Teachings from the Mani Retreat
- Teachings from the Mani Retreat: Preface
- Prologue: Rinpoche's Invitation to Join the Mani Retreat
- Friday, December 22
- Saturday, December 23
- Sunday, December 24
- Monday, December 25
- Tuesday, December 26
- Appendix 1: Prayer for Spontaneous Bliss
- Appendix 2: Chenrezig Food Offering
Saturday, December 23
MORNING: COMBINED JORCHÖ/LAMA CHÖPA PUJA
GURU YOGA DEDICATION
[The following is inserted on p. 79 of Combined Jorchö and Lama Chöpa Puja as the first dedication in Dedication Prayers.]
“Due to all the past, present and future merits collected by me and the merits of the three times collected by others, may I, the members of my family, all the students and benefactors of the FPMT, as well as all other sentient beings, meet only perfectly qualified Mahayana virtuous friends.” That is the first point.
“May I and all other sentient beings from our side be able to see them as only enlightened beings from their side.” That’s the second point.
The third point is, “May we do actions only pleasing the holy minds of the virtuous friends.”
And fourth, “May we be able to fulfill the holy wishes of the virtuous friends immediately and in all our lifetimes from this second until enlightenment is achieved.”
All our success, including enlightenment and liberating the numberless sentient beings and bringing them to enlightenment, depends on how well we are able to practice these four points in our daily life: meeting a perfectly qualified Mahayana virtuous friend; seeing them as only an enlightened being, not as an ordinary being; doing actions only pleasing the holy mind of the virtuous friend, which is extremely important and the most powerful means of purification; and fulfilling their holy wishes immediately.
This is a very important dedication in our daily life, especially at the end of guru yoga practice. This dedication should be done first and then chant “ge-wa di-yi…”as you have just done. What you have just done is excellent.
MAKING REQUESTS TO THE GURU
I think it would be good to recite the qualities of the guru [starts verse 43] in English, because it becomes a very important meditation on guru devotion, reflecting on the qualities of the guru. There are different general and particular qualities according to the Lesser Vehicle, the Mahayana, and then tantra.
It would be very nice if the same tune as “yön-tän jung-nä…” could be chanted, but with the words in English. The chanting is then there, but the meditation is also there. If the tune doesn’t fit, other tunes could be used. It is a very important meditation, and it also contains the kindness of the guru.
When you begin chanting “kyö-ni la-ma…” [Verse 53], instead of starting immediately “kyö-ni la-ma…” it’s good to begin “wo-oo kyö-ni la-ma….” His Holiness Song Rinpoche often used to advise to start the chanting in this way. You start with “wo-o-o kyöni…” instead of starting straight with “kyö-ni….” I’m not sure that you start like this with every chant, but with most of them you do. In such cases as “kyö-ni la-ma…” it feels more fitting.
When there are three repetitions of “kyö-ni la-ma…” it is good to do the elaborate chanting first, as was done, rather than at the end; again, that is the proper way to do it. And when there are three repetitions, one of them can be done in English.
And it would sound nicer if the verse that comes at the end of the three repetitions of “kyö-ni la-ma…” [Verse 54] could be chanted more slowly. I remember that at Nalanda Geshe Jampa Tegchok used to chant this verse in a high voice and very slowly. It sounds beautiful when it is chanted slowly.
BODHISATTVA AND TANTRIC VOWS
When we take the bodhisattva and tantric vows [after verse 37], it might be helpful to also mention a motivation at that time, because it has some effect on the mind. Make a precise motivation that explains why the different vows are taken, but also gives other people insight or understanding.
“The purpose of my life is to free all sentient beings from all their sufferings and bring them to enlightenment. Therefore, I must achieve enlightenment. This is not possible without the bodhisattva vows; therefore, I’m going to take the bodhisattva vows.”
When you motivate like this, it encourages you as to the importance of your practicing the bodhisattva vows, and it also helps make other people who have not taken bodhisattva vows aware of their special purpose.
And when it comes to the tantric vows, motivate in the following way. “Not just one but numberless sentient beings, who are the most kind and most precious ones to me, are suffering in samsara. To allow them to suffer for a day, or even a minute, is unbearable. Therefore, I must achieve enlightenment as quickly as possible. And since there is no other means to do this except by living in the tantric vows, I am going to take the tantric vows.”
Motivating like this and then taking the tantric vows will remind you, as well as others who have taken tantric vows, of the importance of the tantric vows and tantric practice. It will also help those who haven’t taken tantric vows to understand the importance of taking them.
The first mantra [after verse 54] is actually one that combines Vajradhara, Lama Tsongkhapa and the root guru; all three are combined in that mantra. I think the usual mantra is OM OM AH GURU VAJRADHARA SUMATI KIRTI SIDDHI HUM HUM, where SUMATI is the Sanskrit term for “Losang” and KIRTI the Sanskrit term for “Dragpa.” The reason for adding the root guru’s name is to see that in essence the root guru is Vajradhara. We should not see the guru as somebody separate from Vajradhara, as that is an obstacle to realizations. In essence the guru is Vajradhara, and also Tsongkhapa. The root guru’s name comes there to remind us of that meditation. For example, the mantra with the name of my root guru, His Holiness Trijang Rinpoche, from whom I received my first lam-rim teaching, on Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand, is OM AH GURU VAJRADHARA SUMATI KIRTI SUMATI GYANA SARVA SIDDHI HUM HUM, where SUMATI GYANA is His Holiness’s name, Losang Yeshe, in Sanskrit.
I think I might have led the meditation on this here one or two times in the past. I’m not sure.
There is no doubt that The Guru Puja has to do with the extremely subtle consciousness; you are blessing your extremely subtle mind. Mind has three divisions: gross, subtle and extremely subtle. By doing these meditations of being oneness, you are actually blessing that extremely subtle wind-mind. The expression “five-colored beam” refers to the speech, which is also subtle wind. The meditation of oneness is like having poured milk into water or tea. Anyway, I will just mention that example; those of you who have received initiation will understand from what happens during initiation. It’s a very important meditation, and that is the reason that the root guru’s name is added.
You then recite the mantras of all the different deities.
Then, when you recite OM AH HUM, this is the integration of the vajra holy body, vajra holy speech and vajra holy mind of the numberless Buddhas. This is the integration of everything, with divine pride.
These are just bits and pieces, here and there. Anyway, it’s fantastic— everything is fantastic!
RESPECTING HOLY IMAGES
I think that printing the timetable by superimposing it over a drawing of Thousand-arm Chenrezig might look nice, but it’s disrespectful. In terms of karma, it is not good I’m telling you now so that it might help it not to happen again in the future. I think International Office might have done something similar some time ago; perhaps you got the idea from that—I’m not sure. I just thought to mention this.
Also, there are two or three mani stones on the path down to the office. These are not only Dharma, but also the most precious one, OM MANI PADME HUM, so they should be on a base. They can be there by the path, but they need to be on something high, not just on the bare ground.
So, I think that’s it.
MORNING: FIRST MANI SESSION
“Due to all the past, present and future merits collected by me and the merits of the three times collected by others, may any sentient being just by seeing me, touching me, remembering me, thinking about me, talking about me (whether criticizing or praising), or dreaming about me never ever be reborn in the lower realms again. May they immediately be liberated from all disease, spirit harms, negative karmas and defilements, and may they achieve enlightenment as quickly as possible by actualizing the whole path, especially bodhicitta.
“Like Compassion Buddha and Lama Tsongkhapa, may I be able to offer extensive benefit to sentient beings from now on in all my future lifetimes by having the same qualities within me.”
jam päl pa wo ji tar kyen pa dang
kün tu sang po de yang de zhin te
de dag kün gyi je su dag lob chir
ge wa di dag tam che rab tu ngo
“As the Buddhas and bodhisattvas of the three times dedicate their merits, and with the dedication they admire as the best, I dedicate all my merits in the same way.
“Due to all the merits of the three times collected by me and by others, may I, the members of my family, all the students and benefactors of the FPMT, and all other sentient beings, meet and completely actualize the teachings of Lama Tsongkhapa. May Lama Tsongkhapa’s teachings spread in all directions and flourish forever. ”
I was not saying that music should be offered just at that verse in the section of the seven limb [p. 65]. You should offer music wherever it is normally offered.
[Rinpoche thinks that lunch is about to be served; in fact, there is another session before lunch.]
“I must free all sentient beings from all their suffering and bring them to enlightenment; therefore, I must achieve enlightenment; therefore, I’m going to practice the yoga of eating, making food offering and making charity toward all sentient beings.”
All the food in the kitchen is purified in emptiness. A syllable BHRUM appears, which transforms into an extensive jeweled container. Inside it, an OM transforms into an ocean of uncontaminated nectar.
OM AH HUM (3X)
Offer the nectar to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Compassion Buddha, as well as to all the rest of the gurus, Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, which includes the bodhisattvas, arhats, dakas and dakinis, and protectors. The essence of all of them is the root virtuous friend. There are numberless oceans of nectar, and we offer them to all the beings in the merit field, generating infinite bliss within them. Prostrate to all of them with your two palms together.
Offer numberless oceans of nectar to all the Buddhas, Dharma and Sangha of the ten directions.
Offer numberless oceans of nectar to all the holy objects—all the statues, stupas, scriptures and thangkas—of the ten directions.
Make charity of the nectar to every hell being, every hungry ghost, every animal, every human being, every asura being, every sura being, every intermediate state being. They all fully enjoy the nectar, and it liberates them from all their sufferings. They all become enlightened in the aspect of Compassion Buddha.
We have collected numberless merits with our motivation of bodhicitta; we have collected numberless merits by having made offering to all the merit field; we have collected numberless merits by having made offering to all the Buddhas, Dharma and Sangha. We have collected four times numberless merits by having made offering to all the statues, stupas, scriptures and thangkas. We have collected numberless merits by having made charity to all sentient beings. Also, we have collected so many times numberless merits by having prostrated with our two palms together to Buddha, Dharma and Sangha and all the numberless holy objects.
la ma sang gyä la ma chö
de zhin la ma ge dün te
kün gyi je po la ma te
la ma nam la chö par bül
“Due to all these merits collected by me and by others, may I, the members of my family, all the students and benefactors of the FPMT, and all other sentient beings never be separated from the Triple Gem, always collect merit by making offerings, and receive the blessing of the Triple Gem, which is every realization from guru devotion up to enlightenment, especially bodhicitta and clear light. May they be actualized within my own mind and in the minds of all sentient beings without the delay of even a second.
“Due to the merits of the three times collected by me and by others (which are empty), may the I (which is empty) achieve enlightenment (which is empty) and lead all sentient beings (who are empty) to that enlightenment (which is empty) by myself alone (who is also empty from its own side).”
Thank you very much. Enjoy the infinite bliss from the kitchen!
AFTERNOON: THIRD MANI SESSION
MEDITATING ON THE SELF-GENERATION
During the sadhana, those who haven’t received a great initiation of Compassion Buddha can still visualize Chenrezig in their heart and make all the offerings that are made to the self-generation Chenrezig to your heart-generated Chenrezig. It is the same.
Also, while those who have received a great Chenrezig initiation are doing the self-generation and making offerings to that deity, those who haven’t received a great initiation can visualize Thousand-arm Chenrezig in front of themselves, then make all the offerings and do all the rest of the practice.
When there is a front generation, there is no question—you simply make the offerings to the front generation. But while the others are doing the practice of offering to themselves as the self-generation Compassion Buddha, those who haven’t received a great initiation can do all those practices of offering either to Compassion Buddha in their heart or in front of them.
In this section [pp. 89-97] those who have received a great initiation of Compassion Buddha do the elaborate meditation on the six ways of generating oneself as the deity (if I translate the Tibetan term for this word by word, it might sound a little strange). This is the elaborate way of generating yourself as a deity in Kriya Tantra. There might also be a middle-length way, and the shortest way is to instantaneously generate yourself as the deity. The six graduated ways of becoming, clarifying and generating is the elaborate way.
However, while those who have received a great initiation are doing this practice, those who haven’t received such an initiation, if they prefer, can visualize Thousand-arm Chenrezig in front of themselves, then do the single-pointed concentration on that front generation Chenrezig. They can also do the practice of offering to that front generation, while the others are doing the practice of offering to themselves generated as Chenrezig.
Or, right after refuge and bodhicitta, you can visualize Chenrezig in front of you and immediately begin reciting the mantra. You can begin reciting the mantra either right after you visualize Chenrezig or after you have done the offerings.
This time we can do the following dedication. “Due to all the past, present and future merits collected by me and the merits of the three times collected by others, from now on may whatever action I do with my body, speech and mind and whatever life I experience be most useful for other sentient beings. Whether I am up or down, happy or unhappy, healthy or unhealthy, whether I have cancer or don’t have cancer, whether I have peace in my life or problems (such as relationship problems and so forth), whether I am rich or poor, whether I experience gain or loss, whether I receive praise or criticism from others, whether I am living or dying, or even born in the hell realms, may all my actions and life experiences from now on be most useful for other sentient beings, causing all sentient beings to achieve full enlightenment as quickly as possible.
“Due to all the merits of the three times collected by me and the merits of the three times collected by others, from now on in all my future lifetimes may I be able to offer extensive benefit, as limitless as the sky, to all sentient beings by having the same qualities within me as Compassion Buddha and Lama Tsongkhapa.”
You can read “jam-päl pa-wo…” in English.
[The group reads:]
“Just as the brave Manjushri, and Samantabhadra, too,
Realized things as they are,
I also dedicate all these merits in the best way,
So that I may follow their perfect example.”
Read the next verse as well—it’s all one prayer.
[The group also reads:]
“I dedicate all these roots of virtue
With the dedication praised as the best
By the Victorious Ones of the three times,
So that I might perform the noble bodhisattva’s deeds.”
On the first morning of the Gelugpa meeting in Dharamsala, His Holiness the Dalai Lama recited the following dedication prayer, which was composed by Gendun Drub, the first incarnation of the Dalai Lamas. “First incarnation” means the first taking of a human form in the line of incarnation.
“Due to all the merits of the three times collected by me and by others, may the general teachings of the Buddha exist for a long time and, in particular, may the teaching of the glorious virtuous tradition of those wearing the yellow hat spread in all directions.”
Think to actualize this completely within your mind and in the minds of the members of your family and of all the students and benefactors of the FPMT, as well as in the minds of all other sentient beings. May it spread in this way and flourish forever.
MANTRAS AND MEDITATIONS TO MULTIPLY HOLY OBJECTS
I thought to mention the mantras that multiply the number of holy objects, such as tsa-tsas, that you make, though I think I have the oral transmission of only one of these mantras.
There are two practices for making tsa-tsas: one is in the collection of texts of the Lower Tantric College and the other is in the collection called “Ngülchu” of the great lama Ngülchu Dharmabhadra. I think I might have put together the tsa-tsa text that is available from those two texts, but I don’t think that these mantras are in it.
I received this first mantra from His Holiness Chogye Trichen Rinpoche, His Holiness Sakya Trizin’s guru.
You recite this mantra, with the visualization, to bless clay, plaster, cement or any other material that you are using not only to make small tsa-tsas, but also to build large statues or stupas. If you bless the clay, plaster or cement by reciting this mantra, you collect the merit of having made tsa-tsas, statues or stupas equal in number to the number of atoms of the material used to make the holy object. It’s an unbelievable number! Even if you make a very small tsa-tsa, if you bless the clay or plaster with this mantra beforehand, since even a spoonful of clay or plaster contains millions and millions of atoms, you collect the merit of having made that many millions of tsa-tsas. If you bless the clay, plaster or other material that is used to make holy objects such as statues or stupas, you collect the merit of having made statues or stupas equal in number to the number of atoms in that material.
Reciting this mantra, which has the power to multiply merit, is a skillful means to collect extensive merit very easily, and in that way to achieve enlightenment quickly and easily.
So, this mantra is for blessing the clay, plaster or other material you are going to use to make a statue or other holy object. It is said to be the mantra of Buddha Vairochana—it is probably the long mantra of Buddha Vairochana.
OM NAMO BHAGAWATE / BEROCHANAYA / BHERBAHA RADZAYA / TATHAGATAYA / ARHATE SAMYAK SAM BUDDHAYA / TAYATA / OM SU GAKAYMAY SU GAKAYMAY / SAMAY SAMAYE / SHANDE DHANDE / ASAMA ROPAY / ANALAMBAY / TARAMBAY / YAKSHOWATE / MAHA TENZA / NIRA KULAY / NIRI WANI / SARWA BUDDHA / ARTIKATNA / ARTIKATAY / SOHA
That is the mantra, and the meditation is as follows. “Purify in emptiness by SVABHAVA.” This means that by reciting “OM SVABHAVA SHUDDAH SARVA DHARMAH SVABHAVA SHUDDHO HAM,” you purify in emptiness the clay, plaster, cement, bricks or other material you are going to use to make the statue or stupa. Then, while it is empty…. The Tibetan term is tong-päi ngang-lä, which means “while it is empty.” Ngang means “while.” If the translation is not done precisely and the “while” is left out, so that the phrase is translated as “out of emptiness” or “from emptiness,” it appears as if you were looking at everything as empty before, but now it has suddenly become inherently existent. It seems as if when you actually visualize something, you have to visualize it as inherently existent. It doesn’t make sense. You can see that when we actually try to visualize something, when it takes form, the idea of emptiness is gone; it becomes something else, and there is no connection with the previous idea of emptiness. That is a mistake. That way of translating or that way of thinking is wrong. The meditating on emptiness is correct, but after that there is no spontaneous awareness of emptiness, and suddenly everything is inherently existent, the total opposite. Whether you are visualizing yourself as the deity or the deity in front of you, if you are visualizing an inherently existent deity (or lotus or syllables), your meditation is wrong.
The awareness that everything is empty has to be continued, while it is taking form. Otherwise, it does not become the practice of Vajrayana, in which the one mind practices method and wisdom together. Your mind, that one mind of inseparable method and wisdom, is the meaning of vajra, and it becomes the vehicle, the yana, for you. Your mind becomes the vajra, inseparable method and wisdom, and that one mind, like a car or an airplane, takes you beyond samsara; it takes you beyond your delusions to enlightenment, so that is why it’s called a vehicle. Your mind, that one mind of inseparable method and wisdom, is the vajra, and it becomes the yana that brings you to enlightenment quickly, even in this life. “In this life” is according to the lower tantras. According to Highest Yoga Tantra, it is “in a brief lifetime of the degenerate time,” which means in even a few years.
Here, when you generate yourself as the deity, you first purify yourself in emptiness, looking at everything as empty, as it is empty. It is not that you are looking at something that is inherently existent as being empty. You are looking at that which is empty as being empty. That awareness then takes the form of a lotus, a syllable, or the holy body of the deity. So, there is the continual awareness that the lotus, the syllable or deity’s holy body is also empty. While you are focusing on the lotus, you understand it is empty; while you are focusing on the syllable, you understand it is empty; while you are focusing on the deity’s holy body, you understand that it is empty, that it doesn’t have inherent existence. Until we become enlightened, everything always appears to us to be inherently existent, except for when we are in equipoise meditation after we have had the direct realization of emptiness and achieved the arya path However, even though there is an appearance of inherent existence, we understand that it is not true. Like this, we understand that the holy body of the deity doesn’t have inherent existence.
According to Highest Yoga Tantra, one focuses on the deity’s holy body and at the same time is aware that it does not have inherent existence. Focusing on the deity’s holy body is the path of method, and understanding that it does not have inherent existence is the path of wisdom. The one mind practices method and wisdom. According to Highest Yoga Tantra, that becomes preparation for the unification of the illusory body and clear light. It becomes preparation for that path-time unification, and it also becomes preparation to achieve the result-time unification of the holy body of Rupakaya and the Dharmakaya.
Anyway, even if one does not have actual experience of the realization of emptiness, one can see things as an illusion or as a dream. One can at least use the words and understand it intellectually.
So, while it is empty, a lotus appears. On that is a moon disc, and on that the syllable BHRUM, which becomes huge piles of jewels. From the heart syllable of you, as the deity, beams are emitted to persuade the holy mind of Buddha Vairochana, the Victorious One of the Light, whose Sambhogakaya form is abiding in the realm of Ogmin. Inconceivable beams are then emitted from the heart of Buddha Vairochana and absorb into the clay, plaster, cement or other material, which then becomes of the nature of the transcendental wisdom of non-duality, the holy mind of all the Tathagatas.
Tathagata—or de-zhin sheg-pa, in Tibetan—means “gone-as-it-is.” This means that Buddha’s holy mind is directly seeing emptiness, “as-it-is,” as phenomena are empty, without dualistic view, like having poured water into water. The Buddha’s holy mind is forever inseparable, or immovable, from emptiness, so, in that way, de-zhin sheg-pa, Tathagata.
There is also a mudra. If this is the clay, plaster or other material that you are going to use to make holy objects, you hold your left hand like this. What’s this finger called? [Ven. Ailsa: The little finger.] Little finger? Baby finger! Anyway, the mudra is like this. [Rinpoche touches his thumb and little finger together with the other three fingers stretched out straight and the palm facing up.] One hand faces down, the other faces up. [Rinpoche has his left hand below the material with the palm facing up and the right hand, in the same mudra, above the material with the palm facing down.] The mudra is like this, with the clay or plaster in between. Then, while doing the meditation of blessing, you recite the mantra.
I received this explanation from His Holiness Chogye Trichen Rinpoche. I was supposed to write it down and explain it to Colin [Crosbie] the last time I was here, but it didn’t happen. It was sup - posed to happen last time, but it didn’t. Anyway, this time it has happened.
There is also another mantra. It’s a mantra not to die, which means we have to be in samsara forever. We have to choose either to die or to never die and be in samsara forever. No, I’m joking!
This is the mantra of rik-pa chen-mo, or great wisdom, Vimala Ushnika.
If you recite this mantra before you make a stupa—whether it’s a small tsa-tsa stupa or a large stupa—you get the same benefit as having made ten million stupas. Reciting this mantra every day when you’re building a large stupa has unbelievable benefits. Even if you recite this mantra just before you begin the stupa, you will get the same benefit as having built ten million stupas. This mantra is incredibly powerful. It has inconceivable, mind-blowing benefits. It is explained that by reciting this mantra and building one stupa, whether it’s small or big, you get the same benefit as having built ten million stupas. That’s unbelievable! If you were actually going to make ten million stupas, even small ones, imagine how many months or years it would take. If you were going to build ten million big stupas the size of Lama’s stupa down there, imagine how many years, or maybe lifetimes, it would take. But if we recite this mantra when we start to build a stupa, we get the same benefits as having built ten million stupas without needing to undergo all the hardship.
Also, if you recite this mantra, any element—fire, water, air or earth—that touches your body becomes very meaningful. I would think that this also means that your own body becomes meaningful to behold, which means that by seeing or touching you, other sentient beings are liberated from their negative karma, the cause of the lower realms. Any one of the four elements, such as wind or water, that touches your body becomes blessed and has the power to liberate sentient beings; wherever the wind or water goes, the negative karma of any sentient being touched by it is purified. Any sentient being who sees or touches these elements is liberated from the lower realms; the benefit is double that of seeing or touching a stupa. I think this would also include the body of the person who recites this mantra; his or her body becomes meaningful to behold.
This mantra also purifies the five uninterrupted negative karmas, as mentioned before. These very heavy negative karmas are purified.
Also, you will develop tantric realizations. You will have a long life and wealth, will remember your past lives (and might also be able to see the future). You’ll be protected from all harms and will become enlightened.
There is some advice from Droden Gyalwa-chö. I think this might be the name of one of Buddha’s past lives. The term Droden is confusing. Dro means transmigratory beings and den means guide, but I’m not sure whether Droden Gyalwa-chö is a name of the Buddha or it means that after one becomes enlightened one then guides the transmigratory beings to enlightenment. I’m not sure whether the whole term Droden Gyalwa-chö is Buddha’s name or it is simply talking about the function of the Buddha.
Anyway, Droden Gyalwa-chö said that it’s good to recite this mantra on the day you are going to make stupas, whether it is a large stupa or even the very small tsa-tsa stupas. Tibetans make a lot of those tsa-tsas, where one tsa-tsa contains many small stupas, after people die and also for preliminary practices. You can recite this mantra every morning, especially while you are building a stupa, and you can also use it to bless the bricks, cement or any other material that you are going to put on the stupa. The whole point is that the more merit we are able to collect, the more easily and quickly we will be able to achieve enlightenment, which means that we will be able to liberate sentient beings from the suffering of samsara and bring them to enlightenment more quickly. That is the whole point of doing all these practices.
Whether you are repairing a stupa or making a very small stupa from clay, bricks or stones and whether you yourself are actually involved in the building or you are asking or hiring other people to build the stupa, if you recite this mantra 28,000 times before you build the stupa—whether you make a very small stupa the size of a fingernail (though some people’s nails can be very long) or you make a stupa one pag-tsä high (there are different ways of measuring according to the Kalachakra and Abhidharmakosha systems, but I think one pag-tsä is eight gyang-tags and one gyang-tag is 500 arm spans [see p. 396 of Teachings from the Vajrasattva Retreat]; anyway, a pag-tsä is very long)—due to the power of mantra and single-pointedly reciting the mantra without distraction and with faith, after you have built the stupa, a scented fragrance similar to sandalwood, musk or the divine incense of the devas will come from the stupa. And all your wishes and those of the other people who work on the stupa will be fulfilled. That is the main aim, of course. The main point is not that the stupa produces a scented smell but that all your wishes are fulfilled after you have made the stupa.
Also, you achieve all the collections of goodness, or qualities, which means you are able to achieve all the good things that you are wishing for. And if you had the karma to have a very short life, you will then have a very long life. At the time of your death, you will see a hundred million Buddhas, and the Buddhas will always consider you. Also, even after this life, in your next life, you will be born in a pure land of Buddha; you will receive the prediction about your enlightenment directly from Buddha, achieve the five types of clairvoyance and then achieve enlightenment in that pure land.
So, whether you are making a tsa-tsa stupa or a large stupa, if you recite as many mantras as possible, all your wishes and those of the others who are working on the stupa will be fulfilled. You will receive all these benefits.
I meant to advertise a long time ago that there is such a practice to do before you build a stupa, but it didn’t happen. So, it might be helpful for those people who want to recite this mantra to achieve all that success, to succeed in all their wishes to have realizations, to benefit others and to serve the teachings of Buddha. It might help those who want to and can do this practice.
So, I think that’s all. That’s it for this time.
[Ven. Brian reminds Rinpoche that he hasn’t actually given the mantra.]
Oh, I think I’ll give it in the next Mani Retreat. Maybe I’ll leave the mantra for next year’s Mani Retreat. I’m joking.
These mantras are from the Kangyur, the Buddha’s direct teachings, and I haven’t yet received the oral transmission of the whole Kangyur. Those who have received the oral transmission of the Kangyur will have received these mantras, including the mantra I mentioned before, the one that if you recite before you build a stupa brings the same merit as having built ten million stupas.
I might have received the oral transmission of the first mantra from His Holiness Chogye Trichen Rinpoche, but I’m not a hundred percent sure. But I haven’t received the oral transmission of this last one yet.
OM SARWA TATHAGATA / MALA BISHUDANI / RUDA BALAY / PRATI SANSKARA / TATHAGATA / DATU DARI / DARA DARA / SANDARA SANDARA / SARWA TATHAGATA / ATIKATNA ATIKATAY / SOHA
Some of the previous points I introduced, such as the path-time and result-time unification, are actually secret. Strictly speaking, not only do you need a great initiation of lower tantra to hear about them, but you also need a Highest Yoga Tantra initiation. But what to do? There is always a mixture of people, some who have received all the initiations and others who have never received initiation. However, if there is faith in the tantric teachings, that is better. Perhaps additional causes of hell have already been created, but maybe if some people benefited, then there’s some hope.
Thank you so much.
EVENING: FINAL MANI SESSION
It would be good to chant the short verse of praise [p. 102], so that the chanting also becomes part of the offering.
[Rinpoche chants the praise in Tibetan.]
It can be done even slower. It can be chanted, whether with this tune or another one, or it can be recited in English and then chanted.
MOTIVATIONS FOR MANTRA RECITATION
[Rinpoche blows his nose, then coughs.] That’s it—that’s the talk. Now it’s finished….
I thought to mention this quite a few times, but it didn’t happen. I think it would be good to change what is said before beginning the recitation of mantra. More or less the same thing can be said in each session, but it might be good to place the emphasis a little differently.
One time before you begin the mantra recitation you can use the motivation I gave yesterday. At another time you can use the following motivation.
“There are numberless kind and precious hell beings, and each mantra I recite is for every single hell being, for their temporary and ultimate happiness.
“There are numberless kind and precious hungry ghosts, and each mantra I recite is for every one of them, for their temporary and ultimate happiness.
“There are numberless kind and precious animals, and each mantra I recite is for every one of them, for their temporary and ultimate happiness.
“There are numberless kind and precious human beings, and each mantra I recite is for every one of them, for their temporary and ultimate happiness.
“There are numberless kind and precious asura beings, and each mantra I recite is for every one of them, for their temporary and ultimate happiness.
“There are numberless kind and precious sura beings, and each mantra I recite is for every one of them, for their temporary and ultimate happiness.
“There are numberless kind and precious intermediate state beings, and each mantra I recite is for every one of them, for their temporary and ultimate happiness.”
At another time you can use the following motivation.
“It is through generating the root of enlightenment, great compassion, that the realization of bodhicitta comes, which is the door to the Mahayana path to enlightenment. From bodhicitta then come all the Mahayana realizations: the six paramitas, the five paths, the ten bhumis, and also the realizations of the Highest Yoga Tantra path. The state of omniscient mind then comes, with the infinite qualities of Buddha’s holy body, holy speech and holy mind. We are then able to do perfect work for all sentient beings, bringing them from happiness to happiness to enlightenment.
“Therefore, the most important thing in my life is to develop compassion, great compassion. This is of utmost importance. Just understanding the teachings on how to develop compassion is not sufficient. Even if we have all the information on how to develop compassion, we must still have the realization. For that, we must receive the blessing of the special deity of compassion by reciting the mantra that persuades the holy mind of the Buddha of Compassion. It is for this reason that I am going to recite the Compassion Buddha’s mantra (or, do the meditation-recitation of Compassion Buddha).”
You can also motivate in this way before you recite the mantra. These two motivations could be done together or separately.
The next motivation is as follows.
“If I had the realization of great compassion, Mahayana compassion, the numberless hell beings, who are the most kind and most precious ones in my life and who are experiencing unbearable suffering, would be liberated from all that suffering and its causes and achieve enlightenment.
“If I had great compassion, the numberless hungry ghosts, who are the most kind and most precious ones in my life and who are experiencing unbearable suffering, would be liberated from all that suffering and achieve enlightenment.
“If I had great compassion, the numberless animals, who are the most kind and most precious ones in my life and who are experiencing unbearable suffering, would be liberated from all that suffering and achieve enlightenment.
“If I had great compassion, the numberless humans beings, who are the most kind and most precious ones in my life and who are experiencing the unbearable suffering of samsara and all the problems of human beings, would be liberated from all that suffering and achieve enlightenment.
“If I had great compassion, the numberless asura beings, who are the most kind and most precious ones in my life and who are experiencing unbearable suffering, would be liberated from all that suffering and achieve enlightenment.
“If I had great compassion, the numberless sura beings, who are the most kind and most precious ones in my life and who are experiencing unbearable suffering, would be liberated from all that suffering and achieve enlightenment.
“If I had great compassion, the numberless intermediate state beings, who are the most kind and most precious ones in my life and who are experiencing unbearable suffering, would be liberated from all that suffering and achieve enlightenment.”
“Therefore, I need to develop great compassion; therefore, I’m going to do the meditation-recitation of Compassion Buddha.”
At another time you can do the motivation in this way.
Maybe I have not explained this in the best way. What I am trying to say is that if you have great compassion, it causes the realization of bodhicitta, and as I mentioned before, you then collect extensive merit. To achieve enlightenment you have to finish collecting extensive merit of wisdom and merit of virtue, or method. You need to complete these two collections of merit, and without them, you can’t achieve enlightenment. What enables you to complete these two types of merit and to achieve the Dharmakaya and Rupakaya? (The merit of wisdom causes one to achieve the Dharmakaya and the merit of virtue to achieve the Rupakaya.) Great compassion. If you have great compassion, it happens; if you do not have great compassion, it doesn’t happen. So, you can understand that by having great compassion, you are able to complete all the Mahayana realizations and achieve full enlightenment, which is the cessation of all the faults of the mind and the completion of all realizations. If you, the one person, have great compassion, you are able to liberate the numberless hell beings from all their suffering and its causes and bring them to enlightenment. If you, the one person, have great compassion, you are able to liberate the numberless animals from all their suffering and its causes and bring them to enlightenment. This is what happens if you, the one person, have great compassion. This is the benefit, as limitless as the sky, that you offer to others, to every single sentient being. You offer happiness to every single sentient being: the happiness of this life, the happiness of future lives and the ultimate happiness of liberation from samsara and enlightenment. You offer skies of benefit to every single sentient being, and that benefit comes from great compassion.
What I said previously may not have been clear—this is what I was trying to say.
You have to realize that doing this retreat is not like following the laws or regulations of a country, something each individual person does for his or her own benefit. It is for the peace and happiness of all sentient beings, as I mentioned just now. It is for world peace, for the happiness of this world. It is to pacify all the suffering and violence that is happening right now anywhere in the world.
As well as this, as I have mentioned quite a few times, this retreat is for His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s wishes to be fulfilled, especially his wish for the complete freedom of the Tibetan people. It is also for the top people in mainland China to change their minds, totally devote themselves to His Holiness and invite His Holiness to China. The majority of the people in the world are Chinese, and this retreat is for the many millions of them to have peace and happiness in their lives, like the sun shining, by hearing His Holiness’s teachings.
These are our particular purposes for doing this retreat; we are dedicating the retreat in this way.
Also, we will make an offering to His Holiness the Dalai Lama of this retreat. This is a way from our side to repay His Holiness’s kindness. Even our doing this practice of reciting 100 million OM MANI PADME HUMs has happened because of His Holiness. As I mentioned before downstairs, without His Holiness we wouldn’t have met Buddhadharma. It would not have been possible for the Buddha’s teaching to come to the West, so we wouldn’t have met Buddhadharma and whatever practice we have done since we met Buddhadharma—the sutra practices of renunciation, bodhicitta, emptiness and so forth, and also the tantric practices—which have made us so much closer to enlightenment, wouldn’t have happened. None of these advantages that we have gained through these years would have happened. Our life would have been totally empty, totally ignorant. We have taken a human body, not a pig’s body, but if we hadn’t met Buddhadharma, we would be no different from a pig. Even though we would live in a more sophisticated, more expensive house than a pig, it would just be an external difference; internally we would be the same as a pig. If we hadn’t met Buddhadharma, there would not be the slightest difference between our life and that of a pig.
That we have met Buddhadharma is totally by the kindness of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and of the Tibetan people, who protected and preserved the Buddhadharma for so many years in Tibet. So that Buddhism could be preserved purely, Tibetans didn’t allow any other country to come in to develop Tibet materially and economically. They put all their effort into preserving the Buddha’s teachings purely. And they were not just scholars but actually practiced the Buddha’s teachings and achieved realizations and enlightenment.
The Tibetans preserved the Buddhist teachings for many years, not just in libraries or on bookshelves in their houses, but in unstained learning, practice and experience. It is because they preserved the teachings that we now have the chance to learn them. The reason that we now have the chance to learn from Geshe Tashi Tsering is because the teachings were preserved in that way. If the teachings had been preserved just in books, with no people studying and practicing them, we wouldn’t now have the chance to learn them.
Therefore, this retreat is also dedicated for the Tibetan people to achieve total freedom.
You can also dedicate for other countries. I already mentioned at the beginning that this retreat is dedicated to the resolving of all the violence and other problems in the world, so that includes the many other countries that are experiencing so much suffering. If you have a particular country in mind, you can also dedicate for that country.
BENEFITS OF RECITING SIX MILLION MANIS
Another point is that if you are able to recite six or seven million OM MANI PADME HUMs, you can become a great healer. You then have the power to heal various sicknesses, as well as the ability to make rain or to stop it. After you have done that number of mantras, if you recite mantras to bless water or some other substance or just blow with your breath, you have much power to heal.
A text by Padmasambhava explains the various problems that you can solve. If you have recited six or seven million mantras, your activities become powerful; your various activities of peace, increase, control and wrath are certain to help others. This is not the main aim of the retreat, but it comes about incidentally that you can do these things to benefit others.
Every day here we hear the names of people who have died, including those of FPMT students. Even though we believe that we are going to live for a very long time, this life can change at any time. Every morning when we wake up we have this wrong concept that we’re going to live for many years. We even have this concept the moment before the car accident that kills us. Five minutes before the car accident, we have this concept that we’re going to live for a long time. Even though we are going to die five minutes later, we’re still confident that we’re going to live a long time. This concept is there, even a few minutes before our death. So, this mind is cheating us.
I might have mentioned this story in the past. One young Japanese man died in Santa Cruz some years ago. When he found out that he was going to die (I don’t know whether it was from cancer or something else), he got very angry, because he thought that the world had cheated him, deceived him. In some ways this was an intelligent way of thinking. He blamed the outside world, but he should actually have blamed his wrong concepts, the concepts of permanence and attachment. He didn’t know that the blame should have gone on his delusions, on his wrong concepts. Because he didn’t know Dharma, it appeared to him that the world had cheated him.
There are only a few words more, then it’s finished….
This young Japanese man thought that the world had cheated him. When impermanent phenomena appear to you to be permanent and you believe it to be true, it cheats you. When things appear to you to be inherently existent, not merely labeled by mind, and you apprehend it to be true, it is cheating you at that time. If you don’t believe it, however, it cannot cheat you. The problem is that in our daily lives, the second that we apprehend it to be true—for example, that the I is real, as it appears to be real, in the sense of existing from its own side—or as Tsapel said, “established from its own side”—the second that we believe in that, we are cheating ourselves. At that time it is actually your wrong concept, your ignorance, that is cheating you, so you are deceiving yourself.
It is useful to think that all these phenomena, including the I and all the sense objects, appear to you as not merely labeled by mind, even though they are merely labeled by mind. All these things appear as something other than what is merely labeled by mind. They should appear as merely labeled by the mind, but that doesn’t happen. Even though that’s the reality, it doesn’t appear to us this way but as the total opposite, as not merely labeled by mind. Actually, it’s useful to think that all these inherently existent appearances are illusions, or hallucinations, that are cheating you. To think in that way is a powerful practice.
I think in some ways the Japanese boy was quite intelligent, but because he didn’t know Dharma, he got angry at the world. When he suddenly discovered death, which he had never thought about before, he found this experience frightening, something that he didn’t want.
So, such a death can happen to us any day, any moment. Even if we don’t have cancer or AIDS, it doesn’t mean that they are going to live for a long time. It is not that not having cancer or AIDS means that we are going to live for a long time. Life is filled with obstacles. From within our mind there are so many obstacles, all the delusions and all the past karmas that are the causes of untimely death, and then because of them, there are also many external conditions for death. Life is filled with conditions for death. And even though food, medicines and even operations are meant to prolong our lives, many times they don’t work.
Therefore, we really need to pay a lot of attention to this point. As I mentioned last night, the whole conclusion is that we need to purify our negative karma. That is the urgent practice, and any negative karma can be purified with OM MANI PADME HUM.
The dedication for this session is, “Due to all the past, present and future merits collected by me and the merits of the three times collected by others, wherever I am—in whichever universe, world, country (such as here in Australia), area—just by my being there in that universe, world, country, area, may all the sentient beings there never ever be reborn in the lower realms again. May they immediately be liberated from all disease, spirit harms, negative karmas and defilements, and may they quickly achieve enlightenment by actualizing the whole path, especially bodhicitta.
“May all those with sicknesses in the universe, world, country, area where I am immediately be cured. May those who are suffering from poverty be able to have wealth. May those who have relationship problems find much peace, happiness, loving kindness and compassion. May those who are blind be able to see. May those who are lame be able to walk. May those who want to find a spiritual guru immediately be able to find a perfectly qualified guru. May those who need teachings immediately be able to receive teachings. May those who want to do retreat be able to get the time and all the necessary conditions to do so. May those who have much difficulty in their lives because of depression and whom no one can help immediately, without the delay of even a second, be healed, and may their hearts be filled with joy and peace. May those who are dying and are terrified of death immediately find peace of mind. May everyone’s wishes for happiness be achieved in accordance with the Dharma.”
In one of the sessions, you can dedicate for your life to be beneficial in numberless ways to sentient beings, like the compassionate white lotus; for you to bring skies of benefit to sentient beings. There is a story about the compassionate white lotus. I’m not sure, but I think it could be a manifestation of Buddha. Anyway, wherever it grows the compassionate white lotus brings incredible peace and happiness to all the living beings in that place.
Also do the Manjugosha and Samantabhadra dedication.
[The group recites:]
“Just as the brave Manjushri, and Samantabhadra, too,
Realized things as they are,
I also dedicate all these merits in the best way,
So that I may follow their perfect example.
“I dedicate all these roots of virtue
With the dedication praised as the best
By the Victorious Ones of the three times,
So that I might perform the noble bodhisattva’s deeds.”
This dedication is a simple prayer but it is regarded as very important because it contains all the extensive prayers of the bodhisattvas. T hat is why it is normally recited at the end. Everything that is contained in The King of Prayers, the bodhisattva Samantabhadra’s prayer, is in this prayer. This is the abbreviated way of doing that prayer. You are dedicating the merits to be able to benefit sentient beings like those bodhisattvas.
The last prayer is to dedicate for Lama Tsongkhapa’s teaching. Tonight you recited the extensive prayer for the spread of Lama Tsongkhapa’s teaching, but generally at the very end you can dedicate to meet Lama Tsongkhapa’s teaching. There is a prayer written in Tibetan, but you can do it in the following way. “Due to the merits of the three times collected by me and the merits of the three times collected by others, may I, the members of my family, all the students and benefactors of the FPMT, everyone who comes to Chenrezig Institute and to this Mani Retreat, as well as all other sentient beings, be able to completely actualize the whole stainless teaching of Lama Tsongkhapa, the unification of sutra and tantra, in this very lifetime. May Lama Tsongkhapa’s teaching spread in all directions and exist forever, and may I be able to cause this to happen by myself alone.”
You can do this dedication or one of the various prayers to meet or to spread Lama Tsongkhapa’s teaching. You can do it either in Tibetan or English. However, the essence is for you, the members of your family, all the students and benefactors and so forth to actualize Lama Tsongkhapa’s teaching and for it to spread in all directions and to exist for a long time.
Every tradition—Sakya, Kagyu, Nyingma—recites a prayer at the end for the spread of that tradition’s teachings. It’s the normal thing to do. But here there is extraordinary purpose in dedicating for Lama Tsongkhapa’s teaching. It is not just because it is your tradition; there are additional reasons, but you will know the additional reasons only by studying Lama Tsongkhapa’s teachings and then studying other teachings. You will then know why it is so important to pray to meet Lama Tsongkhapa’s teachings.
A lama asked, I think, Panchen Losang Chökyi Gyaltsen, who composed Lama Chöpa, whether he could be born in Amitabha Buddha’s pure land. Panchen Losang Chökyi Gyaltsen said, “Yes, yes, you can be born in the pure land of Amitabha Buddha.” I don’t remember exactly, but I think the lama then asked whether he would meet Lama Tsongkhapa’s teaching again. Panchen Losang Chökyi Gyaltsen then said, “No. To meet Lama Tsongkhapa’s teaching is difficult, but to be born in Amitabha’s pure land is very easy. You can do that, but you cannot meet Lama Tsongkhapa’s teaching.”
According to many lamas, there are no tantric teachings in Amitabha’s pure land. Therefore, even after you are born there, you have to pray to be born back in this world where we are now, the southern continent, where tantric teachings exist, so that you are able to practice tantra and achieve enlightenment quickly. There are many human worlds: the eastern continent, southern continent, western continent and northern continent. However, only the human beings of this world, of this southern continent, can achieve enlightenment within one life. Beings who can achieve enlightenment in one life have two characteristics: they can only be human beings, and not just any human beings, but human beings only from this southern continent where we are now. So, if we practice correctly we can achieve enlightenment in one life.
Because tantric teachings exist here now, even beings born in the pure land of Amitabha pray to be born here so that they can practice tantra and achieve enlightenment. This might be the explanation as to why Panchen Losang Chökyi Gyaltsen told the lama that it would be very difficult for him to meet Lama Tsongkhapa’s teaching again, but that he could be born in the pure land of Amitabha Buddha.
It is only by studying Lama Tsongkhapa’s teachings that you can find out for yourself why they are so precious. Lama Tsongkhapa’s lam-rim teachings have the clearest explanation of the unification of emptiness and dependent arising, of the extremely subtle dependent arising that is the view of the Prasangika school. Lama Tsongkhapa has the clearest teaching on those extremely subtle points, as well as the clearest explanation of the points of calm abiding, such as subtle sinking thought. Also, in tantra, Lama Tsongkhapa gives the clearest explanation of how to achieve the illusory body, and so on and so forth. Many of Lama Tsongkhapa’s explanations in sutra and tantra are very special ones. Therefore, it’s very important at the end to dedicate to meet Lama Tsongkhapa’s teaching. Tonight we did the extensive prayer, but at the end of the other sessions we should also dedicate to meet Lama Tsongkhapa’s teaching.
So, that’s all. I think that if I continue you are going to have nightmares. So, good night.