My most dear, most precious, most kind, wish-fulfilling Amelia,
Thank you very much your kind letter. You mentioned that you received teachings from Lama Yeshe and myself in Kopan in 1971, a long time ago, so the connection was already made, even from then.
Regarding what you mentioned about ___, even though you're not with this lama or his centers now, you should still respect him, thinking of the kindness of his teachings. It is very good to not lose respect as he is your guru. As you know, the negative karma in relation to your guru—if you give up, criticize, generate heresy, etc, in tantra vows—that is the heaviest one. In the long Six-session Guru Yoga it says lama nyi mer which means giving up, arising heresy, criticizing, belittling and so forth.
It's good that you still think of the guru’s kindness and don't lose respect. Basically once you have made a Dharma connection, then from your side you have to look at the guru as all the buddhas. This means any guru that you have a Dharma connection with. So, numberless buddhas are the guru and the guru is numberless buddhas, inseparable. You have to meditate in this way and realize this from your side, so the realization should be there without effort. That is the realization.
My heart advice, since you are mainly following the Sakya tradition, is Parting from the Four Attachments [Tib: zhen pa zhi drel]. That is the same as what is called lam-rim. There is a different title, but basically it’s the same as Lama Tsongkhapa’s tradition, lam-rim and the three principal aspects of the path to enlightenment. Renunciation of this life and renunciation of future samsara go under one outline in the section of renunciation, so these become three. In Kagyü and Nyingma there are four outlines. So it is the same; renunciation of this life, renunciation of future samsara, then bodhicitta and emptiness. Basically it is the same [for all four traditions]; there is sutra as a foundation, then tantra—secret mantra, Vajrayana.
Since you are living alone; if you are able to live alone, that is very, very good. Generally for common people, living alone gives a lot of time to practice Dharma, whatever we wish. If we live in a group with other people, there is a lot of distraction and we can waste a lot of time. We waste a lot of our life and we can't do practice as we like, so we are not free. So it is very, very good that you are able to live alone, that gives you great freedom to practice Dharma. It's very good that you are free day and night.
Also, please read the lam-rim; this gives you a clear understanding of how to approach the path. Mainly put your effort into lam-rim meditation, to realize guru devotion, as I explained before, for however many weeks, months or years it takes, so your mind is in that realization without a single effort. Then on that basis, having renunciation,as it is mentioned in the lam-rim books, you should have that in your heart; and then on that basis, to realize bodhicitta; then on that basis to realize emptiness.
The particular path of tantra—secret mantra, Vajrayana—is the same, but presented in a slightly different way depending on which tradition one follows. However, the most important thing is to realize guru devotion, renunciation, bodhicitta and right view. Once you have realized bodhicitta, then you can do more tantra.
Of course, first study well and try to have effortful realizations and then effortless realizations. Do effortful meditations first to bring the mind closer to realizations and to lay the foundations for effortless realizations, one-by-one.
With much love and prayers...
PS: For many people, living alone becomes a support to be able to live in the vows, to keep the vows, getsulma [novice nun’s vows]. This becomes very important, because if death happens, then you will immediately have a perfect human rebirth and be able to meet the Dharma again, with the possibility of meeting the virtuous friend and the Mahayana teachings.
If you have some questions or something to ask, you can send me a letter from time-to-time, then when I have time, I will answer.