Image courtesy of Himalayan Art Resources
Lotsawa House presents the following texts related to pilgrimage (gnas skor) and major sacred places (gnas):
In this brief guide to Ujjain, most likely part of a personal pilgrimage diary, Chatral Rinpoche repeatedly refers to the city as Uḍḍiyāna. Ujjain is home to the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga, one of the most famous temples dedicated to Lord Śiva, attracting thousands of devotees every day. Rinpoche concludes with a guide to Khoteshwar, identified here as the Sindhu Isle, birthplace of Guru Padmasambhava.
- Melodious Tambura of Delight: A Guide to Māratika Cave, Supreme Site of Immortality by Chatral Rinpoche
Kyabje Chatral Rinpoche wrote this brief guide to the sacred Māratika cave at the request of his daughter, Sarasvatī. In a series of verses, he describes the significance of this powerful place of longevity — the "destroyer of death" is the literal meaning of its name — where Guru Padmasambhava and the Lady Mandāravā attained immortality.
- A Brief Petitionary Offering to the Mātṛkā Pukkasī, Local Protectress of the Jarung Kashor Stūpa by Dudjom Rinpoche
Jamyang Khyentse composed this prayer at the actual site of the famous Boudhanāth stūpa, known to Tibetans as "Jarung Khashor" (bya rung kha shor), while he was staying in the Kathmandu Valley in 1956/7.
This short prayer, which is addressed directly to the sacred stūpa of Svayambhūnāth (known to Tibetans as Pakpa Shingkun—“Noble All-Trees”) in Nepal, was composed at the site itself, and is part of a series of prayers addressed to the three major stūpas of the Kathmandu Valley.
A prayer to the three main stūpas of the Kathmandu Valley: Jarung Khashor or Boudhanāth, Svayambhūnāth, and Namo Buddha, which commemorates the bodhisattva Mahāsattva's sacrifice to a starving tigress.
This is a poetic guide to the sacred site of Yangleshö (yang le shod) near the village of Pharping to the south of the Kathmandu Valley, where it is said that Guru Padmasambhava attained the level of a Mahāmudrā vidyādhara. Jamyang Khyentse wrote the text following a series of visionary experiences; it has the quality of a revelation and ends with a series of cryptic prophecies.
- A Song of Perfect Joy: In Praise of the Sacred Sites of Rājgṛha, Vulture Peak and Nālandā by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
Verses in praise of three sacred sites: Rājgṛha (rgyal po'i khab), the ancient capital of Magadha; Vulture Peak (bya rgod spungs ri), where Buddha taught the Prajñāpāramitā sūtras; and Nālandā (nālendra), site of the famous monastic university.
- Gathering Auspiciousness: A Prayer of Aspiration before the sacred Mahābodhi Temple and its Imagery, Magadha, Land of the Āryas by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
Although entitled a praise of Vārāṇasī, this short poetic work concerns Sarnath or Ṛṣipatana, located approximately 10 kilometres from that ancient city. It was in the deer park of Sarnath that Buddha Śākyamuni first taught, setting in motion the Wheel of Dharma.
Verses in praise of the sacred site of Yangleshö (yang le shod) near the village of Pharping to the south of the Kathmandu Valley, where it is said that Guru Padmasambhava attained the level of a Mahāmudrā vidyādhara.
In this verse text, probably composed in 1958, Jamyang Khyentse playfully marvels at modernity and expresses a sense of wonder upon encountering the vast Indian city of Kolkata and all its unfamiliar attractions for the first time. The real highlight of the city as he sees it, however, is the chance to view the Buddha's relics, which were housed at the Indian Museum.
- Offering Clouds to Delight the Victorious Ones, Combining A Praise of Redreng with a Prayer of Aspiration by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
Composed in 1955 when Jamyang Khyentse passed through the area, this is a short verse text in praise of Redreng/Reting, the famous monastery founded by Atiśa's foremost disciple, Dromtönpa Gyalwé Jungné, in 1056–1057.
Jamyang Khyentse wrote this text in praise of Lhodrak Kharchu as he passed through the sacred place in 1956. The site is associated with Namkhai Nyingpo, who is said to have attained accomplishment here through the practice of Yangdak Heruka.
- Prayer of Aspiration to the Stūpa Commemorating the Bodily Sacrifice to the Tigress by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
This short prayer to the sacred stūpa at Namo Buddha, which commemorates the Buddha's sacrifice—during one of his previous lives—of his own body to feed a hungry tigress and her cubs, is part of a series of prayers addressed to the three major stūpas of the Kathmandu Valley.
A short poetic text in praise of Śrāvastī (mnyan yod), where Buddha Śākyamuni spent many rainy seasons and where, it is said, he defeated rival teachers in a contest of miraculous ability. Jamyang Khyentse composed the work during a visit to the town in 1956.
- The White Lotus Garland of Immortality: In Praise of the Supreme Vajra Place, Tso Pema (Lotus Lake) by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
Tso Pema (mtsho padma) or 'Lotus Lake' in Rewalsar, Northern India is identified with a lake in the ancient kingdom of Zahor, which was created, it is said, when the king and his ministers attempted to burn Guru Padmasambhava and his consort Mandāravā alive. The master transformed his funeral pyre into a lake, where he appeared, unharmed and seated upon a lotus.
- A Prayer to Jowo Rinpoche combined with Aspirations and a Means to Receive the Four Empowerments by Jigme Lingpa
Jigme Lingpa wrote this prayer for a student who was accumulating prayers before the famous Jowo Rinpoche statue in the Jokhang temple in Lhasa. It is not only a prayer to Śākyamuni Buddha, but also a means to receive the four empowerments: vase, secret, wisdom-knowledge, and the supreme empowerment of great rays of light.
A short historical guide to the sacred place of Samye Chimphu, where Guru Padmasambhava taught and granted empowerments to his twenty-five disciples, who then meditated in the surrounding caves and attained signs of accomplishment. Later, as Jigme Lingpa explains, the place became a pilgrimage site that was visited by many of Tibet's most illustrious masters.
Composed at the cave of Yangleshö in Nepal, this spontaneous song praises the power of this sacred site, a place where Guru Padmasambhava once meditated and gained accomplishment, while also attesting to Khenchen Jigme Phuntsok's own poetic mastery and realization.
In this spiritual song (mgur), the great yogi Milarepa praises the qualities of Kyangpen Namkha Dzong or Jangphen Namkha Dzong (rkyang phan nam mkha' rdzong), which he likens to a palace, and explains why it is so conducive to meditative retreat. The place is listed among the six well-known outer 'fortresses' associated with Milarepa.
In this famous history of the sacred stūpa of Boudhanāth, Guru Padmasambhava recounts the stūpa's origins. In response to a request from King Trisong Deutsen, he tells how a humble poultry-woman first extracted a promise from the king and then built the stūpa together with her four sons, who were all later reborn as prominent figures in the introduction of Buddhism to Tibet. Padmasambhava also describes the benefits to be gained from circumambulating the stūpa and making offerings before it, and concludes with a series of prophecies concerning the stūpa's restoration.