After the self empowerment, there was a pause, but then, as we were getting ready for the next phase of the empowerment, Tenga Rinpoche said 'Kale, kale...', then in English 'slowly, slowly...' as this is one of the English words that he has learned.
Tenga Rinpoche asked how many nuns and monks were at Lerab Ling, and whether we attended the Shedra in Nepal. Having replied that only one of us went to Nepal, he then asked if the monks went to Namdroling.
We replied that there was Shedra West in Lerab Ling and Tenga Rinpoche asked if the nuns also participated in these teachings.
We told Rinpoche of the teachings Khenpo Pema Sherab had given—the teachings to the monastic community, the lung of Ngari Pema Wangchen's Dom Sum—and also that he had taught on Mipham Gyamtso Rinpoche's Beacon of Certainty. Tenga Rinpoche then said that is was a very important text because it covered all the different views.
He said that Khenpo Shenga taught on Nagarjuna's Root Verses on the Middle Way and that his monks (particularly the fully ordained ones) carried a copy of the text in the folds of their chögu on the left shoulder. Khenpo Shenga, he said, had declared that each letter of the Root Verses was a dakini.
He also told us that he himself had received teachings on Ngari Pema Wangchen's Dom Sum while in Tibet. When he went into exile in 1959, he went to Rumtek's Monastery. There, the VIth Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, the brother of the sixteenth Karmapa Rangjung Rigpé Dorje, wanted to have the text reprinted and Tenga Rinpoche offered him his copy to use.
Tenga Rinpoche told us that conduct—the outer conduct of the Pratimoksha, the inner conduct of the Bodhichitta and the secret conduct of Kyerim and Dzogrim—was important but that it was also very important to study well.
After the empowerment, Tenga Rinpoche said that its lineage was that of the first Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa , who had five sets of five deities—of Chakrasamvara, Vajrayogini, Hayagriva, Hevajra and Tara of the Khadira Forest, Sengdeng Nagchi Drölma,which is the particular Tara empowerment that we received from him.
The empowerment of Green Tara, Tara who overcomes all fears, enables us to do all the Tara practices. As Lama Sherab, who translated for Tenga Rinpoche, said: "It covers all". They themselves do daily the practice of Zabtig Drolchok.
In his book on the 21 aspects of Tara, Tara's Enlightened Activity, Khenpo Pema Sherab says of Tara of the Khadira Forest, in relation to verse 9 of the 21 Verses (1):
chag tsal könchok sum tsön chak gyé
Homage to her who displays the mudra of the Three Jewels,
sormö tukkar nampar gyenma
With fingers forming an ornament at the heart.
malü chok kyi khorlo gyenpé
You make each and every direction temble,
rang gi ö kyi tsok nam trukma
With the mass of light from the wheel in your hand.
Green Tara, who protects from the [twofold, outer and inner, eight great fears (2)] is named Tara Sengdeng Nagchi or sometimes Sengdeng Nagchi Drölma. The sengdeng is a very large tree, known as (3) in English. Some trees are considered peaceful and others wrathful; sengdeng is known as a wrathful tree. In Tibet, damaru and chöd drums are made from this strong, dense wood. So there are frequent references to sengdeng damaru. In Tibetan medicine, the bark and resin are used to make a tea considered very beneficial for the blood. As nag means "forest", she is the Green Tara of the sengdeng forest.
On the morning of the 7th July, before leaving, Tenga Rinpoche asked to see the monastic community. He gave us advice and a blessing, offering each of us a reproduction of an image of Milarepa painted by His Holiness the seventeenth Karmapa, Urgyen Trinlé Dorjé, a pouch of amrita and little garlands of flags inscribed with the mantra "OM MANI PADME HUM".
(1) Extracted from Gongter Drolmé Zabtik, Rigpa Translations.
(2) The two-fold eith great fears are of: elephant—ignorance; demonic forces—doubt; water—desire; fire—anger; robbers—wrong ideas and wrong beliefs; poisonous snakes—jealousy; lions—pride or arrogance; chains, imprisonment, authority—greed.
(3) It is sometimes said that sengdeng is a form of acacia.