This is the third in a series of installments from the book by Delog Dawa Drolma called Delog: Journey to Realms Beyond Death. Published here (with the kind permission of Padma Publishing, PO Box 279, Junction City, California 96048, USA) is part of the second half of chapter two, in which Delog visits Copper-Colored Mountain of Glory, the pure realm of Padmasambhava. Delog Dawa Drolma – “this girl,” as she refers to herself – continues her account of her visits to other realms of existence. Her son, Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche, writes in the introduction (Sep-Oct 99 Mandala): “Dawa Drolma’s chilling descriptions of the horrible consequences of killing and harming others clearly caution one to avoid such actions. On the other hand, her captivating descriptions of the pure realms inspire one to practice deity meditation and to realize the qualities of mind’s pure nature.”
Further along I came upon an immeasurable mansion so vast and lofty that its dimensions were beyond accurate measurement. The roof peaks were adorned with gems. Inside I saw hundreds of umbrellas made of peacock feathers, silken victory banners, wall hangings of satin, canopies of brocade, loops and strings of pearls, unimaginable arrays of offerings, and the wealth of a great feast offering heaped like mountains, tumbling down like crumbling embankments, and swirling like an ocean of nectar.
In this mandala like the incomparable clouds of Samantabhadra’s offerings was a wealth of sacred samaya substances surpassing the wealth of the great gods of the Nirmanarati heaven. Rays of light emanated in all directions without limit from an enormous throne of dimensions difficult to fathom, higher even than a three-story building. On the throne was a seat of three piled cushions covered in multicolored silk worked with designs of thousand-petal lotuses.
Seated there was he who is the essence in whom all sources of refuge and all victorious ones unite, the powerful lord of the enlightened mind of all victorious ones, the union in a single form of the three qualities – wisdom, love, and energy – of all victorious ones of the ten directions, the sole chosen deity of the Land of Snows, the kingdom of Tibet: the Guru of Orgyan, Padma T’hod T’hreng Tzal, the deathless Lake-Born Vajra himself.
His form was white with a reddish tinge. In his right hand he bore a vajra, in his left a longevity vase within a skullcup filled with nectar. In the crook of his left elbow he held the trident of the vajra secret. His two legs were loosely crossed in the posture of royal ease. He wore a cloak of satiny maroon silk, a skirt of red silk, a red formal monastic robe with designs in gold thread, and an undergarment of the white silk of the gods. On his head rested the lotus crown that brings liberation upon sight.
When this girl beheld the perfectly proportioned mandala of the great Orgyan’s visage, I gazed on it insatiably. All of my usual vague perceptions spontaneously ceased, and I experienced an ineffable, inconceivable, and inexpressible state, like a mute person tasting cane sugar. For a short while I rested in this state of mind, at once joyful and sad.
In the four cardinal directions around the great Orgyan were four bliss-granting dakinis of pristine awareness, wearing robes of varicolored silks, their illusory bodies like masses of light. They waved longevity arrows and longevity vases in the four directions while singing songs of praise.
To the right of the throne, on another high throne, sat the venerable master of compassion, the great threefold vajra holder, the sublime guide Dechhen Dorje (also known as Drimed Khakyod Wangpo). He was the latest powerful manifestation of a series of holy incarnations over many lifetimes that included Srongtzan Gampo (the form in which the exalted Avalokiteshvara emanated as a spiritual king to protect the northern realm of Tibet, the Land of Snows), as well as Nub Namnying and Dagpo Daod. Dechhen Dorje’s physical appearance was even more impressive than before, resplendent with the “victory banner” of the saffron monk’s robes. He wore the cap of a scholar, pointed with long earflaps, and held a hand drum and a bell. In the four cardinal directions around him I beheld four white dakinis holding arrows with blue silk ribbons attached. In front of him was a dark blue dakini with a wrathful expression, wearing a sash of multicolored silk and holding an arrow with a blue silk ribbon.
On a throne to the left of the central one was someone who had transcended all activity, the realized master Jigme Pawo (also known as Dza Konchhog), who was a rebirth of Lhatsun Namkha Jigmed and who had been the heart son of Dzaga Chhogtrul Rinpoche. He had a dark bluish complexion, was clad in flowing robes of silk, and wore a scholar’s cap. In his hands he held a vase. He was a king among accomplished adepts who in his lifetime had come to the consummate realization of the four visions of the secret path uniting original purity and spontaneous presence and whose mind was immersed in the state where ordinary phenomena fall away in the true nature of reality. In the four cardinal directions around him were four red dakinis wearing red silk robes, and in front of him was another dakini.
I also beheld a host of about ten thousand dakas, holders of intrinsic awareness, wearing hats of peacock feathers. The space surrounding them was filled with countless billions of goddesses making offerings, from drinking and bathing water to flowers and food. Some of them were holding vajras and bells, some small hand drums on sticks, some cymbals, some golden gongs, some conch shells, and some (in the four cardinal directions) trumpets of white, yellow, red, and green. The trumpets in the west were fashioned of coral and were blown by two dakinis wearing orange robes; I was told that they performed the special function of drawing beings to the secret vajrayana path. The thigh-bone trumpets were made entirely of human femurs, not of copper or brass. About a hundred reed horns also resounded. There were some one hundred shrinekeepers in yellow robes, their left shoulders draped with the traditional piece of multicolor silk.
I asked one of the dakinis, “What is the group ritual being practiced here?”
She replied, “We are performing the ritual and offering ceremony of the Eight Commands, the Gathering of Those Gone to Bliss, which is the essence of the teachings of the early school of translation.”
At this, the many members of the assembly rose. I too, feeling embarrassed and afraid, rose and performed prostrations swiftly over and over. Moving closer, I placed the feet of the omniscient great Guru on the crown of my head. I offered him a mandala fashioned of precious metals and stones and a stainless length of white silk. The great Orgyan then placed his hand on my head, reciting the Seven-Line Supplication.
My paternal uncle, Khakyod Wangpo, began, “With power over longevity, your life shall be limitless…” and, while waving a longevity arrow, recited a liturgy for summoning the forces of longevity.
For his part, Dza Konchhog chanted:
The perception of pristine awareness is
The lamp for living beings is the torch of
Supremely resplendent and majestic,
Is the master who holds the mantra, the
king of the mantras of awareness.
A P’hat A P’hat A P’hat
I remained kneeling on a seat of white silk, crying and crying. The tears I shed collected like water on the crystal floor. At last, out of my overwhelming pain, I cried, “O precious uncle, you have forsaken sentient beings, particularly those of us who are your students and servants and who are the objects of your affection. While you, Uncle, have gone to a pure realm without leaving a trace, this girl feels greater pain than if her heart had been torn out. Your other students and servants feel this way too. Uncle, I pray to you from my heart. You simply must return to the human world for the benefit of beings. Until your enlightened embodiment reappears, this girl will not go anywhere. I have come here with deliberate intent. Having come, I have met with you; and having met with you, I have made my request. Let all that I ask of you have meaning, I beg you!” And I began to cry again, my eyes overflowing with tears.
Drimed Khakyod Wangpo showed his great affection by replying, “What you, Dadrol, my niece, have said is certainly true, yet you should not be unhappy. Between me and the great lama Orgyan there is not the slightest difference. Despite the conventional labels of ‘birth’ and ‘death,’ for me there is not, in the ultimate sense, the slightest erroneous notion of birth or death.
“All sentient beings who have had any connection – positive or negative – with me, this old man Dechhen Dorje, have been led to the Mountain of Glory on the subcontinent of Chamara, the pure realm of the victorious ones of the three kayas, like a flock of birds startled by a pebble thrown from a sling. Even now, I give you my solemn word that those students and servants who are capable of supplicating me will become buddhas simultaneously.
“You who suffer on my account, be vigilant in your devotion, seeing the lama as the dharmakaya of buddhahood. Be vigilant in your compassion, understanding the six classes of beings to be your parents. Be vigilant in your practice of virtue, not tarnishing anything you undertake with selfish vested interests. Be vigilant in your mantra repetition and meditation practices, not falling under the eight worldly influences, understanding the six-syllable mani mantra alone to be sufficient for your practice. Be vigilant in your formal practice, subsuming everything within your own true mind. Don’t make mistakes! Don’t make mistakes!
“As soon as you shed this human body, I will lead all of you to this pure realm like a goose leading her goslings. Just see if I don’t, by the Three Jewels! When you return to the human realm, relate all of these messages to Tromge Kundun, to the households of the region, and to my dear students. Do as I say, for even if they were to meet with me directly I would have nothing further to tell them.”
Saying this, he gave me a splendid portion of the food and drink of the feast offering. Performing three more prostrations, I left him.
In a mansion of crystal with eight turquoise dragons holding gems in their claws and twining in the eight cardinal and inter-cardinal directions, I found a charming bed with pillows and bolsters, and there I lay down. A dakini served as my attendant. I had the impression that I slept for a short time, when I was awakened by the sound of a bluish-green peacock calling, “A a u u e o am!”
I immediately went back to the sacred Guru and had an audience as before. I made many prostrations and offerings. In my uncle’s sacred presence, I again wept. “Uncle, not only have you left us, but now the sole lord of refuge for the hopeful ones you left behind is Tromge Chhogtrul Rinpoche. If the merit that allows us to rely on him runs out, our suffering will be greater than that of a blind person who lacks a guide and falls over a precipice. What can be done to ensure that there will be no obstacles to Rinpoche’s life, so that he may fully carry out his mission to benefit beings and satisfy his retinue and students?”
Uncle Khakyod Wangpo looked concerned. “That is certainly a valid point,” he said. “Tromge Chhogtrul will live for another eleven years. But since he may suffer from slight illness before that time, it will help to perform a ritual for turning back the escort of the dakinis the same number of times as his age, offering an effigy of his body in the direction that the sun rises. Then it is certain that he will live that long.”
I asked, “When will you return?”
He answered, “For the present I shall go to the pure realm known as the Charnel Ground of Erupting Volcanoes to teach the Heart Drop of Chetzun to those gathered there. Although much might be said of the manner in which my incarnation will be born after that, do not write these things down, for they require a seal of secrecy.
“Now then, my girl, it is dangerous for you to remain in this realm and you should not come here again. Return to the human realm and be of benefit to living beings. Before three years are out I shall be reborn there once again.”
Although my pain at being separated from my refuge was great, I made preparations to return. I chanted the Seven-Line Supplication aloud three times and made many specific prayers of aspiration to Padmasambhava, to my uncle, and to the Three Jewels. As a sign that I had visited the Mountain of Glory on the subcontinent of Chamara, I was given the name Khadro Sherab Chodron (Dakini Who Is a Lamp of Spiritual Wisdom).
The many beings gathered there struck up music, and dakinis acted as my escorts. My body was staggering and my mind was filled with attachment, but there was nothing to be done. My tears fell uncontrollably as I made countless prayers of aspiration.
Then we headed back. The dakini Tsewang Barma met with me again. She bestowed on me seven nectar pills and a dakini’s jewel box fashioned of quartz crystal, one cubit square. Since I did not take this with me, she pronounced a fine prayer of aspiration over me:
May the teachings of the buddhas spread.
May the lives of the lamas be stable.
May bliss and happiness come to living beings.
May all attain awakened buddhahood.
I also met the dakini Laykyi Wangmo-chhe again. She gave me white silk, rice, bundles of incense, and other things, and I stayed with her a short time. She said:
May bliss and happiness come to this girl.
May there be no obstacles for this girl.
May there be protection and refuge for this girl.
May this girl be capable of benefiting living beings.
Then I met once more with the divine consort Mandarava. A woman with a wrathful countenance poured a nectar that looked like charcoal water from her alms bowl and offered it to me. Mandarava said:
May sentient beings be endowed with happiness.
May they be free of all suffering.
May they never be separate from happiness.
May they realize the equality of all phenomena.
Next I met with the repa Namkha Odsal, who said,
Where it has not arisen, may it arise.
Where it has arisen, may it never diminish
but increase more and more!
Om mani padme hung.
Then I met with the dakini Yeshe Tsogyal. She gave me a whitish liquid that looked like sap. Although she sang a song connected with the mantra containing the name of Padmasambhava, I have not written it down. She offered the following prayer of aspiration:
For this girl Dawa Drolma,
in the ordinary world of the human
in the field of vision encompassed
by her eyes,
while in her corporeal body:
In the east when she looks to the east,
may she behold a crystal gatekeeper.
When she looks to the south,
looks to the south,
may she behold a golden gatekeeper.
When she looks to the west,
looks to the west,
may she behold a coral gatekeeper.
When she looks to the north,
looks to the north,
may she behold a turquoise gatekeeper.
When she sings a song of the
vajra guru mantra
may she behold Padma jungnay.
When feast offerings are performed here
may the girl come to visit this realm.
May she guide those sentient beings
connected to her,
physically or verbally,
to the subcontinent of Chamara.
She told me, “Come here on the days of the lunar month when the effects of one’s actions are multiplied a hundred thousand times: the tenth, the twenty-fifth, and the fifteenth days and that of the new moon.”
She added, “Depart today without crying,” but as she accompanied me for 100 paces, she let her own tears fall. She remarked, “Other than the small distance that I have come today, I actually never go anywhere.” After walking another 110 paces, I looked back at her. I was exceedingly attached to her, but she called out, “Don’t be unhappy because of this.”
Further on, I again arrived at the place where the dakini Wangmo dwelled. One of the gate guardians let me to her. Owing to our strong connection, I wept out of fear that we would be separated, and the dakini herself also shed a few tears. She gave me a handful of grain.
She said, “I am not free to escort you, but I do have a message for you to take back. There is no fault in your having decisively cut your ties with the human realm and come here. Should you find yourself unable to break free from the jaws of a cruel crocodile or a vicious poisonous snake, cast this grain and say as you do so, “This is from the hand of the dakini Wangmo.”
Continuing down, I was meet and escorted by eight dakinis, including Yul-lha, the aforementioned dakini of the Derge region. As we discussed my account of the pure realm, we wept over and over. “For now, stay the night,” she said. “If I can bestow on you an empowerment of the three deities Amitayus, Samyak, and Vajrakilaya, then you, O dakini, will become, for the special tulkus, lamas, spiritual friends, and holy incarnate tertons who are in the ordinary human realm, a noble dakini who will dispel obstacles to their long lives.” But I did not have the time to receive this empowerment.
As I continued, White Tara warned me against speaking any words of bad omen. I came again to the presence of Jamyang Khyentsei Wangpo. He deliberately appeared to be more cheerful than he had been before, and he gave a slight laugh. He folded his palms together toward me, and White Tara said things such as the following:
Whether you fold your hands or not,
whether you have faith or not,
this rebirth of the venerable White Tara
is going to the ordinary world of humans.
Further down, the regent Jampa Migyur sent an escort of five dakinis to meet me. In order to dispel my fear of the denizens of hell, he gave me a blessing cord with a vajra carved from a sheet of slate and a scorpion-shape knot carved in stone. He recited prayers of aspiration such as the one beginning, “Precious bodhicitta…”
As I continued on, White Tara said, “Well now! You haven’t brought with you the dakini’s jewel box made of crystal that we two were meant to carry back with us, so what is the point of bringing this stone knot, which is not necessary?” And so I let it fall to the ground.
Then in the lee of a rock face I saw a pure realm born of great aspiration, a vast palace of crystal. On the eastern gate was a lock of crystal about the size of my sleeve. To the right and left above the gate were two images of Amitayus. In between these I saw the six-syllable mani mantra written in three scripts one above the other: Tibetan, Lantza, and Wardhu. There the dakini Yul-lha (whom I had met previously) and I encountered a girl of the Gya Chhagla family named Adam. She and Yul-lha were very joyful, kissing and embracing one another around the neck just like people in the ordinary world.
On a high throne inside the palace sat a lama of advanced age with a white beard. On a throne off to one side in front of him sat the sister of my father, Tromge Jigmed T’hrogyal; her name was Ashey Drolma. A woman with her hair bound up in a turban was asking many questions of both of them concerning the Buddhist teachings. There were about twenty thousand other women there, both laywomen and ordained nuns; all of them held metal butter lamps and chanted prayers of aspiration.
As I moved closer, Ashey Drolma said, “Take the following message to Jigmed T’hrogyal: ‘I have been reborn in this realm of great aspiration. Both our parents have taken rebirth in Zangri Kharmar, where they are benefiting beings as powerful tantric practitioners. Your name when you were little was Yudra Nyingpo; what you are called now is not clear to me, but you have committed both virtuous and harmful actions in this lifetime. While it is difficult not to perform such a mixture of actions as an ordinary mortal in cyclic existence, the important thing is that you have for once attained a human birth. The time is ripe to realize the potential of this, so recite the six-syllable mantra and do not fail to go into retreat occasionally. Then without doubt you will be reborn on the Mountain of Glory on Chamara immediately upon passing from this life.”
I too made fervent prayers of aspiration.
This, then, was my brief vision of the Mountain of Glory. I, a humble daughter of the clan of Lama Tromge, Dawa Drolma by name, died for a period of five days and experienced visions of the Mountain of Glory, Potala Mountain, and other realms. These accounts are not embellished with the words of the learned, or adorned with the stylistic devices of classical poetry, or fitted to the rhythms of proper meter. But neither have I made the mysterious words of the dakinis unintelligible.
These are the rambling, mad ravings of this girl herself, put down in writing by the incarnate Nyag Trulpa just as I spoke them on top of Mani Tashi Pass in the region of T’hrom. I confess whatever faults they contain to the hosts of dakinis and dharma guardians, and may the virtue be cause for all those who hear even my name and who are devotedly interested in these pure visionary experiences to be reborn on the Mountain of Glory on the subcontinent of Chamara.
Good fortune, good fortune, good fortune!
Sarva mangalam – may everything be auspicious.Tags: death and dying, delog dawa drolma