Feb. 1, 2020 Dharma Discourse - Debut Transmission of Yeshe Tsogyal
(This translation includes content only pertaining to Yeshe Tsogyal)
During today's dedication, besides Amitabha, Guanyin, as the buddha’s attendant, and Mahasthamaprapta all descended. Everyone knows that Guanyin is very compassionate.
The first Buddha Mother in Tibet was Yeshe Tsogyal. In her past lifetimes, Yeshe Tsogyal was the Goddess Ganga during the Shakyamuni era, Sadaprarudita, Saraswati, White Tara, and primarily, Machig Labdrön, a consort or Buddha Mother of Padmasambhava.
Padmasambhava was the first patriarch of Tibetan Vajrayana. When Padmasambhava was in Tibet, Yeshe Tsogyal was his first consort (Buddha Mother). You might say Yeshe Tsogyal was first among all the Buddha Mothers.
Buddha Mothers are related by their original descent from Prajnaparamita Buddha Mother. The line of descent goes from Prajnaparamita Buddha Mother to Vajrayogini, Vajravarahi, The Four-directions Dakinis, The Eight-directions Dakinis, The Twenty Celestial Maidens, The Five Longevity Maidens of Snowy Mountain, The Twelve Lakshmi Maidens, to Saraswati. Many goddesses descended in this sequence.
In addition, there was Green Tara, who has 21 Taras. Among these Taras is the Tara Who Saves from Contagious Diseases who also descended. Therefore, today’s empowerment includes Avalokiteshvara, Yeshe Tsogyal, and Tara Who Saves from Contagious Diseases. If you are participating in today’s ceremony, you have earned a bonus. Unfortunately, the loss for those who were unable to attend is enormous, but since they have their reasons, we shouldn’t call them fair-weather friends.
I just sang the mantra of Padmasambhava. Yeshe Tsogyal mentions Padmasambhava’s mantra in her biography. It is extremely important. If one recites Padmasambhava’s mantra 100,000 times, he will appear in front of one. She also mentions the result of reciting his mantra 600,000, 700,000, or 800,000 times. In her biography, she said that one who recites Padmasambhava’s mantra 800,000 times will be together with Amitabha Buddha. Therefore, this mantra is truly powerful and amazing.
Today, I sang the mantra to the melody of The Seven Lotuses. I often recite the mantra like this. (Grandmaster sings the Padmasambhava Mantra three times.) One may recite the mantra and sing it like this. It sounds very nice that way, very lively and energetic.
Today, I will reveal a key point. From the time Yeshe Tsogyal became a Buddha Mother, Padmasambhava’s consort, and began learning Buddhadharma, his most important teaching was, of course, the Great Perfection. What is the lineage of the Great Perfection? This practice is the Nyingma school’s nine-stages practice. The first three stages, which belong to Sutrayana, are the shravaka, pratyekabuddha, and bodhisattva. The next three stages are Action [Kriya] Tantra, Performance [Charya] Tantra, and Yoga Tantra, which are the first three esoteric practices in Vajrayana. The next three stages are Mahayoga, Anuyoga, and Atiyoga. Together, these are the nine-stages of practice. These stages are all included in the Great Perfection, and are the primary dharma transmitted to Yeshe Tsogyal from Padmasambhava. At the age of 13, Yeshe Tsogyal married Trisong Detsen. She was 16 when she began following Padmasambhava. Today, I am revealing this primary Buddhadharma hidden in my brain to everyone.
The True Buddha School (TBS) has in our possession two relics of Yeshe Tsogyal. The first relic is a mold of her footprint when she was young. We keep this in the True Buddha Tantric Quarter. It’s the rarest footprint in the world, so don’t you dare to steal it from the Tantric Quarter at night. TBS really does have a mold of Yeshe Tsogyal’s footprint. This is the first relic. I am not going to reveal who gave it to me, but that person is here today.
Let me see, where is that thing? Let’s hurry and get it out (Grandmaster searches through his monk’s bag). I guess I didn’t bring her footprint. I must have left it at the Tantric Quarter. But I did bring Yeshe Tsogyal’s sariras. These are not for sale. You can see how close an affinity we have with Yeshe Tsogyal. The affinity is extraordinarily close.
The Nyingma school has many termas (hidden dharma treasures) left by Yeshe Tsogyal and her disciples. She was a Buddha Mother, and also a guru with many disciples. Her last words were similar to the last words of Padmasambhava; she would never die, and that if she were invoked according to the ritual, she would appear in front of everyone.
A disciple here today is the reincarnation of Yeshe Tsogyal. There is another disciple here who can actually see Yeshe Tsogyal. I believe that this disciple is, in fact, seeing her at this very moment.
As the highest stage of the Nine-stages Practice and the true Great Perfection, Atiyoga was, of course, the primary teaching Padmasambhava transmitted to Yeshe Tsogyal.
This discourse unveiled from the terma in Grandmaster’s brain will be an extraordinarily important key cultivation formula discourse. It will be extremely enlightening and helpful for disciples’ cultivation.
The first dharma teaching from Padmasambhava to Yeshe Tsogyal was: sustenance. We have to eat on a daily basis. Padmasambhava asked Yeshe Tsogyal what the prime choice of sustenance was for a spiritual cultivator? Tenzin Gyatso, what is of most importance in eating? Making offerings? Offer the food to deities regularly before eating the food? Actually, what I was asking is what is the most important intake of all? You don’t know? Please sit down. There are plenty of gifts over here, don’t you want any? Okay, let me be fair. Thubten Siddhi, what is the prime choice of sustenance? What was Padmasambhava’s teaching to Yeshe Tsogyal? Why are you slouching like that? When standing, stand up straight. Stand like a pine, sit like a bell, walk like the wind, and lie like a bow. When standing, one must stand straight. Do not slouch. If you don’t know the answer, take a seat.
According to Padmasambhava’s teaching, the most important sustenance is air, which is also the most important sustenance for cultivation. One must breathe in good, fresh air every day. It is said by Taoism also that inhaling is the first and most important practice of Taoism. One must often perform complete breathing, that is, inhale through the nostrils, then to the dantien, the entire body and the feet, and then eventually exit from the toes. As part of cultivation, one must inhale, breathe air in, and apply it throughout the entire body. Padmasambhava taught Yeshe Tsogyal that air is the most important sustenance of all.
Okay, on to the second question. The second transmission from Padmasambhava to Yeshe Tsogyal was what is the clothing of a cultivator. This is correct. Inner fire should be the clothing of a cultivator. Tibet, as you know, belongs to the snowy region, where it is normally extremely cold, much colder than Rainbow Villa here. When it snows, one must remove one’s clothing and use inner fire to resist the cold. One can relieve one’s nasal congestion with the Treasure Vase Breathing Practice. This practice can also naturally keep one warm. Therefore, practice Nine Cycle Breathing, Treasure Vase Breathing, and Great Incubating. Clothing is the second one that is as important.
Who answered the inner fire previously? You spoke out of turn, lacking chemistry! I meant to ask these two rinpoches. I wanted to test them. What’s most important is that after qi has entered the body, one must cultivate inner fire. Opening the crown chakra is not the only function of inner fire; inner fire also provides warmth throughout the body and resistance to cold. Inner fire is the treasure of everything. It’s the treasure of non-leakage practice and light drop practice. Inner fire is, in fact, the foundation of the Six Yogas of Niguma and Naropa. Once the inner fire is ignited, one can easily experience great bliss and clear light radiance.
The third teaching is: habitation Let’s ask Master Huijun: What is the prime consideration in habitation? Boundary protection? Where should a cultivator dwell? In space? Okay, try it. Go ahead and show me that you can levitate and dwell in space. Dwell nowhere? To dwell nowhere is the same as being dead. I can tell you that there are many sacred places in Tibet. The most important characteristic of the Buddha’s Eight Holy Sites is the vital spiritual energy. One should live in a place where there is great spiritual energy, which is namely the efficacious earth energy.
Padmasambhava did not pick the cave he used for retreat at random. He chose a location with great feng shui and extremely efficacious earth energy. Has anyone been to Bhutan and seen Tiger Cave? Yeshe Tsogyal and Padmasambhava cultivated in Tiger Cave because of its geographic features.
In this world, who has the greatest knowledge of feng shui? (audience: "Grandmaster!") You are right! The first element of geomancy evaluation is whether there is dragon marking on the site. In other words, one evaluates whether there is earth energy present in the land.
After selecting a location with efficacious earth energy, one may build a house on the energy nexus of the land, observe the flow of water and the surrounding environment carefully, and pay close attention to whether the orientation of the house is in a beneficial or adverse direction. This is critical. These are the five principles of “dragon, nexus, sand, water, and direction.”
These five principles are as follows: Dragon means earth energy, that is, qi within the earth; Nexus is the location where qi is concentrated; sand is the surrounding environment, the presence of benefactors who can help one; Water, whether water flows into energy nexus, that is, whether the water has an efficacious effect on the energy nexus; Direction is the last of the five principles. When one fully comprehends these five principles, one has mastered the art of feng shui.
Those so-called feng shui masters who advise hanging a flute to dispel something or placing a crystal to enhance something are merely promoting unrealistic techniques. Such gimmicks are pointless and are of no real benefit whatsoever. The most important feng shui principles are “dragon, nexus, sand, water, and direction”. My guru taught me these principles. Padmasambhava also emphasized the same. When it comes to habitation, one should pay close attention to these principles.
The fourth instruction concerns “transportation”, as in “movement”. Now, I would like to ask everyone: What does Padmasambhava’s teaching about “transportation” refer to? Raise your hand if you know. Reverends in the audience please raise your hands if you know. Cultivation? The scope of cultivation is too broad. Transportation in the sense of delivering sentient beings? The scope of “deliverance” is also too broad, so take it down a notch. Dharma? The scope is also too large.
Let me tell you. The “transportation” that Padmasambhava was referring to was opening the channels in the body. Opening one’s channels facilitates “transportation”.
It’s extremely important to open the channels in one’s body. The purpose of teaching Vajra Fist and Vajravarahi Fist is to open the channels. Once the channels are open, one is able to resist any illness or disease. On the other hand, when one’s channels are obstructed, one feels pain here, there, and everywhere. As long as the channels are open, everything will be fine. Walking, the Six-day Exercise, and various yoga fists are for opening channels. This was another important Padmasambhava’s instruction to Yeshe Tsogyal.
Next, let’s talk about body, speech and mind. Padmasambhava instructed Yeshe Tsogyal what is the proper position for one’s body? This is a simple and easy question. What position should the body be in? The Seven-featured Vairocana Posture. This position, as I have mentioned, is sitting like a bell, immovable and entering samadhi. This is meditation. Padmasambhava told Yeshe Tsogyal to sit in the Seven-featured Vairocana Posture. The important points are tranquility, peaceful abiding, immovability, and entering samadhi.
The sixth teaching has to do with ‘“speech.” Let me tell everyone that reciting buddha names is of most importance, so is practicing a mantra and a sadhana. One must not engage in useless conversation, gossip, or nonsense. Instead, one should recite the Buddha’s epithet, recite mantras, and concentrate on cultivation. This is what Padmasambhava taught Yeshe Tsogyal.
The seventh teaching is “mind”. Padmasambhava said that take the purity of the Buddha as one’s main guideline and use wisdom and expediency to protect the world. The utmost state of mind is samadhi, thereby generating the phenomenon of great bliss, radiant light, and empty nature.
Finally, Padmasambhava taught Yeshe Tsogyal to be compassionate and put others before oneself. Benefiting others is of primary importance. One should actually practice the Four Immeasurable Vows, love one’s enemies, and cherish others above oneself.
Humans are selfish. There is saying in Chinese: Look out for yourself, or heaven and earth will combine to destroy you. All humans are selfish. But, overcoming selfishness and loving others above oneself is how one accomplishes the fruition of a bodhisattva or buddha. One must actually practice and cultivate in accordance with this principle.
Let’s talk about the coronavirus pandemic in Wuhan. I have an idea, but it might be difficult to achieve. If the Chinese government will allow me, I will go to Wuhan right now and personally give crown blessings to every resident of the city without exception. I will go to Wuhan alone. When visiting a hospital to give blessings, I will not wear a face mask or any other kind of protection.
I am willing to sacrifice my life. I will pray for them and bless them. I will ask Padmasambhava, Yeshe Tsogyal, and all the dakinis to accompany me on my journey to bless them. To not wear a face mask and to die without regrets, this is my spirit. This going to Wuhan to provide blessings and prayers may look foolish when everyone is afraid of dying except me. However, I, in fact, have this kind of courage.
Padmasambhava’s teachings are extremely important. They include the four key factors of Observation, Cultivation, Act, and Fruition. Observation means adopting the view that everything in this world is empty, that one cannot hold on to anything, that all phenomena are intrinsically empty. Observation means the visualization of emptiness with the Emptiness Mantra: “Om Sibawa Suda Saerwa Daerma Sibawa Sudo Hang.”
We often recite the Emptiness Mantra because we are unable to actualize emptiness. Zhu Bajie couldn't actualize the emptiness of sexual desire. Politicians and businessmen who pursue social status, fame, and wealth are unable to actualize emptiness. Those on the path of cultivation know that there is not one single thing that actually belongs to one, including one’s own body. Hence, one should mindfully observe the emptiness. Padmasambhava transmitted this teaching to Yeshe Tsogyal.
The second word is Cultivation. What is cultivation? The sensations one has while cultivating, great bliss, radiant light, and emptiness. One can experience the sensation of joyfulness. To continuously extend and expand this great bliss and radiant light all the way to emptiness and perfection is cultivation.
What is Act? This is different from the transportation of opening channels mentioned earlier. Padmasambhava taught Yeshe Tsogyal to eliminate everything that is fake, fabricated, and illusory so that all that remains is truth, that is, true reality. One must grasp this true reality, this is most important. Act means one has attained the true Dharma.
Finally, what is Fruition? It is the completion of the three bodies, Dharma body, enjoyment body, and emanation body. The perfection of the three bodies is Fruition. This is what Padmasambhava taught Yeshe Tsogyal.
Yeshe Tsogyal cultivated Atiyoga. The main point I have been talking about today is what Padmasambhava taught Yeshe Tsogyal about cultivation. This was revealed from the terma in my brain.
I know that Yeshe Tsogyal is a truly great Buddha Mother. Now, she is together with Padmasambhava in Akaniṣṭha, the highest heaven, where they both help sentient beings and deliver them to the pure land. Eventually, they are together.
We have the Yeshe Tsogyal personal deity practice which I will include as the last chapter of my book Laughing at Life. However, due to her different appearance revealed from my terma, her outfit and ritual implements may differ from the image we see today.
Why are we wearing red today? There is Red Avalokiteshvara, but why are we wearing red today? When Yeshe Tsogyal departed, she left behind only her hair, teeth, and nails. The rest of her body transformed into blue light and disappeared into a rainbow. She and Padmasambhava were together. Padmasambhava possessed the integration of Amitabha’s body, Avalokiteshvara’s speech, and Shakyamuni’s mind. The reason we are wearing red today is because Padmasambhava manifested from Amitabha, who is red.
She also has blue clothing. Of course, she can change the outfit at any time. Whatever color she wants to change to today, she can freely change to that color. She can also pick any dharma implement, just as she wishes. The dharma implements vary depending on the portrait of Yeshe Tsogyal. The implements may be a damaru, kapala, khatvanga, nectar within a kapala, or a vajra scepter. They can be changed. However, the primary color is still red because they are all in Amitabha's paradise. This concludes today’s dharma session.
Om Mani Padme Hum.
Translated by TBTTs
Translator: Rev. Lianting
Editors: Henry Wolf and DJ Chang