On the day of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s turning the Wheel of Dharma, if you do one prostration while reciting the names of the Thirty-Five Buddhas, it becomes equal to having done 100 million prostrations while reciting the names of the Thirty-Five Buddhas. If you recite one Vajrasattva mantra, it becomes the same as having done the Vajrasattva mantra 100 million times. If you recite the Diamond Cutter Sutra one time, it becomes the same as having recited the Diamond Cutter Sutra 100 million times—so that much purification and you collect that many merits to quickly be free from samsara, and if the practices are done with bodhicitta, then to quickly achieve enlightenment.
Reading the Golden Light Sutra, besides the personal benefits that creates, also brings so much peace in the world, for the Buddhadharma to last a long time, which means more sentient beings being able to meet the Dharma and to achieve enlightenment. Then, also reciting the Arya Sanghata Sutra, which brings success, including enlightenment. Each recitation becomes 100 million recitations—so please tell your parents and friends this.
This is the best way to help your parents and this really helps your parents. You can tell others this also and their friends. This really helps the world, to make a better world.
Please read my notes well. Don’t rush. Think about each word.
Also on these days, you can do tonglen—taking others' sufferings and giving away one’s own happiness—then, also rejoicing. You can meditate on dependent arising (meaning, emptiness only) and develop bodhicitta. Of course, you can do self-initiation during this very special time according to the time in India.
If you want to know which lama and which text mentioned this, it was His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s and His Eminence Sakya Trizin’s guru—Chobgye Trichen Rinpoche. Rinpoche referred to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s teaching Dulwa Lung ('dul ba lung) as saying that the number the merit multiplies by is 100 million. It is a great advantage to practice during these times; like for myself, who is the most extremely laziest person in this world.
Another very important practice to do on these days is taking the eight Mahayana precepts for one day until the next day at sunrise. That doesn’t mean necessarily until sunrise Indian time. It means sunrise at the place where you are; up until dawn, when the sun rises in your part of the world.
In case there are difficulties to keeping all eight precepts, perhaps due to work, for example, you can take the rest of the vows well. Taking the eight Mahayana precepts is so beneficial for world peace, for crops to grow well, to receive timely rains—all this is needed to make the world better. Then, there are incredible benefits for yourself. This is explained in the book of the eight Mahayana precepts, [The Direct and Unmistaken Method.] This is so important for your own life to be better and to make the world better, to bring benefit.