Tukdrub Barchey Kunsel
A short introduction to the Barchey Kunsel cycle
Dilgo Khyentse says: The Barchey Kunsel is the heart essence of the accomplished master Padmasambhava who perceives the three times in the entirety. It is the quintessence of one billion heart sadhanas of the Guru, the most unique terma buried in the land of Tibet; and it is the first among the Four Cycles of Guru Sadhana. Tukdrub Barchey Kunsel This Guru’s Heart Practice that Dispels all Obstacles contains in completeness all the profound key points of the view, meditation and conduct of the Three Inner Yoga Tantras. It manifested from the secret treasury of the great wisdom, the vast realization of the Second Buddha of Uddiyana, as the self-existing natural vajra sounds in perfect melodious tones.
Its expressions that are unmodified by the intellect of ordinary people, its words that are without delusion, and its meaning that is unmistaken, are exclusively due to the kindness of the three powerful knowledge-holders Khyentse, Kongtrul, and Chokling, the great beings of the three families, who incarnated as masters to compile and propagate an ocean of secret teachings. It is exclusively through their kindness that this teaching was established in writing as the splendor of unending welfare and happiness for the disciples in the Land of Snow, and propagated to flourish everywhere.
This pure and perfect teaching, which effortlessly bestows, in accordance with one’s wishes, the all-encompassing supreme and common siddhis, temporaily and ultimately, was an unprecedented diffusion of the gemstones of the profound meaning, like opening up for the treasury of the universal monarch.
About the Barchey Kunsel practice, which is the first and most extensive of the Four Cycles of Guru Sadhana, Jamgon Kongtrul says in his Seed of the Great Sal Tree:
“Generally, for the basic descriptions of how to practice this, take the third chapter taught in the Sheldam Nyingjang as basis and apply them, following your teacher’s oral advice, in the extensive, medium or short version, whichever is appropriate, and in accordance with the situation in terms of place, time, and type of person.
Whether you begin development or completion, first perform the general preliminaries of the fourfold mind-training and the four special preliminaries.
For the main part, according to the system of Terchen Chokgyur Lingpa, take Sheldam Nyingjang as basis, and first practice Dharmakaya Amitayus followed by the Lotus Magical Net of Sambhogakaya, the Great Compassionate One Avalokiteshvara. After that, combine the extensive or medium version with the Nirmanakaya Padmasambhava, whichever is suitable, and complete the set number [of recitations] for approach and accomplishment. Following that, it is necessary to perform successively the specific approaches, combining the twelve manifestations with Trinley Nyingpo, and complete the four activities and the four ancillary practices as well as the practice of the teaching guardians.
According to the system of the omniscient master, Padma Ösel Do-Ngak Lingpa Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, perform, as the beginning of the main part, the single mudra according to the Gyungyi Koljang, the Daily Practice Manual, as ‘approach’; the condensed outer mandala of Trinley Nyingpo as the ‘full approach;’ Trinley Dringpo, the Medium Practice Manual, as ‘accomplishment;’ and Trinley Gyepa, the Extensive Practice Manual, together with Dzapkyi Koljang, the Recitation Manual, and so forth in a detailed way for the ‘great accomplishment.’ The samadhis and visualizations for recitation of these should conform with the root text of the third chapter of Sheldam Nyingjang. Having properly performed the four aspects of approach and accomplishment, perform then the ‘specific practices’ such as those for Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya and so forth, whichever is suitable.
There is no difference between following either of these two systems since they both are lords of these profound teachings.”
Jamgon Kongtrul in his Pearl Garland, arrangement of the root empowerments, says: All the secret paths for a person of sharp faculties to attain the great state of unity within a single lifetime are included within two types: the means for dispelling the obstacles and the means for attaining the siddhis. By the power of the former, the latter is easily accomplished. To practice both of them based on the blessed path of guru sadhana is the profound meaning of all secrets.
The cycle of Lamey Tukdrub Barchey Kunsel is the intent of the Magical Net of the Vidyadharas Root Tantra and the master who initiates a worthy student into its mandala should be endowed with the right qualifications.
In order to practice the teachings in this book, it is indispensable to have received one of the empowerments whichever the length. In the cycle of Barchey Kunsel there are three: the Root Empowerment (tsawang), the Medium Meaning Empowerment (donwang dringpo), and the Torma Empowerment (torwang). Having obtained one of these empowerments from a qualified master who possesses the lineage, one is then authorized to practice all the different sadhanas. In order to actually apply the Essence Practice (Trinley Nyingpo) one also needs to receive the reading transmission and oral instructions. The reading transmission can be received from any person who has heard it him or herself, but the oral instructions should be received from a qualified teacher who has the lineage of these oral instructions.
Moreover, Jamgon Kongtrul says:
One should receive the teachings while possessing the unmistaken conduct of listening to the teaching and with the aspiration of thinking, "I will establish my mothers, all sentient beings equal to the sky, in the state of the three kayas of the All-encompassing Master. In order to do that, I will receive the profound ripening empowerment which is the root of the vajrayana path and the put the two stages into practice."
The two stages are the stages of development and completion. Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo mentions in his Medium Meaning Empowerment text a teaching that covers the background for Lamey Tukdrub Barchey Kunsel:
The truly and completely Enlightened One, the Buddha endowed with ingenuity in means and boundless compassion, taught an inconceivable number of profound and extensive nectar-like Dharma teachings in accordance with the inclinations of those to be tamed. When condensing all of them, they can be included within two kinds: the causal and resultant vehicles as Kunje Gyalpo Tantra says:
There are two kinds of vehicles;
The causal vehicles of philosophy,
And the vajra vehicles of fruition.
This present teaching belongs to the resultant vajra vehicle of Secret Mantra which is in many ways exalted above the causal teachings.
There were no such words as Old or New Schools known in the noble land of India but here in the land of Snowy Ranges, the vajra vehicles are well known as the Old School of the Early Translations and the New School of the Later Translations due to the different periods of the translators.
Among these two schools, the Old Vajrayana School of the Early Translations is comprised of the three transmissions of Kama, Terma and Pure Vision. This present teaching belongs to the short lineage of Terma.
There has appeared a countless great number of different terma traditions such as the earlier and later ones, but the present one in this case is as follows.
King Trisong Deutsen who was Manjushri in person had three sons of which the middle prince was Murub Tsepo Yeshe Rolpa Tsal, a master of the tenth bhumi. His incarnation, authenticated by the triple means of valid knowledge and extolled by all holy beings, was the completely indisputable great treasure revealer and Dharma king, Orgyen Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa who discovered an ocean-like number of profound termas which were linked with the tantric scriptures, established by factual reasoning, adorned with the experience of oral instructions, and endowed with the warmth of wondrous blessings.
Among these discovered treasures, on the tenth day of the waxing moon of the ninth month in the year of the Male Earth Monkey when he was twenty years of age Chokgyur Lingpa revealed this terma from underneath the vajra feet of the Great Glorious One at Danyin Khala Rong-Go, the sacred place of the qualities of enlightened body.
Keeping it secret for eight years, he applied it in his own practice. Later on, in connection with a perfect coincidence of time and place, he was accepted by the wisdom body of the glorious Dharma king of Uddiyana and consort who bestowed upon Chokgyur Lingpa the empowerments and oral instructions as well as special predictions and confirmations. Beginning from that time, he gradually let the terma of Lamey Tukdrub Barchey Kunsel flourish.
This terma cycle is extract of the heart of Padmakara, the Knower of the Three Times, and the single unique treasure concealed under the earth in Tibet. It is like the great treasury of universal monarch filled completely and unmistakenly with all the means for accomplishing the supreme and common siddhis.
In terms of the sections of tantra, this profound path belongs is based on the Great King of Tantras, the Peaceful and Wrathful Manifestations of the Magical Net of the Vidyadhara Gurus which is the root of blessings belonging to the category of the Eight Sections of the Magical Net. And due to the certainty of oral instructions, there is no conflict in that it also belongs to the category of Lotus Speech among the Eight Teachings of Sadhana Sections .
In short, it is like the extracted essence of the meaning of all stages of development and completion as well as the activity applications of the Tantra and Sadhana Sections.