Tag Archive | karma

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!!

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Buddha Name for Cleansing Killing Karma

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buddha Name for Purifying Karma from Taking Lives

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

CHOM DAN DAY DE ZHIN SHEG PA DRA CHOM PA YANG DAG PAR DZOG PAY SANG GYE GANG GA’I LUNG GI JE MA NYED KYI JE WA THRAG GYA’I DRANG DANG NYAM PAR NGE PA LA CHAG TSHAL LO

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

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

Karma & Practice

Lingtrul Rinpoche on Karma & Practice:

Also when you practice the Dharma it can be that sometimes be that people, they practice for maybe 5 years, 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, and some people sort of say, “Look nothing’s ever happened for me. Nothing seems to have improved. You know for example, here I am trying to be a Buddhist, you know, and things go wrong. I’ve lost my money, my house got burned down, my arms and legs are getting broken, all these things are happening. So where’s the blessings of the Dharma, I’m not a happy person.” So we sort of maybe think sometimes, “Wow, the Dharma’s completely useless. Life isn’t the way I expected even though I’m trying to practice the Dharma.” Well it’s not that case. We don’t know what our karmic continuity might hold for us. Although things are happening a little bit now, we really don’t know what could have happened if we weren’t involved with that perspective of trying to be a virtuous individual, by relying on the Dharma to try to get ourselves out of the suffering, and trying to attain liberation. A good example might be this, let’s say you know, I’m a Tibetan. I’ve come to the country of Canada and arriving here I borrow 1000 dollars from every one of you. And that’s fine, you lend me the money and there’s a relationship established. Then maybe if I suddenly get an opportunity to go somewhere where I’m completely freed and liberated, well all of you will show up on my doorstep saying, “Hey, before you go I want you to pay your debt.” You will make those demands on me. Well it’s like that. Let’s say you start to enter into the Dharma practice. Well that means you’re going to a good place, you’re going to enlightenment, so your karma will actually start ripening a little quicker. Now it doesn’t have to be that it ripens in a negative aspect, but it can be that some things get speeded up a little bit. Now maybe for example, in your previous rebirths you have some very heavy karma that you are not conscious of, that is waiting to ripen and give you a very bad lower rebirth, some horrendous rebirth. Well if you enter into the Dharma you might just get a migraine headache. So although you are in the Dharma, you get this small headache. It carries on for two or three years and you think, “Gee, I wonder why this is going on?” Well, what you are doing is you are purifying the karma that would give you that rebirth in that lower realm. And it’s no longer going to ripen because your attitude’s changed, then your karma shifts, then the karmas basically get purified because of your intentions in spirituality, your intentions of being positive, trying to bring about a transformation for yourself. That causes the karma to ripen in a different manner. So maybe a small suffering in this rebirth actually stops a great suffering in the future. And of course if you persist in your Dharma practice you will gain the opportunity to go to a pure land, or gain better rebirth, or attain enlightenment. Whatever it is you are able to muster from your spiritual enthusiasm and endeavor. So in this regards you should never think that the Dharma doesn’t work and things aren’t happening. If you sincerely take the Dharma to heart and apply yourself, no matter what is happening to you there is a definite shift in the whole structure of your karmic evolution. And in that regard the Dharma is effective and is working for you. It’s just maybe you don’t understand or see the exact implications of what’s happening. But it is effective, the Dharma does work because it’s working with you at the source of who you are.

And of course we might see other examples of someone who practices the Dharma for some period of time, they try to be virtuous and things don’t work out, and they say, “Oh this Dharma’s ridiculous and nothing’s going to work.” And they just give it up and it seems like then things go well for them. You know, they get a good job, they make good money, have all the perks they would like to have. And we think, “Well gee, here I am being so devout to the Dharma and nothing very beneficial is happening. That person completely gave up the Dharma and look at them. They’re getting so far ahead.” And they even talk about how stupid the Dharma is and how dumb all the people are that practice and such. They collect that sort of bad karma. Well we really don’t have a bigger picture on things. Generally it’s said that the experiences of this life time are ripenings from previous lifetimes’ karmic activity. So in that previous rebirth, maybe that person did practice some forms of generosity and such, which creates the physical prosperity in this rebirth. But what they have waiting for them are the activities of this rebirth ripening for them in a future rebirth. So maybe at this moment things look pretty decent for them, but when their good karma runs out, all the previously accumulated good karma exhausts itself, then things will definitely turn around for them. Because they haven’t been doing anything new with themselves, nothing more productive or in a positive light, things will only go from worse to worse. So in that regards we shouldn’t sort of try to judge the Dharma by how successful or unsuccessful we are in this life. That’s not any way to talk about how the Dharma is successful. The Dharma is successful because it changes your attitude, makes you a virtuous, positive individual, and then creates a whole different rapport with the world. That’s what the benefit of the Dharma is. We shouldn’t expect material benefit, or that things will somehow greatly improve just because we get into the Dharma.

Also, in regards to the practice, the first thing we do of course is take Refuge, which puts us into the pathway of virtue and working towards liberation and enlightenment. Then of course we do the generation of the altruistic thought of working for the benefit of sentient beings, to attain enlightenment for the benefit of sentient beings. So that is called taking Refuge and altruistic generation. Now those are basic preliminaries. Now some people might think, “Ah, I’ve been doing spiritual practice for a long time. I don’t need to worry about those things. I want the big practices, the big stuff. I’d like to have a Tantric deity. I’d like to practice the Great Completion. I’d like to practice Mahamudra, some very profound practice like this. So this whole thing with Refuge and the altruistic mind, benefiting others, those are all just preliminary stuff. I don’t need to worry about that anymore.” That’s a big error in one’s practice because if you took all the Buddha Dharma teachings, like Buddha taught it’s said 84,000 discourses on how to become spiritually inclined, you could actually bring all of those practices just down to within one day having a kind heart, having a noble heart and benefiting others. That’s what it’s all about. So if having a positive, kind hearted motivation is where all the Buddha Dharma can be brought down to, then you can understand it doesn’t matter what you do in regards to a big practice. The real essence of the practice is that your heart is transformed into being kind and a benefit to other sentient beings. That actually is what Refuge is. Refuge makes you an inner person, the altruistic thought of bodhicitta, working for the benefit of sentient beings, makes you a kind person giving benevolent help to the world around you. That’s the essence of the Buddha Dharma. Irrespective of whatever you’re doing, that’s what you really want. So don’t think that the big practices are important. If you don’t have those two, you don’t have a big practice. Even if you have just the smallest amount of kind intention towards others, you have a big practice.

OM BENZA SATO HUNG

I would like to share with you the great benefits of Vajrasattva practice, just off the cuff.

According to the great masters, the main reason for us not being able to attain realisation or signs or siddhis from our practice is the presence of obscurations.  Many masters have said that it is very very important for us beginners to start by doing a lot of purification.  Of course, many people do not regard themselves as beginners, but even someone like His Holinesses Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and Dudjom Rinpoche also emphasized the Vajrasattva practice for their own daily practice.  So i think we can try to follow their example.

Vajrasattva is the quintessence of all deities.  Reciting his long mantra 21 times everyday will stop negative karma from increasing in effect everyday.  The alternative is to recite OM BENZA SATO HUNG 27 times, which serves the same purpose. Because many of us have taken tantric initiations and there is bound to be many broken samayas, then this purification is very much needed.

The notion of obscuration is very subtle in Buddhism.  So for those who think that they are quite free of obscurations, please check the following:

1. Do you feel it difficult to discipline yourself to do practice everyday?
2. Do you feel it difficult to understand the teachings?
3. Do you feel tired, distracted, uninterested when it comes to receiving teachings, going for pilgrimages, doing practice and all the other virtuous things but yet feel great interest and energy in doing unrelated things?
4. Do you find it hard to feel compassion / patience for others, especially that idiot who made alot of noise when you needed to sleep or meditate etc.
5. Do you find it hard to have faith in the gurus, teachings, virtuous deeds?
6. Do you find yourself having difficulty staying awake during meditation, being very distracted and so forth?
7.  Do you find yourself having certain addictions or compulsive behaviours?

If any of the answer is yes, you have obscurations, and not just a little.

Please do Vajrasattva practice, like OM BENZA SATO HUNG.  I will start to do 100,000 mantras and dedicate it to all sentient beings from today onwards. I hope many people will also try to do so.

(note:  i have completed my mantra count quite a while back… just to update! Rejoice in those who are accumulating too…)

Benefits of Prayer Wheels 1

THE BENEFITS OF THE PRAYER WHEEL

The Source of the Practice of the Mani Wheel

As the great master Nagarjuna was predicted by the Great Compassionate One: “In the naga’s country in the palace of the King of Nagas, the bodhisattva possesses one very powerful Dharma wheel. Just by seeing, hearing, touching, or remembering the Dharma wheel, you will quickly be liberated from the suffering of the lower realms. With this you will produce extensive works for sentient beings.”

The Limitless Light Buddha Amitabha said: “For the benefit of sentient beings of the degenerate age, I have explained the benefits of the mani wheel. The one who practices while turning equals the fortune of the thousand buddhas.”

The Founder Savior, the unequalled Shakya King, told the bodhisattva Dripa Namsil: “It is more beneficial to turn the Dharma wheel one time than [to be] a meditator of highest capacity who engages in one-year retreat on the essence meaning of mantra. It is more beneficial than [to be] a middle capacity meditator who does retreat for seven years or a lower capacity meditator who does a nine-year retreat.” 

Manjushri said: “The four protectors and the ten direction guardians will protect you from all obstacles, from all directions and corners. The negative karma of the lower realms, the five uninterrupted actions, and the ten non-virtuous actions are purified. You will travel to all the pure lands of the buddhas, and in the Blissful Pure Land. You will be reborn on the lion’s throne in the lotus heart of the Blissful Pure Land. You will perform the actions of all the buddhas in all directions.”

Manjushri said: “This great Dharma wheel protects you from all the harm-givers, devas, spirit possessions, from the nagas down below, from Steno in the middle, and from the multitude of yakshas.”

From The Peerless Wish-Granting Jewel Tantra: “The person who turns this wheel which possesses OM MANI PADME HUM will be blessed by all the gurus, the deities will grant realizations, those gone to bliss will pay attention to him or her, and the Dharma protectors will eliminate all obstacles.”

From The Will of the Action of the Compassionate Eye Loving One: “Each time you turn this OM MANI PADME HUM Dharma wheel equals the number (of the mantra) of the approximation retreat.”

The benefits of establishing the Dharma wheel in earth, water, fire, and wind: “When you put this great wheel OM MANI PADME HUM up in the wind, all those sentient beings who are touched by the wind and all those migrators abiding in the direction of the wind will be liberated from the sufferings of the lower realms.

When you place the Dharma wheel in the fire, any sentient being who smells the smoke and all those migrators who see the light of the fire will be liberated from the sufferings of the lower realms. If you place the Dharma wheel in the ground, all those migrator beings who receive the dust and the sentient beings abiding in that ground will be liberated from the sufferings of the lower realms. If you place the Dharma wheel in water, all those sentient beings abiding and drinking the water will be liberated from the sufferings of the lower realms.”

Therefore, the fortunate capable beings turn the great Dharma wheel upright: the highest intelligent person will achieve enlightenment and work for sentient beings; the middle capable being will achieve fortunate rebirth and join the holy Dharma; and the lowest capable being will achieve good rebirth, separate from the ten non-virtuous actions. If you place the Dharma wheel at home and turn it, the migrator beings abiding in that house will be liberated, and the home will become similar to the Potala (Pure Land of Chenrezig). At the time of death, if you place the Dharma wheel with OM MANI PADME HUM next to your head and make requests with intense devotional mind, without need of practicing powa (transference of consciousness) your consciousness will be transferred in one instant to the heart of the Compassionate One. Therefore, without qualms of a two-pointed mind in this profound supreme Dharma wheel, one should cherish it, build the Dharma wheel with perseverance, and turn it with an intense wish.

The Savior Loving One Maitreya said: “If you offer good divine robes to the profound Dharma wheel, you will receive good clothing for 500 lifetimes. Due to the merits of having offered the hook to the profound Dharma wheel, you will be able to go through all the paths of liberation. By the merits of offering the hanging weight, you will become the savior of all migrator beings. You will accumulate more merits than having recited 100,000 times 10,000,000 mantras. The titans and the harm-givers will prostrate to you. You will control human beings, wealth, and food. All your connections will become meaningful, and sentient beings touched by your shadow will be liberated from the lower realms.”

If you offer various needs – food and so forth – to this Dharma wheel with OM MANI PADME HUM, you will become the thousand wheel–turning Dharma king, enjoying whatever you wish. And at the end you will meet the Superior Compassionate Eye Looking One. For those fortunate beings who reveal this Dharma wheel possessing OM MANI PADME HUM to others, or explain or spread the teachings of this wheel, it is like spreading the teachings of the buddhas.

From The Tantra Possessing the Lotus Garland: “In short, all the accumulation of vices, defeats, downfalls, and so forth will be purified without effort. One is liberated just by seeing and hearing.” From The Tantra of the Circle of Six Thousand: “Even for the person who turns this precious wheel, any sentient being who sees, hears, remembers, or touches him or her completes the 2 merits, purifies defilements, and achieves enlightenment.”

From The Sutra of the Great Chu Lung: “By the merits generated by offering a golden pinnacle (to the Dharma wheel), one will receive perfect enjoyments for eons. Due to the merits of having offered services, one will possess a good heart and clear mind wisdom. The person who turns the Dharma wheel will become the son of the thousand buddhas, the guide of all migrators. Thus is explained by the Buddha.

When death comes, place the Dharma wheel at your crown and you won’t need to practice powa. When you carry the Dharma wheel and meet other sentient beings, even those who have killed their father or mother will be liberated. Even the sentient beings who see the wheel on the bridge will be liberated.”