Teachings at the Kadampa Deities Retreat

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Institut Vajra Yogini, France (Archive #1413)

These teachings were given by Lama Zopa Rinpoche at a retreat held at Institut Vajra Yogini, France, from 18 April to 11 May 2003. The retreat was on the four Kadampa deities, however, Rinpoche teaches on a broad range of lamrim topics. Read the first fifteen discourses, lightly edited by Sandra Smith.

We have now posted three more lectures from this series. In Lectures 13 and 14, Rinpoche explains that Guru Puja (Lama Chöpa) is the heart practice highly recommended by Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo and other great lamas. In Lecture 15, Rinpoche advises us to learn and practice lamrim while we have this precious opportunity. Rinpoche continues with commentary on Calling the Guru from Afar and concludes with extensive dedications.

Boudhanath Stupa, photo by Dennis Heslop taken in the 1960s.
12. The Power of Mantras and Holy Objects

So not only have we received this precious human body, that which is extremely difficult to achieve, we have achieved it at this time.

I think even scientifically, if it’s scientifically questioned, how did that happen? In the oceans, what is that fish called? I don’t know the size. Maybe they’re this size, I’m not sure. That one, kind of long but not so fat? That goes in the groups, that goes so many together, a whole bunch, I don’t know how many, probably many hundreds, thousands, thousands, the whole group that goes around like this? Huh? [Student: Sardines.] Huh? Sardis? [Student: Sardines.] So many go in a group, they go like this, they turn around, like that, so many together. Its name is sadhis? Anyway, even that in the water, there are numberless, just if you think of those fish, just numberless.

Sometimes in America, where I was staying, where I live, with other lamas we would go to the beach, or some geshes would come up, not often but anyway I would take them to the beach. It’s a five-minute drive to the ocean. So at the beach there’s a bridge where people go; they just walk down, I’m not sure what’s at the end, I don’t remember. That’s where people who are fishing carry their things and go fishing from the bridge. Anyway, sometimes we went there to put tsa tsas on the water, with the mantra. We went to the beach but we used the time to put tsa tsas on the water.

Mitugpa Mantra

One time a few years ago when I was Singapore I gave Mitugpa great initiation. I did that, and I explained the benefits of the Mitugpa mantra, how powerful it is. It is one of the powerful mantras to purify the negative karma that causes us to be born in the lower realms. It’s one of the powerful practices for that. You write the mantra and when a person is dying or dead already, you put the mantra on their body; you touch the mantra on the body, you wrap it on the body. The main thing is to touch the mantra on the body, putting the mantra on the dead person’s body, on the head. Just touching the mantra on the body purifies their negative karma and causes the person to receive a higher rebirth as a deva or human. Putting it on the head of the person, even if they have already died, you can put it on the body and then recite the mantra. Then you blow on the water or sand or mustard seeds, and then you sprinkle that on the dead body, the person who has died, or you sprinkle it on the grave. You do that on the place where the body was already burned, on there, or even on the grave, so it purifies that person who died. Their negative karma is purified and it causes them to have a good rebirth and things like that.

The other special thing is that when the person is dying, if the person sees the mantra of Mitugpa, then that person doesn’t get reborn in the lower realms. It becomes a great purification just by seeing the mantra at the time of death, then one doesn’t get reborn in the lower realms and it purifies the very heavy karma, such as having abandoned holy Dharma, which I mentioned during the confession practice, that which is heavier than having destroyed all the temples, all the statues, stupas, scriptures, everything, all the holy objects that exist in this world. Having abandoned the holy Dharma is heavier than having destroyed all those holy objects. By seeing this mantra it purifies even those negative karmas.

Another very heavy karma is having received pollution by taking the Sangha’s belongings without permission, that which is offered by other people with devotion. Those heavy karmas get purified. Particularly these last ones, these very heavy karmas get purified.

I suggested to the people during the initiation that it’s very useful to make a block print of the mantra and then when you go to the beach [you put that] print on the water. Here it’s the same thing, and there are many of those other benefits. Here the mantra touches the water and the water gets blessed, then it purifies those numberless animals and insects that live in the water. So all the water in that river or that lake or ocean is blessed and it purifies all those numberless beings who are in that water. So I was suggesting that to them.

So then after a few months when I arrived in the United States, somebody, I don’t know who did that, but somebody sponsored a rubber stamp—one box is ink and one is a rubber stamp with Mitugpa mantra. There is a box [of ink] and then the rubber [stamp] of the Mitugpa mantra. One is the opposite [a mirror-image], so if you are going to print it, you can print it on paper, but there it’s the opposite, the other side. So if you have ink, you can print it.

I was suggesting that, then that makes it very worthwhile when you go to the beach to do this practice to bless the water and purify all the sentient beings in the water. Anyway, after a few months, I don’t know who sent it, I got this box, very well-made, with ropes, to tie the mantra with the ropes. Actually, maybe the ropes, I think, I’m not sure exactly how they fitted, so when we were on the bridge, from above the bridge, it was enough to just reach on the ocean. Somebody sponsored this and sent it to me. So we use this from time to time when we go to the beach.

At the beginning we went to do this, but not on the beach; we went to a corner of the water where you can do it, some part of the ocean that comes to the surface. We had one nun who kept on doing it for a long time, so I think that didn’t give other people the chance to do it. [Laughter] Later I thought each person must do it with one hand holding a mala, so they are holding the tsa tsa and at the same time chanting the mantra, OM MANI PADME HUM, OM MANI PADME HUM. So, after one mala is finished then they pass it to the next person. Otherwise, they would have to wait a long time.

So anyway, this talk just came about by that. When we went there to do it, at the beginning you can’t see well because sometimes there is sunlight, but when you watch carefully from the bridge, where there’s darkness—depending on whether there is shade or something—you look in the water and it’s full of these small fish. It’s completely full; in the ocean there are so many of these fish.

Namgyälma Mantra

Anyway, before I go ahead, I want to mention this, since I brought this topic. One Chinese person from Hong Kong who was working for Maitreya Project, he wanted to [make] Namgyälma mantra, which is unbelievable powerful. I think it was bigger than this table, maybe the size of this thangka, perhaps maybe even wider. The Namgyälma mantra was written by somebody, but it had to be corrected, so he brought it to me to correct. I had the Namgyälma mantra many years ago, not nowadays but before, I used to do it if there was time. I was kind of involved with the Namgyälma mantra. Anyway, the long mantra is recited for people who have passed away. It’s regarded as very, very powerful for purifying the negative karma of somebody who passed away. It’s very powerful to recite this.

There are unbelievable, unbelievable benefits from this Namgyälma mantra. One time Lama and I went south India, I think maybe for teachings, I think maybe to receive teaching from His Holiness Ling Rinpoche, the seven points of thought transformation at Drepung Monastery, then maybe there might have been something else. Anyway, one day we went to see His Holiness Trijang Rinpoche, who is also Lama’s root guru. So both of us went to see Rinpoche at his house in Mundgod.

His Holiness Trijang Rinpoche was giving us an interview but at the same time Rinpoche was doing his practice, doing meditation. Rinpoche usually sat on the bed, usually the manifestation is that the legs were stretched, covered with the monk’s coat, then he would give the interview. Normally it was like that. Although during pujas, during the initiations, I think, also usually don’t cross legs, sit like this. It’s easy when you do, for example, Vajrayogini or Heruka, when you do the invocation PHAM, with that sound, so your left toe on the, your right leg toe, you do like this, that’s how the legs have to be in that position when you do that. So then Rinpoche always sat like this, a little bit stretched out like that. That’s the position that Rinpoche normally sat in, I think, like that.

Anyway, in the middle of the conversation Rinpoche explained to us what he was doing, then he said, “I’m reciting Namgyälma mantra, because I receive requests and offerings,”—this means money offerings—“from the ten directions, people making requests for people who have died and for the living. From the ten directions of the world they are requesting, asking me to pray. They make requests and send offerings, so therefore I’m reciting the Namgyälma mantra.” Then Rinpoche was saying that people think this is only for a long life but it’s not. It’s also very powerful for purification. Rinpoche said that. So anyway, after that, I tried to do that. There was a time that I used to recite the Namgyälma mantra for people who had died.

Anyway, I met one man in Hong Kong around those times, a Chinese man who practiced Namgyälma so much. I just met him. Then he showed me his mantra, but there were some extra mantras there in his text, so I [corrected] that. If it’s missing then it’s worse.

There in that text the Buddha explained that if you have the Namgyälma mantra in the house, then the whole house gets blessed and all the people living in the house are purified; their negative karma is purified. If it’s on a banner, then even the shadow of that banner, whomever the shadow touches, those sentient beings’ negative karma gets purified. If the Namgyälma mantra is on top of a mountain, then the people and animals who are on that mountain, who are walking on that mountain, their negative karmas get purified. There are so many benefits explained.

The Chinese student who is working for Maitreya Project, I don’t know from where he heard about the benefits of Namgyälma mantra, but this is what he wanted to do. So that size, he carved the Namgyälma mantra, I don’t know from what material, iron or I’m not sure. However, he wanted to do that. I think his enjoyment, his entertainment or enjoyment is to dive, he likes to dive, to go in the water, in the ocean. So he brought this very large mantra down into the ocean. He said he saw some old ruined boat, an old broken ship, and he wanted to put this mantra under the water to benefit all the fish, to bless the water, so the fish would go around it and also touch it. They would go around it and it would bless the water and purify them. That is a great idea.

He was also going to take some stupas down there and tie them to the posts under the water to stabilize them. This was to benefit the fish. If a stupa touches the water, of course the water is blessed because of the powerful mantras inside, for example, the dharmakaya relic mantras, the highest among the relics.

The Dharmakaya Relic Mantras

There are different types of relics1 and the highest relics are the dharmakaya relics, which are the mantras. So there is the mantra of the Secret Relic, the Stainless Beam Deity’s mantra, the Ornament of Enlightenment mantra and maybe the Stainless Pinnacle Deity’s mantra. These mantras are normally written on the life tree. They are normally written with gold on the life tree that goes inside the statue of a buddha or inside a stupa. They are written with gold, actual gold, so that gives, unbelievable, unbelievable, limitless skies [of merit]; that gives unbelievable power to the holy object.

The statue or stupa itself is a holy object even without the mantras inside. It has power that any sentient being even without their motivation being virtuous—even if it’s self-cherishing thought, attachment clinging to this life, seeking only happiness of this life, or anger, jealousy; even if the motivation is totally nonvirtuous—by doing prostrations, making offerings and doing circumambulation to these holy objects, it immediately becomes the cause to achieve enlightenment, liberation from samsara and the happiness of future lives, a good rebirth as a deva or human in the next lives, all those happiness of future lives. So that means, no question, health, a long life, prosperity and all those things. All the things of this life just come by the way.

By the power of the holy object, even without the mantras, just by making those shapes, the shape of the Buddha, or the stupa representing the holy mind—that which received the label “stupa” and that which received the label “statue of the Buddha,” the correct base which receives the correct label “Buddha statue” or “stupa” or things like that—so that already has incredible power, even if the motivation is totally nonvirtuous.

Even if the motivation of the action—circumambulating, prostrating or making offerings—is totally nonvirtuous, that action becomes virtue and even the cause of enlightenment, the highest [happiness]. It becomes the cause not only of temporary happiness but of ultimate happiness, and even among the ultimate happiness, full enlightenment. So the holy object already has the power to affect the sentient beings and it’s unbelievably easy to purify their negative karma and to affect their mind and their actions, which become the cause of enlightenment, the cause of the highest, greatest success and happiness.

Besides that, by having these mantras inside, written with gold on the life tree then that gives the holy object much, much, much more power; it becomes hundreds, thousands, millions of times more powerful. It's already powerful, but on top of that, it becomes incredibly powerful to purify sentient beings’ negative karma, to collect extensive merit, all that.

So, by having the first mantra, the Secret Relic mantra, by having that mantra, even one, inside the statue or inside the stupa, then anybody—not only people, but even insects—who goes around it, even just once, it has so much power, it purifies the negative karma of that sentient being which causes the being to reincarnate in all the eight hot hells. So the negative karma which causes that sentient being to reincarnate in all the eight hot hells is completely purified by just one time going around the stupa containing this mantra. And then once you do the circumambulation of this stupa, it directs your life toward enlightenment, from now, from here, toward enlightenment. So that mantra has that power. There are many other benefits, but I’ve just mentioned just one or two.

Then there is the Stainless Pinnacle Deity’s mantra. If you have that inside the holy object, it gives so much power. Anybody who does even one circumambulation, one offering or one prostration to that stupa, it purifies immediately the five negative karmas, the very heavy negative karmas without interruption of another life, that which causes us to reincarnate in the heaviest hell realms. Among the hot hells, the heaviest one is the very bottom one, the last one, the unbearable hot hell realm. [We purify the karma] which causes us to be born there and experience it for one intermediate eon, so like that, for an incredible, inconceivable length of time. So that karma is completely purified. Killing one’s father or mother, harming or killing an arhat, drawing blood from a buddha and causing disunity among the Sangha—those heavy negative karmas are completely purified just by doing one prostration, making one offering or one circumambulation of the holy object containing this mantra. Then it becomes the cause of long life and there are many other benefits, we are reborn in the pure land of a buddha and so many other things.

There is also the Stainless Beam Deity’s mantra. If we have this mantra inside the stupa or statue, it is so powerful that if somebody offers a bell to that stupa, then anybody in that area, animals or people, anybody who hears the sound of the bell that is connected to that stupa containing the Stainless Beam Deity’s mantra, anyone, animals and people who are in that area who are able to hear the sound of the bell, just by hearing the sound of the bell, their negative karma, even those who killed their father and mother, harmed an arhat, harmed a buddha or caused disunity among the Sangha, those five uninterrupted negative karmas, those very heavy negative karmas, immediately get purified by the power of the sound of the bell, which is the power of that mantra inside the stupa. So the bell is connected to that stupa containing this mantra.

Each mantra has amazing, unimaginable benefits, as the Buddha explained in sutra. There’s also the Ornament of Enlightenment mantra. If you put that mantra inside the stupa; every time you put that mantra, even if it’s just one, if you put it inside the stupa, then you get the merit of having made one hundred thousand stupas. Whether it’s a large stupa or whether it’s a small tsa tsa stupa, each time you put this mantra inside you get the merit of having made one hundred thousand stupas.

The Kindness of the Buddha

It all came from the Buddha’s compassion and power that is built up; it is derived from the compassion that embraces all the sentient beings. Why this mantra has so much power is due to the Buddha’s kindness, due to the Buddha’s completion of all the realizations, due to the Buddha’s power.

The root is the Buddha’s compassion for all sentient beings, to liberate us, no matter how much heavy negative karma we have collected from our side, no matter how difficult it is from our side to practice Dharma, to protect ourselves from delusions. The Buddha is so kind, unbelievably kind and compassionate, so he gave us these mantras and he explained to put them inside the holy objects, to print and put them inside the holy objects. For us sentient beings it’s unbelievably easy in such a short time to purify all those heavy negative karmas collected in many, many, many lifetimes. It’s so easy to purify and so easy to collect limitless skies of merit and to bring us to enlightenment, to have quick realization. It’s a quick way to collect extensive merit so that we can change our mind, we can soften our heart by collecting a lot of merit, then there’s a possibility to change, to soften our heart, to tame our mind and to have realizations. So it’s mainly due to Buddha’s compassion for us sentient beings. It’s mainly due to that.

There are so many ways, it’s so easy, there are so many ways, so many methods that the Buddha explained, revealed to us sentient beings to have quick realization, to liberate us quickly from the oceans of samsaric sufferings, from all these unimaginable sufferings, that no matter how much we do not wish to suffer we have to experience. For example, the hell sufferings, or even in the human realm the relationship sufferings that cause so much pain in the heart. Of course, comparing the hell being’s suffering to the relationship suffering of humans, no matter how much suffering we have as a human, no matter how heavy our problems are, our experience in the human realm, no matter how heavy it is, it’s like we are living in the pure land. It’s like we are in the pure land of a buddha compared to the lower realms, those hell realm sufferings.

No matter how much, how heavy the problems we human beings have, they are not problems, I mean, it’s like living in the pure land. All these are not problems, all these are nothing—how hot it is, how cold it is, all the hot energy, the fire energy, not only the hot climate but all the fire energy which is in the human world—if it’s compared to one tiny fire spark from the hell realm, all the energy of the fire that is in human world is like an air conditioner. It becomes very cool air conditioning compared to one tiny fire spark from the hot hell realms. If we compare, it’s like that. So it’s nothing.

Anyway, comparing like that, it’s nothing, but of course if we just focus, if we just think of one problem of the human realm, for example, a relationship problem, we think it’s like living in the fire. It’s so unbearable. If we’re just looking at that, it’s so unbearable that we have no space in the mind to think about other things during that time. We are completely possessed or completely overwhelmed by that pain, that emotion, anger or attachment. We have no space for other things, just suffering. The heart, the mind, is just filled with that day and night.

Even living in the not only five-star, but six-star hotel, or even if we are living in a ten-star or one-hundred star hotel, or if we are living in a jewel palace, even if the whole building is made of jewels, diamonds and gold, with golden steps and walls made of diamonds, and cars made of what? I’m not sure, lapis lazuli. [Rinpoche laughs] Anyway, cars made of lapis lazuli. Can you imagine? Cars made of lapis lazuli, then what else? [Laughter] Roofs made of gold, windows made out of silver and walls made of diamonds, all the toilets made of diamonds. Anyway, with that state of mind we don’t find any enjoyment. Even if we are living like that, we can’t find any enjoyment. And even if our food costs maybe thousands of dollars; if the food costs thousands of dollars, if the lunch costs thousands of dollars or a million dollars we can’t enjoy it because our mind is living in suffering, our mind is living in pain, suffering. And the dress, even if we wear a dress costing many thousands of dollars or a million dollars, we can’t enjoy it. There’s no difference to wearing just a ten-rupee dress, there’s no difference to the mind, we cannot enjoy it. There’s no peace so we can’t enjoy it.

Of course, the person who has a very contented mind, of course that person has a good heart, a very content mind, very little desire, a very content mind, very simple. For that person, as often His Holiness says, it’s all the same, so even if they’re living in a grass hut, and they only have water to drink, there’s so much peace and happiness in the heart, so much enjoyment in the life. Life has so much peace, as His Holiness often says in his talks. Even wearing ragged clothes, there’s so much peace and happiness in the heart, in the life.

However, now, why am I talking about this? What was I talking about before this? [Inaudible comments from students.] Yes, yes, you’re right. Before the suffering, what did I say? Before the suffering. [Student: Precious human rebirth.] Precious human rebirth? I see. A very delicious fish, oh, I see. Anyway, I don’t remember. [Inaudible comments from students.] Oh, I see. OK.

What I was saying is this. I was talking about all this power these mantras have and that the Buddha explained what incredible things we can do in our life for ourselves and for other sentient beings. Buddha has shown us these incredible methods, the quick way, the quickest way to purify, the easiest way to purify negative karma and collect extensive merit, the cause of happiness, the cause of all the happiness we wish for. The root is, why mantras are so powerful is due to the power of Buddha, who has completed all the realizations and is free from all the defilements, who has all the power, perfect power, and all these [qualities]. The Buddha has all these qualities, all this power, the omniscient mind and the compassion that embraces us all the sentient beings. So that’s what I’m saying.

I was using as an example one of the problems of human beings, relationship problems, how it is when you are suffering from that. So it’s like a hell; in itself it’s so unbearable. Just one problem of human life or the human realm, so using that as an example, how much we suffer, and we can’t enjoy our life during that time, however much wealth we have, so that’s what I’m saying. So that’s why it came to the five-star, six-star hotel, ten-star hotel, the million-dollar dress and food and the house made of diamonds, all that. So, yeah, that’s right. What I’m trying to say is that the more we understand samsaric suffering then we can see the kindness of the Buddha who shows us the path, how to get out of [samsara]. The more we see true suffering, the more we understand the four noble truths, the more we see the suffering of samsara, the more we discover that. It’s not that suffering doesn’t exist and then we visualize suffering. It’s not like that. The suffering exists and we experienced it numberless times but we’re not aware of our suffering and other sentient beings’ suffering.

Anyway, the more we come to know the suffering of samsara and the cause, then we can have more devotion to Buddha, more and more devotion to Buddha, to the Buddha’s qualities. [So we can become] free from suffering, free from defilements, all that, the Buddha has revealed the path to us, including these mantras which have incredible power. The Buddha has done this because we don’t have the karma to see directly, to actually see the Buddha in the aspect of a buddha. We don’t have the karma, at the moment we only have impure karma, so we cannot actually see the Buddha. We need pure karma to see the Buddha in the aspect of Buddha, to directly see Buddha and do circumambulations, make offerings, all that. Therefore the Buddha advised this. He gave us this method to make statues, stupas, scriptures. He gave us this method so that we can see [holy objects] and do circumambulation, make offerings, prostrations and so forth, and also we can collect so much merit by making holy objects, whether it’s painting or making a statue.

As it is mentioned in the lamrim, after karma, after talking about all this, how once the negative karma is created, whether it’s small or heavy, however many eons pass, the result never gets lost. We have to experience it in a time when the conditions come together; we have no choice, we have to experience it, whether it’s small or whether it’s heavy karma. After explaining all the details of the karma, and the suffering results of negative karma, then explaining how to purify, the means to purify, the six types of methods to purify. So one of them is making holy objects, making statues. It is there in the lamrim, so like that. Making holy objects and making offerings, it is there in the six methods of purification, advice on how to purify.

It is said in the text that the Buddha manifests [as holy objects] because we don’t have the karma to see the actual Buddha; we only have the karma to see holy objects—statues, stupas, scriptures—and then because of that, because we can see them, we have only that karma to see the holy objects, then we get the chance to collect merit, to purify the mind, to purify negative karma and create extensive merit with these holy objects, by circumambulating, by making offerings, doing prostrations, all these things.

It is said in the texts that Buddha manifests into these things, even though they are made by artists. For example, His Holiness the Dalai Lama or many of those enlightened beings, even though they depend on their parents, they are a manifestation of that buddha, that Chenrezig. Even though they depend on parents, and it’s like a normal birth and they depend on their parents like that, actually this is a manifestation of that Buddha. Therefore, what I’m saying, as Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo, the great enlightened being, explained in Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand, as you remember that, he said that these holy objects, statues and pictures of buddhas that you have in your room, they are manifestations of the Buddha.

Now we see it as a statue but later, when we achieve the Mahayana path, there are five Mahayana paths—the path of merit, the preparatory path, the right-seeing path, the path of meditation and no more learning—when we actualize the path of merit, there’s small, middle, great, when we achieve the path of merit, the Mahayana path of merit, the great one, then the statues speak to us. For example, the statues around the Bodhgaya stupa, outside the Bodhgaya stupa, all spoke to Lama Atisha. It was not only Tara who spoke, the Tara statue there outside, it was not only that one which spoke to Lama Atisha. Khunu Lama Rinpoche said it was not only that; all the statues outside which were that time there around the stupa, they all spoke to Lama Atisha. Like that, when our mind is more purified, when our mind is more pure, when we have reached that level, then all these holy objects communicate with us, they speak to us, we are able to communicate with them.

When we achieve the arya path, the bodhisattva arya path, when we achieve that, then we see the sambhogakaya aspect. Before that, when the statues speak, we see them in nirmanakaya aspect. When we achieve the arya bodhisattva path the mind is much more purified and we see the sambhogakaya aspect.

Therefore, it is said that the Buddha manifests in the statues, in the holy objects, for us. The Buddha manifests into these holy objects to purify our mind, for us to collect extensive merit, like that, and then through that we are able to have realizations. We are able to transform our mind in the path by purifying, by collecting the merits, by purifying the obstacles for the realizations, purifying those, and creating the necessary conditions, the merits, then the actual body. We are able to change our mind, to transform our mind into the path, we are able to have realizations, like that. Only then are we able to cease the defilements, by actualizing the path.

It is explained by the Buddha in the Sutra of the Mudra Generating the Power of Devotion [Teb pai dok kyi pai chag kyi do]. There it is mentioned the benefit of just seeing, merely seeing a statue of Buddha or a picture of Buddha. The Buddha has explained this. By hearing this we can get some idea of how unbelievable it is, how inexpressible the benefit is, just merely by seeing a statue of the Buddha or a picture of the Buddha. What happens to our mind, each time by seeing the holy objects what it does to our mind, what advantage we get, is just mind-blowing. That is in this sutra, the Sutra of the Mudra Generating the Power of Devotion.

There it is explained that we collect numberless great merit merely by seeing a statue of the Buddha, more than making extensive offerings, various offerings—banners, umbrellas, food, drinks—various extensive offerings to the arhats. How many arhats? Equaling the number of the sand grains of the Atlantic Ocean, making offering to that many arhats. And I think, I don’t remember the time, the number of eons, but I think that also must be equaling the number of sand grains of the Atlantic Ocean. So making extensive offerings to that many number of arhats equaling the sand grains of the Pacific Ocean for that many number of eons, so that much merit. What it’s saying is that. So this is just unbelievable, how long and how extensive and how many arhats, the number is unbelievable, to whom we make offering. But then if we compare that much merit to merely just seeing a statue of Buddha or a picture of Buddha, just merely seeing, this merit is far more, numberless times greater. We collect more merit than all the previous ones. It is said in the sutra, no question, it is far more, numberless, greater merit that we collect if we actually make offerings and prostrations to these holy objects, like that.

Now here, those who have studied salam, those who have studied paths and grounds, the Lesser Vehicle path, the five paths to achieve arhatship, all the paths that we have to proceed along and actualize, the ordinary path and then the arya path, the right-seeing path, the path of meditation, all those details. The intellectual defilements are removed first, then all the simultaneously-born defilements are removed, so having removed totally all the seeds of delusion and made it impossible for the delusions to arise again. So those arhats who are totally free from delusion and karma and the seeds, who are free from the samsara, of course they have skies of qualities, so many realizations, clairvoyance, so much that they can perform, miracle powers, so much attainment that they have.

If we compare the arhat and ourselves, for us even to have the first lamrim realization, the realization of detachment to this life, by realizing how this human body is precious and highly meaningful and that we can achieve all those happinesses, and whatever we wish. Then how difficult it is to find this again, and death is not only definite but it can happen at any moment, and at the time of death nothing can help except holy Dharma; what can help us is nothing. At the time of death nothing [can help], no material possessions, friends, even our own body, everything has to be left, so what can help is only Dharma at that time.

By meditating on these subjects, and also by reflecting on the lower realm sufferings, related to the karma, so by meditating on these subjects, especially impermanence and death, then having the first one, the fundamental path, renunciation, bodhicitta, emptiness. The realization of renunciation, the first one, is renunciation to this life, the free mind, the detached mind, the free mind, free from the attachment clinging to this life.

For a person like me, it is difficult to achieve even that, to achieve even that first realization. Therefore, when we think like this, then the arhat is amazing. Those who have completed the whole five paths, the five Lesser Vehicle paths, so they are liberated from samsara and no delusion, impossible for delusion to arise again because the seed of delusion is completely removed. They are an incredible object of devotion, it’s an incredible achievement. The qualities they have are incredible. Here, if we compare that to our practice, how difficult it is to achieve even this beginning path, the realizations, then we can see the arhat, what they are able to achieve is incredible success.

It is mentioned in the lamrim teachings that one very poor person who had nothing to offer, so this person offered medicinal drink to four ordinary monks, four ordinary Sangha, four members—no particular arya beings who had achieved the wisdom directly perceiving emptiness, nothing like that, just ordinary beings. So having offered medicinal drink to the four monks, due to that karma, in the next life that person was born as a very powerful king in India, in a place called Kashika. He became a very powerful king in Kashika, having so much wealth and power. The cause of that result, the karma was just simply by offering a medicinal drink to four monks, just that. Here it’s not saying that they were arya beings. Just making offerings to Sangha, ordinary Sangha, the result was enormous, just unimaginable, like that, even just a very simple offering like this.

Can you imagine now here making offerings to arhats? And how many? Not just one arhat, but arhats equaling the number of sand grains of the Atlantic Ocean; making extensive offerings to that many arhats for that many number of eons.

The Merit Collected Merely by Seeing a Holy Object

So now, that much merit, and just merely seeing a statue of the Buddha or a picture of the Buddha, the merit is far greater. It says we collect numberless great merit merely by seeing a statue of the Buddha or a picture of the Buddha.

Then it says, no question, we collect numberless great merit if we actually make prostrations and offerings to them. Shantideva quoted this. Shantideva used these quotations from this sutra in the Labdu, the teaching, another text that was put together by Shantideva. One is Bodhicaryavatara and the other one is Labdu, which we requested a few years ago from His Holiness, because I never heard this teaching given. Bodhicaryavatara is given all over the world but this teaching I never heard, so we requested to His Holiness and His Holiness gave it in Bodhgaya a few years ago. It was divided into two, the upper part, the beginning half, and then half in two years, so it was completed, something like that. Of course, along with that he gave also Bodhicaryavatara and the Thirty-seven Practices, the main things, I think, His Holiness gave.

Anyway, in the sutras there is very extensive explanation of all these things, it’s mind-blowing, we can’t imagine the benefit that we get, what we sentient beings get! The merit, can you imagine, all this came from the Buddha. So much merit that we collect just by seeing, this is completely because of the Buddha. As I mentioned before, the Buddha completed the understanding and power and all that is due to compassion, that which embraces us all sentient beings, never giving up us sentient beings, not even one, no matter how evil we are, no matter how evil or ignorant, or crazy, no matter how much evil, nothing else, only thinking of oneself, with a selfish mind. Thinking only of our own happiness and just completely overwhelmed by desire, anger, all these things, just gloomed by that, nothing else except following this, kind of completely covered by this. The Buddha never gave up us sentient beings even for one second, and then all this, incredible, manifesting in all these holy objects that we have, the unbelievable karma that we have. So every time we look at the holy objects we collect that much merit, numberless great merit, [more] than making offerings all those numberless arhats.

Anyway, every day in our life it’s unbelievable how fortunate we are, and this is completely due to the Buddha’s power. Why we are able to collect so much merit, the cause of happiness, purifying the mind so much every time we see them, is completely due to the Buddha’s power, and he developed this from compassion, that which was generated even before he was a bodhisattva. Before bodhicitta realization, compassion was generated for us sentient beings. And then that compassion lead him to have realization of bodhicitta, then he completed all the infinite qualities of the holy body, holy speech, holy mind. He collected merit for three countless great eons and bore so much hardship, he collected merit, followed the path and then achieved enlightenment for us, only for us sentient beings. All this is due to the Buddha’s power, that these holy objects are able to affect us.

In the case of the Maitreya statue, the 500-foot large one, why large? Here you can understand that bigger means more sentient beings can see it. Bigger means more sentient beings can see it, people from all over the world. I can see, in Bodhgaya, the stone statue made by the Japanese organization, how many people go to see that statue. Since the statue came in existence, by the Japanese group organizing for it to be built, every day how many people come to see it, making offerings, prostrating, bowing down, so they create the cause of enlightenment in so many ways. By actualizing that statue, that organization, by making the statue it causes every day all these hundreds and thousands of people, each time they bow down, those Indians, I saw the Indian people they come, they bow down, they put two palms together and they respect the Buddha, they bow down. Each time they do that they create the cause of enlightenment, and by the way, liberation from samsara, the happiness of future lives, all those things. They circumambulate, make offerings, so each time when they see the statue, every day hundreds or thousands of people see it, so everyone collects those merits, what the Buddha himself explained in the sutra. How much good karma they collect and purify the mind, as is mentioned in the King of Concentration Sutra. Even looking with anger at a drawing of the Buddha that is done on a stone wall causes us to gradually see tens of millions of buddhas. It causes us to gradually see tens of millions of buddhas.

So what it’s saying is that it purifies the mind, what it’s saying is that it purifies so much defilement and negative karma and then it plants the seed of enlightenment. It doesn’t mean we achieve enlightenment without actualizing the path; it doesn’t mean that. It includes planting the seed of all the realizations of the path to enlightenment. Planting the seed of enlightenment includes all the realizations, the whole path. So what happens is that sooner or later, in the near future that person, even looking with anger at the paintings of Buddha done on the wall, not with a pure mind but looking at them with anger, the object is so powerful that what it does to the mental continuum of that person is it purifies the defilements and plants the seed of enlightenment, all the realizations of the path. Then in the near future that person is able to actualize the path of the bodhisattvas, the Paramitayana path, the path of merit, then as I explained before, the great path of merit, then that person can see numberless buddhas in nirmanakaya aspect, then later in sambhogakaya aspect by achieving the arya path. Then mentally we become one, mentally we become all the buddhas, we achieve all the buddhas, when we become enlightened.

In this quotation the Buddha explained that even looking with anger at a drawing of the Buddha that is done on a stone wall causes us gradually to see tens of millions of buddhas. But what it includes, the commentary behind it is all that, then ultimately, we achieve enlightenment.

Anyway, this is what that Japanese organization was able to build, so they are able to offer this every day to those who come, the many hundreds, thousands of people come. So they are giving that much numberless great merit to all those sentient beings who just by seeing the statue, then in the near future they are able to actualize the path, able to change their mind. Even if they don’t change their mind immediately there, in the near future they change their mind and then they are able to have realizations from that seed.

Now here, bigger means that more sentient beings from all over the world are able to see it, so that gives all this same [benefit] to so many sentient beings for however many millions of years the statue lasts. Every day however many tens of thousands of people come, then it liberates them, it purifies their negative karma, it saves them from the lower realms. So like this, the conclusion is that it brings everyone to enlightenment, it liberates every day tens of thousands of people, so many sentient beings, just by coming to see it, like that.

The reason why I came to this subject is that I was talking about the power of mantra. Why I came to this holy object, it was because I was talking about the power of mantra.

Therefore, for oneself, for your own benefit and to benefit other sentient beings, for other sentient beings to collect extensive merit and purify their mind, therefore it is extremely good if you can afford it, if you have the means, if you can afford it, at the meditation center or even at your own house, to have as many holy objects as possible, for example, pictures of the Buddha or statues, stupas with all those powerful mantras, that you are able to see. You and many other sentient beings who come can see them, they get purified, they’re saved from the lower realms.

Maybe except in the bathroom. The bathroom may be a little bit difficult perhaps, maybe because of all the smells and things like that, so maybe not so respectful. But anyway, outside or inside the house, wherever you go you can see the Buddha, you can see holy objects and purify the mind and collect this, as I mentioned before, inconceivable merit. This gives you the opportunity inside the house and outside the house, wherever you go, always bringing closer to enlightenment yourself and other people in the house, or people coming from outside. Even if they’re not Buddhist, even if they’re not interested, still they see these holy objects. The holy objects, the stupas, they can just walk around, even if they don’t have knowledge or understanding of the holy objects, the benefits, even they don’t have faith it just gives them the opportunity to achieve enlightenment, like that.

In America where I live, in the two main big rooms the whole wall is filled with tsa tsas. The tsa tsas weren’t made by me. I think one person who has been making extensive offerings for a long time, she made 300,000 tsa tsas, I think. She was abbess of one Chinese nunnery, I don’t know how many years ago; for a long time she was abbess, then somehow she left. I think she resigned and then by meeting us, she got very drawn to Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism. I think she must have strong karma, anyway, from the past. So, I think 300,000 tsa tsas, that’s what she did before she came to stay at the Aptos house. That is what she did before, staying at Vajrapani and the Land of Medicine Buddha. Every day she made tsa tsas and I think now it’s been much, much more, I think, every day. There’s a few Medicine Buddhas, Mitugpa tsa tsas and a few stupas. Besides making all those water offerings, she has to make these tsa tsas. Now she become expert in the tsa tsa workshop, she has all the tools and makes very good tsa tsas, the big ones, small ones, and gold leafing, all that. So there are a few stupas and a few Mitugpa tsa tsas done every day.

Every time a person died, when I receive [their names], I make a list in the tsa tsa house of all the people who died, that I received their names, so then I make these, a few stupas and a few Mitugpa tsa tsas, but that’s to carry on every day, then whenever the names come then that includes them. Anyway, to carry on with that, since there’s the opportunity to carry on with that, to purify the negative karmas, to help the people whose names are sent who died. So all those tsa tsas, her tsa tsas also help in this way, it helps with the tsa tsas.

When you make so many tsa tsas there is a problem if you are unable to find place to keep them, if there’s no tsa tsa house or if there’s no stupa where you can put the tsa tsas inside. At Kopan, Geshe Lama Konchog helped to build this large stupa where all the tsa tsas can go inside. That’s also difficult, having a place to keep them, so in this way it also helps, using them, to put on the walls, to make offerings, not for decoration but to make extensive offerings. So in this way it also helps those people who make a lot of tsa tsas, then they have no problem of finding a place to keep the tsa tsas.

Anyway, there are many, [if the room is] full of pictures of the Buddha and tsa tsas. The idea is—of course, I do it only when I can remember—but the idea is, when you enter the room, you put your palms together, then you prostrate to all the [holy objects.] In each photo there are so many hundreds, thousands of buddhas, like the merit field, so the idea is to put the palms together like this to all the holy objects, like this around. So if there are, let’s say, 500,000 holy objects there, then by prostrating like this, within that few seconds you collect 500,000 causes of enlightenment, liberation from samsara and the happiness of future lives.

And then you achieve ten benefits by prostrating like this to the Buddha. The last one is enlightenment; liberation and enlightenment are the last two. But the rest maybe I’ll explain when I explain the prostrations in more detail. So there are ten benefits, temporary benefits and ultimate benefits, and the realizations. However many pictures or statues of Buddha there are, so that many number you create the ten benefits like that, including liberation and enlightenment, that many times, however many holy objects there is in the room, so like that, within a few seconds.

And when people come there, I made a regulation for them that they generate bodhicitta motivation first, then offer incense and prostrate by thinking that every single holy object there is your own guru, by thinking it’s your own guru, whoever it is, then with that mindfulness, think “I’m prostrating, circumambulating, and making offering of incense,” so three things. Then at the end dedicate the merits.

In the Aptos house there are many light offerings, there are many lights in the rooms, in the building, so above each light there is a guru’s picture, the gurus from whom I received initiation, teachings, commentaries. So above each light there are different gurus, their pictures. The idea is that every night when you turn on the lights, naturally it becomes a light offering. Of course, you won’t remember all the time to make offering but if you have a picture there, then it’s easy to remember. So from each light, however many number of lights there, then that many; if there are five thousand light offerings or ten thousand light offerings, within that second, as you put the light on you create ten thousand causes of enlightenment, and liberation from samsara, the same. All those results you achieve from each light offering, whether it’s Christmas light offerings or those big lights, from each light.

The Power of Namgyälma Mantra

So going back to the mantra. The Namgyälma mantra has this unbelievable power to purify. I received the Namgyälma mandala, the protection, and because it has all this unbelievable power, benefit, if you have Namgyälma mantra in the house, then the same thing, everybody who is living in the house gets blessed, their negative karmas get purified, and even the shadow of the house, whomever it touches, insects or people, their negative karmas get purified. So to have many of those in the car, either stuck on the ceiling of the car or somewhere you can put a lot of those, in this way it has the same benefit as those others. All the people who come in car always get purified; their negative karmas get purified and they receive blessing.

When you drive a car so many insects get killed. So many insects jump and get crushed on the window by the wind. The wind comes this way, then the car goes by and so many get crushed, they die, they get killed, but at least by touching the car which has Namgyälma mantra their negative karma gets purified. By touching the car, at least their negative karma gets purified. Those which get crushed on the window and those insects on the road so they go under the car, those insects that get crushed by the car, at least their negative karma gets purified even though they get killed. So that’s a great benefit, and there is so much blessing by having the mantra in the car, as many as possible.

It doesn’t mean that because you have the mantra inside the car then you must drive where there are a lot of worms. It’s not saying that. But without knowing, when you drive so fast and without seeing, without knowing, if they die they get benefit, at least they get benefit, by purifying their negative karma.

So it is very good, like this Chinese person who is working for Maitreya Project, as he is planning, what he thought to do, to put the mantra under the ocean, to bless the water and to purify all those sentient beings living in the water, so like that.

Anyway, first the mantra should be the correct one, because many texts have the mantra but many times they have mistakes. So it should be the correct one. However, carve it on wood or rubber or whatever material. Then, I think it’s very good to make it large, but it can be made any size. Then you make a hole and tie it with the ropes, then you sail the boat over the ocean, you go around. You put the mantra, whatever size, in the ocean, then you sail the boat to go around, then this is extremely [good.] You might also enjoy the scenery or the entertainment. [Group laughs] But also it blesses the whole water and purifies those numberless sentient beings who live in the water. That’s just an idea of how to benefit sentient beings, not only people but also those animals living in the water, living in the ground.

At the very beginning, what I was trying to say is that, by going back, even for the scientists, it can be an interesting question that, in this world, why the number of human beings is so few but the number of other living beings, fish in the water, all the different types, are numberless, uncountable. Also the flies on the ground, an uncountable number, those tiny flies who live in the grass, those tiny ones that live in grass. Ants, numberless, on the mountain, in one spot, much more than the number of people living in the town or the city, on one spot, in their nest, like that, this much. If a piece of fruit or an animal or a person, maybe in a very cold place maybe it doesn’t happen, but without chemicals, nothing, if the body is left there, if the body is buried in the ground or left there, immediately the worms, maggots, go inside. The whole body gets filled with maggots. Or if one piece of fruit is left out, without putting it in the refrigerator, then it becomes full of worms. So easy and so many. However, whenever there are conditions, even inside our stomach, the worms are born there. Those worms, when they’re round they’re kind of small but when they stretch out, they become long. Anyway, and the small white ones in the kaka, so many. Anyway, wherever there are conditions [Rinpoche snaps fingers] there they are.

But human beings on this earth are a very, very little number. Perhaps you might say human beings can’t give one time many hundred births. Perhaps that will be the first answer. But why can’t human beings give birth to hundreds of babies? Why not? I mean, the babies can be small babies and then a hundred babies come out. Why not? And then grow, why not?

Anyway what I was saying before, definitely there’s a reason why human beings are less, and all other beings are so easy to reincarnate and so many, numberless. Definitely, I think, if you ask one question or two questions, I think it will be difficult, as long as it doesn’t come to the subject of reincarnation and karma. As long as it doesn’t come to that point, I think it will be very difficult to answer. And then after some time it will be [difficult] or maybe you will be able to give an answer.

The Perfect Human Rebirth

Generally just to be a human being is so rare, so difficult, because the cause of that has to be pure morality. Now, why is it rare? Because the cause of that has to be pure morality practiced before. Now, in Lama Tsongkhapa’s lamrim, it is mentioned that—there’s an argument like this—by practicing, for example, the five lay vows, you can achieve the higher rebirth, a perfect human body. I don’t remember a hundred percent, just a human body or a perfect human body. Then why do we need to take full ordination, if by taking the five lay vows or the lower ordination, we can receive, I think, maybe a perfect human rebirth—I’m not sure—then why we need to take the full ordination, like the gelong’s 253 vows, full ordination? Why do we need to take full ordination? If you can get it, there’s some debate there. Lama Tsongkhapa emphasized that to receive the body which has the eight ripening aspects, the eight ripening qualities, I think the cause, everything emphasizes the full ordination, something like that. I will check. But there’s some debate about why we need to take higher ordination, full ordination, if by taking the lower precepts, the lay vows, we can receive a deva or human rebirth, I think, or a perfect human rebirth, something like that.

Lama Tsongkhapa emphasized this quite a bit. He emphasized the need to take full ordination, I think [to receive] the human body which has eight qualities. But I will check it.

However, the perfect human body is qualified by eight freedoms and ten richnesses, the eight ripening qualities. Lama Tsongkhapa highly emphasized to achieve this, to create the cause of these eight ripening qualities of a human body and then with this human body qualified with eight, which has eight qualities, then we can have very great success, development, in actualizing the path. And until we achieve the eight qualities we can’t have great success in having realizations of the path to enlightenment. So this is mentioned in A Hymn of Experience by Lama Tsongkhapa.

Lama Tsongkhapa emphasizes therefore, to create the cause of these eight qualities, so then he emphasizes, I think, after that, to continuously practice confession, which is perfected in the four powers, the remedy four powers. “Continuously” means to do this practice every day, to cherish this, to do this practice of purification, the confession perfected with the four remedy powers.

The Four Aspects of Karma

However, the basic thing is the practice of protecting the karma, protecting oneself from negative karma, living in morality, so that becomes the foundation of the happiness of future lives, a good rebirth, especially a perfect human rebirth, all those things, and the basis for realizations, to achieve perfect meditation, shamatha, calm abiding, to complete the nine stages and then to achieve the fully characterized or the calm abiding, the realization. The main cause of that success is living in pure morality or a pure life. So without that we cannot achieve, we cannot complete the realization.

Without calm abiding meditation we can’t achieve great insight. That is the preliminary; great insight is the preliminary for the exalted path, the wisdom directly perceiving emptiness, the right-seeing path, the path of meditation, where we actually remove, cease the delusions.

In Lamrim Chenmo, [Lama Tsongkhapa refers to] the sutra, The Chapter of the Truthful One2 and the Ten Bhumis Sutra3. He explains the two results, the two suffering results of each of these negative karmas, experiencing the result similar to the cause, so two types of results are explained for each of the ten nonvirtuous actions.

Each complete negative karma has four suffering results. The possessed result, experiencing the result similar to the cause, and creating the result similar to the cause, all these three are experienced in the human realm, on the human body, and the ripened aspect result is rebirth in the lower realms.4

So experiencing the result similar to the cause, for each negative karma, that has two types of results,5 as explained in these sutras, The Chapter of the Truthful One and the Ten Bhumis Sutra.

The Karma of Killing

For example, by completing the negative karma of killing, how does it become negative karma? It didn’t become negative karma from the side of the action of killing, because there is the action of killing which is virtue. So from the action, taking of somebody’s life, separating the consciousness from the body, just from that it doesn’t become negative karma, just alone from that. It becomes negative karma because it’s done with self-cherishing thought. Self-cherishing thought, then also that can be either ignorance or done out of anger, attachment, these delusions.

However, the ripened aspect result, the negative karma of having done killing, whether it’s a human being or insects, even the tiniest insects, as long as it’s a sentient being, having mind, that completed the negative karma, which has the base, the object, the sentient being, and the thought of killing, as I mentioned before, the self-cherishing thought, those other negative motivations; then, the action, then the goal, that the other sentient being died before you died. If the other sentient being died afterwards—the goal is explained as having died before you die—so if it’s after that, I think it’s not complete. I think in the text it’s not complete or something. The sentient being has to die and if it died before you die, then the karma is completed. So the ripened aspect is rebirth in the lower realms, in either in hell, as a hungry ghost or animal, in the lower realms.

Experiencing the result similar to the cause, you receive harm from others as you gave harm in the past to others. How you treat others then you are treated by others later when you become a human being. You are born a human being due to another good karma, but then in that life you experience the suffering results of those other previous negative karmas. So that’s why in the human realm we have so many problems, why we experience so much trouble, sicknesses and so forth, so many problems. Not everything that [we experience] we have created the cause in this life. There can be some karmas created in this life and we experience the problem, the karmic result, in this life, but much of it is created in the past then we experience the result in this life, on this human body. So it is said that even experiencing the result similar to the cause, the two types, from the negative karma of killing, even if we are born as a human being we experience a shortage of life, with so many sicknesses.

We can see from this quotation, the sutra, a result of killing, the negative karma of killing, so I think including diabetes. Including diabetes. So there are two types [of result], experiencing the result similar to the cause, the negative karma of killing, that we experience in the human life, that medicines don’t have power, even if we eat medicine they don’t have the power to heal the sicknesses and food doesn’t have protein. Even if we eat food it turns out unhealthy, we can’t digest food, we are unable to digest food, so digestion problems came from the killing, the past negative karma of killing, and then food becomes a condition for sicknesses.

The possessed result is when we get reborn as a human being, then that time where we get reborn or where we live, the place is very dusty, a very kind of depressed place, a very kind of unhappy place, a very dusty place.

Creating the result similar to the cause, that’s another one that we experience in the human realm. Creating the result similar to the cause of the negative karma of killing. So again, later, when we are born as a human being, again in that life we engage in the same negative karma of killing, which is the habituation of the past negative karma of killing. It’s the result of that. So that means creating the result similar to the cause, again engaging in the negative karma of killing, so that complete negative karma produces again four suffering results. One of them is creating the result similar to the cause. We do it again, and later when we’re born as a human being due to other good karma, then again we do the same thing, killing, then we produce again the four suffering results. That negative karma, creating the result similar to the cause, produces four suffering results again.

So it goes on and on like that if we don’t do anything, if we don’t purify that negative karma, and if we don’t live in the vows, morality, abstaining from that [negative action.] If we don’t change our own action, if we don’t purify the previous negative karma, so then it’s like that suffering result become endless, because we’re creating the result similar to the cause again and again, and again that comes as a result. So the suffering result, the negative karma, the suffering result which comes from the one-time negative karma of killing which is completed, that produces four suffering results. We are creating the result similar to the cause, which produces four suffering results and again one of them is creating the result similar to the cause, so like this. From one negative karma, from one completed negative karma of killing, the suffering result is endless, it goes on and on and on and on without end! If we don’t purify at all, if we don’t change our attitude and action, by living in morality, by abstaining from killing, then one negative karma, one-time negative karma of killing, which is a completed one, makes the suffering result endless!

So we have to meditate, we have to realize, to meditate, to realize in this way how it affects us. The one negative karma, the one-time negative karma of killing, if we don’t renounce it, if we don’t abandon that, even if it’s just one negative karma, if we don’t abandon it, it affects us from life to life. So we have to experience the suffering result of that without end, without end, it goes on and on.

Therefore, to put it this way, in our life, in this life, from one negative karma, the completed negative karma of killing, it has a suffering result which affects us from life to life, without end, it goes on like that. This analysis we’re talking about is just from one negative karma. This analysis, the suffering result that goes on and on and on is from one negative karma in this life. Now, how many times have we done the negative karma of killing in this life? We have to analyze the karma like this, meditate. How many times have we done the negative karma of killing, the completed negative karma? How many times have we done this?

Now from each one, it’s like that, the suffering result is endless. It’s because of creating the result similar to the cause, the habituation, creating the result similar to the cause, which is the habituation of the past negative karma. This one is so harmful, this creating the result similar to the cause.

So now, if we live, for example, today, by taking the eight Mahayana precepts, by taking precepts to not kill, even for one day, even for one hour, this completed good karma also results in the four happinesses.

The ripened aspect result is rebirth in the body of the happy transmigratory being, in the deva or human realm. This is the ripened aspect result.

Then there is the possessed result of living in a very beautiful place, which is the opposite of the possessed result of the negative karma of killing.

Then we will have a long life, no sicknesses, so mostly we will have a healthy life, a very healthy life and a long life, like that. So, a mostly healthy life. All those who are experiencing the result similar to the cause of living in the morality, for example, abstaining from killing, they will have a healthy life, long life. Then same thing, the food, everything becomes very healthy—food, medicine, everything—no side effects, there is power beneficial for health, things like that. Again here creating the result similar to the cause, because we practiced morality in this life, that helps in the future lives also to be able to practice morality. So that affects our happiness from life to life. We also have to understand that.

The Karma of Sexual Misconduct

The complete negative karma of sexual misconduct has four suffering results. The ripened aspect result is rebirth in the lower realm, and three results are experienced in the human realm. Later due to another good karma, when we are born as a human being in that realm, we experience the possessed result of a very filthy, dirty, very smelly, unhygienic place. We are either born in that place or somehow we have to live your life in such a place. Or even from time to time we have to cross, we have to pass through such a dirty, bad, smelly, filthy place. Somehow we have to go through that, so even for one hour or even a short time we have to experience such a dirty, filthy, smelly place, even for that short time. That is the result of the past negative karma of sexual misconduct.

Experiencing the result similar to the cause, what we experience in the human realm later, the surrounding people in the family or in the office, servants, or people around us in the family, at the office or whatever, they all bother us, they disturb our mind. They don’t do according to our wishes; they do the opposite to our wishes, against to our wishes, so we can’t really trust them. Or our wife or husband do not have the same wish as we have, so they are thinking the opposite to our own wish, competitive, against us. Then of course that brings disharmony and so many quarrels and fighting then so many problems due to that. That is experiencing the result similar to the cause for the past negative karma of sexual misconduct.

Creating the result similar to the cause, again in our next lives—after some time when we are born as a human being again—due to our past habit of sexual misconduct we engage again in sexual misconduct in that future life. So again the same, we produce the four suffering results. There’s creating the result similar to the cause within that, so again we produce four suffering results. Again this one negative karma of sexual misconduct, the result [of the action] done in this life, this one negative karma of sexual misconduct, the complete one, then the four suffering results continue like that, they go on and on without end! So we have to experience all those sufferings from life to life without end. Without end, like that, from this one negative karma of sexual misconduct. We are just talking about the karmic result, the ongoing suffering result we experience from this one sexual misconduct that is done in this life. Of course, as I mentioned before, there are all the ongoing suffering results from each sexual misconduct that is done. How many times it’s done in this life, so like that.

And then we should meditate also that these negative karmas are not only done in this life, but we have to remember the numberless times we have done them in our past lives from beginningless rebirths, which we haven’t finished, which we haven’t purified; which we haven’t finished experiencing and which we haven’t purified yet. There are so many from beginningless rebirths which we haven’t finishing experiencing, which we haven’t purified. There is so much left to be experienced in the future.

Again here we can see that the practice of purification is an emergency. We need powerful, powerful intensive purification all the time, every day, and we need to change our attitude. We need to change our attitude and our actions. There are two solutions to stop experiencing all those suffering results. Purifying the past negative karma, that’s one solution.

How Living in Morality Brings Peace and Happiness

The other solution is to live in the morality, to abstain from these [nonvirtues], to change our own actions. Therefore we started this tradition at Kopan during the one-month course, for the last two weeks taking eight Mahayana precepts, and this helped so much. This tradition started at Kopan, in the last two weeks taking eight Mahayana precepts. That becomes unbelievable, incredible benefit, protection for the life. Not only for this life’s peace and happiness, freedom, but all these coming future lives’ unbelievable peace and happiness. We can’t imagine that, from life to life, then as a result, enlightenment, because the precepts are taken with the bodhicitta motivation. I think taking eight Mahayana precepts, this practice has been widespread or done everywhere, and individually practiced, with some students taking this a few times each month, many times taking.

I remember a few years ago I mentioned, what did I say? I remember a few years ago I mentioned that at least each month the students should take the eight Mahayana precepts, at least two times a month, something like that. I think I mentioned that a few years ago. I think maybe I announced that. However, this practice is so widespread in the organization and individually, many students individually take the precepts again and again, and at the centers as a group, taking the eight Mahayana precepts, which started from the Kopan courses. Learning this from Kopan courses and then it started all over, in all the FPMT centers, I guess, in almost every center, I think.

So this helps, and even at the other times, if we are unable to practice morality but during the Kopan course for the last two weeks taking the eight Mahayana precepts, or in the West at the centers, when there are courses or special days taking eight Mahayana precepts as a group, I think it becomes the best refuge, the protection for all those coming future lives. Protection from suffering and to have all that peace and happiness, success.

Now here, with this way of meditating on karma, this way of analyzing karma, now here we can see that to stop one negative karma is an incredible profit for us, bringing happiness from life to life. Otherwise if we don’t stop, if we do it, then the suffering result goes from life to life without end, but if we abstain from that then we stop all those ongoing suffering results from life to life without end. So now we can see that all this is the benefit, not only peace and happiness in this life for ourselves by living in this morality, but we’re giving peace, we’re making preparation for all those coming future lives to have peace and happiness, to not have those sufferings.

This is concerning our own happiness, but here, however many precepts are taken, we also stop that many harms to other sentient beings. That means we are giving that much peace and happiness to numberless sentient beings because we take vows. On the object, sentient beings, we take vows to not kill them, to not steal, to avoid sexual misconduct and so forth, therefore we stop harming numberless sentient beings. So they are receiving so much peace and happiness from us.

Now here you can see, on the basis of what I explained before, how things are coming from the mind. Every moment, the state of our mind—happy or unhappy, pleasant feeling or unpleasant feeling—it all came from the label that we put on the object, from our mind. What we see, what we hear, what we smell, all these, bad, good, whatever it is, all this is what is labeled by our mind, so it all came from our mind. Then after that we get pleasant feeling or unpleasant feeling, happy mind or unhappy mind, because it affects us. It comes from our mind, then like this we create and it affects back to our mind.

Therefore, the more positive the labels we put in our life, that means we have more happiness. We have more peace in our heart, more happiness. The more negative the labels we put, by our mind, then we see more negative things and we have a more unhappy mind.

The other thing I mentioned, the long-run evolution, how everything comes from, besides the seven results, then all the forms, sounds, smells, tastes in the daily life, how they come from our own mind, the consciousness, and karma and the ignorance.

So now here, it’s more detailed, so now here it’s involved. The same description but more details. It’s still talking about how it came from your mind, when we go through the ten nonvirtuous actions and the ten virtuous actions, karma, so all these suffering results and happiness all come from [ the mind.] From the good karma of abstaining from killing, abstaining from sexual misconduct, and so forth, comes all the resultant happiness of future lives. In our future lives people in the office, people at home, everybody thinks the same way as we think, harmonized with our wishes. Everybody is very supportive of us and our other companion, our husband or wife, whoever it is, thinks exactly the same as us and always harmonizes with our wishes and supports us. So wherever we are, people are like that, very harmonious, so much peace and happiness, like one person, the way of thinking.

And then we always live in a very clean, beautiful place. So those places which we are enjoying now, the clean, beautiful places that we experience in this life, those are the result of the past good karma of living in the morality, abstaining from sexual misconduct, like that.

Then in the future lives again we are practicing morality, abstaining from sexual misconduct, like that. So all those happinesses which we experience from life to life, all come from our own good karma. So this comes from the mental factor of intention, sempa, which comes with the principal consciousness. There are five ways they harmonize [are concomitant]6: the similarity of object, similarity in essence, anyway, I don’t remember everything now. So intention is one of the five omnipresent mental factors. It always accompanies the principal consciousness and functions on the same object. Similar time, similar to the object, similar essence, similar aspect; one is aspect? I think, something.

So all this resultant happiness came from the good karma which is from our own mind, the mental factor of intention. And all those suffering results which I mentioned, the result of those negative karmas came from one’s own [mind]. The negative karma is also from our own mental factor, the intention. Then the root is ignorance. So again, all this came from ignorance. It didn’t come from outside, it came from our own mind.

So this is the way to meditate on the section on karma, the effective way to meditate.

[Recitation of the prayer For Lama Tsongkhapa’s Teachings to Last Forever7]

Dag gi ji nye….

Dedications

Those who are experiencing, in everyone’s heart and the officials of mainland Chinese government, in all their hearts, may bodhicitta be generated without delay of even a second, and in the hearts of all the sentient beings, without delay of even a second, and those who have generated it, may it be increased.

Vajrapani immediately appears and they are completely saved and free from danger, and then all the food and shelter, whatever they need, there is. And may they have the wisdom understanding what’s right and wrong, [and cease] one of the main sufferings, which is ignorance. May the hell beings receive whatever they want and may all their burning iron houses become celestial mansions and all the fires, the burning place, all the fire grounds, the burning iron grounds become like a pure land, the lapis lazuli ground, a blissful, blissful place, which has all the beauties and purest enjoyments. May all the weapons become flowers, like that.

Then, think everyone received whatever they need, all these enjoyments. So in each realm, all the six-realm sentient beings, their place becomes a pure land of Chenrezig, a Potala pure land, which has the purest enjoyments, no suffering. Then all these enjoyments cause them to actualize the path of method and wisdom, and cease all the defilements, so they all become Chenrezig. Every hell being becomes Chenrezig, every hungry ghost becomes Chenrezig, every animal becomes Chenrezig, every human being becomes Chenrezig, every sura being becomes Chenrezig, every asura being becomes Chenrezig, every intermediate state being becomes Chenrezig, everyone becomes Chenrezig.

So now rejoice, thinking, “How wonderful it is that I have enlightened all the sentient beings in the essence of Chenrezig.”

It’s also very good to rejoice in today’s merit, living in the eight Mahayana precepts. Think, “How wonderful it is, how fortunate I am!” Rejoice that you able to practice, able to live in the eight Mahayana precepts, that you have collected so much merit.

And then all the merit that is collected by generating a motivation of bodhicitta, by meditating on the lamrim, as well as doing meditation on the deity and recitation of mantra, so much negative karma is purified. We collected so much merit, all these things, planting the seed to enlightenment by reading, by doing lamrim prayers, planting the seed of the whole path to enlightenment, so all this, by doing prostrations, having practiced the Guru Puja, all that, so much merit has been collected, so much purification, so we rejoice, “How fortunate I am that I’m able to do all these practices today.” So by this, by rejoicing, it doubles up all the merits.

“Due to all the past, present, future merits collected by me, the three-time merits collected by others, whatever happens in my life from now on, whether I’m happy or unhappy, healthy or unhealthy, whether I have cancer, whether I don’t have cancer, whether I receive criticism from others, whether I receive praise from others, whether I am living, whether I am dying, poor or rich, gain or loss, whatever life I experience, even if I get reborn in the hell realm, whatever happens to me, from now on all my life experiences and all my actions—eating, walking, sitting, sleeping, doing my job, whatever, all this—may it become most beneficial to all sentient beings. Whatever I do, whatever life I am experiencing from now on, whatever life action I do from now on, may it become most beneficial to all the sentient beings. Whatever life I experience from now on, whatever action I do, may it become most beneficial, causing all sentient beings to achieve enlightenment as quickly as possible. May it become the cause for all sentient beings to achieve enlightenment as quickly as possible by myself being enlightened.

“Due to all the past, present, future merits collected by me and the three-time merits collected by others, may I be able to offer skies of benefit to sentient beings and the teaching of the Buddha, like Lama Tsongkhapa, by having the same quality within me as Lama Tsongkhapa has, from now on in all my future lifetimes.

“Due to all the past, present, future merits collected by me and the three-time merits collected by others, while it is existing, that which is empty, that which is non-existent, empty from its own side, may the I, while it is existing, that which is non-existent, empty from its own side, achieve Chenrezig enlightenment which exists, while it is existing, that which is totally non-existent, empty from its own side, and lead all the sentient beings while they’re existing, that are totally non-existent, empty from their own side, to that enlightenment, Chenrezig’s enlightenment, while it is existing, that which is totally non-existent, empty from its own side, by myself alone, while it is existing, that which is totally non-existent, empty from its own side.

“I dedicate all the merits to be able to follow the holy extensive deeds of the bodhisattva Samantabhadra and Manjugosha, as they realized.

“I dedicate all the merits in the same way as the three-time buddhas and bodhisattvas dedicate their merits.

“May the general teachings of the Buddha, the particular teachings of Lama Tsongkhapa, be spread in all the directions. May it flourish forever in this world, by completely actualizing this within our own heart, our own family members and all of us here, and in the hearts of all the students and benefactors in this organization, especially those who give up their life to the organization to offer service to sentient beings and to the teachings of the Buddha, in their hearts, without delay even a second.”

[Recitation of the prayer For Lama Tsonghapa’s Teachings to Spread in the Hearts of All Sentient Beings8]

Chhö kyi gyäl po….

Dag dang zhän gyi ….

Good morning, or good night? Still too early.

[End of discourse] 


Notes

1 In tantra there are four types of relics: (1) relic of dharmakaya (this refers to profound mantras such as the four powerful mantras, etc.); (2) relic of the holy body of a buddha, bodhisattva, or great yogi after they have passed away; (3) relic of gu päl, which means the hair and nails of a buddha or bodhisattva; (4) relic, which is what is commonly seen, that is the size of a mustard seed. [Return to text]

The Chapter of the Truth Speaker (Skt: Satyaka-parivarta; Tib: bden pa po'i le'u) is the fourth chapter of The Sutra Teaching the Miracles in the Domain of Skillful Means that the Bodhisattvas Have at their Disposition. See also read.84000.co. [Return to text]

The Sutra of the Ten Levels (Skt: Dasabhumika; Tib: sa bcu’i le'u) is an important sutra which sets out the characteristics, qualities and accomplishments of the ten bodhisattva levels. It is the 31st chapter of the Avatamsaka Sutra (Ornament of the Buddhas or Flower Garland Sutra) but is often considered a sutra in its own right. See also read.84000.co. [Return to text]  

4 These are the four ways karma will ripen, either in this life or a future life. [Return to text]

5 The two types of result similar to the cause are that similar in experience and that similar in habit, or tendency. [Return to text]

6 The principal consciousness or main mind is concomitant with its mental factor due to five similarities: 1) The similarity of basis; 2) The similarity of the observed object; 3) The similarity of the object of engagement; 4) The similarity of time; 5) The similarity of substantial entity. [Return to text]

7 See FPMT Essential Prayer Book, p. 202. [Return to text]

8 See FPMT Essential Prayer Book, pp. 188–189. [Return to text]