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Teachings on Phowa

Teachings on Phowa

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Published by: kathokgonpa on Dec 07, 2010
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 Teachings on PhowaBy H.E. Lingtrul Rinpoche
Translated by Jhampa Shaneman April, 1998
 
 
Introduction to Phowa
So the transference of consciousness is something that we¶ll give you anintroduction to, and also to the visualizations that are related to it. By relyingon that, what you basically try to cultivate is the ability to consciously move your consciousness from your body at the time of death, and take a rebirth in apure land such as the pure land of Amitabha, the land of happiness.
Motivation
 When you start receiving any teachings it¶s always important to review yourmotivation and purify or correct it. So try to think not only of yourself and your own needs, but also try to have the intention to benefit beings. Sentient beings are as vast as space and as great as an ocean, so work to change yourmotivation from being selfish to something like, "For the benefit of all sentient beings I am going to participate in this particular teaching, which is called thetransference of consciousness." It¶s important to be very conscious of yourmotivation because your motivation establishes how things develop. Forexample, suppose that someone has a very pure heart. From that, actions of their body and their speech will be in harmony with that, and they will create basically good karma, positive actions, and of course that will bring aboutproportionate good results. Whereas if someone has a bad mind, a negativemotivation, even though their body and their speech may behave in a manner which appears to be virtuous, this doesn¶t actually accrue any positive quality  whatsoever because the nature of the mind is negative in its motivation.Therefore it¶s important to be more conscious of your motivation and tocorrect it in a positive, constructive manner.By having a virtuous and positive attitude and approach to life, your own life will be much more a source of happiness for yourself. The way you approachsituations will be happier, the actions of the body and speech will be happier, your relationships with others will be more positive and other people willrecognize that. They will recognize you as a nice person and will therefore like your company. Whereas in contrast if someone has a negative mindset, of course we become distrustful of the person because they lie, they¶re deceptiveand they also commit negative actions. So we can easily see that a negative
 
mind and a negative approach to life creates complications and sufferings notonly for that individual, but also for others around that person. Therefore it¶s very important to put some emphasis on, "Who am I?" and, "Where am Icoming from?" Try to make your mind positive and virtuous, and in that way many good qualities will accrue.Certainly the whole intention of Buddha Shakyamuni was for us to realize ourmind and gain a deep realization of ourselves. With regards to that theBuddha said, "Irrespective of what the actions of your body and speech are, your mind is the most important thing. It is what creates how you experiencethings and creates your actions." Therefore the Buddha said to be very conscious of yourself and your attitude or approach to life, because if that is ina virtuous direction then it will be more beneficial for you. Also, if you have a virtuous, positive mind and approach to life, then of course what you are doingis working constructively to remove the negative traits that you might have. So you are developing a purification of negativity, and this accrues a great deal of positive energy. And by doing that then you are accomplishing what isnecessary in the process of becoming an enlightened person. So please bemuch more conscious of your motivation.
Ref 
ug
e
and Bodhichitta
Having corrected your motivation and established in yourself in a morepositive approach, the next thing that you need to do is to take Refuge andgenerate the altruistic attitude towards others. Now, why take Refuge? You dothis because Refuge puts you on the path to enlightenment. What Refugemeans is that you decide what is important for yourself and how you are goingto work with yourself. So you take Refuge and develop the altruistic mind of  bodhicitta, or the altruistic mind of working for the benefit of other sentient beings. That insures that you will obtain the path towards enlightenment. If  you want to practice any style of practice you have to first be able to appreciate what taking Refuge means and then also generate an altruistic mind. You may have heard of the teachings called the Great Completion. The GreatCompletion is a very special and profound practice. If you practice and rely upon it properly you can attain enlightenment in one lifetime. But to be able todo that you have to first take Refuge and generate the altruistic attitude of  wishing to benefit sentient beings. If you don¶t, even though you try to practicesomething so profound as the Great Completion it will not have any benefit.This applies actually to any style of spiritual practice you may undertake. Youhave to put it in the context of first taking Refuge, trying to gain

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