The Actual Instructions

December 8th 2008

Just a brief entry today. The empowerments are getting more regular, at least more familiar in their sequence. We are in the first section of what’s called ‘the actual instructions ‘of the Rinchen Terdzo. It’s the third of three major sections of the collection. The two earlier parts are the history of the lineage and the instructions for how to perform every aspect of the rituals in the Rinchen Terdzo. The history section is the first of what is being read aloud during the reading transmissions.

This third section, the actual instructions, is divided into two major parts called the Tantra Class and Sadhana Class. The Tantra Class is a much shorter grouping of texts, only about three of the hundred and eleven volumes in total. The rest of the Rinchen Terdzod falls into the heading of the Sadhana Class. Though we are still trying to sort out what’s what, the difference in the two classes seems to be about the origin of the two groups of texts, and perhaps the style they are written in. More about this as we get further into details. It’s a sea of questions here.

Today we received four different empowerments after the concluding section of the final peaceful guru abhisheka from yesterday. First, was a wrathful guru practice, a meditation on the form of the teacher in a wrathful manifestation, probably the form of Padmasambhava called Guru Trakpo.

Second, we received an abhisheka of Mahakarunikaya, The Great Compassion One, a form of Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattva of compassion. Sometimes this name refers to the form of Avalokitesvara with a thousand arms and eleven heads. This form is one of the three main images in the temple, the other two being the central image of Shakyamuni Buddha, and the image of Padmasambhava who is at the Buddha’s right while Mahakarunikaya is at his left. These images are quite massive, over two stories tall.

The last two empowerments we received today were for Hayagriva, wrathful Avalokitesvara and Vajravarahi, a wrathful embodiment of wisdom in the female form. All the texts from today as well as the text we finished from yesterday are from a terma cycle discovered by Khyentse the Great called ‘The One Mind of the Siddhas.’

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