We will share the reading of this book entitled “A Quiet Path” written by Xi-a-rong Khenpo tonight. One of the chapters mentions about the right attitude of a practitioner and the way of practice after taking refuge. We will be going to Mtn. Wutai soon. So, I encourage you to chant the heart mantra of Manjushri Bodhisattva before going. In this book, the author mentioned about one of his teachers, Jin Wang Khenpo, who learnt from H.H Jigme Puntsok when the former was still a very young student. He did not do well in his study and he could not understand many of the teachings. So, he prayed to Manjushri Bodhisattva and chanted a few billion times of His heart mantra. Finally, he was able to read the Five Major Commentaries with ease and became a renowned Khenpo of his time. He became a great teacher who was very eloquent in his speech and could make references readily from a wide range of sources; he had assimilated the teachings of all the sutras and commentaries in his heart. He understood all the teachings after chanting the heart mantra of Manjushri Bodhisattva rigorously. I am requesting you to just chant five hundred thousand times of His heart mantra because it can help you gain a higher wisdom.
This book mentions a quality of a practitioner – kindness. Kindness is actually easy. However, many practitioners are actually more unkind than the non-practitioners. A practitioner should reflect on his own shortcomings but not do so on others; he should discipline himself but not others. There are many practitioners who like to gossip about others but never do self-reflection. The author said, a practitioner should be humble and respectful of others. A Buddhist should abstain from hurting others at all times, in both speech and action. He should not criticize other religions including the Outer Paths, let alone other schools of Buddhism. Do not criticize other schools of Buddhism, be it Hinayana, Mahayana, Vajrayana etc., for all of them were transmitted by Sakyamuni Buddha to address the different needs of the students. We take refuge in different schools of Buddhism due to our own karma; we should not disturb others in their practice – do not perturb the minds of others.
Many of our friends and relatives, due to various reasons, have not taken refuge in the Three Jewels. They are struggling hard in this illusory world to earn their living and pursue their so-called happiness. According to the author, such happiness is just the cause of suffering. Most people thought that they work for money and raise their children in order to achieve happiness in life but it turns out to be the cause of suffering instead. A practitioner seeks to let go of such worldly pursuits.
There was a lady who has good faith in the Buddha teachings and was considering taking refuge but she dropped the idea after seeing many Buddhists around her behaving poorly in their conduct. Therefore, we should be a good role model to others but not just tell others that we are a Buddhist when we still behave poorly in our conduct; you will make others lose faith in the Buddha teachings. A Buddhist who is arrogant and self-centered, who is fond of criticizing others will make others lose faith in the Buddha teachings and drop their idea of wanting to take refuge in the Three Jewels. Instead, a Buddhist should make others aspire to become a Buddhist too. Change yourself and make others feel that you are a humble and kind person; this is the kind of Buddhist that can bring positive influence to others around him including his friends and relatives, colleagues etc. Do not just be a Buddhist in name but not in action. The author said, on the path of enlightenment, only a heart of kindness can eventually blossom into a flower of true happiness; an evil mind can never blossom into a flower of kindness.
Master Tsongkhapa said, “A person who is kind at heart will live a happy life in his present and future lives. A practitioner must have a kind heart. A kind person who is firm and steady will not be far from enlightenment the moment he starts walking the path of enlightenment.” So, as long as you are firm, steady and kind, when you start doing your practice, you will not be far from the attainment of enlightenment. These are a few key points for the practice. Recitation of the sutras, chanting of the mantras, being more superior than others, and yearning to teach others or become a teacher to others are just not important. The more important point is actually about being humble, training one’s own mind, becoming compassionate and benefiting others.
A Dharma Discourse given by Acho Rinpoche on 21 Aug 2013.