Mahamudra Retreat 2014

Our teacher, the precious Buddha, taught a great variety of different paths and gave many different teachings. One of these was Mahamudra, the Great Seal, the essence and peak of all dharma teachings, the supreme path of practice which leads the practitioner step-by-step to direct recognition of mind’s true nature.

This specific Mahamudra text that Kyabgön Phakchok Rinpoche will be teaching, the Amrita of the Essential Accomplishment, belongs to the Taklung Kagyu lineage. The teachings of the Kagyu were passed down from the dharmakaya buddha Vajradhara to the mahasiddha Saraha, and then to Maitripa, Tilopa, Naropa, Marpa, Mila, and Gampopa. One of Gampopa’s main students was Pagmodrupa, and one of Pagmodrupa’s main students was Taklung Tanga Tashi Pal (1142-1210), “the one with supreme devotion”. He was the founder of the precious Taklung Kagyu lineage which has been transmitted without break down until the present day. In Tibet, the main seat of the Taklung Kagyu is Riwoche in Kham where the lineage is upheld and passed on by three main masters: Kyabgön Shabdrung Rinpoche, Kyabgön Jedrung Rinpoche, and Kyabgön Phakchok Rinpoche.

This precious text, the Amrita of the Essential Accomplishment by the Taklung Kagyu master Gelong Ngawang Tashi Paldrub, condenses all of the Buddha’s teachings into a single gradual path that guides the student step-by-step. Short, precise, and easy to practice, it explains succinctly how to traverse the path from the outset of the four mind-changings up until essential Mahamudra, the peak of all of Buddha’s teachings. The text not only teaches different meditation techniques, but is also adorned with priceless pith instructions and teaches different methods for overcoming various obstacles that can occur in one’s meditation practice. Therefore, it is a teaching that is deeply beneficial both for beginners and also for more advanced practitioners.

For Part I Retreatants:

Rinpoche will lead participants who are participating in this retreat for the first time, through the four mind-changings, the four foundations (or preliminary practices), and then through the detailed stages of shamata with and without focus taught in the text, including natural state shamata. Practising these different techniques of meditation enables us to gain mastery over our minds and lays the necessary foundation for the ensuing practice of vipashyana, the pointing-out of the true nature of mind.

For Part II Retreatants:

Having covered the four mind-changings, four foundations, and different types of shamata meditation during the previous retreat, this year Rinpoche will move on to the second part of the text which teaches vipashyana meditation, and finally Mahamudra itself—essential emptiness dharmadhatu meditation. Rinpoche will also unravel the priceless pith instructions that are taught in this text for overcoming obstacles in one’s meditation practice.

Rinpoche will also bestow the empowerment for the Luminous Bindu, a very unique and blessed guru yoga and feast offering practice for the eighty-four mahasiddhas and Vajradhara. The eight-four mahasiddhas are the condensation of all of the great male and female masters of India. Therefore, this empowerment and practice contains great blessings. This is precious practice is from the Taklung Kagyü lineage and was composed by the great master and visionary, Jedrung Jampal Jungney Rinpoche after having a pure vision of the eighty-four mahasiddhas.

For Part III Retreatants:

To clarify and reinforce the strength of one’s recognition, Rinpoche will again with great kindness introduce the nature of mind. As all the great masters have taught, perfect realization is none other than the result of the accumulation of merit and purification of obscurations. Therefore, Rinpoche will explain the practices of Luminous Bindu, the eighty-four mahasiddhas guru yoga, and a short Guru Rinpoche sadhana together with a sang (smoke) offering as skilful means for us to accumulate merit, open the doorway for the stream of blessings to enter us, and thus further deepen our meditation. In combination with this, Rinpoche will give some practical advice to help us see and dispel our own faults and blind spots in our daily lives.

For Part IV Retreatants:

To strengthen and stabilize the ability to rest in the true nature of mind, Rinpoche will kindly introduce teachings from the New Treasures of Chokgyur Lingpa (Chokling Tersar). Specific practices will be introduced and pith instructions from the great masters of the past and Guru Rinpoche himself will be given.

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