Practical Steps to help with Japan Woes


Lama Tharchin Rinpoche’s practice advice related to the Tsunami in Japan
March 15 2012

In the light of the present disaster in Japan, in all its aspects, particularly nuclear, Lama Tharchin Rinpoche recommends the following prayers and practices:

Chatral Rinpoche’s Prayer to Avert Nuclear War
Rinpoche said that Chatral Rinpoche wrote really precisely and that now is the time for people to recite this prayer and that it is very good and important.
Other practices and prayers also recommended are:

Sampa Nyur Drupma

Sa Chu Me Lung — A prayer to Guru Rinpoche and his retinue of the four elemental dakinis to remove all obstacles caused by the four elements of fire, earth, water and wind.

Green Tara

Riwo Sangchod smoke offering

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Dzogchen Ponlop “Catch and Release” Blue Airport Shirt

Meditation : Catch and release
Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche
I once bought a shirt at the airport because I had been traveling a long time and was in need of a change. I found one in a nice deep blue color and put it on without looking closely at it. Then, when I was sitting on the airplane, I saw it had a fish on it along with a caption down the sleeve: “Catch and release.” I felt very good about that. It was like a message from the universe — somehow, I was wearing instructions for working with the mind in meditation. That was my teaching for that trip.
You can use that phrase in your practice of meditation, too. Catch your thoughts and release them. You don’t need to bang them on the head and try to kill them before throwing them back. You can just acknowledge each thought and then let it go.
The practice of meditation is basically a process of getting to know yourself. How do you do it? By becoming familiar with your mind. Normally the mind is a whirlwind of thought, and meditation is a practice that calms this down and helps us develop a peaceful state of mind. Not only is our mind busy thinking, we’re usually thinking about the past or the future. We’re either reliving old dramas or imagining what could happen tomorrow or in ten years and trying to plan for it. We usually aren’t experiencing the present moment at all. We can’t change the past, and the future is always ahead of us — we never reach it, have you ever noticed? So, as long as this process continues, our mind never comes to rest. The mind can never just settle down and feel at ease.
When we practice sitting meditation over time, we get better at catching our thoughts and releasing them. Gradually the mind begins to settle naturally into a resting state. This is great because it allows us to be fully present in our lives. When we aren’t being pulled into the past or future, we can just be right here, where we actually live. To be in the present moment simply means to be awake and aware of yourself and your surroundings. That‘s the beginning of peace and contentment.
Sitting Meditation
One of the most effective methods of meditation is the practice of following the breath. To begin, you simply sit in a meditation posture and watch your breath. There’s nothing else to do. Your breathing should be natural and relaxed. There’s no need to change your normal breathing. Start with bringing your attention to your breath, focusing on the inhalation and exhalation at your nose and mouth. There is a sense that you are actually feeling your breath, feeling its movement.
When you do this, you’re not just watching your breath. As you settle into the practice, you actually become the breath. You feel it as you exhale, and you become one with it. Then you feel the breath as you inhale, and you become one with it. You are the breath and the breath is you.
As you begin to relax, you begin to appreciate nowness, the present moment. Breathing happens only in the present. Breathe out. One moment is gone. Breathe in again. Another moment is here. Appreciating nowness also includes appreciating your world, your existence, your whole environment, being content with your existence.
How to Begin
To begin a session of sitting meditation, first you need a comfortable seat. You can use any cushion firm enough to support an upright posture. You can also sit in a chair. The main point is to have a relaxed but erect posture so that your spine is straight. If you are sitting on a cushion, cross your legs comfortably, and if you are sitting on a chair, place your feet evenly on the ground. You can rest your hands in your lap or on your thighs. Your eyes can be half-open with your gaze directed slightly downward a short distance in front of you. The most important point is that your posture is both upright and relaxed. Once you’re sitting comfortably, the main thing is to be fully present — to give your practice your full attention.
Catching Your Thoughts
During meditation the chatterbox of mind will open up, and you’ll have lots of thoughts. Some will seem more important than others and evolve into emotions. Some will be related to physical sensations: the pain in your knee or back or neck. And some will strike you as extremely important — things that can’t wait. You forgot to respond to a critical email, you need to return a call, or you forgot your mother’s birthday. These kinds of thoughts will come, but instead of jumping up from your cushion, all you have to do is recognize them. When a thought tries to distract you, just say, “I’m having a thought about forgetting Mom’s birthday.” You simply catch your thought, acknowledge it, and then let it go. Sitting in meditation we treat all thoughts equally. We don’t give more weight to some thoughts than to others. If we do, we lose our concentration and our mind will start slipping away.
You may wonder why I’m talking about thoughts. We’re supposed to be focusing on meditation, right? Thoughts deserve a special mention because we tend to forget that the practice of meditation is the experience of thoughts. We might think our meditation should be completely free of thoughts, with our minds totally at peace, but that’s a misunderstanding. That’s more like the end result of our practice than the process. That is the “practice” part of the practice of meditation — just relating to whatever comes up for us. When a thought appears, we see it, acknowledge its presence, let it go and relax. That’s “catch and release.
When you meditate, you repeat this catch-and-release process over and over again. One minute, you’re resting your mind on your breath, then a thought comes up and pulls your attention away. You see the thought, let it go, and go back to your breath. Another thought comes up, you see it, let it go, and go back to your breath once again. Mindfulness, catching your thoughts, brings you back to the present and to a sense of attention, or non-distraction. You can strengthen the power of your concentration with repeated practice, just as you strengthen the muscles in your body every time you exercise.
Remember, we’re working with mind here and your mind is connected to many different conditions that impact you in various unpredictable ways. So don’t expect your meditation to always be the same or for your progress to follow a certain timeline. Don’t be discouraged by the ups and downs in your practice. Instead of seeing them as signs that your practice is hopeless, you can see them as reminders for the need to practice and why it is so helpful.
It takes time to develop a strong state of concentration. Eventually, however, you will see that your mind stays where you put it. Meditating and developing strength of mind isn’t just a nice, spiritual activity. It is actually a big help and support to anything you want to learn or accomplish. As your mind becomes calmer, you experience more of what is happening in each moment. You begin to see that your life — your actual life, right now — is far more interesting than all those thoughts you’ve been having about it!
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On the Fragility and impermanence of Life – What to Do with It

From Kyabjé Chatral Rinpoche

Namo gurubhyah!

Precious master of unrepayable kindness, Pema Ledrel Tsal,

Remain as the crown ornament on the top of my head, I pray!

Grant your blessings so that we may find freedom here and now

From all the sufferings of samsara and its lower realms!

Listen well, my dear disciples who are gathered here,

And whose hearts have not been spoiled, consider this.

The chances of finding a human existence are one in a hundred.

Now that you have found one, if you fail to practise the sublime Dharma,

How could you possibly expect to find such an opportunity again?

This is why it’s crucial that you take advantage of your situation.

Conceiving of your body as a servant or a thing to ferry you about,

Don’t allow it to rest in idleness for even just a single moment;

Use it well, spurring on your entire body, speech and mind to virtue.

You might spend your whole life pursuing only food and clothes,

With great effort and without regard for suffering or harmful deeds,

But when you die you can’t take even a single thing—consider this well.

The clothing and alms needed to keep you alive are all you need.

You might dine on the finest meal of delicious meat and alcohol,

But it all turns into something impure the very next morning,

And there is nothing more to it all than that.

So be content with life-sustaining provisions and simple clothes,

And be a loser when it comes to food, clothing and conversation.

If you don’t reflect on death and impermanence,

There’ll be no way to practise Dharma purely,

Practice will remain an aspiration, one that is constantly postponed,

And you may feel regret the day that death comes, but by then it’s too late!

There’s no real happiness among any of the six classes,

But if we consider the sufferings of the three lower realms,

Then, when you feel upset just by hearing about them,

How will you possibly cope when you experience them directly?

Even the happiness and pleasures of the three upper realms

Are just like fine food that’s been laced with poison—

Enjoyable at first, but in the long run a cause of ruin.

What’s more, all these experiences of pleasure and pain,

Are not brought about by anyone besides yourself.

They are produced by your very own actions, good and bad.

Once you know this, it’s crucial that you act accordingly,

Without confusing what should be adopted and abandoned.

It’s far better to eliminate your doubts and misconceptions,

By relying on the instructions of your own qualified teacher,

Than to receive many different teachings and never take them any further.

You might remain in a solitary place, physically isolated from the world,

Yet fail to let go of ordinary concerns, and, with attachment and aversion,

Seek to bring defeat upon your enemies while furthering the interests of your friends,

And involve yourself in all kinds of projects and financial dealings—

But there could hardly be anything worse than that at all.

If you lack the wealth of contentment in your mind,

You’ll think you need all kinds of useless things,

And end up even worse than just an ordinary person,

Because you won’t manage even a single session of practice.

So set your mind on freedom from the need for anything at all.

Wealth, success and status are all simply ways of attracting enemies and demons.

Pleasure-seeking practitioners who fail to turn their minds from this life’s concerns

Sever their connection to the authentic Dharma.

So take care to avoid becoming stubbornly immune to the teachings.

Limit yourself to just a few activities and undertake them all with diligence.

Not allowing your mind to become fidgety and restless,

Make yourself comfortable on the seat in your retreat cabin,

This is the surest way to gain the riches of a Dharma practitioner.

You might remain sealed in strict retreat for months or even years,

But if you fail to make any progress in the state of your mind,

Later, when you tell everyone about all that you did over such a long time,

Aren’t you just bragging about all the hardships and deprivation?

And all their praise and acknowledgements will only make you proud.

To bear mistreatment from our enemies is the best form of austerity,

But those who hate criticism and are attached to compliments,

Who take great pains to discover all the faults of others,

While failing to keep proper guard over their own mindstream,

And who are always irritable and short-tempered,

Are certain to bring breakages of samaya upon all their associates,

So rely constantly on mindfulness, vigilance and conscientiousness.

No matter where you stay—be it a busy place or a solitary retreat—

The only things that you need to conquer are mind’s five poisons

And your own true enemies, the eight wordly concerns, nothing else,

Whether it is by avoiding, transforming, taking them as the path or looking into their very essence,

Whichever method is best suited to your own capacity.

There’s no better sign of accomplishment than a disciplined mind,

This is true victory for the real warrior who carries no weapons.

When you practise the teachings of the sutras and tantras,

The altruistic bodhichitta of aspiration and application is crucial,

Because it lies at the very root of the Mahayana.

Just to have this is enough, but without it, all is lost.

These words of advice were spoken in the hidden grove of Padma,

In the place called Kunzang Chöling,

In the upper hermitage in a forest clearing,

By the old beggar Sangye Dorje.

May it be virtuous!

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Another Moving Post from Phakchok Rinpoche

Dear Friends, Near and Far,

Greetings to you all from Nagi Gonpa, the nunnery and hermitage nestled in the serene Shivapuri Mountain of the Kathmandu Valley. Presently at Nagi, we have Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, Tsikey Chokling Rinpoche and Yangsi Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche all engaged in the yearly nine day Ngakso Drupchen. Ngakso or Ngak kyi Sojong is a Vajrayana practice of mending and purification. Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche explained that in the Ngak kyi Sojong, we are mending and restoring the commitments of the vows of the individual liberation in accordance with the Hinayana system, the bodhisattva trainings, in accordance with the Mahayana system, and the samaya commitments, in accordance with the Vajrayana system. And in terms of the purification, we are purifying the breaches of our Hinayana vows, faults in our Mahayana training, and violations of our Vajrayana samayas.

This hermitage is very dear to my heart as it is at this hermitage where my grandfather spent nearly thirty years of his life mostly in retreat and it is at this hermitage where he passed away on this very day fifteen years ago. Young and restless was my mind when I first sat beside my grandfather when he first taught me about the expression of the view, how to train in devotion, compassion and renunciation, perfecting the accumulations, and finally the removal of obscurations. I was truly blessed to have the fortunate opportunity of meeting the dharma like this so early in life.

Nearly two decades later, here I am again standing on the balcony of the hermitage overlooking the valley. Though my mind is not as curious and jumpy like the little boy before, but my yearning for my grandfather is too intense that I’m crying just like one. At this moment of yearning, I am reminded of Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche’s melodious chant of prayer to Longchenpa based on Khenpo Ngakchung’s personal practice. For the benefit of all, here are some excerpts…

Calling the Lama from Afar:

Beloved master, precious one, father of mine,
You are forever one with all the buddhas.
Now show your kindness and love to your devoted child.
You who took birth intentionally
In the form of a supreme bodhisattva
Lord of all victorious buddhas, Longchenpa,
Father of mine, your blessings are not lacking in power,
Yet my mind is gripped by tempestuous, disturbing emotions,
As our negative actions and karma grow ever stronger,
All that awaits the sentient beings of this degenerate age
Is to fall into the depths of the lower realms:
Longchenpa, father of mine, look on me with all your compassion!

Whatever I’ve done in the past has been devoid of any meaning,
The Dharma I have practiced till now has been riddled with the eight worldly preoccupations,
Never did it occur to me, even once, to follow the genuine path.
Now there is no one I can rely on, except you:
Longchenpa, father of mine, look on me with all your compassion!
While the Lord of Death hounds me from behind,
Days, months, and years – time draws me onwards from in front,
And in between, I’m seduced and enthralled by distraction,
There is a danger that, without ever realizing it, I’ll be completely deceived:
Longchenpa, father of mine, look on me with all your compassion!

In the prime of youth, the mind is immature.
When we come of age, we’re distracted by busyness.
Once old age and infirmity set in,
We may think about the real Dharma, but then it’s far too late:
Longchenpa, father of mine, look on me with all your compassion!

I wish to stay on here, but it’s out of my control,
I wish to bring my possessions, but I cannot take a thing,
I wish for the comfort of companions, but I have to go alone;
Sooner or later I will go on to the next world, that’s for sure:
Longchenpa, father of mine, look on me with all your compassion!

Propelled by the habitual patterns of this life,
What will it be like, my journey through the bardo realm?
It will be as hard for me to control
As the dreams I had in my sleep list night:
Longchenpa, father of mine, look on me with all your compassion!

All things in samsara and nirvana are devoid of any substance,
This body will not last, and has no reality of its own.
Like the rainbow that arches across the sky,
It is taken as real, but fades into thin air:
Longchenpa, father of mine, look on me with all your compassion!

So many teachings I’ve heard, but I’ve not yet got the crucial point,
However artful at talking, my basic being is still untamed,
I put myself into retreat, but I’m craving for home and family,
I’ve got my eyes in the right gaze, but lack any real experience:
Longchenpa, father of mine, look on me with all your compassion!

By marking even the smallest failing in others,
But failing ever to notice how rotten I am inside,
By constantly fooling and misleading other people,
Aren’t I just purchasing my own misery?
Longchenpa, father of mine, look on me with all your compassion!

How can ignoring that the teachings of all the buddhas
Are there to benefit my mind,
And studying instead for the sake of profit or renown,
Ever lead me along the path to liberation?
Longchenpa, father of mine, look on me with all your compassion!

Because of all this, I feel my heart breaking in sorrow,
And I pray now to all the buddhas,
For the beings of this degenerate age, and
Especially those like me, who just bear the likeness of practioners:
Longchenpa, father of ours, look on us with all your compassion!

This child has no one to rely on now but you.
Idling my time away, in happiness and in sorrow,
Whatever happens to me, I am in your hands.
Lord, in the palace of the space of immaculate great bliss,
May I remain one with you, always and forever!

Sarva Mangalam,

Phakchok Rinpoche

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I found this marvelous reminder from Gene Smith work ethic which clearly worked to save Tibetan Texts which would otherwise have been utterly lost .
In the debates which gravitate about how to translate this monumental amount of material, remembering to put all the texts in context AFTER collating all possible copies should act as a beacon …
May , on this Guru Rinpoche, those lines carry on producing outstanding contributions and benefit to all beings.

Gene Smith’s Rules for the History of Tibetan Literature

The following points derived from Gene Smith’s Among Tibetan Texts by Kurtis Schaeffer were shared today at Columbia University’s panel discussion on the future of Tibetan studies after Gene Smith.

  • Know the breadth and depth of Tibetan history
  • Read single works for depth
  • Read collected works for breadth
  • Collect all available works on a topic
  • List all unavailable works on that topic
  • Find those unavailable works
  • Make those works available
  • Collect, describe, and compare all editions of a given work
  • Know which edition you are reading and why
  • Know the material context of the text
  • Know the social context of the work
  • Know the author’s biography
  • Know the author’s teachers, students, friends’ and enemies’ biographies
  • Know the author’s collected works
  • Know the author’s teachers, students, friends, and enemies’ collected works
  • Do not trust the text to be that of the author
  • Trust the text to reveal something interesting about the context
  • Trust the work to reveal something interesting about the author
  • Rely on the context to discern what is interesting about the author
  • Study the breadth of Tibetan tradition
  • Study the depth of Tibetan history
  • Read single works with breadth
  • Read collected woks with depth

Do not forget to visit for a deep view at all things dharma! Sarwa Mangalam

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In Homage to the Karmapa

In response to the temporarily seemingly appearing obstacles, an inspiring invitation to develop heart to heart connections.

May the walls of ignorance soon fall for all to be released and recognise the absolute clear nature of mind

Karmapa, kadyu,  17th Karmapa, India, Tibet, Tibetan Buddhism,

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The Right to Happiness – Dalai Lama Sarnath 2011

An outstanding delivery from One of the most outstanding Human alive today…

How to relate to one another in a globalised world-

Dalai Lama , Compassion, Tolerance, Religion, Mind Training, Happiness, Daily Life, stress, Peace,

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