These pujas came out for your mother:
- Long Life Sutra: 100 times, by the Kopan nuns
- Namgyal tse chog puja: four times, by the Kopan Lama Gyupas
- Diamond Cutter Sutra: five times, by Kopan Lama Gyupas.
Rinpoche was extremely, extremely pleased that your mother is reciting the Medicine Buddha mantra. Rinpoche read the rest of your letter and said:
Regarding your feelings of isolation and separation, that is the result; you don’t know this, but it’s a very positive thing happening. For someone who doesn’t know Dharma, that person thinks of it as sickness, a mental problem, thinking it’s wrong, but it’s a very good thing. However, a person who doesn’t know that thinks of it as mental sickness.
In your case it’s something like a result of having generated renunciation in a past life, having practiced renunciation in a past life, seeing the suffering nature of samsara. So now, rather than getting attached to samsara, to friends and materials, you are not feeling that [attachment.] That is from having practiced renunciation in the past, seeing the nature of samsara, the nature of suffering, the cause of suffering.
So instead of being attached to outside objects, you withdraw from these things. It’s like a Dharma practitioner who has realized renunciation or is coming near to that, so it is like that. But it is very positive and what it really means is that you can become a pure Dharma practitioner, and from that you can realize the true nature of suffering of yourself and all sentient beings, then it is easy to generate bodhicitta.
Also, I want to say how you are thinking about depression, that this is a little like how other people think; that it is something uncomfortable and wrong. I would like to remind you that there are numberless buddhas and bodhisattvas who cherish you most. You have to remember that all the time there are numberless buddhas who cherish you most, who cherish all sentient beings, and that includes you. Remember that every day.
Therefore you have to do what they like, what pleases the buddhas the most, so from that you can understand you should read lamrim and Shantideva’s Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life. Basically, read those texts and study Buddhist philosophy, but those texts are the main ones—lamrim and A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life.
So there is nothing wrong, in reality nothing is wrong. You can have a positive mind, but if you don’t know Dharma, then you think it is mental sickness.
Other books you should read are Wheel of Sharp Weapons and Nagarjuna’s Letter to a Friend.
These books are good to read, so you can understand that even though the suras [demigods] have incredible, unbelievable pleasure compared to human beings—the pleasure of human beings is very poor compared to them—but still it is in the nature of suffering. The highest pleasure in human life is also really in the nature of suffering.
If you read more lamrim and A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, in this way you will see how samsara is in the nature of suffering, then you will understand how it is positive, very positive, and because of that you will have more thoughts of cherishing others, more good heart.
You should read these books:
- Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand (lamrim)
- A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, also with commentary; there is a commentary by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. You will learn a lot from these teachings.
With much love and prayers ...