The fruits: the Immortal and the Infallible

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The fruits: the Immortal and the Infallible ('bras bu 'chi med chugs med)

The body is set upon the path of spiritual freedom through the practices of the 32 yogic exercises through which immortality is achieved. Because ones own mind is primordially unborn, it is established as immortal and surpremely liberated in and of itself. This bodily mass, which is nothing but the fruit of karmic ripening, is an assembly of inanimate matter, devoid of any basis for a determination of birth or death. In fact, if one has confidence, based on the realization that the body itself has arisen as a mere mental projection, and that mind is devoid of birth and death, then the bodily form becomes fixed in the Mahāmudrā, the boundless expanse in which there is no erring due to bewildering appearances and phenomena, as the very embodiment of the divine. It is taught that through the application of even just some of these precepts, the embodiment of transcendent unity (zung ‘jug gi sku) may be attained during this lifetime, and that by merely hearing them, one may achieve Buddhahood in the Sambhogakaya-aspect of the Victorious Ones during the intermediate states.

These instructions are a combination of the teachings on "Deathlessness of Mind" which Khyungpo Naljor received from the awareness dakini Niguma, and the "Infallible Nature of the Body" which are attributed to a certain Virupa. It must be noted that this Virupa is NOT the famous master who is the originator of the Lamdre teachings of the Sakyapa school! This particular Virupa, who was a teacher of the awareness dakini Sukhasiddhi, another of Khyungpo Naljor's teachers, is known as the Eastern Virupa [shar phyogs bir wa pa] or Later/Younger Virupa [bir ba pa phyi ma] and was a master of various Vajrayogini tantras, especially of the Severed Head Vajrayogini [dbu bcad ma]. Some of his works on his longevity practice, known as "Amritasiddhi" in Sanskrit, remain in the Tengyur. Interestingly, a later Shangpa master, Sangye Nyentön, aka Rigongpa Chökyi Sherab, was to receive these teachings much later from an Indian adept in Lhasa and brought them into the Shangpa tradition. He then combined them with Khyungpo Naljor's earlier teaching. According to Taranatha's "bka’ babs bdun ldan gyi brgyud pa’i rnam thar ngo mtshar rmad du byung ba rin po che’i khungs lta bu’i gtam" this Virupa was a student of the older Virupa.

With these two instruction combined as one, the practice is also know in the tradition as "lus sems 'chi med chugs med." In the collected songs of realization of the Shangpa masters, one finds several songs by a number of lineage masters dealing with the subject matter. The only one however, who composed proper instructions on the practice was the Mahasiddha Thangtong Gyalpo. He had received these instructions, among others, from Niguma herself in a series of visionary encounters and practiced them until realization occurred. He taught them to only a single disciple, Mangkarwa Lodrö Gyaltsen, who also became the scribe when the Mahasiddha dictated the teachings to him a number of years later. Lodrö Gyaltsen had already asked for permission to do so earlier but was not allowed to do so. When Thangtong Gyalpo had received the dakini's permission to put her instructions into writing, he summoned his disciple and had him recount the instructions and visualizations. Lodrö Gyaltsen did so flawlessly and was then told to write it all down.