Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Riwo Sangchö (Mountain Smoke Offering)


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“Riwo Sangchö (Tib. རི་བོ་བསང་མཆོད་, Wyl. ri bo bsang mchod), or literally ‘Mountain Smoke Offering’, is a terma that was hidden by Guru Rinpoche and revealed in the seventeenth century by the great yogin and tertön Lhatsün Namkha Jikmé (1597-1653), who brought the Dharma to Sikkim, as part of the profound Dharma-cycle of Rigdzin Sokdrup, ‘Accomplishing the Life-Force of the Vidyadharas’. It is the most famous practice of sang offering in Tibetan Buddhism. From the many ways, elaborate or condensed, of doing this practice, Dudjom Rinpoche composed an abbreviated version for daily practice, this is what is followed by the Rigpa sangha.”


Excerpts of Riwo Sangchö, the Mengak from Lhatsün Namkha Jikme’s ‘Rigdzin Sokdrup’, as arranged by Dudjom Rinpoche.....translated by Lotsawa House… a growing library of free Tibetan Buddhist texts.

Full Text at: Lotsawa House ..Click here to view the English/Tibetan original text.

Riwo Sangchö (Sang Offering)

Making an auspicious fire in a clean vessel or burner, burn aromatic woods, resins, medical plants, the three white and three sweet substances, (yogurt, milk and butter; sugar, molasses and honey) and all kinds of incense and powder—whatever you have available, and sprinkle it with pure water.

The heart essence of all sources of refuge of saṃsāra and nirvāṇa, who are as vast as space,
Powerful and wrathful vidyādhara, Padma Tötreng Tsal;
(Padma Tötreng Tsal (padma thod phreng rtsal) of Guru Rinpoche meaning ‘Powerful Lotus of the Garland of Skulls.’
Within your body, all that appears and exists is the perfect buddha maṇḍala:
In order to liberate all beings from saṃsāra, I take refuge in you!

In the ground of the luminous tiklé of supremely secret wisdom,
May the three obscurations of all beings be purified, and
With the four visions spontaneously perfected in the tiklé of the wisdom body, speech and mind,
May all beings be liberated into the youthful vase body! For this, I generate the heart and mind of bodhicitta.

To the primordial, unaltered nature of rigpa, I pay homage!
The luminosity, transcending limits and dimensions, I offer!
In the expanse of sameness of saṃsāra and nirvāṇa, I confess!
In the great exhaustion of all dharmas, beyond the ordinary mind, I rejoice!
Turn the wheel of the teachings of the spontaneously perfect Dzogpachenpo!
(Dzogchen or Dzogpachenpo (Wyl. rdzogs pa chen po; Skt. Mahāsaṅdhi or Atiyoga) — the ‘Great Perfection’, or ‘Great Completeness’)
Stir the depths of saṃsāra, I pray!
In the absolute state, free of subject, object or activity, I dedicate!

From the dharmakāya space of primordial purity, arising as its unobstructed play, is
Padma Tötreng Tsal, white with a tinge of red, in the full beauty of youth,
In dazzling splendour, with the major and minor marks, holding a vajra and skullcup,
Majestic, complete with all ornaments and robes,
Samayasattva and jñānasattva indivisible, his form is all the buddhas in one
The great embodiment of all saṃsāra and nirvāṇa.

5. Purification and Blessing of the Sang Offering
(Sang offering (Wyl. bsang mchod) is a practice of offering fragrant incense smoke. The most popular version of the practice is Riwo Sangchö, the Mountaintop Smoke Offering.)
Purify the ingredients of the sang offerings with: raṃ yaṃ khaṃ

Raṃ is the seed of the fire of wisdom, which burns the impurities of the offerings. It is red.
Yaṃ is the seed of air or wind, which disperses the impurities of the offerings. It is green.
Khaṃ is the seed of water, which purifies the offerings. It is white.
Out of emptiness appear the ingredients of the sang offering, transformed into the wisdom nectar free of any impurity, from which arises an ocean-like cloud of sensual stimulants, spreading out to fill the whole of space.

Bless the sang offering with the three syllables oṃ āḥ hūṃ and ‘Samantabhadra’s Offering Mantra’:
(Samantabhadra (Skt.; Tib. ཀུན་ཏུ་བཟང་པོ་, Kuntuzangpo; Wyl. kun tu bzang po) — In the Dzogchen teachings, our true nature, that state of the Ground, is given the name the 'Primordial Buddha'. Sogyal Rinpoche writes, "[Kuntuzangpo] represents the absolute, naked, sky-like primordial purity of the nature of our mind".)
om ah hung

Oṃ is the seed of the body of the buddhas, which purifies the offerings.
Āḥ is the seed of the speech of the buddhas, which multiplies the offering to become as vast as the whole universe.
Hūṃ is the seed of the mind of the buddhas, which trans­mutes the offering into the nectar and ambrosia of wisdom.

i. Blessing the Offering Substances
Bhrūṃ! In the vast lustrous vessel, made of the essence of various jewels,
The samaya substances, all the desirable objects in worldly existence, are
Transformed into the nectar of wisdom through the blessing of the three seed syllables oṃ āḥ hūṃ,
So that all that appears and exists becomes an offering of all that is desirable.

ii. The Recipients of the Offering
This I offer to the lamas, yidams, ḍākinīs, dharmapālas and
All the mandalas of the buddhas of the ten directions,
To the local deities of this world, beings of the six realms and the guests to whom I owe karmic debts,
And especially to those who would steal my life and deplete my life force,
To the malicious jungpo demons who inflict sickness and obstacles,
(traditional histories believe that Lang Darma was possessed by an evil spirit. A jungpo (‘byung po) is one kind of spirit, but in fact Butön tells us it was another kind, a dön (gdon).)
Bad signs in dreams and all types of evil omens,
The eight classes of negative spirits, the masters of magical illusions,
And those to whom I owe karmic debts of food, place and wealth,
To forces that bring obscuration and madness, to the shades of men and women dead,
To all the spirits, terangs, ghouls and female ghosts!

iii. How the Offering is Made
Now all my karmic debts are paid, burnt in the scarlet flames.
Whatever each one desires, may the objects of their desires rain down:
For as far and as long as space exists,
I dedicate an inexhaustible amount of sensual stimulants!
May my negative actions and obscurations accumulated in past, present and future,
And misuse of the offerings made to the Three Jewels, in devotion and for the dead,
Be purified in the fire of this sang offering!
Let its flames fill the entire universe and every minute particle of flame
Become an inexhaustible cloud of offerings like Samantabhadra’s
Pervading throughout all the buddha realms!
May these flames, offering-rays of five-coloured lights of wisdom,
Pervade throughout the six classes of beings, down to the Avīcī Hells,
The three realms of saṃsāra be liberated into the rainbow body,
And all sentient beings awaken into the heart of enlightenment!

All is purified into the three kāyas: the environment, a heavenly palace where
Dharmakāya, saṃbhogakāya and nirmāṇakāya—the forms and aggregates of phenomenal existence,
Melt into nectar, flooding the whole expanse of the sky with rainbow light.
Saṃsāra is liberated into nirvāṇa; this essence of immaculate nectar
I share with all those who, from beginningless time until now,
Have been guests in worldly existence.

Having attained all the noble qualities of the stages, paths and fruition,
And dispelled all obstacles in view, meditation and action,
Within the sky-like space of Samantabhadra’s wondrous wisdom mind,
May we seize the stronghold of the youthful vase body!
And when at last the great ocean of saṃsāra is emptied;
May all beings attain buddhahood in the Lotus Net of Akaniṣṭha!
The sang offerings of the aggregates and elements blaze in vivid, brilliant splendour!
The sang offerings of red and white bodhicitta blaze in bliss and emptiness!
The sang offerings of emptiness and compassion fill the dharmadhātu!
Upon the ground of five-coloured vajra light of phenomenal existence, saṃsāra and nirvāṇa,
I offer the sang offering of spontaneously accomplished perfect buddhahood.
May all my karmic debts from the past be purified!
In the present so they do not remain in my mindstream, I confess them!
And in the future, may I never be drawn into the wheel of obscuration!
All impairments of the vows of individual liberation, bodhisattva precepts,
And samayas of the vidyādharas,
Conscious or unwitting, I openly admit.
May illness, harmful influence, obscurations and impurities be purified!
May this age of plague, famine and warfare be pacified!

May the attacks of invaders be repelled!
May obstructing forces that cause the spiritual teacher to depart be averted!
May inauspicious bad omens for the whole world and the land of Tibet be averted!
May the planetary forces, nāgas and arrogant king-like spirits, who cut short the breath of life, be repelled!
May the eight great fears and sixteen lesser fears be overcome!
For me and all those round me, may all that is inauspicious be averted!
May the powers and strength of samaya-breakers and gongpo demons be averted!
May all inauspicious bad omens for the whole Rigpa saṅgha, Lerab Ling and Dzogchen Beara be averted!

May all the buddhas be pleased with this offering!
May the solemn promise of the protectors be fulfilled!
May the wishes of the six classes of beings be satisfied!
May the enmity of karmic debtors be assuaged!
May we complete the accumulation of merit and wisdom!
May we purify cognitive and emotional defilements, and karmic traces!
May we attain the dharmakāya and rūpakāya, for the benefit of self and others!
Through the power of this vast act of generosity
May we spontaneously attain buddhahood for the benefit of beings!
All those who were not liberated by the buddhas of the past,
Through this act of generosity, may they be liberated!
May all the spirits gathered in this place,
Be it on the earth or in the water or in the sky,
Always show goodwill and kindness to all beings,
And practise Dharma day and night!
Through the positivity and merit of this, may all beings
Complete the accumulation of merit and wisdom,
And from this merit and wisdom,
May they attain the dharmakāya and rūpakāya, for the benefit of self and others!
Untainted by effort and exertion
A wish-fulfilling jewel, a wish-granting tree,
May I fulfil the hopes of sentient beings
And may all be auspicious to accomplish their desires!

Make everything positive and well with auspicious prayers such as these. From the many ways, elaborate or condensed, of doing this practice, I Jñāna (Dudjom Rinpoche), an old yogin, composed this abbreviated version for daily practice.


Mountain Smoke Offering (Riwo Sangchö)…… a translation of the original revelation of Riwo Sangchö, meaning ‘Mountaintop Offering of Sang (Fragrant Incense Smoke)’. This practice was revealed as a terma by Lhatsun Namkha Jikmé, who is also credited with opening the hidden land of Sikkim. This practice was later expanded by Kyabjé Dudjom Rinpoche, who added a section on visualizing oneself as Guru Rinpoche, and prayers of dedication at the end.

“In accordance with an earlier prophetic declaration of the dakinis, the famous cycle of terma teachings called Rigdzin Sokdrup, ‘Accomplishing the Life-Force of the Vidyadharas’, emerged in a pure vision while he was in retreat in the cave of Lhari Rinchen Nyingpuk at Drakkar Tashiding. These teachings, of which Riwo Sangchö forms the mengak or innermost instruction, are unsurpassed instructions on Dzogchen Atiyoga.

“Through his practice of Riwo Sangchö, Lhatsün was able to remove all human and non-human obstacles to the Dharma in Sikkim, opening it as a ‘secret land’ of the teachings. Because of this, he was able to teach Dzogchen very widely in Sikkim in the remaining years of his life, establishing a vibrant and unbroken lineage that continues to this day, known simply as ‘Sikkim Dzogchen’…….More than two hundred of Lhatsün Namkha Jikmé’s writings have survived. Accomplishing the Life-Force of the Vidyadharas and The Spontaneous Song of the Clouds have continued to be transmitted and practised throughout Tibet and particularly in Sikkim right up to the present day without any decline. His incarnation, Jigme Pawo (1682-?) continued his work in Sikkim. His later incarnations include the Khyentse lineage; Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö states in his autobiography that he had clear memories of his past life as Lhatsun Namkha Jikmé, and that he had been shown the tantric disciplines by Lhatsün in a vision.

Lamas, Shamans and Ancestors: Village Religion in Sikkim….. By Anna Balikci

Root text: Mountain Smoke Offering, revealed by Lhatsün Namkha Jikmé from Accomplishing the Life Force of the Vidyadharasün_Namkha_Jikmé


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