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The Lamas at Kathok Gonpa prepare students to receive Dzogpa Chenpo teachings in the Longchen Nyingthig tradition.

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An excerpt from An Essential Instruction on Refuge and Bodhichitta by Patrul Rinpoche: Generating Bodhichitta

Generally there are said to be two levels to bodhichitta, the relative and the ultimate. Relative bodhichitta is the mind that is intent upon attaining perfect enlightenment for the sake of others, and ultimate bodhichitta is the wisdom that directly realizes emptiness.

Relative bodhichitta itself can be further divided into aspirational bodhichitta, which is like the wish to go somewhere, and the bodhichitta of application, which is like actually making the journey. In both cases, bodhichitta is generated through formal practice, and so it is known as ‘coarse bodhichitta arising from signs.’

Ultimate bodhichitta only arises through the power of meditating on the path, and is therefore known as ‘subtle bodhichitta, which is gained through reality itself.’

Relative bodhichitta has two points or aspects: compassion, which is focused on sentient beings, and wisdom, which is directed towards perfect enlightenment. If either of these two aspects is lacking, then it will not be the bodhichitta of the Mahayana, so it is important that they are both complete.

Here in the present context, the generation of aspirational bodhichitta alone has two aspects: focusing on merit which is the cause and aspiring towards perfect enlightenment which is the result.

The first of these is covered in the phrase “practising generosity and so on.” When all sources of virtue are categorized, they may be included within what are called ‘the three bases for creating merit’. These are the creation of merit through generosity, the creation of merit through discipline and the creation of merit through meditation. When we relate these to the six paramitas, the first two relate to the paramitas of the same name, and the creation of merit through meditation relates to patience, concentration and wisdom. Diligence assists them all.

These six paramitas are also based on specific states of mind:

  1. Generosity is an attitude of giving.
  2. Discipline is an attitude of renunciation.
  3. Patience is an attitude of imperturbability.
  4. Diligence is an attitude of enthusiasm.
  5. Concentration is non-distraction.
  6. Wisdom is the precise discernment of phenomena.

The second aspect of aspiring towards the result of perfect enlightenment is covered in the phrase, “May I attain buddhahood for the benefit of all beings.” This is the actual bodhichitta endowed with the two points or aspects. “For the benefit of all beings” is the thought of who we are practising for, and is focusing on sentient beings with compassion. “May I attain buddhahood” is longing for what we are practising towards, and is wisdom directed towards complete enlightenment. It is therefore the aspirational bodhichitta, which is to think, “Through all these sources of virtue of mine, may I attain buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings who are as infinite as space!”

The Precepts of Aspirational Bodhichitta

In addition, there are the five precepts of aspirational bodhichitta, which are as follows:

  1. Never giving up on sentient beings.
  2. Continually reflecting on the benefits of bodhichitta.
  3. Exerting yourself in the methods for accumulating merit and wisdom.
  4. Applying yourself to the training in bodhichitta.
  5. Adopting and abandoning the eight wholesome and unwholesome dharmas.

Giving up on just a single sentient being causes you to lose your bodhichitta of aspiration completely, so develop a wish to benefit all beings.

Reflecting on its benefits causes you to develop enthusiasm and apply yourself to arousing bodhichitta, so reflect continually on the benefits to be gained from the generation of bodhichitta.

Gathering the accumulations increases the strength of your bodhichitta, so accumulate merit and wisdom in various ways, such as the seven branch practice.

The training in bodhichitta has three elements:

  1. training in the cause by meditating on the four immeasurables,
  2. the actual training, which is to practise taking the vow of bodhichitta three times during the day and three times at night,
  3. and the training in the precepts, the meditations on equalizing and exchanging yourself and others, and consider others as more important than yourself.

The four immeasurables are as follows:

  1. Love, which is the wish that all beings who are unhappy may find happiness.
  2. Compassion, which is the wish that all who are suffering may be freed from suffering.
  3. Sympathetic joy, which is the wish that those who are happy and free from suffering may never be separated from their happiness.
  4. Equanimity, which is the wish that those who feel attachment and aversion towards anyone, close or distant, may pacify their attachment and aversion.

The actual training in bodhichitta is to take the vow of bodhichitta by means of any formal practice—whether elaborate, medium or short—at the six times of the day and night, i.e., at dawn, mid-morning, midday, afternoon, dusk and midnight.

  • 'Equalizing self and others’ means recognizing the equality of yourself and others in wishing to find happiness and wishing to avoid suffering.
  • ‘Exchanging self and others’ means giving your own happiness to other sentient beings, and taking their suffering upon yourself.
  • ‘Considering others as more important than yourself’ means setting aside your own benefit and accomplishing the benefit of others.

The eight wholesome and unwholesome dharmas consist of four wholesome dharmas to be adopted and four unwholesome dharmas to be abandoned.

The four unwholesome dharmas are as follows:

  1. Deceiving anyone worthy of veneration.
  2. Feeling misplaced regret.
  3. Abusing a holy person.
  4. Cheating others.

The four wholesome dharmas are as follows:

  1. Being careful never to lie, even at the cost of your life.
  2. Setting everyone on the path to enlightenment.
  3. Showing similar respect to bodhisattvas as you would to the Buddha.
  4. Being honest to all beings.

If you apply yourself to these practices, then you will never forget the mind of bodhichitta in all your future lives, and all the qualities of the bhumis and paths will develop and increase like the waxing moon. Virtue!

| Translated by Adam Pearcey, 2004

      " When you start receiving any teachings it's always important to review your motivation and purify or correct it. So try to think not only of yourself and your own needs, but also try to have the intention to benefit beings. " H.E. Lingtrul Rinpoche

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Ven. Lintrul Rinpoche Heart Advice

The Life and Liberation of Padmasambhava

Advice to Volunteers

The Words of my Perfect Teacher

The Story of the Monks and No Water

Letter to the Sangha at Kathok Center

Teaching on Fire Offering Rituals

 Heartfelt Advice on the Practice of Bodhichitta

The Inexpressible Benefits of Guru Yoga, Karzang Rinpoche


 Meal Offering Prayer: 

 Work as Spiritual Practice

 A Brief History of the Kathok Monastery and Lineage 

An Introduction to Practitioners in Lifetime Retreat

 The Venerable Lingtrul Rinpoche onPeaceful Manjushri  

Transcending and Transforming; An Inspiring Spiritual Journey,

Calling the Lama From Afar

A Flash of Enlightenment, Stories of Lama Gugu

 The Heart Sutra

The Prayer of Kungtuzangpo

Lingtrul Rinpoche Pho'wa Teaching 

Personal Reflections on aTara Retreat 2009

Patrul Rinpoche, Advice from Me to Myself   

Invocation for Raising Windhorse

Composed by Lama Mipham

om ah hung The assembly of the three jewels-Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, the three roots-Guru, Deva and Dakini; gods and sages; the three protectors-mahasattvas-Manjushri, Avalokiteshvara and Vajrapani Jayadeva, Padma Töterang, and the vidyadharas of India and Tibet; the glorious protector, Ganapadi with the divine armies of dralas, the five patron gods, the great being, Gesar, and so on, all those gods of the cosmic lineage who command coincidence, to all of those, I offer clouds of real and imagined good offerings. I supplicate you: with kindness, please grant your blessings. Curses, burial sorcery, döns, obstructing spirits, obstacles and so on, may all these signs of the weakening and corruption of windhorse be pacified. Strife, enmity, scandal, discord, warfare, lawsuits, recurrent calamity and so on, pacify all such obstructing discord. Multiply the power and strength of the virtuous windhorse, the four legged miracle. Please accomplish the spiritual and temporal, supreme and ordinary siddhas. And without exception, whatever mind desires.

om wagi shwari mum, om mani peme hung, om vajrapani hung, om ah hung, vajra guru pema siddhi hung, om ham ksha ma la wa ra ya, ha ha hi hi he he ho ho Sarwa vijaya siddhi hung, tak seng khyung druk di yar kye 

Gather all, sarwa, gather, gather, ho.  Rouse all our life, virtue and glorious windhorse higher and higher!

Mantra of Interdependent Origination

om ye dharma hetu prabhava hetun teshan tathagato hyavadat teshan tsa yo nirodha ewam vadi mahashramana svaha               

All phenomena arise from causes: Those causes have been taught by the Tathagata, And their cessation too has been proclaimed by the Great Sharawa                     

Essential Tendrel Nysel Practice

From the Medium Length Practice of Tendrel Nyesel   

Padmasambhava, great embodiment of all the sugatas and bodhisattvas

Throughout the whole of space and time,

All you deities of the Tantras of the Illusory Net, the Düpa Do , Lama Gongdü and Kagyé—

Through the power and truth of your compassion and your blessings, Let nothing inauspicious ever come to be!

om vajra guru pema shanting krodha guhya jnana rulu rulu guru déwa dakini maha shri heruka sarwa samaya hung phat tendrel nyé tsok tamché shanting kuru svaha 

Pay homage, worship, make offerings and take refuge to all the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas in all directions-may we all be enlightened!

By these merits may all beings,

perfect the accumulation of virtue and primordial wisdom,

and that which originates from virtue and primordial wisdom,

the two holy bodies may they gain.

"Do not investigate phenomena: investigate the mind.

If you investigate the mind, you’ll know the one thing which resolves all.

If you don’t investigate the mind, you can know everything but be forever stuck on one."-Guru Rinpoche

Light in the Darkness