According to the Tibetan custom, in the event of someone dying, a
 member of the family of the dying person would request a Lama to
 perform the "phowa" ceremony (i.e. Transference of consciousness at
 the time of death.)
    The Lama performing the ceremony would have himself mastered the
 art of phowa (transferring the consciousness at the time of death)
 after having previously been initiated into the practice and
 meditation given only to Tulkus (Incarnates) and retreated to the
 hills to carry out the practice which he would continue night and day
 until the signs he was told to watch for (at the time his initiation)
    He would then leave his retreat equipped now to instruct monks,
 nuns and lay people in the practice. He would however, continue to
 perform the practice at least once a month. When he becomes aware of
 the signs of his approaching death (signs he was taught to recognize
 during his retreat period), he would meet the eventuality with a great
 calmness and equanimity.
    All the Tibetans are familiar with this practice. During the summer
 months at the end of every twelfth year when the plains were richly
 verdant after the white of winter, one could see the trek of Tibetan
 pilgrims walk to the small temple at Bhum Ngu Sumdo in which phowa had
 been given for the first time to the people of Drigung .
    They would pitch huge white tents, a stark contrast to the yellow
 and maroon robes of the monks and nuns and the colorful chubas (the
 traditional dress) of the women and children and summer flowers, in
 preparation for three weeks stay for the performance of "PHOWA" by the
 head Tulku of Drigung Lamas.
    This teaching of "PHOWA" is with the Venerable K.C. Ayang Rinpoche
 who continues this uninterrupted succession of the Drigung line of
 Phowa Lamas from the Supreme Guru Dorje Chang to Tilopa, Naropa,
 Marpa, Milarepa and Gampopa up to the present time. He now resides at
 the Tibetan Mahayana Buddhist Kagyudpa Monastery: "THUBTEN SHEDRUB
 JANGCHUBLING" in the Tibetan settlement, Bylakuppe in Karnataka State
    When taking the initiation of Phowa, it is important to receive the
 initiation from a Tulku (i.e. Incarnate Lama) who continues the line
 of succession of the Phowa lineage of Gurus. The blessings of such an
 initiation will render the practice safe as the blessings of the
 lineage will flow unhampered to meet the disciple and bring with them
 quick results.
    Should the Phowa be attempted without this very vital precaution
 the results will not be the same and the practitioner will be faced
 with many dangers.
    Faith in the Lama Tulku is of primary importance. If the faith is
 very strong, coupled with devotion, then the results will be very
 powerful and immediate. If the faith is not of the highest strength
 then the results will be medium and so on . . and where there is
 little faith, no good results can be expected, however much you may
 In the root Tantra, "GYUD" it is written:
    Even if a man is so sinful that he kills a holy man every day and
 has committed the five Heavy Sins, if he goes on this path of Phowa
 the veils of sin will not remain. For the men of many sins and for all
 beings, this is the Path of liberation which is direct and secret.
    Urgyan Rinpoche said, "By meditation all can attain Enlightenment.
 My meditation is that which is called "MA GOM PI" (i.e. spontaneous
 without meditation effort) . . . "
    Naropa says, 'There are nine Gates which are of the world but there
 is only one which is the gate of Mahamundra (Nirvana). If you shut the
 nine Gates then you will get the Path of liberation without any
 doubt ...."
    Marpa Lotsawa said, "From now, if you study Phowa, purify, purify
 time and time again. Then, at that time, when death is approaching you
 will know no despair. If, beforehand, you have become accustomed to
 this Path of Phowa then at the time of death you will be full of
 cheerful confidence .... "
    Over and above the Nine ordinary apertures of the body called
 "buga", there is a 'Crest' aperture, and the virtue of doing this
 practice of Phowa is to be able to think of this crest aperture at the
 time of death and to direct the consciousness through this gate into
 the pure land of the Buddha, the Buddhafield (DEWA CHEN).
    The profound Path of Phowa is the Holy Way of the Buddhas which is
 Dharma rapidly realized spontaneously without meditation effort.
               DRIKUNG PHOWA CHEN MO
          Account of the Great Drikun Phowa
    It is very difficult to attain the precious human body and having
 attained it one must utilize it to reach Buddhahood through the proper
 hearing, contemplation and meditation of the precious teachings.  Even
 if one has attained human birth, it can suddenly end without warning.
 Because of the overwhelming power of laziness in the postponement of
 our practice, one's life ends without one even realizing it, because
 life is so short and the galloping mara of death is so quick. When
 death comes we have no escape, we have to accept it and go on to the
 next life. At this time neither your accumulated wealth nor your dear
 ones nor your cherished body -- nothing can help except the precious
    In the precious teachings, Lord Shakyamuni Buddha taught the Dharma
 to suit the different levels of understanding and to different
 dispositions of all beings through Shravakayana, Pratyekayana and
 Mahayana practices.
    The Mahayana consists of Hetuyana (cause) and Phalayana (fruit).
 The Hetuyana or the Sutrayana consists of all the practices without
 the tantric initiations. In the Phalayana or the Vajrayana there are
 many means (paths) to attain enlightenment through the Arising and
 Completion processes but one must diligently practice over a period of
 time before one can realize one's Buddhahood .
    In the Vajrayana, the Phowa practice is the most direct and the
 quickest path for one to achieve enlightenment. It is said that even
 the heaviest of sinners has a chance for enlightenment through the
 practice of the Phowa. "There are teachings for one to become
 enlightened, but I have a teaching (Phowa) that offers enlightenment
 without meditation", said Marpa, the great translator and the father
 of the Kagyu Lineage.
    The Phowa "Jaktshukma" (the standing grass blade) Linage is one of
 the precious phowa practices. In the eighth century, the Dharma king
 of Tibet, Thri-song Deu-Tsen invited the great Indian tantric master,
 Guru Padmasambhava, to Tibet and they built the Samye monastery. Guru
 Padmasambhava was residing in Ch'im-phu cave in the vicinity of Samye
 when an important minister of the king, Nyima, had a tragedy. Nyima,
 who had two palaces and was in the process of moving from one to the
 other, was packing some belongings by the light of a lantern when a
 small spark caused a fire which instantly burned down the whole palace
 tragically killing thirteen people including his parents. All his
 horses, mules, cattle and other animals also perished in the fire.
 Minister Nyima, thinking of the love and respect that others show
 their parents felt that he had committed the heaviest of sins by
 causing the death of his parents and others.
    The king desiring to end the suffering of his minister went to
 Ch'im-phu cave to request the help of Padmasambhava. Padamasambhava by
 miraculous power went to the Pure Land to see Amitabha Buddha. He told
 Buddha Amitabha about the suffering of Minister Nyima and of all
 sentient beings and asked Amitabha to give a special teaching to free
 them from suffering.  Buddha Amitabha gave this Phowa teaching to
 Padmasambhava who gave it to Minister Nyima who then gave up all
 worldly activities to practice the Phowa which he eventually
 actualized. Through the path of Phowa, Minister Nyima's consciousness
 attained the Pure Land when death came and many different signs
 appeared like rainbows and relics from his body.
    This text was hidden in the Black Mandala Lake which is at the
 backside of Dhaglhagampo Hill. The Naga king, Tsurana-Ratna, asked to
 be the guardian of this text and was told by Padmasambhava that the
 future incarnation of Minister Nyima would be Nyida Sang-gye and that
 he must give the text to him.
    Padmasambhava then left to go to the land of the Rakshas. After
 more than 350 years the incarnation of Minister Nyima was born as the
 son of a shepherd. When Nyida Sang-gye was growing up he felt great
 compassion and wept tears of sorrow when the animals would die.
    In order to alleviate his great suffering, Buddha Amitabha appeared
 to him and gave him this Phowa teaching for the benefit of all
 sentient beings.  Nyida Sang-gye then gave Phowa to all the dying
 animals and often many different signs appeared.
    The Naga-king then came to Nyida Sang-gye and told him of the
 Hidden Text (Ter-ma) and Nyida Sang-gye took the Ter from the Black
 Mandala Lake and gave the teaching to the Sagas. Through this teaching
 many of the Nagas were reborn into a higher life.
    After this Nyida Sang-gye gave many teachings to human beings
 through which many reached liberation.
    This transmission of the teaching is held by the Drikung Kagyudpa.
 The devoted practitioner who has no doubt in the qualified Lama and
 teachings can experience the sign of Phowa merely through receiving
 the Lung (Blessing Transmission). This has been experienced by many
 practitioners around the world.
    The Drikung Kagyu Linage is one of the lineages of Tibetan
 Buddhism.  The founder, Kyobpa Jigten Sumgon (1143-1217) - thought of
 as the second Buddha was the Vajra-regent of Phagmo Drupa who was the
 chief lineage holder of Gampopa (1079-1153).
 The Drikung Kagyu order of Tibetan Buddhism holds the precious
 teachings of all the yanks which Shakyamuni Buddha taught for the
 benefit of all sentient beings. This lineage also possesses the
 complete transmission of the meditative practices of the Five-Profound
 Paths of the Mahamudra and the Six Yogas of Naropa. The Drikung order
 is famous for its ability to successfully transfer the power of the
 Phowa meditation to initiated and devoted practitioners who practice
 it. Thus, the Phowa transmission given by the Drikung Lamas came to be
 known as the 'Drikung Phowa Chen-mo' - the Great Drikung Phowa. The
 Drikung Phowa became so powerful that it became a tradition in Tibet
 to have a Drikung Phowa Ch'en-mo ceremony every twelve years at
 Dro-ngor Sum-dho at Drikung in central Tibet. The fame of this Phowa
 continued to spread as thousands of participants would experience the
 signs of the Phowa during the 'Lung' (Blessing Transmission) given by
 a head Lama of Drikung Kagyu. Due to the accumulated energy of the
 lineage and the blessing of the teaching itself, the qualified Lama is
 able to directly transfer the blessings of this practice to the pure
 and devoted disciples who can experience the signs very quickly. When
 one has received any of the signs of the Phowa meditation, then one is
 considered to be prepared to enter into the Buddha-field of Amitabha
 Buddha (Dewa-chen) at the time of death. It is taught that one does
 not return to the samsaric realms after having entered Dewa-chen and
 that one can quickly achieve Enlightenment.  Because of all this, the
 Drikung Phowa is becoming particularly relevant in these times simply
 because in today's society we do not have the time nor the
 circumstances to walk the spiritual path of the Dharma as did our
 predecessors in the past. We desperately need a spiritual path that is
 simple, relevant, and direct, enabling us to transform the stresses
 and pace of modern life into a vital force that cuts through
 materialism and attachment to worldly phenomenal, and awakens in us
 the realization of our Buddha-natures.
    The Drikung Phowa meditations is simple and yet powerful. We have
 the same opportunity as did the thousands of people in Tibet to master
 the Phowa practice, enabling us to transform the experience of death,
 which is a certainty, into a passage to the realization of Dewa-ch'en
 (Blissful, Pure Land). Today, we have His Holiness the Drikung
 Kyabgon, the Vaira-regent of Lord Jigten Sumgon who is the incarnation
 of Chenrezig, imparting this teaching as well as other Drikung Lamas
 like the Venerable K.C. Ayang Rinpoche who is traveling the world to
 impart these precious teachings to fortunate human being