The Wish-Granting Jewel and Karma

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Kopan Monastery, Nepal (Archive #971)

In this excerpt from the 26th Kopan Course held at Kopan Monastery, Nepal, in Nov–Dec 1993, Lama Zopa Rinpoche explained the visualization when doing tonglen (taking and giving) meditation. This teaching is excerpted from Lecture Four of the course. Lightly edited by Gordon McDougall.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche at Chenrezig Institute, Eudlo, Australia, 1994.

In the meditation practice of taking and giving [Tib: tonglen], where we take other sentient beings’ sufferings on ourselves and give them all our happiness, as well as our body, possessions and merit, it is advised by the lineage lamas that when we visualize we should not visualize giving our gross body like this, with bones, flesh, blood and so forth, but we should visualize giving a body like a wish-granting jewel that fulfills all their wishes, bringing them whatever happiness they want. We give them all our three times’ merits and the results of those merits, temporal happiness and ultimate happiness, up to and including the highest happiness, full enlightenment, by visualizing our body as a wish-granting jewel, the jewel that has eight sides. This was advised by His Holiness Trijang Rinpoche, my root guru who gave me my first lamrim teachings.

It is mentioned in the teaching that in the past, bodhisattvas went into the ocean to get these wish-fulfilling jewels. Then, they cleaned them in three ways, the first time to completely clean the mud that covered the jewels and the last one is maybe to clean the smell. Then they put the jewel on a banner on the top of a house and when you prayed on one of the special days—I am not sure, maybe the full moon, the fifteenth—whatever material possession or enjoyment you needed would materialize. If you want an example, it may be a little bit like what Sai Baba does when he turns some powder in his hand into a watch or a radio which he gives away. Similarly, the person who is able to find such a jewel, by praying they can get all the enjoyment they want. They also have to have merit or karma.

It is the same as how, with one dollar, we can buy a lottery ticket and get a million dollars. The ticket might not even cost a dollar, I am not sure. Anyway, buying a lottery ticket with one dollar and winning a million dollars doesn’t happen without cause and conditions. It looks like it happens without reason, without cause and conditions created from our side, but it is not like that. There is a cause created from our side and there are conditions and when that cause is ready there is success—the result ripens; it is materialized. Similarly, for those who have that karma, these things happen. It doesn’t happen for those of us who haven’t created the cause to find such a jewel that would give us all the material needs we pray for.

In the same way, we might have been buying lottery tickets for many years, but nothing has ever happened. No matter how much we desire to get many millions or billions of dollars, no matter how many tickets we buy for many, many years, nothing happens. But somebody just buys one lottery ticket once—some poor person, some worker or servant—and they win a million dollars. This happens. This is the same. The karma, the cause, the merit that has been created is powerful enough that it is ready to be ripened for that person. Then, success happens. Whereas for somebody who hasn’t created the cause, the merit, nothing happens, even though they might have incredible desire to get millions or billions of dollars.

[With the meditation on taking and giving,] those who need a friend receive a friend. Those who need a guru revealing the path to liberation and full enlightenment meet a guru, a perfectly qualified Mahayana virtuous friend who can reveal the complete path without missing anything. Then those who need a doctor [receive one]; those who need medicine receive that, especially those who have diseases that have no treatment, such as AIDS, and those who are in a coma—who are not dead but their senses are unable to function, like becoming a vegetable—receive an immediate cure and immediately recover. Including those with AIDS, they get doctor and medicine; those who need wealth receive wealth; those who need a job find a job.

The main problem for human beings is the shortage of a means of living. By giving all the merit, the result of our own body and so forth, by having made the charity of giving everything, every human being is freed of their main problem, the shortage of a means of living, and each human being receives rainfalls of millions of dollars, like a shower of rain; all their houses are completely filled with millions or billions of dollars. We then make charity by giving all these things to the gods and demigods. In the same way, their place is transformed into the extremely beautiful pure land of Compassionate Buddha, which has no suffering at all. There is not even the sound of problems. You cannot even hear one word of complaint.

What demigods need is the protection of armor because they always fight with the gods, so whatever they need they receive. They don’t have to experience the heaviest suffering [of the gods,] which are the signs of death. When the signs of death happen for a god, even though physically they are not in hell, mentally it is like being in hell; they have so much worry and fear, so much suffering. Due to karma, they hear a voice from space that they are going to die in seven days. After that, they experience all the five signs of death, the major ones and the minor ones. Anyway, the gods become free from these, which are their heaviest sufferings.

Receiving all these enjoyments only causes them to generate the paths of wisdom and method in their mind, and they become enlightened by ceasing all the mistakes of the mind and by completing all the qualities of the realizations.

Here, in the dedication, there happen to be more details of what we should visualize when we do the special bodhicitta practice, developing the mind in bodhicitta, the very powerful bodhicitta, renouncing ourselves and cherishing others by taking other sentient beings’ suffering on ourselves and giving our happiness and merit to others.

By hearing this explanation, when we do the practice of tonglen, taking and giving, the special bodhicitta practice, we know how to visualize when we practice giving by generating great loving kindness. The ultimate thing is the method and wisdom. Experiencing all these enjoyments causes others to actualize the paths of method and wisdom, and then to achieve the two kayas, the dharmakaya and rupakaya.