|Prayers and practices for students|
Name mantra of Khen Rinpoche, Geshe Tashi Tsering (in Tibetan and English)
OM AH GURU VAJRADHARA SUMATI VIDYA DHARA SIDDHI HUM
Long Life Prayer for Geshe Tashi Tsering
All Buddhas and bodhisattvas, please bear witness to our request.
Rare it is to find the precious teachings of the Buddha in their unmistaken completeness,
You have traversed the vast and deep sea of learning, reflection and meditation,
In enlightenment there are no examinations and retreats.
Your country has been lost, your parents and relatives have perished under brutal occupation,
Although you are beyond loneliness and beyond the need for mundane gossip,
We have seen many illusive directions and we are tempted by the many distractions of this age.
By the power of the Three Jewels and dependent arising,
In praise of Geshe Tashi Tsering (December 2007, Langri Tangpa Centre (LTC))
And Geshe-la, just thinking of your holy body inspires us Geshe-la —
Even though you are older than most of us, you have the appearance of a young man. Seeing you race up the hill from the gompa at Chenrezig Institute, and knowing that you do many prostrations day and night, inspires me to be like you Geshe-la.
You have been living in hot and humid Queensland for 17 years, so opposite to the high cold mountains of Tibet, without any complaint, wearing all the layers of robes. Your perseverance in the face of extreme weather inspires me to be like you Geshe-la.
You have spent many hours teaching us without wriggling or showing discomfort, in our stuffy, cramped gompa at Newmarket. Teaching with such enthusiasm that the mattress on your throne has moved forward six inches when I go to tidy it up, inspires me to be like you Geshe-la.
Your easy affection with children and adults, your warm handshake and broad smile, puts everyone at their ease no matter what situation.
Even a photo of you found by one of the students, secreted away in the first library book they borrowed, captivated them so completely they couldn't tear their eyes away. Not knowing who the Tibetan monk was, your warm smile and eyes bright with joy and wisdom drew them unerringly to the Dharma. Just gazing at your holy body inspires us to be like you Geshe-la.
At the Tara initiation you gave at LTC when my mother Inta had just died, you managed to personally bless all 56 people present in the gompa, delicately making your way between the squished up knees. As you were walking I remember thinking — Geshe-la you have let the veil of ordinary appearance slip to reveal Tara's holy feet.
We make this heartfelt request to you Geshe-la, clinging to your Tara-like toes, we beg you stay and live long and continue to teach us by example.
And Geshe-la, just thinking of your holy speech inspires us too —
After Friday night teachings, many people say, ‘I was worried about this’, or ‘I was wondering about that, and Geshe-la answered my exact question’. Just like the Buddha, you reach everybody, no matter how much or how little we have studied, or how intelligent we are (or how tired we are). Teaching simultaneously to all levels, inspires us to be like you Geshe-la.
However serious your message, a smile or a joke is never too far away. Your re-enactments of Mr Bean episodes with the two children who came to dinner were unforgettable, and made them friends for life. Thinking of your wholehearted ability to bring joy to others inspires me to be like you Geshe-la.
You have written a book, Buddha's Medicine for the Mind — and there is no doubt whatsoever, if we regularly take the medicine you prescribe, we ourselves can become like you. May you live long to complete the ‘cure’ on me and all my fellow sentient beings.
In the times when there was no translator, you put such great effort into teaching us in your beginner's English, not being disheartened, but distilling the essence so that the English language shone anew. Thinking of your determined enthusiasm, inspires me to be like you Geshe-la.
One Friday night you were a little late. Only after the teaching did we find out you had a car crash on the way. A stranger had stopped and taken you to the nearest train station, and you walked in at 7.25 pm and started the teachings at 7.30 pm as usual. All you said about the crash was, ‘I was a litty bit fright’.
We make this heartfelt request to you Geshe-la, while remembering your nectar-like speech, we beg you stay, live long and continue to teach us by example.
Geshe-la, just thinking of your holy mind inspires us too —
That you have never got angry at a student, but are always on our side, even when we behave stupidly or badly, shows your complete mastery over the disturbing emotions, and inspires us to be like you Geshe-la and try to overcome our own anger.
Your insistence on using reasoning and logic, of finding out for ourselves, makes sure we never become unhealthily dependent on you, but grow the skills we need to become enlightened.
You have given us both practical advice about money and running a centre, as well as spiritual advice, striking an equal perfect balance. Harmonising the worldly and the spiritual in perfect measure, shows us how to safely navigate our way through samsaric life.
The clarity of your teachings unravels the knots of our tangled existence. The power of your unwavering concentration on the topic draws us along with you. Your precise and practical teaching blazes through the ignorance in our minds. Your very presence reminds us that the goal of enlightenment is possible.
We make this heartfelt request to you Geshe-la, inspired by your enlightening mind, we beg you stay, live long and continue to teach us by example.
And Geshe-la, just thinking of your holy deeds inspires us too —
When you graduated as a Geshe of the highest level, instead of going into retreat like you wanted to, at the request of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Lama Zopa Rinpoche and senior students of Chenrezig Institute, you moved across the world to Australia to teach. Seeing how you uncomplainingly went where you would be of benefit (even though you didn't know the language or anyone here), inspires us to be like you Geshe-la.
When my mother Inta was dying, you looked after her, guiding and encouraging us. One night at her request you got up at 1 am and travelled down to Brisbane to do special pujas all through the night, and then continued on your usual schedule the next day. Your unwavering commitment to the welfare of others inspires us to be like you.
After Inta died we struggled to run the centre properly. We ended up buying takeaway food every Friday night for dinner with you. Concerned that the centre was wasting money this way, you came down and personally taught us how to cook delicious geshe soup.
You only get one night off a week, and for 17 years you have been coming down to Brisbane, on that night off, to teach us at LTC. After teaching all day, you travel all the way down and then all the way back the same night, after teaching all day. Knowing you do this spurs us on to come to teachings even though we are tired.
So, we make this heartfelt request to you Geshe-la, inspired by your living example, we beg you stay, live long and teach us by example.
You are like a kind and humble father, a patient mother, a protective older brother, a wise grandfather, a trusted confidant, an unforgettable dinner-time story teller, and most of all a very best friend. When you are around, the lamp of wisdom shines so bright.
We beg you, please live long and remain our precious teacher, so that we may have a beacon to follow.
Colophon: Composed with devotion by students of Geshe Tashi Tsering and offered to him on their behalf by Miffi Maxmillion on 17 December 2007 at a long life puja at Langri Tangpa Centre in Brisbane, Australia.
In praise of Geshe Tashi Tsering (December 2006)
"Venerable Geshe Lozang Rigzin, Geshe Tashi Tsering, to you we offer our supreme praise. Peerless guide, we draw unceasing inspiration from your skilful deeds, your masterful display of endless qualities. At your feet we prostrate. Precious teacher, please, please live long.
To you, treasured hope of Dolma Tshering, Rinchen Chodron and Uncle Chojhor who loved you so much they gave you the name "Auspicious Long-life"; who ran away to the monastery in such a rush you left your other shoe behind; who even as a little boy prayed that you might clearly reveal the dharma wherever the most precious teachings have not yet spread or once spread have declined; who walked to Lhasa to join Sera Je monastery, such was your determination to receive the highest teachings: to you who have always shown such devotion to the dharma, at your feet we prostrate. Inspiring guide, please, please live long.
To you who lost your country to brutal occupation, who saw your monastery destroyed and your friends killed, who had to leave behind your family and all that was familiar; who fled on foot across the great mountains, turmoil behind, unknown ahead; to you who have endured such hardship for the sake of the dharma, at your feet we prostrate. Tower of strength, please, please live long.
To you who for a long decade continued to study and practice even amongst the poverty and deprivation of the refugee camp; who survived the sicknesses that killed so many of your friends and companions; to you who shouldered responsibility, who preserved the traditions, who worked tirelessly: at your feet we prostrate. Great practitioner, please, please live long.
To you who went south to rebuild your monastery with your own hands; who cleared jungle, ploughed fields, harvested crops, built assembly halls and humble houses; who would go to sleep hungry because there was never enough to eat; who cried when you could not go to sojong because you no longer possessed a chögyu: to you whose selfless efforts to preserve the dharma will benefit a thousand generations of monk scholars: at your feet we prostrate. Great protector, please, please live long.
To you who display great skill in debate, foremost amongst the best of scholars, who are esteemed by your peers; to you who served your monastery as disciplinarian, class prefect, teacher; who taught by the example of your practice and conduct as well as your words which illuminated the doctrine; to you who are a shining lamp of dharma: at your feet we prostrate. Source of all happiness, please, please live long.
To you who accepted repeated requests to come to the West to teach even when there was such need for you at Sera Je; to you whose courage and determination did not fail whatever the hardship or difficulty; to you who have taught for 16 long years in the steamy Queensland jungle, undeterred by snakes and spiders and bush turkeys, by rats in the walls and boa constrictors in the ceiling!; to you who show unwavering belief in Injies'* capacity to study and benefit from the highest, most subtle teachings and the necessity that we do so: at your feet we prostrate. Trusted father, please, please live long.
To you who accepted to come to New Zealand to tame disciples and ripen their mindstreams; who have taken care of us here at Chandrakirti Centre and Mahamudra Centre like a mother cares for her child; who makes sure we understand the true meaning of dharma and behave accordingly; who have encouraged our students and centres to grow; to you who are a supreme guide to us all: at your feet we prostrate. Essence of all buddhas, please, please return to New Zealand and live in our country for a long time. Please, please live long.
To you who employ skilful means in order to penetrate our tough skins, showing the aspect of being gentle, playful, stern, even wrathful — whatever it takes to subdue our disturbing emotions; to you who selflessly provide advice and instruction to all who seek it, with perfect equanimity and loving-kindness: at your feet we prostrate. Precious teacher, please, please live long.
To you who teach the glorious dharma of Je Rinpoche in such sublime and perfect ways; to you who show such unbelievable patience in the face of our stubbornness and dimwittedness, our incapacity to memorise anything for more than five minutes, our panicked silence in the face of your commanding questions!; to you who use humour, analogy and example to such great effect; to you whose spontaneous, joyful laughter and resounding speech are imprinted on our mindstreams: at your feet we prostrate. Precious teacher, please, please live long.
To you who have faith in the capacity of Injies to uphold the precious vows of the three types; to you who have acted as refuge and initiating master to hundreds of disciples and have brought forth from the householder's life scores of monks and nuns; to you who always demand more of us than we think we have, who raise us up through force of will and stainless example: at your feet we prostrate. Precious teacher, please, please live long.
Precious guru, we do not wish to be without you. The warm, wise light of your compassion nourishes our potential mind of enlightenment and buddha nature. Your challenging words reveal the great lie of self cherishing. You fearlessly uphold the precious doctrine of the Precious Lord Lama Tsong Khapa in your heart. You combine the stainless knowledge of the noble ones' scripture and reasoning with insight and pure morality. At your feet we prostrate. Precious teacher, please, please live long.
Your discourses, practice and guidance spring forth from the pure wellspring of perfected wisdom and method. You see perfectly all the teachings of sutra and tantra. Your towering example lights a path that we childish ones might follow. You guide us in the way to uproot the maras that have tormented us since beginningless time. At your feet we prostrate. Precious teacher, please, please live long.
Your measured, mindful speech is like blissful, cooling rain that quells the fiery torment of our afflictions. By your blessings and power, we are able to purify our minds and gain insights into bodhicitta and wisdom. With extreme patience and compassion you cultivate our aspiring minds and weed out our wayward tendencies. A wealth of perfect teachings you selflessly share. A treasure house of mysteries you reveal, O powerful vajra holder. At your feet we prostrate. Precious teacher, please, please live long.
Those of us here today represent many hundreds of people throughout Australia and New Zealand and around the world who have been blessed by your presence. We offer an ocean of prayers on behalf of them all. We make prayers from the very depths of our heart Geshe-la, offering up every root of virtue that we have ever collected in this and all our lives that it might be a cause for you to enjoy long life, excellent health and every success and happiness. We pray that all your holy dharma wishes be effortlessly fulfilled by countless devoted students acting exactly in accordance with your advice. We pray that you might dispel the darkness of ignorance by continuing to teach the pure and precious dharma.
Please, please live long precious teacher, peerless guide, unfailing refuge and protector."
Colophon: Composed with devotion by students of Geshe Tashi Tsering and offered to him on their behalf by Phillipa Rutherford on 9 December 2006 at a long life puja at Chandrakirti Centre in Nelson, New Zealand.* Tibetan term for Westerners
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