Archive | October 2015

Advice Given To Lhawang Tashi by Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye

(Source : http://www.lotsawahouse.org/tibetan-masters/jamgon-kongtrul/advice-to-lhawang-tashi)

I take refuge in Padmasambhava.
O Kagyü gurus, please grant your blessings!
Please turn the minds of faithful ones towards the dharma;
May we embrace the path of liberation beyond return!

Atisha, the protector of the snowland, said:
“Among many, examine your speech;
When you stay alone, examine your mind.”
Briefly he taught these two points.

The mind is the root of faults
And the mouth is the gateway for these faults to emerge.
Thus, always watch over both.

All of saṃsāra and nirvāṇa are your own mind;
They don’t arise from anything else in the slightest.
Everything, such as joy and suffering, good and bad,
High and low, are the conceptual constructs of mind.

If your mind is pure, you are buddha:
Wherever you reside is a pure realm;
Whatever you do is from the state of the dharmatā;
Whatever appears is the jewel display of wisdom.

If your mind is of an impure nature,
You’ll see faults even in the buddhas,
You’ll get angry even at your parents,
Most things will appear as if they were your enemies.

Expectation, fear, attachment, and anger will continue unabated.
Such useless things will waste your life away.
Whomever you associate with, there will be discord
And wherever you stay it will be uncomfortable.

However much you own, you won’t be content.
For everything you accumulate, you’ll need that much more.

Being distracted again and again by the appearances of this life,
Even if you think about practicing dharma
You’ll waste your life caught up in present activities.

At first, when you feel a sense of renunciation
You’ll feel like you could be rid of each and everything you own;
Once you become intractable you’ll cling even to needles.

At first, when you feel a sense of devotion
You won’t think of anyone except your guru.
After a while, you’ll have wrong views.

At first, when you feel a sense of faith
Your spiritual practice will pile up one on top of the other;
As you get older, all of this fades away.

Whenever you find a new friend
You value their life more than your own.
Once your enthusiasm fades away,
You’ll be upset with them as if they were your enemy.

The root of all of these
Is not taking your own mind to be paramount.

If you are able to make use of your mind
Then you don’t need to search for some other place of retreat;
When concepts are absent, that is your retreat.

You don’t need to search outside for the guru;
The nature of mind is the enlightened guru.

You don’t need to worry about other spiritual practices to be done,
Being without distraction is the heart of spiritual practice.
You don’t need to deliberately abandon distractions,
If your mindfulness is firm, things are spontaneously liberated.

You don’t need to fear that afflictions will occur,
If you recognize their nature it is primordial wisdom.

Except for this momentary mind of yours,
Saṃsāra and nirvāṇa are not established as anything else.
Please always watch over the mind!

Unless mind is tamed within,
Outer enemies will be inexhaustible.
If you tame the anger within,
All enemies on earth will be pacified.

If contentment does not arise within your mind
Even if you have everything you could ever want, you’ll be like a beggar.
Those who are content and rid of clinging
Are always rich even without possessions.

When you accomplish wholesome worldly activities
As well as dharma and virtues,
Habitual tendencies arouse mental joy;
This causes you to take birth in the higher realms.

That is also impermanent, it is saṃsāra.
When looking at the essence of joyful feelings,
You see they are empty
And this is a cause for the path of liberation.

Suffering arises from unwholesome
Spiritual and worldly activities.

If you follow after thoughts and afflictions
Such as hatred, anger, and desire,
It will cause you to take birth in the three lower realms.
To be born in any of them brings about unimaginable torment.

Whatever afflictions or sufferings occur,
By looking at their essence they vanish into emptiness.
There is no way for wisdom to revert from that state.

To not separate your mind from this
And always guard your mind is critical.
The entirety of the dharma is encapsulated in guarding your mind.
The bodhisattva Shantideva spoke of how to guard the mind:

“For those who wish to guard their minds,
This is brought about by mindfulness and introspection.
As is said, ‘All should diligently guard their minds!’
I fold my hands in reverence to such persons.”

To practice in accordance with what is said here is critical.
That being so, the six collections of consciousness and all appearing objects,
Are simply the magical display of mind’s nature.
Thus, it is a mistake to think there is some agent who practices adoption and rejection.

Even though taking things onto the path
As an equal taste is supreme,
For the beginner, let your view be high
And your practice precise.

As it is said, “The human form with its freedoms and advantages is hard to find.”
Thinking over and over about death and impermanence,
Give rise to certainty about the infallibility of karma and its effects.

When you see or hear of another’s death
Know it to be a warning for you.
When you notice the changes from summer to winter
Recall that everything is impermanent

When you catch sight of bees with their honey
Know that possessions are unnecessary.
When you see a house or town that is empty
Consider it as your own home or dwelling.

When you see others have parted ways with their friends
Recall your own close relations.
When things suddenly happen to others against their will
Remember that such things could happen to you as well.

Self and other—everything—is as a dream;
There isn’t even the slightest thing which is truly established.

When you maintain the natural state as it is
Without spoiling or fabricating your mind,
The emptiness of all inner and outer phenomena
Is realized to be the sky-like union of clarity and emptiness.

That is ultimate bodhicitta.
Migrating beings who do not realize this
Wander in saṃsāra under the influence of dualistic apprehension.

Limitless and unfabricated compassion
Naturally arises for those who undergo such torment.
This is relative bodhicitta.

Without grasping at compassion, realize its emptiness.
Compassion, the spontaneous energy of emptiness, will emerge.
Union is the essence of the teachings of sūtra and mantra.
You should engage in this profound practice.

The method for having such things arise in your mindstream
Is to accumulate a wealth of merit, take all of it into your own hands.
Pray to the Three Jewels.
Take devotion to the guru as the vital point.

Encourage yourself and others to avoid wrongdoing
And, however you can, engage in virtue.
Do not separate yourself from the bodhicitta of the Great Vehicle
Nor from pure dedication of your merit.

The spiritual practitioner known as Lodrö Thayé,
An old yogin who does nothing but eat, sleep, and defecate,
Composed this to clear up some things for Devendra,
A virtuous-minded person whose magnificent qualities are like the waxing moon.

May you have long life and master dharma practice
And may the two-fold benefit be spontaneously accomplished!

Sarva siddhirastu mangalam!

Translated by Joseph Faria, 2015.

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Uniting Outer and Inner Solitude: Patrul Rinpoche’s Advice for Alak Dongak Gyatso

(Source : http://adamspearcey.com/2014/12/21/solitude-patrul-rinpoches-advice-for-alak-dongak-gyatso/)

Before the holy Nyagrodha, the very best of trees,
All alone, you tamed the hosts of Māra and his army,
Simply through the force of your loving kindness–
Supreme guide who attained full awakening, care for me!

O Protector, you renounced the kingdom of a universal monarch,
Casting it aside as if it were nothing more than poisoned food,
And, all alone, you departed for the quiet of the forest,
There to accomplish single-pointed meditation – thus we’ve heard.

Therefore, these delightful mountain solitudes,
Are like the family estate to the supreme guide’s heirs,
And, as the best of protectors himself has said,
To rely on solitude is indeed the pinnacle of joys!

Forests, hermitages and isolated dwelling places –
These are the outer solitude of the Victor’s heirs.
Avoiding selfishness and faint-hearted fears –
This is the bodhisattvas’ internal isolation.

Keeping, therefore, to outer forms of solitude,
Tame the inner afflictions through tranquillity and insight,
And aspire to the supreme conduct of Samantabhadra –
Possessing such good fortune one is truly the Buddhas’ heir.

With its sweetly cascading mountain streams,
Rocky mountain shelters ascending to heaven,
And gently falling dew drops of whitest moonlight –
This mountain retreat surpasses even the deva realm.

The dance of the slender trees does not stir the passions,
And sweet birdsong brings neither attachment nor aversion,
Enveloped in non-conceptuality’s gentle, cooling shade –
Such youthful companionship is surely better than a silent void!

Undisturbed by noisy chatter, that thorn in meditation’s side,
Alone in this excellent place of unattended solitude,
The old monkey of the mind has nowhere left to roam,
And so, settling down within, finds its satisfaction.

Under the bright oppressive sunlight of busy, bustling crowds,
Our own faults and unhelpful thoughts eclipse the constellations,
But when embraced by threefold solitude’s cooling nectar beams,
Such faults can easily be overcome through the proper antidotes.

When it’s undisturbed by rippling thoughts of sadness,
The pool-like surface of the mind is still, unmoving,
And faith and compassion’s reflections readily arise,
In such constancy, what need is there for a companion?

If the mirror of mind is wiped clean, time and again,
And uncluttered with objects and circumstances,
Study, reflection and meditation present a clear impression,
And what is there to prevent the dawn of Dharma’s light?

Hunger, thirst, cold and the like – all forms of physical affliction,
Together with sadness, fear and all such mental suffering,
Can, through the teachings, enhance the purifying path,
And, unburdened by avoidance or indulgence, adorn the mind!

The pleasures of the five senses, longed for by the foolish,
Are not to be found in solitude as they are among the devas,
But joys of Dharma in their hundreds, lauded by the wise,
Are more abundant in a lonely forest than in Tuṣita’s paradise.

To the bodhisattva who sees suffering as a spur to diligence
There is nothing that could conflict with Dharma practice.
Should a hundred or a thousand demonic hordes arise as foes,
How could they affect the wise for whom adversities are allies?

Savouring the fine fruit of the teacher’s nectar-like instructions,
Do not chase after the hollow, husk-like words of the scholars;
Seeking the bright luminescence of the bodhisattvas’ compassion,
Do not hanker after the flickering lights of ordinary conversation.

Like a smith skilfully taming and ornamenting the mind,
With no need for the many tools of varied fields of knowledge,
It’s enough to take up the blade of renunciation and compassion,
Thereby to transform a negative character’s stubborn hide.

A single nectar shower of the teacher’s compassion,
Can cause the ripening crop of qualities to grow,
As the clouds of devotion amass again and again,
And there’s no need to fear an untimely frost.

Love and affection are all the greater
For friends, teachers and family living far away,
But it’s hard to feel so when they’re close by,
As intimacy incites only irritation!

Faith and compassionate love, cultivated in solitude,
For the lofty, the lowly and all those in between,
Tied to enlightened action with the rope of aspiration,
Will never come undone throughout one’s future lives.

Even the vast scented leaves of empty talk and words,
Can be embraced by the harsh touch of a serpent’s evil,
But for one who’s grasped the subtle meaning, like sandalwood,
What unhappiness is there in separation from an old dog like me?

If this old dog survives and is still here nine years hence,
There’ll be time to hear his barking speeches once again,
But noble beings are made by the warmth of experience,
And while the breath has not yet faded, it’s wrong to delay.

The supreme, gracious teacher is like all the buddhas in person,
So let his ambrosial teaching seep into the centre of your heart,
And if, through diligent practice, you imbibe life’s essence,
You’ll attain immortality in this very lifetime – that’s avowed!

But to remain in solitude without taming the mind
Is to be like the wild woodland beasts and birds,
As the supreme Victorious One himself has said,
Vital it is, then, to unite outer and inner solitude!

Proud at the thought of having tamed the mind,
After simply pacifying a single thought or emotion,
And contemptuous of those who are pre-occupied–
These are hooks of Māra for those in retreat.

Pay no heed, therefore, to others’ vices or virtues,
And inspire yourself with enthusiasm for Dharma,
For who is happier than the host of the event,
At which the mind is seen to be a mere illusion?

All the various thoughts are laid out like the features of a game,
For the child-like power of awareness to play with non-attachment,
The old mothers of the six realms take their seats as compassion’s focus,
And the offerings, sources of merit, are shared by dedication’s skilful hands.

All this talk of realising and seeing, it’s all so hollow!
Forget bliss and clarity, they’re just temporary highs!
Cultivate emptiness of which compassion is the essence,
And your own and others’ welfare is assured, it’s said.

Even a hundred years of exertion born of expectation for reward,
Will only postpone the supreme accomplishment, we’re told.
But on the path of the six pāramitās free from the seven attachments,[3]
Even without enlightenment in this lifetime, there’ll be no regret!

First you met a supremely qualified guide,
Then you felt renunciation and joy for the Dharma,
And now you’re meditating in woodland solitude,
O my fortunate friend, you’re fortunate indeed!

I met noble masters, but failed to follow them properly,
Whatever Dharma I train in, I don’t apply it to my mind,
I took to solitude, but couldn’t be diligent or undistracted,
Turning into an old dog like me means remaining malign!

My friend, you’ve set out on the way to every happiness,
But as you tirelessly cultivate diligence and devotion,
Be ever watchful, alert for the demon of arrogant pride,
And your life will end happily too – do you understand?

Not ruining the mind with false visions of deities or demons,
But furnishing it with the treasures of jewel-like qualities,
May you follow in the footsteps of the great Kadampa saints,
This is my prayer – Original Protector, please bear witness!

Even if wicked old Abu should die and descend into the lower realms,
There’ll be a time when he’s freed through the teacher’s kindness.
Then, I pray, may he continue to uphold supreme enlightened action
For as long as all beings, his very own mothers, still remain!

These sincere words, which arose like a rainbow from the mouth,
Were offered from the mountain solitude of Dhichung by ragged Abu,
In order to dispel the sadness of a dear, like-minded friend.
May their meaning become apparent!

Translated by Adam Pearcey, 2014.

1. In Golok he is known chiefly with the honorific as Alak Dongak, but elsewhere in Kham he is often referred to as Japa Dongak. Unfortunately, no one really seems sure how to spell Japa: some sources have ’Gya[‘] pa, others ‘Ja’ pa or even ’Bya ba, and there are even texts which alternate between them, but from what I can gather ‘Gya pa is the most likely form.
2. Mi-pham-rgya-mtsho 2006: 24-25.
3. According to Arya Asanga’s commentary on the Mahāyānasūtrālaṃkāra, where they are explained in connection with the pāramitā of generosity, the seven kinds of attachment (chags bdun) are: (1) attachment to possessions, (2) postponing the practice, (3) being satisfied with just a little practice, (4) expectation of something in return, (5) karmic results, (6) adverse circumstances, and (7) distractions.

Garchen Rinpoche on the importance of the Mani mantra

(Comments : As a sign of the decline in positive thinking of all beings, there have been many problems surfacing in this world.  As an individual, we can help in our tiny way by reciting the mani mantra and dedicating it with the force of our love and compassion.  If we do this collectively, then the problems will lessen and our collective merits will increase, thereby providing the auspiciousness for further virtuous solutions and endeavors to arise.  If one believes in Dharma and cause-effect, there is no better way to engage in action than by reciting the mani mantra with a strong wish for the benefit of others.

Why do I say that there is no better way?  Firstly, of course, one can engage in all sorts of social, political, environmental actions, but without engaging in the methods that purify the REAL causes of all problems, ie, the negative thinking of beings, all actions have a very limited effect and even when it has a very strong effect, how pervasive and lasting it can be is very hard to say. Not to mention if one is dogged by all kinds of obstacles in carrying out one’s plans and/or creates all kinds of other negativities while carrying it out.  Without removing the causes, many changes are cosmetic and superficial.

Secondly, in order to have a practical course of action that benefits others, one requires great wisdom, nowadays, we see many acts in the name of helping but which have many harmful side-effects, or which may be misinformed or misguided acts of benevolence.  This is happening so often that a term is coined for it : ‘idiot compassion’.  So we should be circumspect in the ways we want to provide help to others.

Thirdly,  many people are living at a very hectic and even frenetic pace of life. There is no time to provide any kind of help to others even if we may have the heart for it.  Time, energy and ability are factors that are against us.  So we need a method that is easy and simple to do.

Fourthly, there are those who may say that the mani practice is too simple, that we should resort to more colorful, intricate and extensive practices or ceremonies to help this world.  That may be true and i am not denying the efficacy of such practices. But for many of us, what is practicable and suitable to our capacities and level of insight is simple heartfelt prayer.  Sometimes, simple and clear methods give very definite and direct results beyond our imagination.

Here is a very good teaching by Garchen Rinpoche and in my next post, i will include another teaching on the Chenrezig practice.  As a starter, I aspire to recite 100,000 mani mantras for the benefit of all beings within the next few days.  This is my sincere aspiration and offering.  It may be quite insignificant in the face of the kind of problems and obstacles this world is facing but mind has an infinite capacity and as love and positive thinking can transcend all limitations, please do not underestimate any effort.  Please do try to do something yourself and encourage others to do so.  The mantra OM MANI PADME HUNG is so simple yet profound.  It has the potential to clear all obstacles, sicknesses and liberate beings from the sufferings of the samsara.  It is a wish-fulfilling jewel that can accomplish your wishes.  We should not belittle this practice, think of impermanence and do ourselves a deep favor by accumulating this mantra.  )

garchen

Garchen Rinpoche teaching on the recitation of OM MANI PADME HUNG:

About the Mani practice: Chenrezig is practiced throughout all the Buddhist lineages. Chenrezig has the nature of compassion. In the Drikung Kagyu lineage, the Chenrezig 100 Million Mantra Retreat is an old tradition that remains unbroken since the time of Lord Jigten Sumgon until the present day. Also, Mani pills are blessed in these retreats, as such retreats have the power to multiply the power of the mani pills. This also is an unbroken lineage. The more Mani mantras we recite, the more love will increase in the minds of sentient beings, the more hatred will decrease. The minds of beings will become peaceful and happy, which will also help one’s country. If the minds of humans become peaceful and happy, then also the minds of spirits will become peaceful and happy. The Mani mantra practice is supreme in order to bring about peace and happiness. Therefore, the Mani Retreat is conducted throughout all the Drikung Kagyu centers in the world. This is the lifeforce of our lineage and we must uphold it.

For example, the Mani wheel at Gar monastery was brought by the Chinese Princess Wenchen as a dowry to the king Songtsen Gampo. It was Gar minister who brought the princess from China to Tibet. Since that time, the wheel spins day and night.

Of all the prayer wheels, the Mani wheel is most important because by this, love and compassion will arise in the minds of all beings, their self-grasping will diminish.

All the Tibetan leaders are also strongly connected to Chenrezig. They are said to be emanations of Chenrezig. The Buddha Shakyamuni himself gave a prophecy to Chenrezig to protect the snowy land of Tibet in the future. Up until the present Holiness the Dalai Lama, all leaders of Tibet have been emanations of Chenrezig.

Chenrezig is the father of all deities and his nature is love and compassion. Whoever possesses great compassion can said to be an emanation of Chenrezig.

To engage in the Mani Retreat every year brings great benefit to the world. It pacifies the outer elements and balances the inner minds of sentient beings. Outer natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floodings and so on, will lessen.