talks about his teacher Chimed Rigdzin Rinpoche, also known as CR
"My main teacher
is the late Chimed Rigdzin Lama, also known as CR Lama. He was a
married lama who lived with his family and, when I knew him well in
India, he taught in a university. He was a great scholar, a very
powerful person, and he was not at all holy. He was very ordinary in
his way of life. His qualities showed themselves without his making
special claims about himself. In the lineages of Tibetan Buddhism
there are many different styles of practice. Some lineages display
themselves as being very pure and holy; that is to say, they set
themselves in the domain of the sacred and create a mood which is
separate from ordinary life. When you encounter that kind of setting
you have the opportunity to experience something which is not like
ordinary existence. Such settings tend to be ritualised and
choreographed so that everyone knows their place and what they are,
and are not, allowed to do. My teacher was, however, very much in
ordinary life. He was very fond of university politics, supporting
his friends and attacking his enemies. This is not holy activity. But
oh, so very pleasurable! For many years I was his secretary, and I
had to write, on the basis of his special English, very insulting
letters. In order to enter his world I had to let go many of the
assumptions I held about how to live in a proper way. In the end, in
order to practise, we each have to find a style which is in harmony
with the energy of our potential as it responds to each unique
setting in which we find ourselves. Being in the mandala, or
environment, that Rinpoche created was very disturbing, and yet it
was also liberating. It opened the space to see that our world is
indeed a construct of our beliefs and assumptions. Freeing ourselves
from relative truth, from truth based on comparing and contrasting,
involves a leap of faith. Encouragement to make this leap was
Rinpoche’s wondrous gift."
is Emptiness? How to Make Sense of Emptiness?
in sanskrit is shunyata. Emptiness is also called selflessness,
I-lessness or me-lessness (anatman, anatta). Emptiness and
selflessness refer to the self-empty nature of mind. This is the
basis of buddhist thought and practice. One who has seen his mind to
be completely without a self, has mastered the teaching of emptiness,
is fully awake, that is, a living buddha.
main reason why we suffer is the sense of self (skt. atman). We have
thoughts, emotions and reactions within our mind and because of the
accumulation of the self-thought, I or me, these mind elements make
us convinced that we exist independently as separate entities. This
is the basis of delusion and suffering (dukkha).
buddhist path is concerned with interruption and putting an end to
cyclic existence (samsara) through proper understanding of the nature
of suffering and through proper yogic effort. Particularly insight
meditation (vipashyana), also called by different names such as
lhaktong or prajna, is what is unique to buddhist
meditation. According to the teachings of buddhist masters
vipashyana, lit. clear seeing, is the key to removing existential
teachings on emptiness such as the Heart Sutra famously states that,
”Form is emptiness, emptiness is form”. What is the meaning of
this? Form refers to any sort of relative phenomena, physical or
nonphysical. Relative phenomena occurs in one or two ways: 1.
external phenomena reflected on the mind and 2. internal mind
phenomena. If all phenomena are experienced empty, there is no cause
for confusion to arise. If any phenomena appearing in the mind is not
experienced as empty, and hence causes selfing, self-based reaction,
this impulse can and should be used as fuel for vipashyana practice.
cannot be properly understood by contemplating the existence of
external things, such as a chair or a desk. The only way to have a
liberating insight is to see that selfing happens in the mind, not
needs to be understood through emptiness. Even though impermanence
(anicca) and suffering (dukkha) are the other two pillars of buddha
dharma it is the insight into the empty nature of mind that
liberates, not the other two.
emptiness through insight is crucial for all buddhist meditators, and
in fact to all who suffer of existential confusion.
on emptiness is not difficult or lofty, but simple, grounded and
easy-to-understand when taught and applied correctly. If the
instructions are vague and lack clarity, there will be no result or
it will take unnecessarily long time. Without emptiness insight it is
impossible to make sense of any buddhist teachings. This is so
because all buddha dharma is built on realisation of emptiness
(insight, awakening, kensho, semngo tropa). If the foundation of
emptiness is not solid, there is nothing to build a stable house on.
the long run, not having a proper insight leads to twisted dharma
that is harmful and misleading. The imporatnce of direct insight has
been stressed by numerous buddhist masters throughout the existence
of buddhism. Without insight, the noncausal paths such as of zen,
dzogchen and mahamudra are impossible to understand.
societal and cultural levels the lack of experiential understanding
of emptiness leads to great numbers of lost practitioners who are
unable to have real faith about the buddhist path. For this reason
the mahasangha of all beings doesn't reap true benefits
through interconnectedness. All practitioners should first and
foremost make sure that they understand emptiness through direct
do I know if my understanding of emptiness is right?
awakening or kensho means that part of one's deluded self-based mind
becomes permanently deconstructed of the sense of self, me or I.
Figuratively speaking, an insight makes a lasting hole in the wall
through which the sight on the other side of the wall becomes easier
to see. Without the hole one is shut behind the wall of
self-delusion. An insight has a liberating effect. It makes a notable
difference to have even a small hole in the wall, instead of having
none, because looking through the hole instead of looking at the wall
are two very different experiences.
insights (bhumi openings), after the first one, keep making the hole
bigger and bigger and in consequence it becomes easier and easier to
see what is behind the wall. When insights are combined with regular
daily practice, the outcome is that the separating wall becomes
Also ”glimpses” into the
self-empty nature of mind are needed. The difference between a
glimpse and insight is that glimpse is not permanent.
the hole is there our everyday life becomes a significantly
different. A part of our narrow minded selfing has been permanently
removed so this cannot not have an effect on our lives. Social
relationships, work, creative work and other things in life are met
from a more open minded and less opinionated place. Because selfing
no longer happens the same way it used to, how the mind used to
think, feel and react according to the self-based habits, life
becomes more direct, more fresh and more intimate. This is the most
profound change we can have.
is nothing that can replace selfless insight because nothing else
will deconstruct the sense of self. A simple indication that one
matures in insight meditation is that one feels clear minded, open
hearted, fresh and less reactive in everyday life.
Open Heart vipashyana is practiced in both sutra and tantra forms.
Sutra vipashyana refers to the Two-Part Formula for the first
awakening and object-vipashyana instructions after that. Tantra
vipashyana refers to Tibetan Heart Yoga which because of the unique
aspects in the practice has the power to generate a whole series of
awakenings, bhumi openings, within a relatively short period of time.
These awakenings (bhumi openings) are matured (bhumi perfection) by
regular practice over a longer period of time.
practice hint: When selfing happens, pay attention to tensions in the
head space. The area inside the head, pre- or post-awakening, is the
place where the impulse can be effectively seen through.
Lingpa's autobiography, p. 75:
as many springs and rivers in all directions merge as one taste in
the vast ocean, likewise, all teachings without exception can be
grouped as relative or ultimate truth. The two truths inseparable are
fused within Great Perfection. If you understand the meaning of Great
Perfection, you see the truth of the nature of reality. Connection to
its vital instructions will carry you to the level of awareness
Xinlin, known as the Master of the Purple Luminescence, was an
extraordinary modern seer. From his earliest childhood to his
from this plane, he lived his life as something more than a mere man. Tales
of his feats of divination, martial artistry, and healing are
the annals of both the Purple Cloud and White Cloud Monasteries.
the age of 116, Master Du left the earthly plane. He lived his life
as a towering
mystic and master of the Taoist arts and had decided to dedicate his
passing to a demonstration of the truth of his lifelong beliefs. What
was a manifestation of the power of Oi Gong few have ever attempted
and no one had ever truly succeeded at in the modern era. His accomplishment
is a significant event in Chinese cultural history. To present the
inner teachings of 9 Palaces Microcosmic Orbit Oi Gong is a testament
attainment and the fulfillment of his last living wish.
few years before, when Dr. Wu was still living with him, Master Du
that he believed that Lao Zi, Wang Chongyang, and all his other
waiting for him in the Nine Central Heavens. As Lao Zi's disciple, he
to join him there. He told the young boy about the Rainbow Body that a
worthy believer could cultivate inside his mortal body and that if
his righteousness merited it, it could leave the body with
consciousness and spirit intact,
instead of physical death, to fly up to Heaven in a rainbow of light.
and eternal life that bypasses corporeal death has a long tradition
in the East. It is known as hong hua, literally a form of the word
"rainbow" that can be used as a noun or verb: The Rainbow
Body is cultivated within a righteous person's physical body at the
moment in passing. Taoist and Tibetan Buddhist tradition is peppered
with stories of famous monks, hermits, and high lamas who attempted
this feat by devoting their lives to meditation, training, and
saintly acts. The ones who attained the RainbowBody
were revered forever as saints and Immortals. Those who tried to pass
over by "rainbow-ing" but did not succeed in leaving the
world without a trace of their physical remains left behind were
still venerated , the remnants of their bodies kept enshrined as holy
relics. One such relic had been housed in the White Cloud Monastery
when Dr. Wu was a boy there. It looked like a tiny, shriveled little
man about a foot and a half high, covered in leathery, age-darkened
skin. It was explained to him that if there were any portions of the
Rainbow Body practitioner's body that had not been properly purified
or her attempt, it would be left behind in a shrunken, desiccated
Du told young Wu the day and the hour he was going to Rainbow and
made him swear to be there to watch his attempt, no matter what. Soon he
became so focused on his future that he would spend the whole day
quietly whispering, "I'm going, I'm going" to himself. In
the beginning, the boy thought,
"My teacher must be too old ... what is he talking about, all
just saying, 'I'm going, I'm going!' Toward the end, when he had to
return to Beijing for his studies, he remembers pleading with his
master to stop
worrying and continuously talking about it with him, assuring him
would skip school and do whatever else he had to do to be there and
when he was ready to leave. Even with his childhood of Taoist
teenage Dr. Wu was still skeptical of his master's unconventional
crazy ideas. But when that particular day finally came to pass,
attained his Rainbow Body. Ever since, Dr. Wu deeply believes.
day before he was set to make his attempt, Master Du called his young
student to his side. He told him, "Tomorrow I will be rainbowed.
I am goingto my place in the Ninth Level of Heaven to do my practice
there. I am going to continue my studies with my master Lao Zi and
sit at his feet, learning what he
teaches, but from now on you are going to have to study by yourself.
You're going to have to work hard. Of all my students, you have
learned much, but I am worried for you. You don't study hard, you are
skeptical in your practice, and yet you absorb my teachings so well.
All that I know, I must pass to you because none of my other students
have the wisdom and insight that you barely realize that you possess.
Because of the troubles in China, there is no time or place to find
someone better than you to pass these traditions to."
he sat in a tub of hot water strewn with fragrant flower petals,
by his student, he talked to him at length about the key points of 9 Palaces
and 5 Centers Qi Gong. He told him of the real meaning of martial arts,
When you learn martial arts, you are not going after specific
their proper visual form, or if your hand moves correctly or not. You
have the feel of a natural force living within you. If you feel it
rising inside you,
then you can bring it out with power and dynamism. Why does it take more
than one person to catch, control, and subdue an insane person? They have
left behind all the things that have separated them from their
Within your own original abilities lies your power. Why was Wang Xiangzhai
(the founder of yiquan) so successful in his martial arts? Because he
was able to bring out his own personal essence, his own unique force. There
are special trainings to accomplish this. If you just focus on supple movements
it might be good exercise, but if you really want to learn true striking
power, true healing power, true energetic power, the basic foundation is
talked together like that all night, the student bathing the master,
transmitting his last words of wisdom, from eight o'clock in the
evening to five the next morning. When Master Du had said all that he
faced his apprentice seriously. "I know you question what I have
but tomorrow I will show you the reality of this knowledge. Of all mystudents,
you are the one with the most doubts. You have difficulty trusting in
me or believing in the teachings. But I believe, because I believe my
I believe in myself. I know you are a good student. You're a very
You have good comprehension and understanding, you can see things through,
clearly and quickly. You have your own measure of wisdom. If tomorrow
I fail to attain the Rainbow Body, all I ask is that you bury my
remains in the place I have directed you. You can go on with your
life and never think about Taoism again. I have high hopes that if
tomorrow you seewith
your own two eyes that I have indeed succeeded, you will vow to teach the
9 Palaces nine hundred and ninety nine times in honor of the truth
been witness to."
day, the temple was decorated with flowers and auspicious banners. Monks
with musical instruments played continuously. Over one hundred people
were assembled, including silent monitors from the Communist Party. Master
Du sat in complete stillness and silence on a silken meditation
with dragons. At high noon, the moment for the transition had arrived.
At first he remained immobile. At his side, Dr. Wu momentarily grasped
his shoulder with a small shake. Suddenly his teacher flared with a
burst of energy. Still enclosed in profound contemplation, his body
levitate, spinning straight up from its cushion, rising by itself and
and faster. Turning so fast his body was a blur, he hovered for a
just above the heads of the stunned onlookers. The solidity of his
form shifted, became indistinct. His outline evaporated into red
smoke; a piercing
ray of red light shot straight through the center of the sun,
transfixing him; and at once, the Master was gone. He had departed.
No trace was
left, except a pleasing fragrance that filled the courtyard for hours
can this be understood? How can it be explained? For the rest of the
afternoon, Dr. Wu and his companions were lost in wonder and shocked
They had been witness to proof of the heights a lifetime's study
treasures, or mind treasures (tib. terma) are teaching that are
concealed by a mahasiddha, such as Guru Rinpoche, for later discovery
by yogins with karmic connection to the master. The reason for this
is to make sure that authentic teachings, suitable to particular
cultures are available for generations to come.
impermanence also applies to the physical forms of dharma, teachings
that have been in circulation for a long time, for example in old
lineages, have a tendency to loose their efficiency because they get
(1) outdated; that is their form is no longer suitable to a
particular culture, mind set, paradigm etc., or (2) they get modified
by teachers lacking in sufficient understanding of the underlying
principles of dharma, rendering the teachings impotent or less
termas to be revealed within future cultures is a brilliant way of
this text I would like to write about my own experiences with
receiving termas, particularly the first teaching I received from the
wonderful 19th century mahasiddha Sakya Sri.
conclude I would like to present a quote from Kunzang Dechen Lingpa,
as stated by his close student Acharya Malcolm Smith:
late teacher, an important terton, said if you want to be a terton,
the only real requirement is faith in Guru Rinpoche. If you
supplicate him strongly enough with genuine compassion for sentient
beings, then you might be able to reveal terma.”
out more about Sakya Sri here. This text can be viewed as a video lecture by Karl Eikrem with additional notes by Kim Katami here.
September 2017, my teacher Kim Katami and I did a short casual
retreat at a cabin in Eastern Finland. One evening, as we were about
to meditate, Kim showed me a picture of Sakya Sri on his phone. As
soon as I saw the picture, my being was flushed with a warm presence
and the room lit up with powerful blessings that clarified our minds.
After a while of sitting and taking in the blessings of Sakya Sri,
Kim said to me:
you now ask for a teaching, advice or an instruction, you will get
unfamiliar with the experience of receiving teachings from
non-physical masters, I asked the mahasiddha to make sure to remove
my doubts by making it obvious that this was not a product of my own
moment after passing the request, my body started feeling very hot.
In my mind's eye I saw a fireball, a bright burning star forming
above the crown of my head. At first I was taken back a little by the
sudden change of the inner environment, but I kept watching the ball
as it took on a life on its own.
it slowly descended from above the crown, through the skull and down
the central channel within the spine stopping at the perineum. As it
was moving, the ball of light was illuminating the central channel. I
could see and feel it very clearly.
sitting at the base of the spine for a few moments, the fireball
started slowly going back up again, but this time it stopped at the
crown inside the skull. Then the light started expanding upwards,
splitting my skull open to form a sort of upside down cone of light
emanating from the top of the skull. It felt like a volcano eruption
from the top of my head. After that the whole central channel, still
glowing, expanded to cover my entire aura, or energy field, an area
of approximately 3 meters in diameter around my body. After a while
the intensity slowly faded, until there was nothing but spacious
awareness left. I remember experiencing an afterglow that lasted the
entire rest of the evening, as well as a feeling of euphoria due to
not having purified all karmic patterns.
the time that has passed since this evening , I have received a few
teachings from different masters, all of which have been less intense
experiences. I actually realized that I have received teachings
before the one described here, but because I had no framework with
which to understand and make sense of the experience, there was no
way for me to interpret it and make use of it.
some tertons, such as Dudjom Lingpa, seem to have been gifted with
the ability of unlocking termas from childhood, it seems to me that
most people need a framework to do so. This idea has lead to believe
that receiving termas isn't necessarily that rare an experience, it's
just that most people and cultures don't have this framework.
Because of this, very few people are able to making use of these
hope that the writing and publication of this short text, will be a
small contribution to the general acceptance of the fact that human
beings have the ability to communicate and receive teachings from
non-physical beings, and that this again will help us move towards a
more mature culture, one that embrace all the principles of dharma.
all beings be free!
Sun Visualization of Shakya Shri
down, relax and recognize the basic space.
Sakya Sri to give a blessing for yourself, for it to benefit of all
sentient beings. Receive it and feel it for few moments.
visualize a bright sun above the head. See the bright light, feel
the warmth of it. Bring the sun down the central channel, through
the top of the skull and down to the base of the spine. Notice that
it illuminates the central channel as it moves. Then, feel the light
erupt from the base of the spine, shooting upwards through crown,
like a fountain of light. See that, along with this eruption, the
central channel expands to a diameter of 2½ to 3 meters so that it
covers the whole aura. Feel it in your whole being.
the active visualization and enjoy the natural state for as long as
you wish, at least 10-15 minutes.
thanks to the master and dedicate the merit of the practice session
to all sentient beings.
I went to my master Changchub Dorje, I was educated up to the hilt in
the intellectual sense. My mind was filled with everything I'd
learned in the monastic colleges. I thought that to receive
transmission of the teachings, elaborate ritual initiations were
essential and I asked Changchub Dorje to give me
a certain initiation. I asked him every day for days and days, but he
the use?' he'd say. 'You've already received so many of those
initiations from your other masters; initiations like that are not
the principle of the Dzogchen teachings. Transmission isn't only
received in formal initiations.' But no matter what he said, I
remained fixed on the kind of perfectly performed ritual initiations
other masters had always given me. I wasn't satisfied with his
replies, and I wanted him to put on a special hat, prepare a mandala,
and pour a little water on my head, or something like that. That was
what I really, sincerely wanted; but he always continued to refuse.
I insisted so much that he at last agreed. He promised that about two
months later, on the day of Padmasambhava, the tenth day of the
Tibetan lunar month1, he would give me the initiation I wanted, the
empowerment of Samantabhadra and the peaceful and wrathful divinities
of the Bardo. This initiation is actually not very complicated, and a
master skilled in such things
have completed it very quickly. But Changchub Dorje had never
received a formal education, and he was not used to giving
initiations. When the long-awaited day finally came, the initiation
took him from about nine in the morning till midnight. To begin with,
he had to prepare himself by performing a rite of self-initiation.
This took him until mid-day to complete. Then he began the initiation
for me. But, not being formally educated, not only
couldn't he read the text himself, but on top of that I could see
that he didn't know how to do all the ritual things he was supposed
to do. He wasn't that kind of a master.
Changchub Dorje had a disciple present as an assistant who was
himself an expert teacher, and it was he who prepared all the
mandalas and ritual objects. Then this disciple began to read the
text to tell the master what he had to do next. But when he read out
that a certain mudra, or gesture, should be done by the master giving
the initiation, Changchub Dorje didn't know how
to do it, so they had to stop while he learned it. Then there was a
whole long invocation that was supposed to be chanted, invoking all
the masters of the lineage, and while chanting it, the master is
supposed to sound a bell and a
damaru, or small drum. Someone who is used to rituals can perform all
this very quickly, but Changchub Dorje wasn't used to such things,
and the whole situation became outrageous, a complete farce.
of all he worked out with his assistant what was written in the notes
to the text. 'Ah!' he said. 'It says here that you have to
sound the bell!' So he took the bell, and for about five minutes
all he did was sound it over and over again. Then it was read out to
him that you have to sound the damaru. So he sounded
the little drum over and over for about another five minutes. Then he
suddenly said: 'Oh, now I see! You have to sound the bell and
damaru together!' So he did that. But by then he had forgotten
what it was that he was supposed to chant, so he had to go through it
all again with the help of the disciple who could read.
Dorje himself hadn't had the kind of education that involves study,
but was a practitioner who had manifested wisdom and clarity through
the development of his practice, and it was because of this wisdom
and clarity that he was considered to be a master. So he hadn't
received the kind of monastic training that would have prepared him
to give all the various kinds of
formal empowerment, and he stumbled through the initiation he gave me
taking all day and a good deal of the evening to do it. By the time
he had finished, I was almost in a state of shock, as, given my own
background, I knew very well how an initiation should be done, and it
was nothing like this.
by then it was nearly midnight, and we were all very hungry. We sang
the Song of the Vajra together many times. This is a short,
slow, anthemic chant, characteristic of the way Dzogchen works with
ritual, that leads the practitioner into contemplation through
integration with its actual sound, the
structure of its syllables and melody ensuring deep, relaxed
breathing. Then we recited a short Gana Puja offering, and we ate.
After the meal the master gave me a real explanation of the true
meaning of initiation and transmission, and I realized that despite
all the formal initiations I had received at my college, I had never
understood or entered into the true meaning of them.
without interruption, for about three or four hours, Changchub Dorje
gave me a real explanation of Dzogchen, not teaching me in an
intellectual style, but talking to me in a very straightforward and
relaxed, friendly, conversational way. Despite all my education, this
was the first time a master had
really made such a direct attempt to get me to understand something.
What he said, and the way that he said it, was exactly like a tantra
of Dzogchen, spoken spontaneously, continuously aloud, and I knew
that even a very learned scholar would not be able to speak like
that. Changchub Dorje was speaking from clarity and not just from an
from Crystal and the Way of Light by Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche.
Changchub Dorje was Dzogchen master renowned as the teacher of
Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche. He was born in the Nyarong region of Kham and
studied with Adzom Drukpa, Nyala Pema Dündul, his student Nyala
Rangrik Dorje and the Bön master Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen (1859-1935).
Rinpoche led a community of Dzogchen practitioners in Nyalagar in the
Dedrol area of Kham. He attained the rainbow body. Copied from here.