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

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

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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.

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

Heart Essence Prayer to Guru Rinpoche

Heart-Essence Prayer to Guru Rinpoche

Nying Zug Ma
A terma of Matrul Rinpoche

EMAHO  /  CHI NOD DAG PA GYAL WAY KYIL KHOR ZHING
External vessel of the pure realm of the Victorious Ones’ mandala

NYING WU’ ZANG DOG PAL GYI RI WO NAY
At its heart, within the Glorious Copper Colored Mountain

RIG PA GU RU PADMA JUNG NAY ZHUG
Resides the Guru of enlightened awareness, Padmasambhava

YE NAY DU DRAL MED PAR SOL WA DEB
Primordially there is no meeting and parting, I pray to you

RIG TONG ZANG THAL NGANG NAY JIN GYI LOB
Within unobstructed emptiness-awareness, please confer blessings

YER MED GONG LONG CHU WO CHIG TU DREY
Inseparable from ultimate wisdom, merged into one stream

THAR THUG NGA YAB PAL RI’I ZHING KHAM SU
In the ultimate realm of Chamara Auspicious Mountain

RIG DZIN DRUB THOB GYAL SEY DRANG MED KYI
Vidyadharas, accomplished beings and countless Bodhisattvas

DRAL DU KYE NAY TSHOM WU CHIG TU TSOG
Be born amongst this assembly and gather together as one

RIG DU PAD MAY KYIL KHOR ZHAL JAL NAY
Seeing the mandala of the embodiment of primordial wisdom, Padmasambhava

SUNG GI DUD TSI’I GA TON CHUD LA ROL
Celebrating the amrita of his speech and enjoying its essence

THEG CHOG YE SHE SA LA CHIN PAR SHOG
May we arrive at the state of the supreme vehicle of wisdom

This text arose naturally when the abbot of Siu-Gang monastery (one of the four great monasteries in the Nyingma Pai-yul lineage in Xi-kang) Shri-gang Matrul Rinpoche (Chokyi Nyima) saw the face of Padmasambhava in a Dzogchen state of primordial wisdom.  Rinpoche stated that if any devoted disciple of the Triple Gems who has pure faith frequently prays with this text together with the recitation of 1 million Guru Rinpoche mantra (OM AH HUNG BENZA GURU PADMA SIDDHI HUNG), he/she will received sublime blessings and increase his/her accumulations of merit and wisdom, ultimately attaining to the level of the original protector Samantabhadra.

This sublime practice was revealed by the Great Terton Chokyi Nyima (Matrul Rinpoche) in a profound pure state.  This is an extremely concise and potent practice from amongst Rinpoche’s termas on Padmasambhava which has the power to liberate on hearing.  Matrul Rinpoche has said personally that any sentient being who listens to this prayer, no matter whom, as long as he hears this prayer,  his worldly fortune and merits will increase, he will receive inconceivable blessings, in the future he will definitely be reborn in Sukhavati (Amitabha’s pureland) or Guru Rinpoche’s pureland.  This Guru Rinpoche prayer which liberates by hearing is extremely important and has very vast meaning.  Therefore Rinpoche hopes that this prayer would be transmitted to the whole world so that everyone can receive the blessings of Guru Rinpoche and be liberated by hearing.

Matrul Rinpoche and his Dharma Heir Rigar Rinpoche has compassionately given permission that anyone who has seen this Heart-Essence Prayer to Guru Rinpoche can recite it according to its Tibetan transliteration even without having received empowerment or oral transmission.  Later, when it is possible, it would be perfect and auspicious if they can receive empowerment or oral transmission from a teacher.

(Listen to the prayer here :
http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMjAwMDE0MDk2.html)

More about Matrul Rinpoche :

The precious Matrul Rinpoche Shri-gang Matrul Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche who lived to the age of 82 was widely recognized in Tibet as a genuine emanation of Guru Rinpoche.  He was also the rebirth of one of Guru Rinpoche’s 25 disciples, Nubchen Sangye Yeshe.  He was also the emanation of Black Zambhala (a wealth deity).  His life was full of miraculous occurrences and he has been regarded as the son of the Machen Mountain God.  Rinpoche is one of the older generation of teachers who transmit Guru Rinpoche’s teachings.  We regard him as Padmasambhava in person who confers liberation on sight.

Matrul Rinpoche was the vajra brother of His Holiness Penor Rinpoche and he both gave and received empowerments from His Holiness Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche.  He was highly praised by His Holiness Jigme Phuntsok  as someone who “did not need to be examined any further, he is a true Vajra Master,” and “he is truly Nubchen Sangye Yeshe’s true emanation.”  His Holiness Jigme Phuntsok once said in front of the Chinese disciples, “Just like Achuk Lama of Yachen, Matrul Rinpoche of Shri-gang is the same, these are the true great Tulkus.”  When Matrul Rinpoche was invited to Larung to attend the Amitabha Prayer Festival, His Holiness Jigme Phuntsok personally came down from his throne to offer a ceremonial scarf and invited Matrul Rinpoche to share his throne.  His Holiness supplicated Matrul Rinpoche to give the Colleges’ students empowerments and to confer the Nyingthig Yabshi.  Tenzin Gyatso Tulku of the Sertar Buddhist College who was also a disciple of His Holiness Jigme Phuntsok praised Matrul Rinpoche as being no different from His Holiness Jigme Phuntsok in terms of enlightened qualities. 

When Matrul Rinpoche visited Yachen Monastery, Achuk Lama Rinpoche similarly came outside the door to received him, and frequently proclaimed Matrul Rinpoche’s wondrous qualities to the gatherings of monks and nuns.   In addition, at the behest of Achuk Lama Rinpoche, Matrul Rinpoche performed practices to remove obstacles to Yachen Monastery several times.  The parinirvana ceremonies of the great accomplished master Khenpo Chokyab was similarly presided over by Matrul Rinpoche.  In Tibet, especially within the Nyingma tradition, Matrul Rinpoche is highly esteemed and he was approached by many teachers from other schools for teachings.

Events from Matrul Rinpoche’s life has spread throughout Tibet, as a great treasure-revealer, he has revealed so many termas that it fills an entire room.  Sometimes Rinpoche would just sweep his hands in the air in front of him and his entire body and dharma robes would be filled with all kinds of termas.  When Rinpoche was in Machen Mountain to retrieve terma, under the public view, his arm suddenly extended and he reached deep into the mountain and retrieved a Buddha statue.  Even when Rinpoche was imprisoned, he retrieved many yellow terma parchments in his cell and benefitted his fellow-prisoners.  In this way, he aroused faith in the minds of his jailers who released all the prisoners.

Once, when he was presiding over a large scale puja in Qinghai where many tens-of-thousands of devotees attended, due to the interference of non-Buddhist forces, the lightning flashed and there was tumultuous weather with rain and wind, causing much difficulties for the proceedings in the puja.  At that point, Matrul Rinpoche displayed a wrathful appearance and threatened in a strident voice to bury the negative forces beneath the ground, then he brandished his Vajra implement and flung it into the space.  A bluish cloud in the shape of a dragon descended and dissolved into the river and the obstacle was thus averted.  After the completion of the puja, Rinpoche released the obstacle-maker.  Events like this miraculous display, had it not been witnessed personally, are difficult for others to comprehend or accept.  But this was witnessed by many devotees.

Rinpoche has given instructions for his disciple Rizeng Rigar Tulku to spread his terma on the Heart-essence Prayer to Guru Rinpoche to China and the rest of the world.  On 24 November 2004, Rinpoche dissolved his rupakaya into the Dharmadhatu.

 

 

Bodhicitta Teachings by Lord Jigten Sumgon

(Dear Dharma friends, I found this wonderful teaching on developing loving kindness. It has many benefits and is such an easy way to practice with the mind if one has no time to do much practice.  Please do read and make a commitment to yourself to practice it.  If more people do this simple practice, I believe there will be much more merit, kindness and happiness in this world.)

Lord Jigten Sumgon gave several volumes of teachings on Bodhicitta. They were compiled by Chenga Drikung Lingpa. Of these there are mainly works called “The Great Instruction.”

Generally we know loving kindness as the wish for all sentient beings to be happy, and compassion as the wish for all sentient beings to be free from suffering as in the Four Immeasurables. Lord Jigten Sumgon’s teachings are summarized in two parts: how to recognize bodhicitta, and how to practice bodhicitta.

It is important to know how to recognize bodhicitta. In some traditions it starts with loving oneself, but in the Mahayana tradition, Bodhicitta is primarily directed towards loving others. We recognize it as a clear loving feeling. All living beings have this feeling – that of a mother for her child, or a child for their mother.

In Buddhahood, however, there is an absence of object. It is simply a joy to benefit and help others. In order to arouse bodhicitta, we should see all beings as if they were small children, perhaps as babies, with a feeling of liking or loving, the desire to carry them in our arms and such expressions of affection.

Lord Jigten Sumgon says that it is much more difficult to develop loving kindness, than it is to develop compassion. If loving kindness arises with respect to a loved one, it is considered impure loving kindness. If it arises for all beings as it would for the most lovable small child, strangers, insects, enemies, then it is pure.

How to practice loving-kindness has three parts: practice, accomplishment and application.

The body posture should be in the seven-point position of meditation, with a slight smile on the lips, legs crossed or in the lotus position, hands in “Touching the Earth” mudra as Buddha Shakyamuni, eyes half closed, back straight.

One usually begins by contemplating the loving kindness of one’s mother. Lord Jigten Sumgon predicted that in the degenerate times this might be difficult. In that future time, he stated, that if one cannot arouse a loving feeling by thinking of one’s mother, then use the thought of any other person who has benefitted you greatly, such as a good friend or your spiritual teacher.

Because loving kindness is more difficult to fully realize than compassion, one should spend one to two weeks concentrating on recognizing the feeling of loving-kindness. For a beginner on the gradual path, raising a strong feeling of loving kindness takes an average of fifteen days. Once loving kindness is perfectly developed towards our mother, who has been most kind to us since our birth, taking care of us unselfishly, feeding us, we then extend loving kindness to all those in our town or village.

When this is accomplished we spread Bodhicitta to all people south of Mt. Meru or the southern continent; then east, west and finally north of Mt.Meru, or the whole world. This one world is considered one to be one unit. we then extend bodhicitta to 1,000 worlds. This now also becomes one unit as we extend loving kindness to 1,0003 worlds. This, too, is one unit, or one world system. We now spread loving kindness to 3,000 world systems [note: 1,000 3 multiplies out to 1,000,000,000 and not 3,000]. This is the sphere of influence of Buddha Shakyamuni, the three great One Thousand World Systems.

There are still many other world systems. We extend loving-kindness to the innumerable infinite world systems of the East, South, West, North, Below us and Above us. Seeing all beings of the Ten Directions, without exception, as our mothers. We extend the heartfelt wish for all beings, boundless as the sky, with no boundary or limit, to experience the Four Immeasureables.Beginning with Bodhicitta extended towards our mothers, we gradually expand this feeling to include all sentient beings. If we cannot at first extend loving-kindness to all beings, stop and begin again with the pure feeling of Bodhicitta and then, step-by-step, extend until we generate Bodhicitta fully in all 10 directions, and to all sentient beings.

Lord Jigten Sumgon was meditating in a cave for seven years, when he contracted leprosy. He became very upset, because at that time in Tibet, leprosy was a terrible and incurable disease. He was preparing to leave his body, so he prayed and venerated his yidam, Chenrezig. While doing so, he compared his condition to that of other beings. In doing so, he developed great compassion for the suffering of others. By meditating on the condition of others, that night, he went into the samadhi of loving-kindness.

He felt his sickness leaving him in the form of serpents. By the morning he had attained Enlightenment and the Mahamudra state of Vajradhara. Later he composed a song about his experience, but said that it took a period of three days, because he thought people would be unable to believe that anyone could attain Enlightenment in one night.

He went on to cure innumerable people of leprosy, and became so popular that he was called “the one who dreams away leprosy.” This took place in an early part of his life. He called this period, “Loving-kindness with unfavorable conditions.” The remainder of his life was called, “Pure Loving Kindness.”

How to Practice Accomplishment:

Having recognized Bodhicitta and practiced accordingly, go to a lonely place and sit in deep samadhi. By this meditation practice, you will receive great powers. To practice application, you then use this power to benefit all beings, overcoming disease, famine, drought, war, etc.

If you see an area of the world with such unfavorable conditions, you sit in samadhi and develop love, not only for the human beings of that place, but for all living beings in that area. In this way, unfavorable conditions are overcome. By wishing that “in this area may disease, war, etc., be subdued,” the conditions are pacified.

At the time Lord Buddha was leaving the world, through his miraculous powers, all the weapons in Shawasti were transformed into flowers. By witnessing this, even a non-Buddhist attained Enlightenment. Also, once in the country of Shawasti a great sickness was spreading, and Ananda’s loving-kindness subdued the disease. In Lord Jigten Sumgon’s instructions it states that perhaps during the time of Guru Padma Sambhava, the Mongols attacking Samaye Monastery were pacified by loving kindness.

If you experience unfavorable circumstances caused by spirits, demons or curses, sit in meditation on loving kindness to ward off obstuctors. In this way, you can overcome your difficulties. There are many stories of the efficacy of loving-kindness meditation. If you want to accomplish something for yourself and others in a certain direction, you can focus loving-kindness in that direction. You develop loving-kindness for all beings in that direction, for humans and non-humans alike. You can thus fulfill your purpose. One can overcome spirits, demons and non-humans with loving-kindness.

Loving-kindness is also very important on such special occasions as when giving empowerments, teachings and consecrating statues. On these occasions you being by meditating on loving-kindness and then extending it towards all beings – human and non-human equally – of that particular area and then extend it to the whole world, and then to all worlds. Again to begin practicing, start with a small area and gradually spread loving-kindness, like unto the ripples caused by dropping a stone in a pool of water. In this way, your meditative concentration is not lost!

When consecrating a new statue of Buddha, sit in meditation on loving-kindness, develop Samadhi of Loving-kindness, then sprinkle the statue with flowers. This is the best consecration. Similarly, in doing pujas, if you do pujas in a state of loving-kindness, then the auspicious conditions and wishes are fulfilled. Loving-kindness is especially important for spiritual teachers. When leading rituals and giving empowerments, bodhicitta is indispensable. One cannot function without it. Even if you want to heal someone from sickness, or make a torma offering, you cannot do it without loving-kindness. What small amounts of realizations you do have might be lost in the process without loving-kindness. You can see the blessing power of loving-kindness in daily life. A physician who knows the four tantras, but has not developed loving-kindness cannot effectively heal, while someone who has less knowledge and cultivates loving-kindness does heal.

If a yogi wants to heal someone with a demon or a spirit possession, and if the yogi does not have the proper knowledge of loving-kindness, he may become sick or possessed himself. It is the same with Tantric knowledge. If a practitioner tries to heal without loving-kindness, someone else might become sick or possessed. It is also the case with yogis who practice in isolation in the mountains. Whether they have good karma or not, experience demons or not, have their wishes fulfilled or not, all of this depends on their knowledge of loving-kindness.

At the time of the application of the power of loving-kindness (when giving empowerments, healing, consecrating statues, etc.) you should be very careful. While you are in samadhi, if your state is disturbed by a negative thought, or if a person disturbs you, your meditation becomes useless. While sitting in meditation on loving-kindness, with a view towards the application or that power, concentrate on that application specifically.

If your attention shifts, for example, from war to famine then the famine might be relieved, but your main aim was not accomplished. Or if, for example, a new statue is in front of you and your eyes shift to a statue in the distance, then that far statue is consecrated, and not the one you intended to consecrate. At the time of the application, you must take great care not to break your meditation. If there is a sudden break your meditation power is scattered and the energy disperses. Rather than letting this happen, maintain concentration intensely to achieve your goal. At the time of application your body, speech and mind should be controlled and disciplined.

You should be in a state of mindfulness and awareness, not distracted for even a moment. Allow only positive thoughts to arise. In the case of a statue, never lose attention to the object, even as scattering flowers over it. In certain texts relating to consecration, it is said that a long ceremony or puja is only the outer ceremony of consecration.

When a person in a state of Mahamudra watches or gazes at the statue, only then is it really consecrated. It is the same with the state of loving kindness. In developing this state there are infinite benefits for oneself and for others. One achieves one’s aims and goals as well.

The benefits of practicing loving kindness are often mentioned in the sutras. They are summarized by Nagarjuna in his “Letter to a King.” One is respected by humans and non-humans alike. One is protected by these beings, and they will never harm you. Everyone is happy with you. Your mind is filled with joy. You will never be harmed by weapons or powers. Your fame will spread in all directions. After your death you will be found in the highest realm of Brahma. By practicing loving-kindness you accumulate much merit and wisdom leading towards Buddhahood. If you practice generosity three times a day for many days, you create much merit. But if you meditate for even a short moment on loving-kindness the merit is sixteen times greater. By practicing loving-kindness, one is not attacked by spirits or demons, nor does one experience such things as fighting or quarreling.

Lord Jigten Sumgon was once in an area of Tibet when a crop failed because it was afflicted by frost. he saw this and sat in loving-kindness. Since that time, in an area that can be covered by one person in a day, there has never again been a frost.

Practicing loving-kindness is important for our private lives as well. If we can sit in loving-kindness samadhi, we can spread peace and harmony to our whole families. It is a direct antidote to fear and hatred. Everything is interconnected. In society at large, loving kindness creates peace and harmony, which overcomes war, etc.

Why are there so many unfavorable conditions? Our minds are functioning in the state opposite to loving-kindness with thoughts of fear, hatred and aggressiveness. Subdue the mind! If our minds are pacified, then unfavorable conditions in the world can be pacified. If you consider Dharma practice, the main task is to subdue the mind, in order to be free from Samsara.

The main cause of enlightenment is bodhicitta. The seed of enlightenment is bodhicitta. Lord Jigten Sumgon states that enlightenment itself is the manifestation of bodhicitta, or embodiment of bodhicitta just as the manifestation of hatred is hell. Enlightenment is also dependent on loving kindness and compassion.

In the words of Lord Phagmo Drupa, “Bodhicitta is like a plant, the earth and moisture that nourish it are loving-kindness and compassion. Bodhicitta is the result.” The essence of all of Lord Buddha’s teachings are love, compassion and bodhicitta. If we practice these, there is no doubt that we will achieve Buddhahood.

Chenga Drikung Lingpa, main disciple and attendant of Lord Jigten Sumgon, compiled many of his teachings, referred to as Gong Chik meaning One Thought. Shortly before leaving the world, he declared that the substance of all the teachings are relative and absolute levels of bodhicitta.

Prayer for the difficult times by Chatral Rinpoche

The Rishi’s Maledictory Incantation

An Invocation of Wisdom Mind and Sacred Pledges for Reversing the Disturbances and Agitations of Dark Times In the Form of an Aspiration Prayer

Namo Guru Ratna Trayāya!

Guide for this fortunate eon, crown ornament of the Śākyas,

Second buddha, Lord Orgyen Tsokye,

Eight Close sons headed by

The supreme and noble Avalokiteśvara, Mañjuśrī, and Vajrapāṇi,

Twenty-one Tārās and the assembly of elders,

Root lineage masters, peaceful and wrathful yidam deities,

Ḍākinīs of the three places, wisdom Dharma protectors,

Guardians of the four directions and the seventy glorious protectors,

Great masters with powers of clairvoyance and miraculous activity,

In your wisdom, please turn your attention toward all beings engaged in conflict.

The shared negative karma of beings in this final dark age

Froths as a huge ocean;

Goodness is neglected whilst the demons of evil

Churns intensely the minds of the powerful and the influential,

Spitting out wars that could reduce this earth to dust.

Hurricanes of weapons hatched from perverse aspirations

Unleashed to turn instantly the entire universe and its inhabitants into ash.

The portents of these bad omens of our approaching total destruction

Appear clearly in the sights, sounds, and thoughts of our world.

Yet the ignorants remain in their webs of delusion and doubt;

Exceedingly stupid, they still do not feel alarmed at all.

Terror from just hearing or thinking

About transformation of our world like never before fills us.

We have no means or hope to reverse this,

Save the undeceiving Three Jewels and Three Roots –

To whom we are crying like small children wailing for parents.

Please hear our desperate prayers,

And remember your earlier commitments.

Extend your hands of compassion as swift as lightening

To hold and shelter those lacking protection and free us from our terror.

When powerful barbarians who plunder the happiness of beings in our world

plot their battles,

Please transform these leaders and their minions

– such ruthless malefactors –

Into proponents of peace, happiness and harmony.

Please extinguish the adverse circumstances of war right on the spot

And expel and destroy these demonic atomic weapons.

Then throughout our great earth

Please spread Dharma teachers, learning, and accomplishment in all directions.

Liberate the world from the claws of nasty gangs of human and non-human

Executioners of the teachings and sentient beings, until not even their names remain.

May vast happiness saturate the whole world,

And beings be elevated through the glory of the four pursuits to the Truly High.

(Notes — four pursuits : duty; wealth; pleasure; and liberation ; truly high : good rebirth as a god or human)

May the times become perfect without the harm of war and strife, as during the Golden Age,

With everyone constantly enraptured in the dance of bliss and joy.

Through the compassion of the ocean of the Three Jewels

And the power of the truth of the dharmadhātu endowed with all supreme aspects,

May the purposes of our pure prayers be fulfilled

And our hopes and aspirations accomplished just the same.

TADYATHA PENTSA DRIYA AWA BODHA NAYE SOHA

The use of the poison of atomic weapons that have the power to destroy in a single second the presence of the Buddha’s teachings and the lives of sentient beings on this great earth of ours, and every bit of goodness in the universe and its inhabitants, will destroy the human race. The time when these extremely lethal weapons never seen before will be used is not far off—signs and indications are growing each day. So, moved irrepressibly by insupportable sadness and intense fear, we must call out like children wailing for their mothers to the one who can stop this: Orgyen Padma.

Thinking of the tremendous need for and benefit of reciting and writing on silk to hoist on mountain tops and hang from bridges, a prayer such as this, which invokes the most important sacred pledges and wisdom of the ocean of the Three Jewels of refuge, I, the vagabond Buddha Vajra (Sangye Dorje), wrote this with a pure intention on the thirteenth day of the third month in the year of the female water sow. Those with faith in me should keep this in their hearts. May the merit of writing this purge the barbarian hordes who trample the sublime teachings.

Translated by Christina Monson, 2014.

(source : http://www.lotsawahouse.org/tibetan-masters/chatral-rinpoche/rishis-maledictory-incantation)

A Buddhist Perspective of Global Environment

by Kyabje Sakya Trizin
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(source : http://www.ecobuddhism.org/wisdom/interviews/kst2013/)

Life is not only precious to us. It is precious to every living being, from the tiniest insect to the highest god.  Life is what is most precious to every single other being.  When we experience our own feelings, we can remember how every individual also feels the same way.

We have to always remember how we need to protect the many forms of life, and also to protect the environment that harbours it.  No one can live in a place where there is no water, where there are no trees, and so forth. Our lives are completely dependent on our environment.

We might say that the Buddha was the founder of environmentalism.  His Vinaya– the code of behaviour that he instituted for monks and nuns – stipulates that “You cannot cut trees, you cannot cut leaves; you cannot cut flowers; you cannot disturb the forest; you cannot foul the river; you cannot foul the grass.” In his own time, the Buddha instructed his Sangha to observe the same guidance nowadays set forth by environmentalists.

Today, our world is experiencing serious environmental problems. Many of my friends are very concerned about this, and have concluded that the Earth will eventually become like a desert; without water, trees and rain.  So we need to think about the future beings who will inherit our Earth; our children, grandchildren and everyone else. We need to consider the problems they will face, and ensure that the Earth will remain suitable for them to inhabit.

Buddhist teachings have much to offer in making this world a better place.  Their reach somehow goes beyond ordinary human effort, however worthy the latter may be.  They are deeper and all-inclusive.  Environmentalists are to be highly praised for all the work that they do, for their marvellous accomplishments. Yet we cannot say their philosophy is all-embracing. The Buddhist view of love, compassion and the protection of all beings is deeper and wider than conventional thinking.

Most Buddhist practitioners do not actively help beings.  On the other hand, many animal lovers or environmentalists neither pray nor meditate, yet they step in to help animals in any kind of pain or danger. Ideally, we could combine these two attitudes—the Buddhist and environmentalist practices of compassion. It would be enormously beneficial to our world.  The Buddha, after all, was a forerunner of environmentalists. Buddhism teaches that we should make this world beautiful, free and clean; not only for human beings but for every living being that inhabits it. It seems to me that modern environmentalists could learn something from the Buddha’s teachings, especially the rules of the Vinaya.  By incorporating them into their own philosophy, environmentalists might deepen and broaden its scope.

The work of protecting the environment cannot be simply left to a few individuals or organisations.  It is now is everyone’s responsibility.  It is essential that everyone become aware of how things might turn out to be on our Earth if we don’t take care of it. If many people make an effort, this will certainly make a considerable difference.  Whatever we do, it is important to fully appreciate that life is precious and that we must all do something to preserve it, making it fruitful and long-lasting.  We need to do this for our own benefit…all the more so for the sake of future generations.  Our environment has already entered into a rapid process of change. Many of my friends in Tibet tell me how the climate there is changing dramatically. Great snow mountains are melting—some at a very rapid place.

We Tibetans believe that it’s not only the visible aspect of Nature that is affected. There is also an invisible dimension to it that we are not always aware of. In Tibet, every mountain has its own local deity that resides there. According to our ancient beliefs, these deities are affected by degenerative changes, and this makes them unhappy, leading to more natural disasters. Due to people’s greed, chemical refuse is thrown into rivers, forests are decimated and the ground is cut open to extract valuable minerals. All these natural environments are home to deities, and when they are violated in this way, so are their resident deities. Many people don’t believe in gods, local deities and other invisible beings. But I believe that they do exist and that they make a substantial difference to how things are.

The visible and invisible aspects of Nature are intrinsically linked to each other, and as a result of their being affected, many disasters arise.  In order to remedy this state of affairs, I believe that we need to adopt a two-pronged approach.  Not only do we need to follow the directives of environmentalism on how to physically take care of our world, but we need to perform protective and rejuvenating rituals. I truly believe that these rituals have a definite effect on things.

By trying from every angle, everybody in their own way, matters will definitely improve. It is very important that everyone plays a part in taking care of our Earth, not merely delegating it to a few individuals or organisations. Are we not all part of the human race? We have now to think of its future, and of those who will follow us. If we don’t act now, they will have to live in a sort of hungry ghost land.

The Buddha’s wisdom perceives the present and the future, just as we can see the palms of our own hands.  He sees every effect to every cause, and every cause to every effect. That is why his teachings are authentic and wondrous. They lead us to work for the benefit of beings, the world and the environment.

A Message from His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche regarding the Rise of Environmental Challenges in the World

This is a message to all the Buddhists in the world. In general, anyone who practices a religion, any religion, needs love and compassion. This love and compassion is to be directed towards all sentient beings: “May all sentient beings have happiness and may they be free from suffering.” Therefore, when people anywhere suffer from heat and cold, you should pray to the one in whom you take refuge. Pray for the benefit of all countries in the world, for example, “May those without rain have rain; may those without water have water; may the fire that injures some be extinguished,” and so forth. You should make prayers that accord with your own tradition. As Buddhists we can recite the Prayer for World Peace or single-pointedly supplicate to Tara. This is the responsibility of every religious practitioner, even if you are the only one in the house. Such prayers will surely be of benefit. Even if only one or two people pray, it will surely bring benefit.

We should all pray together for the well-being of all countries. This will also benefit us. If we close ourselves up and only care about our own well-being, then of course, that will not be of much benefit. But if you pray with the intention to benefit the entire world, that will actually benefit yourself the most, and it will also benefit the world. This is called “accomplishing the benefit of others and oneself.” So everyone should supplicate his or her own source of refuge.

Buddhists, for example, can supplicate Jetsun Tara, Chenrezig, and so forth; recite Mani mantras; perform purification rituals before stupas, or even small statues; be generous to animals, and so forth. All these practices will benefit the world. Otherwise, hatred and jealousy will increase in this world, and love will decline. This will lead to an increase of heat in the world, and in the end the world will go up in flames. Thus, it would be good if everyone would consider this. We should all pray and take this to heart with great concern. If we remain unconcerned about the suffering of others as long as it doesn’t affect us personally, we are just paying lip service to our prayer, “May all sentient beings have happiness and may they be free from suffering.”

The single cause of all the misery in this world, such as floods on the outer level and conflicts on the inner level, is the ill will arising from the hatred and jealousy of the people inhabiting this planet. Instead of helping one another, people harm each other: countries go to war, people and religious groups fight with each other. In brief, love—the harmony of the inner elements—affects the harmony of the outer elements. The five mental afflictions and the five outer elements are profoundly related. Therefore, our efforts to give rise to love and compassion will be fruitful by virtue of three powers: first, the power of one’s own pure intention—one’s own good heart ; second, the power of the Tatagathas—all the buddhas of the three times have made aspiration prayers, but in addition, we must supplicate them. Just as with a wish-fulfilling jewel, unless one expresses the wish, it will not be fulfilled. If we supplicate, then we will receive the power of all the buddhas; this is the power of the Tataghatas. And third, the power of Dharmadhatu—samsara and nirvana have a single basis. The duality of samsara and nirvana is only a temporary appearance due to various karma and afflictions.

As a result of actions committed with an afflicted mind, we now witness a lot of suffering in this world. So how can we purify these afflictions? All afflictions arise from self-grasping, and the antidote to self-grasping is the altruistic mind. Altruism will benefit one in all circumstances: in this life, in the next life, and in the bardo. Everyone needs altruism. Even a tiny creature will experience happiness relative to the level of its altruism.

Thus we pray, “May beings possess happiness and the causes of happiness.” The cause of happiness is love. And, “May beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.” The cause of suffering is self-grasping. There is no other Dharma than that. The heart-essence of the Dharma is love and compassion. Apart from love and compassion, no other Dharma exists. What we call “the Buddha” is the wisdom-mind, the perfection of wisdom. The subtle wisdom of buddha-nature is the underlying basis of samsara and nirvana. Therefore, if one has love and compassion, wisdom will increase. If you understand this, you will discover the method to bring about happiness and liberation from suffering.

Thus, we should engender excellent aspirations. Since the world is currently in such a perilous state, I request everyone to pray well.

Omniscient Lamas

Lama Tharchin Rinpoche describes Chatral Rinpoche’s getting a letter from 16th Karmapa

Dzigar Rinpoche’s New Year 2016 message

Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, February 9, 2016

Cheerful Losar. This is the year of the fire monkey and today is the first day of the Tibetan new year. I hope everyone can make tremendous progress in fulfilling their aspirations, particularly their dharmic aspirations. Our dharmic aspirations are the most important. We might feel good health is important but without dharma practice it would only have a limited meaning and benefit. Wealth and resources might feel important when we are paying our bills, but without the lifestyle of a practitioner, it has little meaning. In the same way, longing for a good relationship, without that relationship being in support of the dharma, does not have great meaning or benefit. Anything that we aspire to have in our lives that we think would be wonderful, without it being in support of the dharma and going deeper into the practice, I personally feel does not have great meaning. Health, wealth, relationship, and life itself in support of dharma practice has great value and meaning. But simply having a long life is not that meaningful, unless it is to practice the dharma and to develop further. In that way, one never gets sidetracked or lost, and caught by money, relationships and all of the other things that temporarily seem so important and meaningful. We have the habit to fixate on things and don’t think about anything else but that (dripa). We keep ourselves continuously busy and caught up in that one thing. We lose our ability to enjoy life because we are being driven furiously in one direction. Our mind is occupied day and night by what we are fixated upon (dripped out).

An alter boy’s mind is filled with an innocent ongoing spirituality, connected to god or to a higher power. When he loses that connection and only thinks about mundane preoccupations, it is a big loss. Renunciation, devotion, a sense of deep aspiration to be connected with our enlightened nature, and the path that leads to realizing it is incredibly important. If we lose that innocent longing it is a great loss for us. That longing is priceless. If we lose that longing, it is a death worse than a physical death. That is called a “drip”. We need to avoid it. We often fool ourselves thinking, “ I might be uninspired now, but in the future I won’t be. I will rekindle my inspiration and regenerate my spiritual life.” But by then we might not have the time. Time can run out and not be in your favor. Or even if you do have time, your might have become jaded. It is difficult to reinspire yourself and reconnect. Habit gets built up and creates its own momentum and power. To breakaway from that is very difficult. So while we are connected and on the path and making some progress, we must protect ourselves from these obstacles. They come from our own frivolous pursuits that eat up our time and leisure. We naturally possess this valuable and priceless quality and we don’t honor it. We trade it for money or career or a retirement for our old age or illness. Chasing that security is not a practitioner’s mindset. It is too practical and too conventional. We have to be practical but not too practical. We do need to make ends meet, but too much focus on that makes us suffer now and it will cause suffering in the future.

Our connection with the teacher and the path is the result of our merit. While we experience the beneficial result of that merit, we have connection, inspiration, joy and appreciation. We can make progress on our spiritual path and sit on the cushion and transform our body, speech and mind into the 3 vajras. We can transform our environment into Akanishta. We can transform our sense perceptions and their objects into the enjoyment of great offerings. We can transform the self that is so conflicted all the time and always crying because of discontent. When we are discontented we are worse than children. We can transform the self into pride of the diety and not be just anyone, but be the lord of the mandala and truly enjoy that. This is not just a theory and never been tested, but it is backed up by the tantra and experienced by the great masters. We can transform this world of ours into an unsurpassable sacred world. We have the chance to practice the vajrayana in this way. Or we can not pursue it and enjoy our struggles created by the conflicted self all the while trying to work like ants, or even worse than that. Ants are better than human beings because at least they work in harmony, and we often don’t. There are so many conflicts and people suffer a lot. So to not practice the vajrayana is a great loss. We just need to be on the cushion without the internal windstorms that carry us out into our cars and their journeys. Leisure is such a great asset for practitioners. To be swept into the windstorm, accomplishing nothing but being carried further and further away from our cushion is a big loss. So if there is a way to actually glue ourself to the cushion and make ourself sit and work on the generation and accomplishment stages of the practice is a good start.

We all have different degrees of intelligence. Someone with a mahasiddha’s intelligence or the intelligence of the lineage masters will really see the wisdom of this. Someone without that sort of intelligence will question it. It is possible to think that being on the cushion is a waste of time and instead give into the windstorm that rises inside and get carried out into a blizzard of samsara. We could think that is productive and a great accomplishment. When Milarepa looks at the villagers, he thinks the villagers are crazy. But when the villagers look at Milarepa, they think that Milarepa is crazy. So which side do you want to be on, the villagers’ or Milarepa’s? That choice determines our path and its outcome in this life and in our future lives.

We need to think about this especially during Losar. This time can generate deep inspiration. We might have a new years resolution to lose five pounds. But that isn’t about transforming our world. We talk about transforming our world in the tantras a lot. We can have a real aspiration to accomplish this. Not just an idea about it but to really do this on the cushion. Without doing or possessing anything, we can have everything. Without grasping, we can have abundance. It’s an internal transformation. It comes from your merit (sonam). Sonam is very important. Because of it our life will get better and better, to the point of transforming the ordinary world into a sacred world. That will be where we live. Sonam in the west is generally only thought of as being in possession of material things. We don’t consider anything beyond that. But actually sonam is a state of mind that is rich and full of blessing. It is the great experience of being able to practice the generation and accomplishment practices. And by doing that we actually increase our sonam It gets greater and greater. It never stops, especially if we seal it with absolute truth. Everything will increase until the end of samsara and the end of delusion.

This morning i was contemplating what I would like to accomplish this year. I would like to see the temple finished so that next year we can consecrate it. But for myself I would like to spend more time on the cushion to enjoy my practice mind and the life that unveils itself in the practice. That’s what I would like to do. And I would like to do more and more of it. I want to avoid getting lost in the blizzard of samsara and getting caught up in something that has a driving force that pulls me further from the cushion. When we get caught, in the moment we could say, “Oh this is great. I am climbing up to the top of human achievement. “ But in the end, I know that for myself it would be a big loss to stray so far from the cushion. Not being able to achieve those seductive accomplishments is a great blessing in disguise. Being able to glue myself on the cushion is not torture or inprisonment. It is a blessing. I expect that to be the same for the students too.

We have both Milarepa and the villager within ourselves. So from one perspective we could think we are crazy to be practicing like that and then from another perspective we think that we are crazy for not practicing like that. So both Milarepa and the villager are inside us. Which one gains more strength and momentum is unpredictable. It is unclear. We need a lot of blessings to protect ourselves from our own self to not do regrettable things but instead to accomplish things that will stand uncontested in the three times. So the new year is a good time to celebrate being a practitioner, whatever our understanding of that is. The rest of our activity can be in support of that. If it isn’t in support of that, then it is just getting older and closer to the end game. Struggle, struggle without any payoff. However if what we do is in celebration of being a practitioner and our activities are in support of that, it is not just time passing and is not just wasted struggle. Of course there are struggles, but it is the service of being a practitioner. It is not a struggle simply to be a good husband and to be successful in things that do not last or mean much after we are gone. Struggle in support of being a practitioner will not be in vain. If we struggle in support of being an accomplished practitioner, it gives the struggle meaning and it is a purification. It becomes a great purification and triumph in the end. But people often struggle without it being for a greater cause. The struggle of being poor without it being for the benefit of being practitioner, gains nothing. But in the service of being practitioner it will bring great benefit. It can inspire others who will want to follow our footsteps. Conflict with our spouse and a lack of fulfillment in marriage because of our lack of good relationship karma gains nothing. But if it is in service to becoming a better practitioner, it can become an inspiring story. Milarepa’s uncle and aunt were very mean and bad to him and his sister. But because of this, he found the spiritual path. In the same way, Illness can benefit us if we see it as a further reason to purify our physical negative karma from previous lifetimes. Gelungma Palmo was a nun who got leprosy and was shunned by her family. But she prayed to Avalokitashvara with devotion and diligence and healed herself . She was then able to heal others. So, we all struggle. But it doesn’t have to be pointless if we have a vision about that struggle. We can use it to inspire a greater determination to overcome that obstacle and to achieve our desire. Every struggle will have its own vision and meaning. Looking back, from the fruition, we will actually be able to see that the struggle of poverty, inadequate social skills, ill health or lack of relationship has enabled us to achieve what we have achieved. It has become a blessing not an obstacle. It has a greater vision and meaning. This is the skillful means of the enlightened ones’ vision. There are many stories like this in the past and now. So if we struggle, give a vision to that struggle and not become bitter, sour and disheartened.

In the struggle to be a practitioner of dharma we don’t need to do a lot of outside things. Our obstacles will naturally become self liberated or irrelevant. The struggle will only be in the context of our exterior life, not our internal life. No one can touch our internal life. Nothing makes a difference there except us. And we only need the cushion. Struggling with health, resources or relationship in the context of the conventional view, is suffering. But given the larger vision of the dharmic perspective that the struggle has meaning, then is not even suffering. It is just what the path requires. There is no path without struggle, barriers, obstacles, bumps, and challenges. If someone takes their struggle in that way, whatever it is, then it is not a problem. It is only for the conventional people that we should feel compassion when witnessing their struggles. But for the practitioner such suffering is only in the mind. Sympathy for the practitioner is simply our projection. The practitioner does’t need it. The skillful means of the vajrayana is a creative perspective that liberates us from feeling we are in an unfavorable bind. There is nothing unfavorable if we don’t make it that way. Everything is favorable. In that sense there are no obstacles. Everything is what needs to happen. Nothing happens that is out of the course of the life of a practitioner. We can have a positive attitude toward our struggle and not think negatively about ourselves. We can positively reflect upon who we are and what we need to do to accomplish what we set out to do.

In this I wish you all the best. I pray you have all the best support of the lineage and that you have their blessings and guidance especially when on the cushion and you are open and clean and worthy. When we don’t acknowledge we are a vessel and get caught up in the blizzard of samsara, what can lineage or blessing do? Nothing can be done. I pray that when you are in a receptive state of mind on the cushion may you have all the guidance, blessings, encouragement and benefits of being connected to the vajrayana lineage.

Happy Loser (sic) to you all.

The Mani that exposes the hidden faults and failings

Guru Chokyi Wangchuk (one of the great treasure-revealer, Guru Padmasambhava’s emanation)

OM MANI PADME HUNG HRI

Here is “The Mani that exposes the hidden faults and failings,” some advice given by Chokyi Wangchuk to Pajo Thogden Chapchol and all his spiritual children.

Hri! Remember us, O Great Compassionate One!
It is inconceivable to have crossed the threshold of the Dharma,
But without wearying of samsara, it is useless.
That’s why it’s better to recite the mani.

You may spend years in solitude,
But without freeing yourself from desire, it is useless.
That’s why it’s better to recite the mani.

You may engage in ascetic practices
And live off the essence of the elements.
Without pacifying your longing for food, it is useless.
That’s why it’s better to recite the mani.

You may strive to listen, reflect, and meditate.
If your mind does not derive any benefit, it is useless.
That’s why it’s better to recite the mani.

You may have good understanding of the meaning of the nine progressive vehicles.
If you have no compassion, it is useless
That’s why it’s better to recite the mani.

You may be expert in the view, meditation and action.
If you have not renounced the ordinary world, it is useless.
That’s why it’s better to recite the mani.

You may have strength, power and inconceivable qualities.
If you have not mastered your mind, it is useless.
That’s why it’s better to recite the mani.

You may be able to embellish the philosophical doctrines with words.
If it’s the words that interest you, it is useless.
That’s why it’s better to recite the mani.

You may live constantly in remote places.
If you do not renounce activities, it is useless.
That’s why it’s better to recite the mani.

You may renounce companionship and be celibate.
If you do not abandon distractions, it is useless.
That’s why it’s better to recite the mani.

You may understand the meaning of the Great Perfection.
If your thoughts are not liberated, it is useless.
That’s why it’s better to recite the mani.

You may well understand the meaning
Of the equality of self and others.
If it’s only pretense, it is useless.
That’s why it’s better to recite the mani.

You may have already stayed with your master.
If you did not acquire his qualities, it is useless.
That’s why it’s better to recite the mani.

You may have received many initiations.
If your mind does not mature, it is useless.
That’s why it’s better to recite the mani.

You may have had thousands of pith instructions.
Without inner experience, it is useless.
That’s why it’s better to recite the mani.

You may have thousands of great teachers.
Without serving them, it is useless.
That’s why it’s better to recite the mani.

You may have spent eons listening to the Dharma
Without faith, it is useless.
That’s why it’s better to recite the mani.

You may have practiced in many caves.
If you have no accomplishment, it is useless.
That’s why it’s better to recite the mani.

You may claim that you have realized the Great Perfection.
If you still have ordinary (deluded) dreams, it is useless.
That’s why it’s better to recite the mani.

You may know how to comment nicely on texts, arguments, and instructions.
If you don’t recognize your own nature, it is useless.
That’s why it’s better to recite the mani.

(Credits: On the Path to Enlightenment, Matthieu Ricard)

 

Chenrezig Practice of Sangye Won

Gyaltrul Rinpoche:

“When I was a boy, I met my root guru, Tulku Natsog. He wanted me to learn to read and begin my dharma education, so he asked his uncle, Sangye Gön, to be my teacher. Tulku Natsog said, “Don’t beat this boy. He might have trouble learning, but always be patient with him.”

I lived with Sangye Gön. He would get up very, very early, maybe 3:00 a.m., to do his practice, including many prostrations. I could hear the rumble of his recitations as I slept. Then he would wake me up and we would have breakfast, followed by my reading lessons.

He was an amazing practitioner. He continuously kept the two-day nyungne fasting discipline. So on one day, he would eat and speak, and the next day he would fast and remain silent for most of the day. Chenrezig was his main practice, and in his lifetime he recited millions of the MANI mantra. At the end of his life, he suddenly grew new teeth, and his grey hair was replaced by new black hair growing in. That kind of practitioner!”

Gyaltrul Rinpoche’s comments from another teaching:

“Sangye Gon wore patched clothing, and looking at him, you would think that he had no inner realization at all.  But in fact, he encountered Avalokiteshvara directly.  He would speak to him and receive teachings from him as if he were another person in the same room.  He gave many prophecies and constantly recited OM MANI PADME HUM.  As he grew older, his hair turned white and his teeth fell out.  But as he continued to practice, his wrinkles disappeared, a set of teeth grew, and his hair turned black again.  Outwardly, he still looked like nothing special.”

Marking Dharma Texts

In accord with the previous post, I just came across this quotation by Lama Zopa Rinpoche with reference to making markings on Dharma texts.

Mark the things you don’t understand with orange color as an offering, like painting a Buddha statue or thangka, or like offering color or robes to holy objects, etc. In other words, mark the text in a respectful way. Don’t mark the texts with black ink. Marking texts in a disrespectful way creates negative karma and is a cause to be born in the lower realms. One professor who is very good in Buddhist philosophy, said that in the past he often marked manuscripts with black color right over the letters. This created the cause to be born in the lower realms many times.

When people go for consultations with high Lamas about why they were encountering such and such a problem, sometimes it comes out that it is because they had done particular negative and seemingly unrelated and seemingly insignificant actions in the past.  These karmas were often done out of ignorance of the laws of cause-and-effect and we create so much unnecessary problems/obstacles for ourselves in this way.  So on this blog, I sometimes like to share about such small details about causes-and-effects.

The way of the wise is to avoid cultivating the causes with a very careful and conscientious mind in the first place.  The way of the foolish is to hop around looking for solutions when the negative results have already ripened.

Sometimes people think they have learnt and read many dharma teachings and know many principles and such.  But we should always be careful and honest with ourselves when it comes to Dharma practice.  It is so easy to fool ourselves.  We should read and learn the Dharma over and over again, internalizing it in our hearts, not just our minds. We should listen to the teachings on impermanence again and again, using it as an antidote to our ego.  We should treat ourselves like babies in the Dharma, paying attention to perform the slightest virtue and avoiding the slightest negativity.  We should watch our minds for any sense of complacency and hubris.  There is no Dharma teaching that is not an antidote to the ego and delusions in some way or other and we should practice it like that.

As usual, my opinionated mind is full of its silly views again.  I have to go back to watching my own mind and mouth.  As Lama Atisha says:

“Excessive speech is a cause for nonvirtue,” and

“In general if there are many it’s hard to speak;
harder still is it to speak to those not kindred in mind;
harder still is it to speak to those who are ambitious;
harder still is it to speak to those who are small minded,”  and

“In the end, words destroy your roots of virtue;
the haughty man arrives in the hells!” and

“So Drom Je, analyze your speech;
Cease inferior speech and endeavor in mantra recitation.
Though you may hear pleasant or hostile words,
remain like a mute person.”  and

Dromtonpa said,
“Among others guard your speech;
when alone guard your mind.”

Respecting Triple Gems

(Source : Nyingma Monlam Book Vol 23)

Before you skip this, dear readers, please note the gravity of this topic.  Mipham Rinpoche (a great Bodhisattva, Manjushri himself) states that the consequences of disrespecting these representations of the Triple Gems are extremely serious, similar to that of the five heinous acts (eg, killing your parents etc.) Karmic repercussions are caused by oneself and ripens on oneself, no matter what your opinion may be.  So it is good to educate oneself on these topics.

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Amazing Devotees I have Known

(From “Heart of Unconditional Love”  Tulku Thondup)

In the Golok province of Eastern Tibet, where I was born and grew up, I knew many older laymen and laywomen who joyfully and vigorously prayed with unreserved devotion to the Buddha of Loving-Kindness (Chenrezig) and enjoyed heartfelt blessings.

Many of them were illiterate, in the Western sense. But in reality, they not only knew how to recite all the essential prayers and pray with true love for mother-beings and devotion to the Buddha, but they also did so sometimes more earnestly than many well-educated monks and nuns. Yet many of these laypeople knew very little about the fancy interpretations and complex meanings of the textual teachings. They weren’t really interested in theoretical views of different traditions. Nor were they interested in becoming logicians who could criticize, defend, and refute intellectual and doctrinal arguments. They didn’t care whether they could cite historical or bibliographical evidence. Most weren’t interested in performing elaborate ceremonial liturgies.

But these laypeople had something that was far more precious: absolute trust, confidence, and devotion to the Buddha of Loving-Kindness and his unconditional love, as instructed by their teachers. They fully believed in his power to protect them from misfortune and fulfill all their needs if they prayed sincerely from their hearts. With this trust and devotion, they continuously recited the Six-Syllable Prayer as their daily spiritual prayer to the Buddha, day and night, unless they were asleep. While walking or sitting, even while eating and drinking, somewhere, somehow, the waves of devotional prayer were always alive on their breath. Even while they were asleep, if they woke up for a second or two in the night, I would hear them starting to recite their prayers a couple of times before they fell back asleep.

When I was growing up, I remember hearing from the father of my tutor Kyala Khenpo (Chechog Dondrub Tsal), whose name was Yumko of Kyala and who was then in his eighties, that when he was in bed, he held his prayer beads on his stomach as he was counting prayers instead of resting his hand on the bed.  That way, he explained, the movements of the beads would keep him awake longer, so that he could say more prayers.

These wonderful devotees seem to have transformed the waves of their breath into a cycle of prayer, as if the chain of their thoughts was a continuous flow of devotion and all the waves of the phenomena around them turned into the presence and actions of the Buddha of Loving Kindness (Chenrezig), wishing joy for all.

That is why these older people, whether they were happy or in pain, rarely seemed to get distracted from the light of love of the Buddha.  When they were happy, they would respect it as the blessings of Buddha’s love.  When they were sick or suffering, they would still maintain a sense of thankfulness by seeing it as a washing away of their negative deeds (karma) that, thanks to the power of the Buddha’s unconditional care, they wouldn’t have to experience in future.  If they lived long, they used their years as an opportunity to pray more to their beloved Buddha and engage in more virtuous deeds for others. If they were dying, they would be pleased as if they were going home, since they fully trusted that the Buddha would lead them to his Pure Land — a Buddha paradise.

Because of the power and effects of these life-long positive thoughts and deeds, when the hour of their death arrived, most of these laypeople hardly felt sadness, pain or fear.  While dying, many expressed joy at leaving for their long-awaited destination, for which they had long prepared.  They would start to describe their beautiful visions of Buddhas or Buddha pure lands and the soothing sounds of prayers.

According to the Buddhist teachings, when devout and meritorious meditators die, they behold clouds of enlightened ones such as the Buddha of Loving-Kindness (Chenrezig) in the sky before them, in the midst of lights of love and music and prayers.  They move swiftly and peacefully through the bardo, the intermediate or transitional period between death and rebirth.   They take rebirth in a Buddha Pure Land of everlasting peace, joy and wisdom.

In today’s world, it is becoming harder and harder to find people like this anywhere, inside or outside of Tibet.  But when I was growing up, seeing people who led such meaningful lives opened my eyes to the world of true authentic teachings and meditators.  These simple people became a great source of inner joy and true understanding for me.  Whenever I think about them, I get lost in great wonder.

In case anyone is wondering, the dying visions of these laypeople were not hallucinations or delusions.  They were the result of these peoples’ transforming their mental habitual tendencies by pacifying conflicting and confused thoughts, healing bruised emotions, and cooling the flames of sensations.  The kind of world or phenomena that people encounter after death is a manifestation of the qualities of their mind, of the habitual reflections they built over lifetimes.  By the time death arrived, these laypeople were blossoming with the joyful energy of devotion and trust in the Buddha.

If our mind is full of devotion, trust and loving-kindness, then what we will see and feel at death will be a world of ultimate joy and love.  This transformation can take place in anyone, if they developed a mind of true trust and devotion to the Buddha of Loving-Kindness (Chenrezig) and if they prayed with the skilful means of devotion from the core of the heart.