An Aspiration Vow
His Aspirations For All Sentient Beings; My Inspiration For An Aspiration Vow
For the 44th Birthday celebrations of Ven. Shangpa Rinpoche, a series of Dharma events were organized to celebrate and commemorate the auspicious and joyous occasion of the 44th year of birth of a great spiritual teacher. Many opportunities for unimaginable amounts of merits to be made and accumulated were created for everyone's participation. By contributing to charity, by making donations to the building fund for Kirtipur Buddhist Institute and International Retreat Centre, by making light offerings, by doing retreat and prayers for world peace, through practicing devotion to this spiritual teacher, through the receiving of an empowerment and Rinpoche's blessings. In ways both big and small the series of events led towards the fulfillment of the Dharma wishes Ven. Shangpa Rinpoche has for all mother sentient beings.
This is a story
of a vow. A vow I have made because I was inspired by my teacher and his aspirations
for all mother sentient beings.
Like all of Rinpoche's fortunate disciples, I had the opportunity to receive the empowerment for the practice of Green Tara. The empowerment was kindly bestowed by Rinpoche on the 7th September in the year 2003 at Karma Kagyud Buddhist Centre in Singapore. In accordance with the instructions and commitments given during the empowerment, I began my practice and recitation of the mantra of Green Tara.
A thousand sacred Green Tara Pendants made with some of the most precious relics Rinpoche has ever collected were commissioned as part of the series of auspicious events. It was the wish of Rinpoche to benefit as many as possible with whatever he has. He had gone into a retreat to bless these one thousand sacred Tara Pendants and specially to pray for world peace. All merits accrued from this retreat; Rinpoche dedicated to all sentient beings
Noon on the 12th of September 2003 marked the completion of Rinpoche's retreat. It was also the actual day of his birthday. I had the opportunity to see Rinpoche that wonderful afternoon and it was the most important moment of my life
Emerging from his retreat, I couldn't help but feel the deep compassion, sense of calmness, peace and fulfillment emanating from Rinpoche's presence. I could feel the immense joy radiating from his heart and it was as if the sun had risen in the very room itself! It was something that I had never seen or felt before. Totally unlike any thing any statue, thangka, picture or movie had shown me. If I were to give enlightenment a look, it had to be that same look that Rinpoche had on his face. The serenity was so strong that it blocked out all of my other senses. All I could feel, see and hear was just compassion, serenity and joy; immense joy. Finally I can completely understand why Tibetans say that their teachers are their Buddhas.
Every single moment of his life, Rinpoche has dedicated to the benefit of all sentient beings. Every second of his retreat was not dedicated to benefit himself but everyone else. After all that has been said and done, what did he get out of it? Why did he do whatever he did? My worldly wisdom could only lead me to ask questions of such but the calmness, the serenity, the compassion and the joy he must have felt then was far beyond what my worldly senses and wisdom can fathom. It was a moment of my life where I felt such great inspiration. In my heart, I made a vow, I call it my aspiration vow.
What is an aspiration vow? Being born in the human realm, we have countless wants, desires and cravings. We always wish to have an easier job, a better paying job, we want to own a bigger house, a bigger car, we want more money and the list goes on and on and on. After we set our minds on a goal, we make ourselves a little vow to achieve these goals. We then go about working tirelessly towards these goals in every way we possibly can.
Aspirations are like targets at which we aim our arrows. Without aspirations, we would be at a loss of knowing where to go and what to do... we would be aimless and lost. We all have aspirations but what aspirations are ours compared to that of Rinpoche's?
In Buddhist terms, an aspiration vow, I would define in my limited Dharma knowledge; is a vow one makes upon the realization that suffering is an inseparable part of Samsara. And an aspiration vow is an attempt to do something about it.
I had been chanting 3000 recitations of the mantra of Green Tara daily since the empowerment. My aspiration vow is to pledge my recitations and dedicate all the merits accrued from this practice to all sentient beings, especially all those who are suffering sickness, incurable diseases, poverty, fear, war; all the attendant sufferings and woes that are so much a part of Samsaric existence and to the sentient beings suffering endlessly in the lower realms.
the love and compassion that we have for all mother sentient beings that they
may be relieved of their sufferings and that they will be able to come across
the Dharma and ultimately attain Enlightenment and be freed from Samsara we shall
practice. It is the best way we can repay the kindness of our guru. I thank my
guru for his compassion and wisdom and that under his guidance I may put in my
humble efforts at eventually making all his Dharma wishes come true.
Whoever reads this, from whichever tradition you may come from and whoever your teacher may be, I pray that you will join me in prayers. Make an aspiration vow today and pledge to do recitation of an amount of The Great Mother Tara's mantra everyday over a year till 12th September 2004. Please dedicate the merits accrued from the recitation of the mantra of Mother Tara and dedicate it to the well-being, both spiritual and temporal, of all sentient beings. May your mind be filled with the bliss of Dharma and may you be filled with the peace of Enlightenment. That your time be dedicated to doing something spiritually beneficial to all others.
This is a teaching that my teacher has given to me and I hope to share it with one and all.
Prayers to Holy Tara (Wish Fulfilling Prayer of Tara)
To the Buddhas, the Dharma and the Assembly of the Noble Ones, I take refuge until I have accomplished the enlightenment state. By the merit of accomplishing the six perfections, I shall accomplish enlightenment for the benefit of all beings
(Recite 3 times)
Homage to Tara
The crowns of gods and demigods are bowed to Her two lotus feet; I prostrate to the Mother Tara, the saviouress from all poverty.
Praise to Tara
OM, prostrations to the Blessed One, the goddess TARA. TARE, the Brave One; All fears are dispelled by TUTTARE. TURE, she bestows all benefits; and along with SVAHA I bow.
(Recite 1, 2, 3, 7 or 21 times)
OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SVAHA
(Recite 7, 21, or 108 times or as many times as possible)
Request for Blessings
Arya Tara, please take heed of me. Having allayed all of my misfortunes, please bless me to attain all favourable conditions, abundance and results, spontaneously and effortlessly
Dedication of Merits
By the merit of this prayer, may all living beings and I be happy and be free from all sufferings and unfavourable conditions. May we accomplish all our aims and wishes temporarily, and attain enlightenment ultimately.
By Yeshe Drolma.
A disciple of Ven. Shangpa Rinpoche
Yeshe Drolma can be reached via email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: For those of you who have not taken the respective initiations, it is recommended that you consult your teachers and ask for their kind guidance.