Practicing Buddhism in a Pandemic – Geshe Tashi Tsering’s Coronavirus Update 8th May

Practicing Buddhism in a Pandemic – Geshe Tashi Tsering’s Coronavirus Update 8th May

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


In the first verse, Lama Tsongkhapa pays homage to Vajradhara (Sangye Dorje Chang), translated here as the Vajra-holder.  In the same way he did when commenting on Lama Tsonkhapa’s evocation of Tara at the beginning of his Words of Advice for the Lay Practitioner, Geshe Tashi asks “Who or what is Vajradhara?”


Geshe la helps us approach this question by, once again, giving us as broad a context as possible within the Buddha’s teachings, touching on Buddha Nature in sutrayana and vajrayana; working at base, path and result; the extremes of cessation and samsara; and the spiritual mechanics of having a positive relationship with a teacher.  Here is the source of Lama Tsongkhapa’s inspiration, freshly presented by Geshe la, to serve as our inspiration today.


A Harvest of Powerful Attainment (verses 1 to 3)

Prayer for Blessings of the Close Lineage


Homage to my guru, the youthful Manjushri!


I pray to the mighty Vajra-holder,

wisdom breaking samsara’s chains,

compassion discarding nirvana’s joys.

Dwelling in neither, you are protector of both.


I pray to protector Manjushri,

single manifested form of wisdom

of the treasure of knowledge of innumerable buddhas

in number more than the atoms of countless realms.


I pray at the feet of Pawo Dorje,

whose tangled webs of doubt were blown away

by noble Manjushri in actual presence,

made manifest by the force of sustained and powerful prayer.


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 14 Comments

  1. Grace Davis (Tenzin Namtrul)

    Dearest Geshe-la, Your teaching is so clear and kind. They awaken another level of understanding that goes right to the core. We’re so fortunate to have made the connection with you as our teacher and now have our kind, compassionate teacher bring all that Wisdom and Compassion straight into our living room! How fortunate. Thank you.

  2. Jane

    Dear Geshe la
    Thank you very much. It is good to be able to learn more about Je Tsong Khapa as a person and practitioner making him feel a little closer. It is lovely to hear the music of the Tibetan verses. Your birds joined in at the end. So glad all still well.
    Love to all, Jane

  3. Liz Dickson

    Dear Geshe-la, it’s very inspiring to hear you say categorically that cultivation of realisation can lead to visionary experience. Years ago I understood you to say that by repeatedly fabricating a view one would eventually spontaneously experience that view. This seemed to me like brain washing because I believed in an objective reality ‘out there’. But now I realise that repeated thought patterns can actually change one’s experience. Thanks for these wonderful teachings.

  4. Brian

    Thank you Geshela I will have to listen to this session again as so valuable – clarifies a lot of points – definitely not boring …

    My karma is catching up so many outside interruptions whilst listening this first time….

  5. Anna

    Very kind Geshe-la, I have no words to say thank you. Again and again. Quite often I tend to forget how delicious, tasty, nourishing and healing is the “Dharma food”. Thanks again for preparing such a great banquet for all of us. Thanks for your precious time, thanks for the vast and profound Dharma teachings offered in such an humble and easy going way. Very inspiring. We are very lucky.

  6. julie

    Good evening Geshe la, Again heartfelt thanks for your kindness finding the time to teach us. There’s a cuckoo, and others, calling beyond the open window here. Its nice sharing your teachings with the wild animals too. With love and gratitude. Julie

  7. Estelle Rose

    Dear Geshe La thankyou for your continued teaching.
    I understand today that Nirvana and Samsara are opposites but both equally distant from Vajradharma. I hope that’s right and will listen to the further teachings to try and understand better.
    With love Estelle Rose

  8. Joyce

    Oh there is so much to learn. Thank you Geshe Tashi. Your talks are very helpful to help understand many areas of practice – basic understanding and informative of vajrayana. I am realise from your very informative teachings I don’t have a very good understanding yet… If you get my comments (I don’t understand how this website works) I just want you to know I am finding all of these talks very beneficial.

  9. Shirley

    Tashi delek
    While I am still taking baby steps in Tibetan buddhism, I find these texts understandable and helpful; a real tangible link. I think, due to my study of buddhism, my mind is becoming much sharper, and not the other way round, as is the common view of the elderly mind, amongst many! The knowledge the ancient masters had is absolutely “mind blowing” and no doubt there is more yet to be discovered by translation. When I read the verses I was interested to find out who Pawo Dorje was, as I had never heard of him, and my research said Lama Umapa Tsondru Senge was also known as Pawo Dorje.. Let my tastebuds for the supreme food of buddhism, never become dull.

  10. Richard Boardley

    Thank you so much again, Geshe-la, for continuing to guide us through these beautiful and humble verses of Je Tsongkapa. As you say, Thubten Jinpa’s wonderfully warm biography says much about his long relationship with Manjushri, initially with Umapa as his medium.

    Your reminder of the polarity of samsara and nirvana is really helpful, using wisdom and compassion respectively as sort of antidotes to centre us onto the bodhicitta path.

  11. Sue Aldam

    Such a beautiful and interesting teaching and so clearly explained…thank you so much dear Geshe-la.

  12. Chris Swain

    Thank you so much Geshe Tashi for your continued teaching and elucidation of the writing of Je Tsongkhapa, sowing seeds which are taking root in a very practical sense. These talks are too sharply condensed to be boring – they are a bit like percolated Dharma ! Could you please explain the relationship between Vajradhara and Maha Vairocana as they both seem to be presented as the ‘Primordial Buddha’, but presumably there would only be one Primordial Buddha ? Or is it just a question of respective lineage traditions ? Thank you.

  13. Ros Williams

    Dear Geshela
    I liked very much your commentary on Lama
    Tsongkhapa’s “Harvest of Powerful Attainment.”
    It’s quite extraordinary LTK ability ( unreadable for me) to explain in a precise way reasons and proofs for the authenticity of the Prasangika- Madhyamaka view of emptiness in his Ocean of Reasoning text which is his Great commentary on Nagarjuna’s Mulamadhyamakakarika and to have depended on the wisdom apprehended in tantric texts in writing the book.- Well that was my understanding, and I am sticking to it. It kind of blows your mind the vastness of it ! Thank you dear Geshela!

Leave a Reply