Foundation for the Preservation of Yungdrung Bön / གཡུང་དྲུང་བོན་ཉར་ཚགས་རིག་མཛོད།

90th Anniversary of Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen’s Rainbow Body

90th Anniversary of Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen’s Rainbow Body

O, Splendour of the Universe, Omniscient Shardzapa

You who have gone into the Luminous Rainbow Body of Great Transfer –

I and all fortunate followers pray to you:

Through your compassion, please enable us to enter the unwavering Buddha-Mind!

Translated by Dmitry Ermakov, 2023

Today is a special day because it is the 90th anniversary of when the great Bönpo teacher Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen (Shar rdza Bkra shis rgyal mtshan) attained Rainbow Body.
Shardza Rinpoche was born in Kham, an eastern region of Tibet, in 1859. When he was nine years old, he told his parents that he wanted to become a monk. His parents were against this idea. They did not agree because Shardza was their only son. But soon the young boy fell ill and did not get better. So his parents decided that they should allow him to become a monk, and he stayed with his root lama, Tenzin Wangyal (Bstan ‘dzin dbang rgyal), for several years.
When he was eighteen, Shardza took full vows from the abbot of Yungdrung Ling (G.yungdrung gling) Monastery.
He received many teachings, instructions and initiations from many great Bönpo masters. At the age of thirty-four, he went into solitary retreat at Yungdrung Hlunpo (G.yung drung lhun po) in Shardza (Shar rdza) county. There, he thoroughly practised all he had learned.
Shardza Rinpoche wrote many books and summarised his understandings and realizations into a clear, coherent system which he passed on through his prolific writings as well as oral instructions.
He had many students, among whom were famous Bönpo tertons such as Sangngag Lingpa (Gsang sngags gling pa), as well as students from other schools of Tibetan Buddhism.
In 1934, when he was 76 years old, Shardza Rinpoche put up a small tent at Rabzhi Teng (Rab zhi steng) and asked his disciples to sew him in and leave him there. For several days, rainbows of all shapes manifest. At the end of his life, on the thirteenth day of the fourth month of the Wood Dog Year (1934), Shardza Rinpoche realised the Rainbow Body of Light; some of his students also manifested this highest realization of Dzogchen.

FPYB has publsihed three books with teachings by Shardza Rinpoche:

“Someone who practises trekchö and thögal together is called a Dzogchen yogi. Even if someone practises trekchö without integrating it with thögal, they can obtain the result that everything connected with their normal life disappears and becomes invisible. This can even include their body.

In trekchö, you want to practise but don’t know all the qualities of Dzogchen. This means that if you practise trekchö, your physical, material body can disappear, but it doesn’t mean that you have achieved rainbow body. Why not? Because it is still not the complete practice of Dzogchen. According to the Dzogchen View, you have to know what the qualities of Nature of the Base, kunzhi, are. You have to know all these perfectly. Why? Because if we just take some parts and practise them, we cannot reach Buddhahood. We have to integrate contemplation with normal life, without thinking: “Oh, maybe everything I see is created by myself.” Naturally it doesn’t work that way.”

Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen, Two Dzogchen Texts from KUSUM RANGSHAR: The Spontaneous Manifestation of the Three Buddha Bodies of Great Perfection རྫོགས་པ་ཆེན་པོ་སྐུ་གསུམ་རང་ཤར། Oral Teachings by Yongdzin Lopön Tenzin Namdak, pp. 4-5.

This book is restricted to those who received Dzogchen teachings from Yongdzin Lopön Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche or who have received transmision/teachings on this text in person from a qualified Bönpo lama. To order, write to us here:

This knowledge [of Dzogchen] is something very special, you see. We are always talking about how Nature is beyond thinking, beyond thought, yet, when we study in a normal way, everything is learnt by rote. In other words, we learn things using our concentration, our consciousness.

But Nature is beyond consciousness, it is completely the opposite.

Yet still you have to try to know it, and the only way is through the prayer of Guru Yoga; this prayer is very important for having a connection with this special knowledge of Dzogchen. We can only rely on the blessing of the Lineage Masters who transmit this teaching from one to the other in an unbroken lineage. This teaching and its lineage was not created. People didn’t just study in an ordinary way and have some good ideas which they wrote in books. This teaching and lineage started from dharmakaya and have not been broken up until now. The Masters have transmitted these teachings successively one to the next. They kept them strictly without adding anything extra. So Guru Yoga is very important for developing and maintaining this connection.

From: Essential Instructions on the Innermost Essence of Kuntu Zangpo by Shardza Trashi Gyaltsen / ཤར་རྫ་བཀྲ་ཤིས་རྒྱལ་མཚན་གྱིས་མཛད་པའི་ཀུན་ཏུ་བཟང་པོའི་སྙིང་ཏིག་གི་དོན་འགྲེལ་བཞུགས་སོ།།སློབ་དཔོན་བསྟན་འཛིན་རྣམ་དག་གིས་ཞལ་ཁྲིད།, Extracted from the Oral Teachings of Lopön Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche, Paris, 10-10-2010, Transcribed and edited by Carol Ermakovа and Dmitry Ermakov, FPYB, UK 2014, pp. 18-19.

Anyone who has participated in at least 3 Bönpo Dzogchen retreats in person or received transmission and teachings for this text can also order the book YINGRIG DZÖ – The Treasury of the Awareness of the Natural State: The Secret Ornament of Certainty from RESTRICTED BOOKS section of FPYB website.

According to your time, everybody, try to practise. That is my request. Guru Yoga is of paramount importance. This knowledge [of Dzogchen] can only be realized through Guru Yoga, through the blessings we receive from the Lineage Masters who hold this knowledge. Therefore, most importantly, we need to say prayers and have devotion to these Lineage Masters and the Dzogchen View. The Dzogchen View is real, pure dharmakaya which is connected to each being individually, yet still we don’t recognize it, we don’t know or respect it, so then even though it can never be spoilt anywhere in any way, if the individual doesn’t know this precious knowledge by themselves, then this is their fault, it is a problem. That is why you need to practise Guru Yoga and try to practise as much as you could. That is the essence, that is the essential practice of our human life.

Taken from: ཀུན་མཁྱེན་ཤར་རྫ་པ་བཀྲ་ཤིས་རྒྱལ་མཚན་གྱི་གསུང་འབུམ་ལས། དབྱིངས་རིག་རིན་པོ་ཆེའི་མཛོད་གསང་བ་ངེས་པའི་རྒྱན།
Omniscient Shardza Trashi Gyaltsen, YINGRIG DZÖ – The Treasury of the Awareness of the Natural State: The Secret Ornament of Certainty. Oral Teachings by YONGDZIN LOPÖN TENZIN NAMDAK RINPOCHE, Buddhas Weg, Siedelsbrunn, Germany,  13 – 17 September 2013. Trnscr. & Ed. Carol Ermakova & Dmitry Ermakov. UK: FPYB, 2015.


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