Then I Asked The Dakinis: From “Mother of Knowledge”


The following is respectfully quoted from “Mother of Knowledge” translated by Tarthang Tulku and J. Wilhelms:

Yeshe Tsogyal recounts entering the Mandala of the Dakinis:

“Eight cemeteries formed a ring, rimmed by walls of beautiful lotuses. Predatory flesh-eating birds and wild blood-drinking animals wandered about, and demons and demonesses, roaming in great numbers, stood out vividly against the landscape.

“Although the beings there did not attack me or threaten me, neither did they make friendly overtures. As I advanced upwards, I passed along a path that circled in a zigzag fashion three times, and ended at a door. Within were many dākinīs whose external appearance was that of women but they were of many different colors. They were carrying offerings to present to the principal dākinī.

“Some of the dākinīs had cut their bodies into small pieces with razor-sharp knives and prepared offerings of their own flesh; others were giving their streaming blood. Some were giving their eyes, some their noses. Some were giving their tongues, still others, their ears. Some were giving their hearts, others were giving their viscera. Some were giving their outer muscles, some their inner organs. Still others were giving their bones and marrow.

“Some were giving their life energy, others their breath, and still others, their heads. Some had cut off their limbs, and so on. They had cut up their own bodies and had prepared offerings of them for the principal dākinī, who appeared Yab-Yum before them. The offerings were then blessed as signs of their faith.

“Then I asked the dākinīs: ‘Why do you suffer in this way? To what purpose? If one lives in accordance with the Dharma until death, is that not sufficient?’ And they answered me:

‘Dear woman of irresolute mind!
The compassion of a great teacher who has all the qualifications may only be available briefly.
If you do not offer whatever he wishes when he looks upon you,
later nothing you do may lead to fulfillment.
If you procrastinate, obstacles will multiply.

‘Your insight and certainty may last only a moment;
natural and spontaneous faith may not stay long.
If you do not make the offering when Pristine Awareness arises,
later nothing you do may lead to fulfillment.
If you procrastinate, obstacles will multiply.

‘Now, at least you have a human body–you may not have it long.
The chance to practice Dharma seldom arises;
if you do not make offerings when you meet a qualified teacher–
if you procrastinate–obstacles will multiply.

‘The teacher may only be here briefly;
only now can you be certain to enter the door of the secret teachings.
If you do not offer yourself
when you have access to the highest Dharma–
if you procrastinate–obstacles will multiply.’

“Thus they spoke, and I felt ashamed. Then, as each dākinī presented her offering, the Vajra Yoginī appeared before her, snapping her fingers. Instantly each supplicant was healed and became as before. After requesting a regular Dharma practice from the principle dākinī, each one returned to her own meditation place.”



Examining Cause and Effect


How can it be that we’ve had so little result?  Well it isn’t true that we’ve had no result. We have had temporary happiness. We’ve all had that. Probably we feel pretty good right now. Probably we felt all right when we got up this morning. But we feel differently every day, and really every moment. And sometimes we are even afraid to think that we’re really happy, because we know that right behind that happiness, right behind that, is another mood change. And you know that it’s not lasting.

How we can have managed to continue in such an effortful way? How is it that we maintain this extreme effortfulness? And what’s the answer? What should we do? First of all, we have to begin to cultivate some understanding. According to the Buddha’s teaching, every condition that we experience in our lives, including the most subtle inner conditions, that is to say, our own impressions and feelings and subtle inner posturing—that very, very subtle stuff that seems so wispy, seems to change all the time with every catalyst that appears in our lives—from that kind of subtle condition to the most seemingly permanent, gross, outer condition, such as the house we live in, the nation that we live in, the community that we live in, the world that we live in, the Buddha teaches us that every one of those conditions that we experience actually arises through the interdependence of cause and effect relationships. Every condition with no exception. Even the condition of how you appear physically. Now, of course you have some control in that matter. You can diet and become thin. You can put on makeup and become better looking. You can take off makeup and become either better or worse looking depending on how well you apply makeup. You can gain weight. You can do different kinds of juggling in order to make yourself appear more attractive through wearing different clothing, or what have you. But there are some things about which it seems that we have no control. For instance, the genetic tendency of our body to be in a certain way. Some people are shorter than others; some are taller. Some have a tendency towards a more squat body form; and others have a tendency towards a very lanky body form. These things seem to be beyond our control. We can look at our parents and our grandparents, and it seems as though we have the same genetic structure as them. It seems as though we have not much control over that. But, according to the Buddha, even such things as those that appear to be handed to us from the time of our birth, even such things as genetic predisposition, these are the result of karma.

What are the conditions of living? Do we live in a beautiful house? Do we live in a happy and harmonious family situation? Do we own property? Are we impoverished? What are the conditions of our lives? It seems we have control over some of them. There are many books out now that tell us we can all become millionaires  through a certain amount of effort if you follow this very simple ten point program starting with the investment of a few thousand dollars. And for some people I’m sure that kind of program has worked. And yet, there are some conditions in our lives that are seemingly unbeatable.

For instance, what if,  personality-wise, we don’t seem to have that certain mindset that permits us to engage in that kind of activity? And then again, what if we don’t want to? Some feel chronically defeated and have always felt so, and they never take aggressive moves towards gaining whatever it is that they want. But other people seem to have to do nothing and happiness comes to them, or prosperity comes to them. There are so many conditions in our lives that seem controllable and they’re mixed in with conditions that seem uncontrollable. How are we to understand that?

Well, the Buddha teaches us that we have at best a very partial, very minimal understanding of cause and effect relationships. It’s actually quite minimal. And the reason why is that there is very little cause and effect unfolding that we can actually see. The Buddha tells us that we’ve lived many more than one lifetime. Therefore, if we’ve lived a hundred years already, we have only one tiny, tiny window of time in which to judge our experience. But that window of time actually has a very exacting beginning and a very exacting ending; and it’s very difficult to understand what has come before and what will come after. There are certain elements that we can view within that window of time, and we can gain some understanding. It has been my experience that usually as people mature and as they become older, they have gained enough life experience not to make certain kinds of mistakes again and again and again. Now, in some cases I think it might be that we’re just too tired and old to make those mistakes again and again and again. But in other cases I think there’s a true learning that has actually occurred, and I’m really not sure what the proportions are.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo.  All rights reserved

Choosing Your Guide

The following is from a series of tweets by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo:

Buddhism doesn’t need you, you need Buddhism. Lama doesn’t need you, you need Lama. There are many more students than teachers.

To climb Mt. Everest one needs a Sherpa (guide) to show the way. A map or book is useless. You can only trust a guide who has gone before.

If you have a dental cavity, you need a professional dentist: trained, credentials from school, with many patients and experience, not a mechanic with pliers.

If you are hungry and don’t know how to cook a book helps. But an educated cook will show you how to use it. It will be edible!

OK, so you have a blown tire, and all the tools. Jack, lug wrench, etc- but no one has ever taught you how. You still aren’t going anywhere.

Is your TV broke? Don’t leave it to a plumber to fix. The plumber may electrocute himself and your TV will look like shit.

If a child needs to blow his nose it won’t be the tissue that teaches. It will be the parent.

How many ways can I say this?

If you are getting fit, walking works. But the real deal is weights, resistance, warm up cool down, flexibility and you need to train with an accomplished trainer. (Clue – check their bodies). A couch potato simply won’t do.

Whatever your goal, make sure you don’t choose a slacker with an ego. Choose a teacher with a track record and credentials.

Spiritually, choose a Lineage and stay strong. Don’t dabble. Or quibble. For truth don’t choose a liar or cheat. Learn from their past and from your own mistakes. Gather merit, love yourself enough to do this right!

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo.  All rights reserved



Offering Mudra


Water for drinking and for bathing, flowers, incense, scented water, celestial food and sound are all offered.

Lama Pema Rangdol, head umdze at a Palyul Monastery for many years and now living in NYC, visited KPC Maryland to instruct students in the Rigzin Dupai Tsog Practice. This is an excerpt from that training.

Terton Ratna Lingpa

Langdro Lotsawa returned to Trushul in Lhodrak,
You revealed the profound treasury of the four Kharchu Communions
Amongst your twenty-five treasures, your activity touching us all:
Homage to Chogyel Ratna Lingpa.

Ratna Lingpa 1403-1478/79. A reincarnation of Könchok Jungney of Langdro, he was born August 2nd 1403 to Dode Tar and his mother Sitar Men. At a very young age this great emanated master began having visions of Guru Pedma Jungnay and at the age of 27 received his first inventory cache directly from the great Guru himself. By 30 he extracted his first treasure cache and went on to discover 25 cycles of hidden treasures.

Of the many writings attributed to Terton Ratna Lingpa, the most well-known is the Nyingma Gyüdbum – A collection of scriptures belonging to the Three Inner Tantras, gathered by Ratna Lingpa and re-edited by Jigme Lingpa. Others include Dzepa Chuchig – The Eleven Deeds of Padmasambhava, and Sangye Lakchang – Placing Enlightenment in the Palm of the Hand.

Within Palyul, Terton Ratna Lingpa’s most practiced terma is that of Phurpa Yangsang Lame -The Most Secret and Unsurpassable Dagger. This is more commonly known as Ratna Lingpa Phurba (Vajrakilaya). Others include: Tukdrub Yangdü; Tukdrub Yangnying Dupa; Tsasum Drebu Dontri – Essential Instructions for the Accomplishment of the Three Roots; Yidam Tsasum Drildrub; Tsedrub Sangwa Dupa, and others.

Reference:  Wikipedia

A Toolkit for the New Buddhist Practitioner

The following is a collection of resources for all those who are new to Buddhist practice

The Basics

Back to Basics

Why I Chose Buddhism

To Be a Practitioner

I WON!  A Precious Human Rebirth!

Buddha in the Palm of Your Hand

Faults of Cyclic Existence

The Six Realms of Cyclic Existence

The Origin of Suffering

Turning Away from Samsara

The Four Thoughts and The Four Thoughts

The Eightfold Path

Give Rise to Bodhicitta

Aspirational Bodhicitta

The Four Immeasurables

Step by Step in Vajrayana

The Key to Happiness is Merit

Ten Virtuous Activities

The Importance of a Teacher in Buddhism

Why Lineage is Important

Lineage and Transmission

The Importance of Following an Accomplished Teacher

Evaluate Your Spiritual Teacher

The Nature of the Teacher

Who is Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo?

A True Dakini

The Student Teacher Relationship

Guru – Condensed Essence of the Path

Prayers and Practices

Seven Line Prayer

The Seven Line Prayer:  A Commentary

Refuge and Bodhisattva Vows

Refuge and Bodhisattva Vows by Jetsunma

The Bodhisattva Vow:  A Commentary

Twenty-one Homages to Tara

Chenrezig and the Six Realms

Compassion Retreat

Generating the Deity

How to Pray by Being

How to Meditate

Meditation Instruction by Khenpo Norgay

Supports for Your Dharma Practice

About Altars

How to Make an Altar

How to Make Offerings

Pure Offerings

How to Use a Mala

Introduction to Mantra Recitation

Other Resources

Karma:  It’s the Law

What is Enlightenment?

What is Dewachen?

Spiritual Technology

Why We Die?

A Few Words on Reincarnation

Advice for the Courageous Practitioner

Introduction to Buddhism – A Reading List

Online Support for Dharma Practice