Reading or writing the long-life sutra is an extremely powerful method to prolong life. With a photocopier, in a very short time you can finish printing many copies of the long-life sutra. Otherwise, you can write it out. Writing each word purifies so much negative karma. Each time you write the Amitayus Buddha mantra, you purify mountains of negative karma and also collect inconceivable, extensive merit. If you have received the lineage of the oral transmission, the continuity of the blessing, it has more power, or effect, when you recite it by yourself or when you read or recite it for others. It carries more blessings.
If there’s enough time, I’d also like to give the oral transmission of the Diamond Cutter Sutra, Buddha’s most important and most precious teaching on the Perfection of Wisdom, or the Wisdom Gone Beyond. This is to cut the root of samsara, the root of the oceans of suffering of the hell beings, the oceans of suffering of the hungry ghosts, the oceans of sufferings of the animals, the oceans of suffering of the human being and the oceans of suffering of the asuras, suras and intermediate state beings. This is to cut the root from where death, rebirth, old age and sickness come, as well as all the problems that we do not desire: the worry and fear of meeting undesirable objects in our life, the worry and fear of not meeting desirable objects and after we have found a desirable object, the worry and fear of being separated from it.
So, all these problems in our life have come because we have reincarnated in samsara. And why have we reincarnated in samsara? Because at the moment we are totally under the control of karma and delusion. And where did karma and delusion come from? Karma came from delusion, and delusion came from ignorance, the unknowing mind, not knowing the very nature of the I, or self, and the very nature of phenomena, or the aggregates, which is emptiness. Even though the I and the aggregates (which includes all the rest of phenomena: samsara and nirvana, hell and enlightenment) are nothing other than what is merely imputed by the mind, we let our mind apprehend the way they appear to us as true. These things do not exist from their own side, as they appear to exist; they do not exist as not merely labeled by mind. All these phenomena, starting with the I, the self and including all the rest of the phenomena, are totally empty; they are totally empty of existing in the way that they appear to us, as real ones in the sense of existing from their own side. We let our mind apprehend the way they appear to us as true, but all these phenomena are empty of existing in the way they appear to us and in the way we apprehend, or believe, them to exist.
All these phenomena are totally empty; they don’t have the slightest existence from their own side or existence by nature or existence that is not merely labeled by mind. There’s none of that existence in the slightest. So, while it is like this, to our hallucinated mind they appear as real ones, in the sense of existing from their own side. The mind that holds on to, or trusts in, that false I or those false aggregates, which appear to be real ones existing from their own side, is the root of all the delusions, all those obscuring, disturbing negative thoughts; of karma, the actions motivated by these thoughts; and of all the result, samsara.
As explained in the Lam-rim Chen-mo by Lama Tsongkhapa, samsara is the part of the continuity of the contaminated aggregates caused by karma and delusion. The reason that Lama Tsongkhapa said the part of the continuity of the contaminated aggregates caused by karma and delusion rather than saying simply the continuity of the contaminated aggregates caused by karma and delusion; the reason Lama Tsongkhapa added the words the part of, is because there’s no continuation of the aggregates of a meditator who has achieved the path of meditation; they don’t take rebirth again. There are five paths to liberation: the path of merit, the preparatory path, the right-seeing path, the path of meditation and the path of no more learning. So, the aggregates of a meditator who has achieved the path of meditation don’t continue; that person doesn’t reincarnate again. By ceasing completely karma and delusion and the cause of delusion, the negative imprint, they don’t take rebirth again, because there’s no cause for them to take rebirth again, for them to experience the suffering of samsara again.
The Seventh Dalai Lama, Gyalwa Kelsang Gyatso, also mentioned a similar definition of what samsara is. He didn’t use the word “part”, but said that samsara is the continuity of birth of the contaminated aggregates caused by karma and delusion. Kyabje Denma Lochö Rinpoche also usually explains this as the definition of samsara.
It is said that samsara is just a name for the aggregates themselves, but to be precise about what samsara is, you would have to say that samsara is the continuity of these aggregates. Samsara is merely a name for these aggregates, but its specific meaning is the continuity of these aggregates. It is not referring just to these aggregates but to the continuity itself, the circling itself. We then experience all the sufferings.
There has been the continuity of the contaminated aggregates caused by karma and delusion joining again and again to subsequent lives during beginningless rebirths. There has not been one second’s break in this continuity. Therefore, we have never had a break from samsara, not even for one second. We never had a break, even for one second, from the suffering of samsara, from being under the control of karma and delusion. We have never had the true happiness of being free from delusion and karma. We have never had a break in the continuity of these aggregates. Liberation means breaking this continuity of our aggregates from life to life. Breaking, or cutting, this is done by ceasing the cause, and what causes this is karma and delusion. So, karma and delusion need to be ceased, as well as the cause, or seed, of delusion: the negative imprints. Ceasing that can be done only by the wisdom directly perceiving emptiness. Even if you have realization of bodhichitta, or even some high tantric realization, you cannot directly cease the defilements, the cause of samsara and of suffering. No matter what other realization you have, nothing except the wisdom realizing emptiness—and, specifically, the wisdom directly perceiving emptiness—can cease this.
Through development of the wisdom that realizes emptiness through a generic image, which is still conceptual (or tokpa, in Tibetan), through great insight, you are able to derive the rapturous ecstasy of body and mind. You are able to derive the extremely refined ecstasy of body and mind by meditating on emptiness unified with shamatha, or calm abiding. So, through that development you are then able to actualize the wisdom directly perceiving emptiness, the arya, or exalted, path. The exalted paths, the paths of seeing and of meditation, are the ones that directly remove the delusions and the seed of delusions.
Therefore, it becomes essential, by reading and, of course, there’s no doubt about by studying teachings on emptiness, to actualize the wisdom of listening, reflecting and meditating to leave as much imprint as possible of teachings on emptiness. We need to read many times, as many times as possible, teachings on emptiness such as the Perfection of Wisdom. Even reading these teachings leaves positive imprints to be able to realize emptiness. We need to read them as many times as possible and also to listen to them. Hearing the oral transmission at this time also leaves a positive imprint on the mental continuum, so that sooner or later, either in this life or in future lives, from this imprint left at this time by listening to even the oral transmission of teachings on emptiness, we will be able to realize emptiness. From there, as I mentioned before, we will develop great insight and then the arya path, with the wisdom directly perceiving emptiness.
There was a great lama from Drepung Monastery in Tibet, Tehor Kyörpen Rinpoche, who became a Lharampa geshe together with Serkong Dorje Chang, another great yogi who completed the tantric path. The Thirteenth Dalai Lama officially recognized that Serkong Dorje Chang could practice with a secret wisdom mother. The Thirteenth Dalai Lama didn’t accept this with some other lamas and would punish them or confiscate their labrang. Anyway, Serkong Dorje Chang and Trehor Kyorpen Rinpoche did the Lharampa geshe examination together in Lhasa, which was held after the new year.
Lama Tsongkhapa, who was incredibly skillful in benefiting sentient beings, created the Mon-lam Chen-mo, the great festival to celebrate the fifteen days of Buddha’s special holy deeds, when he performed miracles to subdue certain sentient beings. On each of the fifteen days Buddha subdued different sentient beings, such as the six Hindu founders and so forth. It’s one of the great holy deeds of the Buddha. On these days, as I mentioned the other day, any practice one does is multiplied 100 million times. If you chant one mantra, whether it’s for purification, such as the Vajrasattva mantra, or for something else, or do confession and very powerful purification by reciting the Thirty-five Buddhas’ names only one time it is increased 100 million times. The merit increases that many times. Even the merit you usually collect with these practices on other days is unbelievable, but on Buddha’s special days the merit increases 100 million times and that much negative karma is purified. It is the same with any other practice you do. If you read the Heart Sutra, Arya Sanghata Sutra, Golden Light Sutra or Diamond Cutter Sutra one time on these special days it becomes 100 million recitations. If you make one light offering, it becomes not just 100,000, but 100 million light offerings. So, it’s unbelievable. It increases that many times the collection of merit and the powerful purification. Therefore, it’s very important not to waste even a minute, even a second, of these special times, but to do the best practice possible day and night, continually.
Here I’m talking about only the good karma, the positive actions. It’s also possible that any heavy negative karma we create, such as by getting angry or generating heresy, will be powerful because of the special day. It’s also good to think of that side. If we keep our mind continuously in Dharma practice, doing the best, most profitable practice, it will help to protect the mind. Keeping our body, speech and mind in virtuous activity continuously will help to protect us from those heavy negative karmas.
I think I might also have mentioned these stories in the past, but the reason that I mentioned Trehor Kyorpen Rinpoche is that I was going to say that after he became a geshe, Rinpoche then lived on a very high mountain near Lhasa. I’ve forgotten the name of the mountain (it was called Rumbu Ri or something like that), but it’s so high that the top of the mountain is usually covered by clouds. Trehor Kyorpen Rinpoche went on this mountain alone, with only a few things. He had Lama Tsongkhapa’s Lam-rim Chen-mo, or Great Commentary of the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, the heart of the whole Buddhadharma, the 84,000 teachings of the Buddha, and his robes, including his chögu. I think that the chögu is one of the things that you can’t physically use to make charity. I have some memory of that, but I’m not a hundred percent sure. Mentally, of course, you can make charity of it, but not physically. It’s part of the vinaya practice that you need to always have these robes with you. With just the simple basics, he then went on that mountain.
There were stones falling down from further up the hill, so he climbed up to where the stones were coming from. After some time he saw a cave, with a skeleton sitting inside it. He then sat down and offered a mandala. When he finished offering the mandala, the skeleton collapsed. He then decided that was the cave to meditate in. Slowly, slowly, some of his disciples came, but not too close. There was quite a distance between the cave where they meditated. They had already finished studying and were trying to experience, to actualize, the path.
When the mainland Chinese took over Tibet, many Sangha, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama and this lama, and many lay people escaped from Lhasa and went to India. Trehor Kyorpen Rinpoche then guided meditators at Dalhousie, which is near Dharamsala. He didn’t accept just anybody who wanted to come and meditate. He selected those who were able to renounce attachment to this life and live an ascetic life. Some were geshes, but not all of them. He selected those who would be able to practice.
I’m not saying that he couldn’t practice, but one of the ones rejected was the teacher whom I met in Phagri in Tibet and who took care of me. I lived in Phagri for three years, doing pujas in people’s houses every day. Everything was arranged: today this family, next day this family, next day that family, next day this family…. Sometimes we needed to do extra pujas for the families. Mostly we did protector pujas. In the year, there were only one or two days when there was no puja. On that day you would feel very lonely. The day felt strange, kind of empty. I’m not going to expand on this monk’s story as it would take a long time, but when I met him, he asked me to be his disciple and helped me to become a monk in Tomo Geshe Rinpoche’s monastery in Tibet, called Tomo Gompa. I verbally learned Praise to Twenty-one Taras from this teacher; he would recite it then I would learn the words. Kyabje Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche said that if you have learned prayers verbally from somebody in this way, you have to regard them as your teacher, your guru. Before Rinpoche said this, I wasn’t particularly regarding him as my teacher. After Rinpoche said this, I regarded him as my guru.
Anyway, at Buxa this teacher, Losang Gyatso, showed this aspect of getting sick and had to be in hospital. I think that some thought of renunciation happened because of that. He then to Dalhousie to see Trehor Kyorpen Rinpoche, but Rinpoche did not accept him as one of his meditators.
Some of Trehor Kyorpen Rinpoche’s meditators where geshes and some, such as Gen Jampa Wangdu, were not geshes. I think I have mentioned Gen Jampa Wangdu’s story many times. Gen Jampa Wangdu didn’t complete the geshe studies. In his early life as a monk, he was a dob-dob. Dob-dobs tease and fight other monks and do many other things. According to the stories that Gen Jampa Wangdu told us, he was a dob-dob, not studying and not following the monastery rules. Anyway, later he became a great yogi.
He achieved shamatha, perfect meditation that is totally free from attachment-scattering thought and sinking thought, there at Dalhousie, where he lived an ascetic life for many years. I saw his house when I was at school in Dalhousie for six months. Geshe Jampa Wangdu was living in ruins. You could call it a haunted house or ruins. The school had a holiday on Sundays, so the incarnate lamas would go round the mountain. Sometimes you would meet Gen Jampa Wangdu on the mountain. When I asked him where he was going, he would say that he had come to pick up firewood, but actually he didn’t look like someone who was going to pick up firewood. Everything about him, his way of walking and the way he wore his robes, was very proper, exactly according to vinaya. He didn’t have the appearance of someone going to pick up firewood. Anyway, that is how he looked in daily life.
In Dharamsala Gen Jampa Wangdu realized emptiness in a cave down below the house where His Holiness Ling Rinpoche used to live. Down below the house was a rock; he dug out the earth and made it into a cave. He then lived there for seven years and realized emptiness there. He also lived high up on the mountain at the back of Tushita, where many other meditators also lived. During that time, he actualized bodhicitta. He also actualized the Six Yogas of Naropa and the body, speech and mind isolations, the illusory body and the other high tantric paths actualized. He also had those experiences. So, he was unbelievably fortunate and successful, a great meditator.
I’m giving an example of one of Trehor Kyorpen Rinpoche’s meditators. He selected only a few monks. Trehor Kyorpen Rinpoche himself was a great yogi with experience of those tantric paths that we hear about during tantric commentaries, not only of the generation stage but of the clear light and illusory body of the completion stage. We’re not talking about those great Indian pandits or mahasiddhas who attained those paths hundreds or thousands of years ago, but about great yogis in recent years.
Anyway, after this long story, what I was going to mention is that Trehor Kyorpen Rinpoche said, “For a person who has a lot of merit, it’s not difficult to realize emptiness. Those with little merit are the ones that find it difficult to realize emptiness.” That’s what I wanted to say.
So, we must study or at least read over and over and listen to teachings on emptiness to leave as many imprints as possible in this life. Sooner or later, we will then have the realization. We will then also become an arya being, one who can overcome the suffering of samsara, the cycle of death, rebirth, old age and sickness. As mentioned in the texts, bodhisattva arya beings have completely abandoned rebirth, old age, sickness and death. So, sooner or later, you can become like those arya beings.
So, hopefully we will also do the oral transmission of the Diamond Cutter Sutra, depending on the time.
Sorry—already tonight’s talk is finished!
[Huang Chen Ru translates into Chinese.]
Gen Jampa Wangdu explained to Lama Yeshe and me that when he was in the monastery, he didn’t study or follow the monastic programs or discipline. He was involved in being a dob-dob. This is one story that Gen Jampa Wangdu told us. One time when he was a dob-dob, Gen Jampa Wangdu was waiting at the gate of the monastery with a hand full of snot and a plan to throw it on the head of any monk that passed threw the gate. One old monk with a bald head came along, so he threw the handful of snot on that monk’s head. He was watching to see who that monk was, and then realized that he was one of the root gurus of Geshe Rabten Rinpoche, Gen Jampa Wangdu’s own teacher. I mentioned Geshe Rabten yesterday as the first one to teach me du-ra, the basis of the study of philosophy.
Geshe Rabten Rinpoche’s root guru was a great practitioner. There was a monastery in the [Tehor] area of Kham called [Tagyi] Gompa, which wasn’t very good, not in regard to the building but to the life of the monks. There was no proper discipline. Gen Jampa something (I’ve forgotten his name), Geshe Rabten’s root guru, was sent there to be abbot by His Holiness Trijang Rinpoche, I think. All the dobs-dobs there were also very naughty and didn’t follow the discipline. This monk, who was a great practitioner, transformed everybody’s mind, even the dob-dobs. They all became practitioners, practicing lam-rim and following the vinaya disciplines. Geshe Rabten’s root guru was a great spiritual master and teacher.
So, even though this old monk, Geshe Rabten’s root guru, had snot thrown on his bald head, he didn’t wipe it off immediately. He didn’t show any sign of being shocked or upset after Geshe Jampa Wangdu had thrown this handful of snot on his head. He continued to walk and didn’t show any surprise or any anger. He just continued to walk, then a little bit later he slowly wiped it off with his zen. Because he’s a great practitioner, he didn’t show any sign of being upset. Anyway, that’s just one of Gen Jampa Wangdu’s stories.
At another time there was an old monk in the debating courtyard, and Gen Jampa Wangdu found a stick and kept hitting the old monk’s knee with it. It’s not that the old monk had harmed him in the past, nothing like that. Gen Jampa Wangdu just kept on hitting him.
Later, when Gen Jampa Wangdu was living in the small house where Geshe Rabten had stayed, past Tushita and behind the building where His Holiness Ling Rinpoche lived, for two or three years before Gen Jampa Wangdu passed away he said had much pain in his knee. During those times his knee was hurting, Gen Jampa Wangdu said that he remembered how he kept on hitting the old monk’s knee when he was a dob-dob in the monastery. Gen Jampa Wangdu said that this thought came to him a lot.
However, Gen Jampa Wangdu was a great, unbelievably successful meditator, who attained very high paths. His story is similar to that of Milarepa. How many sentient beings did Milarepa kill? About sixty or seventy? By listening to his mother’s advice, he killed many people and animals with black magic. However, in that brief lifetime of the degenerate time, he achieved the complete path; he achieved full enlightenment. It is the nature of the mind that if you practice correctly as explained by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, as explained by the guru, who have shown the path and given advice, this incredible transformation happens in your life. You are able to achieve the highest success, attaining enlightenment.
As some of you here know, in the organization we have one nun who is most active. Her name is Robina. I don’t know what her Dharma name is. Her famous name is Robina. So, when I was talking about the unbelievable benefits of the special days of Buddha, the reason I mentioned that it’s also very strongly negative if you give rise to some negative thoughts, such as anger or heresy, or engage in negative karma is that it was one of Robina’s comments. One of Robina’s statements was that if there’s a lot of benefit there should also be a lot of negativity if you engage in negative actions. So, I remembered that, and that’s why I mentioned that point. I think I have also seen it recently somewhere in a text. Perhaps it was in one of the texts that I and many other incarnate lamas are receiving. They are rare, most precious teachings composed by certain high lamas who did work for sentient beings like the sun rising. When the sun rises, it dispels darkness and gives light to the whole world. I think it might have been in one of those collections of teachings from those great lamas, great enlightened beings, from Tibet. Anyway, that was Robina’s statement.
Robina is in charge of the prison project, one of the projects in the FPMT organization. It’s not a project to put people in prison. There are the police and plenty of other people who are suing and putting people in prison—you don’t need an extra organization for that.
Anyway, the prison project is taking care of around sixty or seventy prisons. There are many people who introduce Buddha’s teachings to prisoners, and so many prisoners learn about Buddhism by reading books and also by talking to the volunteers. Robina and some other Sangha also give refuge and the eight Mahayana precepts. One prisoner wanted to become a monk, but that hasn’t happened yet. It needs to be checked. There are a lot of things happening, with a lot of benefit to the prisoners. There are many prisoners who are doing preliminary practices, including many hundreds of thousands of prostrations; regularly taking the eight Mahayana precepts; and chanting OM MANI PADME HUM or Vajrasattva mantras. Quite a number of prisoners have done a lot of practice. Their practice while in prison is amazing, just mind-blowing.
One prisoner did a lot of practice, and, of course, he wasn’t alone there in his cell. He had to share his cell with somebody else, so it wasn’t easy to do a lot of practice with somebody else in the room. He didn’t have the freedom to do whatever practice he wanted. This particular prisoner is now out of prison and has become a monk. He took the ordination of renunciation, but I don’t think he has become a getsul yet. Maybe he will this time when Kyabje Chöden Rinpoche is there. Before I met him, I wrote him a very long letter. I have written very long letters to several prisoners—I wrote twenty pages to one prisoner, I think, when I was in Washington. A few other prisoners have also received very long letters. That is also my normal habit—not only do I talk for many hours, but also when I write it becomes a long letter.
Anyway, this person who was able to come out of prison and take the intermediate ordination of renunciation chanted an unbelievable number, many hundreds of thousands, of Vajrasattva mantras and did many other practices. He didn’t have a mala, so what he did was make a mala from his breakfast cereal, which was small and round. Since he didn’t have a thread for the mala, I think he pulled some threads from a carpet and made a string. Using that as a mala, he did many hundreds of thousands of Vajrasattva mantras and OM MANI PADME HUMs. He also did many other practices, including many prostrations by reciting the Thirty-five Buddhas’ names. It’s unbelievable what he did.
He could have changed a lot after reading Dharma books and doing all these practices, but generally it seems that he’s somebody who’s very compassionate and will do anything to help whoever asks him to help. He’s also a handyman, so he can build, garden and do many other things. This is what he did in his case, and there are also just unbelievable stories of how other prisoners have practiced.
That we are able to offer great benefit even to people living in prison, giving them the opportunity to learn Dharma, is really a great thing to rejoice in feel happy about.
Many years ago this person, due to being influenced by his friends, was involved in stealing books from the bookshop in which he worked and selling them outside. There was also somebody who was about to be executed—I don’t know whether or not he has already been executed. I tried to help him by sending him a message about what to think at that time. He asked that Robina be there when he was executed. I don’t think it was going to be by peaceful injection but by electric shock. Maybe people in the government thought that prisoners shouldn’t be killed in a peaceful way by injection, but by something that frightened them, such as an electric shock. So, it seems to be something like that.
The prison project is growing, with many people in prison eager to learn Dharma. It’s also because they see the reality of life and of karma in there. I think there’s a real movie, a real teaching on karma, there. I mean, we all experience karma day and night, all the time, with everything that happens, but prisoners particularly experience it because they suffer a lot, being beaten or killed by other prisoners and so forth. There is a lot of violence in prison; it’s not an easy life.
Anyway, since I mentioned Robina, I thought to take the opportunity to mention the prison news, to briefly turn on that channel. When you hear the stories of the unbelievable number of practices people are doing in prison, you feel that you yourself, who are not in prison, who are not in that difficult situation, should be able to practice more than they do, should be able to do three or four times more than what they do in prison. It’s useful to know that they’re able to do unbelievable Dharma practice in such a difficult situation. It really reminds you, “I’m totally lazy. I do nothing compared to what these people practice in prison.” It’s very inspiring, to hear of their practice.
The real purpose of taking the Wish-Granting Wheel White Tara long-life initiation is not just because you desire happiness for yourself. That’s not a proper motivation for taking the long-life initiation. Simply living life with the motivation of seeking happiness for yourself and engaging in activities with that motivation is not the meaning of your life. That is not why you have taken a human body at this time. As I mentioned many times last night, this precious human body, especially this perfect human rebirth, gives you all the opportunity to practice whatever Dharma you wish to practice.
Even if you chant one mala of OM MANI PADME HUM or NAMO AMITOFU or some other mantra for your own benefit, because you want to be born in a pure land or to achieve happiness, it is meaningless. Even if you recite one mala of mantra with a motivation of seeking liberation for yourself, freedom forever from the oceans of samsaric suffering and its cause, delusion and karma, you have still wasted your life. It is still meaningless compared to doing it with bodhicitta. If you recite even one mala of mantra with bodhicitta, your recitation of every single mantra becomes a cause of enlightenment. If your mala has 108 beads, for example, each of the 108 mantras you recite becomes a cause of enlightenment, with completion of the qualities of realization and cessation. Each action of reciting a mantra becomes a cause of enlightenment and a cause to enlighten all sentient beings, to be able to liberate the numberless sentient beings from the oceans of samsaric suffering and bring to enlightenment. With every single one of the mantras recited with a motivation to achieve enlightenment for sentient beings, with a thought to benefit all sentient beings, you collect limitless skies of merit. Each one become a cause of happiness of sentient beings. That has the greatest advantage, the greatest benefit, the greatest merit.
Even reciting one mala of mantra with a pure motivation, in the sense of being unstained by attachment seeking future samsaric pleasure, and seeking liberation for yourself, freedom forever from samsara and the cause of samsara, cannot be compared to the great benefit of reciting one mala of mantra with a bodhicitta motivation. That benefit is unbelievable. Therefore, reciting mantras with even renunciation of samsara and the thought of seeking liberation, is an unbelievable loss. With each recitation you have lost all that opportunity to collect limitless skies of merit. You have lost the opportunity for each recitation of mantra to become a cause of enlightenment. And you have lost the opportunity for each recitation of mantra to become a cause of the happiness of all sentient beings. So, compared to doing the recitation with bodhicitta, it’s still a wasted life.
You should apply this example of reciting one mala with bodhicitta to whatever you do in the rest of the day: eating, walking, sitting, sleeping, doing your job, doing business, studying Dharma, meditating. So, that’s the purpose of our life, of living. That’s why we have taken this precious human body, especially a perfect human rebirth, and why it’s important to be alive every day. That’s why we should choose to live rather than to die. Everything is done to benefit other sentient beings. We incur so much expense to survive and to be comfortable: we spend so much money to have shelter, food, clothing and everything else. It is so expensive to live and to have comfort. However, all that expense becomes meaningful if our attitude is to benefit other sentient beings. If we have no thought of benefiting others, everything becomes meaningless, empty. I’m not talking here about emptiness, ultimate nature. I’m not talking about being empty in the sense that even the name meaningful life doesn’t exist. I’m talking about being empty of meaning.
In our life we’re totally dependent on sentient beings. We are totally dependent on the kindness of sentient beings for everything: every single comfort and happiness, every second of our survival, being a human being, having a perfect human body. For example, we have a precious human body, and especially a perfect human body, which gives us the opportunity to practice Dharma so that we can achieve the three great meanings, the highest of which is enlightenment. Since we have received a perfect human body even in this life we can practice like those many other holy beings who achieved enlightenment in one life; we have received the same human body that can practice and achieve that. We can be free from samsara by actualizing the four noble truths; we can be liberated from true suffering and true cause of suffering by actualizing true path, by learning Buddhadharma, what Buddha taught. In one way, this is all by the kindness of your parents, your father and mother. From their side they had to create the karma to receive you, for your consciousness to be conceived in your mother’s womb. Then, if your mother had had an abortion, you wouldn’t have had all these incredible opportunities you have had up to now and which you will also have in the future. They wouldn’t have happened if your mother had has an abortion or hadn’t taken care of you so that you died. So, you can clearly see that having this precious human body, especially this perfect human body, is by your mother’s kindness. Because of your perfect human body, you have unbelievable opportunities, not just to have samsaric pleasure, all that comfort and material gain, but especially to practice Dharma.
You have also been able to meet and hear teachings from the actual living Chenrezig, His Holiness the Dalai Lama. That’s unbelievable. That is like something impossible has happened in our life. And we have met many great masters, who are extremely rare to find in this world, such as Kyabje Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche, Kyabje Chöden Rinpoche and many others. We have had the fortune not only to meet them but especially to receive complete teachings of sutra and tantra, of the whole path to enlightenment, of the lam-rim. On the foundation of the common path, one has also received complete teachings on the uncommon tantric path. A perfectly qualified guru is extremely rare to find in this world. Most human beings don’t have the opportunity, don’t have the karma, for that to happen. You have all that because you have received this precious human body, this perfect human body, which meet, communicate, and receive teachings. So, all this came from your parents’ kindness. You can see that it is in dependence upon their kindness that you have received all this.
They gave you this body, and then each day they protected your life from hundreds of dangers. The mother or father did this her- or himself or they paid someone else to take care of you. You can see that if they hadn’t done that, you wouldn’t now have this opportunity. It completely came from their kindness. Not only that, but they helped you to get an education. They led you in the path of the world by teaching you many things, starting from how to walk and how to talk and manners. Starting from here, they helped you with all your education. Again, you wouldn’t now have this opportunity if they hadn’t done that. So, again you can see how so much of your life is dependent on their kindness. All these incredible opportunities that you have depend on their kindness.
Also, during your conception, your birth and after your birth, every day your mother and father bore so much hardship day and night. There was concern about your own health and life day and night. They always worried so much about you and suffered so much exhaustion taking care of you day and night. They worked so hard, bore so much hardship, difficulties of body and mind, and experience so much exhaustion. Not only did they suffer so much and experience so many difficulties for you, but they created so much negative karma for your wellbeing, the results of which they will have to experience in the future as all those sufferings in the lower realms. You can see now that if they hadn’t borne all those hardships and pain during those nine months of pregnancy, during your birth and after your birth, you wouldn’t now have this incredible opportunity to have this precious human body and all this unbelievable opportunity, which is like a dream, to practice Dharma and benefit others.
So, simply by this reason you can now see that if you live your life with a selfish mind and with desire, anger and ignorance, which harm yourself and which harm other sentient beings, which itself is harming you, there’s no way of repaying your parents’ kindness. You do nothing worthwhile or useful to make worthwhile how much your parents sacrificed their life for you if you live your life in that way. On top of that, if you live your life by harming other sentient beings, which is harming yourself, it’s extremely sad. It’s totally sad if you are unable to make your life beneficial even to your family and the other people and sentient beings around you in daily life. At least your life should be beneficial to them, bringing peace and happiness to them and to yourself. If you can’t make your life meaningful or useful by bringing peace and happiness to even yourself, your parents have totally wasted the many years they sacrificed to you, experiencing all that worry and fear and creating so much negative karma for your wellbeing. All this is totally wasted; it all becomes meaningless.
When you think in this way, there is no choice: you have to generate compassion for your parents. You then think, “Therefore, I must do something worthwhile, something that makes meaningful all the sacrifice of their life for me.” So, at least you have to not harm others and yourself, at least you have to bring peace and happiness to others and yourself, which comes by practicing Dharma. That makes worthwhile their sacrifice of so many years of their life for you. Their sacrificing their lives for you becomes especially meaningful if you become beneficial, useful, to others, not necessarily to the world but at least to the people around you. At least you shouldn’t harm but instead bring peace and happiness in this world, particularly to the people around you. That then makes worthwhile your parents sacrificing their lives for you.
If you become harmful, if you don’t practice Dharma and also don’t live with compassion and other positive minds but with only negative thoughts, you only harm others and yourself, and you make their life empty. You make meaningless all your parents’ sacrifices. There was no useful result from all those many years from the time of your conception. It wasn’t useful for your parents, it wasn’t useful for others, and it wasn’t useful for you.
Therefore, you need to practice Dharma with a positive attitude, especially with bodhicitta, the thought to make your life beneficial for others. For that reason we need a long life and to take this White Tara initiation.
We can extend the meditation on the kindness of others. If you are an employer, all your happiness and comfort come from the kindness of your employees, the people who are working for you. All your success comes from the kindness of the people who are working for you in your company or business. Your success, making money and so forth come from the kindness of your employees.
If you are a student, you receive your education from the teacher, and the teacher also has a job to teach, success and everything else they need from the kindness of the students. So, it’s all dependent or, as His Holiness says, interconnected. Every situation is like this; every situation is dependent upon others’ kindness. Whatever success, comfort, happiness we are experiencing, it is all totally dependent on others’ kindness. Take your clothes, for example. Many people had to work for each piece of clothing you’re now wearing, whether it’s a dress, pants, jacket, shoes or hat. If you think of the evolution of each piece of clothing, so many sentient beings had to work, bear hardships and suffer for it, especially if it’s made of silk or an animal skin. If your clothing came from an animal’s body, there’s no doubt that a sentient being had to suffer much and die for it.
Think of the comfort, happiness and protection of having a house. So, as I normally mention, during the construction, during the laying of the foundations, so many sentient beings, so many insects and worms, have to die and suffer for this, and many people have to work very hard under the hot sun. An unimaginable number of sentient beings have suffered, died and created negative karma for this house. That’s how we receive the comfort and protection of this shelter. It is the same with food. With fruit or vegetables, there are so many worms in the ground that have to be killed, and so many other sentient beings have to kill those worms that are eating the fruit and vegetables by spraying them. So many sentient beings have to die, suffer and create negative karma so that you are able to survive every day, every hour, every minute, every second; so that you are able to be a human being and to have this perfect human body to practice Dharma. There are so many good things you can do with this body; with it you can achieve all the happiness up to enlightenment and bring the same to other sentient beings. So, you can see that this is totally by the kindness of all those numberless sentient beings who had to die, suffer and create negative karma for your food for one day, or one meal. If you think of the long-run evolution of rice, so many sentient beings have to die, suffer and create negative karma for it. So, it is like that with everything, with every comfort.
Therefore, your life is totally dependent on sentient beings. Even having a good reputation depends on others. People praising you makes you happy, and that also depends on the kindness of that person. If somebody gets angry with you and scolds or criticizes you, you get upset. However, that person is the kindest one. Even though Buddha and the guru gave teachings on how to practice patience, you need somebody who is angry with you to actually practice patience. Only then can you practice what the guru and the Buddha teach you. You need that person who is angry with you, who doesn’t like or hates you. Without that you have no opportunity at all to practice the teachings on thought transformation and patience taught by the guru and by Buddha. No matter how much they explain those teachings, you have no opportunity to practice them without the person who is angry with you.
Just being given teachings is not sufficient; that alone won’t bring you the realization of patience. You have to have the enemy, the person who is angry with you, who doesn’t like you, who criticizes you, who abuses you or badly treats you. Here they are not unwanted. They are most needed in your life, so that you can learn patience, complete the paramita of patience, achieve enlightenment and then enlighten all sentient beings. So, without completing the paramita of patience, without that attainment, you cannot achieve full enlightenment, and you can’t liberate the numberless sentient beings from the ocean of samsaric sufferings. So, that person who reminds you of the practice, who gives you the opportunity to put the teachings you have received into practice, is the most important, most kind one.
The other point is that we receive everything—all the numberless past, present and future happiness, liberation, enlightenment, every single comfort and pleasure that we experience day and night—by the kindness of every hell being, every hungry ghost, every animal, every human being, every asura, every sura and every intermediate state being. We receive all this by the kindness of everyone. From every insect, every bird, every dog, every person that we see in the road, from everyone here, from every sentient being, every person, animal or insect, we see wherever we go, we receive all our happiness, including liberation and enlightenment. You can now see how kind sentient beings are. You receive everything, all the past, present and future happiness, up to enlightenment, by the kindness of each and every single sentient being; it comes from each sentient being. Therefore, every sentient being is the most precious, most kind one in your life.
You can now see why, even if you chant one mala of OM MANI PADME HUM but seeking liberation from samsara for yourself, that is not a proper motivation. How that is still wasting your life. Why? You should do it for others, who are numberless; you should do it with the thought seeking the happiness of the numberless sentient beings. You should recite the mala of OM MANI PADME HUM for the numberless sentient beings, to bring happiness, and especially enlightenment, to each and every single sentient being. Our real project or job, the real meaning of our life, is to free the numberless sentient beings from all their suffering and its causes and to bring them to enlightenment. It is only that, nothing else. To do that we need to achieve enlightenment and we need to attain the path; we can then serve sentient beings in whatever way we can, small or big. Every day the most important is attaining the path to enlightenment for them, so for that, we need a long life.
I’m sorry. I think tomorrow’s teaching has already happened.
[Huang Chen Ru does a very long translation into Chinese.]
For those who want to receive the blessing of White Tara and also those who have life obstacles, one of the methods is taking a White Tara long-life initiation. Another extremely powerful method to prolong life and pacify life obstacles is making a White Tara statue or painting, especially on the eighth day of the Tibetan month. On the same day, the Tibetan 8th, you either make a painting of this long-life deity, White Tara, or a statue or tsa-tsa, then consecrate it. The great enlightened being, Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo, explained that this is a very, very powerful means to pacify life obstacles and prolong life.
I don’t know whether it would be more powerful, but you could also develop photos of White Tara on the Tibetan 8th. You could have many copies of photos of White Tara made in a photo shop. You could make large ones and many of them. That’s also another choice. I didn’t hear of developing photos in a shop, but it’s the same as making a painting or a statue on the Tibetan 8th. You can make many photos and collect more merit.
In general, all the actions of the buddhas manifested in the form of the goddess, Tara, as a means to do the work for all sentient beings, to fulfill the wishes of all sentient beings for happiness. In particular, Tara promised to Dromtönpa, or Drom Chökyi Gyalpo, Drom the Dharma King, the translator of Lama Atisha in Tibet, Chenrezig, who is himself Chenrezig: “I will guide everybody who follows you.” Tara herself promised this. It means that Tara will naturally guide and look after you if you follow the Kadam tradition, which means practicing thought transformation and so forth as in the life stories of the Kadampa geshes.
This initiation and practice come from a text that contains methods for betraying the Lord of Death in the collected works of [Lopon Ngagong Chi Takpa]. The teachings came from Tara herself. Lama Dorje Denpa received the lineage from [Lopon Ngagong Wang Chi Takpa], then wrote many means of attaining White Tara. Lama Pari Lotsawa then received the lineage from Lama Dorje Denpa. Many methods of the attainment of White Tara were translated into Tibetan from the Indian language. Lama Lengakpa then received the lineage from Lama Pari Lotsawa. He then did a six-year White Tara retreat in which he actually directly saw and received teachings from White Tara.
Depa Rinpoche then received the lineage from Lama Lengakpa. When he was studying, Depa Rinpoche had shown his palm to a yogi palm-reader from a place called Lhadö. The yogi said, “You, the monk, have very good karma to practice Dharma but you have only three years left to live.” Depa Rinpoche himself also checked his dreams many times, and they gave the same answer: he would live only three years. He thought, “No matter how long I have left to live, even if it’s only one year, I would like to spend the rest of my life only in pure Dharma.” He then thought that he would look for a virtuous friend who could show him special instructions. He stopped studying and went to look for this guru.
When he was at Nyermo, a place near Lhasa, Depa Rinpoche met Lama Lengakpa in the road. Depa Rinpoche explained his story, then Lama Lengakpa said, “I have a special method to eliminate obstacles to attaining the path to enlightenment. You, the yogi, relax and be comfortable.”
Lama Lengakpa gave Depa Rinpoche all the teachings on the means to attain White Tara, then told him, “Now don’t go to other places but stay here and meditate.” At this place, Lha-ha-lung, Depa Rinpoche meditated one-pointedly in a cave. When one month had passed, he actually directly saw White Tara, who told him, “You will be able to live for six years, and you will benefit sentient beings.” After six years, Depa Rinpoche again made requests to White Tara, and White Tara said, “Make a statue of me and you will then live for eleven years.” He then made a painting of White Tara. At the end of those eleven years, he again asked White Tara, who said, “Make another statue and you will be able to live for another ten years.” That time Depa Rinpoche made a statue in brass. That thangka and statue of White Tara are regarded as very blessed. Those two holy objects used to be in Reting Monastery, Dromtönpa’s monastery.
When Depa Rinpoche reached eighty, he again made request to Tara, who said, “If you make another statue of me, you will be able to live for many years.” He then made a wall-painting of White Tara. In total, Depa Rinpoche lived for ninety-five years.
It’s becoming less and less common, but there are quite a number of people, especially in the West, who live to be a hundred years old or even more. I think I saw that someone was 115 when they passed away.
However, here we have to understand the point of this story. Depa Rinpoche had life obstacles and had only three years to live. You have to understand that he was able to live for so many years by making Tara paintings and the Tara statue, which postponed his death for a long time. The point is that he was somebody who had life obstacles. It’s different if somebody has the karma to live for a hundred years or more. You have to understand here that this was somebody who had a life obstacle and couldn’t live long, but that making the White Tara paintings and statue was a powerful method to prolong his life.
By practicing White Tara, you are also able to increase wisdom. Gyalwa Gendun Drubpa, the first incarnation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who founded Tashi Lhunpo monastery, now the Panchen Lama’s monastery, achieved wisdom through White Tara.
The instruction for this long-life initiation of Wish-Granting Wheel White Tara has been passed ear to ear from Gyalwa Ensapa. On this has been added the long-life initiation of Amitayus. Rechungpa, Milarepa’s disciple, received this initiation in India. When he went back to Tibet, Milarepa asked him, “What gift do you have?” Rechungpa then offered this initiation to Milarepa.
There has been an unbroken lineage of the blessing of this special extraordinary teaching down to my root guru. I received this initiation from His Holiness Ling Rinpoche quite a number of times, as well as from His Holiness the Dalai Lama and His Holiness Zong Rinpoche. I have received it from many lamas.
[The details of the initiation have not been transcribed, apart from the following in relation to taking the bodhisattva vows.]
Think, “I’m going to take the bodhisattva vows and engage in their practice to achieve enlightenment for sentient beings.”
As I have mentioned at other times, those who haven’t taken bodhisattva vows in the past should know that there is the bodhisattva entering vow, which involves abstaining from eighteen root falls and forty-six vices, and the bodhisattva wishing vow, which involves avoiding four black dharmas and practicing four white dharmas. If you can’t take the entering vow, you can take the wishing vow. And if you’re unable to take even the wishing vow, you must at least make the strong determination, “I’m going to practice more compassion toward other sentient beings.” You should at least have that attitude.
The four black dharmas are to abandon telling lies to your guru, deceiving sentient beings, criticizing bodhisattvas and feeling regret when you see other sentient beings practicing Dharma, or collecting virtue. For example, you have to abandon feeling regret that others are able to learn or to practice a lot of Dharma, the teachings of Buddha, while you are unable to do so.
The white dharmas are the opposite to the black dharmas. With the third one, you praise bodhisattvas instead of criticizing them. The fourth one is that you inspire the sentient beings who depend on you to follow the Mahayana path.
Kön chhog sum la dag kyab chhi (3x)
Next is confessing.
Dig pa tam chä so sor shag (3x)
Think that there’s not even a trace of all the negative karmas you have collected during beginningless rebirths left on your mental continuum. Your mental continuum has become totally pure.
Next is rejoicing. Feel great happiness about your merits of the three times and after that also feel great happiness about those of others.
Dro wäi ge la je yi rang (3x)
As we’re going to recite the shortest version, as usual, we say, “I’m going to take the bodhisattva vow to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all the transmigratory beings.” Transmigratory beings means suffering beings, totally under the control of karma and delusion, who always reincarnate in one of the six realms and suffer continuously. Their suffering has no beginning, but you are taking the bodhisattva vows to end their suffering and their continuously reincarnating under the control of karma and delusion.
Those who haven’t taken the bodhisattva vows in the past and are taking them for the first time should think of what I said before about generating more compassion toward others.
Sang gyä jang chhub yi kyi zung (3x)
As I mentioned yesterday, think, “Once I have taken the bodhisattva vows, in every second I collect limitless skies of merit, so my life becomes very meaningful.” Feel great happiness about this. “The virtue, the merit, I collect every day increases millions of times after having taken the bodhisattva vows, so my life has now become so meaningful, so fruitful.” Feel great happiness at that. And third, as I normally mention, think, “This is my best contribution to the happiness of all sentient beings and particularly to peace in this world.”
I’ll now give the lung of the special mantra of Amitayus, which has unbelievable benefit. This is a little different from the one that is normally recited. I received this lung from Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche at Kopan quite a number of years ago. You collect unbelievable merit by reciting this mantra. You collect far greater merit, a hundred times more merit, by reciting this Amitayus mantra one time than by making a statue with all the gold, silver, copper, iron and wish-granting jewels in all the worlds in the three galaxies. You collect more merit by rising this mantra one time than from making statues of the Buddha containing relics for one thousand eons. You collect more merit from reciting this mantra one time than from reciting all the scriptures of Buddha. You collect more merit from reciting this mantra one time than from any causative virtue, apart from nonconceptual meditation, done by a yogi.
A yogi who recites this mantra won’t experience the eight bad ways of dying. The could mean dying by being killed by others, in an accident such as falling down a cliff, by fire, being killed by an animal. All inauspicious things, as well as all the harms from black magic, are dispelled. You receive the blessings of all the buddhas and their magnificence. There’s one word here that I don’t know the exact meaning. Also, wherever you recite this mantra, it helps that area not to have sicknesses or obstacles and for everything to be auspicious. So, it has infinite qualities. All the buddhas and bodhisattvas cannot completely express the benefits of this mantra.
[Rinpoche gives the oral transmission of the Amitayus mantra.]
The very first time I gave this mantra was in Taiwan many years ago when I was staying upstairs in Tracey’s house, in that building on the top. The chairperson of Taiwan University was publishing something called “Enlightenment,” I think. Anyway, he had cancer. The first time I gave this mantra was to him, but I think he passed away several years ago.
There was an experience with this mantra with one person here in Taiwan. We didn’t know her name, but we called her White Lady, because she always dressed in white. Her friend always had headaches, and when I gave him this mantra to recite, his headaches were reduced. Also, in Nepal, when Paul Le May was a monk and traveling with us, he checked and discovered that my blood pressure had gone up. I then recited this mantra just thirty times and asked him to check again. It had gone down. This was just one day, so it might have been a coincidence—you can’t really tell from one day. But the same thing happened the next day. I recited this mantra and again my blood pressure when down. I didn’t recite a mala, just thirty or so mantras. So, it’s also helpful for bringing down blood pressure. Maybe I can experiment for diabetes.
When you do White Tara meditation, since there’s Buddha Amitayus on the crown, you can also recite that mantra as well as the White Tara mantra. Recite it either at the beginning or at the end after you’ve finished White Tara. Integrating it in that way becomes very, very powerful.
I have the long-life sutra here, but I’m not sure. As long as I don’t [give the oral transmission] of the long-life sutra and make a short life. Maybe I will just read this, okay?
It’s very important to pay attention to each word. For the receiving of a lung, or oral transmission, to be perfect, it’s important to pay attention; as much as possible don’t allow your mind to be distracted. It then leaves a positive imprint on your mind, which then brings you to enlightenment. Think, “May each word that I listen to cause me to actualize the meaning of the whole path in my mind, and when I expound or recite this for others, may the meaning of the path be actualized immediately in the hearts of those sentient beings and immediately stop all their life obstacles and other undesirable things.”
[Rinpoche recites TAYATHA OM DHARE DHARE BENDHARE SVAHA seven times.]
Before you read scriptures, it’s good to recite this mantra seven times: TAYATHA OM DHARE DHARE BENDHARE SVAHA. You then get the benefit of having read the sutra a million times. I don’t recollect the exact number, but it’s increased at least a million times. It’s like having read the sutra a million times. So, it’s very powerful, collecting unimaginably more merit and bringing great purification.
If you have done the blessing of speech in the morning, it also increases it many millions of times, as mentioned there.
When you read a sutra, if you are able to, you should recite the praise of Buddha, the short seven-limb prayer, the short mandala and the request, then recite this mantra to multiply a million times or recite a lam-rim prayer. You then recite these words requesting the devas to descend and listen to the teaching. Think that you are giving the teaching to all the different sentient beings, including the devas, in their own language. So, there’s a prayer you can recite. It’s a very good thing to do, as you are then giving teachings to all the beings of the six realms. You think that the Buddha is giving you the teaching and at the same time you are actualizing it. You are also giving the teaching to all sentient beings and they are also actualizing it, so you are liberating them. That’s a good thing to do.
Another point is, as Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche usually explained, when you read a sutra, you meditate on the four unimaginables. You yourself are equal in number to the atoms of the universes of the ten directions, and there are also that many sentient beings. Maybe each sentient being becomes that many—I’m not sure about that. That is one unimaginable thing. The buddhas and bodhisattvas are equal in number to the atoms of the universes of the ten directions—that’s another unimaginable thing. Nectar then flows from them and enters within the numberless replicas of you and all sentient beings, purifying you of all the negative karma and defilements collected during beginningless rebirths. That is another unimaginable. There are four unimaginable meditations. Rinpoche said whenever you recite King of Prayers or a text you should do that visualization.
[Rinpoche recites a prayer in Tibetan.]
So, the first part is asking the devas to descend. The second part is describing the benefits of listening to the teaching for the devas. Third, you visualize that you are explaining Dharma according to the different languages so that they can hear it.
[Rinpoche begins the oral transmission of the Amitayus long-life sutra.]
[At one point there is the sound of an ambulance in the background.]
Somebody might be sick and being taken to the hospital.
[Rinpoche continues the oral transmission.]
I think I translated the long-life sutra maybe two years ago, because one professor, a member of Geshe Sopa Rinpoche’s center, had breast cancer. I promised her that I would translate it into English so that she could read it. But I didn’t get it done until a year later. That was my mistake, but finally I was able to do it. Quite a lot of copies were printed by Amitabha Buddhist Centre in Singapore, I think. I hope you have seen this text. It’s not translated into Chinese yet. You actually have this text in the Chinese Kangyur.
It says here that this sutra has unbelievable benefits. It says that even animals who hear this long-life sutra, which means the mantra, will achieve enlightenment. And even the place where you write this sutra becomes like a holy place, like a stupa. There are many benefits.
[Rinpoche continues the oral transmission.]
It says here that by making offering to this text, the long-life sutra, you collect the same merit as having made offering to all the Buddha’s texts, all the Dharma texts.
[Rinpoche continues the oral transmission.]
You can count the merits of having made offering to the Buddha of mountains of jewels, but you cannot count the merits from reading this sutra. They’re immeasurable.
[Rinpoche continues the oral transmission.]
You can count the drops of the four great oceans, but you cannot count the merits from reciting or writing this sutra.
[Rinpoche continues the oral transmission.]
It says here that there’s a little difference in the translation, but this text is according to the Omniscient One, Perfect All-Knowing Taranata, who wrote a commentary to this sutra. This lama, Perfect All-Knowing Taranata, received the commentary, so it means the Tibetan text he has is correct.
It says, “May I and all other sentient beings achieve control over the realization of immortality.”
So, that’s it.
[Rinpoche recites the concluding prayer.]
The short mandala, the shortest one.
[The group chants the mandala offering and other prayers in Chinese.]