On the 27th of March, His Holiness Sakya Trizinbegan a two-week bestowal of Vajrayogini initiation and teachings at the beautiful Rinchen Choling Sakya Nunnery in Dekyiling, a short distance from His Holiness’ Sakya Dolma Phodrang
Attending the teachings were H.E. Ratna Vajra Rinpoche and H.E. Abhaya Rinpoche, as well as Tulku Tsewang Rinpoche, who has remarkably completed over 25 years of Vajrayogini retreat. Nearly nine hundred Sakya monks participated, including Rinpoches and khenpos from most Sakya institutes and monasteries in India and Nepal.
Adding to their numbers, were some two hundred lay Tibetan people who had come from near and far to receive these exceptional teachings.This most special of occasions swelled by over five-fold the numbers of the 200 resident nuns, who were perfect hostesses to the event. Their organisation was flawless, and their generosity awe-inspiring, as they not only shared their facilities with their guests, but also took on the gargantuan task of offering lunch, tea and dinner to all the participants.
Vajrayogini is considered to be the highest of all tantric deities, and innumerable masters have reached realisation through her practice, particularly in the Sakya school. There are three different traditions of Vajrayogini tantra; the one that His Holiness bestowed on this occasion belongs to the Naro-Khachod tradition, and was transmitted by Vajrayogini herself directly to the great master Naropa He, in turn passed it on to his two main disciples, the Nepalese Phamthing brothers. Several years later, the great translator Mal Lotsawa, brought it to Tibet as part of the Chakrasamvara Tantra, and gave its transmission to Sachen Kunga Nyingpo, the first Sakya founding father. Along with that of Hevajra, Vajrayogini has become the foremost practice of the Sakya tradition
The first two days of the gathering were dedicated to the initiation and teachings of Chakrasamvara, Vajrayogini’s consort. Over the following four days, His Holiness conferred the Vajrayogini initiation on well over a thousand disciples, who had been divided into groups of twenty-five, which meant that His Holiness saw Himself performing the rite an astonishing number of times over those four days The teachings are divided into stages, consisting of the Chakrasamvara initiation, the Vajrayogini initiation, the Eleven-Yoga instructions, the Body Mandala, and the transmission of the Uncommon Meditation Beyond Thought. Participants were given a choice as to the level of the teachings they wished to receive. It is most auspicious that 680 participants chose to receive the body mandala, which is given to only three people at a time. It carries a commitment to do a basic three-month Vajrayogini retreat within three years, with the recitation of 40,000 mantras. It is even more auspicious that 600 members opted to receive the “Uncommon Beyond Thought” transmission, which is given privately to only one person at a time, and entails a commitment to the recitation of 3,700,000 mantras during one’s lifetime.
The Vajrayogini mantra is said to invoke all the Buddhas and Dakinis, and so, notwithstanding the
strain that the bestowal of these transmissions placed on His Holiness’ time and energy, the combined
recitations of those who received its transmission from His Holiness will benefit the Dharma, and all
sentient beings, enormously