This photograph was taken during the New York apprentice retreat where Lopön Ögyen Tanzin Rinpoche taught on the history of the gö kar chang-lo’i dé (gos dKar lCang lo’i sDe) and their roots in the Mahasiddha tradition of ancient India. Lopön Ögyen Tanzin Rinpoche is a personal friend of Ngak’chang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen and their discussions with respect to Nyingma history have been of great interest to their apprentices and ngak’phang disciples.
On this occasion Lopön Ögyen Tanzin Rinpoche (sLob dPon o rGyan bsTan ’dzin rin po che) gave a large group of Ngak’chang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen’s apprentices and disciples the ‘hair vows’ as a precursor to Vajrayana ordination – and consequently they will never in their lives cut their hair again. The ‘hair vows’ were given by Lopön Ögyen Tanzin Rinpoche from the Düd’jom gTér—which he holds—and are as important an aspect of the gö kar chang lo tradition as head shaving is within the monastic tradition. At the outer level, uncut hair represents the principle of transformation within Vajrayana as head shaving represents the principle of renunciation within Sutrayana. At the inner level the hair of a ngakpa represents the dakinis, and the hair of a ngakma represents the dakas. Moreover every hair is held sacred as an individual daka or dakini and never discarded. Holding this view is an aspect of the visionary reality in which all visual phenomena are an aspect of kyil’khor of the yidam and in which every sound is the mantra of the yidam. The ‘secret’ and ‘ultimate’ aspects of the hair vow may not be openly discussed unless one has taken the vow.