Teachings at the Kadampa Deities Retreat

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
(Archive #1413)

These teachings were given by Lama Zopa Rinpoche at a retreat held at Institut Vajra Yogini, France, from 18 April to 11 May 2003. The retreat was on the four Kadampa deities, however, Rinpoche taught on a broad range of lamrim topics.

Read the first, second and third discourses, in which Rinpoche discusses how to achieve real happiness, sets the motivation for the retreat and leads a meditation on the emptiness of sound. Lightly edited by Sandra Smith.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche at Nalanda Monastery, France, 2010. Photo: Ven. Thubten Kunsang (Henri Lopez).
2. Motivation for the Retreat

[Rinpoche chants protector prayers in Tibetan]

There was something left which I did not finish this afternoon. This time, we are doing this retreat on the Kadampa four deities. Many of us here would have received the Kadampa four deities initiation, the jenang, from the Buddha of Compassion, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, I think a few years ago, right here at this place. His Holiness kindly granted the permission to practice these Kadampa four deities, then gave the commentary on the Bodhicaryavatara

Therefore, doing this retreat is to repay the kindness of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, for having granted this initiation. To do something to make it worthwhile from our side, that’s one purpose, along with the lamrim meditation, which makes it a pure retreat, and the meditation-recitation of the deity.

Dedicate for His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Wishes to Succeed

The other thing is to dedicate the retreat for His Holiness’s wishes to succeed. We are doing this retreat to fulfill His Holiness’s holy wishes and particularly, practicing lamrim, and doing this, meditating on guru devotion and renunciation, bodhicitta and right view, and doing meditation retreat on these four deities, trying to develop our mind in the path to enlightenment, of course, that is His Holiness’s wishes.

Other than that, a very crucial thing is for the official people of Mainland China, the political leaders of Mainland China, to be able to change their minds as quickly as possible, so they are able to realize that His Holiness is the Buddha of Compassion, the embodiment of all the buddhas’ compassion. To realize that’ and that there’s not the slightest thought to harm to them, to the sentient beings, to realize that, to be able to recognize that; and to generate very strong devotion and to devote, and to do exactly what His Holiness wishes.

For them to devote or to act exactly as His Holiness wishes. And in that way to recognize what they have been believing—their way of looking at His Holiness as an ordinary political leader, as a worldly political leader, as somebody who has discriminating thoughts, like an ordinary political leader, somebody who has the thought of harming sentient beings or them—for them to realize that is totally wrong, for them to recognize that their view is totally wrong, to realize that. Ordinary political leader in the sense of having discriminating thought, anger and attachment, like that, and the thought of harming them, so to realize that their view was totally wrong. That is the whole point, to realize that their view was totally wrong.

Many people, even the ordinary people or many top leaders, have this wrong view that His Holiness is political and therefore he’s not a religious person. Even the Chinese abbots, even they think that way; not everybody, but quite a number. I don’t know how they define Dharma and politics. I think that the best political person is Buddha; Shakyamuni Buddha is the best political person and His Holiness is the same as that. Shakyamuni Buddha is the best political being because he is the most expert in liberating sentient beings; he is the most skillful one to guide sentient beings; he’s the best politically, having all the skills to benefit sentient beings. And there’s no harm, only benefit. It’s a question of method. Here the method is only benefiting sentient beings, not harming them. I don’t know how they define that.

The whole thing depends on eliminating their wrong views, realizing the way they have been believing toward His Holiness’s recognition is totally wrong. Because they don’t come to see His Holiness, to communicate, to talk, to learn who he is, they cannot understand.

Recently [I met] one very wealthy Chinese person from Hong Kong, whose family built the largest statue of a bodhisattva, I think, in China. They built the largest statue or are building it, sponsoring the building. The Chinese announced two or three years ago—Mainland China announced, through the BBC—that they are building a bigger statute than the one which is going to be built in India, which means the Maitreya Buddha statue. They are going to build a statue a few feet higher than that, so they announced that through the BBC.

Anyway, the son of the family had ideas of what the people in China think of His Holiness; he had some comments. I was very happy to hear that he has respect to His Holiness. He said, “He’s the peace leader in the world, therefore he should have a long life.” That’s what he said, so I was very happy. I said that he must inform His Holiness of all the comments, that it would make His Holiness very happy, so we made the arrangement.

He didn’t ask for an interview, but we made the arrangement and he did meet His Holiness. He spent one hour talking and informing His Holiness about his views and what the people think. Then he was totally convinced, because he actually met him and talked to him, so he was totally convinced after he came back, when I met him. He was totally convinced that His Holiness is a great holy being; after seeing him, he was totally convinced.

He was actually Kalu Rinpoche’s student. He was a follower of Tibetan Buddhism for twenty years, but he had never met His Holiness. I think he attended a talk in Canada somewhere, a long time ago.

“So today,” I said, “You made me much happier than if you gave me billions of dollars.” He said he went to Mainland China and he told his friend about His Holiness. He told me that he was completely convinced that His Holiness was a great holy being, and never what people think political, or somebody who has the thought of harming others.

He went to Mainland China—I think [his family is] probably one of the wealthiest families in Hong Kong—and he told one of his friends in China. The minute he told his friend about his own experience, the other person was totally convinced. The other person totally changed his mind. The way the other person used to think of His Holiness totally changed after this Chinese man from Hong Kong expressed his own feelings. Then the other Chinese person immediately changed and was convinced that His Holiness is not like that. So that’s what is needed, all those who have power.

Anyway, I told him I’m very happy about that. Of course, the Maitreya Project has been delayed for a long time, it’s been a very hard time, with so many obstacles. It’s been delayed for such a long time, for so long, and had a lot of struggle. Of course, it’s not that I didn’t need financial support, but I told him that, because he convinced that person, by talking to him and by explaining his own experience, the other person was totally convinced that His Holiness is a great holy being.  

So I told him, “Today, that’s better than giving me billions of dollars.” I requested him to please continue that; he must continue all the time to explain to the people there in Mainland China. Then he said, “Oh, this is my job.” He said something like that about explaining to other people in Mainland China—his friends, other business people in China.

Anyway, I’m just doing a side-talk, blah, blah, blah.

The point is to dedicate this retreat for the people in Mainland China, for the political people in Mainland China to be able to change their concept, their impure negative concept toward His Holiness. To change that immediately and to have devotion, realizing that His Holiness is the Buddha of Compassion, the embodiment of all the buddhas’ compassion, like that. [Realizing that His Holiness is] Chenrezig and the embodiment of all the buddhas’ compassion, and devoting exactly to what His Holiness wishes.

Also, to invite His Holiness to Mainland China and for all the billions of people there to receive Dharma and to enjoy the happiness of [Dharma, like the] sun shining in Mainland China.

Dedicate for Tibetan Freedom

As well as that, dedicate to give total freedom to Tibet; to give the country back to the Tibetan people and for His Holiness to continuously be the leader and to spread Dharma, to preserve Dharma, to spread Dharma in Tibet. And for the Tibetan people to enjoy the sunshine of Dharma happiness even more than before and in that way, for Buddhism to spread and to last a long time in this world. The retreat also should be dedicated for that. I think that is very urgent, there is urgency to have a quick change, so like that.

When I saw all these millions of people everywhere demonstrating about the United States making war in Iraq, I thought if that many people did a demonstration for Tibet, if that many millions of people did that in many parts of the world, then definitely Mainland China would have to do something. I was wishing for that, why that didn’t happen. I was listening to the BBC, because they always give a phone number, then if you have any ideas, you can say them. I thought first to say something about the war, but actually to make the comment that many people could help in a similar way if they could demonstrate and help Tibet.

I thought to say something about Tibet, that it has been a country which only concentrated on Dharma, without politics and only concentrated on Dharma. The main effort was put into the Dharma, to preserve and develop the spiritual teachings of the Buddha. It was not like other countries, developing material external things and the political side, not like that. It’s unknown to the world how much the Tibetans have suffered, all that, for so many years. I don’t know the number; there’s a certain number, how many Tibetans were killed, there are statistics. I don’t know, but I thought to ask. If I do something or say something, I thought to find that out and to mention those things. Anyway, a thought came, but it didn’t happen exactly.

 Something needs to be done in a very effective way, to the point. You can do demonstrations here and there, here and there, but I think you need something very effective at the point where the blockage is, to release that. Of course, it becomes more and more known to the world by putting out information and demonstrating here and there, and explaining torture and these things, but something needs to be done in a quick way, the most effective way. Anyway, we should dedicate our retreat for that.

Dedicate for World Peace

The next thing, we should dedicate the retreat for world peace, for the whole world peace, dedicate for that.

Dedicate for the Maitreya Project,  FPMT CENTERS AND PROJECTS

And then if you can, also include the Maitreya Project, to be able to start it as quickly as possible and to continue and complete it, and for it to be able to last for millions of years in this world. The main benefit of the statue is to be able to cause the generation of loving kindness, compassion and inspiration in the hearts of all the sentient beings. The main benefit, the main function, is to be able to do that. Of course, if this happens then there’s prosperity in the hearts of the sentient beings.

When there’s this prosperity, inner prosperity, loving kindness, compassion, bodhicitta, in our hearts, then there is external prosperity, no economic problems, no recession. Everything’s plentiful, no economic problems in the world, outer prosperity. That happens if there’s inner prosperity; outer prosperity happens because inner prosperity is the cause. If there’s loving kindness, compassion, the good heart, then we practice charity, we practice giving, the thought of benefiting others, and we collect so much merit. Therefore, as a result we will have external prosperity and all the difficulties in the world will be stopped.

That helps to not have war, to not have sicknesses, because we don’t create [the cause.] With a good heart we don’t harm others and we don’t harm ourselves; we only create good karma and so much merit. Therefore, the sicknesses, the famines, including the dangers of fire, water and earthquakes, those things don’t happen. There’s so much peace and happiness in the world. Anyway, the conclusion is to bring sentient beings [to enlightenment]; to be able to cause the sentient beings to achieve enlightenment as quickly as possible by the Maitreya Project.

As well as here at Institut Vajra Yogini,, may all the rest of the FPMT projects and centers—may whatever project each center has succeed immediately by receiving all the needs, with perfectly qualified Dharma teachers, translators, all the financial needs, whatever other needs, to receive them immediately. So like that, to be most beneficial for all sentient beings.

Now, at the beginning, with bodhicitta, dedicate for all sentient beings and also at the end, dedicate the merits for all sentient beings to achieve enlightenment, so it’s like that in every session.

Chenrezig Great Initiation and Jenang

Even though there was no plan to do Chenrezig great initiation, only the Kadampa four deities initiation, the jenang, I thought to do this in case there are some people who are not doing the retreat but are just coming to receive the jenang. In case they haven’t received a great initiation before, neither Highest Yoga Tantra nor lower tantra, so for them to be qualified to receive the Kadampa four deities jenang, and as well as that, if there are some people who are going to do the retreat but haven’t received a great initiation as a foundation, for them to be qualified to do that.

 Otherwise you can’t visualize yourself as deity. You have to visualize the deity in front, but you can’t visualize yourself as deity. You are not permitted to do that. Then you actually can’t do tantric practice, the fundamental tantric practice, generating oneself as deity. You can’t do the practice, meditating on the path which is similar to the four purified results, which makes to achieve enlightenment in one lifetime. It makes to achieve enlightenment quicker than the Mahayana Paramitayana path, which takes three countless great eons to achieve enlightenment.

You can’t do the practice, such as visualizing the mandala, by stopping the ordinary appearance of the place, then pure appearance, the mandala. Similar to when you become enlightened, the place appears as pure appearance, the mandala, and you visualize yourself as the deity, similar to when you become enlightened. Your body [is] the vajra holy body, the holy body of the Buddha, and your actions are similar to when you become enlightened, the pure actions of the Buddha, liberating the sentient beings, enlightening the sentient beings. And your enjoyments are similar to the pure enjoyments, when you become Buddha having pure enjoyments. You cannot do these practices that make, that cause you to achieve enlightenment swiftly.

Hopefully, preparation, then hopefully do the initiation maybe in the morning, hopefully. Then hopefully do the four Kadampa deities in the afternoon tomorrow. So hopefully to do everything tomorrow. [Laughter]

In Lama Tsongkhapa’s graduated tantric path, it is explained that in order to receive a jenang, first you need to receive a great initiation, permission to practice a deity, you need to receive a great initiation. Without that you don’t actually receive the jenang, permission to practice, and to do meditation-recitation of the deity. That’s why usually His Holiness Ling Rinpoche, His Holiness the Dalai Lama or His Holiness Trijang Rinpoche, when they give long-life initiation or other jenangs, they normally emphasize that those who haven’t received a great initiation should not visualize themselves as the deity, so that was specified during that time.

Of course, depending on the disciple’s devotion and depending on the lama’s qualities or power of concentration and so forth, of course you do receive a blessing but not the actual jenang, permission to practice. It is said that you receive ga gön. Ga gön is done when somebody is sick, has spirit harm or obstacles, then there is a meditation, even if the sick person doesn’t do the meditation, the lama does the visualization, generating that other person as the deity, visualizing the vajra armor and protecting that person from harm. Like that, the person receives the blessing, depending on the lama’s concentration, but not the actual jenang, permission to practice.

This Precious Human Body

At this time we have received a perfect human body, which is extremely rare to find. First of all, just to be a human being is extremely rare, just to be a human being is extremely rare because that happens only if we have practiced pure morality before. We need that cause, pure morality, not just having taken a vow but having practiced pure morality. Only then can we have a human body, even just to be a human being, even just to have an ordinary human body.

Now not only that, this time I have received a precious human body, because the number is so little, even just having an ordinary human body, that’s a very little number. Anyway, I’m not going to go through that. As it is mentioned in the lamrim teachings, the size of the earth and if we scratch—maybe it depends on how long our nails are—if we scratch on the ground, how much dust we can get between our nails. Just to be a human being, the number is so little, the Buddha gave an example like this. And the number of the lower realms are like the atoms of the earth, the size of this earth, like that. Anyway, like that, so little.

Therefore, just to be a human being, to have a human body is precious. Anything like diamonds or gold is precious because there are not as many as there are rocks or other things, like plastic. They are very rare and they cost a lot, so they are called precious. To be born as a human being is like that.

Now, on top of that, this time the human body that we have is qualified with eight freedoms and ten richnesses—eighteen very precious qualities, eighteen very precious qualities. With each one, with each quality, with each freedom, with each endowment or richness, we can achieve three great meanings: happiness of future lives, liberation from samsara and full enlightenment. [We can achieve that] with each of these qualities, freedoms or richnesses. So there are eighteen very precious qualities of this present precious human body, which is extremely rare, which is even more rare than a general, ordinary human body. We have received that.

And also we have met, not just Buddhadharma but the complete Buddhadharma; not just the path to achieve liberation but the Mahayana Paramitayana path to achieve enlightenment; and not only that, but particularly tantra. Not just the common Paramitayana path but particularly tantra, and the teaching of His Holiness. We have met the whole entire Buddhadharma, without missing anything,  that which is extremely rare, we have met. And then the virtuous friend, the actual Buddha, Chenrezig, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, we actually met in human form, and not only met but have received teachings and initiations. It is mind blowing. It is something that you can’t believe; it’s something that you can’t believe has happened in this life. It’s hard to believe.

This time, we have received all the necessary conditions to practice Dharma,  devoid of obstacles. This doesn’t last long, this is not forever, this can be ended at any time, because death can occur any day, any minute, it can happen. Therefore, we must make sure immediately, without delay, without being reborn in the lower realms, to have the body of the happy transmigratory being, to achieve, to make sure, whenever the death happens, to make sure, to guarantee, to make sure to have that. And that alone is not sufficient. Even if we achieve that, it’s not sufficient, because we can see we have received a human body this time.

The Sufferings of Samsara

We are born in a human realm, but we are constantly attacked by the suffering of pain and the suffering of change—the samsaric pleasures which are only in the nature of suffering; the feelings which are only suffering but are hallucinated as pleasure, labeled as pleasure. Therefore, that’s why the Buddha said in the Mindfulness Sutra, that in samsara, wherever we are, there is no happiness. It’s just like sitting on the tip of a needle. The reason is that. What ordinary people, what common people believe pleasure is, the pleasure that we attempt or what we are looking for, which is samsaric pleasure, in reality if it is examined, if it is analyzed, we discover, we realize it’s only suffering.

And then also pervasive compounding suffering, which are these aggregates, the contaminated seed of disturbing thoughts and being under the control of karma and delusion, the contaminated seed of disturbing thoughts, so [the aggregates are] pervaded by suffering like this. Even we have taken a human rebirth or a deva rebirth, it’s the same. In the form and formless realms, the samsaric realms, all those aggregates are caused by karma and delusion, the contaminated seed of disturbing thoughts, so nature of suffering, pervaded by suffering, and compounding future suffering, future rebirth.

Because the seed of delusion is there, from beginningless samsaric life, from beginningless samsaric rebirth up to now, we did not have even one minute or one second’s break from the suffering of samsara. We never had even one minute or one second break, holiday from samsaric suffering. We are constantly tormented by this. Even in the times where there’s no suffering of pain, we are tormented by the suffering of change. Even in the times where there’s no suffering of change, there is pervasive compounding suffering. Therefore, the continuation of our suffering didn’t have a beginning.

Therefore, at this time we have all the opportunities to practice the path, to end the suffering of samsara, to end it by ceasing the cause, delusion and karma. We must achieve it in this life, but even if we are able to achieve it, this alone is not sufficient. This is just seeking happiness for oneself alone. Having the attitude seeking happiness for oneself, even the tiniest insects, the tigers, the pigs and crocodiles and what else? [Laughter] The very tiniest insects that we can only see through machines or those tiny ones living on damp wood, even they have this thought seeking happiness for oneself. Therefore, that attitude doesn’t make our human rebirth anything special. There’s no difference from those insects.

Cherishing Others is the Source of All Happiness

Also, not only that, cherishing the I is opening the door for all the problems, all the obstacles, all the undesirable things; and cherishing others is the source of all the happiness, opening the door for all the happiness for oneself. As I mentioned before, moment to moment, day to day, moment to moment, peace and happiness, when we generate this thought, when we transform our mind into this bodhicitta, then up to enlightenment, we achieve all the happiness from this. And from our bodhicitta numberless sentient beings receive happiness. All the happiness is received from our bodhicitta.

So now, we put it this way. If we generated bodhicitta, if we changed our mind, our attitude, like Guru Shakyamuni Buddha did, like Maitreya Buddha did, if we changed our mind like them, then we would have been enlightened already. Then the numberless sentient beings who are dependent on us to receive teachings or to be guided, who are dependent on us—the numberless sentient beings who are dependent on us to receive guidance—they would have been enlightened already. The numberless hell beings, numberless hungry ghosts, numberless animals, numberless human beings, suras and asura beings who are suffering unimaginably now, they would have been enlightened already. But because we did not change our attitude; we kept the ego, the self-cherishing thought in our heart; we followed that and never changed; therefore these numberless sentient beings of each realm are still suffering unimaginably.

Guru Shakyamuni, Maitreya Buddha and so forth, changed their attitude inconceivable eons ago and already enlightened numberless sentient beings. Every day, every hour, every minute, every second, they enlighten numberless sentient beings and bring them to enlightenment. Therefore, we can’t wait, we can’t stand it, we can’t wait, it’s so unbearable, we can’t wait. How urgent it is, because there are numberless other beings who are suffering, who are dependent on us to receive guidance.

We can understand by the example of how many sentient beings there are who are dependent on us to receive guidance. For example, in this life after we met the Dharma, then how many—many of us can use that example—how many people have met Dharma by our talking to them, only then they met Dharma. Even though there are numberless buddhas and bodhisattvas, only after they met us and heard teachings about meditation, then they got inspired and they continued to learn and follow the path, so how many people that happened for. That is an example, so there are numberless other sentient beings who are dependent on us to receive guidance in order to achieve enlightenment. Therefore, we need to generate bodhicitta without delaying even for a second.

And then, we need to let go of the I and cherish sentient beings. We need to generate bodhicitta. We can’t wait, we can’t delay, it’s unbearable to delay even for a second, a minute or a second.

Not only that, all our own past, present and future happiness, including realizations of the path to enlightenment, everything, came from our own virtuous action. And our own virtuous action is the action of the Buddha. Buddha came from bodhisattva; bodhisattva came from bodhicitta; bodhicitta came from great compassion; and great compassion is generated by depending on the existence of the obscured, suffering sentient beings. By depending on every one of the obscured, suffering sentient beings, including the person who abuses us, or who we call enemy, who harms you, including that person. Therefore, all our own past, present and future happiness, everything, we receive by the kindness of every single hell being, every single hungry ghost, every single animal, every single human being, every single sura, asura, intermediate stage being, so every one of them.

For example, every person here is the most precious one. Every person who’s here in the tent is the most precious one in our own life. Like that, all the rest of the human beings. Like that, all the rest of the sentient beings. Every single insect that is running, moving on the ground or on the plants, is the most precious one in our own life, so like that. Nothing is more precious. Even Buddha, Dharma, Sangha came from them. Those to whom we pray and take refuge came from them. Even the Three Jewels, the most precious Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, came from sentient beings. Therefore, the sentient beings—every single hell being is so precious, the most precious one, then hungry ghosts, animals, suras, asuras, all those—are the most precious ones.

Therefore, in my life there’s nobody to cherish except only the sentient beings. In my life there’s nobody to work for except only sentient beings. What they want is happiness and what they do not want is suffering, therefore, think, “I should free them from all the suffering and its causes and bring them to enlightenment. Even that, from my side, even that, anyway, for the success of that I need to achieve full enlightenment. Even that, from my side to achieve that, to bring the sentient beings to enlightenment, I need to achieve enlightenment, for that success. So from my side if there’s need, even if I have to suffer in the hell realm for eons equaling the number of the atoms of this earth, even if I have to suffer that much for sentient beings to achieve enlightenment, from my side I can do that. In my case, from my side I can do that, but the sentient beings’ suffering in samsara is so unbearable, I can’t stand it. Even one day, even an hour, even a minute, is so unbearable. It’s like suffering for eons, therefore I must bring them to full enlightenment as quickly as possible. Therefore, I need to achieve enlightenment quickly.”  

What makes it possible to achieve enlightenment quickly is only by practicing tantra. The Mahayana sutra Paramitayana path doesn’t have the skill, doesn’t offer the method to achieve enlightenment. We have to collect merit for three countless great eons; it doesn’t offer the method to achieve enlightenment quickly. By practicing tantra we can achieve enlightenment quickly, without needing to collect merit for that many eons. Therefore, in order to practice the tantric path, what qualifies us to meditate on the tantric path is only by taking the great initiation. Therefore, I’m going to take the Chenrezig great initiation.

The other thing is that, as I mentioned now and before, how crucial it is to generate compassion, to develop that. All our happiness and the success of all other sentient beings—their receiving all the happiness from us—depends on our compassion. Therefore, just knowing the teachings, the meditation techniques, and doing meditation on that—that alone is not enough. We should receive the blessing of the special deity, the deity of compassion, then receiving the blessing of the special deity of compassion, and then meditating on that path, only then can we have realizations. Therefore, Chenrezig, the Compassionate Eye Looking One, that is the special deity of compassion.

The main purpose of reciting OM MANI PADME HUM, the mantra, the main purpose of that is to develop compassion toward all the living beings, which leads to realization of bodhicitta. I was mentioning recently somewhere, I don’t remember where, the recitation of OM MANI PADME HUM is something that not only human beings should do. Anybody who wants happiness should recite OM MANI PADME HUM; should do the meditation-recitation of Chenrezig.

Not only human beings, it is something that even the animals, dogs and cats, or the sheep, even the animals, it is something that even they should recite if their body allows, if their body has capacity. Even they should recite OM MANI PADME HUM, because they need happiness, the desire for happiness is there. Since we’re desiring happiness, we must recite OM MANI PADME HUM, the Chenrezig mantra, and especially if we desire happiness, we must practice compassion. So especially for that, we must recite the Compassion Buddha mantra, OM MANI PADME HUM, that which is cherished by all the buddhas like their heart. OM MANI PADME HUM is wish-fulfilling, the most precious thing.

Now in order to receive the initiation, we need to do preparation. There is preparation which means examination, checking the disciple—whether there’s an obstacle to receiving the initiation or not, like that—there are different ways of checking. However, for that, there’s an earth ceremony, a preparation ceremony, an actual ceremony, things like that. There’s the preparation ceremony from the side of the lama, the sadhana, then blessing the vase, then there’s the earth goddess ceremony, then there’s the ceremony of the mandala deities, and the vase ceremony that I did before. Then, the ceremony of the disciple. There is the ceremony of the preparation of the earth goddess, then there is the ceremony of the mandala deities, then the vase, and now, the ceremony of the preparation of the disciple.

While I’m doing the gegtor, then you should generate, keep the mind in that continuation, the strong bodhicitta, like that, to take this preparation for the benefit of sentient beings.

[Rinpoche begins to chant the gegtor offering in Tibetan.]

Bodhisattva Vows

After the vows are taken, in every second we collect limitless skies of merit, as it is mentioned in the teachings. From this benefit you can see, as I mentioned before, it’s like transforming kaka into gold. Our life is made unbelievably meaningful.

And not only that, after the bodhisattva vows are taken, any merit we collect in daily life increases millions of times. The other great advantage of taking the bodhisattva vows is that any practice of charity or any virtue we create in daily life increases millions of times. Again, our life becomes so beneficial, so productive, so fruitful.

Also, in this way, numberless sentient beings receive so much peace and happiness from us. Therefore, feel most fortunate, feel most fortunate today, and with this understanding take the vows. Think, “I’m going to do it, I’m going to practice it. I’m going to make the best use of my life.” Think, “I’m going to make the best use of my life from today by taking the bodhisattva vows.”

I think this point is very important to make clear, by knowing the skies of benefit, then to really rejoice and to do it not as a burden, but to do it with incredible joy.

[Rinpoche gives bodhisattva vows and continues Chenrezig preparation. Following the preparation, the group chants the short mandala offering.]


Due to all the past, present and future merits collected by me and the three-time merits collected by others, may bodhicitta be generated within my own heart, in the heart and in the mind of my own family members, and in the hearts of all the sentient beings. Especially in the hearts of all the leaders of the countries and to generate bodhicitta in the hearts of all the Muslim people and all other religious peoples’ hearts without delaying even a second. And in countries where there is a lot of violence, a lot of killings, wars, sicknesses, famines, torture and so forth, may bodhicitta be generated in all their hearts. As well as in the hearts of the Mainland Chinese, the political leaders, may bodhicitta be generated in their hearts without delaying even a second.

Jang chub sem chog rin po che ….
Gang ri ra wai ….

I dedicate the merits—whatever merits we have collected today and the three-time merits—of having taken the preparation, listened to Dharma and so forth, for His Holiness to have a long and stable life, and for all the holy wishes to succeed immediately. Without that, the teachings cannot last or spread in this world. The teachings of the Buddha are the only medicine for sentient beings, to heal their suffering and its cause.

Due to all the past, present and future merits collected by me and the three-time merits collected by others, who are merely labeled by the mind, may the I, who is also merely labeled by the mind, achieve Chenrezig’s enlightenment, which is also merely labeled by the mind, and lead all the sentient beings, who are also merely labeled by the mind, to Chenrezig’s enlightenment, which is also merely labeled by the mind, by myself alone, who’s also merely labeled by the mind.

Please dedicate the merits like this by sealing with emptiness. Not only dedicating the merits to achieve enlightenment for sentient beings, which makes it inexhaustible, but by sealing with emptiness. On top of that, by sealing with emptiness.

I dedicate all the merits in the same way, to be able to follow the holy excellent deeds of the bodhisattvas Samantabhadra and Manjugosha.

I dedicate all the merits in the same way as the three-time buddhas and bodhisattvas dedicate their merits.

Due to all these merits, may the general teachings of the Buddha and particularly the teachings of Lama Tsongkhapa be spread in all directions. May they flourish forever by being actualized within our own heart, by being completely actualized within our own heart in this very lifetime; and within the heart of our own family members and all of us here, and all the students and benefactors, and all those people who give up their life to the organization by doing service for sentient beings. May the teachings of the Buddha be completely actualized within everyone’s heart without delay of even a second.  

Jam pal pa wo ji tar khyen pa dang ….
Du sum sheg pai gyal wa tham cha kyi ….

So good night and good morning. Thank you.

[End of preparation]