Benefits of the Seven-Line Prayer

(From a Terma of Guru Rinpoche)

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 Triple Gems. 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”
Āryā­dhyāśayasaṃcodana­nāma­mahāyāna­sūtra
https://read.84000.co/translation/toh69.html

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”
Āryā­dhyāśayasaṃcodana­nāma­mahāyāna­sūtra
https://read.84000.co/translation/toh69.html

Attitudes

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?”

“Yes.”

“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?”

“No.”

“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.




Harmony

(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:
https://bodhiactivity.wordpress.com/2010/01/14/vajrasattva-practice/


~~~~~~~

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

Editor:
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:

Editor:

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

Editor:

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

Editor:

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:

Editor:

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 :
https://www.lotsawahouse.org/words-of-the-buddha/samantabhadra-aspiration-good-actions

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 : www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3hHy8tKqMM)

Introduction

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

“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.

Some advice by Pema Trinley Rinpoche on abortion

Tonight, a lady came to visit Rinpoche. After becoming pregnant, her boyfriend had disappeared. She wanted to abort the baby but did not dare to, it was very painful for her. She asked Rinpoche if she could first abort and then do prayers to liberate the deceased. At first, Rinpoche said, “No idea!”

That night, after the teaching had concluded. Rinpoche spoke privately to this lady again. He said, “After abortion, whether you do practice or not, the final destination will be the hell realms. If you give birth to the child, maybe you will have difficulties, but in the end, it will be good. The heaviest of all karmas is to kill, the greatest of all virtues is to protect life. I am saying this for your own good with a pure motivation, what decision you make is up to you. “

The lady shed tears and said strongly to Rinpoche, “I will definitely keep this child.”

Rinpoche then gave her some precious blessed items and blessed her by holding her head.

(Rinpoche’s translator: This lady had first met a teacher who told her that one could first abort and then do prayers for the aborted fetus. It was truly fortunate that she met an authentic teacher who directed her on the right path before she did anything foolish.)
—–

Tonight, a lady rushed to meet Rinpoche to request for the Dzogchen pith instructions. After she had reported her meditative experiences, the translator mentioned to Rinpoche that this lady’s husband and mother-in-law had disapproved of her keeping her child, but this student insisted that she would never do an abortion and later gave birth to the child safely.

When Rinpoche heard this, he was delighted and gestured to the lady with his thumbs up. Then he said, “Isn’t it so that since you gave birth to this child, your merits and good fortune have increased more and more and your life has become better?”

The lady hesitated in thought and her face brightened up as she replied, “It is indeed so.”

Rinpoche said, “I did not say this through clairvoyance, but the law of cause-and-effect simply works this way. You would not only enjoy happiness and good fortune now, but your future will be even better. In your future lives, great results of virtuous karma awaits you. Moreover, this child will be very filial, he will grow up to be a very good person, he will treat you very well. It is not that he understands your difficulties bringing him up and decides to repay your kindness, it is simply that the force of karma will cause him to treat you very well.

“There is no worse karma than killing and no better merit than protecting lives. Not only you will enjoy good fortune, but your parents will also get by very well.”

This lady was overjoyed and interrupted Rinpoche, saying, “ Yes, it is true. Before the birth of my child, my parents were always quarrelling. After I gave birth to him, the house became very peaceful, everyone was focussed on looking after the child. My parents never quarrelled again. Now, my whole family is very happy. When I was pregnant, my mother asked me whether I will give birth to the child, I said that this was my baby, how could I not give birth to him.”

“How many people are there in your family? “ Rinpoche asked.

“My mother adopted an abandoned child, that is my little sister. “

Rinpoche joyfully praised her mother’s virtue.

“But my parents do not know how to practice Dharma although they have great faith in Buddha.”

“This is not a problem, I will teach them how to practice. Simply bring a recording of my teaching this time for them to listen. They will understand what I am saying, it will be very helpful for their practice. As for your husband and mother-in-law, their minds are too ruthless, their merits will gradually diminish. When you resisted their suggestions to abort and decided to bring up your child yourself, it may seem very tough at first but the merits of protecting life will bring you more and more wealth, you will become more and more happy. Cause-and-effect works this way. If you look at those people who do abortion, their merits will start to shrink, their lives will gradually have more and more sufferings and terrible future lives are awaiting them. ”

This lady who bore her child with great difficulties was filled with great happiness and returned to her room to meditate.

(Comments: If you have done abortion before, do not feel despair, but do many prayers for your aborted fetus and do many practices to purify your negative karma before this life ends. Apart from Pema Trinley Rinpoche, many teachers have taught about the severe consequences of abortion. It is even said that the karma of abortion is almost equivalent to killing an Arhat.  However, this karma can be purified with deep remorse and very diligent practice. Just as Milarepa had practiced hard to purify his karma of killing many people, you should not be negligent but practice hard, keeping in mind the negativities you have heaped up in the past. You should also resolve never to kill or do abortion again and to protect and save lives as much as you can.)

Pema Trinley Rinpoche is a master of interdependent-origination. He knows the past, present and future and is famous for his clear omniscience to see the rebirth of the mind-streams of any being in the three realms or purelands as well as the causes and effects involved.

Limitless Benefits of Mani Mantra

In a text he composed, the very learned Sera-je Geshe, Geshe Jampa Chödrag, says,

Thus, by meditating on the holy body of Compassion Buddha just once, hearing the holy name just once or memorizing it or seeing the six-syllable mantra written or just touching it by hand, one gets protected from spirits called de and spirits called za, which cause paralysis, from yamas, evil vicious animals, diseases, dangers and harm from human beings and non-human beings, and whatever wishes of this life one has—such as for long life, wealth, power and so forth—get fulfilled exactly as wished. Then the five uninterrupted negative karmas and so forth, such as extremely heavy negative karma collected during beginningless time, get purified, and one receives good rebirths in all one’s future lives. And one is able to see Compassion Buddha’s holy face and so forth.

If it is said that there are such limitless skies of benefits from remembering the qualities of Arya Compassionate-Eyed One and remembering the kindness and blessings and even just reciting the holy name, then one must attempt to practice, making offerings and requests and so forth.


In places such as Tibet, Nepal, India and Ladakh, there’s a well established tradition of doing the Compassion Buddha retreat and reciting one hundred million OM MANI PADME HUM mantras…

If you’re feeling guilt in your life, you can overcome it through the purification of attending this retreat…

Whoever attends a Mani retreat is unbelievably fortunate. Even if you can’t attend the whole retreat, you can participate for two months, one month or at least a few weeks. You can do even just one week. I especially hope that this retreat will also be established in Mongolia, since their main food is meat and so many animals are killed there every day. This practice is a great help in purifying that….

This retreat also blesses the country where it is held and brings so much peace, happiness and prosperity to the land.

Even if you know the teachings on how to meditate on bodhicitta, you still need to receive the special blessings of the deity, Compassion Buddha. You receive these by doing the meditation and recitation we practice in the maniretreat. Therefore, recitation of OM MANI PADME HUM is one way to actualize bodhicitta–to transform your mind into bodhicitta and make your meditation on bodhicitta effective…

Generally, according to my experience, in my home Solu Khumbu in the Himalayas of Nepal, there are people who live their lives chanting OM MANI PADME HUM but have no idea of the three principal aspects of the path–renunciation, bodhicitta and the right view of emptiness–not even the words.

Even though they can’t read and don’t even know the alphabet, they have great devotion to compassion and bodhicitta and live their lives reciting OM MANI PADME HUM. Such people are warm-hearted, very kind, very compassionate. This is proof from my own experience that reciting this mantra has the effect of transforming the mind into a good heart and compassion.

Without bodhicitta, you cannot cause all happiness for all sentient beings. You cannot do perfect work for all sentient beings, and you cannot achieve the complete qualities of the realizations and cessation, even for yourself…

We should especially think of death. When the thought of death comes, when we remember death, there’s nothing else that makes sense; everything else is total nonsense. When we think of death, so much of what we do in life doesn’t make sense; it’s all just nonsense. The only thing that makes sense is Dharma practice. Only Dharma will benefit us at the time of death and after death. The only thing that we can carry with us and can enjoy in our future life is Dharma—nothing else.

This practice of the meditation-recitation of the Buddha of Compassion will especially benefit us. Reciting OM MANI PADME HUM has merit as limitless as the sky. Even Buddha can never finish explaining the unbelievable purification and collection of extensive merit brought by reciting OM MANI PADME HUM.

This is a special means to develop compassion. Intellectual study alone cannot bring you the realization of compassion and bodhicitta. With the intellectual understanding, you then have to purify your mind and collect extensive merit. On the basis of those preliminary practices, you then receive this special deity’s blessings by reciting OM MANI PADME HUM. It is through this that the realizations of great compassion and bodhicitta then come.

Reciting OM MANI PADME HUM is one of the most powerful means of developing compassion and bodhicitta.

Doing specific meditation on the Buddha of Compassion and reciting the mantra are like soil and water, the conditions that together enable a seed to produce a sprout, or like the pieces that are all put together to enable a clock or watch to show time. The mind works in a similar way.

The preliminary practices and the meditation-recitation of Compassion Buddha persuade the Compassion Buddha’s holy mind. Purifying negative karmas, or obstacles, and collecting extensive merit enable us to receive the blessings of Compassion Buddha , and through these blessings we then receive realizations. And the benefits of compassion are as limitless as the sky. …

If you are able to recite six or seven million OM MANI PADME HUMs, you can become a great healer. You then have the power to heal various sicknesses, as well as the ability to make rain or to stop it. After you have done that number of mantras, if you recite mantras to bless water or some other substance or just blow with your breath, you have much power to heal.

A text by Padmasambhava explains the various problems that you can solve. If you have recited six or seven million mantras, your activities become powerful; your various activities of peace, increase, control and wrath are certain to help others. This is not the main aim of the retreat, but it comes about incidentally that you can do these things to benefit others.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche


NO GREATER PRACTICE

Every Mahayana practice exemplifies various aspects of bodhicitta—there are no exceptions—but I am convinced that there is no greater practice than Chenrezi for developing kindheartedness and compassion.

Moreover, no deity meditation is superior to Chenrezi when it comes to ensuring temporary, relative happiness here and now, and for laying the groundwork for ultimate happiness in the future.

– Maniwa Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche


Recounting a dream by Jamgon Kongtrul  The Great:

At a certain point later on, the evening after I had performed a formal empowerment for Phadampa Sang-gyé’s lineage of Manjushri for a few of my students, I dreamed of the venerable Karma Chagmé (a past Mahasiddha) as an elderly monk, who said to me,

“It would be best to use Avalokiteshvara as a deity in which to place your hopes. Then when you die, you take on the suffering of all sentient beings with your compassion, and there is the power to keep your attention from reverting to this world. If you practice the meditation of Manjushri, there is no guarantee of such power. ”

(Note: All deities are one in nature, there is no higher or lower deity/Buddha but their aspirations may have different effects on the practitioners who practice these deities.)


Nowadays, people are caught up in many activities, the main way for them to implement the Dharma in their practice is by reciting the Mani mantra. In this way, in a short time, manifold incredible benefits will arise for them.

We have very strong negative habitual tendencies, hence, there is a need to do the practice of Six-Syllable Mantra recitation often. We should do the practices while walking, standing, sitting and lying down. In this way, when we reach the age of 80 and 90, the merits accumulated will pile as high as the mountain and we will be able to see the result of our practice.

Mahasiddha Drubwang Konchok Norbu


 

Practicing the Dharma correctly

Yachen Monastery is a famous place for meditation practice, even in such a sublime place, Lama Achuk Rinpoche would always request everyone, “You should all at least recite 100 million Mani mantras.” Some people have finished 100 million, many others are still in the process of completing it.

Lama Achuk Rinpoche has himself completed 100-200 million Mani mantras at least. Therefore, as a follower, we should be like him, reciting the Mani mantra properly.

In Tibet, not to say 100 or 200 million Mani mantras, there are many people who have completed 300-400 million mantras. As for Ngondro, not to mention 3 or 4 times, many people have completed 23, 24, or even 25 times.

In Changdu region, there is an old lady who has completed more than 40 million full prostrations. She does 4000 prostrations daily, without breaking for even one day. It has been 40 over years already. She is neither a renunciant practitioner nor a monastic, but an ordinary nomadic shepherd.

In Lhasa, there is a young girl who works in a restaurant, now she is 21 years old, but whenever she has time, she will recite the Mani mantra, now she has already completed 100 million Mani mantras.

Why do I tell you these things? This is for everyone to reflect on yourself. Have I really practiced the Dharma? Did I put any sincere effort into it? To allow you to realize the faults of not accomplishing the Dharma, and for you to see the positive qualities of other peoples’ practice. To give you the chance to reflect. This is why I am telling you about these people.

If I ask you to do 10 or 20 million prostrations, you will feel it is impossible. What about 1 million or 500,000 then? If you can’t do that, what about 100,000 or 200,000 prostrations? If one does not even have the determination to complete that, then there is really no will to practice the Dharma. Do not find any excuses, if there is a will, there is a way to do it.

To practice the Ngondro once, one must at least prostrate 100,000 times, isn’t that right? If you say that you can’t even do the Ngondro once, then please do not call yourself a practitioner. We should be as courageous as those people who are so diligent, doing the practice with perseverance and no laziness. If you are unable to accomplish all of what they have done, or if 80-90% of what they have done is beyond you, then what about at least half or 10% of what they have done? Shouldn’t you at least consider this?

When death comes, we all have to travel on the same identical path, it is only that when we are alive, how much Dharma we have accomplished differs. So then, shouldn’t we make some preparations for the moment of death? Whether we have money or not, power or not, no matter how carefree you may be right now, when death comes, what everyone faces is the same thing. Whatever external conditions you may be experiencing now, please give some thought and preparations for the moment of death.

Nowadays, whether it is the Tibetan or Chinese practitioners, they give the impression that they are practicing the Dharma, but when we really examine how they practice, then we will realize that what they are practicing is impure and not in accordance to the teachings.

We should reflect clearly on the proportion of negative acts (of body, speech and mind) to positive deeds (of body, speech and mind) that we have committed in the past. Did we accomplish more positive karma or more negative karma? Think well about it! For us to be more carefree and relaxed at the point of our death, for the road to our next life to be smoother, then one has to be really cautious and throw all your energy into creating positive karma and Dharma practice.

When we are practicing the Dharma, please generate a positive motivation, practice for the sake of benefitting all mother sentient beings as vast as space. At the same time, be clear about one thing: when we practice Dharma, we are really accomplishing our own benefit.

People who do not really understand how to practice the Dharma, or who have insufficient faith in the Dharma, or who do not put in their efforts in practicing will end up thinking that the Dharma had deceived them. But whether the Dharma has deceived you or not depends on whether your practice is able to remedy the mental afflictions of desire, anger and ignorance in your mind.

Whether the Dharma deceives you or not, isn’t it so that each of us are able to feel our own pain and happiness? Isn’t the feeling of suffering and joy real to us? If we are not able to use the Dharma to tame our minds, then the Dharma will remain external to us. Even if you try to solve the problem by addressing the external circumstances, in actual fact, you neither know how to practice the Dharma, nor are you actually practicing Dharma.

Practicing Dharma is not about going outwards to change the external circumstances, it is about transforming our minds. If we know how to deal with our minds, then that is true Dharma practice. On the path of Dharma, we should first put effort in taming our minds, after that, we should try to help others through good advice, helping them to slowly transform their minds too.

If I talk too much, people will not understand. Anyway, the gist of it is that to benefit your present and future lives, it is essential to observe two points: firstly, develop the kind heart, secondly, practice the Dharma well. Whether it is the people around you like your parents, children, family, relatives or friends, one should try to benefit them. At the same time, one should give up all harmful intentions and acts towards others.

Pema Trinley Rinpoche

(Pema Trinley Rinpoche is an accomplished Dzogchen master, also a  Delog who can die temporarily to travel other realms, and see the karma of beings in the past, present and future.  He is famous for his clairvoyance to observe the fates of those who have passed away and giving advice on how to help them. )

Mani mantra – the Wish Fulfilling Jewel

If you keep focusing your mind one-pointedly on the presence of Buddha Chenrezig — or on some particular aspect of him, such as his loving-kindness or his eyes looking lovingly at us — then before long a powerful feeling of devotional energy is certain to emerge in your mindstream.  Once that happens, a heat of joy and bliss will arise in every part of your mind and body because of a mental and physical suppleness such as you have never felt before.  If you have already experienced this, it will augment the experience.

When this experience happens, you should allow the blissful heat generated by the development of loving-kindness to increase without grasping at or being attached to it.  Then the precious bodhichitta unstained by the obscurations of defiled concepts will awaken in you.  In the minds of those who follow the path of devotion, these enlightening effects will miraculously manifest before their own eyes.

~ Tulku Thondup

~~~~~~~~

A Story of a Mani-Yogini

Droril was a yogini from Rima.

Through the unchanging faith and devotion in your heart
For the supreme deity, the great treasure of nobility of heart,
And your repetition of his six-syllable heart-essence,
You revealed the heart of everything. Yogini, I bow to you!

This yogini was from Rimar in Kham. She was called Droril because her hair was whiter than a conch, and she usually bundled herself in an outer garment of white felt. Droril means “wheat-colored and round.” As she worked constantly as a shepherd, she never learned to read. However, she continuously recited the MANI with stable faith and trust, and eventually recited more than three hundred million. Her brother recited one hundred million and had a good practice.

When Droril herded her sheep in cold weather she would recite MANIs on the mountain slopes and then, imagining a fence surrounding her flock, would blow air in their direction. She would say, “Through the compassion of Arya Avalokita, they’ll be fine.” Then she would sleep through the day, without checking on the sheep even once. The sheep would never stray from the area she had blessed for them as pasture. In the evening she would imagine summoning them to her, and they would follow her home.

When the weather was fine she would circumambulate the mountain’s peak while reciting MANIs. At that time my kind guru was about ten years old, and loved to accompany her when she tended her flocks. He told me that there were several reasons for this. As she was a bodhisattva who had perfected love and compassion she was loving to all beings, including him. In addition, because she blessed her sheep they were protected from all harm, including the predation of wolves. They therefore did not require much actual shepherding, so accompanying her was free of stress. Also, although he had barely enough clothing to survive the weather, she would let him lie down to sleep inside her outer garment.

Because she used her mala so much, its cord was always breaking. He often helped her restring it with yarn. She cured the blindness of both humans and animals simply by blowing on them; her benefit of others was not inconsiderable.

It is said in authoritative sources that those who complete one hundred million MANIs will grow a new tooth even if they are advanced in age; accordingly, she grew three. They were as bright and white as a conch; everyone who saw them was amazed and inspired. I have heard from others that she passed away while sitting up with her palms joined in prayer. It is said that in these times of decadence and short lives it is better to accumulate a spark of merit than a mountain of learning. I have never heard of a source of merit greater than meditating on the single deity Avalokita and reciting the single mantra of six syllables.

Unfortunately, most people are like me; they neglect the accumulation of merit in favor of elevated, empty words about the view, meditation, and conduct while abandoning their bodies, speech, and minds to mediocrity. This is our worst problem, both for this life and for the future. I have not seen this do anyone any real good, only bring about their ruin and that of others.

Through the virtue of writing this may beings in the six states
Rely upon the six syllables, the king of mantras;
Purify the six kleshas that cause rebirth;
And reach the state of Vajradhara, the sixth buddha.

told by Khenpo Kathar Rinpoche

~~~~~~~~

His Holiness Third Dodrupchen says :

“In the Abhidharma it is said that “illness is the maturation of a violent deed, while compassion is an action totally free from violence.” That is why the Buddha of Compassion (Chenrezig) is the supreme deity (for healing). Precisely because of these points, it is said that Jowo (Atisha) was renowned for “his greatness in healing illness due to his having abandoned violence.”

~~~~~~~~

The Buddha (Shakyamuni) said:

“If you remember the Lord Avalokiteshvara…
The torments of birth, old-age, and sickness will be pacified.”

~~~~~~~~

Teachings given by Kalu Rinpoche in Sonada 1973.  
The first Kalu Rinpoche’s main practice is Chenrezig and he has recited many hundreds of millions of Mani mantras.

We should not think that Chenrezig practice is less important than others. There are other deities that require special commitments one must keep very strictly-for example, staying in retreat for months or years and keeping a vow of silence. If these commitments are broken, many obstacles and difficulties will arise. It is like the people who trade in stolen goods from Nepal: if they succeed, they make a lot of money, but if they fail, they lose everything and end up in jail. Chenrezig is an emanation of the compassion of all Buddhas and everyone–of excellent, medium, or low ability–can benefit from this practice… However, because Chenrezig is a manifestation of the compassion of all the Buddhas, no obstacles will come even though your practice is imperfect… If you practice Chenrezig well, then you will come to understand Mahamudra. Once Mahamudra is understood, either in this lifetime or the bardo, liberation will be attained.

Kalu Rinpoche Scotland, 1983

Let us trust the mantra, let us allow the body to attend to its work and the mind to its reflections leading to result, but at the same time let us recite the mantra OM MANI PADME HUM, without even being attentive. We will purify many karmic veils and finally attain awakening.

~~~~~~~~

Bokar Rinpoche

The deity and the mantra being one in essence means that one may recite the mantra without necessarily doing the visualization. The recitation still retains its effectiveness.

~~~~~~~~

His Eminence Kalu Rinpoche requested all of his Dharma centers to engage in Chenrezig practice. He has commonly said that this practice is the essence of all Buddhist practice, because Chenrezig is the embodiment of all the Buddha’s compassion. This is an especially degenerate time attracted by mental kleshas, and many people are angry, causing discomfort and war to all the world. There is no remedy for this other than compassion. Compassion is naturally possessed by every sentient being, yet you need to activate it and fertilize it – this is the practice that activates our own compassion to be more mature and one can be aware of one’s own negativities and defects. This being will perceive other beings as more pure and this will make room for love and compassion to all sentient beings. Do not wait until a problem comes – you have to be familiarized to prepare the remedy when the time comes. At least every day, one time or two times, this practice will make a difference in our lives. A great being like Kalu Rinpoche saw that this would be more helpful, so he designed this practice for all of his centers to practice. His Holiness the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa always emphasized that this is the most authentic practice.

~~~~~~~~

In the Tengyur, the benefits of the Six-syllables Mani Mantra are said to have ten kinds of benefits:

  1. Averting all harm from negative spirits
  2. Purifying all broken vows and negativities
  3. Healing all kinds of cold, hot or phlegm related sicknesses
  4. Overcoming all obstacles and accomplishing the five paths and ten Bhumis
  5. Saving from the sufferings arising from the water or fire elements, weapons or armed forces
  6. By reciting 100,000, one is able to block rebirth in the lower realms
  7. One is able to attain all fortune, merits, longevity and achieve freedom from such lack
  8. Reciting 1 million, one is able to benefit sentient beings
  9. Purify the three mental poisons of attachment, aversion and ignorance
  10. By reciting 10 million and above, one is able to attain enlightenment without obstacle

~~~~~~~~

In the text describing a journey through the lower realms by a Delog, Drungpa Lodro Zangpo,  (a Delog is someone who can temporarily die to travel through other realms with his/her consciousness.  After some time, the Delog comes back to life and recounts the journey as a teaching on karma cause-and-effect.)  One of the message that this Delog brought back was from the Lord of Death, Yamaraja.  In this message, Yamaraja describes the power and efficacy of the Mani mantra.

Lord of Death Yamaraja said : “Virtuous son, the six-syllables mantra is the essence of hundreds of dharmas.  Reciting a hundred times can cleanse the negative obscurations of body, speech and mind; reciting a thousand times can cleanse the ten negative acts; reciting 10,000 times can purify broken samaya pledges; recited 100,000 times, one can even purify the negative karma associated with receiving a mountain of offerings.  Recited a million times, one eliminates the five-uninterrupted karmas. Recited 10 million times, even if one is forced, one will not fall into the hells.  Recited 100 million times, oneself and others will definitely attain Buddhahood together.  There is no need for doubt.”

 

(Note:  Although different numbers are prescribed by different authors for the Mani mantra to achieve certain effects, this is actually not a contradiction.  It is stated by many teachers that due to the degeneration of the present times, the number of mantras needed to be recited to achieve a similar effect in previous times has increased manifold.  Just as different dosages of medicine is needed for illnesses of varying severity,  one should practice accordingly without feeling discouraged.  Numbers are just a guideline and form of discipline.  The quality of the motivation, concentration and faith in the practice makes a great difference in the result it generates.  Therefore we should be paying more attention to these qualitative factors.  Then, without any doubt, as we practice the Mani mantra one-pointedly, our minds will gradually regain clarity, stability, peace, joy and the qualities of compassion and wisdom will arise naturally.  )

 

More Teachings on the Mani

Pema Trinley Rinpoche 
(A present-day Mahasiddha, Delog and Dzogchen adept)

Today since we are talking about the main practice, I will teach everyone a way to practice. For instance, if we are reciting the Mani mantra, when reciting, we should visualize Chenrezig in front of us.  During this visualization, do not be distracted by other thoughts or emotions, visualize Chenrezig clearly.  At the same time, continue to recite the Mani mantra properly.  If we practice this well, we can attain Buddhahood.

I have told you that on the basis of having a kind heart, one should visualize Chenrezig well and recite the Mani mantra, when I say this, all of you would think, “Today Guru is teaching us such a basic and simple teaching, he is not teaching anything about Dzogchen (highest teaching on the realization of mind-nature in Tibetan Buddhism).  Literally all of you are thinking this way.

But in fact, this practice that I have taught you today actually contains the generation stage, the completion stage, shamatha (stilling the mind) and vipassana (ultimate insight), it is also Trekcho, it is Togal too.  All are contained within.

(Trekcho and Togal are the practices of Dzogchen)

When we visualize Chenrezig, we should try our best to visualize him clearly, this is the generation stage.

When we visualize Chenrezig clearly, while holding his clear visualization in our minds, we are able to keep all other thoughts from arising, and mind is quietly resting on the image of Chenrezig, this is Shamatha.

If you keep your mind resting quietly on Shamatha, at this moment if your attachments are naturally liberated, then this contains Vipassana.

Even though we do not use these terms overtly, but if mind is truly able to rest on the image of Chenrezig, and one is able to completely release all dualistic grasping, then this completely contains Dzogchen.

If one is able to be free from dualistic fixation, then we can also call it Trekcho.  While resting in the state where dualistic clinging is naturally liberated, Chenrezig nevertheless clearly manifests in one’s mind, this is called Togal.

 

His Holiness Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche:

If even those Rishis or celestial beings who have some imperfect attainments can bestow mantras that work effectively, how could it be possible that mantras given by Buddhas will deceive sentient beings?  Even if it is said that (the mantra can) cause fire to be ignited in water, it will certainly be possible as the Buddhas will never deceive us.

Just as ordinary mantras have all kinds of abilities, those mantras spoken by Buddha would definitely have unsurpassable qualities.  All kinds of sutric and tantric mantras spoken by Buddha are manifested from the expanse of their wisdom and have profound and perfect blessings.  In the same way, the teachings of the Buddhas have unsurpassable virtues, it is unlike those treatises composed by ordinary beings or sages.

For instance, when we recite the Mani mantra, if we are able to pray one-pointedly and supplicate, then this will cause all sorts of large obstacles to be dispelled.  If when one is reciting, one does not visualize seriously, or do not have sufficient faith, this kind of recitation may still have some virtue, but it would not bring about the efficacious signs and experiences in a short time.

When the causes are present, the result will definitely manifest.  The deity’s mantra is completely infallible.  In our pujas, even though our sadhanas are simple but if one does not even experience the slightest signs of effectiveness of the practice, then it goes to show that the visualization has not been sufficiently cultivated or that one has not been diligent in recitation, it shows that one’s mind has been highly distracted.  There are even some people who fail to complete the requisite numbers of mantras in the practice, then one can only blame oneself, it is not that the deity did not grant blessings.  Therefore, during each puja, I hope everyone will rely on a strong devotion and practice recitation with diligence.

Method to Heal the Eyes

After reciting many Mani mantras, it is good to blow on your own eyes by cupping your both hands over your mouth to direct air upwards, or overlaying your lower lip over the upper one to blow the air upwards. It heals the eyes. Lama Achuk Rinpoche enjoyed good eyesight and healthy eyes his whole life by doing this simple practice daily.

Garchen Rinpoche
The Benefits of Mantra Recitation

The first we should understand is that the mantra is the deity. Thus, with each mantra recitation, we are accomplishing the deity. It is through calling the name of the wisdom deity that the deity will come.
His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Sakya:

“Some very diligent people have been able to recite 100 million Om Mani Padme Hung in one lifetime.  Benefiting from that merit they demonstrate achievement and calmness, gain the power to heal and help others, and have no concern about death… In Tibetan Buddhism reciting mantras is one of the most effective ways in which a person can actively create a peaceful, relaxed, and happy state of mind.”

Ah Song Tulku Rinpoche:

Achuk Lama had a deceased relative, when he was alive, he had finished reciting 100 million Mani mantras.  When he died, he was in the middle of talking.  Just before he died, he told others, “A white deity is often present smiling at me.  This must be the Chenrezig that I am often praying to who is here to guide me after my death.”  Due to his genuine practice of Dharma, this old man was filled with joy and peace when he faced death.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche:

Each of the six syllables has much benefit and much power. It would take time to explain each one, so I will give a rough outline. The six syllables of this mantra have the power to close the door to birth in the six realms. Another way of saying it is that the syllables have the power to cease the continuity of taking birth in the six realms.

For example, the syllable OM has the power to cease the continuity of birth in the sura realm. The MA has the power to stop birth in the asura realm. The NI has the power to stop birth in the human realm. The rest have the power to stop birth in the animal, hungry ghost, and hell realms.

When you recite this six-syllable mantra, the six syllables have the power to destroy the continuity of the six root delusions: ignorance, anger, attachment, pride, doubt, and wrong view.

Reciting the six-syllable mantra qualifies your mind to practice and to complete the bodhisattva’s path of the six paramitas: charity, morality, patience, energy, concentration, wisdom.

Reciting the six-syllable mantra enables you to achieve the sublime realization of mahamudra, which means you can achieve enlightenment in one life. There are also many other general realizations, such as being able to see the past and future, to become invisible, to see distant things, to grant any material possession, to fly, or to walk very fast. By walking for two or three hours you can reach a place that would normally take eight months to reach. With a small glance you can see billions of people and with just a small movement of your hands, you can defeat many billions of people without needing any weapons. There are many other general realizations, but there is no need to mention them.

OM enables you to achieve the sublime realization and MA the general realizations. NI enables you to achieve the pacifying realization, pacifying delusions and disease, which arises from delusion and karma. PAD enables you to achieve the increasing realization, increasing four things: life, knowledge, realizations, and intellectual understanding of the meaning of the words. ME enables you to achieve the controlling realization, so that you easily receive any food, clothing, or other material possession that you need to benefit other sentient beings. HUM enables you achieve the wrathful realization, which gives you the power to destroy the maras, or evil-doers, who harm sentient beings and disturb the teachings. These wrathful powers are needed to benefit other sentient beings.

It also enables you to achieve the infinite qualities of Avalokiteshvara’s holy body, holy speech, and holy mind. It enables you to achieve all Avalokiteshvara’s knowledge and to perform Avalokiteshvara’s holy actions, which are unimaginable. These holy actions cannot be comprehended by even arhats, but only by buddhas. Avalokiteshvara performs unimaginable holy actions for other sentient being. The holy body transforms into many billions of different manifestations, the holy speech transforms into billions of different forms, and the holy mind also transforms into many billions of different forms to guide sentient beings.

There are five Mahayana paths to enlightenment: the path of merit, the path of preparation, the path of seeing, the path of meditation, and the path of no more learning. Reciting the six-syllable mantra, OM MANI PADME HUM, also enables you to achieve these five paths. The last one is omniscient mind, or enlightenment.

In this way, even each syllable has much benefit and power.

Even if you have collected many heavy negative karmas, such as avoiding Dharma, again this is the best method to purify them.

One lama in Tibet wanted to go to the pure realm of Avalokiteshvara, Potala. Somebody close to the lama, perhaps a benefactor, said to him, “Could you also take me?”

The lama then asked Avalokiteshvara whether or not he could take that person with him to the pure realm. I think the lama must have been a great yogi who could see and communicate with Avalokiteshvara.

Avalokiteshvara mentioned that the benefactor had sold a Dharma text, the Prajnaparamita in eight thousand verses. This text, which contains explanations of emptiness, has been translated into English. Avalokiteshvara said to the lama, “He has sold this text, so he cannot come to the pure realm. He will be reborn in hell.”

The lama then asked Avalokiteshvara, “What should he do?” Avalokiteshvara answered, “Meditate on and recite my mantra, the six-syllable mantra.”

Even someone who has created a very heavy negative karma of avoiding Dharma like this can purify it by reciting this mantra, because Avalokiteshvara himself said to recite it.

Reciting this mantra is a most powerful method, able to purify even the negative karma of a full monk who has lost his ordination by breaking the four root vows. In previous times,one pandit4, having degenerated all his precepts, was born in the hells but he didn’t have experience the suffering there. The moment he was born in hell, as he was right in front of the Yamas, the karmically created protectors, Avalokiteshvara and other deities saved him from the hands of the Yamas because he had recited this mantra during his life. Because of the power of that, Avalokiteshvara and the other deities saved him.

Right after he was saved by Avalokiteshvara, Hayagriva, and other deities, his consciousness re-entered his dead body, which was about to be burned, and he came back to life.

This mantra also has the power to purify the five unceasing negative karmas. I’m not sure whether this story happened in India or Tibet—maybe in India. A couple destroyed a statue of a pandit and made medicine out of the materials used to make the statue. After they had done it, they somehow knew that they had created heavy negative karma. Feeling much repentance, they did much meditation on the Avalokiteshvara yoga method and recited this mantra a lot. So, in that life, with the same bodies and without needing to experience death, both the husband and wife went to the pure realm of Avalokiteshvara.

There are many stories about how powerful this mantra is for purification.

At one time in Lhasa, there was an old woman who lived in the streets, begging, and she often recited this mantra. When she died in the street, her body was full of beams, and white light radiated from her body. Everybody was very surprised. She was just a beggar who recited this mantra all the time. She died in the street, not in a comfortable bed in a good apartment, but the light coming from her body was a sign that she had left for the pure realm.

There is also an Avalokiteshvara yoga method that cures eye disease. In the upper region of Tibet, one woman became blind; she then concentrated on and prayed to Avalokiteshvara all the time and recited many mantras. After some time, early one morning, she suddenly regained her sight. This happened without any treatment, without any doctors. There are many similar stories of blind people who regained their sight through praying to Avalokiteshvara and reciting the mantra.

Just recently here in Solu Khumbu, an old man who used to carve the Avalokiteshvara mantra on stones died. He and his wife lived somewhere down below here; they were very poor, very simple people. The old man had a generous mind, a good heart, and always recited the Avalokiteshvara mantra. When the husband died and his body was burned, the forehead bone sprang out of the fire into space and dropped to the ground. When they checked the bone, they found that white OM MANI PADME HUM mantras had spontaneously appeared on the bone.

At that time other incredible, unexpected things happened. Even though other people did not think that he was a good person and that he would be guided by Avalokiteshvara, very surprising things happened at the time of his death.

I think the bone was offered to Gomchen-la, an ascetic monk who is recognized as the embodiment of a yogi called [Tang pa gepa]. This yogi is usually drawn with a very big stomach. I think the bone was taken by the wife, but she wanted to offer it to Gomchen-la. Gomchen-la told me I should keep that bone with the mantras here. I also definitely believe in the benefits of this. I have also had my own experiences of the power of the mantra, though I’m not saying that I have any realizations.

If you have devotion in the benefits of this mantra, then recite it and blow on other people’s bodies or on water that you then give to other people, it benefits. Last year there was a woman who had so much pain in her eyes that she couldn’t sleep at night. When she came to a puja here a year ago, I gave her some mantra water and red cloth. I told her to put the water on her eyes with the red cloth, then wipe it off. I also told her to recite the mantra herself. When I saw her the next day, the pain she had had for a year had gone. There are many similar stories.

If you have faith in the benefits of the mantra and a good heart, even something simple like blowing your breath on water after reciting the mantra benefits. Reciting this mantra is one of the most powerful methods for the happiness of all future lives.

That is a brief explanation of the benefits of the mantra.

If one recites one thousand every day then when the body is burned, at the death time when the body is burned, even the smoke that goes away, whomever it touches, whoever smells, whomever it touches, those sentient beings, their negative karma to be reborn in the lower realms gets purified.

So there are fifteen major benefits, this is the same thing for long mantra and short mantra. Fifteen important benefits. There are so many benefits but if one can remember these fifteen benefits, if one able to remember these, then this is many important things. Besides all the healing, all the disease can be, that one can be healed or one get protected from many harms, all these things, besides all these things. So one receives fifteen virtue, benefits.

1) In all the lifetimes, one meets a virtuous king, religious king, virtuous king. So like His Holiness the Dalai Lama, so forth. Also, there happened others, virtuous leader, virtuous king. So by meeting, so, that by being in such a place then one has much opportunity to practice Dharma. There’s reasons like that.

2) So, all the time one get reborn in the virtuous place, where there is lot of, place where there’s a lot of Dharma practice. So where there, like where there’s a lot of temples, where you can make a lot of, where there’s a lot of holy objects, statues, stupas, many holy objects. And that by having many holy objects, and by having many people, by having people, so many people in the city doing practice, so they inspire you also to practice Dharma, cause of happiness. By having all these holy objects, then it makes you to, it gives you opportunity to practice Dharma, to create the cause of happiness, to accumulate merit.

3) Then, one is, all the time meets good time, fortunate time, all the time one has fortunate time. The conditions, good conditions, which helps your Dharma practice. Always many good things happening, which inspires you to practice Dharma, which makes you to practice Dharma, to receive teachings, to meditate, many things.

4) So then, always one is able to meet a virtuous friend. That is one.

5) Then always one receives a perfect human body.

6) Then, the mind become familiar with the path, then, in virtue, in the path.

7) Then, one doesn’t degenerate vow, morality.

8) Then one is able to remember, the surrounding people become kind to you, they become harmonious to you, with the people, family or Dharma students or people in the office, whatever, they become harmonious to you.

9) Then you always have wealth, means of living.

10) Always you are protected, always you are served by others.

11) Wealth that you have doesn’t get stolen, doesn’t get taken away by others.

12) Whatever you wish, get succeed.

13) You are always protected by the nagas, the virtuous nagas and devas.

14) Then in all the lifetimes, you see Buddha and able to hear Dharma.

15) By listening pure Dharma, then you are able to actualize the profound meaning, emptiness.

So it is said in the teachings that deva, human being, anybody who recites this mantra with compassion, compassionate thought, then that person will receive these five virtues. So there are so many benefits but these I mentioned, these five, these fifteen, were important, integrated, integrated in fifteen important outlines.

Then, mention a little bit the meaning, then we’ll stop there, okay.

The Compassion Buddha, in the form of mantra, with the speech, the form of mantra, then leading us to enlightenment. This, that’s what it is, by reciting OM MANI PADME HUM. So there’s the holy body of Compassion Buddha that we make offerings, we accumulate merits, we purify, we meditate, but then, the other thing is that, manifesting in the form of mantra, then purify our negative karma and causing us to actualize the whole path, from guru devotion and the renunciation, bodhicitta, emptiness, the whole path, the two stages of tantra, however, the whole path to enlightenment within us. So that then able to bring all sentient beings to enlightenment. This is what the mantra is benefiting us. So this is the action of Compassion Buddha’s holy speech, benefiting us.

So, by manifesting OM MANI PADME HUM, then there’s also prayer wheel, then the prayer wheel practice, with the OM MANI PADME HUM written, then that way also purifying, also very powerful practice that, it becomes unbelievable purification, the prayer wheel, OM MANI PADME HUM, turning the prayer wheel. And then by one time turning, it accumulate that, merit like sky, that if there’s a million mantras inside the prayer wheel, then by turning one time, you accumulate merit same as you have recited one million times OM MANI PADME HUM, so many. So like that, there are many ways Compassion Buddha, Compassion Buddha is guiding us to enlightenment in so many different ways. So it’s unbelievable how Compassion Buddha is, how is doing work for us, guiding us to enlightenment.

So now OM MANI PADME HUM. So MANI PADME, MANI is method and PADME is wisdom. So MANI PADME, there is method and wisdom, Buddha revealed the Lesser Vehicle teaching, Mahayana Paramitayana teachings, the Mahayana Vajrayana teachings, so now there is a method and wisdom of the Lesser Vehicle teachings, there is a method and wisdom in the Mahayana Paramitayana teachings, and there is a method and wisdom in Mahayana Vajrayana teachings. So MANI PADME contains everything. MANI PADME contains the Hinayana, the Lesser Vehicle teaching’s method and wisdom, the Mahayana Paramitayana method and wisdom, the sutra, then Mahayana Vajrayana method and wisdom. So MANI PADME, by practicing together the method and wisdom signified by MANI PADME and then purifies stains of body, speech and mind, which is signified by the OM, the AH, U, MA – OM. The three sounds makes OM. By integrating the three sounds then it becomes OM, AH, U, MA – OM. So that signifies the vajra holy body, holy speech and holy mind of Buddha. So, by practicing the method and wisdom signified by MANI PADME together, then purifies one’s own ordinary body, speech and mind, the stains, in other words, the stains of body, speech and mind, purify, and then transformed or it became inseparable with Buddha’s vajra holy body, holy speech and holy mind. So, the AH, U, MA – OM, OM signifies the three vajras. So like that.

Then that, and also that this MANI PADME, OM MANI PADME HUM, MANI PADME it signifies the maha-anuttara yoga tantra path. What I have explained before is general, now more specific. That, by depending on the path, the method that which the profound secret mantra, which makes the mind to be ripened, that which is the generation stage, and what makes the mind to be liberated, what liberates the mind, so that is the completion stage. So by practicing these two things, then you stop, you cease the circle of the ordinary suffering, rebirth, death, intermediate stage.

You stop, you cease. Then you achieve path-time, so the previous one is the base-time, ordinary the base-time birth, death, intermediate stage, so then actualize path-time dharmakaya, sambhogakaya, nirmanakaya, and achieve the result-time dharmakaya, sambhogakaya, nirmanakaya. So achieving these three kayas which are inseparable. So this is, achieving these three, purifying those three and achieving these three are signified by the OM – AH, U, MA – OM.

Then another meaning MANI PADME, PADME is lotus, MANI is jewel and PADME is lotus. So the lotus is unstained, it grew from the mud but it’s unstained by mud. So like this, the Compassion Buddha holding, the reason why Compassionate Buddha is holding the lotus, it signifies that the Compassionate Buddha has completely purified, has completely abandoned the root of samsara, the concept of true existence, ignorance. Not only that, even the subtle imprint, subtle obscuration is completely purified, by the wisdom, by the great wisdom directly perceiving emptiness.

So, therefore, not abiding, the Compassion Buddha is not abiding even in the lower nirvana, the extreme of samsara, the lower nirvana. Not abiding, not being bound in that blissful state of peace.

So free from that. That’s why holding the white lotus.

So the reason why Compassion Buddha is holding a jewel in the hand, which is in Sanskrit, the jewel’s name is MANI. The Compassion Buddha himself, himself or herself whichever way manifest, even he or herself achieved the highest peerless peace, the great enlightenment, but because the Compassion Buddha’s holy mind is bound with great compassion, so therefore stopped abiding, only abiding in the peace, in the state of peace, holy mind abiding in the state of peace. You see, and not manifesting, not working for other sentient beings, just only abiding in the state of peace. So stopped that, because the holy mind is bound by great compassion. So because of that, then manifest out in the form whatever it fits to the different sentient beings who have different characteristics of mind. In that way then reveal various skillful means whatever it can fit to then sentient beings, then like a wish-granting jewel, Compassion Buddha eliminate every single problem, every single suffering of us the sentient beings, and grants every single benefit, happiness, of us sentient beings, temporary happiness, ultimate happiness, benefits. So fulfills wishes of us all sentient beings. For that reason, then the two hands put together and holding jewel, so this mudra is done. Because of this, then Compassion Buddha is called “Lotus in the Hand,” by this reason. “Lotus in the Hand,” that is the name of the Compassion Buddha.

Now the meaning of HUM. Maybe the HUM we do next time. Maybe next new year – I’m joking, anyway.

The HUM is mentioned in the root tantra Dorje Tsemo, Tip of the Vajra. I’m going to explain what is the meaning of the HUM. It is a verse from that text. It destroys the, it cuts the suffering, HUM cuts the suffering, and destroys the suffering. It kills the evil beings by the mantra, means the HUNG, so those who harm so many sentient beings, and those who harm, destroy the teaching of Buddha, which is the source of all sentient beings’ happiness, so the evil beings. So the HUM, it take off the life of the evil being by the mantra, and it cuts the lasso of the samsara, lasso, the lasso is something that you tie, like animal you tie to the stick, or something, whatever it is, post or hook or something. So attachment, so the lasso of the samsara is attachment, what ties us, what hooks us or what ties us to samsara, what ties us to samsara, lasso. So HUM cuts the lasso of the samsara. Therefore, remember the HUM is the supreme, HUM, therefore, remember the HUM is the supreme one.

So HUM, the MANI PADME is Chenrezig’s holy name, that is Chenrezig’s, Compassion Buddha’s holy name, so MANI PADME is like calling, Mum!, mother or father. The MANI PADME is just like calling father or mum. Then HUM that persuades the Compassion Buddha’s holy mind. It’s a imperative, imperative word that the blessings of your holy mind, the great compassion, make it to enter in my heart. So that is the meaning of HUM. The blessings of the great compassion, the blessings of your holy mind, the great compassion, make it to enter in my heart, in my mental continuum. So that is the essential meaning of the HUM, OM MANI PADME HUM.

Other than this, is that the MANI PADME, that MANI, dependent arising, the truth for the all-obscuring mind. The two truths, all existence are condensed into two truths, truth for all-obscuring mind, the dependent arising, MANI signifies that, and PADME is the truth for the absolute wisdom, the emptiness. Then HUM is the unification of dependent arising and emptiness. Then also MANI, appearance. We label I, first our mind label I, then there is appearance of the I, then the I appears to us as if it is independent, as it exists from its own side, unlabeled. So the MANI signifies the appearance, appearance of samsara, nirvana, appearance whatever we have here now in this room, in this hall, yourself, others, the house, everything. All these appearances that which appeared as existing from its own side, not labeled by the mind, not merely labeled by the mind. Then, PADME signifies emptiness. So, these, including I, action, object, samsara, nirvana, all these things what are appearing, the way it is appearing to us is existing from its own side, not merely labeled by the mind. Therefore, that one is completely empty right there, doesn’t exist at all, the slightest even atom right there. Because everything what exist is being merely labeled by the mind, so therefore everything is empty. So MANI, appearance, PADME, seeing all these appearances are empty, empty of true existence. HUM then inseparability of emptiness and appearance.

(Lama Zopa quotation, credits:  https://www.lamayeshe.com :
https://www.lamayeshe.com/article/chapter/negative-karma-cont-dharma-motivation-benefits-om-mani-padme-hum)

Refuge, Mani Mantra and Mother Sentient Beings

Image result for Drubwang rinpoche
Teaching by Drubwang Konchok Norbu Rinpoche to a group of monks
June 2000

For more on Drubwang Rinpoche:
https://bodhiactivity.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/drubwang-rinpoche-attaining-full-enlightenment/

Firstly, we must understand what is refuge, whether you are of the superior, middling or lower capacity, you must understand the meaning of refuge. When you are undertaking any matter, large or small, you should recite the refuge prayer before beginning and pray to the Triple Gems. “The Triple Gems are undeceiving and infallible, the law of karma or cause-and-effect is unequivocally true.” We are all Buddhists, so from the moment we become Buddhists, we should guard our conduct according to cause-and-effect like protecting our eyes.

There are countless Dharma teachings in Buddhism but can sentient beings understand all these teachings? The essence of Dharma is encapsulated in the six syllables Mani mantra. We must be clear about this point. The Dharma for sentient beings in samsara is the Mani mantra, if we can recite this, we will gain independence or control over ourselves. After death, we will not fall into the hells and will be able to enter the pureland. This depends on each person. Besides this, no-one can have control (over the outcome), no-one will escape death. This is the simplest and yet most profound Dharma. With this, one need not beg others for help, there is also no need to beat (drums), blow (trumpets), clash (cymbals) or clap (referring to the rituals). In the age of five degenerations when Dharma is at its weakest moment, if the person has the merits to do so, no matter where I go, there are those who are 60 or 70 of age who will recite 20,000 mantras daily at maximum, the middling quantity is 10,000 and the minimum would be 5000 mantras daily.

This Mani mantra has been practiced in 100 million Mani recitation pujas in many places in the Himalayas such as Nisha, Kunnu, Ladahk, etc. This is beneficial to the Buddhadharma and all sentient beings in samsara. It will also be helpful to reduce the obstacles faced by Tibetans in terms of the propagation of Buddhadharma in Tibet.

Firstly, we visualize the refuge of Triple Gems, then we can perform all kinds of large or small positive actions. But what should we do here? We should recite the Mani mantra of Chenrezig, in this way we will purify all the negative karmas of this life. We can purify all the negative karmas accumulated since beginningless time.

In samsara, what kind of negative karmas do we accumulate? The five poisons (desire, anger, ignorance, pride and jealousy), the three kleshas, thoughts, three obscurations etc. Due to this, we remain in samsara… Actually, one’s mind is Buddha, and all sentient beings are Buddhas, but being obscured by defilements, we need to purify that to attain Buddhahood. Without purifying, the five mental poisons and negative emotions prevents us from recognising that our mind is Buddha; once the defilements are purified, one will see that one’s mind is Buddha. All beings have the Buddha nature, all beings are Buddhas…

In our past lives, how much negative karma we have created, in the previous past lives, and in lives before that, from beginningless time in samsara, we have created (enormous) bad karma like we did in this life itself. But if we recite the Mani mantra that counteracts the defilements, we will purify these negative karmas. If we do not recite, then these negative karmas will not be removed. By reciting, we can attain the common and supreme accomplishments, and reach an irreversible stage through the common and supreme accomplishments. We can be liberated from samsara. Samsara is like an ocean of suffering, isn’t it so? Constantly creating negative karmas, we continue cycling in samsara endlessly. 100 years on Earth is suffering in hell for one day. How much more suffering must we go through? All the lineage masters said that we should not waste this precious human life. When we are in the negative age of five degenerations, Buddhists who obtain this precious human life are as rare as the stars in daytime. We should recite the Mani mantra seriously all the time. Don’t lose this chance. When we face death, there are only the white and black paths, there is no other path. There is no way we can avoid facing the King of Death, Yama. In his mirror that reflects the karma of beings, all the good and bad deeds we have done will be shown clearly. There is no way to give excuses, debate or lie.

While we have the ability now, in this degenerated age when beings can enter the Dharma, if we are able to practice Dharma and create positive deeds, the benefit is inconceivable… everyone must practice Dharma… you must think of death and impermanence to turn your mind towards Dharma. No-one will not die. You must all think of the four thoughts that turn your mind towards Dharma. The four thoughts are to make one think of death. Without thinking of death, you will not wish to recite the Mani mantra. When you think of death, you will wish to recite Mani. The main thing is to think of death and impermanence…

Do you have control over your life? No. The mara of death is like a sentry at the top of the mountain. He will not tell one to come or not to come. When we wake up every morning, who knows if we will be able to go to bed tonight. This is impermanence. When we sleep at night, would we be able to wake the next morning? Just as the teachings say, “The time of death is not certain, the cause of death is not certain.” You are all students of the Buddhadharma, thinking of these points, if you should do more positive deeds and recite the Mani, your obstacles will be purified…

Young people should not lose your culture. Think well. Young people must regard parents as the main point when observing cause-and-effect. Quarreling with parents, hurting parents’ feelings, criticizing parents, abandoning their parents. There are many such people. This kind of person will not have a good day in their life. Cause-and-effect will not fail. There will be retribution for such karma. You must remember that parents have kindness to us. We are all Buddhists. Just as it is said that the parents’ kindness is equal to that of the Triple Gems. Parents take much effort to bring us up, one does not take birth effortlessly. When mothers have us in their wombs, they have to consider us carefully, afraid to harm the foetus, not able to eat anything they wish. After 9 months and 10 days, when the baby is born, the baby has no control over his life or death, with no ability to discriminate, the parents have to take care of one, all the phlegm and snot, parents have to clean, even using their mouth, isn’t the kindness of the parents great?

If entering the Buddhist path upon obtaining a precious human birth, we are not fearful of karma, causing grief to our parents, mistreating our parents, taking the best for ourselves, this is not permissible. A good child will first offer food to parents, offer the best clothes to parents, and finally make aspirations and strong wishes to repay the kindness of parents. Children should observe cause-and-effect. We are not Buddhists who are careless and negligent of karma, we should understand these principles. If we do not know this, we are like animals.

Whatever the situation, the Triple Gems are undeceiving and infallible, if we meet with all kinds of obstacles, we should pray to the Triple Gems, there is nothing more superior to this method for liberating one from the obstacles.

In all your actions, walking, standing, sitting and lying down, you should recall the law of cause-and-effect. Mainly, one should think of our parents. If we have domestic animals, we should consider them too. All sentient beings have been our parents. There is no sentient being who is born in samsara without relying on parents… knowing this one should develop kindness and compassion, not to harm mother sentient beings, treat all sentient beings as our parents with love and compassion… Sentient beings in samsara wish for happiness but do not know how to create the causes for happiness. They do things in a contradictory way, bringing opposite results through ignorance, just like a blind person stranded in the middle of a vast plain. All mother sentient beings in the six realms are truly pitiful. This kind of compassion is based on sentient beings, contemplate this way. The best is for one to stop eating meat. These are the meat of our parents. All sentient beings are our parents. You are killing them to eat their meat. At least, one should be vegetarian every month on the lunar 15th ,30th and 8th etc. In short, adopting virtue and avoiding non-virtue should be done in a very clear-cut manner…

There is no such thing as remaining a long time in this world so we should contemplate on impermanence and death from the bottom of our hearts. The Mani mantra cannot be accumulated in large numbers in a short time. One has to start reciting when one is young, and by the time one is old, one would have accumulated a large number of recitations. No matter what, positive and negative deeds will never disappear or be discarded, this point must be clearly understood.

Everyone looks down on the recitation of Mani, thinking that it is for people who don’t know anything much else. Such kind of thinking is pure ignorance. The Mani mantra is very very precious. Please recite the Mani well, safe-guard your own culture and have faith in the Buddhadharma.

~~~~ on another occasion:

It does not matter if you have much knowledge or not, or whether you are of higher, middling or lower spiritual capacity, this Chenrezig’s Heart Mantra Practice is suitable for everyone. It does not require a deep understanding of the Dharma as the foundation to practice. It does not require the practitioner to be very knowledgeable.  As long as the practitioner recites the Six-syllables mantra with sincerity and perseverance, the person can attain enlightenment. In the past, there have been many practitioners who attained high realization with Six-syllables mantra practice. When we are able to tame our mind, eliminate our discursive thoughts, purify our mental defilements and discover our inherent true nature of mind, we will be able to awaken our innate wisdom and accomplish Buddhahood.

~~~ further:

Most people think that the recitation practice of the Six-syllable Mani mantra, the Guru Rinpoche mantra and the Vajrasattva mantra is too simple, so they wish to learn more difficult practices. In fact, just like the Six-syllable mantra practice, if the recitation practice is done properly, at the time when we are about to die from sickness, when the four elements of earth, water, wind and fire of our body gradually disintegrate, we will still be able to abide in the single-pointed state of the true nature of mind. At this time, bliss and clear light can manifest and finally, it is possible to attain rebirth in the pureland.

This practice is the essence of all the teachings of the Buddhas of the three times. This is because although there are 84,000 teachings, it is not easy to practise them. Only the Six-syllable mantra practice is easy to uphold. At the same time, due to the dedication of the noble aspirations of the Buddhas, it is easy to obtain blessings through the recitation practice of this mantra. It is not easy for sentient beings to be born in the Sambhogakaya Buddha Pureland. However, if you recite the Six-syllable mantra, you will be able to gain rebirth in the pureland, and even if you do not have sufficient merit, you will remain in a lotus and able to listen to the teachings of the Buddha until the lotus blossom for you to see the Buddha. Therefore, even if you still possess mental defilements and negative karma, you can still be born in the Buddha’s pureland.

We should maintain mindfulness of our conduct while moving, standing, sitting and laying down, and constantly keep the Three Jewels in our mind and recite the Six-syllable mantra continuously. If we just recite the mantra during a meditational practice session, and after that during our daily life, we only recite for awhile whenever it comes to mind, then accomplishment in the practice will be slow. If in our life, we are continuously inseparable from our practice, then accomplishment will be swift.

If we continuously recite the Six-syllable mantra, then whenever attachment, aversion and ignorance arise, we will naturally have the inner strength to purify and eliminate them. If we do not have the strength of practice, we may commit non-virtuous deed that cause regret and create great karmic obscuration for ourselves.

We should always go for refuge before the Triple Gems and make the noble aspiration to benefit all sentient beings. If not, the virtuous merit that we accumulate will be limited. If we can continuously practice in this way, then even in the bardo of death, our mind will remain clear and luminous, and more able to be in accord with the Buddha Dharma.

~~

Nowadays, people are caught up in many activities, the main way for them to implement the Dharma in their practice is by reciting the Mani mantra. In this way, in a short time, manifold incredible benefits will arise for them.

We have very strong negative habitual tendencies, hence, there is a need to do the practice of Six-Syllable Mantra recitation often. We should do the practices while walking, standing, sitting and lying down. In this way, when we reach the age of 80 and 90, the merits accumulated will pile as high as the mountain and we will be able to see the result of our practice.

More Mani Mantra related teachings at :
https://bodhiactivity.wordpress.com/mani/

The Tibetan tradition of offering a kathag 

Kathag, the Tibetan word for the white scarf that is often wrapped around the offering one gives to the lama, is not an empty gesture; it’s not just done mechanically. In Tibetan culture it is the way of exemplifying all of that merit and virtue one is dedicating at that point with that offering. That simple little scarf in that moment exemplifies, for  the person who understands, the symbolism that all of that virtue and merit accumulated throughout the three times, by ordinary beings, by buddhas, and bodhisattvas, is being offered. And again, we begin realistically with a sense of emulation, understanding that this sense of dedication is something that grows through practice and through our own realization and understanding. We begin with the attitude, “Just as buddhas and bodhisattvas of the three times and the ten directions have dedicated, dedicate and will dedicate the virtue and merit of attainments for the benefit of beings, so too do I now, at this moment, using this act of virtue as the model, dedicate the virtue and merit of all of my activities in the past, present, and future for the benefit of all beings.” We begin with that sense of emulation.

~Lingtrul Rinpoche

Mipham Treatise on the Modes of Being

Very useful teaching with which one can reflect upon oneself.  Dharma is not just about mumbling mantras and going about in our usual habitual patterns.  But it takes introspection and quietude to really assess our own minds and change it.

Some nice quotes :

Let me explain the reason for this [being plagued by misfortune]:
Their previous merit is weak,
Like Chinese tea sifted through a filter.
They have bad mind and lose what is good.
Because they do little to repay the kindness
Of their parents, teachers, elders, and benefactors
The protective deities and divinities become disenchanted with them,
And they become like a corpse with no allies.
With little concern for disgrace in this and future lives and with little heed for
the law of cause and effect,
Whatever they say and whatever they swear,
They never follow through on a single thing.
This is why the strict and honest protectors become disenchanted with them.

Mistaking benefit for harm, they get pulled in all directions and fall sway to
their temporary situations.
If they could they would even treat the sublime refuge objects
as their servants,

They have little respect or confidence in the Three Jewels,
They do not act the same in front of your face as they do when you are
not looking,
And their earlier actions and later actions are inconsistent.
This deeply saddens the awakened heart-minds of the samaya-bearing
Dharmapalas.
They indulge carelessly in food and money
That was garnered from false accusations, disgraceful actions,
and swearing oaths.
They heedlessly indulge in gossip and slander.
Thus, protective gods and guardian spirits fade away into the sky.

When they see the fulfillment, glory, and prosperity of others,
Painful jealousy rises up uselessly.
Since they willingly disgrace themselves in front of everyone,
The capacity of the protectors and refuge deities is exhausted.
Because of these and other such causes and conditions,
They sabotage their own perfect conditions.
It is like they are sitting in a pool of feces:
Even if they call out to hundreds of deities and thousands of nagas,
It is extremely unlikely that these divine beings will congregate before them.

At that time, they say,
“Alas, even though I have done all this puja and practice,
Nothing in my life is working out and nothing is successful,
And these practices have not benefited me in the slightest.”
Beings in these degenerate times have such weak merit!
Right away, you must recognize that it is these unwise behaviors
That are to blame [for your misfortune].
And you should turn away from these actions!

Credits and thanks to Ari Bhod:
http://aribhod.org/translation-publishing/mipham-jamyang-namgyal-gyatso/

The file is available free for download on their site but I include a copy here for download in case the link changes in future:

Mipham treatise for download here (right click)

Passport to Liberation

Narrated by Khenpo Sherab Zangpo:
(Translated from Chinese)

This practitioner Tsewang Trinley was my Vajra sibling.  He was from Ganzi, Rongpatsa.  Once, we were together with the accomplished master Khenpo Tsewang Jigme receiving teachings on the “Six Bardo Teachings of Padmasambhava” and “Choying Dzod (Treasury of Dharmadhatu)”.  We got along very well and would often joke with each other.

When His Holiness Jigme Phuntsok came to Rongpatsa, Tsewang also approached His Holiness for teachings.  In his life, Tsewang recited a total of 100 million Guru Rinpoche mantras, he also recited more than 100,000 repetitions of the 35 Buddhas Confession Prayer, 1.1 million times of the 21 Tara Praises, undertook the Eight Precepts (editor: may have been the 2-days fasting ritual Nyungnay – not clear from the text) for 200 times, and made more than 1.4 million prostrations.  Through his prostrations, the board beneath was worn out by his blood and flesh.  It could be said that his life was solely devoted to Dharma practice.

Later, when Achuk Lama Rinpoche came to Rongpatsa, Tsewang supplicated Lama Rinpoche to ascertain his meditative realisations in Dzogchen.  After having examined him, Achuk Lama Rinpoche was delighted and said that he had completely realized Dzogchen.  Tsewang then told his disciples, “If I were to die now, I would not feel any fear, instead I would experience great joy; this is because I now possess complete confidence.”

Later, Tsewang had a messenger inform a disciple who was out travelling to quickly return to his hometown, he said, “This disciple wishes very much to travel to foreign countries, I have a passport to give him.”  Actually Tsewang had no ‘passport’ at all and everyone was mystified at his words.  Looking at his robust state of health, no-one imagined that he was going to pass on soon.

It took that disciple several months to return, and he finally came home on 26 February 1995.

Tsewang then told his disciple to write a biography detailing how he (Tsewang) had relied on his Guru and did Dharma practice.  He explained, “When practitioners read this in the future, there would definitely be some benefit.”  Having entrusted this task, he went on as usual to have his dinner, perform his customary recitations and nothing out of the ordinary occurred.  The next day, at noon, he suddenly felt some discomfort and at 6pm, he had his disciples help him remove his extra clothing and then sat in Vajra posture facing west.  When his disciples came again to check on him, he had already entered parinirvana.   His body remained in meditation for 21 days and his skin took on a fair radiance far beyond his usual complexion when he was alive.

On March 21, when the monastery arranged for his cremation, the sky was cloudless and a white vulture came from the sky and circumambulated clockwise.  Everyone present saw this.

People then began to understand what he meant by ‘going abroad’ and ‘passport’.  His notion of ‘passport’ was to record how he had practiced in his life.  I believe Tsewang wanted to tell us that someone who wished to attain liberation should practice with the same diligence as he did, so that when death came, we would be able to travel to liberation with this ‘passport’ just as he did.

I am telling everyone this story because I wish you to understand that all your efforts in doing Dharma practice in this life will definitely not be wasted.  Only someone who practices diligently need not fear death and he would be able to attain the joy of liberation.

After completing Ngondro and Guru Yoga, one’s mind-stream would definitely experience changes, at that time, one can rely on a qualified teacher to request the teachings and empowerments related to Dzogchen.

Dudjom Rinpoche on 7 Lines Prayer

His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche (Jikdral Yeshe Dorje) Teaching On The Seven Lines Prayer

Extract of His Holiness’ teaching on Guru Pema Trötengsel Paris 1984

…Then we come to the invocation prayer known as “The Seven Line Prayer”, because it has seven lines.

This prayer appears a lot and will come again and again as an invocation. The reason why this prayer comes so often is because at the very moment Guru Rinpoche was conceived, in a lake in the North-West corner of Uddiyana, realization was achieved simultaneously. When this happened many millions upon millions of dakinis sang this praise in one voice as a praise to the Lotus-born Guru. These dakinis sang from three most sacred places. Therefore, it has great blessings.

To go just briefly through these lines, it says that: ‘being born in the North-West corner of the country of Uddiyana, in a heart-center of a lotus, endowed with the most marvelous attainments, you are known as The Lotus-Born Guru, surrounded by many hosts of dakinis countless in number, I will follow in your footsteps’. This is basically what it means.

This Seven Line Prayer should not be considered as just another supplication or invocation prayer. Instead it should be understood to be the principal prayer calling for Guru Rinpoche which itself carries tremendous blessings. Due to the power of the essence of this prayer and the blessings it holds, when you have obstacles or hindrances, if you recite it with confidence 100,000 times, normally these can be immediately removed. Moreover, when I was young, I did this practice several times and found that you can do 10,000 recitations a day, which means that you can complete 100,000 recitations in ten days. Since countless millions of dakinis have uttered this profound prayer it has remarkable blessings. So, we should consider this not only as an invocation but also a means to bring about the essential blessings of Guru Rinpoche himself.

Rinpoche’s root-teacher Gyurme Nyedun Wangpo, (otherwise known as, Podpong Tulku or Zapong Tulku because he was coming from Za region), would give this Seven Line Prayer practice to all his students and disciples to do. He would even give it to the mothers and children. Whoever came to him to ask for teachings, he would simply say: “Just recite this and have devotion while reciting this prayer. Recite this, that is enough”. Therefore, His Holiness’ root-teacher himself essentialized all practice down to this Seven Line Prayer. So, there is no need to get bogged down in the complexities of the kyerim and things like that which we don’t really understand. Simply doing this practice alone is sufficient.

See also:
https://bodhiactivity.wordpress.com/2014/02/09/the-seven-line-prayer-of-guru-rinpoche/

https://bodhiactivity.wordpress.com/2014/02/15/teaching-on-seven-lines-prayer-namkhai-nyingpo-rinpoche/

https://bodhiactivity.wordpress.com/2011/10/21/contemporary-mahasiddha-of-the-seven-lines-prayer/

Auspiciousness

According to tradition, before we start anything, we invoke the higher beings remembering their graciousness and qualities. Doing this brings auspiciousness, benefitting oneself as well as others, whether one is undertaking mundane or spiritual activities. It helps in preventing the influence of anger, pride and arrogance, caused by ignorant clinging, during the activity one is involved in.

~~ Gyalwang Drukpa

Likewise, I would like to wish all of you a Happy New Year 2017. May all the blessings of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, who are inconceivable in their wisdom, compassion and power, be with all sentient beings forever. May you go from light to light. May your mind always be saturated with the precious Bodhichitta, cause of all joy, well-being and liberation.

You can recite the 8 Auspicious Ones Prayer thrice in the morning of the new year (link is below):

http://www.lotsawahouse.org/tibetan-masters/mipham/verses-eight-noble-auspicious-ones

Receiving recognition for offerings

According to scriptures, if an ordinary person receives and accepts respect from a high spiritual person, much of his merit is thereby consumed.  However great the offerings made to Longchen Rabjam (a great realized master in the Nyingma lineage), he said dedication prayers but never expressed gratitude, and he said, “Patrons should have the opportunity to make merits.” So the patrons would receive merits instead of expressions of gratitude for their offerings.

Being realistic with practice

YUKHOG CHATRALWA, A GREAT DZOGPA CHENPO
Tulku Thondup

Most people generally overestimate their own capacity, intelligence, and nature because they are enveloped in the ignorant darkness of their own egoistic shadows. Their ambitions and expectations exceed what their actual capacity could provide them.

It is important to realize the extent of one’s own ability and to pursue the goals accordingly.

The following is the account of our visit to a most famous Dzogpa Chenpo master, Yukhog Chatralwa, the Hermit or ascetic from Yu valley named Choying Rang-drol (d.1953?). My tutor Kyala Khenpo, Chochog (1893-1950) and I went to see Chatralwa accompanied by Khenpo’s brother, Kyali Loli, and a few others.

In 1951 we went to the hermitage called Yagegar, the Beautiful Camp, to see Chatralwa, the ascetic. He had about two hundred disciples, mostly monks. Almost all the disciples lived in small huts and caves outfitted with a small bed-cum-seat on which they could sleep, sit, and meditate.

Near their beds they had small stoves for making tea, and little altars with books. Many could hardly stand up in their cells. Many of his disciples were doing Dzogpa Chenpo meditation, but the majority of them were still doing common sütric and tantric studies and practices and the preliminaries of Dzogpa Chenpo, and they were being taught by the Chatralwa’s senior disciples.

For the most part Chatralwa only gave teachings and clarifications on the meditation and philosophy of Dzogpa Chenpo and only saw disciples individually, giving meditation instruction according to the experiences of the disciples.

He didn’t give public talks or teachings to groups since disciples have different meditative needs. The most impressive thing about that hermitage was that while almost all the disciples lived on life-sustaining means, yet their peace, cheerfulness, calmness, compassion, contentment, and energy, and the smiles on their faces told the whole story of their lives and achievements.

Generally, unless you were committed to staying for a long time, Chatralwa wouldn’t see you. But, he was fond of children, and they could go to his house at any time when he was free. He played with them and told stories.

He was very old, perhaps in his 80’s or around 90, but no one knew his actual age. Usually people had to help him stand up or walk because of his bad knees; but there were incidents such as his once running after pages of his books when they had been blown away in the wind, and no-one had shown up in response to his call.

People believe that he could read others’ minds and everyone was always fearful about their own thoughts When they were with him.

After the first day interview, which my tutor Kyala Khenpo and I had, Khenpo told his brother Kyali Loli some of the clarifications on Dzogpa Chenpo meditation he received from the Chatralwa. The next day, before we took our leave at the end Of the second interview, Chatralwa told out of the blue: ‘ ‘Don’t immediately try to find someone with whom you can sharpen your lips [chatter).” It enforced our belief and fear that he possessed clairvoyance

And of course Khenpo felt compelled to stop passing on the clarifications to his brother.

Chatralwa lived as a celibate yogi. He had thin gray hair; his hair was long and a little clotted. I remember his saying: “My teacher, Adzom Drugpa (1842-1924), told me that I should lead a tantric life, and he prophesied that I would become a Terton, a Dharma Treasure Discoverer. But neither do I want to be married, as it could lead to a life of struggle, nor to discover any new Terchos, Discovered Dharma Treasures, as there are authentic golden Terchos which are available. So, as a symbol of observance of my teacher’s words, I kept this long hair as a tantric costume.”

As it was very hard for anybody to see the Third Dodrup Chen Rinpoche and because Chatralwa, had never any chance to see him, he had received clarifications from Rinpoche through Terton Sogyal with whom Chatralwa stayed for a long of time.

Chatralwa told us: “Of course I never had the good fortune to see Rinpxhe, but I received so many wonderful clarifications from him. When I was staying at Terton Sogyal’s residence, whenever Terton returned from seeing Rinpoche, he would always call me and would pass on to me all the instructions on doctrinal and meditational points that he received from Rinpoche, or whatever they had discussed on crucial points.”

Raising his voice he would continue: ‘ ‘Abe (elder brother’s)! How could I forget those golden teachings? I am not mad!”

Chatralwa had rather a big comfortable house with lots Of books and religious objects and a few attendants. If you gave him any presents or offerings, sometimes he would accept them or send them for religious services, but sometimes he would show rage and throw them away. But if you brought him a nice meal, especially Zhemog, he would always take it with great pleasure and would say his famous line: “it is worthy of hundreds of horse and cows.”

There is a funny story about Chatralwa’s big house. One day a well-known lama named Rinchen Dargye, who was prophesied by the first Dodrup Chen as a great adept, had an interview with Chatralwa. This Lama entered Chatralwa’s room and kept looking around instead of sitting down and talking to the Chatralwa.

Chatralwa asked him sharply: “What did you lose?” The Lama answered: “I heard are a Chatralva, an ascetic. But you have enough to be called a rich man. How can one call you a Chatralwa?”

Chatralwa answered: “Chatralwa means someone who has cut off his emotional attachments to worldly materials or to life. It does not mean being poor and hankering for them as many do!” Chatralwa always enjoyed people who are direct and bold.

We spent eighteen days at Yagegar. Kyala Khenpo and I saw Chatralwa many times. Chatralwa gave the answers to Khenpo’s questions in very great detail, and after each answer he told an interesting story of the past before going on to the next question. I didn’t understand much of the main teachings but enjoyed the stories.

Looking at him gave one a feeling of his being so ancient, ageless, wise, natural, and vast. I kept thinking again and again: “Oh, Kunkhyen Jigme Lingpa must have been like this Lama. ” At that time I didn’t think much about its unusual significance, but later, and still now whenever I try to understand, I don’t find any answer to the question of why he let me in on those esoteric interviews.

Is it because I had been recognized as a Tulku of a great Lama for whom Chatralwa had great respect, or because I was just a child of twelve years old? I don’t think either of these is the reason.

Whenever I think him and his presence, it still brings a great peace within me. That must have been the true reason that this great Lama who had clairvoyance permitted me to be present.

A couple of days before we left, Khenpo arranged his brother, Kyali Loli, to have an interview with the Chatralwa.

Loli was neither a scholar nor an accomplished meditator. Anyhow, he had already received Dzogpa Chenpo teachings and had practiced them after completion of his common practices and preliminaries. But when he met Chatralwa it was disappointing to him. It is not because he wasn’t doing well with his Dzogpa Chenpo meditation, but that he wasn’t even ready to start it.

On that day, one of the most important days of his life, Kyali Loli went to Chatralwa. Loli was a very courageous and nothing would intimidate him. so Loli explained his practice, his Dzogpa Chenpo experiences, and he requested instructions and clarifications.

Chatralwa, without making any remarks about Loli’s presentation, said:

You should first try to say with devotion the name prayer of Amitabha Buddha 100 times a day, then increase it to 200, and so on. One day there might be a time when whatever you are doing, you will always be united with the expression of the ‘name’ of the Buddha and the feeling of the presence of the Buddha. If that happens, when you die, you will die with the expression and feelings of presence of the Buddha. Then, because of your merits and the blessings of the Buddha, perceptions will manifest as the Buddha-field, and your future will be in peace and happiness. Then you will be equipped to serve others.

Then he wrote down a few lines, a quotation from a Sutra which reveals the merits and benefits of the recitation of the name of Amitäbha Buddha.

Kyali Loli was disappointed because he didn’t get any Dzogpa Chenpo teachings, and it broke his proud heart.

But, now thinking back, I can understand how these teachings were perfect for him, and how it will be beneficial if he or anybody uses those instructions.

It is important for the teacher to be fair, frank, certain, and clear, and for the disciple to be realistic, careful, tolerant, and open
, as a line says:

“Having the Dzogpa Chenpo as teachings is not enough,
The person needs to become Dzogpa Chenpo.”

Dissolving Self-Cherishing

Whenever you engage in a practice, as mentioned here, for example the recitation of Manis, but actually in any activity, you should do it with the power of benevolence. This is a key point because there are those who make a mistake here: when they do a practice, their main thought is that if they do the recitation of Manis, they believe it will help them, and thereby help them develop some degree of personal attainment. It is inwardly directed, but again, it is only self-cherishing. Dharma practice, if done in this way can even reinforce self-cherishing, therefore you must avoid practicing in this way. Approach any activity with the thought that you are not just doing it for yourself, but rather, you do it explicitly for others. Your mind opens up completely, and you say mantras for all living beings, which automatically includes yourself. This is the benevolent attitude, the power of benevolence. The power of benevolence must inform all your deeds. It must be done with consistency, and constancy.

– Garchen Rinpoche

Going forward with Mani Monlam

Dear Dharma friends,

As of today, we have accumulated a total of  26,737,899  Mani mantras.

Although this is still far from our hopeful target of 100 million Mani mantras, it is still a great accomplishment for all those who have been trying their best to contribute and accumulate.  On behalf of everyone, I would like to thank you for your efforts and good energies for the benefit of all beings and to urge you to continue accumulating the mantra. I think it is very important to acknowledge how far a small group of us have come for these past 8 months and the kind of immense merit that has been generated from our commitment to make a bit of positive difference in this world for ourselves and others.

As we can see, many unfortunate incidents continue to unfold in this world, and from a larger perspective, its cause can be attributed to the thoughts of anger, jealousy and pride generated in the minds of beings. All actions that bring harm begin with a negative thought.  Furthermore, we can see many actions that seem to be done for the benefit of others but which are inwardly motivated by the coarse afflictions of anger, competitiveness and so forth. According to the teachings, if the motivation is negative, then even a seemingly positive act will yield negative karmic repercussions.

If we examine our own minds honestly, it is clear that we badly need to purify our own minds with love and kindness.  We cannot simply hope and wish for less problems in this world when we do nothing to change our own minds, letting it run out of control under its passions and emotions.  If we understand the Dharma teachings correctly, all causes start from within our minds, so it is very important to address this before trying to make external changes.

At the same time, one of the best thing to do is to recite Mani mantras that bring more love and kindness into the minds of all beings.  According to the Buddha, the sole cause of suffering is self-grasping and the afflictive emotions that arise from it such as anger and jealousy. The only cause of happiness is love for other beings.  All merits and positive conditions come to us in our present circumstances as a result of past positive deeds done for others with a mind of love.

Therefore, we need to first develop the causes of happiness further in our own minds if we are to bring benefit to others.  Then, with the wish to bring benefit to others, we invoke the blessings of all the Buddhas by reciting the Mani mantra. This is an infallible skillful method given to us by the enlightened beings to help ourselves and others. Instead of worrying too much about the state of the world or your life, work on your own mind, develop love and kindness and recite the Mani.  Then you can be sure that the causes of happiness are waiting in the future.

I personally have full conviction that reciting the Mani mantra will bring indelible and immeasurable benefits to all beings both in the short term and in the long term. I hope the same conviction accompanies you always. The perspective that Buddhists hold should be very vast and far-reaching. We are not only wishing only for some temporary improvement to occur on a small scale which may not even make much a difference say 50 or 100 years from now.  Instead, we are aiming for the complete liberation for all beings which is a goal which is so huge and all-encompassing that it is beyond our ordinary conception. Therefore, one with such a wide viewpoint is not easily shaken, discouraged or depressed by temporary adverse situations or obstacles.

Finally, please join me in rejoicing and making a dedication prayer for this vast merit of accumulating so many mantras:

By all the merits accumulated in this Mani accumulation, as well as all the merits accumulated by others, may all beings attain happiness and be free from sufferings in this life and ultimately reach Buddhahood swiftly.  May the Buddha-dharma flourish and the lives of the Dharma lineage holders and authentic teachers be long. May their activities be free from all obstacles and benefit many beings. Upon passing away from their present life, may all beings be reborn in the purelands of the Buddhas immediately without suffering and obstacles at death.

For more information on the practice to generate love and kindness, please read :
https://bodhiactivity.wordpress.com/2016/03/10/bodhicitta-teachings-by-lord-jigten-sumgon/

Healing the world with our positive minds

Dear Dharma friends,

On the first day of the Holy 4th Tibetan month (Saka Dawa), I am glad to inform you that our group count of Mani mantras at present is : 22,859,602 and counting…

I am glad that all of you have participated in this great accumulation for the benefit of this world and all sentient beings wherever they pervade. There is so much sufferings in this world that every effort of yours to send positive thoughts and intentions, love and kindness, mantra and blessings is very very useful. I think that is the real point of our practice. Even if the effects are not easily perceived, cause-and-effect never fails and I believe that our cumulative effort will make a ripple to help heal the world.

This year, Saka Dawa lasts from 7 May to 4 July (double fourth month in Tibetan calendar this year) and this is a time when positive and negative effects of karma are magnified. We should cultivate more positive intentions, release negative emotions and uplift ourselves and others with peace and kindness. It is a good time to practice more Dharma, to be more mindful of your conduct and to make good aspirations and prayers for others.

With much thanks to all of you,

Bodhiactivity