Lama Zopa Rinpoche during a visit to the stupa at Sarnath, India, January 2017. Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang.

By generating a bodhichitta motivation throughout each day, we can benefit ourselves and sentient beings, Lama Zopa Rinpoche explained while teaching at the 100 Million Mani Mantra Retreat in Italy.

Rinpoche’s advice, captured in a video clip from the October 10, 2017, teaching, emphasizes that by having a bodhichitta motivation in any number of activities, you are able to generate heaps of merit and become profoundly beneficial.  

Making Offerings

“Of course if you have an actual realization of bodhichitta, there is no question of merit,” Rinpoche says. “But even if you have an effortful motivation of bodhichitta, when you offer light—one light, even one Christmas light, whatever light, a butter lamp, one candle—you collect merits more than the sky. Wow, wow, wow!”

Circumambulating Holy Objects

Rinpoche says, “If you generate a bodhichitta motivation when you circumambulate, with each step going around circumambulating, you collect merits more than the sky.”

Eating and Drinking

“When you eat food, with each bite or drink, if it is done with a motivation of bodhichitta, then you are eating food for sentient beings, to serve sentient beings, to bring them to enlightenment,” Rinpoche says.

“And then also to make offering, make yourself in oneness with the guru-deity Chenrezig. Visualize Chenrezig in your heart, same as the guru. So with each bite, with each drink, you collect more than skies of merit. You collect with each spoonful, with each sip, merits more than the sky.”


“If you generate the motivation of bodhichitta for when you talk, whether you are consulting, whether you are teaching Dharma, if you generate the motivation of bodhichitta, not even the realization, but effortful bodhichitta, then with each word you collect merits more than sky,” Rinpoche advises.


Rinpoche adds, “The same thing as circumambulation, when you are going for a walk, going shopping, going for pilgrimage, whatever, if it is done with a bodhichitta motivation, then with each step you collect more than skies of merits.”

The Best Motivation Is Bodhichitta

“As the Buddha said, to work for yourself and others, numberless sentient beings, the best motivation is bodhichitta. So all the buddhas, they checked, they see, it is like that,” Rinpoche says.

“Even if you don’t have a realization of bodhichitta, but you generate a bodhichitta motivation, for any activity you do—in every minute, in every second—you collect merits more than the sky! There is no time for depression. There is no space for depression. Depression, goodbye!”

Your Main Refuge Is Bodhichitta

If you pay attention to having a bodhichitta motivation throughout your life, your whole day, and with every activity, then it is your main practice and your main refuge.

Rinpoche explains, “When your life is so busy, your main refuge is bodhichitta. So every hour—not only every day, every hour, every minute, every second—is bodhichitta.” By doing this, you create so much merit, “more than the sky! Amazing, amazing!”

“By generating the motivation of bodhichitta, then when you do prayers all day long or for one hour, with each word you collect more than skies of merit. Can you imagine?” Rinpoche asks.

“You have to realize how you are most unbelievably fortunate! You are so fortunate. You are so fortunate this time. Next, next life not sure, but this life ….”

Rinpoche concludes, “With a bodhichitta motivation, whatever you are doing, working for the center, working for the company or the family, with bodhichitta, the merits you create, wow, wow, wow!”

To see Rinpoche giving this teaching, watch the video “Practicing Dharma Skillfully with Bodhichitta:

The quotes from Rinpoche have been lightly edited and are based on the unedited transcript of the 100 Million Mani Mantra retreat in Italy, which you can find here with video recordings of the complete teachings:

Find more video clips from Lama Zopa Rinpoche:

Lama Zopa Rinpoche is the spiritual director of the Foundation for the Preservation of Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), a Tibetan Buddhist organization dedicated to the transmission of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition and values worldwide through teaching, meditation, and community service.