Bringing Vajryana to the West

In this interesting article, translator Sangye Khandro talks about bringing tantric teachings into the west. Mainly, the different misconceptions and the things that are necessary to successfully implant this precious practice into western countries. An interesting excerpt:

Do you feel that the Vajrayana is being successfully transmitted to the West? Yes and no. But, in general, there is enough fully informed practice to begin anchoring Vajrayana in the West.

Vajrayana calls for three aspects of transmission: the empowerment or initiation into the practice (dbang), the reading transmission of the text (lung), and the liberating instructions on how to actually do the practice (khrid). In the West, when a teacher passes through town, these three aspects of the transmission are often left incomplete. Because there are far more opportunities for empowerment, a student may receive empowerment but not transmission or instruction. The process then gets out of order or goes unfinished. I’ve seen people do practices without knowing them properly, or even give up from lack of instruction. Students need to take steps to obtain all three aspects of transmission from a qualified teacher.

Click here to read more

Vast as the Heavens, Deep as the Sea

Khun Lama Rinpoche

During the course of a year, Khunu Lama Rinpoche wrote everyday a verse on bodhichitta, or the altruistic intention that seeks enlightenment in order to benefit all sentient beings. These verses were compiled and came to be known as “Jewel Lamp”. When it was eventually translated into English, its title became Vast as the Heavens, Deep as the Sea.

These verses have been praised by many Tibetan Lamas such as His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Lama Zopa Rinpoche, and Khunu Lama Rinpoche himself was known as being a modern day Shantideva.

Some verses on Bodhichitta

Here are some inspiring verses that I personally found interesting. Reading his verses every couple months is something I have found very helpful for my own practice.


The bodhichitta of bodhisattvas is like a spiritual friend
who naturally exhorts one to be ethical, to study,
to analyze, to meditate, and to work for the welfare of
wandering beings who reach as far as space.


To know the essentials of bodhichitta,
rely on a Mahayana spiritual friend,
read the Mahayana sutras,
and befriend the bodhisattvas.


The person who meditates on the thought
“wandering living beings equal to space
are my mother,” looks to be on the very verge
of having Mahayana bodhichitta arise.


Who would not like the gaze that bodhichitta
makes one cast on every living being –
the finest, the lowest, and those in-between –
like the gaze of a mother on her son?

A video someone put together with some verses:

Essence of Human Life: Advice for Lay Practitioners

Venerable Thubten Chodron gives explanation of a text by Lama Tsongkhapa, which gives advice for lay practitioners on how to make use of their human life. She particularly focuses on how through practice, one can reduce confusion in life.

Related Posts:

More Thubten Chodron & Sravasti Abbey Videos…

Passing of Choden Rinpoche

Choden Rinpoche, one of the most senior most teachers in the Gelugpa tradition and teacher to many around the world, recently passed away on September 11, 1:30 AM at Sera Jey Monastery.

This statment was released by Rinpoche’s Labrang at Sera Jey, which gives details of the weeks prior to his passing.

Those who have made a Dharma connection with Rinpoche, can read these prayers that were advised by Rinpoche to his students himself.

May he swiftly return to turn the wheel of Dharma and benefit sentient beings.


A Song of Longing for Tara


Tara is a favorite Buddha in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, with a long history of devotees. One such devotee was Lama Lobsang Tenpey Gyaltsen, who was recognized as a reincarnation of Tara. Already at the age of 18 or 19, he wrote this song of devotion to Tara. Here is the translation done by Lama Thubten Yeshe, taken from here.

A Song of Longing for Tara, the Infallible

From my heart I bow to Divine Mother Tara, essence of love and compassion, the most precious objects of refuge gathered into one. From now until I reach enlightenment, hook me with your great love and kindness to liberate me.

By the witness of the Three Jewels, not just from my mouth but from the depths of my innermost heart and bones, I pray to you morning and evening. Show your blissful face to me, Loving One. Grant me the nectar of your speech.

Great gurus and small gurus cheat us with their made-up teachings, selling Dharma, teaching without comprehension, not observing who is qualified and who is not, being concerned about their own happiness and the eight worldly concerns. Since I can no longer trust friends of this degenerate age, you are my principal guru. Inspire me, Divine Mother, essence of love. Arouse the great power of your compassion and think of me.

I take refuge in you, Tara; like you, no Buddha could ever deceive me. But understanding the odd character of these times, most Buddhas have gone into the bliss of nirvana. Even though they have great compassion, we have no connection. Since for me there are no other deities, you are my principal deity. Bestow realizations upon me, Divine Mother, essence of love. Arouse the great power of your compassion and think of me.

Most Dharma protectors do not show their powers. Tired of those who invoke them, they do not act. Other protectors, lacking insight but proud of their power, may be friendly for a while but will later do me harm. Since I cannot rely on other protectors, you are my principal protector. With divine action, Wisdom Mother, essence of love, arouse the great power of your compassion and think of me.

To ordinary view the names of objects are the same as their meaning. Like this, they produce afflictions and bind us to samsara. When it is time to die, unless I understand the true nature, could a wish-fulfilling gem enable me to carry even a sesame seed with me? Since I do not trust in illusions, you are my real richness. Please grant my desires, Divine Mother, essence of love. Arouse the great power of your compassion and think of me.

I cannot rely on non-virtuous friends for even a day. They pretend to be close to me and all the while have in mind the opposite. They are friends when they wish it and enemies when they don’t. Since I cannot trust in this kind of friend, you are my best friend. Be close to me, Divine Mother, essence of love. Arouse the great power of your compassion and think of me.

You are my guru, my yidam, my protector, my refuge, my food, my clothes, my possessions and my friend. Since your divine quality is everything to me, let me spontaneously achieve all that I wish.

Although I am overwhelmed by my habitual, uncontrolled mind, please cut these self-centered thoughts so I will be able to give my body and my life millions of times without difficulty to each sentient being. Inspire me to be able to develop this kind of compassion to benefit all.

Empower me to cut the root of samsara, self-grasping, and to understand the pure doctrine, the most difficult middle way free from the errors of extremes.

Inspire me to practice as a bodhisattva, turning away from what is worldly, dedicating all my virtues to teaching living beings, never for even one instant thinking of just my own happiness. Let me wish to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all.

Empower me to actualize as much as possible the most subtle vows and to keep them without a careless mind, thus becoming the most perfect bodhisattva.

Outwardly, let me be simple in my practice, while inwardly, actualize the depth of the diamond vehicle with the strong wish to practice the two stages. Inspire me to attain enlightenment quickly for the benefit of all.

Divine Wisdom Mother Tara, you know everything about my life—my ups and downs, my good and bad. Think lovingly of me, my only mother.

I give myself and all who trust in me to you, Divine Wisdom Mother Tara. Being completely open to you, let us be born in the highest pure land. Set me there quickly with no births in between.

May the hook of your compassion and your skillful means transform my mind into Dharma and transform the minds of all beings, whoever they are. They have all been my mother, the mother of one unable to follow the Conqueror’s teachings.

By reciting this prayer three times a day and by remembering Divine Wisdom Mother Tara, may I and all beings who are connected to me reach whatever pure land we wish.

May the Three Jewels and especially the Divine Wisdom Mother, whose essence is compassion, hold me dear until I reach enlightenment. May I quickly conquer the four negative forces.

If, as long as you live, you recite this prayer three times every day, not just from the mouth (in words only) but strongly linked with your mind, you will have close connection and will see Tara’s face. No hindrances will be experienced and all wishes will be fulfilled. You will have a close relationship with all Buddhas and bodhisattvas, and they will hold you dear. If you recite the Homage to the Twenty-one Taras and this prayer, you will attain the Divine Liberating Mother.

Colophon: This prayer to Venerable Tara, in heart words making his own requests and also non-deceptive to others, was composed by the Buddhist monk, Lobsang Tenpey Gyaltsen, in his nineteenth year, the Water Mouse year (1852), on the third day of the miracle month (second month of the lunar calendar) at Bengar Namgyal Ling. It is sure to have great benefit.

Dangers of Sectarianism in Buddhism

When His Holiness the 17th Gyalwai Karmapa met with the Tibetan community in Wisconsin, he warned about the dangers of sectarianism to Buddhism. From the notes from this gathering, it notes:

Sounding a serious note of warning against the effects of jealousy and sectarianism, His Holiness the Karmapa cited scriptural sources that indicate that the teachings of a previous dispensation, that of Buddha Kashyapa, degenerated and were finally lost due to the laziness of his followers. By contrast, the Karmapa said, Buddha Shakyamuni foretold that his teachings would be brought to ruin by disputes among the holders of his teachings.

“Strife between religious lineages is the worst, the most serious form of strife,” he said.

“The lineages of Tibetan Buddhism carry different names based on the lama or monastery transmitting them,” the Karmapa said, “but the actual content that is being transmitted is essentially the same: the realization of emptiness, the cultivation of bodhichitta and the unification of sutra and tantra. When we speak of it, we often make it sound as if there were huge differences, but  at heart we are basically all the same.”


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