Archives

Karma of Wearing Animal Skins

by Jamyang Rinpoche

The Way of the Bodhisattva states:

“O mind, why is it that you grasp
This body as yours and guard it so?
If you and it are separate,
Then what good does it do for you?”

“First, visualizing in your mind, dissect (your body)
And separate the layers of skin.
Dissect it with the sword of wisdom
Separate the flesh from the structure of bones.
Then chop apart the bones as well.
Look in as far as to the marrow
And analyze it for yourself.
What essence does it have?

If even searching with such effort,
You don’t see in it any essence,
Why is it that you still protect
This body in such an attached manner?”

“Even though you protect this body so,
When the merciless Lord of Death
Takes it to give to vultures and dogs,
Will there be anything you can do?”

“If you do not give clothes and such
To servants who can’t be employed,
Why tire yourself to keep this body
That will, though fed, end up uselessly elsewhere?

Now that you’ve given this body its wage,
Put it to work for your own sake.
Do not give everything to it
if there’s not any benefit.

Think of this body as a boat,
A mere support for coming and going.
Make it so it fulfills your wish
To benefit all sentient beings.”

After slowing observing the nature of this body, we discover that it lacks any essence. For the sake of this body, through eating we have created so much negative karma. For the sake of nurturing its health, we have eaten insects, beef, chicken, fish.  For the sake of health, how many sentient beings have we harmed? This entire burden of negative karma is carried on and ripens on your very own consciousness in future lives.

You gave so many benefits to this body in this life, but it disappears in the end. This body does not feel the sensations by itself. It is the consciousness who feels, and therefore it is the consciousness that bears this karma in future lives. When the karma ripens, the torture and suffering have to be taken on by yourself and no one else.  Therefore, one should create less negative karma for the sake of this body. As long as the body can survive and live on, it is enough.  We should be vegetarian. Even when being vegetarian, we should not be insatiable in our desires for good food.  In wearing clothes, we should not wear leather and all kinds of animal skins. We should not wear all kinds of ornaments related to animals like swan felt, fox pelts, all these very expensive bags and clothings.  We will have to pay the price in future lives. 

Once, in a Chengdu hotel, I had a dream in which I saw the appearances of a hell realm.  One woman was wearing a very very thick fur-skin made out of iron- it was flaming-red and very horrifying.  On this skin were fox heads, dog heads, heads of several different kinds of animals. They were biting and chewing on her face and various parts of her body, she was bound by all kinds of iron racks which were melting (from the heat and burning into her body), waaa… she was screaming and crying in such great terror and pain… Then I woke up from this nightmare.  Later, I wondered why I had such a frightening dream.  I think it is a sign that I should teach and warn sentient beings about the cause and result awaiting them and to prevent them from creating such karmas.

It is something like a warning to me, as I am a teacher who transmits the Dharma to disciples. It is a warning to all my disciples. I think that should be its meaning and purpose. All of you must not wear these furs or skins.  In your future lives, when the result ripens, it is not something that pleasant to bear. (The karma) does not just (ripen) one time but continues for a very long period of time. In this life, you wear these furs or skins for a few days or years, but when the results come, it is for millions of years that the retribution and vengeance lasts. So please don’t be too attached about your body. Don’t put in too much effort for this body. Put more effort for the journey of future lives.

(Jamyang Rinpoche frequently repeats this warning to his disciples about not wearing fur-skins in his teachings due to his vivid experience in the dream.)






This entry was posted on 21212121, in Teachings.

The power of aspirations

Garchen Rinpoche :

Some people don’t think that it is that important to make prayers. Some people much more prefer to visualize a deity and recite the mantra and meditate and not really recite all these prayers because they don’t think that this has the greatest effect. They think that the mantra recitation has the greater effect. But that is really not true at all. In fact, everything really follows the power of aspiration. Everything that we experience with body, speech and mind arises from an aspiration, whether it is positive or negative. It all comes from a kind of aspiration. So, aspirations are extremely powerful.

Also, it is said that if we want to achieve happiness and we do not make any aspirations or prayers or dedications, then we have to put in a lot of effort to gain the slightest results. Whereas if we pray and dedicate, then the slightest effort leads to the greatest result. The difference lies in the scope or vastness of one’s mind. If the mind is vast, then even a small virtuous act leads to a vast result. That is ultimately due to the power of aspiration.

Also, Buddhas arise from aspirations. For example, Buddha Shakyamuni had made 500 great aspirations, or Medicine Buddha had made 12 main aspirations and so on. Each of the Medicine Buddhas made different numbers of aspirations. But all the Buddhas, in brief, arise from a pure aspiration. What is a pure aspiration? In their mind, all they think about is the benefit of all sentient beings. They don’t think about anything else. They don’t think about themselves at all. That is their state of mind – a state of pure aspiration. When that is your state of mind, in this way, you naturally accumulate merits.  

As a result of that, it is said that the natural manifestation of Bodhichitta are the countless purelands and different emanations of Buddhas. As Jigten Sumgon said, cause-and-effect is the natural manifestation of one’s moment-to-moment thoughts. Temporarily, the afflictive emotions manifest as the different realms in samsara, as our various experiences of sufferings. The Buddha said that at first you must recognize suffering.  Recognizing suffering has two qualities, when you experience suffering now, if you understand this, then you recognize that I suffer because of my afflictive emotions, because I myself have created the causes of suffering in previous lives.  You recognize that by trusting in karma. In this way, you are able to avoid future suffering and you are able to cultivate a mind of Bodhichitta.

Secondly, as Dzogchen Paltrul Rinpoche has said, “I do not prefer to be happy, I prefer to suffer because when I am happy, the three poisons, the afflictions, increase; but when I suffer, I purify my negative karma.” All suffering and illnesses and so on are the natural reflection or projection of our own afflictive emotions. When you see that, actually suffering becomes a good thing, because you recognize that my suffering purifies my negative karma. Think in this way. In this way, suffering becomes a way of purifying karma and accumulating merit.  It is a good thing because it purifies my negative karma and also bring to mind the sufferings of all other sentient beings and think that “May I experience these sufferings instead of them!  May I represent them!” Because ultimately our minds are one, so “May my suffering/sickness be the cause of eliminating their sickness. May I experience it instead of them.”  This is the vast motivation of Bodhichitta that leads to a great accumulation of merits. You habituate to that, so every time you are sick or suffer, you will immediately think of that naturally—“It is not just me but all sentient beings suffer like that.” Instantly, you will be able to think of others. Compassion arises.

For example now, we recognize all the sufferings people are experiencing in this world. Think about for example how you suffer when your parents or children dies, or when someone you love dies, then likewise feel how much these other people suffer (when the same happens to them).  You bring this to mind and this state of mind is a very powerful state of mind — when you really bring to mind the suffering of others. Think of how you will suffer when a friend you love very much dies. Then think that everyone suffers in that way, everyone experiences that.  If you habituate to this, then immeasurable compassion arises. Through immeasurable compassion, self-grasping diminishes. This is how you should practice compassion.

Self-grasping diminishes when you cultivate compassion for suffering beings and when devotion for the Guru arises. When real devotion for the Guru arises, when a tear flow from your eyes as big as a nail, that drop of tear that flows from your eyes out of devotion purifies the negativities and obscurations of many aeons. This also happens when you cultivate compassion for all sentient beings. What happens is that when you think of others and feel compassion, self-grasping goes away and that is the quality of altruism. If you make prayers with such a motivation, thinking of the suffering of sentient beings, such an aspiration is very powerful. It will lead temporarily to the experience of happiness and ultimately, this is how you attain enlightenment. Therefore, it is very important to make prayers such as the King of Aspiration Prayers for Excellent Conduct.

Actually, everything comes from aspiration. Everything good and bad comes from aspiration. For example, now in this world, there is so many difficulties and hardships. The suffering that people experience is caused by certain individuals with evil aspirations and intentions. There are certain individuals who are full of hatred and wish to harm others and then they die with that state of mind – an angry mind. They die with this corrupt aspiration of wanting to harm, wanting to hurt others. Because that is an aspiration too, even though it is negative, it also will mature. Now we can see, the outcome of such aspirations is now ripening in the world.  Also, there is something I saw on TV, a real story that happened in America, there was this really powerful person who set himself on fire and immediately you could see from the flames of the fire, a shape emerged. This is something that science can show. This also happens. This is due to hatred and something emerges from that. So basically, whatever aspiration we make, whether it is beneficial or harmful, it is very powerful. However, an evil aspiration is less powerful than a beneficial aspiration, because a beneficial aspiration is connected to Bodhichitta which makes it stronger and more powerful. So, this is how the qualities of a Buddha arise — out of aspirations. So, any aspiration is extremely significant, especially at times when you experience illness and suffering, aspiration prayers can be very powerful. Nowadays, I always encourage people to recite this verse from the Shantideva’s Bodhicaryavatara dedication. The quality of suffering is that you can purify your karma. Suffering is not negative, it actually is a positive thing. Secondly, when you suffer, you can also practice taking on the suffering of others, and think “May I experience the suffering instead of them.” When you think in such an altruistic way, then the suffering in your mind will already be pacified. Even though you experience physical illness, the suffering in the mind will go away and even the physical illness might go away. For example, this was the case with Lord Jigten Sumgon. When he was alive, he contracted leprosy which was considered the worst disease in Tibet. He was so badly ill that eventually he isolated himself and practiced cultivating Bodhichitta and practiced Chenrezig, and after a week only of practicing in this way, he was completely healed from the leprosy. That is a real story that happened in this world. That’s the power of the mind, that’s the power of aspiration prayers. Consider them as very important and precious. For example, the prayer for Excellent Conduct, where it says that all these qualities of the Buddhas arise from having made offerings to all the purelands and all Buddhas abiding in the ten directions and three times and so on, it is very meaningful to recite and also to reflect on the meaning of this prayer of Excellent Conduct. Also, it says in the prayer that may every slight virtue that I have accumulated with the mind of Bodhichitta and devotion become a cause of merit leading to the benefit and happiness of all sentient beings and so forth. It is an excellent dedication prayer. Then there are also corrupt prayers as we have mentioned like we can see in this world now. Various corrupt prayers of certain beings lead to this kind of suffering in the world. A corrupt and evil aspiration has a certain kind of power that also leads to a result. Therefore, recognize the power of aspirations as really very significant especially at times of illness and suffering.  The Medicine Buddha himself became a Buddha through his aspirations of Bodhichitta, it is said that a Buddha is a manifestation of Bodhichitta. Even though his physical form appears as the Medicine Buddha, what really is his mind? His mind is Bodhichitta, it is not some other kind of mind. Any other Buddha has the same mind of Bodhichitta. That is the actual or real Medicine Buddha – Bodhicitta.

Notes :

  1. Shantideva prayer Garchen Rinpoche encourages everyone to recite is :

May every being ailing with disease
Be freed at once from every malady.
May all the sickness that afflicts the living
Be instantly and permanently healed.

2. The prayer of Excellent Conduct can be found here :
https://www.lotsawahouse.org/words-of-the-buddha/samantabhadra-aspiration-good-actions

This entry was posted on 21212121, in Teachings.

Essence of the Path

Garchen Rinpoche on Pure-view, Altruistic mind, Karma and Preparing for Death :

What is the essence, the main point, of all these instructions?  It really comes down to cultivating a pure view. It is that which purifies our dualistic grasping. We think in a dualistic way – we think this is good, this is bad, this is water, this is earth, this is fire and so on. So we see things in this ordinary way and then because we see things in an ordinary way, we develop a lot of doubts and we wonder like whether a medicine is beneficial or not? Who knows if it really works?  Because everything depends on our karma, as we mentioned. A pure view means that you have purified your mind of the afflictive emotions and dualistic grasping, when you have a pure view, you will see everything as pure. You will see the medicine as pure. Then the medicine you take also becomes more beneficial.

Cultivating a pure view is really most important.  The one who makes the medicine – the doctor- see him as an emanation of the Medicine Buddha. Also, the medicine itself is a deity, the Buddha.  Train your mind in pure perception. This is what will purify your mind. When you have a purified mind, your compassion increases as a sign of that. When your mind is in an impure state, a sign of an impure mind is that one just thinks about one’s own suffering. One doesn’t really think about other beings. Some people come and all they care about is that nothing bad happens to them. They are sick and they ask, “What can I do so that I don’t die? Give me some kind of method, something that I can do so that I don’t die.” I feel very bad for them. The reason why they suffer like that is because they think that they (themselves) are most precious. (They think that) my body is most precious, most important. But in the end, they will die anyway. Everyone will die. There is no-one in the world who will be left behind. Everyone in this world will die because we have a physical body and the physical body is impermanent by its nature. For example, I personally fully trust in that a hundred percent. Because I do not think, “May I not die.” Instead, I actually make preparations for my death. That is really most important. Actually, I have made actual preparations for my death three times in this life already– getting all the different substances and preparatory rituals ready. I was really getting ready to die three times, but then due to the prayers of the disciples and lamas and so on, I still didn’t die. But I did actually prepare seriously for my death three times already.

It is better for beings like me to be here, but basically I do not think “how can I get better from my sickness”, “how can I not die”, I do not think like that. I always think about how I can prepare for my death. That’s really very important because we will all die and it is better not to focus on extending our life but to focus more on preparing for our death. The best way to prepare for our death is to not accumulate or create negative karma. Because that is what we will bring with us. If you don’t create negative karma and you prepare for your death, then with a pure mind, you will go to an even better place, to the purelands where the Buddhas live. However, if you bring with you a defiled mind, then the afflictive emotions will continue to manifest and you will continue to wander in the six realms or the three lower realms of samsara.

Therefore, I really encourage you to pay great attention to karma, cause-and-effect and purify your mind.  Purify your mind with an altruistic mind, always wishing for the benefit and happiness of sentient beings. Always sustain love and compassion for them. This is what I myself am doing. What is in my mind is really only just a wish to benefit others. “May I benefit others!”– this is what I will bring with me. This is what you should cultivate and bring with you. Therefore, Dharma friends, I ask you to just keep these words in mind. The most powerful medicine is karma—to trust in karma… it is said that for someone who doesn’t trust in karma, their profound understanding in Dharma and so on is mere lip-service. Once we have entered the path of Buddhism, a sign of having actually entered (the path) is that one trusts in karma. When you trust in karma, then you actually are a real Buddhist. So, reflect on this.

This entry was posted on 21212121, in Teachings.

Practicing Dharma with wrong motivation

Some people practice the Dharma in the hopes of eliminating problems in their family, improving their health, overcoming difficulties in their careers etc. They pursue worldly things like fame and benefit. Then they may get some temporary benefit in this life, but it is not of the slightest use in future lives or the bardo. Your motivation is to benefit this life, therefore the fruition of your practice will also be used up in this life. Therefore, the motivation for Dharma practice is critical. When the motivation is faulty, no matter what practice you do, it becomes defective too.

I will tell you a real story about a practitioner in Xinlong, Tibet. There was a monk who recited the Mani mantra and Guru Rinpoche mantra several hundreds of millions times each. He gained great power as a result of his diligent practice. He could repel negative spirits such as those that caused illnesses in humans. With just a gaze, he could cause the illness to disappear from the sufferer’s body. Many people venerated him like a great Mahasiddha (great accomplished master). Due to his blessings, many of the problems and inauspiciousness in their families were resolved. Why? It was due to his vast accumulation of merits from the mantra recitation.

His fame spread more and more and many people came to him for help and blessings etc. Thus, he received many offerings and became a very rich man. As a monk, he did not have any descendants but his siblings had many children. When he was on the verge of dying, his nieces and nephews came to ply him with all kinds of nice words, but in reality they were just eyeing his possessions.

When this monk was in great suffering and near death, he had a pair of glasses that was made of crystal and very costly which he treasured very much. One nephew who was also a monk came and claimed, “My uncle loved me most amongst all his nephews. Therefore, this pair of spectacles is mine, “ and he snatched this pair of glasses away by force even before his uncle expired. In this way, one by one, all of this dying monk’s possessions were taken away from him even though he had yet to die. At last, when he finally died, he had a negative aspiration out of anger and vengefulness.

This monk did not have any kind of basic foundation and understanding of Dharma practice, but he simply plunged straight into reciting mantras as he knew it was meritorious. He did not understand what is virtue and non-virtue. He was ignorant of the teachings on Bodhichitta, the importance of motivation and the stages of visualization and meditation. Just like that, many people just recite the mantras like Mani mantra blindly, they do not understand anything except that reciting mantras has blessings, blessings for having a good family life etc. There is no proper motivation, they do not know the systematic path for practicing Dharma or what to visualize etc. Everything was done blindly.

This monk may be ordained, but he was practicing in a similar blind manner. Without any listening, contemplation and meditation, he just kept practicing diligently in a cave and in the end the result was some worldly benefits. So after his death he directly took rebirth as a demon. This was due to his merits after reciting so many mantras. Many great accomplished Lamas who tried to subdue him could not succeed as his merits from reciting so many mantras had not yet been exhausted. All the people who had taken his things or anyone who even merely touched them would die without exception. So you see, even though he was a monk and recited so many mantras, he took rebirth as a harmful spirit which belongs to the preta (hungry ghost) realm. When this birth as a demon finishes, his eventual rebirth will be in the hell realms due to the many beings he harmed as a spirit.

In a sense, this kind of ordained monk would be better off unordained, and all these mantras recited would be better off not recited. If he had not done these things, then perhaps he would not be creating such heinous deeds and this great result of suffering would not exist. In the same way… one must know the way to practice Dharma, recite mantras and create merits. If one did not know how to practice the Dharma well, it would be the case of inviting disaster to befall upon oneself.

~Jamyang Rinpoche

This entry was posted on 21212121, in Teachings.

How to pray to Amitabha

In response to a question by a student about whether to recite Buddha Amitabha’s name in Chinese or Tibetan, Pema Trinley Rinpoche replied:

Whether you recite in Tibetan or Chinese, it is both okay.  You can recite “I prostrate, make offerings and take refuge in the Bhagavan, Tathagatha, Arhat, Perfectly Enlightened Buddha Protector Amitabha” in Chinese.  It is the same.   Whether you are reciting it in Tibetan or Chinese, what is really important is to visualize clearly, to pray to Guru Amitabha and to make aspirations.  Supplicate Guru Amitabha to bless you to attain rebirth in Amitabha’s pureland at the point of death.  If one does not visualize, does not pray properly to Amitabha, does not make aspirations to be reborn in Sukhavati, then merely reciting Amitabha’s name–  whether it is a million or two million times, regardless of how many times one recites— is not effective.  What is really vital is to be undistracted during the recitation, visualizing Amitabha inseparable from one’s Guru clearly above one’s crown.   At the same time, think of the qualities and blessings of Amitabha’s three kayas, think of the qualities of Amitabha’s pureland, think of the qualities of the Guru who is inseparable from Amitabha.  Then follow that with supplicating Guru Amitabha.   Visualize Guru Amitabha in front of you while making aspirations, prayers, prostrations, offerings, confessions, dedications etc.  In this way, you can take rebirth in the pureland.  If one is merely mouthing the prayers while having all kinds of thoughts, with no sincere aspirations, with no Bodhichitta, with no proper supplication or dedication etc, the seven limb prayers– then even if one recites millions of Amitabha’s names, it does not produce its function.

Thus, one must make aspirations and pray to Amitabha inseparable from the Guru to bless you to be reborn in Amitabha’s pureland at the moment of death.  If you can do it in the way mentioned above, reciting two or three million mantras is okay.  The most important thing is to dream of Amitabha at night.  This is a sign of accomplishment.  This was taught by Lama Achuk Rinpoche.  If during one’s dreams at night, one does not dream of the Guru, one does not dream of Amitabha, then however you recite, it has not borne fruit.  In addition to that, wherever we go, if we suddenly encounter a shock, one should recall Amitabha instinctively and instantly.   If this is the case, one can go to Amitabha’s pureland.  If one is unable to do this, then no matter how you recite, you are not able to reach Amitabha’s pureland.  Similarly, when you recite Chenrezig or any other Buddha or Bodhisattva’s names or mantras, you must do the visualization and pray to them.  Therefore, it is said, the mind is of paramount importance.  Visualizing in the mind and praying is very necessary.  For example, if the Chinese lay-practitioners need to work, and there are many people around them, reciting Amitabha’s mantra becomes inconvenient, then they should visualize and pray with their minds in such a situation.  By doing so, you obtain the same merits.  So the mind is key and most important!  Otherwise, if one goes everywhere and, with a distracted mind thinking of all kinds of things, recite Amitabha’s name with your mouth, it is no different from playing a loudspeaker.  Concerning the number of recitations of Amitabha’s name, there may be varying requirements from different teachers, but here, based on our lineage, there was no explanation given by Lama Achuk Rinpoche as to how many recitations of Amitabha’s name in Chinese is equivalent to a certain number in Tibetan, so we are not capable of calculating these things.  Nonetheless, the quantity of recitations is not crucial.  The critical point to observe is to perform the practice in the manner I just described.



Refuge, Mani Mantra and Mother Sentient Beings

Image result for Drubwang rinpoche
Teaching by Drubwang Konchok Norbu Rinpoche to a group of monks
June 2000

For more on Drubwang Rinpoche:
https://bodhiactivity.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/drubwang-rinpoche-attaining-full-enlightenment/

Firstly, we must understand what is refuge, whether you are of the superior, middling or lower capacity, you must understand the meaning of refuge. When you are undertaking any matter, large or small, you should recite the refuge prayer before beginning and pray to the Triple Gems. “The Triple Gems are undeceiving and infallible, the law of karma or cause-and-effect is unequivocally true.” We are all Buddhists, so from the moment we become Buddhists, we should guard our conduct according to cause-and-effect like protecting our eyes.

There are countless Dharma teachings in Buddhism but can sentient beings understand all these teachings? The essence of Dharma is encapsulated in the six syllables Mani mantra. We must be clear about this point. The Dharma for sentient beings in samsara is the Mani mantra, if we can recite this, we will gain independence or control over ourselves. After death, we will not fall into the hells and will be able to enter the pureland. This depends on each person. Besides this, no-one can have control (over the outcome), no-one will escape death. This is the simplest and yet most profound Dharma. With this, one need not beg others for help, there is also no need to beat (drums), blow (trumpets), clash (cymbals) or clap (referring to the rituals). In the age of five degenerations when Dharma is at its weakest moment, if the person has the merits to do so, no matter where I go, there are those who are 60 or 70 of age who will recite 20,000 mantras daily at maximum, the middling quantity is 10,000 and the minimum would be 5000 mantras daily.

This Mani mantra has been practiced in 100 million Mani recitation pujas in many places in the Himalayas such as Nisha, Kunnu, Ladahk, etc. This is beneficial to the Buddhadharma and all sentient beings in samsara. It will also be helpful to reduce the obstacles faced by Tibetans in terms of the propagation of Buddhadharma in Tibet.

Firstly, we visualize the refuge of Triple Gems, then we can perform all kinds of large or small positive actions. But what should we do here? We should recite the Mani mantra of Chenrezig, in this way we will purify all the negative karmas of this life. We can purify all the negative karmas accumulated since beginningless time.

In samsara, what kind of negative karmas do we accumulate? The five poisons (desire, anger, ignorance, pride and jealousy), the three kleshas, thoughts, three obscurations etc. Due to this, we remain in samsara… Actually, one’s mind is Buddha, and all sentient beings are Buddhas, but being obscured by defilements, we need to purify that to attain Buddhahood. Without purifying, the five mental poisons and negative emotions prevents us from recognising that our mind is Buddha; once the defilements are purified, one will see that one’s mind is Buddha. All beings have the Buddha nature, all beings are Buddhas…

In our past lives, how much negative karma we have created, in the previous past lives, and in lives before that, from beginningless time in samsara, we have created (enormous) bad karma like we did in this life itself. But if we recite the Mani mantra that counteracts the defilements, we will purify these negative karmas. If we do not recite, then these negative karmas will not be removed. By reciting, we can attain the common and supreme accomplishments, and reach an irreversible stage through the common and supreme accomplishments. We can be liberated from samsara. Samsara is like an ocean of suffering, isn’t it so? Constantly creating negative karmas, we continue cycling in samsara endlessly. 100 years on Earth is suffering in hell for one day. How much more suffering must we go through? All the lineage masters said that we should not waste this precious human life. When we are in the negative age of five degenerations, Buddhists who obtain this precious human life are as rare as the stars in daytime. We should recite the Mani mantra seriously all the time. Don’t lose this chance. When we face death, there are only the white and black paths, there is no other path. There is no way we can avoid facing the King of Death, Yama. In his mirror that reflects the karma of beings, all the good and bad deeds we have done will be shown clearly. There is no way to give excuses, debate or lie.

While we have the ability now, in this degenerated age when beings can enter the Dharma, if we are able to practice Dharma and create positive deeds, the benefit is inconceivable… everyone must practice Dharma… you must think of death and impermanence to turn your mind towards Dharma. No-one will not die. You must all think of the four thoughts that turn your mind towards Dharma. The four thoughts are to make one think of death. Without thinking of death, you will not wish to recite the Mani mantra. When you think of death, you will wish to recite Mani. The main thing is to think of death and impermanence…

Do you have control over your life? No. The mara of death is like a sentry at the top of the mountain. He will not tell one to come or not to come. When we wake up every morning, who knows if we will be able to go to bed tonight. This is impermanence. When we sleep at night, would we be able to wake the next morning? Just as the teachings say, “The time of death is not certain, the cause of death is not certain.” You are all students of the Buddhadharma, thinking of these points, if you should do more positive deeds and recite the Mani, your obstacles will be purified…

Young people should not lose your culture. Think well. Young people must regard parents as the main point when observing cause-and-effect. Quarreling with parents, hurting parents’ feelings, criticizing parents, abandoning their parents. There are many such people. This kind of person will not have a good day in their life. Cause-and-effect will not fail. There will be retribution for such karma. You must remember that parents have kindness to us. We are all Buddhists. Just as it is said that the parents’ kindness is equal to that of the Triple Gems. Parents take much effort to bring us up, one does not take birth effortlessly. When mothers have us in their wombs, they have to consider us carefully, afraid to harm the foetus, not able to eat anything they wish. After 9 months and 10 days, when the baby is born, the baby has no control over his life or death, with no ability to discriminate, the parents have to take care of one, all the phlegm and snot, parents have to clean, even using their mouth, isn’t the kindness of the parents great?

If entering the Buddhist path upon obtaining a precious human birth, we are not fearful of karma, causing grief to our parents, mistreating our parents, taking the best for ourselves, this is not permissible. A good child will first offer food to parents, offer the best clothes to parents, and finally make aspirations and strong wishes to repay the kindness of parents. Children should observe cause-and-effect. We are not Buddhists who are careless and negligent of karma, we should understand these principles. If we do not know this, we are like animals.

Whatever the situation, the Triple Gems are undeceiving and infallible, if we meet with all kinds of obstacles, we should pray to the Triple Gems, there is nothing more superior to this method for liberating one from the obstacles.

In all your actions, walking, standing, sitting and lying down, you should recall the law of cause-and-effect. Mainly, one should think of our parents. If we have domestic animals, we should consider them too. All sentient beings have been our parents. There is no sentient being who is born in samsara without relying on parents… knowing this one should develop kindness and compassion, not to harm mother sentient beings, treat all sentient beings as our parents with love and compassion… Sentient beings in samsara wish for happiness but do not know how to create the causes for happiness. They do things in a contradictory way, bringing opposite results through ignorance, just like a blind person stranded in the middle of a vast plain. All mother sentient beings in the six realms are truly pitiful. This kind of compassion is based on sentient beings, contemplate this way. The best is for one to stop eating meat. These are the meat of our parents. All sentient beings are our parents. You are killing them to eat their meat. At least, one should be vegetarian every month on the lunar 15th ,30th and 8th etc. In short, adopting virtue and avoiding non-virtue should be done in a very clear-cut manner…

There is no such thing as remaining a long time in this world so we should contemplate on impermanence and death from the bottom of our hearts. The Mani mantra cannot be accumulated in large numbers in a short time. One has to start reciting when one is young, and by the time one is old, one would have accumulated a large number of recitations. No matter what, positive and negative deeds will never disappear or be discarded, this point must be clearly understood.

Everyone looks down on the recitation of Mani, thinking that it is for people who don’t know anything much else. Such kind of thinking is pure ignorance. The Mani mantra is very very precious. Please recite the Mani well, safe-guard your own culture and have faith in the Buddhadharma.

~~~~ on another occasion:

It does not matter if you have much knowledge or not, or whether you are of higher, middling or lower spiritual capacity, this Chenrezig’s Heart Mantra Practice is suitable for everyone. It does not require a deep understanding of the Dharma as the foundation to practice. It does not require the practitioner to be very knowledgeable.  As long as the practitioner recites the Six-syllables mantra with sincerity and perseverance, the person can attain enlightenment. In the past, there have been many practitioners who attained high realization with Six-syllables mantra practice. When we are able to tame our mind, eliminate our discursive thoughts, purify our mental defilements and discover our inherent true nature of mind, we will be able to awaken our innate wisdom and accomplish Buddhahood.

~~~ further:

Most people think that the recitation practice of the Six-syllable Mani mantra, the Guru Rinpoche mantra and the Vajrasattva mantra is too simple, so they wish to learn more difficult practices. In fact, just like the Six-syllable mantra practice, if the recitation practice is done properly, at the time when we are about to die from sickness, when the four elements of earth, water, wind and fire of our body gradually disintegrate, we will still be able to abide in the single-pointed state of the true nature of mind. At this time, bliss and clear light can manifest and finally, it is possible to attain rebirth in the pureland.

This practice is the essence of all the teachings of the Buddhas of the three times. This is because although there are 84,000 teachings, it is not easy to practise them. Only the Six-syllable mantra practice is easy to uphold. At the same time, due to the dedication of the noble aspirations of the Buddhas, it is easy to obtain blessings through the recitation practice of this mantra. It is not easy for sentient beings to be born in the Sambhogakaya Buddha Pureland. However, if you recite the Six-syllable mantra, you will be able to gain rebirth in the pureland, and even if you do not have sufficient merit, you will remain in a lotus and able to listen to the teachings of the Buddha until the lotus blossom for you to see the Buddha. Therefore, even if you still possess mental defilements and negative karma, you can still be born in the Buddha’s pureland.

We should maintain mindfulness of our conduct while moving, standing, sitting and laying down, and constantly keep the Three Jewels in our mind and recite the Six-syllable mantra continuously. If we just recite the mantra during a meditational practice session, and after that during our daily life, we only recite for awhile whenever it comes to mind, then accomplishment in the practice will be slow. If in our life, we are continuously inseparable from our practice, then accomplishment will be swift.

If we continuously recite the Six-syllable mantra, then whenever attachment, aversion and ignorance arise, we will naturally have the inner strength to purify and eliminate them. If we do not have the strength of practice, we may commit non-virtuous deed that cause regret and create great karmic obscuration for ourselves.

We should always go for refuge before the Triple Gems and make the noble aspiration to benefit all sentient beings. If not, the virtuous merit that we accumulate will be limited. If we can continuously practice in this way, then even in the bardo of death, our mind will remain clear and luminous, and more able to be in accord with the Buddha Dharma.

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

Mipham Treatise on the Modes of Being

Very useful teaching with which one can reflect upon oneself.  Dharma is not just about mumbling mantras and going about in our usual habitual patterns.  But it takes introspection and quietude to really assess our own minds and change it.

Some nice quotes :

Let me explain the reason for this [being plagued by misfortune]:
Their previous merit is weak,
Like Chinese tea sifted through a filter.
They have bad mind and lose what is good.
Because they do little to repay the kindness
Of their parents, teachers, elders, and benefactors
The protective deities and divinities become disenchanted with them,
And they become like a corpse with no allies.
With little concern for disgrace in this and future lives and with little heed for
the law of cause and effect,
Whatever they say and whatever they swear,
They never follow through on a single thing.
This is why the strict and honest protectors become disenchanted with them.

Mistaking benefit for harm, they get pulled in all directions and fall sway to
their temporary situations.
If they could they would even treat the sublime refuge objects
as their servants,

They have little respect or confidence in the Three Jewels,
They do not act the same in front of your face as they do when you are
not looking,
And their earlier actions and later actions are inconsistent.
This deeply saddens the awakened heart-minds of the samaya-bearing
Dharmapalas.
They indulge carelessly in food and money
That was garnered from false accusations, disgraceful actions,
and swearing oaths.
They heedlessly indulge in gossip and slander.
Thus, protective gods and guardian spirits fade away into the sky.

When they see the fulfillment, glory, and prosperity of others,
Painful jealousy rises up uselessly.
Since they willingly disgrace themselves in front of everyone,
The capacity of the protectors and refuge deities is exhausted.
Because of these and other such causes and conditions,
They sabotage their own perfect conditions.
It is like they are sitting in a pool of feces:
Even if they call out to hundreds of deities and thousands of nagas,
It is extremely unlikely that these divine beings will congregate before them.

At that time, they say,
“Alas, even though I have done all this puja and practice,
Nothing in my life is working out and nothing is successful,
And these practices have not benefited me in the slightest.”
Beings in these degenerate times have such weak merit!
Right away, you must recognize that it is these unwise behaviors
That are to blame [for your misfortune].
And you should turn away from these actions!

Credits and thanks to Ari Bhod:
http://aribhod.org/translation-publishing/mipham-jamyang-namgyal-gyatso/

The file is available free for download on their site but I include a copy here for download in case the link changes in future:

Mipham treatise for download here (right click)

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.

Amazing Devotees I have Known

(From “Heart of Unconditional Love”  Tulku Thondup)

In the Golok province of Eastern Tibet, where I was born and grew up, I knew many older laymen and laywomen who joyfully and vigorously prayed with unreserved devotion to the Buddha of Loving-Kindness (Chenrezig) and enjoyed heartfelt blessings.

Many of them were illiterate, in the Western sense. But in reality, they not only knew how to recite all the essential prayers and pray with true love for mother-beings and devotion to the Buddha, but they also did so sometimes more earnestly than many well-educated monks and nuns. Yet many of these laypeople knew very little about the fancy interpretations and complex meanings of the textual teachings. They weren’t really interested in theoretical views of different traditions. Nor were they interested in becoming logicians who could criticize, defend, and refute intellectual and doctrinal arguments. They didn’t care whether they could cite historical or bibliographical evidence. Most weren’t interested in performing elaborate ceremonial liturgies.

But these laypeople had something that was far more precious: absolute trust, confidence, and devotion to the Buddha of Loving-Kindness and his unconditional love, as instructed by their teachers. They fully believed in his power to protect them from misfortune and fulfill all their needs if they prayed sincerely from their hearts. With this trust and devotion, they continuously recited the Six-Syllable Prayer as their daily spiritual prayer to the Buddha, day and night, unless they were asleep. While walking or sitting, even while eating and drinking, somewhere, somehow, the waves of devotional prayer were always alive on their breath. Even while they were asleep, if they woke up for a second or two in the night, I would hear them starting to recite their prayers a couple of times before they fell back asleep.

When I was growing up, I remember hearing from the father of my tutor Kyala Khenpo (Chechog Dondrub Tsal), whose name was Yumko of Kyala and who was then in his eighties, that when he was in bed, he held his prayer beads on his stomach as he was counting prayers instead of resting his hand on the bed.  That way, he explained, the movements of the beads would keep him awake longer, so that he could say more prayers.

These wonderful devotees seem to have transformed the waves of their breath into a cycle of prayer, as if the chain of their thoughts was a continuous flow of devotion and all the waves of the phenomena around them turned into the presence and actions of the Buddha of Loving Kindness (Chenrezig), wishing joy for all.

That is why these older people, whether they were happy or in pain, rarely seemed to get distracted from the light of love of the Buddha.  When they were happy, they would respect it as the blessings of Buddha’s love.  When they were sick or suffering, they would still maintain a sense of thankfulness by seeing it as a washing away of their negative deeds (karma) that, thanks to the power of the Buddha’s unconditional care, they wouldn’t have to experience in future.  If they lived long, they used their years as an opportunity to pray more to their beloved Buddha and engage in more virtuous deeds for others. If they were dying, they would be pleased as if they were going home, since they fully trusted that the Buddha would lead them to his Pure Land — a Buddha paradise.

Because of the power and effects of these life-long positive thoughts and deeds, when the hour of their death arrived, most of these laypeople hardly felt sadness, pain or fear.  While dying, many expressed joy at leaving for their long-awaited destination, for which they had long prepared.  They would start to describe their beautiful visions of Buddhas or Buddha pure lands and the soothing sounds of prayers.

According to the Buddhist teachings, when devout and meritorious meditators die, they behold clouds of enlightened ones such as the Buddha of Loving-Kindness (Chenrezig) in the sky before them, in the midst of lights of love and music and prayers.  They move swiftly and peacefully through the bardo, the intermediate or transitional period between death and rebirth.   They take rebirth in a Buddha Pure Land of everlasting peace, joy and wisdom.

In today’s world, it is becoming harder and harder to find people like this anywhere, inside or outside of Tibet.  But when I was growing up, seeing people who led such meaningful lives opened my eyes to the world of true authentic teachings and meditators.  These simple people became a great source of inner joy and true understanding for me.  Whenever I think about them, I get lost in great wonder.

In case anyone is wondering, the dying visions of these laypeople were not hallucinations or delusions.  They were the result of these peoples’ transforming their mental habitual tendencies by pacifying conflicting and confused thoughts, healing bruised emotions, and cooling the flames of sensations.  The kind of world or phenomena that people encounter after death is a manifestation of the qualities of their mind, of the habitual reflections they built over lifetimes.  By the time death arrived, these laypeople were blossoming with the joyful energy of devotion and trust in the Buddha.

If our mind is full of devotion, trust and loving-kindness, then what we will see and feel at death will be a world of ultimate joy and love.  This transformation can take place in anyone, if they developed a mind of true trust and devotion to the Buddha of Loving-Kindness (Chenrezig) and if they prayed with the skilful means of devotion from the core of the heart.

Following Buddha with faith

The teachings of Buddha may be difficult to understand, beyond ordinary conception. But as a practitioner, it is important to have faith in Buddha whose teachings are based on omniscience and full comprehension of the capacity of beings, instead of constantly following one’s own interpretations which are fickle, changeable, dependent on one’s current emotion, preferences, mental afflictions and flawed intelligence.

Quote from the Medicine Buddha Sutra :

At that time the World Honored One said to Ananda, “The merit and virtue of the World Honored One, Medicine Master Vaidurya Light Tathagata, which I have just extolled, is the extremely profound practice of all Buddhas. It is difficult to fathom and to comprehend. Do you believe it or not?”

Ananda said, “Greatly virtuous World Honored One, I have absolutely no doubts regarding the Sutras spoken by the Tathagata. Why? Because all Buddhas’ karmas of body, speech, and mind are pure. World Honored One, the sun and moon could fall, Wonderfully High, the king of mountains, could be toppled or shaken, but the words of the Buddhas never change.”

“World Honored One, there are sentient beings deficient in faith who hear about the extremely profound practices of all Buddhas and think to themselves, ‘How could one obtain such supreme merit and benefit merely by reciting the name of a single Buddha, Medicine Master Vaidurya Light Tathagata?’ Due to this lack of faith, they give rise to slander. During the long night, they lose great benefit and joy and fall into the evil destinies, where they wander ceaselessly.”

The Buddha told Ananda, “If these sentient beings hear the name of the World Honored One, Medicine Master Vaidurya Light Tathagata, and sincerely accept and uphold it without any doubts, they cannot possibly fall into the evil destinies.

Ananda, this is the extremely profound practice of all Buddhas which is difficult to believe and to understand! You should know that your ability to accept this comes from the awesome power of the Tathagata. Ananda, all Hearers, Solitarily Enlightened Ones, and the Bodhisattvas who have not yet ascended to the Grounds are incapable of believing and understanding this Dharma as it really is. Only the Bodhisattvas who are destined in one life to attain Buddhahood, are capable of understanding.

Ananda, it is difficult to obtain a human body. It is also difficult to have faith in and to revere the Triple Jewel. It is even more difficult to be able to hear the name of the World Honored One, Medicine Master Vaidurya Light Tathagata. Ananda, Medicine Master Vaidurya Light Tathagata possesses boundless Bodhisattva practices, limitless skillful expedients, and immeasurably vast, great vows. If I were to speak extensively of those for an eon or more, the eon would soon end, but that Buddha’s practices, vows, and skillful expedients have no end!”

This entry was posted on 15151515, in Teachings.

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

Generation and Completion Stage non-dual

Comments: Some people consider the generation stage (of the Vajrayana system) to be ‘conceptual’ , ‘dualistic’ and prefer teachings purely on emptiness or the nature of mind, Dzogchen etc.  While it is okay to concentrate on the aspect or teachings that suit one’s inclinations, it is not so okay to have a biased or erroneous view of the other Dharma methods/paths.  This may cause us to accidentally denigrate the teachings to others who may be suited to such teachings or to lose a precious opportunity to progress on the path with a method that may actually be of tremendous help to us (despite our reservations.)  I found this precious story of Ra Lotsawa (a great realized being and adept of Vajrabhairava), do read :

Maben Chöbar, Tsur Lotsawa and Barekpa Töpagawa, who were pupils of the Indian Vajrapani, came to receive Dharma teaching from Ralo. When he gave them the empowerment and instructions, Tsur Lotsawa gained a realization that was like space and Maben Chöbar gained unimpeded miraculous powers. Barekpa was thinking, “This lama’s instructions on the generations stage of the deity are so very detailed, he has an attachment to complexity as solidly real,” and so he didn’t develop any qualities.

That evening, the three men were staying together in the same house and so they compared their experiences. As nothing had happened for Barekpa the other two said, “We have developed excellent experience and realization through receiving this lama’s instructions, but as nothing happened for you should ask to receive them again.”

When Barekpa did that, Rachen smiled and said, “You don’t have faith in me.”

Barekpa said, “No, I am not lacking in faith.”

Ra Lotsawa laughed and said, “I know exactly what you are thinking.”

Barekpa made many prostrations and offered a confession, so that Ra Lotsawa said, “The superior mantrayāna is distinctive because of its methods. In wisdom and emptiness there is no division into good and bad. There are many kinds of methods but there is none greater than the generation phase. It is the teaching of the inseparability of the basis, path and result.  Some say the meditation of the generation phase is inferior and the meditation of the completion stage is superior. However, both are the natural power of the mind so how can there be any superiority or inferiority? Seeing the non-dual as two and viewing one as superior and the other inferior: that is attachment to solidity.” Then he sang this song:

I pray from my heart with veneration

To venerable  guru Bharo.

Give your blessing to deluded beings

So that they may realize non-duality.

In the last of the five hundred year periods,

The time when only the outer image of the Dharma,

The meaning and view of the Buddha’s teachings

Will be incorrectly explained by minds with partial understanding.

The practice of the generation phase of the deity

Will be declared to be conceptual by the ignorant.

It is attachment to duality if you adopt and reject

The inseparability of clarity, knowing and emptiness.

In particular the special teaching of the mantrayāna

Is solely the generation stage of the deity;

It is the meditation of emptiness

And it is present throughout the vinaya and sutras.

The principal cause of our wandering in samsara

Throughout beginningless time until the present

Is solely the attachment to ordinary appearances.

The Buddha taught the generation stage in order to purify that.

The teaching that the generations stage is inferior,

Which is found in Dzogchen, Mahamudra, the dohas, and elsewhere,

Is for the purpose of negating the attachment

Of beings who have the view of eternalism.

Otherwise, the inseparability of the generation and completion stages,

When meditating on the deity meditation,

Is that the clear appearance is the generation phase

And the empty nature is the completion stage.

Their non-duality is the union.

There is no adoption or rejection, division into good or bad.

All appearances of form are the union of emptiness and appearance, the Body.

They have no nature of their own, they are like rainbows.

Through the qualities of meditating in that way,

Physical obscurations are purified and the nirmanakaya is attained.

All sounds are the union of emptiness and sound, the Speech.

There is nothing to be identified, they are like echoes.

Through the qualities of meditating in that way,

Vocal obscurations are purified and the sambhogakaya is attained.

All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.

Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.

Through the qualities of meditating in that way,

Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained.

Everything is non-dual,

Self-arising, self-appearing, like mist.

Through the qualities of meditating in that way,

The svabhavakaya, beyond the intellect, is attained.

In brief, the generation stage has great qualities.

Everything that you wish for comes from it.

Even attachment to ordinary appearances and belief in solidity

Are purified by meditation on the generation stage.

Even the peaceful, increasing controlling and wrathful activities

Are accomplished through meditation on the generation stage.

Even an immeasurable benefit of beings

Arises through meditation on the generation stage.

Without any physical or vocal difficulty being needed

Everything will be accomplished through the meditative state.

Ease of practice, great benefits, skilful methods,

Are the special qualities of the mantrayana.

Barekpa was filled with faith and, saddened, asked for  forgiveness for his earlier lack of faith. From then on Barekpa single-pointedly practiced whatever instruction the lama gave. He had a vision of Vajrabhairava and directly perceived the true nature of all phenomena. He subsequently accomplished a vast benefit for many beings and in the end departed to the pure realms.

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

Best way to clear obstacles

Guru Rinpoche said that when practising the Dharma there will be outer, inner and secret obstacles. But, he said, when it comes to dispelling these obstacles, there is no greater method than praying to the lama. The buddhas of the past, present and future have not taught, are not teaching and will not teach a greater method than this… By praying to the lama all obstacles will be dispelled, and when they are dispelled, you will receive the accomplishments.

~ Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche

On Pure Vision

Message from Venerable Gyatrul Rinpoche April 11, 2014

You think that your body is real, that pain is real, and that pleasure is something else, also real. There are so many different sensations. But all of these are just appearances. Pain is just an appearance, pleasure is just an appearance.

All appearances are the same as dreams. Look at dreams: we have one experience, then another, then the whole thing changes, then we wake up or maybe have another dream. Dreaming, waking, dying, then a new life: all of these are just appearances.

Always try to see where you are as a pureland. We think that someday we will arrive in the pureland, that it is someplace we have to go. Actually, the pureland is something you train in, something you recognize. Until now we have always gone into samsara too much, we have always focused on impure appearances. We have trained in these so diligently that even if Guru Rinpoche or Tara were to come in front of us, we wouldn’t believe they were actually there, because we don’t have any habit of seeing them.
So, we must train in pure appearances instead. Try to see all of this as a pureland. You should read about purelands, such as Guru Rinpoche’s pureland, Tara’s pureland, and Vajrasattva’s. Read the descriptions of what it’s like there.

If it’s Guru Rinpoche’s pureland you are thinking of, that means Vajrasattva can’t be there, right? Tara can’t appear there. And Buddha Shakyamuni? No way! Isn’t that how you think?

Actually, there is no difference between them!

Or maybe you think that, unlike the others, Buddha Shakyamuni doesn’t have a wisdom body, but a flesh body?

He IS a wisdom body! But since he is appearing to impure beings, he must also appear impurely, as flesh and blood. In the temple there are all those thangkas depicting the Buddha’s past lives. He manifested in so many different ways. Each one was only for the benefit of beings, each was just an appearance. He seemed to be flesh and blood but really he was just wisdom appearing for the sake of beings.

Appearances change continuously. So if you die, it’s nothing much. It is just appearances, changing a bit. In terms of your body, maybe death seems like a big change, but in terms of appearances, it’s not a big deal, because appearances are changing all the time anyway. Watch how they constantly arise, constantly change– whether waking or in dreams, morning and night.

If you die but to you everything is a pureland, then you are still in the pureland. Sentient beings’ experiences are changing, but it is all your pureland. You don’t need to buy a ticket to the pureland. You just need to recognize what you have right now. In your pureland, all happiness and suffering are liberated. They call that quality “all- encompassing purity.” “All-encompassing” means it is even, evenly pervading everything. “Purity” means all obscurations are purified, like the syllable “sang” (“purified”) in the Tibetan word for buddha, “sangye.”

At the same time, that purity is inseparable from compassion for sentient beings. All appearances are all-encompassing purity, but beings don’t recognize this. Instead, they suffer in the realms of samsara. Thus, they are naturally objects of compassion.

That purity is also manifesting unceasingly. You think that Vimalamitra and all the great masters of the past came and then they went away? No! They are present, here, now. These manifestations are but the expression of the qualities of all-encompassing purity, your buddha nature. They emanate and appear in all different forms in response to the needs of beings. They are made by the mind, and the mind can do anything. It can appear in any way.

It’s important to consider skillful method (which is great compassion), and wisdom or prajna (which is emptiness). When these two are unmistaken, they are inseparable. They are the union of method and wisdom. Everyone likes to think this is just referring to sexual union, but it’s not.
For example, your body, speech, and mind are method, great compassion, because without a form, you can’t benefit others. But they are empty; that is wisdom. They are completely empty, just appearances, nothing else.

The nature of awareness is clarity, and that clarity is wisdom.
A scholar without method is nothing, no matter how much he knows. Look at the Dalai Lama, he can sit anywhere, high or low, he doesn’t care. Others, by contrast, can’t just sit anywhere; they feel they need a special place to sit. That means they don’t have method and wisdom together.
In the future, if you have learned many things and then you pop up, thinking you are something special–that means you blew it! It means you couldn’t give up the afflictive emotions, the five poisons. You didn’t get real method or real wisdom.

You don’t need to go anywhere; you already have it. What you need is to study and train in pure appearances. Then, your grasping to ordinary reality, grasping to this and that as good or bad, grasping to subject and object as impure: all these will decrease slowly.

Learn about how, if you recognize the nature of the elements, then all earth is the yellow goddess Sangye Chenma (Buddha Locana), all water is the white goddess Mamaki (Mamaki), all heat is red Gokarmo (Pandaravasini), wind is green Damtsig Drolma (Samaya Tara), and space is blue Yingchugma (Dhatvishvari). Those are the outer elements. For the inner elements of the body, all flesh is Sangye Chenma, blood is Mamaki, the body’s warmth is Gokarmo, the breath is Damtsig Drolma, and space is Yingchugma. All of these are different from each other, right? No. They are the same nature; they are oneness. All of the buddhas, whether wrathful, peaceful, enriching, or magnetizing, are the nature of the five wisdoms. We must gradually understand this.
When we say “The earth is Sangye Chenma,” what does that mean? Does it mean the earth has eyes (“chenma” means eyes)? No. It means that the nature of earth is not separate from our buddha nature. It means that anything made of the five elements is our buddha nature, arising as the 5 wisdoms. When they are not recognized, they are the 5 poisons. When they are recognized, they are wisdom. If you ask, for example, where does discriminating wisdom come from? You can answer, the 5 poisons. Do I know this for myself? No. I heard it, but I didn’t see it myself.
You might say, “Don’t disturb me! I am in a pureland!” But whatever disturbance comes, that disturbance energy is the five poisons, which are the five wisdoms. How is that going to disturb your pureland?

You also can’t say “Muslims are wrong! Hindus, put them over in some corner. Hinayana? Put it down. Vajrayana–put it up high.” You actually can say nothing like that! All have the same nature. Vajrayana is the tradition of Buddha’s enlightened mind. The Buddha has enlightened body, speech, mind, qualities, and activities. There are so many! How can you make them high or low?

Similarly, we have so many negative things, too: all the poisons, including desire, pride, jealousy, anger and ignorance. If we recognize them, they are the five wisdoms, the five kayas. There are not just five–we have numberless, inconceivable conceptual elaborations. They are there, countless, but we have to look at their nature, which is the same. Babies don’t have so many concepts, so they will eat shit or anything–they don’t know the difference. It’s all the same to them. It’s only once you grow up that you make a big deal, saying, “That’s dirty!”
In Dudjom Rinpoche’s pure visions, many, many purelands appeared, in the east, south, west, and north, upstairs, downstairs, and everywhere. In these, there were many different deities–peaceful, enriching, magnetizing and wrathful ones–and all of them gave him teachings and blessed him. It wasn’t that some were high and others were low.

Train, bit by bit. Check. Old or young, everybody try to train in this. First, read about the qualities of Guru Rinpoche’s pureland, and then read the visualization of Tara’s pureland, and then others. Read whatever generation stage juicy teachings you can find that describe the palace and the environment. This way you will become more and more familiar with them.

We think we need to go to the pureland today, but we don’t know how to get there. Actually you don’t need to go there, you don’t need to “go” anywhere, in any ordinary way. Recognize that right now you are already there, in the middle of it. We have the five elements in our bodies as our flesh, blood, heat, breath, and mind. In truth, those five are the five dakinis, they are awakened. For example, our breath is Damtsig Drolma. If we slowly try to understand this, then when we do the Chimed Sok Tig Longevity Practice or any other deity practice, we will recognize that they all have that same meaning.

The buddhas know that all these appearing phenomena are not ordinary. They know that earth is Sangye Chenma, heat is Gokarmo, etc. We think, “A pureland, wow, sparkling! Someplace special, I want to go there!” No, it’s not like that. If we need to go to a pureland, we need to slowly, slowly understand the purity of appearances. Then all the buddhas are with us. Understanding the purity of appearances is understanding the nature of the buddhas. If you understand the nature of refuge in the buddha, then you know that the nature of the dharma is the same, and the sangha are just the emanations of that same buddha.

Guru Rinpoche is, too. He is the emanation of the forms of all the buddhas. He is also the emanation of their speech, mind, qualities, and activities. They say there are eight manifestations of Guru Rinpoche, but actually there are countless emanations. When we awaken, the benefit of others will manifest like this, and we don’t need to be kissing and hugging everybody to try to benefit them.

Kuntuzangpo is the primordial buddha, and he is called that because he has never strayed into confusion about appearances. He has always understood their nature, and thus he has never had any learning or training to do. That accurate and unchanging understanding is the ultimate teacher. It is our own nature. In fact, all the buddhas have that nature, and so do all sentient beings. So you can see, the buddhas are not something far away, out there; all their qualities are present, evident, and manifest. If you know them, that’s enlightenment. If not, that’s samsara.

If you practice listening, contemplation, and meditation, those are relative method and wisdom. By exerting yourself in these, learning and practicing generation stage, completion stage, and each of the levels step by step, then you become liberated. In that nature of liberation, the dharmakaya, all efforts such as listening, contemplating and meditating are liberated as well.

Tashi Delek!
-Gyatrul

Interview with Thinley Norbu Rinpoche on bringing up children

I understand you are writing a new book on bringing up children. Would you tell us about it?

I thought Westerners might be interested in how to give their children good habits, especially to connect with Buddhism. The book is for children, but parents should give up parent’s ego and study it in order to teach children.

The title is Fresh Rain. It is about how to create good habits in children, to raise the crops of spiritual knowledge. When children start to see objects and start to talk, you can put the seeds of good habits in their minds gradually, with skilful means and patience, for the long term, showing them how to practise for enlightenment and also for this life. It is important to put the seeds of how to settle their minds from the beginning.

Ordinary people cannot be forced to think or act beyond their capacity, because it can cause craziness. Unless they have especially gifted minds or are a sublime being’s incarnation, very young children cannot understand subtle, immaterial spiritual ideas. So therefore, they have to be taught gradually about spirituality at the right time, with skilful means, through the objects of the five senses in the material world, even though the source of material energy is immaterial and the basis of spiritual phenomena is insubstantial.

Children must be taught initially through material examples which they can touch, which they can see, and which they can hear, in order to connect them to immaterial spirituality. At least they will not have an unstable mind or mental disorder. Ultimately, this can be beneficial to attain enlightenment if they practise continuously. If they have faith, it can benefit them even momentarily in this life. Then, as they grow up, they have to change again, because they develop their minds. Their minds become more refined, and they become ready to learn more refined ideas. As they grow up further, a more expansive point of view has to be gradually taught.

The main key is to make children’s minds very balanced, very stable, and not speedy. Nowadays, many people are very speedy from the habit of competition, but this always causes mistakes. It is not right to think about the past or future just to be expedient for one’s own instant gratification which leads to many disastrous consequences. The problem is that they have to continuously repair their mistakes.

Of course, samsara is like this world; it is not a buddhafield. There are always mistakes, but Americans make many more mistakes than anyone, I think. I say this with good intention, not to be negative, hoping they will decrease and cure their mental halitosis. There is so much technology and material wealth; people don’t believe in the spiritual idea. People don’t believe in rest. They are so afraid of delaying anything, and they always have to rush.

This automatically seeds extreme nervousness, frustration and fear, so when they age, they are more unhappy and depressed. They can no longer deal with the material world in the same way because their physical energy is decaying, yet reminiscence of their youth continues in their minds. It is very difficult to help them through substance, and their misery cannot be cured easily because of their lack of spiritual development. So, spiritual development cannot be ignored, in order to always have a positive life until attaining enlightenment.

There is such a great cultural distance between Tibet and the West, how easy is it to communicate the dharma to Westerners?

If Westerners think and say that dharma is difficult to communicate to Westerners because it is foreign to them, it will discourage them from believing in their buddhanature, rather than inspiring them to let their buddhanature blossom.

Whoever follows the Mahayana teachings believes, as Buddha Shakyamuni said, that all sentient beings have buddhanature. Buddhanature does not mean animal nature. Buddhanature means the awakened nature which is the source of immeasurable, awakened knowledge. Therefore, that is the root circumstance seed. Through that seed of buddhanature and the good opportunity of contributing circumstances arising, such as wisdom lineage teachers, buddhanature can blossom.

Buddhanature is not foreign. Buddhanature itself has no division. Division only comes from the lack of acknowledgement of buddhanature. So, it is not only Westerners who can connect with dharma some day, but other beings also. Instead of thinking dharma is foreign and discouraging Westerners from opening their buddhanature, we should have the inspiration of believing in buddhanature and try to let it blossom as shown by the Uttaratantra’s three reasons.

Actually, in the Mahayana and Vajrayana teachings, Buddha Shakyamuni never made divisions between those with different skins and cultures. If people do not think dharma is foreign, and they believe in buddhanature, then buddhanature is not foreign and they can cause enlightenment the same as other supposedly foreign Buddhas, and join with other foreign Buddhas. But this depends on the individual’s decision. For example, Devadatta was not physically foreign to the Buddha. He was Buddha’s cousin, from the same race and family and locale as Buddha, but through his jealousy, Buddha’s activity became foreign to him. It cannot be said who is foreign and who is not. It is the individual’s karma.

But even though it is generally acknowledged in history that Devadatta is evil, I cannot decide myself. I cannot say that Devadatta is certainly evil, because as I heard and read in the many vast Mahayana teachings from my great teachers, for the benefit of sentient beings, it is taught and written that Buddha’s activity can be anything, and Buddha can emanate anything, sometimes with what seems to be negative appearance and sometimes with positive appearance, in the form of demons or in the form of deities, as a demonstration for the benefit of sentient beings who have dualistic habit in order to guide them so that they can recognise the difference between what is negative and positive, and so that they can analyse what is bad and what is good.

A master magician can create many different spectacles on a stage, but he himself does not believe that they are true. The audience believes in their reality because they are attached to reality habit. Even though they know it is just the performance of a magician, if the magic is frightening, the audience has fear, and if the magic is beautiful, the audience has desire.

Because bodhisattva’s prayers are so vast, and Buddha’s miracles are so awesome, it can never be said by someone such as me what the ultimate nature of appearance is, since any appearance can be a Buddha’s emanation. Many people of inferior faculties misunderstand the miraculous histories of many sublime beings, including misinterpreting Padmasambhava’s history, because of their seriously mistaken habit from many lives. Even the one angle that they see is only seen through their critical, negative habit.

Was your father, Dudjom Rinpoche, your teacher?

All inner Vajrayana practitioners say “Pa chhog Dorje Chang” — supreme father Vajradhara — as Tilopa said. So, I suppose I can call my father my supreme vajra master father. Father and vajra master are indivisible for me.

Your books have been popular and much sought-after by Western students of Buddhism. Yet you do not seem to seek publicity or large numbers of students. Why do you not seek a more prominent public role?

In general, if I’m in good health, I like to present the teachings in public, but for many years I have had health problems that have reduced my energy very much. I do not want to only blame the operations I have had; I am supposed to believe it is my karmic result, according to the causal yana. However, it is difficult to judge which way of serving the Buddha’s teachings is truly beneficial, whether it is done publicly or privately. It depends on the intentions of the teachers and the listeners, and can only be known from sublime beings. The main teaching is to try to help others in an immaterial, spiritual way, to guide them to enlightenment through blossoming wisdom, spirituality, and not only through materialising and conceptualising.

I do not want to say either that many people know me or that no one knows me because I do not want to prove anything. In general, few, many and much always go within different times, different places, and different directions. Time, place and direction are always changing. So, the best way is not to answer anything in a particular way.

You came to the West first in 1976 because of your health problems. Why did you choose to stay?

I didn’t choose; I think my karma chose, the same as for other sentient beings. Also, I often stay in the West and in other places. I can’t say I will stay continuously in the West, because first, I cannot say what my karma is, and second, I still have breath, so I can move.

Was it good or bad karma to stay in the West?

If someone likes to think it’s bad karma, I like to say it is bad, in order to satisfy them. If someone likes to say it is good karma, I like to say it is good, in order to satisfy them. What other people like to perceive, I have to answer. What I believe from my heart, people may not believe because of different points of view. I cannot know if it is good or bad karma or what is the result and what is the cause. Maybe from the Buddha’s teaching I can know what is good karma and what is bad karma, but I don’t know myself because I have no wisdom eyes, my mind is obscured, and I cannot penetrate any past lives or future lives. So maybe it is bad karma or maybe good karma.

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.

Advice from Dudjom Rinpoche about the Great Perfection

The common practices are the four thoughts that turn the mind away from samsara. The uncommon practices are taking refuge, generating bodhichitta, purifying obscurations and gathering the accumulations of merit and wisdom. Exert yourself according to each of their commentaries until experiences arise. Especially, embrace guru yoga as the vital essence of practice, and practice diligently. If you do not, your meditation will grow slowly, and even if it grows a little, obstacles will arise and genuine realization will not manifest in your mindstream. Therefore, forcefully pray with uncontrived devotion. At some time the realization of wisdom mind will be transmitted to your mindstream, and an extraordinary realization that can not be expressed by words will definitely arise from within yourself.

As it has been said by Lama Shang Rinpoche:

To nurture stillness,

To nurture spiritual experiences,

To nurture samadhi and other spiritual states-

These are common.

But by the strength of your devotion,

For realization to arise from within

Due to the lama’s blessings-

This is rare.

Therefore, for the ultimate truth of the Great Perfection to appear in your mind is dependent upon the preliminary practices. This is what Drigungpa meant when he said:

Other spiritual teachings regard the main practice as being profound.

We regard the preliminary practice as being profound.

It is just as he said.

An Aspiration Prayer of the Vital Points of Instruction

by Dudjom Rinpoche

Infallible and eternal sole refuge, lord of the mandala, precious, most kind root Lama,
I do not think of death but instead waste the leisures and opportunities I could use for spiritual life.
Please compassionately accept me as your disciple.

This fleeting, dream, like human life
Can be joyful or sorrowful, it doesn’t really matter.
Not aspiring for joy or sorrow,
May I persevere in my practice of the sublime Dharma!

This human life, a butter lamp in a breeze,
Can be long lasting or short, it doesn’t really matter.
So, while not letting ego, clinging tighten further,
May I persevere in my practice of the sublime Dharma!

These intellectual judgements, deceptive illusions,
Can be right or wrong, it doesn’t really matter.
Tossing away the eight worldly concerns I carry, useless as grass,
May I persevere in my practice of the sublime Dharma!

These friends and helpers, like birds flocked in a tree,
Can be with me or not, it doesn’t really matter.
Keeping my own counsel,
May I persevere in my practice of the sublime Dharma!

This illusory body, like a hundred, year, old decrepit house,
Can last or collapse, it doesn’t really matter.
Not ensnared by effort to acquire food, clothing, or medicine,
May I persevere in my practice of the sublime Dharma!

Religious rank, what a child’s game!
To keep it or lose it, it doesn’t really matter.
Not fooling myself with all these trifles,
May I persevere in my practice of the sublime Dharma!

These gods and demons, like a mirror’s reflections,
Can be helpful or harmful, it doesn’t really matter.
Not taking my hallucinations as enemies,
May I persevere in my practice of the sublime Dharma!

These thoughtless conversations, fleeting as an echo,
Can be pleasant or not, it doesn’t really matter.
Taking the Triple Gems and my own mind as witness,
May I persevere in my practice of the sublime Dharma!

The fields of science are unhelpful at the time of need, like a deer’s antlers.
If I have intellectual knowledge or not, it doesn’t really matter.
Not placing my trust in mere studies,
May I persevere in my practice of the sublime Dharma!

These undeserved offerings, deadly poison,
If I receive them or not, it doesn’t really matter.
Not spending my human life engaged in wrong livelihood,
May I persevere in my practice of the sublime Dharma!

This high social standing, like dog excrement wrapped in silk brocade,
If I have it or not, it doesn’t really matter.
Smelling the rot between my own ears,
May I persevere in my practice of the sublime Dharma!

These close ties, as temporary as those among crowds on market day,
Be they loving or hostile, it doesn’t really matter.
Sincerely cutting the bonds of clinging,
May I persevere in my practice of the sublime Dharma!

These possessions, riches in a dream,
If I have them or not, it doesn’t really matter.
Not using seeming conformity or flattery to deceive others,
May I persevere in my practice of the sublime Dharma!

This status, like a tiny bird alighting upon a tree,
Can be high or low, it doesn’t really matter.
So, not wishing for situations that will make me suffer,
May I persevere in my practice of the sublime Dharma!

Practice of black magic, like a weapon,
Can be successful or not, it doesn’t really matter.
Not purchasing a razor to commit suicide,
May I persevere in my practice of the sublime Dharma!

Reciting prayers, like a parrot repeating OM MANI PEMÉ HUNG,
If I do it or not, it doesn’t really matter.
Not keeping score of all I have done,
May I persevere in my practice of the sublime Dharma!

Irrelevant teachings, like cascading mountain streams,
If I am learned in them or not, it doesn’t really matter.
Not meditating on ideas cleverly expressed as the teachings,
May I persevere in my practice of the sublime Dharma!

The keen analytical mind, like a pig’s snout,
Can be sharp or dull, it doesn’t really matter.
Not foraging in the debris of pointless desire and anger,
May I persevere in my practice of the sublime Dharma!

Experiences in contemplative practice, like an Indian summer’s water spring,
Can increase or fade, it doesn’t really matter.
Not chasing rainbows like a child,
May I persevere in my practice of the sublime Dharma!

This visionary experience, like rain upon a mountain peak,
Can occur or not, it doesn’t really matter.
Not taking my delusion as real,
May I persevere in my practice of the sublime Dharma!

Without these leisures and attainments, wish, fulfilling jewels,
Accomplishing the sublime Dharma is impossible.
Not squandering them while they are mine,
May I persevere in my practice of the sublime Dharma!

Without having met my glorious Lama, the light of liberation’s path,
Realization of the abiding nature is impossible.
Not falling off a cliff when I know the way to go,
May I persevere in my practice of the sublime Dharma!

Without listening to the sublime Dharma, healing medicine,
Knowing what to reject and what to accept is impossible.
Not swallowing deadly poison when I can tell help from harm,
May I persevere in my practice of the sublime Dharma!

Without noticing joy and sorrow’s fluctuations, like summer alternating with winter,
Renunciation is impossible.
Concluding that suffering will return to me,
May I persevere in my practice of the sublime Dharma!

Without casting out now my immersion in samsara, a stone at the river bottom,
A later escape will be impossible.
Seizing the Triple Gems’ lifeline of compassion,
May I persevere in my practice of the sublime Dharma!

Without knowing freedom’s noble qualities, an island of jewels,
Cultivation of diligence is impossible.
Seeing the gain of lasting victory,
May I persevere in my practice of the sublime Dharma!

Without encountering these sublime stories of liberation, nectar’s essence,
Fostering trust is impossible.
Not harming myself when I can tell the difference between success and failure,
May I persevere in my practice of the sublime Dharma!

Without nurturing the mind of awakening, a fertile field,
Enlightenment is impossible.
Not lapsing into complacency toward that very meaningful accomplishment,
May I persevere in my practice of the sublime Dharma!

Without tending to my own mind, a ridiculous monkey,
Renunciation of the passions is impossible.
Not imitating a madman by doing whatever I please,
May I persevere in my practice of the sublime Dharma!

Without relinquishing this ego, clinging, my ever, present shadow,
Reaching exaltation’s land is impossible.
Not treating my captive enemy as a friend,
May I persevere in my practice of the sublime Dharma!

Without extinguishing these five poisons, embers under ashes,
Abiding in mind’s genuine nature is impossible.
Not feeding venomous baby snakes in my home,
May I persevere in my practice of the sublime Dharma!

Without softening my own mindstream, as stiff as a leather butter, sack,
Merging my mind with the Dharma is impossible.
Not spoiling the child born in me,
May I persevere in my practice of the sublime Dharma!

Without stopping these bad habits, a constant stream,
Freedom from conduct contrary to the Dharma is impossible.
Not putting weapons in the hands of my enemies,
May I persevere in my practice of the sublime Dharma!

Without giving up these distractions, ceaseless ripples on water,
Achieving stability is impossible.
Not creating samsara when I have a choice,
May I persevere in my practice of the sublime Dharma!

Without my Lama’s blessings, like earth, water, and warmth [necessary for seeds to grow], having entered me,
Recognition of my true nature is impossible.
Now that I’ve come to the direct path, not taking the long way around,
May I persevere in my practice of the sublime Dharma!

Without staying in this remote retreat, like a lush summer region of medicinal plants,
Noble qualities cannot grow.
When staying in the mountains, not wandering among bustling crowds,
May I persevere in my practice of the sublime Dharma!

Without freedom from desire for comfort, like possession by a craving spirit,
To stop energetically creating suffering is impossible.
Not making offerings to starving demons as my personal deity,
May I persevere in my practice of the sublime Dharma!

Without relying upon mindfulness, a castle’s sealed gate,
Delusion’s traffic will not stop.
Not leaving the gate unlocked when thieves come,
May I persevere in my practice of the sublime Dharma!

Without realizing the abiding nature, like the changeless sky,
I will not ascertain the view’s basis.
Not tying myself up,
May I persevere in my practice of the sublime Dharma!

Without seeing awareness, like a stainless crystal,
Meditation with grasping and effort will not collapse.
Not seeking this constant companion elsewhere,
May I persevere in my practice of the sublime Dharma!

Without recognition of natural mind’s face, like that of an old friend,
All that I do will mislead me.
Not closing my eyes to what I have in my hand,
May I persevere in my practice of the sublime Dharma!

In short, if I do not give up this life’s activities,
Accomplishing the sublime Dharma for the next life is impossible.
Giving myself this, the kindest advice,
May all that I do turn into the sublime Dharma!

May my attainment of accomplishments have no impediment, such as
Wrong views toward my Lama when he gives instruction consistent with the Dharma,
Disappointment with the wisdom deity during upheavals of negative karma,
Or postponing spiritual practice if adverse circumstances occur.

All that I’ve done amounts to meaningless circling of an empty place;
All my efforts have caused my mind to become rigid.
All my thinking has reinforced my delusion.
All ordinary individuals’ conceited spiritual activity causes our bondage.

So much done without having produced a single result,
So much thinking without the slightest lasting conclusion,
So many “needs” without time to fulfill them.
Giving up these activities, may I be able to meditate upon the profound instructions!

When I think, “I intend to do this,” may the Victorious One’s speech be my witness.
When I think, “I am doing [what I intend],” may my mind blend with the Dharma.
When I think, “I am putting [the Dharma] into practice,” may I look to previous masters’ lives of liberation.

To myself I say, “Spoiled one, why do anything else?”
Lama, grant your blessings that I assume a humble position,
Enrich myself with contentment’s wealth,
Loosen my ties to the eight worldly concerns,
Apply myself with an unyielding will,
That my Lama’s blessings enter me, that my realization equal the sky’s breadth,
And that I enter Buddha Kuntu Zangpo’s exalted succession!

I, Jigdral Yeshé Dorjé, synthesized the meaning of the holy past masters’ vajra speech in their oral instructions to compose this for my own recitation practice.

Signs of Accomplishment

 

Tsele_Natsok_Rangdrol

“The most eminent signs of accomplishment are devotion to the master, pure perception of Dharma brothers and sisters, compassion for sentient beings, conscientiousness in regard to cause and effect, disenchantment with samsara, detachment from material things, a peaceful and gentle personality, and one-pointed focus on practice. When all these grow and increase more and more in one’s being, this alone will suffice as signs of accomplishment.” 

 ~ Tsele Natsok Rangdrol

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.

http://www.lamayeshe.com/index.php?sect=article&id=434&chid=769

(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!!

Praying to Guru At Point of Death

A Singaporean Chinese disciple was passing away, Ah Song Tulku Rinpoche was on the phone with her to recite the Sutra of Liberation. After that, he observed that the nun had been liberated in the bardo into the pure realm of Achuk Lama Rinpoche.

After hanging up the call, Ah Song Tulku Rinpoche said to his disciples, “Actually, to go to the pure-realms after death is quite easy, the most important point is to always recall or think of the Guru and to pray to him.  If you can pray to the Guru when you are dying, i have not heard of a single case where someone (who does so) falls to a lower state.”

“When this nun fell ill and had to return home, she felt much fear.  I said to her, ‘When you go back, it is alright if you can’t do the other practices, but you must not forget your Guru in your heart!  Never forget your Guru’s teachings!  Always pray to the Guru.  At all times, pray to the Guru!  Definitely, you will be liberated!!’  She stopped her breath in the midst of praying to Achuk Lama Rinpoche.  Due to praying to the Guru, her mind entered a state of equanimity-meditation,  she was liberated and attained the pure-realms.”

Ah Song Tulku Rinpoche commented, “This is a very auspicious dependent-arising, in the future, among you Chinese disciples, there will be many people who attain liberation!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ah Song Tulku Rinpoche told this story:  In Yachen monastery, there was a nun who had practiced for many years, she had a sudden impulse to go back home and return her vows.  Many people from her home-town advised her not to give up her monastic vows and to remain with Achuk Lama Rinpoche to practice the Dharma properly.  However, she was still insistent on returning home.  After returning home for one to two years, this nun passed away.

At that time, many villagers felt that since this nun had given up her vows and returned home, it was very inauspicious and after her death, she was sure to have fallen to a lower state. Therefore they asked a Khenpo to request Achuk Lama Rinpoche for his prayers to salvage her.  When Achuk Lama Rinpoche observed, he said, “After this nun returned home and gave up her vows, she never forgot her Guru.  She has never forgotten the teachings of her Guru.  She has always been recollecting her Guru therefore she did not descend to a lower state but has already attained Buddhahood in the bardo!”   

Going through the lower realms

Venerable Drubwang Konchok Norbu Rinpoche

Venerable Drubwang Konchok Norbu Rinpoche

From the video : Yogis of Tibet (forward to 34:30 mins onwards)

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOk0tZHwCs4)

Drubwang Rinpoche :

“Now I have meditated for a very very long time, it is very difficult for me to exactly reflect back and count the years that I have meditated.  The reason for this is because although I do appear like a human person outwardly, my mental state is so different, different in the sense that my focus on mundane things is not consistent.  When one meditates, from the very day when one decides to go on solitary retreat, one has made a conscious decision to endure all kinds of losses (of) good clothing, good food, name, fame, prestige, all these things, one must be ready to forgo and give up. We are rationed the barest minimum amount of water and roasted barley flour for our sustenance so that we may be able to sit in the meditation posture.  Only once in a week, we would have the smallest possible amount of food for our sustenance.  You have to persistently make a consistent effort and undergo all kinds of hardship.  Without undergoing hardship, one would not be able to experience the mental state of all the glorious past masters.  When I meditate, I can see all my former lives, I’ve been born in the realm of hell, I’ve been born as a hungry ghost, I’ve been born many times as animals. All these things become very very clear when one is in meditation.  I have gone through the three lower realms of existence many times. In my meditative absorption, I always go through the bardo or intermediate gap which is to say between death and rebirth but there isn’t a great deal of point going into these. When one understands this life and the lives after as one, to such a person, there is no need to go into these nitty-gritty things.  When one’s body is already dismantled in one’s meditation, there is no question of death or discarding one’s physical body.”

Comments: There are some proponents around who say that the lower realms in Buddhism are merely metaphors for a psychological state of mind and so forth.  Some people even discredit the Buddhist notion of future lives and rebirths.  Such people may even consider themselves Buddhists and/or teachers.  We have to understand, no matter how distasteful it is to imagine that we can take rebirths in such ‘low’ states of immense sufferings, the Buddha explained only the truth.  We should not take whatever we like from the Buddhist teachings and then construe the rest as we please.  This will not help you in your understanding and progress at all.  

The lower realms are very real to us and we definitely have the possibilities of taking rebirth in them.  Although it is true that the lower realms are based on mind, but our current reality now as humans is also based on mind.  Just as we experience joy and sorrow now, so too will we experience suffering to a great degree when we are in the lower realms.  

Karmic forces shape our perceptions all the time.  For instance, on a superficial level, we can see that several people looking at the same cloud may perceive it in different shapes, or several people when faced with a similar situation may have vastly contrasting reactions to it.  Some people enjoy going into water to swim while some people have a phobia of water.  These are all shaped by our habits and karmic propensities.  

On a deeper level, our dreams at night are shaped by our deeply entrenched habits from the past.  When we die, our present vision as humans end because the present karmic forces have exhausted itself.  We then experience the next vision based on our latent karmic propensities.  It is akin to having fallen asleep and then experiencing some dream.  Falling asleep is like the process of death which dissolves the present karmic vision while dreaming is like the formation of the next vision.  We can call this next vision the ‘next life’ or ‘rebirth’.  After they die, some people will have human visions, some have animal visions, some have hellish visions.  Due to our lack of realisation of their true nature, we will grasp at them as real and suffer accordingly until the karmic forces is once again exhausted (which may take a very long time in the lower realms) and then death occurs and the next vision arises again.  This endless cycle is called samsara.  

There are no limitations to our karmic visions and rebirths, just as there are no limitations to the kind of dreams you can have at night.   The determining factor that shapes these visions is the karma in our subtle mindstream.  For example, a person who has deep habits of anger in him may easily give rise to the hellish visions of endless suffering.  In Buddhism, we categorize the different kinds of visions according to their predominant characteristics and these are commonly known as the six realms.  

We should understand that these teachings are not to scare you into practising Dharma but they show how karma works.  We should then utilise Dharma teachings to develop positive habits, purify all negative habits and ultimately to liberate all habits.  I thought that the above teaching by Drubwang Konchok Norbu Rinpoche will be useful for us to reconsider any mistaken views we are holding on to about cause-and-effect and rebirths.

 

This entry was posted on 13131313, in Teachings.

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.

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

DU SUM SANG GYE GU RU RIN PO CHE
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

NGO DRUB KUN DAG DE WA CHEN PO’I ZHAB
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

BAR CHED KUN SEL DUD DUL DRAG PO TSAL
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

SOL WA DEB SO JIN GYI LAB TU SOL

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.

JIN GYI LAB TU SOL
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

CHI NANG SANG WA’I BAR CHED ZHI WA DANG

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

SAM PA LHUN GYI DRUB PAR JIN GYI LOB

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 http://theyoginiproject.org/yoginis-her-story/wisdom-dakinis:

“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 : http://shambhalasun.com/sunspace/?p=7546)

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.”

Case-studies of people who were liberated through the Guru of Unsurpassed Kindness Achuk Lama Rinpoche’s Guru Yoga Practice.

Case-studies of people who were liberated through the Guru of Unsurpassed Kindness Achuk Lama Rinpoche’s Guru Yoga Practice.

(Editor: This was extracted from the Greatly Kind Root Guru Ah Song Sangngag Tenzin Rinpoche’s teaching on Achuk Lama Rinpoche’s Guru Yoga at Yachen Gonpa on 24 Dec 2011)

Guru Yoga is extremely important. No matter what, if you wish to be liberated in this life, in the bardo or be reborn in your next life in the nirmanakaya pure realms to attain liberation, practising the Guru Yoga is the sole supreme path. But merely reciting the words is not considered Guru Yoga, to do the practice precisely and exactly – that is considered Guru Yoga. When reciting, one should visualise clearly according to the text. Merely resting in a state of non-thought will not bring liberation.

View does not mean that there is nothing at all, that everything is empty, view is not nihilistic, it is omniscient. All appearances are unobstructed. (View is) vast. Some Chinese disciples have the misunderstanding that a state of blankness or resting in non-thought is the view, it is not like that! To recognise the view, one should pray to the Guru until tears fall and your pore hairs stand on end, naturally one will recognise the view.

Today, I have explained everything i know to everyone without holding back or concealing anything. If you do not practise according to the teaching, I will be very sorrowful! Not everyone can give you the excellent Dharma, this is the gold-like essential pith instructions from the culmination of Lama Rinpoche’s entire life of practice. Without keeping anything, i have taught it to everyone. Everyone should treasure it and feel that it is most rare and precious. Practise accordingly and contemplate correctly, this is my greatest hope.

Such a profound pith instruction can lead to liberation in one life, there is no doubt at all. The crux is whether one is able to have faith. If one has not faith, even Buddha Shakyamuni is unable to liberate you. Devadatta had no faith and did not gain accomplishment. If one has doubt, then even the sublime pith instructions cannot give you accomplishments.

From last year to this year, especially in this month, i have seen directly my disciples who passed away, only by relying on the practice of Guru Yoga, they 100% attained liberation. As can be seen, it is not that Dharma is not sublime. Dharma is truly sublime, but whether liberation is gained depends on one’s own faith.

1. A old monk from Xinlong, when he passed away, he saw Amitabha Buddha, me and Tashi Sangdrub Tulku coming to guide him. He got up to make prostrations, after the third prostration, he was unable to stand up and passed into nirvana, ie. he attained Buddhahood.

2. A Tibetan Jomo/nun was having a heart procedure done at Kangding, in the midst of her anesthesia, she kept praying to me, when her mind and the Guru merged inseparably, she rested in this state. During the operation, i kept appearing in the space in front of her in a pure realm. This nun is still alive.

3. Yachen Monastery has an old layman who saw my appearance in the sky one day. It occurred many times. He thought that he was about to leave this world. That night, he died.

4. An old monk was sick to the brink of death. He asked for me to visit him. When i went, he was so sick that he was unable to even raise his head. Both of his hands were clutching about wildly. I asked him if he recognised me? He replied that he recognised but he was unable to pray, unable to recall the Guru. I said, “When you are going to die, not being able to recall and pray to Guru is really terrible.” Therefore, I asked him to meditate with me for 15 minutes, to pray to Guru. After resting in meditation and praying, he was able to raise his head again, and was to speak clearly, “Now I am able to think of the Guru, the Guru is inseparable from Buddha Amitabha.” He also said that he is going to die, his mind was in a state of joy. By praying to the Guru, he received accomplishment/siddhi swiftly.

5. Yachen Meditation Monastery has a Ah-ke/monk whom everyone knew. In his view, there is no death, there is no impure appearance, everything manifests as the pureland. This is through the kindness of the Guru Lama Rinpoche. When he was dying, he could still walk around. People asked him if he was in pain. He said, “No pain, all is blissful.” In this way, he passed freely into parinirvana.

6. Also, some time back, when i was explaining the ngondro or preliminaries, another case of liberation occurred in actuality. A Singaporean female lay-disciple, who had listened to Dharma in the presence of Lama Rinpoche before, she requested for the pith instructions from me but did not manage to finish receiving all the instructions. Some time ago, she had a heavy sickness, death was imminent. I telephoned her and asked her to pray to Guru, always to recite the Guru Yoga. Very quickly, she passed into parinirvana a few days later. At that time, she was unable to tell her family clearly to leave her body alone for three days, in order to rest in samadhi. She only told them to leave her body for three days in order for her to proceed to rebirth in Lama Rinpoche’s pureland. Her family agreed to leave her body quietly alone for 3 days and after 3 days, they opened the coffin and saw that her complexion was even more bright and luminous, it is doubtless that she has gone to Lama Rinpoche’s pureland.

7. A Tibetan female Layperson usually prayed to Guru in every moment, some time ago, she went to Chang-tai for medical treatment. Her sickness was very severe giving her no chance to pray, therefore she folded her hands in homage at her heart region before dying. Before dying, her sickness was very heavy, and her complexion was awful. After her death, her face color and skin color became fresh and bright. She is 100% in meditation. After a few days, she went to Lama Rinpoche’s pureland.

These case-studies are not far and few in between, but actually numerous. Not only those Vajra fellow practitioners who have died were liberated in freedom and joy, but even many of those who are still alive can in actuality see the Sukhavati pure realm.

As can be seen, in this life having met such a sublime teacher, met with the sublime pith instructions, met with such a sublime opportunity, whether one accomplishes or not depends on oneself. Therefore, you should practise diligently, pray with a mind of devotion and reverence. Always never be separated from the Guru, liberation in this life is certain and beyond doubt. If one has the slightest doubt in the Guru Yoga, this is blocking your own door to liberation.

The Real Cause

Special Message for the Sangha from Dzogchen Khenpo Choga Rinpoche

December 15, 2012
Yesterday in Newton, Connecticut, a young man killed 26 people at an elementary school, 20 of them young children, after having taken the life of his own mother and then his own.

We know the pain in the hearts of the parents, family members and friends of those who were lost. We prayed very strongly for these children and their families.

We can see from this event that the negative thinking and negative meditation of one person can cause a lot of suffering in the world. We should also know that the practice of Dharma, of positive thinking, of one person can cause a lot of happiness in the world.

There are many harmful events like this that people do to one another including genocide, torture and war caused by anger and greed, and famine and disease caused by human neglect and ignorance. There is immeasurable suffering caused by negative thinking that goes on and on.
People have the habit of blaming individual people, specific circumstances and outer material causes for these events. In this case, we hear on the news again and again the discussion of blame and praise for various people connected with this tragedy, and the discussion that guns are bad and that we need to increase security systems and things like this.

But so far I do not hear anyone say what is really the cause of this matter, that that man practiced angry meditation more and more strongly over time until he exploded with anger. Even though he seemed weak and shy, through the power of his anger manifesting, he was able to kill and hurt many people physically, most of whom were small children and even his own mother, and millions of people were hurt mentally by hearing this sad news.

We should know that the power of thinking is immeasurable, and its potential for harm and benefit are also immeasurable. We should understand this, and understand that anger and angry meditation are bad. That we need to decrease and eliminate anger and other types of negative thinking that cause immeasurable suffering. This is the cause. We need to eliminate the cause.

We should recognize that we are all endowed with the special circumstance of human birth. For those who have the basic conditions of personal freedom and the opportunity to learn and practice Dharma, human birth means the possibility of positive choice and intention. It means we can choose and cultivate positive thinking to benefit others and ourselves. When we do this we go from light to light and realize in ourselves the special meaning of precious human birth. Without this, because of its special potential for creating strong karma, an ignorant and negative human life is like a catapult to present misery, surrounding misery, and future misery. This short period of our lives is a special circumstance we have, a special time. Now we need to positively practice the ways of peace.

When we hear of bad things like these, we can practice positively. We should think of these suffering people and victims, even including the criminals and evil people who do these things as if they were our own parents, or our own brothers and sisters. We should have compassion for them all and feel the need to help them all, without omitting any.

Whatever negative things we hear of, we should know to practice immediately the opposite of those negative thoughts and meditations in our own minds. Those negative things should be like fuel that we throw into the fire of our own compassion for others. And we should eagerly and optimistically look for ways to help others both near to us and far away. We should not try to ignore these things or make ourselves nervous worrying about them in a helpless manner. We should practice Dharma more and more.

In addition, with regard to this specific event, I encourage Dzogchen Sanghas to assemble this Sunday, December 16 and during regular Buddha Path practice all Dzogchen Sangha members should each dedicate at least one candle to the Buddha, and recite at least one hundred and eight times the mantra of Avalokiteshvara “Om Mani Padme Hung Hri” with the best intention for these people and all suffering beings. If individuals cannot assemble at that time, please do this same practice individually wherever you are.

Best Regards, Dzogchen Khenpo Choga Rinpoche

This entry was posted on 12121212, in Teachings.

Not believing in impermanence is a sign of heavy negative karma

Dear friends, impermanence has often been belaboured upon countless times by teachers, but many of us have failed the same number of times to take it to heart.  I hope you can read this, examine yourself and take it to heart.  The Buddha did explain before that of all relative meditations, the meditation on impermanence is supreme and creates vast merits.  The past Kadampa masters have taken the teaching on impermanence as their main practice and succeeded in liberating themselves and others from samsara through diligent practice.  Similarly. we should not underestimate this teaching.

Not believing in impermanence is a sign of heavy negative karma
Phurpa Tashi Rinpoche

As we have not spend much time contemplating on impermanence in the past, therefore even if we think about impermanence now, in the depths of our mind, we always think that we will not die. This kind of baseless conviction (that we will not die) has lodged itself firmly in the depths of our mind. Therefore, even though we listen to the teachings repeatedly, in actuality, we are just going through the motion of thinking about impermanence. Everytime, we are only able to think for a moment that human life is hard to gain, life is impermanent and the natural law is that of birth and cessation, therefore we are going to die eventually. Although we contemplate like that, but in fact, we still believe strongly that we are not going to die immediately.

Why is this? “This is because when you Guru told us that it is possible for us to die tomorrow, but when tomorrow arrives, we are still alive and well. Last year when you taught us about impermanence, it turned out that this year i am still surviving quite well.” Therefore although the Guru repeats many times but you still feel that for these few days at least you are not going to die.

Of course, for the time being, it may be like that. But one day will arrive when you will feel that what the Guru has taught you is actually real and objective. But when that time arrives, even if you feel terror and fear, it will be too late. Please think carefully. How many close friends have already departed from us? I think for these people (who have died), they too must have felt that birth and death is a natural pattern of life, and they too must have thought before about death, but due to the heavy karma created from beginningless time, deep down in their hearts, they still felt that it was impossible for them to die. But now, isn’t there only a pile of bones and ashes remaining from what they used to be?

If simply witnessing (death) will create fear in those people who are still alive, remember that death will definitely happen to us after some time. This is certain! Therefore wherever you are now, we should be fully assured that we will have to face such a moment. For instance, tonight, when you place your head on the pillow to sleep, maybe you will be lucky enough to wake up tomorrow. But one day will come when you are no longer able to wake up. This day will come sooner or later. Maybe it is this year, maybe next year. No matter what, within fifty years, no matter how you deceive yourself, you will have to face this objective truth. It doesn’t matter whether you believe or understand it or not, (death) will still operate its effect in our lives.

In the past, we always said that our karma is heavy. What is karma? All the viewpoints and conduct that run contrary to the authentic dharma are labelled ‘Karma’. Therefore, you should examine yourself: after having started in the Dharma, are negative emotions and conduct that are contrary to Dharma still occuring frequently or only occasionally? If it happens frequently, then this means that our karma is heavy.

For example, when we listen about impermanence, our mind has some kind of unreasonable force that is constantly hookwinking ourselves. We believe that we will not die in the meanwhile. This is also a sign of our heavy karma. Because karma will never present itself as a demon with long straggly hair holding a spear. To you, such a manifestation seems to be your karma, but karma will not present itself like this.

Presently, there are some students who recall that they killed a fish last year. Or killed a chicken last year. Are such karmas heavy or not? From a certain perspective, having hurt the lives of sentient beings, of course this is a sign of heavy karma. But remember that whether karma is heavy or not does not depend on its appearance. Appearance by itself is not negative karma, instead, we should reflect on whether our mind and conduct has contravened the authentic Dharma.

Therefore when the Guru teaches you about impermanence, but your mind has no way to absorb this reality constructively, but insists that you will not die, this then is an aspect of your heavy negative karma showing.

So how should we dissolve such karmic force? We should rely on the lineage’s teachings to cut through this unfounded view that we will not die. Therefore, we should always repeatedly contemplate on impermanence. This point is very important!

Advice from Guru Rinpoche

– Three Types of Dharma Engagement –

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

– Four Essential Qualities for Dharma Practice –

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

– Ten Failings of being Unsuccessful in Dharma Practice –

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

– Ten Types of Fantasy in Dharma Practice –

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

– Ten Signs of Having Practised the Dharma –

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

– Twelve Invaluable Factors of Harmonious Dharma Practice –

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

– Eight Kinds of Silence in Dharma Practice –

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

– The State of Effortless Being –

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

Crucial Advice: A Complete Set of Instructions for the Bardos

by Longchen Rabjam

At the feet of the sacred master, respectfully I pay homage!

Although you have gained this life of freedom and advantage, it will not last,
So keep in mind these instructions for the moment of death.

Now, during this intermediate period of the bardo of this life,
Decide, with complete certainty, that the wisdom of your own awareness is dharmakaya,
And sustaining the ongoing experience of its self-radiance, the meditation which is naturally clear,
Everything will only enhance naturally arising wisdom!

During the bardo of dying, when the four elements dissolve,
There will be the illusory experiences of rising and falling, shaking, and haziness.
And the dissolution of earth, water, fire, wind and space.
The sense faculties too will cease to function. At that time, remind yourself:
“Now I am dying, but there is no need to fear.”
Examine: “What is death? Who is dying? Where does dying take place?”
Death is merely the return of borrowed elements.
In the face of rigpa itself, there is no birth or death.
Within the very form of the dharmakaya of primordial purity, the union of rigpa and emptiness,
Examine: “What is death? Who is dying? Where does dying take place?”
As dying exists nowhere, it is absolutely unreal.
In the experience of this, generate courage and confidence.
The arising of rigpa is not obstructed in any way.
Earth, water, fire, wind and consciousness dissolve into space.
When space dissolves into pure luminosity,
The six consciousnesses dissolve into the basis of all, the dharmadhatu,
As awareness parts from the inanimate, there is an experience of pure awareness, devoid of phenomena.
Separated from the ordinary mind, the great primordial purity of dharmakaya dawns.
Through having recognized this here and now in training,
You will be freed directly, in a single instant.
And gain the dharmakaya of twofold purity.

This is how it dawns, but should you fail to recognize it,
Thereafter, clear light appearances—manifestations of the ground—will arise.
Sounds, lights and colours, peaceful and wrathful ones filling the sky,
By recognizing all these appearances as rigpa’s self-radiance,
You will be freed in the original state, and attain awakening.
It is crucial, therefore, to recognize everything as intrinsic radiance.
Through recognizing the essence, you will gain enlightenment.

This is how it all arises, but should you fail to recognize it,
The dream-like bardo of becoming will dawn.
At that time, by recalling a pure land,
And taking refuge in the lama and the yidam deity,
Some will find freedom in a pure buddha paradise,
And some will gain the seven qualities of birth in a higher realm,
And be assured of gaining liberation in the next life.

Therefore, this most profound essence of instructions,
Which is like placing buddhahood in the palm of the hand,
Will delight the fortunate children of my heart.
This the yogin of the Natural Great Perfection,
Longchen Rabjam Zangpo, has set down.

Through this virtue, may all beings, equal to the vastness of space,
Become fully enlightened within the primordial realm!

This complete instruction for the dying, a secret, unsurpassed introduction, was composed by the heir of the victorious ones, Drime Özer, in response to the requests of devoted disciples, in the isolated hermitage of Khothang Rinchen Ling.

| Translated by Adam Pearcey, Rigpa Translations, 2010. With many thanks to Alak Zenkar Rinpoche and Patrick Gaffney. Tulku Thondup Rinpoche’sPeaceful Death, Joyful Rebirth (Shambhala, 2005) contains a partial translation of this text, which in Tibetan is called bar do’i gdams pa tshangs sprugs su gdab pa gnad kyi man ngag.

(Source : http://www.lotsawahouse.org/tibetan-masters/longchen-rabjam/complete-set-instructions)

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 : http://www.lotsawahouse.org/tibetan-masters/longchen-rabjam/ultimate-meaning)

Karma of Castrating Animals

Some teachings on karma… you may not like it, but to me, it’s true.

Karma that causes families to break-up  ~  Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche

In this life, those whose families were broken up, it is definite that you have broke up other people’s families before. In this regard, ‘family’ does not only mean human families and it does not only refer to being a third party. But when you eat meat, you also eat the children or parents of other animals and cause the separation between them and their partners. It also includes castration of animals. This kind of negative karma is very heavy

Karmic repercussions of castrating animals  ~  Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche once helped a doctor suffering from liver cancer. This man’s stomach was very distended and though a doctor himself, he was helpless about his own sickness, therefore came to seek Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s help. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche examined the karmic causes of his sickness and found that this man had castrated many animals in the past. But this doctor was not a vet, so how would he have castrated so many animals? It turned out that when this doctor was in Hainan Island as a military doctor, while he was free and feeling bored, decided to castrate the local chickens, dogs etc. and other animals. He felt that he was doing a good deed to the loitering cats and dogs and felt that it would be good not to let them continue to multiply. Even bringing one’s own pet to be castrated, it is not good and there will be negative karmic results. Just think, if you were to be healthy and fine, would you be willing to have someone castrating you casually? If you are not willing to be castrated, then don’t do such things.

Happiness FOC

Life is richer and opens up when you can feel joy at the accomplishments of others.

If we use our comparing mind and start feeling depressed or envy at happiness of other people, our mind becomes narrow and we destroy our own virtue and peace.

As you slowly cultivate feeling joyfulness for other people’s joy, slowly their accomplishments and happiness becomes no different from your own accomplishment and happiness. It progresses to feeling joy for other people whom you don’t even know, then progresses to even people you dislike. Finally, you can even take joy in all of phenomenon. The beauty of the blue sky, the soft radiance of the morning sunshine, a breeze, colours, sights and sounds. Everything becomes inconceivable beauty. Life is a quiet celebration always. This is the result of merit and purifying our mind.

(FOC – free of charge)

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:

https://bodhiactivity.wordpress.com/2011/01/18/mahasiddha-khenpo-achuk-lama-rinpoche/)

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?”

(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/Tsoknyi-rinpoche/the-lesson-of-a-leaf_b_1427251.html)

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?”

(Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/Tsoknyi-rinpoche/meditation-_b_1585423.html)

30 Verses of Vasubandhu

These 30 verses are very exquisite treasures of the View of Buddhism in its essence.  Even if you don’t understand, merely the effort to try to read it and understand it will plant the seeds for future insights and increase your merits.  I have met many people nowadays who seem to evade the essential topics of Dharma such as right view. They give the excuse that it is too profound or beyond their level.  They would prefer to stick only to the methods they are accustomed to practising.  However, i think that there shouldn’t be any hesitation towards trying to understand the ultimate teachings of Buddha. We should treasure our opportunity to do so while we still have it.  Why have fear of not understanding?  It may just be some kind of pride or aversion to having one’s own views challenged.

Many people also practice the Dharma with either a view of eternalism/nihilism, either things ‘exist’ or don’t ‘exist’ and they do not really understand the Dharma  in a deeper way.  Which is a great pity because for most educated people or even semi-educated people nowadays, even to acquire an intellectual understanding of the premises of the essence of dharma is completely possible and will do so much benefit for their practice and future lives.  I am so confident that the core message of the Buddha has immense blessings and future repercussions if only you will make the effort to penetrate it. Even if you do not have realisations, it will still be of far-reaching import.  Please trust in this.  The below two posts are easy to understand, short and clear. If you can try to read and make an effort to understand, you can at least understand some parts.  Then when future conditions ripen, you may understand other parts later.  It is so important to do this.

Happy Belated Losar to all Dharma Friends out there. I hope your practices are progressing well !

Note: In the last part, it is said that ‘everything is consciousness-only’, but according to the view of Buddhism Madhyamika, even the ‘consciousness’ should not be solidified and taken as existing/real/substantial.  Even consciousness itself is empty by nature. You should bear this in mind when you read these 30 stanzas as it is not evident.

1

Everything that is taken as a self;
Everything that is taken as other:
These are simply changing forms of consciousness.

2

Pure consciousness transforms itself
Into three modes: Store consciousness*,
Thought consciousness, and active consciousness.

3

The store consciousness* holds the seeds of all past experience.
Within it are the forms of grasping
And the dwelling places of the unknown.
It always arises with touch, awareness, recognition, concept, and desire.

4

The store consciousness* is clear and undefinable.
Like a great river, it is always changing.
Neither pleasant nor unpleasant, when one becomes fully realized, it ceases to exist.

5

The second transformation of consciousness is called thinking consciousness.
It evolves by taking the store consciousness* as object and support.
Its essential nature is to generate thoughts.

6

The thinking consciousness
Is always obscured by four defilements:
Self-regard, self-delusion, self-pride, and self-love.

7

The thinking consciousness also arises with the mental factors
Of touch, awareness, recognition, concept, and desire.
This consciousness ceases when one becomes realized.
It also falls away when consciousness is impaired,
And when one is fully present.
8

The third transformation of consciousness
Is the active perception of sense objects.
These can be good, bad, or indifferent in character.

9

This active consciousness arises with three kinds of mental functions: Those that are universal, those that are specific, and those that are beneficial.
It is also associated with primary and secondary defilements
And the three kinds of feeling.

10

The universal factors are touch, awareness, recognition, concept, and desire.
The specific factors are intention, resolve, memory, concentration, and knowledge.
The beneficial factors are faith, modesty, respect, distance, courage, composure, equanimity, alertness, and compassion.
11

The primary defilements are:
Passion, aggression, ignorance,
Pride, intolerance, and doubt.

12

The secondary defilements are:
Anger, hatred, jealousy,
Envy, spite, hypocrisy, deceit…

13

Dishonesty, arrogance, harmfulness,
Immodesty, lack of integrity, sluggishness,
Restlessness, lack of faith, laziness, idleness,
Forgetfulness, carelessness, and distraction.

14

Remorse, sleepiness, reasoning, and analysis
Are factors which can be either defiled or undefiled.

15

The five sense consciousnesses arise in the store consciousness*
Together or separately, depending on causes and conditions,
Just like waves arise in water.

16

Thought consciousness manifests at all times,
Except for those born in the realms of beings without thought,
Those in the formless trances, and those who are unconscious.

17

These three transformations of consciousness
Are just the distinction of subject and object, self and other–
They do not really exist.
All things are nothing but forms of consciousness.

18

Since the storehouse consciousness contains all seeds,
These transformations of consciousness arise
And proceed based upon mutual influence.
On account of this, discrimination of self and other arises,

19

All actions leave traces,
And because of grasping at self and other,
Once one seed has been exhausted, another arises.

20

That which is differentiated
In terms of self and other,
Or by whatever sort of discrimination,
That is just mental projection:
It does not exist at all

21

Appearances themselves
Which arise dependently through causes and conditions
Exist, but only in a partial and dependent way.

22

Ultimately, perfect nature, the fully real, arises
When there is an absence of mental projection onto appearances.
For that reason, the fully real is neither the same nor different from appearances.
If the perfected nature is not seen, the dependent nature is not seen either.

23

Corresponding to the threefold nature,
There is a threefold absence of self-nature.
This absence of self-nature of all dharmas
Is the secret essence of the Buddha’s teachings.

24

Projections are without self-nature by definition.
Appearances too are without self-nature because they are not
self-existent.
Perfect nature is without any differentiation whatsoever.

25

The true nature of consciousness only
Is the true nature of all dharmas.
Remaining as it is at all times, it is Suchness.

26

As long as consciousness does not see
That subject-object distinctions are simply forms of consciousness
Attachment to twofold grasping will never cease

27

By merely thinking
The objects one perceives are forms of consciousness
One does not realize consciousness only

28

One realizes consciousness only
When the mind no longer seizes on any object
When there is nothing to be grasped, there is no grasping
Then one knows – everything is consciousness only.

29

That is the supreme, world-transcending knowledge
Where one has no mind that knows
And no object that is known
Abandoning twofold grasping
The storehouse consciousness is emptied

30

That alone is the pure, primordial reality
Beyond thought, auspicious, unchanging
It is the blissful body of liberation
The dharmakaya nature of the enlightened ones

Adapted from English translations of the Sanskrit original.

This entry was posted on 12121212, in Teachings.

Emptiness / Dependent origination

A clear explanation of Emptiness / Dependent origination by Dalai Lama

As I mentioned earlier, many texts on emptiness state that the understanding of dependent origination is the most powerful means of arriving at the knowledge of emptiness. When, as a result of engaging in deep meditation on emptiness, we fail to find the intrinsic reality of the object of our focus, we do not conclude from this that the object in question does not exist at all. Instead, we deduce that since our critical analysis has failed to find the true, independent existence of the object, its existence or reality must be understood only as dependent origination. Therefore, a genuine understanding of emptiness must really take place. The moment we reflect upon our understanding of the emptiness of inherent existence, that very understanding will indicate that things exist. it is almost as if when we hear the word ’emptiness’ we should instantly recognise its implication, which is that of existing by means of dependent origination. A genuine understanding of emptiness, therefore, is said to be that in which one understands emptiness in terms of dependent origination.

A similar point is raised by Nagarjuna in his Precious Garland, where he explains the emptiness or selflessness of ‘person’ by a process of reductive analysis. This involves exploring how the person is neither the earth element nor the water element, fire element and so on. When this reductive process fails to find something called ‘person’ that is independent of these various elements, and also fails to identify the person with any of these elements, Nagarjuna raises the question: where, then, is the person? He does not immediately conclude by saying, ‘Therefore “person” does not exist.’ Rather, he refers to the idea of dependent origination, stating that: ‘The person is therefore dependent upon the aggregation of the six elements.’ Thus he is not negating the fact that the ‘person’ does exist and is real and undergoes experiences of pain and pleasure.

From my own experience I know that I exist; I know that I have non-deluded experiences of pain and pleasure. Yet when I search for the entity called ‘self’ or ‘I’ among the various elements that together constitute my existence, I cannot find anything that appears to possess intrinsic, independent reality. This is why Nagarjuna concludes that we can understand a person’s existence only in terms of the principle of dependent origination.

At this point some people may raise the following objection: isn’t saying that all phenomena are devoid of inherent existence tantamount to saying that nothing exists? Nagarjuna’s response is to state that by ’emptiness’ we do not mean a mere nothingness; rather, by ’emptiness’ we mean dependent origination. In this way Nagarjuna’s teaching on emptiness transcends the extremes of absolutism and nihilism. By rejecting intrinsic, independent existence his view transcends absolutism; and by stating that things and events do exist, albeit as dependent originations, he transcends the extreme of nihilism. This transcendence of the two extremes of absolutism and nihilism represents the true Middle Way.

At this point it may be helpful to reflect a little on the different levels of meaning of the principle of dependent origination. On one level dependent origination refers to the nature of things and events as understood in terms of their dependence upon causes and conditions. On another level this dependence can be understood more in terms of mutual dependence. For example, there is a mutuality of concepts between, say, long and short, in which something is posited as ‘long’ in relation to something else that is ‘short’. Similarly, things and events have both parts and a whole; the whole is constituted of the parts, and the parts are posited in relation to the whole.

On another level still, the principle of dependent origination relates to the subject, which is the conceptual mind that creates designation, appellations, labels and so on. As we have briefly discussed before, when we give something a label or a name we generally tend to assume that the labelled object has some kind of true, independent existence. Yet when we search for the true existence or essence of the thing in question, we always fail to find it. Our conclusion, therefore, is that while things do exist on the conventional level, they do not possess ultimate, objective reality. Rather, their existence can only be posited as a mere appellation, designation or label. According to Nagarjuna, these three levels of meaning in the principle of dependent origination pervade our entire spectrum of reality.

This entry was posted on 12121212, in Teachings.

Perseverance in joy!!

Teaching by His Holiness Gyalwang Drukpa

This morning, His Holiness gave a teaching on the working of Mara and how we should be counteracting the challenges posed by the Mara and his manifestations. Mara does not like virtuous activities, therefore he manifests as laziness, body pains, anger and all sorts of emotions to discourage us when we perform virtuous activities. We have to be strong enough to fight with him and move ahead like a bulldozer. These challenges are good if we know how to use them as support. As they will be able to accelerate our progress on the spiritual path. We should not be weakened by Mara and his manifestations, instead we should be working on them as a practice. When we succeed, when we win over them, we will have positive results in our practice.

His Holiness continued saying: I have a lot of obstacles whenever I do a pilgrimage like this. During the bicycle pilgrimage, my robe was caught in a wheel and I hurt myself, but I didn’t tell anyone; I just continued. Half way through, a jeep knocked me so badly that I was thrown in the air, I fell down and broke my nose. I wasn’t worried about my nose, I was just worried about my bicycle and my injured knee. If I couldn’t continue, the pilgrimage had to stop. So I pushed myself to continue, peddling only with one leg. During Sikkim Pad Yatra, I slipped on a very small stone and injured my ankle, on my way to one of the holiest sites of Guru Rinpoche. I could have told the group to continue and allowed myself to discontinue the Pad Yatra and check into a hotel. I pushed myself to continue even though my entire leg was swollen due to the injured ankle. This time at the beginning of the Pad Yatra, so many blisters appeared after just a few hours of easy walk and my backpack became heavier by the day without me adding any additional things.

His Holiness' foot

In fact, I removed my tent and some belongings, yet it still got heavier by the day, even my strong monks couldn’t believe how heavy my backpack has become. And of course, I caught a flu two days back and lost my voice, because of this, I couldn’t teach until this morning. All these I know are manifestations of Mara, to stop me from accomplishing great merit and great purification, and they know that if they stop me, the entire Pad Yatra has to end prematurely. You can check my backpack, how heavy it is, it is like having invisible rocks in it. I am not telling you this to scare you or boost my ego, Mara and his manifestations are with us all the time. Whenever we are off guard, they will win the battle. Persevere in spiritual practice fearlessly with joyful effort!

Mountains are not mountains

People often bring up another Zen story about seeing that the mountains are not mountains, seeing that the rivers are not rivers, and seeing the mountains and seeing the rivers; so I might as well include a discussion of it here. This story comes from a statement given in a formal lecture by Zen Master Wei Cheng, who said, “Thirty years ago, before I had studied Zen, I saw the mountains were mountains and the rivers were rivers. Later, when I had personally seen a Zen teacher and had attained initiatory experience, I saw that the mountains are not mountains and the rivers are not rivers. But now that I had attained peace, I see the mountains simply as mountains, and see the rivers simply as rivers. Tell me, everyone, are these three views the same or different? If anyone can distinguish the black from the white, I will admit that you have seen me in person.”

Because this story is part of traditional Zen lore, students of later generations, including people all over the world today, have taken it as a handle on Zen study. Some people say it represents the so-called three barriers of Zen. Others say that it is necessary to reach the point at which you see that mountains are not mountains and rivers are not rivers, and then turn around again to arrive at seeing mountains as mountains and rivers as rivers again; this they identify as the realm of great penetration and great enlightenment. In reality, these explanations are ultimately just impressionistic talk; these views may seem to be correct, but they are not.

First, it is necessary to understand clearly that this talk by Zen Master Wei-cheng is about his own personal experience in practice. When it comes to the matter of whether Master Wei-cheng had actually attained great penetration and great enlightenment himself, you first of all cannot invent some fabrication and make up a subjective determination of the issue on his behalf.

His first stage, where he says he saw mountains as mountains and rivers as rivers, of course, represents the state of anyone before studying the Zen Way. Everyone is like this, seeing mountains, rivers, and earth, the various humans and natural environments in the physical world clearly and distinctly; this does not require any special interpretation.

For the second stage, where he said he saw mountains are not mountains and rivers are not rivers, it is one hundred percent certain that this is a state achieved through the actual application of meditative concentration work. If one has genuinely practiced meditative concentration work and the method and process of cultivation realization, and if one’s inner and outer physical and mental application and conduct have not gone astray in any way, then eventually this should cause the physical and mental temperament and constitution to undergo a great change. The eyes will be full of spiritual light, the spirit will solidify, the energy will mass, and the material world seen by the eyes, the mountains, rivers, land, and so on will naturally seem as though one is in a waking dream, like images of light reflected in water. One will feel that everything in this material world is all dreamlike, illusory existence, totally unreal; and one will also see people as like mechanical robots.

Many people who reach this stage, whether they are studying Zen or practicing Taoism, thereupon assume it is the true Way, but really this sort of state has nothing to do with the Way. This happens because of long immersion of the body and mind in quiet concentration, resulting in diminution of psychological and biological instincts, and repletion with vital energy that causes the brain and nervous system to undergo a change resembling electrical charging, so one sees the phenomena before one as ephemeral and has no feeling of reality. This is similar to the scattering of vision experienced when the body is depleted and weakened after a serious illness, or when one is about to die. Of course, this phenomenon associated with sickness and dying does not itself represent the state of people practicing meditative concentration who see mountains and rivers as not being mountains and rivers: it is just a way of making a comparison. One is due to illness or dying; one arises from being filled with the living power of life; so they are not exactly the same.

But you must not forget that this kind of phenomenon is just a different sensation of the biological organs; what enables you to produce such feelings and cognition is still the function of your consciousness and thought. If you assume that seeing mountains as not being mountains and seeing rivers as not being rivers is a good phenomenon reflecting practice of Zen or Tao, that is still mediocre; if so, then you might as well take a hallucinogenic pill or a moderate dose of tranquilizers, for would that not cause a similar marvel? Can you say this is the Way?

So many people who study Zen and lecture on Zen today, both in China and the rest of the world, often bring up this issue. I cannot but add some explanation to the matter so that practitioners avoid making the mistake of entering into byways and ruining the useful physical body.

Coming to Zen Master Wei-cheng’s third stage of seeing the mountains as mountains again and seeing the rivers as rivers again represents a Zen state where he had advanced a step farther, so he said of himself that he had attained peace. If you just go by these remarks and assume that this is great penetration and great enlightenment, then you might as well relax and go to sleep, waking up to see that mountains are still mountains and rivers are still rivers. Would this not be more direct and enjoyable?

Therefore it is really not easy at all to read the classics and stories of Zen; we should not by any means become confused by fragmentary interpretations. It is essential to seek personal experience of realization; only then do you know the ultimate. If we were to take this one story, which only points to a process of practice, and augment it so that it would be perfectly complete, we would have to cite the saying of T’ang dynasty Zen Master Nan-ch’uan, “When people today see this flower, it is like a dream,” to be able to approach the final Zen work of letting go. In sum, this story only refers to the mental work involved in Zen; it is not completely relevant to the insight of enlightenment.

Nan-Huai-Jing

This entry was posted on 12121212, in Teachings.

Aspirations

Said by the 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje

Making aspiration prayers, for Buddhists, is one of our most important practices. From the Buddhist perspective and understanding, all auspicious and joyous experiences in life come from our aspirations. The more prayers of aspiration are offered the more joyous experiences it brings to people’s lives.

Aspiration prayers support us both in this life and for our future rebirth. The reason why it is essential to our practice and beneficial is because the experience of the external existence is brought about by consciousness. So, every thought that occurs matters to the outcome of the external experience. Aspirations guide the consciousness to a perfect process of the function of mind. It is a path where consciousness is not disturbed by any unnecessary thoughts or actions. The main ingredient in aspirations is the motivation, the intention to benefit others wholeheartedly out of unconditioned mind. Such a practice can be applied by anyone no matter their culture, religion, philosophy etc.

Normally in a tragedy, we are often stunned and dazed. We don’t realize the mental support that we can provide. So, the practice of aspirations is there to benefit others not only temporarily but beyond, as well.

There are many ways to help others, like through means of generosity and such but there are some things that can only really be reached through aspirations, that really soothe those victims who are present as well as those who have passed. Aspirations help those who have passed away to have a peaceful and smooth transition into the next life and give freedom for whichever way they wish to be reborn. The end result of the aspiration practice is that of peace and courage.

This entry was posted on 11111111, in Teachings.

Inseparability of Samsara and Nirvana

(source : http://http://www.vajrasana.org/vision.htm/)

By Jamgon Lama Ngawang Lekpa

“HERE IS CONTAINED THE ESSENTIAL SUMMARY OF THE VIEW OF NON-DIFFERENTIATION OF SAMSARA-NIRVANA, CALLED THE ESSENCE OF NECTAR FOR GOOD MERIT”

  Prostration to Lama JAMPAYANG, who grants us the Wisdom View of Knowledge in all things’ Essence.

If we summarize all the apparently diverse opinions concerning the Masters of the Middle Path, we obtain the outer and approximate Middle Path and the inner, precise and subtle Middle Path.

The first category is the view of the Prasangikas who hold for real everything that is perceived by their senses. At the time when all treatises of the Sastras were explained and during the great debates that ensued this view was held.

The second category is the view that considers that all external appearances end up in the mind which is finally placed in its own nature, free of all manifestation. In their training of Yoga, the adepts practise mostly this view in a solitary place.

Relating to this, Atisa has said:

“During all the contradictory debates with non-Buddhists at the time of the debates
concerning the Great Treatises of commentaries, it was said to be the Middle Path.
And, at the time of the training to the true sense in the practice of Yoga, it is the Subtle
Middle Path which is practised and constitutes the essential oral Teaching.”

Greater details are to be found in Atisha’s dBuma Rinpoche’i sGronMe along with the sources of his commentaries, as it is said in the Legs bShad Gon-Ma’i dGons rGyan.

Thus, it is said that our own Tradition of the view of non-differentiation of Samsara-Nirvana agrees with the second Tradition.

Concerning the way of meditating:

First of all, it is indicated in the explanatory Teachings, all the dharmas of the phenomenal world of Samsara (cyclic existence) and of Nirvana, are only reflections of mind itself.

  This lack of existence of the smallest dharma outside the mind is asserted by:

a) references to quotations,
b) logical deduction, and
c) the Essential Teachings.

a) THE QUOTATIONS

It is said in the mDo sDe Sa bCu Pa:

“Oh, Sons of Buddhas, in the end the three Spheres are nothing but Mind.”

In the rDorje Gur:

“Outside the Precious Mind, there is neither Buddhas nor beings, nor any object external
of consciousness.”

In the Chad Ma Rigs gTer:

“In truth, appearances are Mind itself and do not exist outside of it; they are classfied into
true or false according to tendencies being long-lasting or not.”

It is also explained by numerous other quotations.

b) LOGICAL DEDUCTION

  “A unique object able to appear manifoldly is actually devoid of all reality.” So it is said.

Thus, a cup of water will appear differently to the six types of beings and in that way, we’ll know that appearances are devoid of all external reality. It is by experiencing that external appearances are devoid of all external reality that this will come to truth.

In the past, a great adept of the ‘Path and its Fruits’ (Essential Teaching of the Sakyapas) had a sensation of thirst caused by his winds and channels. Unable to find any water in a well, spring, or river, and totally puzzled, he hung his monk’s clothes on a tree on the other side of the river and went to sleep. The next morning, waking with his sensation of dryness gone, he realized that water was flowing as it did before in the well, spring and river. He was then forced to use a small craft to get his clothes back.

Another time, in India, a son who had a lot of respect for his old mother, left the country to do business. Upon leaving, he told his wife to please take care of his mother and to be sure to feed her good and pure food.

During the son’s long absence, the old lady caught an eye disease which made the rice she was given appear to be full of hairs. This, in turn, made her very weak due to a swollen stomach.

Upon returning, the son asked the old mother if she had been well taken care of.

“After you left, your wife never gave me good food, except this rice full of hairs which
now made me sick with a bad stomach.”

  The son reprimanded his wife, who in turn answered him:

“I have only given her good food, but it seems that she has an eye disease. Go and bring
her food yourself.”

So, the son brought perfectly clean rice to his old mother who said:

“In older days, you had a lot of respect for me, but it seems that now you’re under your
wife’s thumb. This rice is full of hair!”

Understanding that her eyes were bad, he told her to keep the rice and called upon a doctor. After having been treated, he asked his mother to look at the rice. And since there wasn’t any hair in the rice, the old lady understood that her disease was the cause, and thought:

“How can my stomach be sick if I’ve not swallowed a single hair?”

Reassured, her stomach problems disappeared as the rainbow vanishes in the sky. So it is told.

c) THE ESSENTIAL TEACHINGS

Concerning the assertion from the spiritual instructions given by each of the Lineage’s Lamas, it is said:

“Sickness and disease numb and deceive the mind like a disease veils the eyesight or
like a blazing point swirling rapidly.”

Having thus thought about this truth which is asserted by the above three quotations, arguments and spiritual instructions, all appearances will be perceived as Mind.

For example, when salt absorbs itself in water, it becomes one with water. In the same way, we should understand that no existing dharma is different from Mind.

And lastly, we’ll even doubt an external existence (different from mind) of our own body. But, concerning the authentic fusion of Mind-Perception, it is said that it does not appear until the Eighth Land is reached.

Although the fusion of Mind-Perception of the preceding Land is not really the authentic one, it still appears as an experience during the practice of Yoga.

Those who wonder if the realization of appearances of Mind-as-such, is not precisely the Prasangikas’ Tradition of the Middle Path, are in fact totally wrong.

In fact, Klu-sGrub, ‘Phags-Pa Lha and ZLa Ba Grags-Pa have all three asserted that perceptions are only Mind, and who dares say that they do not understand the Prasangikas’ view?

The great Savant Mi-Pham rGya-mCho has explained it thus in his dBu-Ma rGyan-‘Grel:

“To realize that all perceptions are Mind-as-such is the essential characteristic of the
Buddhist Path’s holders; true situation of all objects, it is the sacred point of the Essential
Teachings relating to meditation. To destroy the illusion of phenomenal existence, it is
the essential hint, just as it is essential for the butcher to know the animal’s vital point
in order to kill it, or for the lumberjack to know where to plant his nail in order to dry
out the tree.

  If we can hold it (the essential point) due to skilful means, it is also the heart of the
Essential Teachings pertaining to the Ultimate rDorje Vehicle.”

And so are the numerous writings praising the realization of perceptions as Mind.

To say that appearances are Mind means that they are Mind perceiving itself. In fact, Mind never perceives an external object.

Relating to this subject, the Omniscient dKon-mChog Lhun-Grub has said:

“As distinctive object to our own manifold perceiving mind, our own mental investigation
finds nothing but an illusive being. The chain of interconditioned production of the never
ceasing duality between ‘me’ and ‘other’ (appearing and resting on conditions and causes)
is empty of an own-self. Look at the own-face of the Sphere of the Inexpressible and
Spontaneous.”

Therefore, if we investigate mind with mind, we’ll experience an unceasing Light which is called the Mind’s characteristic.

By its own Essence, this same Light is devoid of birth and empty of primeval cause. In an intermediary stage, it does not dwell in anything and is devoid of a distinctive essence. Finally, since it is unceasing, it is empty of the Fruit of annihilation. Mind has no form or color. It does not dwell inside or outside the body, nor in between. No matter which way we look for mind, it cannot be found. Whichever way we investigate mind, we cannot find anything in which it would realize itself (not having any distinctive essence). Although not having any distinctive nature of its own, the trick of various perceptions nevertheless appears incessantly since the beginning, therefore we never experience its lack of existence. Since this trick of various perceptions appears constantly and we cannot find any true nature, neither can we experience its existence.

This nature of Emptiness in which we have never experienced any existence, and this characteristic of Light in which we have never experienced any non-existence, have always been dissociable. Mind is Pure Light in its perception of itself, Empty in its own Emptiness, and Perfectly conscious in its own investigation. All this is only a purpose of experience for the Transcendental Wisdom of our own investigation.

But, in reality, there is no distinctive essence to hold in the Primeval Nature of the Absolute Truth. Nothing that mind should grasp, nor words to express it. But, nevertheless, in order to dissipate ignorance, the Absolute Truth is called the relative Truth of language: ‘non-dual’, ‘Union of the Two’, ‘inexpressible’, and ‘essence of Primeval Mind’.

Although this natural state comprises Samsara and Nirvana, those who ignore their true essence are said to be in Samsara, while those who know their true essence are said to be in Nirvana. The designations of Samsara and Nirvana are thus attributed according to the understanding or the lack of understanding (of their true essence).

From the true point of view, there is no bad Samsara that should be rejected nor any good Nirvana that should be realized. If this is correctly perceived, we have then obtained what is called the understanding of the view of non-differentiation of Samsara andNirvana.

In brief, there is nowhere to concentrate outside of the non-seizure of Mind’s Emptiness-Light. The relaxed mind should constantly be in this state where there is nothing to meditate upon, free of quest and artifice.

In the Songs of the Venerable Grags-Pa rGyal-mChan, it is said:

“How could there be a cessation and a distinctive essence in a mind which is devoid
of original birth? To think that there is neither birth nor cessation is also an obstructive
thought; Give it up! You should also renounce the idea of giving up, since giving up is
also a thought!”

  “That which is limitless goes beyond the realm of the expressible. The designations
‘Middle’, ‘Mind only’, etc. . . are only words and manifestations, while their mental
representations are only conceptualizations.”

However you think of it, if you have not perceived the Natural and Spontaneous State of Mind, and if you have not trained in the essential Teachings of non-grasping, you’ll be caught grasping even with the thought of non-grasping.

Understanding that this unceasing Emptiness-Light is the Natural State of Union.

rJe Sa-Pan has also said:

“Existence, non-existence, etc. . . ., there is nothing similar in the Natural State of things.
There is no object to meditate upon, nor a subject who meditates, nor the act of meditating.
Mind being devoid of a distinctive essence, how could you explain that Essence? By passing
the realm of the expressible, there is nothing to say.”

Coming out of this equanimous meditation, we’ll then realize that all the forms belonging to the visual field as well as everything that is seen, are, as soon as perceived, Perception-Emptiness, which is nothing else but the undifferentiation of Samsara-Nirvana.

In the same way, all the sounds of the audio field are, as soon as heard, undifferentiation of Audibility-Emptiness, of Samsara-Nirvana.

And, lastly, all the discursive thoughts pertaining to the mental field as well as all that is thought are, as soon as they appear, undifferentiation of Mind-Emtpiness, of Samsara-Nirvana.

Everything that appears is an Activity of the Dharma Body.

All perceptions having appeared as expressions of the non-differentiation of Samsara-Nirvana and without having to look anywhere else for a meditation object, like a businessman finding himself in a country full of gold, it will be possible to leave the mind on everything that appears without trying to transform it.

Some wrongly affirm that appearances, sounds and thoughts, that we have just explained above as being non-differentiation of Samsara-Nirvana, constitute the meditation and not the view. In the two texts of the lJon Chin Chenmo and the Dag lDan, the Great rJe-bCun affirms:

“The ‘holder of dharmas’ (phenomena) is Samsara. Dharma itself (its essence) is
Nirvana and their undifferentiation is the undifferentiated Samsara-Nirvana.”

‘Jam-dByans dKon-mChog Lhun-Grub has also said:

“That which is devoid of a distinctive essence is only perception; the nature of all
objects is the Dharma of Samsara-Nirvana; dharmas and ‘holders of dharmas’ are
in truth undiffrerentiated. Realize this view of profound meaning free from all limits!”

Thus, by examining the various quotations, doubts concerning the view of the non-differentiation of Samsara-Nirvana will disappear.

In summary, the Dharma Body at the moment of the path is to put in practice the method consisting of leaving Mind Itself in its natural and non-transformed state.

Thus, we obtain the Dharma Body of the moment of Fruit which is to recognize Mind Itself free of artifice. And it is That which is called Buddha.

If, outside of mind, there were a place where another Buddha could be found, we could not hold it, and even if we could, the fusion with Buddha would be difficult.

In brief, we’ll know that those who didn’t realize their Essential Nature are called sentient beings while those who do are called Buddhas.

Although we call them View, Meditation, and Action, those different labels take a specific name in the continuum of the practitioner according to the moment. They are in fact the unique View of the non-differentiation of Samsara-Nirvana.

As the Lamas’ Lineage has put it: First obtain the certainty that all perceived objects are summed up in mind. Then, perceive that all mind’s perceptions are illusory and understand that this illusion only appears because of the supportive links. After having perceived that the meaning of those supportive links are separated from all expressible limits, realize the certitude not relying on anyone regarding the Natural State; so is the View.

Having first started with the three preparatory Dharmas, we’ll remain in the Equanimity of the Profound View with the help of the three basic Dharmas. Then, we’ll meditate by using as final ornament the three conclusive Dharmas. So is the Meditation.

At each moment and without letting go our steadiness of watchful conscience of the View, we’ll meditate on three demons (gDen) of external obstacles, on the three diseases of internal obstacles, on the three perturbating poisons of secret obstacles, on the eight mundane dharmas; in brief, on the erroneous thoughts of passion-aversion by applying the vision seal.

Just as fire gets higher with the abundance of wood, no matter how violent the mental and dualistic perceptions of subject-object such as obstacles and bad causes, if we’re never separated from the key of the View, those perceptions will be perceived as the blissful Sphere of Dharma, just as ice cubes melting in water. A greater advantage will then result concerning the View.

Thus, a correct experience of this Profound View being born in our mind, it will become the antidote to all our disruptive forces (Klesas).

Generally, although our great compassionate Master, the Buddha, taught the aspect of repulsive meditation as an antidote to desire, the Samadhi of love as an antidote to anger and hate, the meditation of appearance in relation to the supportive links an antidote to ignorance, the charachteristics of the varied inclinations and temperaments as an antidote to pride, the meditation of the similarity between oneself and others as an antidote to jealousy, and so on . . . the repulsive aspect is only beneficial to stop desire but unable to appease anger and hate but has no effect on desire.

If the unshakable certainty appears towards this Profound View, it then becomes the antidote to all disruptive forces.

For example, just as inside Samsara, the remedy called ‘the unique benefactor’ is the antidote o all diseases, if one perceives correctly the perfect meaning of Emptiness, this understanding will then become the antidote to all disruptive forces.

It is said by Kun-mKhyen ChosKyi rGyalpo:

“Although the water of repulsion (ugliness) can wash the stains of desire, it cannot
destroy the rocky mountain of anger; although the fire love can burn the bushes of
anger, it is unable to wash the stains of passion-desire.

  “With the ability to perceive as Unity Emptiness and everything that appears in relation
to the supportive links, one can totally cut the tree of self’s view with its numerous branches
and leaves of actions and disruptive forces and its fruits of birth (namely, existence).”

Thus it is explained.

If we gathered all the Doctrines of the Way, we’ll find that they are all concentrated in the six Paramitas (six Perfections). And those appear easily to the one who perceives perfectly the essential point of this View.

In the sPyod-‘Jug, from the beginning: “abandoning the miserable beings”, to the end: “they wander without a reason”, it is meant in those nine slokas (stanzas) that the sixParamitas do not exist by relying on body and external speech but that we must find them relying solely on the inside mind. Thus, the spirit of giving which comes from the heart is Giving; the total victory over the spirit of ill-will is Moral Discipline; the total victory over the spirit of anger is Patience; a mind rejoicing in practising virtue is called Zeal; a mind which remains firmly on any object is called Meditation; the knowledge of the Nature of Mind is Wisdom.

Those virtues will be born in the mental continuum of the one who will possess the perfectly Pure View. Jo-Bo rJe (Atisa) and Milarepa have both said it. The victorious Yan dGonpa has also said:

  “To know the nature of virtue is the most excellent of all virtues. To know the nature
of non-virtue is the most excellent of all confessions.”

Just as it has already been explained, the wisdom of the nature of virtue being an inexhaustible virtue, it becomes the cause of Perfect Awakening. The wisdom of the nature of non-virtue is the most excellent of confessions and it is said in the Tharpa Chenpo Phyogs Su rGyas-Pa’i mDo:

  “If you want purification, firmly contemplate the Pure View. When it appears,
the Perfect Liberation will also come. This is said to be the most excellent of all
purifications.”

The Master, Arya Deva, has also said:

“Even those who has accumulated little merit will have no doubt concerning this
Doctrine. If they did, they would have to wander in cyclic existence (Samsara).”

For it to be born rightfully in our mental continuum, we must exert ourselves with great strength in Purification and Accumulation.

Having understood that the Lama was the Essence concentrating all Buddhas, it is very important to pray to him with perfection concentration, aspiration and immense veneration.

It is said in the rNal-‘Byor-Ma Kuntu sPyod-Pa’i rGyud (bDe mChog’s commentaryTantra):

“Prostration to the Feet of the One whose kindness allows the Great Bliss to appear
in a flash. Prostration to the Lama whose Body is similar to the Jewel possessing the
Dorje.”

Sakya Pandita, the Lord of Dharma, has also said:

“For the one who faithfully relies on You, that person immediately receives Infinite
Mercy and becomes in one instant a Perfect Buddha and realizes all the Perfect
Accomplishments.”

In the Tantra, it is said:

“Due to a constant veneration and aspiration, the rank of Dorje Chang can be obtained
in six months.”

‘Brom-sTon once asked Jo-Bo rJe (Atisa):

“Have the Doctrines I practised in the past been transformed in the Way or not?”

  “Those where you served your Jetsun Lama did, the others, no,” answered Atisa.

‘Brom-sTon asked again:

“Although we have many meditations adepts in Tibet, none has obtained the distinctive
Virtues. Why is this?”

  “All the qualities, great or small, of Mahayana can only take birth by relying on the Lama
and since you, in Tibet, only consider Lama as an ordinary being, how do you expect the
Qualities to be born?”

It is said that to see the clean face of the Profound and Natural Situation of all dharmas, there is nothing more excellent than the practice of Guru Yoga. By practising this Guru Yoga with regularity, not only with the mouth but also with the heart, an unbearable strength of veneration and aspiration will burn from the inside, just like a great fire. There is nothing else than to think and recall the Lama.

We’ll understand that all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the ten directions are incarnated in our own Lama. And by seeing or hearing the marvellous biographies of holy and realized Lamas of India and Tibet, we’ll also know that our Lama is their Incarnation.

Having established the certainty that the Essence of the Lama concentrates without exceptions the Three Jewels, and in order to honour Him, not even being satisfied with the offering of our flesh and blood, by thinking of Him, we will pray to Him with veneration songs, pouring tears similar to a rain shower.

If we’re able to pray to Him with such great strength, there will be no doubt of reaching the Perfection rapidly.

If we’re satisfied by saying a few prayer words such as: “The Lama knows” while only thinking of Him of time to time, then we’ll never obtain the benefits of the Profound Guru Yoga practice. That is why we must exert ourselves to a pure practice.

The most excellent of all incarnation, the Omniscient ‘Jam dByans Kun-dGa’ Bstan-Pa’i rGyal-mChan has said:

“Know that all Refuges are the Essence of the Lama. See all virtuous practices as the
Way of the Lama, and know that Samsara and Nirvana appear as Manifestations of
the Lama.

  “Grant us Your Infinite Mercy so that the phenomenal world appears as the Lama!”

If what has just been said is realized, it is said to be the true and faultless practice of the Guru Yoga of the Profound Path.

  This text was composed at the repeated request of Thartse Shab Droung Rinpoche Byams-Pa Nam-mKha’ Kun-bZan BStan-Pa’i rGyal-mChan and other listeners of the Lam ‘Bras (Lamdre). They asked the monk of Sakya Thouppa, Nag dBan Legspa, to record the authentic account of the stages of the view that he possessed. And it was written by the incarnation of sDe gZung Lun-Rig, namely, Kun-dGa’ BsTanpa’i Nyima.