Wisdom Embodied in a Gift

3 Jun


Recently, I was very fortunate to have received a beautiful thangka all the way from the United States. It was from Tsem Rinpoche who was pleased that I was doing a bit of teaching lately along with doing some other works. The thangka was unusual because it depicted the Prajnaparamita (Perfection of Wisdom) Sutra arising in the form of a female Buddha Yum Chenmo (Tibetan) or Mother Prajnaparamita. I snapped a picture of the thangka and thanked Rinpoche for this very special gift and he sent me this beautiful message along with a wonderful and rare description of the deity which I have pasted below here. I am in love with her wisdom-filled significance and I thought I share this thangka with everyone. Scroll to the bottom of this post to see the closeup shot of the thangka.


Dear Pastor David,

When I first saw the thangka I thought it was very touristy looking, but upon a closer look, it had a special feel to it. And the minute I took a closer look, it had PASTOR DAVID LAI written all over it. You have always enjoyed the pursuit of Dharma wisdom and you especially enjoyed the higher set of teachings and teachings on developing wisdom. You always enjoyed and were attracted to Deities related to development of wisdom. I had to get this BEAUTIFUL AND HOLY MOTHER PRAJNAPARAMITA FOR YOU. Honestly I like giving you gifts and I know you will treasure the Dharma gifts. You have what it takes to understand the deeper meaning of Dharma gifts.

Mother Prajnaparmita has four arms signifying that the truth of emptiness and non-existence pervades all four (complete) directions. Gold-yellow of Her body is the growth of the understanding of our true nature and the truth of it’s inherency. She holds the prajnaparamita text in one hand allowing us complete freedom from samsara by realization of emptiness. She has two hands in meditative contemplation reminding us only by direct cognition of emptiness will we be truly free of ourselves, our samsara and the samara we create. In some forms, she holds a vajra representing the motivation of realization of emptiness which is the compassion for all beings. Some forms – she holds a mala exhorting practice. Some other forms,  her last hand simply shows the mudra of holding suchness.  Her holy legs are in full lotus posture again reminding the immovable state of emptiness once we realize as we can never fall into samsara again. Her peaceful face is the ever state of joy and happiness immovable again once realization is achieved. An unending happiness that does not reverse or change or controlled by karma anymore.

By reciting her mantra Tayatha Om Gatey Gatey Para Gatey Para Sam Gatey Bohi-Ye Soha, it is the mantra of the destruction of clinging to the no self, clinging to what does not exist, clinging to all that binds us. By reciting Her mantra and contemplating on the Heart Sutra (short form of Prajnaparamita) we remove obstacles by power  of truth, emptiness and realization of all that is true embodied by this Great Mother of Perfection. By reciting the mantra daily and contemplating we can remove obstacles that inhibit our realizations of this truth and all dharma truths. For the son or daughter of dharma, when you recite Heart Sutra daily and Her mantra you remove powerful obstacles that arise from grasping (you need it!! LOL), and the powerful karmas of clinging and you make your pursuit of dharma realizations firm. It makes you firm and stay on the Dharma path gaining realizations. Wonderful.

His Holiness the 98th Gaden Tripa Jetsun Jamphal Zhenpen visited Los Angeles decades back and recommended to me personally to recite Heart Sutra daily to remove obstacles so I can go to India and be a monk. At that time, I requested him how to remove obstacles so I can go at that time.

Mother Prajnaparamita is the embodiement of Nagarjuna’s middle view and complete emptiness teachings by Lord Buddha. When we recite the Heart Sutra, it is Mother Prajnaparamita in the form of words and vice versa. In other words, when we are looking at Her thankga we are looking into the mind of all the Buddhas’ realization of emptiness and that is a powerful blessing for us. And when we recite Heart Sutra  and mantra, it is invoking on Her blessings as well as gaining the meaning of emptiness to be realized and blessed by that meaning simultaneously.

Good to keep this well in your cabin and worship Her in form, in practice and in contemplation.  This is a special gift to you from my heart and may you become a powerful dharma teacher liberating many just by hearing dharma.
I wish you well and care and love,
Tsem Rinpoche


Mother Prajnaparamita with Vajrapani, the Lord of Secrets and of the Buddha’s Power floats above. 

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