Your Faith Will Come Back

Your Faith Will Come Back

Date of Advice:
October 2022
Date Posted:
December 2022

Rinpoche advised how to maintain strong faith in Dharma and discussed continuity of mind in this letter to a fourteen-year-old student.

Artwork by Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Scan from unknown source.

My most dear, most precious, most kind, wish-fulfilling one,
Thank you very much for your kind letter. I think you sent it last year, and now it may be an old letter. Anyway, the change in your mind, that happens.

Even geshes who are expert in Buddhist philosophy, in the five extensive treatises—Pramanavarttika, Madhyamaka, Abhidharmakosha, Vinaya and Prajnaparamita—even though they’re expert, their past life’s negative karma is so strong and maybe they run out of good merit, so then even though they believed in reincarnation, karma, everything before and became expert, later everything is lost.

This is due to strong karma from past lives, strong heresy from the past life. Then [they experience] the negative imprint of that, so many imprints due to that, and then they also ran out of good karma. It’s like the fuel in a bottle, when the fuel has run out then the light stops, you know. The flame, the light stops when the fuel in the bottle runs out. It’s like that.

It’s like the butter lamp—when the butter is finished, then the light stops. So when the merit runs out, it’s like this. Therefore we need to collect merit all the time, as extensively as possible, and continually, otherwise this can happen. This has happened in the past, like the example I gave.

So your [loss of faith] is nothing and it can come back; if you pray, if you collect merit, it will come back. But this is from your past life’s habit, very strong heresy, so negative, and it happens due to the negative imprints.

You can pray to Tara, pray to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, pray to Chenrezig, pray to Medicine Buddha, pray for the [positive] mind to come back, the thought for you not to become a heretical being. So you can pray again and again, and collect much merit.

Also help people, many sentient beings, even insects. Do not harm them and benefit them as much as possible, then [your faith] can come back. And in relation to the fear of insects, those insects that are given to pets, you can liberate them, then if you do that more and more, I think the fear will become less and less.

Please write whenever, if you have some questions, if there’s something you need to know.

In regard to your grandmother, pray to Medicine Buddha, and then think Medicine Buddha, with great compassion, sends light into her body, until her body becomes totally purified of spirit harm, negative karma and defilements collected from beginningless rebirths. So the spirit harm, the sickness which came from that, to do with this life, is totally purified, healed, including the lymph glands and the heart. Do that every day and pray to Medicine Buddha to immediately pacify that sickness.

Also pray that her life becomes meaningful, to achieve bodhicitta in this life, to stop giving harm to others and only benefit sentient beings, including with enlightenment. Pray like that, to create that, not only for your grandmother and yourself, but for all your family.

With much love and prayers ...

P.S. It’s like the person not believing in reincarnation—not knowing that a second moment of consciousness or mind came from the previous second of mind, and that mind came from before, that continuation came from the second before. So this present minute of mind continued from the previous minute of mind. This present mind continued from the previous hour’s mind and the previous hour’s mind came from the continuation of the previous hour’s mind. Today’s mind is a continuation of yesterday’s mind and yesterday’s mind is a continuation of the day before yesterday’s mind.

That’s why we can remember what we did this morning, what we ate this morning, what we talked about this morning, and how we remember last night’s good dream or bad dream. We remember what we did yesterday, what we talked about yesterday, what we ate yesterday, what actions we did yesterday, so we remember all that.

If today’s mind is not a continuation of yesterday’s mind, then how can we remember anything? There’s no way, it’s impossible. Then it’s like we can remember somebody else’s mind has been our mind yesterday, so it becomes like that; our mind didn’t have continuation, but it’s somebody else’s mind, then that becomes very crazy.

It’s the same as this year’s mind not having come from last year’s mind and having no continuation from the child’s mind, when we were a child. That means we wouldn’t remember anything, what we did in childhood, nothing, or we would remember somebody else’s childhood mind. So it becomes like that.

Similarly, even this life’s continuity of mind is the continuation of the previous life’s mind. So then it is the deeper and more far intermediate stage from which we’re born, so that one. For that one we would need clairvoyance; if we have clairvoyance then we can remember. There are those who can remember past lives, but not everyone can remember that.

But when our mind is developed in meditation, reaching higher and higher paths, then we can remember our past life and the life before that, and a hundred past lifetimes, a thousand past lifetimes, a million past lives, as our mind reaches higher and higher paths and becomes more and more awake.

It’s just like the walls or anything which has excellent paintings but is covered by dust—the more and more we clean it, then we see the paintings more and more clearly, so like that.

It’s the same thing with the mind. As the mind becomes more and more obscured, then the qualities of the mind become more and more difficult to perceive, and difficult to remember. So like that, by purifying the obscurations, then we can see more clearly the past and the future, and so on.

So this much is enough. Here you have some logic, some basis. People who don’t believe today’s life is a continuation of yesterday’s mind, then there are all the things that you said, that people believe this hour’s mind is not the continuation of the previous hour’s mind, the mind of an hour before.

It is very silly, the example I gave, but people believe like that. I’m using this as an example, I’m not saying that people believe it, but I’m using it as an example. So it’s all about what your mind thinks, it’s like that. I hope this gives you a little solution.

Thank you very much and I hope to see you soon.

Lama Zopa