Starting Vajrakilaya, Another Rinchen Terdzo Website

January 29th

Photo from Kristine McCutcheon

Photo from Kristine McCutcheon

A friend stepped into our room this morning to alert us to the fact that the Kangyur was being moved from the old Ripa Monastery to the new one. A long train of monks was carrying the thick, cloth-bound individual volumes respectfully on their shoulders to the new library. The Kangyur is one of the two most important collections of the texts one finds housed in Tibetan monasteries. There is one in the main shrine room of the Boulder Shambhala Center too. The Kangyur consists of the Tibetan translations of the Buddha’s spoken teachings on sutra and tantra. There are many editions of the Kangyur originating from Tibet. They are 104 or 108 volumes depending on the edition. This edition was one of the few carried out of Tibet in the late 1950’s and is the last remaining copy of its type. The other major collection, a companion to the Kangyur, is the Tengyur, the translations of mainly Indian commentaries. The Tangyur is 218 volumes.

Today His Eminence Namkha Drimed Rinpoche began to bestow the empowerments of the fifth logos, Vajrakilaya. This practice already well known in the west. Sometimes lineage traditions will present students with ‘a training sadhana’, a first liturgical practice with visualizations, mantra recitations and so on. These sadhanas are not beginner’s practices because a lot of preliminary practices are done before starting them, and because the sadhanas have already been used by great meditators of the past to gain realization. Vajrakilaya practices, famed for clearing away obstacles to awakening, are commonly used as a first sadhana in the Nyingma tradition.

The Vajrakilaya practice best known in Shambhala is the Netik Phurba, the Heart Essence Kilaya terma discovered by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo in the 19th century. It was first bestowed on the community by His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche in 1987. In more recent years, the empowerment was given by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche who taught in Halifax this past November. This year, the Sakyong will bestow the Netik Phurba empowerment for the first time. I am very happy to think of him receiving a great many Vajrakilaya abhishekas in the coming days, including the Netik Phurba which appears as number 12 in our list of 15.

Vajrakilaya has many forms. Some are elaborate like the Netik Phurba that has three faces, six arms and four legs. Others are simpler, with just one face and two arms. In all of them the deity is holding the handle of a three-sided dagger called a kila (Tib. phurba, pronounced ‘pur-ba’) between his palms. Its point is faces downwards. The symbolism of the phurba is that the dagger of awareness cuts through passion, aggression and ignorance simultaneously. These three emotions are called the three poisons. They are the source of our suffering and all the problems of the world. The phurba is a symbol of Vajrakilaya, and is also one of many implements held that may be held by wrathful deities.

Today I was again impressed by His Eminence as I watched him on the throne. A lot times I get slightly weepy looking at him because he is totally dedicated to making this transmission possible for the Sakyong and the rest of us. He is joyful, and clear. He never seems to be phased by the ritual and he is gentle, kind and quick to help the chopons if they miss a beat during the ever-changing procession of traditions in the termas. The points during the empowerments when he is giving meditation instruction are pretty much the highlight of my time here in India. I don’t know if I will be able to realize any of what he’s presenting, but I do feel the value of it again and again. This makes me yearn for more.

I must direct all of you to the website for the Rinchen Terdzo being bestowed by Kyabje Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche at Mindrolling Monastery in Dehradun, North India. In fulfillment of the wishes of her father and root guru, the late Kyabje Mindrolling Trichen, Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche is sponsoring the event. The website is beautifully done, with a wealth on information on the empowerments and many, many photos. As a blogger, I am humbled by their organization and efforts. The event itself looks to be about eight times the size of what’s happening here in Orissa and everything there seems to be going incredibly well. May all beings realize the purpose and meaning of the Rinchen Terdzo.

Here’s the site as it has evolved so far; there’s more to come too:

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