Vajrayana Training 2.1.7-9 Samaya




VT 2.0 Module 1 Lesson 7 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 14-15

Samaya

Passage from 14-15

There are many explanations concerning the vows one must maintain once empowerments have been received. These are summarized in the following passage from the Tantra of Penetrating Sound:

“There will never be enough time to explain all the details of the samaya vows involved in receiving empowerment, but in brief, one should maintain enlightened form, speech, and mind.”

This quotation shows what needs to be maintained once one has received empowerment. Without losing sight of the purpose of maintaining the vows, one should keep a restrained mind, along with its seed.

This can be classified in terms of the various main and subsidiary samaya vows, as well as the particular injunction not to stray from the samaya vows of enlightened form, speech, and mind.

In brief, however, the supreme samaya vow is when there is no restraint or vow, when the scores of things to be maintained and focused upon are understood to be unestablished and maintained from the very outset. On this point, it is said of this great, primordial lack of anything to maintain, that there is no dividing line to be sequentially established when it comes to keeping a vow, and also that to have conquered all such boundaries is the highest form of samaya.

 

Tibetan and English Translation by Pema Khandro

དེ་ལྟ་བུའི་དབང་ཐོབ་ཕྱིན་ཆད་དམ་ཚིག་གི་རྣམ་བཤད་ཀྱང་མང་དུ་ཡོད་ནའང་མདོར་བསྡུ་ན།་ཐལ་འགྱུར་ལས།

Likewise, once empowerments have been received, thereafter there are many explanations of vows [to maintain]. However, if we were to express it in brief, the Thalgyur says:

དབང་བརྟན་པ་ཡི་དམ་ཚིག་བཤད། བྱེ་བྲག་བརྗོད་ཀྱིས་མི་ལོང་ཡང།མདོར་བསྡུས་སྐུ་གསུང་ཐུགས་ཉིད་བསྲུང།

“There is not enough time to express in details the explanation of the vows which stabilize the empowerment. However in short, there is the body, speech and mind of awakening.

ཞེས་པའི་བསྲུང་བྱའི་དོན་ལས་མི་འདའ་བར་སྡོམ་པའི་སེམས་ས་བོན་དང་བཅས་པ་སྟེ།

The meaning of this quote is that one should not trangress the restraint of mind or its seed.

དབྱེ་ན་རྩ་བ་དང་ཡན་ལག་གི་དམ་ཚིག་ཇི་སྙེད་པ་རྣམས་དང་།ཁྱད་པར་སྐུ་གསུང་ཐུགས་ཀྱི་དམ་ཚིག་ལས་འདའ་བར་མི་སྤྱོད་པ་ཉིད་ཡིན་ཅིང།

For example, it is classified according to the root and branch vows. Especially, in order to attain the goal one should not waver from the [vows of] awakened body, speech and mind.

མདོར་ན་བསྲུང་བྱའི་གྲངས་དང་དམིགས་སུ་མ་གྲུབ་པ་ཡེ་བསྲུང་བཅིངས་སྡོམ་མེད་པ་ནི་དམ་ཚིག་གི་དམ་པ་སྟེ།

In brief, the number of observances and objects of focus are not established and are without being protected, bound or fastened from the beginning. That is the supreme vow.

།ཡེ་ནས་བསྲུང་མེད་ཆེན་པོ་ལ་།བསྲུང་མཚམས་རིམ་པར་བཀོད་པ་མེད།ཅེས་དང་བསྲུང་མཚམས་ཀུན་ལས་རྒྱལ་བ་ན།དམ་ཚིག་ཀུན་གྱི་རྩེ་མོར་བཤད།ཅེས་གསུངས་པ་བཞིན་ནོ།

From the beginning, the great vow is that which is without anything to defend, without being established in sequential boundaries of protection. And if all the boundaries to guard are already conquered, this is explained as the summit of all the vows.

 

Samaya aka Tantric Vows aka the Fourteen Vows

The Fourteen Fundamental Downfalls

The following acts incur the fourteen fundamental downfalls:

1) to denigrate the three spiritual masters
2) to Transgress the joyful buddhas’ commands
3) to be angry with the four kinds of siblings with whom your bond is indissoluble
4) To renounce loving-kindness
5) To relinquish the two kinds of awakened mind
6) To denigrate belief systems
7) To divulge secrets to those not spiritually mature
8) To disdain the five psychophysical aggregations
9) To doubt purity
10) To befriend the malicious
11) To analyze the doctrine conceptually
12) To upset the faithful
13) To not partake of the substances that satisfy the covenant
14) To not have contempt for any female embodiment of sublime insight

An alternate translation

Compiled and adapted from numerous texts by Pema Khandro Rinpoche

1. Disparaging the Lama. To avoid disrespecting, disturbing the Lama and the Lama’s retinue.
2. To avoid denigrating the Buddha’s teaching and the Lama’s teaching (This does not refer to unpacking and investigating Buddhism in constructive and respectful ways, this is referring to denigration and non-productive, disrespectful contestation).
3. Expressing contempt toward the Vajra family. To avoid being hostile to vajra brothers and sisters, to avoid causing or creating problems with one’s Vajra brothers and sisters. To never harbor animosity towards Vajrayana practitioners.
4. Abandoning Love. To avoid abandoning loving kindness on behalf of sentient beings.
5. Abandoning the two types of Bodhichitta. To never relinquish Bodhichitta due to difficulties.  Avoid sexual misconduct.
6. Denigrating other religious philosophies and doctrines. To avoid denigrating the teachings and paths of others.
7. Revealing Secrets. To avoid revealing secrets to unprepared people. To never transmit Vajrayana teachings without proper empowerment and credentials, to never reveal Vajrayana teachings to those who are not ready to receive them.
8. Disrespecting the body. To avoid abusing and disrespecting the physical body, which are primordially pure, to avoid seeing the body and the world as ‘impure’ or ‘defiled.’
9. Doubting the dharma. To avoid developing doubt in the inner doctrines of the tantras (developing doubt refers to secretly harboring doubts without turning them into genuine questions put to the lama in the spirit of openness with a willingness to learn).
10. Improperly nourishing that which harms the dharma. To avoid idiot compassion, to never fail to act in a potentially disastrous situation. To avoid improperly applying acts of love.
11. Intellectualizing concepts as truth. To avoid Imposing anything upon reality (relating to non-duality as real). To remember the purpose of the path is presence of awareness.
12. Causing someone to lose faith. To avoid disparaging those who have faith (including Buddhists and all religions).
13. To rely on samaya substances. To fail to participate in Vajrayana rituals and rituals supports with ones Lama. Including songs, dances, substances, vajra and bell and so forth.
14. To never despise or condemn the other gender. To avoid disrespecting one’s partner.

 

Key Concepts:

Samaya (Tib. དམ་ཚིག; Wylie. dam tshig; Phonetic. damtsig)
Vajrayana commitments. These are the pledges taken by Vajrayana practitioners upon receiving initiation/empowerment. These include the first two types of vows, those of ‘individual liberation,’ which are monks vows or lay peoples vows (the five precepts) and the bodhisattva vows.The special Samaya, the vows of Vajrayana are the fourteen vows. Additionally they include vows of the five buddha families, root and branch vows. These vows are considered imperative codes of loyalty and view that are adhered to with great care, with the intensity with which one ‘guards the blood in one’s heart.’ Like all vows, they are impossible to keep perfectly unless one is already a buddha. Thus there are strategies to repair vows. However the quality of one’s practices and one’s mind-stream is thought to depend on how well these vows are kept. Like all vows, these are subject to interpretation. One should pay keen attention to how they are interpreted by one’s own Lama and sangha.

 

Homework

Read pages 14-15 in the English translation, “Great Perfection Outer and Inner Preliminaries.”

Points of Discussion for Vajrayana Live

  1. What are the vows of ‘individual liberation.’ Review these five precepts. Which are more difficult to keep and why? Give an example. Which is easiest for you to keep and why? Give an example of someone who has handled one of these vows in an exemplary manner.
  2. Review the first three vows. Discuss their meaning. Which is more difficult to keep and why? Give an example of someone who has handled one of these vows in an exemplary manner.

 

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.

Vajrayana Training 2.1.4: Lineage


VT 2.0 Module 1 Lesson 4 Lineage

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 10-11

Today’s Passage

བརྒྱུད་པའི་ལོ་རྒྱུས་བཤད་དགོས་པའི་རྒྱུས

The reason to learn the history of the lineage.

The underlying reasons concerning the necessity of explaining the lineage history are taught in the Tantra of the Array of Lamps, where it is written:

“The validity of the Secret Mantra’s meaning comes from the realization, symbolic, and oral lineages.”

One recognizes this meaning by relying on examples. In dependence upon signs, this turns into conviction. By gaining certainty about the essential meaning, The threefold knowledge will be ripened like a grain. Present as it is in the basis, like a seed in the ground, the knowledge that arises through conditions will then clear away the darkness of ignorance and the cognitive obscurations will be self-purified. With this, one will behold the fruition, even without practice.

བརྒྱུད་པའི་ལོ་རྒྱུས་བཤད་དགོས་པའི་རྒྱུས །སྒྲོན་རྣམ་པར་བཀོད་པའི་རྒྱུད་ལས།

The underlying reasons concerning the necessity of explaining the lineage history are taught in the text known as the Tantra of the Array of Lamps, where it is written:

་དགོངས་པ་བརྡ་དང་སྙན་བརྒྱུད་ནས།གསང་སྔགས་དོན་གྱི་ཚད་མ་འབྱུང་།

“The validity of the Secret Mantra’s meaning comes from the lineage of realization, symbolic lineage, and oral lineages.”

དཔེ་ལ་བརྟེན་ནས་དོན་ངོ་ཤེས།

One recognizes this meaning by relying on those examples.

རྟགས་ལ་བརྟེན་ནས་ཡིད་ཆེས་འགྱུར།
Furthermore, in dependence upon signs, this turns into confidence.

 དོན་གྱི་སྙིང་པོ་ཐག་ཚོད་པས།གཞི་ལ་གྲུབ་པའི་ཤེས་རབ་གསུམ། 

By gaining certainty about the essential meaning, the threefold knowledge will be ripened like a grain.

ས་བོན་ཚུལ་དུ་གནས་པ་དེ།

[That knowledge] is present as it is in the basis, like a seed in the ground.

རྐྱེན་ལས་བྱུང་བའི་ཤེས་རབ་ཀྱིས།འབྲུ་ཡི་ཚུལ་དུ་སྨིན་པ་ཡིས།མ་རིག་པ་ཡི་མུན་པ་སངས།

The knowledge that arises through these aforementioned conditions will then clear away the darkness of ignorance and

ཤེས་བྱའི་སྒྲིབ་པ་རང་དག་པས།མ་བཙལ་འབྲས་བུ་རང་གིས་མཐོང་།ཞེས་གསུངས་པ་བཞིན་ནོ།

the cognitive obscurations will also be self-purified. With this, one will behold the fruition, even without practice.

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Special Note:

The lineage history is covered in detail up to the fourteenth century in a separate module. See Vajrayana Training 1.6 Lineage 

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Key Concepts

Lineage

(Tib. བརྒྱུད, Wyl. brgyud). Literally, the lineage, or channel, spiritual heritage or unbroken connection, the chain of teachers going back to the historical origins. Lineages in Tibetan are rich tapestries of diversely woven threads of teachings and teachers. In the case of the Nyingma lineage, this chain goes back to Padamsambhava.

Lineage of realization  

(Tib. རྒྱལ་བ་དགོངས་བརྒྱུད་gyalwa gong gyü; Wyl. rgyal ba dgongs brgyud). Literally the lineage of the conquerer’s enlightened mind. This is the early origins of the lineage passed from Buddhas to other buddhas.

Symbolic lineage

(Tib. རིག་འཛིན་བརྡ་བརྒྱུད་rigdzin da gyü; Wyl. rig ‘dzin brda brgyud). Literally the lineage of the ‘rigdzin’ the awareness holders. This is the lineage from Vajrasattva to human figures, Garab Dorje, Padmasambhava.

Oral lineage

(Tib. གང་ཟག་སྙན་བརྒྱུད་gangzak nyen gyü; Wyl. gang zag snyan brgyudThe lineage as passed from teacher to student from Padmasambhava down to your root teacher.

Two types of obscurations

(Tib.སྒྲིབ་པ་གཉིས, Wyl. nyon sgrib, shes sgrib) There are two types of obscurations: the afflictive obscurations and the obscurations to omniscience. These are the veils that impede direct perception of the nature of mind and conceal clear perception of reality. The first of the two is Afflictive Obscurations. In is also sometimes called “emotional obscurations.” These are disturbances which tire the mind and perpetuate cycles of ignorance known as samsara. They include the disturbing emotions of anger, clinging, closed-mindedness, grasping and jealousy. These arise due to negative karma, moral obscurations, habitual tendencies, breakages of vows, negative mind states.  The second, is called Obscurations to Omniscience. It is sometimes called “Cognitive obscurations.” This refers to the dualistic perception that prevents full attainment of buddhahood. It is the obscuration that Bodhisattvas still need to go beyond to become a Buddha. Without the obscurations to omniscience, one is able to perceive all phenomena in its true nature.

Three-fold knowledge

(Tib. ཤེས་རབ་གསུམ, shes rab gsum) Three Kinds of knowledge or discriminative awareness. Hearing, contemplating and meditating. These may be listed as, discriminative awareness born of study and learning, of thought and reflection and of meditation. Also known as the three types of prajna or three types of understanding. 

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Homework

Read pages 7-11 in the English translation, “Great Perfection Outer and Inner Preliminaries.”
Watch the Vajrayana Training Module on the Lineage History

Points of Discussion for Vajrayana Live

  1. Practice together.
  2. Read the passage together. Review the key concepts.
  3. Define ‘lineage’ according to Vajrayana.
  4. Dialogue over any questions: The last lesson had extensive materials so questions may need to review the nine yanas. Questions may also focus on the self-paced module that was just released.

 

References

Dudjom. The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism: Its Fundamentals and History (Kindle Locations 28941-28943). Wisdom Publications. Kindle Edition.
shes rab gsum. Rangjung Yeshe Dictionary.
Norbu, Thinley. Small Golden Key. Shambhala: 1993. 8-13
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.

Vajrayana Training 2.1.3: Classifications and Stages


VT 2.0 Module 1 Lesson 3

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 in English as: Great Perfection, Outer and Inner Preliminaries
  • Pema Khandro will call it for short: Guide to the Dakini’s Heart

Today’s Passage

ཆོས་ཀྱི་རྣམས་གྲངས་ནི།

The Classifications and Stages

See Great Perfection, the Outer Inner and Inner Preliminaries page 6

The Dharma you are listening to is the pinnacle of the nine vehicles, the natural Great Perfection. The Great Perfection contains many divisions and categories: Three Classes; The Ninefold Expanse; 6,400,000 Stanzas; 35,000 Chapters; 21,000 Volumes; 180 Spikes; 1,500 Condensations; 3,000 Essential Points; 400,000 Delineations of Errors and Obscurations; 20,000 Individually Named Tantras; and so on. All of these, as well as the essential meaning of all the sutras and tantras, are distilled into key instructions and contained in the luminous vajra essence. Coming to a definitive understanding of the stages of these liberating instructions entails three factors: the lineage history, empowerments, and key instructions. The lineage history instills confidence, while the empowerments mature the practitioner and the key instructions are used to teach the practices.

དེ་ལ་ཡང་གང་ཉན་པར་བྱ་བའི་ཆོས་ཀྱི་རྣམས་གྲངས་ནི།

Having heard that, the classification of dharma are to be made.

ཐེག་པ་རིམ་པ་དགུ་ཡི་རྩེ་མོ་རང་བཞིན་རྫོགས་པ་ཆེན་པོ།

The peak of the nine vehicles is the Great Perfection as the inherent nature of reality.

།སྡེ་གསུམ།

It has three classifications.

སློང་དགུ།ཤྭ་ལོ་ཀ་འབུམ་ཕྲག་དྲུག་ཅུ་རྩ་བཞི།ལེའུ་སྟོང་ཕྲག་སུམ་ཅུ་རྩ་ལྔ། བམ་པོ་ཉི་ཁྲི་ཆིག་སྟོང།གཟེར་བུ་བརྒྱ་དང་བརྒྱད་ཅུ།འགག་དོན་བསྡུས་པ་སྟོང་ཕྲག་ཕྱེད་གཉིས།གནད་ཆེན་པོ་སྟོང་ཕྲག་གསུམ།།གོལ་སྒྲིབ་ཤན་འབྱེད་ཁྲི་ཕྲག་བཞི་བཅུ།མིང་ཐོག་གི་རྒྱུད་ཁྲི་ཕྲག་གཉིས་ལ་སོགས་པ་དང

It is also classified in terms of the nine fold expanse; 6,400,000 slokas; 35,000 chapters; 180 Spikes; 1,500 Condensations of key points; 3,000 Greatest Essential Points; 400,000 Delineations of Errors and Obscurations; 20,000 Individually Named Tantras; and so forth.

།གཞན་ཡང་མདོ་རྒྱུད་ཐམས་ཅད་ཀྱི་དགོངས་དོན་མན་ངག་ཏུ་དྲིལ་བ་འོད་གསལ་རྡོ་རྗེ་སྙིང་པོའི་གྲོལ་་་་་བྱེད་ཀྱི་གདམས་པའི་རིམ་པ་གཏན་ལ་དབབ་པར་བྱ་བ་ལ་གསུམ་སྟེ།ལོ་རྒྱུས་ཀྱི་སྒོ་ནས་ངེས་ཤེས་བསྐྱེད་པ།དབང་གི་སྒོ་ནས་སྨིན་པར་བྱ་བ།དགམས་ངག་གི་སྒོ་ནས་ཉམས་ལེན་བསྟན་པའོ།

Furthermore, the underlying meaning of all the sutras and tantras in the pith instructions condensed into the advice of stages of the “Luminous Vajra Essence which is Freeing.” Coming to a definitive understanding of this entails three factors, entering by the door of history which generates certainty, entering by the door of empowerments which ripen the practitioner, and entering by the door of the pith instructions which illustrate the practice/experience.

Key Concepts

Nine Vehicles.
For detailed discussion of the nine vehicles – see Appendix 1 Below.

Luminosity, Emptiness, Inseparability.
Three classes of Dzogchen teachings are typically divided into (Mind class, (Tib. sems sde) / Space Class, (Tib. klong sde) / Pith Instruction Class (Tib. man ngag sde). Rangjung Yeshe dictionary describes this division as being based Emphasis on Luminosity, Emptiness and their inseparability. Three classes of Dzogchen teachings are said to be divided by according to these three points of emphasis, which is a way of highlighting diverse frameworks of Tibetan Buddhist thought according to different ways of understanding emptiness.

Skillful Means

ཐབས་ཤེས། A Buddhist concept of expedient means. This is a method of doing something that takes into account the context and adjusts the method accordingly ( five certainties teacher, audience, teaching, place, time). This is also a way of talking about the immense diversity of Buddhist thought and lifestyles. For example, in the Lotus Sutra, the concept of Skillful Means is used to talk about why the Buddha gave different teachings to different audiences or at different times. In Buddhist Tantra, Skillful Means takes on additional meanings including the theme of the union of method and wisdom, as the union of male and female qualities within every person, or the value of non-celibate practice in order to act as skillful means.

Class Exercise

Passage to analyze, which class of Dzogchen teachings is it?

“It is said in the Dohā Composed by Lord Maitripā (Mahāmudrā-kanakamālā, T 2454):
Non-conceptual, without ideas,
Transcending objects of ideas and scrutiny,
Unthinking, without mind, utterly unthinkable,
Without support or lack of support, Or going, coming and abiding,
Awakening to the happiness and sorrows of saṃsāra and nirvāṇa
In the space of supreme bliss,
Uncontrived, unwavering and naturally relaxed,
Is the inner radiance, free from coming or going,
In which mental events have been interrupted.
Its appearance is ineffable and it is without any master.”

– Dudjom. The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism: Its Fundamentals and History (Kindle Locations 9314-9328). Wisdom Publications. Kindle Edition

“It is positively held that the appearances in the display of this naturally present pristine cognition are an adornment and display of reality, which appears as a naturally arisen diversity.”
– Dudjom. The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism: Its Fundamentals and History (Kindle Locations 9260-9262). Wisdom Publications. Kindle Edition.

Points of Discussion for Vajrayana Live

Have you heard of these divisions – the yanas – before? Why do they matter?

What did you know about them before last nights class? How did that knowledge change?

Describe spiritual teachings you have had before in terms of the nine yanas. What teachings fit under the Sutrayana vehicles? Mahayana vehicles? Outer Tantra versus Inner Tantra?

Review the base path and fruit for the three Inner Tantras with special attention to the “view of reality,” which is the relationship between samsara and nirvana.

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Appendix 1: Summary of Nine Vehicles in Short by Pema Khandro

The concept of ‘yana’ which means ‘vehicle’ refers to a way of getting from one point of understanding to another. A vehicle is that which has Buddhist philosophy and practices which will take us from one specific starting point to a particular goal.

Buddhism offers different vehicles and they have different qualities. For example, a bicycle can get us from point A to point B. For someone going to the corner store, a bicylce is a perfect vehicle. However if we are driving across the country, a car or train would be a more appropriate vehicle. Even though a car could work, it would be much slower than a plane. A plane could get us across country faster, but it is a more dangerous way of travelling, because it is fast and powerful.

The nine yanas are nine schools of thought amongst Buddhism. Depending on where you are and where you are going, the vehicles are all appropriate for different people at different stages with different goals. The Sutrayana path is like a bicycle, relatively easy to use and anyone could travel with it, but it takes alot of time to go along distance. Similarly, Tibetan thought frames Sutrayana as a slower path, which takes three hundred thousand lifetimes to complete. The implication is that it tooks too long. Meanwhile Vajrayana is considered a faster path, which takes only one or three lifetimes to reach spiritual awakening, but greater attention is required because it is fast and powerful like a plane.

Sometimes the nine yanas are spoken of sequentially, like a ladder that one climbs to reach the ultimate goal of the greatest enlightement possible. The whole point of a ladder is to go somewhere higher. This is a useful model for spiritual development because we can see how someone develops cognitively in stages like climbing a ladder. At first they may be able to perceive things in a black and white way. Later they may having the capacity to understand shades of grey and allow ambiguity. Further on, they may have the capacity to entertain multiple perspectives at once. In the Nyingma tradition the nine yanas are a ladder that leads to Dzogchen as the ultimate view.

The particular manner in which I (Pema Khandro) teach the Yanas is two fold. Sometimes I find the ladder concept useful. At other times, I frame the yanas as particular vantage points through which we can apprehend our world and access our sanity. In this case, we may at some times find qualities of a ‘lower’ vehicle more appropriate – even if we usually rely on a higher vehicle. For example, if we are addicted, the Sutrayana vehicles of renunciation are the appropriate method to engage. In this way, the yanas can represent the scope or range for apprehending reality as we can experience it in this moment, and engaging with that experience appropriately.

Vehicle One &  Two The Solitary Realizer  & The Path of the Hearers; 

Also referred to Sutrayana – The Renunciate Vehicles, or early Buddhist teachings before Mahayana

  1. 1. In English: the Path of Renunciation
  2. 2. In Sanskrit: the shravaka yana and the pratyekabuddha yana
  3. 3. In Tibetan: རང་རྒྱལ་གྱི་ཐེག་པ་དང་ཉན་ཐོས་ཀྱི་ཐེག་པ་

Base: The path begins with an ordinary person and the knowledge of the two truths, that there is ultimate reality and conventional reality.

Path: The path consists of accumulation of positive karma in order to become enlightened through many lifetimes of effort. These efforts focus on the accumulation of positive karma. These accrues as credits known as ‘merit’ which are positive momemtum towards good fortune and awakening. This path is known as the “two accumulations” which are the accumulation of merit and wisdom.

Fruit:
Solitary Realizer: The realization of emptiness or non-self.

The Path of the Hearers: The realization of emptiness of self and all others, the realization that everything is actually interdependently arising.

One becomes an “arhat” an enlightened being endowed with understanding. Arhats are not Buddhas. They are ordinary people who became enlightened.

Who is the Buddha: The Buddha is a special class of being unlike every one else. There is only one Buddha per aeon.

Core texts:

The three baskets (pitakas), sutras (buddhas teaching), vinaya (monastic rules and regulations), abhidharma (philosophical treatises).

Core teachings:

Non-self, the Five Skandhas, the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, dependent origination.

Conduct:

Conduct is governed by the five vows, the ten actions to avoid and follow and the “Vinaya” which is the monastic code of conduct.

View of Reality:

Every day reality and individuality is “samsara,” a cycle of suffering that one must escape to through extinguishment in of that world. Then one is said to be a Buddha. Samsara and nirvana are two separate realities.

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Vehicle Three – The Vehicle of the Bodhisattvas

In English: the Great Vehicle

Also known as: Mahayana
In Sanskrit: the bodhisattva yana

In Tibetan: བྱང་ཆུབ་སེམས་དཔའི་ཐེག་པ

Base: The path focuses on understanding “emptiness,” which leads to the wish to benefit others. Essentially emptiness refers to the idea that oneself and all things do not have intrinsic reality or fixed qualities. Instead meaning and reality are made up of interdependant parts.  A key realization that comes from this view is that self and other are not separate, therefore compassion arises. Furthermore, Mahayana emphasizes that not only is self empty, but so is everything. This underscores the notion that reality is dependantly arising in networks of relationships with everything else.

Path: The path consists primarily of working for the benefit of others liberation. It also contains the cultivation of wisdom (prajna), meditation (dhyana) and moral conduct (sila), though generally meditation is minimized and contemplation of liturgical prayers is the practice. A major practice is the supplication of deities, with devotion and requests for blessings and aid.

Fruit: One realizes emptiness as compassion. One becomes subsumed by Compassion. One realizes a way of seeing that sees the emptiness and interdependence of all things. In colloquial terms, one becomes an “bodhisattva,” by having a stable enlightened intent (bodhichitta) and acting on the intention to liberate others.

Or in more literary terms, one becomes a ‘bodhisattva,’ a highly realized being, through going through ten stages of spiritual awakening. These are known as the ten bodhisattva grounds (bhumis) which are also referred to in phrases such as “first level bodhisattva.” These stages each have measures of realization, the stages are known as very joyous, free from defilements and eventually becoming “a cloud of doctrine.”  The ultimate fruit of the bodhisattva path is being able to benefit others tremendously because one is freed of defilements oneself.

Who is the Buddha: The Buddha is a special class of being unlike every one else. But there are also Bodhisattvas, so one’s goal is to become a Bodhisattva. These are beings who do not seek to escape from samsara but instead remain “in” it, meaning they remain individual in a human body in order to help others. In Mahayana the Buddha is reconceived to be ever present through the concept of the three kayas. The Buddha did not die and become extinct at death. Instead after the  historical Buddha passed away, he went on to teach in other dimensions and remains present as an active force. Plus the cosmology expands to focus on many Buddhas and Bodhisattvas who exist as divine beings in the energy body, Sambhogakaya. One emphasizes particular divinities depending on one’s tradition one might focus on one in particular.

Core texts:

Prajnaparamita, also known as Heart Sutra; Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra, Guide to the Bodhisattvas Way of Life (Bodhicaryavatara), Madhyamaka

Core teachings:

Mahayana -Madhyamika. Emptiness, non-duality of samsara and nirvana, the two-truths of conventional reality (how things appear) and ultimate reality, how things are.

Conduct:

Conduct is governed by proper intentions. It is not enough to do right actions one must do them with the understanding of emptiness, the wish for others benefit and the proper atittude (outlined in the six paramitas). Mahayana is more inclusive and the literature includes women, lay people and non-celibate adepts.

Reality View:

Mahayana has two varying ideas. The first is the ideas of ordinary world as samsara, and therefore needing to be escaped. And it also has the idea of samsara and nirvana are non-dual. In the case of samsara and nirvana as non-dual, they are a matter of the perspective that one has. When one is dominated by self-grasping and forgets “emptiness,” that is conditioned existence (samsara). When one is not separate from others and realizes that everything is empty that is the attainment of Nirvana.

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Vehicle Four, Five and Six – The Outer Tantras – The Ascetic Vehicles

In English: Path of Purification or Asceticism

In Sanskrit: yana of kriya tantra, charya tantra and yoga tantra

In Tibetan: བྱ་རྒྱུད་ཀྱི་ཐེག་པ་དང་སྤྱོད་རྒྱུད་ཀྱི་ཐེག་པ་དང་རྣལ་འབྱོར་རྒྱུད་ཀྱི་ཐེག་པ་ 

Base: The path begins with the seed of Buddhahood which must be groomed and developed. However this seed is covered by karmic residue which must be purified. The entry point is intiation in a ritual empowerment.

Kriya tantra:

“Delighting in the Deity through ascetic practices and ritual purity.” (Dudjom Lingpa 151)

Ritual purification and pure behaviors. Conduct is oriented around avoiding impure actions and performing rituals. The Buddhas are divine beings who are like dieties that one supplicates for blessings, intervention, assistance and purification. This yana and Charya Tantra are similar to Hindu practices and Mahayana, in terms of the emphasis of supplication of deities, purification, avoiding impure actions.

Charya tantra aka Upaya Tantra:

This is similar to Kriya Tantra. However, a progession is illustrated in where the sacred is located. One sees oneself as the only child of the divine being, buddha, bodhisattva that one calls upon for help and guidance through ritual, prayers and supplications. One practices mantra repetition and meditative absorption.

Yoga tantra:

At this stage we begin to see traces of Vajrayana, Tibetan Buddhism. In Yoga Tantra, one sees the dieties, buddhas, bodhisattvas as friends who come to help on the path. One calls upon for help and guidance through ritual, prayers and supplications. The practices are calm abiding and insight meditation (Sanskrit: Shamatha and Vipassana; Tibetan: Zhine and Lhatong) as well as supplicating the Buddhas and bodhisattvas.

Fruit:

One ripens the seed within and becomes awakened into one of the Buddha families.

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Vehicle Seven: The Inner Tantras: Mahayoga

In English: Great Yoga

In Sanskrit: Mahayoga

In Tibetan: རྣལ་འབྱོར་ཆེན་པོའི་ཐེག་པ་

In New Translation Schools this is sometimes known as Father Tantras and Mother Tantras in the language of the Kagyu, Sakya and Gelukpa schools.

Base: The path begins with buddha-nature potential that needs to be ripened.

Path: The path consists of creation and completion practices which essentially involve visualizing oneself as transforming into a Buddha or merging with the mind of the Buddha or the Lama. The practice begins with initiation by a teacher in an “empowerment.”

Fruit:

One becomes a “Rigdzin” an awareness holder (Sanskrit: Vidhyadhara; Tibetan: rig ‘dzin). One realizes the inseperability of the ‘two truths,’ that conventional reality and ultimate reality are one. In other words, the world as we know it is actually intrinsically sacred, good and whole when perceived directly.

The fruit is the realization of divine pride where one coalesces with the meditation deity and identifies with it completely.

The fruit is direct perception of reality as it really is – in terms of the Vajra world – a world imbibed with meaning. One sees everything through the lens of “pure view,” where one realizes oneself and everyone is is a Buddha, that one is living the field of that Buddha. One sees the world the deity and mandala of Samantabhadra (Tibetan Kuntuzanpo), the primordial buddha.

The stages of realization are further described as having power over one’s lifespan and realizing subsequent further stages which culminate in a manner parallel to the bodhisattva bhumis, but are said to be superior.

Who is the Buddha: The ultimate reality underlying everything and manifesting in particular forms.

Core texts: Guhyagarbha (11th century) is the main text for the Nyingma lineage, however later formations did not manifest the Guhyagarbha themes literally. There are also Chakrasamvara and other tantras that correspond to this yana.

Core practices: Ritual prayers, Deity Yoga (also known as generation stage, Tib. bskyed-rim), in which one visualizes the descent of blessings, purification followed by merging with a Buddhist meditational deity. There is also communal meditation known as Tsok practice. This also focuses on visualization of seed syllables a sonic and visual meditation practice. Mahayoga also emphasizes Guru Yoga (aka Lama Naljor) and practices for dying, death and post death. In particular one visualizes the deities as being in union with their consort, a contemplation of the central symbol of Mahayoga – the union of wisdom and skillful means as embodied in the symbol of Buddhas in ecstatic union.

Conduct:

Conduct is governed by “samaya” the fourteen tantric vows which emphasize seeing one’s teacher and spiritual community as having buddha-nature. These vows emphasize loyalty to one’s teacher, harmony with one’s community, respect for other genders and avoiding denigrating other spiritual paths.

Reality View:

Samsara and nirvana are non-dual, it is a matter of perception. When one sees the world without realization of emptiness, then it is conditioned existence (samsara). When one has a perceptual shift and sees reality as it is, then the world is Nirvana. This is the attainment of pure view.

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Vehicle Eight: The Inner Tantras: Anu Yoga

In English: Inner Yoga

In Sanskrit: Anuyoga

In Tibetan: རྗེས་སུ་རྣལ་འབྱོར་གྱི་ཐེག་པ་ 

Base: The path begins with the insight into the purity of all phenomena. It is described in terms of the mandala of Samantabhadra the primordial buddha – a sense in which one is internalizing the visualizations of Vajrayana.

Path: The path consists of somatic practices which entail the visualization of the subtle body. This is a kind of ‘body of mind’ that maps onto the physical biology. It is organized according to channels, winds and centers (These are called tsa, lung and thigle in Tibetan). Inner Yoga practices focus on directing and manipulating the subtle body in order to generate enlightened states. This is also known as completion stage meditation (Tib. rdzogs rim).

Fruit: The realization of great bliss and emptiness. The realization of spontaneous presence of pristine awareness. The perception of the entire world as bodhichitta – perfect, complete and equal. Embodied realization.

Who is the Buddha: The Buddhas are the qualities of all phenomena and especially our entire body is actual a buddhafield, made up of enlightened energies and englightened beings.

Core texts: The core texts are described by Dudjom Rinpoche as the All Gathering Awareness and the Six Tantras which Clarify the Six Limits and Twelve Rare Tantra and so forth. However generally the Inner Yogas are passed through oral tradition. Only a bare sketch of the practices is described in Buddhist literature. These practices initially were taught as stand alone practices but come to be part of every Tibetan Buddhist school’s practice curriculum, even though they are generally kept secret and for more advanced stages of practice. Tibetan Yogis are known for specializing in these practices.

Core practices: Completion stage meditation and the six yogas of Naropa.

Conduct:

Conduct is the same as Mahayoga, it is governed by the fourteen vows, known as samaya.

Reality View:

The world is pure presence and awareness. Emptiness and appearances or Emptiness and luminosity are said to co-emerge.

_________________________

Vehicle Nine: Inner Tantras- Ati Yoga, the Ninth Yana

In Sanskrit: yana of atiyoga

In Tibetan: ཤིན་ཏུ་རྣལ་འབྱོར་གྱི་ཐེག་པ་

Also known as Dzogchen, the Great Perfection

Base: The path begins after the realization of both emptiness and compassion. Then it is possible to perceive that emptiness and compassion are non-dual aspects of the ground of reality which is also luminous presence, or primordial knowing, know as Yeshe (Tib. Ye shes). Therefore the base is spoken about in Dzogchen as having essence, nature and energy. It is empty essence, luminous nature and compassionate responsiveness as the energy. In terms of its empty essence, reality is seen to be pure by nature or primordially pure, (Tib. Ka dag). In terms of its luminous nature, it is said to have clarity of sheer perception. This perception is the mind which is able to recognize itself. This clarity is vivid, present and spontaneously manifest. In terms of its energy it is said to be like a crystal with the suns rays shining out of it. The phenomenal world manifests from the creative play of luminosity expressing itself and responding to itself with a total responsiveness which can also be described as compassion.

Path: The path consists of the recognition of luminous presence itself as the nature of mind and reality. One applies simple, direct contemplative methods fort his recognition to take place, be stabilized and sustained. The path is to recognize confusion for what it is and therefore to allow authentic presence to be disinhibited.

Fruit: The fruit is said to be awakening to reality as it is, authentic presence, which is self-libreated. No more remedies or processes are needed because upon seeing things as they are, then confusion no longer has a hold over one’s mind. The fruit can also be described as the three kayas where one is totally integrated with reality as it is in all three dimensions of being, form, energy and space.

Who is the Buddha: Every person has a Buddha-nature exactly identical to the historical Buddha. The difference between the historical Buddha and ordinary beings is only that the historical Buddha manifested or actualized this Buddha-nature. Ordinary beings do not recognize it or when they do, they cannot remain in it, due to being mesmerized by delusions and illusions.

Core texts:

These depend upon one’s lineage. In this school we study the texts known as Dzogchen Nyingthig. Generally, these emphasize the Longchen Nyingthig, the Heart Essence of the Vast Expense. However we also specialize in the more rare body, the Khandro Nyingthig, the Dakini’s Heart. Our philosophical studies proceed through the lens of Dzogchen Nyingthig in the works of Longchenpa.

Core teachings:

The ground of being as a ground below the ground of alaya vijnana. The implication is that the world as we know it is not regarded as karmically generated but instead Buddha-nature generated. Also what is unconscious is not only bad (karma), but there is a layer below that which is the ultimate good, our Buddha-nature goodness or natural wisdom.

Conduct:

Conduct is the same as the other vehicles in spirit, however the lifestyle is one that does not require celibacy or renunciation. Instead there is the attitude of embracing ordinary life as the domain of Buddha-nature goodness.

Reality View:

Samsara and nirvana as inseparable.

 

References

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

Watson, Lotus Sutra. Columbia University Press. New York. 1993

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.

Rinpoche, Namkhai Norbu. John Shane, Transl. Dzogchen the Self Perfected State. Snow Lion: New York, 1996.

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

Vajrayana Training 2.1.2: Five Certainties and Six Stains

VT 2.0 Module 1 Lesson 2: 5 Certainties 6 Stains

With Pema Khandro

An Introduction to Vajrayana study and the study of the text, Ngeton Zangpo’s Guide to the Dakini’s Heart.   

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 in the English version: Dzogchen Ngeton Tenzin Zangpo’s Great Perfection Outer and Inner Preliminaries
  • Pema Khandro will call it for short: Guide to the Dakini’s Heart

Today’s Passage:

ཆོས་ཉན་པའི་ཚུལ་བསྟན་པ།

How to Listen to the Teachings Part 2

See, the English Translation in the Text listed above, “Dzogchen Ngeton Tenzin Zangpo’s Great Perfection Outer and Inner Preliminaries” page 5

The Six Stains

“The six stains are taught in the Principles of Elucidation: Pride, lack of faith, Disinterest, outer distraction, Inward withdrawal, and lack of motivation— These are the six stains of the listener. When you listen, you should eliminate any feelings of pride you may have about things such as status and any positive qualities you may have. You should reject any lack of faith you may have towards the Dharma or guru. You should also not feel disinterested or dispassionate about the Dharma, nor should you be outwardly distracted or inwardly withdrawn, such as when your eyes, ears, or mind are distracted by objects or when your mind feels drowsy and dull. Finally, eliminate any lack of motivation or feeling of discouragement that you may feel about listening to the Buddha’s teachings.”

དྲི་མ་དྲུག་ནི།རྣམ་བཤད་རིག་པ་ལས།

The six stains are taught in the text known as the “Principles of Elucidation.”

ང་རྒྱལ་དང་ནི་མ་དད་དང།དོན་དུ་གཉེར་བ་མེད་ཉིད་དང།ཕྱི་རོལ་རྣམ་གཡེང་ནང་དུ་བསྡུད།སྐྱོ་བས་ཉན་པའི་དྲི་མ་ཡིན།ཞེས་པས།

The six stains of the listener are pride, mistrust, disinterest, outer distraction, inward withdrawal, and lack of motivation.

རིགས་དང་ཡོན་ཏན་སོགས་ཆེ་ཁྱད་ཀྱི་ང་རྒྱལ་དང་།

When you listen, you should eliminate any feelings of pride you may have about things such as status and any positive qualities you may have.

ཆོས་དང་བླ་མ་ལ་མི་དད་པ་དང་།

You should reject any mistrust may have towards the dharma or the teacher.

ཆོས་ལ་དོན་གཉེར་གྱི་འདོད་འདུན་མེད་པ་དང་

You should also not feel disinterested or dispassionate about the Dharma.

མིག་དང་རྣ་བ་ཡིད་ལ་སོགས་པའི་དབང་པོ་ཡུལ་ལ་རྣམ་པར་གཡེང་བ་དང་།གཉིད་རྨུགས་ཀྱིས་སེམས་ནང་དུ་

Nor should you be outwardly distracted or inwardly withdrawn, such as when your eyes, ears, or mind are distracted by objects or when your mind feels drowsy and dull.

སྡུད་པ་དང་ཉན་མི་མོས་པར་སུན་པ་དང་སྐྱོ་བ་རྣམས་སྤངས་ནས་ཉན་དགོས་པའོ།།

Finally, eliminate any lack of motivation or feeling of discouragement or worry that you may feel about listening to the teachings.

 

Key Concepts

Five Certainties: (Tibetan, nges pa lnga)
The teacher (ston-pa), teaching (bstan-pa), retinue (’khor), place (gnas) and time (dus). This refers to the factors which deterimine what can be taught, how it can be taught and with what degree of success it can be learned. They are also described as the factors that serve as the context for the original delivery texts, and of the factors that surround Buddhas and deities.

Sources

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

DeAngelis, Tori. Why We Overestimate our competence, American Psychological Association Website: http://www.apa.org/monitor/feb03/overestimate.aspx Accessed April 15, 2018.

Watson, Lotus Sutra. Columbia University Press. New York. 1993

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.

 

Discussion Points for VT Live

What are the five certainties?
What are the six stains?
Which of the six stains are you most prone toward?
What are the remedies for the six stains?

Vajrayana Training 1.7 Buddhism and Sexuality

Class 1


Class 2


Class 3


Class 4


Class 5


Class 6


Class 7


Class 8


Class 9


Class 10

Vajrayana Training 2.1.1 Bewilderment


VT 2.0 Module 1 Lesson 1 – Bewilderment

With Pema Khandro

An Introduction to Vajrayana study and the study of the text, Ngeton Zangpo’s Guide to the Dakini’s Heart.

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

 

English Translation of the text: You may find an english translation to follow along with. It is called “Great Perfection Outer and Inner Preliminaries,” by the Third Dzogchen Rinpoche, translated by Cortland Dahl. However, you do not need to purchase the text, the passages will also be provided in Tibetan and English along with the videos.

 

Today’s Passage

ཆོས་ཉན་པའི་ཚུལ་བསྟན་པ།

How to Listen to the Teachings Part 1

See the English Translation “Excellent Chariot” Page Five – The Three Flaws of a Vessel

 

As shown here, when you listen to the Dharma you should be free from the three flaws of a vessel and the six stains. The first of the three flaws of a vessel involves failing to listen to the words and their meanings. This is likened to pouring liquid onto an overturned vessel. The second example is pouring liquid into a vessel that contains poison, in which case whatever you pour in will become contaminated with poison. Similarly, when your mind is stained with an affliction, even if you study the Dharma it won’t be of much benefit. Pride, lack of faith, and other flaws will keep the Dharma from acting as a remedy against the afflictions. Instead, it will only serve to support them. Third, if a vessel has holes in it, it won’t be able to retain anything, in the same way that not practicing carefully and in the right order will result in an unstable realization. You should reject all of these faults.

 

སྣོད་ཀྱི་སྐྱོན་གསུམ་དྲི་མ་དྲུག་དང་བྲལ་བར་བྱས་ཏེ་ཉན་པར་བྱའོ།

snod kyi skyon gsum dri ma drug dang bral bar byas te nyan par bya’o/

When you listen to the Dharma you should be free from the three flaws of a vessel and the six stains.

 

དེ་ལང་སྐྱོན་གསུམ་ནི།སྣོད་ཁ་སྤུབ་ཏུ་བཅུད་མི་ཡོང་བ་ལྟར་ཚིག་དོན་ལ་རྣ་བ་མི་གཏད་པ་དང།

de lang skyon gsum ni/snod kha spub tu bcud mi yong ba ltar tshig don la rna ba mi gtad pa dang/

The first of the three flaws of a vessel involves failing to listen to the words and their meanings. This is likened to pouring liquid onto an overturned vessel.

 

སྣོད་དུག་ཅན་དུ་བཅུད་བླུག་ཀྱང་དུག་དང་འདྲེས་བཞིན་

snod dug can du bcud blug kyang dug dang ‘dres bzhin

The second example is pouring liquid into a vessel that contains poison, in which case whatever you pour in will become contaminated with poison.

 

ཆོས་ཐོས་ཀྱང་སེམས་ཉོན་མོངས་པའི་དྲི་མ་དང་བཅས་པས་ཕན་མི་ཐོག་སྟེན་ང་རྒྱལ་དང་མ་དད་པ་ལ་སོགས་པའི་སྐྱོན་གྱིས་ཉོན་མོངས་པའི་གཉན་པོར་མི་འགྲོ་བར་གྲོགས་སུ་འགྲོ་བ་དང་

chos thos kyang sems nyon mongs pa’i dri ma dang bcas pas phan mi thog sten nga rgyal dang ma dad pa la sogs pa’i skyon gyis nyon mongs pa’i gnyan por mi ‘gro bar grogs su ‘gro ba dang

Similarly, when your mind is stained with an affliction, even if you study the Dharma it won’t be of much benefit. Pride, lack of faith, and other flaws will keep the Dharma from acting as a remedy against the afflictions.

 

།སྣོད་ཞབས་རྡོལ་དུ་བཅུད་མི་ཆགས་པ་བཞིན་ནན་ཏན་མཐར་ཆགས་མི་བྱེད་པས་རྟོགས་པ་མི་བརྟན་པ་རྣམས་སྤངས་།

snod zhabs rdol du bcud mi chags pa bzhin nan tan mthar chags mi byed pas rtogs pa mi brtan pa rnams spangs /

Third, if a vessel has holes in it, it won’t be able to retain anything, in the same way that not practicing carefully and in the right order will result in an unstable realization. You should reject all of these faults.

 

Key Concepts

  • Vajrayana [rdo rje theg pa]: “Indestructible vehicle,” also known as Tibetan Buddhism. Vajrayana is the path which sees that misperceptions are the cause of suffering, misperception of one’s own being, of one’s own mind and of the world. For the Nyingma sect of Tibetan Buddhism, the term Vajrayana includes Tibetan Tantra and Dzogchen. In this course Vajrayana is studied from the Dzogchen view, which means we interpret all Buddhist vehicles in terms of a buddha-nature in the person and the world, which is emptiness, presence and compassionate creativity.
  • Trulpa’i Sem  [sprul pa’i sems]: The bewildered mind. The mind that projects itself outward and doesn’t recognize its own projections. Therefore it gets caught up in dualism and the mental afflictions.

Next class

We will study the six stains, see Zangpo, page six.

________________________________

Sources

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, Gangteng Tulku. Direct Path to Dzogchen. Lecture. 1999.

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.

 

Studies Cited

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20160907-how-curiosity-can-protect-the-mind-from-bias

https://www.vox.com/identities/2016/11/15/13595508/racism-trump-research-study

https://www.boston.com/news/science/2013/02/05/everyone-is-biased-harvard-professors-work-reveals-we-barely-know-our-own-minds

 

Discussion Points for VLive

Define: Vajrayana, Tantra, Dzogchen, Nyingma

Review: The Three Defects of the Pot

Vajrayana Training – Buddhism and Sexuality: Sexual Yoga

Class 10 with Pema Khandro

 

Vajrayana Training – Buddhism and Sexuality: Sexual Abuse in Buddhism

Class 9 with Pema Khandro

 

Vajrayana Training – Buddhism and Sexuality: Lamas and Non-Celibacy in Tibet

Class 8 with Pema Khandro

 

Vajrayana Training – Buddhism and Sexuality: Failures in Celibacy Systems

Class 7 with Pema Khandro

 

Vajrayana Training – Buddhism and Sexuality: Rules Governing Sexual Misconduct

Class 6 with Pema Khandro

 

Vajrayana Training – Buddhism and Sexuality: Non-Celibate Practice

Class 5 with Pema Khandro

 

Vajrayana Training – Buddhism and Sexuality: Gender, Sexuality, and Modern Context

Class 4 with Pema Khandro

 

Vajrayana Training – Buddhism and Sexuality: Celibacy, Non-Celibacy, Lay Practice

Class 3 with Pema Khandro

 

Vajrayana Training – Buddhism and Sexuality: Introduction

Class 2 with Pema Khandro

 

Vajrayana Training – Buddhism and Sexuality: Scandals and Corruption

Class 1 with Pema Khandro