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Lineage Transmission
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42.Urgyen Trinley

Varanasi Shreda

H.H. The Dalai Lama
& Thrangu Rinpoche

AT TDSPJ ON THE 19TH & 20TH MAY, 2000 
Transcribed & edited by TDSPJ Translation Team

Also in Audio Format, proceed here

Page 01 of 03
Generally in olden days Tibet, Dharma was taught in literary language containing Dharma terminology and profound verses understood only by learned persons.  Therefore, many less educated Tibetans found the meaning and the essence of the teachings difficult to understand.

In his extensive Teaching Tours throughout the world over many years, Thrangu Rinpoche uses simple language to teach the Dharma and skillfully makes his teaching easily understood by all his listeners. Rinpoche’s teachings cover many aspects of the Dharma.  Most of the teachings have been recorded in audio cassettes presently kept at Namo Buddha Thrangu Shreda in Nepal.  Rinpoche has formed an organization known as Dharmakara Publication and has entrusted it with the responsibility of transcribing all those recordings and compiling them into readable texts in 3 different languages of Tibetan, English and Chinese.  Rinpoche strongly believes that with the aid of these texts that are to be publish in the near future, many more sentient beings will be benefitted.

Thrangu Rinpoche has also founded a Buddhist University (Shreda) in Varanasi (Sarnath) India. Rinpoche hopes this institution will help many Buddhist scholars in their studies of Buddhism.   The Shreda is open to all Buddhist Sanghas as well as lay devotees.  Rinpoche feels that the Shreda must have a Dharma Library with a large collection of study material in order to support all the students there in their effort to gain access to more Dharma knowledge and greater insight into the religion.  At the moment, TDSPJ has offered to raise funds to acquire a complete set of the Narthang Tripitaka for the Dharma Library. This set of Tripitaka consists of all the teachings of the Buddha and other Mahasiddhas in the form of Sutra, Shastra and Tantra. The merit gained from donating to the Narthang Tripitaka Fund is of great benefit to the donors in their present as well as their next lives.  Rinpoche further explains the benefit reaped is tremendous for reason that the chain of Dharma propagation will increase tenfold when these students become qualified Dharma teachers in the future.  Furthermore the merits generated does not stop in this life but is carried into the next lives for as long as the facility is being utilized.

Sometimes Rinpoche thinks that his idea of building a University is of no meaning for reason that he does not have the ability (financially) to do so on his own.  How can a Ordained Sangha entertain such a silly thought, as he himself needs help and contribution to survive?  The Sangha Community has no income of its own and depends solely on contribution and donations made by lay people who earn their money from their everyday working life.  Moreover, Sangha members do not have any working experience and knowledge.

But at times Rinpoche thinks it is very useful in the long run to build a University and equiped it with a Library to give support to the Sangha Community for the sake of flourishing the Precious Dharma.  Another benefit is to create a chance for others to accumulate merit through making donation to the project, in cash or in kind.  Therefore, this adds up to a long-term benefit and the merits accumulated through assisting the project are immeasurable.  Rinpoche understands that his followers and disciples do not have it easy in earning a decent income.  However, contribution to such a meaningful project (Buddhist University & Library) is a most profound positive deed. The project becomes an opportunity for all donors to accumulate merit for this as well as their next lives.  Be it material or financial donation for the Buddha-Dharma-Sangha, it reaps the same amount of merit and the accumulation will grow day by day. Rinpoche says that through these good actions, it not only benefits oneself but also the future generations to come. 

The Short Prayer to Vajradhara

Great Vajradhara, Tilopa, Naropa
Marpa, Milarepa, and Lord of the Dharma, Gampopa
Knower of the three times, omniscient Karmapa
Lineage holders of the four great and eight lesser schools
Drikung, Taklung, Tsalpa, glorious Drukpa and others,
You who have thoroughly mastered the profound path of Mahamudra
Unrivaled protectors of beings, the Dakpo Kagyü
I pray to you, the Kagyü lamas
Grant your blessing that we may follow your tradition and example.
Detachment is the foot of meditation, it is taught.
Attachment to food and wealth disappears
To the meditator who gives up ties to this life,
Grant your blessing that attachment to ownership and honor cease.
Devotion is the head of meditation, it is taught.
The lama opens the door to the profound oral teachings
To the meditator who always turns to him,
Grant your blessing that uncontrived devotion be born within.
Unwavering attention is the body of meditation, it is taught.
Whatever arises, is the fresh nature of thought.
To the meditator who rests there in naturalness,
Grant your blessings that meditation is free from intellectualization.
The essence of thought is Dharmakaya, it is taught.
They are nothing whatsoever, and yet they arise. mind,
Grant your blessing that the inseparability of samsara and nirvana be realized.
Through all my births, may I not be separated
From the perfect Lama and so enjoy the glory of the dharma.
May I completely accomplish the qualities of the path and stages
And quickly attain the state of Vajradhara (awakened mind).

Thrangu Rinpoche expressed his joy in the arrangements by TDSPJ for the Dharma Talk on the Glorious Karma Kagyu Lineage Masters.  In Vajrayana Traditions (commonly known as Tibetan Buddhism), it is very important to have a proper continuous stream (unbroken) transmission from masters to disciples right from Buddha Vajradhara (Dorje Chang or Sambhogakaya Form of Buddha Sakyamuni) till the present day Lineage Holder. It is highly regarded in all Vajrayana Traditions and today Rinpoche will concentrate on The Glorious Karma Kagyu Order.

The meaning of Kagyu is explained by its component words.  KA means Words of the Buddha (Oral transmission of the Sutra, Shastra & Tantra) and GYU means Lineage (Master-disciple connections).  The KAGYU Order places utmost importance on lineage.  Sakyamuni Buddha passed into pari-nibanna 2500 years ago.  We are not able to receive teachings directly from him.  But in the Kagyu Order, we have a continuous unbroken Oral Transmission that consists of Buddha’s words.  This is not any oral transmission, but a transmission taught, practiced on and handed down by individual Lineage Holders from whom the profound Buddha wisdom arises.  In short, we can say that the Lineage Holders are no different from the Sakyamuni Buddha himself.  Rinpoche further says that if the Oral Transmission is given by ordinary persons without a lineage, then the transmission will contain flaws and errors giving rise to false teaching that will further confuse All Sentient Beings.  Therefore, it is extremely important to have and to uphold an unbroken lineage in the propagation and practice of the Dharma. 

This Kagyu Transmission can be further broken down into three parts.  They are: 
1) Profound Oral/Action Lineage, 
2) Profound Meaning/View Lineage and 
3) Profound Meditative Experience Lineage. 
All these three small streams are combined into one major stream known today as Kagyu.  It is often interpreted as water this container pours into another container; or from one Vessel (Master) to another Vessel (Disciple) whereby the disciple will practice with pure diligence to attain Buddhahood before passing on the transmission to his disciple.

During one of Rinpoche’s teaching sessions elsewhere, a Chinese interpreter mistakenly interpreted Kagyu as The White Order.  The correct translation should be Word Lineage.

Sometimes one doubts that the Master to Disciple transmission could be flawless.  One may argue that flaws could arise in a transmission from a non-realized Master to his Disciple. If there could be flaws, then the contents of the transmission may degenerate as the transmission comes down further.  Rinpoche disputed this argument.  It is not true.  He stressed that the words of Sakyamuni Buddha as transmitted since the olden days in the Kagyu Lineage has been continuous, unbroken and unchanged till today.  Therefore one should dispel such negative notions and doubts in the Karma Kagyu Lineage. 

The Karma Kagyu Lineage and other Kagyu Lineages are also commonly known as the Mahamudra (Great Seal) Lineage. 
The Karma Kagyu or the Mahamudra Lineage has its source in Sakyamuni Buddha.  One can see this when viewing the Lineage Refuge Tree Thanka.  The main figure in the Thanka is Buddha Vajradhara.  Some may wonder why Buddha Vajradhara and not Sakyamuni Buddha who is known as the Buddha who flourishes the Dharma in this Kalpa (Eon). 
This uncertainty in some is due to an inadequate understanding that Buddha Vajradhara and Buddha Sakyamuni are the same. The difference, if at all there is any, is in the 3 Rupakaya (Formbody - i.e. Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya & Nirmanakaya).

The actual truth body of the Buddha is Dharmakaya or Formless Truth Body.  Its essence is Compassion or Buddha’s Mind.  An ordinary being cannot perceive this Formless Truth Body (Dharmakaya) of the Buddha.  Out of great compassion, the Buddha manifests in other form bodies known as Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya.  Sambhogakaya can only be seen by beings of pure mind (example, Siddha Tilopa who received teachings directly from the Sambhogakaya Vajradhara) or beings in higher realms.  As for the ordinary beings like us, the Buddha revealed the Nirmanakaya form.   Basically the 3 form bodies are the same as their essence is Compassion.  We could also address the forms of the Buddha as 1) Dharmakaya Vajradhara, 2) Sambhogakaya Vajradhara, 3) Nirmanakaya Sakyamuni.  Since the Formless Dharmakaya cannot be perceived or seen by all ordinary sentient beings, it is impossible for Buddha in Formless Dharmakaya to liberate them.  Therefore, in order to liberate them, Buddha manifests in Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya Form Body.  Seen on the Refuge Tree Thanka just below Buddha Vajradhara in Bluish color is Sakyamuni Buddha in Nirmanakaya Form. We can therefore say that there is basically no difference between Vajradhara and Sakyamuni.

Ever since the pari-nibanna of Sakyamuni Buddha (Nirmanakaya Form) 2500 years ago, the great Bodhisattvas and Mahasiddhas still are able to perceive him and receive teachings directly from him.
There was this great Mahasiddha by the name of Tilopa who acquired numerous teachings from other Mahasiddhas throughout India. Through diligence practice, he attained the Bhumis (realization levels of Bodhisattvas) which allowed him to perceive the Sambhogakaya form of Buddha Sakyamuni.
 From the Buddha himself Tilopa receive profound Mahamudra teachings and this is where the Kagyu Tradition and Transmission starts. This Karma Kagyu Lineage can be described as the Near Lineage which is more powerful due to the continuous stream of blessings from Lineage Masters starting from the Sambhogakaya Form of Vajradhara.
From Siddha Tilopa, the lineage was passed on to Siddha Naropa who was a learned person, a great scholar and a pandita in India.  One day while Naropa was reading some Buddhist texts in his room, suddenly a shadow appeared from behind him.  He looked and saw an old lady.  Then the old lady asked Naropa if he understood the words he read from his books as well as their meanings.
  ‘I understand the words,’ Naropa replied.  Upon hearing Naropa’s reply, the old lady was overjoyed and she happily laughed, sang and danced.  In the mind of Naropa, he was thinking that if the old lady was so overjoyed upon hearing that he understood the words, she should be even happier if he told her he understood their meaning as well.  But when Naropa told the old lady that he understood the meaning, the old lady burst into tears and cried.  Naropa then asked the old lady why she cried upon hearing his second response.

The old lady replied: ‘you told me that you understood the words.  That made me overjoyed because you are a learned person and a great scholar and a pandita, but when you said you understood the meaning of those words, you were not telling the truth.  In reality you understood not at all the meaning of those profound texts.’

Naropa then asked, ‘Who understands the true meaning of the Dharmas?’

‘In East India, there is a Great Mahasiddha by the name of Tilopa who understands the meaning of the Profound Dharma’, replied the old lady.

Upon hearing the name of Tilopa, Naropa developed a great devotion for him from within.  He then thought if he understood the words and not the meaning, it then made no sense and no meaning to study further. The importance was to understand the meaning and its profound essence of the Dharma. Naropa then made up his mind and vowed to search for Tilopa in order to receive teachings and instructions directly from him.

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Dedicated to the impeccable perpetuation of the glorious Kagyu lineage
and to the success of its leaders and followers in accomplishing their commitment
to bring all sentient beings to the state of enlightened awareness.

May all mother sentient beings, boundless as the sky, have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May they be liberated from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May they never be separated from the happiness which is free from sorrow.
May they rest in equanimity, free from attachment and aversion.

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