Archive | November 2012

Teaching by Khandro-la Namsel Dronma

Integrating Lam-Rim into Daily Life

As Buddhists, you should be proud of yourself as you have chosen a path of non-violence and caring for all beings. The intrinsic nature of all beings is that of wanting happiness and not wanting suffering. The benefits received from a guru are no different from that received from the Buddha. Therefore, the guru should be regarded as Buddha because there is no kinder person than the person who introduced Dharma to our life. Geshe Tenzin Zopa who is here giving lo-jong (mind-training) and lam-rim teachings is covering the entire Buddhadharma; therefore, you should put effort to study well. Practicing Dharma is not merely collecting intellectual knowledge but to be practiced from the heart.

I would like to say that from my observations, in this country, there are all sorts of lamas without proper study and lineage, claiming to be lamas. If you follow such persons, you will end up wasting your precious human rebirth. Therefore, think how fortunate you are to be in a center guided by true lamas and where proper teachings are being given – please don’t waste such a precious opportunity.

Many Buddhist practitioners give up Dharma when facing great difficulties. This is solely because of the person herself. The main purpose of Dharma is not about power. It is not about running after initiations and hunting for high-titled lamas. If you do that, you could end up being overwhelmed by your own superstitious thoughts, and when great problems arise, you give up Dharma altogether. Instead, you need to study. You need to understand well the teachings of lam-rim and lo-jong. Even if you take 100 initiations and have 100 ritual implements, as long as you don’t fully comprehend mind-training and lam-rim, you will deceive yourself and you will become disappointed. Therefore, it is very necessary to engage in the study of mind-training and lam-rim.

Why is it necessary to practice mind-training? Because the purpose of learning Dharma is to find solutions in life, to overcome the samsaric aggregates which keep us in suffering.

In ordinary life, gaining wealth, food and shelter brings some pleasure at a physical level but not at a mental level. The worst suffering is mental suffering. Therefore, we have no choice but to learn how to transform such suffering. To do this, one needs to transform the mind. Wealth, rank and position can never handle or deal with mental suffering. Even having a large number of friends or guardians does not help because when faced with mental suffering, nothing can help except for mind-training.

All the sufferings, fears and problems arise due to our hallucinations, wrong concepts, wrong perceptions and therefore, we must subdue our minds through applying Dharma. The root cause of suffering is self-grasping [and the belief in inherent existence]. This gives rise to all sorts of suffering and superstitions. In order to purify the grasping to self and the grasping to phenomena, one must learn about and understand the true nature of existence. Otherwise, there is no way to eliminate suffering.

Since we seek happiness and wish to avoid suffering, it is necessary to investigate where happiness comes from. Every experience is dependent on causes and conditions. Positive experiences come from positive causes and negative experiences come from negative causes. There is nothing existing that is not in the nature of dependent arising. By being able to understand this, one will gain conviction that nirvana is definitely possible.

If we honestly investigate how Buddha revealed his teachings in the various schools of philosophy – in sutra teachings, in tantra teachings – we see that Buddha was teaching according to the mental capabilities of the sentient beings he was teaching to. This in itself shows how Buddha’s teachings themselves are based on interdependence.

For people in contemporary times, it is recommended to follow lam-rim teachings and in particular, the teachings on bodhichitta. To achieve bodhichitta, one needs to first realize all sentient beings as mother. In these times, this idea of sentient beings as mother might appear strange or contradictory. Practices such as exchanging self for others also seem to be difficult practices. It is difficult only because we don’t realize that our happiness is dependent on other sentient beings. Again, the realization of dependent arising is important. Without engaging in the six perfections, it will be impossible for us to gain liberation. Yet, there is no way of gaining realizations in the six perfections without sentient beings.

The self-cherishing mind and self-grasping are reasons why we cannot see others as mother sentient beings. Buddha’s teaching on refuge itself is already emphasizing to us the need to relate our Dharma practice to other sentient beings.

We have reached the 21st century and we are engaging in preliminary practices which is very good. However, we should not expect ourselves to achieve the benefits tomorrow. When you analyze the nature of cause and effect, as well as the nature of dependent arising, you find so much excitement and interest in wanting to study Dharma.

There is no miracle to enable one to change one’s life, but there is a solution: to know the right cause to gain the right result. After all, even in the case of machines, without the right causes and conditions, the machines cannot function. Therefore, similarly with happiness, even though we do understand lam-rim and chant prayers, without dedicating our lives to carrying out what is taught in the lam-rim [and creating the right causes], we will continue to trigger all our problems.

There are various ways of accumulating merit and virtue, but one of the greatest ways of doing this is to learn about and understand the true nature of existence. As long as one cannot eliminate self-grasping – thinking of “I, I, I” all the time – it will be difficult to gain lasting happiness. The stronger the self-grasping, the greater the suffering.

Going after physical comforts, serving the self-grasping mind brings only insecurity. Why not fight with this trouble-making self-grasping mind instead? Be more contented. Be more renounced.

Through my visit to various countries, I noticed that there are many self-appointed lamas providing initiations. They do this because they don’t know how to teach, and just confer initiations by ringing bells and say “goodbye” without even giving a proper teaching on refuge. There is even the danger of their giving commitments to people to recite powerful mantras, but a person receiving such a commitment [without proper understanding and motivation] can end up having enhanced anger, attachments and other delusions which cause them to end up in the lower realms. To really learn Dharma, one has no choice but to learn lam-rim and lo-jong. Thus in daily life, the transformation of delusions can only happen by applying mind-training. If one meditates without understanding Dharma, one might gain the benefit of some relaxation but otherwise, the meditation is wasted.

The actual power of Dharma is its ability to help us subdue our minds and therefore enables us to handle samsaric life better and equip us to cope with the pressures of daily life. Since delusions are not always active in our mental continuum, it means that we have the opportunity to meditate on antidotes and we should do so. In any situation, including in family situations, there will be more harmony, less fights, less problems if we understand dependent arising, by understanding that care and respect must be mutual.

In short, try your best to gain the understanding of emptiness through the knowledge of dependent arising. Actualize bodhichitta through practicing non-harmful thoughts. Reduce anxiety, fear and insecurity in your daily life because these bring out problems and suffering in your daily life. As long as one has proper refuge, the blessings of the guru and one puts effort in understanding and applying Dharma [happiness can be gained].

I am just an ordinary woman lacking in knowledge and thus it may be impolite of me to give you advice. But whatever I have advised you here is based on my own life in building a sense of security, fearlessness, contentment and unshakeable faith in the Dharma, my gurus, karma and dependent arising. My life changed due to my little understanding of dependent arising, due to the inspiration that came from learning about dependent arising.

Question: Seeing how difficult Khadro-la’s life was before and now, how does Khadro-la feel about life now?

Answer: I don’t cling to past experiences because life in this contaminated body will naturally have all forms of difficult experiences and changes. So I don’t dwell on the past.

Question: Women seem to have more difficulties in practicing Dharma – temperament, jealousy, tendency to idle-talk. What advice does Khadro-la have?

Answer: In Dharma [potential], there is no difference between men and women. The nature of delusions, the nature of clear light and the antidotes to be applied are the same for men and women. In physical aspects, there are differences, but, in Dharma practice, both have the same capabilities. I would say that women are more suited to being leaders of countries because they have an innate sense of care and would more willingly embrace other countries. For the practice of bodhichitta, women have a quicker potential to actualize that because of this deep sense of caring and sacrificing for others. Whether the men support women or not, the buddhas and bodhisattvas support us! (laughter) And when the Buddha taught, he taught by referring to mother sentient beings and not fathersentient beings! (more laughter). But yes, some women do have narrow thinking and cling to small issues. Better to be broad-minded and think at a higher level.

Teaching given by Khadro-la at Losang Dragpa Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, July 16, 2009. 

(Source : http://www.mandalamagazine.org/archives/mandala-issues-for-2009/october/integrating-lam-rim-into-daily-life/)

Story about HH Penor Rinpoche

Personal reflections on His Holiness Penor Rinpoche by Jetsunma Akhon Lhamo

I had the happiness of knowing His Holiness for a long time, and had many wonderful experiences with him.  I don’t mind sharing them with you if you’d like to hear some of them.  I’d like to tell you about one time when I was in India and we were traveling around looking for statues.  It was so unbearably hot.  We were staying in this hotel and it was about 104 degrees Fahrenheit or more.  His Holiness was used to heat but he made sure to put me in a hotel with an air conditioner, which I stuck to, and that was very nice.  While at the hotel, I met the woman who cleaned my room, and she told me about her husband.  He was sick, had cancer and was dying.  She said, “Would you come and give a blessing to my husband before he dies?”  And I said, “Oh, it’s worthless if I give him a blessing, but if His Holiness gives him a blessing, that’s something. That’s definitely worthwhile.”  And so she said, “Oh!  Would he do that?”  And I said, “I don’t know.  I’ll ask.”

They were Hindu.  When I asked His Holiness, he said, “I don’t think Hindus like Tibetans very much.  We eat meat.”  And I said, “With due respect, Holiness, I think in this case it doesn’t matter.  These people so want to see you.  They so want the blessing.  These people are going through misery.  They live in a tin box on top of the roof, and she has to raise children by herself.”  His Holiness was very wrathful with me.  He said, “I had to leave Tibet and come to America.  I watched my own people die.  And now I am supposed to think that this is important?”  He was very wrathful.  But I know what he was doing.  He was creating the merit, and clearing the obstacles for this event to happen.  But as you know, His Holiness was very kind.  So finally he stomped his foot and he said, “Ok.  I’ll go.”

We climbed up to the roof, and it was hellish really.  His Holiness’ knees were bad then too.  I was so sorry and embarrassed that I had put His Holiness through that, but then I was so happy for the people that would receive the blessing.

When he came to the door of the tin shack they were living in on top of the building, it must have been 115 degrees inside.  It was so horrible.  We said, “His Holiness is here to give the blessing.  And the woman got down on the floor, and put her head to his feet and then she prostrated again at his feet.  She couldn’t stop.  She just kept doing it.  It was heart breaking to see the devotion that she felt for someone who would not abandon her in this terrible time; who would provide comfort and some help.  And His Holiness did that.

He spoke to her in Hindi.  And he asked her, “What is the problem?  How long has he been sick?”  She could hardly speak.  They were both so grateful and happy to have his blessing, and that he would think of them, because they were lowly people according to the caste system in India.  They were lowly people and poor beyond belief.  They said that some days he didn’t even eat, because there was no food.  And so His Holiness was told the condition of this man, and you could see in his face that he had great compassion.  The man had cancer of the mouth.  You could see that something was terribly wrong, but he had no medicine.  The agony that he was experiencing was hard to understand.

Here’s the kicker.  His Holiness said, “Open your mouth.”  When he said this, I tried to peak, and what I saw in there was horrible.  His Holiness said, “Open your mouth wide.”  He started pounding out mantras. Nothing I recognized.  He really pounded out the mantras.  And as he did that, he was blowing, blowing, blowing in the man’s mouth.  Holiness pounded out more mantras, and blew in the man’s mouth.  He kept doing this for quite a long time.

The couple was so thankful.  They offered Holiness food and drink, which of course he didn’t take.  They offered him food and drink.  He was working his heart out for them.  As we were leaving, they were bowing and bowing, and bowing.  It was so beautiful.  When we got down towards the room, I said to him, “Holiness is he going to live now?”  And he said, “No, there’s no chance.  The merit is gone.  There’s no chance for him to live now,” he said, “But he will have no pain.”

Already the man’s mouth was chewed up with cancer, and yet His Holiness said he would have no pain, and I know that’s true, because I met the woman again on the next day of our travels.  She said he had no pain that day.  I was so happy that happened.  I was just thrilled.

I left the my room door open so I could see where His Holiness was, and he could see where I was, and when he went passed by room, I just went down to him and I said, “Holiness, I know that was difficult, but thank you.  On behalf of them, thank you so much.  I don’t know how to express my gratitude.”  And he said, “No, I thank you.”

I will never forget that story.  He was grateful that I had insisted that he take this opportunity to help them.  He saw the value of it.  He saw that these people were helped and that they were just regular, innocent people.  His Holiness helped them so much that to my knowledge the man never had pain.  The woman and I wrote back and forth for a little while after that, and she said that he never had pain.  To me that am the most moving story about His Holiness that I know.  And I find it impossible to have seen that and not understand that he was Buddha, that he is Buddha.  No one but a Buddha would or could do something like that.  I miss him so much.  I know that you do too.

This entry was posted on 12121212, in stories.

Advice from Guru Rinpoche

– Three Types of Dharma Engagement –

  • The Person of Inferior Motive engages in Dharma activities purely for the sake of well-being in future lives. Therefore, he avoids all other activities, and will certainly attain rebirth in the higher realms.
  • The Person of Mediocre Motive, due to being dissatisfied with samsaric existence, engages only in virtuous activities. Therefore, he will certainly attain individual liberation.
  • The Person of Superior Motive engages in the practice of bodhicitta (compassionate mind) for the sake of all beings. Therefore, he will certainly attain complete enlightenment.

– Four Essential Qualities for Dharma Practice –

  • The person who lives by great compassion will attain the Mind of Enlightenment.
  • The person who does not practice hypocrisy will be able to hold firm to the Dharma Principles.
  • The person who does not practice deception will be able keep their sacred pledge.
  • The person who is free from attachment will form no false friendship.

– Ten Failings of being Unsuccessful in Dharma Practice –

  • If you do not examine all the instructions thoroughly, through the keen view of a garuda bird soaring in the skies, you will have the failing of not knowing for certain where your practice may lead to.
  • If you do not gain confidence, through putting the instructions into practice, you will have the failing of being unable to incorporate the perspective of the instructions with the actions of actual practice.
  • If you do not know how to practice by means of samadhi (tranquil meditative absorption), you will not attain penetrating insight of the dharmata (innate nature of phenomena and mind).
  • If you do not practice in accordance to the instructions, you will not know how to practice and liberate all phenomena in your nature.
  • If you do not advance gradually, through the Vajrayana instructions, you will generate samsaric consequences instead of being able to cultivate the purity needed for tantric practice.
  • If you do not maintain your discipline in accordance to the sacred pledge, you will plant negative karmic seeds of an unsatisfactory future.
  • If you do not redeem yourself through Dharma practice, becoming well versed with all its aspects, you will not experience the benefit of Dharma.
  • If you do not adopt analytical practice to evaluate all sources of learning, you will not be able to discern the uniqueness of different schools.
  • If you do not integrate the individual uniqueness of different schools into one single stream of spontaneous cognition, you will not understand that all teachings are of one flavour.
  • If you do not attain illustriousness in knowledge, understanding clearly and distinctly the meaning of all teachings, you will not gain realisation of the Dharma.

– Ten Types of Fantasy in Dharma Practice –

  • It is fantasy to claim to know the Dharma without having attended to the teaching.
  • It is fantasy to claim you have supra-mundane powers without having accomplished the development stage of Tantric practice.
  • It is fantasy to claim you have received the blessing of the Holy Gurus without having engaged in devotional practice.
  • It is fantasy to claim you have attained enlightenment without having engaged in meditation practice.
  • It is fantasy to claim you have found a master without serving him.
  • It is fantasy to claim you are to be liberated through a means that does not have the support of lineage.
  • It is fantasy to claim you have attained realisation without the oral transmission from the Spiritual Guru.
  • It is fantasy to claim your being is liberated without having engaged in any Dharma practice.
  • It is fantasy to claim you have practised without having engaged in sincere effort.
  • It is fantasy to claim you are blessed with beneficial conditions without having kept the sacred pledge to the Holy Gurus.

– Ten Signs of Having Practised the Dharma –

  • It is the sign of having realised the natural state of pure awareness, if you can put all mental deliberation to rest.
  • It is the sign that the oral transmission from the Spiritual Guru has become effective, if the discriminating awareness wisdom manifests without partiality.
  • It is the sign you have generated devotion to your Spiritual Guru, if you perceive your Guru as a manifestation of Buddha.
  • It is the sign that the lineage of the siddhas (the attainment resulting from Dharma practice) is intact, if you continue to receive blessings of beneficial conditions.
  • It is the sign that you have accomplished the full potential of discriminating awareness, if you can continually adjust the boundaries of your awareness with ease.
  • It is the sign that you have attained the essence of prana-mind (energy of pure consciousness), if you do not feel exhausted in spite of continuous practising through day and night.
  • It is the sign that you have attained the essence of meditation, if there is no variance in discriminating awareness, whether you appear to be practising or not practising.
  • It is the sign that you are able to perceive the manifestation of form, as a tool to assist your advancement on the path to enlightenment, if you can maintain the awareness of dharmata (innate nature of phenomena and mind), regardless of whatever thought or form may appear to you.
  • It is the sign that you have the spontaneous ability to subdue the five poisons (anger, ignorance, pride, desire, envy), if they do not arise in your mind, or even if they do, are instantly rendered harmless.
  • It is the sign that you have understood impermanence as being the stamp of samsara, if you are unhindered by sufferings and obstacles.

– Twelve Invaluable Factors of Harmonious Dharma Practice –

  • Learning, contemplating and meditating are the three basic components of harmonious Dharma practice.
  • Perseverance, faith and reliance on the Spiritual Guru are the three essential principles which support harmonious Dharma practice.
  • Wisdom, discipline, and integrity are the three essential properties of harmonious Dharma practice.
  • Joyful detachment, non-sectarian view, and mental agility are the three vital constituents of harmonious Dharma practice.

– Eight Kinds of Silence in Dharma Practice –

  • With silence of the body, without fanatical fixation, you will avoid the allurement of violation.
  • With silence of the speech, you will keep your practice free from mindless rhetorical diversion.
  • With silence of the mind, you will not be affected by mindless deliberation. Thus, enabling you to reside in the pure consciousness of dharmakaya (the non-dualistic primordial mind), without the hindrance of ordinary cognisance.
  • With silence of sense-gratification, you will set yourself free from the conceptual fixation of pure and impure experiences. Thus, enabling you to be blessed with an existence devoid of conflict, and bring about the protective influences of the Tantric Assembly.
  • With silence of transmission, do not offer instruction to people who are unsuited for such teaching. Thus, enabling you to receive the blessing of the lineage.
  • With silence of behaviour, act unpretentiously and without deceit. Thus, enabling you to make advancement and protect the mind from afflictive influences.
  • With silence of experience, do not form attachment with your experience, and do not elaborate your encounter to others. Thus, enabling you to attain full enlightenment in this lifetime.
  • With silence of realisation, do not cling to mundane longing and reside in the calm abiding of non-duality. Thus, enabling you to be free from the bondage of samsara in the moment of realisation.

– The State of Effortless Being –

  • When there is no attachment to duality, the view of reality is effortless.
  • When there is no attachment to lethargy, restlessness and mindless diversion, meditation is effortless.
  • When attachment to mundane concerns is dissolved, spontaneous action is effortless.
  • When the mind is cleansed of its mental defilement, experience is effortless.
  • When the mind is separated from affliction, it is effortless to reside in the pure consciousness of dharmakaya (the non-dualistic primordial mind).
  • When affection for partiality is removed, compassion is effortless.
  • When propensity to clinging is eliminated from the mind, generosity is effortless.
  • When recognising all worldly pursuits to be illusory, appreciation of life is effortless.
  • When your action is free of conceit and arrogance, your daily undertaking is effortless.
  • When you do not live in accordance to mundane concerns, choice of livelihood is effortless.
  • When you no longer engage in inter-personal rivalry, relationship with others is effortless.
  • When you no longer engage in immature, egocentric conduct, the state of your being is effortless.
  • When in attendance of a Noble Guru who is the embodiment of compassion and wisdom, one’s state of being is effortless.
  • When you recognise the essence of enlightenment is present in all sentient beings, it is effortless to develop familial affection towards them.
  • When you have succeeded in abandoning attachment, whatever you do becomes effortless.
  • When relative truth and ultimate truth become one, it is effortless to realise pure happiness.
  • When recognising visions and sounds to be illusory, it is effortless to dissolve suffering.
  • When realising your true nature, it is effortless to avoid exertion and conflicts.
  • When recognising thoughts as phenomena of the mind, it is effortless to use any object for meditation.
This entry was posted on 12121212, in Teachings.

Reading Sutras

I have had many good experiences with reading sutras.  In hand now, i have ‘A Treasury of Mahayana Sutras’ translated by CC Chang,  which is a collection selected from the Maharatnakuta Sutra.  Often when I read the Sutras, i feel a great sense of awe for the Triple Jewels (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha).  These teachings came directly from Buddha, a fully enlightened and omniscient being.  Someone who is very rare in this world.  We often idolise people who are very smart, rich, creative, artistic, stylish, beautiful, talented, etc. But most times, we may not feel a fraction of that veneration for the Buddha because we can’t understand his qualities in a concrete manner.    Through reading the Sutras, it is 100% possible to actually get a deep feel of the Buddha’s incredible compassion, wisdom and power. I think many people are quite familiar with the commentaries and oral teachings from Gurus and so forth, but this is not the same as the feeling of reading the actual Sutras which is our closest connection to the actual Buddha’s teachings and this gives us a deeper appreciation of the qualities of enlightenment and what it actually entails.

When we get nearer to feeling what a truly enlightened Buddha is like, then automatically our devotion to our own teachers grow.  In the Vajrayana, we are always trying to have a pure perception of our teachers as Buddhas to increase the benefit of the lineage and Guru’s blessings through deeper receptivity.  But if there is no sense of what a Buddha is like in the first place, we are also limited in our appreciation for our own teachers.  To the extent that our understanding faith in the Triple Jewels grow, our faith in our teachers can also grow.

The truths espoused in the Sutras are free from the constraints of time, space, culture.  They are not slanted by any views from limited experience but come from a vast perspective of unlimited wisdom.  They are not limited by contemporary conventions or expectations of contemporary people, so when the Buddha spoke, he taught as what it was, without diluting it to fit the beliefs of present-age people as some teachings are apt to do nowadays.

When we read these Sutras, we begin to really feel a kind of veneration for our lineage or heritage of the Dharma teachings.  We begin to appreciate just how much it takes for enlightenment to arise. We begin to lose our complacency, arrogance and all that taking things for granted.  Because we are able to humble ourselves once more, our mind regain its purity and becomes a vessel for the teachings and blessings.  We begin to see the suffering of samsara more clearly.  We begin to generate bodhichitta.  A strong understanding and trust in Cause-and-Effect arises in our mind.  Often the sense of impermanence and a strong determination to practise the Dharma can arise just from reading the Sutras.

Through the Sutras, we can learn many finer points of conduct in daily life.  We refine our mental compass of what is right / wrong, what should be adopted / avoided.  These are things that we may never learn in our life from another living person, but the best teacher in many aspects can come from the Sutras.  That is why  in the Sanghata sutra, it is said, ” The Sanghata teaches, out of kindness, even through the bodies of Buddhas… It teaches in the form of a Buddha.  It teaches the very essence of Dharma.  Who wishes to see a Buddha, Sanghata is equivalent to a Buddha. Wherever the Sanghata is, always, there the Buddha is.”  Thus it is said, the Sutras can also be our teacher. Many of the sublime qualities can take root and increase in your mind through reading the precious Sutras.  These come through the blessings of the wisdom of Buddha.

Sometimes, when we go and see the Guru, although we wish to have Dharma teachings but we do not know what to ask or how to request for a suitable Dharma teaching.  Or we may not have the merits to know what teachings we need or should request. We may request for something entirely inappropriate or useless to us.  But in the Sutras, these teachings are often requested by great Bodhisattvas for the benefit of beings to the Buddha himself and the answers are very profound and usually cover many different points.  Now, through the Sutras, these teachings are already there, it is only for us to read it and integrate it into our mind.

As Sutras are the words of truth, just reciting the words of Buddha can bring about many beneficial effects like increasing your merits, turning your mind towards Dharma, curing sicknesses, removing obstacles, blessing the area/country etc.  It is said that the Sutras are highly venerated by all kinds of unseen beings and Dharma guardians who would do circumambulations around these texts to pay their respect and accumulate merits.  Truly, the Sutras are the very repositories of the highest wisdom in the universe.

I always encourage people to read the Sutras. It does not matter which vehicle it is from. Whether it is the Mahayana Sutras or the Theravadan collection of Buddha’s discourses, they are replete with wisdom and blessings. Everyone can increase their understanding, faith and wisdom through reading these Sutras with respect.  We should also treat these Sutras with respect,  placing them in clean and high places.  Some people offer incenses before they begin to read the Sutras, some people wash themselves and dress neatly when they read the Sutras. There is no fixed rule but it is always up to your own level of sincerity and respect that brings the corresponding benefit to your mind.

To end: I would like to quote the Sutra of Assembled Treasures:

“That day, the World-Honored One told Mahakasyapa, “Four things cause a Bodhisattva’s wisdom to decrease or be lost. What are the four?

1. To disrespect the Dharma or Dharma-masters;

2. To withhold the profound Dharma he has acquired instead of disclosing it fully;

3. To hinder those who rejoice in the Dharma by giving them reasons to despair; and

4. To be arrogant and conceited, and  to disdain others.

Furthermore, Kasyapa, four things cause a Bodhisattva to gain great wisdom.  What are the four?

1.  Always to respect the Dharma and revere Dharma-masters;

2.  To preach widely whatever Dharma he has learned, with a pure mind not in pursuit of fame or profit;

3.  To know that wisdom arises from much learning, and to pursue learning with such constant, urgent effort as if to save his head from fire; and

4.  To recite the Sutras he has learned, and practice cheerfully as instructed, without becoming entangled in words.

(You can see a scanned copy of this sutra here http://profcohen.net/ltwl147/ratnakuta.pdf)

May all beings perfect their wisdom and attain Omniscience and Buddhahood swiftly!

This entry was posted on 12121212, in sutras.

Prayer in midst of sufferings

Nowadays there are many phenomenons manifesting from the four elements causing fear, destruction and loss of live and property. At these times, it is very important to direct strong prayers to the people who are suffering.  Some people wonder if these prayers are of any benefit.  According to Dzogchen Khenpo Choga:

In the Prajnaparamita sutras and Samantabhadra tantra, Buddha said that when there are natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, or fire, the energy of your Dharma practice at that time increases millions of times and you create immeasurable good karma and greatly benefit all beings. It is a very important time for us to pray sincerely from our hearts.

When such disasters strike, people who are affected are too distraught or distracted to concentrate on prayers, they may not even know how to pray. In such times, people from other parts of the globe can concentrate and offer up our positive energies and invoke the Buddhas/Bodhisattvas to help.  There is definitely a positive effect because many of such disasters are at least partially caused by other kinds of formless beings and we can definitely reduce or limit the damage through spiritual methods.  There are many stories of highly enlightened masters praying and preventing huge disasters like typhoons, earthquakes etc, even in recent times.  There are also stories of ordinary people who were very sincere and dedicated to their practice and the disaster wrecked havoc everywhere around them but left their house alone.

By directing our prayers towards those humans, animals etc who are affected by the disaster, their minds can also receive these energies and calm down, thus reducing their suffering.  Those who have passed away can also experience less confusion in the bardo.  Those who are alive are also less likely to fall prey to their baser emotions and engaging in theft etc in cases where there is lack of food.

I end this post with another quote from Khenpo Choga:

Generosity is not merely money. It includes love, healing, and brings great hope for the future. Therefore, you should find a reliable aid organization and support and join their activities by making a donation with love and compassion. Even if you give only one penny with positive thinking it makes a big difference.

We may think of this world as many different, isolated countries. In fact, it is one, deeply interconnected world. If any area has a problem, it is not theirs alone. It is actually everybody’s problem. For example, if there is a nuclear explosion in Japan, the radiation spreads everywhere.

When natural or social disasters increase, we really need to increase our good intention and good conduct. Therefore, these days we should practice positive thinking one thousand times more than before.

We cannot just say, “Oh, this world has so many problems,” and just sink in sadness, worry, or fear. That does not help anybody. If you are afraid of problems, that is a big problem because then you feel helpless to solve the problem. We should directly face problems, find solutions, and act right away. That is how we effectively help ourselves and others.

Generally, helping others is the best way to help yourself. Especially when there is a tragedy, we need to help each other more. By helping each other, you can realize the meaning of life. Sometimes greedy people choose money over the lives of people, but we should always choose the lives of people over money.