Advice for New Students and Prisoners
In August Rinpoche wrote a long (16 page) letter to one prisoner, a new Buddhist, who had just been given his date for execution in 3 months' time, this advice from Rinpoche was given over 5 days.
This is a fabulous resource for us all: for new students, as Rinpoche clearly explains many of the key concepts of Buddhism, such as reincarnation, the mind, the benefit of living in morality; for Rinpoche's students, as Rinpoche includes many personal recollections; and for students working with prisoners, as Rinpoche talks in depth about the benefits of being in prison.
Losar is the Tibetan New Year! Tibetan New Year is the most important festival in Tibet. It is an occasion when Tibetan families reunite and expect a better coming year. Known as Losar, the festival starts from 1st to 3rd of the 1st Tibetan month. Specially made offerings are offered to family shrine deities; doors are painted with religious symbols; other painstaking jobs are done to prepare for the event.
Losar is the Tibetan New Year and the first two weeks, in particular, commemorate the time when the Buddha uncharacteristically displayed his power by doing a number of miracles to win over hundreds (if not thousands) of disciples from a teacher who was a non-believer of what the Buddha taught and challenged him to a dual of mystical powers. At the end of the two week period, the Buddha had clearly won the match and as a result all present converted to the practices taught by the Buddha.
The new year spawns a time of increase in virtuous activity amongst Buddhist practitioners. Any actions done during that period of time, for better or worse, are multiplied in their power by virtue of being in alignment or out of alignment with the great deeds the Buddha himself did during this same astrological period over 2500 years ago. It is a very powerful time to practice and increase one's commitment to both practice and study as the power of that magical event can be harnessed to assist in our personal evolution towards enlightenment.
Compassion is of the Utmost Need
Rinpoche recently composed these 10 inspiring quotes on compassion with the wish for them to be beautifully designed so that they could be printed, framed and displayed on one’s wall to be read and reflected upon, used in one’s daily prayers, and serve as a motivation, as a basis for meditation, and as a reminder of what is of utmost importance in one’s life.
Ten frame-ready quotes on compassion
Benefits of Chenrezig Mantra and Prayer Wheel Practice
Benefits Of the Chenrezig Mantra And How To Practice with a Prayer Wheel
Earlier this year when Rinpoche flew from Singapore to the United States, a very devoted air stewardess sat on the floor in the aisle asking Rinpoche many questions about his prayer wheel (Rinpoche always travels with and turns a prayer wheel while on a plane.) Rinpoche arranged for her to receive a prayer wheel and sent her a letter, which is excerpted below:
“Regarding the prayer wheel, I wanted to explain how you can use it. Before using the prayer wheel and reciting the Chenrezig mantra, please generate bodhicitta motivation [Rinpoche included the Refuge and Bodhicitta prayer, and the Four Immeasurable Thoughts].
Then in particular generate this motivation:
The purpose of my life is to benefit all sentient beings from whom I have received all my past happiness from beginningless rebirth. It is due to the kindness of numberless sentient beings (as there are numberless universes - scientifically and also it is mentioned by Buddha) so they are most unbelievably kind, they are most precious ones.
All my present happiness has been received due to their kindness. So they are most kind, most dear ones.
All my future lives happiness is received from numberless sentient beings, who are the most kind, most precious, most dear ones.
Then even my ultimate happiness, liberation from the oceans of samsaric sufferings and its causes, I received from numberless sentient beings, so they are the most precious, most dear ones.
Then full enlightenment, the peerless happiness, the completed qualities and cessation of not only the gross obscurations but the cessation of the subtle obscurations, so this is received from numberless sentient beings who are the most kind, dearest ones, in my life.
So keep your mind in that thought. Recognize and feel how precious they are.
Then there are numberless suras - worldly devas - and asuras, they are numberless in each realm, so in the same way as above, think that I have received all my happiness from them. Meditate how kind, how precious, most dear ones.
Then there are numberless hell beings, hungry ghosts and animals – I have received all my happiness from them. Keep that in mind. Remember how they are the most precious, most kind, dearest ones in one’s own life. I have received all the happiness from them, to be free from the oceans samsaric suffering and from them I am able to achieve full enlightenment- the peerless happiness. Generally speaking they don’t have the opportunity [to practice Dharma], because they haven’t met a virtuous friend , a guru, who shows them the unmistaken path to liberation and enlightenment, who shows them the path to be liberated from samsara - which is only in the nature of suffering – and who brings them to enlightenment. Also they haven’t even met the Buddha Dharma, nor have they a received perfect human rebirth (which is extremely rare) - with the ability to practice Dharma.
Think - this one time I have received this perfect human rebirth - I have the opportunity to develop my mind on the path to enlightenment, I have the opportunity to help others, just this time I have the opportunity to liberate every single sentient being from each realm from the oceans of samsaric suffering and bring them to full enlightenment - therefore I must achieve full enlightenment. Therefore I am going to do the practice of turning the prayer wheel and chanting the mantra in order to achieve enlightenment quickly for all beings. In order to benefit all beings quickly I need to achieve full enlightenment quickly - so for that I need to actualize the path to enlightenment, therefore I need to purify my defilements and obstacles and to collect extensive merit. Therefore I must generate great compassion to each and every sentient being therefore I am going to do the recitation of mantra and meditation of turning the prayer wheel.
This motivation is the best motivation, best Dharma, because you generate the mind of bodhicitta, from that you collect limitless skies of merit, skies of good luck and virtue. With this motivation then whatever you do, such as reciting Om mani padme hum - each recitation is for all sentient beings, for their happiness and with each mantra you collect limitless skies of merit, good karma, virtue and good luck and each mantra becomes the cause of enlightenment, and by the way becomes the cause to be free from the oceans of samsaric suffering and by the way you receive happiness in future lives, then also you receive success in this life no question, this happens without even thinking, it just happens by the way.
The benefits of reciting Chenrezig’s mantra are inconceivable [Rinpoche included the short and long mantra]. If you recite the long mantra one time, then according to the texts, it purifies the heavy negative karma of the four root downfalls of pratimoksha (individual liberation). So this very heavy negative karma is completely purified. Also it purifies the very heavy negative karma of killing one’s father and mother, drawing blood from a Buddha, killing an arhant and causing disunity among the Sangha. Then also by reciting this mantra one time you purify the negative karma of the 10 non-virtues (killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, slander, gossip and harsh speech, covetousness, ill will and heresy).
If you recite the long mantra 7 times it purifies 100 lifetimes negative karma.If you recite the long mantra 21 times it purifies 1000 eons of negative karma. If you recite the long mantra 108 times (one mala) it purifies 40,000 eons of negative karma.
This is just to give you a very rough idea of the benefits and the power of this mantra. Not only does it purify all this negative karma, but also it fulfills all your wishes of happiness, to achieve enlightenment, to be able to liberate numberless sentient beings from the oceans of samsaric suffering and its causes, karma and delusion, and to bring each and every sentient being to the peerless happiness - full enlightenment. There is no greater success than this in your life. By the way you achieve liberation from the oceans of samsaric suffering, by the way you achieve all the happiness of future lives, and by the way you achieve all the happiness of this life, as well as all your needs.
One thing to mention - without creating the karma you cannot find success, whether to find a job, maybe it is unbelievably difficult, even one makes unbelievable effort, but one is unable to find success. It is by practicing Dharma that one is able to purify negative karma and to collect extensive merits. So by reciting Om mani padme hum and other methods it becomes so unbelievably easy to have success and to have all happiness. By realizing this - you the one person - just by generating compassion, are able to liberate numberless sentient beings from each realm, from the oceans of samsaric suffering and bring them to full enlightenment. This is most amazing, so these are the benefits that you get by reciting this mantra even just one time. Then the particular benefit of this mantras is that you generate great compassion to all sentient beings.
Therefore this is the best thing that you can do for world peace, reciting these mantras is unbelievably important, it makes one’s mind more peaceful, more calm, more compassionate to others. Even if one doesn’t know Buddhist philosophy - the hundreds of volumes of Buddha’s teachings and the two hundred volumes of the commentaries of the great highly attained holy beings, the great Indian pandits, as well as the many teachings written by the enlightened Tibetan lamas. So without even learning all of this, just by chanting these mantras it makes your life so peaceful and you can benefit others so much. Even if one has no intelligence or no understanding of Dharma you get unbelievable benefits by reciting these mantras and you purify past negative karma and collect extensive merits, your mind becomes more compassionate to others. In this way so many sentient beings don’t receive harm from you, and receive peace and happiness from you and you go towards enlightenment day by day.
This is my actual experience. In the area where I was born in Solu Khumbu, near Mount Everest, every old person, even though they can’t read Tibetan letters, they never went to school etc. but they live their life chanting Om mani padme hum with strong faith, and they have such good hearts, incredible good hearts. Even great scholars, who are very learned, know so much about Buddhist philosophy, but in their hearts maybe they are not peaceful, in fact maybe [they are developing] more pride, more delusion, more problems, no inner peace, more selfish mind and so forth, instead of developing more compassion.
Please read the book Teachings from the Mani Retreat [published by Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive] – this has much better explanation. It is very, very important to discover this. I am sure you have a good heart, so therefore you can help so many people by reciting Om mani padme hum, you will inspire other people, so many people will be inspired by your good heart, your good example, this is how you can bring world peace, from life to life, bring peace and happiness to all sentient beings.
So before turning the prayer wheel and chanting the mantra, visualize Chenrezig – like in the pictures I sent you. In the future when you are able to take Chenrezig great initiation then you can actually visualize yourself as Chenrezig, but you can’t do that yet, you first need to receive Chenrezig great initiation. So until then you visualize Chenrezig on your crown or in front of you. Visualize as an actual living being, alive, and that Chenrezig is sending compassion to you, sending nectar beams within you. The beams enter your body and mind, as well as all sentient beings of the six realms’ body and mind.
Think that yourself and all beings are completely purified of all sickness, spirit harm, the cause of karma and delusion, immediately, instantly purified, like a dirty glass being filled with milk and all the dirty waste shoots out, the glass becomes completely clear and clean. So think like that as you recite one mala of the mantra - mainly concentrate on purifying, all the dirty liquid comes out and you are purified.
Then while reciting the next mala concentrate on receiving all the qualities of Compassion Buddha, Chenrezig – all the limitless skies of qualities of Chenrezig’s holy body, speech and mind, especially omniscience, great compassion to all sentient beings, perfect power to do perfect works for all sentient beings, so concentrate on receiving the qualities. Especially think that you receive great compassion to all sentient beings. Really try to feel that.
So while you are reciting the mantra and doing the meditation then you can also turn the prayer wheel.
Then while reciting the next mala (also as you turn the prayer wheel) think that Chenrezig is purifying the six realms’ sentient beings, including the intermediate state beings (so it is 7 realms), purifying all their sufferings, whatever their specific suffering is, purifying the causes - karma and delusion. Think they are all completely purified, particularly purify the five delusions (ignorance, anger, attachment, pride and jealous mind). So mainly focus that all sentient beings are purified.
Then while reciting the next mala think that all sentient beings receive all the qualities of Chenrezig, as well as yourself, but mainly focus on others.
At the end of your practice then please dedicate well:
Due to all the three time merit collected by myself, numberless sentient beings, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, may the precious bodhicitta mind be developed in my heart and in the hearts of all my family members, in the hearts of all the leaders of the world, as well as in the hearts of all the people who follow different religions, as well as in the hearts of all sentient beings. Whatever bodhicitta has already been developed, may it not decrease, but increase forever more.
Due to all the three time merit collected by myself, numberless sentient beings, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas -which exist - but who are empty from their own side. May the I - which exists but is empty from its own side. Achieve complete Buddhas enlightenment - which exists but which is empty from its own side. And lead all the sentient beings - who exist but who are empty from their own side. To full enlightenment - which exists but which is empty from its own side. And may I actualize this by myself alone.
Due to all the three time merit collected by myself, numberless sentient beings, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, by having generated bodhicitta in my heart every day – may everyone in the world live their life only to benefit others, may no one harm another and whatever they do with their body, speech and mind, may it only cause enlightenment and happiness to all sentient beings. May no one experience war, famine, disease, torture, sickness, dangers of earth, water, tsunami, wind, as well as may no one experience dangers when travelling. May they always be safe when travelling, including in the airplane.
Thank you very much. I don’t need any present, you mentioned that you wanted to give, but if you could do this practice it would be the most unbelievable present to me. Maybe in the airplane you may not be able to carry the prayer wheel (not sure) but you can carry the mala and chant the mantra and do the same meditation.
In the future it would be so great if they could produce airplanes that have a prayer wheel inside or on the roof, there could be a compartment that has a large prayer wheel inside and those people who want to practice or turn the prayer wheel can come into the compartment and turn it (this is just to make you laugh).
Thank you very much. If you are able to practice like this, it is the best present, better than offering a billion, zillion dollars. Thank you very much.
With much love and prayers,
Read the first part of this letter
The Dharani Called, "Possessing the Limbs of All the Buddhas"
Dharanis contain the essence of a teaching but are often compared to mantras due to their intended ritual vocalization. Generally, however, dharanis are longer than mantras and are more likely to have intelligible phrases, like Sutras. The word "dharani" is from a Sanskrit root word that means "to hold or maintain." Dharanis are said to have the power to heal and protect from harm.
Protection from Radiation
Advice given by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, March 23 2011
- Wear protections of White Umbrella Deity and Lion Faced Dakini (these need to be made correctly and blessed).
- Sadhana ombrelle blanche en Français
- Wear White Umbrella Deity text (can be reduced in size and worn respectfully on the body, such as in a small pouch around your neck. Could also be put on microfilm and worm like an amulet. If the text is reduced the letters should still be clear).
- Take the initiation of White Umbrella.
- White Umbrella Deity practice. (Note: Without empowerment, one cannot do self-generatation, but instead can visualize Deity in front).
Tsunami and Earthquakes
This advice given was given for all affected by the tsunami in Japan by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, March 11 2011
Rinpoche said this is beneficial for all who are being affected by the tsunami, even if you are not personally affected.
- Ksitigarbha mantra y Buddha's name mantra en Español
- Prière de Ksitigarbha et mantra du nom du Bouddha en français
- Ksitigarbha mantra and Buddha's name mantra in Chinese
This advice was given by Lama Zopa Rinpoche on March 23 2011
Practice To Control Earthquakes and the four elements, this is also beneficial for protection from radiation.
Souhaiter contrôler un tremblement de terre en français.
Rinpoche said it is very good if these three short practices can be done time to time.
Earthquake and Tsunami
Rinpoche's advice on how the centers and students can benefit those who have suffered greatly from the earthquake in Haiti and tsunamis in Asia, 2010.