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”

Accumulation of the Vajra Guru Mantra

It is time again to make some aspirations and accumulate prayers for all beings.    As some readers know, I have done mini-monlams in the past.  In the Tibetan tradition, monlam (aspiration prayers) festivals are held once a year in various traditions as a kind of gathering (usually in sacred places) to generate some kind of powerful positive intent/force for the world, the universe, all sentient beings, the teachers and the Buddhadharma.  It is a very effective way to harness the minds of many practitioners at the same time, in the same place towards a common goal.  These prayer assemblies are very effective in removing obstacles and purifying negativities facing the world/country such as invasions, wars, unrest, epidemics, disasters and so forth.

Here, we in cyberspace do not really have any common place to do the prayers.  Some of us are staying in obscure areas where we can’t even find a Dharma community or like-minded people…  (if my statistics serve me right, my readers come from a wide sweep of geographical locations) But for a positive purpose, we can always commune here by using a simple site counter with our minds and positive intentions.  After all, the Buddha-nature pervades all beings and all sentient beings’ minds are really inseparable.

Therefore, I would like to ask all readers to go to this counter site (http://goo.gl/TVWUgt) and contribute to the recitation of the Vajra Guru Mantra (OM AH HUNG BENZA GURU PADMA SIDDHI HUNG), it doesn’t have to be any particular number of mantras but you can contribute a 108, 1080, 10800, 108,000 or more …

Think of it as doing your little part for all beings.  Instead of simply mouthing prayers above love, compassion and Bodhichitta, why not put it into more action by pooling your little efforts into the ocean of merits that a group of people can create.  Commit to do something over and above what you usually do.  For instance, if you usually recite 108 Vajra Guru mantras, you can commit another 108 and double your daily practice to 216.  Then, by doing that for 3 months, you can easily contribute almost 10,000 mantras.

The power of group practice is almost always impossible to match by individual practice.  By joining in a group practice, through dedications and pure intentions, one creates a vastness of merits in a very short time that cannot be attained by oneself in perhaps a whole life .  If someone in the group possesses pure Bodhichitta, that group practice is also magnified and enhanced by that quality.  If someone has the realization of emptiness and participates in this group practice, likewise all participants will benefit from the presence of this sublime quality. Therefore, in the Tibetan tradition, group practice has always been deeply emphasized.  For people with little time and many distractions, group practice may well be their only portal to great merits, purification and liberation.

In this time, Guru Rinpoche’s blessings is very much needed.  In terms of kindness, Guru Rinpoche has left behind many treasures, advice and prophecies for the future to tide over the difficult obstacles of this age. But due to a lack of merit, many of these treasures cannot be uncovered, many advices have been left unheeded and many prophecies for benefitting beings cannot be fulfilled.  We need to pray very strongly to Guru Rinpoche to reverse the negativities of this time, to strengthen our collective store of merits and to engage in purification so that circumstances can be turned around and sufferings can be allayed.  This is a very urgent matter and it cannot be overemphasized.

Many people are in some kind of stupor in terms of the direction the world is going, but this is also due to the force of our karma and a lack of wisdom and foresight.  We need to pray that there be harmony amongst the Dharma practitioners, that the teachers continue to manifest and stay a long time, that the conditions for the propagation of the Dharma continue.  Nowadays when virtue is extremely difficult to accomplish and non-virtue is performed continuously like the flow of a river, the need for some kind of powerful intervention and Guru Rinpoche’s blessings is vital.

To conclude, I pray that through our combined efforts and Guru Rinpoche’s blessings, may the light of dharma fill all sentient beings’ minds and may the Buddhadharma continue to stay for a long time and flourish.  May the teachers have long life and good health, may their Dharma activities expand and be successful.  May all negative inauspicious circumstances be reversed and may there be peace, happiness, good health and fortune in the whole universe, wherever sentient beings exist.

 

Garchen Rinpoche on Suicide

“There is no greater negativity than committing suicide–one creates a very powerful cause of intense suffering by taking one’s own life.

You must understand that all suffering has its seat in the self-grasping mind. When trying to exchange your body, it does not result in exchanging your mind–you cannot escape from your mind. Committing suicide leads to even greater suffering than you experience now; you will not be able to just erase your suffering. 

You have your karma and your lifespan. You must allow your karma to play itself out and not bring an end to your life prematurely. Moreover, by killing one’s body you are killing billions of life-forms living within your body, and you acquire the negative karma of that.

You should rather transform your mind. When you are suffering, practice tonglen; take on the suffering of others and think that by you experiencing suffering they will be released. All suffering is temporary; so is conditional happiness. The mind must gain stability in being unmoved by impermanent circumstances. It is never too late to begin to practice. We have wandered in samsara since beginningless time, and at some point we must begin to practice.

Don’t worry about how much time you have wasted for eons in the past–begin to practice now and you will die free of regrets. What you do from now on is more important. When you feel sick in your body, send your mind out into space; do not fixate on the body. Separate the mind from the body and rest in space. You can also visualize Tara in space and recite her mantra. I personally have many pains, but if I do not fixate on them, if I send my mind out into space and meditate, I do not feel them. Only when I begin to think about them do I again feel the pain.

You should moreover think that your own suffering is quite small compared to the suffering of so many other sentient beings. For example, I was kept in prison for twenty years, and you could call this a problem, but not one time did I think about when I would be released. I just practiced Tara day by day, and let alone not thinking of suicide, I was actually quite happy in my mind. If you want to become free of suffering, you must change your mind, not your body. Pray to Tara all the time and recite her mantra, so you never forget about her. Then I can also help you, as I am always practicing Tara. Whenever you experience pain and difficulty, think of Tara single-pointedly”

Buddha Mandala in Sky

Here’s photo to share with you.  If you look, there is a clear assembly of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in the sky above the Buddha statue.  To the bottom right, there is a cloud that looks like a dragon.  This photo was taken just this month on a holy day.  If you have faith, blessings can be received from this photo.

Namo Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, may their wisdom, blessings and compassion always be with you.

Happy Dharma Practice!!

 

Buddha Mandala

 

 

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

Vajrasattva Sky Relics

Image

 

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

Other related posts:

https://bodhiactivity.wordpress.com/tag/vajrasattva/

https://bodhiactivity.wordpress.com/2010/01/14/vajrasattva-practice/

His Holiness Sakya Trizin stresses the importance of studying the words of the Buddha and the 84000 project

Venerable sangha members and all dharma brothers and sisters. First of all, I would like to welcome you all to this sutra reading assembly. I myself am very happy to participate in this sutra reading, because even just by one word of Buddha, to hear or to recite brings great merit.

As we all know, the source of all the happiness and benefit are the Buddha’s teachings. Lord Buddha who created [generated] the enlightenment mind for the benefit of all sentient beings and in the meantime accumulated merits and wisdom and eventually attained full enlightenment. After attaining enlightenment, he performed many great activities, such as physical activities and mental activities and so on; but the most important activity is turning the wheel of dharma – by giving the teachings.

What he has already realized, what he has gained, the wisdom he gained, he gave to the beings. What he gained, we practice. Through that, we overcome the suffering of samsara and attain liberation and enlightenment. So therefore the most important is Buddha’s voice activities.

Originally the teachings were in Sanskrit and Pali languages in India. Later, through the kind patronage of Tibetan dharma kings, and also the great blessings of Indian masters, and also through the great hardship of Tibetan translators, they were able to translate so many teachings. Probably the Tibetan collection is the most complete – as it contains Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana teachings. Now the way to share this great treasure to the world is to translate.

I’m very happy this project is progressing. One of the incarnation of my great guru, the incarnation of Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro, is initiating this project. The present Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche is the third incarnation. The 1st Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo was a very great master. Although in Tibet, among many different traditions, there were innumerable masters who had great wisdom and great activities in benefiting enormous beings; but most of them are in their own field: Sakya masters in their own school, others in their own schools. They have great wisdom and also in their own fields they have great activities. But there are very few who carry the entire Buddhist tradition; and Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo is one of the few who took the entire Tibetan Buddhism – not just one school but entire school. He received the teachings from many sources, with lots of difficulty, going through lots of hardship. Not only did he receive them, but he studied and practiced them, and then later compiled them in a book, like the collection of Tantra, collection of sadhanas, collection of pith instructions, and so many different treasures. We don’t need to go anywhere. We can just receive them all very easily. Every tradition. He is really the “second Buddha,” I can call him, the second Buddha to appear in this universe.

Then the second Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo is Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro, whom myself had the fortune to meet, personally – the first time in Lhasa, and then later he came to Sakya also. I received many, many teachings. He is of course another – he carried out the same activities and same teachings as Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo did.

And now this present Jamyang Khyentse Dzongsar Rinpoche, he is the third incarnation. From a very young age he has very unique qualities. He has done so much even though he is fairly young. During this lifetime, so much teachings he received, so much things that many older lamas could not do. And now he is carrying on this 84000 project, which is very important.

I said, without the books it is difficult to study; without study, you can’t contemplate; without contemplate, you can’t meditate; without meditate, you can’t make progress. Therefore it is very important.

English is one most important languages in the world, so now to translate the entire 84000 into English is a very great project that I wholeheartedly support and rejoice the wonderful work that is going on.

The Kangyur – the collection of the Buddha’s teachings, and the collection of commentaries of the Kangyur by the great Indian masters – known as Tengyur, are both in every Tibetan monastery. Most monasteries have a copy of this too, as we have here, put it in the shrine, and then do prostration and make offering.

It is said that even just by doing one prostration or offering one light will of course earn great merit. But the more important thing is not just only to pay respect or to keep in the shrine and to make offerings. Most important thing, we must study, through the study we must gain the blessing. HH Dalai Lama pointed clearly that Kangyur is very important, very holy. We must respect, we must do prostration everything; but it is not just do the prostration. We must study, we must take them out of the shelves, we must open and study and learn and use them as textbooks, then you can gain the actual blessings.

Not only the monks and nuns but even the lay people should study also. HH Dalai Lama said, as Buddhist, now we must make the 21st century Buddhist, which means we should not just follow the traditions and do the ceremonies, worship, do prostration, make offerings, circumambulation. These are of course very meritorious and very important. But the more important, we must gain the knowledge.

The Buddha’s teaching is not just the temple or statues or offering objects. But they are in every individual’s mind and how we develop. If our mind becomes more pacified and more tamed, and we are able to control and not be controlled by our negative emotions, then we are making progress, then we are spreading the buddhadharma, then the dharma is progressing. Otherwise even though there are lots of people doing lots of practicing, but the dharma is not progressing. The progress of the dharma means the individual – we – must make progress in the practice of dharma. To do that, we need the texts. So therefore this project is very, very important. Of course it’s a very big project, but it’s an absolutely essential project. We wish this project to meet with complete success. I’m sure with the great blessing of the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha that it will be done in great success.

And so now today, we will do recitation of the sutras. It is of course great merits. Also I feel that by doing this, it will clear the obstacles, so that the 84000 project will go very smoothly and successfully. So, by reciting the sutra here, we will dedicate it all to the project, so that it will be made with complete success; and all the leaders, directors and all the people who are directly involved in the 84000 project will completely fulfil your wishes.

(Watch this video :  http://vimeo.com/18293835 for Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche’s speech)

(For more on how to help this project: http://84000.co/)

Guru Yoga Prayer of Shigpo Dudtsi

KA DAG NAY LUG TOG PAR JIN GYI LOB
Please bless me to realize the true nature which is primordially pure

GANG SHAR RANG NGO SHE PAR JIN GYI LOB
Please bless me to realize that whatever arises is my true nature

TRUL NANG RANG SAR DROL WAR JIN GYI LOB
Please bless me to liberate illusory appearances into its true nature

GYUN GYI TING DZIN KYE WAR JIN GYI LOB
Please bless me with the ability to meditate with continuous samadhi

TSHE DAY SANG GYE THOB PAR JIN GYI LOB
Please bless me to attain Buddhahood in this life

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

This entry was posted on 14141414, in Practices.

Solar Eclipse 29 April 2014

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

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

(Check http://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/solar/2014-april-29 for your local times)

Related posts:

https://bodhiactivity.wordpress.com/2010/01/14/info-about-eclipses/

https://bodhiactivity.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/potencies-of-holy-days/

 

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.

Potencies of Holy Days

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

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

 

View other link about Eclipses:

https://bodhiactivity.wordpress.com/2010/01/14/info-about-eclipses/

Short Teaching From His Eminence Luding Khenchen Rinpoche

Luding Khenchen Rinpoche(Comments : Simple teachings but really useful for those who really put into practice)

His Eminence also gave a short teaching on the importance of pure vision and motivation while on pilgrimage at Bodhgaya the supreme place where Buddha attained perfect awakening.

His Eminence stressed that making any offering to Buddha with pure vision and unconditionally means that all offerings are made without any personal gain in return now or in the future. Rinpoche also said that this place Bodhgaya is a holy pilgrimage site and not a holiday place.

While we are here at Bodhgaya, we need to practice with genuine motivation in mind, thought and action, and of all these without any personal gain, but rather for the benefit of all sentient beings as we have often recited in our dedication prayers.

Furthermore, while you physically sit in the meditative posture looking like Buddha, although the posture and appearance look conducive, if your mind is wondering with mundane thoughts or your personal agenda, or entertaining past, present and future thoughts this is also the wrong motivation. Another wrong physical action is false speech and poor speech to others when they had performed a mistake accidentally.

Making judgements towards others how they dress, how they do their practices is also the wrong view and has nothing to do with yourself, rather you should take a look at yourself, and maintain yourself by checking on yourself just like looking in the mirror from time to time.

Teaching on Seven Lines Prayer – Namkhai Nyingpo Rinpoche

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

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

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

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

The Seven Line Prayer of Guru Rinpoche

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

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

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

~ His Holiness Sera Yangtrul Rinpoche
(Translated from Chinese)

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.

Pith Instructions on the Practice of Avalokiteshvara

Pith Instructions by the Venerable Yangthang Rinpoche

The essence of the mind of all the buddhas and bodhisattvas is the bodhichitta, the awakened mind. When this bodhichitta assumes a form, it appears as Chenrezig, Avalokiteshvara.

Whenever we practice Avalokiteshvara, the most important aspect of the practice is the generation and development of the bodhichitta, which is the compassion that Avalokiteshvara experiences for all sentient beings. So, if we also generate this same compassion, this same awakened mind, it will be very easy for us to accomplish Avalokiteshvara because the essence of Avalokiteshvara is the bodhichitta. Thus, the blessings and the results will be very swift.

Avalokiteshvara has many different emanations and many different names, but essentially they are one essence, which is the bodhichitta, the nature of the mind of all buddhas. He appears in a peaceful manifestation, an increasing manifestation, and a wrathful manifestation. He appears in different colors—sometimes white, sometimes red. Sometimes he appears with one thousand eyes and one thousand arms, sometimes with one head and four arms, sometimes with one head and two arms, and often holding different types of hand implements. He is sometimes referred to as “Thugje Chenpo,” which means the “One of Great Compassion.” He is given this name because it is considered that he is the very force of the compassion of all the buddhas and bodhisattvas, the embodiment of the power of that compassion. He is also called “Chenrezig,” which means the “One Who Sees all Sentient Beings Equally and Simultaneously and is Always Aware of Them and Their Needs.”

His consideration of sentient beings is all encompassing and constant. He is also sometimes referred to as “Jigten Wangchuk” because, until the three realms of cyclic existence are emptied from their depths, from his concerned activity he will appear in any way and in all ways. He will emanate completely and all-pervasively to make connections with and liberate sentient beings throughout the three realms. Thus, he is called the “One Who has Power Over the World.” These different names refer to the one deity, Avalokiteshvara. They are but different names for different emanations of the same single essence.

To explain it from the point of view of the three kayas, in the dharmakaya nature Avalokiteshvara is Buddha Amitabha, in the sambhogakaya he is Nam Nang Den So, and in the nirmanakya he is Chenrezig, who appears both peacefully and wrathfully. In the peaceful expression he appears with one thousand arms and one thousand eyes, or with one head and four arms. In the wrathful expression he appears as Hayagriva. The wrathful expression is simply an intense expression of utter compassion that is necessary to tame the minds of beings who cannot be tamed through peaceful methods. Hayagriva also appears in many different emanations, sometimes with nine heads and eighteen arms, sometimes with three heads and six arms, sometimes with one head and two arms, sometimes red in color, sometimes black. When Avalokiteshvara appears as the protector, the dharmapala, he is the primordial wisdom protector Mahakala with six arms. When he appears as a wealth deity, he is the white Dzambhala.

All of these various expressions are but different methods that the expression of the mind‘s compassion manifests to accomplish the needs and the purpose of all sentient beings. And because the numberless sentient beings are themselves different from each other, many countless, different methods are necessary. In fact, there are so many methods that if I were to explain them all we would run out of time before I could finish and you would all become quite tired. In short, the number of manifestations of this deity is inconceivable, yet they are all nothing other than the mind of compassion, the expression of the great bodhichitta.

Therefore, we can say that, in a sense, more than accomplishing any other deity, to accomplish Avalokiteshvara alone is sufficient, because Avalokiteshvara is the essence of the mind of all buddhas and thus the essence of all deities. Furthermore, Avalokiteshvara is quite easy to accomplish. It is taught that if one practices Avalokiteshvara very well, for six months without interruption, then one will certainly have a sign of accomplishment. There is no way that there could not be a sign of accomplishment. This means that one will have a direct vision of Chenrezig or some other sign of accomplishment. Also, it is very easy to recite the mantra, “OM MANI PEME HUNG.” It comes quite naturally for everyone. Buddha Shakyamuni said that of all the different recitations, there is no greater benefit to be derived from any recitation other than the recitation of “OM MANI PEME HUNG,” the mani mantra. Of all practices that are based on recitation, this is the most powerful, the most beneficial.

To accomplish any other meditational deity we must know how to accomplish the generation and the completion stage, we must know how to perform the sadhana correctly, we must know how the practice is put together, we must know how to construct the mandala, and we must know many other things that can actually be quite difficult and complicated—just to accomplish the deity. But the accomplishment of Avalokiteshvara is quite different in that none of this is necessary.

There was a lama in eastern Tibet who was known as the “mani lama” because the only practice he did was Avalokiteshvara. He said that even when one is experiencing desire, or any of the other poisons, like jealousy or aggression, when negativity is arising in the mind, one can still practice Avalokiteshvara and recite “OM MANI PEME HUNG.” In other words, one doesn’t have to put the practice aside or transform the poison or do any other such thing, because the practice itself simply eliminates the conflicting emotions. This is because the six syllables of the mani mantra have the power to eliminate the six conflicting emotions, which are lack of awareness (delusion), pride, aggression, attachment, jealousy, and avarice. The six syllables also have the specific power to close the door to rebirth in the six realms of existence because each and every sentient being in all the six realms, without exception, has in its body six syllables that correspond to rebirth in the six realms. The cause of wandering in cyclic existence is due to the condition of the presence of those six syllables.

When you recite “OM MANI PEME HUNG,” the six syllables of Avalokiteshvara, it is important to understand that they have the power to subjugate and eliminate the ordinary samsaric six syllables, thus obstructing or closing the doors to rebirth in the six classes. That is one specific power of the mani mantra. Also, in this very lifetime, simply reciting “OM MANI PEME HUNG” will eliminate illness, disease, and demonic force possession. One will become happy and peaceful and fully endowed. Reciting it will enhance ones power to meditate and one will develop deeper levels of meditative absorption in this lifetime that will carry over into future lifetimes. At the time of death one will not have to take rebirth in the three lower realms and will instead be reborn in Dewachen, the Western Pure Land of Great Bliss, or in Avalokiteshvara’s own pure realm of Riwo Potala, and there one will gradually achieve the status of buddhahood. Until that time, the blessing and the power of ones practice will not be exhausted; it will continue to produce the result of enlightenment.

Avalokiteshvara is truly unlike any other deity. Many people are attracted to the wrathful deities, like Vajrakilaya, Hayagriva, Guru Dragpo, and so forth, and want to accomplish them, but unless one knows very well and exactly how to practice the generation and completion stage inner tantric practices of the wrathful deities, it is very difficult to accomplish them. Avalokiteshvara, however, is very simple to accomplish, and the mani mantra is very easy to recite. So keep these things in mind.

There are many who think that the Avalokiteshvara practice and the mani mantra are just for simple folks and children and old people, not for real practitioners and scholars. This attitude is based on ignorance; it is absolutely mistaken. In fact, of all deities, Avalokiteshvara is the principal deity and the most important. This is true today and it was true in the past, during the time of the great pandits and mahasiddhas of India, almost all of whom achieved their realization through their practice of Avalokiteshvara. Each and every one of them had visions of Avalokiteshvara, and it was through those visions that they received their spiritual attainments and realizations. And in Tibet, especially, all the greatest masters had the strongest connection with Avalokiteshvara. They had visions of Avalokiteshvara, they were given prophetic indications from Avalokiteshvara directly, and it was through Avalokiteshvara that they achieved spiritual realizations.

The blessings of accomplishing Avalokiteshvara are extremely great. Have no doubt about this. To recite even just one round of the mani mantra is of tremendous benefit, inconceivable benefit. To pray to Avalokiteshvara from the depths of ones heart and recite the mantra is truly a very profound practice in itself. If you pray to Avalokiteshvara regularly, and recite the six-syllable mantra as much as you can, it is absolutely certain that when you pass from this life you will not take rebirth in the lower realms. So, consider this and incorporate the practice into your life.

You should see all appearances as the form of Avalokiteshvara, you should hear all sound as the speech of Avalokiteshvara, which is the six-syllable mantra, and you should consider that all arising thoughts are the mind of Avalokiteshvara. You should have compassion and loving kindness for all living beings without exception, from the tiniest insect to the largest being, because all of them, just as you do, wish to be happy and have a desire to experience bliss. Not a single one of them wishes to suffer. So, it is important to always have loving kindness for all sentient beings, maintain the threefold state of pure awareness, and recite “OM MANI PEME HUNG” as much as possible.

Benefits of the Mani Mantra

Image

One last glimpse of Drubwang Rinpoche before his parinirvana

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

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

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

Moreover, reciting this mantra is:

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

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

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

Guru Rinpoche also said,

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

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

Lord Avalokiteshvara also said:

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

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

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

If one recites the mani mantra 1000 times per day:

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

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

Drubwang Rinpoche Concise Practice of Chenrezig

More on Drubwang Rinpoche’s teachings:

http://www.shabkar.org/download/pdf/Significance_and_Benefits_of_Six-Syllable_Mantra_Recitation.pdf

More on Mani mantra from this blog:

https://bodhiactivity.wordpress.com/mani/

Last Prayer by Dudjom Rinpoche Jigdral Yeshe Dorje

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Choggi Rinpoche given at Kunzang Palyul Choling in 1988.  He was telling the story of how His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche came to write his last prayer.

His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche & Shenphen Dawa Rinpoche

This prayer was the last prayer written by His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche who was my teacher.  According to Tibetan Buddhism, His Holiness is believed to be the manifestation of Padmasambhava.  Padmasambhava was born eight years after the parinirvana, the death, of Buddha Shakyamuni.  As prophesized, Padmasambhava was called the second Buddha, and was the founder of Tibetan Buddhism in Tibet.  In every prophecy, His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche is described as the manifestation of Padmasambhava himself.

This teaching is not a simple teaching.  It was a vision.  This is the story about how this teaching appeared.

His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche’s wife had a special Dakini, a wisdom goddess, who would visit her in her dreams from time to time.  This Dakini would predict many things to her.  One day this wisdom Dakini appeared in her dream and asked her to please ask His Holiness for a prayer, which would be extremely beneficial for future human beings.

The next day His Holiness’ wife made the request.  She said, “I had a dream.  Please write a prayer for beings.”  And His Holiness said, “I have written so many prayers.  There is no lack of prayers for people to read.  It’s just that they don’t read.  That’s the thing.  There is no end to what I have written.”

And his wife thought maybe that was right, because in his last life, he wrote 23 texts of different practices.  These texts were not just composed. They were wisdom manifestation teachings called terma.

During the time of the eighth century in Tibet, Padmasambhava realized that in the future the teachings would be disrupted.  There would be negative forces – those who would try to change the essence of the teachings.  So Padmasambhava and his Dakini Yeshe Tsogyal concealed those teachings.  They concealed the teachings in the ground, in space, in the water, and predicted exactly at what particular time they would be revealed in the future and the name of the particular Terton that would reveal each teaching or practice.  And that is exactly what has happened to this day.  These terma revelations are so fresh, and therefore the whole teaching is preserved as it is.

The Terton, or treasure revealer, is like one who has been directly initiated by Padmasambhava himself.  All the protectors who were keeping that wisdom took a vow with Padmasambhava that the terma would be given only to the right person, to the Chosen One of Padmasambhava. The whole teaching might be 300 pages, but the 300 pages are written in one line.  It is secret and kept hidden in Dakini letters, which is itself hidden.  No one can read that text except for the Terton initiated by Padmasambhava.  Only he can read it.  When discovered, there is only one line and through that a spontaneous text comes out.  Terma is self-hidden wisdom. It is so important that we are able to have that.  I feel very fortunate.  We believe that His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche is the manifestation of Padmasambhava.

Then His Holiness’ wife had another dream. Twice the same Dakini appeared in her dream and this time she said, “I asked you before.  It is very important that you request a prayer and you did not.  Now please, ask him.  Don’t neglect that.  It is very important.  There is big meaning within the prayer.”

So again she asked His Holiness.  And then again His Holiness said the same thing.  “No, I have written so many prayers.  People just don’t do.  From my side there is nothing lacking.”

And then she requested a third time.  That morning His Holiness was in his Paris apartment in France.  In the early morning hours, he was in his sitting room, and suddenly he had a vision of Padmasambhava.  The whole room started to glow, and became big.  A person wearing a white cloth and a symbol came dancing.  And then Padmasambhava himself spoke.  He said, “Establish the dharma.  Plant it in your heart.  In the depth of your heart, you will attain Buddhahood.  Enter the Buddha land.  Purify confusion.  Happily the Pure land is nearby.  Generate diligence in the essence practice.  Without practice, who can get results?  Looking at all of one’s faults is difficult.  Laying down one’s own fault is the essential point.  One day all defects will slowly purify themselves.  And good qualities gradually flourish.”  That was the teaching.  And then right at that moment, His Holiness wrote this whole teaching.

The life of a Terton is extremely interesting, because all communication is on an extremely subtle level.  For gross consciousness it is very hard to understand.  His Holiness immediately picked up a table and told the attendants to fill it with milk, and then he asked his wife and son Shenphen Rinpoche to come.

It was very early and Shenphen Rinpoche thought, “What’s happened? Is His Holiness’ health ok?”  He came rushing down.  And His Holiness said, “Just sit down.  And drink this milk.”  Now this is how delicate a Terton’s life is.  If Shenphen Rinpoche did not drink the milk at that point, what would become of the teaching?  Sometimes they say that one person represents all human beings when in front of a very powerful being.  So Shenphen Rinpoche drank it all.  And that showed that the blessing would be attained by all beings.  He drank all the milk.  And His Holiness said, “Good.”  This is how Tertons are.

Sometimes when one is next to a Terton, the Terton will tell you to get him something.  He or she may tell you in the middle of nowhere, “Get me something” which you can never get.  But the Terton never has the idea that it is not possible to get it, so the only thing you have to do is pick up anything and just give it to him because for the Terton habit is totally dissolved.  There is no such thing.  And when you just present that, it manifests in that state.  So when His Holiness said, “Drink the milk,” his son drank all the milk.  And His Holiness said, ‘Very good.  Just now I had this vision of Padmasambhava.”  And then he wrote this prayer.  This is the last prayer of His Holiness.  And there is a tremendous blessing in this prayer.

Namo Guru!

Homage to the Guru!

Conqueror Shakyamuni, Supreme Guide of the universe in this fortunate aeon.

Sons of the Conquerors, assembly of noble Bodhisattvas, you who train beings. 


Revered Guru, unsurpassed protector of beings of this degenerate age, 


Three Roots, host of oath-bound, and the Dharma protectors, one-pointedly remembering you from the depths of our hearts, 


We pray repeatedly invoking your attention

Hold us with loving kindness, and power of unobstructed compassion


Bless us to accomplish our aims in accordance with Dharma.

From former positive actions, we’ve gained this precious human body.

Due to merit, by no means small, we have met with holy Dharma.

Accepted by the Guru, we have received empowerments, blessings, pith instructions.

Though we hold such a jewel in our hands right now, our minds, like frivolous monkeys, fall for cunning demons of distraction.

And we cannot even use this wealth, which is our very own. 


Freedoms, endowments, and pith instructions have simply been wasted. 


Now we are coming to the crucial turning point.  Everything we ask for and receive has become like a story.

Putting on the appearance of Dharma, we even think we are practitioners, yet this minds falls far short of perfect practice, lacking even human dharma, let alone the view of Buddha dharma. 


With only a vague notion of the sixteen rules of proper human conduct, when examining ourselves, our own bad deeds bring us no shame.  When it comes to others, our patience is short like the tail of a door mouse.

Unable to execute the ten virtuous actions of
Buddhadharma, 
full of sectarian bias, although there is only one teacher and one teaching, we criticize teachings and the sages, accumulating bad karma; 


Using Dharma in this way is just carrying along a big burden of sin.

We have heard a lot of teachings, but they only increase our pride. Our mental analysis does not penetrate the depth of their meaning. 


Though we think we keep the Pratimoksha discipline, the four dharmas of the practitioner are scattered without trace. 


Though we think we possess the Bodhisattva precious training, the Four Immeasurables are like a painted picture of a lamp. 


Though we think we keep the samayas of the secret
Mantrayana, 
undervaluing the first root downfall we slip into it, taking for granted. 

Though we can mouth the explanations of the Four Thoughts that Change the Mind, attachment to the appearances of this life shows we have no renunciation. 


Though we rely on a guru, our respect and devotion gradually wane. In the place of pure vision, we wrongly think ourselves his equals. 

Respect, love and kindness toward our vajra brothers and sisters decline.

Even a bad word on their part seems intolerable and we shower them with curses. The love and compassion born of recognizing the beings of the six realms as our parents, vanishes like mist when we do not practice from the depths of
Bodhicitta. 


Though we act as though we have experience of the Development and Completion stages, we have no alternative to our ordinary confused perception. 


Though we know the Voidness is the ultimate teaching of Sutra and Tantra, 
we have no decisive understanding of it; our mind-streams become hard as horn. 


Unable to abide in the Original Nature, we pay mere lip service to the view and throwing cause and effect to the wind. 


Though outwardly, we appear to be well disciplined and well behaved, inwardly, attachment, craving, desire and greed burn like fire. 


Though we keep our bodies secluded in the mountains, day and night our minds ceaselessly wander in the cities. 


We don’t really trust our own experience and practice and yet guiding and advising others is like a child telling stories. 


Though we can’t be cheated by the compassion of the Three Jewels, yet due to our failing devotion, we cheat and harm ourselves. 


In this way, although to the profound Lama and Dharma, we have no wrong beliefs arising from lack of trust and faith, we sentient beings perform bad actions and remain unfulfilled in these degenerate times. 


Knowing full well what we are doing, we get into self-destructive carelessness.

Not protecting mindfulness, we suffer great loss. 


Now at this time as mind looks at itself, everything we do adds to the confusion.

Everything we think is tainted by emotional affliction.

We see our virtuous activities mixed with sin.  So ultimately where else is there to go but to the lower realms? 

As to our actions and patterns of behavior, calling them to mind, we lose confidence in ourselves. 

Looking at others only amplifies alienation.   We find no one trustworthy to be sure and help us. 

Now if we don’t take ourselves in hand, then when we are caught by the messenger of the Lord of Death, 
no one will be able to protect us, and all hope will be gone. 


Don’t you feel that waiting for such empty expectations is just deceiving ourselves?

With remorse and regret, recognize your own defects.  Wherever we have failed in dharma through error, lapse or transgression, we will not now increase it by concealing it in the presence of those with the eye of wisdom.

We confess in the depths of our hearts: With your compassion, forgive us. Protect us from the terror of the precipice of the wrong path.  Guiding us so that we can attain the perfect path of liberation. 


Having busily spent life doing this and that we have not laid hands on the essential meaning.  Give up the path in which you know so much and miss the one essential point.

Should we not now enter the path of knowing the one thing that liberates all? 


Undeceiving supreme protector, sole certainty and support, Root Guru, who encompasses all refuges, we pray to you with one-pointed devotion.

Look upon us with compassion most kind and supreme refuge,

Bless us so that we can see our own faults. 


Please bless us to not look into the faults of others. 


Bless us so we pacify harmful scheming and violent thoughts. 


Please bless us so that good thoughts arise from deep within. 


Bless us so we have little desire and know how to be satisfied. 

Please bless us so we may remember the time of death is uncertain. 


Bless us so we have no plans left over at the time of death. 


Bless us so we can generate great confidence in Dharma. 


Bless us so we practice impartial pure perception. 


Please bless us so that we develop uncontrived respect and devotion. 


Bless us that we reduce mental activity about unobtainable goals. 


Please bless us with the power to establish the Dharma in the depths of our minds. The ultimate point of the Dharma is the effort put into the practice.  The ultimate point of practice is to liberate our mind streams.  Please bless us.

Bless us so that our practice is free of obstacles.

Please bless us so that its results may ripen immediately.

Bless us so that we may liberate everything we come into contact with. 

Please bless us so that we destroy the duality of hope and fear.

Bless us so that we to see the non-dual primordial wisdom. 


Please bless us so that we recognize our own primordial wisdom. 


Bless us so that we reach the secure ground. 


Please bless us so that we gain ultimate effortless certainty. 


With the great vajra weapon of primordial, pristine cognition, may the life force of samsara and nirvana be cut into emptiness with one stroke. 


Into the unobstructed great bliss enjoyment of Nyema, may we always enjoy activity transcending together and separating. In the expanse of the all-pervasive equalness even the word suffering does not exist. 

Who could there be still searching for happiness where happiness and suffering have the same taste and grasping is self-liberated?  This is the Kingdom of Samantabhadra: May we attain it in this very lifetime!

Rainbow Body practitioner

Composed by His Eminence Dzogchen Khenpo Choga Rinpoche and his disciples on the 23rd of November, 2013, the auspicious day of Lha Bab Duchen, the Buddha’s Mother’s Day, at the auspicious place of the Dzogchen Retreat Center, USA.

Dear Students,

As you know from my recent message, my precious teacher Dzogchen Lama Karma Rinpoche passed away on the 11th of November, 2013. Yesterday I received extraordinary news from my Dharma friends in the holy Dzogchen area of Tibet that the sacred body of my kind teacher Lama Karma has obviously and dramatically shrunk in size. Lama Karma’s body was about 175cm (approx. 5’9”) tall, but two weeks after he passed away, his seated body has now shrunk to about 20cm (approx. 8”), which means his body, including his skeleton, shrank nearly 80%. According to Dzogchen tantra, this kind of miraculous display shows he has attained the Small Rainbow Body, which is a sign that he has attained the supreme accomplishment of Buddha in this very life. Please deeply rejoice in his devoted practice and realization of Dzogchen. In doing so, you accumulate immeasurable merit.

If his body continues to shrink and totally disappears, then this miracle will be categorized as Light Body or Atomless Body. I will describe these various miraculous results of Dzogchen practice later in this message.

Lama Karma Rinpoche received many Dzogchen teachings, mainly from Dzogchen Khenpo Apey Tsewang Rinpoche and Dzogchen Lama Achung Tokden Rinpoche. For many years after, Lama Karma mainly practiced Dzogchen Guru Yoga with trekchö in the caves of the holy Dzogchen area.

While some people assume that Dharma practice is a superstitious or meaningless activity, it is in fact the most meaningful and profound activity that you can do. The reason for this is because through Dharma practice you become Buddha, which means you transform yourself into Awakened Omniscience. Once you become Buddha then you are free from all suffering and the causes of suffering forever while you spontaneously help each and every being equally, without exception, in many different ways until they all attain Buddha. Therefore, there is nothing better for you and all beings than to become Buddha.

In order to complete the paths and stages of enlightenment, you must accomplish Dzogchen practice. Without realizing Dzogchen awareness, no one has ever become Buddha or will become Buddha. Accomplishing Dzogchen practice means you become Buddha. As it is said in the Dzogchen Atiyoga tantra, without realizing Dzogchen awareness one will not attain Buddha.

The swiftest method to become Buddha is correctly practicing Guru Yoga with Dzogchen. There are two main Dzogchen practices: trekchö (cutting through) and thögal (ridge-traversing).

When you accomplish Dzogchen treckchö you will achieve one of two results as described in the Dzogchen tantras.

One is ödlu, the Light Body, which means your body transforms into light and disappears. This can happen either gradually or instantaneously. Masters who have attained this include Master Vairochana in Western Tibet and Pong Gonpo and five generations of his main disciples in Eastern Tibet.

The other is dudral, the Atomless Body, which means your body dissolves into emptiness and totally disappears. This can happen with or without an eyewitness. Masters who attained this include Guru Junpey in Central Tibet and in 1998, Khenpo Achung in Nyarong, Eastern Tibet.

If you accomplish the Dharma practice of Dzogchen trekchö and thögal, then you achieve one of three types of Rainbow Body as described in the Dzogchen tantras.

The first is the Great Rainbow Body, which means directly transforming the present body into a luminous Rainbow Body, just like Buddha Shakyamuni in India, Padmasambhava in Nepal, Shri Singha in India, Vimalamitra in China, Yeshe Tsogyal and Chetsun Senge Wangshuk in Tibet, and so on. Those who attain the Great Rainbow Body eternally retain their present life’s body appearance until all beings become Buddha.

The second is the Medium Rainbow Body, most commonly known as Rainbow Body, which means the Dzogchen master’s body dissolves as rainbow light of many different shapes, colors, and all different sizes of rainbow spheres, rainbow rays, and rainbow ribbons until the physical body has totally dissolved into rainbow light, leaving nothing behind except some hair and nails. All these rainbow lights can pass through the master’s clothing and through solid walls. Even ordinary people can directly perceive this miraculous display of Rainbow Body accomplishment. Masters who have attained this accomplishment include Melong Dorje and Rigdzin Kumaradza in Central Tibet and in 1952, Sonam Namgyal in Mani Gedgo in Eastern Tibet.

The third is the Small Rainbow Body, which means a Dzogchen master’s body shrinks to the size of a cubit or less (in a seated position). This is also known as the Shrunken Rainbow Body. Masters who attained this include Master Nyaklha Rangrik Dorje in Eastern Tibet. (His body is still preserved and is the size of a hand. His hair is ten times bigger than his body.) Atha Lhamo in 1982 in Eastern Tibet. Her body also shrank to around 10cm (approx. 4″).

All these results of Dzogchen practice, the Light Body, Atomless Body, and all types of Rainbow Body, are signs of the same supreme accomplishment. The differences refer only to what happens with the miraculous display of the master’s physical body, but their attainments are all exactly equal. This means that these practitioners have attained Buddha in this very life.

After such sacred miraculous displays occur, most people no longer physically see these masters so we pronounce that they passed away. However, during this time, when the students pray to these masters who achieved Light Body or Rainbow Body, sometimes they can perceive their teacher physically appear to them and they receive tremendously powerful transmissions and pith instructions of the Dzogchen lineage.

Anyone who sees or even hears about the miracle display of the Light Body or Rainbow Body at the time it occurs is extremely fortunate. According to the Dzogchen tantras, when a master attains Light Body or Rainbow Body, the master’s wisdom pervasively emanates to all beings without exception and especially profoundly penetrates the minds of 3,000 disciples who have knowing-devotion to the master, such that these disciples directly receive the Dzogchen Lineage transmission.

Therefore, I encourage all my disciples to faithfully pray, supplicate, and joyfully offer to the Dzogchen Lineage masters, especially to my kind teacher, Dzogchen Lama Karma Rinpoche. From now until December 27th is an auspicious opportunity to practice The Buddha Path every day, to take or renew virtuous vows, and to fulfill your special commitments to do any virtuous activities or practices. In this way, you will receive the blessings, empowerments, and attainments of the Dzogchen Lineage, which will help you to become a Dzogchen Lineage Holder and swiftly attain Rainbow Body, Buddha, in this very life.

May you realize that all Result Buddhas always reside in your heart and the hearts of all beings.

May you swiftly attain the accomplishment of Rainbow Body in this very life.

I invite my international students to translate this and my previous message regarding Lama Karma Rinpoche into your native languages and share with others.

With love and blessings,
Dzogchen Khenpo Choga Rinpoche

The connection between creating virtue and liberation

In the Kimattha Sutta, this is addressed by Lord Buddha

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi in Jeta’s Grove, Anathapindika’s monastery. Then Ven. Ananda went to the Blessed One and on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: “What is the purpose of skillful virtues? What is their reward?”

“Skillful virtues have freedom from remorse as their purpose, Ananda, and freedom from remorse as their reward.”

“And what is the purpose of freedom from remorse? What is its reward?”

“Freedom from remorse has joy as its purpose, joy as its reward.”

“And what is the purpose of joy? What is its reward?”

“Joy has rapture as its purpose, rapture as its reward.”

“And what is the purpose of rapture? What is its reward?”

“Rapture has serenity as its purpose, serenity as its reward.”

“And what is the purpose of serenity? What is its reward?”

“Serenity has pleasure as its purpose, pleasure as its reward.”

“And what is the purpose of pleasure? What is its reward?”

“Pleasure has concentration as its purpose, concentration as its reward.”

“And what is the purpose of concentration? What is its reward?”

“Concentration has knowledge & vision of things as they actually are as its purpose, knowledge & vision of things as they actually are as its reward.”

“And what is the purpose of knowledge & vision of things as they actually are? What is its reward?”

“Knowledge & vision of things as they actually are has disenchantment as its purpose, disenchantment as its reward.”

“And what is the purpose of disenchantment? What is its reward?”

“Disenchantment has dispassion as its purpose, dispassion as its reward.”

“And what is the purpose of dispassion? What is its reward?”

“Dispassion has knowledge & vision of release as its purpose, knowledge & vision of release as its reward.

“Thus in this way, Ananda, skillful virtues have freedom from remorse as their purpose, freedom from remorse as their reward. Freedom from remorse has joy as its purpose, joy as its reward. Joy has rapture as its purpose, rapture as its reward. Rapture has serenity as its purpose, serenity as its reward. Serenity has pleasure as its purpose, pleasure as its reward. Pleasure has concentration as its purpose, concentration as its reward. Concentration has knowledge & vision of things as they actually are as its purpose, knowledge & vision of things as they actually are as its reward. Knowledge & vision of things as they actually are has disenchantment as its purpose, disenchantment as its reward. Disenchantment has dispassion as its purpose, dispassion as its reward. Dispassion has knowledge & vision of release as its purpose, knowledge & vision of release as its reward.

“In this way, Ananda, skillful virtues lead step-by-step to the consummation of arahantship.”

(http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an11/an11.001.than.html)

On Giving

Bhojana Sutta ~

“In giving a meal, the donor gives five things to the recipient. Which five? He/she gives life, beauty, happiness, strength, & quick-wittedness. Having given life, he/she has a share in long life, either human or divine. Having given beauty, he/she has a share in beauty, either human or divine. Having given happiness, he/she has a share in happiness, either human or divine. Having given strength, he/she has a share in strength, either human or divine. Having given quick-wittedness, he/she has a share in quick-wittedness, either human or divine. In giving a meal, the donor gives these five things to the recipient.”

The prudent person giving life, strength, beauty, quick-wittedness — the wise person, a giver of happiness — attains happiness himself. Having given life, strength, beauty, happiness, & quick-wittedness, he has long life & status wherever he arises.

Kaladana Sutta ~
“There are these five seasonable gifts. Which five? One gives to a newcomer. One gives to one going away. One gives to one who is ill. One gives in time of famine. One sets the first fruits of field & orchard in front of those who are virtuous. These are the five seasonable gifts.”

 Dana Sutta (Context: Teaching given to a laywoman who was giving to monks)

How is a donation endowed with six factors? There is the case where there are the three factors of the donor, the three factors of the recipients.

“And which are the three factors of the donor? There is the case where the donor, before giving, is glad; while giving, his/her mind is bright & clear; and after giving is gratified. These are the three factors of the donor.

“And which are the three factors of the recipients? There is the case where the recipients are free of passion or are practicing for the subduing of passion; free of aversion or practicing for the subduing of aversion; and free of delusion or practicing for the subduing of delusion. These are the three factors of the recipients.

“Such are the three factors of the donor, the three factors of the recipients. And this is how a donation is endowed with six factors.

“And it is not easy to take the measure of the merit of a donation thus endowed with six factors as ‘just this much a bonanza of merit, a bonanza of what is skillful — a nutriment of bliss, heavenly, resulting in bliss, leading to heaven — that leads to what is desirable, pleasing, charming, beneficial, pleasant.’ It is simply reckoned as a great mass of merit, incalculable, immeasurable.

Dana Sutta (another Dana Sutta with similar name)

(Motivation on Giving ~~)

Ven. Sariputta, together with the lay followers from Campa, went to the Blessed One and on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to the Blessed One: “Might there be the case where a person gives a gift of a certain sort and it does not bear great fruit or great benefit, whereas another person gives a gift of the same sort and it bears great fruit and great benefit?”

“Yes, Sariputta, there would be the case where a person gives a gift of a certain sort and it does not bear great fruit or great benefit, whereas another person gives a gift of the same sort and it bears great fruit and great benefit.”

“Lord, what is the cause, what is the reason, why a person gives a gift of a certain sort and it does not bear great fruit or great benefit, whereas another person gives a gift of the same sort and it bears great fruit and great benefit?”

“Sariputta, there is the case where a person gives a gift seeking his own profit, with a mind attached [to the reward], seeking to store up for himself [with the thought], ‘I’ll enjoy this after death.’ He gives his gift — food, drink, clothing, a vehicle; a garland, perfume, & ointment; bedding, shelter, & a lamp — to a brahman or a contemplative. What do you think, Sariputta? Might a person give such a gift as this?”

“Yes, lord.”

“Having given this gift seeking his own profit — with a mind attached [to the reward], seeking to store up for himself, [with the thought], ‘I’ll enjoy this after death’ — on the break-up of the body, after death, he reappears in the company of the Four Great Kings. Then, having exhausted that action, that power, that status, that sovereignty, he is a returner, coming back to this world.

“Then there is the case of a person who gives a gift not seeking his own profit, not with a mind attached [to the reward], not seeking to store up for himself, nor [with the thought], ‘I’ll enjoy this after death.’ Instead, he gives a gift with the thought, ‘Giving is good.’ He gives his gift — food, drink, clothing, a vehicle; a garland, perfume, & ointment; bedding, shelter, & a lamp — to a brahman or a contemplative. What do you think, Sariputta? Might a person give such a gift as this?”

“Yes, lord.”

“Having given this gift with the thought, ‘Giving is good,’ on the break-up of the body, after death, he reappears in the company of the Devas of the Thirty-three. Then, having exhausted that action, that power, that status, that sovereignty, he is a returner, coming back to this world.

“Or, instead of thinking, ‘Giving is good,’ he gives a gift with the thought, ‘This was given in the past, done in the past, by my father & grandfather. It would not be right for me to let this old family custom be discontinued’… on the break-up of the body, after death, he reappears in the company of the Devas of the Hours. Then, having exhausted that action, that power, that status, that sovereignty, he is a returner, coming back to this world.

“Or, instead… he gives a gift with the thought, ‘I am well-off. These are not well-off. It would not be right for me, being well-off, not to give a gift to those who are not well-off’… on the break-up of the body, after death, he reappears in the company of the Contented Devas. Then, having exhausted that action, that power, that status, that sovereignty, he is a returner, coming back to this world.

“Or, instead… he gives a gift with the thought, ‘Just as there were the great sacrifices of the sages of the past — Atthaka, Vamaka, Vamadeva, Vessamitta, Yamataggi, Angirasa,Bharadvaja, Vasettha, Kassapa, & Bhagu — in the same way will this be my distribution of gifts’… on the break-up of the body, after death, he reappears in the company of the devas who delight in creation. Then, having exhausted that action, that power, that status, that sovereignty, he is a returner, coming back to this world.

“Or, instead… he gives a gift with the thought, ‘When this gift of mine is given, it makes the mind serene. Gratification & joy arise’… on the break-up of the body, after death, he reappears in the company of the devas who have power over the creations of others. Then, having exhausted that action, that power, that status, that sovereignty, he is a returner, coming back to this world.

“Or, instead of thinking, ‘When this gift of mine is given, it makes the mind serene. Gratification & joy arise,’ he gives a gift with the thought, ‘This is an ornament for the mind, a support for the mind.’ He gives his gift — food, drink, clothing, a vehicle; a garland, perfume, & ointment; bedding, shelter, & a lamp — to a brahman or a contemplative. What do you think, Sariputta? Might a person give such a gift as this?”

“Yes, lord.”

“Having given this, not seeking his own profit, not with a mind attached [to the reward], not seeking to store up for himself, nor [with the thought], ‘I’ll enjoy this after death,’

” — nor with the thought, ‘Giving is good,’

” — nor with the thought, ‘This was given in the past, done in the past, by my father & grandfather. It would not be right for me to let this old family custom be discontinued,’

” — nor with the thought, ‘I am well-off. These are not well-off. It would not be right for me, being well-off, not to give a gift to those who are not well-off,’ nor with the thought, ‘Just as there were the great sacrifices of the sages of the past — Atthaka, Vamaka, Vamadeva, Vessamitta, Yamataggi, Angirasa, Bharadvaja, Vasettha, Kassapa, & Bhagu — in the same way this will be my distribution of gifts,’

” — nor with the thought, ‘When this gift of mine is given, it makes the mind serene. Gratification & joy arise,’

” — but with the thought, ‘This is an ornament for the mind, a support for the mind’ — on the break-up of the body, after death, he reappears in the company of Brahma’s Retinue. Then, having exhausted that action, that power, that status, that sovereignty, he is a non-returner. He does not come back to this world.

“This, Sariputta, is the cause, this is the reason, why a person gives a gift of a certain sort and it does not bear great fruit or great benefit, whereas another person gives a gift of the same sort and it bears great fruit and great benefit.”

Yeshe Tsogyal’s Prayer to Maha Guru Padmasambhava

Before Guru Rinpoche left Tibet for the land of the Rakshasas to tame the beings there, his disciple Yeshe Tsogyal made a heartfelt aspiration prayer with great devotion and longing.  This prayer was rediscovered as a terma of Pema Lingpa.  I have re-editted it from several versions I found (thanks to Lotsawa House and Jhanasukha)  and put it here for anyone who wishes to recite this prayer.  It would be good to recite this prayer particularly on the powerful holy days of 10th, 25th, new moon, full moon etc.  It would also be good to recite this prayer at holy places when one is on pilgrimage.

In my opinion, this prayer is short but contains all the important points, most importantly, it was said at such an important juncture of Yeshe Tsogyal’s life and is imbued with powerful interdependent-arisings.   As many people know, many things depends on tendrels (or interdependent-arisings) to occur.  Many masters would observe the tendrel for particular projects to decide if they would go ahead.  If the circumstances were forbidding, then usually the Masters would not continue to force the circumstances or even if they went ahead, the outcome would usually be quite bland.   Sometimes, after observing negative tendrels, masters will wait and see if things will change later. But this is not a deterministic view because positive tendrels can and are always being created. For instance, when Milarepa offered his root Guru Marpa, a large empty cauldron, it was inauspicious and so Marpa helped him to create a positive tendrel by filling it up with butter.  Or when Gampopa first visited Milarepa and downed the entire goblet of wine in spite of his monk vows, this was a very positive tendrel too.  In general, if we practice with devotion and according to the teachings, we are constantly creating positive tendrels.

In short, this prayer of Yeshe Tsogyal made to her Guru is a very positive tendrel and when we recite this prayer, we are taking part in this auspiciousness and creating similar parallels in our practice and future activities to benefit beings.  I hope that many people will recite her prayer as much as possible.  You can add it after your dedications on Tsok days or in whatever manner that is convenient.  May all be auspicious!!!

Download the pdf file here:

Yeshe Tsogyal Prayer

 

 

A Speech by Chatral Sangye Rinpoche

His Holiness Chatral Sangye Rinpoche

His Holiness Chatral Sangye Rinpoche

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This entry was posted on 13131313, in Practices.

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

Solar Eclipse 9/10 May 2013

(Please calculate your local times accordingly, or you can use the eclipse calculator at http://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/)

Event UTC Time  
First location to see partial eclipse begin 9 May, 21:25  
First location to see full Eclipse begin 9 May, 22:31  
Maximum Eclipse 10 May, 00:23  
Last location to see full Eclipse end 10 May, 02:20  
Last location to see partial Eclipse end 10 May, 03:25  

During eclipses, our potentiality increases sharply due to the movement of energies in our subtle body.  Oneself and others will benefit immensely from doing Dharma practice during this period.

Refer to another post on the importance of practicing during eclipses:
https://bodhiactivity.wordpress.com/2010/01/14/info-about-eclipses/

Partial Lunar Eclipse 25th/26th April 2013

(Please calculate your local times accordingly, or you can use the eclipse calculator at http://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/)

Penumbral Eclipse begins :  25 Apr, 18:05 UTC/GMT
Maximum Eclipse               :  25 Apr, 20:08 UTC/GMT
Penumbral Eclipse ends    :  25 Apr, 22:10 UTC/GMT

During eclipses, our potentiality increases sharply due to the movement of energies in our subtle body.  Oneself and others will benefit immensely from doing Dharma practice during this period.

Refer to another post on the importance of practicing during eclipses:
https://bodhiactivity.wordpress.com/2010/01/14/info-about-eclipses/

Killing Karma – belabouring the point further

The super nagger is back again.  Reports of rising tension between America and North Korea and bird flu in China are reminders of the prediction of Guru Padmasambhava.  According to Ogyen Tulku:

Guru Rinpoche has prophesied that in this degenerate era, so called ‘modern times’ — when the thoughts and actions of beings go astray from the virtuous path of holy dharma — diseases, famine, warfare, and strife will befall. The inner and outer elements of nature will become unbalanced, giving rise to diseases never known before, diseases like Ebola, AIDS, Hepatitis A, B & C, SARS, Bird Flu, H1N1 Flu, new kinds of Cancer, and others which will come in the future. Furthermore, he has predicted that one-fourth of the human populace on this earth will perish due to the occurrence of eighteen different kinds of infectious diseases. Similarly, he has also foreseen a time in the future when the world will be plagued by cattle diseases, epidemics, negative influences of planets, Nagas, Gods and spirits, and elemental spirits, failures of crops due to drought, frost bite and hailstorms, war and conflict, floods due to heavy rainfall, tsunamis, earthquakes, typhoon, volcanoes, forest fires, and fires that destroy villages, cities and towns. Thus, whenever the destructive forces of the four elements occur, whosoever prays to Guru Rinpoche with unshakeable faith, Guru Rinpoche himself has promised that he or she will not be affected by these destructive forces of nature and will be saved.

I do not like to play on peoples’ fears but I do think that we are in very negative times now.  Compared to 1 or 2 decades ago, the rate of killing animals have accelerated beyond belief.  Recently, in order to stop the bird flu, China culled another 20,000 birds.  Of course, from a Buddhist point of view, killing will only make the situation worse and intensify the suffering and anger energy in this world, thereby bringing more problems.  I have always been nagging on this blog in several posts on this very big problem of killing we have.

Many people are also developing all kinds of strange illnesses, the nutrition level of our food is fast diminishing, herbs are losing their power.  We are relying more and more on chemicals that harm our health further.  In hospitals, all kinds of strange procedures are being invented to “help” people, but in fact, it oftentimes creates more suffering in a person who is going to die soon anyway.  There are more and more cases of mental problems.  In my humble opinion, all these happenings which increase suffering everywhere are very related to the fast mounting killing debts we have incurred collectively.

Yin Guang, a famous Chinese Mahayana master who was the emanation of Bodhisattva Mahastamaprapta said :

Most sicknesses that are dangerous and serious are the results of killing karma in the present or past lives.

In the Sutra of Causes and Effects of Actions, the Buddha said:

For the sin of killing, the person falls both into hell and into the existence of animals and pretas; then, when later born human, acquires two kinds of retribution: one is that the person is short-lived, and the other is that the person is sickly.

In the Cula-Kammavibhanga Sutta we are told of the results of killing living beings:

Some man or woman kills living beings and is murderous, has blood on his hands, is given to blows and violence, is without pity for living beings. Because of performing and carrying out such action, at the breaking up of the body, after death he reappears in a state of misfortune, an unhappy destiny, a state of affliction, hell

In the Lam Rim Chenmo, we learn of the factors that make the karma of killing even weightier:

1. Killing with a mind that delights in it
2. Engaging in the act yourself, causing others to do it and praising it
3. Doing it with a mind that is pleased when such a thing is seen, and doing it after prolonged premeditation and preparation
4. Doing it constantly and diligently
5. Killing your victim by torture
6. Killing after frightening your victim into performing inappropriate actions
7. Killing when your victim is weak, suffering or impoverished, or while the victim is moaning, or piteously lamenting
8. Killing without any sense of shame, embarrassment or contrition
9. Killing without clear understanding of the teaching or due to relying on the wrong view for instance that it is positive to kill, or that animals exist to be killed and eaten, or that there is no repercussions from killing

We can see that when we kill animals for food or whatever other reason, we fulfill many of the criterias above that makes it an even more severe karma.  For instance, we enjoy our steak and chicken pie very much, therefore we inadvertently delight in the killing (point 1).  The rearing of animals goes on for a while before they are killed, therefore it is premeditated and long prepared for (point 3).  Killing of animals go on regularly.  We eat our meat regularly too (point 4).

I have seen people steam crabs slowly to death, sometimes the execution is not carried out well, the animal is half-dead, half-alive. We can only imagine what excruciating pain they go through (point 5). When animals are killed, they are already weakened by the captivity, hellish living conditions, insufficient nutrition, poor feed, and on top of that, they hear cries of their fellow animals dying and go through the immense fear of being slaughtered assembly-line style.  This is taking advantage of a weak and suffering victim in point 7.

We do not think there is anything wrong with eating meat and sponsoring the killing with our grocery budget (point 8).  We are thinking we are good Buddhists in spite of it all, or that we will not need to suffer the consequences, or that eating meat is not killing, or that we can’t survive in this world without meat etc.  There are many possible wrong views (point 9).

Further the same text describes the environmental effect of killing karma:

From the non virtuous action of killing, such things in the external environment as food and drink, medicine, and fruits will have little strength, be ineffective, have little potency and power, or, being difficult to digest, will induce illness. Hence, most living beings will die without living out their expected life spans. 

Sounds very familiar nowadays…

When you kill sentient beings, you are going against the training in the refuge vow.  When we take refuge in the Dharma, we also resolve not to harm sentient beings.  In killing animals, you cause their families to break up, thus in the ripening of karma, problems in your own family such as disharmony, separation, divorce, illnesses that devastate the other family-members but which turn your own life topsy-turvy etc may occur.  These are karmic results.

Spirits of animals that you killed may become aggrieved and bitter, they may seek all means and ways to take revenge on you.  Don’t take this lightly, these guys are dead-serious about making you pay.  Don’t think that animals are stupid.  Some of them have very strong awareness of what is happening to them.  Some of them may only acquire clarity after they die but when they see the cause of their past sufferings, they may not let it go so easily.  One may not notice it immediately but life slowly starts to encounter all kinds of small obstacles here and there, psychologically you are never happy, people around you are also affected.  You may just attribute it to your poor luck.  But even poor luck has a cause.  Then later, even bigger problems arise.

Even if your karmic creditors are not able to harm you immediately, they may bide their time and wait for your weak spots to arrive.  These can be when you fall ill, or when you are on the verge of death, or in bardo or in your astrologically weak years or times (which all of us have).  At such times, they can manifest many ways to create intense sufferings for you, accidents, sicknesses, negative emotions etc.  Finally, they may try their best to lure you to the lower realms and create a negative rebirth for you.

If you are making money at the expense of the suffering of sentient beings, then you can expect the karmic result of not being able to truly use or enjoy the money.  The money will be exhausted in some way, whether you are cheated of it, or you will dump it into endless medical bills to cure some illness, or you may even die before you get to use it.  There are endless ways this karma works out.  We can understand this very easily.  When you make use of animals without their permission, you are actually stealing from them.  In fact, you are bartering the flesh which you stole from them.  Having stolen the most precious resource from other beings – their very life – the karmic results of stealing will result.  

In some sense, killing animals are also related to the karmas of stealing, deception, covetousness and harmful intent among the ten non-virtuous acts.  When we contribute to the animals being captured, caged, reared in downright abhorrent conditions, going insane then we also create the causes for us to experience a lack of freedom, poor living conditions, stress, mental imbalance and such similar sufferings.

I know some people may not believe me when i say all these. After all, such things are not often talked about in the modern world.  We are not educated about such phenomenon but some intelligent inference can tell us alot.  For instance we are all familiar with the intensity of hatred.  Therefore, do not underestimate the power of hatred when you have killed another being.  You may think that such a negative energy is only limited to their minds.  But in Buddhism and some areas of science, it is very well known that the energy of thought can have repercussions in the physical world.  For instance, in many forms of spirituality, we know that when many people are thinking negatively about us, the accumulated force can have a very detrimental effect on us psychologically and in our lives physically.  It can start to become something akin to a curse.  So when one has created many enemies through killing, it is no wonder all kinds of problems result.  

For the above explanations, they are not baseless, such cases have come to my knowledge.

The more you participate in killing directly or indirectly, to that extent your merit in this life dwindles further more.  When merit dwindles, you can expect good luck to say good bye.  You can expect health, career prospects, happiness, enjoyments to diminish.  Killing a sentient being is among the most serious of negativities you can commit apart from wrong views.  There is nothing more detrimental to your own spiritual path, your ordinary life and your future than killing.  It will also manifest its results very clearly near the end of this life. For instance, in many cases, cancer cells are manifestation of karmic creditors.  Some karmic creditors take rebirth as your children to extract their debts, some take rebirth as microscopic sentient beings that wreak havoc in your body.  Where do wars and fighting come from, if not from the energy of aggression mirrored in killing?

Frankly, I do not know why it is so difficult for Buddhists to stop killing, to eat less meat, to be vegetarian either full-time or as much as possible.  It is pure common sense.  If we are always talking about higher teachings like recognizing the nature of mind to attain liberation, but we are not willing to even deal with our simple attachment for the sake of preventing suffering to another being, then I don’t know what else on earth it is that we are trying to liberate.

The whole point of Dharma is to address and liberate the three poisons of attachment, aversion and ignorance.  Then some people say, we should not be attached to vegetarianism.  That is fine, if you can switch places with the animal and still feel unattached while people are taking a swipe at your neck with a chopper.  We should not just fantasize with the theories but see if we are truly unattached.  If you are not done with attachment, then don’t use non-attachment as an excuse.

Some people feel that to avoid killing is an insignificant practice when compared to meditations on emptiness, yidam practices etc., they feel that discipline and virtuous conduct is ‘relative’, ‘conceptual’, a ‘sutra’  or ‘hinayana’ practice etc etc If that is the case, then they should take a leaf out of Shri Singha’s advice to Padmasambhava when Padmasambhava was practicing meditation on the nature of mind under his guidance:

“If you think ‘I will have no karmic ripening even if I engage in the ten unvirtuous acts,’ you should be able to accept the ten unvirtuous acts of others directed towards you — even if it might result in your death, can you do that?
If you think ‘Even if I were to engage in the ten virtues, there would be no benefit,’ you should not have any sense of joy when you are benefited by others who are practicing the ten virtues– even if your own life is saved. Do you?”

Anyway, the reason for all this grousing is because i think it is time for us to take some action.  WE MUST DO SOMETHING.  And even a little change is much much better than nothing.  If, for instance, you choose to eat less meat, say, be vegetarian for 3 meals a week.  That would be wonderful!  If you can advise others to do so, then you are truly a jewel!  If more people do this, there is hope for improvement to take place in this world.

We must understand this simple fact, that unless we start from ourselves, we cannot expect change to occur.  The other important point is that no matter how many billion dollars we pour into medical research, all kinds of technologies to prevent all kinds of sufferings, we will never be freed from the extremely terrifying and overwhelming sufferings of killing karma if we do not reduce killing and adopt means to purify this karma and accumulate merits.  If the causes are accumulating, just doing something about the result is futile and bound for failure.

Now that on many fronts, there are much suffering and many obstacles to peace and happiness for beings, we should also pray to Guru Rinpoche and recite his mantra.  I hereby pledge to recite 10,000 repetitions of the 7-lines Prayer to Guru Rinpoche to pray for alleviation of suffering and the causes of suffering for all beings.  Please feel welcome to join me.  Forgive me for this long sanctimonious tirade, i am incorrigible.

May there be peace, joy and wisdom in the hearts of all beings!


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!”   

Pilgrimage to Lapchi

Great video of an pilgrimage to Lapchi Mountains, today is Milarepa’s Anniversary, great time to share with all of you.

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.

6 Stanzas of Mahamudra Guru Yoga

by Gyalwa Gotsangpa

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

(translation below is rough guide…)

SANGGYE KUNDU TSAWAY LAMA LA
Embodiment of all Buddhas, Root Guru

GO SUM GOE PA CHENPO SOL WA DEB
I pray to you with great devotion in body, speech and mind

DOEMEI NELUG RANG NGO SHEPA DANG
Please grant your blessings to recognize our original nature

TSHE DANG DRUB PA NYAM PA JIN GYI LOB
and integrate life with practice

LAMA SANGYE RINPOCHE LA SOL WA DEB
Precious Guru Buddha, I pray to you

CHOJE SANGYE RINPOCHE LA SOL WA DEB
Dharma Lord, precious Buddha, I pray to you

The meaning of the Barched Lamsal prayer

Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First line

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.

No fear

A sharing by Gyalwang Drukpa Rinpoche…

_____~~~~_____

Everyone seems to be very busy talking about 12th December and 21st December. I have been receiving a lot of phone calls and emails asking what should be prepared if the world ends on 12th December or 21st December. I was very confused in the beginning, because it’s the first time I heard about these two dates and about the prediction of the “end of the world”.

I guess the “end of the world” does not mean the “end of samsara”. I don’t think samsara will ever end. We should call for a celebration if samsara is near end. For the world to come to a complete destroy, our negative collective karma has to be working together.

My parents and many people have pitched tents tonight, staying outside of the buildings, because many people from my father’s monasteries have told him that tonight is the day when the end of the world will happen at 12am midnight (12:12:12:12…), but they didn’t inform specifically which country or which region the midnight would be based on . So for the fun of it, my parents are having night picnic right now. People told them that buildings might collapse, the world will be destroyed and it would be safer to stay in the open. I called my parents just now and found out they had just slept soundly. My father did tell me that he couldn’t believe that people actually believe in this sort of predictions. Anyway, they were going to enjoy themselves in the nature and have good food before retiring.

Today, I happen to be on the 31st floor. I guess I would have nowhere to run, if the building collapses. I suppose I have to pray very hard so that tomorrow morning, I will be waking up on top of the rubbles.

Whether the world will end or not actually depends solely on us. If our mind is corrupted with negative thoughts and motivation, then our speech and actions will be corrupted by negativity. For me, when our mind is full of negativity, there is no space for Bodhicitta, there is no space for understanding, for love and for mindful living, I consider this as the end of the world, at least the end of my world.

Anyway, do not fear the end of the world is near, but at the same time, do not indulge in too much of mundane comfort, thinking that we will live forever. Rather than believing that the end of the world is near, why don’t we use the present to live happily to the fullest. As I always say, happiness will only come when you share happiness. So, we should always encourage each other to engage in positive deeds and keep our body, speech and mind in the present, live mindfully.

For those, like some of my friends who believe that either tonight or 21st December is the end of the world, try to complete your practice or recite Guru Rinpoche mantra. Anyway, we have to dedicate our life to progress on our spiritual path, maybe this fear for the world ending soon is not bad to encourage us to practise more, last minute!

It surprises me a lot that most of us choose to believe in negative predictions. We should have strong devotion that the Buddha, Vajradhara, Dakas and Dakinis are always with us, but we don’t believe in this, instead we believe in negativity. Therefore we learn about many strange negative predictions such as the latest one about the end of the world. This is something that I don’t understand. I think believing in negative prediction itself is a very bad karma.

For example after watching a horror movie, you would remain scared of ghosts and spirits for at least a few hours, so much so that you wouldn’t want to turn off the lights because of fear. If someone tells us for hundreds or millions of times about angels watching over us, Guru being Vajradhara and always protecting us, Dakinis being always there helping us, we normally do not have any feeling and wish to believe this. You can just simply imagine how badly we are affected by bad karma.

Even if you don’t believe in karma, don’t you think that there is something wrong with us? It is a great mystery that we choose to believe in the negative rather than the positive, something is really wrong with us. Many of us often have that much of fear, we always say and feel, “I can’t sleep alone by myself, there are some spirits coming, I have to turn on the light.” If you feel so much fear, logically you should also have a strong sense of believing that Guru or Vajradhara is there to protect us, or for those who believe in God and angels flying over your head, you should feel protected at least for a few hours and a few minutes. If you normally choose to believe in the negative and see only the negative side of things, of people, that actually means that you have a pretty long way to go in terms of spiritual path. It actually means you have to be recognising that you are the one who have to be saving yourself, you have to purify your concept or mindset of ghosts being very much in existence and the positive spirits not existing. This kind of negative mindset is causing us a lot of fear and problems.

We always talk and discuss about the positive concept or devotional objects such as Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, Guru, Dakas and Dakinis, but there is no impact, despite talking about it whole life. We don’t believe. Why can’t we believe it? Yet, after watching horror movie, we believe in those horrible concepts and negative spirits, it doesn’t really make much sense. So rather than believing in the world coming to an end, why don’t we just put our feet down and believe in positive world and positive living? This is a fantastic way to start counteracting all the negative energies surrounding us, with so many people talking about the negative predictions for today and 21st December 2012. To tell you honestly, I still do not understand what this is about. Have a very good night!

(Source: http://www.drukpa.org/index.php/News-in-2012/fear-not)

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!

Teaching by Khandro-la Namsel Dronma

Integrating Lam-Rim into Daily Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Story about HH Penor Rinpoche

Personal reflections on His Holiness Penor Rinpoche by Jetsunma Akhon Lhamo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This entry was posted on 12121212, in stories.

Advice from Guru Rinpoche

– Three Types of Dharma Engagement –

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

– Four Essential Qualities for Dharma Practice –

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

– Ten Failings of being Unsuccessful in Dharma Practice –

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

– Ten Types of Fantasy in Dharma Practice –

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

– Ten Signs of Having Practised the Dharma –

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

– Twelve Invaluable Factors of Harmonious Dharma Practice –

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

– Eight Kinds of Silence in Dharma Practice –

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

– The State of Effortless Being –

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

Reading Sutras

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. To disrespect the Dharma or Dharma-masters;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This entry was posted on 12121212, in sutras.

Prayer in midst of sufferings

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

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

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

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

I end this post with another quote from Khenpo Choga:

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

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

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

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

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