a brief outline of a short text by Tsele Natsok Rangdrol

Tsele Natsok Rangdrol, the author

        Born in the snowy land of Tibet, in the 17th century, he was a most illustrious Buddhist master and poet, excelling in both scholarship and accomplishment.  He grew learned in Sutra and the Tantras of both Nying-ma and gSar-ma schools.  He completely comprehended all the teachings of the eight great practice lineages of Tibet.  His character resembled that of Dza Paltrul in Tibet and Shantideva in India.  His mind was gentle and disciplined and he displayed a profound sense of humility.  He was also adept at exposing the faults hidden deep in others, and skilled in giving advice to remedy these faults.
        His works are regarded as outstanding guides to the philosophical perspective of the Vajrayana.  His expositions of Mahamudra and rDzogs-chen are among his greatest works.
    As His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, on several occasions stated that people who harbor no ambition to become a great scholar, but who want to focus on truly realizing the view in this life and sincerely wish to reach the ultimate point of training should study just a few of the writings of Tsele Natsok Rangdrol, including his teachings on the bardo, Mahamudra, and the Great Perfection.  If they study and reflect correctly on his teachings, they will find the pith instructions that are the very heart of the 84,000 sections of the Dharma are all complete within these.

Tibetan Buddhism has 3 levels of precepts

1.  vows of individual liberation
2.  Bodhisattva practices
3.  samaya commitments - depend on
     a) having received empowerments
     b) having been introduced to and recognizing original wakefulness-nature of empowerment

       Empowerment is called initation or abhisheka - gains name from analogy of a prince enthroned and invested with right to rule.
       Empowerment ritual is an indispensable entrance door to Vajrayana.  The right to practice comes through:
    1) blessings of the lineage masters
    2) devotion
    3) insight introduced during empowerment

Through personal commitment to continue training this entitlement is retained and fully realized.  Also, through right relationship with the master, the receptive student is authorized to

    1) realize the full potential of his/her being
    2) realize the sacred nature of body, speech and mind
    3) realize original wakefulness

       Training in original wakefulness is a DIRECT path to Buddhahood within this body and life. Without empowerment the practice creates obstacles and other defects.

                                         As a lute cannot be played without strings,
                                         Though all other parts may be present,
                                         The person who lacks empowerment
                                         Will not be successful in the practice of mantra and meditation.
                                                            -Buddha Skull Tantra

                                        Just as a boatman without oars
                                        Cannot cross to the opposite bank of a river,
                                        There will be no accomplishment without the support of empowerment.

                                                          -Tantra of the Heart Mirror of Vajrasattva

       One who wishes to enter the gate of the precious Buddha Dharma in general and the Secret Mantra in particular needs

    1) attitude of renunciation
    2) sincere desire for enlightenment
    3) to connect with a qualified spiritual master
        The student needs

    1) devotion free of hypocrisy
    2) faith in the master as a Buddha in person

       In the Guru Padmasambhava practice we petition the Guru.

wang zhi  kurwar chin gyi lob
Please give me your blessing of the four empowerments.

drubchog dag la wang zhi kur
Please give me the four initiations of the supreme practice.

The Four  Empowerments are:

1. vase empowerment
2. secret empowerment
3. wisdom knowledge empowerment
4. precious word empowerment

       The basic materials or seeds for the empowerments are already spontaneously present within one's own nature as the essence of the four kayas.  The circumstance for growth is provided by-
        1- the master's blessings
        2- symbolic indications (words, gestures and implements)

Original wisdom will not be actualized until the seeds are ripened through empowerment. Try not to get to conceptual about this (ritual), see it directly.  The ritual is only one aspect.  Empowerment is continual and multidimensional.  Empowerment is the true nature of the relationship with the spiritual teacher.  Once blessing is received, realization of the nature of empowerment does not depend solely upon a material empowerment being or not being conferred.

Deities of the 3 Roots
Lama - the root of blessing
Yidam - the root of accomplishment
Dakini -the root of activity

   The Lama is the source of all blessings.  Without the lama there is no path.  The living presence of Buddha abides within the stream of awareness of the lama and he/she bestows that upon you.  All benefits and all activities arise from that living vibrant transmisssion.

       Empowerment is the king of methods, actualizing our inherent original wakefulness.  Empowerment provides natural authority over the indivisible state of the four kayas -

     a) the ability to recognize them as one
     b) form and void merged
     c) all arisings - co-emergent bliss and emptiness

     The Sanskrit word for empowerment is Abhishentsa - to cleanse defilements.  The four empowerments remove obscurations of body, speech, mind and cognition.

     Sanskrit Abhisiddhi - to be accomplished, ripened

     Empowerments are necessary because of four deluded habitual tendencies which obscure the ground or seeds.
          1- the delusion of fixating on world and beings as ordinary
          2- the delusion of fixating on speech as ordinary
          3- the delusion of fixating on mind as ordinary
          4- the delusion of fixating on the 3 doors as being separate

Empowerment is the means to purify these 4 deluded habitual tendencies.

      The most important means for receiving empowerents are:

1. Faith and devotion to Guru Rinpoche who is the embodiment of all Buddhas.
        The ultimate pure nature and energy of the universe with compassion, power and wisdom.
2. Faith in our practice and training as the most meaningful and powerful means which leads to the ultimate goal.
3. Faith in our self.  Seeing and feeling our good fortune to be endowed with a precious human birth,
        having the 18 conditions, spiritual potential and the enlightening qualities you possess.

     Some of the purposes of the 4 empowerments are:

1. to comprehend the 4 views - Mind Only, Middle Way, Secret Mantra and Mahamudra of Great Perfection
2. to accomplish fruition of 4 Kayas
3. to gain mastery over the 4 activities for the welfare of others.  The 4 activities are:  pacifying, increasing, magnetizing and subjagating
        Basically being able to live in the world with compassion and wisdom activated by the realization of emptinesss and cognizant awareness.
        Through the vase empowerment the student receives the power of the Vajra Body of Buddha.
        This empowerment purifies all unvirtuous karma of the body as well as the impurities of the channels.
        The student becomes the proper vessel to practice the development stage.  The goal is:
1) to generate the wisdom of the union of appearances and emptiness
2) to liberate all appearances, sounds and thoughts into forms of deities, mantra and the wisdom of Guru Rinpoche.

        Through the secret empowerment the student receives the power of the Vajra Speech of Guru Rinpoche.
        This empowerment purifies all unvirtuous karma of speech as well as the impurities of air and energy.
        The student becomes the proper vessel for the practice of recitation.  The goal is:

1) to generate the wisdom of the union of clarity and emptiness
2) to liberate inhaling, exhaling and holding the breath into the cycle of mantra
        Through the wisdom knowledge empowerment the student receives the power of the Vajra Mind of Guru Rinpoche.
        This empowerment purifies all unvirtuous karma of mind and the impurities of your essence.
        The student becomes the proper vessel for the practice of bliss and emptiness and heat yoga.  The goal is:
1) to generate the wisdom of the union of bliss and emptiness
2) to liberate all concepts into the nature of the union of bliss and emptiness
        Through the precious word empowerment the student receives the power of the Vajra Wisdom of Guru Rinpoche.
        This empowerment purifies all unvirtuous karma of the consciousness of the universal ground as well as the intellectual
            obscurations that conceptualize subject, object and action.
        The student becomes the proper vessel for the practice of the Great Perfection.  The goal is:

1) to generate the spontaneously arisen innate wisdom and the absolute meaning of empowerment

       Unification is not an empowerment but the actual meditation on the Great Perfection as the result of

1) purification
2) devotion
3) and the realization generated by the 4 empowerments

Turtle Hill Sangha © 2010