The essence of realization is nowness,
Occurring all at once, with nothing to add or subtract.
Self-liberation, innate great bliss,
Free from hope or fear is the fruition.
~Marpa, from his song of realization and experience
(Translation and image of Marpa is from Asia Karma Kagyu)
Martine Franck - Tulku Khentrul Lodro Rabsel (12 y.o) and his tutor, (Hechen monastery, Bodnath, Nepal, 1996)
At the age of 5, KHENTRUL decided that he had lived enough with his parents and that it was time for him to enter the monastery.
Two or three years after their death, important lamas are reincarnated in the body of a child. The search for this child is based on the information left by the lama himself: dreams, visions and the intuition of other lamas. The Tulkus are discovered at 3 or 4 years of age, declared at about 4 or 5 and then enter the monastery at the age of 6. According to the rules of the monastery, each Tulku is instructed by a tutor and is either prevented or restricted from seeing other young monks from their age group. All the Tulkus are called Rinpoche which means “the precious one”.
The mind’s original nature is like space;
It pervades and embraces all things under the sun.
Be still and stay relaxed in genuine ease,
Be quiet and let sound reverberate as an echo,
Keep your mind silent and watch the ending of all worlds.
~Tilopa’s Mahamudra Instructions to Naropa (trans. by Keith Dowman)
(Photo by Sippanont Samchai)
Like the Morning Mist
Is space anywhere supported? Upon what does it rest?
Like space, Mahamudra is dependent upon nothing;
Relax and settle in the continuum of unalloyed purity,
And, your bonds loosening, release is certain.
Gazing intently into the empty sky, vision ceases;
Likewise, when mind gazes into mind itself,
The train of discursive and conceptual thought ends
And supreme enlightenment is gained.
Like the morning mist that dissolves into thin air,
Going nowhere but ceasing to be,
Waves of conceptualization, all the mind’s creation, dissolve,
When you behold your mind’s true nature.
~Tilopa’s Mahamudra instructions, translated by Keith Dowman
(Photo by scbi)
At first a yogi feels his mind is tumbling like a waterfall;
In mid-course, like the Ganges, it flows on slow and gentle;
In the end, it is a great vast ocean,Where the lights of Child and Mother merge in one.
~Tilopa’s Song of Mahamudra, from: Teachings of the Buddha, Ed. Jack Kornfield
(Photo by David Fokos)
A woman on a pilgrimage to Potala palace, looking at the view of Lhasa below.
(Photo by Gergory Bedenko)
We live in illusion and the appearance of things. There is a reality. We are that reality. When we understand this, we see that we are nothing. And being nothing, we are everything. That is all.
(Photo:Tibetan prayer wheels, by Ira Gosalia)
Thunderbolt and bell, 1403-1424 China Ming dynasty, reign of the Yongle emperor (1403-1424) Gilt bronze.
The Vajra (Tibetan: Dorjie) and bell (Sanskrit:g h a n t a ; Tibetan:d r i l b u) are the most important ritual objects of Tibetan Buddhism. Most every lama has a pair and knows how to use them. They represent “method” (vajra) and “wisdom” (bell). Combined together they symbolize enlightenment as they embody the union of all dualities: bliss and emptiness, compassion and wisdom, appearance and reality, conventional truth and ultimate truth, and male and female, etc.
Avalokiteshvara- the Boddhisattva of compassion, 19th Century Thangka, Tibet. Colors and gold on cotton.
In this painting he has four arms and is white in color. His upper hands hold prayer beads and a lotus; the lower ones, poised in a hand gesture of prayer, clasp the wish-fulfilling jewel at his heart. This jewel embodies the bodhicitta —the altruistic aspiration to attain highest Enlightenment in order to thereby save all beings from misery and establish them in perfect happiness
In the lower right of the painting is Vajrapani, a wrathful deity, who embodies the sacred power of the Buddhas. He is a great protector of Buddhism. His ferocity is a comfort to believers and terrifying to demons who seek to harm living beings and destroy their paths to salvation
In the lower left of the painting sits Manjushri, the Boddhisattva of Supreme Wisdom. He holds the Book of Wisdom and the flaming sword that cuts the roots of ignorance, and severs the sprouts of misery.
Above the Boddhisattva’s head is Tsongkhapa, the sage who established the Gelugpa school of Tibetan Buddhism (that of the Dalai Lama). He is accompanied by his chief disciples.
On the upper left and right sides are the White and Green Tara, the boddhisattvas of compassion and wisdom. They are said to have been born out of the tears of Avalokiteshvara, when he cried out of compassion for all the suffering beings experience in samsara.
(Source: Terese Bartholomew, “A Tibetan Thangka: The Four-Armed Avalokiteshvara,”Tr i p t yc h (November/ December, 1990): pp. 8-9. )
Mandala, 18th century, Tibet.
The center of this mandala shows Cakrasamvara (pronounced “Chakra-some-vahra”) in a militant pose, firmly embracing his partner, Vajravarahi. Depicted above are the first three lineage holders of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism- Buddha Vajradhara (middle), the Indian Mahasiddhas Tilopa (left), and Naropa (right).
Kalachakra mandala created by Losang Samten, November 2009 at the University of the Arts, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Photographed and edited by Thomas Bugaj.
Kalachakra (“Wheel of Time”) refers both to a Tantric deity (Tib. yidam) of Vajrayana Buddhism and to the philosophies and meditation practices contained within the Kalachakra Tantra and its many commentaries.
The Kalachakra tradition revolves around the concept of time (kāla) and cycles (chakra): from the cycles of the planets, to the cycles of human breathing, it teaches the practice of working with the most subtle energies within one’s body on the path to enlightenment.
The Kalachakra deity represents a Buddha and thus omniscience. Since Kalachakra is time and everything is under the influence of time, Kalachakra knows all. Whereas Kalachakri or Kalichakra, his spiritual consort and complement, is aware of everything that is timeless, untimebound or out of the realm of time. In Yab-yum, they are temporality and atemporality conjoined. Similarly, the wheel is without beginning or end.
KYE HO! Listen with joy!
Investment in samsara is futile; it is the cause of every anxiety.
Since worldly involvement is pointless, seek the heart of reality!
In the transcending of mind’s dualities is Supreme vision;
In a still and silent mind is Supreme Meditation;
In spontaneity is Supreme Activity;
And when all hopes and fears have died, the Goal is reached.
Beyond all mental images the mind is naturally clear:
Follow no path to follow the path of the Buddhas;
Employ no technique to gain supreme enlightenment.
~Tilopa’s Mahamudra Instruction to Naropa (translated by Keith Dowman)