Tashi delek. Today is the seventh and final day of our prayers for the pandemic to subside. Today we will recite Tangtong Gyalpo’s Prayer that Saved Sakya from Disease along with the Six Syllable Mantra and other mantras, and Appeasing the Discord of the Mamos. There are many different mantras, but today we will recite ones that will help with the current pandemic.
Tangtong Gyalpo was a well-known 14th century Tibetan siddha. Once there was a large epidemic at the great Sakya monastery, and none of the medical treatments, offerings, or rituals they tried could help. When everyone was close to dying, they asked Tangtong Gyalpo for help. He wrote this prayer and the epidemic subsided, as the histories related.
Regarding Amending the Discord of the Mamos, in Sanskrit mamos are called mātṛik, a type of spirit. But here, it could be understood as the natural environment arising in the form of inner goddesses. Basically, it is like we are making amends for our faults in order to remedy our imbalances and disharmony with the natural environment.
I think that our current prayers have gone very well. They have reached more than a million people, and at least two hundred thousand people have watched the sessions live and prayed together. Many rinpoches, nunneries and monasteries in India, Nepal, and Bhutan have joined in, too. Everyone is participating in these prayers voluntarily, without being asked, and this gives me renewed hope and confidence that the world will turn out well. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
This time I have taken on a new task, which is to speak in three languages. Normally, when I have a translator, I can relax. But this time there is no translator, and it has been a bit difficult. But I do hope that my communication directly in several languages has given you a better understanding and a feeling of personal connection with me. In particular, this is the first time I have spoken so much in English, and even though my English is not fluent, I hope you can feel that I care. Right now I am physically in Europe, so the difficulties that everyone is experiencing are not just mere words for me. I’m experiencing them together with you, and I feel that this is a special opportunity for me. Still, I’m not sure I’d like to catch the coronavirus.
Europe is now beginning to get some control over the epidemic, and I hope that this happens soon in America as well. But I have greater concern for Africa, South America, Asia and other continents. I’m especially worried about India, which is like my second home. The Indian central and state governments are doing their utmost, but the population of India is extremely large, and there are many difficulties such as providing sufficient testing and so forth. Even though there has to be a strict quarantine and curfew to limit the spread of the illness, many workers who depend upon a daily wage live hand to mouth and are experiencing terrible hardships. So please pray for India and do whatever you can to help.
Also, I would like to ask all of you who live in the Himalayan regions not to downplay the illness. It is crucially important to follow scientific advice on methods to prevent its spread. I am also greatly concerned about the Tibetan communities in India, Nepal, and Bhutan as well as the Tibetans living abroad in Europe, America, and other countries. Although Western medicine does not yet have a treatment for this disease, some experienced Tibetan doctors can treat it effectively. But the main thing is to prevent infection. A protection cord around your neck or a blessing pill won’t be any help if you then rush off to a large gathering of people. You have a responsibility to protect yourself that you can’t pass off onto medicine and protection cords. In particular, at this time when people are afraid and anxious, if you are able to do a bit of dharma practice, it will help you find comfort of mind and develop conviction.
Next we will recite the prayers and mantras together. Thank you so much.
This completes our prayers for the pandemic to subside. Now I would like to recite a concluding prayer, the Great Aspiration by the Seventh Karmapa Chödrak Gyatso. It is a long prayer, so I can only read it in Tibetan. But before I read it, I would like to tell you about some of the main points of the dedications and aspirations we will now make.
We combine all our virtues from the past, present and future with the power of the love and virtue of all buddhas, bodhisattvas and sentient beings, and then dedicate it.
We make the aspiration that our virtue and all the strength of our whole-hearted love may pervade every corner of this great universe.
We make the aspiration that our virtue and all the strength of our whole-hearted love may dissolve into each atom of the earth, restoring all that has been depleted so that it may become even more powerful and beautiful than it was before.
We make the aspiration that our virtue and all the strength of our whole-hearted love may suffuse all animals with whom we share this earth, our home, from the tiniest ant on up, so that all their sufferings of weakness or lack of freedom may be pacified.
We make the aspiration that the power of our sincerity and whole-hearted love may suffuse all human beings, our brothers and sisters, so that they may feel mutual love and enjoy the glory of virtue and happiness.
We make the aspiration that due to the power of our sincerity and whole-hearted love, this terrifying pandemic may swiftly subside, and that all those who have been stricken by this disease may be cured and soon enjoy even better health and greater vigor than before.
We make the aspiration that we may give the power of our sincerity and whole-hearted love to the courageous doctors and medical workers so that they may be relieved of all mental and physical exhaustion and have renewed courage and bodily strength.
We make the aspiration that through the power of our sincerity and whole-hearted love, the consciousnesses of all those who have passed away in this epidemic may move on to ever happier births, and all those they leave behind may soon find solace for their grief and suffering.
We make the aspiration that through the power of our sincerity and whole-hearted love, all the billions of living creatures who have perished in natural disasters such as the bushfires in Australia may find their path to happiness.
We make the aspiration that through the power of our sincerity and whole-hearted love, our parents, spiritual teachers, friends, and loved ones may live long and healthy lives and accomplish all their wishes spontaneously.
We pray that we may completely fulfill the aspirations of the bodhisattvas—aspirations that we could not think to make or would be unable to fulfill ourselves—just as they have made them.
Now I will read the prayer, so I ask you all please keep those points in mind as you listen. Thank you.