“This prayer was the last prayer written by His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche who was my teacher. According to Tibetan Buddhism, His Holiness is believed to be the manifestation of Padmasambhava. Padmasambhava was called the second Buddha, and was the founder of Tibetan Buddhism in Tibet. In every prophecy, His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche is described as the manifestation of Padmasambhava himself.
This teaching is not a simple teaching. It was a vision. This is the story about how this teaching appeared.
His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche’s wife had a special Dakini, a wisdom goddess, who would visit her in her dreams from time to time. This Dakini would predict many things to her. One day this wisdom Dakini appeared in her dream and asked her to please ask His Holiness for a prayer, which would be extremely beneficial for future human beings.
The next day His Holiness’ wife made the request. She said, “I had a dream. Please write a prayer for beings.” And His Holiness said, “I have written so many prayers. There is no lack of prayers for people to read. It’s just that they don’t read. That’s the thing.There is no end to what I have written.”
And his wife thought maybe that was right, because in his last life, he wrote 23 texts of different practices. These texts were not just composed. They were wisdom manifestation teachings called terma.
During the time of the eighth century in Tibet, Padmasambhava realized that in the future the teachings would be disrupted. There would be negative forces – those who would try to change the essence of the teachings. So Padmasambhava and his Dakini Yeshe Tsogyal concealed those teachings. They concealed the teachings in the ground, in space, in the water, and predicted exactly at what particular time they would be revealed in the future and the name of the particular Terton that would reveal each teaching or practice. And that is exactly what has happened to this day. These terma revelations are so fresh, and therefore the whole teaching is preserved as it is.
The Terton, or treasure revealer, is like one who has been directly initiated by Padmasambhava himself. All the protectors who were keeping that wisdom took a vow with Padmasambhava that the terma would be given only to the right person, to the Chosen One of Padmasambhava. The whole teaching might be 300 pages, but the 300 pages are written in one line. It is secret and kept hidden in Dakini letters, which is itself hidden. No one can read that text except for the Terton initiated by Padmasambhava. Only he can read it. When discovered, there is only one line and through that a spontaneous text comes out. Terma is self-hidden wisdom. It is so important that we are able to have that. I feel very fortunate. We believe that His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche is the manifestation of Padmasambhava.
Then His Holiness’ wife had another dream. Twice the same Dakini appeared in her dream and this time she said, “I asked you before. It is very important that you request a prayer and you did not. Now please, ask him. Don’t neglect that. It is very important. There is big meaning within the prayer.”
So again she asked His Holiness. And then again His Holiness said the same thing. “No, I have written so many prayers. People just don’t do. From my side there is nothing lacking.”
And then she requested a third time. That morning His Holiness was in his Paris apartment in France. In the early morning hours, he was in his sitting room, and suddenly he had a vision of Padmasambhava. The whole room started to glow, and became big. A person wearing a white cloth and a symbol came dancing. And then Padmasambhava himself spoke. He said:
“Establish the dharma. Plant it in your heart. In the depth of your heart, you will attain Buddhahood. Enter the Buddha land. Purify confusion. Happily the Pure land is nearby. Generate diligence in the essence practice. Without practice, who can get results? Looking at all of one’s faults is difficult. Laying down one’s own fault is the essential point. One day all defects will slowly purify themselves. And good qualities gradually flourish.”
That was the teaching. And then right at that moment, His Holiness wrote this whole teaching.
The life of a Terton is extremely interesting, because all communication is on an extremely subtle level. For gross consciousness it is very hard to understand. His Holiness immediately picked up a table and told the attendants to fill it with milk, and then he asked his wife and son Shenphen Rinpoche to come.
It was very early and Shenphen Rinpoche thought, “What’s happened? Is His Holiness’ health ok?” He came rushing down. And His Holiness said, “Just sit down. And drink this milk.” Now this is how delicate a Terton’s life is. If Shenphen Rinpoche did not drink the milk at that point, what would become of the teaching? Sometimes they say that one person represents all human beings when in front of a very powerful being. So Shenphen Rinpoche drank it all. And that showed that the blessing would be attained by all beings. He drank all the milk. And His Holiness said, “Good.” This is how Tertons are.
Sometimes when one is next to a Terton, the Terton will tell you to get him something. He or she may tell you in the middle of nowhere, “Get me something” which you can never get. But the Terton never has the idea that it is not possible to get it, so the only thing you have to do is pick up anything and just give it to him because for the Terton habit is totally dissolved. There is no such thing. And when you just present that, it manifests in that state.
So when His Holiness said, “Drink the milk,” his son drank all the milk. And His Holiness said, ‘Very good. Just now I had this vision of Padmasambhava.” And then he wrote this prayer. This is the last prayer of His Holiness. And there is a tremendous blessing in this prayer.”
~ Choggi Rinpoche
The Last Prayer of Dudjom Rinpoche
(Freely transliterated by the presumptuous Bob O'Hearn, as a gift from a cloud to the sky)
Ati Guru, hail to You!
Sincere and open-hearted homage to the Only One, appearing as Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, Saints and Sinners, Fools and Thieves, Mothers and Fathers, Sons and Daughters, Husbands and Wives, Lovers and Friends, Killers and Marauders, Poets and Clowns, Leaf and Limb, Goats and Sheep, Cloud and Sky, Yin and Yang, Rain and Shine, Ants and Mosquitoes, Dharma Protectors and Dharma Deniers, Carrot and Cucumber, Actors and Audience, the Awake and Aware, the Asleep in the Deep, Magic and Mystery, Good and Evil, the Absence of Good and Evil, the Totality of the Universal Manifestation, and its serene spacious Emptiness!
Always one-pointedly remembering you from the depths of our hearts, we pray repeatedly before the mirror, invoking your compassionate attention.
Through the power of unobstructed loving kindness and gracious tolerance, see us as we are -- not different from what you are, and so not separate and alone, not afraid or bewildered, not in a hurry or stalled by delay, not postponing and not anticipating, just here as ever, singing this song to you, with you, as you.
Bless us to accomplish what we came here for, even though we came for no particular reason. That in itself is a blessing!
Having no purpose, we accomplish all in accordance with the Supreme Dharma in which there is nothing to accomplish, to remember or forget, to gather or surrender, to hold and to cherish, in this life or the next.
From former positive actions performed by nobody, we have gained this precious human body, though we are not this body, or any body in particular, nor has anything been acquired, performed, or achieved.
Due to merit, by no means small, we have met the holy Dharma, and it is us, though we are small, and utterly without merit or holiness.
Though we are small, all the uncountable galaxies revolve within us like circus performers under the big top, scattering empowerments, blessings, wise instructions, and party favors garnered from inconceivable Buddha fields as numerous as grains of sand on an infinite beach.
Though we hold such fabulous jewels in our paws right now, our minds, like manic monkeys, are seduced by every sly peanut vendor of distraction that comes around, luring us with the meager enticements of toasted oil and salt.
Having been fortunate enough to have been granted birth in a realm where we could hear and ponder the wisdom of liberation, our obscuring emotions should have diminished and our minds should have evolved to the point of pure perception, but instead, we have just gotten worse, cascading on towards pools of dull stupidity like a raging waterfall!
We trade our wealth, our freedoms, endowments, and wise instructions for bags of stale goobers, until we reach such a tasteless state of delusion that everything we perceive assumes the same quality as a flimsy fairy tale of dark shadows and demonic compulsions.
Dressing up in Dharma costumes, we imagine that we are authentic practitioners, yet this body and mind with which we are identified only imitates of true practice, like a cartoon character pretending to be real.
Bereft of even basic human common sense, let alone the clear view of true wisdom, we can't even admit that we know nothing, but instead casually critique the sages and their teachings.
We remain fixated in self-absorbed opinions and petty airs, while our big mouths parrot any scrap of clichéd nonsense that pops into our heads.
Wallowing in a stagnant swamp of sectarian biases and humorless beliefs, true inquiry is abandoned, and our cruel and thoughtless deeds bring us no shame.
With patience as short as the horn of a snail, we think nothing of others' well-being, but spare no effort in announcing our fraudulent credentials and wry conceits to any ear that will bother listening.
Mimicking the Dharma in this way is just toting around a big bag of dried turds and claiming it as some precious treasure.
We may have read a lot of scripture and heard a lot of teachings, but they only fatten our arrogance and pride, turning our lives into cautionary tales about how a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.
Our feeble mental analysis does not penetrate the beguiling facade of flashy appearances -- we are too busy chasing soap bubbles to realize that whatever we are trying to grab hold of is only a bit of glossy moisture floating on thin air.
Though we imagine we have developed some concentration, the slightest flash of phenomenal triviality can scatter our focus like leaves in a gale.
Though we imagine we have partaken of some superior training, the light behind the mind is still like a painted picture of a paper lantern.
Though we imagine we honor an aspirant's vows, true liberation is the last thing we are really interested in.
Though we can mouth explanations of various arcane texts, we cling to mediocre and mundane word games as if we have never learned a thing.
Though we might give lip service to our nominal Guides, our respect and devotion last only as long as we believe we are getting our money's worth.
Secretly, we believe we are their equals, and react in a rage of intolerance should anyone dare question our borrowed and embellished points of view.
Respect, love, and kindness toward our fellow practitioners are dependent on how highly they praise and honor our imagined attainments.
Even a cautionary word on their part seems intolerable and we quickly renounce their friendship. The love and compassion born of recognizing that there are no others, that all are ourselves, vanishes like mist when we do not awaken to real Bodhicitta.
Though we act as if we have some genuine experience of the various stages of practice and recognition, in fact we have never experienced an alternative to our uninspected fantasies of interpretation on perception, which we nevertheless take to be real.
Though we have heard that Emptiness is the ultimate teaching, we have no decisive understanding of it; our mind-streams are too fixated in cycles of identification with craving and aversion, hope and fear.
Unable to come to rest in the clear and open transparency of awake awareness, we merely nod to the view, and yet behave as spoiled, restless children.
Though outwardly we appear to be examples of equanimity, yet on the inside, greed, envy, hatred, pride, and ignorance burn like fire.
Though we might reside in the forest or mountains, secluded from the human world, day and night our minds ceaselessly wander in the city streets, looking for another fix to break our jaded sense of boredom and discontent.
We don’t really believe in our own practice, and yet we make a pretense of guiding and advising others, like a child making up stories.
Through our lack of integrity, we shamelessly cheat and harm ourselves, as well as all with whom we come in contact.
Knowing full well what we are doing, we get into self-destructive habits anyway, dragged around by the nose by any fleeting whim or fancy, addicted to every foolishness, seduced by the allurements of instant sensual gratification.
Not maintaining mindfulness, the hot air of our billowing thoughts blows us this way and that, our untamed minds cannot rest, and so we seek relief in oblivion tonics and poisonous cheap quick highs.
Now in this moment as mind regards itself, everything we do or don't do merely increases our huge bladder of defects.
Everything we conceive of is infected with emotional contraction and conflicting reactivity, yet how clever we still seem to ourselves.
All of our efforts seem destined for failure.
Where can we go from here but even further down?
Even a glimmer of self-observation is disillusioning, while looking to others only amplifies our sense of separation.
Where can we turn in this realm of lies, selfishness, and suffering? Who can we trust to show the way?
If we don't get our act together now, when Death comes calling, our protests and pleas will fall on deaf ears. No one will save us, and we will only have ourselves to blame.
With remorse and regret, we need to recognize our own fraudulence and self-deception. Isn't it about time?
All of this would be sad enough if there was such a being as an independent, concrete, and enduring person, but since that has never been the case, we are even more confused.
In a dream, an illusion is chasing a mirage.
Wherever we have failed in our practice through errors of judgment and appreciation, thought or deed, let's not make it worse by trying to conceal it in the presence of the Victorious Ones.
Therefore, from the depths of our hearts, we confess our failings, our foolishness and cruelties, our greediness and envy, our pride and arrogance, our petty preferences, our grasping and avoiding, our refusal to listen and our stubborn clinging to delusions of mind and body.
In your unbounded compassion, forgive us.
Protect us from the error of dead-end paths.
Guide us so that we can discover the perfect recognition of liberation.
Having so far wandered, distracted, through life, chasing this and avoiding that, we have missed the essential meaning, and instead played the role of charlatans, outwardly appearing as practitioners, but inwardly seething with the snakes of untamed passions and compounded delusion.
Shouldn't we be treading the path of recognizing the one thing that liberates all, instead of acting like the walking dead, stuffed dummies, exhausted donkeys, or hungry ghosts?
Undeceiving Supreme Protector, sole certainty and support, Root Guru who encompasses all refuges, Inner Guru who is our own True Nature, we pray to you with one-pointed devotion.
Kindly regard us with the most merciful compassion, which is the mark of Awakened Mind.
Bless us with true humility and uncompromising vision, so that we can clearly see our own faults.
Please bless us so that we can always forgive the faults of others, and quit blaming and complaining.
Bless us so we can abandon all selfish schemes and violent reactivities.
Please bless us so that only pure and healing impulses arise in our hearts.
Bless us so we develop freedom from grasping and clinging, and learn to be content with whatever we are given.
Please bless us so we remain mindful of impermanence.
Bless us so we are able to fulfill our purpose in this life, and not die with regrets.
Bless us so we can confidently embody the Way of Love and Wisdom -- not as a talking strategy, but as the way we actually behave in life and relations.
Bless us so we practice unbiased pure recognition to the point where our hair stands on end at the mere appearance of anything at all!
Please bless us so that we develop an uncontrived respect and devotion for all life that brings tears to our eyes.
Bless us that we stop daydreaming about unobtainable goals and accomplishments, put aside our present fantasies, relax and let go of past concerns, and just be.
Please bless us with the power to turn the light around and recognize the ever-present radiance of our True Nature in the depths of our hearts and minds.
The ultimate point of practice is to liberate our mind streams, even from the delusion that there is any such entity that is bound and in need of liberation.
Please bless us.
Bless us so that our practice is free of obstacles, or full of obstacles, since obstacles are only mind, and mind is empty.
Please bless us so that its results may ripen immediately, even though time is mind, and mind is empty.
Bless us so that we may liberate everything we come into contact with, even though whatever appears is mind, and mind is empty.
Please bless us so that we destroy the duality of hope and fear, even though there is no creation or destruction.
Bless us so that we see the non-dual primordial wisdom and recognize it as our own.
Bless us so that we reach the secure ground where there is nowhere to stand, nowhere to arrive at or depart from, or nowhere on which to plant a flag and consider that we are done for the day.
Please bless us so that we gain ultimate effortless certainty, until we are able at last to abandon clinging to any certainty and so fall freely into the vast Unknown.
With the great diamond sword of unconditioned pristine recognition, may the conceptual designations of "samsara" and "nirvana" be cut into emptiness with one stroke.
Since within the expanse of the all-pervasive equalness, the unobstructed great bliss enjoyment of the Real, even the word "suffering" does not exist, how much less the notions of "together" or "separate"?
Who could there be still searching for happiness, where happiness and suffering have the same taste, and seeking is self-liberated?
This is the Kingdom of the primordial Awakened One:
May all beings awaken to it in this very lifetime!
Om Ah Hum