My most dear, most kind, most precious, wish-fulfilling one,
I heard how much hard work you have done, translating so many of my teachings into books, as well as translating during my time. I’m so happy, I’m so happy. You made me so happy.
Even at other times you put effort and your time into translating my teachings. In that way it could be a sign of purification, even if you have paralysis. We are the same; you are my friend as I have taken paralysis from a stroke ten years ago. That happened in Bendigo where we built a stupa the same as Gyantse Stupa in Tibet. How many stories high, I don’t know, but it’s a big one, the same size, only the statues are different.
In Tibet, the statues are mostly from the lower tantra. Even I don’t know how many of those statues here [at the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion in Bendigo, Australia] will come from the Highest Yoga Tantra deities, Kalachakra, Guhyasamaja, Yamantaka, White Dzambhala, Vajrayogini, all those, Kurukulla and so forth. Also, Twenty-one Taras, eight Medicine Buddhas, Thirty-five Buddhas, Thousand-arm Chenrezig, all those; there are many.
There’ll be a Kalachakra mandala constructed, and the Kalachakra deity, like that. Already in the gompa there’s a Jade Buddha, maybe one story high or more. It’s jade, even the stone is jade. Then there’s a Padmasambhava statue, gold-leafed, a big one, and maybe Buddha Ksitigarbha, and the Kalachakra mandala on the ceiling with lights coming from the back side.
Yes, there are so many mantras and meditations, but I didn’t get them done. Also my guru told me to do purification, but I didn’t get much done; I’m so lazy and careless. The paralysis didn’t go away, so it’s there, I think telling me to be careful.
I want to tell you that when the purification happens by practicing Dharma, that’s the best quality purification. I say it’s the best, because if you don’t experience anything in this life and if that karma is very heavy, then you will be reborn in the lower realms and experience suffering there for so many eons, like that.
However, due to Dharma practice you experience all that heavy negative karma in this life. Instead of being reborn in the lower realms, it manifests in this life as some sickness or catastrophe, or something like cancer or a stroke or virus, things like that, and then it’s finished. You don’t need to get reborn in the lower realms and experience so much suffering for eons. You don’t need that; it’s finished by experiencing it as some catastrophe or sickness in this life. Then in the future life there will be so much happiness, just like the sun shining. The sun is just one, but so many animals and humans enjoy it in the world.
It is mentioned by the Kadampa Geshe Khamlungpa,
Even the present little suffering finishes the bad karma of the past, and in the future life there will be happiness. Therefore rejoice in the suffering.
It means we can think that by experiencing this suffering now, we will get happiness [in the future], so then we can rejoice in that. The mind feels happy by thinking that. He said this is how we should think and practice, using the present situation, the sickness, as a path to happiness.
Then the other one, the next one, we get reborn in the lower realms for just one second or it could be for one day, one hour or one minute, or we see somehow it’s lighter and shorter. We don’t have to experience being reborn in the lower realms and remaining there for many eons; we don’t need that. Like that, there are different levels of purification. So it’s very important to recognize this is the effect of our Dharma practice, our purification, great purification.
The great Kagyu holy being, the great yogi Choje Gotsangpa advised that when we have sickness or any problem, to think,
By my experiencing this sickness or whatever the problem is,
May I be the substitute for the sentient beings and experience their sickness and problems.
May they immediately become free from all the sickness, spirit harm, negative karma and defilements (and I add)
And may they achieve buddhahood, enlightenment.
He is saying that whatever problem we’re experiencing, whatever we have, think it has become all sentient beings’ problems. Whatever it is, think we’re taking all the sentient beings’ problems and sickness. So we make our sickness or stroke or whatever most beneficial, most worthwhile.
Sentient beings are numberless, hell beings are numberless, hungry ghosts are numberless, animals are numberless, humans are numberless, suras are numberless, asuras are numberless. So the stroke or whatever, the sickness, is experienced for every sentient being.
This is all sentient beings’ suffering and we experience it on their behalf. We experience it for them voluntarily and let them be free from all the sickness, spirit harm, negative karma and defilements, free from sickness or whatever the problem is.
By experiencing the sentient beings’ suffering it becomes the path to enlightenment. Sorry, by experiencing the problem in that way, it becomes the path to enlightenment. Not just ultimate happiness, liberation from samsara, but the highest, peerless happiness, buddhahood. That means it becomes the [cause of] happiness for all the sentient beings, even enlightenment, so it’s really unbelievable, wow.
Amazing, amazing, amazing, amazing! We transform that, so it becomes most meaningful and most beneficial. Before, it caused so much worry because of cherishing the I and we were just creating the cause of samsara and the lower realm sufferings. That’s because there’s attachment involving our own body and we dislike that, so our mind made it painful.
The next advice, the most precious, is more precious than the whole sky filled with wish-granting jewels. Even if we have that many [wish-fulfilling jewels] it doesn’t make us free from the lower realms, to not be reborn in the lower realms, to not suffer, it doesn’t do that. It doesn’t free us from samsara, it doesn’t free us from the lower nirvana, liberation from samsara; it doesn’t free us so we can attain enlightenment for sentient beings; it doesn’t free us so we can free the sentient beings from samsara by ourselves and bring them to enlightenment by ourselves, it doesn’t do that.
But this one, where we voluntarily experience the suffering on behalf of all sentient beings, then we experience happiness, so much joy, unbelievable, unbelievable happiness and the more we see sentient beings as kind, precious, most dear, and wish-fulfilling. Therefore skies of wish-fulfilling jewels are nothing compared to the value of this suffering, the problem that we have.
Regarding the wish-fulfilling jewel, some bodhisattvas, the wheel-turning kings who have unbelievable, unbelievable, unbelievable merit find the wish-fulfilling jewel, then they clean it in three ways and put it on top of a banner on the roof. [With a wish-fulfilling jewel] whatever we pray for, any temporal needs in this life, whatever we pray for, it just gets materialized in the next second. So then how many helicopters we need, how many jewel palaces we need, how many jet airplanes we need, anything, any temporal needs for this life, this is mainly because of the unbelievable merit we have and the condition is this jewel. It has this power. It is much more precious than a diamond or sapphire. Among the external jewels this wish-granting jewel is the most important rare jewel.
So you can recite [the quotation, in the same way you recite] OM MANI PADME HUM, even for the whole day or for several hours, much of the time during the day. You can make sessions in your daily life and recite this quotation with a mala. Think,
By my experiencing this sickness, may all the sentient beings be free from suffering, may they be free from so many problems, spirit harm, negative karma and defilements, and may they achieve enlightenment.
Keep on reciting this and think that this is the happiest life. In this way, each moment of your life is dedicated for sentient beings, and your life becomes unbelievably precious, more precious than a sky filled with wish-granting jewels.
There are many words about tonglen, such as:
Whatever suffering the sentient beings have, may it be ripened on me;
Whatever happiness and merit I have, may it ripen on all the sentient beings.
That means numberless sentient beings, numberless hell beings, numberless hungry ghosts, numberless animals, numberless humans, numberless suras, and numberless asuras.
I just want to elaborate on the extraordinary kindness of sentient beings, just in case you don’t know. You need this understanding first as a basis to be able to practice tonglen, cherishing the sentient beings and giving up the self-cherishing thought, the I.
For example, the person who doesn’t love you, who is angry with you and always complains about you behind [your back], even though they might say nice words in front of you, whoever you call enemy, by your self-cherishing thought, by attachment, by your anger, that which your mind calls enemy, it is not done with a mind of bodhicitta and it’s not done with the mind of the wisdom realizing emptiness or omniscience. When your mind becomes omniscient, there’s no way, and even on the path [you understand] that the enemy is obscured and suffering in nature.
So by depending on that person, compassion arises, and from compassion, great compassion arises, and from great compassion, then bodhicitta arises, then bodhisattvas arise, and then from bodhisattvas, Buddha arises, and from Buddha, there’s Buddha’s holy action arising. Buddha has two holy actions: one is only by the Buddha’s own mind and one is within us. Our virtuous thoughts are Buddha’s holy actions, therefore, they are the Buddha’s holy actions.
From the virtuous thoughts, which are the Buddha’s holy actions, from there, all the past, present, and future merits happened from beginningless rebirths. Then from there, all our happiness from beginningless rebirths, now and in the future, including enlightenment—everything comes. Therefore our happiness from beginningless rebirths up to now, including enlightenment, everything comes from that person we call “enemy,” who doesn’t love us, who’s angry or criticizes us, who harms with the body or whatever.
For example, land. If we have land we can grow food, build a house, we can do many things, whatever we want, so land is considered very precious.
Also as an example, you can think that money is so precious and everybody works for money. “Everybody” means all the people in the world, the majority of people who look for money, who spend their life making money, because if you have money then you can get what you want. If you have one dollar you can get something by paying one dollar. Or if you have a hundred dollars, that much you can get what you need. Or one million dollars, you can pay that much and you get that much, what you need. Like that, it goes on, therefore money is regarded as very precious and everyone works for money, except those who practice holy Dharma. There are many examples like this.
So from this sentient being whom we call enemy, from that person, our happiness from beginningless rebirth, now and in the future, including enlightenment, comes. All the qualities of Buddha, limitless like the sky, the limitless qualities of Buddha’s holy body, holy speech and holy mind, all that, that people study in the monastery for a lifetime, all those qualities comes from there.
That means Dharma comes from Buddha, so all the Dharma, all the qualities of realization, the Lesser Vehicle path, the Mahayana sutra and Mahayana tantra, all the qualities of the arhats and the bodhisattvas, all those qualities come from that sentient being. The arhats have unbelievable, unbelievable qualities and psychic powers. Higher bodhisattvas have unbelievable, unbelievable, unbelievable qualities.
From within the ten bhumis, the eighth, the ninth, the tenth, there are those higher bodhisattvas whose qualities we can’t imagine, who can see so clearly all the atoms of a mountain, who can see very clearly. So like that, it’s amazing, amazing, amazing! All those amazing qualities come from ordinary bodhisattvas and what we’re going to achieve comes from that sentient being whom we call enemy. So this person is the most precious and most kind for us, the most precious, most kind, most dear, wish-fulfilling for us.
That means one ant, one mosquito, the tiniest fly, the tiniest sentient being that lives in water that we can only see through a machine, every single sentient being—there are numberless hell beings, numberless hungry ghosts, numberless animals, like the examples I gave, every single human being, every single sura and asura being—and there are numberless universes, not only this one. I’m not talking about only one, but every single sentient being, as I mentioned before.
All our happiness from beginningless rebirths, now and in the future, including enlightenment, all the qualities of Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, what we’re going to achieve, all comes from this, from each sentient being. And what exists now, all comes from numberless buddhas, Dharma, Sangha; it all comes from the kindness of each sentient being.
Not only that, even the numberless statues, so now the numberless buddhas, numberless Dharma, numberless Sangha, everything comes from every hell being, every hungry ghost, every animal, from every single ant, every single mosquito, those tiniest flies, as I mentioned, those suras and asuras, every single human, so everyone is most dear, most kind, most precious, wish-fulfilling, everyone.
And not only that, the numberless statues, stupas, scriptures, for ordinary beings we cannot see buddhas directly at the moment, so they manifest in the statues, stupas, and scriptures. Since we cannot see Buddha, these give us the opportunity to purify our mind and collect merit, to achieve the graduated realizations of the lamrim and to achieve enlightenment, to liberate numberless sentient beings from the oceans of samsaric suffering and bring every sentient being to enlightenment by ourselves.
These are the benefits that we get from them. This is the most unbelievable, unbelievable, unbelievable practice, the best practice.
So the point is to understand how sentient beings are most kind, and also how holy objects, thangkas and statues of Buddha are so precious for us, the sentient beings.
In the Sutra of the Mudra Entering, Generating the Power of Devotion, Buddha said,
“Jampel (Manjugosha), any girl or boy of the race”—that could be Mahayana race—“offering to all the solitary realizer arhats equaling the number of dust [particles] or atoms of all the universes for the number of eons equaling the number of sand grains in the Ganges or the Pacific Ocean, so every day offering one hundred tastes of the devas’ food to that many solitary realizer arhats,”—who collect more merits than the hearer-listener arhats—“Jampel, any son or daughter of the race, by just seeing a painting of the Buddha or the form”—which means a statue—“this collects numberless greater merits than that offering of divine food made to the solitary realizer arhats.”
As I’ve explained above, by just seeing a painting or a drawing of the Buddha or the form, a statue, you collect numberless greater merits.
“And if you put your palms together to those holy objects or offer flowers, incense or lights”—these are just examples, there are other examples of offerings—“there’s no question you collect numberless greater merits than just seeing a painting or a statue of the Buddha.”
It is mentioned in a sutra, the Victorious One said that by hearing, seeing or making offerings we accumulate a huge heap of limitless merit and we abandon all the sufferings of samsara caused by delusion. All this causative phenomena doesn’t get wasted.
In another sutra, Konchog Tsepa, the Sutra of the Heap of Jewels, it is mentioned in Nyingma texts, from the text Showing the Qualities of the Field of Manjugosha,1 all the phenomena are a condition, up to the tip of the wishes. Anyone who makes the prayers [of aspiration], like that, the result will be achieved.
So all this came from sentient beings’ kindness, even the person you call enemy, who you get angry with, upset with, and beat or harm with your body, speech and mind. It’s incredible, besides the skies of kindness I mentioned before. Now here, the benefits we get from holy objects all came from this sentient being that we call enemy, so it is nothing.
I want to tell you one thing. The self-cherishing thought, the I, the self-cherishing thought, the thought cherishing that, causes us to suffer from beginningless rebirths in samsara. We are reincarnated in the six realms, one after another, then we are suffering again and again, experiencing the same suffering again. It’s most unbelievable, unbelievable, from beginningless rebirths, not just one time.
Then again in this life, if again we don’t practice Dharma, bodhicitta, then the self-cherishing thought causes us to create negative karma and suffer. It doesn’t let us realize renunciation, bodhicitta, emptiness, and it makes us suffer without end. We reincarnate and suffer in samsara without end. Wow, wow, wow. Similarly, we experience suffering numberless times again. Wow, wow, wow, wow.
Not only that, it causes harm to numberless sentient beings—numberless hell beings, numberless hungry ghosts, numberless animals, numberless humans, numberless suras, numberless asuras and numberless intermediate state beings, and it makes them to suffer.
Not only now but it’s happened since beginningless rebirths. If we don’t practice Dharma, if we don’t practice bodhicitta in this life, then we continuously follow the self-cherishing thought, which harms numberless sentient beings again and makes them suffer without end.
So now the [COVID19] virus or cancer, or for you, possible paralysis, all this is caused by the self-cherishing thought. What created the cause is the self-cherishing thought; the self-cherishing thought caused all the sickness and suffering. So actually for us ordinary beings who are worried about stopping the virus, cancer, life-threatening disease and so forth, actually the sickness is harming the real I, the this truly existent I, the I existing from its own side, by its own nature, the real I. It is harming that, the self-cherishing thought.
What appeared to that I and is believed by ignorance to be true, so it has harmed to that self-cherishing thought. Why we have so much worry is because it’s harming to the self-cherishing thought. So in reality that’s exactly right, that’s exactly right, actually it’s destroying the cancer, the virus, the stroke, all this, all this.
It’s exactly to harm your enemy, the self-cherishing thought which has harmed not only us from beginningless rebirths and endlessly in samsara, not only that, but every hell being, hungry ghost, animal, human, sura, asura being—every sentient being is harmed, also our enemy.
So all this, the virus, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, paralysis is to destroy the self-cherishing thought. It’s exactly what is needed to destroy our enemy, it’s exactly what is needed. This is the best thing, what is needed, the best thing, the happiest thing, the happiest thing in the life.
If you don’t know this, then you’re not on the wisdom side, you’re on the ignorant side, the side of the self-cherishing thought, the side of the ignorance. You totally create suffering, you suffer, you create suffering for yourself and it totally doesn’t make sense.
It’s just like putting our finger in the fire and then screaming, “It’s burning! The fire is burning me!” It’s just like that. We say “It’s burning me,” and we jump up and down while we’re keeping our finger in the fire instead of taking it out. Right? It’s like that. Our whole life becomes like that. For ordinary beings, our whole life becomes like that. It doesn’t make sense, it’s totally silly.
All this explanation is the basis of the tonglen practice. Please read my advice about tonglen practice also.
Lastly, I’m giving you one mantra. If you have paralysis, you must recite this mantra, so it helps you to not get paralysis again. If you have a stroke again, it is more difficult to recover. You can get a stroke again and again many times, depending on your karma. So if you have one stroke you must recite this mantra seven times each day. Then you will never get the stroke again.
OM TONBOLLI TONBOLLI SUR SUR ME ME SHIG SHIG SVAHA
This was taught by my own guru, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, in his past life. So just seven times per day. There are many methods for strokes, so if other methods come out, I will send them to you.
Again, I want to thank you very much for translating my garbage words that are called teachings and all my Dharma books, and that you have benefited many people with so much. Thank you a billion, trillion, zillion times.
With much love and prayers ...
1 The Heap of Jewels Sutra [Skt: Ratnakuta] is a compilation of 49 Mahayana Buddhist sutras. One of the sutras in this collection is The Array of Virtues of Manjushri’s Buddha Realm. Go to 84000.co to find this collection of sutras. [Return to text]