Secret Map of the Body

Jun 15, 2015 by

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Secret Map of the Body
Visions of the Human Energy Structure

consisting of

The Great Mirror: Praise-Biography of the Precious One from Lhadong

by Chen Ngawa Rinchen Den

and

 The Hidden Description of the Vajra Body

by Gyalwa Yangönpa

Translated from Tibetan and Annotated by Elio Guarisco

Foreword

I am very glad that here, the biography and an important work of Gyalwa Yangönpa have been translated into English. Yangönpa was an exceptional yogin of the Drugpa lineage, known for his high realization, who left an indelible imprint on the teaching of generations of Tibetan masters of different traditions. On the table beside my pillow, I keep old handwritten books by Yangönpa and by his teacher Götsangpa that were brought from Tibet to save them from destruction.

Reading these teachings is a great inspiration and support for practice. Every word is a living Dharma that shines with their realization: reading them is like exploring the beautiful vast space.

Drugu Choegyal Thutob Yonten Gyatso


Preface

I came across Gyalwa Yangönpa’s Hidden Description of the Vajra Body (rdo rje lus kyi sbas bshad) in 1998, while translating for a Tibetan doctor who was giving a three-month course in Tibetan medicine at Shang Shung Institute in Conway, Massachusetts. Having inserted a few sections of Yangönpa’s text into a book he had prepared for his classes, the doctor pointed out to me its particular relevance to Tibetan medicine. This sparked my curiosity, and I eventually decided to translate it in order to study its content and make it available in English. I have since come to realize that the Hidden Description of the Vajra Body is a unique work whose importance far exceeds its scanty notions of traditional Tibetan medicine.

Reading through the Hidden Description of the Vajra Body, I became curious about the person behind the book, and convinced that the eventual publication of the translation would be more meaningful if it included the author’s biography. So I ventured to translate The Great Mirror (me long chen mo), the most extensive and complete biography of Yangönpa, written by his main disciple, Chen Ngawa Rinchen Den (b. 1202?).

The translation of the text on the vajra body was undertaken at different moments over the last ten years, as my understanding of its content developed. The text is straightforward. Its language is not particularly difficult to grasp, but the principles and reasons behind many of Yangönpa’s explanations are not easy to understand. Their clarification would be the task of a complete commentary that does not yet exist.

Nowadays, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find Tibetans who are able to fully comprehend these ancient texts. Lacking such support, in translating this text I relied principally on the knowledge I acquired during the many years I worked in Darjeeling on the translation of Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye’s Encyclopedia of Indo-Tibetan Knowledge. However, to avoid falling into erroneous personal interpretations, I have always tried to discuss difficult points and concepts with my colleagues.

I have provided an introduction that will hopefully assist the reader to approach Yangönpa’s personage and text. Any inconsistencies or errors will, I am sure, be corrected by future writers.

Reading through Willa Blythe Miller’s 2013 dissertation, Secrets of the Vajra Body: Dngos pa’i gnas lugs and the Apotheosis of the Body in the Work of Rgyal ba Yang dgon pa, has been very interesting and useful.

I wish to express my gratitude to those who helped me with this project. In particular, Oliver Leick, the director of the Shang Shung Institute of Austria, tirelessly worked to secure financial donations so that I did not have to worry about livelihood issues. I wish to thank Adriano Clemente, with whom I often consulted on the translation, and whose advice certainly improved its accuracy. The editorial work of Judith Chasnoff has surely enhanced the overall quality of this book. I thank the staff of Shang Shung Publications for their constant and inspired work, and the Padmakara Translation Group for allowing me to use some passages from the Treasury of Precious Qualities.

Drugu Choegyal Rinpoche graciously allowed his beautiful watercolor of Garab Dorje to be used on the front page of this book, and its owner, Giorgio Dall’Orto, an expert in Tibetan art and literature, gave permission for its photographic reproduction. Choegyal Rinpoche also provided the foreword.

I wish to thank Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, renowned incarnation of Drugpa Ngawang Namgyal, for being a constant inspiration for my life and work. Chögyal Namkhai Norbu personifies the knowledge and behavior of the exemplary human being and amazing spiritual practitioner that was Yangönpa.

After several years of intermittent work on this project, I am happy to now be able to bring to light something of the amazing life and thought of an extraordinary yogin, whose legacy has penetrated the teachings of the masters of all the lineages that succeeded him.

Elio Guarisco

Lake Como 2015


Contents

Foreword
Preface
PART ONE. Translator’s Introduction

This Book

Yangönpa’s Time

Yangönpa’s Early Life

The Hermit of Ko Cliff

The Vulture’s Nest Yogin

Visionary Encounters with Lama Shang

The Crown Jewel of Tibetan Scholars

His Most Cherished Teacher

Other Transmissions Received

Accomplishments

Yangönpa’s Passing

Yangönpa’s Writings

Yangönpa’s Spiritual Legacy

Yangönpa’s Vision of the Vajra Body

The Hidden Description: Opening Verses

The Fundamental Nature of Things

The Fundamental Nature of the Body

The Channels

The Three Main Channels

The Vital Essence of Bodhichitta

Unclean Substances

Thought

The Fundamental Nature of the Voice

The Central Role of the Life-Sustaining Wind

Karmic Wind and Wisdom Wind

Energy-Wind as Sound

The Fundamental Nature of the Mind

Vital Essence

Daily Cycle

Monthly Cycle

Yearly Cycle

Life Cycle

Great Bliss

Wisdom, Non-Thought, and Contemplation

Inseparability of Body, Voice, and Mind

The Naturally Accomplished Spiritual Path

The Naturally Present Final Fruit

Concluding Verses of Yangönpa’s Hidden Description of the Vajra Body

Yangönpa’s Syncretic Approach

PART TWO. The Great Mirror: The Remarkable Life of the Shri Mountain Hermit

The Brief Praise-Biography of the Great Gyalwa Yangönpa

The Praise-Biography of the Great Gyalwa Yangönpa

Birthplace

Family

Childhood and Early Training

Spiritual Development, Teaching, and Altruistic Works as a Lay Practitioner

Meeting Kotragpa and Receiving Monastic Ordination

Meeting Götsangpa, the Vulture’s Nest Dweller

Experiences in Retreat

Inspiration for the Hidden Description of the Vajra Body

Dreams and Visions

Demonstrating Clairvoyance

Giving the Dharma to Humans, Nonhumans, Ḍākinīs, and Local Deities

Protecting the People from the Mongol Invasions

The Great Torma and Other Great Offerings

Resolving Conflicts in Troubled Times

Meeting Shang Rinpoche in Dreams and Visions

Meeting the Great Sakya Pandita

Wondrous Experiences in Lhasa

Yangönpa’s Spiritual Father: The Drigung Lama

Coming of Age as a Great Spiritual Teacher

Yangönpa’s Passing

Lhadongpa’s Letter of Testament

Invocation for Pacification of the Age of Turmoil, and for the Welfare of Tibet, by Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye

PART THREE. The Hidden Description of the Vajra Body

Homage and Introductory Remarks

The Base: How All the Phenomena of the World and of Its Transcendence Exist as the Fundamental Nature of Body, Voice, and Mind

Introduction

The Fundamental Nature of the Body, the Vajra Body of All Enlightened Beings

How the Body Is Formed through the Five Manifest Awakenings

The Five Outer Manifest Awakenings

The Five Inner Manifest Awakenings

How the Fundamental Nature of Channels Exists

Introduction on the Channels and the Four Chakras

Extensive Explanation of the Fundamental Nature of the Channels

The Central Channel

The Right and Left Channels: Rasanā and Lalanā

The Eight Channels That Branch Off from the Head Chakra of Great Bliss

The Eight Channels That Branch Off from the Chakra of Enjoyment at the Throat

The Eight Channels That Branch Off from the Chakra of Phenomena at the Heart

The Eight Channels That Branch Off from the Chakra of Emanation at the Navel

The Fundamental Nature of the Channels of the Four Chakras

The Channels of the Crown of the Head Chakra

The Channels of the Throat Chakra

The Channels of the Heart Chakra

The Channels of the Navel Chakra

The Channels of the Chakra of the Secret Place

Other Peculiar Channels

The Channels of the Provocations

The Channels of Sorrow

The Six Undesirable Channels

The Male, Female, and Neuter Channels

The Vital Essence of Bodhichitta

The Unclean Substances

Thought

The Fundamental Nature of the Voice, the Vajra Voice of All Enlightened Beings

The Energy-Winds of the Five Elements

The Coarse Energy-Winds

The Ten Energy-Winds (Root and Branch)

The Types of Energy-Winds

The Flow of the Energy-Winds

The Colors and Spans of the Energy-Winds of the Four Elements

The Variation in Flow of the Energy-Winds by Day and by Night

The Chief of All Energy-Winds

The Subtle Energy-Winds and the Wisdom Energy-Wind

The Syllables

Vocal Resonation

Coordination

Words

The Fundamental Nature of the Mind, the Vajra Mind of All Enlightened Beings

The Vital Essence of Bodhichitta

The Pure Essences

The Seven Organic Components

The Fundamental Nature of the White and Red Constituents

Cycles of the Vital Essences

The Vital Essence Cycle during a Solar Day

The Vital Essence Cycle during a Lunar Month

The Vital Essence Cycle during a Year

The Vital Essence Cycle in the Course of a Human Life

Great Bliss

The Five Wisdoms

Non-Thought

Contemplation

The Fundamental Nature of the Body, Voice, and Mind as Inseparable: the Vajra of the Wisdom of the Inseparability of Body, Voice, and Mind of All Enlightened Beings

The Path: How the Aspects of the Path Are Complete by Establishing That Body, Voice, and Mind Inseparable Are the Method and Knowledge

During Formation, Forming as Method and Knowledge

While Living, Living as Method and Knowledge

While Dying, Dying as Method and Knowledge

Formation of the Body as the Creation Phase

Living as the Completion Phase

The Fruit: How the Qualities of the Final Fruit Are Complete by Ascertaining That Body, Voice, and Mind Inseparable Is the Perfect State of an Enlightened Being

During Formation, Forming as a Perfect Enlightened Being

While Living, Living as a Perfect Enlightened Being

The Dimension Endowed with Seven Features

While Dying, Dying as a Perfect Enlightened Being

Conclusion

Concluding Verses

Colophon

APPENDIX ONE. Collected Works of Gyalwa Yangönpa

APPENDIX TWO. Unpublished Works and Spoken Words of Yangönpa

APPENDIX THREE. Five Outer and Five Inner Manifest Awakenings

APPENDIX FOUR. Stages of Embryonic and Fetal Development, and Birth

APPENDIX FIVE. Five Root and Five Branch Energy-Winds

APPENDIX SIX. Classification of the Energy-Winds

APPENDIX SEVEN. Colors and Spans of the Energy-Winds of the Five Elements

APPENDIX EIGHT. The Thirty-Two Channels of the Four Chakras and Sacred Places

APPENDIX NINE: The Channels of the Five Chakras

Notes

Bibliography

Index


Available from the webshop of Shang Shung Publications

 

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