Selwa (gsal ba) -
1) luminosity, clarity, luminous clarity
2) bright, clear, cognizant, awake, distinct
6) to visualize
Glorious Rangjung Gyalmo
You are the ground from which all mamos emanate
In the realms of the devas you are Tejasvati
Mandara flower, I praise you.
Powerful Blood Drinker, glorious vitality
In the land of Yama, you are Ekajati
Fire-eater, blood wearer, wearing the naga emblems
Kali, the blood dripper, I praise you.
Ma is the essence, the bodhichitta
Mo is self-originated wisdom
Whenever I call out, it is your name I call
Mistress of the realm of desire, I praise you.
I and all infinite beings
With heartfelt faith, go for refuge
To the guru, who is the essence of the three jewels
And to the mandala of an ocean of vidyadharas.
I will enter this mandala of the vidyadharas
And develop the aspiration, engagement and ultimate bodhichittas
In order to liberate with limitless compassion
My parents, who are all beings in the six existences.
Song of Realization
Om mani padme hum hrih
It’s a song, a la te lo
That’s the way I sing the song!
A la! That's the way my voice summons!
I ask Father Vidyadhara Pema T?treng Tsal
In the invisible land of emanations
To come for the sake of my mothers: the six classes of beings.
May all achieve buddhahood.
I do not recognize this earth as earth
It is an assembly hall adorned by flowers.
I do not recognize me to be me
I am the supreme victor, the wish-fulfilling jewel.
I do not recognize this song to be a song
It is the laughter of the glorious heruka.
I pray to the lord gurus
Look with compassion upon your child who stays in the mountains
Look with compassion upon your child who stays in the mountains.
In this human existence that is attained just one time
May I accomplish the goals of this and future lives.
When I see the seven sublime wealths of the mind
I have no need for the suffering of poverty.
When I am sustained by meditation and experiences
I have no need for the suffering of hunger and thirst.
When my body can ignite the heat of chandali
I have no need for the suffering of physical cold.
When I see the mind as the great bliss of the dharmakaya
I have no fear of the swamp of samsara beneath me.
When I reside in the ground luminosity
I have no aspiration for buddha realms above me.
This view of the glorious excellent guru
Is the cherished practice that I possess.
If I do not recognize my own mind
Wherever else I seek,
I will not attain anything.
In all the activities of going, sitting, eating, and sleeping
Cultivate experience without attachment to whatever arises!
The six classes of beings in samsara
Take into your care, without ever forgetting them.
Whatever good qualities arise
Offer them to the buddhas and please them.
Whatever bad suffering arises
Think that they have all come from past actions.
The display of appearances and forms
Meditate that they are all pure, the dharmakaya.
Whatever sounds are heard
Meditate that they are the repeated mantras of the three kayas.
Whatever good or bad arises in the mind
Meditate that they are the play of the dharmakaya.
Commitments are the root of the dharma
It is essential to protect them like one's eyes.
Practice in solitude
Unstained by the mud of samsara.
Without being polluted by bad companions
Practice without omission the rituals of the six daily sessions.
Anger towards enemies and love towards friends
Should be transformed, without bias, into the path.
Gold and silver, earth and stones
Rest in their equal taste.
One's homeland and house
Should be kept at a distance, without attachment.
If a dharma practitioner becomes attached to his home
He will perform bad actions and will experience suffering.
If the divine dharma is not practiced, there will be great regret.
Do not deceive the dead
Through not having attained the primordial ground.
Do not have a great yearning for religious offerings
Through not uniting the generation and completion phases.
Do not be a guide who teaches the path
While not having seen bliss on your own path.
Do not give empowerments and perform rituals for the dead
While not having attained the siddhi of whatever deity one practices.
Do not be a deceitful clairvoyant
With no arising of stainless realization.
Do not enjoy women, meat, and alcohol
Without having received the transmission of the dakinis.
Do not teach a nihilistic view and meditation to others
Because the essentials have not ripened in your own being.
Do not pervert the rules of karma
Direct your aspiration to the yidam deity.
These commitments and vows are the root of the dharma
They should be kept even at cost of your life.
With intense regret, repent from your heart
Your past creation of bad karma.
Keep this in your minds!
If you understand this song, it will be molasses for your ears
If you cannot understand it, you have no connection with this song.
In the heart of the Great Mother, upon a lotus and moon
A white Ah syllable is encircled by the gate mantra
The letters facing inwards and arranged clockwise
It turns counter-clockwise and emits its own sound
This union of sound and emptiness transforms the worlds and inhabitants of samsara and nirvana
Into the union of appearance and emptiness, which is like an illusion or the moon’s reflection on water.
Om gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha
In the heart of Machik, upon a lotus and moon
A white Hum syllable is encircled clockwiseBy the mantra circle, which turns fiercely counter-clockwise
Its light invokes the commitment of the deities
Their light rays touch the Great Mother
Light rays radiate from her heart into the ten directions
The blessing and power of the body, speech and mind
Of the Great Mother and of all buddhas and bodhisattvas
Comes from the Supreme Realm and the pure realms in the ten directions
In the form of light-rays and are concentrated into the heart of Machik
The blessings, in the form of amrita, fill her body.
Pe Pe Pe
Om gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha
This ground, anointed with perfume and scattered with flowers
Adorned by the supreme mountain, the four continents, the sun, and the moon
Is visualized as a buddha realm and offered
Through this, may all beings come to enjoy the pure realms.
Idam guru ratna mandala kam niryatayami
Through this offering of an excellent, pleasing mandala
May there be no obstacles on the path to enlightenment
May there be the realization of the view of the sugatas of the three times
May there be no delusion within existence or resting in peace
But the liberation of beings for as far as space extends.
Your white body is unstained by faults
Your head is adorned by a perfect buddha
Your compassionate eyes look on all beings
Avalokita, I pay homage to you.
Om mani padme hum hrih
In the first of the previous aeons
In the northwest of Oddiyana
On the stem and blossom of a lotus
You have attained the marvelous supreme siddhi
You are renowned as Padmakara
You have many dakinis as your retinue
You are encircled by an ocean of vidyadharas and siddhas
I pray for you to come and give your blessing
That I may practice as you have done.
Send down your blessing to this supreme place
Bestow the four empowerments on me, the supreme practitioner
Eliminate all obstructers, misguiders and hindrances
Bestow on me the supreme and general siddhis.
Om ah hum vajra guru padma t?treng tsal vajra samaya jah jah
Guru Padma and a host of dakas and dakinis
Your bodies dancing, your voices singing mantras and symbolic words
Your minds, which are the essence of self-arising awareness, are directed towards me
You have come with great majesty and the sound of your hand drums and bells
Into space before me.
Lord guru and the host of dakinis
Look at this human with eyes of compassion!
Right now, the beings in the three realms
Sleep in a neutral state of mind
And awake to wandering amongst illusory appearances.
I follow you, the father guru
So that I, your child, the yogin who has realized self-knowing awareness
May guide to the pure realms
These beings in the six classes of existences, who are my mothers.
I will not let my body, speech and mind remain in a neutral state
I will attain certainty through hearing, contemplation, and meditation
I will take my activity through the narrow passageway of the four sessions.
In this pleasant realm of the mountains
The benefits for myself and others are accomplished
Therefore, guru, you and the host of dakinis
Give your blessing to this human’s body, speech and mind.
A conversation with Choying Drolma
I was the only daughter in my family. I had lots of responsibility. At a young age I had lots of housework. Each morning I'd bathe my younger brothers, diaper them, prepare breakfast for everyone and then get ready to leave for school. I was about nine. Even when I was five I was already helping out, helping my mother carry water. I remember it; I had a small plastic jerry can. It was heavy. I never complained or felt like I had a lot of work to do, it was just part of life.Sometimes I would run away from home when I had cleaning or dish washing to do and go down to the Great Stupa of Boudhanath and play with the other kids. I hated seeing girls being treated disrespectfully, boys thinking girls were weak or something, so I would always accept challenges from guys. I'd fight with them. I would chase them away. I fought like a boy. I'd fight three or four guys, alone. They called me “Bruce Lee’s sister” because of my hairstyle and because of my courage.
My father was a sculptor. He worked in metal, and traveled around the Kathmandu valley selling his work. We got by. My father could never afford a new dress, a toy, or chocolate for me. But we got by. My younger brother was my toy. I never had any complaints. The only trouble was seeing my mom sad, seeing her life of sacrifice and compromise. She had to give up a lot for her kids. It was difficult around my home. There were lots of expectations of her, and little respect. It was hard. Very hard. Many unpleasant experiences. I began to feel that men were really not that nice. Quite honestly, I loved my father, but he was not the best example for the first man in my life. Many other guys as well; they all seemed like people who would not give you happiness. They would give you lots of pain. I was nine, that's how I felt then. I thought I didn't want that life, the life that seemed to be laid out for me: get married, have kids, be sad.
I was crying one day, a day that was particularly bad around my home. My mother was rocking me, stroking my hair, comforting me. I said, "Do I really have to go through all this? Like you?" She said, "No, you don't have to, if you don't want to. You could become a nun." That was enough reason for me to become a nun. I didn't know anything about what it meant to be a nun, but just not having to get married was enough for me. Every morning I had to wait in line to get milk, and I would always get 15 paisa in change. I'd come home and put it in a little clay jar, like a piggy bank. One day I broke the jar and took out everything I had. I ran away from home and went to see Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, a Buddhist teacher. I offered him a ceremonial scarf and my paisa, my money. I told him, "I want to be a nun." There were other monks there. They all laughed at first, but finally he understood I was serious. I was very brave for my age, very stubborn. He cut my hair and gave me refuge vows. I was about ten. He gave me my Buddhist name, Ch?ying Drolma. I was happy. I felt like now I had a certificate to leave home. I came home and said; "Now I am a nun. You cannot keep me at home. You have to send me to a nunnery." And, actually, my mother and father were happy about it.
They sent me to Nagi Gompa. I went to see my teacher there, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche. I knew about him already, and used to dream about him. I dreamt once that he came to get me in a helicopter. At Nagi Gompa I felt like I was in paradise. I had lots of freedom, lots of love, lots of care from Tulku Urgyen. There I really felt, "Now I am a child." I got spoiled, naughty. He let me run a little wild. He gave me my childhood back.Tulku Urgyen was a great Dzogchen master, and everyone knew it, but he lived simply and was generous and kind to everyone who came to see him. He helped me learn to read better. He would make me sit in front of him and read. I tried to read as fast as I could, so I could get away and go play. He would hold me by the arm and say, "Who's chasing you?" I was happy there, at the nunnery, with Tulku Urgyen and my friends. I had a new perspective; I understood that without my difficult situation at home I never would have become a nun.
There's a tradition in Asia of giving monks and nuns offerings on certain days. Once when I was in Singapore I received a lot of offerings, almost one thousand dollars. I bought some gifts for my brothers, my father, my mother. A gold chain for my mother. When I returned to Nepal I couldn't wait to see my family. I barely got in my family's door before I got the cash and gifts out, I was so excited. That was the day when I felt like I'd made it, I'd done it, my accomplishment. My father and mother were very happy, very proud.Even before I was a nun I always had this thought, this question, wondering why, if boys can do something, why can't girls? That kind of attitude continued with me even in the nunnery. I would see lots of male teachers come and teach. All males. Why is it only monks that go on to become teachers, to get these chances? The Tibetan word for "woman" translates as "low birth." I hated that. I wouldn't buy it. Many of the nuns could read the words of texts very well, very fast, but few knew the meaning. I wanted to change that. That's what I want to do with the school I've started, the Arya Tara school. I want nuns to learn many things and know why they are doing what they are doing, what the benefit is in it. Not just in practicing Tibetan Buddhism, but in learning math, English, learning basic medicine. If they're doing something, they must know why they are doing it. This is my dream, now, to make this school a reality.
Interview by Marc Anderson, Chris Gray, and Steve Tibbetts