Tag Archives: Dharma

Cyber Shedra


I received this email today that may be of interest to the serious student of the dharma:

Namdroling, Montana and Khenpo Tenzin Norgay Rinpoche are happy to again offer the distance learning program, Cyber Shedra.  Cyber Shedra was established by Namdroling Montana and Khenpo Norgay in 2004 in order to help serious Dharma students receive pure Buddhist teachings.

This is an exceptionally rare opportunity for students whose lives are mingled with the world and worldly responsibilities.  A uniqueness of this program is that you study from your computer when and where it is convenient for you.

Who teaches these sessions?

The teachings are given by Khenpo Tenzin Norgay Rinpoche from the Palyul Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.  Participants have the opportunity to receive teachings from and communicate questions to master Buddhist teacher Khenpo Norgay via email and the web.  Lessons, assignments, practice instructions, and written question and answer sessions are incorporated into the program.

For those who are interested, definitions of Tibetan/Sanskrit terms found in Session 1 lessons are also available. Please check our website for a biography of:  Khenpo-la.

How long is each session?

Each session progresses over an eight-month period (October to May).  The fall sessions begin anytime between today’s date and November 7, 2017.  Your start date will depend on when we receive your registration.

How do I register?

You may register any time between now and November 7, 2017.  We request that you take the sessions in sequence.  A student should take Session 1 before taking Session 2, and take Sessions 1 and 2 before taking Session 3, etc.

(If you plan to register but cannot send your fee until November 7, you may send us an email at cyshedra@namdrolingmt.org and we will begin sending your class materials in October.)

More details:

Shedra is a Tibetan word meaning “place of teaching” that refers to the traditional educational program in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and nunneries among all four schools of Buddhism.  Shedra participants may be ordained or lay  students who attend these high-level courses in the Buddhist Philosophical University and upon completion one becomes a Khenpo or professor of Buddhism.

A general curriculum that is normally offered (from wiki):

Nyingma Lineage

The shedra at Namdroling Monastery (in Bylakuppe, India) includes specific phases of study with particular texts used in each phase.  Commentaries by Ju Mipham or Khenpo Shenga may be used with each text.  The phases and texts include:

  • First year
    • Training on the prātimokṣa, bodhisattva, and samaya vows using Treatise Ascertaining the Three Vows by Pema Wangyal
    • Bodhisattvacaryāvatāra by Shantideva
    • Grammar, Poetry, and History
  • Second through fifth years
    • Psychology using Abhidharmakosha by Vasubandhu, Abhidharmasamuccaya by Asanga, and Pramanavarttika by Dharmakirti
    • Madhyamaka philosophy texts including Mūlamadhyamakakārikā, Chatuhshataka-shastrakarika (The Four Hundred Verses on the Middle Way) of Aryadeva, Madhyamakāvatāra, and Madhyamakalankara
  • Upper phase
    • Yogacara philosophy using the five treatises of Maitreya via Asanga, including Gyulama (Mahayanottaratantrashastra or Ratnagotravibhāga), Abhisamayalankara, Mahāyāna-sūtrālamkāra-kārikā, Madhyānta-vibhāga-kārikā (Distinguishing the Middle from the Extremes) and Dharma-dharmatā-vibhāga (Distinguishing Phenomena and Pure Being)
    • Additional study on the vows and monastic discipline
  • Tantra phase for two or three years
    • Specific tantras like the Guhyagarbha tantra
    • Dzogchen commentaries like Yonten Dzod by Jigme Lingpa, Rangdrol Korsum (Trilogy of Self Liberation), and Ngelso Korsum (Trilogy of Resting)
    • Additional study on the eight precepts of practice and related topics

If you are interested…a complete description of the program and how it is run, a biography of Khenpo Tenzin Norgay, and a link to registration can be found here:

Cyber Shedra Montana

Contact Us:

For questions please contact: cyshedra@namdrolingmt.org

Tashi Delek,
Neo
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Rebuilding with Minerals


As we move on our spiritual journey during these degenerate times, it takes a keen eye to decipher the most suitable way to live our lives.  Ideally, it is something that leads to a peaceful mind, a proper self-esteem and a genuine happiness.  Yet, it seems the more information we gather about good health, the farther we move from it.  More often than not, the right knowledge is lacking which continues to make us codependent.

maple-tree

An interesting fact worth noting from the DrPasswater website:

“Let me give you a very interesting statistic. In 1985, The New England Journal of Medicine published an article titled “Paleolithic Nutrition”. The authors, who had credentials as anthropologists specializing in the Paleolithic era, determined that, on average, our caveman forebears got around 11,000 mg of potassium daily and about 700 mg of sodium.” — Dr. Richard Moore

As we understand how our diet falls very short of the above ideal, this can be very discouraging especially after we calculate the daily intake of our potassium and sodium.  We know that the modern diet is filled with terrible processed foods, but many of us don’t realize how detrimental sodium can be.  Since birth, we have developed this bad habit, through no fault of our own.  And once this habitual tendency progresses into our teenage years it is often very rare for any of us to grab any fruits or vegetables to get the proper nutrients in our system.  I’ve noticed the destructive nature of our plight works in two distinct ways:

First, the lack of natural minerals in our diet becomes problematic for our skeletal, endocrine and nervous systems. Second, the addition of synthetic additives (such as MSG aka Natural Flavors) and other toxins leads to gain weight and feeling sluggish or lethargic. It’s no wonder the average person would totally give up on the task of losing weight and experiencing their natural health with is everyone’s birth right.

We could complain all day and night but that will really not change our condition.  So, whether we think this is a terrible thing that society has done to us is not the point.  We must rise about that.  A better way to look at it is this: Now we have an opportunity to gain more knowledge (of a correct and incorrect diet) and do something about it.  We are put on this earth, just at this time so that we can learn and perfect ourselves.  And we have a choice.  We can either spiral out of control and just live our lives with these terrible addictions & cravings or learn from our parents mistakes and help our children who are the next generation to live better.

In relation to food, these addictions come in two categories.  These are: salt-cravings and chocolate-addiction.  When we are young, it doesn’t really matter much to us.  We enjoy life in the moment.  However, as we get older we begin to see the detrimental side-effects of these devious and mindless bad habits.  No matter how delicious these foods are and no matter how necessary our mind tells us these little pleasures give us; there is a consequence to disregarding the laws of nature.

With weight-gain and depression more pronounced these days, wouldn’t it be nice to know the root cause of our problems and have an easy solution?

We have to begin somewhere.  On the physical level alone, there is a path to follow and a way to attack the problem.  Rather than sleeping for hours during the day time and hiding under the covers try gaining this knowledge.  Rather than getting your stomach stapled try this protocol.  Rather than getting liposuction try getting to the root cause for achieving essential health.

Dharma knowledge:

When studying the dharma in a serious way, we may be blessed to find some old and rare scriptural text.  These holy texts, translated into new and pristine books may come into our hand by the blessings of those  accomplished masters that have compassion for all sentient beings in this world that are lost and suffering.  We are then afforded an opportunity to be graced with certain knowledge that past masters whose spiritual discipline sheds light on our difficult situation.  The one simple and powerful truth, when really seen, is quite wonderful to behold.  Usually it’s something so simple that many will pass it up without discerning what benefits are within the tiny seed hidden within one line of text.

It has been passed down through the ages that there are special foods that a yogin eats while practicing austerities on the spiritual path.  To those that wish to benefit everyone equally, our bodies need nourishment to sustain ourselves till the end of the quest.  So, it would make sense to explain a little about which foods have the best nutrients.  I suspect, the key to health has already been categorized by the Indian or Tibetan sages as three sweets.  And MH has discussed this (on his Forum) to some extent and from his own perspective outside the traditional path laid down by the great Mahasiddhas.

The three sweets are classified as: honey, molasses and sugar.  These three forms of food, when researched properly, in a scientific or esoteric way… show that the properties inherent inside are quite abundant with a complete range of minerals that the body does extremely well with in rebuilding the body to function effectively.  Here is a clear indication, from our Master Herbalist, the types of minerals he believes are the best nature has to offer us:

“Maple Syrup is the best, Sorghum is next, unless you could find cane sugar turned to black strap with out making it taste nasty. Fruits are sweet sugars and maple syrup is sweet tree and sorghum is sweet molasses.” — MH

tapping-maple-tree

For those that follow MH over the years knows that he favors Sorghum over Black-Strap Molasses.  Yet, I have concluded that Black-Strap Molasses has a distinct advantage over Sorghum; namely having more potassium and magnesium.

Black-Strap Molasses and Maple Syrup could quite well be are missing key to our basic health and survival.

For me, Black-Strap Molasses feels like it has more potency than sorghum. When we look at the science, the nutritional charts prove Black-Strap Molasses has a greater quantity of potassium and magnesium.  Whatever the differences, these two minerals are the basic building blocks necessary for balancing the immense salt problem we have today while diminishing these unstoppable cravings.  On a physical level, it gives us the most nutrients needed for rebuilding and repairing our worn out hair, skin, nails and bones.  On an emotional level, it can help greatly with depression and the cold-disease (of a weak nervous system) that plagues a lot of us in this modern society.

The Experiment:

Recently, I took up to self-experimenting once again.  I still have no interest in fasting or altering my diet in any way.  So, I kept it quite simple.  I started adding a few tablespoons of Maple Syrup each day.  After only two days with this regimen, there were some remarkable results that I only found while fasting and holding to a vegan diet.

maple-syrup

While taking two or more tablespoons of Maple Syrup daily, I noticed that the craving for salt was lessened to a considerable extent.  I no longer craved salt as ravenously as I would over the past several years.  Having the knowledge that consuming too much salt causes weight-gain is quite a daunting thing to hear.  And as my research deepened, realizing that excess salt can increase the risk of developing cancer later in life is a shocking thing to discover.  Having this knowledge is good, but not having the will-power to do anything about it is disturbing.  MH, the Master Herbalist, tells us:

DR. JOHN R. CHRISTOPHER WAS 100% ANTI SALT ALL HIS CAREER.  TODAY IN PA ON A NEWS CHANNEL THEY HAD A SPECIAL ON HEART ATTACKS AND THEY STATED THE HEART ATTACK VICTIMS HAVE 1,500X TOO MUCH SALT AND THIS SALT IRRITATES THE ARTERIES AND THIS FORCES PLAQUE TO DEVELOP TO PROTECT AGAINST THE SALT. — MH

So, for me… after building a foundation on taking in natural-minerals solely with Maple Syrup has yielded some amazing benefits.  Whenever a slight craving for some salty-food would kick in, instead of eating a whole bag of chips, I just ate a smaller portion.  Having this basic support of natural-minerals made all the difference.

straight-from-the-tap

Having this abundantly within my body, it was easier to move away from addiction.  It was a natural will-power and not something forced.  I was pleased to feel more in control and not having to deny myself any sort of fun – (eating some salty snacks without total abstinence) allowed me to feel content while not having to be stoic and rigid day-by-day.  MH goes on to tell us:

“DR. JOHN R. CHRISTOPHER AND MANY GREAT MEDICAL AUTHORS EXPLAINED SALT IRRITATES THE KIDNEYS AND DESTROYS THEM AND THE MORE DESTROYED THE KIDNEYS ARE, THE MORE THE VICTIM DESIRES MORE SALT….CANCER IS RELATED TO OVER SALT CONSUMPTION…SOME OF THESE DISEASED PATIENTS WILL SNEAK AWAY AND GO OUT OF CONTROL EATING SALT AS IT TAKES THEM EVER CLOSER TO CERTAIN DEATH.” — MH

maple_tree_tapped

Later, as I added Black-Strap Molasses to my diet it would help decrease the cravings for chocolate.  Now, this protocol is unique because there is no sense of loss or deprivation.  Certainly, you can eat chips or chocolate at any time because the key is getting the proper ratios to salt and potassium under your control.  Over time, you will be pleased as you observe the natural will-power that develops with just a few tablespoons of Molasses and Maple Syrup on a daily basis.

From Health Impact News website:

“The ‘master mineral’ magnesium, which is involved with over 300 cellular metabolic processes, some vital for heart health. It also assists absorption of calcium into bone matter, which molasses also abundantly contains.” – Paul Fassa

Since our bodies need large quantities of magnesium to help absorb and utilize calcium,  this greatly assists in the development of bone structure & strength.  Comparing the nutritional charts to Maple Syrup, Black-Strap Molasses has a much higher quantity of magnesium.  MH goes on to explain:

“I HAVE SEEN AMISH THAT MAKE MOLASSES PROVE THIS AS FACT. They have NEVER EVER brushed their teeth for 3 generations and their teeth are perfectly white, fully developed jaws that keep their molars for life.” — MH

non-gmo-sugar-cane

Our Master Herbalist tells us that his greatest dental book ever written was in a Molasses book. The book claimed that if you raise your child on Molasses every day of their life, they would not have tooth decay.  MH says, “The book claims 1 tablespoon per day per child for LIFE!”  Furthermore, looking at the root cause of things, the most important point is the relation to the mother and child.

What if the mother took molasses every day while she was pregnant?

“The author of a molasses book states that if the mother consumes molasses, her child will be fully developed, it states if the child consumes molasses daily, it will never have a tooth decay.”– MH

We can infer, and I totally believe it to be correct, that the baby would naturally benefit in such a deep way.

making-molasses

I know of a community of Amish that make and raise their children/family on daily SORGHUM and I have seen their teeth and they are all SNOW WHITE. They tell me they have not used tooth brushes for 3 generations, they don’t need to!” — MH

MH further elaborates, “These poor Amish are barefoot, walk in goose /chicken poop everyday, they do not bathe….they do not wash diapers, they shake them out, hang them up and reuse them…in simple words, they are the dirtiest Amish you can find…..YET, their teeth are PERFECT!”

Signs of Health:

So when working on yourself, you just need to pay attention to the proper signs inside and outside of your body.  If you were to embark on a similar journey then by all means take the necessary precautions and responsibility while gathering all the knowledge you can.  We know that MH doesn’t value vitamins as they are a synthetic product.  And if we were to already be doing other herbs, you would have no scientific-control or criteria to determine what is creating the effects in your body.

Therefore, STOP taking all extraneous herbal products and vitamins.  Just try one or two tablespoons of Maple Syrup each morning and night.  See what happens and how you feel.  Try that for a week.  See how that affects your skin, your hair, and teeth.

syrup-4-breakfast

Then try taking one or two tablespoons of Molasses daily.  Go slow…perhaps your body might only be able to take a teaspoon or half a teaspoon.  Only you know best.  After doing this, you may experience some or all of the following results:

  1. Hair becoming less dry and more rich, losing grey hairs, hair growth
  2. Nails becoming more clear and rosy
  3. teeth stronger, whiter, gums healing
  4. skin clearing up, wrinkles shrinking and scars begin to dissolve
  5. Not feeling so cold, body temperature normalizing
  6. Feeling like one can stand strong as an adult, spinal health, structure stronger
  7. Addiction to salt becoming less and less
  8. Cravings for chocolate diminishing

And if you are new to all this natural-healing lifestyle, it is quite possible to see absolutely no results at all.  Therefore, if that is where you are at, and you are interested in having better health, then you would follow the other protocols such as: a liver flush, a parasite cleanse, and later complete a 7, 14, or 21-day OJ fast.  This blog has tons of articles to explain MH’s theories much easier to understand.  Just type in a search word in the upper right hand corner of this blog.

And remember, the protocols for doing these cleanses will help you successfully navigate life’s hardships and one day experience your perfected natural-state of being.

Let me know how it works for you.  Post a comment.

Light & love,
Neo

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Filed under Emotional Health, Physical Health, Tibetan Medicine

The Sharp Needle


Shabkar Tsokdruk Rangdrol — was regarded as an emanation of Milarepa.  He was an extraordinary lama, born in Amdo, who spent much of his life in mountain retreats, including three years on the inaccessible island of Tsonying Mahadewa in the middle of Lake Kokonor.

Lake Kokonor

Lake Kokonor in Tibet

Zhabkar handed the following pith instructions to his disciples with the intent that they: “Seek out the thorns of their defects with the eyes of discrimination and remove them.”

Shabkar

Shabkar

Master–from the invisible realm
Look down upon this miserable person!

I’ll point out my own defects
As I’d point out lice with my finger.
I’ll toss my defects out the door
As I’d pull a thorn out of my foot and toss it away.

You, Shabkar–
You obtained a free, well-favored human birth,
You met a lama, the embodiment of all the Buddhas,
You received his profound and vast instructions.
As the result of having listened to the
Dharma and contemplated its meaning,
Your body, speech, and mind should have become tame and serene,
But they didn’t–they got worse!

Your obscuring emotions should have diminished;
But they didn’t–they got worse!

Your mind should have evolved,
But it didn’t–it got worse!

This is what you are:
A sack stuffed with religious wealth and food given by the faithful,
A bull sleeping like a corpse,
A snake filled with hatred,
A bird filled with desire,
A pig filled with stupidity,
A lion filled with pride,
A dog filled with jealousy,
A hungry ghost filled with greed,
A butcher thirsting to inflict torment,
A cannibal reveling in flesh and blood.

Toward the lama–all the Buddhas in one–
You lack the devotion that brings tears to one’s eyes.

Toward your Dharma brothers and sisters
You lack the pure perception to see them as deities.

Toward all beings–each of whom was once your mother–
You lack the compassion that makes one’s hair stand on end.

Toward the vast and profound instructions,
You lack the diligence that spurs one to practice.

Lacking faith and respect,
You are a longtime samaya-breaker.

Lacking pure perception,
You are shameless.

Lacking compassion,
Your heart is rotten.

Lacking meditation practice,
You are utterly lazy.

Not seeing your faults,
You are blind.
Proclaiming others’ faults,
You have a big mouth.

You are a stone anchored in the depths of hell:
You have collected such bad karma,
O dharmaless accumulator of evil.

You are such a traitor,
Betraying the lama who is all the Buddhas of the three times.

You are such a traitor,
Betraying your vajra brothers and sisters who keep pure samaya.

You are such a perverter of the teachings,
Tarnishing the image of the Dharma.

You are such a charlatan,
Outwardly appearing as a practitioner,
Yet acting against the Dharma,
And complaining about the faults of fellow practitioners,

You are the living dead — a zombie, a walking corpse.
Even if you are not possessed by Maras, you are quite mad.

You stuffed dummy, where did you come from?
Man of ill omen, where did you come from?

Look at your ‘diligence’:
Nothing but eating, drinking, and sleeping like a corpse!

Look how you stubbornly refuse to walk toward virtue,
Balking like an exhausted donkey!

Look at how, faster than anyone,
You cascade on toward evil like a waterfall!

You can’t tolerate a single bad word;
Look how your face convulses with rage!

You are a sack of faults and downfalls–
To whom have you given back your vows?

You carry a great weight of evil deeds;
Where are your virtues?

You are a huge bladder of defects;
Who stole all your good qualities?

You have a full load of the eight worldly dharmas;
What have you done with holy Dharma?

You are nothing like a Dharma practitioner–
Aren’t you ashamed of yourself?

Old dog without a tail,
Go out and join the other dogs!

Bull with upper teeth
Go and look for a herd of cattle!

In case you insist on staying,
Will you dare to behave as before?

Man–
If you have any self-respect,
A heart in your chest,
Brains in your head, and
Some sympathy for yourself,
Regret your past actions and
Improve your whole behavior.
It’s time! It’s very late!

See how
All that is born dies,
All that is hoarded runs out,
All that is gathered gets separated,
And everything is without essence:
Meaningless activities should be abandoned.

To practice the essential, divine Dharma,
You must exert yourself in accordance
With the words of your lama and
The Victorious Ones.
O lama and Three Jewels, look upon me compassionately!
My past actions were wrong.
I regret them from the core of my heart,
I confess them, and promise never to commit them again.

Grant your blessings
So that I may act in accord with the Dharma;
Grant your blessings
So that I may observe the Vinaya;
Grant your blessings
So that I may follow the Sutras;
Grant your blessings
So that I may practice according to the Abhidharma;
Grant your blessings
So that I may accomplish the Secret Mantrayana!

I then handed these pith instructions, The Sharp Needle, to my disciples, telling them to seek out the thorns of their defects with the eyes of discrimination, and remove them.  Through this they succeeded in extracting all the poisonous thorns of their faults which had produced so much pain.  Before long, in pleasant mountain solitudes, they were able to perform the happy dance of a life in harmony with the Dharma.

-Shabkar
(1781-1851)

*****

from The Life of Shabkar: The Autobiography of a Tibetan Yogin
by Shabkar Tsogdruk Rangdrol, Matthieu Ricard (Translator)
Published by Snow Lion, Ithaca, 2001

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Two ways of growing


Thirty Pieces of Sincere Advice

by

Longchenpa

From the infinite sky of your pristine awareness, the totality of experience, and the great clouds of your aspirations and prayers  warm rays of compassion and showers of elixir stream down, ripening the three forms (1) in the fields, your students’ minds.  I bow to you, my teacher, my protector, supreme among the Three Jewels.  With stronger aspirations I might have joined the practice lineage.  I didn’t make the effort and now enter the twilight of a meaningless life.

I intended to follow the ancient masters, but I’ve given up and I see others like me. 

So, I’ll outline these thirty pieces of sincere advice to evoke some determination in me:

Too bad!  You’ve built up a large following, one way or another.
You look after a large institution where all the right conditions are present.
But it’s all just a basis for conflict and ideas like “This is mine.”
Live alone – that’s my sincere advice.

In public ceremonies you heal children or subdue demons.
You give your capabilities away to the crowd.
Because you really want food and money, your own needs cloud your judgment.
Tame your own mind – that’s my sincere advice.

You collect a lot of pledges from the poor
And use them to build big monuments, help the needy, and so on.
The good works you do cause others to live badly.
Goodness must be in your mind – that’s my sincere advice.

You’ve taught the Dharma to others because you wanted to be famous.
You cleverly keep a large circle of admirers around you.
To take these to be real is the seed of pride.
Limit your projects – that’s my sincere advice.

You earn money by trading, charging interest, cheating or other dishonest ways.
Although you make large offerings with your accumulated wealth,
Good actions based on greed lead to the eight conventional concerns (2).
Cultivate non-attachment – that’s my sincere advice.

Although you think you’re serving the welfare of beings
By acting as a guarantor, witness or advocate to help settle others’ disputes,
Your own opinions will inevitably assert themselves.
Don’t be concerned – that’s my sincere advice.

Your political power, wealth, connections, good fortune and reputation
May spread all over the world.
When you die, these things will not help you at all.
Work at your practice – that’s my sincere advice.

Managers, assistants, directors, and such
Provide the infrastructure for both communities and religious institutions.
But your involvement in such matters gives rise to worry and concern.
Limit your business – that’s my sincere advice.

You take what you need, images, offerings,
Books, cooking gear, whatever, and stay in solitude.
Right now you have it all together but later difficulties and disputes arise.
Don’t need anything – that’s my sincere advice.

In these difficult times you may feel that it is helpful
To be sharp and critical with aggressive people around you.
This approach will just be a source of distress and confusion for you.
Speak calmly – that’s my sincere advice.

Intending to be helpful and without personal investment,
You tell your friends what is really wrong with them.
You may have been honest but your words gnaw at their heart.
Speak pleasantly – that’s my sincere advice.

You engage in discussions, defending your views and refuting others’
Thinking that you are clarifying the teachings.
But this just gives rise to emotional posturing.
Keep quiet – that’s my sincere advice.

You feel that you are being loyal
By being partial to your teacher, lineage or philosophical tradition.
Boosting yourself and putting down others just cause hard feelings.
Have nothing to do with all this – that’s my sincere advice.

As you carefully go over the teachings you’ve studied
You may think that picking out others’ mistakes is real understanding.
You will just build up a lot of negative fixations.
Keep your perception clear – that’s my sincere advice.

Mindless talk of emptiness ignores causation.
You may think the ultimate teaching is that there is nothing to do,
But when you stop the two ways of growing (3), your practice will wither.
Cultivate these two together – that’s my sincere advice.

You think that you will enhance your practice by taking a partner
And transforming sexual energy in the context of the third empowerment,
But the path of non-retention has snared many great meditators.
Keep to the natural path – that’s my sincere advice.

Giving empowerments to those who aren’t ready,
Or even distributing sacred materials in large gatherings,
Leads to abuse and causes commitments to be broken.
Be precise – that’s my sincere advice.

You may think that you practice deliberate behavior (4)
By going naked in public and shocking people in other ways.
Such actions just cause ordinary people not to trust the Dharma.
Be impeccable – that’s my sincere advice.

You work at being ethical, learned, and noble
So that you will be the best person in your district.
But from this peak you can only fall to a lower status.
Be moderate – that’s my sincere advice.

Wherever you live, in towns, spiritual communities or in isolation,
Don’t seek out special friends.
Don’t be close or at odds with anyone, no matter who is around.
Be independent – that’s my sincere advice.

Maybe you appear deferential and appreciative
To your faithful supporters who provide you with your livelihood,
But in deceiving others you only entangle yourself.
Treat everyone equally – that’s my sincere advice.

Countless books on divination, astrology, medicine and other subjects
Describe ways to read signs. They do add to your learning,
But they generate new thoughts and your stable attention breaks up.
Cut down on this kind of knowledge – that’s my sincere advice.

You stop arranging your usual living space,
But make everything just right for your retreat.
This makes little sense and just wastes time.
Forget all this – that’s my sincere advice.

You make an effort at practice and become a good and knowledgeable person.
You may even master some particular capabilities.
But whatever you attach to will tie you up.
Be unbiased and know how to let things be – that’s my sincere advice.

You may think awakened activity means to subdue skeptics
By using sorcery, directing or warding off hail or lightning, for example.
But to burn the minds of others will lead you to lower states.
Keep a low profile – that’s my sincere advice.

Maybe you collect a lot of important writings,
Major texts, personal instructions, private notes, whatever.
If you haven’t practiced, books won’t help you when you die.
Look at the mind – that’s my sincere advice.

When you focus on practice, to compare understandings and experience,
Write books or poetry, to compose songs about your experience
Are all expressions of your creativity. But they just give rise to thinking.
Keep yourself free from intellectualization – that’s my sincere advice.

When a thought arises, the key is to look right at it.
When you know about mind, the key is to be right there.
Although there isn’t anything to cultivate, the key is to keep cultivating.
Keep yourself free of distraction – that’s my sincere advice.

Act from emptiness knowing the effects of your actions.
When you understand not doing, observe the three vows (5).
With non-referential compassion work to help beings
Keep the two ways of growing inseparable – that’s my sincere advice.

I’ve studied with many learned and masterful teachers and received their profound instruction.
I’ve read some profound sutras and tantras and understood a little of them.
But I don’t practice what I know. It’s too bad. I just fool myself.
So, for me and those like me I offer these thirty pieces (6) of sincere advice.

May the good from writing these verses with this attitude of determination
Guide all beings out of the desolation of existence and bring them great joy.
May we follow the way of the buddhas of the three times, their followers and the ancient masters, And become their great and powerful offspring as well.

Thirty Pieces of Sincere Advice was written by Tsultrim Lodru out of some slight feelings of determination. Ken McLeod translated this work because it spoke to him.

Footnotes

  1. The three forms (three kayas) are the form of what is (dharmakaya), the form of enrichment (sambhogakaya) and the form of manifestation (nirmanakaya).
  2. Pleasure and pain, gain and loss, praise and blame, fame and obscurity.
  3. The two ways of growing are through goodness and through pristine awareness.
  4. A discipline in vajrayana in which you directly test the depth of your understanding.
  5. The vows associated with individual liberation (the five precepts and monastic ordination), the bodhisattva vow, and the vajrayana vows.
  6. There are actually only twenty-nine verses of advice. I don’t know whether this is due to a corrupt Tibetan text or, as is often the case, the whole work is counted as one, too.

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Wish Fulfilling Dharani


Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva then said to the Buddha: “Bhagavan, I remember that countless billions of kalpas ago, a Buddha, whose name was Thousand Rays King Stillness Thus Come One, appeared in the world.  Because of his mercy and mindfulness towards me and all living beings, that Buddha, the World Honored One spoke this Vast, Perfect, Unimpeded, Great Compassionate Heart Dharani, rubbed my crown with his golden hand and said: ‘Virtuous man, you should hold this heart-mantra to give great benefit and happiness to all living beings in the future evil age.’  At that time I was just at the first Bhumi (stage of Bodhisattva), right after hearing this mantra, I exceeded the eighth Bhumi.  At that time, as my heart was joyful, I vowed: ‘If I will be able to give benefit and happiness to all living beings in the future, let me have one thousand hands and one thousand eyes immediately.’  Instantly after the vow, I got fully one thousand hands and one thousand eyes on my body, then, the grounds of the worlds of the ten directions quaked in six ways, thousands of Buddhas of the ten directions emitted their light to my body and illuminated boundless worlds of the ten directions.

This Wish-Fulfilling Dharani can be found here in the Great Compassion Dharani Sutra.

This Mantra has been spoken by previous 9.9 billion Ganges-river-sands Buddhas.  Recite this Dharani mantra five times or more in a day, to remove from the body the weighty sins of births and deaths accumulated in hundreds of thousands of billions of kalpas. The Dharani is:

NAMO RATNA-TRAYAYA NAMO ARIYA-VALOKITE –SHVA-RAYA
BODHI-SATTVAYA MAHA-SATTVAYA MAHA-KARUNI-KAYA
OM SARVA-RABHA-YE SUDHANA-DASYA NAMO SKRITVA-IMAM
ARYA-VALOKITE-SHVA-RA RAM-DAVA NAMO NARA-KINDI-HRIH
MAHA-VADHA-SVAME SARVA AR-THA-TO SHUB-HAM AJE-YAM
SARVA-SATA NAMO-VASAT NAMO-VAKA-MAVI-TA-TO
TADYATHA OM AVALOKI-LOKATE KARATE-E HRI
MAHA-BODHISATTVA SARVA SARVA MALA MALA MAHI MAHI
RIDAYAM KURU KURU KAR-MAM DHURU DHURU
VIJAYATE MAHA-VIJAYATI DHARA DHARA DHRI-NI
SHVA-RA-YA CALA CALA MAMA VIMALA MUKTELE
EHI-EHI SHINA SHINA ARSAM PRASARI VISHVA-VISHVAM
PRASAYA HULU-HULU MARA HULU-HULU HRI SARA-SARA
SIRI-SIRI SURU-SURU BODHIYA-BODHIYA BODHAYA-BODHAYA
MAITREYA NARA-KINDI-DHRISH NINA-BHAYA-MANA SVAHA
SIDDHAYA-SVAHA MAHA SIDDHAYA-SVAHA SIDDHA-YOGE
SHVARAYA-SVAHA NARAKINDI-SVAHA MARANARA-SVAHA
SHIRA-SIMHA MUKHAYA-SVAHA SARVA MAHA-ASIDDHAYA-SVAHA
CAKRA ASIDDHAYA-SVAHA PADMA KASTAYA-SVAHA
NARAKINDI-VAGALAYA-SVAHA MAVARI-SHANKARAYA-SVAHA
NAMO RATNA-TRAYAYA NAMO ARYA-VALOKITE-SHVARAYA-SVAHA
OM-SIDHY-ANTU MANTRA-PADAYA-SVAHA

People and gods who recite and hold the Great Compassionate Heart Dharani will obtain fifteen kinds of good birth and will not suffer fifteen kinds of bad death:

  1. They will not die of starvation or poverty
  2. They will not die from having been yoked, imprisoned, caned or otherwise beaten
  3. They will not die at the hands of hostile enemies
  4. They will not be killed in military battle
  5. They will not be killed by tigers, wolves, or other fierce beasts
  6. They will not die from the venom of poisonous snakes, black serpents, or scorpions
  7. They will not drown or be burned to death
  8. They will not be poisoned to death
  9. They will not be killed by mediumistic insects
  10. They will not die of madness or insanity
  11. They will not be killed by landslides or falling trees
  12. They will not die of nightmares sent by evil people
  13. They will not be killed by deviant spirits or evil ghosts
  14. They will not die of evil illnesses that bind the body
  15. They will not commit suicide

Those who recite and hold the Great Compassion Holy Mantra will not suffer any of these fifteen kinds of bad death and will obtain the following fifteen kinds of good birth:

  1. Their place of birth will always have a good king
  2. They will always be born in a good country
  3. They will always be born at a good time
  4. They will always meet virtuous friends
  5. The organs of their body will always be complete
  6. Their hearts of Way (Bodhi) will be pure and mature
  7. They will not violate the prohibitive precepts
  8. All their relatives will be kind and harmonious
  9. They will always have the necessary wealth and goods in abundance
  10. They will always obtain the respect and help of others
  11. Their possessions will not be plundered
  12. They will obtain everything they seek
  13. Dragons, gods, and good spirits will always protect them
  14. In the place where they are born they will see the Buddha and hear the Dharma
  15. They will awaken to the profound meaning of that Proper Dharma which they hear

Those Buddhas spoke this Mantra for the practitioners who practice the six Perfections (Paramita) but have not yet fulfilled them, to make them succeed quickly; For those who have not yet aroused Bodhi-Heart, to make them arouse their Bodhi-Heart quickly; For Sravakas who have not yet achieved fruitions, to make them achieve fruitions quickly; For all gods and supernatural persons in the three-thousand-great-thousand worlds, who have not yet aroused the unsurpassed Bodhi-Heart, to make them arouse the Bodhi-Heart quickly; For all living beings who have not yet gained the root of faith in Mahayana, with the mighty holy power of this Dharani, their seeds of Mahayana and Dharma-buds will grow quickly; with the power of my expedients, mercy and compassion, all of their needs will be supplied.

For those living beings of the three evil paths, who live in the gloomy regions of the three-thousand-great-thousand worlds, when they hear this Mantra, they will all be free from suffering;

For Bodhisattvas who have not yet achieved the first Bhumi, to make them achieve quickly, and make them achieve even up to the tenth Bhumi, and even up to the Buddhahood, with the thirty-two marks and the eighty minor marks achieved naturally.

If a Voice-Hearer (Sravaka) once hears this Dharani pass by his ears, if he practices and writes this Dharani, and if he settles down with straightforward heart in accord with Dharma, then he will naturally achieve the four Sramana-fruits even if he does not seek for the fruitions.

UPDATE: To listen how to pronounce the words click these YouTube videos:

  1. Sanskrit version – Mahakaruna Dharani (long)
  2. Tibetan song – Heart Dharani (short)
  3. Vietnamese song – Mahakaruna Dharani (short)

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The meaning of 108


I always smile when MH, the Barefoot Herbalist, keeps asking others, “What is the meaning of the number 108?”  Mysteriously it keeps being revealed to him in various ways in his daily life.  He believes no one will ever know the answer.  However, with a little help the meaning can be known.

In the mystical world, especially to Buddhists, the number 108 is a metaphor for the number of steps required in order to completely “graduate” from this earth plane.  The mind’s labyrinth is deep and complex.  To accomplish this path, first one must discern the 8 consciousnesses and the 10 bhumis.  Putting them together equals 108.

The aspirant is required to develop the mind by sharpening the practice of concentration (shamatha) and insight (vipashana) meditation.

Along with learning, reflecting and meditating one is able to progress through all of these stages of practice.  This is the real meaning of Ascension.

According to the Hinayana path, the Arhat (hearer) and Pratyekabuddha (solitary realizer) have four stages of enlightenment:

  1. stream-enterer
  2. once-returner
  3. non-returner
  4. fruition (arhant)

However, according to the Mahayana path, the Bodhisattva (enlightening being or hero) ascends through the grounds (bhumis) to achieve the goal of complete enlightenment with the compassionate intention to reduce the suffering of all sentient beings.

The structure of the stupa represents the enlightened mind of the Buddha.  The one above is exactly 108 feet tall.  It is an architectural representation of the entire Buddhist path.  Click the image to learn more about the symbolism of the stupa.  The body, speech, and mind of enlightenment is contained therein.

The Avatamsaka Sutra explains the first part of the number 108 in relation to each of the ten bhūmis:

TEN BHUMIS

  1. The first bhumi – the Very Joyous. In which one rejoices at realizing a partial aspect of the truth
  2. The second bhumi – the Stainless. In which one is free from all defilement
  3. The third bhumi – the Luminous. In which one radiates the light of wisdom
  4. The fourth bhumi – the Radiant. In which the radiant flame of wisdom burns away earthly desires
  5. The fifth bhumi – the Difficult to Cultivate. In which one surmounts the illusions of darkness, or ignorance as the Middle Way
  6. The sixth bhumi – the Manifest. In which supreme wisdom begins to manifest
  7. The seventh bhumi – the Gone Afar. In which one rises above the states of the Two vehicles
  8. The eighth bhumi – the Immovable. In which one dwells firmly in the truth of the Middle Way and cannot be perturbed by anything
  9. The ninth bhumi – the Good Intelligence. In which one preaches the Law freely and without restriction
  10. The tenth bhumi – the Cloud of Doctrine. In which one benefits all sentient beings with the Law (Dharma), just as a cloud sends down rain impartially on all things

The second part of the mystical number 108 explains the following eight consciousnesses  in depth:

EIGHT CONSCIOUSNESSES

  1. First consciousness: “Eye-consciousness”; seeing apprehended by the visual sense organs
  2. Second consciousness: “Ear-consciousness”; hearing apprehended by the auditory sense organs
  3. Third consciousness: “Nose-consciousness”; smelling apprehended through the olfactory organs
  4. Fourth consciousness: “Tongue-consciousness”; tasting perceived through the gustatory organs
  5. Fifth consciousness: “Body-consciousness”; tactile feeling apprehended through skin contact, touch
  6. Sixth consciousness: “Ideation-consciousness”; mano vijnana, the aspect of mind known in Sanskrit as the “mind monkey”; the consciousness of ideation
  7. Seventh consciousness: “Obscuration-consciousness”; manas vijnana, “obscuration”, “poison”, “enemy”, “ideation”, “moving mind”, “monkey mind” (volition); a consciousness which through apprehension, gathers the hindrances, the poisons, the karmic formations
  8. Eighth consciousness: “store-house consciousness”; alaya vijnana, also seed consciousness (bija vijnana); “the consciousness which is the basis of the other seven”. The seven prior consciousnesses are based and founded upon the eighth. It is the aggregate which administers and yields rebirth; this idea may in some respects be compared to the usage of the word “citta” in the agamas. In the early texts the sankhara-khandha plays some of the roles ascribed to the store-house consciousness by later Yogacara thinkers.

While practicing serious meditation and then going through all the dhyanas, samapattis, and samadhis one slowly purifies all their negative karmas, afflictive emotions, and cognitive obscurations which enable one to rises through the 10 levels.  At the 11th Bhumi one becomes a super-man, a fully realized being called a Buddha – the fully Awakened One.

Good Luck!
Neo

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