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Introduction to the Six Lamps

From the Zhangzhung Nyengy

he Instructions on the Six Lamps (sGron ma drug gi gdams pa) belong to the inner
section of the Zhangzhung Nyengy. They were transmitted by Tapihritsa to
Gyerpung Nangzher Lpo on the occasion of their second meeting. The original
preface to the text says:

While the great Gyerpung Nangzher Lpo was residing
West of Drajhe, in the solitude of his rock-cave of Drak Shawadong,
The Emanation Body of the Lord Tapihritsa came (in the sky before him)
And, having subdued (Gyerpungs) arrogant pride,
Revealed to him the abiding mode of Awareness.

Being set free from the chains of all fetters,
(Gyerpung) was propelled on the plain of Equality (of the Base)
And was made to take hold of the natural state of Awareness.

Then, after five years had elapsed,
As Gyerpung Chenpo was living in the solitude of the island of the Lake,
In the afternoon of the fifteenth day of the first summer month,
And while he was remaining in contemplation,
Gyerpung saw in the sky before him
The Emanation Body of the Lord Tapihritsa (appearing)
As an immaculate Body, like the color of white crystal,
In a self-arisen Body devoid of adornments,
Abiding naked in a Body free from obscurations.

Having conceived faith and devotion (for the master),
(Gyerpung) circumambulated and prostrated before him
After which the Lord told him:

O Fortunate Son of Noble Clan!
You who are endowed with the karmic training of previous lifetimes,
Listen and be attentive to the revelation of the real meaning!
In order to guide the fortunate ones of future generations on a path without error,
I shall reveal you the three teachings forming my profound heart advise.

If you lack the knowledge of the ultimate teaching of the 84 000 doors of Bon,
The Quintessence of the Great Perfection teachings,
The Precepts of the Nine Blissful Ones of the Contemplative Transmission,
The Oral Transmission of the Twenty-Four Masters,
The so-called Six Essential Points of Bodhicitta,

These three teachings or instructions (lit. words) form the inner, secret and innermost secret divisions of the Zhangzhung Nyengy.
Then, the master who shall reveal these precepts
Will be like (someone) exhibiting objects to a blind person.

So, if you lack these Precepts,
Even if numerous Tantras and gamas of the Great Perfection were to be explained to
You would remain like a body without heart and like sockets without eyes.

Whatever may be the explanations regarding the 84 000 doors of Bon,
They exhaust themselves in the vague formulation of the conventional meaning
And none of them reach directly to the heart (of the principle).
It is for this reason, O Son of Noble Clan, that these instructions
Are called the Mirror in which one identifies the Universal Base,
The Lamp that brings forth the hidden secret of Wisdom,
The Precept laying Awareness bare in its nakedness,
The instruction that pierces and cuts through delusion,
And the Heart-advise that directly points out the Natural State.

The teachings themselves are described in six chapters which are each designated as a
Lamp (sgron ma). These chapters are:
1. The Lamp of the Abiding Base, which discusses the natural state in terms of the
Universal Base, Awareness and mind;
2. The Lamp of the Flesh-Heart, which explains where Awareness resides in our body;
3. The Lamp of the Soft and White Channel, which explains the pathway or channel
through which Awareness arises;
4. The Water-Lamp of the Far-Reaching Lasso, which is the doorway through which
Awareness arises;
5. The Lamp of the Direct Introductions to the Pure Realms, which describes the
visions of Awareness; and
6. The Lamp of the time of the Bardo, which discusses teachings related to post-
mortem states.

As it describes the abiding mode of our natural state, the first Lamp basically deals with the
teachings associated with Trekch.
The Lamps nos. 2-5 are concerned with the teachings of Thgel, explaining the key-points of
the practice, including a complete description of the visions of Thgel in the fifth Lamp.
Finally, the last Lamp explains the teachings associated with Bardo, according to the various
levels of the practitioners.

This short presentation was made by Jean-Luc Achard of the International Bnpo Translation
Committee at the request of Menri Lopn Trinley Nyima Rinpoche, on the occasion of the
transmission of the teachings on The Six Lamps in Los Angeles in September 2008. Thatsen
Mutsuk Marro!