Dear friends near and far

As always, I hope this message finds you well, healthy and happy. Today’s Guru Rinpoche Day is very special, because it falls within the month of Saga Dawa. In the Tibetan tradition, Saga Dawa is the month during which the Buddha was born, attained enlightenment, and passed into nirvana. For this special message, then, I would like to draw from the Sutra of Liberation (Tar Do), which is a well-known sutra in the Tibetan tradition. This scripture is recited for the benefit of the recently deceased, and carved into rocks. In it, the Buddha teaches on the methods of confession, and it is therefore one of the best texts to recite as a confession. But that is not my point here.

Towards the end of the sutra, the buddhas from the ten directions miraculously appear and speak as one, declaring the following:

Negative actions, or misdeeds (dikpa) neither truly exist on the inside, the outside, or in the middle.

If the mind is steady, the strength of virtue will be steady as well.

Because mind is utterly free, misdeeds are liberated by nature.

Since transcendent insight (sherap) is emptiness, the nature of misdeeds is emptiness too.

When faith and trust (in the Three Jewels and in virtue) are strong, the merit accumulated will be strong too.

If you confess with heartfelt regret, in addition to purifying all misdeeds, you will come to see all the Buddhas.

The Sutra of Liberation

These are the six main points of the sutra that I wanted to mention. Among them, I would in particular like to highlight a few key meanings:

First, as it says in the text, it is important to have a steady, calm, and focused mind. In order to cultivate that, we therefore need to practice calm-abiding, or shamatha meditation.

Second, in order to see the true nature, emptiness, we also need to practice emptiness meditation or vipashana, such as Mahamudra. Thirdly, in order to develop steady faith, it is important to learn and understand the qualities of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.

The Liberation Sutra also teaches that whenever one performs virtue, it is very important to say three phrases: “Namo Buddhaya, namo Dharmaya, namo Sanghaya.” Please remind yourself to do so, especially during this sacred month of the Buddha.

Finally, I would like to request you all to keep in mind that this month is a very blessed month, during which we should all spend more time on Dharma practice, always infused with the motivation of bodhicitta.

So, on this special day, I would like to say to you all, “Namo Buddhaya; namo Dharmaya; namo Sanghaya,” and to send my love to all beings, including all of you. With these words, I wish you all to be happy, to meditate, and to take care.

Sarva Mangalam,

Phakchok Rinpoche


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