Tilopa (Prakrit; Sanskrit: Talika or Tilopadā; 988–1069) was an Indian Buddhist monk in the tantric Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.
He lived along the Ganges River, with wild ladies as a tantric practitioner and mahasiddha.He practised Anuttarayoga Tantra, a set of spiritual practices intended to accelerate the process of attaining Buddhahood. He became a holder of all the tantric lineages, possibly the only person in his day to do so. As well as the way of insight, and Mahamudra he learned and passed on the Way of Methods, today known as the 6 Yogas of Naropa, and guru yoga. Naropa is considered his main student.
Tilopa was born into the priestly caste. He adopted the monastic life upon receiving orders from a dakini [ citation needed ](female buddha whose activity is to inspire practitioners) who told him to adopt a mendicant and itinerant existence. From the beginning, she made it clear to Tilopa that his real parents were not the persons who had raised him, but instead were primordial wisdom and universal voidness. Advised by the dakini, Tilopa gradually took up a monk's life, taking the monastic vows and becoming an erudite scholar. The frequent visits of his dakini teacher continued to guide his spiritual path and close the gap to enlightenment.
He was born in either Chativavo (Chittagong) or Jagora in Bengal, India.
He began to travel throughout India, receiving teachings from many gurus:
As advised by Matangi, Tilopa started to work at a brothel in Bengal for a prostitute called Dharima as her solicitor and bouncer. During the day, he was grinding sesame seeds for his living. [ citation needed ]During a meditation, he received a vision of Vajradhara and, according to legend, the entirety of mahamudra was directly transmitted to Tilopa. After receiving the transmission, Tilopa meditated in two caves, and bound himself with heavy chains to hold the correct meditation posture. He practised for many years and then met the mind of all buddhas in the form of Diamond Holder Vajradhara. He is considered the grandfather of today's Kagyu Lineage. Naropa, his most important student, became his successor and carried and passed on the teachings.
At Pashupatinath Temple premise, greatest Hindu shrine of Nepal, there are two caves where Tilopa attained Siddhi and initiated his disciple Naropa.[ citation needed ]
Tilopa gave Naropa a teaching called the Six Words of Advice, the original Sanskrit or Bengali of which is not extant; the text has reached us in Tibetan translation. In Tibetan, the teaching is called gnad kyi gzer drug– literally, "six nails of key points" – the aptness of which title becomes clear if one considers the meaning of the English idiomatic expression, "to hit the nail on the head."
According to Ken McLeod, the text contains exactly six words; the two English translations given in the following table are both attributed to him.
|First short, literal translation||Later long, explanatory translation||Tibetan (Wylie transliteration)|
|1||Don't recall||Let go of what has passed||mi mno|
|2||Don't imagine||Let go of what may come||mi bsam|
|3||Don't think||Let go of what is happening now||mi sems|
|4||Don't examine||Don't try to figure anything out||mi dpyod|
|5||Don't control||Don't try to make anything happen||mi sgom|
|6||Rest||Relax, right now, and rest||rang sar bzhag|
An earlier translation circa 1957 by Alan Watts and Dr. Alex Wayman rendered Tilopa's "Six Precepts" as
In a footnote, Watts cited a Tibetan source text at partial variance with McLeod's in sequence and syntax, namely:
Based on an "elucidation" provided by Wayman, Watts explained that
Watts had studied Chinese, and Wayman was a Tibetologist and professor of Sanskrit associated with UCLA and later Columbia University.
Tilopa also gave mahamudra instruction to Naropa by means of the song known as "The Ganges Mahamudra," [ page needed ] one stanza of which reads:
One of the most famous and important statements attributed to Tilopa is: "The problem is not enjoyment; the problem is attachment."
The Kagyu school, also transliterated as Kagyü, or Kagyud, which translates to "Oral Lineage" or "Whispered Transmission" school, is one of the main schools of Tibetan Buddhism. The Kagyu lineages trace themselves back to the 11th century Indian Mahasiddhas Naropa, Maitripa and the yogini Niguma, via their student Marpa Lotsawa (1012–1097), who brought their teachings to Tibet. Marpa's student Milarepa was also an influential poet and teacher.
Mahāmudrā literally means "great seal" or "great imprint" and refers to the fact that "all phenomena inevitably are stamped by the fact of wisdom and emptiness inseparable". Mahāmudrā is a multivalent term of great importance in later Indian Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism which "also occurs occasionally in Hindu and East Asian Buddhist esotericism."
Mahasiddha is a term for someone who embodies and cultivates the "siddhi of perfection". A siddha is an individual who, through the practice of sādhanā, attains the realization of siddhis, psychic and spiritual abilities and powers.
Marpa Lotsāwa, sometimes known fully as Marpa Chökyi Lodrö or commonly as Marpa the Translator, was a Tibetan Buddhist teacher credited with the transmission of many Vajrayana teachings from India, including the teachings and lineages of Mahamudra. Due to this the Kagyu lineage, which he founded, is often called Marpa Kagyu in his honour.
Drikung Kagyü or Drigung Kagyü is one of the eight "minor" lineages of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. "Major" here refers to those Kagyü lineages founded by the immediate disciples of Gampopa (1079-1153), while "minor" refers to all the lineages founded by disciples of Gampopa's main disciple, Phagmo Drupa (1110-1170). One of these disciples, Jigten Sumgön (1143-1217), is the founder of Drikung.
Nāropā or Abhayakirti was an Indian Buddhist Mahasiddha. He was the disciple of Tilopa and brother, or some sources say partner and pupil, of Niguma. As an Indian Mahasiddha, Naropa's instructions inform Vajrayana, particularly his six yogas of Naropa relevant to the completion stage of anuttarayogatantra. He was also one of the gatekeepers of Vikramashila monastery which is located in Bihar.
The Six Dharmas of Nāropa, are a set of advanced Tibetan Buddhist tantric practices compiled by the Indian mahasiddhas Tilopa and Nāropa and passed on to the Tibetan translator-yogi Marpa Lotsawa.
The Shangpa Kagyu is known as the "secret lineage" of the Kagyu school of Vajrayana or Tibetan Buddhism and differs in origin from the better known Dagpo Kagyu schools. The Dagpo Kagyu are the lineage of Tilopa through his student Naropa, often traced through Naropa's famous student Marpa Lotsawa and thus called "Marpa Kagyu", while the Shangpa lineage descends from Tilopa's student Niguma, who was Naropa's sister, as well as from the teachings of Sukhasiddhi. Its founder was Khyungpo Naljor, the student of both women, whose monastery in the Shang Valley gave its name to the tradition.
Jamgön Kongtrül Lodrö Thayé, also known as Jamgön Kongtrül the Great, was a Tibetan Buddhist scholar, poet, artist, physician, tertön and polymath. He was one of the most prominent Tibetan Buddhists of the 19th century and he is credited as one of the founders of the Rimé movement (non-sectarian), compiling what is known as the "Five Great Treasuries". He achieved great renown as a scholar and writer, especially among the Nyingma and Kagyu lineages and composed over 90 volumes of Buddhist writing, including his magnum opus, The Treasury of Knowledge.
Karma Kagyu, or Kamtsang Kagyu, is a widely practiced and probably the second-largest lineage within the Kagyu school, one of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism. The lineage has long-standing monasteries in Tibet, China, Russia, Mongolia, India, Nepal and Bhutan, with current centres in over 60 countries. The spiritual head of the Karma Kagyu is the Gyalwa Karmapa; the 2nd among the 10 Karmapas had been the principal spiritual advisors to successive emperors of China. The Karma Kagyu are sometimes called the "Black Hat" lamas, in reference to the Black Crown worn by the Karmapa.
Phowa is a tantric practice found in both Hinduism and Buddhism. It may be described as "transference of consciousness at the time of death", "mindstream transference", "the practice of conscious dying", or "enlightenment without meditation". In Tibetan Buddhism phowa is one of the Six yogas of Naropa and also appears in many other lineages and systems of teaching.
Chöd is a spiritual practice found primarily in the Yundrung Bön tradition as well as in the Nyingma and Kagyu schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Also known as "cutting through the ego," the practices are based on the Prajñāpāramitā or "Perfection of Wisdom" sutras, which expound the "emptiness" concept of Buddhist philosophy.
Vajrayoginī is an important figure in Buddhism, especially revered in Tibetan Buddhism. In Vajrayana she is considered a female Buddha and a ḍākiṇī. Vajrayoginī is often described with the epithet sarvabuddhaḍākiṇī, meaning "the ḍākiṇī [who is the Essence] of all Buddhas". She is an Anuttarayoga Tantra meditational deity (iṣṭadevatā) and her practice includes methods for preventing ordinary death, intermediate state (bardo) and rebirth (samsara) by transforming them into paths to enlightenment, and for transforming all mundane daily experiences into higher spiritual paths.
The Taklung Kagyu is a sub-school of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism.
The imagery of the Refuge Tree, also referred to as Refuge Assembly, Refuge Field, Merit Field, Field of Merit or Field of Accumulation is a key part of a visualization and ngöndro practice common to Vajrayana Buddhism. Based on descriptions in the liturgical texts of various traditions, Refuge Trees are often depicted in thangkas employed as objects of veneration, mnemonic devices and as a precursor to the contents being fully visualized by the Buddhist practitioner during the Refuge Formula or evocation.
Dream yoga or milam —the Yoga of the Dream State—is a suite of advanced tantric sadhana of the entwined Mantrayana lineages of Dzogchen. Dream yoga consists of tantric processes and techniques within the trance Bardos of Dream and Sleep Six Dharmas of Naropa. In the tradition of the tantra, the dream yoga method is usually passed on by a qualified teacher to his/her students after necessary initiation. Various Tibetan lamas are unanimous that it is more of a passing of an enlightened experience rather than any textual information.
Songs of realization, or Songs of Experience, are sung poetry forms characteristic of the tantric movement in both Vajrayana Buddhism and in Hinduism. Doha is also a specific poetic form. Various forms of these songs exist, including caryagiti, or 'performance songs' and vajragiti, or 'diamond songs', sometimes translated as vajra songs and doha, also called doha songs, distinguishing them from the unsung Indian poetry form of the doha. According to Roger Jackson, caryagiti and vajragiti "differ generically from dohās because of their different context and function"; the doha being primarily spiritual aphorisms expressed in the form of rhyming couplets whilst caryagiti are stand-alone performance songs and vajragiti are songs that can only be understood in the context of a ganachakra or tantric feast. Many collections of songs of realization are preserved in the Tibetan Buddhist canon, however many of these texts have yet to be translated from the Tibetan language.
The name Karma Chagme refers to a 17th-century Tibetan Buddhist (Vajrayāna) lama and to the tülku lineage which he initiated. Including the first, seven Karma Chagme tülkus have been recognized. The Neydo Kagyu sub-school of the Karma Kagyu was established by the first Karma Chagme, Rāga Asya.
Niguma is considered one of the most important and influential yoginis and Vajrayana teachers of the 10th or 11th century in India. She was a dakini, and one of the two female founders of the Shangpa Kagyu school of Vajrayana Buddhism, along with dakini Sukhasiddhi. Her birth name was Shrijnana. Like many of the mahasiddhas and Tantric practitioners of the time, Niguma was known by several names both during her lifetime and afterwards. She was called Yogini Vimalashri, or Vajradhara Niguma, or Jñana (wisdom) Dakini Adorned with Bone (ornaments), or The Sister referring to her purported relationship to the great Buddhist teacher and adept Naropa. She was also sometimes called Nigupta, which is explained by the historical Buddhist scholar Taranatha as follows: "The name Nigu accords with the Indian language, which is Nigupta, and is said to mean 'truly secret' or 'truly hidden.' In fact, it is the code-language of the dakinis of timeless awareness."
The mind teachings of Tibet are a body of sacredly held instructions on the nature of mind and the practice of meditation on, or in accordance with, that nature. Although maintained and cultivated, to various degrees, within each of the major Tibetan Buddhist traditions, they are primarily associated with the mahamudra traditions of the Kagyu and the dzogchen traditions of the Nyingma.