FOOTPRINTS ON THE JOURNEY - The Diary of Khenpo Sodargye

Post sayings or stories from Buddhist traditions which you find interesting, inspiring or useful. (Your own stories are welcome on DW, but in the Creative Writing or Personal Experience forums rather than here.)
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Footprints on the Journey: Real Values - Khenpo Sodargye

Post by UK Bodhi Association » Wed Jun 22, 2016 6:27 pm

Image

Real Values

Haha!

There was once a man who in five years received numerous exoteric and esoteric teachings from his master. After he left his teacher, however, in a matter of only one year he forgot completely all the instructions he had heard. The only thing he kept firmly in his mind was the 500-yuan he had offered to his master.

It is quite common to hear stories like this. But ordinary people do not know the vast merit of offerings to an authentic spiritual teacher from whom one is receiving the Dharma. Actually, no amount of gift is too big to offer for the sake of learning the Dharma.

Lord Buddha Shakyamuni, when once incarnated as Prince Moonlight, offered 4,000 taels of pure gold in order to receive a four-verse Dharma. Upon hearing this, his father king said: “Aren’t you giving away too much for the Dharma?” Prince Moonlight replied: “The Dharma is most precious, even giving up the throne and all the fortune in the kingdom would be well worth it, let alone 4,000 taels of gold!”

The teachings Prince Moonlight requested were only the common ones in Sutrayana. Should empowerment or pith instructions in Vajrayana from an authentic master have been involved; the kindness bestowed on him would have been beyond measure and reciprocation. In the Sutra of the Wise and the Foolish, there is a story of how the Buddha, in order to receive a four-verse Dharma, lit one thousand lights in his own body as offerings.

Even worldly wisdom is beyond appraisal by money.

Once a king entrusted 500 taels of gold to his minister Jin Jian and asked him to procure the most valuable thing from other kingdoms. The minister traveled to many countries but found nothing worth buying.

One day he heard an old man calling out from the street: “Wisdom for sale! Who want to buy wisdom?”

The minister thought to himself, that’s what we need in our country. He asked: “How much is it?”

“500 taels of gold, but you must pay in advance.”

The minister handed out the gold, and henceforth the old man articulated clearly and deliberately: “Listen: what I am going to say is the infallible wisdom of life. There are 12 words in it. You must remember them perfectly. Here: ‘Hold one minute, then get angry. Think once more, then take action.’” Hearing this, the minister thought he had been tricked unjustly; seized with intense remorse, he was sure he had squandered the 500 taels of gold.

When he got home, it was very late at night. He went to his bedroom and there was someone sleeping next to his wife. He couldn’t help but think: “This unfaithful bitch dares to carry on an affair, sleeping with someone behind my back!” Enraged, he pulled out his sword and was about to slay his wife. Suddenly, he recalled the 12 words, so he repeated them while taking another closer look. He discovered that the person lying next to his wife was actually his own mother. It turned out that his wife was ill today, and his mother had made a special trip to come help her.

It dawned on the minister then and there that these words did embody true wisdom! How can 500 taels of gold be compared to the lives of his wife and mother!

In this world, it is exactly the lack of wisdom that causes many regrettable things to happen. Therefore, wisdom is supremely precious, either worldly or spiritual.

9th of February, Year of RenWu
March 23, 2002

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Footprints on the Journey: Four Powers - Khenpo Sodargye

Post by UK Bodhi Association » Mon Jun 27, 2016 3:45 pm

Four Powers

It is well known that in Gelugpa, Nyingmapa, or other schools of Tibetan Buddhism, every purification practice relies on the four powers of antidote. Some Han Buddhist practitioners, however, consider it a mere Tibetan tradition and hence neglect it. Such a viewpoint misses the big picture.

In fact, this practice epitomizes how Tibetan Buddhism aptly applies Buddha’s pith instructions. In the Chinese Buddhist canon Tripitaka, there are many accounts of the four powers in sutras and shastras. For instance, the Sutra Teaching the Four Dharmas says: “Maitreya, if a Bodhisattva possesses these four Dharmas, all the evil deeds which have been performed and accumulated will be overcome. What are these four? They are: the power of regret, the power of action, the power of resolution, and the power of support. As for the power of regret, if we have done negative actions, we repent them strongly. As for the power of action, it is the remediation of our evil deeds; we strive to do wholesome actions. As for the power of resolution, we make genuine vows never to repeat the same evil deeds again. As for the power of support, we go for refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, and always uphold bodhichitta.”

Thus the four powers of antidote are not exclusively found in Tibetan Buddhism. Moreover, the recitation of the Vajrasattva mantra has been described in detail in the Sutra of Three Wrathful Ways of Taming as well.

People these days are committing non-virtues all the time and hardly anyone bothers to repent sincerely with wisdom. The Sutra of the Great Lion’s Roar Requested by Maitreya says: “The fool commits evil karmas and knows not to confess faults. The wise person purifies faults and dissociates from negative karmas.”

Therefore, either Tibetan Buddhism or Han Buddhism contains the practice of confession with four antidotes that, if followed properly, will purify innumerable non-virtues. However, someone with recalcitrant habits from past lives may find it difficult to renounce completely bad tendencies such as taking lives or telling lies. In this case, by reciting sincerely the Vajrasattva mantra every day, one can still accrue incredible merits.

I hope people will not forget the purification practice besides tending to other distractive activities!

10th of February, Year of RenWu
March 24, 2002

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Footprints on the Journey: Heroic Perseverance - Khenpo Sodargye

Post by UK Bodhi Association » Wed Jun 29, 2016 3:03 pm

Heroic Perseverance

Scores of sutras and shastras state that patience, or heroic perseverance, is the most difficult to accomplish among the Six Perfections. Thus A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life says:

There is no evil similar to anger and no austerity equal to forbearance.
Thus I should strive in all ways to develop forbearance, with great effort.

It’s also common to say: “The Chinese ideogram ‘patience’ is epitomized by having a knife dangling over your head.” When being insulted unjustifiably or slandered for no reason, hardly anyone, many spiritual practitioners included, can remain undisturbed while seeing the attacks as insubstantial rainbows.

Buddha Shakyamuni was once reborn as a rishi named Patience Power who had vowed never to get angry at any beings. Mara, intending to destroy the quality Patience Power had attained, manifested one thousand beings who knew exactly how to demolish the perseverance quality of others. They cursed him with malicious mantras, defamed him recklessly with false accusations, and humiliated him in public with unspeakable sordid words. They inflicted harm on him in all his activities of walking, sitting, standing, and sleeping; these kinds of horrendous attacks continued for 84,000 years.

When rishi Patience Power went to town, these unruly assailants sprayed putrid feces over his head, into his begging bowl, and onto his clothes, and even hit his head forcefully with brooms. But Patience Power never had a trace of anger arise in him, nor did he have the slightest intention of revenge. No matter what assault was afflicted upon him, he never thought of avenging an eye for an eye, nor did he cast furious glares or use harsh words. Questions such as: “What have I done wrong?” were not heard from him either. Instead, he made his wishes silently: “For benefiting these recalcitrant beings, I vow to practice the Dharma to attain supreme enlightenment. Thereafter, my top priority will be to lead these beings to Buddhahood.”

Zen Master Bai Yin of Japan is noted for his accomplishment in patience. There was once a young maiden who gave birth to a baby sired by her boyfriend. To avoid being punished by her parents who were devout Buddhists, she lied to them that the baby’s father was the Zen master. As her parents had high respect for the master, the maiden thought she could be vindicated. Little did she know that her account brought tremendous hardship for Master Bai Yin. Her parents, ignorant of the facts and believing their daughter, brought the newborn infant to the master and said, “You fake monk, you have transgressed the precepts of the Buddha; we had been blind to your ugliness and were deceived by you. You are worse than a beast to commit such a dirty deal. Here is your son, take him!” The master responded gently: “Ah, is that so!” and received the baby without saying another word. The parents took his silence as a justification to their accusation, and scattered the news all around. Everyone came to know of Master Bai Yin’s “repulsive behavior,” and they all looked down on him.

Holding the feeble infant, Master Bai Yin trudged to households where newborns lived with their families and begged for milk. They said scornfully: “Humph, were it not for the sake of the poor baby, we would not give anything to you!”

As time passed, the young maiden’s conscience was tortured severely; she no longer could bear to see the unjust public treatment of Master Bai Yin and confessed to her parents. Master Bai Yin, when receiving the extremely repentant parents begging for forgiveness, responded gently in the same way: “Ah, is that so!”

What a plain sentence is this one! However, to say it calmly is not possible for any ordinary person who has not been tempered through thick and thin. The extraordinary quality of forbearance as demonstrated by the sages of the past is truly remarkable. When will it truly permeate my mind?

11th of February, Year of RenWu
March 25, 2002

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Footprints on the Journey: Sustained Effort - Khenpo Sodargye

Post by UK Bodhi Association » Sun Jul 03, 2016 11:56 pm

Sustained Effort

Spiritual practice is a challenging process that takes time and endurance. Longchen Rabjam says: “Spiritual practice is not a few days’ effort only; it is a long struggle.” By practicing diligently and persistently for a long period, not only we can sharpen our willpower but also accumulate vast merit.

I remember when I was a child, there was a beautiful young aunt called Drala. As a devout Buddhist, she made a pilgrimage to Lhasa with local villagers and pledged to her teacher that every day, she would perform 100 prostrations, read once the Aspiration Prayer to Be Born in the Pure Land of Great Bliss, and recite 10,000 times the Vajrasattva mantra. That was 30 years ago when religions were being destroyed ruthlessly. In that horrific period, one might manage to recite mantras or read sutras silently without getting caught; but prostrations presented a bigger problem. Besides doing it at home, she also tried the accumulation in mountain caves when herding, and would always ask me to stand guard for her. When no one was around, I would always remind her: “It’s time for you to do prostrations!”

Time elapsed quickly; 30 years had slipped by before I met her in my hometown last July. During this period I had gone through stages of schooling and become a monk. For her, the experience of life’s ups and downs had chiseled her face. Reminiscing about the old days, I quickly asked her: “Are you still continuing prostrations and recitations?” She answered: “Certainly. I’ve never stopped. Even if I missed them during my episodes of severe illness, I always managed to make them up after recovery. Now, with more free time on hand, I can recite even more mantras.” I asked, “Then, through all these years, how many prostrations and mantra recitations have you done in total?” She replied, “I have not really kept track of them. I feel practicing alone is good enough and have never cared to count the numbers.”

I made a mental calculation. Conservatively, in the past 30 years, she could have done at least 1,095,000 prostrations, read the Aspiration Prayer to Be Born in the Pure Land of Great Bliss 10,950 times, and recited the Vajrasattva mantra 109,500,000 times. For many people, these figures may seem astronomical. Drala is all but an average practitioner commonly seen among Tibetans, little known, nor extraordinarily diligent. Nonetheless, that she has kept her practice throughout 30 years with the perseverance of “grinding an iron pestle down to a needle” is truly praiseworthy.

These days there are practitioners who can’t wait to flaunt around their completion of one cycle of 500,000 preliminaries, lest someone would miss their accomplishment. Drala, on the other hand, cares not for recognition but only to practice persistently; she is indeed admirable. Checking my own progress, I had made pledges before my master, but I have not practiced authentically; I have been addressed as a spiritual teacher, but I am no better than common people. Shouldn’t I blush with shame?

The ancient saying goes:

One gallop of a noble steed remains one gallop of distance, not 10 gallops.
Ten days of effort of pulling a cart by an inferior horse, on the other hand, would cover 10 days’ distance.
Success comes from doing the task persistently.

Every practitioner should embrace such an enduring spirit. With every ounce of effort put in, there is bound to be an ounce of reward.

12th of February, Year of RenWu

UK Bodhi Association
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Footprints on the Journey: What a Shame - Khenpo Sodargye

Post by UK Bodhi Association » Wed Jul 06, 2016 11:04 am

What a Shame

Spiritual practice is a challenging process that takes time and endurance. Longchen Rabjam says: “Spiritual practice is not a few days’ effort only; it is a long struggle.” By practicing diligently and persistently for a long period, not only we can sharpen our willpower but also accumulate vast merit.

I remember when I was a child, there was a beautiful young aunt called Drala. As a devout Buddhist, she made a pilgrimage to Lhasa with local villagers and pledged to her teacher that every day, she would perform 100 prostrations, read once the Aspiration Prayer to Be Born in the Pure Land of Great Bliss, and recite 10,000 times the Vajrasattva mantra. That was 30 years ago when religions were being destroyed ruthlessly. In that horrific period, one might manage to recite mantras or read sutras silently without getting caught; but prostrations presented a bigger problem. Besides doing it at home, she also tried the accumulation in mountain caves when herding, and would always ask me to stand guard for her. When no one was around, I would always remind her: “It’s time for you to do prostrations!”

Time elapsed quickly; 30 years had slipped by before I met her in my hometown last July. During this period I had gone through stages of schooling and become a monk. For her, the experience of life’s ups and downs had chiseled her face. Reminiscing about the old days, I quickly asked her: “Are you still continuing prostrations and recitations?” She answered: “Certainly. I’ve never stopped. Even if I missed them during my episodes of severe illness, I always managed to make them up after recovery. Now, with more free time on hand, I can recite even more mantras.” I asked, “Then, through all these years, how many prostrations and mantra recitations have you done in total?” She replied, “I have not really kept track of them. I feel practicing alone is good enough and have never cared to count the numbers.”

I made a mental calculation. Conservatively, in the past 30 years, she could have done at least 1,095,000 prostrations, read the Aspiration Prayer to Be Born in the Pure Land of Great Bliss 10,950 times, and recited the Vajrasattva mantra 109,500,000 times. For many people, these figures may seem astronomical. Drala is all but an average practitioner commonly seen among Tibetans, little known, nor extraordinarily diligent. Nonetheless, that she has kept her practice throughout 30 years with the perseverance of “grinding an iron pestle down to a needle” is truly praiseworthy.

These days there are practitioners who can’t wait to flaunt around their completion of one cycle of 500,000 preliminaries, lest someone would miss their accomplishment. Drala, on the other hand, cares not for recognition but only to practice persistently; she is indeed admirable. Checking my own progress, I had made pledges before my master, but I have not practiced authentically; I have been addressed as a spiritual teacher, but I am no better than common people. Shouldn’t I blush with shame?

The ancient saying goes:

One gallop of a noble steed remains one gallop of distance, not 10 gallops.
Ten days of effort of pulling a cart by an inferior horse, on the other hand, would cover 10 days’ distance.
Success comes from doing the task persistently.

Every practitioner should embrace such an enduring spirit. With every ounce of effort put in, there is bound to be an ounce of reward.

12th of February, Year of RenWu

UK Bodhi Association
Posts: 112
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:50 am

Footprints on the Journey: Moonlight - Khenpo Sodargye

Post by UK Bodhi Association » Mon Aug 29, 2016 7:17 pm

Moonlight

The last twilight in the western sky vanished with the setting sun. With silence all around, I waited for the evening curtain to roll out so that I could enjoy by myself a peaceful night in spring. This, it turned out, was just my wishful thinking. Suspended in the high void was a bright full moon that sprinkled a fine layer of silver dust over houses, trees, and the garden. It was exactly as described in the poem:

So long as there is water in the rivers,
Even if there are thousands of them,
The moon will be reflected in each.
So long as the sky is unobstructed by clouds,
No matter how many thousands of miles it spans,
It is all clear sky.

In the pond, washbasin, or even puddles from the rain, there appeared this round bright face, as if screaming to be picked up. No wonder the folklore of “Moon-Capturing by the Monkeys” came into existence.

Indeed, regardless of how many water containers there are on the ground, all will reflect the same beautiful moon as long as the water surfaces are clean and calm. Similarly, regardless of how many people there are on earth, as long as they visualize the Buddha with a pure mind, the Buddha will appear in front of them to bestow blessing, dispel suffering, and bring happiness.

The Jewel Heap Sutra (Ratnakuṭa Sutra) says: “Should anyone think of the Buddha with faith, the Buddha is there, right in front of them, constantly granting his blessings and freedom from all harm.” Hence to think of the Buddha is very meritorious. The King of Concentration Sutra also says: “Whoever recollects the Buddha while walking, standing, sitting, or sleeping will always be in Buddha’s presence, and will attain vast accomplishment.” People may wonder: How could the Buddha come to us the moment we think about him? Such manifestation is made possible by our minds being absolutely pure and by the power of Buddha’s great compassion. A Treatise on Finding Comfort and Ease in the Nature of Mind says: “Due to the power of our innate purity and the power of Buddha’s great compassion, the Buddha will approach us and grant whatever is desired just as we visualize him.”

As Buddhists, if we let a day go by without thinking of at least once of Buddha Shakyamuni, we should feel ashamed. We should constantly reflect on the adamantine words of the scriptures, which will bring us vast benefit in dispelling obstacles, establishing faith, and enhancing wisdom. On the other hand, if the vessels of our faith were turned upside down, then neither the moon reflection nor any form of the Buddha would ever appear to us.

15th of February, Year of RenWu
March 28, 2002

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Footprints on the Journey: Without End - Khenpo Sodargye

Post by UK Bodhi Association » Mon Aug 29, 2016 7:19 pm

Without End

The Buddha says all sentient beings have previously been our own mothers and fathers. Many people find this teaching improbable and impossible. Putting aside the argument about the existence of past lives, even if it were true, how could we ever exhaust all sentient beings, as their number is simply innumerable?

”However, the conclusions reached by the ordinary sense faculties—our eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and consciousness—are not valid in the ultimate sense. The King of Concentration Sutra says:

Eyes, ears, and nose are not valid instruments of discernment,
Nor are tongue, body, and consciousness reliable.
Should their perceptions be true,
Whom should the holy Doctrines benefit?

It is only with supreme wisdom that the true nature of all phenomena will be revealed. Without relying on Buddha’s profound insight, no amount of ordinary conceptual thinking is able to discern the essence of myriad appearances.

Likewise, the notion of time without beginning is difficult to grasp using the six faculties of ordinary being. In Letter to a Friend, The sublime Nagarjuna says: “Should the bones we had through our past lives be piled up, they would be as high as Mt. Meru. Should we try to count our bodies with balls of clay the size of juniper berries, we would run out of earth to count.” Since beginning-less time we have had incalculable lives throughout samsara, the number of times that we had relations of affection, enmity, or indifference with every other being is also countless. The Sages’ Nirvana Sutra says: “Were this great earth made into little pellets as big as a pea to count the number of times someone had been my father and mother, the whole earth would be used up before I could finish counting.”

Hence, until we have thoroughly studied and reflected upon the Buddha’s teachings, we should definitely refrain from making reckless remarks. A wise man will choose not to draw any conclusion until he has carefully reviewed the sutras and shastras.

16th of February, Year of RenWu
March 29, 2002

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Footprints on the Journey: No Craving - Khenpo Sodargye

Post by UK Bodhi Association » Wed Aug 31, 2016 10:36 am

No Craving


Geshe Shaupa (Padma Changchub) is one of the three great disciples in the Kadampa lineage. All his life he gave up the mundane world and practiced the Dharma assiduously. He finally attained supreme realization. Upon his nirvana, his body turned into many precious relics for future generations to treasure. His legacy marks a glorious chapter in the history of Buddhism.

In his instructions to disciples he says: “Should you take my words, happiness is immediately within reach. In fact, even if you trust me, I have neither better shortcuts nor other brilliant ideas. The salient point is just to renounce this life.” And again: “The root cause of all our sufferings in this and future lives is the attachment to the present life. Therefore, we must cut down this clinging. Chasing frantically after your enjoyment of this life, happiness will elude you. No amount of sweating or rushing about to the point of total exhaustion is of any use. Instead, misery, harm, and bickering may befall you simultaneously. Hence, be sure to drive off the avaricious mind that runs rampant. If you can extinguish all the cravings and spare none of them, a life of happiness and joy will play out for you. If one wants happiness in this and future lives, one should, at the minimum, cultivate a non-grasping mind and an attitude of amassing nothing. The best gain is to garner nothing; the best reputation is to forsake fame; the best praise is to shun from applause; the best retinue is to give up followers. To practice Dharma sincerely, your ambition in life should be poverty, and to be willing to remain poor until the end of life. If you have this attitude, no god, demon, or human being will ever be able to make difficulties for you. But if all you care about is to gain satisfaction in this life, you will bring disgrace upon yourself. You’ll have to bear not only the consequences of your own doing but also scorn from others, and rush to lower realms of endless tortures in future lives.”

Gyijapa or Seng Denhua by name was a disciple of H.H. Pande Gyaltsen. With proficiency in all the teachings and perfect realization, he founded the Gou Moya Monastery. He caused numerous beings to embrace Buddhism and trained a large number of outstanding disciples such as Yade Benchen. He is honored as His Holiness Gyija. He says:

Having cast the worries of this life to the wind, one deserves the name of an ascetic.
Even though such a person has no desire for fame, yet his good reputation is known all over.
The wind, admiring his will of giving up life and limb for the Dharma, sends breezes of compliments all over.

Unless a practitioner has tamed his own mind, he’ll still have unending desires and be burdened by them. Therefore, to attain great spiritual accomplishment, it is of utmost importance to relinquish all greediness and cravings.

17th February, Year of RenWu
March 30, 2002

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Footprints on the Journey: Bear in Mind - Khenpo Sodargye

Post by UK Bodhi Association » Sun Sep 04, 2016 10:49 am

Bear in Mind

Choyang Rongdrok, or Vajra Master Yekho of contemporary Tibet, is widely recognized as a realized yogi of the Great Perfection. It is believed that he is the reincarnation of Master Vamilamitra. He usually assumed a wrathful appearance and trained his disciples strictly with high demands. He rarely granted audiences, except for special cases. Our beloved Choeje (King of Dharma) Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche had the fortune to meet him at age 15.

During his later years, Choyang Rongdrok built retreat huts on the mountains near Wenda County in Sertha and gave Dharma teachings to 100 or so retreatants. Many of his disciples attained accomplishment and displayed various signs when they were entering into nirvana.

His disciple Sonam Phuntsok once requested an incomparable instruction of him. The master taught: “Visualize the supremely kind master on the crown of your head, pray to him constantly and receive the four empowerments from him, merge your mind with wisdom. Perceive all appearances as the body of the master’s, all sounds as the speech of the master’s, and all discursive thoughts as the display of the master’s wisdom. In brief, all phenomena, animate or inanimate, are entirely the manifestation of the master. While eating, visualize the master at your throat, and offer him the food as amrita. This will dispel defilements and transform ordinary food into a tsog offering. As you go to sleep, visualize the master at the center of your heart, radiating light that reaches all realms. You then melt into light and become one with him. When death approaches, do not become frightened or act with total confusion. Calm down, imagine that your mind merges inseparably with the master’s wisdom, and remain in that state. This is the essential transference of consciousness for the dying. Even if you were to study with me for a hundred years, I would not have any better teachings than these. I hope you will remember them well!”

The master’s teaching is indeed very precious, surpassing even the wish-granting jewel of the world. Anyone reading these words, the very embodiment of sublime wisdom, cannot but experience a refreshing insight. If this is not the case, that particular person may be suffering from a case of “heart stones.”


Evening of the 18th of February, Year of RenWu
March 31, 2002

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Footprints on the Journey: Dharma Bliss - Khenpo Sodargye

Post by UK Bodhi Association » Wed Sep 07, 2016 12:04 pm

Dharma Bliss

The most reliable and enduring happiness in the world is the great bliss derived from studying Buddhadharma. This kind of bliss is very different from any earthly happiness. Bodhisattva Thogme Zangpo of Tibet is the author of The 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva and The Commentary on the Bodhicaryavatara. Anyone who comes into contact with his teachings will spontaneously arouse genuine bodhichitta in the mind.

In his instructions to disciples, he made a detailed comparison between worldly happiness and Dharma bliss: “The pleasure of enjoying good food, women, and entertainment is in no way equivalent to the bliss of realizing the supreme Dharma with wisdom.” Why is that so? “It is because the pleasure coming from food and so on does not permeate the whole body; it is obtainable only through external factors; it is not available at all times at will, but only once in a while; it does not prevail in the three realms; it will not bring the wealth of supreme beings. It is exhaustible after the enjoyment; it is susceptible to enemies’ interference; it is not portable to lives after; it is not a reliance for ultimate contentment; it propagates sufferings of this and future lives; it is called a pleasure simply through its palliative effect akin to that of leprosy patients when they scratch. It feeds confused emotions such as covetousness; it leads to evil actions such as taking lives. On the other hand, the pleasure of Dharma bliss will permeate the entire body; it is available at all times; it pervades the three realms; it begets noble riches; it does not become exhausted after enjoyment but rather increases every day; no enemies can create any obstacles to it; it is portable to future lives; it is a reliance for perfect contentment; it does not multiply suffering of this or future lives; it is not happiness in name only. It has the power to destroy all afflictions and non-virtues. Therefore, the Dharma is immaculate and the utmost supreme.”

Hence, we can see that Dharma bliss is the ultimate happiness. The scripture says:

Chasing after desires, one is destroyed by desires;
Letting go of desires, one attains supreme bliss.

The only way to attain the utmost happiness is to cut off covetousness.


19th of February, Year of RenWu
April 1, 2002

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Footprints on the Journey: On Failure - Khenpo Sodargye

Post by UK Bodhi Association » Sun Sep 11, 2016 12:10 pm

On Failure

People in the world, be they illiterate hillbillies or government luminaries, all eagerly strive to fulfill their own interests. When doing anything, they want nothing but smooth sailing and cannot bear the tiniest setbacks. But in fact, failure is not necessarily without merit. There is this adage:

Misfortune, that is where happiness depends;
Happiness, that is where misfortune underlies.

The contemporary eminent Chinese Buddhist monk Hong Yi was extremely gifted in poetry, ci (verse), painting, calligraphy, seal cutting, music, drama, and literature. He has also mentored a number of celebrated artists such as Feng Zikai and the musician Liu Zhiping. Master Hong Yi had a carefree and elegant bearing and his achievement in arts and letters was unsurpassed in his time. After he chose to be ordained as a monk, he studied unremittingly Buddha’s teachings and abided the sparing fare of no food after midday. He dedicated himself particularly to Vinaya pitaka and is revered as the 11th lineage holder of the Vinaya School. He has left a rich spiritual legacy for future generations; in China, he stood out as a model figure whose life underwent a transformation from utter glory to utmost humbleness.

He wrote in Dreams of 10 Years in Minnan: “I have a rather peculiar mindset these days: I only wish for failure in the things I do. It is because failure and imperfection can make me feel humble and abashed. Only then will I see my own inadequacies and lack of qualities, and strive to correct myself for the better. Whatever I do, I invariably hope I will fail; failure teaches me humility. Should I become successful, I might be puffed up with arrogance, which would be disastrous!” This passage is my favorite to memorize, as the master’s unconventional way of thinking reveals his extraordinary realization and modesty.

One of the most profound teachings of the Omniscient Longchenpa in The Precious Treasury of Pith Instructions is: “One must cut off self-clinging and choose failure always.” Langri Tangpa also left the teaching:

May I take upon myself the defeat
And offer to others the victory.

These teachings are fortunate coincidences with what Master Hong Yi has to say. The prowess of a truly brave man, after all, lies in his capacity to be unafraid of failure and willingly embrace failure.

There are many proverbs in the world on how to face failure squarely. Many are the fruition of valid analyses, such as: “When the old man lost his mare, who could have guessed it was a blessing in disguise? A loss may well turn out to be a gain,” and, “In adversity, we thrive; in comfort, we perish.” Many people also appreciate that a convoluted path is bound to provide some kind of reward. Writer Ruo Lan once said: “In life, every step we take brings the experience of that one step. This has nothing to do with whether the step is right or wrong. The ‘right’ one yields the right reward. The ‘wrong’ one presents lessons from being wrong. Taking the longer route or walking on the wrong path is just like being lost in the deep mountains. While people are worrying and bemoaning your safety, you hit the opportunity to collect rare flowers and berries, and you spot exceptional birds and animals. In addition, having to cover the extra distance, you have cultivated extra courage and tenacity.”

If we face failure bravely, we shall come to enjoy its sweet taste.

20th of February, Year of RenWu
April 2, 2002

UK Bodhi Association
Posts: 112
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:50 am

Footprints on the Journey: Getting Transformed- Khenpo Sodargye

Post by UK Bodhi Association » Wed Sep 14, 2016 2:43 pm

Getting Transformed

Once a person turns his mind wholeheartedly toward the Dharma, his attitude and behavior will no longer be his old worldly self. With the sword of Dharma wisdom in hand, many knotty problems, fetters, and worries in the secular world are cut through smoothly.

Ben Kungyal (Tsultrim Galwa) is a great Tibetan siddha noted for his skillful way of overcoming negative emotions. He used to be a bandit by living, and was crude, brutal, and impetuous. When he suddenly realized his own mistakes, he quickly made a clean break with his outlaw life. Resolutely, he took ordination and parted with all non-virtuous activities by employing various antidotes. Disciplining himself rigorously and being watchful of his own faults always, he eventually aroused great bliss in his mental stream.

Potowa once said meaningfully: “Even in this life, a spiritual practitioner and ordinary being must be poles apart. When I was a layperson, I had gone gold mining three times without finding anything. But now there are taels of gold coming to me every day. The happiness, joy, and fame enjoyed by Kham Longpa of Yongwa Valley are unsurpassable in the world. Chengawa of Lungshu also enjoys boundless happiness. All these are the consequences of having practiced the Dharma properly!”

By dint of diligent practice, a spiritual seeker will come to realize the truth of the universe and human life. As the Dharma seed sprouts and takes root in one’s mind, all the old perceptions of the world and life are shattered to pieces; one will gradually steer away from the old ways of living a mundane life.

Breaking away from the narrow confines of pursuing this life, we’ll be free from the bondage of the eight worldly concerns. The material comfort we used to run after, like fine food and luxury clothing, seem now as worthless as beat-up shoes. All of a sudden we are open to a huge vista and see the suffering and drudgery of all beings. Eventually we will come to perceive dharmatatu that is as boundless as the blue sky.

Even for someone with a deep-rooted attachment to secular affairs, all it takes is faith and perseverance to break free. The Buddha’s teaching, like a sharp iron shovel, will invincibly shave off the mud of fame and fortune, and uproot all worldly clinging.

As a spiritual practitioner, have I achieved any significant transformation yet?

21st of February, Year of RenWu
April 3, 2002

UK Bodhi Association
Posts: 112
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:50 am

Footprints on the Journey: Pure View- Khenpo Sodargye

Post by UK Bodhi Association » Sun Sep 18, 2016 12:19 pm

Pure View

It is not uncommon for many Buddhists to feel a sense of superiority over other beings. Such a notion tends to crop up when they see people who engage in unethical conduct, have perverted views or disturbing emotions, or are of a lower social standing.

People who practice by themselves easily become quite conceited as soon as they obtain any sign of accomplishment. Worse, even without signs of accomplishment, they claim themselves as a contemporary Milarepa just because they have done a little solitary retreat like a hibernating marmot. They turn their noses up, thinking others are either fools chasing the eight worldly preoccupations or having a lower acumen suitable only to Sutrayana. They believe they alone have the sharp faculties to command the secret Vajrayana. Unbeknownst to them, holding such an attitude has already cast them into the pit of evils.

It has been said in the scriptures that Buddhas and Bodhisattvas manifest in various bodies in order to benefit beings. The Nirvana Sutra says: “In the hell realm, the Buddha appears as hell beings to benefit beings there; in the preta realm, the Buddha assumes the form of a hungry ghost to benefit beings; in the animal realm, the Buddha takes the body of a bear, pigeon, snake, yak, naga, guruda, or tortoise, to carry out Bodhisattva deeds. In the human realm, the Buddha appears as a butcher, slaughterer of dogs and fowl; fisherman; magician; heretic; or as a person to arouse avarice, aversion, or ignorance; or as someone having no faith in the karmic law, undutiful to parents, disrespectful to the elderly, or as one filled with jealousy, stinginess or other negative emotions. In all these various forms, the Buddha tames beings accordingly.” These accounts just seem inconceivable for us ordinary beings. In White Lotus there are many stories describing how the Buddha in his previous lives benefited beings in these various manifestations. The Sutra Requested by Purna says: “I manifested as servants serving people by carrying urine, removing feces, sweeping the floors, and cutting the grass.” Therefore, if we see someone sweeping and cleaning, we should not look down on him or her, but instead we should be respectful.

In The Lotus Sutra, the “Chapter of Bodhisattva Never Disparaging” describes: “At this time there was a Bodhisattva monk named Never Disparaging. This monk, whomever he happened to meet, would bow in obeisance to them and speak words of praise, saying, ‘I have profound reverence for you; I would never dare treat you disparagingly or with arrogance.’ This monk did not devote his time to reading or reciting the scriptures, but simply went about bowing to people. Many years passed in this way, during which this monk was constantly subjected to curses and abuse. He did not give way to anger, however, but each time spoke the same words, ‘You are certain to attain Buddhahood.’ When he spoke in this manner, some among the group would take sticks of wood or tiles and stones to beat and pelt him. But even as he ran away and took up a stance at a distance, he continued to call out in a loud voice, ‘I would never dare disparage you, for you are all certain to attain Buddhahood!’”

In the Sutra of Arousing the Supreme Motivation of the Bodhisattvas, it says:

Do not regard yourself as the grandest and find fault with others.
Arrogance causes one to slack, never look down on inferior beings.

Therefore, we should train ourselves to see whatever persons we happen to meet as worthy of our praise and respect. Before reaching that stage, however, if we witness someone committing non-virtues and are powerless to stop them, we should think that person is probably the manifestation of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. We then remain watchful of our own minds. This way, it can do nothing but good to others and ourselves.

22nd of February, Year of RenWu
April 4, 2002

UK Bodhi Association
Posts: 112
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:50 am

Footprints on the Journey: Random Thoughts - Khenpo Sodargye

Post by UK Bodhi Association » Wed Sep 21, 2016 2:53 pm

Random Thoughts

For many people, at the mention of Qingming Day (Tomb-Sweeping Day), the following popular song inevitably comes to mind:

It is drizzling and showering on spring memorial day,
The mourners travel with hearts lost in sadness.
When asked where to find a tavern to stop by,
A shepherd boy points at an apricot blossom village far away.
It is Qingming Day, the traditional “Memorial Day” in Han China designated for paying homage to ancestors and fallen heroes. On the street, many families head to the outskirts of the city in a steady stream; with fresh flowers in hand; they are ready to sweep the tombs of their predecessors and martyrs.

Yet I found myself all alone queuing for physical exams in a hospital. The demons of disease have been raging horrendous wars in my feeble body, leaving me anxious and helpless. But whoever we may be, we have to bear the miseries of illness all alone. It is only in illness that we experience firsthand the sufferings of birth, sickness, aging, and death, which otherwise seem elusive when we are healthy.

Finally it’s my turn after waiting for more than an hour at the billing department. It cost 260 yuan for a blood test alone. Seeing many patients wearing ragged clothes, I wondered how they could manage to pay such high fees for medical care! No wonder it is said in the West: “If you are poor, try not to get sick. The threshold of the hospital is too high to cross.” For people unable to pay medical bills, the only alternative is to wait to die helplessly. How miserable are they!

As I had to wait for the lab report, I rested under a ficus tree reputed to be 150 years old, an age that beats my great grandfather’s. How amazing. My great grandfather has been long gone while this tree still towers majestically. We humans are just no match to trees in terms of lifespan—even if we manage to be disease-free, our days are numbered. Impermanence is indeed frightening!

On the ride home after getting my report, I saw a huge building supposedly owned by someone quite advanced in age. Musing over the old man toward the end of his life and the big building that would remain strong, I felt sorry for those who’re still making long-term plans.

All morning, I was preoccupied with these random thoughts, having neither read books nor recited scriptures.

On the balcony, at noon on Qingming Day
23rd February, Year of RenWu
April 5, 2002

UK Bodhi Association
Posts: 112
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:50 am

Footprints on the Journey: Seeking Dharma - Khenpo Sodargye

Post by UK Bodhi Association » Sun Sep 25, 2016 11:03 am

Seeking Dharma

It goes without saying that for the sake of pursuing the Dharma, a spiritual seeker should let go of all worldly belongings and abide by an austere life style.

Buddha Shakyamuni was once reborn as the Brahmin named Dharma Loving. For the sake of obtaining a one-verse Dharma he did not hesitate to give up his life by leaping into a flaming pit. The verse he paid for so dearly, by “risking life and limb without a care for flesh and blood,” is: “Always strive ardently to practice generosity and never commit transgressions of the pure precepts. Perform good deeds to the best of your ability and practice the supreme Dharma with wisdom.”

Another time the Buddha was incarnated as a Brahmin during a period devoid of Buddha’s doctrines. From a raksas disguised by the god Indra, he received a few words’ teaching and immediately wrote it down on rocks, walls, and tree trunks in order to benefit future beings. He then leaped from a tree to his death to repay the raksas’s kindness of conferring the Dharma. In that instant, his pure intention of seeking the Dharma allowed him to accumulate vast merits that otherwise would take 12 great kalpas to accomplish. The teaching he paid dearly for with the price of his blood and life is:

When both becoming and cessation cease to operate,
Cessation of change with its bliss of perfect rest arises.

These Dharma verses, obtained by the Buddha with his zealous quest of “giving up body and life for the Dharma,” are the quintessence of the vast compassion from past great masters; they are fully imbued with the blessings of the Buddhas of ten directions and three times. We should study these treasures, even down to a single word or phrase, with veneration and make them known to others as well.

I remember when our Guru H.H. Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche recounted these stories during the transmission of The Great Biography of Shakyamuni Buddha (the White Lotus), he often became so moved that tears streamed down his cheeks and his voice choked up. He advised us: “For the sake of beings in the degenerate times, Buddha Shakyamuni sacrificed his own life to search for the Dharma. If we are indolent in our practice, it’s absolutely sad and lamentable!”

We have now met the supremely kind teacher who is indistinguishable from the Buddha and who has transmitted to us the ocean-like sublime Dharma. If we do not cherish this opportunity to the utmost, our trip to this world would be a total waste!

24th of February, Year of RenWu
April 6, 2002

UK Bodhi Association
Posts: 112
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:50 am

Footprints on the Journey:Becoming Disenchanted-Khenpo Sodargye

Post by UK Bodhi Association » Wed Sep 28, 2016 10:12 am

Becoming Disenchanted

Genuine spiritual seekers should turn their mind wholeheartedly to the Dharma and renounce secular affairs. Otherwise, wishing to be successful in spiritual practice is just daydreaming.

Bodhisattva Thogme Zangpo maintained his long-term retreat in an isolated hermitage; many visitors seeking his audience or teachings found themselves on the wrong side of the door. He posted a note outside his retreat hut that read: “Between the sublime path and the secular world, there is no way to accommodate both; should one claim it is doable, it is for certain a self-deception. Even if we meet face to face, there are no other words I could impart to you. May we all strive diligently to practice the Dharma!”

Sakya Pandita says: “If one strives for success and prosperity of this life and at the same time wishes to attain the ultimate happiness, one is foolish and reckless. We should abandon secular affairs.” In The Sutra of Arousing the Supreme Motivation of the Bodhisattvas it says: “Maitreya, I will never agree that vociferous people can effectively focus their minds, nor do I approve of the saying that no harm is done to the Doctrines by getting involved in secular matters.”

The Gateway to Practice describes how Master Tsongkhapa once had a vision of Bodhisattva Manjusri, who imparted to him a golden instruction: “Unless one has developed an utter disgust toward samsara in the first place, all his efforts in studying, reflection, and meditation will not free him from samsara and the lower realms. Therefore, one should put away the profound practices, such as those on generation and completion phases, on high shelves for the moment. Instead, work intensely on cultivating disenchantment until it has arisen fully in the mind.”

Some may wonder: Isn’t there a famous saying like the following:

The Kingdom of Buddha is in this world, within which enlightenment is to be sought.
To seek enlightenment beyond this world is as absurd as to search for a rabbit’s horn.

Buddhists’ practice shouldn’t be in conflict with worldly activities, should it?

In fact, this saying has two levels of meaning. On one level, it is an expedient way to guide those new to Buddhism, to suit their unwillingness to let go of this world. On the other level, it speaks directly of the non-dual minds or the activities of realized sages.

As ordinary beings, we should keep our feet firmly on the ground and stay away from distractions. The scripture says: “Whoever overcomes indolence, keeps away from distractions and always feels contented in solitude will attain liberation.”

Illusory fame and flimsy prosperity are as seductive as wine but even more potent. They make the mind dead drunk, becoming incapable of awakening. Do not be tricked by the wine god Dionysus and intoxicated with worldly renown and wealth. Hold onto your own principles!

25th of February, Year of RenWu
April 7, 2002

UK Bodhi Association
Posts: 112
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:50 am

Footprints on the Journey: Questions Answered-Khenpo Sodargye

Post by UK Bodhi Association » Mon Oct 03, 2016 12:12 am

Questions Answered

In The Sutra of the Wise and the Fool, the Great Biography of Buddha Shakyamuni, or other scriptures, there are many stories about how the god Indra, in order to test the sincerity of Buddha’s aspiration, purposely created havoc while the Buddha was practicing the paramita of generosity. It puzzles many people: Why should Indra make so much trouble for the Buddha?

As a matter of fact, this came about as a result of Indra’s power of aspiration. When the Buddha was on the Bodhisattva path, Indra, like Devadatta, made vows to help the Buddha accumulate merits swiftly. To do so they manifested in various forms toward which the Buddha would practice his patience or make body offerings. The deed of offering one’s own body, unlike a material offering that is relatively easy, has been achieved only as rarely as one sees stars in the daytime. However, without such a dramatic offering on the part of the Buddha, worldly people would not come to appreciate his extraordinary qualities.

Others raise the question: The Buddha often offered his own wife and children to flesh-eating rakshas in order to perfect the accumulation of merit. Aren’t such acts harmful to other beings?

To begin with, the Buddha’s activity could only bring tremendous merit to his wife and children; there was no harm to them. Furthermore, his motivation was not in self-interest. It was wishing for swift enlightenment in order to liberate multitudes of beings from dire suffering. There was neither a single trace of selfishness nor the tiniest bit of self-serving. A Guide to Bodhisattva’s Way of Life says: “For it is taught that in times of generosity, the rules of discipline may be suspended,” and: “The great should not be supplanted by the less, and it is others’ good that is the highest goal.” Hence there are times a Bodhisattva is permitted to actually commit harmful acts of body and speech, provided the intention is pure bodhichitta. The Chapter on the Three Increasing Activities says: “The Bodhisattvas are permitted to commit the seven harmful actions.” Similar teachings can be found in The Sutra of Great Secret Skills.

The story of Captain Great Compassionate Heart tells how the Captain killed the Black Spearman in order to save him from incalculable sufferings in samsara and, at the same time, to benefit many other beings. Brahmin Lover of the Stars, to save a maiden madly in love with him from killing herself, broke his vow of chastity. Therefore, the most crucial point is the motivation. Doing good deeds superficially without pure motivation is like climbing a tree to catch a fish.

26th of February, Year of RenWu
April 8, 2002

UK Bodhi Association
Posts: 112
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:50 am

Footprints on the Journey: Missionary Nun - Khenpo Sodargye

Post by UK Bodhi Association » Wed Oct 05, 2016 5:13 pm

Missionary Nun

Upon seeing this title, some of you may wonder: As a Buddhist, why am I suddenly interested in affairs of non-Buddhists? But the object of my admiration and respect today, a Catholic nun, is beyond the simple definition of religious faith. In my heart, she is the living Buddha or a Bodhisattva. This person, incidentally, is none other than the renowned missionary nun—Mother Teresa.

Mother Teresa was born into a well-educated family from Yugoslavia and had attended Catholic schools since childhood. At the age of 18, she went to Calcutta, India, where she initially enjoyed an easy and comfortable European lifestyle in a monastery complete with beautiful gardens.

One day, she discovered the utter misery of people living outside the tall walls of the monastery, and she could no longer live her peaceful daily life. When faced with scores of eyes desperately in want of care, she could no longer shut her own eyes. Driven by a strong sense of purpose and against the strong opposition of people around her, she ventured into the slum all alone. Bravely, she carried on her back the pains and sorrows of beings in the world; with her frail shoulders, she assumed the heavy burden of rescuing the destitute from the slums.

An utterly lonely old man was lying on a bed. No one had ever cared for him, nor did anyone ever heed whether he was still breathing. When the only visitor he could ever expect was the Lord of Death, Mother Teresa walked into his room. A drunk stretched out on the street, brutally beaten, and severely injured. When he could await nothing but indifference, Mother Teresa appeared and helped him up, escorting him to the “House of the Pure Heart” she had established. A tramp curved up on the roadside, his body covered with oozing sores and maggots. When he was receiving nothing but spiteful looks and revulsion from passersby, Mother Teresa came and bound up his wounds tenderly; she embraced his heart of total despair and gave it warmth…. Her footprints covered more than half of the earth—Calcutta, Yemen, London, Melbourne, New York, even China. She founded more than a hundred charity agencies to serve the lowly poor. She took in 61,273 abandoned babies in a period of merely six years.

Her untiring efforts finally gained the recognition of the world. In 1979, she was awarded the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize. Overnight she became a household name. But she donated all her prize money to charity. In addition, she specifically requested the Nobel Committee to forgo the traditional banquet in honor of the Peace Prize winner. The committee was impressed by her spirit and contributed the $7,100 that would otherwise have been spent on the banquet to the Missionary of Charity that she founded.

Although she had become a celebrity, she still maintained an extremely frugal and sparing life. She owned only three sets of clothes; she wore no socks, only sandals. In an age of advanced electronics pervaded with computers and so forth, the only electrical equipment’s in her place were a few lamps and a telephone. She sold a Lincoln Continental limousine, a gift from the Pope, at an auction and used the money to open a leprosy hospital.

Although she was a Catholic nun, Mother Teresa had absolute respect for others’ religion. Every patient’s funeral is held according to that person’s religious faith.

She touched the hearts of world with her friendly words in an easygoing and simple manner: “There is hunger for ordinary bread, and there is hunger for love, for kindness, for thoughtfulness; and this is the great poverty that makes people suffer so much.”

“Hungry not only for bread —but hungry for love. Naked not only for lack of clothing—but naked for lack of human dignity and respect. Homeless not only for want of a room of bricks—but homeless because of rejection. Even the rich are hungry for love, for being cared for, for being wanted, for having someone to call their own.”

“The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted.”

“I don’t go to heaven for anything else, I will be going to heaven for all the traveling with all the publicity, because it has purified me and sacrificed me and made me really ready to go to heaven.”

“We have an opportunity to love others as he loves us, not in big things, but in small things with great love, so Norway becomes a nest of love. And how beautiful it will be that from here a center for peace from war has been given. That from here the joy of life of the unborn child comes out. If you become a burning light of peace in the world, then really the Nobel Peace Prize is a gift of the Norwegian people.”

“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that one missing drop. I do not agree with the big way of doing things. To us what matters is an individual effort.”

Although a tiny water droplet may not be worth mentioning, the gathering of a few droplets becomes a trickling rivulet, bringing some relief to those parched with thirst.

Although a single yarn is insignificant, the combination of several yarns can be used to weave cloth, bringing warmth to those shivering in the cold.

Although one grain of rice is hardly worth noticing, it is only by combining many grains of rice that there may be a bowl of porridge, bringing strength to those suffering from harsh starvation.

Let us follow Mother Teresa’s example. With a humble and willing spirit, we will give up the ambition of doing earthshaking undertakings, but start serving mankind bit by bit.

27th of February, Year of RenWu
April 9, 2002

UK Bodhi Association
Posts: 112
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:50 am

Footprints on the Journey: Real Treasure-Khenpo Sodargye

Post by UK Bodhi Association » Sun Oct 09, 2016 3:56 pm

Real Treasure

Many ancient emperors, after having reached the pinnacle of their power and glory, would search at any cost for an elixir that could endow them with everlasting life. Their efforts, as we all come to know, were as futile as drawing water with a bamboo basket. Even so, later generations still refuse to learn the lesson and obstinately follow suit. Because, for worldly beings, life is just too precious! Not a single possession in the world can be compared to it.

However, a spiritual seeker should have no qualms about sacrificing life for the sake of Dharma. The Adamantine Pinnacle Sutra says: “For my body, I will give up my wealth. For my life, I will give up my body. For the Dharma, I will give up all of my wealth, my body, and my life.”

Buddha Shakyamuni was once reborn as a Brahmin patron. For the sake of receiving a one-verse Dharma, he readily gave up all the treasures of gold, silver, and other treasures he had amassed over 12 years. He said: “I have spent 12 years to collect these gems, yet never have I had a chance to hear the sublime Dharma. What is the use of my striving to gather these rocks and minerals? The real treasure is the Dharma teaching, even if it means trading my life for it, it is well worth it!”

Lord Buddha has also been born as Kashod Legpo, who gouged his own body to light one thousand candles as offerings. Finally, the following teaching was conferred to him:

Whatever is stored up is impermanent and is bound to run out.
Whatever rises up is impermanent and is bound to fall down.
Whatever comes together is impermanent and is bound to come apart.
Whatever is born is impermanent and is bound to die.

To this day, this verse still is the quintessential teaching for the study on impermanence.

The Chinese sage Confucius also states in the same vein: “One can die without remorse in the evening, provided one has heard the teachings on Truth during the day.” Therefore, for the sake of Dharma that liberates the self and others, what regret is there to sacrifice one’s life!

28th of February, Year of RenWu
April 10, 2002

UK Bodhi Association
Posts: 112
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:50 am

Footprints on the Journey: Best Strategy -Khenpo Sodargye

Post by UK Bodhi Association » Wed Oct 12, 2016 10:44 am

Best Strategy

Living between Heaven and Earth, the time we have as humans flashes by as swiftly as “a white steed flits past a crack.” It would be a shame to waste our human life with its freedoms and endowments and to squander away our opportunities. As Buddha’s heirs, we must walk on the Dharma path unerringly, that is, to cherish the rich legacies of lineage masters and suffuse our minds with them, to be careful about our conduct and establish right views.

The Venerable Thogme Zangpo taught his disciples earnestly:
The best way to accumulate merit is to tame the mind until it becomes one with the Dharma. The highest wisdom is to be aware of the uncertainty of the time of death. The sharpest wit is to know how to eliminate non-virtues and adopt virtues. The best rank is to have sentient beings honored above our heads. The superb wealth is to be content with few desires. The greatest happiness is to be free from covetousness.

Zhanpa Gaylol also admonished future generations:
To truly renounce this life one should uphold these eleven vows: to live alone in seclusion without conforming to others; to give up home and set forth to a place away from one’s native land; to relinquish all sensual pleasures; to assume a humble position always; to spare not others’ feelings; to be vigilant and apply antidotes constantly; to be unaffected by others’ irresponsible remarks, or to think they have some points; to feel no pain at all even having lost one’s most cherished possession; to let go of the suffering of this life as when a beggar dies, to always repeat the following ardently: ‘None of these is necessary!’; and to steer one’s own course of life. If these vows are kept, one will gather excellent spiritual qualities as immense as cloudbanks.

Let us keep these eleven points firmly in our minds. Otherwise, whatever amount of knowledge we have will only render us impervious to the Dharma.

29th of February, Year of RenWu
April 11, 2002

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