The Benefits of Chenrezig Practice
Do you have any questions?
Q: What practice did you say we should do six times a day?
A: One has to engage in the practice of Chenrezig six times a day, three times a day and night. But if you can’t do that, you can remind yourself of the benefits of bodhicitta six times a day.
Q: Can you explain the benefits of Chenrezig practice? Some people think of it as a basic practice, but I think it’s a profound practice.
A: It’s true. Based only on the practice of Chenrezig one can attain Buddhahood. Chenrezig is the embodiment of all the Buddhas’ compassion. Generally we say the Six Yogas of Naropa are very profound. But if any practice is not done with bodhicitta, there’s nothing in the practice that makes it profound. The Chenrezig sadhana is easy to practice, but profound, and has the potential to lead us to Buddhahood. When a true practitioner of Chenrezig dies they will not require the help of a lama to transfer their consciousness. One can sustain oneself though the journey after death. Later I will explain the benefits of practicing the mantra.
Q: Can you explain how you keep the samaya of bodhicitta?
A: There are many prayers that evoke the bodhicitta mind. But the most important thing is how you interact with people. There are many situations in daily life that require bodhicitta. For example, when you drive and someone else is driving badly, it may make you angry. You need to be mindful. In those situations so that when your mind is disturbed, you recollect bodhicitta.
Q: Does giving into anger break the bodhisattva vow and if so, how do you repair it?
A: It is almost impossible to keep the bodhisattva vow perfectly. We practitioners are like baby animals. A foal cannot gallop like a full grown horse. A baby animal will try to stand up and fall over. Like this, we will always fall into our old negative habits. But if we are mindful, we will try again and get better and better. To revive your vows that you have broken, think of the benefits of the vow and increase your intention of not breaking the vows.
The most important practice is the recitation of the mantra “OM MANI PADME HUM.” Each syllable symbolizes one of the five wisdoms and each syllable corresponds to one perfection. The first syllable OM is visualized as white. OM corresponds to the perfection of concentration. OM purifies the negativities that arise from pride. Although we have the karmic potential of being reborn in the god realm, this syllable seals the doors to that rebirth. By reciting OM one’s activity will increase until it is as great as that of the most powerful god, Indra. This syllable corresponds to the Buddha family of Ratnasambhavaa.
MA is visualized as green. It corresponds to the Buddhas’ activity, which is born out of boundless love. The syllable MA corresponds to the perfection of patience and seals the door to being reborn in the demigod realm, which is the result of jealousy. Through reciting MA one can increase the power of one’s activity to the level of the highest demigod, Topsang. In each of the six realms there is a Buddha and the most powerful being is considered to be his incarnation. In the demigod realm, this Buddha is Topsang. Reciting MA plants a seed to achieve Buddhahood in the Amoghasiddhi family.
The color of NI is yellow. Is the embodiment of all the Buddhas’ actions of body, speech, and mind. It represents the perfection of morality. It purifies grasping, which frees us from the four doors of birth, illness, old age, and death. By reciting NI one will achieve the level of activity of Buddha Shakyamuni. It corresponds to the wisdom of equality and plants the seed of achieving Buddhahood in the family of the primordial Buddha, Vajradhara.
The syllable PAD is dark blue in color. It is the embodiment of limitless equanimity and corresponds to the perfection of wisdom. It removes the negativities caused by ignorance and seals the door to rebirth in the animal realm. Through reciting it one’s activity will become equivalent to the great lion Sangyela Ten (stability). It embodies the wisdom of the equality of phenomena and through it one will achieve Buddhahood in the family of Vairochana
The color of ME is red. It corresponds to the perfection of giving and seals the door to rebirth in the realm of hungry ghosts. Through reciting ME one will achieve the level of activity of Fire Mouth, an incarnation of the Buddha. One will be able to achieve Buddhahood in the family of Amitabha.
The color of the syllable HUNG is black. It corresponds to the perfection of wisdom. It has the power to purify that activities from hated and seals the door to rebirth in the hell realms. It symbolizes the mirror-like wisdom and results in rebirth in the realm of Akshobhya.
This is a concise commentary on the benefits of reciting the six syllable mantra. Sometimes too lengthy an explanation only causes confusion in one’s practice. Monks who excel in debate sometimes have trouble with meditation. This is because when your mind is too inquisitive it tries to analyze every word of the Buddha and one loses faith. So one has to understand the meaning of dharma, but if you if engage in only the practice of words, it’s like trying to measure the extent of space. So it’s important to know the meaning of words.
When you do the practice of Chenrezig, first you generate the mind of bodhicitta and then generate yourself in the form of Chenrezig. It is not possible to continuously maintain the visualization but it’s important to maintain the divine pride that you are Chenrezig and the motivation of bodhicitta. Even though you may lose the clarity of the visualization you maintain the divine pride. Think that you are relieving the suffering of the beings in the six realms while reciting the mantra. Think that all sentient beings are transformed into Chenrezig and have the great compassion of Chenrezig. I’m sure if you practice like this, it will have benefits. Wherever there is a bodhisattva, due to the power of their bodhicitta the minds of beings in the area is benefited. Similarly, if a bodhisattva lives at the head of a river, all beings downstream are benefited.
Q: When reciting the mantra should you pause and refresh the visualization from time to time?
A: For a beginner it is advised to do the visualization again and again. Look at the picture and then try to visualize the details of it. In actual practice try to do the visualization as clear as possible. But it is impossible to maintain that clarity during practice. So it is advisable not to worry about the loss of clarity. Try to maintain the sense of the deity.
Q: Can you explain how to combine guru yoga with Chenrezig?
A: There is a guru yoga practice in the sadhana. A lama has achieved the three kayas. So has Chenrezig. So there is already a guru yoga in the practice of Chenrezig.
Q: What is divine pride?
A: Seize the concept of I and think that I am the deity. Normal pride is a pride of something that is not so. Divine pride is a pride of what is so. We are trying to be Chenrezig right now. Eventually we will do this, so the pride is not erroneous.
Q: During my meditation I practice by looking for my thoughts. I can’t find them, but they’re still there. Can you explain how to do this practice?
A: When you can’t find them after analysis, just remain in that state of non-finding.
Drupon Thinley Nyingpo
April 16, 2006
Tibetan Meditation Center