do this with each practice three or
five times. After all nine preliminary prac
tices, dedicate the merit by thinking, "I
dedicate all the merit and virtue I receive
to the enlightenment of all sentient beings
and to the purification of all their obscura
tions. " By completely feeling we are giv
ing it to them, it can never be lost.
In the morning, do the ngondro prac
tice this way, in sequence. In midday,
spend more time on prostrations or other
activities like the mandala offering. During
meditation time you can just do the visu
alizations. But when you want to repeat
a practice many times, you don't need to
do the whole nine. You can go directly to
the practice you want to do, for example,
go and start the mandala offering directly.
Make sure to imagine and feel the prac
tice with the intention to benefit all sen
tient beings. If you feel you want to do
more recitation of mantra, you can do that
directly. But everyday you should do a full
set of the nine practices at least once in the
early morning and in the evening. It would
be good to do that successively. Spend a
half hour to an hour each time, depending
on your schedule .
If you wish to recite each practice

MORNING SESSION - NOVEMBER

23, 2003

1 00,000 times, you can do any practice


spontaneously and directly. The text says
while you are doing these practices, keep
your body, speech, and mind in concen
tration. "Keep the boundary"; that means
don't engage in other actions; don't speak
to others; don't engage your mind with
anything but the practice. However, the
text says you don't need to be ashamed to
practice. When you are ashamed to prac
tice in front of others, you are pretending.
You are not taking the practice seriously.
Don't deceive yourself.
We do each practice voluntarily. Nobody
forces us to practice. It is worthwhile to
do the practices seriously and to do them
the right way. From another text, I quote,
"Take this teaching of the Buddha without
any deception, and keep the true words
without forgetting. " This is the final advice
of the author, and what we have to do.
In the morning when you do the nine
sets, you can do each three or five times
continuously. At any other time, during the
day, even in a car, train, or plane, you can
recite mantras or prayers if you want to
recite them 1 00,000 times. While you are
praying, even if you cannot make a clear
visualization, say the mantra or prayer
with feeling; imagine the presence of the
divinities; concentrate on the words you
are saying. While saying the words, think
only of the words in your mind. That is
good enough when you are traveling.
Si gns or result of practi ce

As a result, signs come. If you do these


practices seriously, on a regular basis, if
you concentrate your whole being-body,
speech, and mind-on them without dis
traction, if you are focused and serious as
if you were putting thread into the eye of
a needle, then you will have the following
signs :

71

The signs will either be real, or nyam ,


or come in a dream. A nyam is a vision
which is between being real and being a
dream. The signs will be of the sun rising,
or taking a bath or shower, flying into the
sky, climbing up a mountain, going into a
flower garden, washing your face, sound
ing a strong roar, seeing divinities, eating
tasty and delicious foods. Sometimes we
can have diarrhea that is bloody or has
insects or germs coming out, or we vomit
bad things. We can receive directions from
deities and masters, physically our body
can feel very light, the mind can be clear
and clean with less confusion. All these
things are signs. The best sign is when
these things happen in reality. Second
best is when the sign comes as a nyam, a
vision between reality and a dream. The
least sign is when they come in dreams.
It is not necessary to have all these signs.
Any of them can happen. These are the
signs of your practice. If you have these
signs, it means your practice is going well.
Therefore, practice until you develop trust.
Through these signs you will feel your
practice is going well; you will develop
confidence and trust in your practice. That
is the final sign. Practice until you receive
the signs. That is the final advice. In this
way we finish our teaching of ngondro, the
preliminary practices.
It is important to do the ngondro prac
tices as much as possible. If you persevere,
there is no doubt you will have these signs.
I hope you will do this. Do this every day
on a regular basis. Otherwise, if you wait a
week for a day when you might have more
time, you will forget. If you do this every
day, regardless of how much time you
have, even if you only have half an hour,
you will develop familiarity. Then when
you find more time, a weekend, two days,
or a whole week, then you can get much

72

THE FIRST EXPERIENTIAL TRANSMISSION FROM THE CRAG TRI

better. If you wait, you will forget. The


best way is try to do it every day. Even if
you just remember, if you do not have time
to do it the proper way, at least remember,
memorize, and think. Then when you have
time, you will be ready to do it well. It
doesn 't work very well if you keep wait
ing to find the time. Do it, and it will be
beneficial. Then for the accumulation of
the prayers and mantras, you can do them
whenever you have time, whenever you
feel it. It is important to do the recitation
and mantras . Are there any questions?
Q : When we are traveling on an air
plane and doing the prayers, do we have to
do them out loud?
KTY: No, you can say them quietly.
If you don 't feel comfortable with that,
you can just think. This is good way of
thinking.
Q: I meditate in a chair.
KTY: For meditation posture? There
are specific ones to support your medita
tion, to help you succeed. If the posture
disturbs the meditation, it is not good. Sit
in whatever way makes you feel comfort
able and helps your concentration.

in the posture to have the thumb on the


ring finger?
KTY: The thumb should be pressed
on the ring finger. The ring finger we call
the great point. When spirits enter into
the body, they enter from the ring finger.
Some people are possessed by spirits. If
you are possessed by spirits and you bind
this finger very strongly, they can't go out.
They will speak. When you release it, they
immediately go out. Anyway, we press the
point at the base of each ring finger.
I will read the transmission of the ngon
dro now.
This is the text we just went through.
Now, I am going to read Tapihritsa 's long
prayer. This prayer was composed by
Nangzher Lopo, Tapihritsa's disciple and
the first priest of the Zhang Zhung king.
When he saw Tapihritsa in this form, he
sang this prayer from his devotion. It is
good to recite this prayer at the end of
ngondro each day. I think we have finished
the transmission. We are also out of time.
If there are more questions we will have
more time this afternoon.
[Dedication.]

Q: For the hand mudra, is it preferable

The First Expe riential Transmission


from the chagTri - The Ngondro

November 23, 2003

Afternoon Session

the first days of the teaching. The ten virtu


ous actions are the opposite. For example,
the opposite of taking life is helping anoth
er if they are sick by giving medicine or by
nursing them back to health. Any means
of helping people to be cured from their
sickness is a virtuous action, because sick
ness can take their life. These actions are
called the virtuous actions of healing. They
are the opposite of taking life. Instead of
taking life, we try to give life or preserve
life. Tibetan medicine is part of this virtu
ous action. Traditionally, in early times
people practiced medicine as a part of their
spiritual practice. It was not part of their
profession. Traditionally, the doctors who
gave medicine didn't take money; if some
contribution were made, that was welcome.
But there was no price for medicine or for
a doctor to visit patients. If some patients
contributed, doctors would use it to buy
more medicine. That is the tradition; later
on, being a doctor become more of a pro
fession. Before judging whether or not it
is virtuous action now, we have to check
whether it is part of a spiritual practice or
not. If you take the action of the first vir
tue, helping those that are sick, that is very
good. This is the first virtuous action.
The second non-virtuous action is steal
ing something that is not given to us. The
opposite is called non-attachment. We steal

[Guru yoga, refuge, and bodhicitta


prayers. ]
We have finished the text, so I think if you
have any questions regarding the teach
ings, please ask them now. If there are no
questions, then I will make some general
comments.
Q : I have a question that came while
meditating today. I ' m not sure how to
ask this. I am wondering if there are any
other texts with regard to the purification
process of admitting your misdeeds? You
gave us a set of nine areas of behavior
involving the body, speech, and mind. I
was thinking about all of them in general
but particularly about the body and speech.
If I were trying to teach this to my teenage
son or daughter, I don't feel I have enough
information yet. Where would I find that
information?
KTY: More specific information for
purification?
Q: Specifically, what is virtue and what
is non-virtue?
The ten virtuous acti ons

KTY: In a very general sense, there are the


ten virtuous actions and the ten non-virtu
ous; they are very common. We described
and listed the ten non-virtuous actions in
73

74

THE FIRST EXPERIENTIAL TRANSMISSION FROM THE CHAG TRI

when we desire something. Not stealing is


the second virtuous action.
The third non-virtuous action is sexual
misconduct. The opposite is not doing
these kinds of things; that is virtuous
action.
The fourth non-virtuous action is harsh
words from speech. This kind of speech
is not good; it can hurt people very badly
and produce misery. The opposite is to use
gentle words. People can be in harmony
and be happy by using gentle words. There
is no cost to using gentle speech and a lot
of benefit.
The fifth non-virtuous action and the
second of speech is gossip. This generally
refers to chatting in a meaningless way. In
particular, it refers to speech that is related
with non-virtuous actions like taking a life
or fighting even if we are not fighting, and
talk that is meaningless and without result.
The opposite of this is peaceful speech,
keeping your mind at peace. If you don't
pray, at least keep quiet. If possible, recite
mantras, but if not, instead of talking about
what brings negative emotions then remain
peaceful and keep silent.
The sixth non-virtuous action is telling
lies and untruths. The opposite is telling
the truth.
The seventh non-virtuous action, and
the fourth of speech, is slanderous speech.
You go to two best friends and say, "Oh
this person is saying such and such about
you." Your speech turns one friend against
another. The opposite of this is saying
words that are harmonious. Sometimes
without meaning to, we say things that can
cause confusion socially between friends.
We must try to control this kind of speech
by using words of harmony. These are the
four non-virtuous actions of speech.
Then there are the three non-virtuous
actions of mind. The eighth non-virtuous

action and the first of mind is envy. Its


opposite is divine mind, Iha sem, divine
intention. It is thinking good thoughts for
and about all beings whether you know
them or not and whether you like them or
not. It is thinking and wishing good things
for all beings. Avoid envy.
The ninth non-virtuous action and the
second of mind is badly intended mind.
It is hoping for the destruction of others
on the basis of anger, a form of anger.
We hold onto this anger for a long time,
wanting bad things to happen to others.
The opposite is practicing loving kindness
toward other beings .
The tenth non-virtuous action and the
third of mind is having the wrong view,
lok ta. This can be quite difficult to under
stand, because we usually think our view is
right, but we can be wrong. We are holding
a view that is the opposite of the truth, for
example, believing there are no karmic
causes. All of us naturally have the wrong
view. The ignorance of all beings itself is
the wrong view. Our self-grasping is the
wrong view. There is no independent self,
but people grasp all existence as inher
ently existing. This is basic ignorance. We
naturally have this wrong view. Having
the wrong view can be part of a religion, a
school, or a sect; it can also happen without
being involved in any religious doctrine.
Just having a strong philosophical point of
view, "Oh, this is it ! " can be wrong view.
We intentionally think this; we say and
think this. This is wrong view that is not
caused by basic ignorance; it is caused by
having a strong philosophical viewpoint.
This is co-emergent ignorance. We have
some idea, some philosophy, "Because of
that, this exists ." It doesn 't independently
exist. When we have this kind of idea,
we think of it as our own discovery with
our own intention. This kind of thinking

AFTERNOON SESSION - NOVEMBER

23, 2003

is wrong. It is like saying, "There is no


karmic cause and effect." With our back
ground as practitioners, according to this
tradition and practice, it is wrong view.
The opposite of this is truth. Truth is not
just saying true words, but it refers to the
absolute truth: the reality of existence, the
truth of karmic cause and effect, and the
truth of non-inherent existence.
These are the ten virtuous and ten non
virtuous actions in general. Specifically,
there are many more. The main thing is
that any action coming from the negative
emotions or five poisons leads to non-vir
tuous actions . If we think this way, then we
will slowly develop virtue.
Q: Speaking of wrong view, I have a
question and confession about the chod
practice. As I am becoming more familiar
with the practice, these feelings of aver
sion arise to the images : barbaric, grue
some, and bloody. I assume the aversion
that I am feeling is about attachment to the
body. Do you have advice on how to deal
with those feelings of aversion?
KTY: Dislike about what?
Q : The image of chopping the body, of
human sacrifice. Does that resolve as you
practice?
KTY: For this we have to understand
the background of chod practice. If you
don ' t understand, if you don 't have the
basic practices, if you suddenly hear about
cutting up a body, then it sounds quite
strange. The first thing to understand is
that cutting the body shows that it is mate
rial; it is composed of flesh, bones, and
blood. Just visualizing blood is a different
way of thinking. When our face is normal
and healthy, everyone likes it and wants
to keep it that way. But if our face is cut
up, if we ' ve had an accident and our face
is bloody and bruised, we immediately

75

feel, "Oh, this is so gruesome ! " It is the


same with our body. When our body is
wrapped in smooth skin, it is nice. When
the skin is off, we don't like this flesh, and
we feel uncomfortable about it. Liking and
disliking are j ust the reactions of our own
mind of appearance. Our body is the same
whether we are in our skin or not.
The second thing to understand and
realize is that this material body is just the
manifestation of our own mind. It does not
inherently exist. It is a manifestation of
our impure mind; it is a vision of impure
mind. This vision is caused by ignorance.
Because we are ignorant with a dualistic
mind, we make judgments about what is
good or bad. They all arise as the vision of
impure mind. The chod practice helps us
cut the ego of self-grasping and allows our
impure mind to dissolve, to become pure.
We take this body, this polluted, low qual
ity, material body, and make it an offering.
We don't offer it as it is, rather we visual
ize it and divide it into the pure part, the
liquid part, and the substance part. The
pure part is nice and a pleasurable offering
to the higher guests. The liquid part is like
nectar which we offer to the guardians.
The substance part is normal flesh; this is
what the spirits and other beings like so we
give it to them. We offer it without attach
ment. We do not offer blood to the higher
guests. Doing it this way, there is not so
much wrong. Is it okay?
Q : I ' ll keep practicing.
KTY: We have to think about this at
a high level. Our body is not only this
vision; our body itself is full of divinities,
lights, and nectars . That is why there is the
possibility to dissolve this body into light.
Right now we perceive it with our vision,
which is completely polluted by ignorance,
negative emotions, and thoughts . When we
have greater realization, we will see our

76

THE FIRST EXPERIENTIAL TRANSMISSION FROM THE CHAG TRI

bodies as pure; we will see all sentient


beings as divine, as Kuntu Zangpo.
Q: I ' d like to ask a question about
counting in practice. I do the visualization
once, but do the one hundred syllable man
tra 1 08 times; how do I count that?
KTY: First, try to generate the visualiza
tions with the divinities. Focus and spend
time on this; do not recite at this time. In
the beginning you can't do the visualiza
tion and the mantra together. Then after
some time, you can recite the mantra. If
you lose the visualization, just feel the
presence of the deities and keep recit
ing the mantra that way. Gradually you
can do both together without losing the
visualization.
Q: I did 1 08 mantras; I am working
toward 1 00,000 recitations of the mantra.
Do I need to generate the visualizations
1 00,000 times too?
KTY: No, no, no. Do not do it that
way. Generate the visualization and keep
it, hold it as long as possible while you
are counting the mantras . If you lose the
visualization, just feel the presence of the
deities and keep reciting the mantras.
Q : I want to do 1 00,000 mandala offer
ings. Does that mean I do 1 00,000 visual
izations or 1 00,000 mantras?
KTY: Mantras. Try to do the visualiza
tions, even if you cannot do them well.
Don 't think, "Oh, I can't recite if I cannot
do the visualization." Just keep reciting the
mantras, and little by little this will help
your visualization. Your visualization will
follow after the words .
N ow I will answer these written
questions :

forced to come back to samsara if he or she


does not wish to return?
KTY: Forget about relics. After a great
practitioner dies, there can be relics from
their bodies; these are a sign of their prac
tice. Even during their lifetimes, great
masters can have relics on their teeth and
different parts of their bodies. We don' t
always trust having relics; i t is not nec
essary to be a great practitioner to have
a relic. Some people have special signs
even if they are not great practitioners.
Sometimes there is confusion. If someone
is a great practitioner, and if he has a relic,
then it is definitely a good sign. But it
doesn't always mean that he will not rein
carnate. It doesn 't mean that. Not being
reincarnated in samsara depends on a high
degree of realization to stop the grasping
of ego, the main cause of suffering in sam
sara. Having a relic can even happen to the
lower practitioner. It doesn't necessarily
have to happen to one who can control his
rebirth.
Q : A great many of my misdeeds are
misdeeds of failure to take good action,
avoiding conflict. The teaching speaks to
healing these wrong actions. Can you give
some guidance on confessing them and
releasing these misdeeds?
KTY: Practice. Our practice is for the
purpose of releasing misdeeds; our whole
practice is for this. If you want to specifi
cally purify something, then you have to
do confession practice for that purpose.
Among the nine stages, there is confession
practice and the purification mantra. Then
we can purify and release it. I think the
questions are finished now, and we have
finished the ngondro .
T he three excellences

Q : After cremation, if there is a relic,


does that mean that the person is not

Normally when we do any kind of prac


tice, there are the three excellences, the

AFTERNOON SESSION - NOVEMBER

77

23, 2003

three supreme, superior things. The first is


supreme bodhicitta, generating a supreme
enlightened mind as a preliminary practice.
With any kind of practice we do, even if it
is reciting a single mantra, we recite with
the intention to attain enlightenment to
guide all other beings. This is the first step.
The second step is that when doing the
actual practice, we have to be aware of the
natural state. For those of you who haven't
received the teachings on the natural state,
you can do this in the future. This is the
most important and is the main practice of
dzogchen. We integrate with this state. In
conclusion, for the third step, we always
do the excellence of dedication. It is very
important to dedicate the merit for the ben
efit of all other sentient beings . Then all
our actions are multiplied and increased. It
is the seal of our practice; ngo wai je tap,
the seal of practice. Thereby everything is
sealed and can't be lost. Keep these three
excellences in mind and practice in this
way.

As the teaching says, practice on a


regular basis. Don't wait until spare or
leisure time appears. The purpose of all
the things we have nowadays like comput
ers and cell phones has been to make it an
easier, faster world, to have more time so
we can be more relaxed. But the opposite
has been the result. In earlier times we
were more relaxed. Waiting will not make
more time. We have to combine practice
in our daily life; whatever time we get we
use. Yongdzin Rinpoche always advises
us in that way. I would also suggest that
you practice in that way. Don't wait for
the weekend or a holiday. When you have
weekends and holidays to practice that is
good, but it is not a good idea to wait. It
was a nice time here at Serenity Ridge, and
I am happy I could share something with
you. Thank you for listening to me, for
your patience. The weather has been very
nice, and that is all .
[Students offer kata, and dedication] .

Appendix

79

THE TEN VIRTUOUS ACTIONS

- De

wa

chu (dge ba bchu)

Body

Abandoning the act of killing - Sog cho pong ba (srog gcod spong ba)
Abandoning the act of stealing - Ma j yin par len pa pong ba (ma byin par !en pa
spong ba)
Abandoning the act of indulging in sexual misconduct - Lok yem pong ba (log gyem
spong ba)
Speech

Abandoning the act of telling a lie - Dzun pong ba (dzun spong ba)
Abandoning the act of slandering - Dra ma pong ba (phya ma spong ba)
Abandoning the act of using harsh words - Tsig tsub pong ba (tshig rtsub spong ba)
Abandoning the act of indulging in idle gossip - Ngag khyal pong ba (ngag 'khyal
spong ba)
Mind

Abandoning the act of being covetous - Rab sem pong ba (brnab sems spong ba)
Abandoning the act of harming others - No sem pong ba (gnod sems spong ba)
Abandoning upholding wrong views or philosophies - Lok ta pong ba (log !ta spong ba)

Reflection on the freedom to p ractice the dharma or eight leisu res

The eight states that lack that opportunity


Born as a hell being,
Born in the preta (hungry ghost) realm.
Born as an animal.
Born a barbarian.
Born as a long-lived god.
Born having wrong views.
Born in a period devoid of buddhas.
Born deaf and mute.

The ten endowments

The five endowments found within oneself, (the five individual advantages)
To be born a human being.
To be born in a central country.
To be born with all one 's faculties.
To be engaged in a proper vocation (without a conflicting lifestyle)
To have faith in the dharma.
The five endowments resting with others (the five circumstantial advantages)
A buddha has appeared.
The buddha has taught the dharma.
The teachings still exist.
And they are practiced.
There are those who are kindhearted towards others.

THE TEN BASIC PRECEPTS

There are ten basic precepts: three of body, four of speech, and three of mind. They
involve not only what to avoid, but what virtues to cultivate.
The three p recepts of body:

One should not kill; rather one should protect the lives of beings.
One should not steal or take what is not freely given, rather one s hould practice
generosity.
One should not commit sexual misconduct or cause others to break their vows. One
should keep one's vows and respect the vows of others.
The four precepts of speec h :

One should not lie; rather one should speak the truth.
One should not divide others or sow discord; rather one should speak in a way to
reconcile or bring people together.
One should not speak harshly; rather one should speak gently and kindly.
One should not engage in gossip or idle chatter; rather one should speak in a useful way
or say prayers.
The three p recepts of min d :

One should not covet the possessions or accomplishments of others; rather one should
learn to be generous.
One should not wish harm to others or bear resentment; rather one should cultivate the
desire to help others.
One should not hold wrong views (such as thinking one's actions will have no result) ;
rather one should practice the dharma, establishing yourself in a true and authentic
view.