What is the sign that someone has received the teachings of the supreme Dharma and is practicing them?

What is the sign that someone has received the teachings of the supreme Dharma and is practicing them? Whoever has heard and absorbed the teachings becomes serene and self-possessed.

Ours is not a tradition that inculcates anger and encourages us to fight; it does not encourage us to get involved with our defiled emotions. On the contrary, the Buddha has taught us to get rid of our defilements as much as possible. The point is that, having received the Dharma teachings, we should find when we examine ourselves, that, even though we may not have been able to eradicate our defilements totally, our anger has at least diminished a little.

We should find that, even if we do get angry, we are less involved and are able to keep ourselves in check. This is the sort of sign we should be looking for. The sign that we are assimilating the teachings is an increase in serenity and self-control.

It is said that if practitioners do not examine themselves frequently, and if they fail to practice correctly, the Dharma itself will lead them to the lower realms. Some people claim to have received the teachings, but they don’t practice them. On the other hand, it is obviously impossible to eradicate defiled emotion just by listening to the teachings.

We have been in samsara from beginningless time and are immersed in the habits of defilement. These cannot be whisked away by the mere act of listening to something. So turn inward and examine your minds. You should at least have a glimmer of understanding!

In addition, we have all entered the Vajrayana. We have received profound empowerments and instructions of the Secret Mantra. This is said to be very beneficial but it is also very dangerous. Even if we are unable to bring our practice to accomplishment, if we keep our samaya unbroken, it is said that liberation will be achieved in seven lifetimes.

After crossing the threshold of the Secret Mantra, however, if we ruin our samaya by displeasing the Lama, causing havoc among our fellow Dharma practitioners and so on, the only possible destiny for us is the vajra hell.

The saying goes that practitioners of Secret Mantra either attain buddhahood or go to hell. There is no third alternative. It’s like a snake inside a cane: it must go either up or down. There’s no way out halfway! Think carefully about the benefits and hazards of samaya, and observe it purely and perfectly. To do this, it is crucial to keep a close watch on your mind, a practice in which all the essential points of the teachings are condensed.

It is vital to examine and watch your mind. You have all received instructions through the kindness of your teachers. This is what your Dharma practice should be like.

~ Dudjom Rinpoche, Counsels From My Heart

Vajrasattva Signs of Success

Until you have signs that you have purified your negative actions and obscurations, it is important to be completely concentrated on the visualization and to do the recitation without distraction.

As the Great Master said,

If you are distracted, with your mind elsewhere,
Even reciting for a kalpa will bring no result.
What are the signs of success in this practice? Meditational experiences or dreams in which you vomit or purge, are washing, are dressed in white, cross a wide river, fly through the sky, see the sun and moon rising, and so forth, are signs that you have purified negative actions.

Dreams or experiences in which dirt, pus, blood, and lymph come out of your body are some of the indications that you have purified illnesses. Those in which minute animals such as ants emerge show that you have expelled negative forces. In particular, you may have real, direct experiences of clear awareness, of physical lightness, and of spontaneous devotion and determination to be free.

In general, if you have genuine confidence in the law of cause and effect, there is no way that you will not feel regret for your negative actions, and when this is so, your parting from faults too will be authentic. From purifying your mindstream in this way, you will certainly have more and more good experiences, and your realization will increase.

Nowadays, however, we are not fundamentally interested in purifying our obscurations and do not make the effort. Even if we do, we follow the prayers and rituals merely as a duty, but without real, heartfelt confidence or shame and regret.

This is why the qualities of experience and realization are as rare as stars in the daytime. So never underestimate the importance of this method for purifying obscurations, and make every effort to practice it so that it is truly effective.

Dudjom Rinpoche –
A Torch Lighting the Way to Freedom –
Shambhala Publications


the essence of the path

HH Dudjom Rinpoche Jigdral Yeshe Dorje

To my Lord of Dharma, peerless, kind,
My glorious Lama, homage!
His lotus feet I place Upon my chakra of great bliss.

Here is my advice, Some counsel useful for your mind.

Not to keep yourself from evil actions
Is to have no pratimoksha.
Not to work for others’ welfare
Is to have no bodhichitta.
Not to master pure perception
Is to have no Secret Mantra.
If illusions don’t collapse,
There is no realization.

If you opt for one side or the other,
That is not the View.
If you have a goal in mind,
That is not the Meditation.
If your conduct’s a contrivance,
That is not the Action.
If you hope and wish,
You’ll have no Fruit.

Those with faith will go for refuge;
Those who have compassion will have bodhichitta;
Those with wisdom will gain realization;
Those who have devotion harvest blessings.

Those who have a sense of shame are careful how they act;
Careful in their actions, they are self-possessed;
Self-possessed, they keep their vows and pledges;
Keeping vows and pledges, they will have accomplishment.

Peaceful self-control: the sign of one who’s heard the teachings!
Few defiled emotions are the mark of one who meditates.
Harmony with others is the sign of one who practices.
A blissful heart is witness to accomplishment.

The root of Dharma is your very mind.
Tame it and you’re practicing the Dharma.
To practice Dharma is to tame your mind—
And when you tame it, then you will be free!

Dudjom Rinpoche
Counsels from My Heart
Padmakara Translation Group