For World Peace
(advice given after Sept 11th 2001)
For the world situation, for the benefit of world peace, for America and for individuals as well, in addition to the previous instruction, one should take the eight Mahayana precepts and developing strong compassion, recite OM MANI PADME HUM.
Other additional advice is to practice Medicine Buddha Puja and short Medicine Buddha practices. There is one that I translated many years ago in Kopan for daily practice as well as for those wanting to pray for family members or others who have died. There is also a more elaborate Medicine Buddha text. If you do the short Medicine Buddha practice, first you do the seven-limb practice, seven or eight times, and then you recite the name of each Medicine Buddha seven times. That is an easy one that many can do.
The other is a text of the kind and compassionate Guru Shakyamuni Buddha called the Holy Sutra of Golden Light. Copies will be sent to every center. This was translated a very long time ago by a German professor, R. E. Emmerick. Surprisingly, it seems that this translation was already done during the Second World War. It has skies of benefit for the world, for world peace, and skies of benefit for any individual who reads even a portion of this text.
This text has three versions: the elaborate, medium, and short versions found in the Kangyur. I have received the oral transmission of one shorter version by one bodhisattva Mongolian lama, and of the medium version from Bakula Rinpoche. So my intention is to give the oral transmission as much as possible to the centers and students. One monk studying in Sera has completed the translation of it into Spanish. I would also like to have it translated into French, German, Swiss, and so on. The whole Kangyur is in Chinese, so all three versions should be in Chinese. We just need to print it out and make it accessible for people to read.
Of course, my mind is stubborn. For the person who has met Buddhism, every situation of war or natural disasters, every situation that can shorten life, all the many life-threatening situations that create more uncertainty these days to be alive, give incredible opportunities for us to do strong Dharma practice. These situations give very strong inspiration to practice because there is no other means to escape, whether immediately or ultimate escape, i.e., freedom from all suffering. Such circumstances, such terrifying circumstances, help make it easier for the mind to overcome delusions or the distractions of desire.
As Lama Tsongkhapa mentioned in the Lam-rim Chenmo, if you think every day, "I am going to die today," then at the end of the day even if you did not die, your life will have been very meaningful because you will have done many preparations for death during that day (purification, accumulations of merit, and meditations on the path). Even if death actually happens on that day, you will have made your life meaningful because you will already have done a lot of preparation on that day.
So this is my suggestion of the excellent way in this present situation: I feel this is the most practical advice, the best solution in this present world situation. The strong practice of Dharma and the awareness of impermanence and death brings peace in your heart and no fear. It also makes you think, without any choice, of the incredible suffering of other sentient beings that one can hear and one can see. You don't have to read Dharma texts in order to discover and to see how this situation is unbearable. For yourself, it becomes a very strong persuasion to develop and generate compassion that leads to bodhichitta, which will lead you to enlightenment, lead you to create the causes of temporary and ultimate happiness, of enlightenment, for all the other sentient beings equaling the infinite sky.
So these practices that I mentioned, Medicine Buddha and the Holy Sutra of Golden Light, are incredible practices to purify negative karma, the cause of suffering, and to purify others. Also reciting those specific prayers by the great yogi of the Compassion Buddha Thang tong Gyalpo as well as the prayers to the Three Saviors Chenrezig, Manjushri, and Vajrapani. Strong prayers of refuge can help to reduce dangers, to make them smaller and weaker in cases when there is no strong, good karma to keep us from experiencing them.
The Diamond Cutter Sutra is also good to recite. Those who cannot read it because they do not have the text can recite the Heart Sutra. Those who would like to receive the Diamond Cutter Sutra can get it from the web or contact FPMT International Office Education Services.
As I mentioned before in the previous advice: it is good to make light offerings to the historical, most precious statue of Buddha in the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa, and to make grain and food offerings, especially light offerings, making strong requests to the Buddha to generate loving kindness and compassion in all the terrorist people's minds and in the minds of all people. Make strong prayers for immediate transformation of all the hatred and anger in the minds of all people, to immediately transform their minds into minds of loving kindness and compassion, to immediately stop all the negative karmas – not only to stop the experience of them but as well to stop their creation again – and for the whole world to be filled with peace, happiness, and prosperity. Make strong prayers for a world without violence, sickness, or poverty, a world with no economic problems, and for people not to waste their time, not to waste their lives. This doesn't mean not to do something relaxing; it means to practice Dharma, that whatever you do, you keep Dharma in mind. And of course, the best Dharma practice is bodhichitta. Make a strong determination to be free of worldly dharmas.
With much love and prayers,
Lama Zopa Rinpoche