Teachings From the Vajrasattva Retreat

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Soquel, CA USA 1999 (Archive #1055)

This book is an edited transcript of Lama Zopa Rinpoche's teachings at a three-month Vajrasattva retreat held at Land of Medicine Buddha, from February 1 to April 30, 1999. The teachings cover many lam-rim topics, purification practices, mantras, pujas and more.

Chapter 26: February 22-c

MORNING: THIRD SESSION

Motivation for Vajrasttva practice

Think of all your non-virtuous actions—all actions you’ve done motivated by attachment clinging to this life, ignorance and anger; all actions that result in only suffering. Think of all the actions that became negative karma. Think especially of the actions done out of the attachment that clings to the pleasures of this life, to a good reputation and so forth.

Think of all the ten non-virtues—killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, slander, gossip, harsh speech (which means saying words that hurt another person), covetousness, ill will and heresy—you have committed in this life and numberless times in your past lives.

Think of the times that you have broken the pratimoksha, bodhisattva and tantric vows in this life, and even if you haven’t broken them in this life, you have broken them numberless times in your past lives.

Then think of the heaviest negative karmas, those created in relation to the guru through harming the guru’s holy body, not following his advice, disturbing his holy mind, generating non-devotional thoughts, criticizing or giving up the guru. Even if you haven’t done some of these things in this life, you have done them numberless times in your past lives.

“These negativities are obstacles that not only block my achievement of the realizations of the path to liberation and to enlightenment but also prevent my bringing every happiness to all sentient beings. On top of this, they cause me to be reborn again and again in samsara, especially the lower realms, where I have to suffer for an inconceivable number of eons. So, this is the only chance that I have to free myself from all these defilements and from the sufferings of samsara, especially the sufferings of the lower realms. This is my only opportunity to escape; this is my only opportunity to purify.

“Since death could come within this minute, I must purify all these negativities without even a second’s delay. I must free all sentient beings, the source of all my past, present and future happiness, from all their sufferings and bring them to enlightenment. Therefore, I myself must achieve enlightenment as quickly as possible. It is for this reason that I am going to practice the Vajrasattva meditation-recitation.”

Those who are not familiar with the visualization of Vajrasattva can read the description in the text. Otherwise, just start to recite the mantra.

Concluding pracrices

From the holy mouth of Guru Vajrasattva come the words, “Son of the race, all defilements, negative karma and degenerated samaya vows you have collected during beginningless rebirths have now been completely purified.”

Think that what Guru Vajrasattva says has actually happened. All your negativities have been completely purified. There is not the slightest trace of defilement left on your mental continuum. Your mental continuum is completely pure.

To make your confession perfect and most powerful, now apply the last of the four remedial powers, the power of not committing negative actions again. Think, “From now on I’ll abstain from all the vices that I can abstain from, and I’ll abstain from those that are extremely difficult for me to abstain from for one day, one hour, one minute or at least a few seconds.”

Your vow to abstain from negative karmas pleases Guru Vajrasattva, who melts into light and absorbs within you. Your own body, speech and mind become inseparable from Guru Vajrasattva’s vajra holy body, vajra holy speech and vajra holy mind.

Those who haven’t received a Highest Yoga Tantra initiation can visualize that the light absorbs at the point between their eyebrows. Those who have received such an initiation can visualize that the light absorbs through their crown and can then meditate on the guru entering their heart.

“In emptiness there is no I, no creator; there is no action of creating negative karma; there is no negative karma created.” As well as this, all phenomena are totally non-existent, are empty from their own side.

While the mind is contemplating the state of emptiness, while the mind is looking at everything as empty, dedicate the merits.

“Due to all the past, present and future merits collected by me, buddhas, bodhisattvas and all other sentient beings, may I achieve Guru Vajrasattva’s enlightenment and lead all sentient beings to that enlightenment by myself alone.”

Dedication

Please dedicate the merit for bodhicitta, the source of all happiness and success for you and all other sentient beings, to be generated within your own mind, in the minds of the members of your family and in the minds of all sentient beings. And may the bodhicitta that has been generated be increased.

“Due to all the past, present and future merits collected by me, buddhas, bodhisattvas and all other sentient beings, may any sentient being who just hears me, touches me, remembers me, thinks about me or talks about me, never be reborn in the lower realms from that time. May they immediately be liberated from all disease, spirit harm, negative karma and obscurations. May they achieve enlightenment as quickly as possible by actualizing the whole path, especially bodhicitta.

“Due to all the merits collected by me and others, may I immediately be able to heal all sentient beings who are sick, especially those who can’t be cured by other means. May I be able to cure the heavy diseases of those who have been possessed by spirits and become crazy and uncontrolled, those who are in a coma and so forth. Just by seeing me, touching me, hearing my voice or remembering me, may any sentient being who is dying immediately be free from all fear, attachment and so forth and generate incredible joy in their heart. May that sentient being be born in a pure land where they can become enlightened.”

Food offering

We will now make the food offering. Think that all the food in the kitchen is transformed into nectar in a jeweled container and that the Guru Puja merit field and the numberless buddhas in all the directions receive numberless offerings. [OM AH HUM 3x, La-ma sang-gye....] Meditating that the essence of all the beings in the merit field is your root virtuous friend, offer nectar to all of them. Your offering with this guru yoga mind generates infinite bliss within them. Next, meditating that their essence is the root virtuous friend, offer unceasing nectar to all Buddha, Dharma and Sangha in the ten directions. Your offering generates infinite bliss within them. Now, meditating that their essence is the root virtuous friend, offer unceasing nectar to all the statues, stupas and scriptures in the ten directions. Think that this offering generates infinite bliss within them.

Also make charity of unceasing nectar to every hell being, every hungry ghost, every animal, every human being, every asura, every sura and every intermediate state being. They all fully enjoy the nectar and are liberated from all their suffering; they all become enlightened in the aspect of the deity that you practice.

“Due to all the past, present and future merit collected by me, buddhas, bodhisattvas and all other sentient beings and due to all the numberless merits collected by making offerings to all the numberless buddhas in the ten directions; the numberless merits collected by making offerings to the Guru Puja merit field; the numberless merits collected by making offerings to all the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha in the ten directions; the numberless merits collected by making offerings to all the statues; the numberless merits collected by making offerings to all the stupas; the numberless merits collected by making offerings to all the scriptures; the numberless merits collected by making charity to all the sentient beings; and the numberless merits from generating the motivation of bodhicitta”—I left this out; it should have been done before the food offering—“may I, the members of my family, all students and benefactors of this organization, especially those who sacrifice their lives doing service for others, and all the rest of the sentient beings never be separated from the guru-Triple Gem and always collect merit by making offerings to the guru-Triple Gem. May they receive the blessing of the guru- Triple Gem and generate all the realizations from guru devotion up to enlightenment, especially bodhicitta and clear light from Highest Yoga Tantra. May all these realizations be actualized in my own mind and in the minds of all sentient beings without even a second’s delay.

“Due to these non-existent merits of the three times”—here you should understand that “non-existent” means “not inherently existent”— “may the non-existent I achieve non-existent Vajrasattva’s enlightenment and lead the non-existent sentient beings to that non-existent enlightenment by my non-existent self.”

Please enjoy the empty food.