Lopön Rita Gross
In the evening after a full day of receiving the precious lung for the Künzang Gongpa Zhanthal, we gathered in the shrine tent, a large, transparent tent that had been set up near the dining area for the Künzang Gongpa Zangthal. Three chairs covered with brocades were placed in the front of the room, with the large shrine and two thrones behind them. Three teachers, Tulku Dakpa Rinpoche, Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche, and Jetsünla entered the room and Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche proceeded to remove the brocades from the chairs. Thus began a somewhat informal evening of delightful teachings and conversations that were full of laughter from all sides of the room.
Khandro Rinpoche reported that people had been asking for more information about the materials we had been receiving in Tibetan. She then informed the gathering that, because a great, realized teacher, Kyabje Tsetrul Rinpoche, was present on the land, it would be presumptuous for others to discuss the profound and vast teachings he was transmitting to us. This comment set the tone for the rest of the evening and also summarized many of Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche’s more informal comments to us throughout the preceding days. Truly receiving the teachings we are hearing is not so much a matter of collecting and grasping information as it is a matter of relaxing and being open, without agenda, while clearly hearing the sound of the words of the teacher. Thus Khandro Ripoche defused our expectations for a summary of five sessions of lung or reading transmissions that had been given inTibetan.
Tulku Dakpa Rinpoche was then requested to explain how the reading transmission (lung), empowerment (wang), and explanatory teachings (tri) work together to transmit the dzogchen lineage from teacher to student. It took Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche's insistence to urge him to teach the gathered sangha, but when he finally began Rinpoche was very clear and to the point about what he was trying to relay to the gathered assembly. He explained that all three are necessary and that if one tries to practice without them, it is like taking something that has not been given. He also explained that the true transference of the lineage is not an object that can be grasped by the five senses because it is not in the realm of subject-object duality but transcends words and concepts. In addition, he explained that the Hearing Lineage is transferred accurately from teacher to students so long as the students really hear the teachings but that those who will transmit those teachings in the future need the deeper connection and understanding of the Conqueror’s Mind lineage. (The words are the same for both levels of lineage; the difference lies in the non-conceptual depth and openness of the student’s mind, which is the result of many lifetimes of preparation.)
Jetsünla also made it a point to speak on a few points. She reminded us that we were fortunate simply to be in the presence of such a great master, and that the greatest moments in her life were when she was fortunate enough to be in the presence of her teacher Kyabje Mindrolling Trichen. She said that by just being in the presence of such great masters is in itself an endless source of learning and cause for immense merit and rejoicing. It was a reminder to all those present to be open and awake in the presence of the Guru and treasure the great good fortune of being here.
At that point, the large assembly of students was invited to enter the discussion and ask questions. A lively interchange followed, with the three teachers often conferring among themselves in Tibetan and translating for each other. The entire evening was joyous and one to remember as these three great masters attempted to curb our conceptual approach about our receiving the Küngzang Gongpa Zhanthal. We could have interacted with the teachers all night, but they, wisely noting that another day of reading transmissions was coming up in a few hours, sent us to our various tents, dormitories, and other abodes, from which we arose the next morning to repeat another day of resting in greater openness as we listen to Kyabje’s voice softly reading the Northern Treasure texts of us in their entirety.