SEMINARS WITH LAMA VAJRANATHA—
TEACHING SCHEDULE WINTER-SPRING 2016
January 29-31, 2016
The Wealth and Protection Practices with Mahakala as a Meditation Deity
Vienna, Austria [Weekend meditation workshop]
In all the schools of Tibetan Buddhism, Mahakala, “the great black one,”is regarded as among the most impotant of all the Dharmapalas, or Guardian Spirits of the Buddhist Teachings and its practitioners. This terrifying divine figure, who destroys demons and demolishes and dissolves obstacles, may either function as a Yidam, or meditation deity, or as a Sungma, a guardian and protective spirit for the teachings and for the practitioner. As a meditation deity, he is regarded as a wrathful emanation of the great Bodhisattva of compassion, Avalokiteshvara, who adopts this ferocious guise when peaceful methods fail to subdue and transform the obstacles and threats emanating from negative energies. First we shall focus on the White Mahakala for the wealth practice that comes through the lineage of Shavaripa in India and through Khyungpo Naljor in Tibet. Then we shall the focus will be on the protection practices associated with the Six-armed Mahakala and the Four-armed Mahakala coming from the tradition of Lama Taranatha..
February 5-6-7, 2016
Practices of the Guardians: Protective Deities in Tibetan Buddhism
Kunzang Ling Center, Szczecin, Poland [Weekend seminar and meditation practice]
When the Tibetan king Trisong Detsan attempted to erect the first Buddhist monastery in Tibet at Samye in the 8th cen. CE, his efforts were opposed by the local gods and spirits who were addicted to the receiving of blood sacrifices. They knew well that the Buddhist monks of India were opposed to such practices. Advised by the scholar Shantirakshita, the king invited to Tibet the great Tantric master Padmasambhava from Uddiyana. Later known as Guru Rinpoche, this master was able to subdue these local gods and spirits in fierce magical combat, converting them to the Dharma. Binding them with powerful oaths, he comissioned them henceforth to be guardians and protectors of the Dharma and its practitioners. Hence they are known as Dharmapalas. Since that time, every Tibetan Buddhist monastery after sunset performs the Rites of the Guardians, invoking and propiating these gods and spirits with puja offerings. We will examine these rites and rituals instituted by Padmasambhava, including those for the special protectors of Dzogchen, especially with regard to how we, as human beings, can re-establish a harmonious relationship with the nature spirits who inhabit our natural environment.
February 20-21, 2016
Death and Dying in Tibetan Buddhist Tradition
Sambhala Center, Budapest Hungary [Weekend seminar]
Does conscious existence continue after the death of the material body? The ultimate fact of death faces every living being. Whatever is born will eventually die. Nevertheless, according to the teaching of the Buddha, the death of the brain and the material body is not the end of our conscious exerience. Death is only a passage and a gateway, one stage in our transformations along the journey. The Tibetan Book of the Dead, or Bardo Thödrol, “liberation through hearing while in the Bardo,” was one of the most profound texts to come out of the Dzogchen tradition of Tibet, this being established in the 8th century of our era by Padmasambhava. This master not only described the process of dying and how to prepare for this inevitable experience with certain meditation practices, but also detailed the after-death experiences of the individual, known as the Bardo, that eventually leads to rebirth into human existence, or into some other dimension of reality. The Dzogchen teachings of Padmasambhava serve both as the philosophical and the practical basis of the Book of the Dead. In this two day seminar, we shall look at the questions of death, dying, reincarnation, and purifying past karma in the light of Dzogchen and Buddhist psychology. Some practices in the Dzogchen tradition that relate to preparation for dying and the Bardo experience occuring thereafter will be examined.
Info. Sambhala Center:
February 27-28, 2016
Peaceful and Wrathful Deities Practice in the Tibetan Book of the Dead
Sambhala Center, Budapest Hungary [Weekend seminar]
The Tibetan Books of the Dead speaks of three Bardos, or inervals in the continuum of conscious experience. The first of these is the Chikhai Bardo, the Bardo of the dying process and this is discribed in these texts in some detail. This culminates with the experience of the Clear Light, after which the deceased consciousness (Namshe) finds itself in space outside its former material body in habiting a subtle, mind-made body. Its initial experiences occur in the immediate vicinity of the circumstances of one’s death, but then one becomes distracted by memories and karmic traces and wanders off through the lanscapes of the mind. However, from time to time consciousness encounters the dawning of certain archetypal figures known as the Zhitro, or Peaceful and Wrathful Deities, occuring during the next interval , known as the Chönyid Bardo, the Bardo of the Clear Light of Reality. If one recognises these luminous figures as archetypal manifestations of the nature of one’s own mind, one has the opportunity to liberate from Samsara. Failing to recognize their nature, however, consciousness will find itself propelled into the third interval, the Sidpai Bardo, or Bardo of the rebirth process. In this seminar we will look at the symbolic meanings of these figures and their deeper signifcance for the individual, including the meditations and rituals pertaining to them.
Info. Sambhala Center:
April 1-2-3, 2016
Vajrakilaya Practice according to the Dudjom Tersar Tradition
Brataslava and Zvolen, Slovakia [Friday evening talk and weekend meditation workshop]
His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche, Jigdral Yeshe Dorje (1904-1987), during the latter part of his lifetime the Supreme Head of the Nyingmapa School of Tibetan Buddhism, was one of the greatest masters of Dzogchen and Buddhist Tantra in Tibet in recent times. Rinpoche was not only an accomplished Tantric Yogi and Terton (discover of hidden treasure texts), but a profound scholar of the Buddhist tradition of Tibet. Born in Southern Tibet, he was recognized as a reincarnation of one of the original twenty-five disciples of Guru Padmasambhava who established Vajrayana, the Tantric form of Buddhism, in Tibet in the 8th century of our era. The hidden treasure texts, or Termas, discovered by Dudjom Rinpoche and his previous incarnation, Dudjom Lingpa, are collectively known as Dudjom Tersar, “the New Treasures of Dudjom.” They particularly focus upon the practices associated with Phurpa or Vajrakilaya, “the diamond-like magical three-bladed dagger,”which overcomes and destroys demons and obstructing spirits, especially as represented by the Rudra demons of inflated ego.
In general, the function of Phurpa practice is to overcome obstacles and demolish negative energies afflicting the life of the individual practitioner. These methods include the higher spiritual practices (stod-las) for attaining liberation and enlightenment and the more practical ritual actions (smad-las) for transforming energy in daily life. As embodied in the Yidam, or meditation deity, Vajrakilaya, this is among one of the most popular meditation practices in the Nyingmapa tradition, indeed, even having been the personal meditation practice of Guru Padmasambhava himself and his consort, the Tibetan princess Yeshe Tsogyal. Along with the Longchen Nyingthik, the Dudjom Tersar has become among the most widespread and popular Terma cycles in Tibet today among both monks and Ngakpa Lamas of the Nyingmapa school. It is said that the cycles of Dudjom Phurpa complete the revelation of Phurpa practice in terms of Mahayoga, Anuyoga, and Atiyoga, or Dzogchen, originally revealed to and inaugurated by Padmasambhava among his circle of Tibetan disciples. This course will introduce some of these practices for Vajrakilaya according to the Dudjom Tersar, in particular, the sPu-gri reg-phung, “the Razor that Destroys at a Touch.”
, or Tomas:
April 8-9-10, 2016
Practices of the Wrathful Lion-Headed Wisdom Dakini Simhamukha
Maria Lankowitz, near Graz, Austria [Weekend seminar]
Generally, in terms of Tibetan Buddhism, the Dakini represents the autonomous feminine principle that is outside the control of patriarchal society and the rational male ego consciousness. For this reason, the Dakini may be represented as alluring and enchanting, but also as wrathful and terrifying. This seminar will look at the meditations, rituals, and magical practices associated with the wrathful lion-headed Dakini Simhamukha, mistress of enchantments, sorceries, and witchcraft, who brings all those beings who are difficult to subdue under her power, and who also vanquishes and subdues all obstacles, negativities, and evil spirits. Simhamukha was the personal practice of Guhyajnana Dakini, the female Guru of Padmasambhava in the Central Asian country of Uddiyana and he introduce4d the practice into Tibet. She remains a very popular practice in the Nyingmapa school of Tibetan Buddhism. For this purpose, we rely on the profound expositions of Jamgön Kongtrul, Jamyang Khyentse, and Dudjom Rinpoche regarding the practices for this Dakini, who is a manifestation of enlightened awareness.
April 22-23-24, 2016
The Three Series of Dzogchen Teachings—Semde, Longde, and Upadesha
München, South Germay [Friday night talk, weekend meditation seminar]
The highest and most quintessential teaching in the Buddhist tradition of Tibet is known as Atiyoga or Dzogchen, “the Great Perfection,” which is revealed and discovered within oneself by way of a direct introduction to the primordial state of Buddhahood residing at the core of each individual human being. This state, which is, at the same time, the Nature of Mind, lies beyond the mind—indeed, beyond all time, conditioning, and causality. Like the sun in the sky, but with its face concealed by the clouds, it is primordially present, illuminating all our successive lifetimes in Samsara as the source of our being. It is not developed through effort or study, but discovered effortlessly in all its primordial purity and spontaneous perfection by way of the state of contemplation.
Central to Dzogchen is the practice of contemplation- the immediate experience of the primordial state of the individual, the unconditioned Nature of Mind. This Nature of Mind, which is like a mirror, transcends the temporal flux, the incessant flow of thoughts reflecting our social, cultural, and psychological conditioning. These specific contents of mind, the beginningless stream of consciousness which we call the cyclical existence of Samsara, are like the reflections in the mirror. Dzogchen takes us beyond the mind and its conditioning to the primordial state of Buddhahood and its intrinsic freedom known as Nirvana.
During this weekend weekend, we shall focus in terms of meditation practice on the Dzogchen teachings of Padmasambhava, which represent the most effective and powerful methods of transformation and contemplation within the Tibetan tradition, especially in terms of the different approaches and methods used in these three series, with the emphasis on actual practice.