Dispelling the Darkness of Doubt
A Spontaneously Arising Song Revealing the Symbolic Nature of The Three Secrets of the Gö-kar Chang-lo’i dé
by Rig’dzin Künzang Wangpo Togden – Chagpa Dorje
To the eighty-four male and female Mahasiddhas of India; to the Dorje Lopön Master Padmasambhava and his disciples; to the succession of gTértöns, and to the lineage of the father and heir—Marpa Lotsawa and Jétsun Milarépa—I express appreciative single-pointed respect in order that wholesome worthiness is self-bestowed.
Ho: Fortunate assembly of khandros and pawos – listen awhile without distraction. Human Buddhas and bodhisattvas, pawos and khandros, you are already aware of what I am about to explain, so there is nothing for me to relate. I am a naljorpa, so all I ask is that you stand as my truthful witnesses.
The concepts of prurient monastics are often perceptually gross. They therefore ask me derisively: “Who are you? What is your view? What is your doctrine? Why is your style of dress and behaviour disharmonious with everything else?”
They expect me to respond to this – so I answer honestly as follows:
Hold this in your mind: I am the son who was born in lower Do-mé, a country excellent both in spirituality and secular values. It is an auspicious and delightful region. My father’s name is the Hero of Absolute Method. My mother’s name is the Heroine of Wisdom.
My name is Naljorpa of Pristine Awareness. I found the motivation to practice Dharma when I was young. I met a gracious Lama – none other than the Buddha. I gathered around me as friends warriors of kindness – both pawos and khandros. I entered the threshold of Dharma and studied the nine yanas.
My mind-stream was ripened by receiving the four empowerments. I familiarised myself with the vital points of Kyé-rim, Dzog-rim, and Dzogchen. Omens and signs manifested – so, sometimes I wander amongst the hills and Snow Mountains. There I drink spring water and suck stones. There I hum pleasantly – songs of experience and realisation.
Sometimes I drift into town as a wisdom eccentric.
I enjoy the ’khorlo of desire – the tsog’khorlo of meat and wine. I sing joyful songs, happily deporting myself in accordance with realisation. This is probably the reason why I seem disharmonious.
As the lotus in the slime is uncontaminated by effluvium, I—the naljorpa—wear white cotton robes which are the symbol of being uncontaminated by the stain of duality.
My topknot of uncut hair is the symbol that Buddha Nampar Nangdzé (nam par sNang mDza) and Ying-chugma (dbyings phyug ma)—with the pawos and khandros of the Space Element—are self-manifested and spontaneously present in the thirty-two channel leaves of the Déchen Khorlo at the crown of my vajra body.
I wear precious ornaments as the symbol that Buddha ’ö-Pag’mèd (’od pags ’med) and Gö-kar mo (gos dkar mo) —with the pawos and khandros of the Fire Element—are self-manifested and spontaneously present in the sixteen channel leaves of the Long-ku ’khorlo at the neck of my vajra body.
A long garland adorns my chest at the level of my heart as the symbol that Buddha Trukpa ’mèd-pa (’khrugs pa med pa) and Dorje Mamaki (rdo rje ma ma ki)—with the pawos and khandros of the water Element—are self-manifested and spontaneously present in the eight channels of the chö’khor, at the heart of my vajra body.
I wear a silk sash and golden and copper amulets as the symbol that Buddha Rinchen Jungné (rin chen ’byung gNas) and the Great Mother Sang-gyé Chanma (sangs rGyas sPyan ma)—with the pawos and khandros of the Earth Element—are self-manifested and spontaneously present in the sixty-four channels of the trül’khor (sPrul ’khor – Nirmanachakra), at the navel of my vajra body.
An exquisite spatial phurba adorns my waistband as the symbol that Buddha Dön-yö Drüp-pa (don yod grub pa) and Damtsig Drölma (dam tshig sGrol ma) —with the pawos and khandros of the Air Element—are self-manifested and spontaneously present in the twenty-eight channels of the wheel of retaining ecstasy, the sang-né of my vajra body.
My dark lustrous hair symbolises the nature of the Chö-ku Lama.
My bejewelled silk hair adornments symbolise the nature of the Long-ku Lama.
My immeasurable matted locks of hair symbolise the rTsal of the Trülku Lama.
Binding the hair knot on the top of the head symbolises meditating on the Lama inseparably upon the top of my head.
My fifty-eight greater matted locks of hair are where the blood drinkers reside.
My countless lesser matted locks of hair are where the ten million one hundred thousand dakinis reside.
A coiffured top knot is the exquisite ornament of the gö-kar chang-lo’i dé.
If it falls loose it is the splendid style of the gö-kar chang-lo’i dé.
If wrapped around the forehead it protects against the sun and cold.
If whipped upon the ground it eliminates foes and fault finders.
My eyes gaze into space. This is the outer symbol of the of yidams’ appearances in their immeasurable dimensions. This is the inner symbol of maintaining the non-dual nature of appearance and emptiness on the path. This is the secret symbol of culmination in pristine emptiness-awareness.
My conch earrings adorned with gold and turquoise dangle from my earlobes. This is the outer symbol of hearing the extraordinary instructions of profound dharma. This is the inner symbol of hearing all sound as mantra. This is the secret symbol of the realisation that the nature of sound is unborn and empty.
I wear human bone ornament bracelets. This is the outer symbol of the four gate keepers who defend from malicious entities and obstructive adversaries.
This is the inner symbol of the capacity to tame beings through the Jampa Tshéd’mèd pa Zhi Gyüd (byams pa tshad med pa bZhi’i rGyud – the ‘four immeasurables’: jampa/byams pa; nying-jé / sNying rJe; ga’wa / dGa’ ba; tang-nyom / bTang sNyoms – love, compassion, joy, and impartiality).
This is the secret symbol of Ngowo ku, Chö-ku, Long-ku, and trülku as actualised in completeness.
My left hand ring finger is decorated with a five jewelled ring, because life force tends to wander from the secret vein in that finger, and because demonic entities prefer to infest through that portal. This is the outer symbol of guarding the entrance to this vein.
This is the inner symbol of cutting through the agitation of conceptual mind.
This is the secret symbol of destroying the extremes of hope and fear.
I wear a gomthag (sGom thag)—the colour of magnetising activity—diagonally across my chest. This is the outer symbol of holding vital energy within my body. This is the inner symbol that the spatial winds and mind interpenetrate each other. This is the secret symbol of the wisdom mother.
I wear a beautiful magical scarf imbued with power around my neck and waist. This is the outer symbol of protection from the harsh astrological designated assailants. This is the inner symbol of protection from the eight classes of violent entities. This is the secret symbol of freedom from duality.
I carry the skull-cup which retains ecstasy in my left hand. This is the outer symbol of impermanence. This is the inner symbol of the bowl in which food and drink are perceived as düd-tsi. This is the secret symbol of cutting through dualistic concepts of pure and impure.
I play the great skull drum in my right hand. This is the outer symbol of the male and female oath bound protectors who overpower all obstacles. This is the inner symbol of delighting in the Lama, Yidam, and Khandro-Pawo. This is the secret symbol of the empty essentiality of sound which generates ecstasy.
I hold a kangling (rKang gLing)—the human femur trumpet—in my left hand. This is the outer symbol of summoning every class of being to be my guests. This is the inner symbol of inviting every class of being into the sphere of Dharma. This is the secret symbol of displaying the non-dual nature of samsara and nirvana.
Keep in mind that monastics wear their three monastic robes and that ngak’phang practitioners wear the gö-kar chang-lo. Both are equally considered followers of the Buddhas – so both styles of dress are equally valid. Both styles of dress therefore either have purpose and meaning, or both equally lack purpose and meaning.
So if you ask me: “Whose follower are you?” I would say: I am a follower of the three jewels because my body is adorned with Long-ku ornaments. I am a follower of the three jewels because my speech is Dharma. I am a follower of the three jewels because my mind is free from both arising and dissolution.
And if you ask me again: “Whose follower are you?” I am a follower of the three roots because I meditate on the inseparability of Lama – visualised above my head. I am a follower of the three roots because the Yidam’s dimension is self-established as my body. I am a follower of the three roots because the pawos, khandros, and protectors are fulfilled by the tsog’khorlo.
If you ask me: “Whose follower are you?” I am a follower of the great Ögyen Master because at the outer level the elements and the aggregates are purified through Mahayoga. I am a follower of the great Ögyen Master because at the inner level the elements of the spatial nerves are purified through Anuyoga. I am a follower of the great Ögyen Master because at the secret level the meaning of Atiyoga (Dzogchen – rDzogs chen) is self-realised.
I am a follower of Milarépa because at the outer level I accept adversity. I develop valour and open-mindedness. At the inner level I train in the naljors of the rTsa, rLung, and thig-lé. At the secret level I attain Mahamudra accomplishment.
I am a follower of Gyalwa Mar-mé Dzé (rGyal ba mar me mdzad – Jina Dipamkara / jo bo rje – 982-1054 – Atisha Dipamkara Shri Jnana, the Indian pandita who founded the Kadampa school in Tibet) because in the outer sense I have abandoned the motivation towards harming others. In the inner sense I practice the seven special instructions on cause and effect. In the secret sense I possess the paramitas.
I am a follower of the Lama inseparable from Jampalyang because externally I engage with every type of activity without creating karma, and without abandoning or cultivating anything. Internally I have expansive strength of kindness. Secretly I exert myself in both the generation phase and completion phase naljors.
My fifty Lamas—including Chökyi Dorje and Dip’ang Pema Rangdröl—are the Yidams and Buddhas.
My vajra brothers—including Rig’dzin Chöying Tobden Dorje and Jig’mèd Düd’drèl—are the pawos. My vajra sisters—including Pema Lhatso and Yingchug Drölma— are the khandros. Most of my students have their fortunate karmic tendencies awakened, and so whoever gossips and spreads rumours about them are deluded.
My nature, eccentricity, and unconditioned behaviour are not degraded by deception or hypocrisy. When you look at me, I appear deranged – but what I perceive appears meaningful. When I am seen by noble beings their graciousness enfolds me.
Please, you fortunate ones, hold the meaning of my words in your minds. Please practice the view, meditation, and conduct of the Secret Mantrayana, and in future we may meet each other in the pure dimensions.
Whoever disagrees, criticises, or spreads rumours can do what they please because I lack interest in being pleased or angered by what people say. I would rather cultivate the aspiration to dissolve negativity, obscuration, and obstacles in non-duality.
By virtue of this may all beings without exception become recipients of profound Secret Mantrayana. May they practice one pointedly. May they complete their practices and swiftly obtain Buddhahood.
I have spoken thus, for my samaya-holding disciples – those who maintain the Tantric Root Vows, such as Khandro Gyépa Dorje and my close attendant Do-mi Rangden of Kham-rag the Mahamudra wisdom holder.
I have spoken thus, both for those who are able to accord with Secret Mantrayana and those who cannot.
I was told: “You, your Lamas, and your friends display the gö-kar chang-lo for all to see. They wear white robes. They have long uncut braided hair. They wear many ornaments. This is also our style and therefore the style of our students. Maybe we ask you for the essential meaning of the nature of our dress and behaviour, because if we lack substantiation the gossip about us—both masters and students—cannot be gainsaid.”
In reply, the ngak’phang wisdom eccentric—Rig’dzin Künzang Tobden Wangpo (also called Chagpa Dorje in the realm of protecting dakinis)—he who affects white yogic clothing whilst sitting besides the Tsé-zhung river, spontaneously sang this humorous song of the interrelated nature of Nyingma and Sarma. Later I wrote it down.