The Four Convictions of Renunciation

If possible, immediately after you wake up in the morning, or otherwise, whenever you have the chance, contemplate the meaning of the following words:

Why is it that no matter where sentient beings dwell—whether in the sky above, the earth below, in the ground, the ocean or on dry land—even though we all strive for only happiness and freedom from suffering, in cyclic existence no one is able to fulfil their desires? By just recognising that all phenomena are merely dependent arisings, then I will naturally realise that all causes and effects are interdependent. With the knowledge that satisfaction and suffering are both dependent on causes and conditions, may I be skilled in what to adopt and what to discard, allowing me to find true happiness.

The root of all happiness is bringing benefit to others and attaining immeasurable freedom. The root of all suffering is attachment and clinging. Therefore, the more I reduce my attachment, the more I will discover happiness and freedom. Just like excellent food that is filled with poison, a bee working tirelessly for honey, a moth killed by a candle’s flame, or a fish rushing towards a hook, this samsaric pleasure keeps me bound to Samsara. May I reduce my attachment to this cycle of existence.

A precious human birth is extremely hard to find. If taken to heart, I can attain everlasting happiness. If wasted, this rare opportunity will be destroyed. May I embrace the essence of this sublime treasure.

Like a butter lamp in the wind, this human life is precarious. The time of death is uncertain and the conditions leading to death are many. Conditions for survival cannot be guaranteed. May I not be lazy or procrastinate in my practice.

Going for Refuge

However, in order to achieve these aspirations, you are definitely going to need to establish the right causes and conditions for accumulating an excellent field of virtue—a supreme protector and refuge. Therefore, recite the following:

Common Refuge

I take refuge in the Perfect Buddhas—teachers of the supreme path and victors over the gross and subtle maras of Samsara. For myself and others, I pray for protection from the uncontrollable cycle of birth, ageing, sickness and death.

I take refuge in the Sacred Dharma—the ultimate meaning of the two truths, the natural state and the actual refuge. May I give rise to a mind of awareness that is tamed and pacified by these excellent teachings.

I take refuge in the Noble Assembly who realise the excellent and profound meaning—guiding companions on this virtuous path. May I develop their qualities of faith, diligence, mindfulness, determination, gentleness, concentration and wisdom.

Recite these verses three times.

Uncommon Refuge

I go for refuge to the Sovereign Lords—the glorious and excellent masters. Grant your blessings so that I may realise the quick path of the Vajrayana’s essential point.

I go for refuge to Glorious Kalachakra—the mandala embodying a host of yidam deities. Grant your blessings so that I may attain the common and uncommon siddhis of the profound Vajrayana.

I go for refuge to the Dakas and Dakinis of the Kechari Realm. Grant me your blessings of a companion with whom to discover the unrivalled secret and profound.

I go for refuge to the authentic Dharma Protectors. Grant your blessings so that I may be protected from the endless outer and inner obstacles to realising the teachings.

Recite these verses three times.

Generating Bodhicitta

Read through the following words slowly, reflecting on their meaning:

All sentient beings throughout time and space have been my mothers, fathers, sons and daughters, my partners and my friends. Over and over again they have shown me every kindness and I am forever in their debt. These dear relatives desire happiness but do not know how to create the causes for happiness, instead creating only the causes for suffering. Even though they wish to avoid suffering, they do not know how to abandon the causes of suffering, instead working in contradiction to their heart’s desires. May I feel great compassion for these beings!

Rest your mind in a feeling of empathy for the suffering of sentient beings.

Cultivating the Four Immeasurables

May all my dear sentient beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May all my dear sentient beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May all my dear sentient beings never be separated from the happiness that is free from suffering.
May all my dear sentient beings abide in the great equanimity that is free from bias and attachments.

Recite these lines as many times as you can until the feelings of love and compassion arise.

Arousing the Aspiration for Enlightenment

Then recite the following verses slowly, contemplating their meaning.

How wonderful it would be if all sentient beings, including my friends, enemies and strangers, could reach the state of Buddhahood—the ultimate and everlasting happiness that is the fulfilment of the two benefits. May it be so! I will make it so!

I take on the responsibility to attain the state of a fully enlightened Buddha. To this end I will accomplish the two ocean-like accumulations by engaging in limitless and unsurpassable bodhisattva conducts, such as the six perfections and the four means of attracting others.

For their sake, from this day forward I will use each day to increase my merits and virtues. I will abandon even the smallest of non-virtuous actions and all harmful behaviour.

In particular I will accept the unsurpassable experience of unerring kindness and compassion—the perfect cause for the pervasive equanimity that abandons the peace and happiness of Nirvana.

May I especially develop the capacity to make manifest the body of the Glorious Kalachakra Yab-Yum in union—the singular coexistent nature, the peace and harmony that is ultimately the final form of love and compassion.

Visualisation and Mantra Recitation

Now visualise that the whole universe, including yourself, becomes more and more subtle in nature, eventually dissolving completely. Rest single-pointedly in the awareness that this vivid and fresh state of mind is inseparable from emptiness. Stay like this for at least five seconds or as long as you can.

From within this emptiness arises the sounds of:

OM HA KYA MA LA WA RA YANG SOHA

Recite this mantra while resting your mind single-pointedly on the sound of your breath. Remain like this for as long as you like.

When you are ready to finish your session, imagine that from the sound generated by your mantra recitation, the universe gradually begins to manifest, starting with the four elements until everything animate and inanimate appears once again.

Dedications

Now dedicate your virtue by reciting the following aspirations:

May all the virtue that I have just created, as well all the virtues that have been accumulated by myself and others, including the buddhas, bodhisattvas, pratyekas, shravakas, and all ordinary people throughout the three times, give rise to love and compassion and become the roots of unexcelled benefits and happiness.

May we all experience the results that are conducive to a state of genuine peace and harmony—transcending our ordinary existence so that we may be endowed with a truly meaningful life. Well before death arrives, may we realise the nature of impermanence and the importance of this opportunity. Not only that, may we also have the good fortune to achieve its attainment.

May we be endowed with a portion of the great richness of the Northern Land of Shambhala—the pure realm of ultimate peace and harmony.

From the moment of birth may we always rely properly on an authentic spiritual master. In this way may we be able to progress well with the teachings and practices of the tantric path.

May we thoroughly accomplish all the pure practices of both the generation and completion stages of the Glorious Kalachakra. Within this very life may we ultimately manifest the unsurpassable Vajra-Body of Empty-Form.

As Buddha, may we emanate innumerable form bodies and spontaneously bring limitless benefit to all beings for as long as Samsara remains.

Due to the power of this pure and virtuous effort, after casting away this body may we be reborn into the retinue of the Kalki Kings of Shambhala and be able to accomplish all of the Kalachakra teachings.

If you have time, you should now recite the aspiration prayer “Self-Liberation from Death through the Sublime Realm of Shambhala”.

This short practice was composed by Shar Khentrul Jamphel Lodrö in the third month of the year 2016, in the city of Melbourne on the great island of Australia. The text was translated by Joe Flumerfelt.

Khentrul Rinpoché Jamphel Lodrö

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