The nyung nä practice was passed from Chenrezig to Bhikshuni Lakshmi, who then passed it to other yogis and pandits, the first of whom was Pandit Chandra Kumara (Dawa Shonnu).10 Chandra Kumara was born in India in the Brahmin caste. He became expert in the five types of knowledge, especially in logic and Sanskrit poetry.
At one point Chandra Kumara became sick with lung, or wind disease, and no matter what he tried, nothing helped. He then went to see Bhikshuni Lakshmi and just by seeing her and receiving her blessings, his lung was pacified. (When you meet Tibetan Buddhism, after some time you come to know about lung. Some senior Sangha have had lung for many years, and even though they go to Burma, Sri Lanka and other places, still they don’t recover.)
Bhikshuni Lakshmi told Pandit Chandra Kumara, “The reason you have wind disease is that in a past life you disturbed your guru’s holy mind. Because of this, you are now experiencing this disease, but because you made confession, you have also met me in this life.” She then added, “You should chant OM MANI PADME HUM and do confession practice.” (Here Bhikshuni Lakshmi is giving advice as to what to do if you have lung: chant OM MANI PADME HUM and do purification, or confession, practice.)
Bhikshuni Lakshmi gave Pandit Chandra Kumara instructions on Eleven-Face Chenrezig,11 which he practiced and then achieved mahamudra, the sublime realization, in that lifetime. Pandit Chandra Kumara achieved Chenrezig by receiving teachings from Bhikshuni Lakshmi.
We can relate this story to ourselves. When we have strong lung, our mind is very unhappy and disturbed. We feel very tight and have great pain in our heart. That is due to the karma of having disturbed the holy mind of the gurus, bodhisattvas or other holy beings and also of having made other people’s minds unhappy. If the lung gets worse and worse, a person can become completely crazy.
This story shows how powerful and effective Chenrezig practice is and how important it is to recite OM MANI PADME HUM. Pandit Chandra Kumara tried many things, but nothing helped his lung until he did Chenrezig practice. Now you know what to do in case you already have lung or you get lung in the future.
Pandit Jñanabhadra (Yeshe Zangpo) was born into the family of a king, but took the ordination of renunciation, renouncing the householder’s life. He then became expert in the five types of knowledge, including the inner knowledge of Buddhist philosophy.
Due to past karma, huge abscesses developed on his upper body. No matter what he tried, nothing helped. Thinking the abscesses might be caused by spirit harm, he went to receive teachings on Yamantaka from a great yogi of Yamantaka, but when he tried to meditate on Yamantaka his sickness became three times worse. His whole body became swollen and covered with pus, and he was in unbearable burning pain. It was so painful that he couldn’t bear anything to touch his body. When he went to bathe in a pool, the water of which was normally supposed to help heal wounds and other diseases, the water in the pool became so hot that it boiled, and he had to keep changing the water.
He then went to see many great yogis, but nobody could help him. No matter what he tried, nothing benefited him.
Jñanabhadra then had the thought to request Pandit Chandra Kumara’s help. When Pandit Chandra Kumara was on his way to see Jñanabhadra, Tara appeared to Chandra Kumara and told him, “In the past Jñanabhadra degenerated his samaya with his guru, and his disease is the ripened result of that past karma. Nobody can heal him. He must pray to Bhikshuni Lakshmi.”
The guru, Pandit Chandra Kumara, and the disciple, Pandit Jñanabhadra, then went together to a lake, where they invoked Bhikshuni Lakshmi and made requests to her. Bhikshuni Lakshmi then blessed Pandit Jñanabhadra, and just with this blessing, right in that moment, his disease completely disappeared. Jñanabhadra actually saw Bhikshuni Lakshmi in the form of Eleven-Face Chenrezig, and there at that lake, Bhikshuni Lakshmi, in that manifestation, gave teachings on Chenrezig to both of them.
Pandit Jñanabhadra then received elaborate teachings on the method of attaining Chenrezig from his guru, Pandit Chandra Kumara. He did nyung nä retreat for three months and meditated on Chenrezig. He then achieved sublime realization, with his body becoming the actual holy body of Chenrezig. In this way he achieved Chenrezig.
Peñawa of Nepal
Peñawa, a Nepalese yogi, is next in the lineage of this nyung nä practice. The previous lineage lamas were Indian pandits, but Pandit Peñawa was from Nepal. He was born into a king’s family and became supreme among the learned ones. (It doesn’t specify here in the text, but it might mean the same as before: he became expert in the five types of knowledge.)
He then received a prediction from Manjushri, who told him, “Peñawa, you should take teachings on Eleven-Face Chenrezig from Pandit Jñanabhadra. If you then recite OM MANI PADME HUM for five years, you will see Chenrezig.”
After receiving this prediction, Peñawa went to India, where he received teachings on Thousand-Arm Chenrezig from Pandit Jñanabhadra. After that, he lived by begging for five years, and he then did a retreat on Chenrezig. While doing the retreat, Peñawa actually saw Chenrezig’s holy face and received teachings directly from Chenrezig. He then achieved the sublime realization of Chenrezig, Chenrezig’s enlightenment. He achieved the rainbow body, which means his gross body became lighter and smaller and smaller, until it disappeared. He passed away in the rainbow body and went to the pure land.
The next lineage lama is bodhisattva Dawa Gyältsän, whose story is very short. Unlike with the others, there’s no detailed story about how he achieved Chenrezig. However, he was very famous, and it was commonly known that he was the actual Chenrezig. There were many predictions and stories to prove this. Many learned beings and yogis, because of predictions from Chenrezig, took teachings from bodhisattva Dawa Gyältsän and had profound realizations.
In Kyirong, which is in Tibet but close to the border with Nepal, there was a Chenrezig statue called Kyirong Lokeshvara.12 This Lokeshvara statue is now in His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s palace in Dharamsala. Sometimes, in photos of His Holiness, you see this statue, which has a crown, in a glass case behind His Holiness.
This Lokeshvara statue was in Kyirong Samten Ling Monastery, which was founded by Kachen Yeshe Gyältsän, a great lama who, like the sun rising, benefited sentient beings and the teaching of Buddha in Tibet. When the Samten Ling monks escaped from Tibet, they brought the Lokeshvara statue with them and offered it to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
It is said that this Lokeshvara statue speaks and that it was not made by humans but came spontaneously from a tree. This statue originally came from Nepal, and there are actually four Lokeshvara statues all together. A long time ago, there was a sandalwood tree growing on top of a small hill somewhere near Swayambhunath in the Kathmandu valley. This tree was always covered by beams of light, like a net; and every day a cow would come to squirt milk onto that tree.
When Akaramati, a fully ordained monk who was an embodiment of Amitabha Buddha, came from Tibet to Nepal, one day he came to the place where this tree was. He then heard a voice from the sky say, “Cut the tree.” When he did that, a Chenrezig statue came out of the tree. The Chenrezig statue then spoke, saying, “I want to be in Tibet to benefit the Tibetan people.”13 This small, standing statue is now in the Potala in Tibet; it is one of the most precious statues in the Potala. You go through a door, walk up some wooden steps and there you see that Chenrezig statue. People can sponsor gold to be offered to the statue.
The voice then came again from the sky, saying, “Cut the tree again.” Again, a Chenrezig statue appeared, and this one said, “I want to be in Kyirong, because many people have cold sickness. I’m going there to heal them.” (This is the Lokeshvara statue I have already mentioned—the one that was brought from Tibet and is in His Holiness’s palace in Dharamsala.)
Again Akaramati heard the voice from the sky, saying, “Cut the tree again.” Another Chenrezig statue appeared, and this one said, “I want to be in Kathmandu to heal people who have had strokes.” This statue, called Jowo Jamali, is in a temple with silver doors near the center of Kathmandu. There’s a large white statue of Buddha, but I think the small Lokeshvara statue might be behind it or inside the heart of that big statue. It is said that if people who have had strokes stand at the door of the temple and pray, they get healed.
Again Akaramati heard the voice, and another statue came out of the tree and said that it wanted to go to Patan to heal some other disease.
All these statues, which still exist, are not man-made but are manifestations of Chenrezig.
In the presence of the Lokeshvara statue in Kyirong, Dawa Gyältsän made requests for seven days. Chenrezig then predicted to him, “You should make charity of eyes to a hundred people. You should build one hundred temples, repair one hundred dangerous roads and offer food to one hundred fully ordained monks. If you do this, you will quickly achieve enlightenment.”
Bodhisattva Dawa Gyältsän prayed to Thousand-Arm Chenrezig to be successful in all these things and Chenrezig predicted that all his wishes to help others would be successful and that he would soon achieve enlightenment.
Dawa Gyältsän then accomplished all these works. He made charity of eyes to a hundred people and helped many people who were in danger of dying to have long lives.14 He also built one hundred temples and repaired one hundred roads. Making difficult roads easy and comfortable to travel on is regarded as a very good practice, as a good service to other sentient beings. He offered food to one hundred monks; this means he cooked and made daily offering of food. Accumulating incredible merit by doing these things, he then quickly achieved enlightenment.
There is an amazing story about how bodhisattva Dawa Gyältsän benefited sentient beings through nyung nä practice.
At one time bodhisattva Dawa Gyältsän went to the southern part of Tibet. One day when he went with four monks for alms in a village (he would always bring four monks so that others could accumulate more merit), they met an old sick woman, who requested him for blessings. Bodhisattva Dawa Gyältsän offered many tormas, blessed her and did many dedication prayers for her. He then told the old woman, “Your sickness is the result of your past negative karma, and now you must meditate on patience and bodhicitta.” When he said that, the woman immediately felt incredible devotion to bodhisattva Dawa Gyältsän, and she burst into tears. While crying, she said, “Forget about past lives! Even in this life, I’ve created so much negative karma.”
Bodhisattva Dawa Gyältsän then advised her, “If you confess every negative karma that you remember, it can be purified.”
She then explained to bodhisattva Dawa Gyältsän the negative karmas she had accumulated in her life. She had been the wife of a wealthy businessman in Kyirong and had one son with him. When their son was seven years old, her husband went to Nepal on business and didn’t come back for three years. The old woman said, “During that time, because I was beautiful and under the control of strong delusions, I went with another man. I had a child, a son, with him, but I killed that child. I also used up all our wealth. My other son found out what I had done.”
After he discovered the situation, her son asked her, “When my father returns from Nepal, what will happen to you, mother? What will you do?” The mother got upset and shouted, “What will I do? What will I do?” She then threw a rock at her son, hitting him in the liver. He vomited blood and then died.
A local lama found out that she had killed her two sons and was talking about what had happened. When she realized that the lama knew her story, she offered him poisoned food and killed him.
Her husband then returned to Kyirong from Nepal. The wife heard their maid, who knew what had happened, whispering to her husband, telling him secretly all the terrible things that she had done, that she had killed her two children and the lama. Listening secretly, the wife also heard her husband tell the maid, “Tonight I’m going to pretend that I haven’t heard all these stories about all the terrible things she has done. And tomorrow morning, I’ll gouge out her eyes.” The wife pretended that she didn’t know anything, and her husband also acted as if he didn’t know her story.
The woman was extremely scared and tried to think what she could do. She then put poison in some chang, or barley beer, and gave the poisoned drink to her husband, along with their eight servants. Not only did she poison and kill her husband, but also eight servants, including the maid. In the early morning, they became unable to speak and after two days, they died.
Two of her neighbors found out what she had done. Knowing that they had found out, she also poisoned and killed both of them. Their two maids also found out what had happened, so she poisoned and killed them as well.
In total, she killed sixteen people. The old woman then said, “I was scared, so after that I escaped to the southern part of Nepal.” This also made life difficult for her parents. She then said, “Besides that, I didn’t act honestly, did many bad things and accumulated much negative karma.”
After telling bodhisattva Dawa Gyältsän the whole story, she then said, “Without talking about past lives, I have created this very heavy negative karma in this life. Please guide me with your compassion.”
Bodhisattva Dawa Gyältsän thought, “This woman has created such heavy negative karma!” He cried and cried, tears pouring from his eyes. He then gave her the solution, telling her, “Arya Chenrezig promised that anybody who does one nyung nä won’t go to the lower realms. For you, there’s no other hope than to do nyung nä. There’s no better method for you than this.” This means that even though she had created heavy negative karma by killing sixteen people, she wouldn’t go to the lower realms if she did one nyung nä. (Here you can see how powerful just one nyung nä is. Even though the woman had collected so much negative karma, doing one nyung nä could save her from the lower realms.)
Bodhisattva Dawa Gyältsän then gave the woman the oral transmission of the nyung nä practice, with all the mantras and prayers, and advised her to do eight nyung näs. Even the sickness she had when she met bodhisattva Dawa Gyältsän was cured due to his compassion.
We have to apply this story to ourselves. We have to understand that the advice is the same for us, no matter how much heavy negative karma we have collected. This is the solution for us and for other people who have created heavy negative karma; this is how we can be free from that karma and all its suffering results.
The old woman did the eight nyung näs in the month of Saka Dawa, the fourth Tibetan month, which has three celebrations of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s life. Some teachings say that the eighth was the day that Guru Shakyamuni Buddha showed the action of coming out of his mother’s womb. The fifteenth, or full moon, day was the day that Buddha achieved enlightenment under the bodhi tree in Bodhgaya and also the day on which he later passed away.
However, during one nyung nä the old woman felt so thirsty that she drank a little bit of chang (as part of the eight precepts, you’re not supposed to have alcohol during a nyung nä). During another nyung nä, she felt so hungry that she ate two of the four offering cakes.15 Of the eight nyung näs, she did six perfectly, living on one meal, but two of them were broken because she drank chang in one and ate two tormas in another. Not long after doing the eight nyung näs, the old woman died.
Bodhisattva Dawa Gyältsän later went to Tsang, an upper region of Tibet, to give teachings on bodhicitta. During the teaching, Tsi Mara, a worldly protector, was in the audience and said to the bodhisattva, “Show some sign that you have attainments.”
Bodhisattva Dawa Gyältsän then showed the people a very clear eye in his palm, an eye that was actually looking. Everybody there saw this sign. Some people also saw bodhisattva Dawa Gyältsän in the form of Eleven-Face Chenrezig, other people saw him in the form of Four-Arm Chenrezig, and still others saw him as Two-Arm Chenrezig. Besides that, people saw him in various other aspects.
Also, because the bodhisattva showed signs of his attainments, even Tsi Mara himself generated much devotion and promised in front of Dawa Gyältsän that he would protect the yoga of Chenrezig and help people practicing nyung nä.
After that, many people generated incredible devotion to bodhisattva Dawa Gyältsän and some of them offered confession of the negative karmas they had accumulated. During that time, while other people were making confession, a fully ordained monk asked bodhisattva Dawa Gyältsän, “I heard that the old woman who killed sixteen people died last year. Where has she been reborn? Where is she now?”
Bodhisattva Dawa Gyältsän smiled at the monk and told him, “Eleven-Face Chenrezig’s nyung nä practice has countless benefits, but such a small number of people are able to do this practice.”
From his clairvoyance, bodhisattva Dawa Gyältsän then explained, “She has been born in eastern India as the son of a rich Brahmin family and has many jewel ornaments. As the result of having previously done nyung näs, she has received a human body. But because she drank chang during one nyung nä, the boy’s mind is not stable; he has many ups and downs.” That could be one explanation of the karmic cause of an unstable mind, a mind that easily goes up and easily gets depressed again. From this karmic story, we can learn about the past karma that can cause that. It can’t be the only cause, but it could be one cause.
Bodhisattva Dawa Gyältsän continued, “And because in her past life she ate the two tormas during another nyung nä when she was supposed to be fasting, the boy has an ugly body.”
He then added, “However, that boy will practice Chenrezig as his yidam, or mind-seal deity.16 Arya Chenrezig has such incredible compassion that when the boy dies he will be reborn in the Blissful Realm, Sukhavati, the pure land of Amitabha Buddha.” This is what bodhisattva Dawa Gyältsän told the monk.
Dawa Gyältsän then instructed that monk, “Anyone who does eight nyung näs purely, recites the Chenrezig mantra a hundred times and makes prostrations, will definitely be reborn in the Blissful Realm and will achieve the level of the non-returning bhumi. They will then achieve enlightenment. Doing even one nyung nä can definitely close the door to the lower realms. This Dharma is the method of attainment of all the buddhas and bodhisattvas—everybody should do this practice.”
Without need to talk about all her past lives, just in that life the old woman had created so much heavy negative karma through causing so much harm to others, but because she did the eight nyung näs, instead of being reborn in the lower realms, she was born as a Brahmin boy in eastern India, and after that life she would be born in the pure land of Amitabha. Once you’re born there it’s impossible to be born in the lower realms, and you can also come back to this world and bring extensive benefit to sentient beings. So, doing nyung näs is such an incredibly easy way to purify heavy negative karmas and to go to a pure land.
You don’t have to suffer; you don’t have to keep on reincarnating in the lower realms or as a deva or a human. You don’t need to do that—you can very quickly be born in a pure land. It’s very important to understand how powerful Chenrezig practice—making requests to Chenrezig, reciting the mantra, doing nyung näs—is. From just this one lineage story, you can understand the incredible benefits that come from doing nyung näs.
The next lineage lama is Drubchog Nyiphugpa,17 a Tibetan yogi born in the western region of Tibet called Ngari. He took vows of celibacy, and by the time he was twenty-six he was famous for being strict in moral conduct, learned and good-hearted.
In Buddhadharma, there are three qualities we should have, if possible. First, we should be strict in moral conduct. A person who is strict in moral conduct is strict in karma. If a monk lives purely in his ordination, he doesn’t allow his mind to accumulate nonvirtuous actions, only virtuous actions. I don’t know if “strict” is an exact translation of the Tibetan term tsün pa, which means a person who is strict in observing karma. Tsün pa means pure, having abstained from negativities. The second quality is khe, which means wise, or learned. The third is zang, which means good-hearted.
The lamas usually advise that from these three—morally strict, learned and good-hearted—the most important is to be good-hearted. Even if someone is very learned, if he’s not strict in observing moral conduct, in observing karma, it’s not so good. Even though he has understanding, since he doesn’t practice, he doesn’t receive much benefit from his understanding. It’s like a person who understands Dharma but does no practice. And even if someone is learned and also strict in moral conduct, if he doesn’t have a good heart, his practice won’t be successful; he can’t benefit other people very much if he doesn’t have a good heart.
If you have a good heart, you can succeed in any wish you have in this life or in a future life. If you can’t have all three qualities, the first thing you should have is a good heart; second, you should be strict in morality; and third, you should be learned.
So, by the time he was twenty-six, the great yogi of Chenrezig, Drubchog Nyiphugpa, had become famous for these three qualities. He was strict in moral conduct, was very learned and had a good heart.
After some time, Tara predicted to him in a dream, “Son of the essence,18 Chenrezig has come to the inner country called Mangyul. You must go there, and you will then accomplish both works.”
In accord with Tara’s prediction, Drubchog Nyiphugpa went to Mangyul, where he saw bodhisattva Dawa Gyältsän. Tara said that Chenrezig had come to Mangyul because bodhisattva Dawa Gyältsän had come there.
When he met bodhisattva Dawa Gyältsän, the great yogi Nyiphugpa made prostrations to him and then requested, “I would like to receive a teaching that has great meaning, is very easy to achieve and keeps one away from the lower realms forever.” Even these great yogis have similar ideas to Westerners, especially Americans. I’m joking. Though I don’t know that Americans talk about teachings that have great meaning and banish the lower realms forever.
Bodhisattva Dawa Gyältsän then gave Nyiphugpa the teachings of Eleven-Face Chenrezig. On bodhisattva Dawa Gyältsän’s instructions, Nyiphugpa then went to Takri, a place with snow mountains in northern Tibet. Without anybody knowing, he spent seven years there doing nyung näs, living on five small pots of tsampa and taking the essence (chu len) pills.
After some time, sunbeams spontaneously radiated from his palms and there were many other signs that he had achieved great attainment, with complete control over the elements.
A powerful spirit called Tako promised in front of great yogi Nyiphugpa to be the protector of the teachings of Chenrezig.19
Later, Nyiphugpa flew up in the sky and went to a place called Nyiphug, or Sunny Cave. That is how this great yogi came to be called Nyiphugpa, which means Sunny Cave Being.
There Nyiphugpa made a statue of Shakyamuni Buddha and also built monasteries in that area. He himself transformed into all the different people—architects, builders, artists—to do the work. With many of his own transformations, he built temples, monasteries and statues. He did amazing work for sentient beings in that area.
After Nyiphugpa had done nyung näs for a while, one day at dawn he got severe pain in his eyes, as if they were going to fall out. While he was in pain, a white man (a manifestation of Chenrezig) appeared to him and explained, “Four hundred lives ago you were born in the southern part of India and at that time you were a fisherman with a boat. The pain in your eyes is a result of your having blinded a big fish with an oar.”
At another time, Nyiphugpa’s right cheek became swollen and unbearably painful. Again, the white man appeared while he was experiencing the pain and explained the karma to him: “Nine hundred lives ago you broke the right cheek of a buffalo with a stone and this is the result. That is why your right cheek is now so swollen and painful.”
Because great yogis have high attainments, they experience very quickly even small karmas they have accumulated in the past. Since they have thinner obscurations, they get to experience in this life the results of their past heavy negative karma. People like us don’t experience all our past negative karmas very quickly; all our karmas are invested, like money invested in a bank. We have a big collection that we will continuously experience in the future. Even after many hundreds or even thousands of lifetimes, those karmas will definitely still exist.
I’ll tell you a story about Gen Jampa Wangdu, a monk friend of ours in Dharamsala. He was one of the older meditators in Dharamsala who had much experience of the path: of emptiness and of the basic lam-rim meditations. He was a semi-sadhu, with a patch of white hair on this head, and his main guru was Geshe Rabten Rinpoche. Lama Yeshe and he were in the same class in Sera Je in Tibet, but Jampa Wangdu never studied when he was in the monastery. He was very, very naughty, always wearing torn clothes with four or five patches and spending his time fighting with other monks, even wounding them. Also, he didn’t go for the daily pujas and debates; instead, he was always playing or fighting. He spent many years like this.
Later on he took a Guru Puja commentary from His Holiness Trijang Rinpoche, His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s junior tutor. Somehow that completely changed his mind, and he left the monastery with the plan to live in the caves of Kadampa geshes20 until he died. He spent many years in the cave of Geshe Puchungwa in a place called Pembo, where there are many Kadampa geshes’ caves. All day long he practiced Jorchö, the preparatory practices for meditating on lam-rim.
During this time, he also achieved chu len, making pills and living on them. He also meditated on tranquil abiding (Skt: shamatha), achieving shamatha even before he escaped from Tibet.
After escaping from Tibet he lived with us at a place called Buxa Duar, which is close to Bhutan. It was the concentration camp used to imprison Prime Minister Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi when the British controlled India. Lama Yeshe and I lived in that place for eight years. Gen Jampa Wangdu was there for two or three years, then he left Buxa and lived for many years in Dalhousie with Trehor Kyörpön Rinpoche, an ascetic lama who was highly learned and highly realized, with great achievement of very high tantric paths. When Trehor Kyörpön Rinpoche passed away many years ago, he remained in meditation for twenty days. Gen Jampa Wangdu did three years of practice on the instructions of that lama.
From Dalhousie, Gen Jampa Wangdu moved to Dharamsala, where he initially stayed in a cave. One day, Lama Yeshe, another monk and I went there to have a picnic, but he wasn’t there. It was a small cave with very little space inside—you couldn’t actually stand up in it.
At one point Gen Jampa Wangdu got very sick, with much pain in both knees and both elbows. Even though he was in pain, however, his mind was in a blissful state. He wasn’t upset about being sick, the way we would be. For many months he didn’t take any medicine or try to get any treatment. He then explained the situation to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who advised him to get some treatment. He didn’t listen at first, but then his leg worsened and he listened.
No Tibetan doctor could help, so His Holiness made observations and advised Gen Jampa Wangdu to go to Ludhiana, which has one of the largest hospitals in India, with very good equipment and very good treatment. His Holiness’s office took care of him. They took him to Ludhiana, which is quite far from Dharamsala, and all the expenses for his treatment were paid by His Holiness’s office.
The reason Gen Jampa Wangdu had so much pain in his knees and elbows is that when he was in Sera Monastery in Tibet, he beat an old monk with a stick for no particular reason. It wasn’t that the monk had cheated him or treated him badly. He just disliked that old monk. He beat the old monk on his knees and elbows, and his pain was in exactly the same places where he had beaten the old monk. While experiencing the pain, he remembered how he had beaten the old monk and felt sorry.
Very good meditators, those with realizations and thinner obscurations, experience the result of even the small karmas they have collected in this life. When Lama Drubkhangpa, a great yogi of Chenrezig, was asked by a benefactor to come to read the Prajnaparamita scriptures, a total of twelve volumes, at his house, Lama Drubkhangpa didn’t go but instead sent another lama, one of his disciples who was also a great yogi of Chenrezig, and another four monks. The family wanted these texts read because although they had been rich before, they had then lost most of their material possessions and become poor. They had sold the Prajnaparamita texts that they had had before in their shrine room and used that money to offer food to the four monks and the great yogi of Chenrezig.
While eating the food bought with the money from selling the texts, this great yogi had unbelievable pain in his body, and when he checked inside he found there was a white letter AH moving around in his body. No matter what he did, this white AH would go up and down, causing much pain.
He then prayed very hard to Chenrezig. (When he prayed to Chenrezig, Chenrezig usually appeared to him and gave him advice.) When Chenrezig appeared, he asked, “What is the cause of this?” Chenrezig then explained the karma, “The reason you are now experiencing unbearable pain is that you have eaten food gained through wrong livelihood. The food was obtained with money from selling Prajnaparamita scriptures. You are experiencing this pain now. The four other monks are not experiencing anything now but are very comfortable and relaxed; but after death, they will definitely be reborn in the hells. They are not experiencing anything now; but because you have thinner obscurations, you have experienced the result right away.” There are many such stories.
So, the white man, a transformation of Chenrezig, explained to great yogi Nyiphugpa the karma of his having pain.
Great yogi Nyiphugpa continued to do nyung näs, even when his body was very weak, and especially on the special days of the eighth, fifteenth and thirtieth. Chenrezig predicted to Nyiphugpa that right after his death he would be born in Amitabha’s pure land and that he would achieve enlightenment in that pure realm. When he was seventy-seven years old, Nyiphugpa passed away on the eighth day, on a silent day of a nyung nä, with many wonderful signs.
Trupa Dorje Gyälpo
The next lineage lama, Trupa Dorje Gyälpo,21 was born in a place called Suyul, in Kham, and was given the holy name Tsultrim Konchog. After he turned seven, he started to experience the result of his previous good karmas. From that day he met many great yogis with great attainments, including his guru, Nyiphugpa. Afterwards, he took the vow of celibacy and became highly learned in the ways of practicing and actualizing the three vehicles. He also became expert and strict in vinaya practice.
Drubchog Nyiphugpa told him, “I will give you one Dharma practice that will be sufficient for you, one person.” His guru then gave him the initiation and teachings of Chenrezig. Trupa Dorje Gyälpo then promised this guru that he would do nyung nä practice until he died. For five years he continuously did nyung näs in one place.
When he was thirty-six, on the eighth day of the third Tibetan month, he saw Chenrezig and Chenrezig blessed him, with no separation of his holy body, speech and mind from the three doors of great yogi Trupa Dorje Gyälpo. At that time, Trupa Dorje Gyälpo achieved infinite knowledge and clear perception. He also achieved many psychic powers. He then did amazing work for sentient beings.
Trupa Dorje Gyälpo lived by begging. He never had the experience of putting a drop of alcohol or a piece of meat on his tongue. Throughout his life he did nyung nä practice continually.
When he passed away, his holy body produced relics, tiny white pills, which were preserved in a stupa, though later the Chinese probably destroyed it. The text says that when people prayed in front of that stupa, relics were born and fell down from it. This also happens at Swayambhunath Stupa, which Western people call the Monkey Temple. If you go there very early in the morning, when it’s just light, on special days such as the eighth, fifteenth or thirtieth, you can find relics born from the stupa. The Nepali man who looks after the stupa picks them all up and takes care of them. Sometimes he gives them to people when they ask. The relics arise because those famous stupas have been blessed by many buddhas and bodhisattvas and by many highly realized yogis. Actually, the transcendental wisdom of many buddhas and bodhisattvas abides with those stupas.
The next lineage lama is Zhangtön Drajig, who was born in a place called Trophur.22 He wasn’t born in New York or London or Hawaii—maybe next time. On the day he was born, as he was coming out of his mother’s womb there were many earthquakes and frightening sounds of thunder, which terrified an enemy of the family. The name Drajig (dra means enemy and jig means frightening) was then given to the child.
Zhangtön Drajig took vows of celibacy and lived purely in the lifestyle of the Kadampa geshes. He went around to different monasteries of the four traditions to give answers in debate. All the learned monks in each monastery would debate with him, and he alone could give the correct answers. In this way he became famous as being very learned.
Zhangtön Drajig established a monastery with five hundred monks. In order to develop the monastery, Tara made the prediction to him, “You must take teachings on Eleven-Face Chenrezig from bodhisattva Trupa. After you have practiced for three years and four months, on the full moon night, in the third part of the night, you will see Chenrezig surrounded by all the Action Tantra deities.23 In this way you will be initiated and blessed.”
Tara also predicted to him, “You, my son, without eating food offered with devotion or offered on behalf of dead people, should live in solitude. And if you are able to, you should do chu len practice. If you can’t live on pills, you should live by begging and work for sentient beings.”
In accordance with the orders of his guru, Trupa Dorje Gyälpo, Zhangtön Drajig built a monastery within three years. Right after he had finished it, he gave away all his material possessions, including his robes and his bed and bedding.
Zhangtön Drajig then went to live on a high rocky mountain, where he did three months of nyung näs without anybody knowing. During this time he had such a high fever and incredible pain for seven days that he thought he was going to die. One day, around dawn, when he was in a light sleep, Chenrezig explained to him, “Before, many lifetimes ago, you were born as an Indian fisherman and cooked fish alive in boiling water and ate them. Because of that you experienced suffering in the boiling hot water hell for a hundred million years. During that time, because you were touched by beams of light from my body, you passed away from that realm and were born in the human realm. You made contact with me for sixteen human lives, and in this life you are being directly guided by me. Experiencing this disease has now purified the obscurations left over from that karma.” Chenrezig then put his palm on Zhangtön Drajig’s head and in that moment, he was relieved from his disease.
For three years Zhangtön Drajig then practiced austerities and meditated on the graduated path of attaining Chenrezig. Because his practice of austerities was extreme, lung arose so strongly that for seven days he was barely conscious and was unable to remember anything. To reduce the lung, he put wood ash in water, boiled the water and drank it. Sometimes he ate nettles to try to reduce the lung, and at other times he ate the dried snot of shepherds. At one stage he lived for seven months without taking even a drop of water. He practiced severe austerities.
At the end of three years he had very high attainment and was able to show the signs of various psychic powers; for example, flying in the sky and reversing the flow of a river.
When Zhangtön Drajig passed away, a large amount of relics came from his holy body and an image of Chenrezig appeared on his tongue. The relics were placed in a stupa.
There are relics of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha in Sarnath. If you pay a small amount of money, the head person at the Mahabodhi Society will bring them up from underneath the temple. There are two fine, white relics kept under glass.
There are also relics of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha in Sri Lanka and other places. Because in the future degenerate time people would be unable to see Guru Shakyamuni Buddha himself, he left relics as objects of devotion, enabling people to accumulate good karma. This is besides his statues. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha explained this in the sutra teachings.
The next lineage lama is Jangchub Päl, who is also known as Khenpo Tsidulwa. One prostration prayer to the lineage lamas says,
I prostrate at the feet of Tsidulwa,
Whose holy mind was pervaded by immeasurable energy of compassion.
When meditating on bodhicitta,
He saw his guru as inseparable from the yidam.
Tsidulwa was born in a place called Chöden. From when he was a child, Tsidulwa had incredible compassion for sentient beings, even lice. When he found lice on his body, he would call them his parents. (It’s easy to get lice in Tibet, because it’s so cold that people don’t wash much.) When he was very young, the words would automatically come, “My parents—how pitiful!”
From when he was ten, Tsidulwa read and studied various sutra teachings. He then realized the many shortcomings of the dissatisfied mind of attachment to the point that tears would come, generated aversion to the attachment in his own mind and developed great fear of samsara. He prayed to be able to take the ordination of renunciation.
Whenever he saw or listened to a geshe explaining teachings, he would be extremely happy and would pray, “May I also be able to reveal Dharma to many sentient beings.”
He developed more and more aversion to ordinary, worldly life. Of course, whether or not family life is worldly depends on the attitude with which it is lived; you can’t say that family life is worldly based on external appearances. For example, from outside, Marpa and his secret mother looked as if they were living an ordinary family life.
Even though Tsidulwa prayed all the time to be able to receive ordination, he wasn’t able to do so for many years because of his parents and other reasons. However, when he reached the age of twenty-one, he left alone and went to receive ordination. He then read and listened to many teachings, and reflected precisely on their meaning. He became expert in the teachings of the three baskets. He also practiced extremely pure moral conduct24 and his bodhicitta was fully developed. He quickly became famous for his learning, his strictness in moral conduct and his good heart. He mainly practiced vinaya, which means he mainly practiced subduing his mind, and then his body and his speech. If the mind is kept in peace, without allowing anger, attachment and other disturbing thoughts to arise, the body and speech also automatically become peaceful, or subdued.
After receiving a prediction from dakinis in a dream, Tsidulwa built a monastery called Palden Dok Tho and established a community of more than a thousand monks.
His heart practices were Medicine Buddha and Tara. One night, in a dream, a blue-colored girl approached him and said, “Son of the essence, tomorrow you should go to see Zhangtön Drajig and take him as your friend and helper. You should receive the oral transmission of the teaching Generating the Holy Mind from him. You will then be able to generate bodhicitta and your work for sentient beings will flourish.” After saying this, Tara disappeared.
The following dawn, Tsidulwa left to see Zhangtön Drajig, from whom he received the oral transmission of Generating the Holy Mind, as well as initiation of Eleven-Face Chenrezig and advice on meditation practice, especially on how to do the approach retreat of Chenrezig. Zhangtön Drajig gave Tsidulwa all these teachings.
Zhangtön Drajig then advised Tsidulwa, “The Dharma of the Noble Compassionate-Eyed One is a Dharma that can give enlightenment in one lifetime on one body. Do great, extensive works for other sentient beings.” He gave Tsidulwa all the teachings needed to attain Chenrezig and Tsidulwa’s holy mind was then completely satisfied by Dharma.
Having promised to do one thousand nyung näs, Tsidulwa left that place with great happiness. When he had finished three hundred nyung näs, on the fifteenth day of the fourth month, Saka Dawa, he saw Chenrezig, the Great Compassionate One, with a holy body of light, and Chenrezig spoke to him.
In short, Tsidulwa accomplished Chenrezig and then ripened many sentient beings and liberated them from samsara. He accomplished extensively the holy actions of Chenrezig. After having done much work for the teachings and for sentient beings, when he was eighty-two, Tsidulwa said, “For a while I will go into the presence of Maitreya Buddha. From there I will go to Sukhavati, Amitabha Buddha’s pure realm.” Having said this, he then passed away.
Tsidulwa handed down the nyung nä practice to a disciple called Gangchen Dewa Chän, who was born in a place called Dok Me, in the lower part of Tibet. He took the ordination of renunciation when he was seven and, until he was fifteen, studied the Prajnaparamita scriptures. He also became expert in the vinaya teachings. The main meditation deities he practiced were Medicine Buddha and Tara.
One day Tara appeared to Gangchen Dewa Chän and predicted, “You should work for sentient beings. You should take the oral transmission of the Chenrezig with eleven faces and a thousand arms and eyes from the abbot Thugje Jangchub.”25 As advised by Tara, Dewa Chän went to see Khenpo Tsidulwa, the lineage lama mentioned by Tara, and received from him the initiation and teachings of the Great Compassionate One.
Khenpo Tsidulwa then advised Dewa Chän, “You should stay with me and do an approach retreat, completing the number of mantras.” Dewa Chän then did one approach retreat. After the retreat, he gave an explanation of all the Prajnaparamita teachings twenty times.
Dewa Chän himself promised to do five thousand nyung näs. When he had finished six hundred, on the night of the Tibetan eighth, on the day of complete silence, a white light appeared in front of him and took him away to Potala, Chenrezig’s pure realm. In that place everything was very calm and clear. The ground was white and there were white flowers and jewels everywhere. There were also various precious trees, with birds, transformations of bodhisattvas, singing songs of Mahayana teachings. When the wind blew peacefully through the beautiful mansion of the Potala, golden bells around the mansion made sounds of the four immeasurables,26 satisfying to the ears.
Animals with incredibly beautiful colors (again, transformations of bodhisattvas) played with great happiness in a park, satisfying the eye sense. From the sky, a continuous rain of nectar flowed, eliminating sufferings of hunger and thirst. At certain times, divine cloth would come from the wish-granting trees, eliminating the sufferings of the body.
Three of the four doors of the mansion were open, with the other one closed. Dewa Chän circumambulated the mansion and did prostrations at each of the doors. He then saw Chenrezig, who spoke to him. White light absorbed into his heart, and his body, speech and mind were completely filled with bliss. Chenrezig advised him, “When you die, you will benefit sentient beings. When you die, I will call you. I will invite many dakinis, and I will guide you.” Surrounded by white beams, Dewa Chän woke up from the dream.
Because of this experience, Dewa Chän actualized countless concentrations, such as the concentration called looking at all existence in the aspect of equanimity.
He then established monasteries and wrote down the teachings that he had taught. After some time, Dewa Chän said to his disciples, “I’ll be leaving soon, so if you have any questions you should ask them now.” He then gave his disciples advice on what they asked him. Then, in a place called Blissful Place of Abandonment, his mind abided in one-pointed meditation. With wonderful signs, he then passed away and went to Potala, Chenrezig’s pure land.
When Dewa Chän’s disciples then offered fire to his holy body, many relics and even images were born from his holy body. They were kept inside a Tara statue that speaks, which had been brought to Tibet from Nepal.
Bodhisattva Dewa Chän handed down the nyung nä teachings to his main disciple, his heart son, bodhisattva Chu Zangpo, or Jangchub Bar.27
Bodhisattva Chu Zangpo was born in a place called Mun. When he was eleven he took the upasika ordination at a place called Dubche, then later took the ordination of renunciation. He studied well the great teachings, such as A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life and Madhyamaka, and did extensive works for the teachings. He listened to advice on the profound path, comprehending all the words and also generating the realizations. He then lived in one place and one-pointedly did retreat. He ripened and liberated many sentient beings who were objects to be subdued. He was particularly expert in the vinaya teachings. When he was twenty, he received full ordination.
One night a white man appeared to him in a dream and told him, “Jangchub Bar, there is a karmic connection between you and the lama called Dewa Chän, and there is no difference between Dewa Chän and me. You must have the method to achieve Chenrezig, so you should take the oral transmission of that teaching from him and then practice it.” After saying this, the white man disappeared.
At dawn the next day, bodhisattva Chu Zangpo went to see Dewa Chän and told him the story. Lama Dewa Chän then said, “Kyab su chhi!28 The man who gave you this advice is Chenrezig. Even I myself had a good dream.” Lama Dewa Chän then told bodhisattva Chu Zangpo, “I will give you the oral transmissions of all the teachings on the method of achieving Chenrezig.”
Chu Zangpo then told Lama Dewa Chän that he wanted to do one hundred nyung näs. Lama Dewa Chän advised him, “Don’t go away yet. Stay here until Chenrezig sees you.” After a long time Chu Zangpo again requested Lama Dewa Chän to be allowed to go away to do retreat. Lama Dewa Chän advised him, “You are a pure person, different from others. Since you have perseverance, you should accomplish Chenrezig.”
Chu Zangpo then did nyung näs, one straight after the other. When he’d finished three hundred, after midnight on the Tibetan fifteenth, the night of the full moon, the whole sky filled with light. He wondered whether he was hallucinating or whether it was light from his light offering. While he was looking at the sky and wondering in this way, in the sky in front of him appeared Thousand-Arm Chenrezig surrounded by all the Kadampa geshes. Many other deities were making offerings to Chenrezig. The whole sky was filled with deities. Chu Zangpo cried with joy.
Chu Zangpo said to Chenrezig, “One of your transformations told me to practice in this way, so I did. Why haven’t you guided me with your compassion until now? What mistake did I, the evil-doer, make that I wasn’t guided by you until now?” Chenrezig replied, “I have never been separated from you for even a second. But when I gave the prediction to you, you had superstition in your mind, thinking that something else might be better. It’s because of that mistake that it took so long for you to be guided. There is now no separation between you and me. You should reveal my teachings, which come from the compassion of all the buddhas of the three times, to fortunate sentient beings. Your body, speech and mind will then become meaningful.” After Chenrezig said this to him, white light covered the whole Mun valley.
Chu Zangpo was extremely pleased that he had seen Chenrezig and been given permission to practice and to give teachings to others. The next day he went to see his guru; he prostrated and asked after his guru’s health. The guru then asked, “Were you happy yesterday?” Bodhisattva Chu Zangpo told his guru, “Now my mind has been liberated from superstition, from wrong conceptions.” His guru said, “That is good. Now work for sentient beings.”
Chu Zangpo then went to a place called Nu, where he did great practice of nyung nä in each month. At that place, he also led others in reading the elaborate, intermediate and short Prajnaparamita sutras. He was also able to gather three hundred Sangha.
From that time, bodhisattva Chu Zangpo was inseparable from Chenrezig, like a body and its shadow. Many wonderful signs happened and he performed incredible, unimaginable actions. His everyday life was pure Kadampa lifestyle. After he had taken full ordination, and until he reached sixty, he did nyung näs again and again.
One night, when he was doing retreat on an aspect of Chenrezig called Amoghapasha, rainfalls of flowers dropped on the mandala. There were wonderful sounds and lights, and the Sixteen Arhats made offerings. On the eighth day he saw Medicine Buddha, and the wealth-granting protectors in Medicine Buddha’s entourage offered him nectar, which stopped the suffering of thirst. On the ninth day bodhisattva Chu Zangpo saw Chenrezig, Vajrapani and Manjushri, and many wonderful things happened.
Bodhisattva Chu Zangpo then did much work for sentient beings. He left instructions in his will that whatever tsampa and other food was left when he died was to be given to people doing nyung nä practice. He said, “Invite a whole group of people who are doing nyung nä and give them thugpa, or at least tsampa. If you can’t give them even tsampa, give them water or firewood. Chenrezig has actually told me that there will be unimaginable merit from doing this. Don’t listen to anything anyone else says. Chenrezig never tells lies. I don’t need merits from other offerings—just dedicate as much as possible for nyung näs.”
Chu Zangpo continued, “One old woman called Chökyi did much nyung nä practice. When she died, crows took her bones from the cemetery, so no one saw that her bones had become relics. Because I know what is virtue and what is nonvirtue, until now I have practiced and lived my life in accordance with the biography of Lama Atisha. You should also do that.”
Bodhisattva Chu Zangpo then went into his garden. When his servant went to offer him tea, he drank the tea and then, with many wonderful signs, passed away.29
Modern nyung nä yogis
Geshe Lama Konchog
Geshe Lama Konchog did a total of 2,000 nyung näs, though not one straight after the other. He kept very quiet about all his practice and attainments; he never told us about them. It was only after he died that we found out.
He did his nyung näs in Tsum, where there’s a nunnery and a monastery that we’re now taking care of. Geshe Tenzin Zopa, Geshe Lama Konchog’s attendant, has been given the responsibility to develop them, and he has already done a lot for the nunnery. I visited Tsum one time when I was in Nepal. I was meant to go there after all the building was finished to do the blessing, but Mama Pek, a woman from Malaysia, hired a Russian helicopter to go there at a cost of 100,000 rupees. Since she was going to help with the projects up there and wanted me to go, I also went.
Tsum is an incredible place. It is similar in style to Solu Khumbu, but Solu Khumbu has now degenerated with all the many tourists going there. The people and the country of Solu Khumbu have totally changed with the introduction of modern things; and now everything is devoted to business. All the villages have roads full of shops, which weren’t there before. Tsum is like Solu Khumbu was before. So far in its history, only two Western people have been there.30 It’s still the same primitive place it was originally, in the past. It’s a place to do only Dharma, nothing else.
I had heard a little bit of Geshe Lama Konchog’s story but I didn’t know or think about his hardships and sacrifice to practice Dharma until I went to Tsum. Geshe Lama Konchog’s cave is up above Milarepa’s. There’s no actual road to it—just a track on the very edge of the mountain. If you slip you’re in danger of falling down the mountain. I had to scramble up on my hands and knees. Geshe Lama Konchog lived in that cave reached only by this dangerous track and cut off all relationships with people. I think he chose to live in this isolated cave because he wanted to be alone to practice without any disturbance. He lived there in that cave with nothing for many years. Like Buddha, he lived a life of austerities for six years.
Geshe-la was totally renounced. He walked around in rags, almost naked. From the outside, he looked like the poorest beggar in that area. People had no idea that he was a great practitioner. I heard that one couple took the dirt from under their bed and threw it on Geshe Lama Konchog when he was walking along the road. It was the father or brother of a monk who was the caretaker of the main gompa at Kopan Monastery. Later, each time Geshe Lama Konchog saw the man who had thrown the dirt he would remind him of what he had done.
It’s just amazing when you go to see the cave where Geshe Lama Konchog lived. He was totally renounced. There is no doubt that devotion has to arise when you see how much he sacrificed his life to practice Dharma. He had total renunciation; he practiced the ten innermost jewels.31 The surprising thing is that even though we lived together at Kopan for many years, he never told us stories of how he practiced. Even Lama Lhundrup had no idea how Geshe Lama Konchog had practiced Dharma. Geshe-la told us some stories but not about how he sacrificed himself and lived exactly like Milarepa. He never told us. With that much renunciation, of course you would have realizations; you would achieve the path. There’s no doubt about that.
When Geshe Lama Konchog was at Kopan (I think this was during Lama Yeshe’s time), one time when I was alone with him, he told me that he had completed Lama Chöpa and Vajrayogini. He told me that twice. I was confused about what he meant. Did he mean that he’d finished the recitation? Or did he mean he’d completed the realizations of the path? I didn’t question him. He talked about it only that one time; after that he didn’t mention it to me. He underwent so much hardship, exactly like Milarepa, so of course he should have completed the path.
When Geshe Lama Konchog was living in the cave in Tsum, because he had long hair and no one knew who he was, people were frightened of him; they came up and threw rocks at him. He then left that cave and went way up the mountain, where he spent two years doing retreat under a tree. Without a roof or any other shelter, he practiced under that tree. When I was flying into Tsum, Tenzin Zopa tried to show me the tree through a window of the helicopter, but I was on the other side and the window was low, so I couldn’t see it. Tenzin Zopa knew which tree it was because the last time Geshe Lama Konchog went back to Tsum, he took Tenzin Zopa to that tree and showed him.
When we lived together, I knew that Geshe Lama Konchog was definitely somebody who had experience of emptiness and of bodhicitta. I could see from the way he behaved that he had power to benefit others, but I didn’t know that he was a highly attained yogi who had completed the tantric path. I had no idea.
Drupa Rinpoche, the lama who built the monastery and nunnery in Tsum, an unbelievable practitioner, also did 2,000 nyung näs. He had a few disciples who did 3,000 nyung näs and many others who did 2,000 or 1,000. This lama’s life story is also amazing. He was of unbelievable benefit to sentient beings. In the early times I saw a picture of him in the prayer wheel house at Boudhanath Stupa. For many years, it was there. He’s the guru of Tsechu Rinpoche, who was the leader of the Buddhists in Nepal.
At first, I thought Drupa Rinpoche was a Kagyü or Nyingma lama, but later Tenzin Zopa sent me his life story. Drupa Rinpoche founded those monasteries in his past life. I read that he was actually a lharampa geshe from Drepung Monastery and very expert in the Dharma. He took initiations from lamas of all four traditions. He was a great practitioner of Vajrayogini, but his main practice was Chenrezig. He organized many people in Tsum and also in other places to recite together one hundred million OM MANI PADME HUMs. By organizing the recitation of one hundred million manis he helped so many sentient beings, enabling them to purify much negative karma and collect extensive merit. He gave people the chance to become so much closer to enlightenment. And mani retreats are still happening up there in Tsum.
Drupa Rinpoche went to many different places in the Himalayan region of Nepal and made laws that animals were not to be harmed, that people were not to hunt or kill animals. These laws still exist. He helped the people in Tsum and many other areas to live in vows to not hunt and kill animals. So many sentient beings received unbelievable benefit from him.
There was a similar law in Solu Khumbu in the past—I’m not sure whether it was because Drupa Rinpoche or another lama came there. Tsum still has this law, but now it has degenerated in Solu Khumbu. The Sherpas call the type of Tibetan who kills animals and sells the meat in markets by a special name, yapas. It was not like that in the past. In the past, animals were killed only by wolves or other animals, not by people, but now it has degenerated.
10 See the Blue Annals, Book XIV, p. 1006 ff., for more on this lineage. [Return to text]
11 This is the same aspect as Thousand-Arm Chenrezig. [Return to text]
12 Lokeshvara is another name for Chenrezig. [Return to text]
13 Unlike with the other statues, there was no mention of this one curing a particular disease. [Return to text]
14 Wangchen Rinpoche explains that Dawa Gyältsän saved hundreds of people who were sentenced to death or to have their eyes gouged out. [Return to text]
15 Tib: zhal zä, the small white cakes used as the naividya (food) offering. [Return to text]
16 See appendix 3 for Rinpoche’s explanation of the meaning of yidam. [Return to text]
17 Nying-phug-pa in the Blue Annals. [Return to text]
18 For Rinpoche’s explanation of this term see appendix 2. [Return to text]
19 As mentioned in Torma Offering to the Local Deities. [Return to text]
20 The ascetic practitioners who preserved Lama Atisha’s tradition in Tibet. [Return to text]
21 Both Wangchen Rinpoche and Bardor Tulku Rinpoche refer to this lama as Supa Dorje Gyälpo. In the Blue Annals he is called Sru-pa Do-rje Gyal-po. [Return to text]
22 The Blue Annals says he was a native of Srug-gan-pa. [Return to text]
23 This means the deities mentioned in Limb of Prostrations: Tara, Medicine Buddha and the various other Action Tantra deities. [Return to text]
24 Wangchen Rinpoche explains that his discipline was so pure that the perfume of morality emanated from his body. [Return to text]
25 An epithet of Khenpo Tsidulwa. [Return to text]
26 Rinpoche says that here the four immeasurables might also have another meaning. [Return to text]
27 Also known as Khenchen Chuzangwa. [Return to text]
28 This means “I take refuge!” [Return to text]
29 For other versions of the nyung nä lineage lamas’ stories, see The Blue Annals, pp. 1006–61, Buddhist Fasting Practice, pp. 21–38, and Rest for the Fortunate, pp. 108–28. [Return to text]
30 This has now changed, with tour groups going to Tsum. [Return to text]
31 For an explanation of the ten innermost jewels, see chapter 9 of How to Practice Dharma and appendix 3 of Lama Chöpa Jorchö in the FPMT Retreat Prayer Book. [Return to text]