News and Inspiration from Ligmincha Institute
Volume 5, Number 5
May 9, 2005
For easy reading, we recommend that you print out "The Voice of Clear
A request for 2005 summer auction items.
An edited excerpt of teachings given by Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
during the recent spring retreat at Serenity Ridge.
"The Bon Pantheon" - a column devoted to deepening our connection to
our great Bon family.
Sangha Sharing.
"Early-bird" registration date for the summer retreat is May 18!
Now available online at Ligmincha's Bookstore.
Excerpt from "Dzogchen: The Heart Essence of the Great Perfection" by
His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
"Because you have been born with the ability to practice, this shows
something of how you acted in your previous lives. But now you must
consider how to use this precious opportunity. ... We have a
proverb saying that if you put one drop of water in the ocean, then
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until the ocean is dry, that drop of water will not evaporate. In
the same way, this virtue, whatever you do, is never spoiled."
- Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche
Greetings everyone,
Most of you know that each year we celebrate and support Tenzin
Wangyal Rinpoche's dream of developing Ligmincha Institute's Serenity
Ridge Retreat Center by holding a lively and joyous fund-raising
auction and dinner.
This year's auction will be held during the second week of the summer
retreat on Friday evening, July 15.
Historically, this has been the only public fund-raising event that
Ligmincha Institute holds to finance the land development projects at
our retreat center, Serenity Ridge.
The next phase of land development is in the planning stages right
now, and the 2005 summer auction is vital to this development.
It is our goal that construction on the urgently needed second wing
of the Garuda House can begin soon.
When this phase is completed, Garuda House will have doubled its
dormitory occupancy and many more retreatants will be able to stay on
the land during each retreat.
Sangha members frequently ask how they can help Tenzin Wangyal
Rinpoche actualize his dream. In addition to a monetary donation
given directly to the land fund, we encourage you to consider
donating a quality item to this auction. It is a generous and
heartfelt way to give something back to Tenzin Rinpoche and our
Each year we ask for donations of quality practice- or shrine-related
items for the auction - items that will inspire and deepen our
Below is a list of some of the items that have helped generate lively
bidding and generous contributions at past auctions:
Crystal objects: stupas, balls, malas, phurbas, vajras
Tibetan singing bowls
Tibetan drums - large and small
Texts in Tibetan or English that have been used by our teachers
Silver or gold gaus and amulets
Malas created from semi-precious and precious stones
Photos of our teachers and sacred sites
Prayer banners
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Items blessed by His Holiness Lungtok Tenpa'i Nyima, Yongdzin Tenzin
Namdak Rinpoche, and Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
Please know that your enthusiastic participation and support are
essential at this important time of growth for our Bon community in
the United States.
We hope to receive all auction items no later than June 1.
If you have an item to donate or would like to discuss whether an
item is suitable, please e-mail me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or feel free
to call me at 212-285-1584.
Please note: Your donations are tax deductible.
Thank you so much for your generosity.
With great warmth and good wishes,
In Bon
Ellen Katzman
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
"The Yogi and the Businessman"
Imagine there are two Tibetan people: One doesn't know much about
dharma, the other is a yogi who lives in a cave. The yogi has no
money with which to buy or make prayer flags. He hardly has enough
food to survive. He has nothing but lots of knowledge. The other
person is a businessman who does tsog offerings and gets new prayer
flags at all the necessary times. Let's say the yogi is in a bad
mood. Bad days happen for yogis ˆ maybe it's raining and water
is coming down in his cave, and the yogi's lungta is going down a
bit. At the same time, the businessman has the stress of work and of
taking care of his family, yaks and cows. His lungta is going down
as well. The yogi goes inward. The businessman goes outward - he
goes to the monastery and climbs up a hill carrying the prayer flags
and incense. He is dressed up wearing symbols of power. Nowadays,
you might carry your credit card or checkbook instead to symbolize
your power. So, the businessman climbs up and up. The process of
going from low lungta to high is already beginning. Just climbing a
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hill, carrying prayer flags, and being exposed to the wind and open
space improves your lungta. Meanwhile, what is the yogi doing? He
is going inward and visualizing the three channels within his energy
body. He breathes in and visualizes red and white light entering the
channels, and brings the two qualities together as a luminous sphere,
which rises in his central channel. As the sphere rises, the yogi is
also climbing up, just as the businessman is going up the hill with
all his stuff. At the same moment the prayer flags are hung and the
smoke from the incense rises in the businessman's sang ceremony, the
yogi visualizes propelling the luminous sphere up and out into
space. Both of them are now feeling good. The actions are
different, but the principle is the same ˆ connecting with open
space, awareness, and light.
"THE PANTHEON OF THE BON" - a column devoted to deepening our
connection to our great Bon family.
Many of us are familiar with the image of Tapihritsa, central to our
Bon practice and to our shrines and thangkas. The white luminous
figure of Tapihritsa in meditation posture radiating light and
encircled by rainbow light is often visualized as representing the
realization of all the masters of the Zhang Zhung Nyen Gyu lineage,
one of the three Bon dzogchen lineages.
At a Ngondro retreat with Khenpo Tenpa Yungdrung, he strongly urged
us to learn about the masters and their lives and to recognize them
as real beings like us. I was a bit awe-struck to hear him say that
Tapihritsa learned these same teachings and practices that we are
learning - just like us. Khen Rinpoche assured us that through
connecting with the masters we will find inspiration and develop
devotion. And through devotion we will open our hearts.
Here is "The Story of Tapihritsa" as told by Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak
Rinpoche during the Summer Retreat in 2000 (excerpted from the edited
transcript of his oral teachings translated by Geshe Tenzin Wangyal
Rinpoche). Knowing the details of Tapihritsa's very real life makes
the "Invocation of Tapihritsa," an offering composed and sung by
Nangzher Lopo, Tapihritsa's student, all the more inspiring! It
seems the perfect accompaniment to Lopon's great story. Enjoy!
- Aline Fisher
Tapihritsa was an ordinary person from a nomadic family in the
country of Zhang Zhung. The main teacher of Tapihritsa was Dawa
Gyaltsen. Tapihritsa practiced for nine years before he attained
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illumination. The place where he practiced is a holy place outside
Mount Kailesh, a place called Senge Tap. After nine years of
practice there, Tapihritsa achieved the rainbow body.
Tapihritsa was a contemporary of the king of Zhang Zhung, Ligmincha,
and the king of Tibet, Tritson Detsun, and other famous yogis of Bon.
Nangzher Lopo was a very famous master, a knowledgeable and very
accomplished practitioner, famous at that time in Zhang Zhung. Later
he became the main student of Tapihritsa. Even though Tapihritsa had
been taught by Nangzher Lopo before, Nangzher Lopo had had a problem
with pride and had not been fully realized. Therefore, at this time,
Tapihritsa emanated as a young boy and came down to the village where
a rich man, Yungdrung Gyal, the main sponsor of Nangzher Lopo,
lived. Tapihritsa came in the form of a young boy seeking employment
in the family of Yungdrung Gyal, and he served them for a number of
years. Nangzher Lopo was meditating on a mountain where there were
bushes, and Tapihritsa was taking care of the family's animals.
These very places can be identified today in the Western part of
Tibet. Today when people go to these powerful places they have a lot
of experiences and visions. Some people who don't know the history
of the place think they are seeing ghosts or something.
Tapihritsa was carrying a lot of wood in his bag for cooking food.
He went to visit Nangzher Lopo to pay respect. Nangzher Lopo
hesitated when he saw the behavior of this young boy. The way he was
paying respect seemed special and mature, and he thought, "Who is
this guy?" So Nangzher Lopo said to the boy that it looked like he
had worked through some doctrines and tenets. He asked him, "Who is
your teacher and what is your practice? What are you carrying? Why
are you behaving this way?" The young boy said, "My teacher is this
vision. Visions are my teacher. My practice is thought-less, my
meditation is all sentient beings. What I am carrying is my
thoughts. I am behaving like this because I am a servant of the
family of samsara." Since the young boy answered in that way,
Nangzher Lopo was surprised and they entered into a debate. Nangzher
Lopo said, "If these visions are your master, it probably means you
don't have a master; if your meditation is thought-less, you don't
need food; if you are meditating on sentient beings, that means you
are enlightened; if you are carrying thoughts, you don't have desire;
and if you are a servant of samsaric beings, you don't suffer!"
The young boy answered again (and in this debate the teachings have
already begun). "If you don't realize that vision is your master,
who taught Samantabhadra?" asked the young boy. "My practice is
thought-less because in the base there is no thought, and when there
is a thought, there is no practice. I am meditating on all sentient
beings because I don't separate or discriminate among others, because
if one is discriminating there won't be meditation. I am carrying
thoughts. That means I don't have thoughts. Because I don't have
thoughts, I don't have desire. I realize that everything is
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illusion. I help all sentient beings because I don't make a
distinction between suffering and not suffering."
Then the debate continued. "If you are that good," says Nangzher
Lopo, "we need to go in front of the king and debate. If you win,
you will become my master. If I win, you will be punished by the
king." Tapihritsa had a big laugh. "All karma and conditions,
causes and results are false." Basically, he was teasing Nangzher
Lopo, saying, "All these meditators are prisoners of thoughts; they
keep thoughts in a prison and are prison guards! All these
intellectuals who debate don't realize they cast a net in the
darkness. All these discussions are like a joke and a play, a weapon
of words. All the sacred tantras are merely elaborations of one's
mind. All these knowledgeable persons are meaningless - they know
and have no experience." So he was teasing, saying, "These great
views are bubbles of words - all these things are meaningless and
make no sense. The real condition cannot be changed. The real
essence cannot be practiced. Self-arising wisdom cannot be
obscured. When you realize, you cannot re-realize or try to realize
again. So what is the matter? Who is complaining?"
Now Nangzher Lopo was getting a bit irritated and realized this was
not just a boy, but a special person. He was shocked and could
almost not speak. In that moment of shock and surprise, he looked at
the young boy who was sitting up in space and that is how we draw
him - in space and in the rainbow. So Nangzher Lopo was really sad,
realizing all this bad karma he had created by having the wrong
view. He did prostrations and confession, realizing the boy was a
manifestation of his teacher. Then he requested the teaching. Right
at that moment, the owner of all the animals, Yungdrung Gyal, came
and saw this discussion. He said, "What are you doing there all this
time? Where are all the animals?"
So immediately Nangzher Lopo - who knew Yungdrung Gyal very well -
said, "What bad karma we created! You put the master as a servant
and I said all these things to him!" Yungdrung Gyal went into
shock. Those shocks are good. When you wake up, you are in a
different place. So the young boy went up into space and said, "I am
Tapihritsa and I came especially for you."
So this is the story. Then Tapihritsa began teaching Yungdrung Gyal
and Nangzher Lopo. He said, "Listen carefully and do not be
distracted." So both were clearly listening.
Do you understand who Tapihritsa is now? This is not just a story;
it is a fact; it happened. It happened during the seventh or eighth
century. The teachings are the Dzogpa Chenpo, the Great Perfection.
The result is the rainbow body. There is no doubt. If there is
doubt in you, it is your karma.
(Actually, Tapihritsa asked them to listen carefully, but at the same
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time he was speaking to all beings, and Lopon is saying that
basically he is talking to all of you.)
INVOCATION OF TAPIHRITSA - composed and sung by Nangzher Lopo to his
teacher, Tapihritsa.
E MA HO! How wonderful!
You are the manifestation of Kuntu Zangpo, the primordial base.
Your body appears like a white luminous crystal, clear and without
impurities, radiating light in the ten directions.
You are naked, without ornaments, signifying the innermost essence,
primordial state.
Endowed with the two-fold wisdom of emptiness and skillful means,
with compassion you contemplate the benefit of beings.
You embody Dzogchen, the Great Perfection, supreme among the
the essence of the awareness of the realized ones, the peak of the
of realization, the heart of the tantras, of the essential
and of the secret instructions,
You point out the natural state, the base from which delusion, which
samsara, and liberation, which is nirvana, arise; whereupon as
sounds, lights, and rays, all the defects and virtues are selfclear.
Having completely dispelled the darkness of the minds of beings, you
enable us to experience the base as empty and rootless, and
simultaneously realize all stages of the path.
Experiences and realization become manifest, and samsara and nirvana
liberate within one's natural mind.
In that vastness, the three dimensions, which are the fruit, are
With one-pointed devotion I pray to you, Tapihritsa, protector of
beings, grant the blessings of bestowing the empowerment upon me
other beings.
May the external, internal, and secret obstacles be pacified, and may
the error of self-grasping, which is ignorance, be liberated.
Having recognized self-awareness, may the view and the conduct be
fully realized.
Please bestow upon me, at this very moment, the great meaning beyond
intellect of the primordial base, empty and rootless.
To you, Tapihritsa, noble protector of beings, I pray:
May the beings of the six realms be protected by your compassion.
And may my mind be liberated.
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Guru Yoga
At the bottom of understanding,
Love is there.
- Candace Byers
Just a reminder: To receive the "early-bird" discount, register soon
for Ligmincha's summer retreat, July 3-23, "Purifying the Obstacles
to Enlightenment" with Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche at Serenity
Ridge. For details please visit To register:
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , 434-977-6161.
To see photographs of the new items at Ligmincha Institute's
Bookstore and for order information, please go to, click on "search by category" and then click
on "New Items."
Photo of Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, taken by Jane Guldener.
4"x6" $3.50, 5"x7" $5.50.
Photo of Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche, taken by Bill Millard.
4"x6" $3.50, 5"x7" $5.50.
Note: Both of these photos are the images we have on our shrine at
Serenity Ridge.
Ritual Items:
Bhumpa (ritual vase), copper and brass, $28.
Peacock feathers for Bhumpa, $14.
Chod drum, with brocade case, $110.
Mon, Oct 3, 2005 11:55 AM
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To order any of these items, contact Sue Davis at
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or by phone at 434-220-0060, toll-free 866-
From "Dzogchen: Heart Essence of the Great Perfection" by His
Holiness the Dalai Lama:
"For an actual practitioner of Dzogchen, what is of vital importance
is to maintain a continuous effort in your practice. As I remarked
yesterday, and I would like to reiterate: to have a real experience
and realization of an advanced level of the path, it is crucial to
lay a very firm foundation and grounding in the common paths. This
is why in the Dzogchen system great emphasis is placed on the
preliminary practices, or ngondro. In the Dzogchen approach, the
common ngondro or preliminary practices include the practices of
taking refuge, generating bodhicitta, the Vajrasattva meditation and
recitation, mandala offering, prostrations and guru yoga. The
complete preliminary practices are explained systematically in great
detail in a text called 'The Words of My Perfect Teacher' - Kunsang
Lame Shyalung, composed by Dza Patrul Rinpoche, as notes taken at a
teaching given by his teacher Jikme Gyalwe Nyugu. This text has been
translated and is available in English.
"So if you maintain a sustained effort, without losing your hope or
your courage, you will make progress along your spiritual path, and
that is certain."
"Dzogchen: Heart Essence of the Great Perfection" is a collection of
Dzogchen Teachings given in the West by His Holiness the Dalai Lama
and published in 2000 by Snow Lion Publications. It is available at
Ligmincha's Online Bookstore. Also available at Ligmincha's Bookstore
is the book the Dalai Lama refers to in this excerpt, "The Words of
My Perfect Teacher" by Dza Patrul Rinpoche. Visit, or call toll-free (866) 522-5269. (In the
Charlottesville area, call (434) 220-0060.)
The Voice of Clear Light is a free, e-mail publication of Ligmincha Institute. Your suggestions and
contributions to the Voice of Clear Light are welcome. To contact us, simply reply to this message and
Mon, Oct 3, 2005 11:55 AM
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your email will reach the VOCL editor.
Anyone may subscribe to the VOCL by sending a blank e-mail to
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For more information about Ligmincha Institute, the teachings of Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, or retreats at
Serenity Ridge or our regional centers, please contact us:
Ligmincha Institute
313 2nd St. SE Suite #207
Charlottesville, VA 22902
434-977-6161 fax 434-977-7020
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For books, tapes and transcripts of teachings by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche as well as other books and items
supportive to Bon and Buddhist practice, please visit the Ligmincha's Online Store at or contact the Ligmincha Store at 434-220-0060
or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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