amazon review: A Brief Fantasy History of a Himalayan by Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

A Brief Fantasy History of a Himalayan,
Autobiographical Reflections
by Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

Amazon review:

Experience of the experience,

Experience of the experience. All the books from the Thinley Norbu Rinpoche. regardless how much scholarship is on display lay an experience in front of their readers. They are not a push to make “next step” but rather a head first full body dive into an ocean. And this book is very special in a way that Rinpoche talks about his own experiences, while letting us in…


amazon review for: The Yeshe Lama by Keith Dowman (author, translator)

The Yeshe Lama: Jigme Lingpa’s Dzogchen Atiyoga Manual.
A Radical Dzogchen Translation by Keith Dowman

amazon review:

May this book be of liberating benefit to all,

Here is the actual review, unlike most reviews that I publish, this one is less about the book and more about everything else….

There should be an an understanding that spiritual path of an individual is their own business to an inconceivable extent. Thus if one were to locate a book such as this, it be pretty important to align your practice in a way so that you benefit from it. And only the person them self can possibly know how to do it. So, if a person connects with these “top most” teachings with appropriate degree of seriousness, they will know what to do how to handle these.

After all this is that spiritual path we are talking about here, the one and same that millions of people do not see any value to at all, let alone Buddhist, or Dzogchen teachings… So, yes it is most interesting to try and wrap your mind around the idea that century after century there seemingly persists a large number of people that do get the teachings, do attempt some manner of meditation and still seem to follow into the direction of the “butter bag” – a traditional tibetan idea based on the fact that butter was stored in a leather bag. That bag would become so hard from all the contact with the butter, so it would not be ever softened ever again by application of any more butter… The highest risk that people coming in contact with Dzogchen and liberating Vajrayana teachings is not using these to liberate.

Then there is a storm wave of voices about accurate, bad, good whatever translation that this one is or not. Well when your 40 years of study and contemplation result in your translation of a Yeshe Lama, then it will be possible to compare. Until then, we got this.

And yes in the west and in US we do not have a strong Buddhist tradition at all, it all is very new and very much uncertain. So, one hears people very actively attempting to discourage others in taking their path seriously.

May this review and most of all the book about which I managed to talk very little, be of liberating benefit to all!

The Sole Panacea by Thinley Norbu Rinpoche


The Sole Panacea: A Brief Commentary on the Seven-Line Prayer to Guru Rinpoche That Cures the Suffering of the Sickness of Karma and Defilement
by Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

amazon review:

The Experience

-This is not a book – book offering explanations, deeper meaning so on, so forth.
As it is quoted from the Diamond Sutra on the Page 31:

“…Those that see me as form,
Those that know me as sound,
Are on the wrong path.
They cannot see me.
Buddhas see the pure nature of the phenomena.
All Buddhas are Dharmakaya.
Dharmata is not knowledge.
It is impossible to understand it..”

This book does lay out in front of the reader the experience.

amazon review: Buddhahood Without Meditation by Dudjom Lingpa

Buddhahood Without Meditation, A Visionary Account Known as Refining Apparent Phenomenon (Nang-jang)
by Dudjom Lingpa

amazon review:

 Buddhahood Without meditation (Nang-jang) 

The full title of the text is Buddhahood Without Meditation: Advice for Making Fully Evident One’s True Face – Natural Great Perfection. Revised Edition by Dudjom Lingpa

Buddhahood Without Meditation, widely known by its subtitle, Nang-jang (Refining Apparent Phenomena), presents the view of the Great Perfection through the approach known as trekchö (cutting through solidity). This second, revised edition is the result of a thorough reexamination of the original English translation done in an effort to clarify the terminology and meaning of Dudjom Lingpa’s text for Western students of the Great Perfection. The glossary as been revised accordingly and expanded to incorporate new terms. It also includes the Tibetan text as edited by H.H.Dudjom Rinpoche, as well has his Structural Analysis and Outline.

“The Nangjang was prepared as an inexhaustible treasure trove of the gift of the Buddha’s teachings, the relics of the dharmakaya.” –H.H.Dudjom Rinpoche [from publisher’s website at:]

” THIS TEXT BELONGS to the category of atiyoga, the highest of the nine vehicles that constitute the Buddhist path. Moreover, it is from the short lineage of Dudjom Lingpa, a direct transmission of the Great perfection approach so powerful that even hearing it read aloud ensures that the listener will eventually escape the suffering of samsara.
It should be remembered, however, that to benefit fully from the Nang-jang, one must receive empowerment, oral transmission, and a teachings from a qualified Dzogchen master.” Page V.

Ngakpas – Snow Lion Publications Newsletter

The Ngakpa Tradition: an Interview with Khetsun Sangpo Rinpoche

That was published in Fall 2006 issue of Snow Lion: Buddhist News and Catalog –, it is reposted here with permission from the publisher.

Jeff Cox: Not many people in the West understand what ngakpas are, though many have seen photos of these long-haired, white-robed yogis. Perhaps the one that is best known is the late Yeshe Dorje, who was His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s “weatherman”—that is, he was called on to control the weather for certain occasions. I’d like to understand more about the pure ngakpa tradition.

Khetsun Sangpo Rinpoche: Ngakpas can marry and have families. Their practice is essentially inward and a true spiritual practice.

JC: Is a ngakpa lineage more involved with working with the natural forces, the deities of the weather, the local deities? Do they have a more shamanic tradition?

KSR: They are engaged in similar rituals and ceremonies as those in the shamanic tradition but there is a distinct difference. This is, for the ngakpa the purpose and final goal is enlightenment in order to liberate others and self. Usually in the shamanic tradition no one talks of enlightenment—it’s only for healings and temporary performance, which are maybe only for this life’s well-being. The goal is not as high.

JC: I see. You are saying that ngakpas will do similar kinds of things as shamans but the purpose is for creating better conditions for enlightenment, either mental or physical?

KSR: Yes. Simply, ngakpas do what they do not only for the present moment’s well-being but also for future enlightenment.

JC: I see. Is there anything else Rinpoche would like to say about the ngakpa tradition?

KSR: Buddhist monks take pratimoksa vows, of which there are two hundred fifty-three. But ngagpas, with their tantric vows and the samayas [commitments], there are a hundred thousand they have to keep in their mental level. It’s about practice in every single moment to keep all this and not engage in non-virtuous things.

JC: When you say “one hundred thousand vows” it’s like saying that at every moment of your day you have to maintain your awareness. It is not that there really are one hundred thousand.

KSR: Yes, it’s metaphorical.

JC: To keep the mind pure all the time.

KSR: Not pure but just aware.

JC: Aware?

KSR: You need a very high awareness to keep one hundred thousand samayas. So if people are keeping that kind of awareness, even though they appear outwardly as just simple beings they actually are great beings—they are realized or high practitioners.

Otherwise, most people, if they cannot take the ordained vow or keep all the samayas, then they can only make some connection to the Dharma but enlightenment would be very difficult. No matter what you do, if you don’t want to take ordained vows then become a lay practitioner. All you have to do is keep all those samayas well and then you become a true ngagkpa.

JC: Are you saying that tantric practice in the ngakpa way is more strict than that of the average practitioner who does tantric practice?

KSR: Exactly. On the mental level it is much stricter.

JC: So a practitioner in a Nyingma monastery who has taken pratimoksa vows or whatever and is also a tantric practitioner wouldn’t have the same expectation as a ngakpa tantric practitioner would?

KSR: Yes, the difference is that if you are a lay person, in order not to break all these vows every moment you need a high awareness. If you stay in a monastery the vows are much easier to keep.

JC: Okay, I guess the question is: if people were serious about practicing, why would they choose to be ngakpas when it may be easier another way? What is it inside one that makes one choose a ngakpa life?

KSR: Many people begin to follow the ngakpa tradition because to outward appearances the life looks like that of a lay person in which you can engage in everything: you can take a woman or you can drink alcohol. But what they don’t initially know is that there are very subtle restrictions and disciplines or awareness that must come with that. It is even harder than staying in a monastery.

JC: Because the practitioners stay in life, they are transforming the conditions of natural life, not an artificial life, which, in a way, a monastery is. So if your mind is disciplined enough to maintain inward awareness as you are saying, then the ngakpa way may actually have more power?

KSR: Yes. If you follow all the tantric samayas, you can recognize all those poisons and you progress much faster and much more powerfully than others, but also it is a very dangerous path if you cannot keep all the samayas. The broken samaya is even worse and it brings worse results. Being a ngakpa is like being a snake in a bamboo hole—you have to go up or down, there is no side way you can exit. It is much more dangerous and risky. There are only two ways: If you really follow the samaya practice you will gain the fastest result, gain enlightenment and help others, or if you break samaya you go to hell.

JC: So it doesn’t sound like a job everyone would want. Sometimes people choose this path because they are born into a family of ngakpas?

KSR: Yes, that is one reason, and also, what one prefers. Because of one’s physical nature or mental inclination or because one has reached a certain stage to take a consort or whatever.

Loppon (translator): Or if you come from a family of ngakpas—in my hometown, the twenty-five disciples and their descendants in the area kept the dharma in the family. The ngakpas from the family came together in the village and built a temple we call the ngag kang, meaning the ngakpa’s assembly hall. We didn’t have such formality but because of influence from the monastic tradition we built this temple, gathering on the auspicious days every month to make rituals, and give teachings and empowerments. But this is just a particular family lineage: always the eldest son will become the ngakpa and the rest of the children are sent to the monastery. But of course there are many others not from the family lineage who just want to become ngakpas in order to learn tantra without leaving the social life. There are a lot like that.

JC: The ngakpa path appeals to Westerners but it may not be something that is recommended.

KSR: No one tells you to become a ngakpa or not; it all depends on your practice. You come to the teaching, you start practice, and slowly progress. When you cultivate your merit, your wisdom is rising and you gain this awareness and then you spontaneously can keep all the practices. Such ones are the true ngakpas, the true practitioner ngakpas. The others are appearance ngakpas, who wear the clothes and leave the hair long. Tibetan lamas are shy to do that in the West but surprisingly many Western students wear these things like yogis.

JC: Yes, these days many Westerners look like ngakpas.

KSR: Tibetans don’t try to look like ngakpas. That is the difference: If you really follow those samayas you are a great practitioner and nobody can see it from the outside. On the other hand those who cannot follow anything but wear the clothes, it is nothing but costumes and emblems that they hold. Everything goes the opposite way if you really cannot hold the samayas.

Interview by Jeff Cox.

Collection of notes on Yangtik Namsum

Padma Publishing established by late Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche has published very best books on Dzogpa Chenpo, obtaining very high level of scholarship available today to accomplish English language translations, Nang Jang and Choying Dzod also include original Tibetan text and are primary versions for many transmissions given in the West. Picture of Longchen Rabjam above is from Pabma Publishing website.


Buddhahood Without Meditation
A Visionary Account Known as Refining One’s Perception (Nang-jang)
Revised Edition
by Dudjom Lingpa

Buddhahood Without Meditation, widely known by its subtitle, Nang-jang (Refining Apparent Phenomena), presents the view of the Great Perfection through the approach known as trekchö (cutting through solidity). This second, revised edition is the result of a thorough reexamination of the original English translation done in an effort to clarify the terminology and meaning of Dudjom Lingpa’s text for Western students of the Great Perfection. The glossary as been revised accordingly and expanded to incorporate new terms. It also includes the Tibetan text as edited by H.H.Dudjom Rinpoche, as well has his Structural Analysis and Outline.

“The Nangjang was prepared as an inexhaustible treasure trove of the gift of the Buddha’s teachings, the relics of the dharmakaya.” –H.H.Dudjom Rinpoche [from publisher’s website at:]

The Precious Treasury of the Basic Space of Phenomena (Chöying Dzöd)
by Longchen Rabjam

Among the works in Longchen Rabjam’s famous collection, The Seven Treasuries, that commonly known as the Chöying Dzöd concerns the spiritual approach known as trekchö (cutting through solidity), which brings spiritual practitioners of the highest acumen to freedom effortlessly.

The Chöying Dzöd consists of two texts: a set of source verses entitled The Precious Treasury of the Basic Space of Phenomena and Longchenpa’s own commentary on those verses, A Treasure Trove of Scriptural Transmission. Although we have published them individually, they are considered companion volumes. Hardcover [from publisher’s website at:]

Some background on the titles of teaching connected to the initial posting, which comes below.

Khandro Nyingtik – Innermost Spirituality of the Dakini [mkha’-‘gro snying-tig]
-Discovered by Pema Ledreltsel [Padma Las-‘brel-rtsal]. Redacted by Longchenpa [Klong-chen Rab-byams-pa].
Vima Nyingtik – Innermost Spirituality of the Vimalamitra [bi-ma’i snying-tig]
-Redacted by Longchenpa
Khandro Yangtik – Further Innermost Spirituality of the Dakini [man-ngag mkha’-‘gro yang-tig]
-Redacted and developed as mind treasure by Longchenpa in relationship to Khandro Nyingtik of Padmasambhava.
Lama Yangtik – Further Innermost Spirituality of the Guru [bla-ma yang-tik] (Also known as Yangtik Yeshin Norbu – Further Innermost Spirituality, Wishfulfilling Jewel)
-Redacted and developed as mind treasure by Longchenpa in relationship to Vima Nyingtik of Vimalamitra.
Zabmo Yangtik – Profound Further Innermost Spirituality [zab-mo yang-tig]
-Mind treasure by Longchenpa condensing Khandro Yangtik and Lama Yangtik.
Nyingtik Yabshi – Four-part Innermost Spirituality [snying-thig ya-bzhi].
According to 2nd edition published in Dehli by lama Sherab Gyaltsen in 1975:
Main sections: Volumes 1-2, Lama Yangtik; Volumes 3-6, Vima Nyingtik; Volumes 7-9, Khandro Yangtik; Volumes, 10-11 Khandro Nyingtik; Volumes 12-13 Zabmo Yangtik. Collectively also referred to as the Mother and Son Cycles of Innermost Spirituality.

Source relied to compile definitions of terms above: Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism by Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche.

Initial posting:

Khandro Yangtik, Vima Yangtik and Zabmo Yangtik together are also called Yangtik Namsum (“Three treatises on Inner Essence”) and cover all the essential points of Mengagde class of Dzogpa Chenpo, with particular emphasis on the togyal practice. All 5 treatises together comprise Nyingtik Yabshi. And were published at one point in 11 and in 13 volumes. It is said that if you cannot get the empowerments and transmissions for first 4 teachings Zabmo Yangtik in a way condenses them all, making Zabmo Yangtik a condensation of Nyingtik Yabshi one of the most famous teachings within Nyingma tradition. Receiving such an empowerments can be one of the greatest moments in all of one’s lifetimes. Usually There is some explanation on the empowerments given at the time of empowerments.  -With aspiration that all our wishes be accomplished in accordance with Dharma.


Khenchen Tsewang Gyatso Rinpoche in NYC Teaching on the prayer in 7 chapters

Schedule of events and short note on the material offered within context of the main teaching, the Prayer in Seven Chapters.

Friday, April 28, 2006, 7pm
Public Talk: Introduction to Buddhism

Saturday, April 29, 10-12 and 2:30-5 pm
Teaching on “Supplications to Guru Rinpoche in Seven Chapters”

Sunday, April 30; 10-12 pm
Empowerment White Umbrella
Sunday, April 30; 2:30-5 pm
Teaching on “Supplications to Guru Rinpoche in Seven Chapters”

Location: Nyingma Palyul Dharma Center 3rd Floor
121 Bowery Street (just south off the corner with Grand Street)
New York, NY
For information on Palyul events in NYC:
Palyul Ling International:

Some basic research on the collection of prayers that is known as “Supplications to Guru Rinpoche in Seven Chapters”.

Erik Pema Kunzang in “The Lotus-Born: The Life Story of Padmasambhava” on page 225 writes: “Karma Chagmey (1613-1678). History, Meditation and benefits of the Supplication in Seven Chapters. GSOL’DEBS LE’U BDUN PA’I LO RGYUS DMIGS RIM PHAN YON DANG BCAS PA. 78 manuscript pages. An explanation of the seven famous supplications to Guru Rinpoche revealed by the hermit Sangpo Dragpa and given to the great terton Rigdzin Godem. The daily practice of these supplications embody the entire life-story of Padmasambhava, all his lineages of transmission, and all the levels of his teaching.”
-Above is an entry in “Bibliography” listing of the book for Mahasiddha Karma Chagmey commentary, but it does present immense scope of practice associated with the Supplications.

Culmination of Guru Rinpoche’s speech, the seven chapters of prayers of supplication.

It is said that all of Guru Rinpoche practice instructions, all of Guru Rinpoche life story and all of transmissions of these can be summed up and connected to through these supplications.

English translation and research on the Seven Supplications is available in the following books:

Guru Rinpoche, His Life and Times by Ngawang zangpo  (Snow Lion)

A Great Treasure of Blessings, A Book of Prayers to Guru Rinpoche, To celebrate the Wood Monkey Year 2004-5 translated and edited by Rigpa Translations  (Rigpa)

A Treasure Trove of Blessings and Protection, the Seven Chapter Prayer of the Great Teacher Padmasambhava translated by Mike Dickman  (Cool Grove Press)

According to these research, main 6 supplications were composed by Guru Rinpoche after the request of his 5 heart disciples, in Male Fire Horse Year, 12th Lunar month year 767 according to Western calendar. At Samye monastery in Tibet.

First Supplication:
The Supplication to the Spiritual Master’s Three Bodies of Enlightenment. Also translated as: Prayer to the Guru Trikaya
It is given to requesting 5 disciples collectively who are: fully ordained monk Namke Nyingpo, King Trisong Detsen, Dakini Yeshe Tsogyal, Nanam Dorje Dudjom and prince Mutri Tsepo. Through realization of the teachings of Guru Rinpoche, these five disciples knew that keeping of samaya commitments is the very heart of vajrayana and supplication to the Guru is most effective way of maintaining the samaya, thus their request is for a short and meaningful supplication that can be recited by any one at any point during the day or night is for that very purpose.
Second Supplication:
Supplication Given to the King
Last lines of the request as given by Ngawang Zangpo: “…that this life’s obstacles be cleared away, and that we eventually attain the supreme accomplishment of Great Seal [mahamudra]…”
Third Supplication:
The Supplication Given to Yeshe Tsogyal
Last lines of the request as given by Ngawang Zangpo:
“…to be able to move your blessings like clouds in the sky. If we ordinary people repeat this supplication in Tibet after you depart to Odiyanna, may it have the power to make you return from the land of the dakinis in Odiyanna and to compassionately appear before the Tibetan faithful, blessing us…”

Fourth Supplication:
Supplication Given to the fully-ordained monk Namke Nyingpo.

Fifth Supplication:
Supplication given to Nanam Dorje Dudjom

Sixth supplication:
Supplication given to Prince Mutri Tsepo
In the Male Water Dragon year [1352], Tulku Sangpo Drakpa retrieved this treasure from the retreat cave of the Master from Odiyanna at Drompa Gyong, Rulak. He entrusted it to the great Rigdzin Gokyi Demtru Chen and this great awareness holder translated it from the yellow parchment.
Seventh supplication is given at a later date to Mutri Tsepo and is titled: The Supplication for the Spontaneous Fulfillment of the Wishes
In the Male Water Dragon year [1352], Tulku Sangpo Dragpa retrieved this treasure from the Gyong temple at Rulak. He gave it to the great Rikzin Gokyi Demtru Chen and this great awareness holder translated it from the yellow parchment.

Supplication to Dispel Obstacles on the Path
This supplication is closely connected to the Supplications in seven chapters, it was given in Earth Monkey year [768] to Prince Murub Tsepo, who is also known by his Buddhist name Yeshe Rolpa Tsal. Ngawang Zangpo on page 260:
“…He then placed his right hand on king’s head, his left hand on mine [Yeshe Tsogyal], and touched his forehead to that of the Son of Heaven [title for a Tibetan Prince at the time] In the innate indestructible sound of the melody of the nature of reality, he spoke this supplication:
Om Ah Houng Benza Guru Pema Siddhi Houng…”

[which is followed in the book by text of the translation for the supplication]
Prayer mentioned above and a similar to the original version of the supplication for Spontaneous Fulfillment of Wishes was revealed in 19th century by Chogyur Dechen Lingpa (1829-1870) within cycle of The Heart -Meditation on the Master, A Wish-Fulfilling Jewel.