DZONGSAR KHYENTSE RINPOCHE
During April and May 2000 Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche led a
Longchen Nyingthik ngöndro retreat at Vajradhara Gonpa.
Before flying out for a brief visit to San Francisco, he gave this heart advice to the retreatants.
Now I am going to go through the supplication notes written by Jamgön Kongtrül Rinpoche at the end of his Calling the Guru from Afar. I think it is quite important, not only at this time, but throughout your dharma practice. These supplications are quite short. You don't actually have to compose a word. You can think and say [them] as if you are talking to the gurus, devas, dakas and dakinis, the buddhas and bodhisattvas. You can actually talk to them.
So, according to Jamgön Kongtrül, at the end of the Guru Yoga doing this supplication is very special. Actually, I sometimes recite this again and again. It seems to help me a little bit: 'Please know me, guru, right away at this minute, this very minute, at this very moment show your compassion!' Lama khyenno tukjey nyur du zik damchö taru chinpar jingyi lob. 'Bless me that I may perfect the sublime dharma.'
On the one hand, the dharma practice, the spiritual path, can be very easy, like in the mahasandhi's method. If you have the merit, if you have the devotion, if the guru's compassion is there and if you have a karmic link with a master, then it is very, very easy. On the other hand, dharma practice can be very long-winded, very boring, at times risky, makes one dread it or it's not that inspiring - you lose your inspiration. You know a day or two, a week or two, a month or two of dharma practice is fine, but to actually continue it all the way until we die, to really commit ourselves... In fact, to improve our enthusiasm towards the dharma again and again, more and more, is quite difficult.
The reason is, first of all, we have a lack of understanding of the dharma. We don't see [its] attractiveness. For example, until a person sees a turquoise as a very precious stone no one will put effort into it. But the moment you see it, then you put effort into it. It is like that. We have heard how dharma is precious and all that, but because there is a lack of practice we have not managed to actually see the value, the beauty, the attractiveness or the abundance, the wealth of the dharma, as much as we should. Therefore our longing for the practice of the dharma, our enthusiasm to practise the dharma, is always a little bit weak.
And on the top of that, on the other hand, we also have the obstacles of past karmic debt, the karma and emotions that we have collected for so many lifetimes. So these two attack us from both sides. First, not understanding the value of the dharma practice and on the top of that being attacked by our past karmic debts and so on.
So this is what is meant by damchö taru chinpar jingyi lob. Bless me, give me the blessings so that I may be stubborn, be persistent, so that I will not give up, no matter what happens. Give me that kind of blessing.
Now you can do this kind of supplication during the Mandala offering and you can definitely do it during the Refuge. For instance, I take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha so that I will be persistent, so that I will not give up this dharma and so on. And also during the Bodhicitta obviously. One of the biggest things we do is to lose our enthusiasm for the dharma just because we don't have a good dream. No matter how many years we practise, we don't even have a good dream or our practice never seems to give us physical pleasure or, I don't know, some kind of sensation. That's why we give up the dharma, we sort of lose interest in the dharma just because of that. This is really true. This does happen!
You should keep in mind that you have taken the bodhisattva vow. As Shantideva said, as a bodhisattva you have a duty to sentient beings. You know you are practising the dharma here not for your liberation basically. You understand this? Intellectually, maybe even I understand, but sometimes I forget this. Like when I practise the dharma, I'm not practising it for myself; you are not practising it for yourself, you are practising for all sentient beings. Whether you get enlightenment or not, who cares? Why should we care? This kind of attitude we have to have.
Now as we go along this path, we have to deal with all kinds of strange, smelly, ugly, irritating people. (But we have not even reached that level, since most of us give up the dharma just because we don't have a good dream.) Now imagine, facing these people one by one. As Shantideva said, you have to actually spend time and energy on them. I mean, you are supposed to liberate all these people. So that's why persistence and stubbornness are so important.
Jamgön Kongtrül Rinpoche is incredible. His few words tell us so much. Kyoshey tingney kyewar jingyi lob. Bless me so that I will have the genuine heart of sadness. That's how Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche would translate it. Some kind of a sadness is very necessary. I have heard from you guys during the personal interviews that many of you are kind of sad, not so satisfied with your life. Most of the time when I answer you (I don't know whether you have noticed this), I try not to solve that problem because in a way it is good for a dharma practitioner. We should never be satisfied with this life. This life, this so-called worldly life, is futile, isn't it? We should always have this sense of, 'What are we doing here?' Why are we getting up, having our breakfast, going to our job, earning some money and having a nap for maybe 15 minutes? Then we go back to our job. Again we go to sleep. Then the next day the same thing. And after five days the so-called weekend appears and we go to the beach or to a picnic or, if not that, we go to dharma centres. Why are we doing this? That kind of sadness you should have! That's not a problem. You should have this. This is always going to be a bit like the plates you eat soup or rice on. There is a kind of rim on them that goes up. Something that rises, so that the soup and rice will not fall out. Now genuine sadness is like that. This is something that you should not dismantle. If you have that, your mind will somehow go to the dharma, especially if you have a dharma practice and a guru and all that. So keep that. So may I have the genuine heart of sadness all the time. Kyoshey tingney… from the bottom of my heart.
That does not mean in Buddhism that you have to adopt the path of escapism. You cannot, you cannot! You have to live, you have to pay the bills, you have to. Even in the dharma centres nowadays you have to pay the bills. I sometimes feel a little sorry for this generation, for you guys, because in the West there is no dharma culture. Even now in Tibet and Bhutan there is this culture. In Bhutan if you are a dharma practitioner, all you need is a drum and a bell and a thigh-bone trumpet and you can just go around in the village and beat a few drums and all the villagers will come and feed you. So you can just practise the dharma. But that kind of tradition is disappearing. Also, our own greed will not let us live like that anyway because it is not a comfortable way of living. You have to go around begging food and you might get something or you might not. So 'genuine' does not mean that you have to give up everything. But you should always have this genuine heart of sadness. I think that is so important.
And then, longmey lona tungwar jingyi lob. 'Bless me that without wasting time I curtail my plans.' I don't know, some of these translations don't seem to move me. But the Tibetan… longmey lona tungwar jingyi lob. Longmey is like if you are busy, you have no time. Since you have no time, you are always making short-term plans. For example, if you only have two days to live, you do not need to make plans. Why should you? One should always have this lona tung. Na means 'tail' or 'nose'. Actually, 'tail' here. We have all these tails about, 'Tomorrow I will go to Sydney and then next year I'll practise. After about five years I will build a retreat hut.' Things like this, such a long tail. And especially looking at us, including myself, we are all over the hill and we are now going down. I think most of us have actually reached to the top. For us now more than ever, we should be making shorter plans. Let's say you have 30 more years to live and that's it. This is how we should think. But most of us are planning as if we are going to live for 1,000 years, if not more! So we should always have short-term plans, as if we are going to die in a few days' time, as if you have no more time.
The next one is chiwa nyingney drenpar jingyi lob. 'Bless me that I take death to heart.' Most of us don't think of death from the bottom of our heart. We don't. We think that it is going to come somewhere at the end. Like in about ten days' time. That's already quite good. Actually, I did try to meditate on death when I was in Bhutan and it really had a lot of effect. I don't know whether I told you this. When I was doing meditation in Paro on death, I decided to do 14 days just on death, on the fact that I am going to die definitely in the next minute. I would look at my watch and it would be 9.10, and I would think, 'I don't know whether I will ever see this hand reach 9.11!' So that even though we may not reach a great level, we must pray to the gurus, devas, dakas and dakinis so that we will remember death from the heart, not just from the mouth.
Lleyla yichey kyewar jingyi lob. This is very important again. 'Bless me that I feel conviction in the law of karma.' We have covered this quite a lot during previous talks. We do not have enough trust in cause and effect, trust in karma. This is why, unconsciously, consciously, we always do things that are not necessarily virtuous. This is why we do not have that much enthusiasm [for] doing Mandala offering, because we do not really have complete trust in the so-called karma. So this is what you have to pray for. These are the actual blessings you should be asking for.
Lamla barchey meypar jingyi lob. 'Bless me that the path is free of obstacles.' Our spiritual path has so many obstacles, because of our habitual patterns, because of our own insecurity, because of the importance that we put on comfort and pleasure, on the eight worldly dharmas. We make ourselves very vulnerable, so when things bother you, you blame them when it is actually you. Shantideva said once, 'If someone beats you with a stick, you should blame your body for being soft.' You know, there are so many obstacles, especially like now when doing a retreat. Although this is not a big retreat, I think this is already quite a good sample retreat. It has actually been quite serious, quite good. When you are in the middle of a retreat, the obstacles can actually mature more. So during these [next] 12 days we have to be quite careful because everything is heightened, attainment and your obstacles. So even a small, neighbouring fart can stir you up for the whole 12 days. So don't let it become like that.
And what is it? Drubla tsöndrü nüpar jingyi lob. 'Bless me that I am able to practise diligently.' Kyenngen lamdu longwar jingyi lob. 'Bless me that difficulties are utilised as the path.' Let's say that there is a neighbouring fart or somebody hiccups or whatever. I don't know, a small, ridiculous reason, like dropping a pen. Something like that. Or something that is a really bad circumstance, like a telegram saying that your father has died. A dharma practitioner has to have this ability to transform that as the path, as a challenge. 'Challenge' is a good word, actually. That ability is what you should be looking for, that ability is what you should be receiving from Guru Rinpoche.
The next words are nyenpo rangtsuk tubpar jingyi lob. 'Bless me that I may be steadfast in using the remedies.' No, no, no, this is not a good translation. Bless me so that these supposed antidotes that you have received from your guru - compassion, patience, pure vision, devotion, mantras, mudras, meditation, samadhi, things like that - all these antidotes which are supposedly defensive systems that you have received… Bless me, guru, so that when the time comes, these offensive or defensive systems or antidotes will have power. For example, when somebody makes you angry, you lose it, you have no compassion, you have no love, you don't think about tolerance, you don't even think about patience. That's because your antidote is not working, it is not functioning. So this is what we are asking for. Bless me so that it will work, so that it will become powerful. Normally it is okay, but especially at a very important time, let it have some kind of a strength. Don't let it lie low and dysfunctional, scattered here and there. Give this a boost.
Chömin mögü kyewar jingyi lob. 'Bless me that I feel genuine devotion.' For the moment we only have created, fabricated devotion. We have talked about this before. The next one is neyluk rangzhai jalwar jingyi lob. 'Bless me that I may come face to face with the natural state.' At the moment our mind is here, all the objects are there, our mind is going there and we are only talking there, not inwards. So bless me that I will come face to face with the natural state of my mind.
'Bless me that natural awareness is awakened within my heart.' Rang-rig nying-ü seypar jingyi lob. Bless me so that the natural state, the natural awareness or the natural wisdom will awaken in my heart. Kongtrül Rinpoche is saying that the wisdom does not come from outside, it has to arise from within. Trülnang zhitsa chöpar jingyi lob 'Bless me that confused experience is cut at the root.' And there are a few confused experiences! Everything that we see and do is a confused experience. Do you remember the story that I told you about the Dzogchen master Patrul Rinpoche? [He asked his student Nyoshul Lungtok], 'Can you see the stars? Can you hear the dogs barking?' And at that time the whole of his [student's] life experience sort of cracked, he came out of this casket of this life, this experience. This is what you need.
And tsechik sangye drubpar jingyi lob. 'Bless me that I may accomplish buddhahood in a single lifetime.' Bless me so that I will achieve enlightenment within this life. This is what you should be praying for. Okay, start your prayers and I will slowly sneak out. I will see you again soon.
© Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche