Kopan Course No. 14 (1981)

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Kathmandu, Nepal November 1981 (Archive #119)

The following is a transcript of teachings given by Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche at the Fourteenth Kopan Meditation Course in November 1981. The teachings include a commentary on Shantideva's Bodhicaryavatara [A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life] and a short talk and "Question and Answer" session with Lama Thubten Yeshe.

You may download the entire contents of these teachings in a pdf file. You can also listen to the recordings of lectures 1-5 here.

Section Five: Lectures 18-22

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Precepts Ceremony November 28th am

Refuge to the Guru and the Triple Gem: “The Guru is Buddha, the Guru is Dharma, the Guru is Sangha; the Guru is also the creator of all happiness. To all Gurus I go for refuge.”

Generating bodhicitta: “I will generate the enlightenment thought in order to attain success for myself and all other living beings.”

“May all the realms where sentient beings are be purified and devoid of thorns and impure objects, and may they be transformed into the smooth flexible nature of lapis lazuli, as plain as the hand’s palm.

“May the entire realms of space be filled with the offerings of gods and men, both those that are physically offered and those that are visualized, and with clouds of offerings of Samantabhadra. [OM NAMO BHAGAWATI...]

“May my offerings become like this by the power of the truth of the three gems, Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, the blessing of all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas, their spiritual energy and the immaculate, inconceivable Dharmadhatu, ultimate reality.”

For the Mahayana ordination, the eight precepts, please generate the motivation of bodhicitta in brief at least, like this, a short explanation.

“On this earth, among the human beings who were born on the same day as I was born, so many of them are already dead—they couldn’t survive, they couldn’t live as human beings.” Many people whom one has known and met, with whom one has made business, with whom one has played or with whom one did a course or traveled—many of them are already dead. As a year goes by, as a month goes by—they are already dead. They left this human body already. You can make a list of as many as you can remember—those whom you met, who used to live in different countries, in the same country, in the same area, who were at the same school, things like that. Even in the family, the grandfather, grandmother, the grandfather’s father, the grandmother’s mother—they are already dead. Even among the parents are dead ones who already left the body. Among the ones who gave us this body, there are also dead ones. Then among the relatives, among the friends, there are also dead ones, who already left this body. There are so many of them who were doing different types of jobs, last year, doing different types of work, living different styles of life. There are so many of them who were still living last year, but this year you cannot see them, they don’t exist as human beings in this year.

Even yesterday there were so many people on this earth without any expectation that they would die that day. Even though they had big projects, last night they didn’t have any expectation, they didn’t have any doubt, they had complete trust that they would live for many more years—forty, fifty, sixty, seventy years. They had complete trust, complete belief and big projects that would take so many years to complete. They were doing big construction, making factories, having big plans, having made sketches on paper, things like that, or traveling, making business, or having done big shopping yesterday that would last for a few months, or making preparations to get married, arranging everything—between then and now death came, they already left. The person already left, without having the opportunity to join the wedding party or whatever the person was planning yesterday—they left without completing it today. Whether it was writing a book, writing his life story or whatever it was, or perhaps the person was doing three year retreat—whatever it is, it had to stop somewhere in the middle. Maybe it was writing letters without finishing, but it had to stop somewhere and even without putting the signature on it the person left. He didn’t finish them yesterday; he left them to be finished today but between those times death came. The person has already left, unable to complete the letter.

Like this, there are so many things that happen on this earth, and a great change in life happens between yesterday and today. Yesterday there was no disease, no cancer, no heart-attack—not even a headache, not even a pain. The person was so healthy yesterday, fat, very strong. There were even those who can stop a car, who are trained to lift up very heavy things, irons, who had big muscles yesterday, but no matter how strong the person was, how healthy he was yesterday, unexpectedly, even though he didn’t have any disease, suddenly at the end of the day the breath stopped. Suddenly in the middle of the night he felt thirsty, very thirsty, he asked for water and before he got the water he passed away. He didn’t even have the opportunity to wait for the water, he passed away. There are many people for whom death happens like this.

I have one benefactor, one old mother, in a place called Buxa, where I lived for eight years. I used to be in the particular place where the rest of the monks who came from Lhasa, from the three famous monasteries, stayed. Besides the Gelugpa sect there were also other sects—Sakya, Kagyu, Nyingma—the monks who wanted to continue their studies lived there for quite a number of years. This old mother went every morning to circumambulate the monastery and she used to come up and circumambulate where the monks do puja and debate. She used to come and circumambulate the whole monastery every morning.

So one day she came down, she was very healthy, she didn’t have any problems—she came down to her house after finishing circumambulating that day, then she sat on a chair and she felt thirsty, she asked her son for water. And before her son brought the water she passed away on the chair. That is the condition of death. But actually she was a very lucky old lady; before she passed away she told her son, “Thank you very much for being very kind to me.”

She took her son’s hand and then she told him, “Thank you very much, you’ve been extremely kind to me, thank you very much. But I feel thirsty, could you bring me water?” Then before the water came she passed away, while she was sitting on the chair; she died very easily. She was a very good mother, with a good heart. Circumambulating; she didn’t have much work, the other family members did the work, so she went to circumambulate the monastery, reciting mantra with incredible faith in the Triple Gem, the Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, and gurus. She recited many mantras, the Vajrayogini mantra, things like that.

There are many stories like that, similar stories. In the middle of the night, people who were very healthy, who didn’t have any problems or sicknesses, died suddenly between yesterday and today. This morning that healthy person, who didn’t have any problems, left the body on that comfortable bed or on a hard bed. The consciousness is separated. The body is left, the consciousness is somewhere else. The body is there in a very frightening form that nobody is able to touch, which is scary to look at. The person’s consciousness is somewhere else, in the intermediate state and he is experiencing fear from his karmic visions, which are like a fearful dream.

However, if you would die, like those human beings who have already died, if you were unable to survive until today or if you had died in the mother’s womb by abortion, or during childhood, if you were not taken care of, or if you died last year, you may have been born in the realm of the narak, where the ground is only hot red iron, in doorless, iron houses that are oneness with the fire, without doors or windows, with no way to escape, due to your own karma. The narak realm is one’s own karmic vision, the production of impure, evil thoughts. What can you do once you are born in such a suffering realm? Now what can you do? Nothing; you would have no opportunity to practice Dharma. If a fire spark falls on your body, you can’t stand it even for a minute or a second, besides having no opportunity to practice Dharma or meditate.

And if by now, having died last month, today one was born as a lobster and ended up in a restaurant, with those small white animals—what are they called? The white ones that have a lot of fat, that they eat so much in Hong Kong—frogs? Yes, frogs, that’s right. If you were born in the same house as the frogs, in the aquarium, unsure when you will be picked up to be put in the boiling hot water. I heard that a lobster makes a noise like a train when you put it in hot water—it makes an incredible noise for some time, screaming like a train, so long. Then after some time when it cannot scream anymore the teeth make a “chop-chop-chop” sound for some time. That is the last noise. One Tibetan lady had to serve this to another lady who wanted to eat the meat, so she knows this. So if you were now born as a lobster, what would you do? Nothing. Besides having no opportunity to practice Dharma, there is not even temporal pleasure.

We are so extremely fortunate. Think, feel—think of other human beings who don’t live that long, while we are able to live long. And think of those who have already left and didn’t even meet the Dharma, who had an empty life. They died with an empty life. Feel great happiness in the mind that you have been able to survive until now.

Even if you just think about the breath, how fragile it is. This is effective for the mind. If it were a machine, you could fix it; you could fix something that is broken and make it work again. But this breath, breathing in and out, being alive—in other words, being alive is up to the breath, this fragile breath, this breath that goes out and comes in, goes out and comes in. As long as it is there, it’s alive; as long as it is there, as long as it is functioning, there is life. Once it has stopped, it doesn’t function any more, it’s finished. There’s no more life. How long to keep the breath is not up to you, but how long you live is up to the breath. It is not up to you how long you own the breath. If it were in your hands, under your control, then once you were born you could live without dying. But you can’t. At the moment you can’t. Until you are free from delusion and karma there is no way to stop it, to not experience death.

From this you can understand how fragile life is, how we live on this breath, in and out, in and out, since we were born until now. The breath can easily be stopped but so far, somehow, it has been running, it didn’t stop yet. So far it didn’t stop running, somehow—quite amazing. It has been running in and out and so far it didn’t stop, so that’s why so far you have been alive. It is very amazing that so far you have lived, since you were born from your mother’s womb until now. You have been able to remain in this human life, which is something very amazing. It is something that is so difficult to happen, but it has happened.

However, just being a human being, just having survived is not so much of a surprise. The biggest surprise, the most surprising thing, the most amazing thing that has happened is having been able to meet the Dharma. Just the Buddhadharma itself is like having found a mountain of wish-granting jewels or diamonds. Also, having met the Mahayana teachings is so difficult and so rare. To meet the Mahayana teachings the person has to create much merit; that person is a very fortunate person. It is like having found a diamond the size of this earth.

Having met the Vajrayana teachings is like having found a diamond that fills all of space, the whole sky. In fact it is much more than material. It is so rare—the people who meet the Vajrayana teachings are so few in number. Even though there are Mahayana teachings in many other countries besides Tibet and even though they practice the bodhisattvas’ path, they do not practice tantra.

So we should feel great happiness in the mind for having met the teachings. And since one’s life is so fragile, as we can see when we think about the breath, how living is up to the breath, how death can happen at any time, this year, this month, this week, even today, in an hour, in a minute—so while one has the opportunity, without cheating oneself one should practice as much as one can.

Like Guru Shakyamuni Buddha who, by taking the Mahayana ordination, by following the path, became enlightened and enlightened numberless sentient beings. Even now he is working for us, the sentient beings—by accumulating merit in our minds, by keeping precepts, by taking ordination, by doing meditation on the teachings that he left, by practicing that—even now he is working for us, guiding us to liberation, to omniscient mind.

“And I have also the same potential as Guru Shakyamuni Buddha to benefit others, to do extensive works for others. So while I have such an opportunity as this, a selfish motive, seeking happiness only for myself is not different from the attitude of the buffaloes and goats. Each mother sentient being, including even the enemies, is the field from which I receive all my happiness and perfections. Even today, it is the field from which I receive all comforts. What they want is happiness, what they do not wish is suffering, therefore the best way for me to benefit all sentient beings is to free them from all suffering and to lead them to omniscient mind. In order to do that, I must achieve omniscient mind, and therefore I’m going to take ordination until tomorrow at sunrise.”

Then visualize the guru who grants the ordination as Shakyamuni Buddha, surrounded by numberless Buddhas and bodhisattvas, and make three prostrations.

Taking the precepts, motivate by remembering the benefits, remembering what I explained yesterday, how the results are temporal and ultimate—temporal results are the happiness and perfections that one experiences from life to life in so many lives, and also you are creating the cause for the qualities of Buddha, for the sake of others. This itself is also making preparations for death. Also, living in each of the precepts is for the purpose of bringing peace in the world, to benefit the world, the place, and the sentient beings.

As I mentioned yesterday, remember the suffering of human beings, particularly those who are on this earth, and then all the rest; all the suffering of old age, suffering of birth, suffering of sicknesses, those who have so many problems besides that, with a confused life. Also remember that you are taking ordination for their benefit.


Also I think this ordination is one of the methods to prevent war, so the more people who take it benefit in the sense of stopping war. Nowadays the whole world is in the fear of having a third war. There is the danger of having a third war in the world. So it is important, this is one of the methods. Two years or one year ago, at the end of one of the courses, some student asked what to do because there was a great danger of big fighting with one of the countries where there is oil. So it came in the observation—it was at the airport, not here but at the airport, I was leaving for India—it came out that taking this ordination would be highly beneficial for that situation. Other methods, I don’t know.

So also you should feel great rejoicefulness about these merits from living with ordination, from taking precepts, “That much merit that I receive, I can offer to other sentient beings, I can dedicate to other sentient beings, I can offer all the sentient beings.” One should feel happiness like one has something to give; now you have something beneficial to offer, to give others for their happiness. So you should feel happy. “All this merit is not for me, it’s for other sentient beings.” You should feel happiness that you have something to offer.

Please repeat the prayer of the precepts.


“Due to the merit of having taken ordination, together with the three times merit and all merit created by others, keeping this without mistakes and keeping it purely and without pride, may my paramita of moral conduct be completed.

“And due to all these merits accumulated by myself and others, may bodhicitta, renouncing oneself and cherishing others, be generated in the minds of me and others who do not have bodhicitta, and may the bodhicitta in the minds of others be increased.

“Due to all the three-time merits may my parents and sentient beings have all happiness and may the three lower realms be empty for ever.

“And due to all the three-time merits, wherever there are bodhisattvas may their prayers be fulfilled immediately. As the bodhisattvas Samantabhadra, Kungtu Sangpo and Manjushri, Jampel, have dedicated their merits, in the same way I dedicate my merits.

“As the three-time buddhas have dedicated their merits I will dedicate all my merits to quickly enlighten sentient beings by myself.”

Lecture 18: November 29th am


From the great bodhisattva, Shantideva, about the benefits of bodhicitta: “To the one who has the precious holy thought, to that holy being and holy body I prostrate.” Not frustrate, prostrate. Sometimes my words sound a little funny, kind of strange. So, prostrate to the originator of happiness, in you I take refuge.

Anyway, by that explanation you might understand it a little bit more clearly. Those are the words from the Bodhicaryavatara, at the very end of the chapter on the benefits of bodhicitta.

Shantideva himself, the author of the scripture the Bodhicaryavatara, is showing that he himself has great devotion to those holy beings who have generated bodhicitta, because of all the benefits it has, as I explained above. He has devotion, because of those reasons, those advantages, for any being who has this precious holy thought, renouncing self and cherishing others, utterly renouncing the self, completely renouncing the self. Not just emotional for a few hours, not like a water bubble, having great compassion for a few hours, and then it disappears—for a few hours tears come out, you are very emotional, then after a few hours it disappears and something else comes instead of that. Not for just one or two days but completely, utterly, absolutely renouncing the self and one-pointedly cherishing others all the time. Not just for one week, one month or one year, but all the time, forever.

Anyone, any being, whatever caste he is, a king, a blacksmith or whatever caste—in some countries they care so much about caste, in some Eastern countries—so whatever caste he is, whether he is a wealthy person or poor, a straight looking person living in society or a person who is not living in society, even hippy-looking, wearing ragged clothes, with his hair reaching down to the heels—I am just joking. Anyway, however dirty he looks, even having an imperfect body, missing a limb, no matter how he looks, any being, even an animal who has bodhicitta, any being who has such a precious holy thought, completely renouncing the self forever and one-pointedly cherishing others forever, to that holy being’s holy body, I, Shantideva, with the three doors of body, speech, and mind, mind, prostrate—how? With great devotion to the holy beings; the body paying homage, bowing down to that holy being, to that holy body.

Those bodhisattvas are amazing. They have special qualities that ordinary beings do not have. It is so amazing that without choice, seeing this, hearing this, seeing these qualities of the bodhisattva’s holy mind, the bodhisattva’s holy conduct, without choice devotion arises and we feel the value of bodhicitta as more amazing.

So, what is the particular thing? In the case of ordinary worldly beings, even ordinary human beings, leave aside the animals, if somebody harms them they retaliate. Leave aside any action to benefit in return, even the thought to benefit in return for the harm does not arise. It is so difficult for this to arise, so difficult.

Also, even if somebody advises, “You shouldn’t generate ill will, you should stop anger from arising, stop giving harm,” even if somebody, a virtuous teacher or even a Dharma friend, even if somebody tries to help, then instead of listening, instead of accepting that, even if the person says, “What is the point of generating the thought to benefit him, there’s no reason to benefit in return for harm.” He even says, “He harmed me and because he harmed me he is bad. He is a bad person. Why, because he harmed me. He disturbed me. Why? Me. He disturbed me. So he’s bad.” In return, instead of accepting it, the person is labeling the other person as bad, evil. He is never the object of giving help. One should never help that person; even if the person sees somebody else helping his enemy, he goes to tell those people, “Don’t help that enemy.” He runs to do that, saying, “Don’t help.” Besides himself being unable to give help, he will not benefit the other and he will stop even those who would help, telling them how bad the person is, making up a whole story, even if it is not the case. Even if that didn’t happen, he makes it up in order to stop those people from giving help, to cause them to have dislike for the enemy. Even if those people are willing to give help, stopping them from helping the enemy, saying it is no use to benefit the enemy.

Khunu Lama Tenzin Gyaltsen used to say this when giving an explanation on patience. In previous times, outside of Lhasa there was a fence. Inside there are many temples, especially the most precious Shakyamuni statue that was brought from India to China to Tibet, or something like that, with Srongtsen Gampo, one of the previous Tibetan kinds. He invited one secret wife from Nepal and one wife from China in order to bring two precious statues from those places. This statue came with the secret one.

Anyway, without talking too much about that statue—there are so many stories about that. This is the statue that many Tibetans come by foot for months and months to see and make offerings to. A few days ago I heard from one Tibetan government [official] who taught me Tibetan handwriting for a short time. He used to be in the Tibetan government and worked for a long time for His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Private Office, and he is now working for the Tibetan education department.

The Chinese made it very strict for the people—now it is maybe a little bit better but before they didn’t allow the people to see the Shakyamuni Buddha statue. And what happened was, somewhere close to that, I don’t have any idea of the place but I think not so far, there is a huge rock and a Shakyamuni Buddha statue, the same size as the one in the temple, intuitively appeared from the rock. When he was in Tibet, just the face was out but what happened now, the whole complete body has come of the rock intuitively. I think when Tibet was about to be overtaken by the Chinese just the face was coming out. They couldn’t see the rest of the holy body; but now the complete holy body, the same size as in the temple, has completely come out. So even though the Chinese made it very strict so that the people couldn’t see the main one in the temple, they go to make offerings to the other one, the stone statue, the Shakyamuni Buddha statue that intuitively came out of the rock. The young Tibetans, all the children, go there to make offerings. That Shakyamuni Buddha statue is called “Shakyamuni Buddha for the young people, for the youthful ones.” Now I think there come crowds of young people, many young Tibetans go there to make offerings.

I wonder what the scientists would say about that kind of thing, what their explanation would be. Is there something? I wonder how they explain it. Aren’t there things like this in the West? [inaudible discussion]

One person was circumambulating outside this fence in Lhasa, and there was one person sitting in meditation position, and the first person asked the other, “What are you doing?” The person said, “I am meditating on patience.” And the other person said, “You are meditating on patience—you eat kaka.” Then the other person said, “You eat kaka!” Immediately, without delay, he replied “You eat kaka!” even though just before he said he was meditating on patience. He couldn’t even bear the words, “You eat kaka!” He couldn’t bear even those few words; immediately he retaliated, even though he just talked about patience. Even with a word, he had to try and retaliate.

Bodhisattvas, the holy beings, are not like this, not like those ordinary beings. Bodhisattvas, those who have the thought of loving kindness and compassion, the compassionate thought of bodhicitta, even if others harm them—with ordinary people, human beings, if others benefit you, you benefit them. If somebody helps you, you help back and if another harms you, you harm back. This is common in the world of ordinary human beings. This is their kind of philosophy. Even if somebody helps them, they harm back. If benefit is given to a bodhisattva, the bodhisattva does not harm back in return. But if someone harms a bodhisattva, that bodhisattva will never harm them. In return for the harm, a bodhisattva generates only happiness.

For example, look at the biography of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha when he was a bodhisattva, when he was a king, Mighty Great Love. The actual story is quite long and I don’t remember it all. The five nöjin, who are a kind of spirit, not regarded as human beings, often give harm. I think nöjin is normally translated into Sanskrit but we don’t understand Sanskrit so there’s no point, the Tibetan term is better.

Five of these nöjin sucked the blood of the bodhisattva. But this bodhisattva, Mighty Great Love, instead of retaliating, prayed that they would become his disciples in a future life and that he would turn the wheel of Dharma and lead them to liberation, to the state of omniscient mind. The bodhisattva, Mighty Great Love, in return for the harm, prayed to be able to benefit them. And because of that, after Guru Shakyamuni Buddha became enlightened in Bodhgaya, in the holy place near Varanasi where there is a stupa, Sarnath, he turned the first wheel of Dharma and taught the four noble truths. There were five disciples, the special object to be subdued by that teaching, the first Dharma Wheel. So by revealing the teachings of the four noble truths to them, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha lead them to the arya path; they actualized the right-seeing path and generated the wisdom fully realizing shunyata. So gradually Guru Shakyamuni Buddha led them to the state of omniscient mind.

These five became Guru Shakyamuni’s disciples and had the opportunity to receive teachings and be the special disciples of the first Dharma Wheel because in previous times when Guru Shakyamuni was the bodhisattva Might Great Love, they were the five nöjin who drank the blood of the holy body of the bodhisattva. He made prayers to subdue their minds in the future and lead them to the state of omniscient mind. That was how they were able to meet again and how they were able to receive teachings from the holy mouth of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha.

So even though they harmed him, in return Guru Shakyamuni Buddha only gave benefit, generated only happiness in their minds. The harm that was given to him he related to happiness, generating the path to liberation and the path to omniscience. He made prayers, because of giving harm, and as a result, they were able to enter the happy path. So he related the harm that he received to happiness, giving the result of generating the path to liberation and enlightened mind.

Also, when Guru Shakyamuni Buddha was a bodhisattva called the Preacher of Patience, he was meditating in a forest, in a cave, and one day a king called Kalingka came. Just to tell the essence of that story, Kalingka and his wife went in the forest to hunt or to work in the forest, I don’t know exactly, with servants. They rested somewhere and the king fell asleep, and his wife and servants went to pick flowers in the forest. Then by accident they met the bodhisattva, the Preacher of Patience, in the forest.

The king woke up after some time and couldn’t see his wife or the servants, so he went to search for them. He reached the place where the bodhisattva was and saw that the bodhisattva was giving teachings to his wife and his servants, who were sitting down there. So King Kalingka got very angry, and screamed at the bodhisattva, “Why are you sitting with my wife?” I don’t remember the words exactly. I think he asked, “What are you doing?” or something like that. Then he said, “I am meditating on patience.” Then he cut one limb, and the king asked again, “What are you doing?” Again he said, “I am meditating on patience.” He cut another limb and again was asked, “What are you doing?” Then again: “Meditating on patience.” He had cut his four limbs, but in spite of that, the slightest anger did not arise and again he made a prayer that the king would become his disciple in the future and to benefit his mind by revealing the teachings.

The bodhisattva related the harm that he received from King Kalingka back to the happiness of this king. Due to this, he made the prayer to lead him in the path of happiness in the future. In the future the king became his disciple and through the Buddha revealing the teaching, the king generated the right seeing path, the arya path and was led to liberation, to omniscient mind, by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. All this happened because in his past life he harmed the bodhisattva Preacher of Patience and the bodhisattva related that to happiness. In this way you can see that the bodhisattva is the originator of happiness.

You can think about it in two ways: even from this story you can understand how a bodhisattva is the originator of happiness and then, as I explained before, how all one’s own three times’ happiness and perfections, everything came from Dharma, from virtuous actions, and how Dharma came from the Buddha, Buddha came from bodhisattva and bodhisattva came from bodhicitta. So even from the explanation of how other sentient beings are kind and precious we can understand how the bodhisattva is the originator of all happiness— of all one’s own three time happiness as well as other sentient beings’ three time happiness. The bodhisattva is the originator of all happiness. So to that bodhisattva I take refuge, Shantideva says.

Also it is said in thought-training teachings that the holy beings in the world—I don’t remember exactly the quotation—in return for harm, they repay with good action; in return for harm they offer benefit. In return for anger, for dislike, they offer compassion. If another person has anger or dislike toward the holy being, no matter how much he hates, the holy being only has the thought to benefit back, only compassion for that enemy. From the side of that holy being, he has only the thought to benefit that enemy, only compassion. Even if somebody criticizes the holy being with thoughts of dislike, in return that holy being gives only admiration. That is how kind he is. The enemy who has thoughts of dislike, however much he abuses and criticizes the holy being, from the side of the holy being there is only admiration in return.

As it is explained in the Thirty-seven Practices of a Bodhisattva by the great bodhisattva Thogme Zangpo, “Even if somebody announces one’s mistakes in all three galaxies, the practice of a bodhisattva, the son of the Victorious One, is expressing the qualities of that person.” This is what the great bodhisattva Thogme Zangpo is saying. Even if somebody gives harm like this, announcing faults not only on this earth but in the newspapers, on the radio, through television, what else is there? The one that goes up and then comes down—the satellite! Besides that, even if one announces your mistakes in so many thousands and thousands of worlds, in the three galaxies, in many universes, in return, a bodhisattva, instead of being depressed, criticizing back, being aggressive and trying to announce all the mistakes of the enemy, or instead of having anger arise, he generates the thought of loving kindness. That is how the holy beings, the bodhisattvas, practice. That is how they benefit with their relationships with sentient beings, even those who give harm.

But for us, of course, how can we stand it if somebody announces our mistakes even in a small country, in the newspaper, even in a small village? We can’t stand it. There is the danger that you go there at nighttime to the person who put it in the newspaper with the thought to harm. Instead of generating the thought of loving kindness, we generate the thought of harm. We think so much how to harm back. Leave aside somebody announcing our mistake in the radio or newspaper, even if he only tells you, announcing it only to you, without telling others, even that we cannot stand. Suddenly the mind becomes like nighttime, suddenly becoming uptight, painful and very aggressive. Suddenly the face that was smiling and peaceful before becomes dark, immediately in that minute it becomes a tough, black, angry face.

The bodhisattva, for the sake of other sentient beings…

<end of tape>

…for the bodhisattva himself, to be in samsara is like being caught in a fire. He can’t stand even one second of being in the fire—for the bodhisattva himself it is like this. He has the incredible strong thought of renouncing samsara, a stronger thought of renouncing samsara than even the followers of the Lesser Vehicle path, the Hearers and the Self-Conquerors, and even those arhats who have generated the path to liberation.

For him, samsara is like that—it is unbearable to be in samsara for even a second. But for the sake of others, if it is beneficial for others, for the sake of other sentient beings, even if one doesn’t achieve enlightenment, even if one has to remain for an uncountable number of eons in samsara, if it benefits others to be in samsara, then for a bodhisattva to be in samsara for an uncountable number of eons is like being in a beautiful park, like living in a beautiful park, so happy. Even to remain for an uncountable number of eons in the narak realm for the sake of each sentient being, to be in the fire of the naraks, a bodhisattva is so happy. Like the ordinary worldly people enjoying a beautiful park, like they want to be in a beautiful park, as they are happy to be in a beautiful park, for the sake of others, if a bodhisattva is born in the fire of the naraks for countless eons, his happiness is actually much more than the happiness of worldly people who are happy to be in a beautiful park. So to be in the fire of the naraks for the sake of others is like being in a beautiful park, so happy.

For us, we can’t bear even a small difficult work for the temporal benefit of others, to carry something or to help, we can’t bear even a small hardship for the sake of others. There is nothing else in the mind except happiness for the self. In the daytime, in the nighttime, like this, all the time, there is nothing else. For such a person, like me also, there is nothing else in the mind except happiness for the self. Instead of seeking happiness for others, we seek happiness only for the self. Bodhisattvas pray to be born in the naraks for the sake of others but we pray to be born in the pure realms, where there is greater happiness and enjoyment for the self. If somebody knows about the pure realms, they pray for that, if somebody doesn’t know, then whatever is the best. The best that he knows, the highest pleasure, he prays for that, for himself.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama mentioned something to those ascetic monks, the meditators, those who are close to him, who come often to see him to offer their realizations or to check up with him. His Holiness told them that for himself he wished the situation in Tibet to be more difficult, so that he can work harder for the sake of others, for the Tibetans. For him it would be better, the harder it is. The more problems, for him, the happier he is—the harder the situation, the work for Tibet, the happier his mind is, because he has to work harder for others. That shows that he is a great bodhisattva. Normally, in a particular view, he is Chenrezig, the Compassion Buddha. Then in the general way, which anybody can feel and understand, he is a great bodhisattva, a bodhisattva who has completely renounced himself, completely given himself up, like we give up vomited food. A bodhisattva who cherishes others, who has completely given up the works for self, like we give up vomited food—we don’t look after vomited food, we don’t take care of vomited food—but for him, the works for others are like nectar—the harder it is, like nectar. He is happy to do it, so happy to suffer for that, to bear hardships for that; like we drink coffee.

The conclusion is that we should be able to practice like those bodhisattvas. Like the bodhisattva Thogme Zangpo said, “In return, generating only the thought of loving kindness; instead of criticizing, only talking of good qualities, the good side of the enemy.” Even if it is so difficult to say something good about the enemy who complains about you, who dislikes you, even though it is so difficult to think about it, even if it is so difficult to say one word, even if it is so difficult for the words to come out, to express them, like climbing a huge mountain, we should train our mind and our speech in that way—to be able to express good things about the person we hate or who hates us.

Then, before death, we should pray to be able to act only for the benefit of all sentient beings, to be able to be in the line of these bodhisattvas, to be able to be in this group of holy beings. For that reason we should create the cause for that, accumulating merit, practicing purification and praying. In everyday life, mind training, little by little.

So this morning patience didn’t come; I am sorry.

Lecture 19: November 29th pm

[Short mandala]

Please listen to the teaching by generating at least the effortful motivation of bodhicitta, thinking, “At any rate I must achieve the state of omniscient mind in order to lead all kind mother sentient beings into the state of omniscient mind. Therefore I am going to listen to the commentary on the Bodhicaryavatara.”

We are on the chapter on patience, the actual method to stop anger, how it is not worthwhile to generate an unhappy mind, and the reasons for that.

“Whatever befalls me, I shall not disturb my mental joy;
For having been made unhappy,
I shall not accomplish what I wish,
And my virtues will decline.”

This is very true. What is called anger, such an unsubdued mind, should never be allowed to rise in one’s mind in any place, any time, to anybody—friend, enemy or stranger, human being, non-human being—to anybody, any place, any time. It doesn’t matter what you do, even the times when you are doing retreat, when you are accumulating virtue, if somebody disturbs you, [plane flying overhead] even with machines, with airplanes. Even while one is accumulating virtue, doing prostrations, making offerings, doing sessions, even if somebody disturbs you, you should never give anger the opportunity to arise, by immediately remembering, “If I get angry, what is the point of what I am doing here, all this, making offerings, doing prostrations? I am doing all these things, these sessions, this retreat to subdue my mind, to destroy the delusions, that’s why I do the various practices. So, if I let anger arise, then what is this? I am childish. It doesn’t make sense. On one hand I do this, on the other hand I let anger arise. I give the anger the opportunity to arise, to defeat me. This doesn’t make sense. What I am doing is crazy.” One should tell oneself this, immediately one should remember that this is not practicing Dharma: “If I let my mind be controlled by anger without subduing it, not protecting the mind from anger, then how can I subdue my mind? When can I subdue my mind?”

Also think like this: even if somebody made a great mistake, even with the work in the centers or the work that involves a big group, no matter now important the work is, even if it deals with thousands or millions of people, however, even if the person makes a mistake in the work or even if it is small, not a great important work, not dealing with thousands and millions of people, just somebody criticizing you, one person, or even a small flea biting you—from such a small thing up to somebody responsible for the prosperity or the happiness of that many people, one can show a different aspect, a wrathful or peaceful aspect, and benefit, scolding or gently speaking but at all times without anger. As much as possible this should be done with the thought of loving kindness, with the compassionate thought; it should be done with the thought to benefit others, even if a great mistake is done in important work.

While one does retreat, even if somebody comes to break the house, to take away the parts of the retreat house, whatever happens you should think, “If I don’t practice patience now, then when should I practice patience? If I don’t practice patience today, then when should I practice patience?” You ask yourself, “When will I practice patience? If I don’t practice patience with this person who disturbs me, with whom am I going to practice patience? While I am with the enemy, with this kind enemy, while I am with him, if I don’t practice patience, then with whom should I practice patience? There is nobody, nobody with whom I can practice patience. If I don’t practice patience with this person right now, with whom will I practice patience? There is nobody, there is nobody other than that.”

You give advice to yourself, you strengthen your mind instead of getting spaced out, instead of screaming, running up and down, going here and there to all the friends shouting, “This person this, this person that, this person is doing this and that,” counting, announcing to everyone around, everywhere. If you want to announce to others, then announce the good qualities of that person. Do not announce the bad qualities, but the good qualities of the person.

Even if you know the Bodhicaryavatara, if you have received teachings on it, have read it completely, received commentary on that and know it well, if you do not practice, even if you can explain it well to others, it’s like this: one day you get angry, one day goes without practicing patience and then one month goes without practicing. When the circumstances happen you don’t practice patience, you let anger arise and let it destroy the virtue that you have accumulated with much hardship, with many prayers in the past lives. Even if you were able to accumulate merit, even if you did many prayers to accumulate merit again, you let anger destroy it. When you meet with those bad circumstances, one day goes like this without practicing patience, one month goes like this without practicing patience, one year goes like this without practicing patience. Then the life goes like this, without having done the practice of patience. One year goes like this, another year and another year goes—then one day suddenly death happens and the practice of patience never gets done, even if one has received so many teachings, even if one is very learned about the teachings on patience, about what Lama Tsongkhapa explained in the great commentary on the lam.rim or what is explained in the Bodhicaryavatara, even if one knows it very well, the practice never gets done.

Even if one remembers at the time of death, it is too late, it is finished. There is nothing you can do at that time. You can’t say, “Oh, I was born without legs, I must go back into the mother’s womb and start again, with complete legs.” You can’t do that, same thing.

Therefore, you can see, every day you don’t have somebody disturbing you. For somebody who is practicing patience, it is very good to have somebody disturbing you day and night, all the time. Otherwise life just goes and, even though you know the teachings very well, you don’t get the practice done. Days go, months go, years go by but also you can’t do much with the virtue. Even though one is doing some kind of work for others, giving teachings or whatever it is, because one never controls the anger, one cannot generate realizations quickly. The best way to benefit others is to generate realizations, bodhicitta, the graduated path to enlightenment, shunyata, the graduated path of tantra. That is the best way to benefit others, the real way. To quickly free sentient beings from suffering and lead them to omniscient mind, one should generate the path to omniscient mind quickly. And anger disturbs that. Each time the anger arises, if you don’t control the anger it disturbs even all sentient beings.

If you think in this way: it disturbs you to be able to offer extensive benefits to all sentient beings, to be able to do that and to be able to do that quickly, because the more you get angry, the more you let anger arise without practicing patience, even if you dedicate the merits done with the motivation of bodhicitta, even if they get destroyed, the result gets postponed. So your extensive work for sentient beings gets postponed. So you see how important it is, even concerning the uncountable number of sentient beings. Even when you feel so much the kindness of your mother, your father or your friends, the best way to repay them is with ultimate help, to lead them to the state of omniscient mind. The anger postpones and disturbs being able to give ultimate help; it postpones the completion of that work.

Thinking in this way is also very useful to realize how one minute of anger is harmful. Besides destroying my own temporal and ultimate happiness, how it harms others. In particular, in the case of anger but you can think in a similar way with the other unsubdued minds. When you think like this in various ways, with many reasons like this, you can see more and more how important it is, how the anger is completely useless, how it is an extremely harmful enemy.

So try one day, you plan like this: you read the Bodhicaryavatara. If one wants to practice, if one wants to control anger, one reads the teachings or the notes on patience or the thought-training teachings, whichever is the most effective and then you decide, “If today anger arises when somebody harms me, I am going to think this and this.” You should make a plan like this. Either, you read certain stanzas, certain parts that become very effective for the mind and then you think, “I am going to think this and this,” or you copy out the most effective ones, make a separate note. You plan it; you make yourself ready to fight the anger, to control it and when the anger rises, to destroy it. Immediately destroy it, defeat it.

If you make a plan like this, then when you are in a dangerous situation, knowing that now anger will arise—there is some sign, some light, some beam that comes from your body, a signal that anger is arising. Like in the airport before the airplane comes and all the lights go on, and light up in all the different colors. Anyway, you will know if you are aware—the best is to remember when it is about to arise. But even if you can’t remember the remedy, the teaching, the meditation at that time, even if you are too late to remember to practice the remedy, even if anger comes before you remember to practice the remedy, even if the anger does arise then instead of thinking, “This is my life, this is the way I should live my life, there’s no other way to live my life without anger,” following anger as if it’s your life, as if this is the way you should live your life—instead of that, even if the anger has already risen, without taking much time, as quickly as possible try to stop it by practicing the remedy, by remembering the advice that Shantideva gave in the Bodhicaryavatara, the advice that you received from the holy mouth of the guru.

If you practice like this one day, the next day it is easier, if you continuously make plans like this. A few years before the anger would last many hours, days and days, and now even if somebody disturbs or does something undesirable the anger may still arise but now, this year, even though it still arises it is very rare, not as easy as before and also it doesn’t last a long time. When an undesirable thing happens, if somebody treats you badly or something, anger does arise but the duration is like snapping your fingers—it arises and goes away. It doesn’t last a long time.

[Rinpoche blows his nose.] If the noise of my nose disturbs you, then please try to practice patience.

Definitely, if one practices, the change will happen, even from one year to another year, year to year. As the year gradually goes you can see a big difference in your mind, between a few years ago and this year, in the quality of your mind. And there is that much more peace if the anger rarely rises, if it arises not as easily as before. Before when you were at the house, when you were in the office, when you were outside, every single thing disturbed you, almost even the branches of the tree moving. Even if in the room some flies or some creatures make noise you get angry—very impatient.

So it is just a matter of practice. The path that Guru Shakyamuni Buddha explained, the path to omniscient mind is just a matter of practice. Whether I can have bodhicitta, whether I can realize shunyata, whether I can generate those tantric realizations, the graduated path of accomplishment, those incredible experiences of which you might think it is impossible for me, it might happen for the Tibetans who are born from Tibetan mothers who speak Tibetan language, but I am Inji, having yellow hair and blue eyes, yellow eyes. I am not sure about “white eyes.” The Sherpas, when they talk about Westerners, call them “white-eyes,” they say “some white-eye people came and bought this.” But I don’t know why they call them white-eyes. They could refer to the color of the body, more or less but I don’t know why the eyes.

I think I lost my point. So the path that explains the sutra and tantra teachings, all these incredible experiences that the great yogis talk about, whether one has these realizations in one’s own mind is just up to whether one practices or not. It is up to whether or not one makes the perfect cause for that in one’s own mind. One perfects the cause, having accumulated extensive merits, doing the practice of purification and, while one is doing those practices, also studying the teachings of the path that one is going to generate, the advice that is given by the well-experienced lamas. And following the guru’s advice, pleasing the guru, doing the guru practice, the essence of which is trying to stop heresy and wrong views toward the guru from arising. This essence, to try to remember, is to stop heresy and wrong views toward the guru, which disturb reaching omniscient mind and generating the path within your mind, and disturb complete happiness and perfection in this and future lives. In order to stop heresy from arising, look at the essence of Buddha. Whether you visualize the aspect as Buddha or not, the essence is Buddha, so one-pointedly concentrate and look at it as Buddha. Then, read the quotations and use the advice given by the guru on how to meditate on this, to look at, to see Buddha, the essence.

Devotion to the guru, remembering his kindness, looking at him as Buddha, feeling that he is the essence as Buddha, not an ordinary being, definitely not an ordinary being; this experience, this feeling, this recognition, when there is a little of that, by reading the teachings, through your own experience with the relationship with the guru, the particular qualities that you yourself feel, from that you can decide this is Buddha or, if it’s not Buddha, then definitely a bodhisattva—there is some recognition, some feeling, finding these qualities—the particular holy actions that you cannot do or that others cannot do, that anybody cannot do.

Then from that, thinking of the reasons, remembering the teachings, stabilize that little recognition of Buddha and increase the guru devotion. Remember the kindness, see the guru as Buddha and generate devotion for that.

When this guru devotion develops, when these causes are perfected in the mind, for the teachings of bodhicitta, shunyata, correct view—there is great possibility. When these things are perfected in your mind, the guru’s holy mind is pleased. Then, even if you haven’t done meditation for years and years, even if you didn’t do retreat, just in a few days the real experience comes in the mind—such as the realization that Lama Tsongkhapa taught, the unification of emptiness and dependent arising, and renouncing self and cherishing others. Even though you do not expect to realize this, to have those feelings during the retreat, even though you don’t expect this, it happens.

Even though you didn’t expect it to happen during that retreat, when all the causes are perfected in the mind, the experience comes. Then gradually when the experience comes, especially when you have the realization of the unification of emptiness and dependent arising, stronger devotion arises because you find it to be exactly as it is explained in the teachings. Things are like that, the “I” is like that; the nature of the “I” is like that. So now, there is greater devotion to the guru, a stronger feeling of the unbearable kindness of the guru from the depth of the heart, stronger than before. You feel the kindness is unbearable. The guru helped you, by giving teachings and in various different ways as it is mentioned in the lam-rim teachings—such as the kindness in teaching the Dharma, blessing the mind, guiding the mind to Dharma by giving miscellaneous things, giving the disciple food and clothing, material things, in order to subdue the mind in order to practice Dharma.
Like this the guru benefits you, generating the path in the mind, leading you in the path of happiness. You feel the kindness is unbearable and whenever one thinks of the kindness, tears come out.

And also as I explained this morning, for the sake of sentient beings, immediately you want to be born in the naraks. Instead of achieving omniscient mind, you have such a strong wish to give yourself up for the sake of others, to suffer in the naraks, immediately, right now, for the sake of others, instead of others—so strong is the determination.

Also, spontaneously, when you think of how others suffer, there is no choice, you uncontrollably cry when you think of others. Generating all those incredible experiences that you have seen in the teachings of tantra in the mind does not depend on caste or on what color you have, whether you are black, whether you are white, whether you are Tibetan or whether you are Inji—it does not depend upon any of those things. It is only up to whether one attempts the practice or not, whether one practices or not. The whole thing is up to that—if one practices correctly it is not impossible, there is nothing in the path that is impossible to generate in the mind. Definitely, if one practices, the change does come in the mind.

Such things as guru devotion are not a particular subject in this chapter on the practice of patience; however, it happened. Anyway, it is kind of a scientific thing. Because of the relationship between the guru who is revealing the teaching and the disciple, the object of the guru is the most important. Because of this contact one receives initiation, teachings, ordination or whatever is received—the Dharma. So among the objects it is the highest, the most powerful. If one does good actions in relation to that, the advantage is incredible, and if one does wrong actions in relation to that, the shortcomings are so great. So it is kind of a dangerous object. Among the objects—ordinary sentient beings, parents, arhats, those who are living in the ordination, monks and nuns, arya beings, bodhisattvas and then Buddhas—then there is guru. Among these, the guru is the highest and most powerful. Not just the “in general” guru, anyone who is named guru, not that one—but one with whom you have individual contact, the guru-disciple relationship, receiving teachings. This is the highest and most powerful object among all these holy objects.

Then, whether the guru is Buddha or not, whether from his own side he is enlightened or not, if one lets heresy arise toward the guru from whom one has received teachings, where there is the connection of guru and disciple, with whom one has Dharma contact, if wrong view arises in relation to that, then because it is a very dangerous, powerful object it harms oneself, it disturbs the achievement of omniscient mind. It disturbs the generation of the path and not only that, one also experiences many shortcomings in this life because the object is so powerful. The karma is very heavy, so one starts to experience its result even in this life. I am not going to talk about that. There are so many stories, of others’ experiences, one’s own experience—there is so much to talk about but it is not part of the subject, so I am not going to talk about it.

Anyway, there so many shortcomings even in this life and also in future lives; from life to life, like this.

Therefore, if the main aim is to accomplish extensive benefit for sentient beings, if your main aim is to accomplish that, to help others, for you to do that, to accomplish that, simply to help others, depends on achieving omniscient mind, generating the graduated path to omniscient mind, starting from the realization of the perfect human rebirth, the eight freedoms and ten richnesses, up to omniscient mind; from the graduated path of the lower capable being, to the graduated path of the middle capable being, to the graduated path of the higher capable being—those are the graduated paths that lead to omniscient mind.

In order to generate this quickly, you should stop the hindrances. If you do not stop the hindrances, if you let hindrances occur, no matter how much you train your mind in the path, it doesn’t happen. For example, if you have a glass that has a hole, even if you pour nectar inside, no matter how much you pour inside, you won’t be able to get anything to drink. In order to drink from that glass, the hole should be stopped. So, successfully generating the path, because there are hindrances, depends on how much you are able to prevent hindrances from arising. Then depending on that, that much quicker you will be able to generate the path in the mind.

The greatest hindrance to generating the path is wrong view towards the virtuous teacher. It is dependent on how much you can stop that hindrance from arising. Therefore, in order to stop the wrong view toward the guru, the method is meditation on the guru, looking at the guru as in essence Buddha. Always try to see the positive, as much as possible try to see the good qualities. And without thinking about the mistakes that you see in your view, try to see the good qualities that you find in your view, in the guru. Even the mistakes that one finds, try to see them either as one’s own hallucination due to impure karma or as mistakes that are purposely done for your own practice.

Try to see the guru as Buddha by remembering the quotations, the advice, and the reasons. That helps to stop heresy. This helps you to become successful in your wishes, and in that way you are able to offer extensive benefit for all sentient beings.

If the practice is done, it helps you, you get profit. If the practice is not done, you receive only loss. So it is for your sake. Like taking care of a field; the field itself doesn’t have the thought, “Oh, this family is so kind, they always come to take care of me. They are so kind; they always come to look at me.” The field itself doesn’t have thought that the family is kind. “So many times they plant rice, corn, barley—how kind they are.” The field doesn’t have the thought like this. To the field it doesn’t make any difference whether the family plants rice or not, whether they come there on the field or not. But all that work, taking care of the field, working the field, planting the crops, is only for the sake of the family itself. It is the same with the guru practice.

This just happened; this conversation just came by the way. Normally when other lamas give teachings, they give complete lam-rim teachings, complete from the beginning up to the end, guru devotion, all the things, if it’s one week or even one month. This does not happen so much in our courses, even in the West—only recently in some particular courses, such as mahamudra. However, this talk on guru devotion is part of the lam-rim subject—the essence, the purpose.

If the family takes care of the land and plants crops, the family and the person himself get the profit, the joy. If he doesn’t do that he doesn’t receive enjoyment, it gets lost.

It is like electricity, a scientific thing. Electricity is so beneficial. Think of New York, how the whole city is living on electricity; even without thinking here, just thinking there, New York or wherever it is, California, Sydney, wherever it is—people move, people eat, people do everything by depending on electricity. They survive by depending on electricity; I don’t mean they eat electricity, but they are dependent on that. I didn’t hear yet of having wires inside, putting electricity on and then people living but anyway, for heaters, telegraph and all these things, for communication, telephone. On the other hand, if one is not careful it is also very dangerous. Many times houses get destroyed, people get killed. It is a very powerful object. If you use it in a good way, there are many great advantages, but if you’re not careful, if you use it in a wrong way, it is very dangerous. Like that, it is scientific—the virtuous teacher is similar, only one is a living being and the other one is not a living being. The other one is more on the physical level, easy to understand. This one is also physical, you can see it on a physical level—the result of that practice of the guru. The results of wrong practices, the results of right practices—on a physical level you can see them. So that goes to the subject of karma.

I think I stop here.

These are subjects mainly that you prove with your own experience. As you practice, you can prove them with your own experience. I mean, you can hear a lot of stories but you can identify them clearly, really discover them, with your own experience. The teachings on patience, on thought training, whatever we have heard, even the little we have heard, even if the understanding of it is very little, if you can put it into action, especially when you meet those circumstances, if the practice gets done, it develops, year by year.


Lecture 20: November 30th am

Please listen to the teaching well by generating at least the effortful motivation of bodhicitta, thinking, “At any rate, I must achieve enlightenment for the sake of all mother sentient beings.” Which means that in our life, whatever work we think is important among all the work that we have, the plans that we make, among all these nothing is more important than achieving omniscient mind for the sake of other sentient beings, who are extremely kind to us in all the three times. There is nothing more important than this plan, this work. There is nothing more important then completing this work, this aim. Even concerning oneself, this is the most important. Concerning the work for others, freeing others from all suffering, also, there is nothing more important than this. However much you think and try to find, how can we find something that is more important than this? If even the omniscient ones cannot find it, cannot see anything for us to do that would be more important than this, how can you find it? You cannot find it. This is the most practical, the most beneficial thing. So you see, “at any rate” means all other work doesn’t matter, is not that important; if it happens, it happens, if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen. But if this work, accomplishing the omniscient mind for the sake of others, doesn’t get accomplished, doesn’t get done—there are many other sentient beings with whom you have karmic contact or whom you have to enlighten, not just thinking, “all sentient beings.” There are also sentient beings that you have to enlighten. Until you become enlightened they have to continuously experience suffering in samsara.

It is like this: if you and your mother both fall down in the mud, in the quagmire, sinking down, or in the ocean, you yourself get free from that and then with some other means try to get her out, you help her to get out. First you try to get free from that danger, that quagmire and then with some other means you try to get her out. Until you are free yourself you can’t do anything, you yourself are drowning so you can’t help her. So she has to wait and suffer, in great fear, in the quagmire or in the ocean. Chased by waves, attacked, chased by the strong waves of unsubdued mind and karma, attacked by the three types of suffering like sharks, those animals who live in the ocean and bite—the three types of sufferings are like that; the suffering of pervasive formation, the suffering of changes and the suffering of suffering. Like that, until one becomes enlightened, sentient beings have to continuously suffer in samsara.

Especially when you think of others, you can’t stand it when you think how they are suffering in samsara, even when you think of just the worldly problems. Even when you just think of the suffering of human beings, without thinking of the sufferings of the lower realms, even if you don’t have faith in those particular sufferings of the naraks, if you don’t understand them, just think about human beings’ sufferings that you can see by eye; even if you don’t know the suffering of rebirth, even if you don’t have faith, if you don’t remember and cannot understand the sufferings of that. Although it is very easy to understand just from the way the baby looks when it comes out, it is easy to figure out, easy to understand from the face of the baby. The reason the baby is screaming when it is coming out, even without being beaten—how it screams—this is so easy to figure out from the face. How the baby feels dirty, uncomfortable, painful, wanting to come out, like wanting to come out of a toilet tank, wanting to come out so badly. You can figure it out from the expression on the face.

You can figure out the pain from the color of the body and from the face. Otherwise the baby could have come out with a smiling face, with a very happy face. When the face is out and the rest of the body is still inside it should be a very smiling face, laughing. These are very simple things to figure out and understand for somebody who is intelligent—it doesn’t have to depend on faith in the teaching that explains. The eyes are so tightly closed, he didn’t want to be there, he wanted to come out. Like when somebody puts a knife, does surgery without a painkiller—that’s how the face looks, similar.

Even the mother wouldn’t understand; she has her own pains, she doesn’t experience the baby’s pain. The baby’s suffering is the result of his own karma and the mother’s pain is the result of her own karma. Except if the mother has clairvoyance—if the mother can remember coming out of the mother’s womb, then she can understand. Otherwise the baby cannot experience the mother’s pain and the mother can’t experience the baby’s pain. They are two separate beings who have their own karmas, two separate minds.

Just look at the old-folks’ home; remember an old-folks home and meditate on it, how incredible their suffering is. You can see it by the eyes, those old men and women, unable to die. They can’t stand the suffering, they wish that death happens soon, their expectation is that after that nothing happens, then blank, freedom, there’s no continuation of mind and suffering is ceased. They believe in that way. Even those who are able to speak, to hear, those who are living in the old folks’ home, those who are living at the house—there is nothing they know, they have no Dharma wisdom about how to make the life highly meaningful, they know nothing about how to make life meaningful. So there is no opportunity to purify; they don’t even know a little practice of purification, even reciting mantra. Even the six syllable mantra OM MANI PADME HUM, even just that, what even small Tibetan children, even Tibetan beggars who didn’t hear any teachings know—somehow there is something they can do with their life. Even if that is the only thing they know, it makes the life meaningful, even though they are not very wealthy, living on begging each day, a few paisa, a bowl of food, whatever they find. But somehow knowing just a little refuge prayer or making offerings—whatever they know, they practice that. Since the object to whom they pray or make offering is an infallible object, a pure object, there is no doubt that they receive guidance, unless if from one’s own side they don’t take refuge or follow. Like this, there is something to think about, even if the beggar knows nothing about the teachings, doesn’t know so much about karma, when he is sick or even when death comes there is something to think about, someone whom they can trust or rely on, an object of refuge.

But these people in the old-folks’ homes, their mind is empty, they have no infallible holy object to rely on, to take refuge in. The whole day is just waiting for death, suffering because of not having death soon; it is not like a Dharma practitioner who is waiting for death, every minute, hour, every day, always day and night making preparation for death and for the happiness of future lives, one-pointedly working to benefit others, day and night waiting for death. That is something else. The Dharma practitioner is happy for death to happen, waiting for death, happy for death. That is something else. If it were like this it would be something else. But it is not like that, making preparation for death, for the happiness of future lives, to benefit others. Because then even if death doesn’t happen, the mind is happy. If death happens, mind is happy. Then it is very good, that is what is necessary. If one gets sick it is good, if one doesn’t get sick it is good. Whatever happens it is good. That is what is necessary; that is what is needed in life.

But most of life is gone—half by doing meaningless work, nothing getting done that is beneficial for the happiness of the future life, for others, nothing that you can feel rejoicefulness for, “I am satisfied with my life, I’ve done that much work to benefit others, I am happy with my life.” There is nothing to feel rejoicefulness in; the life is finished in distraction. In child time, young time, in grown-up time—they met Dharma, didn’t do any practice.

However, even now, when the senses are still functioning, one is able to talk, to see and even though one doesn’t have any work to do, one lives on a pension, and even somebody gives food, one doesn’t know what to do with life. If those who live in the old-folks’ home are able to walk a little bit with a stick, by taking refuge in the stick one goes to the park sometimes, staying there, with an upset face, on benches, looking at the young people, then getting upset remembering their young time, the life they lived when they were young and seeing now the decay of the body. Then one is upset and there is nothing else to think about, nothing else that one can do. Then one comes back home with the stick, then all day is spent looking through the window, looking at the street, the passing cars, the people. Then in the afternoon, after the sun comes out, one sits on the chair and the old mother talks with the old father. If there is a companion, then they talk. They spend life like this, day after day, until everything collapses. As long as the senses are functioning, it is like this, suffering so much from dissatisfaction.

Then, as Buddha said in the teachings, it is exactly like this during childhood. Meeting the undesirable object, having to separate from the desirable object; not finding the desirable object, it is also dissatisfactory even if one finds it. This is the suffering even during childhood. Then even during the grown-up time, the suffering is much more, there is greater fear and more worry. Again, similar, these fundamental sufferings: dissatisfaction, having to separate from the desirable object, from friends, husband and wife, possessions, job, not finding jobs. This is different from childhood but a similar type of problem. Though what you see is kind of different, the type of suffering is the same.

Not finding those desirable objects, passing the time by quarreling, fighting and depression, passing the time with much worries of life. Separating from the four desirable objects, meeting the four undesirable objects; and then gradually experiencing the sufferings of old age.

Life begins with the great suffering of rebirth and, besides experiencing all these sufferings and worries in between, life ends up with huge sufferings, with great fear and worry of the suffering of death.

Just think about when you go to see a hospital, when you see the patients, how pitiful they are. Each one has a different disease, their experience is different. One doesn’t have that particular disease but he has something else, another doesn’t have that particular disease but he has something else. They have to eat undesirable food—one cannot have the food one wishes, one cannot taste it, one cannot eat it. Also the fear of death is in the mind. While somebody is screaming with much pain, somebody is dying, suddenly somebody’s breath stops, suddenly somebody is having a heart attack. They depend on getting food through tubes put inside the body.

Just think how unbearable it is when one has a stomachache, when one has headache. Even when we have a small disease like that how unbearable it is—like a toothache. You who are experiencing this suffering are just one but those who experience a similar type of disease are so many. One can even generate compassion by figuring it out, trying to think of how it is unbearable. “As it is unbearable for me, there are so many others who are experiencing that, an uncountable number of others are experiencing a headache, a toothache.” Even without thinking of others’ sufferings, how it is unbearable. For this you don’t particularly need faith, even just by thinking like this you can generate compassion.

Also, besides the human beings who are experiencing the suffering of old age and sicknesses, there are those children who are mute, kind of like animals, who can’t speak, autistic children. Also, you think about freaks. I don’t mean freaks, I don’t know exactly, sometimes people use “freaks” like hippies, I’m not sure. I went to see a freaks’ place in Spain, in Barcelona, while I was there. It was something to see, something while I was there, seven days I think. The purpose was to give one night’s lecture in Barcelona but I think I was there for five or seven days, something like that. Anyway, I couldn’t think of much to see, I thought to go to see something useful for my mind; I think the old folks’ home was a little bit far and somehow I didn’t get to see it, so I asked if there were any freak places. There was one quite close so one of the students at the Nagarjuna center, her name is Carla, I think she worked at that place before; anyway she made a phone call and arranged it with the missionary. Maybe they were Catholic, I don’t know, they wear a white robe.

She said, “Don’t bring many people,” so we went. Before we went upstairs to see, she gave us a short introduction on how they run the freak-place. They don’t ask others to help with funds and things, and they don’t accept somebody who comes to help, “I will do this, I will send money to you each month,” to take from the income tax or whatever, somebody who comes with a fixed plan. I don’t know, maybe it is true, however, she told us that they don’t accept even that, because if they accept that, if somebody comes and says he will send money each month or each year, it is kind of fixed and that way it doesn’t feel that they are receiving it from God, so they don’t accept it.

Six times or three times, something like that, everybody gathers in the chapel and they pray to God, and then it just comes, that’s what she was telling us. She introduced me and one Italian monk, Piero, who also came. She said they do their work with a good heart, without a selfish attitude and then things happen—the help, financial help or whatever comes, things becomes successful—which is true, it is the same thing as Buddha said in the teachings.

Anyway, after a short introduction she took us to each room. I asked her to show us only the bad ones, the very bad looking freaks. There was a children’s side, a women’s side and a men’s side. I think if you go there, the understanding of karma becomes clearer. Also especially it helps very much if you don’t feel so much how your body is so precious, qualified with eight freedoms and ten richnesses, if you don’t feel how it is so meaningful. Then it is very good, very helpful to go to those places, purposely to go to those places and watch.

It helps in so many ways; it inspires us to practice Dharma by discovering what a perfect body we have, able to speak, able to hear, able to read and study. It makes us feel more precious by thinking of what we can do and they cannot do, knowing that. Also, it gives more feeling for karma; it leads to more definite understanding, seeing their sufferings, which are the result of their own karma, created out of ignorance. Also they become objects of compassion. Understanding and knowing their suffering becomes the cause of compassion for them—it makes you wonder what you can do for them, to help them, not only giving them food and clothing, not only that, not only making them survive, not only that, but to completely cease the cause all of the sufferings that you see on others now and those you don’t see at the moment. Generating compassion causes the question, “What can I do?” to arise, what can you yourself offer them, how can you help them. So the most practical, most beneficial way is to make the cause of sufferings in the minds of sentient beings, the unsubdued mind and karma, non-existent. Like this.

It’s amazing. I shook hands, in the men’s part, and while I was shaking hands with them, sometimes I could not believe it. It was like a dream, very strange. The face was this much, so huge, the body this much and the face so big. With each of them while I was shaking hands, it was hard to believe somehow. Then in the section of the old mothers, I shook their hands also. They were very happy to see us in the men’s part and in the women’s part. They were very happy to see us. Those who could smile, who could say a little bit, were smiling and very happy to shake hands.

There was one mother who I think couldn’t get up from the bed. She was very thin, extremely thin and I think she had what sounded like a good family. She said when she saw me that she felt that I’m her son. So I told her, “I am your son.” I think the nun who was introducing us said we were people who come from the Himalayas and I think some of them didn’t know what Himalayas means, didn’t have any idea but they were very happy to shake hands, to see us somehow.

Of those who were a little bit better each one had jobs, just part time. They made many holes in newspapers and then they sewed back and forth by putting thread. Some of them couldn’t control their limbs and had to move all the time. Then there were young ones, quite young, seventeen or seven, eight, around that age, young ones, and if they would let them free without binding their limbs with iron, they would completely destroy themselves, completely scratch and kill themselves. So how they managed is very nice, I think it’s a very good way of doing it actually. Instead of binding them with ropes, they were very skillful. They had iron bars like this, like a stool with four wheels, and the arms are tied like this, so they could stand and walk because the wheels move. Also they can’t harm themselves. There are many like that, just the whole day they hang onto that. They cannot speak, cannot do anything. Some make noise.

And there was one small child, maybe twelve or ten, amazing, unbelievable. She had a very small body, her body was about eight or nine years old but the head was this much and the eyes round, very small, and all the teeth were out, you could see the gums. I mean if you saw that, suddenly walking around here, even in the daytime, I think everybody would scream. I think normally she has great fear and when we came there, she couldn’t walk very fast, she kind of got stuck. She was kind of trying to run away but she couldn’t run fast, but she was very scared to see us. One of the nuns who was taking care of that section held her up and kissed her, trying to show some affection I think. And when we were leaving, even though her face was like this, I think she was taught by them to say “Tata,” and when we leaving, the nun held her legs and then she was doing this.

They were kept very clean; there were no bad smells there. It was incredibly clean, so neat. They look very well, very good, running the organization very well. The building, the place was very clean, very rich looking. They didn’t have torn clothes; they were kept very clean in a clean place. Then at the end, when we came out of the house, the nun said, “What we practice here is renouncing self and cherishing others.”

First of all I was very surprised and also found much attraction and rejoicefulness in how these nuns are dedicated, taking care of these people who can’t do much. It is not like you sponsor somebody’s children and hope you can educate them or send them to school, that they can become something. These people are not like that, that you hope by taking care of them now they can become educated or something like that—nothing like that. They take care of these children until they die, you have to take care of them just for them to survive, and they can’t do much. I don’t know why, but there were one or two girls who looked okay. I don’t know what’s wrong with them, I didn’t get to ask, but there were one or two girls, age twenty or a little bit under, who looked okay. They were doing exercises, physical exercises.

Besides her saying this, just to see the work they do there is unbelievable. I thought really, they are the ones who are really practicing the Mahayana teaching, incredible dedication. And these are people that nobody wants to take care of. Even the parents do not want them but these nuns take care of them. Even the parents who gave birth to them due to their own karma don’t want them. So these missionaries take care of them. It is an incredible practice that they do. Seeing the practice, not so much the talk but the practice is unbelievable. I found it very attractive, rejoicing, very inspiring even for my own practice—I do nothing, just talk but nothing is practiced. So at the end she said this. I don’t know what she is actually. I gave her a donation of ten dollars. I told her that I’m not rich and this won’t cover any expenses here, even a small thing, but just to spend this for any expenses; that I would do prayers for them and please use it for other expenses. She said at the beginning that we weren’t obliged to give donations or things like that. I think she didn’t want the ten dollars, I guess I forced her a little bit. Maybe it was too little.

Just the suffering of the human beings that we see in the cities, that we see around, is unbearable. And how many there are, numberless, is unbearable. Even for these reasons, even if you don’t know the naraks’ or devas’ sufferings, if you don’t know these particular sufferings, just think of these that you can see, whether you can bear it or not. Think of one sentient being’s suffering, whether you can bear it or not. Even one sentient being’s suffering is unbearable, without thinking about the uncountable number of others.

As long as they’re not liberated from the cause of suffering, from unsubdued mind and karma, even if you build houses for them, give them food and clothing, even if you take care of them in this life, try to benefit this life, continuously they will experience these problems, the sufferings of samsara, over and over. The best way to benefit other kind mother sentient beings is to cause their minds to be empty of unsubdued mind and karma. So we have to think what we should do about that. That is the most important. If it is possible to help by giving temporal benefits, of course we should do it but at the same time we should also think of the most important one. “What I should do for that reason,” that is very important.

Revealing the teachings is the best method to free them from the cause of suffering. The best way to guide them is by revealing the teachings, revealing the infallible path, the graduated path to omniscient mind however it fits them. There are various methods. There are various methods, such as giving material possessions, many different ways. Like Buddha does, sometimes by acting as crazy, sometimes by acting as a prostitute, sometimes being a king, being a servant or being a beggar, allowing others to accumulate merit. Being a beggar, you become the condition for others to accumulate virtue by making charity. There are various ways, as there are various minds of sentient beings; so many different methods according to so many different levels. Exactly how Guru Shakyamuni Buddha does, as it is explained in the teachings.

However, to do all these without any mistakes, one should achieve omniscient mind. There is no other way without achieving omniscient mind. So like this, “at any rate.” So among all the works that we think are important, nothing is more important than this.

By remembering when we generate the motivation, at this time, even though we don’t understand the suffering of all sentient beings, we should remember at least what we can see by the eye. At least we should think of this, we should be aware of this and then generate compassion. And then we should generate the motive of bodhicitta to achieve omniscient mind for the sake of others, for all sentient beings.

I think I stop here.

Lecture 21: December 1st am


As I mentioned yesterday in the morning about the motivation, “at any rate,” in Tibetan ti ne ga, “at any rate”—since the work to accomplish the state of omniscient mind for the sake of others is the most important and the most beneficial for others, one should never, whatever it costs, even if it costs your life; since sentient beings are the most precious thing in life, the most important thing, even at the cost of life danger, this work, achieving omniscient mind for other beings, should never be renounced at any time. Any other kind of work, one can leave, one can give up—whatever is regarded in the world by people as important, whatever you believe is important, you can give up. But this one, this work to accomplish extensive benefits for others, should never be renounced, should never be given up. Whatever danger you are in, this should never be given up.

The bodhicitta thought, the wishing thought of bodhicitta, the wish to achieve the state of omniscient mind for the sake of others, wishing to follow the Buddhist path of conduct, to follow the bodhisattva actions, such as the bodhisattva vows—such thoughts one should never give up, “at any rate.”

Then also it means this. One great eon has twenty intermediate eons. The eon of degeneration of this world system is twenty intermediate eons. Then space becomes empty, without earth, without water, for one great eon. Then there is evolution for one great eon and existence for one great eon—each of which is twenty intermediate eons. It is said that the duration of this world, after it is completed, the whole evolution, each time is one great eon, so that is twenty intermediate eons. This starts with the unimaginable lifespan of human beings, which means so many years, then degenerates down to a lifespan of ten years, then goes up to eighty and then comes down again.

For three countless great eons, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha has followed the path to omniscient mind, bearing much hardship, accumulating merit, purifying obscurations. Three countless great eons—you get a little idea of one great eon from the twenty intermediate eons; also, one great eon has one second, and then those seconds a minute, and of that minute an hour, of that twenty-four hours, a day, a month, a year, like this. However, this is just talking about the Buddha’s strength of mind, the will to follow the path for the sake of others, expressing that.

A bodhisattva wishes to benefit sentient beings by suffering for the sake of each sentient being, by experiencing the suffering of the naraks himself, so that other sentient beings don’t have to experience it, if it benefits them. A bodhisattva wishes from the depth of the heart to experience suffering in the narak for a number of eons equaling the number of drops of water in the Atlantic, the greatest ocean. That kind of time, eons, one hundred million eons, countless great eons—even if it takes that much time to finish the work of accumulating merit, to follow the path to omniscient mind; even if one has to bear hardships in order to achieve omniscient mind for the sake of others, “I will do it, I will follow the path, I will accumulate merit, I will do the practices of purification.”

The one who has a great will like this, who is intending this, who is making a plan like this, for that type of practitioner it becomes possible to achieve enlightenment in one brief lifetime of degenerated time, which is even shorter than before; not only one lifetime, but much shorter than before—before it was thousands, billions of years—much shorter than the age in those times, much shorter. So achieving enlightenment, receiving the unified state of Vajradhara in one brief lifetime of the degenerated time is possible for a practitioner like this, a person who has such a strong will.

One who cannot bear any kind of hardship in order to practice Dharma, to train the mind in the graduated path to enlightenment, who cannot bear any hardship to protect karma, who in daily life cannot bear any hardship, who wishes to generate the realizations of the graduated path to enlightenment, expecting to achieve omniscient mind without bearing much hardship, by living only a luxury life, with plenty of food, with plenty of clothes, in a luxury place with a comfortable soft bed, without need to experience any hardship, any difficulties, within a year or a month; just by mentioning it something happens in the mind, just by sitting down, just by going to the mountain and sitting in a cave or just by sitting down and closing the eyes, something happens to the mind. Something happens in the mind, kind of like in the West there’s a restaurant somewhere, you press a button and the food comes, like that. Like a lift. You press the button and then you go to whichever floor you want. Except sometimes when the electricity doesn’t work, you get stuck. Sometimes you fall down, when the electricity doesn’t work or the wire is broken.

Anyway, expecting this, so easy and then it doesn’t happen, it takes much time, it takes so many lifetimes.

But one who can bear hardships, who plans for no matter how long it takes, to practice, to follow the path; the practitioner who plans like this, who has such a strong will to bear hardships for the sake of others, for the sake of sentient beings, to overwhelm and finish the delusions; for such a practitioner, such a person, his will and his practice allow him to quickly generate the realizations of the path to omniscient mind. His will and his practice allow him to quickly accomplish the path.

For example, the great yogi Milarepa and those great yogis who became enlightened in one brief lifetime of the degenerated time. Already in many of their past lives they planted many seeds in their minds by doing extensive listening, reflecting and meditation on the graduated path to enlightenment, the sutra and tantra teachings. In so many lifetimes they made so much preparation for that. Not only during their lifetime did they live in caves on snow mountains and bore hardship but also in their past lives, in many past lives. They trained their mind in the three principles of the path. By having such a great will to practice the remedy of the delusions, the path, to bear the hardships, they become enlightened in one brief lifetime. From Milarepa’s side, not only having found the guru, an enlightened being, a real Vajrasattva, a real Heruka; not only that, but also Milarepa had such great will to practice.

So, “At any rate, no matter how difficult it is, how long it takes, I will do it that,” is what it means.

“At any rate I must achieve the state of omniscient mind to free all my kind mother sentient beings from all the sufferings and to lead them to the state of omniscient mind, by myself. Therefore, I’m going to listen to the commentary on the Bodhicaryavatara,” generating at least the effortful motivation of bodhicitta. The listening subject is the Bodhicaryavatara, the chapter on patience.

The reason it is not worthwhile to make your mind unhappy:

If it is something which can be managed,
What is the use to be unhappy?
Even if it cannot be managed,
What is the point to be unhappy?

What is the benefit? Nothing. If it is something that cannot be managed and you make your own mind unhappy, there is no benefit at all, it doesn’t benefit in any way. There is not the slightest benefit. So there is no point in making your mind unhappy. It is meaningless. It is like being unhappy with the sky. “The sky is empty of form. Oh, I don’t like it.” I mean, what can you do? The sky is empty of resistance, empty of form and being unhappy with that has not the slightest benefit. The sky is empty of resistance, you can’t make it resistant, you can’t make it substantial. So for something that you cannot do, something that is impossible to do, what is the point, what benefit is there in being unhappy.

The same thing at death time, when one is dying, even at death time, when you know you are going to die, if there is some method you know you can do to make death meaningful and beneficial, using the death as a path, as a practice, use the death like a horse that you ride, like a motorcycle, making a lot of noise, waking up all the people who have houses on that road. Anyway, like this, something for which there is a method, so that you can experience it with a happy mind instead of worry and fear. Death, intermediate state and rebirth; instead of using them only as causes of samsara, you can use these as a practice to achieve omniscient mind, by practicing the method of tantra, the special meditations of Vajrayana, the Maha-anuttarayoga Tantra.

If one can apply the practice of thought-training, such as the practice of the secret mantra, if one can apply it at this time, one can find a better body to practice Dharma, a better body than this, a special body, not a suffering body; a special body in a pure realm. One can reach a better realm. If you have a method, something to do, you can apply this. If you don’t know anything, it is something else, but if one has received teachings and advice on what to do, the different practices, then instead of worry and fear, apply it and you can manage.

But even if one doesn’t have any particular method to apply, this is normal. Death happens to everybody, everybody has to go through this. Since one was born, one has to die, it’s natural. Even those huge buildings in New York, especially that part where they keep the money, what is it called, what is the name; anyway I am joking. However, all these huge buildings, after they are built up for sure they have to collapse. What comes at the end is the collapse—after they are built up they have to collapse, fall down. That is the nature, it is nothing special. It is nothing to get shocked about; this is not something I have experienced only this time, not something that I experienced for the first time. That is one way to think, “This is not the first time that I experienced it—numberless times.”

If one cannot think, “Oh, this happens to everybody, everybody, animals, even human beings, everybody on this earth, everybody has to go through this gradually. The whole family, everybody, so why not me? How can I expect to live forever without experiencing death? While I’m seeing in this world, every day so many human beings die, going through this, so how can I expect myself to live without experiencing death?” At least thinking like this. Even by thinking that it is the nature of life, it cuts down the fear and there is less worry.

Such as this: when one’s friend, wife, husband, father or mother, when somebody is dead and the body is at the funeral or when the body is taken out of the house or the room where he used to live before, when the house is becoming empty of that member of the family, the other relatives are crying. Or when one hears that somebody died in an airplane crash or somebody is executed, then there is so much worry, pulling hairs and beating oneself, hitting oneself on the chest with the hands. This is something that you cannot manage; you cannot make life come back. This is something that you can’t manage. The body becomes pieces but you can’t manage to put it together and come back alive.

One day, not this year but last year, when I came back from last year’s tour, I went to see the largest place where they burn the dead bodies in Delhi. This time, when I came back from the West, also one morning I went to see the same place, the largest place where they bring dead bodies in India.

It’s a very interesting place, another scene of life, another movie of life, of you and what is happening now to others. There was one mother, and I think the body that was burnt was her husband’s. I don’t know, I could not understand the language. Anyway, the body was there. Just a few steps away, being burned by the fire, all around covered by wood, with the body inside of that. Then there were some people, I think they were quite poor people, some relatives of that person who came with her. The mother was crying so much. I think she was talking about some good qualities of that person. She was pointing on and on like this toward the body that was in the fire, saying so much, and it looked like she was trying to tell some good things about the person who had already gone. Then she was beating her chest with her hands and she kind of went nearer and nearer to the fire, so then the other people, the relatives grabbed her.

All those things, all those worries, are of no use, completely useless. It doesn’t benefit him to find a better rebirth, it doesn’t benefit him to have a happy mind—at that time he is already gone, the mind is already separated from the body. If one can benefit then one should do it before the consciousness separates from the body. Something that benefits at the time of death should be done before. It doesn’t benefit her either, this screaming.

Then also being scared of having the third war. “If the third war comes something will happen to me.” There might be some who are concerned of others, worried for others, but mostly they have much fear in the mind if the third war happens. In some ways it’s a little bit strange, being more concerned about the third war than about death, which will definitely happen. It is more definite that this will happen than the third war. At any time, any day, any night. It is definite and for sure, more than the third war. However, even when they think about death, if one hasn’t met the Dharma, if one’s mind is empty of method, of Dharma wisdom, of Dharma understanding it is not of so much use. It is the same as an animal being scared of death. Like animals being scared of death—birds, worms, goats and cows being scared of death, the same thing. The mind is completely empty of method. Then what is there is only fear. So that is useless; without method in the mind, Dharma practice, just having fear is useless, useless fear. You cannot stop death.

What Shantideva is saying is that until you enter the arya path, the right seeing path, you cannot prevent death. It is impossible to not experience death, you cannot do it. So, it is useless fear. For something that you cannot manage, it is nothing. But the fear or awareness of death, the awareness of reincarnation, of what comes next, the awareness of karma, this life and the past, the fear that comes from that can be used to practice holy Dharma. You can use the fear of death to completely stop the experience of death and rebirth, which is forced by the unsubdued mind and karma—but as there is nothing like this, no method in the mind, there is no use for fear.

However, if you lead a good life, every day practicing patience, the good heart, not harming others, if from one’s own side one practices Dharma well in everyday life, making preparation for death in everyday life, waiting for death in everyday life, from morning until night, waiting for death instead of rejecting it, waiting for it and making preparation all the time; in this way, if you have confidence, there is no mistake in the way of living life.

If you are prepared from your side, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter even if the third war comes. It is just a matter of changing the body, taking another body. The consciousness leaves this body and takes another body. It is just a matter of changing to another body, maybe better than this life, with more opportunity to practice Dharma. There is no worry, no need to be born in the lower realms. If one leads a good life, practicing the good heart, practicing well the good actions benefiting others, avoiding the bad actions of harming others, if one has not created the cause of the lower realms then even if somebody else kills you with a knife or with a gun, even if somebody badly treats you, there is no need to be worried or have fear, because there is no need to be born in the lower realms. It is just a matter of changing to another body, entering another human body. Like moving from one apartment to another apartment, a better apartment, better than before, more clean, with more things, with more enjoyments.

Generally, a third world war, the sufferings such as this degeneration is dependent on the group of human beings, on collective karma, general karma. What one can do to prevent that, according to the capability that one has—one tries as much as possible to prevent such things, the problems of the world, not only world wars but also epidemic disease, many famines, so many problems that happen in the world. If all the human beings would practice patience than there would be no wars, no fighting. If in all the minds of all human beings there is bodhicitta, renouncing self and cherishing others, then there is no problem of even quarreling between two persons, besides countries. There is no atomic danger.

So the best thing is to subdue your own mind. Among the human beings living on this earth you are one, so the best thing is to subdue your own mind, to start the patience in your own mind, to start bodhicitta in your own mind, renouncing self and cherishing others. Be a good example for others. For those whom it fits, who understand the teachings, talk about the practice to subdue the mind, to develop the good heart in order for others to generate bodhicitta and to have patience. Spread the practice of patience and bodhicitta in the minds of others. Without changing the mind, the problem cannot be stopped because the problem does not exist from the side of the problem; it is dependent on the minds of the human beings who live on this earth. It came from the mind, it is created by the mind, the self-cherishing thought, the most harmful mind, anger.

Then, live in the precepts such as the Mahayana ordination, which has incredible benefit. There are so many stories about how this has benefited the country in the past. In the past in India and in certain countries where Buddhadharma existed, the kings made laws that on special days like the eighth, fifteenth and thirtieth, everybody should live in the eight Mahayana precepts. Then, even though before there were many problems such as famine and people dying of starvation, later the whole country became rich, with less disease; the whole country was affected by that, as a result of the karma of not stealing, living in the vows, fasting and those things, practicing the remedy to attachment. The crops and enjoyments grew in better quality, more than before. Great prosperity happened. From one’s own side, what you can do to benefit others, instead of running around making other people more confused, use the capability that you have, the little understanding that you have, to practice, to benefit yourself and others.

Shantideva is saying if the object on which the unhappy mind arises can be remedied, if it can be changed, if it is something that you can manage, then what is the point of being unhappy with that object, which can be changed? Instead of being unhappy, why don’t you change the object?

This covers many things. It is the same with many of the problems of our life. For example if somebody is dead, if you make business and you receive a great loss, then it is already finished, gone, so what’s the point of worrying? Worrying about it, while you are sitting on a chair, while you are eating, while you are in bed, at nighttime you go to bed without falling asleep, worrying. What is the use of that? You cannot change it, it is past, already finished; you cannot change it, so it is better to accept it. That is a result of karma, so accept it instead of being worried—again and again you breathe out so strongly. Then, cancer, all these things arising, can be a condition for those things, being worried so much, useless worry. For something that is past, which you cannot change, there is no point in making your mind upset. Better to think that these are the result of things such as ill will, disturbing others’ work in the past, in this life or in past lives. In the past years, the past months, in the past life, one disturbed others with ill will, disturbing others to complete their works. Being jealous, also covetousness, being attached to others’ possessions, wanting things that are possessed by others, things like that.

All this is the result of having given harm to others with self-cherishing thought. So it is better to accept the situation. Since there is nothing else you can do it is better to accept it, thinking, “The causes are created by myself, so who else should experience the result; no one else except me. If I don’t experience it, then who should experience it? Because the karma, the cause is created by me, so who has to experience it is no one else except me. So this is a teaching to me from now on to be careful with such as the ten non-virtuous actions. This is a teaching to me to not have bad thoughts towards others, to not harm others. It’s a signal telling me that if I do it again, if I create the same causes as before by following the self-cherishing thought, if I harm others again then again I will experience the same problems. This is a signal to tell me that.”

Or think, “My material possessions are lost, stolen by others, and there are many other sentient beings who are experiencing the same problems and who will experience the same problems. So what I experience is a substitute on behalf of sentient beings. On behalf of others I am experiencing this loss.” Then also pray, “By the virtue of this may they be devoid of this problem and the cause, and may I experience it myself.” And feel happiness, “Now I have received as I prayed and I am experiencing.” So feel happiness by thinking, “I have received it as I wished, as I prayed, and I am experiencing it now.”

Or think of the shortcomings of the samsaric perfections, “How kind he is; if I had those possessions I would have that much miserliness and attachment, and that clinging to those possessions ties me to samsara. He is taking away what ties me to samsara, so that I have no object of clinging. He is helping me to cut off the clinging.” And also, “How kind he is, if he didn’t steal it, if he didn’t take it away I wouldn’t create the merit of charity. Now he has taken it away and has given me the opportunity to accumulate virtue, charity. How kind he is. How precious he is.”

If you say, “Well, he is not kind, he is not precious, how can you say he is kind, he is precious, he doesn’t have any thought of loving kindness for me, he doesn’t have any thought to help me, only to give harm, so he is not precious to me.” Then in that case a million dollars is also not precious. You don’t call “kind” what is not a sentient being, what does not have mind. A million dollars is not kind, but precious. It is all the same thing. This million dollars doesn’t have the thought to benefit you, to be kind, “Oh, my beloved such and such, my dear such-and-such, I must help him, I must give him food, give him house, give coffee and lots of biscuits,” it doesn’t have this thought of loving kindness, not at all. So the same thing: the million dollars and that thief. By the reason that he doesn’t have loving kindness, the thought to help you, then it is the same thing.

Why do you take more care of that one million dollars than him? What benefits you can receive from the million dollars, by that reason you hold it, you recognize it as precious, important and beneficial, so it is the same thing. How much benefit you can receive from that one million dollars depends on how skillfully you use it; and it is the same thing with that thief, how precious he is, how much benefit you receive from him is dependent on how you use it, how you think of it—exactly equal. The thought-training, thinking of all the advantages of him making the object non-existent for you, helps to cut off the attachment that ties one to samsara. Also, it is beneficial to practice thought-training, it benefits not to create any more negative karma, to be careful; then also to practice charity. There are so many ways to practice, dependent on how much understanding of Dharma practice you have. It is the same as the million dollars. For somebody who doesn’t know that a million dollars is precious and useful, who doesn’t know how to use it, it becomes the same as garbage, just keeping a piece of paper. So it is similar with the way we use the enemy, the way we think, depending on that he becomes that precious, important, so kind.

I think from now on I should talk less.


Lecture 22: December 1st pm


Again, please generate at least the effortful motivation of bodhicitta, thinking, “At any rate I must achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all the kind mother sentient beings, therefore I’m going to listen to the commentary on the Bodhicaryavatara.”

For myself and for my friends
I want no suffering, no disrespect,
No harsh words and nothing unpleasant;
But for my enemies it is opposite.

The essence of the last stanza is to examine well the causes of generating anger and then attempt to eliminate and dispel the unsubdued mind.

The way to attempt to stop the unsubdued mind is by checking well the cause of generating anger. First of all, it shows the different objects of anger, and then the way to stop anger toward somebody who did undesirable actions and disturbs the fulfillment of one’s wishes.

Shantideva is saying that for oneself and one’s relatives, friends and close ones, we do not wish suffering that harms the body or the suffering feeling that harms the mind, such as criticism. Criticism doesn’t hurt the body, doesn’t wound the body but it harms the mind. Then also the mind is harmed by not receiving material, not receiving gifts. In the case of somebody who normally gives gifts on birthdays or at Christmas and then, one time, one day stops giving, it hurts the mind, even though you don’t die of starvation. By not receiving that piece of cake you don’t die of starvation but it hurts the mind. Then insulting, saying words face to face, not just gossiping, not just criticizing in a room where that person is not present but using harsh, hurting words. Sometimes the words can be nice but they give very deep pain in the heart. Certain words that the person doesn’t express straight—they look nice but they contain something that hurts the person’s mind, however the words look. The point is to hurt the person’s mind, although sometimes it is presented in a nice way; anyway harsh words, hurting words, which are spoken face to face, straight.

So hurting words, uninteresting words, then also bad reputation—these four undesirable things: suffering, not receiving material things, uninteresting words and bad reputation. These four undesirable objects one does not wish for oneself and also one does not wish for one’s friends and relatives. One wishes the opposite of these four undesirable things: happiness, receiving material things, sweet words, good reputation for oneself and for one’s friends and relatives. But what we wish for the enemy is the complete opposite, we wish that they receive the four undesirable things and not receive the four desirable things. We seek and wish the eight worldly dharmas for oneself and one’s relatives and friends.

Practicing patience is like this—when suffering is generated, whenever we meet suffering, we practice patience. When somebody badly treats us, and doesn’t give us material help, we practice patience. When somebody insults us, we practice patience. When somebody gives us bad reputation, we practice patience. When these four undesirable things happen to you, when you meet these four undesirable things; practice patience. Then also, when the four undesirable things happen to one’s own friends and relatives; practice patience. When somebody causes harm to one’s close ones, friends and relatives, when they suffer, then also practice patience. Then also, when material help is not given to them; practice patience with that object who doesn’t help your friends and relatives. Then also practice patience on the object, those who insult them, who give them a bad reputation.

Then also, when the enemy is happy, when somebody causes the enemy to receive perfections, to be happy, it is unbearable. It is unbearable that the enemy is happy, we dislike that the enemy is happy, that the enemy doesn’t have problems, that he is comfortable. However, then practice patience; when somebody makes the enemy happy, practice patience. Because you dislike that, again practice patience.

Then when somebody gives material possessions, when the enemy receives material offerings, again you practice patience. If you don’t practice patience you become jealous, you dislike that and when you see or hear that, the mind becomes very confused, unhappy. So, again practice patience when you feel, when you know the enemy has received material things.

Then, when the enemy receives compliments, sweet words, then again you can’t stand it—you become mad. When somebody says nice things about the enemy you can’t stand it, suddenly you have to stop talking. You were having some conversation, before you were so excited, very involved, then suddenly the other person talks nicely about your enemy and suddenly you are in retreat, in silence, without choice, with a heavy face. So practice patience; when you hear nice things, compliments about the enemy, practice patience.

Then, good reputation: when you find out that your enemy has received a good reputation, then again practice patience. Instead of criticizing, “He is not worth receiving a good reputation, he is not qualified,” or “He didn’t do that,” then again practice patience.

So like this, twelve objects to practice patience.

Then again, if somebody disturbs one’s pleasure, if somebody disturbs your comfort, while you were having such a good time, while you were very warm in your sleeping bag, sleeping very comfortably, suddenly, while you were in such great comfort, having very good sleep or having a very pleasant dream, with a friend going to a beautiful park, or having very great entertainment or great excitement, something is going to happen, you were going to do something, like that, good sleep, good dream, then suddenly a flea bites you on the leg or under the thumb, so that it disturbs your comfort. Then again, practice patience.

The same thing, when somebody disturbs you from receiving material things, when someone sent some present but somebody else used it, ate it or didn’t give it to you—money, clothes or whatever the possession is. However, when somebody disturbs you from receiving material things, again practice patience. When somebody disturbs you by complaining about you, then practice patience. When somebody disturbs your reputation, then practice patience.

Then same thing, like this—you need to practice patience when these four hindrances happen to receiving the four desirable things for you and when this happens for your parents and relatives.

Then again, with the enemy, if, while he is suffering someone stops his suffering, gives him medicine, if a doctor comes along and gives medicine, when you see this, you can’t stand that doctor. You can’t stand the doctor ending the enemy’s suffering. So again practice patience. The same thing if somebody disturbs the enemy’s not receiving material things; when you can’t stand it, practice patience. If somebody disturbs his not receiving sweet words, then again practice patience, and if somebody disturbs his not receiving a bad reputation, again practice patience.

There are about twenty-four objects of patience with which we have to stop the anger arising toward the sentient being who does undesirable things.

According to the following stanzas, according to this outline, stopping anger arising toward the sentient beings who harm oneself and one’s relatives; stopping the anger towards the enemy and the sentient being who gives help to one’s own enemy.

The way of practicing stopping the anger toward the sentient being who harms oneself when the suffering arises is to meditate on patience, voluntarily taking on the suffering, bearing the suffering; particularly thinking that these contaminated aggregates of attachment, this samsara, are not beyond the nature of suffering.

The causes of happiness sometimes occur,
But the causes for suffering are very many.

In samsara, the causes of happiness occur only sometimes. They don’t happen all the time, only sometimes, seldom. The causes of happiness, virtue, happen only sometimes. The causes of suffering happen so much. This is the nature of samsara; it is not beyond the nature of suffering, so if the suffering arises it is worthwhile to practice patience, to bear it.

The four major sufferings—the suffering of rebirth, which is particularly related to us human beings, the suffering of rebirth, old age, sickness and the suffering of death—then all the rest of the problems that we experience between rebirth and death, all the rest of the sufferings of mind and body, all those other problems. Why is there so much suffering of suffering and less comfort and happiness, why? That is because the causes of suffering are so many and so the results, the suffering of suffering, are also many. The causes of happiness are less, so the results are also less.

All the sufferings of suffering, the four major ones and then the rest, all that happens after rebirth and before death, is like a water bubble coming from the water—the bubble doesn’t come from space but comes from the water, like that. Without water there wouldn’t be the water bubble. Similarly, without the body there wouldn’t be the diseases, painful wounds, leprosy and those dangerous diseases. The four major sufferings and all the rest of the sufferings that one experiences, the suffering of suffering between rebirth and death, all this is like a water bubble that comes from the water. Like this, all the suffering comes from where? The suffering of body and mind comes from samsara; this is like the ocean and those sufferings like a water bubble.

All these sufferings came from the contaminated aggregates of attachment, samsara. Even the suffering of change, the pleasures of samsara, the comforts that one experiences by having samsaric perfections, even these temporary samsaric pleasures, which don’t last, which change into suffering, which are in the nature of suffering, which change into greater suffering, these also come from samsara, the contaminated aggregates of attachment—the suffering of changes. The samsaric pleasures, comforts, those things are called suffering only because they do not last. The main reason they do not last is because their nature is suffering. The base on which we label pleasure and comfort is itself suffering.

For example, at the beginning there is much suffering of poverty, not having a house, not having the means of living. After one has found these, the previous heavy suffering stops, but then again it is not satisfactory; one wants a better quality and more. When one receives this, there is some kind of comfort and pleasure, the previous heavy suffering of not having anything is stopped, but then the dissatisfied, discontented mind arises, wanting more, wanting better quality, and as this grows stronger and stronger, then another suffering arises.

Also, when the stomach is empty, when there is great hunger, then when one takes the first spoonful of food, the discomfort of having a stomach full of food starts—it starts so small that you can’t discriminate, you can’t feel it—and the heavy suffering of the hunger starts to decrease from great to small when you receive the first spoonful of food. Then as you take more and more, the base one labels pleasure or comfort is when the suffering of hunger decreases from great, and the discomfort and pain of the body starts from small. When it is kind of balanced, that feeling is called pleasure, comfort. “Now I am feeling comfortable, happy.” Then as one takes more and more, the discomfort of the body having a stomach full of food, which was very small at the beginning, becomes greater and greater by the condition of taking more food. The pleasure and comfort change, on the base that you call comfort. So the comfort doesn’t last. There is no hunger anymore; no suffering of hunger, but now there is another different problem, pain, discomfort.

Similarly, after sitting two hours, one hour…

<end of tape>

…while the mind is confused, the subject is not clear, you couldn’t understand—either not clear from the side of the subject or the way it is spoken, or a mistake from the listener, the mind not being familiar with the subject, not having heard it before—but that is not my main point.

So, after sitting so long, as soon as one stands up the heavy suffering of sitting starts to decrease from great to small, and the tiredness of standing starts from very small, from the very first moment that you stand up. But that is called comfort, pleasure, sort of “Wow!” after sitting all these hours. On that feeling, on that base, it is called comfort. But as you are standing more and more, the discomfort, the tiredness of standing—which started from the very beginning as very small, from the very first moment—with the condition of standing longer, increases. The longer you stand, the more the tiredness of standing increases. So, the change of the base; it is no longer comfort. That is how the comfort has changed—now there is no longer comfort but the tiredness of standing, even though there is no tiredness of sitting. Like this, all the samsaric comforts are in the nature of suffering. And also the suffering of change comes from this samsara, having taken this samsara, the contaminated aggregates of attachment.

So you see, as the nature of the water bubble is that it comes from the water, like that, all the suffering of suffering and the suffering of changes comes from these aggregates, which is the suffering of pervasive formation.

This last one I finish, then stop.

This last one, the third one, which is the main thing we should renounce, the main thing we should be detached from, the contaminated aggregates of attachment; when you understand the twelve links, the way they work, the way they finish within two or three lifetimes, once you understand that, this is very easy to understand—the suffering of pervasive formation, the meaning of this, the contaminated aggregates of attachment. And if you understand the twelve links, then you will understand the meaning of the term “contaminated aggregates of attachment.”

For contaminated, the Tibetan term is sa.che, means having delusion, deluded, contaminated. Contaminated aggregates, contaminated by what? By the unsubdued mind.

These aggregates, even from the very beginning, from the very first second in the mother’s womb, were with the seed of delusion. They were born with the seed of delusion. It is not that the aggregates are born, and after they come from the mother’s womb and as the baby grows up, as it starts to talk, the delusions start. Before there is no delusion, then afterwards when the baby starts to speak, the delusions start; before that there is no delusion, when the baby doesn’t speak, doesn’t read books—not the baby, I mean, the child, when he doesn’t know the names of things, he doesn’t have delusion, but after that, when he sees things, hears things, and knows the names of things, then he has delusions. It is not like that.

From the very beginning, from the intermediate state, the aggregates were one with the seed of delusion, so one is born with this seed of delusion. It is there from the very beginning, from birth; contaminated by the seed of delusion.

The contaminated aggregates of attachment, sa.che, nyer.len gye phun.bo, the aggregates of attachment; it is made simple, shorter, by saying attachment but otherwise nyer len, these two words—one means craving and one means grasping. In the twelve links, when the craving and grasping of that set of twelve links occurs, it doesn’t matter whether it is a dog or a human body, whenever that is experienced, whenever that happens at the time of death, the seed that was planted, that was left by karmic formation that causes the human body, the ripening aspect in the result of the human body is made ready by the craving and grasping that arises at the time of death.

But I would say that sometimes, due to tantra methods, like pujas or meditations, the secret tantra methods, even if the craving and grasping makes the seed that has been planted, left there by karmic formation, which brings the ripening aspect result the human body, ready, rising up through the intermediate state and ready to take the human body…

I will put it this way: somebody is going to be born in the narak realms. The craving and grasping made the seed, the potential that was left on the consciousness by karmic formation, to bring the ripened aspect of the resultant body in the naraks. Then the being goes through the intermediate state and then takes the narak body. But according to that sentient being’s karma or luck, certain high lamas can make it possible that even though he is already in the intermediate state, through certain very powerful meditations and pujas, this person doesn’t get reborn in the naraks. Even though the potential was created, and already made one ready to be born in the naraks by the craving and grasping at the time of death, still by these methods he can take another human body or may be born in a pure realm—due to the lama who does the meditation, the power of the method and the power of his realizations.

But usually after craving and grasping have met the potential that was left on the consciousness ready to take the ripening aspect result, the body, a human body or an animal, then immediately after that the consciousness goes to the intermediate state and then migrates into that body, whatever it is. So you see, that body is the ripened aspect result, and its close cause is craving and grasping, the unsubdued mind of craving and grasping.

It is the same thing with this set of twelve links of this human body. This present human body is formed or caused by the close cause of craving and grasping that arose at the time of death in the past life. That craving and grasping arising at the time of death made the potential of this present human body ready. The potential was left before by karmic formations, which came out of ignorance and also attachment. Then this potential was made ready by craving and grasping, which is called “becoming,” symbolized by a pregnant woman. So that is the close cause, craving and grasping. Then, after that, the consciousness goes into the intermediate state and migrates into this human body.

So there are the contaminated aggregates of attachment, nyer len, craving and grasping. It is just to make it short in English that it is called attachment, because craving and grasping are both attachment; the main cause that ties the self to this samsara like a rope or a chain is attachment. So when you think of the meaning of this term you understand how it is in the nature of suffering. This result, these aggregates are impure and the cause is impure—craving and grasping, the unsubdued mind, ignorance.

First of all, ignorance, the hallucinated mind: while the “I” is empty of true existence, clinging to it as truly existent; then also the attachment seeking this body, craving to receive this body.

Making it simple: the ignorance of true existence, then craving and grasping—those three delusions; then karmic formations that come out of ignorance, that action; then becoming, which comes from craving and grasping, is one action. So there are two actions and three delusions. By delusion and karma the aggregates are formed, by the unsubdued mind, so the result is impure and is in the nature of suffering, the nature of impurity, containing thirty-two impurities. As also the cause is impure, the unsubdued mind, the nature of suffering.

The contaminated aggregates of attachment themselves are the suffering of pervasive formation. This, itself is the fundamental suffering of samsara. Just on the basis of this, contaminated by the seed of delusion, we don’t have much control, so that when we meet different objects, very easily delusions arise. When we meet one object very easily anger arises, when we meet another object, very easily attachment arises, with another object very easily pride arises, ignorance arises. Uncontrollably these arise. That is due to the contaminated seed of delusion. Also, because of that we have no control over the mind. Even if we want to do very peaceful meditation without any distraction, we want to meditate on lam-rim or meditate one-pointedly on Buddha, we are without freedom, without choice—the mind doesn’t work as we wish, it is unable to be kept continuously on the object of virtue.

Same thing, we cannot use the body to practice virtue as we wish. Soon you get tired, exhausted, pains all over the body, knees, back, behind, hunger, thirst, no control over the body. We cannot use the body to practice virtue as we wish. That is because it is with the seed of delusion.

So like this, the contaminated aggregates of attachment is fundamental and is the main suffering, from which we should be free, which we should renounce. Pervasive formation, the same meaning, formation, is formed by unsubdued mind and karma. “Pervasive” means from this, from this pervasive formation, these aggregates, the suffering of suffering and the suffering of changes come. It covers both, that is why it is called pervasive.

These aggregates themselves, samsara, itself is formed by unsubdued mind and karma, this is under the control of the unsubdued mind and karma; it is the seed of that. So you can see it is not beyond the nature of suffering; it is formed by unsubdued mind and karma, and with the seed of delusion; this itself is the suffering, without needing to talk about the suffering of suffering and the suffering of changes. Just talking about this, the contaminated aggregates of attachment, this, itself is suffering.

What Shantideva is saying is that we should practice patience. When we experience suffering, we should be aware that the aggregates themselves are in the nature of suffering, are the suffering of pervasive formation. We should be aware that these contaminated aggregates of attachment are the suffering of pervasive formation and are not beyond the nature of suffering.

From having taken this samsara, then of course the suffering of suffering and suffering of changes arise. So there’s nothing to get excited about, nothing to get shocked over—if you have a headache, toothache, diarrhea, whatever it is. There’s no reason to be shocked, it is obvious and it is natural. Once you have taken these aggregates, which are the suffering of pervasive formation, in that nature, of course you experience the suffering of suffering and the suffering of changes. By thinking how it is nature, one should bear suffering, and by bearing the suffering with patience one should practice Dharma, thinking that these contaminated aggregates of attachment are the pot of suffering. One should think when one experiences many problems, “This is the pot of suffering, since I have taken this pot of suffering it is natural to experience all these problems. So what is the surprise, what is the shock, why am I worried?”

I think I stop here. This is practicing patience by voluntarily taking on the suffering.

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