Freeing All Extremes
How to Keep Your Aspiring #Bodhichitta Fresh
We Can Achieve #Enlightenment in This Lifetime
September 23-29, 2023
Every day 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm PST
Orgyen Dorje Den
2244 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda, CA 94501
Ven. Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche has generously offered to bestow the following Dudjom Tersar empowerments:
Tentative Daily Schedule:
Wangs or lungs occur at 3:30-5:30 pm PST every day.
Sat. Sept. 23rd:
Tsokye Tuk Tig
Sun. Sept 24th:
Khandro Tuk Tig
Mon. Sept 25th:
Dorsem Lama Chodpa and possible teaching
Wed. Sept. 27th:
Thurs. Sept. 28th:
Protector Lungs and possible teaching
Fri. Sept. 29th:
Putri Reg Pung Vajrakilaya
Ven. Khenpo Rinpoche will return at a later date to bestow the
Troma and Chimed Sok Tig wangs.
@ Orgyen Dorje Den
2244 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda, CA 94501
“Throughout the succession of my lives,
May I not come under the power of unwholesome thought,
May I always gain power over my mind,
And no matter what, may I accomplish fearless indestructible mind and space-like courage.”
By Mipham Rinpoche
Translated by Ven. Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche
Join us in person and online for Dzogchen Teachings and Meditations with Ven. Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche!
Learn more and see you soon!
Saturday, September 23rd – Friday September 29th, 2023
3:30 pm – 5:30 pm PST
Orgyen Dorje Den
“Madhyamakalamkara Vritti” by Abbot Shantarakshita
Shantarakshita’s Commentary on his “Ornament of the Middle Way“
Translated by Ven. Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche &
Ven. Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche
in collaboration with Geshe Lozang Jamspal.
Preface by Ven. Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche
Cool Grove Press | 4/18/23
Pages 244 | Size: 6 x 9
English | paperback
“Scripture, without a logic that is based on the evidence of things, will not satisfy even faithful followers.”
“Shantarakshita follows in the footsteps of Buddha Shakyamuni who stated that no one should accept his view without testing it as a goldsmith tests gold. In this seminal 8th century text he deconstructs, elucidates and defends Madhayamaka as the essence and central philosophical bases of Mahayana, as elaborated by Nagurjuna—which work preceded the advent of a Buddhist age over much of Asia for a 1000 years. It’s tenets still remains relevant today with discoveries and inventions based on science investigating the ‘nature’ of nature.
In the Madhyamakalamkaravritti, his commentary on his root text The Adornment of the Middle Way, Shantarakshita aims to completely clarify the position that, while ultimately reality eludes our comprehension, conventional knowledge is useful as a tool for navigating appearances all of which are no more real than the reflection of the moon in water.
His method of establishing this relies almost exclusively on one tool: to be real an entity must be one or many. If he can show that all the candidates for the real, such as atoms, matter, space, time, God, the soul, subject, object and causal relations fail this test, that if they cannot be said to be one, because the one is not substantial, then it cannot function to produce many.
Shantarakshita’s motivation for this radical destruction of our basic and cherished beliefs, is to liberate us from anything that can cause us suffering. If we cling to our illusory world, it will fail us, because it is impermanent.
In sloka 16, Shantarakshita does make one positive assertion about reality, when he asserts self-awareness. But he is careful not to become trapped in the classic Buddhist model of subject, object and activity. Self-awareness, he argues, cannot be understood in this way. Subject and object are not distinct nor identical, not one, not many. Self-awareness has no substantial existence.”
“(1) Form is emptiness.
(2) Emptiness is form.
(3) Form is none other than emptiness.
(4) Emptiness is none other than form.”
(1) “Form is emptiness.” If we break a form down to the atomic level, we will lose the gross features of that form, and it will no longer be identifiable as the object we started with. And, as we saw in our discussion of the form aggregate, we can further subdivide these atoms into subatomic particles, or “partless atoms” as they are called in Buddhist philosophical terminology. When we do that, the form changes yet again.
Take this watch, for instance. All of us can see it. But if we break the watch into smaller parts, its identity as a solid, independently existing thing disappears. We cannot find a single “watch” among these various parts anymore. Thus it is with all phenomena. We see and feel that they exist until we begin to investigate and analyze them with our certainty wisdom [nges shes]. So, what is the nature of these phenomena? On the subatomic level, we see that all phenomena co-mingle inseparably with great emptiness. In other words, the ultimate, empty ground within which these countless “seeming-particles” arise is the basic reality of the phenomenal world.
It is not as though form and emptiness are two independently existing things, like “right” and “left.” Avalokiteshvara explains to Shāriputra that form is emptiness, rather than saying form is like emptiness, or form becomes emptiness, or used to be emptiness. He did this so students would avoid the mistaken views of eternalism and nihilism, which make form or emptiness into some kind of dualistic absolute. When we are liberated from clinging to forms, we will experience them as merely appearing instead of solidly existing. All appearances are empty from the beginning.
(2) “Emptiness is form.” Avalokiteshvara clarifies this idea with his second statement, the reverse of the first one. Emptiness cannot be separated from form any more than form can be separated from emptiness. Just as the nature of form is emptiness, the expression of emptiness is form. Emptiness is not a state of nothingness or a black hole, as put forth by the nihilistic view; rather, emptiness and form coexist in the same state. We could say that emptiness is the state of openness that allows things to manifest through dependent arising. Knowing this frees us from attachment to the relative appearances of the phenomenal world, including the non-existence of death and time.
(3) “Form is none other than emptiness.” At this point, you might be thinking there are two different things—form and emptiness—that exist in a unified state, both existence and nonexistence somehow forged together. Avalokiteshvara intends to free us from that notion in his third statement. Such a concept does not reflect the ultimate level of truth, because it represents some degree of clinging and fixation to the idea that there are two different, independent entities that have been joined together. The solidity of form and the “nothingness” of emptiness are only apparent, so it is incorrect to say that concrete existence and absolute nonexistence are in some way melded together. In the state free from all extreme concepts, emptiness and form have always existed inseparably, as one.
(4) “Emptiness is none other than form.” We have now seen that the very ideas of “existence” and “nonexistence” are faulty and extreme. Nevertheless, in his final statement, Avalokiteshvara wants us to know that we have still not transcended clinging, for the idea that existence and nonexistence do not exist is itself an extreme position. This axiom makes it impossible for us to hold on to any dualistic notions whatsoever. We are cut loose from the cycle of the subject-object duality to rest in the state of great equanimity, the state of simplicity, the great completion.
To summarize: (1) axiom one cuts attachment to things as substantially existent; (2) axiom two cuts attachment to things as substantially nonexistent; (3) axiom three cuts attachment to things as both existent and nonexistent; and (4) axiom four cuts attachment to things as neither existent nor nonexistent. These four statements include the whole scope of ideas a sentient being could have about existence and nonexistence. Again, things must either exist or not exist; or they must somehow exist and not exist simultaneously; or, finally, they must neither exist nor not exist.
Buddhism explains that the true nature is utterly beyond words, beyond the narrow limits of our imagination. If this were not the case, we could simply define it with our ordinary mind by means of one of these four statements. Therefore, Avalokiteshvara expresses the ultimate nature of the form aggregate as something inexpressible.”
Venerable Khenpo Rinpoches
Ceaseless Echoes of the Great Silence: A Commentary on the Heart Sutra Prajnaparamita (pgs 37-39)
Guru Yoga Practices in Honor of Ven. Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche
“Vidyadhara Lama” Group Meditation and Practice with Tsok Offering Ceremony
led by Ven. Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche
Monday, June 19, 2023
“You turned the golden wheel of the stainless doctrine of Khenpo Shantarakshita, Lopon Padmasambhava, and Dharma King Trisong Deutsen all over the world.
You established centers that uphold the study and practice of the great secret Vajrayana, which continuously follow the cycles of the sun and moon.
You made glorious gifts of empowerments, pith instructions, and the three wisdoms to students everywhere.
Great Khenpo, Glorious Wisdom, you are the protector of beings, the Lord of Dharma, and the Supreme Lama, Certainly you are a son of the Buddha.”
-Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche
Join us in honoring the life and legacy of our precious Root Teacher, Venerable Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche.
Special ceremonies and practices will webcast from Glorious Padma Samye Ling.
Purchase the “Vidyadhara Lama” sadhana by the great Terton Tsasum Lingpa: