Calling the Lama from Afar

Venerable Khenpo Karma Namgyal

"Calling the Lama from Afar,"
composed by Jamgon Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye the Great

Instructions presented at Karma Theksum Tashi Chöling in Hamburg, November 2008


This weekend we will be looking at the prayer entitled "Calling the Lama from Afar."  I will not give detailed instructions, rather think it would be good to go through the verses and see what they mean to us. This spiritual text is not only a prayer but it also offers instructions that we receive from our Lama. Before beginning, let us recite "The Refuge Prayer."

Jamgon Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye was the author of "Calling the Lama from Afar."  As you know, he was a foremost representative of the Rime, or non-sectarian, movement in Tibet. Followers of the Nyingma Tradition argue that he was a Nyingmapa, but Kagyüpas have sufficient evidence when they say that the supreme and sublime Lodrö Thaye belonged to the Kagyü Tradition. The Third Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, Karma Lodrö Chökyi Senge, was Lineage-holder of the Kagyü Tradition. I only met him once in my life, but I always felt a very deep connection. Jamgon Lodrö Chökyi Nyima Tenpay Drönme, the young fourth incarnation of Jamgon Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye, is devoted to his activities for the preservation and propagation of the Buddhadharma, especially of the Karma Kagyü Lineage.

Next to innumerable smaller writings, the First Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche authored and compiled more than ninety volumes of scriptures that embody the entire range of Buddhist teachings as they were presented in Tibet. They are known as "The Five Great Treasures."  It has always been easier and more helpful for me to concentrate my attention on the short text, "Calling the Lama from Afar"  than on the extensive collection of his writings, and I hope you will benefit while we look at this text together. I think that this prayer is meant for students who already have experience of the Dharma, because it is hard for beginners to understand.

It is a fact that we tend to deny our own faults. This prayer speaks of our misgivings and shows us how to overcome them. We first turn to our Lama for his help, and this text presents the procedure in which we see our faults in order to correct them, therefore it is like a mirror for us. We ignore criticism from others, but can't deny what we see when we look in a mirror. For example, I'm a bit chubby, although I tell myself that I'm slim. There aren't big mirrors in Nepal, so I can't see my entire figure there, but there are big mirrors in the West, and then I see that I'm chubby. So now I do what people say and take walks more often.

The title of the prayer is "Calling the Lama from Afar."  Who is a Lama? Not everyone who wears a red robe is a Lama. Rather, the Lama is our Root Lama, the Lama who bestows the empowerment, reading transmission of a text, and the practice instructions that enable us to mature. One's Root Lama is a very personal matter. One can meet many Lamas who are famous but experience no change when one does. It is possible to experience deep faith and devotion in a Lama whose name one merely hears or whose picture one only sees, without every having met him in life, so it is an individual matter. Even if one has not met him, a disciple of the Kagyü Lineage always feels that His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, is their Root Lama and prays to him. The Lama who is relevant for oneself is the Lama who is one's inner source of inspiration, who one trusts and reveres deeply.

One mainly engages in the practices of the Three Roots - the Lama, Yidam, and Spiritual Heroes and Dakinis - during a three-year retreat. Meditating the Yidam mainly consists of meditating one's Lama. It's important to know the aim of meditating one's Lama. One's mind becomes inseparable with the mind of one's Lama by meditating him. He is free of any faults and has limitless loving kindness and compassion. One again and again asks for one's Lamas blessings so that one becomes identical and inseparable with him and thereby vanquishes all the faults that one has. This is a very effective method to overcome and eradicate one's slightest emotional and mental defilements. Many Kagyü practitioners who have sincere devotion for the Gyalwa Karmapa spend much time repeating his mantra, "KARMAPA KHYEN-NO,"  and thus they unite with the principle of becoming inseparable with him. It's very important to understand that this is the purpose of practice. One can address one's Lama with prayers that come to one's mind, like praying for his blessings to become well when one is sick. There is nothing wrong with that, but it isn't the purpose of practice.

There are so many Lamas in each Tibetan Buddhist tradition, such as in the tradition of the Kagyüpas, Nyingmapas, Sakyapas, and so forth. We cannot know all of them, but it would be enough to visualize our Lama in space before us and to imagine that the specific Lineage-Lamas of the prayer, "Calling the Lama from Afar,"  are united with him when we recite each line of the homage. Let us sing it in the easy melody that is like the melody of the spiritual songs of Jetsün Milarepa. Every Lama taught different melodies, but these two are similar.  Question:  His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa recently wrote shorter versions of many texts so that it's easier for us to practice. Can this text be shortened?  Khenpo:  Maybe we can ask him sometime.  Translator:  This text isn't long.  


"Lama, think of us.

King Root Lama, think of us.

Essence of the Buddhas of the three times,

Source of genuine Dharma in scripture and realization,

Master of the noble gathering of Sangha,

Root Lama, may you think of us.

Great treasure of blessing and compassion,

Source of the two siddhis,

Buddha activity that grants whatever is desired,

Root Lama, may you think of us.

Lama Amitabha, think of us.

Behold us from the expanse of the Dharmakaya, free of fabrication.

We wander in samsara through the force of negative karma;

Bring us to rebirth in your pure land of bliss.

Lama Chenrezik, think of us.

See us from the expanse of the luminous Sambhogakaya.

Pacify completely the suffering of the six kinds of beings

And totally transform the three realms of samsara.

Lama Padmasambhava, think of us.

Behold us from the luminous lotus of Nga Yab Ling.

In these dark times, swiftly protect with your compassion

Tibetan disciples, all those who are destitute and without refuge.

Lama Yeshe Tsogyel, think of us.

Behold us from the Dakini's city of great bliss.

Bring us, who have committed negative actions,

Across the ocean of samsara to the great city of liberation.

Lamas of the oral transmission and Terma lineages, think of us.

Behold us from the expanse of primordial wisdom, the union (of appearance and emptiness),

Break through the dark prison of our confused mind,

And make the sun of realization arise.

Omniscient Drime Özer, think of us.

Behold us from the expanse of the five spontaneous lights.

Help us to perfect the great display of mind, primordially pure,

And to complete the four stages of Ati yoga.

Incomparable Atisha and your heart son,

Amidst hundreds of deities, behold us from Tushita.

Bring about the birth in our mind stream

Of Bodhicitta, the essence of emptiness and compassion.

Supreme Siddhas, Marpa, Milarepa, Gampopa think of us.

Behold us from the space of great vajra bliss.

Enable us to attain the supreme siddhi of Mahamudra - bliss and emptiness inseparable;

Awaken the Dharmakaya in our heart of hearts.

Lord of the world, Karmapa, think of us.

Behold us from the space where all beings, in numbers as vast as the sky, are trained.

Bring us to see that all phenomena are like an illusion, without any true existence,

And to realize appearance and mind arising as the three kayas.

Lamas of the four great and eight lesser Kagyü lineages, think of us.

Behold us from the realm of pure appearances that naturally arise.

Clear away the confusion of the four situations

And bring us to the perfection of experience and realization.

Five Sakya forefathers, think of us.

Behold us from the expanse of samsara and nirvana inseparable.

Help us to blend together pure view, meditation, and action;

Take us along the supreme path of the secret Vajrayana.

Lamas of the unequalled Shangpa Kagyü, think of us.

Behold us from the totally pure realm of Buddhas.

Train us correctly in the methods of practice that bring liberation;

Lead us to discover the path of no more learning, the ultimate union.

Great Siddha, Thangtong Gyalpo, think of us.

Behold us from the expanse of effortless compassion.

Enable us to attain the discipline that brings realization of ultimate non-existence

And to master prana and mind.

Only father, Dampa Senge, think of us.

Behold us from the space of the accomplishing supreme activity.

Bring into our hearts the blessing of the Lineage

And make auspicious signs arise in all directions.

Only mother, Labkyi Drönma, think of us.

Behold us from the space of Prajnaparamita.

Enable us to uproot ego-clinging, the source of pride,

And to see the truth of egolessness, beyond conception.

Omniscient Dolpo Sangye, think of us.

Behold us from the space endowed with all supreme aspects.

Help us to bring into the central channel the prana of transference

And to attain the immovable vajra body.

Jetsün Taranatha, think of us.

Behold us from the space of the three Mudras.

Help us to travel without obstacles the secret vajra path

And bring us to the attainment of a rainbow body, the enjoyment of all space.

Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, think of us.

Behold us from the space of primordial wisdom that knows (all phenomena in their simplicity and in their vast extent).

Clear away the mental darkness of ignorance;

Increase the luminosity of our supreme intelligence.

Ösel Tulpay Dorje, think of us.

Behold us from the expanse of the five rainbow lights.

Purify the stains from bindu, prana, and mind

And bring us to the enlightenment of the youthful vase body.

Pema Do Ngak Lingpa, think of us.

Behold us from the expanse of unchanging bliss and emptiness inseparable.

Enable us to fulfil perfectly all the intentions of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

Ngakwang Yönten Gyamtso, think of us.

Behold us from the expanse of space and primordial wisdom in union.

May we stop taking appearances to be real;

Develop our ability to carry onto the path whatever arises.

Bodhisattva Lodrö Thaye, think of us.

Behold us from your state of loving-kindness and compassion.

Enable us to recognize all beings as our kind parents;

Develop our ability to benefit others from the depth of our hearts.

Pema Gangyi Wangchuk, think of us.

Behold us from the expanse of great bliss and luminosity.

Liberate the five poisons into the five wisdoms;

May our dualistic clinging to loss and gain disappear.

Tenyi Yungdrung Lingpa, think of us.

Behold us from the space where samsara and nirvana are equal.

Engender genuine devotion in our mind;

Bring us to simultaneous realization and liberation.

Kind Root Lama, think of us.

Behold us from the place of great bliss on the crown of our head.

Bring us to meet the very face of the Dharmakaya, the awareness of our true nature,

And in this very life, bring us to complete enlightenment."

The homage is quite profound. It would be very good to know the meaning. If you don't have the time to recite the entire homage, then it would be beneficial to recite the last four lines. If you don't have the time to recite these four lines, then it would be very beneficial to repeat the Mantra „KARMAPA KHYEN-NO"  for as long as you can.


1) Samsara

"Alas, sentient beings like ourselves, who have committed negative actions,

Wander in samsara from beginningless time.

Still experiencing endless suffering,

We do not feel even an instant of weariness.

Lama, think of us, behold us swiftly with compassion.

Bless us that renunciation arises from the depth of our heart."

The first instruction of the prayer states that it's necessary to feel genuine revulsion for the "cycle of conditioned existence," samsara. It isn't easy to recognize that samsara is not at all desirable. As long as one hasn't become truly weary of samsara and hasn't given rise to unalterable renunciation, one can't really turn one's mind towards the Dharma.

It's necessary to recognize the inadequacies and shortcomings that samsara entails in order to fully renounce it. As long as one is attracted to something, one won't renounce it. People who haven't studied Lord Buddha's teachings think that samsara is pleasant. For example, one may have built a beautiful house and in the process created a pile of trash right next to the site, without even noticing and being disturbed. When someone comes along and says, "You know, that pile of trash stinks," one notices. Then one has the wish to remove the trash and to keep the place clean. In the same way, it's important to carefully investigate the nature of samsara in order to find out for oneself whether it offers anything worth striving for. Seeing that it isn't easy to realize that samsara is deceptive and worthless, one again and again requests the blessings of one's Lama so that one gives rise to renunciation.

Let me speak in English: In the life story of Lord Buddha, we read that many people really suffered and wanted to escape, so they went to him or his disciples and became monks or nuns. It happened like that in Tibet too. As for me, I became a monk when I was a child and had a good life, so I didn't know what samsara meant. When I was young, I just read in books that the entirety of samsara is filled with suffering, but I couldn't agree because I saw so many people living in luxury, having a good house and a good car. The more I read about suffering, the more I believed in the Buddha's words, that there is no place in samsara that is free of suffering. It's difficult to believe in the beginning, but if we check closely, we realize that we have all experienced suffering. If we recognize suffering when it occurs, I think we will try to escape. As long as we don't recognize suffering, we will play along, like going swimming. But I don't know how to swim - I tried to learn but failed many times and that's why I walk.  I can say that it's not easy to have renunciation. And that's why Jamgon Kongtrul wrote the verse in the beginning of these instructions. To turn our mind towards the Dharma and to become a real practitioner, we need this kind of mind, because the practice of Dharma is not to become rich, not to become healthy, but to attain a peaceful mind. In order to attain a peaceful mind, we must go far away from suffering. How can we become peaceful if we slumber in a place of suffering? So, first we must recognize the place of suffering. If we get out of that place, then we will get peace. And that's why this prayer and practice are very, very important. So, we should visualize our Guru in front of us and, even if we are in a luxurious place, pray to him: "Let me recognize real suffering." So, we pray for that.

I watch the Internet. Now we can get teachings from the Internet. It's very easy and we don't have to come here and pay a lot of money. I posted a link on my website with a short sentence by Tai Situ Rinpoche on YouTube. He says, "Don't worry. Be happy." I like it very much. Actually, he is repeating the Buddha, and the Buddha is just showing the nature. Whether the Buddha teaches the relative nature of existence or not, it remains the nature of relative reality. But a mistake we make is that we are always ignorant and that's why we practice. Sometimes I become free of the suffering that I experience when I think about the teachings.

In short, we will have to practice the stages of the path as long as we haven't recognized the ultimate nature of all things and thereby vanquished our ignorance. Real practice presupposes having given rise to authentic renunciation of samsara. When truly weary of samsara, one prays the last two lines in the above verse to one's Lama, which are:  "Lama, think of us, behold us swiftly with compassion. Bless us that renunciation arises from the depth of our heart."

This is a very profound prayer that can have a strong impact on us. It's a serious prayer. One can pray to one's Lama for many things. For example, I saw a little boy making many circumambulations around the magnificent Stupa at Boudhanath while I was on pilgrimage there. I asked him after he finished, "Why? What did you pray for?" He answered, "To pass the exams." That's all right, but praying to develop and increase renunciation is very effective.

By earnestly looking at our lives, we can recognize whether we have renunciation or not. One needs to check for a long period of time. It's perfectly all right to resolve to do one's best in this life, to know that it really isn't that much, to realize that one hasn't become totally free of one's fascination for samsara and hasn't fully renounced it. One is honest with oneself and prays that one at least accomplishes this goal in one's next life, until one has become completely free. This is most certainly a profound wish that will come true.

2) The Precious Human Life

"Although we have attained a precious human birth with leisure and resources, we waste it in vain,

Constantly distracted by the activities of this hollow life.

When it comes to accomplishing the great goal of liberation, we are overcome by laziness

And return empty-handed from a land filled with jewels.

Lama, think of us, behold us swiftly with compassion.

Bless us that we make this life meaningful."

The second verse of instructions that Jamgon Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye offered in "Calling the Lama from Afar"  deals with the difficulties of attaining a precious human birth that is endowed with leisure and resources. (Editor's note: The leisure and resources are the eight opportunities and ten acquirements. The eight opportunities are not being born in one of the eight unfavorable states of existence, which are hell states, the state of spirits, animals, long living gods, barbarians, those having wrong views, those born in a time devoid of Buddhas, and mentally disabled. The ten acquirements are being a human being, being born in a country where there are Lamas and teachers to be attended and benefited from, having one's faculties intact, having faith in the Dharma, not having committed extreme negative actions; furthermore, a Buddha having come into the world, the holy Dharma being taught, all the Dharma teachings being present, all the present Dharma being followed, and there are beings compassionately caring for those who practice the Dharma.) Attainment of the eight opportunities and ten acquirements depend upon whether an individual has purified the mental and emotional defilements that obstruct acquiring what is called "a precious human birth." Not acknowledging and making the best use of one's precious human life is likened to someone who returns empty-handed from an island filled with jewels.

I used to read lots of books when I was young and read many stories about Norbu Ling,  "the Jewel Island."  One day I asked Venerable Thrangu Rinpoche, "Where is that place? Where can I get a ticket to go there?" He told me, "Oh, they didn't make a map of that place. So, sorry, I don' know where it is." I think that there was such an island in the past, but people are in such a hurry that only sand is left. I'm sure that there is such an island and that it's very difficult to get there. It's not good if someone goes there and enjoys the riches, without bringing anything back.

People are engaged in an inconceivable variety of activities. Sometimes I go to the top of the hill behind Lekshey Ling, look at Kathmandu in the distance, and think that there are so many people scurrying through the city and all cities around the world. I can say that most of them are working hard to be happy in this life only. Of course, one has to work in order to survive, but it's important to know that it's 100% true that one will not stay in this world forever. It would be very good to dedicate a little time each day to practice the Dharma and to uphold moral conduct, like not to lie, which isn't easy. If one finds that it's too hard not to lie for the rest of one's life, at least one can resolve not to lie for a week; if that's too hard, then one can resolve not to lie for an hour. It will really benefit oneself if one uses one's life in a good way. It will be like returning with jewels in one's hands after having visited Norbu Ling.

Many people spend so much time working hard to make money in order to build a house or to buy a car and one day lose everything. No robber can harm one if one calms down and is content with a little bit. His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa has asked us not to eat meat, for instance, which is very difficult for me. I have reduced my consumption of meat as a result and am happy if I have a good meal each day. In the same way, if we resolve to diminish our negative activities and try to do the opposite by using our human life in a good way, then I think we will benefit. Even though I am aware that it is an entertainment, I like watching wrestling matches and think that the wrestlers have a good physique, but they are only using their body to fight and to make money. When comparing myself to them, I think that I am leading a good life. If we regularly do small good things, step-by-step, then I think that it will be very good.

I like to eat spicy food and on this trip I didn't bring chilies along, so I feel at a loss. Everyone has a different taste. Some people like to practice generosity, others like to practice discipline, but practicing patience isn't easy. For example, I feel okay when giving things that I have to others and when trying to be disciplined, but being patient is difficult. I resolved to practice patience and tried my best, but it's not okay until now. I have experienced that patience works quite nicely. Big problems arise when someone pushes us and we fight against it or take revenge. I don't react right away when there are problems in the monastery. I cool down after a while and can then be considerate of others' problems, so being patient works.

Recently I took a walk with Karin. She has a little dog and I really like it. When we ran into another dog, her dog stood still and looked like it was saying, "No! I am small. I cannot fight you." After a while the dogs played. So, I think patience is a good method to keep cool when one cannot tell if something is all right or not. Everyone needs to try for themselves. For example, there are people who like to practice calm-abiding meditation. Others like to meditate Chenrezig and count the Mantra as much as they can - all night, or all day, or one hour, or one minute. Some people like to meditate Guru Rinpoche. Others like to meditate Karmapa or their Root Lama. Keep a session reserved each day to practice. Whether one practices or not, one's life slips away, hour-by-hour. It's amazing:  Last year I was sitting here and this year I'm also sitting here. I don't feel the length of time that has passed. Whether one reflects it or not, time goes on. It will be very beneficial to use one's time to practice and to help others when one is experienced. Like this, try to make a schedule in your life.

If someone offers me something sweet to eat, I don't like it. Sometimes I eat sweets, but normally I don't. I like spicy and salty food. Like that, it's good to try practicing what one doesn't like that much. If one is interested in the good way, one chooses a practice and goes through it - langsam, langsam,  "slowly, slowly."  One can have sweet-sour when one likes it.

The verse above teaches us not to waste our life with nonsense. Of course, we have to earn a living in order to live in the world, but we shouldn't waste time with nonsense. I remember an example that I want to tell: I met a strong man when I went to South Germany last year and actually I like him, because he is not ruining his body with nonsense things. But he is crazy about cars and bikes. He bought a very expensive old car and motorcycle for about 30.000,- Euro and always does nonsense by fixing them. His wife told me that he doesn't do anything else and only runs around in dirty overalls. It's okay compared to going to a disco and drinking wine. But in the Dharma way, that kind of activity is playing around and being like a child playing with toys. One will not play with toys when one gets older but will leave them. So, I want to say that making a schedule to go through life is very important.

Last year a friend took me to Ikea, a big furniture shop. I really learned something there. Things are really cheap, even compared to prices in India and Nepal. I saw so many things that I need.  Participant:  A big car?  Khenpo:  No cars. I have to return to Nepal and am only allowed 20 Kilos, so it would be useless buying anything at Ikea, even if it's cheap. We can see so many things we are attached to, but we cannot take those things with us. I can take small and good things, like a camera, a mobile, a laptop. While in Hamburg this year, I will buy what I can take back with me. It would be no use for me if someone gave me a car - it wouldn't fit in my luggage and I couldn't put it in my pocket. I will only buy things that I can take back. Just like that, when we pass from this beautiful world one day, we need to take things that do not overload us.

Let me repeat that it's important to make a schedule. One cannot spend one's entire life practicing, but it depends on one's mind. Acharya Nagarjuna said that he ate food so that he could practice well. Eating one's meals every day with this in mind then becomes Dharma practice. I think that Westerners think that they cannot practice while they work. But thinking that one works so that one can survive and practice is good. Making a schedule to engage in formal practice and living like that until the end is very beneficial. We also have to pray to our Lama again and again that we do not succumb to nonsense but turn our mind towards using our precious life meaningfully.

The main point of the above verse is being fully aware of how difficult it is to attain a precious human birth with the opportunities and freedom to practice the Dharma and resolving not to waste it with useless activities. One asks one's Lama for his blessings so that one's activities are beneficial or one repeats the Mantra „KARMAPA KHYEN-NO."

I don't know if we can finish the entire text during this seminar, but it's very important to contemplate nges-‘byung,  "renunciation."  Many people think that they can practice fast and achieve Buddhahood in a few years, but I don't think it will happen like that. The foundation of the way is renunciation. In the absence of Ueberdruss, "renunciation," one's practice will definitely go the wrong way. If one really has the mind of gnes-‘byung, one's practice will go in the right direction. For example, if one intends to go to Berlin and the car one is in is headed towards Frankfurt, one will not arrive in Berlin. I am 100% sure that people who think they are practicing Mahamudra or Dzogchen without having renounced samsara are on the wrong track. The Dalai Lama and other high Lamas will not say it differently. So, one needs to make sure that one has Ueberdruss, steer one's life in the right direction, and go the right way. I think that's important enough.

3) Impermanence & Death

"There is no one on this earth who will not die.

Even now, people are passing away, one after the other.

We also soon must die,

But like a fool, we plan to live long.

Lama, think of us, behold us swiftly with compassion.

Bless us that we curtail all of our scheming."

Having contemplated and realized that one's life is precious and having developed renunciation, one needs to realize that everything changes and nothing lasts. One might suppose that one will live forever, but if one looks closely, one will realize that this is not true. If one reflects the past, one will realize that not one single living being that was born did not die. This also applies to us. We too will die sooner or later. So, if we realize how precious our life is, then we know how important it is to practice.

A few weeks ago Chöje Lama Phuntsok told us that during a lecture somebody asked him if he is afraid of death. He replied that actually he isn't afraid of death but fears dying in a sudden accident. People who die in accidents have very negative feelings and go through very emotional experiences, like anger. Chöje Lama said he is afraid of dying like that.

Death is the truth of impermanence and cannot be avoided, but there are methods to die well when it happens naturally. If somebody knows how to practice Phowa, then they can practice it when they know that they are dying. Or they can bring "Calling the Lama from Afar"  to mind;  they don't need to recite all the names in the prayer but just recall and speak, "Lama Chenrezig, now."  If one makes good wishing-prayers and engages in this practice in life, one can practice like this when one dies. That's why we practice the Dharma in life. I spoke about the necessity of working for one's living, but one has to think about the day one will die too.

Dying is like the process one goes through when one falls asleep. One thinks about what one wants or needs to do the next day before one falls asleep and remembers when one wakes up the next morning. While dying, one falls into a state of unconsciousness that resembles deep sleep. Afterwards, one experiences the force of transition, which depends upon one's karma. If one has practiced in life and dies slowly, at that time one can influence one's karmic force positively, which is similar to remembering and doing what one planned before one fell asleep the night before. While dying, it will be very beneficial to keep one's body relaxed, to hold one's mind at ease, to have a good and pure motivation, to focus one's attention on the prayers one has learned, and to be positive. One should do one's best to become more positive by practicing in life, which prepares one to be able to deal with one's death. Reciting "The Dewachen Prayer"  that we all know is especially beneficial then.

Lord Buddha taught two sentences:  "From among all the footprints made in the jungle, the elephant's footprint is the largest. From any knowledge that one can gain, being aware of impermanence is supreme."  Are there footprints larger than that of an elephant in the West?  Translator:  No, I don't think so. The dinosaurs in former times.  Khenpo:  What's that?  Transl.:  The enormous animals that lived before the Ice Age.  Khenpo:  Like Godzilla?  Student:  No, dinosaurs are historical.  Khenpo:  Maybe there was not that kind of animal in India during the Buddha's times. I have read about them in books but haven't seen those animals in my village. Being aware of impermanence really inspires one to practice. One will never lose one's practice if one thinks about impermanence again and again.

A few years ago I planned to buy land and build a small retreat house for the monks and myself on it, because the young monks at Lekshey Ling shout a lot. I used to flee to a very peaceful house above our monastery because my room is near the grounds where the little monks play and are quite noisy, especially on weekends. I don't stop them, because I liked to play when I was a child. Unfortunately, they started playing on the grounds near the house on the hill and made trouble. I planned to build the retreat house before that happened, but then I heard about a tragic incidence about impermanence and told myself to quiet down with my plans. Actually, I know a lot of the Buddha's teachings, but they did not help me at that time. The truth of impermanence helped me to continue practicing and prepare for the journey instead of making plans to live a luxurious life. Thinking about impermanence really makes me cool when problems arise, for instance, when I lose money or things. One needs to leave anything one loses sooner or later anyway, so contemplating the transient nature of all things helps one not worry. I think it will help a lot to think about impermanence.

Translator:  What incident did you hear about when you gave up your plans?  Khenpo:  Do you really want to know?  Transl.:  Yes.  Khenpo:  A couple built a very nice house in front or our monastery and the husband, who is Lama Phuntsok's relative, died from leukemia a week after they moved in. When I heard about this, I really felt that there is no use making plans but to just work on whatever is going on. So don't rely on me with any plans that you might have, but just go on. I will only go the right way - I hope so.

Let me tell you about monastery life. The bell is rung early in the morning to get up. Fifteen minutes later the bell is rung again and informs everyone that it's time for classes. Most monks are beginners. A schedule is made for the whole day. Every day we can hear the bell ringing a lot. There won't be the need to ring the bell when we fully realize impermanence. We will then wake up very early and do our practice as much as we can. When we are truly aware of impermanence, we won't need any advice to go the right way, but will search for possibilities to practice ourselves. Until then, it's necessary to ring the bell. Nobody rang your bell to come to the teachings here. We have to in the monastery. I think that the fact that you came here is a small result of understanding impermanence. So, that's why impermanence is the real advisor, just as the Buddha said: "Being aware of impermanence is supreme."

Thinking about impermanence will be very beneficial when one plans to do nonsense with one's very good human body. You won't find anyone selling impermanence at the market. Nobody can give it as a present, and it cannot be stolen. There is no other way to understand impermanence than to think about it again and again. If you notice that you don't, then make wishing-prayers to realize impermanence the right way. Then your practice will go well.

I think everything is difficult in the beginning. The last years I talked about my motorcycle-training and still have a lot of black and blue marks. There are no motorcycles in the village I come from. My village is surrounded by forest groves and of course I like it there very much. It was difficult for me in the beginning to learn to drive a motorcycle, but now it's easy. Like that, in the beginning practice isn't easy at all. So, don't make a wish to win in lotto but to have true renunciation, to lead a meaningful life, and to understand impermanence. Those are the right kinds of wishing-prayers to make, just as it is stated in the verse above, so let's not forget.

One has to know about these things exactly before engaging in the main body of Ngöndro practice. One hurries to finish Ngöndro and then thinks, "Now I'm finished. Now I need Mahamudra or Dzogchen instructions." It's okay, but I don't think that's a good way. I don't think that one needs to hurry that much. If one has Ueberdruss, "renunciation,"  one can turn one's mind to the Dharma and make one's mind strong. I think that's very important.

Drikungpa taught: "Irrespective of the actual practice, Ngöndro is most profound."  He said that from among the main practices, the preliminary practices are most important - they are the foundation. Architects know that they need to build a good foundation if they plan to build a good house. A few years ago in Sikkim, I saw that a new building was gone. I don't think the engineers who built it made a mistake, but I think that it was washed away by the heavy rain, yet the foundation was probably not good. I think it will be a little bit difficult to practice the Dharma if one doesn't have a foundation. So, as mentioned, always make wishing-prayers for this.

"We will be separated from our closest friends.

Others will enjoy the wealth we as misers kept.

Even our body we hold so dear will be left behind.

And our consciousness will wander without direction in the bardos of samsara.

Lama, think of us, behold us swiftly with compassion.

Bless us that we realize the futility of this life."

Summarized, this verse is the request: "Bless me so that I don't need anything else." Every verse is important and that's why Jamgon Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye composed and placed this verse here.

In the chapter on dedication in "Bodhicharyavatara,"  Shantideva wrote: "May I be healthy and content with simple food." I make this wishing-prayer again and again, because I have a problem with my tongue, which only needs good food. In this prayer, Shantideva tells us that he only needed simple food to stay healthy. Like cookies? No? Like bread or chapatti? Everybody is different. Lama Tsultrim, who joined me on my travels a few years ago, ate whatever people gave him; he was content when his stomach was full, but for me it's not okay. When Lama Kelzang, who is resident Lama at Kamalashila, is happy, then he cooks really nice; if he isn't too happy, he doesn't cook nice. I'm a guest at Kamalashila and when Lama Kelzang cooks, he looks at my face and needn't ask me if the food is good or not - he will know from my face. So, I recite this prayer again and again, and these days I feel a little bit better than before. I'm not that concerned about food anymore, still it's a problem.

When we get old, Anhaftung, "attachment,"  becomes stronger. Dogs bark a lot when they get old. So there is the saying: "A dog becomes angrier when it gets old, and people have more Anhaftung when they get old." Whether it's true or not, if one makes wishing-prayers and it happens that one doesn't need anything, then one will have more peace. For instance, clothes are not important for me, only food. I have no problem and need nothing when I go to a big department store for clothing. But Media-Markt is a problem for me, so I have to be careful there and make more wishing-prayers that I don't need more electronic things.

I don't know who brought the chili lying on the table. I don't know when I'll cook. Chili isn't a problem for people who don't like it. Can you eat it?  Student:  Yes.  Translator:  A little bit.  Khenpo:  Will you buy it at the market?  Transl.:  Oh yes. I cook Indian-style.  Khenpo:  But if someone doesn't like it, they will not save their money to buy it.  Transl.:  It lasts a very long time.  Khenpo:  It would be so nice if our mind didn't need anything else. I don't have problems when I don't like something anymore and it is safer.

If one looks back, one will know that problems come from one's mind. If one becomes an Arhat who doesn't need anything, one will be safer. So, I think the prayer above is more important than the others. Everyone has experiences with mobiles and they make a big problem. If I need a new one, I have to save money, check in the Internet which model is the best, and go to the market. There are lots of things to do if one needs a new mobile. One is safer when one's mind doesn't have desires. One's life will be more comfortable if one makes wishing-prayers not to have desires, and it will be less work. Even if one has nothing, one prays: "Please bless me to live peacefully and lovingly."

4) Karma

"In front, the black darkness of fear waits to take us in;

From behind, we are chased by the fierce red wind of karma.

The hideous messengers of the lord of death beat and stab us,

And so we must experience the unbearable sufferings of the lower realms.

Lama, think of us, behold us swiftly with compassion.

Bless us that we are liberated from the chasms of lower realms."

This verse deals with actions, their causes and effects. Any suffering or joy one experiences is the result of one's own actions. Virtuous and non-virtuous actions create the six realms of existence. The lower realms of existence (the hell, hungry ghost, and animal realms) are created by malevolent actions, and the higher realms (the human, demi-gods, and god realms) are created by benevolent actions. Taking the human realm, one can see that people go through a great variety of experiences and endure varying situations. People who have committed crimes in this life have to spend time in jail, and people who have done good prosper. Taking oneself, one realizes that one has not only done good but has also done very many bad things, so it's important to be honest with oneself, to regret one's negative actions, to resolve not to repeat them, and to pray: "Aware of having committed very harmful actions in the past that will inevitably cause me to be reborn in lower realms of existence, I regret having committed non-virtuous actions, resolve not to repeat them, and ask for blessings that I will not be reborn in the lower realms but in the better realms so that I can do what is beneficial and good."  It's very important to have this wish and to do one's best.

Lord Buddha taught on many occasions that the most horrific suffering is experienced in the cold and hot realms of hell and that an inconceivable number of beings are born and live there. The Buddha described in which way someone living in one of the hell realms experiences again and again being burned alive, or being boiled, or being cut into pieces by sharp weapons, or freezing tremendously, and so forth. The hells are not places, seeing everything will have been burned to ashes and everybody would have dissevered limbs if this were the case. The Buddha said that hell beings have the same torturous experience again and again and again. And so, a specific mind experiences the appearance of a karmic result that has the same quality of the action carried out by that same individual. This process repeats itself again and again, until the specific karma that caused the resultant experience is exhausted. Let me explain this from another angle: Everyone apprehends individually and differently. For example, someone who enters this room thinks and experiences that whatever he or she sees and hears is real; everybody else in the same room has other experiences and nobody experiences what the person who just entered the room apprehends and thinks. In the same way, any experience one goes through depends upon one's own karma, i.e., causes and conditions one created by oneself. As a result, one's mind experiences appearances that arise from one's past actions. Aware of the law of cause and effect, it's important to recite prayers, asking one's Lama's for his help and blessings to have the strength not to create any more negative causes that lead to future painful results and to be able to purify and eradicate the results of one's past negative karma before it ripens.

Let me explain karma in conjunction with the three lower realms of existence. Taking that the suffering experienced in the hell, hungry ghost, and animal realms are results that were caused by a being's own past negative actions, it's logical that these realms aren't located in a specific place. The most powerful weapon against those very painful experiences is realization of ultimate Bodhicitta, which is realization that every appearance and experience lacks true existence and therefore is an illusion. If one realizes ultimate Bodhicitta, then any painful experience one has is overcome. Yet, it's not easy to realize ultimate Bodhicitta. In the meantime, reciting the prayer, "Calling to the Lama from Afar"  is very, very helpful. For example, one experiences so many things while dreaming - terrifying and threatening images appear in one's mind while dreaming, but one can also have beautiful dreams. It's very helpful to remember one's Lama and ask for his blessings while having a nightmare, just as when experiencing dangers and pain while awake. Even living beings trapped in the extreme suffering of the hells can remember their Lama, or Guru Rinpoche, or Chenrezig, or Gyalwa Karmapa and pray to them for help. If one cultivates and deepens one's connection to one's Lama by practicing Guru-yoga regularly, one will be able to spontaneously request his blessings in any situation whatsoever and, having earnestly asked, one will receive his help.

One of the most widely spread practices in Tibet is calling to the Lama in order to deepen the Guru-disciple relationship. If one tries to intensify this relationship, then one will be more open and will increase one's faith and devotion for the immaculate object of refuge, one's Lama, who never lets his disciples down. Through the force of one's devotion for one's Lama, it's possible to vanquish painful results that one will experience due to one's past negative karma. For example, the relationship between a mother and her child is very deep and strong. Sometimes little children cry, "Mama, mama" while far away. In that moment, although the mother cannot possibly hear her baby cry, she feels that it is calling for her. This happens - the connection is amazing. The Guru-disciple relationship is similar and the heart-to-heart connection is really powerful.

When Westerners get sick, they sometimes call Lamas in the East for help, so we do Pujas for them from there. If there is a direct connection, then help is possible and it happens. But I think the connection needs to be a heart-connection, not just words put to a good melody. Some singers can really sing good melodies and loudspeakers make their voices louder. I don't think using a loudspeaker and good words set to a nice melody will help call one's Lama. The main thing is to want the blessings of one's Lama, in one's mind, in one's heart.

People think "Lama, Lama" when they see a Tibetan wearing robes, especially in Germany. At Dharma centers in America, people think "Khenpo, Khenpo" when they see a Tibetan monk. In other places, they say, "A monk" when they see a Lama. I don't know whether people say strange things in other places. In Tibet, calling someone "Lama" is really high. It refers to someone who really helps others and who shows the good way of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas - that is actually the Lama, other people are practitioners. We are all practitioners, or a monk like me, or a nun. These days one hears the title "Lama, Lama" everywhere, so there is the big possibility of making mistakes when reciting this text. So, when making wishing-prayers or when engaging in debates, please know that a Lama is someone who can really teach the way, who can let disciples practice a Yidam, who is the Gyalwa Karmapa for Kagyüpas, or the Dalai Lama for Gelugpas, even if one hasn't received teachings from them.

Question:  Can one engage in this practice and recite the text if one doesn't have a Lama or spiritual friend or if one doesn't feel a connection to somebody one has heard about or seen?  Khenpo:  I think that it's a little bit difficult. We need a focal-point, otherwise it will not be very strong. Devotion is most important. It's very difficult if one doesn't have devotion, which is a most important factor. In the Kagyü Tradition, it is taught that unconditional devotion and respect for one's Lama are paramount. In the absence of devotion, it would be useless repeating the Mantra of the Gyalwa Karmapa, even if he were seated on the throne here and you were sitting at his feet - it would be acting, like sleeping. On the other hand, one can be far, far away from His Holiness the Karmapa, might only have seen a photo of him, but feel deep devotion - then one has a connection.

Jamgon Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye, who composed "Calling the Lama from Afar,"  tells us that devotion depends upon our own mind. If one has sincere devotion and turns to an ordinary person who doesn't have experience and who hasn't realized unalterable insight, then one will receive the blessings of a Buddha. On the other hand, if one doesn't have deep devotion for a saint and sage and thinks he has faults while turning to him, then even a Buddha could only bestow the blessings of a faulty being. So, the blessings one receives depend upon one's devotion for and dedication to the teacher and guide one holds in esteem and reveres.

Summarizing the instructions so far, it's very important to understand that the preliminary practices, which are often neglected and ignored, are indispensable. It's impossible to practice the Dharma and one will certainly go astray as long as one hasn't renounced samsara, i.e., as long as one hasn't given up succumbing to one's fascination for superficial things. In order to practice the Dharma correctly, one needs to definitely know that all illusory appearances are deceptive and not worthwhile. Having renounced worldly ways, it's necessary to acknowledge that one has attained a human life that is rare and precious, because one is endowed with the leisure and resources (the eight opportunities and ten acquirements) that enable one to lead a meaningful life. Having acknowledged that one has a rare and precious human life, it's utterly necessary to realize that everything is impermanent, that one doesn't know when one will die, and therefore one resolves not to postpone making best use of one's life. Realizing that one has no time to lose, it's necessary to know that all one's actions determine all one's experiences, whether one likes it or not. Knowing that karma is infallible, one does one's best to engage in benevolent activities for one's own welfare as well as for that of others. The law of karma is explained in great detail in many books and you have probably received many instructions on this topic, but let me stress that it's crucial to understand that one just shouldn't do whatever comes to one's mind, but that one has to realize the consequences of everything one does. It's not easy integrating the full import of the preliminary practices in one's life, and this is why one prays to one's Lama for his blessings.

Whether one meditates Guru Rinpoche, Noble Chenrezig, or Arya Tara, one combines and unites the Yidam practice with Guru-yoga by knowing that one's Root Lama manifests as the Yidam one is meditating and that he is in essence inseparable with that image. If one becomes proficient practicing in this way and calls one's Lama, then one will connect with him on a very deep, heart-felt level and then he will protect one from the fear that one experiences while dreaming, from the fear that one experiences in threatening situations in life, and during the intermediate state of Bardo after death.


1) Arrogance & Pride

"We conceal within ourselves a mountain of faults;

Yet, we put down others and broadcast their shortcomings, though they be as small as a sesame seed.

Though we have not the slightest good qualities, we boast saying how great we are.

We have the label of Dharma practitioners, but practice only non-Dharma.

Lama, think of us, behold us swiftly with compassion.

Bless us that we loose our pride and self-centeredness."

Pride is our foremost fault, and it's hard to recognize. One might ask, "What's wrong with that?" Due to the power of arrogance and pride, one isn't able to see one's own faults and thinks that everything one is and does is great. Furthermore, instead of being honest and critical with oneself, one looks at others and only sees faults in them, always criticizing anything they do. Since we're all proud, it's a huge problem. Therefore Jamgon Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye wrote the sincere prayer to attain the ability to see that we are proud and are able to overcome this very negative fault.

At the time "Calling to the Lama from Afar"  was composed, Tibetans had a big problem with pride. Many Lamas thought that they were high because they had nice robes, a special hat, or a good Mala and pointed their finger at those Lamas who were outwardly not so well off. They looked good, but what they did was not the proper Dharma. If one isn't conceited, I don't think that things like this will happen.

Not all living beings are as arrogant and proud as others. But there are dire consequences if pride is not remedied, since it prevents one from seeing qualities that others have and even causes one to think that the qualities others have are faults. A proud person turns his attention outwards and looks for faults in others. Of course, everyone is proud, but one needs to notice. Pride isn't really as evident as the other mind poisons and is therefore harder to recognize.

The aim of Dharma practice is to overcome one's mind poisons, and pride is just as much a mind poison as greed, jealousy, hatred, etc. One may have studied, meditated, and repeated a Mantra a while, but what's the use if one just sits there and thinks, "Oh, I've studied so much, have been meditating for so many years, and have repeated thousands of Mantras. I'm just great!"?  I have mind poisons, just like everybody else; I am jealous, feel proud, and so forth and could sit around, thinking, "I'm a Khenpo. I've studied a lot and am authorized to sit on a  high throne." Being proud while seeing someone sit higher than oneself, one might ask oneself, "How much has he studied? Is it all right for him to sit higher than me?"

What does one do about such a conceited attitude? It's important to notice that one is proud. Noticing is the antidote, because then one can stop being bloated and become a little more humble in one's behavior. Since pride is such a hidden trait, it's very important to be open enough to recognize that one has this problem, to develop the wish to overcome it, and to pray to one's Lama for his help and blessings. Pride is an impediment to Dharma practice. One doesn't accept advice from a spiritual friend or friends on how to correct any faults one has when - due to one's arrogance - one thinks one knows better anyway. Pride is an immense hindrance and that's why we pray to our Lama to help us overcome it.

One needs to focus one's attention on eradicating one's pride, aversion, and hatred. A person who is free of those three faults has no difficulties getting along with others. As long as one has these very strong faults, it will be hard making friends with anyone.

There's a very nice Lama in our monastery who has completed a three-year retreat. I can see that he doesn't have much pride and I never saw him get angry. He is always saying, "Okay, okay, okay." It's okay for him if someone says something good to him and it's also okay for him if someone says something bad to him. He has so many friends and can talk with us. He can talk and play with children too. He makes no difference between children and us. I think it is a result of having less pride. If one has pride, then it is schwer, "hard."

Actually, a really good practitioner looks like he is always fighting with the real enemies - pride, anger, and so forth. In the life stories of very high masters, one doesn't read that they sat on a luxurious throne or wore fancy clothes. They were so humble that many people didn't recognize that they were famous Lamas. Recently, Lama Phuntsok spoke about Khenpo Khedrub, who was the teacher of Situ Rinpoche and Gyaltsab Rinpoche. He wore shabby, old clothes, looked like a beggar-monk, and walked from one monastery to the next. At a monastery in South India, the monks were having a picnic after having passed their exams. Khenpo Khedrub arrived and all the monks asked each other, "Who is that beggar-monk?" They gave him the leftovers from their picnic. He ate what they didn't want, thanked them, and left. The next morning they saw him sitting with their master and everyone was a little ashamed. The problem was that the monks couldn't control their pride. It doesn't make a difference for someone who has little or no pride to be together with beggars or with someone in a high position.

I stayed in Sikkim for six years, and there is a young Nyingmapa master, named Dangnyen Rinpoche. He was a great Tertön, but in this life he has no assistant. He carries his little bag, sits down at the wayside, and orders tea from cullies. When we see high masters engage in such activities, we should know that they have control over their pride. Let me tell other stories about controlling pride. Lama Phuntsok told one story, and one is about Patrul Rinpoche. Everyone knows that Patrul Rinpoche was a great, great teacher. His book, "Words of My Perfect Teacher,"  was very famous in Tibet and everybody studied and practiced it. I don't think that he had pride and surely he never thought, "I'm a good writer."

One day Patrul Rinpoche was circumambulating a Stupa. An old monk stopped him and asked, "What are you doing? Why are you wasting your time? Don't waste your time like this. Haven't you heard about the book, ‘Words of My Perfect Teacher'?"  Patrul Rinpoche didn't reply, and the old monk said to him, "It doesn't matter. Come to my place and I will teach it to you." Patrul Rinpoche looked up the monk every day and heard the old monk tell him a great part of the text that he himself had written. One day, Patrul Rinpoche acted as the assistant of the old monk while they circumambulated a Stupa and people made prostrations to the assistant. The old monk asked the people, "Why are you making prostrations to him?" They answered, "He is the author of ‘Words of My Perfect Teacher.'"  The old monk was shocked and embarrassed. When Patrul Rinpoche knocked on his door the next day, his teacher didn't open. Patrul Rinpoche later said that this reaction wasn't good. If the old monk had finished speaking to him, then he would have been able to write a second half of the book and it would have been a special connection. Nevertheless, the half we have is very good.

"Words of My Perfect Teacher"  is quite famous to this day; I think it has been translated into every language. I read a lot, which is really nice, and it is one of my favorites. These days, when people write books, their photo is printed on the back, with a text that states, "I am this and I am that." It's totally different, isn't it? So, if we think about stories like the above, then we realize that great masters who composed books like "Words of My Perfect Teacher"  aren't like other authors and have control over pride. They live like normal practitioners.

Once Patrul Rinpoche got a beating from his devotees. A group of people from another village were on their way to the place where it was said that he was staying. They had lots of Tsampa and the best dried cheese to offer him in their bags. On the way, Patrul Rinpoche met these people and asked them, "Where are you going?" They answered, "We are on our way to see the great Lama Patrul Rinpoche. He is a really great Bodhisattva, and we want to give him all these nice things." Patrul Rinpoche saw that they were carrying many nice things with them and responded, "Do you think he is really a great Bodhisattva? I don't think so." The villagers got so angry, shouted at him, "Why are you talking badly about our master?" and beat him up. He really stayed far away from conceit. I make many wishing-prayers to keep far away from having pride and thinking that I deserve nice things.

There was a Gelugpa master named Phari Rabsäl, who was friends with Ju Mipham Rinpoche. They debated a lot and Phari Rabsäl always lost. Sometimes Tibetans have a place name, so Phari is the name of his village and Rabsäl is his name. Of course, Phari Rabsäl was a great master, otherwise he wouldn't have been able to debate with Ju Mipham in the first place. Phari Rabsäl composed a very sophisticated book, entitled "Torch of Certainty,"  when he was seven years old. It deals with Madhyamika philosophy and is very difficult to comprehend. It is said he liked to debate so much that he ran to Ju Mipham's room in the middle of the night to debate an issue that came to his mind. One day Phari Rabsäl, who looked like a beggar, was traveling and ran into a roundly monk, who had Tsampa and dried meat in his bag. I don't really know what provisions he had, but Tsampa must have been in his pouch. There are no restaurants along the road, so we have to take the restaurant with us when we travel in Tibet or the Himalayan countries. When he met the monk, they asked each other, "Where are you going?" Seeing they were going to the same place, they agreed to travel together. The monk told Phari Rabsäl that he would share the food with him if he carried the load. He was educated and started teaching the Dharma to Phari Rabsäl and gave him many instructions on what and what not to do. Then the monk asked his travel companion, "What is your name?" and he answered, "My name is Rabsäl." They continued talking and after a while the monk asked Rabsäl, "Where are you from?" Rabsäl answered, "I'm from Phari." They continued walking and suddenly the monk was startled and asked, "Are you Phari Rabsäl?" He was very famous and everybody knew his name, but they didn't know how he looked. He looked like a beggar, because he knew how to control his pride. Having realized who his traveling-companion was, the monk was embarrassed and ashamed for having had him carry his bags, grabbed them, and asked Phari Rabsäl for forgiveness. This story is another example of how great masters control and vanquish their pride.

It's difficult to stay anywhere if one is proud. Even if there is a big seat in a big house, they aren't enough for someone who is arrogant and proud. I think that if we manage to deal with our pride and learn to control it, then we will feel comfortable wherever we are - a luxurious place will be okay and a difficult place will be okay. Someone steeped in pride cannot manage. Of course, we are ordinary beings and have pride. And that is why we have to make wishing-prayers to our Lama to help us diminish our conceited pride.

Question:  In two of the stories, the persons who didn't recognize the master were really ashamed. The old monk even refused opening his door for Patrul Rinpoche, that's how ashamed he was, and in the last story, the monk was so ashamed for having had Phari Rabsäl carry his bags. What's the reason for this kind of shame?  Khenpo:  It's not exactly shame, rather embarrassment. Why be ashamed, seeing they weren't faults?

We will notice that we are much more peaceful when we have less pride. I can only tell you about it, like the sweets on the table. You can only realize that candy is sweet if you put it on your tongue and taste it. In the short prayer, "Calling the Lama from Afar,"  Jamgon Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye only taught the very most important points, and diminishing pride is truly very important. Imagine how peaceful one will be when one has vanquished pride. One won't experience lasting peace as long as one still makes attempts, but one can get a feeling for it, just like one imagines how good candy tastes for a long time when one has a huge bowl filled with candy. I try my best too, but usually I work in my room and don't have that many chances to practice diminishing my pride. During classes I can practice, though, by listening to what people say and by cooling down. So, please try to diminish your arrogant pride.

We won't be able to go through the entire text, but I think it would be good enough to practice what one knows and to check for oneself whether it helps, in the same way as one tests whether a doctor is helpful when one is sick. Practice is like medicine a doctor prescribes and changing a doctor because one didn't take the prescribed medicine is not a solution. One will only know if a medicine helps if one takes it. It is taught again and again that Dharma is like medicine. Just hearing and knowing the teachings will not help - I don't think so. If that were enough, I think I would almost be a Bodhisattva or a Buddha, because I know this and that.

2) Ego-fixation

"We conceal within the demon of ego-clinging that always brings us to ruin.

All of our thoughts cause kleshas to increase.

All of our actions have non-virtuous results.

We have not even turned towards the path of liberation.

Lama, think of us, behold us swiftly with compassion.

Bless us that grasping onto a self be uprooted."

Ego is a big problem. This verse deals with ego-clinging, which is our real problem. In Buddhism, we differentiate between ordinary persons and Arhats. Someone who has cut through ego-clinging is an Arhat, "a foe destroyer," and somebody who has not is an ordinary person. We cannot know who has accomplished this goal, so we have to be careful there. We discussed Ueberdruss, "renunciation of samsara," the first instruction of the prayer, but one is still in samsara as long as one hasn't cut through ego-clinging. Sometimes one goes dancing, sometimes one laughs and sings, sometimes one is friendly, sometimes one is fighting, sometimes one is happy, and at other times one is sad. One goes on like that.

Vajrayana practitioners are taught to notice their many enemies and to cut through them at the root. One understands that there is no enemy outside oneself, rather that ego-clinging is the main enemy one tries to vanquish. While reciting a Vajrayana Sadhana, one imagines stomping on demons, whereas outer demons are not meant, rather the inner demon of ego-clinging and the mind poisons that arise as a result. So, the real enemy is ego-clinging.

When we recite the above verse, we ask our Lama to bless us so we uproot attachment and grasping onto a self. It's not easy, but feeling discouraged and thinking one cannot achieve this goal is wrong and should be seen individually. Some people have the karmic propensities, practice in this life, and attain realization that enables them to cut through ego-clinging real fast. It's difficult for others, who need more time. In any case, it's wrong thinking that a beginner cannot overcome belief in a self. A beginner needs to practice not being overwhelmed by ego-fixation and learn not to be dominated by excessive wants.

The means to overcome or cut through the root of all problems, which is ego-fixation, is to gain discriminating wisdom-awareness, i.e., realization of the non-existence of a self. Discriminating wisdom-awareness is developed by first studying and contemplating the Madhyamika philosophy, which offers students the material to understand in all details that a self does not truly exist the way one thinks and that belief in a self is unfounded. If one practices meditation based upon one's intellectual understanding, one will attain discriminating wisdom-awareness, i.e., realization of selflessness. This is impossible for a beginner. We are all ordinary beings, so it would be good to know that clinging to a self causes us to discriminate others from ourself, and this separation gives rise to our mind poisons - hate, greed, jealousy, pride, and so forth. It's necessary to understand that all apprehended appearances and experiences in life are delusive manifestations of our own mind poisons that arise from our illusory belief in a self, which means to say that everything we apprehend is tainted by our mind poisons.

It's impossible to eradicate ego-fixation completely as long as one hasn't accumulated wisdom and merit to a very noteworthy extent, i.e., as long as one hasn't purified one's coarse and most of one's subtle mental and emotional obscurations. There are means by which one can weaken and decrease one's overly strong impulse to cling to a self and to display it. Actually, it's not really a tragedy to believe in a self, nevertheless it has consequences. Convinced of oneself and, hardly ever taking a break, proudly thinking and proclaiming, "Here I am!" intensifies one's egocentricity. If one doesn't do anything about it, one leads one's life telling oneself and reiterating, "I'm the most important person on earth. I have to protect myself. I deserve the best of the best. I'll see to it that I get everything I want, no matter how!" One declares and treats anyone who stands in one's way as one's enemy.

Through practice, one tries to weaken those egotistic impulses by developing loving kindness and compassion for others in daily life, at work and at home. Instead of only thinking of oneself, one tries to benefit others. Mind-training is a very good method to weaken and decrease one's self-cherishing attitude and incessant concern for oneself. Many methods of practice are presented in the "Bodhicharyavatara,"  especially in the eighth chapter that is entitled "Meditation."  If one engages in these practices, the pervasive impulse that causes one to believe in the existence of a self will weaken immensely and will slowly be overcome.

I personally think that the practice of Tongleng, "giving and taking," is very beneficial and helps beginners immensely to turn their attention away from themselves and towards others. Tongleng is a very good practice to develop wisdom in that one thinks less and less of oneself. It's a good practice for Dharma centers, when many people meet in a small room to practice together, while experiencing tension. It's important to remember that the aim of developing wisdom-awareness is to realize selflessness, i.e., emptiness. Of course, it would be good to study the Madhyamika philosophy and to meditate emptiness based upon one's understanding, but one needs to know that it's more than difficult for beginners to engage in the practices that enable one to directly dissever one's erroneous belief in a self. Even older students repeatedly doubt whether a self exists or not, all the more so a beginner.

It's really difficult gaining certainty of the non-existence of a self, but one needs to in order to meditate effectively. Let's not forget that we've been attached to ourselves ever since we were born and therefore self-cherishing isn't that easy to give up. The traditional teachings state that we have been attached to ourselves since time that is without a beginning. Ego-fixation is a deeply ingrained habit, is therefore quite powerful, and is not easy to abandon. It's really hard for people who have become addicted to tobacco or alcohol over a few years to give up such bad habits. It's all the more difficult to give up the habit of self-cherishing that one has been addicted to for such a very long period of time and that one can't even detect. So, it's very important to engage in practices that soften the hard edges that one has due to remaining solely concerned about oneself.

The method to weaken self-cherishing and ego-fixation is practicing relative Bodhicitta, which consists of the aspect of aspiration, i.e., the wish not to regard only oneself but to be concerned about all living beings, and the aspect of application, i.e., to practice the first five perfections, like generosity, etc. It's also important to try to appreciate and acknowledge the equality of self and others, which is attained by realizing that every single living being has the same wish, which is to be free of suffering and to enjoy peace and happiness.

Even if someone is a monk, a nun, or a high Lama, it doesn't matter if that individual engages in good or bad activities while still being egocentric, i.e., while fixated upon a self that is very powerful inside, because those activities will be in opposition to the Dharma. For instance, if one puts feces inside a beautiful pot and scrubs the outer side to make it look more beautiful, the inside of the pot will never change. Likewise, any practice one does will never be proper as long as one is egocentric. As said, cutting through ego-clinging is hard, and that's why one must practice relative Bodhicitta. One will accumulate much merit by practicing relative Bodhicitta and as a result one's ego-fixation will be dissevered one day through the power of one's consistent practice.

It makes a big difference if one has excessive self-cherishing and leaves it at that while hoping to practice the Dharma. For example, one can make the most abundant offerings while fixated on a self and the positive result will be a more pleasant life or rebirth in a higher realm of existence. On the other hand, it is said that the smallest offering, for instance repeating a single Mani-Mantra, is very meritorious and powerful and will lead to direct attainment of liberation if one wishes to do one's best to try to recognize and vanquish one's true enemy, which is ego-fixation, takes refuge, develops Bodhicitta, and tries to live in reliance on a pure motivation.

So, teachers must remind students about this again and again: Whenever one engages in any activities or if one practices the Dharma, one needs to reflect and notice whether one is doing what one does for oneself or for others. If one is generous and exerts oneself in other virtuous activities with the motivation to aggrandize oneself, one will have helped temporarily, but such actions will never lead to lasting fruition. On the other hand, if one is generous and exerts oneself in virtuous activities for the benefit of all living beings, including oneself, then a seemingly small positive action will be the cause to realize lasting fruition, which is unalterable enlightenment.

In Mahayana, it is always said that one needs to listen to the teachings with one-pointed attention. One shouldn't simply believe what one hears but must check whether what one heard is true or not. By investigating carefully, one wins a stable understanding of the teachings. Yet, one may not leave it at that, because simply hearing and understanding the Dharma will never lead to the result. If one wants to make sure that one's practice becomes the cause of perfect liberation, then one needs to always engage in the three sacred aspects of practice, which are (1) having the pure motivation, i.e., the wish to do one's best with wakeful awareness, (2) engaging in the main practice, and (3) dedicating the merit of one's practice for the welfare of all living beings. The importance of practicing the three sacred aspects is taught so often that the helix of one's ears seem to collapse.

3) Impatience

"A little praise makes us happy; a little blame makes us sad.

With a few harsh words, we loose the armor of our patience.

Even if we see those who are destitute, no compassion arises.

When there is an opportunity to be generous, we are tied in knots by greed.

Lama, think of us, behold us swiftly with compassion,

Bless us that our mind be one with the Dharma."

The main point of this verse is that our mind turns towards and becomes united with the Dharma.

It's important to ask what, in fact, determines if one is a Buddhist? The outer appearance only counts inasmuch as someone has been ordained and wears the robes of a monk or nun or inasmuch as someone has a Mala that her or she carries as a reminder to practice. But the main characteristic of a Buddhist, i.e., of someone who follows the Dharma, is that he or she has turned towards the Dharma and tries to unite with the teachings of the Buddha. A follower practices training and taming his or her mind and tries to be mindful and aware, by refraining from harmful actions and by engaging in beneficial activities.

What is the purpose of Dharma? The Dharma shows the way, i.e., the methods and means to overcome belief in a self and the ensuing mind poisons. Since this isn't easy to accomplish, the first step is to weaken the dominant influence that the mind poisons have on one's life by not giving in to them so quickly and fool-heartedly. When one notices that one has accomplished this goal, then one is in harmony with the Dharma; heedlessly following after one's thoughts without caring about the consequences does not accord with the Dharma.

The mind poisons - hate, greed, jealousy, pride, ignorance - are tough, and it's hard to clearly recognize that one has them and that they control one's life. When one knows that one has one or any of them, then it's hard to apply the respective antidote. When one knows which antidote should be used to remedy a specific mind poison, then it's hard to apply it. When one knows which antidote to use and applies it, then one sees that it's very hard to fully overcome one's mind poison or poisons.

The first step is very, very important, namely to be aware that a mind poison is arising or has arisen in oneself and to recognize it. If one fails, they continue dominating one's life. For example, if not stopped from taking on further forms, anger has a strong impact on one's body. If one doesn't stop anger when it arises, one does things one shouldn't do. At first, greed is also only an impulse, no matter whether the object of one's desire is valuable or not and no matter whether one thinks one cannot live without it. Greed can also become stronger and stronger and a continual driving-force in one's life if it is not weakened and stopped. It's necessary to interrupt the flow of any mind poison, to be very aware of it the moment it arises, and to realize that it's better to be careful of what one thinks one wants to do. Again, the mind poisons are deeply ingrained in one's mind-stream, so it isn't that easy to eradicate them, nevertheless it's possible to interrupt and stop them from dominating one's behavior and activities. I think specific practices of calm-abiding help one immensely to pacify the impulse to follow after a mind poison and thus be dominated by it, in that one rests one's mind in the recognition of a mind poison when it arises.

Another practice is to investigate what a mind poison consists of the moment it arises. If one investigates, one will discover that every mind poison is adventitious and not a permanent existent stored somewhere. It's not the case that one's mind is like a cupboard, with one drawer for hatred, one for greed, and somewhere a drawer for jealousy, too, and so on. It's important to recognize anger or hatred when they arise. One can say that everyone has them and that they are natural and normal in our present state. The point is recognizing them when they arise and resorting to an appropriate method to pacify them.

One method to pacify one's mind poisons is to see that they are adventitious and fleeting, by asking, "Where do they come from?" If one searches, one won't find a source. Another method is looking directly at one's anger, for instance, and asking, "What is the essence or nature of this anger?" It isn't easy practicing like this. So it would be very effective to do one's best to notice whatever arises in one's mind and to ask oneself whether one's anger, for instance, is at all positive and worthwhile or not. When one notices that an impulse is only negative, one is free to let one's mind rest at ease in one's recognition. One will notice that no mind poison arises when one's mind rests at ease and is at peace. And that's why it's helpful to realize that mind poisons are adventitious and fleeting, because then they lose their driving-force and do not affect us.

The above methods of practice also pertain to the other mind poisons. One first looks at one's mind and recognizes which mind poison has arisen - aversion, hatred, attachment, greed, or jealousy, etc. One checks whether there is anything positive to a negative thought that one has, remembers that it only causes harm and will disrupt one from abiding in peace and calm if one follows after it. When it is taught that the mind poisons are fleeting appearances, it means to say that they don't truly exist but are like an intangible bubble and therefore are manageable. It doesn't matter what it is, every causal condition gives rise to a limitless variety of mind poisons. The point is recognizing a mind poison the moment it arises and continuously being mindful and aware of what appears in one's mind.

There is a specific antidote to counteract every mind poison and one should make use of that antidote. But one will notice that trying to apply an antidote doesn't always work, especially while one is a beginner. The important thing is not to allow any thought that one has to spread and expand. A very good method to stop a negative thought from expanding is to recognize whether it is bad and to relax in that thought. Student: Anger is just there and sometimes I don't even notice. It comes so fast. Sometimes I register that I was very angry an hour later.  Khenpo: That's why I said that it's very difficult to notice a mind poison in the beginning and, even if one notices, that it's very difficult to remember and apply the antidote. Of course it's difficult, because we have a lot of practice being angry and having Anhaftung, "attachment" and so on. One needs to reflect and remember that anger and the other mind poisons will never ever help - they will only disrupt peace and intensify suffering. As said, anger is not located anywhere, but is momentary. If somebody hits me on the back of my head, I will get angry in that moment, but anger is fleeting and therefore doesn't stay. Compared to others, I think you are okay, but it is dangerous when a hot-tempered person reacts to his anger and hits others - it doesn't help anybody. Please think about this and never react in anger. Having thought about it again and again, then that mind poison weakens.

Question: What are the antidotes for each mind poison?  Khenpo: Everybody has specific traits. Some people have more aversion and anger, others are driven by lust and greed, others live their lives dominated by jealousy, and others are extremely stingy. The antidote to having the tendency to hate and be angry is meditating love. There are progressive meditation practices to cultivate love, but there's no time to explain them now. Cultivating love, concern, and warmth in one's heart automatically weakens the strong tendency of being angry and the instructions need to comply with the culture one lives in. The classical example for developing love in India and Tibet is remembering the love one has for one's parents. Many people in the West argue that they can't stand their parents, so another example is needed. Anger and scorn are very active mind poisons and are always directed outwards. One can intensify one's anger and get high blood pressure. It will be good for one's circulatory system and one's mind if one can develop good feelings and respect for others.

Question: Anger is my weakness and I work at it, but there are situations in which my anger arises so spontaneously at the sight of certain people that I can't even catch my breath. Translator: Then you think it's that person's fault?  Same student:  No, I didn't mean that. There are people who automatically make me angry. My anger ceases when I turn my back and leave. But it happens again and again and I want to ask Lama to tell me what to do in those situations.  Khenpo:  Drink water. Yes, it's actually difficult when one is deaf to anything good or bad someone says and one doesn't have the strength to confront the person to overcome that mind poison. In such cases, it's better to stay far away so that the mind poison doesn't arise. If it's not possible to run away, I think one should use the method of love and compassion. Try to contemplate that this person is like your grandmother, who gave you much love and advice, or is like your good son or daughter, who is mentally handicapped and is therefore shouting at you. I think you will cool down if you think a little bit like this. Another method is contemplating the benefit of being patient and knowing that it isn't possible to practice patience as long as there isn't anybody around who causes trouble. How can we cultivate patience if there is nobody to be patient with?  Sitting in a beautiful garden doesn't offer the possibility to practice patience. The teachings state that patience is very powerful. If someone causes trouble, we practice patience and dedicate the merit for the welfare of all living beings. It's easy to deal with Anhaftung, "attachment,"  but anger isn't easy to deal with, as all of us have experienced. But we must try our best.  Same student:  I usually manage to get out of the way in situations like that, but I think it's a small way of dealing with it. I would like to be able to stay in the situation and deal with it.  Khenpo:  That's good. Let me tell the story about Jowo Atisha.

Jowo Atisha, a great master who had many great students, had an assistant who always caused trouble. Some students asked him, "Why do you keep that assistant and not take an assistant who never fights?"  Jowo Atisha replied, "No, no. He really helps me practice patience."  It would be very good to practice like that.

4) Attachment

"We think samsara is worthwhile, when it is not.

We give up our higher vision for the sake of food and clothes.

Although we have all that is needed, we constantly want more.

Our minds are deceived by unreal, illusory phenomena.

Lama, think of us, behold us swiftly with compassion.

Bless us that we let go of attachment to this life."

There are three kinds of attachment. Inner attachment is being desirous of the opposite sex, and outer attachment is being desirous of material things, like delicious food, nice clothing, etc. The antidote for inner attachment is contemplating the rotten and impure substances of the insides of the person one desires. This is an important practice for ordained monks and nuns and maybe you don't need it. The antidote for attachment to material things is contemplating impermanence. Just the thought that one runs after objects that might be broken the next day weakens one's greed for things.

I want to refer to the first sentence in the verse on impatience, which is:  "A little praise makes us happy; a little blame makes us sad."

Sometimes I think our mind is like that of a little child. A mother must always keep her child from crying and make it happy by letting it feel that it is or looks good. But sometimes a mother becomes angry and tells her child that what it is doing is not good. Then the child cries. Children are like that. I think that if people aren't aware, they are like children. They are happy when they are praised and think, "Oh, it's so great that So-and-so notices and praises my qualities."  And they are sad when they are criticized, can't sleep at night, even have bad dreams, and think, "Oh, it's horrible that people think so badly of me."  I think that if we are not moved by praise and blame and can control our mind, then our mind will be more stable. So, don't follow after attachment.

I felt that it wouldn't be possible to go through the entire text this weekend and you won't need to take exams on it. I think it's more important to understand the meaning of this text, to know which verses are important for you, and to practice them as best as you can. The most important point is to recognize if your activities are in harmony and accord with the Dharma. The purpose of Dharma is to overcome one's negative emotions and delusions and to always ask oneself, "Is my mind one with the Dharma?"  This applies to every practice one does, especially when one engages in the very beneficial practices that are given to us in the prayer, "Calling the Lama from Afar."  Thank you for having attended this seminar and thanks to the translator too.

Speaker:  Lama Karma Namgyal, I would like to thank you on behalf of the Sangha for these wonderful teachings this weekend, for the wonderful time in Hamburg and in the Dharma Center. We wish you all the happiness over the next few weeks in Hamburg, and it will be wonderful to see you here again. Thank you very much. Thank you to Rosie, too, for your wonderful translation. It was really great seeing you work together with Lama so nicely.  Translator:  Thank you. It was really nice.  Khenpo:  Thank you.


5) Non-Virtuous Activities

"Not able to endure the merest physical or mental pain,

With blind courage, we do not hesitate to fall into lower realms.

Although we see directly the unfailing law of cause and effect,

We do not act virtuously, but increase our non-virtuous activity.

Lama, think of us, behold us swiftly with compassion.

Bless us that we come to trust completely in the laws of karma."

6) Laziness

"We hate our enemies and cling to friends.

Lost in the darkness of ignorance, we do not know what to accept or reject.

When practicing Dharma, we fall into dullness, drowsiness, and sleep.

When not practicing Dharma, we are clever and our senses are clear.

Lama, think of us, behold us swiftly with compassion.

Bless us that we overcome our enemy, the kleshas."

7) Anger

"From the outside, we appear to be genuine Dharma practitioners;

On the inside, our minds have not blended with the Dharma.

We conceal our kleshas inside like a poisonous snake.

Yet when difficult situations arise, the hidden faults of a poor practitioner come to light.

Lama, think of us, behold us swiftly with compassion.

Bless us that we ourselves are able to tame our mind."

8) Instability

"Not recognizing our own faults,

We take the form of a Dharma practitioner, while engaging in non-dharmic pursuits.

We are habituated to kleshas and non-virtuous activity.

Again and again virtuous intentions arise; again and again they are cut off.

Lama, think of us, behold us swiftly with compassion.

Bless us that we see our own faults."


1) Renunciation

"With the passing of each day, we come closer and closer to death.

As each day arrives, our mind gets more and more rigid.

Though we serve the Lama, our devotion is gradually obscured.

Our love, affection, and pure outlook towards our Dharma friends diminishes.

Lama, think of us, behold us swiftly with compassion.

Bless us that we tame our obstinate mind."

2) Refuge

"Although we have taken refuge, engendered bodhichitta, and made prayers,

Devotion and compassion have not arisen in the depth of our being.

Dharma activity and the practice of virtue have turned into hollow words;

Our empty achievements are many, but none have moved our mind.

Lama, think of us, behold us swiftly with compassion.

Bless us that whatever we do is in harmony with the Dharma."

3) Bodhicitta

"All suffering arises from wanting happiness for ourselves;

Although it is taught that enlightenment is attained through benefiting others.

We engender bodhicitta, while secretly cherishing our own desires.

We do not benefit others, and further, we even unconsciously harm them.  

Lama, think of us, behold us swiftly with compassion.

Bless us that we are able to exchange self for other."

4) Faith & Devotion

"Our Lama is actually the appearance of the Buddha himself, but we take him to be an ordinary human being.

We come to forget the Lama's kindness in giving us profound instructions.

We are upset if we do not get what we want.

We see the Lama's activity and behavior through the veil of doubts and wrong views.

Lama, think of us, behold us swiftly with compassion.

Bless us that, free of obscurations, our devotion increases."

5) Confidence

"Our own mind is the Buddha, but we do not recognize it.

All concepts are the dharmakaya, but we do not realize it.

This is the uncontrived natural state, but we cannot sustain it.

This is the true nature of the mind, settled into itself, but we are unable to believe it.

Lama, think of us, behold us swiftly with compassion.

Bless us that self-awareness by liberated into its ground."

6) Mindfulness & Awareness

"Death is certain to come, but we are unable to take this to heart.

Genuine Dharma is certain to benefit, but we are unable to practice correctly.

The truth of karma, cause and effect, is certain, but we do not decide correctly what to give up and accept.

It is certainly necessary to be mindful and alert, but these qualities are not stable within, and we are carried away by distraction.

Lama, think of us, behold us swiftly with compassion.

Bless us that we stay mindful with no distractions."

7) Determination

"Out of previous negative karma, we are born at the end of this degenerate time.

All our previous actions have become the cause of suffering.

Bad friends cast over us the shadow of their negative actions.

Our practice of virtue is corrupted by meaningless gossip.

Lama, think of us, behold us swiftly with compassion.

Bless us that we take the Dharma deep to heart."

8) Perseverance

"At first, there is nothing but Dharma on our mind,

But at the end, the result is the cause of samsara and lower realms.

The harvest of liberation is destroyed by the frost of non-virtuous activity.

We, like wild savages, have lost our ultimate vision.

Lama, think of us, behold us swiftly with compassion.

Bless us that within we bring the genuine Dharma to perfection."


"Bless us that repentance arise deep from within.       

Bless us that we curtail all our scheming.

Bless us that from the depth of our heart, we remember death.

Bless us that we develop certainty in the laws of karma.

Bless us that our path is free of obstacles.

Bless us that we are able to exert ourselves in practice.

Bless us that we bring difficult situations onto the path.

Bless us that antidotes, through their own power, are completely effective.

Bless us that genuine devotion arise.    

Bless us that we see the very face of the mind's true nature.

Bless us that self-awareness awakens in the center of our heart.

Bless us that delusive appearances are completely eliminated.

Bless us that we achieve enlightenment in one lifetime."

"We pray to you, precious Lama.

Kind Lama, Lord of Dharma, we call out to you with longing.

For us, unworthy ones, you are the only hope.

Bless us that your mind blends with ours."


Through this goodness, may omniscience be attained

And thereby may every enemy (mental defilement) be overcome.

May beings be liberated from the ocean of samsara

That is troubled by waves of birth, old age, sickness, and death.

By this virtue may I quickly attain the state of Guru Buddha, and then

Lead every being without exception to that very state!

May precious and supreme Bodhicitta that has not been generated now be so,

And may precious Bodhicitta that has already been never decline, but continuously increase!

May the life of the Glorious Lama remain steadfast and firm.

May peace and happiness fully arise for beings as limitless (in number) as space (is vast in its extent).

Having accumulated merit and purified negativities, may I and all living beings without exception

swiftly establish the levels and grounds of Buddhahood.

The translation of the Root Text was made by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche and Michele Martin and is indebted to a version by the Nalanda Translation Committee in "Journey without Goal"  by Chogyam Trungpa (Shambhala, 1985). Printed in: "His Eminence Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche. In Memory," Jamgon Kongtrul Labrang, Rumtek, Sikkim, 1992, pages 42-73. When Khenpo did not teach in English (in which case many sections of this text are slightly edited transcripts), translated from Tibetan into German by Rosemarie Fuchs and translated into English & edited by Gaby Hollmann. Flowers offered by Lee. Copyright Khenpo Karma Namgyal, Karma Lekshey Ling in Kathmandu & Karma Theksum Tashi Chöling in Hamburg, 2008.