Instructions by my guru Khensur Rinpoche
To make the day meaningful, put effort into it.Get up a bit earlier every morning, make offerings at the altar, do three prostrations and then generate a pure motivation. One must feel joy and think,"Not only do I have a precious human rebirth, I have met the Dharma and the spiritual teacher who teaches the true path." Think of the great opportunity that you have and then generate the proper motivation of Bodhicitta. Recite refuge and other prayers. Meditate for a little while on love, compassion, death and impermanence. After you have finished your prayers, dedicate for the benefit of all sentient beings that they may have peace and happiness. Before you leave for work, generate the motivation that "Today I must use my life in a meaningful way, to be honest, to benefit others and not to harm others." Think of this and in your work, be mindful of the motivation that you have set in the morning. Be honest to yourself and others. At the end of the day when you come home, review your day. If you have done what you have committed in the morning, rejoice and congratulate yourself. If you made some mistakes; if you had lied or fought with your colleagues, purify whatever negative karma you have created. When you purify, remember to include the four opponent powers: First the power of dependence - taking refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, and generating Bodhicitta, the altruistic intention which brings happiness for oneself and others. The second one is the power of regret. The third is the power of remedy which is the recitation of Vajrasattva mantra, 35 Buddhas confession practice or any other practice to make good the negativity one has created. The fourth one is the power of refraining from creating negativity again. The committment not to repeat the same mistake is important because if you make a committment, it keeps you in line with your intentions
Edited by Origami 15 Oct `04, 2:14AM
Originally posted by An Eternal Now:what kind of offerings?
Most do water offerings. Usually 8 water bowls. U can also use flowers or fruits. When offering, recite offering prayers and visualise ur offerings multiplying and offer to all the buddhas n bodhisattvas in all 10 directions. Then rejoice in the offering and dedicate the merits to all sentient beings.
An Eternal Now, perhaps you can find a small altar in your house first… That will also make it possible for you to practice the 108 repentance, which is advised by the dharma teacher.
Sigh.. I'm a very lazy practitioner. Can't keep the consistency on morning practice. I think it is important. No hopes of liberation with my lazy attitude
Originally posted by Xabir:Sigh.. I'm a very lazy practitioner. Can't keep the consistency on morning practice. I think it is important. No hopes of liberation with my lazy attitude
We need to do a lot of purification this lifetime to achieve liberation. It is said that just keeping the 5 precepts for a whole life, one has accumulated more merits than doing countless prayers.
Prayers and gratitude for the day
When I wake up, I say to myself, may whatever I do today bring about the biggest benefits to those around me and may I bring no harm but only joy to all that I meet today. When I take a shower, it is like offering nectar, purifying the negative karma of all beings around me.When I open the door, it is like opening the door to the city of liberation for all beings. As I sit down, I pray that I gain enlightenment under the sacred bodhi tree for others. As I eat, I offer food to the Three Jewels. Then I dedicate it to all beings so that they may find food, and those who are thirsty to find delicious drinks. When I wear my clothes, I offer celestial robes to the holy beings and pray that the naked find clothes. As I drive down the highway, I pray to tread the highway of the bodhisattvas to enlightment.
Unruly beings are as unlimited as space:
They cannot possibly all be overcome,
But if I overcome thoughts of anger alone
This will be equivalent to vanquishing all foes.
"Be as careful as you can. Our minds are funny. Sometimes we are skeptical of things that are really worthwhile and completely accepting of things that we should avoid. Try to avoid extremes and follow the middle way, checking with wisdom wherever you go."
Lama Zopa Rinpoche
"Unlike an external enemy, the inner enemy cannot regroup and launch a comeback once it has been destroyed from within."
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Different people have different perception. One man's meat could be another man's poison.
A couple bought a donkey from the market. On the way home, a boy commented, "Very stupid. Why neither of them ride on the donkey?"
Upon hearing that, the husband let the wife ride on the donkey. He walked besides them.
Later, an old man saw it and commented, "The husband is the head of family. How can the wife ride on the donkey while the husband is on foot?" Hearing this, the wife quickly got down and let the husband ride on the donkey.
Further on the way home, they met an old Lady. She commented, "How can the man ride on the donkey but let the wife walk. He is no gentleman."
The husband thus quickly asked the wife to join him on the donkey. Then, they met a young man. He commented, "Poor donkey, how can you hold up the weight of two persons. They are cruel to you."
Hearing that, the husband and wife immediately climbed down from the donkey and carried it on their shoulders. It seems to be the only choice left.
Later, on a narrow bridge, the donkey was frightened and struggled. They lost their balance and fell into the river.
You can never have everyone praise you, nor will everyone condemn you. Never in the past, not at present, and never will be in the future. Thus, do not be too bothered by others words if our conscience is clear..
Will be back next week to give more. Going on short retreat.
Originally posted by An Eternal Now:hmm... what retreat?
A simple retreat which I managed to finish today.
Too often we only think about ourselves. Even when we see others suffering but we stand to gain, we'll hardly stop to generate compassion for the other party. Too often we only feel pity for the victim. But even the person causing the harm deserves compassion from us.
On September 11, when the plane crashed into the twin towers, the whole world felt sad for the victims trapped in the towers. Everybody blamed the Iraqis. But we have forgotten that even the pilots suffered too. Despite their act of terrorism, they too were human. For such an act, they would have planted the seeds to terrible karma to be ripened in future lives. To have been a victim, they must have also had the karma to experience it. It is indeed a great tragedy.
We should generate compassion to all, not just the victims, but also to the pilots. There should be no anger to anybody as this is a seed to greater suffering. For in the history of mankind, when has anger been the beginning of any happiness?
Let's all remind ourselves to be a little bit more forgiving to our enemy. The only way to totally defeat your enemy is to become friends.
"Like molding dough in your hand, you can definitely turn your mind whichever way you want."
Lama Zopa Rinpoche
8 Verses on Thought Transformation
1 With the thought of attaining enlightenment for the welfare of beings, who are more precious than a wish-fulfilling jewel, I will constantly practice holding them dear.
2 Whenever I am with others, I will practice seeing myself as the lowest of all. From the very depth of my heart, I will hold others as supreme.
3 In all actions, I will examine my mind and the moment a disturbing attitude arises, endangering myself and others, I will firmly confront and avert it.
4 Whenever I meet a person of bad nature who is overwhelmed by negative energy and intense suffering, I will hold such a rare one dear as if I had found a precious treasure.
5 When others, out of jealousy, mistreat me with abuse, slander and so on, I will practice accepting defeat and offering the victory to them.
6 When someone I have benefited and in whom I have placed great trust hurts me very badly, I will practice seeing that person as my supreme teacher.
7 In short, I will offer directly and indirectly every benefit and happiness to all beings, my mothers. I will practice in secret taking upon myself all their harmful actions and sufferings.
8 Without these practices being defiled by the stains of the eight worldly concerns. By perceiving all phenomena as illusory, I will practice without graspingto release all beings from the bondage of the disturbing, unsubdued mind and karma.
"Culitvating a close, warmhearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. From the least to the most important event, the affection and respect of others are vital for our happiness. "
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Those who wish to guard their practice
Should very attentively guard their minds
For those who do not guard their minds
Will be unable to guard their practice.
In this world subdued and crazed elephants
Are incapable of causing such harms
As the miseries of the deepest hell
Which can be caused by the unleashed elephant of my mind.
But if the elephant of my mind is firmly bound
On all sides by the rope of mindfulness,
All fears will cease to exist
And all virtues will come into my hand.
Tigers, lions, elephants, bears,
Snakes and all forms of enemies,
The guardians of the hell worlds,
Evil spiritis and cannibals,
Will all be bound
By binding my mind alone,
And all will be subdued
By subduing my mind alone.
Often many of us have certain expectations of people who are more religious. They expect them to be prim and proper. What matters most is what is in the mind. 2 persons experiencing a same thing can have entirely different different views on the object.
If we are clear in our mind and watch only our mind, we will not be affected by others and their comments.
I've seen Buddhist coming up to people I know and telling them that they shouldn't behave like that. A practitioner should just watch his own mind. For how would we know what the other person's mind is percieving? One person can view naked people as porn, another can view them as art. It depends on the person's mind.
Always be mindful of oneself. Always be yourself. Do not worry about how other's view you. It is only your mind's perception.
Whatever joy there is in this world
All comes from desiring others to be happy,
And whatever suffering there is in this world,
All comes from desiring myself to be happy.
But what need is there to say much more?
The childish work for their own benefit,
The Buddhas work for the benefit of others.
Just look at the difference between them!
Daily Practice from the Dalai Lama
The Dalai Lama has asked that the following practice be shared with as many people as possible. A group recently spent five days visiting with the Dalai Lama focusing upon what they believe are the five most important questions to be considered as we move into the millenium. The five questions were:
1. How do we address the widening gap between rich and poor?
2. How do we protect the earth?
3. How do we educate our children?
4. How do we help Tibet and other oppressed countries and peoples of the world?
5. How do we bring spirituality (deep caring for one another) through all disciplines of life?
The Dalai Lama said all five questions fall under the last one. If we have true compassion in our hearts, our children will be educated wisely, we will care for the earth, those who "have not" will be cared for. The group asked the Dalai Lama, "Do you think love on the planet is increasing or staying the same? His response: "My experience leads me to believe that love IS increasing." He shared a simple practice that will increase love and compassion in the world. He asked everyone in the group to share it with as many people as they can.
1. Spend 5 minutes at the beginning of each day remembering we all want the same things (to be happy and to be loved) and we are all connected to one another.
2. Spend 5 minutes breathing in cherishing yourself, and breathing out cherishing others. If you think about people you have difficulty cherishing, extend your cherishing to them anyway.
3. During the day extend that attitude to everyone you meet. Practice cherishing the "simplest" person (clerks, attendants, etc.) as well as the "important" people in your life, cherish the people you love and the people you dislike.
4. Continue this practice no matter what happens or what anyone does to you.
These thoughts are very simple, inspiring and helpful. The practice of cherishing can be taken very deep if done wordlessly, allowing yourself to feel the love and appreciation that already exists in your heart.
Will you commit to creating Peace in yourself and thereby "On Earth" by spending 10 minutes a day with this simple meditation? Peace on Earth, Good will To All. Its not a season. Its a daily practice. Please pass this on to as many people as you can.
Advice on Benefiting Animals
by Lama Zopa Rinpoche
If you love your animal very much then this is what you must do for them for their good rebirth and quick liberation from samsara.
When the animal is dying or has died
Recite mantras: Om mani padme hum, Heruka mantras, and other mantras such as Milarepa and Namgyälma mantras. Recite the mantras and blow over the body. You can recite the long mantras 21 times or more and the short mantras one mala or more. Blow strongly on the body after each time or you can blow on water, visualizing each deity absorbed into the water; each drop has the power to purify negative karmas. Then pour the water on the animal; all negative karmas are purified.
When the animal is dying, you can do the Medicine Buddha practice as outlined in the small book, visualizing the Seven Medicine Buddhas on the crown of the animal. Then you can also do the Thirty-five Buddhas practice, with nectar coming and purifying the negative karma, taking strong refuge to the Thirty-five Buddhas to protect and guide.
Theres a mantra paper to put on dead bodies to purify. You can get this from the online shop of the FPMT. This is written especially to put right on the body -- put it right on the skin, on the forehead or the chest.
When the animal is in the process of dying or even after the breath has stopped, if you have some sand from a Kalachakra sand mandala, you can mix it with butter and put it on the crown. Each sand grain has numberless buddhas abiding in it. Its especially good if it is blessed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Then burn the body. If there is a good practitioner or a lama available to do the jang-wa puja, then do that when the body is being burned. After the body is burned, keep some pieces of bones, and if possible, do jang-wa again on the bones. Crush the bones and make powder. Mix with other material and make a stupa, or more than one stupa. Put the stupa in a garden if you have one and then flowers can be offered to the stupa. Dedicate to your animal for a good rebirth and enlightenment.
What you can do for your animals in everyday life
Its not enough that you keep the animals and they give you comfort. You must do something of practical benefit for them. This is what you can do every day:
Take them around holy objects -- circumambulate. Everyday you can put on a table many tsa-tsas and statues, and take the animal around chanting mantras at the same time. This way it also helps the person who carries the animal around.
Recite prayers in their ears, verbally, to plant the seed of all the realizations of the path to enlightenment.
This makes a huge difference. It has inconceivable result, unbelievable result. That makes them have a good rebirth next life, to be born as a human being and meet the Dharma.
There is a story when Buddha gave teachings to 500 swans in the field and the next life they were born as human beings, became monks, and they all became arya beings, able to achieve the cessation of suffering and the true path. So the result is unbelievable, just by hearing Dharma words. Vasubandhu was reciting the Abhidharmakosha and a pigeon on the roof heard this everyday. One day the pigeon died and Vasubandhu checked to see where he was born. It was in a family who lived down below in the valley. He went down and saw the child and asked if he could have him and the family gave him to Vasubandhu. The child became a monk named Lobpön Loden and became an expert on the text that he had heard when he was a pigeon. He wrote four commentaries on that text. Therefore, its extremely important to recite lam-rim prayers and mantras -- at least the mantras -- to animals.
Its also extremely good before you give them their food, to bless it. If you cant do it at every meal, then you can bless it all at once. Recite the five powerful mantras if you know them; otherwise recite Om mani padme hum, Medicine Buddha and Milarepa mantras. All this has power; it helps those who eat it not get reborn in the lower realms, blesses their mind and purifies their negative karma. If you can, do it every time you feed them -- recite the mantras and blow on the food. This is the biggest present you can give them: good rebirth, finish samsara, liberation, and the positive imprint of the Mahayana teachings and mantras also to lead to enlightenment.
Especially for Buddhists who have animals, when the animals die, it should be different for their future rebirth. So one should attempt to have a special rebirth for them. Thats what I asked the people who took care of our dogs at Tushita in Dharamsala to do. Many years ago, Ven. Tseyang-la, who is a translator at many centers and built the Kopan nunnery, and Maureen, a student from New Zealand who taught at Kopan for quite a number of years and then worked very hard at Tushita, and for me, asked me to recite the Maitreya Buddha prayer and mantra, the Lama Tsong Khapa praise to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha Having Found the Realization of Dependent Arising and other prayers and mantras to the dogs, while holding a biscuit in the hand, so everyone waits, like listening to the teachings, eyes looking at the biscuit and everyone is humbly sitting, like respectfully listening to teachings, all their eyes looking at the biscuit. We gave some of the dogs away, and along with the dogs was the commitment to recite a lam-rim prayer or mantras. Some people did it for years. One lady from either the British or Italian Embassy in Delhi, who wasnt a Buddhist, did the lam-rim prayer The Foundation of All Good Qualities every day for years. Then one day, her maid left the gate open and the dog got lost. She was very upset. Thats because she must be a very kind person; even though she wasnt Buddhist, she did that prayer. She was very sincere.
Theres a story about an 80-year-old man. After he entered into the Mahayana path, when the time ripened, then he became enlightened, then he does perfect work for sentient beings, bringing every sentient being to enlightenment. So that means all that perfect work -- enlightening all the sentient beings -- came from himself being enlightened, and that came from having entered into the Mahayana path. Before that he was an arhat and actualizing the path to liberation, which started from being a monk. He was able to be a monk because inconceivable eons ago, he was a fly following some cow dung around a stupa, which became circumambulation -- one circumambulation. So all these benefits -- becoming an arhat, becoming enlightened and enlightening all sentient beings -- depended on the small merit created by following the smell of the cow dung, which became circumambulation. Therefore, we should always keep in the mind how precious even one circumambulation is, how precious it is to take the animals around; and of course, theres no question about us human beings intentionally going around, how that has incredible benefit. Therefore, one circumambulation of a holy object -- a statue or stupa -- one must do it; since karma is expandable, we shouldnt be careless even with small merit. All this means that each holy object is so powerful and can liberate so many sentient beings from suffering and bring them to enlightenment, and that it causes one to actualize the path. Therefore, even if one cant build a big stupa, even to have a small stupa is unbelievably precious -- the benefits you and other sentient beings get.
If you have many ants in your house, for example, then of course, if youre careless you kill them, but otherwise, with a soft tissue paper or soft cotton or broom or feather, pick them up and put them in a plastic bag and put some food in it. Put something they like, something theyre excited about or fascinated by and then close the bag and take it around the stupa or holy objects as many times as you can to liberate them from lower rebirth and to achieve liberation and enlightenment. Then put them outside, releasing them by opening the plastic bag, or shake it on the ground with the food. The only way you can help ants and other insects is if they come into your house, into your kitchen or room. Otherwise, theres no way to benefit them in this way. So this is a very good way, an excellent opportunity, to benefit the ants in addition to making charity by giving them food. If you take them around a stupa or holy objects, theres both Dharma charity and the charity of fearlessness. By purifying their minds, youre saving them from suffering. Also, for dogs and cats, blessing the food with mantras is not only miscellaneous charity; it also becomes Dharma charity, charity of fearlessness, and charity of loving-kindness because you have the intention to cause them happiness. In this way, you practice all four types of charity.
Ten Ways To Be An Annoying Buddhist, Common Beginner's Buddhist Mistakes
1 ) Negate everything everyone says ( Zen or Madhyamika sickness ). When someone says a very simple thing such as "The Buddha is Enlightened", you are required to state "Why does that matter? 'Buddha' is just a word. Why are you clinging to that, huh? Think about it!" This proves your mental superiority.
2 ) At every chance, call Tibetan Buddhism "Hinayana." Hinayana means "base or low vehicle" and is usually used in conjunction with Mahayana ( which means "great vehicle" ). While this even may be in the sutra you have just started reading, this will offend people. Rather than taking the high-road and calling Tibetan Buddhism Theraveda ( "the Teachings of the Elders" ), using of the word Hinayana is a wonderful way to show those following this tradition their stupidity.
3 ) At every chance, argue that the Buddha did not speak the Mahayana sutras. Say they were written by someone in the early 2nd century as if that were the consensus. Use the argument "the first written version of the sutras were discovered written at that time!" completely ignoring the fact that sutras were transmitted orally for hundreds of years. This is a sure way to cause those who follow the Mahayana to change their entire belief system and get a parade in your honor.
4 ) Call yourself a Buddhist but openly say you disbelieve in crucial tenets of Buddhism. For example, say as often as possible "rebirth is just a cultural ideosyncracy the Buddha picked up from India, it's not applicable today." This is sure to prove your open-mindedness and show all other Buddhists how wrong they were to be blind sheep ( extra points for actually calling them "blind sheep" ).
5 ) Go around talking like a monk from the sutras after the Buddha finished a very profound section. At the drop of a pin, say "I am so glad to gain what it was I never had before! In a million lifetimes, I am so lucky to have found such compassionate instruction." This will show everyone how sincere you are in your practice.
6 ) Find the person who seems to have the most wisdom in sight and see if you can get a rise out of them. Pummel them with silly questions and koans and when they don't answer the way you want, go into a tirade about how arrogant and unenlightened they are. This is one of the fastest way to prove your own Enlightenment.
7) Regurgitate a Master's teachings verbatim without quoting them. Since you realize you are not Enlightened ( which is certainly not annoying ), you must overcompensate for this by pretending to be someone else. Everyone will like you if you pretend to be someone great ( forget that the person they like it isn't you ). Emulation doesn't count - it must be verbatim.
8 ) Have no sense of humor about anything. Since your positions are the only ones that could ever be correct, when someone disagrees it is a cause for World War. Show your deep and profound understanding by realizing humor is for part-timers who have no interest in capturing the perfect and unbridled truth.
9 ) Project your own disfunction on everyone else. Since the thing we hate about other people most is what we see in ourselves but are unwilling to admit, the best way to ensure our own safety is to call out the faults of another. If you can't find the fault of another you are most worried about, find someone who is close enough and prop them up in order to tear them down ( for reference material, watch the part of Lilo and Stitch where Stitch builds the little city ). The best defense is a good offense, after all!
10 ) Worry about being annoying. We're all annoying, so don't be shy! Don't sweat the small stuff, it all comes out in the wash. So go ahead and jump right in, the water's fine.