Longchen Nyingthig

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Longchen Nyingthig (Tibetan: ཀློང་ཆེན་སྙིང་ཐིག་Wylie: klong chen snying thig) is a systematic explanation of Dzogchen within the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism. Like the world famous Bardo Thodol, the Longchen Nyingthig is a seminal example of the terma tradition. The Longchen Nyingthig is generally classified as a Vajrayana or tantric Buddhist esoteric teaching and has an extensive meditational, trance and ritual practice, oral tradition and tantric literature associated with it.

Thondup & Talbott (1996: xiii) state

Longchen Nyingthig (the heart-essence of infinite expanse, or the ultimate truth of the universal openness) is a cycle of mystical teachings that represent the innermost meditation of Dzogpa Chenpo [Dzogchen], revealed by the great scholar and adept Jigme Lingpa (1730-1798). Jigme Lingpa discovered them as a "mind ter" (or "mind treasure"), teachings that were discovered from the enlightened nature of the mind.[1]

Nomenclature, orthography and etymology[edit]

The Longchen Nyingtig may be translated as 'seminal heart of Longchenpa', a reference to the central figure of Jigme Lingpa's 'pure visions' (Wylie: dag-snang) in which the texts were revealed. 'Nyingthig' (which connotes 'seminal essence' or 'heart focus'). It is worthy of note that 'thig' is an etymon of 'thig-le' which is the Tibetan cognate of the Sanskrit 'bindu' the central point of the 'mandala' (Tibetan: Khor lo).

Alternate orthographies: Longchen Nyingtik.

History and background[edit]

Atiyoga is traditionally conveyed as a triunic teaching, that is, it has three indivisible sections. The tradition holds Mañjushrīmītra to have first codified Atiyoga into these three indivisible sections, namely: Semde (mind class/cycle); Longde (space class/cycle); and Mengagde (direct/oral instruction class/cycle).[2] One of the principal polysemic symbols of Dzogpa Chenpo or Atiyoga is the Gankyil which is clearly a visual example of a triune and sometimes also a quadrune or a svastika (the sauvastika is also the principal symbol of the Bönpo which shares in the Dzogchen tradition along with the Nyingmapa and Kagyupa). In turn, Shri Singha divided the Mengagde into a further four cycles: the outer, inner, esoteric, and innermost esoteric cycle.[3] These four cycles of the Mengagde are of one kind in that they are teachings on the 'primordially pure nature' (or Kadag; Wylie: Ka Dag) which is called 'cutting through' (or Trekchö; Wylie: Khregs Ch'od) all the grasping, clinging and apprehending [4] obscuring the primordially pure substrate of the mindstream: refer Kadag Trekchö. The 'innermost esoteric cycle' of the Mengagde is focused upon the 'spontaneous perfection of appearances' (Lhündrub; Wylie: Lhun Grub) which is known as the 'direct approach' (Tögal; Wylie: Thod rGal):[5] refer Lhündrub Tögal. There are many Mengagde traditions and teachings although there are two principal historical redactions and elucidations given the nomenclature 'Nyingthig'. These principal two are the Vima Nyingthig brought to Tibet by Vimalamitra and the Khandro Nyingthig brought to Tibet by Padmasambhava.[6] Into the mindstream of Jigme Lingpa merged the mindstream tributaries of Vimalamitra and King Trisong Detsen of whom he, Jigme Lingpa, was a joint 'emanation' (Tibetan: tulku) or 'embodiment' (Sanskrit: nirmanakaya). Now as was previously stated Vimalamitra brought the Vima Nyingthig to Tibet. Padmasambhava, who brought the Khandro Nyingthig to Tibet, transmitted this to King Trisong Detsen. So both the Khandro Nyingthig and the Vima Nyingthig were within the mindstream of Jigme Lingpa and were realised by him as 'mind ter' or 'mind terma' (Wylie: dgongs-gter). As Thondup & Talbott state (1996: p. 44):

Jigme Lingpa was a reincarnation of both Vimalamitra himself and King Trisong Detsen, who was a recipient of Nyingthig teachings from Guru Rinpoche [Padmasambhava] and Vimalamitra. So the Nyingthig teachings of two major lineages flowed together in Jigme Lingpa. Longchen Nyingthig is the essence or embodiment of the two Nyingthig traditions, Vima Nyingthig and Khandro Nyingthig.[7]

Revelation[8] of the Longchen Nyingtig[edit]

Thondup and Talbott (1995: p. 97) state that:

While transmitting esoteric teachings to his realized disciples in Tibet, Guru Padmasambhava concealed many teachings with the blessings of his enlightened mind stream in the nature of the intrinsic awareness of the minds of his disciples through the power of “mind-mandated transmission” (gtad rgya); thereby the master and disciple became united as one in the teachings and realization. Here, the master has concealed the teachings and blessings, the esoteric attainments, as ter in the pure nature of the minds of his disciples through his enlightened power, and he has made aspirations that the ter may be discovered for the sake of beings when the appropriate time comes.[9]

Thondup and Talbott (1996: p. 122) state that when Jigme Lingpa was 28 years old:

In the evening of the twenty-fifth day of the tenth month of the Fire Ox year of the thirteenth Rabjung cycle (1757), he went to bed with an unbearable devotion to Guru Rinpoche in his heart; a stream of tears of sadness continuously wet his face because he was not in Guru Rinpoche’s presence, and unceasing words of prayers kept singing in his breath.

He remained in the depths of that meditation experience of clear luminosity ('Od gSal Gyi sNang Ba) for a long time. While being absorbed in that luminous clarity, he experienced flying a long distance through the sky while riding a white lion. He finally reached a circular path, which he thought to be the circumambulation path of Charung Khashor, now known as Bodhnath Stūpa, and important Buddhist monument of giant structure in Nepal.[10]

Lineage[edit]

Tradition holds that the first human master of the Longchen Nyingthig lineage was Prahevajra.[11]

The teaching was originally discovered as a terma, a revealed teaching given to the 18th century Nyingma teacher Kunkhyen Jigme Lingpa. The teaching is allegedly descended from the Dharmakaya Buddha Kuntu Zangpo (Skt. Samantabhadra), passed to the Samboghakaya Buddha Dorje Sempa (Skt. Vajrasattva), and then through a series of other teachers until it reached Guru Padmasambhava, who arrived in the mid-8th century to Tibet and converted much of the populace to Buddhism.

Teaching[edit]

Sam van Schaik (2000) opens discourse into English on the themes and motifs of the simultaneous and gradualist approaches to the Great Perfection within the Longchen Nyingthig.[12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Gyatso, Janet (1998). Apparitions of the Self: The Secret Autobiographies of a Tibetan Visionary; a Translation and Study of Jigme Lingpa's 'Dancing Moon in the Water' and 'Ḍākki's Grand Secret-Talk'. Princeton, New Jersey, USA: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-01110-9 (cloth: alk. paper)
  • Sam van Schaik: Approaching the Great Perfection: Simultaneous and gradual approaches to Dzogchen practice in Jigme Lingpa's Longchen Nyingtig (Wisdom Publications, Boston, 2004)
  • Thondup, Tulku & Harold Talbott (Editor)(1996). Masters of Meditation and Miracles: Lives of the Great Buddhist Masters of India and Tibet. Boston, Massachusetts, USA: Shambhala, South Asia Editions. ISBN 1-57062-113-6 (alk. paper); ISBN 1-56957-134-1
  • Thondup, Tulku & Harold Talbott (1995). Enlightened Journey: Buddhist Practice as Daily Life. Random House, Inc. ISBN 1-57062-021-0.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Thondup, Tulku & Harold Talbott (Editor)(1996). Masters of Meditation and Miracles: Lives of the Great Buddhist Masters of India and Tibet. Boston, Massachusetts, USA: Shambhala, South Asia Editions. ISBN 1-57062-113-6 (alk. paper); ISBN 1-56957-134-1. p.xiii
  2. ^ Thondup, Tulku & Harold Talbott (Editor)(1996). Masters of Meditation and Miracles: Lives of the Great Buddhist Masters of India and Tibet. Boston, Massachusetts, USA: Shambhala, South Asia Editions. ISBN 1-57062-113-6 (alk. paper); ISBN 1-56957-134-1. p.32
  3. ^ Thondup, Tulku & Harold Talbott (Editor)(1996). Masters of Meditation and Miracles: Lives of the Great Buddhist Masters of India and Tibet. Boston, Massachusetts, USA: Shambhala, South Asia Editions. ISBN 1-57062-113-6 (alk. paper); ISBN 1-56957-134-1. p.30
  4. ^ Thondup, Tulku & Harold Talbott (Editor)(1996). Masters of Meditation and Miracles: Lives of the Great Buddhist Masters of India and Tibet. Boston, Massachusetts, USA: Shambhala, South Asia Editions. ISBN 1-57062-113-6 (alk. paper); ISBN 1-56957-134-1. p.32-33
  5. ^ Thondup, Tulku & Harold Talbott (Editor)(1996). Masters of Meditation and Miracles: Lives of the Great Buddhist Masters of India and Tibet. Boston, Massachusetts, USA: Shambhala, South Asia Editions. ISBN 1-57062-113-6 (alk. paper); ISBN 1-56957-134-1. p.33
  6. ^ Thondup, Tulku & Harold Talbott (Editor)(1996). Masters of Meditation and Miracles: Lives of the Great Buddhist Masters of India and Tibet. Boston, Massachusetts, USA: Shambhala, South Asia Editions. ISBN 1-57062-113-6 (alk. paper); ISBN 1-56957-134-1. p.33
  7. ^ Thondup, Tulku & Harold Talbott (Editor)(1996). Masters of Meditation and Miracles: Lives of the Great Buddhist Masters of India and Tibet. Boston, Massachusetts, USA: Shambhala, South Asia Editions. ISBN 1-57062-113-6 (alk. paper); ISBN 1-56957-134-1. p.44
  8. ^ Caveat lector: 'Revelation' is a Christianisation of 'pure vision' (Wylie: dag-snang), but draws a sensitive cultural parallel with the Christian mystical traditions, where the beginnings of the specific language and lexicon of mysticism, spirituality and religiosity were founded within the traditions of the English speaking peoples, the lexicon of which had already been established in dialogue with the other peoples they had already come in contact with and, to some degree, acculturated. This grafting, associating and conceptual bridging of language between discrete traditions that share certain phenomena is natural but to be cautioned. The Indo-Sino-Himalayan traditions of trance, meditation, dream yoga and visionary experience of which the Longchen Nyingthig is an exemplar have been refined and transmitted through documented lineages that Himalayan and lowland traditions of Vajrayana have been at a pains to document, recite and honour in oral lore. But as the Rigpa Wiki Longchen Nyingtik article employs this section heading and establishes this lexical choice, it is respected as precedent and mirrored herewith.
  9. ^ Thondup, Tulku & Harold Talbott (1995). Enlightened Journey: Buddhist Practice as Daily Life. Random House, Inc. ISBN 1-57062-021-0. p.97.
  10. ^ Thondup, Tulku & Harold Talbott (Editor)(1996). Masters of Meditation and Miracles: Lives of the Great Buddhist Masters of India and Tibet. Boston, Massachusetts, USA: Shambhala, South Asia Editions. ISBN 1-57062-113-6 (alk. paper); ISBN 1-56957-134-1. p.122
  11. ^ Thondup, Tulku & Harold Talbott (Editor)(1996). Masters of Meditation and Miracles: Lives of the Great Buddhist Masters of India and Tibet. Boston, Massachusetts, USA: Shambhala, South Asia Editions. ISBN 1-57062-113-6 (alk. paper); ISBN 1-56957-134-1. p.xiv
  12. ^ Van Schaik, Sam (2000). “The Resolution of the Simultaneous and Gradual Approaches to the Great Perfection in the Klong chen snying thig” in Religion and Secular Culture in Tibet (Proceedings of the Ninth Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, Leiden 2000), ed. Henk Blezer. Leiden: EJ Brill, 2002: 309–320.

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