Padmasambhava words – Phakchok Rinpoche message in January 2013 สารจากท่าน พักชก ริมโปเช มกราคม 2556

Dear Friends Near and Far,

 

I hope you have all been happy and healthy. I have been well and at the moment at the Nagi Gonpa Hermitage performing the Ngakso Drupchen (Ocean of Amrita), a vajrayana mending and purification puja.

 

From the hagiography, The Wishfulfilling Tree, Padmasambhava himself says, “People of the future who have not met me, read and see my story”.  It is said that merely hearing the name Padmasambhava brings immense blessing.

 

On this last Guru Rinpoche day of the Water Dragon Year of 2139 and with an understanding of these words of Padmasambhava to be a prophecy, I bring to you all with much joy the news of the unfolding and unfurling of the story of The Lotus Born into a pictorial depiction of moving images.

 

Neten Chokling Rinpoche, one of the incarnations of the Great Treasure revealer; Terchen Chokgyur Lingpa is once again coming out with a true gem and this time none other than the story of the Lotus Born Guru. Rinpoche has previously made a film on the life of Milarepa and Brilliant Moon: Glimpses of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.  

 

Glimpses into scenes from the life story of Padmasambhava– the Enlightened Hero of our time.

 

 

Ext. Samye courtyard, Tibet

 

Under the shade of the peacock feather parasols, the priest Padmasambhava, the abbot Shantarakshita and the king Trisong Duetsen, circumambulate the temple.  Suddenly a shower of arura fruit falls from the skies.  The king’s attendant holding the peacock-feathered parasol exclaims, holding an arura fruit in his hand.

UMBRELLA ATTENDANT

                   Your Majesty, it is an arura!

This medicinal fruit is obtained

only in India.

 

The king looks extremely joyous.

 

 

Int. King’s chamber, Samye

 

PADMASAMBHAVA

                   Since the temple is now established

the Abbot and I ask your permission to

leave for India.

Trisong Duetsen is taken aback. The king clasps his hands at his chest and sorrowfully speaks to the two masters.

TRISONG DUETSEN

     Compassionate Masters, please listen.

                   Tibet is a land of fiends where the

sound of the holy Dharma is not even

heard. Although your kindness has

already been great I humbly

          supplicate that you postpone such an exit!

 

The King sheds tears. The two foreign masters feel compassion for the Tibetan King.

 

PADMASAMBHAVA

      Your Majesty, the three of us have come

        together in Tibet through the ripening of

      karma from the aspirations of our three

         lives. Since we, the three brothers, again

     have this connection as we had in past

         lives, I shall not turn back your request.

ABBOT

Very good, I will do likewise.

 

 

Upper cave at Chimpu Hermitage

 

A young girl of 16 sits on the floor of the hermitage facing Padmasambhava who is sitting on a cushioned platform.

 

PADMASAMBHAVA

                 Tsogyal, when practicing the Dharma,

you must first tame your own mind.

YESHE TSOGYAL

                         What does that mean?

PADMASAMBHAVA

                You must extinguish the scorching flames

of anger, cross the river of desire, crumble

the mountain of pride, overcome the storm

of envy and light the torch of discriminating

knowledge in the darkness of ignorance.

 

Yeshe Tsogyal looks to Padmasambhava with full attention.

 

PADMASAMBHAVA (CONT’D)

                These five poisons of anger, desire, pride,

envy and delusion will ruin your being in

samsara if you uninhibitedly indulge in them.

Do not let them run wild.  There is a danger

in that.

 

Yeshe Tsogyal nods her head.

 

 

Int. Upper cave at Chimpu Hermitage

 

Yeshe Tsogyal is writing down something on a yellow parchment.

YESHE TSOGYAL

                I, Tsogyal, have been serving the master

for a while now.  On different occasions,

he gave advice on Dharma practice that I

persistently retained in my perfect recall,

collected, and wrote down for the sake of

future generations. This is committed to

writing in the Upper Cave at Chimpu on

the twenty fifth day of the second month

of fall in the Year of the Sow.

 

She rolls the small parchment and puts it in a small leather box.  She exits her cave hermitage with it.

 

Standing in front of a big odd shaped boulder, Yeshe Tsogyal presses the small leather box onto the rock surface.  After a gentle push the small box gently sinks into the hard surface of the boulder and disappears from sight.

 

PADMASAMBHAVA (O.S.)

                Since they are not meant to be spread at the

present time conceal them as a precious treasure.

 

 

Outside Samye Gate

An old woman waits by the road near the gate of Samye.  Padmasambhava passes through the gate.  On seeing him, she bows down and joins her palms before him.

 

OLD WOMAN

                Great Master, you are about to leave for your

hermitage and I am about to die.  Please give an

instruction that requires little hardship, that is

simple to grasp, easy to apply and very effective.

 

PADMASAMBHAVA

                        Old lady, who are you?

 

OLD WOMAN

               I am the one who has been sending the bowl of curd.

 

Padmasambhava acknowledges her kindness with a smile.

 

PADMASAMBHAVA

                Old lady, take the cross-legged position

and keep your body upright.

 

The old woman sits down as instructed.

 

PADMASAMBHAVA (CONT’D)

               For a short while, simply remain with totally relaxed attention.

 

 

Gungthang Pass, Tibet

 

YESHE TSOGYAL

(Despondently)

               The sun is setting in our hearts.  Since you are leaving for Chamara we are left without a guide. From the king to the pauper we all rely on you. What will we do after you leave.  What will happen to us? Who do we turn to for advice?

 

Padmasambhava looks to Yeshe Tsogyal.

 

PADMASAMBHAVA

               For the moment you should not worry

because the Dharma is like the sun at noon

in Tibet.  Therefore it makes no difference

whether I am here or not.

 

He looks down to the Tibetans.  Some of the older ones cry.

 

PADMASAMBHAVA

               To those who have faith in me, I have never

departed – I sleep on the threshold of their homes.

From those with erring views I am concealed,

though yet I stand before them.

 

 

Through this film, may the wisdom and compassion of Padmasambhava’s life act as a soothing balm to quell the miseries afflicted out of ignorance.

 

 

Sarva Mangalam,

 

Phakchok Rinpoche

 

 

 

 

                                                                            www.phakchokrinpoche.org                                                                            www.cglf.org

Important points – Phakchok Rinpoche message in December 2012 สารจากท่าน พักชก ริมโปเช ธันวาคม 2555

Guru Rinpoche Day

Dear Friends Near and Far:

I hope you have all been happy and healthy. I am now back in my hometown in Boudhanath, Nepal. I am going to say few things candidly on today’s Guru Rinpoche Day.

Your beliefs don’t make you a better person, your behavior does.
Your mind training doesn’t matter when you don’t have compassion.
Your meditation doesn’t matter when you don’t see your own faults.
Dharma practice doesn’t matter when you don’t have devotion.
Obstacles doesn’t matter when you have the blessings.

Please reflect on the points above. Some of you have met me, came to my retreats, some of you have not but nonetheless, I want to ask you all to practice well and don’t waste your time. I spend more than half of this year traveling continuously and I finally just got back home completely exhausted to a point where I am not seeing anyone at the moment. My motivation to such extensive traveling is purely based on reaching out to you all in all your select cities instead of all of you coming this way. Now as the year is coming to an end and when I reflect back on it, it is my sincerest hope that the teachings have reached you all and that you are applying it accordingly. If not then I simply wasted my time traveling around the world without any sight seeing!

So anyhow, to all of you specially the mahamudra students, I want to let you all know that I constantly make aspirations for you and your practice and as usual on Guru Rinpoche’s Day reaching out to you all to give you motivation. We should all know that we are very fortunate practitioners.

Wishing you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year filled with genuine happiness and good health!!!

Sarva Mangalam,

Phakchok Rinpoche

Aspiration by Guru Rinpoche – Phakchok Rinpoche message in November 2012 สารจากท่าน พักชก ริมโปเช พฤศจิกายน 2555

Guru Rinpoche Day

 

Dear Friends Near and Far:

Greetings to you all on this tenth day of the tenth month of the dragon year! I hope you’ve all been happy and healthy. I am well and at the moment in Poland wrapping up the teachings here and now yearning to be back home and to the moment of experiencing the descending of the Thai airline into the Valley and having to get the first glimpse of the Great Stupa glittering away at high noon two days from today!

 

Coming back to this auspicious day, I would like to share with you this amazing aspiration made by Guru Rinpoche on the request of Trisong Detsen. This is an aspiration for all the future generations, the precious masters and the precious sanghas.

 

The Aspiration of the Vajradhatu Mandala

Chokchu Dushi – Aspiration by Guru Rinpoche

 

Namo Guru 

 

On the tenth day of the monkey month in the monkey year, Orgyen uttered this aspiration on the occasion of revealing the vajradhatu mandala in the turquoise-coated middle chamber of Samye. Thereafter, the king and the disciples made it their daily practice: All future generations should wholeheartedly take it up as their practice as well! 

 

Victorious ones and your sons in the ten directions and four times,

Assemblies of gurus, yidams, dakinis, and Dharma protectors,

Please come here all of you, numerous as dust motes in the world,

And be seated on the lotus and moon seat in the sky before me.

 

With respectful body, speech, and mind I bow down

And present you outer, inner, secret, and suchness offerings.

In your presence, sugatas, supreme objects of worship,

I feel shame for all my past evil actions

And regretfully apologize for my present non-virtues.

In order to turn away from them in the future I shall restrain myself.

 

I rejoice in all the gatherings of merit and virtue

And ask you, victorious ones, not to pass into nirvana

But to turn the Dharma wheel of the Tripitaka and the unexcelled teachings.

All accumulations of virtue I dedicate to the minds of beings

So they may reach unsurpassable liberation.

 

Buddhas and your sons, please listen to me!

May this excellent aspiration which I have begun here

Be expressed in accordance with the victorious Samantabhadra and his sons

And with the wisdom of noble Manjushri.

 

May all the precious masters, the splendor of the doctrine,

Reach everywhere like the sky.

May they shine on everyone like the sun and moon

And may their lives be firm like mountains.

 

May the precious sangha, the foundation of the doctrine,

Be in harmony, keep pure vows and be wealthy in the three trainings.

May the practitioners of Mantrayana, the essence of the doctrine,

Keep their samaya and perfect the development and completion stages.

 

May the ruler who supports the Dharma, the patron of the doctrine,

Expand his dominion and aid the Buddhist teachings.

May the nobility and chieftains, the servants of the doctrine,

Increase their intelligence and be endowed with resourcefulness.

 

May all rich householders, the sponsors of the doctrine,

Have wealth and enjoyments and be free from harm.

May all the countries with faith in the doctrine

Have peace and happiness and be free from obstacles.

 

May I, a yogi on the path,

Have flawless samaya and fulfillment of my wishes.

May anyone connected with me through either good or evil karma

Both now and ultimately be cherished by the victorious ones.

May all beings enter the gate of the unexcelled vehicle

And attain the vast kingdom of Samantabhadra.

 

Exert yourself in this aspiration during the six sessions. Samaya. Seal. 

 

The great terton Chokgyur Lingpa, emanation of Prince Murub, revealed this treasure among a crowd of people. He took it from underneath the upper part of Piled Jewels Rock Mountain situated on the right slope of the most sacred place, Sengchen Namtrak. Written by Tsogyal in Tibetan shurma letters upon silk paper made from the robe of Vairochana, it was then immediately transcribed correctly by Padma Garwang Lodrö Thaye. May virtuous goodness increase.

 

Keeping you all in my heart and prayers and as always, sending you all much love and affection.

 

Sarva Mangalam,

 

Phakchok Rinpoche

 

 

 

Translated by Erik Pema Kunsang. Edited by Marcia Binder Schmidt, Kerry Moran and Michael Tweed. 

© Rangjung Yeshe Translations & Publications, 1995

www.phakchokrinpoche.org

www.cglf.org

The Prayer in Seven Chapters to Padmakara – Phakchok Rinpoche message in October 2012 สารจากท่าน พักชก ริมโปเช ตุลาคม 2555

The Prayer in Seven Chapters to Padmakara

Dear Friends Near and Far:

I hope you have all been happy and healthy. I am in Arhus, Denmark at our meditation center and all is well here. For today’s Guru Rinpoche Day, I would like to share with you an excerpt from, “The Prayer in Seven Chapters to Padmakara”. And from the forth chapter, “The Prayer Requested by Namkhe Nyingpo”:

Do this towards all you see:
Outside, inside, environment and beings, all things-
Whilst seeing them, without grasping, remain.
This freedom from the trap of duality, subject-object clinging, is
the very form of the deity-luminous and empty.
To this lama, the very self-liberation of desire and
Attachment, we pray!
To the Lotus-born Guru of Orgyen, we pray!

Do this towards all that you hear:
All sounds, grasped as sweet or harsh,
Whilst hearing them, empty, without after-thought, remain.
This empty sound, with no beginning and no end, is the speech of the victorious ones.
To this empty sound, the speech of all the buddhas, we pray!
To the Lotus-born Guru of Orgyen, we pray!

Do this towards all that stirs in the mind:
Whatever thoughts and emotions of the five poisons arise,
Don’t invite them, don’t chase after them, don’t let mind fabricate or contrive:
Simply allowing them to settle in the face of their own arising, is liberation into the dharmakaya.
To this lama, rigpa’s self-realization, we pray!
To the Lotus-born Guru of Orgyen, we pray!

Thus, outwardly purify appearances of their allure;
Inwardly, free mind from grasping;
And, by the self-recognition of lumonisity,
May the compassion of all the sugatas of past, present and future
Inspire and bless beings like us with self liberation!

May we be able to mingle our minds with our Guru when reciting these lines with immense longing and devotion.

Sarva Mangalam,
Phakchok Rinpoche

Hope, Fear and Ego – Phakchok Rinpoche message in September 2012 สารจากท่าน พักชก ริมโปเช กันยายน 2555

Guru Rinpoche Day

 Dear Friends Near and Far:I hope you have all been happy and healthy. I am in Guadalajara, Mexico preparing for todays Guru Rinpoche Day’s feast offering. I am going to keep each and everyone of you in my mind during the feast offering.

So for today’s Guru Rinpoche Day, I would like to share with you a key that helps unlock the root of all hope and fear. To really understand the dharma, to practice the dharma, and to apply the dharma, you really need to understand this key. On a day to day basis, where does all our hope and fear arise from? It arises from identity, feeling, belief, and ego clinging. The root is ego, this self centered ego.

What is hope? Hope is a positive attachment. When you don’t receive that or don’t have that you feel pain. What is Fear? Fear is something that you don’t like to have or don’t want to be. So most of our thoughts and feelings are contained in hope and fear.

Now I am going to give you a short quotation:

“Without cutting or reducing ego clinging, no matter how much you want to practice the dharma or live a positive life it is not going to work.”

As usual, my advice is don’t believe me but see it for your own self. So usually I say “seeing” is the first step, “recognizing” is the second step, “admitting” is the third step, “changing” is the fourth step and “measuring change” is the fifth step.

From another quotation:

“Without cutting the root of ego, meditation is just a creation of mind. Understanding is just labeling. Thinking that you understood is just subtle pride. When you really cut the root of ego, you don’t differentiate between yourself and others, and then you will understand selflessness. It is then when the realization of emptiness and compassion is going to be inseparable.”

So it is very important to reduce the ego. My message today may sound complicating to some, helpful to a handful and completely gibberish to many! But from my part, it is, has been, and will always be a joyful pleasure to connect with each and everyone of you and be a constant reminder of impermanence with each passing GRD one year after another.

Enclosed is a picture of my grandfather, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche pointing his finger inward. Thinking of you all and keeping you all in the depth of my heart and aspiration.

Sarva Mangalam,

Phakchok Rinpoche

www.phakchokrinpoche.org

www.cglf.org

Three Qualities – Phakchok Rinpoche message in August 2012 สารจากท่าน พักชก ริมโปเช สิงหาคม 2555

 Guru Rinpoche Day

Dear Dharma Brothers and Sisters,I hope you have all been happy and healthy. I have been well and busy hopping from one city to another on the eastern coast of United States.  I started out this morning at the Garrison Institute and then to Bedford to do a puja at a close friend’s place  and then to Irvington for an afternoon teaching followed by dinner with few friends and now finally in Room # 232 of some hotel an hour away from NYC. Yes, I am exhausted and therefore will keep todays GRD message short, my apologies.

So, whether in your mundane life or your spiritual, always remind your self of the three qualities:

1. Intelligence and wisdom in your brain

– Knowing your own negative emotions, knowing the dharma, and knowing how to practice the dharma.

2. Compassion in your heart

– Compassion without bias, compassion without judgement, and compassion without ego.

3. Dignity and confidence in your gut

– Knowing that you can succeed in your practice, seeing your improvement, and gradually gaining dignity in your practice without ego.

See it, experience it, and investigate whether having these three qualities in your life impact your life positively or not!

 

Sarva Mangalam,

Phakchok Rinpoche

www.phakchokrinpoche.org
www.cglf.org

Instruction that will help at the time of death – Phakchok Rinpoche message on Guru Rinpoche day สารจากท่าน พักชก ริมโปเช กรกฎาคม 2555

Guru Rinpoche Day

Dear Friends Near and Far:Greetings to you all on this Guru Rinpoche Day, the day he was known as Guru Senge Dradok back in the 8thcentury raising the victory banner of the Dharma when he vanquished the tirthikas from South India who were attempting to harm the Buddha Dharma.I truly hope that you’ve all be happy and healthy. I am happy and juggling a bit with my weight here in Hong Kong but besides which all is well!

A student of mine recently asked me for a pith instruction that will help him at the time of death and I couldn’t think of any other teaching but the advice given by Guru Rinpoche to his consort, the Lady of Kharchen, Yeshe Tsogyal.

And from the “Dakini Teaching”, it goes . . .

“Master, although I have served you for a long time, I am now an old woman with no confidence at all about the moment of death.  So I beseech you to hold me with compassion and give me a single instruction – concise and easy to practice – that condenses all the oral teachings into one.”

The great master replied, “Devoted woman with a faithful and virtuous mind, listen to me.  Although the profound key points of body are many, rest freely and relaxed, in whatever way you feel comfortable. Everything is included in simply that.

Although there are many key points of speech, such as controlling the breath and reciting mantras, stop speaking and rest like a mute.  Everything is included in simply that.

Although the many key points of mind involve concentrating, relaxing, projecting, absorbing, focusing inward and so on, everything is included in resting in genuine simplicity, free and easy, in your own nature.

“The mind won’t remain serenely in that state.  Like a cool breeze in the heat of the sun, if you ask, ‘Is it nothing?’ it vanishes swiftly like mist.  If you ask, ‘Is it something?’ it has no shape, color or any identifying characteristic whatsoever but is utterly empty and completely awake.  Vividly awake – this is the fundamental nature of your mind.

“Since this is how it is, the view is to recognize and resolve on that point. 

The meditation is to remain undistracted in a state of tranquility, steadfast, without fabrication or fixation. 

In that state, to be free from clinging or attachment, accepting or rejecting, hope or fear, towards any of the experiences of the six senses – that is the conduct.

“Whatever doubt or divided mind occurs, supplicate to your master.  Don’t remain among a crowd of people; practice in seclusion.  You must give up whatever great desire and yearning you have for this life, completely cut your attachment toward those with whom you have ties of attachment, and practice.  In that way, although your form is human, your thinking will be equal to that of an enlightened one.

“To continue, at the time of dying, practice as follows:

“As the earth element dissolves into the water element, the body becomes heavy and cannot support itself.  As the water element dissolves into the fire element, the mouth and nose dry up.  As the fire element dissolves into the wind element, the body heat slips away.  As the wind element dissolves into consciousness, one cannot but exhale with a rattle and inhale with a gasp.

“At that time, it feels like you have been pressed down by a huge mountain, are trapped within darkness, and hurled into space.  All these appearances are accompanied by roaring and ringing sounds.  The entire sky will appear as vividly bright as silk brocade flung open.

“Furthermore, within a dome of rainbow lights the natural forms of your awareness will materialize as peaceful, wrathful, and semi-wrathful deities with various heads.  Brandishing many kinds of weapons and filling the sky with fierce sounds.  The light, moreover, will be like a hundred thousand suns shining simultaneously.

“At this time, your innate deity will remind you of awareness, saying: ‘Don’t be distracted!  Don’t be distracted!’  Your innate demon will disturb the appearances and sweep them away, uttering many sharp and fierce sounds and leading you into confusion.

“When this occurs, know that the sensation of being pressed down is not a mountain pressing down but is your own elements dissolving.  Do not fear that!  The feeling of being trapped within darkness is not darkness, but are your five sense faculties dissolving.  The feeling of being hurled into the expanse of space is not being hurled.  It is that your mind and body have separated and your breathing has stopped so that your mind is without support.

“All experiences of rainbow lights are the natural radiance of your awareness.  All the peaceful and wrathful bodies are the natural forms of your awareness.  All sounds are your own sounds.  All lights are your own lights.  Have no doubt about this!  If doubt arises, you will be thrown into samsara.  Having resolved this to be self-display, if you rest wide awake in the luminosity inseparable from emptiness, by simply that you will attain the three kayas and become enlightened.  Even if cast into samsara, you won’t go.

“The innate deity is the present taking hold of your mind with undistracted mindfulness.  From now on, it is most important to have no fascination, happiness or sorrow, and to be without hope and fear or clinging and fixation towards any of the objects of your six sense faculties.  If from this time onward you attain stability, you will become enlightened by taking hold of your natural state in the bardo.  Therefore, the most vital point is to sustain your practice undistractedly right now.

“The innate demon is your present habitual ignorance, your uncertain mind, and your doubt.  Whatever fearful phenomena appear at that time – such as the triad of sounds, colors and lights – do not become fascinated, do not create doubts and do not panic.  Since you will wander in samsara if you fall back into doubt for even a single moment, gain complete stability.

“At this time, all womb entrances will appear as celestial palaces, and you must not be captivated by them.  Be sure of that!  Separate yourself from hope and fear!  Without taking another rebirth, you will become enlightened.  I swear this without a doubt.  During this period, you are not benefited by a Buddha; it is your own awareness that has been enlightened from the very beginning.  You are not harmed by the hells.  Fixation is purified by itself so that all hope and fear concerning samsara and nirvana are severed at the root.

“Examples for becoming enlightened at such a time are like murky water becoming clear and limpid, like gold being purged of impurities, or clouds vanishing from the sky.  Having attained the space-like Dharmakaya for your own benefit, you will accomplish the benefit of sentient beings pervading space.  Having attained Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya for the welfare of others, you will benefit sentient beings as much as your awareness pervades phenomena.

“If this instruction is given three times to a very evil person, such as someone who has killed his own father and mother, he will not fall into samsara even if thrown there.  Thus, enlightenment is without a doubt.  Lacking an instruction like this, regardless of however many other profound teachings you may have, you can only speak the words.  Hence, since you do not know where you may wander, practice this teaching with perseverance.

“Concerning the disciples to whom this type of teaching should be given, they should be those with great faith, great diligence and great intelligence, who always remember their teacher, have confidence in the oral instructions, and exert themselves vigorously in the practice.  Their understanding should be stable and they should have the capacity to give up worldly concerns.  To them you should be generous.  In addition bestow the master’s seal of entrustment, the yidam’s seal of secrecy, and the dakini’s seal of entrustment.

“Although I, Padmakara, have followed many masters for three thousand, six hundred years, have requested oral instructions and detailed explanations, and have taught, meditated and carried out sadhana practice, I have not found any teaching more profound than this.  Now I am going to tame the rakshas, and you should practice exactly in this way.  Mother, you will become enlightened in the Buddhafield of Vajra Varahi.  Therefore, persevere in this instruction.”

After he spoke, the guru mounted the rays of the sun and departed to the land of the rakshas.  The lady attained liberation at this time and put the teaching in writing, hiding it as a profound treasure.  She made this aspiration: “In the future, may this be passed on to Guru Dorje Lingpa.  May it then benefit many beings.”

This completes the extremely sacred instruction, The Most Refined Essence: the reply to questions on self-liberation in the bardo of dying.  Samaya, seal, seal, seal.

For those of you who just embarked on the path, don’t be alarmed by the instructions above. To you all I would like to simply remind that, at the time of death, do not have any regrets of this life, no attachment or clinging to this life and to your samsaric belongings, confess of all your wrong doings, shouldn’t fear and instead when fear arises, think of your guru, and finally know that all the experiences that you are experiencing are nothing but the reflection of your mind.

Sarva Mangalam,
Phakchok Rinpoche

www.phakchokrinpche.org

Phakchok Rinpoche message in September 2011 สาส์นจากท่าน พักชก ริมโปเช ในเดือน สิงหาคม 2554

Calling The Guru From Afar

Dear Dharma Brothers and Sisters,I hope you have all been happy and healthy.  Here in the Kathmandu Valley, it has been a day of prayers and longing for a Great Nyingma Master who recently entered Parinirvana. On an occasion like this, I’m reminded of the prayer, “Calling the Guru from Afar”by the Great Rime master, Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye.When reciting this prayer, it is crucial to have a firm condifence in the fact the one’s Guru personifies all the Buddhas of the three times. By gaining certainty in the Root Guru, the student naturally develops unwavering devotion and gratitude towards the Three Jewels.  And with the generated stability and certainty, the student then progresses on the path. Once on the path, the student develops certainty in the practice and with devotion and veneration in the Root Guru, fruition is attained. Therefore when reciting the prayer, recite it with certainty, veneration and devotion.

The Preliminary Contemplations 

 

Samsara

Alas!

Sentient beings like me, with negative karma and evil deeds,

Have wandered in samsara from beginningless time.

I continue to experience endless suffering,

But I never feel even the briefest moment of regret.

Guru think of me, regard me with compassion.

Bless me that renunciation may arise from the depths of my heart.

 

Most importantly, we have to look at our own conduct and experiences, how we go through the day without any mindfulness. This is reinforcing our samsaric habitual tendencies, but we don’t see how we waste our time, we don’t see it as meaningless. Why do we not have regrets, consciousness or mindfulness? Why we don’t have any renunciation towards samsaric and mental activities? Why do we have so much activities and emotions, including positive emotions? Suffering is easy to abandon but we find it difficult to let go of any pleasure that we feel, any enjoyment that we have. The feeling of suffering is suffering of suffering, the feeling of joy is suffering of change, and the neutral feeling is the all-pervasive suffering. Whenever you feel that you lack something, this arises from the habits that you have from the past.

 

The suffering in samsara is not supposed to make you depressed. Being depressed and having renunciation are two different things. Mere suffering is when you are sucked into the meaningless suffering of samsara. Renunciation is when you know how to be free of that suffering and wanting to be free from that suffering. It will make you not waste your time, not be completely distracted to your daily activities and make wiser choice to follow the dharma to attain enlightenment.

 

Precious Human Birth

Though having attained the freedoms and riches I squander my life,

Always preoccupied by the pointless affairs of this world.

When applying myself to the great pursuit of liberation, I am overcome by laziness.

As I return from this island of jewels empty-handed,

Guru think of me, regard me with compassion.

Bless me that my human life may become meaningful.

 

What is actually a meaningful life? Using your time and effort towards the right path, the dharma. Doing something without good motivation, or doing activities with good motivation but acting without mindfulness, being completely distracted is like coming back from an island of jewels, empty-handed. Laziness, having a choice to meditate but not taking that choice, is also coming empty-handed. Having right motivation, right mindfulness and right meditation or practice to have a meaningful life.  We ask the guru to bless us to remind us to practice every moment.

 

The Dharma:

Death and Impermanance 

Not a single life on earth escapes death,

Even now, they pass away one after the other.

Soon, I too must die. I am a fool, thinking I will remain forever.

Guru think of me, regard me with compassion.

Bless me so that with no time to waste, I will curtail my plans.

 

Thinking of impermanence is very important and the thought that I am may die today becomes a good reminder of it. On the contarary, we normally like to think that we will live until 90, work till we reach 50, and then spend 20 years practicing in retreat, and then spend the remaining in enjoyment. Impermanence makes you serious and cautious about your time, not meant to make you sad. It should transform your motivation to do your practice and a reminder to be more diligent, not to make you have fear.

 

There are different attitude towards impermanence – there are some people who celebrate death, some who are indifferent and some who fear even the name of death. If you are in the third category, you need to spend less time thinking of impermanence, and if you are in the second category, you need to spend more time.

 

There are a few ways of looking at impermanence – one is thinking that the individuals around you are dying one by one, and soon it will be your turn. Secondly, thinking that the time of death is uncertain. Thirdly, some people don’t care about death but don’t know how to practice when they die, so they should learn from today how to practice at the point of death.

 

However, we should be careful that impermanence does not become a motivation to practice the dharma. Fear of death being the main motivation to practice dharma is a lowly, samsaric motivation. Death should boost your practice but not be your motivation to practice.

 

Karma 

In front, the black darkness of fear waits to take us in,

From behind, we are chased by the fierce red wind of karma.

The hideous messengers of the lord of death beat and stab us,

And so we must experience the unbearable sufferings of the lower realms.

Guru, think of me, behold us swiftly with compassion.

Bless me so that we are liberated from the chasms of lower realms. 

 

We work so hard to make all our family and friends happy, to earn money and possessions. We spend a lot of money and time to improve our health. However, we don’t have any good results from all this time and effort – it’s a bad investment. However much we work for our family, they will die one by one. When we die, our possessions will be enjoyed by someone else. Our family will cry for us for some time, but after that we will fade from their memory. However much we work for our body, it will slowly deteriorate. However much we want to make our mind happy, the foolish mind will be wandering in the states of bardo and samsara.

 

Please guru, bless me so that I can see that all this time and effort spent is meaningless. Some people say family is good for practice. Without money how can we do retreat, how can we make offerings to the monks? Without a healthy body, how can I meditate? Without a happy mind, I am not motivated to practice? So what is this verse talking about?

 

But here what is meant is that you have to draw a line, how much time and effort do you want to spend in such pursuits? Does samsaric satisfaction benefit you in the dharma – making you wiser and attain enlightenment? Do not spend your time completely in samsara, spend your time meaningfully.

 

The above verses are in regards with the four preliminary contemplations. The remainig verses concentates on the eight faults and it’s antidotes which I might bring forth in my next GRD message.

 

Keeping you all in my heart and my prayers.

 

Sarva Mangalam,

 

Phakchok Rinpoche