Shining New Dharma
February 1st 2009
New flagpoles have been put up in the monastery courtyard, two pairs of three sky blue poles with shining golden tops. When the warm breezes kick up, we can see the Indian Flag, the Tibetan flag, the Shambhala flag, the Ripa flag, the international Buddhist flag and an unidentified flag we think may be the Orissa state flag. The overall atmosphere in the monastery is enlivening again because reading transmissions are back on track. The valley once again echoes throughout the entire day with the sound of dharma. During the empowerments a monk was spotted reading an English copy of Chogyam Trungpa’s book, Meditation in Action. There’s some kind of irony to this, but I haven’t quite been able to put a finger on it yet.
Today we entered a second day of abhishekas for related to the sixth logos, Mamo. The entire day was devoted to the empowerments of the deity Simhamukha, the lion headed dakini, a practice related to the sixth logos of Mamo. Some of the Simhamukha practices were earlier, for example, the Simhamukha practice from the Konchog Chidu.
The day started with Jigme Rinpoche giving the Westerners a seven a.m. talk in the lawn behind the Ripa Ladrang. Jigme Rinpoche announced this yesterday, and those of us who could make it briskly walked through the morning fog to the compound. Everything was already set up when we arrived—a few rows of plastic chairs for the westerners fanned out on the lawn before a teacher’s chair and table.
Jigme Rinpoche surprised us by immediately asking if we had questions. I took the opportunity to ask him to tell us about a bit about the last three logos. His answer appears in an edited form below.
In the talk Rinpoche speaks a bit about the five elements, earth, water, fire, wind and space. Tibetan cosmology and Tibetan medicine see these elements and their qualities of solidity, cohesion, warmth, movement and accommodation as being the primary building blocks of the phenomenal world. It helps me to see this as an experiential way to understand outer objects and the working of the body, rather than seeing earth, water, solidity, cohesion and so on as a naïve way to talk about atomic structures, bones and so forth.
Jigme Rinpoche: The eight maha herukas [the eight great herukas, the eight logos] have two sections. The first five belong to the wisdom deities’ section. This means that those first five deities are the means of accomplishment. They are the practices that enable us to accomplish the [five] wisdoms. That section of the empowerments has already happened, with the last one being Vajrakilaya. These five are the representation of the body, speech, mind, quality and activity of enlightened wisdom.
The remaining three herukas are more like a help, a removing of obstacles on the path to accomplishing the five wisdoms. Those three are called ‘worldly’ even though the first of the three, mamo bötong, is semi-worldly. Nevertheless, these three are called the worldly protectors, or worldly practices, because basically they enable the conditions and circumstances through which one can accomplish the practices of the five wisdoms.
Yesterday we began with mamo bötong. Mamo means ‘feminine world’ or ‘feminine aspect’. It’s a complete section devoted to the feminine deities. It is called ‘semi-worldly’ because the mandala has two parts, a beyond-worldly part and a worldy part. The first part, the original mamo, is called Mamo Mukhali. Mamo Mukhali is known as the Queen of Space.
When we talk about this, we should understand that there are the three aspects of the feminine quality of appearances. Appearances include both appearing phenomena and non-appearing [intangible] phenomena. The first aspect relates to outer phenomena. Outer phenomena are the solid physical world. This is made from substances and energies that are very tiny and not perceivable. Those non-perceivable energies are called the five elements. The five elements are the basic substances, or ingredients, you might say, the energies that contribute to the formation of the solid physical, tangible world. [The five elements are earth, water, fire, wind and space.]
Within these five elements, the basic foundation is the element of space. Space and [and the other] four elements are known as feminine energy, feminine in character. From among these five, the mother of all the feminine universe, feminine quality or energy, is the mother of space. That is Mukhali. Mukhali is not considered a worldly energy or a worldly deity. Rather it is seen as the dharmadhatu, [the space of phenomena], the source of all happenings, because it is space. Therefore, this aspect of Mamo Bötong can only be a wisdom entity. But her retinue is all worldly deities. That is why Mamo Bötong is called ’semi-worldly’, there’s the boss, which is wisdom, and retinue which are all worldly.
Due to the five elements coming together, the physical world is created. The emotional world arises due to linking with the physical world. The outer elements have a direct link to the inner elements in our body. The inner elements are the different elementary energies present in our body in a physical form—like heat, breathing (wind), flesh (earth), and so on. These are directly related to the five elements. The five outer elements have a function to maintain, to continue, and to eventually disintegrate the physical world. The inner elementary world is also responsible for giving birth to life, sustaining it, and disintegrating in the end. That is the physical world.
In addition to and depending upon the five outer elements of the physical world and the inner elements of the body, is the subtlest part of the inner entity. This is inner world that is based on the tsa, lung, and tigle. Tsa, lung and tigle (channels, winds, and essence) are the most subtle, highly refined state of the energy which interacts with the more gross physical, more solid entities. The more solid entities are our bodies, our sense fields or organs, which then interact with the outer physical world.
As long as there is unity and harmony, a good relationship, between these, there is health. There is happiness, bliss, emptiness, and so on. When there is disharmony, disintegration starts, and therefore pain, suffering, destruction, and all sorts of things like that begin. So Mamo Botong is a practice for restoring, for reconnecting, for stabilizing, for harmonizing the elementary energy of the feminine world. This is basically our outer physical world, the inner body world, and the innermost tsa lung tigle world.
That is the reason [for Mamo Bötong practice]. Any obstacles leading to that are hopefully reversed or overcome by the practice of Mamo Bötong. It’s actually, essentially a feminine world of outer, inner, innermost substance.
Then the last two sections are Jigten Chöto, or ‘worldy offerings and praises,’ and Mopa Dra-Ngak, or ‘wrathful mantras.’. These two are worldly. Jigten Chöto relates to the worldly deities that govern the physical realms, that dwell in the physical realms. They are like what you call the protectors. For example, there are numerous numbers of spirits and caretakers in the oceans, in the mountains, in all kinds of physical realms there are these kinds of spirits. There are kinds of energies that are attracted to those places. Jigten Chöto is mostly about those protectors. They are strictly worldly; they make our path smoother and bring all kinds of positiveness so that our path can proceed speedily, without many hindrances, and so on.
Mopa Dra-Ngak has to do with wrathful mantras. Wrathful mantras are mostly directed at overcoming wrathful obstacles, subjugating the wrathful obstacles through the use of tantric rituals. These are practiced by an accomplished yogi on the path. Any actual good tantric yogi see can make use of these practices in overcoming wrathful obstacles. Those are the three remaining of the eight herukas that will be given in the next few days.