Practising Buddhism in a Pandemic – Geshe Tashi Tsering’s Coronavirus Update 25th May.

Practising Buddhism in a Pandemic – Geshe Tashi Tsering’s Coronavirus Update 25th May.

In the Practising Buddhism in a Pandemic section, Geshe Tashi once again gives us an overview of the whole text, A Harvest of Powerful Attainment by Lama Tsongkhapa.


The first three verses are paying homage.

Verses four and five are cultivating a relationship with a teacher, and preparing ourselves to receive the teachings.

Verses six, seven and eight are the main body of the text and correspond to the Three Principals of the Path.  Here in verse six we have the shared vehicle of renunciation (definite emergence) together with the Four Noble Truths and the 37 Aspects of Enlightenment.  These are the foundations for the core practices of the bodhisattva vehicle, which are: compassion and bodhichitta (verse seven); and right view and the understanding of dependent arising (verse eight).


Now we come to verse nine, which is the conclusion to the text, and traditionally two verses.  Geshe la points out that Lama Tsongkhapa, already very well known by now, is clearly analysing his own mind to make sure his motives and intentions are not polluted by these five damaging mental states:


1.     Giving teachings and expecting something profitable in return

2.     Giving teachings and hoping to become famous, or well known

3.     Having a motivation to increase your followers

4.     Hoping for material wealth

5.     Expecting reverence, honour and respect


Our causal motivations, intentions and actions should “become instead causes for peerless Buddhahood.”  In the years we’ve known Geshe la, we’ve noticed how carefully he watches his mind and his speech around these five areas, even to his own apparent detriment.  Here we benefit from his experience when he says that it is important to look for ourselves to see if these unhealthy mental states are creeping in.  They are very clever, he says, and will arise in a form that appears to support us.  Instead, however, they could ruin the short time for practice that we have.

Verse ten is the final verse and dedication.  What is the meaning of blessings?  What does “by the truth of unfailing dependent arising” mean?  Geshe la translates from the Tibetan, giving us a word by word commentary.


A Harvest of Powerful Attainment (verses 9 & 10)

Prayer for Blessings of the Close Lineage


I pray that every virtue of others and myself,

symbolised by the virtue of this prayer,

will never ripen – life after life – even for an instant,

as worldly profit, fame, attendants, wealth, adoration,

all of which are in discord with highest enlightenment,

but become instead causes for peerless Buddhahood.


By the blessings of the awe-inspiring buddhas and bodhisattvas,

by the truth of unfailing dependent arising,

by the force of my wholehearted sincerity,

may this prayer be realised.


p.113 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 9 Comments

  1. jane

    Dear Geshe la
    Many, many thanks. Am so happy we could be introduced to these beautiful verses and echoing Alison, your words at Mary’s funeral offered so much comfort and inspiration for a life very well lived.
    Crows are very intelligent – in fact many birds, not at all bird brained. Maybe they are helping the monkey to exercise.
    Love to all Jane

  2. Alison W

    Dear Geshe-la,
    Thank you for another wonderful series of teachings which I’ll return to again and again. They are indeed blessings. And the many helpful pointers, interspersed with stories, and jokes and laughter – the best medicine to get through lockdown (or should that be a tonic?)
    Love Alison
    And thank you too for your kind and beautiful words which we listened to yesterday at Mary Curtin’s funeral.

  3. Brian

    Dear Geshela thanks for continuing with series in the Pandemic. I seem to be falling behind actually viewing the sessions…..I anticipate going back over the prior sessions as they are proving so beneficial….whatever future texts you choose will be helpful I’m sure….so grateful you can fit these sessions into your duties at Sera..

  4. Shirley

    Tashi delek
    You have done an excellent job of thoroughly explaining this valuable spiritual food. I look forward to many more “feasts”.
    Thank you.

  5. Galia Saouma

    Such a profound and poetic text which summarizes key elements of the path. We are really privileged to benefit from you kindness and generosity, You nurture our mind like a loving mother.
    Thank you, and am always looking forward to the next gifts that you shall unveil soon.

  6. Richard Boardley

    Dear Geshe-la – again, thanks so much for this wonderful series of Dharma talks. As well as being really practical and informative, they are warm, cheerful and uplifting. Kindest, Richard

    1. Brenda

      Dear Geshe La,
      Again thankyou for finding the time to be with us. As others have said, you blend Tsong Khapa’s wisdom with a light touch of humour and your personal anecdotes.
      We’ll remember not to curtsy to you when we meet again!
      Warmest wishes to you and everyone there in your care.
      With love, brenda

  7. Jane Flower

    Such a lovely morning with Geshe Tashi, wisdom and laughter great lesson. Thank you
    Jane ?❤

Leave a Reply