Short Confession from Nam Cho Ngondro Vajrasattva

The following prayer is a short confession from the Nam Cho Dzogchen Ngondro Vajrasattva practice:

In the View, I confess all commitments broken through mental activity. Knowing the View is the all-pervasive foundational Bodhicitta; realizing that the View exists in non-existence, and practicing meditation that is non-existent, realizing that activity is neither existent nor non-existent, the Bodhicitta is without expectation or disappointment. All root and auxiliary commitments, breaches and failure to uphold them, are unborn, ungenerated, and liberated in the indivisibilty of the object to confess and the confession itself.

OM BENZAR SATO SAMAYA
MA NU PA LA YA
BENZAR SATO TE NO PA
TISH TRA DRI DHO ME BHA WA
SUTO KHAYO ME BHAWA
SUPO KHAYO ME BHAWA
ANU RAKTO ME BHAWA
SARWA SIDDHIM ME PRA YATTSHA
SARWA KARMA SU TSA ME
TSITTAM SHRI YAM KU RU HUNG
HA HA HA HA HO
BHAGAWAN SARWA TATHAGATA
BENZAR MA ME MUNTSA
BENZAR BHA WA MA HA
SAMAYA SATO AH

 

A Prayer by Which We Recognize Our Own Faults and Remember the Objects of Refuge by His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche


The following is from “The Lamp of Liberation: A Collection of Prayers, Advice and Aspirations”

Homage to the Guru!

Conqueror Shakyamuni, supreme guide of the universe during this fortunate aeon,
Heirs of the Conqueror, assembly of noble Bodhisattvas who
educate beings,
Revered Guru, unsurpassed protector of creatures in this degenerate time,
Together with the Three Roots, the oath-bound, and the Dharma protectors,
With yearning devotion, one-pointedly remembering you from
the depths of our hearts,
We pray again and again to invoke your attention:
Hold us with loving kindness, and by the power of your compassion,
Please bless us to accomplish our thoughts and intentions in
accord with the Dharma.
Due to former actions, by no means weak, we obtained this precious human body,
Due to merit, by no means small, we met with holy Dharma;
Accepted by the Guru, we received empowerments, blessings
and pith instructions–
Such are the jewels we hold in our hands right now!
Yet our minds, like frivolous monkeys,
Succumb to negative, deceptive demons of distraction,
And we have no ability to utilize the wealth which is our very
own.
Thus, all the instructions about the freedoms and endowments
have simply been wasted.
We are now at a crucial turning-point:
Whatever we requested, whatever we received, has all become like some kind of story;
Though our bodies appear in the posture of Dharma and we
consider ourselves as Dharma practitioners,
Our minds have not actualized the truth of Dharma.
Not knowing even a whiff of human values, let alone the view of Buddhadharma,
Having only a vague notion of the sixteen rules of proper human
conduct,
We are without conscience when we observe our bad deeds,
And our dread of being ashamed is smaller than the rear of a tail-less mouse.
Really unable to understand the ten virtuous actions of
Buddhadharma,
Full of sectarian bias, though all the doctrines come from the one Teacher,
We criticize the teachings and the sages and so accumulate bad
karma;
Thus, though relying on Dharma, we carry a great weight of sin.
Hearing a lot of teachings, our pride increases
But our mental analysis does not fathom the depth of their meaning.
Even though we think we keep the discipline of the Pratimoksha,
The four dharmas of a practitioner have been lost without a
trace.
Even though we think we possess the precious training of the
Bodhisattva,
The Four Immeasurables are only like an image of a lamp.
Even though we think we keep the samayas of the secret
Mantrayana,
The first root downfall is not guarded against and (so the rest) are
eventually discarded.
Even though we know how to voice explanations about the Four
Reflections that Reverse the Mind,
Our attachment to the appearances of this life shows there has
been no actual renunciation.
Even though we rely on a guru, our respect and devotion
gradually diminish,
And instead of having pure perception, we consider ourselves as
his equal and thus develop wrong views.
Respect, love and kindness toward our vajra brothers and sisters
decline;
Unable to tolerate a few bad words from them, we shower them
with curses.
The love and compassion generated by recognizing all beings in the six realms as our parents
Vanishes like mist when we do not practices from the depths of
Bodhicitta.
We act as though we have experienced the Development and
Completion stages,
Yet we have found no alternative to being submerged in ordinary
confusion.
We recognize that Emptiness is the ultimate teaching of both
Sutra and Tantra,
But without a decisive understanding of it our mind-streams
become hard as horns.
We are not capable of abiding in the Original Nature,
But we pay lip service to that view and throw cause and effect to
the wind.
Outwardly, we appear disciplined and well behaved, yet
inwardly, attachment, craving, desire and greed burn like fire.
Even if we keep our bodies secluded in the mountains,
Our minds stray ceaselessly, day and night, to the cities.
Not having gained confidence in ourselves in our experience and
practice,
Trying to guide others to accomplishment is like a fairy tale.
It is impossible to be cheated by the compassion of the Three
Jewels,
Yet due to a failure of devotion, we are worried and cheat
ourselves.
In this way, towards the Guru and holy Dharma,
Although we are free from the wrong views that arise from a lack
of trust,
Yet due to these difficult times, sentient beings act negatively and
remain unfulfilled,
Understanding and realization having fallen under the power of
destructive impulses;
Not having protected mindfulness and introspection, we
suffered a great loss.
The time has come to examine ourselves!
All our actions have merely added to our confusion,
All our thoughts were tainted by emotional afflictions;
Without seeing that even our virtuous activities were always
adulterated by sin,
Where is there to end up ultimately but in the lower realms?
Recalling them now, we become despondent;
Looking towards others just increases our sadness
Since we can find no beneficial friends to assuage our distress.
If we do not look after ourselves now,
Then when caught by the messengers of the Lord of Death
No one will be able to help us, and all hope will be lost.
Waiting with such empty hopes, is this not cheating ourselves?
Whatever transgressions, faults, downfalls and degeneration of the Dharma have occurred,
We will not keep secret now nor conceal them in the future,
before those who possess the yes of wisdom.
We confess from the depths of our hearts: With your compassion,
please forgive us.
Protect us from the terror of the precipice of the wrong path,
Inspire us so that we may follow the utterly pure path of
liberation.
We spent a life busy doing this and accomplishing that,
Yet we are empty-handed, without so much as a single result.
Abandoning now the path of knowing many things but
experiencing just suffering,
Why shouldn’t we enter the path of knowing the one thing that liberates everything?
Unfailing true benefactor, our sole hope and reliance,
Root Guru, who encompasses all refuges,
Praying to you with one-pointed devotion,
Most kind and revered supreme refuge, please hold us with your compassion:
Bless us to see our own faults.
Bless us to have no desire to examine the faults of others.
Bless us to pacify all turbulent, cruel and disturbing thoughts.
Bless us to have good thoughts arise from deep within.
Bless us to reduce craving and to increase contentment.
Bless us to remember that the time of death is uncertain.
Bless us to have no concerns at the moment of death.
Bless us to generate great confidence in the Dharma.
Bless us to practice impartial pure perception.
Bless us to develop uncontrived respect and devotion.
Bless us to reduce mental activity about unobtainable things.
Bless us to establish the Dharma in the depths of our minds.
Bless us to go with diligence to the depths of Dharma practice.
Bless us to liberate our mind-streams, which is the ultimate goal
of practice.
Bless us to be free of obstacles in our practice.
Bless us to have the results of our practice ripen immediately.
Bless us so that our contacts with others may be meaningful and
beneficial.
Bless us to destroy the duality of hope and fear.
Bless us to see the non-dual primordial wisdom.
Bless us to recognize the self-face of our own primordial
wisdom.
Bless us to abide in the secure place within ourselves.
Bless us to gain the great certainty without effort.
With the vast vajra weapon of primordial wisdom, which has
been present from the very beginning,
May the hollow existence of samsara and nirvana be cut in one instant.
In the ceaseless great bliss of Nyema’s celebration,
May we always enjoy the activity which is beyond union and
separation.
In the expanse of the all pervading equalness even the name
of suffering does not exist,
So who could there be still searching for happiness?
Where happiness and suffering have the same taste and grasping
is self-liberated
Is the Kingdom of Samantabhadra: May we attain it in this very life!

Short Confession to the Peaceful and Wrathful Deities

This is an offering from Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo. This prayer is found in the “The Great Perfection: Buddha in the Palm of the Hand the Lama’s Oral Instruction Upon the Recitation and Visualization of the Preliminary Practice – Ngyundro” from the Nam Cho cycle of teachings revealed by Vidyadhara Terton Migyur Dojre.

From Jetsunma: “There are many blessings and one can recite this prayer and mantra to dispel obstacles, increase health and all well being. Please try!”

From the Sang Dzog (Secret Perfection) Tantra, recite

The Short Confession to the

Peaceful and Wrathful Deities:

CHOM DEN DE ZHI THRO RAB JAM KYI TSHOG LA CHAG TSHAL LO

I prostrate to the vast assembly of enlightened peaceful and wrathful deities.

E MA HO   CHOG CHU DÜ ZHI KÜN GYI DAG NYID CHE

How Astonishing!    The supremely great beings of the ten directions and four times,

LAMA GYAL WA ZHI THRO YONG DZOG GONG

The entire assembly of Lamas and enlightened peaceful and wrathful deities, please be attentive.

DIR SHEG NYI DA PEDMA’I DEN LA ZHUG

Come forth and be seated on your lotus, sun and moon seats.

NYAM CHAG NA RAG JANG CHIR CHAG CHÖD ZHE

In order to cleanse all downfalls and broken commitments which result in the lowest rebirth, I bow down to you and present offerings.

YÖN TEN PHUN TSHOG LAMA NAM LA CHAG TSHAL LO

I prostrate to all the Lamas who are fully endowed with pure qualities.

MIG MED TRÖ DREL CHÖ KYI KU LA CHAG TSHAL LO

I prostrate to the unvisualized, uncontrived Dharmakaya.

DE CHEN LONG CHÖD DZOG PA’I KU LA CHAG TSHAL LO

I prostrate to the complete enjoyment, Sambhogakaya body of great bliss.

DRO GÖN CHIR YANG TRÜL PA’I KU LA CHAG TSHAL LO

I prostrate to the Nirmanakaya, which manifests in whatever way is necessary to protect beings.

NE LUG MIGYUR DORJE KU LA CHAG TSHAL LO

I prostrate to the unchanging nature of reality, the Vajra body.

YANG DAG NGÖN PAR CHANG CHUB KU LA CHAG TSHAL LO

I prostrate to the perfectly pure body of the actual Buddhanature.

NYÖN MONG ZHI DZED ZHI WA’I LHA LA CHAG TSHAL LO

I prostrate to the peaceful deities who have pacified delusion.

LOG TA TSHAR CHÖD THRO WA’I KU LA CHAG TSHAL LO

I prostrate to the wrathful deities who annihilate incorrect view.

THAB GÖN TSHE DAG JAMPAL KU LA CHAG TSHAL LO

I prostrate to the skillful protector, owner of life, Mañjushri, the body emanation.

KYÖN DREL DRA DROG PEMA’I SUNG LA CHAG TSHAL LO

I prostrate to the speech emanation, Hayagriva, of the Lotus Family, who is free from all faults.

YANG DAG DÖN DEN BENZAR THUG LA CHAG TSHAL LO

I prostrate to the mind emanation, Yang Dag, of the Vajra Family, possessor of true purpose.

DUG NGA NED SEL DÜD TSI MEN LA CHAG TSHAL LO

I prostrate to Dudtsi Men (Amrita Kundali), who clears the illness of the five poisons.

DREG PA JOM DZED PHUR PA’I LHA LA CHAG TSHAL LO

I prostrate to Vajrakilaya and his assembly, who see to the destruction of worldly spirits and forces.

JUNG WA’I NGA DAG MA MO’I TSHOG LA CHAG TSHAL LO

I prostrate to Mamo and her assembly, who control the five elements.

SA DANG LAM DZOG RIG DZIN TSHOG LA CHAG TSHAL LO

I prostrate to the assembly of pure awareness holders, who have perfected the stages and paths.

TEN PA SUNG DZED DAM CHEN NAM LA CHAG TSHAL LO

I prostrate to all the Dharma Protectors, who protect the Doctrine.

DRA GEG DÜL DZED NGAG DAG NAM LA CHAG TSHAL LO

I prostrate to the deity Ngag-Dag and his assembly, who tame enemies and obstructing forces.

GANG GI GYAL WA ZHI THRO YI

To all the enlightened peaceful and wrathful deities

KYIL KHOR LHA LA CHAG TSHAL NA

And their mandalas I pay obeisance

NYAM CHAG MA LÜ KÜN CHANG TE

And pray to cleanse all of my broken commitments without exception.

TSHAM MED NGA LA MÖ CHI GÖ

There is no doubt that the five limitless nonvirtues can be cleansed,

NA RAG NE KYANG DONG TRUG TE

And even the lower realms can be emptied from their depths,

RIG DZIN GYAL WA’I ZHING DU DRAG

And beings will be guided to the pure realms of the enlightened pure awareness beings.

DORJE SEM PA’I SANG NGAG NGÖ

Since Vajrasattva is the essential nature of the Secret Mantra,

LE DRIB NYAM DRIB DAG CHED PA’I

Cleansing all of our karmic obscurations caused by broken commitments,

KHOR WA DONG TRUG YANG NYING DA

To empty the realms of cyclic existence, recite the mantra.

OM BENZAR SATO SAMAYA  MA NU PA LA YA  BENZAR SATO TE NO PA

TIKSHTRA DRI DHO ME BHA WA

SU TO KHAYO ME BHA WA  SU PO KHAYO ME BHA WA

A NU RAKTO ME BHA WA SARWA SIDDHI ME PRA YATSHA

SARWA KARMA SU TSA ME  TSITTAM SHRI YAM KU RU HUNG

HA HA HA HA HO BAGAWAN

SARWA TATHAGATA BENZAR MA ME MUÑTSA  BENZRI BHA WA MA HA SAMAYA SATO AH

Short Confession: From Nam Chö Vajrasattva Ngondro

Vajrasattva-single

The following is a Short Confession found in the Nam Chö Ngondro practice of Vajrasattva revealed by Tertön Migyur Dorje:

In the View, I confess all commitments broken through mental activity,
Knowing the View is the all-pervasive foundational Bodhicitta;
Realizing that the View exists in non-existence,
And practicing meditation that is non-existent,
Realizing activity is neither existent nor non-existent,
The Bodhicitta is without expectation or disappointment.
All root and auxiliary committments,
Breaches and failure to uphold them, are unborn, ungenerated,
And liberated in the indivisibility of the object to confess and the confession itself.

The Importance of Samaya

The following is respectfully quoted from “Perfect Conduct: Ascertaining the Three Vows” by Dudjom Rinpoche:

6.b.1(e.4) Restoring through the general cleansing of three yogas:
As is taught in the Hasti-upapraveśya-tantra, the general cleansing yoga of the nest of remorse is the “Stirring the Depths.” By confessing in this way, there is nothing that cannot be purified. Practice this accordingly.

According to the tantra called Hasti-upapraveśya and the Vimaladeśanā contained within it, this is the sole text for practitioners of all three yogas who, having engaged on the path and then allowed their samaya to deteriorate, wish to confess and perfectly restore it. The king of all confessions is Narakakhadāpravāsaprasphotana (Stirring the Depths of Vajra Hell). Here, it is clearly taught that by offering the external gathering of substances, the internal gathering of own’s own aggregates, and the secret gathering of the awakened mind of bodhicitta on the fifteenth, thirtieth, or eighth day of the lunar month, all deteriorations will be fully purified. If that is not possible, but one still makes prostrations and recalls the deity in order to confess, purification will occur. It is important to persevere in this practice as much as possible.

As is said in this text, “To all the enlightened peaceful and wrathful deities and to their mandalas, I pay homage. I pray that I may cleanse all of my broken commitments without exception. There is no doubt that the five limitless non-virtues can be cleansed and that even the lower realms can be emptied from their depths and that beings will be led to the well-known pure realm of the enlightened beings of pure awareness. Since Vajrasattva is the essential nature of secret mantra and cleanses all of our karmic obscurations and obscurations caused by broken commitments, in order to empty the realms of cyclic existence, recite the mantra.”

Accordingly, if one just hears the names of the deities in this mandala, all deteriorations of one’s root and branch words of honor can be repaired. Signs of accomplishing the purification through confession include indications in the dream state; indications from the lama or deity; and dreams of bathing, putting on white clothing, ascending to the peak of a mountain, and the arising of the sun and moon and so forth. Until such signs arise, one should continue to make confession and apply the four remedial powers.

6.b.2 The faults of failing to restore broken words of honor:

If one fails to make confession in this life, extremely unpleasant consequences will ensue. In the next life, one will be born in the vajra hell of irreversible torment and suffering.

If mantra words of honor are left unconfessed, this becomes a cause for rebirth in what is called “vajra hell.” There is no place of greater suffering. As it says in the Guhyagarbha, “If the root or branch of words of honor deteriorate, the result is that falls to the lower realm.”

In the Prakativavictra-tantra, it states: “If a root word of honor deteriorates and no effort is made to restore it, one will fall to the vajra hell. If all the suffering of the ordinary hells were to be combined, that suffering would not equal one fraction of one hundred-thousandth of the suffering experienced in vajra hell.”

It can thus be understood that even an association with an individual who has accrued this degree of negativity can cause one’s own words of honor to deteriorate. Strong adverse effects may occur for those who even come into contact with such an individual. As it says in the Sarvasamudita, “Just as spoiled milk will taint are pure milk with which it mingles, a singe mantra practitioner who has allowed his words of honor to deteriorate can spoils the words of honor of everyone with whom he comes into contact.” Even if one precedes the breaking of samaya by discussing this with others as a means to communicate one’s intention, this too must be immediately confessed. As it says in the Mahānyūha, “If one harms lama, his or her retinue, or the vajra brothers and sisters by casually speaking negatively or by just a subtle sign of dissent, even if only in the dream state, this must be confessed and cleared from the mind. Actual and inadvertent neglect of samaya that remains unconfessed will cause one to fall headfirst into the hells.”

According to these teachings, it is clear that the loss of any root or branch word of honor is a cause for rebirth in vajra hell. However, there are differences in the degree and duration of the suffering experienced, which vary according to the severity of the downfall.

7. The benefits of guarding the words of honor:

With no deterioration, the maximum will be sixteen consecutive rebirths; the minimum will be in this life, at death, or in the intermediate period. Other benefits include accomplishment of the eight common powers; and obtainment of the seven features of a divine embrace. For this purpose, spontaneously accomplish the twofold purpose of self and others.

The words of honor are the source of all noble qualities and are the very support for the stability and presence of such qualities. As it says in the Samānya-sūtra, “Just as the planting of a seed is dependent upon the earth in order for the result to mature, the life essence of the Dharma remains within the words of honor, which fully mature into the unsurpassed state of awakening as the precious life-essence of virtue.”

Temporary benefits include the accomplishment of all that one aspires to obtain; an appearance that is pleasing to all; becoming an object of the veneration of others, including the most powerful worldly gods; and being blessed by the buddhas, bodhisattvas, dākas, dākinis, and all objects of refuge, who guard one like their own child. Having understood the importance of pure samaya by entering the path of all the buddhas, one will quickly ascend the stages of vidyādharahood to realize enlightenment.

If in one’s immediate life one is unable to persevere in the accomplishment of the two stages, yet never allows the words of honor to become defiled, then after taking sixteen successive rebirths enlightenment will be realized. This is the longest possible period of time it will take just through the force and purity of the words of honor alone. After at least seven rebirths, one will meet with the profound path of the two stages and gradually be liberated. The speediest result occurs if one maintains pure words of honor coupled with diligence in the two stages of practice, resulting in the realization of nondual vidyādharahood in that very life. Those of average sensibility will realize the illustrative clear light, which will become the actualization of absolute clear light at the time of their death, and the obtainment of nondual kāya that arises from training. If absolute clear light itself is realized, then at death the nondual kāya (arising from no-training) will be obtained. Those of common sensibility, due to their practice, faith in the lama, and strong aspiration for the pure realms, will be liberated in the bardo (antarābhava) [intermediate state] by arriving in the natural nirmānakāya pure realm.

These are not the only noble qualities that arise from pure samaya. In addition, both extraordinary and mundane spiritual attainments are obtained. The eight mundane spiritual attainments include the power to make an eye medicine, which, when applied, allows one to see without impediment or physical obstruction; speed walking; the sword accomplishment; seeing underground; making power pills; flying in space; disappearing; and extracting the essence. These eight powers are called mundane because they are still of this world and can also be accomplished by non-Buddhists. They qualify as accomplishments belonging to the paths that are both worldly and transcendental. According to Vajrayāna, these qualities are developed during the two yogic states and are thus termed common because they are not the ultimate result. In addition, the eight sovereign qualities are achieved.

Confession: His Holiness Penor Rinpoche

renor_rinpoche

The following is adapted from an oral commentary given by His Holiness in conjunction with a ceremony wherein he bestowed the bodhisattva vow upon a gathering of disciples at Namdroling in Bozeman, Montana, November 1999:

The next branch involves [making] confession. From beginningless time, throughout countless life-times, we amassed negative karma and non virtue before we encountered the dharma. As followers of the teachings in this lifetime, we still engage in non-virtue and accumulate negativity. Consider all that negativity to be like [the result of] having ingested poison. Knowing that as poison that will certainly end your life unless you apply an antidote to neutralize it, you immediately apply the antidote. That is exactly how you should feel about the nonvirtue accumulated in the past and present.

With tremendous remorse, confess your accumulation of non virtue and vow that from this time onward, even at the cost of your life, you will no longer repeat the same pattern of negativity. Then focus on the objects of refuge in the space in the front, the buddhas and bodhisattvas of the ten directions. Supplicate, knowing that in your omniscience they will always look upon you and bless and purify you. Pray to them with heartfelt faith and devotion, and with genuine remorse for your accumulation of negativity, feel confident that all negativity is completely purified. Confession is the antidote for anger. In anger, people commit many grave errors, such as even the taking of others’ lives.

 

Purification of Moral Conduct

Vajrasattva

The following is a prayer from the Bodhisattva Vow Ceremony as translated in the Nam Cho Daily Practice book from Palyul Ling International:

Prostrate to all the Tathagatas!

Prostrate to Bodhisattva Mahasattva Avalokiteshvara!

OM AH MO GHA SHI LA SAMBHARA SAMBHARA BHARA BHARA MAHASHUD DHA SATO PEMA BHI BHU KHE TE BU DZA DARA DARA SAMANTA AVALOKETE HUNG PHET SOHA (repeat 21 times)

May the Dharma of the perfection of moral self-discipline be thoroughly complete in my and all sentient being’s mind streams!

May all non-virtuous deeds and obstructions arising from discipline broken because of defilements be cleansed and purified!

May there be the fortune of discipline pleasing to the Aryas!

May I be placed in contact with the bliss of liberation not oppressed by defilement.

May proper moral self-discipline be without faults.

May moral self-discipline be possessed purely.

And the perfection of moral self-discipline without hypocrisy be completed!

May I be trained as a follower of all the Jinas,

Completing the conduct of Samantabhadra.

May my conduct of discipline be completely immaculate!

May my moral self-discipline have the sweet essence of being well-kept!

May my conduct always be without damage and without faults!

In the Posture of Honesty

An excerpt from a teaching called the Seven Limb Puja:  Viewing the Guru by Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo on October 18, 1995

We should always be in the posture of confession.  We love confession, don’t we?  It’s so Catholic!  Well, no, we do it differently here.  In Buddhism confession need not be heard by any other person.  When we first got into the teachings about confession, there was a line of people waiting to come to confess to me.  I thought I was going to have to build one of those booths! Now you know that confession need not be done in front of anyone else.  We’re talking about spiritual confession. It need not be done in front of anyone else, but one should always be in the posture of confession.  Why is that so?

First of all, we know that since beginningless time until now when we have received the teachings, we have tried to be happy but we have not known how to be happy.  Isn’t that right?  That means there’s a pretty good chance we have blown it, big time.  And judging from the fact that we are still suffering in samsara, we know that it’s true.  We know that at least 50% of the time, we have committed non-virtuous acts: at least 50% of the time, just by the law of chance.

Suppose you came to see the Guru but you didn’t change your clothes.  And you had shit all over you, really stinky.  You walked through mud and you had mud all over you, and maybe you even shit in your pants.  That’s what we did until we got here.  We just shit in our pants.  We didn’t care.  We didn’t know.  So you=ve got a load, like a kid with a slung-low diaper.  We’re walking in like that!  And we stink and we’re nasty.  If you were going to see Guru Rinpoche, don’t you think you would clean up a bit?  Do you think you might clean up a bit?

Think of confession in the same, exact way.  Think that you’re always in the face of the Guru, that you are always in the presence of that primordial nature.  Yet you know that to simply fake it and put on a quasi-pseudo spiritual face is not going to cut it because you’re not looking at a being, you’re not looking at something samsaric that wouldn’t know the difference.  You are in the presence of the primordial wisdom nature.  All things are revealed.

Being in a posture of confession doesn’t mean that you’re constantly repeating verbal confessions in your head.  That would make you nuts, especially if you’re trying to offer and pay homage at the same time!  But the posture of confession is a little bit different, and here we’re talking about subtleties.  For those of you that love to be black and white, this is going to take some cooking on the back burner for a while.  We’re talking here about a subtleness, a posture of confession.  That means that for the first time in our samsaric lives we are not trying to hide our non-virtue, and play the game of acting spiritual on top of that.  There is a natural to-the-bone honesty of realizing that you are a being wandering lost in samsara, realizing what it took to get that wandering and that lost in samsara, and realizing that that’s what you’re holding here.  With that kind of awareness, there is the profound wish for all such causes of suffering, all such non-virtue, to be purified.  So that would be a posture of confession:  I know that I have engaged in non-virtuous conduct of all kinds.  I have no illusions and I do not try to pretend or shut it down or make nicey-nice with with my superficial face.  I do not pretend that none of this has happened.  I am truly, within the deepest part of my heart, a penitent person.  I am constantly in that posture.  I am realizing that I have performed non-virtue and in the face of the Guru I wish to hold that up as though dewdrops were being held up in the sun.  And that sun has the same capacity that the sun has naturally: that by the light of midday those dewdrops will all be gone — if we don’t hide them under a rock, pretend they don’t exist and put them away somewhere.  Instead, we hold them up in the act of penitence and compassion and honesty. With complete confidence that this non-dual emptiness and luminosity, like the sun, will burn away all such poison.

Rather than being somebody who is doing shuck and jive, trying to dance, trying to pretend that we’re all goody two-shoes, rather than committing that horrible non-virtue, instead, we are in a posture of honesty.  And in that posture of honesty, the heart is relaxed and the mind is opened.  The non-virtue, in that posture, begins to evaporate like the dewdrops do.

© Jetsunma Ahkön Lhamo

Who Will Save You?

FourNobleTruths

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “AA & Buddhism”

In our program, remorse and confession are really important. Now in AA, are you supposed to confess so that you could feel like a real jerk? That really isn’t the point, is it? No, it isn’t. And it’s the same thing in Buddhadharma. The point of confession is not so that you can beat yourself or wear a hair shirt or something like that. You know, mea culpa, or whatever. It isn’t like that. It really isn’t like that. The point of confession and remorse is truth. The point of confession and remorse is that you can’t go forward while you’re hiding something. And that’s true in our practice. We can’t. Those of you who find yourself stuck in your practice, don’t you know that that’s why? You can’t go forward while you’re hiding something. We do hide things. We pretend that we are Miss Nun Goodbar, something like that. I’m trying to think of an appropriate terminology. Miss Little Angelic Nun or Mr. Wonderful Monk. None of the monks are here, that’s scary. Where are they?  Well, I guess they’re not such angels, are they?

Anyway, you pretend that you’re Miss Wonderful-I’ve-Got-It-Together Practitioner; and that’s when you stop practicing. That’s when you’re finished. Spiritually, you are finished then. You might as well dig a hole and jump in. And it’s the same with addiction, isn’t it? The minute you decide that you don’t have a problem…, and that happens to addicts actually. They’ll go through the program and they’ll sober up; and they’ll get there for a while and suddenly they’ll say, ‘Well, really I’m pretty good now. I don’t think I have a problem anymore.’ The minute you decide you don’t have a problem anymore, you’ve got a big problem because you’re about to start drinking again. You’re going to do something that’s going to find you in the same hole. Isn’t that true? Isn’t that true?

Well, it’s the same with our practice. It’s the same with our practice. So, we’re constantly involved in confession and remorse. That’s constantly a part of our practice. We’re constantly involved in dismantling cyclic existence and looking at its faults. We are constantly involved in seeing the truth. Is an addict’s life easy? Is recovery easy? No. That’s why we have to do it one day at a time. And it’s the same with our practice. One day at a time. Because it’s not easy. But the thing about it that really makes you realize you’ve got to do it is that if being a recovered alcoholic is not easy, then being a drunk is much harder, because it’s awful. It’s not acceptable. It’s simply not acceptable. Do you agree? It’s not acceptable. You can’t live like that. And it’s the same thing with samsara. To work through samsara as a proper Buddhist practitioner, to catch that boat and take it to the other side, is not easy. Honesty is required. But it makes you potent. That honesty potentizes your practice. It makes it possible. The alternative of just drifting and wandering aimlessly through samsara like a person who is blind trying to get through a room of obstacles is simply not acceptable. Experiencing death and rebirth and coming out of it with only your habitual tendency every time since time out of mind is not acceptable.

Once we have achieved a state of happiness (and that can only happen when samsara is completely dismantled), then we consider that we are moving toward enlightenment. The good news about all this is that even in Alcoholics Anonymous you never are actually totally recovered; and you never stop thinking of yourself as an addict who has to think in a certain way. The one thing that the Buddha has taught that we have to consider that takes it one step further, and that as an addict we should all consider, is that there is an end to suffering. And that end to suffering is called enlightenment. That it’s going to be hard work maybe isn’t the best news you’ve ever heard. We all want to say I want a religion in which you just call on somebody and they just save you. Everybody wants that. But that’s like an addict saying I want a drug that’s just going to feel good forever. It’s never going to happen. It’s never going to happen like that. I wish it would. I’d like to give that to you. But it’s not.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo All rights reserved

 

Confession and Remorse

avoiding buyers remorse

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “AA & Buddhism”

Now with alcohol or drugs, the nature of the beast is that you’re going to hit bottom. At some point, things are really going to fall apart. One of the additional problems with samsara is that we can be angry every day, we can be needy every day, we can be miserable beyond belief every day, but we may not bottom out until we die. And right before we die we look back at our lives and go, ‘Gee, you know I’ve been miserable and angry and needy just about every day here. And now I’m dying.’ What are you going to do about it then? You know, think about it. You’re going toes up into the bardo. And you’re going to be faced with the nature, with your mind, with your habitual tendencies.

So, the problem with samsara is even more acute. I think samsara is even more a drug than heroin. Even more a damaging substance, or damaging condition, than addiction to alcohol. And the reason why I think that is because in samsara, the way it plays out, even though things have fallen apart, even though we have bottomed out, even though we are utterly miserable, we often can’t see it because we’ve been taught that that’s simply the way it is. That’s simply the way it is.

So like an addict that changes bars in order to solve his unhappiness… And it happens, doesn’t it? You go from one kind of social scene to another kind of social scene thinking that it’ll help. Like that, we go from day to day trying to solve the problem of samsara by bending the elbow a little more. And that’s kind of how it goes. Now the situation that we find ourselves in is very similar to that. And in terms of being addicted to samsara, we have to really dismantle the delusion of samsara. We have to see the faults of it. Now, according to the Buddha’s teaching, there are certain pre-written faults of samsara that you can rely on; but I really recommend that you look very carefully at your own condition in a courageous way.

I don’t think that that can happen very easily on your own, because you’re going to miss some things, a lot of things. It is remarkable to me… For instance, let’s use a hypothetical situation that I ran into just recently. Let’s say you have a friend (and probably you’ve seen this), who has a habitual tendency of terribly destructive relationships. Do you know anybody like that? How about yourself? Terribly destructive relationships in which it never happens that your friend walks out of a relationship unscathed. They always come out of it damaged in some way. Terribly destructive relationships. It seems to be a big item here in samsara. It’s like a big seller. It’s right up there with T-shirts. Big seller. So we’re in  terribly, terribly addictive relationships. And then you see this person go into another terribly destructive relationship. The woman looks different. She smells different. She sounds different. How is it possible that she’s exactly the same as all the other ones he’s had? And you want to say to your friend, whap, whap, wham! ‘Don’t you see that you’re doing it again?’ And they don’t! They have not a clue, nary a clue. Now has that ever happened to you? Not a clue! Have you ever seen your friend do that? Have you ever seen yourself do that? It’s the same song again and again and again. So you may need to get with someone who’s a little bit more advanced at this than you are, or at least someone you can talk to, someone you can trust.

I actually recommend that for my students. I set up a system where they can do partnering with each other. And it’s a useful thing, because we can look at each other’s patterns; and we can look at where each other’s thinking has just sort of slid over a few very important facts. And we can point it out and really help each other to stay honest, because we don’t have the habit of honesty. We have the habit of patching things up and putting band-aids on them. That is our habit. We’re trying to slick by, Jack! And that’s what we’re doing. So what we need to do is to try to find a way to cut to the bone, and you may need a friend to do that with.

Now if any of you wish to engage, those of you who are my students, and those of you who are thinking of becoming students, to engage in such a practice of really dismantling your habitual tendencies, to really look at the faults of cyclic existence and to really get with that, I heartily suggest that you do so. And certainly any of you are welcome to call on any of my students, those who have been with me for some time and have some of those skills; and I’m sure they would be willing to help you. We’re set up to do that. We’re like that. And there’s nothing to be shy about. The one thing I have to tell you about this is that whatever you’ve done, I know these people, they’re worse. There’s not a rose amongst them. Although they’re looking pretty sweet these days. There’s not a rose amongst them, believe me. There’s not one amongst them that probably hasn’t done worse. So there’s nothing to be afraid of. The deal is, and here’s something that’s really important, in both Alcoholics Anonymous and in the Buddhadharma, confession and remorse are essential components.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo All rights reserved

 

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