Wylie:Phyag rgya chen po gcod kyi gdams pa nam mkha' sgo 'byed
These “instructions” (gdams pa) on Severance Mahāmudrā are actually meant to be performed as an authorization ritual (rjes gnang), as is evident in the format and stated clearly in the opening verses and colophon. An authorization is similar to an empowerment (dbang), though usually less complex. So in fact these are instructions on conferring the authorization, including the actual liturgies to be recited and sometimes repeated by the disciples. Perhaps this confusion is why the text was moved from its original position in the empowerment section of the Palpung blocks to the instruction section of the Shechen printing. In Kongtrul’s catalog, the text is indicated by the statement “torma empowerment of the Zurmang tradition.” The empowerment or blessing in this case is conferred physically using a torma (ritual sculpted dough), rather than the various other implements of initiation.
The phrase “opening the sky door” (nam mkha’ sgo ’byed) is distinctive to the Severance tradition and refers specifically to the practice of separating consciousness from the body and sending it out the cranial aperture, a kind of transference (’pho ba). However, it has become a more generalized designation for a whole cycle of Severance teachings, including an enumeration of a set of ten instructions called sky-door openings. Khamnyön’s Religious History of Pacification and Severance reports that Machik received the empowerment originally from Kyo Sakya Yeshe during the transmissions of a teaching called the Six Pieces and attained liberation after receiving only four of the six instructions. Khamnyön’s biography of Dampa Sangye recounts that the initiation was given by Dampa to four disciples and the instructions to Kyo Sakya Yeshe, who conferred it on Sönam Lama, who then passed it to Machik. In any case, the term “opening the sky door” is most commonly associated with the empowerment ritual that is required before commencing the practice.
The author, Rinchen Senge (Rin chen seng ge), signs with the Sanskrit name Ratnasiṃha. It is difficult to identify this person with certainty, other than that he was active during or after the time of Rangjung Dorje (1284– 1339), who is specifically mentioned in the colophon. It seems likely that he is the great preceptor of Tropu (Kagyu) Monastery (Khro phu mkhan chen Rin chen Seng ge, 13th c.), the ordination preceptor of Butön Rinchendrup (1290–1364) and also of Zurmang Khenchen Pema Namgyal.
Note that empowerment rituals often require the recitation of stories and instructions, and even section headings.
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- Brul tsho drug. This text, thought by modern scholars to be lost, is available in the Dingri Volumes.
- Khamnyön Dharma Senge, The Religious History of Pacification and Severance, pp. 436–37.
- Khamnyön Dharma Senge, The Life Story of the Great Mighty Adept, Venerable Dampa Sangye, pp. 54–55. This nineteenth-century account follows (i.e., copies) that of Gö Lotsāwa (1392–1481) in The Blue Annals.
- mKhan chen Pad ma rnam rgyal, a lama of Zurmang Monastery. This tentative identification is based on the statement in his biography that he received novice vows from “Karma’s Khenchen Ratna.” See mKhan chen Padma rnam rgyal gyi rnam thar in Collected Histories of the Glorious Zurmang Kagyu (Zur mang bka’ brgyud chos ’byung), p. 672.
- Translator's notes
- Note from Ringu Tulku
- The Mahamudra Chod Instructions Called "Opening the Sky".
- Notes on the text itself
- Notes on authorship
- Notes on individuals related to text
- Other notes
- written after comparing the teachings of the gcod lineage (jo mo, etc.) and the teachings of rang byung rdo rje.
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- BDRC Content Information
- No note on contents
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- Commentary(s) of this Text in the DNZ
- Text(s) in the DNZ of which this is a commentary
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Information about Unicode Tibetan and the digitization of this text
As the only available unicode Tibetan text at the time, Nitartha International's version of the Paro Edition of the gdams ngag mdzod is provided here. However, note that it has not been thoroughly edited and that there may also be mistakes introduced through the conversion process. Eventually we will provide a fully edited version of the entire Shechen Edition, entered and edited multiple times by Pulahari Monastery in Nepal, but as of fall 2017 that project has not been finished. Note that the folio numbers that appear throughout were added by Nitartha Input Center at the time of input.