Receiving a Teaching from Sakya Sri
by Karl Eikrem
Hidden 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.
As 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for a long time, for example in old lineages, have a tendency to loose their efficiency because they get (1) outdated; that is their form is no longer suitable to a particular culture, mind set, paradigm etc., or (2) they get modified by teachers lacking in sufficient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 effective.
Hiding termas to be revealed within future cultures is a brilliant way of avoiding this.
In 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.
To conclude I would like to present a quote from Kunzang Dechen Lingpa, as stated by his close student Acharya Malcolm Smith:
”My 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.”
Find 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.
In 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:
”If you now ask for a teaching, advice or an instruction, you will get it.”
Being 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 imagination.
A 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.
First 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.
After 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.
During 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.
Although 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 universal experiences.
I 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.
May all beings be free!
Dharma Sun Visualization of Shakya Shri
- Sit down, relax and recognize the basic space.
- Ask Sakya Sri to give a blessing for yourself, for it to benefit of all sentient beings. Receive it and feel it for few moments.
- Then 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.
- Leave the active visualization and enjoy the natural state for as long as you wish, at least 10-15 minutes.
- Give thanks to the master and dedicate the merit of the practice session to all sentient beings.