Friday, December 30, 2011

Grass Soldiers

"Riding an elephant and carrying a sword and shield, he struck all the trees, saying, 'Enter the battle.' At once, all the trees became soldiers, as did the grass and the bushes."
-- said of Tilopa, Khenpo Konchog Gyaltsen,
The Great Kagyu Masters: The Golden Lineage Treasury

While I was chained up, I sometimes made the mistake of thinking about other places. This usually leads to all sorts of anxiety, and is in fact rather a flaw in one's meditation. So, I tried not to do this too often, which is of course another mistake in one's meditation. Better to let things dissolve naturally, chains or no chains. After a while, I stopped caring and let the thoughts liberate themselves quite effortlessly, without trying to herd the rabbits in any particular direction.

Still, things kept cropping up, and of these, the stupa was top of the list. I wanted to give it the yearly coat of fresh paint, and gold leaf. I wanted to groom the surrounding mandala. Although, when you get right down to it, stupas protect themselves, I had an idea this one needed extra protection.

When I returned, I went immediately to the stupa. I was astonished to see the mandala walkways completely overgrown with a Tibetan medicinal herb -- khur mong to be precise. The herb was interspersed with spiky, knee-high plants, arrayed like soldiers, with fixed bayonets pointing outward.

The stupa is in the middle of the high desert, at an altitude of 3,123 feet, cut into the slope of an ancient alluvial fan. Khur mong doesn't grow around here. Precious little of anything besides cactaceae grows around here, so khur mong is the last thing you would expect to see.

If the constellations get right, if it is in accord with the times, and I can find somebody to drive me out there again, I might harvest the herb for medicial use.

I would love to publish a photograph but it seems the cameras have gone missing. Check back, as I am working on appropriate illustration.

Upon close examination, it seems the rabbits turned the mandala into a salad bar and lounge!

So here is how it looks. You might at first think it is a double exposure, or other trick of the camera, but when you examine closely you understand. The dark green you see is the khur mong, and the "light" plants are the "grass soldiers." Usually, I keep this stupa in spotless condition, but in this particular case one hesitates to start yanking up "weeds." I notice the young jackrabbits are parking out there at night, munching on the greens.

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Making History

Makes you proud to be an American...

On the morning of February fifteenth of this year (2011), federal officers came to the desert, and arrested me on the complaint of a person for whom I held up a mirror.

"When we hear only language that is foul and abusive,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us for wrongs we have done.
Till now we have said many things without thinking;
We have slandered and caused many friendships to end.
Hereafter, let's censure all thoughtless remarks.
--Dharmaraksita, The Wheel of Sharp Weapons

The complaint states that words attributed to my authorship -- some righteously so, some disingenuously so -- published on Digital Tibetan Buddhist Altar, and somehow associated with me on Twitter, caused Nameless Person such emotional distress that she sought the attention of a psychiatrist. Presumably, her search refers to what the late Thinley Norbu describes as, "...a state of mind sought through the methods of nihilist psychology and psychiatry, which are always limited because they only switch from one material state to another material state and never go beyond suffering."

Regardless, thus was I arrested for speech attributed to me, not for conduct attributed to me. Concurrent with my arrest, federal officers raided the residence of someone I have never met -- someone I simply do not know -- who, nevertheless, published statements on the Internet groundlessly attributed to me; or, in the alternative, were interpreted as being supportive of or sympathetic to me. Again, the complaint alleges mere words caused "emotional distress," and claims that Nameless Person became so depressed she could not leave the house for one year.

"Depressed and forlorn, when we feel mental anguish,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now we have said many things without thinking;
Hereafter, le's take on this suffering ourselves."
---Dharmaraksita, The Wheel of Sharp Weapons

I was taken hence from California and flown across the country to Baltimore, Maryland -- a city I have never visited -- where I was held in the custody of the U.S. Marshal. On the second day there, I became quite ill, and was admitted to Mercy Hospital, and later, Bon Secours Hospital, for subsequent tests and surgeries. This was followed by a difficult period of recovery. Truth be told, I still don't feel tip-top.

In April 2011, following a heaing, the U.S. Magistrate ruled that I was releasable from custody, but would have to remain on the East Coast. Since I had no place to go, I decided to remain in prison. It is ironic that, despite there being no Detention Order against me, I was held in maximum security on Maryland's old Death Row. The size of the cell does not matter. What is the size of mind?

Writing words that cause emotional distress -- not threats, mind you -- is not what my case is really all about. My case is about whether or not the government, in the person of its special agents, has the right or the ability to unilaterally decide what is or is not acceptable speech in the context of Vajrayana Buddhism.

"'Naropa,' [Tilopa] said another day. 'I need a lot of money. Go and steal me some.' So Naropa went off to steal money from a rich man, but was caught in the act. He was seized, beaten, and again left for dead. Several days passed before Tilopa arrived and asked him, 'Are you in pain?'"
--- Patrul Rinpoche, Kuzang Lam'I Shelung

If Marpa were around today, could he be prosecuted for causing Milarepa emotional distress? We want to remember that Milarepa was driven to the brink of suicide. If Tilopa were alive today, could he be charged with conspiracy for inciting Naropa? If one asks to look into the spiritual master's mirror, and is dissatisfied with the reflection, does one have the right to call the FBI and beg them to come smash the mirror? Putting labels on emptiness is dangerous enough: it is why we suffer. Putting limits on liberative technique renders every lama liable to law enforcemnt. Do you like that?

Tethered in Baltimore, my case proceeded on vigorous Constitutional grounds, while I spent time in timelessness. People commonly say that prisoners "do time;" but, since I am my own prisoner, I say "spend." This was the first case of its kind in U.S. history, so it seemed a reasonable, if not worthy, expense.

"Neither contempt, abusive speech, nor disgrace harms the body. Why then, mind, do you become angry?"
--- Santideva, Bodhicaryavatara.

All around the world, there are prisoners of conscience who, inspired by our Constitution and the principles it represents, spend time challenging their own environments. They may or may not completely realize that our freedoms are not static; rather,our freedoms demand continual testing and maintenance.

In Tibet, for example, many lamas -- thousands, really -- have died or been imprisoned for expressing the ideals of free speech and freedom of religion. Others have made the arduous journey across mountains and rivers to live as refugees, looking to us as a place where oppression ends.

To them, and to all sentient beings, I dedicate my incarceration.

"Even if someone denigrates you in various ways, spreading slander throughout the three-thousandfold universe, to extoll her qualities with a loving mind is the practice of a bodhisattva."
--- Gyalse Tokme, Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva.

I freely admit that I have a somewhat unusual view of these matters, but I do not knowingly conduct myself lawlessly for the sake of lawlessness. Through counsel, on October 4, 2011, I argued a motion to dismiss the entire criminal indictment. I am pleased to say that the prestigious Electronic Frontier Foundation also filed an amicus brief on my behalf. The matter was taken under submission, and on December 15, 2011, U.S. District Court Judge Roger W. Titus issued a twenty-seven page Memorandum of Opinion in favor of my view, and dismissed the entire case. He wrote:

"The First Ammendment protects speech even when the subject or manner of expression is uncomfortable and challenges conventional religious beliefs, political attitudes, or standards of good taste...

"Indeed, the Supreme Court has consistently classified emotionally distressing or outrageous speech as protected, especially where that speech touches on matters of political, religious, or public concern."

In such fashion did our humble Digital Tibetan Buddhist Altar establish historic precedent, and make case law that will exist far into the future. In such fashion did your now-withered Tenpa Rinpoche stumble into the sunlight on December 22, 2011.

Standing up to Nameless Person's relentless bullying, and the grinding machinations of government officials she deceived with cries of "Wolf!" made certain demands upon time, energy, and resource. Meeting the legal challenges took some real lawyering. I was so very fortunate to be represented by Ebise Bayisa, Esq., Lauren Case, Esq., Sean Gordon, and Michelle Williams; to be assisted by Holland & Knight LLP of Washington, D.C., Charles D. Tobin, Esq., and Drew Shankman, Esq; to be supported by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Matthew Zimmerman, Esq., Marcia Hofmann, Esq., and Hanni Fakhoury, Esq. I was fortunate, too, to have loving students, sponsors, and friends who did not fold when the going got rough. Special thanks to J. Crow, Chokyi Dorje, Malcolm Smith, Laura Angel, and Alastair Gager. Thanks also to the hundreds of people who wrote in to express support. Please note: If you experience harassment from a certain quarter after being named herein, please let me know.

These days I am feeling the effects of close custody, illness, and trauma. I am not whining, or saying, "poor me." Some people set out to throw some mischief my way, so I am just giving them the satisfaction of hearing the mischief landed. Of course, if the following really does bring satisfaction, maybe you should reconsider your practice, and your motivation.

I lost fifty pounds, had four surgeries, and gained a palette of eight new "lifetime" medicines. I lost my beloved rabbits. I lost all of my teeth, all of my income, my insurance, and the FJ Cruiser. I lost my motorcycle and my quad. I am now on foot in the desert, six miles to the library and six miles back. I lost all of my computers, cameras, and cell phones. I have no food, no communications, no money whatsoever, and I am about to run out of medication. My close retinue dissolved in sorrow. My former personal attendant is ill, out of work, thoroughly distressed, and to use her words, "broke and broken," having endured my arrest, the death of her father, the impending death of her mother, and relentless abuse from Nameless Person's "sangha." In some ways it is manageable, in others it is troublesome. For the first time in my life, I have been forced to ask for help.

Friends of mine has set up a relief fund. They are trying to obtain another four-wheel drive for me, and are taking steps to assist with other matters noted above. If you feel like you want to help, contact jcrow[at]jcrow[dot]com.

I am alone out here, and not really in the best of circumstances. Close custody is stressful, I am over sixty, and it takes a while to process no matter who you are. If you would like to visit me, I would welcome you. I need some help getting the place in shape, the puja room opened up, and  some help with the stupas. There is also a chance I will be arrested again -- in connection with some sort of revenge or appeal -- so I want to hear from any potential new attendants, to whom I can entrust logistic support and general caretaking. It takes a devout practitioner, a sense of humor, and a full-time social worker's skills. Just write to rinpoche2006[at]gmail[dot]com and tell me what you have in mind.

Sounds needy and greedy doesn't it? Bear in mind, I am not making any specific requests of anyone. I am just giving you the parameters of the problem by way of a situation report. I hesitated to do this, but then I asked myself, "... if it happened to somebody else, would you report it?" Since the answer was "yes," I decided to lift the curtain on the yurt.

People have asked if I am bitter. People have suggested that I sue, or extract some sort of legal revenge. People have suggested that I wave the newly minted legal opinion aloft, and really blister Nameless Person.

If I had not met my precious teachers, I might think that way. If I had not been introduced to the nature of my mind by one who is identical to Padmasambhava himself, I might be tempted. If I let myself become preoccupied with the eight worldly dharmas, there might be some room to roam.

But, so fortunately, I had the greatest teachers of the twentieth century. Oh, so fortunately did they grant me instruction over time, until instruction granted itself spontaneously, in everything I see, everything I hear... effortlessly perfect instruction, always abiding.

This is about all I have to write. If Marpa shows up, he can say what he pleases. If Tilopa comes around, he can do whatever is necessary to tame those beings who need to be tamed. I know many of you will either scratch your heads and say "What?" or toss this aside and say, "Why?" But, if you are patient, the day will come when you will see the gift I have given you. It will emerge in the sky like a garuda flying out of dense fog into primordial clarity.

Well, I hitchhiked into town to send this out, and I guess it is time to head back. The Constitution is not as dusty as it was ten months ago, and I want to go watch the hills. Many, many blessings to you, no matter who you are or what mischief you've been up to. Perfectly purified hatred is the state of mirror-like primordial awareness, so give yourself a chance to do better.

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Thinley Norbu Rinpoche Passes

We are reliably informed -- and thoroughly saddened -- by the news of Thinley Norbu Rinpoche's passing.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Guru Rinpoche's Rivers

There is spiritual force, which we could say is unchanging, and then there is the often shifting perception of social necessity. As humans, we have a generalized view of such matters suggesting  one concern belongs to the heavens, while the other belongs to earth.

Still, this is the water planet.

In his valuable but now sadly overlooked work, The Geography Behind History, London University's William Gordon East (1902 - 1998) writes, "The conception of regions forms the main citadel of geography." He tells us that these regions are history's stage, and condition, though they do not determine the activities of man. Through the millennia, man himself has become the principal agent of geographical change. Over time, it is not the land but man's efforts that establish the very regions themselves.

We may well argue that the archetype of the process is China's epic relationship with its rivers. There are in fact more than 50,000 rivers in China, of which ten are regarded as important. Among these are several rivers considered as "great," as compared to all the world's rivers. 
  • Changjiang (Yangtze River). This is longest river in China, and the third longest in the world. It originates in the glaciers of Geladaindong Peak, in the Tanggula Mountain Range of the Tibetan Plateau. It enters the sea at Shanghai. Its catchment area is equivalent to one-fifth the entire land area of China. The Yangtse is now notable for the Three Gorges Dam.
  • Huanghe (Yellow River). This is the second longest river in China, and is regarded as the cradle of Chinese civilization. It originates in the basin of Yueguzonglie, in the Bayan Har range of the Kunlun Mountains of the Tibetan Plateau. It enters the sea at Kenli, in Shandong Province.
  • Heilongjiang (Amur River). Sometimes known as the "Dragon River." This is the eleventh largest river in the world. It is China's northernmost major river, forming the majority of the northeastern boundary with Russia. It originates in Mongolia and empties into the sea at Okhostsk.
  • Songhuajiang (Sungari River). This is the largest tributary of the Heilongjiang, in northeast China.
  • Zhujiang (Pearl River). This is the third longest river in China, after the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers, and the second largest in volume. Actually a river system, it originates at the confluence of three rivers, the Xijiang (west) Beijiang (north), and Dongjiang (east), generally in Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, and Guangdong Provinces. It enters the sea between Hong Kong and Macau.
  • Yaluzangbujiang (Tsangpo-Brahmaputra River). For a thousand miles, this is the highest river in the world. This river originates in southwestern Tibet, in the Jima Yangzong glacier, near Mount Kailish. It first flows east and then turns south to merge with the Ganges and empty into the Indian Ocean. Along its length is found the largest canyon in the world.
  • Lancangjiang (Mekong River). This is the longest river is Southeast Asia, It originates in the Tanggula Mountain Range of the Tibetan Plateau. It empties into the Pacific Ocean in southern Viet-Nam.
  • Nujiang (Salween River). This river originates from the southern slope of the Tanggula Mountain Range, flows north to south through Tibet and Yunnan Province, enters Burma, and empties into the Andaman Sea.
  • Hanjiang (Hanshui River). This is the left tributary of the Yangtze River. It rises in southwestern Shaanxi and joins the Yangtze at Wuhan.
  • Liaohe (Liao River). This river originates in Mongolia and enters the Yellow Sea at the Bohai Gulf to the east of Beijing.
So, what I would have you understand at this point, is that the most important of these all-important rivers originate in and significantly pass through regions that have, for roughly the past twelve centuries, been under the spiritual influence of the keepers of Padmasambhava's legacy. Indeed, the Brahmaputra, Ganges, Indus, Yellow River, Yangtze, Mekong and Salween all have their sources on the Tibetan plateau.

The pure waters of the glaciers flowing from Tibetan Buddhism's sacred places have given life, linkages, logistics, and livelihood to the largest concentration of human beings on planet earth.

Understanding this will help you understand the reason why, during the last half of the twentieth century, forces set in motion to conquer the Tibetan region. To conquer the Tibetan region meant not only to take its lands, but to destroy its very culture. To destroy its culture meant to break its spirit. To break its spirit meant to destroy Padmasambhava's legacy. 

Understanding this will help you understand why the  human manifestation of Chenrezigs was exiled from his homeland, to a patch of ground in India even the Indians considered spare.

Understanding this will help you understand why the Tibetans are now, themselves, considered spare. Who controls those rivers -- who controls the watersheds, and the lands upon which dams are built -- can become lord of South and South-East Asia.

If you examine the above map, you can see the effect of China's Mekong River dams upon South-East Asia. In particular, you can see that the two existing dams are being supplemented by three under construction, and three more are proposed. It is difficult to find justification -- other than geopolitical justification -- for eight dams in the upper Mekong.

The above map is from the excellent Tibetan Plateau Blog. You can click and download this map at higher resolution to examine the details. You will see the existing Chinese dams, proposed dams, and dams under construction along the Yarlung Tsangpo-Brahamaputra, with an inset of the Great Bend region.

By studying these maps and photographs, and the supporting articles in the various websites and journals, you will come to realize the extent of the power, the political will, and the collective effort that traded Guru Rinpoche's rivers for geopolitical dominance in Asia.

These are the ruins of Drepung Monastery. This photograph is symbolic of the thousands of other monasteries and temples that were destroyed. Below, is a photograph of what may be said to have become of the destruction. On one scale of value, this is what replaced the shattered Tibetan Buddhist institutional infrastructure. It is important to understand that this is not the decision of one person, or even one generation, but the result of collective will.

I was just finishing this article when there was a knock at the door...

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Well, That Was Interesting

Give me a couple of days to resume regular broadcasting. In the meantime, may you enjoy the Western holidays in peace and may all sentient beings benefit from your good wishes.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dalai Lama's Nephew Killed in U.S. Accident

The Dalai Lama's nephew, Jigme K. Norbu, famous for his long distance peace walks on behalf of the Tibetan cause, has been killed in Florida.

He died during a 300-mile "Walk for Tibet," from St. Augustine to West Palm Beach, intended to raise awareness of the Tibetan struggle for independence.

The Florida Highway Patrol said that the 45-year-old was hit by a Kia SUV at about 7:30pm local time on Monday on State Road A1A, which runs along the east coast. The location is in Flagler County, Florida about 10 miles from Flagler Beach, and 25 miles from St. Augustine. The Kia was driven by 31-year-old Keith R. O’Dell of Palm Coast, who had his two young children with him. O’Dell was not charged with the accident.

Local reports said Norbu was walking on the west side of the road, which did not have a pavement and was not lit. There have been other fatalities of a similar nature at this same location.

Norbu was a father of three, and normally lived in Bloomington, Indiana, where he owned a restaurant.

As a gesture of respect, it would be one idea for people to get together and finish what the man started.


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Tibetan Geomancy: Part Four

Above is an image of southeast Tibet, acquired from space with the NASA/JPL Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C/X-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR). The various colors assigned to the radar frequencies and polarizations are to map the distribution of different rock types. This is done so geologists can study formation and erosion of the Tibetan Plateau. The image was acquired on April 10, 1994, from the space shuttle Endeavour. The area covered is about 90 km miles east of Lhasa. North is toward the upper left. 

Once you climb down from space, this is how it looks on the ground. The area you see in this photograph is located in the "blue" area seen in the lower right corner of the NASA/JPL photo.

Among other reasons, I am using these two images to dramatize the two different approaches to geomancy as it was practiced in Tibet. On the one hand, the Tibetans are borrowing a T'ang convention, and superimposing a "view from the stars" on the earth. On the other, they are working with what they encounter at ground level -- the so-called "form school."

There is absolutely no question that the Tibetans were familiar with the practice of studying forms.  If you want to see an amusing, illustrated text on the subject, you can visit one by clicking here. Although the method was known from antiquity, it reached full flower around the time of the Qing. In this later stage, it was presented as a strange amalgam of what we might call Chinese, Mongolian, and Tibetan "land superstitions" having no obvious relationship with the Chinese classical form school. This is rather typical: the form method begins in practicality, flowers in spirituality, hardens into doctrine, and eventually becomes superstition. You could say that about many things in this world.

So, what did Tibetan geomancy look like in full flower? This translation of a passage describing the method of selecting a site for retreat, from the Mani Kabum, the section on the "Six-Fold Cycle of Great Compassion," gives us an example:
"[W]ithin seeking a place are six sections: outer, inner, secret, ultimate, sign, and characteristics. As for the external place, seek a place that is auspicious, agreeable, and where former siddhas have dwelt. In space is an eight-spoked wheel. On the ground is an eight-petaled lotus. Upper mountain is adorned like a white silk curtain. Below is like crossed mudras with two hands crossing the mountains in a pattern where they somewhat overlap. The west is high. The east is low. The north is protecting. The south descends. It has medicinal herbs, and trees, and greenery. It has grain and places nearby you can find food. It has pleasant bird songs. It has been trodden by the feet of siddhas. Local people say it is an auspicious hermitage. Finally, it is joyful and pleasant. Delightful, filled with great blessings, avoided by savages, without defiles of non-human spirits, without harmful obstacles. Seek a place like that."
The reference to a wheel in the sky is a reference to the practice of lying on one's back, and seeing what characteristic is created by the silhouette of the skyline. This is always the first step. The lotus on the ground is simply a reference to the configuration of the surrounding mountains, hills, and so forth.

At first, it might seem that the language about the "north protecting" is at odds with the general injunction given in the tantras:
"If elevated in the north, it either causes death, brings loss of property, or disease."
However, this is where practicality comes into play. In a land where there are fierce north winds, some sort of natural windbreak is desirable. And, of course, as the tantras also state:
"Absolute perfection is hard to find. In brief, [one should thus accept] a well leveled place of fine texture, depressed in the east; a land possessing water resources, and adorned with trees of good qualities; attractive to one's eyes and mind, free from the defects of earth, and harmless in general features."
There may be some justification if we pause, and ask, "If everything is a buddhafield, perfect of itself, why are we making distinctions about directions, attractive conditions and so forth?" That is a fair enough question, and fortunately, it has already been answered to perfection by Longchenpa, in his Ngal-gso skor-gsum, the "Trilogy of Finding Comfort and Ease," where he devotes an entire chapter to discussion of the environment.
"In brief, there are places and houses which at first are quite pleasing,
But the more familiar you become with them, they turn out to be unpleasant with few rewards;
There are others that at first are frightening and vexatious, but become very pleasing the more familiar you become with them;
They offer supreme blessings; rewards are quickly repeated, and there are no obstacles.
Apart from these two kinds, all others are neutral and do not offer any benefit or harm.

"Since, depending on the place in which you reside, your mind undergoes a change,
And there is either growth or decline in your efforts in what is healthy and wholesome,
It has been said that it is of the utmost importance to examine the place or the locality."
There is the ordinary examination of ordinary places -- which is all we have been discussing so far, in Tibetan Geomancy, Tibetan Geomancy: Part Two, Tibetan Geomancy: Part Three -- and, it could be argued, there is also the ordinary appreciation of extraordinary places. Finally, there is the extraordinary appreciation of extraordinary places, and in this the great Vajrayana masters -- who rarely think in terms of common geomancy -- may be said to excel.

In his marvelous study Sacred Ground, based on Jamgon Kongtrul's writings, Ngawang Zangpo quotes from a work known as The Sealed Prophecy of the Spiritual Master's Quintessential Vision:
"Sometimes emanations of all enlightened ones
Will appear on the earth, stones, rocks, cliffs, paths, and passages
In self-arisen manifestations of their body, speech, and mind.
Whatever connection one makes with them -- through sight, sound, etc. -- prevents rebirth in miserable existences.
Where will these appear? Anywhere: in the cardinal directions, in between, in the center, etc.
Such concepts as near or far are irrelevant: they will appear everywhere.
Similarly, the time of their appearance is unfixed: they can appear at any time.
They aren't limited to any period: they will appear until the wheel of life ends."
This is a very important statement: this is so important to understand. The more one comes to realize the benefits inherent in one's practice, the greater the possibility one will engage self-appearing forms. You do not have to go looking for them. You do not have to assign a place where this can happen, or a time. If you can approach the matter from this perspective, then it could be said that you have already mastered the mundane art of geomancy. What the geomancer expends effort to discern,  with greater or lesser degrees of success, you will discern without effort, and perfectly. There are forms, and then there are forms separated from names.
"As for these present appearances of stones and rocks, mountains and forests, trees and plants, and so forth, do not believe them to be anything at all, and do not assert them to be anything at all. Do not deny what appears, and do not assert them to be or not to be. Their appearance is a natural appearance, and their... emptiness is a natural emptiness. Like the identity of space, let their identity be naturally empty, and let their appearance be devoid of a self-nature."
Just a few days ago, I was out wandering around in the desert, without any particular destination in mind. From a distance, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a feature on the side of a hill -- some of you might call it a mountain, but mountains aren't that puny -- and it made an impression on me.  Perhaps you can see it as well, in the photograph below.

Just to make it easy, I have cropped and enlarged the feature from the above photograph, and color balanced it so you can see very clearly.

Now, what that triangle is doing up there on that hill, where nobody ever goes, is not why the triangle is interesting. Pure triangles like this are somewhat rare in nature, but are not otherwise unheard of in the great scheme of things.

What made the triangle interesting to me was its juxtaposition to the feature you see below. This was just around the bend. It is seventy feet high, and visible from quite a distance.

Seeing both of these features in relation to one another caused me to remember a line from the work just quoted above:
"Self-appearing forms, such as the six syllables, are inconceivable.
These and other forms manifest in various ways
To help the world and to spread the Buddha's teaching."
So, thinking thus, I decided to sketch out a few notes on the general topic of geomancy, and publish them here on this blog. It came to me that anything which has the effect of turning your mind in the direction of the Dharma -- anything that causes you to investigate -- is ultimately useful. This is a subject I have touched before, in "When You Look Upon the Land," and "Letters from An Old Magician," and "The Echo In Empty Valley," among others -- this is a theme I have explored many times -- but I wanted to visit it yet again albeit using different language, and a slightly different frame of reference.

So, that wish -- that aspiration to treat something in many different ways, in order to make it accessible to others -- that seemed to me to be the variety inherent in what I was seeing out there in the desert.  

A sort of self-projected value that seems to lie at the basis of all geomancy, Tibetan or otherwise.

Well, either that, or something much finer and more continuous.


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Monday, February 14, 2011

Himachal Pradesh Moves to Hijack Tibetan Buddhist Monasteries

The following story, which has been developing for some time, is just now breaking in the Indian papers. This is seen as the "ripple effect" from Gyuto Monastery:

"Himachal Pradesh government is now moving to acquire the land of Gyuto Monastery, the transit home of Karmapa Ugyen Trinley Dorje, as the probe into seizure of large amount of foreign currency from the monastery brought fresh focus on benami deals by the community members.

Officials said that the process of mutation of 'benami' lands in possession of "the Dalai Lama's administration" was on since 2006 and the titles of 73 such properties, including the sprawling premises of Gyuto Monastery, are being transferred in the name of the government.

The government had agreed to consider regularisation of these 'benami' properties by vesting the ownership in the government and further leasing these out to Tibetan Administration, they said.

The information about these lands on which the Tibetan "government-in-exile" had raised structures was provided to the government by Tibetan "administration", official sources said.

Kangra Deputy Commissioner RS Gupta said that it was a routine revenue exercise and mutation in 40 cases had already been done while the title transfer in respect of remaining lands was in process.
"The Gyuto Monastery complex was one such property on which the Dalai Lama administration had build the monastery and the land on which the construction had been done would vest in the government," he said.

Officials said that the process of "regularising" these properties has been hastened after foreign currency worth Rs 7.5 crore belonging to 25 countries including China was recovered by police from the premises of a Karmapa-backed trust and some of the trustees.

The raids followed recovery of Rs one crore from two persons on Mehatpur border on January 25 last, allegedly drawn from a bank in Delhi for some land deal.

However, Gupta said that there will be no immediate physical takeover of the property."


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Weekly Tibetan Astrology: February 14 - February 20, 2011

Note: Please refer back to last week's notes, because today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday. What stage did you set? That is the part you'll play.

The power of prayer seems to be paying off all over the world. Nevertheless, this will not be an easy week to navigate locally or internationally. Disappointments are likely. There will be sudden news. Not all of it will be good news. Negative forces are engaged in sly plotting as the year reaches its close, and targets are being deceived. Politics is a very dirty business.

Keep watching for earth signs, manifesting as earthquakes, volcanoes, and mudslides. No matter what happens, trust in the deity. Lets calm the bad boys down. Engage in positive acts, cultivate positive thinking, ramp up your courage, and do not let the word "obstacle" be heard.

February 14, 2011 - Chinese 11th, M-T-K 11th. Mouse, Dwa, Black 2. Today is yan kwong. A lovely day to give and receive gifts, but beware of disappointments and disagreements brought about through expectations. Troublesome day for those born in Bird or Monkey.

UPDATED: Extreme caution should be exercised while traveling this week. Nationalities subject to attack by religious extremists should pay particular attention. It is sincerely hoped that individuals in the various security agencies will exercise a high degree of vigilance.

February 15, 2011 - Chinese 12th, M-T-K 12th. Ox, Khen, Blue 3. Today is baden, so no flags. Act rapidly, but with care. You can quickly exhaust yourself, leading to accidents. The fire-water combination augurs death, possibly of a prominent person.

February 16, 2011 - Chinese 13th, M-T-K 13th. Tiger, Kham, Green 4. Today is sojong. Strong individual effort indicated. A favorable day to go it alone. Group activity may meet with some discord. Watch out for earth signs beginning today. Ox, Sheep, Dog, and Dragon may find today difficult.

February 17, 2011 - Chinese 15th, M-T-K 14th. Dragon, Zin, White 6. Note omitted day in Chinese practice. Today is nyi nak (but note the Kagyu calendar has this as Drubjor -- I have my doubts). Beware the cold and flu season, particularly if you are traveling. Sudden reversals possible, beginning today. Check documents and lock doors. Watch out for gossip and slander.

February 18, 2011 - Chinese 16th, M-T-K 15th. Snake, Zon, Red 7.  Hello Pisces. Mixed indications. You may feel constrained by energies or events.

February 19, 2011 - Chinese 17th, M-T-K 16th. Horse, Li, White 8. Substantially negative energies. Sudden conflict indicated. Loss of life and suffering indicated. Geological upsets possible.

February 20, 2011 - Chinese 18th, M-T-K 17th. Sheep, Khon, Red 9. A get-together with friends may wind up costing more than you planned. Tomorrow is an important anniversary (Longchenpa), so make plans accordingly. Today and tomorrow are significant to religious organizations.

Naga observations for the twelfth month. The best offering days are the 10th and 16th lunar.  Offerings possible on 2nd, 3rd, 7th, 12th, 19th. Don't make offerings on the 1st, 8th, 13th, 15th, 18th, 20th, 21st, 22nd, 24th, 25th, 27th, or 28th.

Consult our extended discussion of 2010-2011 Iron Tiger astrology by clicking here. Consult our extended discussion of 2011-2012 Iron Rabbit astrology by clicking here.

Published every Monday at 00:01 香港時間 but written in advance and auto-posted. See our Introduction to Daily Tibetan Astrology for background information. If you know the symbolic animal of your birth year, you can get information about your positive and negative days by clicking here. If you don't know the symbolic animal of your birth year, you can obtain that information by clicking here. For specific information about the astrology of 2010-2011 Iron Tiger Year, inclusive of elements, earth spirits, and so forth, please consult our extended discussion by clicking here.  Click here for Hong Kong Observatory conversion tables. Weekly Tibetan Astrology copyright (c) 2011. All rights reserved.

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

When You Drink the Water

When you drink the water, be sure to thank the one who dug the well. The Twenty-Second Annual Nyingma Monlam Chenmo has now concluded, amidst an unprecedented display of generosity on the part of Kyabje Tarthang Rinpoche. As Nyoshul Khenpo once wrote, "Tarthang Tulku instituted the annual Monlam Chenmo at Bodh Gaya, India, and continues to sponsor it. He is still living, his lotus feet standing firmly, renowned throughtout the world as one whose noble activities are a unique source of nourishment for the precious teachings."


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Tibetan Geomancy: Part Three

In our first articles on this subject, Tibetan Geomancy, and Tibetan Geomancy: Part Two, we have been exploring rudimentary themes. In the instant post, we are going to explore these themes in a bit more depth, by taking comparative notice of Chinese and Indian geomancy. Once again, "geomancy" is an uncomfortable word as applied in either case, but we use it for the sake of handiness, albeit incorrectly. We are going to begin with a quick look at what the Chinese call wu hsing, the Indians call  panchabhuta, and everybody else calls the "five elements."

I suppose the threshold question is, who got what from where?

I doubt we can answer that question by opening books. The hermeneutical hunt for India's first Chinese visitor, or China's first Indian visitor, depends upon deciphering archaic allusions in Indian texts, Chinese texts, and those of the Greeks and Romans. Until we get the lexicology well in hand we will be crossing this part of history the way a small boy crosses a creek, by hopping from stone to stone. I mention this simply because we cannot claim to know whether -- as it is applied to geomancy, and strictly in that sense only -- the Chinese dragged five element theory back from India, or the Indians dragged it home from China. We can suspect the Chinese received it from India, and chances are we can make a convincing argument, but we cannot be absolutely certain. 

In part, this is because India's five elements and China's five elements are rather different from one another. The Indian panchabhuta are earth, water, air, fire, and space. The Chinese wu hsing are wood, fire, earth, metal, water. They are not only different in a component sense, but as we shall see, they are regarded differently.

Wu hsing theory seems to arise in China somewhere between 350 BCE and 270 BCE, during the lifetime of the scholar Tsou Yen. You can get some argument about that, pushing the date back to before 400 BCE, but the later dates are substantially established. Of Tsou Yen, the great Cambridge historian Joseph Needham writes:
"If he was not the sole originator of Five-Element theory, he systematized and stabilised ideas on the subject which had been floating about, especially in the eastern seaboard States of Chhi and Yen, for not more than a century at most before his time."
So, what did Tsou Yen understand as wu hsing? The character wu is simple: it is the cardinal number five. The character hsing demands elaboration. In antiquity, hsing was a pictograph representing a cross-roads or confluence of courses. It is a radial character which at its root has come to mean motility: to do, to act, to walk, to travel. It can also be taken to mean process, conduct, behavior, or way, which definitions should be enough to sketch the sort of thoughts and images Chinese philosophers have grouped behind this radial.

Taking its pictographic sense together with the common denominator of its usage over many centuries, I have always translated hsing as "course" when used in the context here discussed. Thus, for me, the wu hsing are the "five courses."

For the rest of the world, "five elements" is the preferred translation, to be taken in either one of two ways. "Elements," as in elemental or fundamental, and having an active sense, or "elements" as on passive substances, the latter idea being a product of component symbolisms. Use of the term "five elements" is so pervasive one can hardly expect to root it out. One occasionally also sees "five agents," "five forces," "five processes," "five qualities," or "five properties," which are just variations on the same theme. There is also an earlier concept, the wu cai, or five materials upon which all human existence depends, and some have suggested this is the origin of the wu hsing.

No matter how we translate the term, what we are really talking about are five basic categories or taxonomic indica under which mutually dependent phenomena having related characteristics can be classed, each evolving to the next in cyclic order.

Before delving into the issue of order, I want to stop and take notice of the panchabhuta, or the pancha mahabhutas. "Pancha" simply means five. The Sanskrit word "bhuta" can have several meanings, but the root meanings are truth, reality, natures, that which anything consists of, i.e. elemental, or that which is self-evident. So, in the sense of the mahabhutas, "great" or "gross" bhutas, we are seeing five self-evident natures that all things consist of.

The mahabhutas are recognized in the Vedic age. Just exactly where, I cannot say, because I simply have not studied the matter. They obviously predate the wu hsing, which fall in the Maurya Empire according to Indian reckoning, by a considerable margin. Almost certainly, the concept arises from the Vedic nature deities.

What the early Chinese know as feng shui, the Indians approach as vastushastra, or the science of vastu. This is said to have originated with the Sthapatya Veda, which is a part of Atharva Veda. This would date it to somewhere around the  classical Mantra period of Vedic Sanskrit, at the end of second millennium BCE. The term itself could be translated as the "science of abiding," or the "science of dwellings," and actually forms the basis of architecture. The idea is quite probably intertwined with the concept of "lord architect of the world" Viśvákarma, and the relations between his five children. Later, it comes to be associated with Brahma, and a number of other gods. It really does not have anything to do with "geomancy" at all -- neither does feng shui for that matter -- but, since the late twentieth century, that is a word we have connected with the practice.

In the initial stages, vastu is concerned with the effect of light on man-made structures: with the efficient use of sunlight. However, at a very early date in its development -- and again, I do not know exactly when: although certainly prior to Buddhism -- it comes to be founded on the fundamental concept of balance -- or properly speaking, harmony -- between structures and the mahabhutas. I should probably mention that this is with narrow reference to construction. Classical vastu does not entertain the notion of "improving" structures that already exist.

Earlier, we mentioned order. In Chinese practice, the five elements are believed to relate to one another in particular orders. These orders are origination order, which expresses how the elements arise; mutual production order, which expresses how they act to produce each other; mutual destruction order, which expresses how they act to overcome one another; controlling order, which expresses how they interact with each other; masking order, which is another expression of interaction, and common, or "modern" order, which is simply a means of listing them.

In Tibetan practice, these orders are expressed as "affinities," so we see concepts like "mother" (in early Sino-Tibetan practice "father") "filial," "friend," and "enemy." All of these various orders are common enough in the literature that I am not eager to reproduce them here. Still, I know my readers well enough to realize you will complain if I do not.

[1] Mutual Production Order
  • Wood produces Fire
  • Fire Produces Earth
  • Earth produces Metal
  • Metal produces Water
  • Water produces Wood
[2] Mutual Destruction Order
  • Wood destroys Earth
  • Earth destroys Water
  • Water destroys Fire
  • Fire destroys Metal
  • Metal destroys Wood
[3] Controlling Order
  • Wood destroys Earth, Metal controls Wood
  • Metal destroys Wood, Fire controls Metal
  • Fire destroys Metal, Water controls Fire
  • Water destroys Fire, Earth controls Water
  • Earth destroys Water, Wood controls Earth
[4] Masking Order
  • Wood destroys Earth, Fire produces Earth and masks
  • Metal destroys Wood, Water produces Wood and mask
  • Fire destroys Metal, Earth produces Metal and masks
  • Water destroys Fire, Wood produces Fire and masks
  • Earth destroys Water, Metal produces Water and masks
So, from these, the Tibetans deduced their systems of water being the mother of wood, wood being the son of water, water being the friend of earth,  earth being the enemy of water, and so forth. How this might come about is interesting. Originally, filial concepts were attached to the trigrams. We had a father, a mother, eldest son, middle son, youngest son, eldest daughter, second daughter, youngest daughter. Those on the father's side are yang, those on the mother's side are yin. So, as applied to the elements, this becomes parent, child, enemy and friend.

[1] Mother
  • Mother of Wood is Water
  • Mother of Water is Metal
  • Mother of Metal is Earth
  • Mother of Earth is Fire
  • Mother of Fire is Wood
[2] Child
  • Child of Wood is Fire
  • Child of Fire is Earth
  • Child of Earth is Metal
  • Child of Metal is Water
  • Child of Water is Wood
[3] Enemy
  • Enemy of Wood is Metal
  • Enemy of Metal is Fire
  • Enemy of Fire is Water
  • Enemy of Water is Earth
  • Enemy of Earth is Wood
[4] Friend
  • Friend of Wood is Earth
  • Friend of Earth is Water
  • Friend of Water is Fire
  • Friend of Fire is Metal
  • Friend of Metal is Wood
The importance of the elements in Chinese practice is with exclusive reference to these orders. The importance of the elements in Indian practice is with reference to appreciation of individual potency. The Chinese believe in movement, whereas the Indians seem to be following set rules. One source gives the following example:
"Energy is primarily considered as emanating from the northeast corner and many site and building characteristics are derived from this. Sites sloping down towards north or east from higher levels of south and west are considered good. Open spaces in site and openings in the building are to be more in the north and east than in the south and the west. No obstacles are to be present in the north and the east. Levels and height of buildings are to be higher in the south and west when compared to the north and east. The southwest corner is to be the highest, followed by southeast, then by northwest and finally by northeast. The triangle formed by joining the southwest, southeast and the northwest corner of the site is attributed to the moon and the triangle formed by joining the northeast, northwest and southeast corner of the site is attributed to the sun. The former are prescribed to be heavier and higher and the latter light and lower. Sites having a longer east-west axis are considered better. The diagonal connecting southwest and northeast is to be longer than the diagonal connecting southeast and northwest. An extended northeast corner is considered beneficial."
These are the exact conditions followed when building Tibetan temples, even to the present day.

In expression of their approach, Indian practitioners developed the Purusha Mandala, which is superimposed on the landscape, and used to orient construction from the ground up.

The "houses" of the Purusha Mandala are fixed. They are represented by a square -- symbolizing the earth -- imposed on the body of a being. The head is always in the northeast. The "being" is said to be  formless spirit who blocked heaven from earth, and had to be subdued by Brahma and the other gods. So, each geomantic house is ruled by a particular god, with Brahma in the center. Thus:
  • North is ruled by Kubera, the lord of wealth.
  • South is ruled by Yama, the lord of death.
  • East is ruled by Indra, the solar deity.
  • West is ruled by Varuna, the lord of water.
  • Northeast is ruled by Shiva.
  • Southeast is ruled by Agni, the deity of fire.
  • Northwest is ruled by Vayu, lord of the winds.
  • Southwest is ruled by Niruthi, lord of ancestors.
  • The center is ruled by Brahma.
Apart from its mythological structure, this mandala is actually the framework for an exquisitely detailed set of mathematical rules, having nothing to with elements, but everything to do with hard measurement.

In parts one and two of our little survey of Tibetan geomancy, we have been discussing Queen Kon-jo. When Wengchen Kon-jo comes to Tibet from China, in 641 CE, her geomantic masterpiece -- or metaphor -- is the siting of Lhasa's central temple, Jokhang.

The story is that Kon-jo determined Tibet's landforms resembled a demoness lying on her back, so various smaller temples and stupas had to be constructed before Jokhang could be successfully completed.

When we examine this approach in contrast with the Purusha Mandala, it certainly becomes suggestive, doesn't it?

Chinese and Indian approaches were tossed into Tibet's cultural grinder, with the eventual result that spirits of the earth were now being dredged up and subdued according to a moving position.

The concept of the grid is coming from India, but the concept of motion is coming from China. Basically, the grid is being laid on a site, and four corners are assigned.

The southeast corner is fire, the southwest corner is the demoness, the northwest corner is wind, and the northeast corner is power. The spirit -- by this time a naga -- is believed to rotate within this square according to the season, and even, as some would have it, according to the year, month, day and hour. The grid is divided into some 8,000 parts, the head of the spirit is aligned, and a "vital point" is established -- usually in the spirit's armpit -- where the first disturbance of the soil is to occur.

It is right about here that we begin to think about the difference between gross and subtle elements, and their lasting -- if not thoroughly troublesome -- metaphor, the relationship between seen and unseen: the relationship between men and spirits.

Of spirits, in Chinese, Tibetan, and Indian practice, one could write an almost endless number of volumes.

At the very least, maybe we will get around to a few paragraphs in a future post.


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The Eight Manifestations of Padmasambhava: Part Five

Guru Padma Jungné
The seventh emanation of Guru Rinpoche is called Guru Padma Jungné. According to Guru Rinpoche's biography, six emanations occurred outside of Tibet. Again, it is difficult to organize these stories into a linear time-frame because Guru Rinpoche's wisdom activities are not limited by time and space; but traditionally, this emanation and the last one I described, appeared within the borders of Tibet.

First, I would like to give you some background on the introduction of the Buddhadharma to Tibet. Buddhism originally came to Tibet around the end of the fourth and the beginning of the fifth century. Tibetan histories recount that around that time, some Mahayana scriptures, a golden stupa and a tsa-tsa mold were found on the roof of the royal palace of Yum-bu bla-sgang in Yarlung. Tsa-tsa molds are used to make small dough stupas, eight of which can be stacked together to make a bigger stupa.

Some accounts say that the twenty-eighth ancestral king of Tibet, lHa-tho-tho-ri was sixty years old and walking on the palace roof when these things descended from the sky. This was early in the fifth century and the palace is considered the first actual building in Tibet. Before that, most people lived in tents and caves. There is still a monument there, although the remaining ruins were completely destroyed during the Chinese cultural revolution. Recently, I heard it has been restored in the ancient style.

Another history states that an Indian monk brought these teachings to the twenty-eighth ancestral king and told him that in five generations they would be understood and that meanwhile, they should be kept safe. In the fourth century, Tibetans still didn't have a written language so neither the king nor anyone else could comprehend their meaning, but lHa-tho-tho-ri just knew they were something special and auspicious. So he guarded and venerated these precious treasures and as a result of his faith, his body was rejuvenated and his life was extended for sixty more years. After a long and prosperous reign, he died at one hundred and twenty without knowing anything more about these objects. This was the dawn of Dharma in Tibet.

Five generations later, in the sixth century, the thirty-third dynastic king was the renowned Srong-btsam sgan-gam-po, who is considered an emanation of Avalokitesvara. Srong-btsam sgan-gam-po built the city of Lhasa which has been the capital ever since. He also sent his minister Thon-mi Sambhota and a group of young Tibetans to study Sanskrit in India. After returning, they created a systematic grammar and alphabet for the Tibetan language and began the translation and study of about twenty-one dharma texts from India, as well as other countries.

Besides his Tibetan queens, Srong-btsam sgan-gam-po was married to Wen-ch'eng, a princess from Chinese T'ang dynasty as well as Bhrkuti, daughter of King Amsuvarman from Nepal. In those days, Tibet was expanding and intermarrying with these families helped consolidate his empire. The Buddhadharma was already well established in China and Nepal, so both of his foreign wives were devout Buddhists and brought a lot of Buddha's teachings and two famous statues to Tibet, but outside of the royal court and a few select Tibetans, there were hardly any practitioners.

The thirty-eighth king in the dynasty was Trisrong Deutsen, who was born around 740. At this time, Tibetan kings had grown powerful and extended their domain through military conquest, so Tibet was much larger than the area we now call Tibet. It stretched from the Bay of Bengal to Nepal, east to China, including Sikkim and Bhutan and then northwest up to Khotan. Trisrong Deutsen's father, Mes-ag-tshom, had died when the prince was only twelve. So young Trisrong Deutsen came to the throne at age thirteen and served as a military general, leading the Tibetan armies on various campaigns. For eight years he remained dedicated to waging war, although at seventeen his mind began to change and he was moved to look a little deeper. He already knew that his father and grandfathers had valued the Dharma but now it began to be meaningful to him. Although he continued to lead his troops into battle for four more years, he began reading a lot of Buddhist texts, and the happiness he felt in doing this made it clear to him that the Dharma was something very special. He was very inspired and moved by the Buddha's teachings.

Among his ministers there were some Buddhist practitioners who were more than happy to provide the king with Dharma texts. Historically, three are named; the Diamond Sutra, a text on moral conduct and the Grain of Rice Sutra. Buddha had originally given this last teaching to a farmer in a rice field. As a King, Trisrong Deutsen could appreciate the wisdom of the teaching on good conduct. Upon reading The Grain of Rice Sutra, he understood that good conduct was not simply an end in itself, but that it was even more valuable because it resulted in good contemplation. By the time he'd finished reading the Diamond Sutra, he understood that the Buddha's teachings were not merely concerned with morality or contemplation, but that their wisdom went very, very deep, to the heart of things. Having comprehended some of the profundity and implications of these teachings, he resolved to take significant action to firmly establish Dharma in Tibet.

A group of younger, spiritually oriented ministers were instructed by the King to find out who was the most highly qualified Buddhist teacher in the world. Three groups were sent to three different places: to China, India and to an area which is now in Afghanistan. One minister travelled with three attendants to each destination, so altogether, twelve people embarked. Upon returning, they all agreed that the abbot of Nalanda University, an Indian monk named Shantarakshita, was widely considered to be the supreme teacher of his day. So the King decided to invite this great Khenpo to Tibet.

King Trisrong Deutsen sent a team of twelve messengers employing redundancy and other safeguards to insure that his invitation to Shantarakshita would get through.

When Shantarakshita received it, he was truly overjoyed and said, "I have waited for this opportunity for a long time. There is nothing preventing me from going so I will not delay. The time has arrived. I must depart immediately." Travel between Tibet and India was even more difficult and dangerous in those days than it is now. It is always nice and warm in the Indian lowlands, while Tibet is at a high altitude and gets very, very cold. While aware of these hardships, Shantarakshita did not hesitate. He made the journey to Tibet and stayed in the royal palace for four months. During that time, the King and Queen took refuge vows along with a small group of ministers. He gave teachings on the ten virtues, the twelve links of interdependent origination, and the eighteen dhatus. He taught in a very basic way during those four months.

Meanwhile, a number of natural disasters occurred. Tibetans were suffering from earthquakes, floods and the outbreak of an epidemic. Many people blamed these troubles on Shantarakshita's presence. They complained that his teachings were alien and blamed the King and Queen for inviting this strange person into the royal palace. They said the old monk's teachings were at the root of all the current misfortune and that he should be sent back over the mountain where he came from.

In ancient Tibet, as in every country, the natives considered themselves to be the best of all people and to occupy the central land while the rest of the world was referred to as wild frontier or border regions. So they wanted to send the stranger who had brought these terrible disasters back across the border. They made a strong statement to the King that he would have to get rid of his foreign guest.

Trisrong Deutsen heard this but would not change his mind. He courageously held to his commitment to bring the Buddhadharma to Tibet. He was very sad to see all this happening, but his resolve was never shaken. One day he came to Shantarakshita and began crying. After explaining the nature of his problems, the King said, "I sincerely wish that I could bring the Buddhadharma to my country. How can we pacify this situation?" Shantarakshita said, "Don't worry about it. There are some natural imbalances and negative spirits in Tibet. They will not accept the Dharma easily and that is why these things have occurred. In order to subdue these negative forces you should invite the renowned teacher, Guru Padmasambhava. He is the greatest master on earth at this time and can easily pacify all of these obstacles." And then the King asked, "If I invite him, will he come?" Shantarakshita replied that Guru Padmasambhava would definitely come. "You see," he explained, "You and I and Guru Padmasambhava, the three of us together, have a special connection, a commitment from previous lives to bring the Buddhadharma to this land where there is no Buddhadharma. The time is right. If you invite him, you can be sure he will come. In the meantime, I will go to Nepal. When Guru Padmasambhava comes, I will return and we can all work together. We will make some good changes." And so the king sent Shantarakshita back across the border. When he was ready to leave, the King offered the abbot a big bowl of gold dust and Shantarakshita said, "I don't need all of this, but I will take a handful as a gift to the king of Nepal," and he gave the rest back. King Trisrong Deutsen sent three attendants to accompany Shantarakshita to Nepal, and at the same time he dispatched another twelve messengers to invite Guru Padmasambhava to Tibet.

Now Guru Rinpoche, being totally omniscient, already knew the whole situation, so instead of staying in India to wait for them, he went to the Nepali-Tibetan frontier.

He was sitting right by the border when the Tibetans came walking along. They didn't know who he was, but the moment they saw him, they felt very calm and peaceful. Guru Padmasambhava asked them, "Where are you fellows going?" "To India," they answered. It was still a long way to India. His presence was overwhelming and glorious. They began to feel very happy and blissful. Their bodies began shaking.

"Why are you all going to India?" he asked.

"We have been sent by the King of Tibet to invite a very famous master known as Guru Padmasambhava to come and give teachings in our country." So Guru Padmasambhava asked, "I see. So what do you have to offer him?" In spite of the good feelings that they were having, this question made them nervous; who was this man and what were his intentions? One of them ventured to ask, "Well, are you Guru Padmasambhava?" He then began telling them the contents of their minds and thoughts in such detail that they all knew without a doubt that this was the very person they sought, Guru Padmasambhava. They did many full prostrations and offered him the king's gold along with a long letter.

Guru Padmasambhava looked at the gold and said, "This is a gift? But it is so tiny! What is this, a gift from the king of the hungry ghost realm? Don't you have anything else?" They went through the rest of their things and offered him all of their personal belongings. Guru Padmasambhava asked again, "Do you have anything else to offer me? "We have nothing more to give than this gold from the King," they said, "but we sincerely offer you our bodies, speech and minds." Upon hearing this, Guru Padmasambhava was very pleased and said, "That is wonderful." By the devotion of these messengers he could see that Tibetans were ready to practice the Dharma, and in particular, the Vajrayana teachings. This heart-felt response communicated the basic attitude necessary for Vajrayana practice.

Then Guru Padmasambhava made a closer inspection of the primary offering. It was actually quite a big sack of gold. He looked at it for a moment and then said, "I don't need this!" and he began throwing gold dust into the air, scattering most of it in the direction of Tibet.

The messengers thought, "He shouldn't be doing this. This is precious gold." Guru Rinpoche immediately read their worried minds and told the messengers to hold out their chubas, the sash which is part their robes. When they did this, he started picking up handfuls of dirt from the ground and threw it in their laps where it was instantly transformed into gold.

"Don't worry about gold," he said. "Keep what you have now and take it back with you. I will come to Tibet, but I will be traveling slowly and subduing negative forces on the way. We cannot travel together. You must go ahead of me. I will arrive in central Tibet in about three weeks. Tell your King I am coming." So the messengers returned to Tibet and told King Trisrong Deutsen what had happened on their journey. For the most part, the King was overjoyed, but a doubtful thought crossed his mind. He did not know whether to believe that Guru Padmasambhava would actually come.

Two days walk from Lhasa is a place called Todlung pleasure park. At the head of that valley is the place where the Karmapa's Monastery was eventually built. At this site they prepared a big reception to welcome the great teacher. The King sent five hundred cavalrymen along with his ambassadors Lha-sang and Lupe Gyalpo to welcome Guru Padmasambhava. Lha-sang was the prime minister and the King's right hand man. Guru Padma Jungné arrived on foot, holding a walking stick.

I am sure you are all aware that Tibetans love to drink tea. It being customary to make tea for guests, the reception party was preparing to do just that when they discovered that there was no water available nearby. Guru Rinpoche walked up on this and saw what was happening. He poked his walking stick into the ground and instantly, water began to flow from that spot. This spring still exists and has become a popular place of pilgrimage. People still go there to drink the water or bathe.

As Guru Padma Jungné approached the castle which Trisrong Deutsen had built near the future site of Samyé monastery, he walked a path between the King, who was surrounded by a great gathering of Tibetan males, and the queens on the opposite side of the road, surrounded by a great host of Tibetan ladies. There were musicians and acrobats performing. It was quite an elaborate reception. As Padma Jungné approached the king, he could see that the young monarch was somewhat arrogant and proud.

Trisrong Deutsen was thinking, "The Guru should honor me with greetings before I acknowledge him. After all, I am a powerful king, ruler of three fourths of the world," referring to Tibet's dominance over most of Asia at the time. The King had been spoiled by Shantarakshita when the Khenpo had originally arrived. The great abbot had humbly introduced himself and praised the King, who now expected Guru Padmasambhava to follow suit.

As the King stood there and hesitated, Guru Rinpoche read his mind and started singing. This is considered the first religious song in Tibet and it has around nineteen verses with lines like, "I am the great Guru Padmasambhava, I am King Padmasambhava, I am the Prince, Padmasambhava, I am the strong young man, I am the Princess Padmasambhava, I am the beautiful young girl, I am the great astrologer, I am the skilled physician," and so on. After each title, he gives a few lines saying something more about that aspect of himself. He begins his song saying, "Oh great King of Tibet listen to me now. In all six realms beings are subject to death. But I am one who has reached the immortal state free from both death and birth. I possess the secret instructions on immortality. I see this entire universe as a display of mind.

"Negative spirits and obstacles are my sport and faithful assistants. Everything is mine. I am king of the universe and have the ability to control all phenomena." When Padma Jungné moved to join his palms, wisdom flames shot out from his fingertips, scorching the royal robes. Trisrong Deutsen and his whole entourage immediately fell to the ground and began doing prostrations. The inner interpretation of this event has to do with establishing the appropriate relationship between student and teacher. Guru Pama Jugne's actions clearly defined the nature of this connection, so vital to the spread of Buddhism in Tibet.

Soon Master Shantarakshita returned. A few days later, Guru Padma Jungné climbed a small mountain above Samyé, sang a song to subdue negative energies associated with both visible and invisible beings, and performed consecration ceremonies for the land and monastery, at the end of which he levitated and danced across the sky.

This celestial Dharma dance contained the design or ground plan of Samyé Monastery and was the first religious dance in Tibet. Of course, Guru Padma Jungné was quite an unusual person, so unlike the typical lama dance, this one was performed in the sky, not on the ground. This song was also the first song Guru Rinpoche sang to subdue disruptive forces.

Guru Rinpoche and many other realized beings love dancing in space. The vast openness of space is a wondrous place because all the elements are present and everything fits together perfectly, yet there is always room for a lot more. The four elements will never crowd space. And in more spacious states of mind, all sorts of conceptions can be accommodated; gods, demons and everything else can be directly experienced and understood. There is room to infinitely expand and deepen your exploration and appreciation of these special, open states.

The song to subdue negative spirits says, "Listen mighty demons of the world. I am Padma Jungné. And I came to this world miraculously. I am free from sickness, old-age and death. I have accomplished immortality. My body, speech and mind are completely enlightened. I have the power to subdue all demons and negativity.

Knowing all conceptions and thoughts to be nothing other than one's own mind, I am beyond hope and fear. Nothing can injure me, nobody can harm me. Clearly knowing that in the true nature of primordial openness there are no gods and no demons, what ever you might try to do can never affect my realization and understanding. You cannot change one atom. In trying to harm me, you only reveal that your mind is deluded." At this point, Guru Padma Jungné offered torma. Again, this was the first time such a ceremony was performed in Tibet. He held up the tormas and said, "I am offering these tormas to the host of demons and malicious spirits. Though this is a small offering, I am multiplying it through the power of my meditation so that everyone of you will have a huge feast and can feel satisfied. In giving you this, I am offering you everything you desire, so you must all be very happy, and enjoy this supreme meal. By the power of my meditation and mantra, I offer you this gift. Please come, accept it and be content. Help promote peace and harmony throughout the land and help me bring the Dharma here. Bless this effort to use the land to build a monastery and accomplish the wishes of the King. Come together and join with us in this work. Don't ever ignore the speech of any tantric practitioner, such as my self. Hurry now, please bless this land! From then on, there were not too many obstacles to establishing the Dharma in Tibet. It is said that during the construction of Samyé, human beings labored in the daytime and the local deities would work at night. Within five years, they completed all the buildings in the monastery.

In constructing Samyé there was a lot of discussion about how large to make it. King Trisrong Deutsen was a very strong man and a good archer. They say an arrow shot from his bow in Tibet could reach Nalanda University on the plains of India. The final decision was to delineate the boundaries by having the King shoot arrows from east to west and from north to south, and then build the wall for Samyé around these cardinal points.

Now some of the ministers who weren't too enthusiastic about this whole project and knew the King's strength, thought that rather than trying to argue against such a big plan, it would be easier to trick the King by weighting his arrows with mercury. That is how Samyé Monastery ended up being fairly large, but not quite as big as it would have been. Of course, King Trisrong Deutsen often had to deceive these same ministers because they did not welcome or value the Dharma and did want any monastery at all! Like the mandalas of the inner tantras, the buildings at Samyé are laid out according to the configuration of four continents and eight sub-continents clustered around the central Mount Sumeru. The mandala was geomantically executed in architecture, reflecting the Buddhist cosmology symbolizing the inner structure of the universe.

After the creation of glorious Samyé, Trisrong Deutsen said, "We have finished building the monastery but this is not enough to fulfill my aspirations. The main purpose of all this work is to actually bring the Dharma here." King Trisrong Deutsen then asked Guru Padma Jungné and Khenpo Shantarakshita for their assistance. Both agreed to help and after discussing plans, the King personally selected a group of 108 young Tibetans from ages eight to seventeen to learn Sanskrit and other languages. Many of these youths became adept translators, rendering texts from India, China, Turkestan, Kashmir and many other places, into Tibetan. Working closely with other great Buddhist masters to insure a high standard for the quality of the translations, all of the Buddha's teachings, from the Hinayana to the Vajrayana, became available in Tibetan editions.

The Tibetan canon currently consists of 105 large volumes of the Buddha's teachings as well as another 253 volumes of commentaries written by the great Indian masters. Most of these were translated during the reign of Trisrong Deutsen. This is why he is remembered as the king who brought the Buddhadharma to Tibet. He established thirteen Buddhist monastic colleges throughout the country and twelve major retreat centers, supporting these activities with his royal treasures.

Guru Padma Jungné journeyed all over Tibet, and it is said that there is not one square inch of Tibetan soil that he did not bless with his presence. With the help of wisdom dakini Yeshe Ts'ogyal and other students, Guru Rinpoche hid teachings throughout the land to be revealed to future generations at the appropriate moment. He remained in Tibet for a long time, giving inner tantra teachings to nine heart students and afterward to the 25 disciples, the 35 ngakpas, the 37 yoginis and others. Many of these people attained enlightenment within that life, some within a very short period of time. The whole Buddhadharma, from the Hinayana to Dzogchen, quickly became well established, illuminating the entire land of Tibet like bright sunshine. Thanks to the power and aspirational prayers of Guru Padma Jungné, Shantarakshita and the Dharma King Trisrong Deutsen, Tibet became the blessed home of thousands of highly realized beings.

The subduing of demons and negative forces obstructing the Dharma and the establishment of Samyé Monastery brought great blessings to all of Tibet. This was the external work of the emanation known as Guru Padma Jungné.

On the inner level, Padma Jungné is associated with the practice of meditation. The inner tantras describe two aspects of the path; the creation stage and the completion stage, also know as the visualization and perfection practices. Guru Padma Jungné confers special abilities to help us integrate these two stages and accomplish both the ordinary and extraordinary siddhis. The tantric refuge invokes the three roots of guru, deva and dakini. The root of blessings is Guru Padma Jungné. He fulfills all wishes and helps his devotees actualize and transcend all the stages of practice. The Buddha Padma Jungné removes ignorance and lets us discover primordial wisdom. This is very profound because there is no separation between wisdom and the skillful means of its realization. Guru Padma Jungné is a powerful symbol of the union of wisdom and skillful means. Through this technique we can approach enlightenment very quickly.

Guru Padma Jungné is visualized with one face, two arms, and two legs, sitting in the posture of royal ease with a katvanga leaning on his left shoulder. He holds a vajra in his right hand and in his left, a skull bowl with a small vase in it. In another form, as Tso kyi Dorje, his skin is dark blue, he has three eyes and instead of a katvanga, he is embracing the wisdom dakini Yeshe Ts'ogyal.

Guru Padma Jungné is considered the simultaneous embodiment of all eight emanations and is therefore associated with the four actions of pacifying, increasing, magnetizing and subjugating. He is also a long-life Buddha and can help balance the elements of our physiology. The physical body consists of five elements; earth, water, fire, air, and space. When our vitality decreases it can bring imbalances causing us to get sick. Practicing on Guru Padma Jungné is a very effective technique to help you remove obstacles, recharge the life force and restore balance. In a more general sense, he is associated with accomplishing the four enlightened actions.

Begin by generating bodhicitta and visualizing a small sphere radiating light of five colors, white, blue, yellow, red and green. Concentrate on that for a moment and transform it into the transcendent wisdom body of Guru Padma Jungné. Recite the Vajra Guru Mantra with devotion while the rainbow rays continue to stream out from his heart center in all directions. Then recollect the light as the luminous essence of all the elements, returning it back to the flask in Guru Jungné's skull cup, until it overflows and floats toward you. The light enters your crown chakra or heart center and dissolves, correcting any imbalances and returning us to the peace, clarity and freshness of perfect equanimity. Meditate like this for a short time and then dedicate the merit to all beings. That is the way to practice on Guru Padma Jungné, the seventh emanation.

Guru Dorje Drolo
The eighth emanation is another wrathful form, Guru Dorje Drolo. Guru Dorje Drolo is the crazy wrathful Buddha of the degenerate era. He has no regular pattern to his wrath. He is completely out of order! Guru Dorje Drolo emanated right before Guru Rinpoche's departure from Tibet as a way of confirming his legacy of words and actions. Some historians say that Guru Rinpoche stayed in Tibet for fifty-five years. This emanation happened about five years before he left. During this time, he gave many teachings which wisdom dakini Yeshe Ts'ogyal transcribed. Following her guru's instructions, she hid many of these texts throughout the land. As he was preparing to leave to convert the rakshasas in the southwest, Guru Rinpoche again blessed the entire land of Tibet and multiplied the hidden Dharma treasures through his meditative powers.

In order to preserve the practice of Dharma in Tibet, and secure the commitment of the local spirits to extend their protection across generations, Guru Padmasambhava emanated as Guru Dorje Drolo. In this form, he reconfirmed the power of his realization and insured the support and submission of the invisible beings. Dorje Drolo is the Buddha dedicated to the awakening of all those who have appeared since Guru Rinpoche left Tibet. Also at this time, he made many prophecies and predictions for future generations of Tibetans and the world in general. These prophecies are very accurate and clear. Many of them are quite detailed and concern events at the level of counties or states. Their truth has been observed by the Tibetans from generation to generation across the centuries.

There are thirteen different caves in Tibet which are named "Tiger's Nest." Just before Guru Rinpoche's departure, he emanated thirteen Dorje Drolos, one in each of these thirteen caves, all at the same time. In Tibetan Buddhism, the number thirteen is associated with a list of thirteen habitual obstacles. It was in order to subdue and pacify these, that he did this. The original transformations happened in central Tibet and as they occurred, each emanation of Dorje Drolo would fly off to a different cave on the back of a tigress.

The most renowned Tiger's Nest of all was in southern Tibet in a place which is now in Bhutan. The cave is called Taktsang which means Tigers Nest. It is very beautiful.

Maybe you have seen photos of it. There is a big mountain with a steep rocky face that has a cave in it. I don't know how they did it, but they built a small monastery on the ledge out in front of that cave. Although it is very difficult to get to, many tourists go there. They have to be carried in one at a time by a local person because it is so steep and high that you can easily get dizzy. They say that nobody has ever fallen from there, but it looks frightening.

According to both Buddha and the Guru Padmasambhava, this degenerative era is characterized by strong forms of desire and anger. These are the major obstacles confronting practitioners nowadays. Dorje Drolo is the emanation related to the transformation of these situations. Of course anger and attachment existed in ancient times as well, but they pervade the modern world in a deeper way. People's minds are continually disturbed and upset due to their influence, which give rise to even more emotional problems. Dorje Drolo is the best practice for removing mental and emotional obstacles. Guru Rinpoche appeared in this form to liberate sentient beings from anger and attachment.

Anger and attachment are qualities of mind which make it difficult to relax. People can become so disturbed by clinging to these emotions that their own perceptions turn against them and they begin seeing enemies everywhere. Guru Padmasambhava taught that when there is doubt and hesitation, the mind can't relax and is plagued by worry and restlessness. The long-term result of this is that you become more and more afraid. This disturbs your sense of well being, which affects the channels and the winds. Of course when the subtle physics of life is disturbed, there will be imbalances experienced in the external situation as well. This pattern is typical of the neuroses and troubles which arise continually in this degenerative era.

Along these lines, Guru Rinpoche said that in the future, all Tibetan men would be influenced by a demonic force called Gyal-po, the Tibetan women would be possessed by a demon called Sen-mo, and all the young Tibetans would be affected by an evil spirit called Ti-mug. Gyal-po symbolizes anger and jealousy and Sen-mo represents attachment. Ti-mug is an unclear, confused mind, without the ability to focus, center or direct attention. It mixes up everything. These three demons are metaphors. He didn't mean that only men or only Tibetans would be influenced by Gyal-po or women by Sen-mo, but that anger, jealousy and attachment usually arise together, and depend on each other, like a family. Dorje Drolo is a very special and powerful influence to help clear away and dispel complex loops of mental and emotional obstacles.

People who are aware of feeling mentally unstable or unhappy for no apparent reason would do well to practice on Dorje Drolo. Even though everything is together, sometimes the mind doesn't feel comfortable, relaxed or at peace. This is when such practice is really relevant. When there are unsettled feelings, it is particularly useful to meditate on Dorje Drolo. This will help calm and balance the mind.

As with all the other emanations of Guru Rinpoche, Dorje Drolo is a wisdom form, a rainbow body, not a solid or concrete object. Transforming from a sphere of bright red light, he is visualized with one face, two arms and two legs. His body color is dark red. His right hand holds a nine-pointed vajra and his left a phurba, a mystic dagger made of meteoric iron or sky metal. Dorje Drolo is very wrathful, displaying fangs, an overbite and three eyes. He is wearing Tibetan boots, a chuba and monk's robes, two white conch shell earrings and a garland of severed heads. His hair is bright red and curly, giving off sparks. To show how truly crazy he is, he dances on the back of a tigress, surrounded by wisdom flames. The tigress is also dancing, so that everything is in motion.

The tigress is actually Tashi Kyedin, a student of Guru Padmasambhava and Yeshe Ts'ogyal, and one of the five wisdom dakinis. The five wisdom dakinis are no other than incarnations of the five female Buddhas representing the Vajra, Ratna, Padma, Karma and Buddha families. And these are no other than the pure form of the five elements. Along with Mandarava, Yeshe Ts'ogyal, Kalasiddhi and Shakyadevi, Tashi Kyedin helped Guru Rinpoche carry out his wisdom activities. When Guru Padmasambhava emanated as Dorje Drolo, she was immediately transformed into a tigress. Visualize male and female demons representing anger and attachment, being crushed under her paws as she stands on a lotus, moon and sun discs.

Visualize this scene either above your head or out in front of you. Recite the Vajra Guru Mantra and imagine Dorje Drolo's wisdom flames radiating through you, removing restlessness, confusion, stress and any emotional imbalances. When such troubles arise, practice on Guru Dorje Drolo. Feel the flames as powerful blessings which destroy all psychological problems. Relax as they consume you and all sentient beings as well. Finally, let Guru Dorje Drolo dissolve as a red light into your heart center and continue to meditate in the openness of the true nature without any discrimination or particular focus. Remain that way for as long as you have time. Then dedicate the merit to all sentient beings. That is how to practice on Guru Dorje Drolo.

These are the eight emanations of Guru Padmasambhava. Believe it or not. Look into the special meaning associated with each emanation. Understand them and follow in their footsteps. Of course, Guru Padmasambhava is totally enlightened and can dance in the sky, and you might not have the ability to do that just yet, but have courage as you walk on the ground. Remain firmly committed to this practice.

Meditate on the blessings and teachings of Guru Padmasambhava, on his active demonstrations for all sentient beings, and on his endless commitment to the performance of bodhicitta activities. All eight emanations can be summarized in one simple word: bodhicitta. All this activity we have been discussing is directed toward the realization of benefits for all sentient beings and awakening them to their true nature.

If you don't know any other way, simply express bodhicitta through acts of loving-kindness and compassion and practice meditation. This unites the activities of all eight emanations in one simple state. Loving-kindness and compassion are naturally arising qualities of the mind which become unceasing activities. Allow all ego-clinging, even holdingto limited ideas of loving-kindness and compassion, to dissolve back into the expanse of the primordial nature, and the energy will reappear in wiser, more flexible and skillful forms. To meditate like this is a very simple and powerful practice.

From a conventional viewpoint, the eight emanations of Guru Padmasambhava are strange and incredible. You might think these are all just stories. But if we realize equanimity and understand the truth of Madhyamika, Mahamudra or Dzogchen, the activities of Guru Padmasambhava are perfectly and completely natural. There is nothing odd or unusual about them. To understand the eight emanations, we should realize that they are given to us to break down our fixed conceptions and help rid us of habitual clinging to narrow categories of thought and feeling. That is the essential point of this whole teaching.

Everything we see is a display of wisdom, the luminosity aspect of the true nature. There is no need to cling or hold onto any particular thing or form. Everything reflects the true nature, so do not become fixed in your mind and attitude. Stay open. You will never realize the infinite nature if you attach to one way of seeing things.

In the Diamond Sutra, Buddha Shakyamuni said, "Whoever seeks the Buddha in form or sound is going in the wrong direction. They will never see the real Buddha." We must open our minds and realize equanimity. The ultimate Buddha is beyond mundane ideas and conceptions. This is known as the Dharmakaya Buddha.

In a Mahayana Sutra, the Buddha said, "From the day I was enlightened until I entered parinirvana, I never taught a single word of Dharma." If we hold tight to our position within the bounds of common perception, we would have to conclude that the Buddha was a big liar. But Buddha is speaking here on the absolute level, leading us beyond duality, drawing us into practice from the enlightened point of view. If the absolute truth of the teaching is beyond conception, there are no words existing in the infinite domain of the primordial nature.

In another Sutra, Buddha Shakyamuni explains how our universe, even though we think it is very big, occupies a space no bigger than an atom without the atom becoming bigger or the universe becoming smaller. The whole universe is contained in one particle. All discriminatory notions and contradictions are abstractions and only exist on the conceptual level. In reality, everything is free of such limitations. It is unbounded openness and in this sense, is known as the state of great equanimity.

The eight emanations demonstrate the marvelous flexibility of the true nature. There is room for everything to appear and ceaselessly transform, and no point in clinging to exclusive forms or dogmas.

All these emanations arise within the true nature which is known on the higher levels of the teaching as Dzogchen. The entire universe is within the Great Perfection of the Dzogchen state. Everything appears vividly here and is clearly illuminated within this awareness. Nothing exists apart from the transcendent qualities of the primordial nature. Therefore, everything is already in the clear light state. All movement is unimpeded and translucent. There are no obstacles or blockages to this freedom.

That is my teaching on the eight emanations of Guru Padmasambhava. 

Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche, 1938 - 2010

May the Guru remain in the world for a long time to come, may the light of His teachings pervade the sky of mind and bring happiness to all. In seeking to become better acquainted with the Ways and Means of the Lotus Born, I requested these teachings on the Eight Manifestations of Guru Padmasambhava from the compassionate brother Lamas, Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche and Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche, who responded energetically with nearly eight hours of inspired talk. The tapes were transcribed by members of the Turtle Hill Sangha and edited by myself, Padma Shugchang. The teaching took place at Padma Gochen Ling in Monterey, Tennessee in the spring of 1992. May these efforts serve to awaken the absolute reality of Guru Padmasambhava in the hearts of all beings. Republished as a five-part series in February 2011 by Digital Tibetan Buddhist Altar.


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