Lama Zopa Rinpoche's Online Advice Book
- Advice for Operations
Advice for Operations
A student having surgery for an abdominal aortic aneurysm asked Rinpoche for advice.
You need to have the Kangyur read and recitation of Jampel Tsenjo (Chanting the Names of Arya Manjushri) done three times. Then the puja lu-zon needs to be done.
|Very Sick Student|
A student who was very sick wrote to Rinpoche asking for advice on what practices to do before having an operation.
I checked and the following needs to be done:
- Namgyalma long-life puja: three times.
- Read a long-life sutra the amount of times equal to your age. It is best if you do the reading, but your family can help.
- Chag-sum puja: please ask Geshe-la to do this.
- Gyab-shi puja: please ask Geshe-la to do this.
- Druk-chu-ma: please request the Lama Gyupas at Kopan Monastery to do this, with the teachers.
- Sri dok tsaktra chug-sum: the thirteen wheel ritual to prevent malevolent Sri sprits from harming. Ask Geshe-la to read this for you 30 times.
- Betraying the Dead puja: request the Lama Gyupas at Kopan Monastery to do this for you.
There are some other pujas that I need to do for you. There is quite a bit to be done and all of this needs to be done before having the operation.
A student wrote asking about his father's operation.
I checked regarding your father, and you need to have a peaceful and controlling fire puja done for him. Also, request Pemba-la to do the Liberating from Harm of the Nagas puja for him.
|Whether to Have Tumors in Uterus Removed|
A student wrote to Rinpoche asking whether to have an operation to remove tumors in her uterus. She had also written to Rinpoche six months earlier, asking for advice. Rinpoche’s advice given on both occasions is below.
I checked for you regarding your condition, and the operation now comes out very good to do. Although it comes out very good to do it, before the operation it is good if you take a Highest Yoga Tantra initiation and do retreat, so you can do self-initiation. If you can’t do self-initiation, then do Lama Chöpa and tsog a few times within the retreat.
Previous advice from Rinpoche six months earlier:
I checked for you regarding your operation, and it is better for now not to have the operation. You need to recite Vajra Armor mantra. The minimum is half a mala a day, but it would be better if you could recite one mala a day. Every half mala blow on a bottle of water to bless it. Visualize the deity in front of you, surrounded by all the buddhas and bodhisattvas, who are sending light to the Vajra Armor deity’s heart. From the heart of the deity, light comes and enters you and you feel very blessed. All the karma of disease is purified for yourself and for all sentient beings. Then, all harm from spirits, etc, is purified. Focus on the area where the tumors are and feel this as extremely powerful purification.
Rinpoche gave the following practice advice to a student who was having a cataract removed from her eye.
I checked regarding the cataract operation and this is what you need to do before having the operation.
- Do White Tara retreat for four months. It doesn’t have to be a strict retreat, but you need to do it.
- Chag-sum puja has to be done, just before the operation.
- Do Medicine Buddha puja four times.
All of this should be done before having the operation.
A student whose mother was going to have an operation very soon wrote to Rinpoche asking for advice.
I am very sorry to hear about your mother’s health and the need for an operation. I have checked about your mother’s situation and this is my advice:
- Two gyab-shi pujas at Osel Labrang
- Eight Medicine Buddha pujas, by the Mongolian nuns in our nunnery in Mongolia
- 110 long-life tsa-tsas of the three long-life deities
- 4,000 animals need to be saved. These can include insects or worms that are going to be used for bait, or crickets or small insects that are given for pets for food.
|Growth on Stomach|
A student had a large growth on the outside of his stomach. There was bleeding into the stomach and the doctors wanted to remove the growth. They said without an operation, the growth would eventually start to push into the stomach and food intake would be restricted and ultimately impossible. Rinpoche gave the following advice.
- Liberate 1,000 animals
- Chi-lu puja
- Pacifying fire puja
- The Long-life Sutra needs to be read 60 times. Do self-initiation five times, once or twice a day at least, and do this as soon as possible.
Once the pujas are done, then it is good to have the operation.
|Operation for Cancer in the Womb|
|A student from Colombia had cancer of the womb. The cancer had compressed her right kidney and caused many problems, including enlargement of the womb, and doctors wanted to do a very invasive operation. The student requested advice from Rinpoche on how to heal this alternatively, through practice.|
It does not come out good to do the operation. I will send blessed mantra water to you; this seems the best. It will take a little time for me to bless the water, as it needs thousands of mantras. You should also bless water yourself and drink it after blessing it with Black Manjrushri mantra and practice.
How to bless the water:
- Place a container of water in front of a picture of Black Manjrushri. Beams of nectar are emitted from Black Manjrushri’s heart and bless the water in the container, so that it will purify you. Visualize this very strongly and visualize that it purifies the four things (spirit harm, negative karma, disease and defilements).
- Recite the mantra as much as you can (at least a few malas each day). For the last 21 mantras that you recite, visualize that you receive all the qualities: omniscient mind, compassion, and all the rest of the qualities. After each mala blow on the water. Then sip the water several times a day.
Also, bless the same water with the Vajra Armor mantra in the same way. Each time you drink the water, think that it purifies the four things and brings you to liberation and enlightenment. Think that your negative karma and delusions, which are the source of the sickness, are completely purified. After drinking the water each time, strongly generate faith that everything is purified.
Drink the water early in the morning before sunrise, before midday, around 3pm, after sunset and before going to bed. At least drink this amount, but you can also drink more.
|A student was in hospital with a brain infection and was about to have an operation. Rinpoche sent the following advice.|
My dear Lesley,
I remember a long time ago, the first time Lama Yeshe had to go to hospital. I am not sure what it was for, but it was some kind of operation on the heart, where you had to sign your consent in order to have the operation. What Lama did was, he lit one stick of incense and did Guru Puja very sincerely, with devotion, in a very peaceful way. I am not sure whether he did short Lama Chöpa or Heruka Lama Chöpa, maybe it was short Lama Chöpa (Guru Puja). Then he went to hospital. He said that after he did Lama Chöpa, his mind was very happy, very peaceful, and he had no regrets (which also includes no fear). He had no regrets at all in his mind.
My suggestion for you, even though the treatment came out well in the observation, is it is better, anyway, to prepare for death. Even when we are not sick, we still have to prepare to die. That's the way to practice Dharma, to prepare to die every day, every hour, every minute. This is the way to practice pure Dharma, real Dharma. In this way, it is not just looking like one is practicing Dharma, but in reality it is not Dharma.
My advice is, if you can, to recite the Thirty-five Buddhas’ names a few times, including the eight Medicine Buddhas’ names. If you are not able to actually prostrate, then you can put your palms together at your heart in the mudra of prostration. By doing this, you still get the same amount of merit. Also, make yourself tall like a mountain and visualize yourself lying down in all directions, prostrating to the merit field or the holy objects on the altar or in the room. Even if it is just a visualization, you get the same amount of merit as having done the prostrations with that many actual bodies.
Also, you can do Medicine Buddha practice (not the booklet called "Healing Buddha" but the actual Medicine Buddha practice/sadhana). This is the short Medicine Buddha practice that I translated years ago, which is very good for daily practice.
At the end, make strong prayers to Medicine Buddha that the treatment be most beneficial and successful. In any case, as death has to happen, pray to be born in a pure land, whichever one wishes – Amitabha, Vajrayogini, or any one where one can become enlightened in that life and be able to liberate all sentient beings from suffering samsara quickly and bring them to enlightenment, or pray to receive a precious human rebirth and to achieve enlightenment by meeting the perfect Mahayana guru and actualize the common path and uncommon Vajrayana path.
If possible, if you have done a highest tantric retreat (or even if you haven't), then do a short self-initiation within the Guru Puja (that I am attaching here), with the deity that you did the retreat on. This is to purify all degenerated samaya vows, any negative karmas, the 10 non-virtuous actions, and heavy negative karmas collected against the guru. That is negative karma collected in this and past lives. By doing the short self-initiation, think that everything is purified, generate strong faith, and think that you are now very clear and pure, with no regrets. By doing the short self-initiation, the samaya vows become pure, by taking them again within the practice.
Then, generate a bodhicitta motivation for the operation. In your case, think the guru and Vajrayogini are oneness – totally rely on that with a one-pointed mind. With this in your mind, you can begin the operation, thinking like this until you are unconscious, keeping this awareness.
Another way is you can do the operation with tong-len, taking suffering and its causes onto oneself, and giving one’s merit and happiness to others. This way, we take the essence of the operation, and it becomes a very wise, skilful way of having the operation. Make your life meaningful, whether one is alive or whether one passes away.
With much love, and I will pray to the Guru Triple Gem...
|A student who had been in a very severe car accident was about to have another operation so she could walk, and wrote to Rinpoche to ask for advice.|
My very dear Emma,
Thank you for your kind letter.
These things are very important to do before your operation on 20 May:
1) Take a long-life initiation. It is very important that that this happens BEFORE the operation. It is best if the Rinpoche you know, who is at your center, can do it. If not, then Geshe-la can do it.
2) 190 long-life tsa-tsas are being made for you before the operation. The Sangha are doing this here.
Before the operation, on the 20th, somebody needs to go over the Vajrayogini self-initiation next to you. The person can read it and you can either recite as much as you can, or listen to it as much as you can. Try to do it. The main thing is the four initiations and to take the bodhisattva and tantric vows again. This is very important. You must do this to make your vows pure again, so that what has been broken is restored. It is very important to think that you have received the vows. If you can, listen to the prayers, and see if you can repeat as the other person recites. If that is hard, then you can recite them mentally as you hear the person reading. Then think that you have received the bodhisattva and tantric vows completely.
When taking the four initiations, meditate as much as you can on those, especially that all the negative karma collected since beginningless time (and then specifically according to each of the four initiations) is completely purified. Ask the person to read the four initiations slowly. Especially think that one’s negative karma is purified—generate strong faith in that. First, one particularly thinks that negative karma related to the body (killing, etc), collected since beginningless time, is purified, and that you are completely purified and have achieved the Vajra holy body. You receive permission to meditate on the generation stage. You have left the potential to receive the result: nirmanakaya, on your mental continuum.
Then the next initiation—the secret initiation—purifies negative karmas of one’s speech (lying, etc) collected since beginningless time, and you are completely purified and have achieved the Vajra holy speech. You have permission to meditate on the impure and pure illusory body. You have left the potential to achieve the result: sambhogakaya, on your mental continuum.
The next one is the wisdom initiation, to purify negative karma of mind (ill will, etc), collected since beginningless time, and you are completely purified. Generate strong faith. It is good to remember negative karma also collected with your guru, and this is completely purified. You achieve the Vajra holy mind and have permission to meditate on clear light. You have left the potential to achieve the result: dharmakaya, on your mental continuum.
Next is the word initiation, to purify general and subtle stains of body, speech, and mind, and, in particular, subtle dualistic view, collected since beginningless time. All of these are purified and you are completely purified. Generate strong faith. You have permission to meditate on the path of unification. You have left the potential to achieve the unified state of Vajradhara.
These are the main points to include during the four initiations, while they are happening. You can try to meditate and think in this way. Then you have no worries at all. Even if the operation is not successful, then you go to a pure land or receive a perfect human birth.
Also, this way, any broken samaya and negative karma collected since beginningless time, especially heavy negative karma collected with one’s guru, such as non-devotional thought, harming the holy body, etc, are all purified. This is the most important thing, to purify one’s samaya. That is the best way to die.
When you go for the operation, with your mind in bodhicitta, it is very good if you are able to do tong-len on the way. The main refuge should be bodhicitta, and think His Holiness and Amitabha are as one on your crown, and the main object of refuge. Then do tong-len to experience all sentient beings’ pain, even death, by yourself. Let them all be free from death and all sufferings. Generate the wish. If you can, think this way, without clinging to your family, etc, or any things, and mainly do bodhicitta and tong-len. The main thing is that there is nothing to worry about, and no clinging to sentient beings. On your crown is His Holiness in the aspect of Amitabha Buddha.
Before you have the injection (anesthetic), it is extremely important that your last thoughts be virtuous. This is so important, in case something happens, for your future rebirth, and, no question, for going to a pure land. So, it is very important to put a lot of effort into this. If you can concentrate on Amitabha Buddha above the crown of your head, then see your consciousness (see it as a bright white/red drop) in your heart, and looking up into Amitabha’s heart, your consciousness goes into Amitabha’s heart. If you can do that it would be great. This is a great preparation to go to Amitabha pure land. Your consciousness absorbs into Amitabha’s heart.
In the pure land all the trees, petals of the flowers, and leaves are all making the sound of Dharma, the teachings of Buddha. Even the sound of the wind is Dharma, the wind blowing in the trees. Also, all the birds are making the sound of pure Dharma. All the trees are wish-granting trees, the ground is lapis lazuli, very blissful, everything is wish-fulfilling, and there is no suffering. This is regarded as a very special, most profound way to die, a self-supporting death according to His Holiness. It is a great way to die, and even if one doesn’t die, it is very powerful.
Go to the operation with bodhicitta, and, if you can do po-wa, make your mind one with Amitabha Buddha, then go to the pure land. This can be your last thought, and before that do the self-initiation. Amitabha is on your crown and you are looking up, like looking up an upside down trumpet, with the bottom part open, up to the crown, straight down the body, closer to your back, made of light, in the nature of light (this is important). Then, shoot one’s consciousness to Amitabha pure land, first to Amitabha’s heart, so your consciousness, in the nature of light (red light), goes up to Amitabha’s heart, through the chancel, which completely hooks your consciousness. It shoots up and you make strong prayers to be reborn in Amitabha pure land, so as to be able to liberate sentient beings. Make very strong prayers to Amitabha, so that he completely hooks your consciousness in one second, heart to heart, it absorbs into Amitabha’s heart, and takes you to the pure land. Then, you are born in a lotus and receive teachings from Amitabha. It is also helpful when you are doing this to make sure no thought of anger or attachment comes up.
If death happens during the operation, then your work is done. If you don’t die, then it is excellent practice, and if you do it with bodhicitta, then it makes your life most beneficial.
I am very happy that all the students made prayers for you and recited the Diamond Cutter Sutra. When I heard about your accident, it was totally unimaginable. This was the first and only time I have asked all the students to make prayers like this. Many students have passed away but I haven’t asked before; it didn’t happen.
Please do everything with a bodhicitta mind, all the time, as much as possible.
I am making prayers for you.
With much love and prayers...
|A student wrote saying his mother was in unbearable pain, needing an operation. She had terrible pain in both sides of her waist, in the bones and spine, so that she could neither sit nor sleep, day or night. It was too much pain for her to bear. She could not eat or do anything, just cry about the pain.|
I'm very sorry to hear of your mother's situation. I checked, and it is important that the following are done. It would be good to have the operation, but you need to do the following immediately:
1) Medicine Buddha puja by Bati Khamtsen at Sera Je Monastery. I have sent the request to them already.
2) Lu-zong: Ask the geshe at your center to do it.
3) I will do a puja for her today.
4) Tong-len practice: I and others here will do this for her and you also.
|A student who had very bad knees needed an operation and wrote asking for advice.|
The operation on your knee should be done before the 10th of December. Generally, it is not an easy operation. The result won't be much more improvement than it is now, but I want to be democratic, and do as you feel.
The following pujas should be done at Sera monastery in the Lama Yeshe khamtsen:
- Gyab-shi: once
- She-nyin dü-dog: three times
Ask your family and friends to read the Golden Light Sutra before and during the operation.
Of course, I will make prayers for you. My wish is that you are not in samsara but be enlightened now.
With much love and prayers...
|A student wrote to Rinpoche asking for advice as to whether to have an operation.|
I checked again regarding the operation and it still doesn’t look good. If you organize for Boudha stupa to be whitewashed, and offer a new umbrella and decorations for the stupa, then the operation comes out as very good.
I do this offering twice a month and one of my assistants at Kopan organizes it, so if you contact my assistant at Kopan, you can organize it with him. It would be better to do it soon.
|Whether to Have an Operation
|A student who had broken her back in a car accident wrote to Rinpoche asking for his advice as to whether or not to have an operation. Medical opinion was divided on whether she should have the operation or not.|
I hope this finds you well. According to my observations, the operation has a small benefit. However, having the operation as well doing the following pujas would be good. These are the things that should be done prior to the operation:
- Namgyal tongchu
- 16 Arhant puja. Please pray to the 16 Arhants for quick success.
- The naga incense puja needs to be done at least twice by the geshe at your Dharma center.
- Please practice Lion-face Dakini daily until you are better.
Visualize doing prostrations to the Thirty-five Buddhas five times each day. If you can, hold your hands in the mudra of prostration while you recite the names, and visualize making the prostrations with hundreds of bodies.
They should not to do the operation on the day "la." The geshe at your Dharma center can check this for you.
You can request the 16 Arhant puja to be done by Nalanda Monastery and you can request Namgyal tongchu from Kopan Monastery. In both cases, please explain clearly your situation and what the operation is for.