Garland of Jewels Part I: Machig Labdrön’s Living Oral Lineage of Chöd
With Drubpön Lama Karma and Khandro Tsering Drolkar
April 21 - May 6, 2018
This retreat is the first of two retreats this year that will cover the entire transmission of the Garland of Jewels (Rinchen Trengwa), one of the greatest and oldest living oral lineages of Machig Labdrön’s Chöd practice. Part II will be offered on December 7 – 22, 2018.
Drubpön Lama Karma will begin by giving the Garland of Jewels empowerment, which contains the special introduction of Opening the Gateway to Space. In the following days, there will be transmissions of and teachings on the extensive sadhana practice of the Garland of Jewels itself. We will also train in the sacred rhythms and thirty-two melodies of the tradition under the guidance of Khandro Tsering Drolkar. In this sense, the retreat will consist of a combination of study and hands-on practice.
There will be teachings on the Condensed Heart of the Profound Meaning of the Chöd Preliminaries and the rare practice of Accomplishing the Secret Life-force of the Primordial Wisdom Dakini. There will also be instructions on the Self-Liberation of Samsara and Nirvana: Pith Instructions of Chöd on One Seat by Terdak Lingpa Gyurme Dorje and the accompanying commentary called the Condensed Heart of the Profound Meaning of the Chöd Instructions on One Seat by Lochen Dharmashri. These two marvelous commentaries represent the heart of the living oral lineage of Chöd practice. On April 29th, Machig Labdrön’s birthday, we will have a very special celebration and practice the entire Garland of Jewels Sadhana together. These two retreats are being given to ensure that the living oral tradition of Machig Labdrön’s Chöd is fully transmitted in its entirety.
The Garland of Jewels, or Rinchen Trengwa, tradition of Chöd practice holds a unique position in Machig Labdrön’s lineage of Chöd. At the time of the 3rd Karmapa Rangjung Dorje (1284-1339), Machig Labdrön’s lineage of Chöd had become extremely famous and was widely practiced. However, in many contexts it had become mixed with a number of contaminants, including shamanic practices of working with various spirits, sorcery, and other forms of non-Buddhist and non-bodhisattvic practice. It was hard to distinguish the original heart of Chöd practice that wove together the Prajnaparamita tradition with the essence of the secret mantra generation and completion stages.
Seeing the need to separate the pure heart of Chöd from the growing contamination, for years Rangjung Dorje gathered together the essence of Chöd practice from a number of sources and strung these together as the Garland of Jewels. This tradition became a stronghold for the authentic transmission of Machig Labdrön’s Chöd tradition. After the time of Rangjung Dorje, it also became one of the main repositories of the original and early poetry of the Machig Labdrön Chöd tradition as well as the original and early accompanying melodies and rhythms extremely vital to Chöd. It is important to understand that while the Rinchen Trengwa was compiled by Rangjung Dorje, he did not author every verse or create every melody, but rather gathered together an anthology of what he felt was the heart of Chöd. In terms of the Garland of Jewels lineage of practice, the 8th Karmapa Mikyo Dorje and the master Karma Chagme Raga Asya played vital roles in editing, elucidating, and arranging this material as it was practiced throughout the centuries. Later, Terdak Lingpa Gyurme Dorje and his younger brother Lochen Dharmashri continued to uphold this tradition by offering further clarification on the secret experiential oral instructions of this practice. In this way, the living Garland of Jewels tradition is one of, if not clearly, the most authentic actively practiced traditions of Chöd that came directly from Machig Labdrön and the early lineage masters through the centuries to our present day.
This retreat is open to all.
Suggested Dana: $480-$640