“Nyingmapas view the first turning of the wheel of Dharma as provisional, which is in agreement with both the Rangtong and Shentong positions. However, the Nyingma school also believes that both the second and third turnings of the wheel of Dharma are equally definitive. Why does the Nyingma school believe this? For the Nyingmas, the second turning of the wheel of Dharma emphasizes emptiness, whereas the third turning emphasizes clarity. Since emptiness and clarity are equal and inseparable aspects of the same nature, they do not contradict each other, and so one cannot make big distinctions between the two. For this reason, the Nyingma school perceives both the second and third turnings of the wheel of Dharma to be definitive, and thus does not consider the Rangtong and Shentong views to be completely separate or mutually exclusive.
In this way, Rangtong and Shentong merge in the Nyingma school without contradiction. On the one hand, Nyingmapas recognize the truth of the Rangtong view, which explains the absolute nature as emptiness. Hence they perceive the second turning of the wheel of Dharma—the Prajnaparamita teachings that clarify the nature of emptiness—as definitive. On the other hand, Nyingmapas also see the third turning of the wheel of Dharma as definitive because it expounds tathagatagarbha and the five wisdoms, four kayas, ten powers, and four fearless states of enlightenment, otherwise known as the clarity aspect of the nature. So clarity and emptiness are both the nature of mind, of tathagatagarbha. This was pointed out and accepted by Mipham Rinpoche as well as the great master Longchenpa. In his Tegsum Dzo, or Treasure of the Different Doctrines, Longchenpa explains that the clarity and emptiness aspects of the nature are equally natural.”
Venerable Khenpo Rinpoches
Opening the Wisdom Door of the Rangtong & Shentong Views (pgs 25-26)
Photo of Buddha Shakyamuni teaching his first five disciples in Deer Park in Sarnath, India, photographed at the Mahabodhi Temple in 2008.
“So stay right here, you lucky people,
let go and be happy in the natural state.
Let your complicated life and everyday confusion alone
and out of quietude, doing nothing, watch the nature of mind.
This piece of advice is from the bottom of my heart:
fully engage in contemplation and understanding is born;
cherish non-attachment and delusion dissolves;
and forming no agenda at all reality dawns.
Whatever occurs, whatever it may be, that itself is the key, and without stopping it or nourishing it, in an even flow, freely resting, surrendering to ultimate contemplation, in naked pristine purity we reach consummation.”
“If we don’t allow for change, we will never get new results or make any progress towards enlightenment.”
Venerable Khenpo Rinpoches
The Essential Journey of Life and Death, Vol. 1 (pg 173)
Photo of Ven. Khenpo Tsewang Rinpoche with the PBDC Sangha at Palden Sherab Pema Ling on January 14th and at the Palm Beach Dharma Center on January 20, 2018, by Mark McDonnell.
Question: If we want to practice the Dharma for our entire life – and not just start strong and fizzle out – what are the main things we need to make this happen?
Khenpo Tsewang Rinpoche: Starting out strong with Dharma practice and then losing momentum happened to practitioners in ancient times as well as now. As the great master H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche said, if we’d like to keep our practice strong for our entire lives, we should practice what are known as the “Four Wealths of a Dharma Practitioner.” (1) First, we should always have strong devotion to the lineage and the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. (2) Second is a very strong understanding of purity, or some degree of pure perception. (3) Third, we should feel love and compassion for all beings and help them as much as we can. (4) Fourth, we should understand that everything in samsara is impermanent—it’s changing all the time, and having a life with the 18 endowments is very precious. If we keep these four wealths close to our hearts—devotion, pure perception, bodhichitta, and appreciation of our life and situation—we’ll continue to keep our practice as strong as when we started. They will be a fuel that always re-energizes, reactivates, and restrengthens our motivation. Not only that, but they’ll make our motivation deeper and stronger, and will bring more joy, appreciation, bodhichitta, and a greater feeling of preciousness.
In addition to the Four Wealths, we should remember the “Four Mind Turnings.” These are very similar to what H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche and many other great masters have said: (1) precious human life, (2) impermanence, (3) samsara has a lot of difficulties and troubles, and (4) causes and their results are inevitable. If we can keep up the Four Wealths and Four Mind Turnings, we are definitely on track, and will continue on the beautiful path of enlightenment and compassion, giving a beautiful reward to ourselves and sharing a lot of good things with others.
Photo of Ven. Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche offering the bodhisattva vow ceremony at PBC Palm Beach Dharma Center in 2013, by Greg Kranz.