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Heart Advice from Our Root Guru H.H. Orgyen Kusum Lingpa

The connection with this life has lost its karmic power; His Holiness departed this world on the second day of the first Tibetan month of 2009 as he just turned 76 to fulfill his commitment. (His Holiness made when he was 23 to come to Blazing Fire Mountain.)

May the heart's advice of His Holiness Kusum Lingpa abide in the hearts of fortunate transient beings.



Kusum Lingpa, is the holder of the treasure of profound terma teachings 

Kusum Lingpa, Ngài là vị chưởng quản kho tàng mật điển thâm diệu



the great perfect tradition of Padma, Lord of Buddhas,

Đại Viên Mãn của truyền thống Liên Hoa, là Chủ của các chư Phật



May his central practice, the Pema Nyingtik Dharma,

Nguyện cho nhũng thực hành tâm huyết của giòng Liên Hòa Bộ Tâm Yếu của Ngài



Spread through the vastness of the ten directions.

được lan truyền bao la khắp mười phương.


Since everyone must die, I will tell you very clearly and precisely what you must do at the moment of death. Listen very carefully to this. After death occurs, the consciousness remains within the body, the corpse, for at least two or three days. After three days time, the consciousness experiences itself coming out of the body as an eight year old naked child. It sees its body and the situation it has just left. Even if one has been blind, mute or deaf in life, at this point all the faculties will be experienced as complete. One is able to see one's family members and friends but they cannot see the person who has died. They cannot see this bardo consciousness. At this time in the bardo, there appears to the right of the mental body, a white colored ma with a bag of white stones or pebbles on his back. These pebbles indicate the virtue one has accumulated from time immemorial until this moment. To the left there will be a co-emergent demon, black in color, with a bag of pebbles on his back which indicate the non-virtuous deeds one has accumulated. These two men, the white and the black, carry the weight of one's karmic deeds towards all beings of all the six realms who are countless in non-virtuous accumulations, appear to all beings a this state in the death process and will actually accompany the mental body in the bardo like guards or protectors. If one is going to be reborn in the hell realm then Shinje, the Lord of Death, comes and escorts one to that realm. Two minions come from the hell realm, one with an ape's head and the other with a water buffalo's head, and they take the individual by the neck and lead him or her down seven levels below the earth, beneath the bodies of water, to the great city of the hell realm. The Lord of Death appears holding a mirror which reflects one's future place of rebirth. This will clearly indicate whether one is going to take rebirth as a god, human or whatever.

Then, after some time, the being with a mental body in the bardo will go back to visit its family, the place where it lived, to see if it has actually died. When that bardo being finds out that it has indeed died, it will ask those family members to please practice dharma on their behalf. But, it cannot be heard and will only experience tremendous suffering. No one wants to have these experiences. Even lamas and dharma practitioners do not look forward to this. But, I can tell you for certain that this is coming. If it is not true then the teachings I've been sharing with people throughout my life have been nothing but lie.

The mental body in the bardo then begins searching for a body. It becomes obsessed with this need to have a body: a human body, animal body, god body. It is searching for a body because it is unbearable to go on as this bardo consciousness. It's like being in the dream state. It wants to escape that tremendous suffering. The experience is similar to when you cry uncontrollably and feel great anguish. The bardo consciousness feels this way constantly as it searches frantically to find its place of rebirth which could be anywhere in the six realms depending on its karmic accumulations. After fourty-nine days the bardo consciousness, at some point, will enter one of the six realms. If one has practiced the dharma during one's lifetime, receiving teachings on the benefits of virtue and the faults of non-virtue, but didn't actually believe those teachings and didn't apply them (or went against them), then one will definitely take rebirth in one of the eighteen hell realms and suffer tremendously.

If you practive the dharma and in particular the dharma of the Great Perfection, then you do not need to experience the Bardo of Becoming. Instead you will experience the ground luminosity, and in that state the three lower realms are non-existent. There is no dharma better than Dzogchen. Do you want to meditate on that or not? If you want to meditate on that, then you must practice the path of trekchod and tögal, the ground of cutting though to original purity, trekchod, and the path of crossing over with spontaneous presence, tögal. By cutting through to original purity, you realize the nature of emptiness. You realize that all the messengers of death are the display of confused perception. In that moment, instantly, because of the power of your Dzogchen view and realization, everything appears as the blazing sun of luminosity, and there is no bardo. You simply realize that it is the display of the innate nature of mind. By the force of your tögal practice, actualizing the sphere of bindu molecules and intrinsic awareness, knowing how primordial wisdom expresses itself as the kayas, or embodinents of enlightened awareness, you are able to perceive the peaceful and wrathful deities as the display of self-originating intrinsic awareness. Instantly you merge in non-dual union with the display and arrive immediately in a pure realm.

What Dharma Do I need to Practice?

Don't come to me and ask, "What dharma do I need to practice now? What should I do? How do I practice the six bardo? Please tell me what to do. What's my next step in practice?" I don't want to hear that, because I've told you time and time again that the only dharma you need to practice is Dzogchen. If you practice Dzogchen and accomplish it, you will not suffer in the bardo. You will realize that all perceptions of bardo are confused perceptions and you will be liberated in your own innate nature. No one, including lamas, wants to go into frightening, terrifying experiences, but if you don't practice and accomplish Dzogchen that is certain to happen. As Patrul Rinpoche said, "The three lower realms of existence are places of great suffering and if one has accumulated enough negative karma to take such a rebirth then one will certainly go there. Dewachen, the Realm of Great Bliss is a place of great happiness and if one has accumulated enough virtue to experience that result then one will surely experience it."

The Unbelievably Difficult Bardo Experience

Since we all must die, each and every one of us will have this experience and it is extremely difficult. It is unbelievably difficult. The deceased in the bardo will be lamenting from the depth of their being about how regretful they are, especially when they realize that they are going to the lower realms of existence. And when they cry out to those whom they thought could help them, family members and loved ones, no one will hear them, and no one will answer their calls of anguish. It is futile.

Practice with Pure Motivation

There is a story from India about two neighbors. One was a wealthy man who had spent his professional life as a blacksmith. He had seven sons. His neighbor was a simple old lady with one daughter. Both of them passed away at the same time, and while they were wandering in the bardo state of blacksmith told the old lady, "My sons have enough wealth to perform virtuous deeds by making offerings to the objects of refuge and giving alms to the needy and poor as dedications. I'm confident that due to their virtuous activities I will take rebirth in the human realm. I hope that by the dedication of that merit you too will benefit." The old lady said, "I have only one child and she is a beggar with nothing to offer. I don't expect any results, because she has nothing to offer." The blacksmith then said to the old lady, "Why don't we go to the human realm and see how my sons are doing?" When the two arrived, they were amazed to see that the seven sons, just weeks after their father's death, were celebrating great marriage feasts. They seemed to have totally forgotten their father. It was very shocking. The lone daughter of the old lady didn't have any wealth to offer, but she had a pre heart and was overwhelmed by the death of her mother. So she gathered some slates, and on them she placed heaps of rice. She collected stones and cleaned them and put them out as symbolic offerings of water bowls. And then she found similar stones, which she cleaned, and offered them as butter lamps with very poor quality oil. She was sobbing and as she cried, she recited many mantras. She cried out, "My poor mother, she must b suffering terribly and I have nothing to use as an offerng for her." Although the materials she offered were small and of poor quality they had been made with a very pure heart and one-pointed devotion to her mother. This helped immensely, and as a result the mother took rebirth in the human realm. The seven sons, when they died, fell into the hell realms. This story is found in the Tripitaka, the collected volumes of Lord Shakyamuni Buddha. The point is that we should strive to practice with pure motivation.

Now is the Time to Practice

Death will certainly come and after that the consciousness wanders. It wanders according to the karma of the individual. Now is the time to practice. I have taught the dharma to you as I would to my own sons and daughers. If you don’t practice it, it will not affect me, and if you do practice and turn out to be a good practitioner, that still does not affect me positively or negatively. The entire responsibility is yours.

Don't Forget the Teachings and Don't Forget Me!

I have given you an overview of the six intermediate states and would like you to practice what you have been taught. Please continue with your trekchod and tögal practice. If you do, there will be no fear of death. And please remember, one deity is not better than another in terms of what will actually help you in the bardo. If you have been a Tröma practitioner, then Tröma will guide you through the bardo. If you have practiced Avalokiteshvara, then he will guide you to the pure realm. It doesn't matter what practice you have done but rather where your faith lies. These are all enlightened beings and they will come to greet you and help you at that time. We have developed a relationship of teacher and student and I've given you many instructions so please don't forget the teachings and don't forget me. I will never forget you. We will remain spiritual friends for the rest of our lives and in the next life as well. We can meet in the buddha realms. If I am a pure teacher, and if you have faith and remember to pray to me, then I can come to you like a lightning bolt and help you out of your situation in the bardo. This is the power that Buddhas or excellent lamas can use to assist their students.