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 8: February 10-a

Morning: Vajrasattva Session


Motivation for Vajrasattva practice

Your motivation should combine generating the feeling of regret, the thought of impermanence and death, and bodhicitta. I have already explained this. In short, think of the definition of non-virtuous action. Think of the non-virtuous actions that you have committed in this life and of the numberless non-virtuous actions you have committed in past lives. Consider then the heavier negative karmas, the ten non-virtuous actions. Think of the ten non-virtuous actions that you have done today, in this life and numberless times in your past lives. Next, think of the pratimoksha, bodhisattva and tantric vows that you have broken today, in this life and numberless times in your past lives. Finally, think of the heaviest negative karmas, those created in relation to the guru through harming the holy body, not following the advice, disturbing the holy mind, disrespecting, criticizing, giving up and so forth. Think of any of these negative karmas that happened today, of the many times they have happened in this life and of the numberless times they have happened in past lives.

Then think, “Many people who are the same age as I am have already died, and many others are dying today. It is amazing that so far death hasn’t happened to me. It’s a miracle. My death could happen at any moment, but I have this incredible opportunity to purify before I die.” Also think, “The purpose of my life is not just to achieve happiness for myself, but to free every single hell being, hungry ghost, animal, human, asura, sura and intermediate state being from all their suffering and bring them to enlightenment. To liberate them, I must achieve enlightenment as quickly as possible. Therefore, I need to purify all my obstacles, defilements and negative karmas.”

Alternatively, you can think, “All the buddhas manifested as Vajrasattva to purify me” or “My guru manifested as Vajrasattva to purify me. I’m very fortunate to be able to do this practice; therefore, I’m going to do this practice for the benefit of all sentient beings.” In this way, your motivation also contains meditation on the guru’s kindness.

Concluding meditations

Vajrasattva says, “How’s my darling?”! No, he says, “All defilements, negative karma and degenerated samaya vows you have collected during beginningless rebirths up to now are completely purified.” Next practice the last power, the power not to commit negative actions again.

Because of your promise, Guru Vajrasattva is extremely pleased with you; he melts into light and absorbs within you. Your own body, speech and mind become inseparable from Vajrasattva’s vajra holy body, holy speech and holy mind.

You can also dedicate with the awareness that everything is like an illusion, like a dream.

In emptiness there is no I, no creator; there is no action of creating, there is no negative karma created. All other phenomena are also totally empty of existence from their own side.

With this awareness that everything is empty, dedicate the merits. “Due to all the merits of the three times 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.”