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Mandala eZine e-VOL. 3 ISSUE 3 AUGUST 2010

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GURU DEVOTION

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Mandala eZine contents LAMA YESHE’S WISDOM 6 Don’t Be Afraid, Just Be By Lama Yeshe ADVICE FROM THE VIRTUOUS FRIEND 10 We Always Have What We Need By Lama Zopa Rinpoche COVER FEATURE 14 Guru Devotion as the Source of All Happiness COMMUNITY FORUM 25 Discussion Topic 26 Photo Bulletin Board 6

MEDIA PAGE 28 Featured Media COVER: Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Lama Yeshe near Lawudo Retreat Center, 1970. Photo by Terry Clifford. Courtesy of Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive.

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e-Vol 3 ISSUE 3 AUGUST 2010. The Mandala eZine is published as an online quarterly for Friends of FPMT by FPMT Inc., 1632 11th Ave, Portland, OR 97214-4702. August 2010 MANDALA EZINE 3


TEACHINGS FROM THE MEDICINE BUDDHA RETREAT Land of Medicine Buddha, October–November 2001

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“Because bodhisattvas have unbelievable merit, they can understand the limitless skies of benefit and qualities that Medicine Buddha has. The fortunate one who has good karma and much merit and the one who has miraculous psychic powers is able to believe in this, and they should cherish this Medicine Buddha practice.”

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ABOUT MANDALA Mandala is the official publication of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), an international charitable organization founded more than thirty years ago by two Tibetan Buddhist masters: Lama Thubten Yeshe (1935-1984) and Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche. FPMT is now a vibrant international community with a network of over 150 affiliate centers, projects, services and study groups in more than thirty countries.

Editorial Policy Recurring topics include: Buddhist philosophy; Education; Ordination and the Sangha; Buddhism and Modern Life; Youth Issues; FPMT Activities Worldwide; Lama Yeshe and his teachings; Lama Zopa Rinpoche and his teachings; His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his teachings, among many other topics. Writers, photographers and artists, both amateur and professional, are encouraged to submit material for consideration. Mandala currently does not pay for publishable content; we credit all photos and other work as requested. Mandala, in addition to the Mandala eZine, is published quarterly and is available via the Friends of FPMT program. Additionally, both publications are supplemented by online stories published exclusively at: www.mandalamagazine.org

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L A M A Y ESH E’S WI SDOM

DON’T BE AFRAID, JUST BE By Lama Yeshe

Lama Yeshe, Kathmandu, 1980. Photo by Tom Castles. Courtesy of Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive.

6 MANDALA EZINE August 2010


D

on’t be afraid. “How can I meditate? I don’t know what my consciousness is. This monk’s telling me to meditate on my consciousness, but my problem is that I don’t know what it is. How can I meditate on it?” Well, say, for example, you’re in a room where you can’t see the sun directly but you can see its rays coming in through the window. From seeing the rays, we understand that the sun exists. Similarly, from experiencing our thoughts and motivations, we understand that our consciousness underlies them. Looking at or simply being aware of your thoughts and motivation is good enough for you to be meditating on your own consciousness. Is that clear? I’ll say it again. One way of meditating on your consciousness is simply to be aware of your mind’s view. When you look at your own mind’s view, when you are aware of your own mind’s view, that’s good enough. I call that meditation on your consciousness. Another way of doing this is to be aware of the essence of your own thoughts. You know the moment you close your eyes some kind of thought is going to arise – just be aware of its essence. I also call that meditation on your consciousness. Don’t worry whether your thoughts are good or bad – the essential aspect of both is clear, because both good and bad thoughts reflect phenomena. When I say “meditation,” I don’t mean that you should squeeze yourself. These days there are a lot of misconceptions about what meditation is, especially in the

West. Some people think it means you should squeeze yourself; others think it means [Lama shows an example]. Both are wrong. With one, you’re completely distracted; with the other, you’re completely sluggish. Meditation is actually very simple. When you close your eyes, what happens is that your awareness begins to radiate, like a sensitive radar detector. A good radar detector picks up any kind of signal; it notices, it’s aware. Similarly, when we meditate our mind becomes aware; we become very sensitive or totally awake as to what’s going on. That’s what I call meditation – intensive conscious awareness. But I don’t mean that in the conversational sense: “Blah, blah, blah, oh, there’s a light, there’s something else.” It’s not like that. However, I’d better explain what I mean by conversation. Let’s say we’re supposed to be meditating. We’re aware of what’s going on around us: “A car goes by; there goes a truck…” We’re aware, but then what we should not do is start some kind of conversation about what we’ve noticed: “That must be a very nice truck. Perhaps it’s full of cheese for sale. Maybe it’s an ice cream truck.” Conversation. That’s what we should not do. We should be aware, but in control, and not start some kind of internal dialog. In meditation you’re learning control and how to eliminate the uncontrolled mind. What is it that makes you uncontrolled? It’s your mind making conversation: “He’s like this; she’s like that. He says this; I don’t like it. She says that; I like it.” All this kind of internal chatter is what I mean by August 2010 MANDALA EZINE 7


L A M A Y ESH E’S WI SDOM

conversation. The mind's constantly reacting. But, control is not reacting. Somebody calls you a bad person, but you don’t react. You don’t make conversation: “She said I’m bad. That hurt my ego, hurt my ego, hurt my ego, hurt my ego...” That’s reacting; that’s an uncontrolled mind, a mind obsessed. The way I look at it, an obsessed mind has two objects: the beautiful object of cravingdesire or the repulsive object of aversion. And the mind obsessed with either of these objects cannot move away from it. That means you’re not free, not flexible. You’re always thinking, “This, this, this, this, this…” That’s what obsessed means. And whether it’s an object of hatred or jealousy or craving-desire, an obsessed mind is disturbed. Meditation teaches us to avoid the habit of reacting when an object of obsession appears. Now, you may ask, what really is the benefit of awareness of your own consciousness as opposed to, say, awareness of a flower? Or your girlfriend or boyfriend? There’s benefit in being aware of the nature of your consciousness because, unlike girlfriends, boyfriends and flowers, consciousness itself has no notion of concrete self-existence. Therefore, the beauty of watching, or being aware of, your own consciousness is that it leads to the breakdown of your heavy blanket of superstitious concepts and to the experience of great emptiness. In order to solve our problems we need some experience. Intellectual “blah-blah” understanding is not enough. To break down concepts we need a way of gaining experience with our own mind. When we’ve had an experience, we know we’re really capable of solving 8 MANDALA EZINE August 2010

our own problems and this encourages us: “I can do anything I want. I can really solve my problems.” From the Buddhist point of view, that’s the start of human liberation. Normally, we’re too intellectual. We’re always saying, “Good, bad, good, bad, good, bad.” All the time. But when we meditate, we stop saying, “Good, bad, good, bad, good, bad.” The intellectual good-bad thinking gets stopped. Good-bad thinking is dualistic; it splits your mind. Just be aware; just be conscious. We should be like the sun or the moon. They don’t think, “I’ll make Swiss people warm; I’ll give Swiss people light.” They don’t do anything like that. So that’s how we should be: intensively aware without any intellectual good or bad. That’s very important. Maitreya Buddha said that written texts and scriptures are like a bridge. In order to cross a river you need a reliable bridge. Once you’ve crossed, you can say, “Bye-bye bridge.” If instead you start thinking, “Oh, this bridge is so kind, this bridge is so kind, this bible is so kind, this sutra is so kind,” so attached to the scripture, it doesn’t make sense. So what I’m saying is that all the intellectual good-bad is, from a certain point of view, OK. It’s good to be able to discriminate between good and bad. It has some value. But always going “good, bad, good, bad, good, bad” doesn’t have much value. You need that kind of discriminating wisdom, but at a certain point, you have to go beyond it, leave it and just be. Lama Yeshe gave this teaching in Geneva, Switzerland, in September 1983, his last teaching in the West. Edited from the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive by Nicholas Ribush.


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ADVICE FROM THE VI RT UO US FRI EN D

WE ALWAYS HAVE WHAT WE NEED By Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Lama Zopa Rinpoche in Delhi, January 2009. Photo by Ven. Thubten Kunsang. 10 MANDALA EZINE August 2010


W

hen we renounce attachment we are never without what we need. Renouncing attachment to friends, we have friends; renouncing attachment to a comfortable environment, we have a comfortable environment. Without making any effort from our own side, when we need something or someone, it just naturally happens, due to the power of practicing Dharma. KADAMPA GESHE SHABOGAYPPA SAYS: As the desires of this life cause all the misery of this and future lives, we must not seek fulfillment of our desires. When we try to fulfill our desires we are not happy. We become unsure of the direction of our life, and wrong speech, wrong mind and wrong actions all surface at once. Therefore, we must turn away from our many desires. When we are able to do this, we establish the beginning of happiness and pleasure. The best sign of happiness in this and all future lives is not desiring or accumulating anything at all. When we do not desire gain, we have the greatest gain. When we do not desire reputation, we have the best reputation. When we do not desire fame, we have the greatest fame. When we do not desire companions, we have the best companions. When you do not seek to receive materials, that is the best receiving.1

Not being attached to gain is the greatest gain. When we are attached to material pleasure,

it is very hard to get. However, when we have renounced attachment to it, it seems to come naturally without need for much effort. The “greatest gain,” however, isn’t a lot of material possessions but enlightenment, ultimate happiness. Not desiring reputation is the best reputation. For instance, although all the great pandits, like Milarepa, Lama Tsongkhapa and Shakyamuni Buddha, had completely renounced the desire for a good reputation, they still to this day have such amazing reputations that all sentient beings who even just hear their names prostrate and make offerings. We worldly people spend so much energy and money trying to get a good reputation. If we want a high position, like a president or something, we have to spend millions and millions of dollars. It’s so difficult to become successful. The great Sakya Pandita Kunga Gyaltsen, who achieved the state of Manjushri, the buddha of wisdom, said that in order to obtain the happiness of this life, we must work for the happiness of future lives by practicing Dharma, and along the way the happiness of this life comes naturally. When we check up, this is quite obvious. If the worldly dharmas are the source of the whole life’s problems, then by renouncing them, of course we will achieve happiness at the moment we renounce them. He says: “If you wish to obtain the happiness of this life, practice the holy Dharma. Look at the difference in the perfections of the holy beings and the thieves.” 1

Quoted in Door of Liberation, p. 119. August 2010 MANDALA EZINE 11


ADVICE FROM THE VI RT UO US FRI EN D

There is the story of the Kadampa lama, Geshe Benkungyel.2 Before he started practicing Dharma, he had a field, big enough that he could get many sacks of barley from it and he had enough to live on. But he was never satisfied, so he used to be a robber in the daytime and a thief at night, going into other people’s houses and taking away things by force. He had many weapons – knives, arrows and all kinds of different weapons – which he carried all on his body, in a belt, like thorns. Despite the rich harvest of forty sacks of barley a year, he felt he never had enough, that he was still too poor. People called him “forty evil.”3 Then he gave up all that, completely renouncing the eight worldly dharmas and living in the practice of Dharma. He lived in a hermitage with no material possessions and no fields. Before, when he had everything it was never enough, but when he lived in the hermitage, by renouncing the eight worldly dharmas, he received so much food, and never wanted for temporal needs, due to offerings from people. So he said, “Before I practiced Dharma my mouth had trouble finding food, but now food has trouble finding my mouth.” He meant that before his mouth was never satisfied with what it received, but since he renounced the eight worldly dharmas there was more food than he could ever eat. This is what Sakya Pandita means by the difference between holy beings and thieves. The holy being is always satisfied but the thief never has enough. At the time Geshe Benkungyel lived in Pembo, in Tibet, there was some trouble. Robbers and thieves were everywhere, taking things by force and everyone was busy trying to hide their possessions under the ground or take 12 MANDALA EZINE August 2010

them to the mountains. People were running from the robbers, full of fear. Benkungyel, on the other hand, had no fear. The robes he wore and a clay pot for water were his only possessions, so even if he encountered robbers they wouldn’t bother him because he had nothing to steal. So, he walked in the streets in a very calm, relaxed way and he was surprised that everyone around him was so afraid. He said, “This is the way that worldly people hide their possessions; this is the way that I hide my possessions.” What he actually means by “hiding his possessions” is renouncing the thought of the eight worldly dharmas and so there is no danger of people bothering him. Thieves are never satisfied. Even if they get things by honest work, it is never enough and so they think they have to steal, but no matter how much they steal, it is still never enough. And stealing is negative karma and brings all sorts of problems. Holy beings are completely the opposite. Every action of body, speech and mind is purely to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of mother sentient beings, never for temporal needs. They have no use for temporal pleasures, and so, without needing to steal anything, just by the power of the pure Dharma practice, whatever temporal things they need they can easily receive. Excerpted from Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s How to Practice Dharma, edited by Gordon McDougall, forthcoming from the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive in 2010.

2 This story is also quoted in Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand, p. 336, and Geshe Sonam Rinchen, The Three Principle Aspects of the Path: An Oral Teaching by Geshe Sonam Rinchen on Tsongkhapa’s Lam Gri Gtso Bo Rham Gsum, (Ithaca, Snow Lion, 1999) p. 46. 3 Translated in Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand as “Half-ton Bandit,” p. 336.


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http://onlinelearning.fpmt.org August 2010 MANDALA EZINE 13


SOURC E O F A L L H A PPI N ESS

GURU DEVOTION

AS THE SOURCE OF ALL HAPPINESS The foundation of all good qualities is the kind and venerable, pure Guru; Correct devotion to him is the root of the path. By clearly seeing this an applying great effort, Please bless me to rely upon him with great respect. – The Foundation of All Good Qualities, Lama Tsongkhapa

I Lama Tsongkhapa. Photo by Nick Dawson.

n the July-September 2010 issue of Mandala, we introduced you to some of the amazing FPMT-registered teachers that serve throughout the world, sharing their knowledge and personal experience of the Buddhist path. We wanted to follow up with the whys and how-tos of establishing and strengthening a healthy and fruitful relationship with a qualified spiritual guide.

FOUNDATION OF ALL

GOOD QUALITIES By Ven. Amy Miller

T

his recording is from an audio course with Ven. Amy Miller from Buddhism in a Nutshell: Essentials for Practice and Study. Ven. Amy Miller is director of Milarepa Center, an FPMT retreat center located in Barnet, Vermont, USA. Milarepa Center maintains a hearty yearround calendar of programs focusing on meditation, retreat and healing practices (such as the September 2010 Milarepa initiation and retreat with Lama Zopa Rinpoche) amidst the serene beauty of rural Vermont.

Ven. Amy Miller. Image by Cesca Hampton. 14 MANDALA EZINE August 2010


September 2-5

Milarepa Initiation and Retreat October 1-3

with Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Manjushri Jenang and Commentary on the Heart Sutra with Ven. Dagri Rinpoche

October 9-17

Green Tara Retreat with Geshe Gelek Chodha

For details on these and other events, such as the Kalachakra Initiation with Venerable Choden Rinpoche, please visit our website:

www.milarepacenter.org

Milarepa Center 1344 US Route 5 South Barnet, VT 05821 (802)633-4136 milarepa@milarepacenter.org


SOURC E O F A L L H A PPI N ESS

DO I REALLY NEED A GURU? By Geshe Tashi Tsering n his clear and open style, Geshe Tashi Tsering answers one of the fundamental questions which can arise at the beginning of a Buddhist practitioner’s path. In the lecture, Geshe Tashi Tsering discusses in depth the traditional etymology of the terms “guru,” “lama” and “disciple,” and the fundamental characteristic that qualifies someone as a disciple – an aspiration to attain “definite goodness.” Geshe Tashi Tsering is the resident geshe at Jamyang Buddhist Centre in London, England and developed the immensely popular Foundation of Buddhist Thought courses.

I

Geshe Tashi Tsering. Photo by Marc Sakamoto.

THE DIFFERENT LEVELS OF

SPIRITUAL TEACHER

By Don Handrick on Handrick, a graduate of FPMT Masters Program and resident teacher at Thubten Norbu Ling in New Mexico, United States, clarifies the different levels of spiritual teachers that we might encounter in our lives and their role in our development, concluding with the tantric master – a teacher qualified to lead us through the stages of tantric practice. Drawing from his personal experience with his own teachers, this lecture is clean-clear, intimate and incredibly useful for students trying to figure out just where their mentors fit into their spiritual life. The lecture in its entirety can be found on their online archive.

D Don Handrick

16 MANDALA EZINE August 2010


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SOURC E O F A L L H A PPI N ESS

DEVELOPING RESPECT FOR THE GURU

BY REMEMBERING THEIR KINDNESS By Yangsi Rinpoche

W

e can begin by thinking that since beginningless lifetimes we have been bound by karma and delusions to cyclic existence, totally confused about how we exist. Then we can think about the spiritual teacherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s kindness in showing us how we exist in samsara, or cyclic existence, and pointing out the reality of what we need to abandon and what we need to cultivate. We should generate a sense of appreciation toward the teacher whose

in protecting us from mistaken and distorted paths, and in guiding us on the path to liberation and enlightenment. When the delusions rage like fire within our minds, it is our spiritual teachers who shower us with the Dharma rain that stifles the flame of our negative thoughts. It is our spiritual teachers who treat us with the ultimate medicine of the Dharma teachings to cure the chronic disease of our negative

When the delusions rage like fire within our minds, it is our spiritual teachers who shower us with the Dharma rain that stifles the flame of our negative thoughts. knowledge inspires us, not only ensuring the benefits of this lifetime, but also the benefits of infinite future lifetimes. Our spiritual teachers awaken us from the deep sleep of our delusional minds of attachment, anger and ignorance. In recognition of that, we cultivate respect. In addition, we can reflect that our spiritual teachers free us from engaging in totally wrong ways of thinking or living. They show us a path that leads to liberation, a way of life that will bring about our own enlightenment. In this way, they guide us to great fortune, not only for ourselves but also for the benefit of others. Think about the kindness of our spiritual teachers 18 MANDALA EZINE August 2010

minds. And it is our spiritual teachers who show us the paths of profound method and wisdom, and the unified practice that enables us to attain enlightenment. We can also reflect upon the kindness of our spiritual teachers in accordance with the Array of Stalks Sutra. In the context of this text, we reflect upon the kindness of the spiritual teacher in terms of the four noble truths â&#x20AC;&#x201C; considering the kindness of the spiritual teacher in introducing us to the reality of true suffering and true cause, as well as showing us the means by which to become free of these, true path and true cessation.


Image by Cesca Hampton

Moreover, we can think of the spiritual teacher as a mother, nurturing the perfection of our thoughts and actions. And we can also think of the spiritual teacher as a father, eliminating our obscurations and enabling the full completion of all of our positive potential. As well, the spiritual teacher is like a support, protecting us from all downfalls and from the harm of our self-cherishing mind. The spiritual teacher is also like the full moon, complete in all qualities, and like the sun, illuminating the path to liberation and enlightenment. These are some of the points on which to reflect in order to recollect the kindness of our spiritual teachers. The kindness of our spiritual teachers is different from the kindness that we remember in our daily life, such as that of a friend helping us in some small way. The latter is a very limited kindness, and it benefit is restricted to this one brief lifetime alone, while the kindness of our spiritual teachers is the most pervasive, most extensive, most profound kindness there is. It is an incomparable kindness; it is wonderful in every respect. As our experience of the path deepens, so will our recognition of that kindness. When the antidote of the teachings begins to reduce the three poisons in our minds, and when we feel a sense of conviction in the attainment of enlightenment, when we realize that all of our delusions really are extinguishable, and when on the basis of such faith we apply the antidote of the teachings â&#x20AC;&#x201C; when we experience all of these results, we will fully come to appreciate the kindness of our teachers. The essence of all guru yoga practice is cultivating pure faith and respect for the

spiritual teacher by clearly recognizing his or her kindness. This respect should arise from the very depth of our hearts. Practicing guru devotion through thought is basically cultivating faith and respect, and practicing it through action is doing everything that pleases our spiritual teachers the most and abandoning everything that would incur the teacherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s displeasure. This is the most general advice. In the specific forms of advice, it is said that if, however, in order to please the spiritual teacher, we are asked to undertake inappropriate actions, actions that go against the instructions of the Dharma, or actions that are contradictory to the three higher trainings, then we need not undertake them. If this situation should occur, we can politely decline, and offer our reasons for not complying. And even that experience should never become an obstacle to our pure faith. Excerpted from Practicing the Path: A Commentary on the Lamrim Chenmo, published by Wisdom Publications and available through the Foundation Store. Yangsi Rinpoche is president of Maitripa College in Portland, Oregon. August 2010 MANDALA EZINE 19


SOURC E O F A L L H A PPI N ESS

WHAT DO YOUR

SPIRITUAL TEACHERS MEAN TO YOU?

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xcerpted from the fourth module of Discovering Buddhism, “The Spiritual Teacher,” this clip contains the intimate impressions of Ven. Holly Ansett and John Feuille, two longtime FPMT students, of their spiritual teachers. “The Spiritual Teacher” can be accessed online through the Online Learning Center, and features the video in its entirety among other valuable resources.

GURU DOING

BUDDHAS’ WORK By Lama Zopa Rinpoche

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his short clip is taken from the fourth module of Living in the Path, “Guru Devotion.” Lama Zopa Rinpoche continually stresses that in the aspect of outward spiritual teachers, “all the buddhas are guiding you.”

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WHEN WE’RE READY TO BRAVE A

GURU-DISCIPLE RELATIONSHIP

By Ven. Lobsang Chokyi

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student must develop a healthy and respectful attitude towards their teacher when they are ready to brave the gurudisciple relationship. In this short teaching, Ven. Lobsang Chokyi reviews the most useful attitudes to have as described in Practicing Guru Devotion with the Nine Attitudes [published in Mandala July-September 2010], written by Shabkar Tsokdrug Rangdrol. The teaching can be found in its entirety on Tse Chen Ling’s online archive.

Image by Cesca Hampton

CALLING THE GURU FROM AFAR

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ama Zopa Rinpoche provides instruction on how to visualize and think while reciting this abbreviated version of Calling the Guru from Afar, a text attributed by His Eminence Shyalpa Rinpoche to Zarongfu Sangye Ngawang Tenzin Rinpoche, who His Eminence thinks “must have been very close to the previous incarnation of Lama Zopa Rinpoche.” This rare recording is courtesy of the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive.

August 2010 MANDALA EZINE 21


SOURC E O F A L L H A PPI N ESS

THE REALIZATION OF

GURU DEVOTION By Lama Zopa Rinpoche

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ou have generated the realization of guru devotion, of seeing the guru as buddha, when you spontaneously recognize that there is no buddha other than the guru and that there is no guru other than the buddha. Whenever you see or think of a guru, you immediately recognize that that guru is an actual buddha. Whenever you see or think of a buddha, you immediately recognize that it is the guru. The understanding that the guru and buddha are one arises naturally, effortlessly, from your heart. In the beginning you see the guru and buddha as separate, but when you have the realization of guru devotion you see them as inseparably mixed, like water poured into water. … Once you have the realization of guru devotion, it is very easy to meditate on any subject. Your mind, like dough, can be made into any shape. You can make dough into bread, noodles and many other shapes. With realization of guru devotion, you easily feel any subject you meditate on. Normally when you recite a prayer, the words you recite and your heart are totally separate but when you have realized guru devotion, your heart is living in the meaning of the words you are reciting. When you are reciting words about compassion, your mind feels compassion. When you recite or think of words about impermanence and death, bodhichitta or emptiness, your mind is easily transformed into that. Your mind becomes easy to tame, like a dog. It is very easy for you to have the realization of whatever you meditate on. Because of the realization of guru devotion,

it is also more difficult for delusions to arise in your daily life, and even if they do, they are weak and easy to overcome. It is then very easy to practice Dharma. It doesn’t matter whether we can intellectually understand our experience of guru devotion or explain it in words, as long as we feel the way it is explained in the teachings. The main thing is to have the experience. If we feel that the guru is buddha, we have achieved what needed to be achieved. However, having the intellectual understanding helps to stabilize the experience. Then, even if we lose the experience, because we know all the logical reasoning, by meditating we can again generate the experience of guru devotion. How quickly and easily we can actualize the path and achieve enlightenment depend on how strong our realization of guru devotion is. The skillful way to meditate on lam-rim and complete the lam-rim realizations is to realize guru devotion. Once we have realized guru devotion, realizations of the rest of the path then come without difficulties, like falling rain. However, to generate bodhichitta and the rest of the realizations of the path, it’s not necessary to wait until we can see the guru as a buddha, which might take several lifetimes. If we are going to wait for that, no realizations will be generated for that many lifetimes. Seeing the guru as buddha and seeing all sentient beings as mother are generally regarded as the most difficult lam-rim realizations for most people to achieve, though it still depends on the individual. That’s why it’s emphasized that we should train August 2010 MANDALA EZINE 23


SOURC E O F A L L H A PPI N ESS

our mind in these meditations at least once every day. Every day, first thing in the morning, we should meditate on guru devotion. As Shantideva and Geshe Chekawa mention, there’s nothing that we can’t train our mind to become; whichever way we train our mind, it becomes that. If we do the meditations on guru devotion every morning and remember them throughout the day, this practice will become easier and easier. When the wrong conception seeing faults comes, because we have meditated and trained our mind, we will immediately be able to recognize it as a mistake

obscurations, and any lam-rim meditation we do makes great sense to us. Our mind is no longer hard like a rock, but extremely soft. With any meditation we do, we feel confident that if we really tried for some weeks or months, we could generate the realization of that meditation. What were mere words in the beginning, we now feel strongly from our heart. By developing this realization of guru devotion, we then generate the realizations of the graduated path to enlightenment. With the generation of bodhichitta, we enter the

As Shantideva and Geshe Chekawa mention, there’s nothing that we can’t train our mind to become; whichever way we train our mind, it becomes that. that is creating obstacles to our enlightenment and to our performing extensive works for all sentient beings. While we should try to generate the realization of guru devotion in this life, the skillful way to train our mind in lam-rim and quickly accomplish the path is not to spend our whole life solely on trying to generate the realization of seeing the guru as buddha. We would then not get the chance to generate renunciation, bodhichitta, emptiness or any other realization. When we died, we then wouldn’t have any lam-rim realizations in our mind. Since it is the superstitious thoughts toward the guru that disturb our generating the rest of the realizations of the path, when we are capable of not allowing such thoughts to arise we can start to train our mind in the rest of the path to enlightenment. As we develop our guru devotion more deeply and strongly, we purify more of our 24 MANDALA EZINE August 2010

Mahayana path, which has five divisions. The first, the path of merit, has three divisions. When we achieve the great path of merit, we see the guru in nirmanakaya aspect. When we achieve the Mahayana path of seeing and become an arya bodhisattva, we see the guru in sambhogakaya aspect. When we then achieve the path of no more learning, we cease even our subtle obscurations and our mental continuum is complete in realizations. When the continuation of our present consciousness becomes omniscient mind, our own mind becomes dharmakaya, which is the absolute guru. We achieve the absolute guru. When we achieve the absolute guru, we achieve the guru; we meet the guru mentally, becoming one. y Excerpted from The Heart of the Path, the first in a series of books published by Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive covering the entire Lam-rim. The Heart of the Path contains all of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s essential advice on the topic of guru devotion.


COMMUNITY FO RUM

DISCUSSION TOPIC WHAT IS THE MOST FRUITFUL CHALLENGE YOUR TEACHER HAS GIVEN YOU? Please send your responses to michael@fpmt.org Responses will be printed in the August issue of Mandala eZine.

Drawing by Emma Bramma-Smith

RESPONSE TO LAST ISSUE’S DISCUSSION TOPIC (How do you keep in touch with the FPMT community?) Answered by Patrick Georgelin

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he May eZine, whose videos are nice to hear, especially Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s, and Mandala magazine are the source of my staying in connection with the FPMT family. The real feeling however comes from contact with members of this family. Here at Institut Vajra Yogini (I live only six kilometers away), meeting and seeing old students whose entire life is motivated by the FPMT and by the Dharma in general is also a source of inspiration. Some of the more interesting subjects to read are the stories of travelers who make pilgrimage to holy places and stories from individuals which are an example of the teachings – not only from far-away America, Asia and Australia, but also from here in France or Europe. Patrick lives in Lavaur, France and is a student at Institut Varja Yogini. August 2010 MANDALA EZINE 25


C O M M UN I T Y FO RUM

PHOTO BULLETIN BOARD end us a photo of you or a group with an issue of Mandala and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll post it on our bulletin board in the next eZine. This is an excellent opportunity for us to visualize the amazing international community of teachers, students and friends that make up the FPMT family. To see more of the FPMT community reading their Mandalas, visit our Facebook page. Send your photos to michael@fpmt.org

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Aura Fullana of Grupul de Studiu Buddhist White Tara, Pitesti, Romania

Alexandra Grigrescu of Grupul de Studiu Buddhist White Tara, Pitesti, Romania 26 MANDALA EZINE August 2010


Alice Arbuthnott, 93, long-time student of Atisha Centre and Tara Institute, Australia Thubten Sherab Sherpa, coordinator of Grupul de Studiu Buddhist White Tara, Pitesti, Romania

Susan MacAuley (Thubten Drolkar), Tasmania, Australia.

Mari of Grupul de Studiu Buddhist White Tara, Pitesti, Romania August 2010 MANDALA EZINE 27


M EDI A PA G E

FEATURED MEDIA FEATURED AUDIO: “The First and Second Truths of the Noble Ones” By Ven. Thubten Dondrub This excerpt comes from a series of weekend retreats lead by Ven. Thubten Dondrub, resident teacher of Hayagriva Buddhist Centre, in Kensington, Australia in 2006. In his characteristically gentle style, Ven. Dondrub introduces students to the foundational (and often emotionally trying) topics of suffering and the causes of suffering, and the ways these truths impact our lives. Ven. Thubten Dondrub has been ordained for over 30 years, and is the Western teacher for Discovering Buddhism’s seventh module, “Refuge in the Three Jewels.”

FEATURED VIDEO: “Extensive Practice in Tsopema” By Ven. Thubten Kunsang In 2009, Lama Zopa Rinpoche traveled to Tsopema with Dagri Rinpoche and Khadro-la, engaging in extensive practice at the holy sites associated with Padmasambhava. Literally “Lotus Lake,” Tsopema is known to have been miraculously created by Padmasambhava from out of a pyre after the King of Zahor attempted to burn him and Princess Mandarava alive. This unique collection of footage features melodic chanting and a glimpse at the meditation caves and holy objects found in the area.

28 MANDALA EZINE August 2010


FEATURED PHOTO: “Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Others in Lawudo, Spring 1977” Lama Zopa Rinpoche discovered this picture hidden amidst an array of photo albums in the home of Merry Colony, director of FPMT Education Services, during his visit to International Office and Maitripa College in Portland, Oregon, May 2010. This photo is an uncommonly rare find – Merry had never seen it before! Pictured are Lama Zopa Rinpoche and several other notable figures in front of the entrance of Rinpoche’s cave in Lawudo, Nepal.

Back from left to right: George Churinoff, unknown, Lama Pasang, Thami Rinpoche, Helmut Holmes, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, unknown, Jampa Chokyi/Jamyang Wongmo, Jill Gillis, Harry Sutton, Ama-la (Rinpoche’s mother), unknown, Ang Nwawang, unknown. Bottom from left to right: Nick Ribush, Thubten Chodron, Thubten Wongmo (with dog), unknown.

August 2010 MANDALA EZINE 29


FPMT Education Services Providing Progra ms a nd Pr a c t i c e M a t e r i a l s For Al l

FPMT Prayer Book Series:

Essential Buddhist Prayers, An FPMT Prayer Book, Vol 1: All one’s daily prayers and practices, from blessing the speech in the morning to dedicating the merits in the evening. (292 pgs)

Essential Buddhist Prayers, An FPMT Prayer Book, Vol 2: Comprehensive collection of practices advised by Lama Zopa Rinpoche to be performed on the 8th, 15th, 29th and 30th of the Tibetan month. (340 pgs)

Essential Buddhist Prayers, An FPMT Prayer Book, Vol 3: Short daily practices of the primary Gelug Tantric deities: Guhyasamaja, Gyalwa Gyatso, Chakrasamvara, Vajrayogini, Yamantaka and more. Requires Empowerment. (340 pgs)

Homestudy Courses:

FPMT Retreat Prayer Book; All of the daily practices advised by Lama Zopa Rinpoche when in personal retreat. This text will also be used at group retreats with Lama Zopa Rinpoche. (360 pgs)

Heart Advice for Death and Dying; Profound and accessible written teachings on death and dying by Lama Zopa Rinpoche & 11 hours of exquisite audio teachings and meditations by Ven. Sangye Khadro on MP3 CD

Buddhism in a Nutshell; Overview of the complete path to enlightenment. Written teachings by Lama Yeshe, Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Ven Amy Miller & 11 hours of audio teachings and meditations by Ven. Amy Miller on MP3 CD

Available from the Foundation Store: www.fpmt.org/shop

www.fpmt.org

THE INTERNATIONAL

MERIT BOX PROJECT W E A L L H A V E A W O R D F O R G E N E R O S I T Y:

慷慨 g en erø site t vrij ge vi gh ei d suu rem ee lsu s ka ga nd ah ang -lo ob h ào phó ng 寛大な g é nér osité g ene ro sità G roß züg ig ke it щедрость g en e r os i da de ke m u r ah an g e n er o s i t e t ga v m i l d h e t G e n er o z i t a t e a Practice generosity with your own International Merit Box kit, now available in eleven languages. Email meritbox@fpmt.org for more information and to obtain your own Merit Box kit, or visit www.fpmt.org/meritbox If you are already an International Merit Box participant, thank you for practicing generosity today, and throughout the year, in support of FPMT projects worldwide.

Mandala eZine August 2010  

Mandala eZine August 2010