My very dear Lauren,
Thank you very much for your kind letter. Sorry for the long delay in replying.
I was very happy to read about your experience with reciting the Sanghata Sutra. I have heard of many miracles and amazing stories from people who have recited it. I am collecting these stories to make into a small, inspiring book. Some of our centers received large donations after students recited it more than 150 times, even the next day. All the stories are very inspiring.
Regarding your questions:
1) Regarding studying the “Foundation of Buddhist Thought,” according to my observations, it would be better for you to study in Holland.
Also, you could study the correspondence course for the basic program from Istituto Lama Tsongkhapa in Italy. Or if the geshe in Alicante in Spain, or at Atisha Center in Australia have a correspondence course, you could also follow these. I think only Italy actually has the correspondence course set up.
2) I checked regarding your special deity, and according to my observations for your quickest enlightenment, it comes out best for you to practice Tara Cittamani.
I was wondering, as you are an interpreter, whether you could maybe translate either the Sutra of Golden Light or the Sanghata Sutra? This is an incredible way to use your skill. If this is something you feel you can do, then please contact the director of the Education Department in the FPMT. She can help you to get the texts and also help to make them available as widely as possible after they are translated.
There are three volumes of the Sutra of Golden Light. Reading them brings great purification and one collects an incredible amount of merit. Also, it brings peace to the place where one reads it: the house, city, and even the country. Reading it is a great contribution to world peace. I am wondering if you could translate it into a language that is rare to find, like West African.
Regarding your practice, I checked what is most beneficial for your quickest enlightenment (see below). Please do prostrations to the Thirty-five Buddhas before you go to bed, as well as Vajrasattva practice. Also, if you are able, please practice Guru Puja each morning. As you read this practice you will develop all the realizations of the path.
There are some books regarding the benefits of doing Lama Chöpa (Guru Puja). Also, I have explained this during some retreats (Milarepa Center and Land of Medicine Buddha). It would be very good if you can read about some of the benefits.
Please make your life most meaningful with the thought of bodhicitta.
With much love and prayers,
Practices Rinpoche suggested:
- Refuge: 300,000
- Prostrations: 300,000 to the Thirty-five Buddhas
- Vajrasattva: Before going to bed each night
- Dorje Khadro (burning offering): 400,000
- Guru Yoga: If you can, practice Guru Puja in the morning
- Lam-rim Meditations:
- Guru Devotion: Two months
- Graduated path common to the lower capable being: Eight months
- Graduated path common to the middle capable being: Three months
- Graduated path common to the higher capable being: Bodhicitta 6 months
- Emptiness: Seven months