Bodhgaya Teachings: 2006 (Audio and Unedited Transcript) Continued

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Root Institute, Bodhgaya, India 2006 (Archive #1588)

These teachings were given at Root Institute, Bodhgaya, India, December 26-31, 2006. Included here are lam-rim teachings, and oral transmissions of the Maitreya prayer, King of Prayers and the Stainless Beam Mantra. You can listen to Days 1-3 here.

Click on the audio links to listen to that portion of the teaching and read along with the unedited transcript.

Day Four: Benefits of Circumambulation Part A; Four opponent powers

Lama tön pa chom den dä…. [3x]

[Group recitation of Shakyamuni Buddha mantra]

Sang gyä chö dang…. [3x]

Then think, At any rate I must achieve enlightenment for the benefit of, no matter how long it takes time, no matter how many eons, years and eons it takes time and no matter how difficult it is, that I must achieve full enlightenment in order to liberate numberless sentient beings, from whom I receive all my past, present, future happiness, including liberation, enlightenment; therefore, I’m going to listen to the holy Dharma.

So, so this doing circumambulations, prostrations, so forth, so practices to do also in the break-time from sitting meditation. So, as I often mention not break-time from Dharma practice, if you’re taking a break from Dharma practice then your life become very dangerous. Break-time from Dharma means non-virtue. Break-time from Dharma means, then you’re engaging in non-virtue, the negative karma, the cause of the, particularly the cause of the lower realms and then all the sufferings, even in the higher realms, all the sufferings. So as I mentioned yesterday, even you’re born as a human being there’s so many sufferings, human problems.

So, it is not break-time from Dharma practice but break-time from the sitting meditation, so in some ways these are what, practices, virtuous practices to do in the break-time from sitting meditation.

So there are two types of offerings to the Tathagatas, the miscellaneous offerings and the offering of practices. Miscellaneous offerings that is the making offerings the material, the external offerings. Then the service, respect, like that, to the object of refuge.

So maybe I mention some of the benefits of circumambulation. There’s extensive benefits of circumambulation explained by Buddha to, there are two heart disciples, because their statues right and left side, one is, I’m not sure exactly which one is which , I guess the right side is maybe Sharipu, who is excellent in the wisdom among the Buddha’s disciples, and left side might be Mangalipu, who is excellent in the psychic power among the Buddha’s disciples. So, it is extremely important to know the benefits, this, to have some idea. It has unimaginable, unimaginable benefit, the practice of circumambulation, holy objects. It’s really amazing. If one come to know the benefits that explained by Buddha in the sutras, so to get some idea. There’s extensive one Buddha taught to Sharipu, I think, Sharipu, so there’s quite extensive benefits of circumambulation. There’s, the benefits are related to the path to enlightenment, path to liberation, enlightenment, and Buddha’s qualities, but also so much of the benefit is there, it’s according to the people’s interest. I think people who do advertising, so they advertise according to, they advertise what they like, what the people in the world they like, so they advertise according to that, then it gets selled, then all your production get selled, right? So if you’re not good advertising, then not so many people will buy, even your products are good, so they won’t buy, they won’t know the benefits of your production.

So anyway, it’s, especially Dharma, the practices, sentient beings do not know so it has, they need to be explained, they need to be introduced. So, much of it is according to the common people’s interest. There is very important benefits like related to the path to liberation, enlightenment, but then much of it is like temporary benefits about this life, about the short-term happiness, the temporary happiness, samsaric happiness, much of it is related to that, so that people get inspired. That one people, why, why Buddha explained so much of those temporary benefits, because common people, they have more feeling with that, they understand the samsaric pleasures, all these things, talking about beautiful bodies and this and that, they understand that easy. But if you talk about the path, if you talk only about the path or, even though it is true that they receive all these benefits but they don’t understand much, so that’s why Buddha, very skillful, so mixed all, definitely it has that benefit, it’s not telling lie, but it’s, so ultimate benefits and temporary benefits, which they understand, so then mix. So I think that probably, I’m not sure, in Buddha’s time, maybe Cambodia, maybe Cambodia exist at that time, so probably people, I’m not sure, probably people think, maybe people think the Cambodia, maybe round that time beautiful, the girls or something like that it talks about. Maybe around that time maybe this is what people ?took for knowledge or whatever they think, so Buddha taught, introduced the benefits related to what normal people’s interest, then mixed, then along with that talked about the path, those very important benefits.

So anyway, in the sutra of Circumambulating the Stupa, all these benefits are explained by Buddha. So by [Tibetan], what it’s saying, this ________, benefits of circumambulating the stupa, so you should not, here talking about the stupa, but it’s not only stupa, but you should understand, here it’s related to the stupa but also statue, scriptures, same. By having circumambulated, so in this sutra, in the sutra of Circumambulating the Stupa, By having circumambulated the stupa, I must clarify this one, the Tibetan word is chöten, chö is offering, ten is object, object of offerings. But the term chöten it means stupa but also depends on context. It means the stupa, that design of holy object representing Buddha’s holy mind, but also one meaning of, chöten means all the objects of offerings, can be statues, scripture, prayer wheels. Chöten is, so when we do the general confession, no, not general one. The Thirty-five Buddhas confession, there’s, the very first thing is [Tibetan], having done negative karma [Tibetan], so that yourself collected negative karma, then the next one must be you cause others to collect negative karma, the third must be rejoiced, you didn’t create the negative karma but, you didn’t do the actual action, so the first you did by yourself, second thing, you caused others to do, third, you rejoiced, having done negative karma either yourself or by others. [pause] Then next one says “chhö ten gyi kor ram,” the pollutions of the, it mentions the stupa, it’s not correct. It’s not a stupa, it’s mentioned there, so it sounds stupa because chöten that’s very commonly known as a stupa, but in the Thirty-five Buddhas confessing downfalls, the Thirty-five Buddhas prayer, there after finishing the buddhas’ names, Thirty-five Buddhas’ names then the, when it comes to the practicing the remedy four, the confession to be perfect confession, purification, it need to be perfected with the remedy four powers. So the [Tibetan] the remedy, the power, the remedy to the negative karma, so that’s reciting the names, beginning with refuge then reciting the names of the buddhas, the Thirty-five Buddhas’ names, also you can recite the seven Medicine Buddhas, that which, that which is [Tibetan], that power, from the four remedy powers that which makes confession, the purification, perfect, so [Tibetan].

So, kun gyi chöpa, always engaging or always enjoying, kun gyi chöpa, so I’m not sure, I haven’t seen yet that word by word explanation. So, I guess maybe these mantras, these holy names are extremely powerful to purify the negative karmas, so you don’t experience the result of those negative karmas if you recite these names, these buddhas’ names and mantras, so you don’t have to experience the result, the suffering of negative karmas, you don’t have to experience, so absence of that is peace, happiness. Absence of the result, absence of the suffering that which is the result of negative karmas that’s peace. So I think, so I guess, it’s just my guessing that “always enjoying” means the result by reciting these buddhas’ names and the mantras, so you always enjoy that, the absence of the, so many eons, thousands of eons by reciting each buddha’s name, so the thousands of eons negative karma get purified, those different negative karmas get purified. So therefore, so that means for that much, anyway, that much negative karma collected during those durations then you don’t have to experience, so therefore, it’s unbelievable advantage that so much peace and happiness you have. So I guess it might be like that, the power of the remedy always enjoying. So anyway, so that’s reciting the names, buddhas’ names.

So the first buddha’s name, Shakyamuni Buddha, the purifying 80,000 eons of negative karma, but some other texts mention much more. So like that, 80,000 eons of negative karma get purified and then there’s one buddha’s name, de zhin sheg pa me tog päl la chhag tshäl lo, prostrating to Glorified Flower, so if you recite that 100,000 eons of negative karma get purified, by reciting that buddha’s name one time, just even once. So it is unbelievable, this is one powerful practice for purification, so that means very powerful practice to purify the obstacles for realizations. So that means quick way to have realization of the path to liberation, to enlightenment, so both.

So that’s why in the Lama Tsongkhapa life story, it doesn’t talk about many hundred thousand Vajrasattvas and other things, doesn’t talk much. Almost you kind of, I’m not sure whether I can say that, but like almost you don’t see the story, I mean I don’t remember the whole life story but the Thirty-five Buddhas, reciting the Thirty-five Buddhas’ names and doing prostrations, Lama Tsongkhapa did many hundred thousands of prostrations by reciting the Thirty-five Buddhas’ names. So you can still see the cave, a place called Wolka, the cave where Lama Tsongkhapa did the prostrations. So, then same, all the lineage lamas of the lam-rim, lineage lamas who actualized the lam-rim path, the steps of the path to enlightenment, all of them, this has been the main, everyone take as very important this practice, doing prostrations every day by reciting the Thirty-five Buddhas’ names and achieved so much realizations from that, so including Lama Tsongkhapa, so so much realizations achieved by doing the practice of purification then reciting the Thirty-five Buddhas’ names with the prostrations. So here, so yeah, so maybe could do the oral transmission of the Thirty-five Buddhas’ prayer, those, maybe another time, but anyway, I just thought to explain the mainly on the benefits of circumambulation.

So just to clarify, chöten doesn’t mean, chöten usually means stupa but doesn’t mean only stupa; it depends on context. Here in the practice of the Thirty-five Buddhas, this means object of offerings, so it means statues, scriptures, anything, any holy object, object of offering, chöten, chö ?pai ten, chöten, so object of offerings. So, one should understand when you recite the Thirty-five Buddhas’ names, the Thirty-five Buddhas the last part, the [Tibetan] the power, the meaning is, by going through some list of negative karmas, the heavy ones then to feel, to recognize that and to feel, by thinking of the shortcomings then to feel regret. So here, in the Western psychology probably anything that you feel bad, anything that you feel sad is negative; but here it’s positive. Something that you feel sad, something that you upset, feel sad, regret, in the, what I hear, anyway, is anything that you feel sad is, anything that you feel regret is bad, negative. But here in, well, I think also in the Christianity, I think, there’s, you confess, you go to church and confess to the priest, if you did something wrong then I think there’s also regret there, anyway . So in Buddhism here, in such these cases here the regret is positive, it’s healing, it’s purifying, it’s purifying your negative karma. It’s healing. The regret here is become method of healing, purifying negative karma, so there’s big differences. So we should judge from the benefits. So here the benefit is, here this is positive, why? Because it has a positive benefit, because if you feel regret then all the negative karma becomes, no matter how heavy it is, becomes very thin. More regret you feel, the negative karma becomes that much thinner.

So it has a lot of, among the remedy four powers, the power of the [pause] reliance or the, little bit power of object, [Tibetan], then so negative karmas collected with the relationship of the guru, Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, then you purify, those negative karmas you purify by depending on them: guru, Buddha, Dharma, Sangha. So negative karmas collected with the relationship with sentient beings, you purify by generating bodhicitta, by depending on them. So it could be power of object. So, power of reliance, power of the object. So then the next one, the [Tibetan] so the power the feeling regret, regretfulness to one’s own negative karmas. So, [Tibetan], ?sem chen pa is thinking of the shortcomings, what these negative karmas harms you, sem chan pa, so thinking of their shortcomings, how they harm you, so thinking of that, then you feel regret. The actual words, the actual translation of the word is thinking of their shortcomings, what they harm you, thinking of that. Then, because of that then you feel regret. Then that makes you feel sorry, regret. But if don’t think of the shortcomings of the negative karmas then, if you don’t think of that, shortcomings of negative karma, then you don’t feel regret, then you don’t care, you don’t think it’s important to, if you don’t see it’s harmful, then you don’t purify. So [Tibetan], thinking of the shortcomings, how they’re harmful to you, then that causes to rise regret, then regretfulness.

So anyway, here, this section is, counting, going over those negative karmas, that part of the, that power, the feeling regretfulness or the reflecting the shortcomings of the negative karma, so this part.

So, chhö ten gyi kor ram, then the pollutions of the object of the offerings. Then next one is, then it mentions Sangha. So particular Sangha, so the first one includes everything. The next one is Sangha, pollution, ge dün gyi kor ram, pollutions of the Sangha. It’s not receiving some defilements from the Sangha, it’s not like that. It may sound like that when you don’t know what it means, pollution. So, you may be thinking getting some sicknesses from them or getting some kind of , something, some sicknesses or something , TB or something, some, you receive some sicknesses from them, anyway. So, not like that. So that, so this pollution of Sangha that is people offered food and things to the Sangha with devotion, anyway, things belonging to the Sangha, that, then you’re receiving that. So Buddha receiving the offerings from the Sangha doesn’t receive pollution and also, I think, arya beings don’t receive pollutions, so there’s no cause. So, generally, the people make offering to you with the devotion, one receive pollution or things offered to Sangha, that belong to Sangha, then receive. So generally it’s mentioned that one who has degenerated the morality, I think, who received the defeat and who received the remainder and these things, those vices one has received, so unable to keep those pure, so then if one eat the devotional food then same as in the hell realm, drinking the hot molten liquid, same, in the hell realm, it is same. I guess the result will be that, so then it’s the same. Or licking the hot red burning oneness with the, container with the fire, so mentioned. Regarded, anyway, it’s regarded very heavy karmic result, suffering result, regarded very heavy.

And then, even those who are living in the pure vow, even those who are living in the pure morality still you have karmic debts, and so one has to, so study very hard or however, in the monastery either doing service or however, doing strong practice, like that. Even one is living in pure morality still there is debts. So what is not, yeah, like that. So therefore, it is advised that, in the tantra there’s, in the secret mantra, Vajrayana, there’s very powerful practice that even the, instead of receiving pollution that eating and drinking become very powerful means of collecting extensive merits and purification and become cause to quickly achieve enlightenment. So, of course, this depends on having received a great initiation of the secret mantra, Vajrayana. So, after having received the initiation you are qualified to visualize yourself as deity, so food and drink into nectar. So then, offering to yourself the guru-deity, offering to yourself the guru and deity.

So deity, if one understands the actual meaning of the guru, then you don’t see differences between deity and the guru, you can’t separate guru and deity. So if one understands, think of the actual meaning of the guru, what it really means, then you, what you discover, they’re one. So therefore, when you become [pause], so when we hear “guru,” or when we think of guru or when we, not only during the guru devotion meditation, doing analysis, remembering quotations and reasonings that trying to prove to your own mind which see the guru and buddha separation, two separate things, then trying to identify to that mind that they’re one. So that’s the main meditation, trying to prove and trying to discover that they’re one. Two different names but it’s one thing. So then when you, by training the mind into this, doing analytic meditation, how it’s buddha and then after, when it came to this conclusion, it’s buddha, then you keep your mind into that, keeping, one-pointedly place the mind into that, discovering or experiencing, understanding that these two are one. So when you come to this conclusion then you keep your mind into that as long as one can. So that’s fixed meditation. So then analytical and fixed meditation together, by training the mind in this way then gradually then this experience realizing from your side that those two are one become very stable. Very stable, no change. So for your mind it’s indestructible, that is very stable, unshakable or very stable. So this seeing buddha and the devotion become very stable. So, very stable, then that spontaneously, day and night, all the time, spontaneously your heart, this is what your heart experiences, this is what your heart feels without any effort, so that’s the guru devotion realization. So that which brings, that which causes to receive all the blessings and the guru, blessing of the guru, same then, the deity. Then from that one achieve, then one is able to achieve the realizations, from the graduate path of the lower capable being in common, starting from perfect human rebirth up to, then graduate path of the middle capable being in common, graduate path of the higher capable being, including the tantric path, so up to enlightenment.

So, what one sees, what one thinks, guru, when one recites a prayer, the word “guru,” so what understanding should come in the heart, that is, the dharmakaya, the buddha’s holy mind, that which [pause] the primordial mind that which has no beginning and no end. Which has no beginning and no end and that which covers all the phenomena, which pervades to all the phenomena and bound with the infinite compassion towards sentient beings. So, that which manifests, that which takes any form and give guidance whenever the karma of the sentient being is ripened, wherever the sentient being is, wherever that sentient being is, whenever the karma is ripened to receive guidance, without delay even one second, the second when the karma is ripened, receive guidance and takes form, takes manifestation according to the karma of the sentient being and receive guidance. So there are numberless sentient beings, so without any, effortlessly, without any effort, without any superstitious thought, the effortful mind, without that, so spontaneously doing work for sentient being, like when the one sun, there’s only one sun in the world, rises, only one sun rises, the sun reflect in every water, ocean or river, water stream, water dew, wherever there’s water, as long as it doesn’t have a cover, anything that which doesn’t have a cover, so it reflect in everywhere, even the water dew, everywhere it reflects. So, but the sun didn’t have a motivation, Oh, I’m going to reflect in all this water dews in this country or that garden or, somebody’s garden, very beautiful, so I’m going to reflect in those water dew. So the sun didn’t have such a plan, so the sun doesn’t have such a motivation. So anyway, so this one sun but when it rises it reflects in all the water, where it’s not covered.

So, like that, as usually given in the teachings example like that. So benefit to all sentient beings, to numberless sentient beings like that. So, therefore manifest into the Shakyamuni Buddha, as the founder of the Buddhadharma in this world, then manifest into all these lineage lamas, manifest into deities, Highest Tantra deities and, the four classes of tantric deities, and reveal Dharma, reveal the path to achieve enlightenment, path of each deity. Then, manifest thousand buddhas of this eon, Medicine Buddhas, the very powerful for success, by reciting their names and mantras and by making offerings, of course, very powerful for, if sentient beings pray, recite their names, very powerful for success, all that. And the Thirty-five Buddhas, very powerful to purify negative karma, so then, so manifest different, even the buddhas, in the aspect of buddha but who have different functions. Even the Thirty-five Buddhas each one is to purify different negative karmas, specific purpose purifying negative karma. So those specific negative karmas to purify. So you can relate all that to oneself, so all this manifested to you and including the Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, founder of the present Buddhadharma, who revealed the whole path, who taught 84,000 teachings of Buddha, 84,000 teachings, the pratimoksha, Paramitayana, Mahayana sutra and Mahayana tantra, all that. So then manifested also as a bodhisattva, then manifested such like those eight bodhisattvas, Ksitigarbha and so forth, the Chenrezig, Manjushri, so in those forms of bodhisattvas. Manifested in the form of arhats, sixteen arhats, so forth, like that. Manifested in the form of daka-dakinis and manifested in the form of protectors. So it’s all, all these, how many in the merit field that’s manifested, the guru manifested, so that, so all that is manifested for you, to guide, so in so many aspects to do different, to grant different actions, help, guidance, to bring you to, to actualize the path and to cross the ocean of samsara, the samsaric suffering. Then, to bring to enlightenment.

So then, not only that, but it manifest, not just only this merit, what is in the merit field that you visualize for meditation, not only that, but it manifest in any form there’s need, for oneself, for all sentient beings, all sorts of forms. Even in animal forms, so in all sorts of forms. In the form of beggars, who causes you to collect merit. The, so forth, in all kinds of forms. So anyway, to guide you or to help you.

So that is absolute guru. Here what’s, so what we have to remember, the real meaning of that is this absolute guru, all the buddhas’ holy mind, the dharmakaya, that one. 

So guide us.