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 the Practicing Buddhism section, Geshe Tashi begins by reviewing Verse 10 of Lama Tsongkhapa’s “Essence of a Human Life”. He guides us in setting up the preliminaries for a meditation session, once again leading us through a Seven Limb Practice. In verse 11 he gives us a sobering commentary on the impermanence of our situation: in the end, we can only rely on the teachings. In Verse 12 he brings to our attention the three main phases of our life and how, without determination from our side, each phase will conspire to prevent us from our practice.
The sixth fear that Tara helps us overcome is miserliness. Such a state of mind locks us firmly in the never-ending prison of cyclic existence. We need to practice generosity, not as a cultural reflex, but actively, intentionally, with mindful awareness.
Once again, Geshe la ends with the Praises to 21 Taras followed by two verses of dedication.
The Essence of a Human Life (verses 11 & 12)
Words of Advice for the Lay Practitioner
To conclude: you are born alone, die alone,
friends and relations are therefore unreliable;
Dharma alone is the supreme reliance.
This short life is over, gone in a flash.
Realise that, come what may, now is the time
to find happiness everlasting.
Do not leave this precious human life empty-handed.
p.215 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.