An introduction to Jatshug Rilbu ( The Rainbow Pill)

"Namo Avalokiteshvara" Whose love for all beings is like the love of a mother for her only child. To benefit sentient beings, you appear in various forms - animate and inanimate. Boundless is your compassionate activities. Bless us to develop boundless and impartial compassion!"

Even though the moon is reflected in a thousand different pools, it is true that its original form never leaves the night sky. Likewise from the view of ultimate reality, enlightened beings remains in the Dharmakaya (Choe Ku), while manifesting themselves in the infinite forms of Sambhogakaya(Long Ku) and Nirmanakaya (Trulku) to benefit sentient beings. This is manifest according to the needs of the times and the store of each sentient being's karma and individual capacity. It is the vow of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas that they will manifest unceasingly even if there is a single sentient beings left suffering in the depths of samsara. So, how can the ordinary mind truly comprehend the numerous manifestations of the enlightened being's body, speech and mind?

The Kayas or manifestation is not restricted to only animate forms such as that of a human or a deity. They can also manifest themselves as inanimate objects which confer blessing and enlightenment by sight (Thong Drol) such as holy relics and statues, by hearing (Thoe Drol) such as Bardo Thoe Drol and by taste (Nyong Drol) such as Jinlap.

The holy grass called Tsa Lu-du-Dorjee, found in the holy place of Tsari (the pure land of Chakrasamvara or Demchok Khorlo) in remote Tibet, is considered to be the most rare and precious for realizing Nyongdrol (liberation by taste). It is a widely witnessed phenomenon in Tsari that when wild animals die, a miraculous rainbow appear over their body. The people thus believe that these wild animals had the good karma to consume the holy grass and were now reborn in the Pure Land.

In our Dongyud Pelden Drukpa Lineage, the very same holy grass is used as one of the main ingredients to prepare the Rainbow-Pill or Jastug Rilbu (meaning the pill which realizes the rainbow body or Chokey Jalue). The legend holds that this grass can only be found by the reincarnations of the Gyalwang Drukpa as they are the incarnations of Chenrezig. Thus, the Rainbow-Pill is exclusive to the Drukpa Lineage.

The other important ingredient used in the making of the Rainbow-Pills is the remains of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. In the practice of the six paramitas, Bodhisattvas accumulate great merit by various means which includes giving away possessions, body and even their lives. They dedicate the merits from these actions to benefit beings not only while alive but also after they have passed away through the remains of their body. This is why the forms of Deities, Mani syllables and Ringsel appear on the mortal remains of Great Masters. These manifestations generate in beings a profound respect for the law of Karma and support their development of devotion and understanding on the path.

The production of the Rainbow-Pills amalgamates many sacred objects: the Tsa Lu due Dorjee; the sacred remains of enlightened beings; nectar from Guru Padma Sambhava and numerous other holy items which are mixed together. This is consecrated by the rites of the deity ChakraSamvara (Demchok Khorlo) for a certain period of time until the signs of blessings emanate from the pills such as bright lights, fragrant scents and flames.

It is stated in the sutras that if one consumes or wears the Jatsug Rilbu with complete devotion, one will realize the Ultimate truth of Mahamudra or Shunyata. It is also a cure for sicknesses, protection from poisons and weapons, purification of the senses and of benefit in various other ways which includes prevention of rebirth in the three lower realms.

The efficacy of the pills is dependent on the level of devotion and understanding. The blessing of the pills is based on the truth of interdependence. One cannot close all the doors and windows and still expect the sun's ray to shine through.

Traditionally, these Damzey or holy pills are given at the death-bed. The regret that the dying person feels for the utter uselessness of one's lifelong activities along with the empathy of compassion for those of similar fate and the experience of devotion generated by the articles and holy objects combine to develop a very powerful positive karma. This can result in being born in the Pure Lands created by Buddha's' prayer. Therefore in Tibet, people came from far and wide to obtain this Jatsug Rilbu, also known as the Drukpa's Rainbow-Pill. Those who consumed it died with a peace of mind and the confidence that they would not be re-born in the lower realm!

The merits of these pills, as the manifestation of the Buddhas, are equal to prostrating and making offerings to the Buddha.

The rainbow pills are very rare; there are just a few hundred pills available worldwide unless H.H. Gyalwang Drukpa decides to make more. Due to the rare nature of the pill and as there is no way to obtain anymore of it we cannot afford to give away the entire pill. In order to ensure that the benefits accrued from the pill are equally distributed to all those who seek it, we take to mixing small portions of the pill with other holly pills prepared by Drukpa Lineage. These pills are available at all Drukpa Centers and Monasteries across the world.

This is just a short and inconclusive introduction to the benefits of the Rainbow-Pill as the benefits of just one of the holy remains that constitutes it is immeasurable.

To know in greater details about the relics in the Rainbow Pill, please read An Introduction to Damzey Nyongdrol by His Holiness the VIII Gyalwang Drukpa Kunzig Choenang and translated by Dasho Karma Ura...

May all sentient beings become enlightened through the various mean and manifestations.
- Dokhampa