Saturday, May 3, 2014

What Kind of Dharma Should we listen to?

Sakya Pandita said:
It is necessary to hear an explanation of a Dharma taught by the Buddha, transmitted by the wise, meditated by siddhas, explained by paṇḍitas, translated by the translators and well known to all the wise pitikadharas of India and Tibet. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

A bag of medicine

The Samādhirāja Sūtra states:
Though I have taught the very excellent dharma,
if you do not correctly practice after hearing it,
it is like a patient holding a bag of medicine,
it will not cure one’s illness.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Though the rays of the sun may be hot,
without a lens no fire will be produced.
Likewise, the blessings of the Buddha
will not arise without a guru. 
— Sakya Pandita

Monday, May 30, 2011

Chakrasamvara Empowerment



The Guru is the essential commitment
of the whole assembly of ḍākinīs.
-- Vajraghantapāda



On May 27th and 28th, His Holiness Sakya Trizin, the throne holder of Sakya and one of the greatest tantric masters alive today, turned the wheel of the profound Dharma of the Ghantapada tradition of Cakrasamvara. This empowerment was requested by Lama Migmar of the Sakya Center in Cambridge, Ma., and was well attended by three hundred disciples of all four schools of located in the New England region.


The Ghantapada  Cakrasamvara Five Deity Mandala tradition, among the three main Cakrasamvara traditions promulgated in Sakya, is the considered the most profound of the three. On this occasion, His Holiness bestowed the outer "cause" empowerment of the Cakrasamvara Empowerment. 

In terms of the significance of this empowerment, His Holiness recalled for us that one of the profound aspects of the Cakrasamvara tradition in general is that unlike other mandalas such as Hevajra or Kalacakra, the Cakrasamvara mandala is still fully manifested and active in the twenty-four sacred places and so on in India. Thus, Cakrasamvara, and his consort, Vajrayogini, is one of the most effective deities for our time.

One of the special features of this tradition is so called "Five Stages of Cakrasamvara", Ghantapada's completion stage text connected with this tradition. This completion stage text has a commentary by Ghantapāda as well as several commentaries by the five Sakya Founding Masters. 


The empowerment began on the evening of the 27th with the usual  preliminary empowerments of a two-day great abhisheka which lasted approximately three hours. His Holiness conducted the proceedings with his usual grace and good humor, radiating an iar of complete relaxation in the midst of the all the standard business which is par for the course in an empowerment of this complexity. 

On the main day of the empowerment, there was a huge thunder storm and intense downpour, bringing to mind the verse of empowerment:
Just as soon as he was born,
the gods gave him a cleansing bath
with the pure water of the gods;
likewise, we shall wash you.
The empowerment lasted approximately five hours and at the end, 300 or persons emerged having been introduced to one of the most profound practices in Tibetan Buddhism.

In addition to the Cakrasamvara empowerment, His Holiness bestowed The Profound Practice of The Seven Vajra Lines, a treasure teaching of his previous incarnation, Apam Terton on evening of May 26th, as well as a long life blessing from Thanthog Gyalpo and purification rite based on the deity Sarvavid on May 25th. 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Profound Creation Stage

Khyentse Wangpo (collected works, vol. 4, ppg. 170-171) cites Sachen Kunga Nyingpo as follows:
Though the creation stage may be conceptual,
the essence of conceptuality is the mind.
The characteristic of the mind is clear awareness.
Clear awareness is naturally empty.
Emptiness is the original dharmadhātu.
Since one understands delusion as the dharmadhātu,
even all concepts
mediated thus are also themselves not concepts.
Even when sought for, how is delusion possible?
And:
As such, if one understands the dharmadhātu,
spiritual practice possessing characteristics is not possible;
if one also meditates the creation stage with that [understanding],
[the creation stage] is spiritual practice without characteristics.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sapan's Aspiration Verses of Prostration

The Aspiration Verses of Prostration

The mantra for multiplying a prostration by one thousand is Oṃ namo Mañjuśrīye namaḥ Suśrīye namaḥ Uttama śrīye svāhā

Namoḥ Guru Bhyaḥ Namoḥ Buddhaya, Namoḥ Dharmaya, Namoḥ Saṃghaya

May I and all migrating beings purify misdeeds and obscurations
through my prostration to the sublime Three Jewels.
May I obtain the state of union of method and wisdom
by placing my two palms evenly together.
May I be born in the supreme pureland, Sukhavati,
by placing my palms upon my crown.
May all of my physical misdeeds and obscurations be purified
by placing placing my palms at my forehead.
May all of my verbal misdeeds and obscurations be purified
by placing placing my palms at my throat.
May all of my mental misdeeds and obscurations be purified
by placing placing my palms at my heart.
May the two rūpakayas benefit migrating beings
by separating the joined palms.
May the ten stages and five paths be traversed
by planting my two knees on the ground.
May I obtain the stage of universal light
by placing my forehead on the ground.
May the four activities be effortlessly accomplished
through extending and contracting the four limbs.
May all the knots of the nādīs become unravelled
through extending and contracting all of the ṇāḍīs.
May the winds be placed in the central ṇādī.
by bending the spine and the central ṇāḍī.
May the final liberation of not abiding in samsara be obtained
by rising up after touching the ground.
Next, may I lead all sentient beings without staying in nirvana
through prostrating many times.
May I have perfect temporary conditions of longevity and absence of illness
through the power of offering full prostrations.
May I quickly obtain the state of perfect Buddhahood
after having been born in Sukhavati at the time of death.
May all sentient beings possess happiness,
may all lower realms be emptied,
and where ever bodhisattvas reside,
may all of their aspirations be accomplished.

Sarva mangalaṃ
Composed by Sakya Paṇḍita Kunga Gyaltsen

Translated by Loppon Kunga Namdrol the morning of the first day of the third lunar month of the metal tiger year.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Great Madhyamaka of the Sakya Masters

The term “great madhyamaka” has been used by all three primary Tibetan presentations of Madhyamaka, i.e. Tsongkhapa’s presentation of prasangika, the extrinsic emptiness school of the Jonangpas and the Sakya presentation known as “freedom from proliferation” or “freedom from extremes”.

Though the term “great madhyamaka” is not frequently used in the Sakya school to refer to our own presentation of Madhyamaka, it does occasionally crop up. The basis of the Great Madhyamaka of the Sakya masters is to be found primarily in the writings of Jetsun Dragpa Gyaltsen who states in his Great Song of Experience:
Freedom from extremes is beyond knowledge, expressions and objects,
Madhyamaka, Cittamatra and so on,
expressions in words are proliferations...
That view of Great Madhyamaka
is bliss free of delusion because it is not a proposition.
Another such instance may be found in the works of Lowo Khenchen, Sonam Lhundrup [1456-1532] who most notable for his expansions on Sakya Pandita’s famed Clarifying the Muni’s Intent [thub pa’i dgongs pa rab tu gsal]. In the brief work ,Ornamenting the Intent of Manjushri [thub pa dgongs gsal gyi 'chad thabs 'jam dbyangs dgongs rgyan], Lowo Khenchen identifies three strains of Madhyamaka:

Out of the three in Madhyamaka, the prasangikas maintain that one gradually enters the practice of the ten stages according to the explanations in The Introduction to Madhyamaka. The svatantrika madhyamikas maintain that one enters into the practice of Mahayāna through three stages of practice as it is explained in the Blaze of Dialectics “Not abandoning bodhicitta, correctly relying on the strict conduct of a muni, the search for understanding reality is the practice that accomplishes all aims”. 


For the position of the third madhyamika, as Master Nāgārjuna states:
The Dharma taught by the Buddha
uses two truths.
Having gathered all phenomena into two truths, [they] maintain practice is applied to two classes of intellectual capacity, sharp and dull, of persons who are practicing those [two truths]:
When seeking reality, first
one should teach “everything exists”;
having comprehend meanings, and lacking desire,
later, [teach] absence.
Master Āryadeva teaches:
First, reject what is not meritorious,
in the middle, reject the self,
in the end, reject all views.

As Jetsun Rinpoche writes in the Great Song of Experience:
The supreme view is without views...
generally, there is no object to see in reality,
now, also, the view is not a view.