Gyamtsholing and the Mystery of Garab Dorje

History tells us that as a child Garab Dorje recited the Dorje Sempa Namkha Che, an extremely profound text, which speaks about the fundamental elements of the root tantra of Dzogchen Semde. Little Garab Dorje recited it, causing havoc among conventional thinkers of the time, who followed the doctrine of cause and effect taught by Buddha Sakyamuni. It is a beautiful compelling story and we can imagine this beautiful child reciting in front of stunned adults.

But if we think about it a bit, a question arises. Why did Garab Dorje, the enlightened Nirmanakaya master, who transmitted all the texts of the Dzogchen Teaching into the human dimension, recite the Dorje Sempa Namkha Che? Was it just because it was a short text, and it was easier to remember it? Surely not….

What was the reason for this disruptive gesture that led to the transmission and dissemination of the Dzogchen teaching on earth? We can look for an answer by studying the text and analyzing it from a linguistic, semantic and philological point of view. Perhaps we will be able to discover relationships between this teaching and others. Perhaps we will be able to find its roots and frame it in a historical and doctrinal context.

But we Dzogchen Community practitioners have a trail to follow to understand this mystery. Our Master invested a lot of time and energy on Dorje Sempa Namkha Che, and he even thought of preparing a program so that we, his students, could approach this text. By following this program, we can read a quatrain every week along with the commentary with which he explained them all, from the first to the last. He asked all of us practitioners to read it together in informal groups, whenever possible, not necessarily in organized courses or seminars and without necessarily having the presence of a teacher to explain, but to read and comment on it among ourselves.

At Gyamtsholing, Venice, Italy, we wanted to follow this advice left by the Master, and for some time we have tried to meet as often as possible to read the quatrains together, with the commentary of the Masters Vajrocana, Shri Singha and Chögyal Namkhai Norbu. In the early days, we could meet physically. When the virus arrived as an unwanted guest, we went online. We read a quatrain each time, and then we commented on it among ourselves to understand the meaning a little. Then, in silence, we tried to listen to what message these words brought to each of us, how those verses resounded in the dimension of our own lives. And so the power of this text, with the energy of the masters, from Garab Dorje to our Master, illuminated many dark corners of our hearts with unexpected discoveries. And then, in sharing the experience, that light spread to the whole group, strengthening our sense of being a community, the Dzogchen Community, the joy of being truly brothers and sisters, and of truly sharing that unique and perfect state that the Master passed on to us.

Yesterday we concluded our meetings with the total space of Vajrasattva, but the experience is not over; today we all carry the splendor of that vision and the warmth of our Sangha in our hearts.

Perhaps by reciting it Garab Dorje wanted to indicate this power of the Dorje Sempa Namkha Che? Maybe we will never know, or maybe one day we will find out, but we know for sure that it is another precious gift that our Master has left us.

May the Six Thigle soon lead us to discover and never leave the One Thigle!

Download PDF