** 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 **

Sincerely from H.E. 12th Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche

As we go through this life’s difficult journey, ups and downs are the daily norm of our lives.

There are certain times when we are able to overcome the difficulties we face by applying what we have learned from our experiences and from the advice of qualified teachers, but there other times when we must simply accept our situation and try to find peace in our circumstances. We must persist with our journey of learning new ideas and mastering earlier acquired techniques for making our lives more meaningful and joyful. As we take these steps, we may be fortunate enough to benefit from the support of our families, close friends, and most importantly, the advice of our masters. But if we take their support for granted and fail to embrace their advice, then we must accept the painful effects of our own mistakes. Thus, our life is like a most profound textbook, and if we fail to learn from our journey, then we may have lost the most critical advice of all. At the end of the day, no one can share our pain and the only thing that can really help us is what we have learned and to put into practice, such as the understanding of impermanence and cause and effect. ******

When we live in an environment where everyone is fighting for the same goal to become rich, famous, and powerful, some are bound to fail while others will succeed. Such situations may give rise anger or attachment, which again might bring more failure. Thus, while negative emotions will destroy our contentment, surely a positive attitude together with realistic expectations will help us to find a place of harmony and happiness. **********

Loving and caring do not have an age limit. Such qualities are inherent in us as human beings, and can always be enhanced if we are willing to simply cultivate mutual respect and a deep understanding of the needs of others. In addition, loving and caring for others is indirectly caring for ourselves.*********

There are those who, rather than viewing opportunities as the chance for personal gain, instead transform every condition into an opportunity. This is how we can make every moment of life happy, joyful, and meaningful. ******

Do you know what’s the purpose of Buddha’s picture? The history of Buddha’s picture goes back to the time of the Buddha, when disciples requested the Buddha’s permission to paint the image of the Buddha for the first time. Disciples were worried that without a picture of the Buddha, in the near future, no one would be able to visualize the Buddha. It is very important for Buddhist students to have a clear image of the Buddha in order to develop focus and cultivate merit through making offerings and so forth. As one can learn from the life story of Buddha Shakyamuni, the Buddha is adorned with 32 major marks and 80 minor signs, and there is also a brilliant light which radiates from the Buddha’s body. For this reason, no one was able to look at the Buddha directly as we do with each other. Thus, the purpose of this original painting was to provide an aid to help disciples visualize the Buddha perfectly. Initially, when the painter was painting the picture, the Buddha stood close to the pond and the painter was able to see the reflection of the Buddha’s image in the water, so the artist was able to draw the Buddha clearly without any difficulty. This is the story of how the first picture of the Buddha came about and its purpose. Today, many of the paintings of Buddhas and tantric deities have come to be treated as simply pieces of art, which is not in keeping with the reason for having these images. In addition, strictly in Tantrayana, there are special restrictions concerning these images. One is not allowed to display or show these tantric thangkas in public. The reason is that, instead of preserving or propagating the Tantrayana tradition, showing these pictures of tantric deities to the uninitiated who do not understand their significance might engender disrespect and serve as a source of non-virtuous actions. Thus, as I have understood from other gurus, one should keep such images hidden from the public and only display them in shrine rooms for the purpose of one’s own practice. This is my opinion, and one can always request advice from other qualified teachers.*******