Monday, May 25, 2015

Seven-Limb Prayer


I take safe direction, till my purified state,
From the Buddhas, the Dharma, and the Highest Assembly.
By the positive force of my giving and so on,
May I actualize Buddhahood to help those who wander.

May the surface of the land in every direction
Be pure, without even a pebble,
As smooth as the palm of a child's hand,
Naturally polished, as is a beryl gem.

May divine and human objects of offering,
Actually arrayed and those envisioned
As peerless clouds of Samantabhadra offerings,
Completely fill the sphere of space.
(1) I prostrate to all you Buddhas
    who have graced the three times,
To the Dharma and to the Highest Assembly,
Bowing down with bodies as numerous
As all the atoms of the world.

(2) Just as Manjushri and others
Have made offerings to you, the Triumphant,
So do I, too, make offerings to you, my Thusly Gone Guardians,
And to your spiritual offspring.

(3) Throughout my beginningless samsaric existence,
In this and other lives,
I 've unwittingly committed negative acts,
Or caused others to commit them, and further,
Oppressed by the confusion of naivety.
I 've rejoiced in them – whatever I've done,
I see them as mistakes and openly declare them
To you, my Guardians, from the depths of my heart.

(4) With pleasure, I rejoice in the ocean of positive force
From your having developed bodhichitta aims
To bring every limited being joy
And in your deeds that have aided limited beings.

(5) With palms pressed together, I beseech
You Buddhas of all directions:
Please shine Dharma's lamp for limited beings
Suffering and groping in darkness.

(6) With palms pressed together, I beseech
You Triumphant who would pass beyond sorrow:
I beg you, remain for countless eons
So as not to leave in their blindness these wandering beings.

(7) By whatever positive force I've built up
Through all of these that I've done like that,
May I remove every suffering
Of all limited beings.
By directing and offering to the Buddha-fields
This base, anointed with fragrant waters, strewn with flowers,
And decked with Mount Meru, four islands, a sun, and a moon,
May all those who wander be led to pure lands.
Om idam guru ratna mandala-kam nir-yatayami.
I send forth this mandala to you precious gurus.

 I take safe direction, till my purified state,
From the Buddhas, the Dharma, and the Highest Assembly.
By the positive force of my giving and so on,
May I actualize Buddhahood to help those who wander.

(Yan-lag drug-gi smon-lam)
from Shantideva, Engaging in Bodhisattva Behavior
(sPyod-'jug, Skt. Bodhisattvacharya-avatara)

translated by Alexander Berzin, 2004

Monday, May 18, 2015

Entering the Dharma Gate

Entering the Dharma Gate
Though grief in the Ocean of Samsara
Is preached, and its renunciation is urged,
Few people are really convinced...
And renounce it with determination.
Though knowing that life will ever turn to death,
Few feel uneasy, or think that it will end.
Though their life is blessed with good prospects,
Few can practice abstention for a day.
Though the Bliss of Liberation is expounded
And Samsara's pains are stressed,
Few can really enter the Dharma Gate.
Though the profound Pith-Instructions
Of the Whispered Lineage are given without stint, few
Without fail can practice them.
Though the teaching of Mahamudra is expounded
And the Pointing-out demonstration is exercised,
Few can really understand the Essence of Mind.
To the hermit's life and the Guru's wish
One can always aspire, but few
Can put them into practice.
The perfect, skillful path of Naropa
May be shown, without concealment,
But those who can really follow it
Are very few. My dear lad,
You should follow in my footsteps
If in this life you want to do
Something that is worthwhile.

-- Jetsun Milarepa

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Four Thoughts that Turn the Mind toward Enlightenment

"The day is already done. Our lives are that much less
We are like fish in a shrinking pond. What joy is there in this?
Great assembly!
We should be diligent and vigorous, as if our own heads were at stake.
Only be mindful of impermanence and be careful not to be lax."

Samantabadhra's Verse of Exhortation/Admonition
One: This human life is precious! The result of aeons of merit ripened into the perfect form to reach enlightenment. The perfect opportunity know your true nature through the magical play of suffering and joy that is the human life. 
Imagine that a giant turtle slept on the bottom of a vast ocean, only awakening to take a single breath once per 100 years, Imagine that upon this vast ocean were a ox's wheel, at the mercy of the winds and waves. Only the times that upon taking its 100 year breath, the turtle's head enters straight through the wheel, will a human birth occur. Think of this great thing you have achieved through your past actions! How wonderful you have been! Homage to you who through your good actions find yourself at the door to freedom! Don't give up now!
Think of this and practice the dharma as if your hair is on fire!
Secondly: this life is short! Likened to bubbles floating on the surface of the water! Big bubbles, small bubbles, some instantly vanish, some last a little while, but in the end all bubbles, all due to burst within one instant and the next! Don't waste even a second of this precious opportunity, you do not know when you will have it again! Toss aside laziness, doubt, self-depreciation, you have no time for them! Cultivate compassion and devotion in the three jewels!
Think of this and practice the dharma as if your hair is on fire!
Thirdly: Friend! The dharma is the only thing you can take with you when you die, your only guide to navigate the bardo! Do not abandon this friend for attachment to self and others! If you were to lock yourself in a box, surrounded by armies of the Asuras themselves, the Gods themselves could not save your from death! No wealth, no friends, nothing but the dharma can help you when Mara comes to drag you through the Bardo, terrified and confused! Take refuge in the three jewels, the perfect vessel to navigate all troubled waters! Why would you embark upon the most dangerous journey without a guide, without a life raft?
So be sure to have your friend at your side! Cultivate that friendship now and Mara will have no hold on you, into the pure lands of bliss you will be guided, free from suffering and able to help others!
Think of this and practice the dharma as if your hair is on fire!
Fourthly, this life with its people, places and objects can be likened to the three sufferings! And you, friend, a condemned man or woman, sitting at a marvellous feast set in your honour, full of pleasures, but at the end of this feast you will be lead away and executed! How can you sit there and feast, you have been lulled, you only have moments left to live! Why fill your belly with food, your mind with sense pleasures? What good will they be for you in but a moments time? Turn your bowl upside down, place your hands together, down onto your knees drop, and in your final moments go to the three jewels for your salvation!
Your corpse is with you now, you are walking about in it, feeding it, entertaining it! At you mad?
Your hair is on fire! The flesh of your face, your eyes engulfed in smoke! Each breath thick and acrid bringing you closer to death! Put out the fire! What could be more pressing, more important, than your own head?
Cultivate these four thoughts as if they were your only child!
All merit is dedicated to sentient beings: may all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering, may all beings be happy and have the causes of happiness!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Karmapa to Visit France

May all beings be blessed by his visit and attain the merit to see him in this very life!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Quote to Help Women Understand Themselves

"An independent woman is a contradiction in terms. For woman's chief want is to feel that she is wanted. Therefore it is that with women, cruelty is more easily borne than coldness. Indeed, It is astonishing how much downright cruelty a woman will stand from the man she loves or has loved. What women admire is a subtle combination of forcefulness and gentleness. If a woman has to choose between forcefulness and gentleness, always she will sacrifice the latter." - Arnold Haultain