Friday, July 31, 2015

Tibetan Prophecy: One Decade Left

The singular work entitled The Light That Makes Things Clear: A Prophecy of Things to Come, was revealed by the late 'Jam-byangs mKhyen-brtse Chos-kyi bLo-gros (1896-1959), widely known and celebrated as the "Master of Masters." It was first translated into English in 1988, by Karma gSungrab rGya-mtsho, with the admonition that it be freely reproduced. We have elected to publish this work as received, with only slight editorial revision, as the translator prepared his version with the assistance of the late Khyentse Rinpoche's learned students, and other qualified commentators. Our revisions cover matters of English expression; not content, which is unchanged, and basic meaning is left intact.

This work takes the form of a dialogue involving Shakyamuni Buddha, Ananda, Avalokitesvara, and Maitreya concerning events commencing 2026, and lasting through 2032.


Homage to the Three Jewels. The Victorious One (Shakyamuni Buddha) once related this teaching applicable to a time when the evil period would arise. It is like a path because all sentient beings are connected to it. 

When the Victorious One was sitting under the bodhi tree and thinking of all sentient beings of the world, he saw that at the end of five - hundred years, an evil age would begin. As to the deeds and thoughts of all these beings, those with great merit would come into contact with this teaching while those with little merit would not. The pain from conflicting emotions would be great indeed. 

Because it seemed that humans living on the surface of the earth would be as if cut to pieces with swords due to this, the venerable Ananda pleaded with the Victorious One:

"Victorious One, because you consider things with great compassion, spare humankind this torment." 

And the Victorious One replied to the venerable Ananda: "I have this to say about it. While I was residing in the great expanse of space, I was thinking of and gazing on the beings of the world. So, listen! There is a teaching useful during the time when the - dark age arises. If one writes of it, propagates it, and practices the "Great Responsiveness Meditation" and recitation, impurities and obscurations will be quickly purified. If one sincerely makes offerings to this spiritual text with flowers and incense, all sentient beings will benefit. By propagating this text and writing about it, one will obtain a good existence throughout all of one's lives."

Then, near the base of a tree, there was a great lake. On its shores sat the Greatly Responsive One (Avalokitesvara) (in the form) he appears with and for others. While considering all beings in his responsiveness and compassion, he began to shed copious tears. Then the Victorious One said:

"Listen carefully, oh Greatly Responsive One! It is not necessary to shed tears, so heed my words well. During the month of the Tiger in the new year, I intend to go to many places. At that time during the evil age all sentient beings will be freed from the ocean of existence's miseries. All evil conduct will be abandoned and I will lead sentient beings away from evil states (they have fallen into). At that time, this spiritual text will be well known. Because of this text and by making it known, all sickness will end. If written about by one person, it will benefit one city. If proclaimed by one city, it will benefit all states. The merit of humankind will be increased and secondary evil influences averted. One will be free of hellish torments, and it will be of benefit for both this life and the next one. This path is desirable for all sentient beings of the six classes. For example, it is like taking a boat across a river or the ocean. This is truly a most beneficial text until Maitreya arrives in the world of humans. By writing of this teaching and spreading it to other areas, in one lifetime, in one embodiment, one's merit will increase limitlessly. The bloody ocean of life as a (vicious) circle will dry up.

First, because of the ten impure practices, sentient beings will come under the power of conflicting emotions. Oh, pity on these sentient beings! After this, an area (valley) in the human realm will be (as if) filled with blood. Three, when it comes to reaping your own merits you will be powerless to do so. Four, human suffering will become very great. Five, people won't be able to perceive the "path." Six, cities will become filled with carnivorous animals. Seven, the residences of politicians will become deserted. Eight, individuals will be unable to cope with one another. Nine, hungry ghosts will be seen wandering about the cities.

Things will be like this as a result of ten impure practices. One will not compliment or praise another person; there will only be praise of oneself and putting down others. There will basically be four social groups: the politicians, the rich, common people, and the well-educated. If all of these peoples have confidence in this text and devotion toward it, a good time period will result. 

"But," the Victorious One said, "If people have an irrational trust in it, they will follow one another and fall straight into the most intolerable of hells. The earth and heavens will be filled with the cries of those who have not heard this teaching. A time of epidemics will result. But as soon as one hears this spiritual message and then writes it down and distributes it, these epidemics will be brought under control. All famine that might exist will be pacified and people will achieve a good existence.

Furthermore, there are seven miseries that humans might suffer. First there is the misery like that of a denizen in hell. Second, the misery of hunger and thirst for a hungry ghost. Third, the misery of disputes and warfare as an anti-god might experience. Fourth, the frustration resulting from having no leisure, and constant hunger and want. Fifth, the misery of having erroneous views. Sixth, the misery of having a long life like a god, and seventh, the misery in potential existence when in the after-death state. This text is of benefit for these (situations), for if one trusts in it, one will achieve success in all that one may strive for. All diseases will be destroyed, and there will be a return to good times. If one is to ask how these will come about [it is like this]:

Out of deep space, in the Fire-Male-Horse year (2026), a large meteor will strike down on the shores of a large body of water. This spiritual text will appear when the meteor cracks open. Having appeared, it is very important, when teaching this document, that there are no secret or hidden meanings. There is but one, no secondary meaning. It has been put together for the benefit of all sentient beings. May all the torments of existence end!

After 500 years will be a time when the teachings of the Spiritually Awakened One will be on the decline and monks' ethics and general conduct will become corrupted. When evil thoughts will occupy the mind, and food supplies will be contaminated. A time when the ten unwholesome deeds will be practiced and practitioners of advanced spiritual techniques will recite only evil mantras, and the five poisons will overwhelm one's perceptions. It will be a time when body and speech acts will be perverted; teaching of spiritual values will deteriorate. A time when feathers will grow on mountains (sic!), and a person will travel about in wooden and metal vehicles. All of one's actions will merely contribute to evil happenings, a time of fearfulness when evil will manifest most definitely. This text will reverse the contributory evil causes of this time. By so much as seeing it, writing of it, proclaiming it, there is no doubt that these evil times will end. It is sufficient to see what is true and what is not true. And to say what one knows to be the truth. In those people who say it is untrue, from the tops of their heads to the bottom of their feet, signs that they will be seized by sickness will appear."

After the Victorious One had spoken these words, Avalokitesvara, Maitreya, Ananda, gods, anti-gods, humans, and spirits who live on odors, all rejoiced and offered great praise of his words. The Victorious One touched his right hand, marked with certain signs and characteristics, to the earth, and (by this act) conquered the dark forces of spiritual death, along with their retinue. I experienced an unbelievable happiness and joy and decided to (always) engage myself with this discriminative appreciation that goes beyond itself, that tames (beings) by pacifying all sickness and evil. Then the Spiritually Awakened One, the Victorious One, after remaining in meditative enstasis, uttered this summary of his discourses, as part of the teachings (as a whole). Again, Ananda asked of theVictorious One:

"Victorious One, since you have delivered this teaching, turn around the obstacles and evil conditions within existence. In the Earth-Male-Monkey year (2028) an epidemic will occur and its impact will be very profound. If all sentient beings do not think that this is true and have no confidence in this letter and are not able to propagate it, then the dark evil forces of spiritual death will be satisfied. If there is confidence and they do publish this, then great well-being will arise. Great benefit will come from this spiritual text. That's it! Great! That's for sure! May you always teach it! May most excellent good and wholesomeness arise! May capabilities and merits always increase! This has been taught by all of the Spiritually Awakened Ones. You yourself are energetic to this truth, of benefit to beings. At the end of a future time, the qualities of this will be beyond imagination. For the person who is confident in this, all desires will be fulfilled. Evil conditions and obstacles will be diverted. The person who is confident in the teachings of a spiritually awakened person should make offerings of flowers and incense."

Then Maitreya looked back from the expanse of space. He saw blood coming from the eyes of humans so he went to the Victorious One and asked:

"Victorious One, I pray that you give a teaching of great sustaining power as to what is to come, gathering the meaning in (only) a few words."

The Victorious One replied: "Very well, Maitreya. Listen to what I say. I choose this for the benefit of all sentient beings as well as Brahma, Indra, and so on. I will convey my words and their meaning for the sake of beings. It is certainly very positive to be energetically devoted to this. In the autumn of the Fire-Female-Horse year (2026), and in the year of the Earth-Male-Monkey (2028), all of those evil persons who have no confidence in this teaching will die. But, if one writes of it and propagates it, then one will live for a long time, without sickness, and merit will become very great. All the harmful forces of this evil time will quickly gather in the cities. They will run and hide themselves so that humans will not be able to see where they are. At that time, the power of this spiritual text will scatter those noxious demons and they will run away. So it is important to spread this text to all areas. One should not entertain any doubts and think that it is not true. The Spiritually Awakened One, incomparable teacher of gods and men, is the tamer of beings, sensitive to the world, gone into well-being, head of the spiritually aware 'family.'

Those persons who do not have any confidence in this teaching will experience a great earthquake in the year of the Fire-Horse (2026). When the evil times come in the Fire-Female-Sheep year (2027), there will be death due to overcrowding. Some will die on the road; some from heart (disease). In the year of the Earth-Male-Monkey (2028), there will be terrible floods. In the summer, death will come from famine-induced epidemics. At that time, demons will be all over the place. If one writes of and propagates this text, there will be no harm from obstructions or demons.

In the Earth-Female-Bird year (2029), there will be no harm. Nonetheless, it will be very important to guard one's discipline and not eat red meat. In the Iron-Male-Dog year (2030), all cities and surrounding areas will be filled with carnivorous animals such as tigers, bears, wild dogs, wolves, and the like. At that time it will be very important to write of and propagate this text as a method for liberating humans. In the Iron-Female-Pig year (2031), all sentient beings will lose self- control, and will be like paper blown about in the wind, or as if carried off in a flood. Then, those who lack belief in this text will die."

Then the Victorious One said to the Greatly Responsive One: "During the year of the Mouse (2032-?), a sound with spiritual qualities will be heard coming out of the depths of space. And, like the light of the sun and moon, because of the strength in the sustaining power of the Spiritually Awakened One, if one writes of and propagates this text which illuminates all of the four directions and eight points in between, then it will be of benefit until Maitreya comes. If one writes of and propagates this, one will obtain merit like a mountain (in size). In the palace at Potala, a transformative form of the Spiritually Awakened One's communication dwells, surrounded by a retinue of those in whom pure and total mind has taken over. All sentient beings, above and below, in all the ten directions, are placed in well-being. This well-being is intensified for the sake of all sentient beings on account of the compassionate intentions of the Greatly Responsive One for all humans. By thinking that this is untrue, or if one entertains doubts, a period of plagues will become widespread in the middle of summer. People will die from dawn to dusk. At that time, calculating from when the evil period of time increases, all the forest (ecosystems) will collapse. All the rocky mountains will crumble at their bases. One will not be able to bear the leveling (process) of the earth's (mountains). For every ten persons, only one will be left. If one thinks that this is not so, it is the word of the Victorious One. Oh, pity sentient beings!

'Jam-byangs mKhyen-brtse Chos-kyi bLo-gros (1896-1959)

In the Fire-Female-Sheep year (2027), and in the Earth-Male-Monkey year (2028), the evil "five hundred time" will emerge. This disruption will come from every direction and the - eight subdivisions as well. People will be defiled by quarrels and restlessness. This spiritual text will liberate one from these omens of the evil time merely if one has confidence in it, sees, writes about it, propagates it. Agitation will thereby be pacified. If one does this, limitless good will come about. May beings be free of all terror and fear! This spiritual work which has one, no secondary meaning, has been composed for the benefit of all sentient beings. This spiritual text will spread fully to all realms and all humans will be happy. May virtuous sentient beings be free of misery! If one is not energetic in making the text an object of sustained attention for five or six months, then a period of sickness and diseases will come. Some will die from fever; some from chills; some from stomach ailments; some from madness; some from skin diseases. Some from heart disease, others from liver disease. There is a remedy for these harms. When impermanence (begins to show its mark) in the body, if men and women tie this [mantra], which will protect them, to their bodies, this protecting mantra will free them from all plagues and the harms of demons, water spirits, and gods. [It is:]

E-ma-ho pen-no pen-no so-ha!

It should be worn on the right side of the body for a man and on the left for a woman.

If one does this, one will be freed from these diseases and plagues, and will have a good life. If one writes about, propagates and is confident in it, there is no doubt that one will be liberated from the bloody ocean of life's miseries. Oh, pity for all humans, everywhere! May all torments that come with an untimely death be completely pacified. May there be good - times, as before! May one obtain limitless merit! For all those beings who have no confidence in the spiritual text, as before, there will be no chance for them to believe, and so diseases will spring up everywhere in the cities. Even if there is nutritious food, one will not, at that time, be able to eat it."

Then the Greatly Responsive One, the Noble Avalokitesvara, in order to produce compassion in the hearts of sentient beings, spoke this portion of the teaching:

"I pray, Victorious One, that you empower this text. I pray that you empower it with your consecration."

Again, the Victorious One said:

"If one performs religious service to this text with devotion and confidence, then the whole evil time will stop. It would be beneficial for all disease and illness. May all humans who dwell on the surface of the earth obtain limitless merit. When they are liberated from all the unhappiness, epidemics, sickness, and unrest which are signs of the evil age, may they come to experience good times as before. On account of the positive nature in making a wish such as this, the qualities of the benefit if a person should do this, especially during the month of the Rabbit and of the Horse, is beyond imagining. If people come to write of and propagate this, they will come to possess a long life, free of illness, and will find happiness and well- being. Even if they write of one part of this, all noxious influences of the evil age will be pacified in their own time. What has occurred before will increase once again in the year of the Dragon. It will show itself, but will be unable to expand out into the realms of the world because of the evil time's arising. After that, in the Fire-Male Horse year (2026), this text will increase. 

This work is a technique for diverting the evil time. If one is not able to spread (its ideas) to all countries, ripening crops will be destroyed by three frosts, or hail. Secondly, the specter of famine will arise. And when disease with no apparent etiology occurs, there will be much suffering and unhappiness. But, if one writes of and propagates this, there is no doubt that one will be liberated from all this misery. Until Lord Maitreya arrives in this world, this text is the refuge for sentient beings. If one is confident and devoted to it, all obstacles and obscurations will be cleansed, and one will be purified. May there be most excellent good! May the jewels of necessity and wishing come into being! May all countries have good fortune! May the whole earth be made pleasing! When unrest, sickness, famine in all countries is pacified, may there be a most excellent rain for the crops, and may one spontaneously obtain one's wishes! May the glorious wealth of nations increase widely. May the turning of the wheel of spiritual teachings be steadfast, always!"

After the Victorious One had spoken, all the gods, Avalokitesvara, Maitreya, Ananda, anti- gods, humans, and the world including those who live on scents, rejoiced and praised the speech very much.

This completes the Lamp That Makes Things Clear, the Prophecy of Things to Come.

[original Tibetan may be found on our Facebook page]

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

You Say You Want A Revolution

After getting ready to practice for about fifty years, I decided to share a vision. 

I have learned it is wise to live on the model of what works, and forget about what grinds. Look around you. See all of the unnecessary follies, excursions, and repetitions, and just cut it out at the root in one, revolutionary stroke.

It is wise to stop resisting: clamoring for one more love, one more misery, one more beauty, one more addiction, forgetting that repeatedly doing the same thing, the same way, while expecting different results, is a widely recognized form of mental illness. 

The name of the illness is Oblivion. This is the illness of not knowing we are suffering; of not understanding the exact nature of suffering; of not knowing the very things we do to prevent suffering are, in fact, themselves causes of suffering.

We grasp at happiness with bitter desperation. We don't learn from our mistakes. Our desires blind us: they drive and deceive us. Our desires and the consequences of acting upon our desires consume our entire lives. We are cremated not once but twice each lifetime: first, we are roasted by our desires, then consumed on the funeral pyres.

People often speak about revolution. We are in the midst of a revolution. We are throwing off the old and beginning the new.

I think we need to get out of the way, and let the women warriors rise up. We can support this expansive, social change by acting in accord with requirements of the times. We are in the swirl of materialism versus spirituality, at the tipping point of greed, and we need to de-escalate, downsize, stand back, and stop consuming. In terms of our religious institutions, ordination for women appears to be a necessary step. In terms of our political institutions, women are a stabilizing presence.

We need to leave the cities, and go to small villages: restore them, renew them, wipe them clean of dust and let the treasures shine through. Instead of asking for more, we need to require less. We should be able to have what we need, and at the most basic level, this means we should at least have control of our own food and water.

Our houses and farms should be small, and our temples appropriate; but, our temples, our monasteries, our spiritual institutions, cannot become parasites on the community as a whole. We should serve the communities by living responsibly. We can be producers instead of parasites. 

As Buddhists we have a particular, historic responsibility to care for the environment. More and more of us need forego careers as technologists and head to simple careers serving the earth, waters, forests, and atmosphere. 

We also need to reach deeply inside education and change it from the bottom up.  There is nothing wrong with bringing morals and ethics into a child's studies from Grade School through High School. We also need to think in terms of re-sensitizing a generation of children who have been de-sensitized by the irresponsible, profit-driven mis-use of mass media. Our problems with violence will end.

Our problems with law enforcement will also end when we bring Buddhist sensibilities to the task. Policemen should live where they work, get out of the cars more often, and know the people they are policing. They cannot be allowed to degenerate into a despised sub-culture of the culture they purport to serve. The for-profit prison system should be abolished, and those presently incarcerated for offenses relating to a medicinal plant now legal in several states, should be released at once. 

In the same way, our problems with each other will end when we learn the name of the person living next door. When we stop and listen to them. When we take them into our hearts. The for-profit fear industry must be dismantled, as it leads to isolation, alienation, and a breakdown in compassionate communication. 

Let's drop the guns and pick up the guitars. Nothing wrong with marksmanship, but nothing beats music. Sports are great, but so is sculpture. Computer class is necessary but so is carpentry, and shop. If you learn how to propagate and cultivate plants, and build gardens, you can also become a skilled surgeon, at the same time. We need to put balance back into our lives. At the core of our society, balance, a sense of priority, and a sense of connection have been lost.

History as presently codified must be preserved at all costs, and books saved from physical destruction. Ours is the most dangerous time in history for the history of history, as history may be manufactured or re-manufactured at will. Historians, archaeologists, anthropologists, linguists, scholars of all sorts must safeguard their professions from the corruption that springs from greed.

Our living masters of the archaic arts and crafts must be venerated, and their knowledge passed on. Artists must be given their due. The old crafts cannot be allowed to die. This extends to the materials and tools needed to support such crafts, and direct subsidies for the craftsmen and artists' living and medical expenses. Precedents will be found in the treatment extended to scientists employed in the weapons industry. Our Revolution examines and demands parity with war-making machinery and oppression: we demand billions for the arts, and constructive sciences.

For every dollar spent on death, we demand a thousand be spent on life.

Let our utopias be ministered by poets instead of politicians, contemplatives instead of capitalists. "Government" is not the enemy and most certainly requires no overthrow. Government used to be populated by idealists with a call to serve. Let's find them and help them weed out the cynical exploitation of democratic government by non-democratic transnational corporate bodies.

The Revolution is one of compassion, and kindness: umbrella words that signal thousands upon thousands of possibilities to benefit life by living at ease with ourselves. "Compassion," and "kindness" can boil down to realization of our innately present understanding of shared humanity, devoid of selfish clinging. They arise naturally. They cannot be contrived. 

Moonlight has an extraordinary quality, both as metaphor, and by its singular temperature. As Buddhists we often use the example of the moon's reflection on the water. The moon's reflected light is itself reflected light: of a sunlight which burns the skin. Moonlight only burns the soul.

By moonlight, so bright, one sometimes thinks there is nothing to do but everything not to do. But, this way lies freedom!

By sun, light boils in a mirage: by night, the moon's light is a wide-open possibility for naturally arising drama and simplicity. 

So, then, I dream --

All over the land are narrow, moonlit roads to small villages, shuttered for the night. It is quiet, and the dogs do not bark.

Instead of flickering computer screens through the shutters, there is a glow of lamps on shrines. There is no throb of electricity, only wind through the trees, and a creature's odd cry. Prayer flags of all sizes, shapes, and dedications furl and unfurl: you can hear them. You can hear bells. Now and then, there are drums.

Near singular places, with promising signs, one finds modest farms and ranches, abandoned orchards, old mines: the shifting stagecraft of a rising and falling dream. 

There is your revolution. There is your life. There is your practice. There is the future of health, longevity, peace of mind, beneficial purpose, and meaningful Buddhist practice.

Out with the hammer and saw, the rake and barrow, walking in the field one stumbles on a piece of history. How many constructed ponds and shelters here before me? How many times will I dream this same dream? How many times will I move these same rocks? Who are the dreamers come before me?

What was their idea of beauty? What was their name for the Medicine Buddha? Could music make them well? Did music make them cry?

In our Revolution, one also thinks of Restoration: we think in terms of keeping that which is viable and discarding that which is not. Simple awareness holds out the promise of Repairing everything else. This occupies every crevice of our lives. This is the flood running through the dry washes, the trickle down the river, the sound when the stone finally hits the water in the bottom of a very deep well.

One by one now, people are beginning to search out these back roads. I see them in their caravans, large and small, on the way to encampments, traveling through old orchards come back to life. The ravens watch them from the rocks. Humminbirds and gentle creatures move to and fro, nourishing themselves in peace.

The world is changing. As members of the sangha, we can be some sort of ordinary refuge for one another.

At a spring, one places a vase, or a stupa, and restores a poisoned spirit. Down in the desert, we got together and planted some trees by the stupa. Across the way, a thousand-tree orchard blossomed, and a small Mahayana monastery appeared. A shrine came into being, and a Vajrayana chapel is rising. 

The revolution... is it really necessary? The revolution starts inside when you give up everything supporting that which you seek to overthrow. Why is this? Because, what you overthrow is your own projection. It begins and ends inside of you. All of this turmoil is self-created. If you don't want it, just stop it.

When you stop grasping, everything falls into place. You can be happy about that.

Things can return to normal. 

You can just go outside and listen to the bee mantras start up while the moon sets. You don't have to think about all that other nonsense stuff like who did what and when.

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Thursday, July 09, 2015

Breaking: Karmapa Charged by Corrupt Indian Officials

From India come breaking press reports: the Himachal Pradesh High Court has suddenly "reversed" its earlier decision not to charge the Karmapa in a 2011 currency case, and now presses for criminal proceedings against him.

The decision comes in the wake of Karmapa's wildly successful tour of the United States. Indian officials believe they can now pressure him into paying out huge sums to avoid prosecution, reckoning that he raised millions abroad.

What the Karmapa does or does not "raise" is, of course, a ridiculous notion placed in their heads by dirty politics.

Please join us in requesting the American government, at its most effective level, to carefully monitor the attempted extortion of a Tibetan Buddhist leader with millions of followers in the United States.

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