Dalai Lama Urges Buddhists to Halt Violence Against Muslims

As some are aware, there is growing trend of Buddhists persecuting Muslims in the countries of Sri Lanka and Myanmar. Recently His Holiness the Dalai Lama released a statement, urging all Buddhists to stop these activities. He is quoted as saying:

I urge the Buddhists in these countries to imagine an image of Buddha before they commit such a crime… Buddha preaches love and compassion. If the Buddha is there, he will protect the Muslims whom the Buddhists are attacking

Learn more about what His Holiness said here.

37 Practices of Bodhisattvas

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37 Practices of Bodhisattvas, by Togmey Zhangpo, is a well known and cherished mind training text. Repeatedly reciting and thinking about these verses can give someone a framework for training the mind into thinking a particular way, and then using that to alter our behavior in relation to ourselves and others.

Reciting as a Daily Practice

Yangsi Rinpoche once noted that a young incarnate lama had made it his daily practice to recite and reflect on these verses. This young lama seemed often very happy, but what he noticed was that when he didn’t recite the verses, he felt that something was off.

Below is a translation for the 37 practices to Bodhisattvas. To enhance the practice of reciting these phrases, one can read a commentary on this by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to help deepen understanding. Alternatively, one could read the book, Transforming Adversity Into Joy And Courage: An Explanation Of The Thirty-Seven Practices Of Bodhisattvas, based off teachings by Khensur Rinpoche Jampa Tegchock, that are based on these phrases.

The 37 Practices of Bodhisattvas

Namo Avalokiteshvara (3x)

  1. Having gained this rare ship of freedom and fortune,
    Hear, think, and meditate unwaveringly night and day
    In order to free yourself and others
    From the ocean of cyclic existence—
    This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.
  2. Attached to your loved ones you’re stirred up like water.
    Hating your enemies you burn like fire.
    In the darkness of confusion you forget what to adopt and discard.
    Give up your homeland—
    This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.
  3. By avoiding bad objects, disturbing emotions gradually decrease.
    Without distraction, virtuous activities naturally increase.
    With clarity of mind, conviction in the teaching arises.
    Cultivate seclusion—
    This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.
  4. Loved ones who have long kept company will part.
    Wealth created with difficulty will be left behind.
    Consciousness, the guest, will leave the guesthouse of the body.
    Let go of this life—
    This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.
  5. When you keep their company your three poisons increase,
    Your activities of hearing, thinking, and meditating decline,
    And they make you lose your love and compassion.
    Give up bad friends—
    This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.
  6. When you rely on them your faults come to an end
    And your good qualities grow like the waxing moon.
    Cherish spiritual teachers
    Even more than your own body—
    This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.
  7. Bound himself in the jail of cyclic existence,
    What worldly god can give you protection?
    Therefore when you seek refuge, take refuge in
    The Three Jewels which will not betray you—
    This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.
  8. The Subduer said all the unbearable suffering
    Of bad rebirths is the fruit of wrongdoing.
    Therefore, even at the cost of your life,
    Never do wrong—
    This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.
  9. Like dew on the tip of a blade of grass, pleasures of the three worlds
    Last only a while and then vanish.
    Aspire to the never-changing
    Supreme state of liberation—
    This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.
  10. When your mothers, who’ve loved you since time without beginning,
    Are suffering, what use is your own happiness?
    Therefore to free limitless living beings
    Develop the altruistic intention—
    This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.
  11. All suffering comes from the wish for your own happiness.
    Perfect Buddhas are born from the thought to help others.
    Therefore exchange your own happiness
    For the suffering of others—
    This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.
  12. Even if someone out of strong desire
    Steals all your wealth or has it stolen,
    Dedicate to him your body, possessions
    And your virtue, past, present and future—
    This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.
  13. Even if someone tries to cut off your head
    When you haven’t done the slightest thing wrong,
    Out of compassion take all her misdeeds
    Upon yourself—
    This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.
  14. Even if someone broadcasts all kinds of unpleasant remarks
    About you throughout the three thousand worlds,
    In return, with a loving mind,
    Speak of his good qualities—
    This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.
  15. Though someone may deride and speak bad words
    About you in a public gathering,
    Looking on her as a spiritual teacher,
    Bow to her with respect—
    This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.
  16. Even if a person for whom you’re cared
    Like your own child regards you as an enemy,
    Cherish him specially, like a mother
    Does her child who is stricken by sickness—
    This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.
  17. If an equal or inferior person
    Disparages you out of pride,
    Place her, as you would your spiritual teacher,
    With respect on the crown of your head—
    This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.
  18. Though you lack what you need and are constantly disparaged,
    Afflicted by dangerous sickness and spirits,
    Without discouragement take on the misdeeds
    And the pain of all living beings—
    This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.
  19. Though you become famous and many bow to you,
    And you gain riches to equal Vaishravana’s,
    See that worldly fortune is without essence,
    And be unconceited—
    This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.
  20. While the enemy of your own anger is unsubdued,
    Though you conquer external foes, they will only increase.
    Therefore with the militia of love and compassion
    Subdue your own mind—
    This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.
  21. Sensual pleasures are like saltwater:
    The more you indulge, the more thirst increases.
    Abandon at once those things which breed
    Clinging attachment—
    This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.
  22. Whatever appears is your own mind.
    Your mind from the start was free from fabricated extremes.
    Understanding this, do not take to mind
    [Inherent] signs of subject and object—
    This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.
  23. When you encounter attractive objects,
    Though they seem beautiful
    Like a rainbow in summer, don’t regard them as real
    And give up attachment—
    This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.
  24. All forms of suffering are like a child’s death in a dream.
    Holding illusory appearances to be true makes you weary.
    Therefore when you meet with disagreeable circumstances,
    See them as illusory—
    This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.
  25. When those who want enlightenment must give even their body,
    There’s no need to mention external things.
    Therefore without hope for return or any fruition
    Give generously—
    This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.
  26. Without ethics you can’t accomplish your own well being,
    So wanting to accomplish others’ is laughable.
    Therefore without worldly aspirations
    Safeguard your ethical discipline—
    This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.
  27. 27. To Bodhisattvas who want a wealth of virtue
    Those who harm are like a precious treasure.
    Therefore towards all cultivate patience
    Without hostility—
    This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.
  28. Seeing even Hearers and Solitary Realizers, who accomplish
    Only their own good, strive as if to put out a fire on their head,
    For the sake of all beings make enthusiastic effort,
    The source of all good qualities—
    This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.
  29. Understanding that disturbing emotions are destroyed
    By special insight with calm abiding,
    Cultivate concentration which surpasses
    The four formless absorptions—
    This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.
  30. Since the five perfections without wisdom
    Cannot bring perfect enlightenment,
    Along with skillful means cultivate the wisdom
    Which does not conceive the three spheres [as real]—
    This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.
  31. If you don’t examine your own errors,
    You may look like a practitioner but not act as one.
    Therefore, always examining your own errors,
    Rid yourself of them—
    This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.
  32. If through the influence of disturbing emotions
    You point out the faults of another Bodhisattva,
    You yourself are diminished, so don’t mention the faults
    Of those who have entered the Great Vehicle—
    This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.
  33. Reward and respect cause us to quarrel
    And make hearing, thinking, and meditation decline.
    For this reason give up attachment to
    The households of friends, relations and benefactors—
    This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.
  34. Harsh words disturb the minds of others
    And cause deterioration in a Bodhisattva’s conduct.
    Therefore give up harsh words
    Which are unpleasant to others—
    This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.
  35. Habitual disturbing emotions are hard to stop through counteractions.
    Armed with antidotes, the guards of mindfulness and mental alertness
    Destroy disturbing emotions like attachment
    At once, as soon as they arise—
    This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.
  36. In brief, whatever you are doing,
    Ask yourself “What’s the state of my mind?”
    With constant mindfulness and mental alertness
    Accomplish others’ good—
    This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.
  37. To remove the suffering of limitless beings,
    Understanding the purity of the three spheres,
    Dedicate the virtue from making such effort
    To enlightenment—
    This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.

Importance of Retreat

His Holiness Sakya Trizin explains the importance of doing a retreat. He mentions that especially for beginners, retreat is beneficial because of less distractions that allows for focused practice. once someone has established focused practice for a while, it brings greater benefit to the daily practice done outside of retreat.

Lama Tsongkhapa Guru Yoga

The practice of Lama Tsongkhapa Guru Yoga is widely practiced in the Gelug tradition, and is one of my favorite practices. When I found out that this practice existed, I spent hours trying to figure out the significance behind it and the best ways to do it. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche has put together teachings on this profound practice, and the videos and the transcript of the teaching can be found here. For a written commentary in book form, one can also look into Choden Rinpoche’s commentary: Hundreds of Deities of Tusita

To put things into perspective, Tsem Tulku says this about the practice of Tsongkhapa Guru Yoga:

I am here to benefit you with my limited abilities. Posting this is one of my ways to do so. I would be so happy if you go all the way daily, with great enthusiasm, great stability and learning more as you go along the way while doing this practice… Please do this wonderful thing for yourself, you deserve it after being in existence for so long, you deserve it for all you have gone through… Sincerely and humbly~Tsem Rinpoche

 

FPMT’s inspiration of its name

Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Founders of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT)

In this interesting article, Adele Hulse explains where the Foundation for the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT) received its name. Lama Yeshe was noted as saying:

I want to preserve the Mahayana teachings. If you can’t get the name right, you don’t know what I’m doing.

Also in this article is an interesting story on how Mahakala became the official Dharma protector of the FPMT, and what the meaning of “empowerment” or “initiation” is in Tibetan Buddhism.

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