Early in December 2018, hundreds of people from the international Sangha of the Dzogchen Community came together at the Global Gar in Tenerife to honor and remember Chögyal Namkhai Norbu on his birthday, December 8. After the two days of the Sangha Retreat, Rinpoche’s translator, Adriano Clemente, gave some explanations on the Master’s teachings on an ancient Dzogchen text, ‘Dorje Sempa Namkhai Che’. On the last day of his explanations, Adriano gave an important message to the Sangha.
Then the text says that our life is passing very quickly. In this period of our life we should always keep a messenger or somebody who continuously reminds us about presence and awareness of time. So then I hope that people will give importance to this.
And I also wish for all those who really have interest in this [text Dorje Sempa Namkhai Che] that real knowledge of Ati Dzogpa Chenpo can arise beyond all limitations and sectarian views. This is one of the hundreds of gifts that Rinpoche left for those who have remained on this earth. As I said, each of us should try and continue as best as we can all the responsibilities and tasks that we have for the continuation of the Dzogchen teaching. We should not think that now that Rinpoche has passed away that his Dzogchen teaching, his transmission, his activities for the Dzogchen Community will gradually disappear and then in the end when our generation dies there will be nothing for the future. Rinpoche gave everything – his life, his body, for the teaching. Often he was not feeling well at all and yet he still planned to go here and there travelling and teaching to thousands of people continuously. He didn’t care about his body. He didn’t care about his health. He only cared about transmitting his knowledge for the benefit of all sentient beings.
So I think that now, much more than before, we should continue to be very active in the Dzogchen Community because we have the transmission, we have the teaching, we have many instructors, all the practices, Vajra Dance, Yantra Yoga, Khaita Dances, there are so many things we have to continue.
Also some of you may have done the Santi Maha Sangha training and are familiar with the samayas. The samayas of the Base of the Santi Maha Sangha are samayas for all practitioners, not only for those who did the SMS training.
The first samaya is: are you a member of the Dzogchen Community? If you are not, please settle your situation. This is very important. We need this collaboration from all practitioners. This is part of our samaya. We cannot think that after more than 40 years, all that Rinpoche achieved will become history, like something in a museum. This [collaboration] is already manifesting very much these days and I am very happy to see so many people here, just as if Rinpoche was here present. There is no difference. Also our practices are going well, we are doing many Tuns and people are participating a lot. This is really excellent. So we should go on like this. We are very strong and if we have harmony among ourselves everything will go well for the future. Then even if we have obstacles or whatever, we can overcome them. We need to have patience, also with ourselves.
Remember what Patrul Rinpoche said. You should practice the dharma. But if you are not able to practice very much then don’t be angry with yourself. Rinpoche always said to remember what Buddha said: life is unreal. It means not giving too much importance to circumstances, to temporary situations. Especially now that Rinpoche has passed away, there is already a lot of turmoil and agitation. This problem comes up – how can we resolve it? This other problem arises – what should we do now because there is nothing written about it? How should we proceed? There are many things that are manifesting in this way. But I don’t think we need to worry about these things now. Everything will take care of itself. If we are in the transmission, if we keep pure samaya, if we respect all of our practitioners, then no problem will arise. Rinpoche always used to say, “Don’t give too much importance to things”. Even the most important things, we can think in any case they are relative, they are not the main thing.
Maybe the most important thing for us individual practitioners is preparation for dying. That is really important. We cannot escape death. We cannot resolve it in some other way, unless we achieve the rainbow body.
I remember Bruno Celli, one of the practitioners in our Dzogchen Community, a kind of wild person, mentally wild, because he had some problems and was not stable at all. He had a lot of devotion to the teacher and the teaching but he could not be near the teacher because immediately he would have a strong headache and very strange symptoms. So he suffered for the last 30 years because he wanted to be near [the Master] but if he was near he would feel ill.
Then in the last three or four years he had cancer and lived like a homeless person. We went to see him in Grosseto where he was living in a small caravan, in a very difficult way, alone, abandoned, with this cancer. Then in the last six months he went to his sister who took care of him. In the last month he asked me and he wrote to Rinpoche saying that he was thinking to ask for some medicine to die, to just finish his life. But then he had some doubts, he thought it would be suicide which would bring some bad karma and who knows what would happen in the next life. When he asked me I told him that it would be better to ask Rinpoche this question. Then Rinpoche replied in a very simple way and sent his reply to me. It was a really great teaching because Rinpoche didn’t say to do things in one way or another. He said, “We are Atiyoga practitioners. It doesn’t matter whether we live or whether we die.” That was a few months before Rinpoche passed away. That means that it is also relative, of course.
So now this is the end. I’m sorry that I could not finish what I wanted to do and also I have to leave this afternoon. I thank the Gakyil for having invited me. I’m not much of an instructor type of person. I don’t go around teaching or giving explanations, first of all because my main commitment is to be Rinpoche’s translator, but also because I don’t have any real special quality. All of us Santi Maha Sangha instructors are more or less the same, some are better with one aspect, others with other aspects. I’ve been studying this Dorje Sempa Namkha Che for 20 years, from when I started to be interested in this text. I have read many commentaries and I also worked with Rinpoche for a long time. Then I thought that it might be a good idea if I could help people understand this text a little, otherwise it’s very difficult for people to read and discuss among themselves. Then when I met Rinpoche in June, the last time I was able to talk to him for an hour, I asked him what he thought about that and he gave me his permission to do this. So let’s see in the future how we will proceed. I hope to continue the explanation of this text but it is not a short-term activity. Even these first three quatrains – we can spend a long time trying to understand them.
Dzamling Gar Tuesday 11 December 2018