Paranoia and Hearing Voices

Paranoia and Hearing Voices

Date of Advice:
February 2017
Date Posted:
September 2017

A student wrote to Rinpoche about a mental illness, which included paranoia and hearing voices. Rinpoche advised these practices.

My most dear, most kind, most precious, wish-fulfilling one,
I checked and you can try to study Buddhism, if possible at a center, at the same time as taking medicine. But I can’t say for sure if you can complete the study course, as you have to create the cause. Therefore pray to Medicine Buddha for success and healing, and do the Medicine Buddha practice.

I am making one short Medicine Buddha practice —later, it’s not done yet—so you can practice that. In the meantime, until it’s finished you can do the Medicine Buddha sadhana.

For two weeks try to read Chanting the Names of Manjushri three times each day—in the morning, afternoon and evening. Recite this three times each day for two weeks. This seems very, very important for you, so please try to do it as soon as possible. You could also try to do it for a longer time, but first start with two weeks.

The other thing is to read the Golden Light Sutra. Read a little each day and complete it. Then read the Arya Sanghata Sutra. Read a little each day and slowly finish it, or if you have time read it all in one day. Then start the Golden Light Sutra again and when you finish that, read Arya Sanghata Sutra. In this way continue reading these sutras.

Read the sutras with bodhicitta motivation:

“The purpose of my life is not just to achieve liberation for me—everlasting happiness and ultimate happiness and to be free from samsara—but it is to free the numberless sentient beings from the oceans of samsara and to bring them to happiness, buddhahood, as quickly as possible. Therefore, I have to achieve buddhahood as quickly as possible, therefore I am going to read this text.”  

That means you are dedicating the recitation of these texts for the benefit of every sentient being, and in particular for those who need the texts to be read, and also for numberless sentient beings who have a similar problem. You are reciting these texts to benefit them.

In the early morning do the motivation, The Method to Transform a Suffering Life into Happiness (Including Enlightenment), then do Lama Chöpa, but for the actual practice you need a Highest Yoga Tantra initiation first, either Guhyasamaja, Heruka, Yamantaka or Kalachakra.

Also do Chenrezig practice. Soon I am going to produce a Chenrezig book on how to recite OM MANI PADME HUM, with different prayers every day and requests to Chenrezig. When it’s done you can follow that.

In order to free the numberless sentient beings from the oceans of samsaric suffering quickly and bring them to enlightenment quickly, you need to achieve buddhahood in this lifetime, quickly, in one brief lifetime of degenerate time. Therefore, you need to take Highest Yoga Tantra initiation. Later you can take the initiation when the opportunity comes.

I checked for you and the deities you have the most connection with are Yamantaka and Most Secret Hayagriva. Of these two, your main deity is the one you have the strongest feeling for, the strongest connection with. You can practice every day and of course you can take both initiations and do retreat, but the main retreat is the deity you feel closest to and have the strongest feeling for.

Later you can check again if you want to do more practices or preliminary practices. At that time you can send me what [advice] I have sent already, and then I will know what I have to tell you. This should be in a few years, if you get better and have the wish to do more.

The morning motivation [Method to Transform] is like the water for all the food, so you need to do that when you get up in the morning.

You also need to wear two protections:

  • Namgyalma protection and
  • Celestial Mansion protection.

You should wear [these amulets] all the time, but take them off if you sleep on them. If they stay on top of your body it’s OK to leave them on, but if you roll on them and they go under your body then take them off at night and keep them next to you. Also take them off when you shower or swim, as they should not get wet.

It is very good for you to recite the Heart Sutra. When you recite this, do it mindfully, being mindful of the ultimate truth, because I, action, object, whole phenomena exist in mere name. That is how everything exists,  but of course things don’t appear to us [like that.] From beginningless rebirth everything, including I, appears to exist from its own side, even very subtly. It appears that there is something from its own side, but in reality there is nothing, even the size of an atom.

On top of that we believe that this is correct, we are one hundred percent sure. This ignorance—believing this is most correct, believing one hundred percent this concept, relating to the I—is the root of all our suffering.

Why we have to die, why we have to be reborn, why we have to get old, why we have to be sick—all that is the suffering of pain. Now all the samsaric pleasures that human beings, as well as suras and asuras have, all these are the suffering of change. That’s why [samsaric pleasures] don’t last, they don’t continue, they cannot increase. However, Dharma happiness can increase when we achieve enlightenment. These two sufferings come from the third suffering, pervasive compounding suffering. The aggregates are in the nature of suffering, pervaded by suffering, because they are under the control of delusion and karma.

Often His Holiness the Dalai Lama says that these aggregates are the contaminated seed of delusion and karma. So when it meets the condition, from that seed, suffering and delusion arise again. From compounded suffering, then these aggregates come. From the imprint, the cause, delusion and karma [arise.] That is why we suffer; that is the main suffering. That is what Buddhists try to be free from, then we can be free forever from the suffering of pain and the suffering of change.

Generally, you should not believe paranoia. Don’t believe it immediately, otherwise if you do, it is very dangerous. It can lead you into danger and you can die or hurt yourself, or do anything. The spirits control your mind and let you think this; they give all sorts of information and make you think strange things. That is paranoia, like hearing sounds that general people in the world don’t know [or hear.] If you believe and follow this, then you may do all kinds of things.

For example, in Japan it has happened many times. In one example a person was standing [on the platform] and when the train came, a spirit told that person to push someone next to them in front of the train. So all kinds of things can happen. You hear all kinds of things. Anyway, generally regarding paranoia, you should check, don’t believe it immediately. Check if it is really happening or not, don’t just believe it. If you believe it then you become crazy.

Sometimes you hear the person that you want to see, that you have so much attachment to. You hear the voice of the person around, but actually they are not there. When you ask other people, they say that person never came around.

This is news for you, for the time being .

Most importantly, try to live your life as much as possible with bodhicitta in every action that you do.

With much love and prayers...