** If you see your Guru as a Buddha, you will recieve the blessings of a Buddha ** If you see your Guru as a Boddhisatva, you will recieve the blessings of a Boddhisatva ** If you see your Guru as a friend, you will only receive the blessings of a friend **

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Mahamudra~A Practical Guide by H.E. 12 th Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche

H.E. 12 th Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche's new book, **Mahamudra - A Practical Guide**, will soon be available for sale by Wisdom Publications at the end of December 2020 and on Amazon by April 2021.

https://books.google.com/books/about/Mahamudra.html?id=PMuYzQEACAAJ

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Teachings - Pg-4

Lightly edited Transcription of the Condensed Practice Lama, Yida and Dharmapala according to Zurmang Kagyud tradition - by Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche at

Mangala Vihara Temple, Singapore on
26th February 2002

Continue from Page 3

 

Page 4 - Questions and Answers

Student-1

1. Student: Some of us have many other kinds of practices, many other kinds of commitment. In the Gelukpa tradition, for the higher yoga tantrayana practices, we have the Six Session Guru Yoga to complete everyday as well as the short sadhanas. That in itself is quite a lot. Now, with these short practices, I find it difficult to cope? You know what I
mean? On top of our work and family commitments, we would have to practice 24 hours a day! There is no time for sleep. So is this a must? We must do these practices?
  Rinpoche: When you practice guru yoga, you can probably visualise the main guru as the embodiment of all the gurus
together. Like for instance, when you visualise Vajradhara, you should think that actually your guru is in the form of
Vajradhara, or the guru is in the form of Tara, or the guru is in the form of Mahakala, or the guru is in the form of all the other gurus, you know. That’s how we can practice, how we can visualise. Because if we have to practice each guru one at a time, then it may take very long time. Actually, guru yoga is for the guru. So if you wish to add other gurus in, you can still practice it that way as they are all inseparable. Maybe like 3 in 1 coffemix.

 

Student-2

2. Student: When I make water offerings, I realise that there will always be some ants or flies in the cup of water. Should I continue to make the water offering?

  Rinpoche: Probably, the ant is feeling very hot. [laughter] Sometimes, this cannot be helped. Sometimes, when we make
lamp offering, we can see butterflies inside the lamp. So maybe you should protect it with something. Or maybe, before the
ant comes, you should put something so that the ant will never come, you know, or maybe you can cover it with something. Ya?
Like in the case of the lamp, if we cover it with some cover, the insect won’t go in and it won’t be killed. But sometimes,
it can’t be helped. If there is a place that one never dies, I want to go there too.

 

Student-3

3. Student: After I received the Guru Rinpoche initiation and I started to recite the mantra, I feel that the air surrounding me is different. My skin tightens and my hair stands on end. Why is this so? Will other beings attack me?
  Rinpoche: No. [laughter]
  Student: Do I continue to recite?
  Rinpoche: Yes. [laughter] Probably, as I mentioned earlier, it could be your devotion. Maybe there is a connection between you and guru Rinpoche, so when you recite the mantra, somehow, the connection is revived. So probably, you feel the connection by having goose bumps and your hair stands up. I don’t have hair so I don’t know how you feel. [laughter] Skin tightening...I think it’s the same feeling. I don’t think it’s wrong. I think it’s nothing wrong. So you should recite more guru Rinpoche mantra. Okay? There’s nothing wrong.

 

Student-4

4. Student: My friend is a medical researcher. Her job requires her to apply drugs to animal, and kill animals to test the effectiveness of the drug. In killing the animal, like frogs, rabbit, rats and so on, she has to take out their
eyes, cut the throat and remove the skin for research purposes.
  Rinpoche: You know, this thing, actually...how do I say it, it is a very difficult question. The best thing is not to work in these kind of places because you have to perform many unwholesome actions like cutting and operating on frogs. So of course, it is not good karma.

But then, if you do it purely to help others, maybe there is something there we can think over. Killing is not permitted at all in Buddhism for whatever reason. Killing is not permitted. But if you are killing for a good, a very good
reason, then there is an allowance, then you are allowed to kill.

In one of his lifetimes, Buddha was a captain of a ship. An evil man wanted to steal the cargo by drilling a hole
through the ship and sinking it. But by doing so, he would kill all 500 passengers on board. So Buddha knew of his intention.

He thought to himself, “If I kill him I will go to hell. But if I don’t kill him, he’ll go to hell after he has killed 500
people. If that’s so, then I should take it upon myself to kill him even though I have to go to hell as it will save 500 lives.” When Buddha killed him, instead of going to hell, he instantly accumulated 80 million thousand years of merit!

This shows that it all depends on your intention. So it is difficult to decide what is the best course of action. But
of course, if one has regrets, if one doesn’t feel comfortable at all, then it’s better not to work in this kind of places. I think that answers the question.
  Student: Can she say something to the animal so that she is free from unwholesome action or bad karma?
  Rinpoche: If you have a choice, actually the best thing is not to do that. But sometimes, you don’t have a choice. If you have no choice, Dharma may say one thing, but sometimes, you are in a very difficult situation, something that is
difficult to get out of. So in this case, you should recite a prayer for the animal, so that in its next life it will take
rebirth as a human being and it will have chance to attain Buddhahood. We can pray  and dedicate for the animal this way. That’s what we can do. Of course you can’t simply say, ‘I’m sorry, I have to kill you” that would be a very easy thing to say. You should at least dedicate the merit for this animal.

 

Student-5

5. Student: What is vipasanna?
  Rinpoche: Vipasanna literally means seeing as it is, seeing extra. Through reasoning, through logic, when one is not able to find any object or mind itself that has inherent existence, that is solid or truly exists, this is vipasanna. Flowers
exist because we just simply label this yellow object as a flower. But actually, it doesn’t really have inherent existence.

If I pluck each petal off, eventually you cannot find the flower. See? Even mind itself, where does mind come from? Analyse this. Where does mind come from? If you search for mind, where is it? Inside the body or outside the body?

What is the colour

of mind? Is it red, blue or purple? If there is a colour, then there should also be a shape of mind. It may be round or
square. You will eventually realise that you can’t find anything. When you cannot find anything, on that finding, you rest your mind. That is called meditation of vipassana.
  Student: What about my breathing?
  Rinpoche: I think you should breathe normally. This does not involve breathing techniques. Just use your mind and on that particular finding, you have to let your mind rest. And not just resting, the most important point is, you have to try to keep this finding with you for a long, long time because you’ll find that once you have this experience, if you do not maintain it, after some time it will just disappear. So, instead of just losing it, try to hold on to the experience as long as possible. This is very important.

In the Vajrayana tradition, there is a tradition of showing the nature of your mind. Once the teacher shows you the
nature of mind, if there’s 100 people present, maybe 1 or 2 may be able to grab that very moment. But, once you realise it, that is very good. But if you do not practice it, then you will lose this experience. So you have to keep this experience for as long as possible. Maintaining this experience becomes realisation, experienced realisation. So you have to make an effort to keep it, to maintain this experience. So you have to really investigate thoroughly. You have to really go through the reasonings. Don’t just say that, “Oh, mind does not exist” and that’s it. You have to truly believe it from your heart through the process of reasoning. Once you realise that you don’t exist, then you will believe. Sometimes, when someone tells you something, you don’t have a strong believe. But once you realise that you really cannot find it, you will believe from your heart. Then you will truly believe that it is true.

 

Student-6

6. Student: Why are there so many Buddhas or Taras?
  Rinpoche: There are many levels of Green Tara. Some are in higher tantra, some are in kriya tantra. In kriya tantra (action tantra) and carya tantra, the external practice is very important. If you follow this practice, you have to purify
your body, speech and mind. This means taking showers to keep your body clean, not eating the five meats, not drinking the five nectars, not visualising deities in consort form. So if possible, before practising Tara, you should not eat meat. This is the way we should practice kriya tantra. But in higher tantra, you can eat meat, you can drink the five nectars, you can visualise Buddhas in consort forms. So it depends on what you are practising. For most of the kriya and carya tantra Buddhas or bodhisattvas, you are not supposed not eat meat while you are practicing. But you can visualise Tara, or Amitabha, there is nothing wrong.
  Student: When practising Tara do we need to be vegetarian?
  Rinpoche: No, no. It’s not necessary.

 

Student-7

7. Student: In the Mahakala practice, why do we need to send Mahakala back? If they are supposed to help us, why
can’t they remain with us all the time?
  Rinpoche: Why do we send Mahakala back? Because he gets tired of sitting there. [laughter]

It is something like this. Our thoughts are so limited. It’s just a practice. You are sending Mahakala and calling
Mahakala, but actually, Mahakala is within you, you know. It’s like your yidam, you visualise your yidam as inseparable with yourself. But in the Mahakala practice, usually we request Mahakala to return to his abode after practising, we send them back. And whenever necessary, we invite them.
  Student: But why do we send them back?
  Rinpoche: I never ask them. [laughter] Why send them back? Do you want to keep one with you all the time? When you invite a guest over for dinner, do you want to keep the guest with you all the time? The same thing applies here. It’s just a formality, you know. It’s just a formality of certain practices. Even with the Tara practice, if there is no statue, no thangka, we will ask Tara to go back to Tara pure land. But if a statue of Tara is there, we will dissolve into it. Of course, each deity is different but sometimes when we do Tara practice, we will ask them to go, leave. And if there is a tangka or statue, we dissolve into the statue or tangka. You know, that’s what I’m saying. It’s just a practice, a requirement. The practice wants you to send it back. If you require the protector’s help, then you can immediately visualise the protector. There are two ways of visualisation, step by step or immediately visualise the deity in front of you.
  Student: Can I use the protector as a bodyguard?
  Rinpoche: No, you cannot use protector as your bodyguard! It is different. [Laughter] If you interpret it this way, you
will ask the protector to buy lottery! It’s not like this. The protector is not like a human protector. The protector doesn’t have to be there with you all the time, they don’t have to be physically there. Like Tara or Buddha doesn’t have to be there with you to protect you, you know. Buddha can be somewhere else but he can still protect you. Buddha Sakyamuni is not here, you know, he is not in this world but when we request blessing from him, he’s always with us. See?

In other words, Buddha or protector, even though you send them back, this doesn’t mean that they are not with you,
you know. Just because you invite them and then you have to make offering, give them a big feast and send them back after that doesn’t mean that they will go. Like for instance, if you hire a bodyguard, when you ask him to go home, you feel insecure because he is not with you. This is not the case. Protector, they are not there but they can still protect you. That is the difference.

     

 

 

Teachings - Pg-3

Lightly edited Transcription of the Condensed Practice Lama, Yida and Dharmapala according to Zurmang Kagyud tradition - by Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche at

Mangala Vihara Temple, Singapore on
26th February 2002

Continue from Page 2

Mahakala

Mahakala

Once you have finished the Tara practice, you can practice the short Mahakala practice. We always practice Mahakala in the evening.

So immediately you become Chakrasambhava. And then you recite the mantra of Chakrasambhava, “Om Hri Ha Ha Hung Hung Phat” followed by Om Mahakala Hung Phet. This is the Four Arm Mahakala mantra.

After reciting Mahakala, we make offering. We visualise all sorts of offering, Samantabhadra offering which includes the five meats and five nectars (this is explained very clearly in the text) and offer it to this Mahakala. After that, recite
the prayer of praise to Mahakala and ask Mahakala to help you and all sentient beings, to protect us when we are practising, to eliminate all negative forces so that whatever practice we do, our practice will become successful. We have to make this
kind of request to Mahakala.

After that, you should feel that Mahakala is always with you to protect you when you practise. Once you have done that, then you have to practice the dissolution. Think that the Mahakala that you have visualised dissolves into light and into you. Remain in meditation without having any thought, without any visualisation. And then, at that very moment, ask this Mahakala to return to his abode. Ask him to go back. If he comes from Sikkim, send him back to Sikkim. Ask him to go back wherever they belong. And then you should do the dedication.

So this is the short and complete practice of Mahakala.

Conclusion


Conclusion

So when you receive the text, I think that it will be very convenient and very easy to practice. Even though I have explained it to you, without the text I know you can’t follow it. Even when I was small, when I was young, I could not follow the instructions. So once you receive this text, I think it will be very easy and you must go over it a few times because if you practice it everyday, it becomes easier.

If you have any questions, anything that you don’t understand, if you don’t know how to visualise, you should always ask, clear up all your doubts. Okay?

Maybe tonight, things may not be clear as I have only explained it once. When we get the text, we can probably have more days to discuss everything in detail. I think if you really, seriously wish to practice this, once you get the text, you can go through it and we can still discuss it. Okay? So now if you have any questions, you can ask me.

 

Continue to Page-4  Questions and Answer

 

Teachings - Pg-2

Lightly edited Transcription of the Condensed Practice Lama, Yida and Dharmapala according to Zurmang Kagyud tradition - by Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche at

Mangala Vihara Temple, Singapore on
26th February 2002

Continue from Page-1

Transmission of text

 Transmission of text

So I will now start. First, I will give you a transmission and then I will give you a brief instruction of Guru Yoga, Tara and the Four Arm Mahakala. At this moment, the text has not been fully translated. I will try to make a book so that you will have a picture of all the practices so that you can see clearly and visualise clearly and you can practice together as group. I think that is better.

This book which I am currently compiling, contains maybe 20 to 30 pictures of practices such as the guru yoga practice and so on. For yidam practice, you will have Vajrayogini and Chakrasamvara which is the main yidam of Zurmang tradition. We also have the Mahakala practice. Or, if one wishes to practice Tara, Avalokiteshvara or Zambala, everything will be there. So it contains 20 to 30 pictures. If I show it to you now, you’ll probably say, “Ah, I think I don’t want to practice anymore!” So this practice book is for those who seriously wish to practice the sadhanas.

This transmission is based on the short practice . This is the shortest form of the three practices of Guru Yoga, yidam practice and Mahakala practice. This is a very short practice. Nowadays, everyone wants very short practices. So I again compiled a very short practice of the three important practices. It cannot be any shorter than this, otherwise, you can’t practice, it would be better not to practice!

As you know, in Vajrayana, there are three important steps. The first is to visualise oneself as the yidam (that’s what we will be practising). And then we have the inner yogic practices which works with the subtle body. This is also called the pure body or the illusory body. Then finally, there’s formless meditation. So these are the three important methods in Vajrayana and they are mostly associated with two different stages i.e. generation and completion stage. The yidam, the Guru Yoga and the Four Arm Mahakala practices are closely associated with generation stage because this is where we construct the visualisation in our mind.

In completion stage, we have completion stage with sign and completion stage without sign. Completion stage with sign is inner yoga. We actually have a subtle body, a very pure body; we relate all the practices required in this inner yoga to this subtle body; our practice incorporates all the channels. The Six Yogas of Naropa is an example of such a practice. Completion stage without any signs is where we rest directly in the nature of mind, like the Mahamudra practice. So these are the three important practices.

So first, I will give you the transmission and then I will give you brief instructions. The translation of the text is going to be very clear and very complete. You just need to pay attention and listen carefully. Okay?

Rinpoche gives transmission of the short practice book

So now, I will give you a brief instruction. So once you get the text, just follow it. If you have any questions, you can ask me as I will be here next time. You can ask anytime. Okay? So now I’ll just explain and you can just listen.



Waking up Practice

The waking up practice

The first practice is the Waking Up Call. You know, you actually don’t have to use an alarm clock. In the waking up call, in Tibetan we call it tangwe tagyue, you should think that you were awakened by the gods and goddesses of the three roots with
their bells and damaru and with their songs. Actually, you should think that you are waking up from the darkness of ignorance. When you wake up, you shouldn’t think that somebody woke you up. So don’t just jump from the bed and have a cup of
coffee! Okay? So you should think that the dakas and dakinis are the ones who woke you up from ignorance and just sit for a while.

Then immediately you become Manjusri. Manjusri is orange in colour. On his right hand he holds a wisdom sword. On his left hand, he holds the stem of lotus flower with his ring finger and his thumb. At the centre of lotus flower, there is a Six Paramita Sutra. Okay? And Manjusri is dressed in 13 piece peaceful costume and he sits on a lotus and moon disk. There is a white OM, a red AH and dark blue HUNG. On the tongue, there is a white colour letter AH. Below your speech cakra and above your heart, there is a letter DHI, the heart syllable of Manjusri.

From there light radiates and it eliminates the impurities of your body, speech and mind. This light radiates to the Buddhas and bodhisattvas of the ten directions, and it then directly invites the blessing of all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas back and at that very moment, think that you have attained all the qualities, especially the wisdom quality of Manjusri.

So then you have to recite, “OM AH HUNG, OM AH HUNG, OM AH HUNG”. This represents body, speech and body. Then recite AH seven times. This AH represents emptiness. After that, recite “DHI, DHI, DHI” twenty-one times very quickly. So now, one session of practice is complete.

It’s very short, isn’t it? Once you have the text, you will be able to remember and you will be able to practice. Without the text, you will not be able to remember at all.



Bathing Practice

  Bathing practice

This is the bathing ceremony. When you shower, you should not just think that you are in the bathroom to take a shower, you know. Think that Buddhas and bodhisattvas are the ones who are giving you a shower, a special shower. this one [laughter]

So in front of you, there is a deity of Metsek. She is sitting on a lotus and moon disk and she is dark blue in colour. She holds a vase between her hands and her hands are in the namaste mudra. Inside the vase there is nectar. This nectar is imbued with the blessing of this deity and her mantras. This nectar constantly flows from the vase, purifying the impurities of your body, speech and mind.

Visualise that as you shower, this nectar flows from the vase and when this water fills up your body, it immediately eliminates all the impurities of your body, speech and mind and your body is filled with the wisdom of this deity. Okay?

That’s what you have to think.

After you have completed the visualisation, recite this mantra:

Om bhurku maha tranaye bhur tsi bhur ki bhimale U tsut ma tro dha hung phat

So while you are bathing, don’t sing a song and take a shower, you should recite this mantra and wash your hair at the same time. [laughter] But you should do it alone. If your husband or your wife sees you, they will think that you have gone crazy.
I’m just joking. So that’s how we take a shower.



Trung Mase Guru Yoga

Trung Mase Guru Yoga

Now, I will give you a very brief explanation about guru yoga. First, you should sit comfortably in front of the altar.

Place your hands together at your heart in the lotus mudra and recite the refuge and bodhicitta prayers three times each.

Then begin your visualisation practice. Everything is written very clearly in the text and you should also use the picture of Trung Mase. This is the Guru Yoga of Trung Mase. But if you wish to replace Trung Mase with whoever your guru is, you can
also do that. It’s also okay, you know. You can even visualise that Trung Mase and your guru are inseparable. Of course, if you cannot do that, just visualise your guru as Trung Mase. Okay? So, you can visualise, how ever many gurus you have, you
can visualise all as one. Trung Mase is in a fully ordained monk’s robes. There are 3 layers of robes which makes up the fully ordained monk’s robes.

We call it namgyel, chodul and tangul. The yellow shawl, which I’m not wearing tonight, is worn when there is an initiation. This yellow shawl or namgyel does not have many stripes. There is another shawl which has many stripes, tangur. There is also a skirt or we call it shampa. So these three shawls makes up the fully ordained monk’s robes. If you can see the picture, you will be able to visualise better.

His right hand is in the teaching mudra, he holds a ratna, a precious stone or jewel in his left hand which is in the meditation mudra. His throne is held up by eight snow-lions. He is surrounded by all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas and all the other lineage holders. Everything is clearly mentioned in the text. When you have the text, just follow the text. Without it you probably will not be able to visualise this.

From Trung Mase’s four points, (his body, speech, mind and navel) light radiates. From the body, speech and mind of all the Buddhas, bodhisattvas and all the other lineage holders that surround him, light radiates to the Buddhas and bodhisattvas of the ten directions. This light invites the blessing of all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas and the actual wisdom of Trung Mase back. It then dissolves into Trung Mase. This visualisation will invite the actual Trung Mase, from Orgyen where Guru Padmasambhava resides. Visualise that Trung Mase comes to us in many different forms, in form bodies which may be very small or very big, in the form of mantra, in the form of light. Everything dissolves into this Trung Mase which you have just
visualised. This becomes the actual wisdom Trung Mase. It’s a bit complicated, isn’t it?

It will probably be difficult for you to understand whatever I say without the text. Once you have invited Trung Mase in front of you, recite

benza dza ma dza

This invites him to sit on the throne. Now we don’t just let him sit there for whole day, we now make offerings to him and recite the seven branch prayer. When we recite such prayers, we accumulate merit because the seven branch prayer includes
prostration,
offering,
confessing of negativities,
rejoicing (when others accumulate merit, we rejoice with them),
requesting Buddha to turn the wheel of Dharma to benefit many sentient beings, and
requesting him to remain in this world for many, many lifetimes, many thousand years and finally,
dedication of our merits, whatever we have accumulated during this practice. So this is the seven branch prayer.

After that, generate great devotion from your heart and recite Calling Guru From Afar. By reciting such a prayer, you will receive all the blessing from your guru. Of course it is different from making a phone call. You are actually calling guru from your heart. There is a whole line of prayer. As you recite, think that for whatever reason you are praying to your guru, whatever you want, ask the guru to bless you now, so that you can eliminate all your problems, your suffering, your pain and that all your wishes will be fulfilled. So everything will be explained in this text. So once, you follow step by step, one will be able to recite and practice. Okay?

When you recite this prayer, you should be totally focussed. You should not only be physically present, you should also be mentally present. This is very important. You don’t just say, “Oh, guru please bless me,” and after some time you are thinking of what you will be having for dinner. This shouldn’t happen, you know. You should fully concentrate while you are reciting this prayer.

After reciting, think that your mind and guru’s mind becomes inseparable. That they are unified. Then you should recite the mantra of Trung Mase: “Oh ah Matiratna sarwa siddhi pala hung, Oh ah Matiratna sarwa siddhi pala hung”. This is the mantra of Trung Mase for 108 times or more, or at least 3 times a day. Okay?

After reciting, before you dedicate, you should just sit for a while without having anything in your mind, just sit like this for as long as you are able and meditate for a while. If thought arises, immediately recite the 100 syllables Vajrasattva mantra, the long version. If you cannot remember the long version then recite “Om Vajrasattva Hung”. If you can’t remember that either, then don’t recite. Okay? [laughter]

Because you have dissolved the guru, immediately think that the blessing of the guru, your body, speech and mind and your guru’s body, speech and mind becomes inseparable. So don’t leave your guru on your crown all the time, okay? Dissolve your
guru into a light and dissolve into oneself. Think that you and guru become one. Okay? After that, dedicate all the merits for all sentient beings.

So to summarise the guru yoga, first, we recite the refuge and bodhicitta prayers. Then we visualise the guru. After that, we invite guru and we make the seven branch prayer to accumulate merits. Then we call the guru to come from far, far away and
you pray to the guru to bless you so that you can succeed your practice. After that, your mind and your guru become inseparable. Then recite the guru’s mantra as many times as possible. After that, if you wish to stop the practice, you should sit and meditate for as long as your time permits. Then recite the 100 syllable. Then with the blessing of the guru, your body, speech and mind and guru’s body speech and mind become inseparable. And then, you dissolve guru into a light, which dissolves into oneself. So actually you become the actual guru. Okay? Then you dedicate the merit for all sentient beings.

These are the steps that you should remember. When you receive the text, it’s very clearly stated, everything is clearly explained, so it will be very easy for you to practice. And if you are not clear, then you can always ask me when I’m here.
If not, there are so many Zurmang Rinpoches who will be able to help you or you can ask the lama in the centre. Okay?

So, do we have enough time continue? 



Tara Practice

Tara practice

You know, I have another short practice of Tara because I was asked many times by my dharma friends for a short practice of Tara, you know. So, this time I was able to find a short Tara practice from Chogyur Lingpa’s teaching. I think this is one of the shortest but complete Tara practice that I have seen. Short and complete.

So we always start with a refuge prayer. Visualise Tara in front of you and then recite the refuge prayer three times that you want Tara’a protection and blessing. We follow this by reciting the bodhicitta prayers three times. After this bodhicitta practice, there is an actual visualization.

Visualise Tara exactly like a picture but in translucent form. Once you have visualised this Tara, think that from the body, speech and mind of Tara, light radiates to the ten pure lands of Tara Potala, and the real Tara, the wisdom Tara is invited. The light then dissolves into this Tara, and this Tara becomes the actual Tara.

Recite “Tsur Sheg Are Ya Ta Re Dza” with the hand mudra. This mudra is to welcome Tara. And then “dza hung bam ho”, with the hand mudra. This means to make Tara and you, inseparable. The Tara that you have visualised and the wisdom Tara becomes inseparable. Then after that, visualise that the gods and goddesses of initiation are giving you an initiation so that you can practice Tara.

Once you have invited Tara, don’t just leave Tara there all the time, you have to make some offering. So you have to perform the eight offerings of argham, padhyam, pupe, dhupe, ahloke, gande, nevide, shapta with hand mudras.

After making offering to Tara, you have to praise Tara, “You are the only protector. You are the only Buddha that can eliminate all our suffering and pain.” And then visualise that in your heart, that there is a moon disk. At the centre of this moon disk, there is a letter TAM, the heart syllable of Tara. And this letter TAM is surrounded by Om Tare Tuttare Ture Svaha. TAM is in the centre standing on the moon. And when you arrange the mantra, most of the female deities’ mantra should be arranged clockwise and circles anti-clockwise unless the root text specifically states otherwise.

In this short condensed practice, the root text itself does not state that it rotates, so this mantra never goes round, it just, you know, stands still. Okay?


TAM at the centre of a moon disk

Tara’s mantra arranged clock-wise around TAM


Once you have visualised that, then you recite Om Tare Tuttare Ture Svaha many times. While you are reciting Om Tare Tuttare Ture Svaha, the blessing of Tara radiates in the form of light from the mantra. This light will eliminate all the problems,
suffering that you presently face. So then, you will become a very happy, healthy and humorous person. Recite the Tara mantra as many times as you wish. When you wish to stop the practice, you should again try to meditate as long as your are able to,
like the guru yoga practice. Then recite the 100 syllables three times. And then, make another set of eight offerings:
argham, padyam, phupe, dupe, ahloke, ghande, nuide, shapta, followed by the praise of Mother Tara.

Once you have recited the prayer of praise to Tara, say, “HUNG HUNG HUNG”. Then Mother Tara will melt into light and dissolves into the universe. So there is no MOTHER Tara. Okay? And then once you say, “PHET PHET PHET”, suddenly Mother Tara
appears again in front of you. So Mother Tara will remain there all the time. Then you dedicate the merit.

So this is the shortest practice of Mother Tara that I have ever seen, that I have ever found. This is the shortest yet complete. It is not just short, it is also complete. So if one wishes to practice Mother Tara, I think this is the best one.



Continue to : Page 3

Teachings - Pg-1

Lightly edited Transcription of the Condensed Practice Lama, Yida and Dharmapala according to Zurmang Kagyud tradition - by Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche at Mangala Vihara Temple, Singapore on 26th February 2002

 

Introduction

Good evening friends.

This evening, according to the programme, we are supposed to discuss the Short Practice of Guru Yoga, Tara and also 4-armed Mahakala. But unfortunately, the Khenpos in Nepal have not completed the translation of the text . This morning, when they called me, they were still checking the print out as they want to make sure that there are no mistakes. So I’m very sorry about that. Maybe on the 10th of this month, during the last day of the Medicine Buddha puja, we will be able to give out the translation to whoever wants to practise it. But I can still briefly discuss this whole practice tonight, I can give you the transmission as well as brief instruction of this three different practices.

So we will now discuss about this important practice. As you know, the practice of the three roots is very, very important. In Vajrayana, we are actually practising according to the Buddha’s teaching, Buddha’s advice; we are following the right steps. The correct way to practise Vajrayana practice is as follows, to follow the Vajrayana tradition, we must first practice the lesser path, followed by the middling path, the superior path and then the Vajrayana path. Actually, they are all co-related. We cannot practice Vajrayana without first mastering the practice of the lesser path, middling path and superior path, you know. So these are important practices.

To have a good foundation of Vajrayana practice one must have a foundation of Theravada, Mahayana and then followed by Vajrayana. So they are all inter-linked. We cannot say that “Vajrayana is superior and this is inferior”, you know, because they are all so important in their own way. So we have to respect all the yanas because all the yanas contain Buddha’s most precious message which is how to temporarily eliminate the suffering, the pain that we have experienced in this life and many lifetimes and how to become a Buddha. So it is so important that we respect the three yanas. In fact, one of the samayas in Vajrayana states that we cannot criticise any other religion. On a relative level, we may see things differently, there is a difference between hell and heaven, there is a difference between sentient being and Buddha. But ultimately, they are all equal, there is no pure, there is no impure, there is no right, there is no wrong. They are all equal in Dharmakaya, in Dharmadhatu. Okay? So, we have to respect everyone.

According to one of the teachings which was given by Shantideva in the Bodhicayavatara he said, “Actually, hell is the most profound heaven”. So this clearly shows that we cannot distinguish between hell and heaven. This is mainly a misconception, a misperception. Ya? For Buddha, hell is heaven, heaven is hell. So there is no difference. That is the reason why we must respect every religion, every individual, every bodhisattva. So this is how we should practice.



Taking Refuge

Taking refuge in the 3 roots and the 3 jewels

If we wish to follow this tradition, it is very important to take refuge in the three roots and the three jewels. If one wishes to become a Buddhist practitioner...once you have entered the door, you must take refuge from the three jewels. And once you have entered the Vajrayana field, you must take refuge from the three roots. The root of all blessing is your Guru. To attain the root of all accomplishments, to achieve longevity, to achieve prosperity, to perform any kinds of activities related to the Buddhadharma, to achieve the Six Extraordinary Knowledge and so on, you must pray to your yidam. Your yidam could be Tara or Avalokiteshvara, or any deity whom you have had a close association with not only in this life but from many past lifetimes. And

finally, we should also take refuge from the dakinis and the protectors . Protectors are the ones that protect us from all kinds of forces. Internally, we will be protected from hatred, desire, attachment, the five poisons, defilements and so forth. Externally, we will be protected from all kinds of non-being harms. So it is so important to take refuge from these three roots. So once we enter Vajrayana, we have to take refuge from these three roots.



Discple of Vairayana

 How you will know that you are a disciple of Vajrayana

So how will you know that you are a disciple of Vajrayana? Clearly, through your own experience, you may have different signs. For instance, when you listen to Vajrayana teachings, or when see Vajrayana activities, or when you see Vajrayana’s different forms of Buddhas and bodhisattvas, or when you sincerely engage in Vajrayana activities, if from your heart you think, or if you develop a strong devotion towards these activities, towards this tradition, that is a sign that you are actually a disciple of Vajrayana. There are many such signs. Like for instance, like crying, you know, when you meet Buddha or when you see a Vajrayana teacher or practice, you tend to feel....you tend to cry. You feel like crying, you can’t really stop, you know (but of course, I’m not asking you to cry all the time), or you have goose bumps. Ya?

And most importantly, if you have a sense of belonging to this tradition, this clearly shows that you belong to the Vajrayana tradition, you are a Vajrayana student. You should then request... you should look for a good master. You should know yourself, whether you can be a Vajrayana student. Or if you are still unsure, when you meet any Rinpoche or teacher, then you can ask “Can I practice Vajrayana?” And they will definitely be able to tell you whether you are ready or not.



Qualities of Vairayana Student

The qualities of a Vajrayana student

There are a few important qualities that the Vajrayana student must have. To practice Vajrayana, the first quality is to have sharp intelligence. This also means one must first practice Theravada and Mahayana because these are the very basic and important foundations. Without understanding Theravada and Mahayana, Vajrayana cannot be practiced. So that’s why these three yanas are inter-related.

The second quality is, to make sure that your mind is ripened through initiation or you must ripen your mental continuum through initiation. This means, through initiation, one’s understanding of Vajrayana is ripened, that you can accept Vajrayana practice as your main practice. So this is second important quality.

And finally, you must observe the major and secondary vows. You must ensure that you can keep the major and secondary vows. As you know, Vajrayana is also called the secret yana, mantrayana or vajrayana. We have three or four very different names. But whatever you call it, it’s all the same. Sometimes, it is called, the secret yana. Why is it secret? There is a reason. It is not because we will lose all of its essence if we show it to someone or that we will lose some kind of credibility. That is not the case. If you show someone what you are practising when his or her karma has not ripened, then he or she may criticise the practice of Vajrayana. Then, you are creating bad karma for these people. If they criticise Vajrayana, definitely this will take them to hell. So it is not good to show anyone who doesn’t have an understanding, who doesn’t have any knowledge of Vajrayana. This is one of the reasons.

The second important reason is that, the more secret you can keep it, the better achievement you will gain. The more open you are, the more public you are, the less blessing you will receive and it becomes less effective. So that is the reason why it is called, secret yana.  



Mantras

Why mantras are effective

It is also called mantrayana because by chanting mantras, you will be able to purify all impurities of body, speech and mind. For instance, when we chant the Tara mantra Om Tara Tuttare Ture Svaha, it contains so much energy and blessing because this mantra has been blessed by Tara. Actually, the wisdom or blessing or whatever you call it, is in mantra form. So whoever recites it can be truly blessed.

Sometimes, we wonder how can the chanting of some words bring us benefit? Words can contain a lot of meaning and it sometimes can contain a lot of powerful forces. For instance, if I said to someone, “You are such a nice person, so honest,” immediately, this person’s expression will be very different. This person will accept your compliments, maybe he will smile at you and he may even treat you to a good lunch! But if you criticise him, if you say, “You are dishonest, you are not a good person, you are ugly,” you know, something like that, immediately, his expression will change.

So if simple words can carry so much energy, why not this blessed word? Blessed words can bring us some form of achievement as they contain a lot of power, a lot of positive energy. Of course, there are differences between ordinary words and words that have been blessed. If you recite just any words then it might not bring any benefit. For instance, if you recite my name, “Zurmang Gharwang, Zurmang Gharwang” it’s a waste of time. It won’t bring anything. But if you recite Tara's or Buddha’s names, it will definitely bring a lot of merit.  



Brief Note on Vairayana

A brief note about Vajrayana
Of the three names, Vajrayana is the more widely used name. Vajra literally means diamond or which has the quality of a diamond, or an indestructible quality. In other words, it means nobody can refute that we cannot achieve complete enlightenment with the practice of Vajrayana. It was only in Tibet that it was more popular, where it was widely practised and known. As you know, till today the tradition, the lineage, everything is still alive in Tibet.

As I mentioned earlier, even during the time of Buddha, Vajrayana was not publicly known or practised and teaching seminars were not properly held except to a selective audience or selected individuals in indefinite places. But Buddha did predict that in the near future there will be many great masters who will again promote the practice of Vajrayana. And that’s exactly what happened after Buddha attained parinirvana. There were many, many renowned masters like Atisha, Nagarjuna, Asanga and Guru Padmasambhava (whom we all regard as a second Buddha in Vajrayana). Externally, they may appear as an ordinary Mahayana monk, but evidence shows that they practised Vajrayana secretly.

Even to practice Vajrayana, one has to accumulate merit, one has to learn many things before one really understands Vajrayana practice. So that is the reason why it is so important to practise the Theravada and Mahayana traditions first before practising Vajrayana as they are all co-related.

In Vajrayana, the guru yoga, yidam and the Mahakala practice are very important practices. Whatever practice one follows, in the Vajrayana tradition, there are three important steps that you must take.

First, you must receive complete instruction and initiation, full complete initiation. Secondly, you must receive instruction about the practice that you will follow. Finally, you must receive transmission. So these 3 steps must be followed to make your practice more successful and profound. It is essential to follow this.

And in this tradition, as I mentioned before, you must look for a good teacher. You must look for a good teacher because the teacher is the most important in this tradition. There’s a saying, “if you perceive your teacher to be a Buddha, then you have the blessings of a Buddha. If you perceive your teacher to be a Bodhisattva, then you have the blessings of a Bodhisattva. And if you perceive your teacher to be your friend, then you have the blessings of your friend.” So it all depends on your perception of your teacher. It is actually not necessary for your teacher to be a Buddha, you know. I have students but I don’t think I’m a Buddha; I never think that I’m Buddha neither do I think that I’m a bodhisattva but I want to be a bodhisattva! (laughs) But I never think that I’m a Bodhisattva, you know. So, I need to practice to become a Bodhisattva. But, what you receive all depends on your part, how you respect your teacher, you know. So this is very, very important because in Vajrayana, even to realise the ultimate truth, even to realise the true nature of your mind depends on the guru. Studying and making effort for many years by yourself will not bear fruits, you know. You must have the blessing of your guru. Then somehow, somewhere, you will realise the nature of your mind. Like when Tilopa hit Naropa with his shoe, at that very moment Naropa was knocked out. When he woke up, all of Tilopa’s realisation was transferred to Naropa. So it all depends on your guru. That’s why the guru is very important. That’s why in Vajrayana, we have the practice of guru yoga.

 

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Zurmang Sacred Text

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