In today’s episode of Practicing Buddhism, Geshe Tashi continues his commentary on A Harvest of Powerful Attainment by Lama Tsongkhapa.
Geshe Tashi reviews the first three verses where Lama Tsongkhapa invokes blessings, explaining how this “close lineage” worked for Lama Tsongkhapa, with Pawo Dorje or Lama Umapa making introductions to Manjushri on his behalf.
Verse 4 deals with our relationship with all our spiritual teachers, who together are the source or root of all our good qualities. How can we best relate to our spiritual teachers? Geshe la gives a fuller translation here than the text can offer. In place of “devotion”, the original Tibetan pinpoints two distinct mental states, aspiration and respect. An aspiration to have the same qualities as our teachers, and a respect for them that is not couched in submission, but rather suffused with a sense of joy.
In the first two lines of a richly packed verse 5, Geshe la again gives us a fuller translation and commentary from the original text, highlighting the basic necessities or ingredients required for spiritual success. Here he goes to the heart of a chief concern many of us have, how can we find more time for practice, what practical steps can we take? And as students, what qualities are we aiming to cultivate to make us fit for purpose? How do we approach contentment? Using the analogy of a fertile field, he shows us what it looks like to have a mind that we have tamed or mastered.
Here we have a “how to” manual from the fourteenth century, presented in its original verse form, and unlocked by a Tibetan master into twenty first century colloquial English. What more can we ask for?
A Harvest of Powerful Attainment (verses 4 &5)
Prayer for Blessings of the Close Lineage
By merely calling him to mind,
bless me that I develop for all time,
effortless devotion toward my master most kind,
source of all virtue, worldly and beyond.
Bless me that I be of few desires, at peace, a mind controlled,
of sincere quest for freedom, honest in speech,
practiced in awareness, reliant upon the best of friends,
and of pure view that falls not to bias.
p.111 The Splendour of an Autumn Moon, Lama Tsongkhapa, trans. Gavin Kilty.
We have heard from Geshe Tashi that His Holiness the Dalai Lama will be teaching live online this weekend and it will be hosted on his own website here. An early start for those of us in the U.K., but we are hoping the teachings will be posted on his YouTube site. We’ll let you know if and when we know more. Because of this, we most likely won’t be hosting a teaching ourselves over the weekend.
Khen Rinpoche Geshe Tashi Tsering taught in London for over 25 years and is currently Abbot of Sera Mey Monastery in Karnataka State, India.