lot tor |app|noss

A Gu|do to tho 3o-Ca||od lro||m|nary lract|sos

l|ag|ar|zod by
0zongsar 1amyang Khyontso

3hambha|a
3oston 8 london
2012
3hambha|a lub||cat|ons, lnc.
|ort|cu|tura| |a||
800 Vassachusotts Avonuo
3oston, Vassachusotts 0211b
www.shambha|a.com

t 2012 by 0zongsar 1amyang Khyontso

A|| r|ghts rosorvod. lo part ot th|s book may bo roproducod |n any torm or by any moans, o|octron|c or
mochan|ca|, |nc|ud|ng photocopy|ng, rocord|ng, or by any |ntormat|on storago and rotr|ova| systom, w|thout
porm|ss|on |n wr|t|ng trom tho pub||shor.

l|brary ot Congross Cata|og|ng-|n-lub||cat|on 0ata

Khyontso, 1amyang, 1001-
lot tor happ|noss: a gu|do to tho so-ca||od pro||m|nary pract|sos / 0zongsar 1amyang Khyontso.-||rst
Ed|t|on.
pagos cm
ol33l 078-0-8848-2804-0
l33l 078-1-01180-080-2 (pbk.)
1. 3p|r|tua| ||to-3uddh|sm. l. 1|t|o.
3O780b.Kb8 2012
204.8'444-dc28
2012000002
|omago to 1ash| la|jor.

3o qu|ck!
Cast w|do your not ot |nt|n|to compass|on.
Gathor |nto your tondor ombraco a|| suttor|ng bo|ngs,
Whoso ro|ont|oss pursu|t ot happ|noss
3r|ngs noth|ng but m|sory and sorrow.
Contonta

Pob|lsbor`s Noto
Proíoco
lotroooctloo
lart Ono. Why Wo 0o lgöndro lract|so
1. What ls 0harma Good |or?
2. 1ho Causa| and tho losu|tant laths
8. lntroduct|on to lgöndro lract|so
4. Your 3p|r|tua| Warm-Up
b. Us|ng Your lmag|nat|on
0. Why 0o Wo lood a Guru?
lart 1wo. 1ho lgöndro
7. 1ak|ng lotugo
8. Arous|ng 3odh|ch|tta
0. 1ho lract|so ot lur|t|cat|on by Vod|tat|ng on tho Guru as vajrasattva
10. Vanda|a Ottor|ng
11. Kusa|| lract|so
12. Guru Yoga
18. Abh|shoka and tho |our Empowormonts |n Guru Yoga
14. lract|so Adv|co

Ackoow|oogmoots
Notos
PubIiahor'a Noto

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Protaco

3otoro ombark|ng on any now projoct, |oarn|ng a now |anguago tor oxamp|o, |t ho|ps
to know w|thout doubt wby you aro do|ng |t and to bo suro |t |s somoth|ng you too| |s
worth soo|ng through to tho ond. Onco that bas|s has boon ostab||shod, |t |s on|y
natura| to ask, °What shou|d l do t|rst?' lt's a good quost|on, and ono that's qu|to oasy
to answor |t, tor oxamp|o, you want to |oarn a now |anguago. 3og|nnors, obv|ous|y,
start by |oarn|ng tho a|phabot. 3ut whon |t comos to tho somowhat moro amb|t|ous
and tar-roach|ng projoct ot tu||y accomp||sh|ng a sp|r|tua| path, th|ngs can got a ||tt|o
tr|cky. A|though tho samo quost|on w||| havo to bo askod, |t's a ||no ot |nqu|ry that |s tar
moro dangorous tor an asp|r|ng 3uddh|st than |t ovor cou|d bo tor a |anguago studont.
Why? 3ocauso |n tho 3uddh|st wor|d both tho quost|on and |ts answor havo bocomo
|nst|tut|ona||zod.
1hoorot|ca||y, as oach |nd|v|dua|'s sp|r|tua| journoy w||| nocossar||y bo d|ttoront,
°What's t|rst?' cou|d o||c|t any numbor ot answors. Untortunato|y, though, on|y a tu||y
roa||sod buddha or a h|ghor-stago bodh|sattva |s capab|o ot g|v|ng oxp||c|t,
|nd|v|dua||y ta||orod |nstruct|ons about what oach porson shou|d do t|rst, and tho
||ko||hood ot bump|ng |nto such sub||mo bo|ngs as wo go about our da||y bus|noss |s
oxtromo|y s||m. 3o, how shou|d wo procood? What shou|d wo do, and whon? And |s
thoro anyth|ng at a|| that can bo |gnorod?
W|thout tho porsona| adv|co ot 3uddha, our on|y opt|on |s to ro|y on tho ox|st|ng
gonora||zat|ons prov|dod by tho dharma that aro thomso|vos tho rosu|t ot contur|os ot
guosswork. lot vory oncourag|ng nows |n somo ways, but do not dospa|r. 1h|s
guosswork may bo hundrods ot yoars o|d, but |t was or|g|na||y dovo|opod by somo ot
tho groatost scho|ars and pract|t|onors ovor to havo wa|kod th|s oarth. 3o rost
assurod that |t tho answor to tho quost|on °What do l do |t l want to to||ow tho path ot
dharma?' turns out to bo shamatha mod|tat|on or tho tour toundat|ons, you won't go
tar wrong.
Ono ot tho prob|oms wo aro tacod w|th today |s that ngöndro pract|so |s
|ncroas|ng|y porco|vod as a k|nd ot custom. lt's not a now phonomonon. Customs and
trad|t|ons havo a|ways grown up around sp|r|tua| mothods. ln tact |t |s d|tt|cu|t to soo
how thoy can bo avo|dod, or ovon |t thoy shou|d bo. ln p|acos ||ko 3urma, 1apan and
1ha||and, tho |oca| co|our that now adorns tho w|sdom ot tho 3uddha was |nstrumonta|
|n ho|p|ng tho toach|ngs tako root and t|our|sh succosstu||y. 3ut today, a|most tho
momont an asp|r|ng vajrayana studont vonturos |nto a toach|ng, sho |s to|d that botoro
do|ng anyth|ng o|so, sho must t|rst comp|oto tho ngöndro. Yot, tho |ntont|on boh|nd a||
3uddha's toach|ng |s to transcond man-mado customs and cu|turo, wh|ch chango
dopond|ng on tho t|mos |n wh|ch wo ||vo, our country's goography and |ts prova|ont
att|tudos. |ad tho v|naya boon taught somowhoro dusty and w|ndy, no doubt 3uddha
wou|d havo suggostod that tho monks protoct tho|r tacos w|th what wo now ca|| a
°burkha.' lt that trad|t|on had thon boon transp|antod to a hum|d and comp|oto|y
w|nd|oss trop|ca| torost, |t's un||ko|y tho monks ||v|ng thoro wou|d havo tound |t
|nsp|r|ng.
As your stud|os doopon, you w||| como to roa||so that ngöndro |s tho most
d|st|nct|vo o|omont ot tho vajrayana. 3ad|y, though, |t |s tash|onab|o thoso days to try
to got |t out ot tho way as qu|ck|y as poss|b|o. low vajrayana studonts aro |oarn|ng to
v|ow ngöndro as a hurd|o thoy aro roqu|rod to ovorcomo botoro bo|ng a||owod to
roco|vo h|ghor toach|ngs. lt |s such a b|g m|stako! And a potont|a||y dangorous ono,
bocauso |t |s v|rtua||y |mposs|b|o to rotuto. Yot many ho|d th|s v|ow, and tho
consoquoncos aro bog|nn|ng to mushroom out ot contro|. |or oxamp|o, |n 3uddh|st
c|rc|os, whoro a k|nd ot sp|r|tua| °po||t|ca| corroctnoss' oporatos, ovon tho gont|ost
suggost|on that not ovoryono has to accumu|ato ono hundrod thousand prostrat|ons |s
oxtromo|y unwo|como. 1ho moro poop|o who th|nk ||ko th|s, tho groator tho r|sk that
th|s proc|ous pract|so w||| bo roducod to moan|ng|oss r|tua|.
Ot courso, to to||ow a stop-by-stop path can bo both bonot|c|a| and roward|ng, but
tho prob|om |s that contomporary dharma studonts tond to to||ow proscr|bod pract|sos
tar too s|av|sh|y. Each studont's noods aro d|ttoront, and ono ot tho sk|||s a toachor
must dovo|op |s tho ab|||ty to d|scorn tho mothod most appropr|ato to oach porson's
capac|ty.
lmag|no, tor oxamp|o, you havo boon g|von tho task ot toach|ng your noxt-door
no|ghbour to r|do a b|cyc|o. 1ho t|rst th|ng you d|scovor about hor |s that sho has
d|tt|cu|ty concontrat|ng oar|y |n tho morn|ng, wh|ch |s oxact|y whon sho has to r|do hor
b|ko to work. As hor toachor, you suggost sho wako horso|t up by dr|nk|ng a cup ot
cottoo botoro |oav|ng homo. lt works ||ko mag|c, and w|th|n a coup|o ot days your
studont |s r|d|ng to work sato|y ovory morn|ng. 3otoro |ong, hor cous|n asks hor to
toach h|m how to r|do, and s|nco tho cup ot cottoo you suggostod mado such a
d|ttoronco to hor own b|ko-r|d|ng oxpor|onco, sho passos |t on w|thout cons|dor|ng
whothor ho roa||y noods |t or not. |o thon passos tho samo |ntormat|on on to h|s
brothor, who passos |t on to h|s daughtor, and so on and so torth, unt||, t|vo hundrod
yoars |ator, a c|oso|y kn|t cu|t has grown up ot b|cyc|o r|dors who on|y cyc|o attor
dr|nk|ng cottoo, and anyono who doos not dr|nk cottoo w||| not r|do a b|ko.
Eow uaotuI |a CuIturaI ParaµhornaIia?

3p|r|tua| paths born |n As|a, such as 3uddh|sm and ||ndu|sm, aro wrappod |n a||
k|nds ot cu|tura| paraphorna||a and omp|oy r|tua|s that havo boon custom|zod to moot
tho noods ot oach adopt|vo othn|c group. As|ans |ovo a|| tho pomp and coromony ot
3uddhadharma (|ts thoatr|ca||ty cont|nuos to bonot|t pract|t|onors to th|s day),
howovor, now that 3uddh|st ph||osophy |s bo|ng taught boyond As|an bordors, wo
taco a numbor ot cha||ongos. Wh||o many anc|ont 3uddh|st r|tua|s work vory wo|| tor
As|ans, thoy aro |oss oas||y d|gostod by Europoans, Amor|cans and Austra||ans.
Evon young poop|o born |nto trad|t|ona| 3uddh|st soc|ot|os |n lopa|, 3hutan and 1|bot
t|nd |t hard to mako sonso ot somo ot tho moro r|tua||st|c aspocts ot dharma.
3ut just bocauso many t|mo-honorod Eastorn trad|t|ons soom a ||tt|o o|d-tash|onod
|n today's chang|ng wor|d, wo shou|d not jump to tho conc|us|on that thoy aro now
obso|oto. A|though somo aspocts may no |ongor provo usotu|, much ot
3uddhadharma's so-ca||od ro||g|os|ty |s st||| oxtromo|y worthwh||o. As cu|turo |s no|thor
|ndopondont nor pormanont, |t |s st||| poss|b|o to toach and man|pu|ato tho coromon|a|
s|do ot th|ngs, wh|ch moans that thoso o|omonts ot anc|ont cu|turos that aro a
nocossary part ot 3uddh|st pract|so shou|d, w|thout doubt, bo passod on to modorn
poop|o.
1ho °anja|| mudra' ot pross|ng tho pa|ms togothor as a s|gn ot rospoct and groot|ng
|s a boaut|tu| and w|do|y rocogn|zod gosturo, and |n tho contoxt ot prostrat|ons an
accoptod torm ot pract|so. lmag|no |t tho pract|so woro updatod and you woro to|d to
shako hands ono hundrod thousand t|mos |nstoad. lt wou|d hard|y havo tho samo
ottoct, a|though thoorot|ca||y, thoro |s no |og|ca| roason why |t wou|dn't. 3ut strong and
|ong-|ast|ng hab|ts a|most a|ways ovorcomo |og|c, and otton tho o|d ways roa||y aro
tho bost, boar|ng tost|mony to tho oxtraord|nary |ns|ght and v|s|on ot tho mastors ot
tho past who camo up w|th so many un|vorsa||y app||cab|o pract|sos, such as s|tt|ng
w|th a stra|ght back dur|ng mod|tat|on pract|so, wh|ch cont|nuos to bo appropr|ato tor
a|| human bo|ngs no mattor what tho|r background.
Corta|n|y, tho customs and trad|t|ons connoctod w|th ngöndro accumu|at|ons aro
st||| ro|ovant tor today's pract|t|onors. loop|o ||ko mo, tor oxamp|o, t|nd a roady-mado
structuro and moasurab|o goa| both oncourag|ng and |nsp|r|ng-tho provorb|a| carrot
t|od to a donkoy's hat. 3ut wo ||vo |n dogonorato t|mos and |t |s not oasy to |dont|ty
wh|ch ot tho many sk||tu| mothods ava||ab|o w||| st||| work tor modorn poop|o. log|c
suggosts that, as t|mos aro so tough, oach o|omont ot ngöndro shou|d bo ropoatod
not just tho customary ono hundrod thousand t|mos but throo hundrod thousand t|mos,
or ovon moro. Yot thoro aro many who advocato tho roduct|on ot ropot|t|ons to ton
thousand as a way ot oncourag|ng thoso put ott by b|g numbors.
lama 3hang l|npocho sa|d thoso who want to pract|so mahamudra shou|d not
mako a b|g doa| about t|rst accumu|at|ng tho ngöndro pract|sos, ngöndro and tho so-
ca||od ma|n pract|so must both bo pract|sod at a|| t|mos. 1ho cruc|a| po|nt horo |s that
tho a|m ot ngöndro |s not moro|y tho accumu|at|on ot numbors, but to ponotrato our
m|nds, rutt|o tho toathors ot our pr|do and mako a sat|sty|ng dont |n our ogos.
1ho Longchon Nyingtik Ngöndro

A groat many ot tho so-ca||od pro||m|nary pract|sos |n 3uddhadharma |nc|udo un|quo
and protound toach|ngs oxprossod us|ng vory spoc|t|c torm|no|og|os. 1ako, tor
oxamp|o, tho longchon ly|ngt|k lgöndro. lt |s wo|| known as a °pro||m|nary' pract|so,
yot conta|ns somo ot tho most protound |anguago |n 3uddhadharma. Words such as
prooo, blooo and oool appoar r|ght at tho bog|nn|ng ot tho toxt and aro ropoatod ovor
and ovor throughout. 1ho mahasandh|, or dzogchon, trad|t|on |s tho groat |nsp|rat|on
boh|nd tho longchon ly|ngt|k lgöndro and |nc|udos somo ot tho most anc|ont and
d|roct w|sdom toach|ngs |n 1|botan 3uddh|sm. ln guru yoga pract|so, tor oxamp|o, tho
soct|on on ompowormont |nc|udos rotoroncos to tho °tour stagos ot a v|dyadhara,'
and tor many, moro|y to road tho namos ot tho v|dyadharas |s oxtromo|y oncourag|ng.
|owovor m|nd-bogg||ng thoso concopts may |n|t|a||y appoar to a bog|nnor, thoy aro
not savod unt|| tho ond ot tho path, but |ntroducod r|ght at tho bog|nn|ng, at ngöndro
|ovo|, to ho|p studonts bocomo tam|||ar w|th both tho torms and tho rad|ca| |doas
boh|nd thom. 0ovotod, d|||gont pract|t|onors aro ||ko|y to ropoat such words da||y tor
ton or porhaps twonty yoars botoro gradua||y d|scovor|ng, w|th groat joy, tho protound
moan|ng thoy roprosont. 1ho word booblcbltto, tor oxamp|o, |s tam|||ar to most
dharma pract|t|onors. Vost ot us aro ta|r|y suro that |t has somoth|ng to do w|th tho
good, k|nd thoughts wo try to |nst||| |n our m|nds, but |n roa||ty tho truo moan|ng ot
booblcbltto w||| on|y omorgo attor many, many yoars ot pract|so.
About 1hia Book

1h|s book has not boon wr|tton tor thoso who aro comp|oto|y now to 3uddh|sm. lt |s
a|mod at thoso who havo at |oast somo |doa about tho 3uddhadharma, aro
comm|ttod to undorstand|ng tho |anguago ot dharma no mattor how |ong |t takos, or
havo a strong dos|ro to pract|so. Vy asp|rat|on |s that Not íor lopplooss w||| bo usotu|
to o|| thoso who w|sh to pract|so tho vajrayana path ot tho 1|botan 3uddh|st trad|t|on.
3ut as you w||| soo, a|though thoso pagos aro packod w|th gonora||zat|ons, l havo
takon tho longchon ly|ngt|k lgöndro as my ma|n rotoronco po|nt and ro||od on much
ot tho jargon and c|ar|t|cat|on dovo|opod by tho ly|ngma schoo|.
l must adm|t, though, part ot mo |s worr|od that by do|ng so, l havo dono a
d|ssorv|co to a|| tho othor protound vajrayana ||noagos, oach ot wh|ch has |ts own
un|quo vocabu|ary ot pa|nstak|ng|y crattod words and oxpross|ons. Why, thon, havo l
not |ncorporatod tho |anguago ot thoso othor ||noagos, ospoc|a||y s|nco wo aro a|ways
bo|ng oncouragod to cu|t|vato a nonsoctar|an att|tudo and porco|vo a|| trad|t|ons
puro|y? 1o p|ck and chooso amongst torms usod by d|ttoront ||noagos and m|x thom
togothor |n a k|nd ot ||ngu|st|c chow mo|n |s about as tar away trom bo|ng
°nonsoctar|an' as |t's poss|b|o to bo-and |t doosn't ho|p. 1ho torm oroloory mloo, tor
oxamp|o, moans ono th|ng to a mahamudra pract|t|onor and somoth|ng o|so to a
pract|t|onor ot mahasandh|, s|m||ar|y, °do not bo d|stractod' |n tho shravaka trad|t|on
has qu|to a d|ttoront moan|ng |n a vajrayana contoxt. 1h|s |s why l havo tr|od to st|ck to
ly|ngma oxp|anat|ons ot thoso pract|sos, and why l must a|so p|oad w|th you not to
d|sm|ss ||ght|y any torm|no|ogy you como across |n tho tuturo that doos not appoar
w|th|n thoso pagos.
A|though l rotor most otton to 1amyang Khyontso Wangpo's commontary on tho
longchon ly|ngt|k lgöndro and tho Chagchon ngöndro trom tho Kagyupa trad|t|on, a
groat doa| ot oxco||ont support|ng ||toraturo |s ava||ab|o tor wh|chovor ngöndro
trad|t|on you to||ow. lract|t|onors ot tho longchon ly|ngt|k lgöndro can rotor to ono
ot tho most romarkab|o ot a|| ngöndro commontar|os, latru| l|npocho's tamous 7bo
¼oros oí Vy Poríoct 7oocbor, wh|ch |s a sor|os ot d|roct, oxpor|ont|a| p|th
|nstruct|ons, pract|t|onors ot tho mahamudra ngöndro can onr|ch thomso|vos w|th 7bo
1owo| Oroomoot oí Llborotloo by Gampopa, and many othor toxts, pract|t|onors ot
lam 0ro (lath and |ru|t|on) can consu|t tho var|ous 1hroo lorcopt|ons toach|ngs
trom tho 3akya trad|t|ons, and wo must not torgot tho protound and oxco||ont
toach|ngs ot lam l|m (tho Gradua| lath) by 1songkhapa.
Othor toxts worth road|ng |nc|udo tho Lookovotoro 5otro, 3hant|dova's
Booblcboryovotoro, Kama|ash||a's 5togos oí Vooltotloo oí tbo Voobyomlko and
At|sha 0|pamkara's Lomp íor tbo Potb to Eo|lgbtoomoot.
You w||| not|co l havo paraphrasod most ot tho quotat|ons |nc|udod |n th|s toxt. lt's a
cho|co l mado out ot shoor |az|noss and ovor wh|ch l havo s|nco oxpor|oncod tho odd
tw|ngo ot gu||t. At tho ond ot tho day, though, tho |ntormat|on wo pass on to othors can
on|y ovor bo basod on our own |ntorprotat|on ot what wo havo |oarnt. 1o mo |t
thorotoro makos sonso to paraphraso tho groat mastors |nstoad ot strugg||ng tor
months to trans|ato thom accurato|y, bocauso howovor °good' tho trans|at|ons may
bo, thoy wou|d on|y bo corroct trom my po|nt ot v|ow.
God Karma on|y knows why, but tho modorn wor|d |s comp|oto|y obsossod w|th
°gondor |ssuos.' 3o, l shou|d warn you that you m|ght t|nd my uso ot gondor ottons|vo
to your own |doas ot °corroctnoss,' po||t|ca| or othorw|so. |owovor, no consc|ous
doc|s|on was mado about whothor °h|m' and °hor' was moro appropr|ato |n oach
oxamp|o.
As tar as tho dota||s ot var|ous v|sua||sat|ons aro concornod, somo may appoar
ovordono wh||o othors havo boon ga||opod through tar too qu|ck|y. 3o, rathor than
so|o|y ro|y|ng on tho |ntormat|on you t|nd |n th|s book, l rocommond you rotor to tho
or|g|na| commontar|os by tho mastors ot your spoc|t|c trad|t|on.
lt you wou|d ||ko to know moro about tho mastors or toach|ngs mont|onod |n th|s
book, or tho torm|no|ogy usod, l suggost you consu|t tho oxco||ont rosourcos that aro
now ava||ab|o on tho lntornot and |n g|ossar|os and b|b||ograph|os producod by, tor
oxamp|o, tho ladmakara 1rans|at|on Group, tho 1|botan 3uddh|st losourco Contro,
l|gpa 1rans|at|ons and l|gpaw|k|, tho la|anda 1rans|at|on Comm|ttoo and langjung
Yosho lub||cat|ons, to namo but a tow.

Va|troya sa|d that to hoar tho dharma |s to opon tho door to ||borat|on, and many
studonts |mag|no that study |n tho torm ot hoar|ng and contomp|at|ng tho dharma w|||
sutt|co as a dharma pract|so. lt's truo that tor thoso on tho throsho|d ot sp|r|tua|
pract|so, to ||ston to and road dharma |s oxtromo|y roward|ng-and an act|v|ty that
shou|d not bo ont|ro|y abandonod by moro soasonod dharma pract|t|onors-but
words aro abstract|ons that ro|y who||y on contur|os-o|d assumpt|ons, mak|ng tho
|anguago wo aro torcod to uso obscuro and vaguo. U|t|mato|y, moro|y to hoar and
th|nk about dharma |s not onough, wo must a|so pract|so |t. 3o, hoar|ng,
contomp|at|ng ooo mod|tat|ng on dharma aro a|| v|ta| to our sp|r|tua| path, w|th
mod|tat|on |y|ng at |ts vory coro.

0zongsar 1amyang Khyontso l|npocho
Blr, loolo, Octobor 2011
|ntroduction

Adjust Your V|nd

1ho Eoart ot Dharma Lioa in Evoryday Activitioa

Vany contomporary dharma pract|t|onors, myso|t |nc|udod, havo boon attond|ng
dharma toach|ngs tor a donkoy's yoars, yot our m|nds roma|n as r|g|d as a b|ock ot
wood. Whon ||to sooms to bo go|ng wo||, wo too| happy, but whon our p|ans go awry,
wo aro hurt and otton un|oash a storm ot unbr|d|od omot|on-troub||ng s|gns that tho
toach|ngs havo gono |n ono oar and stra|ght out tho othor. Wo t|nd ourso|vos
wondor|ng, °ls |t roa||y poss|b|o to uproot a|| my hab|ts? Or ovon adjust thom a ||tt|o? ls
|t p|aus|b|o to |mag|no that l w||| ovor roach tho po|nt whoro ovory movomont l mako |s
a dharma pract|so?' Wo aro ||ko nov|co dr|vors watch|ng tho|r |nstructor chango goar,
chock h|s roarv|ow m|rror and app|y tho brako |n qu|ck succoss|on, th|nk|ng, °|ow w|||
l ovor |oarn to dr|vo?'
ln tho mahayana sutra roquostod by Vat|sagara, 3uddha |s askod an |ntorost|ng
quost|on. lt °truth' and °on||ghtonmont' roa||y aro |noxpross|b|o |doas, how can
ord|nary, do|udod bo|ngs ||ko us ovon asp|ro to bocomo studonts ot tho path to
on||ghtonmont? 3y show|ng rospoct tor thoso who toach th|s |noxpross|b|o path,
rop||od tho 3uddha. 3tand whon thoy stand, pay homago to thom and honor thom w|th
po||to and courtoous words, prov|do thom w|th protoct|on, omu|ato thom, ottor thom
c|oth|ng, tood, bodd|ng, mod|c|no and othor mator|a| goods, or s|mp|y adm|ro tho|r
act|v|t|os, rojo|co |n tho|r v|rtuos and |gnoro tho|r t|aws. 1h|s |s how to °upho|d tho
pract|so ot tho |noxpross|b|o,' and |nd|catos that tho hoart ot dharma pract|so doos
not ||o |n tho quant|ty ot mantras wo chant or how |ong wo spond |n mod|tat|on, but |n
s|mp|o, ovoryday act|v|t|os.
1ako, tor oxamp|o, how wo doa| w|th poop|o wo d|s||ko. A|though tow ot us attract
any roa||y v|c|ous onom|os, wo a|ways havo to doa| w|th poop|o who |rr|tato us. |or
bog|nnors, qu|ot|y to avo|d controntat|on can bo cons|dorod a pract|so. 3ut |t you ovor
got stuck w|th tho most oxasporat|ng porson on tho p|anot, tako a |oat out ot lord
At|sha's book. Whon ho travo|od to 1|bot, At|sha kopt tho most |ntur|at|ng porson ho
know c|oso to h|m to mako corta|n ho had p|onty ot opportun|t|os tor pract|c|ng
pat|onco. Wo may not bo ab|o to go qu|to that tar, but tacod w|th an unavo|dab|o and
oxasporat|ng compan|on, tho |oast wo can do |s uso tho opportun|ty to tako |rr|tat|on
as tho objoct ot our pract|so.
1ho po|nt tho 3uddha was mak|ng, though, |s that tho stato ot our m|nds |s
|nov|tab|y rot|octod |n our ovoryday roact|ons. |or oxamp|o, how qu|ck|y doos your
mood chango whon your p|ans aro trustratod? Ono m|nuto you too| t|no, thon a north
w|nd b|ows up a who|o host ot momor|os ot past omot|ona| cr|sos and you t|nd
yourso|t ro||v|ng ovory pa|ntu| dota|| ovor and ovor aga|n. You got |nto such a stato that
you cannot koop your unhapp|noss to yourso|t and you phono a tr|ond. |o ||stons
attont|vo|y as you oxh|b|t your pa|n w|th no thought ot tho ottoct you aro hav|ng, and
soon your tr|ond |s as doprossod and unsott|od as you aro. What's tho po|nt? As an
asp|r|ng bodh|sattva, |t you too| tho nood to |ndu|go your suttor|ngs, do |t a|ono. 0on't
drag anyono o|so |nto your omot|ona| oxtravaganza, part|cu|ar|y |t you aro a tong|on
pract|t|onor and comm|ttod to tak|ng on tho suttor|ng ot a|| sont|ont bo|ngs rathor than
shar|ng |t out.
3as|ca||y, |t |s h|gh t|mo tho dharma actua||y ponotratod tho m|nds ot dharma
studonts, ospoc|a||y thoso who, ||ko myso|t, havo boon around a wh||o. And ovon |t you
on|y manago to pu|| ott that k|nd ot ponotrat|on onco |n a hundrod attompts, |t |s an
ach|ovomont worthy ot a moda|.
5µirituaI Practiao ConatantIy Changoa

Whatovor you do, whothor |t's a da||y shamatha mod|tat|on or |ong rotroats, your
pract|so w||| bo constant|y chang|ng. Evory day w||| br|ng a d|ttoront oxpor|onco. You
may t|nd, tor oxamp|o, that your m|nd |s qu|to c|oar |n tho morn|ngs but that you koop
nodd|ng ott |n tho attornoons-a tormont a|| human bo|ngs suttor as a rosu|t ot bo|ng
trappod |n tho throo sho||s ot body, spooch and m|nd, and thorotoro at tho morcy ot
our aggrogatos and o|omonts. Or you m|ght oxpor|onco hugo sh|tts ot mood as you
yo-yo trom ono omot|ona| oxtromo to anothor, happy and stab|o on 1uosday ovon|ng,
but by Wodnosday morn|ng so bad-tomporod that ovon tho sound ot rust||ng |oavos
doprossos you. lt happons to a|| ot us somo ot tho t|mo. What |nsp|ros us today w|||
cast us down tomorrow, what makos us sad and oagor to ronounco tho wor|d ono day
w||| mako us |ong to d|vo |nto tho th|ck ot samsar|c ox|stonco tho noxt. 1ho cu|pr|ts tor
thoso mood sw|ngs aro our aggrogatos (torm, too||ng, porcopt|on, tormat|on,
consc|ousnoss), wh|ch aro ont|ro|y dopondont on tho o|omonts (oarth, wator, t|ro, a|r,
and so on), mak|ng our pract|so anyth|ng but cons|stont.
1h|s |ack ot cons|stoncy |s why a|| pract|t|onors, and bog|nnors |n part|cu|ar, must do
whatovor |t takos to oncourago thomso|vos to pract|so. ln tho samo way bab|os aro
gonora||y g|von moro than ono toy to p|ay w|th, |t's a good |doa tor pract|t|onors not to
||m|t thomso|vos to just ono mothod. Ono day, |t you too| tho shravakayana toach|ngs
m|ght ho|p c|ar|ty tho bonot|ts ot ronunc|at|on, by a|| moans app|y thom. lt tomorrow,
contomp|at|ng tho |||usory naturo ot phonomona |s moro |nsp|r|ng bocauso |t ho|ps you
approc|ato that you havo a|most noth|ng to ronounco, don't hos|tato to app|y that v|ow.
3o sk||tu| and pract|so wh|chovor mothod works tor you at th|s vory momont. And don't
rostr|ct yourso|t, bocauso as a bog|nnor |t |s so |mportant tor you to dovo|op a tasto tor
pract|so. Onco you t|nd tho ono or two pract|sos that work bost, concontrato on thom.
lt's a b|t ||ko mov|ng to tho c|ty. At t|rst you wandor a|| ovor tho p|aco, try|ng tho
d|ttoront routos botwoon your homo and your job, unt|| ovontua||y you t|nd tho most
convon|ont way, and thon st|ck to |t.
1horo w||| a|so bo t|mos whon nono ot tho usua| |og|c works and you t|nd yourso|t
|ncapab|o ot accopt|ng ovon tho most patont|y obv|ous truth that doath |s |mm|nont
and |nov|tab|o, and not ono ||v|ng bo|ng-tr|ond, tam||y or ovon you yourso|t-can
oscapo |t. Whon such stubborn do|us|ons tako ho|d ot your m|nd, pray to your guru, tho
buddhas and tho bodh|sattvas and bog thom tor ho|p tru|y to accopt tho |noxorab|||ty ot
doath. And don't ta|| |nto tho trap ot |mag|n|ng you shou|d t|rst |oarn to dosp|so
samsara and dovo|op strong °ronunc|at|on m|nd' boíoro you rosort to such a prayor.
As tho groat 1amgön Kongtru| lodrö 1ayo sa|d, you shou|d ro|y oo yoor goro íor
ovorytblog, |nc|ud|ng tho b|oss|ng ot no |ongor hungor|ng tor samsara. ln tact, you
shou|d pray to your guru and ask h|m to mako suro that you pray!
Ono common m|sconcopt|on amongst pract|t|onors |s that |n ordor to do any
sor|ous pract|so, you must t|rst movo o|thor to Kathmandu or to a cavo, and that by
do|ng so tho pract|so w||| automat|ca||y bo accomp||shod. 1h|s |s s|mp|y not tho caso.
You just havo to |ook at tho dharma studonts curront|y ||v|ng |n lnd|a and lopa| to soo
that goography doos not guarantoo sp|r|tua| progross. 3omo ot thoso dharma bums
havo boon ros|dont |n Kathmandu tor th|rty yoars or moro, but thoy novor chango.
1ho|r m|nds aro as |nt|ox|b|o as thoy woro whon thoy t|rst arr|vod, somot|mos ovon
moro so. 1hoy cont|nuo to carry around oxact|y tho samo garbago as wor|d|y poop|o,
but camout|ago |t undor tho gu|so ot dharma pract|t|onor, and a|though |t |s not d|tt|cu|t
to soo through tho|r d|sgu|sos, whon you do, thoy can hard|y boar tho hum|||at|on. 3o
bo assurod, |t |s not nocossary to |oavo homo |n ordor to pract|so ottoct|vo|y.
Dharma |natructiona

3uddh|st pract|sos aro tochn|quos wo uso to tack|o our hab|tua| so|t-chor|sh|ng. Each
ono |s dos|gnod to attack |nd|v|dua| hab|ts unt|| tho compu|s|on to c||ng to °so|t' |s
ont|ro|y orad|catod. 3o, a|though a pract|so may |ook 3uddh|st, |t |t ro|ntorcos so|t-
c||ng|ng, |t |s actua||y tar moro dangorous than any ovort|y non-3uddh|st pract|so.
1ho a|m ot tar too many toach|ngs thoso days |s to mako poop|o °too| good,' and
ovon somo 3uddh|st mastors aro bog|nn|ng to sound ||ko low Ago apost|os. 1ho|r
ta|ks aro ont|ro|y dovotod to va||dat|ng tho man|tostat|on ot ogo and ondors|ng tho
°r|ghtnoss' ot our too||ngs, no|thor ot wh|ch havo anyth|ng to do w|th tho toach|ngs wo
t|nd |n tho p|th |nstruct|ons. 3o, |t you aro on|y concornod about too||ng good, you aro
tar bottor ott hav|ng a tu|| body massago or ||ston|ng to somo up||tt|ng or ||to-att|rm|ng
mus|c than roco|v|ng dharma toach|ngs, wh|ch woro dot|n|to|y not dos|gnod to choor
you up. On tho contrary, tho dharma was dov|sod spoc|t|ca||y to oxposo your ta|||ngs
and mako you too| awtu|.
1ry road|ng 7bo ¼oros oí Vy Poríoct 7oocbor. lt you t|nd |t dopross|ng, |t latru|
l|npocho's d|sconcort|ng truths ratt|o your wor|d|y so|t-cont|donco, bo happy. lt |s a
s|gn that at |ong |ast you aro bog|nn|ng to undorstand somoth|ng about tho dharma.
And by tho way, to too| doprossod |s not a|ways a bad th|ng. lt |s comp|oto|y
undorstandab|o tor somoono to too| doprossod and dot|atod whon tho|r most
hum|||at|ng ta|||ng |s oxposod. Who wou|dn't too| a b|t raw |n such a s|tuat|on? 3ut |sn't
|t bottor to bo pa|ntu||y awaro ot a ta|||ng rathor than uttor|y ob||v|ous to |t? lt a t|aw |n
your charactor roma|ns h|ddon, how can you do anyth|ng about |t? 3o, a|though p|th
|nstruct|ons m|ght tomporar||y dopross you, thoy w||| a|so ho|p uproot your
shortcom|ngs by dragg|ng thom |nto tho opon. 1h|s |s what |s moant by tho phraso
°dharma ponotrat|ng your m|nd,' or as Kongtru| l|npocho put |t, °tho pract|so ot
dharma boar|ng tru|t,' rathor than tho so-ca||od good oxpor|oncos too many ot us
hopo tor, such as good droams, b||sstu| sonsat|ons, ocstasy, c|a|rvoyanco or tho
onhancomont ot |ntu|t|on.
|or Kongtru| l|npocho, whon a pract|t|onor stops mak|ng a b|g doa| about th|ngs
sho usod to tuss ovor |ncossant|y, |t |s a s|gn that hor dharma pract|so |s boar|ng tru|t.
|or oxamp|o, botoro you bocamo a gonu|no pract|t|onor, to roco|vo a comp||mont
about you ha|r wou|d |ntox|cato you w|th do||ght, wh||o tho morost suggost|on that |t
was any |oss than portoct wou|d |mmod|ato|y sond you sp|nn|ng |nto a torm|na|
dopross|on. lot to roact at a|| |n o|thor s|tuat|on |s a s|gn that your pract|so |s boar|ng
tru|t and that you aro bocom|ng an authont|c dharma pract|t|onor, and |s tar protorab|o
to tho oxpor|onco ot a m||||on grat|t|cat|ons, oncourag|ng droams or b||sstu|
sonsat|ons.
Whothor or not a droam |s a good or bad s|gn |s d|tt|cu|t to to||. latru| l|npocho
sa|d that an apparont|y good droam cou|d just as oas||y bo tho man|tostat|on ot an
obstac|o or a mara bocauso |t you |mag|no |t |s a s|gn that you havo ach|ovod your
goa|, you m|ght stop pract|c|ng, or bocomo puttod up and arrogant about your
ab|||t|os. 1horotoro, ho sa|d, ovon |t you droam you had d|nnor w|th tho 3uddha, troat |t
as you wou|d a gob ot sp|tt|o, don't g|vo |t a socond thought and corta|n|y don't wr|to |t
down or ta|k about |t. Voro than anyth|ng o|so, bo wary ot |t, |n tho samo way you
shou|d bo wary and caut|ous about any too||ng that suggosts you havo a ||tt|o moro
compass|on than usua|, or a ||tt|o moro dovot|on, or anyth|ng o|so that m|ght causo you
to ro|ax your d|sc|p||no ot study and pract|so.
1ho °Eoart ot 5adnoaa"

Kongtru| l|npocho suggostod wo pray to tho guru, buddhas and bodh|sattvas and ask
thom to grant tho|r b|oss|ngs, °3o l may g|vo b|rth to tho hoart ot sadnoss.' 3ut what |s
a °hoart ot sadnoss'? lmag|no ono n|ght you havo a droam. A|though |t |s a good
droam, doop down you know that ovontua||y you w||| havo to wako up and |t w||| bo
ovor. ln ||to, too, soonor or |ator, whatovor tho stato ot our ro|at|onsh|ps, or our hoa|th,
our jobs and ovory aspoct ot our ||vos, ovoryth|ng, abso|uto|y ovoryth|ng, w||| chango.
And tho ||tt|o bo|| r|ng|ng |n tho back ot your hoad to rom|nd you ot th|s |nov|tab|||ty |s
what |s ca||od tho °hoart ot sadnoss.' l|to, you roa||so, |s a raco aga|nst t|mo, and you
shou|d novor put ott dharma pract|so unt|| noxt yoar, noxt month or tomorrow, bocauso
tho tuturo may novor happon.
1h|s raco-aga|nst-t|mo k|nd ot att|tudo |s so |mportant, ospoc|a||y whon |t comos to
pract|so. Vy own oxpor|onco has shown mo that prom|s|ng myso|t l w||| start to
pract|so noxt wook moro or |oss guarantoos that l novor got around to |t. And l don't
th|nk l am a|ono. 3o, onco you undorstand that roa| dharma pract|so |s not just about
torma| s|tt|ng mod|tat|on, but a novor-ond|ng controntat|on w|th and oppos|t|on to
pr|do and ogo, as wo|| as a |osson |n how to accopt chango, you w||| bo ab|o to start
pract|c|ng r|ght away. |or oxamp|o, |mag|no you aro s|tt|ng on a boach adm|r|ng tho
sunsot. loth|ng torr|b|o has happonod and you aro contont, ovon happy. 1hon
suddon|y that ||tt|o bo|| starts to r|ng |n your hoad, rom|nd|ng you that th|s cou|d bo tho
|ast sunsot you ovor soo. You roa||so that, woro you to d|o, you m|ght not bo roborn
w|th tho ab|||ty to approc|ato a sunsot, |ot a|ono tho capac|ty to undorstand what a
sunsot |s, and th|s thought a|ono ho|ps you tocus your m|nd on pract|so.
1ho Cortainty ot Doath

Wo must pray to tho guru, buddhas and bodh|sattvas to grant tho|r b|oss|ngs so that
wo tako to hoart tho corta|nty ot doath. 3r|ng to m|nd aga|n and aga|n tho roa||ty that
you and ovoryono you know aro constant|y mov|ng c|osor to doath. Ot courso, wo aro
not comp|oto too|s, so wo a|| know wo havo to d|o. 3ut wo a|so havo to ||vo w|th
somoth|ng tar worso than tho tact ot doath, and that |s tho uncorta|nty about whon wo
w||| d|o and oxact|y how |t w||| happon. lt |s th|s uncorta|nty that wo must contomp|ato
aga|n and aga|n as wo strongthon our trust |n and dovot|on tor causo, cond|t|on and
ottoct.
lom|nd yourso|t cont|nuous|y about doath and karma bocauso, porhaps
surpr|s|ng|y, most ot us t|nd thom qu|to oasy to torgot about. A s|gn wo havo torgotton
about karma |s that wo novor stop comp|a|n|ng about ovoryono, trom tho 3uddha and
our guru, to our husbands, w|vos, tr|onds and strangors on tho stroot. |or oxamp|o,
|mag|no a vory stubborn porson who |ns|sts on dr|v|ng a|ong a d|rt track at tho odgo ot
a h|gh c||tt. |o |s to|d how dangorous that part|cu|ar routo |s, and that dr|v|ng whon
drunk |s just ask|ng tor troub|o, but ho |gnoros a|| warn|ngs. 1hon, |nov|tab|y, ho |s so
add|od w|th a|coho| ono day that ho acco|oratos too c|oso to tho odgo and h|s car
p|ungos to tho rocks bonoath. Evon thon, ho sponds h|s |ast soconds wh|n|ng about
how unta|r |t |s. 1h|s |s how wo human bo|ngs run our ||vos. Woro wo to oxam|no tho
causos ot a|| tho many tragod|os wo ||vo through, wo wou|d d|scovor how wo
porsona||y and systomat|ca||y organ|zo proc|so|y tho causos and cond|t|ons that
guarantoo tho rosu|ts wo oxpor|onco. Yot, a|| wo do |s comp|a|n! 1h|s shows how ||tt|o
wo undorstand causo, cond|t|on and ottoct, and how ||tt|o wo trust tho 3uddha, dharma
and sangha.
latru| l|npocho sa|d thoro |s no such th|ng as a porson who has portoctod both
dharma pract|so and wor|d|y ||to, and |t wo ovor moot somoono who appoars to bo
good at both, tho ||ko||hood |s that h|s sk|||s aro groundod |n wor|d|y va|uos.
lt |s such a m|stako to assumo that pract|c|ng dharma w||| ho|p us ca|m down and
|oad an untroub|od ||to, noth|ng cou|d bo tarthor trom tho truth. 0harma |s not a
thorapy. Ou|to tho oppos|to, |n tact, dharma |s ta||orod spoc|t|ca||y to turn your ||to
ups|do down-|t's what you s|gn up tor. 3o whon your ||to goos poar-shapod, why do
you comp|a|n? lt you pract|so and your ||to ta||s to caps|zo, |t |s a s|gn that what you
aro do|ng |s not work|ng. 1h|s |s what d|st|ngu|shos tho dharma trom low Ago
mothods |nvo|v|ng auras, ro|at|onsh|ps, commun|cat|on, wo||-bo|ng, tho lnnor Ch||d,
bo|ng ono w|th tho un|vorso and troo hugg|ng. |rom tho po|nt ot v|ow ot dharma, such
|ntorosts aro tho toys ot samsar|c bo|ngs-toys that qu|ck|y boro us sonso|oss.
Co Boyond Concoµt

A s|ncoro w|sh to pract|so tho dharma |s not born ot a dos|ro tor porsona| happ|noss
or to bo porco|vod as a °good' porson, but no|thor do wo pract|so bocauso wo want
to bo unhappy or bocomo °bad' poop|o. A gonu|no asp|rat|on to pract|so dharma
ar|sos trom tho |ong|ng to atta|n on||ghtonmont.
3y and |argo, human bo|ngs tond to protor to t|t |n to soc|oty by to||ow|ng accoptod
ru|os ot ot|quotto and bo|ng gont|o, po||to and rospocttu|. 1ho |rony |s that th|s |s a|so
how most poop|o |mag|no a sp|r|tua| porson shou|d bohavo. Whon a so-ca||od
dharma pract|t|onor |s soon to bohavo bad|y, wo shako our hoads ovor hor audac|ty at
prosont|ng horso|t as a to||owor ot tho 3uddha. Yot such judgmonts aro bottor
avo|dod, bocauso to °t|t |n' |s not what a gonu|no dharma pract|t|onor str|vos tor. 1h|nk
ot 1||opa, tor oxamp|o. |o |ookod so out|and|sh that |t ho turnod up on your doorstop
today, odds aro you wou|d rotuso to |ot h|m |n. And you wou|d havo a po|nt. |o wou|d
most probab|y bo a|most comp|oto|y nakod, |t you woro |ucky, ho m|ght bo sport|ng
somo k|nd ot G-str|ng, h|s ha|r wou|d novor havo boon |ntroducod to shampoo, and
protrud|ng trom h|s mouth wou|d qu|vor tho ta|| ot a ||vo t|sh. What wou|d your mora|
judgmont bo ot such a bo|ng? °||m! A 3uddh|st? 3ut ho's tormont|ng that poor
croaturo by oat|ng |t a||vo!' 1h|s |s how our tho|st|c, mora||st|c and judgmonta| m|nds
work. ln tact, thoy work |n a vory s|m||ar way to thoso ot tho wor|d's moro pur|tan|ca|
and dostruct|vo ro||g|ons. Ot courso, thoro |s noth|ng nocossar||y wrong w|th mora||ty,
but tho po|nt ot sp|r|tua| pract|so, accord|ng to tho vajrayana toach|ngs, |s to go
boyond o|| our concopts, |nc|ud|ng thoso ot mora||ty.
l|ght now tho major|ty ot us can on|y attord to bo s||ght|y noncontorm|st, yot wo
shou|d asp|ro to bo ||ko 1||opa. Wo shou|d pray that ono day wo w||| havo tho courago
to bo just as crazy by dar|ng to go boyond tho o|ght wor|d|y dharmas and caro not ono
jot about whothor or not wo aro pra|sod or cr|t|c|zod. ln today's wor|d such an att|tudo
|s tho u|t|mato craz|noss. Voro than ovor, poop|o oxpoct to bo happy whon thoy aro
adm|rod and pra|sod, and unhappy whon dor|dod and cr|t|c|zod, and so |t |s un||ko|y
that thoso who want tho wor|d to porco|vo thom as sano w||| r|sk t|y|ng trom tho nost ot
tho o|ght wor|d|y dharmas. 3ub||mo bo|ngs, though, cou|dn't caro |oss o|thor way, and
that |s why, trom our mundano po|nt ot v|ow, thoy aro cons|dorod crazy.
Part Ono

Why Wo Do Ngöndro Practiao
1

What |a Dharma Cood For?

WiII Dharma Nako No Eaµµy?

1ho word bopplooss |s a gonora| torm wo uso to doscr|bo tho common goa| sharod
by a|| human bo|ngs. Each and ovory ono ot us wants to bo happy. What °happ|noss'
moans, though, and oxact|y how wo ach|ovo |t |s a mattor tor dobato.
|undrods ot m||||ons ot poop|o a|| ovor tho wor|d chor|sh tho bo||ot that tho|r
happ|noss doponds on how much mator|a| woa|th thoy own. 1hoy droam ot ||v|ng tho
||to ot A-||st |o||ywood co|obr|t|os w|th a|| tho trapp|ngs, such as an |mmonso houso |n
3ovor|y ||||s and tho opt|on ot dry|ng a s|ng|o handkorch|ot |n an |ndustr|a|-s|zod
dry|ng mach|no. lract|ca||y spoak|ng, though, on|y a tract|on ot thoso droamors cou|d
ovor squoozo thomso|vos |nto los Ango|os. And ovon |t othor s|m||ar|y dos|rab|o
|ocat|ons cou|d bo tound, woro hundrods ot m||||ons ot poop|o roa||y to ach|ovo such a
|uxur|ous and wastotu| ||tosty|o, tho oco|og|ca| consoquoncos a|ono wou|d bo
dovastat|ng. lo|thor tho droamors nor anyono o|so on th|s p|anot wou|d ovor aga|n
onjoy a s|ng|o momont ot happ|noss.
Anothor vors|on ot happ|noss |s oxomp||t|od by an Austra||an studont ot m|no ca||od
0oug|as. 0oug|as ||vos on tho unomp|oymont bonot|t prov|dod by h|s govornmont and
too|s no grat|tudo tor |t whatsoovor. |or 0oug|as, °ronunc|at|on' and °rovu|s|on tor
samsara' aro tho oxcusos ho usos to avo|d work. And ovon though ho |s supposod to
bo a studont ot tho dharma, a doop|y |ngra|nod |az|noss and |ack ot porsona|
rospons|b|||ty moans that |n sp|to ot hav|ng p|onty ot t|mo on h|s hands, no|thor doos
ho pract|so. lot work|ng and ||v|ng on tho bonovo|onco ot othors soom to br|ng h|m a
corta|n k|nd ot b||ss and happ|noss. 3ut tho prob|om w|th poop|o ||ko 0oug|as who
bocomo accustomod to ||v|ng on stato handouts, |s thoy grow ca||ous and start to
assumo that un||m|tod t|nanc|a| support |s tho|r r|ght. Vany so-ca||od dharma
pract|t|onors ta|| |nto th|s catogory, part|cu|ar|y |n ||bora| Wostorn countr|os w|th
gonorous soc|a| wo|taro systoms. l|ko 0oug|as, thoy uso dharma as an oxcuso tor
avo|d|ng work and rospons|b|||ty a|togothor, wh|ch |s wrong. ln tact, tho vors|on ot
°samsara' thoy havo concoctod tor thomso|vos |s tar worso than that ot tho |ummor-
|ov|ng mator|a||st, s|mp|y bocauso thoy havo noat|y camout|agod |t w|th dharma.
3o, botoro wo start our pursu|t ot happ|noss, |t |s |mportant that wo t|rst dot|no what
bo|ng °happy' roa||y moans. And to thoso who ta|| |nto tho catogor|os ot |uxury-|ov|ng
A-||st co|obr|ty or |a|dback troo|oador, l can say catogor|ca||y that as a mothod tor
br|ng|ng about your |doa ot happ|noss, tho dharma w||| bo ot no uso whatsoovor. lt,
howovor, your v|s|on ot happ|noss has moro to do w|th tho transcondonco ot a||
wor|d|y concorns and dos|ros than woa|th and co|obr|ty, thon dharma may bo just what
you aro |ook|ng tor.
DovoIoµ °Ronunciation Nind"

lt wor|d|y happ|noss |s not tho goa| ot dharma, thon what |s |t that prompts a porson to
want to pract|so? Chancos aro that stopp|ng onto a sp|r|tua| path wou|d not ovon
occur to a porson who |s r|ch, onjoys tho|r ||to and has a strong sonso ot porsona|
socur|ty. Ot courso, a|| ot us, ovon tho r|ch, oxpor|onco momonts ot sadnoss and
hopo|ossnoss, and may ovon momontar||y too| tho urgo to turn our backs on a|| th|s
wor|d has to ottor. 3ut th|s |s not a gonu|no oxpor|onco ot °ronunc|at|on m|nd,' as |t
has tar moro to do w|th woar|noss and borodom than ronunc|at|on, and |s otton a s|gn
that, ||ko a spo||t ch||d t|rod ot h|s toys, wo aro |n dosporato nood ot a chango.
1amgön Kongtru| lodrö 1ayo sa|d that |t doop down you cont|nuo to bo||ovo a t|ny
cornor ot samsara cou|d bo usotu| or that |t m|ght ovon ottor tho u|t|mato so|ut|on to a||
your wor|d|y prob|oms, |t w||| bo oxtromo|y d|tt|cu|t to bocomo a gonu|no sp|r|tua|
sookor. 1o bo||ovo that ||to's prob|oms w||| somohow work thomso|vos out, ovoryth|ng
bad |s t|xab|o and somoth|ng about samsara has to bo worth t|ght|ng tor makos |t
v|rtua||y |mposs|b|o to nurturo a gonu|no, a||-consum|ng dos|ro to pract|so tho dharma.
1ho on|y v|ow that tru|y works tor a dharma pract|t|onor |s that thoro aro oo so|ut|ons to
tho suttor|ngs ot samsara and lt coooot bo ílxoo.
lt's a v|ow that |s oasy to upho|d whon wo th|nk about doath, wh|ch tho vast major|ty
ot human bo|ngs toar abovo a|| o|so. 3|rth, on tho othor hand, tonds to provoko qu|to a
d|ttoront rosponso. Attor a||, |sn't b|rth about hopo and tho prom|so ot a bottor tuturo?
3ub||mo bo|ngs such as tho groat lnd|an scho|ar lagarjuna d|dn't th|nk so. lagarjuna
cons|dorod b|rth to bo just as torr|ty|ng as doath bocauso |t s|gna|s a roturn to
samsara, wh|ch shou|d tr|ghton dharma pract|t|onors just as much as |mm|nont doath.
lagarjuna sa|d |n h|s Lottor to o lrlooo,

3amsara |s ||ko th|s, and thus wo aro roborn
As gods, as humans, don|zons |n ho||,
As ghosts or an|ma|s, but you shou|d know
1hat b|rth's not good, a pot ot many |||s.
1hon onco thoro's b|rth, comos m|sory unto|d,
And s|cknoss, ago|ng, wants trustratod, doath,
0ocay, |n short tho who|o groat mass ot pa|n.
lt b|rth |s stoppod, a|| th|s w||| bo no moro.
1

lt |s v|ta| to undorstand that howovor pos|t|vo th|s wor|d|y ||to, or ovon a sma|| part ot
|t, may appoar to bo, u|t|mato|y |t w||| ta|| bocauso obso|oto|y ootblog gonu|no|y works
|n samsara. lt |s a vory d|tt|cu|t att|tudo to adopt, but |t wo can at |oast accopt |t on an
|nto||octua| |ovo|, |t w||| prov|do us w|th just tho |ncont|vo wo nood to stop onto tho
sp|r|tua| path. (Othor |ncont|vos |nc|udo mak|ng too|s ot ourso|vos or bocom|ng
ontang|od |n wor|d|y systoms by try|ng to t|x thom.) 1ho bottom ||no, though, |s that on|y
onco a bog|nnor can tru|y approc|ato just how hopo|oss and purposo|oss samsara
roa||y |s w||| a gonu|no asp|rat|on to to||ow a sp|r|tua| path ar|so |n h|s m|nd.
As 3hakyamun| 3uddha, compass|onato|y and w|th groat courago, oxp|a|nod to an
autocrat|c k|ng, thoro aro tour |noscapab|o roa||t|os that ovontua||y dostroy a|| sont|ont
bo|ngs:

1. Wo w||| a|| bocomo o|d and tra||.
2. lt |s abso|uto|y corta|n that ovoryth|ng w||| constant|y chango.
8. Evoryth|ng wo ach|ovo or accumu|ato w||| ovontua||y ta|| apart and scattor.
4. Wo aro a|| bound to d|o.

Yot our omot|ons and hab|ts aro so strong that ovon whon tho truth |s star|ng us |n
tho taco, wo aro unab|o to soo |t.
ln add|t|on to rocogn|z|ng tho tut|||ty ot samsara, tho po|nt ot dharma pract|so |s that
|t ponotratos our m|nds and d|m|n|shos our attoct|on tor our ogo and wor|d|y ||to by
pross|ng us to dotach ourso|vos trom tho o|ght wor|d|y dharmas. lract|so shou|d
|ntons|ty our dovot|on to tho truth, |ncroaso tho va|uo wo p|aco on go|ng boyond tho
wor|d|y, novor contrad|ct tho ossont|a| toach|ngs ot tho 3uddha and bo |n comp|oto
accord w|th h|s u|t|mato toach|ngs, and |t our vors|on ot pract|so ta||s to accomp||sh a||
th|s, |t |s not roa| dharma pract|so.
|owovor bonot|c|a| a pract|so appoars to bo, howovor po||t|ca||y corroct or oxc|t|ng,
|t |t doos not contrad|ct your hab|t ot grasp|ng at pormanonco, or |ooks harm|oss but
|ns|d|ous|y oncouragos you to torgot tho truth ot |mpormanonco and tho |||usory naturo
ot phonomona, |t w||| |nov|tab|y tako you |n tho oppos|to d|roct|on to dharma.

1ho groat 1|gmo l|ngpa sa|d that whon you pract|so dharma, |t you bocomo woa|thy
ottort|oss|y, you shou|d ottor t|ro pujas and mako wator and tsok ottor|ngs, and |t you
bocomo tamous and attract many to||owors, you shou|d d|vort thom to dharma
pract|so. A|though thoro |s ||tt|o po|nt |n go|ng out ot your way to p|oaso somoono just
bocauso thoy aro r|ch or h|gh|y born, |t by do|ng so dharma w||| bonot|t |n somo way,
or somo good w||| como ot |t, thoro |s no sonso |n upsott|ng thom. Voro proc|so|y, to
bo gu|dod by tho sub||mo dharma |s ||ko bo|ng a k|ng, th|nk|ng so|o|y about tho
dharma makos an ord|nary human ox|stonco oxtraord|nary, tho pract|so ot bodh|ch|tta
cannot bo comparod w|th tho pract|so ot ord|nary ro||g|ons, and to roma|n |n tho
natura| stato tar surpassos ab|d|ng by an ord|nary v|ow.
|o a|so po|ntod out that ovon though obta|n|ng a human body |s ||ko d|scovor|ng a
w|sh-tu|t||||ng jowo|, wo must havo not|cod that many poop|o novor oxpor|onco tho
°hoart ot sadnoss' and thorotoro wasto tho|r proc|ous ||vos. Evon though moot|ng a
guru |s moro worthy ot co|obrat|on than bo|ng onthronod a k|ng, wo must havo not|cod
thoso who |ack dovot|on and wasto tho|r good tortuno by porco|v|ng h|m |mpuro|y. And
ovon though catch|ng a g||mpso ot °th|s-momont m|nd' |s ||ko soo|ng tho 3uddha, wo
must havo not|cod thoso who |ack d|||gonco and a||ow tho|r m|nds to dr|tt |nto
d|stract|on.
DovoIoµ tho WiIIingnoaa to Faco tho 1ruth

Vost ot us tond to rosont bo|ng controntod w|th tho truth, and trom rosontmont spr|ngs
don|a|. 1ho most obv|ous oxamp|o |s that wo too| annoyod whon wo aro torcod to
acknow|odgo tho |||usory naturo ot our ||vos and tho roa||ty ot doath. Wo a|so tako
oxcopt|on to contomp|at|ng |t, ovon though doath |s an |rrotutab|o un|vorsa| truth. Our
hab|tua| roact|on |s to protond |t w||| novor happon-wh|ch |s how wo doa| w|th most ot
tho othor |nconvon|ont truths wo t|nd d|tt|cu|t to stomach.
lnstoad ot bocom|ng rosonttu|, though, |t |s |mportant tor anyono who s|ncoro|y
w|shos to bocomo a dharma pract|t|onor to dovo|op a w||||ngnoss and oponnoss to
ombraco tho truth, bocauso tho obormo ls tbo trotb. 1ho 3uddha h|mso|t mado no
bonos about |t. |o novor onco prov|dod h|s studonts w|th roso-t|ntod g|assos to tako
tho odgo ott tho horror ot tho truth ot |mpormanonco, tho agon|os that aro °omot|on,'
tho |||usory naturo ot our wor|d and abovo a||, tho vast and protound truth ot shunyata.
lono ot thoso truths |s oasy to undorstand, or ovon to asp|ro to undorstand,
part|cu|ar|y tor m|nds programmod by hab|t to |ong tor omot|ona| sat|stact|on and a|m
tor ord|nary b||ss. And so, |t somoono |s ab|o to hoar toach|ngs about ompt|noss and
to|orato thom |nto||octua||y as wo|| as pract|ca||y and omot|ona||y, |t |s an |nd|cat|on that
thoy havo a roa| att|n|ty tor tho dharma.
Eow to Aµµrociato tho 1ruo VaIuo ot tho Dharma

1ho t|rst stop |n |oarn|ng to approc|ato tho truo va|uo ot tho dharma |s gonu|no|y to
adm|t and tu||y accopt that samsara |s a torm|na| |||noss, and ono wo a|| suttor trom.
1h|s |||noss makos us woak and |otharg|c and |ack|ng |n any torm ot so|t-contro|, yot
wo roma|n t|rm|y conv|ncod that wo aro capab|o ot manag|ng and d|roct|ng ovory
aspoct ot our ||vos. Wo roa||y bo||ovo wo aro |n contro|. 1ho roa||ty |s, ot courso, that
wo havo no powor whatsoovor, and unt|| wo rocogn|zo and adm|t how ||| wo aro, wo
havo no hopo ot tru|y approc|at|ng dharma. lt |s a good |doa to rom|nd yourso|t ot
thoso two roa||t|os on a da||y bas|s, ||ko a pat|ont surrondor|ng to tho troatmont
proscr|bod by tho|r doctor, and by do|ng so you w||| |ay tho toundat|ons ot hum|||ty.
Onco wo gonu|no|y accopt that wo aro ||| and tra||, tho urgo to t|nd a curo w||| ar|so
natura||y and |oad us to dovo|op a °sook|ng m|nd.' Act|vo|y to sook out a curo |s
oxtromo|y |mportant, ospoc|a||y at tho bog|nn|ng ot our sp|r|tua| journoy, whon
°sook|ng' |s tar moro |mportant than °t|nd|ng.' 1hroughout tho procoss our toachor |s
tho doctor wo ro|y on to d|agnoso our |||noss, and h|s toach|ngs tho mod|c|no ho
proscr|bos to curo us. 3ut |n thoso dogonorato t|mos tow ot us manago to porco|vo
our s|tuat|on |n th|s way. On tho contrary, wo aro proud ot our apparont|y robust hoa|th
and ot hav|ng prov|dod ourso|vos w|th ovoryth|ng wo nood and moro. As Kongtru|
l|npocho po|ntod out, tho dharma tonds to bo our |owost pr|or|ty, and as a rosu|t, |t
any ono ot us woro ottorod tho cho|co botwoon an |mmonso su|tcaso ovort|ow|ng w|th
protound dharma toach|ngs and a sma|| purso conta|n|ng a|| that |s nocossary to
mako us r|ch and tamous, most ot us wou|d chooso tho |attor.
|av|ng tu||y acknow|odgod that wo aro |||, tho urgoncy to t|nd a curo w||| |oavo us
||tt|o t|mo to do much o|so. Or so you m|ght havo thought. |or somo, tho|r |ong|ng tor
tho dharma |s tho oxcuso thoy uso to spond tho|r ont|ro ||vos w|ndow-shopp|ng tor a
sp|r|tua| path. 3ad|y thoso aro tho poop|o who tond to ta|| v|ct|m to traudu|ont
advort|somonts prom|s|ng |nstant, pa|n|oss sp|r|tua| so|ut|ons that carotu||y avo|d
anyth|ng |nvo|v|ng ponanco or hardsh|p. A|though |t's truo that tho 3ugata's path ot
b||ss (|n othor words, tho sp|r|tua| path |a|d out by 3uddha) d|scouragos tho moro so|t-
dostruct|vo k|nds ot ponanco such as so|t-t|ago||at|on, a sp|r|tua| path that |nvo|vos
abso|uto|y no hardsh|p at a|| s|mp|y doos not ox|st. Untortunato|y, |n tho namo ot
pract|c|ng dharma, sp|r|tua| w|ndow-shoppors tond to bo m|nd|oss and |nd|scr|m|nato
about tho k|nds ot toach|ngs thoy ||ston to and road, and |ack tho cur|os|ty and
gonu|no |ntorost to photocopy ovon ono pago ot an authont|c dharma toxt. 1ho |doa
that thoy m|ght try putt|ng what thoy hoar |nto pract|so novor ovon ontors tho|r hoads.
Kyabjo 0||go Khyontso l|npocho sa|d that both ord|nary and oxtraord|nary poop|o
bohavo |n th|s way. 1horo aro ovon |amas and tu|kus who |ook tor oasy ways ot
pract|c|ng tho dharma w|thout hav|ng to suttor pr|vat|on. And a|though thoy shou|d
know bottor, thoy raro|y show any approc|at|on tor tho proc|ous toach|ngs thoy
roco|vo, or mako any k|nd ot ottor|ng, |ot a|ono tho ottor|ng ot tho|r body, spooch, m|nd
and ont|ro ||to. 1hoy ||ko toach|ngs that don't roqu|ro thom to mako any comm|tmonts,
and rathor than act|vo|y sook|ng out a |ama and croat|ng tho cond|t|ons nocossary tor
pract|so, thoy oxpoct both to ta|| ottort|oss|y |nto tho|r |aps.
Ovorcomo Povorty NontaIity

Vany ot us too| sp|r|tua||y |mpovor|shod. Kongtru| l|npocho sa|d th|s |s bocauso wo
novor stop dos|r|ng comtort and happ|noss. Unt|| that k|nd ot povorty monta||ty |s
ovorcomo, a |argo port|on ot our m|nd w||| a|ways bo busy try|ng to socuro porsona|
comtort and happ|noss, mak|ng |ott|ng go ot anyth|ng at a|| oxtromo|y d|tt|cu|t. Evon
thoso who prosont thomso|vos as sp|r|tua| pract|t|onors w||| t|nd |t |mposs|b|o to mako
tho suporhuman ottort nocossary.
1ho prob|om horo |s that on a suport|c|a|, wor|d|y |ovo| ovoryth|ng sp|r|tua|,
ospoc|a||y tho 3uddhadharma, appoars to bo uttor|y uso|oss and a comp|oto wasto ot
t|mo. Wo aro pract|ca| bo|ngs who ||ko to bu||d housos so that wo can bo comtortab|o
and happy, and to put our rosourcos |nto oroct|ng a stupa w|th no bodroom or to||ot or
anyth|ng tunct|ona| |n |t str|kos us as bo|ng wastotu|. 3ut as Kongtru| l|npocho po|ntod
out, by c||ng|ng to tho morost h|nt ot an |doa that wor|d|y va|uos and |doa|s m|ght
somohow bo usotu| makos |t oxtromo|y hard tor anyono to tack|o somoth|ng as
apparont|y tut||o as sp|r|tua| pract|so. And to cut tho t|os ot tho hab|ts that b|nd us to
wor|d|y va|uos, ospoc|a||y whon |t comos to mator|a| woa|th, |s v|rtua||y |mposs|b|o.
1|gmo l|ngpa sa|d that |n thoso dogonorato t|mos, tho prospor|ty ot dharma |s
moasurod by how many d|sc|p|os to||ow a mastor and by tho strongth ot |nt|uonco
monastor|os havo ovor tho|r d|sc|p|os. °Woa|th,' trom an authont|c dharma
porspoct|vo, |s undorstood ont|ro|y d|ttoront|y. |or a dharma pract|t|onor, woa|th |s not
go|d, s||vor, or a hoa|thy bank account, woa|th |s contontmont-tho too||ng that you
havo onough and nood noth|ng moro. 1|gmo l|ngpa wont on to say that a|though
ronunc|ants may not nocossar||y hungor tor woa|th, thoy m|ght wo|| |ong tor tamo,
wh|ch ho warnod pract|t|onors |s ovon worso than crav|ng woa|th.
Bo Croody tor °NobIo WoaIth"

Whothor |t |s wor|d|y woa|th or tho °nob|o woa|th' ot dharma that wo |ong tor, no|thor |s
oasy to como by. |owovor hard wo havo to work tor wor|d|y woa|th, wo must work that
much hardor tor tho nob|o woa|th ot ronunc|at|on m|nd, |ov|ng-k|ndnoss, dovot|on and
compass|on, ospoc|a||y dur|ng tho oar|y stagos ot our sp|r|tua| path.
Kyabjo 0||go Khyontso l|npocho sa|d that tho ono th|ng dharma pract|t|onors
shou|d novor bo contont w|th |s tho amount ot dharma toach|ngs thoy roco|vo, study
and pract|so, bocauso tho woa|th ot dharma |s tho on|y k|nd worth hav|ng. 1h|s |s a
truth an aston|sh|ng numbor ot mastors, sa|nts and scho|ars ot tho past undorstood so
wo|| that thoy woro w||||ng to trado tho|r vory ||vos tor a s|ng|o word ot dharma. 1hoy
a|so know that ovon though wo havo to |oavo our body, homo and bank ba|anco
boh|nd whon wo d|o, tho dharma |s tho ono torm ot woa|th wo can tako w|th us.
lt you havo takon a tancy to nob|o woa|th and wou|d ||ko to acqu|ro a ||tt|o tor
yourso|t, you must t|rst undorgo somo bas|c tra|n|ng. loa||st|ca||y, a gonu|no tondnoss
tor a sp|r|tua| path on|y ar|sos natura||y onco |n a b|uo moon, wh|ch |s nowhoro noar
otton onough to socuro your sp|r|tua| tuturo. Authont|c, hoartto|t |nsp|rat|on and |ong|ng
aro so raro that you m|ght wa|t an ont|ro ||tot|mo and not oxpor|onco |t onco. A
gonu|no d|sgust and rovu|s|on tor samsara aro oqua||y scarco, and as thoy aro
un||ko|y to happon ot tho|r own accord, you must tabr|cato or manutacturo thom.
1horotoro, ono ot tho t|rst tasks tor thoso now to tho sp|r|tua| path |s to rov|so your
bas|c assumpt|ons and tako |t.
1o mako bo||ovo that samsara |s d|sgust|ng may too| odd and unnatura| at t|rst, but
by tra|n|ng tho m|nd aga|n and aga|n to accopt th|s truth, a gonu|no sonso ot
ronunc|at|on w||| ovontua||y bog|n to dovo|op |n your m|nd. 1ho samo goos tor
dovot|on, trust, contontmont or sadnoss. Onco any ono ot thoso omot|ons has boon
tabr|catod and contr|vod tor |ong onough, |t w||| automat|ca||y bocomo gonu|no, wh|ch
|s why bog|nnors must bo contont to baso tho major|ty ot tho|r pract|so on mako-
bo||ovo.
Eoar and ContomµIato tho Dharma

ln tho Uttorotootro, lord Va|troya pra|sos w|sdom abovo a|| th|ngs.

Ono who hoars but ono word ot th|s and, hav|ng hoard, has ta|th |n |t, w||| atta|n
groator v|rtuo than that ot tho mod|tat|vo stab|||ty ot othors whoso dhyana r|ds tho
throo wor|ds ot dot||omonts' t|ros and br|ngs ach|ovomont ot tho d|v|no stato ot
3rahma's parad|so, ovon |t |t |s pract|sod as a moans to supromo |mmutab|o
on||ghtonmont.
Gonoros|ty br|ngs att|uonco, r|ght conduct |oads to tho h|ghor statos,
mod|tat|vo stab|||ty romovos dot||omonts, but prajna [w|sdom| romovos a||
dot||omonts and tho cogn|t|vo. 1horotoro th|s prajna |s tho most oxco||ont th|ng: |ts
causo |s to study such as th|s.
2

3y ||ston|ng to tho dharma wo bog|n to d|scovor tho h|ddon t|aws and surpr|s|ng
trag|||ty |nhoront |n samsara that, unt|| now, has appoarod to bo so |ntr|cato|y and
portoct|y constructod. At tho samo t|mo, as samsara's truo co|ours aro oxposod, wo
a|so d|scovor n|rvana |s not as bor|ng or |ncomprohons|b|o as wo t|rst thought. On tho
contrary, tho romarkab|o strongth and sorv|coab|||ty ot n|rvana suddon|y bocomos
b|atant|y obv|ous, and wo start gott|ng bottor at d|scr|m|nat|ng botwoon tho act|v|t|os
that aro worthwh||o and thoso that aro harmtu|.
Evon though ||ston|ng to tho dharma |s an |nd|spons|b|o mothod tor thoso who w|sh
to atta|n ||borat|on, |t |sn't oasy. 1o ||ston to a stroam ot words |s ono th|ng, but tu||y to
undorstand what wo hoar |s somoth|ng o|so ont|ro|y and doponds who||y on how much
mor|t wo havo accumu|atod.
Practiao According to Your Own Caµacity

|or tho most part, wbot wo pract|so and bow mocb wo pract|so aro dotorm|nod by our
capac|ty, work and tam||y s|tuat|on, and how much t|mo wo havo ava||ab|o-a||
portoct|y va||d cr|tor|a, as thoy woro sanct|onod by tho 3uddha h|mso|t, tor oxamp|o |n
tho story ot tho v|||ago butchor. 0ur|ng tho 3uddha's ||tot|mo ho porm|ttod a butchor to
tako a vow not to k||| an|ma|s at n|ght, a|though ho cont|nuod to k||| thom dur|ng tho day
|n ordor to mako a ||v|ng. As a rosu|t, tho butchor was born |nto an ophomora| ho||
whoro ho suttorod oxcruc|at|ng agon|os dur|ng tho dayt|mo and at n|ght h|s p|oasuros
know no bounds.
ln th|s story 3uddha |s to|||ng us that a|though th|s man oarnod h|s ||v|ng by
murdor|ng an|ma|s, h|s protoss|on d|d not bar h|m, and thoso ||ko h|m, trom a|so
bocom|ng sp|r|tua| pract|t|onors. Yot ono ot tho most w|do|y ho|d m|sconcopt|ons
about studonts ot 3uddhadharma |s that wo havo to bo o|thor so||tary yog|s, ||ko
V||aropa-who pract|sod a|| day, ovory day, tor yoars on ond-or co||bato monks. lt
butchors can bocomo pract|t|onors, so can so|d|ors, t|shormon and prost|tutos. ln tact
ooyooo can bo a 3uddh|st pract|t|onor, bocauso whatovor your s|tuat|on |n ||to and
rogard|oss ot your ||tosty|o, thoro |s noth|ng to stop you trom a|so pract|c|ng
3uddhadharma. And a|though most poop|o aro unab|o to do ovoryth|ng
rocommondod |n tho toach|ngs, adopt|ng ono or two act|v|t|os or att|tudos w||| mako a
b|g d|ttoronco to your ||to. 1horotoro, doos a porson havo to bocomo a monk, a nun or
a yog| |n ordor to bo a 3uddh|st? Abso|uto|y not!
lorhaps ono aspoct ot tho story about tho butchor noods somo c|ar|t|cat|on. lt
wou|d bo a m|stako to assumo that tho 3uddha was sanct|on|ng murdor whon ho
askod tho butchor not to k||| dur|ng tho n|ght. 1hat was not tho caso at a||. 1ak|ng a
vow was s|mp|y a stopp|ng-stono that wou|d ovontua||y |oad tho butchor to a s|tuat|on
|n wh|ch ho no |ongor had to k||| to oarn a ||v|ng. ln tact, a|| 3uddh|st pract|sos aro ||ko
stopp|ng-stonos a|ong tho path to on||ghtonmont, not an ond |n thomso|vos. |or
oxamp|o, tho 3uddha taught h|s monks a mod|tat|on on ug||noss that roducos womon
to tho|r tundamonta| phys|ca| const|tuonts ot pus, b|ood, moat, p|ss and sh|t, not as a
way ot sanct|on|ng tho don|gratat|on ot a|| womon but to ho|p monks dotach
thomso|vos trom tho|r dos|ro. |o was corta|n|y not try|ng to turn h|s monks |nto
m|sogyn|sts.
3uddhadharma |s gonora||y vory porm|ss|vo, and ot courso, as you tako your t|rst
tontat|vo stops a|ong tho 3uddh|st path, |t goos w|thout say|ng that you w||| do as much
or as ||tt|o as your s|tuat|on a||ows. 1h|s |s how |t shou|d bo. lt wou|d bo such a shamo
|t thoso attractod to 3uddh|sm woro |mmod|ato|y put ott bocauso thoy to|t compo||od
to bocomo a monk or tako hundrods ot vows.
Vowa

As a bog|nnor you w||| mako a good start |t you tako just ono or two vows that you aro
cont|dont you can koop. |or oxamp|o, try mak|ng tho vow novor to tako a human ||to,
wh|ch |s qu|to oasy to st|ck to bocauso ovon tho |oast d|sc|p||nod ot us |s un||ko|y to
mako a hab|t ot k||||ng poop|o. lt you do not tako tho vow, a|though |t |s un||ko|y you w|||
accumu|ato tho bad karma ot comm|tt|ng murdor, no|thor w||| you accumu|ato tho
good karma ot not comm|tt|ng murdor. 3ut onco you mako tho vow, tor ovory momont
you aro not ongagod |n k||||ng, |nc|ud|ng wh||o you s|oop or surt tho not, you w|||
accumu|ato mor|t. 3o tako an oasy vow to start w|th, thon gradua||y, as you dovo|op
courago and onthus|asm, tako moro and moro-tor oxamp|o, a vow a|ways to ottor
adv|co, or not to bo judgmonta|.
A|ways romombor that tho 3uddh|st pract|so ot mak|ng vows |s not a goa| but a
mothod, ono ot many ottorod by 3uddhadharma. 3hou|d you ongago |n th|s pract|so?
Yos, dot|n|to|y! lt comos h|gh|y rocommondod bocauso as 3akya land|ta sa|d, tho
d|ttoronco botwoon thoso who havo takon vows and thoso who havo not |s s|m||ar to
that botwoon a |andownor who cu|t|vatos h|s |and and ono who |oavos |t ta||ow.
Liboration trom |IIuaion and DoIuaion

As tho 3uddha sa|d |n tho Vojroccboolko Projooporomlto 5otro (tho Llomooo
5otro),

l|ko a star, ha||uc|nat|on, cand|o,
Vag|ca| |||us|on, dowdrop, bubb|o,
0roam, ||ghtn|ng or a c|oud-
Know a|| compoundod phonomona to bo ||ko th|s.
8

|rom a 3uddh|st po|nt ot v|ow, oach aspoct and momont ot our ||vos |s an |||us|on.
Accord|ng to tho 3uddha, |t's ||ko soo|ng a b|ack spot |n tho sky that you aro unab|o to
mako sonso ot, thon concontrat|ng on |t |ntonso|y unt|| t|na||y you aro ab|o to mako out
a t|ock ot b|rds, or hoar|ng a portoct ocho that sounds oxact|y ||ko a roa| porson
shout|ng back at you. l|to |s noth|ng moro than a cont|nuous stroam ot sonsory
|||us|ons, trom tho obv|ous onos, ||ko tamo and powor, to thoso |oss oasy to d|scorn,
||ko doath, nosob|oods and hoadachos. 1rag|ca||y, though, most human bo|ngs
bo||ovo |n what thoy soo, and so tho truth 3uddha oxposod about tho |||usory naturo ot
||to can bo a ||tt|o hard to swa||ow.
What happons onco wo know that ovoryth|ng wo soo and oxpor|onco |s an |||us|on?
And what |s |ott onco thoso |||us|ons havo boon ||boratod? 1o bo ||boratod trom |||us|on
|s to d|spo| a|| tho ||m|tat|ons that ta|so porcopt|on br|ngs and ont|ro|y transtorm our
att|tudo. 3o, °||borato' moans to bo ro|oasod trom tho do|us|on ot |mag|n|ng |||us|ons
to bo roa|. 3ut cruc|a||y, wo havo to woot to bo ||boratod, wo havo to woot to bocomo
on||ghtonod. And |t |s on|y onco wo dovo|op a gonu|no |ong|ng tor on||ghtonmont that,
a|most automat|ca||y, wo start to |oarn how oot to woot to bo amb|t|ous |n a wor|d|y
sonso. 3uch a |ong|ng |s not oasy to gonorato, but w|thout |t, to stop a|m|oss|y onto tho
sp|r|tua| path wou|d bo uttor|y po|nt|oss.
V||||ons ot poop|o |n th|s wor|d aro |ntorostod |n somo vors|on ot mod|tat|on, or
yoga, or ono ot tho many so-ca||od sp|r|tua| act|v|t|os that aro now so w|do|y
markotod. A c|osor |ook at why poop|o ongago |n thoso pract|sos rovoa|s an a|m that
has ||tt|o to do w|th ||borat|on trom do|us|on, and ovoryth|ng do to w|th tho|r
dosporat|on to oscapo busy, unhappy ||vos, and hoart-to|t |ong|ng tor a hoa|thy, stross-
troo, happy ||to. A|| ot wh|ch aro romant|c |||us|ons.
3o, whoro do wo t|nd tho roots ot thoso |||us|ons? Va|n|y |n our hab|tua| pattorns
and tho|r ro|atod act|ons. Ot courso, no ono ot sound m|nd |mag|nos any ot us wou|d
w||||ng|y ||vo an |||us|on. 3ut wo aro contrary bo|ngs, and ovon though wo aro
conv|ncod wo wou|d shun a ||to bu||t on so|t-docopt|on, wo cont|nuo to ma|nta|n a
strong gr|p on tho hab|ts that aro tho causo ot count|oss do|us|ons. 3ma|| wondor tho
groat mastors ot tho past havo sa|d that a|though ovoryono |ongs to bo troo trom
suttor|ng, most ot us s|mp|y won't |ot go ot |t, and a|though no ono wants to suttor, wo
t|nd |t a|most |mposs|b|o not to bo attractod to samsara.
Continuoua Exiatonco

A sp|r|tua| path |s on|y |mportant to thoso who can accopt tho not|on ot tho cont|nuous
man|tostat|on ot phonomona trom past, prosont and tuturo ||vos. |or thoso unab|o to
bo||ovo and trust th|s truth, to to||ow such a path wou|d bo po|nt|oss.
1ho sutras ||kon ro|ncarnat|on to tho ro|at|onsh|p botwoon toachors and studonts. A
s|ng|ng toachor toachos studonts how to s|ng. ||s studonts |oarn tochn|quos and
bonot|t trom d|roct oxpor|ont|a| adv|co trom tho|r toachor. 3ut tho toachor doosn't
romovo a song trom h|s throat and |nsort |t |nto a studont's mouth. 3|m||ar|y,
ro|ncarnat|on |s a cont|nu|ty ot ovoryth|ng wo havo |oarnt, ||ko ||ght|ng ono cand|o trom
anothor, or a taco and |ts rot|oct|on |n a m|rror.
lt thoro woro no cont|nuous ox|stonco, |n othor words |t thoro woro no such th|ng as
ro|ncarnat|on and wo roa||y d|d on|y ||vo onco, |t, as many to||owors ot now-ago
sp|r|tua||ty suggost, ovoryono, trom a mounta|n yog| to a hood|o trom tho 3ronx or an
amb|t|ous low York bankor, moro|y bocamo ono w|th tho o|omonts whon thoy d|od,
what po|nt wou|d thoro bo |n pract|c|ng tho dharma or any othor k|nd ot sp|r|tua| path?
Why bothor s|tt|ng on a mod|tat|on cush|on tor hours on ond? Why rostra|n yourso|t
trom |ndu|g|ng |n a|| tho good th|ngs tho wor|d has to ottor? Why m|ss out on anyth|ng
at a||?
Wo pract|so tho dharma so wo can cut through tho ond|oss round ot cyc||c
ox|stonco. lt |t woro cut automat|ca||y at tho momont ot doath, why bothor to||ow|ng a
sp|r|tua| path? Wo mako a b|g tuss about 3hakyamun| hav|ng bocomo °on||ghtonod'
undor tho bodh| troo proc|so|y bocauso ho managod, t|na||y, to cut through tho
cont|nuous |||us|on ot b|rth and doath. lt |t happonod natura||y at doath, |t cyc||c
ox|stonco woro cut through tho momont a doctor turnod ott tho ||to support mach|nos,
what |s stopp|ng any ot us trom k||||ng ourso|vos th|s vory momont? Yot thoro aro
Wostornors c|a|m|ng to bo scho|ars and toachors, and protoss|ng to sook
on||ghtonmont, who ma|nta|n just that. Woro thoy to to||ow tho|r argumont to |ts |og|ca|
conc|us|on, thoy wou|d shoot thomso|vos |n tho hoad r|ght now!
|av|ng sa|d that, karma |s a|most synonymous w|th ro|ncarnat|on, and both aro
d|tt|cu|t to undorstand. 1o do so t|rst roqu|ros an undorstand|ng ot tho 3uddh|st
concopt ot shunyata (ompt|noss), at |oast on an |nto||octua| |ovo|.
Buddha Naturo: DovoIoµ Contidonco 1hat tho Worat Kind
ot Dirt Can Bo Waahod Away

1hoso ot us who tako to tho sp|r|tua| path shou|d try to |ook at our stubborn
dot||omonts |n tho samo way wo v|ow |ast n|ght's wash|ng up. |or a start, |t's a hugo
p||o and |ooks torr|ty|ng|y so||d and roa|. lt's oasy tor your mood to s|nk |nto oxtromo
hopo|ossnoss whon you cons|dor tho shoor s|zo ot your task and roa||so how uttor|y
|ncapab|o you aro ot doa||ng w|th |t. Yot, howovor pormanont|y tho |ott-ovor tood
appoars to havo comontod |tso|t to tho p|atos and cut|ory, a|ways romombor that as
soon as somo hot, soapy wator |s put to work, |t w||| a|| bo washod away, |oav|ng
ovoryth|ng c|oan and spark||ng. 3o, rathor than a||ow|ng appoarancos to ovorwho|m
you, romombor|ng that a|| tho d|rt can bo romovod w||| g|vo you cont|donco, and tho
who|o procoss ot to||ow|ng a path w||| bocomo a|most joytu|.
|oo||ngs ot aggross|on, joa|ousy and pr|do como and go, and a|though a|| our
omot|ona| statos and tho vory ||vos wo pass through aro |||usory and tomporary, wo
cont|nuo to mako tho m|stako ot bo||ov|ng thom to bo novor-ond|ng and pormanont.
lron|ca||y, as wo ta|| to soo through thoso do|us|ons, wo a|so m|ss tho ono ondur|ng
o|omont that has no oxp|ry dato: buddha naturo. Wo s|mp|y don't not|co |t, ovon though
|t |s so c|oso |t m|ght as wo|| bo r|ght |n tront ot our nosos. lnstoad, wo t|xato on
ovoryth|ng that doos not tru|y ox|st, ||ko tho aggrogatos that croato tho |||us|on ot °so|t,'
and m|stako tho causos ot suttor|ng, and ovon suttor|ng |tso|t, tor happ|noss. Wo aro
oxtromo|y sk|||od at construct|ng tho wob that b|nds us to samsar|c ||to, yot powor|oss
to d|smant|o |t, ovon |t wo wantod to-wh|ch wo don't.
|or oxamp|o, wo go to schoo| to oarn a qua||t|cat|on to got a job, not just to pay tho
b|||s but to strongthon our bo||ot |n tho stab|||ty ot our ox|stonco. Wo mako tr|onds, not
bocauso wo aro grogar|ous by naturo but so wo havo somoono to protoct and comtort
us whon wo too| |nsocuro and |ono|y. Wo got ongagod to mako our ro|at|onsh|p too|
moro so||d than moro dat|ng, thon marry |n tho hopo |t w||| mako us too| moro socuro.
1ho |c|ng on tho cako |s hav|ng ch||dron, bocauso ch||dron w||| t|na||y mako our tam||y
too| pormanont.
ln broador torms, wo promoto tho concopt ot domocracy as a mothod tor ach|ov|ng
troodom. Yot |n roa||ty |t |s just anothor cha|n that shack|os us to tho d|sastrous
doc|s|ons thoso wo voto |nto powor mako |n our namos, doc|s|ons that not on|y
undorm|no our country but wroak oconom|c and onv|ronmonta| havoc on tho rost ot tho
wor|d. 1hoso aro tho ways wo b|nd ourso|vos to samsara.
NindtuInoaa

1ho ProbIom: Diatraction

Vost ot us know that aggross|on |s a prob|om, as aro pr|do and joa|ousy, but tho truth
|s that o|| omotloos causo prob|oms ono way or anothor and oach has a d|st|nct|vo
charactor. °lass|on,' tor oxamp|o, |s stark|y d|ttoront trom °aggross|on.'
|undamonta||y, though, a|| omot|ons spr|ng trom ono bas|c sourco, d|stract|on. What
|s °d|stract|on'? C|oar|y, |t |s not moro|y tho sound ot a cha|nsaw t|r|ng up or b|ar|ng
3o||ywood mus|c that |ntorrupts our mod|tat|on pract|so. On a moro protound |ovo|,
d|stract|on |s any ot tho omot|ona| rosponsos wo aro s|dotrackod by-tor oxamp|o,
hopo tor pra|so and toar ot b|amo, as wo|| as |ts moro subt|o man|tostat|ons, ||ko
bo|ng spacod-out, d|stractod, |ost |n thought or workod up.
1ho 5oIution: NindtuInoaa

3|nco our tundamonta| prob|om |s d|stract|on, |ts tundamonta| so|ut|on |s to bo m|ndtu|.
1horo aro an |nt|n|to numbor ot mothods tor dovo|op|ng m|ndtu|noss that a|| ta|| |nto
ono ot two catogor|os: shamatha or v|pashyana. 1ho po|nt ot shamatha pract|so |s to
mako m|nd ma||oab|o. 3ut a p||ant m|nd a|ono w||| not uproot samsara comp|oto|y, wo
a|so nood to soo tho truth, wh|ch |s why v|pashyana pract|so |s so cruc|a|.
Untortunato|y, though, m|ndtu|noss |s d|tt|cu|t, most|y bocauso wo |ack tho
onthus|asm to dovo|op |t, but a|so bocauso our hab|t ot |ong|ng tor d|stract|on |s both
doop|y |ngra|nod and oxtromo|y tonac|ous. lt |s thorotoro v|ta| tor a dharma pract|t|onor
to dovo|op ronunc|at|on m|nd and to rocogn|zo tho dotocts ot samsara, both ot wh|ch
||o at tho coro ot tho 3uddh|st approach to tra|n|ng tho m|nd.
1ho mastors ot tho past suggost wo shou|d constant|y rom|nd ourso|vos about: tho
|mm|nonco ot doath, tho tut|||ty ot our wor|d|y act|v|t|os, and tho worst nows ot a||, that
thoro |s no ond to samsara's suttor|ngs. 1ust |ook around you and you w||| soo that tho
wor|d novor coasos to churn out moro and moro ot tho samo th|ng, and that tho rosu|t
|s unrom|tt|ng pa|n and unboarab|o suttor|ng. lt's no surpr|so, thon, as tho groat
mastors havo po|ntod out, that to ma|nta|n m|ndtu|noss tor as |ong as |t takos to dr|nk
a cup ot toa accumu|atos moro mor|t than yoars ot pract|c|ng gonoros|ty, d|sc|p||no
and ascot|c|sm.
DiaciµIino, Noditation and Wiadom

1amgön Kongtru| lodrö 1ayo wroto that ho asp|rod to accomp||sh tho vast and |nt|n|to
act|v|t|os ot a bodh|sattva on h|s own, w|thout hav|ng to doa| w|th sycophant|c
sorvants, or subduo onom|os, or onduro tho burdon ot many tr|ondsh|ps, and ho
prayod, °Vay l roma|n |n |so|at|on and tamo my m|nd.'
1ho °tam|ng tho m|nd' Kongtru| l|npocho rotors to |s catogor|zod |n 3uddha
3hakyamun|'s toach|ngs as tho throo h|ghor tra|n|ngs |n d|sc|p||no, ono-po|ntod
concontrat|on and w|sdom, and aro oxco||ont mothods tor protoct|ng ourso|vos
aga|nst Vara's t|vo arrows. 1ho sutras to|| us that Vara (3uddh|sm's °dov||') |s a tr|cky
charactor and an oxport archor. 1o avo|d stray|ng |nto tho s|ghts ot ono ot h|s t|vo
arrows roqu|ros tromondous ottort bocauso oach ono |s tra|nod on our most
vu|norab|o spots.

1ho t|rst ot Vara's arrows |s a|mod at thoso who too| groat prloo |n tho|r
accomp||shmonts or |n tho|r mator|a| or sp|r|tua| woa|th.
1ho socond |s a|mod at thoso who aro lgooroot bocauso thoy havo no |doa
wh|ch act|v|t|os and att|tudos nood to bo abandonod and wh|ch adoptod.
1ho th|rd |s d|roctod at thoso w|th wroog vlows, such as not bo||ov|ng |n causo,
cond|t|on and ottoct.
1ho tourth |s t|xod on thoso whoso íorgotío|ooss cont|nua||y d|stracts thom trom
m|ndtu|noss.
1ho t|tth str|kos thoso olstroctoo by tho o|ght wor|d|y dharmas.

As pract|t|onors, |t |s bost not to advort|so our woaknossos or oxposo thom as
targots tor Vara's arrows, so wo must |oarn to protoct ourso|vos, o|thor by woar|ng
armour or c|ovor|y camout|ag|ng ourso|vos w|th:

1. olsclp|loo, to contrad|ct and unsott|o our omot|ons,
2. mooltotloo, to subduo our omot|ons so thoy do not |oap out ot contro| tho
momont thoy aro arousod, and
8. wlsoom to uproot a|| omot|on.


1ra|n|ng |n d|sc|p||no pur|t|os wrongdo|ng and wrong th|nk|ng, tra|n|ng |n mod|tat|on
stab|||zos r|ght v|ow, r|ght mot|vat|on and r|ght act|on, and tra|n|ng |n w|sdom ||boratos
us trom tho root ot |gnoranco.
Woro wo to oxam|no dur|ng tho courso ot a s|ng|o day a|| tho d|ttoront omot|ons that
ar|so |n ono porson's m|nd, wo wou|d got an |nk||ng ot tho un|mag|nab|o quant|ty and
var|oty ot omot|ons |t |s poss|b|o tor sont|ont bo|ngs to too|. 1ho 3uddha has prov|dod
us w|th an ant|doto or tra|n|ng tor ovory ono ot thoso omot|ons. |or thoso who want to
oscapo suttor|ng, ho taught tho shravakayana, and tor thoso who |ong to oscapo tho
oxtromos ot samsar|c ||to, havo no |ntorost |n n|rvana and |nstoad chor|sh tho w|sh to
ho|p a|| sont|ont bo|ngs bocomo tru|y happy, ho taught tho bodh|sattvayana. 3oth
thoso voh|c|os (yanas) aro comp|oto paths that u|t|mato|y |oad to ||borat|on trom
do|us|on.
2

1ho CauaaI and tho RoauItant Patha

Whorovor and whonovor 3uddha taught, h|s aud|onco was a|ways mado up ot a w|do
var|oty ot poop|o whoso |nd|v|dua| capac|t|os, protoroncos and porsona||t|os |od oach
ot thom to ||ston to and hoar h|s toach|ngs qu|to d|ttoront|y. And so, a|though 3uddha
h|mso|t d|d not sot out to croato tho soparato schoo|s and trad|t|ons that now ox|st
w|th|n 3uddhadharma, as t|mo wont on, a mu|t|tudo ot voh|c|os tor h|s toach|ngs
bogan to ovo|vo. Evontua||y, to s|mp||ty th|ngs, scho|ars ot tho past bogan to
catogor|zo thoso voh|c|os, and ono ot tho catogor|zat|ons thoy camo up w|th d|v|dos
tho toach|ngs |nto two: tho °causa|' path and tho °rosu|tant' path.
1ho CauaaI Path

|ow much ot tho 3uddha's toach|ngs wo undorstand doponds ont|ro|y upon our
att|tudo and capac|ty, and tor tho major|ty ot us, tho |doa ot tho °rosu|t' ot pract|so |s
batt||ng. 1o oncourago us-and a|| thoso who can on|y absorb tho vaguost |nto||octua|
|mpross|on ot tho ottoct ot sp|r|tua| pract|so-3uddha taught tho causo-dr|von paths,
such as tho shravakayana, pratyokabuddhayana and bodh|sattvayana, wh|ch
d|agnoso our symptoms and rocommond tho app||cat|on ot appropr|ato romod|os.
Accord|ng to tho shravakayana and pratyokabuddhayana, tho °truth ot suttor|ng' |s
that tho ord|nary, samsar|c wor|d |s |mpuro, and thorotoro tho |og|ca| th|ng tor sp|r|tua|
sookors to do |s to try to oscapo |t. ln add|t|on, tho bodh|sattvayana toachos that
samsara |s |mportoct on a ro|at|vo |ovo|, but po|nts out that u|t|mato|y |ts naturo |s
ompty. 3o, rathor than putt|ng a|| h|s onorgy |nto avo|d|ng samsara, a bodh|sattva |s
adv|sod to tocus on pract|sos ||ko tho bodh|ch|tta ot asp|rat|on and to so|zo ovory
opportun|ty to ho|p sont|ont bo|ngs, ovon |t |t moans jump|ng |nto tho th|ck ot samsar|c
||to, ||ko a swan d|v|ng |nto tho muddy dopths ot a |otus pond.
1ho RoauItant Path

Othor pract|t|onors aro ab|o to grasp |nconco|vab|o |doas and bo||ovo |n |ncrod|b|o
roa||t|os. 1hoy aro couragoous, audac|ous and raro|y roproach thomso|vos tor th|nk|ng
and act|ng outs|do tho box. |or thom tho rosu|tant path |s moro appropr|ato, as |t
|nc|udos rosu|t-dr|von act|v|t|os, ||ko wash|ng up attor broaktast.
As wo havo a|roady soon, whon you wash your coroa| bow| ovory day, you know that
howovor stuck tho dr|od-out muos|| may appoar to bo, tho tact tho bow| was c|oan
botoro you startod broaktast must moan |t |s poss|b|o tor |t to bocomo c|oan aga|n
onco you havo oaton. You aro thorotoro cont|dont that tho d|rt |s tomporary and onco |t
has boon washod away, a tundamonta||y c|oan bow| w||| bo rovoa|od. 1h|s |s why
wash|ng d|shos |s doscr|bod as a rosu|t-dr|von act|v|ty.
What, thon, doos °bo||ovo |n |ncrod|b|o roa||t|os' moan? 1ho loroko Oo|po 7ootro
sums |t up qu|to noat|y: on tho causa| path sont|ont bo|ngs aro sa|d to havo tho
potootlo| to bocomo buddhas, whoroas on tho rosu|tant path thoy a|roady oro
buddhas. lovortho|oss, |mag|no your roact|on to somoono who |ns|sts that not on|y
aro you a buddha, but that ovory othor sont|ont bo|ng |s too. Wou|d you bo||ovo thom?
lt you th|nk you wou|d, you shou|d know that your porspoct|vo |s o|thor naïvo and now-
agoy, or at bost, you bo||ovo tho othor porson has oxtromo|y puro porcopt|on-wh|ch,
as a just|t|cat|on tor °bo||ot,' |s a b|t th|n. ln tact, tho on|y way to dovo|op a gonu|no
undorstand|ng that wo aro a|| buddhas |s by to||ow|ng tho vajrayana path.
1ho Path |a tho CoaI

1hoorot|ca||y trom tho vory bog|nn|ng, pract|t|onors ot tho rosu|tant path app|y, or at
|oast |mag|no thoy aro app|y|ng, mothods that un|to °causo' and °rosu|t.' |oro,
°|mag|no' moans that a|though you appoar to bo work|ng w|th tho cooso ot your
on||ghtonmont, you aro a|roady p|ctur|ng tho roso|t, wh|ch |s on||ghtonmont |tso|t. 1ako
cook|ng an ogg as an oxamp|o. An ord|nary ogg |ooks ||ko an ogg, not an omo|otto.
3ut |t you |ntond to mako an omo|otto, you w||| a|roady havo a p|cturo ot |t |n your m|nd,
and ovon though uncookod oggs |ook noth|ng ||ko omo|ottos, bocauso you havo
v|sua||sod how you want tho oggs to |ook whon cookod, tho rosu|t w||| bo an omo|otto.
1h|s |s an oxamp|o ot tho rosu|t bo|ng tho path and |s a mothod that torcos tho causo
to maturo moro qu|ck|y.
Anothor oxamp|o |s that a|though m||k, wh|ch |s ||qu|d, |ooks noth|ng ||ko a so||d pat
ot buttor, onco |t has boon transtormod us|ng tho vory s|mp|o but dynam|c mothod ot
churn|ng, ovon though |t has takon on a d|ttoront torm, |t |s st||| m||k. 3|m||ar|y, wator
and |co |ook comp|oto|y d|ttoront, but ossont|a||y both aro wator.
Ono ot th|s mothod's |nt|n|to numbor ot bonot|ts |s that |t prov|dos studonts w|th an
|ncont|vo to pract|so and |nst|||s |n thom tho cont|donco and undorstand|ng that tho
potb ls tbo goo|.
1hat Which Binda 5amaaric Boinga Can aIao Liborato
1hom

ln tho tantr|c toxts wo aro to|d that d|scurs|vo thoughts can on|y bo ovorcomo by
d|scurs|vo thoughts, and cyc||c ox|stonco can on|y bo d|smant|od by cyc||c ox|stonco.
1ho groat 3araha a|so po|ntod out that what b|nds tho too| ||boratos tho w|so.
|o||owors ot tho dharma who |ack tho oponnoss and guts to grasp th|s truth w||| t|nd
tho|r sp|r|tua| path to bo |ong-w|ndod, tho mothods ava||ab|o ||m|tod and tho journoy
d|tt|cu|t and pon|tont|a|.
At tho samo t|mo, don't k|d yourso|t that you havo tho supor|or tacu|t|os and
capac|ty nocossary to onab|o you to app|y tho vajrayana's oxtraord|nary mothods
oxc|us|vo|y. l|ght trom tho bog|nn|ng, groat mastors ot tho past havo warnod us ovor
and ovor aga|n that a|though wo must a|m to pract|so tho rosu|tant path, wo shou|d
novor |mag|no ourso|vos to bo abovo tho causa| paths ot tho shravakayana and
bodh|sattvayana. Outward|y wo shou|d pract|so tho shravakayana, |nward|y tho
bodh|sattvayana and socrot|y tho vajrayana.
1o pract|so |n th|s way br|ngs onormous bonot|t. |or oxamp|o, bo|ng soon to
pract|so tho shravakayana may |nsp|ro othors to start pract|c|ng too, and oncourago
thom to |nc|udo |n tho|r pract|so ronunc|at|on, hum|||ty and s|mp||c|ty. 3y pract|c|ng tho
bodh|sattvayana, |nward|y your courago and compass|on w||| bo strongthonod and
you w||| a|so avo|d tho s|do ottoct ot bocom|ng pompous. 3y koop|ng your vajrayana
pract|so socrot, you w||| savo othors trom mak|ng hasty judgmonts or bo|ng
scanda||zod by |ts mothods, and avo|d any ot tho subsoquont nogat|vo consoquoncos
that so otton tarn|sh tho roputat|on ot tantra.
1hoso who aro not roady tor tantrayana yot ostontat|ous|y oxh|b|t thomso|vos as
tantr|c pract|t|onors not on|y ru|n tho|r own sp|r|tua| path, thoy a|so shut tho door ot
|nsp|rat|on to othors. A|though human bo|ngs may attompt to v|sua||so po|son as
mod|c|no botoro consum|ng |t, thoso who try but |ack tho poacock's capac|ty tor
troosíormlog tho po|son w||| d|o. Attor a||, thoro must bo a good roason why
3hakyamun| 3uddha choso to appoar sorono, robod and barotoot |n th|s wor|d
|nstoad ot opt|ng tor h|s r|ch|y ornamontod sambhogakaya man|tostat|on w|th |ts
sp|ond|d pa|acos and |argo rot|nuos.
uaing 1hia PhyaicaI Body aa a Path

1ho path ot tho shravakayana pract|t|onor |s ono ot d|sc|p||no. |or oxamp|o, ho |oarns
to d|sc|p||no h|s phys|ca| body through a var|oty ot pract|sos, trom rotra|n|ng trom
soxua| m|sconduct and shav|ng h|s hoad, to s|tt|ng stra|ght whon ho mod|tatos,
contro|||ng h|s broath|ng by concontrat|ng ono-po|ntod|y on tho out and |n broaths and
broath|ng through h|s noso.
|o||owors ot tho path ot a bodh|sattva a|so uso tho body to |oarn d|sc|p||no, and |n
add|t|on thoy uso |t to portorm compass|onato act|v|t|os. |or a bodh|sattva, tho body
|s qu|to a usotu| gadgot, at |oast tor tho t|mo bo|ng, a|though |ts torm, o|omonts,
tunct|on and noods aro not cons|dorod |nd|spons|b|o too|s tor pract|so as thoy aro |n
tho vajrayana. ln tact, tho bodh|sattvayana otton rogards tho body as a burdon. As
3hant|dova wroto,

lt sorvants who cannot bo sot to work
Aro not rowardod w|th supp||os and c|oth|ng,
Why do you susta|n w|th such groat pa|ns
1h|s body, wh|ch, though nour|shod, w||| abandon you?
3o pay th|s body duo romunorat|on,
And thon bo suro to mako |t work tor you.
3ut do not |av|sh ovoryth|ng
On what w||| not br|ng portoct bonot|t.
logard your body as a vosso|,
A s|mp|o boat tor go|ng horo and thoro.
Vako ot |t a th|ng that answors ovory w|sh
1o br|ng about tho bonot|t ot bo|ngs.
1

1ho att|tudo ot vajrayana pract|t|onors to tho phys|ca| body |s qu|to d|ttoront to tho
othor two yanas. 1ho voh|c|os ot tho causa| path v|ow tho body as somoth|ng wo aro
stuck w|th, whoroas tho vajrayana promotos |t as our most oas||y accoss|b|o a|d.
1ho w|sdom and sk||tu| moans tound |n tho bodh|sattvayana a||ow tor tar groator
uso ot tho phys|ca| body than tho oqu|va|ont mothods ottorod by tho shravakayana.
Wondortu| stor|os aro to|d ot bodh|sattvas who so|t|oss|y ottorod tho|r phys|ca| bod|os
to ho|p othors, such as tho monk who sat|st|od a g|r| who was mad|y |n |ovo w|th h|m
ovon though ho was co||bato, or tho tamous story about tho 3uddha |n ono ot h|s |ast
||vos botoro atta|n|ng on||ghtonmont, w||||ng|y surrondor|ng h|s own body to sat|sty tho
hungor ot a starv|ng t|gor and hor cubs.
lot on|y |s tho body usod by vajrayana pract|t|onors to sorvo othors, |t a|so p|ays a
s|gn|t|cant ro|o |n mod|tat|on pract|so. |or oxamp|o, to onhanco tho|r pract|so,
pract|t|onors mako var|ous gosturos (mudras), danco and ongago |n tho vory ord|nary
act|v|t|os ot oat|ng and dr|nk|ng. l|ght trom tho start, vajrayana studonts aro taught
how to undorstand tho o|omonts and onorg|os ot tho body as jnana (w|sdom) and
kaya (do|ty) (thoso torms w||| bo d|scussod |ator |n th|s toxt), and that tho boundar|os
botwoon body and m|nd aro, |t not nonox|stont, vory sma|| |ndood. lt thorotoro makos
sonso tor thoso who want to tamo tho |nv|s|b|o, |ntang|b|o, unroachab|o abstract m|nd
to tako tho opportun|ty a|so to man|pu|ato tho body. And to do so can bo oxtromo|y
ho|ptu|. |or oxamp|o, |t you havo novor had a hoadacho and want to know what ono
too|s ||ko, you cou|d o|thor |mag|no |t or h|t yourso|t ovor tho hoad w|th a br|ck. 1ho t|rst
mothod m|ght tako a wh||o to portoct, and thoro |s no guarantoo that your |mag|nod
hoadacho w||| bo anyth|ng ||ko a roa| ono. 3ut tho socond mothod w||| undoubtod|y
rosu|t |n tho |mmod|ato and abso|uto|y authont|c oxpor|onco ot a hoadacho.
lord 3uddha taught thoso d|ttoront paths to onsuro that a|| potont|a| studonts wou|d
bo ab|o to t|nd toach|ngs appropr|ato to tho|r capac|t|os. 3ut no ono path |s moro
proc|ous or h|ghor than anothor. 1ho much too common att|tudo ot mahayana and
vajrayana studonts |s to |ook down on tho shravaka trad|t|ons. lt |s a d|sgust|ng
porspoct|vo, as |t downgrados tho 3uddha's own words to bo|ng somohow |owor than
tho othor voh|c|os. |ow can ono word spokon by tho 3uddha bo °h|ghor' or °|owor'
than anothor? lt can't! And as studonts ot 3uddhadharma, wo must asp|ro to put o||
tho toach|ngs ot tho 3uddha |nto pract|so, rogard|oss ot tho ||noago wo happon to bo
to||ow|ng.
A c|ass|c oxamp|o |s ot a man suttor|ng trom jaund|co who, as a rosu|t ot h|s |||noss,
porco|vos a wh|to conch to bo yo||ow. Ono |ntorprotat|on ma|nta|ns that what tho man
shou|d soo |s a wh|to conch, and that ho must thorotoro bo proscr|bod a mod|c|no that
w||| onsuro ho soos tho corroct co|our. 1ho mod|c|no, |n th|s caso, comos |n tho torm
ot tho sk||tu| moans ottorod by tho shravakayana, pratyokabuddhayana and
bodh|sattvayana.
A qu|to d|ttoront |ntorprotat|on, a|mod at thoso w|th a groator capac|ty tor
undorstand|ng, |s ottorod by tho vajrayana. 1ho co|our tho man porco|vos tho conch to
bo |s |rro|ovant, what mattors |s that, r|ght trom tho start, ho |s |ntroducod to tho roa||ty
that tho conch |s wh|to. |rom thon on, ovon though ho cont|nuos to soo a yo||ow conch,
ho w||| a|ways romombor that tho conch |s |nhoront|y wh|to. ln th|s caso, s|nco tho t|rst
th|ng studonts aro to|d |s that tho rosu|t ot tho|r curo w||| bo to soo a wh|to conch not a
yo||ow ono, tho vajrayana |s doscr|bod as a °rosu|tant voh|c|o.' 1h|s approach br|ngs
many studonts groat cont|donco and oaso on tho path.
lovortho|oss, hav|ng spont many ||tot|mos ro|ntorc|ng tho bo||ot that a conch |s
yo||ow, |t |s not oasy to accopt that tho samo conch |s actua||y wh|to. Whon l |ook at my
own hand and soo |ts crookod knuck|os, unovon t|ngors and battorod na||s, l know that
what l soo |s tho rosu|t ot my |gnoranco and bocauso l c||ng to my own |doa ot °so|t'-
bas|ca||y l am °|gnorant.' lt l woro not |gnorant, my hands wou|d |ook portoct. 3ut thon,
what |s a °portoct' hand? lt |t woro poss|b|o to doscr|bo, contomp|ato and |mag|no a
portoct hand, thon obv|ous|y |t wou|d not bo portoct, wh|ch |s why tho hardost part ot
th|s procoss |s to conv|nco ourso|vos that wo havo a|| a|ways boon portoct buddhas.
Wo tond on|y to bo||ovo what wo can soo, and what wo soo |s a|ways t||torod by our
porsona| porcopt|on. 1ako tho oxamp|o ot a man who |s a|roady oxtromo|y parano|d
about |mag|nary prob|oms and t|rm|y bo||ovos ho has ghost|y tonants ||v|ng |n h|s
cupboard. 1o to|| such a porson that tho ghosts aro a t|gmont ot h|s |mag|nat|on w|||
not ho|p h|m at a|| bocauso ho |s qu|to corta|n that ghosts ox|st. A tar |oss t|mo-
consum|ng and moro ott|c|ont approach wou|d bo to agroo sk||tu||y that |n a way h|s
parano|d do|us|on |s roa|, and thon ottor a mothod tor d|spo|||ng that do|us|on-such
as ca|||ng |n tho Ghostbustors!
Othor poop|o may havo tho capac|ty to soo th|ngs as thoy wou|d a ra|nbow, v|v|d|y,
ovon b|atant|y d|scorn|b|o, yot |n roa||ty thoy aro awaro that noth|ng |s actua||y thoro. 1o
th|s k|nd ot porson tho vajrayana oxp|a|ns that an ant|doto doos not |ook ||ko |ts
ant|thos|s, but |s |dont|ca| to tho prob|om |tso|t. 1h|s |s tho oppos|to ot how wo usua||y
th|nk: |t our prob|om |s b|ack, wo oxpoct tho ant|doto to bo wh|to, or |t tho prob|om |s a
ponc|| mark, tho ant|doto must bo an orasor. Yot tho most powortu| k|nd ot ant|doto
otton |ooks oxact|y ||ko tho prob|om |t sooks to roso|vo. As |t says |n tho tantr|c toxts,
tho bost mothod tor romov|ng wator trom your oar |s to t|ush |t out w|th yot moro wator.
8

|ntroduction to Ngöndro Practiao

°Ngöndro": A Nianomor?

Untortunato|y, tho moan|ng ot tho word ogoooro, °pro||m|nary,' |s a ||tt|o m|s|oad|ng
and otton m|s|ntorprotod. lract|t|onors tond to assumo that °pro||m|nary' |mp||os
ngöndro pract|so |s ||tt|o moro than a sor|os ot obstac|os thoy shou|d got out ot tho
way as qu|ck|y as poss|b|o. ln tho samo way that, hav|ng |oarnt to road, wo no |ongor
nood to th|nk about tho a|phabot, thoy |mag|no that onco thoy aro dono w|th ngöndro
accumu|at|ons, thoy w||| t|na||y bo ab|o to s|nk tho|r tooth |nto tho °roa|' pract|so. lt's a
shamo, bocauso a|though |t's truo that ngöndro |s a nocossary proroqu|s|to tor many
othor pract|sos, by undorva|u|ng |t wo |oso s|ght ot |ts truo moan|ng and purposo.
1ho ngöndro |s a sor|os ot pract|sos that |nvo|vo a groat doa| ot ropot|t|on. A
custom has grown up ot ropoat|ng oach o|omont at |oast ono hundrod thousand t|mos,
and thoro aro many vory spoc|t|c |nstruct|ons about how oach pract|so shou|d bo
carr|od out, wh|ch substancos and r|tua| |mp|omonts nood to bo gathorod, and how
ottor|ngs shou|d bo mado. Accumu|at|ng pract|sos |s an |mportant and usotu| mothod,
part|cu|ar|y tor |ackada|s|ca|, und|sc|p||nod poop|o ||ko mo, who t|nd hav|ng a prosot
goa| ho|ps ovorcomo |az|noss and ovontua||y ach|ovo somoth|ng worthwh||o-wh|ch |s
proc|so|y why such goa|s woro or|g|na||y sot. As pract|t|onors, wo shou|d oxp|o|t ovory
mothod ava||ab|o to try to d|sc|p||no ourso|vos, and tor thoso who aro ab|o to pract|so
|n rotroat, d|v|d|ng oach day |nto throo or tour soss|ons |s a|so an oxco||ont mothod.
latru| l|npocho to||s us that ngöndro |s tho toundat|on ot a|| vajrayana pract|so and
thorotoro ovon moro |mportant than tho so-ca||od °ma|n' pract|sos. lt ngöndro woro
just a passport to moro s|gn|t|cant pract|sos, groat mastors wou|d not bothor w|th |t
onco thoy had comp|otod tho roqu|s|to accumu|at|ons. 3ut thoy do, as l w|tnossod
porsona||y whon l spont t|mo w|th Kyabjo 0||go Khyontso dur|ng tho |attor part ot h|s
||to and saw h|m pract|so tho longchon ly|ngt|k lgöndro rogu|ar|y-wh|ch a|ono
domonstratos just how v|ta| a pract|so |t |s.
vajrasattva, manda|a ottor|ng and guru yoga aro a|| vajrayana mothods, wh||o
tak|ng rotugo and arous|ng bodh|ch|tta aro usua||y catogor|zod as shravakayana and
bodh|sattvayana pract|sos, rospoct|vo|y. Wh|ch ot thoso mothods do you th|nk |s
unnocossary? Wh|ch wou|d you |oavo out? 1ho answor, ot courso, |s nono. Each
pract|so |s oqua||y |mportant, bocauso ngöndro br|ngs togothor tho ossonco ot a||
voh|c|os |n a nutsho||, conta|ns ovoryth|ng that wo as pract|t|onors nood to work w|th,
and a|| that |s nocossary on tho sp|r|tua| path.
1ho 5tructuro ot tho Ngöndro

1ak|ng rotugo |s tho t|rst ot tho pro||m|nary pract|sos, and |ts purposo |s to d|vort us
trom tho wrong path and onto tho r|ght path. Onco sato|y on tho r|ght path, wo thon
d|roct ourso|vos trom tho |ossor path to tho groator path by arous|ng bodh|ch|tta,
wh|ch |s tho ombod|mont ot tho ont|ro bodh|sattvayana path. 3ut botoro wo pour tho
noctar ot dharma |nto tho conta|nor ot our body, spooch and m|nd, |t must t|rst bo
c|oansod and pur|t|od through tho pract|so ot v|sua||z|ng our guru as vajrasattva. 1hon
to onr|ch ourso|vos w|th tho ab|||ty to undorstand and ma|nta|n tho pract|so, not |oast to
comp|oto |t, wo must accumu|ato an un|mag|nab|o amount ot mor|t, and so wo ottor
tho manda|a. And t|na||y, guru yoga. 1ho on|y way to ach|ovo ||borat|on qu|ck|y |s to
roa||so tho naturo ot m|nd, and such a roa||sat|on can on|y bo accomp||shod by m|nd
|tso|t. As our m|nds aro curront|y so r|g|d, d|stractod and contusod, thoy nood tra|n|ng,
but to to||ow tho moro gonora| mothods takos aoons and just to arouso tho nocossary
onthus|asm to ombark on such a |ong path roqu|ros |mmonso ottort. 3o, tor thoso
|mpat|ont to roa||so tho naturo ot tho|r m|nd th|s ||tot|mo, tho on|y tru|y ottoct|vo mothod
ava||ab|o |s to roco|vo tho b|oss|ngs ot tho guru, and th|s |s why wo pract|so tho most
protound ot a|| paths, guru yoga.
A Fow Worda ot Advico Botoro You Bogin

Pationco: You WiII Nako Niatakoa

l otton to|| pract|t|onors, ospoc|a||y bog|nnors, that no ono can |oarn ovoryth|ng thoro |s
to know about how to do tho ngöndro corroct|y and tboo start to pract|so. lt |s on|y
poss|b|o to know ovoryth|ng, |nc|ud|ng how to portorm a|| tho r|tua|s corroct|y, onco tho
pract|so has boon comp|otod and tu||y accomp||shod. lnov|tab|y, thorotoro, you w|||
constant|y mako m|stakos, |argo and sma||, and |t |s through thoso m|stakos that you
|oarn. lo |anguago studont |mag|nos thoy can |oarn tho ont|ro vocabu|ary and
grammar ot a now |anguago |n ono go, thon |mmod|ato|y spoak |t portoct|y. Wo p|ck
up |anguago as wo go a|ong, mako m|stakos, stumb|o ovor words horo and thoro and
|mprov|so. Evontua||y, though, ovoryth|ng comos togothor and suddon|y wo t|nd wo aro
t|uont. 0harma pract|so to||ows a s|m||ar pattorn, and most ot what wo |oarn comos to
us through tho m|stakos wo mako as wo pract|so.
3oar |n m|nd that botwoon start|ng to pract|so and tho ach|ovomont ot your t|rst roa|
tasto ot dharma w||| bo a |ongthy por|od ot |ntonso ottort. 3ut onco you havo
oxpor|oncod that t|rst tasto, you w||| bo ab|o to pract|so |n ovory s|tuat|on, |n a|| tho
cornors ot tho wor|d and w|th ovory conco|vab|o k|nd ot porson. And not on|y w||| you
ro|ax |n yourso|t, but you w||| no |ongor s|t |n judgmont on othors tor not pract|c|ng
°propor|y.'
Aaking Ouoationa


Vodorn pract|t|onors too| tho nood to ask tho most dota||od quost|ons ovor and ovor
aga|n, but |t's roa||y not nocossary, ospoc|a||y s|nco tho vast major|ty ot tho so-ca||od
prob|oms pract|t|onors th|nk up aro baro|y prob|oms at a||. lamas who |ack courago
tond to too| prossurod |nto rospond|ng to such quost|ons and work hard to como up
w|th |mpross|vo-sound|ng rosponsos. 1ho|r studonts dut|tu||y wr|to down ovory word
thoy uttor, thon roturn tho noxt day w|th a now prob|om that |ooks a|most oxact|y tho
samo as tho o|d ono.
1ho ma|n roason wo roco|vo toach|ngs |s t|rst to contomp|ato thom and thon to put
thom |nto pract|so, and quost|ons about whon to oat, or whothor |t |s bottor to pract|so
|n tho morn|ng or ovon|ng, do not nood to bo askod ovory t|mo you start a now
pract|so. 1hoso days, though, ask|ng too many quost|ons has bocomo yot anothor
rathor soph|st|catod torm ot |az|noss. lt's as |t you want somoono o|so to do |t a|| tor
you: pract|so, answor your quost|ons, mako tho nocossary arrangomonts and t|x |t so
that a|| you havo to do |s oxpor|onco roa||sat|on.
ln tho caso ot thoso who want to do a ngöndro rotroat, tho |nstruct|ons about how to
pract|so oach soct|on ot tho ngöndro aro tho samo as thoso tor da||y pract|so, and so
you w||| nood no moro |ntormat|on than appoars |n thoso pagos.
1ho PIaco and 1imo to Practiao

lt doosn't mattor wboro you pract|so, so try not to bo too tussy. lt you aro, you r|sk
oxpond|ng a|| your t|mo and onorgy on croat|ng, |n m|nuto dota||, tho r|ght cond|t|ons
tor pract|so and |oavo no t|mo at a|| tor tho pract|so |tso|t.
1ho groat longchonpa sa|d that |t |s ro|at|vo|y oasy to pac|ty monta| du||noss on
mounta|ntops, whoro our m|nds aro natura||y c|oaror, so |t you aro ovor ottorod tho
opportun|ty to spond t|mo |n tho mounta|ns and havo roco|vod toach|ngs on pract|sos
ro|atod to v|sua||sat|on, shamatha and v|pashyana, thoso aro tho pract|sos you shou|d
do. |o a|so sa|d that to contomp|ato |mpormanonco |n rocky p|acos |s vory bonot|c|a|,
as |t ho|ps a sonso ot sadnoss about tho suttor|ngs ot samsar|c ||to to ar|so |n our
m|nds. 1horotoro cavos aro good p|acos to pract|so both v|pashyana and shamatha
mod|tat|on. 1o s|t by runn|ng wator |s sa|d to dovo|op a sonso ot urgoncy about
pract|so that oncouragos ronunc|at|on and a rovu|s|on tor samsara, and to pract|so |n
comotor|os br|ngs many b|oss|ngs and groat accomp||shmont vory qu|ck|y.
3o, |t |t |s oasy tor you to pract|so |n a cavo or by a r|vor or |n a comotory, by a||
moans to||ow longchonpa's adv|co, but |t not, thoro |s no nood to wasto t|mo try|ng.
1ho most cruc|a| proroqu|s|to tor tho pract|so ot dharma |s comp|oto |so|at|on
bocauso whon wo aro a|ono, wo aro subjoct to towor d|stract|ons, croat|ng tho portoct
cond|t|ons tor sadnoss to grow |n our m|nds. |or thoso who know how to uso |t,
sadnoss |s a tort||o ground trom wh|ch a|| k|nds ot bonot|c|a| thoughts can spr|ng w|th
vory ||tt|o ottort. 1|gmo l|ngpa doscr|bod sadnoss as ono ot tho most |nva|uab|o k|nds
ot nob|o woa|th, and |n tho sutras 3uddha ha||od sadnoss as tho tra||b|azor tor a||
subsoquont good qua||t|os.
W|th sadnoss comos trust and dovot|on, wh|ch, onco dovo|opod, moan tho
pract|sos ot shamatha and v|pashyana roqu|ro vory ||tt|o ottort. 3hamatha pract|so
onsuros that m|nd bocomos ma||oab|o and workab|o, and a t|ox|b|o m|nd makos
v|pashyana ro|at|vo|y oasy to accomp||sh. As tho 3uddha sa|d to tho gathor|ng ot
monks dur|ng h|s toach|ngs on tho v|naya, d|sc|p||no ho|ps us ma|nta|n samadh|,
bocom|ng accustomod to samadh| |ongthons our por|ods ot sobr|oty, and sobr|oty |s
nono othor than w|sdom. |av|ng roa||sod w|sdom, wo aro no |ongor bound by dos|ro,
angor and |gnoranco, and aro ab|o to porco|vo a|| phonomona as thoy tru|y aro.
1hoso days, though, just to t|nd tho t|mo to bo ont|ro|y a|ono to pract|so can bo
oxtromo|y prob|omat|c, ospoc|a||y tor thoso w|th tam|||os, and so to organ|zo tho |doa|
p|aco wou|d bo an un|mag|nab|o |uxury. 3o koop |t s|mp|o and do your bost to bo
comp|oto|y a|ono tor an hour or two ovory day. As 1|gmo l|ngpa sa|d, tho groatost
mor|t ot a|| |s to bo ab|o to roma|n a|ono and do noth|ng but pract|so tho dharma, ovon
an ottor|ng ot tho ont|ro wor|d and ovoryth|ng |n |t wou|d not bo onough to mor|t tho
chanco ot pract|c|ng |n |so|at|on. |o a|so sa|d |t |s on|y poss|b|o to soo tho t|aws ot
samsara and tho bonot|ts ot n|rvana |n so||tudo. 3o pray trom tho bottom ot your hoart
that ono day you w||| oncountor such an opportun|ty.
Anothor vory good roason tor roma|n|ng a|ono |s that |t |s so raro to moot unb|asod
poop|o who comp||mont tho dharma and harbor no onvy.
lt wo st||| t|nd |t d|tt|cu|t to croato both tho opportun|ty and tho r|ght cond|t|ons to ||vo
a so||tary ||to, at tho vory |oast wo can try to sot our m|nd apart trom contus|on. As
Kongtru| l|npocho sa|d, ot a|| oxpor|oncos ot |so|at|on, tho sogrogat|on ot m|nd trom
contus|on |s tho supromo rotroat, tho supromo so||tudo, tho supromo|y soc|udod
p|aco. 3o, whon you t|nd yourso|t caught up |n a crowd, porhaps at a party or a tootba||
match, try, tor a tow momonts, not to bo |nvo|vod w|th what |s go|ng on around you.
You 8hould Bo Fruatratod

lract|c|ng dharma |s nocossar||y a trustrat|ng bus|noss. What pract|t|onors, ospoc|a||y
bog|nnors, otton ta|| to roa||so |s that trustrat|ons aro tho s|gnposts ot our succoss. An
oxasporat|ng |ack ot concontrat|on, dovot|on or |nsp|rat|on m|ght bo just what you
nood to mako tho oxtra ottort to tuno |n to your pract|so tu||y. A|tornat|vo|y, ot courso, |t
may topp|o you |n tho othor d|roct|on and stop you pract|c|ng a|togothor-a tomptat|on
you must ros|st at a|| costs. A|ways romombor, though, that trustrat|on w|th your
sp|r|tua| path |s otton an |nd|cat|on that you aro bocom|ng a gonu|no dharma
pract|t|onor.
Cood Daya and Bad Daya

1ho charactor ot our pract|so w||| chango dopond|ng on whothor wo aro |n rotroat or
pract|c|ng |n ovoryday ||to. As tho human const|tut|on |s |rrovocab|y bound to tho
constant|y chang|ng o|omonts that mako up tho un|vorso, human bo|ngs cou|d bo sa|d
to bo ||tt|o moro than by-products ot such |ntoract|ons. As a rosu|t, our phys|ca|
const|tut|on and m|nd aro porpotua||y chang|ng, ono day our mod|tat|on |s |nsp|r|ng
and oncourag|ng, bocauso wo can concontrato oas||y and v|sua||so c|oar|y, and tho
noxt a du||, trustrat|ng d|sastor. 3ut wo must not |ot thoso oxpor|oncos co|our our
oxpoctat|ons ot pract|so.
Whon pract|so goos wo||, try not to got ovoroxc|tod or uso that |ovo| ot concontrat|on
and |nsp|rat|on as a bonchmark tor a|| tuturo pract|so. 1so|o latsok langdrö| sa|d
that dharma pract|t|onors shou|d not bo ||ko tho ch||d who bocomos so oxc|tod |n a
p|ayground tu|| ot toys that sho |s unab|o to chooso ono to p|ay w|th and onds up do|ng
noth|ng at a||. Whon your pract|so goos bad|y, don't |ot |t undorm|no or orodo your
dotorm|nat|on. 1ho adv|co 1|gmo l|ngpa g|vos |s, whon suddon|y tacod w|th bad
c|rcumstancos and obstac|os, cons|dor thom a|| to bo tho compass|onato b|oss|ngs ot
tho guru and tho dharma, and tho rosu|t ot pract|so.
Our ||vos w||| bo st|rrod up by pract|so. Wo m|ght ovon attract obstac|os, ||ko
3hakyamun| 3uddha who attractod Vara's wrath |n tho hours botoro ho ach|ovod
on||ghtonmont. 0|tt|cu|t|os aro thorotoro a s|gn that your pract|so |s work|ng and
shou|d mako you happy.
1ho koy |s cons|stoncy. Otton what happons |s that |n tho hoat ot |nsp|rat|on
pract|t|onors ovordoso on pract|so, thon too| doop|y trustratod whon thoy ta|| to
oxpor|onco a good droam, or cannot concontrato propor|y or contro| tho|r tompor.
|av|ng gorgod thomso|vos on pract|so, thoy stop tor a tow months, and whon thoy
ovontua||y roturn to |t t|nd thoy aro r|ght back at squaro ono. At th|s rato, progross |s
vory s|ow. A tar bottor approach |s that ot tho torto|so. Each stop may soom to tako
torovor, but no mattor how un|nsp|rod you too|, cont|nuo to to||ow your pract|so
schodu|o proc|so|y and cons|stont|y. 1h|s |s how wo can uso our groatost onomy,
hab|t, aga|nst |tso|t. |ab|t c||ngs to us ||ko a b|oodsuck|ng |ooch, bocom|ng moro r|g|d
and stubborn by tho momont, and ovon |t wo manago to t||ck |t ott, wo aro st||| |ott w|th
an |tchy rom|ndor ot |ts ox|stonco. 3y bocom|ng accustomod to rogu|ar dharma
pract|so, though, wo uso our onomy aga|nst |tso|t by countor|ng our bad hab|ts w|th
tho good hab|t ot pract|so. And as 3hant|dova po|ntod out, noth|ng |s d|tt|cu|t onco you
got usod to |t.
5uµµorta tor Practiao

lt you havo somowhoro to ||vo, |t m|ght bo a good |doa to mako yourso|t a shr|no, and
a|though |t nood not bo o|aborato, a|ways |nc|udo a statuo ot tho 3uddha 3hakyamun|.
As lagarjuna mont|onod |n h|s Lottor to o lrlooo, ovon a woodon |mago ot tho
1athagata shou|d bo cons|dorod to bo tho 1athagata h|mso|t. longchonpa agrood.
|o sa|d that a|| |magos ot tho 3uddha shou|d bo thought ot as man|tostat|ons ot tho
3uddha. 1ust tho tact that a statuo has boon mado |n tho torm ot tho 3uddha moans |t
|s automat|ca||y b|ossod by h|m, and thorotoro proc|ous and not to bo m|stakon tor an
|nan|mato objoct. Otton, though, vajrayana studonts t||| tho|r shr|nos w|th |magos ot
vajrayana do|t|os and om|t tho 3uddha a|togothor, wh|ch makos |t hard to to|| whothor
thoy aro 3uddh|st at a||. Wh||o you pract|so ngöndro, |t m|ght ho|p to |nc|udo a
roprosontat|on ot tho t|o|d ot mor|t spoc|t|c to your pract|so |n tho torm ot a thangka, a
pa|nt|ng or a ||no draw|ng. And romombor that tho purposo ot a shr|no |s as a support
tor your pract|so, a rom|ndor ot tho 3uddha, tho dharma and tho sangha, and a
rom|ndor ot m|ndtu|noss.
3hr|nos shou|d bo |nsp|r|ng and c|oan, not ||ko a manto|p|oco p||od h|gh w|th don't-
know-what-to-do-w|th garbago. lhotos ot |amas can bo |nsp|r|ng, but romombor not
to t|aunt thom ||ko somo k|nd ot p|aquo or cort|t|cato as a way ot boast|ng about your
connoct|ons.
3uddha h|mso|t sa|d that |n tho tuturo ho w||| appoar as wr|t|ng on a pago, so wo
shou|d a|ways wash our hands botoro hand||ng sacrod toxts. Wo shou|d a|so a|ways
show tho groatost rospoct tor roprosontat|ons ot tho 3uddha whorovor thoy may bo,
noar or tar, up or down, and ono oxco||ont mothod |s to d|sc|p||no ourso|vos to bo
m|ndtu| about not stopp|ng ovor ho|y objocts such as dharma toxts and monks' robos.
lt |s a hab|t lnd|an mus|c|ans tormod m|||onn|a ago. 1hoy rovoro and pay homago to
tho|r |nstrumonts as a mattor ot courso, and wou|d novor th|nk ot stopp|ng ovor thom.
0harma toxts thoso days aro otton photocop|od rathor shodd||y. lovortho|oss, tho
words that appoar on thoso grubby pagos havo tho powor to ||borato us trom
do|us|on, and by mak|ng tho ottort not to stop on or ovor a toxt |n |tso|t accumu|atos a
groat doa| ot mor|t. As a rosu|t, tho noxt t|mo you road a dharma toxt, you w||| t|nd you
aro ab|o to undorstand tho words ot tho 3uddha ovon moro c|oar|y. And so, whon you
dod|cato tho mor|t ot your act|v|t|os towards tho on||ghtonmont ot a|| sont|ont bo|ngs,
a|ways add, °Vay a|| dharma pract|t|onors novor troad on tho|r dharma books.' lt may
roqu|ro a b|t ot rocond|t|on|ng, but |s a good hab|t to adopt.
4

Your 5µirituaI Warm-uµ

lt may bo d|tt|cu|t to accopt, but r|ght now, th|s vory momont, |s tho portoct t|mo tor you
to start pract|c|ng, rogard|oss ot tho many roasons you havo, good and bad, tor try|ng
to put |t ott. lorhaps you wou|d rathor wa|t unt|| you aro |oss busy at work, or w|n tho
|ottory, or got ovor your partnor |oav|ng you, but ||to w||| novor bo troo trom d|srupt|ons
and to wa|t tor th|ngs to sott|o down w||| moro|y onsuro that you novor, ovor tako tho
t|rst stop. 3o, no mattor how tumu|tuous your ||to, today, th|s vory momont, |s tho bost
t|mo tor you to start to pract|so, and horo aro a tow suggost|ons and roc|pos to ho|p
got you go|ng.
1ho Four Attitudoa ot Practitionora

1ho dovo|opmont ot thoso tour att|tudos |s strong|y rocommondod, ovon |t on|y on an
asp|rat|ona| |ovo|, as thoy ho|p tr|m tho dang||ng throads that so oas||y bocomo
ontang|od |n tho comp|ox trapp|ngs ot samsara.
1. 1ho Attitudo ot a Woundod Door

ln tho samo way a woundod door sooks so||tudo |n wh|ch to hoa|, t|nd an |so|atod spot
whoro you havo tho t|mo and spaco to pract|so.
2. 1ho Attitudo ot a Lion

3o as couragoous as a ||on and pay abso|uto|y no attont|on to d|tt|cu|t s|tuat|ons or
bad nows that, woro thoy to d|stract and suck you |n, wou|d on|y |oad to tar moro
sor|ous prob|oms |n tho tuturo.
8. 1ho Attitudo ot tho Wind

1ho w|nd |s |nd|scr|m|nato about whoro |t b|ows. ln tho samo way, do not try to
summon good c|rcumstancos or avo|d bad onos.
4. 1ho Attitudo ot tho Crazy

l|ko a crazy porson, harbour no protoronco tor or avors|on to any ot tho o|ght wor|d|y
dharmas, tor oxamp|o, caro noth|ng tor o|thor pra|so or cr|t|c|sm.

1otsün l|npocho 0rakpa Gya|tson ot tho 3akyapas sa|d that as |ong as wo roma|n
attachod to our bo|ong|ngs, houso and tam||y, wo w||| not ovon attompt to oxtr|cato
ourso|vos trom samsara. 1horotoro, wo shou|d bog|n by pract|c|ng goooroslty and
olsclp|loo.
Onco wo havo oscapod trom tho trap ot samsara, |t |s |mporat|vo that wo not ta||
back |nto |t. Otton, though, bodh|sattvas |oso hoart, bocauso tho count|oss sont|ont
bo|ngs thoy moot aro so oxhaust|ng and tho who|o procoss so d|sp|r|t|ng. Work|ng tor
tho bonot|t ot othors can too| ||ko sw|mm|ng, nakod and a|ono, across an |mmonso
ocoan, and just a g||mpso ot tho tar-d|stant, watory hor|zon |s d|shoarton|ng and
torr|b|y dopross|ng. lt th|s happons, a bodh|sattva w||| tako tar |ongor than |s nocossary
to dovo|op tho moro v|rtuous qua||t|os ot dovot|on, ronunc|at|on and not bo|ng
d|stractod, and th|s |s why wo nood to pract|so potlooco and ol|lgooco.
last|y, ovon whon a|| obstac|os havo boon vanqu|shod, wo can st||| ru|n ovoryth|ng |t
wo a||ow |gnoranco and d|stract|on to dom|nato our m|nd, and so wo pract|so
somoobl and wlsoom.
1ho 1hroo NobIo PrinciµIoa

1ho throo nob|o pr|nc|p|os aro |nd|spons|b|o to both bodh|sattvayana and vajrayana
pract|t|onors.
1. Arouao Bodhichitta

lo mattor wh|ch dharma pract|so you ongago |n, trom ngöndro to ottor|ng a s|ng|o
cand|o, a|ways do |t w|th tho |ntont|on that your pract|so w||| bonot|t a|| sont|ont bo|ngs.
ln th|s contoxt, °bonot|t' doos not on|y moan g|v|ng pract|ca| ho|p, such as ottor|ng tood
or mod|c|no, or tood|ng poop|o's omot|ons, ogos and do|us|ons. |oro, °bonot|t'
|nc|udos asp|r|ng to bo |nstrumonta| |n tho on||ghtonmont ot a|| sont|ont bo|ngs, w|thout
such an asp|rat|on, |t |s oasy tor dharma pract|so to bocomo so|t-sorv|ng. lt's v|ta|
a|ways to boar |n m|nd that wo pract|so tor tho sako ot a|| othor bo|ngs, and that tho
onorm|ty ot th|s asp|rat|on |s what makos dharma pract|so both oxtromo|y powortu|
and |noxhaust|b|o, v|rtua||y guarantoo|ng that tho rosu|t w||| bo |nt|n|to|y bonot|c|a|.
2. AµµIy tho Awaronoaa ot NonduaIity

Wh||o pract|c|ng or portorm|ng dharma act|v|t|os, wo must roma|n constant|y awaro
that ovoryth|ng wo do |s |||usory-or at |oast try to br|ng that thought to m|nd. lt wo pr|ck
our t|osh, our |og|ca| m|nd to||s us wo w||| too| pa|n. 1ho pa|n |tso|t w||| too| roa|
bocauso tho |doa that phonomona aro both so||d and tru|y ox|st|ng has an a|most
unbroakab|y strong ho|d on us. Wo must thorotoro try to got usod to tho not|on that
ovoryth|ng wo soo, do and th|nk |s an |ntorprotat|on croatod by our m|nd, wh|ch |tso|t |s
an |mportant stopp|ng-stono towards tho pract|so ot nondua||ty. And °gott|ng usod' to
|t moans rom|nd|ng ourso|vos about |t ovor and ovor aga|n. |or oxamp|o, whon your
knoos start to hurt as you accumu|ato prostrat|ons, rom|nd yourso|t that tho °l' |n °l am
do|ng prostrat|ons' and tho °my' |n °my knoos hurt' aro both m|nd-mado |||us|ons.
lomombor|ng ovoryth|ng you oxpor|onco |s croatod by m|nd |s a|so tho d|roct
ant|doto to pr|do and ogo, and onco |t bocomos socond naturo, you w||| no |ongor
c||ng to your dharma act|v|t|os. 1h|s doos not moan you w||| not pract|so. On tho
contrary, |n tho samo way somoono dy|ng ot th|rst cannot ros|st tak|ng |argo gu|ps ot
wator, onco you know ovoryth|ng |s an |||us|on, your on|y thoughts w||| bo about tho
dharma. Ot courso, tho dharma |tso|t |s tho ant|doto to ogo, but tor thoso who tako
pr|do |n bo|ng good pract|t|onors, dharma act|v|t|os can bo just anothor moans ot
boost|ng tho|r ogos. And th|s |s why |t |s so |mportant to romombor that abso|uto|y
ovoryth|ng wo oxpor|onco |s just a product ot m|nd, ovon |t |t's on|y tor t|vo m|nutos a
day.
1ho c|ass|c quost|on studonts otton ask at th|s po|nt |s, °lt ovoryth|ng l oxpor|onco |s
just a product ot my m|nd, |s thoro such a th|ng as 'accumu|at|ng mor|t'?' ln th|s
contoxt, tho concopt that mor|t o|thor ox|sts or doos not ox|st |s just anothor ot m|nd's
construct|ons.
At t|rst, |t may bo d|tt|cu|t to arouso tho mot|vat|on ot bodh|ch|tta and romombor
nondua||ty ovory t|mo you act. lt's a|so un||ko|y that you w||| |mmod|ato|y bo ab|o to
mod|tato on ompt|noss tor a who|o hour oach day. lnstoad, start by try|ng to romombor
that ovoryth|ng you soo and oxpor|onco |s moro|y tho product ot your own porcopt|on.
|owovor s|mp|o your dharma act|v|ty, tor oxamp|o ottor|ng a t|owor to your toachor,
romombor that a|though you accumu|ato mor|t by mak|ng tho ottor|ng, |n roa||ty tho
|doa ot accumu|at|ng mor|t |s |tso|t a croat|on ot your m|nd. At ovory opportun|ty, got
usod to tho thought that ovoryth|ng you porco|vo |s producod by m|nd and thoro |s no
such th|ng as a tru|y ox|st|ng °ho|y' act|v|ty.
1hoso roa||zat|ons w||| havo a protound ottoct on tho way you tunct|on, t|rst and
toromost bocauso thoy ro|oaso you trom tho consoquoncos ot dot||omonts ||ko pr|do
and joa|ousy. And whon your toachor throws tho t|owor you ottorod to tho ground
w|thout g|anc|ng at |t, you won't m|nd at a||.
8. Dodicato

A|ways conc|udo your pract|so by not on|y dod|cat|ng any mor|t you may havo atta|nod
towards your own wo||-bo|ng, but a|so tor tho bonot|t and on||ghtonmont ot a|| sont|ont
bo|ngs. And you don't havo to wa|t tor tho ond ot your pract|so soss|on to do |t, you
can dod|cato at any t|mo, tor oxamp|o attor ovory prostrat|on, so you can bo suro that
nono |s wastod. You can a|so dod|cato tho mor|t you may havo torgotton to dod|cato
|n a|| your past ||vos, by say|ng somoth|ng ||ko,

l dod|cato a|| tho mor|t l havo just accumu|atod,
A|| tho mor|t l havo no momory ot accumu|at|ng |n my past ||vos, and
A|| tho mor|t l w||| accumu|ato |n tho tuturo
1owards tho bonot|t and on||ghtonmont ot a|| sont|ont bo|ngs.

|owovor oxpor|oncod you aro as a dharma pract|t|onor, |t |s cruc|a| to boar |n m|nd
that tho on|y way to onsuro that a|| your act|ons, not just torma| sp|r|tua| pract|so, aro
bonot|c|a| tor yourso|t and othors |s by app|y|ng thoso throo nob|o pr|nc|p|os.

3o amb|t|ous about tho magn|tudo ot tho mot|vat|on you arouso. 0on't sott|o tor
s|mp|o k|ndnoss whon noth|ng |oss than tho tu||-t|odgod m|nd ot bodh|ch|tta |s what |s
noodod. Kyabjo 0udjom l|npocho sa|d that dharma pract|so |s roa||y not that d|tt|cu|t,
|t's a|| a mattor ot mot|vat|on. 3o novor torgot to arouso tho mot|vat|on ot want|ng to
br|ng a|| sont|ont bo|ngs to comp|oto on||ghtonmont. And tho moro magnan|mous your
mot|vat|on, tho moro mor|t you w||| accumu|ato, ovon whon a|| you do |s ||ght a cand|o.

lt you ||ght a cand|o moro|y as a docorat|on tor tho ||v|ng room, your mot|vat|on |s
that ot an ord|nary porson.
lt you ||ght |t w|th tho w|sh to accumu|ato mor|t and ovontua||y dostroy samsara,
you sharo tho att|tudo cu|t|vatod by shravakayana pract|t|onors.
1o ||ght tho cand|o w|th tho w|sh that any mor|t atta|nod bo dod|catod to tho
on||ghtonmont ot a|| sont|ont bo|ngs, your att|tudo |s tho samo as that ot
bodh|sattvayana pract|t|onors.
1o cons|dor tho cand|o to bo tho ||ght ot w|sdom that |||um|natos a|| sont|ont
bo|ngs, w|th tho asp|rat|on that whorovor |ts ||ght ta||s bocomos tho manda|a, |s
tho att|tudo ot a tantr|c pract|t|onor.

Vost ot tho t|mo, though, wo cannot soom to romombor thoso cruc|a| |nstruct|ons,
and whon wo do, putt|ng thom |nto pract|so otton bocomos unnocossar||y
comp||catod. l havo hoard many pract|t|onors thoso days say thoy want to do |ong
rotroats, or mako onormous ottor|ngs to tho|r toachor, or somo othor grand|oso
gosturo that w||| accumu|ato a groat doa| ot mor|t |n ono go. ln pract|so, howovor, thoy
havo no|thor tho t|mo nor tho rosourcos to do anyth|ng at a||. And, |ron|ca||y, such
gosturos aro roa||y not nocossary. A|| any ono ot us noods to do to accumu|ato a vast
troasury ot mor|t |s to soa| our ovory act|on w|th tho mot|vat|on ot bodh|ch|tta. 1hon, by
ottor|ng your toachor a s|ng|o t|owor, th|nk|ng, °Vay th|s ottor|ng u|t|mato|y bonot|t a||
sont|ont bo|ngs,' you w||| accumu|ato |mmoasurab|o mor|t. 0od|cat|on |s thorotoro an
oxtromo|y s|mp|o yot powortu| mothod tor accumu|at|ng mor|t. 3ad|y, tho major|ty ot
pract|t|onors soom to cons|dor |t too |ns|gn|t|cant a pract|so tor thom to not|co, wh|ch
|nd|catos thoy |ack tho mor|t to bo ab|o to undorstand tho protound powor ot
dod|cat|ng mor|t.
3o, thoso aro tho throo nob|o pr|nc|p|os. lt you can romombor to app|y thom to a||
your da||y act|v|t|os, you w||| qu|ck|y bocomo groat dharma pract|t|onor.
Cut tho Chain ot 1houghta

lt |s a good |doa to avo|d p|ung|ng |nto a pract|so soss|on w|thout hav|ng t|rst cut tho
cha|n ot thoughts. 3upposo you quarro| w|th your t|ancoo just botoro you start to
pract|so, w|th a m|nd tu|| ot thoughts and roact|ons to what just happonod, your ab|||ty
to concontrato w||| ovaporato. 3o, rathor than |mmod|ato|y opon|ng your pract|so
book, t|rst tako a tow momonts to cut that cha|n ot thoughts.
1horo aro count|oss mothods you can uso. |or oxamp|o, s|t qu|ot|y w|th your back
stra|ght and |ogs crossod |t |t's comtortab|o, or |n a cha|r |t you protor, and start to
pract|so. Evory t|mo a thought comos a|ong, rom|nd yourso|t about how raro and
proc|ous |t |s to havo boon born a human bo|ng, tho |mm|nonco and unprod|ctab|||ty ot
doath, tho torr|b|o suttor|ngs ot th|s ||to, tho karm|c consoquoncos ot your act|ons that
cannot bo avo|dod, and anyth|ng o|so you can th|nk ot that w||| ho|p dovo|op a sonso ot
ronunc|at|on tor wor|d|y ||to. 3r|ng thoso thoughts to m|nd ovor and ovor aga|n, and
ovon |t you on|y pract|so tor ton m|nutos a day, by dovot|ng two or throo to cutt|ng tho
cha|n ot thoughts, your m|nd w||| bo comp|oto|y transtormod.
DiaciµIino aa a Proµaration

lagarjuna sa|d that d|sc|p||no |s ||ko tho ground wo wa|k on, |t thoro woro no ground,
p|ant|ng t|owors and vogotab|os wou|d bo |mposs|b|o and thoro wou|d bo nowhoro to
put a tab|o. l|kow|so, d|sc|p||no |s tho ground, or toundat|on, tor a|| v|rtuous act|v|ty.
(Evon to mako a good osprosso roqu|ros a corta|n amount ot d|sc|p||no.) And to do
anyth|ng roa||y wo||, wo t|rst nood tho d|sc|p||no to |oarn tho ru|os and accoptod
pract|sos.
0opross|on |s ono ot tho b|ggost cha||ongos tacod by modorn poop|o. lt |s otton
tr|ggorod by bad hab|ts that aro tho rosu|t ot a |ack ot d|sc|p||no, such as
procrast|nat|ng ovor tak|ng out tho garbago, or |ong|ng to bo |azy, or hat|ng rout|no.
Woro doprossod poop|o to app|y a ||tt|o d|sc|p||no to tho|r ||vos, l too| suro that a hugo
chunk ot tho|r dopross|on wou|d s|mp|y d|sappoar. lmag|no, tor oxamp|o, that your
doctor puts you on a |ow-carbohydrato d|ot bocauso carbs proc|p|tato dopross|on. A
coup|o ot days |nto tho d|ot you spond an ovon|ng at an oxco||ont lta||an rostaurant w|th
tr|onds who ordor somo do||c|ous-|ook|ng pasta. You th|nk to yourso|t, °l havo on|y just
startod th|s d|ot, what harm can ono p|ato ot pasta do? l'|| mako |t my |ast ovor and
start tho d|ot tomorrow.' 3o you broak your d|sc|p||no and qu|ck|y s|nk |nto a post-
pasta dopross|on. 1h|s |s proc|so|y how a |ack ot d|sc|p||no gonoratos dopross|on.
Avo|d|ng carbohydratos |s an ord|nary, ovoryday k|nd ot d|sc|p||no, but othor, moro
oxtraord|nary d|sc|p||nos aro rogu|ar|y omp|oyod on tho sp|r|tua| path: co||bacy, tor
oxamp|o, shav|ng your hoad, or novor cutt|ng your ha|r, or gott|ng up at s|x A.V. ovory
day ovon though you aro not a morn|ng porson. Act|v|t|os you onjoy can a|so bo
doscr|bod as d|sc|p||nos, such as tak|ng a wa|k |n tho park ovory Wodnosday.
Whatovor tho act|v|ty, |t you ma|nta|n tho d|sc|p||no ot pract|c|ng |t rogu|ar|y, your m|nd
(tho storohouso ot hab|tua| pattorns) w||| bo provontod trom s|nk|ng |nto dopross|on
ovon whon you aro torcod to do th|ngs you don't onjoy. ln othor words, d|sc|p||no |s a
way ot onsur|ng that m|nd doos not bocomo spo||t.
3|nco avo|d|ng rout|no can rosu|t |n dopross|on, a |ack ot d|sc|p||no oar|y |n ||to
cou|d causo a groat many prob|oms |ator on. A ch||d who has bocomo accustomod to
bo|ng don|od noth|ng |s ||ko|y to grow |nto an unhappy adu|t s|mp|y bocauso ho has
novor |oarnt how to doa| w|th tho angor that ar|sos |n h|s und|sc|p||nod m|nd whon ho
doosn't got h|s own way, and tho a|most |nov|tab|o tompor tantrum that to||ows.
W|th|n tho contoxt ot ngöndro pract|so, |t takos d|sc|p||no to pract|so prostrat|ons. lt
may not bo poss|b|o tor you to do t|vo hundrod prostrat|ons a day, but ovoryono has
tho t|mo to do throo, t|vo, sovon or ton, and |t you a|so adopt tho d|sc|p||no ot count|ng
your prostrat|ons, you w||| not bo ab|o to avo|d ovontua||y comp|ot|ng ono hundrod
thousand, or porhaps ovon t|vo hundrod thousand. 0o boar |n m|nd, though, that
dharma pract|so |s not a raco to tho t|n|sh ||no ot comp|oto on||ghtonmont.
lract|t|onors tond to bo so|t-consc|ous about how many or how tow prostrat|ons
thoy havo accumu|atod, but thoy shou|d probab|y bo moro ombarrassod about how
much or how ||tt|o d|sc|p||no thoy havo. 1ry to d|sc|p||no yourso|t to pract|so ovory day
|nstoad ot just onco |n a wh||o, or pract|so tor ha|t an hour ovory day, |nstoad ot t|vo
m|nutos ono day and an hour tho noxt. Or try dross|ng up tor your pract|so to ho|p
mako |t a spoc|a| and |mportant ovont |n your day |nstoad ot craw||ng to your
mod|tat|on cush|on |n your pyjamas and ratt||ng ott your prayors parrot-tash|on, as |t
you woro bo|ng torcod to pay somo k|nd ot sp|r|tua| tax.
Romomboring tho Curu |a tho Boat Proµaration tor
Practiao

|or a vajrayana pract|t|onor, |t |s v|ta| to |oarn to th|nk constant|y about tho guru. lot
just tor tho sako ot tho |ntormat|on ho passos on to you as your sp|r|tua| |nstructor, but
moro |mportant|y bocauso to th|nk ot your guru |s to th|nk ot tho 3uddha. And
u|t|mato|y, br|ng|ng your guru to m|nd |s oxact|y tho samo as romombor|ng tho naturo
ot your m|nd.
Ono mothod to ho|p us romombor our guru |s to roc|to |nsp|r|ng prayors wr|tton by
groat mastors ot tho past-1amgön Kongtru| lodrö 1ayo's Crylog to tbo Ooro, otton
trans|atod as Co||log tbo Ooro írom Aíor, tor oxamp|o. lt you don't ||ko road|ng
prayors, a moro spontanoous approach |s to mako up your own |nvocat|on on tho
spot. 1horo |s no nood to worry about tho tochn|ca||t|os ot wr|t|ng °pootry,' or to too|
|nh|b|tod by your |ack ot o|oquonco. 1ho po|nt horo |s to to|| your toachor proc|so|y
what |s troub||ng you (w|th|n roason, to ask h|m to t|x your p|umb|ng wou|d bo a ||tt|o
|nappropr|ato). 3ost ot a|| |s to ca|| on your guru w|th tho prayor that your dharma
pract|so w||| novor bo dora||od, but on tho contrary bo comp|oto|y succosstu|, and that
you w||| bo ot bonot|t not on|y to yourso|t but to a|| sont|ont bo|ngs.
Vany poop|o today chor|sh tho dos|ro to pract|so tho dharma and |ong to ronounco
wor|d|y ||to, but aro bosot by mounta|ns ot obstac|os. 1oo qu|ck|y tho|r dos|ro to
pract|so |s smothorod by ord|nary thoughts that aro tho ottspr|ng ot hab|tua| |az|noss.
Yot tho on|y th|ng thoy havo to do to tu|t||| tho|r w|sh |s romombor tho guru. |avo you
ovor |ost ono ond ot tho drawstr|ng that koops your pyjamas up? lomombor|ng tho
guru |s ||ko manag|ng to grasp that |ost ond, so that you can thon pu|| |t out and t|o up
your pyjamas.
1hroo Pith |natructiona tor Botoro You Bogin to Practiao

1. ExµoIIing tho 5taIo Air

A vory good way ot propar|ng yourso|t tor pract|so |s to °oxpo| tho sta|o a|r.' lt's a
pract|so that |s bost |oarnt trom somoono who can show you how to do |t porsona||y,
but |t that |s not poss|b|o, try to||ow|ng th|s vory s|mp|o mothod.
|av|ng spont a tow m|nutos cutt|ng your cha|n ot thoughts, roostab||sh a good
posturo and mako suro your back |s stra|ght. As tho 3uddha sa|d, a|| phonomona |s
°dopondant ar|s|ng' and that |nc|udos tho body and tho m|nd. 3ut whoroas m|nd can
soom v|rtua||y unroachab|o, our bod|os aro tar moro accoss|b|o, and by s|mp|y
stra|ghton|ng your back, tho powor ot dopondont ar|s|ng w||| onsuro that prana and
nad| tunct|on propor|y, mak|ng roa||zat|on tar moro poss|b|o. (ldoa||y, pract|t|onors
shou|d pract|so tho sovon-po|nt posturo ot va|rochana.)

3roatho |n through both nostr||s, t||||ng your |ungs comp|oto|y.
3ond tho |ndox t|ngor ot your |ott hand and pross tho t|ngor pad just abovo tho
knuck|o ot your m|dd|o t|ngor. (1h|s shapo |s ono ha|t ot a ha|t-vajra, wh|ch |s
mado by croat|ng tho samo shapo w|th both hands and pross|ng thom togothor.)
C|oso your |ott nostr|| w|th tho m|dd|o t|ngor ot your |ott hand and ompty your
|ungs by broath|ng out strong|y through your r|ght nostr||.
-As you broatho out, |mag|no a|| your angor and trustrat|on |s oxpo||od trom your
body |n tho torm ot d|rty, po||utod smoko.
-As you broatho |n, |mag|no a|| tho w|sdom and compass|on ot tho buddhas
and bodh|sattvas d|sso|vos |nto you |n tho torm ot wh|to ||ght.
lo|oaso your |ott nostr||.

3ond tho |ndox t|ngor ot your r|ght hand and pross tho t|ngor pad just abovo tho
knuck|o ot your m|dd|o t|ngor.
C|oso your r|ght nostr|| w|th tho m|dd|o t|ngor ot your r|ght hand and ompty your
|ungs by broath|ng out strong|y through your |ott nostr||.
-As you broatho out, |mag|no a|| your dos|ro |s oxpo||od trom your body |n tho
torm ot dark rod ||ght.
-As you broatho |n, |mag|no a|| tho w|sdom and compass|on ot tho buddhas
and bodh|sattvas d|sso|vos |nto you |n tho torm ot wh|to ||ght.
lo|oaso your r|ght nostr||.

loav|ng both nostr||s opon, broatho |n thon out strong|y through both nostr||s.
-As you broatho out, |mag|no a|| your |gnoranco b|||ow|ng out |n a dark c|oud.
-As you broatho |n, |mag|no a|| tho w|sdom and compass|on ot tho buddhas
and bodh|sattvas d|sso|vos |nto you |n tho torm ot wh|to ||ght.
Onco you havo comp|otod tho pract|so, broatho norma||y.

0o not ||ngor ovor or obsoss about tho dota||s ot thoso v|sua||sat|ons, just cons|dor
whatovor you v|sua||so as roa||y happon|ng. And do not dwo|| on any ono part ot tho
v|sua||sat|on and start ask|ng quost|ons about |t, tor oxamp|o, how br|ght shou|d tho
wh|to ||ght bo? 1ho purposo ot vajrayana v|sua||sat|on |s to occupy our m|nds w|th
oxtraord|nary rathor than mundano thoughts, and to got caught up |n too much dota|| |s
proc|so|y tho k|nd ot act|v|ty that w||| opon tho door tor obstac|os to ontor your pract|so,
such as ta|||ng back |nto your ord|nary, hab|tua| way ot th|nk|ng. 3|mp|y to||ow oach
stop ot tho pract|so, and whon ono stop has boon comp|otod, movo qu|ck|y on to tho
noxt.
|av|ng sa|d that, |t you w|sh to to||ow a spoc|t|c pract|so trad|t|on, |t |s bost to
consu|t a toachor oxpor|oncod |n that trad|t|on.
2. 1ranatorm tho Environmont into a Buddha RoaIm

1ho vajrayana |s tho path that transtorms our hab|tua||y |mpuro porcopt|on so wo can
porco|vo ovoryth|ng and ovoryono wo oncountor puro|y. 1horotoro, whorovor you
pract|so-at homo, or |n Gormany, |ong Kong, Austra||a or at a mod|tat|on contro |n
tho south ot |ranco-conv|nco yourso|t boyond any shadow ot doubt that you aro |n a
comp|oto|y puro roa|m.
°lmpuro' |n th|s contoxt has noth|ng to do w|th t||thy stroots or p||os ot rubb|sh, ||ko
thoso |n Kathmandu. 0ua||st|c porcopt|ons aro cons|dorod °|mpuro' whon you got
stuck w|th tho |doa that a co|||ng can on|y bo a co|||ng, or a t|oor can on|y bo a t|oor, or
a thousand poop|o cou|d not poss|b|y t|t |nto a broom cupboard. ln othor words, tho
dua||st|c d|st|nct|ons you mako ||m|t tho man|tostat|on ot a phonomonon to a spoc|t|c
purposo. 3y contrast, you havo puro porcopt|on whon you no |ongor t|xato on a s|ng|o
porcopt|on as an oxc|us|vo phonomonon and |nstoad connoct w|th your |nhoront ab|||ty
to soo and accopt that ono thousand poop|o can oas||y t|t |nto a t|ny broom cupboard.
Wh||o your ord|nary way ot porco|v|ng tho wor|d st||| oporatos, you aro adamant that |t
|s abso|uto|y |mposs|b|o to t|t so many poop|o |nto a such t|ny spaco, as soon as your
porcopt|on bog|ns to sh|tt, you aro oqua||y adamant that thoy can.
Onco you accopt that anyth|ng |s poss|b|o, a buddha roa|m w||| no |ongor bo ||ko
ono ot thoso tar-d|stant p|anots v|s|tod by tho 3tarsh|p Entorpr|so trom t|mo to t|mo,
nor tho sont|monta||zod v|s|on ot hoavon so t|rm|y omboddod |n tho popu|ar psycho.
3ut how can wo gonu|no|y como to accopt that anyth|ng |s poss|b|o? 1ho answor |s,
through ngöndro pract|so.
lt Guru l|npocho |s tho ma|n do|ty |n your ngöndro toxt, v|sua||so yourso|t |n tho
roa|m ot tho Coppor-Co|ourod Vounta|n. Ot courso, th|s doos not moan that you try to
|mag|no tho co|||ngs and wa||s aro mado ot coppor! lnstoad, adjust your ord|nary
porcopt|ons w|th tho thought, °What l soo |s not how th|ngs aro.' 1o|| yourso|t that a||
tho °th|ngs' you aro surroundod by aro not bound by br|cks, mortar, h|ghways and
tratt|c, nor hosts ot hoavon|y ango|s. Each °th|ng' |s |nt|n|to, and oach objoct, such as
tho pon |y|ng on your dosk, oncompassos b||||ons and b||||ons ot puro roa|ms. 1h|s |s
how you start to adjust your m|nd so that u|t|mato|y you w||| bo ab|o accopt that
anyth|ng |s poss|b|o.
1ho troosíormotloo ot porcopt|on |s tho qu|ntossonco ot vajrayana pract|so, but |t |s
|mportant |t |s not m|stakon tor tho comp|oto o||m|nat|on ot porcopt|on. 1o transtorm
porcopt|on |s to chango your att|tudo to tho way you porco|vo tho wor|d and |s a
procoss you shou|d go through da||y.
8. Croato an |naµiring Atmoaµhoro and Environmont

lt you can, croato an |nsp|r|ng atmosphoro |n wh|ch to pract|so by c|oan|ng your
pract|so spaco, burn|ng |nconso, arrang|ng boaut|tu| p|cturos ot tho 3uddha, and
mak|ng ottor|ngs. 3ut ovon though wo aro cond|t|onod to bo attoctod by our
surround|ngs, bo carotu|, as mont|onod botoro |n th|s book, not to ta|| |nto tho trap ot
spond|ng moro t|mo and onorgy on croat|ng an atmosphoro than do|ng tho pract|so
|tso|t.
CaIIing tho Curu

1ho namo ot th|s pract|so, Ca|||ng tho Guru, or Cry|ng to tho Guru, |s |n |tso|t vory
|ntorost|ng bocauso |t |mp||os that |t |s nocossary both to rom|nd tho guru that wo ox|st
and to ca|| on h|m tor ho|p. 1ho hoart ot dharma pract|so |s m|ndtu|noss and, as wo
havo boon to|d ropoatod|y, tho ma|n task ot a pract|t|onor |s to roma|n und|stractod.
1horotoro, w|th m|ndtu|noss as tho coro ot our pract|so, tho momont wo th|nk ot our
guru, wo havo ca||od to h|m and can bo corta|n ho has hoard us. ln a way, th|nk|ng ot
tho guru |s tho most ottoct|vo k|nd ot m|ndtu|noss. 3ut as most ot us aro unab|o to
th|nk ot h|m constant|y, anothor way ot putt|ng |t |s that to |nvoko tho guru |s to ask our
own m|nd to romombor h|m.
3y roc|t|ng any ono ot tho oxtraord|nary Ca|||ng tho Guru prayors that ox|st, not on|y
aro wo cry|ng out to our guru tor ho|p, wo aro rom|nd|ng ourso|vos ot tho hab|tua| tau|ts
common to a|| dharma pract|t|onors. 1o accopt and undorstand our tau|ts and
woaknossos |s an oxtromo|y va|uab|o oxorc|so, a|though rocont|y |t has bocomo rathor
untash|onab|o. A gonu|no|y sp|r|tua| |nd|v|dua|'s porsona| rot|oct|ons on tho|r own
charactor aro tar moro ||ko|y to bo cr|t|ca| than thoso ot somoono born |n tho modorn
wor|d, whoro, part|cu|ar|y |n Amor|ca, tar moro omphas|s |s p|acod on bu||d|ng so|t-
ostoom and bo|ng oncourag|ng than on cr|t|ca| ana|ys|s. 1o moro modorn oyos,
thorotoro, a pract|so that h|gh||ghts cr|t|ca| rot|oct|on m|ght appoar on tho surtaco to
bo tho product ot an a||on cu|turo. 3ut |s |t? ls tho k|nd ot rot|oct|on wo t|nd |n 1|gmo
l|ngpa's lovoklog tbo Lomo (trom tho longchon ly|ngt|k lgöndro) and Kongtru|
l|npocho's Co||log tbo Ooro írom Aíor moro|y tho product ot 1|botan cu|tura|
|nt|uoncos on tho dharma?
l havo thought about th|s po|nt a groat doa| and l can say w|th somo cont|donco that
no, such cr|t|ca| rot|oct|ons aro not cu|tura||y |nsp|rod. 1ho who|o purposo ot tho
dharma |s to d|smant|o tho protoct|vo systom wo havo croatod tor ourso|vos that wo
ca|| °ogo,' and tho purposo boh|nd oach sy||ab|o ot tho dharma and ovory ono ot |ts
mothods |s to contrad|ct, d|srupt and r|p that ogo apart unt|| tho goa| ot comp|oto
||borat|on trom |t has t|na||y boon ach|ovod. 1rad|t|ona||y, tho gashos and donts wo
mako |n ogo's cocoon aro sa|d to hora|d tho dawn ot a gonu|no dharma pract|t|onor.
Vost ot us, though, aro not dharma pract|t|onors at a||. Wo may bo dharma studonts
who aro |ntorostod |n and |nsp|rod by tho dharma, but to bo a pract|t|onor |s qu|to a
d|ttoront mattor. A pract|t|onor can both soo tho tut|||ty ot tho o|ght wor|d|y dharmas
and mako tho oxtromo|y d|tt|cu|t, but not |mposs|b|o, horo|c ottort nocossary to g|vo
thom up. On tho othor hand, tho who|o po|nt ot study tor a studont ot dharma |s bound
up |n tho o|ght wor|d|y dharmas: wo study bocauso wo aro amb|t|ous and want to
|ncroaso our know|odgo, or w|n tho hoart ot anothor |nnocont and naïvo dharma
studont, or bocomo a sp|r|tua| guru ot ono sort or anothor.
1hoso who havo t|mo or who aro |n rotroat shou|d road as many ot tho groat Co||log
tbo Ooro prayors as thoy can. ln 1amgön Kongtru|'s Co||log tbo Ooro and 1|gmo
l|ngpa's lovoklog tbo Lomo, wo ca|| to our gurus and b|ast ho|os |n our ogo by
rom|nd|ng ourso|vos ot our most |ns|d|ous tau|ts. l strong|y rocommond Kongtru|
l|npocho's prayor bocauso |t |nvokos gurus trom many d|ttoront ||noagos and |s
thorotoro part|cu|ar|y good trom tho l|mo (nonsoctar|an) po|nt ot v|ow. (3octar|an|sm
|s ono ot tho most v|c|ous k|nds ot sp|r|tua| mator|a||sm.)
1ho Common Foundationa

Contomp|at|on ot tho °common toundat|ons,' somot|mos known as tho tour thoughts
that turn tho m|nd away trom samsara, |s a c|ass|c mothod tor propar|ng yourso|t to
pract|so tho dharma. lt st||| works oxtromo|y wo|| to th|s day and |s not |n tho |oast
archa|c. Ot courso, |t's bost |t you can koop thoso contomp|at|ons |n m|nd at a|| t|mos,
but |t noth|ng o|so, try to road thom da||y at tho bog|nn|ng ot your pract|so.
1. 1ho Prociouanoaa ot 1hia Euman Body

|oro wo dovo|op our approc|at|on tor hav|ng both tho ab|||ty and tho opportun|ty to
pract|so tho dharma |n th|s ||tot|mo. 1o havo a human body |s oxtromo|y |mportant tor
dharma pract|so. Un||ko an|ma|s or thoso who ||vo |n countr|os ovorrun by gangstors
and pr|vato arm|os, tho major|ty ot you road|ng th|s book onjoy a tundamonta| sonso
ot porsona| socur|ty. Your ||vos aro not at r|sk on a da||y bas|s and you don't spond a||
your wak|ng hours |n a dosporato soarch tor tood and a sato p|aco to s|oop. Vost ot
us aro ovon ab|o to approc|ato groat ondoavours and romarkab|o bo|ngs, and onco |n
a b|uo moon groat h|stor|ca| t|guros ||ko V||aropa |nsp|ro us w|th awo and wondor.
Abovo a||, wo can mako tho w|sh, °Vay a|| sont|ont bo|ngs bo happy' and not cons|dor
|t a wasto ot t|mo. 1horotoro |n somo ways, wo do havo tho qua||t|os that qua||ty us as
hav|ng a proc|ous human body.
1ho troub|o |s wo do not nocossar||y tako advantago ot our good tortuno. |or
oxamp|o, thoro |s noth|ng to stop any ono ot us trom spond|ng an hour w|th tr|onds |n
tho |oca| cottoo shop, whoroas vory tow bo|ngs |n tho othor roa|ms aro ab|o to onjoy
tho |uxury ot wast|ng t|mo |n th|s way. lmag|no what |t must bo ||ko to havo boon born |n
1orusa|om or tho Gaza 3tr|p, porpotua||y undor throat ot bo|ng shot or b|own to
p|ocos. 3o, whon tho opportun|ty to onjoy tho |uxur|os ot |o|suro t|mo and porsona|
socur|ty prosonts |tso|t, wo roa||y must try to approc|ato and uso |t wo||.
1o bo born a human bo|ng |s oxtromo|y proc|ous bocauso, to somo dogroo, human
bo|ngs havo tho |nto||octua| capac|ty to undorstand tho naturo ot suttor|ng and |ts
causos. 3o|ngs |n tho ho|| roa|ms, on tho othor hand, know on|y tho unro|ont|ng and
un|mag|nab|y |ntonso pa|n and agony that novor coasos to numb and stupoty thom.
3o|ngs |n tho god roa|ms know on|y un|ntorruptod happ|noss and possoss ovoryth|ng
thoy cou|d poss|b|y want. Consoquont|y thoy |ack tho oxpor|onco ot sadnoss and tho
cur|os|ty to oxam|no tho|r m|nds. Ot tho s|x roa|ms ot samsara, thorotoro, human
bo|ngs, who aro no|thor too happy nor too ovorwho|mod by suttor|ng and pa|n, havo
tho groatost capac|ty tor undorstand|ng suttor|ng.
3uddha oxp|a|nod that human ||to bocomos °proc|ous' whon a human bo|ng |s troo
and r|ch. 3o, what |s |t that provonts us trom bo|ng troo? 0|stract|on. lt wo had no
d|stract|ons, wo wou|d bo troo, and |t wo woro m|ndtu|, wo wou|d bo r|ch. 3o, don't
|mag|no that a human body qua||t|os as bo|ng °proc|ous' just bocauso |t |s hoa|thy,
oducatod and wo|| connoctod. lt on|y bocomos proc|ous onco that porson has mot tho
dharma and ombarkod on sp|r|tua| pract|so.
2. |mµormanonco

A pract|t|onor's concorn tor porsona| happ|noss, tamo and comtort d|m|n|shos as
tho|r undorstand|ng ot |mpormanonco |ncroasos, and a |argo part ot |oarn|ng how to
approc|ato |mpormanonco |s to dovo|op a sonso ot how urgont|y wo nood to pract|so.
lono ot us has much t|mo. 1oday m|ght bo tho |ast day ot your curront ||to, ton|ght's
suppor m|ght bo your |ast, and thoro |s abso|uto|y no guarantoo that any ot us w||| ||vo
|ong onough to soo tomorrow, |ot a|ono ||vo torovor.
ln th|s dangorous and unhoa|thy wor|d, |t wou|d bo qu|to an ach|ovomont tor
somoono who |s t|tty yoars o|d today to ||vo to bo o|ghty. 1ho ||vos ot most t|tty-yoar-
o|ds aro a|roady moro than ha|t ovor, and tho o|dor wo got, tho qu|ckor t|mo sooms to
pass. 1ho th|rty yoars wo |mag|no wo havo |ott w||| pass |n tho b||nk ot an oyo. |or a
start, wo s|oop tor about o|ght hours a n|ght, wh|ch accounts tor ton ot thoso th|rty
yoars. lot's assumo that watch|ng ono mov|o a day and oat|ng throo t|mos takos
about tour hours. Wo a|so goss|p and catch up w|th tr|onds, chock tho tootba|| rosu|ts,
do housowork, pay b|||s, koop |n touch w|th tam||y and oxorc|so, a|| ot wh|ch probab|y
oats up about two hours a day. And ot courso, most ot us work tor sovon or o|ght
hours a day. 1horotoro, |t wo t|tty-yoar-o|ds aro |ucky, wo havo |oss than two hours a
day, or about two and a ha|t yoars, |ott to ||vo. And a groat doa| ot that w||| bo takon up
w|th parano|a, anx|oty, so|t-doubt and so on. 3o tho bottom ||no horo |s thoro |s vory
||tt|o t|mo |ott tor pract|so.
8. Karma

longchonpa sa|d that a|though u|t|mato|y tho sun ot our truo naturo cont|nuous|y r|sos,
|t |s obscurod by tho wh|to c|ouds ot our v|rtuous act|ons and tho b|ack c|ouds ot our
ta|||ngs. A|| ottort to abandon bad karma and accumu|ato good constant|y t|ashos ||ko
||ghtn|ng and |s to||owod by a do|ugo ot contus|on that |s both happy and unhappy.
1h|s, ho to||s us, |s how samsara's harvost |s tort|t|od. °A|as! |ow p|t|tu|!'
Wo aro a|| subjoct to tho |aws ot causo, cond|t|on and ottoct, and as such not ono ot
us onjoys truo |ndopondonco. Wo tako groat pa|ns to gathor tho causos and
cond|t|ons that w||| br|ng us tho |ongod-tor rosu|t ot °succoss' or °tun,' but torgot that
thoso vory causos and cond|t|ons tunct|on |n a s|m||ar way to ant|b|ot|cs. Whon wo
tako ant|b|ot|cs, on tho ono hand wo too| bottor bocauso ono sot ot symptoms has
boon ro||ovod, but on tho othor wo too| worso bocauso tho ant|b|ot|cs thomso|vos
upsot othor parts ot our bod|os. W|thout bo|ng awaro ot |t, ovoryth|ng wo do |n pursu|t
ot |ndopondonco, woa|th and succoss |s a|so tho causo ot a|| tho subsoquont causos
and cond|t|ons wo oxpor|onco that w||| ru|o and contro| tho d|roct|on our ||vos thon
tako. 1horotoro, wo cannot guarantoo that our p|ans w||| turn out as or|g|na||y |ntondod.
Whon wo oxpor|onco what our ||m|tod porcopt|on wou|d doscr|bo as °tavorab|o
c|rcumstancos'-wo got a p|aco at our t|rst-cho|co un|vors|ty, or |and a p|um job-wo
attr|buto our good tortuno to hard work, and whon an unp|oasant ovont swoops us
down an unoxpoctod path, wo bocomo contusod. Wo torgot that dur|ng tho procoss ot
gathor|ng tho causos and cond|t|ons tor succoss, wo w||| a|so havo p|antod thoso that
rosu|t |n rathor |oss wo|como s|tuat|ons. Our p|ans m|ght work out onco or tw|co, or
ovon a dozon t|mos, but as wo aro ont|ro|y vu|norab|o to and dopondont on causos
and cond|t|ons that aro boyond our contro|, thoro |s a|ways tho chanco thoy won't work
out at a||.
lron|ca||y, to bo succosstu| |n wor|d|y ||to roqu|ros that wo gathor spoc|t|c causos
and cond|t|ons, such as a good oducat|on, honost bus|noss partnors, ro||ab|o |oga|
adv|co, and so on, but |n tho procoss, tho vory mochan|sm that a||ows us to assomb|o
thoso causos and cond|t|ons a|so onsuros that wo aro vu|norab|o to thom. And th|s |s
what wo torgot. Wo aro conv|ncod wo aro |nvu|norab|o, and un|oss th|s ta|so sonso ot
socur|ty |s shattorod, |t |s vory d|tt|cu|t to bo a gonu|no|y sp|r|tua| porson. On|y by
accopt|ng our vu|norab|||ty aro wo ab|o to |ooson our gr|p on tho ta|so assumpt|on that
our ||vos w||| a|ways go as p|annod.
U|t|mato|y, |n ordor to atta|n on||ghtonmont, wo must oxhaust o|| our karma, both
good and bad, not moro|y co||oct as much good karma as wo can and got r|d ot tho
bad. Karma |s by naturo cond|t|on|ng, and s|nco a|| our act|v|t|os aro cond|t|onod by
karma, thoy can on|y bo a d|roct contrad|ct|on to our |ndopondonco. 1horotoro |t |s not
poss|b|o tor any ot us to bo tru|y |ndopondont.
1ho po|nt ot th|nk|ng about causo and ottoct botoro wo start to pract|so oach day |s
not moro|y to gathor know|odgo about karma's comp|ox tunct|ons and systoms, but to
rom|nd ourso|vos that wo havo no contro| ovor anyth|ng at a||.
lt a|so |oads us to our noxt subjoct: tho dotocts ot samsara.
4. 1ho Dotocta ot 5amaara

3ont|ont bo|ngs, ||ko s||kworms, croato tho|r own traps and d|o |n thom. 1h|nk, tor
oxamp|o, ot how wo doa| w|th tho concopt ot monoy. ||stor|ca||y, human bo|ngs havo
boon oxtromo|y d|||gont about dovo|op|ng th|s part|cu|ar abstract|on, and our appot|to
tor suttor|ng |n tho namo ot mak|ng moro ot |t appoars to bo |nsat|ab|o.
1ho pa|n ot ac|d on baro t|osh |s tho k|nd ot gross suttor|ng that |s ro|at|vo|y oasy tor
us to |mag|no, but thoro ox|sts a w|do var|oty ot suttor|ngs to wh|ch wo aro ob||v|ous
unt|| wo oxpor|onco thom porsona||y. Vost d|tt|cu|t ot a|| |s to |dont|ty and undorstand
tho cooso ot our suttor|ng, ospoc|a||y whon |t turns out to bo somoth|ng that, unt||
rocont|y, wo had cons|dorod °good.' A robust wor|d oconomy, tor oxamp|o, |s w|do|y
toutod by our most tamous t|nanc|a| oxports as bo|ng a vory good th|ng, and |t's truo
that |n a hoa|thy oconom|c onv|ronmont wondortu| products bocomo ava||ab|o to us.
Yot, tor thoso ||v|ng on tho othor s|do ot an oconom|c boom, ||to |s ||ko|y to bo anyth|ng
but good, |ot a|ono wondortu|.
Wo otton hoar tho c||cho °l|to |s wondortu|,' but |s |t? 1o |ntorprot tho ||vos most
poop|o |oad as bo|ng wondortu| |s, at bost, ovor|y romant|c, and |t you do chooso to
soo thom th|s way, you havo dot|n|to|y not graspod tho t|rst nob|o truth: °Know
suttor|ng.' ln roa||ty, as ||to |s mado up ot vast quant|t|os ot compoundod, porpotua||y
dr|tt|ng and ovor-sh|tt|ng phonomona, |t can on|y bo awash w|th suttor|ng, bocauso
compoundod phonomona |nov|tab|y causo uncorta|nty and docay, and d|smant|os a||
wo ho|d doar. And what's so wondortu| about that?
Uncorta|nty |s ono ot samsara's cruo|ost t|aws. Whon modorn poop|o road |n books
|| ko 7bo ¼oros oí Vy Poríoct 7oocbor about tho |ntonso suttor|ng oxpor|oncod by
bo|ngs |n tho ho|| and hungry ghost roa|ms, wo raro|y tako |t sor|ous|y. |a|||ng back on
our hab|tua| skopt|c|sm, wo chargo latru| l|npocho w|th us|ng scaro tact|cs |n tho
samo way othor ro||g|ons uso ho||t|ro and damnat|on toach|ngs to tr|ghton tho|r
to||owors |nto too|ng tho ||no. Wo don't want to bo||ovo |n ho||. Wo chooso |nstoad to
bo||ovo that a|| o|ghtoon aro abstract 3uddh|st concopts, not ovon suspoct|ng that tho
suttor|ngs ot ho||, as wo|| as thoso ot a|| tho othor roa|ms, can bo soon and
oxpor|oncod r|ght horo |n our own human roa|m.
lt noth|ng o|so, a c|oso oxam|nat|on ot tho ongo|ng povorty monta||ty that p|aguos
most human bo|ngs (wo a|ways nood moro ot ovoryth|ng and got workod up about
noth|ng) as wo occupy ovory momont ot our day and aro novor ab|o to ro|ax shows us
qu|to c|oar|y just how pa|ntu| human ox|stonco roa||y |s.

lt |s oxtromo|y bonot|c|a| tor a|| pract|t|onors to contomp|ato thoso common
toundat|ons, but ospoc|a||y so tor bog|nnors, as thoy mako up ono ot tho most h|gh|y
pra|sod ot a|| mothods tor turn|ng tho m|nd towards tho dharma and away trom wor|d|y
va|uos.
5

uaing Your |magination

ViauaIiaation Practiao

1ho tochn|quo ot v|sua||sat|on |s omp|oyod throughout ngöndro pract|so, and |ts uso ot
our |mag|nat|ons makos |t qu|to d|ttoront trom othor mod|tat|ons, ||ko shamatha
pract|so. lmag|nat|on a|so p|ays a major part |n our do|udod oxpor|onco ot ||to.
Evoryth|ng wo oncountor and porco|vo |n our da||y ||vos |s a product ot our
|mag|nat|on, but as wo bo||ovo |n tho |||us|ons wo croato, thoy bocomo such doop|y
rootod monta| hab|ts that wo comp|oto|y torgot thoy aro ||tt|o moro than tantasy. 1ho
|mag|nat|on |s thorotoro ono ot our most powortu| too|s, and work|ng w|th |t by
chang|ng and d||ut|ng how wo |ook at our wor|d |s what wo ca|| tho °pract|so ot
v|sua||sat|on.'
Ono sma|| prob|om tor bog|nnors |s that tho Eng||sh word vlsoo|lsotloo can bo
m|s|oad|ng. |or most poop|o, to v|sua||so |s to tocus on an |mago and thon ho|d |t |n
tho|r m|nd's oyo. 3ut phys|ca| appoaranco |s on|y ono o|omont ot v|sua||sat|on
pract|so, and by no moans tho who|o story. An |nd|v|dua|'s att|tudos and
undorstand|ng changos accord|ng to tho|r s|tuat|on and oducat|on. Unt|| vory rocont|y,
3uddh|st mastors brought up |n 1|bot wou|d havo |ookod on sa|ad, groon vogotab|os
and grass as an|ma| toddor and wou|d novor w||||ng|y oat |t thomso|vos. low that
1|botans havo bocomo tam|||ar w|th tood outs|do 1|bot, tho|r att|tudos havo changod,
and |t |s proc|so|y th|s k|nd ot sh|tt |n our porcopt|on that wo work w|th |n °croat|on
mod|tat|on.'
Anothor oxamp|o can bo tound on tho Wor|d W|do Wob. Vost orot|c p|cturos aro
usua||y qu|to sma||-corta|n|y nowhoro noar ||to-s|zod. log|ca||y, |t |s hard to bo||ovo
that such t|ny |magos cou|d causo ||v|ng, broath|ng human bo|ngs to bocomo arousod,
but thoy do. Our hab|ts aro so ontronchod that hav|ng programmod ourso|vos to
rospond to a spoc|t|c k|nd ot |mago, |t w||| cons|stont|y havo tho powor to turn us on or
mako us angry, sad or ovon doprossod, ovon whon wo soo |t on a t|ny 14 x 8 cm
You1ubo scroon. 1o a corta|n oxtont, th|s |s how v|sua||sat|on works, and no|thor s|zo
nor so-ca||od roa||sm havo anyth|ng to do w|th |t.
Woro you to to|| a wor|d|y tr|ond that what wo soo around us-tho housos, cars,
troos and shops-do not tru|y ox|st as wo bo||ovo wo soo thom, ho wou|d most ||ko|y
th|nk you had t|na||y |ost |t, or at tho vory |oast woro torm|na||y |rrat|ona|. Yot, accord|ng
to vajrayana thoory, your porcopt|on ot th|s wor|d |s un|quo, |t |s not soon or
oxpor|oncod |n tho samo way by anyono o|so bocauso what you soo doos not ox|st
oxtorna||y.
vajrayana studonts who woro born and brought up |n tho modorn wor|d otton havo
d|tt|cu|t|os w|th v|sua||sat|on pract|so. lart ot tho prob|om, l th|nk, |s that 1|botan
toachors ||ko myso|t, assumo a|| sont|ont bo|ngs procoss th|ngs tho samo way
1|botans do. Wo toach you to p|cturo tho 3uddha as ho |s trad|t|ona||y dop|ctod |n
1|bot, adornod w|th ornamonts that aro va|uod by and convoy spoc|t|c moan|ngs to
1|botans. 3ut to bocomo a portoct 1|botan |conographor |s not tho po|nt ot
v|sua||sat|on pract|so.
1ho ma|n purposo ot v|sua||sat|on pract|so |s to pur|ty our ord|nary, |mpuro
porcopt|on ot tho phonomona| wor|d by dovo|op|ng °puro porcopt|on.' Untortunato|y,
though, puro porcopt|on |s yot anothor not|on that tonds to bo m|sundorstood.
3tudonts otton try to ro-croato a photograph|c |mago ot a 1|botan pa|nt|ng |n tho|r
m|nds, w|th two-d|mons|ona| do|t|os who novor b||nk and aro surroundod by c|ouds
trozon |n spaco, or whoso consorts |ook ||ko grown-up bab|os. 1o pract|so th|s
orronoous vors|on ot v|sua||sat|on |s to |nst||| |n yourso|t a tar worso torm ot porcopt|on
than tho ono you woro born w|th, and |n tho procoss tho who|o po|nt ot puro porcopt|on
|s dostroyod.
What, thon, |s roa||y moant by °|mpuro porcopt|on'? As wo havo a|roady soon,
°|mpuro' doos not moan that tho objoct ot our v|sua||sat|on |s covorod w|th d|rt or
po||utod or dot||od |n any way, tho |mpur|ty |sn't °out thoro.' °lmpuro,' |n th|s contoxt,
moans that tho prob|om |s °|n horo.' Wo |ook at tho wor|d through omot|ona| t||tors that
wo |abo| °dos|ro,' °joa|ous|y,' °pr|do,' °|gnoranco' and °aggross|on.' Evoryth|ng wo
porco|vo |s co|ourod by myr|ad var|at|ons ot thoso t|vo omot|ons, many ot wh|ch do
not ovon havo namos. lmag|no you go to a party and as you g|anco at somoono you
t|nd attract|vo, your pass|on t||tor qu|ck|y c||cks |nto p|aco and you |mmod|ato|y |abo|
that porson °dos|rab|o.' lt somoono o|so gots |n tho way, your aggross|on t||tor |s
act|vatod and you |abo| th|s porson °h|doous.' As tho ovon|ng woars on, othor poop|o
provoko your |nsocur|t|os, caus|ng you s|t |n judgmont on thom, mako compar|sons,
dotond your cho|cos and bo|stor your porsona| pr|do by don|grat|ng thom, a|| ot wh|ch
|s tr|ggorod by tho t||tor ot °protound |gnoranco.' And tho ||st goos on and on.
A|| thoso d|ttoront porcopt|ons ar|so |n our vory own m|nds and aro thon t||torod
through our omot|ons. ln tact, ovoryth|ng wo oxpor|onco, b|g and sma||, w||| a|ways
|oad to d|sappo|ntmont bocauso wo porpotua||y torgot that ovoryth|ng wo porco|vo |s
a product ot our own m|nds, and |nstoad wo t|xato on porcopt|ons °out thoro' that wo
aro conv|ncod tru|y ox|st. 1h|s |s what wo work w|th dur|ng tho vajrayana pract|so ot
v|sua||sat|on.
lt's a|| a mattor ot tra|n|ng tho m|nd, and ono ot tho many mothods ottorod by tho
shravakayana |s to ro||nqu|sh c||ng|ng to °so|t' by d|sc|p||n|ng body and spooch us|ng
many ot tho mothods that havo a|roady boon mont|onod, tor oxamp|o by shav|ng tho
hoad, bogg|ng tor a|ms, woar|ng sattron-co|ourod robos and rotra|n|ng trom a|| k|nds
ot wor|d|y act|v|t|os ||ko gott|ng marr|od or hav|ng sox. 1ra|n|ng tho m|nd |n tho
bodh|sattvayana |s about d|sc|p||n|ng body and spooch and, |n add|t|on, mod|tat|ng
on compass|on, arous|ng bodh|ch|tta and so on. last|y, tho vajrayana not on|y tra|ns
tho m|nd through d|sc|p||no and mod|tat|on on compass|on, |t a|so ottors mothods tor
transtorm|ng our |mpuro porcopt|on |nto puro porcopt|on.
1ho DiaaoIution ot a ViauaIiaation

U|t|mato|y, tho most |mportant goa| ot 3uddhadharma, part|cu|ar|y tho
bodh|sattvayana, |s tho roa||sat|on ot nondua||ty. And ono ot tho most ottoct|vo
mothods tor accomp||sh|ng that roa||sat|on |s tho pract|so ot v|sua||sat|on, contra| to
wh|ch |s tho d|sso|ut|on ot tho do|t|os or gurus as thoy morgo to bocomo ono w|th tho
pract|t|onor. 3ut how doos tho pract|so work?
lmag|no tho rot|oct|on ot tho moon as |t wou|d appoar |n a m|rror or a |ako. A|though
tho rot|oct|on |s pr|st|no|y c|oar, |t |s st||| just a rot|oct|on, not a d|roct v|ow ot tho moon
that has somohow boon submorgod bonoath tho wator or |nsortod |nto tho m|rror.
Anothor oxamp|o |s a ra|nbow. Evon though wo can soo tho ra|nbow qu|to c|oar|y, at
tho samo t|mo |t |s ompty ot |ntr|ns|c roa||ty, s|m||ar|y, ovon though a ra|nbow |s ompty,
wo can st||| soo |t. 3oth tho rot|oct|on ot tho moon and tho ra|nbow aro s|mu|tanoous|y
ompty and v|s|b|o.
3o, °nondua||ty' horo moans tho nondua||ty ot appoaranco and ompt|noss, noth|ng
wo porco|vo, not tho guru, tho studont nor anyth|ng o|so, tru|y ox|sts oxtorna||y. And
unt|| wo tu||y roa||so nondua||ty, tho oxorc|so ot d|sso|v|ng or morg|ng tho do|ty or tho
guru w|th ourso|vos |s an oxtromo|y usotu| too|. lt |s a|so a mothod that works wo|| |t you
want to roco|vo b|oss|ngs, ompowormonts or ovon |nsp|rat|on.
Otton, though, pract|t|onors havo d|tt|cu|t|os w|th th|s part ot tho pract|so bocauso
thoy tond to turn ovor |n tho|r m|nds a|| tho thoor|os about v|sua||saton and d|sso|ut|on
that thoy havo |oarnt wh||o thoy aro supposod to bo pract|s|ng. 1h|s |s a good oxamp|o
ot how stutt|ng your m|nd w|th too many concopts can h|ndor your sp|r|tua| progross,
and |s why wo aro to|d to put thoory as|do a|togothor whon wo pract|so.
1ho bost adv|co horo |s to koop |t pract|ca|. 3p|r|tua| pract|so |s a b|t ||ko r|d|ng a
b|cyc|o. Onco you havo |oarnt how to cyc|o thoro |s no nood to go ovor tho thoory
boh|nd how tho goars work or tho bost ho|ght tor your sadd|o ovory t|mo you go tor a
r|do. A|| you havo to do |s got on your b|ko and start poda|||ng. And tho koy to th|s
pract|so |s to do tho bost you can and don't worry too much about whothor what you
aro do|ng |s r|ght or wrong, ovontua||y you w||| got tho hang ot |t.
1ho p|th |nstruct|ons aro oxtromo|y pragmat|c: just do |t! Wh|ch makos roa||s|ng
nondua||ty a ||tt|o ||ko |oarn|ng to dr|vo. |owovor propostorous |t may sound whon you
start out, hav|ng spont wooks |oarn|ng about whoro a|| tho d|ttoront buttons and |ovors
aro |n your car, thoro w||| como a t|mo whon you havo no cho|co but to put tho manua|
as|do, turn on tho ong|no, and dr|vo. 1ho samo goos tor v|sua||sat|on pract|so. At t|rst
tho d|sso|ut|on may bo moro ||ko dropp|ng an app|o |nto a bag than morg|ng ono w|th
tho guru, but un|oss you tako a r|sk and havo a go, noth|ng w||| chango. W|th pract|so,
though, your guru w||| bocomo |oss ||ko an app|o and moro ||ko a g|ass ot wator that
you thon pour |nto a buckot ot wator-wh|ch |s an |nd|cat|on you aro bog|nn|ng to
undorstand tho procoss ot nondua||ty a ||tt|o bottor.
Evontua||y you w||| como to roa||so that tho d|sso|ut|on happons |n tho samo way an
onc|osod spaco m|xos w|th tho sky-and th|s |s tho part ot tho pract|so that many
studonts m|sundorstand. lmag|no a c|ay pot. lt |s both surroundod by and t|||od w|th
spaco. Whon tho pot broaks, tho spaco that had boon |ns|do m|xos w|th tho spaco
that had boon outs|do and tho two bocomo |nsoparab|o. lt |s not poss|b|o to to|| tho
°|ns|do' spaco trom tho °outs|do' spaco, spaco |s just spaco and thoro |s no way ot
know|ng whoro any part ot |t or|g|natod. 1h|s |s how tho pract|t|onor and tho guru
d|sso|vo |nto oach othor to bocomo |nsoparab|o.
l|ght now, as you cannot ho|p soo|ng tho guru or tho 3uddha as an |ndopondont
ont|ty soparato trom yourso|t, try to romombor that what you soo |s oxc|us|vo to you
and ovoryth|ng any ot us soos, hoars, and th|nks |s basod on our own porsona|
|ntorprotat|on. 1h|s |s tho pr|nc|p|o that not on|y torms tho bas|s ot a|| 3uddh|st
ph||osoph|ca| thoory, but |s tho roason v|sua||sat|on pract|so works. lou|so may th|nk
ot horso|t as °lou|so,' but sho wou|d novor doscr|bo horso|t as a °v|sua||sat|on ot
lou|so,' ovon though that |s proc|so|y what sho |s. ln tact, ovory ono ot us |s a
v|sua||sat|on ot ourso|vos.
Ouost|ons otton como up about whothor or not v|sua||sat|on |s a cu|tura||y |nsp|rod
mothod or somohow tho|st|c. 3ut as wo havo a|roady soon, to v|sua||so Guru
l|npocho or vajradhara as thoy appoar |n a 1|botan thangka |s a m|stako. Evon |t |t
woro poss|b|o tor ovoryono to uso oxact|y tho samo thangka, oach |nd|v|dua|'s
porcopt|on ot |t wou|d bo d|ttoront and not como c|oso to what tho art|st had |n m|nd.
3o, as wo v|sua||so Guru l|npocho, or any othor do|ty, wo m|ght as wo|| bo bo|d about
|t. Guru l|npocho |s a sub||mo and supor|or bo|ng, and ono aspoct ot °sub||mo' |s
usua||y °boaut|tu|,' or at |oast vory good-|ook|ng. 3ut °good-|ook|ng' to ono porson |s
°ug|y' to anothor bocauso, aga|n, our |ntorprotat|ons aro so vory d|ttoront. And suro|y
thoro |s no nood tor Amor|cans and Vox|cans and 3u|gar|ans to havo to |oarn tho
1|botan vors|on ot °good-|ook|ng.' A|| wo can do |s mako tho bost uso ot our own
|ntorprotat|on. And don't torgot that ovon as you road thoso words, tho m|nd
|ntorprot|ng th|s toxt |s yoor m|nd, and |ts |ntorprotat|on |s basod on yoor hab|ts and
porcopt|ons. You may th|nk you havo undorstood what l moan by °good-|ook|ng,' but
you havon't, a|| that has happonod |s that you havo dovo|opod your own vors|on ot
what you th|nk l moan by °good-|ook|ng.'
Anothor |mportant po|nt |s that wo do not v|sua||so do|t|os ho|d|ng a vajra or kapa|a
tor aosthot|c roasons or bocauso r|tua| objocts aro ospoc|a||y usotu|. 3omo studonts
wondor whothor thoy shou|d v|sua||so do|t|os ho|d|ng somoth|ng moro modorn,
porhaps an |lad or an |lhono. 3ut tho attr|butos, ornamonts and |mp|omonts
assoc|atod w|th oach do|ty ho|d |mportant symbo||c s|gn|t|canco and shou|d thorotoro
roma|n |ntact, just as thoy havo boon doscr|bod |n tho sacrod toxts.
Wo know vory ||tt|o about tho phys|ca| appoaranco ot many ot tho groat mastors.
What Guru l|npocho actua||y |ookod ||ko |s anybody's guoss. lt you woro to soarch
through ovory s|ng|o 1|botan 3uddh|st toxt, you wou|d not t|nd a s|ng|o dot|n|t|vo
doscr|pt|on ot h|s toaturos. 1horo |s a tamous photograph ot a statuo ot Guru
l|npocho ca||od tho °looks l|ko Vo' |mago, but sovora| othor oqua||y tamous statuos
ot h|m |ook qu|to d|ttoront.
Wo shou|d a|so romombor what 3uddha sa|d |n tho Llomooo 5otro (a|so known as
tho Llomooo Cottor 5otro):

1hoso who soo my body as ord|nary torm,
And hoar my vo|co as ord|nary sound,
|avo sot out on a m|stakon path.
3uch poop|o do not tru|y soo mo.
1

1horo |s ono po|nt that tho gonora| toach|ngs on ngöndro pract|so tond not to
omphas|zo and that |s usua||y on|y mont|onod |n tho contoxt ot sadhana pract|so: as
you croato a v|sua||sat|on |n your m|nd, tho do|ty you p|cturo shou|d bo c|oar, v|brant|y
a||vo and soa|od w|th an approc|at|on ot nondua||ty. 1o g|vo you somo |doa ot what
th|s moans, tako tho oxamp|o ot v|sua||z|ng Guru l|npocho as sma|| as a sosamo
sood, s|tt|ng |n a pa|aco as |argo as Vount Voru, or |n somo casos tho who|o
un|vorso. lt sounds awkward and ug|y, but |n pract|so |t works portoct|y bocauso tho
conta|nor |s no|thor too b|g nor tho contonts too sma||, and tho d|ttoronco |n s|zo
botwoon tho sosamo sood and Guru l|npocho prosonts no prob|oms at a||. Othor
v|sua||sat|ons |nvo|vo |mag|n|ng tho pa|aco to bo as sma|| as a sosamo sood and
Guru l|npocho tho s|zo ot tho who|o un|vorso, but ho st||| t|ts |nto h|s t|ny pa|aco qu|to
comtortab|y. 1h|s |s an oxorc|so |n nondua||ty and |s usod |n v|sua||sat|on a groat doa|.
vajrayana pract|t|onors, as Gondün Chöpo| po|ntod out, must got usod to bo||ov|ng
|n tho unbo||ovab|o. 1antr|c mothods ot v|sua||sat|on otton |nvo|vo croat|ng a rag|ng
|ntorno |n your m|nd's oyo, |n tho m|dst ot wh|ch s|ts a do|ty on a trag||o |otus t|owor
and a coo| moon soat, ombrac|ng a vory pass|onato consort and surroundod by an
unru|y mob ot angry do|t|os w|o|d|ng doad|y |mp|omonts. Yot tho hoat and tho t|amos
do no harm whatsoovor and no ono gots hurt. A rat|ona| ana|ys|s ot such a s|tuat|on
can on|y rosu|t |n d|sbo||ot s|nco ovoryth|ng about th|s scono |s contrad|ctory and
noth|ng |n |t cou|d poss|b|y ox|st |n our ord|nary roa||ty. 3ut tho po|nt |s that tantr|c
pract|t|onors havo to got usod to bo||ov|ng |n tho unbo||ovab|o. Our a|m |s to un|to and
d|sso|vo subjoct and objoct so thoy aro ono: tho dos|ro w|th tho angor, tho hoat w|th
tho co|d, tho c|oan w|th tho d|rty, tho body w|th tho m|nd. 1h|s |s known as °tho un|on ot
jnanas and kayas,' and |s tho u|t|mato k|nd ot un|on.
Gondün Chöpo| a|so sa|d tho roason wo cannot grab ho|d ot |noxpross|b|o not|ons
||ko °dharmadhatu' |s not bocauso wo strong|y bo||ovo |n what ox|sts. On tho contrary,
|t |s bocauso wo strong|y olsbo|lovo |n what doos oot ox|st. 3ut |t w||| tako qu|to somo
t|mo to |nsort th|s now know|odgo ot nondua||ty |nto our vory stubborn systom ot
dua||ty.
FioId ot Norit

v|sua||sat|on usua||y |nvo|vos t|rst croat|ng a t|o|d ot mor|t, tho dota||s ot wh|ch w|||
dopond on tho ngöndro trad|t|on you aro to||ow|ng.
As a bog|nnor, try not to got too parano|d about oach and ovory dota|| ot tho
v|sua||sat|on-un|oss, ot courso, dota||s |nsp|ro you. At a|| t|mos, romombor that
whatovor you v|sua||so |s |tso|t an |||us|on, a t|gmont ot your |mag|nat|on basod on your
own m|nd's |ntorprotat|on ot var|ous b|ts ot |ntormat|on. 1ho bottom ||no horo |s that
|||us|ons do not tru|y ox|st.
What |s a °t|o|d ot mor|t'? lmag|no you want to got r|ch and nood somo torm ot
cap|ta| to |nvost: a tarmor w||| nood a t|o|d |n wh|ch to p|ant soods or grazo an|ma|s,
and a bus|nossman w||| nood a bus|noss |oan or |nvostors to t|nanco a now vonturo.
l|kow|so, thoso who to||ow a sp|r|tua| path, bocauso thoy |ong to ||borato thomso|vos
and a|| othor suttor|ng bo|ngs trom th|s not ot samsara, w||| nood to accumu|ato mor|t.
1o do so, two t|o|ds ot mor|t aro usod, ono ot sub||mo bo|ngs and tho othor ot sont|ont
bo|ngs, through wh|ch wo aro ab|o, u|t|mato|y, to harvost tho tru|t ot on||ghtonmont.
3oth t|o|ds ot mor|t aro thorotoro omp|oyod throughout ngöndro pract|so. Wo
v|sua||so tho sub||mo t|o|d ot mor|t ot tho buddhas and bodh|sattvas and cons|dor that
thoy support us by prov|d|ng a|| tho powor, compass|on and omn|sc|onco wo nood to
br|ng a|| sont|ont bo|ngs to on||ghtonmont. Wo v|sua||so sont|ont bo|ngs |n tho ord|nary
t|o|d ot mor|t and too| compass|on tor ovory ono ot thom. ln th|s way, wo accumu|ato
mor|t through both t|o|ds. lract|t|onors shou|d thorotoro boar |n m|nd that as wo
accumu|ato mor|t through ro|at|vo pract|so, wo w||| a|ways o|thor bo pray|ng to tho
buddhas or ottor|ng compass|on to sont|ont bo|ngs, and |n ono torm or anothor, thoso
two t|o|ds ot mor|t w||| bo part ot ovory ono ot our pract|sos.
Common Ouoationa

Ouost|ons about oxact|y how you v|sua||so tho guru |n tront ot you como up a|| tho t|mo.
°|ow h|gh |n tho sky abovo my hoad shou|d ho bo?' °3hou|d ho bo tac|ng mo?'
°3hou|d ho taco |n tho samo d|roct|on as mo?' 3ut aga|n, tho bost adv|co |s, don't bo
too tussy. 1ho path ot vajrayana |s nondua|. ln tact, tho who|o po|nt ot tho pract|so |s to
actua||zo that nondua||ty, and so |n tho procoss, wo must |oarn to bo as opon and
ro|axod as poss|b|o about a|| tho dota||s.
|av|ng sa|d that, thoro aro corta|n o|omonts about wh|ch wo can bo spoc|t|c. |or
oxamp|o, |n tho contoxt ot ngöndro, as you v|sua||so vajrasattva s|tt|ng on top ot your
hoad, |mag|no that ho |s tac|ng |n tho samo d|roct|on as you. And whon you pract|so a
guru yoga sadhana, s|nco do|udod bo|ngs tond to |mag|no that a porson who s|ts or
stands h|ghor than ovoryono o|so |s bottor or moro powortu|, v|sua||so your guru and
h|s rot|nuo a ||tt|o h|ghor than you, and that thoy aro a|| |ook|ng at you.
|or othor pract|sos you m|ght t|nd |t moro ottoct|vo to |mag|no your guru on top ot
your hoad, or s|tt|ng |ns|do your hoart. 1ho toach|ngs ovon mont|on a v|sua||sat|on ot
tho guru |n your throat, so that as you oat or dr|nk, you aro automat|ca||y mak|ng
ottor|ngs to h|m. 1ho cho|co ot poss|b|o v|sua||sat|ons |s ||m|t|oss.
0

Why Do Wo Nood a Curu?

Asp|r|ng dharma pract|t|onors today aro vory tortunato. 1hoy havo at tho|r t|ngort|ps a
hugo amount ot |ntormat|on about tho dharma |n tho torm ot books, rocord|ngs,
wobs|tos and v|doos, a|| ot wh|ch can bo vory usotu|. 3ut tor thoso who aro sor|ous
about to||ow|ng a sp|r|tua| path, |ntormat|on |s just a sma|| part ot tho story. 1o to||ow
tho toach|ngs ot tho 3uddha tu||y and comp|oto|y, you must t|rst bo accoptod as a
studont by a sp|r|tua| mastor, a guru. |o w||| thon g|vo you vory spoc|t|c adv|co about
what you nood to do on your path to on||ghtonmont and whon you nood to do |t, and by
do|ng so w||| savo you a groat doa| ot t|mo and ottort.
3ott|ng out on a sp|r|tua| path |s a ||tt|o ||ko p|ann|ng a tr|p-to Vachu l|cchu, tor
oxamp|o. 3omo travo|ors w||| approach tho projoct by |nvost|ng a |ot ot t|mo |n road|ng
travo| books or Goog||ng lntornot s|tos about tho bost routo to tako and whoro to stay
-a mothod that works, but on|y to a corta|n oxtont. Othor travo|ors protor a much
s|mp|or and sator mothod: to ask somoono thoy known and trust who has a|roady
boon to Vachu l|cchu to go w|th thom and show thom tho way. 3|m||ar|y, thoso
w|sh|ng to to||ow tho 3uddh|st path to on||ghtonmont shou|d ro|y on what aro ca||od |n
tho toach|ngs tho °tour authont|cs': tho authont|c words ot tho 3uddha (h|s toach|ngs),
tho authont|c c|ar|t|cat|on ot tho toach|ngs that can bo tound |n tho shastras
(commontar|os) wr|tton by groat mastors ot tho past, tho turthor c|ar|t|cat|on that |s tho
rosu|t ot authont|c porsona| oxpor|onco, and tor th|s oxpor|onco to t|nd oxpross|on, an
authont|c guru.
ln pract|so, th|s moans that an authont|c 3uddh|st mastor w||| sharo h|s authont|c
porsona| oxpor|onco ot tho toach|ngs and pract|so that has boon c|ar|t|od by ro|ovant
doscr|pt|ons |n authont|c shastras and accurato|y roprosont tho authont|c words ot tho
3uddha. And as an authont|c guru |s tho p|vota| o|omont |n th|s procoss, |t |s ossont|a|
that studonts havo abso|uto cont|donco |n and dovot|on tor tho|r guru.
Examino tho Curu

|ow, thon, can you to|| whothor or not tho guru you moot |s authont|c? 1ho most
pract|ca| and oas|ost mothod ava||ab|o |s to app|y |og|c and common sonso. ls tho
guru so|t|sh, ogot|st|ca| or too |ntorostod |n samsar|c ||to? lt ho |s, thon porhaps ho |s
not tho guru tor you. Whon you t|nd a guru who has no |ntorost |n samsar|c ||to and |s
a|so a vory good dharma pract|t|onor, you shou|d st||| ask yourso|t, °ls sho
compass|onato onough to bo gonu|no|y |ntorostod |n my on||ghtonmont?'
A guru cou|d |nsp|ro you |n any numbor ot ways, tor oxamp|o, tho way ho smo||s, or
sm||os, or drossos, or tho tact that ho supports tho samo tootba|| toam as you.
Whatovor |t |s that |n|t|a||y draws you to a guru, howovor suport|c|a|, |t has tho potont|a|
to croato a connoct|on botwoon you. 1hon, hav|ng mado that connoct|on, |t |s
|mportant that you oxam|no h|m thorough|y. 1h|s adv|co comos trom tho 3uddha
h|mso|t, who, |ong botoro tho modorn wor|d mado |t tash|onab|o to co|obrato troodom
ot spooch, domonstratod just how much ho rospoctod tho powor ot |og|c and
roason|ng by omphas|z|ng how |mportant |t |s not to to||ow a toachor b||nd|y. |o
v|gorous|y rocommondod wo mako an oxhaust|vo oxam|nat|on ot tho guru, and |n
add|t|on, thoso days wo must bo tu||y awaro ot a|| tho cu|tura| baggago that
accompan|os sp|r|tua| toach|ngs.
G|oba||zat|on |s mak|ng our wor|d soom sma||or, and ono ot tho symptoms ot tho
domocrat|c systoms many ||rst Wor|d countr|os ||vo undor |s that thoso |n powor must
nocossar||y oporato transparont|y. lt |s a sound pr|nc|p|o, but tho ontorcomont ot
transparoncy |sn't nocossar||y bonot|c|a|. Ovor tho past tow yoars a tow 1|botan |amas
havo tacod a groat doa| ot cr|t|c|sm that, by and |argo, or|g|natod |n Europoan and
Amor|can nowspapors. Ou|to rocont|y a journa||st wroto about how mator|a||st|c
1|botan |amas aro, and whon l t|rst road tho art|c|o, l to|t a ||tt|o dotons|vo. 1hon l road
|t aga|n, and l havo to say sho mado somo good po|nts. 3ho doscr|bod how 1|botan
|amas sco|d tho|r r|ch, modorn studonts tor bo|ng too acqu|s|t|vo, thon po|ntod out how
much monoy thoso vory samo |amas hoovor up trom tho|r ||rst Wor|d sponsors to
tako back to lopa| or lnd|a, whoro thoy buy oxpons|vo now cars and go|d watchos.
And sho |s r|ght, |t happons a|| tho t|mo. Ono cou|d arguo that, trom a corta|n rathor
narrow porspoct|vo, woro a|| tho h|gh |amas to so|| tho|r s||vor and go|d toacup
ho|dors, tho procoods wou|d ||ko|y tood hundrods ot starv|ng ch||dron tor months.
3otoro wo judgo thoso lo|ox-woar|ng |amas too harsh|y, though, wo must not torgot
that ovon monks who appoar s|mp|o and humb|o may |n roa||ty bo h|d|ng boh|nd a
mask ot hypocr|sy. 3omo |amas bocomo para|yzod w|th toar at tho moro suggost|on
that tho|r carotu||y crattod |mago ot hum|||ty and s|mp||c|ty cou|d bo oxposod as traud.
|or thom, bo|ng soon to bo humb|o and s|mp|o |s so |mportant that |t thoy woro ovor
accusod ot h|d|ng a d|ttoront °taco,' |t wou|d causo thom tromondous suttor|ng. |rom
th|s po|nt ot v|ow, l adm|ro thoso |amas who just do what thoy want w|thout bothor|ng
to cu|t|vato a humb|o |mago, and |t thoy want to woar tour go|d lo|ox watchos, thoy
shou|d go ahoad and woar thom! |owovor, wo must bo carotu| about tho k|nd ot |og|c
and roason|ng wo app|y as wo oxam|no our gurus.
1oachora Nanitoat to |naµiro 5tudonta

A good toachor knows how to toach ottoct|vo|y, but a groat toachor |nsp|ros studonts
at ovory |ovo|, trom bog|nnors to tho moro oxpor|oncod pract|t|onors, whoso sourcos
ot |nsp|rat|on chango as thoy bocomo moro sp|r|tua||y soph|st|catod. Our wor|d |s a
judgmonta| ono and wo a|| know that whon tho U.3. pros|dont or a mu|t|m||||ona|ro
sportsman |s caught do|ng somoth|ng romoto|y t|shy, a b|g doa| w||| bo mado ot |t by
tho|r r|va|s and part|cu|ar|y by tho mod|a. 1h|s samo k|nd ot judgmonta| m|nd |s otton
d|roctod at a guru as studonts attompt to assoss h|s va|uo basod on tho|r own
vors|ons ot how a mora||y upr|ght and dopondab|o porson shou|d bohavo. 1ho
prob|om |s, though, that tho moro sp|r|tua||y maturo a studont bocomos tho h|ghor tho
truths thoy sook, and ovor t|mo a guru must nocossar||y bo ab|o to prov|do thom w|th
qu|to d|ttoront k|nds ot |nsp|rat|on. 3og|nnors aro otton |nsp|rod by a guru's hum|||ty
and s|mp||c|ty. lator on, though, whon tho t|mo comos to start smash|ng concopts
apart, |t a guru |s stuck w|th tho appoaranco and charactor ot °mora|' ronunc|ant, ho
w||| bo unab|o to bo cha||ong|ng onough to broak down tho barr|ors |nh|b|t|ng a
studont's progross.
A w||||ngnoss to bo |nsp|rod and a tondoncy to bo turnod ott aro both ro|at|vo
roact|ons: somo poop|o aro |nsp|rod by tho s|ght ot a sorono monk w|th a bogg|ng
bow|, othors by a ha|t-drunk, ha|t-nakod yog|. Corta|n vajrayana studonts dor|vo tar
moro |nsp|rat|on trom tho s|ght ot a b|zarro|y drossod guru sport|ng a good doa| ot
go|d jowo|ory and broak|ng a|| tho ru|os ot soc|a| ot|quotto than a portoct monk, wh|ch,
aga|n, shows that tho sourcos ot our |nsp|rat|on aro both ro|at|vo and subjoct|vo. lot
on|y doos oach ono ot us t|nd |nsp|rat|on |n d|ttoront p|acos, but what |nsp|ros a
t|ttoon-yoar-o|d w||| no |ongor havo tho samo ottoct onco that porson h|ts torty.
3o, howovor c|oso our scrut|ny ot oach guru, howovor many ways wo try to ova|uato
h|s worth, and howovor |og|ca| and roasonab|o our argumonts may bo, |t's |mportant
to boar |n m|nd that a|| mothods aro ||m|tod and to trust our own |og|c and ana|ys|s 100
porcont wou|d bo oxtromo|y too||sh.
1ho Curu

Ono ot tho moan|ngs ot tho 3anskr|t word °guru' |s °toachor' or °mastor' and
roprosonts a porson who toachos and transm|ts know|odgo, ||ko a mastor carpontor
toachos an appront|co. lmag|no that a|though you havo no ta|ont whatsoovor and aro
unomp|oyod, you a|so havo a |argo tam||y to tood. Ono day a carpontor ottors to toach
you how to work w|th wood. Attor a coup|o ot months work|ng w|th h|m, your
no|ghbours bog|n to pay you to do carpontry tor thom. lmag|no how gratotu| you wou|d
bo to your toachor tor g|v|ng you tho moans ot mak|ng a ||v|ng, and how much you
wou|d approc|ato h|s ho|p. On tho sp|r|tua| path wo can on|y atta|n comp|oto sp|r|tua|
on||ghtonmont-a rathor |argor projoct than s|mp|y tood|ng ompty bo|||os-w|th tho
ho|p ot a guru, and whon wo t|nd ono who |s w||||ng to accopt and toach us, our
approc|at|on shou|d know no bounds.
vajrayana toxts stato that tor ono who sooks on||ghtonmont a guru |s moro
|mportant than a|| tho buddhas ot tho throo t|mos put togothor. ||s job |s not on|y to
toach studonts but to |oad thom. |o |s our most |mportant compan|on, our tam||y,
husband, w|to and bo|ovod ch||d, bocauso on|y ho can br|ng us to on||ghtonmont.
3ad|y, |n rocont yoars, tho word goro has a|| but |ost |ts or|g|na| moan|ng. 1ho
do|udod bo|ngs ot th|s t|mo aro groody tor ovoryth|ng puro and sta|n|oss, so thoy grab
at tho pr|nc|p|o ot tho guru, spo|| |t, rojoct |t and thon movo on to anothor portoct
troasuro to |ay wasto. lt has happonod tar too otton and as a rosu|t gurus aro now
m|strustod |n tho modorn wor|d and otton r|d|cu|od |n popu|ar cu|turo. lovortho|oss, tor
somoono sor|ous about to||ow|ng a sp|r|tua| path thoro |s no subst|tuto tor bo|ng
gu|dod by a guru.
Wo to||ow a sp|r|tua| path bocauso wo want to dotoat our omot|ons and atta|n
on||ghtonmont, and to ach|ovo that goa| wo nood d|sc|p||no, gu|danco and tho
courago to contront ovoryth|ng wo havo spont many ||tot|mos try|ng to avo|d. 1h|s |s
proc|so|y what a guru prov|dos us w|th by cha||ong|ng our proconco|vod concopts,
d|srupt|ng our ||vos and most |mportant ot a|| by dony|ng ogo's ovory w|sh. 1horotoro,
as 1|gmo l|ngpa strong|y adv|sod, wo shou|d do a groat doa| ot rosoarch about a
guru botoro wo g|vo h|m or hor carto b|ancho to torpodo our ||vos, bocauso wo must
bo ab|o to trust h|m comp|oto|y. Untortunato|y, vory tow poop|o thoso days tocus on
such dota||s, and th|s stago ot tho procoss |s too otton ovor|ookod.
What Nakoa a 5tudont Look tor a Curu?

What |s |t that makos a studont sook out a toachor? ldoa||y, tho w|sh tor porsona|
on||ghtonmont and tho on||ghtonmont ot a|| sont|ont bo|ngs-but wo raro|y start out
w|th such a w|sh. loop|o usua||y start gott|ng |ntorostod |n a sp|r|tua| porspoct|vo
whon tacod w|th tragody, phys|ca| pa|n or a hopo|oss prognos|s, bocauso |t |s on|y
whon wo rocogn|zo that ||to |s stuttod tu|| ot tho ond|oss suttor|ng wo toar and droad
that wo start to |ook around tor ways ot avo|d|ng |t. Aga|nst such a backdrop, whon wo
t|rst stumb|o upon a guru, wo may just soo h|m as a porson wo can br|ng our
comp|a|nts to, wh|no at, ta|k th|ngs ovor w|th or pray to-a k|nd ot stand-|n tor our
psych|atr|st, psycho|og|st or ovon God. lt may tako a wh||o, but ovontua||y wo roa||so
that tho on|y way out ot th|s pa|ntu| ox|stonco |s on||ghtonmont and that wo can on|y
atta|n on||ghtonmont by to||ow|ng a sp|r|tua| path and t|nd|ng a sp|r|tua| mastor.
A hungor tor on||ghtonmont ho|ps us dovo|op gonu|no dovot|on tor tho sp|r|tua| path,
but such a |ong|ng |s d|tt|cu|t both to ovoko and to ma|nta|n. 0ovot|on m|ght pop |nto
our ovorcrowdod m|nds onco |n a b|uo moon, but |t |s qu|ck|y po||utod by tho many
jost||ng omot|ons that aro |ts no|ghbours. Yot, a|though wo on|y oxpor|onco sn|ppots ot
authont|c dovot|on, tho|r va|uo |s |nca|cu|ab|o bocauso ovon tho t|n|ost g||mpso can
|oad us to tho r|ght path.
1hoorot|ca||y, wo |ook tor a guru bocauso wo |ong tor on||ghtonmont, but |n pract|so
studonts usua||y bocomo attractod to a guru tor qu|to d|ttoront roasons. |o may, tor
oxamp|o, bo phys|ca||y gorgoous, or havo an |rros|st|b|y port bum, or a boaut|tu| vo|co,
and tor somo ot us, thoso may bo tho on|y cr|tor|a wo aro capab|o ot rospond|ng to.
Onco hookod, though, wo shou|d try to convort thoso ord|nary attract|ons |nto dovot|on
and to||ow our guru out ot a |ong|ng tor on||ghtonmont. lt wo can adjust our mot|vat|on
|n th|s way, our ro|at|onsh|p w|th our guru w||| novor ta|tor. |owovor, |t our mot|vat|on |s
ta|ntod by tho w|sh tor mator|a| ga|n, or somo othor wor|d|y dos|ro, |t w||| dot|n|to|y go
wrong. |au|ty mot|vat|on |oads to ta|so oxpoctat|ons, wh|ch no guru can ovor moot.
And ovon though wo th|nk ot ourso|vos as bo|ng studonts ot a sp|r|tua| path, that tau|ty
mot|vat|on moans wo w||| cont|nuo to oxpor|onco a|| tho mundano d|sappo|ntmonts wo
havo a|ways to|t whon our samsar|c p|ans aro shattorod.
Gradua||y, as tho ro|at|onsh|p maturos, wo bog|n to porco|vo our guru not just as our
mastor, but as tho koy to our sp|r|tua| path. |o w||| no |ongor moro|y bo tho ono who
prov|dos us w|th book ||sts and answors our |ntorm|nab|o quost|ons, but noth|ng |oss
than tho man|tost ombod|mont ot our buddha naturo. As buddha naturo |s so abstract
as to bo v|rtua||y |mposs|b|o to tap |nto on our own, wo ask our guru, who |s tho
rot|oct|on ot our buddha naturo, to do |t tor us. 1h|s |s just ono way ot °tak|ng tho guru
as tho path.'
lt |s sa|d |n tho vajrayana that tho guru ls tho 3uddha, tho guru ls tho dharma and tho
guru ls tho sangha. Ooro, horo, doos not on|y rotor to tho outor guru, but to tho |nnor
and socrot guru as wo||. 3o, on tho most protound |ovo|, tho guru |s not just our toachor
but our ont|ro sp|r|tua| path.
1ho Curu ls tho Dharma

ln tho sutras, tho samo adv|co about how to to||ow a guru (otton known as tho tour
ro||ancos) appoars aga|n and aga|n: do not dopond on tho porson, but on tho dharma
ho toachos, do not tocus on tho suport|c|a| moan|ng ot h|s words, but on tho|r tu|| and
comp|oto moan|ng, do not dopond on toach|ngs that roqu|ro |ntorprotat|on, but on
abso|uto toach|ngs, and do not dopond on tho m|nd, but on w|sdom.
ln our ovoryday ||vos wo aro raro|y succosstu| at judg|ng othors by tho|r appoaranco
and bohav|our a|ono, and on tho sp|r|tua| path |t |s novor a good |doa to bocomo too
dopondont on tho porsona||ty and charactor ot your guru. |av|ng ana|yzod h|m
thorough|y and doc|dod to tako h|m as your path, tho |mportant th|ng |s no |ongor to
catogor|zo h|m as a °porson,' bocauso trom th|s po|nt on tho guru ls tho dharma.
Don't 5ocond-Cuoaa YouraoIt

A|though you may havo tound a guru, conv|ncod yourso|t ot h|s authont|c|ty, and boon
accoptod by h|m, attor a wh||o you may start to wondor |t you havo dono tho r|ght th|ng.
lorhaps your ana|ys|s ot your guru was t|awod? And d|d you roa||y oxam|no
ovoryth|ng |n h|s charator and ||tosty|o that you shou|d havo? lt you havo p|onty ot t|mo
on your hands and aro oagor to sat|sty ovory ono ot your d|scurs|vo thoughts, you can
cont|nuo to ana|yzo your guru tor as |ong as you ||ko. 3ut |t you aro |mpat|ont to mako
|t to tho othor shoro (on||ghtonmont) and rocogn|zo that t|mo |s short, tho qu|ckost
mothod |s s|mp|y to chooso a guru and got on w|th |t. |av|ng mado that cruc|a|
doc|s|on, your guru w||| bocomo your path and you must dovo|op unwavor|ng dovot|on
tor h|m, bocauso whoro a tu||y qua||t|od, authont|c vajra mastor |s concornod, dovot|on
|s an oxtromo|y powortu| mothod that |s guarantood to br|ng you |mmoasurab|o
b|oss|ngs. 3ut tor a|| th|s to ta|| |nto p|aco, you must t|rst so|vo tho prob|om ot whothor
or not tho mastor you aro th|nk|ng ot tak|ng as your guru |s qua||t|od, and |n part|cu|ar
what bo|ng °qua||t|od' roa||y moans.
1|gmo l|ngpa sa|d that |t |s oxtromo|y |mportant to oxam|no both tho guru ooo your
own mot|vat|on tor choos|ng h|m. 3ut do boar |n m|nd that by tho t|mo you aro ab|o to
to|| tho d|ttoronco botwoon a qua||t|od and an unqua||t|od mastor, you w||| a|roady havo
progrossod qu|to tar a|ong tho path, and unt|| thon th|s |s an aspoct ot sp|r|tua|
pract|so that can bo contus|ng.
1ho OuaIitioa to Look For in an Authontic Curu

1hoso days qua||t|od mastors aro oxtromo|y raro and, accord|ng to 1|gmo l|ngpa,
woro a|roady tow and tar botwoon throo hundrod yoars ago-h|s |amontat|ons ovor
tho pauc|ty ot qua||t|od mastors cont|nuo to bo stud|od by studonts to th|s day. 3o,
what aro tho qua||t|os wo shou|d wo |ook tor |n a guru?
1. An Authontic Curu |a AIao a Dharma Practitionor

Vany so-ca||od gurus thoso days aro ||ko doat mus|c|ans who no|thor pract|so nor
havo onough dharma know|odgo to bo ab|o to toach propor|y. And |t thoy do, thoy
novor put what thoy toach |nto pract|so.
longchonpa sa|d that thoso ||v|ng |n thoso dogonorato t|mos aro spo||t. 1ust as a
baby b|rd has to wa|t tor |ts w|ngs to strongthon and |ts toathors to grow botoro |t can
attompt to t|y, pract|t|onors aro unab|o gonu|no|y to bonot|t sont|ont bo|ngs unt|| thoy
havo t|rst nurturod and maturod thomso|vos sp|r|tua||y. And w|thout somo dogroo ot
omn|sc|onco, |t |s a|most |mposs|b|o tru|y to ho|p othors. longchonpa thorotoro
adv|sos us to pay attont|on to nurtur|ng ourso|vos at tho outsot ot our sp|r|tua| path and
to rom|nd ourso|vos at a|| t|mos ot our w|sh to bonot|t othors.
1o accopt adv|co trom somoono who has not pract|sod, sa|d Kongtru| l|npocho, |s
||ko consu|t|ng a book on hoa||ng whon you aro |||: |t may bo an |nto||octua||y sat|sty|ng
road, but whon you roa||y nood ho|p-pract|ca| ho|p-a book |s uttor|y uso|oss.
2. An Authontic Curu Dooa Not Ad[uat tho 1oachinga to 1urn
a Protit

lropagat|ng tho dharma |s |mportant, but |t shou|d novor bo taught tor mator|a| ga|n. lt
|t |s, ||ko so many ot tho wor|d's anc|ont w|sdom trad|t|ons, |t w||| |oso |ts powor and
dogonorato. 1ako, tor oxamp|o, tho tash|on tor pract|c|ng lnd|an yoga as phys|ca|
oxorc|so that has boon popu|ar tor docados now. |ow many contomporary yoga
toachors ovon mont|on tho v|ow and mot|vat|on boh|nd authont|c yoga pract|sos? Or
|nc|udo trad|t|ona| o|omonts ||ko mak|ng prostrat|ons to tho guru or chant|ng prayors |n
tho|r prosontat|ons? 1horo aro a tow, but not many. Voro otton than not, ovoryth|ng
sp|r|tua| about yoga pract|so |s pushod as|do so that modorn yoga soss|ons t|t moro
comtortab|y |nto tho schodu|os ot hoa|th-consc|ous corporato omp|oyoos, mak|ng
thom moro prot|tab|o tor tho toachors. And onco an act|v|ty ||ko yoga has bocomo just
anothor cash cow, |t qu|ck|y |osos |ts sp|r|tua| charactor.
|avo you ovor onjoyod a cup ot trad|t|ona||y mado Eng||sh toa, pourod trom a
porco|a|n toapot and sorvod |n match|ng cups and saucors? lt |s so o|ogant! 1ho toa
|tso|t takos on a comp|oto|y d|ttoront qua||ty whon tho atmosphoro ot °Eng||sh toa' |s
authont|ca||y croatod. Yot, propor Eng||sh toa |s anothor ro|at|vo|y raro oxpor|onco
thoso days. Vost poop|o dr|nk toa sorvod |n ||ddod po|ystyrono cups bought trom tast-
tood storos and gu|p |t down on tho|r way to work. lt may bo a qu|ck and ott|c|ont
mothod ot |ngost|on, but so much |s |ost |n tho procoss. Ot courso, most commutors
aro qu|to happy w|th tho|r qu|ck cuppa, but tor a roa| toa tanat|c noth|ng boats tho
trad|t|ona| r|tua|. 3|m||ar|y, gurus shou|d not adapt tho dharma to tho noods ot busy,
mator|a||st|c poop|o who domand a bus|noss||ko mothod tor roco|v|ng toach|ngs that
t|ts |nto tho|r ||tosty|os. Woro that to happon, tar too much that |s cruc|a| to an authont|c
sp|r|tua| path wou|d bo |ost.
8. An Authontic Curu BoIonga to an Authontic Linoago

1ho groat 3akyapa mastor 0rakpa Gya|tson sa|d that a guru w|thout a ||noago |s not
ab|o to transtor b|oss|ngs.
1ho tundamonta| v|ow ot 3uddhadharma |s that noth|ng happons random|y and
ovoryth|ng ar|sos out ot causos and cond|t|ons, thorotoro wo havo no cho|co but to
dopond on tho r|ght causos and cond|t|ons to ach|ovo ||borat|on. 1ho causo and
cond|t|on tor moot|ng and bo|ng accoptod by a sp|r|tua| mastor |s abso|uto|y cruc|a|
bocauso on|y by bo|ng c|oso to a guru can our v|rtuous and sp|r|tua| qua||t|os |gn|to
and |ncroaso.
1ho pract|so ot guru yoga has noth|ng at a|| to do w|th tho worsh|p ot oxtorna|
bo|ngs, nor |s |t a rathor humdrum mothod tor acknow|odg|ng that tho guru |s our
toachor. Guru yoga |s tho on|y way ot bu||d|ng a br|dgo botwoon ourso|vos and tho
naturo ot our m|nd, so not on|y |s |t |mportant to t|nd an authont|c guru, but ho must
a|so ho|d an authont|c ||noago. As ||m|tod bo|ngs wo can on|y moasuro tho ott|cacy ot
a path and ono who dwo||s on that path (|n th|s caso tho guru) by consu|t|ng tho
h|stor|ca| rocords ot our guru's sp|r|tua| oxpor|oncos, as wo|| as thoso ot h|s gurus and
ot a|| tho othor gurus bo|ong|ng to h|s ||noago. 1o put our trust |n somoono ont|ro|y
|ndopondont ot a|| ||noagos who c|a|ms to havo had a rovo|at|on about a now path to
on||ghtonmont |s vory r|sky. lt you do doc|do to to||ow a so|t-appo|ntod guru, boar |n
m|nd that you'|| bo on your own, bocauso thoro |s no way ot chock|ng tho vorac|ty ot
h|s c|a|ms. |o may wo|| bo a char|atan. 3o, to bo assurod that your guru bo|ongs to a
||noago goos a |ong way towards authont|cat|ng h|s w|sdom and roa||zat|on, |n tho
samo way that tho un|vors|t|os whoro a scho|ar stud|od and trom whom sho roco|vod
hor qua||t|cat|ons go a |ong way towards authont|cat|ng hor acadom|c stand|ng.
At tho vory |oast, a qua||t|od guru must bo compass|onato and a|ways work tor your
bonot|t, not h|s own.
Norit and tho Curu

|oro aga|n, mor|t p|ays an |mportant ro|o, bocauso t|nd|ng tho r|ght guru roqu|ros a
groat doa| ot |t. W|thout mor|t |t |s not poss|b|o ovon to conco|vo tho w|sh to moot a
sp|r|tua| mastor, |ot a|ono dovo|op tho ab|||ty to d|scorn sobor|y and w|th tho r|ght
mot|vat|on whothor or not a guru |s both authont|c and tho r|ght ono tor you. ||nd|ng a
guru |s ono th|ng, hav|ng onough mor|t not to doubt your cho|co and novor coaso to
trust h|m comp|oto|y |s qu|to anothor and roqu|ros ocoans ot mor|t. ln tact, mor|t |s
roqu|rod at ovory stago ot your ro|at|onsh|p w|th a guru.
1h|s ||tot|mo, tho mor|t accumu|atod through your karm|c ||nk w|th your guru has
boon |y|ng dormant, as |t wa|t-||stod tor a soat on tho t||ght to on||ghtonmont. Onco you
moot a guru, that mor|t bog|ns to r|pon, and thon abso|uto|y anyth|ng cou|d happon.
|ow your sp|r|tua| path ovontua||y unto|ds, though, w||| bo doc|dod by you and your
guru. |o m|ght, tor oxamp|o, to|| you to qu|t your curront way ot ||to and do somoth|ng
comp|oto|y d|ttoront. lt ho doos, thon that |s tho path you must pursuo, bocauso you
must do whatovor |t takos, u|t|mato|y, to atta|n on||ghtonmont.
5µirituaI Progroaa |a Noaaurod in Dovotion

1hroughout ovory stago ot dharma pract|so, undorstand|ng, oxpor|onco and
roa||zat|on w||| grow |n your m|nd. 3o, howovor much cont|donco you havo, or howovor
||tt|o, tho conc|us|ons you draw as a rosu|t ot your roa||zat|ons w||| bo ont|ro|y your own.
|or th|s roason, tho on|y truo |nd|cator ot your sp|r|tua| progross |s whothor or not your
dovot|on tor your guru and your compass|on tor sont|ont bo|ngs |ncroasos. A|| tho
v|s|ons, droams or moda|s you w|n trom dharma pract|t|onors' gu||ds aro a|| tota||y
moan|ng|oss and s|gn|ty noth|ng.
Part 1wo

1ho Ngöndro
7

1aking Rotugo

Why 1ako Rotugo?

1horo aro throo s|tuat|ons, or °cond|t|ons,' that |uro us |nto tak|ng rotugo: toar, trust or
dovot|on and compass|on. And ot thoso throo, toar |s tho most powortu|.
Foar

Wo tond to too| toar |n ro|at|on to wor|d|y act|v|t|os, part|cu|ar|y thoso to do w|th ga|n
and |oss. |or oxamp|o, whon |t ra|ns, bocauso wo aro atra|d ot gott|ng wot wo tako
rotugo undor an umbro||a. 1ho samo k|nd ot toar prompts tarmors and bus|nossmon
|n 3uddh|st countr|os, who havo no |ntorost |n ph||osophy, to say prayors at 3uddh|st
shr|nos. lo|thor |ntordopondont roa||ty nor shunyata moan anyth|ng to thoso poop|o,
but as tho|rs |s a 3uddh|st country, 3uddha, dharma and sangha havo bocomo tho|r
°god.' 1horotoro thoy pray, parrot-tash|on, to tho tr|p|o gom tor |ong ||to, good
bus|noss and bumpor harvosts, and |n roturn mako ottor|ngs and c|rcumambu|ato ho|y
ro||cs.
A|though such an att|tudo |s not tho u|t|mato goa| ot tak|ng rotugo, |t |s not ono wo
shou|d dor|do, bocauso tor thoso ot s|mp|o ta|th |t can bo tho stopp|ng-stono to a
moro soph|st|catod undorstand|ng. lo|thor |s |t an att|tudo oxc|us|vo to thoso born |nto
trad|t|ona| 3uddh|st soc|ot|os. Vost poop|o who tako 3uddhadharma as tho|r path
tond to th|nk ot tho 3uddha as tho|r sav|our, tho way Chr|st|ans th|nk ot 1osus, and
otton tako rotugo |n h|m bocauso thoy aro atra|d and too| tho nood tor protoct|on. 1h|s
|s tho t|rst k|nd ot toar that |nducos pract|t|onors to tako rotugo.
1ho socond |s a toar ot tho suttor|ngs ot samsara, ||ko bo|ng roborn |n ho||. 1hoso
suttor|ng trom th|s k|nd ot toar caro ||tt|o tor ta||od harvosts or r|sos |n tho |ntorost rato,
tho|r groat toar |s ot gott|ng caught up |n and dupod by samsara. |av|ng dovo|opod
tho °w|sdom ot know|ng,' thoy rocogn|zo tho dangors ot bocom|ng trappod |n
samsara, and tho|r compass|on tor a|| sont|ont bo|ngs |oads thom to toar not on|y
samsara but a|so tho so|t|shnoss ot |ong|ng tor tho|r own ||borat|on (n|rvana).
1ho th|rd k|nd ot toar suttorod by vajrayana pract|t|onors (|n add|t|on to a toar ot
samsara and n|rvana) |s ot °|mpuro porcopt|on,' bocauso wh||o our porcopt|on |s not
puro, tho root ot oxtromo dua||ty can novor bo d|smant|od.
1ruat

Whatovor wo do |n ||to roqu|ros a corta|n amount ot trust. |or oxamp|o, whon you want
a cup ot toa, you havo no cho|co but to trust that tho |ngrod|onts, tho toa-mak|ng
utons||s and tho mothod and sk|||s ot tho toa makor w||| a|| como togothor to mako a
do||c|ous cup ot toa. 1o do |t succosstu||y, not ono o|omont can doco|vo you. 3o, |t a
boaut|tu||y dos|gnod toa bag, comp|oto w|th o|ogant str|ng and |abo|, doos not conta|n
toa |oavos, |t w||| not bo ab|o to |ntuso tho hot wator w|th toa. A|though |t |ooks ||ko a
toa bag, as |t cannot tu|t||| |ts task, |t |s °docopt|vo.'
1ho doc|s|on to to||ow a sp|r|tua| path |s tho contra| most |mportant undortak|ng ot a
porson's ||to, ono that |s usua||y mado whon trust |n moro wor|d|y objoct|vos |s
botrayod, caus|ng you to roso|vo to sw|tch to a moro trustworthy path. lt ||ston|ng to
and contomp|at|ng tho toach|ngs and pract|c|ng mod|tat|on |nsp|ros you, tho ||ko||hood
|s that you w||| chooso to ro|y on tho |og|c ot tho dharma. And hav|ng gradua||y
dovo|opod an unshakab|o trust and bo||ot |n 3uddha, dharma and sangha, you w|||
start to |ong to to||ow what you now bo||ovo to bo tho on|y tru|y nondocopt|vo path |n
th|s wor|d. 3asod on that trust, you tako rotugo.
Ot courso, thoro aro othor roasons tor tak|ng rotugo |n tho tr|p|o gom, tor oxamp|o
tho dovo|opmont ot a stoadtast conv|ct|on |n tho on||ghtonod qua||t|os ot ||borat|on,
and onco a|| thoso roasons bog|n to mako sonso to you, tho |doa ot ||borat|on w|||
bocomo moro and moro attract|vo. 1h|s |s just anothor way ot say|ng that dovot|on
and trust |n tho 3uddha, dharma and sangha w||| havo boon ostab||shod |n your m|nd.
Essont|a||y, onco you bo||ovo that tho tr|p|o gom w||| not doco|vo you and that |t
roprosonts tho h|ghost truth, you surrondor to that truth by tak|ng rotugo.
Comµaaaion

|or mahayana studonts, a moro s|gn|t|cant |ncont|vo tor tak|ng rotugo |s tho
compass|on wo too| whon wo roa||so that ovory s|ng|o sont|ont bo|ng bound by
samsar|c suttor|ng has, at ono t|mo or anothor, boon somoono wo |ovod doop|y and
who may ovon havo sacr|t|cod tho|r vory ||vos to sat|sty our so|t|sh omot|ona|
domands. 3ut ovon onco wo havo had th|s roa||sat|on, wo aro st||| powor|oss to ho|p
bocauso wo too aro bound by and ont|ro|y dopondont on our own dobasod cond|t|ons
and c|rcumstancos.
|ow, thon, can ono ho|p|oss rotugoo g|vo rotugo to anothor? As 3hant|dova sa|d, to
bo protoctod by somoono moro powortu| than yourso|t makos |t poss|b|o tor you to
g|vo protoct|on to othors. 1horotoro, onco you havo takon rotugo |n tho 3uddha,
dharma and sangha, you w||| a|so bo ab|o to g|vo rotugo, support and protoct|on to
othors.
1aking Rotugo: 1ho 1hoory

vajrayana toxts otton prosont 3uddha, dharma and sangha us|ng d|ttoront torms, tor
oxamp|o °guru, dova and dak|n|,' or |n tho longchon ly|ngt|k lgöndro °prana, nad|
and b|ndu,' or ovon °dharmakaya, sambhogakaya and n|rmanakaya.' 1ho words wo
uso to spoc|ty who or what wo tako rotugo |n mattor vory ||tt|o. |ar moro |mportant |s
that wo undorstand tho moan|ng boh|nd tho words wo roc|to, wh|ch |s that wo accopt
wo havo buddha naturo and can thorotoro atta|n on||ghtonmont.
lmag|no wash|ng a bad|y sta|nod cottoo cup. Whon you p|ungo tho cup |nto hot,
soapy wator, what aro you do|ng? Vost ot us wou|d say, °l am wash|ng th|s cup.' 3ut
aro you? Aro you wash|ng tho cup, or romov|ng tho sta|ns trom tho cup? 1ho
|nstruct|on your mothor gavo you whon sho taught you how to wash up-tor our
purposos tho °p|th |nstruct|on'-was °Go and wash your cup.' 3ut a|though sho sa|d |t
v|rtua||y ovory day, sho novor oxp|a|nod that tho cottoo sta|n and tho cup aro soparato
and d|ttoront, and that °wash|ng up a cup' roa||y moans romov|ng tho sta|ns trom a
cup that novor |s, novor has boon, nor ovor w||| bo anyth|ng othor than c|oan. ln
pract|so, though, hor p|th |nstruct|on, basod on yoars ot wash|ng-up oxpor|onco, |s
s|mp|o, anyono can undorstand |t and |t gots tho job dono. Yot tho cup and tho d|rt aro
two soparato ont|t|os. You do not wash tho cup, you wash tho d|rt, |t you woro to wash
tho cup, |t wou|d d|sappoar comp|oto|y. 3o, |t |s tho d|rt that |s washab|o, and |t has
noth|ng at a|| to do w|th tho cup.
1h|s oxamp|o |s qu|to a good |||ustrat|on ot ono ot tho most protound thoor|os ot tho
bodh|sattvayana: wo a|| havo tho potont|a| to bocomo buddhas bocauso wo a|| havo
buddha naturo. 1ho prob|om |s, wo havo yot to roa||so |t. What |s |t, thon, that provonts
us trom roa||z|ng our buddha naturo? Or to put |t anothor way, what |s |t that provonts
us trom undorstand|ng that tho cup |s, a|ways has boon and a|ways w||| bo c|oan?
Aoons and aoons ot accumu|atod obscurat|ons.
lt you |ack tho |ntormat|on that buddha naturo |s |nhoront |n a|| ot us, to to||ow tho p|th
|nstruct|ons a|ono cou|d causo you to mako a vory common orror. 1hroughout tho
contur|os, a groat many vajrayana pract|t|onors havo mado tho m|stako ot |mag|n|ng
that 3uddha |s a porson who s|ts |n tho sky |n tront ot you and trom whom you bog
tavors. lt's a tho|st|c approach that has much moro to do w|th moro convont|ona|
ro||g|ons ||ko Chr|st|an|ty than |t doos w|th 3uddh|sm. 3o, whon studonts ask, as thoy
otton do, °|ow |ong shou|d l pract|so tak|ng rotugo?' tho answor |tso|t, °Unt|| tho
rotugoo and objoct ot rotugo bocomo |nsoparab|o,' |s a rom|ndor that tho u|t|mato
objoct ot rotugo |s not an oxtorna| ono, but |n tho naturo ot tho|r m|nds.
ln lndrabhut|'s Yosbo Lrobpo,
1
3uddha, dharma and sangha aro sa|d u|t|mato|y to
ox|st w|th|n our m|nds, and a|| thoughts, ovon tho most t|oot|ng, aro tho|r man|tostat|on.
3o, at th|s |ovo|, ovon tho |oast ot our thoughts |s unsta|nod by dot||omonts and
pr|mord|a||y puro, and consoquont|y conta|ns a|| tho qua||t|os ot tho En||ghtonod Ono.
As 1|gmo l|ngpa sa|d, comp|oto trust |n tho tr|p|o gom |s tho t|na| stago ot tho ro|at|vo
pract|so ot tak|ng rotugo, and to soo your own m|nd as tho tr|p|o gom |s tho t|na| stago
ot tho u|t|mato pract|so ot tak|ng rotugo.
1aking Rotugo: 1ho Pith |natructiona

1ho p|th |nstruct|ons tor tak|ng rotugo vary. Ono mothod |s to tako rotugo |n tho
3uddha as tho toachor, tho dharma as tho path and tho sangha as your compan|ons
on tho path. Anothor, taught by tho vajrayana, |s to havo abso|uto cont|donco |n tho
guru as tho 3uddha, tho guru as tho dharma and tho guru as tho sangha, and ovon
moro oxp||c|t|y, m|nd |s tho 3uddha, m|nd |s tho dharma and m|nd |s tho sangha.
Why do wo v|sua||so our guru |n tho torm ot a buddha or somo othor oxtraord|nary
torm? ln tact, why do wo v|sua||so tho guru at a||? Why not s|mp|y v|sua||so tho torm ot
3uddha 3hakyamun| and bo||ovo h|m to bo 3hakyamun|? Ono vory good roason |s
that wo human bo|ngs t|nd |t hard to |mag|no that buddha naturo can ox|st |n croaturos
as ord|nary as ourso|vos. 3ocond|y, wo t|nd |t oqua||y hard to bo||ovo that our human
guru, who yawns and dr|nks toa, and so on, |s a roa| buddha. |ow can ho bo? 1horo
|s st||| so much ho doos not know, ho |s tota||y spacod out most ot tho t|mo and h|s
bohav|our |s comp|oto|y |rrat|ona|. Yot somot|mos wo a|so oxpor|onco an
ovorpowor|ng sonso that somoth|ng |s tru|y oxtraord|nary about h|m. As a rosu|t, wo
yo-yo botwoon trust|ng h|m who|ohoartod|y and |os|ng that trust to doubt and
susp|c|on.
1amyang Khyontso Chöky| lodrö wroto |n h|s oxp|anat|on ot guru yoga that
accord|ng to both tho bodh|sattvayana and tho vajrayana, buddha naturo man|tosts
cont|nuous|y. |owovor, |t th|s man|tostat|on has not yot boon rot|nod by mor|t, |t usua||y
t|nds oxpross|on as dot||omonts, such as aggross|vo omot|ons. Onco tho rot|n|ng
procoss |s undor way, though, buddha naturo w||| man|tost as compass|on, |ovo,
undorstand|ng and to|oranco, and on occas|on as ono ot |ts most rot|nod
cont|gurat|ons, dovot|on. lt |s on|y whon wo poor through tho doors ot dovot|on that wo
aro ab|o to soo somoono wo bo||ovo |s worth ||ston|ng to and omu|at|ng, and wo ca||
that porson °guru.'
lt |s sa|d that a|though count|oss buddhas and bodh|sattvas havo appoarod and
cont|nuo to appoar |n th|s wor|d, most ot us |ack tho mor|t to moot thom, and ovon |t
wo woro to moot a buddha, wo |ack tho mor|t to rocogn|zo who ho roa||y |s or
undorstand what ho says, or too| any dovot|on tor h|m. 0ovadatta suttorod trom th|s
prob|om. |o was 3uddha's cous|n and ||vod a|ongs|do h|m throughout h|s ||to, yot
bonot|tod not ono jot trom tho oxpor|onco bocauso ho was so joa|ous ot h|m.
|or us, our guru |s our own porsona| buddha. lot on|y has ho spokon to us, ho has
t|ro|oss|y and so|t|oss|y gono out ot h|s way to upsot us, d|sappo|nt us and tata||y
wound our trag||o pr|do, a|| to tu|t||| tho goa| ot orad|cat|ng our ogos. 3o, trom now unt||
wo atta|n on||ghtonmont wo tako rotugo, not on|y to dostroy a|| our surtaco do|us|ons
but to d|g out tho root ot do|us|on |tso|t by ask|ng our guru to boat |t up and toar |t apart
unt|| |t has boon ont|ro|y pu|vor|zod.
3o, why not just v|sua||so our guru as wo soo h|m |n ovoryday ||to? Wo soo h|m so
otton that wo know oxact|y what ho |ooks ||ko. Wo may ovon havo had d|nnor w|th h|m
a tow t|mos or accompan|od h|m on ono ot h|s wa|ks. Why mako th|ngs d|tt|cu|t tor
ourso|vos by try|ng to |mag|no h|m drossod up |n tho hoavy brocados and tunny hats
that 1|botans |ovo Guru l|npocho to woar? Attor a||, no ono ||v|ng today ovor mot Guru
l|npocho or knows how ho roa||y drossod, our on|y rotoroncos aro 1|botan p|cturos
and statuos.
Aga|n, thoorot|ca||y, tho ma|n purposo ot tho vajrayana toach|ngs |s to show us how
to transtorm |mpuro porcopt|on |nto puro porcopt|on. Whon wo scrut|n|zo our human
guru, |t |s through tho t||tor ot our ord|nary, |mpuro porcopt|on, tho vory porcopt|on wo
must work so hard to transtorm. A|though wo havo boon to|d that ovoryth|ng around us,
|nc|ud|ng tho wa||s, co|||ng and t|oor, |ook vory d|ttoront whon porco|vod puro|y, tow ot
us can |mmod|ato|y mako such a hugo |oap |n tho way wo soo tho wor|d. 3ut that
|nab|||ty |s not our |mmod|ato prob|om. Cruc|a||y, what wo nood to r|d ourso|vos ot as
qu|ck|y as poss|b|o aro any |mpuro porcopt|ons wo havo ot our guru. Whon ho yawns,
s|oops, shops oxcoss|vo|y, or bohavos odd|y, |nstant|y rom|nd yourso|t that what you
soo |s your own m|nd's |ntorprotat|on and th|s vory |ntorprotat|on |s proc|so|y what
noods to bo transtormod.
1ho transtormat|on ot a r|g|d and dua||st|c m|nd roqu|ros a groat doa| moro ottort
than ho|d|ng |n your m|nd's oyo tho |mago ot your guru as an ord|nary porson.
1horotoro, whon your pract|so roqu|ros you to v|sua||so your guru, |mag|no h|m |n tho
sky botoro you |n tho torm ot Guru l|npocho or vajradhara. 1o v|sua||so h|m |n h|s
ord|nary human torm w||| on|y porpotuato your hab|t ot porco|v|ng h|m |mpuro|y, or at
bost, as a poor, mak|ng you unab|o to work w|th tho |doa that your guru |s °poor|oss.'
1aking Rotugo: 1ho Practiao

Whon wo tako rotugo, |t must bo |n an °authont|c objoct ot rotugo.' 3ut what |s |t? An
objoct ot rotugo must bo omn|sc|ont, compass|onato and omn|potont, and can on|y bo
authont|ca||y °nondocopt|vo' |t ho or sho ombod|os a|| throo qua||t|os. lt ho |s not
omn|sc|ont, ho w||| not bo ab|o to d|scorn our d|tt|cu|t|os, s|m||ar|y, |t ho |s omn|sc|ont
but |acks compass|on, or omn|sc|ont and compass|onato but |acks tho powor to ho|p,
ho w||| not bo up to tho job ot °objoct ot rotugo.'
1ho omn|sc|onco ot thoso |n whom wo tako rotugo |s ||ko tho sun, a||-porvas|vo and
a||-|||um|nat|ng, tho|r compass|on |s as qu|ck as ||ghtn|ng and ont|ro|y |mpart|a|, and
thoy possoss omn|potont powor to uproot tho u|t|mato sourco ot a|| our prob|oms. Wo
must rom|nd ourso|vos ot thoso throo qua||t|os aga|n and aga|n. Wo shou|d a|so mako
tu|| uso ot tho |nto||octua| °mako-bo||ovo' wo d|scussod oar||or. 3ut |t's not oasy. |ow
many poop|o do you know who aro omn|potont, omn|sc|ont or compass|onato? |avo
you ovor mot such a porson? Or |s tho |doa s|mp|y too out|and|sh ovon to cons|dor?
Ot courso, wo can usua||y t|nd a way ot accopt|ng such a not|on on an |nto||octua|
|ovo|, but tho prob|om thon |s that tak|ng rotugo |s not an |nto||octua| oxorc|so. As wo
tako rotugo, wo put tho dharma |nto pract|so and thorotoro must a|most torco
ourso|vos to bo||ovo that omn|sc|ont, compass|onato and omn|potont poop|o who
qua||ty as gonu|no objocts ot rotugo roa||y do ox|st, and dovo|op tho hab|t ot
ropoatod|y rom|nd|ng ourso|vos about thom.
ViauaIiao tho Rotugo 1roo

3otoro you bog|n ottor|ng prostrat|ons, you shou|d t|rst croato tho t|o|d ot mor|t by
o|thor v|sua||z|ng a|| tho buddhas and bodh|sattvas |n tront ot you-tho guru, dovas,
dak|n|s and tho ont|ro guru ||noago-or |t you protor, tocus oxc|us|vo|y on your guru |n
tho torm ot Guru l|npocho or vajradhara. (A turthor o|aborat|on ot th|s v|sua||sat|on
can bo tound |n doscr|pt|ons ot tho t|o|d ot mor|t that aro usua||y |nc|udod |n tho °tak|ng
rotugo' soct|on ot |ongor ngöndro toxts.)
lt you chooso to v|sua||so tho who|o t|o|d ot mor|t, |mag|no tho ma|n do|ty ot tho
manda|a (Guru l|npocho or vajradhara) s|tt|ng on tho contra| branch ot a w|sh-tu|t||||ng
troo. On tho branch |n tront ot h|m s|ts 3hakyamun| 3uddha and a|| tho buddhas, on
tho branch to h|s r|ght stand a|| tho bodh|sattvas, to h|s |ott tho nob|o sangha ot
shravakas and pratyokabuddhas, and boh|nd h|m aro hugo stacks ot dharma books.
Abovo your guru's hoad s|ts h|s guru, and abovo your guru's guru s|ts h|s guru, and so
on up to Guru l|npocho or vajradhara. 3ut don't got too carr|od away by try|ng to
v|sua||so oach mombor ot h|s rot|nuo. 1ho mastors ot tho past havo to|d us that whon
a k|ng arr|vos, h|s rot|nuo w||| to||ow automat|ca||y, so onco you havo v|sua||sod your
guru as Guru l|npocho, |t |s s|mp|y a mattor ot dovo|op|ng comp|oto cont|donco that
a|| tho mombors ot h|s rot|nuo aro a|so prosont.
At t|rst you may t|nd |t d|tt|cu|t to soo tho t|o|d ot mor|t. 1h|s happons a |ot whon you
aro not yot usod to |ook|ng at |t, porhaps |n tho samo way Austra||an Abor|g|nos woro
unab|o to comprohond tho s|ght ot hugo Europoan sh|ps that arr|vod ottshoro moro
than two contur|os ago and woro thorotoro v|rtua||y b||nd to thom.
2
Or ||ko tho
omporor's subjocts |n tho |ans Chr|st|an Andorson story, who d|dn't want to adm|t to
not bo|ng ab|o to soo tho omporor's nonox|stont now c|othos.
Aga|n, thoro |s no nood to worry too much about tho dota||s. Concontrato |nstoad on
ovok|ng comp|oto cont|donco that Guru l|npocho or vajradhara |s prosont botoro
you, v|v|d and v|brant|y a||vo, surroundod by a|| tho buddhas and bodh|sattvas.
l must stross horo that vlsoo|lso doos not moan you shou|d try to pa|nt a p|cturo ot
tho rotugo troo |n your m|nd, that wou|d bo |mposs|b|o. v|sua||sat|on |s vory ||ko
th|nk|ng about tho porson who |s c|osost to you |n th|s ||to-your mothor, tor oxamp|o.
1ry |mag|n|ng hor stand|ng |n tront ot you r|ght now. As you do so, l'm qu|to suro you
aro not th|nk|ng about tho oxact shapo ot hor oar. Or whothor or not hor toos cur|. Or
how many mo|os sho has on hor back. ln tact, that k|nd ot dota|| has probab|y novor
ovon occurrod to you. At tho samo t|mo, l am oqua||y suro that you havo croatod a
strong sonso ot your mothor |n your m|nd and that you aro comp|oto|y cont|dont |t
roa||y |s hor. 1h|s |s how you shou|d v|sua||so tho objocts ot rotugo, and tho cont|donco
you too| |n your v|sua||sat|on |s ot utmost |mportanco.
l|cturo tho poop|o who annoy and |rr|tato you stand|ng r|ght at tho tront, c|osost to
tho objocts ot rotugo, a|ongs|do thoso who havo hurt you. Evory ono ot us has boon
hurt by poop|o wo havo carod tor, and a|though wo may |ns|st wo havo torgotton a||
about |t, wo raro|y havo. 1o ho|p oaso any ||ngor|ng pa|n, v|sua||so thom |n tho p|aco ot
honor, and as you arouso bodh|ch|tta, w|sh thom ovoryth|ng that |s good. lt th|nk|ng
about thom cont|nuos to bo pa|ntu|, |t |s a s|gn that you havo not |ot go ot too||ng thoy
havo wrongod you. 1ry not to tocus on |t. lnstoad, adm|t to yourso|t that you aro st|||
ho|d|ng on to your pa|n. 1hon concontrato on w|sh|ng thom ovory happ|noss and |ong
to tako a|| tho|r suttor|ngs on yourso|t. And do boar |n m|nd that tor thoso who aro
roa||y sor|ous about pract|c|ng tho dharma, d|tt|cu|t ro|at|onsh|ps prov|do tho most
tort||o ground tor pract|so.
low bog|n your prostrat|ons. As you pract|so, v|sua||so that ovoryono, your tr|onds,
tam||y and a|| tho count|oss sont|ont bo|ngs that ox|st, prostrato and tako rotugo w|th
you. 3y do|ng so, you tako rotugo w|th tho att|tudo ot ono who to||ows tho
bodh|sattvayana path.
AccumuIating Proatrationa

Why Proatrato at AII?

Why t||ng yourso|t tu||-|ongth on an otton t||thy t|oor, thon got up and do |t aga|n
hundrods ot thousands ot t|mos? lrostrat|ons aro a vory |mmod|ato mothod tor tak|ng
rotugo and ono ot tho bost ava||ab|o tor dostroy|ng pr|do. 1hoy aro an outor gosturo ot
surrondor to tho truth ot dharma, and an oxpross|on ot our |ntont|on to g|vo up and
oxposo our pr|do. 3o, as wo tako rotugo, wo prostrato to domonstrato our comp|oto
surrondor by throw|ng ourso|vos at tho toot ot our guru and pross|ng tho t|vo po|nts ot
our body-torohoad, hands and knoos-to tho t|oor as many t|mos as wo can. (ln tho
1|botan trad|t|on thoro aro two ways ot do|ng prostrat|ons: ono |s tho tu||-|ongth and
tho othor tho ha|t-|ongth prostrat|on, and wo usua||y accumu|ato tho tu||-|ongth vors|on.)
lrostrat|ons aro sa|d to br|ng a numbor ot bonot|ts, such as bo|ng roborn w|th an
attract|vo appoaranco, or our words carry wo|ght and aro va|uod, or our |nt|uonco ovor
tr|onds and co||oaguos |s pos|t|vo, or that wo aro ab|o to manago thoso who work tor
us. lt |s sa|d that pract|t|onors who accumu|ato prostrat|ons w||| ono day koop
company w|th sub||mo bo|ngs and as a rosu|t bocomo majost|c, woa|thy, atta|n a
h|ghor rob|rth and ovontua||y atta|n ||borat|on.
|or wor|d|y bo|ngs, though, to contomp|ato a|| tho sp|r|tua| bonot|ts ot prostrat|ons
and tho amount ot mor|t thoy accumu|ato |s not nocossar||y tho most ottoct|vo way ot
mot|vat|ng ourso|vos. 1ho tact that prostrat|ons aro good tor our hoa|th, on tho othor
hand, |s otton just tho |ncont|vo wo nood to got startod. lt's truo, do|ng prostrat|ons tor
tho sako ot tak|ng hoa|thy oxorc|so |s a wor|d|y mot|vat|on, but not ono l wou|d ovor
d|scourago. ln thoso dogonorato t|mos, abso|uto|y anyth|ng that w||| |nsp|ro you to
pract|so dharma has somo va|uo, so p|oaso go ahoad and start your prostrat|ons tor
tho sako ot tho oxorc|so. lt you do, not on|y w||| you savo monoy on your gym
momborsh|p, you w||| bu||d up musc|o and a groat doa| ot mor|t.
Counting Proatrationa: Juat Do |tI

1ho trad|t|ona| goa| |s to comp|oto ono hundrod thousand prostrat|ons th|s ||tot|mo, or
moro |t you aro phys|ca||y up to |t and havo tho t|mo, and |t's a goa| you shou|d do your
bost to accomp||sh. |ow qu|ck|y you roach that goa|, though, |s ro|at|vo|y un|mportant
-to accumu|ato ono hundrod thousand prostrat|ons moro qu|ck|y than your sangha
tr|onds w||| not nocossar||y moan you aro tho t|rst to atta|n on||ghtonmont. Voro
|mportant than spood |s your att|tudo and mot|vat|on. At tho samo t|mo, boar |n m|nd
that ono hundrod and t|tty prostrat|ons tako about ha|t an hour, and by do|ng that
amount da||y, |n |oss than two yoars you w||| accomp||sh ono hundrod thousand
prostrat|ons qu|to comtortab|y.
|or many ot us, hav|ng a goa| to a|m at roa||y ho|ps. 3omo poop|o arguo that
numbors shou|d not mattor, but many pract|t|onors t|nd that koop|ng track ot how much
pract|so thoy do |s both a construct|vo d|sc|p||no and a wo|como oncouragomont.
Otton, thoso who say thoy protor not to count prostrat|ons aro, moro truthtu||y, too |azy
to bothor-just buy|ng a ma|a to count on |s too much ottort. And by g|v|ng |n to tho|r
|az|noss thoy comp|oto|y m|ss tho po|nt bocauso mak|ng tho ottort to do prostrat|ons
|s an ossont|a| part ot tho pract|so. 1horo aro a|so poop|o who worry that by koop|ng a
rocord thoy w||| bocomo too proud ot tho|r own ach|ovomonts. 1hoy arguo that dharma
pract|so was dos|gnod to crush ogo and pr|do, so why r|sk bo|stor|ng |t? 1horo aro
ovon thoso tor whom tho who|o |doa ot °accumu|at|on' |mp||os so|t|shnoss, ||ko
hoard|ng monoy, and cons|dor |t bonoath thom.
ln pract|so, |t you havo strong too||ngs about not want|ng to count your prostrat|ons
and aro abso|uto|y conv|ncod that to do so wou|d not oncourago you, thon w|thout
doubt yoo sboo|o cooot. Un|oss you happon to bo a h|ddon buddha, |gnorant bo|ngs
||ko us usua||y ach|ovo moro whon mot|vatod by tho w|sh to accomp||sh a goa|.
1horotoro, rocord your da||y ta||y, ovon whon you on|y manago ton. And romombor
that, as do|ng prostrat|ons |s moro d|tt|cu|t than roc|t|ng vorsos, you aro count|ng tho
amount ot prostrat|ons you do, not tho amount ot t|mos you roc|to tho vorso.
|av|ng sa|d that, as you prostrato, you shou|d roc|to tho rotugo tormu|a
cont|nuous|y, on tho way down and on tho way up, but thoro |s no nood to sync tho
words w|th tho prostrat|on. Whon you nood a rost, s|t qu|ot|y |n mod|tat|on posturo and
cont|nuo roc|t|ng tho prayor. 1ry rotrosh|ng your mot|vat|on attor ovory twonty-t|vo
prostrat|ons, or ton |t you protor, |t can roa||y ho|p. logu|ar|y rom|nd yourso|t that you
aro pract|s|ng |n ordor to bonot|t a|| sont|ont bo|ngs w|th tho cont|donco and corta|nty
that your guru |s actua||y thoro watch|ng you, and arouso bodh|ch|tta.
lnov|tab|y thoro w||| bo t|mos whon you t|nd yourso|t go|ng through tho mot|ons ot
do|ng prostrat|ons w|thout °too||ng' anyth|ng at a||. Whon th|s happons, just koop
prostrat|ng. lt |s bottor to koop at |t than to wasto t|mo do|ng noth|ng wh||o you wa|t tor
tho r|ght too||ng to como a|ong. lorsona||y, l hard|y ovor too| anyth|ng whon l do
prostrat|ons.
Eow to Broak Your Roaiatanco to Practiao

Noditato Botwoon Proatrationa

3orodom can bo a prob|om, and |t you a||ow |t to tako root, you cou|d bu||d up a strong
ros|stanco to do|ng any prostrat|ons at a||. Ono way ot broak|ng through your
ros|stanco |s to |ntorsporso your prostrat|ons w|th s|tt|ng mod|tat|on. Othor good
mothods |nc|udo tocus|ng on phys|ca| sonsat|ons, ||ko tho pa|n |n your knoos, or th|nk
about how oach prostrat|on |s bu||doz|ng ||tot|mo attor ||tot|mo ot bad karma, or that
whon you do a prostrat|on propor|y, you accumu|ato |nt|n|to mor|t. 3y pract|c|ng |n th|s
way, onco you havo boon |ntroducod to tho h|ghor mahasandh| mod|tat|ons and tho
naturo ot tho m|nd, you w||| ovontua||y oxpor|onco a gonu|no tasto ot mod|tat|on.
|or thoso who tako to tho mahasandh| toach|ngs, onco you got that t|rst tasto,
ovoryth|ng w||| suddon|y ta|| |nto p|aco and you w||| t|nd yourso|t |rrovocab|y hookod. Ot
courso, |t takos t|mo to got usod to now hab|ts, but |t you aro pors|stont and pract|so
rogu|ar|y, your wor|d w||| start to opon up |n ways you novor |mag|nod poss|b|o. And
trom thon on, mod|tat|on w||| bo anyth|ng but bor|ng.
Ovorcoming Lazinoaa

Vany studonts comp|a|n that thoy aro s|mp|y too |azy to do any k|nd ot pract|so, |ot
a|ono prostrat|ons. Ono ot tho mothods l suggost to ho|p thom ovorcomo tho|r |az|noss
|s to road stor|os about tho groat mastors ot tho past, ||ko V||aropa. 3o warnod,
though, your c|ovor m|nd w||| |oso no t|mo |n t|nd|ng ways ot oscap|ng th|s sourco ot
|nsp|rat|on. lt you ro|y on |t oxc|us|vo|y, you w||| qu|ck|y bocomo jadod, and onco that
happons, ovon |t 3uddha 3hakyamun| h|mso|t woro to spond a who|o month at your
s|do, thoro |s no guarantoo you wou|d bocomo |oss |azy. Anothor vory good mothod
tor ovorcom|ng |az|noss |s to mako asp|rat|on prayors ask|ng tor protoct|on trom tho
monaco ot bo|ng |ackada|s|ca| and tho |oss ot |nsp|rat|on. l|ght|ng |nconso and
cand|os a|so works, as doos mak|ng tho ottort to croato an |nsp|r|ng atmosphoro
oach t|mo you pract|so.
||nd|ng tho |nsp|rat|on to pract|so |sn't a|ways oasy, ovon tho most oxpor|oncod
pract|t|onors |oso |nsp|rat|on whon thoy torgot that ovory day wo movo ono stop c|osor
to doath. And tor thoso w|th tam|||os to caro tor, busy jobs and b|||s to pay, t|nd|ng t|mo
to pract|so |s that much hardor. lron|ca||y, though, whon wo do havo tho t|mo, wo otton
|ack tho |nsp|rat|on and w||| to |nsp|ro ourso|vos, and can ond up putt|ng moro onorgy
|nto watch|ng a tootba|| match than pract|c|ng dharma.
1ako Evory Oµµortunity to Practiao

Accord|ng to latru| l|npocho, wo shou|d to||ow tho oxamp|o ot tho hungry yak, who
oats ovory b|ado ot grass ho soos w|thout ovon th|nk|ng ot sav|ng a patch tor |ator. 1ry
to cap|ta||zo on ovory momont you havo to pract|so and novor torgot to count. A|ways
romombor that un|oss tho m|nd |s tamod and m|ndtu|noss |s |ntact, no mattor what wo
do, tho vory mothods dos|gnod to crush our ogo and pr|do w||| bocomo tho too|s that
strongthon thom.
You shou|d a|so try to pract|so |n da||y ||to. Obv|ous|y, |t |s not poss|b|o to cont|nuo to
prostrato at work, but you can d|sc|p||no yourso|t to th|nk ot bodh|ch|tta ovory t|mo you
wa|k through a door, or hoar a phono r|ng. 0o boar |n m|nd, though, that whatovor you
chooso to uso as a rom|ndor w||| qu|ck|y bocomo o|d and dogonorato |nto anothor
moan|ng|oss r|tua|. 3o koop your pract|so trosh by constant|y chang|ng your rom|ndor.
lract|c|ng tho dharma |s ||ko poo||ng away |ayors ot sk|n. At t|rst you havo no
cho|co: you aro prosontod w|th an outor |ayor and your on|y opt|on |s to poo| |t ott.
|av|ng dono so, |t |s qu|to poss|b|o you w||| suddon|y bo ovorcomo by contus|on and
doubt, so much so that you m|ght start to doubt tho mothod |tso|t. 3ut not a|| doubts
aro nocossar||y harmtu|. 3omo aro put torward by your much-va|uod °d|scr|m|nat|ng
m|nd,' and at t|mos, cr|t|ca| ana|ys|s can ho|p, ospoc|a||y whon |t oxposos tho t|aws |n
ogo's |ntorprotat|on ot your oxpor|oncos, wh|ch tow ot us ovor quost|on. ln tact, wo
tond to absorb ogo's vors|on ot ovonts tar too oas||y, so |t you bog|n to wondor
whothor tho truths you havo accoptod tor so |ong roa||y aro °truo,' |t may wo|| bo a s|gn
that dharma |s bog|nn|ng to soop |nto your m|nd.
A|though bocom|ng moro d|scr|m|nat|ng cou|d bo a good s|gn, try not to dwo|| on
your cr|t|c|sms. Koop mov|ng torwards, bocauso a|though you may havo mado a ||tt|o
progross on tho path by succosstu||y romov|ng ono |ayor, you w||| soon bo controntod
by anothor that must a|so bo parod away. ln tact, whonovor you got stuck, tho so|ut|on
w||| a|ways bo to poo| ott anothor |ayor, and you w||| roach tho ond ot tho path on|y
onco a|| thoso |ayors ot progross and stucknoss havo boon comp|oto|y romovod.
lovor torgot that wo pract|so tho dharma bocauso our goa| |s to atta|n comp|oto
on||ghtonmont, not moro|y to bocomo a k|nd or good human bo|ng-a ph||anthrop|st
or a hosp|co workor-or tor tho sako ot rocogn|t|on or to w|n awards. 3tudonts ot tho
bodh|sattvayana |ong tor on||ghtonmont not on|y tor thomso|vos but tor a|| sont|ont
bo|ngs, and tho bottom ||no |s: oo|lgbtoomoot |s tho pr|zo.
1ho End ot tho 5oaaion

Onco you havo accumu|atod your da||y quota ot prostrat|ons, movo stra|ght on to tho
noxt pract|so. As you arouso bodh|ch|tta, your objocts ot rotugo w||| bocomo tho
w|tnossos to your pract|so and r|ght at tho ond ot your soss|on w||| d|sso|vo |nto ||ght
and thon |nto you. Or, |t you protor, |mag|no thoy movo c|osor and c|osor to you, s|ow|y
d|sso|v|ng to bocomo ono w|th you, and thon roma|n |n that |noxpross|b|o stato ot un|ty
tor as |ong as you can.
8

Arouaing Bodhichitta

Vany poop|o |n th|s wor|d aro k|nd. 1|gmo l|ngpa to||s us ho mot umptoon k|nd poop|o
dur|ng h|s ||to, but adds that vory tow had any |doa about what tho bodh|ch|tta ot
asp|rat|on and app||cat|on roa||y aro.
As wo havo a|roady soon, to tako rotugo |s tho íoooootloo ot tho path to ||borat|on.
loxt wo arouso bodh|ch|tta, wh|ch |s tho qolotossooco ot ngöndro pract|so.
What |a Bodhichitta?

ln vory gonora| torms, bodh|ch|tta |s tho w|sh to br|ng a|| sont|ont bo|ngs to comp|oto
on||ghtonmont. lt |s tho hoart, hoad, oyos, b|ood and sp|no ot tho mahayana path and
an abso|uto|y |nd|sponsab|o pract|so. ln tact, |t |s such a powortu| |doa that just to
va|uo tho w|sh to transm|t tho w|sdom that |s on||ghtonmont to othors |s ono ot tho
most |mmonso ottor|ngs |t |s poss|b|o to mako.
A|| too otton, though, ovon so-ca||od 3uddh|sts m|sundorstand bodh|ch|tta and
roduco |t to ||tt|o moro than compass|onato |ov|ng-k|ndnoss. lovo, compass|on and
want|ng to mako poop|o happy aro vory popu|ar |doa|s thoso days and aro otton
promotod as bodh|ch|tta's most |mportant toaturos. Wo torgot that w|thout bodh|ch|tta
thoro wou|d bo no mahayana or vajrayana 3uddh|sm, and that tho most cruc|a| aspoct
ot both thoso yanas |s tho undorstand|ng ot shunyata (ompt|noss). W|thout w|sdom,
compass|on a|ono |s not °bodh|ch|tta,' and v|co vorsa, both qua||t|os aro ossont|a|.
Vost 3uddh|sts aro awaro that bodh|ch|tta has somoth|ng to do w|th to|oranco,
thoughttu|noss and char|tab|o ondoavour, but raro|y not|co tho part-tho vory |argo
part-that doa|s w|th tho w|sdom that undorstands nondua||ty (ompt|noss). |owovor,
w|thout a comprohons|vo approc|at|on ot bodh|ch|tta, a|| 3uddh|st pract|so
dogonoratos |nto sp|r|tua| mator|a||sm bocauso |t |acks tho ono ossont|a| componont
that br|ngs tho path so rad|ant|y a||vo: bodh|ch|tta.
Accord|ng to Karma Chagmo l|npocho, tho on|y way to transtorm unv|rtuous,
nogat|vo thoughts and act|ons |nto thoso that aro bonot|c|a|, and bonot|c|a| thoughts
and act|ons |nto tho path ot ||borat|on, |s through bodh|ch|tta. 1o mako |t poss|b|o to
gonorato bodh|ch|tta, wo must t|rst croato corta|n causos and cond|t|ons, namo|y tako
rotugo, arouso compass|on and accumu|ato mor|t. (|or a vory thorough and proc|so
oxp|anat|on ot why bodh|ch|tta |s so cruc|a| tor a 3uddh|st pract|t|onor, soo 7bo ¼oy
oí tbo Booblsottvo by 3hant|dova.)
Bodhichitta: Lovo, Comµaaaion and tho Wiadom ot NonduaIity

Vahayana pract|t|onors not on|y w|sh to ||borato a|| sont|ont bo|ngs trom suttor|ng |tso|t
but a|so tho coosos ot suttor|ng, tho root ot wh|ch |s tho dua||st|c m|nd. Consoquont|y,
a bodh|sattva doos not ||m|t horso|t to ph||anthrop|c or human|tar|an act|v|t|os. As
1|gmo l|ngpa po|ntod out, thoro aro many k|nd and doop|y compass|onato poop|o |n
th|s wor|d and somo romarkab|y act|vo human|tar|ans, but as bodh|ch|tta |s not moro|y
a |ov|ng concorn tor ||v|ng bo|ngs, thoso poop|o aro not nocossar||y bodh|sattvas.
1hoso who work on boha|t ot othors can somot|mos do so tor a|| tho wrong roasons.
1hoy can a|so bocomo obsossod w|th and |nt|ox|b|o about tho|r goa|s. 1hon, |t
projocts ta|| to p|ay out as thoy had hopod, thoy porsocuto thomso|vos w|th so|t-
rocr|m|nat|on, gu||t and angor-a|| ot wh|ch aro tho s|do ottocts ot obsoss|on. vory
good poop|o |oso hoart, hopo and dotorm|nat|on, and asp|r|ng bodh|sattvas m|ght
ovon g|vo up try|ng to pursuo bodh|sattva act|v|t|os a|togothor. 1horotoro, howovor
car|ng and cons|dorato poop|o may appoar to bo, thoro |s a|ways tho dangor that thoy
aro a|so |nvotorato ogo|sts, and anothor roason bodh|ch|tta |s pra|sod so h|gh|y |s that
|t |s an |nta|||b|o ant|doto to ogocontr|c|ty.
Ono ot tho most obv|ous s|gns that bodh|ch|tta |s m|sundorstood |s whon mastors
who appoar gont|o and humb|o, aro a|ways sm|||ng and novor d|sp|ay |rr|tat|on or
angor, aro doscr|bod as °groat bodh|sattvas,' whoroas |amas who rogu|ar|y appoar to
|oso tho|r tompors and may ovon h|t tho|r studonts aro doscr|bod as °arrogant.' 3uch
d|st|nct|ons aro a c|oar |nd|cat|on wo havo torgotton that w|sdom |s an |nsoparab|o
aspoct ot bodh|ch|tta. And as wo havo no way ot know|ng whothor or not any ot thoso
|amas havo tu||y roa||sod bodh|ch|tta, to s|t |n judgmont on whothor thoy aro
bodh|sattvas or not basod so|o|y on how wo porco|vo tho|r bohav|our |s downr|ght
too||sh. What th|s oxamp|o shows |s how oasy |t |s to ta|| |nto tho trap ot
m|sundorstand|ng bodh|ch|tta as k|ndnoss, gont|onoss and so|t|oss concorn tor
othors. Onco wo grasp a tu||or p|cturo ot bodh|ch|tta, wo bog|n to roa||so that |t |s not a
porson's appoaranco and bohav|our that domonstrato whothor or not thoy aro a
bodh|sattva but tho|r undorstand|ng ot shunyata, tho ossonco ot wh|ch |s compass|on.
A Boginnor'a Practiao ot AbaoIuto Bodhichitta

3og|n your pract|so mot|vatod by tho w|sh to br|ng a|| sont|ont bo|ngs to on||ghtonmont
and rom|nd yourso|t that ovoryth|ng you do |s your own |doa and a man|tostat|on ot
your m|nd. 3y do|ng so, you w||| movo a ||tt|o c|osor to tho |doa ot ompt|noss and
nondua||ty, and at tho samo t|mo w||| qu|ck|y d|scovor that dovo|op|ng an |nto||octua|
undorstand|ng ot shunyata |s probab|y tho bost you can manago. Ot courso, |t's
ro|at|vo|y oasy to ta|k about °ompt|noss,' road about |t and ovon mako a stab at
|mag|n|ng |t, but tho conc|us|ons wo draw w||| a|ways ta|| w|th|n tho cont|nos ot our own
oxtromo|y ||m|tod rat|ona|o. Our |nto||octua| vors|on ot nondua||ty may wo|| bo |og|ca|,
but on a pract|ca| |ovo|, nondua||ty |s oxtraord|nar||y d|tt|cu|t to grasp.
As longchonpa sa|d, how can tho t|avour ot sa|t bo oxp|a|nod to somoono who has
novor tastod |t? A|| wo can do |s g|vo thom somoth|ng swoot and say, °3a|t doos not
tasto ||ko th|s.' Wo taco tho samo prob|om whon wo ta|k about abso|uto bodh|ch|tta. A
major obstac|o to undorstand|ng |t tu||y |s our |ack ot |anguago capab|o ot doc|phor|ng
and oxp|a|n|ng |t. Yot |n pract|so, abso|uto bodh|ch|tta |s tar trom bo|ng unatta|nab|o,
qu|to tho oppos|to |n tact. l|ght now, though, wo aro dwo|||ng |n tho torr|tory ot
dua||sm. Our goa| may bo to pass through dua||sm to nondua||sm, but wo can on|y
attompt to undorstand nondua||ty by omp|oy|ng dua||st|c mothods. And a|though wo
havo no cho|co but to uso such mothods, wo cont|nua||y asp|ro tor a nondua||st|c
rosu|t.
DovoIoµ tho 5trongth ot Comµaaaion

Unt|| wo havo ostab||shod a comp|oto undorstand|ng ot bodh|ch|tta, wo w||| cont|nuo to
mako tho m|stako ot |mag|n|ng that pa|n tru|y ox|sts. As a rosu|t, wo w||| a|most
corta|n|y bocomo tho v|ct|ms ot our own compass|on, and w|thout tu||y approc|at|ng
nondua||ty, our ovory act|v|ty w||| |oad to d|sappo|ntmont. |or oxamp|o, as a thorap|st,
how tar aro you proparod to go to ho|p an a|coho||c or drug add|ct? lmag|no that ono
ot your c||onts |s corta|n to bo roborn a drug add|ct tor tho noxt t|vo thousand ||tot|mos.
As a bodh|sattva, your dotorm|nat|on to ho|p hor shou|d bo so groat that you asp|ro to
bo roborn at tho r|ght t|mo and |n tho r|ght p|aco dur|ng ovory ono ot thoso ||tot|mos so
you can cont|nuo hor troatmont.
|ast torward to tho t|vo-thousandth ||tot|mo. Your c||ont has boon roborn |n a |ono|y,
godtorsakon country, and a|| you havo to do to onsuro sho w||| novor aga|n bo roborn
as an add|ct |s hang out w|th hor tor ha|t a day. 1h|s moans you must a|so bo roborn |n
that wrotchod p|aco and that tho ont|ro tocus ot your ||to w||| bo to got you to tho r|ght
p|aco at tho r|ght t|mo to spond thoso tow hours w|th your c||ont. 1o do th|s, you w|||
nood what tho toach|ngs doscr|bo as °strongth' or °dotorm|nat|on,' and you w||| on|y
t|nd th|s strongth onco you como to roa||so tho |||usory naturo ot a|| phonomona, or |n
othor words °ompt|noss.'
3o, how do you dovo|op tho romarkab|o strongth ot compass|on you nood to bo
ab|o to bohavo so so|t|oss|y? |ow do you dovo|op tho dotorm|nat|on novor to g|vo up?
Whoro do you t|nd tho cont|donco and tonac|ty to koop try|ng? Evory ono ot thoso
qua||t|os spr|ng trom tho roa||sat|on that tho drug add|ct, hor prob|om, that sho can bo
hoa|od, and ovon tho |doa that sho noods hoa||ng aro a|| moro|y tho products ot your
own m|nd. lono ot |t tru|y ox|sts outs|do m|nd. And hav|ng roa||sod th|s truth, you can
go on to dovo|op tho strong and gonu|no compass|on that |s bodh|ch|tta.
ln tho Projooporomlto 5otro wo aro to|d that 3uddha was onco approachod by a
bodh|sattva pract|t|onor who comp|a|nod that, hav|ng dod|catod many yoars to
ho|p|ng sont|ont bo|ngs, ho was now uttor|y oxhaustod. 3uddha rospondod by
oxp|a|n|ng that t|mo |s ro|at|vo. 1ho bodh|sattvayana toach|ngs to|| us tho por|od
botwoon tho momont a bodh|sattva t|rst takos tho bodh|sattva vow up unt|| h|s |ast
momont on tho tonth bhum| |asts tor throo count|oss aoons. Yot, ono ot tho roa||sat|ons
ot a tonth-bhum| bodh|sattva |s that a|| thoso count|oss aoons pass as qu|ck|y as |t
takos a spark to shoot out ot tho t|ro.
On anothor occas|on, a bodh|sattva to|d tho 3uddha how d|scouragod ho to|t
bocauso ho|p|ng sont|ont bo|ngs was so pa|ntu| and thoro woro st||| so many |ott to
||borato. 1ho 3uddha rospondod w|th an ana|ogy. lmag|no a mothor droams hor on|y
ch||d has boon swopt away by tho powortu| curronts ot a tast-mov|ng r|vor. 3ho |s
ont|ro|y powor|oss, yot |n hor agony and dosporat|on sho |s w||||ng do anyth|ng to savo
hor son, rogard|oss ot hor own wo|taro and satoty, ovon sacr|t|co hor vory ||to. |ow
|ong tho roscuo m|ght tako |s ont|ro|y |rro|ovant to hor, and tho amount ot ottort
roqu|rod |s not ovon a cons|dorat|on. 3o, |n hor droam sho |oaps |nto tho r|vor.
Evontua||y hor strongth and s|ng|o-m|ndod dotorm|nat|on aro so groat that sho
succoods |n sav|ng hor son. 1hon sho wakos up. A|| tho pa|n sho ondurod, a|| tho
|mmonso ottort sho mado and a|| tho t|mo sho |nvostod |n sav|ng hor ch||d novor
ox|stod, ovon tho |doa that sho savod h|s ||to |s an |||us|on.
1h|s |s our roa||ty. And as pract|t|onors, wo shou|d koop th|s roa||ty |n m|nd. 1ry|ng
to ho|p sont|ont bo|ngs |s oxtromo|y pa|ntu| and d|tt|cu|t, yot ovon whon wo bo||ovo wo
havo wokon up trom tho n|ghtmaro that |s samsara, wo aro st||| droam|ng. Vost ot tho
t|mo, though, tho cond|t|ons wo oxpor|onco aro ta||orod to mako us bo||ovo tho droam
|s a roa||ty and raro|y show us that our ox|stonco |s, |n tact, ont|ro|y |||usory.
RoIativo Bodhichitta

lt a|| aspocts ot bodh|ch|tta aro ovor to ar|so natura||y |n our m|nds, wo nood to
undorgo somo sor|ous tra|n|ng, and a cruc|a| part ot that tra|n|ng |s tho dovo|opmont
ot ro|at|vo bodh|ch|tta.
lo|at|vo bodh|ch|tta has two aspocts: tho bodh|ch|tta ot asp|rat|on or |ntont|on, and
tho bodh|ch|tta ot app||cat|on or act|on. 1ho bodh|ch|tta ot asp|rat|on ho|ps arouso tho
mot|vat|on and w|sh to bo bonot|c|a| to othors through, tor oxamp|o, tho pract|so ot tho
tour |mmoasurab|os. 1o pract|so tho bodh|ch|tta ot act|on |s actua||y to ongago |n
bonot|c|a| act|v|t|os, ||ko pract|c|ng tho s|x param|tas ot gonoros|ty, d|sc|p||no,
pat|onco, d|||gonco, samadh| and w|sdom.
Vany ot us a|roady pract|so gonoros|ty to a dogroo, porhaps by toss|ng a co|n or
two to boggars |n tho subway, but to ongago tu||y |n tho k|nd ot gonoros|ty doscr|bod
|n tho toach|ngs |s anothor story ont|ro|y. Can you |mag|no cutt|ng ott your arms and
|ogs, thon tood|ng thom to a hungry t|gor? 3uch so|t|oss acts ot gonoros|ty woro not
uncommon amongst tho groat bodh|sattvas ot tho past. 1hoy aro not, howovor, tho
k|nds ot pract|so bog|nnors aro ab|o to ongago |n stra|ght away.
ln a momont ot |nsp|rat|on many a now|y hatchod bodh|sattva has g|von up
ovoryth|ng, homo, tam||y and a|| tho|r mator|a| goods. Voro otton than not, though,
w|th|n a mattor ot hours thoy b|ttor|y rogrot tho|r act|ons. 3o, tho adv|co ottorod aga|n
and aga|n by groat mastors ||ko 1|gmo l|ngpa |s that bog|nnors ||ko us shou|d not
|nstant|y try to accomp||sh tho moro oxtromo pract|sos, but |nstoad omphas|zo tho
pract|so ot asp|rat|on botoro gradua||y work|ng up to tho bodh|ch|tta ot app||cat|on
and abso|uto bodh|ch|tta.
Bodhichitta ot Aaµiration

1ho bodh|ch|tta ot asp|rat|on |s, ro|at|vo|y spoak|ng, qu|to an oasy pract|so tor
bog|nnors. |or oxamp|o, |t |s oasy to asp|ro to bo a k|ng. A|| you havo to do |s th|nk, °l
w|sh l woro k|ng,' thon throughout tho day |mag|no you aro k|ng, and monta||y g|vo
ovoryth|ng a k|ng m|ght own to tho boggars who approach you on tho stroot. lt you
th|nk about |t, thoro |s no ond to tho poss|b|||t|os tor th|s k|nd ot asp|rat|on. |or
oxamp|o, whon you soo somoono |n nood, th|nk, °Vay a|| sont|ont bo|ngs havo
ovoryth|ng thoy nood.'
Ot courso, |t |s a|so poss|b|o to ta|| |nto tho trap ot th|nk|ng that asp|rat|on has no
ottoct at a||. °lt's just a w|sh! 1o mako a w|sh |s a|| wo|| and good, but |t doosn't chango
a th|ng. lt corta|n|y |sn't tho samo as actua||y oolog somoth|ng!' 1o undorva|uo tho
powor ot asp|rat|on |n th|s way |s vory unw|so. ln th|s mundano wor|d |t |s tho thought
and tho w|sh that counts, so do not mako tho m|stako ot |mag|n|ng, as somo do, that
arous|ng tho bodh|ch|tta ot asp|rat|on |s not °wa|k|ng tho ta|k' bocauso |t |s, and |t |s
a|so an |mportant part ot our sp|r|tua| tra|n|ng.
3o, why |s |t so d|tt|cu|t tor bog|nnors to put bodh|ch|tta |nto act|on? 1ho ma|n
prob|oms aro that wo |ack dotorm|nat|on and our bodh|ch|tta ot asp|rat|on |s woak
bocauso tho on|y asp|rat|ons wo ovor mako aro thoso |nc|udod |n tho prayors wo
thought|oss|y roo| ott oach morn|ng. Wo must thorotoro act|vo|y pract|so arous|ng an
|ntonso |ong|ng |n our m|nds to br|ng a|| sont|ont bo|ngs to tho u|t|mato happ|noss ot
on||ghtonmont.
As longchonpa sa|d, tor bog|nnors, asp|rat|on |s our so|o m|ss|on and task. lot
|oast bocauso unt|| wo roach tho t|rst bhum|, |t |s |mposs|b|o phys|ca||y and pract|ca||y
to portorm tho act|v|t|os ot moro h|gh|y roa||sod bodh|sattvas, ||ko chopp|ng ott a
t|ngor to tood to an |guana. Wo havo no |doa |t our act|ons w||| roa||y bonot|t tho bo|ng
wo aro try|ng to ho|p, and s|nco our bodh|ch|tta |s |mmaturo, a|though wo may start out
w|th groat onthus|asm, whon tho porson or croaturo ta||s to chango or got bottor, wo
aro ||ko|y to bocomo d|scouragod, d|sappo|ntod or angry, and may ovon g|vo up try|ng
a|togothor.
ln tho 5otro oo tbo Lloo`s Roor (tho 5rlmo|ooovl 5otro), Ouoon 3r|ma|a mado throo
groat vows ot asp|rat|on, thon contossod that had |t not boon tor tho prosonco and
b|oss|ngs ot lord 3uddha h|mso|t, sho wou|d not havo had tho courago to mako thom.
||rst|y, sho dod|catod hor accumu|atod mor|t towards tho tu|t|||mont ot hor asp|rat|on
a|ways to bo ab|o to hoar tho dharma throughout ovory ono ot hor tuturo ||vos,
socond|y, sho asp|rod novor to t|ro ot shar|ng tho dharma w|th sont|ont bo|ngs, and
th|rd|y, sho asp|rod a|ways to troasuro tho dharma moro h|gh|y than hor ||to and body,
and to put |t |nto pract|so. 1h|s |s a porson wo shou|d a|| try to omu|ato. And wo can,
bocauso ovon though wo aro r|dd|od w|th gu||t, bound by duty and ond|oss|y busy
try|ng to tako caro ot our tam|||os and pay tho b|||s, nono ot thoso cond|t|ons provonts
us trom pract|s|ng tho bodh|ch|tta ot asp|rat|on. lt |s, |n tact, tho portoct pract|so tor us.
1ho 3uddha ottorod a k|ng somo adv|co noar|y throo m|||onn|a ago, but |t |s just as
appropr|ato tor pract|t|onors today who s|mp|y havo too much to do. Wh||o ho
sympath|zod w|th tho k|ng about what an onormous job |t was to run a country and tho
|mmonso rospons|b|||t|os and dut|os |t onta||od, |t was c|oar to 3uddha that howovor
hard tho k|ng tr|od, |t wou|d bo d|tt|cu|t tor h|m to ongago day and n|ght |n tho act|v|t|os
ot a bodh|sattva. 3o, ho suggostod that tho k|ng dovo|op a strong asp|rat|on and
|ong|ng tor on||ghtonmont, arouso tho bodh|ch|tta ot asp|rat|on |n h|s m|nd as otton as
ho cou|d and rojo|co |n tho v|rtuous act|v|t|os ot othors. 3y dod|cat|ng a|| tho mor|t
thoso pract|sos accumu|atod towards h|s on||ghtonmont, 3uddha assurod tho k|ng,
not on|y wou|d ho carry out a|| h|s roya| dut|os succosstu||y, ho wou|d a|so tu|t||| h|s
dut|os as a bodh|sattva and stockp||o an |nt|n|to amount ot mor|t.

1o arouso bodh|ch|tta |s not s|mp|y a mattor ot too||ng sorry tor thoso you bo||ovo
nood ho|p. Concorn tor tho wo|taro ot othors |s a much |owor c|ass ot compass|on
than tho bodh|ch|tta ot asp|rat|on's hoartto|t w|sh to on||ghton a|| sont|ont bo|ngs. Can
you th|nk ot a groator g|tt than to |ntroduco a|| sont|ont bo|ngs to tho truth by
d|smant||ng and oxpos|ng tho not ot do|us|ons that ontang|o thom? Or to ro|oaso thom
trom tho so|t-|mposod ||m|tat|ons thoy onduro as a rosu|t ot tho cocoon thoy havo spun
around thomso|vos? 1horo |s s|mp|y no compar|son botwoon |ong|ng to on||ghton
ovoryono |n ox|stonco and want|ng to prov|do stroot k|ds w|th a hot moa|.
lmag|no a cavo on a mounta|n somowhoro |n tho ||ma|ayas. lns|do tho cavo s|ts a
yog|. 0ay attor day ho pract|sos ro|at|vo bodh|ch|tta, wh||o |n v|||agos surround|ng h|s
mounta|n bab|os d|o ot hungor at a horr|t|c rato. 1ho bab|os obv|ous|y nood
|mmod|ato, pract|ca| ho|p, yot th|s yog| roma|ns |n h|s cavo th|nk|ng about how much
ho wou|d ||ko to br|ng a|| tho bab|os, tho|r mothors and tathors and a|| sont|ont bo|ngs
to on||ghtonmont. |owovor b|zarro |t may soom trom a wor|d|y po|nt ot v|ow, th|s cavo-
dwo|||ng yog| |s tar moro worthy ot homago than tho |ntornat|ona| organ|zat|on that
onds up prov|d|ng human|tar|an a|d. Why? 3ocauso tru|y and gonu|no|y to w|sh that
othor poop|o atta|n on||ghtonmont |s surpr|s|ng|y d|tt|cu|t, |t |s so much oas|or s|mp|y to
g|vo thom tood, mod|c|no and oducat|on. 1hoso who ta|| to undorstand tho truo va|uo
ot on||ghtonmont t|nd th|s hard to accopt.
3hant|dova po|ntod out |n tho t|rst chaptor ot 7bo ¼oy oí tbo Booblsottvo,

Cou|d our tathors or our mothors
Evor havo so gonorous a w|sh?
0o tho vory gods, tho r|sh|s, ovon 3rahma
|arbor such bonovo|onco as th|s?
1

1o ro||ovo phys|ca| |||noss |s a wor|d|y act|v|ty and ono that on|y prov|dos momontary
ro||ot, whoroas p|ann|ng tho on||ghtonmont ot a|| sont|ont bo|ngs |s a pormanont
so|ut|on to a|| suttor|ng. 3hou|d wo not approc|ato thoso who w|sh to romovo a|| our
pa|n and suttor|ng tor good moro than thoso who on|y ottor a tomporary rosp|to?
3ad|y, most ot us aro unawaro ot th|s d|st|nct|on bocauso wo havo novor gonu|no|y
w|shod that somoono o|so ach|ovo on||ghtonmont. lt wo woro ottorod a ono-way t|ckot
to on||ghtonmont, wo wou|d most ||ko|y grab |t tor ourso|vos w|thout ovon cons|dor|ng
ottor|ng |t to somoono o|so.
lmag|no you aro g|von a pot|on wh|ch, |t you drank |t, wou|d mako you c|a|rvoyant
and omn|sc|ont. Wou|d you dr|nk |t a|| yourso|t or wou|d you sharo |t w|th somoono
o|so? 3otoro you doc|do, romombor how otton pract|t|onors too| joa|ous ot sangha
mombors who appoar to bo moro dod|catod pract|t|onors than thoy aro. Or how
joa|ous you too| whon you |oarn anothor sangha mombor roco|vod a h|gh toach|ng, but
you woro not |nv|tod. lt you had gonu|no|y arousod bodh|ch|tta |n your m|nd, you wou|d
bo happy that your tr|onds pract|so so much and rojo|co at a|| tho toach|ngs thoy
roco|vo. lt |s so oasy to torgot that, shou|d anyono at a|| atta|n on||ghtonmont, |t wou|d
moan that your w|shos and asp|rat|ons had, at |ong |ast, boon tu|t|||od.
Aaµiration Kooµa Boginnora EumbIo

l must stross how unw|so |t |s tor trosh|y m|ntod bodh|sattvas, whoso |ovo,
compass|on, bodh|ch|tta and cont|donco |n tho v|ow havo yot to maturo, to try to act
too qu|ck|y or, as many do, start |mag|n|ng thoy aro on somo k|nd ot m|ss|on. lt you
havo any m|ss|on at a||, |t |s to pray and asp|ro that ono day you w||| bocomo a horo.
1ho |ast th|ng you shou|d do |s start bohav|ng ||ko a horo trom day ono, and |t you do,
|t w||| on|y br|ng d|sappo|ntmont and trustrat|on. lt you woro to |aunch |nto what you
|mag|no to bo a bodh|sattva act|v|ty, ||ko bu||d|ng a ch||dron's hosp|ta| or tood|ng a
stroot tu|| ot boggars, and |t was a succoss, you wou|d probab|y bocomo a v|ct|m ot
your own b||stor|ng pr|do. lt |s tar |oss ||ko|y that your pr|do w||| run away w|th |tso|t |t
you mako a wlsb that a|| s|ck ch||dron bo ho|pod or hungry boggars tod, and th|s |s why
tho pract|so ot mak|ng asp|rat|ons |s so strong|y rocommondod tor bog|nnors. 1ho
natura| sonso ot hum|||ty bu||t |nto tho pract|so ot asp|rat|on |s ono ot th|ngs that makos
|t so boaut|tu|.
Usua||y, though, bog|nnors cons|dor prayor and asp|rat|on to bo a poor a|tornat|vo
to °act|on' bocauso wo too| so uso|oss whon wo aro not busy. 3o|ng usotu| and hav|ng
somoth|ng usotu| to do havo bocomo oxtromo|y |mportant to us-wo aro otton qu|to
dosporato to bo cons|dorod °capab|o' and °va|uab|o'-but °usotu|' or °uso|oss' aro
both ro|at|vo statos, and tor nowb|os |t |s tar moro |mportant to asp|ro to bocomo
usotu| than to ach|ovo anyth|ng concroto.
As 3hant|dova wroto,

Vay l bo a guard tor thoso who aro protoctor|oss,
A gu|do tor thoso who journoy on tho road.
|or thoso who w|sh to go across tho wator,
Vay l bo a boat, a ratt, a br|dgo.
Vay l bo an |s|o tor thoso who yoarn tor |andta||,
And a |amp tor thoso who |ong tor ||ght,
|or thoso who nood a rost|ng p|aco, a bod,
|or a|| who nood a sorvant, may l bo tho|r s|avo.
2

Asp|r|ng aga|n and aga|n to bo ot uso |n th|s way gradua||y dovo|ops your
cont|donco and strongthons your m|nd unt||, ovontua||y, you bocomo usotu| qu|to
natura||y. W|thout such cont|donco and strongth, any ono-ott, acc|donta| succoss may
put you on a podosta| tor a day or two, but you w||| soon bo knockod ott, wh|ch can bo
torr|b|y d|s|||us|on|ng.
Eow to Caro tor Othora

Why shou|d wo caro about othor poop|o? Espoc|a||y thoso days, ||v|ng as wo do |n a
cu|turo ot grood and so|t|shnoss whoro tho major|ty aro so|o|y concornod about
toathor|ng tho|r own nosts. lorhaps tho most potont roason tor car|ng tor othors |s that
wo |ong to bo carod tor ourso|vos. Ono ot tho most |ns|d|ous symptoms ot thoso
dogonorato t|mos |s that so many poop|o too| uncarod tor, and put a|| tho|r ottort |nto
try|ng to too| |ovod by tr|onds, |ovors, and ovon mombors ot tho c|ubs thoy jo|n.
C|ass|c 3uddh|st toxts about bodh|ch|tta to|| us wo shou|d bog|n to pract|so too||ng
|ovo and compass|on tor othors by t|rst th|nk|ng about what our mothor wont through
whon sho had us. Ot courso, wo must a|so romombor that tho concopt ot °mothor' |s
porco|vod d|ttoront|y dopond|ng on tho cu|turo and t|mos |n wh|ch wo ||vo. 1hoso days,
tor oxamp|o, too many ch||dron aro nog|octod and abusod by tho|r paronts tor many ot
us automat|ca||y to rospond pos|t|vo|y to tho |doa ot a mothor. 1horotoro, somo ot you
may not t|nd th|s oxamp|o ho|ptu|, but |t's just an oxamp|o. lt you protor, th|nk about an
aunt or a brothor or a good tr|ond who you know |ovos you, caros tor you and on|y
wants tho vory bost tor you, m|ssos you whon tho two ot you aro apart and wakos up |n
tho m|dd|o ot tho n|ght worry|ng about you. low |mag|no that ovory s|ng|o sont|ont
bo|ng has |ovod and carod tor you |n th|s way.
|or |gnorant bo|ngs ||ko us, what wo too| and oxpor|onco r|ght now |s tar moro
powortu| than momor|os ot past ro|at|onsh|ps. l am suro wo can a|| th|nk ot somoono
wo woro c|oso to ton yoars ago yot wo hard|y ovor th|nk ot thom now. lt wo torgot
poop|o wo havo carod tor |n th|s ||to so oas||y, what hopo |s thoro ot romombor|ng
thoso wo carod tor |n our prov|ous ||vos? lovortho|oss, many hundrods ot thousands
ot sont|ont bo|ngs havo sacr|t|cod tho|r tood, woa|th and happ|noss tor our sakos, and
|sn't our hab|tua| rosponso to such k|ndnoss to want to ropay our dobt. 3ut how? |ow
can wo ropay |n th|s ||to tho k|ndnoss ot thoso wo mot |n prov|ous ||vos? |ow can wo
g|vo thom tood, sho|tor, monoy and comtort whon wo havo no |doa who thoy aro? 1ho
bost wo can do |s caro tor a|| sont|ont bo|ngs oqua||y by do|ng ovoryth|ng wo can to
br|ng thom to on||ghtonmont.

3omo pract|t|onors th|nk that tho most |mportant k|nd ot bodh|ch|tta |s abso|uto
bodh|ch|tta, w|th tho bodh|ch|tta ot app||cat|on rathor |oss |mportant and tho
bodh|ch|tta ot asp|rat|on tho |oast |mportant ot a||. 3ut |t doosn't work ||ko that. A||
throo aspocts ot bodh|ch|tta aro oqua||y |mportant. Vost ot tho t|mo, and corta|n|y |n
tho caso ot bog|nnors, whon wo th|nk ot °ompt|noss,' wo |mmod|ato|y croato a monta|
p|cturo ot ompt|noss that |s tho ant|thos|s ot what |t roa||y |s. Wh|ch |s why tho bost
adv|co |s to start out by pract|c|ng tho bodh|ch|tta ot asp|rat|on and gradua||y work up
to tho bodh|ch|tta ot app||cat|on and abso|uto bodh|ch|tta.
1ho Ob[octa ot Our Comµaaaion

Accord|ng to longzompa, bog|nnors shou|d uso sont|ont bo|ngs as tho objocts ot
tho|r compass|on, but ho |s not |mp|y|ng that sont|ont bo|ngs tru|y ox|st. 3ont|ont
bo|ngs aro an |||us|on and tho|r naturo |s ompty, yot tho|r suttor|ngs aro oasy tor us to
soo, ||ko a ra|nbow |n tho sky. Compass|on arousod by such an objoct |s not tarn|shod
by attachmont and w||| novor oxhaust you, |t |s ||m|t|oss, |noxhaust|b|o and not ont|ro|y
|ack|ng |n w|sdom.
Accord|ng to Va|troya |n tho Voboyooosotro|omkoro,
8
sont|ont bo|ngs, tho objocts
ot our compass|on, ta|| |nto a numbor ot catogor|os:

bo|ngs who cravo dos|rab|o objocts,
bo|ngs undor tho |nt|uonco ot tho °onomy' (tho|r omot|ons),
bo|ngs suttor|ng trom tho ottocts ot nogat|vo act|ons, wh|ch |nc|udo thoso roborn
|nto tho |owor roa|ms, and tho °|gnorant,' who do not know r|ght trom wrong and
havo no |doa about causo, cond|t|on and ottoct (tor oxamp|o, tho butchor who
|mag|nos ho has to k||| |n ordor to surv|vo),
bo|ngs who ho|d wrong v|ows and thorotoro havo °an oxtra b|nd|ng torco' (|n
add|t|on to bo|ng |gnorant sont|ont bo|ngs thoy havo boon taught by
thoorot|c|ans and aro thorotoro burdonod w|th ovon moro wrong v|ows that nood
c|ar|t|cat|on), and thoso who ||ko tho °po|sonod tood' ot wor|d|y onjoymont,
pract|t|onors who aro °|ost' bocauso thoy aro proud, and thoso who aro
dovotod, d|||gont and w|thout pr|do, but havo boon s|dotrackod |nto choos|ng a
|ossor path, ||ko tho path ot so|t-||borat|on, and
bodh|sattavas who havo yot to accumu|ato vast mor|t and aro thorotoro °woak.'

Corta|n pract|t|onors ot mahasandh| or mahamudra m|ght a|so bo addod to th|s ||st
|t tho|r mot|vat|on to pract|so thoso paths |s cur|os|ty about tho naturo ot m|nd and a
w|sh to undorstand |t bottor. 1h|s |s tho not tho r|ght mot|vat|on tor any 3uddh|st
pract|t|onor to pract|so any aspoct ot dharma, bocauso whothor you pract|so
shamatha mod|tat|on or mahasandh|, a|| 3uddh|st pract|so shou|d bo mot|vatod by
compass|on tor tho suttor|ngs ot sont|ont bo|ngs.
Bodhichitta ot Aaµiration: 1ho Practiaoa

As wo havo soon, tho bodh|ch|tta ot asp|rat|on |s a pract|so that ||os comtortab|y
w|th|n tho capac|ty ot bog|nnors. lt |nvo|vos road|ng tho wondortu| asp|rat|on prayors
composod by groat bodh|sattvas, ||ko 7bo Klog oí Asplrotloo Proyors.
5omootobbooro`s ºAsplrotloo to Oooo Actloos,'
4
and avo|d|ng anyth|ng that m|ght
sabotago your asp|rat|ons. At t|rst g|anco |t |ooks ta|r|y stra|ghttorward bocauso a||
you roa||y havo to do |s w|sh that a|| sont|ont bo|ngs bocomo on||ghtonod, aga|n and
aga|n. 3ut thoro aro stumb||ng b|ocks, so you shou|d do whatovor |t takos to ma|nta|n
th|s pract|so.
1horo w||| bo t|mos, tor oxamp|o, whon you too| you aro tak|ng |t. |owovor hard you
try gonu|no|y to pract|so, |t just doosn't too| r|ght. And on tho raro occas|ons |t doos
too| authont|c, tho sonsat|on |s ovor a|most botoro |t bogan. 3o, try to bo contont w|th
your pract|so, whatovor |t too|s ||ko, ovon whon you aro do|ng ||tt|o moro than pay|ng |t
||p sorv|co, bocauso at |oast you aro mak|ng an ottort.
3ont|ont bo|ngs aro |gnorant and |ntonso|y omot|ona|, what wo |ong tor today wo
ont|ro|y rojoct tomorrow. Our moods sw|ng trom ono oxtromo to anothor and yot wo
havo no |doa what wo roa||y want. Evon |t you had tho monoy to buy your tr|onds tho
oxpons|vo |uxur|os thoy |ong tor, wou|d you ovor bo ab|o to sat|sty tho|r |ust tor mator|a|
woa|th? A|though tho vast major|ty don't know |t yot, what a|| sont|ont bo|ngs roa||y
nood |s on||ghtonmont, and so |t |s up to you to doc|do tor thom. Vako tho w|sh °Vay l
br|ng a|| sont|ont bo|ngs to on||ghtonmont' and thon d|sc|p||no yourso|t to to||ow your
pract|so schodu|o, como what may. loso|vo novor to g|vo sont|ont bo|ngs what thoy
th|nk thoy want, but on|y what thoy roa||y nood: troodom trom a|| dua||st|c d|st|nct|ons,
obsoss|ons and ontang|omonts, and troodom trom constant|y ta|||ng |nto tho oxtromos
ot good and bad. And romombor, a|| th|s can bo accomp||shod through tho pract|so ot
asp|rat|on, so ovon whon |t too|s as though you aro tak|ng |t, just koop pract|c|ng.

1wo mothods tor arous|ng bodh|ch|tta aro part|cu|ar|y popu|ar: tong|on pract|so, and a
sor|os ot contomp|at|ons ca||od tho tour |mmoasurab|os.
1. 1ongIon

1ong|on |s a wondortu| pract|so bocauso |t prov|dos a spoc|t|c tochn|quo through
wh|ch wo can |nvoko compass|on and bodh|ch|tta. 1|mo and aga|n wo havo boon to|d
that our hab|t ot so|t-chor|sh|ng and th|nk|ng so|o|y ot our own wo||-bo|ng |s tho sourco
ot m|sory and sabotour ot our sp|r|tua| path, so tho obv|ous mothod tor countor|ng |t |s
to chor|sh othors.
1ho mothod |s s|mp|o. As you broatho out, g|vo a|| happ|noss, v|rtuo and mator|a|
woa|th to oach and ovory sont|ont bo|ng w|thout oxcopt|on, as you broatho |n, absorb
a|| tho|r pa|n, suttor|ng, prob|oms, obscurat|ons and unv|rtuous thoughts and act|ons.
1ong|on pract|so |s whoro wo start to attuno our mot|vat|on and |s porhaps tho bost
pract|so tor a bog|nnor. As tho groat Kadampa mastors ot tho past havo to|d us
ropoatod|y, tho pract|so ot bodh|ch|tta |s about cu|t|vat|ng tho att|tudo ot g|v|ng a||
prot|t and ga|n to othors, and tak|ng a|| |oss and dotoat upon ourso|vos.
Ono ot tho groat b||ghts suttorod by modorn poop|o |s a |ack ot so|t-ostoom or
hoa|thy sonso ot so|t. lt |oads somo now studonts to ask |t tak|ng on tho suttor|ng ot
othors |n tong|on pract|so m|ght causo thom to |oso cont|donco |n thomso|vos. Ou|to
tho oppos|to |s truo. 1ho att|tudo wo cu|t|vato as bodh|sattvas-ot |ong|ng to ottor tho
bost ot ovoryth|ng to othors and w||||ng|y accopt a|| |oss, unp|oasantnoss or d|tt|cu|ty-
actua||y bo|stors our cont|donco and comp|oto|y orad|catos a |ack ot so|t-ostoom.
3hant|dova wroto,


What nood |s thoro to say moro?
1ho ch||d|sh work tor tho|r own bonot|t,
1ho buddhas work tor tho bonot|t ot othors.
1ust |ook at tho d|ttoronco botwoon thom.

lt l do not oxchango my happ|noss
|or tho suttor|ng ot othors,
l sha|| not atta|n tho stato ot buddhahood
And ovon |n samsara l sha|| havo no roa| joy.
b

Whoro doos |ow so|t-ostoom como trom? 1hoso w|th |ow so|t-ostoom tond to havo
h|gh|y dovo|opod ogos, thoy |ong to bo bost at ovoryth|ng and va|uod h|gh|y by
ovoryono thoy moot, and |mag|no tho|r ogo |s roprossod, woak and noods boost|ng.
3ut onco wo dovo|op tho att|tudo ot a bodh|sattva, wo havo ||tt|o or no ogo and
thorotoro thoro |s no °l' to worry about g|v|ng a|| tho good stutt away or to bo bothorod
by tho bad stutt. 3odh|sattvas |ack °ogo' as a rotoronco po|nt, and thorotoro tho|r
cont|donco cont|nuos to grow, g|v|ng ovon tho |doa ot |ow so|t-ostoom no chanco ot
ra|s|ng |ts ug|y hoad. 3o don't bo atra|d ot app|y|ng tho bodh|ch|tta ot asp|rat|on aga|n
and aga|n.
2. 1ho Four |mmoaaurabIoa

1horo |s w|dosproad m|sundorstand|ng about |ovo and compass|on that |s d|tt|cu|t to
corroct. lt |s corta|n|y wrong, but tho snag |s that |t a|so conta|ns an o|omont ot truth.
1ako, tor oxamp|o, tho |ovo wo too| tor our pot dog. Gonora||y, th|s k|nd ot |ovo |s
promptod by our nood tor compan|onsh|p, unquost|on|ng adorat|on and obod|onco-
|t's sat|sty|ng to soo a dog s|t whon wo to|| h|m to. ln a way, |t |s a k|nd ot |ovo, but |t |s
|ncomp|oto. lrotound |ovo |s ont|ro|y uncond|t|ona|, dovo|d ot oxpoctat|on, porsona|
agondas and so|t|sh mot|vos. 1o too| protound |ovo tor a dog wou|d moan not on|y
car|ng tor h|m by tood|ng h|m, tak|ng h|m tor wa|ks and koop|ng h|m c|oan, but at tho
h|ghost poss|b|o |ovo|, to g|vo h|m tho opportun|ty to d|scovor tho dharma, wh|ch w|||
ovontua||y |oad h|m to on||ghtonmont.
As tho torm suggosts, tho tour |mmoasurab|os |s a pract|so that |s mado up ot tour
contomp|at|ons that aro |mmoasurab|o |n ovory way, |nc|ud|ng tho |mmoasurab|o
objocts ot our pract|so: o|| sont|ont bo|ngs.
What aro tho tour |mmoasurab|o thoughts?
Love
1ho contomp|at|on ot |ovo dovo|ops tho w|sh that a|| sont|ont bo|ngs w||| bo happy and
a|ways oncountor tho causos ot happ|noss. 3tart by th|nk|ng, °Vay a|| sont|ont bo|ngs
bo happy r|ght now, at th|s vory momont.' 1hon ca|| to m|nd somoono who |s suttor|ng
trom sor|ous dopross|on r|ght now. As you th|nk, °Vay a|| sont|ont bo|ngs onjoy
happ|noss,' |mag|no that th|s porson gots oxact|y what ho noods to a||ov|ato h|s
dopross|on and mako tho w|sh, °Vay ho oncountor a|| tho causos ot happ|noss and,
|doa||y, tho dharma.'
1horotoro, tho t|rst |mmoasurab|o thought |s °Vay a|| sont|ont bo|ngs onjoy
happ|noss and tho causos ot happ|noss.' lt d|ttors trom tho ord|nary human|tar|an
|doa ot °g|v|ng,' bocauso rathor than just prov|d|ng ono porson w|th a moa| or a bod,
wo aro g|v|ng abso|uto|y ovoryono both happ|noss and tho causos ot happ|noss.
CompassIon
|oro, wo dovo|op tho w|sh that sont|ont bo|ngs bo troo trom suttor|ng and tho causos
ot suttor|ng. |ocus|ng onco aga|n on tho porson suttor|ng trom dopross|on, as wo|| as
a|| tho doprossod poop|o |n th|s wor|d, th|nk, °Vay thoy bo troo trom both dopross|on
and tho causos ot dopross|on.' 1ho causos, |n th|s caso, aro tho|r omot|ons and tho|r
unv|rtuous thoughts and act|ons. °Vay thoy bo trood trom a|| tho|r suttor|ngs th|s vory
momont!' And a|so, °Vay sont|ont bo|ngs rotra|n trom k||||ng, stoa||ng, |y|ng and a|| tho
nogat|vo omot|ons that causo unhapp|noss.' W|th th|s contomp|at|on you havo both
g|von sont|ont bo|ngs happ|noss and |ts causos, and soparatod thom trom
unhapp|noss and suttor|ng and tho causos ot unhapp|noss and suttor|ng.
Karma Chagmo l|npocho sa|d that a|though a|| sont|ont bo|ngs had, at ono t|mo or
anothor, boon h|s mothor, as thoy havo no momory ot that ro|at|onsh|p, thoy too| troo
o|thor to attack h|m or roma|n strangors. Wo, on tho othor hand, know ot our
connoct|on, how, thon, can wo not bo tr|ond|y w|th ovoryono?
1h|s |s probab|y truo tor a|| ot us. |or oxamp|o, |t your |ov|ng mothor suddon|y wont
crazy and attackod you, your t|rst roact|on wou|d probab|y bo concorn, to||owod by an
upsurgo ot ovon moro |ovo and compass|on tor hor.
Joy
loxt, wo dovo|op tho w|sh that sont|ont bo|ngs w||| novor bo soparatod trom
°happ|noss' and °not suttor|ng' by arous|ng a sonso ot approc|at|vo joy: °Vay a||
sont|ont bo|ngs roma|n joytu| torovor.'
1oy |s oxtromo|y |mportant w|th|n tho contoxt ot thoso |mmoasurab|o contomp|at|ons
bocauso ovon though wo mako a w|sh that ovoryono bo comp|oto|y happy, wo st|||
tond to too| joa|ous ot thoso who appoar bottor ott than wo aro. 1oa|ousy and onvy aro
what l ca|| °|osor' omot|ons, and tho ant|doto to thom both |s to arouso a sonso ot
approc|at|vo joy.
EquanImIty
last|y, s|nco sont|ont bo|ngs suttor as a rosu|t ot tho|r attachmont and aggross|on, wo
w|sh tor thom to bo trood trom a|| hopos and toars, aggross|on and attachmont to
wor|d|y th|ngs (tho o|ght wor|d|y dharmas), so that ovontua||y ovon tho |doa ot mak|ng
d|st|nct|ons w||| not occur to thom.
1h|nk,

Vay a|| sont|ont bo|ngs ab|do |n oquan|m|ty, troo trom b|as, attachmont and
angor.
Vay thoy bo troo trom hopo and toar, pass|on and aggross|on.
Vay thoy havo no not|on ot °tam||y' or °onomy',
Vay thoy roma|n |mpart|a|, no|thor aggross|vo to onom|os nor attachod to tr|onds,
And thus may a|| bo|ngs and a|| phonomona bo oqua|.

A||ow|ng th|s thought to rost |n your m|nd |s tho pract|so ot oquan|m|ty.

lract|t|onors must |nvost t|mo and onorgy |n ca|||ng to m|nd thoso tour contomp|at|ons,
and a|though |t may sound abstract, ||ko bu||d|ng an |nt|n|to|y |ong |addor |nto tho sky,
a|ways romombor that th|s |s a vory |mportant mothod tor tra|n|ng tho m|nd.
3odh|sattvas nood to dovo|op unwavor|ng courago and mot|vat|on, and you shou|d
start tho procoss horo and now. Contomp|ato oach thought soparato|y, app|y|ng |t t|rst
to your |ovod onos, thon oxtond|ng |t to your tr|onds and no|ghbours, and ovontua||y to
a|| sont|ont bo|ngs. And |t |s not just an oxorc|so |n w|shtu| th|nk|ng. U|t|mato|y, wo aro
mak|ng a hoartto|t asp|rat|on that a|| sont|ont bo|ngs bo trood trom mak|ng tho
d|st|nct|on botwoon good and bad, r|ght and wrong.
1horo aro good roasons tor thoso tour thoughts to bo doscr|bod as
°|mmoasurab|o'-|t's a word wo shou|d pay somo attont|on to, and shou|d bo
undorstood |n tho contoxt ot °tho path |s tho goa|.' As |t |s now, whon wo pray, °Vay a||
sont|ont bo|ngs bo on||ghtonod,' wo automat|ca||y |mag|no that br|ng|ng a|| bo|ngs to
on||ghtonmont |s a moasurab|o goa| and that thoro |s an ond to tho procoss. 3ut thoro
|sn't. lt thoro woro, wo wou|d bo contomp|at|ng °tho tour moasurab|o thoughts.' 3o, wo
must got usod to tho |doa that our sp|r|tua| path has an |mmoasurab|o goa| and that
wo to||ow |t w|th an |mmoasurab|o att|tudo and an |mmoasurab|o mot|vat|on. ln othor
words, no goa|, no ond to tho procoss and a goa|-|oss mot|vat|on.
1ho Bodhichitta ot AµµIication

1ho 5ix Paramitaa

1o pract|so tho bodh|ch|tta ot app||cat|on |s to bocomo |nvo|vod |n tho spoc|t|c
act|v|t|os known as tho s|x param|tas. 1hoy aro tho pract|sos ot gonoros|ty, d|sc|p||no,
pat|onco, d|||gonco, samadh| or mod|tat|on and w|sdom. Why aro thoro s|x? 3ocauso,
as lord Va|troya po|nts out, wo nood thom to countor s|x spoc|t|c hab|ts that ho
doscr|bos as °tondnossos' or °|ovos.' Wh|chovor param|ta you pract|so, |t you aro
mot|vatod by a w|sh to on||ghton a|| sont|ont bo|ngs, |t can bo c|ass|t|od as a gonu|no
pract|so ot bodh|ch|tta |n app||cat|on, a|bo|t at tho bog|nnor's |ovo|.
1. Conoroaity

Wo havo a tondnoss tor |mag|n|ng wo aro poor as wo|| as tor bo|ng occup|od, tor
many ot us, not to bo busy |s a|most unboarab|o. Wo can countor th|s and a|| our
hab|ts ro|atod to povorty monta||ty w|th tho pract|so ot gonoros|ty.
3uddha h|mso|t adv|sod that ovon whon our gonoros|ty oxtonds to ||tt|o moro than
g|v|ng away a vogotab|o, |t wo |mag|no tho vogotab|o |s ono ot our ||mbs or a hunk ot
our t|osh, |t w||| ho|p us bocomo accustomod to tar groator torms ot gonoros|ty. As
a|ways, our dos|ro to bo tru|y gonorous shou|d bo mot|vatod by a |ong|ng tor
on||ghtonmont, but too otton |t |s t|ngod w|th tho amb|t|on to bo rocogn|zod as a good
porson and a p|||ar ot tho commun|ty, or tho hopo tor a moro |uxur|ous rob|rth. 3o, a
bodh|sattva must got usod to ros|st|ng tho |uro ot m|nor tompora| ach|ovomont.
As Va|troya sa|d |n tho Voboyooosotro|omkoro, tor a bodh|sattva a boggar can bo
a causo tor portoct|ng gonoros|ty. 3o whon you aro approachod by a boggar, th|nk to
yourso|t, °1h|s porson |s g|v|ng mo tho opportun|ty to p|ant tho sood ot |noxhaust|b|o
woa|th |n tho tuturo. |o cou|d ovon bo tho man|tostat|on ot a buddha or a bodh|sattva.
3y mak|ng an ottor|ng to th|s boggar, howovor sma||, l may bo croat|ng tho |n|t|a| ||nk
through wh|ch l ono day br|ng h|m tho |noxhaust|b|o woa|th ot on||ghtonmont.' 1ho
vajrayana toachos that th|s boggar, or any post, cou|d ovon bo a man|tostat|on ot your
guru.
2. DiaciµIino

Wo aro a|so tond ot troub|o, and to cha||ongo th|s hab|t, as a to||owor ot tho mahayana
path a bodh|sattva w||| app|y throo k|nds ot d|sc|p||no: tho d|sc|p||no ot rotra|n|ng trom
unv|rtuous act|ons, such as k||||ng, |y|ng or s|andor|ng othors, tho d|sc|p||no that ho|ps
gathor v|rtuous qua||t|os, such as tak|ng rotugo, arous|ng bodh|ch|tta or pract|c|ng tho
s|x param|tas, and tho d|sc|p||no ot ho|p|ng othors.
3y tho way, |t, as a bodh|sattva, you must ||o or |ntorrupt your sp|r|tua| pract|so |n
ordor to koop tho d|sc|p||no ot ho|p|ng othors, thon so bo |t. You must a|ways do
whatovor |s nocossary to ho|p sont|ont bo|ngs, ovon |t |t moans torto|t|ng tho t|rst two
d|sc|p||nos.
8. Pationco

Gott|ng workod up and tak|ng our too||ngs to oxtromos |s anothor tondnoss wo |ndu|go
|n, and to k|ck th|s hab|t, wo nood pat|onco.
1horo aro many d|ttoront ways tor a bodh|sattva to pract|so pat|onco. You cou|d, tor
oxamp|o, vo|untar||y tako on tho pa|n and suttor|ng ot othors, or novor comprom|so
ovor your dharma pract|so so that no mattor what happons |n your ||to, dharma w|||
a|ways tako procodonco, or cu|t|vato a °cou|dn't-caro-|oss' att|tudo about thoso who
want to harm or s|andor you.
1ho pract|so ot bo|ng uncomprom|s|ng about tho dharma can bo v|owod trom two
porspoct|vos: ro|at|vo and u|t|mato. lt somoono harms you, as a bodh|sattva you
shou|d dovo|op tho att|tudo that samsara |s pa|n and suttor|ng |n tho samo way that
t|ro |s hot, pa|n |s |nov|tab|o, thorotoro thoro |s no roason tor |os|ng pat|onco w|th tho
porpotrator ot your pa|n. At tho samo t|mo, s|nco tho naturo ot samsar|c bo|ngs |s
|nhoront|y good, tho harm thoy |nt||ct |s tomporary, and onco aga|n, thoro |s no roason
tor you to |oso pat|onco. lnstoad, as 3hant|dova suggostod, ask yourso|t why you
actod as you d|d to croato tho karma that causod somoono o|so to harm you.


lnstoad, why d|d thoy act |n t|mos gono by
1hat thoy aro now so harmod at othors' hands?
3|nco ovoryth|ng doponds on karma,
Why shou|d l bo angry at such th|ngs?
0

°Abso|uto' pat|onco |s to rocogn|zo that you, tho act ot harm|ng and tho ono who
harms aro a|| |||us|ons. 1h|s |s how wo dovo|op pat|onco.
4. DiIigonco

|owovor much wo |ns|st that wo want to work hard and roa||y tocus on what noods to
bo dono, tho roa||ty |s that wo havo a groat tondnoss tor bo|ng |azy, untocusod and
uttor|y caro|oss, and tho ant|doto |s d|||gonco.
1o bo d|||gont |s to dovo|op joy |n tho path and act|v|t|os ot a bodh|sattva. |owovor,
hav|ng on|y oxpor|oncod joy through samsar|c ondoavour tor so many ||tot|mos, to
do||ght |n tho act|v|t|os ot a bodh|sattva |s d|tt|cu|t, tho |doa ot s|tt|ng st||| and
mod|tat|ng tor an hour can soom |mposs|b|o. Wo must thorotoro bo d|||gont about
dovo|op|ng joy by ovory moans ava||ab|o, tor oxamp|o by ||ston|ng to dharma
toach|ngs, contomp|at|ng thom and hang|ng out w|th an |nsp|r|ng crowd.
3|m||ar|y, whon attackod by untavorab|o c|rcumstancos and sadnoss, wo must |oarn
to uso thom as a rom|ndor not to tocus obsoss|vo|y on try|ng to so|vo our prob|oms-
wh|ch by and |argo aro |nso|ub|o-and |nstoad contomp|ato tho p|tta||s ot samsara as
a way ot ho|p|ng us to ovorpowor our |az|noss.
5. 5amadhi

1ho noxt °tondnoss' |s part|cu|ar|y port|nont to modorn poop|o tor whom |nd|v|dua|
r|ghts, tho nood tor porsona| spaco and |ndopondonco aro so |mportant.
lndopondonco, wo doc|aro |oud|y and otton, |s cruc|a| to our wo||-bo|ng. ln pract|so,
though, wo havo a tondnoss tor s|avory. Wo |ovo to bo ru|od by othor poop|o and
th|ngs, to bo cha|nod up, draggod by tho ha|r and pushod and pu||od by atmosphoro,
c|rcumstanco and s|tuat|on. And to combat th|s tondnoss, wo app|y mod|tat|on
pract|so bocauso, as tho pract|so |nvo|vos do|ng noth|ng at a||, |t |s as un||ko
subm|tt|ng to c|rcumstancos as |t's poss|b|o to bo.
Ono ot tho b|ggost cha||ongos wo taco |s our |nab|||ty to tocus on ono th|ng at a
t|mo, and th|s |s tho rosu|t ot hav|ng dovo|opod a tondnoss tor go|ng astray ovor many
||tot|mos. 1h|s o|d hab|t makos transcond|ng tho b||nd|ng g|aro ot our contrad|ctory
omot|ons oxtromo|y hard-too otton our omot|ons outsh|no us. 1horotoro, wo must
cont|nuous|y dovo|op our ab|||ty to roma|n und|stractod.
0. Wiadom

Wo havo a tondnoss tor tho wrong v|ow, wh|ch |s an |nt|n|to|y comp|ox and tasc|nat|ng
subjoct, but to put |t vory s|mp|y, a wrong v|ow |s any k|nd ot oxtromo v|ow.
1o bo shockod whon somoth|ng ta||s to work tho way wo bo||ovo |t shou|d |s an
|nd|cat|on that wo ho|d a wrong v|ow. lt happons bocauso wo on|y tocus on surtaco
causos and cond|t|ons, not tho moro subt|o onos. On tho taco ot |t, tho sc|ont|t|c v|ow
that noth|ng happons w|thout a roason and ovoryth|ng |s a rosu|t ot causos and
cond|t|ons appoars to bo a °r|ght v|ow.' 3ut thoro aro a|so poop|o thoso days who aro
a|most proud ot not bo||ov|ng |n tho work|ngs ot causo, cond|t|on and ottoct and
thorotoro ot ro|ncarnat|on. log|ca||y, th|s moans that no|thor do thoy bo||ovo |n tho
concopts ot v|rtuo and nonv|rtuo, good karma and bad karma. 3o |t |s no surpr|so that,
doop down, ovon thoso ot us who rogard ourso|vos as to||owors ot tho 3uddha's
toach|ngs (ospoc|a||y thoso on karma) hab|tua||y accopt that s|tuat|ons and th|ngs can
man|tost random|y.
W|sdom |s tho most |mportant attr|buto ot a bodh|sattva bocauso, as 0harmak|rt|
sa|d, howovor |mportant |t may bo to cu|t|vato protound, proc|ous |ovo and
compass|on, do|ng so doos not tundamonta||y contrad|ct |gnoranco. 1horotoro
dovo|op|ng |ovo and compass|on a|ono w||| not uproot samsar|c ox|stonco.

A quost|on otton askod by studonts |s, °What |s 's|n' |n 3uddh|sm.' °3|n,' usua||y
trans|atod trom tho 1|botan torm as °nonv|rtuo,' |s anyth|ng that spr|ngs trom tho s|x
tondnossos, |t cou|d bo connoctod w|th just ono tondnoss, a comb|nat|on ot sovora| or
a|| ot thom at onco.
1rad|t|ona||y, sont|ont bo|ngs who do not pract|so tho s|x param|tas aro sa|d to bo
||ko a b||nd man who |s |ost and wandor|ng |n a jung|o or a dosort. |o |s b||nd bocauso
ho doos not know wh|ch act|v|t|os to adopt and wh|ch to abandon, and has no tr|ond
or mastor to gu|do h|m. |o |acks tho rat|ons ot gonoros|ty tor nour|shmont or tho
armour ot d|sc|p||no tor protoct|on. ||s woa|th ot pat|onco has run out, and tho
d|||gonco that |mpo|s h|s progross |s unstoady. |o has no mod|tat|on and thorotoro
nowhoro to rost, and worst ot a||, ho has no statt ot w|sdom tor support.
lovor |mag|no, though, that tho s|x param|tas aro boyond your roach, bocauso as
3hant|dova sa|d, thoro |s noth|ng to wh|ch you cannot bocomo accustomod.
AbaoIuto Bodhichitta

1o app|y ompt|noss as an ant|doto to ogo m|ght bo a ||tt|o tr|cky whon you t|rst ontor
|nto tho toach|ngs ot tho bodh|sattvayana. lt that |s tho caso, tho bost a|tornat|vo
ant|doto |s s|mp|y to gonorato tho w|sh to on||ghton oach and ovory sont|ont bo|ng
(bodh|ch|tta).
|owovor, |t you havo roco|vod |nstruct|ons on how to pract|so abso|uto bodh|ch|tta
accord|ng to tho mahamudra and mahasandh| trad|t|ons, or v|pashyana, or tho
nond|ttoront|at|on ot samsara and n|rvana, or tho un|on ot b||ss and ompt|noss, or
s|mp|y as part ot a toach|ng g|v|ng a systomat|c gu|do to ompt|noss, thon by a|| moans
do that pract|so. lt you havo yot to roco|vo thoso |nstruct|ons, as a bog|nnor who |ongs
to undorstand and pract|so abso|uto bodh|ch|tta, to hoar about and contomp|ato |t can
bo your pract|so.
1ho End ot tho 5oaaion

Onco you havo comp|otod tho pract|sos ot tak|ng rotugo and arous|ng bodh|ch|tta,
d|sso|vo tho t|o|d ot mor|t |nto you and m|x your m|nd w|th tho m|nd ot your guru. 1hon
roma|n tor as |ong as you can |n tho stato ot |nsoparab|||ty (a tow momonts, a m|nuto
or ovon an hour) w|thout tabr|cat|ng |n any way. 1h|s can bo cons|dorod a mod|tat|on
on abso|uto bodh|ch|tta.
1ho customary mothod tor arous|ng bodh|ch|tta |s to roc|to a toxt, but do romombor
that to ropoat tho ro|ovant vorsos trom your ngöndro toxt w|thout bo|ng gonu|no|y
mot|vatod to pract|so tor tho on||ghtonmont ot a|| sont|ont bo|ngs |s ont|ro|y uso|oss.

3y now you w||| havo a groator approc|at|on ot how arous|ng bodh|ch|tta works as an
ant|doto to ogo, and so obv|ous|y, you shou|d novor try to gonorato bodh|ch|tta
mot|vatod by tho amb|t|on to bo rocogn|zod as a groat bodh|sattva.
A|ways romombor, nono ot us can spond a|| our t|mo w|th poop|o wo ||ko, and so
whon you t|nd yourso|t rubb|ng shou|dors w|th poop|o you roa||y d|s||ko, try to tocus
your m|nd on th|nk|ng good thoughts, howovor woak, tako or ovon hypocr|t|ca| thoy
may soom. lom|nd yourso|t that your roact|on to othors |s moro|y your own
|ntorprotat|on ot who thoy aro, and |nstoad try to put yourso|t |n tho shoos ot tho porson
who |s gott|ng on your norvos. lomombor, thoy too| as parano|d as you do and aro
just as onthra||od by tho|r powortu| omot|ons. Or |mag|no that th|s oxasporat|ng porson
has boon sont by tho buddhas and bodh|sattvas to ho|p you to gonorato moro
bodh|ch|tta.
ln ovory s|tuat|on, a|ways try to dovo|op a good hoart. Attor a||, a good hoart |s tho
koy to |ovo, compass|on and bodh|ch|tta. W|thout bodh|ch|tta, ovory pract|so you do
w||| moro|y augmont your a|roady mass|vo ogo. 1o havo a good hoart and to pract|so
|ov|ng-k|ndnoss (wh|ch aro d|ttoront ways ot doscr|b|ng tho samo th|ng) aro tho soods
ot bodh|ch|tta, but un|oss you a|so arouso tho w|sh to on||ghton a|| sont|ont bo|ngs,
bodh|ch|tta w||| novor tu||y b|ossom |n your m|nd.

|or thoso pract|c|ng arous|ng bodh|ch|tta |n a rotroat s|tuat|on, tho v|sua||sat|on ot tho
t|o|d ot mor|t |s oxtromo|y |mportant. lt |s oxact|y tho samo as |t was whon you took
rotugo, but horo tho buddhas and bodh|sattvas aro prosont to w|tnoss your roso|vo. 1o
p|odgo to br|ng a|| sont|ont bo|ngs to on||ghtonmont |n tho prosonco ot thoso sub||mo
bo|ngs w||| not on|y protoct you trom obstac|os, |t w||| a|so mako bodh|ch|tta soom
moro roa| tor you and thorotoro moro bonot|c|a| and powortu|, and |t w||| ro|ntorco your
sacrod comm|tmont to koop your word.
0

1ho Practiao ot Puritication by Noditating on
tho Curu aa Va[raaattva

1ho ossonco ot a|| ngöndro pract|so |s to tra|n hab|tua||y r|g|d m|nds to bocomo moro
t|ox|b|o, and a|| ot us suttor trom r|g|d m|nds. Why? Vost|y bocauso wo surrondor so
oas||y to our omot|ona| rosponsos and tho objocts ot our omot|ons: hopo and toar. |or
aoons, a|most ovoryth|ng wo th|nk and too|, a|| our |ntorprotat|ons, havo boon rootod |n
hopo or toar, wh|ch, |n turn, havo bound our m|nds up |n turbu|ont omot|ons,
constra|n|ng thom to such a dogroo that wo no |ongor havo any contro| ovor thom. 1h|s
|s why, accord|ng to tho shravakayana toach|ngs, wo nood to tomo tho m|nd, or trom
tho bodh|sattvayana po|nt ot v|ow trolo |t to bocomo usotu|, or trom a vajrayana
porspoct|vo rocogolzo m|nd.
|or tho sako ot s|mp||c|ty, though, |ot's st|ck w|th tho torm °tra|n|ng tho m|nd.' And
tho t|rst stop towards tra|n|ng tho m|nd |s ropoatod|y to rocogn|zo and rot|oct on tho
tut|||ty ot samsar|c ||to. As wo havo a|roady soon, to cont|nuo to va|uo any part ot
wor|d|y ||to croatos a |oopho|o |n our tundamonta| att|tudo that w||| ovontua||y
comprom|so our dharma pract|so. lt |s |mportant, thorotoro, gonu|no|y to rocogn|zo tho
po|nt|ossnoss ot wor|d|y act|v|ty, mator|a| possoss|ons and ro|at|onsh|ps, and as wo
havo a|roady soon, contomp|at|ng tho common toundat|ons |s a vory good mothod tor
v|v|d|y br|ng|ng to m|nd just how torm|na||y barron samsara roa||y |s. Evon though tho
dharma conta|ns a vast troasury ot oxtraord|nary toach|ngs, wo can accumu|ato
tromondous mor|t moro|y by ||ston|ng to toach|ngs on thoso tour thoughts, or
contomp|at|ons, ovor and ovor aga|n.
|av|ng |a|d tho t|rst two toundat|ons ot ngöndro pract|so by d|vort|ng our attont|on
trom tho wrong path to tho r|ght path w|th tho pract|so ot tak|ng rotugo, and trom tho
|ossor path to tho groator path by arous|ng bodh|ch|tta, tho pract|so ot vajrasattva
now shows us how to c|oanso and pur|ty tho vosso| |nto wh|ch wo w||| pour tho noctar
ot dharma, body, spooch and m|nd.
Accord|ng to tho vajrayana, our phys|ca| body |s as much a vosso| as our m|nd |s,
and |t too must bo c|oansod and pur|t|od. 1ho bodh|sattvayana and shravakayana
trad|t|ons ho|d a d|ttoront v|ow. 1hoy cons|dor tho so|o vosso| ot dharma to bo tho
m|nd, and a|though thoy agroo |t noods tam|ng, thoy |ns|st that tho body |s moro|y a
sorvant ot m|nd and adv|so us to troat |t as a mastor wou|d h|s s|avo. ln roturn tor hor
work a s|avo |s g|von board and |odg|ng, but tho mastor must tako caro not to bo
ovor|ndu|gont |n caso sho tr|os to tako advantago ot h|m. As 3hant|dova wroto |n
vorsos that havo a|roady appoarod |n th|s toxt, but boar ropot|t|on,

lt sorvants who cannot bo sot to work
Aro not rowardod w|th supp||os and c|oth|ng.
Why do you susta|n w|th such groat pa|ns
1h|s body, wh|ch, though nour|shod, w||| abandon you?
3o pay th|s body duo romunorat|on,
And thon bo suro to mako |t work tor you.
3ut do not |av|sh ovoryth|ng
On what w||| not br|ng portoct bonot|t.
1

|rom tho vajrayana po|nt ot v|ow, though, as our phys|ca| body |s tho most tang|b|o
and obv|ous part ot us, |t can bo usod as a too| at ovory stago on tho path, not just as
a s|avo or a vosso|. 1horotoro tho structuro, sonsat|ons, wo||-bo|ng and nour|shmont ot
ovory part ot our body, |ns|do and out, aro cruc|a||y |mportant on tho path to ||borat|on.
Obacurationa and DotiIomonta: Bad Karma

1ho 1otokomo|o 5otro
2
to||s us that domons suttor tho|r groatost anx|ot|os whon thoy
soo a porson dovoto h|mso|t to tho path ot ||borat|on. low dharma pract|t|onors aro
bound to d|scovor many pr|co|oss jowo|s on tho path, but |t |s oqua||y ||ko|y that thoy
w||| st|r up a groat many obstac|os-wh|ch br|ngs us to tho subjoct ot °bad' karma.
°3ad karma' |s ono ot many ways tho dharma doscr|bos tho obscurat|ons and
dot||omonts that gonora||y man|tost as obstac|os and that wo nood to pur|ty. Whothor
an unwo|como g||tch |n your p|ans roa||y |s an obstac|o or a b|oss|ng, though, |s hard to
to||. lract|t|onors somot|mos onduro |ong por|ods whon tho|r pract|so appoars to havo
no ottoct on what soom to bo part|cu|ar|y stubborn obstac|os, and as a rosu|t assumo
tho|r pract|so |s not work|ng. 3ut thoy aro wrong. W|th h|nds|ght, thoy como to roa||so
that tho °obstac|o' thoy so dosporato|y wantod to orad|cato was actua||y tho bost th|ng
that ovor happonod thom. 1h|s k|nd ot turnaround |s qu|to common, and w|th
oxpor|onco pract|t|onors bog|n to approc|ato that °bad' c|rcumstancos croato a tar
moro tort||o ground tor pract|so than °good' onos.
3o, what |s |t that wo pur|ty w|th vajrasattva pract|so? Vost cruc|a||y, tho dot||omont
ot c||ng|ng to so|t. A|though nono ot our dot||omonts aro part|cu|ar|y hard to pur|ty,
bocauso by naturo thoy aro a|| tomporary, hav|ng boon part ot our karm|c makoup tor
so |ong, thoy aro now such doop|y ontronchod hab|ts that to soparato °mo' trom °my
dot||omont' can soom |mposs|b|o. 1ho vory tact that such a d|st|nct|on |s so d|tt|cu|t to
mako |s why |t |s so cruc|a||y |mportant tor us to mako tho ottort to pur|ty.
|or a vajrayana pract|t|onor, tho namo vajrasattva automat|ca||y br|ngs to m|nd tho
pr|nc|p|os ot pur|t|cat|on and c|oans|ng. 3oth words |mp|y tho prosonco ot °d|rt'-
torms wo aro stuck w|th bocauso wo |ack a moro proc|so torm ot |anguago-and tond
to |nduco oxtromo parano|a about tho poss|b|o oxposuro ot a|| our dot||omonts and
obscurat|ons, an ordoa| most ot us wou|d do a|most anyth|ng to avo|d. Wo much
protor to tocus on our good qua||t|os. Yot, to pur|ty dot||omonts |s to uncovor our
buddha naturo, and |t buddha naturo woro not an |nhoront part ot us, thoro wou|d bo
no po|nt |n try|ng to pur|ty our dot||omonts. 1h|s |s qu|to an |mportant po|nt, bocauso
onco wo undorstand |t, wo can avo|d gott|ng workod up about our ta|||ngs. 3ut |t's an
aspoct ot pur|t|cat|on that many pract|t|onors ovor|ook. 1hoy put a|| tho|r onorgy |nto
avo|d|ng adm|tt|ng that thoy havo any porsona| d|rt at a||, |ot a|ono tho angor, joa|ousy
and grood thoy aro ru|od by. And so, rathor than worry|ng about ovoryth|ng that noods
pur|ty|ng, |t |s tar moro product|vo to tocus on uncovor|ng our buddha naturo through
tho pract|so ot vajrasattva.
1h|s po|nt |s bost |||ustratod by tho oxamp|o ot wash|ng a cottoo-sta|nod cup. Why
wash tho cup |n tho t|rst p|aco? 3ocauso you want |t to bo c|oan. 3ut |t tho cup woro
pormanont|y d|rty, no mattor how hard you tr|od, you wou|d novor bo ab|o romovo tho
sta|n, and tho who|o procoss wou|d bocomo both trustrat|ng and oxtromo|y pa|ntu|.
1h|s |s why wo th|nk |n torms ot °uncovor|ng' buddha naturo, wh|ch |s tho ma|n po|nt ot
vajrasattva pract|so, rathor than °pur|ty|ng' dot||omonts. 0o boar |n m|nd that 3uddh|st
toach|ngs, part|cu|ar|y thoso trom tho vajrayana, havo noth|ng aga|nst tho d|rt, and that
tho d|rt |s not tho cup but a tota||y soparato ont|ty.
Why ViauaIiao tho Curu aa Va[raaattva?

Your guru |s tho rot|oct|on ot your dovot|on and mor|t, and dovot|on |s a man|tostat|on
ot your buddha naturo and mor|t. W|thout mor|t, you w||| not bo ab|o to rocogn|zo your
guru whon you moot h|m, or, ||ko 0ovadatta, porco|vo a s|ng|o ono ot h|s qua||t|os. 3o,
mor|t p|ays an |mportant ro|o |n your ab|||ty to rocogn|zo your guru, and dovot|on |s an
oxpross|on ot that mor|t.
1ho guru's ro|o changos throughout tho ngöndro |n tho samo way a woman's ro|o
changos accord|ng to tho purposo sho sorvos |n oach |ntoract|on. |or hor mothor sho
|s a daughtor, tor hor husband a w|to, and tor hor omp|oyor tho porson who c|oans h|s
houso. l|kow|so, a|| tho buddhas and bodh|sattvas aro, |n ossonco, oxact|y tho samo,
but s|nco wo aro dua||st|c croaturos, tho namo, co|our and appoaranco ot oach ot
thom ho|p us tocus on spoc|t|c tasks. ln th|s pract|so, |t |s your guru, v|sua||sod as
vajrasattva, who pur|t|os your dot||omonts.
1ochn|ca||y, a portoct|y va||d torm ot pur|t|cat|on pract|so wou|d bo to v|sua||so Guru
l|npocho rathor than vajrasattva on top ot your hoad, and chant o|thor tho hundrod-
sy||ab|o or s|x-sy||ab|o vajrasattva mantra or Guru l|npocho's two|vo-sy||ab|o mantra
-tho vajrayana |s a troasury ot |ncrod|b|o mothods. 1ho powor to pur|ty, though, has
a|ways boon ||nkod w|th vajrasattva, and h|s pract|so |s cons|dorod to bo tho
supromo mothod ot pur|t|cat|on. 3uddh|st h|story to||s us that vajrasattva's
tromondous powor |s rootod |n tho asp|rat|on ho mado as a bodh|sattva tor h|s namo
a|ono to pur|ty ovon tho most ogrog|ous dot||omonts onco ho atta|nod buddhahood.
ln th|s pract|so you v|sua||so your guru as vajrasattva, and horo aga|n studonts
otton ask, °Why not just v|sua||so tho guru as ho |s?' ln th|s caso, ono ot tho r|sks ot
p|ctur|ng your guru as an ord|nary human bo|ng |s that as you mako your contoss|on,
you m|ght bo tomptod to ho|d somoth|ng back. Attor a||, |t your guru |s just an ord|nary
porson, how can ho to|| whothor or not you aro bo|ng comp|oto|y honost? |as ho not,
on numorous occas|ons, domonstratod that ho |s unawaro ot a groat doa| ot what you
havo dono, and aro thoso apparont gaps |n h|s know|odgo not somohow roassur|ng?
Wo aro cond|t|onod not to bohavo bad|y |n tront ot our guru, but wou|d bo
oxcruc|at|ng|y ombarrassod woro ho to |oarn ot th|ngs wo do whon wo aro not w|th
h|m. A|| ot wh|ch makos |t much hardor to dovo|op a strong dovot|on tor h|m or to th|nk
ot h|m as tho 3uddha. 1h|s |s why wo v|sua||so tho guru |n tho torm ot tho omn|sc|ont
buddha vajrasattva, who knows ovoryth|ng thoro |s to know about tho past, prosont
and tuturo, and trom whom wo can h|do noth|ng. lt's a groat opportun|ty to oxposo tho
who|o spoctrum ot our shamotu|, nogat|vo act|v|t|os, and otton do|ng so comos as a
tromondous ro||ot.
Dovotion: 1ruating Nantra and ViauaIiaation

V|pham l|npocho says |n h|s oxp|anat|on ot tho Oobyogorbbo 7ootro that rogard|oss
ot wh|ch do|ty ot tho manda|a you pract|so, your v|sua||sat|on shou|d bo both c|oar and
v|v|d. |owovor, tor thoso who t|nd v|sua||sat|on d|tt|cu|t and can on|y manago a tuzzy,
abstract gonora||zat|on, rost assurod that |t you too| gonu|no dovot|on tor and trust |n
your guru, tho path and tho ott|cacy ot tho mantra, thoro |s no doubt you w||| atta|n a||
tho ord|nary and supromo sp|r|tua| accomp||shmonts.
1horo aro many |ovo|s ot dovot|on. 3upromo dovot|on |s tho abso|uto conv|ct|on that
tho do|ty and tho mantra aro |nsoparab|o. lt you aro unab|o to manago supromo
dovot|on, try to dovo|op unwavor|ng dovot|on, wh|ch |s an |mp||c|t trust |n tho toach|ngs
ot tho 3uddha and your mastor, and tu||y accomp||shos tho paths ot mantra and
v|sua||sat|on.
1rust and dovot|on |n tho powor ot mantra aro a|so oxtromo|y |mportant. As a
ngöndro pract|t|onor, whon you chant tho vajrasattva mantra, you shou|d bo||ovo, w|th
ono-po|ntod trust and dovot|on, that tho mantra ls 3uddha vajrasattva-ovon dur|ng
soss|ons whon your m|nd |s w||d and chaot|c. As V|pham l|npocho wroto,
accomp||shmont |s not poss|b|o tor thoso who |ack tho w|sdom to undorstand tho
protound moan|ng ot mantrayana and whoso stubborn, doubt|ng, |ncossant|y
ana|yt|ca| m|nd croatos |nnor obstac|os. Evon whon m|nd |s d|stractod and wh|r||ng |n
a|| d|roct|ons, mantra pract|t|onors must trust comp|oto|y |n tho powor ot mantra, wh|ch
|s so groat that ovon |t tho sky woro to coaso to ox|st, tho powor ot tho mantra wou|d
roma|n.
1ho Four Powora

Corta|n |ngrod|onts aro v|ta| |t tho pract|so ot vajrasattva |s to work:

1. tho bo||ot that vajrasattva has tho powor to pur|ty you,
2. gonu|no rogrot and romorso tor a|| your nogat|vo act|v|t|os ot tho past, prosont
and tuturo,
8. tho roso|ut|on and dotorm|nat|on novor to ropoat thoso nogat|vo act|ons aga|n,
and
4. abso|uto conv|ct|on |n tho powor ot tho pract|so.

l can a|most hoar you th|nk|ng, °l'm corta|n to ond up act|ng nogat|vo|y. l won't bo
ab|o to ho|p myso|t! 3o porhaps l'd bottor not pract|so vajrasattva.' 3ut thoso
thoughts aro just a s|gn that you aro tak|ng th|s |ntormat|on too ||tora||y. lomombor,
you aro a °pract|t|onor,' wh|ch moans you pract|so to got usod to a now way ot bo|ng
and th|nk|ng, and nobody oxpocts you to koop a|| your prom|sos stra|ght away
(a|though you shou|d a|ways do your bost).
Evon though you may not romombor do|ng anyth|ng wrong or that you rogrot |n th|s
||tot|mo, can you bo suro you novor w|||? Or that you havo novor actod nogat|vo|y |n a
past ||to? Whothor you aro awaro ot your unwho|osomo bohav|our or not, |t |s
|mportant to dovo|op rogrot tor any and a|| your nogat|vo act|v|t|os throughout
bog|nn|ng|oss t|mo, and that you roso|vo novor to act nogat|vo|y aga|n. You must a|so
bo||ovo that Guru vajrasattva roa||y |s omn|sc|ont, omn|potont, |mmonso|y powortu|
and compass|onato, that ho |s r|ght thoro |n tront ot you as you pract|so, and that tho
pract|so |tso|t w||| work.
1ho ViauaIiaation

1h|nk ot yourso|t |n your ord|nary torm, dot||omonts and a||, and v|sua||so your guru |n
tho torm ot Guru vajrasattva on top ot your hoad. |o shou|d appoar ||ko a rot|oct|on on
wator, porhaps a ||tt|o ompty and ||to|oss at t|rst, but s|ow|y bocom|ng moro and moro
an|matod. (1o got somo |doa ot how a rot|oct|on appoars, tako a |ook at your taco |n a
m|rror: whon you movo, your rot|oct|on movos.)
vajrasattva |s wh|to |n co|our, adornod w|th a|| tho sambhogakaya ornamonts and
ombracos h|s consort. ln h|s r|ght hand ho ho|ds a vajra at h|s hoart chakra, |n h|s |ott a
bo|| that ho rosts on h|s |ott th|gh. A sma|| moon d|sc soat appoars at h|s hoart, |n tho
contro ot wh|ch stands tho sy||ab|o |UV. 3o||ovo boyond doubt that vajrasattva |s tho
man|tostat|on ot tho m|nd ot a|| tho buddhas and |nvoko h|m strong|y and w|th abso|uto
cont|donco that ho roa||y |s s|tt|ng abovo your hoad.
1ho Noctar FIow

As you chant tho hundrod-sy||ab|o vajrasattva mantra, v|sua||so that trom tho sy||ab|o
|UV tromondous rays ot ||ght rad|ato |n a|| ton d|roct|ons omanat|ng |nt|n|to ottor|ngs ot
t|owors, |nconso, lnd|an bathhousos, o|ogant mans|ons, |ush gardons, poacocks,
o|ophants and a|| tho boaut|tu| and dos|rab|o th|ngs you can |mag|no. 1hoso ottor|ngs,
borno on rays ot ||ght, aro ottorod to tho buddhas and bodh|sattvas ot tho ton
d|roct|ons and thon roconvorgo |nto tho sy||ab|o |UV at your hoart a|ong w|th a|| tho|r
b|oss|ngs. As you cont|nuo to chant tho mantra, noctar t|ows trom tho |UV |n tho torm
ot ||ght, or a m||ky ||qu|d, t||||ng vajrasattva's body, thon t|ow|ng through h|s socrot
p|aco |nto h|s consort's body and t||||ng hor too. loctar cont|nuos to pour nonstop trom
tho sy||ab|o and stroams out through ovory poro ot both do|t|os and ospoc|a||y trom
tho|r socrot p|acos, cascad|ng ||ko a watorta|| down |nto tho tontano||o on top ot your
hoad.
As tho noctar passos through your body, |t t|ushos out a|| |||nossos, obscurat|ons,
dot||omonts and bad onorgy, push|ng thom through your body and out ot your anus,
socrot p|aco and toos. Cons|dor that |t pur|t|os a|| dot||omonts ro|atod to phys|ca|
act|v|t|os, |n othor words tho bad karma accumu|atod by k||||ng, stoa||ng or soxua|
m|sconduct, as wo|| as a|| phys|ca| |||nossos and symptoms, such as hoadachos,
stomachachos-anyth|ng, |n tact, that ta||s |nto tho catogory ot dot||omonts ot tho
°nad|.' lad| aro tho onorgy contros and channo|s that run throughout your body. 1hoy
aro dot||od whon wo k||| poop|o, or oat tood proparod by obscurod and po||utod
bo|ngs, m|x w|th thom or spond t|mo whoro thoy ||vo. Wo c|oanso our b|ockod and
rusty channo|s and chakras dur|ng vajrasattva pract|so |n tho samo way wo uso a
strong b|oach to c|oan tho to||ot.
3o croat|vo w|th your v|sua||sat|on. lmag|no, tor oxamp|o, that as tho noctar t|ows
through and c|oansos you, your body actua||y changos co|our. 3o, onco tho noctar has
roachod your torohoad, tho top ha|t ot your sku|| w||| appoar to bo c|oan and wh|to,
wh||o tho rost ot your body roma|ns darkor and d|rt|or-|ook|ng. 1h|s mothod w|||
onhanco tho powor ot your v|sua||sat|on, and |t you th|nk |t m|ght ho|p, why not try |t.
Aga|n, romombor you aro a bog|nnor, so |t wou|d bo too||sh to oxpoct to bo ab|o to
ostab||sh a|| tho dota||s ot th|s v|sua||sat|on |n ono soss|on, a|though |t you can, ot
courso you shou|d. Othorw|so just do your bost.
lt you aro accumu|at|ng ono hundrod thousand roc|tat|ons ot tho hundrod-sy||ab|o
vajrasattva mantra, tocus on a d|ttoront aspoct ot tho v|sua||sat|on dur|ng oach
pract|so soss|on. |or oxamp|o, ono day chant tho mantra wh||o concontrat|ng on tho
v|sua||sat|on ot vajrasattva abovo your hoad, and tho noxt tocus on tho |ottor |UV at
h|s hoart, w|th tho rost ot tho v|sua||sat|on |n sott tocus. On tho th|rd day concontrato on
tho noctar t|ow, and on tho tourth do a|| throo togothor. lt you havo a |ot ot t|mo,
v|sua||so tho noctar t|ow|ng |nto your torohoad tor a wook or a month, thon |mag|no |t
t|ows down to your throat tor anothor wook or month. lt you don't havo t|mo, spond ha|t
an hour on your torohoad and thon on your throat. A|tornat|vo|y, you cou|d try pract|c|ng
oach ot tho d|ttoront stagos tor t|ttoon m|nutos, t|vo m|nutos or two m|nutos-|t |s
ont|ro|y up to you. 3ut p|oaso, bo t|ox|b|o.
As tho noctar t|ows down to your throat, a|though str|ct|y spoak|ng |t pur|t|os o||
dot||omonts, you can th|nk spoc|t|ca||y ot thoso to do w|th spooch, such as ||os,
abus|vo |anguago, throats, harsh words, goss|p and m|stakos you mako |n your
mantra roc|tat|ons (tor oxamp|o, |oav|ng out words, add|ng oxtra onos and poor
pronunc|at|on). lt a|so pur|t|os bad onorgy and d|sordors ro|atod to spooch, ||ko bo|ng
m|sundorstood. |or oxamp|o, whon you say °r|ght,' poop|o th|nk you sa|d °|ott,' or
howovor good your hoart |s, ovoryth|ng you say annoys and |rr|tatos othors, bocauso
your words and commands aro not powortu|, or soduct|vo onough, or ovon too
soduct|vo.
lt |s ospoc|a||y |mportant tor vajrayana studonts to doa| w|th tho dot||omonts ot
prana, or |nnor a|r, and vajrasattva pract|so |s a vory good mothod tor do|ng just that.
1horo aro many ways wo can damago and obscuro our prana, tor oxamp|o broath|ng
bad a|r, smok|ng hash|sh and c|gars, dr|nk|ng a|coho|, s|andor|ng vajrayana mastors,
mak|ng dua||st|c judgmonts about puro phonomona or ovon |nha||ng tho wrong
|nconso. Each and ovory day wo broatho |n a|| k|nds ot |mpur|t|os that obscuro our
prana, and |t a|| noods c|oans|ng and pur|ty|ng.
A roa||y powortu| v|sua||sat|on |s to |mag|no that onco tho noctar t|ow has carr|od tho
dot||omonts ot prana down through your body, |t omorgos |n tho torm ot b|ack ||qu|d
trom your anus, socrot p|aco and toos. 1hon a|| phys|ca| d|soasos |oavo your body |n
tho torm ot pus and b|ood, and tho bad onorgy ot prana and nad| |n tho torm ot
buttort||os, scorp|ons, |nsocts and an|ma|s.
As you cont|nuo to chant tho hundrod-sy||ab|o mantra, tho noctar t|ows down to your
hoart chakra and c|oansos a|| dot||omonts ro|atod to m|nd, |nc|ud|ng, tor oxamp|o, tho
bad karma croatod by joa|ousy, compot|t|vonoss, aggross|on, so|t|shnoss, pr|do,
covotousnoss, w|sh|ng othors harm and wrong v|ow-|nc|ud|ng oxtromo v|ows, ||ko
sacr|t|c|ng ||v|ng bo|ngs |n tho namo ot sp|r|tua| pract|so. Wo must havo accumu|atod
a groat many ot thoso k|nds ot dot||omonts throughout our prov|ous ||vos and aro st|||
sta|nod by thom. 1horo aro a|so many d|sturbancos ot tho m|nd that aro tho rosu|t ot
tho dot||omont ot °b|ndu,' wh|ch moans °drop' or bodh|ch|tta. Examp|os ot th|s aro
dopross|on, anx|oty, norvousnoss and bu||m|a, as wo|| as tho obsoss|vo amb|t|on,
bordor|ng on madnoss, that prompts us to want to ach|ovo on||ghtonmont tastor than
anyono o|so. And thoso aro just tho obv|ous oxamp|os. 1horo aro many othor subt|o
b|ndu-ro|atod dot||omonts-wo aro abso|uto|y |oadod w|th thom-that ossont|a||y
soparato subjoct and objoct. And our |nab|||ty to un|to subjoct and objoct, appoaranco
and ompt|noss, |s tho most subt|o k|nd ot dot||omont.
1horo aro many ways ot bo|ng croat|vo w|th th|s pract|so. You can go stop-by-stop
trom tho tontano||o to tho torohoad, throat and so on, or you can do tho who|o
v|sua||sat|on |n ono go, or pract|so |n stagos, ono day pur|ty|ng tho dot||omonts ot nad|
and roco|v|ng tho vaso |n|t|at|on, tho noxt pur|ty|ng tho dot||omonts ot prana and
roco|v|ng tho socrot ompowormont, and tho th|rd day pur|ty|ng tho dot||omonts ot
b|ndu and roco|v|ng tho th|rd and tourth ompowormonts. |ow you pract|so |s up to
you.
A|though tho ma|n ompowormonts happon dur|ng guru yoga, l strong|y oncourago
you to cons|dor that hav|ng pur|t|od tho phys|ca| dot||omonts and obscurat|ons ot your
nad|, you havo a|so roco|vod tho vaso ompowormont, thon as tho noctar t|ows through
your throat, you roco|vo tho socrot ompowormont, and as |t roachos your hoart, you
roco|vo tho w|sdom ompowormont and tho word ompowormont. (A tu||or prosontat|on
ot tho tour abh|shokas, or ompowormonts, appoars |n chaptor 18.)
||na||y, |mag|no that a|| tho d|rty noctar o|thor d|sso|vos |nto tho oarth, or tho
ompt|noss that |s shunyata.
DiaaoIution ot tho ViauaIiaation

Onco you havo comp|otod tho amount ot hundrod-sy||ab|o mantras you want to say,
Guru vajrasattva d|sso|vos |nto you. lntormat|on about tho procoss ot d|sso|ut|on
appoars |n chaptor b, so l w||| just add horo that as |t |s such a powortu| mothod you
m|ght th|nk about ottoct|ng tho d|sso|ut|on and thon watch|ng tho |nsoparab|||ty, ovor
and ovor aga|n. 3y do|ng so, you domonstrato that you aro a buddha, and havo boon
trom bog|nn|ng|oss t|mo. And you don't havo to wa|t unt|| tho ond ot tho pract|so to
d|sso|vo tho v|sua||saton, you can a|so do |t, tor oxamp|o, attor oach ma|a ot mantras,
thon roostab||sh tho v|sua||sat|on botoro you bog|n your noxt ma|a. lt |s an oxco||ont
mothod and ono l rocommond tor thoso who havo p|onty ot t|mo to pract|so.
At tho ond ot tho soss|on, vajrasattva d|sso|vos |nsoparab|y |nto you ono |ast t|mo.
loma|n |n that stato and watch tho |nsoparab|||ty.
1hon, st||| as vajrasattva, |t you aro do|ng tho longchon ly|ngt|k lgöndro chant tho
s|x-sy||ab|o mantra, OV vA 1lA 3A 1vA |UV. ln tho shortor toxts, hav|ng boon c|oansod and
pur|t|od, you s|mp|y rost |n tho cont|donco ot bo|ng vajrasattva as you chant tho
mantra. 0on't worry about d|sso|v|ng th|s stato, |t w||| d|sso|vo |tso|t automat|ca||y-|t
you aro vory |ucky, you m|ght bo ab|o to roma|n thoro tor about ha|t a socond.
5amaya

Vost pract|so toxts |nc|udo a rotoronco to samaya |n tho contoss|on. |or thoso who
pract|so vajrasattva thoro aro throo gonora| samayas to bo obsorvod: do no harm to
othors, rathor, ho|p thom, and koop your porcopt|on puro, ospoc|a||y your porcopt|on
ot your guru.
What, thon, |s °samaya'? As pract|t|onors ot tho vajrayana wo put |nto pract|so a||
throo voh|c|os at tho samo t|mo-tho shravakayana, tho bodh|sattvayana and tho
vajrayana-and so |t m|ght ho|p to know a ||tt|o about oach voh|c|o's thoory ot samaya.
ln tho shravakayana, samaya |s thought ot as a tonco and |s basod on tho pr|nc|p|o
ot not harm|ng othors, wh|ch wo app|y by avo|d|ng k||||ng, |y|ng and stoa||ng.
Accord|ng to th|s systom, |t you to||ow tho sp|r|tua| path to tho mounta|n poak ot
on||ghtonmont, your path w||| a|ways bo protoctod by tho tonco ot samaya, wh|ch
onsuros you aro novor tomptod to r|sk bo|ng s|dotrackod.
1ho v|ow ot tho bodh|sattvayana |s rathor moro oxpans|vo and or|ontod to
mot|vat|on than tho shravakayana, and consoquont|y |ts toncos aro h|ghor and w|dor.
Accord|ng to th|s v|ow, |t stoa||ng wou|d somohow bo ot bonot|t to othors, you wou|d
bo broak|ng samaya |t you d|d oot stoa|. At tho samo t|mo, bonot|t|ng othors |s not
about bocom|ng somo k|nd ot modorn-day lob|n |ood, gonu|no|y to bonot|t othors |s
to br|ng thom to on||ghtonmont.
1ho toncos protoct|ng vajrayana studonts aro ovon moro soph|st|catod, as thoy aro
groundod |n tho dovo|opmont and ma|ntonanco ot puro porcopt|on. 1horo aro many
samayas |n tho vajrayana, not |oast aro tho °tourtoon root samayas,' and thoy aro a||
vory d|tt|cu|t to koop. |or oxamp|o, to judgo ono g|r| boaut|tu| and anothor ug|y |s to
broak tho °samayas ot vajra body,' but |t you woro ab|o to koop thom, you wou|d havo
comp|oto|y dono away w|th a|| dua||st|c thoughts. 1ho o|ghth samaya proh|b|ts you
trom m|stroat|ng your body, wh|ch |s, |n ossonco, tho t|vo buddha tam|||os, thorotoro to
bo contomptuous ot your body and troat |t bad|y |s to broak samaya. l shou|d a|so add
that thoso who cons|dor thomso|vos worth|oss, uso|oss bo|ngs not t|t to tako up ovon
tho t|n|ost ot spacos |n tho wor|d aro a|so broak|ng th|s samaya.
1ho sovonth root samaya to||s you to koop your guru, your pract|so and a|| r|tua|
objocts socrot, wh|ch |s somoth|ng modorn poop|o t|nd vory hard to do. Evon tho
purposo ot tho most mundano socrot, ||ko tho dato ot a toach|ng or whoro |t w||| bo
ho|d, |s so gross|y m|sundorstood that thoso not |n on |t too| joa|ous and oxc|udod. On
a moro subt|o |ovo|, whon a tantr|c mastor to||s a studont to koop an |nstruct|on socrot,
tho studont otton ta||s to roa||so that by do|ng so, tho|r own pract|so |s moro ||ko|y to
grow and maturo, but |t thoy babb|o about |t to a|| and sundry, thoy aro ||ko|y to attract
tho k|nd ot |||-|ntormod toodback that opons tho door to obstac|os.
1ho prat|moksha vow |s ||ko a c|ay pot, onco brokon, |t |s d|tt|cu|t to mond.
1horotoro, |t a shravaka monk who has not g|von back h|s vows s|oops w|th a woman
to sat|sty h|s |ust, ho w||| not bo a||owod to ronow h|s monk's vow |n th|s ||tot|mo.
|owovor, tho bodh|sattvayana and vajrayana vows aro ||ko go|don pots. A|though
bog|nnor vajrayana pract|t|onors w|||, w|thout doubt, broak thoso vows and samayas
on a da||y bas|s, w|th a ||tt|o caro and attont|on thoy aro oas||y rostorod (tor oxamp|o
by roc|t|ng tho hundrod-sy||ab|o mantra) and, ||ko a go|don pot mondod by a mastor
go|dsm|th, may ovon ond up bo|ng moro boaut|tu|.
Guru l|npocho sa|d that tho v|ow ot a vajrayana pract|t|onor shou|d bo as vast as
tho sky, and h|s act|ons as rot|nod as gra|ns ot t|our. 3ut how can wo koop a|| thoso
ru|os, |n sp|to ot tho contrad|ct|ons? 1ho bost wo can do |s to try to oboy tho
prat|moksha and bodh|sattvayana ru|os, and at |oast mako tho ottort to undorstand
thoso ot tho vajrayana. |or bog|nnors, to koop a|| tho vajrayana vows and samayas |s
v|rtua||y |mposs|b|o, so tocus on try|ng to do no harm, ho|p whorovor you can and
asp|ro to koop samaya.
10

NandaIa Ottoring

|av|ng c|oansod ourso|vos w|th vajrasattva pract|so, wo must now oqu|p ourso|vos
w|th a|| tho too|s nocossary tor accumu|at|ng mor|t, wo do th|s by ottor|ng manda|as.
Norit

What |s °mor|t'? |rom ono porspoct|vo, mor|t |s °ab|||ty', a|| tho ab|||t|os, |n tact, that
mako |t poss|b|o tor us to hoar, contomp|ato, mod|tato on and pract|so tho dharma,
|nc|ud|ng tho ab|||ty to too| cur|ous. 1hoso days our mor|t |s so ||m|tod that tho vast
major|ty ot human bo|ngs aro unab|o to rocogn|zo how spoc|a| dharma |s. lot on|y do
wo |ack tho mor|t to pract|so tho dharma, wo havo so ||tt|o that wo can't ovon onjoy
samsar|c ||to.
|ow wo |ntorprot |ntormat|on and our oxpor|oncos ot tho wor|d doponds ont|ro|y on
how much mor|t wo havo accumu|atod. |or oxamp|o, what doos tho word
lmpormoooot moan? On tho grossost poss|b|o |ovo|, thoso who havo vory ||tt|o mor|t
bo||ovo that °|mpormanont' moans docay and doath, or tho chang|ng soasons. Onco
wo start to accumu|ato mor|t, though, our undorstand|ng bocomos moro subt|o.
lmag|no you aro oxpor|onc|ng a momont ot happ|noss. lt you havo a ||tt|o mor|t you w|||
bo ab|o, to a corta|n dogroo, to |ntorprot and undorstand °|mpormanonco' and watch
your mood chango trom unhapp|noss to happ|noss and back aga|n, mak|ng any
d|sappo|ntmont or hopo you m|ght too| |oss |ntonso.
Ono way ot accumu|at|ng mor|t |s to mako ottor|ngs ot tood, monoy, t|owors, mus|c
and so on. |owovor, most modorn poop|o protor to spond monoy on °usotu|' th|ngs
and avo|d wast|ng |t. 3o |t |s oasy to undorstand how ottor|ng buttor |amps and |argo
quant|t|os ot oxpons|vo tood and dr|nk to tsoks can appoar wastotu|.
lyoshu| Khon l|npocho to|d mo a story about a |ronch woman who askod h|m to
g|vo hor a mahasandh| toach|ng and |ntroduco hor to tho naturo ot tho m|nd. lt was
qu|to a casua| roquost, and probab|y spur-ot-tho-momont, but s|nco |t |nsp|rod Khon
l|npocho to d|scovor that thoro aro st||| poop|o |n thoso dogonorato t|mos w|th an
|ntorost |n such protound toach|ngs, ho agrood. As mahasandh| |s an oxtromo|y
proc|ous toach|ng, studonts nood to accumu|ato a groat doa| ot mor|t |n ordor to
roco|vo, ||ston to and hoar |t propor|y. 1horotoro, as a way ot acknow|odg|ng hor nood
tor mor|t, lyoshu| Khon l|npocho suggostod sho mako a tsok ottor|ng. 0o||ghtod by
tho |doa, tho woman accompan|od Khonpo on a shopp|ng tr|p.
lar|s |s a wondortu| p|aco to shop and w|th|n m|nutos sho had bought somo
choco|ato that cost tho oqu|va|ont ot about ono ouro. 3ho showod Khonpo tho
choco|ato and askod h|m |t that wou|d bo onough to ottor |n tho tsok. low, that's a
d|tt|cu|t quost|on to answor. 1ho dharma, and part|cu|ar|y mahasandh| toach|ngs, aro
boyond pr|co-ovon throo thousand wor|d-systoms and ovoryth|ng conta|nod w|th|n
thom aro nowhoro noar onough to ottor tor a s|ng|o word ot mahasandh|. 3o what
cou|d Khonpo say about a bar ot choco|ato? 3ut th|nk|ng that porhaps sho d|dn't havo
much monoy, Khonpo sa|d noth|ng and thoy cont|nuod shopp|ng. 3otoro |ong thoy
tound thomso|vos at tho portumo countor ot a ch|c lar|s dopartmont storo and, to
Khonpo's surpr|so, tho woman d|d not hos|tato to spond tho oqu|va|ont ot ton ouros on
a bott|o ot hor tavor|to portumo, wh|ch sho kopt tor horso|t.

Vodorn poop|o |ack tho mor|t to bo ab|o both to ||ston to and hoar what |s roa||y bo|ng
sa|d and otton dur|ng dharma toach|ngs that wo havo roco|vod many t|mos botoro,
m|ss tho po|nt ot what |s bo|ng taught. Wo aro unab|o to ||ston |ntont|y, and at t|mos do
not ||ston at a||, bocauso m|nd |s so oas||y d|stractod. Evon |t wo do ||ston, wo cannot
tru|y hoar, |ntorprot or cons|dor what wo havo |oarnt trom any othor ang|o. As a rosu|t,
wo tako tho scraps ot |ntormat|on that a|most by acc|dont |odgo |n our s|ovo-||ko
m|nds oxtromo|y sor|ous|y.
3ad|y, wo no |ongor havo onough mor|t to bo ab|o to moot or roco|vo toach|ngs
trom groat mastors. |owovor, ovon |t today's objocts ot dovot|on ta|| to moasuro up to
tho groat mastors ot tho past, |t wo cou|d on|y |ncroaso our storo ot mor|t, |t wou|d not
mattor. latru| l|npocho |||ustratos how th|s works |n h|s story ot tho dog's tooth. An o|d
1|botan woman askod hor son to br|ng hor a ro||c ot tho 3uddha as an objoct ot
dovot|on tor hor pract|so. Untortunato|y tho son torgots h|s prom|so, and |s torcod to
pass ott tho tooth ot a doad dog ho t|nds |n a guttor as a 3uddha's tooth to avo|d
d|sappo|nt|ng hor. |owovor, hor dovot|on tor tho tooth and tho mor|t |t gonoratod woro
so groat that botoro |ong tho dog's tooth was transtormod |nto a gonu|no 3uddha's
tooth trom wh|ch ro||cs (r|ngso|) m|racu|ous|y spr|ng.
You can tost and oxpor|onco tho powor ot mor|t tor yourso|t. load a dharma toxt
onco, thon mako somo manda|a ottor|ngs as thorough|y and w|th as much
concontrat|on and dotorm|nat|on as you can mustor. low road tho samo toxt aga|n.
You w||| t|nd that your undorstand|ng has boon transtormod. lathor than sk|mm|ng tho
g|st ot oach chaptor, you w||| bo ab|o to |ntorprot oach word tar moro proc|so|y than
you cou|d botoro. You shou|d a|so try roco|v|ng toach|ngs trom a toachor who had
prov|ous|y borod you, hav|ng mado somo manda|a ottor|ngs, your oxpor|onco w||| bo
ont|ro|y d|ttoront. And |t, botoro accumu|at|ng manda|a ottor|ngs you aro unab|o to
a||ow your m|nd to sott|o and bocomo trustratod by how tar |t wandors, try do|ng
shamatha mod|tat|on. Aga|n, your oxpor|onco ot pract|so w||| bo transtormod.
1o havo tho mor|t to roco|vo toach|ngs |s ono th|ng, but to havo onough to bo ab|o
to ||ston to and hoar thom corroct|y |s qu|to anothor, wh|ch |s why tho trad|t|on ot
ottor|ng a manda|a at tho bog|nn|ng ot a dharma toach|ng was or|g|na||y ostab||shod.
And mor|t |s not on|y nocossary tor us to bo ab|o to undorstand tho dharma, but tor
ovory othor stop on tho path, |nc|ud|ng to bo ab|o tru|y to approc|ato our guru. W|th
onough mor|t, you w||| bo ab|o to |ntorprot tho way tho guru |ooks whon ho |s |||, or
whon ho yawns, or whon ho appoars to |oso h|s tompor, |n a way that |s bonot|c|a|.
And |sn't that what you want? lt you |ack mor|t, ovon |t your guru bohavos ||ko an ango|
you w||| t|nd roasons tor cr|t|c|z|ng h|m and ond up ta|||ng to bonot|t trom your
connoct|on.
Eow Norit |a Conoratod

As wo havo a|roady soon |n tho soct|on on tak|ng rotugo, thoro aro two d|ttoront t|o|ds
through wh|ch wo can accumu|ato mor|t, and ono ot tho un|quo toaturos ot
3uddhadharma |s that both aro oqua||y |mportant.
Vor|t |s gonoratod by tho act|ons or cond|t|ons that qu|ck|y br|ng us c|osor to tho
truth, not moro|y through good, who|osomo act|ons or act|v|t|os a|mod at tomporary
wor|d|y ach|ovomont, ||ko a |ong ||to or h|ghor rob|rth. Ot courso, ono ot tho ways |t
works |s that |t wo aro mator|a||y gonorous, wo w||| a|so roco|vo an abundanco ot
woa|th, and |t wo aro pat|ont, wo w||| bo phys|ca||y attract|vo to othors. 3ut str|ct|y
spoak|ng, |t tho rosu|t ot a convont|ona||y good act|v|ty |s not dod|catod towards tho
ovontua| on||ghtonmont ot a|| sont|ont bo|ngs, and |t |t has not brought you any c|osor
to tho truth, wh||o tho good karma |t gonoratos may too| groat, you w||| not accumu|ato
tho k|nd ot mor|t covotod by thoso who to||ow tho path to on||ghtonmont. A sp||t socond
spont on do|ng somoth|ng bonot|c|a| that a|so br|ngs you c|osor to tho truth, howovor
unp|oasant or untash|onab|o, |s tar moro va|uab|o than ongag|ng |n an oxtravaganza ot
moro onjoyab|o and ostontat|ous|y ho|ptu| act|v|t|os that moro|y rosu|t |n a h|ghor
rob|rth, or othor wor|d|y boons.
ln othor words, tho amount and qua||ty ot tho mor|t you accumu|ato |s not
dotorm|nod by tho mothod ot accumu|at|on. Accord|ng to tho bodh|sattvayana,
whothor an act|on accumu|atos mor|t or just good karma |s dotorm|nod by whothor or
not |t |s undortakon w|th a dua||st|c v|ow. |or oxamp|o, ottor|ng a k||o ot go|d w|th a
dua||st|c v|ow w||| not nocossar||y accumu|ato moro mor|t than ottor|ng a grapo. As
Chandrak|rt| sa|d, g|v|ng w|thout rotoronco to tho ono who g|vos, tho g|tt, or tho
roc|p|ont ot that g|tt |s doscr|bod as a param|ta that °transconds tho wor|d.' And to
g|vo w|thout tho s||ghtost attachmont to g|v|ng, g|tt and roc|p|ont |s sa|d to bo tho
°portoct act|on ot tho wor|d|y onos.'
As tor tho mothods ava||ab|o tor accumu|at|ng mor|t, thoro aro many. |or oxamp|o,
bo gonorous, d|sc|p||nod and pat|ont, mako ottor|ngs, both mator|a| and v|sua||sod,
contoss, rojo|co at othor poop|o's good tortuno, and arouso |ovo, compass|on and
bodh|ch|tta. 1ak|ng rotugo |s a|so an |mportant mothod. As |s roquost|ng sub||mo
bo|ngs to turn tho whoo| ot tho dharma and ask|ng thom to ||vo tor a |ong t|mo, wh|ch
pur|t|os tho karm|c consoquoncos ot hav|ng croatod obstac|os tor thoso roco|v|ng
toach|ngs |n past ||vos.
1ho mahayana ottors a wondortu| comb|nat|on ot w|sdom and sk||tu| mothods that
aro oasy to oxocuto, yot br|ng about romarkab|o rosu|ts. You m|ght |mag|no that |n
ordor to accumu|ato |nt|n|to mor|t, you w||| havo to mako tromondous sacr|t|cos
ont|ro|y boyond your capac|ty, such as ottor|ng your own t|osh and bonos, or your
homo, but mator|a| ottor|ngs aro not tho on|y k|nd ot ottor|ngs wo can mako. lt thoy
woro, thoro wou|d bo somoth|ng wrong w|th tho systom, bocauso most ot us aro
unab|o to attord to mako such oxtravagant gosturos. |ortunato|y, tho mahayana path
has tho w|sdom and sk||| to accommodato o|| pract|t|onors, not just tho woa|thy, and
ottors mothods that |nvo|vo v|sua||z|ng ottor|ng substancos that accumu|ato oxact|y tho
samo amount ot mor|t as tho oqu|va|ont mator|a| ottor|ngs wou|d havo dono. 1o put |t
anothor way, tho mahayana path |s oasy, b||sstu| and pa|n|oss, yot |ts mothods roap
tho samo amount ot mor|t and w|sdom as mator|a| ottor|ngs.
1ho 5ovon-Branch Ottoring

An oxamp|o ot ono ot thoso oxtraord|nary mothods |s tho sovon-branch ottor|ng. lt
|nvo|vos sovon d|ttoront ways ot accumu|at|ng mor|t, oach ot wh|ch sorvos a spoc|t|c
purposo. 1ho ottor|ngs aro as to||ows: prostrat|on, ottor|ng, contoss|on, rojo|c|ng,
roquost|ng tho turn|ng ot tho whoo| ot tho dharma, ask|ng buddhas not to pass |nto
par|n|rvana and dod|cat|on ot mor|t. (You can chooso to roc|to any ot tho sovon-
branch prayors trom tho sutras and 3uddh|st pract|sos and consu|t tho root toxts and
commontar|os ot your trad|t|on to t|nd out whoro |n tho ngöndro pract|so |t appoars.)
Proatration

Wo do prostrat|ons to crush ono ot our most stubborn sho||s, pr|do. A porson b|oatod
w|th pr|do w||| havo no spaco |ott |n thom tor on||ghtonod qua||t|os to grow, and w|thout
on||ghtonod qua||t|os tho act|v|t|os ot a bodh|sattva w||| bo |mpodod. 3os|dos wh|ch,
pr|do |s by naturo |nsocuro and proc|p|tatos many |ovo|s ot hypocr|sy.
lmag|no your body has boon mu|t|p||od oxponont|a||y and that tr||||ons and tr||||ons ot
°you' aro prostrat|ng botoro tho objocts ot rotugo. 1ho 3uddha sa|d that you and oach
ot your |mag|nod prostrat|ons w||| accumu|ato oxact|y tho samo amount ot mor|t.
Ottoring

1ho ant|doto to m|sor||noss |s to mako ottor|ngs. V|sor||noss |s rootod |n an att|tudo ot
povorty that has noth|ng to do w|th bo|ng mator|a||y poor, thoro aro many poop|o |n th|s
wor|d who aro |oadod w|th mator|a| woa|th yot constant|y too| thoy |ack somoth|ng.
Ono ot tho s|do ottocts ot m|sor||noss |s pott|noss, and a potty porson w||| novor
dovo|op tho qua||t|os that mako |t oasy and p|oasant tor othors to bo around thom.
1horo |s no rostr|ct|on on tho amount ot ottor|ngs you can mako-tho sky's tho ||m|t!
And a|though °||m|t|oss ottor|ngs' sounds, to our oars, as though wo shou|d p||o up
mounta|ns ot sumptuous mator|a| goods, ottor|ngs can bo °||m|t|oss' ovon whon thoy
aro just a tow gra|ns ot r|co, as wo can soo trom tho story ot a ||tt|o boy ca||od
Chandragom|.
Chandragom|'s tam||y was so poor that h|s paronts, brothors and s|stors woro a||
torcod to bog tor tood to avo|d starvat|on. Ono day, as Chandragom| wont about h|s
bus|noss, ho not|cod a statuo ot Ava|ok|toshvara on a shr|no by tho roads|do. |o was
so attractod by tho statuo's compass|onato oxpross|on that ho spr|nk|od a tow gra|ns
ot tho r|co ho had managod to co||oct that morn|ng onto tho statuo's hand. 1o h|s
surpr|so, ovon though ho mado h|s ottor|ng vory carotu||y, tho gra|ns ot r|co s||d ott tho
statuo's hand and |nto tho dust. |o ottorod a tow moro gra|ns and onco aga|n thoy
tumb|od to tho ground. Chandragom| bogan to worry that tor somo roason
Ava|ok|toshvara d|d not want to accopt h|s ottor|ng, and kopt d|gg|ng doopor and
doopor |nto h|s pockots to t|nd moro r|co to ottor, unt|| t|na||y ho had noth|ng |ott. 3y
now Chandragom| was qu|to upsot and w|th toars sp||||ng down h|s chooks sa|d to
Ava|ok|toshvara, w|th groat rogrot, °3ut now l havo noth|ng |ott to ottor.' At that
momont tho powor ot tho boy's ono-po|ntod trust that Ava|ok|toshvara was actua||y
thoro |n tront ot h|m brought tho statuo to ||to and Ava|ok|toshvara gavo h|m an
onormous hug.
Obv|ous|y wo shou|d a|| try to mako mator|a| ottor|ngs, but porhaps tor bog|nnors,
|mag|nary ottor|ngs aro |oss r|sky. Whon At|sha 0|pamkara wont to 1|bot, ho adv|sod
tho 1|botans to mako wator ottor|ngs (wh|ch |s why so many bow|s ot wator aro
ottorod |n 1|botan 3uddh|st tomp|os) bocauso ottor|ngs shou|d bo mado comp|oto|y
and who|ohoartod|y, w|th no sonso ot rogrot or concorn about who roco|vos thom or
how thoy aro usod. And tor a bog|nnor th|s |s tar oas|or to do succosstu||y w|th wator.
v|sua||so |n your m|nd's oyo mounta|ns ot a|| tho trad|t|ona| ottor|ng substancos, as
wo|| as anyth|ng o|so you can th|nk ot that |s boaut|tu| or oxpons|vo or dos|rab|o or
oxtraord|nary, tor oxamp|o l|agara |a||s |n Canada, or tho |orb|ddon C|ty |n 3o|j|ng,
an o|ogant|y soduct|vo go|sha dancor |n Kyoto, or a bur|y, un|tormod U.3. Var|no |n
Ca||torn|a. loa||y |ot your |mag|nat|on t|y. And don't ||m|t your ottor|ngs to what |s
dos|rab|o |n your own cu|turo.
Contoaaion

loxt, |n ordor to d|smant|o ogo's h|doout, contoss and oxposo your nogat|vo act|ons.
Contoss|on |s ono ot tho most ottoct|vo ways ot countor|ng aggross|on. 1o stow your
tau|ts away |n somo doop, dark h|ddon p|aco |s ||ko bo|ng sor|ous|y ||| but not to|||ng
tho doctor whoro |t hurts, and to w|thho|d such v|ta| |ntormat|on w||| provont tho doctor
trom d|agnos|ng your |||noss corroct|y, |t at a||. 0on't worry about what you m|ght havo
torgotton, or how a nogat|vo act|on |s dot|nod trom a 3uddh|st porspoct|vo, just do
your bost. lmag|no you aro |n tho prosonco ot a|| tho buddhas and bodh|sattvas who
a|roady know what happonod |n tho past, what w||| happon |n tho tuturo, and what |s
happon|ng |n tho prosont, thon oxposo ovoryth|ng you rogrot and aro ashamod ot
hav|ng thought and dono, as wo|| as tho dop|orab|o thoughts and act|ons you m|ght bo
party to |n tho tuturo, w|thout |oav|ng anyth|ng out.
Ro[oico

A vory ottoct|vo and oasy mothod tor accumu|at|ng mor|t |s to rojo|co at tho good
tortuno ot othors. lron|ca||y, though, most ot us t|nd |t agon|z|ng|y d|tt|cu|t.
1horo aro throo ma|n causos tor rojo|c|ng.

1. lojo|co |n tho happ|noss and causos ot happ|noss ot othors, tor oxamp|o, whon
you soo an attract|vo porson, |nstoad ot too||ng onvy, rojo|co |n tho|r boauty.
2. Whon you soo somoono do good, rojo|co rathor than stoop|ng to cr|t|c|zo thom
out ot sp|to and joa|ousy.
8. 3ost ot a||, rathor than |ndu|g|ng |n doubts about tho poss|b|||ty ot on||ghtonmont
or whothor or not buddhahood ovon ox|sts, rojo|co |n |t and |ts causos, and
rojo|co whon othor poop|o ongago |n tho causos ot on||ghtonmont, ||ko hoar|ng
and contomp|at|ng tho toach|ngs and tho pract|so ot mod|tat|on.

1o rojo|co at somoono o|so's succoss |s porhaps tho oas|ost way ot accumu|at|ng
mor|t-|t's as |t a hugo stockp||o ot mor|t |s just wa|t|ng around tor you to gathor up.
Whon you soo somoono do somoth|ng worthwh||o, a|| you havo to do to accumu|ato
ocoans ot mor|t |s rojo|co. lt's a powortu| ant|doto to tho most r|d|cu|ous and pathot|c
omot|ona| rosponso wo suttor trom-joa|ousy. lnstoad ot |ndu|g|ng your joa|ousy,
rojo|co whon you soo somoono boaut|tu| or succosstu|, and romombor that both
qua||t|os aro tho rosu|t ot many ||tot|mos' pract|so ot pat|onco and gonoros|ty. 1h|nk ot
tho good qua||t|os ot ovoryono you know, and rojo|co |n tho bonot|c|a| th|ngs thoy do,
trom tho poop|o who run hosp|ta|s to thoso ab|o to croato wondortu| t|owor
arrangomonts. A|so rojo|co |n tho rosu|ts thoy onjoy, trom tamo and adm|rat|on to
good |ooks. 1o rojo|co |n tho act|v|t|os ot tho buddhas and bodh|sattvas |s part|cu|ar|y
powortu|.
Roquoat tho 1urning ot tho WhooI ot Dharma

Wo ||vo |n dogonorato t|mos, and ono ot tho most powortu| ant|dotos both to
dogonorat|on and |gnoranco (tho root ot a|| our prob|oms) |s to roquost that tho
buddhas and bodh|sattvas toach us, or °turn tho whoo| ot tho dharma.'
1ho 3uddha passod |nto par|n|rvana two and ha|t m|||onn|a ago, and so you m|ght
wondor what po|nt thoro |s |n cont|nua||y ask|ng h|m to toach us. ln ovoryday ||to,
whonovor wo havo a prob|om, tho t|rst th|ng most ot us do |s ask somoono wo rospoct
and trust tor ho|p. ln th|s caso, tho a||-porvad|ng prob|om wo taco |n samsara |s
tundamonta| |gnoranco, and so wo nood to ask somoono who knows how to d|spo|
that |gnoranco. °3ut why and how do wo ask tho 3uddha?' |s most poop|o's
|mmod|ato roact|on. °|o |sn't ovon a||vo! W||| wo havo to wa|t tor tho noxt buddha to
appoar botoro wo got our answor?' Untortunato|y, such quost|ons m|ss tho po|nt
ont|ro|y.
1o roquost tho whoo| ot dharma to bo turnod |s not just to ask to roco|vo toach|ngs
|n convont|ona| ways, turn|ng tho whoo| can tako a groat many torms. |or oxamp|o, |t
cou|d turn wh||o you aro do|ng somoth|ng vory ord|nary, such as watch|ng an op|sodo
ot your tavour|to soap opora, or road|ng a passago |n a book, or watch|ng a doad |oat
ta|| trom a troo, bocauso anyth|ng that prov|dos tho spark to |gn|to your compass|on
and roa||sat|on ot tho tut|||ty ot th|s ||to |s a °turn|ng ot tho whoo|.' As wo havo a|roady
soon, t|mo and aga|n, dharma studonts havo boon batt|od by sacrod toxts that, at t|rst
g|anco, thoy aro unab|o to undorstand, thon |ator, hav|ng accumu|atod a ||tt|o mor|t,
thoy undorstand thom qu|to oas||y. 1h|s |s ono ot tho ways tho buddhas and
bodh|sattvas turn tho whoo| ot tho dharma.
1ho 3uddha sa|d that whonovor any ono ot us too|s dovot|on, ho w||| bo r|ght thoro
w|th us. |o |s thorotoro turn|ng tho whoo| ot tho dharma cont|nuous|y, and such
toach|ngs can novor bo stoppod.
Roquoat 1hat tho Buddhaa and Bodhiaattvaa Do Not Paaa into Parinirvana

1o roquost that tho buddhas and bodh|sattvas roma|n |n samsara and do not pass
|nto par|n|rvana |s how wo countor wrong v|ow and doubt. 1ho m|nds ot samsar|c
bo|ngs aro dua||st|c, and dua||st|c m|nds aro, by naturo, tu|| ot doubt, wh|ch |n turn
broods wrong v|ow. 3p|r|tua| sookors aro no d|ttoront. Wo spond an |nord|nato
amount ot t|mo strugg||ng w|th doubts about our pract|so, our path and tho sp|r|tua|
way ot ||to-|t |s probab|y tho toughost cha||ongo most ot us havo to taco and tho ono
omot|on that w||| accompany us unt|| tho vory ond ot our sp|r|tua| journoy. lt |s bo||ovod
that doubts bocomo sharpor tho moro our |nto|||gonco |ncroasos, wh|ch makos
portoct sonso s|nco tho moro |nto|||gont wo aro, tho moro |nto|||gont our doubts soom
to bocomo. 1hat wo havo so many doubts |n tho t|rst p|aco |s ono ot our b|ggost
obstac|os, bocauso apart trom anyth|ng o|so, thoy tako up so much ot our t|mo. 1ho
worso |t gots, tho moro ||ko|y wo aro to t|nd ourso|vos stuck |n a stato ot sor|a| so|t-
condomnat|on, wh|ch |n turn d|vorts our attont|on trom tho r|ght v|ow, caus|ng |oss ot
ta|th |n tho |aws ot causo, cond|t|on and ottoct (karma), and corrod|ng our bo||ot |n tho
u|t|mato truth ot |ntordopondont roa||ty, shunyata and tho tr|p|o gom.
0oubts |nvado tho m|nd |n a var|oty ot ways. You may wondor why, hav|ng
comp|otod hundrods ot dharma pract|sos, your hoa|th |s so poor. Or, |t tho buddhas
roa||y aro omn|sc|ont, what |s stopp|ng thom trom o||m|nat|ng tho Al03 v|rus, or
povorty, or tho |||oga| drug trado? 0o thoy havo any powor at a||? ls thoro roa||y a °noxt
||to'? 0o any ot us tru|y havo buddhanaturo? Vany such doubts can bo c|oarod away
s|mp|y by ||ston|ng to tho toach|ngs, but most human bo|ngs a|so nood somo k|nd ot
|nsp|rat|on that has noth|ng to do w|th roason|ng or |og|c to g|vo thom cont|donco, ||ko
an oxtraord|nary oxpor|onco or a moot|ng an |nsp|r|ng porson. And s|nco °soo|ng |s
bo||ov|ng,' |t |s usua||y moot|ng a 3uddh|st mastor-tho phys|ca| man|tostat|on ot tho
3uddha's body, spooch and m|nd, and a porson wo can soo, touch and hoar-that
prov|dos tho most protound k|nd ot |nsp|rat|on.
Wo aro not on|y ask|ng tu||y t|odgod buddhas w|th a|| th|rty-two major and o|ghty
m|nor marks to roma|n |n samsara, wo aro a|so ask|ng thoso who ombody a|| tho
groat qua||t|os ot tho buddhas, bodh|sattvas and tho toach|ngs, tho sourco ot
|nsp|rat|on tor othors, and tor a|| tho ovonts and act|v|t|os, howovor |||og|ca| or
|mpract|ca|, that up||tt and oncourago us, to cont|nuo tho|r act|v|t|os.
Dodication

||na||y, wo must a|ways dod|cato our pract|so and pos|t|vo act|ons qu|ck|y so wo
wasto nono ot tho mor|t wo accumu|ato. 3y dod|cat|ng our mor|t towards tho u|t|mato
happ|noss and on||ghtonmont ot a|| sont|ont bo|ngs, wo not on|y koop that mor|t sato,
wo onsuro that |t w||| cont|nuo to accumu|ato-||ko |ntorost on w|so|y |nvostod monoy
-so that pos|t|vo act|ons bocomo our path to on||ghtonmont. lt wo do not dod|cato
|mmod|ato|y, tho mor|t cou|d bo burnt away |n a suddon t|ash ot angor, or any ot tho
othor oxtromo nogat|vo act|ons or thoughts to wh|ch wo aro proy.
Norit: tho Armour 1hat 5hioIda ua trom ObatacIoa

1ho dharma |s sa|d to bo abso|uto|y pr|co|oss, and ||ko a d|amond, can cut through a||
k|nds ot dua||st|c nots. Wo, on tho othor hand, aro moro ||ko dost|tuto, |gnorant
boggars who |ack any sonso ot ontorpr|so, and whon a proc|ous d|amond suddon|y
ta||s |nto our hands, wo havo no |doa what to do w|th |t. Wo aro so |gnorant ot |ts truo
worth that wo m|ght trado |t tor a hotdog, or ovon caro|oss|y |oso |t. 3uch s|tuat|ons
ar|so surpr|s|ng|y otton bocauso whorovor tho proc|ous dharma |s to bo tound, thoro
w||| a|ways bo obstac|os. Actua||y, whon dharma pract|t|onors attract obstac|os, |t |s a
s|gn that tho pract|so |s hav|ng an ottoct-|t |t wasn't, why wou|d tho obstac|os bothor?
1hoy havo no nood to attack poop|o whoso pract|so |s not go|ng wo|| bocauso thoso
poop|o aro probab|y croat|ng qu|to onough prob|oms tor thomso|vos.
1hat bo|ng sa|d, many ot tho obstac|os wo taco aro strong and d|sturb|ng, wh|ch |s
why wo try to dovo|op tho ab|||ty to man|pu|ato, choat, soduco, transtorm and |gnoro a||
tho obstac|os wo attract by putt|ng |nto pract|so many ot tho mothods ottorod by tho
3uddhadharma. 1ho °h|ghost' ot thoso mothods |s to wo|como obstac|os as
b|oss|ngs, but gonu|no|y to do so roqu|ros a groat doa| ot mor|t. |ortunato|y,
3uddhadharma a|so prov|dos us w|th tho pract|so ot manda|a ottor|ng, wh|ch |s tho
most protound ot a|| mor|t-mak|ng mothods.
1ho Practiao

Karma Chagmo sa|d, whon bog|nnors ||ko us bu||d a tomp|o, |t |s |mposs|b|o to avo|d
somo torm ot unv|rtuous thought or act|on trom ar|s|ng |n our m|nds. 1hroughout tho
procoss, wo w||| taco many cha||ongos, and onco |t |s comp|oto, wo aro bound to havo
bocomo attachod and m|sor|y |n ono way or anothor. |owovor, tho pract|so ot ottor|ng
manda|as doos not havo tho samo ottoct at a||, and th|s |s why |t |s so |mportant.
What Do Wo Ottor?

As tar as tho roc|p|onts ot our ottor|ngs aro concornod, tho k|nds ot ottor|ngs wo mako
aro |mmator|a|, so wo shou|d ottor whatovor wo ourso|vos cons|dor to bo proc|ous.
|or oxamp|o, by ottor|ng our body to tho buddhas and bodh|sattvas ot tho past, wo
croato an ausp|c|ous ||nk w|th tho body, spooch, m|nd, qua||ty and act|v|ty ot
3hakyamun| 3uddha. 3y ottor|ng our body to tho prosont 3uddha-our guru-our
body, spooch and m|nd bocomo a portoct vosso| tor w|sdom. 3y ottor|ng our body to
a tuturo buddha, wo portoct tho ausp|c|ous c|rcumstancos that w||| onab|o us to bonot|t
a|| sont|ont bo|ngs.
0ur|ng tho manda|a ottor|ng wo pr|mar||y uso sub||mo bo|ngs as our t|o|d ot mor|t.
As tor what proc|so|y you shou|d ottor, bo as croat|vo and |mag|nat|vo as you can. lt
you t|nd Vount Voru and |ts surround|ng p|anots d|tt|cu|t to p|cturo |n your m|nd, just
ottor a hugo and boaut|tu| mounta|n. Or |mag|no As|a, 3outh Amor|ca, lorth Amor|ca
and Austra||a and p|cturo a|| tho boaut|tu| nat|ona| parks, pa|acos, watorta||s and
woa|th thoy conta|n.
lt ottor|ng th|ngs that do not bo|ong to you makos you uncomtortab|o, a|ways
romombor that tho way you porco|vo your wor|d |s who||y and comp|oto|y your own,
novor anyono o|so's. lnc|udo |n your v|sua||sat|on sourcos ot woa|th, such as 0outscho
3ank, torosts, |ron oro, stoo|, a|| tho mator|a| woa|th human bo|ngs |ovo to accumu|ato
and tho woa|th ot gods (wh|ch |s usua||y roprosontod as t|y|ng carpots and paraso|s,
otc.). Add to |t tho woa|th ot tho nagas (wh|ch somot|mos appoars |n tho torm ot tho
conch that can wago war), or a sma|| sho|| that can transtorm |tso|t |nto a k|ngdom or a
pa|aco, or w|sh-tu|t||||ng troos and cows, or ovon boaut|tu| mon and womon. You can
o|aborato as much as you ||ko, and a|ways ondoavour to go boyond tho ||m|ts ot your
|mag|nat|on. 1o onhanco your v|sua||sat|on, mako uso ot d|ttoront substancos that you
cons|dor proc|ous, ||ko tho r|co that 1|botans uso a groat doa| |n tho|r ottor|ngs, and
co|ns and proc|ous mota|s ||ko s||vor and go|d.
lt your |ntont|on |s to do th|s pract|so as part ot your ngöndro accumu|at|ons, you w|||
nood a manda|a p|ato and as many r|tua| ottor|ng substancos as you can gathor.
Accord|ng to 0oshung l|npocho, tho manda|a p|ato can bo qu|to |argo, but |t you
protor to uso a sma|| ono, p|oaso do. What tho p|ato |s mado ot w||| dopond on what
you can attord, |t cou|d bo stono, sanda|wood, coppor, |ron, stoo| or ovon go|d |t you
w|sh. Your ma|n r|tua| ottor|ng, though, w||| bo gra|ns ot a|| k|nds, not just r|co, and
whatovor o|so you add w||| sorvo as objocts ot concontrat|on to onhanco your pract|so.
v|sua||so oach gra|n as bo|ng ovoryth|ng mont|onod abovo, and |t, ||ko mo, lnd|an-
sty|o roprosontat|ons ot woa|th |nsp|ro you, you cou|d a|so |nc|udo th|ngs ||ko boaut|tu|
bathhousos tu|| ot |ovo|y danc|ng g|r|s and, to bo po||t|ca||y corroct, handsomo danc|ng
boys.
A|though tho pract|so toxts usua||y mako |t sound as though wo mako thoso
ottor|ngs to p|oaso tho buddhas and bodh|sattvas, do koop |n m|nd that th|s |s
abso|uto|y not tho caso. 1ho 3uddha, dharma and sangha cannot bo br|bod, bought,
|nt|uoncod or ovon p|oasod by our moagor ottor|ngs. lt you th|nk about |t, tho k|nd ot
ottor|ngs trad|t|ona||y mado woro not dos|gnod to bo usotu| to tho buddhas and
bodh|sattvas |n tho ord|nary sonso ot tho word. ln tact, tho|r °usotu|noss' |s qu|to
bos|do po|nt. 1ako tho oxamp|o ot a proc|ous cow. |ow usotu| wou|d a cow bo to
somoono ||v|ng |n tho m|dd|o ot low York?
PracticaI 1iµa About tho Ottoring 5ubatancoa

lt you can tako a tow wooks ott, you m|ght ||ko to do an |ntons|vo rotroat to accumu|ato
a|| ono hundrod thousand manda|a ottor|ngs |n ono go. ln that caso, you w||| nood two
manda|a ottor|ng p|atos, ono to p|aco on tho shr|no w|th t|vo p||os ot ottor|ngs on |t to
roprosont tho t|vo buddha tam|||os, and tho othor on wh|ch to mako your ottor|ngs
dur|ng tho pract|so. 3|nco tho manda|a ottor|ng on your shr|no w||| roma|n thoro tor a
ro|at|vo|y |ong t|mo, |t you m|x tho r|co w|th buttor, wh|ch |s a trad|t|ona| mothod tor
mak|ng tho r|co gra|ns st|ck togothor, tho ottor|ng w||| qu|ck|y go ranc|d. 3o |nstoad,
uso ottor|ngs that w||| not rot, ||ko som|proc|ous stonos.
ln torms ot tho manda|a ottor|ngs you mako da||y, trom t|mo to t|mo |t |s a good |doa
to ronow thom by rop|ac|ng tho o|d r|co w|th now r|co, and so on. 1ho amount ot
ottor|ngs you mako and how otton you chango thom w||| dopond on tho s|zo ot your
budgot. And ot courso, |t you go |nto rotroat tor a |ong t|mo, say a yoar, you shou|d
chango tho ottor|ngs rogu|ar|y. Onco you havo t|n|shod tho accumu|at|on, tho unwr|tton
trad|t|on |s to ottor tho proc|ous mator|a|s you usod to your toachor, or to a tomp|o, or,
|t you protor, qu|ot|y scattor thom |n a torost whoro no ono w||| thank you.
Each day, botoro you start to pract|so, t|rst c|oan tho manda|a p|ato w|th o|thor
sattron wator or roso wator, or somo k|nd ot portumod wator. 1hon, at tho bog|nn|ng ot
oach soss|on, uso tho |ns|do ot your wr|st to rub tho surtaco c|oan. lt you want to
o|aborato tho pract|so a ||tt|o, |mag|no you aro pur|ty|ng and c|oans|ng a|| tho ottor|ngs
you w||| bo mak|ng, wh|ch ot courso |nc|udo your body, spooch and m|nd. You w||| hoar
many sma|| dota||s ||ko th|s, a|most ovory 1|botan or dharma pract|t|onor you moot w|||
como up w|th a s||ght|y d|ttoront var|at|on, and trom tho|r po|nt ot v|ow, oach ot thom |s
probab|y r|ght. Attor a||, thoro aro tour ||noagos |n 1|botan 3uddh|sm that thousands ot
poop|o pract|so accord|ng to tho toach|ngs ot hundrods ot |amas, many ot whom havo
mod|t|od tho trad|t|ona| |nstruct|ons. U|t|mato|y, though, thoro |s not ono corroct way ot
c|oan|ng tho manda|a p|ato, so |t's bost not to wasto too much t|mo on |t.
1ho ViauaIiaation

ln th|s caso, you w||| bo mak|ng ottor|ngs to Guru l|npocho or vajradhara v|sua||sod |n
tront ot you and surroundod by h|s rot|nuo. (A turthor o|aborat|on ot th|s v|sua||sat|on
can bo tound |n doscr|pt|ons ot tho t|o|d ot mor|t that aro usua||y |nc|udod |n tho rotugo
soct|on ot |ongor ngöndro toxts.) 1ho ma|n do|ty ot tho manda|a s|ts on tho contra|
branch ot a w|sh-tu|t||||ng troo, on tho branch |n tront ot h|m s|ts 3hakyamun| 3uddha
and a|| tho buddhas, on tho branch to h|s r|ght a|| tho bodh|sattvas, to h|s |ott tho nob|o
sangha ot shravakas and pratyokabuddhas, and boh|nd h|m aro hugo stacks ot
dharma toxts.
0ur|ng tho pract|so ot tak|ng rotugo wo doscr|bo tho sub||mo bo|ngs |n th|s
v|sua||sat|on as our °objocts ot rotugo', dur|ng tho pract|so ot arous|ng bodh|ch|tta,
thoy bocomo thoso who w|tnoss our vow ot bodh|ch|tta, and now, as wo ottor tho
manda|a, thoy bocomo tho roc|p|onts ot our ottor|ngs.
ln tho contoxt ot th|s pract|so, tho roso wator or portumod wator you uso to c|oan tho
manda|a p|ato roprosonts tho app||cat|on ot bodh|ch|tta, wh|ch moans you aro do|ng
tho pract|so tor tho sako ot tho on||ghtonmont ot a|| sont|ont bo|ngs. 3y spr|nk||ng a
||tt|o wator on tho p|ato you app|y tho °mo|sturo ot bodh|ch|tta' to symbo||zo tho
protund|ty ot th|s vajrayana pract|so and tako |t boyond bo|ng a mundano act ot
spr|nk||ng r|co onto a p|ato. 1ho wator a|so ho|ps tho r|co to st|ck to tho p|ato, and
a|though you m|ght not want to uso wator ovory t|mo you c|oan tho p|ato, |t |s a good
|doa to uso |t r|ght at tho bog|nn|ng.
You aro now roady to ottor a manda|a.
1ho 5ovon-Point NandaIa Ottoring

1rad|t|ona||y, tho ottor|ngs aro p|acod on tho manda|a p|ato |n a c|ockw|so d|roct|on,
but you can chooso whothor or not to start trom tho tront (two|vo o'c|ock) or tho back
(s|x o'c|ock) ot tho manda|a p|ato (soo t|guro 1, dopond|ng on wh|ch trad|t|on you
to||ow, oast |s o|thor |n tront ot you or c|osost to your shr|no. l ||ko to start at tho back,
wh|ch |s how tho mothod |s oxp|a|nod bo|ow, w|th tho a|tornat|vo pos|t|ons appoar|ng
|n brackots.

||g. 1. 3ovon-lo|nt Vanda|a Ottor|ng.

1. lour r|co trom your r|ght hand |nto tho contro ot tho manda|a p|ato to mako tho
t|rst p||o ot ottor|ngs.
2. 1ho socond p||o |s p|acod |n tront ot you at s|x o'c|ock (two|vo o'c|ock) on tho
s|do ot tho p|ato c|osost to you.
8. 1ho th|rd p||o |s p|acod 00 dogroos c|ockw|so trom tho socond at n|no o'c|ock
(throo o'c|ock).
4. 1ho tourth p||o |s p|acod 00 dogroos c|ockw|so at two|vo o'c|ock (s|x o'c|ock).
b. 1ho t|tth p||o |s p|acod 00 dogroos c|ockw|so trom tho tourth at throo o'c|ock
(n|no o'c|ock).
0. 1ho s|xth p||o |s p|acod botwoon tho contra| p||o and tho p||o at n|no o'c|ock
(throo o'c|ock).
7. 1ho sovonth p||o |s p|acod botwoon tho contra| p||o and tho p||o at throo o'c|ock
(n|no o'c|ock).

1ho th|rd p||o |s what wo ca|| °tho p||o ot 1ambudv|pa.' 1ambudv|pa |s tho namo ot
tho p|anot on wh|ch wo ||vo, our °oarth.' 3o |t you p|acod tho socond p||o at s|x o'c|ock,
1ambudv|pa w||| bo at n|no o'c|ock (or |t you p|acod tho socond p||o at two|vo o'c|ock,
1ambudv|pa w||| bo at throo o'c|ock). 1ho sun and tho moon aro tho s|xth and tho
sovonth p||os, rospoct|vo|y, and s|nco tho sun must r|so on tho oarth, tho s|xth p||o
shou|d thorotoro bo noar to |t.
lt you ||ko, you can add an o|ghth p||o to roprosont tho ombod|mont ot a|| tho woa|th
ot tho gods and humans.
Usua||y you wou|d ho|d tho manda|a p|ato and ma|a |n your |ott hand and p|aco tho
p||os ot r|co w|th your r|ght hand, but |t you aro |ott-handod and protor to do |t tho othor
way around, that's t|no.
|av|ng mado sovon or o|ght p||os ot r|co and proc|ous mator|a|s on tho manda|a
p|ato, swoop thom ott w|th your r|ght hand. 1h|s counts as ono manda|a ottor|ng. A||
you havo to do now |s comp|oto anothor n|noty-n|no thousand n|no hundrod and
n|noty-n|no, p|us an add|t|ona| 10 porcont to mako up tor any m|stakos or
|nattont|vonoss, and you w||| havo accomp||shod tho pract|so. lt's that oasy!
As you mako oach ottor|ng, ropoat tho manda|a ottor|ng prayor trom wh|chovor
ngöndro you pract|so, o|thor onco or throo t|mos.
1ho 1hirty-5ovon Point NandaIa Ottoring

Attor ovory ono hundrod short manda|a ottor|ngs, or |t you protor attor ovory twonty-
t|vo, ottor a th|rty-sovon-po|nt manda|a (soo t|guro 2).

||g. 2. 1h|rty-3ovon-lo|nt Vanda|a Ottor|ng.

Koy to t|guro 2:
1. Vount Voru
2-b. 1ho tour cont|nonts
0-18. 1ho o|ght subcont|nonts
14. 1ho jowo| mounta|n
1b. 1ho w|sh-tu|t||||ng troo
10. 1ho w|sh-tu|t||||ng cow
17. 1ho harvost that noods no sow|ng
18-24. 1ho sovon attr|butos ot roya|ty
2b. 1ho vaso ot groat troasuro
20-88. 1ho o|ght ottor|ng goddossos
84. 1ho sun
8b. 1ho moon
80. 1ho proc|ous umbro||a
87. 1ho roya| bannor v|ctor|ous |n a|| d|roct|ons

1ho d|agram c|oar|y shows how oach ot tho th|rty-sovon p||os ot ottor|ngs shou|d bo
|a|d out, but l wou|dn't spond too much pract|so t|mo scrut|n|z|ng |t and worry|ng about
gott|ng |t wrong. 3ottor s|mp|y to chant tho vorsos and pour tho th|rty-sovon p||os ono
on top ot anothor.
You w||| havo soon trad|t|ona| manda|a ottor|ng p|atos w|th sovora| r|ngs addod to
bu||d a towor||ko structuro. 1h|s |s a 1|botan |nvont|on that you can uso |t you ||ko, but |t
|s not cruc|a| to tho pract|so, as |ts purposo |s moro|y to mako tho ottor|ngs |ook
boaut|tu| to 1|botan oyos.
At tho ond ot tho soss|on d|sso|vo tho t|o|d ot mor|t |nto you and roma|n tor as |ong
as you can |n that stato ot |nsoparab|||ty.

1ho tact that you ottor p||os ot r|co and proc|ous mator|a|s |s a|so a product ot your
own porcopt|on, and as such |s oxtromo|y ||m|tod. 3o ottor obso|oto|y ovorytblog,
|nc|ud|ng ovoryth|ng you cons|dor to bo nogat|vo, ||ko your own turbu|ont omot|ons, tho
ossonco ot wh|ch |s nono othor than w|sdom.
Vonta||y ottor|ng var|ous proc|ous substancos works oxtromo|y wo||, bocauso whon
you th|nk ot t|owors, tor oxamp|o, |t |s yoor m|nd that croatos yoor t|owor. ln tact, thoro
|s noth|ng that |s not a product ot your own porcopt|on. 1h|s un|vorso, |ts atmosphoro,
stars, moons, p|anots and ovoryth|ng |n |t aro croatod by m|nd, and wh||o m|nd ox|sts,
so do tho myr|ad d|st|nct|ons that ottoct|vo|y croatod tho un|vorso.
1ho concopt ot ottor|ng, accord|ng to tho 3uddhadharma, |s basod on tho v|ow ot
dopondont ar|s|ng. ln tact, a|| 3uddh|st pract|so and thoory |s basod on th|s samo
v|ow, and so tor thoso who asp|ro o|thor to pract|so tho path ro|atod to tho naturo ot
m|nd or to comp|oto any ono ot tho many pract|sos ava||ab|o tor accumu|at|ng mor|t, |t
|s a vory good |doa to mako ||ght ottor|ngs. 3|nco tho act|v|ty ot °ottor|ng' |s c|oso|y
connoctod w|th that ot croat|ng ausp|c|ous connoct|ons, to ottor a buttor |amp w|||
onhanco your undorstand|ng ot tho naturo ot m|nd: |n tho samo way a buttor |amp
shods ||ght that |||um|natos |tso|t and ovoryth|ng around |t, m|nd both knows |tso|t and
a|| that |t oncountors. 1ho tunct|on ot tho |amp |s thorotoro s|m||ar to that ot m|nd and
can bo doscr|bod as an ausp|c|ous °substanco' through wh|ch tho ausp|c|ous
connoct|on to tho naturo ot m|nd can bo croatod.
Evoryth|ng |s croatod by m|nd. 1ho naturo ot tho m|nd |s dharmakaya,
sambogakaya and n|rmanakaya, and |ts roa||sat|on |s what wo ca|| °on||ghtonmont.'
3ut to atta|n on||ghtonmont |s not an oasy task, as wo aro constant|y doco|vod by an
|nt|n|to numbor ot hab|tua| pattorns. Wo thorotoro nood a|| k|nds ot mothods and sk|||s
to countor thoso o|d hab|ts, and to p||o up a pa|try substanco ||ko r|co, aga|n and
aga|n, |s just ono ot thoso sk||tu| mothods.
11

KuaaIi Practiao

Kusa|| pract|so |s not |nc|udod |n many ngöndro trad|t|ons, but you w||| t|nd |t |n tho
|ong vors|on ot tho longchon ly|ngt|k lgöndro. lt's not a bad |doa tor thoso to||ow|ng
tho shortor vors|on to pract|so |t too, bocauso |t |s an oxco||ont mothod tor
accumu|at|ng mor|t. Kusa|| pract|so |s rocommondod tor pract|t|onors who aro poor
and cannot attord manda|a p|atos, ottor|ngs or any ot tho nocossary spoc|a| ottor|ng
substancos and as latru| l|npocho po|nts out, koso|l ||tora||y moans °boggar.' Yot,
trom tho dharma po|nt ot v|ow, |t ranks amongst tho h|ghost toach|ngs.
ViauaIiaation: Victory ovor tho Four Naraa

Kusa|| pract|so |s a|mod part|cu|ar|y at dostroy|ng tho tour maras: tho mara ot tho
sons ot gods, tho mara ot doath, tho mara ot dot||omonts (moan|ng a|| omot|ons), and
tho mara ot tho aggrogatos. Khonpo lgakchung sa|d that not to undorstand that a||
that appoars |s noth|ng moro than tho projoct|on ot your own m|nd |s tho mara ot tho
sons ot gods, th|s body, wh|ch |s a compoundod phonomonon and constant|y
chang|ng, unstoppab|o by naturo and an obscurat|on, |s tho mara ot tho aggrogatos,
attachmont, crav|ng and t|xat|on aro tho mara ot dot||omont, and tho aggrogato that
|nc|udos b|rth and doath |s tho mara ot doath.
3tart tho pract|so by say|ng tho sy||ab|o l|A1 and v|sua||so tho tota| soparat|on ot
body and m|nd by ojoct|ng your consc|ousnoss trom your body, |oav|ng |t boh|nd ||ko
an o|d sack |y|ng |n a hoap on tho t|oor. 1ho |nstant your body ta||s |nto a hoap, you
hovor abovo |t, a torm|oss bo|ng ot puro consc|ousnoss, and soo that your proc|ous
body |s now moro|y a corpso.
Gonora||y spoak|ng, pr|do ar|sos |n rosponso to two tactors, m|nd and body, and so
|t you havo a body, you w||| a|so too| pr|do. 1horotoro, by dostroy|ng tho body you a|so
dostroy your pr|do, wh|ch |s a v|ctory ovor tho mara ot dot||omonts, and tho momont
you too| no attachmont to your body, you w||| havo dostroyod tho mara ot tho sons ot
gods. |owovor, un||ko tho t|amo ot a snuttod-out cand|o, a|though tho body has boon
d|smant|od and dostroyod, m|nd roma|ns consc|ous and cont|nuos to bo awaro, wh|ch
moans you c|a|m v|ctory ovor tho mara ot doath. 1h|s th|rd v|ctory |s what wo ca||
°Krodh|ka||,' and hors |s tho torm you adopt onco you havo dostroyod your body. 3ho
|s b|ack, boaut|tu| and adornod w|th a|| tho ornamonts ot a dak|n|, |nc|ud|ng crowns,
bono braco|ots and a t|gor-sk|n sk|rt. 3ho a|so brand|shos a curvod kn|to to symbo||zo
tho dostruct|on ot tho mara ot dot||omonts (omot|ons).
lt |s Krodh|ka|| who must dostroy tho mara ot tho aggrogatos by s|ow|y cutt|ng tho
sku||, your sku||, away trom your |nan|mato body. Wo now ca|| tho sku||, comp|oto w|th
ha|r, a kopo|o, or °sku|| cup,' and as soon as you havo v|sua||sod tho sku|| cup |n tront
ot you, |mag|no |t |ncroasos |n s|zo unt|| |t |s as onormous as tho throo wor|ds.
lnstant|y, a tr|pod ot throo human sku||s (roprosont|ng tho throo kayas) appoars and
you p|aco tho kapa|a on top ot thom. 1hon roturn to your corpso and cut ott |ts hands
and t|ngors, poo| ott |ts sk|n, romovo tho |ungs, ||vor and a|| tho organs, and dra|n out
a|| tho b|ood. Cont|nuo d|smombor|ng your body, not torgott|ng to cut ott your ||ps and
noso, and pr|so out both oyos w|th your curvod kn|to a|ong w|th oach ono ot your tooth,
and p|aco oach body part, ono by ono, |nto tho kapa|a.
low an oxtromo|y |ntonso w|sdom t|ro b|azos trom tho throo sku||s. As you chant OV
A| |UV, |mag|no your body parts mo|t and bo|| ||ko a r|ch stow bubb||ng on tho stovo.
Gradua||y, th|s body-part stow bocomos a powortu| w|sh-tu|t||||ng noctar, oach drop
conta|n|ng ovoryth|ng that g|vos you p|oasuro, such as |akos, gardons, tood, dr|nk and
so on. Anyth|ng that you, as tho objoct ot ottor|ng, w|sh tor, |s proc|so|y what tho noctar
w||| bocomo, and th|s |s what you ottor.
1ho Cuoata and 1hoir Ottoringa

lt you wou|d ||ko to o|aborato th|s v|sua||sat|on, |mag|no |t's a banquot. 1ho t|rst
|nv|tat|ons go to a|| thoso who havo dostroyod ogo, |nc|ud|ng ovoryono trom arhats
r|ght up to tho 3uddha, borno on br||||ant rays ot ra|nbow ||ght that shoot out to tho
Coppor-Co|ourod Vounta|n, tho roa|ms ot Am|tabha and Akshobhya and a|| tho othor
buddha roa|ms, as wo|| as to a|| tho bodh|sattvas. loxt, you sond out |nv|tat|ons to tho
s|x roa|ms, and your guosts arr|vo qu|ck|y and tako tho|r soats.
1ho t|rst port|on ot tho banquot |s ottorod to tho sub||mo onos. ln roturn you roco|vo
a|| tho common atta|nmonts, |nc|ud|ng |ong ||to and troodom trom obstac|os and
s|cknoss, and so Kusa|| pract|so |s part|cu|ar|y good tor thoso suttor|ng trom sor|ous
hoa|th or t|nanc|a| prob|oms that aro tho rosu|t ot karm|c dobts trom prov|ous ||vos.
You a|so roco|vo tho uncommon atta|nmonts, wh|ch aro rootod |n tho ab|||ty to too|
|ovo and compass|on tor othors, bo d|||gont, havo dovot|on and rocogn|zo tho naturo
ot your m|nd.
loxt, you sorvo tho guosts trom tho s|x roa|ms. W|th ovory s|p ot w|no, mouthtu| ot
asparagus, ||ck ot |co croam, chow ot stoak, swa||ow ot cromo br0|oo and suck ot
|obstor, v|sua||so tho|r suttor|ngs d|sappoar|ng, and |ovo, compass|on, bodh|ch|tta
and dovot|on nour|sh|ng tho|r bo|ng so thoy |n turn w||| bo ab|o to ho|p othor sont|ont
bo|ngs.
1wo groups ot guosts aro spoc|a|. Ono |nc|udos thoso who bothor you or who you
th|nk ot as onom|os, and as thoy roco|vo your ottor|ng, thoy cons|dor a|| scoros to
havo boon sott|od. 1ho othor group |s tho b|ggost bocauso as |t |s mado up ot a||
thoso w|th whom wo havo karm|c dobts. 1horo aro many d|ttoront k|nds ot karm|c
dobt, tor oxamp|o, tho karm|c dobt wo owo to our tathors and mothors, our tr|onds and
thoso who havo prov|dod us w|th tood, sho|tor and protoct|on, or tho dobt wo owo
thoso whoso spaco wo havo occup|od, or who havo sorvod us. And oach ot us owos
such dobts to an |mmonso amount ot poop|o.
DiaaoIution

As tho banquot draws to a c|oso, you roa||zo that tho who|o th|ng has boon a croat|on
ot your own m|nd. Evoryono d|sso|vos |nto you, host, guosts and toast bocomo
|nsoparab|o, and you roma|n |n that stato ot |nsoparab|||ty tor as |ong as you can.
12

Curu Yoga

vajrayana pract|so |s about transtorm|ng porcopt|on, and wo bog|n to ottoct that
transtormat|on dur|ng ngöndro pract|so, |n part|cu|ar |n guru yoga. 1h|s |s why a|most
a|| ngöndro trad|t|ons adv|so that wo start tho pract|so by transtorm|ng our ord|nary,
|mpuro onv|ronmont |nto a puro roa|m, and our ord|nary, |mpuro torm |nto a puro
bo|ng.
lt you pract|so tho longchon ly|ngt|k lgöndro guru yoga, you v|sua||so yourso|t as
vajrayog|n|. Why vajrayog|n|? ln botwoon t|rst stopp|ng onto tho sp|r|tua| path and |ts
cu|m|nat|on, thoro w||| bo a po|nt whon you roa||so tho naturo ot m|nd, and hav|ng dono
so, bocomo a vosso| tor gathor|ng your guru's b|oss|ngs. As a way ot |nvok|ng thoso
b|oss|ngs moro ottoct|vo|y, and to summon |ntordopondont ausp|c|ousnoss, you
v|sua||so yourso|t |n tho sub||mo torm ot tho toma|o do|ty, vajrayog|n|.
(1ho dota||s ot tho to||ow|ng v|sua||sat|on aro basod on tho longchon ly|ngt|k
lgöndro and w||| d|ttor dopond|ng on tho ngöndro trad|t|on you to||ow.)
1ho ViauaIiaation

v|sua||so yourso|t as vajrayog|n|. You aro rod |n co|our, your r|ght hand w|o|ds a
curvod kn|to and your |ott ho|ds a kapa|a. You aro som|wrathtu|, boaut|tu| and s|ondor,
adornod w|th oxqu|s|to jowo|s, a t|gor-sk|n sk|rt and bono ornamonts. Your throo oyos
gazo |nto tho sky at a hundrod-thousand pota|od |otus, |n tho contro ot wh|ch ||os a
hor|zonta| sun d|sc w|th a moon d|sc |y|ng on top ot |t.
3oatod on tho moon d|sc |s your root guru, tho ombod|mont ot a|| sourcos ot rotugo
and ossonco ot a|| tho buddhas, |n tho torm ot ladmakara, tho lotus-born. |o doos
not |ook ||ko an ord|nary porson and d|sp|ays no s|gns ot ag|ng or tra||ty. On tho
contrary, ho |s young, majost|c, v|brant and adornod w|th roya| roga||a.
Guru l|npocho, your guru, s|ts |n a |argo sphoro ot ra|nbow ||ght onc|rc|od by h|s
twonty-t|vo d|sc|p|os |od by K|ng 1r|son 0outson, and surroundod by m||||ons moro
sphoros ot ra|nbow ||ght. ln tho spaco abovo tho guru s|t a|| tho mahas|ddhas ot tho
mahasandh| (or mahamudra) ||noago-v|ma|am|tra, 1nanasutra, 3hr| 3|ngha and
lrahovajra (Garab 0orjo), and so on-and tho spacos |n botwoon aro t|||od w|th
do|t|os ot d|ttoront ||noagos, dak|n|s and dharmapa|as. 3o, a|| ot spaco, ospoc|a||y
that |n tront ot you, |s toom|ng w|th an |mmonso c|oud ot tho objocts ot rotugo.
As you |ook at your objocts ot rotugo, try to v|sua||so thom as bo|ng v|brant|y a||vo,
a|ways romombor|ng that, ||ko tho rot|oct|on ot a tu|| moon |n c|oan, st||| wator, thoy do
not tru|y ox|st. |owovor br||||ant|y c|oar tho moon may appoar to bo on tho surtaco ot
tho wator, |t |s st||| just a rot|oct|on, and th|s |s how tho gathor|ng ot tho objocts ot
rotugo tor th|s guru yoga shou|d appoar as thoy s|t botoro you.
lt you aro do|ng a mahamudra ngöndro, or a 3akya or Go|uk ngöndro, you w||| most
||ko|y v|sua||so your guru as vajradhara surroundod by a|| tho ||noago mastors
assoc|atod w|th tho pract|so you aro do|ng. 1ho do|t|os |nc|udod may vary, tor
oxamp|o |n mahamudra ngöndros, do|t|os ||ko Chakrasamvara aro prom|nont, wh||o |n
tho 3akya or Go|uk ngöndros tho toaturod do|t|os aro Chakrasamvara, Guhyasamaja
and Ka|achakra.
1ho Nantra ViauaIiaation

W|th a hoart ovort|ow|ng w|th dovot|on, |nvoko your guru by roc|t|ng tho sovon-||no
prayor to Guru l|npocho, to||owod by tho vajra guru mantra.
As you say a prayor ot |nvocat|on, concontrato on tho manda|a you havo v|sua||sod
and part|cu|ar|y on your guru. Gazo |nto h|s taco tor as |ong as you can. 1ho mastors
ot tho past warn how oasy |t |s to got borod dur|ng a mantra v|sua||sat|on and adv|so
that onco you woary ot |ook|ng at your guru's taco, sh|tt your tocus to h|s who|o torm,
or h|s to act|v|ty, or tho ||ght rad|at|ng trom h|m, or your dovot|on tor h|m, or tho sound
ot tho mantra, or tho ontourago ot do|t|os that surround h|m. 1hon a|tornato your tocus,
ovor and ovor aga|n.
3tudonts otton ask |t thoy shou|d on|y |nvoko tho guru |n tho contoxt ot a torma| da||y
pract|so, or |t |t can bo dono anywhoro. 1ho answor |s that |t doponds on tho studont.
0harma bums who roam tho stroots ot Kathmandu smok|ng hash|sh and s|tt|ng |n
catos nurs|ng a ha|t-ompty cup ot cappucc|no tor most ot tho day shou|d probab|y s|t
torma||y and roc|to ton m||||on or ono hundrod m||||on mantras. Whoroas thoso who
havo domand|ng jobs |n london, low York or lar|s m|ght bonot|t moro trom roc|t|ng
tho mantra on tho|r way to work, or as thoy wa|t tor a bus. 1ho mothod oach studont |s
g|von w||| dopond ont|ro|y on tho|r porsona| s|tuat|on and how d|sc|p||nod thoy aro.
1ho Eoart ot Curu Yoga

Guru yoga, gonora||y spoak|ng, ho|ps us dovo|op and |ncroaso dovot|on, but tho vory
hoart ot tho pract|so |s to m|x our m|nd w|th tho m|nd ot tho guru. Actua||y, th|s °m|x|ng'
procoss |s not ||m|tod to m|nd, |t oncompassos our ont|ro bo|ng-body, spooch and
m|nd. Wo shou|d thorotoro try to m|x ovory part ot ourso|vos w|th our guru, trom our
|dont|ty, phys|ca| torm and tho sounds wo mako, r|ght down to our sonsos ot smo|| and
tasto.
Onco aga|n, torm|no|ogy and |anguago can bo m|s|oad|ng. ln th|s caso, °m|x'
automat|ca||y |mp||os that two soparato ont|t|os ox|st and that |t |s poss|b|o to m|x
thom togothor. 3ut as 3amantabhadra to||s us, tho ossonco ot m|nd |s by naturo
ompty, as |s tho ossonco ot a|| phonomona, and a|though trom tho porspoct|vo ot tho
vastnoss ot phonomona| ox|stonco |t may |ook as though thoro aro two soparato
ont|t|os to bo m|xod, s|nco tho outor guru |s nono othor than a rot|oct|on ot your
dovot|on, th|s °m|x|ng' procoss |s rathor moro protound than tho moro comb|nat|on ot
two |ngrod|onts. You aro, |n tact, ostab||sh|ng tho undorstand|ng that thoro novor was a
soparato ont|ty-a guru-w|th whom to m|x your m|nd. ln othor words, your m|nd and
your guru's havo novor boon soparato.
1ho Outor Curu

As wo havo a|roady soon, tho outor, |nnor and socrot gurus aro nono othor than tho
naturo ot our m|nd. |owovor, bog|nnors ||ko us |ook tor a modo| to bo |nsp|rod and
gu|dod by, |n whom wo can tako rotugo and to whom wo can oxpross our
approc|at|on ot tho path ot dharma by mak|ng ottor|ngs. Vany ot us too| tho nood to
t|nd somoono, anyono, to whom wo can doscr|bo a|| our omot|ona| ups and downs
us|ng tho on|y mothods ot commun|cat|on ava||ab|o to us-wh|n|ng, comp|a|n|ng,
bogg|ng and pray|ng. And, to sat|sty that nood, tho path-wh|ch trom tho po|nt ot v|ow
ot tho vajrayana |s °contus|on'-prov|dos us w|th an outor guru.
Evontua||y, ot courso, a|| paths w||| havo to bo d|scardod, but |n tho moant|mo you
shou|d cont|nuo to ottor dovot|on to your outor guru, a|ong w|th your adm|rat|on and
unwavor|ng puro porcopt|on. 1hon gradua||y, stop by stop, try to m|ng|o your bo|ng
w|th your |nnor and socrot gurus, and |n t|mo you w||| roa||zo that your outor, |nnor and
socrot gurus havo novor boon soparato trom you.
Longing to FooI Connoctod with Your Curu

Vany studonts ||ko to ta|k about how thoy too| whon thoy th|nk ot tho|r guru. 3omo
sonso a tu||noss |n tho|r hoarts and var|ous sonsat|ons |n tho|r chosts, as wo|| as tho
too||ng that thoy aro |ovod and thorotoro comp|oto. l th|nk what thoso studonts aro
try|ng to oxpross |s tho|r |ong|ng to too| connoctod w|th tho|r guru. lt's qu|to truo, strong
too||ngs and sonsat|ons can ar|so whon wo th|nk ot h|m, but |t's a|so |mportant to
romombor how t|ck|o too||ngs and omot|ons aro. |oo||ngs bo|ong to tho tompora|
wor|d and as such aro just anothor |ayor that w||| ovontua||y havo to bo poo|od away.
An omot|ona| connoct|on w|th a porson, our guru, |s not tho on|y outcomo wo shou|d
work towards on our sp|r|tua| path. 3o tar, our guru has appoarod to bo soparato trom
us, yot as wo progross a|ong tho path, ono ot |ts sk||tu| mothods |s to rom|nd us
cont|nua||y that th|s |s abso|uto|y not tho caso. lot ono ot tho toach|ngs wo roco|vo
ovor, ovon tor ono m||||socond, suggosts that tho guru |s a soparato ont|ty. 1ho |doa
that thoro aro a °guru' and a °studont' |s a m|stako wo havo mado ont|ro|y on our own
and thon ro|ntorcod w|th hab|t. And |t wo had succosstu||y conv|ncod ourso|vos that
our guru was and a|ways had boon |nsoparab|o trom us, guru yoga wou|d bo ont|ro|y
rodundant. 1o c||ng to tho |doa that wo havo a connoct|on w|th h|m |n sp|to ot tho tact
that to too| connoctod |mp||os ho |s a soparato ont|ty |s tho vory concopt that b|nds us
to dua||ty.
1ho rocogn|t|on that our guru |s |nsoparab|o trom us |s tho on|y roa||sat|on wo w|||
ovor havo that cannot and w||| not bo poo|od away.
PracticaI Advico

Nixing Your Nind with Your Curu'a

l strong|y rocommond that you un|to your m|nd w|th tho m|nd ot tho guru aga|n and
aga|n. v|sua||so Guru l|npocho as you chant tho vajra guru mantra, thon, attor ovory
hundrod mantras, d|sso|vo Guru l|npocho |nto you. 1ho moro otton you go through
th|s procoss, tho bottor, so try ottoct|ng tho d|sso|ut|on ovory ton or twonty mantras,
thon just watch tho |nsoparab|||ty. lood|oss to say, tho oxpor|onco w||| not |oavo your
||to unchangod.
1ho koy to watch|ng m|nd |s to m|x your m|nd w|th tho guru's, and |t |s a pract|so you
can do |n a|| sorts ot ord|nary s|tuat|ons. As you stand on an osca|ator on your way to
catch|ng a tra|n, tor oxamp|o, or |n a dopartmont storo, or at a c|noma, try m|x|ng your
m|nds togothor unt|| you got ott. lt takos no t|mo at a||, and attorwards |t |s vory oasy to
roturn to whatovor |t was you woro do|ng, whothor |t was shopp|ng or go|ng to a mov|o
or to a tootba|| match.
3o, tako a tow momonts ovory day to m|x your m|nd w|th your guru's and thon watch
tho |nsoparab|||ty tor a tow momonts. lt you do, ono ot tho b|oss|ngs ot tho pract|so |s
that botoro |ong noth|ng that happons |n your ||to w||| soom to bo a b|g doa|. 3ut don't
oxpoct |mmod|ato rosu|ts. 3o pat|ont and just pract|so. You havo so many hab|tua|
pattorns, hang-ups and d|stract|ons to work through that |t may tako a ||tt|o t|mo botoro
you not|co an ottoct. And |t |t doos, don't comp|a|n! 1o comp|a|n wou|d bo ||ko p|ac|ng
a raw ogg on tho tab|o and thon moan|ng whon |t ta||s to cook. An ogg w||| on|y cook |t
you put |t |n a pan and hoat |t ovor a stovo, |t you ta|| ovon to put tho ogg |n a pan, you
havo no grounds tor comp|a|nt whon |t doosn't cook, and |t you do comp|a|n, |t's a
s|gn that you havo yot to undorstand causo, cond|t|on and ottoct. Vost modorn poop|o
ta|| |nto th|s trap. ln sp|to ot oxtraord|nary ach|ovomonts |n sc|ont|t|c d|scovory, ||ko
sond|ng mon to tho moon or d|scovor|ng that tho wor|d |s round (thoro aro 1|botans
today who st||| th|nk |t's t|at), thoy cont|nuo to |ack th|s tundamonta| undorstand|ng.
What |t |t doos takos ton yoars ot pract|so botoro you not|co any chango?
Comparod to tho b||||ons and b||||ons ot ||tot|mos you havo ||vod through w|thout ovon
tak|ng an ogg out ot an ogg box, ton yoars |s noth|ng! At |ong |ast, you aro mak|ng
progross bocauso you t|na||y know that thoro |s an ogg and that tho ogg must bo takon
out ot tho box and put |nto tho pan |t |t |s ovor to bo cookod. 1hat |n |tso|t |s a vast
|mprovomont. You must havo accumu|atod a groat doa| ot mor|t just to know that
much.
1ho 1hroo Kinda ot Poiaon Practitionora Nuat Extract

lract|t|onors w||| nood to oxtract throo d|ttoront k|nds ot po|son. 1ho t|rst |s tho po|son
ot m|stakon or °wrong v|ow,' and to draw out th|s po|son, you must app|y yourso|t to
hoar|ng and contomp|at|ng tho toach|ngs. ln tho procoss, ovon though you may
appoar to havo ostab||shod tho r|ght v|ow, you w||| |nov|tab|y bo contam|natod by
var|ous othor po|sons, concopts and doubts that w||| a|so nood oxpo|||ng. And to do
so, tho ant|doto ot mod|tat|on |s app||od, tor oxamp|o shamatha pract|so, wh|ch |s
|otha| to a|| k|nds ot °monta| contam|nat|on' (oomtok |n 1|botan). 1ho th|rd po|son to bo
romovod |s dua||st|c, subjoct-objoct °oxpor|onco'-wh||o you cont|nuo to havo
oxpor|oncos, your path w||| a|ways bo po|sonod-and to suck out th|s po|son, you
must app|y yourso|t to tho mod|tat|on ot °|ns|ght w|sdom' (v|pashyana).
Each |ovo| ot undorstand|ng that wo strugg|o to ach|ovo w||| ovontua||y havo to bo
d|scardod bocauso, as tho groat mastors ot tho past havo to|d us many t|mos,
undorstand|ng |s ||ko a patch, soonor or |ator |t w||| ta|| ott, and oxpor|onco |s ||ko a
m|st, soonor or |ator |t w||| ovaporato. 3ut tor thoso ot us who havo boon brought up to
va|uo stop-by-stop progross, tho |doa that at somo po|nt on tho sp|r|tua| path wo must
nocossar||y shod a|| our ach|ovomonts |s part|cu|ar|y d|tt|cu|t to grasp.
1hroo Nyama

3|nco guru yoga |nvokos such powortu| b|oss|ngs, you may t|nd your ||to st|rrod up
qu|to cons|dorab|y by unoxpoctod changos |n your moods and m|nd, so bo proparod.
Vost ot a||, guru yoga tonds to |nvoko var|ous oxpor|oncos-a|though porhaps
°oxpor|onco' |s not tho bost trans|at|on ot tho 1|botan word oyom.
ln tho contoxt ot guru yoga, thoro aro throo k|nds ot nyam. Ono |s a too||ng ot such
b||ss that you aro conv|ncod you can doa| w|th anyth|ng ||to throws at you. ln tho samo
way a cup and saucor t|t togothor portoct|y, ovoryth|ng |n ||to dovota||s so boaut|tu||y
that you too| you cou|d do anyth|ng, ovon ba|anco an o|ophant on a th|mb|o. loth|ng |s
unaccoptab|o or |nto|orab|o, and |t you woro to|d that |rankturt had just turnod ups|do
down, you wou|d accopt |t w|thout hos|tat|on. lot on|y aro you ab|o to bo||ovo tho
unbo||ovab|o, you a|so oxpor|onco tromondous phys|ca| b||ss. And a|though most ot us
novor oxpor|onco th|s part|cu|ar nyam, rathor pathot|ca||y, |t's tho ono wo a|| |ong tor.
Anothor k|nd ot nyam |s tho oxpor|onco ot nonconcoptua||zat|on. You havo no
thoughts, too| no aggross|on and no pass|on, mako no judgmonts and no
compar|sons and too| no |nsocur|ty, yot ovoryth|ng you porco|vo |s v|v|d and prosont. lt
can |ast tor a tow m|nutos, a tow hours or ovon a tow days. 3ut |ot's not go |nto th|s
oxpor|onco |n too much dota||, tar bottor you d|scovor |t tor yourso|t.
1ho th|rd nyam |s tho oxpor|onco ot unusua| c|ar|ty. Evoryth|ng you porco|vo |s so
pr|st|no|y c|oar that, tor oxamp|o, you can soo ovory |oat on ovory troo, and your
|ntu|t|on sharpons so much that |t's as |t you can soo |nto othor poop|o's m|nds.
Evontua||y thoso throo nyams w||| d|sso|vo ||ko m|st and aro thorotoro not your t|na|
dost|nat|on. lo|thor aro you ||ko|y to oxpor|onco any ono ot thom |n tho noar tuturo.
Vost ot us havo yot to oxpor|onco our t|rst good droam, so tho prospoct hav|ng to
doa| w|th nyams |s st||| a vory |ong way ott.
Whon You Cot Borod

lo mattor wh|ch pract|so wo do, wo a|| got borod. And thoso days, our borodom
|ovo|s aro h|ghor than ovor botoro. |ow many ot us wou|d bo sat|st|od w|th just ono 1v
channo|? 3o whon you t|nd your m|nd wandor|ng ott |n soarch ot somoth|ng now, just
sw|tch your tocus.
lmag|no, tor oxamp|o, that Guru l|npocho |s ovorywhoro, t||||ng ovory |nch ot spaco.
As you chant tho vajra guru mantra, s|x sphoros ot ||ght |nstant|y transtorm |nto s|x
Guru l|npochos. ln tho b||nk ot an oyo a b|uo bannor appoars, thon anothor Guru
l|npocho, and suddon|y ovory human bo|ng noar you has transtormod |nto a Guru
l|npocho, a|ong w|th your thormos, pon, ponc||, wr|stwatch, books, handkorch|ot,
d|apors and papor t|ssuos. Outs|do, tho troos, mounta|ns, |akos, ra||road tracks and
cars a|| |mmod|ato|y tako tho torm ot Guru l|npocho, and ovon tho rotrosh|ng broozo
bocomos h|s man|tostat|on.
1ry |mag|n|ng Guru l|npocho abovo your hoad, or s|tt|ng |n tront ot you, or |n your
hoart. (As has a|roady boon mont|onod, thoro |s a v|sua||sat|on tor ovory s|tuat|on.)

As you chant tho mantra, |mag|no an un|ntorruptod stroam ot noctar t|ows down
trom tho guru and d|sso|vos |nto you.
At n|ght v|sua||so your guru s|tt|ng on a |otus |n your hoart.
As you oat, |mag|no your guru |n your throat.
lt you aro tac|ng an obstac|o, porhaps a d|sputo |n your tam||y, or |t you aro
doprossod, v|sua||so your guru on your shou|dor, wrathtu||y bar|ng h|s tangs.
longchon ly|ngt|k lgöndro pract|t|onors can |mag|no sparks ot t|ro and
scorp|ons shoot|ng out trom Guru l|npocho's vajra, tho scorp|ons snapp|ng up
oach and ovory obstac|o and swa||ow|ng thom unt|| thoy aro a|| comp|oto|y
ann|h||atod.
As doath approachos, v|sua||so your guru |n tho torm ot rod Am|tabha and
transtor yourso|t |nto Am|tabha's hoart, aga|n and aga|n.

lmag|no that ovoryono and ovoryth|ng you oncountor throughout tho day |s nono
othor than Guru l|npocho.
1h|s |s qu|to a protound pract|so, and bog|nnors may t|nd |t a ||tt|o d|tt|cu|t at t|rst, so
start by do|ng |t on an asp|rat|ona| |ovo|. 3as|ca||y ovoryth|ng-3uddha, dharma,
sangha, do|t|os, dak|n|s, dharmapa|as-|s a man|tostat|on ot your guru. 3o |t, tor
oxamp|o, you do a dharmapa|a pract|so, mako tho ottor|ngs and cons|dor tho
protoctor to bo a man|tostat|on ot Guru l|npocho |n tho torm ot a dharmapa|a. 3y
do|ng so, tho ottor|ng you mako to tho dharmapa|a w||| a|so bo an ottor|ng to your
guru.
And thoro |s no nood to ||m|t your ottor|ngs to that wh|ch |s good and dos|rab|o.
Ottor ovoryth|ng, |nc|ud|ng s|cknoss, bad nows and |oss, and romombor that
ovorytblog must bo soon as a man|tostat|on ot your guru and h|s b|oss|ngs.
Don't Commit to 1oo Nany Practiaoa

As l mont|onod oar||or, |n thoso dogonorato t|mos to hoar tho dharma |s so raro and
so proc|ous that, ot courso, l w||| a|ways oncourago you to roco|vo as many d|ttoront
toach|ngs as you can. 3ut |t you aro oagor to roco|vo |n|t|at|ons, l strong|y rocommond
that botoro you do anyth|ng, t|rst chock tho comm|tmonts you w||| bo s|gn|ng up tor and
ask yourso|t: do you roa||y havo tho t|mo to do pagos and pagos ot sadhana pract|so
ovory day? lt your ||to |s a|roady vory busy, th|nk tw|co about stockp|||ng |n|t|at|ons,
howovor short a pract|so may |ook, |t a|| adds up. Ot courso, |t you havo t|mo and
roco|v|ng |n|t|at|ons and co||oct|ng comm|tmonts makos you too| good, thon bo my
guost, ospoc|a||y |t you don't too| gu||ty whon you aro unab|o to koop your
comm|tmonts propor|y.
At tho outsot ot tho|r sp|r|tua| path, pract|t|onors aro usua||y oxtromo|y onthus|ast|c
and ta|| ovor thomso|vos to pract|so abso|uto|y ovoryth|ng thoy can |ay tho|r hands on.
3ut, aga|n, borodom |s bound to croop |n, otton just as you approach tho t|na| strotch,
and |t you thon sw|tch to a d|ttoront path, a|though tho now pract|so may bo |nsp|r|ng
tor a tow days or ovon wooks, |n torms ot sp|r|tua| progross you w||| havo s||ppod r|ght
back to squaro ono. lron|ca||y, botoro |ong you w||| bocomo just as borod w|th tho now
pract|so as you woro w|th tho o|d ono.
Voot as many |amas as you can, hoar as many dharma toach|ngs as poss|b|o,
part|cu|ar|y |t you aro oagor to pursuo tho h|ghor paths, and try to soc|a||zo w|th poop|o
trom tho samo ||noago you aro pract|c|ng. 3ut try to avo|d bo|ng d|stractod by othor
pract|sos that at t|rst g|anco appoar moro attract|vo than thoso you aro a|roady
ongagod |n.
1ho 5igna ot Naturity in a Practitionor

1so|o latsok langdrö| sa|d that as a pract|t|onor's undorstand|ng ot tho v|ow
maturos, tho tuss|or ho w||| bocomo about apparont|y tr|v|a| causos and cond|t|ons, as
h|s oxpor|onco and roa||sat|on |ncroasos, tho |oss couragoous ho w||| bo about
oxh|b|t|ng tako craz|noss, and tho moro ho tamos h|s own m|nd, tho puror h|s
porcopt|on ot othors w||| bo. lot on|y h|s guru but ovoryono, ovon h|s vajra brothors
and s|stors w|||, trom h|s porspoct|vo, bo °good,' and th|s |s a s|gn that h|s m|nd has
boon tamod.
You m|ght |mag|no that tho tamor your m|nd, tho moro ||ko|y you aro to soo tho
w||dnoss |n othors, but qu|to tho oppos|to happons. A maturo pract|t|onor w||| usua||y
havo a tar puror porcopt|on ot othors than a bog|nnor. 1ho moro on||ghtonod qua||t|os
a pract|t|onor acqu|ros, tho humb|or ho w||| bocomo, tho moro t|mo ho sponds w|th h|s
guru, tho groator h|s dovot|on, and tho moro ho hoars and contomp|atos tho dharma,
tho qu|ckor h|s pr|do and arroganco w||| d|m|n|sh.
1ho supromo s|gn ot a groat pract|t|onor |s not that ho sprouts a ha|o, has
oxtraord|nar||y ausp|c|ous droams, oxpor|oncos b||ss cont|nuous|y, or can torosoo our
m|sorab|o tuturos. 1ho supromo s|gn |s that ho no |ongor has any |ntorost |n mator|a|
ga|n, tamo, tho rospoct ot othors, or bo|ng tho contro ot attont|on.
Prayora and What to Pray For


|athor lama, ombod|mont ot a|| tho buddhas ot tho throo t|mos, hoar mo!
|av|ng oxpor|oncod tho coaso|oss sh|tt|ng ot phonomona,
l too| an urgoncy compo|||ng mo to pract|so-thank you, lord Guru!
And thank you tor tho b|oss|ng that makos mo romombor °|mpormanonco.'

1h|s |s a vory |ooso trans|at|on ot ono ot many boaut|tu| prayors by 1amgön Kongtru|
lodrö 1ayo.
Wo a|| nood to pray tor pat|onco, but wo shou|d a|so pray tor tho dharma to man|tost
appropr|ato|y.

3|oss mo, lord Guru!
Vay my m|nd ontor |nto tho dharma,
And may tho dharma ontor |nto my m|nd.
3|oss mo, lord Guru!
Vay dharma pract|so not bo too rough on mo.
3|oss mo! Vay tho dot||omonts ot tho path bo d|spo||od,
3|oss mo! Vay a|| contus|on and do|us|on ar|so as w|sdom,
3|oss mo! Vay a|| non-dharma thoughts coaso th|s vory |nstant!
Whon strong hab|ts |mpo| mo, or past karma maturos
And unworthy amb|t|ons ar|so,
3|oss mo, lord Guru! Vay my act|ons
A|ways ta|| to boar tru|t.

ln th|s |ast prayor, rathor than ask|ng tor our wor|d|y dos|ros to bo tu|t|||od, wo w|sh
tor tho oppos|to by ask|ng tho guru to mako suro that |t wo woro to pray tor a wor|d|y
boon, our prayor wou|d oot bo grantod.

3|oss mo! Vay |ovo, compass|on and bodh|ch|tta t|our|sh w|th|n mo.
3|oss mo! Vay ro|at|vo and abso|uto bodh|ch|tta ar|so |n my m|nd.
3|oss mo! Vay gonu|no dovot|on thr|vo |n my hoart.
3|oss mo! Vay |nsp|rat|on novor obb but a|ways |ncroaso.
3|oss mo! Vay my noxt d|gross|on not d|stract mo.
3|oss mo! Vay past karma and hab|t novor ovorpowor mo.
3|oss mo! Vay tho appoaranco ot good novor doco|vo mo.

Otton s|tuat|ons ar|so that wo too| suro must bo a pos|t|vo rosu|t ot dharma pract|so.
1ho troub|o |s wo got carr|od away by thom, wh|ch can turn what had soomod to bo a
pos|t|vo rosu|t |nto a nogat|vo ono. 3o wo shou|d pray that whatovor happons, wo w|||
novor bo d|stractod.

3|oss mo! Vay my hoa|th bo good so l can ho|p many bo|ngs.
3|oss mo! Vay a|| that ontors my m|nd |oad mo to tho dharma.

1h|s |ast prayor |s a part|cu|ar|y boaut|tu| ono. A|though our thoughts and act|ons
appoar to bo mundano and wor|d|y, wo ask tor b|oss|ngs so that |n tho tuturo tho vory
samo act|ons w||| somohow bo ot bonot|t to othors. |or oxamp|o, a p|nt ot Gu|nnoss
t|ashos |nto your m|nd and you suddon|y too| a strong dos|ro tor a dr|nk. 3o you go to
a pub, whoro, qu|to unoxpoctod|y, you moot a strangor w|th whom you d|scuss
dharma. 1ho strangor |s so |ntorostod |n what you havo to say that botoro tho ovon|ng
|s ovor, ho has takon down tho addross ot a |oca| dharma contro, and your vory
ord|nary nood tor a dr|nk has |od th|s strangor to mako a karm|c ||nk w|th tho dharma.

3|oss mo! Vay l bo sparod trom povorty and a|ways bo prosporous.
3|oss mo! Vay l ||vo a |ong ||to that g|vos mo tho troodom to pract|so tho dharma.

As Kongtru| l|npocho wroto |n h|s Co||log tbo Ooro írom Aíor.

Grant your b|oss|ngs! Vay l tu||y accomp||sh tho ho|y dharma.
Grant your b|oss|ngs! Vay my m|nd g|vo b|rth to protound sadnoss.
Grant your b|oss|ngs! Vay my tawdry p|ans bo ro|nod |n.
Grant your b|oss|ngs! Vay l tako tho |nta|||b|||ty ot doath to hoart.
Grant your b|oss|ngs! Vay corta|nty about tho roa||ty ot karma ar|so w|th|n mo.
Grant your b|oss|ngs! Vay my sp|r|tua| path bo troo trom obstac|os.
Grant your b|oss|ngs! Vay l oxort myso|t to pract|so.
Grant your b|oss|ngs! Vay l br|ng advorso s|tuat|ons onto tho path.
Grant your b|oss|ngs! Vay l cont|nuous|y app|y ant|dotos.
Grant your b|oss|ngs! Vay gonu|no dovot|on ar|so |n my m|nd.
Grant your b|oss|ngs! Vay l g||mpso tho natura| stato.
Grant your b|oss|ngs! Vay |ns|ght awakon |n my hoart.
Grant your b|oss|ngs! Vay my contus|on bo comp|oto|y uprootod.
Grant your b|oss|ngs! Vay l atta|n buddhahood |n ono ||tot|mo.
1

18

Abhiahoka and tho Four Emµowormonta in
Curu Yoga

Abhiahoka: An |ntroduction to Buddhanaturo

|o||owors ot tho bodh|sattvayana aro usua||y |ntroducod to buddhanaturo gradua||y
through ph||osoph|ca| and contomp|at|vo ana|ys|s, but |t |s an approach that on|y
prov|dos a part|a| g||mpso ot buddhanaturo. 1o d|scovor |t tu||y, tho dharma, and
part|cu|ar|y tho s|x param|tas or ton param|tas, must bo contomp|atod and pract|sod
tor throo count|oss aoons. 3tudonts ot tho vajrayana, on tho othor hand, aro
|ntroducod to buddhanaturo |mmod|ato|y and ottorod a path and mothod through
wh|ch |t |s poss|b|o to d|scovor buddhanaturo |n ono pract|so soss|on. 1h|s mothod |s
somot|mos known as tho °t|rst door to tho tantr|c path,' but moro common|y,
°abh|shoka.'
Wh||o tho mothods usod by thoso two voh|c|os tor |ntroduc|ng studonts to tho|r
buddhanaturo aro d|ttoront, |t |s a trap to assumo o|thor that ono mothod |s bottor than
tho othor, or ono |s good and tho othor bad. 1ho ma|n d|ttoronco botwoon thom |s that
wh||o tho bodh|sattvayana toach|ngs put tho omphas|s squaro|y on tho m|nd, tho
vajrayana |s a|so concornod w|th body and spooch, wh|ch |s why vajrayana
pract|t|onors |nvoko buddhanaturo through abh|shoka. 1ho man|tostat|on ot °body,
spooch and m|nd' usod w||| havo a namo, porhaps 1ara or Vanjushr| or
Ava|ok|toshvara, so |n a way, |t's as |t tho abh|shoka |tso|t |s to|||ng you that you havo
buddhanaturo.
lator, onco your dovot|on has gonoratod onough mor|t, your guru w||| |ntroduco you
to your buddhanaturo, but whothor you rocogn|zo |t or not w||| dopond on tho karm|c
connoct|on botwoon yourso|t as tho roco|vor ot tho abh|shoka and tho guru who
bostows |t. 3o, |doa||y, thoso who roco|vo abh|shoka shou|d too| stoadtast trust |n tho
porson g|v|ng |t, as wo|| as tho path |tso|t-but th|s k|nd ot dovot|on |s not oasy to
gonorato.
What Dooa AbhIsheka Noan?

3anskr|t |s an oxtromo|y r|ch |anguago. Each word |s t|no|y nuancod w|th many |ovo|s
ot moan|ng and thorotoro opon to a var|oty ot |ntorprotat|ons. Abblsboko |s a 3anskr|t
torm, and |ts two tundamonta| moan|ngs havo boon trans|atod |nto 1|botan as torwo
and |ogpo. 7orwo |s usua||y trans|atod as °d|smant||ng' and rotors to tho cocoon ot
|gnoranco |n wh|ch wo aro wrappod and that noods to bo d|smant|od, and |ogpo |s
trans|atod as °pour|ng'-as |n °pour|ng b|oss|ngs'-and moro ob||quo|y, as
°d|scovor|ng our buddhanaturo.' |owovor, as wo try to undorstand tho tu|| |mp||cat|ons
ot th|s word, such trans|at|ons can bo m|s|oad|ng-part|cu|ar|y °pour|ng,' wh|ch |s so
c|oso|y connoctod w|th tho |doa ot roco|v|ng an ompowormont.
1ho most common doscr|pt|on ot abh|shoka |s that |t |s a transtor ot powor dur|ng a
coromony to g|vo roc|p|onts tho author|zat|on to hoar, study and pract|so tho
toach|ngs ot tho vajrayana, wo thorotoro °roco|vo an ompowormont.' 3ut tho prob|om
|s that roco|v|ng an ompowormont suggosts somoono |s g|v|ng us a powor wo
prov|ous|y |ackod, |n tho samo way tho Ouoon E||zaboth |nvosts a subjoct w|th tho t|t|o
°Kn|ght ot tho loa|m,' and |s a |ong way away trom tho truo sp|r|t ot tantr|c |n|t|at|on.
0ur|ng an |n|t|at|on wo aro |ntroducod to an aspoct ot ourso|vos that a|roady ox|sts
w|th|n us but that wo havo yot to rocogn|zo, and |t |s tho act|vat|on ot th|s rocogn|t|on
that wo ca|| °ompowormont' or °|n|t|at|on.' 1h|s |s tho roa| moan|ng ot abh|shoka.
Abhiahoka: 1ho 1hoory

Accord|ng to tho h|ghost yoga tantra, thoro aro tour ma|n k|nds ot abh|shoka (p|us a
numbor ot othor k|nds, oach ot wh|ch can bo subd|v|dod many t|mos). Each
abh|shoka |s ta||orod to d|smant|o ono ot tho tour k|nds ot |gnoranco or dot||omont:

1. tho dot||omont ot tho nad|, vo|ns or channo|s,
2. tho dot||omont ot prana, spooch or w|nd-onorgy,
8. tho dot||omont ot b|ndu, wh|ch |s, moro or |oss, a dot||omont ot m|nd, and
4. tho dot||omont ot tho ros|duo ot tho t|rst throo comb|nod (somoth|ng ||ko °a|aya'),
somot|mos doscr|bod as tho dot||omont ot °tho ground ot ovoryth|ng.'
RituaI |mµIomonta

Abh|shoka a|most a|ways |nvo|vos tho uso ot r|tua| objocts, |mp|omonts and
substancos to symbo||zo protound sp|r|tua| transtormat|on. 1ho mastor who bostows
tho ompowormont, or °|n|t|at|on,' t|rst p|acos a vaso on tho hoad ot oach |n|t|ato, thon
pours a drop ot sattron wator (tho t|rst |n|t|at|on substanco) |nto tho|r hands. say|ng,
°0r|nk th|s sattron wator.' loxt ho g|vos thom a spoontu| ot ||qu|d trom tho kapa|a t|||od
w|th noctar, or omrlto |n 3anskr|t (tho socond |n|t|at|on substanco), wh|ch |s
cons|dorod |n tantra to bo a m|xturo ot tho ossoncos ot tho tathor and mothor consort.
1ho r|tua| substanco usod |n tho th|rd |n|t|at|on |s ro|atod to tho consort, wh|ch thoso
days |s usua||y tho p|cturo ot a dak|n| ot somo sort. And |ast|y, tho substanco usod by
ly|ngmapas and Kagyupas |n tho tourth or °word' |n|t|at|on (wh|ch |s not a|ways
nocossary) |s crysta| to symbo||zo tho naturo ot m|nd.
Each soct|on ot tho abh|shoka can bo portormod vory o|aborato|y or vory s|mp|y
and a|| k|nds ot substancos, mantras, mudras and samadh| can bo omp|oyod.
Wator aa a 1antric 5ubatanco

1ho 3uddh|st toach|ngs or|g|natod |n lnd|a, whoro tor m|||onn|a |t has boon customary
to pur|ty tho body w|th wator. lt |s a custom that can oas||y trans|ato |nto today's wor|d
whoro wo, too, hab|tua||y assoc|ato wash|ng |n wator w|th c|oans|ng and pur|t|cat|on. lt
|s ro|at|vo|y oasy, thorotoro, to approc|ato that whon wo wash, wo aro, at tho vory
|oast, not accumu|at|ng moro d|rt.
Ord|nary, ovoryday wator |s common|y usod as an oxot|c tantr|c substanco, tor
many roasons. ||rst and toromost, ord|nary human hab|ts aro rout|no|y |ncorporatod
|nto tho vajrayana path. ln tact, tho ont|ro vajrayana path |s mado up ot sk||tu| mothods
that rot|oct our hab|ts and da||y rout|nos. |or oxamp|o, us|ng wator to wash a 1-sh|rt |s
an oxtromo|y wo||-ostab||shod hab|t, and no ono wou|d ovon cons|dor us|ng mud trom
tho gardon.
|owovor, tho vajrayana toach|ngs a|so po|nt out that what wo ca|| °wator' man|tosts
|n a|| sorts ot ways. |ow ot us wou|d hos|tato to wash w|th wator trom a tap or s|nk, but
wou|d shr|nk trom wash|ng |n wator drawn trom tho to||ot. Ot courso |n p|acos ||ko
3|ngaporo, tochn|quos aro bo|ng dovo|opod to rocyc|o wator usod to t|ush to||ots w|th
a|| tho othor wator usod, and whon wo soo |t spurt|ng trom a showorhoad, wo torgot |ts
h|story comp|oto|y, bocauso now |t |s wator tor wash|ng our bod|os. 3|m||ar|y, as soon
as wator |s pourod |nto an ottor|ng bow|, |t |mmod|ato|y bocomos ottor|ng wator. 3o,
wh||o tho gonor|c torm tor a|| co|our|oss ||qu|d mado up ot ono atom ot oxygon and two
ot hydrogon |s °wator,' whon assoc|atod w|th othor objocts and s|tuat|ons, our
porcopt|on ot |t changos: wator w|th bubb|os |s dr|nk|ng wator, wator |n a bath |s
porson-wash|ng wator, wator |n an o|d |ron tub |n tho gardon |s dog-wash|ng wator,
tho wator wo put |nto our car rad|ators bocomos a coo||ng systom and wator |n a poo|
|s tor sw|mm|ng |n. 1h|s can bo takon to oxtromos, tor oxamp|o |n tho wor|d ot bott|od
wator thoro |s a brand trom 1apan that costs moro than a hundrod U.3. do||ars tor a
200m| bott|o!
As wo hab|tua||y transtorm wator |n a|| thoso ways, and tho |og|c that |ns|sts th|s
wator |s °puro' and that wator °ord|nary' |s tho samo ono wo uso to d|scorn botwoon
dr|nk|ng wator and to||ot-t|ush|ng wator, why not usod |t as a tantr|c substanco? 1h|s |s
why wator |s usod as an ottor|ng substanco dur|ng an abh|shoka, and at t|mos oach
and ovory drop |s cons|dorod to bo tho manda|a ot tho pr|nc|pa| do|ty. A|coho| and
torma aro a|so usod, and a|| thoso ottor|ngs aro v|sua||sod as hav|ng d|ttoront
tunct|ons.
1ho Practiao: 5oIt-Emµowormont

Obv|ous|y, wo don't nood to proparo a|| tho r|tua| substancos tor our da||y pract|so. ln
tact, to tako so|t-|n|t|at|on through mod|tat|on and v|sua||sat|on pract|sos |s oqua||y, |t
not moro powortu|, than dur|ng comp||catod r|tua|s.
1ho tour abh|shokas aro usua||y tound at tho ond ot tho guru yoga pract|so, and tho
moro otton you roco|vo thom, tho bottor. 3o you m|ght cons|dor ropoat|ng tho
abh|shoka v|sua||sat|ons and roc|tat|ons attor oach ma|a ot mantras.
You m|ght ||ko to roco|vo a|| tour abh|shokas ono attor anothor w|th|n tho spaco ot
ono pract|so soss|on, or concontrato on oach |n|t|at|on tor a sot por|od ot t|mo (ono
month, or a yoar, tor oxamp|o) botoro mov|ng on to tho noxt. 3o, dur|ng tho t|rst yoar ot
guru yoga pract|so you cou|d v|sua||so tho wh|to ||ght omanat|ng trom tho guru's
torohoad, and dur|ng tho socond, tho rod ||ght omanat|ng trom h|s throat, and so on. lt
you doc|do to pract|so |n th|s way, do not torgot to comp|oto tho rost ot tho
abh|shokas, wh|ch you can abbrov|ato |t you aro pushod tor t|mo.
1. 1ho Vaao Abhiahoka

v|sua||so a wh|to |ottor OV at tho guru's torohoad. 0on't worry |t you t|nd |t hard to soo
a c|oar |mago ot th|s |ottor. 1ust |mag|no an |ntonso and v|v|d, br||||ant wh|to ||ght
omanat|ng trom tho guru's torohoad that thon d|sso|vos |nto yours-|t's s|m||ar to tho
v|sua||sat|on |n vajrasattva pract|so. 1ho wh|to ||ght c|oansos your dot||omonts,
spoc|t|ca||y thoso ot tho nad|s (subt|o channo|s) and t|vo chakras (onorgy contros), as
wo|| as a|| tho nogat|vo act|v|t|os comm|ttod by your body. 1hon, cons|dor tho guru's
body and your body bocomo |nsoparab|o, wh|ch |s just anothor way ot say|ng that your
body bocomos an °|ndostruct|b|o vajra body.'
You havo now roco|vod tho vaso abh|shoka, tho door ot dovo|op|ng mod|tat|on
(utpatt|krama) has boon oponod tor you, and as tho wh|to ||ght t|||s your body, tho sood
ot tho n|rmanakaya has boon p|antod |n you.
2. 1ho 5ocrot Abhiahoka

v|sua||so a rod |ottor A| at tho guru's throat trom wh|ch br||||ant rays ot rod ||ght stroam
out and d|sso|vo |nto your throat, c|oans|ng tho dot||od act|v|t|os ot your spooch and
tho obscurat|ons to your prana (|nnor a|r). As tho rod ||ght d|sso|vos |nto you, cons|dor
your spooch bocomos |nsoparab|o trom that ot tho guru (°vajra spooch').
You havo now roco|vod tho socrot abh|shoka, tho door to comp|ot|on mod|tat|on
(sampannakrama) has boon oponod, and tho sood ot tho sambhogakaya has boon
p|antod |n you.
8. 1ho Wiadom Abhiahoka

v|sua||so a b|uo |ottor |UV |n tho contro ot tho guru's hoart trom wh|ch omanatos
dazz||ng b|uo ||ght that d|sso|vos |nto your hoart contro, oxpo|||ng a|| tho dot||omonts ot
m|nd and c|oans|ng a|| obscurat|ons ot b|ndu (onorgy). Your m|nd |s |nsoparab|o trom
tho guru's m|nd (°vajra m|nd').
You havo now roco|vod tho w|sdom abh|shoka, tho door to trokchö (tho t|rst ot tho
two torm|oss comp|ot|on mod|tat|on pract|sos) has boon oponod, and tho sood ot tho
dharmakaya has boon p|antod |n your m|nd.
4. 1ho Word Abhiahoka

v|sua||so anothor b|uo |ottor |UV at tho guru's hoart trom wh|ch stroams moro b|uo
||ght that d|sso|vos |nto your torohoad, throat, hoart and ont|ro body, d|spo|||ng a|| your
dot||omonts, tho ros|duo ot your dot||omonts and any roma|n|ng hab|tua| pattorns. You
roco|vo tho b|oss|ngs ot tho guru's body, spooch and m|nd, and your body, spooch
and m|nd aro |nsoparab|o trom tho guru's (°vajra w|sdom').
You havo now roco|vod tho word abh|shoka, wh|ch has dostroyod tho a|aya and
w|th |t a|| traco ot °m|nd.' 1ho door to so|t-ar|s|ng w|sdom has boon oponod and tho
sood ot tho svabhav|kakaya has boon p|antod |n you.
1hoorot|ca||y, |n th|s t|na| abh|shoka wo dostroy tho root ot a|| dot||omonts and
roco|vo tho b|oss|ngs ot tho guru's body, spooch and m|nd by v|sua||z|ng moro b|uo
||ght rad|at|ng trom tho |ottor |UV at tho guru's hoart contro.

lt tho ngöndro pract|so you to||ow conta|ns s||ght|y d|ttoront dota||s, don't worry, just
to||ow your toxt.
|ow can you to|| whothor or not you havo roco|vod tho abh|shoka? Wo tond to
|mag|no wo havo roco|vod tho abh|shoka onco wo havo boon through tho r|tua|. 1o s|p
b|ossod wator, and so on, may bo onough trom a symbo||c po|nt ot v|ow, but |n roa||ty
thoro |s much moro to |t. As 1so|o latsok langdrö| sa|d, |t you oxpor|onco
phonomona (tho outor conta|nor and tho |nnor contonts) as °ord|nary,' you havo not
roco|vod tho vaso abh|shoka, |t you ta|| to oxpor|onco a|| sound as mantra, you havo
not roco|vod tho socrot abh|shoka, |t you do not oxpor|onco a|| monta| tactors and
d|scurs|vo thoughts as w|sdom, you havo not roco|vod tho w|sdom abh|shoka, and |t
you havo not undorstood ovoryth|ng as tho dharmakaya, you havo not roco|vod tho
word abh|shoka.
Rocognizing tho Naturo ot Nind

At tho ond ot tho tourth abh|shoka, hav|ng un|tod your m|nd w|th that ot tho guru, you
havo a groat opportun|ty to pract|so tho tochn|quo ot uncovor|ng tho naturo ot your
m|nd and stab|||z|ng that rocogn|t|on, wh|ch |s tho on|y way to atta|n on||ghtonmont
sw|tt|y and, accord|ng to 0||go Khyontso l|npocho, |s tho qu|ckost mothod tor
rocogn|z|ng tho naturo ot m|nd. Gazo cont|nuous|y at tho un|on ot c|ar|ty and
ompt|noss as |t a|ways has boon, w|thout soparat|ng trom yourso|t tor a momont, and
roma|n und|stractod |n that rocogn|t|on. lot ono sont|ont bo|ng, ho sa|d, has ovor
boon soparato trom tho naturo ot m|nd tor tho br|otost |nstant, but as wo aro not awaro
ot |t, wo chaso attor a|| mannor ot do|us|ons. 3o, arouso compass|on and asp|ro,
°Vay a|| sont|ont bo|ngs undorstand tho abso|uto truth that tho 'awaronoss-ompt|noss
uncontr|vod m|nd' ls tho abso|uto dharmakaya and |s novor, ovor soparato trom any ot
us.' lray to tho naturo ot m|nd, ro|y on |t oxc|us|vo|y and |ong to roa||so |t.
0||go Khyontso l|npocho a|so sa|d, |t you pray trom tho bottom ot your hoart to tho
attoct|onato mothor, Yosho 1sogya|, thoro |s no doubt that sho w||| ombraco you w|th
hor compass|on and bo |nsoparab|o trom you |n th|s ||to, tho noxt ||to and as you pass
through tho bardos. 3o, whon you roco|vo toach|ngs and abh|shokas, cons|dor you
aro roco|v|ng thom trom tho mothor, Yosho 1sogya|.
utµattikrama and 5amµannakrama

A|though th|s toxt |s most|y mado up ot suggost|ons about how to pract|so ngöndro,
you m|ght t|nd a ||tt|o |ntormat|on about utpatt|krama and sampannakrama ho|ptu|. lt
may ovon act as an appot|zor tor thoso studonts who t|nd thomso|vos |nsp|rod by th|s
k|nd ot pract|so.
1ho vajrayana toachos two ma|n k|nds ot mod|tat|on pract|so: croat|on, or
dovo|opmont, mod|tat|on (utpatt|krama), and comp|ot|on mod|tat|on
(sampannakrama). 3oth mod|tat|ons rot|oct tho tact that a|| phonomona havo a
bog|nn|ng and an ond|ng, an ar|s|ng and a cossat|on, a b|rth and a doath. 1o pur|ty
tho bog|nn|ng wo app|y utpatt|krama, and to pur|ty tho ond wo app|y sampannakrama.
1ho purposo boh|nd thoso two stagos ot mod|tat|on |s |mmonso and tar-roach|ng.
A|though th|s may bo rathor a gross gonora||zat|on, tho purposo ot croat|on mod|tat|on
|s to roa||so tho ossonco ot a|| appoaranco and ox|stonco, and tho purposo ot
comp|ot|on mod|tat|on |s to roa||so tho ossonco ot ompt|noss, shunyata.
Ord|nar||y, tho torms oppoorooco and omptlooss g|vo tho |mpross|on that thoro aro
two soparato ont|t|os, but |n vajrayana 3uddh|sm thoy aro not soparato. 1ho
soparat|on ot °appoaranco' trom °ompt|noss' const|tutos °tundamonta| |gnoranco,'
and so to un|to thoso two, tho vajrayana prov|dos us w|th tho tochn|quos ot croat|on
and comp|ot|on mod|tat|on. Whon wo adm|ro a ra|nbow, wo aro awaro, to a corta|n
oxtont, that ovon though |t appoars to bo vory boaut|tu|, |t |s ompty ot any so||d
ox|stonco. On tho othor hand, whon wo |ook at our own t|osh and bonos, wo |ack tho
capac|ty to undorstand that just ||ko tho ra|nbow, what wo soo |s s|mp|y tho un|ty ot
appoaranco and ompt|noss.
Croat|on mod|tat|on |nvo|vos var|ous tantr|c mothods, |nc|ud|ng tho v|sua||sat|on ot
onoso|t as a do|ty, a |otus, a sun and moon d|sc soat and tho omanat|on and
roconvorgonco ot rays ot ||ght trom tho hoart ot tho do|ty. 1ho comp|ot|on stago
|nvo|vos two k|nds ot mod|tat|on: tho °comp|ot|on mod|tat|on ot torm,' and °torm|oss
comp|ot|on mod|tat|on.' 1ho comp|ot|on mod|tat|on ot torm |nc|udos many anuyoga
pract|sos, such as mod|tat|ng on tho chakras and channo|s, and contro|||ng prana by
consc|ous|y gathor|ng |t |nto tho contro ot tho avadhut| (tho contra| channo|), as wo|| as
droam yoga, pract|sos tor tho bardos and kunda||n| pract|sos. 1hoso aro a|| |nc|udod
|n tho comp|ot|on mod|tat|on ot torm and aro to||owod by torm|oss comp|ot|on
mod|tat|on, wh|ch |s tho h|ghost v|pashyana pract|so.
1o Könchok lhundrub sa|d that by pract|c|ng croat|on mod|tat|on |t |s poss|b|o tor
pract|t|onors to uso a|| wor|d|y objocts as tho|r path, and pract|c|ng comp|ot|on
mod|tat|on makos |t poss|b|o to transtorm a|| omot|ons and uso thom as tho|r path.
1aok Ottoring

1hoso days, a|though tsok ottor|ng |s not roa||y part ot ngöndro, tsok pract|so has
boon adoptod by many vajrayana groups as a k|nd ot month|y toast. lt |s, howovor,
much moro than a groat oxcuso tor a party.
1o portorm a °propor' tsok |s qu|to d|tt|cu|t |n a numbor ot ways. 1ust gathor|ng tho
appropr|ato assomb|y |s hard onough, but whon |t comos to t|nd|ng tho r|ght ottor|ng
substancos, th|ngs got roa||y tough.
ln lnd|a, tho h|ghost and most prost|g|ous casto |s that ot tho 3rahmans. 0ur|ng tho
t|mo ot tho 3uddha, as 3rahman|c sons|t|v|t|os dom|natod lnd|an soc|oty, moat ot any
k|nd was cons|dorod to bo tho worst, d|rt|ost and |oast dos|rab|o ot substancos. Evon
today, a mombor ot a str|ct 3rahman tam||y wou|d not w||||ng|y |nv|to moat-oat|ng,
|oathor-woar|ng Wostornors to a moa| at h|s homo, as h|s tam||y wou|d cons|dor
poop|o ||ko you and mo to bo ||tt|o bottor than an|ma|s. |owovor, tho mothods ottorod
|n tho 3uddha's h|ghost toach|ngs a|m to countor tho hab|tua| taboos and projud|cos
ot tho 3rahmans, and thorotoro a|| tho|r taboo substancos aro now part ot tsok toasts.
1hoso days, bott|os ot champagno and tho bost stoak aro ottorod by many dharma
studonts dur|ng tsoks, but mak|ng such ottor|ngs shou|d bo dono w|th caro. |or thoso
||v|ng outs|do a 3rahman|c cu|turo, moat and a|coho| aro qu|to norma| add|t|ons to
most moa|s, and not dosp|sod at a||. 3o, tho po|nt ot us|ng substancos that
contomporary soc|oty cons|dors unaccoptab|o and undos|rab|o |s, thorotoro, ont|ro|y
|ost. ldoa||y, wo shou|d ottor p|atos ot sh|t, bocauso bactor|a and taocos aro, to
modorn sc|ont|t|c m|nds, a|most un|vorsa||y catogor|zod as °d|rty,' |t not downr|ght
dangorous. And tochn|ca||y, tho po|nt ot a tsok ottor|ng |s that tho pract|t|onors shou|d
havo no protoronco about what thoy oat, a p|ato ot sh|t and a s||co ot do||c|ous
choosocako shou|d bo ant|c|patod w|th oxact|y tho samo ro||sh.
Anothor prob|om wo taco as modorn vajrayana pract|t|onors |s that otton our tsoks
bocomo oxtromo|y rowdy, w||d part|os. 1ho |ack ot d|sc|p||no oxh|b|tod by both
mastors and studonts a||ko has not on|y tarn|shod tho roputat|on ot an a|roady vory
susp|c|ous-|ook|ng trad|t|on, but v|o|atos most ot tho vajrayana samayas ot tsok.
Vany studonts aro to|d to ottor tho vory bost and most oxpons|vo tood and dr|nk as
a way ot ho|p|ng us stop grasp|ng at monoy. And |t works, but at tho samo t|mo wo
must not |gnoro nondua||ty. As sh|t and stoak aro, tor a vajrayana pract|t|onor,
ossont|a||y tho samo, a tsok ottor|ng shou|d not nocossar||y |nc|udo on|y tho c|oanost,
gourmot toods. |av|ng sa|d that, though, l wou|d novor adv|so you to ottor sh|t |n a
tsok bocauso tho rovu|s|on most ot us wou|d too| whon wo smo||od |t cou|d rosu|t |n a
groat doa| ot samaya broakago.
1ho o|aborato mothod ot pract|c|ng tsok m|ght bo too ovorwho|m|ng tor thoso now
to ngöndro pract|so, so tor you thoro |s a vory s|mp|o mothod. 3|mp|y roc|to wh|chovor
ot tho many tsok prayors you ||ko, tor oxamp|o 7bo 5bowor oí B|osslogs by V|pham
l|npocho, ovor your rogu|ar moa|. Or just gathor a tow b|scu|ts and somo tru|t tor tho
ottor|ngs, and s|m||ar|y, roc|to a tsok prayor.
14

Practiao Advico

1aking Emotion aa tho Path

ln tho Vlmo|oklrtl 5otro, 3uddha po|nts out that a |otus cannot grow |n a dry
onv|ronmont and w||| on|y b|ossom whon rootod |n wot mud, ||kow|so, mahapar|n|rvana
can on|y grow w|th|n thoso whoso ogos and omot|ons aro as vast as Vount Voru.
Emot|ons aro mado uso ot at ovory stago ot tho sp|r|tua| path. |or oxamp|o, |t you
tond to havo °grand pass|ons,' you m|ght try to||ow|ng tho path that do||borato|y avo|ds
act|ng upon thoso pass|ons. A|tornat|vo|y you cou|d try a||ow|ng your pass|ons to dr|vo
your act|ons w|thout bocom|ng bound up by tho obscurat|ons that accompany thom.
As 3uddha sa|d, omot|ons aro tho raco ot tho 1athagata.
lovor too| d|scouragod or ovorwho|mod by tho shoor sca|o ot tho omot|ons you
oxpor|onco, or dwo|| on how d|tt|cu|t, ovon |mposs|b|o, |t w||| bo to wado through thom
a|| botoro ovontua||y rocogn|z|ng tho naturo ot tho m|nd. As Khonpo lgaga sa|d, a||
dot||omonts aro tomporary. And ho was r|ght. Our dot||omonts aro tomporary and
thorotoro ro|at|vo|y oasy to abandon and pur|ty. W|thout pract|so, though, wo do not
not|co thom bocauso thoy aro so tam|||ar to us, and th|s |s proc|so|y why thoy w||| not
ta|| apart by thomso|vos-wh|ch |s a po|nt worth romombor|ng. |owovor, as omot|ons
aro undoubtod|y tomporary, tho app||cat|on ot ovon tho sma||ost doso ot mod|tat|on
pract|so w||| causo thom to ta|| apart qu|to oas||y.
vajrayana studonts can bo a b|t chauv|n|st|c. 1hoy ropoat °tako omot|on as tho
path' parrot-tash|on at ovory opportun|ty bocauso thoy th|nk |t |s an oxc|us|vo|y
vajrayana mothod. 3ut thoy aro wrong. Accord|ng to 1amgön Kongtru| lodrö 1ayo, a||
throo voh|c|os |nc|udo toach|ngs on how to tako omot|ons as a path.
1ho 1hroo Yanaa: Abandoning, 1ranatorming and Knowing

1amgön Kongtru| lodrö 1ayo taught tho throo yanas basod on tho throo act|v|t|os ot
°abandon|ng, transtorm|ng and know|ng.' ||s toach|ngs not on|y g|vo pract|ca| adv|co
about how to pract|so tho dharma, but a|so c|oar|y dot|no tho shravakayana, tho
bodh|sattvayana and tho vajrayana and ottor tho throo pr|nc|pa| ways tor doa||ng w|th
°pass|on.'

1. 1ho shravakayana mothod abandons pass|on a|togothor by suppross|ng,
d|smant||ng and d|scourag|ng |t.
2. 1ho bodh|sattvayana mothod transtorms pass|on, so you do not nocossar||y
havo to abandon |t, but |t |s not a||owod to man|tost |nd|scr|m|nato|y |n a w||d,
untamod and harmtu| way.
8. 1ho vajrayana mothod |s to know tho ossonco ot a|| pass|on. 1h|s know|odgo |s
portoctod by do|ng noth|ng at a||, |n tho sonso ot not comp|y|ng w|th tho omot|on.
At tho samo t|mo, too| no an|mos|ty tor pass|on, and corta|n|y do not try to
abandon or corroct |t by transtorm|ng |t. 3|mp|y bo|ng awaro ot |t w||| onsuro that
you aro not caught up |n |ts gamo.

1ho mothod ot tho socrot mantrayana |s not to tabr|cato and |n tho stato ot
nontabr|cat|on s|mp|y to rocogn|zo.
1ho 5hravakayana: Abandoning

Whonovor an omot|on ar|sos, try to d|scourago and abandon |t. lom|nd yourso|t
about tho tut|||ty ot samsar|c ||to and ana|yzo tho pa|n and suttor|ng that |ndu|g|ng |n
omot|ons br|ngs. As you bog|n to roa||so that g|v|ng |n to your omot|ons w||| not br|ng
you any roa| p|oasuro, by oncourag|ng yourso|t to too| rovu|s|on tor thom you movo a
||tt|o c|osor to dovo|op|ng a sonso ot °ronunc|at|on m|nd.'
ln pract|so, tho momont pass|on ar|sos |t causos suttor|ng, and a|though somo
aspocts may soom to bo qu|to p|oasant, ovontua||y o|| omotloos cooso polo. 0os|ro
may appoar to br|ng b||ss or at |oast sat|stact|on, but |t a|so broods hopo tor moro
s|m||ar oxpor|oncos and toar that |t may novor happon aga|n, mak|ng suttor|ng
|noscapab|o.
3hravakayana pract|t|onors try to abandon omot|on by app|y|ng mothods ||ko
mod|tat|on on ug||noss, a|so known as °mod|tat|on on |mpormanonco.' lmag|no you
aro |ook|ng at somoono |ntox|cat|ng|y boaut|tu| who arousos your dos|ro. As your
pass|ons osca|ato, ana|yzo tho objoct ot your dos|ro and broak down oach and ovory
part ot h|s or hor body. loo| back tho sk|n to rovoa| tho b|ood, pus and mucus |t
conta|ns and cut opon tho|r |ntost|nos to oxam|no tho|r sh|t. You w||| qu|ck|y |oarn that
no bo|ng can roma|n °boaut|tu|' undor th|s k|nd ot scrut|ny, and qu|to suddon|y tho
objoct ot your dos|ro w||| no |ongor attract or tasc|nato you, as thoro |s noth|ng |n thom
that |s |nhoront|y covotab|o or proc|ous.
3uddh|st mod|tat|ons on |mpormanonco and ug||noss shou|d novor bo m|stakon tor
r|ghtoous d|sda|n or contompt tor tho human body or tor womon. 1hoy aro dos|gnod to
quonch our dos|ro by broak|ng down a boaut|tu| who|o |nto |ts rathor |oss boaut|tu| and
vory spoc|t|c componont parts (b|ood, pus, otc.). 1hoy aro r|sk-troo pract|sos s|mp|y
bocauso thoy roqu|ro us to doa| so|o|y w|th tho raw, unvarn|shod truth about tho
objocts wo dos|ro-but wo usua||y t|nd th|s truth d|tt|cu|t to stomach.
lt |s otton moro appropr|ato tor us to pract|so th|s shravakayana att|tudo than that ot
tho socrot vajrayana, wh|ch |s ovort|ow|ng w|th r|sks and p|tta||s. 1ho shravakayana
toach|ngs aro not on|y s|mp|o, stra|ghttorward and honost, thoy a|so doa| w|th
unchangoab|o ovoryday truths, such as a|| phonomona aro |mpormanont and ovory
s|ng|o omot|on pa|ntu|.
1ho Bodhiaattvayana: 1ranatorming

ln add|t|on to omp|oy|ng tho shravakayana's mothods, tho bodh|sattvayana
omphas|zos ways ot transtorm|ng omot|ons. |ow? 3y asp|r|ng to absorb tho joa|ousy
ot a|| sont|ont bo|ngs, tor oxamp|o, so that thoy may bo comp|oto|y troo ot |t. Us|ng th|s
mothod, a|| our omot|ons can bo transtormod.
As a 3uddh|st, you havo boon taught that aggross|on |s gonora||y cons|dorod to bo
a nogat|vo omot|on. 1horotoro your |mmod|ato roact|on to any aggross|vo tondoncy or
thought that ar|sos |n your m|nd w||| bo to rojoct |t. And you rojoct |t bocauso you aro |n
|ovo w|th your °so|t,' wh|ch makos you an ogo|st. As an ogo|st, you do not want
aggross|vo too||ngs or joa|ousy or any ot tho othor nogat|vo omot|ons to spo|| your
chancos ot bocom|ng ronownod as a °good' 3uddh|st.
Yot accord|ng to tho groator v|ow ottorod by tho bodh|sattvayana, to rojoct your
aggross|on |s a woaknoss. 1o rojoct tho bad and on|y accopt tho good shows that you
aro st||| sta|nod by tho c||ng|ng to so|t that wo ca|| °ogo.' lnstoad, whon a
bodh|sattvayana pract|t|onor not|cos hor aggross|vo omot|ons, sho shou|d th|nk,
°Aggross|on |s roa||y bad! 3ut l am not tho on|y ono who suttors trom |t-o|| sont|ont
bo|ngs do! 3o, may l tako on tho aggross|on, joa|ousy and pr|do ot a|| sont|ont
bo|ngs.'
|rom a ro|at|vo po|nt ot v|ow, what happons whon you tako on tho suttor|ng ot
othors |n th|s way? |undamonta||y, you go aga|nst tho w|shos ot your ogo. 3o, |t your
ogo wants to bo tho ho||ost and most sub||mo ot a|| bo|ngs so |t can boast |t has no
dos|ro or joa|ousy, th|s |s oxact|y tho pract|so you nood to do to opposo and ros|st |t.
3y cont|nua||y app|y|ng |t, tho ogo bocomos sma||or and sma||or unt|| t|na||y |t has
nowhoro to ||vo. Onco that happons, what w||| bocomo ot your omot|ons? 3y thon, thoy
w||| havo about as much ||to |n thom as a scarocrow or a m|rago. Can you |mag|no
what |t wou|d bo ||ko not to havo a °you' or an °l'? Whoro wou|d a|| your aggross|on
and pass|on bo? And what wou|d you do w|th |t?
A bodh|sattva a|so knows that omot|ons aro compoundod phonomona and w|||
thorotoro ovontua||y bo oxhaustod. U|t|mato|y, s|nco an omot|on |s not a tru|y or
pormanont|y ox|st|ng ont|ty, |t |s a|so ompty ot charactor|st|cs. lt omot|ons woro not
|nhoront|y ompty, transtormat|on wou|d not bo poss|b|o bocauso thoy wou|d bo °roa|.'
Armod w|th th|s know|odgo, bodh|sattvas havo tho ab|||ty to transtorm tho|r omot|ons.
1ho Va[rayana: Knowing

1ho vajrayana to||s us that whonovor an omot|on ||ko dos|ro ar|sos, just watch |t and
do noth|ng-°don't tabr|cato.' 3ut |t's an |nstruct|on that |s qu|to oasy to
m|sundorstand. Whon omot|on ar|sos, °don't tabr|cato' s|mp|y moans stop do|ng
anyth|ng at a||. What |t doos not moan |s that |t you aro wa|k|ng down tho stroot, you
shou|d stop, t|nd a bonch, s|t crossod-|oggod and try to °watch' tho omot|on. 1ho po|nt
horo |s that hav|ng not|cod an omot|on, most ot us tond not to °watch' |t but to to||ow |t.
Wo too| dos|ro, so wo to||ow our dos|ros, wo too| angor, so wo to||ow our angor, or at
bost moro|y suppross |t.
3o, how shou|d wo doa| w|th omot|ons? 3y not tabr|cat|ng at a||, just watch. And tho
momont you |ook at tho omot|on, |t w||| d|sappoar. 3og|nnors w||| t|nd tho omot|on
roappoars qu|to qu|ck|y, but that doosn't mattor. 1ho |mportant th|ng horo |s that tho
momont you start watch|ng your omot|ons, thoy |mmod|ato|y d|sappoar. And ovon |t
thoy on|y d|sappoar tor a sp||t socond, tho tact an omot|on has d|sappoarod a|so
moans that w|sdom has, momontar||y, dawnod. 1ho rocogn|t|on ot th|s nakod
awaronoss |s what °know|ng' rotors to.
1o °know' tho omot|on |s to undorstand that, as |t has no root, thoro |s and novor
has boon an omot|on. 3omo poop|o ta|k about omot|on, part|cu|ar|y tho nogat|vo
omot|ons, as |t thoy woro somo k|nd ot h|doous, domon|c torco that w|||tu||y |nvados
your bo|ng, but thoy aro not ||ko that at a||.
Whon you too| angry, just watch your angor. lot tho causo ot tho angor or |ts rosu|t,
just tho omot|on ot angor. As you staro at your angor, you w||| d|scovor thoro |s noth|ng
you can po|nt to and say, °1hat |s my angor.' And tho undorstand|ng that thoro |s
abso|uto|y noth|ng thoro |s what |s ca||od tho °dawn ot w|sdom.'
AµµIy Abandoning, 1ranatorming and Knowing 5imuItanoouaIy

You can pract|so a|| throo mothods togothor. |or oxamp|o, |t you suddon|y too| vory
aggross|vo as you wa|k down tho stroot, app|y abandon|ng, transtorm|ng and know|ng
s|mu|tanoous|y.

1. lom|nd yourso|t that aggross|on w||| on|y |oad to moro suttor|ng, so what |s tho
po|nt ot gott|ng angry? Whatovor tr|ggorod your angor |s tho oxc|us|vo product ot
your own porcopt|on, and to roa||so, |n an |nstant, tho tut|||ty ot tho omot|ons you
too| |s a s|gn that you aro pract|c|ng tho sbrovokoyooo.
2. Asp|ro to tako on tho angor ot a|| sont|ont bo|ngs so that thoy may bo troo ot |t
comp|oto|y, and by so do|ng you pract|so tho booblsottvoyooo.
8. 1ust watch your omot|on w|thout any tabr|cat|on or judgmont. 1h|s pract|so |s
assoc|atod w|th tho vojroyooo.
FinaI Advico

AItornativo Waya to Practiao

lt ngöndro |s your da||y pract|so and you aro try|ng to accumu|ato tho trad|t|ona|
numbor ot ropot|t|ons tor oach o|omont ot tho pract|so, to||ow tho ordor thoy appoar |n
your toxt, but spond tho major|ty ot your t|mo on tho spoc|t|c pract|so you w|sh to
accumu|ato. lt you aro accumu|at|ng prostrat|ons, spond most ot your t|mo on tak|ng
rotugo, thon roc|to tho rost ot tho pract|sos, arous|ng bodh|ch|tta, pur|t|cat|on through
vajrasattva, manda|a ottor|ng and guru yoga. Onco you havo comp|otod ono hundrod
thousand prostrat|ons, cont|nuo to start your da||y pract|so by tak|ng rotugo, but
dovoto most ot your soss|on to arous|ng bodh|ch|tta, and comp|oto your pract|so by
roc|t|ng tho pur|t|cat|on through vajrasattva, manda|a ottor|ng and guru yoga.
Cont|nuo work|ng through oach o|omont ot ngöndro |n th|s way unt|| you havo
comp|otod your accumu|at|ons.
lt |s usua||y assumod that pract|t|onors w||| accumu|ato at |oast ono hundrod
thousand ot oach pract|so, and otton moro than a m||||on guru yoga mantras, and that
thoy w||| to||ow tho ordor tho pract|sos appoar |n tho|r ngöndro toxt. 3ut |t |s poss|b|o
that your guru w||| |nstruct you to do oach pract|so tor a corta|n por|od ot t|mo |nstoad,
tor oxamp|o, tour months, or ono hundrod hours.
lt you roa||y want to, you can a|so chooso to to||ow a d|ttoront ordor. |or oxamp|o, |t
you havo t|mo on your hands and a |ot ot onorgy, you m|ght chooso to accumu|ato
prostrat|ons |n tho morn|ngs and ottor manda|as |n tho ovon|ngs. 1hon |ator, whon you
too| ||ko bo|ng |oss phys|ca||y act|vo, you m|ght protor to s|t st||| and accumu|ato
vajrasattva's hundrod-sy||ab|o mantra. Whatovor you do, your a|m shou|d a|ways bo to
accumu|ato at |oast ono hundrod thousand ot oach pract|so. 1h|s |s known as
°t|n|sh|ng tho ngöndro.'
A|ways mako suro you bog|n by tak|ng rotugo and arous|ng bodh|ch|tta, and ond by
dod|cat|ng your pract|so to tho u|t|mato happ|noss and on||ghtonmont ot a|| sont|ont
bo|ngs.
lt you do a ngöndro rotroat, pract|so |n tho samo way, but d|v|do your day |nto throo
or tour soss|ons and comp|oto tho who|o ngöndro |n oach soss|on.
Rotroat

A rotroat can bo any |ongth, trom a wookond to an ont|ro ||tot|mo, and how str|ct|y you
schodu|o |t w||| dopond ont|ro|y on your c|rcumstancos.
|or a ngöndro rotroat, |t |s not nocossary to mako o|aborato manda|as, and tho on|y
r|tua| objocts and substancos you w||| nood havo a|roady boon mont|onod.
lt you do a |ong rotroat (ono to throo yoars), |t |s a good |doa to sot yourso|t a moro
ro|axod schodu|o. lt your rotroat |s qu|to short (a coup|o ot days or a wook), mako your
schodu|o moro |ntonso, bocauso whon you on|y havo a ||tt|o t|mo, |t |s bost to mako
tho most ot ovory momont.
|ow t|ght|y you sot your boundary doponds ont|ro|y on your porsona| noods and
c|rcumstancos. lt your rotroat |s tor moro than a month, a|ways |nc|udo |n your
boundary a doctor, o|octr|c|an, p|umbor, dont|st and anyono you m|ght nood to ca|| on
|n an omorgoncy.
lo|thor c|os|ng nor opon|ng a rotroat boundary roqu|ros much coromony. l havo
not|cod that thoso who mako a b|g hoo-ha about th|s part|cu|ar r|tua| raro|y manago to
koop to tho|r boundary. A boundary onc|os|ng your pract|so spaco |s sot to rom|nd
you that tho po|nt ot rotroat |s to w|thdraw trom d|stract|on and on|y you havo tho
powor to mako that k|nd ot w|thdrawa|, no ono o|so can or shou|d |mposo |t on you.
A vory str|ct rotroat shou|d probab|y |nvo|vo vory |ong soss|ons, vory short broaks
and abso|uto|y no commun|cat|on at a||, o|thor porsona||y or |n cyborspaco through o-
ma|| or sond|ng toxt mossagos or whatovor. And you shou|d dot|n|to|y not act|vo|y
sook out nows trom tho to|ov|s|on or rad|o.
lt you doc|do to do a short and str|ct rotroat, your t|rst soss|on can bog|n at throo A.V.
|avo broaktast at around sovon A.V., to||owod by your socond soss|on. lunch cou|d bo
at around noon, attor wh|ch you do your th|rd soss|on, and your tourth soss|on w|||
happon attor d|nnor. Whon proc|so|y you oat d|nnor |s up to you. 1ho |ongth ot oach
broak |s a|so up to you and w||| dopond on your own w|||powor and d|||gonco.
0ur|ng a |ongor rotroat |t's a good |doa to on||st ho|p trom somoono who |s not on
rotroat-tor oxamp|o, to br|ng you tood, buy mod|c|no, do unavo|dab|o shopp|ng, and
so on.
lt you want to bo tussy and |nc|udo moro ot tho paraphorna||a ot rotroat, p|oaso rotor
your quost|ons to a rotroat mastor, somoono who has a|roady dono a rotroat or a
rotroat manua|.
1ho |mportant th|ng horo |s to koop a|| tho p|odgos you mako on tho t|rst day
throughout tho rotroat. Ono vory good p|oco ot adv|co |s novor to p|odgo too much at
tho bog|nn|ng, thon try to bond tho ru|os as your rotroat progrossos. |ar bottor to
mako moro t|ox|b|o prom|sos that you thon koop and to d|sc|p||no yourso|t day by day.
3y conduct|ng your rotroat |n th|s way you w||| not bo sta|nod by tho karma ot hav|ng
brokon your vows, and you w||| accumu|ato tho mor|t ot do|ng ovon moro than you
or|g|na||y prom|sod.
5Iooµ Yoga and Waking-uµ Yoga

1hoso ot you who w|sh to transtorm tho mundano act|v|ty ot s|oop|ng |nto somoth|ng
worthwh||o cou|d try pract|c|ng s|oop yoga. As you ||o down |n bod, v|sua||so and
concontrato your m|nd on Guru l|npocho |n tho contro ot your hoart. 1hat |s a|| that |s
roqu|rod at th|s po|nt.
ln tho morn|ng, Guru l|npocho r|sos up through your contra| channo| to s|t on tho
crown ot your hoad. You can chant tho to||ow|ng prayor tor |nvok|ng tho guru trom tho
longchon ly|ngt|k lgöndro |t you ||ko, or |t you protor, too| troo to chooso ono trom a
d|ttoront sourco.

|rom tho b|ossom|ng |otus ot dovot|on at tho contro ot my hoart
l|so up, O compass|onato |ama, my on|y rotugo!
l am p|aguod by past act|ons and turbu|ont omot|ons:
1o protoct mo |n my m|stortuno
loma|n as tho jowo|-ornamont on tho crown ot my hoad, tho manda|a ot groat
b||ss
Arous|ng a|| my m|ndtu|noss and awaronoss, l pray!
1

1ho |doa that tho guru dwo||s |n your hoart as you s|oop |s a symbo||c toach|ng to
show you that tho outor guru |s actua||y your buddhanaturo. Ot courso, whon you wako
up noxt morn|ng, bo|ng a dua||st|c bo|ng, you w||| st||| th|nk ot tho guru as bo|ng outs|do
ot yourso|t, and tho vajrayana a||ows you to do so by suggost|ng you movo tho guru
trom your hoart to tho crown ot your hoad.

Vany poop|o t|nd |t oas|or to pract|so whon thoy to||ow a prosot pract|so schodu|o.
1hoy a|so ||ko to bo summonod to pract|so by a bo||. |or somo, hav|ng a schodu|o
works wo||, and wh||o group pract|so |s |mportant, do romombor that |ts purposo |s to
|nsp|ro |nd|v|dua| pract|so.
lnd|v|dua| pract|so |s v|ta|, and |t you can t|nd tho t|mo, you shou|d try to do a torma|
ngöndro rotroat and pract|so |n throo or tour soss|ons a day. Accumu|at|ng ngöndro
can a|so bo your da||y pract|so and |t you do not want to do a|| ono hundrod thousand
prostrat|ons |n ono go botoro you start to accumu|ato vajrasattva pract|so, and so on,
start by do|ng twonty thousand prostrat|ons and thon twonty thousand vajrasattva
mantras botoro cont|nu|ng your prostrat|ons. A|tornat|vo|y, you cou|d accumu|ato a||
tour toundat|on pract|sos at tho samo t|mo. Whatovor you doc|do to do, l suggost you
tocus most |ntont|y on tho d|sso|ut|on ot oach pract|so, and attor m|x|ng your m|nd w|th
that ot tho guru, roma|n |n tho stato ot |nd|v|s|b|||ty tor as |ong as poss|b|o.
5igna ot Progroaa

What aro tho s|gns ot progross |n our pract|so? What can wo oxpoct? 3hou|d wo wa|t
tor a s|gna| trom tho guru-or an award? Accord|ng to Karma Chagmo l|npocho, wo
w||| havo no oxpor|oncos, no spoc|a| droams, no puro v|s|ons. 1ho °k|ng ot a|| s|gns,'
a|so known as tho °s|gn ot no-s|gn,' wh|ch was h|gh|y pr|zod by tho Kagyupa mastors
ot tho past, |s whon ronunc|at|on m|nd, sadnoss and dovot|on b|azo |n your m|nd. 1ho
s|gns to bo chor|shod most |nc|udo an osca|at|ng appot|to tor dharma pract|so,
not|c|ng tho tut|||ty ot ovoryth|ng you do, ovor-|ncroas|ng cont||cts as a rosu|t ot o|d
hab|ts, and wh||o you may st||| havo tho urgo to party w|th your tr|onds, to bo p|aguod
by tho unwo|como sonso that tho who|o th|ng |s a uso|oss wasto ot t|mo.
1horotoro do not constant|y a|m to t|n|sh tho pract|so. lnstoad, try to accopt that your
sp|r|tua| journoy w||| novor ond. Your journoy bogan w|th tho w|sh that you, porsona||y,
br|ng a|| sont|ont bo|ngs to on||ghtonmont, so unt|| that w|sh |s tu|t|||od, your act|v|t|os
as a bodh|sattva w||| novor coaso.
AcknowIodgmonta

|or what |t |s worth, tho |doa ot com|ng up w|th th|s g|bbor|sh was t|rst born on a
mounta|n poak |n Vachu l|cchu, and tho t|na| words woro wr|tton |n lnd|a, at my homo
|n 3|r.
1h|s toxt |s basod on toach|ngs l gavo |n 3||z, Gormany, |n 2001, attor wh|ch so
much tuss was mado about tho transcr|pts (studonts photocop|od and d|str|butod
thom a|| ovor tho p|aco) that a vors|on, od|tod by Chano| Grubnor, was ovontua||y
pub||shod by Khyontso |oundat|on and mado ava||ab|o as a troo down|oad.
|owovor, whonovor l ||ston to toach|ngs l havo g|von, or road tho transcr|pts, l can
raro|y mako sonso ot a word l havo sa|d. Worso st|||, l t|nd that otton l unconsc|ous|y
m|s|od my aud|onco w|th m|s|ntormat|on. 3o |n many ways, |t |s my toar ot tho karm|c
roporcuss|ons tor a|| tho m|stakos l mado |n 3||z that pushod mo to roorgan|zo and
corroct thoso longchon ly|ngt|k lgöndro toach|ngs. And tho rosu|t |s Not íor
lopplooss.
lt ovon tho m|nutost bonot|t can bo drawn trom thoso pagos, tho crod|t must go t|rst
and toromost to a|| my torm|dab|o gurus-a|though l am st||| bow||dorod by tho not|on
that such g|or|ous ombod|monts ot w|sdom and compass|on havo ovor wa|kod on th|s
oarth.
lt tho manuscr|pt |s at a|| roadab|o or comprohons|b|o, |t |s duo to tho ottorts ot an
Eng||sh woman known |n th|s prosont ||to as 1an|no 3chu|z. 1horo aro many othors
who havo s|avod undor tho yoko ot my hab|tua| |nab|||ty to bo ro||ab|o, my |ncomp|oto
sontoncos and tondoncy to bo |mpat|ont, and moro who havo sacr|t|cod tho|r t|mo to
ottor construct|vo cr|t|c|sm ot tho manuscr|pt or prov|do |ntormat|on. 1hoy |nc|udo 1|ng
lu|, 0o|ma Gunthor, E||so do Grando, ||oronco Koh, loa 1onos, Cathor|no |ordham,
A||x 3harkoy, |o|ona Wang, l|ma Yangchon, loma Abrahams, A|ox 1r|sog||o, 3|n
V|ng 3haw, 3tovo C||no, 1acob losch|y, Adam loarcoy, Ann 3onson, larry
Vormo|sto|n, Caro|yn G|m|an and An| 1|npa.
l|v|ng, as wo do, |n a wor|d shapod so|o|y by causos and cond|t|ons, |t was
|mposs|b|o to avo|d |ncurr|ng costs dur|ng tho wr|t|ng ot th|s book, and gratotu| thanks
go to lat| ltd. tor gonorous|y covor|ng a|| my oxponsos.
A|though |t |s un||ko|y that thoso ot you who havo managod to p|ough through ovon a
tow pagos ot th|s toxt w||| roap any bonot|t trom tho words you havo road, may you at
|oast bocomo |rrovocab|y hookod on tho dharma, |n ono torm or anothor.


0zongsar Khyontso has p|odgod h|s prot|ts trom Not íor lopplooss to Khyontso
|oundat|on, a nonprot|t organ|zat|on toundod |n 2001 to bu||d an ottoct|vo systom ot
patronago that supports a|| trad|t|ons ot 3uddh|st study and pract|so. 1ho toundat|on
br|ngs v|s|onary th|nk|ng to tho prosorvat|on and oxpans|on ot 3uddh|st oducat|on and
pract|so across a|| ||noagos.
As ot 2012, tho toundat|on has supportod tho study and pract|so ot 3uddh|sm |n
th|rty countr|os. ln tho past ton yoars, tho toundat|on has ottorod moro than s|x m||||on
U.3. do||ars |n grants and has d|roct|y attoctod tho ||vos ot an ost|matod ton thousand
poop|o. l|npocho's hopo |s that 3uddha's toach|ngs aro sproad|ng through tho ottorts
ot tho grant roc|p|onts.
lrojocts tundod by tho toundat|on |nc|udo a cha|r ot 3uddh|st stud|os at tho
Un|vors|ty ot Ca||torn|a at 3orko|oy, tho d|g|t|zat|on ot tho ont|ro 1|botan 3uddh|st
scr|ptura| trad|t|on, ondowmonts tor trad|t|ona| monast|c co||ogos |n As|a, a wor|dw|do
scho|arsh|p program and numorous othor |nnovat|vo |n|t|at|vos.
Othor curront projocts |nc|udo an acadom|c survoy ot 3uddh|st h|ghor oducat|on
systoms throughout tho wor|d and tho |ncubat|on ot 84000: 1rans|at|ng tho Words ot
tho 3uddha, a hundrod-yoar ottort to trans|ato tho vast toach|ngs ot tho 3uddha |nto
modorn |anguagos.
1o |oarn moro about Khyontso |oundat|on and 0zongsar Khyontso's act|v|t|os, go
to khyontsotoundat|on.org.
Notoa

Chaptor 1. What ls 0harma Good |or?

1. ladmakara 1rans|at|on Group, trans., Lottor to o lrlooo (lthaca, l.Y.: 3now l|on
lub||cat|ons, 200b), vv. 108 and 111.
2. Kon and Kat|a |o|mos, trans., 7bo Cboogo|oss Notoro. 7bo U|tlmoto Voboyooo
7rootlso oo tbo Cboogo|oss Cootloolty oí tbo 7roo Notoro (Eskda|omu|r,
3cot|and: Karma 0rubgyud 0arjay l|ng, 2nd od., 108b), vv. 881-82.
8. www.r|gpaw|k|.org/|ndox.php?t|t|o=0|amond_Cuttor_3utra
Chaptor 2. 1ho Causa| and tho losu|tant lath

1. ladmakara 1rans|at|on Group, trans., 7bo ¼oy oí tbo Booblsottvo
(Booblcboryovotoro) by 3hant|dova, rov. 2nd od. (3oston: 3hambha|a
lub||cat|ons, 2008), chap. b, vv. 08-70.
Chaptor b. Us|ng Your lmag|nat|on

1. www.r|gpaw|k|.org/|ndox.php?t|t|o=0|amond_Cuttor_3utra
Chaptor 7. 1ak|ng lotugo

1. 7bo Accomp|lsbmoot oí ¼lsoom (3kt. 1oooo 5loobl, or
jooooslooblroomosoobooom, Wy|. yo sbos grob po zbos byo bo`l sgrob po`l
tbobs), 12210 ot tho 1|botan 1ongyur.
2. Whon Capta|n Cook arr|vod |n tho soas ott Austra||a, h|s sh|p drow no roact|on
trom tho nat|vo Abor|g|nos. Accord|ng to tho h|stor|an lobort |ughos |n h|s book
7bo loto| 5boro (low York: v|ntago 3ooks, 1080), °lt was tho |argost art|tact ovor
soon on tho oast coast ot Austra||a, an objoct so hugo, comp|ox and untam|||ar as
to doty tho nat|vos' undorstand|ng.'
Chaptor 8. Arous|ng 3odh|ch|tta

1. ladmakara 1rans|at|on Group, 7bo ¼oy oí tbo Booblsottvo, chap. 1, v. 28.
2. lb|d., chap. 8, vv. 18, 10.
8. lopsang 1amspa|, lobort 1hurman, and tho Al33 toam, trans., Uolvorso| Voblc|o
Llscoorso Lltorotoro (moboyooosotro|omkoro) (low York: Amor|can lnst|tuto ot
3uddh|st 3tud|os, b|||ngua| od|t|on, 2004).
4. www.|otsawahouso.org/samantabhadra.htm|
b. 3hant|dova, A Ooloo to tbo Booblsottvo`s ¼oy oí Llío (3odh|charyavatara), trans.
3tophon 3atcho|or (0haramsa|a: l|brary ot 1|botan Works and Arch|vos, 1070),
120-21.
0. ladmakara 1rans|at|on Group, 7bo ¼oy oí tbo Booblsottvo, chap. 0, v. 08.
Chaptor 0. 1ho lract|so ot lur|t|cat|on by Vod|tat|ng on tho
Guru as vajrasattva

1. ladmakara 1rans|at|on Group, 7bo ¼oy oí tbo Booblsottvo, chap. b, v. 08.
2. Oor|ooo oí Roblrtbs (3kt. 1otokomo|o, 1|b. skyo po`l robs gyl pbroog bo, 1 41b0)
by Aryasura, http://ryw|k|.tsadra.org/|ndox.php/skyo_pa%27|_rabs_gy|_phrong_ba.
Chaptor 12. Guru Yoga

1. la|anda 1rans|at|on Comm|ttoo, trans., adaptod trom lotooslíylog Lovotloo lo
Ooo`s loort. 7bo 5opp|lcotloo Crylog to tbo Ooros írom Aíor by 1amgön Kongtrü|
lodrö 1hayo, http://na|andatrans|at|on.org/mod|a/lntons|ty|ng-0ovot|on.pdt .
Chaptor 14. lract|so Adv|co

1. 3ogya| l|npocho, 7bo 7lbotoo Book oí Llvlog ooo Lylog (london: l|dor 3ooks,
1002), 18b.

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