Dukngal Rangdrol Recitation Manual
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Recitation Manual for the Natural Liberation of Suffering
by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo
The explanation of how to perform the approach recitation for the Great Compassionate One, Natural Liberation of Suffering comprises 1) how to practise the approach phase on its own, and 2) how to practise the approach, accomplishment and activities all together.
1. How to Practise the Approach Phase on its Own
Find a small meditation hut in a secluded place and begin by cleaning it. Arrange whatever representations of the body, speech and mind of the Great Compassionate One are appropriate, such as an image. If you are performing only the approach phase then there is no fault in not arranging a representation for the front visualization. Neatly set out the amṛta-medicine, rakta and torma, along with the regular offerings beginning with the two kinds of water offering.
In the afternoon, on an astrologically auspicious date, carry out the preliminary practices and the refuge, bodhicitta and seven-branch offering from the activity manual. Present the white torma and golden drink (gser skyems) to the eight classes. Then visualize yourself as Hayagrīva and bless the torma for the obstructive forces, dedicate it to them and discard it outside. Immediately thereafter, place the list or shrine (rgyal tho) for the Great Kings (elaborate or essential, as appropriate) at the doorway. When you return inside, recite the protection circle and continue up to and including the praise. After a suitable number of recitations, present the offerings and praise and recite the prayer known as The Vision, followed by the sections of the activity manual for the confession of faults, up to and including the prayer of auspiciousness.
In the evening session start by reciting the activity manual as before, beginning with refuge and bodhicitta. Henceforth, it is not necessary to offer an actual torma to the obstructive forces. You can omit the blessing of the torma with oṃ āḥ hūṃ as well as the line:
Accept this torma offering of sensual delight.
From the following day onwards recite the activity manual in four sessions: dawn, morning, afternoon and evening. Recite mainly the seven-syllable mantra; it is sufficient to recite a single mālā of each of the mantras of the four ladies.
You can calculate the duration of your retreat of the approach phase numerically, based on time (in which case it should be forty million recitations) or based on signs (this is explained in the main text). Whichever you choose, it is best to base this on your mental capacity. In any case, once you have finished the main mantra of the approach phase, recite mainly the mantras of the four ladies. It is good to recite each of their mantras one tenth as many times as the total for the main approach recitation.
The evening before you plan to finish your retreat, arrange new feast-offering tormas. Rise early in the morning and recite the activity manual, up to and including the feast-offering and fulfilment practice. Purify any discord by reciting The Ultimate Inexpressible Confession and the hundred-syllable mantra. Bless the accomplishment substances with the corresponding section from the activity manual. Invoke the wisdom minds of the deities by adding kāya vāka citta a la la siddhi phala hūṃ to the end of the mantras and reciting these a hundred or a thousand times. When dawn breaks, perform the offering and praise and then invoke the accomplishments by reciting the section that begins:
Hūṃ! Deities of the maṇḍala of the Great Compassionate One
Our samaya commitment of reciting and practice…
If you have an accomplishment torma in front of you, visualize it as the deity. If you don’t have a separate accomplishment torma, instantly visualize the torma of the amṛta-medicine, rakta and torma as the deity and touch them to your three places. Imagine that the edible torma is the accomplishment, taste a small piece of it and enjoy the feast (which was put aside earlier on). Carry out the remainder up to and including the offering of the torma and dance, according to the activity manual. Then perform the offering and praise, confess your mistakes and continue up to and including the prayer of auspiciousness. If you perform a fire offering, practise it for two or three days. It is fine to adapt the words of either the Fire Offering for the Peaceful and Fierce Vidyādhara or the Fire Offering for the Female Practice. If you do not perform a fire offering, recite the hundred-syllable mantra many times with the intention to make amends for any additions or omissions during the mantra recitation.
Then, gradually open the boundary by arranging a thanksgiving offering torma for the shrine of the kings and present it while confessing mistakes and requesting them to depart.
If you decide to perform the feast practice, do so without attachment each day at the end of the afternoon session. If you’re unable to do so, it will suffice to perform it on sacred days such as the tenth days of the waxing and waning phases of the month.
If you have an accomplishment torma made according to the illustrations, place it on the upper tier of the shrine. Generate the self- and front-visualizations indivisibly. In front of it, on another tier of the shrine, place the amṛta-medicine, rakta and torma, made in a generic fashion. In front of them arrange the regular offerings in a row. It is no severe fault should you be unable to make an accomplishment torma; generic offerings of amṛta-medicine, rakta and torma will suffice.
The meaning of the words of the activity manual may be understood from the Commentary on the Difficult Points, and the behaviour during retreat, what to adopt or avoid and so on, should be understood according to the general customs of approach recitation.
2. How to Practice the Approach, Accomplishment and Activities All Together
The way to practice the approach, accomplishment and activities together follows the Visionary Instructions, but it might be difficult to gather the accomplishment substances, such as the soul-stone (bla rdo) or the life-force cakra (srog 'khor), at short notice. In addition, the way of chanting and so on can only be understood from precise oral guidance and is not possible to explain in a few words. Therefore, it is best to begin with the approach phase alone, as explained clearly above, and then gradually at some later time practise the approach, accomplishment and activities in an elaborate manner.
| Translated by Han Kop and edited by Barry Cohen for the Longchen Nyingtik Project, 2022.
'jam dbyangs mkhyen brtse'i dbang po. "thugs rje chen po sdug bsngal rang grol gyi bsnyen pa bya tshul" In 'jigs med gling pa mkhyen brtse 'od zer (et al). klong chen snying thig rtsa pod. 5 Vols. Bodhnath, Kathmandu and Bodhgaya, Bihar: Shechen Publications, 1994 (BDRC W1KG13585). Vol. 4: 178–181.
'jam dbyangs mkhyen brtse'i dbang po. "thugs rje chen po sdug bsngal rang grol gyi bsnyen pa bya tshul" in gsung 'bum/_mkhyen brtse'i dbang po. 24 vols. Gangtok: Gonpo Tseten, 1977–1980 (BDRC W21807). Vol. 15: 538–541
Wisdom Flames: A Peaceful Fire Offering for the Peaceful and Fierce Vidyādhara Practices (rig 'dzin zhi drag gi sgo nas/ zhi ba'i sbyin sreg ye shes me lce). ↩
Here one may refer to Khyentse Wangpo’s own notes, Instructions on How to Perform the Awareness-Holder Assembly and Natural Liberation of Suffering Fire Offerings Based on the Fire Offering of the Female Practice. See 'jam dbyangs mkhyen brtse'i dbang po. "yum bka'i me mchod gzhir bzhag nas rig 'dzin dang thugs rje chen po la kha bsgyur ba'i tshul" In 'jigs med gling pa mkhyen brtse 'od zer (et al). klong chen snying thig rtsa pod. 5 Vols. Bodhnath, Kathmandu and Bodhgaya, Bihar: Shechen Publications, 1994 (BDRC W1KG13585). Vol. 4: 172–174. ↩
The Visionary Instructions that Lay Bare the Pith Instructions, from the Great Compassionate One, the Natural Liberation of Suffering (thugs rje chen po sdug bsngal rang grol las/ pra khrid dmar byang gnad yig). ↩