Archive | February 2013

Pilgrimage to Lapchi

Great video of an pilgrimage to Lapchi Mountains, today is Milarepa’s Anniversary, great time to share with all of you.

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Going through the lower realms

Venerable Drubwang Konchok Norbu Rinpoche

Venerable Drubwang Konchok Norbu Rinpoche

From the video : Yogis of Tibet (forward to 34:30 mins onwards)

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOk0tZHwCs4)

Drubwang Rinpoche :

“Now I have meditated for a very very long time, it is very difficult for me to exactly reflect back and count the years that I have meditated.  The reason for this is because although I do appear like a human person outwardly, my mental state is so different, different in the sense that my focus on mundane things is not consistent.  When one meditates, from the very day when one decides to go on solitary retreat, one has made a conscious decision to endure all kinds of losses (of) good clothing, good food, name, fame, prestige, all these things, one must be ready to forgo and give up. We are rationed the barest minimum amount of water and roasted barley flour for our sustenance so that we may be able to sit in the meditation posture.  Only once in a week, we would have the smallest possible amount of food for our sustenance.  You have to persistently make a consistent effort and undergo all kinds of hardship.  Without undergoing hardship, one would not be able to experience the mental state of all the glorious past masters.  When I meditate, I can see all my former lives, I’ve been born in the realm of hell, I’ve been born as a hungry ghost, I’ve been born many times as animals. All these things become very very clear when one is in meditation.  I have gone through the three lower realms of existence many times. In my meditative absorption, I always go through the bardo or intermediate gap which is to say between death and rebirth but there isn’t a great deal of point going into these. When one understands this life and the lives after as one, to such a person, there is no need to go into these nitty-gritty things.  When one’s body is already dismantled in one’s meditation, there is no question of death or discarding one’s physical body.”

Comments: There are some proponents around who say that the lower realms in Buddhism are merely metaphors for a psychological state of mind and so forth.  Some people even discredit the Buddhist notion of future lives and rebirths.  Such people may even consider themselves Buddhists and/or teachers.  We have to understand, no matter how distasteful it is to imagine that we can take rebirths in such ‘low’ states of immense sufferings, the Buddha explained only the truth.  We should not take whatever we like from the Buddhist teachings and then construe the rest as we please.  This will not help you in your understanding and progress at all.  

The lower realms are very real to us and we definitely have the possibilities of taking rebirth in them.  Although it is true that the lower realms are based on mind, but our current reality now as humans is also based on mind.  Just as we experience joy and sorrow now, so too will we experience suffering to a great degree when we are in the lower realms.  

Karmic forces shape our perceptions all the time.  For instance, on a superficial level, we can see that several people looking at the same cloud may perceive it in different shapes, or several people when faced with a similar situation may have vastly contrasting reactions to it.  Some people enjoy going into water to swim while some people have a phobia of water.  These are all shaped by our habits and karmic propensities.  

On a deeper level, our dreams at night are shaped by our deeply entrenched habits from the past.  When we die, our present vision as humans end because the present karmic forces have exhausted itself.  We then experience the next vision based on our latent karmic propensities.  It is akin to having fallen asleep and then experiencing some dream.  Falling asleep is like the process of death which dissolves the present karmic vision while dreaming is like the formation of the next vision.  We can call this next vision the ‘next life’ or ‘rebirth’.  After they die, some people will have human visions, some have animal visions, some have hellish visions.  Due to our lack of realisation of their true nature, we will grasp at them as real and suffer accordingly until the karmic forces is once again exhausted (which may take a very long time in the lower realms) and then death occurs and the next vision arises again.  This endless cycle is called samsara.  

There are no limitations to our karmic visions and rebirths, just as there are no limitations to the kind of dreams you can have at night.   The determining factor that shapes these visions is the karma in our subtle mindstream.  For example, a person who has deep habits of anger in him may easily give rise to the hellish visions of endless suffering.  In Buddhism, we categorize the different kinds of visions according to their predominant characteristics and these are commonly known as the six realms.  

We should understand that these teachings are not to scare you into practising Dharma but they show how karma works.  We should then utilise Dharma teachings to develop positive habits, purify all negative habits and ultimately to liberate all habits.  I thought that the above teaching by Drubwang Konchok Norbu Rinpoche will be useful for us to reconsider any mistaken views we are holding on to about cause-and-effect and rebirths.

 

This entry was posted on 13131313, in Teachings.

Lama and Deity

Some advice from His Holiness Penor Rinpoche:

When the student’s attitude toward his or her lama is one of such faith and devotion that the student really sees the teacher as an actual Buddha, or as the very emodiment of the dharmakaya Vajradhara, or as the very embodiment of the student’s yidam – when the student has that kind of complete trust and faith, without any doubt, without hesitation – then the blessings and qualities of the enlightened form, speech and mind of all buddhas and bodhisattvas are transmitted through the lama to the student.

~~~

When it is a certainty in your mind that this is truly the Buddha, this is truly the dharmakaya Vajradhara, or that this is truly Guru Rinpoche that you are encountering and relying upon in your lama, and when you pray with that certainty in your mind, then you definitely receive the blessings from that connection. But this also implies that you, as a student, guard your own attitudes towards the teacher and ensure that you are always respectful and receptive to what the teacher is saying. Do not give in to your own ordinary habits of pride or self-aggrandizement or in any way undermine the relationship with the teacher by contradicting what the teacher says or by attempt to thwart the teacher’s efforts. Any and all of these attitudes are to be avoided since they do not support the trusting and open relationship that is necessary for the blessings to flow from the teacher to the student.

In the tantras it is stated again and again the importance of relying upon the lama as the source of blessings in one’s practice. Regardless of the particular prayer that the student offers to the lama, regardless of how small or seemingly insignificant it may be, if it is based upon the student’s complete trust and faith in the lama, then the blessings of the lama are always accessible to the student. In theTantra of the Ocean of Timeless Awareness, it states that it is far better to recite one small prayer to one’s lama out of pure faith and devotion than it is to perform hundreds of millions of recitations of deity mantras. The effect of prayer is far more powerful when it is truly an expression of one’s own faith and devotion in one’s lama.

When one has established a connection with one’s lama based upon trust, faith and devotion, there are different ways of relying upon that relationship through which various kinds of accomplishment can come about. If a student intends to attain the most sublime accomplishment of enlightenment itself, the student identifies the lama with Vajradhara – the dharmakaya buddha. If the student is particularly motivated to develop deeper wisdom, the student identifies the lama with Manjushri, the bodhisattva of wisdom. In order to encourage his or her own love and compassion, the student meditates upon the lama as inseparable from Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattva of compassion. To gain greater spiritual power the student focuses upon the lama as inseparable from Vajrapani, the bodhisattva of spiritual power. To overcome various kinds of fear and anxiety one relies upon the lama as the very embodiment of the venerable Tara. To promote one’s own longevity one meditates upon the lama inseparable from Amitayus. To overcome illness and disease one meditates upon the lama as the Medicine Buddha. To promote one’s own wealth and prosperity one meditates upon the lama as inseparable from Vaishravana, Jambhala, or any of the wealth deities. To purify the effects of harmful actions and to purify obscurations of one’s body, speech and mind, one meditates upon the lama as inseparable from the deity Vajrasattva. To increase one’s own personal glory, wealth and opportunity, one meditates upon the lama as inseparable from the Buddha Ratnasambhava, the buddha of the jewel family. To increase one’s power – one’s ability to exercise a powerful and beneficial influence over the world – one meditates upon the lama as inseparable from Amitabha or a deity such as Kurukulla. If one wishes to enact wrathful activity, one meditates upon the lama as inseparable from Vajrabhairava or any of the more wrathful yidams. If one wishes to adopt the approach that combines all of these qualities in a single form, one meditates upon one’s lama as inseparable from Guru Rinpoche. In each of these cases, one’s attitude is that of one’s own root lama being the very embodiment of one or another of these aspects of enlightened being.

~~~

When it comes to deity practice, we may find judgments arising in our mind saying, for example, that this deity is better that this deity, or this deity is more powerful than another deity, or this blessing comes more quickly with this deity. These types of ordinary thoughts are not really appropriate when we are dealing with something of this nature. The only qualifying factor is the devoted interest and faith in the student’s mind. It may be that under certain circumstances, your faith is stronger in a given deity and therefore that deity practice is more effective for you. But that does not mean that at a more ultimate level there is any distinction to made between these various aspects of enlightened being. They all arise from the single vast expanse of timeless awareness as equally authentic manifestations of blessing and power. There is no hierarchy, so to speak, among the deities. It is not the case that some are more powerful than others, or some more blessed than others, or some more productive of benefits than others. It is rather a question of the degree to which you as a practitioner are motivated in a given direction.

If you are concerned about the degree to which you are receiving blessings from your deity or from your practice, it would be far more useful to examine the degree to which you yourself are developing faith and devotion toward that yidam and toward your practice. The more our minds entertain doubt and anything other than a truly firm and lucid faith in our practice, that much are we confusing ourselves. We obscure our own minds with that doubt, vacillation and lack of certainty and trust. It is on that level that we can say there is no blessing in the practice. Not because the deity has no blessing. Not because the lama has no blessing. But because the student is closed to that blessing by his or her doubt and confusion.

~~~

The most important qualities to ensure the success of the (Guru Yoga) practice in the students’ mind are faith, devotion, trust and pure view. If a student is truly bent upon benefiting from his or her practice and his or her association with the dharma, those qualities are indispensable.

6 Stanzas of Mahamudra Guru Yoga

by Gyalwa Gotsangpa

Please listen to the nun singing these 6 verses here.  I think this melody and prayer touches me very deeply.

(translation below is rough guide…)

SANGGYE KUNDU TSAWAY LAMA LA
Embodiment of all Buddhas, Root Guru

GO SUM GOE PA CHENPO SOL WA DEB
I pray to you with great devotion in body, speech and mind

DOEMEI NELUG RANG NGO SHEPA DANG
Please grant your blessings to recognize our original nature

TSHE DANG DRUB PA NYAM PA JIN GYI LOB
and integrate life with practice

LAMA SANGYE RINPOCHE LA SOL WA DEB
Precious Guru Buddha, I pray to you

CHOJE SANGYE RINPOCHE LA SOL WA DEB
Dharma Lord, precious Buddha, I pray to you

The meaning of the Barched Lamsal prayer

Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche

Today we are going to do a practice of removing obstacles so that favorable conditions can manifest. With this practice we are able to remove our obstacles and benefit those who have asked for our help and made offerings with this purpose.

Besides removing obstacles for those who asked for the practice, we can extend the benefit to all sentient beings. However, our capacity of benefiting is directly related to the purity of our hearts.

The key point is motivation. We should keep a pure motivation at all times, not only within the context of this specific practice. The purity of the virtue generated will depend on the purity of our motivation.

In the first place, we acknowledge that, just like ourselves, every being – be it an enemy, a demon or a little insect – urges for everlasting happiness but never finds it; or, when they find it, it is temporary. In addition, though they wish to be happy, with their actions they just end up creating the opposite of what they want.

By seeing this reality, we feel compassion, but this is not enough. It’s necessary to do something. We spend most of the time focused on ourselves, and this is an attitude that doesn’t bring much benefit. Our action will be pure only if we detach our focus from ourselves, if we have the intention of helping others.

If we think of the number of beings that inhabit the realms of samsara, we will see that the number of human beings is extremely small in comparison to the beings in the hell and the hungry ghost realms. Among human beings, the number of people who search for some spiritual practice is not very large.

Besides, it is common that a spiritual practice is carried out wrongly, reinforcing jealousy, envy, pride and the feeling of superiority in relation to other spiritual traditions. The number of those who keep a spiritual practice with a pure heart is comparable to the number of stars that can be seen in the daylight.

In order for our practice to be pure, it needs to be devoid of attachment to the self. We need to have equanimity, avoiding ideas such as “I like this person and I will do something for her, but that other person is not good so I won’t do anything,” or, “my spiritual realization is better than the other’s,” or, “I will help my relatives, but I won’t help other people.” Our intention is to help all beings, the good as well as the ones who do harm.

When practicing, we make the aspiration that our obstacles as well as every being’s may be removed, and that auspicious conditions, worldly as well as spiritual, may increase. We also pray that short- and long-term benefits may arise. However, our ultimate goal is to reach enlightenment. If you have constant nightmares, you can try to eliminate them in order to have only good dreams, but still you will be dreaming. Our aim is to wake up from the dream. The same applies to our experiences in samsara: we want to eliminate difficult experiences and increase the good ones, but our final goal is to reach enlightenment so we can benefit whoever sees, hears or touches us. As Mahayana followers, we practice for the benefit of all beings. We should establish this kind of motivation and always keep it this way.

First line

DU SUM SANG GYE GU RU RIN PO CHE
Precious teacher, the embodiment of all Buddhas of the three times

We address this prayer to Guru Rinpoche. In the outer level, Guru Rinpoche is the Three Jewels, in the inner level he is the Three Roots, and, in the secret level, he is the Three Kayas.

Outwardly, he is the embodiment of the Buddhas of the three times: the Buddha from the past, Dipankara, the Buddha from the present, Shakyamuni, and the Buddha from the future, Maitreya. Guru Rinpoche is the manifestation of ultimate essence of all Buddhas.

Inwardly, as the Three Roots, he is the lama, the source of all blessings, and, as such, he embodies the three lineages: the lineage of mind, which is the mind of the Victorious Ones; the symbolic lineage – or the lineage of the seals – from the awareness holders; and the oral lineage, transmitted from mouth to ear. Guru Rinpoche is the ultimate essence of the wisdom of the three lineages.

In a secret sense, in relation to the Three Kayas, Guru Rinpoche’s nature is the Dharmakaya, the nature which is emptiness inseparable from wisdom.

Second line

NGO DRUB KUN DAG DE WA CHEN PO’I ZHAB
Great bliss, the Lord of all accomplishments;

NGO DRUB means “the source of true accomplishment”, therefore in the inward level, in relation to the Three Roots, Guru Rinpoche is also the chosen deity, the Yidam. Regarding the Three Kayas, in the secret level, he is also the Sambhogakaya, the great bliss.

Third line

BAR CHED KUN SEL DUD DUL DRAG PO TSAL
Wrathful and dynamic guru, the one who subdues the maras, dispeller of all hindrances

Guru Rinpoche is the dispeller of all obstacles in the five paths and throughout the ten bhumis. The Sangha helps in the removal of hindrances and misfortunes, as well as in the increase of positive qualities along the spiritual path. Connected in this way, at the outer level, Guru Rinpoche is also the Sangha.

The dakinis and protectors are the source of accomplishment in the activities. With this practice, we remove all obstacles to spiritual practice, so that the four activities may be fulfilled. Thus, in the inner level, Guru Rinpoche is also the dakinis and Dharma protectors. He embodies the mandala of the Three Roots.

In the secret level, he is also the Nirmanakaya, the object of refuge of both superior and lesser beings. He manifests himself in physical form in order to benefit all beings not only through teachings but also, more directly, through giving empowerments and so setting them into the path to liberation. Therefore, Guru Rinpoche, who has all these qualities, is the object of our prayer.

In the outer level, he is the Three Jewels: Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. In the inner level, he is the Three Roots: Lama, the chosen deity (Yidam) and Dakini. In the secret level, he is the Three Kayas: Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya.

Guru Rinpoche is the manifestation of all enlightened beings, the source of all the teachings that bring forth temporary and definitive benefits. He is the holder of the crown of all sanghas and the holder of the crown of all enlightened beings.

DUD DUL DRAG PO is Guru Rinpoche’s secret name, which means “the one who fearlessly removes all the obstacles caused by hinderers.” He dispels the hindrances in the path, which are the four maras. When these obstacles are dispelled, the four kinds of activities can then be performed: pacifying, increasing, magnetizing and wrathful. Through these activities we are able to benefit all beings.

The object of our prayer is pure since the beginningless beginning. As we dispel our temporary obstacles, the two purities can be fulfilled.

Through the power of the great wisdom, the two obscurations (mental poisons and intellectual obscurations) can be removed. Through the fulfillment of the natural awareness beyond extremes, the obscurations are directly liberated in the basic space. That’s why Guru Rinpoche is called the holder of all manifestations.

Fourth line

SOL WA DEB SO JIN GYI LAB TU SOL

When we recite this prayer, at an outer level we are calling the name of Guru Rinpoche, but what we truly need to understand is that Guru Rinpoche is the source of all pure qualities and, because of that, he has the power to dispel all our obstacles.

We think of Guru Rinpoche with deference and we pray to him with faith. And why do we pray? What do wish for when we pray?
With the external prayer, we approach the object to which we are praying. In Tibetan, this phase is called nyempa (approximation), which means “moved by faith, we approach”.

The other phase is called drugpa, which means “realization”. In an inner sense, we acknowledge that Guru Rinpoche is inseparable from the Three Jewels, the Three Roots and the Three Kayas. His body, speech and mind are the mandala of the wisdom body, speech and mind. Our body, speech and mind also have a pure nature since the beginningless beginning, which we couldn’t recognize before. To recognize this pure nature and to keep this recognition is the meaning of the realization phase (drugpa).

In the secret level, the nature of our mind is inseparable from the Three Kayas:

The Dharmakaya is the very nature of our mind, which is emptiness inseparable from its unceasing qualities. The Sambhogakaya assembles the five aspects of the awakened state, which are:

  1. The wisdom of dharmadhatu, which is the nature of mind beyond extremes.
  2. The wisdom of discernment.
  3. The wisdom which is clear like a mirror.
  4. The wisdom of equality.
  5. The all-accomplishing wisdom.

There are also the Nirmanakaya and the Svabhavikakaya. The four kayas and the five wisdoms are our own mind, inseparable from the Lama. We need to gain confidence in this recognition. The nature of the one who prays and that of the object of the prayer are inseparable. Resting effortlessly in this nature is the enlightened activity.

JIN GYI LAB TU SOL
Here we invoke or request the blessings, but how are they bestowed on us?

By receiving the blessing of the wisdom body, our body turns into a body of light, the vajra body, which has the seven vajra qualities: it is invulnerable, indestructible, incorruptible, stable, unobstructed and invincible. By receiving the blessing of the enlightened speech, we accomplish vajra speech, which is the inseparability of sound and emptiness. By receiving the blessing of the enlightened mind, we accomplish the vajra mind. Thus, we request the blessing in these three ways and ask for the disclosure of the enlightened body, speech, and mind.

Fifth line

CHI NANG SANG WA’I BAR CHED ZHI WA DANG

Regarding the obstacles that may arise in our practice and hinder our reaching enlightenment, there are the outer obstacles, which are the fears. All fears are the outer manifestation of our mental poisons and may be sort out in sixteen categories. For example, our pride manifests outwardly as the fear of earthquakes, anger is reflected externally as the fear of fire, and so forth:

  1. Fear of the ground, fear of earthquakes.
  2. Fear of water.
  3. Fear of fire.
  4. Fear of wind or hurricanes.
  5. Fear of meteor rains.
  6. Fear of weapons in general.
  7. Fear of being imprisoned, fear of authorities.
  8. Fear of enemies, thieves and robbers.
  9. Fear of cannibal demons.
  10. Fear of wild fierce elephants.
  11. Fear of lions.
  12. Fear of poisonous snakes.
  13. Fear of contagious diseases.
  14. Fear of unexpected death.
  15. Fear of poverty.
  16. Fear of not fulfilling one’s aspirations.

The inner obstacles are the four maras:

  1. The mara of the body aggregates.
  2. The mara of the mental poisons.
  3. The mara of false contentment: believing in temporary happiness, without recognizing that everything changes all the time. It’s like licking honey out of a knife blade.
  4. The mara of death.

The secret obstacles are the mental poisons: ignorance, desire, anger, envy or jealousy, and pride. All these obstacles create impediments to enlightenment. How do we remove the outer obstacles? With the recognition that every appearance is the pure body, every sound is the pure speech, and that mind’s nature is pure wisdom. Every form, everything we see, every appearance is acknowledged as the pure form of the deity. Every sound we hear is the deity’s mantra, the pure sound. We recognize anything that arises in our mind as inseparable from the timeless natural awareness, Dharmakaya.

When we reach the realization of the pure nature of all things, outer obstacles are dissolved. If we recognize the absolute nature, dual thoughts dissolve, we eliminate the attachment to the self, and, consequently, we subdue the maras, purify the five mental poisons, and consummate the five wisdoms. With this, any obstacle that arises will be transformed into something good or better.

The outer, inner and secret obstacles are removed by the power of the blessings of Guru Rinpoche’s enlightened body, speech, and mind.

Sixth line

SAM PA LHUN GYI DRUB PAR JIN GYI LOB

SAMPA means the aspiration that everything we wish for in the temporary level may be attained and that, from this moment until we reach enlightenment, every favorable condition may arise.

What are these favorable conditions? An existence in one of the upper realms: in the realms of the gods, demigods or humans. For that we need to wish for the seven qualities, which are:

  1. Having a long life. We need this human body. It is a good vehicle, and, being like a ship, the mind is the captain. The mind determines the direction and the body serves it. Therefore, we need to wish for a long life.
  2. Being healthy. The mind may have positive thoughts, but, if the body is ill, we will not be able to put what we think into practice; because of that, we wish for a healthy, good and strong body.
  3. Having good fortune, good luck and prosperity.
  4. Having a good family, because, if we are born in a family of bad character, we may be negatively influenced.
  5. Having good financial conditions, not being poor or going through difficulties.
  6. Having qualities like intelligence, because, without intelligence, we are also unable to put things into practice.
  7. Being good-looking.
  8. These are the qualities of the superior rebirths.

The seven riches are:

  1. Faith. Whatever your tradition may be, if you don’t have faith, there won’t be any connection. If you don’t keep the connection, your practice won’t bear any results.
  2. Moral discipline. Abandoning negative actions and acting in a virtuous way.
  3. Diligence, joyful perseverance.
  4. Being conscientious. Being ashamed of doing wrong because you know that others will notice.
  5. Knowledge (intelligence). You may want to do something positive, but if you are not knowledgeable, you won’t be able to. It’s important to have the good fortune of hearing in order to acquire knowledge.
  6. Generosity. If you are miserly, not knowing how to share anything with anybody, even if you are healthy and able to hear, even if you have abilities and qualities, you won’t be of any benefit at all.
  7. Having deep knowledge, or the transcendental knowledge, the best knowledge; in Tibetan, sherab.

In the spiritual path it is not enough to be diligent. Maybe there is something annoying you during practice and you feel like stopping, and you force yourself into keeping on practicing – this situation is not the ideal. However, if we know that the practice brings benefits to ourselves and to others, we will practice with enthusiasm. We will have the quality of perseverance with joy. If we don’t have joyful perseverance, whenever doubts arise our practice will get weaker.

We ask for the blessings in order that we may enjoy all favorable conditions along the path which will lead to the ultimate goal: to reach the extraordinary realization. Every being, may it be a human, an animal, or any other kind of being, has a mind. Mind’s essence is Buddha nature, which is pure. It doesn’t matter how big the being is, whether it’s big or small, since its essence is pure.

If we all have a pure essence, then how does the experience of samsara arise? Because we still don’t recognize our pure nature. It is covered by temporary defilements, such as the mental poisons and intellectual obscurations. We have the habit of not understanding, not recognizing this pure essence: this is what causes the experience of samsara. The path to transforming samsaric experience and reaching the consummation of the absolute nature is the accumulation of merit and wisdom.

Each being’s nature is inseparable from the four kayas and the five wisdoms (or the five aspects of the awakened state) and, at the moment, it is veiled by temporary defilements. With the practice of the development and the consummation states, we are able to remove these temporary defilements and reach the extraordinary realization: the recognition of mind’s true nature. We beseech the blessings in order to reach this extraordinary realization, the consummation of the effortless recognition of the absolute nature.

Teaching given by H.E. Chagdud Rinpoche during an accumulation of the Barched Lamsal prayer. Khadro Ling, March 1997.

The Accomplishments of Ani-la Sherab Zangmo

Ani Sherab Zangmo
Ani Sherab Zangmo

I had  posted before about the nuns of Gebchak Gonpa, one of the realised nuns, Sherab Zangmo passed away at the age of 86. I thought of doing up a complete post about her, because I am always inspired by these enlightened practitioners and would like to emulate them.  It also serves as a reminder to us about the important points of Dharma practice.

According to http://theyoginiproject.org/yoginis-her-story/wisdom-dakinis:

“The great yogini of Gebchak Gonpa, Sherab Zangmo, passed away in the autumn of last year at the enlightened old age of 86 or so. She had been unwell for some time, but then seemed to recover and was strong and in high spirits for some days. During these days she gave meditation teachings to the nuns and often sang the prayer “Calling the Lama From Afar.”  Near the time of her death her complexion lightened, and her face and body became youthful and small like a child’s. She told those who were with her that she could see Jetsun Tara clearly before her, and that she was now going to Dewachen, the Pure Land of Amitabha. She counseled the nuns to serve their lamas well and to live in harmony with each other, and told them not to worry, and that all would go well for them in the future. The sky remained like a morning sky, bright and clear for the whole day of Sherab Zangmo’s death, and she remained in tukdam meditation for 6 days afterwards.”

More about Ani-la Sherab Zangmo:

(From : http://shambhalasun.com/sunspace/?p=7546)

When Sherab Zangmo was a young nun, during a dark retreat (a Dzogchen practice of staying in total darkness for 49 days and nights), she had a vision of Yeshe Sogyal, Padmasambhava’s principle consort.

“Three times she offered me mudras (hand gestures) and then she became Tsang Yang Gyamtso (the student of the first Tsoknyi Rinpoche who started Getchak Nunnery). He came to rest on top of my head and then he dissolved into my body, speech and mind. We became one. I cried and cried. That moment I had a direct experience of the nature of my mind. I have had many experiences, good and bad, but my mind has remained stable, neither good nor bad.”

Enthralled with the concept of seeing the world through enlightened eyes I asked Sherab Zangmo, “Can you describe your perception of the world?”
She replied, What arises in my mind now is the thought to benefit others. On the other hand, I don’t cling to appearances as real, in the way that others do.”

Wangdrag Rinpoche, the head of Getchak nunnery, asked her, “Do they appear like a dream?”
“Yes, they appear illusory, like a dream,” she said.

(From : Calling the Lama from Afar: The Yogini Nuns of Gebchak Gompa, Jampa Kalden)

Even though from 1959 onwards there was some decline in the teachings and the state of practice in Tibet, for Sherab Zangmo there was no decline in her meditation and practice. There have been many nuns of Gebchak Gompa who have died since that time, who saw the Pure Lands before they passed away and who rested in the clear light after they died. There are many examples of nuns like this. Sherab Zangmo now has no more impure vision left. Everything now arises as pure appearances. If we stay in this room, all we see is a very small room. But all Sherab Zangmo sees in the palace of the deities and so forth – completely pure view. Having practiced since she was very young, having relied on many lamas and relied on rigpa, the pure nature of mind, this is the result. (Wangdrak Rinpoche explains)

“Do you still make any distinction between meditation and post-meditation?”

Sherab Zangmo replied emphatically, “There is absolutely no difference between resting in meditation or post meditation. It is like looking upwards at a clear blue sky with nothing in it. There’s no difference whatsoever. When I get sick in my body there is a little bit of pain but in the nature of my mind there is no difference.”

“How many years of meditation did it take to achieve this state?”

Sherab Zangmo replied, “At the time when I was practising chulen in dark retreat I received visions of Yeshe Tsogyal and Tsang-Yang Gyatso coming to me. Tsang-Yang Gyatso’s body was green and he was wearing a lotus hat. He blessed me with long-life nectar and dissolved into me. I became inseparable from Tsang-Yang Gyatso. I suddenly realized the nature of mind. At that time I felt strong faith and devotion. I cried. The mind which grasps the object and the object all dissolved into the pure nature of mind.”

“Do you have any advice for students who might not have the same level of faith?

“Really there is no way other than this,” Sherab Zangmo asserted. “You have to meditate for yourself and supplicate the Lama with great faith and respect. You must believe in the Lama and supplicate the Lama well, generate compassion for all sentient beings and check your mind yourself.”

“When you die what will you see, what will you do?”

Sherab Zangmo replied simply, “I don’t know,” and after a pause filled with laughter, she added, “Going to the pure lands is nothing so special. It’s nothing to think on a great deal. It’s already there established in the nature of mind. I have no hopes or doubts about going to the pure lands.”

“Having practiced pure vision for many years, are you able to go to the pure lands like Dewachen or see Zangdok Palri?”

Sherab Zangmo replied, “ There is no special place to go. Zangdok Palri is in your mind. If you recognize the Buddha nature it’s already in your own mind. There is no place called heaven or hell to go to. It’s all within your own mind.”

“Once you have recognized and experienced the nature of mind, then you can engage in the practice of Mahamudra and Dzogchen. When you have done that practice for some time then you will become completely without suffering, without pain and without the afflictive emotion of hatred, attachment and ignorance. If you really know the nature of mind, then there is no suffering.”

“Having realized the nature of mind, the spirit of bodhichitta, the mind that wishes to lead beings to enlightenment and free them from all suffering, with that pure mind, through the power of aspiration, you can be of very great benefit to others.”

“The aspiration prayers of someone who has realized the nature of mind are inexpressibly more powerful than those of someone who has not realized the nature of mind.”

Can you describe your perception of the world?

What arises in my mind now is the thought to benefit others. On the other hand, I don’t cling to appearances as real, in the way that others do.”

Do they appear like a dream?

“Yes, they appear illusory, like a dream.”

From the time Sherab Zangmo was young, she frequently had these visions, experienced going to the Pure Lands, meeting the deities, making offerings to them and so forth. Also going to the hell realms, where beings are really suffering, and helping to lead them out. She is able to travel beyond the human realm and give teachings to beings in other realms.

Other teachings by Ani Sherab Zangmo:

“If you really supplicate the Lama repeatedly with faith and check your own mind over a long period of time then you will accomplish the path. The accomplishment of practice really relies on yourself. Supplicate the Lama repeatedly and when your mind becomes distracted, bring your mind back. If you continually supplicate the Lama whether winter or summer you can really receive the blessings.

As regards accomplishment of dharma activity and practice, this really relies on your own efforts. You should supplicate the lama continually and whenever you get distracted, cultivate mindfulness and bring the mind back to the supplication to the lama and your own rigpa, the state of your own mind. You will become distracted but by continually supplicating the lama you can accomplish. Really it depends upon yourself.”

If you continually supplicate the Lama, whether winter or summer, you can really receive the blessings. In accordance with the kindness of the lama, having received the teaching of Lord Buddha, it’s all described in there, the suffering of the various realms. Other than meditating on this, you won’t really come to understand the nature of suffering. The six realms are in the nature of suffering. In all of them, there is really not even one day of true happiness or bliss.”

“The most important thing on the path to Buddhahood is to recognize the inseparability of the lama’s mind and one’s own mind.” Sherab Zangmo emphasized, “Recognizing the inseparability of the compassion of the lama’s mind and one’s own mind.”