A biography of Longchen Rabjam (23)

Publié le 24 Mai 2021

And yet, [now gathering] crowds of fortunate beings applying their efforts to what is deserving, whether many or few, three thousand or a hundred, he indifferently opened [all] the doors of the Dharma, according to the degree of understanding of each [of his listeners], explaining the great texts of the sūtras and mantras, [bestowing] empowerment and instructions... He taught unceasingly, without excluding [those who could not] pay a material contribution.[1]

Whatever offering was made to him, he returned two thirds of it during the ceremonies of the Tenth Day [of the lunar month] and kept only one third for any necessity. As for those who wished to offer him [food], he did not receive pompous offerings (che btsan gal po che), saying: ‘I cannot digest that’[2].

When distributing [material goods to the congregations], he would say: ‘There is no doubt that the front rows [are filled] with individuals without merit’ and he would have the distribution done starting with the last. He would say: ‘Honors belong to the Congregation and not to sinners,’ [292] he would not have [special] floor mats laid out for the presumptuous laity and would not honor them.[3]

Whatever gifts [rich] patrons gave him, he would say, ‘If they had traded them, they would have wasted [these goods, anyway]’ and he gave nothing in return. [On the other hand,] if humble beggars offered him whatever they could find (ci drangs), [even] of poor quality, he proceeded with a rejoicing expression to reversion [merits according to] the sūtras. Thus he never departed from his principles.”[4]

In the rest of his text, sMyo shul mkhan po reports the contents of Klong chen rab ’byams’ spiritual testament, the Zhal chems dri ma med pa’i ’od (no. 228). This writing is found in the mKha’ ’gro yang tig, along with two other “wills” that follow it. The whole is twenty-five pages long in the edition consulted. As Jean Luc Achard has studied[5] the tradition of “Testaments” in the first generations of the masters of the rDzogs chen snying thig, I will not insist here on the particularly crucial character of these “last words” in this spiritual current. The Zhal chems dri ma med pa’i ’od is a series of beautifully attic quatrains, each of which contains a piece of spiritual or moral advice. sMyo shul mkhan po follows this text with oral advice (p. 307) that Klong chen rab ’byams would have given to his assembled disciples at the time; in particular, he would have recommended that, in case of doubt, they should systematically refer to his Yang tig yid bzhin nor bu.

sMyo shul mkhan po continues:

“Then he went to Zhwa’i lha khang where he made offerings and wishes; while he was giving a public teaching (khrom chos), there was a wonderful shower of flowers. Then he stopped at O rgyan dgon where he stayed for some time, saying [to his disciples], ‘Do not be distressed because of me.’[6]

Then, on the way to mChims phu, his disciples and benefactors of rGya ma having come to accompany him, he said to them: ‘Now go home; do not return [to your steps] out of affection [for me]; from now on you will not see me[7]. [308] Devote yourselves to the Dharma.’ Thus he gave them his instructions. Then, as he arrived at mChims phu, he said, ‘This place is like the Sitavarṇa charnel ground in India; it is said that dying here is better than being born elsewhere. It is on this charnel house that I want to deposit the aggregate of my illusory body; let us go there’.[8]

Invited by the six dud gtong (?) [of] bSam yas, he gave the instructions of the supreme secret to a large crowd. As the assembly was enormous, the ‘unelaborated’ (spros med) empowerment took a long time, and it was then that he appeared to fall ill. On the tenth day, at the midday assembly, he said: ‘Arrange the gtor mas, I have finished the consecration’.[9] He was asked to take a few days off to rest because of his illness. He answered that it would not be necessary and that the consecration should be finished; as they insisted, he answered: ‘I had in mind to finish the consecration; but you do not listen to me’.[10]

It was in his fifty-sixth year, on the evening of the eighteenth of the twelfth month of the year of the female water hare,[11] that he asked [his disciples,] such as ’Od gsal rang grol and Kun dpal, who were present, [309] to arrange [on the altar] some offerings and then to go away. When they had arranged these, they asked him [if they could stay]. Then he answered them, ‘This [my] decrepit body is [good] to be left behind; you stay [here] without chattering, in recollection.’ Then he assumed the posture of the Body of Reality and went to the primordial place where [the phenomena] are exhausted.[12]

At that moment, in the sky, which was without clouds, a rainbow tent [formed]; a shower of flowers fell; the crops ripened and various flowers, such as rose, bloomed. In some [spontaneously occurred] a unifying and continuous realization (rtogs pa phyam gdal) of the clear light – such prodigious signs occurred unceasingly until the offerings [made] a month [after death].[13]

[Klong chen rab ’byams’] body  was filled with delicious perfumes, sandalwood, camphor, etc., until the twenty-fifth day, when offerings were made. When he was carried to the funeral pyre, the great earth shook three times; [at the end of the cremation,] his heart, tongue and eyes [remained] unburned. More particularly, his brain was not damaged and remained as a stone-hard block, pale yellow in color, of the nature of śariram. In addition, there were relics (gdung) of the five families [of Buddhas] and innumerable small relics (ring bsrel phra mo); from the ashes [of the funeral pyre] [310] several statues [spontaneously formed,] among others one of Amitayus. In this very place a statue [of Klong chen rab ’byams] was erected as an ‘inner support’ on the one hand, and a stūpa of the Great Awakening, etc., as an ‘outer support’ on the other.”[14]


[1] Thar pa don gnyer gyi skal ldan 'dus pa sum stong tsam nas brgya-phrag sogs mang nyung ci rigs pa la so so’i blo dang ’tshams pa’i mdo sngags kyi gzhung bshad dbang khrid sogs chos sgo ris med pa yang nas yang du gsungs shing chos khral bcad thang mi mdzad |

[2] Dad rdzas phyag tu ci 'byor yang sum gnyis kyis tshes bcu’i mchod pa dang cha gcig gis ’phral mkho’i yo byad mdzad | mChod par dmigs pa rnams che btsan gal po che su byung yang ’di zos pas mi ’ju gsungs nas mi gnang |

[3] ’Gyed mdzad dus gral mtho’i skal pa chad dogs med gsungs gral mjug nas yar ’gyed | bKur sti dge ’dun la dgos pa yin | sdig can la mi dgos gsungs nas mi skya [292] chen por ’dod pa rnams la gdan ’ding dang bkur sti mi mdzad |

[4] Yon bdag rnams kyis dngos po bzang ba ci phul kyang tshong du song na kho rang gi dngos po de chud ’dza’ ba yin gsungs nas | de’i lan du gnang sbyin mi mdzad | sNyoms chung dbul phongs kyis ngan ngon ci drangs shing phul kyang | mnyes bzhin pas mdo bsngo mdzad pa sogs thugs kyi zhe dam brtan po nam yang bsnyel ba mi mnga’ ba yin no |

[5] Les Testaments de Vajradhara et des Porteurs de Science [The Wills of Vajradhara and the Science Bearers], see bibliography.

[6] De nas Zhwa lha khang du byon nas mchod pa dang smon lam mdzad cing | khrom chos gsungs dus me tog gi char ngo mtshar ba babs | Rim gyis O rgyan dgon du dar gcig gzhugs nas kho bos khyed rnams la mya ngan mi ’jog gsungs nas...

[7] ...mChims phur phebs pa’i lam du | rGya ma’i slob rigs yon bdag rnams skyel thung du byon pa las | Da khyed rang rnams phyir log sems ’phreng ba las mi yong | Khyed rnams kyis da nas nga mthong ba min |

[8]  [308] Khyed rang rnams chos la ’bungs sogs zhal ’khos mdzad nas mChims phur phebs tshe | ’o gnas ’di rGya gar gyi dur khrod bSil ba tshal dang mtshungs pa yin pas | gzhan du skyes pa las 'dir shi ba dga’ bar bshad pas | da sgyu lus kyi phung po ’di yang dur khrod ’dir ’jog bsam pa de thog tu phebs gsungs |

[9]  To understand the logic of the text, one must remember that the unelaborated (spros med) empowerment is the second in a series of four constituting the complete initiation, according to the sNying thig system. Having completed this part of the rite, Klong chen rab ’byams wishes to proceed to the next. He knows that if he rests, he will not be able to complete the whole. The appearance of slight inconsistency (empowerment completed or in progress) is due to the fact that the same Tibetan word (dbang) names the whole and the parts.

[10] Der bSam yas dud gtong drug sogs kyis gdan ’dren zhus nas ’dus pa mang po la gsang ba bla na med pa’i khrid mdzad pa na | tshogs pa ches mang bas spros med kyi dbang la zhag du mar ’gor skabs rim gyis bsnyun pa’i tshul bstan te | tshes bcu drug gi nyin tshogs gtor gshoms shig dbang byed pa yin gsungs | sKu bsnyun pas ’o brgyal bar gda’ | zhag shas sku ngal gsor bar zhus pas | de mi dgos dbang ’di tshar ba byed gsungs pa la nan gyis zhus pas | dbang tshar ba gcig byed bsam pa yin te khyed rnams mi nyan par gda’ gsungs nas |

[11] According to Guenther’s calculation, on Wednesday, January 24, 1364. The same year that Tibet also lost Bu stonRin chen grub and Ta’i Si tu Byang chub rgyal mtshan.

[12] dGung lo lnga gcu rtsa drug bzhes pa chu mo yos kyi lo rgyal zla’i tshes bco brgyad kyi dro kha’i dus su ’Od gsal rang grol dang | Kun dpal sogs drung du yod pa [309] rnams la mchod pa zhig shoms la phyir song gsungs pas | mchod pa bshams te 'dug par zhus pas | ’o na sgyu lus gog po ’di ’dor ba yin pas khyed-rang rnams ca co ma byed mnyam par zhog la sdod cig gsungs nas | chos sku'i bzhugs stangs kyis gdod ma’i zad sar gshegs so |

[13] | De’i tshe rdul bral gyi nam mkha’ ’ja’ tshon gyi gur me tog gi char babs pa | se ba la sogs pa’i lo ’dab dang me tog sna tshogs ’bus pa | ’ga’ shig ’od gsal gyi rtogs pa phyam brdal ba sogs ngo mtshar ba’i ltas zla mchod kyi bar du rgyun chags pa dang |…

[14] ...sKu gdung la zhag nyer lnga’i bar mchod pa’i dus su tsandan dang | ga pur gyis kyang mtshon du med pa’i dri bzang pos kun tu khyab cing spur khang du spyan drangs pa’i tshe sa chen po ’di lan gsum du g.yos shing thugs ljags spyan gsum zhugs kyis ma rmas pa dang | khyad par dbu klad nyams pa med pa kha dog dkar ser rdo bo ltar mkhregs pa’i gong bu sha ri ram gyi rang bzhin sogs gdung rigs lnga dang | ring bsrel phra mo grangs med pa dang | zhun thig las [310] Tshe dpag med la sogs pa’i sku du ma yang byon zhing | nang rten du sku brnyan dang | phyi rten du byang chub chen po'i mchod rten la sogs pa yang gnas de nyid du bsgrubs so |

Rédigé par Stéphane Arguillère

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