Which Practices to Do Next

Which Practices to Do Next

Date of Advice:
September 2013
Date Posted:
January 2021

After completing 300,000 prostrations, a student asked Rinpoche what to do next. Rinpoche advised eight nyung näs each year and three million OM MANI PADME HUM mantras with strong bodhicitta motivation. Rinpoche also advised how to meditate on lamrim until enlightenment is achieved. The student’s letter and Rinpoche’s response are below.   

Student’s letter

After many years I finished 300,000 prostrations to the Thirty-five Buddhas. If I made any merit, I would like to offer it to you. May your health increase and please, please live long. May we be able to meet again and again from life to life. Thank you so much for everything. There are no words that can express my deep thankfulness and love to you. Please Rinpoche, can you kindly tell me which practice I should do next and what I should focus on?

Rinpoche’s response

Nyung nä retreat: Do eight nyung näs every year

OM MANI PADME HUM recitations: Plan to do three million if possible, and if not, do two million or a minimum of one million, with Chenrezig meditation. Visualize beams emitted from the Thousand-arm Chenrezig which purify all sentient beings— numberless hell beings, hungry ghosts, animals, human beings, suras, asuras and intermediate state beings.

Another meditation can be on the lamrim, then at the end you become Chenrezig and all sentient beings become Chenrezig and receive all the qualities.

Soon I will come out with a book on how to use prayer wheels, with one hand holding a mala and counting OM MANI PADME HUM and the right hand turning the prayer wheel. Meditate on beams being emitted from Chenrezig and the prayer wheel, purifying all sentient beings. For ten malas focus on purifying yourself, then for the next ten malas purify all sentient beings.

I am also planning to make a book of different Chenrezig prayers. Anyway, until then you can choose different Chenrezig prayers to recite every day. I plan to do a book in Tibetan as well as in English.

Do the practice with the strongest possible bodhicitta motivation. This is the most powerful purification, to purify negative karma and obscurations collected from beginningless rebirth as well as to collect extensive merits, and to generate realizations on the path to enlightenment, and especially to develop compassion for every sentient being—the numberless sentient beings in each realm, without leaving out one ant, one insect, even one mosquito or one fish from the ocean, or those animals that you can only see through a microscope, but can’t see with your eyes. Include the person who is your enemy, who is angry with you or with the black dog.

How is the black dog? I think one black dog died? Is that correct, your first black dog? Sorry, I went into the dogs, but this is for you to achieve enlightenment as quickly as possible, in order to free the sentient beings from the oceans of samsaric sufferings and enlighten them.

Tonglen: Do this 50,000 times. The main thing is meditation, but you can also recite the prayer. You can do this first then recite OM MANI PADME HUM.

Do effortful lamrim meditation using the lamrim outline. Keep circling in this way until you have gained stable realizations. Then do effortless meditation, no matter how many weeks, months or years it takes.

Continue until you have stable realizations on guru devotion, until you see one guru as all the buddhas from your side, and one buddha is all the gurus, so that you receive Dharma connection; until you are able to see that one hundred percent, for a long time, without effort.

If possible, each day also do a little bit of meditation on the graduated path of the lower capable being, the different levels. [Meditate on the] perfect human rebirth until you see from your side how precious this human body is, how it is more precious than a wish-granting jewel, skies of wish-granting jewels, until you feel this for months and years without effort, that it is most precious. So you go on like that, relating to each meditation. After that, meditate on its usefulness, how it is difficult to find again and so forth, then impermanence and death, with the nine-round meditation, then the suffering of the lower realms, refuge and karma.

After you have these realizations then train the mind in the path of the middle capable being, particular the sufferings of the deva and human realms, the general sufferings, the six and twelve types and the twelve links, until you see that samsara is like being in the center of a fire or like being in prison. It’s so unbelievable. Then without effort you will have renunciation every second without effort, wanting to be free from samsara.

[Meditate on] bodhicitta, the thought to achieve enlightenment, until it arises day and night without effort and you want to achieve enlightenment for every person that you see.

Then emptiness. You should meditate on this every day—I’m not sure how long for—by reading the Heart Sutra or different quotations, by reciting even a short verse on emptiness and meditating on that.

So you realize that the real I—what appears, what you trust in—is false. Recognize it as false and then see it as empty, after that you see it is totally empty,  it does not exist. From the beginning, by training the mind in that, you see as a result, what you realize first is ultimate truth and through that you realize the truth for the all obscuring mind, that the I exists in mere name. You realize that as a result it is merely labeled by the mind, so you see, the I exists in mere name and because it exists in mere name, that’s why it is empty. So, unified emptiness and dependent arising, when you realize that, then you have completed the understanding of emptiness.

Continue in that, by training the mind in that, then you achieve great insight meditation, emptiness with the realization of shinä, calm abiding, deriving rapturous ecstasy of body and mind.

Training the mind in that leads to the direct perception of emptiness, which ceases the seed of delusion. If there is no delusion and karma, there is no suffering and then you achieve nirvana, you achieve the ultimate nature of the mind, free from delusion and karma, and then with the support [of] bodhicitta, you can develop the ultimate wisdom. You develop ultimate wisdom, the direct perception of emptiness, by developing the supporting method, bodhicitta and so forth.

Then you can achieve full enlightenment, you are able to see the subtle obscurations, complete all the realizations in the mind, and then become a perfect guide and do perfect works for sentient beings.

Thank you very much. Please give my love to your black dog. Because you mentioned your black dog, then I remembered you.

With much love and prayers ...