Tashi Delek. Today is the third day of our prayers for the pandemic to subside.
Today we will recite the sutras of the dharani of Akshobhya. There are two such sutras. The first is the one in the Tibetan Kangyur, and the second is one that I translated from Chinese into Tibetan.
It is said that Akshobyha is the most effective for purifying karmic obscurations. This is connected to his own particular aspirations. When he first roused bodhichitta, he made the commitment, “Until I awaken to buddhahood , I will never feel malice or hatred toward any sentient being.” This is the reason he was named Akshobhya, the Unshakeable One.
These days the word karma is well-known throughout the world, but merely understanding the word does not mean that we understand karma. This is because karmic cause and effect is connected to even the tiniest thoughts we have and actions we do in our daily lives. If we never examine our thoughts and actions and their effects, through our experiences, there is no way we can understand how karma works.
The current pandemic sends a clear message that karma is not just theoretical. Instead, it is related to what we have chosen to do and what we have chosen not to do in our daily lives. We always pay a lot of attention to the result, but we don’t pay the same attention to the causes, conditions, and motivations that led to the situation.
For instance, if we do not consider it important to wash our hands, practice social distancing, and so forth, to prevent transmission of the virus, just wanting not to get sick won’t help us at all. In the same way if someone does catch this virus they can spread it to others. So, we must take responsibility but not only for our own health and happiness. We must also take responsibility for everyone else’s health and happiness. This is a crucial point.
Some people use karma as an excuse, they just blame everything on karma as if it were fate. Karma does not mean that we are unable to improve ourselves or move forward. Actually, the meaning of karmic cause and effect is that we can be even more confident and even more enthusiastic about taking on the responsibility of benefiting ourselves and others.
Now we will recite the two sutras.
Those of you who do not speak Tibetan may recite them in your own language. It’s not necessary to keep up with me. If I recite too slowly, Tibetans and people who can read Tibetan, will fall asleep.