When we suffer, we should regard our discomfort as a sign reminding us that the way to avoid even minor pains is to abandon all negative actions. In the puriﬁcation of negativities, there are four powers to be considered.
The ﬁrst is the power of revulsion, a strong regret for all evil actions committed in the past, similar to the regret we might feel after swallowing poison. It is futile to confess faults without regret, and the power of revulsion is simply to be sick of one’s negative actions. The second power is the decision to improve. In the past, we have failed to recognise the evil of negative actions; but from now on, even at the cost of our lives, we resolve to refrain from negativity.
The third power is that of the support. Since it is impossible to make confession without having someone to confess to, we take as our object the Three Jewels, whose Body, Speech and Mind are ever free from evil actions, and who are utterly without partiality. When we have taken refuge in them, the best way to purify ourselves is to generate Bodhichitta in their presence. Just as it is said that all forests will be consumed in an instant by the ﬁres at the end of the kalpa, likewise all negative actions are completely puriﬁed by the generation of Bodhichitta.
The fourth power is the power of the antidote. One such antidote is the meditation on emptiness, for even negative actions are by nature empty and have no substantial existence as independent entities. As another antidote, it is said that the mere recollection of the mantra of Chenrezig can bring about enlightenment.
The six syllables of the Mani correspond to Chenrezig’s accomplishment of the six transcendent perfections and are manifestations of them. By hearing the mantra, beings are liberated from samsara; by thinking of the mantra, they accomplish these perfections. The beneﬁt of the Mani is so vast that if the earth could be used as paper, the trees as pens and the oceans as ink, and if the Buddhas themselves were to discourse upon it, there would be no end to the description of its qualities.
Practices such as meditation on emptiness or the recitation of the Mani constitute the power of applying the antidote of wholesome conduct. The Buddha said in the White Lotus of Compassion Sutra that if someone were to practise properly the recitation of the six syllables, even the parasites living in his body would be reborn in Chenrezig’s Buddhaﬁeld.
Confession is practised correctly when these four powers are all present. As it is said by the Kadampa Masters, negative actions have but one good quality: they may be puriﬁed through confession.
– Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche – Enlightened Courage – Shambhala Publication