Friday, August 24, 2018

Revelation Of Terma Tradition (伏藏的启示)

The terma tradition is a set of Tibetan Buddhist teachings said to be hidden by Guru Padmasambhava and later discovered by so-called 'treasure revelers'  some time later.

Although the Gelug Tradition refused to recognize terma teaching as authentic, today, most of the empowerment given by visiting Rinpoche or living buddha belonged to terma tradition: Vajrakila, Hayagriva, Three Roots, Throma (black dakini) etc. all belong to terma teachings.

The characteristics of terma teachings are that the sadhana (rituals) are compact so much so that a few stages of tantric practices are compressed into one: the generation stage, the completion stage and Great Perfection stage.

Hence I always argue that the terma teachings are not meant for general practitioners but most gurus don't care so long as they gets donations; they are willing to part with the teachings superficially without due regard to the students' readiness. Of course, no one cares if the rituals are meaningful. I have not seen anyone demanded any explanations from the gurus so far.

Let us just take the practice of Dorje Drolo for the ease of discussion:

The Dorje Drolo practitioner would first be requested to recite syllable 'hum' many times. This sounds boring to the uninitiated. In fact, the recitation of 'hum' has a deeper meaning. By reciting 'hum' repeatedly and visualizing a practitioner is transformed into 'hum'; this increases the power of concentration and purifies one's mind.

Only after our busy mind is tired, it will automatically cease thinking. Once our thinking process is halted and before a new idea arises; we will experience so-called 'pure light' that we will experience during our natural dying process. This is the preliminary practice of the Great Perfection.

Then from the pure light, arises the pure illusion body of Dorje Dorlo. This image is held while the recitation of heart mantra continues. We again return to the generation stage to create the Dorje Dorlo image.

After the mantra recitation, again the image Dorje Dorlo became faded following a series of 'hum' recitation. We now returned to the Great Perfection meditation stage.

With recitation of 'phat', the Dorje Dorlo is again raised from emptiness. We again returned to the generation stage.

So we can see that in a short terma ritual, a practitioner is brought into a series of mind creating and destruction exercises. This not only indirectly implies the impermanent of our human life, it stimulated a practitioner to further understand how his mind works; and what he experiences during cycles of birth and rebirth.

The image of Dorje Dorlo only serves as a means of protection against our karmic debtors during our dying process or 'intermediate state'. Every time I am attacked in dreams by demons (consciences), Dorje Dorlo would appear in my dreams to chase away the demons of my mind. So visualization in Tibetan Buddhism in general has a purpose.

I wrote down this teaching after dreaming of Dorje Dorlo for the benefit of those who still struggle to understand terma teachings.

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