Kyabjé Dung-sé Thinley Norbu Rinpoche’s Colophon

Kyabjé Dung-sé Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

Kyabjé Dung-sé Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

Ngak’chang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen, the Aro Lineage Lamas, asked Kyabjé Dung-sé Thinley Norbu Rinpoche to compose a long-life prayer for their teachers, Kyabjé Künzang Dorje Rinpoche and Jomo Sam’phel. Thinley Norbu Rinpoche is the eldest son of Ngak’chang Rinpoche’s late teacher Kyabjé Düdjom Rinpoche, and is now one of the most revered Nyingma Lamas.

The colophon

The text Thinley Norbu Rinpoche wrote in response is interesting in several ways. One is that it includes a colophon praising Ngak’chang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen. (A colophon is a section found at the end of most Tibetan religious texts, explaining how they came to be written.) The colophon reads in part:

Residing in the Western continent of Europe, an honourable, holy hero, Chöying Gyamtso, and his consort holy heroine Khandro Déchen, who have unshakable, reasonable faith in the general teachings of the Buddhas and especially the priceless teachings of the Vajrayana and their lineage holders, are fearlessly shooting the cannonball of logic with great compassion in order to annihilate and put on the correct path of enlightenment all those wild beings who are misunderstanding, with a reverse point of view and with intention, the teachings of the Buddhas and lineage holders of the teachings of the Buddhas. From their request through the path of letters, I, Thinley Norbu, immediately wrote this in front of dakas and dakinis.

Chöying Gyamtso” is the full form of Ngak’chang Rinpoche’s personal name. The short form is Chögyam.

“Fearlessly shooting the cannonball of logic” refers the work Ngak’chang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen did to defend the institution of the Vajra Lama, at a time when it came under attack from a group of Western Buddhists.

About the Long-life Prayer

Long-life prayers are typically short and formulaic. This one is long enough to incorporate essential teachings on subjects closest to the hearts of all three sets of Lamas involved: Dzogchen, the white-skirt or ngak’phang lineage, and vajra romance.

The whole text of the prayer appears below. The English translation was provided with the Tibetan original, and I believe it to have been written by Thinley Norbu Rinpoche himself.

I also provide the Tibetan text, for those who can read it. The English translation is non-literal, and there are interesting shades of meaning to be found in the Tibetan original.

The Tibetan text is on Thinley Norbu Rinpoche’s letterhead and bears his signature.

The Long-life Prayer in English

Amideva is the lord of the pureland of always flawless ecstasy. The light of his compassion emanates to the heart of the lotus-bud beings with merit. May the self-occurring second Buddha, Padmakara, who is renowned in the universe, protect you.

Never affected by the faults of samsara or the qualities of nirvana, there is not even an atom of happiness or suffering. Ever-abiding in evenness, it is called always noble Samantabhadra.

Self-elements do not exist. Not even one particle of substance is formed, so it is called always-indestructible vajra, the nature of the great empty stainless sky of Dharmakaya. From that state my root guru self-manifests. I bow to you.

The three deities of Tibet – Padmasambhava, Shantarakshita, and King Trisong Détsen – assembled in the glorious, inconceivable qualities of Sam-yé. In order for the Sutra and Mantrayana teachings of Buddha’s tradition to flourish in Tibet, they established the two categories of those with red robes and those with white clothes and long, plaited hair.

There is the long path of the Sutra tradition and the short path of the Vajrayana tradition. From the Vajrayana tradition, there are the three special sections of the Mahayoga, Anuyoga and Atiyoga. Those who predominantly practise these three yogas are of the category of those who wear white clothes and keep long, plaited hair.*

Practising the tradition of those who wear white clothes and keep long, plaited hair, holding this lineage from inspiration, may the lotus feet of the root guru Künzang Dorje be unshakably firm.

Relying on practice with signs of the channels, airs and the thig-lé of the visualisation and completion stages, carrying the three kayas into the path so they become obviously apparent in self-phenomena, and the completion stage without signs, in the stainless awareness of beginninglessness, flawless great emptiness and its display of simultaneous light phenomena of Buddhas, may you turn the wheel of this teaching.

From that fully accomplished quality of the four stages, the existence of the universe of samsara and pure enlightened phenomena of Buddhas becomes evenly pure, which is the state of Samantabhadra. In one life and one human body, may I have the power to attain the teachings of Mahasandhi.

The display of the five wisdoms, the five great elements of space, the quality of display, from that quality, the immeasurable five wisdom dakinis appear. The principal wisdom queen of the innumerable mandala of wisdom dakinis and supreme consort of Padmasambhava called Jomo Yeshé Tsogyel, I bow to you.

The one who has unshakable faith in you and is practising you, who is your follower and serving my guru from the activities of the three rejoicings, like a wishfulfilling jewel, consort of my guru, Jomo Sam’phel, may you live long.

Whatever you wish for the benefit of the teachings of Buddhas and for sentient beings, whatever you do, may it be accomplished, and may all beings always be sustained in the phenomena of pure Dharma.

*This does not mean, however, that those with red robes never practise Tantric teachings. One is not supposed to misinterpret this. There are monks who are Tantric practitioners, such as Namkha’i Nyingpo, Essence of the Sky.

Thus, the world of the five great continents melodiously resounds. Residing in the Western continent of Europe, an honourable, holy hero, Chöying Gyamtso, and his consort holy heroine Khandro Déchen, who have unshakable, reasonable faith in the general teachings of the Buddhas and especially the priceless teachings of the Vajrayana and their lineage holders, are fearlessly shooting the cannonball of logic with great compassion in order to annihilate and put on the correct path of enlightenment all those wild beings who are misunderstanding, with a reverse point of view and with intention, the teachings of the Buddhas and lineage holders of the teachings of the Buddhas. From their request through the path of letters, I, Thinley Norbu, immediately wrote this in front of dakas and dakinis.

The Long-life Prayer in Tibetan

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