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Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche

Khenpo Rinpoche is an accomplished Buddhist meditation master and scholar from Eastern Tibet. Known for his highly engaging teaching style, he teaches the Buddhist view and meditation throughout the world. This website is dedicated to sharing his teachings and supporting his Dharma communities worldwide.

When I was born, I was born alone.
When I die, I will leave alone for certain.
Knowing this, I take delight, between these two stages,
In places of solitude, where I wander, alone.
Seeking out the path of liberation.
-KHENPO TSÜLTRIM GYAMTSO RINPOCHE

Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche is one of the foremost living teachers of the Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, a great scholar and master of meditation who traveled the world teaching in Buddhism centres everywhere.

In his late teens and early twenties he trained as a yogin in Tibet with a local yogin known as Zopa Tharchin. He spent his early youth in retreat in the mountains until his teacher told him to study for the benefit of others. A renowned scholar, he excels in philosophical debate and always aims to turn the minds of his opponents and students towards their own inner experience rather than getting lost in intellectual fabrications.

After the communist invasion of Tibet, Khenpo Rinpoche fled to India in 1960. He spent many years in Bhutan as a wandering yogin, meditating in caves and hermitages. In 1975 he was asked by the sixteenth Karmapa, head of the Kagyu tradition, to be abbot of the main Kagyu centre in France. However he asked instead to be allowed to travel and help people everywhere.

He has done that ever since, leading a truly simple, homeless life; he is a master of non-attachment. He has many times refused to accept property to build Buddhist centers and he regularly gives away all of his money. Khenpo Rinpoche demonstrates the carefree life of a yogin, singing spontaneous songs of realization wherever he goes, devoted only to the welfare of others.

Look at appearance-emptiness forms,

Listen to sound and emptiness sounds,
Rest in mind’s nature, clarity-emptiness,
And when your thoughts free themselves,
Laugh, oh laugh “Ha ha! Hee hee!”
– KHENPO TSÜLTRIM GYAMTSO RINPOCHE

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Venerable Khempo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rimpoche

Venerable Khempo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche

May the teachings of study (she) and practice (drup)
Fill the entire world.
May emptiness with compassion for a heart
Arise in all sentient beings.
May Ani Karma Chötso’s activity for the benefit others
Become immeasurable,
And may all beings realize
The equality of samsara and nirvana.
SARVA MANGALAM !

— by The Very Venerable Khempo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rimpoche Written on his first visit to Kagyu Shedrup Chöling in 1999

The Twenty Wonderful Miracles That Tell of Appearance and Reality

Venerable Khempo Tsultrim Gyamtso RinpocheNamo guru hasa vajra

Samsara and nirvana are undifferentiable
And even though you realize this
To purify your thoughts of their attributes
You gained Buddhahood in just one life
Mighty hero, Shepa Dorje [Milarepa]
At your feet, I bow with great respect. [Homage]

Genuine reality transcends birth and death
False appearances, birth and death are like watermoons
Knowing this will make it easy to
Cut through clinging to birth and death as true
Such an explanation of birth and death—
E ma! What a wonderful miracle! [1]

Since no actor exists, neither does activity
But in terms of appearance, they arise dependently
Just like dream happiness and suffering
And in this way, good and bad deeds result in joy and pain
Such an explanation of cause, result, and karma—
E ma! What a wonderful miracle! [2]

Samsara’s suffering has never existed
Its appearances are like agony in a dream
Of the very nature of dependent arising
You can’t separate appearance from emptiness
Such an explanation of suffering—
E ma! What a wonderful miracle! [3]

Venerable Khempo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche
Venerable Khempo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche

The human body that has faith, diligence, and prajna
Is so difficult to find, we’re told in many ways
But it, too, is just a watermoon
Dependently arisen, this you should know
This way of thinking about something that is so hard to get—
E ma! What a wonderful miracle! [4]

All phenomena outside and inside
Decay each moment, they have no power to remain
But this source of sadness, when examined closely
Reveals that impermanence doesn’t exist either!
This way of meditating on impermanence—
E ma! What a wonderful miracle! [5]

Your friends depend on your enemies
And your enemies depend on your friends
All friends and enemies exist dependently
Just like the ones that you meet in dreams
This way of understanding friends and enemies—
E ma! What a wonderful miracle! [6]

Without joy, pain is impossible
Without pain, joy is impossible
They are the very essence of dependent existence
They are without the slightest substance
This way of understanding joy and pain—
E ma! What a wonderful miracle! [7]

When there is clean it is because of unclean
And unclean itself depends on clean
They are of the nature of equality
As they are when they appear in dreams
This way of eliminating thoughts of clean and filth—
E ma! What a wonderful miracle! [8]

Gain and pleasure, praise and sweet sounds—these four
They rely on their opposites for their very existence
Watermoons and dreams, they have no substance
The eight worldly dharmas are such wonderful miracles! [9]

Being learned depends on being stupid
And being stupid depends on being learned
Both are just dreams and watermoons
Scholar and fool not different—what a wonderful miracle! [10]

From the unborn mind, beyond conceptuality
Appearances self-arise, and by themselves are free
Just like waves dissolving into the ocean vast
The basic way of being—what a wonderful miracle! [11]

No one to progress, no path to progress upon
No progressing whatsoever going on
But the way of progressing that we see
From cause and condition, arises dependently
Like the moon dancing on the waves
This way of traversing the path—what a wonderful miracle! [12]

Nothing to realize, no one to realize it
No realization can be seen, not even a little bit
But our words can describe so carefully
The way of realization that occurs dependently
It is like seeing the moon in a dream
This way of realizing the fruition—what a wonderful miracle! [13]

Since fundamentally there are no conceptual elaborations,
The basic state transcends all reference points and assertions
Yet from this expanse that concepts cannot experience
Conceptuality arises in great abundance!
This way of explaining genuine reality—
E ma! What a wonderful miracle! [14]

The completely false appearances that you see
Transcend both true and false in reality
But to stop you from thinking that they are true
You are taught that they are false
To halt this clinging to falsity, it is not explained that they have any reality
Liberation from true and false—
E ma! What a wonderful miracle! [15]

Genuine reality’s dharmakaya
Cannot be experienced by conceptual mind
But there is the way the sambhogakaya
Appears to the noble bodhisattvas
And to the various beings, the nirmanakaya
Appears in a watermoon’s style
This way of explaining the three kayas—
E ma! What a wonderful miracle! [16]

We have so many thoughts that we are suffering
But this suffering is just like a dream!
And if you can recognize these thoughts’ true nature
Suffering will be self-liberated as soon as it appears!
The ice so easily melting into water
Transformation explained like that—what a wonderful miracle! [17]

Though the wisdoms five and the kayas three
Are all explained individually
Like a sound’s impermanence and composite nature
Kayas and wisdoms are really undifferentiable
This explanation of ultimate union—
E ma! What a wonderful miracle! [18]

Through great compassion, the Buddha’s activity
Accomplishes the benefit of sentient beings
But the benefitted ones really don’t exist at all
Completely falsely, the benefit performed is as in a dream
This explanation of Buddha’s activity—
E ma! What a wonderful miracle! [19]

Pure and impure are just imaginary
They do not exist in the expanse of equality
Equality’s expanse encompasses absolutely everything
And nothing can ever move from it at all
This explanation of equality—
E ma! What a wonderful miracle! [20]

Why are all these so incredibly miraculous?
Genuine reality, true being, free of conceptuality
Appearances transcending truth and falsity—
E ma! All phenomena are wonderful miracles!

When you realize all of this
You realize Mahayana’s profound meaning
When you grasp all of this
You are a worthy vessel for the Great Secret
When you grasp all of this
You help everyone in a natural way

So may all you fortunate ones
Realize this meaning well!

So was the casual talk of Dechen Rangdrol [Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso] in the Garden of Translation near the Great Stupa of Boudhanath, Nepal, on Dec. 17th and 18th, 1997. Translated by Ari Goldfield. Translation revised Jan. 2, 2002.

Things That Tend to Be Misleading

Venerable Khempo Tsultrim Gyamtso RinpocheIf you understand that all the misleading appearances of worldly existence are not intrinsically real, they will not tend to mislead you.

If you have attachment to friends and enemies as being real, they will mislead you. But if you have equanimity towards both, they will not mislead or deceive you.

If you see a lot of change or transition, that will tend to mislead you. But if you understand the intrinsic nature beyond change, it will not be misleading.

If you cling to the reality of birth and death, there is much deception. But if you realize there is no birth and death, there’s no deception.

If you believe in the existence of suffering, there’s much deception. But if you realize there’s no suffering, there’s no deception.

If you believe that self and other are separate, there’s much deception. But if you recognize that they are not two separate things, there’s no deception.

If you understand this true nature of deception, discursive thoughts will be liberated in their own place.

Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, Creation & Completion, Vajravairochana Translation Committee, October 1995 & June 1996, p. 9-10. Translated by Sarah Harding

Milarepa’s Three Nails of Meditation

Venerable Khempo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche flying
Venerable Khempo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche flying

All thoughts, being dharmakaya, are free.
The nature of thoughts is luminous clarity, which is the true nature of mind-beyond fabrication, transcending all conceptual descriptions. Luminous clarity is the dharmakaya of natural purity. What is this dharmakaya like?

Awareness is luminous, in its depths is bliss.
The experience of dharmakaya has three characteristics: awareness, luminosity, and bliss. How do you meditate on that?

And resting without contrivance is equipoise.
Without trying to create or to stop anything, just let go and relax. That is meditation. There is no clearer explanation.

Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, The Union of Sutra and Tantra, Karme Choling, 2001, p. 70. Translated by Ari Goldfield.

Padmasambhava

Guru Padmasambhava is renowned as founder of Buddhism in Tibet and the principal guru-deity of the Nyingma school.

Guru Padmasambhava himself is emanations of Buddhas, the mind emanation of Buddha Amitabha, the body emanation of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva and speech emanation of Buddha Shakyamuni.

Padmasambhava was incarnated as an 8 year old child appearing in a lotus blossom floating in Lake Dhanakosha, in the kingdom of Uddiyana. The king of the Odiyana, Indrabodhi, brought him back to his palace and crowned him as the prince of the kingdom.

Padmasambhava perceived that since politics is contradictory to his pursuing of enlightenment, he abdicated thereafter. He then went to Bodhgaya and many places receiving teachings from many great scholars, masters and Dakinis.

He accomplished the common and uncommon siddhis, comprehended and accomplished the whole canon of the three baskets of Vinaya, Sutra and Abhidharma, as well as the teachings of the outer and inner secret mantra, oral transmissions, and the pith instructions of the highest and innermost tantra of Atiyoga. The mandalas and Buddhas displayed their forms in front of him spontaneously. Thus he showed the signs of perfect level of complete awareness.

Padmasambhava visited and stayed in many places in India, Nepal and Tibet. These places were blessed by Padmasambhava and became sacred till now. For example, he practised the Vishuda deity at the cave of Yanglashod in Nepal. And, He took his wife, Mandarava, to the mountain cave of Maratika, known as Halesha in present day in Nepal, where they performed the accomplishment rituals of longevity for three months and actualised the immortal Vajra body.

Tso Pema (Lotus Lake), Guru Rinpoche ever showed miracles here, nearby Paslpung Sherabling about 3 hours trip by car.

Padmasambhava’s activities of taming people and performing enlightened activities for the sake of sentient beings are renowned as Eight Manifestations. These activities were recorded in detail in his biography and many books.

Spread the Dharma in Tibet

Trisong Deutsen, the 38th king of Tibet (742-797), invited Padmasambhava to Tibet. Along the way, he used his tantric powers to subdue all the harmful gods and demons he encountered, and made them faithful guardians of the Dharma. In Tibet he and the king founded the first monastery in the country Samye monastery and fully furnished it with statues. In addition, they gave monk’s vows to Tibet’s first seven monks, standardized translation methods, supervised translation of most of the sutras and tantras from Sanskrit to Tibetan, and for the first time in Tibet, firmly established the tradition of study, contemplation, and meditation, thereby radiating the Buddha Dharma in Tibet like rays of the sun.

Among Padmasambhava’s disciples, there were twenty-five of them attained liberation and eighty of them attained rainbow body.

A sacred place of Guru Rinpoche at Tsandra Rinchen Drak. Near Niguma retreat center of Palpung Monastery.

Padmasambhava stayed in Tibet for 55 years. In this period, he inspired people’s faith to the Dharma, brought Buddha Dharma from India to Tibet, and transformed Tibet to be a Buddhist land. Without Padmasambhava’s activities in Tibet, there might be no Tibetan Buddha Dharma today.

For the sake of future aspirants in the future, Guru Padmasambhava concealed eighteen varieties of treasure which include treasure texts, material wealth, holy images and so forth. He gave explicit prophesies regarding the future manifestation of these treasures, including the revealer and protector of the treasure, as well as time of revelation.

The 4 Noble Truths of Emotional Suffering

The Buddha laid out a four-step path to freedom from difficult emotions. The secret, says Anyen Rinpoche, is understanding why our emotions cause us so much suffering. Once we know that, the path to freedom becomes clear.

Most of us start to practice Buddhism because we feel dissatisfied and disillusioned with life, in a general way or for some specific reason. Indeed, it is rare to meet someone who has turned to the dharma simply out of curiosity and not because of a real need to alleviate some discomfort or a painful situation.

What else do we dharma practitioners have in common? The fact is that most of us have done everything we can to alleviate our unhappiness, but we have been unsuccessful at finding the happiness we thought possible. One reason is that we are often mistaken about the true cause of our unhappiness.

For example, we may think that our unhappiness stems from having to face a barrage of unwanted situations, even though we are making every effort to have the kind of life we want. Most of us know that at some level we can’t control the people around us or the unfolding of events in our lives. But even when armed with this knowledge, we still experience a lot of pain and unhappiness.

The Four Noble Truths of Emotions

In Buddhism we call this the first noble truth: the truth of suffering. I have met some Buddhists who want to avoid talking about the truth of suffering. They say it will discourage people from wanting to practice the dharma because it sounds depressing. They want to find some more uplifting way to describe the human experience.

But let’s call a spade a spade. All of us are suffering every day in a multitude of ways—physically, mentally, and emotionally. And while we may feel happy about something in the moment, we never know how long it will last. Next year, next month, next week, tomorrow, or even five minutes from now, the very same situation might bring us sadness, anger, jealousy, or resentment. Our emotions change from moment to moment and bring with them a cascade of moods, feelings, and thought patterns—many of which increase our unhappiness and some of which are self-destructive.

Our emotions can really be a lot to handle. Many of us recognize that our emotions are out of control—or in control of us. We long for close, intimate relationships with others, but our feelings are often so overpowering that we can’t find the way to open up to others and relate to their experience.

Because we are so focused on how we feel, we may become self-protective and defensive, constantly worried that others will hurt or take advantage of us. These feelings of self-protection can be part of an ongoing emotional cycle, feeding even stronger emotional reactions that cause chaos in our minds and in our interpersonal relationships.

In the Buddhist teachings, we call strong emotions like anger, attachment, jealousy, and arrogance “poisons.” They poison not just our own happiness but also our connections with loved ones, friends, coworkers, and our local community. Sound familiar? That’s because we are human beings, and the truth of suffering cannot be avoided.

When we actually take a look at all of the problems our emotions cause us, we might be surprised. We usually put the blame for our unhappiness on things outside of ourselves, such as when we are treated or spoken to in a way we don’t like. In that situation, our ordinary reaction is to resent the person we feel has wronged us.

But we should take some time to examine the truth of the matter. No matter how another person treats us, how difficult a situation might be, or which of our personal needs we feel wasn’t met, we actually have the power to transform our own state of mind from resentment to peace and contentment.

When we reflect in this way, we see that it is actually our own emotions that are the problem. They are what is causing us so much pain. This is the second noble truth: the origin of suffering. We suffer because we do not know how to deal with our emotions and emotional reactions. We don’t realize that blaming others for our own unhappiness can never bring us happiness, so we continue to deal with our problems in the same way we always have, which only brings more suffering.

We suffer because we continually choose to identify with and focus on how we feel. But identifying with our emotions is like throwing fuel on a fire. If we choose to identify with our anger, it will burn even hotter and take longer to die down. The same is true of the other poisons, such as attachment, jealousy, or arrogance. Identifying with our emotions is a sure recipe for even more unhappiness.

The truth of the origin of suffering can be freeing. We realize that at each and every moment, happiness is available to us if we choose to let go of our strong emotions and relax. This is the third noble truth: the truth of cessation. If we come to accept that our own emotions are the cause of our suffering, we can eradicate the attachment to and identification with them that causes us so much suffering.

Then we will be motivated to practice the dharma authentically and enthusiastically. This is the fourth noble truth: the truth of the path. All the masters of old tamed their emotions using the tools and techniques presented by the path of dharma. If we practice the path in the same manner they did, we can be sure that positive changes will come. And we can share those positive changes with the people in our lives.

Photo by Simon Burch / Millennium Images, UK.
Photo by Simon Burch / Millennium Images, UK.

You Are What You Feel: A Formula for Unhappiness

Our suffering may look different from the sufferings of others, but all human beings experience painful emotions and unwanted situations. We all face separation from loved ones, falling out with friends, and the death of family members.

This may raise the question, “Is everyone all over the world full of emotional turmoil?” Actually, based just on my upbringing in Tibet, I would answer this question in the negative. Of course, we Tibetans have emotions just like every other human being, but there are aspects of Tibetan culture that help Tibetan people handle their emotions in a way that makes them less dominating and demanding.

As a boy, whenever I was interacting with my family, my village, and my sangha, we always put our focus on others. The most important thing was not how each person felt individually, but how the group felt together. In Tibet, as well as many other Asian Buddhist cultures, there is much value placed on putting the happiness and well-being of the group above our own personal feelings. In that kind of cultural environment, it spoils the mood and the energy of the group whenever anyone focuses on themselves too much.

Many Americans comment on the joyful disposition of Tibetan people, especially when they travel to my home country. I believe this happy disposition comes from how we Tibetans enjoy our family and community connections and do not spend too much time focusing on our own personal emotions.

I did not realize that this was a unique aspect of Tibetan culture until I left Tibet. When I came to America more than ten years ago, I noticed the strong relationship Americans have with their emotions. People here focus on their emotions much more than we Tibetans do, and they are encouraged to do so. As a result of this, I have noticed that the way people do things here is quite the opposite of how we do things in Tibet. This culture places value on focusing on our own feelings more than the mood and energy of the people and situations happening around us.

What is the consequence of this way of relating to our emotions? First, it can cause us to be extremely sensitive. We react emotionally to almost everything and everyone around us. Emotions have become the core of American identity—almost literally, you are what you feel. Even the English language expresses this idea. We identify directly with the emotions, saying, “I am angry” rather than “I have anger,” as they do in other languages like Spanish. In the Tibetan language, we actually say, “Anger is present” and do not connect the emotion with “I” at all.

What is the problem with connecting our identity or ego—our very sense of self—with our emotional state of mind? In addition to all of the pain and suffering our emotions cause us when we focus on them, rehash them, and obsess about them, we also lose our ability to connect with others. We lose our compassion for others and have trouble understanding how they feel. We may express things that hurt the people we love without realizing our words are hurtful.

Our personal identity takes up a lot of space. We may have trouble relating to communities because of the demand to compromise our needs for the needs of others. Or we withdraw because we need to feel we have enough space to breathe and do not want to be influenced by the ideas, words, actions, and energy of others. Many people feel isolated, misunderstood, and lonely as a result.

In the end, we have done just the opposite of what we set out to do. We thought that protecting ourselves and paying attention to our feelings would make us happier, but actually, our unhappiness increased. In the dharma we have a saying, “All people desire happiness, but instead they chase after suffering.” When we reflect on our relationship with our emotions, we can see just how true this is.

The Buddhist path has tools that help us train our mind so we don’t put so much energy into our emotional responses. By gradually reducing the focus we ordinarily place on our emotions, we begin to identify with them less. As we identify with our emotions less, we become more willing to let small situations go, and we begin to feel more relaxed. This starts a different kind of emotional cycle. As we start to see that letting small situations go actually brings us peace of mind and happiness, we become willing to let other situations go too. When we relax and let go, we identify with our emotions even less. When we identify with our emotions less, we are less self-protective, less emotionally reactive, and we feel happier.

Meditation Practice: Changing Your Relationship with Difficult Emotions

How do you transform the relationship you have with your emotions? I suggest a few different techniques, all of which fall into the category of lojong, or mind training.

First, I suggest working diligently to develop mindfulness toward your emotional reactions. I am not suggesting that you identify with your emotional reactions, but simply try to notice how changeable your moods and feelings are.

One way you can do this is to contemplate the impermanent nature of life. By cultivating mindfulness, you notice the energy of your mind changing from moment to moment. In one moment you feel calm and relaxed, in the next agitated or afraid. You might feel comfortable sitting outside in the sunshine, only to notice five minutes later that the same sunshine is now burning us.

Our minds might jump from the past to the future, from here to somewhere across the planet, all in a matter of moments. Our emotions are unpredictable, momentary, and fickle. You should ask yourself: why am I so willing to believe that every feeling I have is true?

After you watch your mind for some time, you start to notice that sometimes your emotions arise as a reaction to a certain situation, and other times they arise for no apparent reason at all. You might be sitting on a cushion in a quiet room, with no one around, and suddenly feel angry or sad.

One way we ordinarily react to this kind of emotional energy is to look for its cause—or for something to blame. However, as part of your lojong training, you can start to break the habit of linking your emotional feelings and reactions to outside causes. Rather than looking for a cause or someone to blame for how you feel, notice instead how prone you are to certain types of emotional reactions and how deep your emotional habits are. After all, you can have intense emotional feelings even when there is nothing present to trigger them.

As you begin to notice that you have certain dominant emotional habits and are prone to certain kinds of feelings, you begin to identify less with them. You can relax more and find more contentment in the moment.

All the masters of our Buddhist tradition have shown us that true happiness comes from pacifying our emotions and accepting the people and circumstances around us. When we feel relaxed, comfortable, and confident in ourselves, we no longer need to interpret unwanted circumstances as attacks on us. We can simply see the interplay of events, people, and circumstances around us and feel free to make the choices that suit us best. This is a step on the path to freedom.

BY ANYEN RINPOCHE| APRIL 24, 2017

12 Links of Interdependent Origination

The Twelve Links of Interdependent Origination

Dharma practice entails more than just calling yourself a Buddhist or making superficial changes in the way you live your life. It means totally integrating the teachings with your mind.

To integrate the teachings with your mind, you must first prepare yourself by cultivating spiritual stability—pure renunciation—within your stream of being. The Tibetan term for renunciation, nges-jung,1 implies that you must first realize that you are caught in the process of rebirth in samsara, a state of being characterized by a great many sufferings. Therefore, at the beginning of your practice you have to realize the true nature of samsara itself and how you exist in it; you must become acutely aware of the unsatisfactory nature of samsara, the condition in which you find yourself. This is very important.

Once you have recognized the true nature of samsara and become sufficiently disillusioned with it, from the depths of your heart you will generate the spontaneous aspiration to liberate yourself from it. This pure, spontaneous, constant aspiration to be free of samsara is renunciation.

Generally, there are two ways to develop the fully renounced mind. The first is to meditate on the two aspects of samsara: its nature of suffering and the causes of this suffering. The second is to meditate on the twelve links of interdependent origination. Here I will discuss briefly the latter.

There are two main ways of presenting the twelve links: the scriptural way, which explains them in terms of how samsara evolves in general, and the experiential way, which explains them in terms of how they are experienced by an individual over a continuum of lifetimes. These two systems differ slightly in the way the order of the twelve links is presented. I’m going to explain them the second way: how they are experienced.2

Ignorance

The first of the twelve links is ignorance, the root of all samsaric suffering. The Sanskrit term, avidya [Tib: ma-rig-pa], means “not seeing” and implies an obscuration of mind. To explain precisely what this ignorance is and how it functions requires a great deal of time and energy, so let’s just focus on the general principles instead.

When we go to teachings, for example, we have the intention, “Today I’m going to go and listen to teachings.” Whenever we think like this, we all have a certain conception of our “self,” or “I.” Buddhism calls this sense of self the ego. Our ego is with us at all times and becomes more obvious on certain occasions, like when we encounter highly favorable circumstances or great difficulties. At such times our sense of self becomes more intense and visible than usual. Each of us is subject to our own conception of “I.” We can see it quite easily in our daily experiences without need of lengthy, theoretical reasoning.

Whenever our ego-concept arises very strongly, it grasps us as if it exists within us as something very solid, very vivid and totally uncontrollable. This is how the false self grasps us. However, it is important to contemplate whether or not this “I” really exists as it appears. If we search for it within ourselves, from the top of our head down to the soles of our feet, we’ll come to the conclusion that neither our physical body nor any of its individual parts can serve as the “I” that under certain circumstances arises so strongly. Nothing in our body can be the “I”. Our limbs, organs and so forth are only parts of the body, which, in a sense, “owns” them.

If we analyze our minds in the same way, we’ll find that the mind is nothing but a stream of different thoughts and mental factors and conclude that nothing in the mind is the “I” that we conceive either.

Moreover, since there’s no separate entity outside our body or mind to represent the “I,” we can conclude that the self that we normally feel doesn’t exist. If we meditate like this, we’ll see that it’s true that the “I” can’t be found. However, this doesn’t mean we don’t exist at all. Non-existence cannot be the answer, because we’re analyzing how we exist.

Actually, the situation is very subtle. We neither exist as simply as the ignorant mind supposes, nor do we not exist, and gaining an understanding of the true nature of the self requires thorough training and sustained meditation practice.

The mental factor that holds the wrong, fabricated view of the self is what Buddhism means by ignorance, the first of the twelve links of interdependent origination. All the other delusions—such as attachment to ourselves, our friends and possessions and aversion to people and things alien to us—rest on the foundation of this false concept of the self. Acting under the influence of such attachment and aversion, we accumulate much unwholesome karma of body, speech and mind.

Volitional formations

The distorted actions of body, speech and mind that arise from ignorance, attachment and aversion stain the mind with what are called volitional formations. This is the second of the twelve links. The moment after we create a distorted karma, the action itself has passed and is gone, but it leaves on our stream of consciousness an imprint that remains there until it either manifests in future as a favorable or unfavorable experience, depending on the nature of the original action, or is otherwise disposed of.

Consciousness

The continuity of the mind stream serves as the basis of the imprints of karma. This is the third link, the link of consciousness. It carries the imprints and later helps them ripen and manifest in the same way that seeds are sown in the earth, which then serves as a cause for the growth of a crop. However, not only must seeds be sown in the ground; they also require favorable conditions to grow. Contributory causes such as water, fertilizer and so forth must be present in order for the seeds to ripen and reach maturity.

Craving

The attachment that evolves from ignorance helps condition the karmic seeds sown in our stream of consciousness. This particular attachment, which is called craving, is the fourth link.

Grasping

There also exists in our mind stream another type of attachment, called grasping, which has the special function of bringing karmic seeds to fulfillment. This is the fifth link of the twelve-linked chain. It manifests at the end of our life and conditions the throwing karma that gives rise to our next rebirth.

Although both above types of attachment have the nature of desire, each has its own function. One helps to ripen karmic seeds; the other brings them to completion and connects us with our next life.

Becoming

The sixth link is becoming. At the end of our life, a throwing karma arises and immediately directs us towards our future existence. This special mental action that appears at the final stage of our life is called “becoming.”

These six links are generally associated with this life, although it is not necessarily the case that they will manifest in this life. In particular, some situations may develop in other lifetimes, but in most cases they belong to this life.

As we near death, our body and mind begin to weaken. Bodily strength and the grosser levels of mind dissolve until finally we enter a level of consciousness that the scriptures call the clear light state. This is the final stage of our life, the actual consciousness of death—the most subtle level of mind. We remain in this state for a certain time, then there occurs a slight movement of consciousness and we enter the intermediate state—our mind shoots out of our body and enters the bardo, the realm between death and rebirth.

The intermediate state has its own body and mind, but the body is not made of the same gross elements as ours. Therefore, bardo beings do not have the gross form that we do. The bardo body is composed of a subtle energy called “wind,” which exists in a dimension different to ours. We should not think that this is a wonderful or beautiful state, however, for it is characterized by great suffering and difficulty. We undergo a total loss of free will and are driven here and there by the force of karma until we finally find an appropriate place of rebirth. The beings in this state subsist on smell rather than on ordinary food and it is this search for food that eventually leads them to seek rebirth. After a certain period in the bardo state they take rebirth in accordance with their karma.

There are many different realms into which we can take rebirth and each of these has its own causes and conditions. For example, to be born human, our future parents must unite in sexual union,3 their white and red cells (sperm and ovum) must combine and enter into the womb of the mother, and so forth. Then, when the bardo being, driven by the force of its individual karma, reaches its karmically determined parents, certain circumstances arise bringing to an end the life of the bardo being, upon which its mind enters the conjoined cells of the parents.

Rebirth

The moment the wind leaves the bardo body and enters the united cells of the parents, the link of rebirth is established. This is the seventh link. Mere union of the parents, however, is not a sufficient cause for engaging this link. As well, the womb of the mother must be free of obstacles that could interfere with the birth of the child; the material causes of the physical body of the child, that is the parents’ sperm and ovum, should also be free from defects; and the three beings involved must have a karmic connection with one another in order to establish this kind of father-mother-child relationship. When all these circumstances are complete, rebirth takes place.

Name and form

From the time the link of rebirth is established until the sensory organs of the child are developed is the eighth link, which is called name and form. The material substances that constitute the sperm and ovum of the parents are “form”; the consciousness that dwells within that material basis is called “name.”

The six sense organs

After the sense organs of the child have developed into a mature, functional state, the ninth link, that of the six senses, arises. This is like the construction of a building in which the finishing work, such as windows and doors, has been completed.

Contact

The tenth link is contact. After the sense organs have evolved they function through the sense consciousnesses to establish contact with outer sense objects, such as visible forms, sounds and so forth.

Feeling

Contact gives rise to the eleventh link, feeling. Pleasant feelings arise from contact with pleasant objects, unpleasant feelings from unpleasant objects and so forth.

Aging and death

All this produces the aging process, the twelfth link of the chain of interdependent origination, which eventually finishes with our death.

We are all trapped in this process of repeatedly circling on the wheel of birth, aging, death, intermediate state and rebirth. It is not something special that applies to only a few beings or something that happens only to others. It is a process that embraces every one of us. We are caught in cyclic existence and experiencing the twelve links every moment of our existence.

It is very important to contemplate this. If we become fully aware of this constant process of evolution, we’ll come to a correct realization of the problems of samsara.

Meditating on this, we’ll gradually generate the sincere aspiration to achieve liberation. That aspiration is pure renunciation. However, merely having that aspiration is not enough; we must put great effort into practicing the methods that bring about liberation. On the one hand, we need the help and guidance of the objects of refuge, but from our own side, we must learn and put into practice the actual methods that have been taught. Through the combination of these two, we will attain liberation from the sufferings of samsara.

Notes
1. Sometimes translated as “definite emergence.”

2. See His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s The Meaning of Life for a book-length teaching on the twelve links.

3. A discussion of how modern developments such as artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization and so forth impact upon this traditional description of conception is beyond the scope of this book.

This teaching was given at Tushita Mahayana Meditation Centre on April 11, 1980. It was translated by Gonsar Rinpoche. First published in Teachings at Tushita, edited by Nicholas Ribush with Glenn H. Mullin, Mahayana Publications, New Delhi, 1981. Now appears in the 2005 LYWA publication Teachings From Tibet.

The Instructions of Gampopa

The Instructions of Gampopa:
A Precious Garland of the Supreme Path
by Gampopa (1079–1153)

His Holiness Gampopa is one of the most prominent Teacher in Tibetan Buddhism of the 12th century, the most important student of the famous Jetsun Milarepa – and teacher of the First Karmapa, the men who integrated Atiśa’s Kadam teachings and Tilopa’s Mahamudra teaching to establish the Kagyu lineage of transmission in Tibetan Buddhism. Four of His disciples later founded 4 important Kagyu Schools, including Karma Kagyu.

His name Gampopa literary means “the man from Gampo”, but He is also known as Sönam Rinchen and by the title Dakpo Lharjé “the physician from Dakpo.”

A Precious Garland of the Supreme Path and The Jewel Ornament of Liberation or The Wish-fulfilling Gem of the Noble Teachings are the most known works with teachings of Gampopa.

Namo Ratna Guru (Salutation to Ratna Guru)!

To those who liberate beings
from the terrible ocean of Samsara that is so hard to cross,
who are ornate with the pure practice of the precious Kagyu tradition, whose river of blessing is endless like the expanse of an ocean; to those holy gurus of the soft and pure practice lineage
of vast, far- seeing spontaneously accomplished aspirations,
I pay homage and go refuge.
I supplicate you to overflow me with your gracious blessing.

Having churned the oral tradition of Kagyu for a long time and keeping it in my mind and heart, I write down this Precious Garland of the Supreme Path with instructions which will be extremely valuable to those fortunate ones who directly or indirectly venerate me and those persons who desire to attain the liberation and omniscient Buddhahood.

10 causes of non-compensable losses of human life:

At the outset, they should meditate upon the ten causes of non-compensable losses of human life which are as follow:

1. It is a non-compensable loss to this very rare and pure human life to get oneself indulged in wrong doings (negative deeds).

2. It is a non-compensable loss to die by engaging this rare, pure, transient and perishable human life in irreligious and material activities.

3. To waste this short human life of Kali Yuga (degenerated-age) in worthless activities is also a non-compensable loss to this rare human life.

4. Without elaboration of mental fabrication of the mind whose nature is the Dharmakaya, but to sink into the abyss of Samsaric mire due to ignorance is a non-compensable loss.

5. To detach oneself from the company of the holy guru, who is the best path-finder, before one attains awakening and be able to help cultivate the Bodhichitta is a non-compensable loss.

6. Vows and Samaya are instrumental to achieve Nirvana (liberation), which we destroy by our affliction, carelessness and adverse condition. So, they are non-compensable losses to this human life.

7. To lose the awakening experience achieved with the blessing of the holy guru amidst the clumsy, confused and irreligious activities is a non-compensable loss to this human life.

8. To sell out invaluable and profound instructions of the great Siddhas to unfortunate and unworthy common men for shake of ordinary material benefits is a non-compensable loss to this human life.

9. All the sentient beings must have been our kind parents in any one of our previous births. So, we ought to acknowledge our gratitude to them. We not only forget them, but also react against them with different attitudes (desire, anger, pride, greed, attachment and envy). It is also a non-compensable loss to this rare human life.

10. To close the three gates (body, speech and mind) in the practice of Dharma by indulging oneself in luxurious material life during his full youthful is also a non-compensable loss to this rare human life.

The 10 necessary things:

1. It is necessary to be disciplined oneself in order not to be deprived from his own original and unique concepts by misled advice.

2. It is necessary to accomplish the instructions of one’s supreme guru with faith and diligence through the arising of faith and intense diligence; you are able to put the instructions of the guru into practice.

3. It is necessary to identify the difference between the right and wrong instructions; but one should not make mistakes and misunderstand the conception of the holy guru.

4. It is necessary to execute the intentions of the holy guru, with transcendental wisdom, faith12 and diligence.

5. It is necessary to meditate and churn over one’s deeds and to distinguish between the good and evil deeds through possession of mindfulness, attention and conscientiousness, so that one can keep these three entrances unstained by the defects of faulty conduct.

6. It is necessary to practice upon the tutelary deity with a stable, purified and independent thorough possessing of courage and the armour like diligence.

7. It is necessary to be without attachment and craving of conduct and not to entrust the nose-rope in the hand of other.

8. It is necessary to always be diligent in gathering the two accumulations of merits by practicing the preparatory performance and dedication from the core of the heart.

9. It is necessary that one turns one’s mind to benefit the sentient beings both directly and indirectly with loving-kindness and compassion.

10. It is necessary that one should not mistake all things to be substantial and inherently that furnish essential characteristics through the possession of knowledge, understanding and realization.

The 10 dependable things:

1. One should take refuse in a holy guru, who possesses supreme knowledge and compassion.

2. One should take shelter in the monastery, which is isolated from the society, spiritually pleasant, blissful and established with the divine blessing.

3. One should take stable companions like views; character and practice keep with equal importance.

4. Keeping in mind that livelihood is full of faults and leads to sinful deeds; one should keep himself confined to limited livelihood.

5. One should take shelter in the lineage instructions of Siddhas by giving up the partial outlook.

6. One should apply the materials, medicines, mantras and deep interdependence that are beneficial to oneself and others.

7. One should take food that benefits his health and should follow the path of method for sound health.

8. One should take shelter in Dharma and conduct to benefit himself through experience.

9. One should teach only to faithful and fortunate disciples.

10. One should always have mindfulness and alertness upon the four kinds of conducts and should use them in life.

The 10 things to be given up:

1. Give up the master whose actions are always mixed with the eight worldly Dharmas.

2. Give up those friends and companions whose company affects your mind and experience negatively.

3. One should abandon those places and monasteries which nourish more laziness and violence.

4. Give up that wealth which is amassed through pretension, theft, robbery and cheating.

5. Give up those actions and activities that affect your mind and experience.

6. Give up that food and conduct which are harmful both mentally and physically.

7. Give up fixation and attachment that binds you with desire, hope and greed.

8. Give up the careless and shameless conduct that compels others to lose their faith in you.

9. Give up the meaningless actions and activities walking and sitting.

10. Give up the habit of hiding your own faults and exposing other’s.

The 10 things not to be abandoned:

1. Compassion is the root cause of benefit to others; so it must not be abandoned.

2. The appearances of various aspects are the radiance of the mind; so it must not be abandoned.

3. All thoughts (nature of relativity) are the transitory reflection of dharmata only; so they must not be abandoned.

4. Defilements are instrumental of cultivating wisdom; so they must not be abandoned.

5. The desirable objects that appear to the five senses are like the water and fertilizer for experience and realization; so they both must not be abandoned.

6. Sickness, suffering and sorrows are like our teacher; so they must not be abandoned.

7. The enemies and obstructers are exhortation of the Dharmata; so they must not be abandoned.

8. It is a boon to achieve spontaneity; so it must not be abandoned.

9. Path and method are always support to proceed on the path of wisdom; so they must not be abandoned.

10. What is accomplished through sadhana is the physical conduct of Dharma; so it must not be abandoned.

The intention to benefit others, which needs little physical ability, must not be abandoned.

The 10 things to know:

1. Since the external appearances are deceptive, one should treat it as unreal.

2. Since the internal mind is selfless, it should be treated as empty.

3. Since the thought arises from some condition, it should be treated as incidental.

4. Since the body and speech are products of elemental forces, they should be treated as impermanent.

5. Since all the pleasures and sufferings of sentient beings arise from karma, the result of actions should be treated as unfailing (non-deceptive).

6. Since suffering is the cause of renunciation, it should be treated as a spiritual teacher (Kalyanmitra).

7. The pleasure and comfort of this life are the causes of rebirth; so they should be treated as craving and attachment to Mara.

8. Merry-making in the gathering and festivals are obstacles against the accumulation of merit; so they should be treated as obstacles of merit.

9. The obstacles and accidents urge to cultivate virtues. So the enemies and obstacles should be treated as our teachers.

10. The absolute truth is that all phenomena are without a nature; one should know everything to be the same.

The 10 things to be practiced:

1. After entered into the gate of Dharma, do not indulge in the worldly life and practice in accordance with Dharma.

2. After giving up your native place, do not settle yourself permanently elsewhere; practice without attachment.

3. Give up arrogance and practice in accordance with the instructions of your holy guru.

4. Do not just teach; train your mind through hearing contemplation and churning over the Dharma; practice what you have learned.

5. When realization has arisen in mind, do not be satisfied with it and without being complacent, practice without distraction.

6. After achieving the spiritual experience through meditation, do not enter into the life of community and carry-on practice till you attain the Enlightenment.

7. Having promised and committed yourself, do not involve in the three gates in irreligious activities; practice the three trainings. (Trisiksa)

8. Having generated the Bodhichitta (Supreme Awakening), perform all practice for the benefit of others, by giving up your own selfishness.

9. Having entered the world of tantra, do not indulge your three gates in ordinary works; practice about the three Mandalas.

10. In your youth, do not wander meaninglessly; practice Dharma in the presence of a holy teacher.

The 10 things to be emphasized:

1. At the very beginning the practitioner should emphasize on hearing and analysis of Dharma.

2. The practice of meditation done with experience should be emphasized to more arisen practice.

3. Until you attain stability of your mind, emphasize on living in solitude.

4. If excitement predominates mind, emphasis should be given to control it.

5. If torpor and depression predominate, emphasis should be given to a little nap of mind in order to be active again.

6. Until the mind is stable, emphasis should be given to contemplation.

7. Through your stabilized in even placement, emphasize on attaining Buddhahood.

8. If unconducive conditions are many, emphasize on practicing three folds of patience.

9. If desire and attachment grow in stature, emphasize on forceful renunciation.

10. If love and compassion weaken, emphasize on the cultivation of Bodhichitta.

The 10 exhortations:

1. Considering the difficulty to obtain the very rare human life and sources, exhort yourself to practice the genuine Dharma.

2. Considering the death and impermanence of life, exhort yourself to cultivate the virtues.

3. Considering the unfailing results of actions, exhort yourself to abandon wrong deeds.

4. Considering the defects of Samsara, exhort yourself to accomplish liberation (Nirvana).

5. Considering the suffering of the beings of this Samsara, exhort yourself to cultivate the Bodhichitta in your mind.

6. Considering the existent evil thought in the minds of the sentient beings, exhort yourself to hear and reflect Dharma.

7. Considering the difficulty of abandoning the habits of evil thoughts, exhort yourself to practice meditation for giving up them.

8. Considering the result of the defilement in this age of decadence, i.e., Kali yuga, exhort yourself to prevent the bad deeds.

9. Considering the many unconducive conditions present in this age of decadence, i.e., Kali yuga, exhort yourself to be patient.

10. Considering the emptiness of worthless activities, do not waste your valuable human life, and exhort yourself to be diligent.

The 10 deviations from Dharma:

1. If one has little faith and sharp intelligence, he remains as a speaker forever, which is a deviation.

2. If one has deep faith and little intelligence, his effort goes meaningless, which is a deviation.

3. In the lack of instructions, a courageous person takes to evil and faulty ways, which is a deviation.

4. In the lack of hearing and reflection, meditation is obscured with the darkness of ignorance and false faith for which the meditator does not achieve the goal. This is a deviation.

5. After understanding the Dharma and the nature of wakening, if it is not practiced, one becomes a lazy religious practitioner. It is a deviation.

6. If one’s mind is untrained after the methods of great compassion, there is very possibility in following the path of Hinayana. It is a deviation.

7. If one’s mind is untrained after wisdom and emptiness, the person concerned travels about the mire of Samsara. It is a deviation.

8. If the eight worldly Dharmas are not overcome, the last deed follows the path of worldly Dharma. It is a deviation of whatever you do becoming a worldly decoration.

9. If one has too much attachment and interest to one’s house, household articles and one’s town, he always works to please that people and follow his way. It is a deviation.

10. When one has knowledge and spiritual power, but an unstable in mind and always follows the path shown by ordinary priests for their rituals. So, is a deviation.

The 10 confusions to be identified:

1. Confusion occurs between faith and desire. So, identify them.

2. Confusion occurs among love, compassion and attachment. So, identify them.

3. Confusion occurs between the emptiness of nature of all knowledge and the emptiness of human intellect. So, identify them.

4. Confusion occurs between the nature of emptiness of the phenomena (Dharmadhātu) and the view of annihilation. So, identify them.

5. Confusion occurs between experience and realization. So, identify them.

6. Confusion occurs between the virtuous and the show people. So, identify them.

7. Confusion occurs between the loss automatically done and the loss carried out by Mara. So, identify them.

8. Confusion occurs between the deeds of siddhas and conjurers. So, identify them.

9. Confusion occurs between deeds that benefit others and oneself. So, identity them.

10. Confusion occurs between skilful methods and pretentious skill. So, identify them.

The 10 unmistaken principles to be observed:

1. To leave home without attachment to anything, to take ordination, and to be homeless is an unmistaken principle to be observed.

2. To venerate the holy guru and the well-wishers like that of turban on the head is an unmistaken principle to be observed.

3. To combine the hearing, reflection and meditation on the right Dharma is an unmistaken principle to be observed.

4. Modest conduct and high thinking are an unmistaken principle to be observed.

5. To have broad view, open mind, and strong commitment is an unmistaken principle to be observed.

6. To have supreme wisdom and less pride is an unmistaken principle to be observed.

7. To be rich with instructions and in practice of the Dharma is an unmistaken principle to be observed.

8. To have the supreme experience and Enlightenment without arrogance and vanity is an unmistaken principle to be observed.

9. To live, especially, in solitude and to refrain away from the community is an unmistaken principle to be observed.

10. Detaching oneself from selfishness, to do welfare to others is an unmistaken principle to be observed.

The 14 useless deeds:

1. Having got the rare human life, not to observe the Dharma is like returning empty handed from the Island of jewels. So the life is useless.

2. Having entered the ordination of Bhikṣu to remain indulged in worldly life is like a moth dying in the flame of fire. So the life is useless.

3. Having no faith in Dharma while living with a great teacher of Dharma is like dying of thirst while living on the shore of an ocean. So the life is useless.

4. Dharma that does not cure the four basic faults and ego is like an axe that does not cut down the poisonous tree. So, life is useless.

5. Instructions are worthless if they do not mitigate the hindrances just like medicines in the bag of a physician not being used for a patient. So, life is useless.

6. Dharma not applied into the real life is like the recitations of a parrot who does not understand the meanings. So, life is useless.

7. To give in charity the wealth amassed though pretension, cheating and stealth is just like wasting the sheepskin in water. So, life is useless.

8. To venerate the three Jewels by harming the sentient beings is just like serving the mother with the flesh cut off from child and being cooked. So, life is useless.

9. By taking this birth for granted and in order to be happy by oneself through deception and patience is just like an attempt to attach a mouse to a cat. So, life is useless.

10. To perform the great acts of virtue for accumulating fame, name and wealth in this life is like exchanging a wish-fulfilling jewel for a wood apple or for a little fried flour. So, life is useless.

11. After having sufficiently studied and hearing about Dharma, if the mind does not change, the person concerned remains insufficient and worthless, as a physician is unable to cure himself of tuberculosis. So, life is useless.

12. The rich instructions are worthless, if not translated into real life just like the lost key to the treasury of a rich person. So, life is useless.

13. To teach Dharma without proper understanding of its real meaning is like a blind person leading another sightless one. So, life is useless.

14. To overlook the practical aspect of life because of the fast experience gained from tricks, and not to search for the true nature of things are just like assuming brass to be gold. So, life is useless.

The 18 prohibitions against hidden evil for practitioners of the Dharma:

1. While living in solitude to work for fame and happiness in this life is a prohibition for the practitioner of the Dharma.

2. To accomplish one’s own desires by being the leader of the mass is a prohibition for the practitioner of the Dharma.

3. Not to fear for committing sins by being a learned religious person is the prohibition for the practitioner of the Dharma.

4. Having heard sufficient instructions, to get indulged in ordinary life is a prohibition for the practitioner of the Dharma.

5. While observing the moral conduct thoroughly, to be highly ambitious is a prohibition for the practitioner of the Dharma.

6. Having good experience and having realized the supreme knowledge thoroughly, not to be able to control one’s own mind is a prohibition for the practitioner of the Dharma.

7. Having entered into the ordination of Dharma, not being able to give up the common anger and the very nature of ordinary life of human affairs is a prohibition for the practitioner of the Dharma.

8. Having entered into the ordination of Dharma by giving up material life, once again to return to the material life of a common man is a prohibition for the practitioner of Dharma.

9. Knowing pretty well what Dharma is, not to practice it is a prohibition for the practitioner of the Dharma.

10. After having commitment of the Sadhana, not to fulfil it is a prohibition for the practitioner of the Dharma.

11. Having done all the acts in accordance with the Dharma, not to improve the moral character is a prohibition of the Dharma.

12. Having all food and clothes spontaneously, but not to part with it is like roaming about aimlessly amidst a community, which is a prohibition for the practitioner of the Dharma.

13. To spend one’s power accumulated from virtuous deeds entirely for the healing of the patients and for the happiness of a child is a prohibition to the practitioner of the Dharma.

14. To teach the profound instructions only for food and wealth is a prohibition for the practitioner of the Dharma.

15. To praise oneself indirectly and to censure others is a prohibition for the practitioner of the Dharma.

16. To give instructions to others, while one’s own mind is contrary to Dharma is a prohibition for the practitioner of the Dharma.

17. To be unable to live in solitude and not to live with the company of the people is a prohibition for the practitioner of the Dharma.

18. To be anxious and worried both in the time of happiness and sorrow is a prohibition for the practitioner of the Dharma.

The twelve essential things:

1. It is essential for the practitioner to have faith, arising from deep fear of birth and death as well as to consistently practice Dharma with the knowledge that birth and death are true to life.

2. A guru who shows on the path of liberation is essential.

3. The wisdom for understanding the meaning of Dharma is essential.

4. Diligence like amour and courage is essential.

5. Not being complacent with the three trainings and the two accumulations, cultivating more virtues is essential.

6. A right view to realize the nature of all phenomena is essential.

7. Meditation in which the mind itself abides wherever it is placed is essential.

8. It is essential that all the conduct and all actions should lead to right path.

9. Proper instructions to abandon the hindrance, māras, mass destruction and the wrong path are essential.

10. Not confining instruction only to words, but to realize them in action is essential.

11. To have great confidence on a happy mind at the time of separation of body and mind is essential.

12. To accomplish Trikāya as the natural result of Sādhana is essential.

The 11 marks of a holy person:

1. The reduction of jealousy and pride is the mark of a holy person.

2. To have little desire and to be content with the ordinary possessions is the mark of a holy person.

3. To be without might, snobbery and arrogance is the mark of a holy person.

4. Not to show off oneself and censure others is the mark of a holy person.

5. To examine any action with alertness and perform with alert mindfulness is the mark of a holy person.

6. To uphold the result of the karmic action carefully accepting the truth like that of protecting the pupils of one’s eyes is the mark of a holy person.

7. Without pretension of vows and Samaya, to act according to the demand of the situation is the mark of a holy person.

8. Without passionate and humiliating treatment to treat all the sentient beings essentially equal is the mark of a holy person.

9. Not to anger with others for their sinful deeds, but to have patience is the mark of a holy person.

10. To give other people all the credit of a victory to and to accept all defeat oneself is the mark of a holy person.

11. To possess thought and conduct unlike common worldly people is the mark of a holy person.

The opposite deeds of a holy person are the marks of an unholy person.

The 10 non- beneficial things:

1. This illusory body is perishable and certain to be destroyed. So it is non-beneficial to give much attention to and serve this body.

2. Too much greed and avarice in giving up trivial things is non- beneficial as men take nothing along with them when they will die.

3. The labour put into the construction of beautiful palaces and mansions is non-beneficial, as one does not possess them when dies. On the other hand, one’s corps will be put out from the door of the mansion.

4. To give wealth as a token of love to the children, nephews, and nieces is non-beneficial, as they will not have an instant’s power to help one at the time of one’s death.

5. To give much attention to the concerns of the family and friends is non-beneficial at the time of death, as one has to die alone.

6. To increase the number of children, nephews and nieces as well as to give one’s amassed wealth them is non-beneficial, as everybody is perishable and everything is destructible.

7. The effort put into the acquisition of land, property and authority for the maintenance of luxurious life is non-beneficial, as one has to leave fully everything behind at the time of death.

8. By Entering into the gate of Dharma through faith, without conduct yourself in accordance with sincerity is non-beneficial, as it turns out to be the cause of lower migrations (suffering).

9. Knowing Dharma very well and having trained the mind in hearing and reflection, if one does not practice he will have nothing by which to take death onto the path. It is non-beneficial at the time of death.

10. It is non-beneficial to remain with a holy guru for a long time and to have no faith and respect towards his teachings. You will not receive his instructions or blessing.

The 10 self-accomplished sufferings:

1. To live the life of a worldly person without a wife is like a fool taking poison to suffer himself.

2. Devoid of Dharma, to commit negative deeds is like a mad man jumping from an unreachable height to suffer himself.

3. Deceiving others with undue pretensions is like taking the poisoned food to suffer oneself.

4. To entrust the leadership to a man of little intelligence is just like asking an old woman to guard the cattle. It is a self-accomplished suffering.

5. Not to labour for other’s benefit through an excellent motivation, but to labour only for self-interest by the eight worldly Dharmas is just like a sightless person wandering the Northern oasis, which is a self-accomplished suffering.

6. Undertaking a great endeavour for impossible tasks is like a weak person trying to carry heavy burden, which is a self-accomplished suffering.

7. Disregarding one’s holy guru and the teachings of the Buddha is like a ruler ignoring his council, which is a self-accomplished suffering.

8. Giving up the meditation, to come back to the worldly life is just like a deer wandering into the valley for its possible death, which is a self-accomplished suffering.

9. Not to encourage the natural wisdom, but to be disturbed by the elaboration of distractions like a bird (Garuḍa) with broken wings is a self-accomplished suffering.

10. Carelessly consuming the property of the guru and the Three Jewels is like a small child taking fire into its mouth, which is a self- accomplished suffering.

The 10 self-accomplished great kindnesses to oneself:

1. To abandon the human attachment, envy and dislike in order to practice the divine Dharma is a great deed to one self.

2. To abandon the worldly life and relatives and to take shelter in holy persons is a great deed.

3. To abandon activities of distraction and to hear, to reflect as well as to meditate upon the scriptures is a great deed to oneself.

4. To give up the intimacy with the members of the family and to live alone in solitude is a great deed to oneself.

5. Having control over the sensual objects, to remain independent without attachment is a great deed to oneself.

6. To be content with ordinary things and to have no desire for luxuries and precious things is a great deed to oneself.

7. Not surrendering one’s freedom to others, to meditate upon one’s tutelary deity is a great deed to oneself.

8. Not taking care of the pleasures of this life, to cultivate the Bodhichitta in mind to obtain the permanent spiritual happiness is a great deed to oneself.

9. Abandoning fixation on the reality of things, to cultivate emptiness is a great deed to oneself.

10. Not using the three entrances (body, speech and mind) of our life in ordinary acts, but endeavouring to unify the two accumulations48 is a great deed to oneself.

The 10 perfect things:

1. To trust in the result of action is the right view for one having little intelligence.

2. Realizing that external and internal Dharmas have four units of appearance and emptiness, the awareness and emptiness is the right view for one having moderate intelligence.

3. Realizing the viewed, the viewer, and the realization as not different from each other is the right view for one having sharp intelligence.

4. To concentrate on the object of target, i.e., tutelary deity etc., is the right meditation for one having little intelligence.

5. To concentrate on the Samādhi of the four units is the perfect meditation for one having moderate intelligence.

6. The contents without concept in the indivisibility of the meditated, the practitioner and the practice are the same. Knowing this well, to concentrate on practice is the perfect meditation for the one having sharp intelligence.

7. Accepting the results of action like one’s eyes is the right conducts for one having little intelligence.

8. Accepting all Dharmas as dreams and illusions is the right conduct for one having moderate intelligence.

9. Engaging in no conduct whatsoever is the perfect conduct for one having the sharp intelligence.

10. To reduce the reflection on one’s self, the defilements and grasping at self by and by till they are mitigated completely is the perfect sign of progress for the one having little, moderate and sharp intelligence.

The 10 mistakes of practitioners:

1. Not relying upon a guru who properly practices genuine Dharma, to follow a talkative practitioner is an extremely mistake for a practitioner.

2. Not searching for the traditional instructions of the Siddhas, but to look for pointless intellectual Dharma is a mistake for a practitioner.

3. Not being happy and content with whatever got at the moment, but to try more and more to get the things required for one’s material happiness is a mistake for a practitioner.

4. Not knowing what is the meaning of Dharma and while not living alone for practicing Dharma oneself, but to teach the gathering is a mistake for a practitioner.

5. Not giving in charity the wealth and excess possessions, but to amass wealth by means of greed and pretension is a mistake for a practitioner.

6. Not guarding the time (samaya) and vows properly, but to misuse the three entrances (body, speech and mind) to Mokṣa in worthless works is a mistake for a practitioner.

7. Not oneself realizing the true nature of things and practicing it, to use up this life only for material benefit is a mistake for a practitioner.

8. Not controlling one’s own fickle mindedness, but foolishly try to control other’s is a mistake for a practitioner.

9. Not fostering the experiences gained from meditation, but to try to achieve greatness in this life is a mistake for a practitioner.

10. Not engaging in diligence while auspicious conditions are assembled in this life, but to try to be happy with this dormant life is a extremely mistake for a practitioner.

The 10 needful things:

1. As a deer escapes out of the cistern after much effort, so is it needful for the practitioner at the beginning to generate the genuine faith from fear of birth and death and believe in this practice absolutely in order to escape the cycle of death and rebirth.

2. It is needful for the diligent to harvest virtuous deeds at the middle stage of a practitioner like a farmer having a good harvest after sowing good seeds, so that there will be nothing to regret at the time of death.

3. In the end it is needful to try to achieve an imperishable mind as the holy person tries for the bliss of the mind and achieve it.

4. It is needful to immediately busy oneself in the meditation knowing the shortage of time like someone trying to immediately save himself being pierced by an arrow.

5. In the middle stage, it is needful for the practitioner to have undisturbed meditation like the feelings of a mother for her only son who has recently died.

6. In the end it is needful for the practitioner to protect himself from doing meaningless activities as well as to remain alert just as a cow remains alert to save her calf from predators as well as tries to feed the calf with the best food.

7. It is needful for the novice practitioner to be happy by generating confidence and certainty towards Dharma like a hungry person feeling happy after getting delicious food to eat.

8. In the middle stage it is needful for the practitioner to be happy by generating confidence and certainty towards one’s own mind like a pauper being happy getting a jewel.

9. In the end, it is needful for a practitioner to generate confidence towards non-duality for practice like a liar being single-minded to speaking lies.

10. It is needful for a practitioner to have resolute of realities like a crow flying away from the ship.

The 10 needless things:

1. If the mind itself realizes to be empty, hearing and reflection of Dharma are needless for a practitioner.

2. If the awareness is recognized to be uncontaminated and pure, the purification of wrong-doing is needless for a practitioner.

3. If one abides by the natural path the accumulation of gathering (Sāmbhar) is needless for a practitioner.

4. If one cultivates the natural state of mind, it is needless for a practitioner to reflect on the path of method.

5. If one recognizes the nature of spiritual thought to be dharmata, it is needless to non-conceptual meditation for a practitioner.

6. If the roots of the defilements (Kleṣa) are recognized to be rootless, it is needless for a practitioner to find out their remedies.

7. If appearances and sounds are recognized as illusory, it is needless for a practitioner to find out any remedies with them.

8. If suffering is recognized to be the replica of Siddhi, it is needless for the practitioner to look for pleasure.

9. If one’s own mind is realized to be unborn, it is needless for the practitioner to practice transference.

10. If every activity is dedicated for the benefit of others, it is needless for the practitioner to work for his own benefit.

The 10 superior things:

1. One human life with freedom is superior to all other sentient beings of the six types of cyclic existence.

2. One person observing Dharma is superior to all ordinary people lacking interest in Dharma.

3. One vehicle of meaningful essential path is superior to all other ordinary-vehicles of paths.

4. One moment of knowledge arising from meditation is superior to all knowledges arising from hearing and reflection.

5. One moment of non-composite virtue is superior to all the composite virtues.

6. One moment of non-conceptual meditative concentrations (Samādhi) is superior tall the conceptual concentrations (Samādhis).

7. One moment undefiled virtue is superior to all the defiled virtues.

8. The arising of one moment realization is superior to the entire product of experience in the mind.

9. One moment selfless conduct is superior to all the selfish conducts.

10. Giving up the material of the world is superior to all the material generosity.

The 10 supreme acts:

1. A religious minded person if gives up or does not give up the worldly activities for Dharma’s sake, it is a supreme act.

2. Once doubt is over, to contemplate over Dharma or not to contemplate over, both are supreme acts.

3. After the victory over passion, to do things passionately or dispassionately is a supreme act.

4. After the direct realization of Dharma (Dharmata), sleeping in an empty cave or leading a large community on the right path is a supreme act.

5. After recognizing the sight as illusion or dream, to live in solitude on a mountain-top or to wander about the world is a supreme act.

6. If an individual has attained the freedom of mind, whether he abandons the desirable things or upholds them is a supreme act.

7. In an individual practicing Bodhichitta, whether he meditates in solitude or does welfare to the other beings is a supreme act.

8. If an individual, who has deep faith towards the guru, remains with the guru or does not remain with him is a supreme act.

9. If an individual who has heard much and understood the meaning of Dharma, whether he attains siddhi or comes across hindrances, both are supreme acts.

10. If a Yogi who has attained supreme realization demonstrates signs of siddhi or does not do it, it is a supreme act.

The 10 qualities of perfect Dharma:

1. The arising of the ten virtues, six perfections, all emptiness, all factors of Bodhi-Dharma, the four noble truths, the four Dhyānas (Concentration), the four formless absorptions, and the ripening and liberating of Mantra etc., in this world are a quality of perfect Dharma.

2. The appearance of the noble lineages of human monarchs, noble lineages of Brahmins, noble lineages of householders, the six types of gods of desire realm, and four great kings, the seventeen types of gods of form realm, and the four types of formless gods in this world are the quality of perfect Dharma.

3. The arising and existing of streams-enterers (continuous procession), coming and non-coming (once-returners, non-returners) Arhats, Pratyekabuddhas, and wholly omniscient Buddha etc., in this world are a quality of perfect Dharma.

4. The arising of natural benefit for sentient beings by the two forms of bodies (Buddha’s Enjoyment Body and Emanation Body) with the self-arisen compassion until the samsara is felt empty by the great power of Bodhicitta66 and the aspiration, is a quality of perfect Dharma.

5. For the excellent means of sustenance of all sentient beings, the appropriate rising of power through aspirations of Bodhisattvas is the quality of perfect Dharma.

6. The arising of slight and momentary happiness due to the result of the merits of virtuous actions in lower migration, prolonged unhappiness (life in hell and in the forms of ghost and animal) is a quality of perfect Dharma.

7. When a bad person’s68 mind follows the path of right Dharma and he becomes a holy person as well as is respected by everyone, it expresses the quality of perfect Dharma.

8. When someone has been committing wrongdoings since the previous life, it is like adding fuel to the fire of hell. In this state if his mind changes towards Dharma and he labours for achieving the happiness of higher-state and liberation, it is a quality of perfect Dharma.

9. Only to have faith, respect and delight in genuine Dharma as well as the wearing of the dress of a monk creates a sense of respect among the ordinary people. Making the base of such respect is the quality of perfect Dharma.

10. After abandoning all the possessions leaving home and being ordained as a Bhikṣu as well as being fully furnished with the provisions of sustenance, one should hide away in solitary hermitage. Yet facing no problems for sustenance of life is the quality of perfect Dharma.

The 10 things, which are merely names:

1. The nature of the ground of the universal Dharma is inexpressible. So the ground is merely a name.

2. There are no such things as path, journey and traveller. They are merely names.

3. In true sense of the term, there is nothing to be viewed and no viewer. So everything is empty. The realization is merely a name.

4. In the primordial mind, there is nothing to meditate and no meditator; the experience is merely a name.

5. In ultimate nature there is nothing to be done and no doer. The process of conduct is merely a name.

6. Ultimately, there is no thing as time-bound and no doer to do according to time. So time (Samaya) is merely a name.

7. Ultimately, there is nothing to be accumulated from virtuous deeds and no accumulator; the two accumulations (merits and knowledge) are merely names.

8. Ultimately there is nothing to be purified and no purifier; the two obscurations are merely names.

9. Ultimately, there is nothing to be abandoned and no abandoner; in this world both are merely names.

10. Ultimately, there is nothing to be obtained and no obtained; the fruition is merely names.

The 10 Great Bliss:

1. The nature of the minds of all sentient beings being abide in Dharmakaya is a spontaneously great bliss.

2. To be free from the elaboration of characteristics, the ground, the expanse of dharmata is a spontaneously great bliss.

3. To be free from the partial influences of the realization of the mind, both conceptually and non-conceptually (view of externalism and view of nihilism) is a spontaneously great bliss.

4. The experience of being free from the influences of the dormant state of mind and having no conceptual elaboration is a spontaneously great bliss.

5. To be free from the influences of acceptance and rejection and rejection of effortless conduct and slothfulness is a spontaneously great bliss.

6. As dharmakaya and wisdom are inseparable and same, being free from the grasping and non-grasping attitudes of the Dharmakaya is a spontaneously great bliss.

7. In the Sambhogakaya (Enjoyment Body) these is the self-arisen great compassion. So to be free from the influences of birth and death of the above body is a spontaneously great bliss.

8. To be free from the elaboration of the perception of dualistic appearance, the Nirmanakaya (Emanation Body) or the self- arising compassion is a spontaneously great bliss.

9. To be free from the influences of elaboration of view of the self or the characteristics as preached by the Buddha in his turning of the Wheel of Dharma is a spontaneously great bliss.

10. Devoid of partiality and seasons or scheduled time, the activity of boundless compassion of Buddha is a spontaneously great bliss.

Conclusion:

In this text the essence of the teachings of the Kadampa tradition has been compiled.

In order to spread and preach the doctrine of the Buddha in the Tibetan region of the Himalayas, Atiśa Dīpankara Śrījñāna instructed these teachings to his dear disciples like Geshe Dromtonpa and Geshe Channgawa.

The writer of this text Gampopa admits that he has been able to compile these teachings of Atiśa with the blessing of the holy gurus of Kadampa tradition and his tutelary deity Arya Tara.

Milarepa received the treasury of instructions of the great sages of India namely, Naropa and Maitripa who are as glorious as the sun and the moon, as well as the instructions of the great knowledgeable lama of Tibet namely, Marpa. His instructions also have been compiled in this text.

Sonam Rinchen of Dagpo Nysgom from Eastern Tibet has also prepared this text by compiling the teachings of Kadampa tradition as preached by Atiśa Dīpankara Śrījñāna and the teachings of Kagyu tradition (Kadampa coming from Serlingpa and Atiśa, and Mahamudra lineage coming from Naropa and Maitripa and so on).

In the words of Gampopa,

“All individuals of the future, who have devotion to me and are not able to see me, if they read the text composed by me, such as, ‘A Precious Garland of the Supreme Path’ and ‘ The Jewel Ornament of Liberation, ’ they will get the result of seeing me.”

Therefore, Oh! Fortunate disciples of Gampopa! Attempt to spread the teachings of Gampopa composed in these two texts for the benefits of those persons, who want to practice and read these books and for all sentient beings.

Offering Mudras

Offering Mudras by Lama Karma Chotso

Lama Karma Chotso Of Kagyu South Florida Buddhist Center teaches her students how to properly do the Offering Mudras used at their weekly practice of White Mahakala and others.

Teaching from Kagyu Shedrup Chöling
Founded by The Venerable Lama Norlha Rinpoche 19 years ago in South Florida, Kagyu Shedrup Chöling has flourished under the guidance of Lama Karma Chötso.

KSC is a Tibetan Buddhist center of the Kagyu tradition. The meaning of our Tibetan name is “the Kagyu Dharma Center (chöling) of study (she) and practice (drup)”.

KSC’s sole purpose is to impart to students the time-tested methods of Buddhist philosophy and meditation practices as taught by Dorje Chang Kalu Rinpoche, His Eminence T’ai Situ Rinpoche, Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche and Lama Norlha Rinpoche.

KSC Sangha members are supported in their quest to achieve lasting happiness and transcend suffering. Our Kagyu Center – just north of downtown Miami – is a veritable garden of peace and a support for South Florida’s spiritual community.

The Venerable Lama Karma Chötso

When Kyabje Dorje Chang Kalu Rinpoche gave the Kalachakra Empowerment in New York City in 1982, it was the very first Tibetan Buddhist event Lama Karma Chötso ever attended. Following that weekend, she continued to take empowerments and teachings from Kalu Rinpoche at Kagyu Thubten Chöling (KTC) in upstate New York where he was preparing participants for the first three-year, three-month retreat in the USA. The Very Venerable Lama Norlha Rinpoche, Abbot of KTC, continued to guide Lama Karma Chötso and, along with His Eminence Tai Situ Rinpoche and Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, remains her closest teacher.

Lama Karma Chötso was ordained as a novice Buddhist nun by Kalu Rinpoche in 1986 prior to entering the second three-year, three-month retreat at KTC where the retreatants practiced in strict seclusion for almost three and a half years. After Lama completed the retreat, she added to her training by learning Tibetan painting, traveling to India and Sikkim twice on pilgrimage and into Tibet on pilgrimage with Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche in 1993 where she first met the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa. Lama stayed in Nepal to study and practice for a few months before returning to the monastery in America.

In November 1996, Lama Karma Chötso came to South Florida to prepare for Lama Norlha Rinpoche’s first visit. At the end of his teachings, Rinpoche instructed her to stay in Florida and begin a center for the study and practice of Tibetan Buddhism. When he returned in 1997, Lama Rinpoche found a small house in Hollywood, Florida with a small but traditional Tibetan shrine room waiting for him. He then bestowed the name “Kagyu Shedrup Chöling” on the center, which means the “Kagyu Dharma Center of Study and Practice”. Lama Karma Chötso kept the center in Hollywood, FL until she raised enough funds to purchase land for the Lama Residence in El Portal. She has also continued to teach in centers she started in the Florida Keys and in Coconut Grove. Many of her students have been under her guidance for as long as 15 years, doing extraordinarily well with their meditation and study of Buddhadharma.

During her time in South Florida, Lama Karma Chötso has given lectures at the Whole Life Expo in Fort Lauderdale, Sunshine Cathedral, Dania Library, St. Thomas University, Barry University, health centers and many other venues. She has given blessings to the manatees at the Miami Seaquarium and the dolphins at the Dolphin Research Center in Grassy Key. After having been a member of the Board of Directors of the Interfaith Council of Greater Hollywood for many years, she was President for one year. She has been a Professional Volunteer Chaplain for Hospice Care of Broward County, assisting in the dying process and performing Buddhist death rituals for the deceased. Lama Karma Chötso taught meditation and Tai Qi to the inmates at Broward Correctional Facility from 1998 until 2004. She co-taught a course in Tibetan Buddhism with Dr. Nathan Katz at FIU and is a Committee member of FAU’s Interfaith group.

In February 2010, Kagyu Shedrup Chöling received a permit to build four Tibetan stupas at the Lama Residence. The stupa blog, southfloridakagyustupas.com, shows the progression of the building on the land Lama Karma Chötso consecrated. She has said, “For anyone to even see a stupa in their lifetime indicates that they have accumulated good merit in past lives. But for an entire sangha to actually participate in building stupas shows that all of them have positive connections with one another, with Tibetan Buddhism, with their Lama, and also have inconceivably great merit. This is very unusual to find at any time anywhere, but especially now, and here in South Florida.”

Medicine Buddha Mudras

Medicine Buddha Mudras by Lama Karma Chotso

Lama Karma Chotso Of Kagyu South Florida Buddhist Center teaches her students how to properly do the Medicine Buddha Mudras used at their weekly practice.

TAYATA OM BHEKANDZE BHEKANDZE
MAHA BHEKANDZE
RANDZA SAMUNGATE SOHA

Teaching from Kagyu Shedrup Chöling

Founded by The Venerable Lama Norlha Rinpoche 19 years ago in South Florida, Kagyu Shedrup Chöling has flourished under the guidance of Lama Karma Chötso.

KSC is a Tibetan Buddhist center of the Kagyu tradition. The meaning of our Tibetan name is “the Kagyu Dharma Center (chöling) of study (she) and practice (drup)”.

KSC’s sole purpose is to impart to students the time-tested methods of Buddhist philosophy and meditation practices as taught by Dorje Chang Kalu Rinpoche, His Eminence T’ai Situ Rinpoche, Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche and Lama Norlha Rinpoche.

KSC Sangha members are supported in their quest to achieve lasting happiness and transcend suffering. Our Kagyu Center – just north of downtown Miami – is a veritable garden of peace and a support for South Florida’s spiritual community.

The Venerable Lama Karma Chötso

When Kyabje Dorje Chang Kalu Rinpoche gave the Kalachakra Empowerment in New York City in 1982, it was the very first Tibetan Buddhist event Lama Karma Chötso ever attended. Following that weekend, she continued to take empowerments and teachings from Kalu Rinpoche at Kagyu Thubten Chöling (KTC) in upstate New York where he was preparing participants for the first three-year, three-month retreat in the USA. The Very Venerable Lama Norlha Rinpoche, Abbot of KTC, continued to guide Lama Karma Chötso and, along with His Eminence Tai Situ Rinpoche and Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, remains her closest teacher.

Lama Karma Chötso was ordained as a novice Buddhist nun by Kalu Rinpoche in 1986 prior to entering the second three-year, three-month retreat at KTC where the retreatants practiced in strict seclusion for almost three and a half years. After Lama completed the retreat, she added to her training by learning Tibetan painting, traveling to India and Sikkim twice on pilgrimage and into Tibet on pilgrimage with Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche in 1993 where she first met the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa. Lama stayed in Nepal to study and practice for a few months before returning to the monastery in America.

In November 1996, Lama Karma Chötso came to South Florida to prepare for Lama Norlha Rinpoche’s first visit. At the end of his teachings, Rinpoche instructed her to stay in Florida and begin a center for the study and practice of Tibetan Buddhism. When he returned in 1997, Lama Rinpoche found a small house in Hollywood, Florida with a small but traditional Tibetan shrine room waiting for him. He then bestowed the name “Kagyu Shedrup Chöling” on the center, which means the “Kagyu Dharma Center of Study and Practice”. Lama Karma Chötso kept the center in Hollywood, FL until she raised enough funds to purchase land for the Lama Residence in El Portal. She has also continued to teach in centers she started in the Florida Keys and in Coconut Grove. Many of her students have been under her guidance for as long as 15 years, doing extraordinarily well with their meditation and study of Buddhadharma.

During her time in South Florida, Lama Karma Chötso has given lectures at the Whole Life Expo in Fort Lauderdale, Sunshine Cathedral, Dania Library, St. Thomas University, Barry University, health centers and many other venues. She has given blessings to the manatees at the Miami Seaquarium and the dolphins at the Dolphin Research Center in Grassy Key. After having been a member of the Board of Directors of the Interfaith Council of Greater Hollywood for many years, she was President for one year. She has been a Professional Volunteer Chaplain for Hospice Care of Broward County, assisting in the dying process and performing Buddhist death rituals for the deceased. Lama Karma Chötso taught meditation and Tai Qi to the inmates at Broward Correctional Facility from 1998 until 2004. She co-taught a course in Tibetan Buddhism with Dr. Nathan Katz at FIU and is a Committee member of FAU’s Interfaith group.

In February 2010, Kagyu Shedrup Chöling received a permit to build four Tibetan stupas at the Lama Residence. The stupa blog, southfloridakagyustupas.com, shows the progression of the building on the land Lama Karma Chötso consecrated. She has said, “For anyone to even see a stupa in their lifetime indicates that they have accumulated good merit in past lives. But for an entire sangha to actually participate in building stupas shows that all of them have positive connections with one another, with Tibetan Buddhism, with their Lama, and also have inconceivably great merit. This is very unusual to find at any time anywhere, but especially now, and here in South Florida.”

http://kagyu-sfla.org/