E-letter No. 85: June 2010

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Kopan Monastery, Nepal 1995
Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Lama Yeshe, Lake Arrowhead, 1975. Photo: Carol Royce-Wilder.

Dear LYWA friends and supporters,

I hope you are well. Thank you for your kind support of the Archive.

Thank you so much for your kind response to our appeal for funds for reprinting several of our popular titles. We are almost out of stock of all of these! The books we would like to reprint are: 

Thanks to your generosity we now have the money to do four out of these five. So... another $10,000 to go.  If you have not yet contributed but would like to, visit our special appeals page for more information.

Online Image Gallery: Feature: Rinpoche's Drawings
Rinpoche's DrawingWe are continuing to work on images for our Image Gallery, a process which involves organizing and identifying the images, culling duplicates and optimizing the images. This month we're featuring images of drawings by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, which are all at once beautiful, joyful and inspiring. These are fantastic images; be sure to take a look.

New on the Web
Listen online to an audio recording of Lama Zopa Rinpoche's teachings on lam-rim, given in Nice, France, July 1990. The series includes an oral transmission of the Heart Sutra and teachings on emptiness and transforming problems.

Read extensive advice from Rinpoche on dealing with cancer, advice which can be applied to any illness and sufferings being experienced.

You can also read a letter Rinpoche wrote in response to a student who was asking what should be done after preliminary practices are completed. Rinpoche's response includes a short lam-rim meditation.

Final Words 
\"We've designed a new web icon, which is shown here on the left. We invite you to download a large and small version of this icon for use on your web page to link to lamayeshe.com.

Thank you again for your interest and for your support of our work. This time we leave you with an excerpt from the 28th Kopan course in 1995 on the tantric path.

Much love,
Nick Ribush

The Tantric Path
Photo: Roger KunsangThe basic reason why the tantric path becomes the quick path to achieving enlightenment is that there is the opportunity to do meditations on the path that are similar to the four purities, the four complete pure results that we will achieve in the future when we become enlightened.

The first of the four complete pure results is the completely pure, holy body. When we become enlightened, when we become Chenrezig, the Compassion Buddha, at that time we have the completely pure vajra holy body.

We don’t have suffering, and the aggregates are completely pure and uncontaminated by even the subtle imprint left by the disturbing thoughts, the simultaneously-born concept of inherent existence.

The completely pure holy body covers all existence and has infinite qualities that don’t fit with our present, very primitive and obscured mind. Our ordinary mind cannot comprehend all the qualities of the Buddha's holy body. The completely pure holy body pervades all existence and whenever the sentient beings’ karma ripens, without delaying even a second, it immediately takes form right there and guides the sentient beings without any effort.

In everyday life we stop impure, ordinary appearances and concepts, and by visualizing ourselves as a deity, we transform into pure appearance and pure thought. By visualizing our own body as the deity’s, we stop ordinary appearances and concepts, and we transform our own body's ordinary form into pure appearance—the holy body of the Buddha, the holy body of the deity.

Each time we do this practice, by purifying the ordinary "I", the ordinary aggregates, into emptiness and generating as the deity, we practice the pure appearance of our own body as the deity's holy body. For example, we visualize now, in our daily life, the Compassion Buddha's holy body that we are going to achieve in the future, and we practice pure appearance by holding divine pride and generating faith that this is the result time Compassion Buddha's body. This meditation becomes an incredibly skillful means and a very powerful purification, purifying so much negative karma and accumulating so much merit, because this special meditation technique is done not just by visualizing the result time deity's holy body, but by visualizing the holy body with method and wisdom. The visualization of the holy body of the deity is done by perfecting method and wisdom within one mind—method inseparable from wisdom. So, it becomes like a very sophisticated machine, one that has very advanced technology that can do things very fast, like some modern developed machines with which things can go much faster than machines made some years ago.

Visualizing the holy body of the Buddha with the single mind that has perfected the unification of method and wisdom is an incredible technique that becomes unbelievable purification and accumulates inconceivable merit.

This meditation itself becomes a path to quickly achieve the result time, completely pure holy body of the deity, which can guide sentient beings who have different levels of mind perfectly, without mistakes.

The second result is the completely pure place, the holy place, the celestial mansion mandala that is the pure appearance of the deity's wisdom. For example, Chenrezig, the Compassion Buddha’s mandala is a completely pure, holy place that we will achieve when we becomes enlightened. In our everyday life we stop the ordinary appearance and concept of the place, and we train the mind in pure appearances, seeing the pure, holy place, the mandala of the deity.

It is said in the tantric teachings that each time we visualize a mandala, it purifies ten million eons of negative karma. Each time we visualize the mandala of the deity and do this meditation, it has incredible power to purify our mental continuum of so much obscuration, of ten million eons of negative karma, and we also accumulate extensive merit.

This is why practicing secret mantra, Vajrayana, helps us achieve full enlightenment more quickly. Even just a few seconds meditating on the mandala becomes unbelievably powerful purification. So, it becomes a quick path to achieve enlightenment. Every day, in our everyday life, practicing this pure appearance and visualizing the result time, the completely pure place of the deity itself, becomes the path to achieving the result time, the completely pure place, the mandala.

The third result is the enjoyment in our daily life. We stop the impure, ordinary appearance or concept of enjoyments as ordinary, and we visualize the result time, the completely pure enjoyment. Each time we do this, we accumulate inconceivable merit and it becomes great purification. Again that makes us quickly achieve enlightenment, so this meditation becomes the path to achieving the result time, the completely pure enjoyment of the deity. Similarly, by visualizing the completely pure enjoyment we are going to experience when we become enlightened—when we become the deity—in our daily life as if it is happening now, becomes the path to achieving the result time, completely pure enjoyment of the deity.

The fourth result is the completely pure holy action of the deity, such as emitting beams from the holy body, from the pores of the deity. Each beam that emits from the deity's holy body every second liberates numberless sentient beings from suffering and leads into temporary and ultimate happiness—we visualize this result time, the completely pure action of working for sentient beings and benefiting sentient beings, in our daily life.

In the sadhanas there are many points where we visualize the syllable of the deity, and we send beams to both purify all sentient beings and lead them into enlightenment, and make offering to the deities, buddhas and bodhisattvas. We visualize beams emitting from the deity's holy body, and by visualizing ourselves as the deity, the Buddha, we purify sentient beings and lead them into enlightenment. There are many meditation practices like this in the sadhanas. Here, we are meditating on the result time completely pure holy actions, and we are visualizing now in our daily life what is going to happen when we become enlightened.

Each time we do this special, particular way of visualizing ourselves as the deity and sending beams purifying sentient beings, it accumulates much more merit than the sutra path practice of doing tong-len, (taking and giving) taking other sentient beings' sufferings and giving our own happiness and merit to others. Of course, we accumulate infinite merit each time we take other sentient beings' sufferings within our own heart and dedicate our own merits and happiness towards all sentient beings. But it is said in tantra that when we do this visualization—visualizing ourselves as a deity and sending beams purifying sentient beings—we accumulate more merit than in paramitayana path practices such as tong-len. So this meditation itself becomes the path to achieve the result time, completely pure holy action of the deity.

These four types of meditation, visualizing the four purities or the four complete pure results, become very incredible, skillful meditation techniques, a path to quickly achieve these four completely pure results of the deity, to quickly achieve full enlightenment. Each time we do the sadhana, the meditation of the deity, this is the basic meditation—this is the foundation of the Vajrayana path.

Therefore, each time we do the sadhana of the deity, we can recognize and understand the benefits we get from each of those meditations. There is unbelievable purification when we do each sadhana of each deity’s practice, and each time this makes us much closer to enlightenment, makes incredible preparation in our mind, and leaves so much potential on our mental continuum to quickly achieve full enlightenment.

As it is mentioned in the dedication prayers, due to these merits may all living beings complete accumulating the merit of wisdom and the merit of method or fortune, and achieve the two kayas—dharmakaya and rupakaya—the completely pure holy mind and the complete pure holy body, which result from these two types of merits. Dharmakaya is the result of completing the merit of wisdom, and rupakaya, the completely pure holy body, is the result of completing the merit of method.

How quickly we can achieve full enlightenment—the unification of this completely pure holy body and the completely pure holy mind of the deity, of the Buddha, such as the Compassion Buddha—depends on how quickly we are able to accumulate the two types of merit. The answer to that question of how quickly we can achieve full enlightenment is in our everyday life, and it depends on how much we are able to finish the work of accumulating the two types of merits.

From this dedication we can understand that meditating on the secret mantra, these four types of Vajrayana meditation—visualizing the four complete pure results in the present time—becomes an incredibly skillful means to finish the work of accumulating the two types of merit—the extensive merit of wisdom and method—in each minute, each second.

So, as I mentioned, this gives us some idea of how these meditations bring us to enlightenment more quickly.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche gave this teaching at the 28th Kopan Course in 1995. Edited by Sandra Smith. This teaching is an edited excerpt from Lecture Two of the course. Click here to read more.