In the presence of Manjushri | 恩师甘露法雨
On July 21, 2016, 16 of us came together to engage in a retreat on the sacred practice of Manjushri. It was a four-day retreat in between work and assignments. By the end of the retreat we had each recited 100,000 mantras. Collectively we accumulated 1.6 million mantras altogether. During the retreat, our Guru, His Eminence the 25th Tsem Rinpoche shared a message with us on the state of the mind and the benefit of Manjushri’s practice.
“Outer obstacles (financial, sickness, fear, disasters, etc.) arise from our own actions. Actions arise from our state of mind. Our mental state is up to us. Whether our mental state is positive, negative, virtuous or non-virtuous will depend on our knowledge of the true state of existence and understanding where suffering arises from.
When our minds are virtuous due to practice and knowledge, we engage in virtuous actions leading to virtuous results and vice versa. Laziness is easily overcome. Understanding this is good but for the knowledge of virtue to penetrate our minds to change our actions, this depends on merits, re-habituation and consistency. This affects our karma and its results positively.
In our spiritual journey, the collection of merits and ‘contacting’ beings of wisdom that confer penetrative insight is very important. Manjushri is superior in this. The great beings of the past have meditated, prayed to and solicited Manjushri to gain penetrative insight in order to change their minds, overcome laziness, re-habituate and overcome obstacles for 2,500 years.
Engaging in daily practice (sadhana) of Manjushri is extremely helpful in this. From time to time, one should make the effort and focus more on intensive retreats, engaging in further meditation and recitation of Manjushri’s mantras. This is highly recommended by many attained lamas of the past and present.
I am happy to see this group engaging in Manjushri retreat starting today at Kechara Forest Retreat. Each one of them is doing two sessions per day and over the next few days intend to collect 100,000 mantras of Lord Manjushri each. Collectively that is 1.6 million mantras.
It is wonderful that this group of 16 people is engaging in sacred Manjushri’s meditative retreat. This will collect a lot of powerful and virtuous energies. It is wonderful they are doing retreats together and supporting each other in this. It is nice to do retreats with other spiritual friends. I am so happy to see more people in meditative retreats in Kechara Forest Retreat which will better their lives and bless this place for future aspirants. Spiritual friends that guide us to do Dharma are true friends with wisdom and virtue.”
— Tsem Rinpoche
P.S. Some of us may not understand the full meaning and benefits of doing meditational retreats or even meditating on Manjushri. But in time you will feel the benefits and understand more. For now, rejoice you are doing something very good. Any ‘discomfort’ felt internally or externally during a retreat is a sign of its effectiveness because the karma is being purified. This I was told by my teachers.
Two days into the retreat, His Eminence paid the group a surprise visit just as we ended the first session of the day. We were told that there were rainbows outside at the time, a sign indicating the auspiciousness of His Eminence’s visit. I would like to take this opportunity to share the content of the teaching here with everyone to the best of my ability, with the motivation it will benefit you just like it did for me.
Who is the best friend we hold dearly? It is the ‘I’ and ‘mine’. It’s the partner we have who strengthens the idea of a solid and immortal ‘I’. We spend all our life protecting ‘I’; we dress it up, defend it, take care of it to the finest details; we sleep, eat, shop, travel, work together with it, we are basically inseparable from it. For the sake of the ‘I’, we look for a partner who will protect the ‘I’, further increasing our grasping of it. Our ‘I’ arises from attachment, anger and ignorance, blocking us from seeing the truth, causing us to make excuses, endlessly creating negative actions — the source of all suffering. In actual fact, a partner, sleep, meals, shopping, travelling, work etc., are good, but it is the negative karma that we create through these people and events that are the problem. Negative karma is the force that traps us in samsara. His Eminence said that we are all the same group of people who came back to samsara, again and again, changing our identity but continuing to be trapped in samsara.
Although we are caught in our current situation, we are still able to meet with a Guru, listen to the Dharma and enter into retreat, how lucky and fortunate we are! His Eminence also reminded us that in order for us to recite the sacred name of Manjushri, to learn about him and to understand the benefits of his practice, especially entering into retreat, all without having to take any tantric commitments, we must have created a lot of good karma previously. Manjushri’s practice is also very potent and effective. To enter into a retreat is to be separated from the ‘I’ temporarily, allowing us to see the real situation.
His Eminence further explained the importance of kriya or action tantra without having to refer to the text by the 7th Dalai Lama (1708 – 1757), Kelzang Gyatso, which describes the practices in detail. The method we use when entering into kriya tantra retreat is to watch our mind. We need to be mindful of each thought and see how it changes clearly, thus understanding how our mind works without participating or engaging in the thought. In other words, we do not allow our thoughts to lead us, but we simply see that the thoughts arise and then disappear. This is to retreat from our ego. We do not need to judge our thoughts, whether they are good or bad. We simply acknowledge that the thought arose and acknowledge that is disappearing.
In the process of this meditation, if we accompany it by reciting a mantra, then we will be blessed by the power of the mantra, thus allowing our condition to improve. It allows us to connect to the qualities of our true nature and those that correspond with the mantra, for example Manjushri for wisdom, White Tara for long life and so forth. A mantra is itself the combination of the Buddha or Bodhisattva’s noble qualities, embodied in the form of sound. When we recite a mantra, we are therefore praising their qualities. Hence, if we receive an oral transmission with a good motivation, it will plant the qualities of the deity in our minds as the cause to become one with that deity.
During kriya tantra practice, especially in retreat, we refrain from the following five black foods:
This is because of the effects of the five black foods:
- Onions and garlic create blockages in the psychic channels
- Dairy products create excess mucus and can cause drowsiness
- As animals die in fear, there is a lot of adrenaline in their flesh. When consumed this meat gives rise to anger
- As for eggs, their condition is debatable. The main reason these days is because of the inhumane and uncompassionate ways in which the hens are farmed, as well as the dirty substances contained within the eggs themselves.
Therefore, these types of food are not suitable for practitioners of kriya tantra. It is advisable to avoid these foods during meditation sessions and in between meditation sessions. This means that whether we are in between retreat sessions, or before or after retreat sessions, we should avoid the above foods. A retreat is meant to transform our mind so that we can exercise our mind’s full and distinct potential. Therefore it is necessary to watch our minds all the time, thus allowing its awareness to reach its maximum potential.
In addition, His Eminence also elaborated on the importance of holding vows. Holding vows allow us to have true freedom, without having to cover our mistakes, by living life in a steadfast and honourable manner, no longer burdened by our negative emotions. Holding vows is to engage in virtuous actions and avoid non-virtuous ones. When we have vows as our guide, we will then be able to see the benefits of doing good. In this way, we are able to modify our bad habits and soon they will be transformed into good habits.
This kriya tantric retreat method is suitable for the following practices:
- All forms of Tara
- Trakpo Sumtril
- Black Manjushri
- White Tara
- Loma Gyoma
In order for us to engage in the other three types of yoga, especially the anuttarayoga tantra or the highest yoga tantra, we have to lay the foundation properly and firmly by engaging in the methods taught for kriya tantra retreat in our daily lives. Following this, we may have the opportunity to receive anuttarayoga tantra practices such as Vajrayogini which focus on attainments like the rainbow body, clairvoyance and powa (transference of consciousness). At that point, the scope of our practice changes; the ‘restrictions’ of the practice change from dealing with our gross mind, to dealing with the more subtle aspects of our consciousness.
I present this all to you with appreciation towards Pastor Niral and Pastor Jean Ai who contributed editorial assistance.
For more interesting information:
- All About Manjushri / 关于文殊菩萨
- Black Manjushri and An Overview of the Mind
- Black Manjushri
- Black Manjushri Thangka
- A Black Manjushri Sadhana
- White Manjushri daily practice
- In You Manjushri
- Manjushri initiation in Gaden Shartse
- 1000-armed Manjushri!!!
- Kechara Forest Retreat’s Manjushri!
- Dream Manjushri
- Must visit Manjushri at Kechara Forest Retreat
- Manjushri for Justin
- Hecelus Tan does his first Manjushri Retreat!
- Manjushri for Li Kim’s boys!
- Look what the postman brought!
- Tsongkhapa Retreat Instructions
- H.E. the 25th Tsem Tulku Rinpoche’s Biography
- Do I Irk You?
- Karma and the Law of Attraction
- Circuses and Clowns
- Cosmic Tantra
- Mantras – Holy Words of Power
- Spectacular White Tara…
- Tantric meat
- A Chicken and Egg Situation
- Discovering Yourself: A Teaching on Karma & Mindstream
- For those who hold vows
- Chenrezig Ngesung Kundrol
- The Healing Deity – Loma Gyonma
- Protection from Black Magic and Spirits
- Tea Offering to Vajrayogini (For the 1st Time!)
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