Mipham Rinpoche Series
From the murals of Shechen Monastery. Used with permission of Rabjam Rinpoche.
Through the blessings of the youthful Mañjuśrī, the union of awareness and emptiness,
You released the eight brilliant treasures,
Master of an ocean of treasure-like teachings of the Dharma in both aspects, transmission and realization—
To you, Mipham Rinpoche, Mañjuśrī in person, I pray!
Texts by and about the great Nyingma polymath Jamgön Mipham Namgyal Gyatso (mi pham rnam rgyal rgya mtsho, 1846-1912), arguably the most influential Tibetan scholar of recent times:
Mipham Rinpoche gave this text in thirty-seven verses to the Third Dodrupchen Jigme Tenpe Nyima as a sealed scroll while they were both at Dzongsar Monastery. Although the precise date is unclear, it seems likely that this was in or around 1886. The text is a mixture of personal, often cryptic advice and prophecy.
Properly titled Wondrous Talk Brought About by Conversing with a Friend (Grogs dang gtam gleng ba'i rkyen las mtshar gtam), this playful text pokes fun at followers of the Nyingma, Sakya, Kagyü and Gelug (or Gendenpa) schools, in order to highlight potential pitfalls associated with each tradition, while also pointing out the absurdity of sectarian prejudice in general.
In these six pithy verses, composed in 1896, Mipham explains the relative strengths of each of the four main Tibetan Buddhist Schools—Nyingma (rnying ma), Kagyü (bka' brgyud), Gelug (dge lugs) and Sakya (sa skya)—and appeals to their followers to tolerate and respect one another.
This short advice in verse explains the perfect equality (mnyam pa nyid) of the dharmadhātu (chos kyi dbyings), the space-like nature of phenomena, which, Mipham says, is a crucial point to understand in both sūtra and tantra. Mipham wrote this text in 1901.
A short prayer incorporating the four causes of rebirth in Sukhāvatī, namely: 1) visualizing the pure realm, 2) accumulating merit and purifying obscurations, 3) generating bodhicitta, and 4) making prayers of aspiration and dedicating all sources of virtue towards rebirth in Sukhāvatī.
- The Secret Path of Wisdom: A Prayer of Aspiration for the Mountain of Glory | Copper-Coloured Mountain
A brief prayer to be reborn on the Copper Coloured Mountain of Glory, or Zangdok Palri, in the presence of Guru Padmasambhava, and to complete the path to enlightenment in that pure realm, so as to work for others’ benefit.
This popular prayer, which Mipham wrote in 1896, is addressed to the eight sugatas, eight bodhisattvas, eight goddesses of auspiciousness, and eight guardians of the world. It is recited at the outset of any virtuous project, or indeed any activity of any kind, in order to bring about auspiciousness, success and good fortune.
- Words to Delight the Sovereigns of the Dharma: A Prayer of Aspiration for the Flourishing and Spread of the Ancient Translation Tradition | Aspiration Prayers
This famous prayer for the spread of the teachings of the Nyingma tradition is among Mipham Rinpoche's most famous compositions. It is recited daily at the annual Monlam Chenmo festival and was the subject of a major commentary by Mipham's student and lineage-holder, Shechen Gyaltsab Pema Namgyal (1871–1926).
A summary of the fuller dhāraṇī which was spoken by Mañjuśrī and is included within the Compendium of Dhāraṇīs (gzungs bsdus), this is a practice for averting obstacles linked to particular moments in time.
- Benedictory Verses for A Brilliant Elucidation of Logical Reasoning by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö | Benedictory Verses
Verses of aspiration written for the publication of A Brilliant Elucidation of Logical Reasoning (rigs lam rab gsal snang ba), Ju Mipham Namgyal Gyatso's annotation commentary (mchan 'grel) to Dignāga's Pramāṇasamuccaya.
In this short text, Mipham Rinpoche succinctly explains what is meant by the self of the individual (pudgalātman; gang zag gi bdag) and the 'self' (or identity) of phenomena (dharmātman; chos kyi bdag), and he describes how to become certain as to the non-existence of them both. The author also highlights the importance of distinguishing between a more superficial, conceptual understanding and a genuine, non-conceptual realization of ultimate reality.
This section of Gateway to Learning (mKhas 'jug) explains the so-called "Four Great Logical Arguments of the Middle Way" (dbu ma'i gtan tshigs chen po bzhi), which are: 1) investigation of the cause: the Diamond Splinters; 2) investigation of the result: refuting existent or non-existent results; 3) investigation of the essential identity: ‘neither one nor many’; and 4) investigation of all: the Great Interdependence. This translation also includes some comments from Khenpo Nüden's celebrated commentary.
Extracted from Gateway to Learning (mKhas 'jug), this section on the selflessness of the individual (gang zag gi bdag med) explains the absence of any permanent, unitary, independent and all-pervading self, either identical to or distinct from the five aggregates (pañcaskandhā; phung po lnga).
Composed in 1892 and appended to The Wheel of Analytical Meditation (dpyad sgom 'khor lo ma), this instruction continues that text's analysis, extending it to all phenomena. Its central message is that the nature of all things, i.e., appearance and emptiness, can only be fully understood through meditation.
Mipham Rinpoche elaborates on the practice that he introduced in The Wheel of Analytical Meditation (dpyad sgom 'khor lo ma) by offering further instruction on contemplating how the five aggregates are multiple, impermanent, painful and devoid of self.
One of Mipham's best known works, this treatise in 104 verses was written in just a single day in 1885. It is structured around the four principles of reasoning (rigs pa bzhi)—of causal efficiency, dependence, nature and establishing a proof—and the four reliances (rton pa bzhi), i.e., Rely not on the individual but the Dharma; Rely not on the words but the meaning; Rely not on the provisional but the definitive meaning; Rely not on ordinary consciousness but wisdom.
This short verse-text sets out to clarify the term "self-awareness" (rang rig; svasaṃvedana), especially as it is used in Dzogchen, and challenges those who reject the notion. Mipham points out that self-awareness is something to be experienced firsthand, not debated or speculated about.
Composed in a single day in 1891, this celebrated verse text offers a practical guide to meditating analytically on the multiplicity, impermanence, suffering nature and selflessness of the aggregates, as an antidote to the mental afflictions (kleśa; nyon mongs).
Also known as the "instruction that points directly to the very essence of mind in the tradition of ‘the old realized ones’ (rtogs ldan rgan po)", this is a pithy guide to Dzogchen meditation written for 'village yogis' and other practitioners without a background in study. It includes three separate instructions, for: 1) cracking open the egg-shell of ignorance, 2) cutting the web of saṃsāric existence, and 3) remaining in space-like equalness.
Mipham Rinpoche boils the practice of Trekchö down to the three crucial points of knowing the essence of mind, sustaining that recognition in meditation and allowing thoughts to subside beyond benefit and harm.
- Self-Radiance of Indestructible Awareness and Emptiness: An Aspiration towards the Meaning of the Indivisible Ground, Path and Fruition of the Great Perfection Mañjuśrī | Dzogchen
Written using the language of the Great Perfection, this prayer, which Mipham wrote in 1886, is an aspiration to realize the nature of mind — indestructible awareness and emptiness — and the true meaning of Mañjuśrī.
In this short text, Mipham Rinpoche attempts—by his own admission—to express the inexpressible. Aware of the challenge and the apparent contradiction, he nevertheless offers various descriptions of mind's ineffable essence "for the sake of those fortunate individuals who seek to penetrate the profound meaning of dharmatā."
In this, one of his most popular Dzogchen instructions, Mipham Rinpoche explains how to go beyond the initial stage of the recognition (ngo shes) of the face of rigpa, or pure awareness, to the subsequent stages of perfecting the strength (rtsal rdzogs) and gaining stability (brtan pa thob).
This brief 'first-portion' offering (phud mchod) to Gesar and his retinue for the sake of prosperity, which Mipham composed in 1872, is said to bring about "the four treasures of longevity, glory, wealth and prosperity," and fulfilment of all wishes and requirements.
- The Prayer and Offering to 'The Great Lion, Gesar the Jewel', that Spontaneously Accomplishes Activities | Gesar
This brief rite of offering and requesting Gesar to carry out activity was written in 1880. As with the other texts in this section of Mipham's works Gesar appears not only as powerful warrior-figure but as an enlightened emanation of Guru Padmasambhava.
- The Swift Infusion of Blessings: A Guru Yoga of the Great Embodiment of Unchanging Awareness Wisdom | Gesar
- A Shower of Blessings: A Guru Yoga Practice to Accompany the Seven Line Prayer (Addendum) by Shakya Shri | Guru Yoga
This arrangement of Mipham Rinpoche's famous Shower of Blessings Guru Yoga practice adds opening verses of refuge and bodhicitta, a torma offering to the obstructing forces, visualization of the protective sphere and the descent of blessings, as well as concluding verses for the remainder offering, aspiration and dedication.
This simple and popular guru yoga focusing is based on the famous seven-line prayer (tshig bdun gsol 'debs) to Guru Padmasambhava first revealed in the thirteenth century by Chökyi Wangchuk (1212–1270).
- Swift Infusion of Blessings: A Guru Yoga based on Jamgön Mipham Gyatso by Shechen Gyaltsab Gyurme Pema Namgyal | Guru Yoga
- Prayer to Longchenpa (Adapted from the Words of Mipham Rinpoche) by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche | Prayers
Long Life Prayers
This general prayer for the long life of the holders of the teachings was composed by Jamgön Mipham Rinpoche in 1888. It is part of the daily liturgy at the Nyingma Monlam Chenmo, or great prayer festival, held every year in Bodhgaya.
Mipham wrote this longer practice for offering the flag of windhorse (rlung rta) in 1903. It includes optional verses addressed to Gesar, Hayagrīva, Gaṇapati (tshogs bdag), and Magyal Pomra (rma rgyal spom ra), the protector of the Amnye Machen mountain range.
This collection of secret mantras, compiled by Mipham Rinpoche in 1898, is said to be especially powerful in overcoming the various forms of disease and harmful influence prevalent in the current age.
This visualization and mantra recitation for the Wrathful Guru in dark blue form and mounted upon a wild boar is extracted from the collection called Profound Fierce Mantras to Subdue All Infectious Disease (nad rims kun thub sngags rgod zab mo).
A poem of eight verses praising the bodhisattva Kṣitigarbha (Essence of the Earth), playing on the literal meaning of his name and evoking the earth's qualities as a nurturing support and foundation for growth and development.
This praise to the Abbot Śāntarakṣita is part of a set of three praises commemorating the lives of the so-called Abbot, Master and Dharma-King (Khen Lob Chö Sum), i.e., Śāntarakṣita, Guru Padmasambhava and Trisong Detsen.
This praise to the Emperor Tri Songdetsen is part of a set of three praises commemorating the lives of the so-called Abbot, Master and Dharma-King (Khen Lob Chö Sum), i.e., Śāntarakṣita, Guru Padmasambhava and Tri Songdetsen.
This praise to the Master Padmasambhava is part of a set of three praises commemorating the lives of the so-called Abbot, Master and Dharma-King (Khen Lob Chö Sum), i.e., Śāntarakṣita, Guru Padmasambhava and Trisong Detsen.
This prayer recalling the accomplishments of Jamgön Mipham Rinpoche, written by the master himself, was later supplemented by additional verses composed by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö at the behest of Khenpo Kunpal (1862–1943).
Three prayers—a petition for the purification of impairments and breakages of samaya, a brief supplication to Mañjuśrī, and an appeal to the Three Roots—all composed in the Earth Pig year, i.e., 1899/1900.
- Wangdü: The Great Cloud of Blessings—The Prayer which Magnetizes All that Appears and Exists | Magnetizing
This prayer of magnetizing (dbang du bsdud pa) all appearance and existence, which Ju Mipham wrote in 1879, focuses on nine deities associated with magnetizing: Padmasambhava in the form of Padmarāja or Pema Gyalpo (padma rgyal po), Vajradharma (rdo rje chos), Amitābha, Avalokiteśvara in the form of Padmapāṇi, Hayagrīva, Guhyajñāna, Vajravārāhī, Kurukullā and the King of Desire ('dod pa'i rgyal po). It was made popular in recent years by the late Khenchen Jigme Phuntsok.
Prayers to Guru Rinpoche
This short text in verse, written in 1902, outlines the twelve major deeds of Guru Padmasambhava, which are to be commemorated in the course of a year—a different deed being recalled on the tenth day of each month.
Prayers to Mañjuśrī
This praise of Mañjuśrī for increasing the power of one's intelligence consists of fourteen four-line verses—fourteen, says Mipham, being the number of vital essences (dwangs ma) in beings and the world. The text was written in 1906.
Prayers to Śākyamuni
Ju Mipham composed this sādhana of Śākyamuni Buddha, or '[Śākya]muni-ritual' (thub chog), at the request of Orgyen Tendzin Norbu (1841–1900). Both the sādhana and its vast 'supporting teaching' known as The White Lotus (rgyab chos padma dkar po) are among the most popular of Mipham's works.
A set of common and uncommon preliminary practices, beginning with the four thoughts that turn the mind away from saṃsāra and continuing with taking refuge, generating bodhicitta, maṇḍala offering, Vajrasattva visualization and mantra recitation, and guru yoga.
This simple visualization and mantra recitation for the bodhisattva Kṣitigarbha draws on both the Sūtra of the Ten Wheels of Kṣitigarbha (Daśacakrakṣitigarbhasūtra) and the Ḍhāraṇī of the One Hundred and Eight Names of Kṣitigarbha.
This simple practice of Avalokiteśvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, includes a visualisation to accompany the recitation of the six-syllable mantra, oṃ maṇi padme hūṃ, or, optionally, the seven-syllable mantra, oṃ maṇi padme hūṃ hrīḥ.
- Freedom from All Adversity: A Sur Offering to Harmful Influences, Obstacle-Makers and Elemental Spirits | Offering
Outlines of the so-called ten royal sūtras or ten sūtras of the king (rgyal po'i mdo bcu), which are said to have been translated upon the advice of Padmasambhava for Emperor Tri Songdetsen's daily recitation.
- Excellent Vase of Splendour: The Tsok Feast Offering to Accompany the Vajra Seven-Line Prayer | Seven-Line Prayer
The Excellent Vase of Splendour (dpal gyi bum bzang) is the tsok feast offering (tshogs mchod) to accompany the famous guru yoga based on the seven-line prayer, A Shower of Blessings (byin brlabs char 'bebs).