Riwo Sangchö is a terma (treasure) that was hidden by Guru Rinpoche and revealed in the seventeenth century by the great yogin and tertön Lhatsün Namkha Jikmé. Lhatsün Namkha Jikmé was acclaimed as an incarnation of both the great pandit and Dzogchen master Vimalamitra, who attained the rainbow body and of the omniscient Longchen Rabjam (Longchenpa).
According to an earlier prophetic declaration of the dakinis, the famous cycle of terma teachings called Rigdzin Sokdrup (Accomplishing the Life-Force of the Vidyadharas), emerged in a pure vision while Lhatsün Namkha Jikmé was in retreat in the cave of Lhari Rinchen Nyingpuk at Drakkar Tashiding. These are said to be unsurpassed instructions on Dzogchen Atiyoga. Within these teachings, the Riwo Sangchö belongs to the mengak, or innermost instruction.
Through his intensive practice of Riwo Sangchö, Lhatsün was able to remove all human and non-human obstacles to the Dharma in the sacred hidden valley of Beyul Demojong (present-day Sikkim). He was able to open it as a ‘secret land’ of the teachings and successfully taught and propagated the Dharma in Sikkim.
Purpose of Riwo Sangchö Practice
The purpose of Riwo Sangchö is to realize the perfection of wisdom. One does this by accumulating merit through two main aspects of practice: offerings, and purification of obstructions. In this practice, one visualizes purifying nectar as well as extensive offerings that are presented to four classes of guests:
- The Three Jewels: The rare and supreme ones
- Those with qualities: The protectors, guardians and their entourages
- The objects of compassion: The six classes of beings
- Karmic Creditors: The obstructors
According to Dodrupchen Jikmé Tenpé Nyima:
It is by making illusory offerings through illusory practice that we can complete the gathering of illusory accumulations. Through this cause—namely the accumulation of merit—we can gain the result, which is the perfection of wisdom. Four such methods that involve very little difficulty and yet are exceptionally meaningful and beneficial are the offerings of sang, water tormas,1A special torma offering consisting of water, milk, and grains. sur, and one’s own body. The individual who practices these regularly and diligently will gather the accumulations, purify the obscurations, and, in particular, will pacify any obstacles and factors that prevent the accomplishment of the Dharma and awakening in the present lifetime, becoming free of them like the sun emerging from the clouds. Since they also support our progress along the path leading to the supreme attainment of Dzogpachenpo, it makes sense for us to put our energy into practicing them.Dodrupchen Jikmé Tenpé Nyima, Guide to Sang Practice, translated by Adam Pearcey.