AMITABHA BUDDHA, BENEFITS AND INTRODUCTION
- By Yangthang Rinpoche
Amitabha is the focus of a devotional tradition known as Pure Land Buddhism that became very popular in China, Korea, and Japan. In Tibet, the Blissful Pure Land is a favourite object of prayer and meditation. Shakyamuni, assures devotees that this is the easiest pure land for taking rebirth and the most joyful and powerful place for advancing toward enlightenment. Whoever takes rebirth in the Blissful Pure Land will attain full enlightenment, at least in one lifetime, because of the qualities of this pure land, the blessings of the Buddha of Infinite Light, and their own merits.
These descriptions of the Blissful Pure Land are merely partial glimpses of its unimaginably rich qualities. In reality, even celestial eyes cannot see all of these qualities, which are infinite, and even Buddhas cannot explain them all, for words are inadequate.
According to the sutras, the vow of the Buddha of Infinite Light is so powerful that if you remember him, you will not only be reborn in his pure land, but you will see him in person in your lifetime and also in dreams or visions. At the time of your death, the Buddha of Infinite Light will appear before you amid his oceans of disciples. Especially if you remember the Buddha of Infinite Light in the bardo, that memory will cause you to take rebirth in his pure land. That is because in the bardo, it is easier to change your situation.15
To take rebirth in the pure land, you need not have achieved any high meditative realization. Because of the power of the vow of the Buddha, what you need is to practice the four causes to open your mind and make it receptive to such a possibility. The only condition is that you must not have committed any of the five immeasurable offenses or renounced the Dharma. Shakyamuni Buddha taught the four causes thus:
O Ananda, there are people who  think of the details of the Buddha [of Infinite Light and his pure land] again and again.  They create many, immeasurable merits.  They develop the mind of enlightenment [bodhichitta].  They dedicate their merits and make aspirations to take rebirth in the Blissful Pure Land. When they die . . . they will take rebirth in the universe of the Blissful Pure Land.
By cultivating devotion and remembrance of the Buddha of Infinite Light, we assure our rebirth in his wondrous Blissful Pure Land, a universe of everlasting peace and sublime joy, and become a source of serenity and contentment to others. This amazing opportunity is the promise of the Buddha of Infinite Light to each of us. The truth of this promise was proclaimed by the historical Buddha himself. It has been the proven path travelled by Buddhist sages and devotees through the ages.
- By Tulku Thondup
Compared with other pure lands, it is relatively easier to take rebirth in the “Great Bliss” pure land in the west. Because it is not as complicated as generation stage or completion stage practice. If you have bodhichitta, a pure faith in Buddha Amitabha, and have dedicated your merits to be reborn in the western pure land after making effort on practicing, you will be reborn there, the Great Bliss pure land in the west. Therefore, in general, it is easier to accomplish the pure land practice.
You should know the fact that all of the 84 Indian mahasiddhas also took rebirth in the pure land of Buddha Amitabha. Many Tibetan masters took rebirth in that pure land too. Therefore, it is a very sublime pure land. Once you have been born there, you would have reached another perfect level in which you won't need to change your body anymore all the way until attainment of enlightenment. Besides, you can travel to any pure land that you like. There won't be any dharma teachings that you still need to learn. This is because after you have been born from a lotus flower in the pure land of Buddha Amitabha, you will naturally understand whatever Dharma you want to know, or whatever practice you want to engage in. You won't need to ask anyone but realize naturally. After having been born into the pure land of Buddha Amitabha, you will naturally be endowed with three‐fold dharma robes. And Buddha Amitabha will give you dharma teachings in person, until you attain the perfect state. Therefore, this is the most sublime and important practice. I hope you can keep this in your mind.
CHENREZIG, BENEFITS AND INTRODUCTION
Benefits and Qualities of the Six Syllables Mantra
- Spoken by Penor Rinpoche
Presently, we are in the dharma-ending age, where people have limited wisdom, faith and diligence. Thus, it is necessary to persevere diligently in the practice of dharma. A practice that fulfills this necessity is reciting the six-syllables mani mantra while viewing through one’s devotion that the guru is not different from Chenrezig. The six syllables mani mantra is very easy to recite and encompasses the essential meaning of all the Buddha’s teachings. It is the heart-essence of Chenrezig (or Avalokiteshvara) and brings infinite blessings. If one takes it as one’s primary practice, then all humans, celestial beings, and even the harmful ghosts or gods will bless you benevolently and you will have a long life without any sickness or calamities. In the next life, you will be reborn in Potala mountain or Amitabha’s pureland, or at least, you will take rebirth in a land where the Buddha-dharma is flourishing. This is because Chenrezig’s heart mantra is imbued with the limitless blessings, loving kindness and compassion of all the Buddhas.
In a sutra, it says, “If one recites this mantra, innumerable Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, Gods, Dragons and beings of the eight classifications will congregate where one dwells and there will be endless dharma-doors of samadhi. Seven generations of the family of one who recites (this mantra) will be liberated. The worms (or sentient beings) in one’s stomach will attain levels on the Bodhisattva path. Such a person (who recites the mantra) will perfect the paramitas daily, have unimpeded eloquence and purify his wisdom aggregate. Whenever his breath touches others’ bodies, it would cause that person to attain levels on the Bodhisattva path. If, for instance, all beings below the fourth heaven realm attained to the seventh bhumi Bodhisattva position, all their combined merit would be the same as reciting the six syllables mani mantra once. If one used gold and jewels to build Buddha statues as numerous as dust, it would not be as meritorious as writing one syllable of the six syllables mani mantra. If one obtained the six syllables mani mantra, one will not be contaminated by the greed, hatred and ignorance. If one wore this mantra on the body, one will likewise not be contaminated by the sickness of greed, hatred and ignorance. Anyone who wears, touches, sees (the mantra), all such sentient beings will attain the levels on the Bodhisattva path and be forever set apart from the sufferings such as birth, old age, sickness and death.”
The six syllables mani mantra of Chenrezig, Om Mani Padme Hung, is the manifestation of all the Buddhas’ compassion in the form of sound. Within it, the 84,000 dharma-doors of the Buddha are encapsulated. Although there are many different kinds of mantras, such as awareness-mantra, dharanis, secret mantras, but none of them is more sublime than the six syllables mani mantra. The vast benefits of reciting this mantra (which is usually just called ‘mani’) has been mentioned frequently in the Buddha’s sutras and tantras. It is said that just reciting this mantra once is equivalent to reciting all the 12 categories of the Buddha’s teachings. Reciting the six syllables mani mantra can perfect the six bodhisattva paramitas and firmly seal off all possibilities of taking rebirth in the six realms. This is a simple practice, easy to understand. All the people can practice its recitation and it encompasses the essence of the Buddhadharma. If you are able to regard the mani mantra as your refuge in times of happiness or suffering, then Chenrezig will always be with you. You will become more and more devoted without even trying to. The realisation of the mahayana path will naturally arise in your mindstream.
According to the records in the Jewel-Chest sutra, reciting a hundred-million times of this mantra will cause all the organisms on one’s body to receive Chenrezig’s blessings and after one’s death, the smoke from the cremation of one’s corpse can protect anyone who breathes it from rebirth in the three lower realms.
Even one syllable from this mantra, whether it be ‘Om’, ‘Ma’ or ‘Ni’ has inconceivable power. It can bless and cause sentient beings to be liberated. It is said that the Buddha, who has such extraordinary power far exceeding those of any sentient being, is able to tell accurately how many raindrops there are in a rainstorm lasting 12 years but yet, even he is unable to completely express the merit of saying the mani mantra once. If the Buddha began to express its merit, even if all the world’s forests and trees were made into paper, it would not be sufficient for writing down even the smallest part of the merit of the mantra.
There is nothing in this world that can really frighten the god of death and make him retreat, but the warm radiance of Chenrezig’s compassion can remove all fear that anyone felt at the point of death. This is what is called, “the refuge which never deceives”.
The six syllables mani mantra is Chenrezig’s heart-essence, it is the bodhisattvas’ paramitas in the form of mantra. If you recite this mantra, all the six paramitas will automatically arise and action-bodhichitta will spontaneously be accomplished.
Mantra is one essential component of the Vajrayana path but not one mantra is better than the mani mantra. It encompasses all the functions of all mantras and also embodies all the other mantras’ blessings and power. Even the great Karma Chakme and other well-learned noble beings could not find any mantra in the teachings that was of more benefit, more quintessential and simple to practise than the mani, and thus utilised the mani mantra as their main practice. Even hearing the mani mantra can liberate one from samsara. Just as Chenrezig has said, anyone who practises this mani mantra will perfect all the six bodhisattva paramitas and cleanse all their obscurations and karma.
In order to bless sentient beings, Chenrezig endowed the mani mantra with the same power as his very own body, this is the ‘dedication of unborn emptiness’. Writing the six syllables mani mantra will lead all beings who see it to be liberated. Reciting the six syllables mani mantra will lead all beings who hear it to be liberated. If one thought of the mantra, then one will be liberated by recalling. By wearing it on one’s body, there will be liberation by contact. If you are accustomed to regarding all sounds as the mani mantra, then all the fearful sounds in the bardo will not cause you any trepidation.
In this age of the five degenerations, the compassionate Chenrezig’s blessings is exceptionally strong. But, just as Guru Rinpoche has predicted, “in the future, there will be some beings with insufficient merit who will not treasure the six syllables mani mantra.” Chenrezig’s emanation, the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo also said, “in the future, there will be some beings who will discriminate the dharma due to their own self-clinging, they will abandon all positive actions and belittle the six syllables mani mantra saying that it is a practice for old people or children. These people have been led by the demonic obstacles into the deviant paths. Their future life would definitely be in the hells. Thus you should not give rise to any doubt about compassionate Chenrezig’s dharma practice but should instead practice it diligently, because this practice is the easiest to accomplish and there is no other practice that bestows greater blessings that this.”
The six syllables mani mantra has worldly benefits such as removing all sickness, pain, negative karma, obscurations and demonic obstacles, increasing one’s merit and prosperity. Its ultimate benefit is to end samsara and bring one to the state of perfect unsurpassed Buddhahood.
In the text describing a journey through the lower realms by a Delog, Drungpa Lodro Zangpo, (a Delog is someone who can temporarily die to travel through other realms with his/her consciousness. After some time, the Delog comes back to life and recounts the journey as a teaching on karma cause-and-effect.) One of the message that this Delog brought back was from the Lord of Death, Yamaraja. In this message, Yamaraja describes the power and efficacy of the Mani mantra.
Lord of Death Yamaraja said : “Virtuous son, the six-syllables mantra is the essence of hundreds of dharmas. Reciting a hundred times can cleanse the negative obscurations of body, speech and mind; reciting a thousand times can cleanse the ten negative acts; reciting 10,000 times can purify broken samaya pledges; recited 100,000 times, one can even purify the negative karma associated with receiving a mountain of offerings. Recited a million times, one eliminates the five-uninterrupted karmas. Recited 10 million times, even if one is forced, one will not fall into the hells. Recited 100 million times, oneself and others will definitely attain Buddhahood together. There is no need for doubt.”
Guru Rinpoche told King Mutig of Tibet and the close disciples, "Listen, king of Tibet, nobility and subjects! 0M MANI PADME HUM is the quintessence of the Great Compassionate One, so the merit of uttering it just once is incalculable. The possible multiplication resulting from a single seed of the lotus flower lies beyond the reach of thought. But compared to that, the merit of uttering the Six Syllables just once is even greater. A single sesame seed can multiply into many, but the merit of uttering the Six Syllables just once is even greater. The four great rivers and countless other minor rivers flow into the salty ocean, but the merit of uttering the Six Syllables just once is even greater.
All needs and wishes are granted when you supplicate the precious wish-fulfilling jewel, but the merit of uttering the Six Syllables just once is even greater. 0M MANI PADME HUNG. It is possible to count the number of raindrops falling during twelve years of monsoon, but the merit of uttering the Six Syllables just once cannot be counted. It is possible to count all the grains sown on the four continents, but the merit of uttering the Six Syllables just once cannot be counted. It is possible to count the drops of water in the great ocean, one by one, but the merit Of uttering the Six Syllables just once cannot be counted. It is possible to count each hair on the bodies of all animals in existence, but the merit of uttering the Six Syllables just once cannot be counted.
OM MANI PADME HUNG. The Six Syllables are the quintessence of the Great Compassionate One. It is possible to wear down a mountain of meteoric iron that is eighty thousand miles high by rubbing it Once every aeon with the softest cotton from Kashika, but the merit of uttering the Six Syllables just once cannot be exhausted. It is possible for the merutsey insect to finish eating Mount Sumeru to the core, but the merit of uttering the Six Syllables just once cannot be exhausted. It is possible for the tito bird to remove the sand of River Ganges with its beak, but the merit of uttering the Six Syllables just once cannot be exhausted. It is posstble for a small breeze to scatter the earth of the four continents and Mount Sumeru, but the merit of uttering the Six Syllables just once cannot be exhausted.
OM MANI PADME HUNG. It is possible to calculate the merit of creating a Stupa made of the seven precious substances filled with relics of the buddhas of all the world-systems and making constant offerings to it, but the merit of uttering the Six Syllables just once cannot be calculated. It is possible to calculate the amount of merit from Offering incense, lamps, perfumes, bathing water, music, and so forth to buddhas and buddha realms in a number that equals the grains of sand found in the entire world-system, but the merit of uttering the Six Syllables just once cannot be calculated.
OM MANI PADME HUNG. These six syllables are the quintessence of the mind of noble Avalokiteshvara. If you recite this mantra 108 times a day, you will not take rebirth in the three lower realms. In the following life you will attain a human body and in actuality you will have a vision of noble Avalokiteshvara. If you recite daily the mantra correctly twenty-one times, you will be intelligent and able to retain whatever you learn. You will have a melodious voice and become adept in the meaning of all the Buddhadharma. If you recite this mantra seven times daily, all your misdeeds will be purified and all your obscurations will be Cleared away. In following lives, no matter where you take birth, you will never be separated from noble Avalokiteshvara.
When someone is afflicted by disease or an evil influence, compared to any mundane ritual of healing or of repelling obstacles, the merit Of the Six Syllables is much more effective for warding off obstacles or disease. Compared to any medical treatment or cure, the Six Syllables are the strongest remedy against sickness and evil. The virtues Of the Six Syllables are immeasurable and cannot be fully described even by the buddhas of the three times. Why is that?
It is because this mantra is the quintessence of the mind of the noble bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, who continuously looks upon the six classes of sentient beings with compassion. Thus, recitation of this mantra liberates all beings from samsara.
Kings and disciples of future generations,
Take the Great Compassionate One as your yidam.
Recite the Six Syllables as the essence mantra.
Be free from the fear of going to the lower realrns.
Avalokiteshvara is the destined deity of Tibet,
so supplicate him with faith and devotion.
You will receive blessings and attainments
And be free from doubt and hesitation.
To the knowledge Of me, Padmakara,
A teaching more profound and more swift
Has never been taught by the buddhas of the three times
I, Padmasambhava, am now taking leave.
Keep this in your hearts,
Tibetan followers, kings, and disciples,
Who are present now or will appear in the future.
GURU RINPOCHE, BENEFITS AND INTRODUCTION
- Apang Terton terma
For those who recite the Guru Siddhi mantra, whether they are common or uncommon disciples of me, Padma, [the benefits are as follows]:
Reciting the mantra twenty-one times a day will completely dispel outer, inner and secret obstacles.
Reciting the mantra one hundred eight times a day will purify the defilements of many countless eons and previous life times will be recalled.
By reciting even more mantras, all the accomplishments of the four enlightened activities will be effortlessly carried out.
And, it goes without saying, that by reciting the mantra one thousand times a day, natural happiness and supreme accomplishment will be attained in this life.
By just reciting the mantra now and again, even a little, the eight outer and inner fears, illnesses, demonic forces, and obstructive forces will be completely purified and never encountered.
By reciting the mantra with a purity of mind, through the power of faith, the blessings of all the Jinas of the three times will be received.
By reciting the mantra with pure bodhicitta, I, Lord Padma will appear before them in a human form and bestow my blessings.
By reciting the mantra in the state of nondual wisdom, their mind will become inseparable from Guru Padma’s mind and they will behold the actual face of the Primordial Protector.
By reciting the mantra with a clear mind, their mental acuity and ability to comprehend the Dharma or their sublime understanding will be greatly expanded.”
Padmasambhava came to this world to accomplish three main aims. First, and in general, he came to help the sentient beings of the six realms. Second, his historical mission was to bring the light of the Dharma, and the teachings of Dzogpachenpo. to the land of Tibet. It is owing to his kindness and his single-handed endeavour that the teaching has lasted in Tibet for well over a thousand years. And now the teachings of Padmasambhava have come to the West, where once he was unknown, and this is indeed a sign of his blessing, a mark of his compassion and power. Third, each buddha has a particular mission. and Padmasambhava's specific mission is to come in this degenerate dark age, the kaliyuga, the 'dregs of time'.
- By Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche
If you pray to Guru Rinpoche fervently, there is no doubt that he will actually appear to you. For there is no other buddha who has manifested in visions to practitioners as often as has Guru Rinpoche. Some of the great tertöns, Ratna Lingpa for example, had as many as twenty-five visions of Guru Rinpoche. Other major tertöns had twenty, others ten, some six, and all the thousand minor tertöns had at least three visions each, making many thousands of visions in all. The details of these visions are very precisely recorded, for example: the date, the place and the manner in which they occurred, and the teachings and prophecies that Padmasambhava gave. These teachings have subsequently been written down very clearly, and practised later by others, many of whom have attained the rainbow body through their authentic power. This all demonstrates just how powerful Guru Rinpoche is, and how quick he is to act. If you practise him, success on the path will come more swiftly. No buddha or master has appeared as many times as Guru Rinpoche; he seems to be the most active of them all
Kyabjé Dilgo Khyentsé Rinpoche said:
There have been many incredible and incomparable masters from the noble land of India and from Tibet, the land of snows, yet of them all, the one who has the greatest compassion and blessing toward beings in this diffcult age is Padmasambhava, who embodies the compassion and wisdom of all the buddhas. One of his qualities is that he has the power to give his blessing instantly to whoever prays to him, and whatever we may pray for, he has the power to grant our wish immediately.
In this dark age, the dregs of time, when beings are immersed In constant suffering from the three poisons of ignorance, aggression and attachment, when the five negative emotions are more turbulent than ever before, and when ter rible suffering comes from illness, poverty, famine, hunger, and the threat of war, the blessings of Guru Rinpoche are even quicker to act. He himself has pledged that in such an age, whenever a person prays to him, he will respond immediately with his blessings. And these were not just sweet words meant to please, but the true, undeceiving words of Guru Rinpoche.
Guru Rinpoche said to Yeshe Tsogyal:
If anyone who has faith, devotion and a connection with me prays with yeaming and real fervour, then the force of our aspirations and the interdependence of cause and effect will ensure that my compassion comes to his or her help more quickly than that of any other buddha. So pray Tsogyal, continuously, and with devotion.
I am never far from those with faith,
Or even from those without it,
Though they do not see me.
My children will always,
Be protected by my compassion.