Lama Tsongkhapa's Teachings

Lama Tsongkhapa's Teachings

Date Posted:
December 2010

A student wrote to Rinpoche asking for advice on practicing in different traditions. Rinpoche replied to her and then she wrote a second letter about her commitment to the path of Lama Tsongkhapa. Her second letter and Rinpoche’s reply are below.

Student's Letter

Dear most kind Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche,
I offer you my heartfelt praises, my aspirations to free all beings from samsara, my Dharma practice, and positive actions. I am still working hard on my ngon-dro, and I offer you whatever positive actions have been generated from this, as well as any other positive actions that I may have accidentally committed.

I wanted to thank you immensely for your continual prayers and guidance. I am continuing to deepen my commitment to the path of Lama Tsongkhapa. Living here has been very challenging for me and I'm getting lots of practice in transforming obstacles. I have realized, among many things, that trying to weave two traditions into my daily practice was not benefiting my mind, and so I am focusing all my prayers and energy on the path of Lama Tsongkhapa and your advice, as best I can. I feel happiness deep down when I practice Lama Tsongkhapa, and I'm beginning to really appreciate how precious this path really is.

My practice is helping me realize that enlightenment is all in my mind, it is my responsibility, no one can "make" me enlightened. My mind has to make this happen, so I must work very hard and not dwell so much on what is happening outside. I am realizing that if the mind lacks proper motivation, or is unaware of the subtleties of ego fixation, even the most powerful teaching, lama, or relic cannot make much difference. It is all up to me to utilize the precious and complete teachings of Lama Tsongkhapa and my precious guru to transform my mind. So, in this way, I am deepening my practice and trying to let go of grasping to appearances and focus on training my mind more and more. This is so difficult, and I am easily distracted. Please, please continue to make lots of prayers for me so that my mind loosens its grip on distractions and realizes more and more the teachings of Lama Tsongkhapa and guru devotion, so that I may reach enlightenment in this lifetime. I promise your prayers will not go to waste.

Please, most kind lama, may you live long, may your students follow your advice perfectly, may you forever remain until we reach enlightenment. With all my love, I dedicate my deepest wishes to benefit all beings, to the Maitreya project, to your good health and long life.

With all my love, please live long!

Love Susan xxxxxx

Rinpoche's Response

Rinpoche replied with a handwritten card that said on the inside, "Thanks for being so sweet!”

My dearest of dearest Susan,
I have received your kindness. Yes, I am inspired by your wonderful letters, your great inspiration on the path to enlightenment.

Now you have come to know by yourself, after my advice to you, that when one studies one tradition clearly, then one can integrate certain practices into that tradition. At the beginning it can be complicated, one can be confused, because one doesn't know how.

Now you have your own experience, what fits for you, and what is comfortable and clear. Lama Tsongkhapa’s teachings have everything to achieve full enlightenment. Especially clear are the most important points of sutra and tantra. Even many famous meditators make mistakes. With Lama Tsongkhapa’s teachings, there is clear understanding, easy, quick realizations, and one makes less mistakes. You should know that you are extremely fortunate to meet Lama Tsongkhapa’s teachings and practice them. It is extremely important to practice Lama Tsongkhapa Guru Yoga. This way you will be able to meet Lama Tsongkhapa's teachings in future lives.

To meet Lama Tsongkhapa's teachings is extremely difficult, to be born in Amitabha’s pure land is much easier. One lama in Tibet asked Panchen Losang Chökyi Gyaltsen whether he would be reborn in the pure land. Panchen Losang Chökyi Gyaltsen said, “Yes.”

Then he asked whether he would meet Lama Tsongkhapa's teachings in his next life. Panchen Losang Chökyi Gyaltsen said, “Very difficult.”

Lama Tsongkhapa's teachings have unified sutra and tantra. In the pure land of Amitabha, there is no tantra. It is only with tantra that you can become enlightened in one lifetime. So, those bodhisattvas born in Amitabha's pure land have to pray to be born in the southern continent to have realizations, such as guru devotion.

With big love and prayer,

Lama Zopa