‘JOYFULLY JOYOUS’ SIDDHA’S ROAR : PADAMPA SANGYE’S ‘DHARMA THAT PACIFIES SUFFERING (ZHIJE)’ SONG TO MILAREPA AND MARPA LOTSAWA’S SUPPLICATION TO MACHIG LABDRON

“That side, this side! Hand seal, foot seal! Such nauseating talk in the name of Dharma! Chasing after Dharma! Infatuated with sense objects! Studying meaning for the sake of the examples! Would you send a child to the enemy? Would you cover the one with everything? Would you sell out the meaning for the words? Would you send the lord to the subjects? Would you buy the inexpressible with candy? Outwardly, relax clinging to objects! Inwardly, give up clinging to the body! Secretly, loosen clinging to mind! Tighten with intensity, and then gently relax! The tightening is the method, and the loosening is the wisdom! Introduction to the nature of mind by the Lama is like that, as well!”

Lama Bodhisattva Kunga took hold of Dampa’s robe and asked, “What is the character of samsara?” Dampa said, “Kunga, It’s just like flies in the middle of dog shit!” “Is there any chance of happiness for sentient beings born here?” Linking his fingers together in his lap, Dampa said, “They’re chained in suffering!”“When will they be released?” “Not until they enter the path out of the dead-end of duality!”

–Padampa Sangye[1]

Whatever wild thoughts rise, be joyously joyful!
Whenever illness comes, use it as your aid.
However things happen, be joyously joyful!
When death comes, bring it on the path.
However is the Lord of Death, be joyously joyful!
–Padampa Sangye’s ‘Dharma that Pacifies Suffering’ Song to Milarepa

Introduction

Recently, I have taken the Drikung Kagyu Body Offering [Chod] empowerment and instructions from Drikung Kagyu master, Drupon Rinchen Dorje Rinpoche (see here for translation and transcript) and, more recently, an empowerment from the Jonang lineage of 16th Century master, Jetsun Tāranātha’s Pearl Garland History: Opening the Gates of Space[2] (gcod dbang nam mkha’ sgo ‘byed kyi lo rgyus mu tig phreng ba) with Jonang teacher, Khentrul Rinpoche.

In this post, on the full moon day, I consider two songs connected to the Zhije and Chod traditions and their connection to two renowned Kagyu forefathers. First, is the ‘Dharma that Pacifies Suffering’ song from Padampa Sangye, the 11th Century Indian Siddha (guru of Tibetan Machig Labdron (founder of Chod)) to Je Milarepa (when they met in person). Their meeting and songs are documented in One Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa.  I include a brief introduction to the life and ‘unconventional’ often ‘wordless’ teaching style of Padampa Sangye, and a new translation of this song with Tibetan and phonetics.

Although, I often point out the invisibility (or diminishing) of women in Tibetan Buddhism, in  this case it is the Indian Padampa Sangye who is often overlooked or diminished by the Tibetan tradition, when it comes to the life and accomplishments of the mahasiddha. In thangka images, Machig is presented centre stage, whereas Padampa is a much smaller figure. Yet, his remarkable life and accomplishments deserve more attention and understanding.  For those interested in Padampa, I would highly recommend reading Lion of Siddhas: The Life and Teachings of Padampa Sanggye, translated by David Molk and Lama Tsering Wangdu Rinpoche (2008).

The second is ‘The Mother’s Soaring Intent’ supplication to Machig Labdron by Marpa Lotsawa, included in Tāranātha’s Chod empowerment text. Although, it is not 100 percent sure this is Milarepa’s teacher, Marpa, as there is a later Marpa Lotsawa who is less well-known. In any case, I briefly consider Tāranātha’s Chod text and the origin of the Marpa supplication and the Kagyu connection to Zhije and Chod. 

Music? Joyfully joyous….Golden by Jill Scott. Or Don’t Worry, Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin.

May we all bring whatever appears onto the path with joyous joy and see samsara like flies in the middle of s**t!

Written and translated by Adele Tomlin, 18th December 2021. All rights reserved.

 

PADAMPA SANGYE’S SONG TO MILAREPA

An unconventional, Indian yogi siddha who challenged people – Padampa Sangye’s life

Seeing Marpa’s supplication, reminded me of a similar story told by Drikung Kagyu master, Drupon Rinchen Dorje Rinpoche in his teaching on Jigten Sumgon’s Chod, about Milarepa’s meeting with Padampa Sangye, which is recorded in the One Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa[3].  I have reproduced the story in full in the Appendix.

The story reads like a battle of two accomplished tantric yogis, and is amusing at times. Milarepa demonstrates his powers and philosophical prowess and Padamapa Sangye reveals his clairvoyance power to Milarepa, who tests Padampa and sings several songs of realizations to him. Padampa Sangye also sings a song to Milarepa about ‘Pacifying Suffering [Zhije]. The song is called ‘The Dharma that Pacifies Suffering’ (Damcho Dugngel Zhije).

Before discussing this song in a little more detail, I will give a brief introduction to Padampa Sangye and his disciples, which include Milarepa and Machig Labdron. The title mention the Zhije tradition, which is often considered to be the basis of the later developed Chod, by Machig Labdron, who was one of Padampa’s students (and possibly consort).

In a biography by Chokyi Senge in 1906[4] about Padampa Sangye, called The Story of the Liberated Life of the Great Lord of Siddhas, Venerable Padampa Sangye: A Sun Ablaze with Thousandfold Rays of Attainment (published in Lion of Siddhas (2008)) it details his life and works:  

It is said that After six rebirths as Brahmin pandits, he was born into a Brahmin family in Bedha, Tsara Singha, South India, in about 545 CE. His father, who mined resources from the sea, was away when his mother miraculously conceived. Fearing her husband’s anger, she tried to abort by taking poison and jumping into the river. She was unsuccessful, however, and gave birth to a son who had a very beautiful form similar to that of a Buddha. He immediately offered his mother praise of the Perfection of Wisdom and put his footprint into a piece of marble, as a special thanks to her for the hardships she had undergone when he was in her womb. This yellowish piece of marble with the small footprint is still preserved in a set of nine sacred objects from Padampa Sangye’s life….

As a youth, he studied reading and writing of Sanskrit, the science of sound, and mastered it with just a little prompting. He also mastered logic, astrology, crafts, and archery, and worked for a while in his father’s occupation, mining the sea. At the age of fifteen he received novice monk’s vows at Vikramashila Monastic University and was given the ordination name Kamalashila. He also took the vows of a bodhisattva before his master Aryadeva the Brahmin. At some point he became disillusioned with the monastic environment. He left and continued to train with numerous tantric masters and meditated at many sites in India and Nepal. The list of his gurus reads like a “Who’s Who” of Indian masters and mahasiddhas. He is said to have brought to Tibet the lineages of fifty-four male and female mahasiddhas….

The biography asserts that Padampa made a fifth and final trip to Tibet in 1097 and that he remained in Dingri for twenty-one years. The Great Dictionary of Chinese and Tibetan, representing other generally accepted traditions, asserts that he made his next-to-last trip to Tibet in 1091 or 1092, went on to China in 1101, and returned to Tibet a final time in 1113 before passing away in Tibet in 1117. It was during the final period of this 572-year life span that he became known to Tibetans as Padampa Sangye and gave teachings such as those translated in this book.” (2008: 14-15)[5].

Dampa’s style of teaching was ‘unconventional’ and ‘challenging’, for example, when asked about the meaning of ultimate reality, he bound up his mouth with a sling. As the translator, Molk (2008) describes he was:

“A miracle-working mahasiddha, he lived as a naked yogi who always acted contrary to “conventional” conduct. He demanded total commitment and a willingness to leave behind pretense and hypocrisy completely. He commanded one of his primary disciples, Kunga, to disrobe in public, and teased him when he modestly stepped behind a rock! He often dealt with pretense wrathfully. It is no wonder that his criticism sometimes fell upon the Tibetans who encountered him. As in every human society, there were people of various levels of motivation and capability in Tibet. But through his wrath we can hear Padampa Sangye’s great challenge to every one of us. Are we willing to give up superficial concerns and take responsibility for our own spiritual development, regardless of what anyone else thinks? Are we ready to be introduced to the ultimate nature of our own being and, if our guru demands it, remain living in that awareness as a naked yogi or yogini, giving up all ties to normal society?… Yet the Tibetans did understand Padampa Sangye’s teachings. Some attained realization by just seeing his face or hearing his voice.”

Apart from one of his greatest disciples, the founder of Chod practice and teachings in Tibet, Machig Labdron, who spread the Chod practice and instructions throughout Tibet[6], in a chapter called the ‘Greatness of his Disciples’, it mentions many realized and accomplished disciples including twenty-five female yoginis, more on that in another post! As for his other students and connection to Tibet, see Lion of Siddhas (2008: ) and his Treasury of Lives biography[7].

Bodhidharma, founder of Zen, said to be the same person as Padampa Sangye

Padampa Sangye was also said to be the famous Bodhidharma, source of the “sudden enlightenment” “mind-transmission” of Zen. His style of teaching from mind-to mind, with a single word or a few cryptic words, or with nonverbal gestures is said to lend credence to that assertion. He said that people received initiation from him just by meeting him. Molk (2008) explains that:

 In his Meditation on Emptiness, Jeffrey Hopkins quotes Nyingma Lama Khetsun Sangpo:  

The founder of the Shi-jay order was Pa-dam-ba-sang-gyay, who many say was Bodhidharma, also known as Kamalashila…. He was a student of eighty gurus, including Nagarjuna, Maitripada, and Naropa, lived for over five hundred years, visited Tibet five times, spread Buddhism widely in both China and Tibet, and is said to have visited Mi-la-re-ba near the end of his life. Based on the Perfection of Wisdom Sutras, he divides his teachings into three systems—sutra, tantra, and a union of sutra and tantra— spreading a doctrine much like that of sudden enlightenment. It is said that he pretended to die a few times in China[8]

The Pacifying (Zhije) tradition and the song ‘Dharma that Pacifies Suffering’

In terms of the tradition of Pacifying (Zhije) and the Dampa’s song ‘Dharma that Pacifies Suffering’. It is said that:

The name of the Zhije, or Pacification of Suffering, lineage that he founded stems from the Heart Sutra’s mantra, which “pacifies suffering,” as well as from a time that he attended a gathering of mahasiddhas in India. The mahasiddhas were each describing the yogic powers they had attained when it was noticed that Padampa Sangye had remained silent. When he was asked what kind of siddhis he had attained, he replied that the only siddhi in which he was interested was that which brought the swiftest pacification of the suffering of sentient beings. For this, he was praised among all of the mahasiddhas as the only one who had truly found the essence of what Buddha had intended in all of his teachings of Dharma. (Lion of the Siddhas (2008)[9]

This song to Milarepa was first translated into English in 1962 by the Nalanda Translation Committee edition. I have produced a new translation (with Tibetan and phonetics) of this, see below.  It is a lively song of direct, pith instructions. One can imagine the realized Siddha, Dampa singing this with joy and bliss as he emphasized the importance of bringing all circumstances and appearances onto the path, and not seeing daily activities as separate from Dharma practice. He sings:

Subtle concepts arising is the time
To stomp protrusions of negative emotions.
Sleeping somewhere concealed alone is the time,
To place one’s naked Awareness.
Mingling amidst many is the time
To see whatever appears as the View.

However, even though Dampa is under any illusions regarding the nature of samsara (he compares it to ‘flies in the middle of sh**), he explains how daily practice should not be done in some solemn, strict or joyless way either. He uses a Tibetan repetitive phrase ‘joyously joyful’ (gye gye dzo) in several lines:

Whatever wild thoughts rise, be joyfully joyous!
Whenever illness comes, use it as an aid.
However things happen, be joyfully joyous!
When death comes, bring it on the path.
However is the Lord of Death, be joyfully joyous!

MARPA LOTSAWA’S SONG TO MACHIG LABDRON

Tāranātha and Chod

The Marpa Supplication to Machig Labdron is found in Jetsun Tāranātha’s Chod empowerment text, Pearl Garland History: Opening the Gate of Space, is one of the few texts Tāranātha wrote on Chod in his Collected Works.

The phrase “opening [the gate of] space” (nam mkha’ sgo ’byed)[10] is distinctive to the Chod tradition and and is said by some to refer specifically to the practice of separating consciousness from the body and sending it out the cranial aperture, a kind of transference (’pho ba). However, it has become a more generalized designation for a whole cycle of Chod teachings, including an enumeration of a set of ten instructions called Space-Gate openings[11].

Tāranātha seems to have got the Chod transmission from Jonang master, Kunga Drolchog. As Sarah Harding (2016) explains in her translation of Jamgon Kongtrul’s Treasury of Precious Instructions, Chod : The Sacred Teachings of Severance:

“Of that enormous output, surprisingly few of Tāranātha’s texts are devoted to Severance [Chod]—a total of merely fifty pages or so—and his autobiography mentions the transmission of Severance only a few times.What connection Tāranātha did have with the practice of Severance can probably be attributed mainly to his predecessor, Kunga Drölchok. That master compiled an anthology of one hundred eight different lineage practices, The Hundred Guides of Jonang, of which Severance is number six. This work is reprinted in volume 18 of The Treasury of Precious Instructions and indeed may have been the prototype for Jamgön Kongtrul’s own vast, eclectic collection.

I have listed these Tāranātha Chod texts for reference in an Appendix below[12].

The empowerment text contains a short life-story of Machig Labdron, the Marpa Supplication (see below) and also a Chod Lineage Supplication by Tāranātha himself[13]. In that Supplication, Tāranātha states that Padampa Sangye got the lineage from Aryadeva, which went down to Sonam Lama, then to Machig Labdron and then to Samten Ozer. Harding (2016) explains that Kongtrul received the Chod transmission from Tāranātha’s tradition in the Gyaltang tradition of the great adept Samten Ozer[14] based on Tāranātha’s Opening the Gates of Space empowerment.

‘The Mother’s Soaring Intent’ Marpa’s Supplication to Machig Labdron and the Kagyu connection

Marpa Chokyi Lodro

Within the Chod empowerment text by Tāranātha[15] is a supplication called the Great Mother, The Soaring Intention, that is written ‘came into the hands of The Translator [Marpa], from Dranpa Lotsul (bran pa blos tshul).’ The person Dranpa Lotsul ie mentioned in Tāranātha’s Chod Supplication text too. It is not clear who this person is though. If anyone knows, please let me know[16].

I have written before about the Karmapas and the Karma Kagyu lineage and their important lineage and connection to Chod here before, and quite a bit has already been written about the 3rd Karmapa and Chod (see Sorensen (2013). However, this was the first time I had seen Kagyu forefather, Marpa the Translator mentioned in connection with Chod and Machig Labdron. I asked Marpa scholar and biographer, Dr. Cecile Ducher if she had any knowledge of Marpa meeting Padampa Sangye or Machig, but she said she was not aware of any meeting.  So, it is not 100 percent sure this is Milarepa’s teacher, Marpa, as there is a later Marpa Lotsawa who is less well-known (Ducher mentioned). 

Whether Padampa Sangye met Marpa Lotsawa or not, is not clear. It is said that the First to the Third Karmapas (and the Eighth Karmapa) were Padampa’s incarnations:

“Because of his bodhichitta and prior related prayers, Lord Dampa’s kindness for Tibetans surpasses that of others. Even that pillar of the Practice Lineage Teachings, Karmapa Düsum Kyenpa, is certainly of the same mental continuum as Dampa. When Dampa was introducing Lama Ye Zibar to mahamudra he told him, “This was revealed to me by the Great Brahmin Aryadeva, who told me that Saraha and he were of the same mental continuum as myself !” Also, since Düsum Kyenpa is celebrated as the incarnation of Saraha who will attain enlightenment as Buddha Lion in the future, there is no doubt that he is of the same mental continuum as Lord Dampa. Karma Pakshi and Rangjung Dorje are also known to be Dampa’s incarnations. Karmapa Mikyö Dorje said, himself, that he was Dampa’s incarnation. From their biographies it is clear that many such great lamas of the Practice Lineage were Dampa’s emanations.” (Lion of Siddhas (2008: 163)

DHARMA THAT PACIFIES SUFFERING’
PADAMPA SANGYE’S SONG TO JE MILAREPA
[17]

Padampa Sangye, Indian Mahasiddha and lineage holder and founder of Zhije. Teacher of Machig Labdron.

He [Dampa] turned and was about to go away. Milarepa immediately caught hold of his robe, saying:

“Dampa, it is said that you have a teaching called Dharma that Pacifies All Suffering,’ and that in practicing it one reverses his mind inwardly, thus instantaneously realizing the Buddha’s Intention.  Now please explain it to me in a song.”  

Dhampa Sangye replied, “So far, no one has ever heard me sing, and no one will.”  However, the Jetsun insisted with his request, and  Dhampa Sangye sang[18]:

དམ་ཆོས་སྡུག་བསྔལ་ཞི ་བྱེད་འདི། །

dam chö duk ngel zhi jé di

This is the Noble Dharma of Pacifying Suffering.

གདོན་གནོད་སྦྱིན་ཕོ་མོ་འདུལ་ཙ་ན། །

dön nö jin po mo dül tsa na

བརྟུལ་ཞུགས་འཁྲུལ་འཁོར་འཆའ་བ་ཡིན། །

tül zhuk trünkhor chawa yin

ལུས་ལ་ན་ཚ་བྱུང་ཙ་ན། །

lü la na tsa jung tsa na

དབྱེངས་རིག་གཅིག་ཏུ་བསྲེ་བ་ཡིན། །

yeng rik chik tu sewa yin

Taming demons, yasksas, males and female [wrathful ones] is the time

To set in motion yogic cycles of unconventional conduct[19].

Sickness afflicting the body is the time

To merge into one intrinsic awareness.

 

རྣམ་རྟོག་ཕྲ་མོ་སྐྱེས་ཙ་ན། །

nam tok tra mo kyé tsa na

ཉོན་མོངས་ལ་འབུར་འཇོམས་བཏང་བ་ཡིན། །

nyön mong la bur jom tangwa yin

གཅིག་པུར་ལྐོག་ཏུ་ཉལ་ཙ་ན། །

chik pur kok tu nyel tsa na

རིག་པ་རྗེན་པར་འཇོག་གཡིན། །

rik pa jen par jok yin

མང་པོའི་གསེབ་ཏུ་སྡོད་ཙ་ན། །

mang pö sep tu dö tsa na

གང་ཤར་ངོ་ལ་ལྟ་བ་ཡིན། །

gang shar ngo la tawa yin

Subtle concepts arising is the time

To stomp protrusions of negative emotions.

Sleeping somewhere concealed alone is the time,

To settle one’s naked Awareness.

Mingling amidst many is the time

To see whatever appears as the View.

 

བྱིང་ན་ཕཊ་ཀྱི་གསེང་བ་ཡིན། །

jing na paT kyi seng ba yin

འཕྲོ་ན་རྩ་བ་གཅོད་པ་ཡིན། །

tro na tsawa chö pa yin

རྦོད་ན་དབྱེངས་སུ་འཇོག་པ་ཡིན།

bode na yeng su jok pa yin

ཁེས་པ་ཡུལ་ཕྱིར་འབྲང་ཙ་ན། །

khé pa yül chir drang tsa na

དེ་ཉིད་དོན་ལ་ལྟ་བ་ཡིན། །

dé nyi dön la tawa yin

When drowsy, refresh with PHAT!

When distracted, sever at the root!

When loose, tighten in place!

Pursuing striking the outer target is the time

To get the meaning of reality itself, the view.

 

དམ་ཆོས་སྡུག་བསྔལ་ཞི་བྱེད་འདི། །

dam chö duk ngel zhi jé di

ལྟས་ངན་བྱུང་ན་གཡང་དུ་བླན། །

té ngen jung na yang du len

རྣམ་རྟོག་ཇི་རལྟར་དགྱེས་དགྱེས་མཛོད། །

nam tok ji ra tar gyé gyé dzö

ན་ཚ་བྱུང་ན་བོགས་སུ་འདོན། །

na tsa jung na bok su dön

འབྱུང་བ་ཇི་ལྟར་དགྱེས་དགྱེས་མཛོད། །

jungwa ji tar gyé gyé dzö

འཆི་བ་བྱུང་ན་ལམ་དུ་སློང་། །

chiwa jung na lam du long

འཆི་བདག་ཇི་ལྟར་དགྱེས་དགྱེས་མཛོད། །

chi dak ji tar gyé gyé dzö

This sacred ‘Dharma that Pacifies Suffering’

Makes bad omens arising seem fortunate.

Whatever wild thoughts rise, be joyously joyful!

Whenever illness comes, use it as your aid.

However things happen, be joyously joyful!

When death comes, bring it on the path.

However is the Lord of Death, be joyously joyful!

 

དམ་ཆོས་སྡུག་བསྔལ་ཞི་བྱེད་འདི། །

dam chö duk ngel zhi jé di

དུས་གསུམ་རྒྱལ་བའི་དགོངས་པ་ལགས། །

dü sum gyelwé gong pa lak

རྡོ་རྗེ་འཆང་གི་གསང་ཚིག་ཡིན། །

dor jé chang gi sang tsik yin

མཁའ་འགྲོ་སྡེ་བཞིའི་སྲོག་སྙིང་ཡིན། །

khandro dé zhi sok nying yin

རྒྱུད་སྡེ་བཞིའི་གདམས་ངག་ཡིན། །

gyü dé zhi dam ngak yin

སྙན་བརྒྱུད་གནད་ཀྱི་མན་ངག་ཡིན། །

nyen gyü né kyi men ngak yin

མན་ངག་ཐབས་ཀྱི་ལྡེ་མིག་ཡིན། །

men ngak tap kyi dé mik yin

དམ་ཆོས་སྡུག་བསྔལ་ཞི་བྱེད་ལགས། །

dam chö duk ngel zhi jé lak

This sacred ‘Dharma that Pacifies Suffering’

Is the intention of Buddhas of the three times

Is the secret words of Vajradhara.

Is the life-force heart of four types of Dakinls

Is the oral pith instructions of the four Tantras

Is the essential oral instructions of the Whispered Lineage,

Is the key for the pith instruction methods!

That is the “Sacred Dharma that Pacifies Suffering”!

 

ཞེས་གསུངས་པས་རྗེ་བཙུན་མཉེས་ཤིང་ཆ་ལུགས་ལྷུག་པར་བཞུགས་པ་ལ། དམ་པའི་ཞལ་ནས་ལུས་ལ་སྦ་རྒྱུ་ཞིག་འདུག་པ་མི་སྦེད་པར་རྗེས་པའི་སྤྱོདེ་པ་འདྲ་བ་དེ་མ་བྱེད་གསུངས་པ་ལ། རྗེ་བཙུན་གྱིས་སྤྱོ་ལུགས་འདི་མགུར་དུ་གསུངས་སོ། Milarepa listened to this song with great delight as he sat to one side with his penis freely exposed. Dhampa Sangje remarked, “You are like a lunatic who neglects to cover up the place that should be covered.” In reply, the Jetsun sang “The Song of a Lunatic”.

Translated and edited by Adele Tomlin, 18th December 2021. Dakini Publications, 2021. All rights reserved.

Further Sources/reading

Padampa Sangye, Treasury of Lives Biography https://treasuryoflives.org/biographies/view/Padampa-Sanggye-/2510

Martin, Dan. 2006. “Padampa Sanggye: A History of Representation of a South Indian Siddha in Tibet.” In Holy Madness: Portrait of Tantric Siddhas, ed. Rob Linrothe. New York, Rubin Museum of Art. 108-123.

Labdron, Machig. Tr. Harding, Sarah. 2003. Machik’s Complete Explanation: Clarifying the Meaning of Chöd: A Complete Explanation of Casting Out the Body as Food (Phung po gzan skyur gyi rnam bshad gcod kyi don gsal byed). Sarah Harding, trans. Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion.

Kongtrul, Jamgon. Tr. Harding, Sarah. 2016. Treasury of Precious Instructions: Chod: The Sacred Teachings on Severance. NY: Snow Lion.

Milarepa. Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa. Translated by Garma CC. Chang (Shambhala Publications, 1st edition (1977), 2nd edition (1999)).

Sangye, Padampa. 2008. Lion of Siddhas: The Life and Teachings of Padampa Sanggye. David Molk and Lama Tsering Wangdu Rinpoche, trans. Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion.

Sorensen, Michelle (2013) Making the Old New Again and Again: Legitimation and Innovation in the Tibetan Buddhist Chod Tradition (PhD, Columbia University)

Tomlin, Adele (2021) CHOD LINEAGES AND MACHIG LABDRON: Indic-Tibetan Sources, Contemporary Works, The Karmapas and ‘The Long Lineage Supplication to Machig” by Bengar Jampel Zangpo (https://dakinitranslations.com/2021/06/18/chod-lineages-and-machig-labdron-the-karmapas-and-the-long-lineage-supplication-to-machig-by-bengar-jampel-zangpo/)

APPENDIX A:
Tāranātha’s Works on Chod

Essential points on the Profound Chod Instructions Supplication (gcod yul zab mo’i khrid yig gnad don snying po’i ngag ‘don gsol ‘debs/) page 343 – 363 . Colophon: khrid yig gnad don snying po’i zhabs tog tu dmigs nas/ bla ma gong ma’i gsung rgyun ngag ‘don ‘thor ba rnams phyogs gcig tu grags pa dpal bzang gis bsebs de bris pa’o//

Invocation of the dakinis (gsol ‘debs dgongs bskyod ma/) page 364-5.

Colophon: de ltar gsol ‘debs dgong bskyod ma ‘di ni slob ma la dbang bskur ba’i skabs gtor dbang gi mgor ‘don dgos lags/ dbang gi mgor mi dgos lags/ sgra bsgyur smra ba’i phyag tu phul/ bran pa blos tshul nas so//

Supplication to the Chod lineage recited in association with the empowerment (gcod brgyud pa’i gsol ‘debs/) page 366-7.

Pearl Garland History of ‘Opening the Door of Space’ Chod Empowerment (gcod dbang nam mkha’ sgo ‘byed kyi lo rgyus mu tig phreng ba/) page 368-376. Colophon: gcod dbang nam mkha’ sgo ‘byed kyi lo rgyus mu tig phreng ba zhes bya ba ‘di ni/ gcod rgyud rnams kyi nang nas nye bar mkho ba rnams karmA bi dza yas(‘phrin las rnam rgyal) smras pa’o// Authorship: attributed to karmA bA dz+ri

The renownedOpening the Door of Space’ Chod Empowerment (gcod dbang nam mkha’ sgo ‘byed du grags pa/) page 377-385. Colophon: de ltar gcod kyi chos dbang smes la bskur ba’i lag len ‘di yang /.lhag chad ‘ga’ ‘khrul nor ba’i skyon thams cad spangs te/ byin rlabs bla ma brgyud pa’i phyag len bzhin tA ra nA thas smras pa’o//

APPENDIX B:
The Mother’s “Soaring Intention” Supplication by Marpa Lotsawa[1]

གསོལ་འདེབས་དགོངས་བསྐྱོད་མ་ནི །

Now there is the ”Soaring Intention” Supplication:

With a body emanated from the mind of the Great Mother,

The venerable yoginī Machik,

The mother revealed in the continuums of fortunate ones,

Is the mother who has attained the siddhi of Prajñāpāramitā.

May myself and other devoted individuals

Be blessed with the empowerment of the Mother!

I supplicate the venerable lady Machik .

I supplicate the lamp of the path to enlightenment.

I supplicate the wisdom ḍākinī.

The Mother is of low birth , but has high realization.

She is small in body, but she is great in brilliance.

She has a fair complexion that emanates rays of light.

Her conduct is in harmony with everyone.

May myself and other devoted individuals

Be blessed with the empowerment of the Mother!

I supplicate the venerable lady Machik .

I supplicate the lamp of the path to enlightenment.

I supplicate the wisdom ḍākinī.

The Mother who realizes reality without avarice

Is motivated by all-pervading generosity.

Realizing the reality of self-arising wisdom,

The Mother keeps her discipline without impairment,

And realizes reality as having no self or other.

When the mother meditates on unborn patience,

She realizes reality free from ground and root;

And so she is the mother who cultivates effortless effort.

May myself and other devoted individuals

Be blessed with the empowerment of the Mother!

I supplicate the venerable lady Machik .

I supplicate the lamp of the path to enlightenment.

I supplicate the wisdom ḍākinī.

The mother who realizes the meaning, without distraction:

The mother who meditates undistracted, in absorption,

Realizes the meaning of non-duality,

And meditates in the selflessness of pristine wisdom.

May myself and other devoted individuals

Be blessed with the empowerment of the Mother!

I supplicate the venerable lady Machik .

I supplicate the lamp of the path to enlightenment.

I supplicate the wisdom ḍākinī.

The mother unravels attachment that seems to be impartial.

She liberates subtle reference points in equality meditation.

She liberates the anxiety of unrealized experience.

She liberates hope and fear in fruition free from concepts.

Realizing the meaning, without ignoring reality,

The mother is a master of the mind of omniscience.

May myself and other devoted individuals

Be blessed with the empowerment of the Mother!

I supplicate the venerable lady Machik .

I supplicate the lamp of the path to enlightenment.

I supplicate the wisdom ḍākinī.

When the mother abides within the equal nature,

She has experience with neither center nor limit;

With wisdom that has fully abandoned the five poisons,

With 100,000 buddha ḍākinīs surrounding her,

Her song of experience: trol lo lo;

A rain of oral instructions: si li li ;

A mist of blessings: tu lu lu ;

On the right, the heroes: sha ra ra ;

On the left, the heroines: tib se tib ;

Human thigh trumpets: kyu ru ru ;

Resound high, piercing, and persistent .

Gathering like thickening clouds.

Stream forward in noisy abundance, as many beings arrive in a place.

Manifests in wavering unclarity, like a pervasive fog.

Smoke of the great manner: chi li li ;

Instructions of HŪṂ: sha ra ra ;

Thunder of PHAṬ: di ri ri.

May myself and other devoted individuals

Be blessed with the empowerment of the Mother!

I supplicate the venerable lady Machik .

I supplicate the lamp of the path to enlightenment.

I supplicate the wisdom ḍākinī.

When the mother abides in the equal nature , reality

Is experienced as luminous, after arising from meditation.

With 100,000 vishva-ḍākinīs  surrounding her,

Her song of experience: trol lo lo;

A rain of oral instructions: si li li ;

A mist of blessings: tu lu lu ;

On the right, the heroes: sha ra ra ;

On the left, the heroines: tib se tib ;

Human thigh trumpets: kyu ru ru ;

Smoke of the great manner: chi li li ;

Instructions of HŪṂ: sha ra ra ;

Thunder of PHAṬ: di ri ri.

May myself and other devoted individuals

Be blessed with the empowerment of the Mother!

I supplicate the venerable lady Machik .

I supplicate the lamp of the path to enlightenment.

I supplicate the wisdom ḍākinī.

When the mother’s intention is soaring the east,

Its meaning is the meaning of unborn reality.

With 100,000 vajra ḍākinīs surrounding her,

Her song of experience: trol lo lo;

A rain of oral instructions: si li li ;

A mist of blessings: tu lu lu ;

On the right, the heroes: sha ra ra ;

On the left, the heroines: tib se tib ;

Variety ḍākinīs.

Rolls resoundingly.

Is abundantly sniffed up by the nose .

Of things as they are.

Human thigh trumpets: kyu ru ru ;

Smoke of the great manner: chi li li ;

Instructions of HŪṂ: sha ra ra ;

Thunder of PHAṬ: di ri ri.

May myself and other devoted individuals

Be blessed with the empowerment of the Mother!

I supplicate the venerable lady Machik .

I supplicate the lamp of the path to enlightenment.

I supplicate the wisdom ḍākinī.

When the mother’s intention is soaring in the south,

Its meaning is the meaning of perfect qualities.

With 100,000 ratna ḍākinīs surrounding her,

Her song of experience: trol lo lo;

A rain of oral instructions: si li li ;

A mist of blessings: tu lu lu ;

On the right, the heroes: sha ra ra ;

On the left, the heroines: tib se tib ;

Human thigh trumpets: kyu ru ru ;

Smoke of the great manner: chi li li ;

Instructions of HŪṂ: sha ra ra ;

Thunder of PHAṬ: di ri ri.

May myself and other devoted individuals

Be blessed with the empowerment of the Mother!

I supplicate the venerable lady Machik .

I supplicate the lamp of the path to enlightenment.

I supplicate the wisdom ḍākinī.

When the mother’s intention is soaring in the west,

Its meaning is experience where faults have been purified.

With 100,000 padma ḍākinīs surrounding her,

Her song of experience: trol lo lo;

A rain of oral instructions: si li li ;

A mist of blessings: tu lu lu ;

On the right, the heroes: sha ra ra ;

On the left, the heroines: tib se tib ;

Human thigh trumpets: kyu ru ru ;

Smoke of the great manner: chi li li ;

Instructions of HŪṂ: sha ra ra ;

Thunder of PHAṬ: di ri ri.

May myself and other devoted individuals

Be blessed with the empowerment of the Mother!

I supplicate the venerable lady Machik .

I supplicate the lamp of the path to enlightenment.

I supplicate the wisdom ḍākinī.

When the mother’s intention is soaring in the north,

Its meaning is the experience of ceaseless reality.

With 100,000 karma ḍākinīs surrounding her,

Her song of experience: trol lo lo;

A rain of oral instructions: si li li ;

A mist of blessings: tu lu lu ;

On the right, the heroes: sha ra ra ;

On the left, the heroines: tib se tib ;

Human thigh trumpets: kyu ru ru ;

Smoke of the great manner: chi li li ;

Instructions of HŪṂ: sha ra ra ;

Thunder of PHAṬ: di ri ri.

May myself and other devoted individuals

Be blessed with the empowerment of the Mother!

I supplicate the venerable lady Machik .

I supplicate the lamp of the path to enlightenment.

I supplicate the wisdom ḍākinī.

When the mother’s intention is soaring in the middle,

Its meaning is experience free from center or limit.

Insight in space: pu ru ru.

The view without reasoning: chya la la.

The equality of the dgongs pa : tri li li.

The host of ḍākinīs: tib se tib .

To myself and other devoted individuals,

Please grant your blessings!

A trembling sound like the flow of a mountain stream.

Manifests as auspicious good fortune.

Flutters like colorful silk ribbons .

།ཕཊཿ ཕཊཿ

PHAṬ | PHAṬ

In empowering students with this Chöd practice, recite this Supplication to Machik’s “Soaring Intention” at the beginning of the torma empowerment. In general, it is not obligatory to recite it at the beginning of the torma empowerment. This supplication came into the hands of The Translator [Marpa], from Dranpa Lotsul. Mangalaṃ, Ge’o.

English translation by Ives Waldo (2021).


Endnotes

[1] These quotes are taken from the book Lion Of Siddhas (2008).

[2] The Tibetan word ‘namkha’ here is often translated as ‘sky’ but I have chosen to translate it as ‘space’.

[3] The Tibetan text of One Hundred Thousand Songs of Je Milarepa is this edition (rje btsun mi la ras pa’i rnam thar dang mgur ‘bum/) W1KG4276:2:914: Khenpo Shedup Tenzin and Lama Thinley Namgyal 2006.

[4] According to the translator, David Molk, the author of this biography Chokyi Senge was also known as “Laughing Vajra of Keajra’ and was the fourth incarnation of Jamyang Shayba, the author of Drepung Gomang Monastery’s textbooks. The text also describes the strong connection of the Gelugpa tradition to the Zhije tradition.

[5] According to this biography, the reason the Siddha was able to live so long was entering another person’s form: “Thus, according to the mystical accounts, he returned to Tibet as Padampa Sangye two centuries later, but not before he had experienced an event that drastically altered his appearance. He was walking with another sadhu named Dampa Nagchung, “Black Dampa,” when they arrived at a valley where an elephant had died. There was a danger that its corpse would pollute the water of the area and cause an epidemic. Both of the yogis knew how to animate a corpse by entering it with their consciousnesses. Padampa Sangye asked Dampa Nagchung if he would enter the elephant in order to move it away from the water source. Instead, Dampa Nagchung asked Padampa Sangye to do it and promised that he would guard his body while he was gone. Padampa Sangye left his body, entered the body of the elephant, and walked it a long distance away, where he left it to be eaten by animals. In the meantime, however, Dampa Nagchung could not resist the temptation to abandon his own form and steal away with Padampa Sangye’s beautiful body. When Padampa Sangye’s consciousness returned, nothing was left except Dampa Nagchung’s body. According to the mystical account, at that time, Padampa Sangye almost left this world for the land of the dakinis. But Machig Labdrön clairvoyantly knew what was happening and recited some lines of praise to Nagchung’s body that persuaded Padampa Sangye that he could still benefit beings by entering into it. It was in this form, as the “Black Acharya,” that Padampa Sangye returned to Tibet and finally found the stone of Buddha’s prophecy. In Dingri, western Tibet, it was resting in the middle of a field that was shaped like Vajravarahi.  It was being circumambulated by a number of musk deer. As he watched, the deer dissolved into the stone. It was there, staying among the crags of Tsibri Mountain and in the Dingri environs, that Padampa Sangye found the most fertile ground for his teachings.”

[6]  From Molk (2008:167): “She [Machig] likewise received, from Sönam Lama, Dampa’s complete Chöd empowerment and commentary. Then, when Machig met Dampa in person, Dampa sang: Endowed with the four prajnas, Great Mother, dakini emanation, Having opened the three doors of liberation, Mother, you defeat the four maras’ forces! To you, Labkyi Drönma, I and the deities pay homage! The creative energy of your realizations and compassion Ripens and liberates degenerate age beings! Still, for the sake of future generations, I’ll also give you some instruction! Thus, he considered her a great tantrika, gave her the complete Pacifier system and Chöd initiations and teachings, and made many prophecies for the future.”

In her PhD, Sorensen (2013) questions this popular narrative that Chod came directly from Dampa, Sorensen (2013: Chapter 2) explains that “in Namkha Gyaltsen’s appendix to the life-story (rnam thar) in The Great Explanation collection, the transmission lineages of Chod are described along three different paths: One lineage of the Sūtra tradition of Prajñāpāramitā, or Yum Chen mo. A second lineage from Śākyamuni, runs through Mañjuśrī, Nāgārjuna, and the Brahmin Āryadeva to Padampa Sangyé and finally to Machik. A third lineage of Tantra runs from Vajradhara through Tārā to Machik”. Sorensen concludes that: “There is no satisfactory evidence that there was a Buddhist Chod lineage of transmissions identified as such until Machik started to describe and categorize her own teachings.”  See also, Tomlin (2021) CHOD LINEAGES AND MACHIG LABDRON: Indic-Tibetan Sources, Contemporary Works, The Karmapas and ‘The Long Lineage Supplication to Machig” by Bengar Jampel Zangpo (https://dakinitranslations.com/2021/06/18/chod-lineages-and-machig-labdron-the-karmapas-and-the-long-lineage-supplication-to-machig-by-bengar-jampel-zangpo/).

[7] “Dampa is said to have travelled to Tibet on either three, five or seven occasions, spending varying amounts of time during each visit. Among the names used to refer to him are “Black Ācārya” (AtsAra nag po) and “Little Black Indian” (rgya gar nag chng), with “black” most likely denoting the dark color of his skin. According to the Blue Annals, on his first visit throughout lower Khams, Dampa was unable to find any students to teach, but he prophesied that he would find students on subsequent visits. On his second visit to the area of Ngari he found several students amenable to Buddhist teachings. On his third visit to Tibet, he was invited by Mangra Serpo (rmang ra ser po) to Tsang, where he taught Chod to Mangra Serpo and Kyo Sonam Lama (kyo bsod nams bla ma, d.u.). This is probably the same visit, dated following soon after the death of Atiśa, during which Dampa taught Zhije (zhi byed sgro nma skor dgu) to Drapa Ngonshe (grwa pa mngon shes, 1012-1090) and Cewal Garpa (lce dbal sgar pa, d.u.) in Ding ri. On his fourth visit, he spent time practicing at Nyel (gnyal) and travelled through U. On his fifth visit, he is said to have returned to Dingri from travelling through China and meditating at Wutai Shan (ri bo rtse lnga, 清凉山), where he would remain there teaching and in retreat until his death.” From Treasury of Lives biography.

[8] “Jérôme Edou, likewise, in his Machig Labdron and the Foundations of Chöd, says, “According to Tibetan sources he traveled five times to Tibet. In the course of his fifth Tibet trip he continued on to China where he spent twelve years and was known as Bodhidharma….” Molk (2008:20).

[9] Molk (2008: 18) elaborates on the Zhije tradition: “Innumerable discourses and conversations with Padampa Sangye were recorded, painstakingly written by hand in inks which, out of devotion, were often mixed with powdered gold, silver, and turquoise. Handwritten,  multiple volumes of the Prajnaparamita Sutra in 100,000, 20,000, and 8,000 verses filled the two entire side walls of the Dingri Langkor Monastery, as did many texts like the Mahamudra in Symbols translated in this volume, which includes metaphoric and nonverbal teachings. The transmission of Padampa Sangye’s Pacification of Suffering teachings in Tibet occurred in three periods—early, middle, and late. The early transmission was received by the Kashmiri Jnanaguhya, who passed it on to Pelden Sherab, Lotön and so on. The middle transmission occurred in Central Tibet and divided into three lineages, called Ma, So, and Kam, after the principal disciples. The Ma lineage was received by Magom Chökyi Sherab, the So transmission, by So Gendun Bar, and the Kam lineage, by Kamtön Yeshe Gyeltsen and their lines of disciples. The later transmission was received by four yogis, one of whom was the Bodhisattva Kunga, the main compiler of Mahamudra in Symbols.”

[10] This Tibetan phrase has often been translated as ‘opening the sky-door/door of sky’. Even though the Tibetan phrase ‘go je’ can simply mean ‘opening’ I prefer Ives Waldo’s translation of ‘opening the gate’ here, as it has a sense of greater vastness, and also use the word ‘space’ for ‘namkha’.

[11] Harding (2016) explains that: “Khamnyön’s Religious History of Pacification and Severance reports that Machik received the empowerment originally from Kyo Sakya Yeshe during the transmissions of a teaching called the Six Piecesand attained liberation after receiving only four of the six instructions.Khamnyön’s biography of Dampa Sangye recounts that the initiation was given by Dampa to four disciples and the instructions to Kyo Sakya Yeshe, who conferred it on Sönam Lama, who then passed it to Machik.In any case, the term “opening the sky door” is most commonly associated with the empowerment ritual that is required before commencing the practice.”

[12] Lama Sarah Harding has translated two of these texts, available for download here: https://jonangfoundation.org/blog/translation-chod-texts-taranatha.

[13] A Chod Lineage Supplication has been translated by Lama Sarah Harding, in her translation of The Required Liturgies on the Occasion of Master Tāranātha’s Severance Empowerment of Opening the Door to the Sky in the Gyaltang Tradition , see link above.

[14] Harding (2016) states about Samten Ozer that: “rGyal thang pa bSam gtan ’od zer, who also styled himself as Man of the Charnel Ground (dur khrod pa). I have not been able to ascertain a date for him with certainty; in the long lineage that descends from him, Jonangpa Kunga Drölchok (1507–1566) is sixth in line.”

[15] Helpfully translated by Ives Waldo for the empowerment so people could follow it as they took it, this was the first time I had been at an empowerment that did this and it was very helpful.

[16] This Mother’s Soaring Intention Supplication is also included in Taranatha’s other Chod text (translated by Sarah Harding, see note 4 above. However, neither the text (nor Harding mentions Marpa Lotsawa in connection with it).

[17] The complete story of Padampa Sangye’s Meeting with Milarepa can be read here in the 1962 translation of Milarepa’s Songs, pp. 606-615.

[18]ད་ང་ལ་ཡང་བྱེད་མི་དགོས་ཁྱོད་ལ་ཡང་ང་མི་དགོས་པར་འདུག་གསུང་མཉེས་ནས་ལོག་འབྱོན་གྲབས་མཛད་ཅིང་འདུག་པ་ལ།རྗེ་བཙུན་གྱིས་དམ་པའི་ན་བཟའ་ནས་འཇུས་ཏེ། དམ་པ་ཁྱོད་ལ་དམ་ཆོས་སྡུག་བསྔལ་ཞི་བྱེད་ཅེས་བྱ་བ་ཁ་ནང་དུ་ལོག་ནས་བསྒོམས་པས། སངས་རྒྱས་ཀྱི་དགོངས་པ་ཅིག་ཅར་དུ་རྟོགས་པ་རྫོད་ཟེར་བ་དེ་མགུར་དུ་གསུང་བར་ཞུ་ཞུས་པས། དམ་པའི་ཞལ་ནས་སྔར་ང་གླུ་ལེན་པ་ནམ་ཐོས། ད་དུང་ཡང་མི་ཐོས་ང་ཐོང་གསུང་བ་ལ་། རྗེ་བཙུན་གྱིས་ནན་གྱིས་ཞུས་པས། དམ་པས་མགུར་འདི་གསུངས་སོ། ། 

[19] The Tibetan term ‘tul-zhug’ (brtul bzhugs) I normally translate as ‘unconventional conduct’ which is when a tantric practitioner casts off ‘conventional’ modes of conduct and thinking.

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