Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Eight Manifestations of Padmasambhava: Part Two

I will now name the eight emanations of Guru Padmasambhava. Guru means master, teacher or lama, and precedes the name of each manifestation.
  1. The first is known as Guru Padma Gyalpo which means "lotus king."
  2. The second is Guru Nyima Özer, meaning "ray of sun."
  3. The third emanation of Guru Rinpoche is Loden Chokse, which is roughly translated as "the super-knowledge holder."
  4. The fourth is called Guru Padmasambhava. This name is Sanskrit but even in Tibet, this is how we refer to this emanation. Padma means lotus, which is a symbol of spiritual perfection. Sambhava has many different usages, although in this case it means essence, so Padmasambhava signifies "lotus essence."
  5. The fifth one is Guru Shakya Sengé. Shakya is a Sanskrit word and part of the family name of Buddha Shakyamuni. It means undefeatable or courageous. Sengé is a Tibetan word which means lion, so this title means "undefeatable lion."
  6. The sixth emanation of Guru Padmasambhava is named Padma Jungné. In Sanskrit, this is translated as Guru Padmakara. Padma is lotus and kara is translated into Tibetan as jungné, meaning "arisen from." So this name means "born from a lotus."
  7. The seventh is known as Guru Sengé Dradok. In Sanskrit it is Singha Nadi which translates as "the lion's roar."
  8. The eighth emanation of Guru Rinpoche is known as Guru Dorje Drolo. Dorje is the Tibetan word for vajra. Dro'lo means ultimately or insanely wrathful, sometimes translated as "crazy wisdom." That is the name of the eighth emanation. 
All the activities of Guru Padmasambhava performed in this world may be roughly summarized within these eight aspects.

Guru Padma Gyalpo the Lotus King
The first emanation is called Guru Padma Gyalpo [pictured above]. Gyalpo means king. Guru Padma Gyalpo is the form in which Guru Padmasambhava originally appeared in our world. He is directly related to Buddha Amitabha, the Buddha of the western direction, as well as to Avalokitesvara, the Buddha of compassion. Buddha Amitabha represents the dharmakaya, Avalokitesvara the sambhogakaya, and Guru Padmasambhava the nirmanakaya. Amitabha, Avalokitesvara and Guru Padmasambhava encompass all possible emanations of the Trikaya. Maybe you are wondering how such forms as dharmakaya Buddha Samantabhadra, Buddha Vajradhara and Buddha Vajrasattva are included. These are all contained within the three kayas of Amitabha, Avalokiteshvara, and Guru Padmasambhava. Actually, the entire mandala of all the buddhas and all the kayas are within Guru Padmasambhava. Not only is he an important member of the Lotus family, he embodies the whole mandala.

The three kayas are symbolized by the three buddhas of the Padma family, one of five families of buddhas, each representing an aspect of primordial wisdom. In the mundane sense, the Lotus family is associated with common perception. Esoterically, it corresponds to our karmic winds and the speech center. Ordinary views are transformed through deepening resonance with the primordial wisdom qualities of the Padma family, such as boundless loving-kindness and compassion for all sentient beings. The radiation of love and compassion coursing through the channels by the arising of wisdom winds is the inner action of this family.

Among the many beneficial activities characterizing the life of Buddha Shakyamuni, twelve are commonly noted. Of these, speech is his most powerful action. In spite of his great love and compassion, even the Buddha could not magically liberate anyone from the ocean of samsara. Sentient beings are subject to their own karmas and even Buddhas must respect this. The power of the Buddha's speech grants knowledge of antidotes which can help rescue sentient beings from samsara and establish them in the enlightened condition. Bereft of speech, the Buddha cannot offer much to sentient beings other than those who already have higher capacities and can receive teachings on the sambhogakaya level. The Lotus family symbolizes the power of speech in the spirit of love and compassion. The Vajra family, the Ratna family, the Karma family and the Buddha family are all contained and emanated within the Padma family ? the Lotus Lords of all buddha families. And Guru Padmasambhava is the supreme embodiment of them all.

Now I will tell you some details about the early life of Padma Gyalpo. According to Tibetan history, Guru Rinpoche was born four years after Buddha's Mahaparinirvana. Although Buddha Shakyamuni's prediction about the coming of Padmasambhava is rendered as eight years, the system used in India divides the month into two, reflecting the waxing and waning of the moon. According to the Tibetan calendar, Buddha Shakyamuni entered Mahaparinirvana during the Iron Dragon year and Guru Padmasambhava was born in the wood monkey year in the monkey month. In Tibetan Buddhism, every monkey year is considered the year of Guru Padmasambhava.

Bodhgaya is a village in northeastern India where Buddha Shakyamuni became fully enlightened. All Buddhists consider Bodhgaya the spiritual-geographic center, the supreme power spot of the universe. In Tibetan we call it Dorje-den which means, "indestructible vajra throne." It is also taught that every one of the thousand buddhas destined to appear in this aeon will attain enlightenment there. Buddhist cosmology explains that after hundreds of aeons, this world will be completely destroyed by fire, water and wind. Everything will be reduced to atoms and scattered throughout space, without even a trace remaining. However, under the vajra throne at Bodhgaya there is a double-dorje which cannot be destroyed by fire or water . It will endure beyond the end of the present world cycle. What appears externally as the Vajrasana of Bodhgaya exists internally as the path which leads to the realization of our primordial nature.

Guru Padmasambhava was born to the northwest of Bodhgaya in a kingdom known as Oddiyana. Oddiyana has always been considered a very mystical place and is praised throughout Vajrayana literature. This mysterious land expresses a natural power in earth forms and subtler environmental structuring and became a major source of esoteric Vajrayana teachings. In the center of Oddiyana is the City of the Dakinis, and in that city, is the palace of the Herukas. Northwest of that palace, there is a small lake known as Dhanakosha.

Buddha Amitabha emanated a golden light from his heart center that took form as a five-pointed golden vajra inscribed with the syllable HRI. It landed right in the center of an Udambara flower, a very rare and precious species of lotus, growing in Lake Dhanakosha. A youthful Padmasambhava miraculously appeared from the union of the golden vajra inscribed with HRI and this beautiful, thousand-petalled lotus growing in Lake Dhanakosha. Normally we take birth by means of parents, but by spontaneously appearing Guru Padma Gyalpo opens us up to the panoramic vision of the true nature. In order to break our habitual pattern of gradually taking birth through conception in a womb, he demonstrated the freedom of taking birth instantly. He reveals a new door: the primordial condition of great openness.

The king of Oddiyana was an extraordinary man named Indrabhuti. He was very kind, compassionate and generous. During a time of great famine, he gave away the contents of the royal treasury to feed his subjects, yet still more was needed. In ancient times, it was common to sail the ocean in search of jewels and treasure. So King Indrabhuti took to sea with his ministers and found gems on a distant island. On the way home, the king had many beautiful dreams. In one, he saw a five-pointed golden vajra, radiating golden light in every direction. It came so close that he was able to hold it in his hand. At the same time, he dreamed that the sun and moon were both rising in the eastern sky. The very next day after these wonderful omens appeared, Indrabhuti encountered Padma Gyalpo.

As the boat approached the shore, the crew saw beautiful rainbows arch across the heavens. A great host of birds hovered in the sky, singing delightful songs. Celestial fragrances pervaded the air. The moment they saw these signs, everyone felt blissful. The king was moved to relate his dreams to the ministers. After getting into a smaller boat, they immediately set sail toward the source of the rainbow display. As they got closer, they beheld a magnificent lotus. None of them had ever seen a blossom like this before. It was an uncommonly large and brilliant flower, but more than that, there seated upon the pollen bed was a beautiful, sublime eight year old boy, glowing and radiating rainbow light while seated in the vajra posture. The king was completely astonished.

Although Guru Rinpoche appeared as a human being, he demonstrates something here which is totally beyond our dualistic conceptions and regimented views by coming into this world in the center of a lotus. He did not come through biological parents. This signifies that Guru Padmasambhava is free from both attachment and anger. He is not accompanied by any negative emotions. Instead, he subdues and transforms all anger and attachment into their corresponding wisdoms, as symbolized by this glorious lotus. This means that practitioners who follow the path of Guru Padmasambhava or Buddha Shakyamuni must cut through and transform anger, aggression and neurotic desire.

Up until that moment, Indrabhuti had been blind in one eye. Now he was healed. He was awed by this miraculous display and immediately asked five questions of the young child. These were, "Where do you come from? What is your father's name? What is your mother's name? What do you do? And what do you eat?" Guru Padmasambhava answered, "I come from the unborn Dharmadhatu, my father's name is Kuntuzangpo, and my mother's name is Kuntuzangmo." Kuntuzangpo means, "always good" in Tibetan. This is goodness that never changes. It is always good. Yesterday it was good, today it is good and tomorrow it will still be good. To the question, "What do you do?" the child replied, "I am here to help all sentient beings of the six realms." This is a permanent job. Guru Padmasambhava will never be unemployed! As for food, the child said, "I eat dualistic conceptions and my words benefit all beings." Being a Buddhist, King Indrabhuti was very much pleased with these answers. Of course, he was already quite excited by such a brilliant and extraordinary display, but hearing the child give these answers really touched him. The radiance of his body and speech penetrated the king's heart at a deep level. Greatly moved by all of this and with no son of his own, the King asked, "Will you come to my palace and live with me?" The young Padma Gyalpo accepted this request, and went with the entourage to the palace.

King Indrabhuti was a very kind and compassionate man. He had an extremely open mind and served all his subjects according to the dharma. Guru Padma Gyalpo was raised as a prince. He helped Indrabhuti rule the kingdom with bodhicitta and guide the people on the right path toward enlightenment. He taught them how to stay free of headaches and worries, so that harmony and peace reigned throughout the country. Guru Padma Gyalpo eventually married a beautiful lady known as Orchima, "She who radiates light." Then one day Buddha Vajrasattva appeared to Guru Padmasambhava telling him to leave Oddiyana in order to benefit sentient beings in a more active way. Heeding these instructions, Guru Padmasambhava departed Oddiyana at about age thirty.

He left the palace on foot and wandered many places. But even the most basic aspects of his journey were not ordinary. For instance, he would arrive wherever he set out for instantly. Time had no effect on Guru Rinpoche's activities. He travelled throughout India frequenting the most powerful and frightening cemeteries, known as the eight charnel grounds. He subdued the eight classes of spirits and directed them onto the path of bodhicitta, the unified state of loving-kindness, compassion and wisdom.

In the conventional sense, Guru Padmasambhava brought all the subjects of Oddiyana into harmony on the path of enlightenment so that they excelled in the practice of peace, love, and compassion. On the inner level, he subdued the eight classes of negative spirits and bound them in service to the practice of bodhicitta. Surrounded by both dakas and dakinis, Guru Rinpoche displayed the splendor of his wisdom which spontaneously overcomes the most powerful of visible and invisible beings so that they regard him as their supreme monarch or king. This is the real victory of Padma Gyalpo, the Lotus King, a very special emanation of Guru Padmasambhava who magnetizes perception and conception beyond ego-clinging and negative emotions while actively increasing our joy, peace and spiritual realization.

We should understand what is meant by magnetizing. It doesn't mean bringing an external object, such as another sentient being, under your control. To magnetize one's perception is to overpower the mind of mundane habits. If you don't have that ability within yourself, you cannot magnetize or help other sentient beings. Since you are still a little wild and crazy, how can you tame others? To help other beings, you can't be crazy yourself. Once we are able to overpower dualistic perceptions and mental habits, we magnetize others naturally. Practice and meditation on Guru Rinpoche as Padma Gyalpo outshines mundane views and deluding emotions and enriches our accumulations of merit and wisdom.

Guru Padma Gyalpo openly exhibits the splendor and magnificence of the Padma family wisdom. He is surrounded by a glorious retinue of dakas and dakinis who receive his teachings. Through the lavish display of this gathering, he is offering the same wealth to all beings. That is the external way to understand this emanation.

On the inner level, Guru Padma Gyalpo is saying that those who follow this path must control their senses, study perceptions, subdue ego-clinging, and transcend their emotions. If you cut through ego-clinging, you are a great sovereign; you have mastered your relationship with everything you see and hear. In perfect command of your feelings and responses, you have the power and dignity of a splendrous king or queen. Having subdued ego-clinging and attachment to negative emotions, you are truly victorious.

In Tibet, to have overcome all negativity is known as having attained the heroic state. One has become a conqueror or universal monarch. According to ancient Buddhist cosmography, a universal monarch or Chakravarti, is one whose kingdom includes all four continents of a world system. To relinquish ego-clinging and be free of neurosis is to fully awaken to the enlightenment of all the victorious ones as your very own. In brief, that is the meaning of Guru Padma Gyalpo, the Lotus King or Padma Raja.

Padma Gyalpo's skin is pink or reddish, while his robes are sort of orange, and a little more red than yellow. He is visualized sitting on a lotus, upon sun and moon discs, relaxing in the royal posture with one face, two arms, and two legs. He is semi-wrathful, so some teachings say to visualize him with four arms. His long hair is pulled up into a knot and wrapped in a white cloth that has a small gathering of red material emerging from the top. This same red silk is flowing out, as if carried by a gentle breeze, behind his head. He also wears a tiara of five jewels. In his right hand is a small damaru and in his left, he is holding a mirror and a hook. The mirror symbolizes wisdom. Through wisdom, everything appears as it is, although nothing truly exists. Phenomena arise and pass like forms in a mirror, a mirage that suddenly appears and just as quickly dissolves. The mirror also suggests unceasing manifestation, free of clinging and attachment to concrete objects. There are other sadhanas on Guru Padma Gyalpo, some of which describe the left hand as holding a bell and hook and others, a ritual arrow. The hook symbolizes great compassion. This is to rescue all sentient beings who are trapped in the experience of samsara. This is the form to visualize when meditating on Guru Padmasambhava as Padma Gyalpo.

The notions which constitute samsara are no other than one's own thoughts and conceptions; what you experience is largely defined by your own dream-like perceptions. It has no true basis and does not refer to real entities or solid objects. This is a dream or perhaps a nightmare. A nightmare is not recognized by the person who is suffering within it. It is really not a substantial or determinate reality, yet the dreamer's understanding of his experience suggests that it is. Generate great compassion for all sentient beings as they are temporarily caught up in this illusion and gently lead them to liberation. Never give up or lose compassion. Press on and guide all beings to unsurpassed, great enlightenment.

As in any practice, begin by taking refuge and generating bodhicitta. Feel love and compassion for all sentient beings and do a little meditation. Then imagine a small circle of red light in the space before you which instantly transforms into Guru Padma Gyalpo. Recite the twelve syllable mantra as long as you can while holding the visualization. Finally, dissolve Guru Padma Gyalpo back into a red point of light which merges with your heart center, so that there is no difference between you and him. Meditate in this way for as long as you have time. When you are done, dedicate the merit and make aspirational prayers. This is a very powerful and special practice which will enrich your vision.

According to the commentary by Lama Mipham, the effects of practicing on Guru Padma Gyalpo depend upon your level of approach. If you are a leader, your leadership will become more stable and benign. If you are just a regular being, you will become more lovable. If you want to be loved and appreciated, practice on Guru Padma Gyalpo. The peace of mind and calming of the body soon experienced are a sure sign of effectively purifying negative emotions. By going to the charnel grounds, Guru Padmasambhava is teaching us that in order to practice and meditate, we really have to be fearless. We must have courage beyond hope and fear and get beyond their endless implications. Having smashed expectations and doubts, you realize great equanimity and can act fearlessly. From the viewpoint of realization, evil spirits are no other than the display of one's own mental tendencies. But to the ordinary mind which clings to notions of subject and object, these energies may be viewed as the actions of naughty or mischievous beings who like to chase us around. As long as we hold to the notion of solid subjects and objects, there will be conceptual and experiential effects. Guru Padmasambhava actually brought these demons under control within his mind.
Q: Could you say briefly why we use the symbol of the lotus instead of another flower? 
A: The lotus grows in muddy water. Because of this, it is always compared to bodhicitta and the bodhisattvas; those noble ones who take birth in samsara but are never affected by worldly conditioning. Similarly, the mud never affects the beauty of the lotus. It is always pure and beautiful. So "padma" means "lovely one." According to the Vajrayana this lovely one is no other than the truth of love and compassion, which is symbolized by a lotus..
Q: My question is about the symbolism of the color red. 
A: In the Vajrayana all colors, implements and gestures are symbolic, with a wealth of meaning behind every attribute and gesture. In this context, red represents loving-kindness. This is called "great love beyond attachment." To move from attachment to loving-kindness beyond grasping is symbolized by the color red. Love is great detachment.

Q: Since we live in the dream state, how can we tell the difference between truth and illusion in our perceptions?  
A: In equanimity, all are seen as equal, there is no distinction of good or bad; if it is true, it is all true, if it is untrue, it is all untrue. There is no relative up and down, no judgement day in equanimity. Therefore the ultimate dream, and the non-dream state, are understood to be exactly the same. But when you are obscured, you only see a little bit and judge aspects of dream experience as being more or less important. This is how sentient beings perceive the world.

Q: As we sit and look at you, are we seeing what you have emanated, or is it a reflection of our own perception? 
A: It is both. When I look at you, you are giving me something and I am also giving something to you. And when you look at me, I'm giving something to you and you are giving something to me. It is a mutual exchange. But regardless of what happens in the stock market, once you see whatever you see, it becomes a mental construct which is completely your own private understanding. All the input is brought back to your individual mind where it becomes your own personal business. Ordinary perception and communication suggest that there are two different things, private and public, but in the higher levels of equanimity, both are merged in a transcendent sameness.

Guru Loden Chokse
The Supreme Knowledge Holder Traditionally, the second of the eight manifestations of Guru Padmasambhava is Guru Nyima Özer whose name translates as "Ray of the Sun," however, I think it is more useful to skip ahead and introduce the third manifestation because it will help you understand the second. And in turn, the second will help explain the third. This third emanation is called Guru Loden Chokse, which means "supreme knowledge holder." Guru Padmasambhava appeared in this world as a perfect buddha in order to benefit all beings. Even before he left the kingdom of Oddiyana, he was already totally enlightened. Guru Loden Chokse is the emanation of Guru Rinpoche who deals with the removal of ignorance and the accumulation of wisdom through contemplation.

Although he was already an awakened buddha, he demonstrated the way to approach profound knowledge through study and practice for the sake of sentient beings.

After leaving the palace, he wandered throughout the eight great charnel grounds of India. On the external level, he stayed in real cemeteries, eating the offerings to the dead and wearing whatever clothes were available there. In ancient times, the funerary tradition was to leave a year's supply of food and some colorful clothing along with the bodies. So there was usually something available, although it was not exactly gourmet fare. It was actually akin to garbage or spoiled food. While externally utilizing such materials, living in cemeteries, and practicing meditation, on the inner level he began to give elaborate instructions on the nine yanas to all classes of invisible beings. In particular, he gave extensive teachings on Dzogchen. This period of Guru Loden Chokse's wandering through all the great cemeteries of India shouldn't be taken to mean that he was over here today and in that one next week. He could project a different emanation in all eight cemeteries at once or appear with a multitude of emanations in all of the cemeteries at the same time.

Geographically, these eight great charnel grounds do not exist side by side. It could take a few weeks or even a month to walk from one to the other. According to the Vajrayana, they are located in eight special, secret spots which have natural power and geomantic energy. On the most secret level, these are the locations where the dakas and dakinis are always gathered, ceaselessly performing enlightened activities. In the Vajrayana, these eight great sites work together like a mystic or esoteric compass. They are very special places where awareness is magnified and the energy is naturally intensified. According to the inner tantras, these charnel grounds do not merely exist as places in India. Although reference is made to actual sites, some higher tantras indicate that these are not static locations but are spread throughout the world. The eight great cemeteries are the primary power spots available to help us awaken to our enlightened nature.

As well as giving teachings to invisible beings, Guru Loden Chokse instructed visible beings. In ancient India, certain people of very low caste had the job of bringing the dead to the cemeteries and making any other relevant arrangements. Loden Chokse started teaching these laborers. He also travelled to many other places such as Bodhgaya, where Buddha Shakyamuni was enlightened.

While demonstrating some of the extraordinary signs of his realization near the Mahabodhi Stupa in Bodhgaya, an old lady asked him, "Who is your teacher? To which lineage do you belong?" Guru Rinpoche replied, "I have no teacher and have no need of one. Neither do I belong to any particular lineage. I am a totally enlightened being, primordially aware." The old woman immediately responded by saying, "Oh, that's not right. Without the blessings of a teacher, you cannot be enlightened. You must have a connection with a master. Lacking that, no one will accept your words." He quickly understood the import of the old woman's statement in relation to making the teaching available to others. To demonstrate the supreme means of approaching the Dharma, "the Supreme Knowledge Holder" began to seek out lineage masters and followed teachings according to their instructions.

This indicates that even if you are already a highly enlightened being, it is still necessary to have lineage connections. In order to communicate this truth, Guru Loden Chokse proceeded to contact many great masters and receive their teachings. In ancient times, there was a traditional curriculum known as the ten sciences. One had to be knowledgeable about these to be considered an educated person. The five major sciences are language, art, logic, medicine and the science of mind and meditation.

Guru Loden Chokse went to Bengal in eastern India in order to begin studying. There he met a very old man, who was renowned as a scholar of language. With the exception of a little red in his mustache, his hair was all white. When asked about the extent of his knowledge, the old man said, "I know all the languages spoken across India, but I am especially expert on the dialects spoken in the areas of eastern India." After requesting instruction, the old man accepted Guru Loden Chokse as his student. At that time, there were four major language groups in India; Sanskrit, Prakrit, Apabhramsa and Paisacika, as well as 160 local dialects. Although generally familiar with all of these, Guru Rinpoche became a language expert to demonstrate how this knowledge which can be of immense benefit in serving sentient beings.

Those who are seeking enlightenment should not ignore the importance of such learning.

After this, he went to the country of Padmavati in western India, where he met a very famous physician who taught him all about medicine. Subsequently, he studied logic and reasoning, which are important subjects if we are trying to go beyond the state of direct perception. Analysis and inference are the keys that open knowledge beyond our immediate sense data. Through reasoning, we can discover many things which are not evident to the five senses. Guru Loden Chokse also studied esoteric astrology with Manjusri in China and art with Master Visvakarma. In Buddhism, aesthetic expression is divided into the arts of the body, the arts of speech and the arts of the mind. All the arts are contained within these categories.

The fifth science is known as the inner science, which mainly deals with the understanding, characteristics and identity of the mind. This science is the province of the Buddha's teachings. Guru Loden Chokse received ordination and instruction in the vinaya, sutra and abhidharma from Ananda, the cousin and attendant of Buddha Shakyamuni. He received outer tantra teachings and quickly actualized all the realizations as they are described in the texts. The renowned Master Gomadevi, daughter of King Jah was one of the human teachers who introduced Guru Loden Chokse to the Mahayoga teachings. He then received the entire Mahayoga teachings from Buddha Vajrasattva in the Akanistha, the Pure Land of Vajrasattva. Having manifested there in an instant, he heard Vajrasattva reciting. The moment he requested the Mahayoga tantras, also known as the eighteen great tantras, Vajrasattva transmitted them in their entirety. Guru Loden Chokse received the thirteen Anuyoga teachings in the All-pervading Blue pure land from Buddha Vajradhara. These are also known as the five great sutras and the eight great points.

The first human Dzogchen master, Garab Dorje, was Guru Loden Chokse's source for the Atiyoga teachings as well as the Buddha Samantabhadra, who resides in the pure land of the dharmadhatu realm, free from all complexity. Finally, to complete his studies, Guru Loden Chokse went to the famous Master Manjusrimitra, the direct disciple of Garab Dorje. After requesting instruction, Manjusrimitra told Guru Loden Chokse that he could not teach him. Instead, he was directed to a dark and frightening charnel ground in the west where there lived a great dakini known as Laygyi Wangmo, the Dakini of Deeds. Manjusrimitra explained that she could give Atiyoga instructions.

Guru Loden Chokse eventually arrived in the terrifying charnel ground. Here he encountered a young lady carrying a crystal vase. He thought this might be the dakini from whom he should request teachings. So he asked, "What is your name?" But she did not answer.

"Would you be kind enough to give me teachings?" Still, she would not reply.

"Where is the great dakini, Laygyi Wangmo?" The girl did not say a word, but continued to carry water.

Guru Loden Chokse realized that she must be in service to someone, so when she came back down the hill with more water, he asked, "Would you help me find the wisdom dakini?" But the girl remained silent and kept carrying water.

She returned a third time, when he asked, "Would you please help me?" Still she refused to answer. So Guru Loden Chokse became annoyed at her unresponsiveness and through the power of his meditation, caused the crystal vase to adhere to the ground. When the girl attempted to lift it, she was unable to.

Realizing who had caused this, she addressed Guru Rinpoche; "I see you exhibit some power, but tell me what you think of this." At that moment, she pulled a small crystal knife from her belt and after cutting open her chest, she pulled back the skin and there, vividly displayed, was the entire mandala of the deities of the inner tantra.

All one hundred deities, forty-two peaceful and fifty-eight wrathful, emanated clearly from within her heart center.

Guru Loden Chokse bowed down and said, "Please excuse me and kindly guide me to the great dakini." This time the maiden said, "I will show you the way. Follow me," and she led him to a palace made of skulls.

When Guru Loden Chokse entered he could see that Laygyi Wangmo was not a peaceful dakini. Her expression was semi-wrathful. She stood majestically on the sun and moon in a fierce posture, surrounded by a blaze of glory, while another sun and moon above her served as a luminous canopy. Holding a katvanga in her left hand, sparks of fire issued from her eyes and body. Guru Loden Chokse prostrated himself, circumambulated her throne three times and made mandala offerings before respectfully requesting the inner Vajrayana teachings including, initiations, transmissions and pith instructions. At that moment, she made the subjugation mudra with her right hand and in the space beyond her fingers, the entire mandala of the one hundred peaceful and wrathful deities appeared vividly.

"Now," she said, "You must take initiation from this mandala." Guru Loden Chokse immediately replied, "Oh no. This mandala is just your display. I want to take initiation from you, Master. You are the source, embodiment and Lord of this mandala. Let me have your initiation, transmission and pith instructions." The great dakini smiled gently and said. "So you know how to receive empowerment..." At that point, she intoned the syllable HUM and the entire mandala dissolved and merged back into her. Upon chanting another HUM, she transformed Guru Loden Chokse's body into a small HUM syllable and swallowed it, as we might swallow a nut.

In one of the biographies of Guru Padmasambhava it is said that she kept him for one week in each of her five chakras. So he spent a week in her crown chakra, and a week each in her speech, heart, navel and secret chakras. The four upper chakras are related to the four empowerments. Externally he received the empowerment of Buddha Amitayus, inwardly he received the empowerment of Avalokitesvara and on the most secret level, he gained the realization of Hayagriva. After he had completely received all the empowerments, transmissions, and pith instructions associated with the inner tantras, he emerged from Laygi Wangmo's secret center as her equal in realization. This is like saying he became something of a super-guru; a supreme knowledge holder of the lineage freely demonstrating his mastery of the teachings through actualizing the supreme realization. Subsequently, he travelled to many different places throughout the world to serve sentient beings.

Guru Loden Chokse also received the combined eight Heruka teachings from Laygi Wangmo which he transmitted to the eight great vidydharas who were in India at that time: Vimalamitra, Humkara, Manjusrimitra, Nagarjuna, Dhanasamskrta, Rambuguhya-Devacandra and Santigarbha. Guru Padmasambhava himself is considered the eighth. On the human level, he actually received the eight Heruka teachings from these masters as well as from the wisdom dakini Laygi Wangmo. In turn, he transmitted what are known as the combined Eight Heruka teachings which he had received directly from Laygi Wangmo, back to these same Vidyadharas.

Guru Loden Chokse also received the Dzogchen teaching known as the Empowerment of Awareness from Master Sri Singh. This is a brief history of how Guru Rinpoche acquired teachings.

On the external level, he received many different instructions and mastered each one of them. This period of his life demonstrates how to follow a course of study and learn to develop our wisdom step by step. Even though Guru Rinpoche was already a direct emanation of Buddha Amitabha, and a reincarnation of Buddha Shakyamuni, this completely enlightened being lived his realization in a way that would help lead others toward wisdom.

The gradual aspects of the path are very important. We can't just ignore our karmic conditioning and jump to a higher level. We must be able to follow the entire message step by step and address our conditioning through appropriate practices in a progressive manner. This manifestation of the teacher emphasizes that we should all continue to develop and grow. Such an approach strengthens our understanding and deepens our realization. As Guru Loden Chokse, the Lotus-born one demonstrated his capacity to learn and became adept in many fields of knowledge.

Guru Loden Chokse is depicted with one face, two arms and two legs, seated upon a lotus with sun and moon discs. His skin is a very peaceful, rich, white color. He wears a white scarf and has ribbons wrapped around his head. His hair is decorated with a blue-green lotus which is known as an utpala flower. In his right hand is a damaru and in the left, a bowl which is patterned after a lotus.

Begin the practice on Guru Loden Chokse with the generation of love, compassion and bodhicitta for all sentient beings. Then ease into meditation. Start the visualization with a small sphere of white light in the space before you. Concentrate on that for a moment and then transform the sphere into the transcendental rainbow body of Guru Loden Chokse, omnidirectionally radiating white light. Imagine the sound of the damaru echoing wisdom vibrations, awakening sentient beings from the darkness of ignorance and establishing them in the wisdom of enlightenment. Recite the twelve syllable mantra as long as you can, then dissolve the visualization into white light which mingles with your heart center and remain in meditation, abiding in the true nature for as long as you can.

Although he already had a perfect realization, the emanation of Guru Loden Chokse demonstrates the patient gathering of knowledge and wisdom teachings. He is a wisdom emanation of Guru Padmasambhava, and like the wisdom deity Buddha Manjusri, practice on the form of Guru Loden Chokse is particularly effective in dispelling the darkness of ignorance, mastering the arts and sciences and ultimately awakening to the reality of primordial wisdom.

This is a Five-Part Series. The links are as follows:
The Eight Manifestations of Padmasambhava: An Introduction
The Eight Manifestations of Padmasambhava: Part Two (Padma Gyalpo, Loden Chokse)
The Eight Manifestations of Padmasambhava: Part Three (Nyima Ozer, Padmasambhava)
The Eight Manifestations of Padmasambhava: Part Four (Shakya Senge, Senge Dradok)
The Eight Manifestations of Padmasambhava: Part Five (Padma Jungne, Dorje Drollo)

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2 reader comments:

Malcolm Smith said...

According to the Fifteenth Karmapa, Drollo or Drowolo is a corrupt or Apabrahmsa form of "krodhalokottara" i.e. transcendent rage.

Anonymous said...

Remember this is a dream! Don't get so caught up in this. Be beyond this and hold all this in your heart with the deepest compassion and wisdom!