Jamgön Kongtrul’s Visionary Journey to the Glorious Copper-Colored Mountain

Every Guru Rinpoche day for the last 12 years or so, Phakchok Rinpoche has been sending out letters to remind his students to be mindful, and to bring them back on the path.

Rinpoche already has begun to cover the visionary journeys of great practitioners to Copper-Colored Mountain (check out News for past stories), and Nekhor continues sharing on this Guru Rinpoche day. This, the third of the year’s series, recounts Jamgön Kongtrül Rinpoché’s journey to Copper-Colored Mountain:

Dear friends near and far,

As always, I hope this message finds you well, happy and healthy. This month I would like to continue with the accounts of great masters’ visionary journeys to Zangdok Palri with the last to cover among the Khyen-Kong-Chok (Khyentsé, Kongtrül and Chokling) great trio of masters: Jamgön Kongtrül Rinpoché (’jam mgon kong sprul blo gros mtha’ yas, 1813-1899).

In his autobiography, A Gem of Many Colors, Jamgön Kongtrül described journeying to Zangdok Palri in a dream when he was twenty years old. In this dream, Kongtrül Rinpoché felt that he had died, and had reached the intermediate state (bardo). He was greatly downcast by this, thinking his practice had never struck the vital point, since he had neither been liberated in the bardo of dying, nor in the bardo of dharmatā. He therefore resolved he must at least avoid distraction and find liberation in the third intermediate state, the bardo of becoming, and suddenly found himself to be in the south-western continent of Chamara.

Kongtrül Rinpoché fervently supplicated his root guru, Tai Situ Pema Ninjé, who appeared to him smiling and sitting cross-legged. Jamgön Kongtrül then performed the ejection of consciousness into his guru’s heart center, and Pema Ninjé bestowed his blessings.

At this point, Jamgön Kongtrül met with various people who were going to escort him away, but he thought he must first ask something of Guru Padmasambhava. Continuing on his way, he thus reached the palace of Lotus Light. Inside was Guru Rinpoché, resplendent, dressed in the garb of a lay tantric master, and accompanied by Khandro Yeshé Tsogyal. Jamgön Kongtrül prostrated three times, and with great devotion knelt and requested Guru Rinpoché to bestow a prophecy as to how he could benefit beings. But Guru Padmasambhava stopped him in his request, and Khandro Yeshé Tsogyal then spoke. She told him he needed to take the rebirth he was appointed to, and gave him various prophecies, including all the termas he would reveal, numbering twenty-five in total. At this point, Jamgön Kongtrül understood he must come back to this world.

Kongtrül Rinpoché awoke at dawn, but kept the impression that he had actually died. Throughout his daily activities, the clear realization that this was in fact the intermediate state dawned upon him again and again.

May this be a reminder to you to practice in preparation for the time of death!

Sarva Mangalam,

Kyabgön Phakchok Rinpoche