Practicing the Dharma correctly

Yachen Monastery is a famous place for meditation practice, even in such a sublime place, Lama Achuk Rinpoche would always request everyone, “You should all at least recite 100 million Mani mantras.” Some people have finished 100 million, many others are still in the process of completing it.

Lama Achuk Rinpoche has himself completed 100-200 million Mani mantras at least. Therefore, as a follower, we should be like him, reciting the Mani mantra properly.

In Tibet, not to say 100 or 200 million Mani mantras, there are many people who have completed 300-400 million mantras. As for Ngondro, not to mention 3 or 4 times, many people have completed 23, 24, or even 25 times.

In Changdu region, there is an old lady who has completed more than 40 million full prostrations. She does 4000 prostrations daily, without breaking for even one day. It has been 40 over years already. She is neither a renunciant practitioner nor a monastic, but an ordinary nomadic shepherd.

In Lhasa, there is a young girl who works in a restaurant, now she is 21 years old, but whenever she has time, she will recite the Mani mantra, now she has already completed 100 million Mani mantras.

Why do I tell you these things? This is for everyone to reflect on yourself. Have I really practiced the Dharma? Did I put any sincere effort into it? To allow you to realize the faults of not accomplishing the Dharma, and for you to see the positive qualities of other peoples’ practice. To give you the chance to reflect. This is why I am telling you about these people.

If I ask you to do 10 or 20 million prostrations, you will feel it is impossible. What about 1 million or 500,000 then? If you can’t do that, what about 100,000 or 200,000 prostrations? If one does not even have the determination to complete that, then there is really no will to practice the Dharma. Do not find any excuses, if there is a will, there is a way to do it.

To practice the Ngondro once, one must at least prostrate 100,000 times, isn’t that right? If you say that you can’t even do the Ngondro once, then please do not call yourself a practitioner. We should be as courageous as those people who are so diligent, doing the practice with perseverance and no laziness. If you are unable to accomplish all of what they have done, or if 80-90% of what they have done is beyond you, then what about at least half or 10% of what they have done? Shouldn’t you at least consider this?

When death comes, we all have to travel on the same identical path, it is only that when we are alive, how much Dharma we have accomplished differs. So then, shouldn’t we make some preparations for the moment of death? Whether we have money or not, power or not, no matter how carefree you may be right now, when death comes, what everyone faces is the same thing. Whatever external conditions you may be experiencing now, please give some thought and preparations for the moment of death.

Nowadays, whether it is the Tibetan or Chinese practitioners, they give the impression that they are practicing the Dharma, but when we really examine how they practice, then we will realize that what they are practicing is impure and not in accordance to the teachings.

We should reflect clearly on the proportion of negative acts (of body, speech and mind) to positive deeds (of body, speech and mind) that we have committed in the past. Did we accomplish more positive karma or more negative karma? Think well about it! For us to be more carefree and relaxed at the point of our death, for the road to our next life to be smoother, then one has to be really cautious and throw all your energy into creating positive karma and Dharma practice.

When we are practicing the Dharma, please generate a positive motivation, practice for the sake of benefitting all mother sentient beings as vast as space. At the same time, be clear about one thing: when we practice Dharma, we are really accomplishing our own benefit.

People who do not really understand how to practice the Dharma, or who have insufficient faith in the Dharma, or who do not put in their efforts in practicing will end up thinking that the Dharma had deceived them. But whether the Dharma has deceived you or not depends on whether your practice is able to remedy the mental afflictions of desire, anger and ignorance in your mind.

Whether the Dharma deceives you or not, isn’t it so that each of us are able to feel our own pain and happiness? Isn’t the feeling of suffering and joy real to us? If we are not able to use the Dharma to tame our minds, then the Dharma will remain external to us. Even if you try to solve the problem by addressing the external circumstances, in actual fact, you neither know how to practice the Dharma, nor are you actually practicing Dharma.

Practicing Dharma is not about going outwards to change the external circumstances, it is about transforming our minds. If we know how to deal with our minds, then that is true Dharma practice. On the path of Dharma, we should first put effort in taming our minds, after that, we should try to help others through good advice, helping them to slowly transform their minds too.

If I talk too much, people will not understand. Anyway, the gist of it is that to benefit your present and future lives, it is essential to observe two points: firstly, develop the kind heart, secondly, practice the Dharma well. Whether it is the people around you like your parents, children, family, relatives or friends, one should try to benefit them. At the same time, one should give up all harmful intentions and acts towards others.

Pema Trinley Rinpoche

(Pema Trinley Rinpoche is an accomplished Dzogchen master, also a  Delog who can die temporarily to travel other realms, and see the karma of beings in the past, present and future.  He is famous for his clairvoyance to observe the fates of those who have passed away and giving advice on how to help them. )

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Respecting Triple Gems

(Source : Nyingma Monlam Book Vol 23)

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


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Stories shared – The miraculous effects of practicing the Mani mantra

Karma Rinpoche’s teachings on the Mani Mantra

If one diligently practices the heart-mantra of Chenrezig (OM MANI PADME HUNG), it will not only help us to purify negative karma from beginningless time but will also truly help to plant the karmic seeds for merging with the mind of Chenrezig, bringing us to the level of Chenrezig and total enlightenment of the Buddha.

The miraculous effects of practicing the Mani mantra – the tooth of a hundred million recitations and foreknowledge of the time of death:

When ordinary beings are about to pass away, for many of them, what they see are only the Raksha minions of the hell realms and other ghostly entities, due to that, they give rise to great terror.  If one has taken refuge and practised the Mani mantra, when it comes to the time of dying, one will see the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and spiritual masters.  One will not take rebirth in the lower realms and will not feel afraid.  By these excellent circumstances, one will even have the opportunity to take rebirth in the pureland of Sukhavati (Amitabha’s pureland).

The six syllables mantra (OM MANI PADME HUNG) is extremely wonderful.  Through the practice of its meaning, one carries out the six paramitas:

OM : perfects the paramita of generosity

MA : perfects the paramita of discipline

NI : perfects the paramita of patience

PAD : perfects the paramita of diligence

ME : perfects the paramita of meditation

HUNG : perfects the paramita of wisdom

Normally when we practice the Mani mantra with devotion, we are accomplishing the six paramitas at the same time.  In our lineage, we recite “OM MANI PADME HUNG HRIH”, “HRIH” is a seed syllable, it contains the qualities of the body, speech, mind and all activities of Chenrezig.  It allows us to receive the great blessings of Chenrezig, and gradually transform our ordinary body, speech and mind into the enlightened body, speech and mind of Chenrezig.

The six syllable mantra can help us to seal the doors to rebirth in the six realms of samsara, preventing us from revolving continuously in the cycle of rebirth

OM : prevents rebirth in the heaven realms, and blesses the heavenly realm beings with a chance to attain liberation from samsara

MA : prevents rebirth in the Asura (demi-gods) realms, and blesses the Asura realm beings with a chance to attain liberation from samsara

NI : prevents rebirth in the human realms, and blesses the human realm beings with a chance to attain liberation from samsara

PAD : prevents rebirth in the preta (hungry-spirits) realms, and blesses the preta realm beings with a chance to attain liberation from samsara

ME : prevents rebirth in the animal realms, and blesses the animal realm beings with a chance to attain liberation from samsara

HUNG : prevents rebirth in the hell realms, and blesses the hell realm beings with a chance to attain liberation from samsara

In the Tibetan regions, many elderly people like to recite the Mani mantras and would often finish many hundreds-of-millions in their life.  In Tibet, very few of these old people would have sicknesses like dementia.  They would hold the rosary in the left hand and rotate a prayer wheel with their right hand, while their mouths would recite the Mani mantra of Chenrezig or other mantras.  If they had time, they would do full prostrations and pray in their minds to receive the blessings of Chenrezig.  This is practice with body, speech and mind in tandem. While speech is reciting Buddha’s mantra, body is also paying homage to Buddha and mind is focused on supplicating and recollecting Buddha.

If only speech is on reciting Buddha’s mantra but mind is utterly devoid of any focus on Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, then there is no real connection with Buddha.  To recite Buddha’s mantra also means that one constantly recalls and thinks of Buddha.  The motions of body, speech and mind should be performed with the awareness that Buddhas and Bodhisattvas constantly regard us (with their compassion).  We should hold this in mind and always confess our negativities with regret and accumulate virtues and positive deeds —  practising diligently.

In Tibet, there is the saying of the “Hundred-million” tooth.  Many elderly people of eighty or ninety years old would grow new teeth.  Just as if they were babies who had just grown out their baby teeth.  Many people view this as the great blessings of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.  Generally, this is a sign of blessing when one has finished reciting a hundred million Mani mantras.  I had a Taiwanese student who was a very famous dental specialist.  I once invited him to look at my maternal grandmother’s new tooth.  He said, “This kind of tooth is not documented in the dentistry school, but one finds it alot in the Tibetan regions, it is quite amazing.” Actually, the new tooth is just one facet of the blessings, many people would also foretell when they are going to pass away and make all the preparations for it.  That was really incredible.

My maternal grandmother lived to about 89 years old.  On the day of her passing, she had already washed all her old clothes and piled them up neatly.  The new clothes were placed aside and she tasked my father to assemble all the relatives.  When they were gathered, she informed them that the old clothes have already been washed and who they should be given to.  She also made known who should receive the new clothes.  Below her pillow were some money from her relatives, she instructed that these were to be offered to the ordained monastics when they came the next day.  After that, she thanked each and every one of her relatives saying that she had given everyone much trouble during her late years.  Then, saying she needed to take a rest, she laid down.  Everyone thought she was going to take a nap.  After awhile, my aunt said, “Mother, we are going to leave first.”  But there was no response.  Upon checking, they realized that she had already passed away without any apparent suffering.

A grand-dad of (another) aunt recited the Mani mantra all his life.  He had been diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer for about one or two years when I visited him.  He was sitting at the balcony, basking in the sun and at that point, he was reaching 80 years of age.  He looked hale and hearty and was in very good spirits.  In front of him were placed some rock sugars, butter and Tsampa (dried barley).  I asked him, “Don’t you have Esophageal Cancer?  Can you still consume these foodstuff?  Other people who have this sickness have to refrain from eating (solid foods like these).”  He laughed and said, “So they say it is Esophageal Cancer but I can still eat, rock-sugars, Tsampa and butter and many more…  just do some chanting and all would be fine.”  He did not seem to feel any discomfort or pain, but continued to eat and drink until his death.”

On the day of his death, I rushed back from Chengdu.  In the afternoon, he started to ask everyone, “Is Rinpoche back yet?”  When he heard that I was on the way back, he had my cousin Ruogu Lama go to the monastery to invite all the monastics to his home.  He mentioned that it would be difficult to get money when he was dying so he arranged for the money to be offered to the monastics later on his behalf.  After all had been done, he continued to recite the Mani mantra.  That night, when I had just entered the door of my home, before I had even drunk a sip of tea, a phone-call came saying, “He has just passed on, please come to do the (customary) funeral rites for crossing him over.”  The grand-dad of my aunt had anticipated the timing of my arrival home.  After his death, his corpse had the fresh appearance of a person who was still alive.  It was very awe-inspiring.

To be free and at ease at the point of death, this is the most excellent and ultimate proof of a whole life of practice.  This experience is the old man’s legacy for later generations, everyone should have faith and devotion in this!

(More teachings on the Mani mantra :

Teaching on Seven Lines Prayer – Yangthang Rinpoche

(My comments:)

If we wish to really receive the Dharma in our life, it is necessary to take whatever you already know and bring it from head to heart.  For going into heart, rather than remaining in the dimension of head or intellect, one of most incredible approach is the path of devotion.

From the point of view of goal-oriented, business-transaction-savvy intellect who is out for the greatest profit in the shortest time, devotion seems foolish, low-class, dangerous, prone to abuse, unsophisticated etc etc. But actually, the cleverer you are, the more self-protecting and condescending you are, the harder it becomes to really do the simplest things of all, which even animals or children are even better than us at doing sometimes.

The seven-line prayer is an invocation to the Buddhas in the form of Guru Rinpoche.  Through thinking of the sufferings of life and impermanence, feel deep sadness and pray to Guru Rinpoche as the only refuge.  This prayer opens our hearts to devotion and what is beyond the reach of reason and intellect.  Because when it comes to the crux of the matter, death, all logic, reasoning and knowledge will not be of much use, only what we know intuitively/ instinctively would come up.  At that point, heart is of much greater use.  That is why the past masters have always urged us to pray to the Guru and Triple Gems with faith at the point of death.

Nowadays due to being trapped and obfuscated by their self-centred logic, people are not able to see what matters and what they really want or need.  In a kind of murky state, they continue to strive like robots for things that don’t make much sense.   If we examine the records of some people who go through a very harrowing experience like some terminal illness or life-threats or a near-death experience, they seem to wake up and develop some kind of clarity of purpose in their lives.  In other words, intellect has started to give way to heart. When we read about the qualities they start to treasure, these are always qualities like love, kindness, gratitude and faith.

If we are practicing the Dharma, rather than always being limited by the words of the text we are reciting, it is much more important to have the true blessings soaking our heart.  Our hearts should be moved by faith, by the pain of sentient beings, by the kindness of our spiritual guides, by the sublime qualities of the noble beings like Lord Buddha or Guru Rinpoche.

When we are practicing, rather than treating it like just another routine session on the cushion, we should be happy, even slightly excited at having another chance to practice.  But nowadays, how many are only practicing by rote?  That is why we need to bring the energy down from head to heart by invoking Guru Rinpoche with the Seven-Lines prayer.   Sometimes singing the prayer with a beautiful tune, sometimes loudly at the top of one’s voice, sometimes in a very gentle and moving tone.  It is up to the situation, the point is to invoke blessings to enter our heart so that vibrant colors comes back to our practice and infuses life in it.

Here’s the teaching

Healing the Subtle Body — Emotional Needs in the Practice of Spirituality

Tsoknyi Rinpoche Interview on Lung

“In the 21st century, the subject of healing the subtle body is crucial. I sometimes say that for western Dharma practitioners, “body enlightenment” is more important than the enlightenment of the mind.” ~ Tsoknyi Rinpoche

*Q: In your new book “Open Heart, Open Mind” you discuss the subtle body and its influence on our lives. How can we understand the subtle body?

Rinpoche: In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, the subtle body (Tib. “lu trawa”) connects the body and mind and is the home of the emotions that influences both.

Q: So it is a point of great importance that is largely unknown in western psychology. Can you please explain the system of the subtle body in more precise detail?

Rinpoche: The subtle body is composed of three interrelated aspects. The first consists of what in Tibetan is called “tsa”, (“nadi” in Sanskrit), usually translated as channels. They are closely related, but not the same as a network of nerves that extend throughout the body. These channels are the pathways that allow sparks of life(“thigle” in Tibetan, “bindus” in Sanskrit) to circulate and can be compared to neurotransmitters–chemical messengers that influence our physical, mental and emotional states.The “thigle” circulate within the channels due to the subtle energy or inner wind, known in Tibetan as “lung.” (“prana” in Sanskrit).

Q: A certain amount of lung is a normal part of the subtle body. But there are also disturbances in the wind energy. Is it possible that lung disturbances can get intensified through meditation practice and manifest negatively at the level of feelings?

Rinpoche: Clearly, yes. In anything we do, whether during meditation or in any situation, lung can be intensified. This can happen when we feel overloaded and “stressed out” or when our emotions get quite strong, even overwhelming. Any practice we do driven by the wish to perform well or succeed with a corresponding lack of relaxation and lightness increases this intensity and creates restlessness. I am speaking here about the attitude of a forced, driven, goal-oriented practice. To take one example, if you want to quickly recite 100,000 mantras within a few days this may cause what we call lung, a disturbance in the energy, because you have unnaturally put yourself under too much pressure.

Q: What exactly happens at that time?

Rinpoche: When the mind continuously demands greater speed due to over-excitement, a high degree of pressure, and a need to perform too quickly, the subtle body eventually becomes exhausted. Through excessive activity on the mental level a message is sent to the subtle body to push, go faster, with the result that the restless lung is strengthened. The subtle body’s natural equilibrium gets out of balance and at some point it becomes a lung disturbance.

Also, being over-seriousness, uptight, having strong grasping and mental restlessness are conditions that can lead to a feeling of agitation and restlessness in the subtle body. And these habitual patterns can become deeply imprinted within the channels due to this stirred up lung. That is why we should learn how to handle this energy sensibly.

Q: How should we deal with a lung imbalance?

Rinpoche: Overactive lung confuses and disturbs the subtle body nervous system and becomes increasingly rigid and solidified–and because of this the natural capacity to feel compassion becomes blocked–your innate ability to feel unconditional, unbiased love, warmth and openness. Without this capacity it will be impossible for you to feel loving kindness and compassion towards others, and to love them. We have to reconnect with our basic nature and relax in that. There is also a special yogic breathing exercise called “vase breathing,” which can serve us well here. The breath is closely connected to the subtle wind energy. In my book, Open Heart, Open Mind, I devote a whole chapter to this method.

Q: It is interesting that you mention yogic breathing. Is it worthwhile to practice yoga, chi gong and pranayama in order to be more grounded in meditation? In traditional Tibetan Buddhist teachings, it is my understanding that instructions on breathing exercises are normally not given.

Rinpoche: Yoga, chi-gong and similar energy-balancing can be extremely helpful in cases of disturbed lung. When there is an imbalance the subtle drops (Tib. “tigle”) are not able to circulate freely in the central channel. This leads to blockages, not on the mental level or in the physical body, but the feeling energy is blocked. In these cases these kinds of exercises can be beneficial to restore a more natural balance. I think that many older Tibetan lamas are not aware of the fact that establishing this equilibrium in the subtle body is so crucial in the West. Traditionally, in Tibetan Buddhism the methods you mentioned in your question are hardly used in relation to the body. That is why they are simply not considered by many teachers, and they do not know much about them. It is also connected with the fact that in Tibetan society, that the emotional body was generally very stable and that there was more of an emphasis on healing the physical body, such as with the neck or with joints and so on.

Furthermore, in Tibet there was generally a lack of mental training and education and until the Chinese invasion, a full education was possible for the most part only in the monasteries. There was no public school system and much of the population consisted of nomads, very simple people with a sweet, cheerful nature. That is why there was not a great need for emotional healing–this aspect was actually pretty good. In order to develop the mental faculties and mind training, methods for the detailed visualization of a mandala were used. And it was the “awakening” quality of the intelligence that was important to cultivate through these practices.

In more recent times, many young lamas have recognized the lung imbalance in modern societies and its causes. Educational systems strongly emphasize cognitive development and the subtle body aspect, the emotions, are often blocked because of lung disturbances and other reasons. Various methods for energy healing can be useful, and I would strongly encourage people to practice these according to their individual needs.

Q: Sometimes I think the cultural differences between East and West are so great that we should be quite careful about simply taking on Tibetan customs.

Rinpoche: I agree with that up to a point. It is not necessary for a person in a modern society to try to be Tibetan and imitate Tibetan culture and customs in a rigid way. The basis of the Dharma is the transformation of the five poisons (ignorance, attachment, aversion, pride and jealousy) and the habitual tendencies that are more or less applicable to all cultures. Different cultures have unique habitual patterns and we need to clearly discriminate what is transformative within our cultural context.

But certainly there are certain teachings which are shaped by Tibetan culture, and if one has no understanding of the cultural context, then these teachings and practices may not have the capacity to transform one’s mind.

In modern societies, developing cognitive understanding is strongly emphasized for young children at a very early age, and this can create an unhealthy residue of tension in the subtle body. This imbalanced approach towards cognitive development is why it is so important to transform the subtle body. You handle thinking very well and can become familiar with the Dharma on a theoretical level, but we need to bring this understanding into experience so that the blockages in the subtle body can be healed. In the 21st century, the subject of healing the subtle body is crucial. I sometimes say that for western Dharma practitioners, “body enlightenment” is more important than the enlightenment of the mind.

Q: The hectic pace of modern life often causes correspondingly hectic lung activity in us. What can you recommend to counteract this?

Rinpoche: First, you should find out your own inner speed limits. An energetically excessive speed can manifest on three levels: in thinking, feeling, and in the body. Practice being aware without judging or analyzing, your emotional condition and also the overall sensitivity of your subtle body. You can use “the gentle vase breath” to bring the lung back to its natural place, its home, residing slightly below the navel. in this way you can slow down the excessive speed in your subtle body and think clearly and perform physical activities and not burn out.

Q: With growing awareness in our meditation practice, our habitual disturbances also become more noticeable. How can one get control over a disturbance, without giving oneself over completely to its power?

Rinpoche: Be kind to it. Welcome it: “Okay, it is true that I experience some disturbance in this moment, but it is not real. It is only my long-established habitual pattern.” Often when something external attracts your attention it immediately activates a dormant tendency. As a result of this, you believe that your experience is happening fully, 100% real, and everything is exactly as you perceive it: solid, truly “out there.” But really, the external event is simply a trigger.

The external object may contribute only 5% towards causing the disturbance. But when that habitual pattern is stimulated, even if only briefly, it provides the remaining 95% of the experience to come into being. At this point, you can communicate with your habitual pattern. Recite the following mantra: “It seems real, but it is not true. It is not me.” If you can manage that, your life will be a lot easier.

*Source: Based on an Interview for Tibet & Buddhismu, March 28, 2012 entitled, “Tsoknyi Rinpoche on Lung”

The Wisdom Qualities of Realisation

(Comment: Some people claim to be realised and enlightened and Buddhas and so on and so forth.  When one is truly realized, abilities like those in the below-mentioned account arises naturally.  There are very definite wisdom qualities and strong changes in the person.  In this day and time, there are many people who fantasize about realisations and yet nothing much has changed in them. This is a very clear indication that one is no where near the mark.  Therefore, do not be deceived by nice names and good presentations and delusive experiences, observe clearly for yourself…)

According to my experience, some great monks who have never been educated or even attended a single day of school, who do not even recognise a single word, developed astonishing abilities of composing poetry and other such literary skills after attaining realization. They became good at almost everything. This is truly beyond our ordinary conception.

Eighty years ago, my teacher met a monk who gave others tonsure, he carried a knapsack and wandered all over the country side. It was the time of the Man-Qing, and all bare-headed children were disallowed from attending the examination and the restrictions were extremely harsh. However this great meditation master who was also bare-headed had attained great realisation and knew every subject. There was nothing beyond his ken. He had a monastery which was given to him by the administrators after the previous abbot expired.

Some people called him Monk Yang, some people called him the Head-shaving Yang. Many scholars went to test him saying, “Monk Yang, I have forgotten which book this line of prose came from, can you please tell me?” The monk would reply that it came from such-and-such a page of this book. My teacher who was very mischievous in his youth picked one line from the famous secular novel “Dreams of the Red Mansions” to test the monk but the monk was nonetheless able to give the correct answer. It was really strange! There was a opium-addict who was very rich and he couldn’t kick the opium habit no matter how he tried. Later, he went to Monk Yang and said, “Dear Monk Yang, can you just help me to shave my head?” Monk Yang agreed and in the process of shaving, the man’s addiction kicked in; his nose started running; his eyes teared, it was pure torment. Monk Yang then gave his back a slap and said, “Release”. The shaving was completed and the addiction never came back again.

~Nan Huai Chin

Vajrasattva Sky Relics



Many of such relics rained down from the sky during a 1997 mass practice Vajrasattva puja in Serthar Monastic College of Five Sciences under the guidance of HH Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche.  Many people were accumulating billions of Vajrasattva mantras together using the Wish-fulfilling Vajrasattva Sadhana discovered by HH Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche.  Such signs occur frequently in subsequent years during the Vajrasattva and Amitabha pujas (which take place yearly at the college).  This attests to the superb blessings of the Vajrasattva Terma discovered by HH Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche.

Other related posts:

Guru Yoga Prayer of Shigpo Dudtsi

Please bless me to realize the true nature which is primordially pure

Please bless me to realize that whatever arises is my true nature

Please bless me to liberate illusory appearances into its true nature

Please bless me with the ability to meditate with continuous samadhi

Please bless me to attain Buddhahood in this life

(Notes:  You can insert this after recitation of Seven Lines Prayer, Calling the Lama from Afar, Prayer to the Lama of the Three Kayas and such prayers.  Or simply do it alone.  This Guru Yoga can be addressed to your own primary spiritual teacher – whether or not identified with the enlightened form of Guru Rinpoche)

This entry was posted on 14141414, in Practices.

Solar Eclipse 29 April 2014

Event UTC Time
First location to see partial eclipse begin 29 Apr, 03:53
First location to see full Eclipse begin 29 Apr, 05:57
Maximum Eclipse 29 Apr, 06:04
Last location to see full Eclipse end 29 Apr, 06:15
Last location to see partial Eclipse end 29 Apr, 08:15

Highly encouraged to do more Dharma practices during this time-slot.

(Check for your local times)

Related posts:


Potencies of Holy Days

“In the Kalachakra Tantra, it is stated that during the occurence of a solar or lunar eclipse, all positive actions would increase in effect by a thousand or ten-thousand fold.   In China, in the Susiddhikara Sutra, it is stated that during a lunar eclipse, one can accomplish the highest attainment; during a solar eclipse, one can accomplish the highest, medium and lowest attainments.”    ~ Khenpo Suodargye, one of the most extraordinarily learnt and prolific translators in our times

“Why are the solar and lunar eclipses important  times for doing Dharma practices?  In the Kalachakra tantra it is deemed that the external sun and moon corresponds to the Prana (Vayu), Nadi and Bindu (Wind, Channel and Essence) in one’s body.  Everyone breathes 21,600 times everyday, out of which a large proportion are karmic winds.  The proportion of wisdom winds is relatively smaller.  On such holy days, most of the karmic winds are transformed into wisdom winds, therefore the Prana(Vayu), Nadi and Bindus are circulating in a special phase and diligent Dharma practice during these times would yield a result beyond that of normal times.”   ~  Khenchen Tsultrim Lodro –  vice abbot of one of the largest monastery in the world – the Larong Five Sciences University


View other link about Eclipses:

Teaching on Seven Lines Prayer – Namkhai Nyingpo Rinpoche

If one can concentrate on practicing the (seven lines prayer) in this life, when you die you will dissolve into the mind of Guru Rinpoche. Guru Rinpoche is the ultimate nature of the embodiment of all Buddhas. In Guru Rinpoche’s termas, it is written that in the degenerated times, Guru Rinpoche’s compassionate blessings are swifter than that of other Buddhas. In this life, if you wish your body to be free from sickness or pain, pray to Guru Rinpoche and you will receive his protection. If you seek for wealth, longevity or wish to clear your obstacles, just by praying, all wishes can be fulfilled. Some people think that to practice Guru Rinpoche for wealth is of no use, but this is not correct. Just by relying upon Guru Rinpoche, all wishes can be achieved.

Guru Rinpoche once said, “Accomplishing me is the same as accomplishing all Buddhas; seeing me is the same as seeing all Buddhas.” In any case, Buddha Shakyamuni, Amitabha, Chenrezig , the Eight Vidhydharas, the Eight Mahasiddhas are no different from Guru Rinpoche. Therefore, if one wishes for attainments, then the sole method is Guru Yoga. There is no other way. Therefore, at all times, focus on the Seven Lines Prayer and supplicate Guru Rinpoche. This will have infinite benefits for this and future lives, there is no doubt about it.

If one cannot practice other methods, just practicing the seven-lines prayer is the same as a panacea that can cure all kinds of sicknesses. But if one is merely mouthing the prayers, it is not enough, one should have great faith and devotion to Guru Rinpoche and supplicate one-pointedly, then you are sure to receive Guru Rinpoche’s blessings and accomplishments. In the past up till the present, many great masters and practitioners have seen Guru Rinpoche directly. These are the best signs. The middling signs are to have good experiences arising. The lesser signs are to meet Guru Rinpoche in dreams and to receive prophecies and blessings from Guru Rinpoche. Just listening and contemplating the Dharma is not enough to attain liberation. Besides that, one has to practice. The three (listening, contemplation, practice) must be combined. When we are practicing, we should rely on one deity. It is just like in the past, Nagarjuna and Shantideva had yidams they relied upon. In this manner, single-mindedly praying to Guru Rinpoche and merge your mind with Guru Rinpoche’s wisdom mind. This way of progressing on the path to liberation has less difficulties and obstacles. With total confidence and faith in Guru Rinpoche, not just with faith and sincerity, but believing that in any moment, Guru Rinpoche will never deceive or let us down. We must have the faith that Guru Rinpoche and our root teacher is inseparable and no different. Rely on this faith to practice.

As our present root teacher has a very close connection to us, we are able to see our root teachers frequently. Therefore, their blessings enter our minds very swiftly. In the past, there was a Khamtrul Rinpoche. In his practice experience, he came to Guru Rinpoche’s pureland where many Dakas and Dakinis welcomed him and escorted him to see Guru Rinpoche. At that time, he wondered how Guru Rinpoche would look like. But when he came to the celestial palace, sitting on the throne was his own root master. The Dakas and Dakinis told him that the person sitting on the throne was Guru Rinpoche. This shows that Guru Rinpoche is no different from our root master. I hope everyone would be able to practice the Dharma correctly.

The Seven Line Prayer of Guru Rinpoche

The prayer of seven vajra verses is commonly known as Guru Rinpoche’s prayer. The Vajra refers to something that is stable, unchanging and indestructible, which can destroy all negativities, adverse circumstances, obstacles and be all-victorious. There is no (obstacle) so firm that (the vajra) cannot remove.

The prayer of seven vajra verses has an exceptionally strong blessing. It is the most sublime amongst all the various supplication prayers to Guru Rinpoche. In Tibet, those great accomplished masters would mostly recite this prayer while giving blessings to the devotees. As Guru Rinpoche once said, “Reciting this prayer will invoke and invite all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.”

When oneself or others feel any discomfort in the body, or if the environment is unclean, or when meeting with any obstacle or negative provocation, just reciting this prayer of seven vajra verses with a completely sincere mind, all the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Gurus, Triple Gems, virtuous protecting Dharmapalas would be sure to arrive and render help or give blessings.

~ His Holiness Sera Yangtrul Rinpoche
(Translated from Chinese)

Benefits of the Mani Mantra


One last glimpse of Drubwang Rinpoche before his parinirvana

Today, i would like to share a short practice on Chenrezig for anyone who wishes to do this practice.  It was written by the Holy Mahasiddha Drubwang Konchok Norbu Rinpoche (left).  Many people have heard of this master who recently passed into parinirvana in 2007.  He belongs to the Drikung Kagyu Tradition and has attained complete enlightenment due to his efforts in one life.  A contemporary Milarepa, he did retreat for more than 30 years in difficult circumstances and almost no resources.   Many great masters like the Dalai Lama, Garchen Rinpoche, Drikung Chetsang Rinpoche, Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche deeply respect his accomplishment. One of the unique thing about Drubwang Rinpoche is that due to a prophecy he received from Guru Rinpoche in a direct vision,  he would only teach people to do the recitation of the mani mantra almost exclusively.  Sometimes he also advises people to recite the Guru Rinpoche mantra and the Amitabha mantra (these three mantras are collectively the mantras of the 3 kayas or 3 dimensions of a enlightened Buddha mind).

Drubwang Rinpoche completed more than 12 cycles of 100 million mani mantras himself and he has always widely and fearlessly proclaimed that the mani mantra is the all-sufficient and complete practice in itself.  That the mani mantra is the Buddha, that the mani mantra can bring us to realize our true nature of the mind (the inner Buddha) and it can eradicate all the past karmic obscurations and bring us to the pureland.  Especially he has always emphasized that the benefits of the mani mantra, though not obvious now, would be extremely potent and beneficial after our death.  Rinpoche said that for busy people like us with little inclination for more complicated practices, the mani practice can be a most helpful companion in our lives and we should recite the mantra all the time, everywhere.  Rinpoche would even recite this mantra in his sleep.

Now, i will write abit about this precious mantra.  It has been stated that any other form of virtue carries the danger of being destroyed by the power of aggression or other emotions, whereas the recitation of the mani mantra cannot be destroyed by any external, internal or secret force.  There are two kinds of merits: perfect and ordinary merit.  Perfect merit can only be attained if the three excellences of pure motivation of Bodhichitta, pure main practice free from conceptualizations and pure dedication are present in the act of virtue.  However, for the mani mantra, just reciting it is naturally perfect all by itself.   There is limitless benefit in reciting this mantra.

Moreover, reciting this mantra is:

  • A prayer and offering to the body, speech, mind, qualities and activities of all the Buddhas.
  • It purifies obscurations of body, speech, mind, afflictive emotions, habitual tendencies and obstructions to omniscience.
  • It completes the 6 paramitas
  • It help keeps all the vows of the three levels: hinayana, mahayana and vajrayana
  • It purifies the 6 kinds of suffering in the 6 realms and closes the doors to the 6 realms

In the Sutra designed as a Jewel, it is mentioned that recitation of this mantra will:

  • Attract all Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Gods, Nagas and other dimensions of beings to protect you
  • You will be blessed to receive enlightenment within 7 lifetimes
  • All the beings who live in and on your body will also be liberated
  • You will gain tremendous confidence, wisdom and compassion
  • You will become a Vidyadhara, and those who contact you will also become bodhisattvas

Guru Rinpoche also said,

The mantra OM MANI PADME HUNG is the embodiment of all the Buddhas’ heart, the root of the eighty-four thousand teachings of the Buddha, the essence of the Five Buddhas, and the essence of the secret holders.

To the knowledge of me, Padmakara,
A teaching more profound and more swift (than this practice of Chenrezig and mani mantra)
Has never been taught by the Buddhas of the three times

Lord Avalokiteshvara also said:

Be motivated by faith, devotion and compassion…
Whatever appears is the form of Avalokiteshvara, in whom all victorious ones unite;
audible sounds are the sound of the six-syllable essence mantra
the absence of any ultimate conceptual reference-point is the uncontrived realm of bodhicitta
Never be separate from these three key points;
continually recite aloud the six syllable mantra- that alone is sufficient

When the dakini Dawa Drolma went to see the enlightened master Drimed Khakyod Wangpo in the pureland of Guru Rinpoche, he offered her this advice:

Be vigilant in your devotion
Seeing the lama as the Dharmakaya of Buddhahood
Understanding the six classes of beings to be your parents
Be vigilant in your practice of virtue
Not tarnishing anything you undertake with selfish vested interests.
Be vigilant in your mantra repetition and meditation practices,
Not falling under the eight worldly attitudes,
Understanding the six syllable mani mantra alone to be sufficient for your practice
Be vigilant in your formal practice, subsuming everything within your own true mind.
Don’t make mistakes, don’t make mistakes!

If one recites the mani mantra 1000 times per day:

  • One’s children up to seven generations will not be reborn in the lower realms. This is one way that parents can benefit their children and grandchildren.
  • Then one’s body becomes blessed. So when a person who recites one thousand OM MANI PADME HUM every day goes into water, into a river or ocean for example, that water becomes blessed. Whoever that water touches fish, tiny or big animals, or tiny insects, the negative karma of all those sentient beings is purified and they do not get reborn in the lower realms.
  • At the time of death, when the body is burnt, even the smoke that comes from it purifies the negative karma of whoever it touches or whoever smells it. The negative karma of those sentient beings to be reborn in the lower realms is purified.

Here is the sadhana practice of Chenrezig composed by Drubwang Rinpoche.  It is short, anyone can practice it and the benefits will be immense.  Especially if you can do it till the end of your life.  Please don’t don’t don’t underestimate this simple and most incredibly effective practice.

Drubwang Rinpoche Concise Practice of Chenrezig

More on Drubwang Rinpoche’s teachings:

More on Mani mantra from this blog:

A Speech by Chatral Sangye Rinpoche

His Holiness Chatral Sangye Rinpoche

His Holiness Chatral Sangye Rinpoche

I was the first to become vegetarian since we came to India. The first year of the Nyingma Monlam in Bodh Gaya was non-vegetarian. In the second year I came there and spoke at a meeting of all the high Nyingma Lamas. I told them that Bodh Gaya is a very special place which is holy to all Buddhists, and if we say we are gathered here for the Nyingma Monlam and yet eat meat, this is a disgrace and the greatest insult to Buddhism. I said they should all give up meat from now on, during the Nyingma Monlam. Even the Tibetan lamas and monks eat meat! What a shame if even the lamas can’t give up meat! First the lamas should commit themselves to being life-long vegetarians. If the Lamas become vegetarian, and then you can address the lay people. Then also you should urge the monks to become vegetarian. Otherwise if knowledgeable religious people eat meat, how can one expect the ignorant public, who follow along just like sheep, to become vegetarian?

Earlier in the Sakyapas, Sachen Kunga Nyingpo abstained from meat and alcohol. From then on gradually in the Nyingmapas there was Ngari Pandita Pema Wangyal, an emanation of King Trisong Detsen. He was a vegetarian all his life. Also the non-sectarian Lama Zhabkar Tsogdrug Rangdrol: he was born in Amdo and was a heavy meat-eater, but when he went to Lhasa and saw the many animals being slaughtered in the butchers’ district of Lhasa, he became vegetarian for the rest of his life. Many of his disciples also became vegetarian. Many others – Sakyapas, Gelugpas, Kagyudpas and Nyingmapas – have done like this and become vegetarian.

In Kongpo, Gotsang Natsog Rangdrol told his monks to abstain from meat and alcohol. Because the Kongpo Tsele Gon monks wouldn’t obey his orders, he became angry with them and went to Gotsang Phug in lower Kongpo, and stayed there in isolated retreat for 20-30 years. Abstaining from non-virtuous actions such as eating meat and drinking alcohol, he attained realization and became known as Gotsang Natsog Rangdrol, a highly qualified teacher. Similarly, Nyagla Pema Dudul abstained from meat and alcohol. He meditated in isolated hermitages for 20-30 years, not relying on people’s food but rather nourishing himself on the essence of rocks and earth, and attained rainbow body. He is known as “Pema Dudul who attained rainbow body.” He lived at the time of Nyagke Gonpo Namgyal. It happened like that.

When I was in Bhutan, sometimes meat would be served during big ceremonies or pujas for dead people. This killing of animals for the dead person is an obstacle for the spiritual evolution of the dead and an impediment on the path to liberation. It is of no benefit to the dead person.

The people in the Himalayan region are all Buddhist. Some of the Tamang and Sherpa lamas are ignorant. Because they want to eat meat and drink alcohol, they say that it is necessary since they are followers of Guru Rinpoche, who ate meat and drank alcohol. But Guru Rinpoche was born miraculously, not like those Lamas who were born from human parents. Guru Rinpoche is known as the Second Buddha. The teacher of the Sutras is Shakyamuni and the teacher of the tantras is the omniscient Guru Rinpoche, who prophesied exactly what will happen in the future. Abstaining from meat is a means of attaining world peace. I have given up meat, and I also don’t eat cake since it contains eggs. Eating meat and eating eggs is the same. An egg will hatch into a chicken. A chicken is a sentient being. For example, there is no difference between killing the unborn fetus in a pregnant woman and killing the child after it is born; the killing is the same negative action. This is the reason why I don’t eat eggs.

Your work is not useless – it is very useful. This message is not just for Buddhist; everyone who thinks and reasons can understand it. Especially all the learned scientists and doctors should think about this: are smoking and meat-eating beneficial? As an indication of this, who has a longer life span, smokers or non-smokers? Who has more illnesses, smokers or non-smokers? You university students can think about all the reasons and figure it out. I only speak Tibetan; I don’t speak other languages. But I have studied the Buddha’s outer vinaya and inner vajrayana teachings. Especially I have studied the Dzogchen writings of many scholars and yogis. They all say that abstaining from meat is good for longevity.

If I consider my own family, there is no one else who has lived beyond 60; all my relatives are dead. But because I left my homeland and abstain from meat and smoking, I am now 93 years old. I can still walk, sit and get around everywhere by car and plane. A few days ago I went to Lhakhang Gon in Helambu, where they are building a new Sherpa monastery.

You asked me to talk about the reasons for becoming vegetarian, and what I have told you may be publicized. What I have told you is all true, not a lie. It is based on the Buddhist scriptures, the teachings of the gurus, and on my own experience, not on the words of a few people who claim to be scholars.

That is why you should publicize this message. I also rejoice in your virtue. Your actions are definitely virtuous. You should continue your campaign to educate the lay people, and also the ordained people. You should tell it to the lamas and Tulkus who sit on high thrones and think they are important, and also to those of the lowest rank, to the monastic communities and also to the public, to those worldly people in high position with common sense who can reason for themselves and also to those without common sense.

This is what I have to say. You have asked this frail old man to speak, so I have told you my heart advice.

There is a need for this message and the reasoning to be publicized; there is nothing in this message that should be withheld.

This entry was posted on 13131313, in Practices.

Udamwara: Statements from the Sutra

I just found this text about protecting the lives of helpless beings by Geshe Sopa.  It is truly a wonderful composition with clear quotations and reasonings.  I recommend all dear readers to read through it whether you are vegetarians or not.  You can also share it with others.  It is so important for people nowadays to correct their wrong views, especially those views relating to the Vajrayana practices.  Even full vegetarians may sometimes have some small doubts and misunderstandings so it is good to clarify them with such an article.

(There are 3 sections, the questions and answers page is also very useful!)

Some interesting quotations with short comments:

(Comments: Some defendants of meat-eating say that when the meat is pure, Buddha permits meat-eating.  The three aspects that define pure meat are that “not having seen, not having heard and not suspecting” that a being “has been killed for one’s own consumption”.  However, here it is stated by Geshe Sopa with a quotation from the Vinaya that if a being is killed for consumption by anyone, it is considered impure.  That is to say, meat can be considered pure when the animal has died from natural causes, not when it has been intentionally killed.)

“The fact that the meat of an animal that has been slaughtered for oneself and the meat of an animal that has been slaughtered for others is equally impure according to the three aspects or equally inappropriate for eating on the three counts is thus made clear by the Vinaya sutra Foundations of Medicine.

Similarly, the threefold rejection of meat as impure set out in the 14 major infractions and 25 rules of conduct of the Kalachakra system has to be applied to meat of animals that have been slaughtered for either oneself or others as impure according to those three aspects. The Kalachakra is a Dharma system comprising all the points of sutra and tantra in their entirety and is therefore in agreement with statements from the Vinaya.”


Some people who fail to distinguish between intentional and unintentional actions put forward the argument that if it is inappropriate to eat meat, it would be equally inappropriate to eat rice. However, this is not the same because to give up eating meat and reduce the number of animals being killed is an act that is well within the bounds of possibility. During the cultivation of rice and vegetables there is no intention to kill beings while planting the seedlings, irrigating the fields etc. However, since there is no way of preventing insects being killed unintentionally – as this is not currently within the bounds of possibility – it is still not the same as killing on purpose. The answer to a question posed by Manjushri may serve to clear up any doubts on the part of those critics who, based on this kind of comparison, conclude that one would consequently have to do the impossible. In the Arya Angulimala Sutra Manjushri asks whether or not it is appropriate to dig up the soil and sand, till fields and cook one’s food because of unclean water. The answer is as follows: Manjushri says:

“Digging and tilling is not appropriate. Food that has been cooked because the water was contaminated should not be accepted–in this situation, monks have to act accordingly.” Thereupon the Buddha said: “That is what is called the worldly view. If there are upasakas, stick to clean water and food. Wherever there are upasakas, there should be no digging and tilling. Where there are no upasakas, what should even buddhas do there? There are also creatures in the grass, as well as in the water and in the air. If it were like this, would there not be negative karmic effects from altogether pure actions? The question as to how you purify something that cannot be completely pure while living in the world and without giving up the samsaric body is a futile question.

The main significance of this sutra passage is that if there is a chance of giving up harming other beings, you should always make use of it. On the other hand, actions committed where there is no such possibility are not altogether free from negative karmic consequences, but, due to the absence of harmful intent, those consequences are far weaker.

(Comments: This is oft-heard. Some people like to say that since even planting vegetables involves killing many small insects, so what is the difference between a vegetarian and a meat-eater?  Here, Geshe Sopa is saying that the difference is in the intention and avoidability of the action.  In my humble opinion, this type of reasoning is just an excuse.  By this reasoning, since one is already inevitably consuming small amounts of chemicals and toxins in one’s daily consumption of food, does that mean one should just go ahead and take a full dose of arsenic or some other toxin to top it off?  If you have some sense in you, you will see the flaw in such logic.)


From the Lankavatara sutra:

The arya path of liberation
is thus veiled through the fault of attachment.
Meat, alcohol, onions and garlic cause
obstacles on the arya path.
In the future proponents of ignorance,
mitigate eating meat and claim:
” As meat is appropriate, free from evil,
the buddhas have permitted”

(Comments : This prophecy is surely coming true)


Lord Buddha Shakyamuni said this in the Lankavatara Sutra:

All the Buddha Bhagavans,
denounce it in all ten directions:
One devours the other, falling
among the predators after death,
always born among the lowly,
smelly ones and idiots,
frequently among the outlaws:
hunters, butchers, cannibals
and among ghosts in human form,
among the various eaters of meat: as
in the wombs of cat rakshasas.

In the Elephant and the Great Cloud,
in the Angulimala Sutra,
in the Lankavatara Sutra,
I’ve strongly rejected eating meat.
buddhas, bodhisattvas and the
shravakas revile it all and
those who impudently eat meat
will always be reborn as fools.


“I have said again and again that it is better to set up substances like nectar pills, blessed water or black tea. And if some people claim that, according to anuttarayoga tantra, you have to take meat, the only reason that may be quoted in support of this claim is the statement about the acceptance of the five kinds of meat and the five kinds of nectar. There is no other reason. Quite apart from the fact that this refers to a very high level of realisation, if indeed you postulate the need for eating meat based on the statement about accepting the five kinds of meat and the five kinds of nectar, then you should be consistent and insist on the need for eating horse meat, dog meat as well as human flesh, drinking urine and eating feces.

~His Holiness 14th Dalai Lama

(Comments : This is in reference to the Tsok offerings in Vajrayana practice)


Question: Don’t you need some meat for the sacrificial tsog ceremony? What do you do about that?

Answer: In Dza Patrul Rimpoche’s lam-rim text it says: To that end it is appropriate to use meat from an animal that has not been slaughtered for eating. However, if you introduce meat that does not conform to this requirement into the mandala of offerings, all the deities and wisdom beings will vanish, that is what Gampopa said.

In the autobiography of the siddha Kunleg you will find the statement: “Now, when you make offerings, you should bear in mind the following points concerning the recipient of the offerings, the offerings themselves and your motivation: Each of the Three Jewels (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha) is fit as a recipient for the offering. The object to be offered should not be associated with theft, violent appropriation or killing and the motivation should consist in the aspiration to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. Offerings made in a different manner with masses of meat and alcohol are found among the earlier non-Buddhist religions, but not among Buddhists.”


If you really make offerings of meat and blood, no deities and wisdom beings will come. You will only attract ghosts. As they feast on such offerings, they may become friendly and bring you short term benefits. If you then fail to continue giving them meat and blood, they will harm you. However, if you go on making offerings of meat and blood, you will be reborn among such ghosts or you will find yourself among wolves and birds of prey. That is what Patrul Rimpoche said about this topic.


Question: Monks and nuns have to accept meat that benefactors give them, don’t they? After all it says that you should eat whatever you are given when going on your alms round.

Answer: In Panchen Deleg Nyima’s commentary on the Vinaya it says: If a monk is offered meat dishes by a donor on his alms-round, he should ask whether or not the meat has been obtained through killing. And in the commentary on the Vinaya called Rays of the Sun: “You have to ask whether or not the offering has been obtained through an action against the rules.” Numerous Vinaya scriptures point out that you should make sure the gift that is being offered does not contradict the rules of monastic discipline. They also mention 20 types of meat and other foods that must not be eaten at all, even though the creature may have died a natural death, for instance human flesh, the meat of monkeys or that of vultures.

Therefore, if in doubt about the origin of meat, you should definitely ask and decline anything inappropriate. Even if the gift is appropriate, it is important to ask whether eating or drinking it may have any drawbacks or deleterious effects on one’s health, for instance, if you are diabetic, whether it contains any sugar etc.

Apart from that, offering food containing meat constitutes impure giving: In the Sutra to Rishi Gyepa Buddha Shakyamuni taught about how the 32 types of impure giving should be abandoned and how to perform correct giving. Impure giving is divided into four categories: impure with regard to the motivation, the object given, the recipient of the gift and the manner in which it is given. In this sutra, giving meat originating from killed animals, alcohol offered to the careless, as well as weapons, poison and the like are enumerated as cases of impure giving with regard to the object.


Two points should be considered over and over again: 1) the difficulty of redressing the negative action of taking the life and meat of others and 2) the fact that this is not a law that has been decreed by anyone, but a natural process of cause and effect. It really is of great benefit to realise this and reach a point where, moved by compassion, one gives up eating meat, liberates beings and saves their lives.


In the Kalachakra tantra and its elaborate commentary it says that if we consider the harmful actions committed by the butcher and the meat eater, those committed by the meat eater are worse. Some people hold that while the butcher acts harmfully, the meat eater does not. However, in the Lankavatara Sutra it says:

He who murders beings for money’s sake and
he who buys their meat for money—both
have the genuine link between doer and deed.

If the buyer were without vice, then no merit would be accrued by the sponsor of stupas, scriptures or holy images either, as they are also produced by someone else.

A sponsor of stupas accumulates great merit, although he does not actually build them with his own hands. Likewise, a meat eater accumulates great negativity, although he does not normally slaughter the animals he eats. In fact, there are hardly any snuff sellers left in Europe, because hardly anyone takes snuff these days. Similarly, there would be no meat trade if there were no meat eaters.

(Comments:  Some people think that buying the meat to eat is okay as they did not participate in killing the animal.  This is wrong.  As it is established above.)


However, it is not enough simply to meditate on great compassion. It is also necessary to put it into practice by actually applying it. It is of utmost benefit to see, hear and consider how cows, buffalos, goats, sheep, chicken, fish, yaks, horses and other animals undergo unbearable suffering while being slaughtered for human consumption and thereupon to avoid eating slaughtered meat out of compassion. As compassion is actually being applied, this application is of the greatest benefit for the purification of negativities accumulated previously. This can be understood from the story of Noble Asanga and other reports.

Compassion may also be put into practice directly by purchasing animals meant for slaughter and saving their lives. The effect of this action will help extend one’s own life span and increasingly bring about happiness as well as purify negativities. It is also taught that nursing the sick, giving medicine and the like, too, are actions resulting in a long life span.

Beautiful animals such as parrots and other birds are not killed but locked up in cages. You can observe that some will kill themselves trying to get out of their prisons. Therefore it is also an act of compassion to buy them and release them. Such an action will result in the attainment of lasting freedom and a happy life. Even as a human you thus accumulate the karma for miraculous powers such as flying and so forth. There are even reports of cases where miraculous powers were achieved in this very life.


Incidentally, castrating horses, cattle, goats, sheep, dogs or cats—cutting their male or female energy channels is also clearly presented as a negative action in Buddhist scriptures. If you save the animals out of compassion, the effect of that wholesome action may ripen in this life. In this regard the commentary on chapter four of the Treasury of Knowledge relates the following story from a sutra concerning a eunuch, the body guard of some King Kanika’s spouse. At the time it was customary to pay eunuchs a big salary for guarding the queen while the king was away at war. This eunuch had thus grown rich guarding the queen over many years. At some point his eye-sight deteriorated, he turned blind, could not guard the queen anymore and returned to his native town, a rich man. One day, when out walking he heard the loud lowing of a buffalo. “What are they doing to the buffalo?” he asked. His assistant told him that they were castrating it. The blind man felt such strong compassion imagining how the buffalo was now to undergo the same suffering he had undergone—for he obviously knew it from experience—that he bought some 500 buffalos to save them from this misfortune. This action undid his castration and also had the effect that he could see again with both eyes as before. This story is quoted in the commentary on the Treasury of Knowledge to illustrate the accumulation of karma ripening in the same life. The action described in it is also a way of applying compassion.

To deprive beings of their male or female organs is a cruel negative action. Its effect ripens in the form of healthy energy channels, energies and body essences lacking in this life or a future one. In one of the tantras, Buddha says:

As you yourself do not want to be harmed, likewise, others do not want to suffer harm. Therefore, don’t harm others.


People wishing to make offerings are not allowed to offer the ordained meat nor alcohol—such offerings are also mentioned explicitly in the sutras among the 32 impure offerings.

Venerable Milarepa said:  This way of eating meat food—famished, without thinking of future lives for even a second… When I see these people I get frightened. Rechungpa, are you mindful of the holy Dharma?

If you do not just pay lip service to the existence of future lives and karmic causes and effects but rather consider, from the bottom of your heart, how these hold together, you may develop enthusiasm about giving up meat.


Final comments:

All in all, I recommend this article not to offend the meat-eaters but to clarify the views.  If we have right views yet continue to commit the negativity, it is not as serious as having a wrong view and committing the negativity.  In the Sutra “Questions of the Naga Kings of the Ocean” , Lord Buddha taught that if one has the right view concerning the relationships of karma, but you degenerate in one of the other elements of a pure religious life (as a monastic), the result will be as a naga.  But if you hold wrong view concerning karma, you will be born in a far worse lower realm.  Therefore even holding the right view with certainty and clarifying all doubts will have immeasurable benefit for beings.  With all due respects, please read this article with an open mind!!

Lama and Deity

Some advice from His Holiness Penor Rinpoche:

When the student’s attitude toward his or her lama is one of such faith and devotion that the student really sees the teacher as an actual Buddha, or as the very emodiment of the dharmakaya Vajradhara, or as the very embodiment of the student’s yidam – when the student has that kind of complete trust and faith, without any doubt, without hesitation – then the blessings and qualities of the enlightened form, speech and mind of all buddhas and bodhisattvas are transmitted through the lama to the student.


When it is a certainty in your mind that this is truly the Buddha, this is truly the dharmakaya Vajradhara, or that this is truly Guru Rinpoche that you are encountering and relying upon in your lama, and when you pray with that certainty in your mind, then you definitely receive the blessings from that connection. But this also implies that you, as a student, guard your own attitudes towards the teacher and ensure that you are always respectful and receptive to what the teacher is saying. Do not give in to your own ordinary habits of pride or self-aggrandizement or in any way undermine the relationship with the teacher by contradicting what the teacher says or by attempt to thwart the teacher’s efforts. Any and all of these attitudes are to be avoided since they do not support the trusting and open relationship that is necessary for the blessings to flow from the teacher to the student.

In the tantras it is stated again and again the importance of relying upon the lama as the source of blessings in one’s practice. Regardless of the particular prayer that the student offers to the lama, regardless of how small or seemingly insignificant it may be, if it is based upon the student’s complete trust and faith in the lama, then the blessings of the lama are always accessible to the student. In theTantra of the Ocean of Timeless Awareness, it states that it is far better to recite one small prayer to one’s lama out of pure faith and devotion than it is to perform hundreds of millions of recitations of deity mantras. The effect of prayer is far more powerful when it is truly an expression of one’s own faith and devotion in one’s lama.

When one has established a connection with one’s lama based upon trust, faith and devotion, there are different ways of relying upon that relationship through which various kinds of accomplishment can come about. If a student intends to attain the most sublime accomplishment of enlightenment itself, the student identifies the lama with Vajradhara – the dharmakaya buddha. If the student is particularly motivated to develop deeper wisdom, the student identifies the lama with Manjushri, the bodhisattva of wisdom. In order to encourage his or her own love and compassion, the student meditates upon the lama as inseparable from Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattva of compassion. To gain greater spiritual power the student focuses upon the lama as inseparable from Vajrapani, the bodhisattva of spiritual power. To overcome various kinds of fear and anxiety one relies upon the lama as the very embodiment of the venerable Tara. To promote one’s own longevity one meditates upon the lama inseparable from Amitayus. To overcome illness and disease one meditates upon the lama as the Medicine Buddha. To promote one’s own wealth and prosperity one meditates upon the lama as inseparable from Vaishravana, Jambhala, or any of the wealth deities. To purify the effects of harmful actions and to purify obscurations of one’s body, speech and mind, one meditates upon the lama as inseparable from the deity Vajrasattva. To increase one’s own personal glory, wealth and opportunity, one meditates upon the lama as inseparable from the Buddha Ratnasambhava, the buddha of the jewel family. To increase one’s power – one’s ability to exercise a powerful and beneficial influence over the world – one meditates upon the lama as inseparable from Amitabha or a deity such as Kurukulla. If one wishes to enact wrathful activity, one meditates upon the lama as inseparable from Vajrabhairava or any of the more wrathful yidams. If one wishes to adopt the approach that combines all of these qualities in a single form, one meditates upon one’s lama as inseparable from Guru Rinpoche. In each of these cases, one’s attitude is that of one’s own root lama being the very embodiment of one or another of these aspects of enlightened being.


When it comes to deity practice, we may find judgments arising in our mind saying, for example, that this deity is better that this deity, or this deity is more powerful than another deity, or this blessing comes more quickly with this deity. These types of ordinary thoughts are not really appropriate when we are dealing with something of this nature. The only qualifying factor is the devoted interest and faith in the student’s mind. It may be that under certain circumstances, your faith is stronger in a given deity and therefore that deity practice is more effective for you. But that does not mean that at a more ultimate level there is any distinction to made between these various aspects of enlightened being. They all arise from the single vast expanse of timeless awareness as equally authentic manifestations of blessing and power. There is no hierarchy, so to speak, among the deities. It is not the case that some are more powerful than others, or some more blessed than others, or some more productive of benefits than others. It is rather a question of the degree to which you as a practitioner are motivated in a given direction.

If you are concerned about the degree to which you are receiving blessings from your deity or from your practice, it would be far more useful to examine the degree to which you yourself are developing faith and devotion toward that yidam and toward your practice. The more our minds entertain doubt and anything other than a truly firm and lucid faith in our practice, that much are we confusing ourselves. We obscure our own minds with that doubt, vacillation and lack of certainty and trust. It is on that level that we can say there is no blessing in the practice. Not because the deity has no blessing. Not because the lama has no blessing. But because the student is closed to that blessing by his or her doubt and confusion.


The most important qualities to ensure the success of the (Guru Yoga) practice in the students’ mind are faith, devotion, trust and pure view. If a student is truly bent upon benefiting from his or her practice and his or her association with the dharma, those qualities are indispensable.

6 Stanzas of Mahamudra Guru Yoga

by Gyalwa Gotsangpa

Please listen to the nun singing these 6 verses here.  I think this melody and prayer touches me very deeply.

(translation below is rough guide…)

Embodiment of all Buddhas, Root Guru

I pray to you with great devotion in body, speech and mind

Please grant your blessings to recognize our original nature

and integrate life with practice

Precious Guru Buddha, I pray to you

Dharma Lord, precious Buddha, I pray to you

The meaning of the Barched Lamsal prayer

Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche

Today we are going to do a practice of removing obstacles so that favorable conditions can manifest. With this practice we are able to remove our obstacles and benefit those who have asked for our help and made offerings with this purpose.

Besides removing obstacles for those who asked for the practice, we can extend the benefit to all sentient beings. However, our capacity of benefiting is directly related to the purity of our hearts.

The key point is motivation. We should keep a pure motivation at all times, not only within the context of this specific practice. The purity of the virtue generated will depend on the purity of our motivation.

In the first place, we acknowledge that, just like ourselves, every being – be it an enemy, a demon or a little insect – urges for everlasting happiness but never finds it; or, when they find it, it is temporary. In addition, though they wish to be happy, with their actions they just end up creating the opposite of what they want.

By seeing this reality, we feel compassion, but this is not enough. It’s necessary to do something. We spend most of the time focused on ourselves, and this is an attitude that doesn’t bring much benefit. Our action will be pure only if we detach our focus from ourselves, if we have the intention of helping others.

If we think of the number of beings that inhabit the realms of samsara, we will see that the number of human beings is extremely small in comparison to the beings in the hell and the hungry ghost realms. Among human beings, the number of people who search for some spiritual practice is not very large.

Besides, it is common that a spiritual practice is carried out wrongly, reinforcing jealousy, envy, pride and the feeling of superiority in relation to other spiritual traditions. The number of those who keep a spiritual practice with a pure heart is comparable to the number of stars that can be seen in the daylight.

In order for our practice to be pure, it needs to be devoid of attachment to the self. We need to have equanimity, avoiding ideas such as “I like this person and I will do something for her, but that other person is not good so I won’t do anything,” or, “my spiritual realization is better than the other’s,” or, “I will help my relatives, but I won’t help other people.” Our intention is to help all beings, the good as well as the ones who do harm.

When practicing, we make the aspiration that our obstacles as well as every being’s may be removed, and that auspicious conditions, worldly as well as spiritual, may increase. We also pray that short- and long-term benefits may arise. However, our ultimate goal is to reach enlightenment. If you have constant nightmares, you can try to eliminate them in order to have only good dreams, but still you will be dreaming. Our aim is to wake up from the dream. The same applies to our experiences in samsara: we want to eliminate difficult experiences and increase the good ones, but our final goal is to reach enlightenment so we can benefit whoever sees, hears or touches us. As Mahayana followers, we practice for the benefit of all beings. We should establish this kind of motivation and always keep it this way.

First line

Precious teacher, the embodiment of all Buddhas of the three times

We address this prayer to Guru Rinpoche. In the outer level, Guru Rinpoche is the Three Jewels, in the inner level he is the Three Roots, and, in the secret level, he is the Three Kayas.

Outwardly, he is the embodiment of the Buddhas of the three times: the Buddha from the past, Dipankara, the Buddha from the present, Shakyamuni, and the Buddha from the future, Maitreya. Guru Rinpoche is the manifestation of ultimate essence of all Buddhas.

Inwardly, as the Three Roots, he is the lama, the source of all blessings, and, as such, he embodies the three lineages: the lineage of mind, which is the mind of the Victorious Ones; the symbolic lineage – or the lineage of the seals – from the awareness holders; and the oral lineage, transmitted from mouth to ear. Guru Rinpoche is the ultimate essence of the wisdom of the three lineages.

In a secret sense, in relation to the Three Kayas, Guru Rinpoche’s nature is the Dharmakaya, the nature which is emptiness inseparable from wisdom.

Second line

Great bliss, the Lord of all accomplishments;

NGO DRUB means “the source of true accomplishment”, therefore in the inward level, in relation to the Three Roots, Guru Rinpoche is also the chosen deity, the Yidam. Regarding the Three Kayas, in the secret level, he is also the Sambhogakaya, the great bliss.

Third line

Wrathful and dynamic guru, the one who subdues the maras, dispeller of all hindrances

Guru Rinpoche is the dispeller of all obstacles in the five paths and throughout the ten bhumis. The Sangha helps in the removal of hindrances and misfortunes, as well as in the increase of positive qualities along the spiritual path. Connected in this way, at the outer level, Guru Rinpoche is also the Sangha.

The dakinis and protectors are the source of accomplishment in the activities. With this practice, we remove all obstacles to spiritual practice, so that the four activities may be fulfilled. Thus, in the inner level, Guru Rinpoche is also the dakinis and Dharma protectors. He embodies the mandala of the Three Roots.

In the secret level, he is also the Nirmanakaya, the object of refuge of both superior and lesser beings. He manifests himself in physical form in order to benefit all beings not only through teachings but also, more directly, through giving empowerments and so setting them into the path to liberation. Therefore, Guru Rinpoche, who has all these qualities, is the object of our prayer.

In the outer level, he is the Three Jewels: Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. In the inner level, he is the Three Roots: Lama, the chosen deity (Yidam) and Dakini. In the secret level, he is the Three Kayas: Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya.

Guru Rinpoche is the manifestation of all enlightened beings, the source of all the teachings that bring forth temporary and definitive benefits. He is the holder of the crown of all sanghas and the holder of the crown of all enlightened beings.

DUD DUL DRAG PO is Guru Rinpoche’s secret name, which means “the one who fearlessly removes all the obstacles caused by hinderers.” He dispels the hindrances in the path, which are the four maras. When these obstacles are dispelled, the four kinds of activities can then be performed: pacifying, increasing, magnetizing and wrathful. Through these activities we are able to benefit all beings.

The object of our prayer is pure since the beginningless beginning. As we dispel our temporary obstacles, the two purities can be fulfilled.

Through the power of the great wisdom, the two obscurations (mental poisons and intellectual obscurations) can be removed. Through the fulfillment of the natural awareness beyond extremes, the obscurations are directly liberated in the basic space. That’s why Guru Rinpoche is called the holder of all manifestations.

Fourth line


When we recite this prayer, at an outer level we are calling the name of Guru Rinpoche, but what we truly need to understand is that Guru Rinpoche is the source of all pure qualities and, because of that, he has the power to dispel all our obstacles.

We think of Guru Rinpoche with deference and we pray to him with faith. And why do we pray? What do wish for when we pray?
With the external prayer, we approach the object to which we are praying. In Tibetan, this phase is called nyempa (approximation), which means “moved by faith, we approach”.

The other phase is called drugpa, which means “realization”. In an inner sense, we acknowledge that Guru Rinpoche is inseparable from the Three Jewels, the Three Roots and the Three Kayas. His body, speech and mind are the mandala of the wisdom body, speech and mind. Our body, speech and mind also have a pure nature since the beginningless beginning, which we couldn’t recognize before. To recognize this pure nature and to keep this recognition is the meaning of the realization phase (drugpa).

In the secret level, the nature of our mind is inseparable from the Three Kayas:

The Dharmakaya is the very nature of our mind, which is emptiness inseparable from its unceasing qualities. The Sambhogakaya assembles the five aspects of the awakened state, which are:

  1. The wisdom of dharmadhatu, which is the nature of mind beyond extremes.
  2. The wisdom of discernment.
  3. The wisdom which is clear like a mirror.
  4. The wisdom of equality.
  5. The all-accomplishing wisdom.

There are also the Nirmanakaya and the Svabhavikakaya. The four kayas and the five wisdoms are our own mind, inseparable from the Lama. We need to gain confidence in this recognition. The nature of the one who prays and that of the object of the prayer are inseparable. Resting effortlessly in this nature is the enlightened activity.

Here we invoke or request the blessings, but how are they bestowed on us?

By receiving the blessing of the wisdom body, our body turns into a body of light, the vajra body, which has the seven vajra qualities: it is invulnerable, indestructible, incorruptible, stable, unobstructed and invincible. By receiving the blessing of the enlightened speech, we accomplish vajra speech, which is the inseparability of sound and emptiness. By receiving the blessing of the enlightened mind, we accomplish the vajra mind. Thus, we request the blessing in these three ways and ask for the disclosure of the enlightened body, speech, and mind.

Fifth line


Regarding the obstacles that may arise in our practice and hinder our reaching enlightenment, there are the outer obstacles, which are the fears. All fears are the outer manifestation of our mental poisons and may be sort out in sixteen categories. For example, our pride manifests outwardly as the fear of earthquakes, anger is reflected externally as the fear of fire, and so forth:

  1. Fear of the ground, fear of earthquakes.
  2. Fear of water.
  3. Fear of fire.
  4. Fear of wind or hurricanes.
  5. Fear of meteor rains.
  6. Fear of weapons in general.
  7. Fear of being imprisoned, fear of authorities.
  8. Fear of enemies, thieves and robbers.
  9. Fear of cannibal demons.
  10. Fear of wild fierce elephants.
  11. Fear of lions.
  12. Fear of poisonous snakes.
  13. Fear of contagious diseases.
  14. Fear of unexpected death.
  15. Fear of poverty.
  16. Fear of not fulfilling one’s aspirations.

The inner obstacles are the four maras:

  1. The mara of the body aggregates.
  2. The mara of the mental poisons.
  3. The mara of false contentment: believing in temporary happiness, without recognizing that everything changes all the time. It’s like licking honey out of a knife blade.
  4. The mara of death.

The secret obstacles are the mental poisons: ignorance, desire, anger, envy or jealousy, and pride. All these obstacles create impediments to enlightenment. How do we remove the outer obstacles? With the recognition that every appearance is the pure body, every sound is the pure speech, and that mind’s nature is pure wisdom. Every form, everything we see, every appearance is acknowledged as the pure form of the deity. Every sound we hear is the deity’s mantra, the pure sound. We recognize anything that arises in our mind as inseparable from the timeless natural awareness, Dharmakaya.

When we reach the realization of the pure nature of all things, outer obstacles are dissolved. If we recognize the absolute nature, dual thoughts dissolve, we eliminate the attachment to the self, and, consequently, we subdue the maras, purify the five mental poisons, and consummate the five wisdoms. With this, any obstacle that arises will be transformed into something good or better.

The outer, inner and secret obstacles are removed by the power of the blessings of Guru Rinpoche’s enlightened body, speech, and mind.

Sixth line


SAMPA means the aspiration that everything we wish for in the temporary level may be attained and that, from this moment until we reach enlightenment, every favorable condition may arise.

What are these favorable conditions? An existence in one of the upper realms: in the realms of the gods, demigods or humans. For that we need to wish for the seven qualities, which are:

  1. Having a long life. We need this human body. It is a good vehicle, and, being like a ship, the mind is the captain. The mind determines the direction and the body serves it. Therefore, we need to wish for a long life.
  2. Being healthy. The mind may have positive thoughts, but, if the body is ill, we will not be able to put what we think into practice; because of that, we wish for a healthy, good and strong body.
  3. Having good fortune, good luck and prosperity.
  4. Having a good family, because, if we are born in a family of bad character, we may be negatively influenced.
  5. Having good financial conditions, not being poor or going through difficulties.
  6. Having qualities like intelligence, because, without intelligence, we are also unable to put things into practice.
  7. Being good-looking.
  8. These are the qualities of the superior rebirths.

The seven riches are:

  1. Faith. Whatever your tradition may be, if you don’t have faith, there won’t be any connection. If you don’t keep the connection, your practice won’t bear any results.
  2. Moral discipline. Abandoning negative actions and acting in a virtuous way.
  3. Diligence, joyful perseverance.
  4. Being conscientious. Being ashamed of doing wrong because you know that others will notice.
  5. Knowledge (intelligence). You may want to do something positive, but if you are not knowledgeable, you won’t be able to. It’s important to have the good fortune of hearing in order to acquire knowledge.
  6. Generosity. If you are miserly, not knowing how to share anything with anybody, even if you are healthy and able to hear, even if you have abilities and qualities, you won’t be of any benefit at all.
  7. Having deep knowledge, or the transcendental knowledge, the best knowledge; in Tibetan, sherab.

In the spiritual path it is not enough to be diligent. Maybe there is something annoying you during practice and you feel like stopping, and you force yourself into keeping on practicing – this situation is not the ideal. However, if we know that the practice brings benefits to ourselves and to others, we will practice with enthusiasm. We will have the quality of perseverance with joy. If we don’t have joyful perseverance, whenever doubts arise our practice will get weaker.

We ask for the blessings in order that we may enjoy all favorable conditions along the path which will lead to the ultimate goal: to reach the extraordinary realization. Every being, may it be a human, an animal, or any other kind of being, has a mind. Mind’s essence is Buddha nature, which is pure. It doesn’t matter how big the being is, whether it’s big or small, since its essence is pure.

If we all have a pure essence, then how does the experience of samsara arise? Because we still don’t recognize our pure nature. It is covered by temporary defilements, such as the mental poisons and intellectual obscurations. We have the habit of not understanding, not recognizing this pure essence: this is what causes the experience of samsara. The path to transforming samsaric experience and reaching the consummation of the absolute nature is the accumulation of merit and wisdom.

Each being’s nature is inseparable from the four kayas and the five wisdoms (or the five aspects of the awakened state) and, at the moment, it is veiled by temporary defilements. With the practice of the development and the consummation states, we are able to remove these temporary defilements and reach the extraordinary realization: the recognition of mind’s true nature. We beseech the blessings in order to reach this extraordinary realization, the consummation of the effortless recognition of the absolute nature.

Teaching given by H.E. Chagdud Rinpoche during an accumulation of the Barched Lamsal prayer. Khadro Ling, March 1997.

The Accomplishments of Ani-la Sherab Zangmo

Ani Sherab Zangmo
Ani Sherab Zangmo

I had  posted before about the nuns of Gebchak Gonpa, one of the realised nuns, Sherab Zangmo passed away at the age of 86. I thought of doing up a complete post about her, because I am always inspired by these enlightened practitioners and would like to emulate them.  It also serves as a reminder to us about the important points of Dharma practice.

According to

“The great yogini of Gebchak Gonpa, Sherab Zangmo, passed away in the autumn of last year at the enlightened old age of 86 or so. She had been unwell for some time, but then seemed to recover and was strong and in high spirits for some days. During these days she gave meditation teachings to the nuns and often sang the prayer “Calling the Lama From Afar.”  Near the time of her death her complexion lightened, and her face and body became youthful and small like a child’s. She told those who were with her that she could see Jetsun Tara clearly before her, and that she was now going to Dewachen, the Pure Land of Amitabha. She counseled the nuns to serve their lamas well and to live in harmony with each other, and told them not to worry, and that all would go well for them in the future. The sky remained like a morning sky, bright and clear for the whole day of Sherab Zangmo’s death, and she remained in tukdam meditation for 6 days afterwards.”

More about Ani-la Sherab Zangmo:

(From :

When Sherab Zangmo was a young nun, during a dark retreat (a Dzogchen practice of staying in total darkness for 49 days and nights), she had a vision of Yeshe Sogyal, Padmasambhava’s principle consort.

“Three times she offered me mudras (hand gestures) and then she became Tsang Yang Gyamtso (the student of the first Tsoknyi Rinpoche who started Getchak Nunnery). He came to rest on top of my head and then he dissolved into my body, speech and mind. We became one. I cried and cried. That moment I had a direct experience of the nature of my mind. I have had many experiences, good and bad, but my mind has remained stable, neither good nor bad.”

Enthralled with the concept of seeing the world through enlightened eyes I asked Sherab Zangmo, “Can you describe your perception of the world?”
She replied, What arises in my mind now is the thought to benefit others. On the other hand, I don’t cling to appearances as real, in the way that others do.”

Wangdrag Rinpoche, the head of Getchak nunnery, asked her, “Do they appear like a dream?”
“Yes, they appear illusory, like a dream,” she said.

(From : Calling the Lama from Afar: The Yogini Nuns of Gebchak Gompa, Jampa Kalden)

Even though from 1959 onwards there was some decline in the teachings and the state of practice in Tibet, for Sherab Zangmo there was no decline in her meditation and practice. There have been many nuns of Gebchak Gompa who have died since that time, who saw the Pure Lands before they passed away and who rested in the clear light after they died. There are many examples of nuns like this. Sherab Zangmo now has no more impure vision left. Everything now arises as pure appearances. If we stay in this room, all we see is a very small room. But all Sherab Zangmo sees in the palace of the deities and so forth – completely pure view. Having practiced since she was very young, having relied on many lamas and relied on rigpa, the pure nature of mind, this is the result. (Wangdrak Rinpoche explains)

“Do you still make any distinction between meditation and post-meditation?”

Sherab Zangmo replied emphatically, “There is absolutely no difference between resting in meditation or post meditation. It is like looking upwards at a clear blue sky with nothing in it. There’s no difference whatsoever. When I get sick in my body there is a little bit of pain but in the nature of my mind there is no difference.”

“How many years of meditation did it take to achieve this state?”

Sherab Zangmo replied, “At the time when I was practising chulen in dark retreat I received visions of Yeshe Tsogyal and Tsang-Yang Gyatso coming to me. Tsang-Yang Gyatso’s body was green and he was wearing a lotus hat. He blessed me with long-life nectar and dissolved into me. I became inseparable from Tsang-Yang Gyatso. I suddenly realized the nature of mind. At that time I felt strong faith and devotion. I cried. The mind which grasps the object and the object all dissolved into the pure nature of mind.”

“Do you have any advice for students who might not have the same level of faith?

“Really there is no way other than this,” Sherab Zangmo asserted. “You have to meditate for yourself and supplicate the Lama with great faith and respect. You must believe in the Lama and supplicate the Lama well, generate compassion for all sentient beings and check your mind yourself.”

“When you die what will you see, what will you do?”

Sherab Zangmo replied simply, “I don’t know,” and after a pause filled with laughter, she added, “Going to the pure lands is nothing so special. It’s nothing to think on a great deal. It’s already there established in the nature of mind. I have no hopes or doubts about going to the pure lands.”

“Having practiced pure vision for many years, are you able to go to the pure lands like Dewachen or see Zangdok Palri?”

Sherab Zangmo replied, “ There is no special place to go. Zangdok Palri is in your mind. If you recognize the Buddha nature it’s already in your own mind. There is no place called heaven or hell to go to. It’s all within your own mind.”

“Once you have recognized and experienced the nature of mind, then you can engage in the practice of Mahamudra and Dzogchen. When you have done that practice for some time then you will become completely without suffering, without pain and without the afflictive emotion of hatred, attachment and ignorance. If you really know the nature of mind, then there is no suffering.”

“Having realized the nature of mind, the spirit of bodhichitta, the mind that wishes to lead beings to enlightenment and free them from all suffering, with that pure mind, through the power of aspiration, you can be of very great benefit to others.”

“The aspiration prayers of someone who has realized the nature of mind are inexpressibly more powerful than those of someone who has not realized the nature of mind.”

Can you describe your perception of the world?

What arises in my mind now is the thought to benefit others. On the other hand, I don’t cling to appearances as real, in the way that others do.”

Do they appear like a dream?

“Yes, they appear illusory, like a dream.”

From the time Sherab Zangmo was young, she frequently had these visions, experienced going to the Pure Lands, meeting the deities, making offerings to them and so forth. Also going to the hell realms, where beings are really suffering, and helping to lead them out. She is able to travel beyond the human realm and give teachings to beings in other realms.

Other teachings by Ani Sherab Zangmo:

“If you really supplicate the Lama repeatedly with faith and check your own mind over a long period of time then you will accomplish the path. The accomplishment of practice really relies on yourself. Supplicate the Lama repeatedly and when your mind becomes distracted, bring your mind back. If you continually supplicate the Lama whether winter or summer you can really receive the blessings.

As regards accomplishment of dharma activity and practice, this really relies on your own efforts. You should supplicate the lama continually and whenever you get distracted, cultivate mindfulness and bring the mind back to the supplication to the lama and your own rigpa, the state of your own mind. You will become distracted but by continually supplicating the lama you can accomplish. Really it depends upon yourself.”

If you continually supplicate the Lama, whether winter or summer, you can really receive the blessings. In accordance with the kindness of the lama, having received the teaching of Lord Buddha, it’s all described in there, the suffering of the various realms. Other than meditating on this, you won’t really come to understand the nature of suffering. The six realms are in the nature of suffering. In all of them, there is really not even one day of true happiness or bliss.”

“The most important thing on the path to Buddhahood is to recognize the inseparability of the lama’s mind and one’s own mind.” Sherab Zangmo emphasized, “Recognizing the inseparability of the compassion of the lama’s mind and one’s own mind.”

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.

52 cases of causes-and-effects

With some hesitation i put these records online to share with readers.  Some people may view it with great doubt. But from own real life experience, i have seen such things being done.  Achuk Lama Rinpoche is famous in Tibet for helping to dispense advice to help the deceased due to his omniscience.    

These are 52 cases of causes-and-effects concerning deceased people who received Achuk Lama Rinpoche’s help in observing their state after death and determining the causes of these states (ie, the actions the deceased had performed prior to their deaths) It is a chilling teaching to us and evidence of the unfailing nature of karma cause and effect as well as a testimony to the sufferings of samsra. May all beings avoid all negative deeds, perform all positive deeds and purify their minds.

When I (Achuk Lama Rinpoche) was asked where Chalole’s younger brother had taken rebirth, i replied, “Is this person deaf?” Everyone replied, “Yes, Tsewang is deaf.” I said, “He seems to have killed a snake.” They said, “When he was young, he dug out a snake and killed it while playing.” I said, “Behind your house, there is a pile of rocks, in it is the snake. Bring it here.” When they went to look, they really found the snake and brought it to Lama Rinpoche. Later the snake was salvaged through confession by recitation of scriptures etc.

Rongta lama asked me about his mother’s rebirth. I said, “Use the silver lamp-holders to offer countless butterlamps, recite Akshobhya Buddha’s ritual frequently, by this power, she will take rebirth in the eastern pureland of manifest joy.”

Someone asked me about his father’s rebirth when i was beside Zhala monastery, i said, “He has reborn in the womb of your family’s horse.” Later when further asked, I said, ” The brown/tanned color female horse’s group of foals, among them the one with a black lip is the one. All the prayers were performed for him.

I went to Shangya to perform 100,000 burnt offerings. There, an old man called Zhaduo who due to having harmed a great master was now boiling in hell, i could not help him.

In Shangya, Genxi’s partner when performing rituals for crossing-over the dead soul, asked me to observe. I said, “Reborn as a huge fish, many small fishes are chewing on its body, experiencing unbearable suffering.” Due to this, for two days, i did not recite anything but rested in meditation. That old man was a fisherman in Gantse, his trade was well known by everyone.

Quzha Lama of Kangnan monastery asked me to observe when he was performing prayers for the deceased, i said, “As this person always meditated on Guru Rinpoche as a Yidam, he has taken rebirth in the Copper Auspicious Mountain (Guru Rinpoche’s pureland).

Yezhu Norbu asked me to observe, I said, “This old man did many negativities. He is experiencing great sufferings in the lower realms. Quickly do many positive merits for him, other that this, nothing can dissipate his sufferings.”

I was asked to observe concerning Ah Dan’s old mother, i said, “This old lady has some wound on her left foot?” “That was shot by a gun when she was escaping in the past.” “Due to her great arrogance, she has been reborn as a snake.” “There is a gun, should we sell it to raise funds for creating merits for her, or should we destroy it?” Lama Rinpoche said, “Destroying it is good, she will take rebirth in a positive realm. I dare to guarantee it.”

When i was reciting one morning, in a state i observed, at the foot of the western mountain there was a large slab of rock, beside it, a young man was giving rise to great anger. I exerted my mind strongly thinking to benefit him. This man is the son of the official in Lada, he killed someone and was executed by the country.

When i was staying in Palyul, Karma Tsewang asked about the old lady Tsela’s rebirth. I said, “She is attached to a golden ear ring.” Several days later, they brought that golden ear ring to me. Her family said, “Can we use 1000 yuan to perform prayers and keep this golden ear-ring?” I said, “This ear-ring is worth 10,000 yuan, how can 1,000 yuan do? This is your partner, do as you see fit.” They used the ear-ring for her prayers and she took rebirth in a positive realm.

Lawei, an old man, killed storks in the past, but owing to power of the prayers at his death, took rebirth as a heavenly stork in the heaven of the 33rd. The mother and son storks were of the same size.

Raowa Losang Dechen’s daughter died of a fierce illness. When asked, i said, “This lady, during her illness, cut off all relationship with everyone, therefore she had no attachment to the place where she got sick. She has taken rebirth as an elephant in India.”

Someone from Dalomairema asked me about his father. I said, “Your father has taken rebirth seven times as an animal. These animals have been killed by you.” This person did not believe me. I said, “I will tell you in more details, first time, you killed a beast beside a rock, it was trapped by you with an iron hook. It did not die immediately but died after great torment. After a few days, you went to retrieve it home. The second time, you killed a musk deer, in this way you killed 7 times.” Thus the man believed me as if he had seen a real Buddha and did the necessary prayers.

Someone from Adaiwa came to see me, he said, “I have not killed any animals in the past and will not kill any in the future. But I will not take any vow (to abstain from killing) because I am afraid that during the course of a long life, I may break the vow.” I said, “You said you have not killed any animals before. But at the turn opposite the mountain slope, there is a small tree, isn’t the buzzard there killed by you?”

An old man from Datama said, “My old partner is dead. Please observe her rebirth whether it is in a good realm. If it is not, i will give all my property to do prayers for her. Do you think this is necessary?” I said, “You bought a horse this year, your partner is attached to this horse. You should give up this horse and create merits for her!” He said, “This horse is a good horse that i have been eyeing for a long time. Without this horse, i have no way…”

When the matter of Sharewa’s Gaishe rebirth was posed to me, Norbu Zhede said, “Use another 300 yuan to do merits.” I said, “After his death, beside the monastery, at a collapsed wall, he has reborn as a insect. After the death of the insect, he will go to a good realm.”

Nada Menje’s son died. When arranging for his death, i said, “Once killed a snake, the snake is obstructing his path to liberation.” His mother said, “When he was playing with many other kids, they killed a snake together.” I said, ” You can’t say it this way, the crux is who is playing the leading role, this snake was killed with your son leading. Perform the ablution initiation, most probably will take rebirth in good realms.”

A tulku died, someone asked me about his rebirth. I said, “This tulku has no rebirth because he received too much wealth through offerings. He is now in hell suffering.” Besides this i did not say much more because i did not want the benefactors to have wrong view and waste their (merits) of giving.

Liaoxi’s Zhalo asked me to observe about his mother’s death. I said, “Reborn as your family’s Yak calf. ” His family asked, “There are two new calfs, which is the one?” I replied, “The one with a shorter right hoof. It has already been killed this winter.” They did prayers for this.

I was asked to observe about Liaoxi’s Agong’s death. I said, “He killed numerous animals in the past, maybe more than 2000 animals?” He said, “Yes.” I said, “He was born as the guard dog of your family. The one with a grey-blue coat and white back is his rebirth. That dog was killed with a stone after it bit the doctor Zangxia. It has reborn as a dri (female yak), the tail is very rough and fuzzy, it is now in your home.” He said, “Yes.”

In the past, i was asked to observe about Qingba lama’s death. I said, “Make a mani banner that is as long as his body as a merit to salvage him. He is now enduring the suffering of being cooked and burnt in the hells. ” It was done as i said.

Menjie asked about Sangye Lhamo’s death, i said, ” She died from a knife, and had great anger. She did too many cunning things. Recite the Liberation sutra 500 times, the Akshobhya mantra 100 million times, Vairochana mantra 100 million times, 500 mantra banner equal to her body’s length, recite the Kangyur, offer tea to the sangha and there is still need to recite many dedication texts.” When all the above had been done, i was again asked. I said, ” There is a need to inscribe 3000 mani stones, after this has been done, it is not certain whether she is able to gain peace.”

After Lama Samten from Paychawa died, someone asked me. I said, “His mindstream recited Vajrakilaya yidam, by the power of this, he has taken rebirth in the southern pureland of Endowed with Qualities.”

One day, i saw a small dog and said, “This is the rebirth of an old lady called Awenma.” An old monk Shelok said, “My grandmother is named Awenma, is this her rebirth?” “Yes.” “I will recite 100 million mani mantras.” He brought the dog to circumambulate Yachen’s mani stone piles. Before long, the dog died and was reborn in the positive realms.

About Changtai’s Wengzhuo’s death, i was asked and said, “Reborn, now an old dog.” His nephew had a Dri and after parting with this for creating merits, sent off the deceased.

After swiftly performing many prayers for a deceased old monk Jigme Dorje, i was asked. Replying, “Due to the vast strength of the prayers, he has taken rebirth in Potala pureland.”

For a deceased monk Dage, another old monk WengDu from Longnu monastery came to see me, i said, “This monk is attached to a liberation by hearing text, it would be good to give it up for creating merits. There are three types of volumes, the superior, middle and lower quality volumes, he is attached to the volume of superior quality. Give this volume to a Guru.”

When i was staying at Sethar, a old lady’s corpse was brought to Larong and i was asked to perform powa for her. I said, “Although powa is performed, but there is a dog wearing iron chains that is creating an obstacle, go and ask MaGao Dakini.” The dakini said, “Once when this dog was being pursued by a Chinese who wanted to kill him, he circled around the old lady to hide from the danger but died in the process.”

I was asked about the death of the old monk Gela, i said, “He accumulated many recitations of the mani mantra?” His nephew Dizang said, “Yes.” “He is in Potala pureland, there is no need for prayers. Recite 100 million mani mantras for the karmically-connected beings.”

Someone asked me about Wazhong’s death. I said, “He killed many calfs, due to that karma, he is reborn as the cow with a white dot on her forehead. She has little milk and is about to be sold. ” They released this cow and did many prayers. Later the cow died and took a good rebirth.

When i went to Duomai Gaimo’s place, someone asked about the officer Pajing’s death. I replied, “Reborn as a little monkey in that place. Are there any monkeys there?” Everyone said, “There’s no monkey there.” I said, “You go and take a look.” Everyone went there to look around, and actually saw that monkey. This gave them sublime confidence and they did the prayers.

Someone asked about Kunga Rangpo’s death. I said, “This is a very non-virtuous person. He is now in the hell of corpses and excrement. He has burnt a house, committed many robberies, destroyed Buddha halls and statues, scriptures and stupas. One must recite the Kangyur many times and create a vast amount of merits to liberate him from the lower realms.”

Someone asked about Pama, i said, “He has taken rebirth in body of evil karma, this is the result of slandering the sangha.” When he was a temple-administrator, he said many harsh words to the sangha.

When i was asked about Tsewang, i said, “Before he died, he had great anger about the water bags, now he has taken birth as a snake in the water bags. Due to the karma, the water in the water bags has transformed into iron water, he is in great pain. ” Before his death, as the water bags by the window were blown by the wind, he lost his temper at all the people and ordered, “Take it down!” Due to that, after the karma was cleansed, in the winter, this little snake emerged and died.

Jiangda asked about his dead mother, I said, ” Is the white female sheep in your home.” After doiing many prayers and merits, i said, “She has taken birth in the Eastern pureland of Manifest Joy.”

When asked about the old man Dorje’s death, i replied, “He is in the big cypress tree on the mountain behind your home.” They did the prayers for him.

About Gyalwe’s death, I said, “Taken birth in the water in some place as a water insect in a solitary hell. Many toads are eating him. He is in so much pain that his mouth is open.” I went to that home to recite powa and do burnt offerings and make aspirations. I asked again, “Did the old man kill frogs and insects?” They said, “When he was young, people called him ‘Insect killer’. When we asked another teacher how to help him, the reply was, ‘Make a Vajrasattva Hundred Syllables prayer banner, he will not fall in the lower realms.’ Now what is your recommendation to help him?” I said, “I can’t decide now, use the mani mantra.” Later they asked Yangtrul. Yangtrul said, “What Lama (Achuk Lama Rinpoche) said is true, but besides the lower realms, where else is there for him? After three years, that deceased can take a human rebirth again.”

When i returned from Gantse, I stayed at Shema’s home for one day, beside the two elderly ladies, there was no-one else. Upon sleeping, in a state, i saw that there was someone hung on the ceiling of the tent. In a state of nonduality between appearances and mind, i recited powa. The second day i asked, “Did anyone die in this tent before?” They replied that someone called Tudeng from Xinlong had hung himself in the tent. They asked, “For such evil karma, is there any way to counter?” I said, “Recite the Liberation by Hearing for 100 times would be sufficient.” Later, I asked Tulku Rinpoche (Arik Rinpoche), the reply was “You benefitted him somewhat, but there is a need for different kinds of prayer.”

When my disciple Kunla died, Ache said,”Please fulfill her aspiration to be reborn in pureland in 7 days. I will also perform great austerities for her sake.” I said, “There is no need for austerities. Go and circumambulate Zhejie mountain.” Kunla’s husband and brother Yewa came to ask about her. I said, ” Go and circumambulate Zhejie mountain, there is an insect born in a rock slab, need to recite 11 times 100 million mantras.” I went to Ache’s home to perform prayers and on my way back, met Yewa who was circumambulating Yachen’s mani stone heaps. I asked, “Are you returning now? Due to the power of merits, the deceased will take rebirth as the daughter of Huazhong after losing her insect body, she will get happiness.” When Yewa returned home, they were using the deceased’s ashes to practice and found a slab of stone to grind the bones into powder. There was a insect under the stone which was still alive. It was alive for more than 11 months, and after that, they practised the ablution and blessed sand methods on the insect, it died later on. That insect should be the one.

Dourao from Changtai died at age of 30 and i was asked,”Where is he now, please tell me immediately.” I said, “Born as a white insect the size of the point of a needle in the bark of a tree.” It was winter at that time. I went to ask Tulku Rinpoche, “These appearances, will the insect still be alive in November?” The reply was, “Sentient beings have uncertain karma, there is no way to know.” Later, when i asked Sera Yangtrul, the reply was, “It is the tree bark, but whether it is the rock slab is not certain.”

Someone sent by Jiadu Tulku to me to ask about an old person. I jokingly wrote on the letter, “You should know clearly where this person is born, aren’t you the one who salvaged him? Aiya, i saw that he seemed to be in a hell of red bronze being cooked and burnt. The karma is to maliciously break the bronze pot of Jiadu monastery. ” In the past, when Jiadu monastery was having a puja, one night, someone drilled a hole in the bronze pot, but no-one knew who did it, but it seems that this is the person. There were many more happenings at that time.

Someone asked about Palchen Dorje’s death, I said, “He is attached to a black horse.” When asked, “There are a mother and son black horse, which is the one?” I replied, “It is the mother.” When he died, he said, “I want to be reborn as the beloved foal of this mother horse, the mother horse has great kindness.” They have already performed many prayers for him. I said, “Give away the horse as merit and he will obtain a positive rebirth.”

Asked about the old lady Wangji, i said,”She used two cow skins as a bedding? ” Her family said, “Yes.” I said, “She seems to be very good at reciting the mani mantra?” Her family said, “She has recited 140 million mani mantras.” I said, “She turned the prayer wheel?” Her family said, “She turned the liberation prayer wheel she invited from the Relabon monastery.” I said, “It is a red prayer wheel?” Her family said, “It was wrapped with a red animal skin.” “She is now in Potala pureland, no need for any prayers, just offer some tea to the sangha would be sufficient.”

Gu-Ah asked about his old mother, i replied, “She is attached to a red mother cow, and became a young red cow.” Later it was true that a red young cow was born. “The old lady was attached to the red cow, do more dharmic connections for her, she will be able to take a positive rebirth.”

When asked about Wangchen who was murdered, i said, “He is an evil person, and stole many animals that had been released by the master Puduolo, and sent them to Litang to sell. Therefore his way of death was very negative, he is now in the Iron Thorn Forest, you need to do much confession with the recitation of Kangyur.

When my disciple Menye died, Qujia asked about him. I said, “He is attached to a debt in Rongku.” Qujia said, “It shouldn’t be a debt he lent to others, but something he owes.” He went to the family to convey what i said. The family said, “The deceased had a friend who borrowed some sheep fur and haven’t repaid the money. Before his death he was still talking about this.”

A beggar Yema died and i was asked. I said, “Attached to a silver spoon and greedy about eating. Not sure if reborn as a dog. Should give that spoon away to create merits.” “I did not see that spoon.” I said, “There is one definitely. If it is not given for merits, then the deceased definitely can’t attain the positive realms.” That female beggar had a silver spoon but it was taken away by children and lost, before her death, she was still looking for it under her pillow and bed.

I was asked about Adun’s death. I said, “Due to the karmic debt from her son’s killing of the mountain goat, she was reborn in Reangna as a mountain goat. After the prayers, she will attain a good rebirth.”

Someone asked about Tsomo’s death, i said, “Due to her son Pema Trinley killing the wild beasts, she has reborn as an insect, there are countless smaller insects eating her. Very painful!” They used everything they had to do prayers for her and asked me again, i said, “She is reborn as a son in a lowly family in a tent.”

Someone asked about Suoba’s death, i said, “On the left side of your home, he is reborn as a wolf on the yellow mountain. He seems to have a silver gilded gun with a wooden handle? ” He said, “Yes, the gun has been bought by someone.” I said, “Do the prayers, after the wolf dies, he will attain the positive realms.”

Someone asked about Kunma, i said, “He died with great anger and seems to be born as a snake.” He replied, “Yes, before his death he was unable to bear the beatings of the Chinese and killed himself. ” After prayers, they asked me again, i said, “Offer the sangha tea, recite dedication prayers, after the snake dies, it will attain a human rebirth. I have forgotten which family.”

Renle performed much practice and received much wealth. He had several children and created negative karma but not even one children became ordained. After his death, i said, “Reborn as a pig with white forelegs beside the road to Ganzi. The benefactors have take birth as his piglets and are suckling his milk. ” His family made many mani banners and did the prayers.

In the past when Sera Yangtrul wanted me to speak about the crossing-over of the dead people, Tulku Rinpoche (Arik Rinpoche) said, “You must continue with advising others about the prayers for the deceased.” Thus i continued and have advised more then 100,000 people about this. Here, for the benefit of letting people know about the qualities of the Guru, the suffering of samsara and giving them faith and understanding about karma, i have briefly described some.

(Note: Sera Yangtrul is a treasure-revealer and great master. He is one of Achuk Lama Rinpoche’s Gurus.  Arik Rinpoche is Lama Rinpoche’s Root Teacher)

(This translation is a summary of the Chinese and is not a word-for-word detailed translation although almost all of the pertinent details have been translated.)

How to Pray to Buddha

(Phurpa Tashi Rinpoche is also a heart-son of Achuk Lama Rinpoche, he is considered widely to be the mind-emanation of  Guru Padmasambhava himself and at a young age, he has also completely realised Dzogchen and has evidenced a light body in photos on certain occasions) Phurpa Tashi Rinpoche When we visualise Buddha Amitabha, Avalokiteshvara or the very kind root Guru above our crown, we should recall that this figure is the embodiment of all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in the past, present and future. We should have this kind of all-inclusive pervasive faith. If one does not have this kind of pervasive faith, then the blessings received is not complete/perfect, instead we only receive limited blessings. For instance, when two people pray to Buddha Amitabha, one person understands this and knows that Buddha Amitabha is the embodiment of all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in the past, present and future, therefore praying to Amitabha is equal to praying to all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in the three times. But for the other person who has heavy discriminating thoughts, Amitabha is just Amitabha, completely unrelated to other Buddhas, he will pray to Amitabha with such a mindset. These blessings received in these two cases are completely different. The first person who regards Amitabha as the embodiment of all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in the past, present and future would receive a total and perfect blessing, whereas the second person, although he has faith in Buddha Amitabha, receives an incomplete blessing.

This pervasive faith is extremely important. Whether one can receive the blessings of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the three times and ten directions completely depends on whether your understanding of dharma and the faith during your supplication is pervasive and complete. This point is extremely extremely important. There are especially some laypeople who have many loopholes in their practice, always using a biased or one-sided way to pray. This will not allow them to receive the full blessings of all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the three times and ten directions.
This entry was posted on 12121212, in Practices.

Ah Song Tulku’s Supplication Prayer


Supplication Prayer to Gyaltsab Sangngag Tanzin


Accomplished Vidyadhara of the Holy Land, Humkara


Heart-son of Padmasambhava Namkhai Nyingpo and


Samtan Zangpo who has attained the supreme accomplishment


I pray from the depths of my heart not to be separated from your three doors.


Please rain blessings from the ultimate meaning of your mind


May Renunciation and Bodhichitta ripen in our mental continuums


May we merge into the great secret Vajrayana


Secret of the secrets, extremely secret unsurpassed meaning


Unfabricated dharmata, within the expanse of the nature of mind


Beyond parting or joining, please grant blessings and accomplishments


Whenever this life comes to its end


May we receive prophecies in your presence


Be liberated from samsara and rest in the pure realms


May we become your first and foremost disciples


in the interim, perfectly carrying out the Bodhisattva’s conduct


Becoming the savior and refuge of sentient beings who have no one to rely upon


Perfectly realising the Tathagata’s ultimate secret meaning


Accepting all beings without exception, whether of superior or inferior capacities


Becoming a captain who guides all sentient beings of the six realms


I and others offer these aspirations accordingly


by the power of accomplishing the aspirations of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas


By this roots of merit, may it be swiftly accomplished!

This supplication prayer to Ah Song Tulku was self-arisen and written down on the 15th day of the Miracles Month by the one with the title of Khenpo (His Holiness Ah Chuk Rinpoche) at the request of Lodro Thaye.  Virtue!

Long Life Prayer for Gyaltsab Sangngag Tanzin Rinpoche (Ah Song Tulku)


Adept of Yangdak, exalted Namkhai Nyingpo


Your emanation, Thubtan Samtan Zang


By the blessings of the Three Jewels and Three Roots,


Manjushri and the assembly of long life deities


Outer and inner maras, the three obscurations and heap of ignorance,


obstacles all dispelled!  May Dharma increase and flourish!!!

This was written by the heart-son of all Siddhas, Jamyang Lungtok Gyaltsen


(post – note , as an auspicious arising today, i post this prayer of this excellent master online, for those of you who do not have any Gurus, you can  recite his prayer and pray to him thinking that he is inseparable from all the authentic and realised masters.

Praying to the Guru is the essence of all practices and brings the swiftest accomplishments.  

another post i have about Ah Song Tulku Rinpoche:

A Mirror Revealing the Crucial Points: Advice on the Ultimate Meaning

By Longchen Rabjam

Single embodiment of the compassion, power and activity
Of the infinite mandalas of victorious buddhas, beyond measure,
Glorious lama, supreme sovereign lord of a hundred buddha families,
At your feet, now and forever, I pay homage!

Ema! Fortunate yogins, listen now:

We have gained a perfect human form with its freedoms and advantages, we have met the precious teachings of the Mahayana, and we have the freedom to practice the sacred Dharma authentically. So, at this time, let us not waste our lives in meaningless pursuits, but work towards the genuine, lasting goal.

There are infinite categories of teaching and countless are the ways to enter the vehicles. Explanations can involve a great many words and expressions. Unless we can take to heart the essence of the genuine meaning, then even committing many hundreds of thousands of volumes to memory will not decidedly bring benefit at the moment of death.

Seemingly, we might have boundless knowledge, all derived from study and reflection, but if our fundamental character is not attuned to the Dharma, we will not tame the enemy, the destructive emotions.

Unless we limit our desires from within by adopting an attitude of not needing anything at all, then even mastery over a thousand worlds will bring no real satisfaction.

Should we fail to prepare for the uncertainty of the time of death, we will not accomplish the great purpose, that which we will surely need when we die.

If we don’t overcome our own faults and train in impartial pure perception, then having attachment and aversion will prevent us entering the ranks of the Mahayana.

Unless we make pure prayers of aspiration with unceasing compassion and bodhichitta, in the knowledge that there is not a single being among the three realms or the six classes who has not been our mother or father in the past, we will not unlock the treasury of altruism.

Unless we have such devotion for our kind teachers that we consider them as greater than the Buddha, we will not receive even a single portion of their blessings.

Without genuinely receiving blessings, the tender shoots of experience and realization will not grow.

If realization does not dawn from within, dry explanations and theoretical understanding will not bring the fruit of awakening.

To put it simply, unless we blend our own mind with the Dharma, it is pointless merely to adopt the guise of a practitioner.

Restricting ourselves to only basic sustenance and shelter, let us regard everything else as unnecessary.

Practice guru yoga, pray with single-minded attention, and direct all virtuous actions to the benefit of all beings, your very own parents.

Whatever you encounter—be it happiness or sorrow, good or bad—regard it as the kindness of the lama.

In the expanse in which self-knowing rigpa arises spontaneously, free of all grasping, rest and relax, without contrivance or fabrication. Whatever thoughts arise, recognizing their essence, allow them all to be liberated as the display of your own intrinsic nature.

Without the slightest trace of anything to cultivate or focus upon in meditation, don’t allow yourself to drift even for a single instant into ordinary confusion. Instead, remain aware and undistracted during all activities, and train to recognize all sights and sounds and sensory experience as the play of illusion. In so doing, you will gain experience for the bardo state.

In short, at all times and in all situations, let whatever you do accord with the sacred Dharma and dedicate all virtue towards enlightenment. If you do so, you will fulfill the vision of your lamas and be of service to the teachings. You will repay the kindness of your parents and spontaneously benefit yourself and others. Please keep this in mind.

Even if we were to meet in person, I would have no greater instruction to give you than this. So take it to heart, all the time, and in any situation.

Lord of the victorious ones, Longchen Rabjam Zangpo, wrote this on the slopes of Gangri Tökar. May virtue abound!


(Source :

Saga Dawa Letter to Dharma Friends

A very nice letter containing alot of essential reminders for all practitioners.


Saga Dawa Letter to Dharma Friends

Dear Dharma Friends,

It is my duty to tell you how to lead your life in a noble Dharma way. Through my whole life experience, I have learned the following things. These are very important to have, and will make your life more peaceful and pleasant:

First, you should recognize that this life you have is very precious, with favorable conditions. After that, you should remember the force of impermanence. Everything is like a dream, changing so fast like the weather. Maybe it will last long, whatever you have, therefore it would be wise to let go of things that cause you pain. Also, it is important to be patient with everyone, including with your family members. If you can deal with your anger, you can solve many problems. Another thing, do not lose your temper when you talk with others. Always be mindful of what you are going to say to others.

Recognize your own faults. Be humble. Do not be selfish. Be kind to others. This is the noble way.

Dharma people should behave better than common people. We have great responsibility of Bodhicitta. We are supposed to be the caretakers of all beings, that’s why we have to behave better.

Some scholars think we don’t have to pray, that having Buddha nature is enough. I don’t think there’s a way to achieve enlightenment without relying on the Three Jewels. Buddha is our guide. Dharma practice is the path. And Sangha members support your journey. That is why your teacher and Dharma brothers and sisters all become very important in your life. You should respect them and never argue with them. Your good actions are the real vows that you are holding.

Some scholars believe that Buddha died, passed into nirvana, and so practice or praying is not necessary. They think that they have realized the view and are the same as Buddha. But this is wrong view. I feel sorry for people who believe this way.

Just because you cannot see Buddha does not mean you can say there is no Buddha. Buddha is always present. Buddha is always here. Even though we have Buddha nature, we still have so many obscurations and defilements. This is why we take refuge, because we have to rely on Buddha for help. We are not yet realized. If we become a fully realized being, then we no longer have to rely on Buddha. But as long we are not yet realized, we must have faith and take refuge and rely on Buddha. Always.

Dharma is based on truth. So we have to be true to ourselves, all the time. You cannot be two-faced, like front and back. The Prayer of the Three Kayas is Guru Rinpoche’s own words, the most profound instruction on how to deal with what we see, what we hear, what thoughts arise in our mind. So analyze the meaning of this teaching, and try to meditate.

If you pray strongly to Guru Rinpoche, you will receive his blessing and will realize the meaning of your Buddha nature.

I will always pray that all of you achieve your goal at some point.

Much love to all,


(Ven. Bhakha Tulku Rinpoche
Saga Dawa Full Moon
June 15, 2011
Garden Grove, California)

Merits of Offering Robes to Sangha

From Sutra,

Robe offering, extremely glorious.

Always born in high cast and have good physical shape.

A person will have sense of good conscience.

Person will be renowned due to having accumulated the good karma.

~ by Buddha.

In this life the person will be free from obstacle, healthy and have perfect body form. Success will be attained in business, good fortune and possessions will be obtained.

The act of offering robes to the Sangha, it’s a symbol of offering protection from the heat and cold. Due to this merit accumulated, in the next life the person will be

1) Liberated from the suffering of the hell (hot and cold realms).

2) By doing this action of robe dana, one will be free from the suffering of hungry ghost realm (thirst and hunger).

3) Take rebirth in the human form with complete perfect physical shape, attractive, conceivably pleasant and beautiful. Having high status like the lineage of a King. One will have a good sense of conscience and integrity, well esteemed by others, peace and happiness.

Having accumulated good karma by this deed, for e.g. – In the past the Brahmin offered a white robe to the Buddha Bhagavan. The Buddha then prophesized him to be born in the future as Ngonshy Zangpo, who attained Buddhahood from the merits of offering the robe to Buddha. Likewise these are the great benefits of offering robes to the Sangha.

Tenth Day Practices

All practitioners of Vajrayana should try to abide by the practices of feast offerings and doing practice on the special days of Tibetan 10th and 25th at the very least.  It is of very great help to one’s practice and clears away many obstacles. Below is a detailed explanation by Dudjom Rinpoche.


The benefit of observing the great festival of the tenth day
(Tib:TSE-CHU) 10th day
By His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche

Here is contained in brief the benefit of observing the great festival of the tenth day.

Om Svasti

May we obtain refuge in our future rebirth in the Uddiyana Vajradhara who removes all difficulties; the mere recollection of Him brings about the bestowing of many desires, siddhis and blessings, just as does a wish-granting gem, a wish-granting tree, and a precious wish granting vessels.

According to the Pad-dong-Tsek-pa (Pad-sdong-brtsegs-pa), that root Tantra which embodies the mind of the Guru, the Guru himself proclaimed:

“I am He who is known as the self-originated Lotus,
And who emanated from the heart Center of the Buddha Amitabha.
I am Arya Avalokitesvara who is the light ray of Speech.
I am the brother of all the Dakinis and the king of the Viras.
I am the spiritual activity of all the Buddhas of the three times.
I am he who, possessing great strength of compassion appears as the Nirmanakaya of the incomparable Samantabhadra Mahavajradhara.
I am a great wave of spiritual activity which converts everyone, filling the minds of all sentient beings with hope.”

With the voice of the fearless loin which is itself secret adamantine speech, he reveals his face. From his divine from which embodies all the Mandalas of the Gurus, Devas and Dakinis.

Particularly to his disciples in the snowy land of Tibet, he has shown even greater kindness than the actual Buddha himself by his coming personally to that country, where he is universally known as Padmasambhava or Pema-jungne (Padma byung-gnas), the Vajra Guru.

For anyone who beholds his deeds, the understanding of a disciple will grow within him. As for the several occasions which he displayed he great deeds of his marvelous career (rnam-thar) of the waxing moon during the twelve months of the year.

The First Month: On the tenth day of the month of the Hare (yos-zla), having renounced his kingdom, He practiced austerities, yoga and liberation in the great cemetery of Sitavana (bSil-bai tshal), the cool forest. At the time of gathering all the Matrikas and Dakinis under his power, he became kwon as Guru Santaraksita, the Guru who is the guardian of peace.

The Second Month: on the 10th day of the month of the Dragon (brug-zla), He took Pravrajya ordination from the Bhiksu Ananda. At the time of demonstrating his attainment of unsurpassed comprehension of all the knowledge and learning contained in the Sutra and Mantra systems as taught by various scholars. He became known as Guru Sakya Senge or Sakyasimha, the Guru who is the lion of the Sakya, and as Loden Chogse (bLo-lden mChog-sred) or Matiman Vararuci, the Guru possessing intelligence and Supreme Desire.

The Third Month: on the 10th day of the month of the Snake (sbrul-zla), at the time when the king of Zahor tried to burn him alive, by his magical powers he transformed the middle of the kingdom. Then having taken up with divine consort Mandarava, at the time of displaying his adamantine body, he became known as the immortal Pema Jungne (Padma byung-gnas) or Padmakara, he who is born of the lotus.

The Fourth Month: on the 10th day of the month of the Horse (rta-zla), when certain evil ministers of the land of Udiyana tried to burn alive this Divine couple, by his power he transformed the fire in to a lake. Then by his magical powers he caused the radiant and resplendent form of the Divine couple to appear on top of the stem of a lotus plant,

The Fifth Month: on the 10th day of the month of the Sheep (lug-zla) since certain Tirthikas from South India were causing great harm to the Buddhist doctrine, with his great magical powers he ground the Tirthikas gods together with their guardians into dust. At the sky of the victory banner of the doctrine of the Buddha, he became known as Guru Senge Dradrog (Seng-ge sgra-sgrogs) or Simharavana, the Guru who roars like the lion.

The Sixth Month: At sunrise on the 10th day of the month of Monkey (sPrel-zla), He was born miraculously inside a lotus bud in the middle of Lake Dhanakosa. At the time of his turning the wheel of the Dharma for the Dakinis on the island in this lake, He became known as guru (mTso-kyes rdo-rje). Or Sororuhavajra, the Guru who is the Lotus-born Vajra.

The Seventh Month: on the tenth day of the month of the Bird (Bya-zla), the Tirthikas form Tamradvipa (Zangs-gling) threw him in to the river Ganges. But having performed a Vajra dance in the sky, by his magical powers he caused the waters of the river to rivers their flow. Having awakening faith in them, at the time of establishing the doctrine in their kingdom, he became known as Kha-ding Tsal (mKha-lding rtsal) or Khagamana, he who soars in the sky like the Garuda.

The Eighth Month: On the tenth day of the month of the Dog (khyi-zla), having been given a poisonous concoction by the Tirthikas, he transformed it into amrita which could do no harm. Thus in the presence of his own radiant and health countenance, by his greatly expanded magical powers, he caused faith to arise in them all. At the time of converting the Tirthikas together with their retinues to the doctrine of the Buddha, he became known as Guru Nyima Odzer (nyi-ma od-zer) or Suryaprabha, the Guru who is like the rays of the sun.

The Ninth Month: On the tenth day of the Pig (Phag-zla), having assumed the divine form the Vajrakumara (rDo-rje gzhon-nu) at Yang-le-shod in Nepal, he bound by fierce oaths the gods and demons of the countries of Nepal and Tibet. Having performed the Saddhana of Sri Visuddha Heruka (dPal-chen Yong-dog), at the time of attaining the Vidyadhara stage of the Supreme Mahamudra, he became known as Guru Dorje Tod-treng Tsal (rDo-rje thod-phreng rtsal) or Vajra Kapalamalin, the Adamantine Guru with the garland of skulls.

The Tenth Month: On the tenth day of the month of the Mouse (Byi-zla) he arrived in central Tibet. Having subdued the hostile gods and demons of Tibet, He erected the great monastery of Cho-khor Pal-gyi Samye, and lit the lamp of the holy Dharma of the Sutras and the Mantras. At the time of accomplishing the ripening and libration of the fortunate king and twenty-five disciples, he became known as Guru Padmasambhava, the lotus-born Guru.

The Twelfth Month: On the tenth day of the month of the Tiger (sTag-zla), having been invited by king Indra Boddhi, the king of the country of Uddiyana, he was installed as the crown prince, and received in marriage as his wife the princess Bhasadhara(‘Od’ chang-ma). At the time of his preserving this kingdom in accordance with the Dharma, he became known as Guru Padma Gyalpo (Padma rgyal-po) or Padma Raja, the Guru who is the lotus King.

The Eleventh Month: On the tenth day of the month of the Ox (glang zla), having conjured up his wrathful form at Paro, at Tak-tsang, and elsewhere in Monyul (the country of Bhutan), He put under oath all the local deities and treasure guidance (gzhi-bdag). He then concealed in both central and remote places within the Himalayas those hidden treasures which are incomprehensible to the mind, consisting of doctrines, jewels and other holy things. Then, at the time of bestowing secret oral instructions and making prophesies regarding the protection of the hidden treasure by the deities. He became known as Guru Dorje Drolo (rDo-rJe Gro-Lod) or VajraKrodha, the Guru of Adamantine wrath.

Similarly, there are special benefits accruing to us from the observing of the monthly Pujas on each of the Tenth day great festivals in the order given above. For example, those evil spirits which cause the disease will be pacified. Our length of life, virtue and wealth will increases; and our happiness of mind, quick encourage, and brilliance of personality will likewise increase. Both human beings and non human spirit will gather under our power; our dominion and prosperity will increase; and the local deities and the guardian spirits will heed us as if they are our servants. The harm and injury caused by the Lord of Death and the eight groups of spirits will be mitigated. Our moral precepts will be completely purified and our wisdom will radiate into every area. The dangers due to unfavorable planets and stars, unlucky days, enemies and thieves will no longer threaten us; good fortune and well being will increase everywhere at home and abroad. The mischief due to earth-spirits (sa-bdag), Nagas, and fierce subterranean beings (gNyan) will likewise no longer threaten us; and the Dharma Protectors and the Guardians will accomplish those deeds with which they are charged. The damaged caused by are hindrances, enemies, and evil spirits will be ameliorated; and will gather under our power whatever we desire. Diseases which cause the body to waste away will be cleansed; bodily health and happiness of mind for ourselves as well as our friends and relatives will increase; and we will obtain whatever object we contemplate. Unlucky periods among the days, months and years, as well as ill omen generally, will be mitigated; and we will fully recover whatever dominion and good fortune we may have lost. Evil spirits, who cause diseases, such as the Bhutas and the eight groups of spirits, as well as the conditions of untimely death will likewise be pacified. We shall be freed from the ill effects of contagious magic (gtad), the disabling effects of mantras which impair the function of the intellect (sel) and which disturb our peace of mind (byad-kha), as well as elemental spirits evoked to harm us by causing disease or calamity (rbod-gtong). Indeed, our own body will become as strong as diamond. Hypocritical deeds in violation of our precepts, such as any defect or default of the three types of vows, as well as all transgressions of the samaya vows, will be cleansed; and our mind will become pure. Ultimately death and other accidental disasters will not arise, and immediately upon passing from this life we shall be reborn in the presence of the Guru Himself in the Realm of Lotus Light, Padmaprabhaksetra, (Padma od zhing). Also, from the practice of reciting the prayers in their proper order particularly at the time of performing Puja, we shall become as one who possesses infinite benefits; our accumulated merit shall be inexhaustible.

According to the Lama Sang-du (bLa ma gSang-dus): “On the Tenth Day of the monkey month of the monkey year: And on all the Tenth Days of the other months, my manifestations will emanate throughout Jumbudvipa in particular; and I shall bestow siddhis both ordinary and supreme. As for those who perform saddhana of the Guru throughout their entire life. If they persist in this, then at the time of passing from this present life, they will be absorbed into my own heart centre.” According to the Treasure tradition (gter- lung) of Ratna Lingpa: “When who remember me, as if carrying a pebble in their packet as a reminder, They and I shall indeed be inseparable To My sons, my disciplines, the king and ministers of Tibet. On the Tenth Day of each month, I myself will appear: this I promise. I, Padmasambhava, would never deceive others.” According to the zhal-dam Ser-treng (Zhal-gdams gser-phreng): I, Urgyen, particularly on the Tenth Day which is the Great Festival, Will come to the snowy land of Tibet, Riding upon the rays of sun and moon, The rainbow, the mists or rain; And shall remove all obstacles impeding, my devoted disciples. Upon each I shall bestow the four consecrations which they desire. This is my promise and Padma would never deceive anyone. If one who is devoted to me always observes the puja on the Tenth Day. By virtue of practicing the saddhana according to my instructions, He will realize the well being of the kingdom.”

He confirmed these adamantine verses, which surely speak the truth, many times and not one time only. He would never deceive those disciples appearing in later times who believe in His promise with all their heart. With ever increasing effort may they spread widely these festivals which are always productive of benefits and happiness in one’s present life and in all future life. May this festival of benefit and joy be always observed everywhere, together with the Dharma in the presence of those who desire liberation. Similarly, may these glad tidings be displayed like a beautiful young maiden attractively be jeweled and graced with well-explained excellent meanings for every word.

May the messengers of Padma, wander everywhere in every direction.

This text was composed by Jigdral Yeshe Dorje (His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche).

May happiness and good fortune come.

This precious text was translated from the original Tibetan into the English language by Vajranatha (John Reynolds). Done at Santiniketan this eight Tibetan lunar month in the year of the water-mouse (September 1972).

May all sentient beings swiftly attain enlightenment.

This entry was posted on 12121212, in Practices.

The Nine Benefits of Mantras

As taught by H.E. Garchen Rinpoche

Mantra can be understood as:

1. the deity. Every mantra we recite emanates one deity. These deities then work for the benefit of beings

2. offerings. When the light rays radiate out from the mantra rosary during creation-stage visualization, each ray of light bears an offering goddess. Each of these hundreds of thousands of offering goddesses further emanates five goddesses who emanate still five more, and so forth, until space is completely filled with goddesses. All of these make offerings to the Buddhas.

3. purification of obscuration. When the light rays radiate out a second time and touch all sentient beings, they purify beings’ obscurations. These obscurations are self-grasping, and the light rays are rays of compassion. The rays of love melt self-grasping like a hot sun melting snow.

4. siddhi. When the light rays return and reabsorb to the deity, they bear siddhis in the form of blessings of the Buddhas/ enlightened body, speech and mind.

5. blessings. Mantra brings about loving kindness and compassion in the practitioner due to the blessings of the deity’s mindstream.

6. mandala. When one has fully trained in creation stage, reciting the mantra once will invoke the entire mandala. One no longer needs an entire sadhana text.

7. enlightened activity. All of the four activities-peaceful, increasing, powerful and wrathful-are performed and accomplished through mantra.

8. a wish-fulfilling jewel. Whatever we need to accomplish, mantra will bring about.

9. dharmata. When we meditate while reciting the mantra, conceptual thoughts are cut, and free from conceptual thoughts, we see the nature of the mind as emptiness. Since it allows us to see the nature of mind to be dharmata, mantra can be considered to be dharmata. Mantra cuts conceptual thought because it is sound-emptiness. Other sounds produce the graspings of attachment and aversion.

These nine benfits occur whenever you recite mantra. They apply equally to the mantras of all deities. This is the speech of Guru Rinpoche and is also found in the tantras.

Translated by Meghan Howard, November 2005, for the Vajrakilaya Drupchen at GBI.

This entry was posted on 12121212, in Practices.

Nuns of Gebchak Nunnery

Ani Lama Sherab Zangmo

The Great Yogini, Ani Lama Sherab Zangmo. © Karen Harris, 2007.

Ani Lama Sherab Zangmo was a resident nun and meditation teacher at Gebchak Gonpa. Often referred to as “The Great Yogini of Gebchak Gonpa”, Sherab Zangmo was famed among the lamas in Eastern Tibet for her high realization. She passed away in the autumn of 2008 with many signs of an accomplished practitioner. She spent 70 years in unbroken meditation practice since first coming to Gebchak Gonpa when she was 16 years old. She was the last remaining from the earliest generation of nuns at Gebchak Gonpa, and was integral in rebuilding the Nunnery in the late 1980′s and in the revival of its unique system of Buddhist practice for women. Sherab Zangmo was extraordinary in many ways: for the spontaneous enlightenment she gained through devotion to her guru, Tsang-yang Gyamtso[1]; the profound simplicity of her teachings; and her flexibility in the face of challenging conditions.

Sherab Zangmo guided the younger nuns of Gebchak Gonpa in their practice right up until the moment of her passing. As she neared the moment of her death she laughed as she encouraged the nuns, and narrated the clear visions of buddhas that were appearing before her. Read more about her passing below.

Lama Sherab Zangmo’s repeated teaching was this: “Knowing one thing, everything is liberated” – by knowing the mind through practice, everything is liberated.

An interview with Ani Lama Sherab Zangmo & Wangdrak Rinpoche

[Wangdrak Rinpoche requests Sherab Zangmo for mind-teaching and meditation instructions. She was 85 years old at the time of the interview.]

Wangdrak Rinpoche with Ani Lama Sherab Zangmo, 2007.

Sherab Zangmo: What can I say? I don’t know, Rinpoche!

Wangdrak Rinpoche: Please, it will benefit practitioners.

Sherab Zangmo: [She recites a verse.]

From the very beginning the mind’s nature is empty,
Practice naturally, free from fabrications.

Pray strongly to one’s lama, keeping one’s mind at all times in an undistracted state of devotion, faith, and pure perception.

Wangdrak Rinpoche – Question: What is the antidote when a lot of conceptual thoughts arise? How should we meditate?

Sherab Zangmo: Do not try to stop conceptual thoughts, but let them arise. Know their nature by praying to the lama, understanding that the lama’s mind and one’s own mind are inseparable. Rest in the nature of the thoughts and in this way they are transformed.

It’s impossible to stop conceptual thoughts that arise, and if you try to stop them they will only increase. See the very nature of the thoughts as they arise, pray to the lama, and rest in meditation.

[Throughout the whole interview Sherab Zangmo is continuously chanting a prayer to Tsang-Yang Gyamtso while spinning her prayer wheel.]

Sherab Zangmo: I was 16 or 17 when I first came to Gechak. At that time the Nunnery and all of the nuns were under the care of the first Wangdrak Dorje. The first Tsang-Yang Gyamtso and Tsogyal Rinpoche had both passed away by then and I never got to see them.

In the beginning of the Cultural Revolution the remaining nuns and local nomads in the area were forced to live together in tight communes. During those days I would sit in meditation up on the mountain in the daytime and return to the camp to sleep at night. After our local commune broke up I lived in my brother’s home and pretended as though I had no legs and couldn’t walk. In this way nobody forced me to work and I was able to continue my practice quietly within my mind. In 1988 when some religious freedom was regained I got up out of bed and surprised everyone by doing circumambulations around Dzong-go Ling! From then on I continued my meditation practice in a cave near the Nunnery.

Wangdrak Rinpoche: Really she is someone who has spent her entire life in meditation practice. Even though she is in her 80′s now, her intelligence and clarity of mind have not degenerated. She experiences no suffering or discomfort in her mind whatsoever, even though her body has some sickness. She is extraordinary!

She doesn’t give lengthy teachings; just a few essential words are enough. If the meaning was elaborated vast amounts could be explained. As it is taught, “Knowing one thing, everything is liberated”. By knowing the mind through practice, everything is liberated.

Sherab Zangmo:

[Sherab Zangmo recites a verse of supplication to Wangdrak Rinpoche.]

Outwardly a master of all tantras, statements and instructions,
Inwardly accomplished in the channels, winds and essences,
He who has attained the realization of Samantabhadra,
At the feet of Wangdrak Dorje, I pray.

Wangdrak Rinpoche – Q: In the old days did the nuns at Gebchak have shaven heads? I heard that it was a pure vision of Tsang-Yang Gyamtso that the nuns wear their hair slightly grown out, because they were practitioners of Secret Mantrayana.

Sherab Zangmo: Yes, the nuns all wore their hair slightly grown out. But I don’t think this tradition is written down anywhere.

Wangdrak Rinpoche: Gebchak Nunnery has an exceptional system of practice, unlike other nunneries, and the practice of the Gebchak nuns themselves is exceptional. Adeu Rinpoche has praised Gebchak Nunnery and said that it is difficult to find other nunneries with the same caliber of practice.

Sherab Zangmo is now the last nun remaining from the early generation of nuns at Gebchak. We are very fortunate to have this chance to visit with her and receive her teaching.

Sherab Zangmo: Before when I meditated I thought that I was practicing samantha[2]. When I discussed my meditation experience with my lamas they told me that it wasn’t samantha, but spontaneous recognition of the nature of mind.

[She recites another verse.]

Maintain the original natural state,
Practice free from conceptualizations.

Wangdrak Rinpoche: All Dharma is included within these two lines.

Sherab Zangmo declines to teach any Dharma. She says she has nothing to explain about what is or isn’t the true nature of mind. When we understand the true nature without stopping what arises in the mind, praying wholeheartedly to the lama whose mind is inseparable from our own, while constantly developing love and compassion for all beings… this is the Dharma.

These instructions are the same as what she taught last year.

Sherab Zangmo:

Keep one’s independence through one’s own practice of maintaining the natural state of the mind,
Protect the wishes of others through the practice of love and compassion.

Wangdrak Rinpoche: When it comes to practice, besides these two lines nothing else needs to be said. There are many stories of beings who realized spontaneously, for example that of King Indrabhuti who was liberated simply through receiving an empowerment, or Aryadeva’s realization when Nagarjuna hit him on the head with a shoe. For them, besides these simple introductions nothing else needed to be explained. When put into words there are many texts of the Buddha’s teachings, but all of these are not needed in order to realize. “Knowing one thing, everything is liberated”.

[1] Tsang-Yang Gyamtso: the founder of Gebchak Nunnery. The first Tsang-Yang Gyamtso was a heart disciple of the first Drubwang Tsoknyi Rinpoche.
[2] samantha: calm-abiding meditation.

Note: This interview was conducted in July, 2006, at Gebchak Gonpa. Translation by Tenzin Chozom.

[Extracted from:

Ani Lama Sherab Zangmo Passes Away

By admin | Published: February 25, 2009

Ani Lama Sherab Zangmo, the Great Yogini of Gebchak, in 2007.

The great yogini of Gebchak Gonpa, Sherab Zangmo, passed away in the autumn of last year at the enlightened old age of 86 or so. She had been unwell for some time, but then seemed to recover and was strong and in high spirits for some days. During these days she gave meditation teachings to the nuns and often sang the prayer “Calling the Lama From Afar.”  Near the time of her death her complexion lightened, and her face and body became youthful and small like a child’s. She told those who were with her that she could see Jetsun Tara clearly before her, and that she was now going to Dewachen, the Pure Land of Amitabha. She counseled the nuns to serve their lamas well and to live in harmony with each other, and told them not to worry, and that all would go well for them in the future. The sky remained like a morning sky, bright and clear for the whole day of Sherab Zangmo’s death, and she remained in tukdam meditation for six days afterwards.

Forty-nine days after her passing, Sherab Zangmo was cremated at Gebchak Gonpa, with the great yogi Pema Drimey, Gebchak Wangdrak Rinpoche, and all the Gebchak nuns performing the ceremony. The sky was clear blue and the temperature unusually warm on this day, in a season of constant inclement weather. After the ceremony, many white crystalline relics of different shapes were found in her ashes.

Very sadly, four other nuns passed away as well at Gebchak Gonpa over the last year. Oser Chomtso, who was in her 50s, Choying Paldron, an elderly nun, Kunzang Jinpa, in her 20s, and Pema Palmo, also in her 20s, passed away from various sicknesses. Their deaths are a great loss, and more so of a tragedy because each of them likely could have survived had they had proper medical treatment.

The death of the young Pema Palmo, however, is another story with cause for inspiration. She passed away in the first year of a three-year retreat, in the small retreat house where 25 nuns live side by side in their meditation boxes. After her death, Pema Palmo remained for seven days in tukdam meditation and had other amazing occurrences accompanying her death, which the other nuns in the retreat all saw and experienced.

Being so remote and removed from easy access to proper medical care, the nuns at Gebchak Gonpa have always been resolved to bear with and sometimes die from illnesses that could be easily treatable in the modern world. This has been the way of life and death for most Tibetan people in the past.

With the help of the Gebchak lamas, the nuns, the local medical community, and sponsors like you, the aim now is to set in place a system of regular check-ups, providing health care training for a few of the nuns, recognizing the symptoms of disease, and monitoring that the nuns follow through with necessary treatment.

Please keep the Gebchak nuns in your mind and prayers, and remember their dedicated practice towards enlightenment for the sake of all beings. There are still places in this world where human beings reach their full spiritual potential, and the benefits very positively reach each one of us. However, these nuns need our continued support to be able to continue their practice.

Wangdrak Rinpoche and all the nuns at Gebchak Gonpa wish you a very blessed and joyful Tibetan New Year!

Very best wishes,
Tenzin Chozom

[Extracted from:

Takme Wangmo

[Takme Wangmo was 70 years old in 2006.]

I first entered Gebchak Nunnery when I was 12, during the time of Chodrak Gyamtso (the second Tsang-Yang Gyamtso[1] Rinpoche). Now I stay in the Jig-se[2] retreat division.

When I was about 18 years old I began my three-year retreat, during which we practiced a sadhana[3] of Guru Rinpoche along with tsa-lung and trul-kor[4]. A profound experience from the practice occurred for me and I had a clear vision of the eight manifestations of Guru Rinpoche. As a result of this vision my mind was deeply transformed.

Immediately following my three-year retreat the Cultural Revolution occurred and Gebchak Nunnery was completely destroyed. Most of the 700 nuns there at that time were killed or eventually starved to death. I managed to escape and fled to Lhasa, where I stayed with my family. Of course we weren’t allowed to do any visible Dharma practice during this time … But I relied on the Three Jewels in my mind and continued my practice internally, and in this way there were no obstacles for me.

When some religious freedom was regained in the late 1980′s, my family and I returned to Gebchak. About 30 older Gebchak nuns like me returned to help rebuild the Nunnery. We taught the new nuns the former traditions of practice – how to practice the Trolo sadhana (wrathful Guru Rinpoche), the manner of practicing in retreat, the chanting tradition and so forth. Nowadays there are only about seven of these white-haired, older nuns left at Gebchak. The rest have passed away.

Question: You and your family suffered greatly during the Cultural Revolution, and many of your loved ones were killed. How have you dealt with sorrow and anger?

Tamke Wangmo: Yes, there was a lot of suffering. Some of my relatives were killed, some died from starvation, but I understand that the nature of life is impermanent. I rely on my meditation practice and I don’t feel anger.

Q: Now, what is the essence of your practice?

Tamke Wangmo: My yidam is Jig-se**[5]. Basically my practice is to pray to my lama, knowing that my lama’s mind and my own mind are inseparable, and to meditate on the awareness nature of mind.

When I was a young nun in Gebchak, the senior nuns who had accomplished their deities would go straight to the buddha-field when they died and remain in samadhi[6] for several days afterwards. That’s not all. In those days the nuns would practice tsa-lung and trul-kor sitting on the tops of high cliffs above a nearby river, and some of the nuns could fly across the river due to the power of their yogic accomplishments.

Q: How do you think Gebchak Nunnery can preserve this pure and profound lineage of accomplished nun-practitioners?

Tamke Wangmo: The nuns here are practicing the lineage of Ratna Lingpa, and both in and out of retreat the practice is maintained very well. But in order to maintain this practice lineage the food, clothing and shelter at this Nunnery are presently insufficient. We are all nuns, females, and the lamas of Gebchak are all still young, and therefore it is difficult for us to generate financial income. The nuns need improved conditions, particularly more food, so that they can remain in practice and in retreat year after year, day after day, dedicating their lives solely to accomplishing the Dharma. This is my hope. But I don’t know what the future will bring. How wonderful if it is possible, as it will allow this Dharma practice to continue.

As Milarepa said:

The meditator in retreat on the mountain
And the benefactor who provides his or her sustenance
Share the mutual karma to reach buddhahood at the same time
Due to the blessing of the heart of dependent-arising.

How wonderful it would be!

[1] Tsang-Yang Gyamtso: the founder of Gebchak Nunnery. The first Tsang-Yang Gyamtso was a heart disciple of the first Drubwang Tsoknyi Rinpoche.
[2] Jig-se**: an aspect of Yamantaka which is the wrathful aspect of Manjushri, the Buddha of Wisdom.
[3] sadhana: Skt -’Means of accomplishment’, Tib – སྒྲུབ་ཐབ།. Tantric liturgy and procedure for practice. The typical sadhana structure involves a preliminary part including the taking of refuge and arousing bodhichitta, a main part involving visualization of a buddha and recitation of the mantra, and a concluding part with dedication of merit to all sentient beings.
[4] tsa-lung and trul-kor: yogic methods which lead to the control of the internal channels and the vital energy
[5] yidam: personal meditational deity.
[6] samadhi: meditative absorption.

Note: Interview conducted in July, 2006, at Gebchak Gonpa. Translation by Tenzin Chozom.

[Extracted from:]

Urgyen Chodron & Chemchok Palmo

Both Urgyen Chodron and Chemchok Palmo are Gebchak nuns and were in their late 30′s at the time of the interview in 2006. Urgyen Chodron is the ritual master that travels to other branch nunneries to teach nuns. Chemchok Palmo is also a ritual master and leads most of the twenty great prayer ceremonies (drubchens[1]) that take place at Gebchak throughout the year. Both nuns are considered by Wangdrak Rinpoche to be very strong practitioners who will become known in the future as “Ani Lamas”.

An interview with Urgyen Chodron, Chemchok Palmo & Wangdrak Rinpoche

Urgyen Chodron

Urgyen Chodron: I came to Gebchak Nunnery when I was 13. I had two older relatives already at the Nunnery – one died at age 95 and the other is Sherab Zangmo[2], who is now about 85. When I was a young girl my parents wanted me to join Gebchak Nunnery, and I wanted to become a nun myself. I knew that I would enjoy being a nun. I have made the promise to stay at Gebchak Nunnery until I die.

When I first came there were about 40 or 50 old nuns with white hair. The previous Ngaksam Rinpoche was here at that time, and well as the old Lama Tenchok. Lama Lodro Wangchuk was here but he passed away in the autumn of my first year at Gebchak. The senior nun Ani Palmo taught all of the nuns the yogic practices of tsa-lung[3], and Sherab Zangmo gave the nuns mind and meditation teachings.

The first practices I did were the 500,000 preliminaries (prostrations, refuge prayer, Vajrasattva, mandalas, and guru yoga). At that time there was no big building for the 16 retreat divisions, each group did their practice in separate little houses. There were about 30 other new nuns doing the preliminary practices with me at the time. For one month we all slept in the two main temples and did our practices there together. After finishing them I became the junior chant master for three years, and then the senior chant master for four years – altogether for seven years. After being the chant master I stayed in Vajrakilaya retreat for seven months, and after that my three-year retreat began. I really enjoyed this time in retreat, I felt very happy. To tell you the truth, I enjoyed being in retreat more than coming out!

There were twenty nuns in the three-year retreat house together. The first year of the retreat was a little difficult because we had to learn all of the chanting and meditation practices. The second year was more enjoyable because I’d become familiar with the meditation practices and my own mind. By the third year I enjoyed the retreat so much. We practiced six sessions every day and night, with almost no breaks except fifteen minutes or so to eat our meals. Throughout the three-year retreat we also did over a million prostrations in between our meditation sessions. We had no boards for these prostrations, we just covered our knees and hands and prostrated on the dirt ground in the basement of the retreat house. Each day we at least did 1000 to 1500 prostrations.

At that time there were two retreat houses: one for the Vajrakilaya retreat and the other for the three-year retreat. When the new retreat division building went up the old Vajrakilaya retreat house was torn down and since then a new one hasn’t been rebuilt. Akong Tulku sponsored the new building for the retreat divisions.

My mind transformed while I was in retreat. I didn’t want to come out when the retreat was finished. Although the practices were hard physically, in my mind I was very joyful. Before I did my three-year retreat I had a lot of wild emotions and distractions. But during the retreat these emotions were pacified and transformed into the five wisdoms.

Now my retreat division is Guru Drakpo [Wrathful Guru Padmasambhava]. Every morning from 6 until 8 o’clock each retreat division holds a practice session of meditation and prayers. There is a big room downstairs in the retreat division building where all the nuns do their daily practices of trul-kor[4] and tsa-lung. We have to do these yogic practices everyday throughout our whole lives.

Gebchak Nunnery’s practice of specialty is tsa-lung, and it is practiced here according to the unique teachings of the first Tsang-yang Gyamtso[5]. Tsang-yang Gyamtso wasn’t a scholar, but wrote these practice commentaries from his pure vision and meditative realization.

Wangdrak Rinpoche & Chemchok Palmo at Gebchak Nunnery.

Wangdrak Rinpoche: Now the Nunnery’s practice lineage is completely in tact. All the practices of tsa-lung, trul-kor, the 20 drubchens, and all the original traditions of the Nunnery have been passed down by the senior nuns to the young nuns. At present they are all being upheld.

Before they enter the three-year retreat the nuns have faith and belief. But during the three-year retreat they practice the Three Roots[6] and the Six Yogas[7], and from their meditative experience they develop a very strong, unshakable faith in the practice.

During the three-year retreat the five negative emotions become transformed, not by rejecting them but by realizing their wisdom nature.

Urgyen Chodron: When we are in retreat there are no particular times for meditation; we constantly maintain our practice. We chant along with visualization and contemplation of the meaning, and we meditate on the inseparable prana[8] and mind. During the stage of mantra recitation the lama is visualized above the head, during the stage of accomplishment the lama is at the throat, and during the stage of activities the lama’s mind and one’s own mind merge as one.

Chemchock Palmo

Question: What are the differences between the practices in the 16 retreat divisions and those in the three-year retreat?

Chemchok Palmo: The yidams [deities] are different, but the practices of trul-kor and tsa-lung and the fundamentals are the same.

If one hasn’t received the transmissions of trul-kor and tsa-lung, you are not allowed to view these yogic practices. If you happen to see them without having received the transmissions, there is a danger that the Dharma protectors will cause harm to your eyes and limbs.

After you’ve received the transmission, teachings, and permission you may practice these yogas. Trul-kor and tsa-lung are hidden, secret teachings.

Q: What would be your heart advice to other Buddhists in foreign countries?

Urgyen Chodron: Have faith in the lama, have belief and certainty in the lama’s instructions, have the compassionate mind to benefit all other beings, and have renunciation of samsara.

Chemchok Palmo: Abandon harming others.

Q: Do you pray to be reborn in a male body in your next life?

Chemchok Palmo: There is no male or female in enlightenment. Once you’re a Dharma practitioner it is joyful and there is no difference for monks or nuns. I don’t think that a fully ordained monk is superior and I’m worse off. I just think that accomplishing the Dharma is joyful.

In the past there have been nuns at Gebchak Nunnery who have attained the rainbow body. Gebchak is a particular place for women to accomplish the Dharma. Here is a well known story: Many years ago at the place called Kilakar some lamas were giving a Dharma teaching to the nuns. Two older nuns named Tendron and Yendron were in retreat some distance away at Gyarong. From their hermitage they took on forms as small birds and flew to Kilakar to receive the teachings. They flew around the lamas and with their beaks they tugged at the lamas’ ears. The lamas knew who they were. These two nuns later attained rainbow bodies.

Q: At that time how many Gebchak nuns were there?

Urgyen Chodron: There were many. And many nuns could miraculously cross the Kyichu River without need of a bridge. These miracles came through the yogic accomplishments of the Sang Tri Rig Nga[9] – such as emanating from the state of dream yoga.

Wangdrak Rinpoche: Gebchak Nunnery must seem like another planet to these visitors! You can see the meditation practices and bodhicitta here are very good. Please introduce Gebchak Nunnery to others and tell them what you’ve seen and heard here.

Urgyen Chodron: During the winter there is not even one day break, we are continuously staying in drubchens. Besides these 20 drubchens we also have various other ritual ceremonies for removing obstacles.

Q: What are the benefits of these drubchens?

Wangdrak Rinpoche: We begin each drubchen by going for Refuge to the Three Jewels and contemplating the Four Immeasurables. Then is the main practice of generating the deity, followed by mantra recitation along with the inner, outer and secret visualizations. We make many offerings to the Three Jewels, and at the end of the drubchen we make a proper dedication of the merits for the temporary and ultimate happiness of all sentient beings. In this way we are accumulating merit and wisdom and accomplishing the three bodies of a buddha. All the chanting of the drubchens is performed together with contemplation of the meaning.

Chemchok Palmo: It is said that Gechak Nunnery is a second Zangdog Palri[10]. Whoever sees the Nunnery and witnesses the practice here feels joy. Even hearing about it brings joy. Coming here is like taking the first step towards buddhahood.

[1] drubchen: Great accomplishment practice; a sadhana practice undertaken by a group of people which goes on uninterruptedly for seven or more days.
[2] Sherab Zangmo was a highly accomplished nun who was known as the Nunnery’s “Ani Lama”.
[3] tsa-lung: the yoga of channels and energies.
[4] trul-kor: yogic methods which prepare for the practice of the internal channels and the vital energies.
[5] Tsang-Yang Gyamtso: the founder of Gebchak Nunnery. The first Tsang-Yang Gyamtso was a heart disciple of the first Drubwang Tsoknyi Rinpoche.
[6] Three Roots: guru, yidam (personal meditational deity), and dakini.
[7] Six Yogas: Six Yogas of Naropa: tummo, illusory body, dream yoga, clear light, bardo, and phowa
[8] prana: the wind element; vital energy.
[9] Sang Tri Rig Nga: the Six Yogas of Naropa as practiced according to the revealed treasure of Ratna Lingpa.
[10] Zangdog Palri: the Glorious Copper-colored Mountain; the pure land of Guru Rinpoche.

Note: Interview conducted in July, 2006, at Gebchak Gonpa. Translation by Tenzin Chozom.

[Extracted from:]

Karchug, the visionary nun

Karchug with Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo in 2007.

I have lived at Gebchak Nunnery for 25 years. I was 14 years old when I first came here, and besides me there were only about 12 other new nuns here at that time. The previous Ngagsam Tulku was here then. Now his reincarnation is at Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok’s monastery, and he must be 16 or 17 years old. Lama Lodro Wangchuk, Lama Tencho, and Achen were also here at Gebchak when I first came.

Last year, for five days before Wangdrak Rinpoche came to the Nunnery I could see the protectors and local deities were all preparing for his arrival, and I knew that he would be coming soon. Also last year, while Wangdrak Rinpoche was giving a teaching to the nuns on Tsang-Yang Gyamtso’s commentary of the Bodhisattvacharyavatara there was an enormous parasol floating over Rinpoche’s throne, and all of the nuns listening to the teachings were adorned with white silk katas. It was marvelous, but the other nuns couldn’t see this. Outside the main entrance of the temple the two smoke-offering vessels were overflowing with white yogurt.

Usually there is a Mani drubchen[1] every year. Last year’s was exceptional. The giant torma[2] offering melted like butter in to the skull cup below it, and I could hear the Hayagriva torma[3] was neighing.

This year for ten days before Wangdrak Rinpoche came the protectors and local deities were preparing for his arrival with even more elaborate displays. There were three rows of deities forming a circular parade in the sky and the whole Nunnery was resting on a giant lotus throne. All around it were victory banners and the Eight Auspicious Symbols, and it appeared more resplendent and luminous than usual – like Zangdog Palri[4] itself.

At another time when the nuns were all gathered in the temple Tsoknyi Rinpoche, Tsang-Yang Gyamtso Rinpoche and Wangdrak Rinpoche all appeared on elevated thrones, although they were actually in Nepal and other places. They explained that they were not able to come in body because they had to be elsewhere. And they declared Gebchak Nunnery to be an extraordinary, wondrous place of great blessings. I saw all of the nuns chanting the feast offering songs and offering music to the lamas, and the temple appeared more majestic and vivid than usual.

Before any prayer ceremonies that we have in the temple, the protectors and other deities have performed them a day or so in advance of us. This happened before the Yeshe Tsogyal prayer ceremony that we recently did. During all the drubchens and ritual ceremonies that we have the deities, dakas and dakinis, and protectors are all present in the temple, and the main yidam[5] of our practice in front of the mandala.

This year, more than ever before, I have seen many amazing signs and occurrences. Tsering Che-nga [the Five Sisters of Long Life; female protectors] appeared, and during our Om Mani Padme Hum accumulation retreat the great compassionate bodhisattva was clearly present in the temple, along with so many buddhas and bodhisattvas – I couldn’t count them. The same thing happened during our Vajrakilaya drubchen. No thangka painter on earth, no matter how talented, could paint how magnificent all these deities appeared.

There is no Zangdog Palriother than this very Nunnery. As far as I see it, aside from Gecbhak Nunnery and the way of life here, there is no other way to some separately existing Zangdog Palri. Tsang-Yang Gyamtso said that Gebchak Nunnery is the second Zangdog Palri – the heavenly one is in the Akanishta pure realm, and the earthly one is here.

In my visions I’m able to see what fortune or misfortune lies ahead for the Nunnery. If I see obstacles approaching for people, I let them know what rituals and practices to do in order to avoid them.

I don’t want to be anywhere else but here, spending my time practicing these unique teachings. I made a promise to the previous Ngagsam Rinpoche, before he passed away, that I will spend my entire life practicing here at Gebchak Nunnery. To me this is a pure land.

[1] drubchen: a “great accomplishment practice” where a particular sadhana practice is undertaken by a group of people. It goes on uninterruptedly for seven or more days. “Mani drubchen” would be a great prayer ceremony of accomplishing the practice of Chenrezig.
[2] torma: sacrificial sculptured cakes made according to the type of deity to which they are addressed.
[3] Hayagriva: the Horse-headed One; the wrathful aspect of Amitabha.
[4] Zangdog Palri: the Glorious Copper-colored Mountain which is the pure land of Guru Rinpoche.
[5] yidam: personal meditation deity.

Note: Interview conducted in July, 2006, at Gebchak Gonpa. Translation by Tenzin Chozom.

[Extracted from:]

Yeshe Zangmo

[Yeshe Zangmo was 34 years old in 2006.]

Yeshe Zangmo: I entered Gebchak Nunnery when I was nineteen. My first retreat was to complete the 400,000 preliminary practices. After that I did the mantra accumulation retreat of Vajrakilaya[1], and then 100 sets of Nyung Naes[2]. And then I began my three-year retreat. It’s been five or six years now since I completed it.

My practice group is that of Dorje Trolo [Wrathful Padmasambhava], and I am presently the drubpon [retreat leader] of this retreat division. This means that I have to recite the daily protector prayers, which takes about three hours. So far I’ve been the drubpon for two years, and I have one year left. All of the nuns in my retreat division take turns holding this responsibility for three years.

All of the nuns in my retreat group live together happily, as we’ve spent so much time together.

Question: Why did you first become a nun at Gebchak Nunnery?

Yeshe Zangmo: I knew that samsara is meaningless and I was happy to become a nun. My parents supported me in coming here. Gebchak is the most famous for its practice among all the monasteries and nunneries in Nangchen.

Q: During all the years of intensive retreat practice that you’ve done, has your mind transformed?

Yeshe Zangmo: Yes, it has transformed!

Q: How so?

Yeshe Zangmo: In a good way. My mind has turned from samsara and I know now that samsara is no good. I only ever think to stay here at Gebchak Nunnery, and my mind is happy.

Wangdrak Rinpoche is very kind. Because of his kindness in providing us food, Gebchak Nunnery is a very joyful place. I only want to stay here at Gebchak Nunnery.

Q: What is your main practice?

Yeshe Zangmo: Meditation. My personal deity is Dorje Drolo.

Q: Why is samsara meaningless?

Yeshe Zangmo: Samsara has no happiness, only suffering, and so there is no joy. There are the sufferings of heat and cold in the hell realms, hunger and thirst in the hungry ghost realm, stupidity and exploitation in the animal realm … in every place in samsara it is all suffering. It’s the same for the gods and demi-gods. All of the six realms are suffering. Aren’t they??

Q: And yet you say your mind is so happy. You have poor facilities here – the food is not so good, nor are the buildings, the weather is freezing cold in the winter, and every night you stay in a meditation box. If most people saw your meditation box and the conditions that you live in, they would be aghast and see it as suffering! So why are you so happy?

Yeshe Zangmo: Because my mind is happy.

Q: When you were a child did you hear many teachings about the sufferings of samsara?

Yeshe Zangmo: I heard these teachings from my root lama, Pema Drimey, after I came to Gebchak Nunnery.

Yeshe Zangmo: Do you still have your parents? [The interviewer nods yes]. If you have no parents it is sad. I have an older brother and sister, two younger brothers and a younger sister. I’m in the middle. None of them are monks or nuns. They come once a year to bring me tsampa, wheat and rice.

Q: Do you have any money?

Yeshe Zangmo: No. I plan to stay at Gebchak until I die. I don’t think about going anywhere else.

Q: How is your health?

Yeshe Zangmo: It’s good, except for my eye. Since I’ve been at Gebchak Nunnery I have read the Kangyur twenty times, together with the rest of the nuns. Now my eyes give me problems. The electricity is not good.

Q: Are you afraid of death?

Yeshe Zangmo: Yes, I’m afraid. I could die today, or tomorrow – nobody knows. So I’m afraid.

[1] Vajrakilaya: Tib – རྡོ་རྗེ་ཕུར་པ།, a wrathful deity embodying enlightened activity. This deity is noted for being the most powerful for removing obstacles and destroying non-compassionate forces.
[2] Nyung Nae: a two-day purification of Chenrezig. On the second day the practitioner may not speak, eat, nor drink anything, and on both days many hundreds of prostrations are performed.

Note: Interview conducted in July, 2006, at Gebchak Gonpa. Translation by Tenzin Chozom.

[Extracted from:]

Kunzang Pantso

I first came to Gebchak Gonpa when I was 15 and now I am 23. In my very first year here I had the job of looking after the yaks. After that I completed two sets of preliminary practices, and then I spent a year doing 100 sets of Nyung Naes[1]. Then I did the accumulation retreat of Vajrakilaya[2], and once I finished that I began my three-year retreat. It has now been a little over three years since I finished my three-year retreat.

My yidam[3] is Vajrasattva[4], and I currently have the responsibility of being the leader in my retreat division.

Question: How did your mind change in your three-year retreat?

Kunzang Pantso: I developed complete renunciation of samsara. Thinking about the sufferings to come in the future, I now feel an unshakable resolve to get out of samsara. My mind can no longer be discouraged toward this goal.

Q: When you were a young girl, what were your thoughts before becoming a nun?

Kunzang Pantso: I liked the life of a nun, and I didn’t like samsara. Due to Tsang-Yang Gyamtso’s[5] compassionate blessings, I was inspired and entered Gebchak Nunnery with the wish to stay in retreat.

Q: Did your parents support you in this decision?

Kunzang Pantso: Yes, as well as my siblings. I have three younger brothers – one is a monk at Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok’s monastery, another is at Achen Rinpoche’s monastery, and the youngest is at home with my parents. My family is very religious.

Q: Has it been difficult doing all the intensive retreats and practices you have done so far – for example, never being able to leave the three-year retreat house, or sharing such a small space with the 18 other nuns in retreat with you, or not sleeping more than three hours a night?

Kunzang Pantso: No, it was never really difficult. As long as I remembered the Dharma and my future lives, I remained happy.

Q: Why do you have such s strong renunciation of samsara? What are its faults?

Kunzang Pantso: All the higher and lower six realms of samsara are by their nature suffering, and there is no real freedom until we reach the spiritual level of no return. Only then will there be no more suffering rebirths in samsara. I strongly pray to my root lama, Tsang-Yang Gyamtso Rinpoche, with the great aspiration to reach this level.

Q: The physical conditions at Gebchak Nunnery are quite difficult. Your food is not very good, neither are the buildings. You never get to go on any holidays, you have to be separated from your parents, and the weather becomes extremely cold. What is the reason why you are so happy?

Kunzang Pantso: Because I’ve got this precious human life. I’ve met with an authentic lama, and I’ve received practice instructions from him and from my other teachers. I really feel how precious this life of Dharma is.

Q: Do you have complete faith that you can become liberated from samsara?

Kunzang Pantso: Yes, I do.

Q: And this state of liberation from samsara, what is it like?

Kunzang Pantso: Once you reach the level of no return, you can go to Dewachen[6] where you don’t need to wander in samsara, and there you can quickly get enlightened.

If your mind is attached to samsara, then that is where you will stay. If you’re not attached to samsara, then you can get free and go to the true happiness of buddhahood.

Q: What qualities do enlightened beings have to accomplish the benefit of others?

Kunzang Pantso: They have great blessings to help others. I pray to reach the same state of enlightenment myself.

Q: Isn’t it difficult living everyday in your meditation box? Doesn’t your body ache?

Kunzang Pantso: No, it doesn’t, due to the kindness of the Three Jewels. Our system of practicing in meditation boxes was set out by Tsang-Yang Gyamtso, and so it is very blessed.

In the beginning it was difficult to sit like that and my knees hurt, but then after two or three months it became fine, and now I can sit like that for as long as I want.

Q: Nowadays you practice continuously in your Vajrasattva retreat division. What would you say is at the heart of your practice?

Kunzang Pantso: Mainly the Four Reversals, the four thoughts that turn the mind from samsara: the rarity of a precious human rebirth, death and impermanence, the inevitable results of karma, and the faults of samsara. Mainly I think about these in my practice sessions. If you don’t have these thoughts then your attitude in your practice is no good. We need to practice with an understanding of impermanence, how rare human life is, and so forth. First we must meditate on these thoughts, and based on them we can practice Dzogchen and Mahamudra. These Four Reversals are really at the heart of my practice.

Q: Can you tell me more about the reasons your mind is so happy? Is it because you have the faith that you are going to buddhahood?

Kunzang Pantso: Yes, I have this faith and happiness. If you have the faith that you can achieve buddhahood, then you can achieve it. If you don’t believe that you can achieve buddhahood, then you can’t achieve it, can you?

Q: How did you develop such a faith?

Kunzang Pantso: From my lamas Tsang-Yang Gyamtso and Pema Drimey, and from my spiritual teachers like Khenpo Kargon – from all of them I learned about the suffering nature of samsara, the preciousness of human life, impermanence and so forth, and that through good practice we can go to a Buddhist pure land in our next life.

Q: How many nuns are there in your retreat division? Does it ever disturb you living in the same room everyday and night with so many other nuns? Like for example, if others are talking while you’re trying to meditate?

Kunzang Pantso: No, not at all! The nuns here are all [gives the thumbs up gesture]! Among the nuns here at Gecbhak there are never any disputes. This is due to Tsang-Yang Gyamtso’s compassionate blessings.

Q: Now Gebchak Nunnery is quite poor, and in the future it will have to depend on relationships with many sponsors from modern, foreign countries. There is a big difference between the simple way of life here in Nangchen and that of the outside, developed countries where the pace of life is so busy and materialistic. How can Gebchak’s lineage of pure practice be preserved in the future?

Kunzang Pantso: In order to preserve Tsang-Yang Gyamtso’s lineage, his special system of practice that he established, each nun has to fulfill the instructions of the lama. If the teachings of Tsang-Yang Gyamtso are practiced and upheld by each nun, then his lineage will remain unbroken in the future, which is good. Otherwise, the lineage will be broken, won’t it? Therefore, all of the nuns now practice and pray strongly to maintain the practice in their future lives. And they pray that by Tsang-Yang Gyamtso’s compassionate blessings his lineage will remain forever and continue to flourish. All of the nuns pray in this way. It depends on the nuns themselves; as it’s taught that the teachings of the Buddha depend on the sangha, it depends on all of the nuns. The 84,000 teachings of the Buddha need to be upheld by the nuns, the sangha. If the nuns, the sangha, practice well, then the teachings of the Buddha, the lineage of Tsang-Yang Gyamtso will remain pure and grow ever greater.

Q: Do you have a wish that in the future, once you feel you’ve accomplished the Dharma, you may teach the Dharma to others?

Kunzang Pantso: Yes, yes I do. Now I’m not able to teach others in this way. But I pray to the Buddha that in the future I may be able to teach and benefit all my mother sentient beings, and lead them to perfect buddhahood. Once I’m a buddha myself, this is my plan. All sentient beings of the six realms have at one time or another been our father or mother. All beings are our mothers! But under the power of karma they are being born again and again in samsara.

[1] Nyung Nae: a two-day purification of Chenrezig. On the second day the practitioner may not speak, eat, nor drink anything, and on both days many hundreds of prostrations are performed
[2] Vajrakilaya: Tib – རྡོ་རྗེ་ཕུར་པ།, a wrathful deity embodying enlightened activity. This deity is noted for being the most powerful for removing obstacles and destroying non-compassionate forces.
[3] yidam: personal meditational deity.
[4] Vajrasattva: Tib – རྡོ་རྗེ་སེམས་དཔའ།, A sambhogakaya buddha who embodies all of the five or hundred buddha families. He is also a support for purification practice.
[5] Tsang-Yang Gyamtso: the founder of Gebchak Nunnery. The first Tsang-Yang Gyamtso was a heart disciple of the first Drubwang Tsoknyi Rinpoche.
[6] Dewachen: Amitabha’s pure land of Great Bliss.

Note: Interview conducted in July, 2006, at Gebchak Gonpa. Translation by Tenzin Chozom.

[Extracted from:]

Gebchak Nuns

About the nuns

Spiritual Training

Senior Gebchak nuns, 2007.

Gebchak Gonpa is unique for its intensive retreat system, which includes a three-year retreat for all nuns followed by entry into one of sixteen retreat groups where they remain in practice for the rest of their lives. This retreat system and all Gebchak meditation practices are based on sixteen Volumes composed by the first Tsang-Yang Gyamtso. These Volumes outline detailed instructions on the Six Yogas of Ratna Lingpa, with adaptations of these yogas for the female body, including eight volumes of meditations that the nuns continue to practice today in intensive group practices. These are: Hayagriva, Troma Nagmo, Tamdrin Nagpo, Tamdrin Marpo, Garuda, Varjapani, Yamantaka, and Yeshe Tsogyal. To this day the nuns continue to read and follow these texts.

For the nuns’ practice teachings including Tsa-lung and other yogas, as well as Dzogchen meditation, the senior nuns provide instruction. All the official monastic posts are filled by nuns, such as the role of Vajra Master, chant leader, disciplinarian and bursar. A committee of nuns decides regulatory matters by consensus.

The nuns rely on and request their Gebchak lamas for necessary empowerments, spiritual guidance, as well as their welfare. Gebchak Gonpa has strict rules in order to maintain their spiritual endeavors with purity and integrity. As the nuns are not permitted to leave the nunnery for extended periods of time, the nuns depend on outside support.  Wangdrak Rinpoche oversees their spiritual training and holds responsibility for their food, health care, and material well-being.

[Extracted from:]

This entry was posted on 12121212, in Practices.

Always Praying to Guru

Ah Song Tulku is the successor of Achuk Lama Rinpoche in Yachen Monastery in Tibet.  He is the emanation of one of the 25 disciples of Guru Rinpoche, Namkhai Nyingpo.  At a young age in this very life, he has attained very high realisation and manifested rainbow body.

Photo taken by his attendant, Rinpoche’s body was transparent and manifested Buddhas and Bodhisattvas mandalas. When asked about it, Rinpoche just said, “I don’t know, just look (at the photo).”

Ah Song Tulku

A teaching by Ah Song Tulku on Guru Yoga

Root Lama of Great Kindness, Achuk Lama Rinpoche

Students who don’t have time to do the preliminaries should regard practising Guru Yoga as very important!  It is really very important!  Guru Yoga must definitely be practised!  If you wish to attain accomplishments, you need to rely on the Guru.  If you do not practise the Guru, even by practising other numerous methods, there is fundamentally no accomplishment.  If you practise the Guru Yoga, even if you do not practise many methods, you can gain accomplishment.

I will tell you of a layperson who relied on supplicating the Guru to attain accomplishment just a few days ago.  He came from the Changdu region Gongjue district in Tibet.  His name is Pomu.

This old layman came to to Yachen Monastery 2 months ago.  In Lama Rinpoche’s yard, he met Lama Rinpoche for the first and only time in his life.  He listened to Lama Rinpoche’s teachings and after that, due to his sickness, he went to a hospital for treatment about a month ago.  A few days before he passed away, I went to visit him and asked him what kind of practice he was doing.  He said, “When I saw Lama Rinpoche for the first time, I felt an incredibly strong faith, before my eyes Lama Rinpoche was constantly appearing.  During the day and night, I constantly practised Lama Rinpoche (he did not know how to say “Guru Yoga”), constantly prayed to Lama Rinpoche, reciting Guru Rinpoche’s mantra.  Now, before me, at all times and all places, there is no appearance that does not manifest as Lama Rinpoche.   Besides this, there is no other practice.”  I said to him, “When you are in pain, do you remember the Guru or not?”  He replied, “Never forgetting the Guru, before my eyes, all that manifests is the appearance of Lama Rinpoche.”   I said, “Since that is so, do not forget the Guru at all times, since all that appears before your eyes is Lama Rinpoche, that is very good.  Even if you have not done many practices, you will definitely attain accomplishment!  Whether it is now or in the bardo, always pray to the Guru.  Never forget the Guru at all times! When you are dying, Lama Rinpoche will definitely bless you and bring you to liberation.  You will definitely attain accomplishment.  Rest fully assured!  Pray to the Guru well, do not forget the Guru.”

On the second day, this layman was on the verge of dying.  He said, “I am always thinking of Lama Rinpoche, Guru Rinpoche’s pure-realm has manifested in front of me.  I am now going to Guru Rinpoche’s pure-realm.  I am completely unafraid of death, I am very happy! Very comfortable!”  So saying, he passed away.   I went to see him again, and his corpse was looking as if he were still alive, his face was ruddy and soft, just as before when he was alive and young.  I said there and then that this kind of appearance definitely was a sign of accomplishment, and that we will see if that is so in three days time.

Before this, I have never met any layperson who manifested accomplishment in this life without receiving the Dzogchen pith instructions and having done a lot of practices.  Therefore three days later, I went to see him again.  According to the understanding in Dzogchen, if his heart region three days later remained warm, then it was a clear sign of accomplishment.  I invited a monk to touch his arm and heart to check if there was any difference in temperature. After the monk touched the places, he reported that the heart region was still warm while the other parts of the body were already icy cold and stiff.  This is therefore a sign of accomplishment!

I think his accomplishment is completely due to relying on his faith in Guru.  This is not something I heard from rumours, but something I personally witnessed.  Therefore all of you should practise Guru Yoga diligently and increase your faith.  To what degree should you practice to attain accomplishment?  When would you be liberated from birth and death?  Just like this accomplished layman who passed away, when the Guru appears before you at all times, you would have obtained the complete blessings of Guru, this then is accomplishment.  Just as Lama Rinpoche had wrote in the ‘Guru Yoga that confers swift realisation’: “If one has pure view and devotion, every phenomenon is never anything but the Guru, all depends on oneself.”

If you have not done so, then you should diligently practice Guru Yoga.  The reason for not having received perfect blessings from the practice is due to a lack of diligent practice.  The second reason is that you have not prayed well to the Guru with faith.  Therefore, when you practice Guru Yoga, it is very important to supplicate the Guru for blessings with faith.  If there is faith, during the day and night, Guru will manifest.  If it is merely reciting the mantra and text (perfunctorily), there will be no blessings or accomplishment.

The most important point about practice is use your mind.  Look at your mind well.  Ask yourself: Is my mind like that of a dharma practitioner?  Is there truly faith in my mind?  Is there meditation in my mind?  Is there true practice of Guru Yoga in my mind?

In short, pray to the Guru deeply all the time!  Observe your own mind.  This way of practice is very good, isn’t it?

(Note: Another post on Achuk Lama Rinpoche here:

The Lesson of a Leaf

Tsoknyi Rinpoche, Huffpost,  refer to link at bottom

As we work with the various meditation practices, a genuine transformation begins to occur. Our attachment to a self as a solid entity begins to soften and melt, and we begin to reconnect with the openness and warmth of our essential nature.

Unfortunately, many of us get caught up in the resulting sense of well-being and forget the most important of the Buddha’s teachings: that until all of us are free, none of us are free. We rest in our own comfort zones, our contentment dimming our awareness of the pain and hardship that others around us may be feeling. We get caught up in a stage of practice that I’ve learned to describe as “cozy realization,” where we think, “Yeah, I’ve done a really good job. I’ve made a lot of progress. My life is so good. I’m so happy.”

Yet lurking just beneath that self-congratulatory satisfaction is a nagging discontent, a feeling that the path we’ve undertaken offers something much grander and more fulfilling than coziness. Sometimes — if we’re lucky — that discontent become very uncomfortable.

That, at least, was my experience a few years a few years ago, when I was teaching in Bodhgaya, the place where the Buddha attained enlightenment. It’s a very powerful place, which exerts an influence that can induce you to reexamine your life. As I looked back over my own life, my work, my practice and my relationships, I began to feel that something was missing. I saw in myself, while teaching, for example, a tendency to get tired, to want to finish quickly, to do something else. Even my meditation sessions had become a bit tiresome. I just wanted to sit back, relax, and eat or watch television with my wife and daughters. I was tired, distracted, and sometimes bored.

But in Bodhgaya, I began to think about the many great teachers who had helped and encouraged me. They never seemed to be tired; their enthusiasm for whatever project in which they were engaged never flagged. They were entirely motivated by bodhicitta — the sincere desire to help all sentient beings become completely free of suffering, which is the heart of the Buddhist path.

When I looked at my own life, I realized that I was uncomfortable because I wasn’t committed to bodhicitta. I was locked in my coziness — making boundaries between my work life, my practice life, and my family life.

So one evening I went to the area of Bodhgaya where there’s a tree grown from a cutting of the original tree under which the Buddha attained enlightenment. I didn’t tell anyone where I was going. I just went by myself, with the determination to take a vow of a bodhisattva — one who works selflessly for the benefit of all beings.

I sat under the Bodhi tree and prayed a little bit, and then circumambulated it three times while reciting the bodhisattva vow. The moment I finished, I felt something lightly glancing off my head. I looked down, and there at my feet lay a leaf from the Bodhi tree.

What happened next was quite surprising. I’d been aware of people on either side of me, near the Bodhi tree. I thought they were chanting or praying — but they’d actually been waiting for a leaf to fall. It’s illegal to cut a leaf from the tree; no one can collect a leaf unless it falls naturally.

Suddenly, people began crowding in, grabbing for the leaf. I have to confess, I felt a similar urge, and since it had fallen right in front of me, I grabbed it. All of this happened in the space of a few seconds. I was holding the leaf, thinking, “The Bodhi tree had sent a leaf to me. I must be such a good person, such a good practitioner!”

As I walked away, though, I began to feel guilty. “You’re such a terrible bodhisattva,” I told myself. “You took a vow to dedicate your life to all sentient beings, but you can’t give up this leaf to someone else.” I felt so disgusted with myself that I almost ripped up the leaf and threw it to the ground.

Then another voice came, from nowhere: “Keep this leaf as a reminder of how easy it is to break the commitment to work for the benefit of others. You might say the words as sincerely as you can, but it’s your actions that really count.”

A few days later, I asked one of my students to put the leaf in a frame, along with a line or two I’d written about the experience. I brought it back to my home in Nepal, where it hangs over my bed. When I see it, I’m reminded that sometimes the most profound lessons are often learned through events and experiences that appear quite brief and simple.

What happens if we allow ourselves to become attuned to the simple transactions of our daily lives? What can we learn from those moments that nearly slip past our awareness? How can we benefit others by paying more attention to our own “leaf lessons?”


Going Beyond Techniques

By Tsoknyi Rinpoche, taken from Huffpost, refer to the link below for more interesting articles by Tsoknyi Rinpoche

As I’ve traveled around the United States recently, I’ve been so moved by the interest people have shown in finding ways to connect with essence love. This is very exciting because for many years in the West and in many parts of Asia, I’ve seen a tendency to reduce the Buddhist path (as well as other spiritual paths) to the mechanics of methods. This tendency arises from a kind of narrow commercial perspective — common to many cultures throughout history — that sees the fruits of spiritual practice as commodities that can be acquired by practicing the right techniques.

Developing a broader, less-specifically self-centered perspective is in many ways the focus of the paramitas, the positive qualities or dimensions of character that we’ve been exploring over the past few weeks. The fifth of these known in Sanskrit as dhyana, or sometimes as samadhi, and in Tibetan as samten, is often translated as “meditation,” and it’s easy to understand it in terms of developing or cultivating some sort of technique. There are certainly a lot of techniques available within the Buddhist tradition.

Both the Sanskrit and the Tibetan terms, however, can be translated as “concentration,” which is not so much a technique as an approach to living that we can cultivate when we’re formally meditating or — perhaps more importantly — while going about our lives: riding a bus, for example, or cooking a meal, washing dishes, writing an email (or a blog post), having a conversation. Essentially, concentration involves allowing our minds and hearts to rest very simply, alertly, and openly. It means allowing everything into our awareness, without focusing too narrowly or strenuously, and without being distracted by our judgments, our opinions, or the challenges that life continuously offers.

I saw an example of this calm, steady openness in my father, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, about a year or so before he passed away. At that time, even as his body was failing, he had begun a new program to renovate the shrine room at the monastery where he lived. My father had asked to me to help, and one day I noticed a problem in the construction. I went upstairs to inform my father about the problem and ask his advice. He was, of course, in his small room where he both slept and gave teachings. The entrance was not closed off by a door but rather by a heavy curtain. I pulled back the curtain a little bit and saw that he was meditating. Not wishing to disturb him, I let the curtain fall back and waited for a few minutes.

I must’ve done so four or five times, and after about half an hour I started to get a little bit cold standing in the hallway and began thinking, a bit selfishly, that it wasn’t my monastery, and it wasn’t my problem; really, he should be the one to figure out a solution.

At the same time, I was interested to see how he would respond. Would he break from his meditative state and pay attention to “practical” concerns or, as I’d heard of great masters, was his concentration so open and free that without leaving that state he could respond accurately and precisely to any situation around him?

I went in, and addressed him formally. He looked at me calmly, without any change in expression, no sign of dealing with what might be considered an intrusion. I told him about the problem, asked for his advice, and he gave me some instructions. And as I backed out of the room he simply continued sitting calmly. There was no sign that he’d broken his concentration or that he had to reconnect with his practice. There was no in and out. He was the same, whether meditating or giving advice about a construction issue. He was so clear and open, but there was no sense of holding on to that clarity and openness; it was just part of his being, effortless and continuous.

This was a great lesson for me. Addressing my father and listening to his instructions, I realized that concentration is not an effort of focusing on something but an abiding in a spacious, “centerless center” from which to function.

To develop this kind of concentration requires a good deal of kindness toward ourselves, toward others, and ultimately toward all the shifting circumstances of daily life. We can begin by expanding our attention to the thoughts and feelings that accompany just about everything we do, simply acknowledging feelings as feelings and thoughts as thought — a part of experience, but not necessarily my whole experience. Gradually, we can begin to work with them, breathe with them, and welcome them into our “home.” As we do this, our hearts expand, our minds clear, we become steady and relaxed.

We can expand this welcoming attentiveness to other people, allowing them to be part of a larger, more spacious experience. In so doing we may begin to notice things — gestures, facial expressions, certain tones of voice — that offer new and more profound ways of understanding who they are. As we see and hear the people and the world around us more clearly, we will quite naturally and spontaneously feel our hearts expanding. At the same time, we’ll experience an increased ability to remain steady and clear no matter what happens. We will be able to see everything that is happening without having to focus on any particular thing.

And in the process, a childlike wonder begins to open up, an innocent perspective that is one way of experiencing essence love begins to awaken. Can you describe others? That is one challenge for the week.

Here’s another: When you encounter a situation that requires concentration, can you approach it as an opportunity to welcome distractions? Can you allow your mind to become spacious enough to see a bigger picture? Can you allow your heart to become a “home?”


Saka Dawa 2012

On this important day of Saka Dawa (Buddha’s Enlightenment Day according to Tibetan Calendar, 4 June 2012), there is also a partial lunar eclipse… Effects of Dharma practice is multiplied many times and highly encouraged.

Penumbral eclipse starts – 08:48:09 UTC/GMT
Partial eclipse starts – 09:59:53 UTC/GMT
Greatest eclipse – 11:03:13 UTC/GMT
Partial eclipse ends – 12:06:30 UTC/GMT
Penumbral eclipse ends – 13:18:17 UTC/GMT

This entry was posted on 12121212, in Practices.

Giving away

This is an extract of a teaching about giving away the three foundations of ego-clinging (ie, our body, possessions and roots of virtue/merit) by Khenpo Kunpal.  In this part, the explanation is also given about why we should give up our roots of virtue/merit to sentient beings.  

The mind is trained by relinquishing, for the sake of others, the three foundations of ego-clinging (the body, possessions, and the roots of virtue).  Beginners, however, should not actually surrender them in reality.  For it is also said that if we try to do so without being truly able to, the outcome will be nothing but a parody.  If therefore we train and habituate our minds to the generous attitude of offering these three foundations to others, there is no contradiction in saying that we will perfect the paramita of generosity, even if in reality we do not actually give any of them even slightly.  On the other hand, when people make charitable donations without having a generous attitude, their action is a mere imitation of generosity.  It is therefore crucial to school and habituate ourselves in an openhanded and generous frame of mind…

We must relinquish everything for the benefit and happiness of all without exception — and we must do so sincerely and unparsimoniously, without counting the cost or expecting some recompense or karmic advantage in return.  This is an essential pith instruction that drives out the fiend of ego-clinging, the root of samsara.  Whenever thoughts of cherishing and attachment toward our bodies arise, we should face up to them squarely and at once, never losing sight of the view of No-self, emptiness and nonreferential compassion.  This will ensure that we are on the supreme path and that beings, who are like illusory visions, will never be abandoned…

It is said in the Shikshasamucchaya:

Let this most crucial point be grasped
Whereby no downfall will occur:
My body and my worldly wealth
And all my virtues gained and being gained and to be gained
I give them all to everyone,
Protecting, cleansing and increasing them.

But how is it possible to give up our virtue, since it is precisely through virtue that nirvana is gained? The accumulation of virtue or merit brings rebirth in the higher realms, and this is the foundation of the path. It is the necessary prerequisite for the occurrence in the mind of the truth of the path – the realization of the personal and phenomenal No-Self. (Now with regard to the personal No-Self) it is said that when the emotional obscurations are discarded, the resulting “nirvana without remainder” of the Shravakas and Pratyekabuddhas is like a fire or a butter lamp going out for want of fuel.  By contrast, nirvana as understood in the Mahayana is the result of the removal of the two kinds of obscuration together with their habitual tendencies. Therefore, (as the Sutralankara says) liberation is no more than the exhaustion of error. Apart from the mere separation from the two obscurations, there is nothing extra to be attained. And as for the truth of the path, this is likened to a raft, which is to be left behind as soon as the far shore has been reached. Consequently, it is generally said that worldly virtue, bounded and confined by ego-clinging, is not actually effective in the attainment of liberation. In particular, since compounded virtue must be entirely relinquised if one is to attain the final result of perfect Buddhahood, it definitely follows that we must give it all away.

In the second place, we might wonder why it is necessary to abandon the three foundations of ego-clinging (body, possessions and roots of virtue) even when we are not actually intending to achieve nirvana. The answer to this is that, even if we do not give them away now, the fact is that when we die, we will have to leave behind both body and possessions. And as for our virtues, either these will have been exhausted by moments of anger experienced in the past or else (if this is not the case) they will be consumed by the single experience of their fully ripened result. It is certain therefore that everything is destined to be entirely and pointlessly lost. Therefore, in the present moment when we have freedom to act, it is best to give everything to other beings for their happiness and benefit. For in this way, the merit of such an action will not be exhausted but will become the cause of attaining the supreme goal.

My own comments:  Many people practising the dharma think about acquiring more and more.  They think of merit as some kind of spiritual currency.  But they lose track of the main point of dharma, which is to cut through the ego-clinging and self-centredness.  Some others think only of gaining realisation and meditating but neglect the essential practices of the other paramitas eg, in this case generosity.  It is to be seen here that generosity is a very skilful method to cut through ego-clinging, to create the conditions (ie merit) for realisations to arise.  Realisations are basically about realising emptiness and egolessness.  That takes place on a more subtle level.  We have to start from the grosser levels by performing acts of the physical level like generosity and mentally cultivating the attitudes of letting go and taking a loss and giving up/surrender.  All these prepares the eventual ground for subtle work of realisation to occur spontaneously.  That is why Buddhism emphasizes on creating merits.

However, some people mistake the emphasis on merit to be something to be grasped to and thereby fortify their ego all over again albeit now under a spiritual guise.  Some even mistake the emphasis on merits to be a worldly dharma, ie, a spiritual way to increase their worldly enjoyments.  They create merits to increase wealth, health and other worldly goals.  All these will only trap one further in samsara.  Therefore, the Buddha taught that even the merits are to be given away.  Dedication is a special point of the Buddha’s doctrine.  In the ultimate end, there is nothing to be held on to, just groundlessness.  This is a subtle but very important point that many people have missed. And it takes alot of time to understand this.  It is a important view, not to be belittled.

Although it is said that the main emphasis is on the mental attitude of generosity, let this NOT be misconstrued by some people as being permission to simply think of giving but not actually give.  This is just another form of self-deception.  Frankly speaking, when one has that generous frame of mind, giving will take place in reality according to one’s ability.  But the teaching here emphasizes that one should not be creating an appearance of giving without the actual attitude of generosity.  Both should go hand-in-hand.

Update :

Garchen Rinpoche said, “Of all the charities of giving, the giving away of one’s own body and giving Dharma teachings are the most beneficial to the practitioner. It is written in the Kalachakra Tantra that when one is able to make an offering of horses and elephants the merits accumulated by those actions would be thousand fold. Where if a practitioner is able to give away one’s wife or husband or sons and daughters the benefit would be a hundred thousand fold and even more beneficial than that when one is able to give away one’s own body as offering the benefit would be million fold”

(Note:  This is in relation to a practice called Chod where one visualises oneself offering one’s own body to all Buddhas/Bodhisattvas and sentient beings.)

Again, Rinpoche said:

“It is said than when you give charity, the things you give away in this life is said to be your own food in your next life journey, so it is very, very important. After sometimes when you give you will realize that when you give to sentient beings, you the giver and others the receivers you will really find that both the giver and the receiver are the same. There is not an iota of difference between the two, the reason for that is that when you give, you are the one to receive the benefits. So you are the giver and as result you will be the receiver, just like you see I gave you the example of looking after, keeping a house spick and span with the motivation of benefiting whoever is going to be the next occupant. If you keep it in good condition thinking that it does not matter whoever comes, whoever comes there will find a pleasant place to live in there, who knows if it is going to be yourself. But on the other hand just being so self-centered because you are living in that house and you don’t care about who is going to be the next occupant. If you plunder everything, tear down the walls, take steal frames doors and windows, then in all probability is going to be you the one who is going to occupy this very house. So from this hopefully you will learn some more profound meaning of giving.”

This entry was posted on 11111111, in Practices.

Lunar Eclipse 10 December 2011

This is the last eclipse of the year

Penumbral Eclipse:           11:33:32 UT/GMT

Partial Eclipse Begins:      12:45:42 UT/GMT   

Total Eclipse Begins:        14:06:16 UT/GMT

Greatest Eclipse:              14:31:49 UT/GMT     

Total Eclipse Ends:           14:57:58 UT/GMT 

Partial Eclipse Ends:        16:17:58 UT/GMT 

Penumbral Eclipse Ends:  17:30:00 UT/GMT

Please do as much practice as you can during this period…  It will be helpful for sentient beings and for your accumulation of merits.

This entry was posted on 11111111, in Practices.

Amitabha Inspiration Stories

Here are some links and cut-and-pastes of Amitabha practitioners going to pureland with good signs.

Pure Land is my Home
The Story of my Father’s Rebirth
by Guo Xuan Lee
Translated by Huali Yuan

Pure Sound From Silicon Valley
Issue 152, Dec. 2008

My parents lived in Australia and they did not believe in Buddhadharma.  When I first started to study Buddhadharma, I also exhorted my family to study, my mother and younger sister followed with me, and they became vegetarians and started to recite the Buddha’s name, however, my father still insisted that we were being superstitious, and he even obstructed my cultivation.

One day, my parents and younger sister had a car accident when they were driving. The accident was quite serious, the whole car was almost wrecked, and my father went into coma and bled a lot, however, my mother and younger sister remained safe and sound. After this experience, mother and sister gained more faith in the Buddhadharma, while my father was sick in bed and could not walk, but he had a strong belief that his body would recover as wholesome as before, and he could walk freely, therefore, he asked many good doctors to treat him, but all efforts went in vain, his physical health did not get any better. Because of this, he lose his temper all the times, which made my mother afflicted a lot, therefore I went back to Australia to visit them.

After I got home, I explained to my father the truth of “birth, old age, sickness, death, and other Buddhadharma. I told him,” you have already gone though the suffering of birth and old age, now you are undergoing the suffering of sickness, and the last one could be the suffering of death.” I explained Buddhadharma to him everyday, so he started to gain a bit of faith, he told me that one day when he was lying in bed, he saw his room caught on a heavy fire, but strange indeed was that there were some fish amid the fire, he hurried to call my mother in, however when my mother came, she saw nothing.

My father asked me what did that mean, I told him my personal view ” Our physical body is like the house we are living in, now the house is on fire, it means that our body is being broken down; as for the fish, when did you see a fish with closed eyes? Fish always keep their eyes open, which means that you should wake up soon, don’t get attached and confused any more. You really had a lot of blessings, since Buddhas and Bodhisattvas showed you these in order to make you wake up soon! You body condition is getting down soon, do not get attached to it any longer.” From this on, my father changed to a vegetarian diet and started to recite the Buddha’s name.

Half a year before my father’s rebirth, my elder sister visited him once. She a filial daughter with a kind heart, but being a Catholic, she believes animals are created to be eaten by human, as long as human are kind. So when she found that our father was sick, weak, and on a veggie diet, she was worried that our father did not get enough nutrition. Therefore, she explained her concern to father, and asked him whether she could cook meat for him. He took her advice at once, and was happy that he could eat meat again. So one thing led to another, and he could not stop, later on he even desired to eat pig’s feet every day.  My mother called me and asked me to talk to my father, over the phone, I just said a few words to him, “Dad, if you eat other beings’ feet now, in the future, other beings will eat your feet.” One week later, my mom called me again and told me that my father had returned to a vegetarian diet.

Two months before my father’s rebirth, he could fall asleep every night. It seemed that he kept talking to someone, getting angry and yelling. Therefore, I went back again to Australia to visit him. I asked him why he could not sleep. He said that some beings came to bother him every night, and none of them had feet. I realized at once that they were his enemies and debtees. I told him, “It is because you ate others’ feet in the past, now they all came back to you.  “Then I asked him,” How did you treat them?”

He said,” I am not afraid of them, I never did a single evil thing or harm a single person in my life, therefore I do not need be afraid of them, if they come, I will fight with them!” I advised him not behave like that, because those ghost beings are in great suffering, without blessings, they have no opportunities of encountering Buddhadharma, that is why we should be compassionate with them.

I said, “If they come again tonight, you apologize to them, and tell them because you did not understand principles, you harmed them, now you are seeking forgiveness from them.  Also you can tell them to recite the Buddha’s name, so that they can seek rebirth, and end birth and death. You yourself also have to recite the Buddha’s name on behalf of them, recite Amitabha Buddha.” The next morning, I asked father whether they came or not and how was it. He said they did come, and he addressed them as I taught, then he recited the Buddha’s name on their behalf, and they did not disturb him any long, they stood there listening to the Buddha’s name, after that, they left.

A week before my father’s rebirth, one day, it looked like he was dying, therefore, my mother and younger sister started to recite the Buddha’s name, after a whole day, my father is still alive. Suddenly, my younger sister smelt fragrant incense, which lasts for about 5 minutes.  At that time, she understood that she need offer incense.  Therefore, she asked mother to bring an incensory for her to lit incense, wishing the Buddha could come to welcome father and his enemies and debtees into pure land. After making the incense offering, they continued reciting the Buddha’s name. At that time, my younger sister heard other voices around them, a lot of melodic voices resound in the air, reciting the Buddha’s name. My younger sister said that upon hearing these wonderful sounds, she felt very pure and clear in heart. One week later, my father passed away, his mind was quite clear when he was dying, but he already put down everything, his wife, children, and houses, his only wish was to follow the Buddha and he was ready. He passed away very peacefully. His face looked ruddy and pleasant, and even had a smile on it. His body was also very soft. Some people who came to assist reciting the Buddha’s name even smelt fragrant incense.

Forty-nine days after my father’s rebirth, one day when my son Mingguang was in sleep, he felt someone nudging his elbows in his dream, when he opened eyes, he saw his grandfather. Mingguang said that his grandfather did not look like before, since his grandfather had the appearance of a Bhikus, with hair already being shaved, a very fresh and smooth face without any wrinkle, wearing a bright orange sash, smiling happily. Mingguang asked him, “Grandpa, how come you are here?”

His grandpa answered, smiling, “I came to tell you, I have already followed with Amitabha and been reborn in the Pure Land.  Mingguang, you should vigorously recite Buddha’s name, and follow with Amitabha Buddha.”


The Story of Dr Chiang
Published in Vajra Bodhi Sea, Bodhi Field section, November 2008 Edition p33-37

A talk by Alice Chiang on September 14, 2008
Dharma Master Yo asked me to share with you what Dr. Chiang and our family have gone through these past 5 months.  Life is so very unpredictable! Just a few months ago, Dr. Chiang was at the peak of his medical practice. We were in the process of moving into a brand new house. It was his dream home. It’s got everything he ever wanted built in it. The new house was surrounded by woods and lots of trees, which he loved.  He was very excited about it. At the end of February and the beginning of March, we began to pack our valuables and important documents into boxes and move from our old house to the new one. His back then began to hurt.  We thought he probably just pulled some muscles while lifting boxes and did not take too much notice of it. Well, the back pain got worse for the next two weeks and began to pinch the nerve, causing numbness of the left leg. He decided to get an MRI of the spine to make sure everything was okay.

I will never forget March 20th, Thursday, at 3 p.m. [Our son] Andy was still on his spring break. We all accompanied Dr. Chiang to have the MRI. As he came out of the test, he was wearing a smile on his face. Andy and I were relieved. But he then went on and told us that the radiologist had shown him the film, and he had seen a large tumor inside one of the vertebrae. Subsequently, a CT Scan confirmed that Dr. Chiang had stage IV lung cancer, which had already spread to the spine. It was so shocking and devastating for me! I didn’t know what to do. The first thing that came to my mind was: what’s going to happen to all his patients? Who would be willing to cover for Dr. Chiang? And what’s going to happen to his medical practice that he cares so very much about?  Coincidently, March 20th was also the day that we had just signed the contract to list our old house for sale.

Even though Dr. Chiang was ailing, he went back to the office over the next two days, performed 15 endoscopies and colonoscopies, and saw 25 patients. He was still laughing and joking with the patients as if nothing had happened. But starting Sunday, three days after he was diagnosed, his condition continued deteriorating. He was in so much pain and couldn’t get out of bed any more. After that, he was never able to go back to his office ever again.  Taking care of Dr. Chiang and bringing him to various tests/scans and treatment/therapy was already a full time job for me. But being his medical practice manager, I had to handle the transition of the patient care as well as the business and operation of the office, including finding a good physician to cover for Dr. Chiang as well as coordinating with pharmacies and other health care professionals. In addition, I had to deal with selling the old house and eventually moving. To me, it was almost mission impossible!  It was a tremendous and overwhelming burden for me.  Being a Buddhist, it is very clear to me that this was karmic retribution appearing right in front of us. We were in this together. These karmic situations came chasing us like a huge hurricane and totally caught us off guard! I know this was the karma from Dr. Chiang’s previous life, because in this life he was such a good, kindhearted man who had saved so many people’s lives.  So, I began to repent to the Buddha on Dr. Chiang’s behalf and recite the Great Compassion Mantra vigorously, incorporating the recitation into my daily activities all day long. I know I was being blessed by Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and Venerable Master Hua because in addition to the Dharma Masters’ caring and support, all of a sudden I felt an enormous and irresistible power and strength in me at all times helping me overcome so many karmic obstacles.

Recently, Dr. Chiang did back surgery to remove the tumor in the vertebrae, four sessions of chemotherapy, and over 30 sessions of radiation treatment, yet the cancer cells continued to grow and to spread!  I made many attempts to share the Buddhadharma with him using my own experience as an example. I also urged him to accept some alternative medicine and food therapy for body and mind healing, but I could never totally convince him. Being not only a physician but also biochemist and immunologist himself, Dr. Chiang was very skeptical of my advice.

In mid-July, Dr. Chiang was admitted to the hospital due to side effects from chemotherapy. He couldn’t keep any food down and was constantly throwing up. His condition started gradually going downhill. A week later, his arms and legs were all swollen, and he lost his voice. The oncologist told us that it was about the time to put his hands in his pockets, as there was nothing he could do medically to help Dr. Chiang. When we were told Dr. Chiang only had weeks to live, he was surprisingly very calm. This was when I told him that only Buddhas and Bodhisattvas could save him now. I asked him to begin vigorously reciting Amitabha’s name, and explained to him that the land of Ultimate Bliss is covered by gold and surrounded by so many treasures and that there will be no suffering, only enjoyment of every bliss. If he recited Amitabha’s name wholeheartedly, he would attain rebirth in the land of Ultimate Bliss. He agreed and began to do so. I told him that if he recited the Buddha’s name one time, he would liberate one cancer cell; if he recited 10,000 times, he’d liberate 10,000 cancer cells. He laughed. I went on and told him to recite with as much diligence as if his patients were very sick, and he needed to save their lives.  He listened and acknowledged my words. He also took Dharma Master Yo’s advice and agreed to take refuge with the Triple Jewel and receive the Five Precepts.

On July 27th, Dharma Master Yo and Dharma Master Jai along with disciple Kao came to visit Dr. Chiang in the hospital. Dr. Chiang took refuge with Venerable Master Hua and received the five precepts from Dharma Master Yo and Dharma Master Jai. Inconceivably, the very next day, the swelling of his arms and legs diminished! He looked so much healthier with pink cheeks. Not only did he begin to talk out loud but also he was able to start eating and keep the food down without vomiting! The oncologist was so stunned and amazed and couldn’t figure out why. This gave Dr. Chiang so much confi dence and encouragement. All of sudden, he was able to totally let go of his worries and be totally at ease. After that, he began reciting Buddha’s name even more vigorously.

As we were thinking Dr. Chiang was stable enough to come home, he started to develop difficulty in breathing. His heart was pounding very fast. Coughing and fever complicated the condition. I knew the end was coming. Andy and I followed the Dharma Master’s suggestion to recite along with him. A few times when I asked him whether he saw Amitabha coming, he nodded his head and said, “Yes!” Right before and after Dr. Chiang’s passing, we did encounter a few incidences of interference from creditors of Dr. Chiang’s previous lives. Andy will briefly describe what happened during and after Dr. Chiang’s passing later.  Although Dr. Chiang was seeking help of the Buddha at the very last minutes, he did have good roots, blessings, virtues, and causal connections as described in The Buddha Speaks of Amitabha Sutra, and he was reciting Buddha’s name so vigorously and wholeheartedly without confusion. Therefore, I believe he will attain rebirth in Amitabha’s land of Ultimate Bliss.

In his Dharma Talks, Venerable Master Hua often spoke of how sincerity brings a response that intertwines with the Way. It is truly an inconceivable phenomenon. I myself have felt and witnessed Buddhas and Bodhisattvas’ compassion, wisdom, and boundless light shining on me during this most diffi cult time of my life. I would like to share a phrase with you which best describes what I went through during the past five months.  The phrase is from Incense Praise:  “If our hearts are sincere and earnest, all Buddhas will manifest.”

A talk by Andy Chiang on September 14, 2008
My dad passed away on Saturday, August 16th, in the afternoon.  Heading into that Thursday, August 14th, we knew that my dad was probably nearing the end of his life, so Mom and I made sure that we were in my dad’s hospital room at all times. Around 3 p.m. on Friday, my mom and I had an appointment at the funeral home to discuss the arrangement. But pretty much right as we got back to the hospital from the funeral home around 6 p.m, my mom received a call from our home’s security company. They called to tell us that the alarm system had gone off at home and to see if we were okay.  Naturally, my mom told them that we hadn’t been in the house since 2 p.m; Therefore, it was really strange that the alarm went off around 6 p.m. ; This was the first time our alarm had ever gone off, so my mom was afraid someone had broken into our house. We decided to rush back home to make sure things were okay. We waited for two police cars to show up. When we opened the garage door, we noticed that the rear door to the house was open. The police went in the house and checked every room and found no trace of anyone breaking in.  When we were confident that our home was fine, my mom and I rushed back to the hospital to be with my dad.

That night we were reciting the Amitabha Buddha’s name all night long. When dad was listening to us reciting the Buddha’s name, he would move his lips trying so hard to recite with us and often breaking into huge smiles. These smiles were different than his usual smiles–as if he were experiencing something he’d never experienced before. And indeed, when my mom asked him, “Did you see the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas?” he nodded to say yes.  The next day, on the morning of the day that my dad passed away, he could not really move anything but his eyes. As we recited the Amitabha Buddha’s name to him, I saw tears coming down from his eyes. That’s how I knew he could hear me. So I was reciting even louder and more vigorously, because I knew the end was near.

My dad passed away that Saturday afternoon at 2:22 p.m. But just a few minutes before and after dad’s passing, something very strange was happening.  The intercom speaker kept coming on (at least three times), and the front desk nurse kept asking us, “How can I help you?” even though no one had pressed the emergency button. In fact, I had gotten so annoyed by it that I left my dad’s room to go tell the front desk that we were trying to recite the Amitabha Buddha’s name, and the intercom speaker kept distracting us.  At 2:30 p.m., my mom asked the nurse to come in and unplug the IV machine. When dad passed away, his face froze in the suffering state he was in when he took his last breath. Our heartfelt thanks to so many of you who came to the hospital to help us recite Amitabha Buddha’s name. After several hours of recitation, my dad’s face began to change, even though he had died hours earlier. The suffering state of his mouth changed into a decidedly noticeable smile. It was unmistakable! I was in absolute shock and awe at what I had seen.  A little after 10 p.m. towards the end of the recitation of the Amitabha prayer, all of a sudden, the unplugged IV machine started beeping again as if it were on, for a few times in a row! (But it had been turned off for almost eight hours by that point!).

The next day, when I finally had a chance to think about all the incredible things that happened in the last two days, and I had a chance to talk to my mom about it, I was then able to make sense of everything.  The rear door opening by itself, the hospital intercom speaker going off by itself, and the IV beeping after it had been turned off…This was all the work of enemy spirits that were trying to distract my family and I from focusing our attention on my dad as he was about to die. I understood then that these spirits were from my dad’s past lives and were trying to keep us away from my dad.  I realized that the smile from my dad’s face even after he passed away was his way of communicating to us that he had found Amitabha, through the light that our prayers had created for him and that he would find his way to the Pure Land. My dad’s eyes
had closed, but he opened mine. Thank you very much.

Remembrance of My Father’s Rebirth
By Kai Wen Lo
Translation By Laura Lin

Pure Sound From Silicon Valley
Issue 116, Dec 2005, p8-10

June of this year, my father experienced sudden pain around his waist, and he couldn’t eat. Within one month, he lost around ten kilograms. He was admitted to Taipei’s General Veteran’s Hospital many times. Finally, in September, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. According to his doctor, this type of cancer worsens very quickly.  Usually, a patient with this illness only lives for another six months. Although my entire family didn’t lose hope, we were finally defeated by the disease.  My father peacefully passed away at the end of October. From when he first got ill to when he passed away, many inconceivable events as described in the Sutras occurred. Therefore, I put these events together to share with everyone.

1. The Six Principles formed the foundation of my father’s faith: 
My father was an introvert, he considered carefully before he acted, and he was a very responsible person. Ever since we were children, my father taught my brother, my sister, and me never take advantage of others and never flatter others to further our own benefits. Also, he taught us not to add to another person’s burden.  Because my father sincerely respected the Venerable Master Hua’s merit and virtue, he took refuge with the Venerable Master in 1994.  From then on, my father recited the Earth Store Sutra, the Heart Sutra and the Buddha’s name daily.

2. I constantly reminded my father to maintain his faith:
During my father’s stay in the hospital, the suffering that he went through was beyond description.  When he realized that his illness was incurable, he was determined to be reborn in the Pure Land. I put a recording of the Buddha’s name next to my father’s bedside, and it played continuously. I frequently described the scene of the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss to my father. I also told him that the relationships in the Saha world are temporary, only his Dharma companions in the Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss are permanent. One day when my father woke up, he felt a lot of pain. However, he saw a circle of yellow light about one foot in diameter on the ceiling. All of the sudden, he experienced comfort all over his body.  Since then, his faith was even firmer.

3. Manifestation of negative karma could not be ignored:

Eight days before my father passed away, he dreamed that many people were chasing him to kill him.  When he woke up, he was very disturbed.  When my friend told me over the phone that the Three Thousand Buddhas Repentance was taking place at Taipei’s Dharma Realm Buddhist Books Distribution Society, my family rushed over and set up a “Plaque to Repay Those We Owe”on behalf of my father. The next day, my father dreamed that there was an individual who blocked those who were trying to kill him. On the third day, in his dreams, my father saw that his intended killers had smiles on their faces and appeared to be joyful, and they stopped seeking retribution from him. My father’s experience was similar to the teachings in the Earth Store Sutra where it describes what a person experiences before he passes away. Everyone should be mindful of this.

4. Letting go of everything and passing away amid recitation of the Buddha’s name:
On October 25, my father’s illness worsened very quickly. Following my mother’s reminder, my father even used his very hoarse voice to call out Amitabha Buddha’s name two hours before his passing. It was incredibly touching! I told my father not to worry about the family, to let go of everything, and to concentrate on reciting the Buddha’s name in his mind. At that time, my entire family started to recite the Buddha’s name.  When I saw my father’s last breath, it was as if a knife cut my heart while it broke into thousands of pieces, and I felt as if there were explosions all around me.  However, I remembered the words of Great Master Yin Kuang , so I continued to recite the Buddha’s name with tears in my eyes. Under the compassionate assistance of Dharma Masters Heng Yun , Heng Tsai and others, the Dharma brothers of Dharma Realms Buddhist Books Distribution Society were contacted right away. They were very organized and took turns to recite the Buddha’s name on my father’s behalf.  Due to their efforts, my father reached the Western Pure Land smoothly, and my family is deeply grateful.

5. Amitabha Buddha appeared and radiated thousands of rays of golden light:
When my family started to recite the Buddha’s name, my younger brother smelled the scent of fragrant flowers in the hospital room, and my younger sister saw Amitabha Buddha manifesting an incredibly large body from afar while emitting golden light. Even more surprisingly, she saw our father walking slowly towards Amitabha. At that time, my sister thought there was something wrong with her, so she left the room to get a drink of water and to take deep breaths. When she went back to the room and closed her eyes to resume her recitation, the scene she saw earlier returned. Our father was closer to Amitabha, and he appeared to be getting smaller. My sister left the room again to get a drink of water and to take deep breaths.  When she returned to the room, she saw my father’s hair fell off, and he was wearing a black robe as he got on a lotus to leave. What is also worth mentioning is my sister’s description of Amitabha. She said the Buddha’s head is the color of loyal blue and he had many flesh mounds on the crown of his head. She also said that our father appeared to be very small next to Amitahba. Two days after my father’s passing, my sister continued to smell wondrous fragrance. My brother and sister are not true Buddhist disciples. They know very little about Amitabha and the Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss. Without the kindness and compassion of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, my brother and sister would not have experienced such auspicious states.



Advice from Khyentse Chokyi Lodro

“Listen! Precious Lama, without remembering the dharma from the depth of my heart, I have just realized my life has ebbed. I am sure that when I die I will go to hell.” Thus wrote Khandro Tsering Chödrön.

As a reply the husband-lama wrote, “But you know what to do. You have means to escape in your hand. Even though you can’t practice myriad ways of practicing the dharma, if you can maintain kindness and dedicate the merit, have aspiration and remember the nature of the mind that is clear and empty in union and most importantly if you remember the guru and supplicate, that is the essence of all the teachings of the Buddha.”

Translated by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

This entry was posted on 11111111, in Practices.

Blessings of Avalokiteshvara

Yesterday was the Lhabab Duchen (click this for a brief explanation of this auspicious day, the picture displayed on this website is also quite moving to me)

There were some auspicious signs in Vietnam during a major puja.

The Picture of the sun turn into the shape of Avalokitisvara! Someone has captured it in mobile phone when His Holiness Gyalwang Drukpa , His Eminence & Drukpa Sangha were performing Mahakala, Tara & Medicine Buddha Pratices yesterday on the Auspicious day of the Descending day of the Lord Buddha in Vietnam.

The devotees were shocked when they saw the sun turn in to the shape of Avalokitisvara yestereday in Vietnam









Upon asking His Holiness about the Buddha appearing in the sky, His Holiness taught us that every time we evoke Buddhas, Gurus and Boddhisattva they are compelled to come to due their Boddhichitta Vow. But due to our lack devotion we are not able to receive much blessings nor see them. Since in Vietnam The devotion to Buddha Dharma is quite strong and also in large numbers we are able see it.  Sadly Holiness said that in 10 years or so, such miracles will entirely disappear from the world as devotion will almost disappear from our Hearts ~ Gyalwa Dokhampa

The below image in the sky appeared at Tu Quang Pagoda, Ho Chi Minh City. On Nov 17/2011

(As usual, if you can’t believe these photos, please don’t slander. )

Prajnaparamita mantras

Today’s a good day for creating merits, practising the dharma and abiding in virtuous thoughts, benefitting others etc.  We Tibetan Buddhists learn from Tantras (inner teachings of Buddha) that auspicious days like lunar 15th have certain confluence of wisdom energies in one’s subtler energetic body which will augment the effectiveness of any practice, thereby helping us to give rise to greater merits for wisdom and realisation. I thought i should share these below mantras with all. If you have faith, you can print it out and recite it everyday or on those auspicious merit-multiplying days.   If not, just reading it out once here for the benefit of all beings while you are at the blog now will be great too!

I wish all of you a great day!

____Beneficial Mantras____

Reciting this mantra often, all the sutras recitations by practitioner have multiplied merits by million times.


Reciting this heart-essence mantra once, its merits are equal to reciting the Vajra-cutter Diamond sutra 90 million times
(note: the solitary syllable “I” is pronounced as “E” in English, just in case you didn’t know already)


Reciting this mantra once, its merits are equal to reciting the Heart Sutra 2000 times


Reciting this mantra once, its merits are equal to reciting the Heart Sutra 8000 times


Reciting this mantra once, its merits are equal to reciting the Heart Sutra 20,000 times


Reciting this mantra once, its merits are equal to reciting the Heart Sutra 100,000 times


Reciting this often, the practitioner receives merit of reciting the entire Tripitaka


Saving Lives

This thinking just came to me the other day.  Buddhists in many countries often have the wonderful practice of buying animals to be killed and releasing them.  There are some considerations to make sure one does this practice properly:

1. The animals must have good conditions of transport so that they will not die along the way to be liberated.   The containers should not be crammed, should have good supply of oxygen and well aerated; and the distance should preferably not be too far to minimise their sufferings.

2. A good spot for liberating the animals must be found ahead of time and analysed to be suitable before proceeding with release.  For eg, fresh water fishes should be released in fresh-water lakes and not into the sea.  Whether frogs, worms etc will be quickly finished off by their natural predators where you release them should be considered.  Don’t release fishes into a fishing pool etc. etc. etc.  One has to utilise quite a bit of common sense.  Another tip is that one should release fishes into the water during a cool time of the day, not when the weather is extremely hot.  The sudden change in temperature can cause alot of sufferings.  The main point to consider here is whether the animals can reasonably survive after the release and whether it seriously upsets the ecosystem.  For these points to be carried out, some serious research and consultation with animal experts should be done.  I have found fishing-forums to be a good source of information 🙂

3. The animals should preferably not be ordered ahead of time.  The point is to liberate beings from the point of death, not to give the suppliers good business. If you order ahead of time, then the suppliers are just going to order more animals first to have brisker business.  The best scenario is to release animals that are on the BRINK of being killed.  That would truly be a gift of fearlessness.  We can simply turn up at the market to buy animals unannounced in advance.

4.  Put alot of emphasis on the giving of dharma, with loudspeakers preferably so that the sound of dharma can reach as many of the animals as possible.  Recite many liberating mantras like the Mani, Akshobhya, Medicine Buddha, Heart sutra, 35 Buddhas sutra, Vairochana, Ah Ah Sha Sa Ma Ha and Amitayus mantra and Dharanis.  Also recite Buddha names and offer these animals to the protection and guidance of the Triple Gem according to whichever liturgy you are following.  The giving of dharma benefits them not just temporally but for lives to come so it is the main point of emphasis.  But not to make the recitation too long that the animals can barely survive.

(Note: Some animals don’t have auditory organs or can’t receive the sounds of our chanting, therefore, another way would be to use blessed water – recite mantras and blow on the water with visualisation of light rays and nectar imbuing the water with blessings.  Add sacred Dharma pills or substances, then sprinkle it on these animals and into the lakes and sea to benefit countless beings. Mantras like Akshobhya mantra, mantra of 6 liberations, Vajrasattva, Mani mantra etc can be utilised.)

5.  One can also give them some food as they are probably not fed in their captivity and lack the strength to seek for food.

Coming back to the main thing i want to say, although releasing animals in this traditional way is highly recommended by many teachers but we have many other ways to give others the gift of fearlessness and save lives.  For example, in another post, i gave the link for a teaching for suicidal people by Khenpo Choga.  This is a good instance of saving lives.  There is a high incidence of suicide in most modern societies and depression etc.  If we can spread such messages and help those people who particularly need such positive counselling and teachings, then simply by changing their minds, one saves lives too.

Another way of saving lives that i can think of is by making many prayers and dedications of merit for the stopping of animal sacrifice as a spiritual practice which is done today in some parts of the world, in which up to millions of animals are slaughtered on a particular day.  If many of us try to dedicate merit and pray for this purpose, creating the causes for this negative practice to cease, then who is to say that it will not be gradually overcome through the power of cause-and-effect.  You can simply pray in this way: “By all the merit accumulated by myself, all sentient beings and all enlightened beings, may all the animal sacrifice practices in this world cease, may people turn their mind away from such a practice, may those groups of people who are supporting and encouraging such practice lose their power to do so or stop doing so.”  We should also do such prayers for wars, conflicts, violence of any kind and that would really be saving lives in the long run.  The power of all our combined prayers will definitely have an effect.

Of course, last but not least, one of the ways to save many lives is to become vegetarian and to encourage others to become vegetarian, whether part-time or full-time.  One can just estimate how many lives have to be killed over the average lifetime of one human being to support his meat diet to see just how many lives would be saved by even one conversion to vegetarianism.

I am writing all these to give anyone an idea of the many avenues we have to save lives and thereby perform lives liberation as a Buddhist practice.  It need not be limited to buying animals only. I believe that the merit arising from such acts with pure intents will be tremendous.

What they said about Tara Practice

Here are some quotes about Tara from great women practitioners and the 15th Karmapa from books like “The Book of Tibetan Elders” by Sandy Johnson and “Skilful Grace” by Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche & Trulshik Adeu Rinpoche.


“Tara, the mother of all Buddhas, provides a very powerful practice — her activities are very beneficial in this generation.  Female energy is getting stronger now. Also, the female represents the wisdom aspect, and male the method.  Now that things are going faster and faster, this female wisdom is very important.”


“Tara is very important in Buddhism.  She is a deity aspect of a woman who made a promise that she would always appear in female form to help all sentient beings.  In Tibet, all lineages worship Tara and pray to her, lamas and monks as well as all the people.  Tara is very easy to practice.  She is very swift.  Whenever you ask her, she is right there to help.

” To me, Tara is not only a Buddhist goddess, but a goddess of all religions, like Mother Mary in Christianity.  She is embodied in all women who helps beings, like women doctors.  Every Tibetan prays to her. I was five years old when I received a teaching of Tara.

” There are lots of deities in Tibetan Buddhism, but Tara is the one that is the easiest becausee her picture is like any one of us.  Some of the Tibetan deities have six arms and four heads, sometimes eight arms, and you have to visualize them when you  do practice.  But with Tara you can visualize your own mother or your closest woman friend.

“Tara is a very necessary deity in these degenerating times.  She helps you to calm down, subdue your mind, to make harmony.  There are stories of her – even translated into English — how she saved people from tragedies, from fire, earthquake.

” Tara helps whenever you pray.  She comes disguised as your friend or your mother, or someone you are close to.”


“The venerable Arya Tara is the wisdom form of all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the ten directions. In the ultimate sense, primordially, she attained the state of original wakefulness that is the very essence of the female Buddha Prajnaparamita.

“Particularly in this world, during the Golden Age, the compassionate Avalokiteshvara taught one hundred million Vajrayana tantras of Tara on Mount Potala in India, and has continued up through this Age of Strife to teach medium and concise versions of the tantras that accord with people’s capacity.  These practices pacify the eight and sixteen types of fear, and cause the wish-fulfilling attainment of all needs and aims.  Ultimately, through these practices one can realise the wisdom body of Mahamudra.  There are innumerable wonderful stories of past practitioners to support this.

“Since Arya Tara is the activity of all Buddhas embodied in a single form, her blessings are swifter than those of any other deity.  Most of the learned and accomplished masters of India and Tibet kept her as their main practice and attained siddhi.  That is why we today have such a boundless supply of practices and instructions of Arya Tara.”

This entry was posted on 11111111, in Practices and tagged .

Buddha Name for Cleansing Killing Karma

I know i haven’t been writing here on this blog for a long time.  The last post was like in May?  Well, I have been doing lots of things and when i look back over the last few months, i feel quite satisfied.  When we receive a precious human life, one of the greatest value we have is our time, we need to constantly evaluate and make sure that we are using that in a really positive way either to benefit others, or to progress spiritually so as to be of greater benefit to others in the future… There is no other purpose really for life.  It is THAT simple, although many people want it to be flashy and dramatic.

Our human lives pass in a whirl and we don’t really even know what’s hit us in that so many years because we are always caught up in the cycle of activities but seldom step back, slow down and reflect deeply.  Our plans, ambitions and dreams are so important and pressing as if we are little Godlings who have a long time to go and the world’s like a huge playground of possibilities… but actually are we or our plans or our lives really such a big deal in the whole scheme of things or in the universe? Even the greatest people in history fade in the passage of time whether they are Buddhas, great scientists, kings or magnates…  To be sure, in our little worlds, we seem a big deal. But really, think clearly and you can realize alot and perhaps wake up to the impermanence of life and make good use of it to benefit others… instead of pursuing short-term self-oriented goals.

This is not just a pessimistic life-denying view, it is just to make us deflate our egoistic ideals and be realistic and then, from there, work on what really matters in an organic, solid and healthy way that will bring true lasting joy and satisfaction.  Anyway, life passes quickly, time is always running out, today will not come again and we are growing older and nearer to our death second by second and i hope everyone will be taking many opportunities to reevaluate and reflect on their own lives and see if it is going in the direction that will really  bring lasting positive effects on both yourself and others…  this is quite important!

Back to main topic, I came across another Buddha Epithet or name that is for purifying the negative karma of killing. If one has done things like businesses involving the killing / rendering great suffering to animals(/humans?), abortions, killed alot of insects while gardening, destroyed pests, bee-hives, snakes, hunted, done fishing, eaten sea-food or meat, ordered animals killed at the market, etc etc etc. even if one has participated indirectly in it, rejoiced in it, caused others to do it etc, you will also have this killing karma!  I would like to caution you that any such harm done to others is going to (1) create killing karma which is one of the most heavy/ severe karma of the 10 non-virtues as the main thing any living being values above all is its own life;  (2) create karmic debts with that animal which you will have to repay in the future probably in a more suffering circumstance.  The moon can drop out of the sky and fire can become cold but karma will never fail (remember this!).

Of course people who are habituated to doing such acts are hardly going to listen to some ‘fool on the internet’ raving about karmic effects. In the future, if i have time, i will share some stories about karma that i have read or heard or experienced.  Nowadays many people intellectualise karma away, preferring to concentrate on higher Dharma practices like emptiness, mindfulness and Mahamudra or the like,  actually karma is extremely straight-forward and merciless. Even if you are seeking the ultimate liberation, it is important to clean up your karma.  Especially killing karma which creates many obstacles to one who is trying to attain liberation.  And just in case you do not get liberated in this life, it is also wonderful if you are able to purify your negative karma.  That is called ‘learning to walk before running.’

All the illnesses, surgeries, cancer, comas, deathbed sufferings, accidents, tsunamis, natural disasters, sudden deaths are manifestations of  collective or personal karma.  And it is usually due to heavy killing karma. There are many cases in the Buddhist community where people get serious incurable illnesses and they resolve it through releasing lives or methods of purification.  This tells you alot about the real causes of sicknesses and such sufferings.  Therefore if one has done alot of killing karma in this life, it is very important to really confess and purify.  This Buddha name (stated below) is one way of doing so, and one can also do Vajrasattva.  In another post, i posted a text of a collection of about 30 Buddha Epithets, among them, Number 6 Buddha Epithet is also for killing karma.  One can do these and really from the bottom of your heart repent.  I think it is very crucial to do this.

We are seeing a rise of sicknesses and all kinds of suffering in this world and western medicine (although for the best intention?) is compounding the suffering through its methods quite frequently.  It has been said that such developments in western medicine is also due to the collective karma of beings in this time. In the past,  people could die quite peacefully at home, now people have to go through intubations, surgical incisions, electric-shock resuscitation, life-support machine, drugs and all kinds of methods in an environment that increases their suffering and fear at the point of death.  According to one great master, this is all related to killing karma.  So the effects of our spiritual practice or therelackof will also show up quite evidently and physically in our last days… (benefits of spiritual practice is not just all in the mind or for the future lives).

(Note: Some people will argue here that some great spiritual masters die with cancer or whatnot… firstly, i cannot speak for these spiritually advanced beings as they may have been taking on the negative karma of their students like the case of the 16th Karmapa who manifested several different unrelated illnesses consecutively on his deathbed by taking on the karma of sentient beings.  Secondly, their karma ripening may be the remnants of all their karma before they attain full enlightenment. Thirdly, even though they have sicknesses, due to their advanced state, they are free from suffering and have full mastery of their death, that cannot be said for ordinary people like most of us…)

Also, when we are nearing death, our merit is ebbing and it is at that point when many karmic creditors will manifest and seek their debts.  (Note: I have heard of such cases so frequently that it has become quite commonplace.) At such points, if one has not purified sufficiently, it may not be easy to recourse to whatever spiritual practice one has done in one’s life or seek spiritual assistance from others as you may have obstacles from your creditors and one’s mind will be completely disoriented, can one then maintain the awareness necessary for a good rebirth and give up all attachments then?  It only requires careful thought to know the answer…  So it is important now to watch our karma and do more purification. Eg. by going vegetarian often or full-time and by doing purification through the many methods available. If you want a good transition, it is all UP TO YOU!  If you only focused on the philosophy of Dharma, meditation, Mahamudra and Dzogchen and so forth but neglect the karma aspect, you may find all your efforts frustrated at one fell blow at the point of death because of the karmic situation ripening (unless of course you are one of those with stablised liberating realisations 🙂 )…

Also, for those people who have not done any obvious killing in this life.  It does not mean that you do not need to purify killing karma.  We take medicine to kill the worms in our body, we walk around and step on little insects without knowing. We boil water, eat foodstuff that contain substances obtained at the price of some animals’ lives. We wear animal skins, use animal products… may have rejoiced when someone (eg Osama) was killed, we may have unknowingly made some remark that caused or encouraged others to kill etc etc etc.  Do you think you need to purify?  I do quite think so… a wise person would not overlook the smallest karma but make all efforts to purify any possible negative karma. And I’m only talking about this life.  What about your past lives?

I did not write all of this to put a scare in anyone but the situation is in my opinion like that.  Many people are not aware of the severity of killing karma nowadays, even with the many natural disasters, people are just pointing fingers at environmental factors but not really acknowledging the root causes in terms of karma. Many teachers have given warnings on the need to curb the killing and purify killing karma. I feel that this is quite an URGENT issue.  It is also my responsibility to help point out what i feel will be very helpful to readers even if you may not like what i’m saying.

Buddha Name for Purifying Karma from Taking Lives

By reciting this Buddha name frequently, one can purify the negative karma of killing.


(You do not need transmission for reciting the names of Buddhas. So you can go ahead and recite immediately)

p/s : Through practices like Vajrasattva, chanting Buddha names, prostrations and fasting practices based on Chenrezig etc. one can purify the negative karma and obscurations related to killing.  However, that is not to say definitely that the karmic debt with the particular victim is resolved.  It varies with different situations and can be quite complicated.  In particular, for cases of abortions, it is still important to find a qualified master who can help the soul of the deceased apart from one’s own efforts in purification.  In short, it is better to abstain from creating killing karma than to resolve it.  Resolution may not be a simple affair.

Light Offering Prayer

 “Of all the methods for accumulating merit through generosity, offering butter lamps is second only to the practice of tsok.” ~Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche

I think I will share abit about the benefits of offering lights.  It is a very good method for cutting through obstacles.  When we accumulate merit through offering lamps etc, the path becomes much easier to travel, with help coming from many quarters. Offering lights is practised by many different religions.  I think universally we can understand that light is something wonderful, pure and uplifting while darkness is threatening and drags us down.   When we offer light, it is representing something we aspire to, it is also in some sense connected to reawakening some already present quality in us.  The practice of offering lamps/lights to the Enlightened beings is a very profound and important practice. I will describe a little of how to do it here and also share a very nice prayer for offering lights that personally i find quite powerful.

Firstly when we offer lamps/candles etc, we should do it free of any sense of miserliness, with a deep feeling of devotion, respect and gratitude to the Triple Gems.  We should not just offer the light for our own sake, but should recall that just as we desire happiness, all sentient beings are in a state of suffering and need to quickly attain liberation.  Then, when you offer the lamp for such a vast purpose as attaining the liberation of all beings, it contains much more force, merit and positive energy than if you offered it for your own less significant purposes in your own little world alone.  The breadth of the motivation makes all the difference!

The material used (ie, the wick, oil/butter, container) should all reflect your sincerity but in accordance to your own wish, situation, financial ability.  In general, the better quality substances should be used for offering to the Enlightened Beings if possible so as to generate vast merits.  You can light as many candles/lamps as you wish.  There is the tradition of lighting many hundreds or thousands of lamps as an offering in Tibetan Buddhism especially on the auspicious days of Lunar 15th, 30th, 10th and 25th etc to quickly accumulate merits as on these days, positive acts have a more powerful effect by manifold. Use substances that come from proper sources, ie. not stolen or obtained through improper means.  If one offers even one lamp properly, then the merit is immense and as Buddha said to Shariputra in the “Sutra of the Benefits of Offering Lamps” that such a merit is beyond the reckoning of all the Shravakas and Pratyekabuddhas, the merit received is incalculable and immeasurable, only known by the Buddha Thus Gone One.

Having placed the lamps in a neat pleasing manner in a clean place** with or without representations of the Triple Gems*** (eg, Buddha statues, scriptures and stupas, prayer wheels etc) then sprinkle clean water (you can use a plant spraying bottle or just some spoon to sprinkle just a few drops of water, if there is no such thing available then just recite the mantra) while saying OM AH HUM three times or more (while contemplating that OM cleanses the offerings of all impurities of substances and impurities of negative mindsets eg, negative motivation, stinginess, 8 worldly concerns etc.  AH transforms the offerings into pristine nectar with the eight qualities and HUM increases the number of offerings to a vast infinite scale)

[** Some people think that it is not important to arrange offerings properly in a clean place. I beg to differ in opinion. I do not think that such sloppiness can create much merits. We should recall that merits occur in the mind of sentient beings and we do things with a poor attitude and pretend to have devotion with our mouth, it will simply not work.  For instance, if someone just threw a pot of food in front of you and said, ‘eat,’ in a high-class restaurant, you would regard it as an affront.  You would expect the food to be nicely arranged and put on a clean plate. Similarly, we should take much care in arranging our offerings. It is the heart that counts. And this heart that counts should urge us to make more efforts, not use this as some excuse to be lackadaisical.  It is also very much auspicious to make offerings properly, the way you arrange and the kind of offerings you make can give rise to different dependent arisings. So please take note!]

[*** If representations of Triple Gems are not present, do not be discouraged, because the wisdom mind of Buddha is beyond a specific location, if your mind is to offer to Buddha, his omniscient mind knows of it instantly.  There is no need to fret.  When you recite the OM AH HUM mantra, that itself represents the BODY, SPEECH and MIND of all Buddhas. So have faith.  If you can do it, you can also visualise many Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in the space in front of you receiving the offerings and being very pleased and blissful in their minds. ]

Method of Visualisation

Even if only offering one lamp, use OM AH HUM to transform everything to a vast scale mentally.  The container of the lamp is as wide as the universe, the butter/oil is as vast as an ocean, the wick of the lamp is as high as a mountain or Mount Meru, the flame like a universal light that dispels the ignorance of all sentient beings, reveals mind-nature and brings about the realisation of emptiness and the five wisdoms in all sentient beings.

It is optional for one’s to recite the following dharani to multiply one’s offerings and present them to the Buddhas/Bodhisattvas:


And the different levels of meaning…
Yogi Chen said this:

Lamps have no ego. They are also Sunyata in nature and have differences in conditions. They can be made of gold or silver or brass. Who can say whether the light is coming from the oil, the wick or the lamp itself? Men usually notice only the outward quality and call it “the gold lamp” or “the brass lamp.” If it has no light, could it be called a lamp at all? Should a lamp be known according to its quality only? If so, when we take the silver from the lamp and make it into a bowl using it to store rice or wheat, where is the lamp then? Different oils such as butter, vegetable oil or mustard oil should be used… Hence it is not the specific material which is the real lamp…


The lamp is the light outwardly; inwardly it is the open and bright and frank mind; enthusiastic Tummo secretly; and most secretly the full Enlightenment.

One can recite the following stanzas while reflecting on the true nature of the lamp offerings, resting in the right view of dependent origination or emptiness. If one does not possess this view, then just feel that everything is like a dream or illusion, not truly real or solid in the way it seems. It is an option for one to recite the following prayer to complement one’s meditation on emptiness:


By the power of truth of the Three Jewels,
Of the blessings of all the buddhas and bodhisattvas,
By the power of the great might of the completed two collections,
And of the completely pure, inconceivable sphere of reality,
May all these offerings become just so.

To recap the simplest way to make the lamp offerings:  Arrange the lamps (and/or other offerings); recite OM AH HUM three times while visualizing then recite the lamp offering prayer (at the end of this post). Dedicate the merit
(One can add the other mantras and  prayers as wished)

The Benefits of Offering Lamps are:
1. One obtains bright, beautiful and good eyes
2. One has proper understanding and views
3.  One will easily obtain the heavenly eye, and can see distant and subtle phenomenons
4. One does not break precepts
5. One’s wisdom is perfect, and will attain to nirvana. One will obtain the wisdom that discriminates between what is to be virtuous and non-virtuous.
6. One’s performance of virtue will not be hindered by difficulties or obstacles
7. One is often able to see Buddhas and becomes the eye for all sentient beings
8. One can take rebirth as a wheel-turning lord king, king in the Trayastrimsha Heaven, or king in the Brahma Heaven
9. At the point of death, one will recall virtuous dharma without forgetting and all those positive deeds done while living will appear in the mind; one will have joy in the mind and recall the Buddha; the body and mind will be pure without any worries or suffering at point of death
10. Both eyes and four limbs will always be free from defects
11. One will be healthy and the vocal cords will be soft and flexible and one’s voice will be charming and beautiful
12. One’s mind will be clear and bright with intelligence, not affected by stupidity
13. One’s life will be stable and peaceful and all necessities will be sufficient, one’s mind will be free from fears.
14.  One’s wealth will increase and body and mind will be free and liberated
15. One’s body will be healthy and strong, filled with vitality
16. One will not have verbal feuds, clashes or quarrels with others.  One can travel (the world)without any worries and without creating any kleshas or disturbing emotions or give rise to ignorance.
17. One will not do anything out of a hazy and confused mind.  One will not be easily misled by external factors.
18. One will not take rebirth in a dark and gloomy place.
19. One will possess great merits
20.  One will not run into any mishaps while travelling or walking like stepping on unclean substances, be free from fear of dogs or wolves and their barks or howls, one will not fall and hurt oneself and not drop into pits and lose one’s life.

In Avatamsaka sutra it says, “Offering Lamps can dispel all darknesses.”
In the Treasury of Bodhisattvas Sutra, it says, “Offering 10,000 bright lamps to confess and extinguish hosts of negative karma and defilements.”
In Cakrasamvara Tantra it says, “If you wish for sublime realizations, offer hundreds of lights.”
In the Sutra of Giving, it says, “Those who offer lamps, will possess the pure heavenly eyes and clear wisdom in the future.”

“Offering butter lamps is the most powerful offering because their light symbolizes wisdom. Just as a lamp dispels darkness, offering light from a butter lamp represents removing the darkness of ignorance in order to attain Buddha’s luminous clear wisdom. The lamp offering is a sense offering to the Buddha’s eyes. Because Buddha’s eyes are wisdom eyes, they do not have the extremes of clarity or non-clarity. Our ordinary eyes, however, are obscured by the darkness of the two defilements – gross afflictive emotional defilements and subtle habitual defilements. While the Buddha does not have desire for offerings, we make offerings for the purpose of our own accumulation of merit and wisdom. Through the power of this accumulation, we can remove the cataracts of our ignorance eyes in order to gain Buddha’s supreme luminous wisdom eyes. 

“When we offer light, the results are the realization of Clear Light wisdom phenomena in this life; the clarification of dualistic mind and the dispersal of confusion and realization of Clear Light in the bardo; and the increase of wisdom in each lifetime until one has reached enlightenment. 

Traditionally, butter lamps are also offered as a dedication to the dead in order to guide them through the bardo by wisdom light. We can pray as well that this light guide all beings of the six realms, removing their obscurations so that they may awaken to their true wisdom nature. With genuine faith and devotion, visualize that with your offerings, countless offering goddesses offer immeasurable light to all enlightened beings.”  ~ Lama Tharchin Rinpoche

I have said before that for any practitioner, it is imperative to create alot of merits which will enhance one’s practice on the path.  Because the goal is complete liberation, the fuel needed to reach it is immense.  Merit is this fuel.  Merit helps us to have conducive circumstances to meet and receive the teachings, to practise the teachings, to overcome our obstacles, to not be affected by obstacles, to attain realisations, to have the correct motivation, to give rise to Bodhichitta, to overcome our selfishness, reservations, fears, vacillating mind; to have the devotion, determination and enthusiam to practice etc. Any positive condition, physically, psychologically, financially, you name it, merit is needed for it.  Even for a non-practitioner, merit is needed to a good life, good health, long life, good relationships, wealth, mental health, mental stability, joy, happiness, etc.  Offering lamps is one of the very good ways to accumulate merit and increase wisdom.  In conclusion, I share with you what HH Drukpa Gyalwang Rinpoche said recently on his blog (

“In order for us to progress smoothly and swiftly on our spiritual path, we need the help of two things – merit and wisdom – they are like the 2 wings of a bird, lacking one will cripple our progress. We need to accumulate merit and wisdom with joyful effort and enthusiasm. Merit without wisdom or wisdom without merit will not help.

Take an example of a sick person, if he wants to be cured, he has to have the merit and wisdom to be cured. A lack of a combination of merit and wisdom will result in the patient not being to find a correct remedy or the right doctor to help him, or being in the wrong hospital, meeting the wrong doctor and understanding the dosage instructions wrongly.

In the spiritual practice context, a person failing to meet the authentic gurus, to have the understanding to tell what is genuine teaching and what is not is also considered to be lack of merit and wisdom. Even having met the authentic gurus, received genuine teachings and participated in assembly of great practitioners, he fails to appreciate these positive conditions and instead engages in criticism, complaints and gossips, this is also a lack of merit and wisdom.

We can often say that our own sufferings and all the catastrophes, unwanted situations, disasters, wars, failures and sicknesses that are happening in our world these days are a combination of different results of a lack of merit and wisdom.”

 Below is the lamp offering prayer. Do not, with your discriminating mind, be disappointed and think, ‘but oh, it is only for offering to Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava)’,  please realise that in Guru Rinpoche, all the Buddhas are present, this was said by Guru Rinpoche himself. So when you offer lights to Guru Rinpoche, you are offering to all the Gurus, Yidams and Dakinis and all enlightened refuges in the past, present and future and everywhere.  Have this kind of understanding and you will not feel that this prayer is lacking in anything.


Unceasing dynamic energy of awareness, these illuminating lamp(s)
are offered to great Vidhydhara Padmasambhava
Awareness nature pervades all sentient beings without exception.
May liberation occur within the space of awareness-emptiness dharmakaya.
Till the limits of space, in countless pure realms,
the wondrous Triple Gems and all refuges
excellent fields of all accumulated merits
actually appearing in front of your wisdom eyes without exception
respectfully offering these clear radiant lamp(s)
I and sentient beings limitless as sky,
may the darkness of our ignorance and confusion be completely dispelled.
May the display of omniscient primordial wisdom be seen.

Optionally you can recite this mantra many times to offer the lamps:

(In conclusion, one can recite dedication prayers)



Nyala Padma Dudul – Buddha Epithets

A wonderful practice of reciting Buddha names for purifying various kinds of karmas we are all so prone to commit nowadays… (right click to download pdf below)

Buddha’s Names _ Pema Duddul

Note : There has been a slight change due to an error discovered by translator:
If you have printed out, just make the slight change on page 3, Buddha Epithet Nbr 14,

(Change just the word in red)

(NEW Errata Update on 6th May 2011)

Epithet No. 3


The file link here has been updated!

(New Update on 3 Nov 2011)

Epithet No. 3 (third line)


the “R” was removed to facilitate pronunciation. “SRUNG” is simply pronounced as “SUNG”
other minor changes are in the Tibetan characters… (kindly pointed out by a reader…)

The file has been updated! 

Brief Notes on Dedication of Merits

The dedication of merit as it is taught in the Buddhadharma is one of the most vital and profound part of spiritual practice and a unique aspect of the Buddha’s teachings not found in other forms of spirituality. The reason why we are still suffering in samsara is that we have not gathered the accumulations of merit and wisdom. Although we have performed numerous positive deeds over many lifetimes but we have never dedicated this merit to the achievement of full enlightenment for all sentient beings. Thus when the positive karma ripens, it simply leads to some temporary positive states or happiness which will be used up in time and therefore when our merit finishes, we will lose that happiness and simply fall back into suffering.

By dedicating our merits to supreme awakening for all beings, even though we will experience positive results and well-being from that merit, but it will not be used up until the ultimate aim of your dedication, which is supreme enlightenment for all beings, is achieved. Thus, dedicating our merit is like adding a drop of water to an ocean, just as the ocean never dries up, that drop of water is never exhausted. The ocean is likened to the vastness of the purpose to which our merit (a drop of water) is directed to.

Another reason why we dedicate our merits is because in the teachings it is said that ‘a hundred eons of generosity and moral discipline can be destroyed in one moment of anger’.

We could also spoil our merits through the following ways:

1. Boasting of our positive deeds out of pride
2. Regretting, eg, regretting a donation not only destroys your virtue but may also lead to negative imprints of stinginess leading to karmic results like rebirths as hungry ghosts, poverty etc.

Therefore, dedicating merits prevents it from being spoilt and destroyed. It is important to dedicate merits in a timely manner, ie. after one has performed the positive deed, one should try to remember to dedicate the merits immediately as negative emotions or other conditions that lead to spoilage of merit can arise at any time.

Furthermore, if we dedicate our merits, the merits increases everyday. Just as negative karma increases everyday, dedicated merits increases everyday so that the fruition of the virtue can be vastly greater than the initial merit. For example, the Sutra of Twenty-Five Thousand Stanzas says that there is more virtue and more power in dedicating a small or insignificant virtuous action to full awakening than there is if you sponsor this entire world filled with Arhats and Pratyekabuddhas for their entire lives and do not dedicate your merit.

How to dedicate merits?

If we dedicate our merits thinking that there is an inherently existing “I” , inherently existing “merit” and inherently existing “sentient beings” then it becomes a ‘contaminated dedication’. A ‘contaminated dedication’ can only lead to states of well-being in the mundane samsaric realms of gods or humans. It cannot lead to perfect enlightenment. As ordinary sentient beings are trapped in their delusion of not being able to understand the true nature of reality, it is not possible for them to be immediately free from these concepts, therefore while on the path of practising, in their dedications, they must first skilfully make reference to the perfect dedication of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas who have realised emptiness and the truth of reality.

To dedicate merits, the steps are:

1. Call upon all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the ten directions to witness your dedication.
(My own opinion: If you wish to verbalise this request, you can say “Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the three times and ten directions, please pay heed to me!”  If not, you can merely visualise or mentally feel this happening.  The reason why we need not worry that Buddhas are unaware of our dedication is that the Buddhas are omniscient and all sentient beings minds are fundamentally not separate from the Buddhas’ minds.  So for the Buddhas, there is really no distance or time to obscure their knowingness. For us, it is merely to remind ourselves that we are asking the Buddhas to witness our dedication of merits, firstly to engender our own confidence, secondly, as a form of respect and as they are really our objects of refuge, thirdly, it increases the strength of our dedication and purifies it of any conceptualisation or stain)
2. Supplicate them to cause this dedication to be free of the threefold conceptualisation (mentioned above)
3. Think, “I dedicate this virtue in the same manner of dedication of all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the three times (past, present and future). May my virtue be dedicated like theirs. May my virtue become like theirs.”
4. Remind oneself that the person dedicating, the merit dedicated, and the sentient beings one dedicates to is like a dream, an illusion, not having true inherent existence.

In the Sutra of the Vajra Peak on Dedication and other sutras as well, the five steps of dedication are elucidated:

1. Summon all the merit created by yourself, all sentient beings and the noble beings (like the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, Arhats and Pratyekabuddhas) and dedicate this virtue as a cloud of offerings to all Buddhas.
2. Dedicate it to the flourishing of the Buddha’s teachings in this world
3. Dedicate to the longevity and expanded activity of the upholders of the teaching
4. Dedicate to the happiness and prosperity of the world
5. Dedicate to the achievement of perfect enlightenment by all beings

Each of these five aspects of dedication transforms a tiny virtue into a huge one. Then one can summon all of that virtue again and dedicate it to the principal object of dedication who might be some benefactor, or deceased person.

At this point, ordinary sentient beings can only dedicate merit by emulating the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas through making reference to them, coupled with a reminder of the non-conceptual unconditioned nature of reality free of the three spheres of concepts (ie, the inherent existence of dedicator of merit, merit and objects of dedication). However, when one truly realises emptiness directly as the first bhumi Bodhisattvas do, then at that instant, all of your previous conceptual and defiled accumulation of merit is transformed into an undefiled nonconceptual accumulation of wisdom.

The importance of rejoicing

Prior to dedication of merit, in the seven branch prayer, there is the part on rejoicing. By rejoicing in the merits of others, one creates great merits that could be equal to the merits of others, depending on one’s level of realisation. Therefore it is important to rejoice in the positive virtues created by all sentient beings and enlightened beings in the three times and ten directions before making a dedication. This skilful means can allow one to accumulate great merits easily with only a small effort.

 Repeated dedication

Some people ask why it is possible to dedicate past merits. It should be reiterated here that merit can be dedicated many times and each time you dedicate the merits, one increases the merits automatically as the act of dedication is in itself an act of creating merit.

A brief, easy yet thorough way of dedication for the beginning dharma practitioner:

Join the palms at one’s heart, think that all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are paying attention to you, then say, “By all the merit accumulated (by all beings) in the past, may all sentient beings attain Buddhahood. May this merit be dedicated in the same manner as all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas dedicated.”

(Note: The part in brackets “by all beings” need only be understood in one’s mind, and it is not necessary to say it aloud each time.)

A more thorough method of dedication

One can recite the Samantabhadra King of Prayers (available in Tibetan and English in another post) and other such relevant prayers. The blessings that dedication prayers have corresponds to the realisation of its author. Therefore, one of the best prayer for dedication is the Samantabhadra King of Prayers which is part of the Avatamsaka Sutra, taught by the Buddha Shakyamuni himself.

If one does not have the time, then one can at minimum, recite the eight verses that Lord Nagarjuna had said encompassed the entire meaning of the Samantabhadra King of Prayers. They are as follows:

With the same wisdom of courageous Manjushri and

similarly, like (the aspirations of) Samantabhadra,

following them entirely in their manner of (dedicating merits),

in the same way I dedicate all these merits completely.

All the Sugatas, Victorious Ones of the three times

have praised this dedication as supreme, thus

all my roots of virtue

are completely dedicated to excellent conduct

For the pure-land practitioners

For those who aspire to be reborn in the pure-land of Amitabha (Dewachen), it is also important to make dedication prayers for this purpose. Although this is already included in comprehensive prayers like the Samantabhadra King of Prayers, but if one does not recite that due to lack of time, then one should also make specific dedications to take rebirth in Dewachen immediately after this life without any obstacles.

What to dedicate

All forms of virtue no matter how small and insignificant should be dedicated.  It can be feeding a bird a drop of food, it can be simply even a smile, dropping a few cents in a beggar’s bowl, a positive thought, a heart that rejoices when you see other’s good fortune.  Merit is accumulated when one has a single instant of compassion, love and kindness for others.  All the actions driven by love, compassion and wisdom that undermines delusion and self-grasping creates merits. Anything that benefits sentient beings creates merit, so even eating can create merit if you have the motivation of offering food to the sentient beings in your body as it all depends on the mind.

Thinking of impermanence for an instant creates merits, thinking of emptiness or even entertaining that notion for one second accumulates vast merits.  Seeing the image of Buddha and admiring it or praising it accumulates merit…the list is simply endless… if one understands the dharma and has devotion and kindness, there are countless ways in daily life to create merit.  Even if one does not have the time to always be so mindful and dedicating, then at the end of the day, one can do just one major dedication, recalling all those moments of positive states of minds and actions during the day and then dedicate these merits in the proper manner.

Special Objects of Dedication
One can dedicate merits to one’s teachers, parents, children, ancestors, country, government, boss, benefactors, sponsors, karmic creditors, those whom one has particularly harmed or eaten the flesh of, etc.  All these dedications should be done after the main dedication for all sentient beings have been done (as stated above).  It is important to dedicate for our parents and karmic creditors (in my opinion) as they have been of great kindness to us in giving us the chance to practise the dharma.  Karmic creditors are people we have harmed before and owe a karmic debt now.  Through our practice, such debts can slowly be resolved and it is important to make such dedications with sincerity.

It is also possible to make dedications for those who are suffering whether in the human or other realms of existence, whether from sickness, famine, drought, natural disasters, psychological etc.  The point of dharma practice is to benefit others and if one dedicates merit to these suffering beings, it is one way to benefit them in both the temporal and ultimate way.  We should dedicate for them to leave their states of suffering and also for them to find the ultimate liberation and perfect enlightenment of Buddhahood.  This solves their problem both on the temporary and permanent basis.

Ways to Augment Dedication of Merits

The following Buddha names and mantras can be recited after dedication prayers to increase the merits:






The following Buddha name and prayers when recited can seal dedications and prayers and make them come true:





By the blessings of the three kayas attained by Buddha,
by the blessing of truth of unchanging dharmata,
by the blessings of the irreversible intent and aspirations of the sangha,
may these dedications and aspirations be accomplished.

(You can choose which names or mantras to recite. There is no fixed rule.)

Auxiliary Note:
If you have close connection to a realised Guru and if you have done a very large merit, for instance, reciting a million of certain mantras or prayers, released the lives of many animals, offered thousands of lamps, etc.  Then it is possible to request this omniscient master to do a dedication for you too. Due to their realisations, bodhichitta, aspirations and inconceivable qualities, the effect will be greatly augmented.  One can also offer the merit to one’s own most kind Guru as a offering of practice.  This will further enhance and make one’s practice even more meaningful.

I think I have exhausted more or less all that I can think of to say on this topic. In future, may make some updates as I think of it.

Difficulties in Dharma Practice

Collated quotes on this topic…

Suffering exhausts future causes for greater suffering; enjoyment only uses up blessings … practice the dharma with great patience and perseverance for all hardship because it purifies past karma. Worldly achievements come with great hardship but little lasting benefit. Dharma brings limitless benefit for relatively little hardship. The greater the difficulty, the greater the purification and merit.

Don’t seek easy dharma practice… all the past masters have had to give up alot and go through immense difficulties to achieve. How can it be any different now in this age of degeneration when merit is even weaker?

Although one experiences hardship during dharma practice, it makes the resulting benefit even sweeter. Although one suffers in dharma practice, but it is suffering with inner joy and satisfaction

If you are a sincere practitioner, every single difficulty in the course of your practice and life is purification. Don’t think that it is not related to dharma practice. Having patience during obstacles is in itself dharma practice and one of the best sign of purification. We should rejoice when there are obstacles!
When facing obstacles, there are only two things to do: 1. Accumulate more merit 2. Relax your gripping attachments to whatever is making you suffer and accept the situation with a relaxed wisdom state of mind
If we can turn around obstacles and make use of them in the path, then there is no situation that does not transform into the Guru’s blessings and the dharma practice. Basically, such a practitioner can only progress forward
If you are comfortable and not practising dharma, then it is right to be fearful of the future when anytime negative karma can catch up and ripen. If you are suffering while practising dharma, then it is right to rejoice in the difficulty and know that only great benefit will await you in the future.
If your own aspirations and motivation are in tune with the teachings and Buddhas/Bodhisattvas, then there is no need to fear obstacles, because even if one has obstacles, one can always trust in the guidance and blessings of the Triple Jewels.

Relying on Guru as utmost essential path


We may be a minority, but there are some of us who have the merit, as well as the guts, confidence and courage to take the path of guru devotion as our utmost essential path. I was taught by my master that the core of this path is remembering the guru. Contrary to many people’s assumption that the guru is some kind of external entity that dictates your life, if I have understood correctly, in the Vajrayana the guru is the path.

Mindfulness is the heart of the practice of all of the Buddha’s vehicles, whether you are in the Shravakayana, the Mahayana or the Bodhisattvayana. There are millions of methods to enhance this mindfulness, remind us of this mindfulness, and invoke this mindfulness. In the Vajrayana, we have the guru as the reminder, and also what we remember. The great Jigme Lingpa said that when a yogi pursues the path of enlightenment, he could spend years and years accumulating merit through all kinds of methods, but meditation that lasts the duration of a cup of tea is more penetrating to this solid hard wrapping of ours. Spending years and years in meditation is excellent, but it is nothing compared to a single moment of remembering the guru. Even just remembering the guru’s name will dispel confusion and accumulate countless oceans of merit.

My own comments :

In my own path of Dharma practice, I can say definitely that it was my experiences and contact with the authentic Gurus and receiving their blessings that shaped almost the entire of my path and helped me to improve.  Any understanding or shred of improvement comes through their kindness. And i am not just saying this by rote. When you have been through life experiences, up and down, for a certain amount of time, relying on Guru, receiving Guru’s blessings, remembering his teachings at timely moments, constantly redirecting your life into the dharma through his pith instructions and life-example, you will understand that really, every slightest positive quality that arises is due to the Guru. 

Some people may think that it is overboard to simply attribute everything to the lineage and Guru’s blessings. But i think that is just our ego protesting.  We all like to claim credit for having made progress. I have even seen some people drop Gurus after making a teeny bit of progress or after having received teachings or whatever it is they wanted from the Guru.  Such kind of making use of Guru is the worst kind of ingratitude there is.  Such a person can never progress in my opinion.  There are others who consider themselves so great after having made some offerings of service or donation to the Guru, not even understanding that it is the Guru who gave them the chance to accumulate merits fast… these kind of people are really almost beyond hope.

In our life, if we are ungrateful people, we will only always consider how people owe us and not how we are endlessly indebted to countless beings.  Not to mention our Guru who shows us the way out of our delusions and negative patterns.  Anyway, I only know that from my experience, if we keep working with our Guru, keeping him in our hearts again and again, forever and ever… there will only be a progression from a good state to better state… and all the qualities of wisdom, compassion, renunciation, faith etc will arise without much effort.  This is because the Guru’s qualities and ability to benefit beings is inconceivable and beyond anything in conventional reality.

I write this hoping that all of the readers of this blog will appreciate their Gurus and learn to work with them properly.  Because the Gurus in the Vajrayana tradition are definitely the source of all realisations, good qualities and liberation.  The Triple Gems, Three Roots, and Three Kayas of Buddhahood are complete in them and just by relying on the Supreme Lama, I am confident that we can reach the great goal of full enlightenment.

Samantabhadra King of Aspiration Prayer

Here is the Samantabhadra King of Aspiration Prayer for download in pdf file.  Any prominent mistake, feel free to email me to correct (vajrasattvadawn at gmail)

You can recite this at holy places during pilgrimages, when in front of sacred stupas, relics, blessed places.  It contains the quintessence of all the aspirations of all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.  Also, you can recite this every night as a general dedication to conclude your practice that day.  It can also be recited many times to conclude any vast activity that accumulates great merit as this prayer encompasses the dedications and aspirations of Manjushri and Samanatabhadra who represents all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.  This is also a very good practice to constantly recite to accumulate vast merits and purify, and to obtain rebirth in Amitabha’s pureland.  Basically, this prayer is performed in Monlam (annual vast prayer festival for creating merit and praying for world peace in holy places like Bodhgaya) en masse by many ordained monks and nuns to pray for world peace and enlightenment and all the qualities on the path.  It is truly one of the most beneficial prayer and it is the vajra speech of the Buddha so the blessings is extremely far-reaching and inconceivable.  (The merit of reciting a prayer is determined by the depth of realisation of its author, so of course it is very wonderful to recite a prayer by the perfectly enlightened Buddha Shakyamuni himself)

This is also a very good prayer to recite for the deceased or in the event of a natural disaster (eg, the recent Japan earthquakes) for the benefit of those who are suffering and those who have passed away.  Basically, this prayer has many purposes and it can be used in many ways. 

(I have also read somewhere that Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche has said that for someone who received offerings from others eg, as an ordained monastic, reciting this prayer everyday was important to reduce/repay the karmic debts.  Reciting this prayer will also be good to dedicate the merits of oneself and the benefactor properly)

There is a commentary on this prayer, i provided the link in a previous post. Please check for it. 

Here it is:  King of Aspiration Prayer (right click to download)

p/s: Note that there are some differences in several lines or arrangement from different translations of this prayer used by different schools. The one I put here is the general version used by the Nyingma school.  No matter which version you use, just recite with the complete devotion and certainty, it is not of much use to split hairs over the definitive version as pure intention and firm faith is more important.  The speech of the Buddhas is also beyond pinning down as this-or-that…  this is my opinion.  Happy Monlam!

HH Sakya Trizin’s Long Life Prayer

HH Sakya Trizin with personal signature

I think there are some readers here who have a dharma connection with HH Sakya Trizin, so anyway, I’d post this long life prayer here for this unparallelled Lord Protector of all beings in this degenerated age.  There is a longer prayer used by the Sakya centers, but here i post a condensed four-line prayer that is easy to memorise and recite.

Ngawang Kunga, Lineage of Khon, divine

Giving benefit and joy to all, owner of Mahayana, sutra and mantra path

Savior and liberator of all

Wish-fulfilling, great king, please live long!

Please recite as much as you can. You can recite it after your daily prayers, after long life mantras/sutra recitations, after life liberations, or in order to dedicate your merits from giving food, medicine, and being vegetarian, etc.  Please pray hard that all enlightened masters who guide sentient beings and uphold the dharma like HH Sakya Trizin live long and are healthy, that their activities flourish and their aspirations and wishes are fulfilled perfectly.

In general, the source of all happiness comes from performing virtue and stopping non-virtue.  The main methods to accomplish this comes from listening, contemplating and meditating on the holy precious dharma.  The exposition and practice of dharma in turn largely depends on the upholding of the dharma by the Lords of Dharma such as HH Sakya Trizin and other great masters.  In other words, all the happiness in samsara and bliss in nirvana arises in dependence on the conditions of dharma continuing to exist in this world and since the main responsibilities for propagation of dharma lies on the shoulders of these great Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, we should always pray for their good health and fulfilment of their wishes.  It is a most direct way of ensuring that happiness remains on earth and that the darkness of wrongdoings, negative karma and afflictive emotions arising from selfishness such as anger is eliminated by the light rays of wisdom and compassion.  It is also of great benefit to each individual practitioner to pray in this way.