The Power of Bodhicitta

The Power of Bodhicitta

Date of Advice:
July 2020
Date Posted:
January 2021

Rinpoche sent this advice encouraging people at the Dharma center to offer aid to those affected by COVID-19 who need help with basic food, etc. Rinpoche gave examples of people who had recovered from cancer and other problems after practicing tonglen. This advice is excerpted from a long letter which you can read here.

Artwork by Lama Zopa Rinpoche.

Dear one,
When you have cancer or other problems, you can sincerely take other sentient beings’ cancer or problems and experience it for them, thinking that then they don’t have the problem. Normally when you do that, the problem goes away and you recover from your own cancer. It has happened many times.

Recently in China, one person who had cancer read my books and did tonglen, taking other sentient beings’ suffering, and he recovered from cancer. In Singapore, a student’s wife had suddenly died and he became a monk. I asked him to become a monk. Somebody got cancer and he asked that person to sincerely practice tonglen, taking the sentient beings’ suffering, nonvirtue and causes of suffering, and giving them happiness. That person did the practice and recovered from cancer. There are more examples.

The next example is a little bit different. Someone who had a heart attack recovered by turning a prayer wheel and reciting OM MANI PADME HUM. There are quite a lot of stories like that. These things happened in recent times and they also happened in the past, thousands of years ago. I would just like to let you know these are by the power of bodhicitta. For example, when I have eye pain or stomach pain, my pain is not really cancer but sometimes I think it is. The minute I think to do tonglen—even if I’m not actually doing tonglen, but just having the thought to do tonglen—then the pain stops. That is the power of bodhicitta. It is not that I have bodhicitta, but just the thought of it. I am not telling a lie.

It’s very good you didn’t get the virus and that you didn’t die yet. And also, the nuns who went [to help people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic] a few times, that’s very, very good. I really want the Buddhist monks and nuns to go there, to give charity of food, so then it leaves a positive imprint in the minds of those very poor people who have so much suffering. That positive imprint generates for them the aspiration to be a monk or nun, to renounce the householder’s life and to take vows.

It leaves an imprint on their mind to achieve enlightenment—to be free from samsara and to achieve enlightenment. It helps not only in this life, but from life to life. From that positive imprint, from life to life it helps them to become monk or nun and to meet Dharma. Wow, wow, wow. And then, from life to life—wow, wow, wow—for hundreds, thousands and millions of lives it brings them to enlightenment. That is why I asked the Buddhist monks and nuns to go there. I was very happy that the nuns went, and you went at least one time after I explained this. At least you did something. I was very, very happy about that.

With love and prayers ...

Note: Rinpoche continued with advice about resolving conflict at the Dharma center. Read this advice here.