Proper Respect for Dharma Texts (Video)

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
North Carolina, USA

In this video, Lama Zopa Rinpoche explains how to show respect to Dharma texts, including digital devices containing Dharma. This teaching was given on 26 August 2017, at the Light of the Path retreat, Black Mountain, North Carolina, USA.

You can watch the video and read along with the transcript overlay on the FPMT YouTube channel or alternatively, you can watch the video only. The video is from the FPMT's Essential Extracts series, which is a selection of important teaching excerpts on a range of topics.

In this teaching extract, Rinpoche explains that Dharma texts should be treated with great respect because they reveal the path to enlightenment. ‭Rinpoche says that many people put glasses, malas and other things on top of texts, but this should be avoided. Rinpoche advises a prayer that can be recited when wrapping the text in a book cover or cloth, and he remembers how Kyabje Ling Rinpoche covers his text nicely after use.

Read the video transcript below.

Aleh. Is this Dharma book? It doesn’t contain Dharma subject, there on your table? That square one is not Dharma?

I think my iPad contains the Kangyur, the Tengyur, many teachings, so it is the same as a Dharma text. You can’t put on the bed or down [low]. Have to respect and put it higher.

Yes, very common to put glass on Dharma text, I guess even Tibetans, not all Tibetans, maybe those who don't know, but like Kyabje Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche, they don't do. So Dharma text you can’t put glasses or malas on top of Dharma texts. You have to respect, treat as Dharma, holy object, reveals the path for you to be liberated from samsara and achieve enlightenment, so you have to respect as Rare Sublime Dharma. You have to respect, you can’t put glasses or malas on top of Dharma texts. For some people that becomes a habit, to put glasses or malas on top of Dharma texts, but you can’t do that.

Kyabje Chöden Rinpoche, I don’t know where, it might be Sera, Land of Medicine Buddha, or Vajrapani, Rinpoche said even your hand go around, not on top, like tea mug, things like that, you can’t go over the top of texts, you go around. Rinpoche explained, I don’t know where, that becomes disrespect toward Dharma texts. You need to respect the Rare Sublime Dharma, you have to recognize the text. It is said in lamrim, in the refuge part, where you practice the instruction on what is to be avoided and instruction on what to practice, it is part of that. Those things are very, very important, very important to know. It is a simple thing but it is very, very important, it pollutes the mind and obscures the mind. So respecting, then creates much good karma.

I was thinking like that, not always remember, not always I remember, but like when we offer scarves to the holy objects, thangkas, sab jam yang pa lha yi gö, these soft, jam, thin, soft, light, divine dress, (Tibetan) inseparable the holy body.

Then here for the texts when you put the cover, when you offer the cover (Tibetan) to the holy object, “With indestructible devotion I offer this, may I achieve the vajra holy body,” but you can say “May I and all sentient beings achieve the vajra holy body.” Here when you put the cover on the Dharma text, “With indestructible devotion I offer this, the indestructible holy speech.” (Tibetan) “May I and all sentient beings achieve the vajra holy speech.” So you recite and you offer nicely.

Kyabje Ling Rinpoche whenever he finishes his prayer, he very nicely covers the text, then ties it so nicely.

Click here to watch the video and read along with the transcript overlay, or alternatively, you can watch the video without the transcript. To browse more video extracts from the series, visit Lama Zopa Rinpoche Essential Extracts webpage.