Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
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Tibetan Sound Healing
with Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
June 10 - July 2, 2017
A three-week online workshop with personal support and guidance provided by Tenzin Wangyal RinpocheWorkshop registration: US$ 295.00
Changing life for the better isn’t easy — especially when we’re trying to change by thinking or worrying our way out of problems. Overcoming a nagging physical issue, bad habit, negative emotion, or harmful thought pattern can take months, years, even decades of trying. The changes we do make often don’t stick.
The Tibetan spiritual traditions offer a faster route to lasting happiness and well-being. In this three-week workshop on Tibetan Sound Healing, Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche will personally guide you in the ancient practice of the Five Warrior Syllables. These pure, primordial sounds have the power to quickly cut through the obstacles to lasting change, and to open the space for profound healing of body, energy and mind.
The Tibetan Bön Buddhist tradition is one of the most ancient spiritual traditions to use sound and its vibration as an essential tool for healing and spiritual development. As you engage in the practices of Tibetan Sound Healing, the power of sound is guided by your mind and carried by your breath through the body’s subtle channels. It opens the potential to dissolve energetic disturbances, bring joy and love to your life, facilitate personal healing, and awaken positive action in the world around you.
We invite you to learn from a revered master of the Bön Buddhist tradition, the indigenous spiritual tradition of Tibet and one of the world’s oldest unbroken spiritual lineages. Discover the power of sacred sound to help you:
- Clear blockages at the physical, energetic, emotional and mental levels
- Access the most sacred aspects of your being
- Make lasting, positive changes in your life
About Five Sacred Syllables
According to the ancient texts of Bön Buddhism , the first sounds that originally arose from the essence were the pure, primordial seed syllables A, OM, HUNG, RAM, and DZA. These five are known as the Warrior Seed Syllables.
They are called “warriors” because of their power to conquer the demons of ignorance, fear, negative karma, and emotions; and to help us connect fully with our inner essence and the wisdom qualities that naturally arise from that essence.
These five syllables represent, respectively, the body, speech, mind, qualities, and actions of enlightenment. Together they embody the fully expressed nature of our authentic self.
From Openness to Manifestation
In the practice of Tibetan Sound Healing, you are first guided to bring to mind the conditions and patterns of your life that you are seeking to clear and transform. Then, you sound each Warrior Syllable in sequence. With each syllable you are focusing on a corresponding chakra in the body and connecting with its associated quality. In experience, the sequence moves from the pure, open space of being (A) to the place of the manifestation of virtue in action (DZA).
A chakra is an energy center in the body, likened to a wheel or petaled flower, where many energetic pathways converge. Several chakras are located at points along the body’s central channel, a non-physical channel of light that extends from below the navel straight up through the center of the body, opening at the crown of the head.
Simply drawing your attention to a chakra location activates subtle prana. Prana is Sanskrit for "vital breath"; in Tibetan it is known as lung; in Chinese, qi or chi; and in Japanese, ki. When you combine focus of the mind with the physical vibration of sound, there is greater power to dissipate the prana and its related obstacles or obscurations. The more you can release these blockages and become familiar with the space that opens up, the more likely you are to experience palpable shifts and changes at the levels of body, emotion, and mind. Many practitioners also notice spontaneous positive changes in their personal lives, relationships, and work lives.
With ongoing practice, a higher state of consciousness becomes accessible. One may feel increasingly clear, open, and radiant with positive qualities such as love, joy and compassion. These qualities in turn support an even deeper connection with the wisdom space from which all of existence manifests.
Ultimately, through this practice we discover that all our negative thoughts, emotions, and even physical maladies are far more than obstacles; they can serve at any time as doorways to happiness and healing.
About the Workshop
This is a three-week workshop which is divided into six teaching sessions plus an introduction to the workshop practices. The workshop is intended to be experiential rather than purely philosophical or conceptual in nature, with each teaching session providing guidance and exercises for your formal and informal practice. Rather than presenting extended lectures, each teaching session consists of a series of short videos, each one focused on a specific aspect of the teachings. The teaching session videos have a total duration of about an hour or less. A new teaching session will be introduced twice a week, on each Saturday and Tuesday of the workshop.
The videos in the workshop were recorded specifically for this program, and once a teaching session has been introduced, it remains available for you to review for the duration of the course. Although the videos are generally available only for the duration of the workshop, it is important to us that you have as much time as you need to complete your work with the teaching sessions. If you find that you would like to have additional time to access the videos and course materials, we'll be glad to extend your access. The workshop materials also include downloadable meditations and printable written instructions for each of the practices taught in the teaching sessions.
Rinpoche makes himself available throughout the three weeks of the workshop to answer questions about the teachings and your experiences with the practices through our private workshop forums and messaging system. While you will have the ability to ask Rinpoche questions privately, we encourage you to use the forums so that everyone may benefit from your experiences and from Rinpoche's responses and guidance. Through the forums, you will be able to communicate and share your experiences with the group who will be working with the teachings along with you. Rinpoche has a very busy travel and teaching schedule and is in great demand, he asks that your questions be about the teachings presented in the workshop and in particular, your experiences with them. He also asks that your questions come from the heart, rather than being conceptual or merely inquisitive in nature.
Sacred Syllables: An Interview with Tenzin Wangyal RinpocheAbout the Workshop
Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche talks about the power of sound and Tibetan Sound Healing in an interview with Snow Lion Publications:
Q: Sound is important in the world's spiritual traditions and is central to many Tibetan healing and spiritual practices. It seems that sound affects us on all levels-physical, mental, and spiritual.
TENZIN WANGYAL RINPOCHE: Yes, there are different levels of sound practice. Ancient Tibetan yogis who lived in the wilderness far from medical care used sound and other yogic techniques to maintain their health, for example.
We know that in acupuncture, when a needle is placed in a part of the body, it sends a vibration or message to another part, bringing balance and healing. In a similar way, the vibration of sound as it reverberates on the lips, in the head, and in the chest can affect the body and organs in a very healing way. As the health is affected, so are the mind and emotions. If you chant the syllable RAM for the fire element, for example, that vibration opens certain channels and chakras, affecting in turn certain organs, and brings a particular experience of higher consciousness.
Q: How does one know what sounds to use?
TWR: This is a very ancient system and is described in a number of Tibetan texts. I'm teaching primarily from the Bon Mother Tantra (Ma Gyud). The Mother Tantra describes specific sound practices to treat physical ailments such as headaches, chest pain, and other problems.
The right sounds create balance between the five elements of earth, water, fire, air, and space. These elements, present in nature, are also present in each one of us. Our own particular balance of the elements strongly affects our mental and physical states - so maintaining this balance is essential to good health. There are practices of chanting certain sounds, certain syllables, which activate or pacify each of the elements. These have a subtle but potent effect on our organs, and on our mental and spiritual states.
Q: Please say more about how we should view sound from the point of view of spiritual practice.
TWR: As a practitioner, you can look at sound in three different ways. First, on the ordinary level, one should become aware of one's use of words and how these choices affect oneself and others. Secondly, on an energetic level, one may connect with the sounds themselves. These seed sounds contain elemental qualities that vibrate different parts of the body and different chakras, as I mentioned before. As our chakras are affected in this way, a higher vibration may be activated. Thirdly, and ultimately, the role of sound for the practitioner must be for self-realization.
Q: With the first of these, are you talking about "virtuous speech?"
TWR: Yes, partly. In the traditional teachings, four of the ten "non-virtuous actions" are connected with speech: lying, slander, harsh words, and meaningless chatter. But where do these arise? It says in the Dzogchen teachings that when the sound and innate awareness merge, it produces speech -enlightened speech and samsaric speech. If the realization of that union of sound and innate awareness (rigpa) is present, then speech is naturally very pure.
Q: Most of us are not at that level of awareness.
TWR: When someone is completely awakened, speech comes out spontaneously in response to circumstances, without a plan and without concept. For someone who is very mindful, having conscious awareness but without this complete awakening, speech is still very pure. Every word has meaning and purpose. It is not idle and certainly not hurtful. Then, if we are not able to achieve this level of mindfulness, discipline alone is a help, with rules guiding how we use our speech.
The main thing is that when there is a lack of awareness, when our inner space is not clear, wrong speech arises. If we observe ourselves, we see this clearly. When I am upset, it is easy for harsh or foolish words to come out if, at that moment, I also lack awareness. I cannot always change the outer circumstances that are upsetting me. But when I have awareness, I can change my inner space.
Q: It sounds like the relationship between sound and mind states goes both ways. Yogis use sound to express certain mind states or experiences. And, as practitioners, we can use these sounds to induce certain physical and mental states. Is this true?
TWR: Sound is one manifestation of certain qualities and essence, so there is a direct relationship there. This means that if you work with sound, you can connect with those qualities and essence. Also if you connect with certain enlightened qualities, you can express them through sound.
Using sound in spiritual practice is not unlike using your body in spiritual practice. Your body is not you in an ultimate sense, but it is an aspect of you. Through your body you can develop. Through your body you can also be sick. Speech is also like this. Physical sound originates directly in the physical body. The quality, energy, and vibration of sound relate to the pranic level. The essence of sound is the nature of mind, one's very being. But does working with one level work with all? That has to do with your level of awakening. You might be aware of the gross sound, but the nature of the sound, the deep quality of the sound can be obscured. When you say the sacred syllable A, it is easy for the ear to hear the gross sound, but to recognize the deeper energetic vibration, you need greater sensitivity.
Q: Mantras, strings of sacred syllables, are very important in the spiritual practices of Tibet, India, and other parts of Asia. Can you say anything about the origins of mantras?
TWR: Historically, there were enlightened individuals who themselves awakened in those sounds, who realized the power of those mantras, and saw how they could benefit sentient beings. They then developed whole cycles of teachings and practices related to those mantras. In essence, though, it is much deeper. Energetically, each individual sound is produced by its own root, which is beyond time and space.
Q: Rinpoche, in the generation stage of classic tantric sadhanas, sounds, in this case seed syllables, are used in a very specific way. There is space. Then the seed syllable arises, and from that the deity. Can you say more about this very special use of sacred sound?
TWR: One can look at this in different ways.
In the Bon Mother Tantra there is a beautiful commentary called "The Birthless Sphere of Light." It says, "From the body of the unborn essence arises the sphere of light, and from that sphere of light arises wisdom. From the wisdom arises the seed syllable and from the seed syllable arises the complete mandala, the deity and the retinue."
Another way of looking at it is like this. Radios and televisions work by picking up a certain frequency, right? There is space and in that space there is a frequency. In order to perceive that frequency you need a good receiver and a good color screen. In terms of the classic tantric sadhanas, it is not as if one letter just pops up in space. It is not like that. Sound and space are infinite. This subtle vibration that we humans, accustomed to sounds and images, perceive as the sacred seed syllable or as the deity exists in that space and appears in compassionate response to a need.
Q: My own experience with these practices is that, at first, I work hard to visualize something, to create a picture in my mind. But as my practice develops over time, I have a sense of connecting with something much greater than my mind could create. Is this what you are saying?
TWR: Yes. Basically one is tuning into something that already exists rather than making something up. We are trying to be in the right frequency ourselves so we can connect with what's there. Sometimes we are able to connect; sometimes we are not able to connect. Through practice, through cultivating certain qualities, certain kinds of stability, the ability to connect increases. It depends on the level of the practitioner. The beginner may be more like an old, blurry black and white TV while the advanced yogi perceives the high quality digital image. The frequency they perceive is the same -spontaneously existing in space and arising with wisdom and compassion.
It is not necessary to see this only in esoteric terms. We use this same process in generating any quality. For example, a person is sad and needs to develop joy. Joy may be present and perfect in its essence but is hidden in experience. How do we bring it into expression? First we try to connect with the seed of joy, like a small flame inside. Once that seed is discovered, we cultivate and develop it. Gradually, then, we act it out. Then it becomes complete, at least for human beings like us who have body, speech and mind. Samantabhadra probably doesn't need to express it in order to feel complete, but we humans do! The "Practice of the Five Warrior Syllables" [see sidebar] is helpful for developing such positive qualities. In this modern time, with the many stresses we face, we need to develop ways to balance and harmonize our energy. This is important of course for health. But, most important, it can support our spiritual growth.
Our special thanks to Snow Lion Publications for their help and support for granting us permission to reprint this article, which originally appeared in the Snow Lion Newsletter. This interview with Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche was conducted and edited by Helen Gatling-Austin.
- Three-week teacher-guided online workshop
- Step-by-step class video instructions (via streaming video)
- New material released twice a week
- Six hours of video instruction and meditations
- No set class times - review video instruction any time and as often as necessary throughout the workshop
- Downloadable guided meditations for your practice
- Continuous personal support and individual advice from Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche via workshop forums and messenger
- Easy to use and navigate course site
The following section is included for legal purposes. We ask that you read these terms before enrolling in this course.
Legal Disclaimer: Neither the producers (Glidewing Inc. dba Glidewing Productions) nor anyone else associated with the creation, production, publication and distribution of this online course (collectively, the “Producers”) are liable for any real or perceived mishap, malady or injury, physical or mental or emotional or psychological, or exacerbation of any condition, resulting from following any of the instructions or advice given within this course, entitled “Tibetan Sound Healing” hereafter referred to as “The Online Course” or “This Course” or “The Course." There shall be no joint and several liability among the producers and/or the publishers and distributors and teachers and trainers involved in creating and presenting this course. While a technique for healing on many levels is the main focus of this online course, it is not meant to replace medical diagnosis and treatment. By registering for and/or using and taking part in this course, you hereby release and forever discharge Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and Robert and Marina Felix, the producers and artists and distributors and assistants, and the publishers of any material used, and all heirs and successors and assigns, from all claims and demands which might arise by reason of personal injury, or mental or emotional or psychological issues or injuries of any nature whatsoever, which you, the user of this online course, might suffer or perceive to suffer during or after using this online course and/or by following any of the instructions and procedures and advice this course offers. You, the user, represent by registering and using and participating in this online course, The Sound Healing Workshop, that you are solely responsible for any physical, mental, emotional, psychological or spiritual problems and maladies, that might arise or that you might perceive to arise, from following any of the concepts, procedures and advice offered within the content of this online course, whether directly stated or perceived or implied or assumed.