ICONOGRAPHY OF ZHANG ZHUNG MERI
The generating of the visualization of the meditation deity Zhang¬-zhung Meri by the mind of the practitioner of sadhana, or what is generally known as the Generation Process, or Kyerim (bskyed-rim), is found in both brief and expanded forms in the texts. The extant thangkas of Meri do not necessarily agree in every detail with the descriptions found in these texts. According to the text of the intermediate length sadhana, Meri originated thus: “From the yellow fires of the golden mountain which signifies gnosis or wisdom (ye-shes) and from the emanations of billowing bluish smoke, turquoise in color, which signify compassion (thugs-rje), there arises a terrifying gigantic form, huge of body and limb.” Thus, the manifesta¬tion of Gekhöd Meri originates from the unification of ye-shes (primal awareness, gnosis, or wisdom), symbolized by the raging fires of the golden volcano, and of thugs-rje (compassion, or energy), symbolized by the turquoise smoke issuing from this volcano. Accordingly, in the Bönpo tradition, Discriminating Wisdom and Universal Compassion are the two coefficients of the enlightenment of a Buddha. In the sadhana text, the colossal image of Meri appears suddenly appesars in space consequent upon the sounding the invocative syllable BSWO (pronounced “swo…”). In old ritual texts this syllable was employed to summon the presence of the deities. Nevertheless, the proper bija mantra, or reddsih-golden seed syllable of Meri, is HRI, which is sounded when transforming oneself into Meri. Moreover, one particularity in the Bönpo Higher Tantras, in terms of the self-generation process of visualization (bdag-bskyed), is that that the practitioner first transforms oneself into the peaceful form associated with the meditation deity, in this case, the Shen Sangwa Düpa (gshen gsang-ba ‘dus-pa), before transforming oneself into the wrathful aspect of the deity. This peaceful figure then melts into light and becomes the golden seed-syllable HRI, which in turn instantly transforms into the awe-inspiring form of Walchen Gekhöd Meri. Therefore, the peaceful and the wrathful forms of the meditation deity are inseparable.
The colour of Meri's body, as well as his armour, is golden. Meri is closely connected with that metal, as well as with the element fire. In ancient times Zhang-zhung, or Western Tibet, was well known as a rich source of gold. This is cited in the Geography of the Greek writer Ptolemy, for example. Gigantic in body, Meri has nine heads, eighteen arms, and six legs. His right face is white in colour and he wears a helmet of molten bronze on this head, while his left face is red and on this head he wears a copper helmet. The middle face is dark azure blue like the storm clouds and on this head he wears an iron helmet. These three faces are all wrathful in aspect, like that of a terrifying, cannibalistic Rakshasa demons (srin-po). In Tantric symbolism, the colours of these three faces represent the colours of the three principal psychic channels in the middle of the body of the practitioner, namely, white on the right, red on the left, and blue for the central channel. Then, above these three principal heads, there are stacked six auxilliary heads in the aspect of animals and birds. On the right there are the reddish-yellow garuda (khyung), the blue raven (khwa), and the yellow owl ('ug-pa), and on the left there are the striped tiger (stag), the ash-grey elephant (glang-chen), and the dark yellow bear (dred-mo). The usual form of Gekhöd in terms of his iconography is also multi-headed and multi-limbed, but he does not wear armour or helmets. Above Meri's several heads, there soars a great golden Garuda bird (bya khyung) with turquoise eyes and with talons and beak of iron. Gekhöd, as well as the country of Zhang-zhung itself, has always been closely associated with the Garuda, which signifies the element fire, as wello as the lightning flashing across the heavens. According to the myth, one of' the first emanations of Gekhöd in our world was that of the Garuda. In addition, his throat, hands, joints, and so on, are decorated with white striped snakes because Gekhöd-Meri, like the Garuda, has power over the Nagas (klu), or serpentine water spirits, which are chthonic in nature.
The first two of his eighteen arms are held before his chest. In his right hands, he holds the hook of compassion to attract and rescue beings, a lasso of snakes to guide beings, a copper staff or walking stick, an axe with a garuda head, a spear with a banner attached, a bow and arrow made of meteorite iron, a golden flaming tso (btswo), or magical missile (resembling a golden pyramid surrounded by flames), a crystal hammer, and flayed human skins belonging to evil doers, both male and female (these actually being the flayed skins of Theurong spirits). In his left hands, Meri holds a golden battle-axe with an enlarged blade, a noose of water, a noose of a mass of fire, a noose of wind, a miniature image of Mount Meru (ri-rab), a container of boiling poisonous wine, a white conch shell, a hammer made of meteorite iron, and a white antelope horn made of crystal. As arm ornaments and wrist ornaments, he also wears yellow striped snakes
As said already, he wears armour of gold, but his upper body is partly wrapped in the flayed skin of a Düd (bdud) demon, and also the flayed back¬skins of Gyalpo (rgyal-po), Gongpo ('gong-po), and Damsi (dam-sri) evil spirits. About his lower body he wears a skirt made of the flayed skin of a Chüd demoness and also the flayed skin of a northern nomad herdsman who was an evil-doer. All of these are tied together with a belt of one thousand black snakes. He wears an apron of lion and tiger skins, as well as a bandelier of eighty-one dried skulls and a rosary of lightning bolts across his chest. His six legs are stiding forward aggressively like a champion warrior (gyad) and his feet are adorned with red striped snakes. 
While in the heavens, he rides upon the swiftly soaring Garuda bird which moves like light¬ning, in the lower atmosphere he rides upon a nine-headed camel which is a king of the winds, and on the surface of the earth he rides upon a reddish-brown curly-haired billy goat. These creatures are also visualized as above his throne and as forming part of his seat. When he resides among his retinue, amidst the thunderous waves of a vast sea of blood, his immense form striding majestically about on top of a throne made of nine gigantic human skulls, supported by nine tiger skulls. Before him there are arrayed the five races of the worldly Mamo goddesses. These Mamos (Skt. matrika), all of them being female witches who are black in colour, are among the fiercest of all spirit entities inhabiting the wilds of nature. These Mamo goddesses have promised to obey and to do his bidding, both in their nocturnal gatherings and in general, having taken these vows before the sage Sangwa Düpa in a previous age.
In the center of a typical thangka, there will be found the majestic figure of Zhang-zhung Meri striding forward with the great golden Garuda soaring over his many heads. Moreover, in most thangkas the three principal spiritual aspects of Gekhod Meri are depicted, which are known as the Three Lord Protectors, or Gönpo Namsum (mgon-po rnam gsum). They are as follows:
1. The tutelary wisdom deity Atimuwer (a-ti mu-wer ye-shes yi-dam lha) is depicted as sitting in the sky above the various heads of the mountainous figure of Gekhöd-Meri and the soaring Garuda. He is peaceful in aspect, white in color, sitting in meditation posture, and attired as a great prince in rich silks and costly jewels. Even though he has all the symbolic ornaments of the Sambhogakaya, nevertheless, he is said to represent the Dharmakaya manifestation of Gekhöd-Meri. His visualization is generated from sounding the white seed-syllable A.
This is not the Tigress as mentioned as the Avatara of Guru Rinpoche as explaiened here:
That tigress might be of another origen , but can never be synchronized as Atimuwer according Yungdrung Bön.
2. Kuji Mangke (ku-byi mang-ke rdzu-'phrul rdzogs-pa'i sku) is said to represent the Sambhogakaya (rdzogs-sku) manifestation of Gekhöd-Meri. According to Yongdzin Rinpoche, there exist two figures with this name who should not be confused. Dzutrul Kuji Mangke, “the magical apparition Kuji Mangke,” is the Sambhogakaya manifestation, whereas Lha-bu Kuji Mangke, “the son of the gods,” according to the Srid-pa mdzod-phug, was a Rishi or sage that lived in Trayatrimsha, the realm of the Thirty-¬three Gods on the summit of Mount Meru. In Bönpo thangkas, this magical apparition Kuji Mangke, also attired as a great prince in rich silks and jewels, being turquoise or bluish-green in colour, is shown sitting in union with his consort inside the heart center of Meri. His visualization is generated with the bluish-green seed-syllable OM.
3. Walchen Gekhöd Meri (dbal-chen ge-khod me-ri), who represents the Nirmanakaya (sprul-sku) aspect of the Deity, the exceedingly wrathful principal figure (gtso-bo) in the center of the thangka. He is generated from the reddish-golden seed-syllable HRI.
Meri may be visualized as a solitary, heroic, warrior figure, without embracing a consort (yum). However, in many thangkas of Meri, he is shown with two consorts standing below him on either side. On his right is his Liberation Consort, Drol-yum Namkhai Ödlayma (sgrol-yum nam-mkha’i ‘od-slas-ma), whose body color is dark red. She is naked, holding a phurpa, or three-bladed dagger, in her right hand and she rides majestically upon a white tortoise. On his left is his Sexual Union Consort, Jyor-yum Nelay Sidpai Gyalmo (sbyor-yum ne-slas srid-pa'i rgyal-mo), whose body color is dark yellow. She also is naked and holds a kapala filled with blood, offering it up to her lord’s mouth, while at times she may actually engage in sexual intercourse with him. She rides upon a black bear. These two goddesses are sometimes depicted in dance position, indicationg they represent active manifestatioins of female energy pertaining to liberation (or slaying) and sexual union respectively.
Although the retinue of Gekhöd Meri is not indicated in the short sadhana texts, the detailed accounts are found elsewhere in various texts providing the descriptions of the visualizations (mngon-rtogs) for the Kyerim, or generation process.. Most immediately, this retinue consists of the Ten Krodhas, or wrathful deities (khro-bo bcu). In many thangkas, five of these Krodhas are shown to the right of Meri and five to his left. Each Krodha has his consort in sexual union with him (yab-yum) and two acolytes positioned on either side accompanying them. These latter are known as summoners, being animal-headed males, and and slayers, who are usually bird-headed females. These wrathful deities are listed below, together with their direction in the mandala and their color:
(1) In the east direction, there is Walgyi Gyalpo Me-lha-gyung, white in colour, with his consort Satänma, and together with a lion-headed summoner and a vulture-headed slayer.
(2) In the southeast direction, there is Kyelchen Muwer, light blue in colour, with his consort Gyerting Tsamed, and together with a bear-headed summoner and an owl-headed slayer.
(3) In the south direction, there is Sumphüd Gyalpo, dark turquoise in colour, with his consort Kyedjyedma, and together with a tiger-headed summoner and a hoopoe-headed slayer.
(4) In the southwest direction, there is Ligchen Muwer, bluish-red in colour, with his consort Gyernyän Tsamed, and together with a bear-headed summoner and a hoopoe-headed slayer.
(5) In the west direction, there is Kulha Yojya, red in colour, with his consort Minjyedma, and together with a leopard-headed summoner and a crow-headed slayer.
(6) In the northwest direction, there is Pungchen Muwer, reddish-green in colour, with his consort Ting-gyung Tsamed, and together with an elephant-headed summoner and a raven-headed slayer.
(7) In the north direction, there is Kulha Muwer, yellowish-green in colour, with his consort Degjyedma, and together with a wild yak-headed summoner and an eagle-headed slayer.
(8) In the northeast direction, there is Sidpa Muwer, whitish-green in colour, with his consort Ringnyän Tsamed, and together with a cat-headed summoner and an owl-headed slayer.
(9) In the direction above, there is Pühay Dung-gyung, blue in colour, with his consort Shugdrolma, and together with a dragon-headed summoner and a garuda-headed slayer.
(10) In the direction below, there is Kulha Traphüd, dark yellow in colour, with his consort Södjyedma, and together with a wild boar-headed summoner and a she wolf-headed slayer.
Each of these wrathful deities has three heads, six arms, and four legs.
Outside of this there is a circle of Twelve Female Messengers (pho-nya-ma bcu-gnyis), who carry out the commands of the principal deity Zhang-zhung Meri. Then there are Four Female Generals (dmag-dpon-ma bzhi), attired in armour and riding upon various animals. Next there may be the Female Guardians of the Four Lakes (mtsho bzhi srung-ma), also attired in armour and helmets. Finally there are the Female Guardians of the Four Rivers (chu bzhi srung-ma), variously attired, guarding the Brahmaputra river in the east, the Sita river in the north, the Indus river in the west, and the Ganges river in the south respectively.
Beyond their circle in the mandala, there are the Four Great Champion Gate-keepers (sgo-ba gyad-chen bzhi) in the four directions, listed as follows:
(1) In the east, there is a lion-headed man, white in colour, riding on a lion and holding a three-pointed crystal staff,
(2) In the south, there is a makara-headed man, blue in colour, riding on a makara sea-monster and holding a flaming sword,
(3) In the west, there is a wild boar-headed man, red in colour, riding on a red wild boar and brandishing a battle-axe of meteorite iron in the sky, and
(4) In the north, there is a wild yak-headed man, black in colour, riding on a yellowish-white wild yak and holding a bow and arrow.
In some thangkas, below the row of Twelve Female Messengers, there is a row of Guardians (srung-ma), or Bön Protectors (bon skyong). Among their number are Nyipangse (nyi-pang-sad) and Mänmo (sman-mo), the two special Guardians of the Zhang-zhung Nyän-gyud teachings and its lineage. It is said that at one time Gyerpungpa ascended through the air to the Deva realm of Wewa Dargub (dbe-ba dar-gub) at the southwest corner of the cosmic mountain of Sumeru (Mt. Meru), lying at the center of the world, and there subdued the Deva king Nyipangse (nyi-pang-sad) and the female deity, Mänmo (sman-mo). In Bönpo thangkas, the guardian Nyipangse is depicted as a warrior prince, white in color, mounted on a white horse, wearing white robes and a white turbin, and carrying a staff of crystal. Mänmo is shown as a great queen dressed in white, riding on a mule. In the Buddhist tradition, Nyipangse became known as Tsangpo Karpo (tshangs-po dkar-po), “the White Brahma,” and is regarded as a Guardian and Dharma Protector in the various schools of Tibetan Buddhism and even of the Tibetan Government. Elsewhere, Mänmo is regarded as an emanation of the Queen of Heaven, Namchyi Gung-gyal (gnam-phyi gung-rgyal). The great master of the Zhang-zhung tradition, Nyammed Sherab Gyaltsän, who re-established the foundation of Menri monastery in the 15th centrury, composed a practice text for the invoking of their aid on behalf of practitioners. [
The Mantra Recitation for Meri
The bija-mantra, or seed syllable, for Gekhöd Meri is the reddish-yellow, or golden coloured syllable HRI, from which the visualization of the deity is generated after the peaceful aspect of Sangwa Düpa dissolves into light. The mantra given below revolves around this bija syllable in his heart center as a mantramala, or rosary of mantras (sngags-phreng). The recitation of the mantra is indicated in the text as being the daily practice for accumulating the proper enumerations of the mantra recitation for Meri practice. This mantra is not in Sanskrit, but in the Zhang-zhung language, and is as follows in pronunciation:
LIG-MIN TSAR GYI HOR CHA RAM
KHYIM DUR PHOG-SE PUNG-SE RAM
GE-KHÖD PONG-SE RAM
U-RAM KU-RAM YE-RAM HRI RAM RAM!
And in terms of the transliteration, it reads as follows:
Lig-min tshar gyi hor cha ram/
Khyim ‘dur phogs-se spungs-se ram/
Ge-khod spongs-se ram/
U-ram ku-ram ye-ram hri ram ram! //
The last line contains the root mantra of Gekhöd-Meri, where the syllable HRI is his bija-mantra and RAM is the mantra of the element fire. U-RAM represents the Wisdom Aspect of Meri (ye-shes kyi me-ri), this signifying the Dharma¬kaya which is Atimuwer. The power of this mantra consumes in flames the poisonous passion of confusion. KU-RAM represents the Magical Apparition Aspect of Meri (rdzu-'phrul gyi me-ri), this signifying his Sambhogakaya which is Kuji Mangke. This mantric power consumes in flames the poisonous passion of greed. YE-RAM represents the Compassion Aspect of Meri (thugs-rje'i me-ri), this signifying his Nirmanakaya which is Walchen Gekhöd himself. By this mantric power the poisonous passion of anger is consumed in flames. These three aspects of Meri are also known as the Me-ri rnam gsum, “the three aspects of Meri,” and their power destroys the three principal poisons, or negative emotions, or kleshas, that afflict and defile the mind of the individual practitioner, namely, confusion, desire, and anger Although the liturgy for the intermediate length sadhana does not provide the meaning of the full form of the mantra, this is found in another text entitled Ge-khod sngags sgrub, "the Mantra Sadhana of Gekhod".  Here the Zhang-zhung terms are translated into Tibetan, and in turn, we can render them into English below, as follows:
LIG-MIN -in the past, present, and future times,
TSHAR GYI -all of them (that is, the kleshas, or negative defiling emotions, or passions),
HOR CHA RAM -are burnt up by the light rays of his Body, Speech, Mind,
KHYIM ' DUR -thereby the three worlds,
PHOGS-SE -become purified of all suffering,
SPUNGS-SE (RAM) -and by his power and blessings,
GE-KHOD -all demons (bdud) are subdued.
SPONGS-SE (RAM) -They are purified (and burnt up) by his power and blessings,
U-RAM -by way of the Wisdom Meri aspect, the Dharmakaya,
KU-RAM -the Apparitional Meri aspect, the Sambhogakaya,
YE-RAM -and the Compassion Meri aspect, the Nirmanakaya,
HRI RAM RAM -(bija-mantras for Meri).
As said, the seed-syllable RAM represents the fire element and its powers and qualities, including purification.
According to the instructions describing the visualzation practice texts (mngon-rtogs) found elsewhere, the bija-mantra, or seed syllable, for his peaceful aspect Atimuwer is the white letter A and for Kuji Mangke it is the greenish-blue syllable OM. For the two consorts of Meri, the bija-mantras are MUM for the red Drol-yum Ödlayma and SRUM for the yellow Jyor-yum Nelay Sidpai Gyalmo. The bija-mantras for the Ten Wrathful Deities in sexual union forming his retinue in the ten directions are HRI for the males and RAM for the females. Each of these ten couples has two attendents, male on their right side and female on their left side. The bija-mantra for the ten male Summoners is DZA and the that for the ten female Slayers is RAM. The bija-mantra for the Four Great Champion Gate-keepers is BHYO (pronounced jhyo).
Lineage for the Practice of Meri
As said, the lineage for the practice of Zhang-zhung Meri is practically identical with that of the Zhang-zhung Nyän-gyud, beginning with the Primordial Buddha:
1. The Primordial Teacher, the Dharmakaya Ye-nyid Tönpa Kuntu Zangpo
(ye-nyid ston-pa kun tu bzang-po),
2. The Teacher who is Compassion, the Sambhogakaya aspect Shenlha Ödkar
(thugs-rje’i ston-pa gshen-lha ‘od-dkar),
3. The Teacher who is an Emanation, the Nirmanakaya aspect Shenrab Miwoche
(sprul-pa’i ston-pa gshen-rab mi-wo-che),
4. Atimuwer (a-ti-mu-wer),
5. Kuji Mangke (ku-byi mang-ke),
6. Walchen Gekhöd (dbal-chen ge-khod), and
7. Sangwa Düpa (gsang-ba ‘dus-pa).
And then it passed through the line of Twenty-Four Masters, divine and human, who are known as august persons (gang-zag nyer-bzhi), eventually coming down to Tapihritsa and Gyerpung Nangzher Lödpo in the 8th century CE..The Texts for Zhang-zhung Meri
The Gekhöd cycle of practice is based on five Tantras dealing with this deity. They are known as the bDud-‘dul ge-khod kyi rgyud lnga.  It is said that these Tantras are among the eighty-six great Tantras and the three hundred minor Tantras brought from the nine-storeyed Swastika Mountain (g.yung-drung dgu brtsegs) in Tazig or Central Asia to Zhang-zhung. These Tantras are not at present available in the West and, in any event, according to Yongdzin Lopon Tenzin Namdak, those that are found in the Bönpo Canon recently published in China are not complete. Neverthelss, from them the ritual text entitled Ge-khod gsang-ba drag-chen was compiled in the 15th century by Je Rinpoche Sherab Gyaltsän (1356-1415), the founder of Trashi Menri monastery. 
The three Tantras of Meri (me-ri rgyud gsum) are also included under the rubric of Gekhöd in this classification of the five gSas-mkhar, or divine citadels. According to Shardza Rinpoche’s Legs-bshad mdzod, the Me-ri rgyud gsum were transmitted from Tönpa Shenrab to his contemporary, Tride Chagkyi Jyaruchän (khri-lde lcags kyi bya-ru-can), who was the first monarch in the earlier dynasty of the kings of Zhang-zhung.  Eventually from him this came down to Tsepung Dawa Gyaltsän in the 7th century, so that this transmissioin lineage became the same as for the Zhang-zhung Nyän Gyud. These latter were included among the most important texts of the three hundred and sixty texts of Zhang-zhung Bön, which the Tibetan king Trisong Detsän promised not to suppress when he was subdued by Gyerpung Nangzher Lödpo. Thus, the transmission lineage for Meri Bön came down to Pön-gyal Tsänpo, whereafter it divided into the Upper Transmission and the Lower Transmission and then united once more in the 11th century through the efforts of Yangtön Sherab Gyaltsän and his master Orgom Kundrol. 
In Tibet there exist two traditions of teaching relating to Gekhöd and Meri:
1. Kama (bka’-ma)—the continuous oral tradition (later written down) and descending into our own time in company with the Zhang-zhung Nyän-gyud; and
2. Terma (gter-ma)—the hidden treasure texts or Terma concealed at Paro (spa-gro) in Bhutan and rediscovered at by Khutsa Da-öd (khu-tsha zla-‘od, b. 1024) and by Pönse Khyung-göd-tsal (dpon-gsas khyung-rgod-rtsal, b. 1175).
Both of these traditions are found represented in the collections entitled the Me-ri sgrub skor and the Ge-khod sgrub skor, that is to say, in the sadhana cycles of Meri and Gekhöd respectively. These two collections have been published in India byYongdzin Lopon Tenzin
Namdak for the Tibetan Bonpo Monastic Centre. 
Outline of the Sadhana Text
The intermediate length sadhana (sgrub-pa), or practice text, known as “The Sadhana Practice for the Single Mighty Phurpa of Gekhöd Meri” (ge-khod me-ri gyad phur gcig sgrub bzhugs-so)” is found in the collection of the propitiatory rites cited above.  It consists of a short sadhana for daily recitation and includes the invocations of, meditation upon, and propitiation of the meditation deity Zhang-zhung Meri. The text also states that this practice was followed by Ligmincha, the king of Zhang-zhung. The sadhana text is divided into the following sections:
1. Securing the Boundaries (mtshams bcad-pa),
2. Invocation of the Wisdom Deities (ye-shes spyan-‘dren),
3. Doing Homage (phyag-‘tshal),
4. Request to be Seated (bzhugs su gsol),
5. Confession (bshags-pa),
6. Offering the Symbolic Form (phyag-rgya’i mchod-pa),
7. Five-fold Puja Offering (mchod-pa rnam lnga ‘bul-ba),
8. Offering of Medicine (sman mchod),
9. Receiving of Siddhis (dngos-grub blang-ba),
10. Offering of Meat, Blood, and Bones (sha khrag rus-pa’i mchod-pa),
11. Offering the Ganapuja (tshogs ‘bul),
12. Aspiration Prayer (smon-lam),
13. Recitation Aloud of the Mantra (dzab grags),
14. Hymn of Praise (bstod-pa), and
15. Dispatching the Torma Offering (gtor-ma btang-ba).
The Practice of Sadhana
Each Tantra cycle has a chief Yidam meditation deity and each Yidam has its own system of practice. Moreover, each Yidam has a root sadhana (rtsa sgrub) that is necessary for the entering into the cycle of practice. It is said that to realize the fruit of the tree, it is first necessary to sow the proper seed. According to the instructions of Yongdzin Rinpoche,  before beginning, it is also necessary to examine and cultivate our motivation for the practice by way of the four meditations that change one’s attitude (blo-ldog rnam-bzhi), and to do so without error or mistake. Then we may engage in realizing the Natural State and compassion. The basic text here is “The Essence of the Mind of Zhang-zhung Meri” (zhang-zhung me-ri snying-thig), which represents the shortest form of the sadhana for Meri. All of the Twenty-Four Masters did the practice of Gekhöd-Meri, but they practiced Tantra largely as a supplement to Dzogchen practice, and did so mainly for the benefit of others. In addition to the root text and the extended texts of the sadhana, there are auxilliary texts for fire puja (me-mchod), protection rites (srung-ba), rites to avert negative influences (zlog-pa), long life practices (tshe grub), propitiation rites (bskang-ba), confession (bshag-pa), empowerments (dbang-bskur), and so on. Detailed instructions describing the procedure for the visualization are given in texts known as Ngöntok (mngon-rtogs), literally “clear understanding.” At the beginning one does homage with one’s body, speech, and mind to the Gönpo Namsum, or Three Lord Protectors, namely, Atimuwer, Kuji Mangke, and Zhang-zhung Meri, and to all the lineage masters. Then we may engage the visualization process, or Kyerim (bskyed-rim). Here, as pointed out previously, the peaceful form in relation to Meri, the sage Sangwa Düpa, is explained first. Then after this peaceful form dissolves into light, the seed syllable HRI in one’s heart center transforms into the wrathful aspect of Zhang-zhung Meri.
First we must purify ourselves and everything else into the Basic Nature in terms of the three samadhis, or contemplations. The Natural State has no beginning and no end; it is not born and it does not die. It is in no way distracted. All visions come from this Nature and, therefore, all phenomena are primordially pure (ka-dag). This Nature represents emptiness, clarity, and their unification. This realization of the state of Shunyata is the first samadhi and we practice until we have become familar with it. Otherwise, if we go on to the second samadhi, which is compassion, there will be no proper result. We do this in terms of cultivating the four immeasurable states (tshad-med bzhi) and reciting the text for this. Thus, we must integrate the Natural State with compassion and these four immeasurable states. We practice them individually at first until we can think compassion without this thought disturbing our Natural State. Thus we integrate them. Then we are ready for beginning the transformation.
When the unification of the Natural State and compassion are clear and stable and do not disturb each other, then we visualize their unification as the seed syllable. Now all phenomena appear from the Nature to be like reflections on the water. Even the mandala and the deities we visualize will be like reflections on the water; they are only empty forms and illusions, having no inherent existence. Therefore in sequence, we practice being in the Natural State, we meditate upon compassion, we integrate them without disturbances, and finally all phenomenal existence appears as empty forms. These all represent preliminaries and the beginning of visualization, according to Yongdzin Rinpoche’s instructions. The details for the visualization process are then found in the various texts of the Ngöntok section.
In terms of Dzogchen, finding oneself in the Natural State represents the principal practice and that is sufficient in itself to attain liberation and enlightenment. However, we also find ourselves in this relative condition in this present life and Tantra provides many practical methods which may prove useful in dealing with our circumstances. From the stand point of Dzogchen, all of these represent secondary practices. But since Dzogchen is without any limitations in itself, it may utilize any of the methods of Sutra and Tantra that would prove useful to the practitioner, such as the invocation of and the meditation upon Zhang-zhung Meri.
[Extracted from The Cult and Practice of the Bönpo Deity Walchen Gekhöd, also known as Zhang-zhung Meri, by John Myrdhin Reynolds, forthcoming.]