Teachings from 100 Million Mani Retreat, 2000 (Audio and Unedited Transcript)

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Chenrezig Institute, Australia 2000 (Archive #1261)

This audio recording and unedited transcript is the evening session on Friday, December 22, a teaching given by Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche during the 100 Million Mani Retreat at Chenrezig Institute, Australia, in December 2000. In this teaching Rinpoche explains the benefits of mani pills, the Thirty-five Buddhas practice, and the importance of purifying negative karma.

The teachings from this retreat were published in the book Teachings From the Mani Retreat.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche in meditation on Saka Dawa at Chenrezig Institute, Australia, May 25, 1975. Photo: Wendy Finster.

These mani pills, that which comes from Dharamsala, that is blessed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, maybe not every day but His Holiness comes in some of the sessions, so His Holiness did a lot of prayers and so blessed by His Holiness. Not just the yogi who has actualized clear light, illusory body, not just that, of course, best person, first, bodhisattva, very good one who blesses, then other one is a yogi who has actual realization of the yoga, the clear light and illusory body, the Highest Tantra path, so the yogi who has that realizations then the blessing, so that, things can be transformed and extremely powerful.

So here it’s not just only that, actual Buddha of Compassion, actual Compassion Buddha blessed, did so much prayers and blessed. Not only that, many meditators coming from the mountains, monks, lay people, all, by chanting OM MANI PADME HUM they all ?blesses. So usually they, the mani pills get multiplied. I don’t know how scientifically how it’s, I don’t know how they would explain that, but they get multiplied normally. One monk, one Sera je monk from Germany, one who is the resident teacher in Germany, so he went to Ladakh and he started 100 million OM MANI PADME HUM, organized, so they make mani pills and the mani pills multiplied. So the people who gathered, they were so, they got so much devotion then they themselves started organizing 100 million mantras, reciting 100 million om mani padme hung’s in their own home, their own places. After that because they have so much devotion, because of what happened, what they actually saw, gave them so much faith, so then they, because felt so much inspired and then they went back to their own homes, their own area, they started retreat the 100 million reciting om mani padme hung. So like that.

So there is different pills, pills for wisdom, so if you, pills to develop wisdom, blessed in that way, with Manjushri, different deities, so by taking, by, so like taking medicine, by taking those pills then due to dependent arising helps to develop wisdom. Then also there’s long-life pills, pills that is blessed in that way, and then hooked all the essence, the blessing of all the who develop from the side of the, those who achieved immortal realization, who have developed, their realizations, ?essence of the holy body, holy speech, holy mind, visualize those ________, then by taking long-life pills that helps, that condition helps to have long life. Also, the deities for purifying negative karma, then also pills, pills for purification and then the, by taking those, like, deities like the Mitukpa, Immovable Buddha, Immovable, Indestructible, Unshakable Buddha, seems also practice to make pill, then you take those pills for purification, things like that. So here the mani pill is to develop compassion.

So, well, some suggestions. It is very neat to, when we do Thirty-five Buddha practice, doing prostrations to each Buddha specifically to recite each name. I didn’t, I strongly suggest that if you know by heart you must recite the names. So if you don’t know then, if you haven’t memorized then what can be done? But if it’s memorized, if you know by heart you must recite. Because if somebody recites the names, then only that person purifies. The person who is, the one person who is reciting, only that person is purified, because who recites it, the very first name, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, Buddha’s name, by reciting that it purifies 80,000 eons negative karma, so even the very first one, so if you don’t recite the names at all, of course by listening, by listening of course plants seed of enlightenment, but you don’t purify that many negative karmas by yourself actually reciting the names. So therefore, so somebody, one person recites then the rest don’t recite, then only that person gets purified. So here the Thirty-five Buddhas is, here doing prostrations to the Thirty-five Buddhas, yes, but here the main thing is yourself use your lips to recite, actually you to recite, that’s, so then so many eons of negative karma get purified. So like, I gave the first example, so then like that, by reciting each of those names once, so many eons negative karma …

[tape change]

… eons of different negative karmas get purified. So, it’s, I remember when we were doing the Most Hayagriva the retreat at Vajrapani, that time I asked everybody to memorize during that retreat. Everybody must, when they go back, by the time it’s finished, the whole of the names, at least all the names they should be by heart. So, I think some, probably I don’t think everybody tried but I think definitely some people memorized during that time.

So, anyway, in the whole life, we miss Mahayana teachings, this unbelievable precious all these practices, teachings, methods to, like atomic bomb to purify the negative karmas collected from, all these heavy negative karmas collected from beginningless rebirths up to now, and then we die and then so many years, never memorized even Thirty-five Buddhas’ names and you die without having memorized. So if you haven’t memorized then when you do prostrations you cannot do together. So unless you use tape-recorder guiding you, unless you take refuge, the tape-recorder to be umze. You put the tape-recorder, tape-recorder to be the umze, to be the leader of chanting.

Anyway, so that’s very sad, very bad, very sad. So many years and never, still did not memorize Thirty-five Buddhas’ names, that’s terrible, extremely lazy. I mean this, first of course one should see the benefit, anyway, by reciting the Thirty-five Buddhas’ names, the prayer once well it has power to purify five uninterrupted negative karmas, these very heavy negative karmas, that, without interruption of another life, other negative karmas you don’t have to experience immediately, they can be interrupted another life and then after some time, can be experienced after one life, after many hundreds of lifetimes can be experienced, but these, these five uninterrupted negative karmas, killed father, mother, arhat, caused blood to Buddha and caused disunity among Sanghas, these things, so immediately without interruption of another life then it causes to reincarnate in the lower realms, in the hell realms, those great hot hell realm so forth, the heaviest suffering among the hell realms, the last, the very last, the eighth one. So, completely get purified by reciting the Thirty-five Buddhas’ practice just once, by doing the prayer, doing that practice, doing well just once. So, like that.

As Denma Locho Rinpoche explained, so in the Lama Tsongkhapa life-story, I never heard did many, many hundreds of Vajrasattvas, even though Vajrasattva is very common in all four traditions, but never heard in the life-story of Lama Tsongkhapa, did many hundred thousands of prostrations with Thirty-five Buddhas’ names, so I was wondering why, so then I asked Denma Locho Rinpoche, so Rinpoche answered, so I think there must be some special purpose for that, why Lama Tsongkhapa did so many Thirty-five Buddhas’ prostrations. And then especially all the lineage lamas of lam-rim, in the Gelugpa tradition, all the lineage lamas of lam-rim doing many hundreds or thousands each day, hundreds or thousands, prostrations, that every day that reciting Thirty-five Buddhas’ names.

So it’s very much, it’s extremely important for the immediate, what we need, most important thing, even one is going to live for a hundred years, the immediate thing is to purify the negative karma. Even one is going to die, there’s only five minutes left, life, then you’re going to die, the only thing is to purify the negative karmas, the immediate thing, the immediate solution is to purify the negative karmas, because when the negative karma is not purified then that’s also trouble, what gives trouble is by the negative karmas, heavy death then all those sufferings after death, even in the future life when you’re born a human being, you’re born a human being but still, but only filled with problems, life filled with only problems, so born a human being but life, spend life just experiencing problems, one after another, sicknesses, then so many other problems, so can’t practice Dharma. So the immediate thing is to purify, immediate solution is for not only temporary happiness, especially ultimate happiness, the thing is to purify negative karma, that is the immediate solution.

So therefore, very important, so, of course there’s the umze, the person who leads, then those who know by heart must recite, so that by reciting each name so many eons, so many of the negative karmas collected, those different negative karmas collected from many eons get purified, so then you have great success or profit from that, ______ ________, and also with your speech you collect good karma, with your speech you collect virtue, merit; otherwise, you don’t, even though you are collecting merit with the body, but you are not, you are wasting your speech, while you have incredible opportunity to collect merit with the speech, then not doing that, so much merit and it’s unbelievable purification by reciting the names.

So, then, I guess, so my suggestion is, it is very nice to keep space between and then again recite but I think, without, I think, rather keeping a space between, I think, I understand prostrate to this Buddha, then when you are prostrating to that Buddha recite the name, like that. But I think just non-stop keep on reciting, because this way, either gives more time to purify, reciting the Thirty-five Buddhas’ names, you get to recite more names of Thirty-five Buddhas, either that or without break just keep doing that, so when you do straight without repeating then just go straight. Then when you do certain sets of prostrations, like more than a hundred prostrations or something more fixed, then of course then you repeat the same name over and over, then during that one prostration, so however without break, just keep on reciting.

So then this way, so for example, 80,000 eons negative karma get purified by reciting Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s name once, so then if you keep on reciting, without a break if you keep on reciting, so then if you recite three times, for example, an example, then, I don’t know how many, the three times 84,000 eons negative karma, 84,000 eons negative karma get purified like that, how many? How much? How many? [Yeshe Khadro: 240,000.] So, 340,000 eons of negative karmas get purified, 240? [Yeshe Khadro: Thousand.] 240,000 eons of negative karma get purified, so that’s unbelievable. We don’t want even one hour with cancer, we don’t want even one minute with cancer, we don’t want headache or toothache even for one hour or a minute, we don’t want, even for one minute we don’t want a toothache, so then the suffering, then cancer or pain like that for 100,000 eons, 80,000 eons or, yeah, I think, 240,000 eons of toothache or cancer or, it gets purified, how that is unimaginable, how that is so exciting, so unimaginable, that’s like wish-granting jewel. Each name is a wish-granting jewel, that you can liberate yourself so much from the sufferings and cause of the sufferings. So like that.

So I think, so particularly here to give also more time to recite OM MANI PADME HUM, so then which also will help, by doing straight it will help. Those little times all together then will help to give more time to finish more the number of mantras, it all helps. So like that. And, the blessing the vase, doesn’t need, even though the text says 100 something, to recite 108, since we have difficulties to finish the number of mantra, doesn’t need to recite that many, just recite ten or fifteen or something around and then so it will take, even though normally mentioned in the text to do that number. So it can be just fifteen or twenty-five, just a few, like that.

Then, to, there is the eight royal signs or the eight king’s reign, those are in the mandala, but it would be good to have those offerings, those eight auspicious signs, the eight substances, those around the mandala, those offerings, however, the idea is to have elaborate offerings. There is also offering like, it seems according to some lamas, some high lamas in Mongolia or maybe Amdo, making offering jewels, in a container, jewels, one container medicines, so by offering medicine then to not have sickness, to not experience sicknesses, oneself and for sentient beings.

In one container, medicines, offering medicines, and that is the same, ?nyung-nä, when we fill up statues, in the throne, you put weapons for protection and then medicines to not have sicknesses, and you put the grains inside, food, so that to not experience famine, so similar like that, by offering, so here, in one container grains, different grains, many jewels, in container medicine, five essence and the five, five essence and then, so I will check, I don’t remember now, but to have those offerings. You can have also during nyung-nä. Five medicines, five grains, doesn’t matter, however, one container different grains, and then five jewels, but however one container filled with the jewels and then five scented smell and five essence. I don’t remember now, I will check.

So also, this offering is done after the vase, after the vase, the, before the praise, before the mandala offering, after the pouring water from the vase, purifying the six realm sentient beings. This one is not just offering a vase, it says “offer a vase” but this is, you pour water, you pour just a drop of water out and then you visualize six realm sentient beings their negative karma, their sufferings, are purified. Like that. I mean can be offering vase, but the main thing is to purify the sentient beings’ their karma and delusions. So there’s a verse for offering all these five things, and dedicating to achieve the five kayas, five wisdoms, things like that, of the Buddha. So that, I think I did translate but anyway I will translate that verse, so there’s also the extra merit. Then, where, can make offering cymbals and then drums during those places where play cymbals. And at the, in the seven limb, section of the seven limb, in the sadhana where it talks about the metog ?tampa, tawa ?tampa, holy flowers, garlands, [Tibetan] the cymbals and ointments, so that time should play music, so like that. So normally that is done.

After the prostrations, now, by sealing with the emptiness, by looking at the three circles empty, after that, then dedicate the merits. It’s good, even though there was dedication done, but if one didn’t get to think, because just reciting words doesn’t mean it’s dedicated, but one has to think, so dedicating again, after that, will help very much. So look at the creator and action and negative karma, what is created, empty, so with that awareness, looking everything empty, then in that space, with the continuation, simultaneous, with the awareness then, even you are saying, “Due to the three time merits collected by me, by others, may I achieve Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s enlightenment however and lead all the sentient beings to that enlightenment by myself alone,” while you are saying that you company the awareness all those are empty. At the same time company with that, having that thought, that awareness company, so you are using those words but then companying the awareness all those are empty.

Whether you use the word “empty,” whether you use extra words that they are empty, whether you use extra words saying emptiness or not, however, the awareness while you are reciting the prayer of dedication at the same time this awareness that they are empty comes _____. However, so right after the sealed the three circles of emptiness, then dedicate the merits to achieve enlightenment for sentient beings. So the idea is to continue, while you are dedicating, with that understanding that they are empty, with the continuation of that awareness. So, to be, that and then also, as I’ve been telling or, in the past, so at the end, where there’s the, at the end there’s, end of the sadhana there’s ge wa di yi...., so same, so that time, so could be that, “Due to all the three time merits collected by me, three time merits collected by others, that which are merely labelled...”, so we can do now, as I mention. “Due to the three time merits collected by me, three time merits collected by others, that which are merely imputed by the mind...”, so when you think that precisely then that those merits which appear something real from its own side, as you mentioned, as Tsapel mentioned however established from its own side, however, so that, so when you precisely when you think, merely labeled, that is something appearing real from there, established from its own side, it’s not there, so it destroys that object of ignorance, what ignorance holds on to. “...the merely labeled I achieve...,” so when you say that, anyway, what should be there, what understanding should be there is, no I...

[tape change]

...no feeling that there’s I, completely, totally non-existent, of course that one is from its own side. So supposed to be like that. Not, you are looking at the I, there is the meditator, I, and that meditator, I, is looking at another I, certain object, and then that doesn’t exist, not like that. That is wrong. The meditator itself, the idea what should be is, the meditator, I, the meditator, I, totally nowhere, it’s totally, totally non-existent. Just like that, totally, completely non-existent, not even a small part, there’s not even a small part of that, I is not merely labeled by mind.

However then, “....achieve Buddha’s enlightenment or Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s enlightenment, Buddha’s enlightenment means Thirty-five Buddhas’ enlightenment, Buddha’s enlightenment, which is merely labeled by mind and lead all the sentient beings, who are merely labeled by the mind, to that enlightenment, which is merely labeled by mind, by myself alone, who is also merely labelled by mind.” So do that, end of the sadhana when you do ge wa di, so instead of, you can do that in English, like that, by using especially the words of emptiness.

So then this way, by dedicating the merits for enlightenment, it becomes inexhaustible as you heard during the lam-rim teachings, commentary of the Jorcho or preliminary practices, by dedicating to receive enlightenment, by dedicating the merits, even a small merit, even one tiny, one rice to one ant or one tiny food to one ant however dedicating that merit, even that is so small, but to achieve enlightenment, that merit becomes inexhaustible. Even, you can enjoy up to enlightenment, all the realizations, all the temporary happiness while you are in samsara, you can enjoy the result, all the temporary happiness, by having done charity, as well as all the realizations from, the whole path to enlightenment, infinite qualities of Buddha’s holy body, holy speech, holy mind, even after that, then you liberate numberless sentient beings, bring them to enlightenment, so you enjoy the result of that merit, you enjoy the benefit even after you achieve enlightenment, you continuously, you are receiving the benefit or you are using the benefit, liberating numberless sentient beings, bringing them to enlightenment.

But then if you don’t seal with emptiness, then the merit becomes weaker, if heresy, anger rises afterwards, it can destroy, here the meaning of “destroy” is you cannot make completely non-existent, completely burned, non-existent, you cannot make, but if heresy, anger rises, what effect is that merit, it will make the merit weaker, so as Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo explained in the advice, other people ask questions and then about dedication, then Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo explained that, for example, if you, merit collected with the motivation of bodhicitta and dedicated, plus dedicated to achieve enlightenment, it’s like a huge mountain, and then if you, without sealing it, when you dedicate the merits, if you dedicate the merits to achieve enlightenment, but you didn’t dedicate the merit by sealing with emptiness, so the merits do get destroyed, which means become weaker, less. So, there’s huge mountain and the trucks they transport, they take many stones from that mountain, they take away, but so much stones are taken away by the trucks, but then still the mountain is left, so it’s like that. It’s not the same as before but still the mountain is there, so the merit is so much that it doesn’t get destroyed completely, but it becomes smaller if you don’t dedicate the merits by sealing with emptiness. By rising heresy, anger makes them less or weaker. So that means merits not dedicated to achieve enlightenment, so that implies by rising heresy, anger, can destroy.

So therefore it becomes very important practice, the reason why I often during the teachings at the end, however, often dedicate the merits that way, by bringing the words of emptiness with each phenomena. So at least it plants seed, at least by hearing words of emptiness it plants seed to realize emptiness sooner or later, even one can’t meditate but at least by hearing the words then helps to realize sooner or later, like that. So at least just by even thinking of the words, reciting the words, even one can’t really meditate exactly emptiness, but just trying to think that still harms the ego, still harms the ignorance, root of samsara. Becomes preparation to kill or to eliminate ignorance, the root of samsara.

Then, when we do the front generation, it’s excellent how generally the meditation, the way of guiding meditation like that, but I think maybe this time you could do faster, just go straight, because just gives more time for reciting, to recite mantra, so that we can do more recitation of mantra. Then maybe read just straight. But generally guiding meditation is perfect, that’s the way how it should be done.

Then, the end of sadhana the jang chub sem chog rinpoche..., maybe that, it is there in English, but if it can be chanted, just precisely, to think precisely on that, at the end of the sadhana the jang chub sem chog rinpoche when you do dedication. Then, should change that title, probably it may be in the book, in our translation, but that is wrong. The prayer, the fasting prayer or something, however, nyung-nä, if you translate nyung-nä as fasting then what it sounds is the whole practice is just fasting, whole nyung-nä is just fasting, it sounds like that. Nyung-nä is not just fasting, not only fasting, fasting is a part of that practice, nyung-nä is abiding in the retreat, nyung-nä, nä is abiding, nyung is retreat.

So, away from those negative karmas, those activities which ?create negative karma, nyung-nä, abiding in the retreat, so there’s abiding in the retreat of body, that which is, part of that is, so one part of that is the fasting, even the nyung-nä, abiding in the retreat of the body, body abiding in the retreat, even that’s not just only fasting, visualizing one’s own body in the deity’s holy body, you are abiding the body in the retreat, in the deity’s holy body, retreating in the pure appearance, deity’s holy body, away from the ordinary impure appearance of the body. So that, yeah, so there are also other practices, so even for the body abiding in the retreat, nyung-nä, the nyung wai ?nepa, body doing nyung-nä, even that is not just only fasting. Then there’s speech abiding in the retreat, mind abiding in the retreat, so nga nyung nepa, sem nyung nepa, so then how are you going to apply fasting to the speech? Fasting to the mind? So like that. So that is wrong, that is a very narrow translation. So that should change, nyung-nä is abiding in the retreat. Like that. I think today that much, first. Today that much. So I think really very good, excellent, to do such practice, it’s unbelievable fortunate, it’s unbelievable _______. End of the nyung-nä text there’s some benefits explained of reciting Compassion Buddha’s mantra and those things, but otherwise not so much in English, not so much translated into English, the benefits, all these extensive benefits.

So however, such a wonderful time, especially practice to develop compassion, bodhicitta, without compassion you can’t have realization of bodhicitta, you can’t enter in the Mahayana path, you can’t achieve enlightenment, cannot achieve the infinite qualities of the holy body, holy speech, holy mind of Buddha, you cannot, without great compassion you cannot liberate, you can’t do perfect work for sentient beings, bringing them to enlightenment. As I mentioned the other night when I came, that late night, probably may be difficult to hear late night, so like that.

So, those who can make time to come for retreat, those who can make time to come, even not all the months, but some weeks or at least even one week, like that, so not giving time to oneself to do this, not giving freedom to oneself, that is very sad, it’s very poor, very sad. While you can give time to yourself or freedom to yourself, even not all months, you cannot until the end, of course that’s best, but month or even a few weeks or minimum one week, like that, so attempt, even family, of course whole family members, if all students come to retreat maybe that’s, with the whole assembly, with the whole, parents, children, everything, to come for the Mani Retreat, of course that’s not possible, but maybe can take turns or however whatever one can, whatever days one can do that, give time to come to do again and again, even not straight one week but again and again to come to do at least, one day, then again, then come another day, the come another day, like that, even like that, so quite often like that, at least even like that.

Especially if we think of death, especially when the thought of death, when one remembers death, there’s nothing, especially when the thought of death comes, when one remembers death,

[tape change]

...there’s nothing, all the rest of things, it doesn’t make sense, totally nonsense. When we think of death all the rest, so much what we do in the life, it’s all just, it doesn’t make sense, nonsense, it doesn’t make sense, except only Dharma practice. What makes sense, what benefits at the time of death, what benefits after death only Dharma. What you can carry with you, can benefit to your, can enjoy your future life is only Dharma, nothing else. Such this, especially the practice of, meditation-recitation of Compassion Buddha, especially OM MANI PADME HUM like this, which has merits like sky, limitless sky, even Buddha can never finish explaining, unbelievable purification and collect extensive merit.

So, special means to develop compassion, so intellectual study alone, that alone cannot make to have realization of compassion, bodhicitta. With that understanding, you have the understanding, then you purify the mind, through practice purify the mind, collect extensive merit, those, ?thought of those preliminary practices then special deity’s blessings received by reciting om mani padme hung. Then, through that, then realization comes, great compassion, bodhicitta. So, it’s one method, one powerful means to develop compassion, bodhicitta, so reciting the OM MANI PADME HUM, specifically, doing specific meditation Compassion Buddha and reciting the mantra, that’s like the soil and the water, all these conditions together then the seed is able to produce the stem, so like that, like this machine, even the clock, watch, all these things, pieces of machine put together, then able to give, able to show time, all these pieces of machine by putting together. So like that, similar way how it works for the mind, with those practices, then the meditation-recitation of Compassion Buddha, so that persuades Compassion Buddha’s holy mind, purifies the negative karmas, obstacles and then collects extensive merit and that makes to receive the blessings of Compassion Buddha, and then through the blessings then receive realizations. And the benefit of the compassion is like limitless sky, like that. So by, after hearing lam-rim and having studied also other teachings can understand the benefits of the compassion, it’s limitless to oneself and towards all the sentient beings.

And then I would like to mention, of course there was intensive study before, so of course need a break. Of course there’s need break, intensive study and things like that. However, for the Sangha, need to go outside to give teachings or things like that, give teachings or things like that, give Dharma talks, things like that, otherwise, should be main people here doing the retreat, reciting the 100 million OM MANI PADME HUMs. Except those kind of things, otherwise, not permitted, must do the, must continue the retreat. So that is one thing want to mention. Must be the main, should take the responsibility of the retreat, to do this practice of this retreat of 100 million OM MANI PADME HUMs.

Then, the lay then also as much as possible can fulfill this practice. This is the first time, anyway, in FPMT this is the first time. I don’t know other traditions whether they have done such a retreat, Kagyu, Nyingmas, in the West. In the Gelug, anyway, this is the first time, so to take responsibility as much as possible, like that. [pause]

?End we offer this as an offering to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, for his holy wishes to be succeed, all his holy wishes to spread Dharma, in particular, Tibet, freedom of Tibet, also to benefit all the people in mainland China, His Holiness to be there and to, like the sun rising, to give peace and happiness, to spread Dharma there. Not only one’s own enlightenment, but also for all these other purposes, also as I mentioned today, the beginning of the mantra, also world peace. So except those kinds, special activities like that, otherwise not permitted, the Sanghas must continue the retreat, like that.

So, I’m extremely happy those who helped in the retreat that is happening here, this Mani Retreat. Mani Retreat or Money Retreat? Mani or money? Maybe we get some money retreat by the way. We’re doing Mani Retreat but becomes Money Retreat. Anyway, I’m just joking! So I think that’s all, so thank you very much. Thank you, thank you very much.