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Essence of the Four Dharmas of Longchenpa

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On July 19, 2014 at Padma Samye Ling during the Annual PBC Summer Dzogchen Retreat, Ven. Khenpo Tsewang Rinpoche taught the essence of the Jewel Garland of Four Dharmas by the great master Longchenpa.

1. Bless my mind to turn towards the Dharma.
2. Bless my Dharma practice to follow the path.
3. Bless my path to be free of delusion.
4. Bless me that all delusion be transformed into wisdom.

The Jewel Garland of Four Dharmas is the condensed practice manual of the nine vehicles to enlightenment including sutra, tantra, and Dzogchen, describing their view, meditation, conduct, and fruition. It does this primarily by explaining the techniques used at each of these stages for removing confusion about the abiding nature of reality, and revealing the inherent purity of oneself and all phenomena.

Longchen Rabjam Drime Ozer' (1308-1364), was the reincarnation of Princess Pemasal, the daughter of King Trisong Deutsen and direct student of Guru Rinpoche. His birth in the Tra Valley of Southern Tibet was accompanied by miraculous events and auspicious omens. He began his Dharma training at the age of seven, when he received empowerments and teachings from his father, a tantric yogi. At twelve, he took novice monastic vows at Samye monastery.

Longchenpa studied and practiced teachings from a variety of lineages and masters. He received and mastered so many teachings, in fact, that he became known as Samye Lungmangwa, the One of Samye with Many Transmissions. Though he is associated primarily with the Nyingma lineage, he also studied many teachings of the Sarma, or New Schools, including the Kalachakratantra, Chöd, and the Path and Result teachings of the Sakya lineage. He shared a particularly close relationship with the third Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje, with whom he studied under the Dzogchen master Rigdzin Kumaraja.

Rigdzin Kumaraja was Longchenpa's most important master. He lived with him for two years, practicing the Dzogchen teachings of the Heart Essence of Vimalamitra under extremely harsh conditions. Rigdzin Kumaraja eventually empowered Longchenpa as the lineage holder for these teachings. Longchenpa also reawakened a connection with the Heart Essence of the Dakinis, the Dzogchen lineage of Guru Rinpoche, and practiced these teachings for years in isolated mountain retreats.

Longchen Rabjam's influence upon the Nyingma lineage is unparalleled. He united and compiled teachings concerning the two main Dzogchen Heart Essence lineages in a work entitled Four Volumes of the Heart Essence, adding three commentaries of his own to the teachings of Guru Rinpoche and Vimalamitra. He also wrote the famed Seven Treasuries, texts that present various aspects of the view, meditation, and conduct of the Nyingma school's nine vehicles.

Longchenpa passed away at the age of fifty-six. He left over 250 treatises behind, many of which are still regarded as the most comprehensive and authoritative works yet written concerning the view and practice of the Great Perfection. His most important students include the 3rd Karmapa, Rangjung Dorjé, with whom he exchanged teachings, Özer Kocha, and his son, Tülku Trakpa Özer. Show less
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