Teachings from the Mahamudra Retreat (Audio and Unedited Transcript)

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Adelaide, Australia (Archive #1443)

The following are excerpts of Lama Zopa Rinpoche's teachings at the Mahamudra retreat hosted by Buddha House, Adelaide, Australia, from 9 April to 4 May, 2004. These recordings do not form a complete record of the retreat, as they do not include teachings by other Sangha, various prayers and dedications, and portions of the initiations and secret teachings.

The FPMT's Foundation Store has released two DVDs of these teachings: one for the general public and one for initiates only.

Day 3 Part A 1: Recitations from the combined Jorchö and Lama Chöpa Puja

Good morning. I think everybody’s able to survive. It is amazing! It is really amazing. Not just amazing, but really amazing. 

So, to mention a little bit what great enlightened being Pabongka expressed the importance of practicing Guru Puja, Lama Chöpa, so I just mention that, how this is incredible integration of many important practices. So, Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo says that, if one get done the Guru Puja practice in a day, then this contains all the importance of the sutra and tantra, complete, all the importance, all the complete importance of the, the importance of complete sutra and tantra, importance of complete sutra and tantra, this the Guru Puja contains or is perfected with all that.

And this Guru Puja practice is taken out, the instructions of the scripture that which is manifestations of the Gaden, the whispered lineage, I’m not sure whether whispering, but anyway, that’s what it’s translated, but Gaden, the (?) nyen-gyu is passed ear to ear, it means, I think, secret, so I guess maybe can be called whispered. Anyway, from ear to ear passed, so this scripture that manifested, I think, the Joyful One, the scripture of Joyful One that passed ear to ear. I’m not a hundred percent sure that it means a teaching from Manjushri, I think, so that I think basically it means something very secret, an instruction, advice. So this Guru Puja is taken out, brought that in. So it means very secret and very profound, what it means.

And the great Thubten Chökyi Dorje, who achieved enlightenment in one brief lifetime of degenerated time, he’s one of the lineage lamas of Mahamudra, it is said, I remember that His Holiness or His Holiness Serkong Tsenshab Rinpoche, His Holiness said that Thubten Chökyi Dorje is still living somewhere, I think around Mount Everest or somewhere, many years ago when His Holiness gave the Mahamudra commentary to, as part, there was Lama that time, the First Dharma Celebration, that decided to request His Holiness to give Mahamudra teaching, so that’s the First Dharma Celebration. So I think mentioned that still living there. however Thubten Chökyi Dorje and Gyalwa Ensapa, Lama Tsongkhapa’s disciples’ disciples, again who achieved full enlightenment in one brief lifetime of degenerated time, so often His Holiness Zong Rinpoche used to express that Gyalwa Ensapa was different from Milarepa. The same, achieved enlightenment in a brief lifetime of degenerated time, but with a very comfortable life, eating delicious food and that with the comfortable life achieved enlightenment, often His Holiness Zong Rinpoche used to bring out that. The reason is because of Lama Chöpa, because of Guru Puja practice that, His Holiness Zong Rinpoche used to say, because integration of the Guhyasamaja, the Yamantaka, the Chakrasamvara, these three deities, because the Lama Tsongkhapa tradition has this special practice, integration of these three. So because of that, this is why Gyalwa Ensapa achieved enlightenment in a brief lifetime of degenerated time but without need to bear so much hardships, comfortably, as often, I think what His Holiness Zong Rinpoche is saying, this is to praise the quality of Lama Tsongkhapa’s teaching and that’s, the main point was that. Because all this special practice.

So the Lama Chöpa, the Guru Puja, so it begins with the integration of those three deities, so beginning, preliminary Yamantaka, rising up in Yamantaka deity. And the body mandala, when you visualize the merit field, you visualize the guru, the Guhyasamaja body mandala, doing guru yoga practice that each guru is all those deities. So thinking, so meditating the different parts of the holy body, aggregates like five types, the five aggregates in the five Dhyani buddhas, five types of buddha, things like that, so then the bodhisattvas, arhats, all, the whole merit field, the whole entire merit field, so it’s within each guru, like that. Each guru is all that. So, the conclusion, the guru yoga practice. Then the extensive offerings then from Chakrasamvara so this is how it’s integration of these three deities.

Then also Geshe Seng-gye Rinpoche, Mongolian lama, who became abbot after Mainland Chinese government gave a little bit of freedom to have monasteries and to have some monks and to have some kind of, little bit, some study, when there’s a little freedom was given, so then Geshe-la was appointed by the monks to be the abbot, so Sera Je and Sera Me, both, one abbot, so quite a number of, I don’t know, five years or quite a number of years. So from whom I received the whole entire teaching of the Most Secret Hayagriva, three volumes, by (?) Kaka Jetsun Dampa, whose past was like His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Mongolia, his, all the reincarnations. Then two volumes by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Fifth Dalai Lama, on the Most Secret Hayagriva, so received the oral transmission and some commentaries and the initiation, so for one or two months at Tushita. So also Geshe Seng-gye Rinpoche mentioned that even after guru entering the heart, then reciting the three deities’ mantras, it’s also one integration of, one practice of integrating the three deities, doing the practice of three deities.

However, so Thubten Chökyi Dorje and Gyalwa Ensapa so forth, those who became enlightened, they practiced this Guru Puja as their heart practice and so they, yeah, so by having done this then they achieved, then they actualized or found the unified state of Vajradhara in that very lifetime, a brief lifetime of degenerated time.

Then same thing, Pabongka says, our tradition, all the holy lineage lamas, all, this has been their heart practice, so this one is less words but, less words and great compassment, great, (?) it (?) says, encompassing.

Then it has great blessing and it has a great important, profound points. Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo is advising that, so this, in the daily life, Guru Puja, this practice, then on top of that, one of the Highest Tantric deities, one practice, either Yamantaka or Vajrayogini, whichever, Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo used just an example, so whichever deity, one of the Highest Tantra deities. I guess, one, another advice is that, one from father tantra, one from mother tantra. So here, Yamantaka, it suggests Yamantaka and then from mother tantra, the Vajrayogini, but this is just an example. It can be Heruka and other, Gyalwa Gyatso, there are other, like Tara Cittamani, there are many other mother tantras. So, one from father tantra, either Yamantaka or Guhyasamaja, whatever it is, then one from mother tantra. So, on the basis of Guru Puja then if one get to practice, so anyway, if not both then just, I mean at least one. If one is able to get to practice then it transcends, so many ways that much, so profound, I think your practice become very profound and quick, quicker to achieve enlightenment.

So, [pause] then Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo he’s advising that, this one key opening hundreds of doors of the Buddha’s teaching. So the heart practice, the one key opening hundreds of doors of the Buddha’s teachings, that is the king, integrating the whole life into lam-rim practice, this graduated state of the path to, graduate, means steps of the path to enlightenment. So there’s no greater importance than this, Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo’s advising, that.

So these practice the utmost important in the life, [pause] practicing the importance, [pause] which connects right to the point, so like in the war or when you defeat the enemy, so if you don’t hit to the right point then you can’t defeat the enemy and you will lose. So similar in the Dharma practice, here, by doing these practices it hits to the right point, right to the point and so they are extremely important. So besides then Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo is advising that, then eliminating obstacles, like Twenty-one Tara Praises or then King of the Prayers and those, there are eight types of prayers, King of the Prayers is one, then the other, Blissful Realm and so forth, then doesn’t, it (?) was (?) for the Tibetans, you see, that doesn’t need too many other things, so many other prayers, reciting so many. But I think, I don’t think this is for Western students, that’s opposite. Reciting prayers, I mean, as year passed, of course, become more understanding, so then more practice and doing prayers, the words, at least reciting the words which leaves positive imprint on the mind, brings to enlightenment. So however so the Tibetans they recite all sorts of things, many, many texts, so many things, which has not much meaning, so ________ Pabongka, helping for long life and helping this, helping that, so I think Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo’s saying, what is the important practice. Saying leave out all those things that doesn’t have much, not real Dharma or not much benefit.

So, Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo is saying, so this Guru, the Lama Chöpa, the Guru Puja, Lama Chöpa [Tibetan], in Tibetan, the Guru Puja, so the main meaning of puja is pleasing the guru. The main meaning of that, puja, is pleasing the guru, the holy mind. Because only through that one can achieve realization, enlightenment. So, inseparability of bliss and voidness, the Guru Puja, the inseparability of bliss and voidness. So this shouldn’t become just mere words, so should be done as elaborate as possible and as slow as possible, as effective as possible, that hit to the right point, so as effective as possible, according to commentary, then as much as possible, one can do the meditation.

Then refuge, mandala offering, the confessing downfalls, migtsema, so Pabongka is saying the numbers, how many times to do according the elaborate or abbreviated or short, so Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo is saying according to the convenience. So collecting merits, purifying the defilements as much as possible, any of these, anyway, according to the time and then, so, especially here, in the lam-rim prayer, the prayer of the direct meditation of the sutra and then tantra, the foundation sutra, common, then uncommon tantra, so the, Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo is saying that especially in that, there’s lam-rim and then lo-jong, means, of course, all the lam-rim is lo-jong, all the lam-rim teachings are teachings of thought transformation, from guru devotion up to enlightenment, thought transformation but there’s lo-jong, from the lam-rim, even though the whole lam-rim is lo-jong, thought transformation, but lam-rim, specifying from lam-rim lo-jong then there’s the, those particular practices there, those particular practices such as utilizing the obstacles, when you have obstacles to practice Dharma, when you encounter obstacles, undesirable, unfavorable conditions, using that, making it meaningful, worthwhile, so whatever it is, either death or sicknesses, whatever obstacle, other people criticizing or whatever it is, other people blame to you or whatever it is, so using, making that meaningful, beneficial, beneficial for whom? For sentient beings, for all the sentient beings. So that means naturally then beneficial for oneself, that no need to say.

So, then using that to develop bodhicitta and using that to realize emptiness, to meditate on emptiness, to develop that wisdom, however, then to achieve enlightenment. You make, you transform it in the path to achieve enlightenment, so all the obstacles, all the, so, those specific practices, lo-jong, lam-rim lo-jong, the lo-jong, then there’s also generation stage, completion stage, so there’s everything there, the complete path, all the important points and very profound, elaborate, the whole sutra, the complete sutra and tantric path. So, not just running through the words, mere words, but one should reflect the profound meaning, the heart, so during that time, so as much as one can, so according to the words.

Then, even it’s just only prayer, may I receive this, may I receive this, whatever, even it’s only just prayer, even what one can get done is just prayer, may I achieve this realization, but it leaves complete imprint, plants seed of the complete the whole pure path to enlightenment. Special, it definitely, even though it’s just mere prayer, because without mind being distracted, harmonize to the meaning of the prayer, then it definitely leaves during that short time, definitely leaves special imprint, it plants special seed to, the complete the pure path to enlightenment. So it definitely makes to achieve the very heart of the purpose of life, so happiness beyond from _____ up to enlightenment.

So, it says, the practice, the mouth recitation, the main one, if one can put your life into, integrate into this, put all the effort into this, so most effective, to the point, it says, there are so many, it is an expression that, there are very large water, river or very extensive or there’s so many waters or there’s so many rivers, but one bridge, there’s one bridge, you don’t need many bridges, but one bridge, you go over this one bridge then you cross all the water, all the rivers, so like that, it’s an expression. So that one contains everything.

This is the very heart of the scriptures which are transformation of the Gaden, the ear-lineage, and this has, so there’s no, it is unequaled blessing than other practices, so this is extremely important and it is definite to receive these benefits.

So, yeah, so this gives you an idea of how to practice, what’s the very essence, most important thing to, makes life the most meaningful, so like that. [Pause]

Of course, my chanting is not the best one.  It’s Mickey Mouse chanting. Mickey Mouse from Lawudo or from Namche Bazaar, from Namche Bazaar. From Solu Khumbu. So, just some, as sort of for learning and then maybe, not much to mention but just some points to, some explanation.

Maybe if you read the refuge merit field and then the motivation there. The refuge, you read.

[Ven. Sarah reads Visualization of the Field of Refuge pp.9-10]

So here, we (?) continue the normal way with the counting.

[Rinpoche chants verse 2, then verse 3, three times.]

Think purified the negative karmas collected with them, guru, Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, not only yours but also all the sentient beings and received all their qualities within oneself, as well as in the hearts of all the sentient beings.

[Rinpoche chants verse 4 twice.]

Then read the English.

[Ven. Sarah reads verse 4 in English]

So we make it really heartfelt, generating very strong, special bodhicitta, to practice the Highest Tantra.

The one hell being, who has been one’s own mother and kind numberless times. Not only that, received all one’s own past happiness, present, also the future happiness, realizations, enlightenment, everything from that one hell being, who is suffering in the cold hell or in the hot hell. The most, experiencing the most unbearable suffering right now, and who is the most precious and most kind one in one’s own life, so suffering there even for one second is like suffering for eons, so unbearable, so therefore, I must liberate without delay even a second from all those unimaginable, most unimaginable suffering of samsara, the hell realms, hell suffering, and the general suffering of samsara.

So, now, not only that, there are numberless of them, same, most kind and most precious, from whom I receive all my three-time, all the happiness and that they are experiencing unbearable suffering, most unbearable suffering, same, because numberless, so now it’s much, much more unbearable for me, can’t stand even a second without liberating them from this most unimaginable sufferings, the hell suffering, then general suffering of samsara. So, must, I must liberate them, without delay even a second.

Now, one preta being, has been one’s own mother and kind numberless times, and then, not only that, but all the past happiness, present, future, all the happiness, realization, enlightenment I receive from this one preta being. This preta being is the most precious, most kind one in my life, experiencing most unbearable suffering of the preta realm, and general sufferings of samsara. So can’t stand even for a second, it’s like suffering for eons, so I must liberate without delay even a second.

Now not only that, there are numberless of them who are the same, so precious, so kind, then I received all my, all the happiness and being mother and kind and received all the happiness and so there are numberless of them are suffering, same situation, experiencing most unbearable suffering, the preta realm. So I must liberate them, can’t stand even for one second, the suffering, so liberate them without delay even a second from those most unbearable suffering of the preta and the general suffering of samsara.

Then, one animal the same, one animal, has been my mother, kind, numberless times. Not only that, then received all the past, present, future happiness, realization, enlightenment, everything from this one animal, sentient being. And it’s experiencing most unbearable in the animal realm, so much suffering, so must liberate, even for one second seeing suffering like this, most unbearable for me, it’s like eons suffering. So, I must liberate without delay even a second. There are numberless animals, who have been my mother and kind, and received all my past, present, future, all the happiness, enlightenment, everything from, so most precious and most kind, every one, so they all are suffering, most unbearable, the animal realm suffering, then general suffering of samsara. So it’s much more unbearable than before, they are numberless. So I must, so can’t stand even for one second so must liberate from all those sufferings, the animal, then all the general sufferings of samsara and, I left out the, to bring into enlightenment, that should be said.

And then, so one human being, so as I mentioned yesterday, so who has been one’s own mother, kind numberless times, receive all the past, present, future, all the happiness, realization, enlightenment, everything, so most precious, most kind one in one’s own life. So, experiencing the human being, the unbearable sufferings and the three types of sufferings, there are three types of sufferings, and those the human realm sufferings, then the general suffering of samsara, the three types, like that, so forth. So, maybe even helpful, just to think of the body, one way to generate compassion. So inside skeleton, there’s bone inside, skeleton and pieces of bones joined by the muscle, I don’t mean Marcel from Holland. [RL] Anyway, [RL] the nerves, however, inside, the pieces of flesh inside and those stomach and inside the body and outside covered by those pieces of flesh, the skin and everything is, the head, all these pieces, inside the head, brains, all those pieces there, and it’s covered by the skin, so some parts some hairs growing, like that, however, this is it, this is it, this is it, so filled with flesh and blood and things, many dirty things inside, like that, so and totally only in the nature of suffering, no freedom at all, like that. No freedom at all, no freedom from the suffering of samsara, the delusion and karma. So, however outside appears, dressed up, however, but inside is this, so anyway, so and living with so many hallucinations, because so many wrong concepts, big piles of hallucinations, living the life like that. Then, continuously, because of that, continuously suffering, yeah, circling in samsara and experiencing all the sufferings, besides human being suffering then over and over.

So anyway, can’t stand even one second, being, having, being caught in samsara, being totally under the control of karma and delusion and experiencing all these sufferings, particular human being, general suffering of samsara, so living in total hallucination, opposite to the reality of the phenomena and the life, so like suffering for even a minute, a second, is like for eons, can’t stand, so I must liberate from all those sufferings.

Now there are human beings not just one, there are numberless who are so precious, so kind, from whom one receive all the happiness, past, present, future, been mother and kind, and then, so there are numberless of them are suffering, experiencing human being suffering, the general suffering of samsara, so can’t stand even one second letting them suffer in samsara, can’t stand seeing them suffer, so must liberate them from all the suffering, the particular suffering of human being, general suffering of samsara, and bring them to enlightenment without delay even a second. That oneself should do this.

So now same, one sura being, like that. So, much of it is similar, deva realm, so deva suffering, completely under the control of delusion and karma, living in total hallucination, the same, always engaged in creating the cause of samsara, not liberation but the cause, creating the cause of samsara and particular cause of the lower realms, so again think, so it’s similar. However must, so so precious, so kind in my life, from whom I receive all my three-time happiness, up to enlightenment, and being mother and kind and can’t stand even one second, it’s like suffering for eons, even one sura or even one asura. Now there are numberless of them, so precious, so kind, from whom I receive all my three-time happiness, being mother and kind and numberless of them suffering, so much, much more unbearable than before, their suffering even for one second is like suffering for eons, so must free them from all those realm suffering and general suffering of samsara and bring them to enlightenment without delay even a second.

Same, all the intermediate stage beings, that from whom I receive all my three-time happiness and being mother and kind and all that, so most precious, most kind one, and then suffering even for one second there, all, living the life in terror, unbelievable terror, the karmic appearance, the four elements, violence, this incredible karmic appearance, the incredible violence of the four elements, tormented, so _______, then incredible terrifying situation, so even one second is like for eons, like that, so unbearable for me, and so must liberate from those sufferings and then general suffering of samsara and that, now not just only one there is numberless of them, same, who are most precious, most kind ones, from whom I receive all my past, present, future, all the happiness, realization, up to enlightenment and then being mother and kind, all that, so everyone, and then there are numberless of them suffering, so it’s much, much more unbearable than before. Can’t stand even for one second, seeing them suffering. They are left there in the intermediate stage suffering, so I must liberate them without delay even a second from all those sufferings and bring them to enlightenment without delay even a second.

And, yeah, therefore then, I must actualize the guru-deity’s, the state of the guru-deity, the primordial enlightenment, however, without delay even a second, therefore then I’m going to practice the profound path, the yoga of the guru-deity.

[Rinpoche chants verses 5-6]

The absorbing the refuge merit field, then generating in the deity. So either one does elaborate way or abbreviated way, the meditation, the purifying ordinary death, intermediate state, rebirth, making the mind ripened to achieve the path-time dharmakaya, sambhogakaya, nirmanakaya and plant seed to achieve the result-time dharmakaya, sambhogakaya, nirmanakaya. So it will come later, the more details on the explanation.

Generate in the deity, if not, if one hasn’t received Yamantaka initiation, then another deity. [Very long pause]

[Rinpoche chants verses 1, 7-8]

So one can do here longer chanting, middle chanting and the short chanting.

[Rinpoche quickly chants verses 9-14]

So, because of the time, some part I read quicker, so howeverit doesn’t mean you have to particularly (?) stick to the chanting, you can read the, individually you can read the English, those who would like to do the chanting then can do the chanting. howeverso usually in the book if there’s the Tibetan phonetics, the verses which can be chanted, if they’re in phonetics, if the phonetics are next to the English, then makes very easy to, while you’re chanting you can have a look at the English as well, then you know the meaning, so if one is not familiar, so you know what you are reciting, the profound meaning, so like that. So then that helps also to practice.

So this is according to Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo’s advice or tradition to recite the second stanza first, then the first stanza after, according to that, according to His Holiness Zong Rinpoche and His Holiness Trijang Rinpoche.

[Rinpoche chants verses 16, 15, 17]

So, yeah, maybe read the English, yeah, read the English first, the very first verse.

[Ven. Sarah reads verses 16, 15 in English]

[Rinpoche recites bath offering ...(?) rinchen lama ku thru sol]

There are three verses for making offerings to the gurus, so then after that comes the four classes of tantra, the deities.

[Rinpoche continues bath offering: gurus, deities]

Offering bath to Triple Gems.

[Offering bath to Three Jewels]

Offering to Dharma protectors.

[Offering bath to Dharma protectors]

Then the worldly protectors and those five long-life sisters, who are situated around the Himalayan mountain ridge, there are twelve denmas, so including Dorje Yuldronma, the Tibetan government protector, so all those devas are situated in Tibet. Then, in particular, the devas who are situated in this area. Then, all the landlords, not the landlord who sells the property. The country devas, landlord, all those beings, so can think of the world and then also particular in this area, so offer bath, yeah, purified, like that.

[Offering bath to local protectors]

Also, I forgot, there’s also nagas, devas and nagas.

Offering music. [de zhin sheg dang...ky tru sol]

[Drying, anointing, offering robes]

Then offering ornaments. [gyal wa tsan...thob par shog]

The purifying the six realm sentient beings with the vase water.

[Offering the auspicious vase]

So this one is dropped outside, normally this is done, purifying the six realm sentient beings, and then generate bodhicitta in all their hearts.

One important prayer, this is offering the crown on the Buddha, like Lama Tsongkhapa offered a crown to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha in Lhasa, then made it sambhogakaya. So Lama Tsongkhapa did this, why? Because in the sambhogakaya aspect then it helps teachings to last a long time, because the definition of the sambhogakaya is five definite qualities and only surrounded with the bodhisattvas and then definite place in the Ogmin, always abide in Ogmin and always definite teaching, only giving Mahayana teachings, then definite holy body is adorned with the holy signs and exemplifications. Then, definite time, until samsara ends.

So therefore, the sambhogakaya, Lama Tsongkhapa made sambhogakaya aspect by offering the crown, it didn’t have crown before, so that helps the teaching to last a long time. Even though some people, some lamas criticize to Lama Tsongkhapa having done that, having put the crown. So here, offering crown, I’m not going to translate now, this time, offering crown to the Buddha, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha to spread Dharma all over the world. Then, all the sentient beings to have perfect, direct goodness, perfect happiness and to achieve ten powers, (?) all the Buddha’s qualities. So....

[Rinpoche recites in Tibetan]

[Ven Sarah: With most excellent light radiating forth in the ten directions/Splendor of good fortune, may it exist everywhere/This crown ornament of the precious golden (?) powers/The crown of the Shakya king, I offer./May thereby the precious teachings spread into the ten directions/[next part inaudible] happiness/And by its becoming the crown ornament of transcendental wisdom [next part inaudible] may they all gain the [inaudible] of the ten powers. Then Requesting them to remain.]

So can read in English the first stanza.

[Ven. Sarah reads verse 18 in English, then Rinpoche chants verses 18-19 in Tibetan; verse 19 in English; verse 20 in Tibetan and English]

Meditate on this a little bit.