Bird’s Nest Crystal Cave Pilgrimage Guide

(bya tshang ma shel gyi brag phug gi gnas yig)

Homage Lotus Born Padmakara of the three times!

The Great Vajradhara of Oddiyan traveled everywhere in Dzamling, making the Buddha’s doctrine rise like the sun. In particular, in central Tibet, he subdued all the gods and demons of phenomenal existence, established many temples, such as glorious Samye, and brought innumerable fortunate beings, such as the incarnated Twenty-Five Disciples, to the state of enlightenment. Of special importance is that he accepted the sublime Lady of Kharchen, a wisdom dakini, as his disciple. He granted her the empowerments of Secret Mantra’s compendium of transmissions and gave her inconceivable instructions on the generation and completion stages of meditation.

 

One evening, in a place called Shang Zabbulung White Boulder Bird’s Nest Crystal Fortress, while Lotus Born Padmakara, Lady Yeshe Tsogyal and Prince Acharya Sale were in deep meditation, Tsogyal supplicated her teacher and a beautifully adorned girl appeared before her, saying:

I am a mantra guardian dakini,
A guardian of the Master’s transmissions.
We are spiritual sisters with the same vows.
The quintessential meaning of the wisdom realization of the victorious ones
Is concealed in the secret heart of the Master.
Sole Mother, open the door to the Master’s heart!

And thus saying, she vanished.

The next morning, Noble Lady offered a gold tho korma mandala and five turquoises, the most significant being a lotus-flower turquoise to be worn at the throat. After arranging a ganachakra feast, prostrating and circumambulating the Master innumerable times, she made this request:

EMA! How wonderful! Great Master, vital essence of the doctrine of victorious ones,
The quintessence of the Master’s realization
Is concealed within the Master’s heart.
Through the power of my unsullied samaya
And devoted supplications,
I received a prophecy from the mother dakinis and other dakinis.
If you don’t fulfill my request made with faith,
Wouldn’t it be logical to question where is your great bodhicitta?
And also, would not your samaya be compromised?
My devotion and respect are eternal.
Please fulfill my request for the quintessence of your wisdom realization!

Great Master replied:

Listen, faithful Princess of Kharchen.
The sublimely profound quintessential meaning
Is the full and complete wisdom realization of the victorious ones,
The essence of all teachings.
As well, it is the single realization of numerous greatly accomplished Indian masters.
The gateway to wisdom realization’s meaning
Is The Nine Vehicles
And, the ultimate practice of wisdom realization’s meaning
Is The Stages of Meditation’s Development and Completion.

After teaching at length on the history and benefits of this realization, the Master did not accept the gold and turquoise mandala offering. Tsogyal and Acharya Sale offered their annual practice pledges and repeated their request. After the Consort and Prince offered a ganachakra feast and requested the empowerment, the Master transformed his body, speech, and mind into Avalokitesvara. He sent forth rays of light that instantly illuminated a billionfold universe. In all these universes, buddhas teaching the Dharma to their retinues and taming beings could be seen and the great nirmanakaya realms were visible. The Consort and Prince were filled with wonder at the Master’s vast qualities and further requested:

EMA! Wonderful Great Master,
Please show us all your qualities all at once!

Great Master replied:

Ordinary beings cannot perceive the full range of my qualities, nor can their minds encompass them. Even if I reveal them, they will not be seen. However, I have matured the two of you for a long time and you are now worthy vessels. If you have pure vision toward the quintessential meaning you have requested, I will reveal some of my qualities.

The Master covered the eyes of the Consort and the Prince with silk and grabbed the lapels of their robes, pulling them towards him. In an instant, they perceived the pure realm Array of Great Bliss Buddha Essence. It was completely filled with spheres of white light encircled by rings of five-colored light and joined by rays of light. Inside each sphere of light were one hundred billion vast sambhogakaya realms and within each sambhogakaya realm were one hundred billion Oddiyan Lotus Born Glacier Lake buddhas. Each Lotus Born was emitting one hundred billion rays of light from his pores and within each pore were one hundred billion great nirmanakaya realms. Each great nirmanakaya realm contained one hundred billion three thousandfold world systems and each three thousandfold world system contained one hundred billion Mount Merus with four continents. Each Mount Meru with four continents had its own Oddiyan Lotus Born and each Oddiyan Lotus Born had one hundred billion emanations. Each emanation had one hundred billion beings to tame and so forth. Such was their unfathomable vision! As light rays streamed forth from the body, speech, and mind of Lotus Born Glacier Lake, the Consort and Prince were brought to spiritual maturation. Lotus Born recited the chapter on the path of maturation. Then by the force of light rays, the Consort and Prince were instantly transported beyond innumerable pure realms towards the east.

Next, they perceived the pure realm Array of Great Bliss Vajra Essence completely filled with spheres of blue light encircled by rings of five-colored light and joined by rays of light. Inside each light sphere were one hundred billion sambhogakaya pure realms with celestial palaces. Inside each celestial palace was a Lotus Born Vajra Glacier Lake buddha, and from each Lotus Born light rays streamed from one hundred billion pores. Inside each pore were one hundred billion great nirmanakaya pure realms, and each great nirmanakaya pure realm contained one hundred billion three thousandfold world systems. Each three thousandfold world systems contained one hundred billion Mount Merus with four continents and each Mount Meru with four continents contained an Oddiyan Lotus Born. Each Oddiyan Lotus Born had one hundred billion emanations and each emanation had one hundred billion beings to tame, and so forth. This was their unfathomable vision! As light rays streamed forth from the body, speech and mind of Lotus Born Glacier Lake, he spoke thus:

Noble son and noble daughter, what would you like?

The Consort and Prince replied:

We would like the ultimate wisdom realization of the victorious ones.

Lotus Born taught the chapter on the development stage’s path of liberation. Then by the force of light rays, they were instantly transported beyond innumerable pure realms towards the south.

Next, they perceived the pure realm Array of Great Bliss Jewel Essence completely filled with spheres of yellow light encircled by rings of five-colored light and joined by rays of light. Inside each light sphere were one hundred billion sambhogakaya pure realms with celestial palaces. Inside each celestial palace was a Lotus Born Jewel Glacier Lake buddha and so forth, as above. Such was their unfathomable vision! One hundred billion light rays streamed from the pores of each Lotus Born and inside each pore were one hundred billion great nirmanakaya pure realms. In each great nirmanakaya pure realm were one hundred billion three thousandfold world systems and in each three thousandfold world system were one hundred billion Mount Merus with four continents. Each Mount Meru with four continents had its own Oddiyan Lotus Born and each Oddiyan Lotus Born had one hundred billion emanations. Each emanation had one hundred billion beings to tame, and so forth. Such was their unfathomable vision! As light rays streamed forth from the body, speech, and mind of Lotus Born Glacier Lake, the Consort and the Prince were brought to spiritual maturation. Lotus Born taught the chapter on the liberation through the upper gate. Then, by the force of light rays, they were instantly transported beyond innumerable pure realms towards the west.

Next, they perceived the pure realm Array of Great Bliss Padma Essence completely filled with spheres of red light encircled by rings of five-colored light and joined by light rays. Inside each light sphere were one hundred billion sambhogakaya pure realms with celestial palaces. Inside each celestial palace was a Lotus Born Padma Glacier Lake buddha and so forth, as above. Such was their unfathomable vision! As light rays streamed forth from the body, speech, and mind of the Lotus Born Glacier Lake, the Consort and the Prince were brought to spiritual maturation. Lotus Born taught the chapter on the great bliss of the lower gate. Then, by the force of light rays, they were instantly transported beyond innumerable pure realms towards the north.

Next, they perceived the pure realm Array of Great Bliss Supreme Activity completely surrounded by spheres of green light encircled by rings of five-colored light and joined by light rays. Inside each light sphere were one hundred billion great sambhogakaya pure realms. Each sambhogakaya pure realm had one hundred billion Oddiyan Lotus Born Karma Glacier Lake buddhas. One hundred billion light rays streamed forth from the pores of each Lotus Born and inside each pore were one hundred billion great nirmanakaya pure realms. Each great nirmanakaya pure realm had one hundred billion three thousandfold world systems and each three thousandfold world system had one hundred billion Mount Merus with four continents. Each Mount Meru with four continents had an Oddiyan Lotus Born and each Oddiyan Lotus Born had one hundred billion emanations. Each emanation had one hundred billion beings to tame, and so forth. Such was their unfathomable vision! As light rays streamed forth from the body, speech, and mind of the Lotus Born Glacier Lake, the Consort and the Prince were brought to spiritual maturation as all four empowerments were conferred. Lotus Born taught the chapter on the meditation’s completion stage beyond conceptual mind. Then, by the force of light rays, they were instantly transported beyond innumerable pure realms upwards in the sky.

Next, they perceived the sacred place Great Bliss Charnel Ground That Liberates Everyone From Cyclic Existence. The walls were made of human heads, the roof of human skin, and the roof ornament of human heart. Enclosed by a fence of skeletons, the hills were made of heaps of human flesh. In the center of a swirling ocean of blood was the chief of innumerable wrathful buddhas, the king of the assembly of the five lineages of Dorje Tötrengtsal. As light rays streamed forth from his body, speech, and mind streamed forth, the Consort and the Prince were brought to spiritual maturation, empowering them with an infinitude of teachings. Lotus Born taught the chapter on complete bestowal. After that, when the wrathful sound HA HA blasted from his mouth like a blacksmith’s sparks, the Consort and the Prince fell unconscious. When they came to, white rocks had tumbled down around the Master who spoke thus:

You two have emerged from the place of deity offerings. If one has unceasing pure vision towards the truth of dharmata’s riches, one realizes that a wisdom deity’s body and that of a dull black demon are not different within dharmata’s meaning. This is inexpressible. Because everything is entirely dharmata’s display, do not harbor attachment to wisdom deities. And, when one is not frightened by demons, demons become one’s friends. When the pure vision of the view of the knowledge of cyclic existence and its transcendence arises, one is a proper vessel for the ultimate quintessence of wisdom realization. How could you two fear me and still have continual pure vision? However, since all beings possess the cause for buddhahood, it is possible to benefit beings and therefore, I will teach you this tantra along with a commentary and you should write it down.

Having said these words, he laughed and sang a vajra song and stayed with them. Tsogyal and Sale got out their vermillion ink. They wrote the teachings with nothing missing and nothing added, grouping them into six chapters with six sections each, for a total of exactly ninety (?) sections of teachings. They entitled this text Quintessence Meaning Which Fully Liberates All Beings. The Master said these teachings were incomplete but nevertheless would guide countless beings to buddhahood, so of course, what need was there to request the complete teachings? There are innumerable buddha realms. Just one word of this meaningful teaching is worth more than all the wealth in Dzamling.

The place in Tibet where the Dharma Wheel of this earth treasure was first turned is Bird’s Nest Crystal Cave. Whoever sees, hears of, thinks of, or touches this place will be established in the state of buddhahood.

Drime Lhundrup Özer brought forth this treasure from Tsari Tra and composed this summary from the chapter on the history of Ultimate Quintessence. May it be virtuous!

In addition, at the midst of the sacred site of Zabbulung, on the Glorious Copper-Colored Mountain, there are countless sublime statues of buddhas, bodhisattvas, and yidam deities, such as the Thousand Buddhas of the Golden Age. And, it is from the peak of this mountain that Khandro Yeshe Tsogyal actually departed for the Palace of Lotus Light.

To describe this in more detail, the Keeper of Secrets, the sovereign of space, Tsogyal, was accepted by the Great Master of Oddiyan and attained supreme and common accomplishments. She actually traveled to all the realms of beings, such as the hells and so forth, teaching in ways appropriate for each being’s needs and bringing many to enlightenment. The Master’s own emanations pervaded the 125 major sites and 1,070 minor sites in Tibet. Tsogyal’s emanations pervaded them as well and in particular, she requested the Master to turn the Wheel of Dharma at each place. Together, they filled the earth, above and below, with treasures and prophesied the succession of future treasure revealers and doctrine holders who would receive these lineage transmissions. In this way, they traveled through Tibet like the light of the sun and visited sacred sites.

Even after the Master had departed for Chamaradvipa, Tsogyal remained, practicing extensively in the sacred places they had previously visited, bringing inconceivable benefit to beings, and receiving treasures. When the divine prince, Mutri Tsenpo, invited the Master to Samye, the Master turned the Wheel of Dharma for the king, the ministers, the queen, and other fortunate ones. He opened the mandala Compendium of the Master’s Secrets (bla ma gsang ba ‘dus pa) and they practiced for seven days. During the Seven Line Supplication, the great Master of Oddiyan came in person, accompanied by a retinue of dakas and dakinis and was serenaded with myriad musical instruments. He remained for seven days and gave the principal lady (Tsogyal) many oral instructions. The divine Prince set out one hundred gold mandalas filled with turquoises and supplicated the Master. As soon as the Master placed his hand on the Prince’s head, he achieved realization and liberation. So at that moment, the Dharma King (Mutri Tsenpo) attained buddhahood. Furthermore, the Master opened the mandala of the profound teaching Natural Liberation of Wisdom Mind (dgongs pa rang grol). This led the King and Twenty-Five Disciples to maturation and liberation. Before returning to the land of Oddiyan, the Master consecrated the Drubchung Temple as he tossed flowers and gave extensive advice.

Afterward, when Tsogyal was staying in Kharchu, the consort princess, Mandarava, actually appeared in the sky in front of Tsogyal and they stayed together for three or perhaps nine days. They exchanged profound Secret Mantra teachings until their minds merged into one. Then Princess Mandarava vanished into basic space.

Tsogyal later traveled to Zabbulung accompanied by a vast retinue, chief among them her eleven disciples who were realized adepts. For ten years, she benefited beings and remained in the meditative absorption in which all [dualistic phenomena] are exhausted.

When Tsogyal reached the age of 211, on the seventh day of the eighth lunar month, at (Zabbulung’s) Glorious Copper-Colored Mountain, she entered a cave resembling the mudra of hands joined in prayer. She gave extensive teachings to her retinue and offered a ganachakra feast. On the eighth day, the earth, sky, and surrounding space became filled with dakas and dakinis who had come to receive her. The whole sky was permeated with rainbows and the scent of wafting incense. Celestial music rang forth. The Venerable Lady used her miraculous means to perform a vast feast offering for all celestial beings and humans. On the evening of the ninth day, she traveled to the peak of Glorious-Copper Colored Mountain and gave some summary prophesies. The party of those who would escort her grew larger still. With her right hand, she touched Mönmo Tashi Kyidren and with her left, Kalasiddhi. The two dakinis turned into a blue utpala flower and a red lotus flower (respectively) and then dissolved into the right and left of Tsogyal’s heart.

At dawn, on the fourteenth day, the four classes of dakinis spread out a silk carpet resembling an eight-petaled lotus. Tsogyal stepped onto it, holding a small hand drum in her right hand and in her left, a skull cup. She entered a sedan chair made of light and everyone chanted Dharma texts and offered supplications. After giving many pieces of heart advice, the dakinis lifted the silk carpet sky, rose up in the sky and departed towards the southwest, towards Glorious Copper-Colored Mountain’s Palace of Lotus Light.

Thus, this great sacred site of Zabbulung has been successively blessed by the Lotus Born buddha of the three times and his retinue—the King and subjects and the assembly of Twenty -Five Disciples—and the dakas and dakinis that naturally gather there. Foremost of all the Master’s sacred accomplishment places, this sacred site brings anyone who sees, hears of, thinks of, or touches it to the level of enlightenment. This is the Oddiyan Master’s prophecy. Therefore, with great reverence of body, speech, and mind, everyone should prostrate, make offerings, recite aspiration prayers, and regard this place with as much honor and respect as possible. Those who wish to make meaningful their free and well-favored human birth and who have great diligence and pure vision, should make a connection with this place through prostrations and circumambulations. Especially here, at the supreme Glorious Copper-Colored Mountain, each circumambulation equals one hundred million Siddhi mantras and, if ten circumambulations are performed, one will attain the excellent support of a high spiritual birthright. If one is able to do a hundred circumambulations, one will definitely reach buddhahood. Since this sacred site offers liberation through seeing, hearing, thinking, or touching, the benefit for both oneself and others is spontaneously accomplished. Do not doubt this! Everyone should have certainty in their hearts.

Thus, three elaborate pilgrimage guides to the great sacred site of Zabbulung have been copied from three treasure chronicles. Bird’s Nest story was copied from the emanated treasure-revealer Drime Lhundrup Özer’s treasure Quintessential Meaning That Liberates All Beings (don tig ‘gro ba kun sgrol). The concise piece extolling the greatness of the Glorious Copper Colored Mountain was extracted from Dakini Yeshe Tsogyal’s biography found in Gyalwa Takshampa’s revealed treasure. If you want to read the original root manuscripts, please refer to these treasure texts.

 

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