Student: I am asking Rinpoche for some advice about a problem I have had since birth or early childhood, manifesting as pain in my knees and calves, stiffness in my body and painful feet. All of it is escalating with age, and it is worse with exercise and when I am cold. There is pressure on the muscles, stiffness in my ankles, strain in my knees and the soles of my feet are tender, particularly on waking up in the morning. I also feel very emotional, but I am not sure if this is part of the problem or because of lack of sleep and so much pain.
My very dear George,
I am very sorry for the many eons of delay in replying. I checked regarding your health and it came out beneficial for you to do the following practices each day:
- Black Manjrushri practice
- Black Garuda practice
You also need to have the following pujas done:
- Druk-chu-ma puja: to be performed twice. If you can, see if the geshe in Auckland can do these for you. Explain that I recommended that these be done for you.
- Lu-zong: I am going to try and do this puja for you. (You may want to also ask Geshe-la to do it, just to be safe.)
- Lü-tor (naga torma): Do this for one month. You have to make sure you do it on the correct days. There are special days when the naga torma is performed, so check a Tibetan calendar or Liberation Prison Project calendar.
- Ri-wo sang-cho puja: eight times. This is a big incense puja—it is not yet translated into English. It came out best for you to do it yourself. It is a Nyingma practice, so I thought you could ask a Nyingma center or Sogyal Rinpoche's center—Rigpa—if they have translated it, and then follow exactly what it says. It is called the Mountain of Incense Offering. This came out very very beneficial for you.
- Gyag ngen lhasang puja: three times. This is also very beneficial for you. If you can, ask the geshe in Auckland to do it for you.
It also comes out very beneficial for you to take these Tibetan medicines:
- Moon Crystal: two a week for three weeks
- Khyung-nga: five a day for two weeks
You mentioned in your letter about your morning prayers and the visualization that you mentioned when you recite OM MANI PADME HUM. You said it is just purifying your speech of negative karma and making your speech beneficial but it does not need to be limited to your speech, it can purify everything—your body, speech, and mind—of negative karma.
I checked regarding your practices. It came out very good for you to keep helping the center, and some time later you can do retreats from time to time.
Regarding the lam-rim, keep circling for that number of months until you gain stable realizations. The main thing is the lam-rim, so meditate on guru devotion for three months. This means to meditate a little each day, following the outlines and continuing for three months. Then meditate for five months on the lower path—the precious human rebirth, then its usefulness, and go on like this through the lam-rim. Then focus on the lower scope and refuge, etc. Particularly, think in regards to purification of your negative karma for you and all sentient beings, and the urgency to be free from the sufferings of the lower realms by purifying negative karma, to be free from having to be reborn in the lower realms again and again. Follow the outline in the lam-rim. When you finish refuge, with the lower scope, then continue doing one month on the middle path, one month on bodhicitta, and one month on emptiness.
You should also do a little bit of meditation each day, regardless of where you are in the lam-rim, on:
Please follow the outlines as they are in Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand. Here, the main point is to gain realizations. Keep doing the meditations until you gain stable realizations.
Regarding advice for your practice:
- Refuge: 30,000
- Mandala offerings: 100,000
- Vajrasattva: it would be good to recite 21 mantras each night
- Water bowl offerings: 100,000
- Lama Tsongkhapa Guru Yoga: 100,000 (the actual migme mantra)
Deity: Amitayas: 1,000
Deity: Namgyalma: 1,000
Deity: Mitukpa: 4,000
- The Golden Light Sutra: If you can, finish one complete recitation every month for the rest of your life. This means you can read a little each day. It doesn’t mean you can’t do more, but just try this.
- Four Immeasurable Thoughts: 10,000
- The graduated path of the lower scope: three months
- The graduated path of the intermediate scope: five months
- The graduated path of the highest scope:
Bodhicitta: one month
Emptiness: one month
Thank you for your kind service to me, to sentient beings, and to the teachings of the Buddha. Please continue to make your life most meaningful with the thought of bodhicitta.
With much love and prayers...