Venerable Karma Thinley Rinpoche 64, a renowned meditation Master of Kagyudpa and Sakyapa tradition visited Nagarjuna Institute. In response to the growing interest shown by the students of Nagarjuna Institute, Rinpoche intends to bring the Old Kadampa tradition and practices among Newar Buddhist Society. An excerpt from his teachings:
The old Kadampa tradition is a Mahayana Buddhist tradition. The lineage of this tradition comes directly from Buddha Shakyamuni who transmitted these teachings to two illustrious great bodhisattvas viz Bodhisattva Manjushree and Bodhisattva Maitreya. They in turn, transmitted through disciples, viz Arya Nagarjuna and Arya Asanga. Two lineages called Profound and Vast merged later on Atisha Dipankara who received these combined lineages from Guru Dharmakirti of Suvarnadvipa. Atisha (982-1054) transmitted these teachings to his Tibetan disciples Dromtonpa who established first Kadampa Monastery Radreng in Tibet. It is said that these teachings are designed to aid the practice of pure dharma during these degenerating time. Atisha, the great Indian Master was largely responsible for transmission of these pure teachings of Buddha in Tibet. Atisha’s followers, known as Kadam Geshes, were not only great scholars but also intensive practitioners of great purity and sincerity. Great Kadam Geshes called Potowa, Langri Thangpa, Thogme Zangpo, Kharag Gomchung were illustrious masters of Tibet.
Among those teachers of eminence Geshe Langri Thangpa was the one who composed “Thought Transformation in Eight Stanzas” (Tib: bLo-sbyong tsig-brgyad-ma). An English Translation of the root text is given below.
1.Being determined to accomplish the highest welfare for all beings who excel the wish fulfilling gem I shall constantly hold them dear.
2.When accompanying anyone I shall view myself as the lowest of all and in the depth of my heart shall hold dearly others as supreme.
3.Examining my continuum throughout all actions, as soon as an emotional afflictions, arises that endangers myself and other, facing it I shall strictly avert it.
4.When seeing a being of wicked nature who is forced by violent wrongs an suffering I shall hold dear this one so hard to find as though discovering a precious treasure.
5.When others, out of jealousy, treat me badly with abuse, insults and the like, I shall accept their hard words and offer the other the victory.
6.When someone who I have assisted and in whom I have placed great hope inflicts me with extremely bad harm I shall view him as my supreme spiritual friend.
7.In short, I shall offer benefit and bliss to all mothers (sentient beings) in this actual life and in the future continuum, and secretly, I shall take upon myself all the harms an suffering of my mothers.
8.Also having not defiled all these by the stain of preconceptions of the eight worldly feelings and by perceiving all phenomena as illusory, free from attachment, I shall be released from bondage.
The first seven verses deal with conventional Bodhicitta, whereas the last verse deals with ultimate Bodhicitta. In these verses Geshe Langri Thangpa setforth the techniques for generating Bodhicitta by cherishing others and exchanging self with others. In one instance Geshe Chekhawa read a verse from the above stanzas that one should accept all blame and suffering upon oneself and give all profit, gain and happiness to others. Intrigued by this unusual idea, Geshe Chekhawa traveled to Lhasa in search of the master who wrote these stanzas. Unfortunately Geshe Langri had already passed away then.
Later, Geshe Chekhawa met Geshe Sharawa, Langri Thangpa’s disciples who taught him the entire Lonjong i. e. Mind training teachings. Geshe Chekhawa asked whether these lines had any specific reference. Geshe Sharawa toljd him that they referred to the Ratnavali of Nagarjuna, which states:
May their sins ripen for me
and all my virtues for them
These verses, based on the principal of the exchange of self with others, are explained in great detail in the eighth chapter of the Bodhicaryavatara of Acarya Shanti Deva. Such mind training practices seem to be unusual and impracticable in our modern society, because we are accustomed to the delusion of self-involvement and egotism. Geshe Sharawa has said, ‘Whether you like to study it or not, if you want to attain complete Buddhahood you must understand its meaning and practice.” For instance, when we are untrained in gymnastic exercise, at first our body is very stiff and unable to bend. To begin with, it is very difficult to sit in the Vajra posture during meditation, but later through practice, we can sit comfortably in this posture. The same is the case with these mind training practices. Another difficulty in practicing these teachings is the lack of certainly and conviction in their fundamental tenets and principles. First we have to understand and have deep faith in the workings of the laws of Karma, without which the practice of mind training becomes very difficult. So we need to understand these laws and study them deeply, applying scientific reasoning and logic to bolster our conviction.
2. A bulletin called “Dharmadhatu” No. 6 March 1995 was published incorporating institute’s activities and Tibeto-Nepalese Buddhist activities in general.
3. Under the scheme of Nepal Buddhist Text Translation Project (NBTTP) Nagarjuna Institute is going to publish two important Sutra and Shastra texts on Buddhism. They are as follows.
a.Guna Karanda Vyuha Sutra (Newari Translation) (Sutra on the qualities of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara)
b.Atisha and his teachings (containing Nepalese Translation of Atisha’s texts on Bodhipath Pradeepa, Caryasamgraha Pradeepa, Vimala Ratna Lekha, Bodhisattva Manyavali etc.)
Both of these texts are sponsored by Mr. Bhakti Das Shrestha, one of the Directors of the Institute.
A series of translated Sutra manuscripts are ready for publication. We welcome sponsors who are eager to participate in this meritorious project, for the diffusion of Buddhism in Nepal, the birth place of Lord Buddha. Those interested are requested to contact the Director of the Institute.
1. Arya Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva Sutra (Nepali Translation)
2. Arya Bhaisajya Vaiduryaprabha Tathagata Sutra (Nepali Translation)
3. Arya Dasa Bhumika Sutra (Newari Translation)
As usual Ven. Thrangu Rinpoche conducted Eight Namo Buddha Seminar at the premise of Thrangu Tashi Choeling near Bodhanath Stupa, Kathmandu. For the first two weeks of the teaching Rinpoche taught on the biography of Eight Karmapa Mikyo Dorje followed by a series of initiations.
Rangjung Yeshe institute, Kathmandu sponsored its 14th seminar on the topic “Confusion and Liberation” at the Kathmandu Sedrup Ling Monastery in Bodhanath. During two weeks of the seminar, Ven. Chokyi Nyima taught on various aspects of Mahamudra teachings. About 150 western students including few Nepalese students participated in the seminar. Ven. Urgyen Tulku Rinpoche who was residing at Nagi Gompa, compassionately gave a teachings on Pointing out Instruction (Tib. ‘Threg cho’) in two groups in spite of his serious illness.
Ven. Urgyen Tulku Rinpoche conducted a weeklong Phowa Transmission retreat to a group of Nepalese Buddhists about 200 in number at the premise of Nagi Gompa, Kathmandu. The retreat was especially arranged for Buddhist nuns about 100 number from Nagi Gompa itself. Participants, with great faith and devotion meditated on the phowa instructions given by Ven. Urgyen Tulku Rinpoche. After four days of intense meditation sessions the signs of success appeared with most of the senior students. By the end of 6thday almost all the participants in the retreat were successful in their meditation on phowa practice. In the concluding day Ven. Urgyen Tulku Rinpoche gave a brief teachings on the importance of phowa Teachings. Until now about 400 Newar Buddhists have received phowa transmission on two similar occasions from Ven. Urgyen Tulku Rinpoche alone.
A note on Phowa Practice
“Ejecting the consciousness into the space of unborn Rigpa” refers to the transference of consciousness, the phowa practice, which is the most commonly used practice for dying, and the special instruction associated with the bardo of dying. Phowa is the practice of yoga and meditation that has been used for centuries to help the dying and to prepare for death.
The principal is that at the moment of death, the practitioner ejects his or her consciousness and merges with the wisdom mind of the Buddha. It would be inappropriate here to explain the details of the phowa practice without the permission of the teacher which must always and in a circumstances be carried out under the guidance of a qualified master.
It is generally said that the phowa practice is most commonly known as “Phowa of three recognitions”: recognition of our central channel as the path, recognition of our consciousness as the traveler, and recognition of the environment of a Buddha realm as the destination. It is said that it does not require extensive intellectual knowledge to accomplish the Phowa successfully only devotion, compassion, one pointed visualization and strong feeling of presence of Amitabha Buddha. After practicing intensively the signs of accomplishment appear. This includes as itching at the top of the head, headaches, the emergence of clear fluid, swelling or a softness around the area of the fontanel, or even the opening of a small hole there, into which traditionally the tip of a stalk of grass is inserted as test or measure of how successful the practice has been. (adopted from Sogyal Rinpoche’s The Tibetan book of Living and Dying”)
Guru Ratna Raj Bajracharya, a well known Newar Buddhist Master of Cakrabahi, Patan gave a transmission of “Dharani Samgraha” of Newar Buddhist tradition to a group of Nepalese Buddhist disciples headed by Mr. Sridhar Rana. It was specially organized by Nagarjuna Institute to a group of Non-Newar Buddhist disciples. Dharani is a form of Buddha’s teachings least explored in modern researches on Buddhism. Dharanis are an integral part of Vajrayanic Empowerments of all four classes of Tantra. The Newar Buddhist tradition still posses vast collections of dharanis in original Sanskrit which are recited by the Newar Buddhist in Viharas and Bahils.
Among several dharanis Guru Ratna Raj Bajracharya who is the descendant of famous Jamuna Gubhaju of Patan, gave only 120 dharanis in transmission. After a week, he also gave the transmission of “Guru Mandalarcana Puja” an important Newar Buddhist practice to the same group of disciples numbering nearly 30. The Text “Guru Mandalarcana Puja” was composed by Pt. Advayavajra and is a daily ritual text for every Bajracharya Buddhists of Nepal.
Karma Thinley Rinpoche is presently involved in the construction of Thegchen legshey Ling Monastery in Bodhanath near Jorpaty. Rinpoche is a renowned meditation master and scholar of the Kagyu and Sakya Traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. He is well known to English readers as the author of the History of the 16 Karmapas of Tibet.
He was born in Nangchen, Eastern Tibet in 1931 and was recognized as the incarnations of Sakyapa Biru Kunrig at the age of two by Dagshu Thinley Rinpoche, then Sakya Trizin. Later, he was recognized by His Holiness the 16th Karmapa as an incarnation of the 15th century Kagyu scholar Karma Thinleypa. Rinpoche was trained under eminent gurus such as Nagwang Tashi Rinpoche, he has become a leading contemporary exponent of the Rime ecumenical movement of Tibetan Buddhism. After escaping in 1959, Rinpoche spent 12 years in India before settling in Canada in 1971.
During a lively discussion with the editor of this newsletter, Rinpoche says,
“In the past we received countless teachings from Newar Buddhist Masters such as Phamthimpa, Paindapa, Mahakaruna and others, hence we, Buddhists from Tibet are indebted to Nepal. Now it seems that we have to hand over these inherited teachings to Nepalese Buddhists”
“This will, I hope, nullify our debts to Nepalese Buddhists. Keeping in view with this, I authorize Mr. Sridhar Rana, a gifted lay practitioner as a Buddhist master.”
He is also the teacher at Nagarjuna Institute. Mr. Rana has received extensive teachings from Ven. Thinley Rinpoche, Ven. Chogay Trichen, Ven. Sakya Trizin, Ven. Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, Ven. Urgyen Tulku Rinpoche, Ven. Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche and many others.
1.Source of Wisdom: Introduction, translation from Tibetan and Mongolian, commentaries and bibliography with Mr. Dandazon, Ulan-Udem, 1968. “Source of Wisdom” is a dictionary composed in XVIII century under the leadership of Rolpe ‘i Dorje, translated into Mongolian from Tibetan Kanjur and Tanjur.
2.Dpag-bsam ljon-bzang-(pagsam Jonsen) a monumental work on Tibetan historical literature of XVII-th century (Novosibirsk, 1981) in Russian language.
3.Introduction to the Studies of Kanjur and Tanjur (co-author and chief editor) Novosibirsk, 1989.
4.Mongolian Astrology: Ulan-Ude, 1990.
5.dPag bsam ljon bzang: chronological Tables along with Introduction translation from Tibetan, Glossary, Indexes and Bibliography (edited by N. Bolsokhoyeva), Novosibirsk, 1991.
6.Theory and Practice of Tibetan Medicine-“ gyud-bzhi” (Four Medical Tantras) and an unpublished manuscript of “The Atlas of Tibetan Medicine”) A set is in the museum of History after M. Changalov in Ulan Ude.
7.The Selected works of Prof. G. Chibikov (editor, 2nd revised ed. ’91)
Prof. R. Pubayev was Editor in chief of the numerous collected articles published by Siberian branch of Printing House Nanka. His articles have appeared in different academic journals on Tibetological field. The editor of this bulletin had personal contact with him in 1986 January when he was in a study tour in Nepal. His demise is a great loss for Tibetologists.
As usual, Nagarjuna Institute conducted it summer session Buddhist Studies Programme at the premise of the Institute. About 25 students participated in the studies programme. During the sessions the students studies the following topics.
1.Twelve principal deeds of Lord Buddha, Four Buddhist Councils, Life and works of Nagarjuna, Aryadeva, Asanga, Vasubandhu, Dingnaga and Dharmakirti.
2.History of Four religious traditions of Tibet i. e. Nyingma, Kagyudpa, Sakyapa and Gelukpa.
3.Buddha Nature, Precious Human Body, Spiritual Friend. Karma, Impermanence, Suffering of Samsara, Refuge, Bodhicitta and Six Perfections.
Oct 2nd 1994- March 6, 1995
The winter session of Buddhist Studies Programme was Commenced as usual on Oct 2nd, 1994 at the premise of Institute. About 20 students participated in the programme in which the students studied following subjects.
1.History of Prajnaparamita literature Arya Prajnaparamita Hrdaya Sutra
2.Life and works of Atisha Dipamkara Bodhipathpradeepa.
3.Life and works of Acarya Shanti Deva Bodhicaryavatara
On the occasion of 2539th Anniversary of Lord Buddha’s Birth, Enlightenment and Mahaparinirvana Day, Nagarjuna Institute is going to organize a seminar on ‘Interaction of Tibet on Southern Himalayas’. The Seminar theme aims at throwing light on contribution of Newars and Tibetans.
Entreated by the followers of Buddhist Nyingma lineage from different ethnic groups such as Gurung, Thakali, Dolpali, Manangim, Humlali, Tibetan, Newars of Nepal, His Holiness Padma Norbu Rinpoche, the supreme head of Nyingma tradition had kindly imparted the initiation of Rinchen Terdzod at the premise of Shechen Tenny Dhargyeling monastery near Bodhanath Stupa. In Nyingma Buddhist lineage all the teachings of Buddha on Sutra and Tantra can be found. It is clearly known to us that the vehicles of Sutra tradition are Shravakayana, Pratyaka Buddhayana and Bodhisattvayana whereas Tantra tradition comprises of Kriya Tantra, Upatantra, Yoga Tantra, Mahayoga Tantra, Anuyoga and Atiyoga. Thus the Buddhist teachings are classified as Nine Vehicles in Nyingma lineage.
According to Kama and Terma Tradition of the Tantra Yana, it incorporates the teachings of 122 major and 1022 minor tertons. The Rinchen Terdzod contains all the major initiations of Mahayoga, Anuyoga and Atiyoga and especially the Mahayoga teachings in particular. In Mahayoga there are two kinds of Tantra division: viz, Tantra and Sadhana. Tantra division encompasses all the initiations about Vajrasattva and peaceful-wrathful deities. In Sadhana division, it contains the teachings concerning Three Roots.
(A) Guru (Lama) Division : It contains the initiation concerning,
1. Dharmakaya Gurus
2. Sambhogakya Gurus (Avalokiteshvara etc.)
3. Nirmanakya Gurus (Padmasambhava etc.)
4. Heruka Gurus
(B) Istadevatas division : Tutelary deities concerning pacification, subjugation and others.
1. Amitabha (peaceful and wrathful)
2. Avalokiteshvara (peaceful and wrathful)
3. Astaheruka division
a. Manjushree – Body aspect
b. Hayagriva (Tamdin) – Speech aspect
c. Shree Visuddha (Yandrak) – Mind aspect
d. Amrita (Yonten) – Quality aspect
e. Vajra kilaya (Phurva) – Action aspect
f. Matrika Deities (Mamo)
g. Mopa (Krodhimantra)
h. Worship and propitiation of mundane deities.
(C) Dakini Division : All the initiation connected with Tara (Dolma) Vajravarahi ( Dorje Phagmo) Yeshe Chogyal (Ocean of wisdom).
1. Initiations of Dharmpala group (Chokyong)
2. Initiations of Miscellaneous Karmas or Rituals
3. Santikarana : e.g. Vajrasattva who pacifies the non Virtuous actions.
4. Pustikarana : Amitayus concerning long life, increase of merits.
5. Subjugation : Kurukulla who subjugates others.
6. Wrath : Destroying obstructions
The class of wealth deities : Jambhala etc. Lama Norla initiation
Specific rituals : Fire oblation (Homa), charity of water, Gana puja, worship for the deceased one, torma offering initiation.
Anuyoga : Instruction on pacification, subjugation and others in terms of channel, drops and wind
Atiyoga : All the initiation concerning mind, space and instruction division. Rinpoche completed all these initiation and transmission within three months.
A Brief Introduction of Guru Padma Norbu Rinpoche who delivered Rinchen Terdzod Initiation
Ratna Nidhi Kosha (Treasure of Jewels) is a bulk of treasure (Tib. Terma) texts which comprise the anthology of treasures common in Nyingma tradition of Buddhism. This treasure consists of 75 bulks of texts which include divine Mandalas associated with Guru, Istadevatas, Guardian deities (DHARMAPAL) and so on. In Mahayana tradition, the lores of sutra and tantra are to be studied and taught as well. People who follow tantra tradition are called Vidyadharas. According to the Buddhist doctrine, the vows of five precepts and Refuge are essential for any Buddhist. Similarly, it is essential to receive an initiation of tantric divine Mandala in order to be the Vidyadhara. That’s why, the Empowerment (Tib. Wang) is considered as the main entrance to tantric Buddhism. Otherwise he may be considered as a nominal Buddhist or Buddhist just in name only.
In seventh century, motivated by a good aspiration, Dharma king Srong bstan Gampo married Bhrikuti, the Nepalese princess and Wenchen kongjo, the Chinese princess with the help of his minister mGar. It was after his marriage that Buddhism was introduced into Tibet. In 18th century, Guru Padma Sambhava from Udiyana went to Tibet, after an invitation from the Tibetan king Thrisong Deuchen, accompanied by the scholars of Nalanda including Shantarakshita and Vimalamitra. And Evil demons who didn’t want to be pacified through peace were all subdue by them. They established Samye Monastery and had the sutras and tantras translated into Tibetan Language, thereby disseminating the Dharma extensively. After Acarya Padma Sambhava had delivered an initiation to his disciples headed by the Tibetan king Thrisong Deuchen he made up a Tantric Vidya mandala called “ Eight fold Heruka Sadhana.” Twenty five of his disciples became outstanding masters who attained the accomplishment. They were later on capable of showing the miraculous powers like flying up in the sky and walking along the rays of the sun. Similarly Mahapandit Vimalamitra transmitted Dzogpa chenpo teachings and illuminated the dark Tibet with the light of dharma.
Padmasambhava called concealed the subtle and profound teachings which weren’t suitable with time and couldn’t be assimilated by his disciples, in a deep cavern cave, wildness, lake, sky, mountains and in the mindstream of his excellent disciples. Then he ordered dharmapalas (Guardian deities) to safeguard these hidden scriptures, predicting that his best and gifted disciples would later discover them and spread them widely. Later on, Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche compiled and edited all these treasure texts. These are known as Rinchen Terdzod. The tradition or denomination that follows such instruction is called Nyingma (Ancient Tradition) and its adherent Sangha is called Nyingmapa. At present the devotees of different countries like Tibet, Bhutan, China, Mongolia, including Nepal follow Nyingma tradition for their life cycle rituals. To follow these Tantric methods, it is necessary for one to receive initiation from the Guru of the unbroken lineage. Therefore, at the sincere request of the devout Lamas, Bikshu Sangha an slay Buddhist Association of Nepal, Ven. Padma Norbu Rinpoche had delivered the initiation for the benefit of all sentient beings at the premise of Shechen Tenny Dargyeling monastery near Bodhanath. The initiation had begun from 11th of October, 1994 and lasted for three months. Rinpoche had given similar initiations in America, Mysore of India and Tibet. Almost five thousand people receive this initiation.
In the past, Ven. Padma Norbu Rinpoche has manifested himself as mGar, the minister of Srong btsan Gampo, Mahapandita Vimalamitra, Prince Larje Damjin, Lhalung pal gyi dorje, great Terton Sangye lingpa, Konchog chidu, Guru gyatsho Nyingpok, Dubwang Padma Norbu I, Dodrup Chen, Kunzang shenphen, Dodrup Phuntsog Jugne, and Chokyi Lingpo. Born in 1932 in the province of Kham, Ven. Guru Padma Norbu Rinpoche was appointed as a chief of the Palyul Gompa having 1022 affiliated monasteries. He is one of the roll of Namthod statue to be conferred upon by the ancient kings of China. Therefore he is entitled to transmit the teaching everywhere in China and Tibet. Due to the change that had arisen with time, he went to India in 1959 and settled down in Mysore of Karnataka province in India, establishing there a center for higher Buddhist studies. The center is equipped with facilities for boarding, lodging and study for about 1500 monks. Over 300 Nepali Lama students are studying there. Some of them have completed the higher study programme and have become Masters of Buddhist philosophy. Ven. Padma Norbu Rinpiche is not only the chief of Palyul Monastery but also a supreme head of the Nyingmapa tradition itself. He is now transmitting teachings all over the world, establishing Dharma centers in the countries such as Nepal, Tibet, America, Canada, Switzerland, Malaysia, Singapore, Hongkong, Taiwan, Philippines, Macao etc. Though his superhuman activity is beyond our approach, because of the lack of space, we cannot describe it further. He has no other intention than benefiting all the sentient beings.
Dear Mr. Shakya,
Even though we have never met, I am familiar with your Buddhist Himalaya Journals since a long time, as well as with some of your earlier own publications. In fact, recently, I contributed one article to a special Buddha Jayanti Commemoration Volume, under the title,
A Tenth Century Bajracharya from Patan: Bharo ‘Maimed hand’ in which I praise your journal’s initiative, especially the inclusion, in each recent issue, of an article on a specific deity, mostly on the basis of Tibetan sources, followed by a short version of the Sadhana in Sanskrit, according to the Newar Tradition.
More in particular, regarding the Vajra-Bhairava I show that the Newar tradition is in fact identical to the paralleled one in the Sakya School of Tibetan Buddhism and was transmitted to Tibet via Nepal, and it is my purpose of the Sadhana, the Sanskrit equivalent of the Strotras and other items wherever possible.
June 7th, 1994
Dear Editor Namaskar,
Thank you so much for sending the Dharmadhatu newsletter of the institute and Buddhist Himalaya.
Well, you are doing really commendable job for the good of others. I am sure, many, especially interested in the field of preliminary Buddhist Studies, are benefiting by the teachings programmes and most enlightening symposiums organized time and again by the Inc. inviting Distinguished scholars of various walks of life.
With best regards,
July 4, 1994
I am writing to you because I would like to have some information about your review ‘Buddhist-Himalaya’.
I come to know about the existence of your publication few weeks ago through an Italian New Age magazine and I have become interested in it.
I would be grateful if you should send me some information about it, and if it is possible, some photocopies of your review so that I will be able to understand your work better.
I look forward to hearing from you in the future.
via. Gabibaldi No.”- 54
43038 Sala Baganza
7th June 1994
Thank you for regularly sending Dharmadhatu which I find quite informative and interesting. Please send your Newsletter on the following address in future.
Prof. N. H. Samtani
Pali Publication and Research Project
Vipassana Research Institute