My most dear, most kind, most precious, wish-fulfilling one,
Thank you for your kind email. I checked and it comes out best if you can recite Most Secret Hayagriva mantra: four malas every day.
You also need a puja called chab trü (washing ritual with blessed water) and for Geshe-la to do this, to wash normally your head. You need it nine times from Geshe-la. It is commonly known by the Tibetans that it is very helpful, so do that.
The other practice that came out for you to do is tonglen practice.
There is one very old student, Ueli, who is from Switzerland and now lives in Mongolia. When he came to Nepal a few years ago, he had very high blood pressure. Even before he came, it was high but then in Nepal it got very, very high, so he asked me what to do. I told him to do tonglen, and every time he did tonglen his blood pressure definitely went down. For him this was proof; it definitely went down after doing tonglen for half an hour.
From this you can understand the importance of tonglen. There are no side effects from tonglen—so many medicines have many side effects, but with tonglen there are none. For example, even if you die, with tonglen you will never be reborn in the lower realms. Tonglen causes bodhicitta and that causes you to be born in the pure land of Buddha.
Kadampa Geshe Chekawa had been praying every day to be born in the hells, to suffer there for the sake of other sentient beings. He was sincerely praying very much for that to happen. But what happened was that when it was the time for him to die, instead of going to the hell realm he had the appearance of the pure land. When this happened, he told his attendant that he didn’t succeed in his prayers, as he sincerely wanted to be born in hell and suffer for sentient beings, but then at the time of death he had the appearance of the pure land. So that happened to him as a result of tonglen.
Also Fred from Singapore, who was a commander in the army. His wife suddenly died, even though she was very young and after that I told him to become a monk. Recently when he was in Singapore, he met someone who had cancer and he advised that person to do tonglen. Later they completely recovered from cancer. So you have to know these things. They are factual stories.
My advice for you is to do tonglen. This is the best; this is very good, incredible. You can find more advice on this practice here.
You can do tonglen yourself and also explain to other people, but of course it’s best to know the lamrim first. Then on the basis of lamrim you can see the purpose of doing tonglen and you will want to do it. Unless someone already has a good heart, it is difficult.
When we take on the suffering of even one sentient being or somebody who is very sick, we take on the whole entire suffering, not only the sickness and the cause of suffering, so that brings us to enlightenment. Then of course there are numberless sentient beings in the six realms—numberless hell beings, numberless hungry ghosts, numberless animals, numberless human beings, numberless suras, numberless asuras and numberless intermediate state beings—so we take all their sufferings and causes. It’s amazing, amazing. That makes it even faster for us to achieve enlightenment.
The self-cherishing thought is the main obstacle to achieving enlightenment for sentient beings. So to serve the sentient beings, we take others’ suffering on our heart and give it to the self-cherishing thought, the great demon, the self-cherishing thought. That is totally against the self-cherishing thought, so that is very good, the best, the most pure Dharma practice, bodhicitta practice.
Then we give our body, next we give our enjoyments, and next we give our three-time merits, the cause of all the happiness up to enlightenment. Giving to even one sentient being—when we give our body and make charity of that, or even our hat or our jacket, dedicating it with the thought of giving—what we renounce is attachment. We give sincerely, not politically or to experience something in return. That is not really giving, so if we give properly like that, it brings us to enlightenment more quickly.
The Buddha said:
Any sentient being, who during my teachings,
Makes charity well, (even if the material is the size of a hair,)
For 80,000 eons will have the good result of great enjoyments.
They will have a beautiful and healthy body, enjoy happiness and have control over wealth.
At the end, they will also achieve the result of peerless enlightenment.
Having heard there is such a great result, who would not want to collect merit?
It is incredible, incredible, and it brings us to enlightenment. So now here we are giving to numberless sentient beings in each realm and we are getting so much closer to enlightenment—wow, wow, wow—we are giving our past, present and future merits. This is the cause of all the happiness, so it is incredible; this is the best practice for us ordinary beings. That itself is the biggest puja.
Regarding giving away, we have so much attachment, miserliness, so giving away to sentient beings is so good, especially if it is done with bodhicitta.
Then when we take the suffering, that is totally against self-cherishing thought, which is the worst enemy of bodhicitta, so we totally destroy the self-cherishing thought.
Please read the section [of the lamrim] on the kindness of sentient beings—how all our past, present and future happiness is received from every hell being, every hungry ghost, every animal, every human being, every sura and asura, and every intermediate state being. It is so important to know that and to meditate on that; knowing how other sentient beings are most kind, most precious, most dear and wish-fulfilling for us.
Remember how we receive all the happiness from every sentient being. All our past, present and future happiness is received from every sentient being, and every sentient being has been our mother and kind. To really understand this, we need to read the lamrim and really meditate on it.
Of course, we also need to understand how samsara is in the nature of suffering and we need to develop renunciation, then bodhicitta. So we need to have more understanding of the graduated path of the lower capable being, basically from the perfect human rebirth. So please read Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand. That will help you very much, and then you will be able to do tonglen effectively.
Even when death is happening, as I mentioned about Kadampa Geshe Chekawa, like that, so it is better to go to the pure land, than to live in the suffering world and the pure land is, of course, for the benefit of sentient beings.
Please try like this and live your life every moment, day and night and in every action, with the thought of bodhicitta. This is the best life.
With much love and prayers ...