By Margaret Johnston, October 2018
His Eminence Kathog Rigzin Chenpo Pema Wangchen Rinpoche gave a teaching at Sakya Monastery on “The Meaning and Benefit of the Seven Line Prayer.” The auspicious timing of this teaching, requested by Sakya Monastery, occurred immediately prior to the Monastery’s monthly Tsok Kor practice on October 19, 2018. H.E. Kathog Rinpoche is a renowned non-sectarian master of the Dzogchen Teachings, and the founder and leader of many Dharma centers worldwide. He received many teachings from His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Dorje Chang when His Holiness was invited to Kathog Rinpoche’s Center in Taiwan a few times. Recently Kathog Rinpoche opened a Dharma center in Poulsbo, Washington, thus fulfilling the wishes of H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Dorje Chang, who had suggested that he open a center in Washington State.
H.E. Kathog Rinpoche began by explaining how H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Dorje Chang created a holy pilgrimage site in North America located here at Sakya Monastery. Just by being present here brings many blessings. Rinpoche taught that intention is very important, especially before any empowerment, oral transmission, or teaching. He also emphasized that intention or motivation is very important before the beginning of any practice. The most important consideration is how we practice; incorporating both skills and method when applying the precious teachings.
Kathog Rinpoche further stressed the importance of feeling joyful energy before engaging in any secret Dharma practice, while maintaining both a clear vision and motivation when beginning the practice. Kathog Rinpoche further described Padmasambava as embodying the Buddha, Lama, Yidam, Dakini and Protector. Padmasambhava, or Guru Rinpoche, is the embodiment of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the three times as well as the embodiment of the root Lama and of all Lamas. This is how we should apply our minds. Kathog Rinpoche also encouraged us to think with a wider, more expansive view, not segregating one deity from another, so in this way the blessings will multiply.
Kathog Rinpoche spoke of the very special relationship Guru Rinpoche has with the Sakya Khön, a lineage reaching as far back as Guru Rinpoche’s first 25 disciples. Through Vajra Heruka, this unbroken lineage from the Five Founding Fathers of the Sakya lineage continues up to the present day. It connects us with the lineage and countless blessings, further connecting us residing here to those in Tibet.
Guru Rinpoche first relied on the Vajrakilaya practice and through his great devotion with this practice, he received many special powers and blessings. In addition, Tse Chu pujas honoring Guru Rinpoche are held on the 10th day of the lunar calendar at many Sakya monasteries in Tibet. In many of these monasteries there are statues of Guru Rinpoche, just as we have here at Sakya Monastery in Seattle. Kathog Rinpoche also mentioned the “speaking statues” of Guru Rinpoche that reside in some of the monasteries and other holy sites.
Kathog Rinpoche went on to describe that when we recite the Seven Line Prayer it is important to create a visualization and to believe the visualization we have created is truly real. Practicing in this way will greatly magnify the blessings. Kathog Rinpoche described how to do this practice with emphasis on creating a pure realm, by envisioning oneself being born from a lotus (primordial purity). The second the lotus opens up it is like turning on a light in a dark room, it is that quick. However, we are in an impure realm due to our own doubts. Therefore we must abandon these doubts and allow the pure realm to come forth. One must have full trust that you yourself can become the deity. It is not so important how vividly you see the details of the deity, but rather that you have complete faith that you can become the deity, absolute trust! In addition, one should view thankas and statues as the actual deity too. Then there will be no distance in receiving the full blessings.
H.E. Kathog Rinpoche then gave a transmission of the entire text by Mipham Rinpoche and he concluded with a reminder that in order to receive the blessings, one must have single-pointed vision and deep faith.