Vajrayana Training 2.1.5 and 2.1.6 Empowerment

Video for Class 2.1.5


Video for Class 2.1.6


VT 2.0 Module 1 Lesson 5 Empowerment

Continuing with the Text to be Studied

An Instruction Manual for The Great Perfection, Heart Essence of the Dakinis

  • Tibetan Title: རྫོགས་པ་ཆེན་པོ་མཁའ་འགྲོ་སྙིང་ཐིག་གི་ཁྲིད་ཡིག་ཐར་ལམ་བགྲོད་བྱེད་ཤིང་རྟ་བཟང་པོ།
    rDzogs pa chen po mkha’ ’gro snying thig gi khrid yig thar lam bgrod byed shing rta bzang po
  • Translation: The Excellent Chariot for the traveler on the path to liberation, the guide to the Dakinis Heart, the Great Perfection
  • Sanskrit Title: Mokṣa panthaṁ gatiṣu ratho nāma mahāsaṁdhi dākinī cittatilakasya kṣiptalekha viharatisma
  • Author: The Third Dzogchen Rinpoche, Ngeton Tenzin Zangpo
  • Also known for short as: Dzogchen Ngeton Tenzin Zangpo’s The Excellent Chariot, Guide to the Dakini’s Heart
  • Pema Khandro will call it for short: Guide to the Dakini’s Heart
  • Today’s Passage is in the English translation page 13-15

Empowerment

The passage from page 13 – 14

In the context of the maturing empowerments, two topics are taught: the actual empowerments and the samaya vows. There are a great many benefits of receiving empowerment s and faults in not doing so, which are summarized in the following passage from the Tantra of the Full Array:

“How can one gain accomplishment without relying upon the Secret Mantra’s empowerments? Like a ferryman with no oars, how will one cross to the other shore? If one receives empowerments well, however, all secret mantras will be attained, even without practice.”

And in the Tantra of Penetrating Sound:

There are four types of empowerment that mature the fortunate:

The elaborate, unelaborate, extremely unelaborate, and the utterly unelaborate.

The approach of these four divisions. Should be used to mature the mindstreams of those with faith.

The Passage from page 14

As these passages point out, one should begin by using the stages of empowerment to mature that which is immature. The various empowerments

from the texts of the Heart Essence will purify the disciple’s mindstream. This includes the elaborate vase empowerment, as well as the unelaborate,extremely unelaborate, and utterly unelaborate empowerments. Have no doubt that these are of the utmost importance.

དབང་གིས་སྨིན་པར་བྱེད་པ་ལ

The ripening empowerments.

དེ་ནས་དབང་གིས་སྨིན་པར་བྱེད་པ་ལ།དབང་དངོས་དང་དམ་ཚིག་བསྟན་པའོ།

The topic of ripening empowerments has two subdivisions: the actual empowerment and the vows, known as Samaya.

དེ་ལ་ཡང་དབང་ཐོབ་པའི་ཕན་ཡོན་དང་མ་ཐོབ་པའི་ཉེས་སྐྱོན་མང་དུ་ཡོད་ཀྱང། འདིར་མདོར་བསྡུས་ཏེ་བརྗོད་པ་ལ།

There are many benefits to empowerment and many faults when not obtaining empowerments. These are summarized here.

རྒྱུད་རྣམ་བཀོད་ལས།གསང་སྔགས་དབང་ལ་མ་བརྟེན་འགྲུབ་པར་ག་ལ་འགྱུར།དཔེར་ན་གཉན་པ་ལག་སྐྱ་མེད་པ་བཞིན།ཕ་རོལ་སྒྲོལ་པར་ག་ལ་ནུས།དབང་རྣམས་རབ་ཏུ་ཐོབ་བྱས་ན།གསང་སྔགས་ཐམས་ཅད་མ་སྒྲུབ་འགྲུབ།

The [text known as] the Tantra of Full Array says:

“How can one attain accomplishment without relying upon the secret mantra empowerment? For example, like a boatman without oars, how would one be able to cross to the other shore? If one attains the supreme empowerments, all the secret mantra [path] can be attained.”

ཐལ་འགྱུར་ལས།དབང་ནི་རྣམ་པ་བཞི་ཡིས་ཀྱང།སྐལ་པར་ལྡན་པ་སྨིན་པར་བྱ།སྤྲོས་བཅས་ཉིད་དང་སྦྲོས་པ་མེད།ཤིན་ཏུ་སྤྲོས་པ་མེད་པ་དང་།དེ་བཞིན་རབ་ཏུ་སྤྲོས་པ་མེད། བབྱེ་བ་བཞི་ཡི་ཚུལ་གྱིས་ནི།དད་ལྡན་རང་རྒྱུད་སྨིན་པར་བྱ།ཞེས་སོ།

The [text known as] the Penetrating Sound says:

There are four types of empowerments which mature the fortunate one: The elaborate, unelaborate, extremely unelaborate, and the utterly unelaborate. The faithful ones should ripen their mindstream through the four empowerments.

Passage on Page 14

As these passages point out, one should begin by using the stages of empowerment to mature that which is immature. The various empowerments from the texts of the Heart Essence will purify the disciple’s mindstream. This includes the elaborate vase empowerment, as well as the unelaborate, extremely unelaborate, and utterly unelaborate empowerments. Have no doubt that these are of the utmost importance.

ཐོག་མར་མ་སྨིན་པ་སྨིན་པར་བྱེད་པ་དབང་གི་རིམ་པ་ནི།

As said above, to ripen [one’s mind stream] one should do the ripening empowerment in its stages.

སྙིང་ཐིག་རང་གཞུང་སྤྲོས་བཅས་བུམ་པའི་དབང་དང་སྤྲོས་མེད་ཤིན་ཏུ་སྤྲོས་མེད་རབ་ཏུ་སྤྲོས་མེད་སོགས་ཀྱིས་སློབ་མའི་རྒྱུད་དག་པར་བྱེད་པ་ནི་གལ་ཤིན་ཏུ་ཆེ་བས་ངེས་པ་ཅན་དུ་དགོས་སོ།

The texts of the Heart Essence have the elaborate vase empowerment, the unelaborate, very unelaborate and extremely unelaborate empowerment. Through these, the student’s mind is purified. One should be certain that these are greatly important.

 

Key Concepts

Empowerment (Tib. དབང; Wyl. dbang; Phonetic ‘wong’; Skt. Abhisheka)This refers to a ritual in which the Vajrayana instructor confers the power of a practice, gives transmission of its meaning and gives permission for the student to practice it.

Three types of Empowerment (Tib. དབང་ལུང་ཁྲྲིད; Wyl. dbang, lung, khrid; Phonetic “wang, loong, tee”). This refers to the ritual empowerment, the reading transmission and the explanation. All three are necessary to confer the power of a Vajrayana practice. However in the case of particular practices, sometimes only the reading transmission is necessary. Other practices, such as the mani mantra (Om Mani Pad me Hung) can be practiced without receiving an empowerment first. 

Ripening, maturing (Tib. སྨིན་པར་བྱེད་པ; Wyl. smin par byed pa; Phonetic ‘minpar jaypa’). One will sometimes hear empowerments spoken of as ‘the ripening empowerment’ or the means to ‘mature’ the student. The goal of the empowerment is to ‘ripen’ the students by setting up conducive circumstances for wakefulness and insight to dawn. What is it exactly that ripens? From the point of view of Dzogchen, one already contains full blown buddha nature. Perhaps this is a ripening of causes and conditions, or a ripening of merit?

 

Homework

Read pages 13-15 in the English translation, “Great Perfection Outer and Inner Preliminaries.”

Points of Discussion for Vajrayana Live

  1. What is an empowerment?
  2. What are the three types of empowerment?
  3. What empowerments have you attended?
  4. One should keep a log of all empowerments they have ever attended in order to know which practices you have received authorization to begin.

References

Dudjom. The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism: Its Fundamentals and History (Kindle Locations 28941-28943). Wisdom Publications. Kindle Edition.

bzang po, ngas don bstan ‘dzin. rdzogs pa chen po mkha’ ‘gro snying thig gi khri yig thar lam bgrod byed shing rt bzang po zhes bya ba bzhugs so. Mi khron mi rigs dpe skun khang: 1997.

Rinpoche, Patrul. Words of My Perfect Teacher. Shambhala: Boston, 1998.

Zangpo, Ngeton. The Third Dzogchen Rinpoche Great Perfection Outer and Inner Preliminaries. Dahl, Cortland, Translator. Snow Lion: New York, 2007.

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