My very dear Mia,
Thank you very much for your kind letter. I am very, very happy that you were able to do the Yamantaka retreat. I am also very happy that Ven. Dolma guided you. She has studied the Basic Program at least twice, so it’s very, very good that she guided you. I am sure she can guide and take care of you very well.
I am sure that you did the retreat with a very good motivation, so that it didn’t just become Dharma—if you did it with bodhicitta then it becomes the cause to achieve enlightenment, to benefit all sentient beings, to bring great benefit to sentient beings, to pacify obstacles, to practice Dharma and ultimately to achieve the path to enlightenment.
His Holiness Zong Rinpoche said that the first retreat in our life should be Yamantaka, and then whatever other practices we do, there won’t be obstacles. So Yamantaka retreat has two benefits: 1) to pacify obstacles, and 2) to develop wisdom.
When I did my first Yamantaka retreat at Buxa in India, even though I did retreat just in words, before that I didn’t understand so much the teachings, the philosophy, but after this retreat, I seemed to have a little more understanding of these words; I got a great feeling of the words.
When I did the retreat I didn’t get to read any commentaries, as they were very hard to find at that time, so I just made up how to do it by myself and did the mantra recitation. Perhaps I had a little good motivation, but this retreat had a great effect on my life. It was also great protection. I used to experience a spirit pressing down on me; it was quite bad, but after this retreat then one night this happened without any effort: I was in my bed whenYamantaka the same size as my body suddenly appeared. This was at night time when I was lying down on my bed with a mosquito net. Suddenly it happened—there was the appearance of Yamantaka and then the spirit suddenly left. This only happened after I did the retreat, so this means that Yamantaka became closer. It means the deity is helping to pacify obstacles; it shows that.
I’m not talking about having any realization; seeing myself as Yamantaka. I just saw the appearance of Yamantaka, so it was definitely the blessing of Yamantaka, but I am not talking about me having any realization or seeing myself as deity.
Thank you very much for your kind heart and please live your life every second with bodhicitta.
With much love and prayers...