Today marks the beginning of Losar, or Tibetan New Year, in the year of the Wood Horse. Happy Losar everyone, may all out and inner hindrances be pacified, and everyone create the causes and conditions for realizations of the entire path.
Simple Losar Practice
Here is a nice Losar message from Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, encouraging people to reflect on dependent arising, and a simple practice that anyone can do. If you keep track of recitations, you could possibly send them here: email@example.com
Buddha’s teaching on dependent arising distinguishes him from all others as the supreme expounder of the truth. Once dependent arising has been pointed out to us, it’s a truth so blatantly obvious that we wonder how we missed it. Yet in our daily lives, our craving for independence is so strong that we forget how entirely dependent we really are.
We may notice that we depend on food, for example, on shelter and even friendship, but we forget, or perhaps fail to notice, the fine and intricate web of subtle phenomena upon which we are equally reliant. And because we ignore this reality, we find ourselves falling over and over again into a realm of disappointment, where we become numb because we are too hopeful and then sink into the agony of hopelessness.
But the truth is that our conditioning rules us. We both create conditions and depend on conditions, some of which are good, and others we wouldn’t wish on our worst enemies. Those of us alive today are extremely fortunate because the name of Shakyamuni Buddha still exists and still has meaning. Shakyamuni Buddha is therefore an important condition, a “dependent arising,” that can help us shape our lives.
This Losar, to strengthen dependent arising, I would like to ask all those who follow the Buddha’s Dharma, and all my friends, to accumulate 100 million mantras of dependent arising as quickly as we can, and to pray fervently that the Buddhadharma continues to flourish and spread throughout the world.
How to Practice
Visualize Shakyamuni Buddha high in the sky before you. He is surrounded by his disciples—monks, laypeople, arhats, bodhisattvas, and mahasattvas—who gaze at you with compassion. As you chant the mantra, rays of light emanate from their hearts, and the conditions of everything touched by this light instantly become auspicious and truly beneficial. If you prefer, you can visualize Shakyamuni Buddha sitting directly above your head.
Please count the number of mantas you say, even if you only recite one. As soon as a system for collecting your accumulations has been put in place, we will let you know how to contribute your total toward our collective goal of 100 million.
om ye dharma hetu prabhawa | hetun teshan tathagato hyavadat | teshan tsa yo nirodha | ewam vade mahashramanah soha