essence of refuge


The essence of the refuge practice is unshakable, unchangeable faith and devotion. Without this kind of faith and trust, your mind cannot open. When your mind opens, it becomes soft and receptive. Buddha’s compassion is like a hook which catches the ring of your faith and devotion. Without faith, there can be no real connection to dharma ~ not blind faith, but rather intelligent faith, free from any doubt or confusion because dharma is pure and faultless, Buddha’s mind is like the sun shining on a snow-covered mountain. With devotion, the rays of your faith can melt the snow of Buddha’s nectar of blessing. 

~  Lama Tharchin Rinpoche
Ngondro Commentary
© 2000 by Bero Jeydren Publications

tavish refuge 1
Refuge Ceremony ~ Tavish Nink with Lama Tharchin Rinpoche

photo source: Sonam  Famarin
with permission to post by Tavish Nink

Join Lama Sonam Tsering Rinpoche November 5th, 2020 10:30 am – 12:30 pm Pacific to receive the Dudjom Tersar Ngondro Lung (Oral Transmission) and series of Ngondro Teachings on the Preliminary Practices beginning with Refuge.

Visit the Vajrayana Foundation website at to receive the livestream link.


Different ways of offering the mandala

Of the two kinds of mandala that are described, the accomplishment mandala and the offering mandala, it is the latter that we shall discuss here.

In the Ancient Translations’ tradition of the Secret Mantra Vehicle, the most widely known mandala is the one with seven piles, representing Mount Meru, the four continents, and the sun and moon.

There are other traditions, with eleven, fifteen, and thirty-seven piles, and ones that are even more elaborate.

In particular, the texts of the Great Perfection’s pith instructions speak of the mandala of the body of manifestation, which is the one that has just been mentioned, the mandala of the body of perfect enjoyment with eight piles, and the mandala of the absolute body with five piles.

In the original Indic texts related to the New Translations, there are numerous rituals for the mandala offering, including those of the masters Sucharita and Nishkalankashri, but the most important one, described by the great masters Buddhaguhya, Kambala, and others, uses twenty-three piles—Mount Meru, the four continents with their subcontinents, the seven attributes of royalty, the treasure vase, and the sun and moon.

Mañjushrikirti and Nishkalankavajra also used mandalas of essentially twenty-three piles, but with the difference that the former substituted one’s own body for the treasure vase while the latter offered all kinds of treasures such as sapphires. Jetari taught a mandala with seventeen piles.

From these and other traditions there evolved a large number of different practices here in Tibet. Of these, the followers of the Kalachakra offer mandalas with nine piles and twenty-five piles, obtained by adding Rahu and Ketud to the seven – and twenty-three-element mandalas respectively.

In both cases, details such as the disposition of Mount Meru and the continents follow the Kalachakra tradition. Other traditions have mandalas with more or fewer elements, but they all share the arrangement of Mount Meru and the continents common to both sutras and tantras, and they aretherefore accepted as being in agreement with the third chapter of the Treasury of Abhidharma.

Nowadays the detailed mandala that is best known and most widely used in all the different schools is the thirty-seven-element mandala said to have been composed by Chögyal Pakpa Rinpoche. It consists of the twenty-three piles to which have been added the four particular attributes of the four continents, the eight offering goddesses (the Lady of Charm and so on), and the canopy and victory banner. This is the mandala that is most practiced.

Dudjom Rinpoche – A Torch Lighting the Way to Freedom – Shambhala Publications

Brief History of the Memorial Chorten in Thimphu, BHUTAN

The Memorial chorten in Thimphu Bhutan was built in honor of third Druk Gyalpo (Third Dragon King).
The entire project was completed in 1972. It took about two and half years under the carefully supervision of Dungsey Thinley Norbu Rinpoche. Lama Sonam Zangpo, the accomplished master took responsibility of offering zungs and he was fully dedicated to the preparation of zungs for more than a hundred of the newly built statues contained in the stupa.

All of the wall paintings were completed by Lopen Ugyen Lhendup, the most regarded Thangka painter at the time, along with associates friends. The clay statues were made by statue master Lopen Palden and Damche from Hephu Gonpa in Paro and Lopen Omtong from Bidung in Trashigang.

After completion of the project, the consecration prayer was conducted by H.H. Dudjom Jigdrel Yeshey Dorje along with many accomplished masters, in the presence of Royal family members and high officials. It is told, at the time when H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche began the recitation of prayers to expel negative forces, a flame suddenly appeared from the main altar and exited via the west entrance of the stupa. Everyone presented there was shocked and some even screamed upon seeing the flame as they thought the stupa had somehow caught fire from the electrical circuits.

The then the Home Minister, Lyonpo Tamzhing Jagar, suddenly stood up and ordered the electricians and other officials from the power division to check and maintain or repair the circuits immediately. But following the through investigation of the electrical sockets and points, they found nothing.

The people present reported that the five colors of flame seemed to exist the west entrance, but H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche remained very relaxed all the while and looked at the people with a gentle smile as if to assure them that there was no danger and that this was only a sign of expelling the negative spirits.

Finally, everyone calmed down and the incident generated even more devotion toward HH Dudjom Rinpoche. They understood and recognized that this was all response to Rinpoche ‘s power.

At another point when H.H. and other ritual performers were purifying the stupa, they sprinkled sacred saffron water from a holy vase and received a rain of flowers falling gently from a rainbow arching above the stupa. When they began invoking the Buddhas and Boddhisattvas in order to bless the newly built stupa, the fragrance of perfume filled the entire surrounds of the stupa and permeated the interior space as well.

The miraculous rainbow encircled the sun all day long. Some devotees even said that the sun, moon and stars were visible in the sky-all at the same time, which is very unusual.
The stupa had been blessed with many auspicious signs due to the power of H.H. Dudjom Rinpoches’ prayer. The zungs inscriptions were perfectly placed inside the stupa in accordance with the instructions given in the religious texts and executed by the accomplished masters like Lama Sonam Zangpo and other tantric masters.

It is said that the Memorial Chorten is only stupa built in the whole Himalayan Region which contains three different tutelary deities including the deities of mind Gongdue, Kagyed, and the Vajrakila deities. The construction design was based on the spiritual treasures described in the Vajrakila section of a terma reveled by Tragthung Dudjom lingpa in the 19th century.

Before performing a consecration ceremony, his holiness Dungsey Thinley Norbu Rinpochey had a dream of Dakini who, came to offer a milk, thanking for him for construction a well accomplished valuable and precious Chorten in a country so, this is main reason why HH Thinley Norbu Rinpochey built next morning of what he have seen in his dream.

Thank you all.

Source: Sangay Jamtsho

📸sonam famarin @2011

It is our great pleasure to announce upcoming teachings with Lama Sonam Rinpoche entitled Stupas: Unsurpassed Benefit in this Turbulent Time. The teachings will take place on October 15th, 2020 at 10:30 am Pacific Time, and will be publicly broadcast live on YouTube at this link. Please take a moment to visit the Vajrayana Foundation Event Page or the Facebook Event Page, and continue reading for more information on the subject of Rinpoche’s Dharma talk.
The year of 2020 has been hallmarked by uncommon levels of instability throughout the world. The great masters of the past have forewarned of difficulties such as these arising as a result of the imbalances in the outer and inner elements in our present age of degeneration. Join Lama Sonam Rinpoche and find out what can be done to balance the elements and bring peace and stability to the world.