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Pilgrimage to The Immaculate Crystal Mountain of Tsari

From Tibetan Buddhist Encyclopedia
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Pure Crystal Mountain.jpg

 Guru Rimpoche, who entered the mandala by way of the southern door, over the Jowo Them La pass from Jar, meditated here for seven years, seven months and seven days in the Zilchan Sangphuk, the Brilliant Secret Cave, where he hid many treasure texts. A little later the Dzogchen teacher Vimalamitra came here by magical means and taught the gods and demons.

The Immaculate Crystal Mountain of Tsari provides the definitive Tibetan pilgrimage. It is the palace of the buddha-deity Demchok, Supreme Bliss, and his mandala of deities. And it is also a principal abode of the sky dancers, amongst whom Khandroma Dorje Phakmo is supreme. More than Kang Rimpoche and Labchi, it is the tantric power place par excellence, a testing place for yogis where the sky dancers dwell. It is a place of breath-taking beauty, the snow mountain rising out of verdant pastures and forests, while in the valleys below is thick jungle.

The Tsari mountain lies at the south-eastern end of the Great Himalayan range. It is one of the last peaks (5,735 m) before the Yarlung Tsangpo river (Brahmaputra) cuts through the range in the world's deepest gorge. The mountain is surrounded by the tributaries of the Subansiri River which drain into the Brahmaputra in Arunachal Pradesh to the south of the mountain. It is located in the old Tibetan region of Loyul

Paramount, Dakpa Shelri, the Immaculate Crystal Mountain, is a great chorten made of crystal. It is a self-manifest, spontaneously arisen, chorten that is the buddha-mind. Specifically, this chorten is perceived as an Auspicious Chorten of Many Doors (Tashi gomang chorten) and the dome of the chorten contains the divine mandala, the wheel of sublime bliss and perfect cognition that is Demchok's mind.

he topographical features that are the keys to this mandala are the four summit peaks in the four directions which are the palaces of the four male and female buddha-deities in union. The four doors into the mandala are marked by four passes, four ravines, four rivers with water of four different colours, four stone thrones, four caves and four lakes. The entire mandala is surrounded by a wall of dorjes. The four doors are at Chikchar in the north, the Parpa Rong ravine in the east, the Jowo Them La pass in the south, and Domtsang Rong ravine in the west.

Tsari is circumambulated on three levels. Yogis traverse the peak path (tsekor), which encircles the four sacred peaks and touches the caves sanctified by tantric meditation, and takes two to four days. Laymen and monks traverse the central, middle, path, (shungkor), which crosses seven passes over the ridges that radiate from the peaks, and yet it is the easiest route, taking up to week. The ravine circuit (rongkor), the long arduous passage through the deep valleys that flank the massif on three sides, takes two weeks and is the course of the great pilgrimage every twelve years. Which ever circuit the pilgrim takes here is fraught with difficulty, and the Kagyu pilgrim recites this prayer:

Glorious Tsaritra, Pure Power Place of the Sky Dancers,
Masters of the Kagyu lineage, Buddha-deities
Sky Dancers, Dharma Protectors: we pray to you.
Purify sins and obscurations through your blessings;
Pacify adversaries and dispel dangers;
Bestow upon us supreme realisation and magical powers