How to Understand Reality from the Universal Point of View (Audio and Unedited Transcript)
Tenzin Ösel Hita gave this talk on Feb 9th 2013 at Choe Khor Sum Ling Centre, Bangalore. You can click on link above the listen online, or watch the talk on Choe Khor Sum Ling's YouTube page below.
Wow, I didn’t expect so many people. It’s very nice. It’s a big center. [A little more discussion to someone which prayers to recite]
Leader of the group: Page 34. We just go through the two pages, quickly. Once in English, once in Tibetan.
[Group recites refuge, bodhicitta prayer, four immeasurables, mandala offering.]
Ösel: Thank you so much, everybody, for coming. So nice to see so many wonderful people, such beautiful energy, and I’m really sorry, again, for coming late.
So, I’m very happy, this is my first time in, like, in Indian center. For me, I see myself like, maybe, 20 percent, 30 percent Indian, maybe not Pakha [sp], but a little bit k_ you know. But, because I grew up in India, so, you know, it’s like, it’s also my country, you know, Hindu style, I love Hindu style. So I’m so happy to be here with all of you. Thank you so much.
So, today, we’re going to talk about, a little bit, my understanding of, what I understood from some things. It’s like a mixture of, maybe my own experiences, what I studied, back, in the monastery, and what I’ve been studying now.
I just arrived from the monastery after 15 days of just being there, and going everyday to class with my teacher. So he taught me some lam rim, like that, it’s very simple stuff. And, so I just wanted to share with all of you, some of this, maybe it can help you, because most of you are, I believe, you live in Bangalore. You’re working in Bangalore. So Bangalore is a city, it’s a big city, I just saw it today.
So it can be very difficult, sometimes, to cope with everyday life, especially when you have, like a schedule, and you don’t have so much free time, and then there’s _ [situation ?], and all the people, and the stress, these are all, all these factors can be very difficult sometimes, for our own, kind of clarity. So, it’s like a, it’s a little bit like it’s a hard job, yk, not only to do your exterior job everyday, to earn your money, to live, but also the interior job. It’s more difficult, because normally, for example, when you’re maybe outside, in the countryside, where there’s not so much traffic, so many people, so much, like all this activity.
Then also, because the outside is like, a little bit of, like a reflection, also, from our inside, it reflects. So it’s more easy to be more stable, more, like peaceful inside, when you’re in the countryside. So, by being in the city, it’s like, almost like a test, you know, you have to endure, it’s like a practice, it’s double practice.
So like when people go to retreat in the mountain, it’s much more easy, then if you try to do, like, retreat here, or to do, like, meditation. So, I think, it’s very, very good for you to be able to have the possibility to come to the center, and to learn how to meditate, and to see the reality of our mind, you know, the nature, sorry, the nature of our mind, and to understand how this works. Because sometimes it can be very difficult to cope with this kind of lifestyle, if you don’t understand, a little bit, how the mind works.
[Looking to where there’s a pillar in the hall, blocking his view of the people sitting there.] I’m sorry, there’s a pillar here, so I cannot see everybody. [Saying hello.]
So, sometimes our mind can be our best friend, and at the same time, sometimes, can be our worst enemy. It can play tricks on us, it can make us believe things that are not true.
Sometimes, for example, when we get angry, we think we’re right. Because, we are trapped in our body, so we are living everyday, in this body; we are alone. The only way to communicate with other people is through, like words, through facial expression, like, maybe music, or things like that. You know, there’s a way, where we can express what we are, what we feel, through this communication. But without this, we are alone.
So, sometimes, it’s just us who think. So when we get angry, then we think we’re right, because that’s the way we are, you know, we are by ourselves, so we think something. It’s like the ego, the me, we are born by ourselves, you know, so we’ve been all our life, by ourselves. So maybe we think we’re right, like, there’s some reason, something happens.
Like if you’re stressed, then if someone talks to you, or something, maybe they’re not talking in a way that should make you angry, but because you’re stressed, and you have that state of mind, then immediately you jump, you get angry. And, also, you think you’re right. Even if you’re not right.
So maybe, from the other side, the person who is seeing you, oh, wow, this person is, that’s strange, why did he get angry, I didn’t say anything, you know. Maybe that person doesn’t understand. But we, we think we are right. Until afterwards, maybe one day, anger subsides, and we realize, oh, maybe it was a mistake. But if we have big ego, we’ll never see this. We’ll never realize that maybe, we were wrong.
So I think, that’s, one thing that is very important is to keep that in mind, especially when we’re in a stressful kind of ambiance, to be aware of how our mind plays these tricks on us. And many times, it’s like a test. The more stressed we are, the bigger the test. So, if we are able to pass the test, then every time becomes easier, you know, to keep a coherent, straight, you know, stable state of mind.
This is very important, you know, because otherwise, then slowly, slowly, we get used to and we just, we get sucked into samsara, and then we suffer, and we suffer more, and more, and more, because we’re always thinking about me, because we are alone with ourselves. So it’s normal. Right?
So, it’s normal we think about ourselves, because that’s all we have. We are born to this world, and the only thing we really have is our body. I mean, all the material possessions people may acquire, throughout their time, it’s not really ours. It’s part of like, the planet, and it’s manmade, it has its own functions, and some things are useful, some things are necessary, and some things are just extra. You know, we think it makes us happy, but in the end, we want other things. So the only real thing that is really ours is our body. That’s the only thing we have. Even our clothes is not ours.
So, from the moment we are born, we are born into our reality. So what is our reality? I think, maybe, each person has their own concept of their reality. And that’s completely normal. Because each of us, we live our reality. Nobody can live the other person’s reality. Maybe I can see this color, red [points to the flowers], and it’s the same name, but maybe you’re seeing it yellow. But you call it, red. Who knows? We cannot know, can we? So this is like philosophy, sometimes. But the thing is, that, our reality is ours, and we share a reality, right? But it’s not our reality. It’s their/or: the reality.
It’s like the universe, right? It’s, we cannot say the universe is infinite, like infinite time, because then it becomes very debatable, like, if it’s infinite, and there’s infinite possibilities, and if there’s infinite possibilities, we may all be buddha, right? So, the time of the universe is immeasurable, it can’t be measured. But I don’t want to use the name, infinite, because otherwise, can create, like, some difficulty to understand.
So our reality is inside this immeasurable reality of the universe. And this reality has been there for so long, it’s _[?], like scientists, they call it the Big Bang. Right, the universe started with Big Bang, expansion, and then contraction again. And right now we are in the expansion.
And if you think about it, also, even us, that we, maybe two, three seconds it’s happening, our heart is going boom-boom, boom-boom, all our lives, since we are born, until the day we die. It’s expansion and contraction, expansion, contraction. It’s a little bit like the universe, but a much smaller scale. And each of us, we have that.
So this is our reality, the same way the universe has their own reality, and each of us, we are living our reality. And the way we see it, will never be the same as other people see it, but we are sharing a reality.
Is this becoming very complicated, or is it easy to understand? Yeah?
Okay, so, for example, I like to use examples, very much. Like, you’ve been to the sea, yeah? You know the sea? Like, some Tibetans, they never saw the sea before. So we talk about the ocean, and they’re like, wow, really, a big lake? Bigger than a lake? How big? Oh, you cannot see the end. Oh, really, I cannot believe, it’s impossible. I’m just joking.
So, yeah, so like imagine the ocean, yeah, the seaside. So there’s a sunset, sun is coming down, and the sun, you can see the, like the reflection of the sun, it’s like yellow, golden light, on the water. And it’s like a straight line, from the sun, to where you are. And you’re only seeing, from the sun, to where you are, it’s like a path, you know, it’s like a golden path. That’s all you see when you’re sitting here. So I’m seeing my path, from the sun to here, this reflection.
And if somebody else is over there, they will see their own reflection. But where I’m seeing the reflection, it’s just normal water. So they cannot see the reflection I’m seeing. In order to see it, they have to come where I am sitting. So it’s a little bit like that. I can just see water, but they are seeing, the exact same place, a reflection.
And, for example, if you go in a plane, high enough, sometimes you can see the whole ocean, reflection, gold, gold color. Have you see that before, from a plane? Just shining everything. So that’s a reality. The whole ocean is shining, with the sunlight. But sometimes when we are down, we can only see one small path. And we cannot see the shining, but it’s there. And to see it, you have to go, maybe on a plane. So that’s, I think, it’s very good example to understand, a little bit, how reality works.
So each of us, we have our reality, and we’re stuck in our reality. So what we see is also what we project. There has to be something there, originally, already. So we give it, like a name or a function, something, for example, the table. Table has a function. You can put the book on it.
But, for example, if the table has to have that function in order for me to give the name, table, which represents that function. Like, for example, sometimes, maybe there’s a, like you find a pipe, or a rope, and maybe it’s dark, and then I can mistake the rope for a snake. So I get really scared, ah, there’s a snake, a cobra! But, actually, it’s just a rope. So actually, what I’m seeing in my mind is a snake, but that snake doesn’t really exist. So it doesn’t really have the function of the snake. It’s just a rope. So that’s a different kind of reality, because what eye is projecting, is not really there, in the sense, that it’s function is not the same as I am giving it, to.
So you shouldn’t think that things are not, like, for example, it’s not like the rope and a snake. Actually, there is something there, and it has a function. The only difference is, the thing is there, for example, like we talk about science, the fact that we can see colors, is because it’s a reflection of the light. Right? For example, the sunlight is white color, but you can divide the color of the sun into the rainbow.
The sunlight, the white color; the normal color is composed by, like, many different colors. So when I see this pen, blue, it’s because all the colors are being absorbed, and the only color that is being reflected is the blue. So that’s why I’m seeing blue. Right? That’s what I learned in science.
So, for example, black is absorbing all the colors, and white is reflecting all the colors. So, if you think about it, if there’s no light, then nothing has color. There is no color. So it’s like, light is information. The light gives us information, for us, in order for us to see our reality. So maybe, the actual reality of the things is, no color, they have no color. But it’s us who gives the color.
In the same way, we give our reality, the existence to things, the way we see it. But it’s never the way it really is. That’s why they call it, duality. And if you think about it, the universe is like a duality, you know, it’s, even starting from the Big Bang, it’s expansion, contraction, and heart, also, even female, male, day and night, good and evil, there’s so many cool things. And then, of course, what you’re perceiving, and the perceptor. Right?
So it’s like that. And that’s why it’s, sometimes it’s very difficult to understand what’s really happening. We get confused, because, maybe also like the system, they make us believe that, you know, this is our reality, we have to believe this way, you know, we have to change clothes, everyday, we have to, you know, go to the supermarket and buy food, and eat, and we have to consume, like, to be happy, we have to have T.V., we have to have nice house, we have to have a car, we have to have a job, the perfect partner, and the kids, and all this. It’s something also, in part, it’s made by the system, in order for us to be in a, in our, in this kind of reality.
But there’s also people who just decide to go into the forest, and live. They may live naked, and they meditate, or whatever, or maybe they just pick fruit, I don’t know. But that’s how we used to be, human beings, we used to come like that, homosapiens, originally, we used to be like that. We used to live in caves, and build fires, and, just, there’s nothing else, but, like hunting, and [re-?]producing.
Now, every time, it becomes more complicated, more complicated, more complicated. So we get sucked into this reality which we think is very important. But, in the end, it isn’t really important. Like the day we die, and everyday we’re learning something new, and even the day we die, we’re still learning something. So the learning never finishes. But, the day we die, then what did we accomplish?
So, if we really believe in the system, and we keep doing this all our life, of course, for example, if you have children, it’s a different story, right, and of course, you have to survive. And, especially, like in India, there’s so many people, [laughter], how can you eat, otherwise? It’s crazy. So this is our reality, this is the 21st Century. So what we can do is to meditate, in order to kind of see how this is happening, how it works.
So, for example, I think the easiest way for me to explain this, so that you can put it in practice is to use it in your everyday life. Because this is the way you live, this is what you chose. And also, it’s a little bit like destiny, what destiny chose for you. And when I say, destiny, I’m also talking about karma. Karma is what we create, in past lives. We may not remember, but the fact that we live a certain life, compared to other people, it’s because of something, we created a cause, in order to have that situation. And I think that’s very logical.
Personally, me, I didn’t believe in karma, at a certain period in my life, and I didn’t believe in buddhas, I didn’t believe in many things. I used to call myself, agnostic scientific. Now, I like to call myself, in the process of becoming Buddhist. So I’m starting to believe in these things, because it makes a lot of sense, and it helps me to understand my reality, and to cope with my own problems, and my stress, and my depression, sometimes, everybody has this, you know, you have ups and downs.
You have the ups and downs all the time, it’s normal. We learn from our mistakes. We suffer, and then we enjoy, and then maybe suffer again, but this is, all comes from the way we see it, you know.
For example, like, if I, let’s say like I break a leg, for example, I mean, that’s pretty bad, yeah? Breaking a leg, it’s like, maybe you have to stay one month, with crutches, and if you’re working, that’s even worse. Or, I mean, there can be so many situations.
So, depending on how I see the situation, it can be much worse, or much better, you know. It’s the way I see it. I can say, okay, wow, I broke a leg, maybe I don’t have to go to work now. So I have time, maybe. Or, maybe I can think, oh, I broke a leg, now I can’t move, I’m stuck in my bed, I’m depressed. It’s just the way you see it. And this way, life is all the time. It brings us opportunities, you can call it, opportunities, in order for us to evolve, in a better way.
So if you think about it, what is the purpose of our life? For me it was a big question. And I think, maybe it still is a big question. Why are we here? What are we doing? Where are we going?
So Buddhism, basically what it explains to us, it says, we are here in order to benefit other people. This is, for me, it’s like the essence of Buddhism. And how do we benefit other people? Of course, there’s normal, superficial ways to help people is like, in just everyday life, the situations come where we have that opportunity to give a hand, lending hand, or even a smile, or even just saying, hello, is enough, to help that person. Especially like in the city. For example, New York. I’ve never been there, but I’ve heard stories like, you’re insignificant. You walk in the street, you don’t exist. Or if someone bumps into you, they continue.
Even, sometimes, like Milano, or Paris, if you’re in an elevator, with somebody, and you say, hello, they look at you like, wow, you’re weird. You’re so rude, you talked to me. I don’t know you, why are you talking to me? Sometimes it happens. This is how, the mentality, some people live in, that’s their reality. [if?] you say hello, it’s like, huh, do I know you? This person is so rude, he said, hello. It can happen. It happened to me many times. Oh, sorry, sorry. Sorry.
I’m just joking. It might happen, of course, and much worse. Sometimes people find it much easier to have a fight with a stranger. Because they’re a stranger, so it’s like, instead of saying, hello, and saying, oh, wow, where do you come from, and, you know, what’s up, instead of saying like that, they sometimes, you know, they look for a fight; it’s easier to fight with someone who is a stranger. It’s like the excuse: I don’t know you, so I’m going to give you all my negativity, all my negativity. You know, it happens all the time. And it’s a sad situation, you know? But, it happens. So, we have the opportunity to change that. We have the opportunity to turn that around.
I thought many times, you know, like why is it, sometimes, so bad, in this world. Like, for example, when you turn on the news, it’s always, sometimes negative stuff. Like, for example, if there’s a mother, and she took care of her children, she raised eight children by herself. No husband. Just the mother by herself. Working, maybe two or three jobs, taking care of her children, put them through college, everything. Does she get in the news? No. Will you see that woman in the news? No. Her name will never appear in the news. You never see in the newspaper, oh, this woman raised eight children by herself. Never.
But, a mother, for example, she kills her son. Of course, headlines: Mother Kills Her Son. Why? Why does it give so much importance to this negativity? But then there’s so much positiveness, that don’t give that much importance; it doesn’t even become the news. It’s like, oh, it’s normal, this happens, everyday, okay. But it’s nice, you know, it’s good to switch that around.
I think one of the, the main causes of so much negativity on this planet, is because people overvalue negativity, much more than positiveness. They give more importance to negative things, then to give positive things. It happens all the time, even in families.
You know, like maybe your mother, or your father, or your brother, you know, you have good relationship, everyday, like good things happen, you don’t really give that much importance. Oh, like your mother, wow, she raised me for so many years, she took care of me. And then, maybe one day your mother slaps you. Ah, like you remember this, so strong. Oh my god. And then, all day, you’re like, frowning, oh my god, she slapped me. Why did she slap me, I didn’t do anything wrong.
Maybe she was stressed, who knows?
But we give so much importance to that, and then we don’t think about all the good things happening. That’s, I think, also one of the reasons why there’s so much negativity, it’s because of our mentality, it’s the way we think.
For example, Bangalore, or _ [uses another dialect]. You see, most of, like the roads, the cars, the buildings, the situations, everything, how did it start? It started with a thought. Everything has to start with a thought. Even this table started with a thought. The person who built this table, the carpenter, he had to start with a thought.
Okay. Where shall I make the holes, how, the lines. Even the person who ordered, maybe, he said, oh, I want a table like this, the designer, this house, the architect, everything has to start with a thought. Everything that’s manmade, starts with a thought. Otherwise, it cannot be made. So then, you can see the result of those thoughts, here. This is how powerful the thoughts are.
So that’s why it’s very important to check your thoughts, and observe your, everything inside. Because, you know, like, for example, you are the only person who really knows. Even sometimes like, I think, I don’t even know myself. But, I’m the only person that knows myself, this well. But sometimes I surprise myself, I do things that I wouldn’t even, I don’t even know myself. Sometimes I, maybe I get angry, and I shout, and then after, I’m like, wow, that’s so strange, why did I do that, you know? And then I have to check, observe, investigate, from where did it come. And then, maybe I realize, maybe I, for two or three days, something happened, and then, I kept it inside, and then, you know, I didn’t work on it, and then, like something happened, and just kept on happening, and then I explode. It happens.
So, it’s good to observe, and to check, but many times, because we are the only person that really knows ourselves, this well, it’s our job to really keep this kind of way of thinking, to check all the time, to observe our thoughts. Some of our thoughts, so much happens, even if we don’t see it. The energy we give, many times, starts with a thought.
For example, we can have a thought, someone may shout at us. Then we have a thought: Oh, this person, he shouted at us, then our ego gets hurt, and then we get angry inside. But maybe we don’t say anything. But this thought, it stays there. So from that thought, we plant a seed, and then maybe a state of mind, sorry, an attitude, maybe, an attitude comes, the attitude of like, okay, I’m not smiling, today I don’t want to smile. Even somebody smiles at us, we just look very serious. We act like didn’t see him smile. I’m just joking.
So then, from that attitude, the state of mind appears. And then, this is the state of mind that we’ll keep for the rest of the day, maybe. And then, the emotion, and then the energy, and then even that will expand, and it will effect the people surrounding us. So that’s why it’s very important to see why and how. And most of the times, it’s because of our ego, because we think about me. I’m so important.
Which, of course we are; we are the center of our universe. Right? But not the way we think it is. Because, if you investigate, in the end, you can’t find this ego. This ego, kind of me, me, me kind of thinking, it’s imposed from the outside. Even the moment we are born, and we start to speak our first words, Papa, Mama. What does this mean? It means, my Papa, my Mama. So even our, the first words we learn, already they’re teaching us to think this way, of me, me, mine.
So that’s why it’s important to see this kind of, what do you call it? Habit, and to change, change this. That’s what Buddhism teaches us, to change the habit, in order to have a more easy-going, kind of way of life, state of mind, in which we can help other people. But how can we help other people, if we don’t help us, first? How can we love, if we don’t love ourselves first? If we don’t like ourselves, how can we like someone else?
I like, examples are so good, you know. For example, like, when I was younger, like when I was a teenager, I used to have many zits, you know, like these green things that come out in your face, what do you call that, zits?
Ösel: Pimples. Yeah. When you’re at the age of puberty, you have many pimples. So I used to always look at myself in the mirror, wow, a new pimple, oh no, I have a new pimple, I’m so ugly now. I used to think like that. Because this is the way I think, you know, because I’m thinking of me, me, me, me.
So maybe, one day, somebody takes a picture of me, you know, a group picture, whatever. And then when there’s a group picture, the first person I look, myself. I don’t look at anybody else, I only look at myself. Oh, am I handsome? Am I good looking in that picture? And, always, oh, I’m so ugly. Almost, always, I look so ugly.
Why? Because that picture is based on the present. Maybe the picture was taken yesterday, or today, then I’m identifying myself with my present moment. And, because I’m thinking me, me, me, I’m not happy, I’m not satisfied with who I am, or what I look like, then after/actually, I project, I’m not handsome, or I’m not good-looking. So then I get, like, unhappy.
But, then the same picture, four or five years later, I look at the same picture, wow, I’m so young, I’m so good-looking. I wish I was like that now. But the picture’s exactly the same. So what changed? The way I see myself changed. So this is also a good example, to see how we create our reality, we project what we want to see, in this way. But actually, it’s not the reality, because this changes all the time. [snaps fingers] It’s changing.
Also, of course, the reality outside is changing, because that’s the way impermanence works. Like, for example, quantum physics, talks about this. They say everything is created, is composed by atoms, and like, the smallest particle is what we called the quark, or something like that, so small, it’s tiny, tiny. And all of these are always vibrating, they’re vibrating, and then they’re moving all the time. But between that, it’s all space.
So it’s all vibrating. And because it’s vibrating, it’s changing, it’s energy. And everything is composed by the same thing, same composition, all the material is composed by atoms, which are vibrating. So this is energy, it’s vibrating energy.
So this is how, you know, the material world exists, in this way, we cannot see it, we only know it, what do we call it, like scientific point of view, or, you know, like a theory, it’s like a theory. But for us to see that, it’s almost impossible. But it’s like that. If you check, it’s true.
Because, for example, when the Buddhists, they talk about emptiness, it’s together, same thing. Quantum mechanics, quantum physics, and like, the philosophy is emptiness, same thing. They talk about the same thing. So now, slowly, slowly we are realizing that actually science, and spirituality are coming together, they’re becoming the same thing. But, through different paths, in different ways. It’s amazing, you know, it’s really, really amazing.
And, like, for example, quantum mechanics says, everything is consciousness. And, for example, emptiness, when [the?] Buddhists say, it’s all created by the mind. It’s like we give the existence by, I mean, I don’t know many words, but, it’s like, [someone’s calling out: imputed.] Imputed? Exactly, imputed. Consciousness imputes.
So anyways, I’m getting very technical and I don’t want to go there because then I’ll get lost. [Ösel laughs] Because I’m learning. So, but this is my understanding of the emptiness, and the quantum mechanics. Slowly, slowly, I think we’re all learning, even the day we die, we’re still learning. So it’s a process that will/or: we’ll never finish.
But I think it’s important to check this, and maybe sometimes when we you some space, like when it’s time to go to sleep, you know, then think about this, a little bit, and then stop thinking, and just breathe. It’s a good meditation, you know. Because sometimes, many people, when they try to go to sleep, they can’t sleep, you can’t fall asleep, for some reason. And if you can think about it, the reason why you can’t sleep is because you can’t stop thinking. So, as long as you’re thinking, you can’t fall asleep. Because in order to fall asleep, you have to stop thinking, that’s the way you fall asleep.
So, many times you’re like, you’re turning around in the bed, and you’re, oh, I can’t sleep, then, actually, finally you get so tired, then automatically, the mind goes off, and you fall asleep. But it’s automatic.
So what’s good is, to like, manually turn off the mind. It’s very difficult, it’s not easy, I mean, it’s very difficult. Because all our life we’re just thinking, thinking, thinking. That’s the way we’re raised, that’s the way the system wants us to be. Because, the strongest voice is a voice, an inside voice, subconscious mind, subconscious, the inner voice, maybe, but, inner voice is the strongest voice. And we almost, never listen to that voice; we’re always thinking.
But the thinking, we actually, sometimes even identify with our thoughts. But our thoughts are result of, like, how we do everyday, you know, how we’re raised, and how we are, and everything. But the thoughts is just, it’s like a tool, it’s like a screwdriver. It’s something that we use in order to live our everyday life. But it’s not us. We are not our thoughts. Thoughts is the result of who we are. It’s something else. It’s like my hand, or my eyesight, you know, it’s just part of me, but it isn’t me. So it’s very important to see that.
And the inner voice is actually, who we are, where we come from. When Buddhists are talking about reincarnation, they’re talking about that; that’s what actually travels, from one vehicle to another. Our body is a vehicle, yeah? So when we pass away, this inner being, or inner self, or consciousness, or, I don’t know, there are many names. I don’t want to give too many names, otherwise, it can be confusing. But when you check, when you search, it’s always the same thing. It can have many names.
So this is the inner voice. And in order to hear, to listen to this inner voice, you have to turn off the mind. So that’s why it’s very important to start to practice this. For me, it’s like the basic meditation. Before you go to sleep, start breathing, because there’s different types of breathing, you know, like there’s the nose breathing.[showing] But, then there’s another type of breathing that comes from here. [showing]
You know, when people do yoga, the same type of breathing for yoga. [Showing the students] Now this [showing], now this one [showing], it’s very deep. And even if you just try that three or four times, already, then your mind becomes very relaxed. I think you may get a little bit dizzy, from so much oxygen coming to your brain. So sometimes, if you’re a cigarette smoker, instead of smoking, you can try to breathe, sometimes it has the same effect.
Yeah, so when you go to sleep, try to do that. Try to start breathing this way, then, you start to become conscious of your body, from the top, to the bottom, everything, the whole, [body[ you go through everything. And then you try to turn off the mind; it can be very difficult. At the beginning, maybe you can do it one second, two seconds, three seconds, four seconds, five seconds. And when you get ten seconds, then you have achieved something. It may take some, a while, but it is possible.
So when you get to ten seconds, then you’ve already started; that’s meditation, already. So in those ten seconds, you will hear the inner voice, you will see who you are, where you come from, what you are. That’s our reality. That’s the true self. And then you can fall asleep more easy. You know, it doesn’t take half an hour, one hour, turning around. You can fall asleep, maybe ten minutes. It’s like very automatic.
Because, usually, in order to fall asleep, we cannot think, we have to turn off the mind, then slowly we start going, into like, different rooms. You know, we go into one room, and then the next room is a little bit deeper, and then deeper. And then, finally, there’s one room where we don’t remember anything; suddenly we are asleep.
And in this room, it’s very difficult to be conscious in this room. But once we pass this room, we are asleep, we are already in the dream world, we’re dreaming. Sometimes, if we are very tired, it’s just like black. But that’s normally, it’s like, we have to go back; to get back our energy it’s very important to sleep.
Like, for example, the scientists, they say, it’s good to sleep, minimum, of like between six to eight hours. And when we sleep, to sleep, in complete darkness. Because, there’s, behind our eyes, there’s a sensor, and sometimes, if there’s light, then the sensor does not release a substance called, melatonin. [some offers the word] Yes, thank you. Melatonin. So it’s good to sleep in complete darkness, and then, this melatonin, basically what it does, it regenerates our body, during the night. So around, maybe one billion cells are regenerated, in one night.
So it’s so important to have good rest, good sleep, complete darkness, and, then this way, we regenerate ourselves, and we are fresh in the morning. And, the other thing is, also, we go back to who we are, ourselves, our inner, fountain of life, or fountain of energy, or you can call it many things, you can, maybe, clear light, I don’t know. I’ve never seen it, but, you know, I try everyday. [Ösel laughs.] Sometimes when I’m not lazy. Sometimes I just watch movies, and, I fall asleep. Put some music, fall asleep, or, just think, think, think, fall asleep. Sometimes, when I remember, I try to do this kind of meditation. And when I do it, it helps a lot, it really does.
So the day you reach one minute, without thinking, then that’s a realization. That’s one type of realization, in Buddhism. So that’s very good. It’s very simple, and you can do it everyday, before you go to sleep. And the more you do it, the easier it is to go to sleep.
Because many times, like, our mind is very active, during the day, in the city, you know, up, down, working, stressed, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, and then when you go to sleep, you’re still, like, very active, and sometimes it’s so difficult to fall asleep. And then you get stressed, because maybe you have to get up early in the morning, you have to get up, and then you get stressed, oh, I can’t fall asleep, and then more stressed, and then it’s like, it’s terrible. So this is good method.
And, I think, also, one thing I wanted to talk about is, how to meditate, during our day, daytime, everyday life. That’s also very helpful. Especially if we’re living in a city. So, for example, one type of meditation is to always think about other people, before we think of ourselves.
Like in the workplace, try to see other people, even say hello, try to be as nice as possible. Even if you are really stressed, or unhappy, or depressed, try to really give the importance to other people. Because, when we give importance to us, it just makes more, and more, and more, and more. If we are depressed, we get more depressed, we become more unhappy. If we are sick, we become more and more sick. You know, sometimes we become sick, because of the way we think. If we think positive, then sometimes we don’t get sick. Sickness sometimes is mind generated.
There’s one old, old man, I think, I don’t know, in Holland, or something, he’s like 120, or something, and he’s super healthy, he still goes to jog, and everything, and they did an interview to him, and said, what’s your secret? He said, my secret, I have no secret. I just get up in the morning, and I say, wow, thank you for having this life, I’m so happy. It’s just awesome. This is great. That’s no secret. He said. And that keeps me, gives me this kind of energy, you know, being happy, being good, you know, then it keeps, becoming incrementing.
So if you think, like that, for other people, then you forget about yourself; you forget about your problems, you forget about your sickness, or your depression, or your stress. Then you think about, wow, oh, he’s unhappy, or he’s having a hard time today, today he has long face. Maybe I’m going to tell a joke, I’m going to say, hello, or even, maybe, I’m going to give him a hug. Even it may be weird, but [laughter], it can look weird, but, it doesn’t matter, you know, at least, they will feel something. Eventually, they will open up, also, and they will say, wow, thank you, that was amazing, you know, you changed my day. Today I had a great day. Why? Because you gave me a hug.
You know, there’s this story I saw on Facebook, the other day, about this guy, who works in a, I think, like meat factory, or something. And he got locked up inside this big fridge, accidentally he got locked up inside, and he couldn’t come out. So he was freezing. And it was nighttime, and everybody had gone home. So he said, okay, now, this is it, I’m going to die.
And then, when he was almost dead, then somebody opened the door. Turns out, it was the guard, the security guard, he found him. So, afterwards, like, he called the police, and everything. And then, when he was better, he said, "Wow, how come you found me? Like, it’s impossible. This factory, there’s like thousands of workers. How did you find, how did you even, you know, know I was in there?"
And the security worker said, "I’ve been working here for 20 or 30 years, and you’re the only person who says, hello, in the morning, and who says, goodbye, goodnight, in the afternoon. So, I got your, hello, in the morning, but I didn’t get your, goodnight. So I said, uh, something’s wrong. So I started to look for you."
So, that’s, I mean, that’s a very good story, I think, that really inspired me, it can change your life, it can save a life. Incredible, no? It’s karma.
So, I mean, these details may look insignificant, but, they can be very big. It’s like The Butterfly Effect. I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie. I think the movie’s very exaggerated, like, make big, the Hollywood production, they exaggerate everything. But, in part, it can be true. The Butterfly Effect is like, something you do here, can have a big effect, somewhere else, big effect. Everything can change.
So when we’re positive, when we think about other people, before we think about ourselves, in that way, this effect is like, it’s like the butterfly, butterfly effect, it keeps expanding.
In the same way, we have negative thoughts, we have negative energy, then it keeps expanding in a very negative way. That’s why it’s so important to check our thoughts, you know, very important, everyday. And the more we do that, the more the habit, and then the easier it is to be happy, to be, you know, in a very healthy state of mind. And how do you do that? By thinking of other people, all the time. Instead of thinking, me, I’m unhappy, or, me, me, I want to be happy. No. Oh, they are unhappy, I want to help them. I want to make them happy. Automatically, you will be happy.
So this is our purpose. This is the purpose of our life. Or at least, this is what I understand, from Buddhism, this is what I understand, this is our purpose in our life. The world, we can think about it like a school, school of learning. We’re here to learn, and to help other people to learn, also.
So, I keep talking, talking, talking. Maybe it can get boring. Yeah. [pause]
So I don’t want to bore you; you already waited for a long time. So you must be very tired. Today’s Saturday, so today _. [ using an Indian term, maybe day of rest, day off?
So, I don’t know, what. Yeah, I think, maybe it’s a good idea, maybe questions and answers.
Oh, yeah, dinnertime.
Ösel: So, yeah, we just do, maybe some questions. Ask questions, if people have doubts. Okay.
Question: _ [I can’t make out this question]
Ösel: How do I feel, about what?
Question: How do you feel when _ [I can’t hear. Maybe something to do with being a reincarnate lama.]
Ösel: Well, this is, since I was very, very young, since I was 18 months old, I was recognized, so it’s, like part of my reality. For me, it’s like normal. Like, many times we see the sun rise, and we see the wind blow, and make the trees dance, and we see the fire burning, or we can hear music, or, that for us, is like normal.
But it’s magic, actually, it’s like ceremony, it’s nature’s ceremony, everyday it’s happening. The birds are flying, you know, the wind is blowing, and the sun is shining, up to the stars and moon, you know, all this is magic. But for us, it becomes normal. Why? Because we see it everyday. So for me, it’s a little bit like that.
It’s like, since I was so young, it’s been like that, so, I try to think of myself, just normal person, which is true. The only difference between me and you is that I had the education in the monastery. I grew up as a monk. So I think that’s the only thing, maybe, that differentiates us, a little bit, is the way I was raised. But otherwise, I’m just a normal person, probably much more than all of you. It’s not something special for me, you know. It’s just my life.
Question: [sounds like] I was trying to understand, forgiveness. Can you speak about [forgiveness?]
Ösel: Forgiveness. To understand forgiveness, you mean?
Question: [can’t hear well. Something like:] I don’t know forgiveness. In my heart, I don’t understand it.
Ösel: Okay. I think, forgiveness is very, very easy; very, very easy. Forgiveness is, for example, have you ever, [pauses] I forgot, I don’t have the word now. _ Somebody speak Tibetan? [someone offers the word, regret]. Regret, exactly. So, have you felt regret before?
So forgiveness is the same thing, but from the other side. When you regret, you regret because you feel you did something wrong. So, forgiveness is when you let the other person, like forget his regretfulness. Maybe this is a bit complicated like that. Another example.
Like, for example, I can say something, very bad, harsh words to you. Or, for example, you say harsh words to me. Or vice versa, it doesn’t matter. And then, you feel very bad about this, because maybe, you know, afterwards I’m very serious, or I cry, maybe I cry. So you feel bad. So, if I forgive you, then you can feel better. Yeah? So this is, a little bit, the way forgiveness works, you know, is to help the other person to kind of clean this karma up.
Then also for ourselves. We, sometimes we do actions, and then we can regret these actions. Regret is helpful, like up to one point, but after that, it becomes just a burden, it becomes like a weight. So regret is good, to learn from our mistakes, but after that, we have to forgive ourselves, and learn from that, and move forward.
So forgiveness, there has to be a balance, also, the same way as regret. But, I think, from my point of view, this is the way I understand forgiveness. So forgive people’s actions, because we’re all learning, and we make mistakes, and we’re human beings. And many times, this is the way we learn; we learn through mistakes. So it’s good to forgive. From my point of view, that’s what Buddhist forgiveness means. Is that helpful.
Question: [something like they understand intellectually, but on a practical level, how to use]
Ösel: Slowly, slowly. Slowly, slowly. Just forgive. If you’re angry with someone, forgive them. Start with that. Forgive everybody you’re angry with. Forgive everybody who you think wronged you. You start there. By forgiving yourself, also.
Question: [re: helping others/dedication]
Ösel: Of course, if you practice with the sole purpose to help yourself, then it’s not that beneficial, [it’s] useless. So you shouldn’t think, I’m helping myself. You should always think, I want to help other people, and then, this way, you help yourself automatically. It’s like in the package, part of the package. But it’s not the reason why we’re doing this.
And, just by the thought, of wanting to help, even if you don’t help, that’s more than enough. Already you’ve planted the seed, you’ve created the cause for that to reap, you know, to grow. And even if you don’t see it clearly, it’s already there, it’s happening.
So just by thinking, oh, I want to help, sentient beings, you know, I feel bodhichitta, or, you know, like dedicate the merits, for them, or visualize take their suffering, already there, you’re creating the cause, of helping them. Even if it may look insignificant; it’s very significant, very, very significant. Every action is super significant. Every thought, super significant, very significant.
Like it’s difficult to believe, but that’s the way it is, because, like, for example, we’re all connected to the collective memory, so each of our thoughts becomes part of the collective memory. So, what we think, what we feel, what we do, effects everybody else.
So when you dedicate the merits, when you think about other people, you’re helping other people, through the collective memory. You know, it’s like the omnipresence. It’s difficult to explain, but, I think you can visualize, this kind of superconsciousness, which is all of us together. We’re all interconnected. So one good, positive thought helps everybody else.
One more question. Last question.
Question: On forgiveness, I have a question. So is it to make ourselves happy, or to make the other person happy, this forgiveness?
Ösel: Forgiveness? Forgiveness is to, of course it’s to make the other person happy, but, by forgiving, it’s more about how you feel towards them. It’s like, for example, if someone stole something from you, right, then you get angry, oh, he stole something from me, oh, this guy is terrible. You know, he took something from me.
Then, you’re not forgiving; you’re creating bad karma for them, and you’re suffering yourself. That person has already stolen the thing, so it’s gone, it’s just materialistic, it’s nothing. So then, if you visualize, okay I give this, I offer this thing to that person. So this way you’re forgiving their action, and in this way, also, the karma becomes less. And you’re not suffering so much yourself. That’s like, a little bit of an example, forgiving.
Forgiving also is forgiving people when they maybe talk harshly to you, you don’t take it badly. You see, if you take it badly it’s because of your ego. Oh, he talked badly to me, he said harsh words to me. Or he didn’t smile, because, when I smiled, he didn’t smile back. It doesn’t matter. You give, positive. It doesn’t matter what you receive, as long as you give positive. That’s forgiving also.
Eventually it will come back. But that’s not the important part. The important part is to help other people, to be happy. Of course, it’s very difficult to make people happy because the only person who can make themselves happy is themselves. The only person is yourself. It’s your job to find that. It’s like the teacher. The teacher can help you, show you the path, but you have to walk the path. You cannot say, okay help me to be happy. No, you have to be, do it yourself, the same way, if you want to study, you want to get a degree, you know, you can’t say, okay can you study for me? You have to study yourself. It’s like that.
So, forgiving is, you forgive, but ultimately, it’s up to them to change the way they act. But the most important thing is to check yourself, and not to check other people, because that’s their story, that’s their business.
The more you look outside, the further away you’re from yourself. So then the harder it becomes to find yourself, and to understand your nature. You see, that’s one of the problems, people always search outside, keep searching outside. And the more you search outside, the further away you’re from you, and then the more problems, the more hardship, the more difficult.
So don’t search outside, search inside, look, check inside. And as long as you have a good attitude, this will come back. And you’ll create the cause for the positiveness to expand. Already there’s so much negativeness; why do we want more negativeness? It’s not necessary. So this way, forgiveness helps a lot; forgive yourself, forgive other people.
Okay. [The center wants to offer Ösel a cake for his birthday]
Let’s dedicate first. Um Dze-la.
So all the positive thoughts we’ve had today, let’s dedicate it, and hope, in the future, we can be better people, slowly, slowly. And thank you so much for inviting me here. I’m so happy to see all of you, and to meet all of you, to make the connection. And next year, maybe we’ll meet each other again.
Director: Please visit us, at the center, many, many more times.
Ösel: Definitely, many, many more times. For sure. Thank you so much. Thank you.