“Dakpo Rinpoche (Master Gampopa) Instructs an Old Woman”

 Nubpa Rinpoche retells Dakpo Rinpoche’s teaching to an old woman he met.

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Teaching in Tibetan by His Eminence Nubpa Rinpoche

Translated into Chinese by LiuZheAn

Translated from Chinese to English by Ratnashri Translation Team

Edited by Dr. Kay Candler

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Dakpo Rinpoche,

Dakpo Rinpoche

Dakpo Lharjé was a disciple of the most venerable Milarepa.

Dakpo Lharjé

was one of the most important masters in the Kagyu Tradition.

Dakpo Lharjé

Dakpo Lharjé

first paid a visit to the most venerable Milarepa,

then he left and went to Shannan, Wči gá.

In Wči gá, he went into retreat.

During his retreat,

Dakpo Rinpoche had a benefactor

an old mother, old woman

she was responsible for his food, drink, and other necessities.

Later, Dakpo Rinpoche taught the old mother a visualization method.

What was the name of this visualization method?

It was called “The Teaching of the Instructions to the Old Woman.

Since it was the instructions given to the old woman,

it was called “The Teaching of the Instructions to the Old Woman.”

The scripture is only one page in length.

In that one page, Dakpo Rinpoche says this:

All of us have a mind.

We think: we want to eat,

want to do things, and so on—all kinds of thoughts are in our mind.

Dakpo Rinpoche taught the old woman:

Set the mind free.

Do not keep thinking about this and that outer thing.

Old woman, look inward to see how your mind is.

Mind has such clear-knowing awareness.

No matter what it is, it knows.

Ears can hear it no matter what the sound is.

Eyes can see it no matter what the form is.

It is such a clear-knowing thing. 

The term for this is “luminous mind.”

The nature of mind is luminosity.

Then he asked the old woman to consider:

This clear-knowing mind, how does it exist?

Old woman, you take a look, and see.

Old woman, you cannot say that it exists,

nor can you say that it does not exist, old woman.

You cannot say that it is big,

nor can you say that it is small.

It is something indescribable,

yet it is something that can be perceived.

Why is this so?

The reason is that the innate nature of the mind is emptiness.

This is called the “union of luminosity and emptiness.”

This is the Dharmakaya nature of the mind.

The instruction given to the old woman

is the Dharmakaya Phowa.

What is known as the "Nirmanakya Phowa,"

is the phowa that we now have to learn.

There are a lot of specific details—

We have to visualize the central channel,

and with the sound of PHAT, we eject our consciousness out of the crown

and send it into Buddha Amitabha's heart center.

This teaching

Is called the "Nirmanakaya Phowa."

The best is

like what we just mentioned:

If you can abide in the key essence of the mind—the Dharmakaya nature of mind,

that is the best phowa.

In the end, if you really cannot do it, then

the Avalokiteshvara Mani mantra that we usually chant:

if we do not forget the short mantra that Avalokiteshvara granted us,

we don’t forget the Mani-mantra,

we will be liberated within it.

This point is very crucial.

Secondly, we have to understand that

at the moment of death,

The worst thing is to still have desire and attachment.

We should not have desire and attachment to anything.

If we can let go of all desire and attachment, there will be no problem.

This is the most crucial point.

Thus, to summarize all the keys points in phowa,

here are the three points:

1. The best is, as I just mentioned, to abide in the nature of mind.

What Dakpo Rinpoche explained in detail—

to abide within the mind—is the Dharmakaya Phowa.

2. If that cannot be done, we visualize ourselves as Avalokiteshvara.

Doing this visualization at the time our breath ceases and we depart from the world

is known as the “Sambhogakaya Phowa.”

3. If this cannot be done either,

visualize that your consciousness is ejected through the crown of the head

and lands in the heart-center of your root guru,

or in the heart-center of the deity Avalokiteshvara,

or in the heart-center of Buddha Amitabha.

This is called the “Nirmanakaya Phowa.”

These are the important points.

Therefore, old mother, you have to follow the important points that I have just related.

Keep the mind comfortable, relaxed, and free.

There is nothing to worry about;

for instance, all suffering and happiness are over.

The children have all grown up,

and they already have their own paths.

Thus, there is nothing to be concerned about.

All the Dharma practices that were to be practiced in this lifetime have been practiced,

so feel comfort, be happy.

This is most crucial.

In this way, your mind will feel free.

“This very life of mine has been worthwhile.

All the virtuous deeds have been properly done.”

You should feel at ease.

Be relaxed and free. This is an important point.

Don’t burden yourself

by dwelling on how to do this,

how to do that.

Don’t think like that.

This is very important.

This is just like Dakpo Rinpoche’s “Teaching Instructions

given to the old woman.

His benefactor was an old woman.

This teaching is very good.

Its content is concise and essential.

Alright, that is all.

The Old Woman: Thank you.




Bodhicitta, the excellent and precious mind:
where it is unborn, may it aries;
where it is born, may it not decline,
but ever increase higher and higher

Last updated on 2017-12-03