The Spirit of Tibet

The Spirit of Tibet - A Journey to Enlightenment The Life and World of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. A film by the French monk and internationally renowned photographer Matthieu Ricard, author of the book 'The Monk and the Philosopher'. The film is about his Tibetan teacher, H.H. Kyabjé Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. He was the Dzogchen teacher of the Dalai Lama and the teacher of many of the present generation of Tibetan teachers; both literally and figuratively a giant. Matthieu Ricard has always served as his secretary, and is also the official translator of HH the Dalai Lama. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche visited the Western world several times and has many Western students. Those who have met him, acknowledge him as a fully realized person. The film contains rare and authentic footage from the fifties and the sixties of Buddhist dances and rituals.

DIRECTED BY: Matthieu Ricard
EDITING: Jane Morrison
SOUND EDITING: Alan Berkins, Pinewood Studios
NARRATOR: Richard Gere
PRODUCTION: Vivian Kurz, Gabriella Martinelli
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche
PRODUCED BY: Shechen Inc. / Martinelli PRODUCTIONs Inc.
LENGHTH: 47 min.

Click here to watch all 5 parts

Compassion Without Limit

Part 1 of Dzogchen Pönlop Rinpoche's Teaching on Compassion Without Limit:
The Courageous Heart and Lojong Practice at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado
(April 11, 2003)

All Parts

The Inquiry of Aryanairatma Mahayana Sutra

In Sanskrit: Aryanairātmaparipriccha-nāmamahayāna-sūtra
In Tibetan: ‘Phags pa bdag med pa dris pa shes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
In English: The Inquiry of Aryanairātma Mahāyāna Sūtra

Homage to all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

Then, with folded palms, saying "May all those with a referential view possessing concepts and discerning non-Buddhists enter Mahāyāna", Nairātma [Selfless] finished making his request.

[The Buddha]:
"Child of a good family, the omniscient say ‘A self does not exist in the body.’"

[Nairātma asked:]
"If a true self does not exist in the body, how do love, laughter, crying, playing, anger, pride, jealousy, calumny, etc., all arise from it? Does a true self exist or not exist in the body? Your reasoning shall remove our doubts."

[The Buddha replies]:
The Mahāyānists say: "Friends, it is not to be said that a true self exists or does not exist in the body. If it really exists, saying ‘it does not exist’ would be speaking incorrectly. If it is exists, where? If one investigates inside and outside of the whole body a true self does not appear in the hair, nails, skin, the head, the flesh, bone, marrow, fat, entrails, liver, hands, feet, limbs, the heart, etc.’"

The non-Buddhists say: "It is seen with someone who possesses a divine eye. But how can the true self be seen with our fleshy eye?"

The Mahāyānists say: "It also cannot be seen with the divine eye. How can that which has no color, no form and no shape be seen anywhere?"

The non-Buddhists say: "Does it not exist as all?"

The Mahāyanists say: "If one says ‘it does not exist’, saying "it exists’ would be speaking incorrectly. If it does not exist, how will the directly perceived love, laughter, crying, playing, anger, pride, jealousy, calumny, etc., all arise? Therefore, saying ‘it does not exist’ is not appropriate. Do not say whether it exists or does not exist. Because this is fault, do not say it exists or does not exist."

The non-Buddhists say: "Nevertheless, something is here to be perceived."

The Mahāyanists: "There is nothing at all to be perceived."

The non-Buddhists: "How is it empty, like space?"

The Mahāyanists: "Friends, it is like that. It is empty like space."

The non-Buddhists: "If that is so how, can love, laughter, crying, playing, anger, pride, jealousy, calumny, etc., be seen?"

The Mahāyanists: "It is similar with an illusion, a dream or a optical illusion."

The non-Buddhists: "How is like an illusion, and how is it like a dream or an optical illusion?"

The Mahāyanists: "Illusion is merely a symbol, a dream is merely one’s personal vision, nothing to which to adhere, empty by nature, an essence which does not exist. An optical illusion is necessarily only an artifice. Friends, those are like that. However many things there may be, understand them to resemble illusions, dreams and optical illusions.

Furthermore, to demonstrate the relative and ultimate, that called the ‘relative’; this is the self, this is "other", life force, one who is born, person, creator, a feeler, possessions, children, spouse, friends, kin, etc.; those concepts are all relative. Where ever there is no self, no other, no life force, no one who is born, no person, no creator, no feeler, no wealth, no children, no spouse, no friends, no kin, etc., that is called "ultimate".

When all things are fully investigated by their nature, the result of virtue and non-virtue, arising and ceasing is relative. No result of virtue and non-virtue, no-arising and no ceasing is the essence of suchness; that is without universal afflictions and purification. Such is the practice of the phenomena of the middle way."

For that are these verses:

The relative and ultimate
are correctly explained in two categories.
The relative are mundane phenomena.
The ultimate surpass the mundane.

Sentient beings entering into
the relative fall under the power of affliction;
revolving in samsara for a long time
because the ultimate is completely misunderstood.

The unwise create concepts about
relative mundane phenomena;
that conceptuality
becomes the experience of suffering.

Just as naïve ordinary people
do not understand the path of liberation,
will actually experience
much ceaseless suffering.

Since the pure ultimate which will stop
becoming anywhere is not understood,
there will be arising and ceasing,
the non arising will come and go.

Fools living in the world,
revolve again and again
here in samsara, the abode of suffering,
spinning like a wheel.

Just like the sun and moon
come and go again
likewise when one migrates to a new existence,
one comes and goes again.

All of samsara is impermanent,
unstable, momentary and perishable;
therefore, give up dwelling in relative truth by
understanding the ultimate.

The heavens in the higher realms,
the gandharvas and titans too,
all are migrations,
all too are relative results.

Siddhas, vidyādharas, yakshas
gandharvas, nāgās
again can go to the hells;
all too are relative results.

Someone of intense efforts
can fall from the higher realms,
a place that is a heaven and a source of qualities;
everything too is relative result.

Someone who has obtained that sublime abode
of that Cakravartin, Indra,
can again be born as an animal;
everything too is relative result.

Therefore, give up all the excellent truths
of the gods of the higher realms;
awakening is the luminous clarity
upon which yogins always meditate.

The characteristic of a bodhisattva
is not a thing, imperceptible,
everything is empty and non-abiding,
truly free from all proliferation.

The characteristic of a bodhisattva
isn’t rough, isn’t smooth,
isn’twarm, isn’t cold,
that cannot not be touched and cannot be held.

The characteristic of a bodhisattva
is not long, is not short,
is not round, is not triangular,
is not subtle, also is not coarse.

The characteristic of a bodhisattva
is beyond objects of meditation,
is not within the experiential range of non-Buddhists,
the practice of the perfection of wisdom.

The characteristic of a bodhisattva
is without example, is not a meditation,
cannot be seen, is the supreme object,
utterly pure by nature.

Everything is like foam,
a water bubble, without essence,
is impermanent, without self,
equivalent with an illusion, or an optical illusion,

Gathering up like a sphere,
totally filled with proliferation,
likewise, desire and anger, etc.,
are only equivalent with illusions.

Just as the inside of a bindu
cannot be seen in that instant,
if the perfection of wisdom is seen,
likewise, the mind is unconditioned.

This laughter, love,
speaking, singing, music,
the ground, etc.,
is always equivalent with a dream.

Whatever is constructed by all beings,
this is equivalent with dreams;
dreams are concepts of the mind;
the mind also like space.

Someone who always meditates in this way
[is meditating] in the way of the perfection of wisdom;
someone who always meditates in this way,
having become liberated from all things,
will obtain the supreme stage.

Whatever is supreme awakening,
is meditated by all the Buddhas,
if this is grasped with meditation,
one will obtain the result of Mahāyāna.

The Inquiry of Aryanairātma Mahāyāna Sūtra is complete.

Translated into Tibetan and edited by the Indian abbot, Kamalagupta and Translator of Shuchen, bhikshu Rinchen Zangpo.

This English translations was prepared by the upāsaka Kunga Namdrol.

© Kunga Namdrol 2003

The View of Dzogchen

1. Dzogchen as the Highest Teaching

Within the Bonpo tradition, there are nine successive ways (theg-pa rim dgu) to enlightenment and Dzogchen is the highest of these. But it is not enough to call Dzogchen the highest; we must know and understand the reasons why it is the highest. If we understand the reasons precisely, then no one will be able to destroy our devotion to the Dzogchen teachings. The source of the Dzogchen teachings is the Dharmakaya Samantabhadra or Kuntu Zangpo (kun tu bzang-po), and Dzogchen has had an uninterrupted and continuous lineage from the Dharmakaya down until the present time. For example, we can find this lineage in the Zhang-zhung Nyan-gyud.

When we come to Dzogchen, there are two methods of practicing the teachings: (1) We do the preliminary practices, and then going to a master, we are introduced to the Natural State (rig-pa ngo-sprod) by him, and then we go on to practice in isolation in the wilderness for years until we attain some realization. (2) But at Menri monastery in Tibet we had an educational system where students thoroughly studied Sutra, Tantra, and Dzogchen. However, this also meant that there was little time for practice. It was mostly a matter of intellectual study, and at the end of their course of studies, having passed the oral examinations, they received a Geshe degree.

For what reasons is Dzogchen the highest view? In all of the nine successive ways or vehicles we search for the Natural State (gnas-lugs). But this depends on the capacity of the individual. Each of these nine successive ways has a different view. In general, the method of the Sutra is the path of renunciation (spong lam), the method of the Tantra is the path of transformation (sgyur lam), and the method of Dzogchen is the path of self-liberation (grol lam). So we say that Dzogchen is the final or ultimate way. Self-liberation (rang grol) is the definitive view of Thegchod (khregs-chod).

The text we have here is entitled the Theg-pa'i rim-pa mngon du bshad-pa'i mdo rgyud, "The clear explanation of the Sutra and the Tantra in the Nine Ways" (p. 393). This text is from the collection of Central Treasures or U-Ter (dbu-gter), so-called because they were found at Samye monastery and at other places in Central Tibet. It deals with the view of Dzogchen, contrasting it with the views found in Madhyamaka, Yogachara, and Tantra.

If we depend on intellectual speculation alone, however, we shall be very far away from the Dzogchen view. It is not a matter of thinking "Maybe Dzogchen is like this or like that." That is something artificial; it is not direct experience. What is required at first is a direct introduction to the Natural State (rig-pa ngo-sprod). This Natural State is the view of Thegchod. The introduction is very simple: we just look back at ourselves. Everyone of us has the possibility of realizing it for ourselves. It is not very far, but it must be pointed out to us. So it is not a matter of collecting different teachings. If so, it only becomes more remote. No, it is a matter of direct personal experience. The watcher and what is watched both dissolve at the same time and we just leave them as they are. We just continue in the Natural State; that is the view of Thegchod.

But a direct introduction is necessary because, even though it is near at hand, due to our obscurations, we do not recognize it. We get this direct introduction from a master who has had his own personal experience of the Natural State. He knows what it is and can point it out to us. This makes for clarity and understanding and dispels disturbances. The Dzogchen teachings were transmitted from the Dharmakaya Samantabhadra down to the master Tapihritsa, who, in the eighth century transmitted them to his disciple Gyerpung Nangzher Lodpo (Gyer-spungs sNang-bzher lod-po) in the country of Zhang-zhung and the latter wrote them down. These teachings have been transmitted from then until the present day in a continuous lineage. For this reason, in the tradition of the Zhang-zhung Nyan-gyud, "the oral transmission (snyan-rgyud) from the country of Zhang-zhung", Tapihritsa is the principal figure in the Guru Yoga practice. From him as the Nirmanakaya Guru, all blessings, all the powers of knowledge and inspiration (byin-rlabs), come to us. He attained the enlightenment of a Buddha through the practice of Dzogchen and realized the Rainbow Body of Light ('ja'-lus-pa). Then at a later time he appeared in the guise of a small child and bestowed the Dzogchen precepts upon the master Gyerpungpa.

2. The Base

In the Dzogchen teachings, the Base (gzhi) is the state of total primordial purity (ka-dag chen-po). This state of primordial purity may, in some respects, resemble unconsciousness, but it is not at all unconsciousness as such because it is characterized by the presence of Awareness (rig-pa). It is often compared to the sky, but this is only an example, because the sky is not aware. But just as the sky is not changed by the presence of the clouds in it, so in Base there is no change or addition in response to whatever we think or do. There is nothing new to be added to it, nor is it in need of any correction or modification (ma bcos-pa). It is naturally pure and never otherwise-- that is its quality. The Natural State has never been defiled nor modified by the events of Samsara. It is like the mirror which is in no way changed or modified by whatever it reflects.

Nonetheless, in this Base, which is the Natural State, manifestations spontaneously appear, just as clouds appear in the sky or reflections appear in the mirror. This is its quality of spontaneous manifestation (lhun-grub), and these manifestations represent the creative potentiality (rtsal) of the Natural State. All things, all that we think and perceive as individual sentient beings, are manifestations of the energy (rtsal) of the Natural State. In the end they return again to the Natural State. There is nothing in Samsara or Nirvana that goes beyond the Natural State. It is the primordial Base (ye gzhi) of both Samsara and Nirvana. Everything that appears exists as spontaneous self-perfection (lhun-grub) and yet it is empty. The emptiness side (stong-cha) of everything is called primordial purity (ka-dag) and the clarity side (gsal-cha) is called spontaneous perfection (lhun-grub). And although we differentiate between these two aspects when speaking, in reality they are inseparable (dbyer-med). So there is nothing special here. Everything is present in the Base. The quality of the Natural State is the inseparability of clarity and emptiness (gsal stong dbyer-med). If this is not our view, than that view is not Dzogchen.

But when we are actually practicing the Natural State, we do not analyze and examine matters in this way intellectually. We leave everything in the state of being just as it is (ji-bzhin-pa). If we think or examine or judge, we disturb and loose our contemplation; we fall out of the Natural State and enter into the workings of the mind. In the Natural State, everything is fine just as it is; we do not have to think about it or evaluate it.

In Dzogchen, we speak of three series of teachings: the Semde or Mind Series, the Longde or the Space Series, and the Mangagde or Secret Instruction Series. The Longde emphasizes the emptiness side (stong-cha), whereas the Semde emphasizes the clarity or awareness side (gsal-cha, rig-cha). The Mangagde or Upadesha emphasizes the inseparability (dbyer-med) of these two sides. If we go along only with Shunyata on the emptiness side, that is not Dzogchen. Semde and Longde are mainly just names referring to a matter of emphasis. The ultimate point in both is Yermed (dbyer-med) or inseparability; otherwise they would not be Dzogchen. Their difference is only a matter of how they bring the practitioner to the understanding of Yermed. The Dzogchen Upadesha begins immediately with Yermed. It assumes that we already understand Yermed. at least to some degree. It is Yermed that is most important, and without it, there is no basis for Dzogchen.

3. Commitment

If this is all clear to the practitioner, then there is a commitment (dam-tshig). Although there are no vows and rules to be found in Dzogchen as there are found in Sutra and Tantra, nevertheless, there is a commitment to the view of Dzogchen, if we would be practitioners of Dzogchen. This Damtsik or commitment is four fold:

1. singularity (gcig-po),
2. spontaneous perfection (lhun-grub),
3. via negativa (med-pa), and
4. abiding naturally in purity (rang-bzhin gnas dag).

The Tibetan word gcig-po means "single, singular, unique, singularity, uniqueness". The Dzogchen view is singular and unique because we do not fall on to the one side or on to the other, but remain always with Yermed. In the view of Dzogchen, all appearances are spontaneously perfected (lhun-grub). The word med-pa means negation: "it is not". But in the context here, we are not thinking that something does not exist. The Dzogchen Semde text entitled the Nam-mkha' 'phrul mdzod clearly explains this negative way of speaking: no refuge, no compassion, and so on. This via negativa has reference only to the Natural State. It means that in the Natural State, there is nothing but the Natural State. On the side of manifestation, everything exists, including all practices and virtues, but on the side of the Natural State, nothing exists independently because all things, including refuge, compassion, the ten Paramitas, and so on, are already there, present in their full potentiality, and so there is nothing to realize. Everything is already there. If we grasp at anything, then that is not Dzogchen; we have gone beyond the Dzogchen view and fallen into a lesser view. And so we speak in a negative way (med-pa). Abiding naturally in purity means we continue in Yermed.

4. The Dzogchen View

If we grasp at something or try to do something, we loose the Natural State and deviate from the view of Dzogchen. To leave everything just as it is without trying to correct or modify anything is the view of Dzogchen. The Natural State has no partiality or divisions. In it, there is nothing to affirm or negate. This is what it means to be without accepting or rejecting anything (spang blang med-pa). But if we think, "I must be in a state of Yermed", then this is grasping at a concept and it represents a wrong view. Thoughts and concepts are not the Natural State. This awareness (rig-pa) is self-aware (rang-rig); it is not divided into subject and object. So if we try to do anything in terms of thinking and judging, we bifabricate it into two parts and we are no longer in the Natural State.

The Lower Ways speak of the Two Truths, but in Dzogchen, we do not do that, but speak of a single source or Base (gzhi). Thus Dzogchen is also known as Thiglay Nyagchik (thig-le nyag-gcig), the Unique Essence. In the Tibetan language, the word dzogpa (rdzogs-pa) means two things: (1) something is completed, finished, exhausted; and (2) everything is full, perfect, and complete. The Sambhogakaya is called Dzogku (rdzogs-sku) in Tibetan because it is effulgent, complete, and perfect. It is the actual form or visible manifestation (sku) of perfection (rdzogs-pa). But this does not mean that it is finished or ended. In the Dzogchen view, everything is perfect because it is Lhundrub (lhun-grub).

Everything exists in potential in the Natural State. But things manifest according to secondary causes. In the Dzogchen view, this also applies to the ten Paramitas and other virtues. The entire accumulations of merit and wisdom are already present in the Natural State. There is nothing more to be added or developed. So if we practice in just one single way by remaining in Rigpa, all virtues will manifest in their entirety because they are already fully contained in the Natural State. Everything is encompassed by the Natural State; there is no external or internal in relationship to it. Yet each Natural State (in each sentient being) is individual, and has the same quality and level. The Natural States in an enlightened Buddha and in an ignorant insect are the same. One is not bigger and the other smaller. The differences between an enlightened being and an ignorant being is in terms of the Path and the Fruit, but in both cases the Base is the same. And the Base is the Natural State. But the Natural State is individual with each sentient being. We are not all "One Mind". Otherwise, if the was only one single Natural State [or One Mind], then when the Buddha attained enlightenment, all sentient beings would have become enlightened. But that is not our experience. However, the eight Lower Ways or vehicles (yanas) contradict this Dzogchen view. The text we have here deals with four contradictions or objections brought against Dzogchen and refutes them in turn.

5. First Contradiction - Chittamatra

According to the Chittamatra (sems-tsam-pa) view, everything that exists is connected with mind. It is created by the mind. That is the real view of Chittamatra, the philosophy of the Yogachara school. When we see the blue color of the sky, this means that the eye consciousness, which is the subject doing the apprehending, and the blue color, which is the object apprehended, are inseparable. This is because they arise from the same karmic cause. This is true of all perceptions of appearances, and so we can say that everything is connected with mind, even though they are not made out of some sort of mind-stuff. Nothing exists which does not have this connection with consciousness. It cannot exist independently. The Chittamatra view of the Yogachara school asserts that everything depends on mind (sems) and that there is nothing beyond mind. Thus the Chittamatrin asks: So how can you Dzogchenpas do any better than this? That is to say, how can you go beyond thoughts to a state beyond mind? It is not possible that there is anything beyond mind.

Dzogchen is always talking about "mind" (sems), so some people think that Dzogchen has the same view as Chittamatra. But "mind" (sems) has a different meaning in the context of Dzogchen where it means, not mind (sems), in the sense of the thought process, or in the sense of consciousness (rnam-shes), but "mind" in the sense of the Nature of Mind (sems-nyid). In Dzogchen, Sem (sems) means Semnyid (sems-nyid), and it is not part of the system of eight consciousnesses (tshogs brgyad). This Nature of Mind is characterized by awareness (rig-pa); it is inseparable with the Base. But this Base is unknown to Chittamatra, which knows nothing beyond the Kunzhi Namshe (kun-gzhi rnam-shes) that is the receptacle for karmic traces (bag-chags). When Dzogchen speaks about the Kunzhi, the basis of everything in both Samsara and Nirvana, this has a very different meaning than the Kunzhi Namshe in Chittamatra where it is only the basis for the karmic traces.

Dzogchen falls outside of their view. To the objection raised by the Chittamatrin, the Dzogchenpa replies: You say that everything is solid and exists independently. But we do not recognize this. We do not recognize all these phenomena as real nor the thoughts that know them as real. According to Chittamatra, whatever we see or experience is inherently existing (rang-bzhin), but Dzogchen does not claim that the Natural State exists inherently. So our view goes beyond yours.

6. Second Contradiction - Madhyamaka

The second contradiction represents the Madhyamaka criticism of Dzogchen. Both Chittamatra and Madhyamaka recognize the Two Truths, the Relative Truth which are appearances and the Absolute Truth which is Shunyata. Madhyamaka asserts that everything is related to these Two Truths and that there is nothing beyond them. Subject and object have no independent existence; they exist only as names created by thoughts. Nothing has any independent existence. Shunyata is the final or ultimate reality and there is nothing beyond this. So the followers of Madhyamaka ask: How can you Dzogchenpas do better than this? Your Dzogchen is not even Buddhism!
To this, the Dzogchenpa replies: We do not recognize the subject/ object dichotomy and the Two Truths. Our view is inseparability (dbyer-med) without any partiality. There is only one Truth which we call Thiglay Nyagchik (thig-le nyag-gcig), the Unique Essence. So our view is beyond your view of the Two Truths. Dzogchen is beyond your Madhyamaka view, but this does not mean that Dzogchen is not the Buddha's teaching-- it simply means that it is beyond your definition of the Two Truths.

Je Tsongkhapa, in his commentary to the Madhyamakavatara of Chandrakirti and in his Lam-rim chen-mo, criticizes Dzogchen for not asserting the Two Truths. Dzogchen claims that the final view pertains to only a single nature, a state beyond cause and effect. It does not say that karmic causes and consequences are ultimate. If there are two truths, then we must have two minds in order to know them. Tsongkhapa does speak of two kinds of cognition: (1) a discriminating intelligence (the subject side) that understands Shunyata (the object side) (stong-nyid rtogs-pa'i shes-rab) and (2) and a discursive intellect that knows names and concepts. Both of these represent "wisdom" or "intelligence" (shes-rab), but here we have two minds, not one. According to Dzogchen there is only one cognition, the Thiglay Nyagchik, and not two minds.

Again, the Madhyamaka practitioner objects: If Dzogchen does not have the Two Truths, then it does not recognize the ten Paramitas. Then how can you Dzogchenpas do any practice? And if you do not do any practice, how can you accumulate any virtues? And if you do not have the two accumulations of merit and wisdom, how can you attain Buddhahood? The sources of the two accumulations are the Two Truths and the result of the two accumulations are the realizing of the Two Bodies, the Dharmakaya and the Rupakaya. So you cannot realize Buddhahood unless you have these Two Truths. They are required as causes for the Dharmakaya and the Rupakaya. Without such a cause, you cannot realize Buddhahood.

The Dzogchenpa replies: Dzogchen agrees that without a cause we cannot realize Buddhahood. But if we are given a piece of gold, we do not have to search for its qualities-- they are inherent in it from the very beginning. Dzogchen never says that we should not practice the ten Paramitas; it only asserts that the Natural State already contains the ten Paramitas and, when we realize the Natural State, they will manifest spontaneously. So we do not need to practice them separately, one after the other. The ten Paramitas are spontaneously present within the Natural State. Thus Dzogchen only explains the Thiglay Nyagchik (thig-le nyag-gcig) or Natural State, and that is sufficient. If we practice the Natural State, we will realize the Dharmakaya and the Rupakaya because all things are present already in the Natural State, and when the secondary causes arise, they will manifest spontaneously. If we practice the one Natural State, everything is present there already, and so that is enough.

According to the Sutra system in general, if we do not recognize the Two Truths, then there exists no cause for the realization of the Two Bodies. The Gelugpas, in particular, rely upon the exposition of Chandrakirti in his Madhyamakavatara (dbu-ma la 'jug-pa). They take his Prasangika view as being the highest view and assert that there can be nothing beyond that. They follow Tsongkhapa in this. According to Madhyamaka, the Buddha-nature is the conventional meaning, whereas Shunyata is the ultimate meaning. In his Tshig don mdzod, the great Dzogchen master Longchenpa maintains that the Buddha actually taught Dzogchen in the Prajnaparamita texts. There he interpreted Prajnaparamita as Dzogchen, in contrast to the interpretation of Chandrakirti. Once we discover our real nature [=the Natural State], we do not need to search for anything else. Everything is present there already and will manifest spontaneously. But in Dzogchen, we do need secondary causes for the manifestation of the Trikaya. [Contrast this with the view of the Jonangpas.] So Dzogchen can justly claim that its view is the higher.

7. Third Contradiction - The Lower Tantra

Along with Chittamatra and Madhyamaka, the Tantras recognize the Two Truths. But here the emphasis and the method is different. According to the Kriya Tantra, the practice involves two kind of beings, the Knowledge Being (ye-shes sems-dpa') and the Symbolic Being (dam-tshig sems-dpa'). The Symbolic Being is the visualization of the deity in the sky in front of us; it is created by our mind, and then the Knowledge Being is the blessing and energy invoked into it from a higher source. Then the two of them are united into one and that unification is called the Action Being (las kyi sems-dpa'). In Kriya Tantra, this Knowledge Being is like a king and the Symbolic Being is like a servant. The king gives siddhis and blessings to the servant. Thereby it becomes much more powerful and wise, so that this power can overflow into practitioner.

The Kriya Tantra practitioner asserts: We visualize that the entire universe has become a celestial palace and that all beings become the deities in this palace. How can you do better than this point of view? We invoke the wisdoms of the deity, and uniting the Symbolic Being and the Knowledge Being, we receive siddhis from this Action Being. How can you Dzogchenpas explain something better than this? There is no better view or practice!

To this the Dzogchenpa replies: You do not actually understand the real nature of things. You are unable to go beyond visualization (dmigs-med). You create one being with your mind and invoke the wisdoms as another being, and then try to mix them together. But you cannot make them into one. You do not know Nyamnyid (mnyam-nyid, the state of identity), and so you make one the lord and the other the servant. You are like a child. You do not know real unification, and so our view is beyond yours. Our view is spacious and unlimited; our conduct has no negative rules, and so our view is the higher. The "highest" view means getting near to the real nature. And we do not use thoughts to do that. You cannot practice the Two Truths simultaneously, but only consecutively. You must alternate one with the other. But in Dzogchen, we have gone beyond that.

8. Fourth Contradiction - The Higher Tantra

In the Bonpo system, there are four kinds of Tantra. The two Lower Tantras are the Kriya Tantra (bya-ba'i rgyud) and Charya Tantra (spyod-pa'i rgyud). The two Higher Tantras are called Yeshen gyi Gyud (ye-gshen gyi rgyud) and Yeshen chenpo Gyud (ye-gshen chen-po'i rgyud). The distinction here is somewhat similar to the distinction between Mahayoga Tantra and Anuyoga Tantra in the Nyingmapa system, and the distinction between Father Tantra and Mother Tantra in the Sarmapa system.

The practitioner of the Higher Tantras asserts that we know both awareness (rig-pa) and contemplation or equipoise (mnyam-bzhag, samadhi). All the deities spontaneously exist; this is the view of Yeshen gyi Gyud. Therefore, the Knowledge Being and the Symbolic Being are like brothers, and what we unify here is bliss (bde-ba) and emptiness (=bde stong zung-'jug). All the deities and the universe itself are visualized as arising from the dimension of space (dbyings =Shunyata). Everything is connected with Shunyata and is a manifestation arising out of Shunyata. We meditate on these visualizations and discover that everything arises from this cycle of Dimension and Primordial Awareness (dbyings dang ye-shes). So there can be no better view than this!

To this the Dzogchenpa replies: You Tantrikas are still grasping ('dzin-pa) at knowing Shunyata as an object. But our Dzogchen view is beyond all grasping at anything. We do not create anything whatsoever with the mind, such as visualizations of deities and mandalas. We do not come to any conclusions nor create anything, but we go directly to the Natural State. Therefore, our Dzogchen view is the higher. You Tantrikas are always playing like children, that is, playing with discursive thoughts. You are always trying to create or to dissolve something. And this mind-created cycle is never finished. But Dzogchen is not bounded by thoughts. All of the lower vehicles are bounded by this sickness (or obsession with) discursive thoughts, but the Natural State is primordially beyond all thoughts and actions. In the Higher Tantras, you assert that all the deities are reflections or manifestations (rtsal) of the state of emptiness and that they are not created by thoughts. You say that Dzogrim represents reality! They are not just mind-made visualizations, as is the case with Kyerim practice. Everything exists spontaneously. Yet you have to visualize deities and mandalas. You are perpetually creating things with the mind, and so you are always limited by thoughts. You are tied up with thoughts. This is not at all compatible with Dzogchen. Dzogchen is primordially liberated from all thoughts and deliberate actions. In it, there is nothing artificial or contrived. Therefore, it represents the highest view.

These replies clearly indicate why Dzogchen is the deepest and highest (zab rgyas) view. We should know these reasons why Dzogchen represents the highest view; otherwise the assertion means nothing. For the practice of Dzogchen, it is necessary to understand the Natural State, but it is not necessary to create anything intellectually or experientially in order to find ourselves in the Natural State.

9. Inseparability

Inseparability (dbyer-med) is what is emphasized in Dzogchen. This term Yermed does not mean bringing two different things together and making them one. That is unification or coalescence (zung-'jug). Inseparability means that they have never been separate. We may speak about them being separate qualities or aspects, but in reality they have never been otherwise than perfectly unified, like water and wetness, or fire and heat. Dzogchen asserts that primordial purity (=shunyata) and spontaneous manifestation have been inseparable from the very beginning (ye-nas ka-dag lhun-grub dbyer-med), and never otherwise. So as practitioners of the view of Dzogchen, we do not fall on the one side or on the other. The emphasis may be different in the three series of Dzogchen teachings. The Longde emphasizes the emptiness side (stong-cha) and the Semde emphasizes the clarity or awareness side (gsal-cha), but even here, what is basic and fundamental is to realize their unify or inseparability (dbyer-med).

Dzogchen Upadesha or Mangagde at the very outset stresses Yermed; it begins with inseparability and it does not first need to go through emptiness or clarity to get at it. The real nature of Dzogchen is beyond expression in words; we can only discover it within ourselves. For this, the experiences of the calm state (gnas-pa), the movement of thoughts ('gyu-ba), and immediate awareness (rig-pa) can be used as a direct introduction to the Natural State. However, if we just play around with discursive thoughts, like children playing with toys, we will fall away from the Natural State. So philosophies and intellectual speculations are no enough on their own to discover Reality.

Taught by Lopon Tenzin Namdak,
Devon and Amsterdam, Spring 1991,
Compiled and edited by Vajranatha.

Bahiya Sutta

Thus have I heard. At one time the Lord was staying near Savatthi in the Jeta Wood at Anathapindika's monastery. At that time Bahiya of the Bark-cloth was living by the seashore at Supparaka. He was respected, revered, honored, venerated, and given homage, and was one who obtained the requisites of robes, almsfood, lodging, and medicines.

Now while he was in seclusion, this reflection arose in the mind of Bahiya of the Bark-cloth: "Am I one of those in the world who are arahats or who have entered the path to arahatship?"

Then a devata who was a former blood-relation of Bahiya of the Bark-cloth understood that reflection in his mind. Being compassionate and wishing to benefit him, he approached Bahiya and said: "You, Bahiya, are neither an arahant nor have you entered the path to arahatship. You do not follow that practice whereby you could be an arahant or enter the path to arahatship."

"Then, in the world including the devas, who are arahats or have entered the path to arahatship?"

"There is, Bahiya, in a far country a town called Savatthi. There the Lord now lives who is the Arahant, the Fully Enlightened One. That Lord, Bahiya, is indeed an arahant and he teaches Dhamma for the realization of arahatship."

Then Bahiya of the Bark-cloth, profoundly stirred by the words of that devata, then and there departed from Supparaka. Stopping only for one night everywhere (along the way), he went to Savatthi where the Lord was staying in the Jeta Wood at Anathapindika's monastery. At that time a number of bhikkhus were walking up and down in the open air. Then Bahiya of the Bark-cloth approached those bhikkhus and said: "Where, revered sirs, is the Lord now living, the Arahant, the Fully Enlightened One? We wish to see that Lord who is the Arahant, the Fully Enlightened One."

"The Lord, Bahiya, has gone for almsfood among the houses."

Then Bahiya hurriedly left the Jeta Wood. Entering Savatthi, he saw the Lord walking for almsfood in Savatthi — pleasing, lovely to see, with calmed senses and tranquil mind, attained to perfect poise and calm, controlled, a perfected one, watchful with restrained senses. On seeing the Lord he approached, fell down with his head at the Lord's feet, and said: "Teach me Dhamma, Lord; teach me Dhamma, Sugata, so that it will be for my good and happiness for a long time."

Upon being spoken to thus, the Lord said to Bahiya of the Bark-cloth: "It is an unsuitable time, Bahiya, we have entered among the houses for almsfood."

A second time Bahiya said to the Lord: "It is difficult to know for certain, revered sir, how long the Lord will live or how long I will live. Teach me Dhamma, Lord; teach me Dhamma, Sugata, so that it will be for my good and happiness for a long time." A second time the Lord said to Bahiya: "It is an unsuitable time, Bahiya, we have entered among the houses for almsfood."

A third time Bahiya said to the Lord: "It is difficult to know for certain... Teach me Dhamma, Sugata, so that it will be for my good and happiness for a long time."

"Herein, Bahiya, you should train yourself thus: 'In the seen will be merely what is seen; in the heard will be merely what is heard; in the sensed will be merely what is sensed; in the cognized will be merely what is cognized.' In this way you should train yourself, Bahiya.

"When, Bahiya, for you in the seen is merely what is seen... in the cognized is merely what is cognized, then, Bahiya, you will not be 'with that.' When, Bahiya, you are not 'with that,' then, Bahiya, you will not be 'in that.' When, Bahiya, you are not 'in that,' then, Bahiya, you will be neither here nor beyond nor in between the two. Just this is the end of suffering."

Now through this brief Dhamma teaching of the Lord the mind of Bahiya of the Bark-cloth was immediately freed from the taints without grasping. Then the Lord, having instructed Bahiya with this brief instruction, went away.

Not long after the Lord's departure a cow with a young calf attacked Bahiya of the Bark-cloth and killed him. When the Lord, having walked for almsfood in Savatthi, was returning from the alms round with a number of bhikkhus, on departing from the town he saw that Bahiya of the Bark-cloth had died.

Seeing this he said to the bhikkhus: "Bhikkhus, take Bahiya's body, put it on a litter, carry it away and burn it, and make a stupa for it. Your companion in the holy life has died."

"Very well, revered sir," those bhikkhus replied to the Lord.

Taking Bahiya's body, they put it upon a litter, carried it away and burnt it, and made a stupa for it. Then they went to the Lord, prostrated themselves, and sat down to one side. Sitting there those bhikkhus said to the Lord: "Bahiya's body has been burnt revered sir, and a stupa has been made for it. What is his destiny, what is his future birth?"

"Bhikkhus, Bahiya of the Bark-cloth was a wise man. He practiced according to Dhamma and did not trouble me by disputing about Dhamma. Bhikkhus, Bahiya of the Bark-cloth has attained final Nibbana."

Then, on realizing its significance, the Lord uttered on that occasion this inspired utterance:

Where neither water nor yet earth
Nor fire nor air gain a foothold,
There gleam no stars, no sun sheds light,
There shines no moon, yet there no darkness reigns.

When a sage, a brahman, has come to know this
For himself through his own wisdom,
Then he is freed from form and formless.
Freed from pleasure and from pain.
This inspired utterance was spoken by the Lord also, so I did hear.

Udana 1.10 (translated by John D. Ireland)

Dzogchen in everyday life

The everyday practice of dzogchen is simply to develop a complete carefree acceptance, an openness to all situations without limit. We should realize openness as the playground of our emotions and relate to people without artificiality, manipulation or strategy.

We should experience everything totally, never withdrawing into ourselves as a marmot hides in its hole. This practice releases tremendous energy which is usually constricted by the process of maintaining fixed reference points. Referentiality is the process by which we retreat from the direct experience of everyday life.

Being present in the moment may initially trigger fear. But by welcoming the sensation of fear with complete openness, we cut through the barriers created by habitual emotional patterns.

When we engage in the practice of discovering space, we should develop the feeling of opening ourselves out completely to the entire universe. We should open ourselves with absolute simplicity and nakedness of mind. This is the powerful and ordinary practice of dropping the mask of self-protection.

We shouldn’t make a division in our meditation between perception and field of perception. We shouldn’t become like a cat watching a mouse. We should realize that the purpose of meditation is not to go “deeply into ourselves” or withdraw from the world. Practice should be free and non-conceptual, unconstrained by introspection and concentration.

Vast unoriginated self-luminous wisdom space is the ground of being - the beginning and the end of confusion. The presence of awareness in the primordeal state has no bias toward enlightenment or non-enlightenment. This ground of being which is known as pure or original mind is the source from which all phenomena arise. It is known as the great mother, as the womb of potentiality in which all things arise and dissolve in natural self-perfectedness and absolute spontaneity. All aspects of phenomena are completely clear and lucid. The whole universe is open and unobstructed - everything is mutually interpenetrating.

Seeing all things as naked, clear and free from obscurations, there is nothing to attain or realize. The nature of phenomena appears naturally and is naturally present in time-transcending awareness. Everything is naturally perfect just as it is. All phenomena appear in their uniqueness as part of the continually changing pattern. These patterns are vibrant with meaning and significance at every moment; yet there is no significance to attach to such meanings beyond the moment in which they present themselves.

This is the dance of the five elememts in which matter is a symbol of energy and energy a symbol of emptiness. We are a symbol of our own enlightenment. With no effort or practice whatsoever, liberation or enlightenment is already here.

The everyday practice of dzogchen is just everyday life itself. Since the undeveloped state does not exist, there is no need to behave in any special way or attempt to attain anything above and beyond what you actually are. There should be no feeling of striving to reach some “amazing goal” or “advanced state.”

To strive for such a state is a neurosis which only conditions us and serves to obstruct the free flow of Mind. We should also avoid thinking of ourselves as worthless persons - we are naturally free and unconditioned. We are intrinsically enlightened and lack nothing.

When engaging in meditation practice, we should feel it to be as natural as eating, breathing and defecating. It should not become a specialized or formal event, bloated with seriousness and solemnity. We should realize that meditation transcends effort, practice, aims, goals and the duality of liberation and non-liberation. Meditation is always ideal; there is no need to correct anything. Since everything that arises is simply the play of mind as such, there is no unsatisfactory meditation and no need to judge thoughts as good or bad.

Therefore we should simply sit. Simply stay in your own place, in your own condition just as it is. Forgetting self-conscious feelings, we do not have to think “I am meditating.” Our practice should be without effort, without strain, without attempts to control or force and without trying to become “peaceful.”

If we find that we are disturbing ourselves in any of these ways, we stop meditating and simply rest or relax for a while. Then we resume our meditation. If we have “interesting experiences” either during or after meditation, we should avoid making anything special of them. To spend time thinking about experiences is simply a distraction and an attempt to become unnatural. These experiences are simply signs of practice and should be regarded as transient events. We should not attempt to reexperience them because to do so only serves to distort the natural spontaneity of mind. All phenomena are completely new and fresh, absolutely unique and entirely free from all concepts of past, present and future. They are experienced in timelessness.

The continual stream of new discovery, revelation and inspiration which arises at every moment is the manifestation of our clarity. We should learn to see everyday life as mandala - the luminous fringes of experience which radiate spontaneously from the empty nature of our being. The aspects of our mandala are the day-to-day objects of our life experience moving in the dance or play of the universe. By this symbolism the inner teacher reveals the profound and ultimate significance of being. Therefore we should be natural and spontaneous, accepting and learning from everything. This enables us to see the ironic and amusing side of events that usually irritate us.

In meditation we can see through the illusion of past, present and future - our experience becomes the continuity of nowness. The past is only an unreliable memory held in the present. The future is only a projection of our present conceptions. The present itself vanishes as soon as we try to grasp it. So why bother with attempting to establish an illusion of solid ground?

We should free ourselves from our past memories and preconceptions of meditation. Each moment of meditation is completely unique and full of potentiality. In such moments, we will be incapable of judging our meditation in terms of past experience, dry theory or hollow rhetoric.

Simply plunging directly into meditation in the moment now, with our whole being, free from hesitation, boredom or excitement, is enlightenment.

By Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

The 1000 Arms of Guan Yin

Pema Chöphel in Züsch

Khen Rinpoche Pema Chöphel visiting the new Palyul center in Züsch, Germany. He will give teachings on Medicine Buddha and a Long-Life Empowerment from December 16 - 18.

The program will start on Dec. 16th at 10:00 am an end on Dec. 18th at approx. 05:00 pm. The fee for the whole program is 60€ and 25€ per day.

Place: Am Mühlenberg 1, 54422 Züsch, DE

Contact: M. Martin, Tel: 06341-897972

Soy is making kids 'gay'

....sometimes these Christians really make me wonder.... Recently I came across this amusing article written by a guy named Jim Rutz - a quite proper name 'cause what he writes is what we call Rotz in german....

There's a slow poison out there that's severely damaging our children and threatening to tear apart our culture. The ironic part is, it's a "health food," one of our most popular.

Now, I'm a health-food guy, a fanatic who seldom allows anything into his kitchen unless it's organic. I state my bias here just so you'll know I'm not anti-health food.

The dangerous food I'm speaking of is soy. Soybean products are feminizing, and they're all over the place. You can hardly escape them anymore.

read full article

Teachings by Loppön Jigme Rinpoche

Here are some teachings by Loppön Jigme Thutop Namgyal Rinpoche entitled 'The Sound of Compassion'. These teachings are part of a series of twelve talks given by Rinpoche in spring of 2006 in San Anselmo, California, with the title 'The Wheel of Skillful Means and Wisdom'. I'm not sure if they're going to put all of these teachings online, but for now one can download two of these talks in MP3 format from Loppön Jigme Rinpoche's Blog.

The Sound of Compassion Part 1/2
The Sound of Compassion Part 2/2

Loppön Jigme Thutop Namgyal Rinpoche was born to Lama Sherab Dorje Rinpoche (of Repkong Monastery in Amdo, Tibet and the main disciple of His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche), and to Pema Lhatso, (a T’hröma practitioner from Pema Kö, Tibet), on the 10th day of the first Tibetan month of the year of the Wood Snake in Orissa, India.

Rinpoche studied Tibetan philosophy, history, grammar, poetry, calligraphy and Sanskrit at the Tibetan Institute of Varanasi, India, where he received a BA in Tibetan philosophy. He completed one year of MA before he left to do retreat in Helambu. In 1992, Rinpoche was appointed to the position of Dorje Loppön for His Holiness Chatral Rinpoche. He received the entire Tersar tradition from His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche, and from His Holiness Dilgo Khentse Rinpoche he received the entire Kama tradition, empowerment, oral transmission and teachings. From His Holiness Chatral Rinpoche, his own root guru, Rinpoche received the entire Longchen Nyingthig Tradition.

Rinpoche currently lives with his wife, Chris Iverson, in Marin County in the San Francisco bay area. They have four children, one girl and three boys.

Chokling Jigme Palden Rinpoche in Switzerland

Chokling Jigme Palden Rinpoche
Dzogchen Teachings & Vajra Kilaya Empowerment

November 3 - 5 2006
in Switzerland

Chokling Jigme Palden Rinpoche was born in Kham, in Tibet, in a famous family of tantric practitioners. He spent many years in retreat, in Tibet as well as in Nepal, and he was a very close disciple of His Holiness the 16th Karmapa and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

Chokling Jigme Palden Rinpoche himself was recognized by Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoché and Adzom Drukpa Rinpoche as the incarnation of Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa (1829-1879), who was one of greatest the tertöns (or discoverer of spiritual treasures) of his time.

From November 3, Chokling Jigme Palden Rinpoche, will give invaluable teachings on Dzogchen meditation, which aims at recognizing the true nature of the mind. Moreover, Rinpoche will give an Wang (or initiation) of Vajra Kilaya.


Friday, November 3
Teaching of Dzogchen
Center Semnyid Ngalso Ling (Lausanne)

Saturday, November 4
Initiation of Vajra Kilaya and
teaching of Dzogchen

Center Orgyen Ling (Geneva)

Sunday, November 5
Teaching of Dzogchen
Center Thegchok Ling (Poker)

more information:

Thegchok Ling (in France)

Thegchok Ling (English translation)

Drubwang Konchog Norbu Rinpoche in Germany

H.H. Drubwang Konchog Norbu Rinpoche
Great Mani Blessing

Decemer 11 - 15 2006
Medelon, Germany

Drubwang Konchok Norbu Rinpoche was born in Drikung, Tibet in 1921. He entered Drikung Nyima Changra Buddhist Institute at a very young age, and studied Buddhist philosophy. After his graduation, Drubwang Konchok Norbu Rinpoche became the disciple of one of the foremost contemporary retreat masters of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage. The retreat masters's name was Drubwang Pachung Rinpoche (1901-1988). Under the guidance of Drubwang Pachung Rinpoche, Drubwang Konchok Norbu went on many years of retreat.

After the so-called Chinese Cultural Revolution, Drubwang Pachung Rinpoche sent Drubwang Konchok Norbu Rinpoche, once again, back to solitary retreat. This time for ten long years without a break. It was during this period that Drubwang Konchok Norbu Rinpoche gained the supreme experiential understanding of Mahamudra. Many times he saw His Holiness the Dalai Lama in his visions.

Drubwang Konchok Norbu Rinpoche currently lives in the Drikung Kagyu Institute in northern India. He is 79 years old. Some years ago, Drubwang Rinpoche forewarned that he would leave this world for the benefit of all sentient beings. It was because of H.H. Dalai Lama's request that Drubwang Rinpoche agreed to stay on for a few more years. In September, 1999, His Holiness the Dalai Lama wrote a long life prayer for Drubwang Konchok Norbu Rinpoche at the request of the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, the Supreme Co-Head of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. Drubwang Konchok Norbu Rinpoche does not give tantric empowerments or lofty teachings on Mahamudra, or on Mahasandhi. He encourages and inspires people to do the simplest of all dharma practices: extend kindness, and recite:
Om Ma Ni Pad Me Hung, and Om Ah Hung Vajra Guru Padma Siddhi Hung

more information:

Program Flyer (PDF)

Drikung Ngaden Chöling

John Reynolds in Regensburg

...hab's leider erst ziemlich spät mitgekriegt, dass John Reynolds ganz in meiner Nähe einen Vortrag und ein Wochenendseminar hält - doch für all die, die in der Gegend sind und grad nichts besseres zu tun haben ;-)

Dakinis: Das weibliche Prinzip im tibetischen Buddhismus
27. – 29. Oktober 2006

Freitag, 27.10.
Abendvortrag, Beginn 19.00 Uhr bis ca. 21.00 Uhr, 15 Euro

Samstag, 28.10. und Sonntag, 29.10.
Wochenendseminar, jeweils von 10.00 bis 13.00 Uhr und
von 15.00 bis 18.00 Uhr, je 40 Euro
Ort: Tanzstudio Krippner, Obermünsterstr. 9, 93047 Regensburg

Die „Dakini oder Khandroma (wörtlich: „die, die sich durch den Raum bewegt oder „die, die durch den Himmel geht“) ist eine Manifestation von Energie in weiblicher Form. Es gibt weltliche Dakinis, die menschliche Wesen sind (beispielsweise spirituelle Lehrerinnen oder andere weibliche Verwirklichte mit besonderen psychischen Kräften). Es gibt aber auch nichtmenschliche Dakinis wie beispielsweise Göttinnen und Naturgeister.

Weisheitsdakinis schließlich sind jenseits oder außerhalb von Samsara und stellen Manifestationen erleuchteten Gewahrseins in weiblicher Form dar. Hierunter fallen weibliche Buddhas wie Tara, weibliche Bodhisattvas wie Lakshmi und Saraswati oder auch weibliche Schützer wie Ekajati und Paldän Lhamo. Im tantrischen Buddhismus Tibets verkörpert die Dakini den Weisheitsaspekt eines vollkommenen erleuchteten Buddhas, weshalb sie als Gefährtin aller Buddhas bezeichnet wird. Allgemeiner gesagt repräsentiert die Dakini das weibliche Prinzip, das sich außerhalb der Kontrolle der patriarchalischen Gesellschaft und des männlichen Ego-Bewusstseins befindet. Aus diesem Grunde kann die Dakini als verlockend und bezaubernd aber auch als zornvoll und erschreckend dargestellt werden.

Dieser Kurs wird einen Überblick über das Prinzip der Dakini in den Höheren Tantras des tibetischen Buddhismus geben und in die rituelle und meditative Praxis die mit dem Dakini Yoga verbunden sind einführen. Wir werden insbesondere die Meditation und Praxis von Kurukulla (der Dakini der Verführung und Verzauberung, die alle Wesen unter ihre Kontrolle bringt die schwer zu unterwerfen sind) aber der zornvollen löwenköpfigen Dakini Simhamukha (die alle Hindernisse, Negativitäten und bösen Geister unterwirft und bezwingt) kennen lernen. Zu diesem Zweck werden wir uns auf die tiefgründigen Ausführungen von Jamgön Kongtrul und Jamyang Khyenste zu diesen beiden Weisheitsdakinis stützen.

All about Chörtens....

Benalmadena Stupa, Malaga, Spain

What Are Stupas?

“Stupas (Tib. Chörten) began in pre-Buddhist India as hemispherical burial grounds that marked the remains of temporal rulers. At an early stage in the development of Buddhist art, they became symbols of the Buddha’s continuing immanence as well as representations of his Mind....” Robert Thurman/Denise Leidy “Mandala, The Architecture of Enlightenment”.

Because every element of a Buddha’s physical body is pervaded with the pure energy of Enlightened Mind, the teacher’s remains after cremation are considered sacred. One sign that a teacher is an Enlightened manifestation is that relics will be found in the ashes that resemble small, round pearls which can be white, red, or brown. These are often the relics that are put inside stupas being built today.

8 Great Deeds

Since Shakyamuni Buddha’s passing, the stupas that have been built are representations of his form and memorials of his 8 Great Deeds. The structures are constructed according to guidelines found in Buddhist scripture that he left for us. Many stupas today are built on these representations.



The stupa has long been a potent Buddhist symbol, a pure manifestation of enlightenment. Constructed in accord with universal principles and empowered with the knowledge conveyed through the Buddhist lineages, stupas promote harmony and balance in the world. Magnified many times over by the relics sealed within, their ability to defuse the forces of chaos and negativity can ease the ills of body and mind, heighten awareness, and avert natural disasters. For those attuned to their significance, stupas can transmit the power of enlightenment.

Consecrated by the blessings of the enlightened lineages, the stupa transforms offerings into merit that opens the spiritual path and awakens the aspiration for realization. Providing no place for the ego to take hold, the stupa is a pure receptacle for devotion and prayer directed to peace and harmony among living beings. It promotes order in nature and in the wider cosmos, protecting from disasters and healing the disquiets of the human heart. Within its range of blessings suffering dissolves, and compassion begins to emerge. From compassion arises Bodhicitta, the heart of enlightenment.

The Swayambhupurana describes the arising of the primeval cosmic stupa and its appearance throughout the aeons in Buddhafield after Buddhafield, from the time of the Buddha Vipashyin to the time of the Buddha Shakyamuni. Although the Swayambhu of our time is located in Nepal, the text clearly refers to the stupa as Dharmadhatu, beyond all concepts of time and space. Emphasizing the stupa’s primeval nature, it locates the site of the stupa’s arising in the three times (past, present, and future), during which it bears four names: the Mountain of Lotuses; Mount Goshringa, the Bull-Horn Mountain (a place associated also with Khotan); the Vajra Range and the Bull’s Tail.

The Dharmadhatu, which literally means field of Dharma, is cosmic in scope; having no beginning or end, it encompasses all pure enlightened qualities. Transcending all modes of dualistic thought, Dharmadhatu accommodates the appearance of all Buddhas, who manifest out of compassion to demonstrate the way to enlightenment. The Dharmadhatu has no substance or form; ineffable and unchanging, it shines through the forms of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, embodiments of enlightenment. As the Swayambhu-purana relates, in aeons past the pure Dharmadhatu arose from a thousand-petalled lotus, and out of compassion for living beings, became visible in the form of a stupa.

Circumambulating Stupas

The sutras explain the benefits of circumambulating stupas, maintaining them, and beautifying them with offerings of gold, flowers, incense, and devotion. In so doing, one honors the precious seed of enlightenment inherent in self and others and enriches the soil in which it can grow.

Buddhists circumambulate Stupas clockwise (except for Vajrayogini practitioners), while Bönpos circumambulate them counterclockwise (which has to do with the emphasis of the female energie, rather than the male energy).

The verses that follow are a translation of the Caitya-pradaksina-gatha, preserved in the Kagyur, the section of the Tibetan Canon devoted to the direct teachings of the Buddha.


Homage to the Three Jewels

After the Buddha, the One of Great Wisdom, had turned the Dharma Wheel in the world, the wise one Sariputra humbly asked, “What are the results that come from circumambulating a stupa? May the Guide of the supreme universe of this great kalpa please advise me.”

The perfect Buddha, supreme among two-legged beings, the Enlightened One, granted this reply: “I will indicate a few of the qualities gained from circumambulating stupas.”

“When you circumambulate a stupa you will be honored by gods, nagas, yaksas, gandharvas, and asuras, by garudas, kinnaras, and mahoragas.

“Once you gain the leisure, so vary rare, and circumambulate a stupa for even a very short time, the eight adverse states will be no more.

“Circumambulating a stupa will have this result: mindfulness and clear perception; a radiant appearance and intelligence; and you will be honored everywhere.

“Circumambulating a stupa will have this result: a very long life – a lifetime more like that of a god – in which you will obtain great renown.

“Circumambulating a stupa will have this result: rebirth in Jambuling in a family of worthy line and virtuous mind.

“Circumambulating a stupa will have this result: You will be pure as the snow; you will be good, radiant, and wise, and you will lead a happy life.

“Circumambulating a stupa will have this result: wealth of every kind; freedom from greed; generosity and joy in giving.

“Circumambulating a stupa will have this result: You will be a true delight, beautiful to behold, radiant, a joy to see, and endowed with vast enjoyment of life.

“Circumambulating a stupa will have this result: You will see the whole process of perception as empty, and, bewilderment about the Dharma ended, you will quickly obtain the state of bliss.

“Circumambulating a stupa will have this result: You will be reborn in an imperial line of kings with a circle of female attendants, and you will have great strength and perseverance.

“Circumambulating a stupa will have this result: You will be reborn in the great Brahma’s lofty realm, where you will possess self-discipline, profound understanding, and knowledge of healing rituals.

“Circumambulating a stupa will have this result: You will be reborn in Grihapatis’ lofty realm, provided with all sorts of riches and a wealth of grain and jewels.

“Circumambulating a stupa will have this result: You will be reborn as a lord of Jambuling, with a domain extending to the ends of the earth, and you will be a Dharma king.

“Circumambulating a stupa will have this result: You will be reborn as a cakravartin king, possessing the seven more precious supports for a king; accordingly, you will turn the Dharma wheel.

“Circumambulating a stupa will have this result: After death you will pass to the higher realms; rejoicing in the Buddha’s doctrine, you will be a yogin and a miracle-worker.

“Circumambulating a stupa will have this result: You will pass from the realm of the gods to be reborn in the human realm, and will enter the womb with clear intent.

“Circumambulating a stupa will have this result: You will never be harmed by the contaminants that come from the conditions of the womb – you will be like the purest of gems.

“Circumambulating a stupa will have this result: You will dwell happily in the womb, you will be born easily, and joyfully you will drink at the breast.

“Circumambulating a stupa will have this result: You will have a father who will ensure you the finest care by many attendants and a nursemaid who is always attentive.

“Circumambulating a stupa will have this result: Your relatives will adore you, loving you even more than your parents do. And as you grow, your pleasure will steadily increase.

“Circumambulating a stupa will have this result: Flesh-eaters and other demonic beings will not harm you, and you will live a life of flawless enjoyment.

“Circumambulating a stupa will have this result: For one hundred dalpas your body will be perfect; you will never be crippled or blind.

“Circumambulating a stupa will have this result: Your eyes will become totally pure: oblong, sapphire-hued, and beautiful like the eyes of the gods.

“Circumambulating a stupa will have this result: Both body and mind will be well-balanced, your determination unswerving, and your shoulders broad and dependable.

“Circumambulating a stupa will have this result: Your body will be powerful and perfectly shaped, with wondrous characteristics.

“Circumambulating a stupa will have this result: You will become Indra, Lord of the Thirty-three – the one with miraculous abilities, the great Lord of Gods.

“Circumambulating a stupa will have this result: You will become the king of the gods of the heaven called Yama or Tusita or of the heaven Nirmanarati or Parinirmita-vasavartin.

“Circumambulating a stupa will have this result: You will gain the power of Brahma himself in the world of Brahma, and you will be worshiped by many tens of millions of gods.

“Circumambulating a stupa will have this result: For one thousand times ten million kalpas – and one hundred times one hundred billion more – you will be endowed with wisdom and always honored.

“Circumambulating a stupa will have this result: For one thousand times ten million kalpas your body will be pure and your attire pristine as you practice the immaculate Dharma.

“Circumambulating a stupa will have this result: You will gain strength and perfect vitality, and setting laziness aside, you will obtain the supreme accomplishments.

“Circumambulating a stupa will have this result: You will become steadfast and dynamic; through immense ability, unstoppable, quickly achieving the highest aims.

“Circumambulating a stupa will have this result: You will obtain a melodious voice with a pleasing pitch and dulcet tone. You will never be harmed and you will be free from disease.

“Circumambulating a stupa will have this result: You will quickly reach the stage of Enlightened Teacher such as I myself, and you will obtain rebirth as a great sage.

“Circumambulating a stupa will have this result: You will soon obtain th four foundations of mindfulness, the Four Immeasurables of Mind and the powers of the Bases of Miraculous Ability.

“Circumambulating a stupa will have this result: You will achieve the Four Noble Truths, the powers and the strengths, and the fruit of the limbs of enlightenment.

“Circumambulating a stupa will have this result: You will obtain the six superknowledges, unstained, having cast off all th emotional fetters, and you will become a wonder-working Arhat.

“Circumambulating a stupa will have this result: Having cast off desire and hatred and having given up all your attendants, you will gain the enlightenment of a Pratyekabuddha.

“Circumambulating a stupa will have this result: You will be ornamented with the marks of the Tathagatas manifest in the world, and you will obtain a body of golden hue.

“Circumambulation is a physical act; circumambulation is an act of speech as well; circumambulation is an act of the mind; circumambulation instills the aspiration for enlightenment. By circumambulation, you achieve your sims in all the stages of bliss so hard to traverse.

“What then are the benefits of circumambulating the stupa of the Lord of the World? Although words are far too limited to express them well, out of mercy for sentient beings, and as requested by Sariputra, the Lord of the World will indicate the benefits of honoring the stupa.

“The value of one hundred horses, one hundred measures of gold, one hundred chariots drawn by mules, one hundred chariots drawn by mares and filled with precious jewels could not even begin to equal one sixteenth part of one step of one circumambulation.

“One hundred maidens of Kamboja wearing jeweled earrings with circlets of gold upon their arms and adorned with rings and necklaces of the finest gold; one hundred elephants, snowy white, robust and broad-backed, adorned with gold and jewels, carrying their great trunks curved over their heads like plowshares, could not even begin to equal one sixteenth part of the value of one step of one circumambulation.

“O wise one, the benefit of those who joyfully take one step around the Buddha’s stupa is unmatched by the benefit of gaining one hundred thousand measures of gold from the gold river of Jambu.

“O wise one, the benefit of those who joyfully offer a clay bowls to the Buddha’s stupa is unmatched by the benefit of those with one hundred thousand palaces made of gold from the gold river of Jambu.

“O wise one, the benefit of those who joyfully heap flowers before the Buddha’s stupa is unmatched by the benefit of having one hundred thousand vessels made of gold from the gold river of Jambu.

“O wise one, the benefit of those who joyfully bear flower garlands for the Buddha’s stupa is unmatched by the benefit of having twenty million bales.

“O wise one, the benefit of those who joyfully sprinkle perfumed water upon the Buddha’s stupa is unmatched by the benefit of having one thousand hillocks of gold made from the gold river of Jambu.

“O wise one, the benefit of those who joyfully offer butter lamps to the Buddha’s stupa is unmatched by the benefits of having one hundred thousand times ten million measures of gold from the gold river of Jambu.

“O wise one, the benefit of those who joyfully offer victory banners, pennants, and parasols to the Buddha’s stupa is unmatched by the benefit of those who possess one hundred thousand great mountains of gold.

“There is no difference between the merit of those who make offerings while I am here and those who make offerings after my nirvana, if their virtuous intentions are the same.

“Such is the inconceivable Buddha;
So also the inconceivable Buddhadharma;
for those with faith in the inconceivable,
inconceivable are the results”

This completes the verse on circumambulating a stupa, known in Sanskrit as the Caitya-pradaksina-gatha and in Tibetan as mChod-rten bskor-ba’i tshigs-su bcad-pa.

* * *

The Twenty-Four Elements of the Stupa

1. Tog top
2. Nyi-ma sun
3. Zla-ba moon
4. Char-khebs rain cover
5. Thugs-rje-mdo-gzungs symbol of compassion
6. Zar-tshag canopy
7. Pho-‘khor father cakra
8. Mo-‘khor mother cakra (space in between)
9. Chos-‘khor-bcu-gsun thirteen dharmacakras
10. Gdugs-‘degs-padma lotus parasol
11. Bre harmika
12. Bre-rten support of the harmika
13. Bre-rman foundation of the harmika
14. ‘Bum-pa vase
15. Sgo-khyim door of the vase
16. ‘Bum-gdan seat of the vase
17. Bang-rim steps
18. Dge-bcu the ten virtues
19. Bad-gam large lotuses (balcony)
20. Bad-chung small lotuses (small border)
21. Gsung-sne edging or hem
22. Gdong-chen face
23. Them-skas stairs
24. Sa-‘dzin foundation


The foundation as dharmadhatu: the realm of Dharma, at once the foundation and the context of the whole.

The lion throne as the four fearlessnesses: The four fearlessnesses are the empowering throne or vehicle for the transmission of enlightenment. As a result of possessing the four fearlessnesses, Buddhas have the power to help others know all that is knowable, to enable others to abandon what must be abandoned, to teach what ought to be taught, and to help others attain the most pure and supreme enlightenment. The four fearlessnesses arise as the result of four knowledges:

1. Knowledge that all factors of existence are understood
2. Knowledge that the obstacles are correctly known and the way to stop them can be taught to others
3. Knowledge that the path of renunciation, through which all the virtuous qualities are obtained, has in fact been accomplished
4. Knowledge that all corruption has been brought to an end

The base as the ten righteous actions which generate the merit and virtue necessary to successfully follow the path. The first three apply to body, the next four apply to speech, and the last three apply to mind.

1. Refraining from destroying life
2. Refraining from taking what has not been given
3. Refraining from improper sexual practices
4. Refraining from telling falsehoods
5. Refraining from using abusive language
6. Refraining from slandering others
7. Refraining from indulging in irrelevant talk
8. Refraining from covetousness
9. Refraining from malice
10. Refraining from holding destructive views

The first terrace as the four foundations of mindfulness:

1. Mindfulness of body
2. Mindfulness of feeling
3. Mindfulness of mind
4. Mindfulness of mental events

The second terrace as the four genuine restraints:

1. Not to initiate nonvirtuous actions not yet generated
2. To give up nonvirtuous actions already generated
3. To bring about virtuous actions not yet generated
4. Not to allow virtuous actions already arisen to degenerate

The third terrace as the four bases of supernormal powers:

1. Meditative experience based on willingness
2. Meditative experience based on mind
3. Meditative experience based on effort
4. Meditative experience based on analysis

The fourth terrace as the five spiritual faculties:

1. Faith
2. Effort
3. Mindfulness
4. Meditative concentration
5. Wisdom

The base of the vase as the five spiritual strengths, the same as the five spiritual faculties, integrated and activated as strengths.

The vase as the seven limbs of enlightenment:

1. Mindfulness
2. Investigation of meanings and values
3. Sustained effort
4. Joy
5. Refinement and serenity
6. Meditative concentration
7. Equanimity

The foundation and support of the harmika as the eightfold path:

1. Genuinely pure view
2. Genuinely pure conceptualization
3. Genuinely pure speech
4. Genuinely pure conduct
5. Genuinely pure livelihood
6. Genuinely pure effort
7. Genuinely pure meditation
8. Genuinely pure concentration

The ten righteous actions generate merit and virtue, the basis for the spiritual path. The four foundations of mindfulness, four genuine restraints, four bases of supernormal powers, five faculties, five strengths, seven limbs of enlightenment, and the eightfold path are collectively known as the thirty-seven wings of enlightenment. Together with the ten righteous actions they form the cause of realization. The following are the result: the wisdoms and deliverances specific to a Bodhisattva and the ten Bodhisattva stages culminating in omniscience. With this attainment arise qualities specific to the supremely enlightened Buddhas: the three mindfulnesses, great compassion and non-differentiated Dharmadhatu.

The wood of life as the ten knowledges:

1. Knowledge of dharma
2. Knowledge of the thoughts of others
3. Knowledge of relations
4. Empirical knowledge
5. Knowledge of suffering
6. Knowledge of the cause of suffering
7. Knowledge of the cessation of suffering
8. Knowledge of the way to the cessation of suffering
9. Knowledge of things that lead to despair
10. Knowledge of the non-production of things

The harmika as the four enlightened wisdoms which enable Buddhas to activate the four deliverances: to help others know all that is knowable and abandon what must be abandoned; to teach what needs to be taught; and to help others attain the supreme enlightenment of a Buddha.

The thirteen wheels as the ten bodhisattva stages:

1. The joyous
2. The immaculate
3. The illuminating
4. The radiant
5. The difficult to conquer
6. The manifest
7. The far-reaching
8. The immovable
9. The excellent intelligence
10. The cloud of Dharma

and the three applications of mindfulness. These relate to profound equanimity in the three possible circumstances of teaching the Dharma:

11. All disciples may hear, accept, and practice the teachings
12. None may hear, accept, and practice the teachings
13. Some disciples may hear, accept, and practice the teachings, while others do not.

The parasol (raincover) as the protection of compassion: The great compassion of a Buddha arises from omniscience. Free from all vestige of self-interest, it applies itself evenly, turning its warmth upon all beings equally.

The top as the pristine Dharmadhatu, comprehended by the omniscience of the fully enlightened Buddhas, described as self-arisen primordial wisdom, nondual suchness, complete direct understanding of all aspects of reality.

The whole as the three aspects of enlightened being: Nirmanakaya, Sambhogakaya, and Dharmakaya.


The stupa is totally filled from the top to the bottom with a multitude of relics and other items to generate the power which transforms and defuses negativity in the world. The tsa-tsa’s and the mantras have been prepared during the past year, both in Denver and at OCD. All items have been empowered and consecrated for a month with regular tsoks which included repetition of all mantras rolled for the stupa.

This contents of this stupa are indicated below with their placement in the stupa.

The base of the stupa contains many weapons, many utilitarian items (cooking utensils, clocks, computers, TVs, and so forth), vases, the Kalpa Butter lamp, metal mandalas, and tsa-tsa’s.

Vases – Included in the stupa are approximately fifty General Wealth, Earth and Naga vases, all including their respective deity mantras plus the ingredients and relics necessary for their empowerment and blessing. In addition, others vases were prepared to reverse war, famine, disease and the elementals.

Reversing War 120
Reversing Famine 120
Reversing Disease 120
Reversing poverty and elementals 252

Total 609

Kalpa Butter Lamp – The Kalpa Butter Lamp removes ignorance. Approximately two feet tall, it is made of copper, engraved with the eight auspicious symbols, covered with gold, and filled with butter protected by a paraffin seal. On its base, appropriate mantras are written in gold. Included with this lamp are eleven vases prepared specifically for the lamp.

Mandalas – The three gold plated engraved mandalas, each 20 inches square, are the Masculine chakra, the Feminine cakra, and the Wealth God Ganapati.

Tsa Tsa’s – Around 8,000 small plaster images of Guru Rinpoche, Dorje Drollo, and the three Long Life Buddhas were painted red and each consecrated with their respective mantras, and body, speech and mind relics.

The middle level, just under the bumpa, is filled with religious objects and tsa tsas.

The bumpa includes a visible Shakyamuni statue – consecrated with mantras rolled at OCD and the appropriate special relics, offering bowls placed in front of the Shakyamuni statue, mantras, additional special and rare relics, and certain religious objects.

Mantras – All summer and part of the fall were spent rolling and wrapping mantras printed in Nepal. Over two kilograms of saffron were consumed. Included were many deity mantras and mantras specific for the different levels of the stupa.

To provide the needed length, two central column Sog Shings run from the base of the bumpa to the tip of the sun and moon disk at the top. Each has a stupa carved at the top and a vajra at its base. They are inscribed with gold mantras and consecrated relics at the respective centers, then wrapped in silk and finished with the five-color threads.

The top includes a specific rare Buddha bone relic. At the base of the sog shing are the five precious gems, semi-precious gems, precious metals, and relics.

The canopy, sun and moon disk at the top of the stupa were constructed and gold plated in Nepal. They have been filled with the appropriate consecrated mandalas and relics.

The Stupa Information Page

Wiki Information about Chortens

Tibetan Nun Shot By Chinese Soldier

Climbers see Tibetans shot 'like rats'

An Australian mountaineer was among dozens of climbers at a Himalayan base camp who watched in horror as Chinese soldiers shot Tibetan refugees "like rats, dogs [and] rabbits", leaving at least one teenage nun lying dead in the snow.

The incident, witnessed by international climbers and Sherpas at a camp on Mount Cho Oyu - about 20 kilometres west of Mount Everest - occurred on September 30 as a group of refugees, including many children, made their way across the 5700-metre-high Nangpa La Pass from Tibet to Nepal and then on to Dharamsala in India - the home of their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

Detailed accounts of the attack are beginning to filter through despite what the British newspaper, The Independent, described as an attempt by Chinese authorities to silence the many Western climbers and Sherpas who witnessed the shooting.

A Tibetan monk who managed to reach Nepal was quoted in the paper as saying: "We started walking early through the Nangpa La Pass. Then the soldiers arrived. They started shooting and we ran; there were 15 children from eight to 10; only one escaped arrest.

"I just ran to save my life by praying to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I think the soldiers fired for 15 minutes."

"They were shouting, but I did not hear them ... I just heard gunshots passing my ears. I don't remember how many people were shot."

Another said: "When the Chinese started shooting, it was terrifying. We could only hear the gunfire and our friends screaming. We tried to take care of the seven-year-old girl with us."

Steve Lawes, a British police officer and mountaineer who was about 300 metres from the soldiers, told The Independent: "One person fell, got up, but then fell again."

An Australian climber, who did not give his name, told Reuters: "I looked through the telescope. I saw two objects - the first one looked like it was a backpack and the second one was definitely a body."

The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) said a young Tibetan nun was confirmed dead while there were unconfirmed reports that a young refugee boy was killed.

The organisation said it also had fears for the safety of about 10 Tibetan refugee children who were arrested by the Chinese soldiers after fleeing from the gunshots. Mr. Lawes told The Independent that the children were marched single file through the base camp.

"The children were in single file, about six feet away from me. They didn't see us - they weren't looking around the way kids normally would, they were too frightened. By that time, advance base camp was crawling with soldiers. We were doing our best not to do anything that might spark off more violence."

An Australian mountaineer was among dozens of climbers at a Himalayan base camp who watched in horror as Chinese soldiers shot Tibetan refugees "like rats, dogs [and] rabbits", leaving at least one teenage nun lying dead in the snow.

The incident, witnessed by international climbers and Sherpas at a camp on Mount Cho Oyu - about 20 kilometres west of Mount Everest - occurred on September 30 as a group of refugees, including many children, made their way across the 5700-metre-high Nangpa La Pass from Tibet to Nepal and then on to Dharamsala in India - the home of their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

Detailed accounts of the attack are beginning to filter through despite what the British newspaper, The Independent, described as an attempt by Chinese authorities to silence the many Western climbers and Sherpas who witnessed the shooting.

A Tibetan monk who managed to reach Nepal was quoted in the paper as saying: "We started walking early through the Nangpa La Pass. Then the soldiers arrived. They started shooting and we ran; there were 15 children from eight to 10; only one escaped arrest.

"I just ran to save my life by praying to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I think the soldiers fired for 15 minutes."

"They were shouting, but I did not hear them ... I just heard gunshots passing my ears. I don't remember how many people were shot."

Another said: "When the Chinese started shooting, it was terrifying. We could only hear the gunfire and our friends screaming. We tried to take care of the seven-year-old girl with us."

Steve Lawes, a British police officer and mountaineer who was about 300 metres from the soldiers, told The Independent: "One person fell, got up, but then fell again."

An Australian climber, who did not give his name, told Reuters: "I looked through the telescope. I saw two objects - the first one looked like it was a backpack and the second one was definitely a body."

The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) said a young Tibetan nun was confirmed dead while there were unconfirmed reports that a young refugee boy was killed.

The organisation said it also had fears for the safety of about 10 Tibetan refugee children who were arrested by the Chinese soldiers after fleeing from the gunshots.

Mr Lawes told The Independent that the children were marched single file through the base camp.

"The children were in single file, about six feet away from me. They didn't see us - they weren't looking around the way kids normally would, they were too frightened. By that time, advance base camp was crawling with soldiers. We were doing our best not to do anything that might spark off more violence."

[Article by Jano Gibson;]

See also:

A Christian Buddha

The Story of Barlaam and Josaphat

There is a scene in the Merchant of Venice in which the suitors of Portia, a spirited young heiress, are shown three caskets, one of gold, one of silver, and one of lead. One of them contains Portia’s portrait, and according to her father’s will the suitor who chooses the right casket, the one containing the portrait, will be able to marry Portia. The Prince of Morocco chooses the gold casket, but on opening it he finds only a skeleton and some verses beginning All that glitters is not gold; Often have you heard that told.

Similarly the Prince of Aragon, on being shown the caskets, chooses the silver one and to his chagrin finds the portrait of a ‘blinking idiot’ and some sardonic verses. The third suitor is Bassanio, a young Venetian with whom Portia herself is secretly in love. He chooses the lead casket, where he finds Portia’s portrait and verses inviting him to claim the lady ‘with a loving kiss’. Few of those who have seen the play will have known that Shakespeare took the theme of the Three Caskets from the romance of Barlaam and Josaphat, a Christianized version of episodes from the life of the Buddha, which he found in The Golden Legend (1483), Caxton’s version of a French translation of the Legenda Aurea, a work compiled in Latin by the thirteenthcentury Dominican friar Jacobus de Voragine who became Archbishop of Geneva.

The story of the monk Barlaam and prince Josaphat underwent many changes before eventually passing from Voragine to Caxton and from Caxton to Shakespeare, but in Caxton’s English version, still very readable, incidents which are parts of the Buddha’s biography as handed down in Buddhist tradition can nevertheless still be discerned. The story begins in a legendary India, which is represented as being ‘full of Christians and of monks’. At this time there arose a powerful king named Avennir who persecuted the Christians, and especially the monks. Nonetheless, a friend of the king who was also his chief minister was inspired to leave the palace and become a monk. When the king heard of this he was beside himself with rage and ordered a search to be made for the monk, who was eventually found and brought before the king. On seeing his former minister ‘in a vile coat andmuch lean for hunger’ Avennir called him fool and madman and wanted to know why he had changed his honour into disgrace and made himself a mockery. If he was willing to listen to reason, the monk replied, then he should put from him his enemies. The king naturally wanted to know who his enemies were. They were anger and greed, the monk explained, for they obscured and hindered the mind, so that the truth might not be seen. ‘The fools despise the things that be’, the monk continued, ‘like as they were not, and he that hath not the taste of the things that be, he shall not use the sweetness of them, and may not learn the truth of them that be not.’

I was greatly struck by these words. Behind them, beneath all the layers of adaptation and modification, I could see an important teaching of the Buddha that must have come from one of the traditional Indian biographies. The spiritually immature despise the real because they see it as unreal; and he that has no experience of the real will not benefit from the happiness it brings, nor, since he sees the real as unreal, will he see the unreal as unreal. This is reminiscent of a verse in one of the best known Buddhist scriptures: ‘Those who, having known the real (sara) as the real, and the unreal (asara) as the unreal, they, moving in the sphere of right thought,will attain the real’ (Dhammapada 12). Whoeverwas originally responsible for this version of the story of Barlaam and Josaphat must have felt that the monk’s teaching to the king was not particularly Christian, as indeed it is not, for he credits the monk with having gone on to ‘show many things of mystery of the incarnation’, which is obviously out of place and very likely was added at some stage. Be that as it may, Avennir was not impressed by the monk’s teaching. Had he not promised to put away anger, he tells him, he would have burned him alive. Let him go now, lest he should do him some harm.

Meanwhile, it so happened that a son was born to the king, who hitherto had been childless. The boy was called Josaphat, which is not really a proper name but the form assumed by the Sanskrit word ‘bodhisattva’ after it had been transcribed from the alphabet of one language into that of another, and from that into yet another, thus becoming a little further removed from its original spelling and pronunciation each time. In the traditional biographies the term ‘Bodhisattva’ refers to the Buddha in the pre-Enlightenment phase of his career, the word meaning ‘Enlightenment-being’ or ‘one bent on Enlightenment’. On the birth of Josaphat ‘the king assembled a right great company of people for to sacrifice to his gods for the nativity of his son, and also assembled fifty-five astronomers, of whom he enquired what should befall of his son.’

In the Abhiniëkramaœa Sûtra or ‘Sûtra of the Great Renunciation’, one of the canonical biographies of the Buddha, the astrologers assembled by King Suddhodana, the Bodhisattva’s father, predicts that his son will become either a universal monarch or a Buddha, an Enlightened One. A sage who has arrived from the Himalayas, however, predicts that he will definitely become a Buddha. King Avennir’s astronomers tell him that Josaphat will be ‘great in power and in riches’; but one of them, wiser than the others, predicts that the child will be a Christian, a member of the religion that the king persecutes. Disturbed by the prediction, Avennir took measures to ensure that Josaphat does not hear about Jesus Christ. They are the same measures taken by Suddhodana, in the traditional biographies of the Buddha, to ensure that Siddhartha does not learn about the realities of human existence. In Caxton’s words:

And when the king heard that, he doubted much, and did do make without the city a right noble palace, and therein set he his son for to dwell and abide, and set there right fair younglings, and commanded them that they should not speak to him of death, ne of old age, ne of sickness, ne of poverty, ne of no thing that may give him cause of heaviness, but say to him all things that be joyous, so that his mind may be esprised with gladness, and that he think on nothing to come. And anon as any of his servants were sick the king commanded for to take them away, and set another, whole, in his stead, and commanded that no mention should be made to him of Jesus Christ.

Except for the reference to Jesus, the Buddhist will find himself on familiar ground here. He will also know what follows. But at this point the story of Barlaam and Josaphat, as translated by Caxton, is interrupted by a tale of palace intrigue, in which King Avennir tries to trick his chief noble into admitting that he was a Christian by telling him that he has decided to become a monk, and in which the noble tricks the king, and saves his own life, by becoming a monk in order, as he says, to accompany the king into the desert and serve him there. The story is then resumed, and the Buddhist again finds himself on familiar ground. When Josaphat grew up he wondered why his father had so enclosed him, and became greatly depressed that he could not go out. On hearing this the king made arrangements for ‘horses and joyful fellowship’ to accompany him, but in such a way that he should see no distressing sight.

And on a time thus as the king’s son went, he met a mesel (leper) and a blind man, and when he saw them he was abashed, and enquired what them ailed, and his servants said: These be passions (sufferings) that come to men. And he demanded if those passions come to all men, and they said: Nay. Then said he: Be they known which men shall suffer these passions without definition? And they answered: Who is he that may know the adventures of men? And he began to be much anguishous for the incustomable thing thereof. And another time he found a man much aged which had his cheer (face) frounced (wrinkled), his teeth fallen, and was all crooked for age.
Whereof he was abashed, and he desired to know the miracle of this vision. And when he knew that this was because he had lived many years, then he demanded what should be the end, and they said: Death; and he said: Is then death the end of all men or of some? And they said for certain that all men must die. And when he knew that all should die, he demanded them in how many years that should happen, and they said: In old age or four score years or a hundred, and after that age the death followeth. And this young man remembered oft in his heart these things, and was in great discomfort, but he showed him much glad tofore his father, and he desired much to be informed and taught in these things.

Josaphat has now seen the first two, and heard about the third, of the Four Sights that are described at length, and with a wealth of detail, in the traditional biographies of the Buddha; but he has yet to see the fourth sight, that of a monk. In the story of Barlaam and Josaphat it naturally is a Christian monk that he meets. The monk’s name is Barlaam. The derivation of the name is uncertain: it may be a corrupt form of the Sanskrit word bhagavan, meaning ‘lord’. Barlaam is described as ‘a monk of perfect life and good opinion that dwelled in the desert of the land of Senaar’. Coming to know about Josaphat by divine inspiration, he disguised himself as a merchant and gained access to him by telling ‘the greatest governor of the king’s son’ that he had a miraculous precious stone to sell and wished to offer it to the prince. The governor wanted to see the precious stone, but on hearing that it could be safely seen only by one who was wholly chaste he changed his mind and brought him to Josaphat, who received him honourably.

Barlaam told him he did well in taking no heed of his ‘littleness that appeareth withoutforth’. He was like the king whose barons were displeased with him for getting down from his chariot and humbly saluting to poor men, thus compromising his royal dignity. In order to teach them a lesson the king ordered four chests to be made. Two of the chests he covered with gold and jewels and filled and with dead men’s bones and filth. The other two he covered with pitch and filled with precious jewels and rich gems. Here we obviously have the originals of the Three Caskets in The Merchant of Venice, where despite his more romantic handling of the theme Shakespeare draws much the same moral as Barlaam, who continues:

And after this the king do call his great barons…and did do set these four chests tofore them, and demanded of them which were most precious, and they said that the two that were gilt were most of value. Then the king commanded that they should be opened, and anon a great stench issued out of them. And the king said: They are like them that be clothed with precious vestments and be full withinforth of ordure and of sin. And after he made open the other and there issued a marvellous sweet odour. And after, the king said: These be semblable to the poor men that I met and honoured, for though they be clad in foul vestments, yet shine they withinforth with good odour of good virtues, and ye take none heed but to that withoutforth, and consider not what is within.

Having related this apologue, Barlaam preached Josaphat a long sermon about the creation of the world, about the day of judgement, and about the reward of good and evil. This he followed up with a series of apologues, some of them quite amusing, on the foolishness of idol worship, the fallaciousness of worldly pleasure, the difference between true and false friendship, and the inevitability of death. Several of the apologues have, to me, a familiar, almost Buddhistic ring to them, especially the one on true and false friendship. There was a man who had three friends. He loved the first friend as much as himself, the second less than himself, the third little or naught. It so happened that this man was in danger of his life, and was summoned before the king. He ran for help to his first friend, reminding him how much he had always loved him. But the friend refused to help, saying he had to spend the day with other friends, and in any case he did not know him. The man went sadly to his second friend, who excused himself from accompanying him to the king, saying he had many responsibilities; but he would accompany him as far as the palace gate. At last the man went to his third friend. ‘I have no reason to speak to thee,’ he admitted, ‘ne I have not loved thee as I ought, but I am in tribulation and without friends, and pray thee that thou help me.’

The third friend readily agreed to the man’s request, saying, ‘I confess to be thy dear friend and have not forgotten the little benefit thou hast done to me, and I shall go right gladly with thee tofore the king, for to see what shall be demanded of thee, and I shall pray the king for thee.’ The first friend, Barlaam explained, was possession of riches, for the sake of which man puts himself in many dangers, and of which he can take with him, when death comes, only the winding sheet in which he will be buried. The second friend was his sons, his wife, and his kin, who can go with him only as far as his grave, after which they will return home and get on with their own lives. The third friend was faith, hope, and charity, and other good works we have done, which when we leave our bodies may go before us and pray for us to God, and may deliver us from our enemies the devils.

The first time I read this apologue, in Caxton’s English version, it at once put me in mind of the old morality play of Everyman which I saw at a London theatre during the War. This ballet moved me more deeply than had the play on which it was based, with which I was already familiar. On the drop curtain Blake’s ‘Ancient of Days’, enormously enlarged, bent over the Deep with his compasses creating the world. Then, out of the darkness, came a tremendous voice, declaring:

I behold here in my majesty How that all beings be to me unkind, Living without fear in worldly prosperity, On earthly treasure is all their mind.

God therefore sends a messenger to Everyman, requiring him to appear before him. The ‘mighty messenger’ is Death. On receiving the message Everyman runs in turn to his friends Fellowship, Kindred, Cousin, and Goods, but none is willing to go with him on his journey. At length he calls out to his Good Deeds, asking her where she is. But she is ‘called in ground’, his sins having bound her so tightly that she is unable to move. He releases her, and she goes with him on his journey, as does Knowledge, to whom the play’s unknown author gives the memorable lines:

Everyman, I will go with thee and be thy guide, In thy most need to go by thy side.

The play may be derived from a Dutch close counterpart, as one scholar believes; or, alternatively, it may be based on Barlaam’s apologue on true and false friendship, publication of The Golden Legend having preceded the composition of Everyman by about twenty-five years. In any case, the play is a work of something like genius and must have touched the hearts of the audience for which it was written, including as it does a universal truth – the truth that ‘you can’t take it with you’.

When he had been fully instructed by Barlaam, Josaphat wanted to leave his father and follow the monk. Barlaam approved his resolution, and to illustrate it he related another apologue; but he did not agree that Josaphat should follow him into the desert. Instead, he should wait until it was the right time for them to meet. He then baptized Josaphat and ‘returned into his cell’. Shortly afterwards Avennir heard that his son had become a Christian. On the advice of his friend Arachis he sought out an old pagan hermit who resembled Barlaam and instructed him to engage in public debate with the pagan masters. First he should defend the Christian faith, then allow himself to be defeated by the arguments of the pagans and revert to paganism. In this way Josaphat would lose faith in Christianity and follow suit. But Josaphat was not deceived. He told the false Barlaam, whose name was Nachor, that if he was defeated by the pagan masters he would, when he became king, tear out his tongue with his own hands for having dared to teach a king’s son a false religion. Judging that he had more to fear from the son than from the father, who had promised him immunity whatever the result of the debate, he attacked the gods of paganism with great vigour.

The Chaldees worshipped the elements, the Greeks worshipped gods and goddesses who were guilty of the grossest immorality, and the Egyptians worshipped animals, whereas Christians worshipped ‘the son of the right high king that descended from heaven and took nature human’. He then defended Christianity so clearly and convincingly that the pagan masters were discomfited and did not know what to say. Josaphat was overjoyed at the false Barlaam’s victory. He told him privately that he knew who he really was, converted him to Christianity, and sent him into the desert, where he was baptized and led the life of a hermit. On coming to hear of these things an enchanter named Theodosius approached the king and advised him to take away his son’s present attendants and replace them with beautiful, well-adorned women who should be instructed never to leave the prince, for ‘there is nothing that may so soon deceive the young man as the beauty of women’. He would then send to the prince an evil spirit who would inflame his mind with lust. The king did what the enchanter advised, but when Josaphat felt himself to be inwardly burning with lust he prayed to God for help, whereupon all temptation left him. The king then sent to him a beautiful young princess who was fatherless.

Josaphat preached to her and she promised to become a Christian if he would marry her. When he refused she promised that if he would lie with her for only that night shewould become a Christian in the morning, arguing that according to his own religion ‘the angels have more joy in heaven of one sinner doing penance than on many others’. Seeing how strongly the woman was assailing Josaphat the devils came to her aid, so that the prince’s fleshly craving incited him to sin at the same time that he desired the woman’s salvation. Weeping, he betook himself to prayer, fell asleep, and ‘saw by a vision that he was brought into a meadow arrayed with fair flowers, there where the leaves of the trees demened a sweet sound which came by a wind agreeable, and thereout issued a marvellous odour, and the fruit was right fair to see, and right delectable of taste, and there were seats of gold and silver and precious stones, and the beds were noble and preciously adorned, and right clear water ran thereby’.

He then entered into a city the walls of which were of fine gold, and where he saw in the air ‘some that sang a song that never ear of mortal man heard like’. This, he was told, was the abode of the blessed saints. He then was shown a horrible place full of filth and stench, and told this was the abode of the wicked. When Josaphat awoke, it seemed to him that ‘the beauty of the damosel was more foul and stinking than all other ordure’. Despairing of ever being able to persuade his son to abjure Christianity, King Avennir made over to him half his kingdom, though Josaphat desired with all his heart to go and live in the desert. For the sake of spreading his faith, however, he consented to rule for a while, and built churches, and raised crosses, and converted many people to Christianity, including his own father, who after leaving the whole kingdom to his son engaged in works of penance.

Josaphat himself, after ruling for much longer than he wanted, at last fled away into the desert, ‘and as he went in a desert he gave to a poor man his habit royal and abode in a right poor gown’, just as the Bodhisattva, in one of the traditional biographies of the Buddha, exchanges his princely robes for the saffron-coloured dress of a huntsman. What directly follows is reminiscent of the Bodhisattva’s defeat of Mãra, prior to his attaining Enlightenment, except that Josaphat prays to God whereas the Bodhisattva relies on his own inner resources.

And the devil made to him many assaults, for sometimes he ran upon him with a sword drawn and menaced to smite if he left not the desert; and another time he appeared to him in the form of a wild beast and foamed and ran on him as he would have devoured him, and then Josaphat said: Our Lord is mine helper. I doubt no thing that man may do to me.

Josaphat then spent two years wandering in the desert looking for Barlaam. At last he found a cave in the earth, knocked at the door, and said, ‘Father, bless me.’

And anon Barlaam heard the voice of him, and rose up and went out, and then each kissed other and embraced straitly and were glad of their assembling.

Afterwards Josaphat told Barlaam all that had happened to him since they parted. Barlaam died in the year 408 ad, the story goes on to relate. As for Josaphat, he left his kingdom in his twentyfifth year, and lived the life of a hermit for thirty-five years, and was buried by the body of Barlaam. On hearing of this, King Barachius, who it seems had been left in charge of the kingdom, removed the bodies of the two saints to his city, where their tomb was the scene of many miracles.

Just as Caxton translated the story of Barlaam and Josaphat from Voragine’s Latin version, via the French, Voragine himself drew his material from an earlier source, that drew from one still earlier, and so on through layer upon layer of different languages and cultures back to the Sanskrit text with which the whole process began. Scholars have not been able to identify this urtext, as it may be called, but it must have been related to such works as the Lalitavistara and the Buddhacarita. In any case, it was freely translated or adapted into Pehlevi in Central Asia under Manichean auspices, the prophet Mani, the third-century founder of Manicheism, having regarded the Buddha as God’s messenger to India, just as Zarathustra was his messenger to Persia, Jesus his messenger to the West, and Mani himself his messenger to Babylonia. This Pehlevi version, which appears to be no longer extant, was translated into Arabic probably in the eighth century by an unknown author and still survives. Under the title of The Book of Balawha and Budasf the Arabic version became popular in the Islamic world, and gave rise to numerous abridgements and adaptations in the same language. It also was the basis of the various Greek, Christianized versions of the story, the last and most highly embellished recension of which appeared in the ninth century and was later attributed to St John of Damascus, the last of the Greek Fathers. Versions of the Arabic work appeared not only in Greek but also in Hebrew, Persian, and Georgian.

So far as Western Europe is concerned, the most important of the versions deriving from The Book of Balawha and Budasf is the one attributed to St John of Damascus, for it was from this version that the Latin translations of the Middle Ages were all made. The first of the extant translations appears to have been made in the twelfth century. Other translations followed, including that of Jacobus de Voragine, which was the source not only of Caxton’s English version of the story of Barlaam and Josaphat but also of versions in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Icelandic, Irish, and a number of other languages. The abundance of these versions testifies to the popularity of the story through the Middle Ages and well into the Renaissance period.

Caxton’s version of the Legenda Aurea, of which the story of Barlaam and Josaphat forms a part, was his most popular publication. It was often reprinted, and a copy of the work must have fallen into Shakespeare’s hands before he came to write The Merchant of Venice, which was between 1596 and 1598. There were two main reasons for the widespread popularity of the romantic story of the young prince who, having lived a life of enforced seclusion, was suddenly confronted by the facts of human existence and became a monk.

In the first place, the story of Barlaam and Josaphat as it stands now is a good read. It has been described as ‘a strange mixture of parable and fable, of folklore and history, and romance, in which shrewd worldly wisdom is mingled with the highest and greatest religious truths in such a way that the perusal thereof will increase the piety of the godly, the wisdom of the wise, and the pleasure of those who seek amusement and instruction in the writings of teachers of olden times’. Secondly, the story was set in the distant, mysterious, almost mythical land of India, about whose geographical location most people in the Middle Ages had only the vaguest of ideas.

According to Christian tradition St Thomas, one of the twelve apostles, travelled to India not long after the death of Jesus and converted the whole country to Christianity. In the course of time it slipped back into paganism and it was Barlaam and Josaphat who, between them, reconverted the land to the true faith. For this pious work, as well as for the holiness of their lives, the two saints were greatly honoured by both the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Western Church, Barlaam and Josaphat being commemorated by the Roman Catholic Church on 27 November, while the Greek Church commemorates Josaphat by himself on 26 August and the Georgian Church Barlaam by himself on 19 May. In the Russian Church Barlaam and Josaphat, together with the latter’s father King Avennir, are all commemorated on 19 November, though this day properly belongs to St Barlaam of Antioch, an early Christian martyr.

To the best of my knowledge, no churches were dedicated to Barlaam and Josaphat, nor do they feature in the religious art of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, though it may well be that paintings illustrating their story are hidden away in remote churches and obscure provincial art galleries. Despite this apparent neglect, there are probably churches where their feast days are still celebrated, and where neither priest nor people realize that in venerating Barlaam and Josaphat they are in fact honouring the Buddha and the unknown Indian ascetic who, as the last of the Four Sights, had inspired the young Siddhartha to go forth from home in quest of Enlightenment.

taken from: "From Genesis to the Diamond Sutra - A Western Buddhist's
Encounters with Christianity" by Sangharakshita

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