Both the Homage and the Invocation are based on the opening section of the terma (Tib. “treasure”) text, The Golden Sun of the Great East, which was received by the Dorje Dradül of Mukpo in October of 1976. The Homage and Invocation are identical except for the last line of each stanza.
THE RIGDEN KING
He who has neither beginning or end,
Who possesses the glory of Tiger Lion Garuda Dragon,
Who possesses the confidence beyond words:
I pay homage at the feet of the Rigden King.
(Invocation: May the goodness of the Rigden King be present.)
This first stanza is in the form of a verse typically found in Buddhist tantric literature, paying homage to a particular deity. In this case, the homage is to the Rigden King. Rigden is a Tibetan term meaning, “endowed with the family,” which refers to the indestructible family to which all Shambhala students belong. The Rigden principle of primordial warriorship represents the wisdom contained in the open and relaxed mind before thought. In the later levels of Shambhala Training, the student warrior is taught to invoke the Rigden principle through practices that open the heart on the spot and bring about a sense of majesty and insight. In this context, the notion of “king” is the reigning principle of unbiased meditative awareness, which is like the sky. It is important to note that this is not a description of a remote and therefore somewhat meaningless reality. The Rigden King is met over time, through practice, when one dares to directly engage in the penetrating, precise and at times claustrophobic textures we encounter every day—complex situations, emotions, and relationships. It is here that one discovers the confident and loving dignity of one’s natural mind.
The following is an excerpt from a public talk given by the Dorje Dradül on March 12, 1978 in Boulder, Colorado. It was printed, as you see it below, in the “Karma Dzong Community Newsletter,” July/August, 1978.
When one enters the Shambhala world there are certain things one deals with— identification with the Rigden fathers, the Rigden aspects, and a relationship with that. The way one identifies with the Rigdens is by actually becoming a warrior oneself. Not copying the Rigdens, not mimicking them, but actually those qualities become the warrior, and the warrior becomes those qualities. The warrior takes on the same qualities as the Rigdens. So there is total identification. There is a parallel in Buddhism —our Buddhist practice is total identification with Buddha, or awakening; Shambhala practice is total identification with the Rigdens, or earthholders. Even in the Buddhist tradition, when Shakyamuni became the Buddha, he was known as the world-renowned one, the ruler of the earth.
So Rigden and Buddha are the secular and spiritual side of awakenment. And the path of the Rigdens and Buddha’s path are parallel paths. They go hand in hand but have their own particular practices, their own particular philosophy, with one thing in common. Do you want to guess what the one thing in common is? Shamatha-vipashyana practice. We talked yesterday about the fact that neither the Shambhala world nor the Buddhist world had any copyright on awakening, but I am going to make a rather outrageous statement: There is no awakening without shamatha-vipashyana as a basic, underlying quality. The link to awakening and the method, the path to awakening, is always associated with shamatha-vipashyana.
THE ANCESTRAL SOVEREIGNS
They who possess great wisdom, brilliant and profound,
Who are ever just and benevolent to their subjects,
Who subjugate their enemies and are supremely powerful—
By the golden yoke of their imperial rule
They ward off döns of plague, famine, and war—
Gesar Norbu Dradül, Ashoka Maharaja,
Emperors of Japan, China, and so on:
I pay homage to the ancestral sovereigns.
(Invocation: May the goodness of the ancestral sovereigns be present.)
This stanza speaks of the “ancestral sovereigns,” a specific reference to four historical figures who were revealed to the Dorje Dradül through his Shambhala terma: King Gesar of Tibet, Ashoka Maharaja of India, Prince Shotoku of Japan, and Emperor Yung-lo of China. They are invoked here as brilliant leaders of humanity. The Werma Sadhana Manual contains considerable information about them. The following provides a brief snapshot of each of their lives.
Generally speaking, it would seem that Dharmaraja Ashoka, Prince Shotoku, Emperor Yung-lo, and King Gesar were able to overcome much of the social depression of their times and to accomplish a great degree of cultural revitalization—in short, to enlighten their societies. Although they were born within various cultural norms, they had the courage and vision to go beyond these norms. Their initiatives, generally speaking, were ordinary in nature but extraordinary for their time, providing basic care for the elderly, easing the voyages of travelers, relieving the suffering of animals, increasing accessibility of medicines, and bringing about reforms in education. Under each of their influence, Buddhism was elevated and established, and its ideals of benevolence and harmony incorporated into the culture.
Gesar Norbu Dradül
Gesar Mukpo of Tibet is said to have lived around the eleventh to twelfth centuries. He is seen as a restorative figure in a time of social upheaval—a time when people’s minds had become “hard as rock and stone.” Most of our knowledge of Gesar comes from stories passed down from generation to generation through an oral tradition called the Epic of Gesar of Ling. Gesar’s monumental task was to overcome the influence of four kings who, through their perverted aspirations, had spread harm to people and caused the destruction of the buddhadharma. In our current Shambhala teachings, these four kings have come to represent the “enemies of the four directions,” or forces of materialism, which we are taught to directly engage and transform through our dignity and awakened heart. The stories of Gesar, his Aunt Manene, and others put the teachings of lungta, drala, auspicious coincidence, authentic presence, and so on into a living historical context.
The Indian King Ashoka lived in the third century B.C.E. Known as one of the greatest emperors of India, Ashoka is famous for his dramatic life change upon hearing of the horrors caused by his conquest of Orissa. He experienced extreme anguish and remorse and embarked upon a journey of personal transformation and awakening. He converted from Brahmanism to Buddhism and vowed to rule his people according to the principles of compassion and nonviolence from that day forward. His activities were pragmatic and effective: he gave up the royal sport of hunting, prohibited the slaughter of animals for the royal kitchen, built hospitals for both animals and people, constructed rest houses and dugwells for travelers, and had roadside trees planted for shade. He is perhaps most widely known for broadcasting teachings of personal and social well being. These became known as the “Edicts of Ashoka,” which were engraved on large stone pillars and rocks throughout India. Ashoka convened the famous “Third Council” (ca. 250 B.C.E.) after the death of the Buddha in Pataliputra to settle certain doctrinal controversies. He also expanded Buddhism eastward to large areas of Southeast Asia, including Burma, Thailand, and Indonesia.
Prince Shotoku Taishi
Prince Shotoku Taishi of Japan was born in 574 C.E. Seven hundred years after Ashoka, Prince Shotoku was instrumental in the transformation of Japanese culture. Although only the Regent to his Aunt, Empress Suiko, he exerted enormous influence, and is known today as the “George Washington” of Japan. Among his many accomplishments:
He encouraged the addition of merit as a qualification beyond that of heredity as a requirement for holding public office.
He issued the Constitution of seventeen articles setting down Confucian principles of government and ethics, and introduced the Chinese calendar and Chinese aesthetic values to Japan.
He was an influential royal patron of the arts. Under his direction, Chinese and Korean craft-workers were invited to Japan to build, paint and sculpt.
Under his patronage, Buddhism became firmly established in Japan.
He prohibited the killing of all animals; however, after much pressure, he conceded to allowing the slaughtering of fish, maintaining strict protection of all four legged creatures.
Emperor Yung-Lo of China was born in 1360 C.E. As the third emperor of the Ming dynasty, Yung-Lo, is known for his sense of overwhelming power, political acumen. and expansive societal vision. He accomplished enormous projects. In the area of education, he had a body of scientific, cultural, and religious knowledge gathered, printed, and preserved in an eleven-thousand volume encyclopedia, which was published within the first few years of his reign. He oversaw the moving of the capital and the building of the Forbidden City in Beijing, and was dedicated to the flourishing of the arts— painting, art theory, drama and porcelain were at an all-time high in this dynasty. He promoted the principles of nonaggression and devotion, which he had learned through his teacher, the fifth Karmapa, Teshin Shekpa, whom he placed above and before himself—a most unusual approach for an emperor of his time. It was Yung-Lo who saw a vision of a black hat or crown upon the head of Teshin Shekpa, and physically replicated it. This is the hat that has been worn subsequently by the lineage of Karmapas to bestow the famed “Black Crown Ceremony.”
THE MUKPO CLAN
The ones who are nobly born as Mukpo clan,
Who defeat the eclipse of the Great Eastern Sun
And sharpen the blade of primordial Ashe:
The are victorious over all their enemies, the forces of materialism.
They see the Tiger Lion Garuda Dragon vision.
They are fearless in the midst of barbarian arrogance.
They tame the untamable beings.
They inspire the savages of the setting sun
Into the sophistication of the Great Eastern Sun:
I pay homage to the Sakyong and the Sakyong Wangmo.
(Invocation: May the goodness of the Sakyong and the Sakyong Wangmo be present.)
At a Shambhala Center, we take part in two streams or lineages, each with their own deep history. As we recite the morning and evening chants, we are invoking the blessings and wisdom of both of these lineages—once described by the Dorje Dradül as being “in league” with one another. One consists of the religious or spiritual traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, specifically the Nyingma and Kagyu lineages. The other is the secular and sacred Shambhala lineage. The Shambhala tradition has been passed down through a family lineage of warriors, the Mukpo clan—one of six main tribes of Tibet. (The “u” in “Mukpo” is pronounced as in the word “book.”) The great warrior Gesar was the progenitor of the Mukpo family, and the vanguard of our Shambhala world.
Mukpo is a Tibetan word which literally means “dark,” “black.” As the story goes, it was a term used to describe a warrior who came from India to Tibet—he never spoke Tibetan, he just arrived. Because of his dark skin, the Tibetans called him by the honorific term “Mukpo,” meaning “dark complexion.” The Dorje Dradül would affectionately refer to the Mukpo name as being connected with earth—that heaven and earth are joined on earth. He spoke of the need to ground ourselves constantly on the earth, in the dark soil of the Mukpo style rather than just dream the dreams that float in our imaginations alone.
Both the Dorje Dradül and the Sakyong are better known by their Buddhist titles: Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Mipham Rinpoche. However, they are also proud inheritors of the family lineage of Mukpo warriors, and therefore retain the Mukpo name. In this way, they are holders of both lineages—as are their Shambhala Buddhist students.
The last line of the stanza refers to the Sakyongs and Sakyong Wangmos, past and present: the Druk Sakyong Dorje Dradül of Mukpo, and the current Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche; and the Druk Sakyong Wangmo Lady Diana Mukpo, and the current Sakyong Wangmo Khandro Tseyang. “Sakyong” is the Tibetan word for “Earth Protector.” The Sakyong has been empowered to protect this world through the fusion of sacredness with the very real often gritty realities of our personal and communal lives. A “Sakyong Wangmo” (“Lady Earth Protector”) embodies the principles of harvesting peace, fostering communication and culture. She binds a society together with the yielding quality of her tears and gentleness, along with unflinching toughness and ability to speak the truth. The education of a Sakyong or Sakyong Wangmo is exceedingly complete. Either a Sakyong or Sakyong Wangmo can manifest as the ruler of a society if he or she is raised in this capacity from an early age.
THE GREAT EASTERN SUN
Radiating confidence, peaceful,
Illuminating the way of discipline,
Eternal ruler of the three worlds:
May the Great Eastern Sun be victorious.
(Invocation: May the goodness of the Great Eastern Sun be present.)
The Great Eastern Sun is the unsetting awareness, which arises as the power and dignity of human beings. Such lucid and direct awareness is magical-it is what opens the treasury of phenomena, the golden quality of phenomena. At the same time it is the experience of waking up from personal confusion and darkness to a connection with our own courage. Sometimes referred to as the genuine sun that rises in one’s heart, the Great Eastern Sun’s radiance is perceived through the senses as the luminosity of the world—the worlds of heaven, earth and man—above, below and in-between. Such light is not ordinary light, but is the innate brilliance of mind that shows one how to proceed and how to care for others. Sometimes referred to as the feminine aspect of warriorship, the Great Eastern Sun illuminates the deep, subtle and fluid energies of reality, bringing unshakable confidence and doubtless precision to the warrior’s mind.