My very dear Emma,
Thank you for your kind letter.
These things are very important to do before your operation on 20 May:
1) Take a long-life initiation. It is very important that that this happens BEFORE the operation. It is best if the Rinpoche you know, who is at your center, can do it. If not, then Geshe-la can do it.
2) 190 long-life tsa-tsas are being made for you before the operation. The Sangha are doing this here.
Before the operation, on the 20th, somebody needs to go over the Vajrayogini self-initiation next to you. The person can read it and you can either recite as much as you can, or listen to it as much as you can. Try to do it. The main thing is the four initiations and to take the bodhisattva and tantric vows again. This is very important. You must do this to make your vows pure again, so that what has been broken is restored. It is very important to think that you have received the vows. If you can, listen to the prayers, and see if you can repeat as the other person recites. If that is hard, then you can recite them mentally as you hear the person reading. Then think that you have received the bodhisattva and tantric vows completely.
When taking the four initiations, meditate as much as you can on those, especially that all the negative karma collected since beginningless time (and then specifically according to each of the four initiations) is completely purified. Ask the person to read the four initiations slowly. Especially think that one’s negative karma is purified—generate strong faith in that. First, one particularly thinks that negative karma related to the body (killing, etc), collected since beginningless time, is purified, and that you are completely purified and have achieved the Vajra holy body. You receive permission to meditate on the generation stage. You have left the potential to receive the result: nirmanakaya, on your mental continuum.
Then the next initiation—the secret initiation—purifies negative karmas of one’s speech (lying, etc) collected since beginningless time, and you are completely purified and have achieved the Vajra holy speech. You have permission to meditate on the impure and pure illusory body. You have left the potential to achieve the result: sambhogakaya, on your mental continuum.
The next one is the wisdom initiation, to purify negative karma of mind (ill will, etc), collected since beginningless time, and you are completely purified. Generate strong faith. It is good to remember negative karma also collected with your guru, and this is completely purified. You achieve the Vajra holy mind and have permission to meditate on clear light. You have left the potential to achieve the result: dharmakaya, on your mental continuum.
Next is the word initiation, to purify general and subtle stains of body, speech, and mind, and, in particular, subtle dualistic view, collected since beginningless time. All of these are purified and you are completely purified. Generate strong faith. You have permission to meditate on the path of unification. You have left the potential to achieve the unified state of Vajradhara.
These are the main points to include during the four initiations, while they are happening. You can try to meditate and think in this way. Then you have no worries at all. Even if the operation is not successful, then you go to a pure land or receive a perfect human birth.
Also, this way, any broken samaya and negative karma collected since beginningless time, especially heavy negative karma collected with one’s guru, such as non-devotional thought, harming the holy body, etc, are all purified. This is the most important thing, to purify one’s samaya. That is the best way to die.
When you go for the operation, with your mind in bodhicitta, it is very good if you are able to do tong-len on the way. The main refuge should be bodhicitta, and think His Holiness and Amitabha are as one on your crown, and the main object of refuge. Then do tong-len to experience all sentient beings’ pain, even death, by yourself. Let them all be free from death and all sufferings. Generate the wish. If you can, think this way, without clinging to your family, etc, or any things, and mainly do bodhicitta and tong-len. The main thing is that there is nothing to worry about, and no clinging to sentient beings. On your crown is His Holiness in the aspect of Amitabha Buddha.
Before you have the injection (anesthetic), it is extremely important that your last thoughts be virtuous. This is so important, in case something happens, for your future rebirth, and, no question, for going to a pure land. So, it is very important to put a lot of effort into this. If you can concentrate on Amitabha Buddha above the crown of your head, then see your consciousness (see it as a bright white/red drop) in your heart, and looking up into Amitabha’s heart, your consciousness goes into Amitabha’s heart. If you can do that it would be great. This is a great preparation to go to Amitabha pure land. Your consciousness absorbs into Amitabha’s heart.
In the pure land all the trees, petals of the flowers, and leaves are all making the sound of Dharma, the teachings of Buddha. Even the sound of the wind is Dharma, the wind blowing in the trees. Also, all the birds are making the sound of pure Dharma. All the trees are wish-granting trees, the ground is lapis lazuli, very blissful, everything is wish-fulfilling, and there is no suffering. This is regarded as a very special, most profound way to die, a self-supporting death according to His Holiness. It is a great way to die, and even if one doesn’t die, it is very powerful.
Go to the operation with bodhicitta, and, if you can do po-wa, make your mind one with Amitabha Buddha, then go to the pure land. This can be your last thought, and before that do the self-initiation. Amitabha is on your crown and you are looking up, like looking up an upside down trumpet, with the bottom part open, up to the crown, straight down the body, closer to your back, made of light, in the nature of light (this is important). Then, shoot one’s consciousness to Amitabha pure land, first to Amitabha’s heart, so your consciousness, in the nature of light (red light), goes up to Amitabha’s heart, through the chancel, which completely hooks your consciousness. It shoots up and you make strong prayers to be reborn in Amitabha pure land, so as to be able to liberate sentient beings. Make very strong prayers to Amitabha, so that he completely hooks your consciousness in one second, heart to heart, it absorbs into Amitabha’s heart, and takes you to the pure land. Then, you are born in a lotus and receive teachings from Amitabha. It is also helpful when you are doing this to make sure no thought of anger or attachment comes up.
If death happens during the operation, then your work is done. If you don’t die, then it is excellent practice, and if you do it with bodhicitta, then it makes your life most beneficial.
I am very happy that all the students made prayers for you and recited the Diamond Cutter Sutra. When I heard about your accident, it was totally unimaginable. This was the first and only time I have asked all the students to make prayers like this. Many students have passed away but I haven’t asked before; it didn’t happen.
Please do everything with a bodhicitta mind, all the time, as much as possible.
I am making prayers for you.
With much love and prayers...