His Eminence the Third Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche,
Karma Lodrö Chökyi Senge
The Four Dharmas of Lha-je Gampopa
Before beginning with the instructions on the Four Dharmas of Gampopa, I wish to ask everyone to arouse the pure motivation before receiving instructions of Lord Buddha’s words and to uphold this motivation. It is of utter importance to generate the pure attitude of the enlightened mind while participating in such a precious event. What is the pure motivation of the enlightened mind? One does not wish to only receive the teachings to understand Buddhism for one’s personal well-being but to be able to help a limitless amount of sentient beings by integrating the Dharma in one’s life. The altruistic motivation is the wish to receive the teachings in order to help others genuinely and reliably.
Buddha Shakyamuni entered and manifested supreme enlightenment at Bodhgaya in India and shared the deep and vast insight he had realized - the inexpressible and unconditioned clear light. He didn’t immediately teach others the truth he realized due to their obscurations but stayed in meditation under the Bodhi Tree for seven weeks. Brahma and Indra, the highest gods in the Indian pantheon, and two deer approached the Buddha and requested instructions from him. The gods offered Lord Buddha a 1000-spoked golden wheel, symbol of a universal monarch, and asked him to teach what he had realized. In response, Lord Buddha stood up from his meditation seat, walked to Sarnath near Varanasi, turned the Wheel of Dharma, and taught the Four Noble Truths. Ever since then, the two deer and the 1000-spoked universal wheel symbolize this most meaningful moment in history.
Lord Buddha turned the Dharmachakra (the Sanskrit term for “Wheel of Dharma”) three times. He turned the First Dharmachakra at Sarnath in India and taught the Four Noble Truths, which are 1) the truth of suffering, 2) the truth of the origin of suffering, 3) the truth of the cessation of suffering, and 4) the truth of the path leading to freedom from suffering and pain.
The Buddha taught that one needs to know about suffering, how to abandon the causes of suffering, how to accomplish the cessation of suffering, and how to practice the path that leads to cessation of suffering and pain. The Four Noble Truths can be divided into the relative and the ultimate truths. The first two deal with the relative conditions of existence, the last two with ultimate reality, the way things really appear and really are.
Because of the ongoing experiences that life automatically entails, the teachings on the Four Noble Truths are easily known by all living beings endowed with intelligence but fettered in samsara, “conditioned existence.” One can see that suffering arises from causes and can easily discover that if one engages in positive actions, one will experience happiness and if one does harm, one will experience suffering. When realizing the reciprocity between “cause and effect” (karma in Sanskrit), one recognizes that it is possible and why it is necessary to refrain from causing more suffering and harm and to engage in the path that Lord Buddha showed. The path relates to one’s living situation - it can be recognized, appreciated, and practiced by anyone living in favourable conditions and willing to lead a meaningful life. The teachings presented during the First Dharmachakra on the Four Noble Truths elaborate the depth of conditioned existence and are studied in great detail by followers of the Hinayana Vehicle of Buddhism.
On the occasion of the Second Turning of the Dharmachakra in Rajgir, India, Lord Buddha revealed the Prajnaparamitasutra that deals with the truth of the perfection of wisdom and elaborates the definitive meaning of the totality of being. He showed how all phenomena within and without are devoid of inherent existence and how all things only arise in dependence upon causes and conditions. He taught the truth of emptiness of all phenomena, and those who engage in the practices to achieve the same realization are followers of the great vehicle of Mahayana.
During the Third Dharmachakra, Lord Buddha expounded the definitive truth of the changeless Buddha nature, which abides in all living beings without exception and non-differentiate since beginningless time. He showed how obscurations hinder one from experiencing one’s pure and true nature. These teachings are presented to help devotees give up believing and insisting that inner and outer phenomena do not exist, that cause and effect are a thing of naught.
At the first turning of the Wheel of Dharma, Buddha Shakyamuni taught the path of the Shravakas and Pratyekas. Shravakas are those who first heard and continue studying the teachings of the Buddha; they concentrate their attention on basic meditation practices to realize the selflessness of an individual. The Pratyekas are also Hinayana practitioners and attain nirvana of cessation by seeking their own liberation. At the second and last turning of the Wheel of Dharma, Buddha taught the Mahayana. Nagarjuna, who lived about the first century of the Common Era, wrote six treatises on the Madhyamaka philosophical school of thought. The school he founded is called “the chariot of the deep view,” since he explained the teachings of the Second Dharmachakra in great detail. The teachings of the third turning were compiled through the inspiration of Buddha Maitreya by Asanga in The Five Teachings of Maitreya. These teachings are referred to as “the chariot of vast activity,” because they explain the five paths and ten levels a Bodhisattva traverses and reaches on the journey to freedom from samsaric ways while always helping others. The five paths are: the path of accumulation, the path of junction, the path of insight, the path of cultivation, and the path of accomplishment.
Buddha Shakyamuni prophesied that Gampopa – then a Bodhisattva with the name Dawa Shönnu – would spread the teachings on the definitive meaning of the Third Dharmachakra. Dawa Shönnu promised the Buddha that he would do so. The Buddha had foretold Dawa Shönnu’s future vast activity in the Samadhirajasutra, translated as “The King of Samadhi Sutra.” Born as Gampopa, he then fulfilled this promise. Gampopa wrote many major commentaries on Lord Buddha’s Dharma, the most well-known being The Jewel Ornament of Liberation.
According to the Buddha’s words in the White Lotus Compassion Sutra, Dhagpo Lha-je Gampopa was born at Nyäl in Tibet and led the life of a monk physician. He unified the pure Bodhisattva conduct that was taught in the first of the New Translation Schools (known as the Kadampa tradition) with the Madhyamaka philosophy that was transmitted by Nagarjuna, and then founded the Oral Transmission Lineage of Mahamudra through the blessings and instructions he had received from his Guru Jetsün Milarepa. Gampopa was exceptional because he unified these three lineages, thus founding the Karma Kagyu Lineage. The blessings of the Madhyamaka view, of a Bodhisattva’s way of life, and of Mahamudra view, meditation, and conduct are perfectly united in the Kagyu Tradition that was founded by Lha-je Gampopa.
Bodhichitta and superior knowledge of emptiness are the specific means practiced in Mahayana. Bodhicitta is the Sanskrit term that defines the core of Mahayana. Conventionally, it means both the aspiration to achieve Buddhahood in order to help other beings and the engagement in the discipline by which that awakening can be realized. Ultimately, it denotes the direct understanding of the nature of reality. When one engages in Mahayana practice, one needs to know that both the skillful means of generating and cultivating Bodhichitta as well as superior knowledge are essential and always need to be practiced together.
Furthermore, Mahayana is divided into the practices of Sutra and Tantra. Sutrayana is the path of causal characteristics; Tantrayana is the path that teaches how to use the results while on the path. Sutrayana instructs disciples to logically analyze the causal characteristics for all “inadequacies of conditioned existence,” samsara, and to investigate mental phenomena with reference to the part they play in one’s life. In this way, studies are carried out that are based upon one’s living situation; one learns that the self arises from causes and conditions and wins certainty in the fact that the self does not exist the way one assumes, but that it is empty of a self-supporting entity.
Tantrayana teaches to integrate the results while on the spiritual path to full realization of Buddhahood by looking at one’s own mind. Followers are then able to transform emotions into wisdom. Afflicting or disturbing emotions are never constructive and if recognized as mind’s display the moment they arise, emotions lose their unwholesome force. In brief, realizing Sutrayana enables practitioners to integrate superior knowledge as to how things are and how things appear to be, and realizing Tantrayana furthermore enables practitioners to participate in the world with loving kindness and compassion.
Many practitioners falsely assume that they need not appreciate Sutrayana and mistakenly deduce that Tantra is compatible with improper behavior since it provides skillful means to transform emotional outbursts into wisdom. This is not so. An advanced practitioner of Buddhism manifests perfection at all times, which is the reason why Tantra is exceptional. Supreme accomplishment or enlightenment in Tantra means manifesting superior knowledge and skillful means. It is possible to practice Tantra once one has integrated Sutrayana in one’s life. It is possible to transform disturbing emotions after having realized the true nature of all manifestations within and without.
I want to remind everyone that Tantra is not a passport to an improper lifestyle; it does not justify disturbing emotions such as anger or greed, emotions that impede and put an end to values of being. Heightened awareness is developed and increased by practicing the skillful means of Tantra. Should a practitioner remain beset by his or her defilements and cling to them, he or she is not a Tantrayana practitioner. Delusiveness is only transformed by recognizing the nature of afflictions when they arise. Consequently, attachment and aversion are eliminated and, instead, loving kindness and compassion unfold from within and become manifest, which is the purpose of practicing Tantra.
Some people think only Sutra is good and that the methods employed in Tantra – the many Tibetan Lamas, the various deities, and so forth – are awkward. This attitude is not correct. Sutrayana teaches its followers to analytically investigate the truth of experiences. One does experience a conflict between one’s knowledge and feelings. Tantra presents the most skillful means to apply the Buddhadharma in all walks of life, to recognize the impure as pure from the perspective of an awakened mind. Less outbursts of emotional reactions are not incompatible with everyday life, rather accord with a Bodhisattva’s way of life.
Please remember that Sutrayana and Tantrayana offer practitioners skillful means to experience the undivided state. Superior knowledge and primordial wisdom won through engaging in the practices should never be divided; superior knowledge and skillful means – knowledge of emptiness and skillful compassionate activities – are inseparable. As one’s knowledge of emptiness develops, a more compassionate approach to life unfolds, and as one’s experience of compassion increases, one’s understanding of emptiness becomes more profound. Both aspects of skill and knowing are like seeing with both eyes. Employing the two in union is the practice to eventually realize the fullness and richness that is inherent to every living being. Practicing only the one vehicle without the other is like trying to perceive a vast horizon with only one eye.
Lha-je Gampopa was a highly realized master, whose immeasurable beneficial activities are compared with those of the illuminating sun. The teachings he transmitted through Lord Buddha’s blessings and inspiration deal with the definitive meaning of reality. The many commentaries he wrote are summarized in The Four Dharmas, the reason this short prayer is extremely significant and very beneficial.
The Four Dharmas of Lha-je Gampopa
Grant your blessings so that my mind turns towards the Dharma.
Grant your blessings so that my Dharma may progress along the path.
Grant your blessings so that the path may clarify confusion.
Grant your blessings so that confusion may dawn as wisdom.
The First Dharma
Grant your blessings so that my mind turns towards the Dharma.
If sincere practitioners of the Buddhadharma wish to attain spiritual maturity, they need to practice the preliminaries by contemplating the unique occasion of having attained a precious human birth, impermanence, karma or “the infallible law of cause and effect,” and suffering that samsara unremittingly entails.
Contemplating the preliminaries again and again enables one to become free of dividedness. There are four hindrances in realizing the unimpaired state: 1) attachment to concerns of this life, 2) attachment to concerns of the world, 3) attachment to the bliss and peace of the Shravakas and Pratyekas, and 4) not knowing the methods to accomplish Buddhahood.
Gampopa taught the four remedies one needs to apply to overcome the four hindrances in The Jewel Ornament of Liberation. The four remedies are: 1) receiving the instructions in meditation on impermanence, 2) receiving the instructions in meditation on the defects of samsaric existence together with action and its effect, 3) receiving the instructions in meditation on loving kindness and compassion, and 4) receiving the instructions on developing an attitude towards supreme enlightenment.
Should one fail to turn one’s mind towards the Buddhadharma and not receive and practice the invaluable instructions, one would continue believing in an inherently existing self and in experiences that are felt to be other than the self. One then mistakenly believes both subject and objects are permanent and distinct existents and as a result one invests much energy in defending one’s position by satisfying personal expectations and aims. It is important to contemplate the truth of impermanence in order to realize that all things are impermanent due to the fact that everything compounded arises in dependence and disintegrates again. By ascertaining the truth of interdependent origination, one becomes free of attachment to mundane concerns that only cause suffering and pain.
As it is, one perceives the world as an outer vessel and living beings as the inner content, but they eventually disintegrate and end. While they arise, abide, and cease, they seem to exist as solid, unique entities. In The Sixty Stanzas on Reasoning, Nagarjuna clarified this theme by perfectly elaborating that all phenomena “seem” to exist of their own accord but only arise on account of interdependent origination. For example, when something is conceived of as long, it is done so in relation to something else that is short and vice versa. The concept “long” depends upon the idea “short,” a relative relationship proving length in itself has no inherent reality. All things are experienced and defined in the same way.
Interdependent realities are gross and subtle. Gross impermanence refers to the outer vessel – mountains, houses, trees, etc. Another example for gross impermanence is a table, which was first made. The table functions and at some point a leg breaks off. As time proceeds, it falls apart until there is no more table one could point to. Subtle impermanence refers to the fact that the table one identifies is in truth never the same as it seems to be but is continuously subject to change. Subtle impermanence means that this vessel-like world, which existed at an earlier moment, does not do so at a later time. That it seems to continue in the same way is because something similar arises, like the streaming water of a waterfall. There is nothing not subject to subtle, incessant and moment-to-moment change. This is not fully perceptible to ordinary beings, but it is seen by highly realized individuals.The Abhidharma literature concisely describes gross and subtle impermanence of the outer and inner vessel and how things are continuously being destroyed by fire, water, and wind.
All abstract and concrete phenomena are impermanent and transitory. Life is considered long in as much as one doesn’t reflect the immediacy of death. One lives one’s life as though it were permanent and acts accordingly, for example, by hoarding possessions or striving for fame in order to affirm one’s status in society. In reality, though, a human lifespan is indefinite, since the body is without solidity and many circumstances cause death. One needs to remember that death is definite because there is nobody who has not died in the past; the body is composite, and life is consuming itself in every instant of time. So many causes and conditions lead to death. Therefore Nagarjuna compared life with a flag hoisted on a high mountaintop that continuously flutters in the wind. Using this example, he said it is really amazing that one even inhales after having exhaled and that one wakes up after having fallen asleep. Isn’t this so?
Reflecting the truth of impermanence of the outer world and inner beings encourages practitioners to use the resources at their disposal effectively. Should one refrain from contemplating the transitory nature of all things, death would come while one is not prepared. Nothing accompanies one then - no possessions, no friends or relatives, not even one’s body. One experiences death nakedly and therefore needs to live one’s life meaningfully instead of pursuing transitory aims that all end, often faster than one expects.
The benefit of having meditated on impermanence inspires students to diligently follow and practice the Buddhadharma. But as long as one remains attached to the four hindrances described above, one will continue wandering in the vicious rounds of conditionality, samsara. One will not know where the arrow one initially shot from one’s bow will land, the arrow being shot is the direction one’s life takes due to the force of karma. Mundane hopes, fears, and endeavors lead to indefinite situations that inevitably bring suffering and loss and are therefore futile. One needs to remember that all things are impermanent and devoid of self-existence, and one needs to reflect that everyone dies. One should also know what happens after death.
If one faces death unprepared, then many things will go wrong. Should a practitioner reflect on impermanence and death, he or she would know that worldly perspectives are futile and mundane happiness is a fraud. He or she would be able to integrate the knowledge won from contemplating the Buddha’s teachings and integrate them in life. Having understood the impermanence of outer and inner things, attachment to this life is reversed. It stimulates one’s faith in the fact that it is possible to become free of attachment and to eventually experience the reward, freedom from conditioned existence. A sincere practitioner knows that only the Buddha’s Dharma renders meaningfulness.
Jetsün Milarepa is the epitome of the Dharma only because he had perfectly renounced worldly ways. He didn’t immediately lead the life of a recluse in the mountains but first experienced the hopeless situations that mundane concerns entail. All injuries he faced stimulated his trust that only Dharma is beneficial. He was fully convinced that samsara is deceptive before he began practicing. Having realized the deceptive nature of samsara, he threw off all chains that bind to conditioned existence and quickly achieved the unimpaired state of Vajradhara – full awakening that is perfect enlightenment.
It is important to be aware of the fact that an intellectual understanding of samsara is not sufficient to properly engage in practice. A beginner may think so and just sit down to meditate, not noticing that his or her attachments are actually increasing. At a given point, such a misled individual is convinced that samsara is satisfactory and gives up practicing. So I want everyone to know how important a correct understanding of the nature of samsara is before meditating.
The correct sequence of practice is to first contemplate impermanence until one is fully convinced of deceptive propositions. One comes to know that the world and all beings within are impermanent and is convinced of the infallible law of karma, the truth of “cause and effect.” One knows that virtuous activities lead to positive results and non-virtuous activities engender negative results. One is certain that conditioned existence in the six realms of samsara (i.e., the possibilities of painful experiences) only entails frustration and pain. Unmistaken knowledge is then one’s attitude, stimulus, and incentive to correctly focus one’s attention on the Dharma.
I have now explained the first instruction of The Four Dharmas of Lha-je Gampopa. I explained the truth of impermanence, that no appearance or experience of conditioned existence inherently exists and lasts, that all effects depend upon causes and conditions that we ourselves determine through our behaviour, and that we experience confusion in samsara on account of our mistaken perception. Should one recognize the inevitability of impermanence, one would see how important it is to study Lord Buddha’s Dharma. A worthy practitioner realizes the importance of turning his or her mind towards the Dharma that Lord Buddha generously revealed.
The Second Dharma
Grant your blessings so that my Dharma may progress along the path.
Having contemplated impermanence, karma, and the various states of mental distress that prevail in the six realms of cyclic existence, one sees that suffering arises from causes and conditions and realizes how important Dharma practice really is. Merely aspiring to practice the Buddhadharma will not eliminate suffering, though. One needs to correctly practice the path that Lord Buddha showed.
What does it mean to correctly practice the genuine path to freedom from conflict? Only striving for personal well-being and seeking one’s own satisfaction is not correct. One needs to contemplate Bodhicitta, “loving kindness and compassion,” in order to reverse attachment to the bliss of peace by focusing one’s mind on the wish to achieve enlightenment for the well-being of others. Bodhicitta is the pure motivation and the purpose of practicing the path.
The sequence of generating Bodhichitta is first having the wish that all living beings meet with happiness, which is love, and then having the wish that all beings be free of suffering and its causes, which is compassion.
Having given rise to sincere love, genuine compassion naturally arises with the aspiration to free others from pain and misery. One learns to feel for everyone’s situation, has empathy with others, and actually sees others as more important than the oneself.
Genuine and precious Bodhichitta is divided into relative and ultimate. Relative Bodhichitta is the aspiration to achieve perfect enlightenment in order to be able to work for the welfare of others. One takes the Bodhisattva vows in the presence of a qualified teacher, all Buddhas, and Bodhisattvas, and one promises to engage in the training to achieve the ability and possibility to help others. Ultimate Bodhichitta is identical with one’s true essence, the Buddha nature abiding in each and every living being without exception.
As ordinary beings, one first generates relative Bodhichitta in order to eventually establish ultimate Bodhichitta by taking the Bodhisattva vows. Relative Bodhichitta is divided into the precepts for the enlightened attitude of aspiration and the precepts of the attitude of practice towards enlightenment. Bodhichitta of aspiration is the decision, the stimulus, the drive to reach the definite state; it is the decision to work for the benefit of others. Bodhichitta of training is applying the practices by actually working on the path to fruition, in which case all actions of body, speech, and mind accord with the perfect conduct of a Bodhisattva, who is able to integrate the six paramitas, “perfections,” in his or her life. What are the six perfections? The five means, which are 1) generosity, 2) moral ethics, 3) patience, 4) joyful endeavour, 5) meditative concentration, and the result, which is 6) superior knowledge, i.e., discriminating awareness that perfectly distinguishes the truth of reality. Superior knowledge turns the successive training of the first five paramitas into perfections, whereas the first five paramitas make the sixth paramita vast, deep, and real. All six trainings unify skillful means and superior knowledge if they are practiced correctly.
Ultimate Bodhichitta arises from practicing skillful means and superior knowledge together, i.e., from having generated and developed relative Bodhichitta. One studies the Buddha’s instructions in order to develop superior knowledge and in order to realize that all things are as an illusion, as a dream. One learns that nothing exists through and of its own accord but in dependence upon causes and conditions. Study enables one to have unmistaken knowledge and to correctly apply skillful means so that ultimate Bodhichitta becomes part of one’s lives. If a practitioner takes the Bodhisattva vows, practices skillful means, and gains superior knowledge, then he or she is correctly traversing the path. One needs to eliminate delusory concepts in order to truly be able to help others. The correct view sustains and enhances the development of all that is healthy and indispensable for the actual practice of all that leads to liberation. By realizing ultimate Bodhichitta – by realizing that all things are devoid of inherent existence and only exist in dependence upon other things – delusions cease. By correctly practicing the path to benefit others, qualities arise that abide within oneself and the aim of the path is established.
If an individual has not developed Bodhichitta well and practices the path, he or she is not engaging in the practices of the Buddhadharma correctly and will be misled. Correct practice through all stages is necessary in order to embark on the training of Vajrayana, the practices which consist of the creation and completion stages. The first involves visualizing aspects of the Buddha in the pure mansion; the second means dissolving the visualization into emptiness again. Having developed Bodhichitta correctly, a practitioner knows that the creation stage of practice is an expression of skillful means so that qualities of compassion manifest. The practitioner also knows that the completion stage of practice is a means to realize emptiness. Both are the purpose of Vajrayana. If a practitioner does not acknowledge that meditation unifies skillful means and superior knowledge, his or her endeavor will be in vain; he or she will remain bound by limitations and cannot achieve Buddhahood.
Another mistake that can arise, next to misunderstanding Vajrayana, is not knowing what Mahayana really is by falsely meditating on emptiness without having generated Bodhichitta. A practitioner can then fall into one of the most formidable extreme views of believing nothing exists, called “nihilism.” Meditating on emptiness with correct understanding and developing love and compassion bring forth spontaneous empathy and the ability to truly benefit others.
A sincere practitioner needs openness; otherwise he or she may develop pride, anger, and the other disturbing emotions - jealousy, craving, resentment, etc. Meditation is carried out in order to refine one’s situation, not to intensify disturbing emotions. Incorrect practice stimulates negativities, the reason Dhagpo Rinpoche, Gampopa prayed: “Grant your blessings so that my mind turns towards the Dharma. Grant your blessings so that my Dharma may progress along the path.” The genuine path consists of realizing Bodhichitta by developing and increasing 1) the first four paramitas to increase one’s good qualities, 2) meditative concentration to increase one’s peace of mind, and 3) discriminating awareness to attain insight.
Through correct practice, qualities gradually emerge and become extremely beneficial for oneself and others. Virtuous activities without genuine Bodhichitta remain and limited.
Tranquility and insight are not different from the peace that settles over the mind in meditation. Tranquility and insight attained through Mahayana practice and based on Bodhichitta lead to Vajrayana, in which case the impure view is transformed into the pure vision. An expansive outlook enables one to recognize that all things are as a dream, as an illusion; one knows that nothing truly exists as seems to be the case and whatever appears does so on account of interdependent origination. If an individual thinks it is possible to transform his or her impure vision without Bodhichitta by only rendering lip-service and bragging, this fault will only delay spiritual improvement.
In short, a sincere practitioner of the Buddhadharma needs to take the Bodhisattva vows, uphold them, and increase Bodhichitta in order to lead a wholesome and beneficial life. He and she need to remain wakefully aware that Bodhichitta engenders the ability to truly help others in all situations and without bias.
This completes the explanation on the first two Dharmas of Lha-je Gampopa, the instructions on how to turn one’s mind towards the Dharma by contemplating impermanence, samsara, love, and compassion, on how to apply the path by developing Bodhichitta, on the significance of practicing the paramitas, and on learning that all things only exist in dependence and are merely as an illusion, as a dream.
The Third Dharma
Grant your blessings so that the path may clarify confusion.
The purpose of practicing the Buddhadharma is to become free of dividedness. Gampopa explained that our concepts of samsara and nirvana are based upon dualistic suppositions. Realization is freedom from all mental contrivances and their painful consequences. Realization is freedom from duality, which is the meaning of nirvana. The essence of nirvana is emptiness. Not recognizing emptiness, one experiences suffering, samsara. Actually, samsara does not truly exist, thus delusiveness is also non-existent.
I want you all to know that the path does not mean that something called “delusion” is swept away. Delusiveness is mistakenly thinking that the structures of duality truly exist or do not exist at all. Clinging to one of the two extreme views of eternalism or nihilism is the delusion.
Freedom from delusiveness and dividedness is attained through progressive mental improvement. It is impossible to become liberated through outer means, rather liberation is only possible by realizing that all experiences and appearances are empty of an own, intrinsic existence yet appear unimpeded when causes and conditions prevail. It is necessary to work with one’s own beliefs instead of with the world.
Why is it necessary to work with one’s own mind and not with appearances to achieve omniscience? Since all things are empty, it is possible for things to appear. While phenomena appear, they are empty of inherent existence. Emptiness and appearances are indivisible and do not contradict each other. It isn’t easy to realize non-duality, which is the ineffable experience of that in which tranquility and insight are indivisibly merged. One usually clings to discursive concepts upon apprehending phenomena as if they either truly exist of their own accord or do not exist at all. One can only bring about an improvement by looking at one’s own mind. Attempting to become free of dividedness by focusing one’s attention outwards is spiritual materialism, a term Venerable Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche spoke about quite earnestly. Trying to achieve omniscience by assuming the world needs to change is spiritual materialism and does not comply with Lord Buddha’s instructions. Treading the path to liberation is an inner evolvement of gradually becoming free of delusiveness. The path does not stand in opposition to immediate experiences of everyday life in which one works, eats, and drinks, since the essence of all things is the inseparability of emptiness and appearances.
If one does not understand that the gradual path of the Buddhadharma denotes becoming free of delusory apprehension but mixes it with mundane concerns, delusions will increase. Lord Buddha presented various methods and means so that one can become free from mental dividedness. He presented the definitive instructions in accordance with pupils’ mental capacities and propensities for this reason.
Our great Forefather Tilopa told his foremost disciple Naropa, “Appearances are not delusory, only our attachment to them,” which means to say that manifestations are empty and therefore clearly appear, and delusiveness arises from clinging to appearances as real by not having realized all things are in fact empty of independent existence. Not knowing what emptiness is, a mistaken practitioner may deduce that appearances exist of their own accord. These extreme views are delusory. It is impossible to run away from one’s own delusions. Omniscience is an inner process of refinement in which attachment to duality has been unraveled and overcome.
The third Dharma of Gampopa is a prayer that illusory thoughts be relinquished on the path, which is the purpose of practice. In short, 1) meditating on impermanence and interdependent origination reverses attachment to concerns of this life and eliminates the delusion that perceivable phenomena are self-supporting, permanent entities; 2) meditating on the defects of samsaric existence together with action and its effects reverses attachment to concerns of the world and the delusion that phenomena do not exist at all; 3) meditating on love and compassion reverses delusory attachment to the bliss and peace of personal liberation, a remedy against attachment to self-complacency and self-importance; 4) developing an attitude towards supreme enlightenment, Bodhichitta, is the method to remove ignorance about Buddhahood. All meditations engender gradual experiences that enable practitioners to eventually surmount erroneous views and do not imply outer changes.
The Fourth Dharma
Grant your blessings so that confusion may dawn as wisdom.
Realization of Bodhichitta eradicates a follower’s clinging to self-importance and substantiality and gives rise to the ability to achieve omniscience, post-reflective and uncontrived wisdom. The relative world is then not shunned as “bad,” and the absolute is then not said to be “good.” Omniscience is realization of non-duality and spontaneously arises from non-discursiveness, which Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche translated as „simplicity.“
Lord Buddha’s teachings are profound and vast and can never be an object of blind faith. He spoke of samsara and nirvana in accordance with disciples’ experiences, while the essence of samsara and nirvana is identical. Reality is more than a segment. Playing off samsara and nirvana against each other misleads individuals to deny the truth and supports his and her wish to escape. Speaking about samsara and nirvana does not go against reality. A sincere practitioner needs to understand the correct view and must understand the instructions that deal with the nature of reality in order to correctly progress to spiritual maturity. It is impossible to meditate on Bodhichitta without having established the view. In Mahayana, the middle view is called Madhyamaka in Sanskrit - it is the basis for all practices. The Madhyamaka philosophy teaches disciples to recognize that the essence of all things is empty of inherent, independent existence. A disciple learns that emptiness isn’t a void state of nothingness, rather it is the ground for the radiance of appearances to manifest. All appearances are a projection of the mind, are inseparably united with one’s own mind, since emptiness and clarity indivisibly coexist. “The nature of the mind,” “the nature of the Buddha,” and “the nature of all things” are synonyms.
Dhagpo Rinpoche, Lha-je Gampopa, is exceptional, because he clearly elucidated Lord Buddha’s instructions that all phenomena and experiences that individuals have are the indivisibility of emptiness and lucidity. “Lucidity” or “clarity” are terms used to describe freedom from the darkness of not knowing and, instead, endowed with the ability to cognize, to know. Luminosity is clear manifestation, the uncompounded nature present throughout all of samsara and nirvana. Living beings continuously experience conditioned existence and therefore cannot easily accept the truth of reality. Je Gampopa described reality perfectly and showed in which way all experiences and appearances are clear and radiant manifestations due to emptiness. Samsara actually means “clinging” - it means deludedly clinging to whatever appears as though it were an independent existent. Appearances are experienced as wisdom when a practitioner has attained fruition, and then an accomplished disciple neither clings to samsara nor to nirvana as separate but cognizes the inseparability of both.
I want everyone to know that these teachings do not justify misbehaviour or excuse disturbing emotions in any way. One may not think one may follow after impulses and has the right to accept and increase disturbing emotions in order to experience omniscience. One may not nurish emotions and excuse them in the name of the Buddhadharma. In order to transform disturbing emotions into wisdom, one needs to give up clinging. An accomplished practitioner of the Buddhadharma then spontaneously experiences wisdom. Dhagpo Lha-je Gampopa transmitted the instructions of Mahamudra to us precisely, the reason the Kagyu Tradition is exceptional indeed.
Buddha Shakyamuni presented innumerable instructions so that disciples easefully recognize and realize what is referred to as “profound and vast.” Enlightenment is omniscience, in which case a disciple has realized the vast and profound truth of reality and effortlessly manifests qualities of being. Every action and active process then coincides with the ground of the view.
What is the view, meditation practice, and fruition? The basis is the Buddha nature, the true nature of one’s own mind, which can be seen from an impure or from an awakened perspective. The Buddha nature itself always has been, always is, and always will be untouched by any adventitious stains - nothing needs to be eliminated and nothing needs to be added to the basic ground that everyone has. The impure perspective means momentary, incidental obscurations conceal one’s true nature. There are various obscurations – karma, disturbing emotions, ignorance, and habitual patterns – that impede realization of one’s abiding Buddha within.
„Buddha nature” is the term used in Sutras to describe one’s essence, “primordial wisdom” in Vajrayana, “awareness” in Maha-Ati. One’s pure essence is the ground, alaya in Sanskrit, and is the basis for samsara and nirvana – one’s own mind. Alaya is the Sanskrit term for the “ground consciousness,” which is the ever-enduring basis of the other consciousnesses constituting mind. The ground consciousness is called alaya on the relative level. Failing to recognize the innate essence, one experiences duality of self and other and thus behavespositively or negatively by accepting or rejecting appearances and experiences. One then develops habitual patterns that subside into and are stored in the ground consciousness. Due to these stored habitual patterns, karma ripens as intensified negative habits of body, speech, and mind. It is important to understand that the alaya does not lead to bewilderment, rather the habitual patterns lead astray. When one recognizes the ultimate state of the alaya, which is free of habitual patterns, one has realized primordial wisdom. When free of all habitual patterns, it is no longer the alaya consciousness but alaya wisdom, jnana-alaya. By not realizing the true nature of one’s mind, one remains enslaved in samsara; by realizing the nature of one’s mind, one realizes nirvana. Mind itself is emptiness and clarity. Emptiness is the immaculate ground; clarity refers to the radiant manifestations that continuously arise in one’s mind. One clings to appearances of the mind as real because one does not realize the truth of reality and is consequently deluded. When one fails to realize mind’s empty essence, one clings to a self. When one fails to realize mind’s clear nature, one clings to appearances as distinct, real, and other.
The path that Lord Buddha showed accords with the view, which is the ground. Buddha Shakyamuni taught the Four Noble Truths – they are the bases for progress. Reflecting the Four Noble Truths is a means to eliminate the mistaken apprehension of an inherently existing self. Again, by not recognizing that the mind is empty, one identies and clings to a self and thinks it is real. When one not only acknowledges but realizes the Four Noble Truths, incorrect assumptions are vanquished, never to arise again.
Lord Buddha taught the greater vehicle of Mahayana and defined the true nature of all things. He showed that all phenomena and experiences are naturally devoid of independent existence. He clarified how all things arise interdependently, enabling adepts to win knowledge, and he spoke about the importance of generating and developing Bodhichitta, enabling students to employ the skillful means to realize mind’s brilliance. The Mahayana instructions teach how to practice in order to become free of clinging to apprehended objects. It is certainly possible to become free of an erroneous apprehension of a subject and objects by winning unmistaken knowledge and by employing the skillful methods that Mahayana presents.
Again, should a practitioner engage in the path Lord Buddha presented to achieve omniscience, he and she needs to gain both superior knowledge and develop skillful means together, the first to realize emptiness and the second to realize lucidity.
I again want to warn everyone about falling into the inevitable and distressing consequences of extreme views. Meditating on emptiness alone, a practitioner experiences a non-discursive state of mental turpitude and clings to it as fruition. Meditating on clarity alone, experiences arise, for example rainbows are seen, dreams become vivid, and a misled individual clings to experiences as fruition. Our true basis is empty and radiant. We need to realize mind’s empty and radiant aspects by practicing both meditation on wisdom and skillful means together.
In all Vajrayana creation phase practices, a devotee visualizes yidams, i.e., aspects of pure, radiant manifestations that embody the true nature of one’s own mind. During the completion phase of all Vajrayana practices, one dissolves the visualization into emptiness. Both are methods facilitating the pure vision of the indivisibility of emptiness and clarity. Both stages of meditation must be practiced together; it is detrimental to restrict practice to one phase only. I want everyone to know that one needs to practice the path correctly. If a sincere follower of Lord Buddha correctly practices the creation and completion phases of meditation, invaluable fruition can be established. Yidams are the sources for accomplishments of fruition. Supreme accomplishment is the living reality of limitless all-knowing, which is Buddhahood.
Questions & Answers
Question: Are the four main and eight minor schools of Kagyu still practiced today?
His Eminence, Rinpoche : The Karma Kamtsang (Karma Kagyu) of the four main and a few of the eight minor schools are still being practiced today. Delusions are greater now than in the past and therefore meritorious karma is diminishing. This is why it is so important to uphold the precious teachings.
Question: If one eye alone does not see, then how is Sutra integrated in Vajrayana?
Rinpoche: We all take refuge and the Bodhisattva vows in order to develop Bodhichitta. We practice the paramitas, calm abiding, and special insight meditation, etc. which belong to Sutra. It would be very good if you study the teachings. When you practice Ngöndro, you are uniting Sutra and Tantra. You contemplate the precious human birth, impermanence, karma, and the defects of samsara. You arouse Bodhichitta, otherwise you are not doing the preliminaries properly. Sutra is integrated in Tantra. We differentiate, which is not right. The skillful means are Tantra, superior knowledge is Sutra. It is impossible to engage in Tantra without superior knowledge. If you perfect the Sutrayana practices, then you are preparing the ground to engage in Tantrayana correctly. Separating them obstructs beneficial results.
Question: Why did Nagarjuna and Asanga have to explain the Buddha’s teachings?
Rinpoche: The immediate words of Lord Buddha and the commentaries have been handed down to us. All teachings were presented by the Buddha and aren’t easily comprehensible, so highly realized masters explained the Buddha’s teachings adequately and wrote commentaries. Lord Buddha’s words are deep and vast; they have an outer, an inner, and a secret meaning. Ordinary living beings cannot understand them without receiving explanations, which the great realized masters gave in the commentaries.
Same student: Does this mean they explained everything correctly?
Rinpoche: Of course. Buddha Shakyamuni had many pupils who immediately understood the teachings, but they didn’t write them down. Later, many understood and realized them. Vinaya and Sutra were written down first. Later Nagarjuna and Asanga clearly presented the teachings in a suitable manner for very many beings and thus helped spread the Mahayana.
Same student: Did their commentaries found the Mahayana?
Rinpoche: No, the teachings were presented by Buddha Shakyamuni and were elucidated by Nagarjuna and Asanga. Nagarjuna mainly explained the subject of emptiness. This does not mean he did not understand and practice the paths and reach a Bodhisattva’s spiritual levels of accomplishment. He explained the profound meaning of the Buddha’s instructions on emptiness. Asanga, on the other hand, elucidated the paths and levels of accomplishment precisely and perfectly. Of course, he too understood and realized emptiness. All instructions were taught by the Buddha in the first place; Nagarjuna and Asanga clarified them so that others would easily and unmistakenly understand the Buddha’s instructions. Nagarjuna’s commentaries are called “profound” because they clarify the quintessence; Asanga’s commentaries are called “vast” because they clarify the expansive meaning. Lord Buddha’s words are inconceivably deep and vast, evidence of his spontaneous Buddha activity for the benefit of others. A Buddha only speaks the truth, and the truth is profound and vast.
Question: What is the purpose of doing pujas in the Tibetan language?
Rinpoche: There is nothing wrong with reciting pujas in other languages. Most Lamas teach that it is beneficial reciting in Tibetan for various reasons, one being that the texts are blessed through the transmission. Buddhism is very new in the West, so there are faulty translations. It will be a while before perfect translations are available. Faulty translations are misleading. Dharma has just been introduced in the West. You receive teachings from Lamas and you are just beginning to understand. There are so many texts handed down to us by Buddha and many commentaries written by Indian and Tibetan scholars and saints. Maybe only two or three percent have been translated. There isn’t enough ground for good translations. It is very important to translate texts into English, German, and other languages. So far, I have noticed while traveling in America that many English words are used for one Tibetan word in different centers. I can correct translations at this point. But if everybody creates their own translations, we will run into big problems. What I would like to do in the future – I don’t know when – is to organize translation seminars. I have already asked His Holiness Sakya Trizin and Kalu Rinpoche; I had talked with Trungpa Rinpoche about this but haven’t found the opportunity to ask His Holiness the Dalai Lama yet. He will support me too. Many Rinpoches in our Lineage also support me in inviting all translators from the different traditions for a seminar. It may take many years, but we need to discuss the subject and agree on one word, really, one word we all use for one Tibetan term. Otherwise many misunderstandings will arise. This happened in Tibet, where each translator made a different translation. Finally, the king made a proclamation and said, “This is it.” I want to invite all translators and make a big Dharma dictionary that everybody uses.
Question: Is it possible to see impermanence? Is it then she-rab?
Rinpoche: That is a good question. One doesn’t experience impermanence because one hasn’t realized the nature of reality. Realized beings experience superior knowledge, she-rab. For example, if a dust particle lands in one’s eyes, one feels uncomfortable; if it lands in the palm of one’s hands, one isn’t irritated. Realized individuals experience everything like a dust particle in their own eye.
Question: Is attachment to Dharma clinging?
Rinpoche: It is good to be attached to the teachings and to the paramita of perfect knowledge.
Question: How do we transform disturbing emotions?
Rinpoche: It’s not that easy. A practitioner needs to have completed the preliminary practices and meditated a yidam.
Question: How do you transform the impure world?
Rinpoche: Impurity refers to the world of one’s cognition. In order to transform an impure vision into pure perception, it doesn’t suffice to merely think “pure.” One needs to understand the nature of the world, of appearances first, and then one can realize that all things are like a dream, like an illusion, and that everything only arises in dependence upon causes and conditions. Realizing the truth of existents, it is then possible to experience the pure vision. For example, when anger arises, ordinary beings aren’t able to transform aggression into compassion. To do so, one first needs to be aware of the essence of the feeling of anger the moment it arises so that it dissolves; then one can transform it into compassion. A sincere practitioner investigates whether the one experiencing anger and the object of anger truly exist. He and she can then dissolve the emotion.
Question: How does precious Bodhichitta arise from wisdom that knows all things are as a dream?
Rinpoche: First you generate Bodhichitta, then you take the Bodhisattva vows and practice the paramitas. The first five paramitas are a means, whereas the sixth turns them into perfections. The six paramitas support each other - the first five support the development of wisdom and the sixth enhances the development of the first five. The sixth paramita of superior knowledge means ascertaining emptiness.
Question: You said if there were a creator, the creator could not be permanent. Would you please explain this?
Rinpoche: Maybe I didn’t explain it clearly. If a permanent creator exists, he must be special. A creator who creates can’t be permanent, because permanence means changeless. Whenever creation occurs, there is a change, and change implies impermanence. Do you understand? Furthermore, creation means there was a time when creation did not take place. Creation involves change and therefore nothing is permanent.
Question: What is the difference between ultimate Bodhichitta and the paramitas?
Rinpoche: There isn’t a big difference. The sixth paramita of superior knowledge ascertains the empty essence of all things. Ultimate Bodhichitta is the fulfillment of having united wisdom and skillful means, emptiness and lucidity.
Question: Rinpoche, how can I unite wisdom and compassion? I work in an old-age home and do not have the time to speak with the elderly, because the timetable is too tight. I only concentrate on giving them physical help.
Rinpoche: You seem to be doing your best with the time at your disposal. Your attitude is essential. Ultimate help depends on the situation and is based on the pure attitude.
Question: Does Bodhichitta refer to the Bodhisattva path and not to the vehicles?
Rinpoche: All Buddhist vehicles are invaluable. It is impossible, though, to attain perfect enlightenment if a practitioner only strives for personal well-being. Those who practice the Hinayana attain the state of an Arhat. They then need to generate Bodhichitta and follow the Mahayana path to full enlightenment.
Question: Isn’t the belief in a creator proof that nothing is permanent and that all things arise and cease? A creator isn’t impermanent.
Rinpoche: A creator is someone who does something. Merely stating he exists proves impermanence. Whatever exists is subject to change. Only that which is beyond existence and non-existence can be permanent. Therefore, it is impossible for a permanent creator to exist.
Same student: We verbalize our ideas and don’t experience. We can speak of a god in the same manner as the teachings presented here, which coincide with Christian mysticism. My question is therefore justified. Impermanence is exclusion.
Rinpoche: How do you integrate your idea of a god who can’t be described?
Same student: Is god disqualified as a creator? I can’t imagine that Buddhism isn’t present in Christianity; they just don’t know how to deal with it. Rinpoche should explain to me why a permanent creator couldn’t create impermanent things.
Rinpoche: Claiming a god is ineffable stands in opposition to the statement that god exists. You can’t bring the two statements together.
Same student: Then I also can’t say there is a Buddha.
Rinpoche: That’s true.
Same student: Then I understand Rinpoche!
Rinpoche: I never said that there is a Buddha and no god. I never said there is no Buddha either, since Buddha is beyond notions of existence and non-existence.
Question: Is the knowledge won from valid reasoning wisdom or does it lead to wisdom?
Rinpoche: Concentration leads to superior knowledge. You come to know the essence of what you concentrate on, which is superior knowledge or special insight.
Question: I don’t understand Bodhichitta in the creation and completion phases of yidam practice. Doesn’t worldly Bodhichitta remain limited?
Another student: He means we should not imagine and create Bodhichitta but feel it.
Rinpoche: At first there is relative Bodhichitta, which is compassion. Ultimate Bodhichitta is wisdom. Clarity is related to compassion. The creation stage of yidam practice is the aspect of clarity and engenders compassion. Dissolving a yidam engenders knowledge of emptiness. Both need to be practiced together. You generate a visualization, knowing it is empty of substantiality. Bodhichitta unifies both processes. Should you cling to a visualized deity as real, you would be mistaken. In Vajrayana, you first reflect emptiness and then generate the visualized yidam.
Same student: Emptiness is non-discursive and visualization is discursive.
Rinpoche: When you have realized the truth, you then need not practice anymore since you have united skillful means and wisdom fully.
Question: The mind is clear and empty. What is clarity?
Rinpoche: The essence of the mind is by nature clear and empty of inherent existence but experiences the delusions of samsara and enlightenment of nirvana – both being clarity.
Same student: It is hard understanding why clarity is compassion.
Rinpoche: The nature of our mind is the Buddha nature, which is the depth of our mind. It expresses itself clearly as compassion, the vast aspect of our own mind. Buddha activity is limitless since it is the union of emptiness and clear compassion. Clarity is the expression and manifestation of emptiness.
Question: Is spiritual materialism negative attachment?
Rinpoche: It is very bad. Lord Buddha taught methods and means to become free of duality, which is the main problem. Practicing the Dharma to increase such mental depravity by thinking visualized deities are real and thus intensifying false notions is spiritual materialism.
Question: Can Bodhichitta be attachment and therefore good?
Rinpoche :Attachment as such is bad.
Same student: We cling to the intention to refine our minds.
Rinpoche: It is of utter importance to eliminate pride and to develop awareness. One learns to deal with disturbing emotions by turning one’s attention towards the Buddhadharma, by practicing the path, by becoming free of illusions, and by transforming them into wisdom. When you experience anger, for instance, you practice patience and loving-kindness. Transforming ignorance into wisdom isn’t that easy; it is a gradual path and is easier said than done.
Question: If delusions have been eliminated, why is it necessary to transform them? Isn’t it enough to be free of delusions?
Rinpoche: Delusions aren’t one side and wisdom another. On the Bodhisattva’s level of seeing, a practitioner reaches the first level of fruition and realizes emptiness. He still has subtle defilements. From the second to the tenth levels of realization, subtle defilements need to be changed. The dissolution of defilements allows progressive manifestation of wisdom.
Question: When attachment to samsara is abandoned, are there still attachments?
Rinpoche: There is attachment to a self and to phenomena. The first is identifying a self as distinct from objects. These obscurations are gross and subtle. The teachings I am presenting deal with attachment to the six realms of conditioned existence. Contemplating suffering in samsara is a remedy. This is the level of instructions I am presenting here.
Question: Compassion and tolerance, transforming confusion into wisdom. Would you please explain the difference between love and compassion and the meaning of limitless compassion?
Rinpoche: The difference between love and compassion is first knowing love and then developing compassion. The essence of love is wishing all beings have happiness, the essence of compassion is wishing all be free of suffering. If one doesn’t wish others happiness, compassion cannot arise. Non-referential compassion is experiencing emptiness and compassion in union, the same as ultimate Bodhichitta. Limited compassion is having compassion for somebody for specific reasons. Limitless compassion is unceasing and effortless. Endeavor and effort remain limited in the absence of knowledge of emptiness.
Question: Emptiness is an aspect of the mind and clarity is an aspect of phenomena. How can one fall into nihilism if nihilism refers to objects?
Rinpoche: The essence of all things is emptiness, which is not separated from appearances. Emptiness and clarity coexist. All objects only appear because they are empty.
Question: In visualization, the yidams appear out of emptiness. Why, if they are inseparable?
Rinpoche: That is true, but we don’t understand this so we habituate ourselves to the truth of inseparability by practicing in this manner. We meditate that the yidams appear out of emptiness and practice apprehending clarity. The creation and completion phases of meditation need to be practiced together; one imagines the visualization dissolves into emptiness at the end.
Question: Is this to perceive interdependent origination? The empty yidam reminds us of mind’s true nature. How does this work? Do you understand my question?
Rinpoche: Yes, I understand, but you asked two questions in one.
Same student: You meditate on the form of the yidam as empty, which has nothing to do with mind’s emptiness.
Same student: How does this work?
Rinpoche: Phenomena are empty and therefore appear because that is the nature of the mind. We do not understand this. The visualized yidams are the pure qualities of clarity and are empty, the same as the mind. You can’t see the yidams as distinct from the mind.
Question: I want to study Calling the Lama from Afar but don’t know if my attitude is correct. Would Rinpoche comment on this?
Rinpoche: The most important point while meditating on this song of realization is seeing one’s Lama as the personification of all Buddhas of the three times. One has no doubts, rather confidence and unmistaken dedication. One needs to know that samsara only entails suffering and is therefore deceptive. One is convinced that only Dharma is meaningful and knows that the Lama is the only help.
Question: Is intelligence an aspect of mind’s clarity or is it superior knowledge?
Rinpoche: Superior knowledge is realizing the empty nature of all things. In order to realize this a practitioner needs skillful means. Therefore it is both.
Question: Are Bodhisattva vows broken when one refrains from helping others because compassion isn’t strong enough or are they broken when one knows one can help but doesn’t?
Rinpoche: Only when intentionally.
Same student: Maybe a person is asked to help but doesn’t because it is more appropriate in a specific situation not to help others intensify habitual patterns. Is that right?
Rinpoche: Quite. The Bodhisattva vows are the attitude of wishing others freedom from suffering and are the intention to help. Bodhichitta manifests differently. Knowing specific help is in vain and still maintaining the altruistic attitude is correct. Helping others without knowledge and the correct attitude isn’t helpful at all. The healthy and perfect attitude is essential.
Thank you very much.
His Holiness the XVIIth Gyalwa Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje &
His Eminence the Fourth Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, Lodrö Chökyi Nyima
“In general, at a precise moment in time, when disciples merit and the Lama’s compassion connect with each other, the great and genuine beings will give up one emanation body and appear in another. Once again, disciples will be able to meet face to face with the supreme emanations and to truly enjoy their portion of the nectar of their Lama’s speech.” Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, Foreword to „EMAHO! The Reincarnation of the Third Jamgon Kongtrul.“ Published by Jamgon Kongtrul Labrang, Kathmandu, Nepal, 1998.
May the life of the Glorious Lama remain steadfast and firm.
May peace and happiness fully arise for beings as limitless (in number) as space (is vast in its extent).
Having accumulated merit and purified negativities, may I and all living beings without exception
swiftly establish the levels and grounds of Buddhahood.
May virtue increase!
Presented at the Kamalashila Institute in Germany, 1987. Translated from the German translation by Gaby Hollmann in 1987, arranged in April 2006, & solely responsible for any mistakes. Photo of the Gyalwa Karmapa courtesy of the Kagyu Office of His Holiness, photo of Jamgon Lama the Third courtesy of the Jamgon Kongtrul Labrang, of Jamgon Lama the Fourth courtesy of Lee Chin Yun from Taiwan.