Rainbow Body practitioner

Composed by His Eminence Dzogchen Khenpo Choga Rinpoche and his disciples on the 23rd of November, 2013, the auspicious day of Lha Bab Duchen, the Buddha’s Mother’s Day, at the auspicious place of the Dzogchen Retreat Center, USA.

Dear Students,

As you know from my recent message, my precious teacher Dzogchen Lama Karma Rinpoche passed away on the 11th of November, 2013. Yesterday I received extraordinary news from my Dharma friends in the holy Dzogchen area of Tibet that the sacred body of my kind teacher Lama Karma has obviously and dramatically shrunk in size. Lama Karma’s body was about 175cm (approx. 5’9”) tall, but two weeks after he passed away, his seated body has now shrunk to about 20cm (approx. 8”), which means his body, including his skeleton, shrank nearly 80%. According to Dzogchen tantra, this kind of miraculous display shows he has attained the Small Rainbow Body, which is a sign that he has attained the supreme accomplishment of Buddha in this very life. Please deeply rejoice in his devoted practice and realization of Dzogchen. In doing so, you accumulate immeasurable merit.

If his body continues to shrink and totally disappears, then this miracle will be categorized as Light Body or Atomless Body. I will describe these various miraculous results of Dzogchen practice later in this message.

Lama Karma Rinpoche received many Dzogchen teachings, mainly from Dzogchen Khenpo Apey Tsewang Rinpoche and Dzogchen Lama Achung Tokden Rinpoche. For many years after, Lama Karma mainly practiced Dzogchen Guru Yoga with trekchö in the caves of the holy Dzogchen area.

While some people assume that Dharma practice is a superstitious or meaningless activity, it is in fact the most meaningful and profound activity that you can do. The reason for this is because through Dharma practice you become Buddha, which means you transform yourself into Awakened Omniscience. Once you become Buddha then you are free from all suffering and the causes of suffering forever while you spontaneously help each and every being equally, without exception, in many different ways until they all attain Buddha. Therefore, there is nothing better for you and all beings than to become Buddha.

In order to complete the paths and stages of enlightenment, you must accomplish Dzogchen practice. Without realizing Dzogchen awareness, no one has ever become Buddha or will become Buddha. Accomplishing Dzogchen practice means you become Buddha. As it is said in the Dzogchen Atiyoga tantra, without realizing Dzogchen awareness one will not attain Buddha.

The swiftest method to become Buddha is correctly practicing Guru Yoga with Dzogchen. There are two main Dzogchen practices: trekchö (cutting through) and thögal (ridge-traversing).

When you accomplish Dzogchen treckchö you will achieve one of two results as described in the Dzogchen tantras.

One is ödlu, the Light Body, which means your body transforms into light and disappears. This can happen either gradually or instantaneously. Masters who have attained this include Master Vairochana in Western Tibet and Pong Gonpo and five generations of his main disciples in Eastern Tibet.

The other is dudral, the Atomless Body, which means your body dissolves into emptiness and totally disappears. This can happen with or without an eyewitness. Masters who attained this include Guru Junpey in Central Tibet and in 1998, Khenpo Achung in Nyarong, Eastern Tibet.

If you accomplish the Dharma practice of Dzogchen trekchö and thögal, then you achieve one of three types of Rainbow Body as described in the Dzogchen tantras.

The first is the Great Rainbow Body, which means directly transforming the present body into a luminous Rainbow Body, just like Buddha Shakyamuni in India, Padmasambhava in Nepal, Shri Singha in India, Vimalamitra in China, Yeshe Tsogyal and Chetsun Senge Wangshuk in Tibet, and so on. Those who attain the Great Rainbow Body eternally retain their present life’s body appearance until all beings become Buddha.

The second is the Medium Rainbow Body, most commonly known as Rainbow Body, which means the Dzogchen master’s body dissolves as rainbow light of many different shapes, colors, and all different sizes of rainbow spheres, rainbow rays, and rainbow ribbons until the physical body has totally dissolved into rainbow light, leaving nothing behind except some hair and nails. All these rainbow lights can pass through the master’s clothing and through solid walls. Even ordinary people can directly perceive this miraculous display of Rainbow Body accomplishment. Masters who have attained this accomplishment include Melong Dorje and Rigdzin Kumaradza in Central Tibet and in 1952, Sonam Namgyal in Mani Gedgo in Eastern Tibet.

The third is the Small Rainbow Body, which means a Dzogchen master’s body shrinks to the size of a cubit or less (in a seated position). This is also known as the Shrunken Rainbow Body. Masters who attained this include Master Nyaklha Rangrik Dorje in Eastern Tibet. (His body is still preserved and is the size of a hand. His hair is ten times bigger than his body.) Atha Lhamo in 1982 in Eastern Tibet. Her body also shrank to around 10cm (approx. 4″).

All these results of Dzogchen practice, the Light Body, Atomless Body, and all types of Rainbow Body, are signs of the same supreme accomplishment. The differences refer only to what happens with the miraculous display of the master’s physical body, but their attainments are all exactly equal. This means that these practitioners have attained Buddha in this very life.

After such sacred miraculous displays occur, most people no longer physically see these masters so we pronounce that they passed away. However, during this time, when the students pray to these masters who achieved Light Body or Rainbow Body, sometimes they can perceive their teacher physically appear to them and they receive tremendously powerful transmissions and pith instructions of the Dzogchen lineage.

Anyone who sees or even hears about the miracle display of the Light Body or Rainbow Body at the time it occurs is extremely fortunate. According to the Dzogchen tantras, when a master attains Light Body or Rainbow Body, the master’s wisdom pervasively emanates to all beings without exception and especially profoundly penetrates the minds of 3,000 disciples who have knowing-devotion to the master, such that these disciples directly receive the Dzogchen Lineage transmission.

Therefore, I encourage all my disciples to faithfully pray, supplicate, and joyfully offer to the Dzogchen Lineage masters, especially to my kind teacher, Dzogchen Lama Karma Rinpoche. From now until December 27th is an auspicious opportunity to practice The Buddha Path every day, to take or renew virtuous vows, and to fulfill your special commitments to do any virtuous activities or practices. In this way, you will receive the blessings, empowerments, and attainments of the Dzogchen Lineage, which will help you to become a Dzogchen Lineage Holder and swiftly attain Rainbow Body, Buddha, in this very life.

May you realize that all Result Buddhas always reside in your heart and the hearts of all beings.

May you swiftly attain the accomplishment of Rainbow Body in this very life.

I invite my international students to translate this and my previous message regarding Lama Karma Rinpoche into your native languages and share with others.

With love and blessings,
Dzogchen Khenpo Choga Rinpoche