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A Buddha does not just refer to The Buddha, the founder of the Buddhist Faith, but also includes any person who achieves buddhahood. In general, ‘Buddha’ means ‘Awakened One’, someone who has awakened from the sleep of ignorance and sees things as they really are. Moreover, Buddha has great compassion which is completely impartial, embracing all living beings without discrimination.
Eventually, through meeting an emanation of Buddha in the form of a Spiritual Guide, everyone will have the opportunity to enter the path to liberation and enlightenment. Through the force of his or her compassion, a Buddha spontaneously does whatever is appropriate to benefit others. Like the reflections of the moon that effortlessly appear in any body of still water, a Buddha’s emanations spontaneously appear wherever living beings’ minds are capable of perceiving them. Of all the ways in which a Buddha helps living beings, the supreme way is by emanation as a Spiritual Guide.
If we meet a qualified Mahayana Spiritual Guide and put into practice everything he or she teaches, we shall definitely attain full enlightenment and become a Conqueror Buddha. Buddha Shakyamuni was born as a royal prince in 624 BC in a place called Lumbini, in what is now Nepal. One night, Queen Mayadevi dreamed that a white elephant descended from heaven and entered her womb.
Later, when she gave birth to the child, instead of experiencing pain the queen experienced a special, pure vision in which she stood holding the branch of a tree with her right hand while the gods Brahma and Indra took the child painlessly from her side. When the king saw the child he felt as if all his wishes had been fulfilled and he named the young prince “Siddhartha.” He invited a Brahmin seer to make predictions about the prince’s future. However, since the time for chakravatin kings is now past it is certain that he will become a Buddha, and that his beneficial influence will pervade the thousand million worlds like the rays of the sun.
As the young prince grew up he mastered all the traditional arts and sciences without needing any instruction. The prince would take every opportunity to convey spiritual meanings and to encourage others to follow spiritual paths. By witnessing demonstrations such as this, thousands of people developed faith in the prince.
Sometimes Prince Siddhartha would go into the capital city of his father’s kingdom to see how the people lived.
These encounters left a deep impression on his mind and led him to realize that all living beings without exception have to experience the sufferings of birth, sickness, ageing and death. Seeing how all living beings are trapped in this vicious circle of suffering he felt deep compassion for them, and he developed a sincere wish to free all of them from their suffering. When the people of the Shakya kingdom realized that the prince intended to leave the palace they requested the king to arrange a marriage for him in the hope that this would cause him to change his mind.
The king agreed and soon found him a suitable bride, the daughter of a respected Shakya family, called Yasodhara.
His resolve to leave the palace and to attain enlightenment remained unchanged, but to fulfill his father’s wishes and to bring temporary benefit to the Shakya people, he agreed to marry Yasodhara.
However, even though he remained in the palace as a royal prince, he devoted all his time and energy to serving the Shakya people in whatever way he could. When he was twenty-nine years old, the prince had a vision in which all the Buddhas of the ten directions appeared to him and spoke in unison saying, “Previously you resolved to become a Conqueror Buddha so that you could help all living beings trapped in the cycle of suffering. The prince went immediately to his parents and told them of his intention: “I wish to retire to a peaceful place in the forest where I can engage in deep meditation and quickly attain full enlightenment. When his parents heard this they were shocked, and the king refused to grant his permission.
However, the prince’s determination to leave the palace and enter a life of meditation could not be shaken. After they had traveled about six miles, the prince dismounted from his horse and bade farewell to his aide.
Siddhartha then made his way to a place near Bodh Gaya in India, where he found a suitable site for meditation.
After training in this meditation for six years he realized that he was very close to attaining full enlightenment, and so he walked to Bodh Gaya where, on the full moon day of the fourth month of the lunar calendar, he seated himself beneath the Bodhi Tree in the meditation posture and vowed not to rise from meditation until he had attained perfect enlightenment.
As dusk fell, Devaputra Mara, the chief of all the demons, or maras, in this world, tried to disturb Siddhartha’s concentration by conjuring up many fearful apparitions.
Through the force of his concentration, the weapons, rocks, and mountains appeared to him as a rain of fragrant flowers, and the raging fires became like offerings of rainbow lights. Seeing that Siddhartha could not be frightened into abandoning his meditation, Devaputra Mara tried instead to distract him by manifesting countless beautiful women, but Siddhartha responded by developing even deeper concentration. Siddhartha then continued with his meditation until dawn, when he attained the varja-like concentration.
These teachings which include the Sutra of the Four Noble Truths and other discourses, are the principal source of the Hinayana, or Lesser Vehicle, of Buddhism. In the Hinayana teachings Buddha explains how to attain liberation from suffering for oneself alone, and in the Mahayana teaching he explains how to attain full enlightenment, or Buddhahood, for the sake of others.
If we integrate Buddha’s teachings into our daily life we will be able to solve all our inner problems and attain a truly peaceful mind. If we first establish peace within our minds by training in spiritual paths, outer peace will come naturally; but if we do not, world peace will never be achieved, no matter how many people campaign for it. Extensive presentations of Buddha’s teachings can also be found in Joyful Path of Good Fortune”, Ocean of Nectar, Heart of Wisdom, and Understanding the Mind. These free 20-minute drop-in sessions are a great way to relax and refresh yourself in the middle of the day. Avoid the traffic queues and hectic commute home and instead enjoy relaxing guided meditations to de-stress and unwind. An in-depth and practical explanation of one of Buddhism’s best-loved teachings, Eight Verses of Training the Mind, by the great Tibetan Bodhisattva, Langri Tangpa.
All living beings deserve to be cherished because of the tremendous kindness they have shown us. Once we had been conceived our mother kindly allowed us to stay in her womb, nourishing our body with her blood and warmth, putting up with great discomfort, and finally going through the painful ordeal of childbirth for our sake.
We came into this world naked and empty-handed and were immediately given a home, food, clothes, and everything else we needed. Through receiving a constant supply of food, drink, and care, our body gradually grew from that of a tiny helpless baby to the body we have now.
Even those who have never known their mother have received nourishment and loving care from other people.
It is because we have this present body with human faculties that we are able to enjoy all the pleasures and opportunities of human life. The fact that some of the people who help us may have no intention of doing so is irrelevant.
Moreover, the reason we are able to do a particular job is that we have received the necessary training or education from other people. Our spiritual development and the pure happiness of full enlightenment also depend upon the kindness of living beings. We try to mix our mind single-pointedly with this feeling and maintain it for as long as we can without forgetting it. In this busy world, our experiences of happiness are fleeting and short-lived, while inner peace eludes us completely.
Since we spend so much time together, and since we know the other person’s shortcomings so well, it is very easy for us to become critical and short-tempered with our partner and to blame him or her for making our life uncomfortable. A couple may genuinely love one another, but if they frequently get angry with each other the times when they are happy together will become fewer and further between.
Eventually there will come a point when before they have recovered from one row the next has already begun. In a close relationship, opportunities to get angry arise many times a day, so to prevent the build-up of bad feelings we need to deal with anger as soon as it begins to arise in our mind.
We clear away the dishes after every meal rather than waiting until the end of the month, because we do not want to live in a dirty house nor be faced with a huge, unpleasant job.
We should remember that every opportunity to develop anger is also an opportunity to develop patience.
The false belief that everyone hates him can become so overwhelming that he might even go insane, the victim of his own delusion.
Beginning with Buddha’s life story, this concise guide explains the essential elements of the Buddhist way of life, such as understanding the mind, rebirth, karma and ultimate truth, and what it means to be a Buddhist. With patience, we can accept any pain that is inflicted upon us and we can easily endure our usual troubles and indispositions.
To practise this type of patience, we need to remain continuously mindful of the dangers of anger and the benefits of patient acceptance, and, whenever anger is about to arise in our mind, we need immediately to apply the methods for eliminating it. When we are meditating on patience, we can use many different lines of reasoning to help us overcome our tendency to retaliate.
In the same way, if someone insults us or harms us, we should not get angry with him, because he is being manipulated by his deluded minds and also has no choice.
Mahamudra is the union of the most subtle mind that experiences great bliss and realizes ultimate truth – the way things actually exist. In generation stage Tantra, practitioners emphasise training in divine pride and training in clear appearance.
From beginningless time, in life after life, the basis of imputation for our I has been only a contaminated body and mind. We may ask how, if these practitioners are not yet actually Buddha Heruka, they can believe that they are; and how is it possible for them to gain the realization of divine pride if their view believing themselves to be Heruka is a mistaken view? We change our basis of imputation from contaminated to uncontaminated aggregates by training in clear appearance and divine pride. If we are normally called John, for example, we should never believe that John is Buddha Heruka, but feel that John disappeared into emptiness before we generated as Buddha Heruka. Even if we have the realization that spontaneously believes that we are Buddha Heruka we should never indicate or declare this to others, as such behaviour is inappropriate in normal society. We can practise generation stage Tantra in conjunction with the self-generation sadhana of Buddha Heruka, which is a ritual prayer for accomplishing the attainment of Buddha Heruka.
By developing and maintaining compassion and wisdom in daily life, we can transform our lives, improve our relationships with others and look behind appearances to see the way things really are.
In his Sutra teachings Buddha gives us great encouragement to accomplish the ultimate goal of human life.
Because our world, our self, our enjoyments and our activities are the nature of our mind, when our mind is impure they are impure, and when our mind becomes pure through purification practice they become pure.
We know that when our mind is impure because we are feeling angry with our friend, we see him as bad; but when our mind is pure because we are feeling affectionate love for the same friend, we see him as good.
This popular and practical best-selling manual allows us to discover for ourselves the inner peace and lightness of mind that come from meditation. Each of the twenty-one meditation practices has five parts: preparation, contemplation, meditation, dedication, and subsequent practice.
The first part, the preparatory practices, prepare us for successful meditation by purifying hindrances caused by our previous negative actions, by accumulating merit (or good fortune), and by enabling us to receive the blessings of enlightened beings.
The purpose of the second part, contemplation, or analytical meditation, is to bring to mind the object of placement meditation. When, through our contemplations, the object appears clearly, we leave our analytical meditation and concentrate on the object single-pointedly.
When we first start to meditate, our concentration is poor; we are easily distracted and often lose our object of meditation.
At the end of each session, we dedicate the merit produced by our meditation towards the attainment of enlightenment. We should not allow a gulf to develop between our meditation and our daily life, because the success of our meditation depends upon the purity of our conduct outside the meditation session. Deep experience of Dharma is the result of practical training over a long period of time, both in and out of meditation.
With an emphasis on integrating essential Buddhist teachings, especially universal love and compassion, into daily life, Transform Your Life shows how we can discover the real meaning of our human life by fulfilling our human potential and finding everlasting peace and happiness. When we arise from meditation we try to carry our feeling of compassion into the meditation break.
As mentioned earlier, external wealth cannot help us in our future lives, and even in this life it is not certain that it will bring us happiness for it is often the cause of much anxiety and can even endanger our life.
Whereas most people can go out freely whenever they choose, many wealthy and famous people need bodyguards and may even worry about being kidnapped. No matter how much we succeed in improving our external conditions, they can never bring us pure happiness nor provide real protection from suffering. If we are skillful, friends can be like treasure chests, from whom we can obtain the precious wealth of love, compassion, patience, and so forth. A mara does not need to have horns and a terrifying expression; someone who appears to be a good friend, who flatters us and leads us into meaningless activities, can be a greater obstacle to our spiritual practice.
We would be delighted to find a treasure chest buried beneath the ground or to win a large sum of money, and would consider ourself very fortunate.
Composed in the 8th century by the famous Indian Buddhist master Shantideva, this new translation, made under the guidance of Geshe Kelsang, conveys the great lucidity and poetic beauty of the original, while preserving its full impact and spiritual insight.
Kadampa Buddhism is a special presentation of Mahayana Buddhism that makes the path to enlightenment accessible to the modern world by showing clearly how we can transform our lives into the spiritual path. If we can understand well the nature and functions of Dorje Shugden, we can understand the benefits of relying upon him. Dorje Shugden does not help only Gelugpas; because he is a Buddha he helps all living beings, including non-Buddhists. If we sincerely wish to experience the benefits of relying upon Dorje Shugden, we must rely upon him constantly over a long period of time, steadily improving our connection with him.
We should understand that the principal function of a Dharma Protector is to protect our Dharma practice, not to help our mundane affairs. If we rely sincerely upon Dorje Shugden, he will arrange the conditions that are most conducive for our Dharma practice but these will not necessarily be the ones that we ourself would have chosen! One Lama called Gyara Tulku Rinpoche from Drepung Loseling Monastery wrote a prayer to Dorje Shugden expressing his gratitude.
This Lama spent many years in a country where he did not even know the language and where conditions were very difficult. By showing the way things actually exist, Geshe Kelsang skilfully explains the dream-like nature of all things, the relationship between our mind and our world, and the extent to which we create our own reality.

Another example that is often used to illustrate the meaning of emptiness is the experience of dreaming. This world may be similar to the world of our waking state or it may be quite bizarre, but in either case while we are dreaming it appears to be utterly real. If, while we are still dreaming, we try to test whether the world we are experiencing is real or not, for example by tapping the objects around us or by questioning the other people in our dream, we shall probably get a response that seems to confirm the reality of our dream surroundings. Then we instantly realize without any doubt that the world we were experiencing in our dream was deceptive and was merely an appearance to our mind.
If we check carefully, we shall realize that our waking world exists in a way that is similar to the way in which our dream world exists. Also, if we superficially test our waking world as we did our dream world to see whether it really does exist in the way that it appears, we shall again receive an apparent confirmation of our view. However, we should not take this apparent confirmation of the inherent existence of objects as conclusive, since we know that similar tests cannot reveal the actual nature of our dream world. Contemplating our own death will inspire us to use our life wisely by developing the inner refuge of spiritual realizations; otherwise we shall have no ability to protect ourself from the sufferings of death and what lies beyond. Moreover, when someone close to us is dying, such as a parent or friend, we shall be powerless to help them because we shall not know how; and we shall experience sadness and frustration at our inability to be of genuine help. On the other hand, if we base our life on a realistic awareness of our mortality we shall regard our spiritual development as far more important than the attainments of this world, and we shall view our time in this world principally as an opportunity to cultivate positive minds such as patience, love, compassion, and wisdom. Motivated by these virtuous minds we shall perform many positive actions, thereby creating the cause for future happiness. The Kadampa Teachers say that there is no use in being afraid when we are on our deathbed and about to die; the time to fear death is while we are young.
Because he has awakened from the sleep of ignorance and has removed all obstructions from his mind, he knows everything of the past, present, and future, directly and simultaneously.
He benefits all living beings without exception by emanating various forms throughout the universe, and by bestowing his blessings on their minds.
As the great Indian Buddhist scholar Nagarjuna said, there is no one who has not received help from Buddha. He has no need to think about what is the best way to help living beings – he naturally and effortlessly acts in the most beneficial way.
Through his or her teachings and immaculate example, an authentic Spiritual Guide leads his or her disciples along the spiritual path to liberation and enlightenment. We shall then be in a position to repay the kindness of all living beings by liberating them from the sufferings of samsara and leading them to the supreme bliss of Buddhahood.
The white elephant entering her womb indicated that on that very night she had conceived a child who was a pure and powerful being.
The seer examined the child with his clairvoyance and told the king, “There are signs that the boy could become either a chakravatin king, a ruler of the entire world, or a fully enlightened Buddha.
He knew sixty-four different languages, each with their own alphabet, and he was also very skilled at mathematics. At his father’s request he joined a school where, in addition to various academic subjects, he became skilled at sports such as martial arts and archery.
At one time, when he was taking part in an archery contest, he declared, “With the bow of meditative concentration I will fire the arrow of wisdom and kill the tiger of ignorance in living beings.” He then released the arrow and it flew straight through five iron tigers and seven trees before disappearing into the earth! During these visits he came into contact with many old people and sick people, and on one occasion he saw a corpse. Because he understood the laws of reincarnation he also realized that they experience these sufferings not just once, but again and again, in life after life without cessation.
Realizing that only a fully enlightened Buddha has the wisdom and the power to help all living beings in this way, he resolved to leave the palace and retire to the solitude of the forest where he would engage in profound meditation until he attained enlightenment. Prince Siddhartha, however, had no attachment to worldly pleasures because he realized that objects of attachment are like poisonous flowers, which initially appear to be attractive but eventually give rise to great pain. Once I have attained enlightenment I shall be able to repay the kindness of all living beings, and especially the great kindness that you have shown me. In the hope that the prince might change his mind, he surrounded him with a retinue of beautiful women, dancers, singer, and musicians, who day and night used their charms to please him; and in case the prince might attempt a secret escape he posted guards around the palace walls. One night he used his miracle powers to send the guards and attendants into a deep sleep while he made his escape from the palace with the help of a trusted aide. He then cut off his hair and threw it into the sky, where it was caught by the gods of the Land of the Thirty-three Heavens. There he remained, emphasizing a meditation called “space-like concentration on the Dharmakaya” in which he focused single-pointedly on the ultimate nature of all phenomena.
He manifested hosts of terrifying demons, some throwing spears, some firing arrows, some trying to burn him with fire, and some hurling boulders and even mountains at him. With this concentration, which is the very last mind of a limited being, he removed the final veils of ignorance from his mind and in the next moment became a Buddha, a fully enlightened being.
As a result of this request, Buddha rose from meditation and taught the first Wheel of Dharma.
Later, Buddha taught the second and third Wheels of Dharma, which include the Perfection of Wisdom Sutras and the Sutra Discriminating the Intention respectively.
Both traditions flourished in Asia, at first in India and then gradually in other surrounding countries, including Tibet.
The quality of life depends not upon external development or material progress, but upon the inner development of peace and happiness. They include two guided meditations and a talk explaining how these meditations can make our life happy and meaningful, and teach us how to overcome negative habits such as stress, dissatisfaction and depression. They include two guided meditations and a short talk explaining how these meditations can make our life happy and meaningful, and teach us how to overcome negative habits such as stress, dissatisfaction and depression. Clear methods are simply presented for transforming all life’s difficulties into valuable spiritual insights, for improving our relationships, and for bringing greater patience, empathy and compassion into our daily life.
While we were a helpless baby our mother protected us from danger, fed us, cleaned us, and loved us. Even simple pleasures such as going for a walk or watching a beautiful sunset can be seen to be a result of the kindness of innumerable living beings. Buddhist centres, Dharma books, and meditation courses do not arise out of thin air but are the result of the hard work and dedication of many people. Our negative states of mind, such as uncontrolled desire and anger, create endless problems for ourselves and others, and prevent us from fulfilling our deepest wishes. When we live in close contact with someone, our personalities, priorities, interests, and ways of doing things frequently clash. Unless we make a continuous effort to deal with this anger as it arises, our relationship will suffer.
In the same way, we need to make the effort to clear away the mess in our mind as soon as it appears, for if we allow it to accumulate it will become more and more difficult to deal with, and will endanger our relationship. A relationship in which there is a lot of friction and conflict of interests is also an unrivalled opportunity to erode away our self-cherishing and self-grasping, which are the real sources of all our problems. We generally assume that anger arises when we encounter a disagreeable person, but actually it is the anger already within us that transforms the person we meet into our imagined foe. Meditation is explained clearly and simply as a tool for developing qualities such as inner peace, love and patience. We begin by learning to forbear small difficulties, such as insignificant insults or minor disruptions to our routine, and then gradually to improve our patience until we are able to forbear even the greatest difficulty without getting angry.
For example, we can contemplate that if someone were to hit us with a stick, we would not get angry with the stick, because it was being wielded by the attacker and had no choice. Similarly, we can think that just as a doctor does not get angry if a feverish patient lashes out at him, so we should not get angry if confused living beings, suffering from the sickness of the delusions, harm us in any way. Those who attack us are merely the conditions whereby our karma ripens; the real cause of all the harm we receive is our own negativity.
From his practical experience, Geshe Kelsang explains how to prepare our mind for Mahamudra meditation, how to remove obstacles to successful practice, and how we can experience progressively subtler states of mind. Before training in divine pride, practitioners need to learn to perceive their body and mind as Heruka’s body and mind. Because our I is imputed upon a contaminated body and mind, whenever we develop the thought ‘I’ we simultaneously experience the ignorance of self-grasping, a mind grasping at an inherently existent ‘I’ and ‘mine’, which is the root of all our sufferings. Although these practitioners are not real Buddha Heruka, nevertheless they can believe that they are because they have changed their basis of imputation from their contaminated aggregates to the uncontaminated aggregates of Heruka. There are no inherently existent ‘I’, ‘mine’ and other phenomena; all phenomena exist as mere imputations. As mentioned above, since beginningless time in life after life until now, the basis of imputation for our I has only been contaminated aggregates of body and mind.
As Buddha explained in his Tantric teachings, first we learn to purify our body and mind by meditating on the emptiness of the body, mind and all other phenomena.
We then believe that our I, which is imputed upon Heruka’s body and mind, is Buddha Heruka. In this way we can find lasting happiness and accomplish the real meaning of our human life.
Therefore, it is because of changing our own mind from pure to impure or from impure to pure that for us our friend changes from good to bad or from bad to good. After introducing meditation – its benefits and how to begin and maintain a meditation practice – the different types of Buddhist meditation are explained clearly, showing how we can make our human life meaningful, find release from all suffering and develop minds of true love and compassion.
The instructions that explain these twenty-one meditation practices are called the “stages of the path”, or “Lamrim”. The preparatory practices are very important if we wish to gain deep experience of these meditations. We do this by considering various lines of reasoning, contemplating analogies, and reflecting on the meaning of the instructions.
Therefore, to begin with, we shall probably need to alternate between contemplation and placement meditation many times in each session. If the feeling fades, or if our mind wanders to another object, we should return to analytical meditation to bring the feeling back to mind. By training in meditation, and living in accordance with the insights and resolutions developed during meditation, eventually we shall be able to maintain a peaceful mind continuously, throughout our life. We should keep a watch over our mind at all times by applying mindfulness, alertness, and conscientiousness; and we should try to abandon whatever bad habits we may have. Therefore, we should practise steadily and gently, without being in a hurry to see results.
Engaging in the preparatory practices is like preparing the field by removing obstacles caused by past negative actions, making it fertile with merit, and watering it with the blessings of the holy beings. Whenever we encounter anyone we should recall how they are suffering and develop compassion for them. Rich people have particular worries that poor people never have; for example they often worry about thieves, about investments and interest rates, and about losing their money and social status. For our friends to function in this way, however, our love for them must be free from attachment. Whether our friends are precious treasures or maras depends entirely upon us; if we are sincerely practising patience, compassion, and love they can be like priceless jewels, but if we are often getting angry with them they can become maras.
However, if we consider the deceptiveness of external wealth and the superiority of the inner wealth of virtue, how much more fortunate should we feel whenever we meet another living being, the potential source of limitless inner wealth? Reading these verses slowly, while contemplating their meaning, has a profoundly liberating effect on the mind. In this book Geshe Kelsang, a meditation master of this living tradition, explains two essential spiritual practices. Dorje Shugden always helps, guides, and protects pure and faithful practitioners by granting blessings, increasing their wisdom, fulfilling their wishes, and bestowing success on all their virtuous activities. The sun benefits even those born blind, giving them warmth and ripening the crops that become their food; but should they gain their sight, how much more obvious its benefit would be! Bearing this in mind we should not become discouraged if we do not suddenly become very wealthy, for wealth does not necessarily help spiritual practice and can be a great distraction. Dorje Shugden will bless our minds to help us transform difficult situations into the spiritual path, and he will open the wisdom eyes of his faithful followers, enabling them always to make the right decisions. Through studying, contemplating and meditating on this Sutra we can gain a perfect understanding of the nature of reality, overcome hindrances and difficulties in our daily life and finally overcome the obstacles preventing our attaining the perfect happiness of enlightenment.
It is quite rare to have the slightest suspicion that what we are experiencing is just a dream. It is quite clear once we are awake that what we experience in a dream does not exist from its own side but depends completely upon our mind. Like the dream world, our waking world appears vividly to us and seems to have its own existence independent of our mind. If we tap the objects around us they will appear to be quite solid and real, and if we ask other people they will say that they are seeing the same objects in the same way as we do.
To understand the true nature of our waking world we must investigate and meditate deeply, using the type of analysis already described. Once we realize emptiness we see clearly and without any doubt that the world as we experienced it before was deceptive and false. This is the simplest, most obvious truth of our existence, yet very few of us have really come to terms with this fact. Preparing for death is one of the kindest and wisest things we can do for both ourself and others. All that we can take with us from one life to the next are the imprints of the positive and negative actions we have created. When the time of our death comes we shall be able to pass away without fear or regret, our mind empowered by the virtuous karma we have created.
There are many people who have become Buddhas in the past, and many people will become Buddhas in the future. Through receiving Buddha’s blessings, all being, even the lowliest animals, sometimes develop peaceful and virtuous states of mind. With nothing left to obscure his mind, he sees all phenomena throughout the universe as clearly as he sees a jewel held in the palm of his hand.
Just as the sun does not need to motivate itself to radiate light and heat but does so simply because light and heat are its very nature, so a Buddha does not need to motivate himself to benefit others but does so simply because being beneficial is his very nature. The elephant’s descending from heaven indicated that her child came from Tushita heaven, the Pure Land of Buddha Maitreya. He once told his father that he could count all the atoms in the world in the time it takes to draw a single breath. All the problems we experience during daily life originate from ignorance, and the method for eliminating ignorance is to practice Dharma.

For example, in the past many Buddhists lived in poor and underdeveloped countries, but they were able to find pure, lasting happiness by practicing what Buddha had taught. For centuries, these methods have brought lasting peace, inspiration and serenity to countless people in the East. Our skills and abilities all come from the kindness of others; we had to be taught how to eat, how to walk, how to talk, and how to read and write.
Rather than focusing on their motivation, which in any case we do not know, we should focus on the practical benefit we receive. We may have the use of a car, but we had to buy the car, and now we have to pay for petrol, tax, and insurance.
We are all interconnected in a web of kindness from which it is impossible to separate ourself.
Our opportunity to read, contemplate, and meditate on Buddha’s teachings depends entirely upon the kindness of others.
Our sense that we are an island, an independent, self-sufficient individual, bears no relation to reality.
Geshe Kelsang begins by presenting Buddha’s popular teaching on the Four Noble Truths, which offers a clear and simple solution to all our problems, guiding us to an oasis of peace within our hearts. By practicing the instructions on patience explained here, we can transform our relationships into opportunities for spiritual growth. Someone controlled by their anger lives within a paranoid view of the world, surrounded by enemies of his or her own creation. The emphasis throughout is on the practical application of Buddhist ideas and practice to finding solutions to everyday problems.
With patience, we maintain an inner peace and tranquility that allows spiritual realizations to grow. There are many special lines of reasoning such as these to be found in Joyful Path of Good Fortune, Meaningful to Behold, and Transform Your Life.
If, in such circumstances, we retaliate, we simply create more negative karma and so we will have to suffer even more harm in the future. By explaining how to uncover and purify the deepest level of our mind and to use this very subtle blissful mind to meditate on ultimate truth, he shows how we can destroy all our negative minds at their very root and quickly reach the state of full enlightenment.
Having accomplished this, they then use their imagined Heruka’s body and mind as the basis of imputation for their ‘I’ and develop the thought ‘I am Buddha Heruka.’ They then meditate on this divine pride with single-pointed concentration. However, for qualified Tantric practitioners, their deep realization of divine pride prevents the ignorance of self-grasping from arising so there is no basis for their experiencing suffering; they will enjoy their pure environment, body, enjoyments and mind of Heruka.
Believing themselves to be Buddha Heruka is not a mistaken view because it is non-deceptive and arises from the wisdom realizing that the inherently existent ‘I’ and ‘mine’ do not exist.
Because the basis of imputation for our I is contaminated by the poison of self-grasping ignorance, we experience the endless cycle of suffering. In our previous lives we took countless rebirths, and each time the basis of imputation for our I was different. Perceiving only emptiness, we then generate ourself as an enlightened Deity such as Heruka.
This belief is not a mistaken view, because it arises from wisdom, whereas mistaken views necessarily arise from ignorance. The realizations of divine pride and clear appearance are inner experiences that have the power to control our delusions, and from which pure actions will naturally develop.
With compassion and wisdom, like the two wings of a bird, we can quickly reach the enlightened world of a Buddha. Modern Buddhism reveals how all aspects of Buddhism – from the most basic to the most profound – can be applied practically to solve our daily problems and to experience deeper inner peace and happiness. Tantra, also known as ‘Secret Mantra’ or ‘Vajrayana’, is a special method to purify our world, our self, our enjoyments and our activities; and if we put this method into practice we shall very quickly attain enlightenment. The subtle mistaken appearance of our mind cannot be purified through the practice of Sutra alone; we need to engage in the practice of Highest Yoga Tantra. This indicates that everything that is good, bad or neutral for us is a projection of our mind and has no existence outside our mind. By practising these meditations, which together form the entire Buddhist path to enlightenment, we can experience increasingly peaceful and more beneficial states of mind, transform our daily lives, fulfil our spiritual potential, and find lasting happiness.
The realizations of these meditations are the actual spiritual paths that lead us to the great liberation of full enlightenment. For this purpose, we can begin our meditation with Prayers for Meditation, which can be found in Appendix I.
It is helpful to memorize the contemplations given in each section so that we can meditate without having to look at the text. For example, if we are meditating on compassion, we begin by contemplating the various sufferings experienced by living beings until a strong feeling of compassion arises in our heart.
When the feeling of compassion has been restored, we once again leave our analytical meditation and hold the feeling with single-pointed concentration. More detailed instructions on the contemplations and on meditation in general can be found in Transform Your Life and Joyful Path of Good Fortune. By reciting the dedication prayers sincerely at the end of each meditation session, we ensure that the merit we created by meditating is not wasted but acts as a cause of enlightenment. It is important to remember that Dharma practice is not confined to our activities during the meditation session; it should permeate our whole life. Contemplation and meditation are like sowing good seeds, and dedication and subsequent practice are the methods for ripening our harvest of Dharma realizations. The higher up we are in the world the further we have to fall; it is safer to be nearer the bottom.
Instead of striving to obtain external wealth it would be far better if we sought the internal wealth of virtue, for, unlike external wealth, this can never deceive us and will definitely bring us the peace and happiness we desire.
If our love for our friends is mixed with strong attachment it will be conditional upon their behaving in ways that please us, and, as soon as they do something we disapprove of, our liking for them may turn to anger. No one is a mara from his or her own side, but if we allow people to stimulate in us deluded minds such as anger, strong attachment, or self-cherishing we transform them into maras for us.
For a sincere, compassionate practitioner, just seeing other living beings, speaking with them, or merely thinking about them is like finding buried treasure.
The poem invokes special positive states of mind, moves us from suffering and conflict to happiness and peace, and gradually introduces us to the entire Mahayana Buddhist path to enlightenment.
The first is a special meditation practice through which we can receive blessings and gain the realizations of the path to enlightenment.
In a similar way, although Dorje Shugden protects even those who do not make an effort to rely upon him, when our eyes of faith in him open and we rely upon him sincerely we will gradually become more aware of the help we receive from him.
Although physically they may find themselves alone, inwardly those who put their trust in him will never be apart from a powerful ally and a wise and compassionate guide. He realized that all his spiritual progress, happiness, health, and success came from Dorje Shugden and not from himself. We may travel to colourful lands, meet beautiful or terrifying people, engage in various activities, and as a result experience great pleasure or suffering and pain. The world we inhabit in our dream seems to have its own existence completely independent of our mind, and we respond to the world in our normal way, with desire, anger, fear, and so on.
For example, if we dream of an elephant, the ‘dream elephant’ is merely an appearance to our mind and cannot be found inside our bedroom or elsewhere.
Just as in the dream, we believe this appearance to be true and respond with desire, anger, fear, and so on. When by these means we realize emptiness we shall understand that objects such as our body do not exist from their own side. It appeared to have its own inherent existence, but having understood emptiness we realize that it is completely empty of inherent existence and depends upon our mind. This inspiring book helps us to make the most of our human life, to prepare for death without fear or denial, and to help others who are dying. We came from our previous life, and in a few years, or a few days, we shall move on to our next life. If we ignore death we shall waste our life working for things that we shall only have to leave behind, creating many negative actions in the process and having to travel on to our next life with nothing but a heavy burden of negative karma.
While they are young they think ‘I shall not die’, and they live recklessly without concern for death; but when death comes they are terrified.
Unless we are a Buddha ourself we cannot possibly say who or what is an emanation of a Buddha. Now, with this book, Geshe Kelsang shares the immeasurably rich insight of this ancient wisdom to help us find greater happiness and meaning in our busy, modern lives. We did not bring it with us from our previous life – it developed from the union of our father’s sperm and mother’s ovum.
All the facilities we take for granted, such as houses, cars, roads, shops, schools, hospitals, and cinemas, are produced solely through others’ kindness.
Everyone who contributes in any way towards our happiness and well-being is deserving of our gratitude and respect. Everything we have and everything we enjoy, including our very life, is due to the kindness of others. Moreover, as explained later, without living beings to give to, to test our patience, or to develop compassion for, we could never develop the virtuous qualities needed to attain enlightenment. It is closer to the truth to picture ourself as a cell in the vast body of life, distinct yet intimately bound up with all living beings. He then focuses in particular on overcoming the problem of anger, learning how to develop and maintain patience when faced with even the most difficult circumstances. Those interested in Buddhism and meditation will find this book a rich source of guidance and inspiration. Chandrakirti says that if we practise patience we will have a beautiful form in the future, and we will become a holy being with high realizations.
Through training in this meditation they will gain a deep realization of divine pride, which spontaneously believes that they are Heruka. Their realization of divine pride that spontaneously believes themselves to be Heruka therefore has the power to prevent the ignorance of self-grasping, the root of samsara, from arising.
To free ourself from suffering permanently we therefore need to change our basis of imputation from contaminated aggregates to uncontaminated aggregates. When we took a human rebirth our basis of imputation was a human body and mind, and when we took an animal rebirth our basis of imputation was an animal’s body and mind.
We then learn to perceive clearly our body and mind as Heruka’s body and mind, our world as Heruka’s Pure Land, and all those around us as enlightened Heroes and Heroines. The realization of divine pride arises from wisdom and is a powerful method for accumulating great merit and wisdom. There is therefore no basis for us to show inappropriate behaviour; we must continue to engage in our daily activities and communicate with others as normal. An inspiring handbook of daily practice that is perfectly suited for those seeking solutions within Buddhism, as well as for encouraging practitioners of all faiths to deepen their understanding and practice of the spiritual path.
As explained in Part One, our world does not exist from its own side; like a dream world, it is a mere appearance to our mind. When we completely purify our mind through Tantric practice, our world, our self, our enjoyments and our activities also become completely pure – this is the state of enlightenment. Through practising Tantra we shall completely purify our mind and thus experience the complete purity of our world, our self, our enjoyments and our activities – the ‘four complete purities’. This is because the compassion we experience upon meeting others is a supreme inner wealth that is an inexhaustible source of benefit for us in both this and future lives. In fact, the most common objects of our anger are often our friends, not our enemies or strangers!
All their encounters with other people serve to enhance their compassion, and even everyday activities such as shopping or chatting to friends become causes of enlightenment.
The second is meditation on the Buddha of Wisdom in the aspect of a Dharma Protector, whereby we can gain the inner strength needed to overcome all obstacles to our spiritual practice.
In fact, Buddha is sometimes called the ‘Awakened One’ because he has awakened from the ‘sleep’ of ignorance.
When we travel by bus or car we take the roads for granted, but many people worked very hard to build them and make them safe for us to use.
If we had to give back everything that others have given us, we would have nothing left at all. Even in this life, when we were a baby our basis of imputation was a baby’s body and mind, when we were a teenager our basis of imputation was a teenager’s body and mind, and when we grow old our basis of imputation will be an old person’s body and mind. In dreams we can see and touch our dream world, but when we wake up we realize that it was simply a projection of our mind and had no existence outside our mind. Attaining enlightenment is therefore very simple; all we need to do is apply effort to purifying our mind.
Nevertheless our world functions, following its own apparent rules in accordance with the laws of cause and effect, just as our dream world functions in its own way. It is true that generally we have to work for our money, but it is others who employ us or buy our goods, and so indirectly it is they who provide us with money.
The idea that it is possible to secure our own welfare whilst neglecting that of others, or even at the expense of others, is completely unrealistic.
Perceiving our body and mind as the uncontaminated aggregates of Heruka’s body and mind, we develop the thought ‘I am Buddha Heruka’. In the same way, the world we see when we are awake is simply a projection of our mind and has no existence outside our mind. We have never changed our basis of imputation from contaminated to uncontaminated aggregates. We then meditate on this divine pride continually with single-pointed concentration until we gain a deep realization of divine pride that spontaneously believes we are Buddha Heruka. At this time we have changed our basis of imputation from contaminated to uncontaminated aggregates.
Through perceiving any of the parts of the car we naturally develop the thought ‘This is the car’. Similarly, our body and mind are not our I or self but are the basis of imputation for our I or self. Without a basis of imputation things cannot exist; everything depends upon its basis of imputation.

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