Netik Phurba Drupchen, Lerab Ling, 13 August 2018
Seeing hundreds of westerners clapping their hands every day during the averting practice known as dokpa, while performing a Netik Phurba Drupchen in Lerab Ling, Rinpoche, always attentive that practices are accomplished properly, thought it could be useful to explain why dokpa practice involves hand clapping, and what we should meditate on at that time.
We’re now doing dokpa, the averting practice, so all the yogis and yoginis gathered here clap their hands with their eyes wide open and their mouth gaping—clap, clap! They must probably be also maintaining the visualization. But I believe that if you ask most people why they’re clapping their hands, they won’t be able to answer.
This situation actually makes me laugh a little bit. When the Chinese were first in Tibet, an official from the PRC asked an old Tibetan woman how it was for her under the PRC—did she like it?
“I do”, she said. “But the new traditions are very difficult to learn.”
“What do you mean, ‘new traditions’?”
“When one of you officials comes, then we need to constantly do the dokpa as you arrive. It really hurts my hands.” That’s what she said. That’s what makes me laugh.
When you clap your hands during the dokpa, there’s a few different approaches or ways of visualizing.
In one approach, you visualize yourself as the yidam deity, and the five fingers of your right hand are the five male buddhas, and the five fingers of your left hand the five female buddhas. So when you clap your two hands, the five male and female buddhas enter into union. The natural radiance of great bliss that is experienced in their union is the five wisdoms. The counterpart of the five wisdoms are the five poisons. These negative emotions are present in our minds in the form of a huge number of thoughts. We do the dokpa to dissolve all of them in the expanse of wisdom.
There’s also the approach in which the right hand is skilful means and the left hand is wisdom. When you bring your hands together, skilful means and wisdom are united, and at that time the natural radiance of emptiness becomes manifest. When the natural radiance of emptiness is actualized, all thoughts vanish. When two hands clap, they produce the sound “clap!” When “clap!” dies off, all thoughts vanish.
One tradition explains the right hand to be the earth and the left to be the sky. When the sky claps on the earth, all three realms of existence of samsara disappear.
Another teaches that the right hand is the sky and the left the earth, both marked with a ten spoked wheel of meteoric iron. All enemies, curses, gods and demons, and all the deities who support and protect them, who live on the earth, are squashed like an egg when the earth and the sky, the two hands marked with meteoric wheels, clap together, and they are eliminated.
When, in this way, the targets of practice are reduced to dust, it’s their bodies that are reduced to dust. An enemy must have a body—without a form there can’t be an enemy. They of course also have a consciousness. Through dokpa, their consciousness is sent to the pure field of Akanishtha. It’s through realization that we can send it there—through resting in meditation and actualizing the view.
In one tradition the right hand is the sun and the left hand is the moon, but the meditation is the same.
In any case whichever tradition you choose to follow, you need to actualize the visualization when you clap your hands. If you don’t do that and you’re just clapping your hands, the only result will be sore hands!
Translated by Gyurme Avertin
Edited by Ane Tsondru