Lama Wangdu Rinpoche in New York
Rinpoche will be visiting New York City, beginning on March 22nd. He will be in the city for approximately one month. On March 30th, he will be giving the empowerment and teachings on Chod at the Padampa Center. Please visit their website, padampa.org, for more information.
Weekly Chod, Phowa and Hundred Handprint practice will continue in his absence. Check the Movement Center website for the schedule.
Phowa Practice Images
Rinpoche recently gave teachings on Phowa at Dorje Ling in Portland. If you attended the teaching, or you have received the lung for Phowa from Lama Wangdu, and would like images of the visualizations used, please contact us at info at lamawangdu dot org.
Chod, Phowa and 100 Handprint Practice
There is weekly Chod, Phowa and 100 Handprint Practice at the Movement Center. Rinpoche also frequently leads other Queen of Great Bliss and Long Life Sadhana practice.
Please visit The Movement Center website for information and the schedule.
If your Dharma Center is interested in inviting Lama Wangdu Rinpoche to teach, please send an email to info at lamawangdu dot org.
From Hundred Thousand Rays of the Sun: The Sky Burial
I did my chod practices near Dingri village in a place called Nechung Pula in Singatrak and from there went to a cave of Machig Labdron I had visited previously, resting there for two or three days. From this cave I crossed the pass of Dingri-Khangmar to a place called Duntsa. Soon, I arrived at the Langkor funeral site. It was said to be a frightening place, but I did not find it to be fearsome at all - there was only the sound of wild jackals. The next day someone brought the corpse of an old man for a sky burial, in which vultures are called to consume the dead body as it is chopped into pieces. I reflected on the impermanence of life and performed a cham dance and chod ritual.
Having never seen how a corpse was handled before, I stayed to watch the process. First they removed the clothes and placed the body on a stone, with its head facing down. I asked the funeral monk, "Why don't you put the corpse facing the west, as is traditionally done. Why do you put it facing below here?"
"It’s like facing the corpse towards Padampa Sangye’s monastery in Langkor below," he explained. While the corpse lay there, the workers drank rice beer and feasted. Afterwards, they removed their ordinary clothes and put on cloaks and took out their knives. First they cut off the back of the corpse. They took out all the muscles and flesh and left the bones and the other remains there. They packed this meat into a heavy blanket and put it away.
By now all the vultures in the area were waiting in a circle around the body. Addressing these birds, the funeral monk commanded, "Now take this offering." The ravens had also come, but were not allowed to eat. The vultures stuck out their necks, but did not eat the body yet. When I asked why, the monk explained, "The king bird who is the owner of this place has not yet come." Nearby they offered barley flour and incense, facing the west. Just then the king bird flew out of a rocky ridge and came to the site flying in a particular manner. When the king bird landed, its wings made a unique 'shhhhhhhh' sound. The funeral monk reported who it was who had died, and the bird responded by cawing, "Arwkkk Arwkkk."
The monk explained, "When the bird lands and makes the sound 'shhhhh' the bird means to say, '‘Who is that person?' Then I report the name of the dead individual. When the bird makes the sound 'Arwkk Arwkk' it means 'I’m sorry for your loss.'" Then the king bird started to peck the body, and all the other birds joined in and began to feed. Even the bones were devoured easily with one snap of their powerful beaks. Except for the head and the bones of the feet, they ate everything in less then ten minutes.
The monk broke the remaining bones into pieces and mixed it with the flesh they had put aside earlier. This was eaten within a single minute by the ravenous birds. At last, only a few bones remained. They put the remaining bones into a very oily-looking concave shaped rock and pounded them with a stone. The head was then put in the rock and beaten and mashed. Mixing the bones with the brains, this was also fed to the vultures. They completely swarmed over this mixture, as if it were some kind of delicacy.
Except for four or five pieces of skeleton that the birds were unable to eat, the whole body was now gone. In the woods just near the funeral site, they burned the remaining bones in a fire. The birds were completely satiated, and just sat around the site, preening their feathers. The funeral workers gave the belongings of the dead, such as his clothes and other small objects, to the water carriers.