AN INVOCATION TO TILOPA

In STORYTELLING by Douglas J. Penick4 Comments

Gesar finds himself in the Buddha’s birthplace, Lumbini Grove. He sees the Buddha’s mother, leaning against a tree, about to give birth. He sees everything in this universe reflected in the abdomen of Queen Maya. As is said: Then from every one of her hair-pores, in all these worlds, emerge visions of all the past lives and future lives of the Awakened One, as he appeared and will appear in every universe, world, land, and place; all appear just as sun, moon, stars, planets and clouds are reflected in a lake, a piece of gold, a mirror, or in a crystal bowl of water.
Even as these self-expanding waves of life penetrate Gesar, King of Ling, a charnel ground yogi gives him this invocation and feast offering.

THE STREAM OF SELF-EXISTING FIRE:
A GURU YOGA FEAST INVOKING THE LIFE FORCE OF LINEAGE
THE DEATHLESS TILOPA

Gathered here in the charnel ground of all phenomena
Surrounded by the corpses of rotting hopes, false assumptions,
Decaying love, possessions that will soon be stolen away;

Sitting amidst the ashes of dreams and secret ambitions,
The air is choked with the smoke of ignorance
That renders all around us almost invisible;

Here we are paralyzed by the winds of hope and fear
As predatory ghosts of uncertainty, doubt, and anguish swirl about.

Confessing our myriad delusions,
O Tilopa,
We look for you, the fount of lineage,
The father of refuge.

Aspiring to see the living face of enlightenment
In the darkness of this world,
We call on you.


Now, on this powerless ground of utter futility,
Arise from the eternal womb of emptiness,
Telo come here in this very place
Come here and display the Vajra Dance
Utterly consume this Vajra Feast.

In consuming the offering of food,
Display the living body of reality.

In accepting the offering of song,
Display the living speech of reality.

In consuming the offering of amrita,
Display the living mind of reality.

I offer myself in body speech and mind.
Please take your seat here.
Please show yourself now as life itself .


Accepting these offerings,
Consuming us utterly,
Though you do not move or stir,
We request you now to appear.

As you crush the husk of a body that clings to an I,
May we meet you face to face
In the living paths of development and completion.

As you crush the husk of a body that clings to an I,
May we meet you face to face
In the living experience free from bias.

As you crush the husk of samsara itself,
May we meet you face to face
In the living bond of samaya.

As you crush the husk of a body that arises from karma,
May we meet you face to face
Consumed in the commitment of inner heat.

As you crush the husk of a body that clings to an I,
May we meet you face to face
In the limitless illusion of embodiment.

As you crush the husk of the three worlds,
May we meet you face to face
In the luminous expanse of dream.

As you crush the husk of a body that clings to an I,
May we meet you face to face
In the unimpeded flow of all-pervasive luminosity.

As you crush the husk of a body that tends to clings to an I,
May we meet you face to face
In passing freely from illusory life to life.

As you crush the husk of a body that cling to an I,
May we meet you face to face
In completely transforming the apparition of existence.

As you crush the husk of craving in the duality of samsara and nirvana,
May we meet you face to face
In the one taste of great bliss.

Offering the mudra to the Guru who is Buddha himself,
May we meet you face to face
In the great mirror of Mahamudra which is Reality itself.

Offering you our body as the mandala of existence,
May we live in the ever present spontaneous union
Of mother and child luminosity
Inseparable from your body, speech, and mind
In the ceaseless co-emergence of the bardo.


Here, by the power of life itself,
You arise unborn
From the red thousand-petalled lotus
Which is the spontaneous flowering,
The living purity of all outer and inner phenomena,
The secret space of Prajnaparamita.

Seated with your left leg down and your right knee raised,
Your naked body shimmers
Like the pale autumn sky at sunrise.
You are covered with ash.

Your wild black hair is bound up into a loose top-knot.
Your blood-shot eyes burn like the noon sun.
Your face is sun-burned and unshaven.
You grimace and your sharp irregular teeth clash
With the sound of breaking glass.
You smile lasciviously
And every movement of the air seems melodious.
Your expression, is shameless, impenitent,
Lustful and indifferent.

In your right hand, you hold a living silver fish
Whose red guts hang from its belly.
In your left hand you hold an ancient skull-cup
Brimming with liquor.

Your scent is tangy and feral.
You are still as a wolf awaiting its prey.
You are luminous as the full moon at midnight.

Suddenly, you arise on your seat
In the shimmer of all perception.

Suddenly you sing
In the beating heart of the body.

You are presence itself.


In endless union with the self-existing consort,
In the yoga of Chandali,
You are the heat of fire.
In endless union with the self existing consort,
In the yoga of illusory body,
You are the solidness of earth.

In endless union with the self existing consort,
In the yoga of dream,
You are the movement of wind.

In endless union with the self existing consort,
In the yoga of luminosity,
You are primordial space.

In endless union with the self existing consort,
In the yoga of transference,
You are the pervasiveness of water.

In endless union with the self existing consort,
In the yoga of bardo,
You are consciousness itself.

In inseparable non-dual union,
You dwell in the empty essence
In the luminous heart of the primordial consort
Where all inner and outer phenomena
Rise, dwell and die.

Free from experience,
You are not born;
You do not remain;
You do not die.

OM AH HUM
TILO, TILO TILO
HRIH AH HAM
AH AH AH HUM PHAT


Sought in the mirage of appearance,
You change form and disappear.

Found in the mirage of appearance,
You are mute.

Supplicated in the mandala of appearance,
You show the luminous empty heart
Piercing through all the illusions of pleasure and pain.

All that exists and does not exist,
All that moves and does not move,
All that is mind and is beyond mind,
Offering and offered inseparable,
Swirls in your kapala.

RAM YAM KAM

Unborn,
As our senses shine.
This is the direct experience
Of Tilopa, the corpse,
The natural kingdom of body.

Living,
As the seasons pass.
This is the direct experience
Of Tilopa, the root,
The unceasing power of speech.

Without past
As in the alternation of day and night,
This is the direct experience
Of Tilopa, the tree,
The deathless lineage co-emergent wisdom.

Beyond awareness
There is reality here and now.
This is the direct experience
Of Tilopa, the stream,
Ungraspable, complete, alive.

Experience now
The bliss of Tilopa’s mind:
This unborn word:
This naked world.


These are the oral instruction which Tilopa himself sang to Naropa:

You are a worthy vessel.
In the monastery of Pullahari,
In the limitless expanse of luminosity, beyond concept,
The sparrow of mind, moving from life to life,
Has flown on the wings of co-emergence.
Do not yearn for belief in a self.

In the monastery of non-dual prajna,
In the offering pit of the illusory body,
By the radiance of awareness rising from the bliss and heat of inner heat,
The fuel of the kleshas and conventional concepts
Of body, speech and mind has been burnt up.
Do not pine for the duality of this and that.

In the monastery free from words and concepts,
The sharp knife of prajna,
Of Mahasukha, of Mahamudra
Has cut the rope of ambition in the bardo.
Dismiss the craving which causes all attachment.

Walk the hidden path of the Wish-Fulfilling Gem
Leading to the realm of the heavenly tree, the changeless.
Untie the tongues of mutes.
Stop the stream of samsara, of belief in a self.
Recognize your true nature as a mother knows her child.

Prajna is self-aware,
Beyond the path of speech
And the object of no thought whatsoever .
I, Tilopa have nothing at which to point.
Know this as pointing in itself to itself.

Do not imagine, think, deliberate,
Meditate, act, but be at rest.
Do not be concerned with any object.
Reality, self-existent, radiant,
In which no memory can disturb you,
Cannot be called a thing.


O great Tilopa
O incomparable
O unborn and deathless one,

As you have never departed,
By your unsparing kindness,
May we remain in the Great Inseparability
Of your unchanging body speech and mind.

If there is any continuity of anything,
It is you.
If there is any lineage of anything anywhere,
It is you.
If there is love,
It is you.

By the power of your motiveless intention
Which fills the sky like ceaseless wind,
May every illusory being,
Drifting frantically through the skies like dust
Find completion
In the uncontrived and luminous mandala of your being.
AH AH AH

And again that same yogi whispered to King Gesar:

Unborn,
The senses shine.
This is the direct experience
Of Telopa, the corpse,
The natural kingdom of body.

Living,
The seasons emerge.
This is the direct experience
Of Telopa, the root,
The unceasing power of speech.

Without past
In the alternation of day and night,
This is the direct experience
Of Telopa, the tree,
The deathless lineage co-emergent wisdom.

Beyond awareness
There is reality.
This is the direct experience
Of Telopa, the stream,
Ungraspable, complete, alive.

Experience now
The bliss of Telopa’s mind:
This unborn word:
This naked world.

This was extracted from The Brilliance of Naked Mind: Secret Visions of Gesar, King of Ling with the kind permission of the author Douglas J. Penick.

About the Author
Douglas J. Penick

Douglas J. Penick

Douglas Penick utilizes historical research with a solid understanding of Chinese culture and Buddhism to make stories accessible, beautiful and enlightening. In his words, "I contribute to the mischief, longing, satisfaction, lust, sorrow and fascination which make our presence in this world a discovery of true love." The Website of Douglas. Other LEVEKUNST articles by the same author.

Tilopa painting from kagyudcenter.or.id.

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  1. Pingback: BATTLE VISIONS | LEVEKUNST art of life

  2. Seema sahoo

    Splendid !, thank you so much!
    Moving and purifying !

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