Tag Archive | guru rinpoche

Teaching on Seven Lines Prayer – Yangthang Rinpoche

(My comments:)

If we wish to really receive the Dharma in our life, it is necessary to take whatever you already know and bring it from head to heart.  For going into heart, rather than remaining in the dimension of head or intellect, one of most incredible approach is the path of devotion.

From the point of view of goal-oriented, business-transaction-savvy intellect who is out for the greatest profit in the shortest time, devotion seems foolish, low-class, dangerous, prone to abuse, unsophisticated etc etc. But actually, the cleverer you are, the more self-protecting and condescending you are, the harder it becomes to really do the simplest things of all, which even animals or children are even better than us at doing sometimes.

The seven-line prayer is an invocation to the Buddhas in the form of Guru Rinpoche.  Through thinking of the sufferings of life and impermanence, feel deep sadness and pray to Guru Rinpoche as the only refuge.  This prayer opens our hearts to devotion and what is beyond the reach of reason and intellect.  Because when it comes to the crux of the matter, death, all logic, reasoning and knowledge will not be of much use, only what we know intuitively/ instinctively would come up.  At that point, heart is of much greater use.  That is why the past masters have always urged us to pray to the Guru and Triple Gems with faith at the point of death.

Nowadays due to being trapped and obfuscated by their self-centred logic, people are not able to see what matters and what they really want or need.  In a kind of murky state, they continue to strive like robots for things that don’t make much sense.   If we examine the records of some people who go through a very harrowing experience like some terminal illness or life-threats or a near-death experience, they seem to wake up and develop some kind of clarity of purpose in their lives.  In other words, intellect has started to give way to heart. When we read about the qualities they start to treasure, these are always qualities like love, kindness, gratitude and faith.

If we are practicing the Dharma, rather than always being limited by the words of the text we are reciting, it is much more important to have the true blessings soaking our heart.  Our hearts should be moved by faith, by the pain of sentient beings, by the kindness of our spiritual guides, by the sublime qualities of the noble beings like Lord Buddha or Guru Rinpoche.

When we are practicing, rather than treating it like just another routine session on the cushion, we should be happy, even slightly excited at having another chance to practice.  But nowadays, how many are only practicing by rote?  That is why we need to bring the energy down from head to heart by invoking Guru Rinpoche with the Seven-Lines prayer.   Sometimes singing the prayer with a beautiful tune, sometimes loudly at the top of one’s voice, sometimes in a very gentle and moving tone.  It is up to the situation, the point is to invoke blessings to enter our heart so that vibrant colors comes back to our practice and infuses life in it.

Here’s the teaching

How to attain the accomplishment/siddhi of the deity’s mantra

~ His Holiness Penor Rinpoche

Concerning the yidam (deity), all deities can be condensed into one deity, and one deity can emanate as countless deities.  For instance, if one takes Guru Rinpoche who is the embodiment of all the Buddhas as your practice, then doing the practice of Guru Rinpoche is the same as doing the practices of all other yidams.

If one has the ability to do so, one can also do the practice of each yidam separately.  Each yidam has very great power, this is of course very good.

For instance, in the practice of Hayagriva, before the signs of accomplishments arise, one should do the practice diligently.  How would the signs manifest?  One holds some butter and recites the mantra, when this piece of butter is put into boiling water, the butter does not melt.  This means that the mantra has some strength to it.

When a rope has been blessed by mantras, and it is placed on an iron surface and hacked with an axe, or placed on a red-hot iron surface, this rope will neither be burnt nor damaged.  This is a sign of accomplishing the mantra.

If one wishes to genuinely practice, one has to be very diligent before the signs of accomplishing the mantra appear.  This power of accomplishment does not arise simply because you have recited the mantra some tens of million or even hundred million times.  But some people even feel that just reciting the mantra a hundred or a thousand times will produce some power.  Unfortunately, things are not quite so simple.

The mantra’s strength, in general, arises in dependence on the correct method of practice.  Only then can its power be accomplished.  If one simply practices in a sloppy or perfunctory manner and wishes to gain accomplishment, it would be quite difficult to do so.

However, many disciples have a wrong concept of practice.  After doing practice, if the mantra does not produce any effect, they will criticize the yidam.  If one is not practicing correctly and afterwards say that the yidam does not possess blessings, can this attitude be right?  Whether it is Tara, Chenrezig, Vajrakilaya, or any other yidam, if one approaches the practice in the correct manner, the signs of accomplishments are sure to appear.

If one practices in a slip-shod manner, then this (accomplishment) will not happen. Whether one is practicing correctly, we should observe and check.  If one practices correctly, the deity can appear in front of one’s eyes.

If there isn’t a lot of time to do practices of various yidams, then to only practice Guru Rinpoche and one-pointedly pray to him while practicing correctly according to the instructions will also be enough.  When practicing Guru Rinpoche, supplicate him with single-minded focus.  All the Buddhas’ blessings and accomplishments are contained therein.

Corresponding to one’s ability and diligence,  if one prays to Guru Rinpoche  with complete focus, then all the necessities such as wealth, enjoyments, freedom from illness, good health and other worldly benefits will be obtained.  In terms of future lives, we will be able to attain liberation and Buddhahood with perfect omniscience.

Whether Guru Rinpoche has such an effect depends on one’s sincere faith and longing aspirations.  Whichever yidam you practice, one’s mind must be completely firm, stable, unwavering, without any doubt.  You should not be distracted or hesitant, all these (attitudes) are of no benefit whatsoever.

Whether yidam practice can succeed and whether one can encounter the yidam depends on oneself.  Of course, we should understand that our karmic obscurations are very heavy.  When these obscurations are purified, then the yidam practice will definitely yield accomplishments.  Without purifying the karmic obscurations, it is very difficult to accomplish the yidam.  Therefore, one must possess faith, pure perception, and a yearning mind.  If this is the case, then the yidam practice will definitely produce fruit.

Accumulation of the Vajra Guru Mantra

It is time again to make some aspirations and accumulate prayers for all beings.    As some readers know, I have done mini-monlams in the past.  In the Tibetan tradition, monlam (aspiration prayers) festivals are held once a year in various traditions as a kind of gathering (usually in sacred places) to generate some kind of powerful positive intent/force for the world, the universe, all sentient beings, the teachers and the Buddhadharma.  It is a very effective way to harness the minds of many practitioners at the same time, in the same place towards a common goal.  These prayer assemblies are very effective in removing obstacles and purifying negativities facing the world/country such as invasions, wars, unrest, epidemics, disasters and so forth.

Here, we in cyberspace do not really have any common place to do the prayers.  Some of us are staying in obscure areas where we can’t even find a Dharma community or like-minded people…  (if my statistics serve me right, my readers come from a wide sweep of geographical locations) But for a positive purpose, we can always commune here by using a simple site counter with our minds and positive intentions.  After all, the Buddha-nature pervades all beings and all sentient beings’ minds are really inseparable.

Therefore, I would like to ask all readers to go to this counter site (http://goo.gl/TVWUgt) and contribute to the recitation of the Vajra Guru Mantra (OM AH HUNG BENZA GURU PADMA SIDDHI HUNG), it doesn’t have to be any particular number of mantras but you can contribute a 108, 1080, 10800, 108,000 or more …

Think of it as doing your little part for all beings.  Instead of simply mouthing prayers above love, compassion and Bodhichitta, why not put it into more action by pooling your little efforts into the ocean of merits that a group of people can create.  Commit to do something over and above what you usually do.  For instance, if you usually recite 108 Vajra Guru mantras, you can commit another 108 and double your daily practice to 216.  Then, by doing that for 3 months, you can easily contribute almost 10,000 mantras.

The power of group practice is almost always impossible to match by individual practice.  By joining in a group practice, through dedications and pure intentions, one creates a vastness of merits in a very short time that cannot be attained by oneself in perhaps a whole life .  If someone in the group possesses pure Bodhichitta, that group practice is also magnified and enhanced by that quality.  If someone has the realization of emptiness and participates in this group practice, likewise all participants will benefit from the presence of this sublime quality. Therefore, in the Tibetan tradition, group practice has always been deeply emphasized.  For people with little time and many distractions, group practice may well be their only portal to great merits, purification and liberation.

In this time, Guru Rinpoche’s blessings is very much needed.  In terms of kindness, Guru Rinpoche has left behind many treasures, advice and prophecies for the future to tide over the difficult obstacles of this age. But due to a lack of merit, many of these treasures cannot be uncovered, many advices have been left unheeded and many prophecies for benefitting beings cannot be fulfilled.  We need to pray very strongly to Guru Rinpoche to reverse the negativities of this time, to strengthen our collective store of merits and to engage in purification so that circumstances can be turned around and sufferings can be allayed.  This is a very urgent matter and it cannot be overemphasized.

Many people are in some kind of stupor in terms of the direction the world is going, but this is also due to the force of our karma and a lack of wisdom and foresight.  We need to pray that there be harmony amongst the Dharma practitioners, that the teachers continue to manifest and stay a long time, that the conditions for the propagation of the Dharma continue.  Nowadays when virtue is extremely difficult to accomplish and non-virtue is performed continuously like the flow of a river, the need for some kind of powerful intervention and Guru Rinpoche’s blessings is vital.

To conclude, I pray that through our combined efforts and Guru Rinpoche’s blessings, may the light of dharma fill all sentient beings’ minds and may the Buddhadharma continue to stay for a long time and flourish.  May the teachers have long life and good health, may their Dharma activities expand and be successful.  May all negative inauspicious circumstances be reversed and may there be peace, happiness, good health and fortune in the whole universe, wherever sentient beings exist.

 

Teaching on Seven Lines Prayer – Namkhai Nyingpo Rinpoche

If one can concentrate on practicing the (seven lines prayer) in this life, when you die you will dissolve into the mind of Guru Rinpoche. Guru Rinpoche is the ultimate nature of the embodiment of all Buddhas. In Guru Rinpoche’s termas, it is written that in the degenerated times, Guru Rinpoche’s compassionate blessings are swifter than that of other Buddhas. In this life, if you wish your body to be free from sickness or pain, pray to Guru Rinpoche and you will receive his protection. If you seek for wealth, longevity or wish to clear your obstacles, just by praying, all wishes can be fulfilled. Some people think that to practice Guru Rinpoche for wealth is of no use, but this is not correct. Just by relying upon Guru Rinpoche, all wishes can be achieved.

Guru Rinpoche once said, “Accomplishing me is the same as accomplishing all Buddhas; seeing me is the same as seeing all Buddhas.” In any case, Buddha Shakyamuni, Amitabha, Chenrezig , the Eight Vidhydharas, the Eight Mahasiddhas are no different from Guru Rinpoche. Therefore, if one wishes for attainments, then the sole method is Guru Yoga. There is no other way. Therefore, at all times, focus on the Seven Lines Prayer and supplicate Guru Rinpoche. This will have infinite benefits for this and future lives, there is no doubt about it.

If one cannot practice other methods, just practicing the seven-lines prayer is the same as a panacea that can cure all kinds of sicknesses. But if one is merely mouthing the prayers, it is not enough, one should have great faith and devotion to Guru Rinpoche and supplicate one-pointedly, then you are sure to receive Guru Rinpoche’s blessings and accomplishments. In the past up till the present, many great masters and practitioners have seen Guru Rinpoche directly. These are the best signs. The middling signs are to have good experiences arising. The lesser signs are to meet Guru Rinpoche in dreams and to receive prophecies and blessings from Guru Rinpoche. Just listening and contemplating the Dharma is not enough to attain liberation. Besides that, one has to practice. The three (listening, contemplation, practice) must be combined. When we are practicing, we should rely on one deity. It is just like in the past, Nagarjuna and Shantideva had yidams they relied upon. In this manner, single-mindedly praying to Guru Rinpoche and merge your mind with Guru Rinpoche’s wisdom mind. This way of progressing on the path to liberation has less difficulties and obstacles. With total confidence and faith in Guru Rinpoche, not just with faith and sincerity, but believing that in any moment, Guru Rinpoche will never deceive or let us down. We must have the faith that Guru Rinpoche and our root teacher is inseparable and no different. Rely on this faith to practice.

As our present root teacher has a very close connection to us, we are able to see our root teachers frequently. Therefore, their blessings enter our minds very swiftly. In the past, there was a Khamtrul Rinpoche. In his practice experience, he came to Guru Rinpoche’s pureland where many Dakas and Dakinis welcomed him and escorted him to see Guru Rinpoche. At that time, he wondered how Guru Rinpoche would look like. But when he came to the celestial palace, sitting on the throne was his own root master. The Dakas and Dakinis told him that the person sitting on the throne was Guru Rinpoche. This shows that Guru Rinpoche is no different from our root master. I hope everyone would be able to practice the Dharma correctly.

The Seven Line Prayer of Guru Rinpoche

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The prayer of seven vajra verses is commonly known as Guru Rinpoche’s prayer. The Vajra refers to something that is stable, unchanging and indestructible, which can destroy all negativities, adverse circumstances, obstacles and be all-victorious. There is no (obstacle) so firm that (the vajra) cannot remove.

The prayer of seven vajra verses has an exceptionally strong blessing. It is the most sublime amongst all the various supplication prayers to Guru Rinpoche. In Tibet, those great accomplished masters would mostly recite this prayer while giving blessings to the devotees. As Guru Rinpoche once said, “Reciting this prayer will invoke and invite all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.”

When oneself or others feel any discomfort in the body, or if the environment is unclean, or when meeting with any obstacle or negative provocation, just reciting this prayer of seven vajra verses with a completely sincere mind, all the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Gurus, Triple Gems, virtuous protecting Dharmapalas would be sure to arrive and render help or give blessings.

~ His Holiness Sera Yangtrul Rinpoche
(Translated from Chinese)

Brief Teaching on ‘A Rainfall of Blessings’

Teaching from a recent authentic Terton who is extremely renowned in Tibet, Nyanlung Rinpoche (Namtrul Jigme Phuntsok).  He has displayed many miracles and retrieved termas with the help of his consort Tare Lhamo – an emanation of Yeshe Tsogyal.  I was very much moved by Tare Lhamo although I have never met her before. I guess it is in the nature of such great beings that all who see them somehow partake of the vast mind of love and Bodhichitta they possess.  Tare Lhamo has passed into parinirvana in 2002. More can found about her here:

http://buddhistwomen.pbworks.com/w/page/7886544/Khandro-T%C4%81re-Lhamo

http://www.thebuddhadharma.com/web-archive/2007/12/1/the-many-lives-of-yeshe-tsogyal.html

On 7 Nov 2011, Nyanlung Rinpoche passed into parinirvana. Hence I share his commentary on the Guru Yoga of Padmasambhava ‘A Rainfall of Blessings’ (composed by Mipham Rinpoche) here to remember him and to celebrate his vast enlightened activities to benefit all beings which will undoubtedly carry on into the future… May these two great Tertons quickly return to benefit countless beings!

(This was obtained from an email forwarded to me.  With deep thanks to the original source. Photo from http://buddhistwomen.pbworks.com)

A brief Teaching on the Guru Yoga in reliance upon the Seven Lines Vajra Verses: “A Rainfall of Blessings”

First, the preliminaries, Refuge means:

For the sake of rescuing each and every sentient being from the great fears of cyclic existence in general and the three lower realms in particular, one should take refuge from this moment until Enlightenment in the Guru who is not differentiated from the Great Victorious Urgyen, who is the union of all the Buddhas of the ten directions and past, present and future.  Recite thrice bearing this meaning in mind.

Aspiration means:

Among all the sentient beings limitless as the vast expanse of space, there is not even a single one who had not been our parents in the past.  These sentient beings are currently bound within the six realms of cyclic existence, experiencing uninterruptible sufferings without any end in sight.  Therefore I must attain the state of the Great Urgyen (Buddhahood) and place all sentient beings into the peace of the state of perfect Enlightenment.  Contemplate in this manner, and give rise to the thought for Enlightenment, recite thrice bearing the meaning in mind.

And now, the main practice:

In the space in front of oneself within a tent composed of rainbow rays, on top of a lotus and moon disc cushion, the object of our visualisation Urgyen Vjaradhara should be clearly understood as non-dual from our Root Guru.  His aspect is that of Urgyen Vajradhara ‘The Lotus Born’.  The body of ‘The Lotus Born’ is white in colour with a tinge of red, and the tinge of red is also suffused with white.  He has one face and two arms.  His right hand in wrathful mudra is waving a five pronged golden vajra, while his left hand which is resting in the mudra of equanimity holds a skull cup mixed with wisdom nectar.  In the crook of his left hand a three pronged Khatvanga staff rest tilted.  He wears a gown, Dharma robes and brocade cloak.  On his head he wears the lotus crown of liberation through sight, the tip of that crown is adorned with a halved five prong vajra and a vulture feather.  His facial expression is extremely joyful, smiling but also wrathful at the same time.  His feet is in the playful royal posture.  Around him are an oceanic host of the Three Jewels and the Three Roots, immeasurable in numbers.

His body should not been seen like solid statutes of metal or clay, or as an imperfect body composed of flesh and blood, but rather should be visualized as an illusion like rainbow body.  Although appearing, yet in reality without any self nature.  While being extremely clear and vivid, it is at the same time beyond grasp, abiding in ‘self nature’ that is like the illusive rays of rainbow.  The negativities of one’s body, speech and mind should not be merely confessed through mere words from one’s mouth, but with deep conviction that whatever happiness or suffering, goodness or negativities that one experiences up to the attainment of Enlightenment are all known to one’s Guru.  From the bottom of one’s heart, sincerely supplicate with reverence and prostrations.  The hair of one’s body standing on end, and tears welling in one’s eyes.

Next, manifest all things wondrous and desirable to the five senses of form, sound, smell taste and touch along with the outer, inner and secret offerings, all replete with the aspect of Samantabhadra’s offering clouds; these are presented in offering.  After this, gather forth all virtues that one has accumulated in the three times, present it sincerely in front of ‘The lotus Born’ and think that one is thereby accumulating merits.  Following this, recite: “All negativities committed through the three doors of myself and all sentient being since beginningless time up to the present, the vows that are broken or transgressed, we lay bare regretfully and confess before you, Lord of Secrets.  Now I make this vowed aspiration: ‘From this moment onwards I shall never commit any negativities, may those that I have committed not become the negative karma of this life or the obstacles in future lives.  Please grant the most excellent of purifications.’”  This is the purification of negativities, our aspiration should be that this accumulation of merits and confession gladdens the Guru, the Great Urgyen.  From now until Enlightenment is reached may we come under your compassionate guidance and care.  Please bestow the complete attainments of body, speech and mind even now upon this seat!  While contemplating thus, 5 coloured rays emanate from the Guru’s heart and dissolve into one’s heart.  Visualised that one’s mental continuum is blessed by the Guru, recite the Seven Lines Vajra Verses as much as one can, singe pointedly without any distraction.

The Tsog Offering at the end of the session is as follows:

Set up and display all food, drinks and other offerings of wisdom and merit that is in one’s possession, recite the hundred syllable of Vajrasattva 7, 21 or 108 times as in the ‘Stainless Confession Tantra’.  After that according to the time that is available, practice the ‘Four Articles rectifying Omissions’ and ‘Tsog’.  As this fulfils the need fo amassing vast merits and virtues, it is very important to practice at least once a day, or as many times as possible.

Regardless however, at the end of the meditation session, visulaise that from the white ‘OM” at the Guru’s forehead, light rays shine forth and when it melts into one’s head it purifies the negativities of one’s body such as killing, stealing sexual misconduct and the blockage of veins.  Ones gains the vajra body blessing of the Guru and obtain all the attainments of this empowerment.

Next, from the red “AH” at the Guru’s throat light rays issue forth and melts into one’s throat, purifying all speech negativities such as lies, divisive speech, harsh speech and idle talk, as well as the tantric obstacles of winds.  Ones gains the blessing of the vajra speech blessings of the Guru and obtain all the attainments of this empowerment.

Then, from the blue “HUM” at the Guru’s heart light rays issue forth and melts into one’s heart, purifying all negativities of the mind such as attachment, aversion and ignorance, as well as the tantric obstacles of the charkas.  One obtains the vajra mind blessing of the Guru and obtain all the attainments of this empowerment.

Finally, from the four places of the Guru: forehead, throat, heart and navel, the four syllables “OM, “AH”, “HUM” and “HRIH” four different colours of light emanate, white, red, blue and green respectively.  This dissolves into the corresponding places at one’s body and arouses the wisdom of the four joys in our mental continuum.  The four Empowerments are obtained, the seed of the four Awareness Holdings are planted, and the causes for obtaining the four bodies of a Buddha is placed into one’s mental continuum.  After this, the Guru dissolves into light and melts into one’s heart and at that moment one remains in the ‘self abiding’ state without alteration of a single thought, and within that it is without any thoughts.  Abiding in the ‘mind’ without discriminations, within calm abiding equanimity.  Abiding in such a state without any departure is the same as being one with the wisdom of all the Buddhas, one should know this.

For those who are able to practice this Guru Yoga constantly and diligently, they will in this temporal world possess long life, good health and accomplish all their wishes in accordance with the Dharma.  Their merits will increase like the waxing moon, and in the next life they will be reborn into the pure realm of the Dakinis.  There, in the presence of the Guru ‘The Lotus Born’ they will without doubt become a teacher who can lead and guide all the limitless sentient beings.  Therefore, one through diligently exert with courage and perseverance in this Guru yoga.

As this was requested by a faithful disciple for Chinese students who are in need of such a practice, upon repeated requests Jigme Namkha Lingpa wrote it within the joyful sphere of the garden of awareness Holding, may it be auspicious.

The translation from Tibetan to Chinese is completed by Thondup Rinpoche. The translation from Chinese to English is completed by Sengge Dorje of Charitable Assistance Society of Thousand-Arm Chenrezig, Singapore in January, 2007 with the greatest respects and gratitude to the great Namkha Lingpa and Tare Lhamo Tertons .

Contemporary Mahasiddha of the ‘Seven Lines Prayer’

A liberation story to share… it shows the eternal spirit of Guru Devotion and the unparallelled blessings of Guru Rinpoche.  Please enjoy!

Before the year 2000, there was a Mahasiddha in the Namdroling monastery of the Nyingma Palyul tradition established by the lineage holder His Holiness Penor Rinpoche.  He mainly recited the ‘Seven Line Prayer to Guru Rinpoche’.  This accomplished master had white hair and a hunched back;  he went about everywhere on bare feet and his name was Yama Gonpo.

Yama Gonpo was illiterate and had absolutely no idea about writing or reading the scriptures because he had not been taught in school.  From his youth until he was old, he had been Penor Rinpoche’s layperson attendant.  In his late years, he started wearing monk’s robes and became ordained.  He did not know how to recite any scripture or prayer apart from some short mantras, thus, the only practice he was familiar with was the ‘Seven Lines Prayer to Guru Rinpoche’.

About 40 years ago, when the Tibetans fled to India, he followed His Holiness Penor Rinpoche out of Tibet and became Penor Rinpoche’s attendant and guard.  It was after much life-threatening dangers that they arrived in India.  For his entire life, he was Penor Rinpoche’s unwavering and devoted disciple, serving his Guru like a servant.

After following Penor Rinpoche to South India, because they were beginning to build Namdroling monastery, Yama Gonpo participated in the work of building the monastery.  He endured long hours of toilsome labor.  For instance, about 40 years ago, there was a large river flowing between the site of the monastery and the neigbouring town of Gusakar.  The Indian workers, in order to save time, forced their cows to cross the river but there was no bridge at that time and it was extremely difficult for the cows who were bearing a large load to cross the river.  Their Indian owners lashed their whips at these cows, often cutting deeply into the flesh on their backs.  Penor Rinpoche decided that, in order to help the cows and everyone involved, it was necessary for him to spend his own money to build a mud bridge over the river although it was extremely expensive by the standards of that time.  Yama Gonpo, by a single order of His Holiness, spent three years accompanying the workers to construct this bridge.  By night, he slept alone in a grass hut at the construction site as it was his responsibility to watch over the building materials.  At that time, his hut was located near the forests and grasslands where many wild animals lurked.

As narrated above,  Yama Gonpo’s entire life was that of following the instructions of his Guru, Penor Rinpoche.  In his late years, he received the Dzogchen essential pith instructions from Penor Rinpoche personally.  From then on, he did not lie down to sleep but always remain sitting, whether during the day or night, becoming an extremely assiduous meditator.  His level of realisation was very high and profound, his meditation was liberated and free, he was able to communicate directly with Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) or the Dharma Protectors.

However, externally, he seemed to be just a weak and ordinary old monk…

In his late years, he stayed outside Penor Rinpoche’s special protector hall, in a very simple hut made from mud.  This hut was so small that most people could not stand up straight within it.  There was an extremely simple altar inside – so simple that the only way to describe it would be ‘unbearably old and broken-down’.  It consisted of several pieces of aged, hole-ridden pieces of Buddha images that had turned yellow.

Yama Gonpo personally had few belongings.  It consisted of one strand of prayer beads and several pieces of cushions that looked like pieces of rubbish.  There was also one small coffee-coloured fat-bellied bottle that had been abandoned by someone.  And this was the ‘precious vase’ which Yama Gonpo used to contain his blessed pills mixed with water.

Yama Gonpo had infinite faith in His Holiness Penor Rinpoche and Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) and kept doing his practice without making a display of it.  At first, no-one realised that this hunched-back old man was a great practitioner until something happened. Once, when they were setting up the first Buddhist college in the Namdroling monastery (reenacting the tradition of Buddhist studies in the Nyingma tradition for the first time in India), many students were painting the main hall.  At that time, Yama Gonpo’s hunched figure appeared in the vicinity despite the fact that he had not been asked to come.  Gonpo told the students in a kind and yet serious tone, “Last night, Guru Rinpoche said that the students who are painting the college have an obstacle coming, it would be better to temporarily stop painting tomorrow.

The college students thought that the old Yama Gonpo was mentally unhinged and merely pretended to agree with him with a smile.  Then they invited him politely to leave.  Before he left, Gonpo said again, “If you are not willing to stop work tomorrow, then please remember to recite the Seven Lines Prayer to Guru Rinpoche or his heart mantra or Tara’s mantra!”

On the second day, one of the students was reciting Tara’s mantra in a half-believing manner while standing with other students on the high structures for painting.  In the end, there was an accident.  All of a sudden, the high structure collapsed.  Everyone was hurt when they fell on the ground.  The only person who went unscathed was the student who had been reciting Tara’s mantra.  From then on, many people started to ask Yama Gonpo about matters of the future and Gonpo never failed to help them.  The future invariably worked out just as he predicted.  There was even one situation where someone came to ask about some matter in the future and Yama Gonpo replied him saying, “Please, there is no need for you to ask me about any future problems, because you will soon die in seven days.”  When this person heard his prediction, he was very nervous, but he was also half-doubting it.  Finally, the prediction came true and he died in seven days.

This matter caused everyone to wake up and many people praised Yama Gonpo for his ability to accurately foresee the future.  But somehow, His Holiness Penor Rinpoche was appraised of this matter and became extremely displeased.  He simply said one sentence to Yama Gonpo, “Why are you saying so much?”  Thereupon, Yama Gonpo kept silent for about one year and refused to reply to anyone’s enquiry.

It was until much later when His Holiness Penor Rinpoche left the monastery to spread the Dharma that the sangha were unable to find anyone to help them when they had particular difficulties that they petitioned Penor Rinpoche to allow Yama Gonpo to help everyone with clearing their doubts and answering their questions with his special abilities.  Under His Holiness’s permission, Yama Gonpo started to speak to help the masses.

Before Yama Gonpo answered anyone’s question, he will always meditate for a moment with his eyes open and then he will see the answer without need to recourse to any divination tools or any special preparations.  The writer of this article once had the fortune of witnessing the way Yama Gonpo answered questions beside the eight great stupas of Namdroling monastery.  It was truly rare and astounding!

Once, Namdroling monastery had a huge case in its hands.  An Indian was murdered and his corpse was discovered beside the monastery.  One of the monastery’s monk was suspected by the police of being the culprit and apprehended.  At that time, Penor Rinpoche was away overseas and could not immediately return to solve this problem.  Therefore, in a telephone call, he instructed that the monastery immediately begin to practice the Dharma protector rituals.  The next day, Yama Gonpo told everyone, “Last night the Dharma Protector appeared to me and told me, ‘The real murderer has been caught, he is an Indian.  Now the Dharma Protector has possessed the murderer and caught hold of his heart and mind, he will be leading the real murderer back to the area of the monastery.  As the distance is far, he can only reach the monastery in 3 days.’”

Eventually, after 3 days, the true murderer was really caught.  He was an Indian who had performed the killing act in the spur of a moment because of a mere 50 rupees.  When the murderer returned to the monastery, his entire being was confused and dazed, and he turned himself in by confessing that the murder was done by him.  Of course, he was not spared a beating by the people around him there and then when they heard his confession.

Everyone now knew that Yama Gonpo was an authentic Druptop (realised master).  They liked to come by and ask him many questions.  But his main reply was, “Recite the Seven Lines Prayer, then there would be no obstacles.”  This was often his advice to people.

Although he was so accomplished, he continued his previous style of living, notwithstanding others’ respect and trust in him.  He continued staying in his dilapidated hut, his living conditions did not improve, and all day and all night long, he continued to supplicate the Guru Triple Gems.  Anyone who saw him felt that he was truly a very diligent practitioner who never had a respite.  When anyone offered him money, he would ask the benefactor to offer this money directly to Penor Rinpoche.  Even if he took the money to allow the benefactor to accumulate merits, he would still unstintingly offer the whole amount to His Holiness Penor Rinpoche.  About 2 or 3 years before he left this world,  he often said, “Human life and samsara is simply too much suffering… when the Lord of Refuge Penor Rinpoche has completed the building of the Guru Padmasambhava Hall, I will depart from this world.”

In the remaining days, he continued to behave like his role as an attendant and guard to Penor Rinpoche, he surreptitiously watched over the entire process of building the large hall whether it was a large or minute task.  Once, he told some monks who were close to him, “For His Holiness Penor Rinpoche’s project of building the hall to be smooth and successful, countless Dharma Protectors have surrounded the boundaries of the hall in the space and on the ground to prevent any large obstacle from occuring.”  Everyday, he would circumambulate the monastery bare-footed at least once.  Everyone said that Yama Gonpo had not wavered in the slightest from his past role as the protector and guard, and used all his utmost strength to protect the beneficial activities of his Guru, Penor Rinpoche, in a quiet manner.

When the Guru Padmasambhava Hall in Namdroling monastery was completed.  It was said that on one day, during the puja, Yama Gonpo was accidentally pushed to the floor by some young lama.  He never recovered from that fall and finally, in the year of 2000, he demonstrated entry into parinirvana.  Several days before his parinirvana, his body was thin and weak, and he was lying in bed but his mind was still extremely clear.  After his parinirvana, His Holiness indicated that Gonpo was to be buried in the earth and that his body was to be placed in the vicinity of Namdroling, behind the nunnery.   Penor Rinpoche also snipped a lock of white hair from Gonpo and kept it for memory sake.

The author (of this article), for fear of forgetting all that has been seen, heard or remembered with the passage of time, decided to pen down everything concerning Yama Gonpo diligently.  Afterall, the author has had the karmic affinity of meeting Gonpo several times and had even held his hands while walking together around Namdroling monastery. We stood where would be behind the present elementary school for Namdroling, and enjoyed the scenery of Namdroling monastery from afar in the soft breeze of that afternoon… now that the Venerable one is no longer here, the author, in order to remember him and encourage others to do the practice of Guru Rinpoche, decided to write these notes on 23 August 2007 in Taipei, Taiwan.

(Notes by translator: The names, when translated from Chinese, may not be accurate in spelling.  Some very tiny amendments had been made to enable the story to flow better.  But nothing factual has been affected.  By this merit, may all sentient beings attain enlightenment.  )

Seven Lines Prayer by Guru Rinpoche 

HUNG ORGYEN YUL GYI NUB JANG TSAM

Hung! On the northwest border of the country of Oddiyana

PADMA GESAR DONG PO LA

In the pollen heart of the lotus,

YA TSHAN CHOG GI NGO DRUB NYE

Marvellous in the perfection of your attainment

PADMA JUNG NAY ZHE SU DRAG

You are known as the Lotus Born

KHOR DU KHA DRO MANG PO KOR

And are surrounded by your circle of many dakinis

KHYED KYI JE SU DAG DRUB KYI

By following in your footsteps

JIN GYI LOB CHIR SHEG SU SOL

I pray that you will come and confer your blessings

GURU PADMA SIDDHI HUNG

(For the second last line, JIN GYI LAB CHIR SHEG SU SOL would also be accurate. Different texts/termas have different versions. One can do either version.)

[Guru Rinpoche picture courtesy of Karma Dongag Ling website]