Dharma books contain the teachings of the Buddha and thus they have the power to protect against lower rebirth and to point the way to enlightenment. Therefore, they should be treated with respect. It is important to note that this includes tablets, phones, laptops, and hard drives containing Dharma.
During this year’s Light of the Path retreat, Lama Zopa Rinpoche made a point to discuss this. Rinpoche explained that if your iPad (or other digital device) contains Dharma, it should be treated with the same respect as a Dharma text and viewed as “revealing the path to become free from samsara and achieve enlightenment, so you have to respect as rare sublime Dharma.”
These materials, whether hard copy or digital, should be kept off the floor, the bed, and places where people sit or walk. Dharma materials should not be stepped over. They should be covered or protected for transporting and kept in a high, clean place separate from more mundane materials. Other objects should not be placed on top of Dharma books and materials including your mala, reading glasses, etc.
If it is necessary to dispose of written Dharma materials, they should be burned rather than thrown in the trash. When burning Dharma texts, visualize that the letters of the texts to be burned transform into an AH and the AH absorbs into your heart. Imagine burning blank paper. As you burn, you can recite OM AH HUM or the Heart Sutra while meditating on emptiness.
Watch Lama Zopa Rinpoche teach LIVE at the Light of the Path 2017 retreat August 20-September 17:
If you miss the live teachings, you can access all the teachings from Light of the Path 2017: