A BRIEF ACCOUNT OF THE ORIGINS OF BUDDHISM IN INDIA.
this teaching from Kyabje Dungse Rinpoche.
To my Lord of Dharma, peerless,kind, my glorious Lama, homage!
His lotus feet I place, Upon my chakra of great bliss.
Patrul Rinpoche Said: The Propitious Speech from the Beginning, Middle, and End
Sunlight Speech: Dispelling the Darkness of Doubt.
A good kalpa, or golden age, is a fortunate time in which one thousand Buddhas will come into this world. We are now in a good kalpa,in the era of the fourth Buddha, the Buddha Sakyamuni. When the Buddha Sakyamuni came into the world, he fulfilled the twelve deeds which all Buddha’s perform, there by revealing himself as a Buddha.
These twelve deeds are: Leaving Tusita heaven (Ga.dan) for this world (Skt.Jambudvipa; Tibet. Dzam.bu.Ling) in the form of an ash-white elephant Entering into the womb of his mother (Skt. Maya Devi; Tibetan. Gyu.Thrul Lha.mo)
Taking birth in Lumbini, and then taking seven steps in each of the four directions Learning the arts, such as writing, mathematics, archery, etc. Engaging in sports with other young men and enjoying the company of his consorts Abandoning the princely life at the age of twenty-nine to become a self-ordained monk Enduring many hardships for six years by the river Nairanjana Sitting beneath the Bodhi tree in Bodhgaya Defeating hosts of demons that night Attaining Buddhahood at dawn Turning the Wheel of Dharma at Saranath Passing into nirvana.
According to the teaching of the sutras, the Buddha turned the Wheel of Dharma three times. In Saranath, the Buddha first turned the Wheel of Dharma, teaching the four truths (Den.pa,zhi) to the five noble ones (nga.de bzang.po). These four truths are: suffering, and the path leading to the cessation of suffering. These are the foundation of the Hinayana teaching.
Later, at Vulture’s Peak in Rajgir, the Buddha taught the “Perfection of Wisdom” (Prajna Paramita; Shes.rabkyi pa.rol.tu phyin.pa), which is the second turning of the Wheel of Dharma called
“characteristiclessness” (shan.nyidmed.pa) to the general gathering of the Sangha, including male and female sramaneras, bhiksus, and bhiksunis, and to the special gathering of bodhisattvas, such as Manjushri (Jam.pal Byangs), Avalokitesvara (Pyan.ras.gzigs), Vajrapani (Phyag.na Dorje) and Maitreya (Byams.pa).
Finally, at the place of supernatural beings unknown to ordinary beings, the Buddha taught the “Doctrine of Absolute Truth” (Don.dam nam. par jed.pa) to various disciples such as bodhisattvas, gods, nagas, yaksas, raksasas, and humans. at these times, the Buddha exhibited many miraculous powers of body, speech, and mind.
The full meaning of the Mahayana is contained in the Buddha’s last two turnings of the Wheel of Dharma where he taught actual relative truth and absolute truth. According to the teachings of the tantras, the higher Vajrayana teachings were first taught by the Buddha at the request of King Indrabodhi of Uddiyana (Orgyan).
In the Vajrayana teachings, the Buddha taught disciples of superior faculties, who had accumulated great merit, how to transform impure phenomenal appearance into a pure mandala. In order to teach Kind Indrabodhi, the Buddha emanated the Guhyasamaja mandala (Sang.ba ‘Dus.pa), and then bestowed the empowerment of this mandala upon the king and gave him tantric teachings.
At other times, the Buddha prophesied how he would emanate in the future to continue the tantric teachings. In the Mahaparinirvana Sutra (Mya.ngan las ‘das.pai.do), he foretold that he would be reborn in a lake. This prophecy was fulfilled by the “lotus-born,” Padmasambhava (Pad.ma “byung.gnas, “Pema Jungne”), who was born from a lotus in a lake, The coming of Pema Jungne was also foretold in many other sutra and tantra teachings.
According to the Hinayana doctrine, when the Buddha passed away, there were seven foremost disciples with whom he left his teachings. According to the Mahayana doctrine, his teaching was transmitted through the bodhisattvas, such as Maitreya, Manjusri, etc., to the “six ornaments and to the two excellent ones” (Gyan drug Chog nyis), the “two wonderful teachers” (Mad byung.gi. loppon rnam gnyis) and the “four great teachers” (Lob.pon chen.po zhi) The tantric Vajrayana teachings were transmitted through Vajrapani and the eighty-four mahasiddhas.
THE NYINGMAPA LINEAGES
According to the Nyingmapa School, the oldest school of Tibetan Buddhism, all the Buddhist teaching can be collected into nine yana, or vehicles. These can be categorized into the “Doctrine of Essential Causal Characteristic” (shan. nyid rgyu yi theg. pa), or the “Doctrine of Cause,” which contains the three vehicles of the sravaka,
pratyekabuddha, and bodhisattva; and the “Doctrine of Result” (Bras. bu’I theg.pa), which includes the outer Tantra containing the three vehicles of the kriya, upa, and yoga and the inner Tantra containing the three vehicles of the mahayo ga, anu yoga, and atiyoga.
There are two sections of mahayoga: Tantra (Gyud.de) and sadhana (Grub.de). Within the sadhana section, there are two subsections of kama (ka’.ma), or Buddha’s word, and terma (ter.ma), or treasure. There are two sections of Anuyoga: sutra (Do) and sacred precept or authorization (Lung).
There are three sections of atiyoga: the outer category of the mind section (Sems.de), in which all phenomena are established as never beyond mind; the inner category of the vastness section (Long.de), in which all phenomena are established as never beyond always noble profound space; and the secret category of the essential instructions section (Man.ngag gi de), in which the self-nature of all phenomena is itself directly established.
As is further explained n chapter 5, the special highest Nyingmapa teaching are the three vehicles of inner Tantra: Mahayoga, which is predominantly the tantric generative phase (Gyud skyed.pa ma.ha.yo.ga); Anuyoga, which is predominantly the precept completive phase (Lung dzog.pa a.nu.yo.ga); and Atiyoga, which is predominantly the essential instructions of the Great Perfection (Nam.ngag dzog.pa chen.poa. ati.yo.ga), in which the generative and completive stages are inseparable.
In the Nyingmapa school, there are three lineages of the transmission of these tantric teachings: the Lineage of Transmission of the Wisdom Mind of the Buddhas (Gyal.badgongs.pa’I brgyud.pa), the Lineage of Transmission by Signs of Vidyadharas (Rig.’dzinbrda.yi brgyud.pa), and the Lineage of Oral Transmission by Superior Individuals (Gang.zag snyan khung.gi brgyud.pa).
1.THE TEACHINGS OF THE LINEAGE OF TRANSISSION OF THE WISDOM MIND OF THE BUDDHAS
These were transmitted by the Buddhas in different ways according to the three kayas: dharmakaya, sambhogakaya, and nirmanakaya. In the dharmakaya buddhafield, Great Ogmin (Skt. Akanista, in Tibetan. ‘Og.min Chenpo), there are “fulfilled bodhisattva” (Bras.bu’I sems.pa’) whose wisdom minds are not different from that of the Buddha.
They are emanated from Samantabhadra (Kun.tu.bzang.po) or Vajradhara (Dorje ‘Chang), who are the same essence, the dharmakaya Buddha, and all teachings or knowledge are transmitted directly to their wisdom minds. In the sambhogakaya buddhafield, according to the Mahayana teachings, the tenth-stage bodhisattvas are the disciples of the five jinas, or buddhas of the five families. These buddhas give teachings which appear as light from their lips and tongues.
In the nirmanakaya buddhafield, Manjushri, Avalokitesvara, and Vajrapani are the most important teachers. They are the three emanations of the Buddha who represent his body, speech, and mind, respectively. They give teachings to the gods, nagas, yaksas, raksasas, and humans.
2.THE TEACHINGS OF THE LINEAGE OF TRANSMISSION BY SIGNS OF THE VADYADHARAS
The Buddha prophesied before he passed away that after twenty-eight years, the essential higher Vajrayana teaching would appear in the eastern direction. First, a good omen or sign was to appear to King (Dza), and then the very great higher Vajrayana teaching would come.
At that time, there were “five holy sages” (kam.pa’irigs. chan dra.ma lnga), four supernatural and one human, who were in Samadhi. The supernatural beings were a god, a yaksa, and raksasa, and a naga. Twenty-eight years after the Buddha passed away, they arose at the same time from their Samadhi meditation and gathered at the meteorite-bearing summit of Mount Malaya in South India.
They mourned in a twenty-three-verse lamentation, “Oh, alas! We are in deep darkness. If the lamplight of Buddha has gone out, who is going to dispel this world’s blindness?” Then Vajrapani, the custodian of tantric teachings, appeared to them and taught the General Sutra of the Essence of Wisdom (Pyimdo gongs.pa ‘dus.pa) and other texts. The raksasa, through his supernatural powers, wrote these tantras with ink made of powdered lapis lazuli on sheets of golden paper. Then he miraculously hid the books in the sky.
3.THE TEACHINGS OF THE LINEAGE OF ORAL TRANSMISSION BY SUPERIOR INDIVIDUALS
The fulfillment of the Buddha’s prophecy came twenty-eight years after his passing away, when Kind Dza had seven wonderful dreams which were good omens. Then, miraculously, volumes of eighteen different tantric treatises and a statue of Vajrapani fell like rain upon the palace of the king.
He had great faith in the image and prayed to it. Although he had been unable to read the tantric treatises, after praying, he was able to read and immediately understand the Chapter on Beholding the Face of Vajrasattva (Dorje sems.pa’I zhal thong gi le’u).
After Kind Dza practiced the teaching in this treatise, Vajrasattva appeared, and the king requested from him the tantric teachings of all the treatises. Vajrasattva told him that his teacher was Vajrapani and instructed him to pray to Vajrapani for these teachings. Since Vajrasattva and Vajrapani,
the “empowerment of the wisdom blessing” was bestowed upon him. Having received this, he fully realized the meaning of all the tantric teachings. King Dza revealed these teachings to Kukkuraja, and thus the lineage was transmitted. Kukkuraja passed on the teachings to one hundred thousand groups of disciples, and also completely transmitted all the tantric teachings to the great Indrabodhi II,
who had ten thousand groups of disciples to whom he in turn taught these teachings. Indrabodhi II transmitted the teachings completely to Simharaja, who had one thousand groups of disciples. From Sirmharaja, the teachings were perfectly transmitted to Uparadza, who had five hundred groups of disciples.
From Uparaja, the teachings were perfectly transmitted to Goma Devi, who had one hundred groups of disciples. All of those who received the tantric teaching attained the unsurpassed level of enlightenment. From Goma Devi, the teachings were perfectly transmitted to Lilavajra (Geg.pa’I Dorje), who transmitted them perfectly to Buddhaguhya (Sangs.gyas San.ba), who perfectly transmitted the teachings to Vimalamitra and to Padmasambhava. This is predominantly the lineage of Mahayoga.
Six conditions unfavorable to the practice of Dharma arose: the power of passions became great, the ability and power to practice Dharma decreased, the human lifespan became increasingly shorter, the great meaning of the Buddha’s speech was lost, the “essential heart teaching” was turned into bad doctrine, and the practice of Dharma became so corrupted that it lost its power as an antidote.
The secret teachings of Atiyoga, the “Great Perfection” (Skt.Magasandhi, Tibet. Dzog.pa Chen.po), arose when these six unfavorable conditions occurred. In the country of Uddiyana, a son was born to Parharani, King Asoka’s daughter. He was named the excellent Garab Dorje (Hasyavajra).
Vajrasattva appeared to him, bestowed many empowerments upon him, and taught him many tantric Dzogchen verses. He was invested by Vajrasattva as the master of the special doctrine of Great Perfection. Since he had Vajrasattva’s blessing of the Great Perfection, his wisdom mind had the realization of the “meaning of Tantra” (Don gyud).
Having this wisdom, he also had the realization of the “words of Tantra” (shig gyud), and he bestowed this blessing of speech in writing to benefit those of superior faculties who had accumulated great merit.
These realizations were fully transmitted from Garab Dorje to Manjusrimitra (‘Jam.phalbShes.gnyen) to Shri Simha to Jnanasutra to Vimalamitra. From Vimalamitra, all the teachings and realizations were completely transmitted to Padmasambhava, who took these teachings to Tibet.
The three lineages of transmission given above can also be explained in the following way.
The lineage of Transmission of Wisdom Mind of the Buddhas comes from Samantabhadra to Vajrasattva;
The lineage of Transmission by Signs of the Vidyadharas comes from Garab Dorje to Manjusrimitra to Sri Simha to Jnanasutra to Vimalamitra to Padmasambhava;
The lineage of Oral Transmission by Superior Individuals comes from Vimalamitra and Padmasambhava to King Thrisong Detsen (Khri.srong Ide’ubtsan) to Yeshe Tshogyal to Vairocana, and so on to our root Vajra master.
Within the terma subsection of the sadhana section of Mahayoga, there is also the lineage of the Distinct Root and Branch Sections of Sadhanas, which originates with Vajradhara”s “Spontaneous Teachings of the Dharmata’s Own Sound.” These were collected into scriptures by Rigdzin Dorje Cho, also known as Mithod Pachen Dorje Dragpotsel.
Khadroma Lekyi Wangmo hid the texts in the stupa (Chod.rten) called Chodten Dejed Tsegpa. When the time was auspicious, the eight Vidyadharas (Rin.’dzin) took one sadhana scripture each from this stupa. The Tantra of “Jampal Ku” was taken out by Jampal Shenyen, “Padma Sung” was taken out by Nagarjuna,
“Yangdag Thug” was taken out by Humkara, “Dudtsi Yonten” was taken out by Padmasambhava, “Mauro Bodtong” was taken out by Dhanasamskrta, “Jigten Chodtod” was taken out by Rambuguhya, and Modpa Dragngag” was taken out by Shantigarbha. In addition, the sadhana of “Desheg Dupa” was taken out by Padmasambhava.
In this way, the lineage comes from these eight Vidyadharas to present root lamas of this lineage.
ORIGINS OF BUDDHISM IN TIBET
The Nyingma, or Ancient school of Tibetan Buddhism, is the name given to the followers of those original translations of the teachings of the Buddha into Tibetan which were carried out up until the time of the Indian translator Smritijnanakirti in the late tenth century.
They are known as the ‘Earlier Translation School’, Ngagyur Nyingma, distinguishing them from the ‘New Schools’, Sarma, such as the Kadam, Kagyu, Sakya, and eventually Geluck, which followed the later translations made from the time of the great translator Rinchen Zangpo (958-1055) onwards.
Central to the Nyingma tradition is the extraordinary figure of Padmasambhava, Guru Rinpoche, the great guru who introduced Buddhism to Tibet in the eight century. Invited by the King Trisong Detsen upon the advice of the great Indian Khenpo Shantarakshita, Padmasambhava is said to have stayed in Tibet for more than half a century.
He travelled throughout the country, teaching and practicing, taming the forces that were inhibiting the Buddhadharma, and infusing his blessing into the whole landscape of Tibet. As a result, the teaching of Buddha came to permeate the fabric of the lives of the people of Tibet, and the very vitality and success of Tibetan Buddhism owes everything to his kindness.
Padmasambhava founded the first monastic university of Samye, where many Indian pandits, such as Vimalamitra, came together with Tibetan translators to translate the Buddhadhama, and the first seven Tibetans were ordained as monks.
At Chimphu, he opened the mandala of the Mantrayana teachings to the the twenty-five siddhas of Tibet, who included King Trisong Detsen, Yeshe Tsogyal and Vairochana. For millions of practitioners down through the centuries, Padmasamhava has continued to be the source of their realization, and the inspiration which breathes life into the heart of the practice.
The Nyingma teachings are divided into the Long Trnsmission of Kama and the Short transmission of Terma, other teachings were received by masters directly in Pure Visions from deities or gurus, in experiences or in dreams. The Kama, or canonical teachings, have been transmitted in an unbroken lineage from the primordial Buddha Samantabhadra down to the present day.
Terma are teachings concealed mainly by Padmasambhava and Yeshe Tsogyal, to be revealed at the time most appropriate for their discovery by treasure revealers, ‘Tertons’, acontinuing series of emanations of Padmasambhava and his twenty-five disciples.
‘Particular to the Nyingma school is the division of the teachings into nine ‘yanas’ or vehicles. The special tantras of the Nyingmapas are the three Inner Tantras: Mahayoga, Anuyoga and Atiyoga or Dzogchen. Some of these appear in the Kangyur, the ‘Word of Buddha’, but there is a separate collection,
the Nyingma Gyubum, ‘Collected Tantras of the Nyingmapas’ made by the Terton Ratna Lingpa (1403-78) in the fifteenth century. In the Nyingma School there are two Sanghas: the monastic and yogic communities. The nyingma tradition of vinaya, stemming from the buddha’s son rahula,
follows the maha-mulasarvativadin ordination lineage, which was first brought to Tibet by Shantarakshita. The Nyingma Vinaya tradition reached its pinnacle in the eighteenth century with the reformer Dzogchen Gyalse’ Shenpen Taye’, who revitalized monastic standards of discipline and scholarship.
There were more than a thousand Nyingma monasteries in Tibet, and the Nyingma tradition spread throughout the whole of Tibet and the Himalayan regions of Bhutan, Sikkim, Nepal and Ladakh. In Central Tibet, the most important six principles monasteries were Orgyen Mindroling, built by Minling Terchen Gyurme
Dorje (Terdak Lingpa) in 1676,
and Thubten Dorje Drak, estabilished by Rigdzin Ngakgi Wangpo (1580-1639) in 1610. In Kham, East Tibet, Kathok was founded by Kadampa Deshek in 1159,
and Palyul by Rigdzin Kunzang Sherab in 1665. In 1685 the Dzogchen Monastery, destined to be the largest and one of the most influential of the Nyingma monasteries in East Tibet, was founded by Pema Rigdzin, the first Dzogchen Rinpoche.
Shechen was founded in 1735 by the second Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche Gyurme Kunzang Namgyal.
There were also number of Nyingma monasteries in Golok and Amdo provinces,
Each century or times has its own Tertons.This centuries Tertons are H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche and Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. The Terma lineage is the Short lineage and comes directly from Guru Rinpoche.
All Dharma texts are very powerful however to make a connection with a Terma is especially powerful.
Tertons are the representative of Guru Rinpoche, in whatever way an ordinary being makes a connection with them, one thing is sure, they reach enlightenment much more quickly. For example the 5th and 13th and 14th Dalai Lamas each made a strong connection with Tertons and powerful results and long life resulted from their diligent practice.
However, even though the great lamas of the past have left, if you have devotion to them, then their blessings and teachings and termas will never leave you.They are very much still alive.
As Dudjom Rinpoche says in his new treasury Ngondro Commentary,“If there is no devotion for the Lama, even if one completes the requirements of sadhana practice according to the six tantric teachings of meditation deities, supreme spiritual attainment will never be obtained. Even many of the common spiritual attainments such as long life,
prosperity, magnetizing and so on, will not be accomplished. If by chance there is some minor accomplishment, it requires great hardship and the path will not be profound. If unerring devotion develops in the mind, obstacles on the path will be cleared, advancement will be made,
and all common and supreme spiritual attainments will be accomplished without relying on anything else. Thse are the reasons this practice is called the profound path of Lama’i Naljor”
Without respect and devotion, no matter how much dharma you think you know the blessings of the Buddha’s lineage will be blocked in your mindstream. You need to take your commitment to practicing seriously. Otherwise you are wasting your time and creating negative karma and your only connection with the teachings is egoistic,
leaving you with the result of a more deeply ingrained ego. Buddhist devotion is not meant to be a blind devotion that needs to be adopted without question. All of the holy texts state that a teacher must be examined and that if in your process of examination you find he is a true and authentic master, that he teaches the Buddha’s wisdom and brings benefit to beings, then devotion will naturally spring from that realization.
In the West and East there are good and bad teachers. Thousands of Buddhist teachers exist and naturally not all of them by virtue of carrying a Buddhist name are genuine spiritual friends. Westerners especially should be aware of this. If you have a good teacher you have a chance of becoming a good disciple,
however if you have a bad teacher, you will absorb his qualities and will not develop along your spiritual path. Whether they are good or bad disciples, all practicioners wish is the same: Enlightenment. By not following a qualified teacher, your journey to enlightenment meets a traffic jam, for example, people wish to go to California for scuba diving but along the way have an accident or get caght in a traffic jam and they need to wait in the middle of their journey for a long time. It is the same,
if you are unlucky enough to meet a bad teacher or practice a sadhana without authentic lineage, your journey to enlightment will be put to a halt. Lineage, for those who may not know, refers to the actual transmission of the Buddha’s Wisdom.
It is like light from one candle passed to the next candle and so on. The lineage is like a golden chain that has never been tarnished and can only be recieved from a supreme and highly realized Lama who is recognized to be the actual Buddha.
To pracitce a Sadhana the minimum is to have recieved the Oral Transmission and an introduction of how to practice it. According to the Vajrayana you need to recieve an empowerment, oral transmission and secret instructions for each Sadhana. In the tantric teachings of the Buddha to try to practice outside of the lineage and without the proper empowerments and transmissions is akin to wishing for an ocean in the desert.
It is most important to follow in an authentic lineage with teachings of lama from that lineage and with little taste for excitement and drama. I am telling you this with the pure intention that you recieve the true Buddhist teachings without any negative intention.
Many of us have bad habits which lead to bad karma. Buddhism is practicing Dharma and meditation which will lead us to positive karma and good habits which is then followed by the development of pure wisdom. If you have developed this wisdom then it will bring benefit to other beings.
Academic wisdom alone is does not prevent us from developing bad habits. We need to know of the quality of a direction given to us by pure wisdom in order to make good choices. A good direction will lead to happiness and a better life while a bad direction will bring us the opposite. This is not my idea alone, it is supported by the teachings of the great past masters. For this reason whether you as a reader agree or disagree it makes no difference to me.
From Shantideva: Why should I be pleased when people praise me? Others there will be who scorn and criticize. and why despondent when I’m blamed, Since ther’ll be others who think well of me?
So many are the wants and tendencies of beings, Even Buddha could not please them all-
Of such an evil man as me no need to speak! Better to give up such worldly thoughts.
The action of the sublime scholar-abbot of Zahor and the view of the glorious, peerless Nagarjuna are united and sealed as the tradition of this lineage-May the teachings of the Lake-Born Buddha flourish and spread!
May the tradition of Jamyang Khyentse Wanpo, who is master of the ocean-like Rime mean. nonsectarian tradition teaching of Tibet, The Lord who wields the wonderful Seven Special Direct Blessings, and Manjushri himself in person, Spread, prosper and grow!
The one and only father of all buddhas is Manjushri, Manifesting as the incomparable human master, Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, His blessing emanation is Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Tashi Paljor: To you I pray! Bless my mind and inspire my understanding.