Results of Actions aka Karma

Lord Buddha describes the results of karma in a sutra, listed here in point form:

Young brahmin, as a result of one’s actions,

*one’s life is short or long,

*one has many or few illnesses,

*one is ugly or beautiful,

*one is insignificant or influential,

*one is lowborn or highborn,

*one is poor or rich,

*one is ignorant of the Dharma, or one has extensive knowledge of the Dharma;

*one is reborn as a hell being, an animal, a ghost, an asura, a human,

*(one is reborn) as a deva possessing a physical body, or a deva without a physical body

*one’s rebirth is fixed or changeable

*there is rebirth in a foreign country,

*there is rebirth through carrying out an action without intent,

*there is rebirth when one has intended an action but not carried it out

*there is rebirth when one has intended an action and carried it out,

*there is rebirth when one has neither intended an action nor carried it out.

There are also actions that, when accumulated:

*lead to rebirth into a new existence only after the lifespan in hell has been completed,

*lead to rebirth into a new existence after only half the lifespan in hell is exhausted,

*lead to rebirth immediately upon arriving in hell

*lead to future unhappiness after past happiness.

*lead to future happiness after past unhappiness.

*lead to future happiness after past happiness.

*lead to miserliness,

*lead to being poor and generous,

*lead to being wealthy and generous,

*lead to being poor and miserly.

There are individuals whose lifespans are exhausted but not their karma.

There are individuals whose karma are exhausted but not their lifespans,

There are individuals whose lifespans and karma are simultaneously exhausted.

There are individuals who will eliminate their sufferings although neither their lifespans nor their karma are exhausted.

There are actions that lead an individual to be:

*be unwell in their minds while their bodies are well.

*to be well in their mind while their body is unwell

*to be well in mind and body

*to be unwell in both mind and body.

*lead to having a body that is graceful, beautiful looking, and pretty, with a nice and glossy complexion, a feast for the eyes, although an individual is reborn in an inferior form of existence.

*lead to having an inferior physique, a crude body and an unpleasant and unsightly appearance for an individual reborn in an inferior form of existence.

Furthermore, young brahmin, it is like this: through carrying out the ten non-virtuous courses of action, conditions in one’s environment will deteriorate.


Faith and Guru Rinpoche

Terchen Namkha Drimed Rinpoche:
(Rinpoche is one of the most prolific Terton in recent times, revealing many volumes of terma.)

If there is faith you will receive the blessings of the gurus and the deities, and as you receive these blessings your mind will naturally relax. The wild whirlwind of thoughts calms down, and anger and the other negative emotions gradually come under your control and lose their strength.

This is the essence of the 84000 Dharmas of the Buddha. The 21000 Dharmas of the Vinaya were taught as an antidote for the afflictive emotions such as attachment and so on.

Similarly, as the negative emotions lose their hold on our minds, impure outer perceptions are also simultaneously being purified until finally all forms, sounds, smells, tastes and so on arise only as infinite purity.

As is said, ‘Once the afflictive emotions have been eradicated, there is no further practice of Dharma’. We will be liberated from the suffering of samsara before long and an illusion-like great compassion for all sentient beings will effortlessly arise.

The essence of compassion being emptiness and the natural expression of emptiness being compassion, this so-called union of compassion and emptiness is the unmistaken path for accomplishing the state of Buddhahood.

Furthermore, although in the sutras and the tantras of both the old and new schools there are many deities and mantras to be accomplished along with the objects of our prayers, nowadays, in these degenerate times, the inconceivable personification of kindness for all beings in the world in general and particularly in Tibet, the single embodiment of all buddhas of the three times with no one else above him is Orgyen Rinpoche (Guru Rinpoche or Padmasambhava).

If you meditate on him above the crown of your head or in the sky before of you and pray to him, accumulating as much of his mantra, the Vajra Guru Mantra, as you can, the blessings and benefits are most excellent. As he, himself, said, ‘Accomplishing me, you accomplish all Buddhas. When you see me, you are seeing all Buddhas. I am the embodiment of all the Sugatas’. So keep these words in your heart and do his practice.

Exhortation to practice

His Holiness Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche:

In some other teachings, Lama Mipham Rinpoche said, “The present life is the cause, future lives are the results.” So why do we not create merits and virtues now? Farmers plant their crops in summer hoping to receive the harvests in autumn. Why do we not plant the seeds of virtue and cultivate the land of merit in summer? Every sentient being needs to follow his own karma, so one must create more virtues right now!

As we have said repeatedly in the past, even a very small virtue can give rise to a vast amount of joy and happiness in the future. For instance, if you recite the King of Prayers daily once, even though you only spend a short time doing so, this virtue cuts through the root of rebirth in the lower realms for the future and one receives boundless incomparable peace and happiness.

Or just as it is stated in the sutras, if one hears the sound of the dharma conch (blown to gather the disciples) for the sake listening and practicing the Dharma, one will not fall into the three lower realms, what to say of the merits of actually listening to the Dharma?

As Dharma practitioners, we should not consider these things trivial or immaterial, but try to accomplish some meaningful virtues as quickly as possible.

We should not cling to the small happiness in this life which is as brief as a flash of lightning. Otherwise, when you are aged and weak, you will feel sorry that you had not practiced more virtue when you were younger. This is very regretful.

Our mind stays in this body for a very short moment, like a little bird briefly landing on a tree branch. Take hold of this opportunity while the mind is still together with the body, like the short time the bird remains on the tree. May all of you realize what a difficult-to-gain opportunity this is and treasure it. Don’t be lazy and distracted. Practice diligently.

We older people with whitening hair, loose teeth and walking unsteadily with bent backs, are nearing the point when the bird departs from the tree. These are the signs that departure is imminent. You think that you will still stay for a long time, but it is impossible.

For younger people, the time that the bird stays with the tree may seem slightly longer, but even this is uncertain. A weak body or many illnesses may be signs that you are already getting ready for the next life.

Everything is impermanent, the temporary joys in this world pass swiftly. Even the gods Indra and Vishnu with their power, wealth and joy are subjected to change. All these wondrous qualities will be lost one day like the sun setting.

I hope everyone practices diligently and take rebirth in Sukhavati. If you fail to do so, at least don’t fall into the three lower realms. If you fall into the three lower realms, no matter how powerful a human you once were, you will be wretched with boundless regret.

Now that we have the chance to practice Dharma, don’t, at all cost, let go of this opportunity.

(Comments: Just this short advice is so precious. Imagine how many people in this world, including practitioners, lack the wisdom in this advice. If only they could truly internalize this advice in their heart, how drastically could their future improve? How much suffering could they spare themselves and people around them? How many people could they benefit directly and indirectly? Simple advice like this truly is like a wish-fulfilling jewel! Think about it deeply and try to embed it in your life. )

Amitabha Practice stories

Khenpo Kathar Rinpoche:

Amitabha’s realm, which is called Dewachen in Tibetan, is very wonderful. It is also known as the miraculous realm, because in this realm there is total bliss and happiness, and there is no sound of suffering to be heard. Not only that, it is an extraordinary realm because, once we have taken birth there, we obtain the enlightened stages from the first to the tenth. It is also a wonderful realm because once we are born there in a lotus, we are immediately mature beings. We do not have to grow up in a gradual way as we do here in the human realm. It is one of the most fascinating, wonderful, and pure realms, because all the male and female beings have perfect physical forms, with equal beauty and appearance, so there is no discrimination there.

Amitabha’s realm is a miraculous realm because beings do not have to rush around and work as we do in the human realm. The moment a desire develops to make an offering and receive a teaching, the offering and teaching appear. Every being who has taken birth in Amitabha’s realm has the ability to see and hear the teachings of any buddha they desire, even if that buddha is a billion realms away.

Amitabha’s realm is a blissful place, where even the sounds of air, water, and birds are not just simple, meaningless, pleasant sounds but are also profound for the mind. When we are in the meditative state, all sounds disappear, and there is no noise to hinder our meditation. At that very moment, the whole realm becomes a pleasant realm of quietude. Within the period of one day in Dewachen, we have the opportunity to hear teachings from any of the buddhas of the five families, regardless of the distance of the place where these enlightened beings are turning the wheel of dharma.

We are praying here that, at the moment we leave the physical body, without needing to take any other physical form, we will take birth directly in Dewachen. If we pray for this, there will be a change of our perception of samsara at the time of death, and immediately we will be able to perceive the blissful realm of Dewachen. This shift of perception can take place before the dying process is completed, and if we can perceive Dewachen right before death, there is no fear of dying. We know, then, that we are not going to take birth in the lower realms, and we become fearless.

Once there was an old lady who lived alone, without any monks, lamas, or spiritual friends nearby. She learned the mantra of Amitabha without any definitions, descriptions, or visualizations. Throughout her life, she recited that mantra with one-pointed concentration of faith. Actually, it was not even the entire mantra, just “Amitabha Chenno”, which means “Amitabha knows.” Without having had any instructions, she imagined that Amitabha was white in color.

At the time of her death she was in bed, surrounded by her family, with her eyes closed. Her perception of samsara changed, and immediately, due to the virtue of her one-pointed prayer to Amitabha, she was able to perceive Amitabha’s realm. She opened her eyes in shock and told her family, “I used to think Amitabha was white, but he is red!” That was the moment when she really saw Amitabha. This is what happens if we pray correctly: there is always a chance for us to become liberated at the time of death, to take birth in Amitabha’s realm.

The story of the old lady may seem to some of you like a mythological story from the past, but I can share a story that happened in my own lifetime, which is evidence of the benefits of prayer to Amitabha. A young woman in Taiwan had an incurable disease and sent a letter to me asking for refuge and a practice to do that might be beneficial for her after death. The doctors told her there was no hope, that at the most she could live for a year or so. Since Taiwan is so far away, I could not personally go there to give her refuge, but I mailed her a cassette of my short teaching on Amitabha. She listened to that teaching, and for more than fourteen months she recited the mantra of Amitabha that I had given in the tape. Her parents and her brother and sister were not Buddhists, but Taoists. When she finally passed away, for three days they could hear the sound of OM AMI DEWA HRI, in the room, resonating from voidness. All of them heard it, not just one or two persons, but the whole family. This was quite fascinating for them.

Another recent example I can give is of a lady named Marge. Some of you knew her very well; she lived here at KTD for quite a while. She was here for my extended teachings on Amitabha and took care of the shrine room during that time. She practiced very diligently. Later she developed an incurable disease and, throughout that time she continued to practice. When her illness worsened, she went to California where her relatives lived. She was in the hospital, and the doctor told her relatives she would pass away any day.

She had a good friend, Francis Norwood, who was also involved in Buddhism; she was a practitioner of Amitabha, and they obtained instructions on the Amitabha practice together. Francis went to the hospital to help her remember the practice. Marge closed her eyes and then opened them again and said, “I don’t have to visualize him—he’s here.” Her friend Francis was not really sure whether Marge was telling the truth or just hallucinating, but from that moment on, Marge became very peaceful. When she passed away, the doctors and her relatives could not believe how much her face was glowing, and there was even a smile on the face of the dead body, which is a strong sign of a painless death. This is true evidence in my lifetime of the power of Amitabha. You may be tired of hearing that these kinds of things used to happen a long time ago, so this is something that actually happened very recently.

Tame the Mind

Phurpa Tashi Rinpoche:

Many people practice for a long time by themselves and conclude: “Although I have been practicing, but it seems that my mind is not strong enough to make any improvements; even though I am disciplined in the practice, there does not seem to be much result. In fact, if I stop practicing, I actually feel more at ease.”

We often say that we want to practice the Dharma, but this intention is often superficial, and we tend to end up in the above situation. But if one had a genuine desire to practice the Dharma, this would not happen. The reason this happens is that we do not truly understand how to practice the Dharma.

We have received many types of practices but what is the authentic Dharma? It is to realize the nature of mind. That is the ultimate aim of Buddhism.

To perform recitations, participate in pujas, receive empowerments and many such virtuous acts of body and speech – these are conditioned dharmas and are relatively more contrived. Many beginners in Dharma who engage in many of these conditioned dharmas hope to improve their minds through these virtuous acts of body and speech. But when they observe their minds now, why do they see so little improvement? This is because they are using a roundabout method to subdue their minds, they are not going directly to the crux of the matter.

In the Butcher’s Aphorism, Patrul Rinpoche said:

“When intention is virtuous, physical action and speech are virtuous;
when intention is non-virtuous, physical action and speech are non-virtuous.
The mind is the source of all phenomena,
To tame it is the Buddha’s teaching.”

Therefore, since all phenomena is the mind, and mind governs all phenomena, it is imperative to make efforts on the mind itself directly

Many people create virtues (of body and speech) and naively hope that the good results will dawn someday. However, just by waiting, such a day will never arrive. When we first practice the Dharma, it is good to engage in these virtues of body and speech, but our practice should not be limited to this, especially if we wish to attain liberation in this life. Otherwise, when death arrives, our practice will not be of much help in terms of liberation.

Avoid speaking of others’ flaws

Once, I read some discussions online where many people who did not understand the Buddha-dharma criticized the Dharma.  That night, I dreamt of (Achuk) Lama Rinpoche sitting on a very vast grass plain.  Due to not having seen my Guru for a long time, I could not stop my tears which continued for a very long time.  Later, I reported to Guru that in this degenerated age many people were slandering the Buddha-dharma and gave descriptions of what they said.  Lama Rinpoche then became very wrathful and censured me, “Stop speaking of this!”  I said, “But other people said this, not me.”  Lama Rinpoche said in a very stern manner, “Even to spread this slander is not allowed.  Those people who said these words (of slander) have created unspeakable karma! But just by repeating it to others, you will also be stained by the karma.”

Although this was a dream-state, I regarded what Guru said in the dream as a teaching.

In the past, a Tulku who was recognized by the lineage masters, displayed incomprehensible behaviour that was extremely unbecoming of a practitioner.  He was castigated and denounced by many people.  When someone forwarded this news to me, I said, “We do not know the secret intent of this master.  Therefore one should not judge.  Those who criticized him have already created karma.  There is no need to spread such news. This matter should stop here.”

I remind my disciples all the time, “Reflect on your own faults, avoid speaking of others’ flaws.”

Faith in the Guru

5th Dodrupchen Rinpoche
(The 5th Dodrupchen Rinpoche is also a heart disciple of the 4th Dodrupchen Rinpoche.  There are two different lines of emanations of Dodrupchen Rinpoches. The Dodrupchens are considered the undisputed emanation of Guru Rinpoche by all the lineages in Tibetan Buddhism. The 5th Dodrupchen is also renowned for his realizations.)

Visualizing the Guru is really a very good form of practice!  Some people do not practice anything in their life, but they just remember and think of their Guru. At the last crucial moment (before death), the Guru come to pick them up and guide them to the purelands.

The elderly people in Dodrupchen monastery only received a single practice from Dodrupchen Rinpoche (referring to the 4th Dodrupchen Rinpoche who just passed into parinirvana) in their entire life.  For instance, someone may get the practice “Recite the Mani.”  Rinpoche did not specify any number.  These elderly practitioners then went on to recite several hundred million mantras, all the while thinking of their Guru’s face.  Just chanting, chanting, chanting… there was this old lady who was going to pass away, she looked at the sun-rays coming into the room and said, “My teacher is here to pick me up.”

Her family members thought that she was somewhat delirious and speaking nonsense, they replied, “Oh, don’t move, don’t speak.  Stop talking nonsense.”

She said, “What do you mean nonsense! My Guru is here. He is here to pick me up! Quick, bring me my shoes and help me to put them on.”

Then she wore her shoes and stood up saying, “Guru, here I come!” Standing there, she passed away.  She died in this way, standing.  When we went over there, the old lady was still standing, passing away in such an easy manner.

Then there was Palje, the old man.  He was quite plump and about 80 when he died.  When he died, we were not around.  So his family members invited a Tulku from the Shechung monastery to perform deliverance rituals for him.  But he told them, “Don’t disturb us! My Guru is doing deliverance for me right now.”

His family members were quite embarrassed and said, “Father, don’t say anymore, the Tulku is here to perform the deliverance rituals for you.”

He replied, “No need for that! My Guru is doing deliverance for me. Don’t disturb us. After deliverance, it will be time for me to leave.”

Everyone felt that he was talking deliriously with a disoriented mind.  They said, “Don’t say anymore Father, keep your volume  down.”  The old man kept looking upwards and did not seem to pay attention to anyone else.  After about half an hour, he passed on.

Actually this old man was speaking the truth.  To this kind of practitioner, there are no doubts or questions. Why is that so? Because for them, when a teacher gives one instruction, they will practice it their entire life.

Once, one disciple said, “I am going to ask HH Dodrupchen a question. I must request a practice from him.  Up till now, I do not know what to practice.”

I replied, “Alright, go ahead and ask him.”

Upon asking, Dodrupchen Rinpoche told this disciple to recite the Four Refuges his entire life.

Another disciple of Dodrupchen Rinpoche once said to Rinpoche, “Guru, I have been reciting the 7-line prayer, I have already recited it for three years continuously.  You did not tell me how many to recite, only to recite the 7-line prayer.  There is no instruction on what to visualize.  Some Gurus teach their disciples what to visualize and give them new practices periodically.  They also teach some theories about how to practice.  It is pointless for me to just keep reciting blindly.  Guru, have I recited enough already?”

When Dodrupchen Rinpoche heard this, he said, “Good.  You feel that this recitation is not good enough, you can change to another practice.   But I do not have any new practice to give you.”  After saying this, Rinpoche just sat there and did not say a further word.

In the end, that disciple went to Rinpoche and confessed his fault, “Guru, I will recite this practice my entire life just as you have instructed.”

Rinpoche said, “Good. If you listen to me, you will recite this your entire life.  Other people may have many steps in their practice, if you wish to learn those, you should look for them, why look for me?”

Actually, this sort of practice is the most solid and stable.  You may not be able to see it, and the Guru did not seem to have said anything much to the disciple. But this disciple must have received the pith instruction. That is why he was able to persist in the practice his entire life.

There are some old men who recite several hundred million mantras. In the end, their white hair turned black again and their lost teeth grew out again.  Their skin became rejuvenated and youthful again. This is a fact.

Rinpoche was the same.  He may be 89 years old. But does he seem like he is that age?  You never see him practicing, meditating or reciting mantra. If you asked him, he will not say anything.  It seems like he doesn’t know anything.  But once there is the need, Rinpoche becomes just like a wish-fulfilling jewel.

Power of Bodhichitta and Compassion

Khenpo Sherab Zangpo:

His Holiness Jigme Phuntsok once said that he requested the oral transmission and teachings for the 37 Practices of Bodhisattvas from his Gurus more than 200 times in his life. His aim was to increase and stabilize his own motivation of Bodhichitta. Therefore, we should emulate His Holiness and often request these teachings and transmissions from our Gurus. One must not only receive the oral transmission, but must constantly habituate one’s mind to these teachings. Even if we cannot master the entire contents of the 37 verses perfectly, just to put a four-line stanza into practice will be an excellent way to direct ourselves towards liberation and attainments.

Everyone here is Buddhist and practicing the Mahayana teachings. The core of the Mahayana teachings is Bodhichitta. Without Bodhichitta, no matter what practice you do, you will not become a proper Mahayana practitioner. In the end, you will not attain Buddhahood. So, it is very essential to keep training and habituating our minds to Bodhichitta.


Khenpo Sherab Zangpo:
Bodhichitta and Pureland

The methods for training in Bodhichitta are taught in the “Words of My Perfect Teacher”, Lama Tsongkhapa’s Lamrim Chenmo (Extensive Treatise on the Graduated Path To Enlightenment) and the Bodhicharyavatara (Entering the Conduct of Bodhisattvas) etc…

In general, the practice of Bodhichitta starts from one’s parents or when seeing the sufferings of beings, such as those who are currently suffering from sicknesses etc. With them as an object of focus, one practices and slowly expands this compassion to encompass all sentient beings. It is easy to talk about Bodhichitta, but the actual practice is quite difficult. The most important thing is to persevere in habituating your mind to it. If one persist in this practice, one will even make progress from day to day, needless to say from year to year.

This is important not only for attaining Buddhahood. Bodhichitta is especially important for taking rebirth in Sukhavati. Without Bodhichitta, one may be able to take rebirth in Sukhavati through the recitation of Amitabha or various other methods of practice. However, one will not attain the stage of a Bodhisattva the moment one takes rebirth there. If one can embrace one’s pureland practices with Bodhicitta, then the moment you take rebirth in the pureland, you attain the First Bodhisattva Bhumi. After attaining the stage of the Bodhisattva Bhumis, if you wish to, it is possible to attain Buddhahood in seven days in the pureland. Or if you have the aspiration to benefit beings in the form of a Bodhisattva, you can continue to benefit beings freely by the force of your aspiration.

Therefore, if you wish to take rebirth in Sukhavati to become a Bodhisattva who can benefit beings, you must definitely possess Bodhichitta.


Paltrul Rinpoche
“Words of My Perfect Teacher”

A moment of compassion purified what 12 years of intense retreat could not

Nothing could be more effective than compassion for purifying us of negative actions and obscurations. Once long ago, in India, the Abhidharma teaching had been challenged on three separate occasions and was about to disappear. But a brahmin nun named Prakasasila had the thought, “I have been born as a woman. Because of my low status I cannot myself make the Buddha’s doctrine shine forth. So I will give birth to sons who can spread the teaching of the Abhidharma.”

With a ksatriya as the father she gave birth to the noble Asanga, and with a brahmin to Vasubandhu. As each of her two sons came of age, they asked what their fathers’ work had been.

Their mother told each of them, “I did not give birth to you to follow in your father’s footsteps. You were born to spread the Buddha’s teachings. You must study the Dharma, and become teachers of the Abhidharma.”

Vasubandhu went off to Kashmir to study Abhidharma with Sanghabhadra. Asanga went to Kukkutapäda Mountain, where he started to do the practice of the Buddha Maitreya in the hopes that he might have a vision of him and ask him for instruction. Six years passed, and although he meditated hard he did not have as much as a single auspicious dream.

“Now it looks like I will never succeed,” he thought, and departed, feeling discouraged. Along the way, he came across a man rubbing an enormous iron bar with a soft cotton cloth.

“What are you trying to do, rubbing like that?” he asked the man.

The man replied, “I need a needle, so I’m making one by rubbing away at this bar.”

Asanga thought, “He’ll never make a needle by rubbing that huge bar with a soft piece of cotton. Even if it could be done in a hundred years, will he live that long? If ordinary people make such efforts for so little reason, I see that I have never really practised the Dharma with any persistence. “

So he went back to his practice. He practised for three more years, still with no sign.

“This time I’m quite certain that I can never succeed,” he said, and he took to the road again. He came at last to a rock so high that it seemed to touch the heavens. At its foot, a man was stroking it with a feather dipped in water.

“What are you doing?” Asanga asked him.

“This rock is too tall,” the man said. “I don’t get any sun on my house, which is to the west of it. So I’m going to wear it away till it disappears.”

Asanga reflected on his own situation as with three years before, went back and practised for another three years, still without so much as a single good dream.

Utterly discouraged, he said “Now whatever I do I can never succeed!” and set off once more.

Along the road, he came across a female dog with two crippled hind legs and her entire hind quarters crawling with maggots. Nevertheless, she was still full of aggression, and tried to bite him as she dragged herself along on her forelegs, the rest of her body trailing along on the ground behind her.

Asanga was swept by deep, unbearable compassion. Cutting off a piece of his own flesh, he gave it to the dog to eat. Then he decided that he had to rid her of the worms on her hind quarters. Fearing that he might kill them if he removed them with his fingers, he realized that the only way to do it was with his tongue. But whenever he looked at the whole of the creature’s body, so rotten and full of pus, he could not bring himself to do it. So he shut his eyes and stretched out his tongue…

Instead of touching the body of the dog, his tongue touched the ground.

He opened his eyes and found that the dog had disappeared. In its place stood Lord Maitreya, surrounded by a halo of light.

“How unkind you are,” Asanga cried, “not to have shown me your face all this time!”

“It is not that I have not shown myself. You and I have never been separate. But your own negative actions and obscurations were too intense for you to be able to see me. Because your twelve years of practice have diminished them a little, you were able to see the dog. Just now, because of your great compassion, your obscurations have been completely purified and you can see me with your own eyes. If you do not believe me, carry me on your shoulder and show me to everyone around!”

So Asanga placed Maitreya on his right shoulder and went to the market, where he asked everyone, “What do you see on my shoulder?”

Everyone replied there was nothing on his shoulder—all except one old woman whose karmic perception was slightly less obscured. She said, “You are carrying the rotting corpse of a dog.”

Lord Maitreya then took Asanga to the Tushita heaven, where he gave him The Five Teachings of Maitreya and other instructions (note: these are now the main texts for study in any monastic college). When he came back to the realm of men, Asanga spread the doctrine of the Great Vehicle widely.

Since there is no practice like compassion to purify us of all our harmful past actions, and since it is compassion that never fails to make us develop the extraordinary bodhicitta, we should persevere in habituating our minds to it.


Khenpo Appey Rinpoche

Generally speaking, the activities of Lord Buddha are beyond measure. However, his greatest deeds can be listed in several ways, of which the “Twelve Deeds” is the most well-known. One day, while our Teacher was dwelling in the area around Vaiśhālī, he told Ānanda, “Those who have reached the stage of the four bases for miraculous powers have the capacity to live for a long time, if there is a purpose and they have the intention to remain.”

Although Ānanda should have requested him to remain for a long time, Ānanda was under the influence of Māra and did not make the request. Māra, the “Wicked Demon,” is the king of the Paranirmitavashavartin gods. When the Dharma thrived in this world system, his followers were impaired and felt defeated, so they continually created obstacles for those who practice the Mahayana doctrine.

Even for Śākyamuni Buddha they created obstacles. Once they were no longer able to obstruct him, Māra requested Lord Buddha, “Please pass from this world immediately!” At that time the Buddha did not consent, explaining that he had many tasks to perform; as long as his work remained unfinished, he would not pass into parinirvāṇa.

However, when, on another occasion, the opportunity arose for Māra to repeat his request, the Buddha promised to leave this world after three months, thus causing the earth to shake and other signs to occur. When Ānanda asked about the significance of these events, the Buddha described eight events that cause earthquakes, and Ānanda then understood that it was a sign of the Buddha’s departure from this life. He beseeched him to remain, but the Lord Buddha had already accepted Māra’s request and so could not accept Ānanda’s.

In due course, after coming into this world to act for the great benefit of sentient beings, he eventually passed beyond. There seem to be several different explanations of the precise timing of the Buddha’s passing. According to the best-known Tibetan tradition, it occurred on the fifteenth day of Saka Dawa, the day that he arrived in Kuśinagarī, when he received alms from a man named Cunda at a place called “Pleasure Grove.”

Hasti, another resident of Kuśinagarī and a member of the Malla clan, offered a piece of yellow cloth as part of a set of new robes. When the Teacher put them on, His emaciated body became particularly radiant. When he was asked about the reason for this, the Teacher said it was a sign of his imminent passing beyond suffering. When the Teacher came to dwell near the city of the Mallas (Kuśinagarī), he prepared his final resting place at the foot of a Sal tree and rested in the reclining posture.

He discussed a number of topics with the monks concerning how they should behave in the future. In particular, he told them they must study the sutras. Also, in place of having another teacher, four topics should be taught to others: the code of monastic conduct (Vinaya); that elders should teach their juniors; that junior monastics should obey their elders; and that people should visit the places of the Buddha’s birth and so forth.

When it was publically announced that he was about to pass away, many people gathered and the Buddha taught the Dharma to them. After giving that last discourse, he was asked what should be done with his sacred remains after his passing. He replied that they should be treated like the remains of a great king: they should be wrapped in cotton, with five-hundred pieces of cotton cloth as an offering, and placed in an iron casket. Oil and spices should be sprinkled on top and it should be cremated with fragrant wood producing a pleasant smell. Afterward, the bones should be collected and placed inside a golden vessel. He explained that offerings should always be made to the relics, especially on festival days.

One of the Buddha’s final disciples was the king of gandharvas named Upananda. When he came before the Buddha, he did not request the Dharma due to his excessive pride, the source of which was his skills as a musician. In order to tame this pride, the Teacher took on the appearance of a gandharva and played the lute in his presence. Many exquisite tunes emerged from the lute simultaneously; but gradually he played less and less until finally, without playing even a single melody, the beautiful music continued.

The sweet sounds transformed the pride of the king of gandharvas, which had been a great hindrance to the development of his good qualities. The transformation of the king’s pride meant he was able to become a proper vessel for the teachings. He once again approached the Buddha and was able to see the truth of what the Teacher taught.

The Buddha had another final disciple, a one-hundred-twenty-year old ascetic named Subhadra. Because of his good qualities, he became convinced that he was an arhat, and so remained idle. While resting in a grove of udumvara flowers, he noticed some of them wilting, and realized that the time for the Teacher to pass beyond suffering had indeed come. He approached the Teacher in order to request the Dharma, but Ānanda would not allow him an audience.

The Teacher perceived the situation, and told Ānanda to send for him, saying “This is my last non-Buddhist disciple.” The two of them discussed the various spiritual paths in a frank and relaxed way. The Teacher said, “Apart from the path of the Buddha, there is no way to attain liberation.” After that, Subhadra saw the truth and ordained as a monk, later to achieve the state of an arhat.

Then the Teacher told the monastics: “If you have any doubts about the Three Jewels or the four noble truths, ask me now. Meeting with a buddha in physical form is extraordinarily rare, so behold.” In order for everyone in the audience to clearly see his body, he lifted his upper robes. Then he gave his final advice: “All composite phenomena are impermanent.” Amongst all his teachings, this was the last and final statement; therefore, it is very important for us to meditate on impermanence and death.

Geshe Potowa taught that a continuous familiarization with the thought of death and impermanence will give rise to a profound understanding of their reality. Then one will not experience any hardships in Dharma practice. Meditating on compassion is likewise: the moment it truly arises, one will not experience hardships in benefitting beings. The Geshe also taught that by meditating again and again on the selflessness of phenomena (emptiness), when the fact of selflessness is made truly evident, one will not experience hardship in casting off the defilements to be eliminated.

Since this teaching comes directly from the mouth of the Buddha, it is extremely important to be mindful of these meditations on death and impermanence.

The Buddha then adopted the posture of meditation and entered the states of deep absorption. Afterward, He displayed passing beyond sorrow in the state of what is called the “final fourth absorption.” According to the Hinayana teachings Śākyamuni Buddha himself was not a nirmānakāya or emanation body, but rather the Buddha in flesh whose physical form does not continue on in the state of nirvana. Thus, when he had completely passed beyond suffering, the continuity of his composite, physical form was cut off and ended right there.

In the Mahayana, it is taught that Śākyamuni was a nirmānakāya, and that he merely displayed passing away. According to the latter, there is no discontinuation of the Buddha’s deeds and activities.

Difficult to Get this Chance again

Child of noble family, it has never occurred to those who wander in cyclic existence that their body ornamented with the freedoms and advantages is so difficult to find; because of their evil friends, they continue to circle in cyclic existence and are tormented by the fire of suffering. But I, by reflecting on this supreme freedom, have been completely liberated from existence. You too should do likewise.

Lord Buddha, Sutra of the Arborescent Array

Shechen Gyaltsap Rinpoche :

We have now reached the final five-hundred-year period, and people’s attitudes and conduct are all the worse. The sun of the Buddha’s doctrine is about to set behind the western mountains, and most of the supreme spiritual teachers are thinking of beings to be trained in other realms and are not staying.

Even ordained monks and nuns are concerned only with their dualistic monastic affiliations and material preoccupations. Those who have a proper attitude to the Buddha’s teachings and are upholding and preserving them are as rare as stars in the daytime.

Foreign armies and barbaric dark forces are sweeping through the world like clouds of hail. Wherever one looks, all the signs have appeared that the teachings will not last for long, and in the future it will be even more difficult to encounter them.

Now the teachings may still be present, but they are of no use to anyone if there are no Dharma companions following the Buddha’s words and no qualified spiritual teachers giving proper instructions on what to abandon and what to adopt. Such beings are extremely hard to find.

And other favorable conditions for practicing the Dharma, like food and clothes, are also difficult to get hold of. All these necessarily depend on causes and conditions that have been accumulated in the past, so they are very difficult to come by…

It is thanks to the precious human body that one can meet an authentic teacher, listen to the profound teachings, and train on the path to liberation. Now that you have obtained it, it is as if you had reached an island of jewels. If you return empty-handed, there will have been no point in journeying across the ocean. You will have reached the jewel island—your precious human body—and failed to take your share of the jewels—the sacred Dharma. If instead of setting out on the path to liberation you are distracted by the activities of this life, you will have let the precious human body that you obtained go to waste.

The practice of the sacred Dharma depends on the mind, and the mind is dependent on the body, with its freedoms and advantages. So, reflecting on how hard it is for all the right conditions to coincide, think, “I am not afflicted by illness and difficulties; I am not dominated by others; I am free to do as I wish. I must at all costs use this support to exert myself in the sacred Dharma!

Causes and Conditions to attain a Precious Human Life

This perfect state (precious human birth) of freedom and advantage does not happen without causes or conditions. It is the result of merit accumulated in the past. And even if one has an immense amount of merit from having practiced generosity and so forth, without discipline, one will not obtain the perfect body of a celestial being or human, as is explained in the Introduction to the Middle Way:

“The fruits of generosity enjoyed in lower realms
Occur through fracturing the limbs of discipline.”

(Certain beings in the lower realms, such as nāgas and spirits with miraculous powers, are wealthy as a result of generosity practiced in previous lives, but they have been reborn in the lower realms because they lacked the moral discipline that brings about rebirth in the higher realms. Generosity on its own is not a protection against lower rebirth.  Discipline is for instance upholding the eight precepts or the other various vows and commitments.)

Not only that, but even if one has other excellent qualities, such as great learning from having heard many teachings, they will not help much, as the same text points out:

“And high rebirth derives from discipline alone.”

In the Sūtra of the King of Concentrations,
“Because of lax discipline, one will go to the lower realms,
And no amount of learning can protect from that.”

And the Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra,

“Look at the monk Devadatta. Because of his negative actions, he fell into the lower realms even though he had heard and memorized as many sūtras as a Nepalese elephant could carry.”

Even if we have observed discipline and been diligent in accumulating an immense amount of virtue—for example, by making offerings and gifts—these will be of no use if we have dedicated them to gaining positions of power and wealth… (worldly or mundane purposes)

A precious human birth depends, above all, on our former aspirations and our state of mind at the moment of death.

Since it is rare for all these causes and conditions to coincide properly, it is exceedingly rare to obtain their result, the perfect state of freedom and advantage. The fact that we have now obtained this perfect support for practicing the Dharma is an infallible sign that we accumulated a vast amount of merit in the past. As we find in Letter to a Friend,

“To dwell in places that befit the task,
To follow and rely on holy beings,
Aspiring high, with merit from the past—
These four great wheels are yours for you to use.”

(Staying in a place that is compatible with giving rise to the sublime path that increases virtue. Befriending and relying on a supreme being who will make your faults diminish and good qualities grow. Aspiring to accomplish enlightenment. From having created merit in previous lives your mind will be completely mature. These conditions are called “wheels” because they are like the wheels of a chariot. Just as a chariot with balanced wheels can swiftly reach its destination, so too with these conditions on the path, one can swiftly reach liberation.)

If we do not put our efforts into practicing the Dharma by speedily applying diligence at the very moment that we have obtained this precious human body and have the four great wheels, the favorable conditions for the path, it will be extremely difficult to find them again in future, as is mentioned in The Way of the Bodhisattva:

So hard to find the ease and fortune
Whereby the aims of beings may be gained.
If now I fail to turn it to my profit,
How could such a chance be mine again?”

The Sūtra of the Arborescent Array:

Difficult it is to manage to avoid the eight states without opportunity*,
Difficult to gain the human state,
Difficult to find freedom, perfect and complete,
And difficult to meet with the advent of a buddha.
Difficult it is to have all one’s faculties complete,
Difficult to have the chance to hear the Buddha’s Dharma,
Difficult to find supreme beings and companions,
And difficult to find a genuine spiritual friend.
Difficult it is to have access to genuine instructions,
Difficult to find the correct means of subsistence,
And difficult in the human world to follow the teachings and apply oneself to Dharma.

Eight States without Opportunity:
Being born in the hell realms(1), as hungry spirits(2), as animals(3), as long-lived gods who are too distracted by pleasures to practice Dharma(4) as humans who have no access to Dharma(5) or as one who hold pernicious views that contravene the principle of cause-and-effect(6), where the Buddha has not come and the Dharma is not available(7) or having deficient sense faculties, such as being deaf, dumb, blind, or mentally-incapable(8).

To be free of these eight states of no opportunity constitutes freedom, as shown in the Sutra of Precious Space:

The Bodhisattva Akashagarbha asked: “Bhagavan, how should one view the freedoms and advantages?”
He answered: “When mind is buffeted by thoughts and thus distracted, this is ‘having no leisure.’ When the thoughts in the mind are stilled and it is at ease, this is ‘freedom.’”

In the Condensed Transcendent Wisdom we read:
“By eliminating the eight states of no opportunity one will always find freedom.” )

And in the Sūtra of the Questions of Ratnacūḍa:
“To see a guide is very hard indeed,
To hear them speak the peaceful Dharma is also very hard,
To be reborn a human, free and well endowed, is very difficult,
To keep on finding discipline and faith is very hard as well.”

This entry was posted on 22222222, in Teachings.

Accomplishment through mantras

Kathok Rigzin Chenpo Rinpoche:

Many people attained accomplishment by reciting Guru Rinpoche mantra their entire life

Since I was young, I have had great faith in Guru Rinpoche and recited his mantra. I did not recite many mantras as I wasn’t very diligent. My numbers are not as much as those of others who would accumulate huge numbers of recitations such as several hundred-million, or three or four hundred-million etc. I did not even recite as many Guru Rinpoche mantras as my mother. My mother recited more than me. She has always been very devoted to Guru Rinpoche. But I feel that in terms of faith, I have slightly more faith than my mother. Although it is not right to compare with my mother, but when my mother met some problems or obstacles, she always tried to find other methods to solve it. But for me, it was enough to supplicate Guru Rinpoche. My mother believed in Guru Rinpoche since her childhood. Many old men and women in Tibet recited Guru Rinpoche’s mantra. The numbers they accumulated were far more than what I have accumulated. This is pretty common. (In Tibet, it is very common for old people to have accumulated several hundred-million mantras)

In our experience, many people who practice Guru Rinpoche eliminate many obstacles, especially obstacles in their Dharma practice. When they die, they often die with full mastery and freedom. A few years ago in Gantse, an old lady who was not educated– she considered herself my disciple and had attended my teachings. She did not know how to read Tibetan but she had recited an enormous number of Guru Rinpoche mantras. When I gave empowerment, she made offerings to me and requested my dedication (of her merits from reciting these mantras). So I dedicated for her. A few days before she passed away, she dreamt of Guru Rinpoche. After that, she said that all her affairs had been set in order. She stayed at home chanting Guru Rinpoche’s mantra happily and passed away like this.

Last year, in Rebkong (Qinghai), a Ngakpa (mantric practitioner) passed away. It was the same. After he finished his teachings, he returned home and fell sick. It was very serious. Later I transmitted some teachings to him and told him to supplicate Guru Rinpoche. When he was passing away, some relatives and close friends were around him, everyone chanted the Guru Rinpoche mantra and he departed while reciting the mantra in a joyful and happy manner. When you are sick or dying, Guru Rinpoche practice is very important. If you have strong faith, blessings are sure to come, there is absolutely no doubt about this!


5th Dodrupchen Rinpoche:

“Even if it makes you disappointed, I must say that only 20% of those who attain great accomplishment or realization do it through Dzogchen. The other 80% come from those who recite lots of mantras.”

“If you have recited 100 million mantras, going to the pureland is definitely no problem! If you are fast, it takes 8 years. Generally, people take 10 years to finish. But the prerequisite is that one generates Bodhichitta. Or else, you can end up being reborn as an evil spirit.”

“Without faith in the Guru, there is no possibility of accomplishment.”


Someone asked Rinpoche if it was easier to reach the pureland if he had recited the Mani mantras some 400 or 500 million times.

Rinpoche replied: “If you have truly recited so many mantras, then the moment you close your eyes (ie, died), you will go to the pureland.”


A disciple asked, “Many people say that it is more important to recite the mantra with quality rather than quantity, is it really like that? If quality is good, then the number of mantras recited is not important?”

Rinpoche: In that case, why recite a hundred million mantras? Just recite the mantra three times and be done with it!

(There are two or three emanations of the third Dodrupchen Rinpoche, one of whom is Jigme Thrinley Palbar Rinpoche who resided at Chorten Gonpa in Sikkim and recently passed into Parinirvana. The present 5th Dodrupchen Rinpoche is the rebirth from another line of emanation, he is also a heart disciple of Dodrupchen Jigme Thrinley Palbar Rinpoche and a mahasiddha in his own right.)

This entry was posted on 22222222, in Practices.


Retreat master Khen Drubpon Rinpoche:


I sincerely wish for you to know Mahamudra. Perhaps I feel a greater sense of urgency about it than even you do yourself.

You may wonder why I teach meditation when I travel abroad, but not to you here in the retreat centre.

Well, truth be told, if I am going to teach the little dharma that I know to anyone, it will be to you lot who stay here, who have committed your life to the dharma. I feel that if I do my best to teach you, it’s possible that some of you may come to understand something. But for that to happen, I have to teach you properly. So what is it that I have to do? I need to make sure you have the necessary foundation, which is the dharma way of thinking, a practitioner’s mindset. You will not understand true meditation (i.e recognise the nature of mind) without it.

The dharma takes time. Our way of thinking needs to develop gradually. What I am trying to do is to guide you step by step, pointing out your flaws and issues so that you can come to see them for yourselves. Slowly you may start to be able to hear what is being said to you, and learn to think and look into these things for yourselves. As this happens your minds will become more easy-going and settled. Not all of you, but some of you may start turning your minds towards the dharma. So there is some hope that some of you here may be able to actually learn something.

It’s a very different approach from the one-week meditation courses I conduct when I travel. I hold little hope of being able to help the participants of these short retreats to know meditation or even to become practitioners. I know very well how even those who have studied Buddhism for years in the shedras struggle when it comes to meditation, so I am not so stupid to think that those who come for a one-week course will pick it up by listening to a few hours of teaching. That is just not how meditation is taught and learnt.

So contrary to what you may think, I do not really teach meditation when I travel abroad. It simply cannot be done. The most I can do is to help those who attend to see that what they previously thought was authentic meditation, is in fact not meditation. The best outcome of those short retreats is that some people may come to see that meditation is not easy, and not something that can be understood through explanations. Maybe some of them will be inspired to take the dharma more seriously or look for a new direction in their studies and practice. But even that is very difficult.

Another extremely important point is that without the necessary foundation, not only you will not understand meditation when it is taught, but there is also a great danger that you will come to lose your faith in the dharma. The result of having heard all the highest teachings but being unable to put them into practice is that one loses one’s love for the dharma. You would still think that you’re a Buddhist, you might even be wearing robes, teaching others meditation and have many students, but the truth is that you would not even be a Buddhist yourself anymore, since you would have lost your faith and motivation to practise the dharma. What is worst, you would not even be conscious to the fact that this has happened. Buddhist circles are full of people like this.

By working step by step through the preliminary practices in a thorough manner, your faith in the dharma will remain intact. You will gradually develop a practitioner’s way of thinking. And if you become a practitioner in terms of your way of thinking, everything will be good from thereon! That itself is a great result! Even if you don’t come to know meditation when you receive the instructions in the future, you will be able to persist in the practice of them and the dharma will remain precious for you and you will continue on the path no matter what happens.

I have told you many times that if I were given the choice of having the mindset as taught in the preliminaries or the actual practice (recognition of the nature of mind), without any hesitation I would choose the mindset of the preliminaries, the four thoughts that turn the mind towards the dharma.

The reason for this is that once you have the mindset of the preliminaries, it is only a matter of time before you recognise the nature of mind, and once you gain that recognition you will be able to persist in cultivating it until it becomes full realisation. But without the preliminaries and the drive that comes from seeing the suffering of cyclic existence etc., you could still recognise the nature of mind to some degree but you will find it very difficult to persist in cultivating that recognition and bring your practice to completion.

Be careful, be careful!

His Holiness Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche:

In the entire Sutra of the Hundred Karmas, there are many teachings about the severe negative karma of scolding others harshly. Therefore, those students who have not made this vow should henceforth vow not to castigate others with harsh speech. If one scolds others with really heavy disturbing emotions (such as anger or desire) , then you should quickly recite the mantra OM BENZA SATO HUNG a thousand times to confess your mistake.

Usually, due to karmic habitual tendencies, one may not be able to hold back from scolding others. At such times, you should immediately recite OM BENZA SATO HUNG at least a thousand times or up to ten thousand times, then the karmic repercussions can be purified completely due to the inconceivable effects of the mantra power.

All negative karma created in the past must be confessed with the counteracting force of the four powers, you should vow never to repeat these mistakes. You must have this kind of determination, otherwise, the karmic result similar to the cause will cause us to repeat and perpetuate similar kinds of behaviour in the future and that will be really dreadful. On one hand, we should sincerely confess such behaviours and purify all negative karmas; on the other hand, we should make a strong vow not to repeat this behaviour.

From this teaching on the Sutra of the Hundred Karmas, many people have benefitted tremendously. Their behaviour has improved very quickly. I am delighted to see this. From today onwards, I make a vow: I will not ever slander or criticize others without good reason. I hope that all disciples make such a similar aspiration and vow. One should not waste the opportunity of this precious human life just because of one moment of carelessness.

From our study of the Sutra of the Hundred Karmas, we know that for certain negative karmas, the Hinayana vehicle possesses no method for confession and purification. For instance, if one gave a noble Arya being a (degrading) nickname or utilized the wealth/property of the Sangha, the negative karma is extremely severe. The negative results will ripen on you, no matter how you confess and purify. However, even such karmas can be purified completely with Bodhichitta in the Mahayana.

In the Mahayana, the five uninterrupted negative actions and the karma of slandering the Dharma are extremely difficult to confess and purify, yet, by utilizing the empowerments of the Vajrayana and attaining the realization of Dzogchen, one could still purify them. In the Vajrayana, when we slander the teacher or slander the Vajrayana, or if we break the serious samayas of the Vajrayana, there is no way in Vajrayana to purify such transgressions completely. Therefore, of all negative karmas, the most serious ones are to slander the Vajra Master or to slander the Vajrayana. There is no method for confessing or purifying them completely, one must experience the ripening of the karmic results personally.

From beginningless time, we have certainly performed numerous negative deeds, it is imperative to confess these and purify with great diligence and vigor. There are four ways to purify negative karmas completely:

1, Generate the mind of fearless Bodhichitta wishing to liberate sentient beings. This can purify the negative karmas completely.

2, Rest in the (authentic) state of Dzogchen, realizing the equality and purity of ultimate truth, beyond adopting or rejecting either nirvana or samsara. This purifies negative karmas completely.

3, Practice Vajrasattva with the four remedial powers to confess all negative karmas since beginningless time.

4, Aspire to be reborn in the pureland of Amitabha. Once one reaches there, the negative karmas are naturally exhausted.

Therefore, if one wishes to purify all negative karmas, practice these four pith instructions diligently.

Now, those who listen to the teachings on the Sutra of the Hundred Karmas may feel rather horrified at the severity of cause-and-effect. They worry that they may infringe the principles of karma whether intentionally or inadvertently in future. This is a mental barrier that makes it difficult to do anything.

On one hand, it is good to have such a heart-felt fear and wariness of cause-and-effect, this means that one has truly developed faith and understanding with respect to karma. On the other hand, it is not necessary to be so fearful. Although (in the sutra) it is stated that the negative doers at the time of Buddha Kashyapa nevertheless suffered the negative retribution of their acts even after they had confessed, this is because their method of confession is solely based on the Hinayana vehicle. This does not pertain to the methods of confession in the Mahayana.

As the Bodhisattva Shantideva stated in the Bodhicharyavatara, “Bodhichitta is like the eon-ending fire, it incinerates all heavy negativities in an instant”. Clearly, the antidote for “all heavy negativities” is uncontrived Bodhichitta. Moreover, Buddha Kashyapa’s teachings were given to suit the mental faculties of his listeners. For the sentient beings who were of Hinayana disposition, he taught that one is certain to experience the karmic results of any negative act. Therefore, if you understand clearly the significance underlying the Buddha’s words, there is no need to be fearful anymore.

In the Samantabhadra King of Aspiration Prayer, it states:

“Through a lack of wisdom in the past,
having created extremely heinous sins like the five uninterrupted,
through a single recitation of this Samantabhadra King of Aspirations,
these negativities are extinguished entirely.”

We now have the Mahayana confession methods and Vajrayana confession methods like Vajrasattva practice etc. In the Hinayana vehicle, they only have the power of regret out of the four remedial powers, they lack the other three powers. Moreover, (in the Sutra), as the karma created is heavy, the person could not avoid experiencing the suffering that results. But for us, if we use various confession methods to diligently purify our negative karmas, there is nothing to fear.


Kathok Rigzin Chenpo Rinpoche :

In the degenerated age, six types of omens arise:

(1) The Buddha’s blessings do not remain

The supports for the body (of the Triple Gems) are Buddha statues; the supports for the speech are Buddhist scriptures; the supports for the mind are stupas etc.  When sentient beings begin to lose faith in making offerings, then the qualities and blessings in these Buddha statues and supports naturally dissipate and vanish.  This is the meaning of “blessings do not remain”.

The blessings and qualities of the Buddhas appear for the sake of sentient beings.  The Buddhas themselves have already transcended all mundane qualities and passed beyond the desire or wish for anything.  In order to benefit and liberate beings, they manifest all kinds of miraculous powers, skilful means and all the other qualities.

When sentient beings possess faith, even the seed syllable of Tara “TAM”, or the seed syllable of Vajrasattva “HUNG” can represent all the Buddhas and be the object of faith for making offerings.  With faith, one can make offerings to even a rock that is taken to represent all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, and one will receive all the Buddhas’ blessings and qualities all the same.

When we create Buddha images and stupas nowadays, the purpose is to allow people with faith and devotion to make offerings so that they are benefitted.  Sentient beings who see the Buddha’s image, hear the Dharma or circumambulate the stupas create positive roots of virtue… (but) when sentient beings lack faith, these qualities of Buddha images and stupas naturally fade away…

(2)  The earth does not retain its essence

The essence of earth such as gold etc has, in many places, been extracted and refined.  This is depleting the earth’s essence and is extremely damaging to the environment.  Therefore, earth does not retain its essence.

(3) The Dakinis and Protectors are not able to protect the Terma teachings

In the time of Buddha Shakyamuni and Guru Rinpoche, many teachings have been hidden in the four elements, waiting for the right time and conditions to appear to benefit many sentient beings.  But when the right time arrived, if the person with the right karma did not appear, then it is not possible to retrieve these termas.  The conditions have then been spoilt.  Once the right time has passed, the qualities and power of these treasures will naturally disappear.  This is the meaning of “Dakinis and Protectors not being able to protect the Terma teachings”.

(4)  Sentient beings are not able to trust each other

Sentient beings do not protect their commitments.  They make promises but do not have the integrity to carry out their promises.  Therefore, between friends and family, they have no way to trust each other.  They are often suspicious and doubtful of each other.

(5)  The Arhat-like Vinaya Master is not able to keep his precepts

Some Vinaya Masters, due to various environmental factors and their own mental afflictions, are not able to maintain pure precepts.

(6)  The ordained nuns are unable to remain chaste

Due various inner and outer factors, some nuns are unable to uphold the vows of remaining celibate.  They are unable to protect their bodies etc.

When these omens arise, there will be many misfortunes and disasters all over the world.  There will be many conflicts and fighting between people.  In the Vajrasattva Tantra, it is stated, “This is the time when Vajrasattva and Dzogchen is propagated.”  The present times are already like this.  In fact, this time has long arrived, and we are already a little late.   Therefore, everyone must quickly engage in the practice of Vajrasattva.

Have you prepared?

Milarepa then sang to Paldarbum a song on the four aspects of renunciation necessary for true Dharma practice:

The next life is far away from this life. Have you prepared for this journey with food and clothes? The way to prepare for that journey is to practice generosity. In order to receive food, clothes, and wealth in future lives, you should give them in this lifetime. There is, however, an obstacle that prevents this generosity to future lives: miserliness. Miserliness or hoarding may seem beneficial in this lifetime in that one accrues food and clothes and other possessions, but in the long run it harms you because miserliness causes poverty in the next lifetime. Therefore you must recognize that miserliness is an enemy and cast it away behind you.

The next lifetime is darker than this lifetime. Therefore you must prepare a torch to illuminate that darkness. This is done by meditation on the fundamental clarity of the mind. Ignorance is the obstacle and the enemy of clarit
y. Ignorance may seem pleasant and beneficial superficially, but it is actually harmful and you must recognize it as an enemy and cast it away behind you.

The next lifetime is more frightening than this lifetime, so you must find a guard who will protect you. This guard is the practice of the Dharma. People and relatives dissuading you from Dharma practice are the enemy. They may be helping and loving towards you, but ultimately they are harming you. Therefore you must recognize these relatives to be an obstacle and cast them away behind you.

The next lifetime is a longer, more desolate road than this lifetime. You will need a horse so that you can travel along it easily. That horse is diligence. The enemy of diligence is laziness which will deceive you into thinking it is beneficial, although ultimately it is harmful. Recognize laziness to be an enemy and cast it away behind you.

Benefits of Seven-Line prayer 2

From the revealed terma of the Practice of Seven-line prayer by Padma Garwang Chimed Yungdrung (Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche)
Accordingly, if with this vajra song (of the seven-lines prayer)
you simply invoke me, Padmasambhava.
I cannot help but come to give blessings,
bestowing the empowerment of great primordial wisdom.
Deities of the three roots will gather like clouds,
unobstructedly granting the two kinds of siddhis.
You will meet me in actuality, meditative experiences or dreams
Circles of rainbow light appear, fragrances permeate the air
Signs of hearing music, tapping of damaru-drums, or voices
(of the Dakinis giving prophecies) manifest
Great blessings of body, speech and mind will come
Realizations of awareness-display (rig-tsal) Thodgal will arise
The eight classes of Drekpas (arrogant beings) will be at your command
It becomes meaningful for anyone to make a connection with you, the power of blessing will be attained.
You will swiftly reach the level of a Vidyadhara (awareness-holder)
and become inseparable from me, Padmasambhava!

Commentary by Khenpo Sherab Zangpo of Serthar Monastic University:

Practitioners have different capacities of mind. They will meet the kaya corresponding to their capacity amongst the three kayas of Guru Rinpoche.  The practitioner of lowest capacity who supplicates with the seven-line prayer will meet the Nirmanakaya Guru Rinpoche, seeing him arrive and giving teachings or empowerments either in meditation or in dreams.  The practitioner of middle capacity who supplicates will see the Sambhogakaya Guru Rinpoche.  The practitioner of the highest capacity who supplicates will see the Dharmakaya Guru Rinpoche, which is to realize the original face of perfect enlightenment.

Benefits of the Seven-Line Prayer

(From a terma of Apang Terton Pawo Choying Dorje)

Homage to Padmasambhava, Abbot of Oddiyana, who is the union of body, speech, mind, quality and enlightened activity of the Sugatas of the ten directions!

In the supreme field of conversion by Chenrezig— the northern country of Tibet, there are the upper, middle and lower regions. In the middle is U-Tsang with the distinctive features of the four ranges. There lies the natural holy abode of the Dakas and Dakinis, no different from the charnel grounds and sacred places of India —the glorious Yarlung Sheldrak caves. In the auspicious second month, the Dakini Yeshe Tsogyal and Lhasey Mutig Tsenpo, together with Padmasambhava who was both master and companion to Yeshe Tsogyal, were offering an extensive Ganachakra when she made the following request:

“Alas Padmasambhava! For the sake of all future sentient beings of the degenerated times and myself, a profound instruction for supplicating your enlightened body, speech, mind, quality and activity which is concise, with vast meaning, and which brings blessings swiftly is needed. Kindly bestow upon us such an extremely profound pith instruction which satisfies all needs and wishes like a wish-fulfilling jewel.”

The great Vajradhara Padmasambhava thus replied, “Listen well with faith, retinue and consort! My wisdom bodies and emanations are inconceivable; my life-stories and deeds, being likewise unfathomable, are beyond the scope of ordinary beings’ minds. I appear to each sentient being according to how they need to be tamed. Whatever is prayed for will come to be as wished. The compositions of my wisdom speech as the Secret Mantra, awareness mantras and so forth are also inconceivable.

The seven-line prayer, which is the essence of ultimate truth, is complete in itself. If one recites this prayer continuously as a supplication, the enlightened wisdom mind (thugs kyi dgongs pa) will naturally arise and realization will effortlessly dawn. Enlightened qualities and activities will be spontaneously accomplished. If one holds on to this penetratingly powerful instruction, it will be like a wish-fulfilling jewel that grants all that is wished for, and even more.

“It is not the case that all wishes are fulfilled only for people possessing merits and not for others; but anyone who has devotion to me, whoever this person may be, will receive such benefits. Extremely marvellous is this instruction for accomplishing the sole Guru-Buddha. It is an extraordinary teaching for accomplishing all the Three Jewels. There is no need for elaborations such as mandalas and tormas. This sublime and profound pith instruction for the secret renunciant practitioner (kusali) is now given to you!

Walk over my bowl

Nyang Nyima Ozer was a great Terton king, or a treasure revealer. He was the rebirth of King Trisong Deutsen who was the patron and key disciple of Guru Rinpoche.  In that life as King Trisong Deutsen, Guru Rinpoche prophesized to King Trisong Deutsen that “due to exiling Namkhai Nyingpo to Lhodrak and driving away Vairotsana to Gyarong, the karmic result is that you will have to take rebirth as a human for 14 more lifetimes.  In your 15th incarnation, you will retrieve the terma from Lhodrak Khoting Lhakhang.  Once this rebirth is over, you will attain Buddhahood.” 

(Note:  Namkhai Nyingpo was his vajra brother and Vairotsana was his Guru.  The extension of King Trisong Deutsen’s time in samsara was the karmic maturation of these negative acts.)

Nyang Nyima Ozer once received a Dakini’s prophecy that he should go to the sacred mountain of the Three Protectors Mawochok to do retreat.  During that year of retreat, he had to endure very poor conditions.  Nyang decided to check through his meditation the causal conditions for his privation.  It turned out that during his past life as King Trisong Deutsen, he was so distracted by enjoyments and pleasurable past-times that he neglected his Dharma practice.  So, the king approached Guru Rinpoche for a solution to his obstacle.  Guru Rinpoche said, “You should step over my eating utensils and bowl.  By doing this, your merits will diminish greatly and you will have time to engage in Dharma practice.”    The king followed Guru Rinpoche’s instructions and stepped over Guru Rinpoche’s bowl thrice; due to this cause he became extremely poor when he was reborn 14 lives later as Nyang Nyima Ozer ”


When Nyang Nyima Ozer reached 68 years of age,  one afternoon he laughed loudly in the midst of his disciples.  When asked why he laughed, the Terchen said, “A few days later, many people will come to gather at Mawochok, amongst them are my disciples.  Looks like the time for teacher and disciples to separate is here.” (The Terchen was speaking of his impending funeral)

The disciples were especially upset and supplicated saying, “You are a bodhisattva in your last life in samsara (and will attain Buddhahood thereafter).  Surely you have the means to extend your life! Please do not leave us behind.” 

The Terchen said, “When I was King Trisong Deutsen, Guru Rinpoche prophecized that I will remain in this life for 68 years.  Now that the time has arrived, there is no way to extend my lifespan.  Soon I will go to Sukhavati!”

Hearing this, the disciples clamored in their request for the Guru to take rebirth in the human realm once more.

The Terchen replied, “My present life is the last rebirth of King Trisong Deutsen in the human realm.  There will be no further rebirth in samsara.  However, countless emanations of my body, speech and mind will appear (to benefit beings.)”

After his parinirvana, the Terchen’s holy kudung (body) was kept on for 49 days. At his cremation, the fire could not be started no matter how they tried. At one point, fire just burst forth from the kudung’s heart area. There were all kinds of beautiful light spheres in the smoke.  In some of these light spheres, one could see the Terchen in the form of a young child saying, “BAM HA RI NI SA”.  After the cremation, his remains had the likeness of Vajrasattva, Manjushri, Chenrezig, Amitayus, Hayagriva, Tara, Vajrapani and so on. There were conch shells and eight auspicious signs. The tongue and heart remained untouched and were preserved. Besides this, the Terchen left many colourful relics.

(From the biographies of Nyang Nyima Ozer called Salway Melong and  Kab-gyad-pa)

Respect for Dharma

(Bodhisattva Maitreya said to Lord Buddha: )

“Blessed One, to offer an analogy, it is as though a person goes out searching for water from a spring, a well, or a lake, and when he gets there, he defecates in it, after which he thinks to draw the water out. When the foul odor of the water reaches his nose, it doesn’t occur to him that the smell is his own fault, as he exclaims, ‘Oh my, this water stinks!’ Instead, he blames the water for being bad.

“Blessed One, in this analogy, where, through the power of the Buddha, there are Dharma-teaching monks who have confident command over the system of Dharma teachings, they are like the spring, the well, or the lake. Blessed One, those bodhisattvas who will come to the fore in the final half-millennium are just like people of childish nature who defecate into the springs, wells, or lakes, and then when they seek to draw water out, find fault with that water; similarly, having faulty discernment, they will discredit those who teach the Dharma and discredit even the Dharma itself. And although they are the ones who have discredited it, they will still believe that they are seeking the taste of the Dharma. And without comprehending their own error, with a faulty sense of hearing, they will criticize and show contempt for those Dharma-holding monks, saying, ‘Look at how these monks teaching the Dharma are betrayed by their many faults!’ They will revile the taste of the Dharma conveyed by those Dharma-teaching monks and look for its mistakes, dismiss it with distaste, and turn their backs on it.”

The Blessed One then commended the bodhisattva great being Maitreya, saying, “Splendid! Wonderful, Maitreya! This example you have explained expresses very well how not to search for mistakes, and how to be free of any faults.

“Maitreya, in addition, one should understand that any discourse that satisfies four conditions is what the Buddha spoke. What are the four? Maitreya, they are (1) when the discourse is meaningful instead of meaningless, (2) when it contains the Dharma as opposed to not containing the Dharma, (3) when it makes defilements decrease and does not make defilements increase, and (4) when it teaches the qualities and benefits of nirvāṇa and does not increase the defects of saṃsāra. Maitreya, one should know that any discourse is what the Buddha spoke when it possesses these four factors.

 “Maitreya, no matter whether a discourse endowed with these four factors is offered, or to be offered, by a monk, a nun, or a male or female lay precept-holder, faithful sons or daughters of noble lineage should perceive that person to be the Buddha; perceiving them as the Teacher, they should listen to the sacred Dharma. If you wonder why that is so, Maitreya, it is because everything that is well spoken‍—no matter what it is‍—is what the Buddha taught.

 “Maitreya, when someone says, ‘This is not what the Buddha taught,’ because they feel hostility toward the speaker, then that person has rejected those four conditions and caused them to be disrespected. That person has thereby rejected all discourses that are the teaching of the Buddha. Having rejected the Dharma, that person accumulates the karma of abandoning the Dharma, and so is destined for the lower realms. Maitreya, since this is the case, faithful sons or daughters of noble family who want to avoid the karma of rejecting the Dharma should never feel hostility toward the Dharma out of hostility for an individual.”

~Excerpted from

’phags pa lhag pa’i bsam pa bskul ba zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra “Inspiring Determination”

Ten Positive Attitudes for Rebirth in Sukhavati

The bodhisattva great being Maitreya then asked the Blessed One, “Blessed One, among the many qualities of the Thus-Gone One Amitāyus that the Thus-Gone One has explained, it was mentioned that if one applies one’s mind to the cultivation of certain positive attitudes, and brings to mind the Thus-Gone One Amitāyus himself, one will take rebirth in his buddha realm. Blessed One, since that is so, what are those positive attitudes?”

The Blessed One answered the bodhisattva great being Maitreya in the following way: “Maitreya, the positive attitudes that result in rebirth in Sukhāvatī, the buddha realm of the Thus-Gone One Amitāyus, are not attitudes generated by childish beings. They are not attitudes generated by anyone other than holy beings. They are not attitudes generated by a defiled mind.

 “Maitreya, there are ten such positive attitudes to be generated. What are they? Maitreya, I shall put it this way:

(1) Harboring resentment toward the conduct of any being will make one incapable of taking rebirth in the buddha realm of the Thus-Gone One Amitāyus; and so, generate the attitude of loving kindness toward all beings.

(2) Ridding oneself of all enmity, generate the attitude of compassion for all beings.

(3) Generate the determination to preserve the sacred Dharma, without concern for life and limb.

(4) Develop strong dedication to the sacred Dharma, through certainty that one can tolerate the profound.

(5) Give rise to completely pure intentions by not being stained by gain and honor.

(6) Through perfect recall, generate the viewpoint that the state of omniscience is extremely precious.

(7) Without getting discouraged, generate an attitude of respect towards all beings, as if they were one’s guru.

(8) Develop the attitude of not enjoying mere short-lived meditative experiences, by being certain about the branches of awakening.

(9) By seeing them distinctly, cultivate a wide assortment of virtuous roots.

(10) Abandoning conceptual constructs, cultivate a state of contemplation that simply recalls the Buddha.

 “Maitreya, these are the ten positive attitudes. If one develops any among these ten attitudes‍—no matter which ones‍—then, because one has given rise to and possesses these attitudes, there is no chance that one will not be born in that buddha realm.”

(Note : Amitayus is the Sambhogakaya form of Amitabha)

~Excerpted from the last section of

’phags pa lhag pa’i bsam pa bskul ba zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra “Inspiring Determination”


From the teachings of Jamyang Rinpoche:

The more precious the Dharma is to you, the more highly you regard the Dharma, the more you respect the Dharma  — the more these feelings arise in you, the faster your negative karma and obstacles are purified.   When you treat the Dharma as something commonplace and nothing special, your merits also become mediocre and ordinary.  When you lack faith in the Dharma, the blessings of Dharma does not exist for you… nowadays, when someone famous or of high social status gives talks on how to make money or start up businesses, people are very interested and listen intently.  These people speak about worldly and mundane things that cannot resolve the big question of life-and-death.  They are not even able to alleviate your fear when you are dying. What they teach is not even helpful to reducing the illnesses in this life.  They can’t solve our problems of suffering, but only increase our mental afflictions (like greed). 

Many people who start out practicing the Dharma have very average living conditions.  At the beginning, they are very diligent; but as time goes on, their businesses take off and their families becomes prosperous, their worldly life starts to become smooth and they succeed in the worldly sense.  At that point, Dharma is forgotten and left behind… to these people, Dharma is just like a tool in their life to get what they want. Dharma is just like a therapy or habit to them, something to make them feel better in their life. They do not really think of the Dharma as something very precious, like a wish-fulfilling jewel.  They have never treated the precious nectar of Dharma as something which has the greatest value in their lives.  Once their life conditions improve, they abandon the Dharma or assign it the lowest priority.  Money, gain, benefits and reputation always come first… When some people give birth to their children or when they became big bosses, or get high government posts, or become famous stars, Dharma no longer remains important to them.    

These people do not ever consider the suffering of death, their fate in future lives and the sufferings of samsara.  True renunciation has never arisen in their minds. Therefore, such people cannot meet the true path of liberation at all!  So, those of you listening to these teachings now should contemplate well: now that we have gain the advantages and freedoms of the precious human life, what is this precious human life to be used on?  Not on eating, drinking and having fun.  All these enjoyments are temporary only.

For example, a human life in samsara is like using a stick to draw on the water.  The moment you draw something on the water, it disappears instantly.  Not even the slightest trace remains. Everything disappears instantly.  In the same way, all the sufferings, happiness, feelings and sensations that occurred yesterday, whether it is a sensation of hotness or coldness, have vanished without a trace just like the drawing on water.  It is absolutely impossible to bring it back today.  Everything has passed without any trace left.  We must really look at this clearly and see it for what it is.

Whatever happened yesterday is no different from a dream. Whatever happened yesterday can never be preserved and replayed today. They are over and gone forever.  As for tomorrow, nothing is certain.  Everything is impermanent.  No matter how rich you are in this life, you will leave this world with empty hands.  As it is said in the text, even if you have great wealth for a hundred years, when it comes to the moment of death, you are no different from the pauper.  Whether it is your wealth, relatives, fame, position or power, all these enjoyments will be left behind, and you will leave with your hands empty.  Even your body is left behind. All that you have worked so hard for in this life will be left behind, not even a cent will follow you.  You come empty handed from the bardos, you leave empty handed for the bardos. 

This is really the same as having a dream. It is just a dream of having passed through a hundred years, when you wake up, nothing has truly been enjoyed.  Nothing is left.  A person who has a dream of a short interval of enjoyment also wakes up to find that nothing has truly happened.  Long or short time in the dream is the same. In the same way, yesterday we were having a good time gathering with many friends and relatives.  The next day, all the enjoyment we had yesterday has vanished completely, it will not return.

Like young people who enjoy their romances, thinking how wonderful it is, but once it is over, nothing remains of it.  Only a dreadful future awaits us.  Only the sufferings of birth, old age, sickness and death await us in the future.  This is not something that is distant in the future, it will happen to each of us soon.  Many decades have passed since we were young, look at how we are now and compare it to then. Time has passed so quickly. The next few decades will pass as swiftly.  It feels almost as if in just the next moment it will be our time to face death.  Look at how fast time has passed from your childhood till now. The rest of your life will pass as quickly in a blink.  So, if you are only attached to and chasing worldly things, with little interest in genuine Dharma practice, it is very frightening and you are truly very pitiful!


In the practice of Dharma, one must practice forbearance and patience. Some people think that practicing Dharma is torture as we must endure many difficulties and sufferings.  Here we have an analogy:

From the Bodhicharyavatara:

“Just as a person awaiting execution
Gains freedom by losing an arm.
Isn’t it good to toil in Dharma practice
to gain liberation from the hells?”

A person who has been sentenced to death suddenly learns that he can be released from prison, avoiding death, but only if he cuts off one arm.  He is overjoyed and even deeply appreciates the chance to lose his arm in exchange for his life.  This is a great piece of news to him. But to us, in ordinary circumstances, it would be an unimaginable suffering to lose our arm. Who can bear this? But to the prisoner, this suffering is nothing compared to losing his life.  Similarly, the travails that one must go through for the sake of dharma practice… if I were to bring up the sufferings I went through when I was younger, many of you will say, “That is too much suffering, we can’t bear it!”  If that is the case, when you fall into the hell realms, when you are being tortured by the hell denizens, can you bear it? If you can’t bear the sufferings that Guru went through in his practice, can you bear the sufferings in future lives?

For example, the sufferings in the preta (hungry ghost) realm of being scorched in the blazing sun in summer, being frozen in the cold in winter, being harassed by fierce winds in the desert etc, there is not a single moment of peace.  They can’t find a single drop of water or a morsel of food.  They endure such sufferings for hundreds of years. If we were to stop eating for a single day or a week, it would be unbearable, maybe we would die of hunger.  But the pretas experience such hunger and terrible environments for hundreds of years.  When we do fasting retreats for a day or two, we feel terrible.  When we live in a hot climate, like in the south, the heat is unbearable to us.  If we can’t withstand even such a small suffering, the future lives are going to be an unimaginable torment for us. 

Compared to the sufferings in future lives, a small difficulty in this life for the sake of practicing Dharma is quite bearable.  For instance, if your enemy deals you a blow and you bear with this injury without getting furious, you avoid creating the karma to go to the hell-realms in future lives (anger, no matter how justified, is the cause of the hell realms).  You have avoided the hell-realms.  When someone punches you, if you can’t stand it and retaliate thinking, “If I don’t fight back, people will think that I am a coward.  If I allow myself to be bullied like that, I am not fit to be a human being.” Unable to stomach the insult, you get angry and hit back.  In future lives, you fall into the hell realms for the sake of some tiny satisfaction and some ‘face’ in this life. 

The sufferings of the hell realm cannot be compared to the slight suffering or loss you have endured in this life.  The sufferings in the hell-realms are greater by a billion-fold. There is no way to calculate such suffering.  Even the ground in the hell-realms is burning-red iron.  No matter where you put your hands or legs, it will catch fire. The lava pour on you like rain, scalding you .  All the hell-denizens are huge and much taller than you, their hands are much larger, they are holding sharp weapons which they will apply to your torture with not a moment of respite.  Think about it carefully, this is where your anger will land you. So, if you are able to endure a little loss in this life, just like that prisoner who was willing to cut off his arm to save his life, then you avoid a terrible fate in the lower realms.  It is totally worth it.  Whether it is worth it or not—  think for yourself!

Greed and Forbearance

Venerable Hsuan Hua:

People in the past had few thoughts and few desires, therefore they experience less calamities and problems.  Presently, people have many thoughts and many desires.  Where do problems and calamities come from?  Because people have greed and discontent.  If one has greed and discontent then you always feel a lack, you always wish for more. 

Once you get greedy, problems and troubles follow.  Either this problem arises or that problem arises.  If not this difficulty, then that difficulty arises.  All the time, one finds oneself embroiled in all kinds of troubles and mental afflictions.  Life was originally peaceful and quiet, everything was fine but you insist on looking for some kind of excitement or stimulation.  You wish to get some thrills, but because of chasing such enjoyments you get entangled in webs of senseless talk and sentimental ties.  Even when you wish to disentangle yourself from this, it ensnares you further.  It is like sticky glue that immobilizes you until the final moment of death.  Even when death arrives, you remain stupidly unaware of where the problem lies.  Even at this point, you don’t realize. 

In present-day society, people are plotting against each other, they deceive each other, and whoever has better skills at cheating becomes the winner.  Whoever is less dishonest becomes the loser.  This world is like that. Everyone is absorbed in the mental afflictions and desires. All kinds of thoughts arise and use up our attention and mental energy.  In the end, nothing is gained.  At the very end then one recognizes “Oh! If only I had grasped this earlier, I would not be so stupid, what was the use of behaving like this?”  If one at least has this realization at the end, then it is not so bad! 

But some people bring their stupidity right up to the very end.  Unable to let go of their attachments, yet also unable to bring it along with them, such suffering!  Knowing when to stop, one avoids shame. Knowing contentment, one avoids danger.  Knowing contentment brings frequent joys.  Knowing how to endure, one is at peace.  Every Buddhist must learn forbearance and patience.  See everything as unreal and illusory.  Don’t be attached to anything!  Without attachment, there is happiness, liberation and wisdom arising.  Okay! May your wisdom arise!

The Life and Enlightenment of Venerable Yuan

On the night of 28th Jan 2019, at about 1030pm, everywhere was still and quiet in Larung Valley. In a small hut, Venerable Yuan who was 71 years old had just finished copying a volume of the Saddharmapundarika-Sutra. She folded up the small table and sat there without moving. Her daughter, Venerable Yeshe Drolma felt that something was wrong and exclaimed, “Amitabha, Amitabha!” Her mother did not respond, she asked further, “Mother, how are you, are you alright? Are you feeling pain?”

“There is no pain, just feeling a little tired.”

“Mother, are you going to pass on?”

“Hmm..” came the affirmative reply.

Venerable Yuan, whose secular name is Wang Yujie, was born on 28th Oct 1949 in Huanan county in Heilong Province. In 2010, after the death of her parents, she went to Larung Monastic University to stay with her daughter. Her daughter observed that her mother was pale in countenance and accompanied her to the Huaxi hospital for a checkup. It was revealed that her mother had late-stage liver cirrhosis, the prognosis was that she would live no more than 6 months.

When both of them returned to Larung, Wang decided to take ordination. With the help of her daughter in daily chores, Venerable Yuan began a daily routine of reciting the Buddha Name, circumambulating the mandala (a huge mandala building in Larung), copying sutras and practicing Guru Yoga. She lived on for 8 more years.

The next afternoon, Venerable Zhi heard the news and came to pay Venerable Yuan a last visit. Venerable Zhi was one of the early batch of Chinese monks who came to Larung. “Venerable Zhi, here you are. Very good! Amitabha!” Venerable Yuan folded her hands in joy. “Do not worry for me, I will definitely take rebirth in the pureland. I will take a 9th grade rebirth in the pureland.” (According to the scriptures, rebirth in Amitabha pureland has 9 grades, based on one’s merits and attainments in practice, the 9th grade is the highest grade of rebirth.)

“Good, good.” Venerable Zhi smiled and said, “ With this assurance from you, I have no worries.”

On the 31st of January, around 3pm in the afternoon, the bright sunlight shone through the windows, lighting up the room. Venerable Yuan sat up, placed her rosary on her neck and folded her hands in respect.

“Mother, what did you see? Who came?” Venerable Yeshe Drolma asked.

“HH Jigme Phuntsok has arrived.”

“Did you see Amitabha Buddha?”

Venerable Yuan said, “Yes, I see him. All of them have arrived. Guru Padmasambhava has come as well.”

Venerable Yuan had uncommon faith in her root Guru HH Jigme Phuntsok and Guru Rinpoche. In 1994, Venerable Yeshe Drolma ran away from home to take ordination. In 1997, Venerable Yuan came to Larung to visit her daughter, she received more than 10 empowerments from HH Jigme Phuntsok. 2 years later, she visited Larung again and stayed for 5 months this time, completing 100,000 prostrations. She received many Dzogchen empowerments at the feet of HH Jigme Phuntsok.

At this moment, her daughter was joyful and relieved as well. For 8 years, she had been preparing for this day, not expecting it to turn out so perfect. Her mother has fulfilled her wish to take rebirth in the pureland of Sukhavati. Venerable Yeshe Drolma felt that she had accomplished her task.

“Venerable Yuan,” Yeshe Drolma said, “you have now completed your merits in this world, and you have also completed your merits for liberation from samsara. You should now proceed smoothly to the pureland. After you attain enlightenment, remember your vow of Bodhichitta and return earlier to benefit the suffering beings.” Her mother nodded her head.

At around 11pm that night, Venerable Yuan who was lying down in the auspicious posture started breathing heavily and with difficulty. From her left nostril, a stream of white viscous crystalline fluid flowed down. Venerable Yeshe Drolma did not know what to do.

In the past, when an old disciple of Tulku Phurpa Tashi passed away, after 3 days, a large volume of white and red bodhichitta flowed from the nostrils, the body shrank and manifested the appearance of great accomplishment. Tulku Phurpa Tashi explained, “As is widely known, the outflow of the red and white Bodhichitta is a sign that he has attained the same state as Amitabha. He has now become the Protector of all sentient beings in the three realms, he has attained Buddhahood.”

Venerable Yeshe Drolma called Khenpo Noba and he instructed her, “Do not move your mother’s body. Do not touch her.”

At 11:46pm, Venerable Yuan stopped breathing, and Venerable Yeshe Drolma used a yellow Dharani cloth to carefully cover her mother’s peaceful-looking face.

The next morning, Venerable Yeshe Drolma called Khenpo Sodargye, “Guru, my mother has passed away last night at 11:46pm, how many days should I leave the body, which day should I choose for sky burial?”

“30th,” Khenpo Sodargye replied immediately.

“Guru, there is white fluid flowing out from my mother’s left nostril, is it white bodhichitta? If it is white bodhichitta, why isn’t there any red bodhichitta?”

“Red bodhichitta takes time, you need to wait. Send me your mother’s name.”

After the body had been left there for 3 days, all the Chinese monastics who came to do prayers commented that the room was filled with a fragrant smell. But Venerable Yeshe Drolma only smelled it once. It was winter time and it was snowing outside.

Venerable Yeshe Drolma contacted another lay practitioner who was serving at the side of the third Dudjom Rinpoche. Very quickly, her friend sent the message, “My teacher says that it is not definite that the red bodhichitta would flow out. Everybody’s situation is different. But anyway, these signs from your mother are a good thing. It is for sure that she has attained liberation. My teacher says he would do prayers for her tomorrow in puja…”

Another Dharma friend asked his teacher and got the reply, “Most people only have the red and white bodhichitta flowing out after their outer breath has ceased. This person has white bodhichitta flowing out while still alive, this means that her attainment is even higher. It means that this person has already attained enlightenment while she was alive.”

On the 30th of twelfth lunar month, Venerable Yuan’s body was sent to the place for reciting Phowa practice. When they lifted up the yellow cloth over her face, they discovered that red bodhichitta was flowing from her right nostril. Its color was like red agate, red with a pinkish hue. The white bodhichitta and red bodhichitta had mixed together. The white bodhichitta had been stained red by the red bodhichitta. Venerable Yuan’s body seemed like she was just asleep. Her skin had a slightly yellow tinge, probably due to her liver cirrhosis.

When they brought her body to the sky burial site, the vultures approached, one of them with a whitish crest above its head attracted everyone’s attention, it was the king of vultures. The crest of this vulture was not brown or dark grey like other vultures, it was snowy white. It is said that he only appeared if there was an accomplished being at the sky burial site. This vulture was majestic and stood above other vultures.

An attendant of Khenpo Jiayang told Venerable Yeshe Drolma what Khenpo said: “Once the central channel has opened up, white and red bodhicitta would flow out. The outflow of red and white bodhichitta is a sign of realization of Dzogchen. This person has attained Buddhahood.”

After Venerable Yeshe Drolma returned from the sky burial, she opened the notebook in which her mother meticulously noted her practices and the numbers completed. A thin Tibetan calendar dropped out from the notebook and after she opened it, she was stunned. Her mother had ticked the date 26th of the twelfth lunar month which, coincidentally, was the day she passed away.

More than 20 days ago, her mother had suddenly asked, “Venerable, when I pass away, will you ask others to come and do prayers for me?” Venerable Yeshe Drolma glanced at her mother, “If you pass away in a splendid fashion, I will invite the Lamas and Tulkus to do prayers for you. If you pass away in an awful way, I will not ask anyone else to come do prayers, besides the Buddha Name chanting machine, it will only be me (chanting for you).”

“Oh, how ruthless you are with me, Venerable!”

“If you want me to be kinder, that is possible, just pass away with style, be a good example for all the Chinese practitioners here. Go to Sukhavati and achieve the highest grade of rebirth there. How amazing that would be!”

“Alright! I will try my best.”

After her daughter took ordination, Venerable Yuan would call her daughter, “Venerable,” while her daughter stuck to calling Venerable Yuan “mother” all throughout.

About more than 10 days ago, her mother had asked again, “Venerable, after my death, how many days will you let my body rest?”

“I will leave you alone for 3 days. At least 3 days, but I need to listen to the instructions of Guru. I would leave your body for as many days as he instructs.”

It seemed that her mother had already been planning when to leave this world. If one left the body for 3 days, then on the 26th of the twelfth lunar month, her mother had to leave because after counting the three days for leaving her body to repose, it would be the 30th of the month and the next day would be the first day of the pig year when the annual Grand Vidyadhara puja of Larung will take place for 15 days.

Everyday in summer, when Venerable Yeshe Drolma planted the small cabbages, fennels, crown daisies and other vegetables in her small garden, her mother would occasionally help to move the soil and remove weeds. Sometimes she would squat there for more than an hour. Venerable Yeshe Drolma said, “Mother, you are engaged in too many activities, you are too attached to gardening, this will be an obstacle to your rebirth in pureland.”

“You need not worry. That will not happen,” Venerable Yuan said, “My level of practice, as Guru has said, cannot be told to anyone else. I cannot talk to you about it.” Her daughter laughed, “Don’t talk about it if you don’t want to. Guru did say that one should not reveal one’s inner states to others.”

In 2017, Venerable Gongchu who had been ordained since he was very young returned to Larung to take part in HH Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche’s parinirvana puja. In the afternoon, when Venerable Yuan returned home, Venerable Gongchu said to her, “Old mother, you must definitely take rebirth in the pureland.” Venerable Yuan replied, “Of course, I will take rebirth in the pureland on the 9th grade. Not to worry!”

Venerable Gongchu said, “His Holiness and all the great teachers have given us so many Vajrayana secret teachings. How can we simply pass away in an ordinary way? How can we only aspire to take rebirth in pureland? You must definitely show the signs of realization of Dzogchen, make us Chinese practitioners proud!”

When saying this, Venerable Gongchu became very stern without the slightest hint of joking. It was as if someone else was giving Venerable Yuan an important instruction through him.

“Alright, you can be assured that I will hold this in mind. I will practice Dzogchen. I will attain realization through Dzogchen.”

At that time, Venerable Yeshe Drolma was making dinner, she heard the conversation and looked back at both of them. Her mother sounded humorous yet was calm and serious. It was almost as if she was making an aspiration or pledge.

In December 2018, before the 15th anniversary of HH Jigme Phuntsok parinirvana puja, Venerable Yeshe Drolma asked her mother, “I am thinking of offering a vegetarian meal to all the thousands of sangha on your behalf, do you want to make this offering now while you are alive or after you have passed away?”

“Now. While I am still alive. Then I can dedicate these merits towards Sukhavati rebirth.”

In the past, during each puja, Venerable Yuan would leave her vegetarian meal for people who came to attend the puja or for those who stayed far away from the prayer hall. She returned home to eat. This time, she stayed at the prayer hall from morning to night, and enjoyed the vegetarian meal with the other Sangha members. She held a mala in her left hand and rotated the prayer wheel in her right hand, her legs in full vajra posture, reciting mantra incessantly.

On 27th Jan 2019, Venerable Yuan said to her daughter, “Venerable, the old folks used to say that it is better to die in the 12th month instead of in the 6th month.”

“Mother, what does that mean?”

“It is better for old people to die in the 12th month.”

“Is that so? Is there such a saying?”


“It is now the 12th month,” Venerable Yeshe Drolma said offhandedly.

The next evening, after her mother completed copying another volume of Saddharmapundarika-Sutra, she entered into the stages of dissolution of the elements.

More than 20 days ago, Venerable Yuan had handed her notebook to her daughter, “Venerable, for many years I wrote some stuff. My literary skills are poor, please check it a little.”

“Mother, I have no time, I am so busy.”

“That’s fine, you can look at it when you are free.”

After several days, Venerable Yuan saw that her daughter had yet to look at the notebook, so she read out a part for her, “Sleeping and waking early is living a regulated life, sleeping late and waking early is a state of attainment. If you sleep late and wake up late, it is going against the law of nature, it is not healthy. I advise the young people not to neglect this. Venerable, do you know who I wrote this for? I wrote it for you. Please try to follow this diligently in future.”

“Alright, I will. Do not worry.”

Venerable Yeshe Drolma now realized that her mother wanted her to read the notebook and even read it aloud for her when she did not read it because Venerable Yuan wanted to leave this as a parting advice for her.

Venerable Yuan recorded her daily practices in a A4 sized notebook. Venerable Yeshe Drolma was startled to discover that her mother had, in the course of 8 years, circumambulated the mandala 130,000 times and recited 100 million Amitabha Names.

After she had arrived at Larung, one day, her mother returned from circumambulating the mandala and exclaimed, “Venerable, look at how filial the Tibetans are. After their parents passed away, the children carried their bodies and circumambulated the mandala.”

“When you die, I will not have the strength to carry you, “ Venerable Yeshe Drolma replied, “The doctors say you have half a year left to practice, you should use this half-year to circumambulate the mandala. It is better that you circumambulate while you are alive than when you are dead. While circumambulating, recite the Buddha name to confess and purify your negative karma.”

In this way, Venerable Yuan circumambulated the Mandala for 8 years. At the beginning, she would circumambulate every morning for 50-60 rounds or 60-70 rounds. In her diary, she wrote, “Although I circumambulate 50-60 rounds everyday, but my wish and prayer is that all sentient beings who have karmic connection with me will gain the same merits and benefits as me. Temporarily, may they have peace, happiness and good health, ultimately may they attain liberation. May every step I take purify mental afflictions and ignorance of myself and others, revealing our wisdom and fulfilling our wishes.”

A few years later, she not only continued living (beyond the predicted 6 months) but her white and grey hair turned black again. Her face was ruddy with good health and her body was light like a sparrow. She circumambulated every morning and afternoon, going around the Mandala about 110-120 times daily. Venerable Yeshe Drolma even had a doubt as to whether the two hospitals could have given a wrong prognosis. Even she, who was young and healthy, could not circumambulate the Mandala so many times, what to say of a patient with late-stage liver cirrhosis?

100 Deities Mandala at Serthar

In those 8 years, Venerable Yuan vomited blood thrice and passed blood in her stools twice. The first time she vomited blood was in 2015, the next year she also vomited blood, and Venerable Yeshe Drolma asked her mother, “Mom, are you leaving soon?” Her mother replied, “I am not leaving, not to worry.”

In 2006, when Venerable Yuan came to Larung, she received the Vajrayana teachings on the six bardos from Khenpo Sodargye. In the remaining 8 years, she listened to the recording of these teachings 7 times, read the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying four times and made many linings and marks in the book. She would read this book over and over again every night before she slept.

Every morning, Venerable Yuan did 220 prostrations. Even if she vomited or had blood in her bowel movement, she would not stop. She completed the Ngondro 3 times. She completed 710,000 prostrations in her life.

In her diary entry for 15th August 2017, Venerable Yuan wrote, “Since coming to the Larung Monastic University, I have constantly been reciting the Medicine Buddha Sutra and the Ksitigarbha Sutra. Every month I would recite each once. Due to time constraint, I have thought of stopping this practice many times, but I thought of how the sutras benefit countless beings and how I had once made an aspiration not to stop performing acts that benefit sentient beings as long as I am alive, therefore, even if I have only a small ability, I will persist and continue on endlessly, bringing this benefit to sentient beings. Just as what the greatly kind precious Guru had taught us, “We must learn Dharma, benefit others and practice Dharma our entire life.”

Besides these two sutras, after she took ordination, Venerable Yuan recited the Surangama dharani once daily. After Khenpo Sodargye taught the 21 Taras Praises and Saddharmapundarika-Sutra, she recited the 21 Tara praises once daily, and completed one recitation of the Saddharmapundarika-Sutra every 7-8 days, completing a total of 92 recitations of the sutra. If one added the number of times she recited this sutra before taking ordination, she completed a total of more than 100 recitations. She also copied out by hand the Saddharmapundarika-Sutra, Vajra-cutter Sutra, Ksitigarbha Sutra, Amitabha Sutra and the Sutra of Longevity, Purification and Protection of Children Dharani etc.

When she returned from circumambulating the Mandala in the afternoon, seeing that the meal had not yet been prepared, Venerable Yuan would quickly start her recitation practices. Venerable Yeshe Drolma may have taken ordination early but her culinary skills were superb. She made many delicious dishes for her mother like dumplings, pancakes, hand-made noodles etc. Before long, her daughter would bring the food in and say, “Amitabha! Please find a stopping point in your recitation and eat your food first before reciting, don’t make it cold.” Her mother would nod and fold her hands expressing contrition and gratitude.

Sometimes, when Venerable Yuan returned late her daughter would say, “Mother, you should return home on time. As long as you are still alive, you can always circumambulate later.” Venerable Yuan replied, “Today’s practice has to be completed today. Tomorrow’s practice cannot replace today’s.”

Sometimes, after listening to Khenpo Sodargye’s teachings and returning home at night, it was already 10 plus. Venerable Yuan would continue to copy the sutras and before she slept, she would read the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, before finally turning in at 12am.

Venerable Yuan often got up in the middle of the night, sometimes as frequently as five or six times, or even seven or eight times. Not able to sleep, she would meditate. From the age of 46, Venerable Yuan started to train her legs to sit in full-vajra posture. When she first started, due to the blockage in the circulation of blood and chi, her ankles and toes turned blue-black. After she persisted and sat for longer and longer periods of time, she could sustain the full vajra posture from morning till night. Her body was fully erect without the slightest motion.

Sometimes, when she wanted to take something from behind the bed, without unfolding her legs she would use both hands to prop up her body and wobble with her legs in mid air to the back of the bed. Her body was extremely soft and flexible, she could effortlessly put her leg behind her neck without using her hand to lift her leg up.

One morning at around 1am, Venerable Yeshe Drolma already saw her mother meditating. Usually, Venerable Yuan would wake up at around 4am, expel the stale breath and practice the “Swift Profound Path—Swiftly Bestowing Blessing Guru Yoga”. When practicing Guru Yoga, she would visualize Guru Rinpoche, HH Jigme Phuntsok and Khenpo Sodargye as one.

Venerable Yuan said, “Venerable, I have not enough time to use. One day has only 24 hours. It is not enough no matter how I arrange my time.” Her daughter laughed and said, “I give you permission to consider 48 hours as one day.”

Whether it was the four annual major pujas, the long life puja, the parinirvana puja of HH Jigme Phuntsok, the seven days Amitabha Name retreat or the winter retreat, Venerable Yuan would never miss a single session in these group practices.

During the seven days Amitabha Name retreat in 2014, Venerable Yuan behaved a little differently from usual. On 2nd February, the first day of the retreat, Venerable Yuan wrote, “I vow not to seek all worldly merits and benefits, I only wish that all sentient beings in this same Dharma practice place as me, whether with form or without form, with karmic connection or not, and all aborted foetuses in this world, all karmic creditors in all my lives, all blood relations, and all sentient beings in the entire Dharma realm as vast as space attain liberation. May all the merits I accumulate be dedicated to the flourishing of the wish-fulfilling Buddhadharma, may all beings attain temporal happiness and ultimate liberation.”

On the second day, in the morning, Venerable Yuan wrote, “May the compassionate father Amitabha bless me, may all mental afflictions and obscurations be completely extinguished. May I realize my mind’s nature during this seven-days retreat, and open the door of wisdom, awakening from the deep sleep of ignorance.”

On 8th of February, during the afternoon on the seventh day of the retreat, she wrote a longer stanza. It stated:

“Seven days of Amitabha retreat now complete,
Purified body-mind with no stains,
Truly sublime beyond compare,
Only due to teacher’s skilful means.
Gratitude for positive and negative circumstances
Gratitude to teachers and Triple Gems
Gratitude to teacher Shakyamuni
Guiding deluded beings to seek pureland
Gratitude to protectors and guardians
Gratitude to all great spiritual teachers
Today this disciple opened her wisdom eye
One phrase “Amitabha” till the end.”

(It seems that Venerable Yuan attained realization during this retreat.)

In 2010, after Venerable Yuan was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis, Venerable Yeshe Drolma had her mother make confession for each sin for three days. Venerable Yuan was born in the rural village. She had 8 siblings. Among the girls, she was the oldest and had killed chickens and fishes. When she confessed her killing karma, her mother wrote down every single one of her sins line by line and kneeling in front of the Buddha statue, she made confession with deep regret, tears rolling down profusely.

On the fourth night, Venerable Yuan said to her daughter, “Venerable, I do not need to confess stealing for three days, I have not stolen a single thing in my whole life.” “When you were working as an accountant, did you not take a single piece of paper or a single pen for your own use?”


“Oh, even if you did not create this sin in this life, you could have created it in past lives, you should still confess it properly.”

“Okay, I will do so.”

Confessing her sin of telling lies also took only one day. As Venerable Yuan was timid, if she told a lie, she would be seen through by others immediately. So she did not ever tell lies. Sexual misconduct and drinking alcohol also took one day each. She has never committed any sexual misconduct in this life. Since her birth, she has never taken a drop of alcohol.

Venerable Yuan took refuge in 1992. Before she ordained, she was a lay-practitioner at Enlightenment Monastery. After she retired, she stayed at the monastery for 10-15 days each month, chopping wood, making food, washing blankets, cleaning the prayer hall and so forth. When there was nothing more to do, she returned home.

When they were doing the Amitabha seven days retreat, the Venerable of Enlightenment Monastery would call her, “Lay-woman Wang, stop chanting and come help take this thing.” Venerable Yuan would rush there. “Lay-woman Wang, it’s alright now, you can go back to chant.” She would then return to the prayer hall to do recitation. Her own house was like a monastery. There were many lay-people there. The ordained often stayed over at her house and recuperated from their illnesses.

In her entire life, Venerable Yuan never lost her temper at her children or her husband. She never gave anyone a black face. She was always smiling and her voice was sweet to hear, giving others a warm feeling.

One year, her mother brought three monastics from Enlightenment Monastery to Larung. On the train, she fetched hot water and bought meals for them. Seeing that her seat was empty, a man who had bought a standing ticket sat down on it hurriedly, and would not give it up even when she returned. This man sat there for 7-8 hours, and Venerable Yuan just stood there for 7-8 hours.

Then, one of the monastic could no longer stand it, grabbed the collar of that man and said, “How can you be like this, this is lay-woman Wang’s place, she bought a sitting ticket and allowed you to sit, now you refuse to give up the seat?”

Venerable Yuan quickly interceded saying, “It’s alright, it’s alright. He is tired, let him sit there for awhile. I can stand for awhile.” The Venerable said, “What do you mean ‘stand for awhile’, you have been standing for 7-8 hours!”

Venerable Yeshe Drolma never heard her mother criticize anyone. Her mother never said anything that caused others to feel discouraged or unhappy. Her mother was calm, optimistic, patient and always gently encouraging other people.

For the past eight years when Venerable Yeshe Drolma prepared meals for her mother, her mother had never once been picky over her food. When the vegetables were overly salty, her mother just washed it over with boiled water and ate it. Venerable Yeshe Drolma asked, “Mother, isn’t it salty?”

“It is okay.”

When Venerable Yeshe Drolma returned home late, she would ask her mother, “Are you hungry?”

“I’m fine.”

Venerable Yuan had outstanding results in school since her youth, from primary school till college, she was always receiving scholarships without needing to spend a single cent of the family. When she was about to take her college examinations, it happened to be the cultural revolution. After things returned to normal, she studied at the night university while pregnant with her child.

Venerable Yuan felt that since she was eldest, she had to let her siblings get the better things in life. In 2014, on the day after the 15th day of the new year, Venerable Yuan wrote in her diary:

“There are eight siblings in my family. Besides my older brother, I am the eldest. My parents have passed away with the blessings of Buddha five years ago. At this moment, I hope very much that my siblings can enter the door of Buddhism, and sincerely seek for rebirth in pureland. Now, although I am not by your side, our minds are linked together as we have karma connecting us from past lives and this life. I pray to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas daily that all the guardians and protectors would bless and protect you, as well as all beings, whether they are connected or not connected to me, may all of you have happiness, peace, good health and ultimately attain enlightenment.”

Venerable Yuan’s mind was exceptionally peaceful and pure. When making prostrations, she did it at an unhurried pace. Being in the same room as her, Venerable Yeshe Drolma sometimes did not even realize her mother was there. Her mother did not snore in her sleep. Her breathing was likewise soundless. More than once, Venerable Yeshe Drolma would wake up in the middle of the night and seeing her mother lying there peacefully without a sound, she switched on her handphone light to check if her mother was still breathing.

For the last two years, Venerable Yeshe Drolma did not regard Venerable Yuan as her mother but as a Bodhisattva. Many departments of the monastic university asked Venerable Yeshe Drolma to volunteer her help, but she would say, “There is a 8th Bhumi Bodhisattva at home, I can’t go anywhere.”

In her diary entry dated 25th April 2016, at 10am, her mother wrote a passage entitled “Gratitude”:

“During this time when I am recuperating from my illness, I feel deeply that, as children, one must be filial to the utmost. She is tending to her parent’s wisdom-life as well as her parent’s body, mind and intention. The meaning of filial piety is nothing more than cultivating the parent’s wisdom-life, bringing the parent to ultimate liberation. My daughter has indeed done this. I am grateful for it. That I am able to use the remainder of my life to immerse myself in Dharma practice that brings unlimited benefits to others.”

When Venerable Yeshe Drolma read this, she wept.

When she was still alive, Venerable Yuan would recite the short Sukhavati aspiration prayer by Ciyun Chanzu. She prayed that she would know her time of death in advance, and die without any suffering, pain, attachments or confusion by entering into meditation and that she would be received by the Buddha and his holy retinue. In her diary, there was another prayer written in the first lunar month of 2017:

“I pray to Guru Rinpoche, my greatly kind Holiness Wish Fulfilling Jewel (HH Jigme Phuntsok), Khenpo Sodargye and all Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and Eight Classes of Guardians, please bless me, please point out the way for me, in this very short time to have the profound Prajna wisdom, to master the Buddhadharma. May I understand and realize the unparalleled wonderful Buddha teachings, may all karmic obscurations be dispelled. May I not have any obstacles when I pass away from this life and be reborn in Amitabha Pureland. Amitabha! May my wishes be fulfilled. May everything be auspicious and as wished. – aspiration by Yuan”

Before she passed away, every single one of her wishes were fulfilled. All these were due to her immense faith in the Guru Triple Gems and the blessings from Guru Triple Gems.

Venerable Yuan also made the aspiration that her future dharma propagating activities would be as vast as Buddha Shakyamuni, HH Jigme Phuntsok and Khenpo Sodargye. However vast their Dharma activities, she prayed that her Dharma activities would be just as vast.

When a Dharma friend presented Venerable Yuan’s photo for her teacher to see, this teacher sighed many times and said, “Ah, ah, very great, very great. This person has not practiced for just one or two lives. She has practiced for many many lives…”

Venerable Yuan

When fortune does not match virtue…

Chan Master Nan Huai Jin:

Why do many young people die in the prime of their life?  Why do some people get into a car accident as soon as they have finished building their new house?  The reason can be encapsulated in this phrase: “Fortune does not match Virtue”.

Our wealth, good fortune, wisdom and everything we possess were described by our ancestors with one word: “goods”.  Only one with sufficiently abundant merits and virtue can bear the weight of all goods… on the contrary, if merits are insufficient, it is called, “Fortune does not match Virtue”.

For instance, if we have a table that can only bear the weight of 10 catties.  If you insist on using it to bear things weighing 15 catties, 20 catties or even 50 catties, what happens to the table? It will be wobbly and bend, there will be signs of giving way or cracking. In the end the table will break. 

Wealth, power and fame are one’s fortune, they are “goods” that weigh one down.  Are you able to bear its weight?  What qualifies you to bear such a weight?  You need sufficient virtues and merits — this is a universal law.

Those who are parents or grandparents here, you should convey this teaching on conserving merits to your children.  It will prove very useful to them.

Good fortune refers to all that we enjoy.  For instance, you eat well, you dress well.  If I can have $10,000 worth of clothing, I will not settle for $1,000.  If I can eat $100,000 worth of delicacies, I will not settle for $20,000 worth of food.  All these are considered your good fortune.

In China, people say that we should appreciate food and not waste it.  One must be careful about wasting one’s merits and conserve it well.  Some people tell me, “Teacher, I do not believe in this.”  Then I reply to him, “Test it for yourself.”

There is an old axiom that goes, “The gentleman loves wealth but gathers it with principles.”  This word “principle” is all too important.  There are businessmen who use all kinds of illegal means to obtain gains that are beyond their merits.  Isn’t this courting trouble?  Therefore, he ends up in prison.  His virtue and merits do not match with his fortune or income. 

I use a cheap handphone, wear cheap cloth shoes and normal clothes.  Why do I have it this way?  Because I do not think I have very deep virtues and merits.  When I use simple and plain things, my mind feels very comfortable and happy.

If my virtues and merits are lacking, yet I indulge in enjoyments such as Mercedes and BMW cars, luxurious mansions and extravagant meals costing thousands and tens of thousands.  This exhausts and damages my own merits.   Do you really dare to use up your merits like this?

Nowadays, people chase fame and benefits like crazy.  They are willing to pay any price to become famous or to earn a lot of money.  They look at how others have Mercedes cars and beautiful mansions, and think to themselves, “I must earn a lot of money to get these things too.”

Everyone thinks like that, not understanding the principle of virtue and merits, so what would the outcome be?

The saying goes: “When fortune does not match virtue, mishaps and misfortune are sure to follow.”  …the older generation often mentioned, “Damaging one’s merits and life.” This is very true.  Everyone should not forget!  Life and merits are forms of energies.  Human beings are actually energetic forms. 

You are not loving your children (by indulging in their enjoyments).  The children nowadays who enjoy so much are going against the natural law.  The more you love, the more sicknesses he gets, the more accidents and misfortunes ripen on him, the younger he dies. 

Why do many young people die young?  Why do so many people get sicknesses when they are only 30 years old.  Their merits and energies are quickly being exhausted. 

Therefore, to eat and use things in a simple way is of the greatest advantage.  If you understand this principle, you know that all things are driven by virtue and merits, then you only dare to expend your merits in a wise way.

When you look at some entrepreneur with great riches, you think, “how good it will be if I get this fortune.”  But why not reflect on the kind of virtues and merits this person has to be able to hold this position so comfortably.

Another saying goes, “Those who accumulate virtues will have excess happiness; those who accumulate non-virtue will attract excess misfortunes.”

When you see someone getting rich or famous, or someone becoming a professor, you feel that this world is unfair.  But you should reflect on the great merits and virtue of this person.  You should ask yourself whether you have such similar virtues and merits.


There are three great prohibitions in life: holding an exalted position while having weak virtue; having great ambitions while having weak wisdom; holding large responsibilities while having low capability. 

(Remarks: When Fortune does not match Virtue, misfortunes ensue, such misfortunes are not limited to physical misfortunes such as accidents or sicknesses. It can also be a mental ailment such as always feeling dissatisfied, unhappy, empty, sad, depressed, angry, disharmony in the family which leads to further troubles like addictions etc. This can be seen very commonly in present-day society. )

Mind Nature, Mind Nature…

A story about Togden Mindro and Yati Lama

Togden Mindro was the head of the thirteen yogis in the retreat centre three generations ago.  He was the guiding teacher and had an extremely high realization of Mahamudra.  He was the sixth Khamtrul Rinpoche’s disciple and had been certified by Shakya Shri to have attained the stage of non-meditation (final stage) within the four yogas of Mahamudra.  However, Togden Mindro had an awful temper, just like Marpa. 

Yati Lama was a practitioner of the generation stage of the deity.  He had attained great mastery over this practice and was able to command the Dharma protectors at will, his mantra power was exceedingly strong.

Once, when both of them went out together to practice the Dharma, Yati Lama discovered that Togden Mindro had made the torma slightly wrong.  He informed the elder who was in the midst of arranging the mandala altar.  When the Togden heard this, he flew into a rage, “What! You dare to correct me!”  He charged forward with a wrathful expression and glaring eyes.  At that very moment when Togden was about to teach Yati Lama a lesson, Yati Lama had a brainwave and he pointed straight at the Togden saying, “Mind-nature! Mind-nature!”  Togden paused and, in an instant, laughed it off and turned back to arranging the mandala. 

(Togden Anjang who told this story said, “Mindro realized the nature of mind, he had attained a very deep and stable realization therefore all it took was a reminder for him to dissolve the anger.  For someone like me, that would not be possible.  )

Note:  Togden Anjang is being humble here.


(Comments: I think we all have to some extent walls or barriers within our minds where we do not quite consider people of a different characteristic as, well, just people. We seem to de-grade them somewhat to being less than worthy of FULL respect and kindness. When I check myself, I find that I do have such tendencies. I would like to break these walls down and I hope many people do too. It is a mental exercise and self-check but this makes everything easier and the world a brighter and kinder place. May we become as equanimous as Dalai Lama– opening our hearts to all beings.)

The Dalai Lama:

I am a Buddhist; sometimes I am considered a staunch Buddhist. Those ancient Indian Buddhist masters, particularly the scholars of Nalanda University, had very, very critical minds. They analyzed everything, both the Buddha’s own words and the views of non-Buddhist traditions. Buddhist masters like Nagarjuna, Aryadeva, Dignaga, Dharmakirti, and Shantarakshita were very sharp logicians who were able to find every crack, every weakness, in non-Buddhist philosophical positions. I am like this, at least to some degree. I want to investigate, to analyze, and in that sense I can say that I am a very staunch Buddhist.

At the same time, I also accept the value or potential of all of the major traditions. It is so terrible, so sad, that there is conflict in the name of religion. Innocent, genuine, faithful people suffer as a result. So it is essential to make an effort to promote religious harmony within a sense of respect and mutual understanding. It helps for non-Buddhists to understand something about the structure of Buddhism and for Buddhists to understand other religions.

This is why, yesterday, I went on pilgrimage in Rajasthan to the Ajmer Sharif shrine, a famous Muslim holy place. It is perhaps the holiest place of Sufi Islam. Each year, prayers are offered for six days to commemorate the death of a great saint. They invited me. They prayed all night, but I preferred to participate in the early morning. So yesterday from 2:30 to 4:30 A.M. I prayed while wearing a Muslim hat—a Buddhist monk’s robe and a Muslim hat. There seemed to be several hundred thousand people and it was incredibly hot and humid. Of course, with so many people packed in a small area, there was sweat and odor. Maybe we can call it the scent of ethical discipline—mixed, of course, with sweat! My robes are still damp right now. I really enjoyed this; it was wonderful.

A few weeks earlier there was an international Muslim conference in Delhi. They invited me and I think I was the only non-Muslim participating. That afternoon, I visited the Jamma Masjid in Delhi and prayed together with thousands and thousands of Muslims. That was the first time I wore the Muslim white cap. Personally, this made me very happy, but I felt a little hesitant because I thought that perhaps some conservative elements might feel differently about my doing this. But the response from the mainstream community was excellent. It seems that people appreciated my efforts to promote inter-religious harmony and genuine respect across the traditions.

If you also think that this issue of understanding and harmony across the world religions is important, then please take action. Make closer contacts with the followers of other traditions. Since the September 11th event, it is extremely important to reach out to Muslim brothers and sisters, to make contact with them. Many people have a negative impression of Muslims and that is totally wrong.

Of course, in the past, many Indian Buddhists did suffer a great deal at the hands of Muslims, but the past is gone. It is useless to dwell on this and to hold on to hatred. It is absolutely foolish. Today, for example, there are many Muslims living in the Bodhgaya area. I think that perhaps their ancestors came to Bodhgaya in order to destroy the Buddhist temple there. But now they are the best friends of Buddhist pilgrims. Whenever I visit Bodhgaya they welcome me with tea and some very delicious nuts. I always enjoy that. That is the reality today. There are thousands of Muslims there; they are very genuine practitioners of Islam and wonderful human beings.

Stories of Vajrasattva Practice

Many people have approached me for the concise Vajrasattva Terma sadhana by HH Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche through this blog over the years.  Although not everyone gives me feedback, but from the feedback that I have received so far, there has only been good signs from practicing this sadhana, in most cases, without even any oral transmission.  The permission to do this practice without any empowerment or oral transmission was given by HH Jigme Phuntsok, the treasure-discoverer himself. 

Below, I share many real-life past cases of Chinese practitioners who have had good results with this practice through simple sincerity, faith and diligence.  Many of them simply received the text through the mail and did the practice accordingly without even any oral transmission. (Note: Just FYI, I am not the editor/compiler/interviewer of these stories. )

Actually, in my own opinion and experience, it is the people who practice simply with sincerity, faith and diligence who produce really amazing results and realizations.  It really almost doesn’t matter how much you know. It is your good heart and faith that really matters.  I may be simplifying things here, and of course, I still encourage everyone to do more listening and contemplating – but in a way that increases your faith and pure view, not in a way that increases your fault-finding criticisms, doubts, pride and ego.

This is my previous post on Vajrasattva many years back:


Sharing 1:

I received a phone-call from Zhang in Jiangsu, a lady. She said that she had received this Vajrasattva practice and started reading about how the practice came to be discovered and the various explanations about it.

“Before receiving this, I had heard about the recitation of this mantra from others and completed 400,000 recitations. Now that I think back to that time, before reciting the Vajrasattva mantras, each time I chanted Amitabha or meditated, there will always be some kind of interruption, whether it was the phone ringing or neighbours coming to visit. After completing the recitation, these things ceased to happen.

“Another example to prove my point is: I lived near the sea and when my wooden furniture got moist, termites infested and since they were multiplying very quickly and caused alot of damage, eating furnitures and books in a short time, I thought that to throw them outside would cause further harm to other vegetation etc. and when they had matured to adulthood, they would grow wings and go to other peoples’ homes to harm them. So I decided to exterminate them myself and bear the negative karma.

“Whether this is a right or wrong choice, let’s put that aside, but the point is that after spraying the poison to kill them, for the next few days, whenever I did prostrations or chanted mantras, just as I placed the lighted incense into the holder to begin the session, the phone would start to ring. In the early morning, after lighting the incense, just as I was about to offer prostrations, the nanny who was returning home would knock the door loudly and shout, “Open the door!” I thought to myself that I would just finish this one prostration before opening the door, but the nanny was afraid that I couldn’t hear and shouted even louder at the top of her voice.

“These are just examples, but in the past, such things never happened. So the karmic consequences of bad karma are quite obvious to me.”

Sharing 2:

I am a Buddhist who took refuge about 10 years ago. There have been countless obstacles. All kinds of negative karma and sufferings caused by negative spirits. The kind of torment my body and mind has been through is hard to express with words. My Dharma practice could barely take off. In the early half of this year, just as I was in complete despair about the sicknesses plaguing my whole family, I met someone who gave me some advice about the heavy negative karma that is causing all these.

I was guided to open my heart and give more thought to helping other people and contributing to the Buddhadharma. I was also told not to be too obstinate about sticking only to chanting Amitabha, and was introduced to the Vajrayana, in particular the confession practice to purify my negative karma. But for about a month, I did not meet any suitable purification practice, until my fervent prayers were answered and I received this Vajrasattva practice. Truly thanks be given to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and all the great masters for their beneficence. As it is said, “A thousand prayers are met with a thousand responses, the boat of liberation sails across the sea of suffering.” (This is a common Chinese proverb about Avalokiteshvara or Great Compassion.)

Ever since I met a teacher and encountered the Vajrayana, I have been reciting the Mani mantra. I had no opportunity to receive empowerment and there was not much result from the recitation. In my region, all we had were the Mahayana Sutric teachings, mainly consisting of pureland teachings in which we were told to eschew other practices in favor of concentrating on Amitabha — which was a wrong concept.

After I started practicing the Vajrasattva practice, the strong blessing was evident from the first few days. My entire body felt purified and clean, I felt very relaxed and there was a feeling of being washed and cleansed. I had a deep feeling of unspeakable joy. Even in my free time the mantra would resound in my mind. If I collected my concentration and recite the mantra even ten times, I had a feeling of going into samadhi. It was as if Vajrasattva did not leave the top of my head for even an instant. My resolve to persevere in this practice is definite, and I will spread this practice to others if the conditions are right, to let more people purify their karma and gain wisdom, going to the pureland at ease.

Sharing 3:

For the past few years, I am a believer in Buddhism and recited the Amitabha sutra and Great White Robe Mantra daily. From the day I received this Vajrasattva practice, I started to recite the Vajrasattva mantra instead for a while. I had been suffering from tracheitis (inflammation of the windpipe), sometimes it was good, sometimes bad. Recently, it had been worsening, and all the medicine had not much effect. When I finished reciting the mantra several hundred times on the second night, I felt discomfort and retired. At night, I had a dream, both my colleague and I were planting trees. We were exhausted but several trees had not been watered. Then someone told me, if you spat on the tree, it would live. In the end, I spat thrice at the roots of the tree, and they were black in color. I do not know whether it was phlegm or blood. Later I woke up. The next morning, my body felt very comfortable, and my mind was bright, there was no more cough or panting. Till now, my condition has been fantastic. I think the mantra is quite efficacious. I am determined to complete 400,000 to purify my karma.

Sharing 4:
(some parts of his letter have not been translated as it was irrelevant)

I contacted the Dharma 15 years ago. I was delighted to discover it and went to Shanghai to receive refuge and the Mani mantra practice. When I returned, I practiced it diligently. Before long, I met obstacles. When I sat down, my body started to move uncontrollably. My head would swing non-stop. Every morning I would sit from 430am – 530am. This phenomenon continued at night, the shaking was very strong. I couldn’t sit on the bed, even moving to the floor didn’t help. Because practice couldn’t go on, my faith also deteriorated. I switched to chanting Amitabha. But the same problem arose. I could not get into a state of concentration. I thought now I was really finished, who knows when I will be able to truly get realizations. So I stopped practicing Dharma three years ago. My faith had all but vanished.

Shame on me! Repent! Before long, I broke all my five precepts. And the temptation to break them was so strong. After negative karma ripened twice, it became clear to me that if I continued this zombie-like state of living in a dream, the only future will be the three lower realms. I would shoot straight into the lower realms as quickly as an arrow leaving the bow. So I was very frustrated and wished for some way to attain liberation. But I could not enter the door of Dharma.

Then someone sent me a Vajrasattva practice. After seeing it, I was filled with doubts, but decided to give it a try. In my first session, my body shook for half-an-hour. I was wracked with suffering. Tears rolled down as my mind was filled with anguish. I prayed to Vajrasattva to bless me and aspired to cross this obstacle and generate Bodhichitta. Half an hour later, calm really came. At that time, my mind was filled with joy. So I make a wish to benefit others too… after reading the teachings of Huang Nian Zu (a master who combined practice of Vajrayana and Pureland), my faith increased greatly and I recited the mantra daily in two to three sessions, sometimes even four sessions. Two days later, I started to have diarrhea, passing out black substances. (Vajrasattva purifies on different levels, depending on one’s karma, for some people, it purifies the body, ridding it of particular karmic sicknesses. As can be seen in later sharings.)

Later I wrote to a friend at Serthar Monastery expressing my wish to recite 2 million Vajrasattva mantras. My mind became purer and when I heard loud sounds during practice, I did not get angry but instead made dedications to all beings. The sounds would then stop.

These few days, while accompanying my clients, I drank seven cans of beer and ate meat. When I returned home to practice, my body started shaking again, I quickly did prostrations and the sweat that poured out from me smelled terrible. I was quite frightened and thought that the protectors may have been displeased with me. After my prostrations, I had a bout of diarrhea and the smell was unbearable. Two days later, I had to take some alcohol and meat again while socialising with my colleagues and I had abdominal pain and diarrhea again. From then on, I vowed that even at the cost of my life, I would not break the precepts again or may the protectors crush my skull… recently my faith, aspirations and conduct have become firm and pure. This is something real…

Since I am still young, my energies are strong and although I am determined to practice, strong sexual desires do arise, I would contemplate on the unclean nature of human bodies to overcome it, but it was still difficult and what I could suppress in the day-time still arose at night in dreams. It is so true that because desires are strong, we are trapped in the endless cycle of samsara. Since practicing Vajrasattva, these desires have ceased without me even trying to. It was completely natural. Such a difficult dilemma resolved by the power of the Dharma in short time. It was inconceivable!…

Normally, when I am sitting in meditation, it was difficult to bear with the mosquito bites, I would think that the nature of the body is emptiness and that it was good to perform charity with my blood, and pray that the mosquitoes would gain a human life and attain Buddhahood in future. When I see many people chasing after fame, wealth and benefits, I felt a deep sense of compassion for their lack of wisdom. My resolve to practice would strengthen

Also, my desire for food has reduced. I do not wish to eat after lunch quite naturally… Vajrayana is quite amazing… I am determined to finish reciting Vajrasattva for a thousand days, after that I would focus on Pureland practice.

Sharing 5:

I have received three volumes of the Vajrasattva practice. My wife Xu Shu Guo has finished 400,000 mantras in the past but as she did not really focus and visualize, she made the wish to complete a few more cycles of 400,000 mantras. My wife’s friend Wang Mei Lan finished a million in the past, but made the wish to complete another few more cycles of 400,000 with better focus. I also gave my friend Sun Chang Shun one volume, and he expressed that this was a great practice and that he will do it too.

I myself have also recited 400,000 before. I have finished 1 million Amitabha’s name and 2 million Namo Amitabha, just as HH Jigme Phuntsok had advised. From 2000 onwards, I have combined the practice of Vajrasattva, Liberation by Listening and many mantras and Buddha names. I am quite a stupid person, I can’t really visualize, so I mainly focus on recitation. From 1999, after I returned from Serthar Monastery, I started to recite Vajrasattva mantra and completed 400,000 in 12 days. Then I completed 1 million Amitabha in 15 days. I need to work in the day and so I used the night-time to recite. After I had completed these recitations, I had a very clear dream. I dreamt of my paternal grandfather, father’s sister and another auntie who managed the household, they took the mala (rosary) I used to count my mantras with and divided it among themselves, each person taking several beads. They said that they had bought their own malas and wanted to add my beads to their malas and would to start doing a diligent recitation practice from then on. (Editorial comments: It is a common practice in Tibet to add the beads from the malas of good practitioners or masters to one’s own beads as a blessing to augment one’s own practice, although this man did not know it.)

After chanting Vajrasattva mantra, my body underwent a huge transformation. I remember that upon reaching 300,000 mantras, my excrement contained many patches of thick black-colored blood, the anus was unbearably painful for more than ten days, I keep expelling pus like substances, at that time, I did not know what this was and ignored it as I thought that it was due to heat rising in the body from the effort of reciting many mantras diligently. I also had several dreams of expelling dirty substances from my throat and eyes. And it was strange that after several of such signs, the gastric ailment that had troubled me for many years also disappeared. After I read the book you sent me on Vajrasattva practice, I realized that this could be a positive sign of purification. Thank you very much!

This year, in the early morning of 21 August, I dreamt of myself in full lotus posture (in reality, I am unable to cross my legs in full lotus, I cannot even sit in half-lotus for a long time) flying quickly through space across mountain ranges, rivers, railways, roads, farmlands, villages, passing over them like a flash of lightning until I reached Serthar Monastery. The monastery was teeming with people, there was a grand puja going on and there were too many people on the hillsides that I could not remain there. Suddenly, there appeared in the sky brilliant light and it transformed into the body of Amitabha Buddha, filling the whole sky. It was a magnificent sight and his appearance was resplendent. I quickly chanted Amitabha and everyone were also chanting in unison. I also saw Chenrezig and Vajrapani and the assembly of sangha from the pureland surrounding them. In a short time, the whole space was filled with infinite Buddhas, awe-inspiring in their beauty, and radiating bright lights, I quickly recited the mantra of the hundred deities until I woke up from the dream. So it was only a dream!

My wife Xu Shu Guo has a deep affinity to Chenrezig, and because of her recitation of the Dharani of Great Compassion to successfully cure an illness, she took refuge in Buddhism. In the 90s, after she had attended the first Chenrezig Puja, both of us were reciting the name of Guan Yin (a form of Chenrezig in Chinese), we had been reciting until about just after midnight when we both decided to retire for the night as we had to work the next day. She later said that during her sleep the recitation continued mentally throughout the night and she dreamt of Chenrezig. In the South-eastern direction, there was a white-silverish arch bridge, under which a stream flowed, Chenrezig appeared (in the female form Guan Yin, common in the Chinese tradition) on the bridge with her robes swaying gently in the wind. Chenrezig sprinkled water on her head with the willow branch and my wife was touched to tears and recited the name of Guan Yin non-stop. For many years, this kind of auspicious dream has never reoccurred. But this time, when you sent us the Vajrasattva practice, after reciting for the first day, Chenrezig again appeared in my wife’s dream that very night.

My wife and I live harmoniously and practice together. Although we have no great ability, ever since we took refuge, we mainly relied a heart of deep sincerity and devotion, using our strength and diligence, ploughing on stupidly. We feel deep gratitude for the kindness of Buddhas. It is a kindness that is difficult to repay. If we had not met the Buddhadharma, it would be endless cycling in samsara for us without any escape. For more than ten years, we have dedicated ourselves to the pureland practice, often chanting with tears in our eyes as devotion arises, praying to the Buddha to bless us and to quickly bring us to the pureland. There have been many many miraculous incidents of the blessings and protection of Buddhas, in fact it is so numerous that I can almost compile it in a book. After 1997, I met the Vajrayana teachings and gained faith in HH Jigme Phuntsok. In 1999, I went to Serthar monastery and received many teachings and pith instructions etc, and received the kind guidance and care of Khenpo Sodargye.

Sharing 6:

From Upasaka Ba in Guangzhou

I have received the Vajrasattva practice from you a long time back, the 400,000 mantras I committed to recite were completed on 5 Feb 2002. Later on 22 Feb, I made a vow to recite another 1 million mantras, the reason is like this: When I received the practice from you in late August of 2001, I discussed with my daughter whether I should recite this mantra. My daughter opined that I should settle my mind on pureland practice only and not divert myself. I myself was in agreement with her view. Since it was not easy for me to have met with the Dharma and pureland practice in my late years, so I did not take up the Vajrasattva practice immediately.

However, no matter who sent me a Dharma book, it is my habit to read through it once. This book was no exception. The strange thing was that whenever I saw the image of Vajrasattva, my whole body itched, and upon scratching a piece of dried skin would come off. This continued for several days. So it woke me up, I took this as a sign that I should do this practice. From 10 Sep 2001, I started to recite this mantra 3000 times daily. I did not stop chanting Amitabha but completed my daily morning and night sessions pureland practices before continuing with 3000 Vajrasattva mantras.

On the third night of having recited Vajrasattva mantra, while I was watching the evening news, I felt a pressure on the crown of my head, it seemed to envelope me. The pressure was unmistakable. When I sat down to meditate that night, it occurred again twice. There was a slight feeling, not a very strong pressure. After I have completed about 200,000 mantras, the greatest response was that the migraine that had bothered me since infancy was gone. I felt my head lightened. I was delighted. The Vajrasattva mantra truly purifies negative karma! A migraine that had bothered me for more than several decades had disappeared. I am grateful to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and grateful for their blessings. I thank all these Dharma friends and benefactors whom I do not know in person. May your progress to enlightenment be enhanced and may you make more contributions to Buddhadharma!

Sharing 7 :

Upasaka Dong from Gansu

Reading the sharings from many fellow-practitioners has helped my practice to improve alot. Thank you. From 9 July since receiving the Vajrasattva practice from you, I have started reciting in fits and starts until I made a firm vow to complete 800,000 mantras by the end of the year on 15 July.

So I stopped my pureland practice and concentrated fully on the Vajrasattva mantra. As for its power and responses, even before the first 10 days ended, the effects were incredible.

1. My whole body suffered from some kind of skin ailment that caused itchiness. For many years, despite taking medications and injections, there was no cure and it grew worse instead.

2. For 10 years, I suffered from a kind of sickness, in the summer, I had to wear a woolen vest, the hearth had to be burning hot, every night from 10pm to 12pm my body was unbearably itchy, at 1am, I would fall asleep, at 3am, I would wake up

From 15 July till 29 July, all these sicknesses disappeared, I could sleep very well at night.

3. I had chronic constipation for more than 40 years and this was also cured.

Now my wish to continue reciting Vajrasattva mantra till I die.

Sharing 8 :

Two elderly practitioners from Yunnan

Both of them were usual pureland practitioners, but due to many illnesses, they were unable to continue with their practice, after reciting Vajrasattva mantra, their health recovered and they were able to continue with their usual practices.

1. Wu Lan Ying is 79 years old and has been practicing for more than 20 years. In recent years, she had high blood pressure, coronary disease, rheumatism and other sicknesses, which obstructed her practice.

Before, she had been able to go to the various monasteries to attend pujas and do prostrations etc. She also recited the Sutra of Infinite Life many times daily. Since last year, she has been unable to leave her house or finish her daily practices. Whenever she chanted Amitabha, she experienced breathlessness or coughed alot, she could only do her morning and evening homework in the afternoons when she had more energy — reciting the sutra once before lying down to sleep, often not being able to wake up for a long time. Her body felt lethargic and listless.

After she started reciting Vajrasattva, she managed to complete 200,000 in half a month. In her dream, she saw Chenrezig in blazing golden light. This strengthened her faith and she persevered in reciting the mantra. Now, after more than one month, she has completed 500,000 mantras, her negative karma has been purified and her sickly body has recovered to a large degree so that she is able to resume her usual morning and evening practices.

2. Yang Gui Zhi has been practicing pureland for five years. Her daily practices includes recitation of Amitabha and the Sutra of Infinite Life. But due to chemotherapy for cancer of the bladder since the beginning of the year, her energy has ebbed greatly, and with the bony vestige of her worn-out body, she is barely able to continue her practices. Due to this, she was greatly discouraged and her mind was filled with frustration and despair.

Since early October this year, after hearing of the Vajrasattva practice, she enthusiastically took it up and after completing 400,000, she felt that her whole body was more deeply relaxed. Her appetite became very good with better spirits and she put on weight. Now, she has resumed her daily pureland morning and evening practices.

On 21 December, after a checkup, the bladder cancer has disappeared. She feels that this is the blessings of the Vajrasattva practice.

Sharing 9:

I have taken refuge for many years. I am 65 this year, a pureland practitioner. These 3 years, besides doing my daily pureland morning and night practices, I have increased my practice to include reciting the Sutra of Infinite Life once daily and taken a vow to complete 800,000 Vajrasattva mantra by the end of the year. After receiving the Vajrasattva practice, knowing that it purifies negative karma swiftly, I was delighted. But since time is short, I stopped reciting the Sutra of Infinite Life and increased my daily recitation of Vajrasattva mantra to about 3000-5000 daily. From 19 Oct 2001, I started to recite the mantra, till now, within these 2 months (excluding a holiday overseas for about 15 days when I stopped reciting the mantra for 10 days), I have only completed 280,000, but there have been very apparent signs of purification.

The first time was 3 Nov, having recited 5,700 mantras, on the second day, at around 2pm, my left upper tooth suddenly gave great pain, I touched it with my finger and a fake tooth as well as a real tooth with roots fell out simultaneously, there was no blood at all. Because my left kidney was weak, the upper and lower left gum often swelled and was painful, a sign of weak fire rising (TCM term).

The second time was 9 Nov, after having reached 75,000 mantras. At night, after having taken several mouthfuls of dinner, I felt discomfort and nausea, there was some taste of gastric juice and after I went to throw up my food, there was a bean shaped shell in my vomit. It was purplish-red and ellipsoid in shape, I used a stick to touch it and it broke, it was hollow with some yellow fluid. This came from my stomach and was fleshy. Because I had chronic gastritis and colitis, to throw up this thing, is to my thinking, a good thing. If I did not recite Vajrasattva, what this would have grown into, I really don’t know.

The third time was 28 Nov, I had completed about 150,000 mantras and recited 10,000 on that day. At night, I had severe abdominal pains. The next day, I recited another 5000 mantras and when I passed motion that morning, I saw the sections of two white and flat-shapped parasitic worms in the feces. My husband also saw it and he helped me to empty the waste-pot. He commented that the worms were masculine and would not bear eggs. I do not know when I ingested the eggs that grew into worms.

The power of the mantras were very great to be able to expel the worms. Since my karma is really heavy, I will recite the mantra a million times.

The fourth time was on 2 December. After having recited 220,000 times, while reciting, I kept burping. Now that I have recited about 280,000, whenever I chant Amitabha, I find that I have much less thoughts. I also have much less attachment to worldly pursuits and only wish to channel all my efforts into practice, going to the pureland at the end of this life.

Sharing 10 :

(Parts of letter not translated as it is irrelevant)

Thank you for sending me this practice to liberate me. I am a junior practitioner who would not disappoint you. I will practice without flagging with a pure mind. Due to having recited Amitabha for the past 10 years with a concentrated mind, I have built a good foundation. To complete 1 million Vajrasattva mantras within a month was not difficult. At the same time, I had been studying the three teachings of Maitreya (Cittamatra studies) and practicing its system of teachings.

I have now finished 1.25 million mantras. I would soon reach 2 million. I will practice this mantra for the rest of my life until I meet Amitabha. Since my youth until I entered University and until post-graduate, due to my daily posture of sitting for long hours at the table, I had serious spinal problems, and this pressed on my vetebral artery so that the blood supply to my brains was insufficient, this caused me to have fainting spells. It was quite dangerous and caused me much suffering (Editor : it is assumed that this was later cured through the practice)…

The mantra was amazing, after I started reciting it, on the day onwards, my usual constipation problem resolved itself. First, I had two days of diarrhea, kept passing gas and burping loudly, but I did not feel hungry and felt energetic. Later there was refreshing current of energy flowing on my chest and back, sometimes it felt cooling, sometimes it felt like a warm current. My brains felt very clear and when studying the scriptures or practicing, the effect was very good, with high efficiency. This is the blessings of the deity and mantra.

Also, due to my over-exertion at work and often soaking in cold water, the fingers of my right hand started to be inflamed and it was difficult to write and very painful. I had actually promised someone to go to Mt Wutai to copy the scriptures, and everyone had spent money to buy the gold dust for it, but due to this illness, I could not keep my promise. After reciting the mantra, my fingers gradually recovered and it was less painful to write a letter or record. The script was no longer so shaky or tilted, and the characters showed more strength in them. This is the blessings of Vajrasattva and his mantra.

Sharing 11 :

Since reciting the Vajrasattva mantra, I could feel the purification effects, and it also heightened my ability to receive blessings from the Buddhas. After reciting the mantra, these are the kind of effects it had on my body and mind: In terms of the body, I felt that my body generated more sweat each day, it seemed as if the toxins in my body were expelled through the body through the pores. The body’s arteries, veins, nerves and tendons felt relaxed and unblocked. The changes in the body were very evident.

The changes in the mind were that my concentration when reciting Amitabha became much deeper. In the past, when reciting Amitabha, I was disturbed by many other thoughts and had difficulties going into a deep concentration. Since reciting Vajrasattva, my concentration has become stronger and there are not much thoughts when I chant Amitabha. My faith in Amitabha has strengthened alot. There are many benefits of reciting the Vajrasattva mantra.

Sharing 12 :

After reciting the Vajrasattva mantras, I definitely felt a great reduction in the mental afflictions and negative emotions. As for sicknesses, I had gastric problems, there were many kinds of food I had to avoid. Even for rice, I had to choose particular types of grains. Now I am able to eat basically anything. I have not started to recite the mantra in a focussed way. I only recite it whenever I think of it. I even gave my Vajrasattva practice text to someone else, not leaving any copies for myself. My greed and desire has gradually flattened out. If it were in the past, I would not give all my texts away but would leave at least one copy for myself. The Vajrasattva mantra has changed my life. But I would like to request you to compassionately send me more copies of the Vajrasattva text. I would like to give it to more people so that we can all cross the ocean of samsara!

Sharing 13 :

I am now 40 years old, a teacher by profession. From 1997 I had been reciting the Sutra of Infinite Life daily for several years. I feel that the Buddhadharma is incredible, and the benefits I have received is truly not small. After receiving the Vajrasattva practice from Mr Ma, after reading it once, I gained great faith and felt that it was difficult to meet the Dharma. Feeling that I had heavy karma from past lives, I immediately made the vow to finish 400,000 mantras. I did not neglect my usual daily practice to focus on Vajrasattva, so I think that caused the purification effect to be slightly lacking. Nonetheless, upon completing 400,000 mantras, there were still some responses.

Firstly, my body felt lighter, I felt more energy and better chi. I practiced every night in a concentrated manner with visualization. One night, I had a dream that when I took off my shirt, my body was crawling with many lice.

The atmosphere in my family was harmonious, my job also became very smooth. I felt very energetic in my daily job and even if I woke up every morning at around 2am or 3am, I did not feel tired. My heart was constantly bubbling with a kind of inner joy. Later on, I stopped my usual practices and decided to focus on Vajrasattva. I vowed to complete 1 million mantras. From then on, I was more diligent.

At this time, my wife was also reciting this mantra. One day, I had a dream seeing clearly that there were 2 holes punctured in my right hand and black blood was oozing out of them. Later on, alot of blood poured out. When I woke up, I felt very refreshed. My fingers which always felt cold to the touch started gaining warmth. My wife dreamt of many snakes coming out from her body. She was so frightened that she woke up. After waking up, she realized it was a dream. It was quite incredible. Undeniably, Vajrasattva’s mantra has immense power. After doing this practice, I feel as though I have something that I can depend on. After completing 1 million mantras, I resumed my usual daily practice and added on several thousand Vajrasattva mantras daily.

(After reading this letter, I requested this teacher to give more details about his wife’s practice and how she benefitted from Vajrasattva’s practice. His reply is seen in Sharing 14.)

Sharing 14:

In my previous letter, I mentioned my wife dreaming of the snakes. After that dream, I felt that she went through some subtle but positive changes. Firstly, she often liked to lose her temper. But these occurrences lessened. In the past, any small matter could provoke her, and once she got angry, it could last from several days to weeks. If anyone at home angered her, there would be no peace for a while. Because of this, both I and my children saw her as a “tigress”, we did not dare to approach her easily. After her dream of snakes, she was more peaceful in her manner of speaking and the language she used was much more gentle and soothing. Even our eldest son said that his mother was much better in her treatment of him — more gentle and loving. In the past, when she saw me chanting Amitabha, she would fly into a rage.

Secondly, she was much more relaxed about fame, reputation and benefits, she was more easy-going in her relationships with fellow-teachers and students. In the past, if students did not listen or if something disturbed her about the exam rankings or colleagues, it would make her very emotional. Now, she is more even-minded about all these, getting along with her students. After her dream about the snakes, it was time for the end-of-semester exams, if it were the past, she would be tensed up or irritable, even to the extent of falling sick, but this time, she was very relaxed, happy and even caring towards me, worried that the house was too cold, she even borrowed a electric heater etc. When I said something that was offensive, she did not get rankled up like in the past.

Thirdly, she has a deeper calm now. Even when she heard some unpleasant news, she would not be fired up but instead handle it calmly. There were several incidents that would have thrown her into a rage in the past, but she sailed through them peacefully this time. This really demonstrates the power of the mantra.

Fourthly, due to the change in her mind, her external appearance also changed. This is most apparent on her face. In the past, my wife’s face had many freckles and discolored patches. To cover them up, she spent much time and went through many methods but it did not reduce the spots. After reciting the mantra and dreaming of snakes, the originally darker spots gradually lightened and now if you do not examine her face closely, you could not make them out at all. Her complexion also changed from greenish-black to rosy pink. Her back pains have also improved alot. Her mental afflictions of greed, anger, ignorance, pride, jealousy and doubt have decreased to a large extent.

Because of not being too attached to benefits and fame, she was able to learn to give generously. She also started persuading her mother to be generous. The amount of sleep she needed also reduced alot. She believed in cause-and-effect and started to be quite averse towards alcohol and meat. Anyway, these are the main changes I observe in her.

Sharing 15:

Thank you for asking after me. After reciting the Vajrasattva mantra, I had two kinds of experiences. The elimination of sicknesses is not that obvious for my case but I felt that the blessing was very strong. I am 52 this year and my health is pretty good. But it was quite strange that ever since I received the Vajrasattva practice from you 3 months ago, even before I started reciting, I felt the blessings coming. I began to pass alot of gas, this continues to be so even now, but the purification in terms of one’s self-nature (mind) is quite evident. In the past, when I chanted Amitabha, my wild thoughts intruded so much that I had to stop my chanting. The five mental poisons and five kinds of desires were very heavy. My relations with other people were quite poor and I could not calm my mind. I lost my temper easily and was impatient. After reciting the mantra, such occurrences were very much reduced.

I developed more faith in the Buddhadharma, now my faith has become extremely strong. The Bodhichitta in my mind has increased greatly. I stopped all my usual practice and focussed on Vajrasattva mantra, completing 800,000 in 2 months. I think I will finish 1 million before resuming my usual practices.

(Second letter) I had finished 1 million mantras on top of the 400,000 stipulated in the text. I finished it on the 17th of the 11th lunar month (a special day of Amitabha), I have now resumed my pureland practices. My daily recitation of Amitabha is slightly less than 10,000, following that I would recite the Vajrasattva mantra for 30 minutes. The rest of the time would be used to study some scriptures. Later, I discovered that whether it came to reciting the sutras or chanting Amitabha, the effect was vastly different from before I had completed the Vajrasattva mantra count. The blessings were especially strong, it felt as though the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas were above my crown or by my side. When I chanted Amitabha, I even saw brilliant white light twice. Such a blessing made me feel that the Vajrasattva mantra is truly incredible. My faith has multiplied manifold. We are now in the degenerated times when karmic obscurations and demonic interferences are particularly prevalent. If one does not have the help of the Vajrasattva practice, there is really no other way.

Sharing 16 :

My dharma name is Jue Hong. I had such an experience from practicing Vajrasattva mantra. I recited 300 mantras every night with the use of the sadhana before continuing with other practices. I felt the effect was very good. Ever since I started reciting Vajrasattva, my prostatitis has improved, sometimes when my children fell sick, their sicknesses would miraculously be healed. My relationship with my colleagues have improved, and there were less obstacles in Dharma practice. Sometimes, due to the unfixed timings at my job, (I had insufficient time for practice) but ever since I started on Vajrasattva, I had sufficient time for meditation, this is quite an obvious blessing of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Although I do not recite a large number of mantras, but the most important thing is devotion and Bodhichitta from the bottom of your heart. These attitudes brings immense blessings.

Sharing 17 :

I started Vajrasattva practice from 8 Oct 2001. On 15th, I dreamt of bathing (Editor: a sign of purification), after my bath, I felt very refreshed and comfortable, but then when I went around looking for water to wash my clothing, I could not find any. The negative karma I created with my body before I took refuge began to arise: on 18th, a strong stench started emanating from my crotch area. On 24th, whenever I started to confess my negative deeds, I started to cry. I cried and recited at the same time, until my weeping soon became a loud wailing, in all I cried for about half-an-hour. All the people I had given charity to since my infancy, whether they were the handicapped, sick or beggars all started to appear before me one by one. On 30th, the fragrance of ginger lily flowers filled my nostrils. On the 1st of November, my breath started to stink, it was many times worse that the smell of shit. It lasted for about 3-4 minutes before vanishing.

After I recited the mantra, my patience and endurance in difficult situations became noticeably stronger. After I had finished about 100,000 mantras, I felt my entire character change. I had very good mood with little disturbing emotions, my mind was clear and empty like space. Around me, there was only Vajrasattva. I have never encountered such a state of mind before. Before reciting this mantra, whenever I had any trouble, I would get angry, and the anger lasted for a long time. Now, when problems arose, they passed by very quickly. I was also quite unperturbed by such adverse situations. I have let go of many attachments and many things do not affect me as strongly as in the past…

(Editor : Later on, I contacted this respondent by phone and requested her to give more details about her change in temperament. This is what she replied.)

My husband is like my enemy. If he started to lose his temper at me, a scolding would last half a day or several hours. I would be furious at that time, the emotions churning within tormented me so much that I neither knew where to go nor where to sit. After reciting the Vajrasattva mantras, I was more relaxed about his scoldings. I would neither retort nor argue with him, realizing that this is none other than my own cause-and-effect. As I had planted the causes earlier, I now must face the consequences. Since he wanted to scold me, let him scold as he wished. I would treat it like a song. I will still take care of him as usual.

Editor: This lady also told me of another interesting development. One day, when she was reciting the mantra, she heard her hubby talking outside. Because there was no-one else at home, she went out to take a look and saw him sleeping. He was mumbling in his sleep, “Guan Yin Pu Sa(Avalokiteshvara’s name in Chinese), you should know very well that my sickness is due to tiredness…” This lady said that her husband did not believe in Buddhism, but sometimes before he fell asleep, he would chant Amitabha several times. Ever since she started reciting Vajrasattva mantra, her husband seemed to have received the guidance of Avalokiteshvara in his dreams, it was quite wondrous!

This lady also had another experience. After she finished 400,000 mantras, her urine was pinkish in color with some kind of white sediment. She said it was neither painful nor itchy. This happened once or twice before stopping. She asked someone versed in medicine and was told that it could be stones in the urinary track being expelled.

Sharing 18 :

I received your Vajrasattva practice but my son took my copy away to read it. I started reciting the mantra since 8 November. The blessings of Vajrasattva is truly inconceivable. Due to my past heavy negative karma, whenever I recited the sutras or chanted Amitabha, my mind could not be quiet. There would be many disturbances. About this, I felt great frustration. In this two years, I also had many sicknesses. After reciting the mantra for more than 20 days, the changes in my body were quite drastic. My frozen shoulder and spinal problems were quite serious. But once I recited this mantra, I felt a cooling sensation from my head that pervaded my whole body. Some kind of ChI was being expelled from those areas where I had sicknesses. I felt much better. There was blood in my excrement thrice, the blood spurted out like a jet of water and it was black in color. Now my body feels very at ease and when I chant Amitabha, there are not many thoughts. I can hear my own chanting distinctly. I am really happy about these developments…

Sharing 19 :

(This practitioner initially did not have any faith in the practice and gave away the practice booklet to others whenever he received it. Later on, he read about its benefits and tried it out himself.)
I started reciting the mantra from early August. The left side of my body was not well, when it came to going down-slope or walking on flat ground, the joints on the left side of my body would give me great pain. The left muscles and bones felt tight and constricted, and they have been extended, giving me alot of pain. I recited the mantra 9000 times daily and until the 3rd lunar day of the ninth month, my left joints started not to give any pain. The next day, I tried to climb a mountain and there was no problem at all the ascending or descending. It had completely recovered due to the blessings of the mantra.

Sharing 20:

I had a dream of the bodhisattva Samantabhadra last year in the ninth lunar month, due to that dream, I started to practice Dharma. In the second half of the tenth month, Mr Wang sent me the Vajrasattva practice and image. From early part of the 11th month, I started to do the practice. I have been reciting the mantra for more than 4 months. This is my report:

1. When I started reciting for more than 2 months, there were often times when tears would come. On several occasions, great compassion arose in my mind and I cried because of it.

2. I had dreams of snakes and worms leaving my body, of having diarrhoea, of drinking water, and of bathing.

3. One night, I had a dream of a place flooded with dirty water. I used a pail to scoop and throw out the water, it took a while to remove all the water.

4. In the 2nd lunar month, I had diarrhoea for many days. It stopped naturally even though I did not take any medicine.

5. My mood is much better now. I do not lose my temper easily when I meet bad situations. I do not gossip about other people but only think of my own flaws. The atmosphere at home has become very warm and understanding.

6. My health has been getting better and better. I have no sickness and feel light. I used to be a person tormented by sicknesses and have underwent 6 surgeries.

7. On the nights of 25 and 26 Feb, I dreamt of coming to a temple where a monk taught me how to practice the Dharma, what sutras to recite and other advice. He offered me porridge to eat in a triangular cup.

8. I now appreciate the preciousness of life and no longer kill. Even if it is just a housefly, I would bring it outside the house to release. One day, a mouse came into the house and bit through one of our possessions, I caught it in a cage and released it in the park. Mice never came to our house again.

9. In my dreams, I encountered many things I have never seen before in this life. For instance, I would be at a battlefield killing many people or taking revenge etc. I think these were incidents from my past lives. I would always wake up and recite Vajrasattva mantra to confess these sins.

10. I felt a great vortex of energy when I recited the mantra. It was swirling above my crown and the energy flowed into my body. Sometimes, the body felt as if it were being bathed and all my channels vibrated, the entire body felt as if it were being massaged and this sensation was quite strong.

I feel that Dharma practice has to be accompanied by an unwavering faith. As long as you are focussed and sincere, you can attain liberation. Just focus on making the effort without expecting results and you will reach the final goal. Practicing the Dharma, one must have aspirations or vows. One has to confess all past karmas and resolve to be free from samsara. One has to wish all sentient beings be purified of their karma and give rise to great compassion. One has to be focussed on practicing the Dharma and going to pureland…

This is how I practice. I would recite the mantras and Amitabha daily without any breaks. If I got angry or created any negative karma, I would immediately confess. During my practice session, I would examine myself to see what mistakes I have made and confess them immediately. I would integrate my practice with daily life, dedicating everything to all sentient beings. I would propagate the Vajrasattva practice and benefit others. I would not play mahjong, not crave after entertainment or fun, not crave delicious foods but put my focus on Dharma practice.

Sharing 21 :

Upasaka Kuan HaI from Shanxi

Kuan Hai works daily for about 8 hours. At night, he frequently meditates. From April 2001, he started to recite 3000 Vajrasattva mantras daily. After he began reciting the mantra, he experienced tearing up, passing pungent gas and a bout of diarrhea after several days. His body had red boils appearing twice, these are all positive signs of purification of the body. After he started reciting the mantra, his usual buddies who always looked for him to play mahjong did not even ask him once. He worked at an electrical factory and in his spare time, playing mahjong was the usual activity. So it was quite common for him to be asked to join these mahjong parties. But when his buddies stopped looking for him, it was a blessing because he could spend more time focussing on meditation. His habit of smoking stopped automatically After finishing 400,000, loving compassion arose spontaneously. When he recalled his past habits of desire and anger, and his aggressive manner to others, he felt remorse and sometimes regretted so much that it reduced him to tears. Ever since he recited Vajrasattva mantra, he started to do practice diligently, not picking up calls when he was at home to avoid idle conversations.

After he recited the Vajrasattva mantra, his meditation picked up alot, there were some good signs in his meditation, such as visions of a brilliant sun, stupa or a group of meditating sangha members. But he knows that these signs are illusory and a manifestation of the clarity of one’s own mind, so he does not cling to them. After he recited the mantras, he found that he could sit in meditation for a longer time, it extended from the usual 1 hour to 1.5 hour and sometimes even to 2 hours. The quality of his meditation has improved and it has deepened but this is beyond the province of language to describe.

Sharing 22:
Amitabha, all fellow pureland Dharma friends, I hope you are well. I would like to thank the friends who sent me the Vajrasattva practice. Through the recitation, I felt the compassionate vow of Vajrasattva very strongly. I have some experiences to share with all.

By chance, I saw the Vajrasattva text in Dharma friend Yao Zhao’s home. At that time, I was quite nonchalant thinking that since I practiced pureland, I should just focus on reciting Amitabha, there was no need to foray into Vajrayana practices. My elderly friend told me, “Since you have practiced Vajrayana before in the past, this book should be placed in your care!” After I brought the book home, I read parts of it and saw, “Vajrasattva vowed to help sentient beings purify their negative karma while he was still practicing on the path. In all the 84,000 teachings, the most powerful purification practice is the Vajrayana practice of Vajrasattva.” When I read this, I felt that I should give it a try and decided to recite 10,000 mantras daily. After I had recited for 1 day, I started to have signs described in the book like belching. On the fifth day, 2 boils grew on both my calves. They were as large as strawberries, dull-pink in color and very painful. When prostrating to the Buddha, the pain intensified.

Someone told me to go for a checkup in the hospital, but I said this should be a sign of purification according to the book. Someone else even commented that in the book it is said that sicknesses are cured with practice, but you have instead recited until sicknesses appear. I laughed at the comment and shrugged it off. After about a week, the swelling and pain went down, when these had vanished, another larger boil grew on the joint bone near the ankle. This was even more painful than the previous boil. It also vanished after a week. The third time, another boil grew on my right leg, this was larger than the boils that grew the first time, but smaller than the boil that grew the second time. It was also very painful. It took 10 days to abate. By then, I had recited about 300,000 mantras.

At this point, a problem arose, I could not calm my mind. I did not wish to chant Amitabha or recite mantra no matter what. I felt empty, meaningless and helpless. I felt like crying, I also wished to find someone to chat with. It was hard to control my mind. It felt as if some kind of demon had entered me. (Editor: This is probably a sign of depression karma ripening and being purified) Later, after thinking about it, I felt that this was impossible because the book had explained that you will feel at peace after you recited this mantra and purified your karma. The purification should drive away all obstacles that prevent you from chanting Amitabha and sutras, making the mind at ease and peaceful. How could the opposite effects arise? (Editor: Purification of karma dredges up many past imprints which may come out in our body and mind as various effects. It is just like detox which may temporarily create some healing crisis like headaches and discomfort as it purges the toxins, but, in the long run, is beneficial for the practitioner.)

I could not understand why such a phenomenon was happening and stopped practicing the mantra for a while. (Editor: Almost all serious practitioners encounters such tests, it is important to learn to go through it with an unwavering faith and stable mind.) I consulted a monk and he told me this wasn’t a demon, it is the subtle thoughts that arises when I am reciting the mantra. He advised me to continue reciting and not be shaken by such temporary states. I took up the recitation again and prayed to Vajrasattva sincerely to bless me and purify my karma. That night, under the blessings of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, between 7pm to 9pm, I started to pass gas continuously while I was reciting the mantra, the smell was terrible, and I burped non-stop. I know that this was the blessing of Vajrasattva. So I recited the mantra even more diligently. After I had finished 400,000 mantras, on the day of completion, I continued chanting another 3 hours of Amitabha, and a miracle occurred. Normally, when I visualize Amitabha, his face would not be clear, but on that day, when I was chanting, I felt Amitabha above my crown radiating light that enveloped my whole body. I soaked in the blessings of the Buddha’s light blissfully.

(Editor: Later, through the phone, this lady explained that every winter, her face and hands would have red rashes or swellings that were very itchy. But that year, it did not occur. So we surmised that those boils that appeared on her body were purges of those toxins in her body. She also reported that after completing 400,000 mantras, her chanting of Amitabha is now with much deeper concentration. Her mind is more peaceful and at ease. I called to check with her again after 2 months, and she reported then that her mind seemed to be more agitated again, so she was preparing to begin reciting the Vajrasattva mantra once again. This is due to the contamination from our daily life and surroundings, coupled with the karmas of body, speech and mind that we accumulate daily. So I advise all pureland practitioners to keep Vajrasattva as a life-long daily practice, reciting a certain amount each day according to our ability after one has finished a substantial purification first such as 400,000 or 1 million etc as many other practitioners have done.)

Sharing 23:


Upasaka Yin De from Jiangxi has practiced pureland for many years. When she first received the Vajrasattva practice, she simply passed the booklet on to someone else without reading it. After her friend reported good results from purification, YD gained some faith and decided to try it. Because she was an experienced practitioner with a good foundation, after reciting the Vajrasattva mantra, the mental defilements in her mind decreased alot. She told me in a telephone call that after she recited the mantra, she had a dream of reciting the 10 Great Vows of Bodhisattva Samantabhadra in her dream. Later on, she had another dream in which she was studying the Sutra of Infinite Life. These dreams were unprecedented. After reciting the mantras, she felt she had less attachment in her life:

1. Her heart opened. In the past, when she saw non-practitioners doing something non-virtuous, she would feel very disgusted and bothered by it. Now, when she sees these things, she would think that everyone has their own causes and conditions and different environments, so she would not get upset about it. When she meets difficult situations, she is able to be relaxed about it. For example, one pureland practitioner friend who saw her reciting Vajrasattva mantra had the opinion that she was not single-minded and even started to criticize her. This happened thrice with three different people, getting more offensive each time, even to the extent of insulting her. But she was able to bear it with magnanimity and let it go.

2. After reciting mantra, her self-clinging and arrogance became less. She has practiced Dharma for a long time and loved to help others. Oftentimes, people would buy her presents to thank her. She would feel indebted as she was not ordained and should not accept gifts, so she would go out and buy something purposely to return a gift. This used up alot of her time and energy. People have advised her not to spend energy on this matter, as she could easily give away these presents to the ordained in the monastery and dedicate the merits to the original giver. But she could not accept this. After reciting the mantra, she gradually accepted this solution and felt her attachments fall away. In the past, she would get very worried if there were the slightest trace of any ailments in her body. Now, as reciting the mantra would cause certain hidden sicknesses to surface as it is being purged, she can simply accept it and let it be. In the past, due to having received much praise, she unknowingly developed pride, but after reciting the mantra, she began to feel that knowing a little more than others is simply due to having read a few more books. Her pride has diminished.

3. After reciting mantra, her understanding of Dharma has deepened. In the past, she would greet people warmly when she saw them, and spend some time having a conversation with them. She was worried that if she did not do that, people would think that Buddhists had no manners, thus creating a bad impression. But now, she is no longer so attached to what people think and instead saves more time for practice. Now, she has made a decision to do a retreat at home for half a month, not seeing anyone.

Her daughter has not taken refuge in Buddhism. But due to her frequent poor health, she decided to start reciting the mantra on the advice of her mother. In a dream, she saw her skin being peeled off from top to bottom, and someone extracting alot of dark dirty water from her body. Later, she had another dream of bathing. Now, her daughter’s health has improved substantially, she has less wandering thoughts and no more insomnia. Her appearance has become more youthful. Her temperament has calmed down, she is less impatient.

Sharing 24 :

Editor: These are a collection of short reports collated from many letters received.

Upasaka Yan from Yunnan had coronary problems, after reciting 3.9 million in less than 2 months, her coronary sicknesses became much better, and her blood pressure was lower.

Another Upasaka Yan from Zhejiang said, “I had an itching scalp and urges to vomit while I was reciting, but after continuing for several days more, those symptoms disappeared. In the past, my whole body felt very lethargic, I did not feel like doing anything. But now, I have started to plant vegetables in the field… Although I come back late everyday and feel rather tired, but I still recite the mantras. The next day I would always be in good spirits.

Upasaka Yang from Gansu said, “Since reciting Vajrasattva, having discharged many colors of phlegm, now it is quite effortless and not tiring to do recitation. My headache has disappeared, there is less mental afflictions and my mood feels calm and peaceful.”

Upasaka Zhong from Yunnan said, “Since early July, having received the practice from you, I have added three prostrations to Vajrasattva daily. On the lunar second, several fellow Buddhists and I went to the DalI Avalokiteshvara Temple, so I showed them your letter too, they said they will stick to chanting Amitabha, but I thought that I would do the Vajrasattva recitation. Before I recited, I prayed for some kind of response to show that I was on the right path. On the lunar fifth, I started recitation with 20,000 mantras. That night, I dreamt that I became very young and was reciting the mantra, someone said to me, “Well recited!” I could only hear his voice without seeing anyone. In any case, it reassured me and I continued to recite the mantra. Later, I dreamt that I was sitting on a lotus seat, dressed in white. In the space, I saw Guan Yin. After having reached 350,000 mantras, my usual mouth odor vanished.

Huai Su from Suzhou said, “It is strange but since I began reciting this mantra, those friends who always came to look for me to join their mahjong parties no longer want to look for me.” In the past, when she quarrelled with these friends over some trivial matter, they would forget it and continued to be friends, but now, after they quarrelled over something minor, these friends seem to have cut her off entirely. (Editor: Bad influences are better cut off.)

Upasaka Hu from Zhejiang said, “Although I haven’t been reciting this mantra for a long time, there are already changes in my mind. I worked as a cashier in a shop, as this job entailed many small troublesome details, if there were even a small mistake, I would be full of complaints and blaming this or that. Now, when I go to work everyday, my mood is good and even when there is a mistake, I would still feel quite unaffected, without anger or grumbles. I would look at the situation with an unruffled mind. Before reciting the mantra, I liked to help people, especially those who needed help, but in my mind, I was always hoping for some kind of reward. If the other party failed to show signs of gratitude, I would get upset. Now, it is not the same. When I help others, I do not need them to repay me. Instead, I am thankful to them for giving me the chance to help them, I am glad to be of service to them.

Guo Ruo from HebeI said, “The first time I vowed to complete 400,000 was from 14 Oct to 14 Jan. The second time, I vowed to complete 1.2 million. During this time, my sleep improved, I could sleep for 4-6 hours. When I recited the mantra, my mind felt very clear. Once I sit, I am able to persist reciting for 40 minutes to 1 hour (due to my legs being numbed, I cannot sit for too long, it is a chronic illness.) My wandering thoughts and ignorance have decreased. In general, everything is getting better and better!”

Sharing 25 :

Upasaka Shan Miao from Haikou


She stayed in an agricultural reclaimed land and has taken refuge for many years. Since she began reciting the Vajrasattva mantra, she felt her mind has become purer. After she had recited more than a million mantras, I asked her if she felt any improvements. She replied, “Definitely there are improvements, I am now more in control of myself.” She stated the points below:

1. In the past, if anyone borrowed her money, if she knows that this person has the ability to repay the funds but is purposely withholding from doing so, she would definitely go in person to demand the money. Now, she has let go of such impulses. A person who borrowed 1000 yuan from her, she learned that this person already has enough money to pay her back but hasn’t done so. She thought, “Forget it, this person probably has some difficulties, maybe he has to pay other people first, anyway since I do not urgently need this money, it is not important whether he repays or not.”

2. She invests in the stock-market in her free time. In the past, this filled her with anxiety, sometimes to the point of losing sleep. But now the movement of the stock market no longer triggers her fears, even when stock prices plummet, she would think, “This is due to the lack of merits planted in my past lives,” and her mind would release all attachments and relax. Before she recited the mantra, although she also knew that this life’s wealth and fortune are the results of what merits one has planted in the past, but when she witnessed her stocks falling, she cannot help getting all tensed up. It seems to her that karmic forces are very powerful and only the recitation of Vajrasattva and purification can overcome such a strong force, just understanding the meaning intellectually is not enough.

3. Apart from her main job, she also works part-time at another company, she has been working there for 6 months. This company has only paid her 1 month of salary, but when they needed her to give her time and energy to some extra work outside her job scope, normally, she would find an excuse to decline, but after reciting the mantra, she felt a kindness within her and decided to help them without being so calculative.

4. One day, when she was taking her breakfast outside, she asked for an extra set of dumplings. She thought that the dumplings would be served separately from the soup but when it was served, it came together with soup and the dumpling had been overcooked and was very soggy. She felt quite uncomfortable at this and wanted to complain to the boss, but when she looked at the boss, she suddenly felt sympathy thinking that it is difficult to manage a business and decided to let it go.

Now, the attachments and clingings she has in her life have diminished alot. Her mind resides in a deeper state of peace.

Sharing 26:

Chi Ming from Haikou


Chi Ming who lives in Haikou has not practiced Buddhism for very long. She really started learning Dharma from December 1999. Without really understanding much, she blindly embarked on a trip to Larung Monastery. After staying there for 20 days, she acquired a deeper understanding of Dharma and had a deeper faith in the Triple Gems. When she returned home, she decided to start reciting the Vajrasattva mantra to purify her karma.

Normally, she stayed at home by herself without needing to work as her husband operated a business. Even so, she was inclined to be quite lazy and did not recite the mantra diligently. She only completed about 100,000 mantras in about 1 month. When she was reciting the mantra, she did not visualize as the practice required. From May of 2000 to August, she finished 400,000 mantras.

By this point, many friends and acquaintances were quite surprised at her change in character. In the past, she was quite argumentative but now she was not willing to have verbal spars with others. In the past, she was very lazy and did not want to do housework, now she was very diligent in her housework. In the past, she was pessimistic, anxious and depressed, now all of these had be replaced by a happiness free from worries.

On 18 September, she was reciting the mantra single-pointedly, when she reached 2000 counts, she suddenly started stuttering and could not continue recitation. She felt this to be caused by her heavy karma. In the past, when she experienced similar stuttering, if she continued reciting in a loose distracted manner without concentration, she could continue to recite. However, the moment she started concentrating her mind, the stuttering came back and prevented any further recitation.

CM realized that this was her speech karma, she recalled that when she was about 20 years old, she slandered the Dharma. At that time, she was staying at the foot of Mt Tai, there were many temples on the mountain and if someone mentioned about a temple or Dharma to her, she would immediately exclaim that these were just deceptions, that it would be better to believe in oneself than to put one’s trust in such things. If she happened to be at a temple and saw people praying to the Buddha, she would mock them with jokes at the side.

When she reflected on these past misdeeds, she confessed to Vajrasattva saying, “All negative speech karma that I have created from beginningless time, please bless me to purify these karmic obscurations.” After she finished saying this, the stuttering stopped immediately. She could even do her recitation at a faster speed than before. After she had recited for awhile, the stuttering returned again, and she immediately confessed in the same way, and again, she could continue on without any problems.

She said that at the time, her entire body felt cold and numb. She was sweating from the top of her crown and the sweat poured down like rain. After that session, although sometimes she would still stutter but its frequency had lessened and the degree of stuttering was no longer as serious as before. The amount of time she could sit extended and gradually the entire phenomenon of stuttering entirely disappeared.

When CM reached about 600,000 mantras, every time she recited the mantra, she would belch and pass gas. (Editor: This is the body detoxing itself of harmful Chi. There are medical benefits to reciting mantra too.) Later, she started to excrete very black feces, which stank to high heaven. After reciting 800,000 mantras, every time she recited mantra, she felt pain in her heart. It was like that for several days.

Eventually, the heart ailment that had been plaguing her was healed without medical attention. In the past, her heart-beat was rapid, and she was often breathless. Now these symptoms have vanished. After she hit 1 million mantras, her stomach started to be painful, she had a very serious problem of coldness in the stomach that prevented her from eating anything food of cold nature. Now, she is able to eat anything.

By today, about a year has passed, all the illnesses in her body have been healed. In this period, she has never stopped reciting Vajrasattva mantra daily. Sometimes, she would also recite Amitabha mantra and the Vajra-cutter Sutra.

She is now quite calm in navigating the ups and downs in life, including the divorce with her husband. When her husband claimed he had no money to pay her alimony, she acquiesced. When he gave a small allowance in the end, she would leave aside part of the money each month to do merits for her ex-husband. In her heart, she only wanted to resolve all negative connections and create positive affinities with others. Her philosophy is to see through the futility of samsara and let go of all attachments. She would depend on herself to survive!

Due to her continuous recitation of the mantra (sometimes more, sometimes less) without breaking even for one day, her karma has lightened very much. When she went overseas to other monasteries, she met some Dharma masters who were able to give her suitable guidance. Her path in Dharma has been a constant flow of auspicious connections, with no road-blocks.

Sharing 27:


Guo Miao lived in Hainan and has taken refuge for several years. She started with reciting the Heart-Sutra and Vajra-cutter Sutra. In the first half of 1998, after being introduced to Vajrasattva practice by several Dharma friends, she started taking up its recitation and had several excellent experiences.

When she first started to recite, she looked at the image of Vajrasattva as she recited. Then, she started to confess all negative karmas that she and all sentient beings have committed since beginningless time. This is followed by visualizing Vajrasattva sitting on a huge lotus throne in space. This stalk of the lotus covered the entire planet Earth and nectar cascaded down to bath all the inhabitants of Earth. She herself was one of them. All the negativities were washed out in the form of pus, blood, black water from the pores of the body.

After she had recited about 200,000, one night in a dream, she had a vague perception of a white sphere of light entering from her crown, dissolving into her body. At first, she thought this was a illusion or dream. On 6 January 1999, she woke up and witnessed with her bare eyes a white sphere coming into her room through the window and illuminated the entire room with snowy bright light. When it floated to above her head, it descended and dissolved into her body. At that moment, she realized, “Heavens, Vajrasattva truly exists!” she was moved to the point of tears and it was hard to calm down. She stood at the window of her 29th floor apartment and looked at the sea, the white moon-light shimmered over the surface of the sea and all she heard was the waves making the sound of “Om Benza Sato Hung” , her joy was indescribable.

(Editor: This is a true sign of blessing. )

When she had recited to about 1 million mantras. Once, in a dream, her consciousness left her body and floated in the space above. From above her body, she witnessed a lot of black water, pus and blood being purged from her lower body. She could even smell the putrid stench emanating from the detritus. It was very very dirty. Then her body became a white skeleton. In the following nights, she dreamt of herself vomiting many different kinds of worms, such a flatworms and roundworms etc. During this period, her sweat was very pungent, and the secretion from her lower body was rancid beyond belief. The feces that she passed out also had the rotten smell of decomposed corpses. She really felt like hitting herself, “How could I be so filthy?”

Due to the many experiences she had from reciting mantra, she was delighted and completed another 1 million mantras dedicated to her deceased father, wishing for him to go to a good rebirth. She now has strong faith in Vajrayana and after taking refuge with a teacher in this tradition, she received the Phowa practice and attained signs in 21 days. She runs a small shop and used the time after opening-hours to practice at night.

After she finished the before-mentioned numbers, she no longer recited Vajrasattva mantra, and lost herself in her business. Due to creating new negative karma, she felt that her body and mind were no longer as pure as before, so she vowed to continue reciting the mantra. After her karma was purified, her whole skin became white from inside out. This spurred on her diligence and she frequently released lives. She ran her business with an emphasis on benefiting others.

Sharing 28 :

My father Tao Shou Zhen is from HubeI (Xiaochang county, Baisha town). In his entire life, he opposed superstitions. In 1997, he suffered a stroke and was half paralysed. In the summer of 1998, when he was in Hainan, during his lessons on qigong, he learnt about Buddhadharma and started to practice meditation. Before long, he had basically recovered use of the right side of his lower body. In 1999, my father returned to his hometown, stopped his meditation practice and started drinking. His left hand and both legs started to give him problems. Later, he passed away in Sep 2000.

2 days before my father’s death, the coagulated phlegm in his throat obstructed his air passageway several times. To alleviate his suffering, my mother and I, as well as my wife, started to recite the Vajrasattva mantra beside him, having told my father to recite mentally with us. After about half-an-hour, the phlegm obstruction dissolved. While we were there reciting mantra by his bedside, my father’s breathing had no more obstacles until his death. Neither did any other health issues arise. Two days later, at noon, he peacefully left us as if he had entered a dream world.

While we were standing guard by our father’s corpse, we persisted in reciting the mantra. During this time, we witnessed something strange. From the first day when his heart stopped until the third day when he was interred, the joints of my father’s corpse, including the left wrist which had been frozen stiff by his paralysis, were extraordinarily soft and flexible. His skin retained its elasticity. It was as if he were still alive. Many village neighbours and friends who saw this were also mystified.

Sharing 29 :

The young worker Ah Tai from Haikou once learnt some folklore magic from others. But he felt that it did not show any results, his family also opposed his practicing such arts. In the summer of 2000, under the guidance of a Vajrayana teacher, AT started learning Dharma and would recite the Heart Sutra several times each night. After that, he would dedicate himself to reciting the Vajrasattva mantra for about 1 hour . Before several days had passed, AT felt that the energy channels in his body had begun to be released and opened. His mood became more relaxed day by day. The atmosphere at home also became more harmonious and what was strange was that, after about 1 week after AT had started his recitation, his wife who did not practice Dharma actually dreamt of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. After about 1 month, his wife’s amenorrhoea started to be healed by itself. His son’s chronic rhinitis was also cured without any medical treatment.

Sharing 30 :

My mother Ye Quan Mei is from Hubei. She started chanting Amitabha in 1996. In 1997, she overused moxibustion and drove her body into an allergic condition. This later developed into tinea or scall (a skin disease). This condition was immune to all kinds of treatment. In 1998, when we were at Hainan, we met Lungtok Tulku who was conferring the Vajrasattva empowerment. From then on, we started reciting Vajrasattva mantra (OM BENZA SATO HUNG). In about 1 month, my mother’s scall disappeared, there was no more itch. My mother is aged and only wish to be reborn in Amitabha’s pureland. After the scall disappeared, she turned her attention to reciting Amitabha mantra. She is deeply at ease in body and mind. Every summer, my mother would not have time to recite mantras for several month, yet her body and mind remains at peace. Later on, at my suggestion, she combined the recitation of Vajrasattva and Amitabha.

Sharing 31:

Ms Li is from Haikou, her husband is the head of one hospital. Before learning Vajrayana, due to endocrine imbalance, both her cheeks were afflicted with black Melasma patches. During the new year period of 1998, Ms LI followed the suggestion of her husband who had then headed off to US for a long stay, to start studying the Vajrayana with a friend of his. From him, she received teachings on Bodhichitta and Vajrasattva. She apportioned some time daily for the recitation of the Vajrasattva mantra and before one month was out, during the spring season, the Melasma patches on her cheeks had basically said goodbye.

Sharing 32 :

Upasaka Fa Shu from Wuhan was a primary school teacher. His health has been frail since youth and he has suffered from tuberculosis for many years. His whole body was black and emaciated despite constant ministration of medicine every month without fail. He frequently coughs out blood. In 1997, while he was at Hainan, someone suggested that FS learnt meditation and so he practiced it daily together with the recitation of Amitabha and Vajrasattva mantra. In about a week, he received strong blessing in a dream. The heaviness he felt in his body and the lack of strength became resolved in a fell swoop. Due to this, FS had renewed confidence in the mantra. He spent time everyday on practice and studying the teachings. He also took refuge and officially became Buddhist. After more than 3 months, FS’s health had a great improvement, his skin complexion had become clean white with rich tinges of pink. He gained weight to more than 65 kg. As for his tuberculosis, apart from the one time he coughed blood when he was just beginning his recitation of mantra, there was no further occurrence of it. All the other symptoms had gradually dissipated. Now that his body is on the path to recovery, after he had recited the mantra for about half a year, he no longer takes any medication. His main medicine is now Amitabha and Vajrasattva practice. For more than 3 years now, his tuberculosis has not relapsed.

Sharing 33 :

Editor: I received this letter from Upasaka Yu from Shandong on 13 April 2001.

“I am practicing the Pureland practices, chanting Amitabha everyday. But I have many disturbing thoughts and feel that I have heavy karmic obscurations. Because of this, I had been feeling quite dejected. Lately, I received the Vajrasattva practice and began its recitation immediately. For the first two days, my recitation was quite shaky and unstable, I felt anxious, but I bore on with it. On the third night, I dreamt that my right big toe that had been injured before had many black worms drilling out of it. Upon waking, I was exhilarated, as this was a response to my practice. This toe would previously become numb or give pain when I tire myself out, but now it feels much more comfortable. This increased my faith in practice. I vow to finish 1 million mantras and then continue with chanting Amitabha.”

Sharing 34 :

The elderly Xiong Upasaka who lives in Chongqing started her belief in Buddhism in the 80s. After she completed Ngondro, she went to Sertar monastery to attend the Grand Vajrasattva puja. When she came home, she completed 1 million mantras as HH Jigme Phuntsok had required. She had utmost faith in her teacher, HH Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche. Whatever homework her teacher gives, she will definitely finish it to the dot. She has completed several hundred thousand Manjushri mantras. In 1992, once, when her grandson asked her how to write the Chinese character “Rope” , Xiong, who was totally illiterate, took up a book lying nearby and turned the pages, pointing to that very character within, showing her grandson, “This is the character. This is how to write it!” As Xiong had never been educated and was known to be illiterate, this act shocked her family members. (Editor: Manjushri practice increases intelligence and wisdom.)

In the days that followed, with some slight instructions, Xiong began to recognize Chinese characters. She was finally able to recite the Samantabhadra King of Prayers (from the Avamtasaka Sutra) on her own. She took up this recitation assiduously and completed 10,000 recitations. She also completed Amitabha’s mantra 400,000 times, Amitabha name 1 million times and circumambulated the mandala in Serthar Monastery 10,000 times in 1996. She passed away at 3am in the morning. When a fellow-practitioner came to visit her at around 6am, she saw many rainbow clouds in the sky and thought, “The old practitioner has probably left us.”

During the cremation, her daughter was overcome with sorrow. After the cremation, when the remains were retrieved, Xiong’s entire skull bone remained intact. This was different from other peoples’ skull bone which is usually crumbled in pieces. In her crown, there were 2 holes, one faced the western direction and her daughter exclaimed, “How is it that my mother is lying on her side?” The corpse had been sent into the cremation-furnace lying face-up. At the top of the skull bone, there was also a blue-colored flower, which looked like a coral flower, it was soft like cotton. After the cremation, there were also some relics. Due to these signs, the entire family started believing in Buddhism.

Sharing 35: 

Upasaka Hong Fang from Heilongjiang

The Vajrasattva practice was sent to Upasaka Hong in March 2001.  On 19th April, I received her letter.  She was 67 years old this year and had many illnesses such as tracheitis, heart disease, rheumatism (pains in her leg and buttocks).  She started believing in Buddhism from 1989 and persisted in her daily morning and evening homework.  From 1998 to the new year of 2000, she completed the recitation of the Mani mantra 10 million times.  From February of 2001, she started reciting 10,000 Amitabha’s Name daily. During this period, she felt great heat in her body and a great deal of perspiration.  Her tracheitis basically cured itself, her heart disease and rheumatism had abated to the extent that it was within control. On 2 April 2001, she received the Vajrasattva sadhana and started to engage in sincere recitation.  That very night, she dreamt of herself coughing and throwing up phlegm which transformed into cockcoaches.  She also saw a creature crawling out of her buttocks.   It seemed either like a snake or a fish,  in any case, the wormish creature was about 6.5 inches long. She was startled to see it. The next day, the pains in her buttocks that troubled her for 2 years vanished.  Due to rheumatism, her leg pains were intense and for a year and a half, she could only lie down on her back to sleep but could not sleep on her side.  After reciting the Vajrasattva mantra for 3 days, she was able to turn to her side while lying down.   Later, when she continued reciting the mantra, she felt pains in the region of her heart.  Nowadays, the condition of her heart has improved vastly from before.  (Editor:  The fact that the old Upasaka was able to get such swift results on the first night of her Vajrasattva practice was undoubtedly due to her history of diligent recitations before such as of the Mani mantra.)

One year passed, the old Upasaka mainly recited the Vajrasattva essence mantra and Amitabha’s Name.  Her daily routine was arranged in the following manner: 10,000 Vajrasattva essence mantra (OM BENZA SATO HUNG), 21 times of the long Vajrasattva mantra, 10,000 recitations of Amitabha’s name and 108 recitations of Amitabha’s essence mantra (OM AMI DEWA HRI).  Each time she finished the recitation of a particular mantra, she would dedicate: “May these merits be dedicated to all father and mother sentient beings, may the entire world enjoy good health, peace, happiness and good fortune.  May all sentient beings attain Buddhahood.”  Then she would join her palms and make 10 prostrations. 

By now, the old Upasaka has entirely cured her rheumatism and the heart disease.  Even her high blood pressure level has dropped.  She has no worries in her mind, feeling that just having food to eat was enough for her; even when her clothes were worn out and torn, she was not concerned about what other people would say. In the past, she was very particular about her clothing.  Her patience has increased.  Her husband did not believe in Buddhism and presented many obstacles to her.  Even making a call to me (the editor) had to be done in a clandestine manner.  Her husband often scolded her, saying she was a superstitious fool for believing these things (Buddhism), that she was choosing to behave like a ghost instead of behaving like a human being.  Every time she heard these remarks, it infuriated her.  But since reciting the Vajrasattva mantras, she just laughed it off and did not feel angry.  She felt that even if her husband spits on her face, she would just wipe it off and let it be.  (That was the degree of her equanimity.)

After 4 months of this routine of reciting 10,000 OM BENZA SATO HUNG daily, a miracle happened to the old Upasaka.  Her husband who had never left his home since his retirement, decided to go back to his hometown in Shanghai and left her alone.  In early April 2002, she suddenly received a call from her husband saying, “Now I am also practicing Dharma, I am beginning to do prostrations.”  The reason was that he made a trip to Mt Putuo and Mt Jiuhua and discovered that the people there were very devout and kind.  After seeing the body relic at Mt Jiuhua, he was deeply affected and started his belief in Buddhism.  The old Upasaka’s great obstacle was thus eradicated, isn’t it marvellous? Upasaka Hong firmly believes that a practitioner should be afraid of planting the wrong karmic causes, instead of being afraid when the karmic results ripens.  She is very careful in her daily actions not to create negative karma.  As the obscurations that covered her mind’s nature began to be dissolved, her mind-nature naturally revealed itself and she began to exhibit some clairvoyances.  This came unexpectedly without wishing for it, as hope and fear are the obstacles of dharma practice.  Only when one has a pure mind free from expectations, would one attain realizations.

Sharing 36:

ShanxI Upasaka Zhi Lun (Wisdom Wheel)

Upasaka ZhI has a certain foundation of practice in Vajrayana and Zen.  When he first received the Vajrasattva text, he felt it contained great blessings.  He recited the mantra daily for 3 hours.  Since reciting the mantra, his diligence in practice has increased, and an ardent wish for realizing the Dharmakaya wisdom has arisen in him.  Once, when he thought that short mantra OM BENZA SATO HUNG was the essence of the longer mantra, a completely new way of singing the long mantra came to him extemporaneously.  After reciting the mantra for some time, once he saw his own Dharma protector.  It was very clear and there was no fear, he felt some closeness to the protector and realized that the protector was always following him but karmic obscurations had prevented him from seeing it only.  Since practicing this mantra, more people have come to seek his help to perform deliverance for the deceased.  Even deceased spirits from other families would come to him for help.  He usually recited the Bardo Thodrol to help these spirits. 

Sharing 37

Upasaka Shao from Ningbo

He is 30 this year. In 1997, he met His Holiness Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche and made an aspiration to recite 100 million Vajrasattva heart mantra.  When he is free from work, he makes time to help out at the Dharma center for lay-practitioners.  Otherwise, he would spent all his remaining time on reciting mantra.  He recites mantra anytime while engaging in his daily activities, but only counts recitations that are done with concentration during a session of practice.  To date, he has completed 10 million recitations.  When asked if he had any experiences, he replied, “Practice means having a pure mind.”  When I asked him how he was able to deal with daily affairs, he replied that he was able to remain unperturbed by external circumstances.  As the past mind is gone, the future mind has not arrived, and the present mind cannot be grasped, so he rests his attention only in the present, checking whether his body, speech and mind are non-virtuous and applying self-reflection and confession as needed.  If he sees anything negative externally, he will check himself and deem it a reflection of his own negative karma.  At the same time, he would make confessions on behalf of all sentient beings and after each recitation, he would dedicate the merits to all beings, praying for them to be reborn in Amitabha’s pureland.  He has made a vow in front of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva’s statue not to get married in this life. He hopes to realize the nature of mind.  As he has made the vow of remaining single, he prayed to Avalokiteshvara for his younger brother to have a son (to carry on the family line).  In the end, this wish was granted.  His brother had a very intelligent son.  Now his only wish is to gain realizations and be reborn in the pureland.

What is a truly qualified lineage Guru?

Drubpon Rinpoche :

Naropa tells us that “truly qualified” means that the Guru possesses the lineage transmission from Buddha Vajradhara. Vajradhara is the sambhogakaya aspect of the Buddha’s mind. Buddha Shakyamuni is the nirmanakaya aspect. There is no difference between them. It is just a different manifestation in time and place. The Mahamudra transmission was given by Buddha Vajradhara in the first place. This transmission is not like the oral transmission where someone says it, the recipient gets it and they can repeat it to someone else. This is very different.

This is a transmission of achievement and it needs to be perfect and unbroken. This means that when the original masters such as Vajradhara taught this, they gave the methods, oral instructions, heart-to-heart person-to-person advice, on the basis of that, the person practices the method. The samaya or bond between the master and disciple was never spoilt. The disciple achieves realisation and nurtures that realisation until it was the same as the master’s realisation. This is what is meant by transmission. There is absolutely no mistake about it and the master and student are identical. The student acquires what the original Buddha Vajradhara transmitted. This goes from generation to generation.

Now, there are many wonderful teachers. There are many teachers who can talk about Mahamudra. But those who actually possess this living transmission and mastery, those who have the lineage from Vajradhara are few and far between. There are many masters who teach but those who really have this inner transmission are few. If a teacher were to say, “I have the lineage transmission.” It means not that they have studied, not that they have understood the words, not that they have received the empowerments, not that they have received the technical transmission.

It means that they have received the methods, oral instructions, advice and put it into practice while keeping their samaya perfect. On the basis of that, their realisation became the same as their own authentic Guru’s realisation. They received the totality of the transmission just as Buddha Vajradhara gave it in the first place. Someone who has done that can say, “I hold the lineage transmission.” And those who can say that are few because it is not a question of study. It is not a question of anything except practice and meditation until the result has manifested.

Such a teacher, by virtue of what they carry within them, would know how to nurture experiences and realisations in their disciples. They have the wisdom that knows to tell their disciples what to do, when to do and how to do it. They won’t just be passing on instructions that they got and hope that the disciples make the best of it. It is not like that. They have the wisdom and insight to nurture that disciple so that he grows in understanding and experience. The master can check them and nurture them and through those experiences, the wisdom and realisations would emerge.

To my mind, this requirement of having a truly qualified lineage guru, in a way, sums up all the foundation practices (ngondro). All the foundation practices boils down to finding and working with a true Guru so that lineage Guru can properly guide and nurture the experience in the student. It is stated in the Gaṇḍavyūha Sutra that it is not through study alone that the excellent result is attained. One needs practice. The guidance of the teacher is not for the study of scriptures or ideas. It is a guidance for practice and meditation.

It doesn’t matter

Drubpon Rinpoche :

We need to be very realistic about what our practice is achieving. For this, we shouldn’t be looking at the number of years we have been practicing or the teachings we have received or the lamas in whose presence we have received blessings and teachings and so on. What we need to ask and look at is our own mind.

It doesn’t matter if we have been practicing for 20 or 30 years, if we have received teachings on Mahamudra and Dzogchen, how long we have been doing it or which great masters we did it with. What we should be looking at is this: is my desire and attachment getting less? Is my anger getting less? Is my confusion and ignorance getting less? Are the mental defilements diminishing? That is what we look at.

We should measure our dharma progress not in terms of years, teachings or teachers, but in terms of the changes in our own mind. It is as simple as that. If defilements are diminishing then we are practicing Dharma properly. If not, the rest doesn’t matter. Who you have been with or what teachings you have taken, however profound or special, doesn’t matter!

As an example, someone who is sick and goes to the hospital, it doesn’t matter how long they stay in the hospital, 1 day or 1 week or 1 month, or whatever treatment they receive, drips or injections. If, in the end, they are getting worse and worse and worse. The rest doesn’t matter, their deterioriation in health in the main thing.

No worldly concern

Drubpon Rinpoche :

I am not a real guru but I have definitely followed real qualified gurus. I have stayed at the sides of real gurus, not just for several days or months, but for several years. For a period of about two years, I spent twenty-four hours a day living in the same retreat hut with my guru. So I can say with certainty that I have seen real gurus and have a good idea about how a guru is. And I can tell you that they are just as described in the texts, they don’t value worldly, mundane things. Real gurus have no worldly considerations at all.

When I was staying with my retreat guru (Karma Sherab Rinpoche), I saw with my own eyes how he lived his life down to the smallest details.  He only slept two or three hours at night, the rest of the day was spent meditating and practising. Considering how diligent he was, I’m sure he was also practicing while asleep, but it is beyond my level to know that. He kept “The Words of My Perfect Teacher” open on the table in front of him, which he would read now and then throughout the day. Due to being repeatedly flipped and touched over a long period of time, the book’s pages had turned black and were tattered.  Sometimes, as he read he would weep. I knew that he must have been reading particular chapters that evoked deep compassion or faith.

Such gurus do not think of themselves at all. Those gurus I have met have never said, ‘I’m in pain. I’m suffering. I need to see a doctor. I need medicine. I’m old. I need help.’  My retreat guru, even when his right leg had rotted to the point of needing amputation, did not make a sound of complaint even though it was so serious.  It was as if nothing had happened.

I was in the presence of my root guru (Guru Senge) when he passed away. He died while laughing and joking with a smile on his face.  Then inexplicably, he came back to life, laughed and said, ‘Isn’t this thing called death strange? You leave and return. You come and go, go and come.’ He smiled and again died.  This time, his death was for real.

Somebody like that is whom I consider a real guru – there is nothing that can discourage them, there is no bemoaning or blaming.  He doesn’t say, ‘I need to go to the hospital. I need to see a doctor.’ When my guru knew that he was sick and didn’t have much time left, what did he do? He didn’t go to the hospital. Instead he entered a one-month retreat that was stricter than usual and passed away in that retreat. This was how my gurus were.

But I’m such a lousy student. I can’t actualise the instructions my gurus gave me. I am letting the instructions go to waste and wasting my time here now. (Rinpoche starts to weep.)

I cannot say that through spending time with these gurus I came to understand the dharma, but I did come to understand how a guru should be. A guru has no worldly considerations whatsoever. They do not talk about worldly affairs or have any worldly way of thinking. They do not seek money, fame, delicious food or beautiful homes. But you can’t find such qualities in most of the Tibetan gurus nowadays. They need and want everything. The best and the fanciest. Genuine qualified gurus are contented and have little needs, their lives are bare and simple. As long as they are not cold or hungry, they are filled with satisfaction.

As for me, I and other worldly people are alike in being attached to wealth and good things although I try not to let myself be attached because I am wearing the monk’s robes.  Even if I can’t be a real guru, I feel that I should at least be like a guru externally.

Tribute to Women

Once while the King Kosala was engaged in a pious conversation with the Buddha, a messenger came and whispered into his ear that Queen Mallikā had given birth to a daughter. The King was not pleased at this unwelcome news. In ancient India, as it is to a great extent today, a daughter is not considered a happy addition to a family for several selfish reasons as, for instance, the problem of providing a dowry.

The Buddha, unlike any other religious teacher, paid a glowing tribute to women and mentioned four chief characteristics that adorn a woman in the following words:

“Some women are indeed better (than men). Bring her up, O Lord of men. There are women who are wise, virtuous, who regard their mother­-in-­law as a goddess, and who are chaste. To such a noble wife may be born a valiant son, a lord of realms, who would rule a kingdom.”

(Samyutta Nikāya, part 1)

Some women are even better than men.“Itthi hi pi ekacciyāseyyā” were the actual words used by the Buddha. No religious teacher has made such a bold and noble utterance especially in India, where women were not held in high esteem.

(Comments: I’d like to share this quote because it is sometimes thought that Lord Buddha was biased against women, particularly in the Hinayana. But here is a quote from the Pali canon that implies otherwise. In the Vajrayana, the wisdom nature of women is widely extolled. Therefore, it can be seen that the omniscient mind of the Buddha holds no partiality and that everything is taught according to the capacities of students and the needs of the situation.)

Stories of Rebirth in Pureland (1)

(by Bhikshuni Heng Gu, September 6, 2000)

My name is Heng Gu, and with the blessings of my mother, the late Heng Shang Shr, I would like to report in brief her rebirth to the Land of Ulti­mate Bliss.

Heng Shang Shr was born in 1909 and turned 92 this year. She came to the Sagely City in July of 1989 to accompany her granddaughter, who was going to receive full ordination then. A month later, in August, at the age of 81, she left the home-life through the Venerable Master’s compassion. After being fully ordained in 1991, she stayed at the Tower of Blessings for elderly Bhikshunis and took care of the incense and lamps in the Bud­dha Hall there.

On June 13th of this year, she returned to Taiwan for treatment and was diagnosed with cancer of the uterus. At the terminal stage of this illness, she had approximately two months to live. My mother didn’t feel any pain during her treatment, which puzzled the doctors. Furthermore, she was able to go up the stairs from the first to the third floors, and do her own laundry.

On September 2nd around one o’clock in the afternoon, Heng Shang Shr had a stomach ache. My elder sister sent her to stay at a hospital near her home at Fengshan, Kaohsiung. My mother was given an injection of anesthesia. The next morning at 5:30 a.m., the Sagely City’s weeklong Earth Store Sutra Recitation Session concluded in the United States, and my mother also concluded her life at the same time.

My elder sister told me happily, “Mom has headed to rebirth in the Land of Ultimate Bliss.” She was next to my mother reciting the name of the Buddha and sobbing when she suddenly heard Heng Shang Shr call her by her name as a layperson, “Ah Zhan, don’t be sad, I’m leaving with the Three Sages of the West.” When my elder sister heard my mother say this, she was relieved and felt incomparably comforted and refreshed. She looked up and before she opened her eyes, she saw each of the Three Sages of the West on top of a lotus. Behind them was our mother, Heng Shang Shr, who was also standing above a lotus that was floating away toward the horizon.

Our family then moved our mother’s remains to the nearby temple and continued to recite the Buddha’s name until about three o’clock in the afternoon. They then cleansed and dressed our mother. Heng Shang Shr’s skin was soft all over; her limbs stretched with ease. Her grand­daughter said, “Grandma, you must recite the Buddha’s name, be re­born in the Land of Ultimate Bliss, certify to Bodhi soon, and return to the Saha World to save all beings.” At that point, they saw Heng Shang Shr’s mouth move, as if to answer, “Yes.” “Interesting!” My elder sister cracked a happy smile as she talked about this.

(“Three Sages of the West”, namely Buddha Amitabha, Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara and Bodhisattva Mahasthamaprata (also known as Vajrapani))

Approach and Accomplishment in the Generation Stage

Garchen Rinpoche :

Every time you visualize the deity and remember the qualities, you are eliminating your ordinary karmic imprints so that they get eroded bit by bit as you keep visualizing the deity. That is also why the deity appears in a very pleasing, beautiful form because we are drawn to that and we simply begin to forget about the ordinary imprints of our ordinary bodies. In this way, gradually the imprints (of our own ordinary body) diminish.  Just like when the imprints grow, they also grow gradually. That gradual process is reversed.


The generation stage possesses three aspects : clarity, purity and stability.  Clarity refers to the clear appearance of the deity’s form. It is the continuous visualization of the deity until the deity appears in your mind at once. Of those three aspects, the stability (also called divine pride) is most important.  That means that you think “I am Chenrezig”.  You have to believe “I am Chenrezig”. That is actually really difficult to believe because people naturally think that “Chenrezig is so precious and I am just an ordinary being with many afflictions. How can I be Chenrezig?” People develop these kinds of doubts in their minds.

What is the antidote to that? The antidote is to understand how things really are ultimately. Regarding that, Lord Jigten Sumgon said in the Gongchik that the generation stage is primordially established.  If one understands that the deity is primordially inherent to the natural state of your own mind, then you have already become very close to the deity.


The clear visualization of the deity is to have the deity appear in your mind as it appears in the picture. We may think “This is Chenrezig’s form.”  So then, where does this form appear? It appears in your own mind. It is the natural reflection of your own mind.  It is present in your own mind. Your mind is like a mirror and anything can be reflected in that mirror. Whatever you think of, that is what you will become.

When you think of the deity, then Chenrezig is present. When you do not think of Chenrezig, then Chenrezig is not present. You should recognise that the deity is appearing in my own mind. My own mind is like a mirror. It can manifest in myriad ways. This is called the mirror-like wisdom, anything can appear in this mirror. Whatever you think of, that is what your mind will become…

Therefore, Jigten Sumgon said that the generation stage is primordially established, so it is established essentially within your Buddha-nature. In Dzogchen, it is said that the mind is by nature the Buddha. So your nature is that! All phenomenon of samsara and nirvana are complete within the mind…

Your own mind is like electricity.  Everything in this world is powered by electricity. It can be used in any way – beneficial and harmful ways. That is up to oneself. But the ability to do anything at all comes from energy. Energy pervades space and the five elements already. Then the scientists extract the electricity, that’s why we have different forms of energies.  It is because energy naturally pervades all the elements. That is important to understand. 

Jigten Sumgon said that the generation stage is present in the natural state of one’s own mind. That means that the mind of the deity and the samsaric mind are actually not separate and are non-dual. If you understand the ultimate truth — the nature of mahamudra, you understand this non-dual nature… now we perceive a duality of self and other on the basis of there being a separation between our bodies, but there is actually only one mind even though different bodies appear. For example, there is one big tree that has many branches, the tree trunk knows that these branches are all part of me. But the branches don’t know that, and they think “this is me,” they appear separate but they are ultimately not separate because they are all connected to the same tree trunk.

In developing stability or divine pride, we need to be confident that “I am Chenrezig”.  Either you are confident of being Chenrezig or you believe you are this “I”.  When “I” is present, then you are not Chenrezig.  When Chenrezig is present, then the “I” is absent. 

The divine pride or confidence of being Chenrezig arise on the basis of understanding the nature of mind, that this is your true ultimate nature. Once you understand that, then even if a thought arises in the mind, you will not identify with that and let it go, knowing that my true nature isn’t that thought, my true nature is actually Chenrezig.

You are confident in this because you know your mind is like a mirror and anything can be reflected in it.


How can we really measure the signs of progress?  In the context of Chenrezig practice, we visualize the seed syllable HRIH surrounded by the six syllables mantra OM MANI PADME HUNG.  In the beginning, we are able to visualize clearly. We are focussing on that and visualizing that over and over again. That clarity — to have this clear in the mind — is the actual measure of accomplishing the approach stage.  Often, people think that when they complete a certain number of mantra recitations then they have completed the approach stage. Everyone agrees that a certain number of mantras accumulated marks the accomplishment of a certain stage in the practice.  The thing is that they don’t actually focus on the experience, they just focus on the outer count of numbers. That is really not what it is about.

People say that “I did the mantra accumulation for the approach stage,” like a hundred thousand or a million. But what is the actual sign?  People say, “Even though I did the accumulations of all these, I don’t really have any special signs.” When it comes to the progression along the Bhumis and Paths, as you progress in the practice, whatever we practice has to become integrated into the mind.  There has to be a sign or measure that can actually be seen in the mind and not just an outer count of something…

In terms of the first stage of approach, when you are able to visualize-meditate on the mantra garland instantaneously, it appears clearly in your mind. Then you have accomplished the first stage of the approach. Don’t focus on the numbers here in terms of measuring your accomplishment.

Once you have accomplished that, you begin to circle the mantra-garland. First, the mantra-garland begins to circle slowly around the HRIH syllable.  OM MANI PADME HUNG is circling clockwise first slowly. When you are quite stable with visualizing the slow rotation, then you accelerate the rotation until it becomes extremely fast. So fast that you can no longer visually perceive (the syllables distinctively). Like the rotating blades on an airplane or helicopter. First you can see the blades, then it spins so fast that you can no longer make out the individual blades.  That is the second stage – the close approach. In the close approach, you circle the mantra garland to the point that you can no longer perceive it clearly, and that rotation gives off a natural sound of the mantra. 

The third stage – the accomplishment – is where you visualize light rays emanating from this spinning mantra garland and then gathering back.  They naturally emanate through the fast rotation of the mantra garland. Through the power of devotion, they make offerings to the enlightened beings in the purelands and pervade all beings with love and compassion, thereby purifying all their obscurations. 

In the end, you realize that sentient beings’ minds are just like ice for the time being but that can be melted, and when that becomes melted,  the mind is Buddha. That is their true natural state. It means that ice is essentially water, and not a rock.  Drubwang Rinpoche always said that all beings are Buddhas obscured by adventitious stains. This is what it comes down to ultimately. 

The fourth stage – great accomplishment – where you realize that all sentient beings are actually the deity. They are indivisible from Chenrezig. Once you have permeated them with light and purified their obscurations, they all transform into Chenrezig.  Or you can think that the males become Chenrezigs and the females become Taras, just like ice melting into water.

Here you realize the ultimate Buddhist view which is that all beings are actually inseparable. All beings in samsara do not exist separately. This is what is meant by “stirring samsara from its depths”.  There is no more basis for labelling things, for instance by saying “I am a Buddhist and he is not a Buddhist” or “I am Sakyapa and he is Gelugpa” and so forth. All such dualistic thoughts become completely cleared away at this point and the mind becomes vast like space. Within space, there is no duality…

In the Vajrayana, there is a quote that all appearances are the deity, all sounds are the mantra, and all thoughts are the display of primordial wisdom.  The master Minling Terchen who passed away on a throne during a Drubchen said this just before he passed away, “All appearances are the deity, all sounds are the mantra and all thoughts are the display of primordial wisdom.”  Upon saying that, he passed away into the Dharmakaya. This is an example of someone who was actually like the Buddha himself. During this Drubchen retreat, he merged non-dually with the deity. This is what happens during the fourth stage of great accomplishment. Here, you realize you are indivisible from the deity. You imagine how self and others completely mature into the nature of the deity, merging indivisibly.  “Maturing” here means that the ice has melted and there is no more separation.

Some people don’t understand and say “If I am already the deity, why do I have to practice the deity?” But you haven’t realized that you are the deity.  It is just like saying that ice is water when it is still ice and rock-hard, and you throw it at someone’s head, so of course he will bleed.  You have to reflect really carefully about the qualities of the generation stage and refine your understanding. For example in Japan, they have a knife that is made out of a certain metal that is sharpened and refined over and over again that this knife can even cut other metals. This is how sharp your discriminating wisdom should become. So sharp that it can cut right through all thoughts and afflictive emotions. 

When the mind has become clarified in this way, it becomes very powerful. What is the measure of our awareness? The extent of your realisation of the view can be known when an afflictive emotion arises… you transform the afflictive emotions into wisdom, and that is the ultimate culmination of the four branches (or stages) of approach and accomplishment – the great accomplishment.  It is where you recognise that all beings are actually Buddhas and with this knowledge, the afflictive emotions can mature into wisdom…

In the new tantric system, we have those four classes of tantra. In the old tantric system (Nyingma), we have four branches of approach and accomplishment and here Guru Rinpoche took the four classes and condensed them into the four branches in a practical way. 

To summarise, you visualize the mantra garland until you are able to visualize it clearly. Secondly, you rotate the garland, slowly first then accelerate it until it turns quickly. Then once it spins really fast, visualize that light rays emanate from it and gather back.  In the end, you meditate that all sentient beings are actually Buddhas. That is based on a complete trust that beings can become Buddhas. They can mature into Buddhahood. You are trusting that ice can melt into water.

Shabkar’s dream of meeting his mother

The dream of the great yogi master Shabkar:

One night I dreamt that I came to a place said to be the Paradise Arrayed in Turquoise Petals (Tara’s pureland)—a vast and even plain, perfect in all aspects, ringed with different kinds of trees with beautiful leaves, flowers, and fruits. In the middle of the plain stood a lofty three-story pavilion entirely made of jewels, the beauty of which was enhanced by a glittering golden dome, just like paintings of Buddhafields.

As I arrived on the path that encircled the pavilion, there came three young maidens doing circumambulations. One of them kept on looking at me and asked, “Don’t you recognize me?” “No,” I said, “I don’t” . She continued, “Son, I am your mother! After I died, I came here. It has been many years since I’ve seen you. It is good that we’ve met again. You’ve grown old, my son.”

The image of my mother in her old age was vivid in my mind and I cried. My mother, too, could not hold back her tears. Then I asked, “Who are these two other girls?” and she mentioned the names of two old women of our village who were always reciting prayers to Tara. The girls, too, looked at me and cried. When I recalled the faces of the two old grandmothers, more tears filled my eyes. “It is really good that you are all happy now! But where do you usually stay?” I asked. “We live in the Western Blissful Buddhafield Sukhavati; we came this morning to circumambulate and offer prostrations to Jetsun Tara. For the moment, you must continue benefiting beings; later we will meet again, in whichever Buddhafield you attain.” With that, the three girls continued their circumambulations. As I was thinking myself to do some, I woke up.

I realized that what had become of my old mother and her friends, the two old ladies, was thanks to their having said many prayers to Tara, and I felt great joy.

(Comments : In the teachings, it is said that when one reaches Amitabha’s pureland, one  can freely effortlessly travel and visit any other pureland one wishes. )

Spontaneous Merits

Precious Rinpoche:
(explaining the trees made of precious jewels in Sukhavati as described in the section on the “Assembly of the Tathagata Amitayus” in the Ratnakuta sutra)

The golden trees will have gold roots and trunks, its leaves and flowers are made of white silver.  For the silver trees, they have silver roots and trunks, their leaves and flowers are made of gold.  These descriptions given by Lord Buddha are impossible to recreate on Earth.  Even if you have great wealth, it is not possible.  We do have such precious metals and stones on earth but for them to be combined in the said manner, even if you have money, you cannot achieve it because the melting points for gold and silver are different.  To meld gold and silver together, one needed very advanced technologies.  If you wanted to have a gold tree with gold for roots and trunk, then without one or two tons of gold, how would that be possible? Moreover, gold is now so expensive.

On Earth, no matter how rich you are, you can’t compare your entire wealth to even one tree in Amitabha’s pureland.  From my perspective as a businessman in the jewellery trade, it is impossible to manufacture this kind of tree in this world.  A tree like this would take the wealth of one or two big countries to achieve, therefore it is not possible on Earth.  Since the ancient times till now, mankind has created very opulent and luxurious monasteries, altars and mansions with great wealth, but no matter how you make comparisions, it cannot equal the value of a single tree in the pureland of Amitabha.  The meaning of this is that people on Earth do not have the merits to possess, enjoy or even look at and admire such a thing.  On Earth, just possessing a single gem or precious stone would make one feel very rich.  I am very sure about this: today, even if you have money, it doesn’t mean that you can procure a very good gem or jewel.  Even if you manage somehow to buy a very precious jewel, it does not signify that you can get to keep it for long.   This shows that you don’t have the merits to possess such a jewel.

But in Amitabha’s pureland, these kinds of jewels surround you.  If you are greedy for gold or precious gems, you should quickly make aspirations to go to Sukhavati.  Everyday, one can see, touch, smell and reach to hold it in your hands.  These things do not belong to you but are the manifestation of Amitabha’s powers, qualities and merits.  Why did Amitabha Buddha decorate his pureland so magnificently?  This is because, before attaining Buddhahood, whether it is the people on Earth or beings in the heavenly realms, everyone is still attached to appearances.  Therefore, there exists the desire, form and formless realms.

All beings on this planet, or in the form realm heavens, or the desire realm heavens can take rebirth in this pureland as long as they make the aspiration to do so.  We are accustomed to seeking for beautiful visuals.  We brainwash ourselves that if a place is good, it would surely be a place where everything is very beautiful and resplendent.  Such beauty means that the place is very luxurious and grand.  Buddha Amitabha is very skilful.  Since you like such environments, the Buddha manifested such an environment for you.  After being surrounded by such beauty day in and day out, you will slowly feel that even such outstanding beauty is superficial and nothing more than just this.  Then your attachments to materiality will fade.

Just like some refuged disciples who keep saving money and scrimping on themselves.  After much saving, they suddenly get an illness (that arises from their habits of stinginess). What use is the money then?  On the surface, Buddha Amitabha seem to be attracting us to his pureland with all the beautiful sceneries.  But actually, it is a skilful method to break our attachments.  When something beautiful is so commonplace, then it becomes nothing so special anymore.  When one has gathered merit through one’s practice, then everything arises naturally. It comes naturally and you will be reborn in such a place.  No matter how you save your money, without merits, the money will definitely be exhausted in some other way.  I am definitely not against saving money.  If one was doing it reasonably, it is okay.  However, one is scrimping on everything, unwilling to eat healthily, penny-pinching and saving every cent, then when you get a sickness, doesn’t the money have to be spent as well? Peoples’ perspectives are just so short-sighted, always looking at the short-term or immediate situation, at most they plan 10 or 20 years ahead, but they do not give a thought to what the eventual outcome will be.

When Buddha Shakyamuni specifically described Sukhavati here in this section, it is not that Buddha must utilise such benefits to tempt or entice us to take rebirth in Sukhavati.  On the contrary, it is to show us that we humans on Earth have insufficient merits to even see such things. Even the past emperors with vast wealth could never produce a gold or silver tree.  If you read history, you would know that such things never existed…

If one made efforts in practice, according to how the Guru and Buddha taught, then these things would one day be available to you. Don’t be very stingy and calculative in all your offerings, budgeting how much you can offer each month.  This amount is for offering, that amount is for doing what else.  Everything is calculated and well arranged.  I told everyone before, in the past, when I was bankrupt and lacked even the money to eat, I did not stop making offerings of flowers, incense and oil-lamps before the Buddha.  Even if I starved to death, I still placed the Buddha foremost.  In Taiwan, there is a saying “First look after your stomach, then can one look after the Buddhas”, but I am not like that.  Many people may say, “Don’t be superstitious. After making offerings, it doesn’t mean that one will immediately have wealth or be able to fill one’s stomach.”  But that is not the way to think.  You should be clear about this.  No matter how much suffering I endure, or how stark my poverty, I will not forget the kindness of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas for the sake of one mouthful of rice.  Without the kindness bestowed on us by the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, even if you had money, you will not get any food.

For instance, in the pandemic now, all the restaurants can only deliver food.  Even if you have money, you cannot get food right away.  In the past, when we went to the restaurant, we can order the food and have it right away. (But now, we are at the whim of the delivery service)… Everyone’s income has also been reduced.  If normally, one was generous about making offerings, your income will not be reduced, but may even increase.  

Today, everything I am saying is not for selfish reasons.  I am explaining the logic based on the sutras.  If one was truly practicing, everything would be available.  The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas would arrange everything for you. They will give you anything. Without needing you to worry, the things will materialize naturally.  It is not that just by sitting at home, the golden tree will suddenly grow in your house.  That would only make your house collapse… but naturally positive conditions will arise, for instance, you are evidently out of a job, but somehow someone will look for you to offer you a job.  Of course, you still need to go and work.  The money will not be thrown down from the sky.  This will not happen.  But this is akin to what Buddha said about going to the pureland naturally.  If these things happen, it means one has sufficient merits. 

Just as it is said in the Amitabha Sutra, “Not lacking merits and causal conditions”, these merits and causal conditions come from your constant accumulation while you are alive.  Even if you attained Buddhahood, you still need to accumulate merits (to benefit beings).  When you continuously accumulate merits and causal-conditions, when the causal-conditions come together, you will naturally reach the pureland of Amitabha.  The meaning of this is that when you are making offerings and charity in the human realm, the fruition of this merits will be there in the pureland where you can see such beautiful gems and jewels every day.

You may say that these gems don’t belong to me.  That is not the point.  The point is if you did not have sufficient merits and causal-conditions, you would not even have the privilege or right to sit there and admire this view.  If you can be there (in the pureland), then these sceneries are there for you to enjoy.  Buddha Amitabha’s pureland, unlike Earth, does not require the use of money.  Therefore, it is not possible to say that because this leaf is about two grams of gold, I will try to sell it for money. 

The intent of this sutra is firstly to assure us that as long as you are willing to practice, one day, this kind of merits will be before you. You need not seek it… why is Amitabha Buddha able to give this pureland to all beings?  It is because of his enormous merits.  As long as Amitabha creates a pureland, such qualities will naturally arise as a by-product.  Even if Amitabha does not think of it, even if he does not give rise to a single thought about it, due to his merits, all the heavenly beings and eight classes of beings will manifest such appearances for him.  With Amitabha’s great merits, if he merely wishes for it, everything will be there.

(Rinpoche is a genuine lay-person practitioner who has attained great realization in this life. He has benefitted thousands of people. Rinpoche is free from worldly motivations and does not encourage any form of advertisement or self-promotion. His teachings have been very useful for me, hence I am sharing it here now and then with the hope that it may likewise be helpful to those who have faith and pure-view. For some reasons, I will not be giving his full name on this blog, but will henceforth refer to him as ‘Precious Rinpoche’. )

This entry was posted on 21212121, in Teachings.

Preparation and Prevention

Phurpa Tashi Rinpoche :
(replying to a disciple’s question about dementia)

One must remember not to wait until the karma has taken form before trying to save the situation. It would be very difficult to change anything then.

Nowadays, many people are like that. When things are going well and everything is auspicious, they do not think of anything. Only when problems and disasters befall them, when the karma has already crystallized, will they hurry to perform many pujas and create merits.

It is not that commissioning such Dharmic activities has no merits, but even though they do generate merits, the negative karma has already ripened and taken form, therefore wishing to change the situation is very difficult. For instance, if one were making a cup, before the shape of the cup has taken form, if you changed your mind, it would be much easier to change the shape. Before the plastic or stainless steel raw material has been molded or shaped into the form of a cup, it would be much easier to change its form. You could make a bowl or pot instead, for example. One could make many different shapes easily. However, once the cup has been formed, if you said that you now want to make it into a bowl, then one had to do a lot more work. You need to destroy the cup and then make the bowl from scratch. This requires a great deal of effort.

Therefore, no matter who you are or whatever you do, it is the same. When things are peaceful and well, you neglect practices for clearing obstacles and creating merits. But once the disaster or obstacle has befallen you, then you try to ask for help from the fortune-teller by the street, or from the Tulkus and Khenpos for divinations, and start to commission all kinds of pujas. Even after doing all these, you wonder why the situation remains unchanged.

Once the situation has crystallized, to change it is very difficult. Taking the case of dementia that we were talking about just now. Before he developed dementia, one could do many things to prevent the onset of this disease. Do not wait for it to happen before trying to remedy it. After the illness has developed, one could only recite some Manjushri mantras, take medications etc. But I am afraid it will not be of much effect. To prevent it is really the most important thing to do.

From a certain point of view, our practice now can be considered a form of “prevention”. We are preventing our future rebirths in the three lower realms and trying to attain liberation. This is a form of prevention — making preparations ahead of time. To be prepared is the best! We should make preparations for everything, don’t wait for the obstacles to arise before trying to change it, then it would be too difficult. Extremely difficult!

Every time you come to tell me of your obstacles that have already ripened, it is hard to say whether the divinations can change anything much. We can do prayers and pray for the blessings of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the three times (past, present and future). We can ask many monasteries to recite prayers or mantras for us, it may help to change things a little. But once the situation has crystallized , it is generally very hard to change anything.

Lama Achuk Rinpoche used to teach this too. When he used his clairvoyance to check where the consciousness of the deceased is, if the consciousness had yet to fall into the three lower realms or taken birth somewhere, it is much easier to change the rebirth of the consciousness. But once the karma has ripened, for instance, if the deceased has taken rebirth in the animal realm, then to change his rebirth, the life of this animal has to be terminated before its consciousness can be directed to the next rebirth. This takes an immense effort.

Therefore, learn this well. Other than that, I don’t know what I can do. Once a karma has ripened, there are many situations where I don’t know what can help.

Target of Practice and Contemplation

His Holiness Gyalwang Drukpa Rinpoche :

How do you break the dualistic attitude? Many masters and texts have different methods, but from my understanding, you have to keep contemplating. Recitation, yogas, exercise, playing cymbals, chanting, melodies can help if you have the skill of contemplating. If you do not have the skill of contemplation, you will never be able to break through the wall of dualistic thinking. Because you don’t have a target. You may be practicing Ngondro, Vajrayogini, Avalokiteshvara, Guru Rinpoche, Tara very diligently, practicing heaps of different techniques, but what is your target? What is your motive?

Most of us are just copy-cats. “Someone is doing something there, I might do that too, it looks quite nice and promising, why not copy? I feel left out so I should get into the scene, because anyway I am Buddhist, why not? My parents are Buddhist, I like Buddhism too. This person is doing a lot of things early in the morning at 4am. Many recitations, mantras, so I will do it too. “ So, this is what I call copy-cat. It doesn’t lead to a good result, but it is better than nothing. I don’t think this is a good approach.

So, what is the target? The target needs to be understood—which is breaking the attitude that all phenomena is solid, ultimately there and inherently existing. That attitude needs to be broken. In order to do that, as I’ve said, you can apply lots of different techniques. I don’t mind and I don’t care, for example, what mantra you are doing. You do Mani, great! You do Benza Guru, great! There are methods of reciting only ‘Om’. That’s also great. You can recite Om, why not? The Gelukpas recite Migtsema, it is a supplication to Je Tsongkhapa, they recite hundreds and millions of them. It’s okay, go ahead, whatever you do is okay. There are many people reciting Benza Guru their whole life. There’s nothing wrong with it, as long as you have the skill of contemplating…

Contemplate what? Contemplate all these phenomena which you can see. You don’t have to look for something else. That’s the important part. We generally have the kind of misunderstanding that makes you look for something else. Besides these things that we see, you look for something else. That is a great mistake and misunderstanding… as a Buddhist practitioner, we are not looking for anything else besides what we can see, touch, hear around us. These things are all included.

All these phenomena seem very solid and inherently existing. But when we see them, we have to contemplate and investigate. This is a short period when you need a little bit of academic touch. You have to investigate whether these things exist or not. A little bit of investigation is very very important. They call it analytical meditation. You have to analyse. A little analytical meditation is needed to start with. Otherwise, we have been very ignorant ever since the beginning of samsara till now and also if you remain ignorant like this, you will always carry on being ignorant forever.

Ignorant means to believe in the solid wall, the solid pillar, the solid man, the solid woman, the solid me, the solid you. Everything is solid, permanent. Everything needs to be seen as impermanent. Everything needs to be understood as emptiness. This needs contemplation. Without contemplation, I don’t think you can see it, can you? I can’t. I can’t see emptiness. What do you mean, emptiness? I can see everything very solidly. I have to use a door to get out of the room otherwise I will bang into the wall. The wall is so solid that it will break my head. That means that the wall is solidly there. So, this afternoon, you can’t just go and walk through the wall because this morning I said that the wall is not solid. So try! (Rinpoche chuckles) Try to jump through the wall, you all will end up in hospital. We will have a lot of problems, bleeding like nobody’s business. So, you have to go through the door, not the wall.

So, all these things, we need contemplation. Contemplation is the only solution. Contemplation itself is the meditation actually. It is the only solution after (the knowledge) that things are impermanent and emptiness. Then contemplation takes you to the reality. The teaching is very important but teaching itself doesn’t make much sense. Teaching will give you a sense of understanding, but it is not yet contemplated and materialized. In order to realize, one needs to really contemplate. This is known as ‘yoga’. In Vajrayana, we call it ‘yoga’. In Vajrayana, you have to always be contemplating emptiness – the essence of phenomena. So that is very important – analytical meditation.

So now, you can go back to whatever practice you are doing. You guys have been practicing a lot, but you should go back and think, “what have I been doing?” You have been practicing, reciting, even so-called ‘meditating’, but did you ever think about what you see in front of you? The wall, the people, the mountains, the car, the road… did you ever take any chance to contemplate whether these phenomena exist or not? I think we hardly do it. This is the main thing that causes our delay in terms of realization or attainment. This is really the main problem.

Of course, there are other problems too, like accumulation of negative karma. We always complain about something, ‘I have bad karma, I have bad habit, I have this, I have that.’ Yes, you have bad karma, you have bad habit. Yes, you are very bad, so what? So what? So am I. Everyone is very bad. Negative thoughts only brings you down. How can you get out of it? There is only one method – contemplation. You have to think and think and think, then you will find the meaning of ultimate truth. Ultimate truth is not something you find from somewhere else. Ultimate truth is within the pillar, within the friend, within the phenomena itself… it is 100% there, not hazy, it is 100% clearly there. But we are not recognizing it, because we are so much influenced by the wrong dualistic attitude. But now, after this retreat, you have to start afresh through contemplating it. At least, you have to ask questions. Yes, my Guru said that it is not existing, but is it real or not? You have to check…

We should understand how important it is to contemplate. If you look at things and it disturbs you a lot. For example, emotions, maybe anger, desire, jealousy and pride, whatever. When it disturbs you, that is the great time to investigate and analyse: why is this really disturbing me a lot? This is a great chance for us to practice!

Why should I be so upset? Why should I be so excited about it? Almost to the trouble of getting a heart-attack. I am so excited that I can’t sleep, why? All these things are very much the cases where you really have to investigate and find out. That is the teaching, that is the true universal teaching. It has no language but it is universal. That is very important.

Especially when you get disturbed, that is the great chance for you to grab. Then you ask ‘why?’ It is not only to relieve your anger and go back to happiness. Okay, that is temporary relief, it helps like a drug. But that is not the final goal you are looking for. You are looking for the ultimate nature of phenomena – shunyata (emptiness). If you are looking for that, you have to know what the great chance to grab is. We always miss the great chance.

When we are excited and so happy, we would be intoxicated and then it’s finished. When we are not so happy or disappointed, we cry, bang our heads on the wall, then, worse comes to worst, commit suicide. Many suicides happen because they can’t take it, because there is no contemplation. There’s no second thought, just “That’s it! The things I am looking for are not working, finished, I am going to kill myself” and that’s the end of it. Because of that, there are getting to be more and more suicides. Even in Nepal, Ladakh, Lahoul etc. even in these remote beautiful areas also there are many suicides because of the lack of this investigating skill.

You have to take your time to investigate. Especially when it comes to emotions. You shouldn’t allow the emotions to drive you away from the ultimate nature of emptiness. We are nothing but emptiness. We are enlightenment. We all are Buddha. There is no doubt about it. That is what the Vajrayana introduces and we have to believe in it and you have to investigate. Don’t leave it as a belief… Belief is one thing you need to start with but then immediately you have to start contemplating it. That is the thing.

(The term “dualistic” can be understood in the sense of qualitative comparisons, for instance a dualistic mind would distinguish between categories of “good”, “bad”, “better”, “worse”, “pleasant”, “unpleasant” and so on. A second definition of “dualistic” refers to the delusive split or separation between subject and object, self and others, the one who sees (seer) and the sight that is seen, the one who hears (hearer) and the sound that is heard, and so on so forth. In this context, the second definition is more appropriate.)

Sutra for Going to Sukhavati Amitabha Pureland

I found this most helpful and short sutra for taking rebirth in Amitabha’s pureland. This Sutra contains the very words of Amitabha himself. The benefits of this sutra describes that if you have very heinous karma, you can still purify them through this sutra and take rebirth in the pureland. The key point here is not to have any doubts and to recite or write this sutra as much as you can. This sutra comes from the Lhasa or Derge edition of the Kangyur (Tibetan Tripitaka). Therefore, one can recite it without oral transmission. Since it is quite short, it can be easily written out and/or recited daily. Please download the full sutra here.

From the Benefits of this Sutra:

“This is the essence of the ultimate. It is the pith of the dharmata. It is the king of all confessions of misdeeds. If you write and recite this, you will definitely be purified even if you kill insects and creatures, such as 100 people, 100 horses, 100 snakes, 100 dogs, 100 women, 100 cattle, 100 fish, 100 pigs, 100 monkeys, and 100 sheep; curse others; poison others; engage in miserliness and deceit; are the owner of a dog that kills deer; have degenerated your promises and commitments and then engage in sexual misconduct; kill your guru, abbot, or teacher; or do any of the ten non-virtues. Moreover, all sinful people should write, read, and recite this, understanding it completely. They should develop faith, respect, and admiration for it. They should spread it everywhere. If any sinful person whatsoever reads or recites it three times, there is no doubt they will be reborn in Sukhavati Pure Land and then become a Buddha. Don’t wonder whether they will or will not be hell beings, or even think of that possibility.”

Here’s a youtube link of Lama Zopa Rinpoche explaining this Sutra.

Karma of Wearing Animal Skins

by Jamyang Rinpoche

The Way of the Bodhisattva states:

“O mind, why is it that you grasp
This body as yours and guard it so?
If you and it are separate,
Then what good does it do for you?”

“First, visualizing in your mind, dissect (your body)
And separate the layers of skin.
Dissect it with the sword of wisdom
Separate the flesh from the structure of bones.
Then chop apart the bones as well.
Look in as far as to the marrow
And analyze it for yourself.
What essence does it have?

If even searching with such effort,
You don’t see in it any essence,
Why is it that you still protect
This body in such an attached manner?”

“Even though you protect this body so,
When the merciless Lord of Death
Takes it to give to vultures and dogs,
Will there be anything you can do?”

“If you do not give clothes and such
To servants who can’t be employed,
Why tire yourself to keep this body
That will, though fed, end up uselessly elsewhere?

Now that you’ve given this body its wage,
Put it to work for your own sake.
Do not give everything to it
if there’s not any benefit.

Think of this body as a boat,
A mere support for coming and going.
Make it so it fulfills your wish
To benefit all sentient beings.”

After slowing observing the nature of this body, we discover that it lacks any essence. For the sake of this body, through eating we have created so much negative karma. For the sake of nurturing its health, we have eaten insects, beef, chicken, fish.  For the sake of health, how many sentient beings have we harmed? This entire burden of negative karma is carried on and ripens on your very own consciousness in future lives.

You gave so many benefits to this body in this life, but it disappears in the end. This body does not feel the sensations by itself. It is the consciousness who feels, and therefore it is the consciousness that bears this karma in future lives. When the karma ripens, the torture and suffering have to be taken on by yourself and no one else.  Therefore, one should create less negative karma for the sake of this body. As long as the body can survive and live on, it is enough.  We should be vegetarian. Even when being vegetarian, we should not be insatiable in our desires for good food.  In wearing clothes, we should not wear leather and all kinds of animal skins. We should not wear all kinds of ornaments related to animals like swan felt, fox pelts, all these very expensive bags and clothings.  We will have to pay the price in future lives. 

Once, in a Chengdu hotel, I had a dream in which I saw the appearances of a hell realm.  One woman was wearing a very very thick fur-skin made out of iron- it was flaming-red and very horrifying.  On this skin were fox heads, dog heads, heads of several different kinds of animals. They were biting and chewing on her face and various parts of her body, she was bound by all kinds of iron racks which were melting (from the heat and burning into her body), waaa… she was screaming and crying in such great terror and pain… Then I woke up from this nightmare.  Later, I wondered why I had such a frightening dream.  I think it is a sign that I should teach and warn sentient beings about the cause and result awaiting them and to prevent them from creating such karmas.

It is something like a warning to me, as I am a teacher who transmits the Dharma to disciples. It is a warning to all my disciples. I think that should be its meaning and purpose. All of you must not wear these furs or skins.  In your future lives, when the result ripens, it is not something that pleasant to bear. (The karma) does not just (ripen) one time but continues for a very long period of time. In this life, you wear these furs or skins for a few days or years, but when the results come, it is for millions of years that the retribution and vengeance lasts. So please don’t be too attached about your body. Don’t put in too much effort for this body. Put more effort for the journey of future lives.

(Jamyang Rinpoche frequently repeats this warning to his disciples about not wearing fur-skins in his teachings due to his vivid experience in the dream.)

This entry was posted on 21212121, in Teachings.

The power of aspirations

Garchen Rinpoche :

Some people don’t think that it is that important to make prayers. Some people much more prefer to visualize a deity and recite the mantra and meditate and not really recite all these prayers because they don’t think that this has the greatest effect. They think that the mantra recitation has the greater effect. But that is really not true at all. In fact, everything really follows the power of aspiration. Everything that we experience with body, speech and mind arises from an aspiration, whether it is positive or negative. It all comes from a kind of aspiration. So, aspirations are extremely powerful.

Also, it is said that if we want to achieve happiness and we do not make any aspirations or prayers or dedications, then we have to put in a lot of effort to gain the slightest results. Whereas if we pray and dedicate, then the slightest effort leads to the greatest result. The difference lies in the scope or vastness of one’s mind. If the mind is vast, then even a small virtuous act leads to a vast result. That is ultimately due to the power of aspiration.

Also, Buddhas arise from aspirations. For example, Buddha Shakyamuni had made 500 great aspirations, or Medicine Buddha had made 12 main aspirations and so on. Each of the Medicine Buddhas made different numbers of aspirations. But all the Buddhas, in brief, arise from a pure aspiration. What is a pure aspiration? In their mind, all they think about is the benefit of all sentient beings. They don’t think about anything else. They don’t think about themselves at all. That is their state of mind – a state of pure aspiration. When that is your state of mind, in this way, you naturally accumulate merits.  

As a result of that, it is said that the natural manifestation of Bodhichitta are the countless purelands and different emanations of Buddhas. As Jigten Sumgon said, cause-and-effect is the natural manifestation of one’s moment-to-moment thoughts. Temporarily, the afflictive emotions manifest as the different realms in samsara, as our various experiences of sufferings. The Buddha said that at first you must recognize suffering.  Recognizing suffering has two qualities, when you experience suffering now, if you understand this, then you recognize that I suffer because of my afflictive emotions, because I myself have created the causes of suffering in previous lives.  You recognize that by trusting in karma. In this way, you are able to avoid future suffering and you are able to cultivate a mind of Bodhichitta.

Secondly, as Dzogchen Paltrul Rinpoche has said, “I do not prefer to be happy, I prefer to suffer because when I am happy, the three poisons, the afflictions, increase; but when I suffer, I purify my negative karma.” All suffering and illnesses and so on are the natural reflection or projection of our own afflictive emotions. When you see that, actually suffering becomes a good thing, because you recognize that my suffering purifies my negative karma. Think in this way. In this way, suffering becomes a way of purifying karma and accumulating merit.  It is a good thing because it purifies my negative karma and also bring to mind the sufferings of all other sentient beings and think that “May I experience these sufferings instead of them!  May I represent them!” Because ultimately our minds are one, so “May my suffering/sickness be the cause of eliminating their sickness. May I experience it instead of them.”  This is the vast motivation of Bodhichitta that leads to a great accumulation of merits. You habituate to that, so every time you are sick or suffer, you will immediately think of that naturally—“It is not just me but all sentient beings suffer like that.” Instantly, you will be able to think of others. Compassion arises.

For example now, we recognize all the sufferings people are experiencing in this world. Think about for example how you suffer when your parents or children dies, or when someone you love dies, then likewise feel how much these other people suffer (when the same happens to them).  You bring this to mind and this state of mind is a very powerful state of mind — when you really bring to mind the suffering of others. Think of how you will suffer when a friend you love very much dies. Then think that everyone suffers in that way, everyone experiences that.  If you habituate to this, then immeasurable compassion arises. Through immeasurable compassion, self-grasping diminishes. This is how you should practice compassion.

Self-grasping diminishes when you cultivate compassion for suffering beings and when devotion for the Guru arises. When real devotion for the Guru arises, when a tear flow from your eyes as big as a nail, that drop of tear that flows from your eyes out of devotion purifies the negativities and obscurations of many aeons. This also happens when you cultivate compassion for all sentient beings. What happens is that when you think of others and feel compassion, self-grasping goes away and that is the quality of altruism. If you make prayers with such a motivation, thinking of the suffering of sentient beings, such an aspiration is very powerful. It will lead temporarily to the experience of happiness and ultimately, this is how you attain enlightenment. Therefore, it is very important to make prayers such as the King of Aspiration Prayers for Excellent Conduct.

Actually, everything comes from aspiration. Everything good and bad comes from aspiration. For example, now in this world, there is so many difficulties and hardships. The suffering that people experience is caused by certain individuals with evil aspirations and intentions. There are certain individuals who are full of hatred and wish to harm others and then they die with that state of mind – an angry mind. They die with this corrupt aspiration of wanting to harm, wanting to hurt others. Because that is an aspiration too, even though it is negative, it also will mature. Now we can see, the outcome of such aspirations is now ripening in the world.  Also, there is something I saw on TV, a real story that happened in America, there was this really powerful person who set himself on fire and immediately you could see from the flames of the fire, a shape emerged. This is something that science can show. This also happens. This is due to hatred and something emerges from that.

So basically, whatever aspiration we make, whether it is beneficial or harmful, it is very powerful. However, an evil aspiration is less powerful than a beneficial aspiration, because a beneficial aspiration is connected to Bodhichitta which makes it stronger and more powerful. So, this is how the qualities of a Buddha arise — out of aspirations. So, any aspiration is extremely significant, especially at times when you experience illness and suffering, aspiration prayers can be very powerful. Nowadays, I always encourage people to recite this verse from the Shantideva’s Bodhicaryavatara dedication. (note 1)

The quality of suffering is that you can purify your karma. Suffering is not negative, it actually is a positive thing. Secondly, when you suffer, you can also practice taking on the suffering of others, and think “May I experience the suffering instead of them.” When you think in such an altruistic way, then the suffering in your mind will already be pacified. Even though you experience physical illness, the suffering in the mind will go away and even the physical illness might go away.

For example, this was the case with Lord Jigten Sumgon. When he was alive, he contracted leprosy which was considered the worst disease in Tibet. He was so badly ill that eventually he isolated himself and practiced cultivating Bodhichitta and practiced Chenrezig, and after a week only of practicing in this way, he was completely healed from the leprosy. That is a real story that happened in this world. That’s the power of the mind, that’s the power of aspiration prayers. Consider them as very important and precious. For example, the prayer for Excellent Conduct (note 2), where it says that all these qualities of the Buddhas arise from having made offerings to all the purelands and all Buddhas abiding in the ten directions and three times and so on, it is very meaningful to recite and also to reflect on the meaning of this prayer of Excellent Conduct. Also, it says in the prayer that may every slight virtue that I have accumulated with the mind of Bodhichitta and devotion become a cause of merit leading to the benefit and happiness of all sentient beings and so forth. It is an excellent dedication prayer.

Then there are also corrupt prayers as we have mentioned like we can see in this world now. Various corrupt prayers of certain beings lead to this kind of suffering in the world. A corrupt and evil aspiration has a certain kind of power that also leads to a result. Therefore, recognize the power of aspirations as really very significant especially at times of illness and suffering. The Medicine Buddha himself became a Buddha through his aspirations of Bodhichitta, it is said that a Buddha is a manifestation of Bodhichitta. Even though his physical form appears as the Medicine Buddha, what really is his mind? His mind is Bodhichitta, it is not some other kind of mind. Any other Buddha has the same mind of Bodhichitta. That is the actual or real Medicine Buddha – Bodhicitta.

Notes :

  1. Shantideva prayer Garchen Rinpoche encourages everyone to recite is :

May every being ailing with disease
Be freed at once from every malady.
May all the sickness that afflicts the living
Be instantly and permanently healed.

2. The prayer of Excellent Conduct can be found here :

This entry was posted on 21212121, in Teachings.

Essence of the Path

Garchen Rinpoche on Pure-view, Altruistic mind, Karma and Preparing for Death :

What is the essence, the main point, of all these instructions?  It really comes down to cultivating a pure view. It is that which purifies our dualistic grasping. We think in a dualistic way – we think this is good, this is bad, this is water, this is earth, this is fire and so on. So we see things in this ordinary way and then because we see things in an ordinary way, we develop a lot of doubts and we wonder like whether a medicine is beneficial or not? Who knows if it really works?  Because everything depends on our karma, as we mentioned. A pure view means that you have purified your mind of the afflictive emotions and dualistic grasping, when you have a pure view, you will see everything as pure. You will see the medicine as pure. Then the medicine you take also becomes more beneficial.

Cultivating a pure view is really most important.  The one who makes the medicine – the doctor- see him as an emanation of the Medicine Buddha. Also, the medicine itself is a deity, the Buddha.  Train your mind in pure perception. This is what will purify your mind. When you have a purified mind, your compassion increases as a sign of that. When your mind is in an impure state, a sign of an impure mind is that one just thinks about one’s own suffering. One doesn’t really think about other beings. Some people come and all they care about is that nothing bad happens to them. They are sick and they ask, “What can I do so that I don’t die? Give me some kind of method, something that I can do so that I don’t die.” I feel very bad for them. The reason why they suffer like that is because they think that they (themselves) are most precious. (They think that) my body is most precious, most important. But in the end, they will die anyway. Everyone will die. There is no-one in the world who will be left behind. Everyone in this world will die because we have a physical body and the physical body is impermanent by its nature. For example, I personally fully trust in that a hundred percent. Because I do not think, “May I not die.” Instead, I actually make preparations for my death. That is really most important. Actually, I have made actual preparations for my death three times in this life already– getting all the different substances and preparatory rituals ready. I was really getting ready to die three times, but then due to the prayers of the disciples and lamas and so on, I still didn’t die. But I did actually prepare seriously for my death three times already.

It is better for beings like me to be here, but basically I do not think “how can I get better from my sickness”, “how can I not die”, I do not think like that. I always think about how I can prepare for my death. That’s really very important because we will all die and it is better not to focus on extending our life but to focus more on preparing for our death. The best way to prepare for our death is to not accumulate or create negative karma. Because that is what we will bring with us. If you don’t create negative karma and you prepare for your death, then with a pure mind, you will go to an even better place, to the purelands where the Buddhas live. However, if you bring with you a defiled mind, then the afflictive emotions will continue to manifest and you will continue to wander in the six realms or the three lower realms of samsara.

Therefore, I really encourage you to pay great attention to karma, cause-and-effect and purify your mind.  Purify your mind with an altruistic mind, always wishing for the benefit and happiness of sentient beings. Always sustain love and compassion for them. This is what I myself am doing. What is in my mind is really only just a wish to benefit others. “May I benefit others!”– this is what I will bring with me. This is what you should cultivate and bring with you. Therefore, Dharma friends, I ask you to just keep these words in mind. The most powerful medicine is karma—to trust in karma… it is said that for someone who doesn’t trust in karma, their profound understanding in Dharma and so on is mere lip-service. Once we have entered the path of Buddhism, a sign of having actually entered (the path) is that one trusts in karma. When you trust in karma, then you actually are a real Buddhist. So, reflect on this.

This entry was posted on 21212121, in Teachings.

Looking at oneself

Jamyang Rinpoche :

There was a very large Kagyu monastery near Lhasa called Trangdor Monastery. A very important Khenpo from that monastery came to Yarchen Monastery. He was said to be extremely proficient in debate, almost invincible on the debate grounds. He had been to Serthar Larung Monastic University. He was quite critical of many things he saw in the places he visited.

At the beginning, he was somewhat proud of himself. What is the reason for that? It was due to his great learnedness in the Dharma. When he had visited the Gelug monasteries (famed for their skills in debate and erudition), he was also undefeatable in debate. When he first came to Yarchen Monastery, his intention was not to come to learn the Dharma. He wanted to see for himself what Yarchen monastery was like as its fame was spreading quite widely at that time. Serthar Larung Monastic University was also very famous, that was why he also visited it.

When he was at Yarchen, he met Lama Achuk Rinpoche. At first, he did not even make prostrations to Lama Achuk Rinpoche, he went straight up to Lama Rinpoche and asked a few questions. Lama Achuk Rinpoche answered his questions in a way that captured the essential points. This Khenpo was so struck by Lama Rinpoche’s response that he decided that he could not leave Yarchen, he had to stay on to learn more Dharma.

After he had been in Yarchen for about one month, he observed that I was always around Lama Rinpoche and in Lama Rinpoche’s home, so he must have thought that I was an important disciple of Lama Rinpoche. Once, I had been meditating on the Zangdok Palri Mountain, it was summer-time and the vegetations and flowers were blooming. I held a worn-out pair of shoes in my hands and walking bare-footed, met him on the way home.

He asked me, “Where did you go?” I replied that I had been meditating on the mountain. He exclaimed, “What kind of meditation are you doing? Instead of always meditating on emptiness, you should be studying, you are so young still, what kind of texts have you studied?” (I was probably about 16 at that time. ) He asked me if I had read texts such as Abhidharma or this treatise or that commentary, listing many texts.

I said, “I do not know those texts. I only know and understand myself, I do not know anything else.” The Khenpo then fell silent and seemed dumbfounded. But it was true. I did not know any of those texts that he stated. I did not know any teaching either. I only know myself very well. This is what Lama Achuk Rinpoche taught me since I followed him as my Guru for the past 4 or 5 years. This was what my Guru kept teaching me. Now, due to my Guru’s kindness, I truly understood myself. This was what I told the Khenpo.

Later, he returned home and it seemed that my words had struck a raw nerve in him and exposed his own problem. That night, he went to see Lama Achuk Rinpoche. When he saw Lama Rinpoche, he immediately prostrated and knelt down with his hands folded, imploring with tears in his eyes, “All that I have said in the past was mistaken! I was very wrong!” Lama Rinpoche then said, “What is the matter? What happened to you today?” The Khenpo said, “Guru, please save me. If you do not save me, since I am already so wrong and on the wrong path and near the end of my life, about to go to the next life, what can I do? Guru, could you please give me a chance and save me?”

Lama Rinpoche finally replied, “It is fine. I can save you. It is very simple. It is not something very difficult. Everything that you have learnt before, can you use it to reflect on yourself instead of using it to check on other people? Don’t stay on the level of words, don’t leave the Dharma in the texts but bring the Dharma into your mind. Can you try to integrate the Dharma with your mind indivisibly, so that your entire being becomes the Dharma? If you can do that, then it will be possible to save you.”

Later, Khenpo told Lama Rinpoche saying, “That young monk who is beside you all the time — when I met him today on the road, he said something to me and I felt extremely sad. I am a high Khenpo while he is just a young monk. He said that he doesn’t know anything else but he knows himself. He doesn’t understand anything else, but he understands himself. From this, I understood that my Dharma path has been badly mistaken and wrong.”

This Khenpo understood everything else externally, but he did not understand himself. However, when it comes to liberation, it is oneself who has to be liberated, one does not find liberation in other people. To cut mental afflictions, it is one’s own mental afflictions that are cut, not other peoples’ mental afflictions. The Khenpo began to understand this and started to engage in practice in Yarchen.

Later in 2003, when I returned to Yarchen, he was still there. We had a picnic together on the grass. By then, we had been Vajra Brothers for several years under Lama Achuk Rinpoche, I was probably in my 30s then, and Khenpo was approaching his 60th year. He asked me, “Do you remember that when you were young, you gave me a teaching and you saved me? If you did not say what you said, I would have probably gone down the wrong path and not stayed on at Yarchen Monastery.”

It is like that. If you remain on the level of words and theory, you will not attain liberation but remain stuck in samsara. But if you truly practiced and habituate your mind to the Dharma, even an uneducated nomad can attain liberation. If the Dharma truly penetrated into your mind, no matter what level of social status, power or intelligence you possess, it does not matter. If you have practised according to the pith instructions of the Guru, there is nothing difficult about it. The pureland is not very far away. The pureland is just nearby.

The problem with people nowadays is that they are unable to let go of ‘face’ or egoistic pride. The second problem is that they mix whatever Dharma they listen to with all kinds of worldly motivations such as fame, power, benefits etc, which pollutes the Dharma they listen to. They start to criticize even the teacher and even say that this teacher speaks well, or that teacher speaks poorly. Not for an instant do they look back at themselves and check out what faults they themselves have. Looking at others only, they do not have the chance to observe themselves to see what faults are emerging in their own minds.

Practicing Dharma with wrong motivation

Some people practice the Dharma in the hopes of eliminating problems in their family, improving their health, overcoming difficulties in their careers etc. They pursue worldly things like fame and benefit. Then they may get some temporary benefit in this life, but it is not of the slightest use in future lives or the bardo. Your motivation is to benefit this life, therefore the fruition of your practice will also be used up in this life. Therefore, the motivation for Dharma practice is critical. When the motivation is faulty, no matter what practice you do, it becomes defective too.

I will tell you a real story about a practitioner in Xinlong, Tibet. There was a monk who recited the Vajrakilaya mantra several hundreds of millions times. He gained great power as a result of his diligent practice. He could repel negative spirits such as those that caused illnesses in humans. With just a gaze, he could cause the illness to disappear from the sufferer’s body. Many people venerated him like a great Mahasiddha (great accomplished master). Due to his blessings, many of the problems and inauspiciousness in their families were resolved. Why? It was due to his vast accumulation of merits from the mantra recitation.

His fame spread more and more and many people came to him for help and blessings etc. Thus, he received many offerings and became a very rich man. As a monk, he did not have any descendants but his siblings had many children. When he was on the verge of dying, his nieces and nephews came to ply him with all kinds of nice words, but in reality they were just eyeing his possessions.

When this monk was in great suffering and near death, he had a pair of glasses that was made of crystal and very costly which he treasured very much. One nephew who was also a monk came and claimed, “My uncle loved me most amongst all his nephews. Therefore, this pair of spectacles is mine, “ and he snatched this pair of glasses away by force even before his uncle expired. In this way, one by one, all of this dying monk’s possessions were taken away from him even though he had yet to die. At last, when he finally died, he had a negative aspiration out of anger and vengefulness.

This monk did not have any kind of basic foundation and understanding of Dharma practice, but he simply plunged straight into reciting mantras as he knew it was meritorious. He did not understand what is virtue and what is non-virtue. He was ignorant of the teachings on Bodhichitta, the importance of motivation and the stages of visualization and meditation. Just like that, many people just recite the mantras like Mani mantra blindly, they do not understand anything except that reciting mantras has blessings, blessings for having a good family life etc. There is no proper motivation, they do not know the systematic path for practicing Dharma or what to visualize etc. Everything is done blindly.

This monk may be ordained, but he was likewise practicing blindly. Without any listening, contemplation and meditation, he just kept practicing diligently in a cave and in the end the result was just some worldly benefits. After his death, he directly took rebirth as a demon. This was due to his merits from reciting so many mantras. Many great accomplished Lamas who tried to subdue him could not succeed as his merits from reciting so many mantras had not yet been exhausted. All the people who had taken his things or anyone who even merely touched them would die without exception. So you see, even though he was a monk and recited so many mantras, he took rebirth as a harmful spirit that belongs to the preta (hungry ghost) realm. When this birth as a demon finishes, his eventual rebirth will be in the hell realms due to the many beings he harmed as a spirit.

In a sense, this kind of ordained monk would be better off unordained, and all these mantras recited would be better off not recited. If he had not done these things, then perhaps he would not be creating such heinous deeds and this great result of suffering would not exist. In the same way… one must know the way to practice Dharma, recite mantras and create merits. If one did not know how to practice the Dharma well, it would be the case of inviting disaster to befall oneself.

~Jamyang Rinpoche

(Note: At the time of this writing, this spirit remains active in Xinlong.)

This entry was posted on 21212121, in Teachings.

Degrees of Mantra Efficacy

The blessings and mantras of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are absolutely efficacious.  But whether one can produce these powers depends on one’s capability.

The more mantras you recite, the more merits and results you gain.  This is certain.  Like when it is mentioned in the Buddhist scriptures that reciting a certain number of Amitabha’s names will create a karmic connection with Amitabha, and prevent one from taking rebirth in the hell realms, these are perfectly true.  However, to achieve these results is not that easy, the mantra itself is sublime but there are three varying degrees of result that one can achieve:

The best result depends on one’s meditative ability.  If one’s meditative ability is sufficient, then reciting 7 times will yield the results. This is definite.

Secondly, the power of observance of precepts.  If one’s samaya is pure, then one is assured of receiving the mantra’s blessings.

Thirdly, if meditative ability is insufficient, and one’s observance of precepts are weak (i.e., one is only able to abide by the main precepts but breaks the subsidiary precepts), but one’s faith is great,  then one can nonetheless generate the power of mantra.

In consequence of this, no matter which practice one does, whether it is reciting texts, prostrations, recitation of mantras, the most important factor is faith.  For beginners, it is challenging to have meditative ability, there is a long way to go before one achieves this, therefore the power of faith is especially critical.

~ Kathok Rigzin Chenpo Rinpoche

How to pray to Amitabha

In response to a question by a student about whether to recite Buddha Amitabha’s name in Chinese or Tibetan, Pema Trinley Rinpoche replied:

Whether you recite in Tibetan or Chinese, it is both okay.  You can recite “I prostrate, make offerings and take refuge in the Bhagavan, Tathagatha, Arhat, Perfectly Enlightened Buddha Protector Amitabha” in Chinese.  It is the same.   

Whether you are reciting it in Tibetan or Chinese, what is really important is to visualize clearly, to pray to Guru Amitabha and to make aspirations.  Supplicate Guru Amitabha to bless you to attain rebirth in Amitabha’s pureland at the point of death. 

If one does not visualize, does not pray properly to Amitabha, does not make aspirations to be reborn in Sukhavati, then merely reciting Amitabha’s name–  whether it is a million or two million times, regardless of how many times one recites— it is not effective. 

What is really vital is to be undistracted during the recitation, visualizing Amitabha inseparable from one’s Guru clearly above one’s crown.   At the same time, think of the qualities and blessings of Amitabha’s three kayas, think of the qualities of Amitabha’s pureland, think of the qualities of the Guru who is inseparable from Amitabha.  

Then follow that with supplicating Guru Amitabha.   Visualize Guru Amitabha in front of you while making aspirations, prayers, prostrations, offerings, confessions, dedications etc.  In this way, you can take rebirth in the pureland. 

If one is merely mouthing the prayers while having all kinds of thoughts, with no sincere aspirations, with no Bodhichitta, with no proper supplication or dedication etc, without the seven limb prayers– then even if one recites millions of Amitabha’s names, it does not produce its function.

Thus, one must make aspirations and pray to Amitabha inseparable from the Guru to bless you to be reborn in Amitabha’s pureland at the moment of death.  If you can do it in the way mentioned above, reciting two or three million mantras is okay. 

The most important thing is to dream of Amitabha at night.  This is a sign of accomplishment.  This was taught by Lama Achuk Rinpoche.  If during one’s dreams at night, one does not dream of the Guru, one does not dream of Amitabha, then however you recite, it has not borne fruit. 

In addition to that, wherever we go, if we suddenly encounter a shock, one should recall Amitabha instinctively and instantly.   If this is the case, one can go to Amitabha’s pureland.  If one is unable to do this, then no matter how you recite, you are not able to reach Amitabha’s pureland. 

Similarly, when you recite Chenrezig or any other Buddha or Bodhisattva’s names or mantras, you must do the visualization and pray to them.  Therefore, it is said, the mind is of paramount importance.  Visualizing in the mind and praying is very necessary. 

For example, if the Chinese lay-practitioners need to work, and there are many people around them, reciting Amitabha’s mantra becomes inconvenient, then they should visualize and pray with their minds in such a situation.  By doing so, you obtain the same merits.  So the mind is key and most important! 

Otherwise, if one goes everywhere and, with a distracted mind thinking of all kinds of things, recite Amitabha’s name with your mouth, it is no different from playing a loudspeaker. 

Concerning the number of recitations of Amitabha’s name, there may be varying requirements from different teachers, but here, based on our lineage, there was no explanation given by Lama Achuk Rinpoche as to how many recitations of Amitabha’s name in Chinese is equivalent to a certain number in Tibetan, so we are not capable of calculating these things. 

Nonetheless, the quantity of recitations is not crucial.  The critical points to observe is to perform the practice in the manner I just described.

Teachings on the Vajra Guru Mantra

by Garchen Rinpoche

(Video Link :


Om Ah Hung.

First, I would like to say “Tashi Delek” to all my Dharma friends around the world.

We are very fortunate, for we are now within the month of miracles ,The first through the fifteenth day (of the first Tibetan month) commemorate the time when, – after having conquered the four mara-demons, the Lord Buddha performed various miracles.

About Guru Rinpoche

During this month, the effects of positive actions are said to be multiplied a hundred thousand times; thus, the first Tibetan month is very important. During the age of degeneration, the Buddha Shakyamuni appeared directly in the form of the second Buddha Guru Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche). There are a thousand million further emanations of Guru Rinpoche so there are countless emanations of Guru Rinpoche all around the world. This is how Lord Buddha (appears to beings) In the degenerate age.

During the degenerate age, sentient beings’ afflictions run unrestrained, which makes them difficult to tame. For this reason, Guru Rinpoche turned the wheel of the Secret Mantra and bestowed the teachings on self-liberation, which show how the afflictions are self-liberated without needing to be abandoned. Guru Rinpoche’s emanations have been sent down continuously.

Guru Rinpoche & Buddha’s Compassion as well as sentient being’s faith

In the Seven Chapter Supplication it says: “For the sake of sentient beings, you come riding the sunlight’s brilliant rays.” He has actually appeared all over the world in as many forms as there are rays of the sun. Emanations of Guru Rinpoche appear every day, uninterruptedly. His emanations protect beings whether they have faith in him or not, the Buddha’s love is the same even for beings who do not have faith. If one has faith, though, the power of the blessings is even greater, and it is even easier to feel the blessings. Even if one does not have faith, one is still held by the Buddha’s compassion. It is just a question of time.

About Guru Rinpoche retreat

All of this is why our center holds a Guru Rinpoche retreat every year during the month of miracles. Due to my travel schedule, I have not been able to attend this retreat every year. This year, for health reasons, the Vajra Guru retreat held during the month of miracles, will be conducted in your homes. All the centers have planned to hold practices via the internet. for the sake of protecting the (health of) the general public and without having to endure many hardships. So in order to engage in the Vajra Guru retreat from your homes, and especially at Gar Monastery, we first engage in the practice of the Heart-Essence of Great Bliss Mind-Accomplishment (Thug-drub Dechen Nyingpo).

Confusion of practices

Although there are three thousand mind-accomplishment practices of the guru within a single drubchen, the quintessence of the three thousand practices is included.

Sadhanas often say of themselves, “I am the principal one,” or “He is the principal one.” Due to this, some people develop doubts.

(For example, in the Heart-Essence of Great Bliss Mind-Accomplishment (thug-drub dechen nyingpo) the small print says: “There are three thousand mind-accomplishment practices of me, Padmasambhava, but only this is the heart’s blood of them all.” This is also said in the Dispeller of all Obstacles (Bar-che Kun Sel). Some people get confused. They develop doubts and wonder: “ So then, what is the quintessence of all supposed to be?” But really, it is not like that. What Guru Rinpoche is really saying is that, though there are many mind-accomplishment practices in the world, all mind-accomplishment practices are included within one practice- just as the Buddha said that within a single Buddha, all the buddhas of the three times are complete. A single Sangha member’s form is the Sangha, his speech is the holy Dharma, and his mind is the Buddha; thus, you have to see that the Three Jewels of the three times are complete within a single Sangha member.

To know this is to understand the Buddhist view. (Otherwise, through) a lack of understanding, a mistake understanding, or an incomplete understanding, (you will label) one as good and another as bad, or (you think): “This is the new tantric tradition (Sarma) and that is the old tantric tradition (Nyingma),” and so on. This causes your faith and abilities – as well as your potential to become liberated – to become constrained. This mind is either in bondage or free, and ‘ Whatever constrains you is bondage. “ And when you are in bondage, your mind is not at ease. Thoughts of, “this is how it is” and “this is not how it is “ will tie you down. (Therefore, you should) think: “The Buddha-dharma (is one): all of the buddhas, including Guru Rinpoche and the Buddha Shakyamuni, are the same. Moreover, all the buddhas of the three times are one in their endeavor to bring about the benefit and happiness of all sentient beings. There are no Three Jewels other than that.” Unbiased faith and an unbiased pure view arises from this. And all sentient beings possess buddha-nature; thus, not a single real, ordinary sentient being exists!

The Buddha has already said that “All sentient beings are buddhas. They are only obscured by adventitious stains.”
So what does the Secret Mantra say regarding this? It is said “The universe and beings are an infinite expanse of purity, and there is not the slightest difference between these words and the words of the Buddha.” (Everything) is inherently pure on the ground: Dzogchen calls it “originally pure” while Mahamudra refers to it as “primordially pure”. This purity is emptiness, and if you understand it, (you understand) the Buddhist (View). (Still) according to the relative truth, even though (things are) pure, you (need to) abandon your own dualistic grasping at self and other. You need to abandon your own afflictive emotions. And the demon of self-grasping, of this holding on to the self to truly-existing self, is tamed by the altruistic mind.

Purpose of Sadhanas

The purpose of all sadhanas is only this. In particular, the practice of the Heart-Essence of Great Bliss Mind-Accomplishment (thug-drub Dechen nyingpo) practiced in our monastery is a terma of Lho Nuden Dorje. But there is another (guru) sadhana from the Northern Treasures. Even though there are many different guru sadhanas, all (guru) sadhanas are really sadhanas of one single guru so although there are different sadhanas, you should think of them like they are guru wearing different clothes or different hats. For this retreat, there is a new and important instruction.

Copper-Colored Glorious Mountain (Pure Land)

The Vidyadhara Nuden Dorje travelled in actuality to the Copper-colored Glorious Mountain (Pure land) and when he received teachings on the mind accomplishment at the Copper-colored Glorious Mountain he heard the sound of a gyaling.

(Later) he told: “This is how I heard it at the Copper-colored Glorious Mountain.” (The sound) of that gyaling is now played in all our Drikung monasteries. So he said that he heard that the gyaling of the Copper-colored Glorious Mountain. Now we are making recordings of it, but the hands of myself, an old man, are not very good but in order for the lineage to not become interrupted, the gyaling playing has been recorded – though I’m not sure if I am playing it well. It will be made available for everyone to hear.

So the Vidyadhara Nuden Dorje said that the gyaling is played like this at the Copper-colored Glorious Mountain, and it was in this way, it was transmitted to the disciples. The name of the gyaling is the Copper-colored Glorious Mountain One, and nowadays, some of the newer monks play this gyaling, though they don’t know its name. They play the gyaling in all sorts of ways. So the name of this gyaling is the Copper-colored Glorious Mountain One.

*Playing of gyaling*

After playing of gyaling

Together with the gyaling there is also a mantra melody, As for the Vajra Guru mantra melody, (It is chanted) in various distinct ways throughout the world. In any case, the mantra melody according to this sadhana by Lho Nuden Dorje is as follows. So think that this is how (the mantra) is chanted at the Copper-colored Glorious Mountain.
However, since I’m already too old, my voice doesn’t come out that nicely. Sorry about that! But I will chant it to the best of my abilities.

Benefits of chanting Mantras in melody

Guru Rinpoche taught about the benefits of (chanting the mantra in) melody.

“It is more beneficial to chant the mantra (slowly) in melody than to recite many mantras (quickly). Reciting mantras purely makes a hundred-fold difference. Reciting them in melody makes a hundred thousand-fold difference.” Thus, chanting it in melody multiplies (the power) of mantra.

And why is its power multiplied? It is because to the extent that you focus on the meaning of each word in the mantra, that much greater will be the blessings that enter your mind-stream.

Some people think about the numbers of mantras accumulated, and of course, there is benefit from (accumulating) a number of mantras. (it is said that) “The recitation should be neither too fast nor too slow, neither too strong nor too soft. The elements of each syllable should (be pronounced) without deterioration.” Most important for mantra or any other recitation is that the elements of each syllable are (pronounced) without deterioration.

Mantra: Outer, Inner and secret qualities

This is important. (Pronouncing) without deterioration has outer, inner and secret qualities.

The outer quality is that (it is good for one’s) physical health. By moving your tongue, stomach-related illnesses will be cured, and the circulation of your blood through your veins will be stimulated . This is an outer quality of clear sound.

Regarding the inner quality, through chanting in melody, you contemplate the meaning of the recitation); therefore, you connect to the omniscient wisdom of all Buddhas. You connect to their compassion as you chant, and you also reflect on their enlightened activities as you chant. The chanting makes a great difference to your giving rise to faith and devotion. So this is the inner quality of the melody.

As for the secret quality, the two words “Secret Mantra” are very meaningful.

So what is the secret quality?

“BENDZA GURU PEMA SIDDHI HUNG” “BENDZA” means vajra. Regarding the meaning (of vajra), it is not a vajra made of brass or gold – rather, it is the ultimate vajra that is emptiness. So the ultimate vajra is emptiness.

(And as for)PEMA SIDDHI Hung, what does PEMA (or lotus) represent?

It symbolizes that, through the lotus grows from mud, inside it remains untarnished by the mud. In the same way, through yogins live in samsara they remain untarnished by samsaric attachment. They are free from attachment; thus the lotus is a symbol of being free from attachment.

PEMA SIDDHI HUNG… so taken all together it means: “Ultimate vajra that is emptiness, please grant the siddhi of freedom from clinging and attachment!” The ultimate attachment is the attachment to the self.

Garchen Rinpoche on attachment to self – “I”

This is the self that grasps at its own inherent existence , thinking: “I exist.” Why are we attached to this “I”? It is because of our dualistic perception of self and other. The actual nature of mind is like space, in which there is no duality – this is the ultimate truth. So why is there a duality? (It arises) due to the dualistic perception of self and other, due to the grasping at a concrete existence and to conceptual structures. In the Samantabhadra Prayer it says that many coarse and subtle imprints (grow stronger) day and night: this is what creates samsara.

The outer world is created by collective karma, while the inner sentient beings in the six realms of samsara are created by the personal karma of individual beings. So they are manifestations of their own afflictive emotions.
Lord Jigten Sumgon on “Cause and Effect”.

Lord Jigten Sumgon said, “Cause and effect, is the natural expression of moment-by-moment thoughts.” What is cause and effect? The ultimate vajra is emptiness, which is the ultimate protection from cause. And what is the ultimate vajra that is emptiness? Vajra means that it destroys everything ; It destroys everything, but nothing can destroy it.


“Emptiness” means devoid of self-grasping, devoid of self and other.

To understand that self and other are non-dual – this is emptiness. We can talk about outer emptiness, inner emptiness, the eighteen emptinesses, but if you do not empty self-grasping, you haven’t been able to empty anything. Once you empty self-grasping, there will be no others: others will naturally disappear. The mind becomes like space, and no one can move or change space. Space is unobstructed within itself; from itself, there is nothing not embraced by space, by emptiness.

Thus, “Ultimate vajra that is emptiness, destroy dualistic attachment!”  or “Please help me to be able to destroy dualistic attachment!”

SIDDHI HUNG means “Grant your blessings.”

So this is the meaning of the Vajra Guru(Mantra) and this meaning is very profound.

(This is the meaning of) the words of this secret mantra BENDZA GURU PEMA SIDDHI HUNG.

As for BENZA GURU, GURU is the lama. And what is the connection between the guru and the vajra? The body of guru is human, but this here is referring to the lama’s mind. It is emptiness, emptiness… It is said that if there is no dualistic grasping at self and other, this is emptiness. When you realize emptiness, you understand that within the mind, self and other are non-dual. This is the realization of emptiness, and emptiness is the ultimate guru. So the actual guru is the vajra, the mind. The body is the lama. The body is the nirmanakaya , the speech is the sambhogakaya since he shows the meaning mantra, of secret mantra; so the speech is the sambhogakaya, and the mind is the dharmakaya.
The mind is the dharmakaya means that the guru’s mind and the mind you, the disciple, are devoid of self and other.

Lord Jigten Sumgon said that to recognize this is to see that the guru , your own mind, and the Buddha are one.
(He said,) “I, a yogin, realized that the guru, my mind, and the Buddha are identical. Thus, I have no need for fabricated devotion.” But until you understand this, until you know that the guru and your own mind are indivisible, you have to walk (the path) of fabricated devotion.

Regarding the knowledge that the guru and your own mind are indivisible, when you think: “Oh, there are no self and other,” then the guru and yourself are also indivisible.

Compassion and self-grasping

But until you understand this, according to the relative truth, (You have to) sustain a continuum of love and compassion. Whichever practice you engage in, ((it should have) the nature of love and compassion. Love and compassion are like the sun, and self-grasping has to melt. How does it work? Self-grasping is like ice, and the Buddhas are like an ocean; therefore, the ice (has to) melt. Think about it: is ice water, or is it stone?

Lord Buddha said that in the beginning: “Sentient beings are actually Buddhas.” How are sentient beings Buddhas? Even though sentient beings are Buddhas, they still suffer in their various forms in the six realms of samsara. They are like ice, and ice is like stone. Think about this well. Ice is like stone. If you hit someone over the head with it, they will bleed, right?

How did that happen? It is due to the dualistic perception of self and other – mainly, due to thinking that “I exist” – that we are in bondage. So when we talk about there being no self, don’t say (about someone else) that “Well, he has self-grasping, he has afflictive emotions.”

Instead, you should recognize your own self-grasping. Recognize your own self grasping, because when your sense of a self has collapsed, at that point you can also melt others. For example, if you melt an ice-block with hot water, that hot water can melt all blocks of ice. Otherwise, one might find fault with sentient beings, thinking: “Oh, these sentient beings of the degenerate age are so afflicted.”

A person who perceives sentient beings is perceiving a duality between self and others: such a person has not understood that sentient beings do not actually exist. This person cannot melt others, as someone who understands that self and other are not dual is able to melt all sentient beings. The body is the nirmanakaya, the speech is the sambhogakaya, and the mind is the dharmakaya , and within the guru’s mind there is no dualistic grasping. Thus , when you realize non-duality, that is the svabhavikakaya. “Oh, (this is) my mind and nothing else.” Je Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche said: “My own mind is Buddha, but I never realize this. Discursive thoughts are dharmakaya, but I do not realize this.” This is the unfabricated, innate natural state, but I cannot keep to this. This is how things really are in their natural state, but I have no conviction in this.” The way things really are in their natural state that is Samantabhdra, is the dharmakaya, is Vajradhara. When you understand this, (you understand) that the Vajra Guru mantra is the heart-essence of all mantras. It is that precious. So then you chant it in melody.

In general, in the world, there are secret mantras and there are retainer, or dharani, mantras This is a secret mantra, so you have to think that by reciting this one mantra, you are reciting all mantras, that by practicing one deity, you are practicing all deities, and that by following one guru, you are following all gurus. So chant the mantra in melody, the mantra melody that the Vidyadhara Nuden Dorje actually heard when he went to the Copper-colored Glorious Mountain. He said that this is the melody he heard at the Copper-colored Glorious Mountain, and though I don’t have a good voice, since my Dharma friends have great love for me, I, an old man, shall teach you this melody today.

Chanting the melody and visualization

As you chant in melody, imagine that the entire space is pervaded by Buddha and that all beings and that all beings in the universe are dakas and dakinis: all men are dakas and all women are dakinis. All men are Avalokiteshvara and all women are Tara- think in this way. (The Buddha said that “Beings are) only obscured by adventitious stains. “ Thus, think that all sentient beings possess the cause of Buddhahood: then there will be no division. Chant the mantra within a state of “(pure) sights, sounds, and thoughts,” as the old tantric tradition calls it.

*Garchen Rinpoche chants the mantra*

So now, in your own home, wherever you are in the world, engage in the mantra recitation for however much time you have, whether it is for five minutes, ten minutes, or just for a moment. Think that the universe is filled with dakas and dakinis. Think that all of space is pervaded by buddhas and bodhisattvas , and that the heart-essence of them all, their regent is Guru Rinpoche dwelling in large form in space.

Is there a difference between Buddha Shakyamuni and Guru Rinpoche?

If you have faith in the Buddha Shakyamuni , there is no difference. There is not the slightest difference between the Buddha Shakyamuni and Guru Rinpoche: only their outer form is different. (Regarding) their inner mind (it is said), “All buddhas are one within the expanse of primordial awareness.”

Jigten Sumgon said: “On the level of Buddhahood there is no division between the two truths.” All buddhas are the same. And it is the same regarding gurus: only their outer bodies are separate. Their inner mind – a mind of only wishing to benefit others, a mind of bodhicitta – is the same. The Seven Chapters Supplication to Guru Rinpoche, which is widely-known, speaks about these (pure) sights, sounds, and thoughts:

“Outer and inner, the universe and all beings – all things – whilst seeing them, they appear, remain without grasping at a self. This freedom from a subject-object duality is the very form of the deity, luminous and empty. I supplicate to this guru – the self-liberation of desire!”

Do this toward all that you hear: all sounds, grasped as sweet or harsh, whilst hearing them, remain empty without after-thought. This empty sound, with no beginning and no end, is the speech of the victorious ones. I supplicate to this empty sound, the speech of all the buddhas! Do this toward all stirs in the mind: whatever thoughts and afflictive emotions of the five poisons arse, do not invite them, do not chase after them, do not let mind fabricate and contrive: simply allowing them to settle in the state of their own arising, is liberation into the dharmakaya. I supplicate to this guru – the natural liberation of intrinsic awareness!

The Four Applications of Mindfulness, as taught in the Sutra Path, have a great connection to this as well. The (first) application is “Do not grasp at your body,” (Which is the application of mindfulness of the body. Then) “Do not conceptualize what you see. Do not grasp at the sounds you hear,” which is the application of mindfulness of feelings. (Then it says,) “In your mind, do not follow your thoughts,” which is the application of mindfulness of the mind.

Then there is the application of mindfulness of phenomena, (which is the mindfulness that) all phenomena of samsara and nirvana (are created) by thoughts. Confusion concerning (the concepts of) samsara and nirvana occur due to (the discursive mind). When you rest evenly within these (four applications of mindfulness), “All objects that appear as outer are pure.” So do not think at all about outer appearing objects; then, when you look at your mind, whatever appears will appear like a reflection in a mirror. This is the mirror-like wisdom.

(Then it says in the Seven Chapters):
“May the inner grasping mind be liberated.”

Whatever appears in a mirror will not stain or harm the mirror. For example, as long as a yogin doesn’t grasp (at sound(, merely hearing something does not harm him. If he sees people and does not grasp at them, there is no harm. And what is the method for non-grasping? Look at your mind: Whatever appears to your mind, appears like in a mirror. And as you keep looking at the clear and empty mind directly, (appearances) will naturally appear as if lacking any inherent existence within the primordial vajra expanse. Therefore, since (appearances) do not inherently exist, holding them to be truly existing is confusion. So having understood cause and effect, reflect again and again upon the impermanence of all compounded things. Do not knowingly hold on to the true existence of something that doesn’t actually exist. The moment you think of something, remember: “This does not inherently exist. This is just like an illusion. Though I can see it now, the next moment it is gone.” When you understand the illusory nature of things, you will recognize your own luminosity in the bardo; then the mind will abide in it natural state, like space. So you will recognize luminosity in the bardo if you do not grasp at any outer forms or sounds and instead you continue to look within, at your mind the mind that is clear and empty like space.

As I mentioned before, the scriptures and reasoning refer to this as view of the Middle way. When you meditate, there is nothing really to meditate upon. What is the view of the Middle way? When you look at the nature of your mind, what is your mind? There is only one single awareness that knows the nature of mind. If you always remain within this single awareness, it becomes like space. This is what It means to be present in the actual nature of mind: It is to remain mindfully present in the true and pure nature of your mind. This is what we call “meditation.” It doesn’t mean to assume an outer (composure of) meditation all the time, but rather to always remain within the true face of pure natural state of mind. Then, naturally, you will not freeze, and the ice will melt. Thus, it says: “I supplicate to this guru the natural liberation of intrinsic awareness!” (In the Seven Chapters), it then says: “By the self-recognition of luminosity in the bardo, may the compassion of all the sugatas bless me with self-liberation.”

Everyone first needs to liberate themselves; only once you have liberated yourself can you liberate others. Liberation means to become liberated from dualistic grasping, or the thought that self and other exist. This Is false, since there is no self and other in the mind. Only bodies is there a duality: It is like one tree with many branches, which are like the phenomena of samsara. Think in this way. So “the self-recognition of luminosity” (refers to pure) sights, sounds and thoughts. All appearances are the deity, all sound is mantra. Empty appearances are the deity, empty sounds are mantra, and empty awareness is the vajra of the mind. When outer sounds and forms become empty, awareness becomes empty: empty awareness, the vajra of mind. Awareness (rik) means to clearly know your own mind. And clear awareness is what knows (itself). Within this nature, self and other, samsara and nirvana – none of it truly exists; it is all empty. (This is referred to as) “the naked primordial wisdom of empty awareness.”

Many billions of buddhas are one and the same within primordial awareness. Thus, it is said that “Within the expanse of primordial awareness, all the buddhas are one.” This is the vajra mind: empty awareness. “Within the expanse of primordial awareness, all the buddhas are one” – this is the meaning of primordial awareness. Je Milarepa said, “I do not see consciousness. I see primordial awareness.” Once he understood consciousness, (he said) , “I do not see sentient beings. I see buddhas.” How did Milarepa see sentient beings as buddhas? There is no one who doesn’t have a consciousness, and since one has consciousness, when one has understood the essence of consciousness, this is Buddha. This is the one that creates all happiness and suffering, He is the one who can throw it all away.

This is important, Dharma friends. Next, meditate for however much time you have, even if it is only for five minutes or ten minutes. There is no separate retreat of body and speech; (you can practice) at any time, day and night. At night, medicate – even if you only sit up and meditate for one minute. This is the vajra of mind: empty awareness. After the mantra recitation, meditate in this way. Meditate on the indivisibility of the guru’s mind and your own. As Lord Jigten Sumgon said, “I, a yogin, realized that the guru, my mind, and Buddha are identical. Thus, I have no need for fabricated devotion.” So please meditate in this way, Dharma friends. Many people want to come here, but they cannot due to the current measure the country has put in place for the well-being of the people. And actually, this is better. It is the body that comes to this place, but it is not good to consider the body as most important. You must consider the mind as the most important, because it is with out minds we see forms and we hear sounds.

The mind is actually just like electric energy. Even though there are a hundred phones, they are powered by the same electric energy; likewise , if in your mind you think of one another with love and compassion, you have established a connection with each other. This is love and trust, and the essence of faith is love and trust. If you have them, there is no distance. Then we will never separate – not in this life, the next life, or in the bardo. There is nowhere to go where there is no space: this is how it is. Thus, “Bless me that I may never be separate from the guru!” When you realize the nature of mind, you can separate (from the guru), even if you want to. In the Yamantaka practice it says: “I prostrate from within a state that is without meeting and parting – the ultimate prostration. The natural expression of primordial awareness is my offering.”

Those of you who practice Yamantaka, remember the meaning of these words clearly and engage in practice. Actually, now is the best opportunity for practice, and it is also a way for us to cultivate compassion for sentient beings. Many people in this world are losing their wealth and sentient beings experience various kinds of suffering now. Think about the suffering in the world and give rise to compassion. Now is when we have to cultivate compassion. Through taking your own suffering as an example, really think about beings’ suffering; think that this kind of suffering is experienced all over the world. Don’t just think about your own suffering.

Through the holy Dharma we can transform all faults into positive qualities, And now, temporarily, We can transform the epidemic disease into a positive quality by thinking, “This is an incredible opportunity to practice, an incredible opportunity to cultivate compassion.” School students have an opportunity to study and acquire more learning, and you have an opportunity to stay at home as well. If you think of this as an excellent opportunity, your mind will become happy. And when the inner mind becomes happy, outer illnesses will be healed. In this way, everyone engage in the practice of the Vajra Guru mantra retreat. You should think that our minds are together, as the mind is non-dual.

(Thus,) “I prostrate from within a state that is without meeting and parting – the ultimate prostration.” If you know that we are without meeting and parting, (you know that) the guru and your own mind are one.

Tashi Delek!

Also, you should buy many prayer wheels. The virtues of body, speech and mind are complete within you while you are spinning a prayer wheel. It is a continuous offering to buddhas, a continuous attainment of siddhis for yourself , and a continuous purification of sentient beings’ obscurations. These are the three continuations.

Guru Rinpoche said: “This samadhi is profound. In this world, it is not(something that) has originated, it is not (something that( originates (now), and it is not (something that) will originate (in some future).

Further, the benefits of visualizing the mantra wheel also arise from spinning a prayer wheel. It combines the virtues of body, speech and mind into one, and it is easy to do but very meaningful. Thus, there is nothing more important than spinning a prayer wheel. This is my heart advice. The liberation-by-seeing (mantra) is also a great protection – it is a supreme protection.

Many Tashi Delek! Also, use the cream from Gyanagma prayer wheel , and please eat the Mani Blessing pills

(Credits to a Dharma brother SM for his transcription.)

Guru Padmasambhava on the Mani Mantra

Guru Rinpoche told King Mutig of Tibet and the close disciples, “Listen, king of Tibet, nobility and subjects! OM MANI PADME HUM is the quintessence of the Great Compassionate One, so the merit of uttering it just once is incalculable. The possible multiplication resulting from a single seed of the lotus flower lies beyond the reach of thought. But compared to that, the merit of uttering the Six Syllables just once is even greater. A single sesame seed can multiply into many, but the merit of uttering the Six Syllables just once is even greater. The four great rivers and countless other minor rivers flow into the salty ocean, but the merit of uttering the Six Syllables just once is even greater.

All needs and wishes are granted when you supplicate the precious wish-fulfilling jewel, but the merit of uttering the Six Syllables just once is even greater. 0M MANI PADME HUNG. It is possible to count the number of raindrops falling during twelve years of monsoon, but the merit of uttering the Six Syllables just once cannot be counted. It is possible to count all the grains sown on the four continents, but the merit of uttering the Six Syllables just once cannot be counted. It is possible to count the drops of water in the great ocean, one by one, but the merit Of uttering the Six Syllables just once cannot be counted. It is possible to count each hair on the bodies of all animals in existence, but the merit of uttering the Six Syllables just once cannot be counted.

OM MANI PADME HUNG. The Six Syllables are the quintessence of the Great Compassionate One. It is possible to wear down a mountain of meteoric iron that is eighty thousand miles high by rubbing it Once every aeon with the softest cotton from Kashika, but the merit of uttering the Six Syllables just once cannot be exhausted. It is possible for the merutsey insect to finish eating Mount Sumeru to the core, but the merit of uttering the Six Syllables just once cannot be exhausted. It is possible for the tito bird to remove the sand of River Ganges with its beak, but the merit of uttering the Six Syllables just once cannot be exhausted. It is posstble for a small breeze to scatter the earth of the four continents and Mount Sumeru, but the merit of uttering the Six Syllables just once cannot be exhausted.

OM MANI PADME HUNG. It is possible to calculate the merit of creating a Stupa made of the seven precious substances filled with relics of the buddhas of all the world-systems and making constant offerings to it, but the merit of uttering the Six Syllables just once cannot be calculated. It is possible to calculate the amount of merit from Offering incense, lamps, perfumes, bathing water, music, and so forth to buddhas and buddha realms in a number that equals the grains of sand found in the entire world-system, but the merit of uttering the Six Syllables just once cannot be calculated.

OM MANI PADME HUNG. These six syllables are the quintessence of the mind of noble Avalokiteshvara. If you recite this mantra 108 times a day, you will not take rebirth in the three lower realms. In the following life you will attain a human body and in actuality you will have a vision of noble Avalokiteshvara. If you recite daily the mantra correctly twenty-one times, you will be intelligent and able to retain whatever you learn. You will have a melodious voice and become adept in the meaning of all the Buddhadharma. If you recite this mantra seven times daily, all your misdeeds will be purified and all your obscurations will be Cleared away. In following lives, no matter where you take birth, you will never be separated from noble Avalokiteshvara.

When someone is afflicted by disease or an evil influence, compared to any mundane ritual of healing or of repelling obstacles, the merit Of the Six Syllables is much more effective for warding off obstacles or disease. Compared to any medical treatment or cure, the Six Syllables are the strongest remedy against sickness and evil. The virtues Of the Six Syllables are immeasurable and cannot be fully described even by the buddhas of the three times. Why is that?

It is because this mantra is the quintessence of the mind of the noble bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, who continuously looks upon the six classes of sentient beings with compassion. Thus, recitation of this mantra liberates all beings from samsara.

Kings and disciples of future generations,
Take the Great Compassionate One as your yidam.
Recite the Six Syllables as the essence mantra.
Be free from the fear of going to the lower realrns.
Avalokiteshvara is the destined deity of Tibet,
so supplicate him with faith and devotion.
You will receive blessings and attainments
And be free from doubt and hesitation.
To the knowledge Of me, Padmakara,
A teaching more profound and more swift
Has never been taught by the buddhas of the three times
I, Padmasambhava, am now taking leave.
Keep this in your hearts,
Tibetan followers, kings, and disciples,
Who are present now or will appear in the future.

Wealth comes from Giving – My Personal Experience

(Sharing from a fellow Buddhist — translated from Chinese)

Dharma brothers and sisters, after seeing that some Dharma friends are experiencing difficulties in their finances, I decided to share some of my personal experiences in the hope that it would be of use to others.

In the past, I had many difficulties financially too and often worried about money.  After my marriage and setting up a family, we had some savings initially but my husband used them for an investment. I did not work and had no income, but my uncontrolled spending soon caused us financial problems.

At that time, my in-laws were a family of average income, my mother-in-law was quite thrifty.  If I did not finish a bowl of left-over vegetables from the day before, my mother-in-law would reprimand me severely.  I felt quite aggrieved and cried secretly. (Now  I realize that I had been very petty and did not know how to appreciate my merits). When we went to restaurants, we would pick the cheaper dishes and we did not snack at home, everyone was quite thrifty.  Even for going to the movies, my husband had to bring me secretly, knowing that his mother would be angry if she found out. After our wedding, my husband revealed to me that his family was laden with debts.  When I learned this, I was shocked out of my wits.

There were many problems with my husband after our wedding, at that time I came into contact with the Ksitigarbha seven days group practice.   In my eagerness to practice, I loved to make many offerings, give to the needy and release lives. But all these giving were accompanied by a kind of expectation or wish that I would be rewarded. I only hoped that something in my situation would change. My mother who knew somewhat of my financial situation, was saddened by my straits and would often support me secretly. Each time, she would give me quite a large sum of money, which, apart from supporting household expenses, I would use for myself quite sparingly, not daring to spend too much.  I used most of the money for releasing lives, giving to benefit others etc.  I spent most on releasing lives because I loved this activity.  I released lives ceaselessly and managed to release a great many lives.

At the beginning, there was not much improvement. Until I gave birth to our first child, there were many obstacles, so I decided to start doing my Dharma homework properly. I continued to persist in giving.  As long as there were places that needed donors, that had donation boxes, or donation drives, I would give a few tens of dollars, this became a deep habit of mine.

As my homework increased, my husband’s business started to turn around. I finally did not need my mother to help me financially. My husband would give me some money every month. Besides using it for household expenses, I would use most of it for releasing lives and giving. When relatives or other Dharma friends needed help urgently, I would try my best to help. Or if my friends liked something I had, I would give it out quite naturally. I knew that I had many negative habitual tendencies and used the method of generosity to reduce my greed and attachment.

As I persisted in practicing this way slowly, and as the volume of my homework increased, my husband’s business became better and better. We even got ourselves branded cars and large mansions. All the past debts of many decades finally got repaid, we got ourselves many real-estates in many places. Many of these properties were rented out at very good rates.

All these were just the appearances but many people envied me, thinking that I was still young and yet did not need to work and could just remain at home to bring up the kids, not even needing to do much housework.  But it is due to these very same reasons that I felt that my negative karma was very heavy, as these enjoyments also used up a lot of my merits.  Therefore, when I was home, I would try to help out with the housework and do whatever work I could do myself, not allowing other people to take my place in doing these work.  This was to conserve my merits.  I also tried to participate in internet volunteering.  What is worth mentioning is that: my children are basically taken care of by me. Because the kids are young, the mother’s guidance and teachings are especially important. Even in a very well-to-do environment, we should learn to be appreciative of what we have.  We should realize that the merits that enabled us to enjoy were obtained through hard work in the past. It came through giving and generosity. It came through maintaining moral discipline and holding precepts. If the children cultivated the habits of arrogance from infancy, it would mislead them and create a great mistake. The mother should inculcate her children with such values. Nowadays, although the children are still young, when they turn on the tap to wash their hands, they would automatically open the tap only slightly so that a small volume of water flows down.  They have been trained in many such cute habits (such as conserving water) , there is no need to mention them all here.

Later on, my husband got progressively better and better.  In the year when many in the same trade could not earn any profits, my husband even managed to make a killing.  As to this, my husband feels that he has very good luck. But secretly, I knew that this was due to his past accumulated merits and also the merits accrued from the virtuous deeds I had done on his behalf by releasing lives and giving for other beneficial causes.

Some Dharma friends asked me why I don’t put some savings aside for rainy days. It is true that I never did so. I can never manage to save money, because I love to give and release lives. This has become a deep habit for me only that now I no longer expect anything much in return, it has simply become a good way of life for me.  Although I do not really worry much about money now, strange to say, every time I needed money, there would always be some coincidental way in which money makes its way into my hands.  Sometimes, the coincidence is so uncanny that it shocks me completely but I believe this to be the blessings of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

It may be because I used my husband’s wealth to make offerings and give generously that my husband also benefited. Many of my friends and relative often said, since I married into this family, the wealth of the family has prospered, they said that I brought wealth to my husband. Actually, they do not know that this is due to my strenuous effort in giving and doing my daily homework. In the same business deal, if my brother-in-law or sister’s husband went to negotiate, the clients would often refuse to accept the deal. If my husband went, he always closed the deal easily and the income would often be quite significant. My husband often commented behind their backs that my brother-in-law and sister’s husband did not do their work seriously, but I felt that this was not the true reason. I feel that this is related to one’s merits.

To summarize, when I was very poor in the past, I did not give, was thrifty, did not uphold precepts, did not practice seriously and everything was done in a superficial way. I was extremely attached to material enjoyments and had many negative emotions. Since doing Dharma practice, my family has been getting along well, my finances have improved by leaps and bounds. I know that my karmic obstacles are heavy and that my present good situation is just but an appearance.  Only if my body and mind regains its purity, my mind placed on the correct Dharma path, all my mistakes of body, speech and mind are corrected, and I am able to take as my teacher the Buddha, Precepts and Suffering (for the sake of practice) would I be able to rest satisfied that everything is done well.

My Dharma path has been very long and my karma has been very heavy but the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have been kind and merciful, not abandoning me, allowing me experience so many positive changes in my family in a very short time. Even though not everyone in my family practices Dharma, but many things are gradually changing. For instance, if we met a handicapped person on the streets, my husband would tell me to give some money. If it had been the past, if he saw me giving money, he would definitely give me an earful. Or for instance, in our family, we predominantly take vegetarian food, when we eat out, we do not order live foods, so there is no killing. My husband now spends time with me and our children, chatting, interacting and playing games. He gives the children baths, it is a great change from the past when he barely came home, and ignored us for long periods of time. Even my mother-in-law has become more accommodating and understanding, our relationship has changed from one filled with quarrels to one that is much more harmonious. The Dharma practice and Buddhas and Bodhisattvas help us in every facet of our lives.

However, one should not be attached to such little worldly merits. A teaching once said, someone who is materially well-off and had a peaceful body and mind can truly be considered a person with merits. Learning from my experience, many of my surrounding family, friends and fellow-practitioners have now started to joyfully practice generosity. Many people who used to make fun of me are now filled with admiration for me and have started the practice of generosity themselves. Many of them have already received palpable benefits from giving.

Actually, I am still young, and my practice is immature, so I do not really have the qualifications to write such an article. But seeing often that people are complaining of a lack of money, and that some people who make great efforts are still deprived of wealth, I really wish to tell them, “Wealth comes from giving, holding precepts and doing Dharma practice.”  Just look at someone like me: not working; bringing up the children; ignorant of many things; having a very simple mind and being quite stupid, when many other Dharma friends tell me something simple, I need to think about it for a long time before their meanings becomes apparent to me. Yet, I have money every month, I am able to do my Dharma practice, volunteer work, release lives, study the teachings, accompany my family and live a very joyful life.

I am grateful to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Tonight, for some strange reason, I suddenly felt like writing this article. I hope it helps those who have the karmic connection. I am quite a simple and slow person, so it is better to leave a pseudonym. Thank you all my Dharma brothers and sisters!

Pure Motivation

Pema Trinley Rinpoche

If we do not have a pure motivation and our practice is merely for ourselves. Then I’m afraid that even if you practice the Dzogchen pith instructions, Thogal or even if you do retreats, all of these acts will not have much meaning. Many of our Dharma friends here have just emerged from retreats. I rejoice in your merits sincerely. All the Dharma friends here also rejoice in your retreat. Because we rejoice in the merits of your retreat, we obtain the same exact merits. (everyone laughs) And if you are going to do future retreats, all of us will now rejoice here in advance. However, as a practitioner, you should understand why we rejoice or why we retreat. If one does not know the reasons for these or if you don’t possess a pure motivation, or if you lack true faith in the Dharma or lack Bodhichitta, then whether you retreat or rejoice, it does not have great meaning.

All our practices must never ever be just for benefitting ourselves, or have our own benefit as its sole objective. Instead, one must genuinely give rise to the wish to benefit all beings vastly. Wish that oneself and others will obtain the fruition of liberation. In this way, you practice. If you simply say that you wish to benefit all beings, that has little practical benefits. We say that we must recognize the kindness of our mothers, that we must repay the kindness of our mothers, yet how can we genuinely repay our mothers’ kindness? There isn’t the slightest use in just saying we want to benefit all beings. We know that our mothers have great kindness towards us, then wishing to benefit our mothers, we should carry out actions that fulfill this vast aspiration.

Everyone of us needs to recognize our mothers’ kindness, repay our mother’s kindness. No matter who you are, it is impossible that you just appeared (in this world) like a raindrop falling from the sky, or like a flower growing out from the ground. There is not one human without parents. Our ability now to practice the Dharma, to work in our jobs, to have happy lives — all these came from our parents’ kindness. If our parents had abandoned us, we would not even have this human life, not to mention Dharma practice or jobs. If our parents did not conceive us, nurture us, give us medicine in our infancy when we were sick and healed our sicknesses… if they did not give us food, then we would have died when we were young. Our present pleasant bodies with which we are able to practice the Dharma and work– all these comes from our parents’ beneficence. As our parents were very careful to look after us, we have our present healthy bodies to learn the Dharma. Truly speaking, all that we possess right now comes from our parents’ kindness. We should really recognize this fact.

There are many children who are without the care of their parents, many of them are not even able to survive, or needless to say have a happy life. Just as you now make a lot of effort to look after your kids, all your parents have made similar efforts to look after you. Due to their parents’ kindness, children are able to grow up properly. This is a kind of karmic connection through blood.

If the children are able to perform virtues with their body, speech and mind, then these positive karma will similarly ripen on their parents. If our parents have passed away, then as children, if we are able to practice many virtues, our parents’ future lives will be very good. But if we commit negativities, these negativities will similarly land on our parents. They will end up in the three lower realms on account of our negativities. Therefore, whether from the viewpoint of yourself or benefiting your parents or others, we need to continuously perform positive deeds with body, speech and mind.