Entering the Conduct of the Bodhisattvas
Text Section 42
Khenpo Kunpal, as a Vajrayāna practitioner, considers his root guru [rtsa ba’i bla ma], Paltrül Rinpoche, as the manifestation of the omniscient wisdom [mkhyen pa’i ye shes], the loving compassion [brtse ba’i thugs rje], and the powerful activity [nus pa’i phrin las] of all the buddhas. He views Paltrül Rinpoche as inseparable from the lords of the three families [rigs gsum mgon po]: Mañjuśrī, Avalokiteśvara, and Vajrapāṇi.
From among these ‘lords of the three families’, Bodhisattva Mañjuśrī personifies the omniscient aspect [mkhyen pa’i rigs] of all the buddhas; Avalokiteśvara represents the compassion aspect [brtse ba’i rigs]; and Vajrapāṇi embodies the power aspect [nus pa’i rigs]. The ‘omniscient aspect’ of a buddha refers to the fact that a buddha knows everything throughout the three times and the ten directions. Nothing whatsoever can remain hidden or unknown to him.
The ‘loving compassion aspect’ of a buddha refers to the fact that the compassion and love of a buddha extend equally and impartially to all sentient beings without a single exception. The ‘power aspect’ of a buddha alludes to the blessing [byin rlabs] and benefit [phen pa] a buddha continuously bestows upon sentient beings. The sphere of influence of a buddha’s activities [phrin las] extends to every sentient being.
There is never even the slightest separation or obstruction between the Buddha and all sentient beings, not even for an instant. The Buddha’s blessings are constantly permeating and influencing the minds of all sentient beings, regardless of whether or not they are aware of it. The Buddha’s activity constantly serves the happiness and benefit of all beings. This is what is known as the ‘hidden’ activity of the Buddha.
What this actually tells us is that the Buddha is the true cause of happiness [bde ba’i rgyu]. Every manner of happiness that we can possibly experience is a direct blessing of the Buddha. Any circumstance that may occur that leads to happiness [bde ba’i rkyen] is also a direct blessing of the Buddha.
Bodhisattva Mañjuśrī is described as the body manifestation [sku’i rigs] of all the buddhas. In the same way, Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara is considered the speech manifestation [gsung gi rigs] of all the buddhas, and Bodhisattva Vajrapāṇi is known as the mind manifestation [thugs kyi rigs]. For a buddha, body, speech, and mind are inseparable [sku gsum dbyer med]. A buddha is wisdom only [ye shes ’ba’ zhig], not a trace of anything else.
Generally, the term ‘body’ [sku] refers to the ‘aspect of phenomenal appearance’ [snang cha].
The term ‘speech’ [gsung] is the ‘resounding aspect’ [grags cha];
and ‘mind’, the aspect which benefits beings, refers to ‘power’ or ‘capacity’ [nus pa].
All of these sublime qualities of the buddhas are fully present in Khenpo Kunpal’s root guru, Paltrül Orgyen Jigme Chökyi Wangpo [chos kyi dbang po]. Khenpo Kunpal’s other venerable masters [rje btsun bla ma], his other teachers such as Ön Urgyen Tendzin Norbu,1 Mipham Rinpoche,2 and others are considered to be the quintessence of all the buddhas [sangs rgyas kun dgnos].
Khenpo Kunpal prays,
“Reside in the lotus of my heart until I attain the essence of enlightenment,”
thus promising to meditate on his root guru seated upon a lotus in the very center of his heart until he attains complete enlightenment.
Paltrül Orgyen Jigme Chökyi Wangpo3 lived the life of a vagabond yogin. Considered to be an incarnation of Śāntideva, he was both an excellent scholar and a widely revered meditation master of the Nyingma School. In particular, he was a holder of the renowned and widely practiced Longchen Nyingthig lineage, which he received from his root guru Gyalwe Nyugu,4 a direct student of Jigme Lingpa.5
Paltrül Rinpoche was famous for his great skill in giving oral commentaries on and explanations of the Bodhisattva-caryāvatāra. Khenpo Kunpal had received extensive instructions on the Bodhisattva-caryāvatāra from Paltrül Rinpoche, as well as from many of his other teachers.
Ön Urgyen Tendzin Norbu [dbon urgyen bstan ’dzin nor bu], a nineteenth century scholar, was a student of Paltrül Rinpoche and a nephew [dbon] of Gyalse Zhenphan Thaye [rgyal sras gzhan phan mtha’ yas]. For biographical notes on the life of Ön Urgyen Tendzin Norbu see Masters of Meditation, pages 226-227.2.
For data on the life and work of Mipham Rinpoche see Beacon of Certainty, pages 19-39; Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, pages 869-880; and Werke des Mi-pham rnam-rgyal.3.
For biographical notes on Paltrül Orgyen Jigme Chökyi Wangpo [dpal sprul u rgyan ’jigs med chos kyi dbang po] (1808-1887) see Masters of Meditation, pages 201-210; and dpal sprul rnam thar.4.
For biographical notes on Gyalwe Nyugu [rgyal ba’i nyu gu] (1765-1843) see Masters of Meditation, pages 163-178.5.
For biographical notes on Jigme Lingpa [‘jigs med gling pa] see Masters of Meditation, pages 118-135.