by Naomi Levine
From my edited notes:
A few pointers about getting into the Pure Lands:
When we talk about our life if we think only about our own well-being then nothing happens.
How do I create conditions to be reborn in Dewachen? First we have to aspire to be reborn in Dewachen and then focus our mind and remember it.
It’s said in Amitabha’s sutra that we have to create positive deeds and every deed we accumulate, we dedicate it to be reborn in Dewachen. We must pray to be reborn there.
If we recite the name of Amitayus or Amitabha we will be reborn in Dewachen. The complete condition is to have all the qualities of the bodhisattvas in ourselves.
A Beginner’s Guide to getting there:
- Do positive deeds.
- Have devoton.
- Dedicate positive deeds.
- Focus your mind on Dewachen.
Anyone who has the capacity to direct their mind towards virtue. any being who can think about Amitayus or Amiyabha can create conditions to be reborn there. We have to do it again and again. If we think about Amitabha even once it will generate the long term causes to be reborn there.
For 7 days think about Amitabha and make prayers to be born in the pure land. If we generate this bodhicitta 24/7 for one week, and if our mind is not distracted but truly focused on Amitabha with devotion and aspiration, we can generate the causes for Dewachen. After ten days of this we put on clean clothes and one pointedly make offerings to Amitabha. Then when we die Amitabha together with his sangha will appear.
Just reciting is not enough. We have to create positive deeds undistractedly and one pointedly.
What can I do for others to be reborn in Dewachen?
We try to make people hear of Amitabha or his sutra. Or make prayer flags so all beings are touched by the form of Amitabha when the wind blows. If there is an animal like a bird and they cannot recite, we can recite the mantra into their ears.
We should learn the teachings and practices the great masters have taught. We don’t have to do only this practise. That is simplifying it too much. Don’t make it into a sect or school. There is nothing that doesn’t become a cause to be reborn in Dewachen.
Meditation on bodhicitta:
Meditation is like a mirror. turning out is renunciation , turning in is compassion.
Our main gratitude is for our mother because she gave us this body. Our mother has done a lot to help us, also negative acts because of her love for us. All the positive and negative deeds might be the cause for rebirth in the lower realms. Because she did things for our benefit we have to be responsible in some way. Our parents took in a stranger they never knew before and did everything for us so we have to be very grateful to our parents, similarly all sentient beings. Our parents gave us life but other beings created conditions for us to live. To feel gratitude is very important, for us. Compassion is feeling gratitude to all beings. It gives us the inspiration to free all beings from suffering.
We offer all our positive deeds to the buddhas and bodhisattvas. Because of this the dharma spreads and because of this we offer that also to the buddhas, so we build an endless cycle of dedication.
Dharma means to change or transform. We have to transform our mind. It’s not like an implant to make us feel more beautiful. We cannot do it with any tools. Our mind is transformed by our own mind. We have to have a meeting with our own mind. We have to talk to ourselves, look and examine what’s going on in our mind, whether it’s doing well or not. We have to be responsible for our mind, to lead ourselves, advise ourselves. That’s the way the buddha dharma is practised. Sometimes we feel good, sometimes we feel bad. Nothing is stable, or consistent. We have to decide ourselves whether we listen to good or bad advice. It’s like 2 people talking to us. One part says to get angry, the other part says to be more compassionate. When the two sides are talking we have to decide which to follow and make a final decision.
When Mitrupa (Akshobya) was an ordinary monk he made a big decision. He made a promise that he would not get angry until he got enlightened.
His Holiness added a personal comment: I also made a decision or prayer that from now on I would not get angry as much as possible until I die. Our commitment has to be very strong with body, speech and mind. I give over the power of body, speech and mind to this commitment. We need to remember the commitment we have made for a few minutes each day.
We understand as humans what is beneficial and what is harmful. We have to use that power of our understanding in a complete way.
Vajrayana is quite strange sometimes. But the practise of Vajrayana is related to our day to day life, not some strange thing.
When we say big vehicle and small vehicle it’s not big and small in the usual sense. It refers to how big your aspiration is, how much responsibility you want to take on. One is to liberate myself, the other is the responsibility to liberate others. You can practise Vajrayana without a skullcup and instruments. The really important thing is how you deal with your kleshas.
In Hinayana the emphasis is attachment. Mahayana focuses on anger because the emphasis is on compassion. Vajrayana uses the path to purify impure experience. The main thing is to deal with your negative emotions or kleshas. If you are doing that it is dharma, if not, it’s not dharma. If you understand just one thing, integrate it into your life and practise it.
Dharma practise is not just to make us happy from time to time, have a break, like today I’ll have a massage, and relax. In the long term that doesn’t work. The practise of dharma is not like taking a drug. Dharma is an important, strong training. Train your mind again and again every day, integrate it with conditions. When you are in a negative situation you will find you don’t have any patience. Patience not just forbearance. If you have to forbear it, that’s not really patience. The point is to understand that the mind poisons are a problem and always giving trouble. When we see it in that way, we see that negative emotion is completely wrong. Whenever the negative emotions arise, we see it naturally. It’s not like fighting with it.
Dharma practise is to find the facts. not to create something which is not the truth. It’s not written in books. Milarepa understood clearly the facts and he practised the dharma and became a siddha.
Enlightenment is the complete understanding of how things really are, or what the truth is. Dharma is not something separate or created. It’s just telling us what the facts are, what the truth is.
Buddha Akshobya taught how the buddhas of the past generated bodhicitta. It’s like putting on armour. Patience is like putting on armour. He made a commitment to remain undisturbed no matter what happened. He got the name Metukpa, the undisturbable. That bhikku became the bodhisattva Metukpa. He made 18 prayers, such as making a vow to be a monk in every life and never criticizing the sangha.
We have to follow the footsteps of Akshobya, act according to his way of acting. We have to try and if we can’t do it, we pray we will in the future.
Akshobya vowed never to harm anyone or to get angry. If we practice compassion we are practicing Chenresig. The real practice of dharma is to bring the qualities of the buddhas into our daily lives. We don’t have to worship them. If we make prostrations or offerings it’s not for them but for us. Just ordinary positive is not enough to be reborn in Akshobya’s pure realm.
If the aspiration of bodhicitta is within us, then the buddha dharma is there like on the palm of your hand. Make the aspiration for all beings that they all have lasting peace with happiness. I want to liberate all those people whom the buddhas of the past could not help. You cannot do great help without shamatta meditation. If a buddha helps all beings they become useful. To help others we have to be very clever, very clear, have great aspiration day and night. It’s difficult but it’s important to get there.