Eight verses to happiness and acceptance
The original teachings of the Eight Verses of Thought Transformation originated from Buddha Shakyamuni. Buddha Shakyamuni gave teachings on great compassion which were passed down to the great panditas Arya Asanga and Nagarjuna. From these masters, the teachings were passed down to Shantideva. Shantideva emphasized, expanded and reiterated on the thoughts on compassion by the Buddha and he put it into words that are easier for people to understand.
The teachings on the Eight Verses of Thought Transformation arose from the Bodhisattvacharyavatara, written by Shantideva, which talks about the development of Bodhicitta and compassion. From Shantideva it was passed down to Lama Serlingpa and Lama Atisha. Lama Atisha came to Tibet from India and spread the teachings all over Tibet to countless disciples. Out of his countless disciples he passed the teachings to his main disciple the great Dromtompa. Dromtopa then passed the teachings to his disciples, chief among those were Geshe Potowa, Geshe Chekawa and Geshe Langri Tangpa.
Geshe Langri Tangpa received the teachings directly from Dromtompa and he felt that the teachings were very profound. Until then the teachings were not practiced publicly but were only passed down to a few qualified disciples. He thought that it would be a tremendous loss if the teachings were not preserved.
So Geshe Langri Tangpa wrote the teachings down for the first time before he passed away. Prior to that, the teachings were only given orally and there was no text on it. Years later, one great master called Geshe Chekawa found one verse of the teachings – “May I accept the defeat and offer the victory to others”. Geshe Chekawa was extremely touched and moved by this verse as it represents the essence and the complete embodiment of the Buddha’s teachings.
Determined to look for the author of the text, he went in search of Geshe Langri Tangpa but when he met Geshe Langri Tangpa’s disciple, he found out that the great master had passed away. In a small town near Lhasa, he met another master Geshe Sarawa who was practising these teachings. He received more of these teachings from Geshe Sarawa.
From then on, Geshe Chekawa started to teach it openly to others. From Geshe Chekawa, the teachings were passed down through a long line of teachers until it reached the great King of Dharma Tsongkhapa, and from Tsongkhapa through a long line of teachers to Pabongka Rinpoche, Trijang Rinpoche and H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama. I received these teachings from H.H. in Washington, New Jersey in 1979. It was one of the most moving teachings I have ever heard and it was from His Holiness himself. I will never forget that day…..from then on Eight Verses has become one of my favorite practices for myself and I recommend to others highly. It is what I put as the core of my work for Kechara. If you wish to overcome disturbing emotions, unhappiness, self hatred, denial, insecurities and wrong views which is all the real enemy, then apply these teachings. They will change you thoroughly. If you combine this practice with a Yidam practice such as Tsongkapa, Avalokitesvara, Tara, etc, it will be even more beneficial. It is the practice that can heal our planet, restore the environments and bless all denizens of the earth. When people eradicate selfishness, their treatment of the earth will change and the earth will be restored and healed. When people accomplish the teachings here, their anger, expectations and wrong attitudes can transform incredibly into something totally embracing everyone around them with love and genuine kindness. I cannot praise these teachings enough. They are perfect for young and old, East and West, intelligent or dull and for people who really want their lives to be different. Practice these teachings and practice from your heart. And welcome the change you will see in you. When your inner world changes, everything on the outer world follows……Please listen to the teachings and practice.
Below are videos of teachings on the Eight Verses of Thought Transformation I have given in the past. I would like to share the teachings with you with the hope that you will learn, understand and practice these holy teachings. Please bring these to others as much as possible tirelessly. The world in its condition today needs it very badly.
Eight Verses of Thought Transformation
With the thought of attaining Enlightenment
For the welfare of all beings,
Who are more precious than a wish–fulfilling jewel,
I will constantly practise holding them dear.
Whenever I am with others,
I will practise seeing myself as the lowest of all,
And from the very depths of my heart
I will respectfully hold others as supreme.
In all actions I will examine my mind
And the moment a disturbing attitude arises,
Endangering myself or others,
I will firmly confront and avert it.
Whenever I meet a person of bad nature,
Overwhelmed by negative energy and intense suffering,
I will hold such a rare one dear
As if I’ve found a precious treasure.
When others out of jealousy,
Mistreat me with abuse, slander and so on,
I will practise accepting defeat
And offering the victory to them.
When someone I have benefited and in whom
I have placed great trust hurts me very badly,
I will practise seeing that person
As my supreme teacher.
In short, I will offer directly and indirectly
Every benefit and happiness to all beings, my mothers.
I will practise in secret taking upon myself
All their harmful actions and sufferings.
Without these practices being defiled
By the stains of the eight worldly concerns,
By perceiving all phenomena as illusory,
I will practise without grasping to release all beings
From the bondage of the disturbing unsubdued mind and karma.
Eight Verses of Thought Transformation (Part 1)
At the beginning of any Dharma discourse the teacher and the students should set a superior motivation. The teacher should have the transmission of the lineage, the knowledge and have studied thoroughly what is to be taught and is practising the teachings. The motivation of the teacher should be to impart the knowledge and methods to become a fully enlightened Buddha.
Students should be free from the faults of not retaining, contemplating and practising the teachings. They should receive the teaching with a positive motivation. This motivation, at the lowest scope is to be free from rebirth in the three lower realms; at the medium scope, to liberated from samsaric rebirth; at the highest scope, to become a fully enlightened Buddha for the sake of others. Students must also be free from the fault of not being receptive to Dharma teachings. All Dharma actions must be free of the eight worldly concerns. Otherwise our practice will not bring results and may lead to more uncontrolled attachment and rebirth in the three lower realms. The motive of our practice is critical.
All phenomena are impermanent. They are empty of inherent existence and depend on other causes for its existence. Our two main problems are wrong projections on impermanent phenomena and grasping at our wrong projections and acting on it. As a result we, create negative karma that is the cause of all our sufferings. Therefore, it is our wrong projection of an object that makes us suffer, not the object itself.
However, our wrong projections are impermanent and can be removed. They depend on other causes to survive and logically there is an end to suffering. Wrong projection arises from wrong conditioning, stubbornness, laziness and selfish attitude.
If we train ourselves to stop the causes of wrong projection, our suffering will become less and eventually stop. When we suffer less, we will have the clarity of mind and ability to solve our problems. In this regard, collection of merits and purification of negative karma is crucial to support that growth of understanding and realization…
Eight Verses of Thought Transformation (Part 2)
Our minds are not transforming because our motivation is incorrect. We have wrong projections and we lack merits. However, incorrect motivation is impermanent. It arises from a cause. The cause of it is ignorance. Once we acquire wisdom and knowledge, ignorance can be cut and positive motivation will arise. The guideline to develop correct motivation is to be free from the eight worldly concerns. The motivation we should develop is to achieve enlightenment for the freedom from suffering for ourselves and others.
The kindness of the Buddhas and the kindness of sentient beings towards us are equal in terms of causes for our enlightenment. We need the Buddhas because they are the source of all our teachings and methods to attain enlightenment. We need sentient beings because it is in dependence on them that we can practice and develop the qualities needed to be a Buddha. Therefore, since sentient beings are so important to us, we should develop love and compassion towards them…
Eight Verses of Thought Transformation (Part 3)
When we hold dear people who abuse us or people who are plagued by intense suffering, the enemy from our point of view disappears. This verse refers to people who are ill tempered and bad mannered and people with contagious or fatal diseases. We usually ignore or avoid such people and advise others to stay away from them. We do that because we are influenced by selfish thoughts and think that we are too precious to mingle with them and fear that our “precious” self may get contaminated.
A wish granting jewel can confer on us material wealth. However, people who hurt us and people who are oppressed by violent suffering can confer on us enlightenment because they provide us with the greatest opportunity to practice patience, compassion and love. They are the greatest test to see if we have those qualities. If our practice has any result, it will be shown in how we can respond to these people positively…
Eight Verses of Thought Transformation (Part 4)
Dharma actions done with the eight worldly concerns will still accumulate merits that will fruition in happiness in samsara. However, once we have received the benefits, the merit is used up. For actions done free of the eight worldly concerns and with a Bodhicitta motivation, the merit will lead to enlightenment and will not be used up until enlightenment is achieved.
In order to achieve enlightenment, we will need a good body, long life, wealth, freedom, our five senses intact etc. If our actions are free from the eight worldly concerns, we will get the necessary conditions to achieve enlightenment. Therefore, without having to directly dedicate our virtuous actions towards samsaric pleasure, we will get samsaric pleasure as we are approaching enlightenment. Thus, the merits from actions free of the eight worldly concerns are used to its full potential.
If we have eight worldly concerns while practising the Dharma, it will only serve to reinforce our eight worldly concerns causing a huge obstruction to our liberation and we will gain no insights or attainments…
Eight Verses of Thought Transformation (Part 5)
When people whom we place great hopes in hurt us, it is not they who are hurting us. Rather it is them not fulfilling our expectation of how they should treat us that is hurting us. Therefore, it is our wrong projection that is hurting us.
If any person is inherently bad, everybody will see that person as bad but we can see that this is never the case. We must understand that their reaction towards us is a result of our negative karma. Therefore, if we react back, it shows our deep ignorance, lack of patience, compassion and practice and lack of realisation of the kindness of the people who abuse us.
Instead, we should regard people who hurt us as our teacher because they give us an opportunity to see our state of mind in that situation. We should stop projecting how we want others to be and accept them as who they are. In that way a lot of our problems can be solved and our suffering can cease…
Eight Verses of Thought Transformation (Part 6)
Eight Verses of Thought Transformation (Part 7)
Eight Verses of Thought Transformation (Part 8 )
Eight Verses of Thought Transformation (Part 9)
Eight Verses of Thought Transformation (Part 10)
Eight Verses of Thought Transformation (Part 11)
Eight Verses of Thought Transformation (Part 12)
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