What practice can we do to make amends and repair our mistakes?

A student asks:

When we make mistakes, what is the best practice to make amends? Would the Vajrasattva mantra be best for purification?

Lama Shenpen responds:

When we make mistakes it’s good to apply the powers of repentance (as explained in our booklets under the section about confession in the 7 branch prayer).  First you acknowledge the fault and repent it – feeling remorse or sorry that it happened and recognising its negative impact on yourself and others – then make a resolve not to do it again and doing something that is clearly the opposite – putting your volition behind harmonious speech and kindness and so on – that is what you want to follow from now on.

Then you can think the Buddha is present with you with all the adhistana of the Mandala of Awakening pouring down onto you and into you – burning up or washing away all the negative tendencies that are based on not recognising your own true nature and the true nature of all beings – like light banishing darkness – really let that healing light into your being – flowing through your whole body and accompany that with prayers and mantras and any kind of practice that touches your heart – inspires you – it could be the apramanas, the Bodhichitta, confidence in Openness Clarity and Sensitivity being your true nature and tapping into that as best you can.

All that constitutes purification or clearing away obscurations, allowing understanding and all good qualities to augment in us.

If you have been introduced to the Vajrasattva mantra that is a good one to do – or you can use the Guru Rinpoche or Shakyamuni or Heart Sutra mantra – or OM MA NI PAD ME HUM. They are all good and all have the same effect.

Lama Shenpen Hookham

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