Archive | January 2010

The Defects of Tobacco and Smoking – Dudjom Rinpoche

Tobacco: ‘the guide that leads the blind on a false path which ends in a precipice’

by Kyabjé Jigdrèl Yeshé Dorje, Düd’jom Rinpoche

Om Swasti:

With supreme appreciation and deep respect for Padmasambhava – wisdom manifestation of all Buddhas and union of the Buddha families – I shall relate the history of tobacco. Approximately a hundred years after Buddha Shakyamuni’s parinirvana, a Chinese demon, maddened with obsession, spoke these dying words:
“Through my body I wish to lead the beings of this earth to lower realms. Bury my body intact and eventually a plant, different from all others, will grow out of my remains. Merely by smelling it, people will experience pleasure in body and mind, far more joyful than the union of male and female. It will spread far and wide until most of the beings on this earth will enjoy it.”

At present the actual fruition of this wish is clearly evident. Opium and other related intoxicants taken by mouth or nose, neither help quench thirst nor satisfy hunger. They do not possess a taste which is delicious, and they are bereft of anything which promotes health or which strengthens one’s life force. These substances serve to increase nervousness and blood pressure. They also cause cancer and pulmonary disease. At this time, many people, from all levels of society, develop irresistible attraction for these substances and proceed to consume them without control – and thus demonic intentionality has borne fruit.

In the gTérma of Chögyal Ratna Lingpa it is stated:
‘Padmasambhava bound the Nine Demonic Brothers under oath, but they were breakers of samaya, and the youngest of them found a way to undermine their commitment to protect beings. He told his kindred: “Brothers, do not despair, listen to me. I shall manifest myself in the country of China as tobacco; the name of this toxin will be ‘the black poison’. It will grow in the border lands, from whence it will spread to Tibet. The people of Tibet will consume this enjoyable substance. By the strength of this, the five neurotic poisons will increase. Rejecting the ten positive actions, people will practise the ten negative ones. The lives of the lineage holders will become precarious, and they will depart for the Buddha Fields. The smoke of this poison, penetrating the earth, will annihilate hundreds of thousands of cities of the kLu. Rain will not fall, harvest and livestock will not thrive, there will be civil unrest, plagues, and calamities. The poison’s smoke rising into the sky will destroy celestial dimensions; untimely eclipses and comets will appear. The essential fluids and veins of those who smoke will dehydrate. It causes the four hundred and four diseases to arise. Whoever smokes will be reborn in the lower realms. If one smokes and others inhale the odour, it will be as if one were ripping out the hearts of six million beings.’

According to the gTérma of Sang-gyé Lingpa:
‘In this decadent age people will indulge in unwholesome behaviour. In particular, rather than eating nourishing food, people will consume the substances which are poisonous and evil-smelling. Interrupting what they are doing, they will consume the poison. They will need to spit, their noses will run, their health and complexion will fade.’

The gTérma of Rig’dzin Go’dem predicts:
‘In the ultimate decadent age people will absorb poisonous vomit, food of dri za’i. Merely smelling it, one will go to the Mar-med Myal-wa. For this reason give it up right now.’

From the predictions discovered by Düd’dül Dorje:
‘Practitioners will enjoy inhaling the smoke of these plants and sniffing their powder and the country will be invaded by samaya-breakers. They will be deceived by illusion and experience the arising of obsessive characteristics. As a sign of the exhaustion of merit they will have causes for tears which will flow uncontrollably.’

The gTérmas of Longsel reveal:
‘The time when people smoke these vile substances is also the time when close friends will poison each other’s minds.’

The gTérmas of Thugchog Dorje specify:
‘Because of the five neurotic poisons, the obsessions, animosities, strife, arguments, and miseries of beings will blaze like an inferno. As the ten good qualities are discarded, negativity will rage like a storm. Wholesome behaviour will be neglected, while perverse practices will be promulgated. In this degenerate age the Protectors will vanish as demonic beings assume power. People will inhale tobacco smoke, and the spatial-veins of discriminative wisdom will become blocked, whilst agitation and distorted emotions become intensified. The central channel will be obstructed and the clarity of awareness will die. Exhaustion of energy will cause agitation around the world. Religious artifacts, the objects of veneration, will deteriorate; perverted ideologies and false religions will spread. The Protectors will turn aside and look only towards Mount Méru. Foreigners will invade Tibet, and Tibetans will be forced to stray in the border lands. Doctrines of Illusion will spread and the world will become a dimension of hell.’

The gTérma of Dro’dül Lingpa predicted:
‘By merely smelling the odour of these herbs, grasses and leaves will spring from demonic blood, one will find oneself in Vajra Hell.’

A prediction of Ma-gÇig Labdrön states:
‘In the final period of disputation a substance will appear which one ingests orally, and it will aggravate all five neuroses. It will originate in China, extend to Mongolia and Tibet. Wherever it travels it will be consumed, and wherever it is consumed – rainfall will become irregular, accompanied by severe frost and hail. If practitioners consume this substance, even were they to practise for a hundred æons – they will not realise their yidams. In future lives, they will wander incessantly in the three lower realms, where even the compassion of the Buddhas will have no power to help them.’

There are innumerable other predictions concerning tobacco – the use of which has been particularly forbidden by accomplished masters of both Sarma and Nyingma traditions. The vajra words of Padmasambhava were not given to deceive practitioners, so do not entertain doubts as to: ‘how can so many problems arise from smoking a natural plant?’ Aconite is also a plant, yet eating a small quantity of it can be lethal. If this should be the case with a plant, at the physical level, why could not the fruit of the demonic intentionality cause spiritual death? Understanding this, the wise will render themselves a great kindness by renouncing tobacco and narcotics. In doing so, may the honourable and wise who avoid the path to the precipice have the good fortune of finding respite in the ecstatic garden of liberation.

 This was written at the request of Golok Gé-rTa Jig’mèd, by Dorje Yeshé
(Kyabjé Düd’jom Rinpoche)

Sarwa Mangalam.

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Info about eclipses

In many cultures throughout the world, eclipses were viewed as important astronomical events, often associated with ill omens and misfortune. Many cultures believed that the sun or moon was being devoured or eaten by dragons or demonic planets (rahulas), and that this had negative effects for all life on earth. This comes from the basic understanding that the planets, particularly the sun and moon, have definite energetic effects on all living things. The microcosm of our bodies is intimitely affected by the macrocosmic movement of the celestial bodies. This is especially demonstrated by the tantric view of the solar and lunar radiations governing the movement of energy within left and right subtle energy channels in our bodies. In addition, it is beleived that the sun and moon radiates many kinds of subtle elemental energies that help to sustain life on earth.

   When there is an interruption of these energy radiations, as during an eclipse, its effects can be observed and felt. It is a cessation, or a cutting off, of these vital energies. We can see this concept expressed by the word ‘eclipse;’ a Greek word that means ‘abandon’ in the sense that the sun ‘abandons’ the earth during that time. Where there was light filtering through the elemental forces of the zodiac into the earth’s aura, there is suddenly darkness, a cutting off from the source of life. When these solar or lunar radiations are cut off, it creates an energetic stress on the planet and all life on it. This can be observed by the rise in disorders such as epilepsy and mental illness, the strange behaviors of animals – both land and sea, by the way the birds become silent,  by the shift in the gravitational pull, and the arising of earthquakes, volcanos, and other terrestrial phenomena.
 
The stressors are strongest on the areas that are directly affected by the eclipse – in other words, the areas on the planet where the eclipse is visible. The upcooming eclipse on Jan. 15, will be visible in parts of Africa, India and China. Although the energetic disruption will affect the entire planet, it will be particularly strong in these areas. According to Tibetan Buddhist philosophy, many beings – beings with forms and without forms – die during eclipses as a result of the stress or the ‘abandonment’ of the solar rays, especially if their life force is particularly weakened or they have certain astrological alignments that are in conflict with the planets involved with the eclipse.

     According to tantric Buddhist cosmology, the energies that are lost during eclipses, cannot be recovered. This means that every time there is an eclipse, there is a gradual diminishment of energy on the planet. Over the course of decades, centuries, and millennia, this gradual decreasing of energy is what is known as ‘the degenerate age.’ This manifests as the gradual lessening of the power of the five elements – food and herbs loose their potency, there is less oxygen in the atmosphere, diseases and pollution increase, there is a worsening of natural disasters and suffering. This process of elemental degeneration is largely created as a result of these continual cycles of eclipses, until finally we reach the end of the kalpa when only one element predominates and consumes what is left.
 
    For this reason, in the Buddhist tradition, much emphasis is placed on engaging in Dharma practice on these days. By generating merit and reciting prayers, we can lessen the overall diminishment of energy and slow down the process of degeneration. We can help to preserve the continuity of the elemental energies, and by doing so, it may be possible to save the lives of those beings who may die as a result of the stress caused by the eclipse. Some Buddhist sources say that during a solar eclipse the effects of positive and negative actions are multiplied by 10,000. What this means is that if you engage in virtuous practice it will be more helpful than usual. However, if you engage in non-virtue, it will further the process of degeneration. During an eclipse, Dharma practice is the special method to not leak away the element’s energy that is the support for all beings.        

There are some special prayers, such as the ‘Kunzang Monlam’ (Aspiration Prayer of Samantabhadra) that state very specifically that the prayer should be recited during eclipses. However, any Dharma practice – whether it is prayers, mantras, sadhanas – will be helpful in preventing the loss of the vital energies provided by the sun; in particular, the mantra for Medicine Buddha, Amitayus, Tara, Vajra Guru, or reciting the ‘Tse-Do Tse-Sung’ Sutra.

Vajrasattva practice

I have a Vajrasattva Practice discovered by HH Jigme Phuntsok in 1997.  It is a recent terma suitable for our times and replete with blessings and especially has a karmic connection with all Chinese people, although everyone can do it and receive the full blessings.  If anyone wants to do this practice, it can be done without transmission / initiation.  Many people have done it and received the signs of successful purification.  It is said in the colophon:

“In this life, one will be able to eliminate any dangers and extend one’s lifespan, increase one’s wealth, remove illnesses etc, attaining all that one wishes. In the next life, one will definitely take rebirth in the pureland of Amitabha or whichever pureland one aspires to be reborn in. This practice which removes obstacles can be practised by anyone, whether he is following the exoteric Mahayana schools, Secret Mantra (Vajrayana) schools or even if he has yet to receive initiation. Everyone should understand this clearly. This is authenticated by Jigme Phuntsok at the Larong Buddhist University in the presence of some tens of thousands of ordained monastics. May auspiciousness increase!”

If you wish to do this practice, please note that there is a commitment of 400,000 mantras of OM BENZA SATO HUNG to be accomplished within 3 years from the date of receiving the sadhana.  It is up to you. If you wish to commit, please email me vajrasattvadawn at gmail dot com.  The sadhana includes both Tibetan transliteration and english / chinese meaning-translations.

Benefits of Prayer Wheels 1

THE BENEFITS OF THE PRAYER WHEEL

The Source of the Practice of the Mani Wheel

As the great master Nagarjuna was predicted by the Great Compassionate One: “In the naga’s country in the palace of the King of Nagas, the bodhisattva possesses one very powerful Dharma wheel. Just by seeing, hearing, touching, or remembering the Dharma wheel, you will quickly be liberated from the suffering of the lower realms. With this you will produce extensive works for sentient beings.”

The Limitless Light Buddha Amitabha said: “For the benefit of sentient beings of the degenerate age, I have explained the benefits of the mani wheel. The one who practices while turning equals the fortune of the thousand buddhas.”

The Founder Savior, the unequalled Shakya King, told the bodhisattva Dripa Namsil: “It is more beneficial to turn the Dharma wheel one time than [to be] a meditator of highest capacity who engages in one-year retreat on the essence meaning of mantra. It is more beneficial than [to be] a middle capacity meditator who does retreat for seven years or a lower capacity meditator who does a nine-year retreat.” 

Manjushri said: “The four protectors and the ten direction guardians will protect you from all obstacles, from all directions and corners. The negative karma of the lower realms, the five uninterrupted actions, and the ten non-virtuous actions are purified. You will travel to all the pure lands of the buddhas, and in the Blissful Pure Land. You will be reborn on the lion’s throne in the lotus heart of the Blissful Pure Land. You will perform the actions of all the buddhas in all directions.”

Manjushri said: “This great Dharma wheel protects you from all the harm-givers, devas, spirit possessions, from the nagas down below, from Steno in the middle, and from the multitude of yakshas.”

From The Peerless Wish-Granting Jewel Tantra: “The person who turns this wheel which possesses OM MANI PADME HUM will be blessed by all the gurus, the deities will grant realizations, those gone to bliss will pay attention to him or her, and the Dharma protectors will eliminate all obstacles.”

From The Will of the Action of the Compassionate Eye Loving One: “Each time you turn this OM MANI PADME HUM Dharma wheel equals the number (of the mantra) of the approximation retreat.”

The benefits of establishing the Dharma wheel in earth, water, fire, and wind: “When you put this great wheel OM MANI PADME HUM up in the wind, all those sentient beings who are touched by the wind and all those migrators abiding in the direction of the wind will be liberated from the sufferings of the lower realms.

When you place the Dharma wheel in the fire, any sentient being who smells the smoke and all those migrators who see the light of the fire will be liberated from the sufferings of the lower realms. If you place the Dharma wheel in the ground, all those migrator beings who receive the dust and the sentient beings abiding in that ground will be liberated from the sufferings of the lower realms. If you place the Dharma wheel in water, all those sentient beings abiding and drinking the water will be liberated from the sufferings of the lower realms.”

Therefore, the fortunate capable beings turn the great Dharma wheel upright: the highest intelligent person will achieve enlightenment and work for sentient beings; the middle capable being will achieve fortunate rebirth and join the holy Dharma; and the lowest capable being will achieve good rebirth, separate from the ten non-virtuous actions. If you place the Dharma wheel at home and turn it, the migrator beings abiding in that house will be liberated, and the home will become similar to the Potala (Pure Land of Chenrezig). At the time of death, if you place the Dharma wheel with OM MANI PADME HUM next to your head and make requests with intense devotional mind, without need of practicing powa (transference of consciousness) your consciousness will be transferred in one instant to the heart of the Compassionate One. Therefore, without qualms of a two-pointed mind in this profound supreme Dharma wheel, one should cherish it, build the Dharma wheel with perseverance, and turn it with an intense wish.

The Savior Loving One Maitreya said: “If you offer good divine robes to the profound Dharma wheel, you will receive good clothing for 500 lifetimes. Due to the merits of having offered the hook to the profound Dharma wheel, you will be able to go through all the paths of liberation. By the merits of offering the hanging weight, you will become the savior of all migrator beings. You will accumulate more merits than having recited 100,000 times 10,000,000 mantras. The titans and the harm-givers will prostrate to you. You will control human beings, wealth, and food. All your connections will become meaningful, and sentient beings touched by your shadow will be liberated from the lower realms.”

If you offer various needs – food and so forth – to this Dharma wheel with OM MANI PADME HUM, you will become the thousand wheel–turning Dharma king, enjoying whatever you wish. And at the end you will meet the Superior Compassionate Eye Looking One. For those fortunate beings who reveal this Dharma wheel possessing OM MANI PADME HUM to others, or explain or spread the teachings of this wheel, it is like spreading the teachings of the buddhas.

From The Tantra Possessing the Lotus Garland: “In short, all the accumulation of vices, defeats, downfalls, and so forth will be purified without effort. One is liberated just by seeing and hearing.” From The Tantra of the Circle of Six Thousand: “Even for the person who turns this precious wheel, any sentient being who sees, hears, remembers, or touches him or her completes the 2 merits, purifies defilements, and achieves enlightenment.”

From The Sutra of the Great Chu Lung: “By the merits generated by offering a golden pinnacle (to the Dharma wheel), one will receive perfect enjoyments for eons. Due to the merits of having offered services, one will possess a good heart and clear mind wisdom. The person who turns the Dharma wheel will become the son of the thousand buddhas, the guide of all migrators. Thus is explained by the Buddha.

When death comes, place the Dharma wheel at your crown and you won’t need to practice powa. When you carry the Dharma wheel and meet other sentient beings, even those who have killed their father or mother will be liberated. Even the sentient beings who see the wheel on the bridge will be liberated.”