states, must take rebirth again because they have not abandoned ignorance (the root of Samsara). They will fall into lower states in their next rebirth. That is why remaining like this in cyclic existence is like staying in a fire, or a nest of poisonous snakes. Do not wish or pray for samsaric happiness. Instead, please develop a sound renunciation of the causes of suffering, always wishing to be free from the circle of rebirths.

The Spiritual Master
The root of entering the path to Nirvana is the spiritual master. Stay near and rely upon him. Choose a Master who has tamed himself through having heard many teachings. He must be skilled in the practice of the Law of the Way (Tib: Tsul.trim or Discipline of Morality) and Bodhicitta, having a Pure View of Reality and Great Compassion. He should have the ability to cut the doubts of others. Then, after having received Initiation and Tantric Samaya (sacred vows and commitments) from this Lama, you should do whatever he says. As your faith and devotion grow, good qualities will be accomplished. Therefore, stay close to an excellent Lama, cherishing the opportunity to serve him.

The Lama's speech and advice are the same as the nectar of immortality. As much as you have heard, none of it should have been in vain. So, without abandoning any of it, adopt it into your own practice. Think and meditate upon his advice, because no benefit will come from merely hearing, just as water cannot quench your thirst unless you drink. For this reason, you should stay in an isolated and secluded place.

Taking refuge is the foundation of the Path and of all the vows. It distinguishes Buddhists from non-Buddhists, providing one with the protection of all gods and humans. It causes one to achieve the accumulation of all good and auspicious things in this and later lives. We should entrust our minds to the three Jewels of Refuge: Buddha, the teacher, Dharma, the protector and Sangha, the liberator. When taking Refuge, do not deceive yourself by merely mouthing the words, but develop a real confidence in the Objects of Refuge. Then, carefully guard all the commitments of the Refuge.

The main practice of the Mahayana is bodhicitta, which is the essence of the churned milk of the Holy Dharma. If there is no Bodhicitta, your practice, whether Sutra or Tantra, will be as 'essenceless' as a banana tree. Not only that, you should also remember that, wherever space pervades, there are sentient beings (who are searching for happiness). One's own rebirths, taken sequentially, are beginningless, and so we have had parents countless times. Each sentient being has been our mother and father innumerable times, and so, the amount of benefit we have received from them is inconceivable.

Therefore, we should meditate on Love and Great Compassion for all sentient beings: enemies, friends, relatives and strangers. Develop equilibrium which is free from holding some close with desire and others distant with anger. By thinking with a good heart of the benefits of others, you must use your body, speech and mind to practise virtue, always making special and noble prayers.

Developing The Pure View

  • Methods

The methods for developing the pure vision within oneself are to completely accumulate all the merits and to purify obscurations. It is extremely useful to exert yourself in these. Practise the Seven Branches, do prostrations, circumambulations, read Sutras, recite Mantras and practise the Bodhisattvas' Confession of Downfalls, which is complete with the Four Opponent Powers. Do this with diligence and all your negativities, obscurations, broken vows and downfalls will be purified. The essence of the accumulation of merit is the Mandala Offering, so you should do this also.

By joining all these accumulations of conceptualised merit with the Wisdom which realises the lack of self-nature of the three (subject, object and action), we accumulate the Collection of Wisdom. From the Collection of Merit comes the accomplishment of the Form Kayas of the Buddha, and from the Collection of Wisdom, the Dharmakaya is attained. Therefore, if you work with diligence in both purification and accumulation, the Pure View will grow within you.


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