Penetrating Wisdom - The Aspiration of Samantabhadra
— by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche
The reason we rely on the Vajra master is that we have already tried many different methods to wake ourselves up, but none of them really worked. We set our alarm clock for the next morning and then in the morning it beeps with a very unconfident beep. When this feeble beep happens, our great samsaric command is to move a hand with tremendous habitual power and press the snooze button. Then we go back to our comfortable samsaric sleep. We go back again to the dreams and nightmares to which we are attached. Fifteen minutes later, the alarm clock beeps again. Again we press the snooze button.
We don't have this faith, this confidence, in the inconceivable truth that can wake us up. This goes on for ages. That's why the Hinayana and Mahayana journeys take so long.
Basing himself on The Aspiration of Samantabhadra - a proclamation in the Buddhist tantras of the Buddha Samantabhadra, Ponlop Rinpoche illuminates the philosophy and meditation practices of Dzogchen - the highest and most profound teaching of all of Tibetan Buddhism.
With precision that does not intimidate the uninitiated, Rinpoche explains the basic nature of our very own mind - complete enlightenment - and how we may go about making this nature of mind manifest through making profound aspirations and through relying on the skillful methods of the Vajrayana - Tibetan Buddhism's "indestructible" path of insight.
Samantabhadra — in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition - particularly the Nyingma school - Dharmakaya Samantabhadra (not the bodhisattva of the mahayana) is considered the most primordial Buddha, akin in status to Vajradhara for the Sarma traditions. Samantabhadra appears in the Vajrayana tantric text the Kunjed Gyalpo Tantra, as the Primordial Buddha, the 'embodiment' (Sanskrit: kaya ) or 'field' (Sanskrit: ksetra ) of 'timeless awareness, gnosis' (Sanskrit: jnana ) awakened since before the very beginning. Therefore in Tibetan Buddhism the Nyingma school, the Sakya and the Bön schools - view Samantabhadra as the Primordial Buddha. In the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhist Vajrayana - Samantabhadra is considered a primordial Buddha in indivisible yab-yum union with his consort Samantabhadri.
However, the Kagyu and Gelug schools use Vajradhara (Tibetan: Dorje Chang ) to represent the Primordial Buddha.
With deep compassion, sharp observations, and arresting metaphors, the Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche explicates The Aspiration of Samantabhadra for both new and experienced practitioners. He makes difficult concepts understandable and assisted me to situate Dzogchen in the Vajrayana tradition.
This Dzogchen prayer explores the different manifestations of rigpa - our basic awareness in daily life, and constitutes a set of instructions for refining the path of practice.
Given as a series of talks in Germany and the United States, Penetrating Wisdom includes the text of the prayer, Rinpoche's always-lively commentary, and lucid answers to questions posed by his students.
While the author is a traditionally trained master in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, he has won great appreciation in the West for his humor, familiarity with Western culture, and his unique talent for using examples that are drawn directly from Western metropolitan lifestyles. The readers are served with the most profound ancient wisdom of the highest order at the same time that they are entertained and intrigued by the humor and colloquial street smarts of a master who, in every sentence, brings together the best of East and West. Since these teachings were originally given in English, the book gives an intimate connection to the feeling the author evokes in person.