Two Essential Daily Practices

Two Essential Daily Practices

Date of Advice:
October 2016
Date Posted:
July 2017

In this letter, Rinpoche advised the benefits of two important daily practices: recitation of OM MANI PADME HUM and the Medicine Buddha’s mantra and names. Rinpoche said this is general advice for everyone.

My most dear, most kind, most precious wish-fulfilling ones,
You are both most welcome to enlightenment, so that means goodbye to the lower realms and samsara and lower nirvana for both of you. You must know you two are the most fortunate beings.

Now your daily practices: a very important one is reciting OM MANI PADME HUM mantra and also Medicine Buddha mantra and names. Chenrezig and Medicine Buddha are very important.

Regarding Chenrezig, by reciting OM MANI PADME HUM it purifies negative karma and obscurations collected from beginningless rebirths and we collect extensive merits. This is even reciting without bodhicitta. Even reciting one mala purifies negative karmas created from beginningless rebirths as well as all the obscurations, and we collect merit more than the drops [of water] in the Pacific Ocean, more than the sand grains of the Pacific Ocean, more than the grasses growing on the mountains and on the lands of the earth. It is unbelievable.

If we recite OM MANI PADME HUM mantra with bodhicitta just one time, we collect more than skies of merit. Then in particular if we generate compassion for the sentient beings, the particular benefit is that it helps us achieve enlightenment more quickly, the stronger we generate compassion. To achieve enlightenment more quickly is not just for our own happiness, like taking drugs, it is not like that, just to have some sort of bliss out. It is not like that. It is so that we can free the numberless sentient beings from the oceans of samsaric sufferings of the six realms and then we can bring everyone to full enlightenment, buddhahood, the peerless happiness, the total cessation of all the obscurations and completion of all the realizations. That is unbelievable, unbelievable, the greatest benefit. This is what we need in the life.

If we recite OM MANI PADME HUM every day, however many we recite, it is most unbelievably, unbelievably meaningful. It makes our life beneficial for the numberless sentient beings, the numberless hell beings, numberless hungry ghosts and numberless animals. This means every single animal living in the ocean, large like a mountain or so small that we can't see it, but only through a machine, a microscope, and also every single ant that we see on the road to our house. Our life is benefiting every single maggot, every single tick, every single mosquito, every single worm, and also benefiting every single human being, every single sura and every single asura being, and also not just talking about this world, but numberless worlds. It is unbelievable. Recite OM MANI PADME HUM and generate compassion for every single one of these beings; generate the motivation, whether we have realized bodhicitta or not. Generate strong compassion and dedicate the mantras for every single sentient being, even if we don't have actual realization of bodhicitta.

My mother didn’t know the Tibetan alphabet, she couldn't read texts, so when lamas explained commentaries from the texts, she didn’t understand. She only knew the simple advices like how to sit in front of a lama with your hands in your lap, or to not pass over two beads on the mala, but to count the mantras one bead by one bead and so on, things like that. This is what she told me. So when the lamas gave commentaries on the texts, she would recite OM MANI PADME HUM. This is what she did in Tibet, when Tibet was free. She went to Tibet to listen to teachings from the root guru of Kyabje Trulshik Rinpoche.

Even though she couldn't read the texts, she had a hundred times greater compassion than me, who can read texts and speak a little bit of Dharma. Not only her, but I also saw older ladies who normally do nyung-nä, the Chenrezig retreat. I am sure they can't read texts, but they have strong faith in the guru, Chenrezig, and they recite mantras. The ceremony is done by the monks who lead the nyung-näs or by the Ngapas, who read the texts. Most of the ladies and men who attend cannot read the letters or the texts, so they recite OM MANI PADME HUM. This is how they do nyung-näs. I met one old lady who normally does nyung-näs and she recites many mantras every day, so even just speaking one or two times to her, I felt she had great compassion. Therefore you can see how important it is to recite OM MANI PADME HUM.

I'm thinking to write a book that has different Chenrezig prayers, maybe seven or eight different prayers and practices, so it can be used every day to recite different prayers to Chenrezig, before reciting OM MANI PADME HUM, to inspire devotion to Chenrezig. I haven't written it yet, but I hope to soon. It will be in Tibetan and English as well as in other languages. I think this is very, very important. In the meantime you can recite whatever short prayer to Chenrezig that you know before you recite the mantras every day.

The other very important practice for success is Medicine Buddha. The most important, highest success is achieving enlightenment for sentient beings. That is the most important thing, then by actualizing the path this brings other success in the life—just by the way, it happens. So this practice helps to bring any success, such as helping the Buddha’s teachings and sentient beings. Therefore it is very important to recite the seven Medicine Buddhas’  names, and if you include the name of the Buddha it is eight names. You can use this sadhana.

This practice is unbelievably powerful, as the Medicine Buddhas have made prayers for all the successes and to overcome all the problems, so that happens to us.

These two practices are very important to do every day. Recite OM MANI PADME HUM mantra and Medicine Buddha mantra and if you can, recite the seven names of Medicine Buddha seven times each day. If you can, recite one mala of the Medicine Buddha mantra. Of course you can do more if you like. If you can, do one mala or ten malas of OM MANI PADME HUM mantra every day.

If we do ten malas of OM MANI PADME HUM then it carries blessings for every generation up to seven generations of our family, to not get born in the lower realms, to have higher rebirths and to meet the holy Dharma again. When we die, when our body is burned, the smoke from that purifies the negative karma of any sentient being who is touched by it.

When we go in the ocean, like for a swim, when our body touches the water, then any sentient being in the rest of the ocean receives blessings—that means any sentient being who drinks the water or touches the water, even human beings playing in the water. All their obscurations and negative karmas are purified and they don’t get reborn in the lower realms; they don’t get rebirth in a womb, by egg, by heat and so forth; this is what is mentioned. Then all those sentient beings whom the water has touched are always with the buddhas and bodhisattvas from life to life. This is after a person who recites ten malas a day goes into the water, just from the water touching their body. So it is an unbelievable, unbelievable, unbelievable blessing.

Same thing, if the wind touches a person who recites ten malas a day, when that wind touches any other being it has blessings, it purifies obscurations and negative karma, and they don’t get reborn in the lower realms. This includes the breath when it goes out and touches somebody, for example, if we blow on animals, insects, by our breath touching them it purifies their negative karma and they get a higher rebirth.

The life practices I have sent you are all to help you actualize the path to enlightenment. To achieve full enlightenment yourself and then to free the numberless sentient beings from the oceans of samsaric sufferings and bring them to the peerless happiness, buddhahood.

Thank you very much. Don’t worry, this is to plan well, what to practice, for however many years, months, weeks or hours that you have life to live. This is how to make your life most beneficial for sentient beings.

The Kadampa geshes advised to aim far to achieve enlightenment for sentient beings. Therefore not only thinking about this month or this year, and then not having long-term patience. If we only think about this year, then we try very hard, but sooner or later we will completely stop because it is taking a long time. So not thinking like that. It is like the Tibetan example of a flea jumping up and down, but the turtle goes very slowly and steadily. It is the turtle that reaches the mountain by continuing on.

The Kadampa geshes also advised to extend the mind. This means to do all the preliminary practices, meditation on the lam-rim and all these practices, studying Dharma and so on, to extend the mind. At the same time not squeezing the mind, but relaxing the mind. A third advice is to relax the mind, so not getting uptight, then getting lung disease and having many problems  so that we can't continue, then completely stopping everything until some catastrophe happens. Then we remember death and we remember the practices.

With much love and prayers,