Rigpa is The Secret Path of All Buddhas*

Morning 14.06.2015, Moscow, Russia


The purpose for people to practice Dharma is to purify one’s own Nature. It doesn’t mean the Nature is dirty. The Nature is naturally pure but it is obscured by negative karmas. Therefore, we are ignorant and we do not know, for example, what will happen tomorrow. If there is no obscuration, no ignorance in the mind, then we are able to see through everything. There no other reason for us not to see through everything. The reason is the mind obstruction, the negative emotions in the mind that we call kleshas.

Dharma has the power to purify this negativity in the mind. “Ngondro” is a Tibetan word, which means “going before something”. The text contains some method to purify the negativity in the mind. Ngondro is a remedy, a practice of mind purification. In Tibetan Buddhism, there are many different schools and every single lineage has its own preliminary practice. And this is one of those which are very popular, and people believe that this is very special, very profound teachings as well. The founder of the lineage Longchen Nyingthig is Rigdzin Jigme Lingpa, which means “knowledge-holder fearless”. Jigme Lingpa is a very famous scholar, a very good Dharma practitioner who spent his whole life practicing Dharma in caves of Tibet.

“Preliminary practice” means to prepare to reach the reality, the truth. Buddha taught a lot of valuable teachings, and the purpose of all Buddha’s teachings is to instruct people to see the truth of phenomena. There are different levels of truths. In the first turning of Dharma Wheel, Buddha taught “The Four Noble Truths”. In the second turning Buddha taught Two Truths, and in the third one Buddha taught the Buddha Nature. In general, Buddha’s teachings are meant to show people the nature of phenomena, and there are many levels of the Nature.

The essence of phenomena is called Emptiness. That’s the most profound reality of phenomena. And that Emptiness also – we can divide it into different levels, like External Emptiness, Internal Emptiness, and Secret Emptiness. Some of the lineages in Tibetan Buddhism try to practice to see the innermost essence, the most profound Nature of phenomena. For example, there are lineages called “Dzogchen” or “Mahamudra”. All of these lineages teach the most profound Nature of Phenomena, of the Mind. And that Nature is always present in the mind.

The reason for us not to see that is due to our ignorance as I’ve mentioned earlier. The way we see things is opposite to that Nature. So, these teachings show you to go back to the original state called “Primordial Nature”. And there are many teachings on this kind of subject, among which those of Longchenpa and Jigme Lingpa are the most profound mind instructions. In order for the individual to realize that Nature of the mind, some conditions need to be reached through preliminary practices.

And if one wants to achieve this kind of realization, one must go through this kind of practice. The preliminary practices cannot be absent to realize the nature. So, it is very very important to practice preliminary practices. As I’ve said, the reason for us to practice Dharma is we want to reach some result. So this is the cause and condition for achieving that kind of result, because there’s no result without cause or condition. So, it is very important.

In the history of Buddhism, especially Vajrayana, high realized masters, every single one, went through that kind of practice and did a lot of practice. So, we can learn from their stories how they practiced Dharma, how they reached this kind of realization. And no master says it’s not important to practice preliminary. Everyone unanimously say that it is very important to practice ngondro.

So, we need to practice this kind practice, very simple and very complete one. It doesn’t take too much time for you to practice it daily. You do not have to spend too much time and energy to do this. But you have to do at least this kind of practice if you want to be a Dharma practitioner. At the beginning, when one is not familiar with this kind of text, then it may take some time to read from the beginning to the end. But if one is familiar with it, then it doesn’t take too much time, may be 15 or 20 minutes at one time. So, it is not too bad.

With the practice of Dharma, we want to achieve a big thing, which means we have to put a lot of efforts. Enlightenment does not come from nothing, but [it needs] a lot of causes and conditions. Yesterday I mentioned how people are very lazy. So, laziness is a big obstacle for Dharma practice. Therefore, we need to be more diligent, which surely we need to do. But people have their own life and people get a lot of issues to take care in daily life. Therefore, they’re not able to dedicate too much time. That is the reality. So, Buddha is very wise and very compassionate. He tried his best to make practice very practical, very powerful, very useful, and at the same time as simple as possible and as easy as possible. So, He came to this kind of method to introduce to people.

We should practice it for 15 minutes or half an hour. This is the least we have to do in order for us to improve our mind. The purpose of this preparation [practice] is to realize the Nature; it’s called in Tibetan “Rigpa”. Rigpa is one’s own awareness – the essence part of mind. We need to prepare [ourselves] to realize our own awareness. Right now, the awareness is obscured by ignorance. By using this preparation, we try to redude ignorance in mind so that the Nature could appear greater and greater. That is the idea to practice ngondro.

There’s a commentary on Longchen Nyingthig Ngondro – “The Words of My Perfect Teacher” – composed by Paltrul Rinpoche. Paltrul Rinpoche is a Tibetan Lama born in the recent century 1808, 1880 or something like that. He is known as a great Dharma practitioner. Everyone was afraid of him, because he had very sharp mouth, and he criticized everything, but he was very very honest and diligent. He is also known as the second Milarepa.

The 14th Dalai Lama right now often gives Paltrul Rinpoche a great praise. Dalai Lama often talks about Paltrul Rinpoche, how good he was, how humble he was, how smart he was. And Paltrul Rinpoche is a great scholar, a great writer, and a very famous poet in Tibet; He has written a lot of articles with different subjects for different people. People would not be able to collect all of his works, but they have published about 8 books of his writing. “The Words of My Perfect Teacher” is the most famous work and the most used one. [It is used] not in a few places but all over the world, because it has very simple way of explaining things, very detailed and very clear.

The [teaching with] description of Rigpa – one’s own awareness – is called Dzogpa Chenpo – Great Perfection. To realize that Nature, we need Great Perfection, as I’ve said earlier, because it doesn’t appear in our mind without any cause and condition. The first thing is to have faith in one’s own awareness, or one’s own Rigpa. Now we are ignorant. Because of ignorance, we are apart from our own Rigpa. Rigpa means seeing the reality. And the opposite is called ‘marigpa’, which means not seeing the Nature. Right now we are very marigpa, is very ignorant, we’re not able to see the Nature. Because of that, we are at different levels of sufferings, problems, obstacles. Once we’re able to realize our Rigpa, then every problem will disappear naturally. That is the idea of trying to see the Nature.

This Rigpa is also called the secret path of all Buddhas. So, this secret path was found by Buddha Samantabhadra. He was the first who realized this Nature, this awareness, and who has never been apart from this Nature. So, He is always good and all is good. Samantabhadra means “all is good and always good”. We sometimes naturally see that kind of nature, but then also the ignorance obscures it again. It is impossible for us to be always good because we’ve lost our awareness, our own Rigpa. Therefore, we are not good.

When we say we are not good that means we are suffering, we are ignorant, we are very weak, we are powerless, we have no faith. That is the meaning. It is true that when [we are] in samsara, we are not free, we don’t have much freedom. The reason we don’t have freedom is that we lose our power of awareness, power of wisdom. Therefore, we are always under control of ignorance, kleshas, karmas, negativity. Therefore, we are very weak. But if we’re able to realize our own awareness, we would be free from samsara, we would be free from ignorance, we would have a lot of power, wisdom, so we would be good.

So, try to practice Dharma means one must [try] to be free from samsara, one must good all the time. That is actually the basic idea of practicing Dharma. Buddha Samantabhadra was the Founder of this lineage. Since we don’t undertand the Nature [it’s called] Buddha Samantabhadra is. Buddha Samantabhadra is actually our own Nature. The Rigpa is called our Samantabhadra Buddha because it is always good. But when we describe that kind of phenomena, that kind of subject, then we need to have someone to begin. So, that is called Buddha Samantabhadra.

Buddha Samantabhadra taught this Dzogchen teaching to the Five Buddha families, Vajradhara, Vajrasattva and all other great Buddhas in 10 directions. And that is how this Dzogchen lineage established at the beginning; or we can say that at the first time [it is] established in the Buddhas’ realm. Then, second time, all of the Buddhas came together and made a request to Vajrasattva to teach Great perfection. And Vajrasattva requested Vajrapani to teach Dzogpa Chenpo. Then, Vajrapani went to Five Buddha Families to receive teaching of Dzogpa Chenpo. And He accomplished, He studied completely all the subjects, and then He went to heaven and He taught there. At the second time Dzogpa Chenpo teaching was established in the heaven.

The first disciple who received teaching of Dzogpa Chenpo from Vajrapani was called the “Superior Mind” (Devaputra Adhicita – LND), which means “extremely intelligent God’s sun”. The reason for him to be called “Supreme mind” is he was very very smart and also he was well-trained with Samadhi. He was a very good meditator at the beginning, when he was very little and he was like that all the time. He knew how to meditate on Emptiness through his own natural capacity. And Vajrapani went to the deva to meet him and give him all of these Dzogpa Chenpo teachings. And this God’s sun of superior mind was the one who gave Dzogpa Chenpo teachings in the Devas’ [realm]. “Superior mind” means there are a lot of extra powers or qualities in his mind [compared] with others. So, he was able to receive the teachings from Vajrapani and establish this lineage in the heaven.

Then, Dzogchen teachings was established in human realm in India. There was great emanation called Garab Dorje. Garab Dorje was emanation of Vajrasattva and also emanation of that “God’s Sun Superior mind” as well. Garab Dorje had wisdom to realize Dzogpa Chenpo. He was able to teach about Dzogpa Chenpo when he was 3 or 5 years old. Before he really went to study, he was able to speak, to meditate, and to realize his own awareness. So, Garab Dorje was the first teacher of Dzogpa Chenpo in human realm.

Garab Dorje had the vision of Vajrasattva, and also Vajrapani came to him directly to teach him all of these tantras of Dzogpa Chenpo. This is the history of Dzogpa Chenpo. Garab Dorje practiced Dzogpa Chenpo many years and he accomplished the rainbow body. That is the highest result that one can get from this practice.

And there was another great emanation of Manjushri, Jampel Shenyen, who was a very great scholar. He received prophesy from Manjushri to go to meet with Garab Dorje, and to be his disciple and to be a Holder of this Dzogchen lineage. And then, Jampel Shenyen took this prophesy and went to Garab Dorje and became a disciple of him, and helped him establish Dzogpa Chenpo lineage in this world. And Jampel Shenyen was the second lineage holder of Dzogpa Chenpo in human realm.


The end of the teaching morning 14.06.2015


Transcript from MP 3 Hungkar Dorje Rinpoche’s teaching morning 14.06.2015.


* Title is created by the translator for the reader’s convenience.