from His Holiness Kyabje Ling Rinpoche
- Translated and
clarified by Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche
- Given at the
conclusion of the Yamantaka initiation, Enlightened Experience Celebration,
- Dharamsala, 24 April 1982.
If, after receiving an initiation,
you practise well, you can become like Vajradhara. This means you should keep perfectly
the root and branch tantric vows and all aspects of the samayas (commitments). You should
understand the samayas of eating, drinking, protection, sleeping and so forth, and study
well the details of the three levels of ordination. There are teachers at your Dharma
centres and you can learn all this from them.
The purpose of taking an initiation is not
to send yourself to the lower realms but to lead yourself to the state of Vajradhara. This
is what you should do with the initiations you receive; they are to be practised, not
merely collected. For example, you have just received a Vajrabhairava initiation. This
itself is what you have to practise; there is no Vajrabhairava practice other than what is
contained in the initiation. The vows and samayas, the stages of generation and completion
are all there. And unless you are illiterate you should recite the sadhana every day. If
you cannot do the long one you should at least do the short one written by Lama Dorje
Chang (Kyabje Phabongka Rinpoche); there are only a few pages in it.
Each day you should do the
self-generation, and the six-session guru yoga, because it contains all the daily
practices you have promised to do during the initiation.
All of you here are highly fortunate. You
who have come from the West to this Dharma Celebration have received the highest, most
profound teachings from most precious lamas, in particular, His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
As far as fortune is concerned there is none greater than this.
However, each individual must practise
well. There is no benefit in simply thinking, "Now I have received these
teachings," and leaving it at that. If you have received some material like money,
perhaps it is enough just to record it as a credit in an account book, but where
initiations are involved, merely counting the number you have received is useless; you
have to practise.
It used to be impossible to hear
Buddhadharma and meet gurus in the West. From the Dharma point of view these were barbaric
lands, outlying countries to which the teachings of the Buddha had not spread. But now
there are many different Dharma centres in the West, and especially through the
incomparable activities of Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche, many devoted
to preserving and disseminating the teachings of Lama Tsong Khapa. So it is very good that
you have taken the great responsibility of serving the teachings in this way, engaging in
both Dharma and administrative activities to establish these centres all over the world.
And although you have done very well so far and are making progress year by year, still
you must continue making the efforts necessary for further progress. As the teaching
spreads in this way, more and more people in the West can hear the Buddhadharma and are to
that extent highly fortunate.
To ensure progress in the many centres you
have established there are two aspects of activity that have to be developed together: the
Dharma aspect and the administrative aspect. To develop the conditions necessary for study
and practice in a centre, those who do the administrative work should take proper
responsibility and be in good harmony with everybody at the centre. On the basis of this,
all the students there should make great efforts to develop the centre in whatever way
possible. It's like when you have some very delicious food, you take big bites and chew it
with all your teeth, taking full advantage of it-- this is a Tibetan saying; I hope you
understand its meaning. If you were at a place where there were gold coins for the taking
you would stuff them everywhere, into every pocket and orifice! Take every opportunity to
develop your Dharma centre.
With respect to developing the Dharma
side, it seems that most of your centres have already received resident teachers. Thus it
is extremely important that you expend energy in studying well. But don't leave whatever
you learn as mere intellectual knowledge; you should use it to subdue your minds and
eradicate delusions. Your understanding should become one with your mind. As it is said in
the lam.rim teachings:
The purpose of understanding what one has heard is to
enable one to practise according to his capacity.
After you have heard and understood some
teaching--for example, the perfect human rebirth, renunciation, bodhicitta--you must
practise it; that is the purpose of the teaching. Each one of us should practise in
accordance with our individual level of mind, or ability.
We study, study, study, but if we do not
mix whatever we have understood thoroughly with our minds there will be a Dharma famine in
our minds; we shall suffer from poverty of Dharma. This is what happens: you live in the
middle of a Dharma centre, you study Dharma, but you are a Dharma pauper. So don't be like
that. Use the Dharma that you have studied to change your mind, to be different from
before. That is the purpose of Dharma, and if you can use it to change your mind in this
way you won't be poor in Dharma. As Tewugen Rinpoche said,
Those who know the secret of turning iron into gold
through alchemy never experience material poverty.
How can you become poor if you can
transform any old piece of iron into gold? Similarly, if you know how to change your mind
with Dharma you'll never suffer from Dharma starvation. This is the most important thing
to worry about.
Because we have not yet changed our minds,
we create negative actions and accumulate many non- virtuous impressions that cause us to
wander in samsara. How can we know if our mind is unchanged, unsubdued? If we are
constantly concerned about the comfort of this life--food, clothing and reputation-- we
have unsubdued minds. How should we change such minds? By reflecting on topics such as the
eight freedoms and ten richnesses, the great usefulness of and the great difficulty of
receiving the perfect human rebirth, and impermanence and death. Through this we should be
able to change our minds. Also, if we are seeking samsaric enjoyments such as the
pleasures of the devas, our minds are unsubdued. As a remedy we should contemplate the
suffering nature of the whole of samsara and generate strong aversion to it. Furthermore,
the thought, "How good it would be if I had to remain in samsara no longer," the
concern for oneself alone that abandons the welfare of other sentient beings, while
generally not considered an unsubdued mind, is an unsubdued mind from the mahayana point
of view. The antidote to this is training in the loving compassionate bodhicitta and
We should accustom ourselves to the fact
that all sentient beings--friends, enemies and neutrals--are exactly equal: all desire
happiness and none desire the slightest suffering, even in their dreams. Since we
ourselves and all others are like that, exactly equal, we should work for the benefit of
all sentient beings. All the good things we have have come from other sentient beings: our
perfect human body, with its eight freedoms and ten richnesses, our meeting with the holy
Dharma and the ability to practise it, our food, drink and clothing-everything. Thus of
course we should work for their benefit.
To be able to work for sentient beings we
must train our minds in bodhicitta and thought transformation. This starts with subduing
the mind through study and reflection on the lam.rim teachings. This is the most
important thing and is the basis for the practice of the entire path to enlightenment.
Even though the practice of tantra is so important and is the incomparable method for
attaining the unified state of Vajradhara, it depends completely on the lam.rim.
Just as the Tibetan delicacy made of powdered cheese and butter is said to depend on the
kindness of the butter, without which it would be just a pile of dry cheese, so too does
the profound tantra depend on the kindness of the sutra and lam.rim teachings, the
graduated paths of those of the three levels of capability. Whoever tries to practise the
generation and completion stages of tantra without having gone through these is like a
small child gazing around a temple: nothing happens.
You should all study the lam.rim
thoroughly, and on the basis of that try to change your minds. That is the essential
point. If you then practise the Guhyasamaja, Chakrasamvara or Vajrabhairava tantras your
efforts will be incomparable and you will be able to achieve the unified state of
Vajradhara. Please take this advice to heart.
And each of you should take the
responsibility of spreading Dharma so that, like the rising sun, it illuminates the
darkness of the world. You have been doing so; please do still more. We should all pray
for success in this.