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 9: February 10-b

Afternoon: Vajrasattva session

Motivation for Vajrasattvas practice

For the motivation, generate regret for all your defilements, negative karma and downfalls; reflect on impermanence, with the strong thought that death can happen at any moment; then generate bodhicitta. Think in the way that I mentioned before.

Think, “One of the benefits of not dying so far is that I can do this Vajrasattva retreat and purify all my past negative karmas. It’s an unbelievable opportunity. How fortunate I am!”

As I mentioned before, now generate bodhicitta.

Think, “If I die now without purifying all these defilements, negative karma, downfalls and degenerated samaya vows, especially those created in relation to the guru, I’ll go to my next life carrying a burden of heavy negative karma the size of the earth. I will then endlessly experience the sufferings of samsara, the result of these negative karmas. Besides that, I will have no realization of the path to enlightenment. Besides the fact that I will not achieve enlightenment, or even liberation from samsara, I will not even achieve a good rebirth.

“Since every single sentient being is the source of all my past, present and future happiness, I’m going to do the Vajrasattva meditation-recitation so that I myself can achieve enlightenment in order to enlighten every single sentient being. I will free every single hell being, my kind mother, from all their suffering and bring them to enlightenment. I will free every single preta being, my kind mother, from all their suffering and bring them to enlightenment. I will free every single animal being, my kind mother, from all their suffering and bring them to enlightenment.

I will free every single human being, my kind mother, from all their suffering and bring them to enlightenment. I will free every single asura being, my kind mother, from all their suffering and bring them to enlightenment. I will free every single sura being, my kind mother, from all their suffering and bring them to enlightenment. I will free every single intermediate state being, my kind mother, from all their suffering and bring them to enlightenment.”

We are also going to do the Vajrasattva meditation-recitation for the long life of all our gurus, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and for the accomplishment of their holy wishes. And if you have anybody that you want to help, such as family members or friends who are sick or have many problems or who have died, you can do the Vajrasattva practice for them.

Concluding pracice

Guru Vajrasattva says, “Son of the race, all your defilements, negative karma, downfalls and degenerated samaya vows are completely purified.” Generate very strong faith that it has happened just as Guru Vajrasattva says.

Practice the last power, the power not to commit negative actions again, by thinking, “From now on I will abstain from those negative karmas that I can. And I will abstain from the subtle negative karmas, which are very difficult to abstain from, for one day, one hour, one minute or at least a few seconds.”

Guru Vajrasattva, extremely pleased with your determination to do this practice of changing your mind and your actions, absorbs into you. 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 from their own side. They are all empty—not space, but like space.

With continuous awareness of everything as 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.”

Please also dedicate to generate bodhicitta. “Due to the merits of the three times, Jang-chub sem-chog rin-po-che....”