Practice Pilgrimage to the Indian Himalayas
Lama Tsultrim Allione
September 30 – October 30, 2012
Arrive Delhi and Rest
Oct. 1 (Day 1):
Fly to Kullu airport early morning, then drive to Manali – early brunch/lunch at Naggar and arrive Ambassador Hotel, Manali early afternoon.
Oct. 2 (Day 2):
This is where Lama Tsultrim was in retreat in the early ‘70s doing her first Ngondro and learning Shamantha-Vipassana meditation from the great Drukpa Kagyu master Apho Rinpoche, grandson of the historic yogi Shakya Shri, a terton who taught both Mahamudra and Dzogchen. Sey Rinpoche’s father, Apho Rinpoche Yeshe Rangdrol, was a grandson of Drubwang Shakya Shri and was born and grew up in Tibet where he became a widely respected yogi. He was a compassionate and enlightened Master with a great sense of humor who touched the hearts and minds of many people in Tibet and in the Himalayan regions and of most of the early Western students of Tibetan Buddhism. To this day, all his students remember him with much appreciation.
Apho Rinpoche was brought up as a monk in the Drukpa Kagyu lineage. His root Guru was Tripon Nawang Pema Choegyal (1876-1958), the main heart student of Shakya Shri and a great tantric practioner. Tripon literally means “throne-holder,” a title he inherited due to his realization of Shakya Shri’s Wisdom Mind. Tripon Pema Choegyal had numerous eminent disciples, including the Eleventh Gyalwang Drukpa and the grandsons of his own root guru, Drubwang Shakya Shri, Drukpa Thuksey Rinpoche and Apho Rinpoche. One day, Tripon Pema Choegyal told his beloved disciple Apho Rinpoche that he should get married. At first, Apho Rinpoche resisted, saying that he did not have a spiritual realization high enough to get a consort, but, as a genuine practitioner, he could not but follow his Guru’s instruction. He took Sangyum Urgyen Chodon, a devoted woman, as his consort. It later appeared that the Guru himself, Tripon Padma Choegyal, chose to take rebirth as the fruit of this spiritual union, and the baby received, among others, the name of “the Very Precious Son”, that is Sey Rinpoche.
In 1959, Apho Rinpoche led his family on a most difficult journey out of Tibet. He later was responsible for reviving the Drukpa tradition in the North Indian Himalayan regions such as Sikkim, Lahoul, Ladakh, Manali, Zanskar and Pangi where he established several retreat centers. There he kept alive the practice of the Six Yogas of Naropa. One of his major contributions was reviving the renowned hermitages of Ladakh and Lahoul, including Gotsang and Khespang. In the late 60’s, he finally settled in Manali (Himachal Pradesh) where he built a monastery and planned the establishment of a yogic training and retreat center.
Apho Rinpoche also collected ancient carved wooden blocks of the songs and biographies of Milarepa, Gompopa and Rechungpa. In addition, he was a poet, scholar, healer and great meditator. He was also one of the first Dharma teachers to teach Western students in the 60’s and early 70’s, before he departed from this world in 1974. His heart students were Sengdrak Rinpoche and Gegen Khyentse as well as the renowned yogis of Ladakh and Lahoul.
Drubwang Shakya Shri was an enlightened yogi who started out as a simple cook in a Drukpa Lineage monastery in the Kham region of Tibet. He was born in a very humble nomadic family and from there he bloomed into one of the most amazing yogis of that time. Brought up as a monk, he did a lot of practice in the Glorious Drukpa Lineage and accomplished the highest realization of the Great Union, Mahamudra. Later, as instructed by his Guru, the sixth Drukpa Khamtrul Rinpoche Tenpay Nyima, he met the great Terton Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and from him and other enlightened Dzogchen Masters, he received all of the Nyingma transmissions and teachings and thus also mastered Dzogpa Chenpo, the Great Perfection or Great Completion. Up to the present day, Togden Shakya Shri is widely renowned for his skillfully combining of the two supreme views of Mahamudra and Dzogchen.
Drubwang Shakya Shri became very involved in the rimé (non-sectarian) movement of the time. In his later years, he became so renowned that he had students everywhere, coming from different traditions, and he guided them in the Mahamudra and/or the Dzogpa Chenpo style – always in a pure, powerful yogic style. People used to flock to see him, not only from Tibet but also from other Himalayan regions such as Lahoul, Ladakh, Pangi, Zanskar, Bhutan and Nepal. Many realized disciples of Shakya Shri were sent back to their original region. This is how the family first developed its continuing connection to all of these Himalayan areas outside of Tibet.
Manali is in the foothills of the Himalayas, a special power place with beautiful views and many fruit orchards. We will see the miraculous statue of Shakya Shri and hear its story and climb up to see the place where Lama Tsultrim did retreat.
Oct. 3 (Day 3):
Celebrate Lama Tsultrim’s 65th birthday in Manali with White Dakini (Tsogyal Karmo) Tsog and Empowerment from Ngawang Gelek Namgyal, more well-known as Sey Rinpoche, who was born in 1963 as the son of the great enlightened yogi Kyabje Apho Rinpoche. His Eminence is the Third Lineage Holder of Tokden Drubwang Dugu Shakya Shri, in both the spiritual and familial sense. Sey Rinpoche was recognized as the reincarnation of one of the heart students of Shakya Shri, the Ladakhi Tripon Pema Choegyal (1876-1958). Tripon Pema Choegyal was born in a small village of Chamtrel, in the western Himalayan region of Ladakh. At the age of 19, around 1894, he traveled on foot from Ladakh all the way to Eastern Tibet to receive extensive teachings from the Mahasiddha of the Drukpa Lineage, Tokden Shakya Shri. He devoted the rest of his life to retreat and teaching. Shakya Shri appointed him the holder of his transmissions, naming him “Tripon” (literally “Throne Holder”) Pema Choegyal.
Drubwang Shakya Shri (1853-1919) was a great enlightened yogi and Terton of the 19th century. He was a great Master of the Drukpa Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism and of the Rime Movement, amazingly accomplished in both Mahamudra and Dzogchen which he combined harmoniously. Our accomodation will be in a hotel near the monastery.
Oct 4 (Day 4):
Manali: rest day
Oct 5 (Day 5):
Manali to Lahaul – Full days’ drive and settle into retreat camp at Chuktar Gompa
Oct 6 – 10 (Days 6-10):
5 Day P’howa Retreat. In Apho Rinpoche’s monastery, after we receive the Phowa transmission from the lineage of Shakya Shri, we will practice it intensively under Sey Rinpoche’s guidance. This is known to be a very powerful and effective phowa lineage and Sey Rinpoche has graciously agreed to bestow it on our group at this sacred place in the seat of the lineage.
Oct.11 (Day 11):
Lahaul – visit holy sites.
We will drive over the the Rotang Pass ( 3,980 metesr 13,051 feet), and descend into Kelong, Lahal. Apho Rinpoche had several monasteries in Lahaul and spent summers there. Lahoul is known as a Dakini Land and is connected to the Chakrasamvara tantra and there are many sacred places in this Himalayan kingdom. The famous Tibetan pilgrim Gotsangpa passed through Lahaul and wrote about the Dakini power, ancient monasteries, and meditation caves. Generally, the Lahoulis are of Tibetan and Indo-Aryan descent. Fairer skin and hazel-colored eyes are commonly seen among the Lahoulis. The language of Lahaul belongs to the Tibetan family. Culturally,they are very similar to the Ladakhi and the Tibetans, as they had been placed under the rule of the Guge and Ladakh kingdoms at occasional intervals.
Among the Lahoulis, the family acts as the basic unit of kinship. The extended family system is common, evolved from the polyandric system of the past. The clan system, also known as Rhus, plays another major role in the Lahauli society. Most of the Lahaulis follow a combination of Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism of the Drukpa Kagyu order..
Oct. 12 (Day 12): Lahaul – Manali
Oct. 13/14 (Days 13/14):
Manali – rest and play as you say farewell to the higher Himalayan peaks. May visit Hadimba temple and Drukpa gompa.
Oct. 15 (Day 15):
Manali to Tso Pema
We will wind down the Himalayan Valley to the kingdom of Mandi where Guru Rinpoche met Princess Mandarava.
Oct. 16-22 (Days 16 – 22):
Dzog Chen retreat with Lama Wangdor
An extensive commentary on the Tsig Sum Ne Dik, Garab Dorje’s last testament, quintessential Dzog Chen Trekcho teachings will be given by Lama Wangdor and translated by Lama Lena. Wangdor Rinpoche is a Tibetan Buddhist monk and teacher. Through decades of solitary meditation, retreats and practices, he has achieved the state which Buddhists call realization and is respected worldwide as a venerable teacher and a master of Dzogchen meditation. Lama Wangdor has a profound commitment to making Buddhist philosophy and teachings accessible to everyone with a sincere interest. He has taught and given empowerments in Asia, Europe and North and South America over the past two decades.
He has spent more than 30 years meditating in the caves first used by the Tibetan saint, Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche), above Lotus Lake (Tso Pema) in the Himachal Pradesh region of Northern India. In solitary retreat during the early years, he was eventually joined over time by more than 50 cave-dwelling yogis and yoginis who look to him for guidance and support. Beginning in the 1970s, he constructed a monastery near the lake as well as a retreat center on the mountain, available to practitioners of all lineages and nationalities, projects which have taken nearly 20 years to complete.
Wangdor Rinpoche holds both Nyingma and Kagyu Dzogchen/Chagchen lineages and is considered a Rime (eclectic) teacher. He teaches from heart texts on Dzogchen, the Dzogchen (Maha-ati) and Chagchen (Mahamudra yogas) which he has received in lineage from Nyala Changchub Dorje, Kunu Rinpoche and scholars Chonchok Surmang Khenpo of Trungpa Rinpoche’s line; Tugsey Rinpoche and Pumdong Key Rinpoche.
We will hold practice sessions and receive daily teachings. Lama Wangdor has been to Tara Mandala many times and has known Lama Tsultrim since 1990.
During this time we will also visit the sacred places of Tso Pema such as: Mandarava’s cave, Guru Rinpoche’s cave, Lama Wangdor’s big, newly completed Guru Rinpoche statue, and some of the yogin’s caves. We will also circumabulate the lake that appeared when the King of Mandi tried to burn Guru Rinpoche alive after discovering him teaching Princess Mandarava and her attendants. Instead of burning, a miraculous lake formed around him and this lake is called Tso Pema (Lotus Lake). The King of Mandi then apologized and presented Guru Rinpoche with his own regal attire. The King and Princess Mandarava traveled to Nepal and achieved the siddhi of Long Life together. Today, a thriving community of nuns, and yogins live above the lake in caves in retreat.
Oct. 23-24 (Days 23-24):
Tso Pema to Kangra Valley
We plan to visit Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo’s nunnery, Tashi Jong and Khanpagar, sit with the Kudong (Remains) of the great Togden Amtrin & other yogis, have teachings with Dorzang Rinpoche, visit Sherab Ling and Situ Rinpoche, and stay in Bir at a typical Tibetan settlement where Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche has his projects, Chokyi Lodro Institute and Deer Park.
Oct. 25 (Day 25):
Bir to Dharamsala, short drive
Oct. 26 (Day 26):
Chod Empowerment with HH Gyalwa Karmapa.
It is extremely auspicious that His Holiness has agreed to bestow on Lama Tsultrim the Chod Wang from Machig Labdron. Never before has the 17th Karmapa given this empowerment. This is especially precious for Lama Tsultrim because not only is he her root Lama, but he holds the closest living lineage to the historical Machig Labdron. The third Karmapa Rangjung Dorje wrote the first commentaries on Chod and Lama Tsultrim has requested teachings from those commentaries to follow the empowerment.
Rangjung Dorje (1284–1339) was the third Karmapa, an important figure in the history of Tibetan Buddhism. He reportedly produced a spontaneous black crown (which would later be a symbol of the line) at the age of three and declared himself to be the mindstream reimbodiment of Karma Pakshi. Born to a Nyingma family, he received the full transmission of the Nyingma tradition in addition to the Karma Kagyu. The third Karmapa Lama, Rangjung Dorje, was a disciple of Nyingma Kumaradza. The latter taught Rangjung Dorje the nying-thig, “heart-essence,” teachings transmitted by Padmasambhava (the Khandro Nyingtig) and Vimalamitra (the Vima Nyingtig).Therefore, Rangjung Dorje belongs to the nying-thig lineage of the Nyingma school.
As a group, the Karmapa Lamas were among the earliest recognized Tulku, or lamas reincarnated as deities or lineage of deceased teachers. They were particularly influential at the Yuan and Ming courts of China. The Third Karmapa was a systematizer of the Chöd developed by Machig Labdrön and lists a number of his works on Chod consisting of redactions, outlines and commentaries.
Oct. 27 (Day 27):
Chod Teachings with HH Gyalwa Karmapa
Oct. 28 (Day 28):
Chod Teachings with HH Gyalwa Karmapa
Oct 30 (Day 29):
Travel by car from Dharamsala to Delhi (stay overnight in Delhi)
Oct 30 (Day 30):
Transfer to Delhi international airport and fly home.