Pema Trinley Rinpoche
(A present-day Mahasiddha, Delog and Dzogchen adept)
Today since we are talking about the main practice, I will teach everyone a way to practice. For instance, if we are reciting the Mani mantra, when reciting, we should visualize Chenrezig in front of us. During this visualization, do not be distracted by other thoughts or emotions, visualize Chenrezig clearly. At the same time, continue to recite the Mani mantra properly. If we practice this well, we can attain Buddhahood.
I have told you that on the basis of having a kind heart, one should visualize Chenrezig well and recite the Mani mantra, when I say this, all of you would think, “Today Guru is teaching us such a basic and simple teaching, he is not teaching anything about Dzogchen (highest teaching on the realization of mind-nature in Tibetan Buddhism). Literally all of you are thinking this way.
But in fact, this practice that I have taught you today actually contains the generation stage, the completion stage, shamatha (stilling the mind) and vipassana (ultimate insight), it is also Trekcho, it is Togal too. All are contained within.
(Trekcho and Togal are the practices of Dzogchen)
When we visualize Chenrezig, we should try our best to visualize him clearly, this is the generation stage.
When we visualize Chenrezig clearly, while holding his clear visualization in our minds, we are able to keep all other thoughts from arising, and mind is quietly resting on the image of Chenrezig, this is Shamatha.
If you keep your mind resting quietly on Shamatha, at this moment if your attachments are naturally liberated, then this contains Vipassana.
Even though we do not use these terms overtly, but if mind is truly able to rest on the image of Chenrezig, and one is able to completely release all dualistic grasping, then this completely contains Dzogchen.
If one is able to be free from dualistic fixation, then we can also call it Trekcho. While resting in the state where dualistic clinging is naturally liberated, Chenrezig nevertheless clearly manifests in one’s mind, this is called Togal.
His Holiness Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche:
If even those Rishis or celestial beings who have some imperfect attainments can bestow mantras that work effectively, how could it be possible that mantras given by Buddhas will deceive sentient beings? Even if it is said that (the mantra can) cause fire to be ignited in water, it will certainly be possible as the Buddhas will never deceive us.
Just as ordinary mantras have all kinds of abilities, those mantras spoken by Buddha would definitely have unsurpassable qualities. All kinds of sutric and tantric mantras spoken by Buddha are manifested from the expanse of their wisdom and have profound and perfect blessings. In the same way, the teachings of the Buddhas have unsurpassable virtues, it is unlike those treatises composed by ordinary beings or sages.
For instance, when we recite the Mani mantra, if we are able to pray one-pointedly and supplicate, then this will cause all sorts of large obstacles to be dispelled. If when one is reciting, one does not visualize seriously, or do not have sufficient faith, this kind of recitation may still have some virtue, but it would not bring about the efficacious signs and experiences in a short time.
When the causes are present, the result will definitely manifest. The deity’s mantra is completely infallible. In our pujas, even though our sadhanas are simple but if one does not even experience the slightest signs of effectiveness of the practice, then it goes to show that the visualization has not been sufficiently cultivated or that one has not been diligent in recitation, it shows that one’s mind has been highly distracted. There are even some people who fail to complete the requisite numbers of mantras in the practice, then one can only blame oneself, it is not that the deity did not grant blessings. Therefore, during each puja, I hope everyone will rely on a strong devotion and practice recitation with diligence.
Method to Heal the Eyes
After reciting many Mani mantras, it is good to blow on your own eyes by cupping your both hands over your mouth to direct air upwards, or overlaying your lower lip over the upper one to blow the air upwards. It heals the eyes. Lama Achuk Rinpoche enjoyed good eyesight and healthy eyes his whole life by doing this simple practice daily.
The Benefits of Mantra Recitation
The first we should understand is that the mantra is the deity. Thus, with each mantra recitation, we are accomplishing the deity. It is through calling the name of the wisdom deity that the deity will come.
His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Sakya:
“Some very diligent people have been able to recite 100 million Om Mani Padme Hung in one lifetime. Benefiting from that merit they demonstrate achievement and calmness, gain the power to heal and help others, and have no concern about death… In Tibetan Buddhism reciting mantras is one of the most effective ways in which a person can actively create a peaceful, relaxed, and happy state of mind.”
Ah Song Tulku Rinpoche:
Achuk Lama had a deceased relative, when he was alive, he had finished reciting 100 million Mani mantras. When he died, he was in the middle of talking. Just before he died, he told others, “A white deity is often present smiling at me. This must be the Chenrezig that I am often praying to who is here to guide me after my death.” Due to his genuine practice of Dharma, this old man was filled with joy and peace when he faced death.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche:
Each of the six syllables has much benefit and much power. It would take time to explain each one, so I will give a rough outline. The six syllables of this mantra have the power to close the door to birth in the six realms. Another way of saying it is that the syllables have the power to cease the continuity of taking birth in the six realms.
For example, the syllable OM has the power to cease the continuity of birth in the sura realm. The MA has the power to stop birth in the asura realm. The NI has the power to stop birth in the human realm. The rest have the power to stop birth in the animal, hungry ghost, and hell realms.
When you recite this six-syllable mantra, the six syllables have the power to destroy the continuity of the six root delusions: ignorance, anger, attachment, pride, doubt, and wrong view.
Reciting the six-syllable mantra qualifies your mind to practice and to complete the bodhisattva’s path of the six paramitas: charity, morality, patience, energy, concentration, wisdom.
Reciting the six-syllable mantra enables you to achieve the sublime realization of mahamudra, which means you can achieve enlightenment in one life. There are also many other general realizations, such as being able to see the past and future, to become invisible, to see distant things, to grant any material possession, to fly, or to walk very fast. By walking for two or three hours you can reach a place that would normally take eight months to reach. With a small glance you can see billions of people and with just a small movement of your hands, you can defeat many billions of people without needing any weapons. There are many other general realizations, but there is no need to mention them.
OM enables you to achieve the sublime realization and MA the general realizations. NI enables you to achieve the pacifying realization, pacifying delusions and disease, which arises from delusion and karma. PAD enables you to achieve the increasing realization, increasing four things: life, knowledge, realizations, and intellectual understanding of the meaning of the words. ME enables you to achieve the controlling realization, so that you easily receive any food, clothing, or other material possession that you need to benefit other sentient beings. HUM enables you achieve the wrathful realization, which gives you the power to destroy the maras, or evil-doers, who harm sentient beings and disturb the teachings. These wrathful powers are needed to benefit other sentient beings.
It also enables you to achieve the infinite qualities of Avalokiteshvara’s holy body, holy speech, and holy mind. It enables you to achieve all Avalokiteshvara’s knowledge and to perform Avalokiteshvara’s holy actions, which are unimaginable. These holy actions cannot be comprehended by even arhats, but only by buddhas. Avalokiteshvara performs unimaginable holy actions for other sentient being. The holy body transforms into many billions of different manifestations, the holy speech transforms into billions of different forms, and the holy mind also transforms into many billions of different forms to guide sentient beings.
There are five Mahayana paths to enlightenment: the path of merit, the path of preparation, the path of seeing, the path of meditation, and the path of no more learning. Reciting the six-syllable mantra, OM MANI PADME HUM, also enables you to achieve these five paths. The last one is omniscient mind, or enlightenment.
In this way, even each syllable has much benefit and power.
Even if you have collected many heavy negative karmas, such as avoiding Dharma, again this is the best method to purify them.
One lama in Tibet wanted to go to the pure realm of Avalokiteshvara, Potala. Somebody close to the lama, perhaps a benefactor, said to him, “Could you also take me?”
The lama then asked Avalokiteshvara whether or not he could take that person with him to the pure realm. I think the lama must have been a great yogi who could see and communicate with Avalokiteshvara.
Avalokiteshvara mentioned that the benefactor had sold a Dharma text, the Prajnaparamita in eight thousand verses. This text, which contains explanations of emptiness, has been translated into English. Avalokiteshvara said to the lama, “He has sold this text, so he cannot come to the pure realm. He will be reborn in hell.”
The lama then asked Avalokiteshvara, “What should he do?” Avalokiteshvara answered, “Meditate on and recite my mantra, the six-syllable mantra.”
Even someone who has created a very heavy negative karma of avoiding Dharma like this can purify it by reciting this mantra, because Avalokiteshvara himself said to recite it.
Reciting this mantra is a most powerful method, able to purify even the negative karma of a full monk who has lost his ordination by breaking the four root vows. In previous times,one pandit4, having degenerated all his precepts, was born in the hells but he didn’t have experience the suffering there. The moment he was born in hell, as he was right in front of the Yamas, the karmically created protectors, Avalokiteshvara and other deities saved him from the hands of the Yamas because he had recited this mantra during his life. Because of the power of that, Avalokiteshvara and the other deities saved him.
Right after he was saved by Avalokiteshvara, Hayagriva, and other deities, his consciousness re-entered his dead body, which was about to be burned, and he came back to life.
This mantra also has the power to purify the five unceasing negative karmas. I’m not sure whether this story happened in India or Tibet—maybe in India. A couple destroyed a statue of a pandit and made medicine out of the materials used to make the statue. After they had done it, they somehow knew that they had created heavy negative karma. Feeling much repentance, they did much meditation on the Avalokiteshvara yoga method and recited this mantra a lot. So, in that life, with the same bodies and without needing to experience death, both the husband and wife went to the pure realm of Avalokiteshvara.
There are many stories about how powerful this mantra is for purification.
At one time in Lhasa, there was an old woman who lived in the streets, begging, and she often recited this mantra. When she died in the street, her body was full of beams, and white light radiated from her body. Everybody was very surprised. She was just a beggar who recited this mantra all the time. She died in the street, not in a comfortable bed in a good apartment, but the light coming from her body was a sign that she had left for the pure realm.
There is also an Avalokiteshvara yoga method that cures eye disease. In the upper region of Tibet, one woman became blind; she then concentrated on and prayed to Avalokiteshvara all the time and recited many mantras. After some time, early one morning, she suddenly regained her sight. This happened without any treatment, without any doctors. There are many similar stories of blind people who regained their sight through praying to Avalokiteshvara and reciting the mantra.
Just recently here in Solu Khumbu, an old man who used to carve the Avalokiteshvara mantra on stones died. He and his wife lived somewhere down below here; they were very poor, very simple people. The old man had a generous mind, a good heart, and always recited the Avalokiteshvara mantra. When the husband died and his body was burned, the forehead bone sprang out of the fire into space and dropped to the ground. When they checked the bone, they found that white OM MANI PADME HUM mantras had spontaneously appeared on the bone.
At that time other incredible, unexpected things happened. Even though other people did not think that he was a good person and that he would be guided by Avalokiteshvara, very surprising things happened at the time of his death.
I think the bone was offered to Gomchen-la, an ascetic monk who is recognized as the embodiment of a yogi called [Tang pa gepa]. This yogi is usually drawn with a very big stomach. I think the bone was taken by the wife, but she wanted to offer it to Gomchen-la. Gomchen-la told me I should keep that bone with the mantras here. I also definitely believe in the benefits of this. I have also had my own experiences of the power of the mantra, though I’m not saying that I have any realizations.
If you have devotion in the benefits of this mantra, then recite it and blow on other people’s bodies or on water that you then give to other people, it benefits. Last year there was a woman who had so much pain in her eyes that she couldn’t sleep at night. When she came to a puja here a year ago, I gave her some mantra water and red cloth. I told her to put the water on her eyes with the red cloth, then wipe it off. I also told her to recite the mantra herself. When I saw her the next day, the pain she had had for a year had gone. There are many similar stories.
If you have faith in the benefits of the mantra and a good heart, even something simple like blowing your breath on water after reciting the mantra benefits. Reciting this mantra is one of the most powerful methods for the happiness of all future lives.
That is a brief explanation of the benefits of the mantra.
If one recites one thousand every day then when the body is burned, at the death time when the body is burned, even the smoke that goes away, whomever it touches, whoever smells, whomever it touches, those sentient beings, their negative karma to be reborn in the lower realms gets purified.
So there are fifteen major benefits, this is the same thing for long mantra and short mantra. Fifteen important benefits. There are so many benefits but if one can remember these fifteen benefits, if one able to remember these, then this is many important things. Besides all the healing, all the disease can be, that one can be healed or one get protected from many harms, all these things, besides all these things. So one receives fifteen virtue, benefits.
1) In all the lifetimes, one meets a virtuous king, religious king, virtuous king. So like His Holiness the Dalai Lama, so forth. Also, there happened others, virtuous leader, virtuous king. So by meeting, so, that by being in such a place then one has much opportunity to practice Dharma. There’s reasons like that.
2) So, all the time one get reborn in the virtuous place, where there is lot of, place where there’s a lot of Dharma practice. So where there, like where there’s a lot of temples, where you can make a lot of, where there’s a lot of holy objects, statues, stupas, many holy objects. And that by having many holy objects, and by having many people, by having people, so many people in the city doing practice, so they inspire you also to practice Dharma, cause of happiness. By having all these holy objects, then it makes you to, it gives you opportunity to practice Dharma, to create the cause of happiness, to accumulate merit.
3) Then, one is, all the time meets good time, fortunate time, all the time one has fortunate time. The conditions, good conditions, which helps your Dharma practice. Always many good things happening, which inspires you to practice Dharma, which makes you to practice Dharma, to receive teachings, to meditate, many things.
4) So then, always one is able to meet a virtuous friend. That is one.
5) Then always one receives a perfect human body.
6) Then, the mind become familiar with the path, then, in virtue, in the path.
7) Then, one doesn’t degenerate vow, morality.
8) Then one is able to remember, the surrounding people become kind to you, they become harmonious to you, with the people, family or Dharma students or people in the office, whatever, they become harmonious to you.
9) Then you always have wealth, means of living.
10) Always you are protected, always you are served by others.
11) Wealth that you have doesn’t get stolen, doesn’t get taken away by others.
12) Whatever you wish, get succeed.
13) You are always protected by the nagas, the virtuous nagas and devas.
14) Then in all the lifetimes, you see Buddha and able to hear Dharma.
15) By listening pure Dharma, then you are able to actualize the profound meaning, emptiness.
So it is said in the teachings that deva, human being, anybody who recites this mantra with compassion, compassionate thought, then that person will receive these five virtues. So there are so many benefits but these I mentioned, these five, these fifteen, were important, integrated, integrated in fifteen important outlines.
Then, mention a little bit the meaning, then we’ll stop there, okay.
The Compassion Buddha, in the form of mantra, with the speech, the form of mantra, then leading us to enlightenment. This, that’s what it is, by reciting OM MANI PADME HUM. So there’s the holy body of Compassion Buddha that we make offerings, we accumulate merits, we purify, we meditate, but then, the other thing is that, manifesting in the form of mantra, then purify our negative karma and causing us to actualize the whole path, from guru devotion and the renunciation, bodhicitta, emptiness, the whole path, the two stages of tantra, however, the whole path to enlightenment within us. So that then able to bring all sentient beings to enlightenment. This is what the mantra is benefiting us. So this is the action of Compassion Buddha’s holy speech, benefiting us.
So, by manifesting OM MANI PADME HUM, then there’s also prayer wheel, then the prayer wheel practice, with the OM MANI PADME HUM written, then that way also purifying, also very powerful practice that, it becomes unbelievable purification, the prayer wheel, OM MANI PADME HUM, turning the prayer wheel. And then by one time turning, it accumulate that, merit like sky, that if there’s a million mantras inside the prayer wheel, then by turning one time, you accumulate merit same as you have recited one million times OM MANI PADME HUM, so many. So like that, there are many ways Compassion Buddha, Compassion Buddha is guiding us to enlightenment in so many different ways. So it’s unbelievable how Compassion Buddha is, how is doing work for us, guiding us to enlightenment.
So now OM MANI PADME HUM. So MANI PADME, MANI is method and PADME is wisdom. So MANI PADME, there is method and wisdom, Buddha revealed the Lesser Vehicle teaching, Mahayana Paramitayana teachings, the Mahayana Vajrayana teachings, so now there is a method and wisdom of the Lesser Vehicle teachings, there is a method and wisdom in the Mahayana Paramitayana teachings, and there is a method and wisdom in Mahayana Vajrayana teachings. So MANI PADME contains everything. MANI PADME contains the Hinayana, the Lesser Vehicle teaching’s method and wisdom, the Mahayana Paramitayana method and wisdom, the sutra, then Mahayana Vajrayana method and wisdom. So MANI PADME, by practicing together the method and wisdom signified by MANI PADME and then purifies stains of body, speech and mind, which is signified by the OM, the AH, U, MA – OM. The three sounds makes OM. By integrating the three sounds then it becomes OM, AH, U, MA – OM. So that signifies the vajra holy body, holy speech and holy mind of Buddha. So, by practicing the method and wisdom signified by MANI PADME together, then purifies one’s own ordinary body, speech and mind, the stains, in other words, the stains of body, speech and mind, purify, and then transformed or it became inseparable with Buddha’s vajra holy body, holy speech and holy mind. So, the AH, U, MA – OM, OM signifies the three vajras. So like that.
Then that, and also that this MANI PADME, OM MANI PADME HUM, MANI PADME it signifies the maha-anuttara yoga tantra path. What I have explained before is general, now more specific. That, by depending on the path, the method that which the profound secret mantra, which makes the mind to be ripened, that which is the generation stage, and what makes the mind to be liberated, what liberates the mind, so that is the completion stage. So by practicing these two things, then you stop, you cease the circle of the ordinary suffering, rebirth, death, intermediate stage.
You stop, you cease. Then you achieve path-time, so the previous one is the base-time, ordinary the base-time birth, death, intermediate stage, so then actualize path-time dharmakaya, sambhogakaya, nirmanakaya, and achieve the result-time dharmakaya, sambhogakaya, nirmanakaya. So achieving these three kayas which are inseparable. So this is, achieving these three, purifying those three and achieving these three are signified by the OM – AH, U, MA – OM.
Then another meaning MANI PADME, PADME is lotus, MANI is jewel and PADME is lotus. So the lotus is unstained, it grew from the mud but it’s unstained by mud. So like this, the Compassion Buddha holding, the reason why Compassionate Buddha is holding the lotus, it signifies that the Compassionate Buddha has completely purified, has completely abandoned the root of samsara, the concept of true existence, ignorance. Not only that, even the subtle imprint, subtle obscuration is completely purified, by the wisdom, by the great wisdom directly perceiving emptiness.
So, therefore, not abiding, the Compassion Buddha is not abiding even in the lower nirvana, the extreme of samsara, the lower nirvana. Not abiding, not being bound in that blissful state of peace.
So free from that. That’s why holding the white lotus.
So the reason why Compassion Buddha is holding a jewel in the hand, which is in Sanskrit, the jewel’s name is MANI. The Compassion Buddha himself, himself or herself whichever way manifest, even he or herself achieved the highest peerless peace, the great enlightenment, but because the Compassion Buddha’s holy mind is bound with great compassion, so therefore stopped abiding, only abiding in the peace, in the state of peace, holy mind abiding in the state of peace. You see, and not manifesting, not working for other sentient beings, just only abiding in the state of peace. So stopped that, because the holy mind is bound by great compassion. So because of that, then manifest out in the form whatever it fits to the different sentient beings who have different characteristics of mind. In that way then reveal various skillful means whatever it can fit to then sentient beings, then like a wish-granting jewel, Compassion Buddha eliminate every single problem, every single suffering of us the sentient beings, and grants every single benefit, happiness, of us sentient beings, temporary happiness, ultimate happiness, benefits. So fulfills wishes of us all sentient beings. For that reason, then the two hands put together and holding jewel, so this mudra is done. Because of this, then Compassion Buddha is called “Lotus in the Hand,” by this reason. “Lotus in the Hand,” that is the name of the Compassion Buddha.
Now the meaning of HUM. Maybe the HUM we do next time. Maybe next new year – I’m joking, anyway.
The HUM is mentioned in the root tantra Dorje Tsemo, Tip of the Vajra. I’m going to explain what is the meaning of the HUM. It is a verse from that text. It destroys the, it cuts the suffering, HUM cuts the suffering, and destroys the suffering. It kills the evil beings by the mantra, means the HUNG, so those who harm so many sentient beings, and those who harm, destroy the teaching of Buddha, which is the source of all sentient beings’ happiness, so the evil beings. So the HUM, it take off the life of the evil being by the mantra, and it cuts the lasso of the samsara, lasso, the lasso is something that you tie, like animal you tie to the stick, or something, whatever it is, post or hook or something. So attachment, so the lasso of the samsara is attachment, what ties us, what hooks us or what ties us to samsara, what ties us to samsara, lasso. So HUM cuts the lasso of the samsara. Therefore, remember the HUM is the supreme, HUM, therefore, remember the HUM is the supreme one.
So HUM, the MANI PADME is Chenrezig’s holy name, that is Chenrezig’s, Compassion Buddha’s holy name, so MANI PADME is like calling, Mum!, mother or father. The MANI PADME is just like calling father or mum. Then HUM that persuades the Compassion Buddha’s holy mind. It’s a imperative, imperative word that the blessings of your holy mind, the great compassion, make it to enter in my heart. So that is the meaning of HUM. The blessings of the great compassion, the blessings of your holy mind, the great compassion, make it to enter in my heart, in my mental continuum. So that is the essential meaning of the HUM, OM MANI PADME HUM.
Other than this, is that the MANI PADME, that MANI, dependent arising, the truth for the all-obscuring mind. The two truths, all existence are condensed into two truths, truth for all-obscuring mind, the dependent arising, MANI signifies that, and PADME is the truth for the absolute wisdom, the emptiness. Then HUM is the unification of dependent arising and emptiness. Then also MANI, appearance. We label I, first our mind label I, then there is appearance of the I, then the I appears to us as if it is independent, as it exists from its own side, unlabeled. So the MANI signifies the appearance, appearance of samsara, nirvana, appearance whatever we have here now in this room, in this hall, yourself, others, the house, everything. All these appearances that which appeared as existing from its own side, not labeled by the mind, not merely labeled by the mind. Then, PADME signifies emptiness. So, these, including I, action, object, samsara, nirvana, all these things what are appearing, the way it is appearing to us is existing from its own side, not merely labeled by the mind. Therefore, that one is completely empty right there, doesn’t exist at all, the slightest even atom right there. Because everything what exist is being merely labeled by the mind, so therefore everything is empty. So MANI, appearance, PADME, seeing all these appearances are empty, empty of true existence. HUM then inseparability of emptiness and appearance.
(Lama Zopa quotation, credits: https://www.lamayeshe.com :