Guru Rinpoche Day Teachings

Cycle of Teachings Through Questions and Answers

Dear friends near and far

Greetings to you all on this Guru Rinpoche Day. Wherever you are and in whatever situation you are in, I truly hope that you are genuinely happy and healthy and that your karma never runs out and take you away from this current state.

I am by the way in the Kathmandu Valley and presently, pleasantly happy and a little bit busy presiding over the Hundred Deity puja. Today is the 4th day of the 9-day/24 hour puja. And while sitting in the puja, I was checking in and out thinking of what to write for today’s GRD message. Lately I’ve been reading a series of question/answers between the Lotus Born and his Tibetan consort, Khandro Yeshe Tsogyal and then thought of sharing one such with you all.

During the fifty-five years that Guru Rinpoche remained in Tibet, Khandro Yeshe Tsogyal, his peerless student, served him as the most devoted and diligent attendant. Without exception, he bestowed upon her the entire extract of his oral instructions and the essence of his wisdom. During this time, she collected and committed to writing all the teachings that he gave and kept them concealed as precious treasures.

She said,

On different occasions, he gave advice on dharma practice that I persistently retained in my perfect recall, collected and wrote down for the sake of future generations. Since they were not meant to be spread at the present time, I concealed these teachings as a precious treasure. May they meet with worthy and destined people.

She goes on to say,

This Cycle of Teachings through Questions and Answers was committed to writing in the upper cave at Chimpu on the twenty-fifth day of the second moon of fall in the year of the sow.

An extract of a teaching from this particular terma treasure called Cycle of Teachings through Questions and Answers:

Master Padma:

When practicing the Dharma, you must first tame your own mind.

Lady Yeshe Tsogyal:

What does that mean?

Master Padma:

You must extinguish the scorching flames of anger with the water of loving-kindness.
You must cross the river of desire on the bridge of powerful remedies.
You must light the torch of discriminating knowledge in the darkness of stupidity.
You must crumble the mountain of pride to the ground with the pestle of diligence.
You must overcome the storm of envy by wearing the warm garment of patience.

In any case, these five poisons, your old archenemies, will ruin your being in the three realms of samsara if you uninhibitedly indulge in them. Do not let them run wild. There is a danger in that.

Sarva Mangalam,


Phakchok Rinpoche

Suggested Reading

Dudjom Rinpoche, The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, trans. and ed. by Gyurme Dorje and Matthew Kapstein (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1991), vol. 1, pages 468–474.

Ngawang Zangpo, Guru Rinpoche: His Life and Times, Ithaca: Snow Lion, 2002.

Nyoshul Khenpo, A Marvelous Garland of Rare Gems: Biographies of Masters of Awareness in the Dzogchen Lineage, trans. Richard Barron (Junction City: Padma Publishing, 2005), pages 41–48.

Padmasambhava, Legend of the Great Stupa, Berkeley: Dharma Publishing, 1973

Padmasambhava & Jamgön Kongtrul, The Light of Wisdom, trans. by Erik Pema Kunsang (Boudhanath: Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 1986-1999), pages 43-47 & Appendix 5.

Taranatha, The Life of Padmasambhava, Shang Shung Edizioni, 2005

Tulku Thondup, Masters of Meditation and Miracles, Shambhala, 1996.

Yeshe Tsogyal, Life and Liberation of Padmasambhava, translated by Kenneth Douglas and Gwendolyn Bays (Emeryville: Dharma Publishing, 1978, republished 2008).

Yeshe Tsogyal, Lotus Born: The Life Story of Padmasambhava, Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 2004.

‘The Life of Guru Padmasambhava’ in A Great Treasure of Blessings, The Tertön Sogyal Trust, 2004.