Garchen Rinpoche on the Six Dharmas of Naropa

This is how it begins. For years I have wanted to share materials that I’ve translated from Tibetan into English with the world. I can think of no better way to start, than by sharing this very precious set of teachings on the Six Dharmas of Naropa that Garchen Rinpoche imparted to me a few years ago in Nepal near the Boudhanath Stupa. The teachings of the Six Dharmas of Naropa are very powerful in the sense that they instruct us to look at reality as being more than just this life. A few weeks ago, I spent some time traveling through Manhattan, gazing in awe at the massive monolithic towers representing at least some of the epitomes of worldly power and influence in this world. As I gazed upon the elegant architecture, the stone, the glass, and the aggressive steel that challenges the sky itself, I wondered what it would take to harness the power of such a city. As I listened to the music of endless movement, the wall-street backed percussion of productivity, the thunderous bass of struggle and gain, I thought again, as I often do these days, back to the words of my teacher Garchen Rinpoche. It is all a dream inside your mind.

From the other side of the world in Nepal, where even paved streets are rare outside the main cities, I hear reports of struggles, not to challenge the powers of the titans and gods, but to find basic food and shelter for each other and to figure out even the most modest of temporary political solutions for a country not only just recently suffering from a devastating earthquake, but from years of being one of the poorest countries in the world. And yet, there are still jewels that appear in my mind when I think of Nepal. Especially now, I encourage everyone to travel there to support the rebuilding process, whether working on a humanitarian project or even just going as a tourist or pilgrim, willing to give much needed support to the local businesses there.

I also might suggest, whether or not you physically travel anywhere, that you take a moment to travel with me to Nepal in your minds. We can do a little time travel, if you don’t mind, back a few years, back to when Garchen Rinpoche was near the Boudhanath stupa giving these instructions about setting your mind on fire within your body, meditating through sleep and dreams, and coming to understand that the strange illusory dance of earthquakes and skyscrapers seemingly going on all around us does not necessarily control our ultimate destinies. For me, the Six Dharmas of Naropa is a medicine, a healing balm. It is a cautioning reminder that the most carefully articulated discussions about the virtues of amassing wealth, power, and possessions in this life are complete nonsense, if in fact, we are living in a dream.

Instead, for me these teachings point out how we are all ultimately dreamers in this world, moving from one vision and experience in reality to another, sometimes in joy and sometimes with heavy hearts. If we are all dreamers, it only makes sense to craft the greatest of dreams together, to become artists and sculptors of our interwoven universes, to not only delight and take care of each other outwardly in this world, but to encourage and inspire each other to passionately set fire to the creative power of each others’ minds to awaken together into progressively deeper understandings of the secret magic in all reality.

Before you head off into Garchen Rinpoche’s mind, I would just like to point out that there are over forty other translations covering a wide range of outer, inner, and secret Buddhist topics in the translations section. There is a bookstore with a number of fine rare and previously untranslated offerings. Last, there is a way that you can make a donation, if you are so graciously inclined to support the work you find here. Anyways, please make yourself at home. I’ll be around to check on things from time to time and keep the website stocked with an endless feast of fresh and savory translations and ramblings.

Garchen Rinpoche on the Six Dharmas of Naropa