Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A billion stars ...

"a billion stars go spinning through the night, blazing high above your head. But in you is the presence that will be, when all the stars are dead."

-- Rainer Maria Rilke:

Friday, January 17, 2014

Text of Letter to a Friend

Text of Letter to a Friend

(bShes-pa'i springs-yig, Skt. Suhrllekha)
by Nagarjuna

translated by Alexander Berzin, March 2006
(1) O you, with a nature of good qualities, who’ve become worthy
   through constructive deeds,
Please listen to these (verses) in noble meter,
Which I’ve compiled in short for the sake of (instilling)
An intention for the positive force that comes from (following)
   explanations of the Blissfully Gone (Buddha’s) speech.
(2) Just as the wise venerate a statue of the Blissfully Gone,
Even out of wood, regardless of how it’s been made;
Likewise, although this poetry of mine may be deficient,
   please do not scorn it,
Since it’s based on expressions of the hallowed Dharma.
(3) Although a profusion of the resonant words
   of the Great Sage (Buddha)
May already have entered your heart,
Isn’t something made of limestone made even whiter
By the light of a winter’s moon?
(4) The Triumphant has proclaimed six (objects)
   for continual mindfulness:
The Buddhas, the Dharma, the Sangha,
Generous giving, ethical discipline, and the gods.
Be continually mindful of the mass of good qualities of these ...
(please go to included link for the rest of the readings: http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/sutra/level6_study_major_texts/suhrllekha_letter_friend_nagarjuna/letter_friend.html)

Sublime Tara!

Sublime Tara!

With a heart clouded by thick veils of illusion, yet brimming with the desire to be truly released from suffering and to release all others from suffering, I call to you for help.

Oh blessed Lady who can denied no plea for mercy, I humbly ask that you hold me in your heart eternally and deliver me and all others to Nirvana.

I am ashamed of my clumsy words; my heart, spirit, and body those of a new born babe who knows nothing more than to scream for its mother.

My words are not adequate, nor the love in my heart pure enough, but please, Tara, my Mother, come to my aid! Manifest and guide me!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


The stars are my infinite mala, each glowing pearl an ocean of souls,
Pass beneath my fingers once, never to return.
The great sound: Om Ah Hung Varja Guru Pema Siddhi Hung consumes the void!
Passes away, returns once more, bringing harmony: the cure!

Oh Beloved, incomparable Guru Rinpoche!  The sound of your mantra vibrates the illusion! Breaks through it!


This is infinity! The unborn! The potential!
Here, in the lotus of its birth this mantra unfurls 100 times, 1000, 1,000,000, 1,000,000 X 1,000,000!

More!  Endlessly, indescribably more!


The sound becomes each becoming and ending, neither possible nor impossible, it lives in the in-between and is manifest!

Yet, impossibly, the aspiration, the merit and virtue created by its constant unfurling far exceeds the mantra itself in quantity!

Oh such immense merit!  Such wonderful virtue!  Never since Guru Rinpoche has such goodness become manifest within the real!

Universe upon Universe of Merit and Virtue created and dedicated, in the manner, wisdom, and compassion, of Guru Rinpoche, for the happiness of all beings!

As the mantra unfurls, so does the merit, so does the dedication!  An infinite, blessed, loop!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Special Wish of dedication for Karma Euzer Ling

In the manner of Samantabhadra and the hero Manjusri I delicate all my virtue and merit and all virtue and merit generated by this post (which multiplies without limit, repeating infinitely within each atom of the past, present, and future, whose number are without end) on behalf of the Dharma Centre Karma Euzer Ling in Normandy, France.

May Karma Euzer Ling easily acquire all money and aid, and remove all obstacles in order to acquire their new house and land.  

May all beings be happy!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Tibetan Buddhism -- do you need a teacher?

My journey towards Tibetan Buddhism officially started in 2009.

I had always been a spiritual seeker but suddenly I was inundated with many other wake up symbols that guided me to where I am now – to a place where I have complete confidence that I have stumbled across the path to truth and self-liberation.

I had many false starts trying to step onto the Tibetan Buddhism path, one of them being how the heck was a stay at home mum of three, living in France, going to find a Tibetan Lama to shower her with empowerments and wisdom?

I knew that when the student was ready the teacher would come, but it seemed impossible (oh how foolish I was, and how little I knew of the jewel box of Tibetan Buddhism that is France).

Recently His Holiness the 17th Karmapa held an event at the Karmapa International Buddhist Institute in Delhi were he invited people from his facebook community to ask questions, of which several were selected highlighting this Western concern of how to find a Teacher and if one is really needed or not:

The Questions:

• Is it necessary to practice the spiritual practice only under proper guidance by a teacher, or can we start on our own if we have faith in what we do? 

• If the beginning of all knowledge is to know yourself and we have all the answers within ourselves, why is it so important to have a spiritual teacher?

His Holiness Karmapa Thaye Dorje’s response:

'We all have innate, unborn qualities. That is not to say that, in a Buddhist sense, we are already enlightened, but the seed of the potential is already planted inside each and every one of us. It is inherently present.

To really sit down and tell ourselves things, such as, ‘I am inherently pure and decent,’ can be difficult - although we can relate to these truths during unemotional moments. But If we have a hard time accepting these truths, when we are in crisis and have doubt in ourselves, then this is a clear sign that we do need someone to guide us; someone to show us; someone to explain and teach us what it is, and that it is like that. 

In terms of the question of whether we need a teacher or not, it is not that we have to go to the end of the world to really find the answer. I believe it is right here, right now, we can just ask ourselves individually ‘do we really have the potential or not?’, ‘do we really understand the truth?’ Or, we can change the terms by saying ‘do I know the nature of mind?’, ‘do I know the universe and phenomena?’ and so on.

For this, we may need proper guidance. And then of course, there comes many questions such as ‘how to find an authentic guide?’ and ‘how do we know that that is the right path?’, and so on. But for that I think it is important to focus on the basic qualities of the teachers or guides, and also use our own basic qualities to assess with a good degree of clarity, i.e. without emotion. So, whether Theravada teacher or Mahayana teacher, there are certain standards or certain basic qualities that he or she should require in order to guide.'

To all of you seekers on the path, I want to say keep searching -- like a hook and a ring, the ring is always being cast out, but you must hold the hook out to get “fished up” so to speak.

Have faith and confidence, never give up!  Know that you are the most important being, the only being that can free us all.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Lama Chenno!

The most important practice in Tibetan Buddhism is Guru Yoga, meditation and mantra on the spiritual head and teacher of the tradition, which is seen as living Buddha, embodiment of three kayas and 10 bhumi (extraordinary powers). In Kagyutradition the head Lama is Gyalwa Karmapa and his mantra is Karmapa Chenno. It is believed sounds of this mantra are directly connected with the enlightened mind of HH Karmapa and carry its enlightened qualities and brings help when it is most necessary for the benefit of student.
Here I would like to share with you a story about the origins of Karmapa Chenno mantra. The Karmapa mantra has originated at the times of 8thKarmapa Mikyo Dorje (1507-1554) in context of teaching about "Calling the Lama from afar."
“Karmapa Chenno” can be roughly translated as "Embodiment of the compassion of all Buddhas, turn attention to me." In Central Tibet, Sikkim and Bhutan, it is pronounced Karmapa Kyen-no or Karmapa khen-no. In East Tibet, it is pronounced "Karmapa chenno."In western countries the most widespread pronunciation is Karmapa Chenno and it is considered correct.
One day, in 16th century, the head of a nomadic household in desolate, windswept northern Tibet passed away. In such a sparsely inhabited region it was rare to find monasteries and lamas to perform Buddhist funeral rites, so the family wondered what to do. Then they noticed a ragged individual travelling on foot who appeared as if he could be either an itinerant yogi or a beggar, so they went to inquire. The mendicant turned out to be, in fact, a lama. The grieving family requested his ministrations for the deceased, and he complied.
When he reached the man's deathbed and began his incantations, the family respectfully requested the lama to perform phowa (consciousness transference to higher realms). The lama, however, said: "I am just a poor, uneducated practitioner of the Buddha's teachings; I have not mastered that esoteric practice. But I do have one positive quality, infinite faith in the living Buddha, named Lama Karmapa; he is like the great gate to Dewachen (a transcendent Pure Land from which evolution on the path of enlightenment is said to be more easily assured). His name is the magic password to that fabulous spiritual domain."
Then he began reciting again and again the powerful name-mantra, "Karmapa Khyenno!" "Karmapa Khyenno, Karmapa Khyenno," he intoned loudly, again and again.
After each and every rosary of one hundred and eight fervent recitations, he would then hit the corpse with his mala, or prayer beads, commanding that, in the name of the Buddha Karmapa, the spirit of the deceased be reborn in Dewachen.
After some time, everyone noticed that the signs of successful consciousness transference began to appear. Hair fell from the top of the corpse's head; there was a pleasant fragrance in the air, and a large bump appeared at the crown aperture where the subtle consciousness of the deceased departed for the other world.
Everyone present rejoiced, and gratefully thanked the mendicant lama. All began to faithfully practice the mantra of the Karmapa, praying to realize the great freedom and bliss of Dewachen in this very lifetime.
The travelling lama soon continued on his journey. One day he heard that the omniscient Karmapa was visiting south Tibet, so he determined to go and meet him and pay his respects.
Upon finally reaching his destination, the first thing the clairvoyant Karmapa said to him was: "That was a difficult phowa we performed up there in the north, wasn't it?" The Karmapa laughed, hitting the other lama with his mala.
Then the mendicant knew with unshakable certainty that the Karmapa is an omniscient living Buddha, who always keeps his disciples, wherever they are, in his heart and mind.
Since those days Karmapa Chenno is the most important mantra to invoke the enlightened qualities and powers of Karmapa in Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. With the name of Karmapa is understood not just some particular individual, but the enlightened qualities of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Karmapa is the one who embodies all three jewels of refuge, Buddha, Dharma and Sangha for his students.
This is the story on origin of Karmapa mantra I have heard.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Looks Like Me

The story of the “Looks Like Me” statue is all at once inspirational, amusing, and sad.

Created from life, it is an image of Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) the bringer of Buddhism to Tibet, the statue was blessed by the enlightened master who is said to have remarked upon seeing it “Looks like me,” then he blessed it and said “Now it is the same as me.”

With these wonderful, simple words Padmasambhava skillfully delivered a profound teaching about the reality of existence which has, due in no small part to its humour, both endured the test of time and remained accessible across language barriers.

Sadly, the statue was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution around 1950, the black and white photo included below is the last remaining image of the wonderful relic. The coloured image included beside the black and white is a re-coloured version that was created in accordance with the recollections of those lamas who had seen the original.

Although “Looks like Me” is lost to us, I believe its blessing power keeps on expanding each time that beautiful, intent, face is looked upon. Like Padmasambhava who is said to have been born miraculously from a lotus flower, his image manifests over and over with each copy and paste within the lotus of the internet, and our hearts, minds, and spirits.

This image is not simply an image, not something that “Looks Like” Padmasambhava, but something that is the same as him.   

To enjoy Guru Rinpoche's Mantra listen below: