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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:

  1. Do positive deeds.
  2. Have devoton.
  3. Dedicate positive deeds.
  4. 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.

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by Naomi Levine
 

The hour before dawn – is it the fourth watch of the night?- the hour before the street sellers set up, before the clacking of horns begins, and the murderous metal of auto rickshaws snarl the roads. When the street dogs have finally settled into somnolence and the beggars are asleep curled into warm rows, the monks and all of us walk in procession to Tergar on the outskirts of Bodh Gaya to the blue Monlam Pavilion. The road is dark with just the bright lights of the Pavilion in the distance. No wedding music blasts the silence, no mobile phones, no loudspeakers proclaim the dancing gods of Bollywood.

We come before dawn to take the Sojong vows: not eating after mid-day, not sitting in a high place, not wearing ornaments, not killing, lying, stealing, taking intoxicants, or having sexual contact. So no more sitting around in the packed ‘cafes’ trying to talk above the noisy foreign groups. ‘We’ are vastly outnumbered anyway. Just a crunched paleface here and there. A sign of the times.

The Karmapa teaches on Amitabha’s pure land, a place where you don’t need to be a VIP, rinpoche, or sponsor to get into the toilet, or a photocopy in duplicate of your visa to become a member. To get there just make a wish to create more virtue- unless one has committed one of the 5 heinous deeds, or given up the dharma altogether.

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by Naomi Levine
 

 

On the last of the teaching His Holiness covered the main points of the Lineage Prayer in terms of foot or foundation of meditation, the head of meditation, and the body of meditation.
 

Detachment

The word ‘shenlok’ in Tibetan means detachment, aversion or disgust. It’s like when you walk on the street and you step on some shit. That’s it. It is said that if you have attachment to this life, you are not a true dharma practitioner. Attachment to self is not bodhicitta; clinging is not the right view.

A lion will not run after grass nor will meat appeal to a deer but this is not really non-attachment.

At the beginner level of non-attachment we see no use in being attached to this life; at a more advanced level we are disgusted with samsara; and at a very advanced level we are not even attached to peace.

The practice of dharma is not only for this life but for the benefit of the long term. We need to have a vision for our future lives. We need to prioritize. The most important thing is whether something will bring us benefit in the long term. Many people come to the Monlam, especially monks and nuns. They look like sangha members but sometimes they just come for the tea and offerings. If so, that is not meaningful. We come here to pray for world peace.

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