czwartek, 11 grudnia 2014

Practice Of Chenrezi by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Chenrezi is a fully enlightened Buddha who, in order to benefit beings, takes on the form of a Bodhisattva. All the Buddhas have but one nature, and their compassion is embodied in Chenrezi. As the embodiment of the compassion of all the Buddhas, Chenrezi is at the same time the source of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, since compassion is the very root of enlightenment. Chenrezi is compassion itself in the form of a deity. Chenrezi is the Buddha, Chenrezi is the Dharma, Chenrezi is the Saṅgha; Chenrezi is the Guru, Chenrezi is the Yidam, Chenrezi is the Ḍākinī; Chenrezi is the Dharmakāya, Chenrezi is the Sambhogakāya, Chenrezi is the Nirmāṇakāya; Chenrezi is Amitābha, Chenrezi is Guru Rinpoche, Chenrezi is Ārya Tārā; and above all Chenrezi is our own Root Teacher. Like a hundred streams passing under a single bridge, Chenrezi is the union of all the Buddhas. To receive his blessings is to receive the blessings of all the Buddhas, and to realize his nature is to realize the nature of all the Buddhas.

The Buddha Shākyamuni himself is an emanation of Chenrezi; the Dharma, which shows us what to avoid and what to cultivate, is perfectly contained in the six-syllable mantra; the Saṅgha, the Bodhisattvas who help us along the path, are emanations of Chenrezi as well. Chenrezi is thus the union of the Three Jewels. Just as one reservoir collects countless drops of rain, Chenrezi’s compassion includes all the wisdom of Mañjushrī and all the power of Vajrapāṇi. With this one deity, one mantra, and one practice, you can accomplish everything.

The many deities are infinitely diverse: peaceful or wrathful, with one, three, or many heads, and with two, four, six, or many more arms, each one symbolizing a different quality. Yet you can be confident that all of them are included in Chenrezi. In the same way, since all the beneficial power of the immense variety of other mantras is contained in the six-syllable mantra by itself, you can put all your heart into reciting just the one mantra. Your body, speech, and mind are essentially one with the enlightened body, speech, and mind of Chenrezi; this you should recognize as the quintessence of the practice.

Chenrezi’s six-syllable mantra, OṂ MAṆI PADME HŪṂ, is the compassionate wisdom of all the Buddhas manifested as sound. Within it is contained the essential meaning of all eighty-four thousand sections of the Buddha’s teachings. Of all the many mantras of various kinds, such as awareness mantras, dhāraṇīs, and secret mantras, not one is superior to the six syllables of Chenrezi. The great benefits of reciting this mantra, commonly known as the maṇi, are described again and again in both sūtras and tantras. It is said that to recite the mani even once is the same as reciting the whole of the twelve branches of the Buddha’s teachings. Reciting the six syllables of the maṇi perfects the six pāramitās and firmly blocks any possibility of rebirth in the six realms of saṃsāra. It is a simple practice, easy to understand and accessible to all, and at the same time it contains the essence of the Dharma. If you take the maṇi as your refuge both in happiness and in sorrow, Chenrezi will always be with you, you will feel more and more devotion without any effort, and all by itself the realization of the Mahāyāna path will arise in your being. According to the Kāraṇḍavyūha-sūtra, if you recite one hundred million maṇis, all the myriad living organisms in your body will be blessed by Chenrezi, and when you die even the smoke from the cremation of your corpse will have the power to protect whoever inhales it from rebirth in the lower realms. When you feel yourself about to fall into the abyss of obscuring emotions, pray to Chenrezi; at the last moment, when the lasso of his compassion catches you, you will be filled with confidence in his enlightened omniscience. Therefore, with conviction and one-pointed devotion, recite the six-syllable mantra.


There is nothing in the whole world that can actually frighten away the Lord of Death, but the warm radiance of Chenrezi’s compassion can completely dispel the dread felt by anyone as Death approaches. This is what is meant by “undeceiving refuge.” Totally free from saṃsāra, Chenrezi is always ready to help sentient beings, and even his slightest movement—a gesture of his hand, a blink of his eyes—has the power to free us from saṃsāra. When we invoke him by reciting the maṇi, we should never think that he is too far away to hear us, in some distant Buddha-field; Chenrezi is always there with whoever has faith in him. Our own obscurations prevent us from actually going to the Potala Mountain or the Blissful Pure Land of Sukhāvatī to meet him face to face, but in truth his compassion never forsakes a single being. He manifests himself constantly in whatever form may benefit beings most, particularly in the form of great spiritual teachers; so we should understand with complete conviction that Chenrezi, the supreme protector who shows all sentient beings the path to liberation, is in fact none other than our root teacher. The rain of Chenrezi’s compassion falls everywhere on the fields of sentient beings impartially; but the crop of happiness cannot grow where the seeds of faith have been shriveled. To lack faith is to close yourself to the radiant sun of his blessings, as if you were shutting yourself away in a dark room. But if you have faith, there is no distance, no delay, between you and Chenrezi’s blessings.


To be able to free us from the whirlpool of saṃsāra, the basis of the refuge we seek must be something itself already totally free. There is only one source of refuge free from all the limitations of saṃsāra, complete with all the qualities of ultimate realization, and possessing the limitless compassion that can respond universally to the needs of sentient beings and lead them all the way to enlightenment: the Three Jewels. The Three Jewels are the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Saṅgha. The Buddha is the teacher, who displays the four kāyas and five wisdoms. The Dharma is the path, the teachings that are transmitted and realized. The Saṅgha are the companions on the path, those who understand the meaning of the teachings and who as a result are liberated. Through faith and devotion in the Three Jewels, we will come to realize that they are not three separate entities, but the body, speech, and mind of Chenrezi, the Buddha of Compassion. His mind is the Buddha, his speech the Dharma, and his body is the Saṅgha. Even though at present we cannot meet Chenrezi in person, we should be aware of his limitless qualities as they are described in the sūtras and tantras. We should also remember that Chenrezi is inseparable from our teacher, who instructs us in the precious Dharma. Deeply appreciating this great kindness, praying to him and reciting the six-syllable mantra, there is no doubt that all our karmic obscurations and negative emotions can be cleared away. The time will come when we will actually be in the presence of Chenrezi in his Buddha-field, where he turns the wheel of the Mahāyāna Dharma for his retinue of Bodhisattvas.

If the taking of refuge is to be genuine and true, unshakable faith needs to be developed. Faith is a vital element in the path, opening us to the Buddha’s blessings. Expecting to attain realization without having faith would be like sitting in a north-facing cave waiting for the sunshine to pour in. There are four stages in the development of faith: clear faith, longing faith, confident faith, and irreversible faith. When you first realize what wonderful and extraordinary qualities the Buddha, Chenrezi, and your teacher possess, your mind becomes very clear and joyful. This is clear faith. When this clear faith inspires you to obtain Chenrezi’s perfect qualities for yourself, and you think what an infinite number of beings you would be able to help if you had those qualities, it has become longing faith. When you know with complete certainty that Chenrezi’s qualities are truly as they were described by the Buddha himself, it has become confident faith. Finally, when faith has become so much a part of yourself that, even at the cost of your life, there is no way you would ever renounce it, it is then irreversible faith. When your faith reaches this point, whatever circumstances you may meet you will always be completely confident, thinking, “Chenrezi, you know everything; no matter what happens, I rely entirely upon your wisdom and compassion.” From then on the blessings and guidance of Chenrezi will always be with you, and there is no doubt that even the sound of his name will have the power to free you from the lower realms. It is this irreversible faith that is needed for the taking of refuge to be truly authentic.


The “thought of enlightenment,” bodhichitta in Sanskrit, is the wish to attain enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings. Take Chenrezi as a witness of your determination to attain realization in order to benefit others. All sentient beings are the same in wishing to be happy and not to suffer. When your body, speech, and mind are completely saturated with the wish to help all sentient beings, when your aim both for others and for yourself is perfect Buddhahood, then even the smallest action, a single recitation of the maṇi or a single prostration, will swiftly and surely bring the fulfillment of your goal. The six syllables of the maṇi, the essence of Chenrezi’s being, are the six pāramitās in the form of mantra. When you recite the mantra, the six pāramitās spontaneously arise and the application bodhichitta is accomplished. It is said that when those who are afflicted in the prison of saṃsāra generate the thought of enlightenment, they are instantly adopted by the Buddhas as their sons and daughters, and they are praised by both men and gods. The whole of their existence takes on a new meaning. This is all due to the measureless power of the jewel-like bodhichitta. Bodhichitta is the essence of the eighty-four thousand sections of the Buddha’s teachings, but at the same time it is so simple, so easy to understand and practice, even for a beginner. Absolute Bodhichitta is the inseparability of voidness and uncontrived compassion. It is the simplicity of the natural state, beyond all concepts and intellectual limitations, out of which spontaneous, objectless compassion arises, benefiting all sentient beings. At present, you might find it difficult to identify with such inconceivably vast attributes as Chenrezi’s realization, compassion, and ability to help others. But if you recite his mantra with single-minded devotion, you too will one day be able to benefit beings on the same immense scale. Aspire from your heart to help all beings, and dedicate to them all your merit, with the conviction that Chenrezi acknowledges your aspirations and gives you his blessing to bring them to fulfillment.


It is of crucial importance to understand that holding on to the idea of there being an “I,” a truly existing self, is the fundamental cause of our wandering in the three realms of existence. Once this mistaken belief in an ego has taken root, we start clinging to my body, my mind, my name, my possessions, my family, and so forth; it is these notions that then make us crave pleasure and abhor pain. The result is an unceasing succession of alternating attraction and repulsion, and from these underlying urges arise the conflicting emotions that disturb our minds without respite. In countless past lives, we have had plenty of wealth and possessions; but we were so fearful of losing or using up what we had that we were incapable of being generous, in the form of either offerings to the Three Jewels or charity to others. Although it is true that your possessions are no more real than treasure found in a dream, or than a mirage city shimmering on the horizon, by offering them to Chenrezi and the Three Jewels you will accumulate dreamlike merit which will lead you to dreamlike happiness, long life, and prosperity, and eventually to liberation. To accumulate true merit, make all your offerings and gifts with great devotion and without any pride whatsoever. The six-syllable mantra, too, can be recited as an offering to the Three Jewels and to all sentient beings; it has the power to bring infinite benefit. Even the most ruthlessly cruel and arrogant beings, completely lacking the slightest inclination toward the Dharma, can be tamed and helped with this mantra, for it is the source of the bodhichitta, whose infinite power of compassion always succeeds where force and violence fail.


Your root teacher’s qualities and abilities are equal to those of all the Buddhas of the past in every respect but one: the kindness he shows to you is even greater. Deeply appreciating this unique kindness, you should always venerate your spiritual master as the Buddha himself. With unwavering and single-minded devotion, see the teacher as the Buddha himself and everything he does as perfect; then his blessings, the wisdom of all the Buddhas’ minds, will flow effortlessly into your being. Practice in accordance with his instructions, and, as all the clouds of doubt and hesitation are cleared away, the sun of his compassion will shine through, warming you with happiness. To pray to the teacher as inseparable from Chenrezi is the very essence of Guru Yoga. The literal meaning of Guru Yoga is “union with the teacher’s nature.” To blend your mind with the teacher’s mind is the most profound of all practices and the shortest path to realization. It is important, therefore, to pray to your teacher at all times and in all circumstances, from the depths of your heart and from the very marrow of your bones. All the pleasures you experience, all the beautiful sights and sounds, all the joys in your life, multiply them infinitely in your mind and offer them to him. When your circumstances are happy and everything is going well, think how it is all due to his kindness, and enjoy what you have with no more attachment than for a dream or an illusion. When you are weighed down by sickness, sorrow or ill treatment, reflect on how this is in fact your teacher’s kindness, too, for it is through such difficulties that you have the chance to purify your past wrongdoing and karmic debts; and make the wish that all beings’ suffering be added to your own, so that they no longer need to suffer. All the sublime practices of the sūtras and tantras can be condensed into devotion to the teacher, and all of them are included in the practice of reciting the maṇi. Remembering that devotion to the teacher is the source of all realization, and that the essence of Guru Yoga - to merge your mind with Chenrezi’s nature - is the most profound of all practices.


Chenrezi is white in color—the dazzling white of a snow peak reflecting a hundred thousand suns, dispelling the darkness of the whole universe. He has one head, symbolizing the oneness of the absolute nature; four arms, symbolizing loving-kindness, compassion, rejoicing, and equanimity; two legs crossed in the vajra posture, symbolizing the sameness of saṃsāra and nirvāṇa; he is sitting on a thousand-petaled lotus, symbolizing compassion, and a moon disc, symbolizing voidness. One pair of hands are together at his heart and hold a jewel, which represents the bodhichitta, the wish-granting gem which bestows the supreme and ordinary siddhis. Of the other pair of hands, one holds out a crystal rosary to his right, and the other a white lotus to his left; the rosary symbolizes his unceasing compassion extending like an unbroken thread through the heart of every being, and the lotus the unchanging purity of his wisdom blooming above the mud of saṃsāra. The jewel also symbolizes wisdom-bliss as the means, while the lotus symbolizes wisdom-voidness as the realization. His beautiful body, bearing all the major and minor marks of a Buddha, is clad in the jewels and silks of the Sambhogakāya.

The purpose of the visualization practices of the development stage, such as this one, is to develop pure perception-that is, to see yourself and all beings as wisdom deities and your environment as a Buddha-field, to hear all sounds as mantras, and to understand all thoughts as the display of awareness. This pure perception is not some artificial idea of purity that you try to superimpose upon phenomena; it is, rather, the recognition that all phenomena are truly and inherently pure. Visualizing your body as the vajra body of Chenrezi, you also have to see the whole environment outside as transformed into Chenrezi’s Pure Land or the Blissful Land of Sukhāvatī, graced with such marvels as the hill of jewels, the river of nectar, and the wish-granting tree; clouds of offerings fill the sky, the mantra OṂ MAṆI PADME HŪṂ resounds everywhere, and “suffering” is a word that is never even heard. While you are meditating on Chenrezi, ordinary thoughts will come to a standstill and the mind will settle in tranquility. If you then look at the nature of mind, it will begin to become clear to you that the deity is essentially one with voidness. This understanding will then expand into the realization that all appearances are void in nature and therefore perfectly pure. Once you see that all phenomena of both saṃsāra and nirvāṇa are just fabrications of mind and that the nature of mind is void, then transmuting impure perception into pure perception is not a problem - all phenomena are simply revealed as primordially pure. This realization brings you, in general, unlimited control over all phenomena and, in particular, the ten powers of supreme beings - power over matter, power over life, power over karma, and so forth. It is said, “By mastering one’s own perception, one can master all phenomena.” 

One of the principal elements in Vajrayāna practice is mantra. There is no mantra however, that can be considered superior to the maṇi, which includes not only all the functions but also all the power and blessings of all other mantras. The maṇi is not just a string of ordinary words. It contains all the blessings and compassion of Chenrezi; in fact, it is Chenrezi himself in the form of sound. As we are now, our karmic obscurations prevent us from being able to actually meet Chenrezi in his Buddha-field; but what we can do is listen to his mantra, recite it, read it, and write it beautifully in golden letters. Since there is no difference between the deity himself and the mantra which is his essence, these activities bring great benefit. The six syllables are the expression of the six pāramitās of Chenrezi, and as he himself said, whoever recites the six-syllable mantra will perfect the six pāramitās and purify all karmic obscurations.

The purpose of the meditation practice itself is to gain stability in the perception of all appearances as the deity’s form, all sounds as his mantra, and all thoughts as the Dharmakāya, thus recognizing the absolute nature of mind, void and luminous. Now, in periods between meditation sessions, whatever you are doing you must maintain this recognition without relapsing into ordinary habits, so that you can develop the understanding acquired during meditation. In this way all of your activities will be linked with the view, meditation, and action of the Vajrayāna.

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