Requesting the Turning of the Dharma Wheel

[Adapted from an oral commentary given by His Holiness Penor Rinpoche in conjunction with a ceremony wherein he bestowed the bodhisattva vow upon a gathering of disciples at Namdroling in Bozeman, Montana, November 1999. —Ed.]

Because of the negative karmic accumulations of sentient beings, from time to time, somewhere in the ten directions, the ten directional buddhas cease to turn the dharma wheel. It is important that we always request that the wheel of dharma be turned, so that beings can always hear the dharma. Requesting the unceasing turning of the dharma wheel is the antidote for [having] delusion. Some people have the attitude, “Oh, dharma teaching is not so important and not of any real benefit to anyone.” Holding such an attitude is exactly why such people are still suffering in cyclic existence. No matter what, we must continuously request that dharma teachings be present in the world in order to dispel delusion in the minds of others.

From “THE PATH of the Bodhisattva: A Collection of the Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva and Related Prayers” with a commentary by Kyabje Pema Norbu Rinpoche on the Prayer for Excellent Conduct

Compiled under the direction of Venerable Gyatrul Rinpoche Vimala Publishing 2008

Root Downfalls

[Adapted from an oral commentary given by His Holiness Penor Rinpoche in conjunction with a ceremony wherein he bestowed the bodhisattva vow upon a gathering of disciples at Namdroling in Bozeman, Montana, November 1999. —Ed.]

As the ancient literature states, there are five vows that pertain to rulers or kings, and those vows concern the ways a ruler, or really anyone in a position of authority, exercises power. Rulers who take the vow to train in bodhisattva conduct take the five special vows to ensure that they will not misuse power. The first of the root downfalls [associated with kings or rulers] is to embezzle or steal the wealth of the Three Jewels of refuge for personal gain. The second root downfall is to not allow others to practice or study the dharma. The third is to take the possessions of the ordained. The fourth is to cause harm to dharma practitioners in general. The fifth root downfall is to engage in any of the heinous nonvirtues, such as killing one’s own father or mother, killing a buddha, shedding the blood of a bodhisattva or an arhat (or engaging anyone else to perform this deed on one’s own behalf), or with deceitful intentions trying to influence others to engage in nonvirtue through body, speech, or mind. Those are the five root downfalls that pertain to kings or rulers. There are also five vows that pertain to ministers. The first four are the same as those for rulers, and the fifth concerns destroying villages or towns and harming lay people.

For beginners, there are usually eight root downfalls. The first of those root downfalls is to teach the dharma to people without being aware of the level of their spiritual development or capacity to receive teachings. For instance, if one teaches about the nature of emptiness to individuals who do not have the capacity to understand that level of teaching, those individuals may misinterpret and develop an incorrect view. Because [teaching in] that [context] is inappropriate, it is [considered] a root downfall. The second root downfall is to discourage someone from entering the path of bodhisattva training. The third is to disparage the path of the lesser vehicle of Hinayana and the followers who are the hearers and solitary realizers. That would involve, for example, saying to someone, “Your tradition is not really the true lineage of the Buddha.” The fourth is to claim that the Hinayana path is inadequate—for example, to make statements such as, “The dharma practice of the hearers and solitary realizers will not eliminate the passions.” The fifth is to put down others through slander or to speak ill of others out of jealousy in order to build up or boast about oneself. The sixth is to claim to have realization about the nature of emptiness when that is not true; that would be to speak an unsurpassed lie. The seventh is to embezzle or [otherwise] take the wealth of the upholders of virtue (those who dedicate their lives to the path of virtue). The eighth is to steal the wealth or possessions of ordained sangha (renunciants) and give that to ordinary, worldly individuals.

All those [eight root] downfalls pertain to beginners. As a beginner, if you commit any of those root downfalls, you will fall to the lower realms.

From a common point of view, a downfall involves giving up aspirational bodhicitta and abandoning the intent to work for the welfare of others because of being motivated by personal concern.

The first branch downfall is to act in a nonvirtuous manner [to be] crude and disrespectful, with wild and erratic behavior, which is exactly the opposite of how a bodhisattva should behave: a bodhisattva should always be peaceful and subdued. The second downfall is to be impolite, to behave inappropriately in the presence of others. As a practitioner in training, you must be concerned about others, which means that your conduct should reflect your mental training: your conduct, speech, demeanor, and so forth should always be in harmony with love and compassion. Those who have not rejected and have not even considered eliminating their attachment and aversion are always engaged in endless conversation and gossip based on attachment and aversion. If you are cultivating bodhicitta, you should not be like that. Instead, you should always think about love and compassion for all beings and speak in a way that reflects your training.

If you commit a root downfall, you must confess it immediately. If you postpone [your] confession of a downfall, that downfall will become more and more difficult to purify. Apply the four powers, and in the presence of the Three Jewels of refuge, confess your downfall. Pray to purify any negativity accumulated through the downfall, and then perform purification practices.

From “THE PATH of the Bodhisattva: A Collection of the Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva and Related Prayers” with a commentary by Kyabje Pema Norbu Rinpoche on the Prayer for Excellent Conduct

Compiled under the direction of Venerable Gyatrul Rinpoche Vimala Publishing 2008

Aspirational Bodhicitta

[Adapted from an oral commentary given by His Holiness Penor Rinpoche in conjunction with a ceremony wherein he bestowed the bodhisattva vow upon a gathering of disciples at Namdroling in Bozeman, Montana, November 1999. —Ed.]

Cultivation of aspirational bodhicitta involves three aspirations, four dark dharmas to reject, and four white dharmas to accept. The three aspirations are to establish all sentient beings in the resultant state of buddhahood, to train in the methods of the higher grounds and paths, and to fulfill the needs and hopes of all parent sentient beings. The four dark dharmas to reject are to trick or deceive the spiritual guide, to deceive the patron, to disparage any Mahayana practitioner, and to deceive other sentient beings. The four white dharmas to accept are to never be deceitful, even at the cost of your life; to acknowledge the noble qualities of the bodhisattvas and praise them; to sincerely train in the bodhisattva way of life by abandoning all deceitful acts; and to have the intention to guide all beings—regardless of status, caste, creed, race, or any distinction—to the path of Mahayana practice. If you are training in these four white dharmas, the four dark dharmas will automatically be eliminated.

From “THE PATH of the Bodhisattva: A Collection of the Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva and Related Prayers” with a commentary by Kyabje Pema Norbu Rinpoche on the Prayer for Excellent Conduct

Buddhahood for All Beings

[Adapted from an oral commentary given by His Holiness Penor Rinpoche in conjunction with a ceremony wherein he bestowed the bodhisattva vow upon a gathering of disciples at Namdroling in Bozeman, Montana, November 1999. —Ed.]

The ultimate nature of all phenomena is empty and free from elaboration and limitation. From the relative point of view there is duality—self and other, happiness and sorrow, and so forth. A skilled magician can create magical displays while knowing that his creations are just magic. The spectators, even when knowing they are seeing a magic show, will see the display as real. Similarly, endless appearances arise on the relative plane, but their nature is empty, devoid of true, inherent existence.

Not knowing that the nature of all phenomena is empty, sentient beings hold to phenomena as real. Having created the habit of fixating upon all appearances as being true and real, they have compounded this habit over countless lifetimes. Practitioners of the bodhisattva path realize the empty nature of phenomena and know that sentient beings revolving in cyclic existence are suffering because of their not knowing the empty nature of phenomena.

Considering that all these sentient beings suffering in cyclic existence were your parents in past lifetimes, [it is evident that] they showed you great kindness by giving you your life. They birthed you, nurtured you, and cared for you when you were sick. They cherished you in inconceivable ways, more than they cherished their own life. In countless ways, they showed you great kindness. Without exception, all these [sentient beings, who all were your] mothers of your past lifetimes, including your mother of this lifetime, have only wanted happiness. Because of their not knowing the [empty] nature of phenomena and [therefore] holding to appearances as true, they have accumulated only the wrong causes, which have resulted in more suffering. Although they have hoped to establish happiness, having been unaware of the way to do so, they have established more causes for suffering—while having shown incredible kindness to you and others, repeatedly.

You have a responsibility here. In order to be able to establish sentient beings in true happiness, you must have the power and strength to do so. Just now you lack that strength. It is only when you become fully enlightened that you will have the strength and power to establish sentient beings in the state of true happiness. That is why you must become fully enlightened. The sole purpose in seeking liberation is to bring all parent sentient beings out of suffering and to establish them in the state of everlasting bliss and happiness, which is, of course, the state of fully perfected buddhahood. Therefore, with that as your root intention, you engage in aspirational and practical bodhicitta.

From “THE PATH of the Bodhisattva: A Collection of the Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva and Related Prayers” with a commentary by Kyabje Pema Norbu Rinpoche on the Prayer for Excellent Conduct

Compiled under the direction of Venerable Gyatrul Rinpoche Vimala Publishing 2008

Bodhicitta – Inexhaustible Virtue

[Adapted from an oral commentary given by His Holiness Penor Rinpoche in conjunction with a ceremony wherein he bestowed the bodhisattva vow upon a gathering of disciples at Namdroling in Bozeman, Montana, November 1999. —Ed.]

With bodhicitta, nonvirtues are naturally purified. An analogy commonly used to describe that is one about traveling to a dangerous place. If you have some able companions (strong, heroic individuals) on your journey, they can help you if you encounter danger. Similarly, if you have bodhicitta, that will save you from the dangers of the passions that would otherwise harm you and cause you to lose your way.

If you cultivate bodhicitta, that alone will have the power to eliminate heaps of nonvirtue in your mind. The force and power of your cultivation will eliminate the nonvirtue you have amassed in this and all past lifetimes.

With bodhicitta, whatever virtue you accumulate becomes inexhaustible. Such virtue is different from virtue that is devoid of bodhicitta: virtue devoid of bodhicitta will ripen once, and then it will be over; virtue coupled with bodhicitta will ripen and increase as part of the great oceanlike enlightened mind, which is not exhausted until all beings reach the state of buddhahood.

From “THE PATH of the Bodhisattva: A Collection of the Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva and Related Prayers” with a commentary by Kyabje Pema Norbu Rinpoche on the Prayer for Excellent Conduct

Rejoicing

[Adapted from an oral commentary given by His Holiness Penor Rinpoche in conjunction with a ceremony wherein he bestowed the bodhisattva vow upon a gathering of disciples at Namdroling in Bozeman, Montana, November 1999. —Ed.]

Consider all ordinary virtue, which is virtue accumulated by ordinary individuals, and all stainless virtue, which is virtue accumulated by buddhas and bodhisattvas. Ordinary virtue, also called tainted virtue, is virtue accumulated with [the stain of] passions. Consider all virtue and constantly rejoice. For instance, if you see that someone has made an offering of a hundred butter lamps, you may think, “How beautiful those butter lamps are! What a wonderful offering!” Perhaps you too may hope to make such an offering. Rather than be jealous that someone else has made the offering, rejoice in the virtue and merit of the person who presented it, and you too will receive the same results of that merit and virtue. Rejoicing is the antidote for having jealousy, especially having jealousy toward others and the virtue they are able to accumulate.

From “THE PATH of the Bodhisattva: A Collection of the Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva and Related Prayers” with a commentary by Kyabje Pema Norbu Rinpoche on the Prayer for Excellent Conduct

Compiled under the direction of Venerable Gyatrul Rinpoche Vimala Publishing 2008

True Refuge

Dharma and Buddhist teachers should unite in giving, and support each other. A true Dharma teacher will unceasingly give to other people and to one another, support. Any Dharma is good if it is pure in intention.

If we develop a good heart, we will progress to true compassion and awaken Bodhicitta. This is the way of the Buddha’s method.

Buddhism in any form is precious. And the forms are many, all lovely and useful. And can lead to Enlightenment. It is taught that VajrayanaIs the quickest and most profound. But I think Buddhism works. Period. And all types are profound.

My leadership is Nyingma, Palyul.All my effort goes to Palyul, and serving the poor as well as animals who need it. Many need help, and refuge.

The trick is keeping the ego in check. Because you sit under a tree does not make you Buddha. Being true refuge does, and the seed is your primordial nature. Unborn and spontaneously complete. You cannot contrive primordial nature. It is as it is. Pristine. And your accomplishment is as as it is and also cannot be contrived. Or maybe briefly, but only to dummies. It all comes out eventually. My advice: stick with Palyul, and wait upon His Holiness. His Holiness Penor Rinpoche and His Holiness Karma Kuchen. Stay pure. Honor the Boddhicitta before all.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo. All rights reserved

 

Tibetan Schools and Palyul

Tibetan Buddhism has four main traditions:

Nyingma “the Ancient Ones” This is the oldest, the original order founded by Padmasambhava andSantaraksita.  Whereas other schools categorize their teachings into the three vehiclesThe Foundation VehicleMahayana and Vajrayana, the Nyingma tradition classifies them into nine vehicles, among the highest of which is known as Atiyoga or Dzogchen “Great Perfection”.  Hidden treasures (terma) are of particular significance to this tradition.

Kagyu “Lineage of the (Buddha’s) Word” This is an oral tradition, which is very much concerned with the experiential dimension of meditation. Its most famous exponent was Milarepa, an 11th century mystic. It contains one major and one minor subsect. The first, the Dagpo Kagyu, encompasses those Kagyu schools that trace back to the Indian master Naropa via MarpaMilarepa and Gampopa, and consists of four major sub-sects: the Karma Kagyu, headed by a Karmapa, the Tsalpa Kagyu, the Barom Kagyu, and Pagtru Kagyu. There are a further eight minor sub-sects, all of which trace their root to Pagtru Kagyu and the most notable of which are the Drikung Kagyu and the Drukpa Kagyu. The once-obscure Shangpa Kagyu, which was famously represented by the 20th century teacher Kalu Rinpoche, traces its history back to the Indian master Naropa via Niguma, Sukhasiddhi and Kyungpo Neljor.

Sakya “Grey Earth” This school very much represents the scholarly tradition. Headed by the Sakya Trizin, this tradition was founded by Khon Konchog Gyalpo, a disciple of the great translator Drokmi Lotsawa and traces its lineage to the Indian master Virupa. A renowned exponent, Sakya Pandita 1182–1251CE was the great grandson of Khon Konchog Gyalpo.

Gelug “Way of Virtue” Originally a reformist movement, this tradition is particularly known for its emphasis on logic and debate. Its spiritual head is the Ganden Tripa and its temporal one the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama is regarded as the embodiment of the Bodhisattva of Compassion. Successive Dalai Lamas ruled Tibet from the mid-17th to mid-20th centuries. The order was founded in the 14th to 15th century byJe Tsongkhapa, renowned for both his scholasticism and his virtue.

Within these, Kunzang Palyul Choling is Nyingma

There are six “Mother” Nyingma Monasteries:

  1. Katok Monastery, in east Tibet, was founded during the twelfth century, and expanded in 1656.
  2. Dorje Drak Monastery was founded in central Tibet, in 1659.
  3. Mindroling Monastery, in central Tibet, was established in 1676.
  4. Palyul Monastery, founded in east Tibet in 1665.
  5. Dzogchen Monastery, in east Tibet, established in 1685.
  6. Shechen Monastery founded in east Tibet, in 1735.

Within these monastic traditions, Kunzang Palyul Choling is Palyul.

Palyul Monastery — one of the Six “Mother” Nyingma Monasteries. It was founded in either 1632 or 1665 by Rigdzin Kunzang Sherab, a disciple of Terton Migyur Dorje, and Karma Chagmed. The monastery specializes in kama practices, the termas of Ratna Lingpa and Tulku Migyur Dorje (1645-67). The current head of Palyul Monastery is the Fifth Karma Kuchen.

The inspired masters who contributed to the teachings practiced within Palyul

To date, Palyul has had 12 throne-holders in its history.  According to His Holiness Penor Rinpoche, while Nyingma is generally practiced as a Ngagpa tradition, within Palyul it has never been true. The Lineage Holders of Palyul have always been fully-ordained.

Important “elder statesmen” of Palyul, contemporaries and close senior students of His Holiness Penor Rinpoche, are:

It is because of these pure Lineage teachers that we continue to have a pure unbroken stream of wisdom to guide us today to reveal our own enlightenment.

Sources include Wikipedia, Rigpa Wiki, and most of all Pathgate.org, who gave us permission to use their thangka images and biographies

Calling His Holiness Penor Rinpoche

When will I see my Guru in the flesh again? He will be young; I am getting old. He will be beautiful to my eyes as he is to my heart.

When will my heart leap and my spirit be refreshed? OM AH HUNG BENZAR GURU PEDMA NORBU SIDDHI HUNG!

Why must I be alone without His gift of protection and grace? He is gone from the earth but resides in my heart. Beloved!

See the butter lamp I have offered to guide you home. See the refreshment and comfort I arrange for you! Your favorite roses I tend…

Grant me the blessing of touching my head to your lotus feet; I crave your scent. Here is all my life & work. Will you accept this harvest?

When your human mother sees your eyes for the first time, will she know she has carried BUDDHA? Will she drown in their depth as I have?

When she kisses your sweet head will she feel your Vajra Crown? Will her lips curve in secret Bliss? Will she give the milk of Bodhicitta?

How long will I walk in loneliness without the comfort of your Nirmanakaya form? Each day is a suffering… I need you.

When I stayed in India with you, I was brought amazing gifts, nourishing, pure, and was honored by you- I wish I could offer to you- bliss.

I remember going shopping for brocade with you. Lobsang said “wake up! (5:00am) HH is taking you shopping!” No coffee?

You stopped, first thing, for coffee and “iddley” (sp?) – I know you heard me. When you drove your car you talked non-stop! So happy-

You would spit when you spoke excitedly… I swore I would never wash my face, for you had spit on it when talking. Shower of Blessings.

You tested me hard. I did not know what to do but love you.

Today in my practice I knew you were there-here-everywhere. And my mind? Why do I wait when you are never gone? I adore you.

AAHh, Beloved. I long for you. Grieve and rejoice in you. If all Samsara conspires to take YOU from me- it is not possible. I am yours.

You are my delight, my reward, my family, my LOVE. No one can take you from me.

Just as Lamchen Mandarava held to a stone mountain to stay in your presence, I will fight the very demons of hell to remain your servant.

Because I know you. I know you, Beloved; wherever you appear. My heart is your home. My crown YOUR seat. Beloved; return!

Master of awakening, holder of all that is meaningfull, I beg you to return and preserve the Purity of mother Palyul! KYE HO!

Cyber Prayer Room

Dear Dharma Friends,
I am delighted to introduce this new site, Tibetan Buddhist Altar. It is my hope that it will offer those who are traveling, those who are home bound, those in hospital or ill a way to stay connected to the Buddhist Sangha.

One can always establish a sacred space, anywhere. In fact, one can practice meditation anywhere- inside, outside, on a bus, in a plane- everywhere.

The way to begin is to familiarize oneself with images that work as a support for one’s practice.

For example, we have all seen images of Buddha. There are many styles according to different cultures- but the image is universally recognizable. So here we are all ready familiar with an image of support for meditation. The idea is to become comfortable with and strong in visualization.

On this site we will offer enlightened images for your use and consideration. And for contemplation and prayer. Happily, as one studies, these images become more and more familiar and easier to visualize.

We will also learn to build one’s own altar. How to pack a small box altar for traveling.  How to respect and care for holy objects. And learn simple meditation.

If one wishes to recite mantra, we will learn how to string a proper mala, or set of prayer beads. So we will be taking some big first steps on the path of Holy Dharma.

We will also create sacred space by learning how to cleanse, purify, and bless one’s home.

Not everyone lives near a Buddhist Temple or knows a Buddhist Master.  But one can always do some kind of meditation practice.  We on this site are hoping to help.

We will begin with offering these precious and extroadinary images so that one can now begin to study, contemplate, and remember. Then we will build a “cyber altar”. We will show the very simple, and the very elaborate so one will have many choices and a large, inspirational library.

Please feel free to download these images, enjoy, and learn.  Learn the Buddhas, the Stupas, the enlightened Lamas- so precious to our hearts and practice.

It is so necessary to receive the blessing of a truly qualified Master to ripen the potential of one’s mind. To receive that blessing from a living Master is a treasure- and so necessary for real practice. I am fortunate to have studied with HH the third Drubwang Pema Norbu Rinpoche. He has sadly recently passed- but was considered a true living Buddha. His image, and that of other highly realized Lamas will be shared for the benefit.

I will regularly offer teachings, guidance and advise.  Although this site is just now being developed we will eventually have an “ask the Lama” section. And a section where one can meet long-time practitioners and dialogue with them. Their experiences are invaluable.

Until next time, then. I very much look forward to this new avenue to learn, and to connect. May all the blessings of the Holy Dharma be yours!

In Faith and Friendship,
Jetsunma
Ahkon Norbu Lhamo
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