Transforming Negative Appearances – Guru Rinpoche day message by HE. Phakchok Rinpoche

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Dear Friends Near and Far,

Hello. Happy Guru Rinpoche Day.

Today I want to talk about the manifestation of Guru Rinpoche in Tukdrub Barché Kunsel, called Dzutrül Duchen—the Great Powerful Magical Master, Guru Dzutrül Duchen. Sometimes we refer to him as Dorje Drolö. Guru Rinpoche revealed this manifestation especially to transform negative appearances, negative mind, and negative environment. What is negative environment? It means negative appearances that make our mind become negative… hatred, basically. Negative appearance brings hatred. So Guru Padmasambhava specially manifested as Dzutrül Duchen or Guru Dorje Drollo, taming or subduing or purifying all of that.

In our life, what we really need is to have positive thinking. But sometimes we have this idea that positive thinking means to not have wrathfulness. When you need to say no, you cannot say no. Or when you need to point out some problematic things, you can’t because you are thinking positively. So it is very important to balance. You have a positive mind. You want to be perceiving through a positive way, but when you see a few people creating huge problems, you need to know how to resolve those problems. We want to see the negative thing and how to resolve it, or remove it, or subdue it, without giving up our positive mind. That is the practice of the great Guru Rinpoche’s Dorje Drolö.

Guru Rinpoche himself said, there are going to be a few people, we call “damsi”—these are the troublemakers. Unnecessarily trouble-making. We need to know how to reduce them, or change them, or transform them, or remove them, or tame them. And, at the same time, keeping whatever possibility you can to have positive thinking. You need to know how to reduce these things while keeping positive perception. This is particular to the practice of the Great Guru Dorje Drollo. I really think it is very important in today’s practical world, in practical life.

Happy Guru Rinpoche Day. Thank you very much. Be positive.

Sarva Mangalam,


Kyabgön Phakchok Rinpoche

Making Peace and Purifying Our World – Guru Rinpoche day message by HE. Phakchok Rinpoche

02 Aug’17

Dear Friends Near and Far,

Hello everybody. Happy Guru Rinpoche Day.
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Today we will talk about the seventh manifestation of Guru Rinpoche. His name is Kyepar Pakpey. This manifestation is especially known for taming the mountain spirits and other spirits. When we say “tame”, what does that mean? By taming, Guru Rinpoche actually teaches us how to make peace with all the beings. Why? Because Kyepar Pakpey teaches us how to make offerings: how to make offerings to the buddhas and bodhisattvas, how to make offerings to the protectors and how to make offerings to the mountain spirits and spirits and obstacle-makers and all other sentient beings. Here in the practice of Kyepar Pakpey, the method for making sang offerings is taught. Not only that, we learn how to benefit beings as a human being: how to benefit the spirit beings and how to benefit the other sentient beings as well. This is what Guru Rinpoche taught in Kyepar Pakpey.

Now, as a normal person, sometimes we have beliefs, sometimes we don’t. It is very important to respect others in this time. Sometimes we are so caught up in what we call the “reality world”, that we forget to respect the spirit world. We forget to respect other animals. We forget the outer world, such as the environment. Our respect diminishes. I can see that in myself and I can see it in others. Respect is very important. Thinking of kindness and thinking of respect is very important. Many of us, we forget this.

Here, Guru Rinpoche, in Kyepar Pakpey, teaches us how to cleanse the world. How to cleanse the environment. How to purify through his spiritual practices. Nowadays, I think at this time, we really need this practice and really need to have the idea to purify our world and our being and human beings. So, in summary, please show respect to all the environments, respect to all the elements, and thinking of the kindness of the environment, thinking of the kindness of the people who put effort, thinking of the kindness of the world is very important. Ok? This is very important to remember. Anyone who is doing sang puja, not only are you making offering to the deities, or the protector, or the spirit world, you are actually cleansing the world that is so polluted by us.

Thank you very much. Happy Guru Rinpoche Day. And be happy.


Sarva Mangalam,


Kyabgön Phakchok Rinpoche


PS: We are happy to announce that there are subtitles for this month’s message in Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Nepali, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Thai, Ukranian, and Vietnamese. Please click the settings wheel in the bottom right corner of the video to access these options.

We are also interested in your feedback about what teachings you would like to hear in future Guru Rinpoche messages.

Submit your feedback here

The Importance of Failure – Guru Rinpoche day message by HE. Phakchok Rinpoche

03 Jul’17
(คำแปลภาษาไทย วีดีโอมีภาษาไทยแปลโดยการกดปุ่มวงกลมด้านล่างของวีดีโอ

Dear Friends Near and Far,

Hello. Happy Guru Rinpoche Day again.

Today I want to share with you the sixth of the Twelve Manifestations of Guru Padmasambhava. His name is Guru Pema Jungney, the Lotus Born Guru. Guru Rinpoche himself explained, “I taught many times in the beginning how to practice and how to gain blessings and siddhis and liberations, improvements. But my disciples in the future, those people are going to be very lazy, and will not be able to practice well.” So he actually taught six or seven different ways to gain realization and liberation: how to gain improvements through seeing, through tasting, through smelling, through touching, through reading, and such like that. Guru Pema Jungney has very great teachings of the six or seven different ways of liberation.

With that, I just want to say, in normal life, what we really need when we make mistakes or when we go through difficulties is a different way to see something. When you make a mistake, yes, I know that you really feel like a failure. You made a mistake or you feel down. You feel self-judgment. You feel negative. But always know that whenever you make mistakes, you need to encourage yourself to want to do better, and that you want to improve yourself. Don’t, how do you say, discourage yourself. Whenever you face obstacles or challenges in life, when you fail in life, try to think that it is an opportunity for improvement and to become more mature through your experiences. Because in life, you will always fail. In spiritual, you are always going to fail. And I really encourage you to see that failing is important. Every time you fail, you stand up. You keep trying. You keep doing it. Do that in the spiritual way and do that in the mundane way. You will get better and better. When you are stopped when you fail, or when you are stopped when you judge yourself and you really feel bad, that is the time of really big obstacles. So don’t look at it that way. Always see difficult things as a kind of way of encouraging, experiencing, and getting more mature. So keep that in mind and remember Guru Pema Jungney.

I like to share this with all of you: be happy and whatever you’ve done, the mistakes, improve yourself. If you’re chasing some difficulties, don’t judge everybody. Don’t judge yourself. Don’t judge others. Think instead, “It is my experience” and you get stronger. Stand up and do well. Easy to say. Difficult to do. But don’t forget. Then you will get better each time.

Thank you very much. Happy Guru Rinpoche Day.

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We are happy to announce that there are subtitles for this month’s message in Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Nepali, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Thai, Ukranian, and Vietnamese. Please click the settings wheel in the bottom right corner of the video to access these options.

We are also interested in your feedback about what teachings you would like to hear in the Guru Rinpoche messages.

Submit your feedback here

Lotus Light Dharma Institute

The construction is progressing along steadily thanks to the generous donations we have received. As you can see from the latest progress report below, the main building is really starting to take shape. Yet there is still a lot of work to be done before we reach completion.

What better chance to make merit than contributing to a such a wonderful construction on the Vajravārāhī pilgrimage site? Any donation you give, large or small will create a karmic link with this sacred site. An investment in the future preservation of the Buddha’s teachings is certainly a great opportunity to rejoice!

Here is the latest progress report

Click the image below to donate!

Sarva Mangalam,


Kyabgön Phakchok Rinpoche

Gaining the Siddhis – Guru Rinpoche day message by HE. Phakchok Rinpoche

4th June 2017 – Gaining the Siddhis
Dear Friends Near and Far,

Happy Guru Rinpoche Day.

In this month’s video message, Phakchok Rinpoche introduces the manifestation Dzamling Gyenchog, who is Yangdak Heruka inseparable from Guru Padmasambhava.

In relation to this, Rinpoche contextualizes the importance of meditation as a daily practice.
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Today, I want to continue the Twelve Manifestations series. Now we are focusing on the manifestation named Dzamling Gyenchog, who is Yangdak Heruka inseparable from Guru Padmasambhava. Instead of Yangdak Heruka, sometimes they say Vishuddha Heruka, and sometimes they have different translations.

This particular practice of Dzamling Gyenchog that Guru Rinpoche taught is how to gain the siddhis, especially the higher siddhis. He also taught the great practice of phowa – the ejection of consciousness. This particular Guru Rinpoche practice is to achieve the great siddhis. Yangdak Heruka Dzamling Gyenchog is very profound.

Now, with that, I just want to say that all of us are very busy. We have many great qualities. We have self-confidence. We have a happy life. We are content. We do good things. We do compassionate acts. And we all have dignity. We all have many things and we know how to balance our life. But when we don’t have meditation, then we have nothing. This practice, Dzamling Gyenchog, explains how to gain the siddhis, especially through meditation.

Our meditation is important in life. How important is exercise? How important is it to have good food? How important is it to share with our friends when we are struggling with ourselves? How important is it to get advice from wise people? Actually, meditation is more important than all of that because meditation allows you to see your own self. Meditation makes your mind calmer. Meditation makes you improve yourself a little bit. And meditation makes you reduce your bad habits, negative emotions, and negative actions.

So how to do meditation? Meditation means bring focus. You can focus on an object. You can bring your mind to focus on your breath, on Guru Padmasambhava, or on compassion. All these three are actually called meditation.

To close, I want to tell you: yes it’s very difficult to meditate every day. So that’s why you need to find the experiences and benefits to encourage yourself. You need to find the faults and difficulties that come without meditating. You need to find inspiration especially through experiences. And consider sharing this with your friends to encourage them to try meditation as well.

Thank you very much all of you. Take care! Happy Guru Rinpoche Day.

I am happy to announce that there are now subtitles in Italian! The Italian and Japanese translators kindly added subtitles to all the videos of the manifestations series, which started in November. This month’s video message also has subtitles in French, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Thai, Ukranian, and Vietnamese. There are currently some technical difficulties with the Chinese and Nepali language subtitles that should be addressed shortly. Please click the settings wheel in the bottom right corner of the video to access these options.

One of Kyabgön Phakchok Rinpoche’s recent practice requests for us from his birthday message was the accumulation of the Six Vajra Line Prayer.

Samye Dharma has created a counter so we can all upload our accumulations (log in required). Please log any of your accumulations starting from Phakchok Rinpoche’s birthday on May 23, and especially persevere until the Saga Dawa Duchen on June 9th. The counter will continue at least until the next Guru Rinpoche Day, July 3rd, so keep logging your accumulations until then.

Sarva Mangalam,
Kyabgön Phakchok Rinpoche |

Taming the Maras – Guru Rinpoche day message by HE. Phakchok Rinpoche

5th May 2017 – Taming the Maras
Dear Friends Near and Far,

Happy Guru Rinpoche Day.

In this video message, Phakchok Rinpoche speaks about Dükyi Shechen, the manifestation of Vajra Kilaya inseparable with Guru Rinpoche.

Additionally, Rinpoche advises on developing diligence and balance in our daily lives.

May this video be beneficial for all!
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Happy Guru Rinpoche Day again to all of you. I hope you are all well.

Today I want to return to the Twelve Manifestations of Guru Padmasambhava. Guru Rinpoche taught that you may have wealth and intelligence, but you’re still going to face a lot of obstacles. Removing obstacles, especially obstacles from the four elements of earth, water, wind, and fire are important. So Guru Rinpoche manifested as Dükyi Shechen, which means “taming the maras.” Dükyi Shechen is the manifestation of Vajra Kilaya inseparable from Guru Rinpoche, with four lion-faced ḍākinīs surrounding him to tame the four elements. Dükyi Shechen is very well-known for removing obstacles as well as for protecting beings from obstacles.

Now I want to advise you that in life it’s very important to have diligence. Whatever we do, having persistence or diligence first is very important. Many of us are not persistent and we are especially not diligent. So that is the first part I want to remind you. How do we maintain diligence? You need to always find how to inspire yourself to keep up with your spiritual practice or mundane life. Finding the purpose or inspiration is very important. Now the second part I want to mention is that getting balance is very important. Many of us sometimes forget to balance the different aspects of our lives: personal life, family life, spiritual life, social life, and projects. Things are not balanced. We are not balanced. So how do we keep the balance normally? Try to remember your responsibilities and not forget things. Try to recall what you need to do. You can do this every day in the morning or in the evening. So keeping balance, diligence, inspiration, and persistence are very important. Ok?

Thank you very much for listening. I wish you all have happiness and fewer obstacles. Actually, I wish you no obstacles, but in life, we always have some obstacles so whatever obstacles you face, may they be less. Thank you. Happy Guru Rinpoche Day.

I am happy to announce that there are now subtitles in French! Nepali subtitles will come next week! This month’s video message also has subtitles in English, Chinese (simplified and traditional), French, German, Indonesian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Thai, Ukranian, and Vietnamese. Please click the settings wheel in the bottom right corner of the video to access these options.

Sarva Mangalam,
Kyabgön Phakchok Rinpoche |

The Wholeness of Wealth – Guru Rinpoche day message by HE. Phakchok Rinpoche

6th April 2017 – The Wholeness of Wealth

Dear Friends Near and Far,

Hello! Happy Guru Rinpoche Day again.

Today, we are continuing our series on the Tukdrub Barché Künsel Twelve Manifestations. To start, I want to review what I taught in past messages. First, I talked about the practices of Long Life Amitayus including releasing life and being happy. Second, I talked about Avalokiteshvara. I spoke about how to be compassionate, release life, and remind you to be eco-friendly, animal-friendly, and to have good motivation. Then I talked about Guru Padmasambhava and the practices of having certainty, having trust, and especially making supplications.

Then we began with the Twelve Manifestations of Guru Rinpoche. The first manifestation is magnetizing: Gyalwey Dungdzin. I reminded you that developing self-confidence is very important. Then after that, I talked about the wisdom or intelligence of Mawey Senge. Important practices include offering candles, being focused, and not forgetting things. Try to notice things clearly and practice the breathing exercise I shared.

So today in order to magnetize things as Guru Rinpoche taught, you need wholeness of wealth. You may have intelligence, but if your wholeness of wealth is not there, then you cannot achieve things. Wholeness of wealth includes life, family, income, success, and whatever you wish to achieve. Here, Guru Padmasambhava manifests as Lama Norlha, who is Dzambala (the deity of wealth) and Guru Rinpoche inseparable.

Guru Rinpoche taught that to increase wealth, it’s very important to know how to make offerings and practice generosity. Start with small things so you learn how to give. If you are a Buddhist, then knowing how to do altar offerings as well as how to offer to others and give support is very important.

The second part that I want to mention to you is that contentment is very important in life. Without contentment, you are always poor. So it is very important to have contentment. But only having contentment is not enough. You need to do what you need to do, while always being aware of the right time. Taking the right opportunity is very important. Many of us forget to take the right opportunities. So listen to your gut and most importantly, when an opportunity comes, think decisively and take the opportunities. OK?

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I am happy to announce that there are now subtitles in Polish and Romanian! This month’s video message also has subtitles in English, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Indonesian, Thai (coming soon), Vietnamese, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Russian, and Ukranian. Please click the settings wheel in the bottom right corner of the video to access these options.

Thank you very much for listening. I send many love and prayers to you all and I hope it helps you. Thank you. Bye bye.

Sarva Mangalam,

Kyabgön Phakchok Rinpoche

Five Dear Friends – Phakchok Rinpoche message in July 2014 สารจากท่าน พักชก ริมโปเช สิงหาคม 2557

Guru Rinpoche Day, 6th August 2014

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Dear Friends Near and Far,

Firstly on this Guru Rinpoche day, I would like to share a short video in which I talk about the five dear friends that everybody should have. Watch the video here, or click the image above.

Next, I would like to talk about motivation. These days when we talk about enlightenment, many people, including sometimes myself, don’t have a full understanding of what enlightenment really is. As a result, they end up thinking that it’s not of much benefit or relevance to them and then lose the wish to reach enlightenment. And this can happen to us whether we be practicing dharma or involved in the mundane world.

But if you can do what you do—whether it be the dharma or ordinary activities—with the ‘mind of enlightenment’, meaning the motivation to help free all sentient beings from suffering and the cause of suffering and establish them at the precious state of enlightenment, it has a really positive effect. From one’s own side, when you have this motivation you become free from personal, selfish desires and free of anger and aversion towards others. And when you are free of both selfish desires and aversion then you don’t make many mistakes; you are free of ignorance. On the other hand, when you have selfish desires and this kind of self-importance you might regard yourself as having many good qualities and others as being lower than you, and then you easily criticize others and can end up making many problems. So this motivation, the mind of enlightenment (bodhicitta) is so important and beneficial.

For example, in the morning when I recite prayers and make the sang (smoke) offering and so on then I do it focusing on all of our monks and nuns, the Rinpoches, our students, sponsors, the people working in our Foundation, and all the people I know with the wish to benefit them through these prayers. But at the same time we also need the mind of enlightenment that focuses on all sentient beings. And sometimes I forget that. My motivation is indeed very positive—to benefit everyone I know, meaning the lamas and monastics, and all our students and friends—but we need to have the motivation of the mind of enlightenment that keeps in mind all sentient beings and sometimes we can forget that. So in this case the motivation I have is not perfect. There is attachment to others and aversion or indifference towards others. Even if you don’t have any evident aversion to others, if you fail to include all sentient beings in your motivation and think, “Well, I don’t know those other sentient beings, they are strangers to me, I have no real reason to focus on them or think of them” this is actually an aspect of aversion and ignorance. We need to include all sentient beings with the wish that we can help all of them attain perfect enlightenment, understanding that we have been connected to them from beginningless time up until now through the relationships we’ve had with them throughout our past lifetimes—as mothers, fathers, friends, relatives.

If you can really think about this, engender this motivation, and take it to heart you will feel quite differently towards other sentient beings. How so? Immediately your anger and aversion will decrease. Likewise, your self-interest and selfishness will decrease. Your mind will become more open, relaxed, and joyful, and also kinder.

This being so, today I would like to remind you all about this precious motivation of bodhicitta, the mind of enlightenment. Whether you are practicing the dharma or doing ordinary things, do it with this motivation seeing that all sentient beings without a single exception have been your parents and dear friends in the past and that you are connected with them in that way and wishing all of them to be free from their suffering and its causes and attain the precious state of enlightenment.
What is enlightenment? The state free of all negative emotions and suffering and endowed with primordial wisdom. This motivation is so important.

So today on this precious occasion of Guru Rinpoche Day, please make some prayers, practice generosity, perhaps give your parents a gift, be loving to your children and others, and speak kindly to people. If you are a practitioner, then do some practice. Do some meditation, some recitation, make prayers, and if you know how then make a gathering (feast) offering to Guru Rinpoche.  And throughout please keep all sentient beings in your heart and think of them. Work on developing this motivation that thinks of all sentient beings.

I am sending this short message from Heathrow airport in England where I am in transit on my way back to the United States. As always, with many prayers and aspirations for you all,

Sarva Mangalam,

Kyabgön Phakchok Rinpoche

6 Vajra Verses and 3 Points of Practice – Phakchok Rinpoche message in July 2014 สารจากท่าน พักชก ริมโปเช กรกฎาคม 2557


Guru Rinpoche Day, 7th July 2014

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Dear Friends Near and Far,

First of all, on this very auspicious Guru Rinpoche day, I would like to share with you this short video in which I give some advice on how to solve our problems in daily life. I also explain the meaning and significance of supplication to Padmasambhava by means of the six vajra verses .

The supplication I mention in the video is as follows:

dü sum sangye guru rinpoche
Guru Rinpoche, the Buddha of past, present and future,

ngödrub kün dak dewa chenpö shyab
‘Dewa Chenpo’—Guru of Great Bliss—the source of all siddhis,

barché kün sel düdul drakpo tsal
‘Düdul Drakpo Tsal’—Wrathful One that Subdues Negativity—who removes all obstacles,

solwa deb so jingyi lab tu sol
Grant your blessings, we pray!

chi nang sangwé barché shyiwa dang
Through them, may all obstacles—outer, inner and secret—

sampa lhün gyi drubpar jingyi lob
Be quelled, and may all our aspirations be fulfilled.

Secondly, I’d like to quickly remind you to reflect on three important aspects of your practice:

Motivation, which is the way of clearing and showing our path
Aspiration, which is the way to fulfill our path
Dedication, which is the complete accomplishment of motivation and aspiration

Lastly, I’d like to know what I can do to help you in your practice. Please complete this simple form to let me know what you need and what obstacles I can help you overcome. I’ll try to fulfill your wishes in the coming months.

With constant aspirations for you all,

Sarva Mangalam

Kyabgön Phakchok Rinpoche

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Four Qualities – Phakchok Rinpoche message in June 2014 สารจากท่าน พักชก ริมโปเช มิถุนายน 2557

Video from Phakchok Rinpoche

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Phakchok Rinpoche message on Guru Rinpocheday 8th June 2014
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Guru Rinpoche Day, 8th June 2014

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Four Qualities

Dear Friends Near and Far,

These days we often mistake what it’s meant to be a dharma practitioner. The heart of the buddhadharma is to tame one’s own mind, so a dharma practitioner is someone who is able to do this, who can see their own faults, address them, and tame and transform their minds. Someone who is unable to do this is not a dharma practitioner. Secondly, a dharma practitioner should be sincere and honest. So if you wish to practice the buddhadharma authentically this you need these qualities.

In terms of our motivation for practice, we need to have compassion and our compassion should have four qualities.

To generate compassion means to see sentient beings’ suffering and the causes of their suffering and to wish to free them from it. You also need to be able to see your own suffering and its causes, to see and experience this directly for yourself. If you can, it will not be difficult to generate compassion for others. Likewise, if you can understand that you have been connected to all sentient beings from beginningless time until now as parents and children that will make generating compassion easier, and will also help you to have more equanimity.

You need to contemplate compassion in this way and when you see someone else suffering put yourself in their shoes and try to imagine what it would be like to be going through what they are going through. If you can put yourself in their position and really understand their suffering, you’ll develop some compassion. Having developed this initial compassion then you need to improve it. Don’t leave compassion as a mere thought; apply it in your behaviour and actions. When you do this you will be able to see whether your compassion is genuine or not, whether it is pure, strong, and constant or not. This is the first quality our compassion should have: application.
Since compassion is the wish to free oneself and others from suffering and its causes the second quality our compassion needs to have is dignity. Dignity here means you see and acknowledge your suffering and the suffering of others, and you have the confidence that you can dispel it and its causes, that you have the means and methods to do that. Where does this dignity arise from? It arises from genuine practice of the dharma. It is through practice that you will develop this confidence that you can bring about change. And therefore, someone who has this dignity is a practitioner. Someone who lacks this dignity, who lacks the confidence that they can change, is not a practitioner.

The third quality is aspiration, the sincere and heart-felt aspiration to benefit other beings. We need to have this genuine aspiration and wish.

But it’s not enough to leave it there, as an aspiration. To make our compassion pure, we need wisdom, prajna.

So to reiterate, whatever we do we should do it with compassion – we need to apply compassion in all of our actions. Secondly, our compassion needs to be accompanied by dignity, a confidence that we can change. Thirdly we need aspiration and fourthly wisdom. If our compassion has these four qualities, it will be pure, genuine, and strong.

Since, as you all know, we need to develop this kind of genuine compassion then while thinking of you all on this Guru Rinpoche Day I am sharing these few points on compassion with you. But in addition to generating compassion ourselves we also need to teach our family and friends about compassion, to talk about it calmly and nicely with them while continuing to practice it ourselves.

With constant aspirations for you all,
Sarva mangalam,
Phakchok Rinpoche /

Merit, Role-model, Intelligence, Dignity – Phakchok Rinpoche message in April 2014 สารจากท่าน พักชก ริมโปเช เมษายน 2557

Guru Rinpoche Day, 9th April 2014

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Four Points to Apply to Your Life

Dear Friends Near and Far,

I hope this finds you all well and happy. I recently finished two months of retreat and have been keeping you all in mind and heart.

At the moment at our monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal, Tsikey Chokling Rinpoche and Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche are presiding over the annual Ngakso (Ocean of Amrita) puja which runs twenty-four hours a day for nine days dedicated to the health and happiness of all beings and the fostering of world peace. Likewise, Gyari Rinpoche, my father-in-law, has been performing 100,000 recitations of Leu Dunma, The Supplication to Guru Rinpoche in Seven Chapters in Sikkim, India. They will complete the 100,000 recitations today.

What I’d like to mention in today’s message are a few points that apply both to the mundane world and the spiritual path.

  1. Whatever the circumstance may be there is such a difference between people who gather merit (or positivity) and those who do not. What’s meant by ‘accumulating merit’? Firstly, to be able to cultivate compassion. To have an altruistic motivation and to do things to benefit others. To help people in an appropriate way such as giving advice, and likewise to be generous, disciplined, to develop patience—to develop these kinds of qualities and do things with a pure, sincere wish to help.Moreover, someone who regards themselves as a Buddhist should ‘make offerings upwards and practice generosity downwards’ meaning that one should make offerings ‘upwardly’ to our objects of refuge, the buddhas, our spiritual teachers, and the sangha, the community of practitioners.  Similarly, you should give ‘downwardly’ to sentient beings. So make offerings and practice generosity like this on a regular basis.It is through these kinds of actions (done with a pure motivation) that one gathers merit, and the result of this is that you will encounter fewer obstacles and hindrances in this life (whether they be outer, inner, or secret), your aims will be fulfilled, and things will go smoothly for you.
  2. In addition to gathering merit, we also need good role models to follow. It has been more than 2500 years since Buddha Shakyamuni passed into parinirvana, yet the transmission of his teachings remains up till today embodied and upheld in the present genuine and qualified dharma teachers. These teachers are excellent role models for us. To follow their example and teachings is excellent. They really are one of the best examples we can find.In my case my role models are my meditation teachers, for example Kyabjé Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche and Kyabjé Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche. Both of these teachers were extraordinarily kind-hearted, generous, caring, and patient, and outstanding meditators. They were amazing people. So you likewise need to find this kind of role model, someone with truly excellent qualities, to look up to and try to emulate. As Buddhists, our shared role model is of course Buddha Shakyamuni himself.By relying on such role models, we will be able to mould and transform our character and behaviour into something much more positive, and as a result we will encounter fewer difficulties.This is particularly important for dharma practitioners since as practitioners we need to unravel the true intent and meaning of Buddha’s teaching: the innate, natural state. We need to understand this and know how to train in it. And to take a genuine dharma teacher as your example and follow their teachings will booster and enhance your understanding and practice of the natural state.
  3. Whatever activity it is you are involved in, whether mundane or spiritual, you need to approach it withintelligence. You need to ask yourself, “Okay, what qualities are needed to fulfil this role? How should this job be done? What information is needed?” You need to acquire the necessary skills and qualities, to listen to and learn from others, and to change yourself. As for learning, you all know how to do this. It can sometimes be difficult to listen to and learn from others but we need to do it. And thirdly, change—we need to mould and transform ourselves: if you are lacking certain needed qualities, then learn to develop them. If you see you have some faults, then slowly work on transforming these faults; don’t just leave them as they are. Otherwise you will never improve.In terms of the dharma, we need the intelligence of knowing the natural state and never parting from the motivation of bodhicitta, the mind of enlightenment. These days many practitioners are losing bodhicitta. Sometimes I also find myself thinking, “Can I really reach enlightenment? Is it really possible? And in any case, will it really be of benefit to others and to myself?” The state of enlightenment, buddhahood, is the ultimate benefit, the ultimate bliss, the ultimate peace, and the ultimate, unsurpassable method to benefit oneself and others. This being so, we need to develop the wish and determination to attain enlightenment. This is bodhicitta, the mind of enlightenment. So as a practitioner, with intelligence we should receive genuine dharma teachings from a genuine teacher, reflect upon them genuinely, and put them into practice genuinely.
  4. Dignity. Sometimes we encounter problems and challenges in our mundane lives, or we experience failure. In these cases, we shouldn’t let the setback rob us of our dignity and confidence. We should approach the situation in a constructive way: think, “Okay, I didn’t succeed here. Why not? What was I missing? What did I do wrong?” And take it all as experience. Then set out to remove the faults and flaws that caused the problem so you’ll be able to succeed in the future. You should feel confident that, yes, I can attain enlightenment, I can benefit beings. Here in samsara I can help my family, I can support the sangha and benefit sentient beings. I can do it. I can achieve things, and I can live a joyful, meaningful life. In this way, we need to nurture inner dignity and confidence, even in the face of challenges.This kind of dignity is such an important quality, and for practitioners it is simply indispensable. Kyabjé Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche would say that without dignity you cannot succeed in dharma practice, and in particular in meditation. This dignity is a kind of courage, a decisive, unwavering confidence. It is not a shaky or hesitant state of mind, like thinking, “Oh, I am not sure if meditation will really be beneficial or not… I wonder if my meditation is okay or not…” Nothing like that.Some people know the dharma, they understand, but still ask questions. This is a clear sign of lack of confidence and doubt. Of course if you don’t understand something or don’t know something then you need to ask and should ask, but when you find yourself asking questions and feeling doubt about things you already know that is a sign of lack of dignity. So what is the remedy for this? How can practitioners develop this dignity? Supplicate the buddhas and Supreme Ones (buddha, dharma, and sangha). This is the general approach common for all Buddhists. If you are a Vajrayana practitioner, also supplicate your gurus and supreme yidam deity and train in developing divine dignity. Whichever approach you follow, make supplications that they bless you with inner dignity.

Since some of you reading this email are probably not practitioners and some of you are, I am sending you these four points since they are relevant to both. I am well and I hope you are all healthy and happy too.

With aspirations, 
Sarva Mangalam (May all be auspicious)

Kyabgön Phakchok Rinpoche

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