Was very fortunate and happy to be able to recently attend the reading transmissions and empowerments from the Collected Works of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo (‘jam dbyangs mkhyen brtse’i dbang po, 1820-1892) given by HE Schechen Rabjam Rinpoche at the Ewam Monastery, Siliguri, India from 10th -24th January. For details and photos of the event see the Facebook page here. As the advertised schedule changed a few times, I am writing a series of posts giving more detail on the transmissions and contents from the official Tibetan thob yig (received transmissions) of the event and other resources that are available. This first post is about the first five days, together with mandala images of those empowerments.
First a little about the master himself, Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, and Schechen Rabjam Rinpoche who gave the transmissions and empowerments. Apart from being one of the most accomplished Buddhist masters and scholars of nineteenth century Tibet, Wangpo was also a remarkable terton (treasure-revealer), the Treasury of Lives biography for JKW says:
According to Jamgon Kongtrul, Khyentse Wangpo received all seven of the “seven transmissions” (bka’ babs bdun): Kama (bka’ ma), earth treasure (sa gter), mind treasure (dgongs gter), re-concealed treasure (yang gter), visionary transmission (dag snang), recollection (rje dran) and hearing lineage (snyan brgyud). This classification of transmission vectors appears to have originated with Khyentse Wangpo, who used it in his biography of Chokgyur Lingpa, and it serves as an organizing structure for most hagiographies of him as well. Among his best known treasure revelations were the Semnyi Ngalso (sems nyid ngal gso) cycle of Avalokiteśvara, revealed as earth treasure at Drakmar Drinzang (brag dmar mgrin bzang). His Drubtob Tuktik (grub thob thugs tig) was classified as a mind treasure, which came to him in a vision of Tangtong Gyelpo (thang stong rgyal po, 1361- 1485). Jamgon Kongtrul also includes in his biography of Khyentse Wangpo an event in which Khyentse Wangpo revealed thirteen treasure at the great mountain of Khawa Karpo (kha ba dkar po) when he was sixteen, with the help of a consort.
Khyentse Wangpo also is said to have recovered, via vision or dream, treasure cycles that had been lost over the years, reestablishing the transmission and making them available for inclusion in Jamgon Kongtrul’s Rinchen Terdzod. On the basis of his prodigious treasure-revealing activity, Jamgon Kongtrul counted Khyentse Wangpo as the last in a group of five kingly treasure revealers (gter ston rgyal po nga). His treasure name was Do-ngak Lingpa (mdo sngags gling pa).
In Tibetan Buddhist Vajrayana pure and unbroken lineage is considered to be of utmost importance to show the genuineness of the transmission being given. The giver of the transmission is Schechen Rabjam Rinpoche (1967- present), the grandson of Kyabjé Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. According to one online biography:
A dream that Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche had one night while staying near the Bodhnath stupa indicated that his grandson was be the combined emanation of the three main lamas from Shechen Monastery who had all perished in Chinese prisons in the early sixties—the previous Shechen Rabjam, Shechen Kongtrul and Shechen Gyaltsap, Gyurme Pema Dorje. This was later confirmed by the Sixteenth Karmapa.
For more on his life see here.
On the first day, 10th January, Rabjam Rinpoche explained that he himself had received the complete transmission of JKW works from his own root lama Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and had asked for permission to transmit them from HE Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, who agreed it would be beneficial to transmit them. The lineage (according to HE Changling Rinpoche) is Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo – Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye – Kathok Situ Chokyi Gyatsho – Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro – Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche – Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche.
HH Dilgo Khyentse had given the transmissions previously in the 1980’s to Rabjam Rinpoche and Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche and they have not been given publicly again since.
The Luminous Heart Essence of the Three Roots– Tsa Sum Osel Nying Tig
On the first day, the Bodhisattva vows were bestowed, an essential requirement of entering the Vajrayana path is the arisal of the bodhicitta motivation to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all beings and a dedication to helping others attain enlightenment.
The first few days of the transmissions were The Luminous Heart Essence Bindu of the Three Roots (Tsa Sum Osel Nying Thig (Rtsa gsum ‘od gsal snying tig)). There are 21 texts in this cycle of terma, which is a mind-treasure terma (gongter (dgon gter)), found within the mind of a terton (treasure-revealer). Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche explains in his autobiography Brilliant Moon (p141):
Mind treasures arise in the following way: In many instances, after bestowing an empowerment or giving a teaching, Padmasambhava made the prayer, “In the future, may this treasure arise in the mind of such and such tertön.” While doing so, he would focus his prayers and blessings on the tertön, usually an incarnation of one of his disciples. When, due to Guru Rinpoche’s blessings, the times comes, both the words and the meaning of the treasure arise clearly in the tertön’s mind. The tertön can then write these down without having to think.
The complete list of texts in this cycle are very helpfully listed here on the Tsadra Foundation Terdzo http://rtz.tsadra.org/index.php/Rtsa_gsum_%27od_gsal_snying_tig. Several of these were written down and revealed by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, and others written down by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. The empowerments from 11th to 14th January from this cycle of terma were the following and were written down by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche:
- The vast empowerment
- The middle length empowerment, Glorious Treasure of Wisdom
- The condensed symbolic empowerment
- The torma empowerment
These were followed by empowerments of the activities. The four activities (caturkarman, las bzhi) are pacifying, enriching, magnetizing, and subjugating are presented in the Buddhist tantras as a classification for the rituals, based on the goal of the ritual. They are thus practised as part of the deity yoga of the inner or higher tantras. Practitioners visualize themselves in the form of the deity and train in them. The following empowerments were given of five Thotreng Tsal (thod phreng rtsal) meaning garland of skulls in Tibetan. These are all names for Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche).
- Buddha Thotreng Tsal – supreme activity
- Vajra Thotreng Tsal – pacification
- Ratna Thotreng Tsal -enhancement (or increasing),
- Pema Thotreng Tsal -magnetising
- Karma Thotreng Tsal -wrath (or subjugating)
The next post will give details and resources on the next few days of the empowerments. Apologies for any errors. May it be of benefit!
Written by Adele Tomlin, 27th January 2020.