Practicing Buddhism in a Pandemic – Geshe Tashi Tsering’s Coronavirus Update 14th May

Practicing Buddhism in a Pandemic – Geshe Tashi Tsering’s Coronavirus Update 14th May

For Mary, with love. The best of friends.


In today’s episode of Practicing Buddhism, Geshe Tashi continues his commentary on A Harvest of Powerful Attainment by Lama Tsongkhapa.


In verse 4, Geshe Tashi gave a commentary on how we should relate to a teacher.  Continuing from last episode, he comments in verse 5 on the mindset we need to cultivate as students.  Revisiting the drawbacks of being caught up in desires, he brings to our attention the link, which is so easy to miss, between contentment and joy.  Contentment, he says, brings joy; without contentment, there can be no joy.  He also draws our attention to the link between those two vital qualities of awareness – mindfulness and conscientiousness – and reminds us of the importance of those we associate with on the path.  He gives a commentary on the Three Qualities of a Qualified Student, one of our favourite teachings from the Lam Rim Chenmo.


In verse 6 he explains that we need to be familiar with the certainty of death, and the uncertainty of its coming, not just at the level of words, but at a deep down, gut level.  This will lead us to develop a deep dislike for wealth and fame, seeing both as meaningless and without purpose.  Just because we don’t consider ourselves wealthy or famous, doesn’t mean we don’t suffer from this insidious mind.  As an interesting aside, Geshe la tells us how these insights inspired Lama Tsongkhapa’s to lead an itinerant lifestyle.


A Harvest of Powerful Attainment (verses 5 & 6)

Prayer for Blessings of the Close Lineage


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.


Bless me that I develop in all naturalness

a sense of urgency with regard to time,

an utter disregard for fame and fortune

that arises from honestly contemplating upon

death’s inevitability and its unannounced arrival.


p.109 The Splendour of an Autumn Moon, Lama Tsongkhapa, trans. Gavin Kilty.


Khen Rinpoche Geshe Tashi Tsering taught in London for over 25 years and is currently Abbot of Sera Mey Monastery in Karnataka State, India.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Brian

    Always find listening to your teachings beneficial Geshela thank you.

    Devotion was always a tricky concept to acquiesce but described as effortless admiration and respect I find very helpful. Only words I realise.

    Yes in the West there is a lot of resistance to acceptance of death and old age….I was speaking to an Aunt 95yrs recently who was disappointed her children wouldn’t discuss this topic even though she broached it…emotions getting in the way…

    I didnt know Mary but can appreciate the benefit in her teaching English to yourself from which these online sessions are a direct contribution.

  2. Sandie Burland

    Dear Geshe La
    I am so grateful for these wonderful teachings and for you giving me the opportunities to examine and deepen my practice. It is good to be reminded of the good qualities of the student. I always think of HH the Dalai Lama and his saying that “Kindness is my Religion” . I strive to be kind not only to other people when the opportunities naturally arise, but to all sentient beings of the animal world. This is an important aspiration. However I think to develop that further by creating opportunities to help is also extremely important. The three qualities from today’s teachings are very worthy of developing, especially an unbiased view as it is easy to criticise those who have not shown compassion to others or who have deliberately hurt others, especially animals. Thank you so much for your kindness and for your choice of teachings. Keep safe dear teacher and I pray for your long life. Thank you for your sincerity and all your other qualities, too many to list.
    I remain a devoted student.
    Sandie, (in Hull, UK)

  3. Brenda

    Thankyou Geshe La once again.
    I was sad to hear from you that Mary has passed away. She was one of our Pilgrimage companions. I remember when she fell from a rickshaw and had to leave the group for medical treatment. I hurriedly gave her my shawl to keep her warm….and weeks later, when back in the UK, I received a parcel from her, out of the blue….with my neatly laundered shawl, plus, another beautiful new bright blue shawl. I was so touched by her thoughtfulness and generosity.
    She also told me how much she enjoyed teaching you English :))
    May this dear dharma lady have a perfect rebirth swiftly with excellent conditions.

  4. Jane

    Dear Geshe la
    Thank you very much. Such very sad news about Mary. Offering sincerest sympathies and heartfelt prayers. She was such a kind, capable and caring person. A ‘Mum’ to so many people. I can still hear her voice very clearly. It is hard to think she is no longer with us. With many thanks again, Love to all, Jane

  5. Shirley

    Tashi delek
    Thank you for another valuable teaching. We can never stop learning. To me, buddhism is a journey of discovery. Sometimes we may think we are “just there”, with resolving a particular issue, when something else reveals itself, to make us revise our thinking. I remember watching His Holiness Dalai Lama explaining that it can take eons, and those in the audience who were not shocked, quietly laughing. Death can indeed come in the blink of an eye. Years ago, I experienced just how quickly. I was sitting next to a colleague at work, and it was the start of another day at the office. We were chattering away to each other as normal, when suddenly she stopped. I spoke to her and then realised she had just passed away.

  6. Claire Chondol

    Very very sad to hear the news of Mary. We were very good friends in Jamyang. Thank you for letting us know.

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