The Miraculous Vajrayogini of Ditsa Monastery
One of my students came across the inspiring story below and shared it with me. It is about how a Buddhist practitioner had a revelatory experience which increased his/her faith in the Dharma. As it was originally written in Chinese, I had it translated into English for all of my blog readers, in hopes that you may benefit from this incredible story about both a pilgrim and a great Vajrayogini practitioner.
In this day and age, people want to kick back and relax on their holidays… e.g. most people choose to vacation at a beach where it’s warm, quiet and sunny. We have all experienced this, as booking a flight or even a bus ticket during the holiday season is almost impossible if it is done at the last minute!
People work tirelessly to pay their bills and for maybe a few weeks in a year, they choose to spend their time wandering around a different city, because that’s their idea of a holiday. Even for those who may not be able to afford to go on one regularly, they spend years saving up money just to experience a few days being in a foreign place.
Although I do encourage people to de-stress, have we every thought about getting more out of our holiday? How many places have we already been to only to end up with nothing but a picture of that memory? What happens after the holiday? We most probably return to what we were doing before, and repeat the cycle till the end of our lives… or until we are physically unable to travel.
More so than a sunny beach, a pilgrimage to a holy place can be more rewarding especially when we want to spiritually recharge ourselves. Pilgrimage sites such as the birthplace of the Buddha, great monasteries or location spots of holy items from highly attained beings are highly spiritually energized. This energy is very valuable because it can deeply and positively affect the surrounding beings, which not only includes humans, but non-humans too. When we are in a place of great spiritual energy such as a monastery, just by stepping on the land, we immediately feel more calm and relaxed… compare this to a place which has a lot of negative energy like a slaughterhouse.
Although the opportunity may be quite seldom for many, I often encourage people to go on pilgrimages to highly energized places such as the Ditsa Monastery below. All of us have countless karmic seeds which are dormant and can be open at any time. When we visit these energized places it can trigger the opening of our positive karmic seeds, and we may experience it through an urge to learn more Dharma, do more Dharma work and/or increase our determination to transform our minds. It may even help us come to certain realizations, like it did for the writer below. Such pilgrimages can actually be life changing in that respect and that is why I promote these type of trips.
Having that in mind, I thought I’d share this wonderful article as the writer expressed everything that she/he felt during the pilgrimage… from entering the pilgrimage with an open mind, and having the curiosity to understand and learn… All of which has led to the point that benefited the writer and strengthened his/her faith in the Dharma.
Besides the benefits of pilgrimages, I also wanted to show everyone how a Vajrayogini practitioner can achieve such high levels of attainments. In Tibetan Buddhism, what took place after Lama Amdo Zhamar entered clear light is known as the ‘Rainbow Body’. The Rainbow Body is recognized as a sign of extreme accomplishment of the practitioner as it is the manifestation of sambhogakaya. There are many levels and stages of attaining the Rainbow Body, with the most advanced level of attainment shown to us by Tsongkapa, Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche, Guru Padmasambhava, who completely dissolved his physical body into clear light. However, in all rarity of this achievement, most of these highly attained practitioners leave behind a small physical body after cremation. It is usually the size of a newborn baby, or even as small as 5 cm.
I hope that my students and friends may one day experience the kind of realization that the writer below shared. Or perhaps, you may possibly be able to relate to him/her already. By briefly knowing about how Vajrayogini’s practice can bring us to such high levels of attainments, may it also inspire many to continue their Dharma practice diligently, so that they may have the great fortune to receive her practice in this life time.
Do Buddha and Bodhisattva really exist? – An Amazing Story About Vajrayogini (Dakini Bone Relic)
I remember when I just returned from abroad this year, my sister asked me a question, she said, “Whenever I recite prayers to the Buddhas, I often wonder if Buddhas & Bodhisattvas exist? Do they really exist? To be honest, this was also the question I had in my mind. Perhaps the Three Jewels knew my doubts, during a very fortuitous opportunity, I visited Ditsa Monastery located in Hualong, Qinghai where I witnessed the existence of something incredible, from then on my confidence in the Buddhadharma was strengthened, I understood deeply the basis of perceiving the Guru as a Buddha.
After bringing my mom and sister to Kumbum Monastery for a visit in October, I didn’t think about arranging for them to visit Ditsa Monastery, this was because mom was quite old, and it was inconvenient for her to travel far. However, with the blessings of the Guru and the Three Jewels, the monks in the monastery sent a car to bring us to Ditsa Monastery.
What we saw there removed my mom’s & my sister’s doubt completely. We had an audience with a Dakini (bone relic).
Ditsa Monastery in Hualong, Qinghai is a very pure, Gelugpa monastery with strict discipline. What is amazing is that the Dakini manifested from a Lama (Amdo Zhamar) who passed away. He was the abbot of the monastery – after the cremation, the body of the reincarnation Lama shrunk to become one cubit tall, in the posture of Vajrayogini Dakini, an incorruptible adamantine body. This is the only Dakini (bone relic) I’ve seen that transformed from a real Lama. In Buddhism, Dakinis are female Bodhisattva, and the reincarnated Lama was a male body, but his incorruptible adamantine body manifested as a female Bodhisattva. Hence, Buddha, Bodhisattvas, living and dying, liberation; whatever appearance sentient beings need, they will manifest. The physical differences between male and female do not exist in the eyes of Buddhas & Bodhisattvas.
A Lama in Ditsa Monastery told me about the story of the Dakini (bone relic).
The Lama (Amdo Zhamar) in the black and white picture is the previous abbot of Ditsa Monastery, he was a reincarnated Lama in the 1950s, and this reincarnated Lama is highly attained. One of his previous lives, he was one of the tutors of the 13th Dalai Lama. Perhaps the Bodhisattvas wish to test the wisdom of normal lay folks, this reincarnated Lama manifested the behaviour of normal people: the monks in the monastery rarely saw him studying or practising, rather, what they saw was a young, handsome but extremely playful little reincarnated lama who doesn’t do his practices. He often jumped up and down, was mischievous, but extremely clever. Some of the monks despised him, nobody went to learn or study with him.
When he was 39, the reincarnated Lama suddenly passed away. All the monks in the monastery recited prayers in front of the cremation stupa. On the fourth day, the administrators of the monastery and the attendants of the reincarnated Lama had some thoughts that since they mobilised so many to do prayers, if there were no auspicious signs appearing after cremation, it would be very embarrassing. The administrator opened the door of the cremation stupa slightly and then closed it up again. He then gave instruction for the prayers recitation to continue for seven days and seven nights, so the prayers recitation ended around fourteen days (perhaps the recollection was not accurate). Later, the door of the cremation stupa was opened, and the sight caused all the monks to cry and also to be full of regret.
There was no damage to the body of the young reincarnated Lama, it has shrunk into an incorruptible adamantine body that is one cubit high, in the posture of Vajrayogini Dakini. It was then that the monks in the monastery realised that the reincarnated Lama was a Great Bodhisattva who came to the world for all sentient beings, but as ordinary people they failed to recognise this, and they did not followed his teachings, perhaps this was why the Bodhisattva passed away prematurely. After that, the monks in Ditsa Monastery became more diligent in their practice, followed the monastic rules more carefully, and maintained pure moral discipline.
The current incarnation of this Lama – the abbot of Ditsa Monastery, was equally young and handsome, very playful, and when he was nineteen, he took on the form of a lay practitioner, but the monks in Ditsa Monastery are still very respectful of the reincarnated lama, because they know Bodhisattvas will use skilful means to liberate sentient beings. At a Nyingma Monastery near Ditsa Monastery, I saw a picture of the current incarnation of this Lama with a Nyingma Khenpo. The abbot (incarnate lama) wore lay clothes, while the Nyingma Khenpo wore robes. At that time, I didn’t know this lay person was the incarnation of a Dakini, but I could not help but be subdued by this lay person’s gaze. He was young, he seemed to be in his twenties, his gaze was penetrating, pure, full of determination and deep, I could not help but asked: Who is this? I was told this he is the reincarnation of the Dakini.
At this point, I realised that Bodhisattvas come into the world with a variety of manifestations, every teacher you encounter, every monk, even every lay person could be a Bodhisattva, so please devote yourself to your teacher with sincerity and respect.
I recommend my senior Dharma friends to take some time off to visit Ditsa Monastery, what you see will increase your faith in the Buddhadharma.
The Siddha of Naropa’s Vajrayogini
In 1994, when I was in Choshe Rinpoche’s home monastery Samdheling Monastery, I heard that there is a sacred image of Naropa Vajrayogini in a monastery nearby. It was during the initial post-Liberation period (I don’t remember it was before or after) that the incarnate Lama (Amdo Zhamar) of the monastery passed away, his body shrunk to a cubit high, and after cremation, it manifested in the posture of Naropa’s Vajrayogini.
In 2009, when the 5th Choshe Rinpoche was enthroned , I purposely went to have audience with this sacred Naropa’s Vajrayogini image. Today, the image has been coated in gold, the height is that of an elbow, with powerful blessing! In fact, this is a manifestation of the achievements of the rainbow body! When my Kalachakra Lama Yongdzin Rinpoche passed away at the age of more than ninety years old, his body also reduced to a cubit high.
More about the reincarnated Lama:
The Fifth Amdo Zhamar, Lobzang Shedrub Tendzin Gyatso
b.1914 – d.1952
The Fifth Amdo Zhamar, Lobzang Shedrub Tendzin Gyatso was born into a nomadic family in a village named Arik in northern Amdo in 1914, the wood-tiger year of the fifteenth sexagenary cycle.
At the age of six he was identified as the reincarnation of the Fourth Amdo Zhamar 1, Gendun Tendzin Gyatso (1852-1912). This was later affirmed by the Thirteenth Dalai Lama, Tubten Gyatso (1876-1933).
The following year he was granted preliminary monastic vows by the Seventh Zhabdrung Karpo, Gendun Tendzin Norbu (1873-1929), who gave him the name Lobzang Shedrub Tendzin Gyatso. He was then brought to Ditsa Monastery, Pel Mingyur Ganden Tashi Choding. There he studied under the guidance of Lobzang Rabgye, the seventy-eighth abbot of Jakhyung Monastery.
At the age of eleven he enrolled in the general classes at Lamo Dechen Monastery and began the standard Gelug curriculum, studying logic, Madhyamaka, Prajñāpāramitā, Abhidharma and Vinaya under Lobzang Rabgye. Afterwards, under the behest of the Seventh Zhabdrung Karpo, he matriculated at Labrang Tashikyil.There he received the empowerments of Vajramala, Mitra, and Drubtab Gyatso, and instructions on Lamrim and Ngakrim from Lakho Jigme Trinle Gyatso (1866-1948), who also gave him complete ordination as well. Later he invited Lako Rinpoche to Ditsa for further teaching; Lako then composed the regulations for the monastery.
In 1937, at the age of twenty four, under the command of the third abbot of Ditsa, Ngawang Khetsun Gyatso and the local subjects there, he was appointed as the monastery’s fourth abbot.
In 1952, at the age of thirty nine, he passed away at Ditsa monastery.
1 The Fourth Amdo Zhamar, Gendun Tendzin Gyatso (1852 – 1912): Some time between 1905 and 1907, the Thirteenth Dalai Lama, Tubten Gyatso (1876-1933) met The Fourth Amdo Zhamar at Kumbum Monastery. The Fourth Amdo Zhamar gave the Thirteenth Dalai Lama extensive empowerments and instructions, and so impressed the Dalai Lama that the later gave him the title of paṇḍita together with a seal and a large number of gifts. Thereafter he was known as Zhamar Paṇḍita. Many important Geluk lamas of twentieth century Amdo were also trained by the Fourth Amdo Zhamar. His compositions, on over fifty-eight different topics, were collected into nine volumes.
More about Ditsa Monastery:
Ditsa Tashi Choding is an important Geluk monastery in Amdo that was founded in 1903 by the Fourth Amdo Zhamar, Gendun Tenzin Gyatso. The monastery has around 20 reincarnated Lamas and 400 monks.
The monastery’s website is http://zhizha.com
青海化隆县支扎大寺是一个非常清净，戒律谨严的格鲁派寺院。令人震撼的是，这里的空行母是现实中存在的喇嘛活佛圆寂后示现出来的。他是寺院的住持——一位 转世活佛法体毗荼以后，完全变成了空行母的身相，成了金刚不坏身。这是我见到的唯一由现实中的喇嘛变化而成的空行母。空行母在佛教中是指女性菩萨，而转世 活佛在现实中示现的是男身，但是他的金刚不坏身则示现的是女性菩萨。所以佛和菩萨生死自在，众生需要什么身相，他们就示现什么身相。男女的肉体差别在菩萨 眼里是不存在的。
黑白照片中的喇嘛就是支扎寺前任寺主，他是五十年代的一位转世活佛，这位活佛内在的修证其实很高，他的某一世曾任十三世达赖喇嘛的经师。也许菩萨们是为了 考验凡夫的智慧，这位转世活佛示现出来的恰恰是普通人的行为：寺院僧人很少看到他念经、修行，他们看到的是一个年轻英俊但是极其贪玩、从不修行的小活佛。 他经常上窜下跳，调皮捣蛋，但是却极其聪明。僧人们内心都有些瞧不起他，没人在他面前请法。
就在39岁那年，活佛突然失寂。寺院全体僧众在火化塔前为活佛毗荼诵经祈祷。到了第四天的时候，寺院的管家和活佛的侍者可能都觉得这样兴师动众祈祷，如果 火化以后没有什么瑞相，很丢脸，于是管家拉开了炉门，然而他刚打开一条缝就突然关上了炉门，然后他指示继续诵经并延长到七天七夜，这样经过大约十四天的诵 经（也许记忆不准确），炉门打开了，看到的景象令僧人们失声痛哭，万分忏悔。
这一世的活佛——现在的支扎寺寺主同样年轻帅气，很调皮，而且在19岁的时候就示现了在家相，但是支扎寺的僧人们依然非常恭敬活佛，他们知道菩萨度众会用 他们善巧的方法。我在支扎寺附件的一座宁玛派寺院，见到了这一世支扎寺的活佛和宁玛派一位堪布的合影。寺主穿着俗家衣，宁玛堪布穿着僧衣，当时我并不知道 这位在家人就是空行母的转世，但是我却不由得被眼前的在家人的眼光所摄受。他很年轻，看起来二十多岁，目光却有一种穿透力，清澈坚毅而深邃，我不由得问了 一句：这是谁呀？别人告诉我这就是空行母的转世。 至此，我明白，菩萨会化各种身相来到世间，你所遇到的每一位上师，每一位僧人，甚至每一个在家人，也许都是一位菩萨，所以请以最虔诚的恭敬心恭敬你的上师，恭敬善知识。 建议师兄们一定抽空去支扎大寺朝拜一次，亲眼所见会令你对佛法生起巨大信心。
第五安多夏麦尔，洛桑夏珠旦增嘉措, 1914 – 1952
Please support us so that we can continue to bring you more Dharma:
If you are in the United States, please note that your offerings and contributions are tax deductible. ~ the tsemrinpoche.com blog team