Vajra dance

Nyima ’ö-Zér

Tso Pema, March 1981

This photograph was taken by Ngak’chang Rinpoche at the gar’cham performed at the Nyingma gompa in Tso Pema (Rewalsar) in Himachal Pradesh – Northern India. Ngak’chang Rinpoche, Gyaltsen Rinpoche, and Khandro Ten’dzin Drölkar were invited to attend the annual dances by Lama Könchog Rinpoche – then the abbot of the Nyingma monastery on the shores of the Lotus Lake.

The gar’cham was that of the eight manifestations of Padmasambhava, and on that occasion Kyabjé Künzang Dorje Rinpoche represented Padmasambhava. This was a special occasion for everyone because Kyabjé Künzang Dorje Rinpoche rarely makes public appearances.

The dancer in the photograph is Nyima ’ö-Zér – the manifestation of Padmasambhava who pinned the course of the sun with the gesture of his hand. Nyima ’ö-Zér is the epitome of all yogis. He carries the khatvangha trident carried by travelling ascetics for over two thousand years. He wears the five skull crown worn as the symbol that he has realised the wisdoms, which are the transformed energy of the five dualistic emotions.

On this occasion Gyaltsen Rinpoche and Ngak’chang Rinpoche visited the Padmasambhava caves high above the sacred Lake of Tso Pema and spent some time with their friend Ani Bumchung – a yogini who has lived most of her life in retreat in the hills above Tso Pema in the retreat caves presided over by Lama Wangdor Rinpoche.