Host: And Rinpoche, you seem to have this special connection with Niguma, obviously a lineage holder of the Shangpa Kagyu. So could you tell us a little bit about “who is Niguma?”, sort of, your sort of connection and feeling towards Niguma, and then, since we’re going to move into seeing a little bit of the yoga practice, a little bit about “what is Niguma’s yoga?”
Kalu Rinpoche: Regarding the Niguma, there’s not so much known about her. The only thing that is known about her is that she is a highly realised being, equal to Green Tara and White Tara, that sort of a level of realisation being, that’s number one.
Number two is that she is the elder sister of Naropa. So Naropa, of course followed the Tilopa, and the Niguma, she followed Saraha, and then eventually she declared, she said “I have no human guru. I have only one guru, and that is the Buddha himself, the Vajradhara himself, that has come to my presence.” So that is her declaration in terms of the level of realisation that she had. That’s the, that’s the origin of that.
And the third is that, her lifestyle. She is known as a Khandroma, but many people when, nowadays when they think about the Khandroma, they think that it’s something to do with the consort, and that is a wrong, misunderstanding. Because being a Khandroma has nothing to do with being a consort. It’s not, it’s about being, you know, being Khandroma, daka, dakini, all these are highly realised being, less dependent, non-attached, highly realised yogi and mahasiddha, isn’t it?
So she lived very much in the wild, and when she met Khyungpo Naljor, and Khyungpo Naljor was directed to that forest because of the other great masters in Bodhgaya at that time, and when they first met, and then Niguma said “what are you doing here? I’m a cannibalist, I’m going to eat you alive. And my friends are going to come, they are going to definitely eat you alive. So you should run away!” So definitely it shows that she is not hair brushing every day, do make up every day, you know? So definitely she is not in that yoga pants, or anything like that [haha] she is definitely living just like the many other great mahasiddhas and the great yogi, little bit like a solitary life, and also in a cremation site as well, where people don’t bother to come. In a wild forest.
And my relation to the Niguma, is of course, it goes all the way back to previous Kalu Rinpoche, and the previous Kalu Rinpoche with the previous Situ Rinpoche, and then goes all the way back to the first Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye, and the Taranatha, and all that teachings and transmission that is passed down to me over the time. So that is my relation in terms of the, the empowerment.
But from my heart connection was in the retreat. When I read the biography, when I actually practiced, that was the time that I told myself “I’m going to uphold this lineage, and bring it back alive, and make it”, you know, how do I say, “maintain as it should, as one of the Buddhist branch, in terms of the lineage and the practice and the yoga”. That’s that.
Live with Kyabje Kalu Rinpoche on Wisdom Dharma Chats (33′ 05”)
Perspective on dharma in the modern world – 4th May 2023
To be continued …