In this extraordinary series, Geshe Tashi gives us regular updates on the Coronavirus Pandemic amongst the Tibetan diaspora in India through the lens of Sera Monastery, home to around 6,000 monks. In response to emails requesting advice on Coronavirus and Buddhist practice, he generously shares his observations, thoughts and teachings in his usual warm-hearted and accessible style.
In this episode, Geshe Tashi comments on the sixth and seventh verses from Lama Tsongkhapa’s “The Essence of a Human Life”, giving an in-depth and very approachable commentary on the logic and reasonings behind the laws of karma. Like gravity, these are natural laws: every cause will have its results, every action its consequences; and these results don’t magically appear according to our wishes, or even our favourite theories. When it comes to the natural laws of karma, the results strictly correspond with the cause.
If you are thinking of becoming a Buddhist and taking refuge vows for the first time, or if you are planning to do a retreat at some point, we expect you will find the commentary Geshe Tashi gives here on the five lay vows and the eight Mahayana precepts extremely helpful.
As part of Geshe Tashi’s teachings on the Eight Fears that Tara helps us overcome, today we look at hatred or anger. Geshe la very vividly brings the text to life, describing the psychological results of hatred as being like a forest fire that burns quickly through our good qualities and propensities, leaving us lost in the thick smoke of our conceptual fabrications.
It was a bit more of a process getting this teaching to you this time. As we mentioned in our email and as you will see, the internet was very patchy at the time of recording. Fortunately, as a back up, we had already begun using a good quality recorder that Geshe Tashi uses for our podcast series A Buddhist Life with Geshe Tashi Tsering. It hasn’t been possible to perfectly sync this audio file with the Zoom meeting recording because the internet transmission delays are not consistent, so there is no perfect match. But it has worked out okay, and at least you now have sound for the frozen sections. We hope you enjoy!
The Essence of a Human Life (verses 6 & 7)
Words of Advice for the Lay Practitioner
“From bad will come the long and unbearable pain
of the three lower realms;
from good the higher, happier realms
from which to swiftly enter the echelons of enlightenment.”
Know this and think upon it day after day.
With such thoughts make efforts in refuge,
live as best you can in the five lifelong vows,
praised by Buddha as the basis of lay life.
Take sometimes the eight daylong vows
and guard them dearly.
p.211-213 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