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The Tibetan tradition of offering a kathag 

Kathag, the Tibetan word for the white scarf that is often wrapped around the offering one gives to the lama, is not an empty gesture; it’s not just done mechanically. In Tibetan culture it is the way of exemplifying all of that merit and virtue one is dedicating at that point with that offering. That simple little scarf in that moment exemplifies, for  the person who understands, the symbolism that all of that virtue and merit accumulated throughout the three times, by ordinary beings, by buddhas, and bodhisattvas, is being offered. And again, we begin realistically with a sense of emulation, understanding that this sense of dedication is something that grows through practice and through our own realization and understanding. We begin with the attitude, “Just as buddhas and bodhisattvas of the three times and the ten directions have dedicated, dedicate and will dedicate the virtue and merit of attainments for the benefit of beings, so too do I now, at this moment, using this act of virtue as the model, dedicate the virtue and merit of all of my activities in the past, present, and future for the benefit of all beings.” We begin with that sense of emulation.

~Lingtrul Rinpoche

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Passport to Liberation

Narrated by Khenpo Sherab Zangpo:
(Translated from Chinese)

This practitioner Tsewang Trinley was my Vajra sibling.  He was from Ganzi, Rongpatsa.  Once, we were together with the accomplished master Khenpo Tsewang Jigme receiving teachings on the “Six Bardo Teachings of Padmasambhava” and “Choying Dzod (Treasury of Dharmadhatu)”.  We got along very well and would often joke with each other.

When His Holiness Jigme Phuntsok came to Rongpatsa, Tsewang also approached His Holiness for teachings.  In his life, Tsewang recited a total of 100 million Guru Rinpoche mantras, he also recited more than 100,000 repetitions of the 35 Buddhas Confession Prayer, 1.1 million times of the 21 Tara Praises, undertook the Eight Precepts (editor: may have been the 2-days fasting ritual Nyungnay – not clear from the text) for 200 times, and made more than 1.4 million prostrations.  Through his prostrations, the board beneath was worn out by his blood and flesh.  It could be said that his life was solely devoted to Dharma practice.

Later, when Achuk Lama Rinpoche came to Rongpatsa, Tsewang supplicated Lama Rinpoche to ascertain his meditative realisations in Dzogchen.  After having examined him, Achuk Lama Rinpoche was delighted and said that he had completely realized Dzogchen.  Tsewang then told his disciples, “If I were to die now, I would not feel any fear, instead I would experience great joy; this is because I now possess complete confidence.”

Later, Tsewang had a messenger inform a disciple who was out travelling to quickly return to his hometown, he said, “This disciple wishes very much to travel to foreign countries, I have a passport to give him.”  Actually Tsewang had no ‘passport’ at all and everyone was mystified at his words.  Looking at his robust state of health, no-one imagined that he was going to pass on soon.

It took that disciple several months to return, and he finally came home on 26 February 1995.

Tsewang then told his disciple to write a biography detailing how he (Tsewang) had relied on his Guru and did Dharma practice.  He explained, “When practitioners read this in the future, there would definitely be some benefit.”  Having entrusted this task, he went on as usual to have his dinner, perform his customary recitations and nothing out of the ordinary occurred.  The next day, at noon, he suddenly felt some discomfort and at 6pm, he had his disciples help him remove his extra clothing and then sat in Vajra posture facing west.  When his disciples came again to check on him, he had already entered parinirvana.   His body remained in meditation for 21 days and his skin took on a fair radiance far beyond his usual complexion when he was alive.

On March 21, when the monastery arranged for his cremation, the sky was cloudless and a white vulture came from the sky and circumambulated clockwise.  Everyone present saw this.

People then began to understand what he meant by ‘going abroad’ and ‘passport’.  His notion of ‘passport’ was to record how he had practiced in his life.  I believe Tsewang wanted to tell us that someone who wished to attain liberation should practice with the same diligence as he did, so that when death came, we would be able to travel to liberation with this ‘passport’ just as he did.

I am telling everyone this story because I wish you to understand that all your efforts in doing Dharma practice in this life will definitely not be wasted.  Only someone who practices diligently need not fear death and he would be able to attain the joy of liberation.

After completing Ngondro and Guru Yoga, one’s mind-stream would definitely experience changes, at that time, one can rely on a qualified teacher to request the teachings and empowerments related to Dzogchen.

Dudjom Rinpoche on 7 Lines Prayer

His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche (Jikdral Yeshe Dorje) Teaching On The Seven Lines Prayer

Extract of His Holiness’ teaching on Guru Pema Trötengsel Paris 1984

…Then we come to the invocation prayer known as “The Seven Line Prayer”, because it has seven lines.

This prayer appears a lot and will come again and again as an invocation. The reason why this prayer comes so often is because at the very moment Guru Rinpoche was conceived, in a lake in the North-West corner of Uddiyana, realization was achieved simultaneously. When this happened many millions upon millions of dakinis sang this praise in one voice as a praise to the Lotus-born Guru. These dakinis sang from three most sacred places. Therefore, it has great blessings.

To go just briefly through these lines, it says that: ‘being born in the North-West corner of the country of Uddiyana, in a heart-center of a lotus, endowed with the most marvelous attainments, you are known as The Lotus-Born Guru, surrounded by many hosts of dakinis countless in number, I will follow in your footsteps’. This is basically what it means.

This Seven Line Prayer should not be considered as just another supplication or invocation prayer. Instead it should be understood to be the principal prayer calling for Guru Rinpoche which itself carries tremendous blessings. Due to the power of the essence of this prayer and the blessings it holds, when you have obstacles or hindrances, if you recite it with confidence 100,000 times, normally these can be immediately removed. Moreover, when I was young, I did this practice several times and found that you can do 10,000 recitations a day, which means that you can complete 100,000 recitations in ten days. Since countless millions of dakinis have uttered this profound prayer it has remarkable blessings. So, we should consider this not only as an invocation but also a means to bring about the essential blessings of Guru Rinpoche himself.

Rinpoche’s root-teacher Gyurme Nyedun Wangpo, (otherwise known as, Podpong Tulku or Zapong Tulku because he was coming from Za region), would give this Seven Line Prayer practice to all his students and disciples to do. He would even give it to the mothers and children. Whoever came to him to ask for teachings, he would simply say: “Just recite this and have devotion while reciting this prayer. Recite this, that is enough”. Therefore, His Holiness’ root-teacher himself essentialized all practice down to this Seven Line Prayer. So, there is no need to get bogged down in the complexities of the kyerim and things like that which we don’t really understand. Simply doing this practice alone is sufficient.

See also:
https://bodhiactivity.wordpress.com/2014/02/09/the-seven-line-prayer-of-guru-rinpoche/

https://bodhiactivity.wordpress.com/2014/02/15/teaching-on-seven-lines-prayer-namkhai-nyingpo-rinpoche/

https://bodhiactivity.wordpress.com/2011/10/21/contemporary-mahasiddha-of-the-seven-lines-prayer/

Auspiciousness

According to tradition, before we start anything, we invoke the higher beings remembering their graciousness and qualities. Doing this brings auspiciousness, benefitting oneself as well as others, whether one is undertaking mundane or spiritual activities. It helps in preventing the influence of anger, pride and arrogance, caused by ignorant clinging, during the activity one is involved in.

~~ Gyalwang Drukpa

Likewise, I would like to wish all of you a Happy New Year 2017. May all the blessings of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, who are inconceivable in their wisdom, compassion and power, be with all sentient beings forever. May you go from light to light. May your mind always be saturated with the precious Bodhichitta, cause of all joy, well-being and liberation.

You can recite the 8 Auspicious Ones Prayer thrice in the morning of the new year (link is below):

http://www.lotsawahouse.org/tibetan-masters/mipham/verses-eight-noble-auspicious-ones

Receiving recognition for offerings

According to scriptures, if an ordinary person receives and accepts respect from a high spiritual person, much of his merit is thereby consumed.  However great the offerings made to Longchen Rabjam (a great realized master in the Nyingma lineage), he said dedication prayers but never expressed gratitude, and he said, “Patrons should have the opportunity to make merits.” So the patrons would receive merits instead of expressions of gratitude for their offerings.