Powerful Pith Instruction to Abstain from Tobacco

Ethical Guidelines | Tibetan MastersJigdral Tutop Lingpa

English | བོད་ཡིག

Jigdral Tutop Lingpa

Guru Rinpoche

Further Information:

A Powerful Pith Instruction to Abstain from Tobacco, the Tenacious Demon Plaguing People of Degenerate Times

From the Ocean of Profound Essence (Zabtik Gyatso)

A terma revelation by Jikdral Tutop Lingpa

Dakini script

I pay homage to my lama, the Glorious Heruka!

For people in times of degeneration, tobacco is an obstacle on the path to liberation.
This powerful demon is the summation of all bad omens.
Inauspicious, it creates obstacles to progress on the paths and bhūmis.

In the past, in India, the wonderful land of the noble ones,
When the most excellent teacher, the peerless king of the sages,
Set in motion the Dharma wheels of the four categories of teachings,
The demon king Garab Wangchuk,
Consumed with jealousy, made three attempts to obstruct him.
But at the time, around the peerless muni and his sons and daughters,
The fire of primordial wisdom of the embodiment of omniscience and love was blazing,
And the māra’s baleful efforts were foiled.

This affair brought the demons to extreme desperation,
So unbearable they let tears of blood roll to the ground.
As the seventh drop reached the ground, they made the following aspiration:

“May these prayers bring forth a plant which will grow near Vaiśalī,
A plant with flowers flat and blue, a cubit high.
Though inedible, when inhaled through the nose
The five poisonous, destructive emotions will surge,
And all discipline and vinaya precepts
Taught in the eighty-four thousand sections of teachings, and by Gautama, will deteriorate!”

This is the strong prayer the demons made at this time.

Here was the result. Some time later, the plant arose from the ground on a land near Vaiśalī.
There was an evil minister by the name of Raktavarṇa, and a lady called Dharmasāṃkaryā who,
Overwhelmed with desire, lay down in an embrace by that plant.
Raktavarṇa, with foresight, then told Dharmasāṃkaryā:

“You’ll please the great king of the māras if you offer him this plant,
Because you’ll have offered the substance invested with the destruction of Gautama’s teachings.
Go and see the mara king and lay this present in front of him.”

Indeed, the ruler of the demons was overjoyed, and said:

“Ah la la ho! O marvel! What a wonder!
You have found this supreme substance that can destroy
The teachings of Gautama at the end of the five hundred year age—this is wonderful!
Raktavarṇa and Dharmasāṃkaryā, I compliment you with utter joy.”

Tobacco was brought to the demon ministers, male and female, who headed the delegation,
And to the rest of the hundred thousand māra combatants and five hundred rākṣasa evil beings,
Who convened in a meeting in the north of India. Tasks were allocated and aspiration prayers made. They said,

“May the usage of this fruit of our tears spread throughout the world;
May all Gautama’s students and followers, man or woman, consume it. Through this may their senses, clear at first,
See thoughts, and desire, aversion and ignorance increase!
May the mass of destructive emotions escalate!
May it destroy all the power of the sacred Dharma!
Finally, may it wipe out the teachings of Gautama,
And let the demonic factions of mental poisons explode!”

They made this aspiration prayer, and tobacco was distributed to the assembly,
And they all absorbed it through the nose.
Their destructive emotions rapidly increased and desire flared up,
And they progressively spread the practice throughout India and Tibet.

This is an extremely serious evil.
My followers should not use it.
Mere contact with its smell is enough to send you to the Black Line hell.
In particular any member of the Sangha who consumes it
Will destroy the Secret Mantra; it will be an anchor that will keep him at the bottom of the hells.
Merely blow a bit of its smoke on the outer or inner maṇḍalas
And you will slip into the Black Line hell or the Howling hell, or into the Swamp of Putrefying Corpses.
When destructive emotions explode and people feed on this poison,
There is nothing the victorious ones of the three times can do—
That is why you need to give up tobacco.

Everyone says there is no harm in the scent of a plant.
To intoxicate themselves, they consume the food of māras as if it were a game.
It might seem pleasant now, but in your next life,
Once you’re in the Black Line or Howling hells, or in the Swamp of Putrefying Corpses,
Will there be any happiness or well-being, or anything to marvel at? Think hard!
At present, a time when the teachings of Buddha still thrive,
For the slightest headache, we need to invoke the care of the Three Jewels.
But when māra’s food enters your nose, destructive emotions escalate,
And the determination to follow the teachings deserts you—poor beings without any protector!
So abandon the food of the demons and practise the sacred Dharma.
If you stay away from it, you’ll see most excellent qualities flourish,
Happiness in this life, happiness in the next, you will go from one joy to another.
So keep that in your heart, O my students!
This, I explained at this particular time, to help beings. Samaya.

Now, the powerful pith instruction to abstain from tobacco, the mara’s food.
You appear clearly as the teacher Vajrapāṇi.
Visualize Mañjuśrī in your right nostril, and Avalokiteśvara in the left.
Their rays of light invite all the buddhas and bodhisattvas—
In their compassion they grant their blessings and overcome all suffering,
They ignite the majestic great primordial wisdom,
All māras, losing their nerve, are overpowered, and negative thoughts are pacified.
Actualize this and recite that secret, essence mantra:

Oṃ vāgīśvari muṃ
Oṃ maṇi padme hūṃ
Oṃ vajrapāṇi hūṃ
Dü sin tamakha la maraya phaṭ[1]

If, with the power of empty recitation, you plant the nails of the generation phase,
Thoughts of the māra’s food will not so much as brush against your mind.
Practise this, and truth and falsehood will appear clearly to you.

In the future, when the five degenerations are on the rise,
There might be only a couple of students who keep the samayas.
If they apply this seriously, they’ll be able to overcome all the māras and rākṣasas’ harm.
May my compassionate emanations spread this teaching!

Samaya Seal Seal Seal

This terma was received by Jikdral Tutop Lingpa.[2]

The lineage of the reading transmission for this text is as follows. The tertön passed it on to Gyalse Kalzang Tenzin who in turn granted it to me, Chatral Sangye Dorje.

| Translated by Gyurmé Avertin, 2012. Generously sponsored by Gala Surovegina.


  1. Tamakha (tha ma kha) is the Tibetan for tobacco. (bdud) is māra, and sin (srin) is rākṣasa. So the meaning of the last line of mantra is, ‘Avert māras, rākṣasas, and tobacco!’  ↩

  2. Ngawang Tenzin (ngag dbang bstan 'dzin, 1858–1914) alias Jikdral Tutop Lingpa ('jigs bral mthu stobs gling pa) was one of Khenpo Ngawang Palzang’s (ngag dbang dpal bzang, 1879–1940) main teachers. In his autobiography Ngawang Palzang explains that Ngawang Tenzin was a student of the fourth Katok Drimé Shyingkyong, Mingyur Tenpe Gyaltsen (mi 'gyur bstan pa'i rgyal mtshan), but the translators of Wondrous Dance of Illusion: The Autobiography of Khenpo Ngawang Palzang (Ithaca: Snow Lion, 2013) wonder whether this Mingyur Tenpe Gyaltsen might have been the second or third Drimé Shingkyong incarnation, rather than the fourth, Jigme Dechen Dorje, who was born in 1899 (see p. 256, n. 64).  ↩

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