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.

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

Advertisements

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