Heart Sutra Retreat (Audio and Unedited Transcripts)

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Genting View Resort, Malaysia (Archive #1048)

The following are teachings from a Heart Sutra retreat held in Malaysia in 1997.

The teachings include oral transmissions of the Vajrasattva mantra and the Heart Sutra and teachings on rebirth, bodhicitta and emptiness.

Oral Transmission of the Vajrasattva Mantra and Heart Sutra

So first I'm going to do the oral transmission of the Vajrasattva mantra, which is extremely powerful means to purify any negative karma, any heaviest negative karma, even broke pratimoksha root vows and bodhisattva root vows and even the Highest Tantra root vows, which are heaviest among those, so which everything can be purified.

Think, the purpose of my life is to free all sentient beings from all the sufferings and to bring in the full enlightenment, to cause perfect happiness towards all sentient beings, that is my responsibility. All the happiness, including enlightenment, what they [gap in recording], I am responsible, all the happiness what they receive from me, I'm responsible. So for this, to be able to do perfect work towards all sentient beings, not enough that myself to be liberated from samsara, all the suffering realms; I must achieve full enlightenment for other sentient beings and that should be done right now while I have all the opportunities. Otherwise, not only that death is definite but it can happen in any moment. Therefore, I need to, in order to achieve full enlightenment, I need to actualize the steps of the path to enlightenment, therefore I need to purify all the negative karma, the defilements, so how quickly I can actualize the path, realizations of the path to enlightenment, to benefit other sentient beings, that depends on how quickly I purify, how quickly that these defilements, negative karmas get purified. So to purify these negative karmas as quickly as possible, all these negative karmas, defilements, I'm going to take the oral transmission of the Vajrasattva mantra and the Thirty-five Buddhas' prayer, Confessing Downfalls.

[lung of Vajrasattva mantra]

So, can recite Vajrasattva twenty-one times, so those who are not familiar, you can just try to imitate the words, so even that is very worthwhile. So, which page? Page 42.

So therefore I'm going to do Vajrasattva meditation-recitation, so already generated motivation of bodhicitta before, to receive the oral transmission, so same, therefore I'm going to do meditation-recitation of Vajrasattva. So the Vajrasattva inseparability, the correct way or the richest way to meditate is from one's own side, the Vajrasattva meditation to become guru yoga and then that becomes richest meditation, the correct way to do deity's practice. So the root guru, in the view of [gap in recording] and visualize also in that aspect, in the aspect of Vajrasattva, pure aspect.

Then think all the negative karmas collected with the body, speech and mind, not just today, not just this life, from the birth time, not just that, from beginningless rebirth until now. Then on top of that the particular negative karma broke the pratimoksha vows, bodhisattva vows, tantric vows, this life and past lives. Then one can also think particularly the heaviest negative karma collected with the relationship with the virtuous friend, can think also those. Then think that while one is reciting, then purified.

Nectar beams emitted from Guru Vajrasattva's heart [pause], so feel with all these negative karmas like poison gone inside, if one has eaten poison that which causes death, if the poison has gone inside, can't stand even for a minute, even for a second cannot stand without doing something, without taking medicine, without getting rid of that you can't stand. Even a minute, a second, you can't stand. Feel so unbearable. So, like that, that which interfere to actualize, to have realization of the path to liberation, to enlightenment, so which doesn't allow to happen. If it's not purified then it never happens, it doesn't happen forever, achieving realizations of the path to enlightenment, achieving liberation, enlightenment never happens. Then, continual suffering, not only deva, human realm but continually suffering also in the lower realms. Inconceivable times, again and again, again and again without end. And also what blocks to be able to benefit others, to be able to do perfect work towards all sentient beings also by the negative karmas, by defilements, so therefore must purify without delay even a second.

So yeah.

[recitation of Vajrasattva mantra]

So the negative karmas collected with the body, speech and mind, as we are going through, all are completely purified. Came out through the pores and lower doors in the form of dirty liquid, black dirty liquid came out. Completely purified.

Now nectar get filled up, nectar emitted from Guru Vajrasattva's heart then it fills up like glass filled with the milk, then all the dirt, whatever it's there, then it pushes by milk, then it comes out, by flowing the milk, the milk pushes up then it cleans up, then all the dirt goes out. So from Guru Vajrasattva nectar, then the nectar that flowed entered within one's own body and mind, then it pushes up, gradually it cleans up, it pushes up the, all the negative karmas, all the defilements, then goes out, like, so one is that you are wearing hat and when the wind blows away the hat, you feel kind of light or kind of free, something like that. So the nectar milk like pushed up, cleaned up, then all the negative karmas, defilements are purified, so went out.


[recitation of Vajrasattva mantras]

So think everything is completely purified. Everything, it doesn't mean the realizations are purified, anyway . Anyway, the obscurations are purified, the negative karmas, that which are obstacles to develop the mind in the path to enlightenment.

So now, all the defilements, all the negative karmas, one visualize in the form of darkness in the heart and then can visualize strong light nectar emitted from Guru Vajrasattva's heart, very powerful one, then instantly, in that second, it become non-existent, it's purified just right there, non-existent.


So the next part, we can recite in silence, so those who are not familiar can read the mantra, which is in the book, just read continuously, one after another. [long pause, recitation of Vajrasattva mantra

long pause]

You the son, so this son doesn't mean, nothing to do with the physical body, it might be related with the, may have relation to having received inner initiation, the son of the vajra master by receiving the great initiation. So that has nothing to do with, doesn't relate to the physical body, doesn't have the normal meaning, the son. It has spiritual meaning, not normal one, to do with the physical body.

You the son of the lineage or the race, all your negative karmas, obscurations, degenerated samaya vows were completely purified. Then generate very strong faith that actually happened. Think, one's mental continuum from beginningless rebirth until now completely free, completely pure, free from all the negative karmas, defilements, all those, as we did meditation, then all those negative karmas, broke pratimoksha vows, bodhisattva vows, tantric vows, those downfalls were completely purified, nothing slightest exists, as well as all the heaviest negative karma collected with the relationship with the virtuous friend, that completely purified, nothing slightest exists in my mental continuum.

[long pause]

So how much negative karma get purified also depends on how faith we can generate at this time, that the obscurations, negative karmas are purified.

Now, then, from the remedy of the four powers, then last one, while Guru Vajrasattva is above one's own crown then I will abstain from those negative karmas and downfalls, the ones which I can, from now on I'll abstain; the ones that which are extremely difficult, those pratimoksha vows or bodhisattva vows or tantric vows, those which are extremely difficult for me, I will abstain from them one day, one hour or even a few minutes, even a few seconds. [pause]

So now due to this, due to your commitment making again, the last power from the remedy of the four powers, the last one, to not commit again, then Guru Vajrasattva is extremely pleased with you. Then those who have received Highest Tantra initiation, then can do melt into light, absorbed within oneself, and the heart and one's own body, speech and mind transformed into this vajra holy body, holy speech, holy mind of the Vajrasattva. Those who haven't received great initiation, Highest Tantra great initiation, then melted in the light and then absorbed center of the two eyebrows, because there's the central channel, that's the upper tip of the central channel there, so there's the door to receive blessing. Absorb there in the form of light, then blessed your body, speech and mind. [pause]

Then, last thing then, meditate on emptiness. In emptiness, so even those who are not familiar what means, you just follow, you just think what I said, so that has great meaning. In emptiness, there's no I, the creator of negative karma. In emptiness there's no creating, there's no action creating. In emptiness there's no creation negative karma. [pause]

So now the oral transmission of the Heart Sutra. So think that, whatever words I hear may I be able to actualize the meaning, the path, immediately and able to cause all sentient beings, able to spread this Dharma towards all sentient beings, able to cause all sentient beings immediately to actualize, to realize emptiness, able to cause this. Then when they hear these words from you that they are able to actualize, realize emptiness immediately. So, dedicate like this.


So, pay attention, with the guru yoga meditation that, as this is teaching taught by Buddha, so Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, Manjushri and the mother Prajnaparamita, all the Buddhas are giving you, so can do the visualization, you can do the meditation that all the Buddhas are giving you oral transmission, so through my form then, so can visualize like that. Including Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, kind compassionate Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, then all the rest of the Buddhas, there is Manjushri, Maitreya Buddha, Tara, whatever, giving you this oral transmission to liberate oneself from the oceans of all the samsaric sufferings and cause of samsara, delusion and karma, to liberate you from all this and to bring to enlightenment, all the Buddhas are giving you the oral transmission, planting seed, imprint on your mind to realize emptiness, that which cuts the root of all…

…so through my form, this ?real form, then visualize like that.

[lung of Heart Sutra]

Then the extremely powerful purification practice Confessing Downfalls by reciting the Thirty-five Buddhas' names with the remedy the four powers.

[lung of Confession of Moral Falls]

So by having received oral transmission, then the benefit is that more power when one practices, when one study, when one reflect, more power, then also when one explain to others, it has more power to benefit others, to benefit their mind. And so even just reciting [gap in recording] Buddha gave teachings to the five hundred swans, birds, on the field, five hundred swans on the field, Buddha gave teaching. And then just by hearing the words what happened was they all became, in their next life they were all born human being, all those five hundred swans, the birds, they were born human being and they all became ordained and they all became arya beings, actualized wisdom directly perceiving emptiness in the next life. So just hearing Dharma words, just hearing even the words has unbelievable effect, even incredible benefit, even that causes good rebirth next life, so powerful, like this.

Then one pandit Lopon Ignyen, the one who wrote Abhidharmakosha, so this great pandit he was reciting this text in his hermitage, so there was pigeon on the roof, so the pigeon was hearing every day this teaching. So one day this pigeon died and then this pandit checked, Lopön Ignyen he checked, then he discovered, through his clairvoyance he discovered this pigeon died, was born as human being. I mean to see the pigeon died you don't need clairvoyance . So anyway, through his clairvoyance he saw the pigeon died and born as human being in the valley, somewhere down there in the valley in one family's home. So then he went down there and then he saw the child and then he asked the family if he can have the child and the family gave the child to him. Then it become his disciple, then become expert in the teaching which he heard in his last life when he was pigeon, he became expert in that subject, he wrote four commentaries. So his name is Lopon Loden. So he wrote four commentaries on that text. So become great scholar, practitioner, like that.

So therefore even hearing Dharma words has unbelievable, benefit again like limitless sky, by planting seed it brings, causes to actualize the path either in this life or next lives, understand the teachings, the words and meanings, and especially actualize the path and then that ceases the delusions and then one, that's how one receives the liberation from samsara and full enlightenment. Then ultimately to be able to do perfect work towards all sentient beings.

So I think, so we stop here, and so the plan is also to do at the end, the bodhisattva Samantabhadra's dedication, this incredible prayer, not, tonight, many came from long way, maybe tired, so should do tomorrow, so starting from tomorrow. So it's extremely good to do the extensive dedication at the end of the day.

So please dedicate the merit to actualize bodhicitta, within one's own mind, within the mind of all sentient beings, and that in one's own family members, that which generated to be increased. [Tibetan]

Due to all the past, present, future merits collected by oneself, by the Buddhas, bodhisattvas, sentient beings, may all the father and mother sentient beings have happiness. May all the three lower realms be empty forever. May all the bodhisattvas' prayers to be succeeded immediately. May I be able to cause all this by myself alone.

Due to all the past, present, future merits collected by oneself, by Buddhas, bodhisattvas, sentient beings, may I be able to offer extensive benefit towards all sentient beings, like sky, like Lama Tsongkhapa, like Maitreya Buddha, Manjushri, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, Compassion Buddha, by having all the qualities what they have within me, from now on in all the future lifetimes.

I will dedicate all my merits in the best way to quickly enlighten all sentient beings, as the three time Buddhas, bodhisattvas have dedicated their merits, as Samantabhadra, Manjugosha realizes. [Tibetan]

Due to all the past, present, future merits collected by oneself, Buddhas, bodhisattvas, sentient beings, that which are empty from their own side, may the I who is also empty from its own side and lead all sentient beings to that, achieve enlightenment which is also empty from its own side and lead all sentient beings who are empty from their own side to that enlightenment which is also empty from its own side and by myself alone, which is also empty from its own side.

Then last one, dedicate all the merits to actualize Lama Tsongkhapa's complete path, unified of sutra and tantra, the stainless one, within one's own mind, in the minds of one's own family members, in the minds of all the students without delay even a second. And oneself spread this teaching towards all sentient beings and bring them to the full enlightenment as quick as possible. [Tibetan]

So then do three prostrations, we recite Guru Shakyamuni Buddha's name, then three prostrations, then can leave. [lama tonpa chom den de....] Can do more, there's one more recitation left so can do more - there's inflation of prostrations! So there's still more repetition left , it's like the stock market.

So also tomorrow to explain also about prostrations, some of these things, so those who are not familiar.