TO MY STUDENTS:
(As spoken at the Devotion retreat in Crestone 2009 by Tsoknyi Rinpoche)
I wanted to begin to organize a mandala, in a light way–not making a lot of new conceptual boxes as there are already so many–so that students can be part of the Pundarika Mandala. This basically means you feel some connection to me as one of your primary teachers even though I am actually a fourth-class teacher, and if you are lucky enough to find a better one, you can easily change from me. Also, it’s okay by me to join more than one mandala, at least from my side. And if you have other primary teachers, then I can be one of them, no problem. I had four main teachers, all of whom I supplicate, as their essence is not different.
As a member of the mandala, you actively join with me to help grow the Dharma. Pundarika Foundation actually is a vehicle to preserve the original Buddhadharma with four goals: Preserve essential dharma, Protect it from harm, Provide means and support so it can flourish, and intelligently Promote what is beneficial. This is called P-P-P-P. It’s important to know that Pundarika, as a vehicle or cup for my brand of tea, is not some abstract entity: it is also you, also me, working to help Dharma in whatever way we can. If you have time and energy, if you have skills, if you have any new ideas, financial means, whatever, please help as best you can. Make our mandala your mandala. We all can try together to turn the samsara wheel to Dharma as best we can. There is so much suffering and need. In this way we can sow seeds for the next generation, and they for the next so the roots of practice grow deeper and deeper over time.
You might wonder if joining this mandala has side effects. There aren’t any except that maybe you go to the shopping mall less, drive your car less, sit on the cushion more, become more loving, compassionate, peaceful and wise–all these guarantee you will not be a Buddhist fanatic. Even better than the three interwoven branches of the U.S. Constitution–the check and balance system–these positive qualities work together so that you can become like Milarepa or Khyentse Rinpoche or HH Dalai Lama. So really, there is not any danger or room for regret. Now if you became like Tsoknyi Rinpoche, as compared to these great masters, then you may have some regrets.
What happens is that if you sign up, we mail you a card with a picture of me on the front for your altar and a quote from Shantideva on bodhicitta on the back with your name written in calligraphy. (Please see instructions and sample student mandala card below.) This is our connection and our commitment to practice and work for Dharma together.
With my deepest aspirations for your continued practice and well being,
To enter the Pundarika Student Mandala of Tsoknyi Rinpoche, please e-mail Blake.firstname.lastname@example.org and provide your name, the name you would like on your student card, your physical mailing address, and the date you consider you became a student of Rinpoche’s. You will then receive your student mandala card in the mail. Thank you!