Dear friends near and far
I am wishing you all happiness and good health. Today, on this Guru Rinpoche Day, we will be practicing our fourth global online Tsok Bum – Guru Dorjé Draktsal (The Guru Mighty Vajra Wrath).
On this auspicious day, I am pleased to share with you an excerpt from my new book, In the Footsteps of Bodhisattvas: Buddhist Teachings on the Essence of Meditation. This book teaches us how the essence of meditation naturally arises when we properly line-up the right conditions within our lives.
Within the book, we will find contemplation exercises and meditation methods; and we will also find the words of the Buddha, sourced from the King of Meditation Sutra, organized into a clear path of training. The sutra itself is forty chapters long, from which I have selected my favorite quotes and compiled them in this text. If we spend time reflecting on these passages and we apply the instruction and methods offered in each chapter, we will undoubtedly experience positive results. After all, we are studying and practicing the words of the Buddha.
I want readers to take the view and meditation practices outlined in this book as a path, or as a strong support for the authentic meditation tradition they are currently practicing. I want this text to give you the real instruction. I hope it will benefit you directly and immediately. Personally, the King of Meditation Sutra affected me very deeply. Below are two selections from In the Footsteps of Bodhisattvas: one on the auspicious location where this sutra was taught, and one on sustaining the treasure of samadhi.
Vulture Peak – The Blessed Location of the Teaching
The Buddha once stayed with a large assembly of bodhisattvas on the holy mountain of Vulture Peak in Northern India, a sacred site blessed by countless buddhas. It was there, among the piled boulders and under the open sky, that he is said to have taught many of the Mahayana sutras, including the famous Heart Sutra and King of Meditation Sutra.
One day, as the Buddha rested in the realization of ultimate reality, a particularly handsome bodhisattva, Youthful Moon, walked over to the Buddha. He respectfully knelt and requested the Awakened One to turn the Wheel of Dharma by giving a teaching on the perfect way to practice meditation. He wanted to know the most perfect conduct, the most perfect meditation, and the most perfect wisdom.
The Buddha, brimming with delight, gazed at the bodhisattva and said that because everything is awakened, he is able to teach Youthful Moon. The Buddha told Youthful Moon that there is a samadhi, a meditation, that brings complete realization, total understanding, and the natural development of countless qualities: the samadhi of great equality. To the joy of everyone there the Buddha then began to teach the King of Meditation Sutra, which perfectly explains how we go from ignorance to enlightenment.
Sustain the Treasure of Samadhi
Wearing the armor of great Dharma,—CHAPTER 33
the strong and brave
are struck by the ultimate vajra of emptiness
with which they then strike.
One who maintains this nature is like a priceless treasure. One of my gurus, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, told me that if you rest in the authentic samadhi for a single second it generates more merit than making countless offerings to all the buddhas and bodhisattvas.
Whoever upholds—CHAPTER 37
this peerless, immaculate samadhi
is like the boundless wealth of the buddhas,
a vast ocean of wisdom.
The King of Meditation Sutra says the first quality of a bodhisattva who holds the profound samadhi is that he cannot be outshone—he becomes like the sun or like the waxing moon among the stars. Second, he who holds this samadhi is unshakeable. Anyone who interrogates him cannot conquer his position because he has sublime insight. The third quality is that the wisdom of such a person is immeasurable. He can answer any question with skill. The fourth quality, my favorite, is that his confidence, his dignity, becomes immovable.
Samadhi is not just a stable mind. Samadhi is the flowing forth of wisdom that grants the four treasures of the Buddha, the Dharma, wisdom, and knowing the three times (past, present, and future).
The treasure of wisdom is just that—great wisdom. One understands everything and is beyond the concept of “forgetting.” Beings with this treasure are able to teach others and precisely know the meaning of all teachings.
The treasure of knowing the three times is also exactly that: one sees the minds and conduct of sentient beings in the past, present, and future.
The treasure of the Buddha is the power of vision, the power of hearing, and the power to know the minds of others. It is the knowing of past lives and future lives and gaining mastery over miraculous powers.
The treasure of the Dharma is the ability to hear all of the Buddha’s teachings wherever they are taught. Those with this ability are so perceptive, with hearing so transcendent, that they can actually listen to the teachings resounding in the ten directions. They are never separate from the Buddha’s teachings.
When one holds these four treasures, one’s activity on behalf of others becomes infinite. If you make a strong effort not to break your vows, are persistent in your practice, and listen to the teachings of the sutras, you cannot help but gain these treasures. By holding the meaning of this sutra in your body, speech, and mind, you will give rise to enlightened dignity. No action can compete with the benefit of having made the determination to adhere to even a single line of the sutra. The Buddha says all of this in the root text. So feel fortunate, practice accumulating and dedicating, and be persistent in upholding the intent of the sutra. Then you will gain confidence.
In the Footsteps of Bodhisattvas will be released tomorrow, October 27. Copies are available from Amazon and Shambhala. Free shipping is available on international orders via Book Depository. For a sneak peak at the book, which includes the foreword by Kyabjé Chökyi Nyima Rinpoché click here.
To know more about our tsok bum events, please click here.