“Just as the Buddha predicted, a son with very dark skin and terrifying appearance was born to Shiva and Umadevi. He possessed great power and was given the name Mahākāla, the Great Black One.”
“Karma Pakshi said that the Black Hat Lama (the Karmapa) and the Black-Cloaked Protector are inseparable. As a guru, he is the Karmapa, and as the one who guards and spreads the teachings, he is the Protector Bernakchan. And so it makes no difference whether a lineage exists or not between Karmapa and Mahākāla, because they are not different. Karma Pakshi said that if one wanted proof of their connection, one need only look at the Karmapa’s teachings, which were flourishing due to the activity of Mahākāla.”
Karma Pakshi relates that one time “the mandala of Mahākāla’s face appeared in a vision; it covered the earth and sky, staying present for a whole day. Further, Mahākāla’s eyes appeared like suns and moons; innumerable rays of light gathered in great masses; and a thundering HUM roared from his mouth. There arose limitless activity to overpower all of apparent existence. Afterwards, Karma Pakshi went to the country of Korig where he cured many who were sick, crippled, or disabled, just by slapping them, and so his fame as a realized master spread in all directions.” (Excerpted from The Life Stories of the Karmapas by Khenpo Sherap Phuntsok.)
Yesterday, Rumtek Monastery Sikkim, the seat of the Gyalwang Karmapa in India, announced that HH 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje will preside online (on 12th February) over the Great Mahākāla puja there starting today from 11-20 February 2023. Today also marks the beginning of the ten days leading up to the Tibetan Losar (New Year) on 21st February. Traditionally, this time period is when one does protector and torma offering practices (often called Gutor Pujas) to avert obstacles and overcome/expel negative spirits in the run up to the New Year.
For this special event, I offer this brief article, which (for the first time) compiles together:
- The origin of Mahākāla from the time of Buddha,
- the Indian Mahāsiddhas, who passed it down to the Tibetan translators, Ga Lotsāwa Zhonu Pel and Zangkar Lotsāwa,
- The lineage of Mahākāla to the Karmapas: from Ga Lotsāwa to 1st Karmapa, onto the 2nd Karmapa, Karma Pakshi, who had visions of the Ma-Gon protector (Mahākāla – Sri Devi) and wrote sadhanas based on the protector, up to the present activities of the current 17th Karmapa.
- A short (and by no means final) catalogue of texts on Mahākāla composed by the Karmapas, from the 5th to the 16th Karmapas.
In 1998, the 17th Karmapa performed the Mahākāla lama dance for the first time in his lifetime, at Tsurphu monastery, Tibet (see video here). He then performed the cham dance again for the first time in India, in Bodh Gaya, 2012. Unfortunately for me, I was unable to attend this in person. However, fortunately for all of us, we can watch a video of the dance here. I have also typed up the transcript that accompanies the short video below. Jamgon Kongtrul 4th Rinpoche also danced in that event, the first time he had ever performed, as did the 12th Gyeltsab Rinpoche. The 17th Karmapa also presided over a Mahākāla puja in Bodh Gaya in 2012, a video of which is here.
May this article and overview of the extraordinary, wrathful compassionate, oath-bound Dharma protector Mahākāla Bernagchen and his horse-riding consort, Sri Devi, help to repel all negative spirits and incinerate anger and aversion! May the Karmapa’s activities flourish and all obstacles to his life-span be eliminated!
Music? For the sheer energy of Sri Mahākāla and Sri Devi burning up anger and negativity, Firestarter by Prodigy, Know Your Enemy and Take The Power Back by Rage Against the Machine, Go Off by MIA, Stockholm Syndrome by Muse, and Innervision by System of a Down. “No more lies…..we don’t need the key, we’ll break in!”
Written and compiled by Adele Tomlin, 11th February 2023.
UPDATE 13th February 2023, I have done a translation of the speech the 17th Karmapa gave at the end of the Gutor Mahākāla ritual and included this below too.
The Origin of Mahākāla: A proud monk who wanted to be more powerful than Buddha born as son of Shiva and Umadevi
In India, the teachings on Mahākāla (also known as Bernagchen) were given by the Buddha, but they had to wait for the right time to be revealed and propagated.
The legend of the origin of Mahākāla says that his name was Gelong Deway Khorlo (Bhikshu Wheel of Joy) who belonged to the retinue of a previous Buddha named Sangye Tsuktorchan (Buddha with an Ushnisha). Having developed special cognitions and ability to perform miracles, the proud bhikshu competed with the Buddha and, naturally, lost. That caused him great disappointment, so the god Shiva appeared to him and said: “If you pray to be born as my son, I will give you dominion over the three realms.” Driven by his desire for victory, he prayed to Shiva to fulfill the prophecy.
The Buddha knew of this and told him: “Except for some temporary happiness, being born as Shiva’s son has little benefit.” When the bhikshu confessed his faults, the Buddha rectified the prophecy of power into that of enlightenment saying that the bhikshu Wheel of Joy will indeed be reborn as Shiva’s son but he will generate the resolve to be fully awakened in order to benefit others and will eventually become enlightened as the Buddha Telway Wangpo. Just as the Buddha predicted, a son with very dark skin and terrifying appearance was born to Shiva and Umadevi. He possessed great power and was given the name Mahākāla, the Great Black One.
At the time of Shakyamuni Buddha, it is said that Mahākāla, who had wandered the three realms by then, came to Bodhgaya after Buddha’s awakening and made the commitment to guard the Buddha’s teachings, thus becoming a powerful protector for those on the path to enlightenment.
Different forms of Mahākāla and the origin of Mahākāla practice in Tibet from the Indian Mahāsiddhas to Tibetan translators
Mahākāla has several forms. The two-armed form, Bernagchen, is the Dharma protector associated with the Karmapas and the Karma Kagyu Kamtsang.
The four-armed form is associated with all the lineages of the Marpa Kagyu, including the Karma Kagyu, the Drukpa Kagyu and the Drikung Kagyu, and is also important in the Nyingma tradition.
The six-armed form of White Mahākāla (mainly associated with gaining wealth and prosperity) is held and practised predominantly by Karma Kagyu and Shangpa Kagyu practitioners. As I wrote about here before, the main preservers and lineage holders of 6-armed White Mahakala were/are Jetsun Tāranātha, 9th Karmapa and the 1st Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche. More recent lineage holders include Bokar Rinpoche, 12th Gyeltsab Rinpoche and Kalu Rinpoche.
The Ma-Gon form is Mahākāla in union with his female consort, Sri Devi (Rangjung Gyelmo), this form is also unique to the Karma Kagyu Kamtsang, see here:
Ga Lotsāwa and the Mahākāla vision near Bodh Gaya
However, it is said that all the Mahākāla practices in Tibetan Buddhism originate from Palchen Galo Namgyal Dorje, (b.1105/1110 – d.1198/1202). Back in Tibet he became famous for propagating this deity, and became known by the title Ga Lotsāwa, Translator of Ga. He studied in India and brought to Tibet many precious Buddhist teachings including the Mahākāla practices.
He received two different transmissions: one from a Minyak lama in Bodhgaya and one from Abhayakaragupta, the great teacher from Vikramashila Monastic University, who also taught in Bodhgaya.
Having received the empowerments and instructions, Palchen Galo went to what is known as the Mahākāla Cave near Bodhgaya, practised intensively, and having accomplished the practice, had a vision of Mahākāla. He is credited with practicing in the famous Cool Grove cemetery outside of Bodhgaya. There he is said to have subjugated a form of Mahākāla named the “Raven-faced Dharma Protector” (chos skyong bya rog can). I recently visited this cave in near Bodh Gaya, see photo here:
Returning to Tibet, he became the teacher of 1st Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa, and gave the transmission and instructions of the Mahākāla practices to him. Thus, the practices entered the Karma Kagyu tradition.”
Dombi Heruka and Zangkar Lotsāwa
It is also said that one of the great eighty-four mahasiddhas, Dombi Heruka (eighth to ninth century), student of Virupa, was staying in Hahadropa Cemetery.
Mahākāla and his retinue appeared clearly to the Heruka and reconfirmed his commitment to protect the teachings. Dombi Heruka asked him, “Where are the sadhanas for your practice?” And Mahākāla replied that they could be found in the terraced steps of a particular stupa. Dombi Heruka then retrieved the texts and spread these teachings and practices in India.
The transmission of Mahākāla’s practices came to Tibet through the translator Zangkar Lotsawa (Zangs dkar lo tsa ba, also known as Mal gyo). When he went to India, even though Dombi Heruka had passed away, his wisdom body appeared to Zangkar Lotsawa. Dombi Heruka gave him the transmission of Mahakalatantras, including the empowerments and the sadhanas.
The 2nd Karmapa, Karma Pakshi and Mahākāla
The Mahākāla transmission eventually passed to Pomdrakpa, who was a main teacher of the Second Karmapa, Karma Pakshi (1206-1283). Through the centuries, this transmission has been passed down the lineage right up to the present day.
Karma Pakshi wrote many sadhanas for Mahākāla, and one of the most important was “The Three Cycles of the Protector,” which contained all the instructions for how to meditate, how to chant, and so forth. I have looked for this online on BDRC but have been unable to locate it. Please let me know if anyone knows where I can find an edition.
Karma Pakshi said that the Black Hat Lama (the Karmapa) and the Black-Cloaked Protector are inseparable. As a lama, he is the Karmapa, and as the one who guards and spreads the teachings, he is the Protector Bernakchen. And so it makes no difference whether a lineage exists or not between Karmapa and Mahākāla, because they are not different. Karma Pakshi said that if one wanted proof of their connection, one need only look at the Karmapa’s teachings, which were flourishing due to the activity of Mahākāla.
In his spiritual biography, several events illustrate their connection. Karma Pakshi relates that one time “the mandala of Mahākāla’s face appeared in a vision; it covered the earth and sky, staying present for a whole day. Further, Mahākāla’s eyes appeared like suns and moons; innumerable rays of light gathered in great masses; and a thundering HUM roared from his mouth. There arose limitless activity to overpower all of apparent existence. After, Karma Pakshi went to the country of Korig where he cured many who were sick, crippled, or disabled, just by slapping them, and so his fame as a realized master spread in all directions.” (Excerpted from The Life Stories of the Karmapas by Khenpo Sherap Phuntsok.)
Another story (and there are several) is one while 2nd Karmapa was a young man in retreat in Pungri (taken from the new 2nd Karmapa biography by Charles Manson, see my review here):
“At some point he sensed that the emissaries of the Ma-Gön “sibling” protectors (Mahākāla and Śrī Devī) had spread out to bind by oath the eightfold group of gods and demons in the region, and Karma Pakshi writes in his memoir that he therefore demonstrated clearly his activity as far away as China and Jang (roughly, the western Yunnan area). He was realizing the extent of his dharma influence far and wide yet still maintaining meditative isolation at Pungri.” (2022:34)
Mahākāla texts by the Karmapas – 6th Karmapa’s Incinerating Aversion and Tibetan musical notation by 15th Karmapa
One of the longest rituals of Mahākāla is called “Incinerating Anger” (Dangwa Namseg: sDang ba rnam sreg) [i], (although it is broader than ‘anger’ as the Tibetan term dangwa here means ‘hostility’, ‘aversion’, ‘malice’ and ‘dislike’), which was written by the Sixth Karmapa, Thongwa Donden (1416-1453), at the request of the First Gyaltsab Rinpoche, Paljor Donden (1427-1489).
It is said that the monks, however, named it “The Boring Mahākāla” because it took so long to chant. They failed to see the great benefits it had, which included expanding the Karmapa’s activity, his resources, and renown.
So it is said that the Eighth Karmapa, Mikyo Dorje asked his disciple Konchok Yenlak to abbreviate the ritual, which he did, giving this new text the name, “A Condensed Version of Burning Up Anger” (Sdang ba rnam sreg las btus pa). These days, this text is known as “The Ritual of Mending and Supplication” (bsKang gsol), and it is practiced widely in Kagyu monasteries and centers.
This longer text of the Sixth Karmapa had fallen out of practice for so many years, and it was very difficult to find a copy. The 17th Karmapa stated that he had looked everywhere for an original and no one, inside or outside of Tibet, had ever seen or heard of it. However, in 2012, the present Gyaltsap Rinpoche happened to have a photocopy of a hand-written version, which seemed to be the only extant copy of the text and this was loaned to the 17th Karmapa who arranged for five hundred copies to be printed for the gathering in Bodhgaya.
In terms of other texts on Mahākāla , I have created a short catalogue below of texts from a Collected Works of the Karmapas publication. The 5th, 6th, 8th, 9th and in particular, the 15th Karmapa composed several works on Mahākāla that are still extant and available online.
Here below are some stunning pages from a text of the musical notation for Mahākāla by the 15th Karmapa. Unlike western musical notation, Tibetan musical notation looks like clouds in the sky, would be interesting to know how to read such notation.
17th Karmapa’s Mahākala activities
The 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley has now revived and performed the 6th Karmapas’ Mahākāla ritual several times while in India, but also performed the dance itself in Bodh Gaya in 2012, with the 4th Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche and 12th Gyeltsab Rinpoche (see video and transcript below).
The 17th Karmapa also created this stunning artwork of Mahākāla, which has to be one of of the best Tibetan paintings of the great Dharma protector and one of the only paintings by a Tibetan Buddhist lineage head.
17TH KARMAPA’S SPEECH TO THE RUMTEK COMMUNITY ON 12TH FEBRUARY 2023
Here is my translation of what the 17th Karmapa said to the Rumtek community on 12th February, I have not seen an official translation so thought some people would find it interesting. Apologies for any errors!
“Since the Tibetans came into exile, the supreme 16th Karmapa, Rigpe Dorje built our main monastery, Rumtek monastery in India. The fact it is our oldest and main monastery in India goes without saying. At that time, when Tibetans came into exile, Rumtek was perhaps the biggest and first monastery in exile. During that time, it is as if the 16th Karmapa recognised the future and that the monastery would be a powerful place and practised lots of Dharma Protectors. Thus, it was beneficial for spreading and preserving the general and specific Buddhist teachings.
However, in-between then and now, there have been some problems. However, that situation is now finished/over and we don’t have any reason to keep digging into past events. Since it is the first monastery built in exile by the 16th Karmapa, it is very important to continue the proper administration of it, of both the shedra and retreat centre. So that effort by the monks, vajra masters, Khenpos and teachers etc. has generally been good. I know there have been problems and difficulties, but for the benefit for sentient being it’s important to never give up hope, and continue with perseverance and resilience and take the responsibilities for it.
As for the general public/laypeople of Rumtek it’s important to support and give backing to develop it as much as you are able. Generally, Rumtek people can be quite loose–mouthed/mouthy, they say things which are not very good. Mocking the sangha community is not good, it can be the cause of misfortune to oneself. Instead of that you should ponder how you can help them. Generally, you have done well, and I have full trust and confidence in you all.
Since I came to India many years have passed and there were lot of changes, earlier I was prohibited from visiting Sikkim and Rumtek. However, now, other than Rumtek, I can visit all the places. I hope in the near future that all the allegations and conflicts against Rumtek may gradually be solved. I have great hope in that.
I think in the past years, the Karma Kamtsang have been unable to have a wide and long-sighted vision, it’s important to have a wide-reaching perspective. On the one hand, people talk about benefiting the teachings. However, whether we have benefited or harmed the teachings, if we cross-examined and checked our minds about how and why all the problems and troubles arose, then we would really understand this. The main thing is we have not been able to adopt a broad and long-sighted way of thinking. We have not been able to see and understand the bigger picture of the situations in the world today. By focusing only on our small issues and community, and not seeing the context of the bigger world out there, these kinds of problems have arisen. These days the world has become much smaller and we are able to hear about the different situations happening globally. Therefore, in the future, it is important to have a much broader and long-sighted perspective and way of thinking. If in the future we continue to point our fingers at people and blame them, it will be very difficult for the teachings to remain with stability and for a long time. These days we have modern internet, and if we utilise these facilities well and make our vision and perspective broader and far-sighted that will be good.
The idea of having the ‘Gutor ‘ prayer online today came up recently, and everyone said it’s really good idea. The internet is a way to continue and meet together despite all the problems. There is no need to speak about having permission or not. Before, I did not think of, or remember this. However, it quickly came to me to do this, and that it would be good to perform the Gutor together at Rumtek over the internet on this auspicious day. So today we did this and it went well.
As I have said before, the Drupgyu Karma Kamtsang history and teachings are over 900 years old, and within that there have been many incomparable lamas and also deities, including Mahakala Bernagchen with consort and retinue, who have protected and preserved the teachings in order that they will not degenerate and become inseparable from the Dharma activities. So, in the future, in order to have the good sign of continuing protection and performing inseparable activities, we have organised this ritual practice. So, lastly to all the Rumtek community, the Khenpos, monastics, workers and so on, I want to say Tashi Delek and good wishes”
2012 – 17TH KARMAPA
“On the 20th of February 2012, the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa presided over and performed the Mahākāla lama dance in Bodh Gaya, the most sacred Buddhist site. This was the first time it has ever been performed there. Very early in the morning monks escort the Mahākāla torma to the Kagyu Monlam pavilion and onto the stage on which the lama dances are to be performed. This regal procession formally begins the day-long events.
First, is the dance of taming the ground led by the heart son, His Eminence the Fourth Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche. The Gyalwang Karmapa specially requested Jamgon Kongtrul to lead in this first dance in order to bring about auspicious conditions. This is also the first time Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche has ever performed the lama dance, and so it is especially at momentous.
The sixteen-year-old Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche is the first dancer, his red silk costume represents the speech of Mahākāla which pervades all phenomena. When the dancers toss away straws during the performance and symbolizes the removal of obstacles.
Following the dance of taming the ground, HH Gyalwang Karmapa entered the assembly to consecrate statues of the three deities, Mahākāla Bernagchen, Mahakali Sri Devi and Vajrasadhu. The three imposing figures suddenly appear before the audience.
The Gyalwang Karmapa leads the sixth dance, the dance of the female gatekeeper, a 40-minute dance choreographed by the Fourteenth Karmapa, Thegchog Dorje. It has been 14 years since His Holiness last performed this dance when he was at Tsurphu monastery in Tibet. All those who were able to witness the Gyalwang Karmapas perform this dance are blessed with positive conditions and extremely fortunate.
His Eminence the 12th Gyeltsab Rinpoche, another heart son leads the ninth Lama dance called Māraya. Rinpoche is wearing a yellow costume of the deity. He holds the sword in his right hand and a soldier’s skull cup in his left and waves them solemnly throughout the dance.
Gyaltsab Rinpoche is highly respected as a great master of lama dancing within the Kagyu lineage. Gyaltsab Rinpoche has said of the benefits of watching the Lama dance, that simply seeing one remains obstacles and gathers the favorable conditions for practice thus it has the benefits of liberating upon seeing.
At the conclusion of the Lama Dance, a huge Mahākāla thangka is unfurled above the mandala and the grand event concludes with the melody of the ‘Blaze of Auspiciousness’.”
BRIEF CATALOGUE OF MAHĀKĀLA TEXTS BY KARMAPAS
5th Karmapa, Dezhin Shegpa
- The approach and accomplishment of Bernagchen: Notes from the Three. Karma pa de bzhin gshegs pa. “Ber nag can gyi bsnyen sgrub las gsum gyi zin bris.” Karma pa sku phreng rim byon gyi gsung ʼbum phyogs bsgrigs, vol. 24, dPal brtsegs bod yig dpe rnying zhib ʼjug khang, 2013, pp. 453–91. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), purl.bdrc.io/resource/MW3PD1288_346CB0.
- Lohdrag Protector Root Text. “Lho brag mgon poʼi rgya gzhung.” Karma pa sku phreng rim byon gyi gsung ʼbum phyogs bsgrigs, vol. 24, dPal brtsegs bod yig dpe rnying zhib ʼjug khang, 2013, pp. 496–534. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), purl.bdrc.io/resource/MW3PD1288_64A33F. A collection of liturgical text concerning Mahakala
6th Karmapa, Thongwa Donden
- Incinerating Anger [short form] Eliminating and Repelling and Accomplishing All Aims Karma pa mthong ba don ldan. “Ma hā kā laʼi mngon par rtogs pa don kun sgrub byed log ʼdren tshar gcod sdang pa rnam sreg las btus pa.” Karma pa sku phreng rim byon gyi gsung ʼbum phyogs bsgrigs, vol. 27, dPal brtsegs bod yig dpe rnying zhib ʼjug khang, 2013, pp. 173–356. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), purl.bdrc.io/resource/MW3PD1288_5B7217.
- Directly realising Mahākāla. “Ma hā kā laʼi mngon rtogs.” Karma pa sku phreng rim byon gyi gsung ʼbum phyogs bsgrigs, vol. 28, dPal brtsegs bod yig dpe rnying zhib ʼjug khang, 2013, pp. 476–686. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), purl.bdrc.io/resource/MW3PD1288_1B1F05.
9th Karmapa (Karma pa 09 pa dbang phyug rdo rje)
- Drubchen of Protector Mahakala: Terrifying Roar that Steals the life-force of Enemies and Hindrance-makers. “mGon po ber nag can gyi sgrub chen phyi sgrub par buʼi lag len ltas chog ma gtum rngam paʼi nga ro dgra gegs srog ʼphrog.” Karma pa sku phreng rim byon gyi gsung ʼbum phyogs bsgrigs, vol. 88, dPal brtsegs bod yig dpe rnying zhib ʼjug khang, 2013, pp. 342–497. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), purl.bdrc.io/resource/MW3PD1288_82E17B. Outer sadhana focusing upon black cloaked Mahākala with copper knife.
- Protector Mahakala Secret sadhana of one skull and one session, Power of a King. “mGon po ber nag can gyi gsang sgrub thod pa gcig thun mthu stobs rgyal po.” Karma pa sku phreng rim byon gyi gsung ʼbum phyogs bsgrigs, vol. 88, dPal brtsegs bod yig dpe rnying zhib ʼjug khang, 2013, p. 498. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), purl.bdrc.io/resource/MW3PD1288_BA9347. [BDRC bdr:MW3PD1288_BA9347]. Inner sadhana focusing upon black cloaked Mahākala with copper knife.
- Easy to understand musical notation of Primordial Awareness Protector Bernagchen “Ye shes kyi mgon po ber nag can ʼkhor bcas kyi dbyangs kyi dra mig go bder bkod pa.” Karma pa sku phreng rim byon gyi gsung ʼbum phyogs bsgrigs, vol. 89, dPal brtsegs bod yig dpe rnying zhib ʼjug khang, 2013, pp. 10–59. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), purl.bdrc.io/resource/MW3PD1288_222C69. Musical notation of the propitiation of black cloaked Mahākala with copper knife
15th Karmapa, Khakyab Dorje
- Banner of Undegenerate Teachings: Clarifying the Activities of the Incinerating Aversion Karma pa 15 mkhaʼ khyab rdo rje. “Nag po chen poʼi mngon rtogs don kun sgrub byed log ʼdren tshar gcod sdang ba rnam sreg gi phrin las gsal bar byas pa mi nub bstan paʼi rgyal mtshan.” Karma pa sku phreng rim byon gyi gsung ʼbum phyogs bsgrigs, vol. 103, dPal brtsegs bod yig dpe rnying zhib ʼjug khang, 2013, pp. 154–426. Buddhist Digital Resource Center
Practice of evocation and offering to the lcam dral forms of Mahākāla; written in 1916 on the basis of texts by different authors, at the palatine mansion of the Karmapas in Tshurdowo Lung (mtshur mdo bo lung), at the request of Khenpo Karma Legshe Phuntsog (mkhan po karma legs bshad phun tshogs) and Drubla Karma Rabgye (sgrub bla karma rab rgyas), both of Tshurdowo Lung.
- Beautiful Ornament of the Yoga of Baiduraya Garland: The union of Mahākāla. “Ma hā kā la zhal sbyor gyi bsnyen yig rin po che baiḍūryaʼi phreng ba rnal ʼbyor yid kyi mdzes rgyan.” Karma pa sku phreng rim byon gyi gsung ʼbum phyogs bsgrigs, vol. 108, dPal brtsegs bod yig dpe rnying zhib ʼjug khang, 2013, p. 12. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), purl.bdrc.io/resource/MW3PD1288_A0F213. Ritual for the sevasadhana of black cloaked mahakala by 15th Karmapa Khakhyab Dorjee.
- Wish-fulfilling jewel of Long-Life White Protector “sKu mgon dkar po tshe mgon yid bzhin nor buʼi sgo nas tshe sgrub paʼi phrin las kyi yi ge ʼchi med rdo rjeʼi srog mkhar.” Karma pa sku phreng rim byon gyi gsung ʼbum phyogs bsgrigs, vol. 108, dPal brtsegs bod yig dpe rnying zhib ʼjug khang, 2013, pp. 76–95. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), purl.bdrc.io/resource/MW3PD1288_4AB5A8.
Long life sAdhana of Gon Karpo (sku mgon dkar po) a form of Mahākāla; written at the Lhundrup Phodrang (lhun grub pho brang) hermitage of Tshurdowo Lung, at the request of Karma Norbu Gyeltsan (karma nor bu rgyal mtshan) of Drang To (‘brang stod).
- Amazing Ocean of Clouds of Huge Drums: History of Dorje Bernagchen “rDo rje ber nag po can gyi lo rgyus kun gyi spyod yul ma yin paʼi mchog gsang gsal bar bsgrags pa ngo mtshar rgya mtshoʼi sprin gyi rnga bo che.” Karma pa sku phreng rim byon gyi gsung ʼbum phyogs bsgrigs, vol. 107, dPal brtsegs bod yig dpe rnying zhib ʼjug khang, 2013, pp. 528–666. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), purl.bdrc.io/resource/MW3PD1288_79AEB4. [BDRC bdr:MW3PD1288_79AEB4]
History of Dorje Bernagchen, a form of mahAkAla; written in 1912 at the great palace of mtshur mdo bo lung in behalf of the local yogins, as a manual based on the rtsal ba ngo mtshar gsar pa’i gtam snyan of the former Kenting Tai Situa Choki Gyaltsan (kwan ting tA yi si tu chos kyi rgyal mtshan)
- Vajra Garland that Illuminates the Ritual for the lines and colours for taking hold of the site for the Bernagchen Mandala “Nag po chen po lcam dral gyi sgrub paʼi sngon ʼgro sa dang thig tshon gyi cho ga gsal bar byed pa rdo rjeʼi phreng ba.” Karma pa sku phreng rim byon gyi gsung ʼbum phyogs bsgrigs, vol. 108, dPal brtsegs bod yig dpe rnying zhib ʼjug khang, 2013, pp. 158–82. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), purl.bdrc.io/resource/MW3PD1288_873B6E.
Ritual for taking hold of the site and description of the lines and colors to execute the maNDala of the Bernagchen (mgon po ber nag lcam dral) forms of mahAkAla.
- Instructions on annihilating enemies of the teachings: Fire Offering of Bernagchen and Consort “Ber can lcam dral gyi rno myur drag poʼi las mthaʼ bsreg pa hoṃ kyi man ngag rdo rjeʼi me ʼobs bstan dgra tshar gcod phrin las lhun grub.” Karma pa sku phreng rim byon gyi gsung ʼbum phyogs bsgrigs, vol. 108, dPal brtsegs bod yig dpe rnying zhib ʼjug khang, 2013, pp. 184–203. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), purl.bdrc.io/resource/MW3PD1288_9CC725.
Fierce fire offering ritual of Protector Bernagchen, based on a bali offering ritual established by 8th Karmapa, Mikyo Dorje (mi bskyod rdo rje) and elucidated by 9th Karmapa; a small part of the esoteric instructions for the ritual are to be found in a manuscript of restricted circulation.
- Fast as lightning noose that hooks and binds the three realms: Ritual of the Qualities of Bernagchen “Ber nag can yon tan gyi mgon po ltar sgrub paʼi cho ga srid gsum ʼgugs paʼi lcags kyu myur mgyogs glog gi zhags pa.” Karma pa sku phreng rim byon gyi gsung ʼbum phyogs bsgrigs, vol. 108, dPal brtsegs bod yig dpe rnying zhib ʼjug khang, 2013, pp. 96–115. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), purl.bdrc.io/resource/MW3PD1288_2D4FEF. SAdhana of Protector Mahakala Bernagchen to gain wealth; written in 1887 following the teachings of karma pak+shi received in a vision; written initially at the Drugyel Gon ( ‘brug rgyal mgon) in li thang and later completed at the sa ta ra tsa camp near bswau tshang grong.
- “Mod bcol rnal ʼbyor gdung baʼi ʼo dod dur khrod kyi phra men maʼi bshug glu.” Karma pa sku phreng rim byon gyi gsung ʼbum phyogs bsgrigs, vol. 108, dPal brtsegs bod yig dpe rnying zhib ʼjug khang, 2013, pp. 152–57. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), purl.bdrc.io/resource/MW3PD1288_A81138. [BDRC bdr:MW3PD1288_A81138] Formula to request Bernagchen to curse the enemies of the dharma.
- Calling the Violent Burning of Protector Mahākāla “mGon po ber can gyi drag sreg bzhes ʼbod.” Karma pa sku phreng rim byon gyi gsung ʼbum phyogs bsgrigs, vol. 108, dPal brtsegs bod yig dpe rnying zhib ʼjug khang, 2013, pp. 204–10. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), purl.bdrc.io/resource/MW3PD1288_C3668C. request to mgon po ber can to curse the enemies of the dharma, to be made during the performance of the fierce fire offering ritual
- Instructions on approaching face-to-face Mahākāla “ma hā kā la zhal sbyor gyi bsnyen yig.” gSung ʼbum mkhaʼ khyab rdo rje (dpal spungs par ma), vol. 10, Konchhog Lhadrepa, 1993, pp. 537–604. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), purl.bdrc.io/resource/MW22081_2538E7. Instructions on the propitiatory and realization practices of different forms of mahAkAla; written on the basis of previous religious manuals, at the residence of the karma pa
16th Karmapa, Rigpe Dorje
As I detailed in my translation of the third volume of the 16th Karmapa’s Collected Works here, the 16th Karmapa wrote an Aspiration Prayer for the Incinerating Anger sadhana:
- Light of Purification Aspiration Shri Mahakala that Completely Annihilates and Burns All Negative Forces and Accomplishes All Beneficial Purposes (ShrI ma hA kA la’i mngon par rtogs pa don kun sgrub byed log ‘dren tshar gcod sdang ba rnam sreg las btus pa’i spar byang smon tshig//) p.287.
- Aspiration Prayer for Activity Ritual of Great Black One [Mahakala] (nag po chen po’i gdab las kyi cho ga’i spar byang smon tshig) p. 291.
[i] Karma pa mthong ba don ldan. “Ma hā kā laʼi mngon par rtogs pa don kun sgrub byed log ʼdren tshar gcod sdang pa rnam sreg las btus pa.” Karma pa sku phreng rim byon gyi gsung ʼbum phyogs bsgrigs, vol. 27, dPal brtsegs bod yig dpe rnying zhib ʼjug khang, 2013, pp. 173–356. Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), purl.bdrc.io/resource/MW3PD1288_5B7217.