Blessings of the Merit Field

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Kopan Monastery, Nepal (Archive #095)

Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche gave this teaching at Kopan Course No. 15, held at Kopan Monastery, Nepal, in November 1982. This is an excerpt from Section Three of the course. Lightly edited by Sandra Smith.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche on the beach in Adelaide, Australia, 1983. Photo: Wendy Finster.

Generating realizations and actualizing the graduated path to enlightenment, from guru devotion up to enlightenment, all comes from having received blessings. Each time we generate a realization in our mind, we have received a blessing. Each time we generate a realization or our mind changes and becomes more subdued, at that time we are receiving blessings. Before, the mind was completely empty of understanding karma, not knowing the cause of happiness and the cause of suffering at all. But now, we find a little bit of faith slowly arising as our understanding grows. That means many blessings have been received.

As I mentioned yesterday, the selfish attitude, anger and other disturbing thoughts become weaker and smaller by doing the preliminary practices. The practice of refuge and bodhicitta, mandala offerings and prostrations, are all methods for accumulating extensive merits. Also, doing Vajrasattva and Chenrezig mantras are powerful methods to purify unimaginable obscurations. When our mind gets better and better, that is a sign of having received the blessings of the merit field, the guru and the Triple Gem.

If you cannot think in the elaborate way that I explained with the first prayer—particularly the method and the result, the rupakaya, from the beginning of guru devotion up to enlightenment—then just think about the merit field. If you cannot think in such detail about the path—about method and wisdom, the resultant rupakaya and then the rest of the complete path, particularly wisdom and the result, the dharmakaya—first purify all the obstacles and on the second repetition generate all those realizations through a replica of the merit field that absorbs into oneself and all sentient beings. If you cannot think in such detail about the path, just visualize the merit field whose holy names are mentioned and think that this absorbs into oneself and all other sentient beings. Think that you and all sentient beings have received whatever realizations they have—the infinite excellences of their holy body, holy speech and holy mind. In short, it is very important to think or to feel like this.

If the question arises, “I want to become enlightened quickly for the sake of the sentient beings and I want to generate quickly the graduated path to enlightenment, so what can I do? Which methods can swiftly generate these realizations?” then these preliminary practices are the answer to that. If we wonder about this or have these questions, this is the answer, this is the method to fertilize the mind.

If we plant crops on the rocks or in very solid ground where there are lots of rocks and stones, they cannot grow. Also, the ground needs to be fertilized; it has to be well-treated and have perfect minerals and depending on that, the crops will grow. A similar arrangement is needed for the mind. We need to prepare our mind in order to generate the stems of the virtuous crops and the result, the fruit—the dharmakaya and the rupakaya. Through the stems, the method and wisdom, the graduated path to enlightenment, we achieve the fruit—the rupakaya and the dharmakaya.

If we have that kind of question, that kind of concern—wanting to be of benefit to other sentient beings, to offer extensive benefits and to free all sentient beings from suffering and lead them into the state of omniscient mind—then we should study these fundamental practices well and practice them in everyday life. Otherwise, if we just close our eyes and sit with our legs crossed, or if we do some physical exercises called yoga or some things that just make the body flexible so it can move around or curve around and close your eyes as if sleeping—that won’t stop the lower realms. We won’t even stop the problems of this life or the confusion of the mind, even today, so we are unable to close the door to rebirth in the lower realms.