13 May 2009, Lerab Ling
In May 2009, Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche gave a series of teachings on Yumka Dechen Gyalmo. Just before one teaching, the Rigpa sangha asked Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche if he would include an explanation about how to direct their practice for the long life of Sogyal Rinpoche. Rinpoche agreed, but felt that, for the sake of auspiciousness, it would better if he talked about long-life practice first.
Only read if you have the Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik empowerment.
In the Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik we meditate on the deity Jetsun Tara, Wish-fulfilling Wheel, who has seven eyes. On her lap sits her male consort, the Lord of Dance, Amitayus, who is white suffused with red. Jetsun Tara and Amitayus in union are the samayasattva.
We don’t have time to go into their ornaments and ritual objects, but as this assembly – everyone gathered here in Lerab Ling – is made up almost exclusively of ‘great’ Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik practitioners, that kind of explanation isn’t so necessary.
In the centre of Tara’s heart sits Amitayus, the Buddha of Limitless Life. He is brilliant white and wears all the silks and jewel ornaments of a sambhogakaya. He sits on a lotus and moon-disc seat holding a vase of longevity, his hands form the mudra of meditation and in his heart is the samadhisattva, which in this case is a white syllable tam. These are the ‘three nested sattvas’.
What I will explain today is how to direct the practice of Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik so that it extends the life of Sogyal Rinpoche. This will be my main point.
When we do this practice of long life for an ordinary person, we visualize that person in the belly of the tam. When we practise for a master from whom we’ve received empowerments, we visualize him in the circle at the top of the white syllable tam, sitting in the upright posture. Visualize his features very clearly as you meditate. Revolving clockwise around the tam are the ten syllables of the Tara mantra, each resonating with its own sound.
By reciting the mantra we invoke Amitayus’s wisdom mind. From the syllable tam and the mantra mala, inconceivably numerous rays of light shine from the crown of Amitayus’s head, flaring up through Tara’s body and out through the ushnisha at the top of her head. The light manifests as countless Ushnishavijayas – as infinite as specks of dust in sunbeams – who stream out in every direction, filling the universe. With their iron hooks, they draw the five outer elements, the five inner aggregates, the secret wisdom, love and power of all the buddhas and their heirs, like iron filings to a magnet, and deposit it all in their vases. As the empowerment is granted, all this nectar dissolves into the body of the master (who is visualized in the syllable, tam). Consider, without any doubt, that the master’s body, speech and mind are now beyond change or decay, and that he has gained the indestructible vajra body of immortality. This is the visualization we do when we practise for our master.
I’ll now say a few words about the nectar gathered by the Ushnishavijayas – the ‘quicksilver of accomplishment’ – which is pure white.
What is it made up of? What gives it its power? This nectar is the quintessence of the wisdom, love and power of the buddhas of the ten directions and their heirs. It is the quintessence of longevity and immortality and of the buddha’s enlightened body, speech and mind. It is the quintessence of all five elements and of the vitality of all sentient beings, gods, nagas, human beings, etc. These are the pure essences that fill Ushnishavijayas’ vases.
Generally, we think of the five elements of earth, water, fire, air and space as being the elements that form this world. But actually they extend much further than that. The five elements we are talking about here form the basis of billions of universes extending to the far reaches of space. And the Ushnishavijayas gather the elemental essence of all these universes.
The quicksilver of accomplishment is so powerful that if you taste even a single drop and it then dissolves into your body, it will restore the loss of your vitality, the strength of your mind will increase as long as space endures, you will be endowed with,
... the strength of an elephant; scattered on a dead tree, it would immediately burst into life with leaves and flowers and fruit...
Later in the practice, at the point in the text when you recite the mantras of the four Taras of the four families, and also when you visualize the prayer for summoning longevity (Tib. tseguk), focus on dissolving the nectar of longevity into the body of the lama. The four Taras pacify, enrich, magnetize and subjugate all diseases, harmful forces, negativity and obscurations within dharmadhatu; they increase the length of the lama’s life, his merit, wealth and intelligence; they help the lama control the channels, inner air and tiklés in his body; and they destroy all the harm caused by enemies, obstacle makers, spells, curses, or the demons of the Lord of Death.
At the end you seal the practice. The dharmata, your true nature, which is the same for everyone, “will not die as long as space exists”. So the dharmata, the mind of the lama, and your own mind – the ground of all three is the same – are bound together as one. At this point, you rest in that state in meditative equipoise and attain immortal life.
When Longchenpa was given a sign that he was about to die, he still had things to do and he didn’t want to die right away. So he inhaled and held his breath, and all the portents of death were eliminated. So holding the breath is also very powerful.
 Rinpoche explains that when they are not under control they deteriorate. It is because they deteriorate that we get older every day. Once they are brought under control, they do not deteriorate.