Kopan Course No. 36 (2003)

Kopan Monastery, Nepal (Archive #1441)

These teachings were given by Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche at the 36th Kopan Meditation Course, held at Kopan Monastery, Nepal, in 2003. The transcripts are lightly edited by Gordon McDougall.

Lecture 9: Golden Light Sutra and Refuge Ceremony
Golden Light Sutra: Motivation for Oral transmission

This morning I mentioned page 158, remember?

So again, as we have just heard, generate the motivation of bodhicitta.

The numberless hell beings, every one of them is a source from whom I have received all my past, present and future happiness, realizations, enlightenment. They are the most precious, most kind ones in my life. I must free them from all the sufferings and causes and bring them to enlightenment by myself alone.

Then, the numberless hungry ghosts, from each of them I receive all my past, present and future happiness, realizations, enlightenment, everything. They are the most precious, most kind ones in my life. Therefore, I must free them from all the suffering and causes and bring them to enlightenment by myself alone.

The numberless animals, from each of them I receive all my past, present and future happiness, realizations, enlightenment, everything. They are the most precious, most kind ones in my life. Therefore, I must free them from all the suffering and causes and bring them to enlightenment by myself alone.

The numberless human beings, from each of them I receive all my past, present and future happiness, realizations, enlightenment, everything. They are the most precious, most kind ones in my life. Therefore, I must free them from all the suffering and causes and bring them to enlightenment by myself alone.

The numberless suras and asuras, from each of them I receive all my past, present and future happiness, realizations, enlightenment, everything. They are the most precious, most kind ones in my life. Therefore, I must free them from all the suffering and causes and bring them to enlightenment by myself alone.

The intermediate state beings, from each of them I receive all my past, present and future happiness, realizations, enlightenment, everything. They are the most precious, most kind ones in my life. Therefore, I must free them from all the suffering and causes and bring them to enlightenment by myself alone.

Therefore I must achieve enlightenment, I must achieve enlightenment. For that I need to actualize the path, therefore I need to purify all the defilements and negative karma and collect extensive merit—the merit of wisdom and merit of virtue.

Therefore I am going to take the oral transmission of the Golden Light Sutra, one of the most precious teachings of the Buddha, which, as I mentioned before, collects the most extensive, innumerable amount of merit by listening to each word. It becomes unbelievable purification. All the negative karma gets purified by listening to each word, which plants the seed of the whole path to enlightenment; which has incredible power and benefit; which brings peace and happiness in this world, in this country, at home—wherever this holy text is, it brings so much peace and happiness, prosperity and protection.

Golden Light Sutra: The benefits of hearing the text

When I carry this text on the plane, I think that it becomes protection for the flight, for all the passengers, for their safety. So, when you have some danger or sickness or something, it is said in the teachings that even just remembering the name “Golden Light Sutra” seems to stop that danger or sickness.

In Malaysia, when I was staying in a wealthy couple’s house, we went out to dinner and as soon as I ate the first spoon of rice a toothache started. Somehow, at that time I remembered what the teaching said, that remembering even the name “Golden Light Sutra” stops illness. As soon as I remembered that, the discomfort and pain of the toothache immediately went. It just started with this first spoon of rice, then remembering this it immediately was stopped. I guess it was maybe some involvement of spirits, I am not sure what.

So, every single word that you listen to is for the benefit of all sentient beings, to be able to benefit, to bring peace and happiness to all sentient beings, particularly in this world, in Nepal, and then in your own home, your family.

[Oral transmission]

I have finished the front page, then the back page needs to be read.

Dedication

About refuge and precepts, refuge was already explained this morning. Without food in the stomach, refuge and precepts might be difficult. [Laughter] Maybe it doesn’t go here, it passes through. It passes through, like the wind. So anyway, it’s better to have food. So maybe we’ll do that after dinner, after dinner with a half sleep.

[Chanting]

So the same. The inconceivable merit we have collected by listening to each word of the Golden Light Sutra, the precious teaching of the Buddha, listening and transmitting the lineage, all the three times’ merit collected by myself and the threes’ time merit collected by others, may bodhicitta be generated in the heart of myself, in my family members, in all of us here and all the students and benefactors of this organization, who give up their lives for this organization doing service for sentient beings and then in the hearts of all the sentient beings.

Then the second one, particularly the sentient beings in this world. The third one, to generate bodhicitta in the hearts of all the leaders of this world, and as well, to generate bodhicitta without delaying even a second in all the terrorists, in all their hearts, the Maoists and all the people, all the different groups, whatever they are called, who are harming the world, causing so many problems to others.

[Chanting]

Due all to these merits of listening to and transmitting the Golden Light Sutra, by generating bodhicitta, loving kindness, compassion, in the hearts of everyone in this world and all sentient beings, may all their actions become only virtue, may they live their lives only benefiting each other, never giving harm. In this way, may they prosper and only create good karma. May they enjoy external prosperity and all the perfect enjoyment. May there be no economic problems, and also inner prosperity, the realizations of the path to enlightenment. So like that, may the whole world, globally, be filled with peace and happiness, as well as every individual person’s life, be filled with peace and happiness. And may they all achieve enlightenment quickly.

Due to all the past, present and future merits collected by me, the three times’ merit collected by others, that which are merely labeled by mind, may I, who is also merely labeled by mind, lead all the sentient beings to achieve Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s enlightenment, which is also merely labeled by mind, and then lead all the sentient beings, who are also merely labeled by mind, to that enlightenment, which is merely labeled by mind, by myself alone, who is also merely labeled by mind.

I dedicate all the merits to follow what the buddhas Samantabhadra and Manjughosha realized, to able to follow, in the same way as the three times’ buddhas dedicated their merit. May the general teachings and the teachings of Lama Tsongkhapa spread in all the directions and may they flourish forever in this world, by being completely actualized in my own heart and in the hearts of all of us, in the hearts of all the students and the benefactors.

[Chanting]

Please enjoy the nectar.

Refuge: The benefits of offering to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha

As I said, it is mentioned in the lamrim teachings, the benefit of having refuge in our own heart is that we become an inner being. Refuge is like the door for entering the Buddhadharma. The door through which we enter the path to enlightenment is bodhicitta.

The door through which we enter the secret mantra, the Vajrayana, is to take a great initiation—not a jenang, not just the blessing, the permission to practice the holy body, holy speech, holy mind of the deity—the great empowerment, that is the door of the secret mantra Vajrayana.

The door through which we enter the Buddhadharma is refuge. By having refuge we enter into the Buddhadharma. Without having refuge, we have not entered into the Buddhadharma. It is defined like that. All the negative karma collected in the past from beginningless rebirths is purified by having refuge in the heart. Then we collect extensive merits instantly, immediately.

If we want to grow crops in a field, we can’t plant them any time we want; it depends on the season. We can only plant in the right season, and we can only harvest at the right time. That is not so with the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, with the holy objects such as statues, stupas and scriptures. We can collect merit twenty-four hours a day. The only question is from our own side—whether from our own side we are unable to collect merit, unable to take the opportunity, unable to practice—otherwise there is no limitation from the side of the merit field.

There is no question; whatever offering we make toward the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha such as making prostrations or offerings, even just to statues, stupas and scriptures of the Buddha, the minute it is done it has infinite results; we collect inconceivable merit. It has the result of inconceivable happiness.

I don’t remember all the words but in the sutra the Buddha explained four or five times that the minute we make offering to holy objects, the result is numberless and unconceivable, the merit is fathomless and the result is happiness. The Buddha explained this.

If we offer a grain of rice or a tiny flower to even a statue or picture of the Buddha the result is inconceivable. This is explained in the sutra. All the samsaric pleasures that we experienced from beginningless rebirth up to now, all comfort and all the samsaric pleasure that we’ll be experiencing in the future, all that is still not enough—it is still nothing compared to offering one tiny grain of rice or one tiny flower to a statue of the Buddha, or a stupa or scripture, to any of them. All that happiness, all those past samsaric pleasures that we experienced from beginningless rebirth and that we will experience in the future, altogether doesn’t finish covering the benefit, the result, of this offering of one tiny grain of rice or a flower to a statue, stupa or scripture of the Buddha.

The Buddha says that until we achieve liberation, the sorrowless state, the result of happiness doesn’t finish. But here liberation is not just liberation from samsara. There is great liberation, full enlightenment. In my view, we still don’t finish the result of that [offering]. Why? Because after achieving great liberation, enlightenment, then we liberate numberless sentient beings from the oceans of samsaric suffering and bring them to full enlightenment. So, we are still enjoying the result of that offering, that one grain of rice or tiny flower we offered to a statue, stupa or scripture of the Buddha, one of these holy objects.

Can you imagine? The result, the benefit, of this good karma, of offering one single grain of rice or one tiny flower to a picture, a statue, a stupa or a scripture of the Buddha is infinite; the resulting happiness is infinite. It’s unconceivable. This contains all the samsaric pleasure from beginningless rebirth, now and in the future and on top of that we actualize the whole path to liberation and the whole path to enlightenment. We achieve the Buddha’s holy body, speech and mind which has infinite qualities—the Buddha’s speech which has infinite qualities and the Buddha’s holy mind which has infinite qualities. So, you see all that we achieve from this offering of one grain of rice or one tiny flower to a holy object: a picture, statue, stupa or scripture of the Buddha.

If we really understand the benefit of this, the resultant good karma is unconceivable. Then after that we liberate numberless sentient beings who are locked in unimaginable suffering and we bring them to enlightenment, causing them to actualize the whole path to enlightenment. It’s incredible that we are able to guide even one sentient being, to reveal the various methods, the various manifestations, that lead from life to life, from happiness to happiness, to enlightenment.

So, karma is a very important subject; it is not a small subject. It’s very extensive. In a positive way, the result of good actions is unbelievable. And also in a negative way, the result of negative result is unbearable. In this case, this is good karma with the merit field, with the holy objects of Buddha.

By having refuge in the mind, by having faith in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, it makes it so easy in life to collect extensive merit, the cause of happiness. It is so easy to create the cause of success, of happiness. We can do that twenty-four hours a day. There is no limitation from the side of the object. The only question is from our own side, whether we practice or not, whether we take the opportunity or not.

Merit is not like money, like gold. The currency market goes up and down. Gold prices go up and down but here, by offering or prostrating to these holy objects, the statues, stupas, scriptures, the holy objects of the Buddha, the benefit we get from that never varies. There is no such thing as now it is low, now it is higher. There is no such thing. There is no such thing as decreasing, for example, when the value of gold sometimes goes down. Sometimes a particular currency is higher than another and sometimes it’s lower. But here, the amount of merit we collect from even a small offering, like the example of a grain of rice or a flower offered to a picture of the Buddha, always remains. I just gave an idea from the sutra, from what the Buddha explained with his compassion for us sentient beings. The merit is always same; it is always like that. Whenever we make offering, it’s always like this. There is no such thing as decreasing. That would mean the quality of the Buddha is going down. If the amount of merit becomes less, then their quality is going down. Like that, that mistake would arise. There is no such thing as their quality going down.

Why does offering this one stick of incense, this one grain of rice or this tiny flower to a holy object collect inconceivable merit, with the result of happiness? Why? Because the Buddha has inconceivable qualities. Even the arhats who are free from samsara, and the tenth bhumi bodhisattvas, who are close to achieving enlightenment, even they cannot see every single quality of a buddha; they cannot see the subtle qualities. They are qualities, actions of a buddha, that are only objects of the buddhas themselves, of their own omniscient minds. Even tenth bhumi bodhisattvas, who have skies of qualities themselves, cannot see every single quality of a buddha, all the buddha’s secret qualities or secret actions.

Therefore, Lama Tsongkhapa said in the teachings that by doing four sessions a day—say, in the morning, before twelve, then afternoon, then night time—always with the merit field, with the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, we can always, every day, collect merit, like planting seeds in the field. Planting rice and so forth depends on the right season—we can’t plant them any time we want and receive crops any time we want but here, Lama Tsongkhapa explained, we can plant the seeds of all happiness every day four times a day. We can create happiness, all happiness and the cause of all happiness.

Lama Tsongkhapa said that it’s a great loss if we don’t take this opportunity, if we miss the chance, every day four times a day, to be able to collect merit, like make offerings. If we don’t get this done it’s a great loss. There is no comparison, but just as an idea it’s like in every hour we lose many billions, many trillions of dollars. While we have all these opportunities and we don’t do the practice and collect the merit it is that kind of loss. Lama Tsongkhapa emphasized to always take the opportunity to collect merit with the field of merit.

By having refuge in our own heart, we are able to collect extensive merit immediately, just by seeing thousands of holy objects. Before mentioning that, I want to say, as Lama Tsongkhapa mentioned in Lamrim Chenmo, the Great Treatise on the Steps of the Path to Enlightenment, that any action done without renunciation, bodhicitta or emptiness—that is, the three principal aspects of the path—becomes just the cause of samsara, except for a few exceptional actions. That means normally our actions, whether good karma or not good karma, bad karma, the cause of happiness or the cause of suffering, depend on our motivation. It depends on whether our motivation is virtuous or nonvirtuous. If it is done with renunciation then it becomes virtue and the cause to achieve liberation from samsara. If it is done with bodhicitta, of course, it becomes the cause to achieve enlightenment. If it is done with right view then it is the remedy to samsara, the remedy to the root of samsara, ignorance. Actions done with not all three, just one of these, all become virtues, the cause of happiness.

Any action not done with any of these thoughts, with lamrim, becomes ordinary, just the cause of samara, except for some exceptional actions. That means doing circumambulation, prostration, making offering to holy objects, with a nonvirtuous thought like anger, ignorance, attachment clinging to this life—even if the motivation is nonvirtue these actions become virtue, become Dharma. They not only become Dharma, they become the cause of enlightenment. How? Not from the side of the motivation but from the side of the power of the holy object. So, that is one thing.

It is so difficult to make our motivation pure, unstained by the three poisonous minds. It is difficult to transform, to generate renunciation, bodhicitta and emptiness. But if there is a holy object—if there is even a holy object at your house, if there is a holy object in the country, a statue, a stupa, a scripture, or you visualize the Buddha—by doing this practice, by visualizing or prostrating or offering, it immediately becomes the cause of enlightenment. The minute it is done it becomes the cause of enlightenment. So, you see, there is no question it is the cause of liberation from samsara and the happiness of future lives. Those come by the way.

Therefore, just by these holy objects existing, it makes it unbelievable easy for us sentient beings—who have such uncontrolled minds, such obscured minds and rainfalls of delusions arising one after another—to collect merit, because it doesn’t depend on doing virtuous actions. Because of the existence of holy objects, whatever the motivation, it becomes virtue, it becomes the cause of happiness, even enlightenment.

There’s a word in India, baksheesh, but that’s not quite right. It’s when somebody does a good job and you give them something. [Student explains] Bonus, yes, bonus. So this is our bonus. This is the bonus for us ordinary sentient beings who don’t have realizations, who find it so difficult to make the mind Dharma, pure. But by these holy objects existing, it is so easy to collect merit, the cause of enlightenment, the cause of all realizations. So, this is a bonus. This is bonus for us. Bonus? [Student explains] This is the best bonus for us.

Why do holy objects have such power? It comes from the Buddha’s compassion, that embraces all us sentient beings, never giving up no matter whether we believe in the Buddha or not, whether we worship the Buddha or not. It doesn’t depend on that. No matter how evil we become, how much we harm others, from the side of the Buddha’s compassion, he never gives up, even for one second, he never gives up his compassion for us sentient beings.

That compassion was developed, generated, for us sentient beings before even realizing bodhicitta, then developed while on the bodhisattva’s path and then he completed the mind training in compassion to us sentient beings. This is how it happens that even these holy objects of the Buddha—the statues, stupas and scriptures—have so much power to benefit us. It is because of the Buddha’s power. The holy objects have power because of the Buddha’s qualities, the Buddha’s power. Such inconceivable power, such qualities, are actualized by compassion. The fuel, the force is compassion for us sentient beings, to free us from sufferings and to cause all happiness. Because compassion develops, it forces us to develop wisdom, understanding the Dharma, the wisdom realizing emptiness.

Therefore, even just by seeing a statue of Buddha or a picture of Buddha, the effect it has on our mental continuum is inconceivable. It is inconceivable. We collect inconceivable great merit by merely seeing a statue of the Buddha or a picture of the Buddha. That is said in the sutra by the Buddha to Buddha Manjushri, called the Sutra of the Mudra Generating the Power of Devotion. It is said there that making offerings every day of hundreds of different kinds of divine food—divine food is nectar, the food of even ordinary devas, worldly gods and so, of course, the Buddha—and clothing to all the arhats, the solitary realizers, who are free from samsara and delusion and karma, offering all this for how many eons, every day like this, for the number of eons equaling the sand grains of the Pacific Ocean. It says, numbering the sand grains or the atoms of the universes for that many eons, making offerings to all the solitary realizers, all the arhats—that amount of merit is inconceivable. But if we compare that to the merit of merely seeing a picture of the Buddha or a statue of Buddha, this collects more merit, this collects numberless times’ greater merits than the other one. The other one becomes small if we compare it to this. It says in the sutra there is no question if we do prostrations or make offerings, we collect even more merit, we collect incalculable great merit.

In the lamrim texts it is mentioned that in the past somebody offered a medicinal drink to four ordinary monks, not even exalted arya Sangha. Because of the karma of having offered a medicinal drink to four ordinary monks, the result was that in the next life that person was reborn as a very powerful king and had all the wealth in India in a country called Kashika. But the cause was just offering a medicinal drink to four monks. It was something very small but the result was immense. If the object we are offering to is all the arhats, the exalted beings free from samsara, from delusions and karma, and here we are offering hundreds of kinds of divine-tasting nectar for eons. How many eons? Equaling the number of the atoms of the universes. Even just making offerings to one arhat, we can’t imagine the merit. By understanding the previous example of karma, this is mind-blowing merit! But then, if we compare it to just seeing a picture of the Buddha or a statue of the Buddha, or the seven stupas—just merely seeing this, we collect much more merit, numberless great merit.

Respect for holy objects

Therefore, I normally advise people to have as many holy objects as possible, not only in the shrine room, the meditation room, but even in the sitting room, everywhere. Maybe the toilet is not so respectful, with those smells, but I think any other place, inside or outside. It must be a respectful place, not putting it on the ground. There is a kind of maybe bad habit or something, a custom from Japan, where people make a Japanese garden and put the buddha on the ground. When they make this kind of garden, they dig the Buddha into the ground. I just remembered that. You see many places where even students who are Tibetan Buddhists, because they follow some other custom, put the Buddha on the ground in the garden. That is disrespectful; it should be in a higher place.

In Washington, there were a couple of very old students who had a garden with a buddha statue on the ground. There was a Muslim family next door, and the lady of the family asked them to put something under the Buddha to raise it up a little, out of respect. Can you imagine? Next door was a Muslim family, a very good-hearted family, and the wife asked the old students to put something under the Buddha, to lift it up.

We have buddha statues on the altar in the shrine room but I think the idea of a Japanese garden with a buddha on the ground doesn’t relate to karma, doesn’t relate to how the Buddha explained the refuge vows. Part of the refuge vows is to respect holy objects. It’s for our benefit. It’s not as if the Buddha gets cold or the Buddha gets sick or gets a fever by being on the ground. It’s for our benefit, for us not to create obstacles for our success in developing our mind in the path to enlightenment, for realization.

We must respect a buddha image, whether the art is perfect or not, whether the proportion is perfect. As long as it is a buddha statue, in any material, even made of kaka, whatever it is, even if it is not proportional, not perfect, as long as it is a buddha statue, we must respect it. Whether it is a painting or drawing or statue, we have to put it in a high place and respect it. Otherwise, even though it’s merely labeled, it functions in mere name, and even though the negative karma is merely labeled by the mind, we experience the suffering result, the pollution, the obscuration of mind. That also exists in mere name, but we have to experience it. Everything is empty, dependent arising, existing in mere name, but we have to experience it. I thought to mention this. I didn’t get to mention it before, I just remembered it.

As part of the refuge, as part of the basic practice, if we want to develop our mind, if we want to have realizations, to have happiness, to not have suffering, then we should abandon any type of negative karma. So you see, that’s the reason. After we take refuge, then we should respect holy objects.

As I have just explained, as many holy objects as we have in the house, inside and outside, all these benefits come just by seeing the holy objects, what it does to our mind. Therefore any time, the minute we wake up in the morning we see holy objects, we collect all this merit constantly whether we are outside or whether we are inside in the room, we always see holy objects. We are always purifying the mind, always collecting limitless skies of merit, always planting the seed of enlightenment. It makes our life always meaningful.

If we build holy objects like stupas, like statues, also scriptures, if we build such holy objects as this in the world, in the country, it benefits so many sentient beings. So many sentient beings come to see this holy object and it purifies so many defilements of the sentient beings. Just by seeing a stupa or statue even from distance, they collect inconceivable merit. So then of course the bigger it is, the more people come to see it and the more sentient beings get benefit. So many more sentient beings get benefit and more sentient beings get liberated from lower realm sufferings, from samsara, and direct their life toward enlightenment. That’s the whole reason why the Maitreya statue is five hundred feet tall, so that all the people of the world can come to see it because it is so big, so large.

In Australia, in Queensland, there is a huge papaya—not papaya—there is a huge pineapple. There is a huge pineapple and thousands of people come each year to see it. [Laughter] It’s a huge pineapple. They come to see this huge pineapple and go inside and there is a restaurant. I haven’t been, but after I heard the story, I thought about Chenrezig Institute. That’s the original meditation center in Australia. Before, there was nothing, just a mountain, but now Chenrezig Institute has very good programs, like the five-year Basic Program. Venerable Antonio was there for two years, helping the program, yes? I think there are maybe twenty or thirty nuns there and some monks.

So anyway, I was thinking, we have very good teachers there, excellent teachers, very learned. Before, during Geshe Thinley’s time, Lama’s brother was resident teacher there. He was a great teacher. People don’t understand that Chenrezig is a great place to study. So, I thought in my mind to make a huge potato. [Laughter] I thought to make a huge potato or carrot and then on the inside paint Milarepa’s life story or the Buddha’s life story. And then you have a cafeteria with cakes and chocolate and ice cream. So then, by the way, people come to know the center.

The reason why it should be so big is that this has great benefit because more people come to see it as a sight, for sightseeing—either with devotion or sightseeing. Therefore, the world gets a lot of benefit from it. Besides that, those who donate toward it—the people who put in time, the companies or the workers, the potters, anybody who works for it—get unbelievable, unconceivable merit, like the Buddha explained. Any holy object that is built, any stupa or statue, whatever, in the world, in the country, how many hundreds of thousands of years this holy object exists, every day it liberates sentient beings, it works for sentient beings.

Without words, without needing to explain, for hundreds of thousands of years, however long it exists, it constantly benefits sentient beings, it works for sentient beings, it liberates them, it purifies their minds and causes them to collect merit, to plant the seed of enlightenment. It does this constantly. Examples are any of those large statues built in different places, like in Hong Kong or different places. Every day, thousands of people come to see them. So, every day the statue or statue, the holy object, liberates many thousands of sentient beings from the lower realms, because they purify negative karma and then it causes them to collect so much merit and plant the seed of enlightenment, to eventually liberate them from samsara and to achieve enlightenment. It causes them to achieve all the realizations on the path to enlightenment.

So even if we built it and we die, whatever rebirth we take, for hundreds of thousands of years it constantly benefits other sentient beings, it benefits the world. So, we are still benefiting sentient beings.

The benefits of having holy objects

Besides those benefits, who actually builds a holy object collects inconceivable merits. When King Sogyal asked the Buddha what the benefits of that are, the Buddha explained that how many atoms the statue has, we will be born as a king in the human realm or the deva realm. How many lifetimes? Equaling the number of atoms that the statue or stupa has. That means, with all that wealth and power we can benefit sentient beings. And how many atoms the statue has, that many lifetimes we will create the perfect cause of shamatha, calm abiding meditation, the continual precise concentration, what’s called sam den in Tibetan, in the form or formless realms. We will create as many perfect causes as there are atoms, causes equaling the number of atoms of the statue, causes of perfect concentration. Without perfect concentration we can’t actually develop our mind in the path to enlightenment, liberation, the path to enlightenment.

The next benefit is we will achieve the arya path. We create how many causes? Equaling the number of atoms of that statue. We create that many causes to achieve the arya path, to achieve especially the bodhisattva arya path.

If we achieve the Hinayana arya path, we achieve the path of no more learning then we overcome the cycle of death and rebirth. If we achieve the bodhisattva arya path, then by attaining the third path, the right-seeing path we also abandon the suffering of rebirth, old age, sickness and death. When we achieve the tantra arya path, in Highest Yoga Tantra there is the graduate generation stage and the graduate completion stage. In the graduate completion stage there is the isolation of speech, isolation of mind, clear light and so forth. There are five stages. There are different ways of counting according to the different lamas. After the isolation of speech is the isolation of mind, which is clear light. Clear light has example clear light and meaning clear light. Meaning clear light is the exalted path. By achieving this meaning clear light we are totally free from death, we totally overcome the cycle of death and rebirth by achieving the Highest Yoga Tantra completion stage. When we achieve that level, we are free.

However many atoms the statue has, we create that many causes to achieve arya path. However many atoms it has, we create that many causes to achieve enlightenment. This is the essence of what the Buddha explained to King Sogyal. Anyone who actualizes a holy object—who causes them to be built—they get all this merit. They get all these incredible extensive merits.

Even when we make tsa tsas. Even making a tsa tsa the size of a thumb, a statue of the Buddha the size of a thumb, that still has so many atoms, it has an unbelievable amount of atoms, so we can’t imagine all those merits, the causes of all those results, equaling the number of all those atoms.

It is said that holy objects benefit world peace, they bring peace and happiness to the world, because they have the power to purify defilements, obscurations of mind, and to collect extensive merit, even without depending on the mind, the motivation becoming virtue. When that happens, only through that, the mind can become soft, the heart of the people can become softened, and only then can they generate loving kindness and compassion. To generate loving kindness and compassion depends on purifying the defilements, negative karma, obscurations. It needs a lot of merit, the necessary conditions to have these realizations, to develop this good heart. Without purifying the defilements, without collecting merit, from our individual side, just by somebody explaining how to develop compassion, just by having mere intellectual understanding, it cannot happen, it cannot happen. We have to purify the obstacles, the defilements, the negative karma, and we need to collect a lot of merit. As I mentioned, a project needs a lot of funds, and the bigger the project the more funds. Here, it is the same for realizations.

Through purifying lots of defilements and collecting lots of merit, gradually the heart becomes softer and we are able to develop a good heart. Then we are able to practice. If we have a lot of negative karma and defilements, we can’t practice. Without merit we cannot practice. [When we are] able to practice, we can then generate loving kindness, compassion, a good heart—that gets developed more and more. Then that way we stop giving harm to others and become more generous to others, we become kinder to others. It happens more and more that we stop giving harm to others and we benefit others more and more. This is how holy objects are able to bring peace and happiness, to bring world peace. They allow us to develop our mind in the path, not only liberation, but up to enlightenment. Therefore, world peace comes just by the way, no question. An individual person’s peace and world peace come from the good heart.

All happiness comes from offering to the Three Jewels

It is mentioned in the teachings many times that without the teachings of the Buddha there is no medicine to heal the sufferings of sentient beings. To heal the suffering completely depends on healing the cause of suffering, delusion and karma. We do this by actualizing the path, the scriptural understanding, the transmitted scripture, the teachings and then the realizations. By putting them into practice we have realizations. This is the true teaching of the Buddha.

So you see, all the sentient beings’ happiness—both temporal and ultimate happiness—comes from that. It comes from understanding the transmitted teachings, understanding  karma and the explanations about compassion, and putting that into practice.

Therefore, the existence of the teachings of the Buddha becomes so essential, and that depends on the existence of the holy objects. This is emphasized in the teachings. It is also mentioned the Ten Bhumis Sutra or the Ksitigarbha Sutra, that all the happiness of the world comes by offering to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, therefore if we desire happiness we should put effort into offering to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.

By having refuge instantly, immediately, we can collect extensive merit. As I mentioned before, before lunch, every time we drink, every time we eat, by offering to the Buddha, by offering to ourselves as guru-buddha, every single bit of food we eat or drink, how many times we do it, everything becomes the cause of enlightenment; it collects inconceivable merit. That is also the same when we get dressed, if we think of ourselves as the deity, the guru, if we meditate like that, with that mind of guru yoga, it’s the same, we collect inconceivable merit, the cause of enlightenment. Whatever we do, everything collects inconceivable merit and becomes the cause of enlightenment.

By having refuge in our heart, we don’t give harm and we don’t get harmed by human beings and nonhuman beings. And whatever wishes we have—everything—succeeds. Then, we don’t fall down into the lower realms and we quickly become enlightened. I am not sure whether I finished all the eight benefits or not, but anyway, these are the benefits of having refuge in the heart.

Even remembering just one member of the Sangha saves us from the lower realms

We rely on the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, but just  to not to be reborn in the lower realms, we don’t need to take refuge to all three. Just by taking refuge to one of these three, we don’t get reborn in the lower realms. For example, I’ve often said that when we are dying, if we remember one ordained person, one Sangha member, if we have much faith and if we remember them when we are dying, we won’t get reborn in the lower realms. Similarly, if we remember the Heart Sutra or a Dharma text like that when we are dying. If we remember the Heart Sutra, the Diamond Cutter Sutra or some other of the Buddha’s teachings, if that is our the last thought, then we are completely saved; we won’t get reborn in the lower realms.

But here, the purpose of taking refuge is to be totally free from the entire suffering of samsara, including the cause, delusion and karma. For this, we need to rely on all three, the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Then also, we need to not only free ourselves from samsara but to free the numberless sentient beings from the sufferings of samsara as well, and for that we need to take refuge with compassion.

Then there is a fourth refuge, the refuge of secret mantra, Vajrayana refuge. For that one, we need to abandon the impure appearance and only practice pure appearance, seeing ourselves as a deity, the place as a mandala and other beings as deities. This is practicing pure appearance. That is the secret mantra refuge, the Vajrayana refuge that saves us from the ordinary appearance, the concepts that hinder us from achieve enlightenment quickly, in one life. We practice pure appearance, which collects so much merit and allows us to achieve enlightenment in one lifetime. Then, there might also be the refuge of completion stage

Before taking refuge, I should say how extremely important it is to take precepts, vows. Even if you cannot take all the five lay vows then from these five, you should take four or three or two or one. Of course, even if you cannot take any of the vows, still you can take the refuge vow, the refuge ordination. The Buddha is so compassionate for us, so this practice is given and you can do the practice according to your own capacity. But I normally emphasize that, since you take refuge in the Dharma, that it involves avoiding giving harm to other sentient beings—that’s the refuge vow, that comes with the Dharma refuge. Therefore, among harming others, generally killing is the heaviest one—not for everybody, but generally speaking killing is the most harmful thing. If somebody wants to either cut your finger off or completely kill you, if you had to choose one, you might choose having your finger cut off rather than being killed.

Therefore, normally I emphasize, if you can’t take any other vow, at least take the vow to not intentionally kill other sentient beings. But of course, if that is a very difficult one, you can take the vows to not lie or to not steal or to not commit sexual misconduct or to not take alcohol.

The ten nonvirtues: Sexual misconduct

Why is taking vows so important? For example, the complete negative karma of sexual misconduct. I think you have gone through this, so I don’t need to mention it much. The complete negative karma of sexual misconduct has four parts. That produces four suffering results: the ripening aspect result is rebirth in the lower realm, as a hell being, a hungry ghost or an animal, one of those. Then, the other three suffering results we experience in the human realm. After some time, when we get born in the human realm due to another good karma—not by this negative karma but by another good karma—during that life then we experience these three suffering results of this sexual misconduct.

With the possessed or environmental result, or Tibetan, dak pa, we get born in an unpleasant environment, a very dirty place, a very dusty place or a depressed place, where there is a lot of danger to our own life. There is a lot of disease, a lot of danger to life, obstacles, like that.

Then, as we experience the result similar to the cause, we receive harm from others. A person might die in their mother’s womb, in childhood time, or be unable to have a long life; they are harmed or even killed by others. Here, you can see very clearly, when others harm us, actually it comes from us. Actually, it comes from us because we harmed others in the first place. We can meditate on this in order to understand this. There is nothing to blame others for, because we are the one who harmed that being in the past. So now, in this life, that sentient being is harming us.

What I want to emphasize is the next one, creating the result similar to the cause, which means that again in the next life we engage in sexual misconduct and then become so uncontrolled. As another example, even though somebody has gone through so much torment, so much suffering and pain, years of pain during a terrible relationship, but then again they can’t control themselves and commit sexual misconduct again. Even though they went through so much suffering, years of suffering, and of course they never want to go through anything like that again, and even though they never want to create the cause of it again, still they can’t control their mind. That is creating the result similar to the cause.

Creating the result similar to the cause means engaging again in sexual misconduct, and that complete negative karma produces four suffering results, and one of them is creating the result similar to the cause. Then, that complete negative karma again produces four suffering results. So it goes on and on and on without end. So now you can see, here, one negative karmic action of one sexual misconduct, one negative karma, produces unending suffering. It produces unending suffering that goes on and on and on. There is no end. If we leave it, just simply following our habits all the time, if we leave it up to delusion then this is what happens.

As long as we don’t purify the past negative karma and don’t live within the vows—these two things—this is what happens. So there are two things we need to do. Purifying our past negative karma is one solution. If we don’t want to experience the result of past negative karma, we need to purify it. That’s one practice. The other one is to not commit that action again. With these two practices we can stop the problem, otherwise we can’t. Even if we practice purification but we don’t abstain from committing sexual misconduct again, our purification will have to be without end; there can be no end to the practice of purification, because we commit the act again and again, we do it again and again. So, there is no end, the purification never finishes.

Therefore, to solve all these ongoing sufferings, the four results of our ongoing suffering and especially creating the result similar to the cause, to stop experiencing all this we need to purify the past negative karma that has not been purified, and we need to live in the vow to not commit that action again, to abstain from this. These two Dharma practices can solve, can stop us from experiencing ongoing suffering.

This is what I want to emphasize. It’s not just experiencing the four suffering results one time, it’s not just that. It’s ongoing, it’s unending. So we have to meditate, we have to know that if we don’t purify, if we don’t abstain from recommitting the action, if we don’t live within the vow, from one negative karma this is what happens. I think I got mixed up! I was talking about sexual misconduct then I jumped into, I think, the possessed result of killing.

The unpleasant possessed or environmental result of sexual misconduct is a very dirty place, very filthy, full of excrement. We have to live in such place. Now, even if we have to cross through such dirty place, with all its filth and smells, even that, even for few minutes, that is the result of a past negative karmic action of sexual misconduct.

I was talking about sexual misconduct, then I think I jumped to the result of killing. I mentioned about sexual misconduct then I think I explained about killing. I went to the result of killing, I think. I probably got messed up.

So, the four suffering results of sexual misconduct: as I’ve already explained, rebirth in the lower realms is the possessed result. Experiencing the result similar to the cause—people in the office, at home, they are not harmonious to our wishes. They are against our wishes. They don’t support us. Even our companion, our friend or our husband or wife, is against our wishes, not harmonious to our wishes. There is disharmony and fighting, all these things, and then all these relationship problems come and separation and things like this. This is experiencing the result similar to the cause of sexual misconduct. Then, creating the result similar to the cause, which produces four suffering results, which in turn has a result similar to the cause, which is doing it again. And so on, like that. It goes on and on.

The ten nonvirtues: Ill will

It’s the same with the negative karma of ill will. The minute we generate ill will to somebody, that is a complete negative karma and it produces four suffering results. The ripening aspect result is rebirth in the lower realms. Then, of the three suffering results we experience in the human realm, the first is the environmental result, which is being born in a suffering environment. The possessed result is that animals harm us, human beings harm us, there are lots of wars and disease. There are so many harms to our life. When insects such as mosquitos, ants or flies bite us, all these are the result of the negative karma of ill will. Even a mosquito biting us, having lots of fleas biting us, this is the possessed result of the negative karma of ill will, because we have harmed others, generated ill will toward others. And then, experiencing the result similar to the cause, we receive harm from others, others have ill will toward us. And then creating the result similar to the cause, when we are born in the human realm, then again we generate ill will to others. Then that complete negative karma produces the four suffering results and one of them is creating the result similar to the cause. Then again that produces the four suffering results, so it goes on and on, creating unending suffering.

So you see how one negative karma, if we don’t purify it and if we don’t abstain from doing it again, this one negative karma produces ongoing suffering results, on and on. It is unending.

Therefore you can see now the reason why it’s so important to take precepts, to take vows. It’s not just for this life’s peace, to not have problems such as relationship problems, to not have sicknesses, AIDS or something like that; it’s not just for that. It becomes the basis for the happiness of all the future lives, and then there is liberation from samsara. Then there is enlightenment. So, the purpose of taking precepts, the reasons are so deep, so vast. Whether there will be peace and happiness in all our future lives, how it’s going to turn out, everything is dependent on how we live this life—each day of our life, each day, each hour, each minute, each second, how we live our life, our attitude, our actions. How all our future lives are going to turn out depends on this, whether there will be only suffering or more and more happiness, then to liberation and enlightenment. So you see, this life has great responsibility. In our past life, we did a good job, we practiced morality, practiced charity, and made prayers so we got this human body, which enables us to practice.

Even though we can take only the refuge vow, how important it is to take, even if not all five vows, any number, and at least one of the five. Here it becomes so important. It’s not just to stop experiencing the four suffering results one time, it’s ongoing.

The refuge ceremony

Therefore, those taking the refuge precept please do three prostrations to the statue of the Buddha by thinking it’s the living Buddha. Do three prostrations to the statue of the Buddha by thinking it’s the actual Buddha, OK.

Then after that, do three prostrations to the lama who gives refuge and precepts.

After that, those who can kneel down, please kneel down, the same as taking the eight Mahayana precepts. Those who can’t kneel down, can just sit in the normal way. Then put your palms together like this at the heart, in the mudra of prostration.

“While I have this precious human rebirth qualified by eight freedoms and ten richnesses, if I don’t make it possible to achieve liberation, forever free from the suffering of samsara, then I will have to suffer endlessly. Therefore, this time, for the sake of all sentient beings, to achieve enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings, I am going to take refuge in the Buddha as the founder, the Dharma as the actual refuge, the Sangha as the supporters, the guides to actualizing refuge, the Dharma, within my own heart.” So, think like that.

Then please repeat ceremony prayer.

[Ceremony of taking refuge]

Rely upon the Buddha billions of times more than you rely upon a doctor, who can only ever cure diseases temporarily. But here, the Buddha can completely remove all the causes of suffering.

[Ceremony of taking refuge]

Take refuge in the Dharma, the sublime Dharma that is free from attachment. Why it is specifically seen as a cure for attachment is because even though there are so many delusions, attachment is the nearest cause of samsara, the main cause of samsara. That’s why attachment, the name of that delusion is used particularly. Taking refuge in the Dharma, the cessation of all suffering—here, specifically, it is the cessation of attachment—and the true path that ceases delusions, including attachment. So totally rely upon Dharma, a billion times more than medicine.

[Ceremony of taking refuge]

Rely upon the Sangha who are the sublime ones in absolute bliss. So, remember there is the conventional Sangha and the absolute Sangha. The absolute Sangha are those who have attained the true path and true cessation of the path.

Please repeat the words, a second time.

[Ceremony of taking refuge]

If you only taking the refuge vow, think “I am only taking the refuge vow.” Think this in your heart. If you are taking any number of precepts then you can think in your heart, “I am taking upasika [lay vows], this many number of precepts.”

[Ceremony of taking refuge]

Now request the preceptor to grant the vows from now until death time. So please repeat.

Please repeat a third time.

[Ceremony of taking refuge]

So that’s the Buddha, now it’s Dharma, the next one is Sangha.

[Ceremony of taking refuge]

When I say these words very loudly, at that time you must generate the thought that you have received the vows, whatever you are taking—only the refuge vow, all the upasika [lay] vows, either five complete or any of the vows. Without the mind wandering, you must generate that thought in your heart. This qualifies you to receive the refuge vow, the ordination of the upasika.

[Ceremony of taking refuge]

Third repetition.

Before taking the vow, if a Dharma connection has already been made with a master then he is the lobpon but if it hasn’t, if it’s only now, then from this time on I become your lobpon, which means the spiritual master and the leader, leading the disciple in the path to enlightenment. So that’s lobpon.

Those who are taking the vows repeat this.

[Ceremony of taking refuge]

“[Just as previous arhats] changed their minds and actions, refraining from killing, living in this vow, I am also going to do the same. I will abandon killing and live in this vow to not kill.”

[Ceremony of taking refuge]

“Until the death time, I am not going to abandon this.”

[Ceremony of taking refuge]

So now, feel great happiness. Feel great happiness that however many vows you are taking, you have stopped giving that many harms to other sentient beings and to yourself. This becomes your most practical contribution to world peace and the peace and happiness of all the sentient beings. In this world, this is your best contribution to world peace and the peace and happiness of all the sentient beings. This is what you should remember every day when you wake up, when you begin your life. Each day remember this, “What I am offering sentient beings and the world is all this peace and happiness.” And then, rejoice. This is the way to make your life so meaningful. So rejoice in this. And also, since you have taken the vow, your merit, whatever virtuous action you do in everyday life increases by hundreds of thousands of times. Since you have taken the vows, any virtuous action you do, any merit, increases hundreds of thousands of times. This makes your life so meaningful and therefore you must rejoice in this. Every day you should feel great happiness.

It is also mentioned in the sutra that if all the sentient beings of the three realms—the desire realm, the form realm and the formless realm—if everyone becomes a wheel-turning king, the most powerful king in the world, then each king offers oceans of butter or wax light offerings the size of Mount Meru to the buddhas, compared to one person living in the vows, who makes an offering of butter the size of a mustard seed or a light offering the size of a hair to the buddhas, that one person living in the vow, in ordination, making such tiny light offering to the buddhas, because of living in the vows, collects far greater merit than the numberless desire realm, form realm, formless realm beings not living in the vows, each one having become a wheel-turning king, and offering oceans of butter and Mount Merus of light offerings to the buddhas. All their merit is certainly great but it becomes small when you compare it to one person living in the vows making a tiny offering. It makes a huge difference living in the vows. Even a tiny offering made to the Buddha, the merit is unbelievable. So, you must rejoice. This way, it makes your life unbelievable, most productive, most beneficial.

Then, please do three prostrations to the lama.

Dedication

Then you put your palms together like this, while you are standing, and dedicate the merits.

Due to all the past, present and future merits collected by me, the three times’ merit collected by others, may I, myself, and my family members and all sentient beings be able to complete the paramita of morality. Dedicate your merits for everyone, for this to happen.

Due to all the three times’ merit collected by me and by others, may I, my family members—if you want to specifically include the enemy, any person you hate or who harms you, it’s very good, it becomes Dharma practice—and all sentient beings be able to complete the paramita of morality by keeping the vow without mistake, keeping it pure and keeping it without pride.

[Chanting]

Due to the three times’ merit collected by me and by others, may bodhicitta be generated in my own heart and in the hearts of all sentient beings without the delay of even a second and that which is generated, may it be increased.

[Chanting]

Then with the same [dedication], to realize emptiness.

[Chanting]

You can also dedicate your merit to actualize the two stages of tantra within yourself and in the minds, in the hearts, of all sentient beings without the delay of even a second

[Chanting]

Then all this opportunity that you have to take the refuge vow, the pratimoksha vows, all this is fundamentally to liberate yourself from the oceans of samsaric suffering and not only that, also to achieve enlightenment for all sentient beings, the basis of realizations, the path to liberation and enlightenment. All this and all these merits that you can collect every day, all this inconceivable merit by living in the vows is solely by the kindness of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Compassion Buddha, due to his existence in this world. So, dedicate all the three times’ merit collected by yourself and others, may it actualize, stabilize, all his holy wishes to succeed immediately.

[Chanting]

Dedicate particularly, [remembering] the kindness of Lama Yeshe, so that all his wishes, whatever in his past life Lama intended be actualized, that it happens.

And for his incarnation, Lama Ösel Rinpoche to have a long life and to be able to complete his study in the monastery and to show the same aspect as Lama Tsongkhapa, benefiting, offering limitless skies of teachings of the Buddha to sentient beings.

[Chanting]

Dedicate the merit like this.

Due to all the three times’ merits collected by me, the three times’ merits collected by others, may I, myself, being in whichever universe, world, country, area, place, house, wherever I am, may it affect all the sentient beings who are in that universe, world, country, area, house and may they never get reborn in the lower realms, just by me being in that universe, world, country, area, place, house, to be able to affect like that. May they never get reborn in lower realms, and from this time may they immediately find faith in refuge, karma and may they generate loving kindness, compassion, bodhicitta, immediately. And may all their sicknesses immediately get healed.

May all those who have depression be filled with great bliss in their hearts and have a most meaningful life. May those who have relationship problems immediately have their hearts filled with loving kindness, compassion and much joy. And those who are crazy, wild, possessed by spirits, receiving spirit harm, may they immediately be free from spirit harm and have a meaningful life by actualizing the lamrim. May those who are poor, starving, have wealth. May those who wish to find a guru find a perfectly qualified guru and may those who want to receive teachings be able to receive the unmistaken teachings. May those who want to do a retreat be able to find a conducive place and have all the realizations during that time. May whatever problems or difficulties they have immediately stop. May all those sentient beings’ wishes for happiness be immediately fulfilled according to the Dharma, and may they be able to complete the path to enlightenment and achieve enlightenment as quickly as possible. May I, myself, become wish-fulfilling for all the sentient beings, from now on, in this life and in all future lives.

Due to all the three times’ merits collected by me, the three times’ merits collected by others, may I be able to offer limitless skies of benefit to all the sentient beings and the teachings of Buddha, like Lama Tsongkhapa, by having the same qualities within me as Lama Tsongkhapa, from now on and in all my future lifetimes.

Due to all past, present and future merits collected by me, the three times’ merit collected by others—all these that are like a dream—may the I, who is like dream, achieve Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s enlightenment, which is like dream. What this is saying is it is empty from its own side, it doesn’t exist from its own side. It exists but it doesn’t exist from its own side. So, come to this conclusion, this understanding. That’s the correct way to meditate. May I lead all sentient beings, who are also like a dream, to that enlightenment, which is also like a dream, by myself alone, who is also like a dream.

Now I dedicate all the merits to be able to follow the holy extensive deeds just as the bodhisattvas Samantabhadra and Manjugosha realized. I dedicate all the merits in the same way as the three times’ buddhas and bodhisattvas dedicated their merit.

May the general teachings of Buddha, and in particular the teachings of Lama Tsongkhapa, flourish forever and spread in all the directions by being completely actualized in my own heart and in the hearts of my own family members, all of us here and in the hearts of all the students, benefactors of this organization and those who give up their lives for this organization, doing service for sentient beings, with Shakyamuni Buddha in all their hearts.

In that way, may nobody experience war, famine, disease, torture, poverty, sicknesses, danger from fire, water, earth or wind, earthquakes and so forth—may nobody experience all these undesirable things and forms. May they enjoy perfect peace and happiness, perfect enjoyment, external prosperity and inner prosperity, realizations and the path to enlightenment.

[Chanting]

To be able to continuously live in the vows purely, with morality, it is advised to recite this mantra, the mantra of the pure morality.

OM AMOGHA SHILA SAMBHARA / BHARA BHARA / MAHA SHUDDHA SATTVA PADMA BIBHUSHITA BHUDZA / DHARA DHARA / SAMANTA / AVALOKITE HUM PHAT SVAHA

As part of the refuge vow, in the morning do at least three prostrations by reciting refuge prayer. If you do prostrations with the Thirty-five Buddhas [practice], that’s best, but at least do three, to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, by reciting the refuge prayer. After that, you can kneel down and recite this OM AMOGHA SHILA. It is not the eight Mahayana precepts but normally, if you can recite it twenty-one times, it purifies degenerated vows, the vices, and makes the ordination pure. It helps you to be able to live in vows purely.

There are three benefits of reciting this mantra explained by my root guru Trijang Rinpoche in his commentary on nyung nä, Chenrezig retreat. The Buddha explained in the Kangyur that there is so much benefit from reciting this mantra. It helps to purify broken vows, to be able to make the vows pure and to continue to be able to live in pure vows.

So, I’ll finish.

There are books on refuge and instructions here. At the end, there is a prayer of St Francis of Assisi. His practice, his advice, is the same as the Kadampa geshes’ thought transformation practice, so I added it there. It’s very interesting; it’s not contradictory. There is only one thing but that one I fixed, so it’s not contradictory.

Then, there is a picture of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, that is the most precious statue in the history. When the Buddha was in India he went to the Realm of Thirty-three for three months’ vinaya practice, abiding in the summer retreat, I am not sure about the translation of the rainy season retreat but “abiding in the summer retreat” is yar ne in Tibetan. At that time, the Buddha’s mother missed him very much, so the Buddha asked an artist to make a statue of him. After the statue was made, the Buddha blessed it and predicted that this statue would work for so many sentient beings in India for this many years and then it would go to Mongolia where it would benefit so many sentient beings. Then it would go to China where it would benefit so many sentient beings and then it would go to the Land of Snow—Tibet—where it would benefit so many sentient beings. The Buddha mentioned the length of time it would be in each place. Then he said it would go to the naga land. So maybe some change will happen and the statue will go under the ocean. I am not sure, something like that.

Usually there is no crown, but Lama Tsongkhapa offered a crown to this statue, made in the sambhogakaya aspect. By making it in the sambhogakaya aspect with a crown, it helps the teachings last a long time. That’s the reason why Lama Tsongkhapa offered the crown. Even though some other people criticized it, there was a reason why Lama Tsongkhapa did that. So there is also a picture of that, for you to do prostrations before, as a devotional object, to make offerings, to collect merit.

Then there is a Mickey Mouse picture. There are some with His Holiness but mostly there is a Mickey Mouse picture. So, like that.

Thank you.