Three Roots

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A thangka showing the deities of Longchen Nyingtik, including the lama Rigdzin Düpa, the yidam Palchen Düpa, the khandro Yumka Dechen Gyalmo, along with Dukngal Rangdrol, Takhyung Barwa, Senge Dongma and the protective deities.
The Three Roots (Tib. ཙ་བ་གསུམ་, tsawa sum; Wyl. rtsa ba gsum) are:

"[They are] the inner refuge of the Secret Mantrayana. They are like the root or the basis for all the positive accumulations until you attain enlightenment."[1]

According to the Vajrayana,

As it says in the Longchen Nyingtik Ngöndro Refuge:

"Buddha, Dharma and Sangha are in reality lama, yidam and khandro."[2]

Three Roots Practices

In the Nyingma tradition, once we have accomplished the ngöndro, we continue on the path with the sadhanas of the ‘Three Roots’, which are:

  • the practice of the lama, which is the root of all blessings,
  • the practice of the yidam, which is the root of attainment, or accomplishment,
  • the practice of the dakini (Tib. khandro), which is the root of inspiration or activity.

For Rigpa students, the focus for the Three Roots practice is:

Whilst Rigdzin Düpa and Yumka Dechen Gyalmo are from the Longchen Nyingtik tradition, Yang Nying Pudri is a terma revealed by Tertön Sogyal (1856-1927), the predecessor of Sogyal Rinpoche.

Notes

  1. Chökyi Drakpa, A Torch for the Path to Omniscience
  2. For further explanations on how the Three Roots are in reality the Three Jewels, see Yukhok Chatralwa Chöying Rangdrol, LotsawaHouse-tag.png Taking Refuge in his Ngöndro Compendium, and Khenpo Ngawang Palzang, A Guide to the Words of My Perfect Teacher (Boston: Shambhala, 2004), pages 122-123.