THE SEVENTH MEDITATION COURSE
Wednesday, 6th November
Today is a special day, it is the day that the Buddha descended from Tushita where he had made summer retreat for two months. Also, it is the beginning of the one month course. In order to create the most supreme happiness and enlightenment within our mind—there are so many hindrances existing in our minds that causes us to not receive most sublime happiness and enlightenment. So therefore in order to achieve this most perfect enlightenment within our minds, it is necessary to purify the hindrances. The main hindrance is the impurity of the mind, therefore it is necessary to clean the impurities of the mind. That is why we are going to do the Guru Yoga puja this morning.
At the moment there are all kinds of people here, there isn't that much that you can do during the puja. Those who understand about puja can meditate according to puja and those who are new people, who don't have any idea of Dharma, even just concentrating on the sound of the prayers, sound of the chanting has great value, a different meaning to fertilize the mind. Until the puja finishes we try to concentrate on the chanting, on the prayers.
There is not much time to talk about the introduction to the meditations so I think just in a few minutes, just watch your sensations, the feelings, and just concentrate on this.
I know that you people came from very far places to take this one month meditation course and of course all the people may not have the same reason for taking it. They may have different ideas, different plans, they may have different purpose for taking the meditation course. Some people may expect to attain certain powers like magic powers, like they can find from lots of lamas' books, during this course. But anyway as in, "The Book of the Dead," to see different kinds of light, things like that. I am not sure, some people may expect that—to receive magic powers, to be able to fly, to go to the end of the earth. No surprise, nothing new. Flying is no surprise, even birds can fly, and animals can fly in space, so nothing is surprising. Even though we achieve certain powers to fly with the body, no surprises, nothing special. However, those animals flying in space cannot always exist in space, they have to come down on land. Nothing special. So going to the end of the earth, nothing special. Lots of animals go underneath the earth with the physical body; this is also nothing special. Nothing special, all those subjects are old, nothing new.
Also, attaining the power of healing is nothing new. We have had that kind of power many times. I think yesterday you may have heard some talk about previous rebirths, reincarnation. Because of reincarnation, the continuity of reincarnation, those kind of experiences are nothing new for us. Some people expect to attain certain powers and to have an aura around their body which many people have interest in—that is also nothing new. Many times in other previous lifetimes we had a light around our body, many times we had this. We were born as certain beings who have light like the sun, rays all over body that don't depend on the sun. We were born like those beings countless times, no surprises. For instance, some flies in nighttime have light around their bodies, which is our experience. Some flies have like an electric light, their body is a blue color, so much so that it clears the darkness, but at the moment our body doesn't have light. We have to rely on another light to be able to see clearly. So having light around the body—even the animals, the tiny flies, have this, so no surprises, nothing special.
Some people may expect during this month to have some peace of mind. Maybe they are attending this course thinking, "Maybe I will have peace in my mind, I am going to go there to receive a little peace in the mind for a short time." Anyway, our thoughts and ideas do not matter, however it is definite that in the depth of mind, if we check up, we all desire happiness. That is the same thing for everyone. It is the same thing for the tiniest creature, the small ant, the animal ant, exactly the same thing—desiring happiness, not desiring suffering. Even in the dream, it is the same thing between them and us, the same thing, exactly the same thing. But why, so far, no matter whether we believe in reincarnation or not ... let's say on the basis of not having reincarnation, since we were born until now, why we have not attained yet the everlasting happiness, the happiness that lasts forever? Why ? Even talking on the basis of reincarnation not existing, why are there always problems arising, continuously arising one after another one? Why? What is the reason. Even though we try to stop that problem, another problem comes—always our lives have been like that, finishing suffering like that. This is not even talking about the existence of reincarnation. Just generally talking, this present life experience as you know, as you remember. Then even on the basis of talking about reincarnation, the existence of reincarnation is not something that was begun from such a time, we have not achieved yet the everlasting happiness—even though our reincarnation has no such beginning, and there is no such period in which reincarnation began. In this way, the question is deeper. Also, in this way it is easy to discover why and to discover the answer in this way. Why haven't we achieved everlasting happiness. On the basis of talking about beginningless reincarnation it is easy to think of the question and easy to give the answer. Through continual beginningless reincarnation, we can prove why we have not yet achieved everlasting happiness. There is a logical answer. If the question is given to a person who just believes in one rebirth, just one life, because that person doesn't have the fundamental understanding of the evolution of life, he can't really give the logical reason. He can't really give the real answer. That person cannot see the actual reason we have not yet achieved everlasting happiness, as much as we have been trying to make our life comfortable and peaceful. Also, because in his mind he is missing the knowledge understanding the evolution of life, therefore it is extremely difficult for the person to recognize the actual cause of everlasting happiness. For the person it is difficult to see the possibility of achieving everlasting happiness.
Anyway, normally whether we believe in just one life or in beginningless reincarnation, the reason we have not achieved everlasting happiness is because of not realizing true happiness and not realizing the actual cause of true happiness. That is because of not realizing the actual suffering and also not realizing the actual cause of suffering. Therefore we always create the cause of suffering expecting the result of happiness—the peace that we don't receive from that actual cause, from that work. So you see, in our action, in our work, in our method there is a mistake. Why are there mistakes in our work, in our method? That is because there is a mistake in our understanding. We have a wrong understanding of happiness, of peace, we have the wrong recognition of peace. Therefore it is important to find our the wrong understanding.
First of all, in order to establish the right understanding, the right knowledge, knowing the actual suffering, knowing the actual peace, it is necessary to recognize the wrong understanding. So therefore then, there is the possibility to clean.
If you smell something dirty around you, if you smell something dirty, if you smell kaka, then it is necessary to first of all check up where is it. To check up where is it. If you want to be clean, if you don't want to smell that, to suffer from that, it is necessary first of all to check up where it is. Then after, you recognize whether it is outside or within you, then you clean it. Then you don't get the smell, then you are comfortable. Otherwise if you don't see it, then as much as you want to stop it, if you don't see it, as much as you try to clean the place, telling other people to leave, trying to clean some other place, it doesn't help. Whatever he is doing is useless, he is just wasting his energy. As much as he works in that way, he doesn't stop the suffering, the dirty smell. Therefore the most simple thing is to first recognize the dirty thing, where is it, and then after recognizing it, it is possible to clean it. Just like this. It is very important, so important to fully realize all the wrong understanding that produces the wrong methods, the wrong action, that makes the life complicated. This is just a simple example.
Generally, not for only human beings, but even for lower creatures, whenever there is a problem, we always believe that the cause of the problem is outside. This is the biggest problem. The principal cause of the problem is outside, the possible cause of the problem was created by other people—we always believe the principal cause of suffering is in the external things. Like when we suffer with heat, we think the possible cause of suffering is heat, that heat is the principal cause of the problem, and when we walk barefoot and a thorn gets inside we think the principal cause of the problem is the thorn, as it is the principal cause of the suffering, the pain. Sort of like this. For every object that we suffer with, we always believe the principal cause is outside. And when we have some confusion or problem with people, we think the cause of the problem is those other people. So in this way it is difficult to bring peace—extremely difficult, impossible, impossible to bring perfect peace, everlasting peace, without removing this wrong belief. By only doing the method that only checks outside and only cleans outside, trying to stop the outer distractions, the people or the non-living things, this method can never bring true happiness. For instance, put a simple example. I have a problem with one person, and then I think my problem is caused by him and I try to kill him, destroy that person. If I kill him, of course, there is no peace, that person suffers. Perhaps when I finish that action, when I harm him, with my ignorance perhaps I may think, I may feel rejoicefulness that I could harm him, that I could take revenge on him, but that actual rejoicefulness is not really happiness, not actual peace. Then what happens is that is causes problems with the other people who like that person, his friends. The other people also suffer because they don't want him to be killed and I want to kill him. So it is difficult. If I kill him, his other friends get angry, they suffer. So in this way there are more enemies instead of less enemies—this method causes more and more enemies to arise.
For instance, simple. In the modern world there are many examples of so many thousands, thousands of people that were killed believing that countries were the enemy, the principal cause of the problem, but still after that many millions of people were killed, after the enemy was killed, still there was an enemy, still so many enemies rising against the people. This clearly shows how that kind of thing never brings peace, only suffering and more confusion, just like the modern world.
In one way, it is not enough that oneself has peace; it is necessary that other beings should have peace, the same thing. All the same living beings, the same human beings, even without talking about the animals, the same human beings have mind, feelings, desiring happiness and not suffering, so those who need peace are not just one person.
This kind of method never brings peace—it causes confusion to oneself and other living beings, that's all. Another way of talking—even if we kill, even if we make all the human beings on this earth not exist—all the insects, all the living beings on this earth do not exist; there is yourself only, only myself on this earth, non-one else is existing, no other living being—still there is no peace, no everlasting happiness in my mind. Even though I could try that much, still the body and mind, my body and my mind are living in suffering. So that is not the solution, you see, to stop one's own suffering. And even if this physical body did not exist, this physical body burned, became decayed, not existing, even if this physical body has left, still that doesn't mean that that I am released from the cause of suffering. Still that doesn't mean that I have received freedom. That doesn't mean I have received everlasting peace. If that was the way to receive everlasting peace then it would be silly that all people are trying to exist, trying to take care of this body, have a longer life by having treatments—this would be silly. Better to have the death as quickly as possible. So however, even if there is no other living being physically existing, even if there is only one person, still there is no happiness, still the person's mind is in problems. Sometimes he gets angry with himself—usually this experience happens in our life in certain places even though we are alone, in certain solitary places, sometimes on the mountains away from the city, parents, alone. Sometimes we get angry with ourselves. Still there is suffering, still we feel unhappiness, dissatisfaction, many things, many problems. That means that person is in suffering.
So now even without this body ... first of all, if the solution to stop suffering was to not have this body, then, since when we die we have to leave the body for death to appear, we wouldn't have to practice meditation, to escape from suffering we wouldn't have to follow religion, we wouldn't have to do any special or high action. We wouldn't have to be holy, we wouldn't have to make our mind pure, if suffering was stopped by leaving this body. That is clear—just one way of talking, simply talking.
The reason we are living in the suffering when we are with this body, the reason we are living in suffering mentally and physically is because we were living in suffering before we took this body, therefore even when we have this body, mentally and physically we are living in suffering. If you are not living in suffering before taking this body then there is no reason to live in suffering with this body, no need to experience suffering with this body, like this. However, suffering exists because the principal cause of suffering exists. Even if there is only mind existing, why is there suffering? Because the principal cause of suffering exists within mind. This is important to understand.
This is the most profound subject—trying to discover the principal cause of the problem that exists within mind. That is a very profound subject and trying to discover that is the most useful method to solve the problems, to stop the suffering.
Simply talking, the cause of the problem that exists within our mind, what is that? Greed, ignorance, and hatred—these three negative minds existing within the mind—these are the cause of suffering. Therefore, that is why I said this morning that to establish enlightenment, the most sublime happiness within, the mind needs to purify the impurities of mind. What I want to say is this—there is no other external method that can stop, can help that mind of ignorance. This is simple.
How do ignorance, greed, and hatred produce problems? Our individual life has been full of examples of this. If we have the wisdom to check up, we don't have to go a round, we can discover this, each of us—the individual himself can discover it if he checks up his own life experience. He can discover whether he has these three negative minds or not.
How do these three negative minds cause the whole suffering? That is simple. When there is anger it is not so difficult; when we have strong anger rising, it is easy to know that the nature of that is not peaceful. It is a very unpeaceful, unhappy mind, a very rude mind, a very cruel mind.
Then besides the anger destroying, the anger also causes death to oneself. This anger destroys one's own possessions, one's relatives, and it destroys other living beings' happiness. That is easy, quite a simple example of how that doesn't make oneself or other beings happy and only causes suffering. That the mind is ignorant.
Then greed. Greed is one of the disturbances of the true happiness. That is one of the main hindrances of achieving true happiness because true happiness is ... simply talking ... it is something which is well contained, mind which is well contained and satisfied. The satisfied mind. Very gross way talking. At least has to be that, that mind. So that is opposite to the function of the greed. The attachment is something which makes, which always makes to not satisfy with the things what the person has and always produces more craving, wanting more, wanting better and more. This is the worst suffering. This is the worst mind energy. This is the thing which keeps life busy. Also in the world this is the, one of the causes, principal causes of the modern world suffering. Whether it is one person, group of people, society, country, whatever, so this kind of mind which they have is the cause of their problem. Usually desiring more, desiring more and better, so when ... so working for that is another suffering and not receiving that is another suffering which comes from attachment. Like this. So this is the real sickness, real sickness. Many times real sickness. We think sickness sort of physical pain, stomach pain. Actually though, all the physical sicknesses arise from those three negative minds, so therefore those three are the worst sickness.
Also we think that nature is not pain, but it has pain, if you check up it has pain, definite pain. The anger is another pain, the mind which gets attached in the objects which feels unhappiness way inside in depth of mind there is kind of unhappiness, uptight, pain, if you think back, that is pain. That is mind pain. So those two pains, anger and greed, those two pains rise from the ignorance.
Therefore as these things, this kind illness is not matter, not a physical thing, in the West there are psychologists, and people with many other different titles, titles that mean that this person has the method to cure the life problems, to solve other peoples' life problems, such as Psychiatrist, many different things like this. They try their best according to their understanding but actually it doesn't really make an end, a finish, the complete finish of the mind illness. There is something missing in their method—it is not a full method, not a perfect method. When they themselves have problems in their own life they don't know how to cure it. They don't know how release it. If they cannot cure their own problems how can they cure other peoples' problems? If they don't know themselves how can they know other peoples' minds? Even very simple things, simple things that can be easily solved through simple meditation, they find it hard to cure. These problems can be easily solved by people who don't have such a wide, extensive understanding of the Dharma. Like schizophrenia, like examples such as this. I am sure you people know, but I am just generally talking in the West, generally talking. They don't know how to solve, how to stop this.
Anyway, making the talk short, what can stop the mind illness? What can make the mind illness, the cause of the problem and suffering, not exist? Only the method of Dharma, Dharma. Another meaning of Dharma is protection, or holding up from falling down in danger. Like if a person is in danger of falling down then Dharma is the method to save the person from the danger of falling down. The actual danger is the mind illness. So in this way we can understand the actual peace or the true happiness that is the cessation of mind illness—of greed, ignorance, and hatred. That is the true happiness, that is the real freedom. That is the real freedom that never changes, the real freedom that doesn't go up and down. Not like some peoples' freedom—many people say they have freedom: "I am free," "I have received freedom;" many times they say, "I am free." Even though they have problems they say they are free because they think they have everything, they have a husband or wife or children, many possessions, a car, a television, anything—they have all the temporal material things and they think they have freedom. However, it is foolish talk without checking. It is not talk that comes from wisdom, from understanding.
Now we understand that Dharma is the only method that can stop the mind in this, so Dharma is the only method that can bring actual freedom or happiness. So now the meditation has to be oneness with Dharma—we have to make the meditation Dharma. If we don't make the meditation Dharma then it doesn't help, it doesn't cure the mind problems. The most important thing that we have to know this time and we have to act on is to understand what Dharma is and make the meditation oneness with Dharma. Then, no doubt, no doubt, that can solve the life problem and become the cause of true happiness.
This is Dharma or the meditation subject that we are going to talk about during this month. This is not my Dharma, my own meditations, not something I created by myself, my own idea—not like this. This meditation subject of Dharma, the Dharma subject that we are going to talk and listen about and try to actualize is the profound, holy teaching shown by the perfect being, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. The perfect teaching is the holy teaching—another way of saying it is that it is the holy meditation shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha as he has completely experienced the whole method. That was also shown to the sentient beings, shown to his followers. By following this profound method, he released himself from all suffering, from the whole suffering, and achieved the whole knowledge—no knowledge is missing. He doesn't have even a tiny, subtle mind illness such as dualistic mind, such as the delusions. This method, these profound meditations and teachings were shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, the true founder—why is he the true founder? Because his teachings are the true teachings. The teachings shown by him are also the true teachings. Why are they true? Another way of saying it is that following that teaching definitely works. If we fully practice and actualize them, it definitely works, it helps to solve and cease all suffering and receive everlasting happiness, the most sublime happiness of enlightenment. Therefore Guru Shakyamuni Buddha is the true founder, because he has shown the true teachings.
Who discovered this, who checked up that he is the true founder and that the teachings are true? We don't know but who checked that up? The followers, the previous pandits, were great numbers, just like the galaxies and great numbers of holy learned beings and pandits. Usually pandit is an Indian term but it means having all the great knowledge. Besides having Dharma knowledge, besides having the understanding of all Dharma, it also means having other knowledge, such as astrology, hygiene, and so many other things. Besides that, they themselves are living in the realizations, having mind control.
As these teachings were passed down by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha and his followers, great numbers of pandits have checked up whether they are true or not; and whether they help or not was also checked up. Just like gold. Before you buy gold you have to check up whether it is pure gold or false gold—whether it is real gold that can function as its value. Just like this. Before buying gold, as the person has to check up as the gold, whether it is false or not, those great numbers of pandits checked up with their wisdom. Then they proved it and many other highly realized meditators and yogis, as they followed the path and the teachings achieved all the realizations, and complete mind control and freedom. Like this also many great numbers of Tibetan meditators and yogis also experienced.
The whole subject that was shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha is included in the 84,000 teachings to destroy the 84,000 delusions. All these teachings are included in two paths, in two divisions—extensive and profound. Extensive means method, the teaching that explains more about method, and profound means the teaching that explains more about wisdom.
The extensive teaching that explains more about method was handed down by Guru Shakyamuni to Maitreya Buddha. From there it was handed down to his disciple called Asanga, the Indian pandit. From Asanga the extensive teachings that explain the method were handed down to the highly realized being, the Guru Serlingpa.
The teaching that explains more about wisdom was handed down by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha to Manjushri. Manjushri is the Buddha of Wisdom. From Manjushri the teaching on wisdom was handed down to Nagarjuna. Nagarjuna is one of the great Mahayana philosophers who has fully realized the right shunyata, the absolute nature of existence, the absolute nature of the mind. Then from Nagarjuna the teaching on wisdom was handed down to Shantideva. Shantideva is one of the well-known pandits and a great bodhisattva. From Shantideva it was handed down to Guru Serlingpa ... not Serlingpa ...
Then from Guru Serlingpa, the great pandit Atisha received both methods, both teachings—the teaching on wisdom and the extensive which means the method. The great pandit Atisha received both from these two gurus, so the great Atisha, the yogi, brought the teaching to Tibet and established Buddhism there. As he was invited from India by the King of Tibet, who was a bodhisattva in this time where there was a lot of degeneration and corruption in Tibet, when people were suffering greatly from the degenerating Dharma, the great pandit Atisha came and purified all wrong realizations and beliefs and wrong actions of the people and established Buddhism. He was also asked by the Tibetan King to give a simple teaching that explains more about karma and refuge. He asked for a simple teaching because most of the people in Tibet during that time were very ignorant. So the great Atisha wrote this teaching called The Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment, which includes sutra and tantra, and all 84,000 teachings shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. But The Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment by the great pandit Atisha is only a few pages written in a very simple way so that other people, especially the Tibetans whose minds are low and ignorant, can find it easy to understand. Because they cannot understand those other teachings, they find it difficult to get the right meaning. This was also translated in Australia. One of the scholars who does research, who spent time in Dharamsala and speaks quite a lot of Tibetan language which was quite big surprise—we met all of a sudden, and I never expected someone who can speak fluent Tibetan in Australia—he translated this text, The Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment written by Atisha, into English.
After Atisha wrote the teaching then the name became the graduated path to enlightenment, name happened. The subject and the explanation existed before but was not called the graduated path to enlightenment, the title of the book that happened starting from the period after Atisha wrote this teaching. So Atisha passed down this teaching to his other followers. I am not going to explain details because it takes so much time to talk.
Then afterwards, Guru Tsongkhapa, one of the highly realized Tibetan ascetic yogis who is the founder of one of the sects in Tibet, a manifestation of the Buddha of Wisdom called Manjushri—this lama had received all the techniques and teachings that were shown by Atisha, and passed on by Atisha to his other followers. Guru Tsongkhapa spent some time in one of the caves in the shape of a lion called Reting. He stayed some time in that cave with a piece of Atisha, from the holy body. After Atisha passed away, Guru Tsongkhapa had preserved part of Atisha's head, maybe a bone, something, and he kept it in the cave and wrote the teaching on the graduated path to enlightenment. He wrote this teaching in the form of prayer in verses. This was after some time Atisha had passed away, but when Guru Tsongkhapa was writing this prayer on the graduated path to enlightenment, Atisha appeared in the cave. Guru Tsongkhapa saw Atisha and Atisha's closest disciple called Drom.ton.pa who is also a manifestation of the Compassionate Buddha. Drom.ton.pa was the one who offered service to Atisha while in Tibet. So while in the cave Guru Tsongkhapa saw Atisha and two other Tibetan yogis who were disciples of Atisha. He saw all the three other disciples in one month in the cave talking about Dharma and afterwards those three other followers absorbed into Atisha and Atisha put his hand on Guru Tsongkhapa's head and said, "If you work well for the teaching of Buddha I will help you. You must make extensive work in Dharma, I will help you." Then Guru Tsongkhapa wrote the teaching, the great commentary on the teaching written by Atisha, the great commentary that is called the Gradual Path to Enlightenment. Guru Tsongkhapa wrote the commentary from the beginning up to the samadhi meditation section. Guru Tsongkhapa was sort of persuaded by Atisha to write this commentary.
Afterwards, Manjushri, the Buddha of Wisdom predicted that Guru Tsongkhapa should write the teaching on the absolute nature, shunyata, on penetrating insight and that it would be beneficial to other sentient beings. Before he hadn't written any commentary on that so afterwards he was predicted by Atisha, who was his main guru, and he wrote the teaching on shunyata, on penetrating insight. This is the teaching that we are trying to practice, what modern Tibetan lamas are trying to practice and actualize, trying to explain to disciples with experience, themselves living in the practice.
This is the teaching we are going to talk about. So simply talking, the graduated path is divided in three—the gradual path of the lower, middle, and higher being. Just to have a little idea.
Now what are the benefits of following this? The benefits of practicing, actualizing the gradual path of the lower being are that one can have always happiness, a better future life, one can always have perfect life in the future as one wishes. And practicing, actualizing the gradual path of the middle being—what are the benefits of that? The benefit of that are that one can achieve everlasting happiness by releasing oneself from the boundaries of suffering and the boundaries of delusion and karma. This is just to give you a rough idea before explaining the details. Then what are the benefits of practicing, actualizing the gradual path of the higher being? Through this, besides one receiving everlasting happiness by release from suffering, one can receive enlightenment, the most sublime happiness of enlightenment, which has every single knowledge and perfect power. It has all the knowledge to fully see every single existence, know every living beings' mind, their nature, the level of their mind, their personality and, besides that, knowing every single method to lead sentient beings into enlightenment—the different methods that fit the different living beings. And complete perfect power. Besides that being himself being released from all suffering, he has the perfect power to release every other sentient being from suffering and the perfect power to be able to show all different methods of release from suffering with numberless different manifestations as it fits to other living beings, and with great infinite compassion.
So therefore the main aim, the principal aim of our talking, of yourselves trying to listen, and of from my side a little bit talking about this teaching, the whole aim, the essential aim, the principal aim is to receive enlightenment. The principal aim is receiving enlightenment—oneself is not so important, but to enlighten other sentient beings, to release other sentient beings from suffering and enlighten them is so important. Therefore the only way possible to do that is trying to receive enlightenment oneself first. So the main aim of that is to release other sentient beings from suffering and enlighten them. The final aim is that. As I mentioned those different expectations we people may have, and should not have, if you have them, forget it, it is necessary to change it. You should have the right motivation, the perfect, pure aim that definitely benefits for other sentient beings, not only for oneself. This is the highest aim. Practicing meditation, whatever we are doing, if we do it with this aim, with this expectation, it has the greatest meaning, and there is no doubt that not benefiting other sentient beings by our actions or meditations, no matter what meditation we practice, does too. Like this. So the meditation we are going to do is on the gradual path. This is a very profound teaching.
Actually myself, one thing I am sure of is that this meditation course can really not benefit you because I am the person. I don't have any experience, no understanding of the teachings—I am pretending, just pretending like children act, children sometimes play. When I was small we used to play like this, acting like the King sometimes. Really there is not much hope. But perhaps maybe there is a little hope I am sure, because you people have such intelligence and wisdom, so maybe perhaps from my side there is so much knowledge of Dharma and no practice, no experience, but maybe the few words we are going to talk about is Guru Shakyamuni's experience and also the teaching I received from the experienced gurus that they received gradually from other experienced gurus—Guru Tsongkhapa, Atisha, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha—so maybe the blessings of this generation of teachings and your intelligence may work a little bit, may benefit. Like this.
First of all you sit cross legged. I am just explaining because there is not much time. First you sit cross legged; even if you can't do exactly like this, it doesn't matter. You can keep the right leg loose and maybe lift the left one up—keep it very loose—you don't have to give much suffering, just keep it very loose. It is not necessary to make things very difficult because that is not the main thing to control the mind. Keep the back straight, like the spine straight, like the wall, straight. Then the two arms not like this; keep them loose. Also sometimes if they are like this it also doesn't cause the sweat to come out; you will keep cool. I think if you do like this also it may cause you to fall asleep and keep warm. There are many other reasons. Then the neck is not so straight—if you keep it very up like this it is difficult to control the mind, to keep the mind away from agitation, sketching thoughts. If you throw a grain from the top of nose it would drop at the place of the navel. Then if you close the eyes, sometimes it is possible to fall asleep. Also the eyes should not peer like this, not look like this. If you keep the eyes on something that you only see on the front side, toward the top of the nose then it is easy to concentrate inside, it gives sense. If you keep the eyes like this you think of an object which makes such a distraction to the mind. Then the teeth should not be so tight, not open, just keep them natural. The top of the tongue touches the upper ceiling of the mouth; that helps to stop spit from coming out. If you don't take care, so much spit comes out and distracts the meditation. The mouth should not be open, but loose as usual, natural. The shoulders are straight. Also, if you don't keep the back straight it can cause sluggishness—somehow it is easy for the darkness in the heart to rise and then he concentration is not so clear, and it is easy to fall asleep. Keep your back straight like this. Generally all these positions help, as the body is the vehicle of mind and the blood circulation is the vehicle of the mind. If we arrange the vehicle well then also the mind becomes more comfortable and there is less distraction and it is easy to concentrate. It helps the concentration, makes the blood circulation that goes through the nerves easier. Also each of these things, for physical meditation, each has many benefits and doing meditation in this position causes you to receive enlightenment. One of the Buddhas called Vairocana, one of the five Dhyani Buddhas, sits in this position. So the benefits of taking this meditation position are that it causes you to receive enlightenment in the essence of that buddha.
After you arrange everything, then you check up your impulse and motivation—what you are thinking. Then after that you cultivate the pure motivation that makes the action and the meditation pure. This not only becomes a cause to have a better future life, to have happy lives in the future, and not only becomes the cause of receiving everlasting happiness, but the action and meditation become the cause of receiving enlightenment for the benefit of other sentient beings. So therefore the small action, the small work should become the cause of enlightenment for other sentient beings; it is necessary to cultivate that pure motivation that makes the action the cause of enlightenment. Therefore it is necessary to think like this. So this is important—even though you forget other parts it doesn't matter, because whether your action is positive or negative does not depend on the body, on the position of your body, on how your legs or body are sitting, on how the hands are kept. It depends on mind, whether the action is negative, whether it becomes a cause of suffering or happiness or enlightenment. This depends on the creator, the mind. Therefore, taking care of the mind is the most important thing.
Therefore think that from the beginningless samsaric lifetimes—samsaric lifetime means as long as the life is living in ignorance, born in ignorance, the boundaries of suffering, from beginningless samsaric lifetimes until now I have had attachment to the happiness of this life, the wrong conception of the self "I." It is important to know these negative minds. Attachment to the happiness of this life, the wrong conception of the self "I," self cherishing thought—this negative mind has been always causing me suffering until now and this negative mind causes me suffering in the present and this negative mind continuously causes me to suffer in the future. Therefore, I must release from these three wrong conceptions, greed, ignorance, and hatred, which we talked about before. I must release from them and achieve everlasting happiness. This is not enough; I must achieve enlightenment to enlighten all sentient beings. Therefore I am going to purify greed, ignorance, hatred, and attachment to the happiness of this life, to the wrong conception of the self "I" and self cherishing thought.
Then visualize all these negative minds in the form of fog coming through the right nostril and going out, running out and crossing even the oceans, the Pacific, going beyond this earth. Then think that the fog completely disappears. The fog is the essence of all this wrong conception and negative mind. If you have physical troubles always, you can think also that all this negative karma, all this sickness, has gone out in the form of smoke. The important thing is to think of wrong conception in the negative mind in the form of smoke and going out. Like this. When you start, first of all you breathe out to do this purification. In order to breathe out, you have to store the breath, so first you breath in very slowly, not quickly, very slowly by taking time. If you breathe so strongly then it doesn't feel healthy, it can hurt. So breathe in very slowly by taking time—this way your mind concentrates on the breath and does not get distracted. You breathe so slowly and the more you breathe in, you receive more air until your stomach bends, gets thinner inside. Sometimes many people have problems here in the heart, so they should not keep it that long inside. You breathe in by taking time slowly. Then if you keep ita little bit it is okay; it is good but if it becomes a problem then it is better to start to breathe out. When you breathe out, breathe out very slowly, taking time. In this way the mind concentrates without being distracted. Breathe out being conscious very slowly. Then, as you breathe out, make this visualization very slowly. When you breathe in you breathe in very slowly and think of all the enlightened beings, the holy beings, who are living in all the directions. With their infinite compassion they are sending all their knowledge—with infinite compassion, and their complete, perfect powers, they are sending their compassion to me. Visualize that you are receiving all these enlightened beings' infinite knowledge and compassion and perfect power in the form of white light and the white light comes through the left nostril and your entire body fills with light, just like a light switch in a room. All of a sudden the darkness is gone, completely disappeared. Just as light comes from inside, you feel infinite bliss all over the body and also you can think that all the suffering and all wrong conceptions and negative mind are completely lost, nowhere existing, and that you have received all the enlightened beings' great infinite compassion, knowledge, and perfect powers. Try to feel infinite bliss, and concentrate for some time.
This is one time. The second time you receive knowledge when you breathe in. The second time when breathing out, you purity wrong conceptions of negative mind as you breathe out through the left nostril. Then when you breathe in, all knowledge comes in the form of light, knowledge and perfect power in the form of light through the right nostril. Think, concentrate, and feel the same thing. The third time when you breathe out, do purification from both nostrils, and all wrong conceptions of negative mind are in the form of fog, and when you breathe in think that you have received all enlightened beings compassion, powers, and knowledge in the form of light. Try to feel the same thing. Do this, taking time. Then if you don't understand you discuss with Dr. Nick, or anyone who understands, who did this meditation before. This is the meditation—perhaps you can do it after the discussion.
Thursday, 7th November
The principal aim and final goal of listening to the Dharma and doing meditation is enlightenment, which can be achieved by completing the practice of the graduated path of the higher being—including the tantric path and the general paramita path. The general path is called the paramita path and the tantric path. The tantric path is the shortcut to achieving enlightenment. The paramita path includes the ten grounds and the six paramitas, or the six deeds of the great bodhisattvas. All of these realizations and practices are based on the realization called bodhicitta. This is the fundamental realization of the graduated path.
To actualize the higher graduated path, one needs the practice and understanding of the graduated path of the middle being—such as the realization and understanding of the four noble truths and the practice and realization of the three higher trainings, which are the higher trainings of conduct, concentration, and wisdom, or penetrating insight. These are the paths that bring the achievement of the everlasting happiness that is called nirvana. Actualizing these realizations and practices and understanding these subjects depends on understanding the teachings of the graduated path of the lower being, and the practice realization of these teachings. That will be explained afterwards.
Before the practice of actualizing the graduated path of the lower being, first of all it is necessary to understand the evolution of the mind. Without understanding the evolution of the mind there is no way to understand karma. Without understanding karma, there is no way to understand actual suffering. There is no way to fully discover one's own suffering nature. If one does not realize one's own suffering nature there is no way to fully discover other beings' suffering nature. Without realizing other living beings' suffering nature, there is no way to receive great compassion for all living beings, and no way to receive great love for all living beings. Without receiving great compassion and great love for other living beings, there is no way to receive the realization of bodhicitta, which is the principal cause of enlightenment. Bodhicitta the pure thought that makes us receive enlightenment—it is the main seed, like the seed of the flower. There are many other things that act as conditions to bring the sprout, stem, leaves, and flowers, but there is only one main cause, and that is the seed. Just like this, bodhicitta is the main cause that brings enlightenment. That pure thought is the thing that makes us work for other sentient beings, which persuades us to enlighten and release other sentient beings from suffering. This is the pure thought that makes us lead all sentient beings to happiness, besides enlightening oneself, besides leading oneself to happiness.
Therefore, in our discussion about the mind, the evolution of the mind, what I am trying to say is that our discussion on the mind is not just—perhaps some people may think, "What is the point of talking? Why doesn't he give instant methods like drugs? All of a sudden you get visions, you can see things, flying, and you become oneness with everything." If that could really be true, that is nice! If it really could last—anyway I am joking. By taking certain drugs you can see everyone as a monk with yellow robes on. This is due mainly to the individual mind, but because of the condition of that chemical, the plant—there is a certain plant that grows on the mountains, and if that is mixed with different things like animal blood, and you take it, you get different visions. There is plant called datura that grows on the mountains and if it is mixed with the blood of different animals and you take it, you get different visions. It can cause you to see everything as a monk with robes on. Anyway, that is not important.
Some people may think this—why doesn't he give the instant method to feel bliss all of a sudden, and have astral trips. However, as I told you yesterday, those things are not an actual method to solve the problems, to solve the minds' enemies. We have had many astral trips before ... after each death there is astral trip. We have had astral trips numberless times, as we have had numberless deaths and rebirths; this is nothing new. There are free astral trips and suffering astral trips, and we never had the free astral trip—the astral trips we have been experiencing have been uncontrolled, under the control of ignorance and karma, forced by delusions, ignorance, and karma. All our astral trips are made in the suffering realm. So it is all actually a suffering trip.
The purpose of talking about the evolution of the mind is to achieve enlightenment. How? Because understanding this helps us to achieve the pure thought, bodhicitta. Understanding this helps us to receive real compassion and great love for other sentient beings, and by understanding that it makes us realize other living beings' suffering nature and by understanding that it makes us realize our own suffering nature. Understanding that makes us want to escape from our own suffering nature. Understanding that makes us understand about karma, and without that understanding that there is no way, it is impossible to understand about the evolution of karma. Karma is the action of mind. It is the function of thought. To really understand karma it is necessary to understand the evolution of the mind.
First of all, the title of the book, "The Wish-fulfilling Golden Sun of The Mahayana Thought Training." Actually that is talking simply. Talking about the title doesn't make much sense because all the subjects, all these three paths that I have briefly mentioned all these are included in this. If I am going to explain the title, all the subjects will have to come up to enlightenment. So there is not much point in explaining why it is called, "Wish-fulfilling" or why it is called "Golden Sun." However, in the present this time, whatever wishes we had before, this time as we have met the Dharma and started to listen to the Dharma subject shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, our principal wish is to achieve enlightenment. How? By what method? By thought training, by training our thoughts in the gradual path to enlightenment. So this is the simple meaning.
Rinpoche read Page 1, "The Mind is Beginningless."
The first paragraph looks kind of abstract, kind of like throwing a stone in the ocean, the Pacific. Actually as you read the following subjects it will become clear.
Sentence 2 - I think afterwards we will clear up.
So first of all usually in the West most people have the idea, philosophy, or doctrine of believing in one life. This is a belief which they have decided on according to their understanding, according to their knowledge. It doesn't mean that there is complete knowledge of the evolution of mind. The person believes and found this answer by checking, by thinking, by checking with wisdom, and what that person found he based his decision on so that it become his philosophy. This doesn't mean it is correct. This doesn't mean that it is a complete understanding of the mind.
Just like the unclean glasses, with dust all over them. With these glasses you can't see the object completely clearly—you may see some part of it the object, but not completely clearly. How much of the object you see is up to the glasses. A person seeing with dirty glasses sees the object as sort of unclean, a little bit rough and not correct because the glasses through which he sees are not clean. This doesn't mean that the object or the way the person sees it is correct. Sometimes the person believes that the object he sees and the way he sees it with those glasses is true. However generally whether it is Eastern philosophy, Western philosophy, Eastern belief, or Western belief, whether it is a teaching explained by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha or a subject explained by scientists, whatever it is—before we believe in it, it is necessary to check up. That is the most important thing. If by using wisdom, checking the object in the correct way the object, we then discover the actual subject, the actual object, that is the benefit and knowledge of wisdom—fully discovering what is the right subject and what is the wrong subject, what is the right explanation and what is the wrong explanation. Anyway, I am not going to talk much about this because you have already discussed it.
Usually it is sort of recognized that the child's mind is born from the parents' blood, from the egg, the combination of the egg and the combination of genes. However, first of all, the mind and those physical things which are the objects of the eye, which can be seen by the eye, those two are different phenomena. The mind is not the object of the eye. If it is form, if it is matter it should be the object of the eye, but it is not so because it is not matter, not a physical thing. Just like the nature of space cannot become the nature of earth, and the nature of earth which is form cannot become the nature of space, just like this. Also it works the nature for the formless—the mind cannot become the nature of the form, the physical things. That cannot become the nature of the mind, which is formless. For instance, let's say at death time, you see, the brain is left there and the body is left there but there is no mind existing. At death time the sensations are absorbed, all the gross feelings and sensations gradually decay and go away. So just as these things gradually disappear, just like this, the consciousness which is called mind also leaves from body. The person doesn't have any more feelings, any more sensations, but at that time brain doesn't leave. The physical body is there. Nothing—no atoms, brains, atoms of the body that have continued from the parents' blood—the physical continuity is there, but nothing is left, nothing of the physical atoms from the brain leave with the mind. The mind leaves. Everything that is an object of eye it is left and without choice, without freedom, at that time the mind has no choice even to take one atom of brain. If there was the choice to take an atom of brain there would be the choice to take the whole body and also to bring all the friends and parents wherever the person has to go, to travel round in the world. But there is no choice, however much at that time the person wishes so strongly to not separate from the parents, relatives, wives, or children, from possessions, from any object, however much the person wishes, he feels somehow he is leaving, due to his karma, even though during his lifetime he thought that there is only one life, that at death time when the body finishes the mind finishes, that there is not any continuity of mind after that, as much as the person believes, it doesn't matter. At the death time just about at the time when the life begins to end, somehow the person, due to karma, has fear that he has to leave, separate from them. Great fear.
If there was choice then, you know, first of all—the mind is not an atom, not a physical thing, absolutely not a physical thing. In those critical times, the whole physical thing has to be left by the mind without choice. The person who is living in ignorance, under the control of ignorance, has no choice even to take one atom from his body with his mind. So also this is one thing that will make you understand a little bit how they are different.
So as at death time the mind leaves the body without taking even one atom from the brain, just like this also at rebirth time when the mind begins to be conceived in the mother's womb, there is not one physical atom that the mind has brought with it from another physical life. The mind alone is in the mother's womb. The parents body—the egg—that is not the principal cause of the mind—that is the cause of baby's physical body, but not the principal cause of the baby's mind.
For instance, the baby who has a missing leg born from specific parents—if we go and check back with the egg, in the atoms there is something defective, perhaps the person may say—the person who checks that may say there is something defective, something missing—maybe the atom that forms the leg is missing. Anyway I am just figuring out the Western idea. Perhaps some people may think like this.
However the thing is this. That perhaps can be possible, physically. But the way we should check up is this. Not just believing, not just keeping the mind in ignorance, thinking that there is something wrong in the physical egg, an atom is missing or something, not just believing in the point—but checking. The other children have both legs, but this baby has one leg missing? Why did this happen to specifically this baby? Why not to others? The question is this. And this is nothing to do with the parents—they always want to have a beautiful baby. It is nothing to do with the parents' desire; it happens without choice. It happened without the choice of the baby, without the choice of the parents—but why does this specific baby have a specific body, a different shape. That is easy, a very simple question. That is because, in that baby's turn, the atom is a missing leg, an imperfect body. The subject that we do not understand is the reason that this specific boy has met such an egg, where there is a missing atom, a defect. This is the question that we have to find an answer to, that we have to seek the answer to. Then someone may think—it is time. For the reason it has happened many people give the answer of time. But then zero! That is the last answer, time. But who creates the time, the question is this. Somebody has to—where there is such a condition that has to be created by someone, that child, the baby having that condition in such a time, that has to be created by someone. Is that time created by the parents or by the baby? It is necessary to check up. If that time is created by the parents, was created knowingly or unknowingly? If it was created unknowingly, why did they create it? Why it is created unknowingly? Anyway, what we should think is ... why there is such specific a baby who has met such conditions, such time and conditions. This is one thing to check up, to discuss. If the whole thing about the baby, the body and mind, come from the parents' blood and egg, then all the problems that baby experiences from his rebirth time until death, even the suffering that he will experience in other lifetimes, especially the suffering, all the life problems that experiences, that should be caused by the parents. The parents should be the creator of the baby's problems, the baby's suffering.
For instance, the baby was born with ignorance wasn't it? That is quite simple. We have been babies, perhaps still babies! This is quite easy. We were born intuitively with ignorance, with greed, with hatred, with pride, with many other negative minds. So all these negative minds which are the cause of problems and suffering should come from the parents, so now the parents become the cause of suffering. In this way our parents become the cause of suffering. The parents become the cause of our ignorance. Then everything, every problem, whatever we experience in life should be blamed on the parents because they are the cause.
So this is talking as if the mind comes from the parents as the physical body comes from the parents, as the physical body is caused by the parents, the blood relationship—but this is completely wrong. Parents are not the cause of our suffering, not the cause of our problems. Parents are the field from which we receive our happiness. The other way, the parents become unkind. It is not like this; it is completely opposite. Our suffering, our negative mind has nothing to do with the parents, it is not created by our parents. Same thing—if the mind is part of the parents' mind, then the baby's shape or body should look like the mother, exactly like the father, but this is not possible. If the baby's mind is part of the father and mother, the baby's shape or body should be exactly like the father and mother. But this does not happen. And also as we talked about before, whatever the father experiences the baby should experience at the same time because the baby has part of his mind. And the same for the mother. One is angry, one is happy, and the baby should be both, but that does not happen. Then in that case the baby becomes the father and mother. The baby himself is the mother, the baby himself is the father, because he has the part of the mind of the mother, and he has part of the mind of the father. So as he has the father's mind he becomes the father, he is the father, so it becomes very funny. Also thinking like this, if you have some idea that it came from the parents minds, if you are thinking that way, check like this.
This specific subject that I am talking about can be a little bit difficult to understand. Perhaps new people who haven't heard about karma will find this difficult because this talk is based on karma. So if one understands karma one can understand very easily if the baby's mind is part of the parents, the father and mother, why the baby should have everything the parents have. In this way if you check up on karma and think about karma, you can understand. However simply talking like this, why this has to happen like this is because whatever the experience the father has, the shape of the body, the life, and the same for the mother, all these are the creation of the parents mind. Whatever the mother's experience, life, different shaped body—that is the creation of the mother's mind. Whatever the father has, that is the creation of the father's mind. Therefore if the baby has part of the mind of the parents he should have the same thing, but that is an impossible thing, impossible. Then the baby could stay without eating anything, because the parents eat, and they can help the baby's stomach to fill up. This should happen, but it doesn't happen. For the baby to enjoy the happiness filling the stomach, the baby has to eat food.
Anyway, so just like this. The suffering, the problems that we experience today are created by the individual, by ourselves, by our minds. The mind that was born this morning, the mind that we have today, the continuity of mind that we have today from dawn time, from the first second of this day, is already born with suffering and ignorance. Why is this early morning mind born with ignorance, with suffering, why? Because the mind of yesterday which continued into this was living in ignorance and suffering. It is the same thing with yesterday's mind living in suffering and ignorance. Why was it living in ignorance and suffering? Because that continuity the suffering ignorant mind continued from the day before yesterday's mind. Just like this, this present month's ignorant suffering mind continued from the other previous months' and that continued from the other previous months'. Same thing with the year. So why is this present life's mind born with ignorance and suffering? There is a definite reason. The example is just like this. Today's suffering mind continues from yesterday. Why is today's mind ignorant? Why was today's mind begun with ignorance, why? Why does it exist in suffering ignorant mind? Because it continued. Just like this, same thing. At the rebirth time why was my mind born already with greed, ignorance, hatred, pride, and many other negative minds, why? Not because the parents created it. Why does the mind have to be born with ignorance and suffering? Just like this example—today and yesterday it continued—that mind continued from the previous life's mind which is ignorant and living in suffering.
So that ignorant suffering mind continued from the previous life like this. If the mind of the life before this present life wasn't ignorant, not suffering, then there is no reason for the present mind to be born with ignorance or suffering, no reason. Why is there no reason? It has no creator. Why is there no reason? There is no purpose. If the mind born with ignorance or suffering, if the previous life's mind was enlightened, out of suffering, not ignorant the suffering ignorance of present life's mind has no creator. Without a creator how can there be creation? Creation has to depend on a creator. Same thing. Maybe no other people have created it but I may have created this present mind living in ignorance, suffering. I may have created it even though my previous life wasn't living in ignorance and suffering. But the question is why did I create this knowing or without knowing? Why should I create this without knowing. That is completely silly. By knowing you create it. Also by unknowing. But then why unknowing? Why is there ignorance? Anyway, it is necessary to check up like this.
In this case, in just this specific present there is no unknowing ignorant mind. The creator that creates the present life's mind is ignorant. There is no unknowing mind. Why? Because, just before this life, the mind wasn't living in ignorance. Therefore there is no way to create the present life's ignorant mind. Other people can't create my ignorant mind. Once my mind is out of ignorance, suffering, other people cannot make my mind ignorant again—this is an impossible thing. Other people are not the creator of my ignorance. This is one way—by checking the continuity of suffering, the ignorant mind, today's suffering ignorant mind coming from yesterday's, by taking this example of the present life's ignorant, suffering mind, which continued. Why is it suffering? Because it continued from the previous life. With this example you check like this. In this way like today and yesterday, how the mind works—the mind works the same with the present and previous lives. In this way we can understand the continuity of mind. In the same way we understand that the present life's mind continued from the previous life's mind. In this way we check, we see the present life continuing from previous life's mind. It is easy to understand how the present life's ignorance continues from the previous life's ignorance, easy to understand. Then we have the answer. Why were we born this time with ignorant suffering? There is an answer. There is no doubt, a logical answer without one single mistake. Otherwise whatever answer, without this understanding of the continuity of the previous life's mind, whatever other answer we give nothing cannot be logical, it becomes false. If checked up more deeply, it cannot be proven.
In this way you can understand also who creates the time and condition for the present baby. If you think like that then you can find the answer also in this point.
Also, animals, for instance. When the baby animals are born they drink milk from their mother. They don't have to be taught by the animal parent how to drink milk, they don't have to it point out, even the animal baby doesn't have to be shown—this is the breast to drink milk. It might happen many times that right after the animal is born from its mother, all of a sudden they lick the milk. We saw that many times. This is some kind of understanding. The parent doesn't teach it so how does the animal baby understand that? How would he learn while in his mother's womb? What do you think? I am sure somebody has a mind—blowing answer!
Student: It learned from a previous life.
Rinpoche: But how did that continue? That understanding came from a previous life, isn't it?
Rinpoche: All people agree. Do all people agree?
Student: You can get that without assuming previous lives. Certain things don't need to be done by mind—flowers turn to the sun but we say plants don't have mind. Certain things on a lower instinctive level—for instance sucking milk, flowers turning to the sun.
Rinpoche: I see. You are correct that they don't have mind. These two are not exactly the same. I don't mean that every single thing that has movement has to have mind, but the question is, such as in the example of drinking milk and such as animals, even puppies know how to have sexual intercourse—even the babies try, act instinctively.
So anyway, also there are babies who, without being taught by the parents, have such a compassionate mind not wanting to kill insects, not wanting to harm anyone, and even seeing other animals killing each other, fighting, the baby embraces all, feels upset, and cries because of his personality, the compassionate mind not wanting other being to suffer. He is born with such a mind. Also there are babies that are born with such a cruel mind that whatever insect they see they want to kill; they are very impatient. These two babies have different personalities, but could be born from one family, the same family. There are families who have different children with different personalities and interests like this. Afterwards, each has different experiences of life, different lives and different experiences, different levels of wisdom. All this is not merely to do with the parents. The reason they have different experiences and interests relates to their previous lives, and is not coming from the parents but principally comes from their previous lives. It is habitual—why the baby's mind is so compassionate—because in the life just before the baby used to live in the precepts, the disciplines, not harming other beings, trying to live in compassion—things like that are previous habit. The baby's previous continuity tried to lead a good, pure life, so later on when he was born as a baby, his mind was already kind of subdued, already controlled like this. It is the same thing with the cruel negative mind; the baby is born with that mind because of his previous life. Before his present life he used to live a very evil life, always creating negative actions, harming other beings, doing cruel actions, like this.
So this one reason to see that there is the existence of previous lives. However you check is like this. Thinking like this. If you remember the subject that I explained, the examples, and you check, and if you have doubts, if things are not clear, then discuss. Actually, checking in this way, how much you understand the subject depends on how you check up, how skillful you are in checking. It depends much on your skill. In the West you study science and you study psychiatry, methods recognized as something to do with the mind, something to learn about the mind, spending many years in the University or schools making lot of expenses—you spend so many years but still you have no understanding about mind. So if there is no understanding about mind, there is no method. The understanding of the mind's problems is blocked, so there is no way to understand the method that helps to solve the mind's problem. So by checking in this way, by studying the teaching, by doing meditation, by studying teachings even for one week or one month, you can understand a lot. A subject that takes many years, almost the whole lifetime in the West you can understand by studying the teaching and doing meditation. You can understand it in such a short time, because the method is different. This is not only my experience, it is experience of other Western students.
Then you do the breathing meditation after the discussion. If you cannot concentrate even on the breathing meditation—the breathing meditation is actually very simple, such a simple meditation. First of all it is necessary to train, to try to control the mind with this most simple method of meditation. If you concentrate on the natural breath perhaps it can be difficult for the concentration —for that reason I was trying to tell you yesterday to have strong action in the breath, put more energy so that your mind concentrates on that. You breathe in slowly, taking time, and if it is possible try to breathe in more breath, as much as possible, but don't keep it for a long time otherwise it may cause pains in the chest, it may cause a heart attack! Anyway you try to get as much as possible then you breathe out very slowly, almost sort of you don't feel it. Usually when you breathe strongly you feel it go out, but if you do this very slowly, almost you don't feel it. Then as you put the energy like this, your mind concentrates, you take care of the mind, you make the mind concentrate on that by keeping it out of the distractions.
This is not the whole month meditation but it is a method. Since our minds recently came back from the West, it is a simple method just to make the mind relax so that it can be ready for other meditations.
I was planning to come to meditate together with you before, but I was late. One of our gurus has arrived in Nepal recently from India. He is going to leave tomorrow for India so today I went to see him, so it got a little late.
I think it is good to meditate together so we can receive enlightenment together. So anyway, first of all you may have understood quite clearly the way of doing meditation on breathing, not just the physical thing of breathing, but the mental action and the visualization to think about. Perhaps some people may not feel comfortable because it is not just the physical thing breathing but it involves something. The physical breathing that we usually have is used for something which is beneficial. Usually we breathe so much—since we are born until now we have been breathing. But most of the time our breathing action is used in a negative way with attachment, with anger, with ignorance—we often breathe in and out like this. This specific time when we breathe, we use this action that we have, which we don't have to buy, making it beneficial with wisdom, with understanding, with the understanding mind, the Dharma wisdom. We make it beneficial, we make the action pure—nothing is difficult, nothing is difficult, nothing is difficult. You don't have to sacrifice anything. Nothing is difficult, but if you can do as I explained, if you can use the breathing meditation, the action of breathing in and out with that meditation, with the visualization, then it can really become beneficial. The action becomes pure, a real Dharma action, a Dharma action which is the cause of happiness, the cause of real peace. It is quite difficult, it is not a physical thing. It is an inner subject—the understanding of that evolution of how the Dharma brings happiness and peace from such a Dharma action. The understanding of this inner knowledge also involves the mind evolution, this inner subject, so it is quite difficult to fully understand right away.
Just like you see the flower coming from the stem, it is not easy to understand as we easily understand physical things. What I mean—perhaps you may find this difficult—is this—it is kind of quite a heavy thing because our minds have not been trained in such practice before. This is a new thing. What is a new thing? The new thing is this—from this time, from beginningless previous lifetimes, since we were born until now, we have been always taking care of the attachment that is only concerned for the happiness of this life and the wrong conception of the self "I" and the self cherishing thought. We have always been taking care of this so far. But now as we meet the Dharma we have a new action, a new work, which makes a new life, which makes the birth of a new life. That is an opposite action, the opposite thing to the previous action, the old works, the old behavior. It is a new thing. Instead of taking care of these negative minds which are the cause of suffering problems of life, this time we are destroying and purifying the cause of the suffering problems—these negative minds that exist within our minds. So even with this little action breathing in and out, we are making it practical, useful, very beneficial. We are making even a little thing—breathing in and out—which is usually there, we are trying to make this small action the cause of true happiness. Totally we are trying to make it the cause of enlightenment. Totally talking.
So therefore what I mean is that some people may find difficulty in purifying. This is kind of trying to renounce the wrong conception, the negative mind. This is kind of trying to renounce, to remove it. This is something which is strongly rooted in our minds. We have always been following it, preserving it, trying to build it. This is a big change, a new work for the mind. Because this is a different thing, and we have an old habit, some people may find it difficult. But finding it difficult at the beginning is natural, isn't it. This we should understand, it is very important to understand—it is natural, it is natural. At the beginning finding difficulty is natural and as we carry on, finding it easier and easier, that is also natural. All those are actions of mind. There are always changes, nothing is permanent that cannot be changed, it is always changing. So you should not trust if you find it difficult at the beginning. You should not believe that it is always difficult, that it will always be difficult. This is a wrong belief that only betrays you, only causes your mind to close your wisdom.
Why do we find it difficult? Because we have a mind that makes it difficult, makes it difficult to find the cause of that suffering within it. So as we train in this meditation, as we do more and more, as we gain a gross understanding of the Dharma, it will get easier and easier. As your understanding of Dharma grows through meditation, through practice, at the same time also you are training, and this meditation becomes easier and easier. It is natural, it is natural, it is the knowledge of the mind.
First of all, if you begin the meditation with a pure motivation as I explained, then the rest of the meditation, however long you meditate, however long you do the breathing meditation, two hours or ten minutes, however much you can do becomes a beneficial action, the Dharma, and a beneficial action that benefits you. As you motivated to receive enlightenment for the sake of other sentient beings, therefore this action can definitely benefit other sentient beings' enlightenment and for other sentient beings to receive the highest happiness. So you check whether you began the meditation with pure motivation. The total is this—it is not enough that only oneself receive peace by releasing from these negative minds of greed, ignorance, and hatred. It is also necessary to achieve enlightenment in order to enlighten other sentient beings, by removing the attachment to the happiness of this life and the wrong conception of the self "I" and the self cherishing thought. Then you do the breathing meditation, visualizing the negative mind, the wrong conception in the form of fog, and receiving the enlightened beings' knowledge in the form of light. Then after you finish this one set of breathing meditation, if you still cannot concentrate on the breath, if still the mind gets distracted, if even for a simple meditation you cannot control the mind, perhaps if you do like this it is also good. After doing one set of breathing meditation, first of all bring the air from down below the body up. After that then you breathe in slowly, very slowly then at the same time your stomach sort of goes away, sort of bends. Then there are two airs in the stomach, so concentrate between the two airs that your mind manifests in white light and bliss there, and then concentrate as long as possible. But don't keep the breath in for a long time until you get pain in the chest or heart. Just keep it in for some time, then before you start to feel the pain, sort of an uncomfortable feeling in the heart, then you breathe out slowly just like you did before during the breathing meditation time.
Then some people who have problems in the body, in the heart, pains, that kind of problem—maybe better not to do this is there is a problem inside the heart, physical things.
Then, as you began the meditation with a pure motivation, also it is necessary at the end to dedicate the merits. Because we began the meditation with a pure motivation, so it becomes merit, we create merit. In order to preserve the merit, for it not to get lost, it is necessary to dedicate. Actually the prayer—anyway, it is not necessary to explain the whole meaning of the prayer, but generally it is necessary that every time after the schedule of meditation you remember the necessity and the importance of the dedication, as you began the meditation with a pure motivation. Because you began the meditation with a pure motivation, because you want the action itself to be perfect and pure, a virtuous action, so therefore it is necessary to put effort, trying hard to create a little merit. It is necessary to preserve, try to keep, take care—otherwise it gets lost, and there is no cause of enlightenment, no cause of everlasting happiness, no cause of happiness left if the merits are lost. Therefore, if you can think of this it is very good, excellent—it makes this action perfect, rich, and even though you worked hard for a few minutes, you began with a pure motivation and dedicated the merits afterwards, so it becomes rich and perfect because this dedication doesn't get lost even though anger and heresy, these negative minds. Anger is like fire that destroys things. Fire destroys things, burns things, just as this anger destroys merits. There is terrible negative mind—these negative minds are something that completely destroy one's peace, happiness, and the cause of happiness. Therefore, after you dedicate, even though anger arises, it doesn't disturb the merits much, it doesn't cause the result of the merits, the fruit, to be completely lost.
The way of dedicating—if you can remember this, it is very good. It is very effective for the mind. "Due to these merits may I receive the cause of enlightenment, the mind fully renouncing samsara, bodhicitta, and the full realization of the absolute nature, and may I receive enlightenment quickly in order to enlighten all other sentient beings."
Due to these merits may I receive the cause of enlightenment, the mind fully renouncing samsara, bodhicitta, the full realization of the absolute nature, and receive enlightenment quickly in order to enlighten all other sentient beings. In this way your merits are dedicated to the achievement of enlightenment for the benefit of other sentient beings. It looks sort of like the merits are used for your enlightenment, but actually your merits are completely dedicated for the enlightenment of other sentient beings in this way.
(Rinpoche began speaking in Tibetan)
I am speaking Tibetan! Totally, yes. Thank you so much.
Friday, 8th November
The essence of the subject that we talked about yesterday was that the principal cause of the baby's mind is not the parents' egg or genes. If the baby's mind was principally caused by the combination of the egg then all the baby's suffering and problems should be caused by the parents. That is one thing to check up. Even if someone accepts that the parents are the cause of the suffering, then the parents of the parents, going back, then where did the original parents come from, rock or trees? I am joking! The original parents, as it is described in the science book, came from animals. And if they took the parents' mind, then the original human being's mind originally came from an animal. If speak of first being an animal an then being a human being mentally, they can be correct. But physically the original human being didn't come from animals. Their parents were not animals. Mentally this can be correct, just like the person who goes around in the different rooms, different houses. The person is the same but the house in which the person goes is different—it is different each time as the person goes from another house to another house. Just like this, the mind always goes around, the mind makes a trip around by taking different bodies. In that case, mentally, this can be correct. However, the animals have to come from something—whatever the original thing was that produced the living beings, all the earth, all the different planets. Some people say that there was a globe that was created by atoms and in the atoms there were waves so the whole thing came from atoms. This then became a planet, however, it was all rooted in waves of atoms. However, this should not satisfy us, even if there is such a description—just believing in that and being satisfied with that answer is not skillful, not wise, because we are not sure whether it is correct or not. It is necessary to check up more deeply how that happened, how that came into existence, the very original thing that produced the different planets, the living beings, the non-living things such as earth, rocks, and plants—it is necessary to check up.
Before existence, which thing started first? Did existence of the living being come first or did the non-living thing come into existence first? What came into existence first? If there was no living being, non-living thing, non-living existence, if this existence started first, then the question is, what is the purpose of coming into existence? Why should it exist? Because there is no other living being during that time who created it? If there was no living being there was no reason for the planets, the earth, the atoms to begin to exist. Then if those exist without purpose, without a creator, without a cause, then all the evolution that come afterward, all the planets, all the living beings, the planets' end, each of these changes doesn't have a purpose, wouldn't have any cause. If the original thing has no cause then the rest of the things wouldn't have a purpose. If there was no purpose to come into existence there wouldn't be a purpose to end all the planets—for all these planets to end or become empty. Even the scientists explain this in the books, and this wouldn't have any purpose, it is the opposite. The beginning not having purpose and the rest of evolution having purpose—that is an impossible, illogical thing. Of course even the scientists describe what makes the world end, they describe it as being due to the elements, things like that.
Anyway, as there is a reason, a cause that makes it end, a cause that makes it exist at the beginning. The original existence, the atom or whatever the source was that existed, cannot exist without depending on a name. It exists by depending on name so the name has to have a creator. So by creating a name then that exists, comes into existence. Therefore the mind has to be creator. So there has to be a living being. If that is God, if that creator is God, then God becomes the creator of all living beings and the whole earth, all the planets. If that is the answer then why does God have to create it, what is the purpose? Whether God has created with purpose or without purpose, with reason or without reason. However whether God has created with reason or without reason as God has created all these things so we came in existence, all living beings came into existence. As they exist in suffering, as they exist with delusions and with negative mind, so they always suffer. There is always complicated life, confusion, and unhappiness. If there is no suffering there is something else. If living being do not have suffering that is something else. But each ignorant living being is living in suffering.
In this case it looks like the principal cause of the problem of the countries, fighting each other, with no peace. In present times even society, two groups of people, two animals, the source of all these problems and suffering is God. Because if God didn't create all these things, all living beings wouldn't have suffering, there wouldn't be all living beings and all these problems, there would be no such thing as killing each other, getting angry at each other—all these problems would not happen. The question is this ... whether the God created these things without knowing, with ignorance. It would become like this.
First of all, without purpose God has created, and secondly God has created all these things with ignorance, not knowing that all these problems would come. In this way God becomes the source of our unhappiness. God becomes the creator of our unhappiness. In this way God is the object that we should blame. So it becomes very funny in this way. In this way God wouldn't make any sense, there is no meaning for God. And in this way it is the same as calling our ignorance God. In that sense we can call our ignorance God, and it wouldn't make any difference because ignorance is also the cause.
Student: What is your idea of God?
Rinpoche: I am talking according to your idea, what you mean by God. I know what I mean, what do you think?
Student: It would take too long.
Rinpoche: Oh I see, one of the special days.
Student: You refer to the Christ concept of God, the Western concept of God.
Rinpoche: Yes, the Western concept of God, right. I think it is a kind of God that people don't know what God means, I am using that kind of God. Anyway, this is just to check up. The reason I bring these things up is to check up. By checking we prove what is right and wrong understanding and by checking we receive more right understanding, perfect understanding, and less wrong understanding, and that much our individual problems become less, because the source of the problems is in the mind. Like this it is necessary to check up. You discuss.
[Dog barked at Rinpoche's feet]
I think he wants to discuss his own happiness. He is not concerned for other people's happiness.
This thing you should check up and discuss. If existence comes without purpose then also the rest of evolution wouldn't have any purpose. This talk comes because of the belief that the parents are the cause of suffering, and then goes back like this. Why has the present life's mind continued from the previous life's mind, why do different children have different interests and different wishes and different levels of mind, and different personalities, and also why are the children's mind not part of the parents' mind? During the meditation time even though the person didn't hear exactly that subject, through the continual practice of meditation the person's wisdom, as the person's wisdom develops, the person receives certain understandings, understandings of certain new subjects without having doubt. This just intuitively comes in the mind through the person's continual practice of meditation. This easily happens, a new subject that person didn't hear, that wasn't explained to that person by other people. This is experience, this is experience. That person doesn't find in the text such things that are explained but somehow through the meditation practice, as wisdom grows, the person receives the realization, the understanding of the new subject. These things also prove that if the mind began with this life and did not exist before then there is no answer to this question.
Through meditation practice such realizations and understanding of a new subject intuitively arises, comes. This question wouldn't have an answer. Why does such experience, such understanding come? If it there is one life then this happens without purpose. If the mind began with this life. However, the purpose of coming to these experiences, understanding the new subjects, without having them explained or seeing books but through meditation practice is that somehow the person receives it, it easily comes. Then afterwards when the person receives the explanation from other teachers or reads other texts he finds exactly these things, because in the person's previous lifetime, the person's mind was trained in such meditation and so the mind is ready to receive the realization of the meditation. Because of the previous training, the habit of the training in that meditation, in this life, when that person again practices the similar meditations, then the experience of that meditation comes very easily, the realization of that meditation comes easily. Even just a few words, a short explanation, but the person practices a few words and through continual practice as the mind meditated before on that subject in a previous lifetime, because of that habit and training in this lifetime, even though he receives few words or detailed explanations he receives the wider understanding through the continual practice of meditation. He understands by himself. There are certain experiences like this that happens to meditators. Some persons, even though they spend their whole lifetime, find it difficult to achieve or experience the meditation. It depends on how much the mind has been trained in the subject, in that meditation.
Then generally talking even in the West and East, so many children remember their previous lives. In many different countries many children remember previous lives as well as in Tibet. But in the West it has happened many times there are those who remember their previous lives but other people in that village, or in their families just ignore the subject, don't try to check up how it happened, whether it is true or not, and ignore it as a fantasy. Even though no matter how much from the children's side they try to prove that it is a true story, just like the parents explaining about the story of their own early life. Just like this. It is true like that from the children's side, but because of the parent's limited wisdom wouldn't accept, ignorant.
Recently in New York one day I went by the subway train. I chose to go by subway. Many people thought it was very dirty but somehow I went. The train was a little bit crowded, it was four o'clock, and one lady came carrying a newspaper and sat down near me. She was reading a newspaper and I looked at the title. In the beginning was a funny title but afterwards as I went down, the title was called fantasy and the story explained about one boy who whose previous life was in Japan. It talked about that child who was talking about his previous life in Japan. I tried to read the whole thing and I asked the student who was with me if I could ask the lady to give me that page. I think she finished reading it so she showed it to me while I was reading it and I asked her if I could have just a little bit. Later on she gave it to me, and I was planning to read the whole thing, but somehow I didn't have time and I left the paper somewhere at the Institute, with the Chinese man who invited us. I left it there.
Anyway, this is just how people think of reincarnation. Some people think like this. Those who remember their previous lives have a mind continuity of the previous life, but we who don't remember, don't have a previous life, many people who think like this—it's a little bit interesting. Even they wouldn't believe in their own life continuity they believe in other people's life continuity. That is quite interesting. Then, completely ignorant, somehow accepting that other people have life continuity, even that little understanding ,even that little wisdom, that somehow gives them a chance to check up on their minds and their mind phenomena. If they check up it is easy because it is the same, the minds of those who remember their previous lives and those who don't remember their previous lives. The mind is the same. Maybe the knowledge of mind is different.
And there is one group, sorry, there is one scholar I think who has been checking a round, doing research on reincarnation. They checked around in the East, in India. In Asia they checked by going to different villages and countries where there are families whose children have stories remembering their previous lives. They also checked in the West. Now they came to check around Tibetan lamas. On day in Wisconsin I was taking teachings from one of my gurus, when all of a sudden someone rang on the telephone. The telephone was right in front of the teacher, and he tried to talk but it was for me. I didn't know the person who was ringing and all of a sudden the person asked, "Do you remember your previous life?" He explained that he was doing research. Then I tried to tell him I was so pleased that he was doing research on reincarnation; it is worthwhile work to do. Somehow it is a very useful thing, and also interesting. And then I told him that I don't remember clearly my previous life but there are these experiences that can prove it so he said he would come to Nepal. Also they checked with the Dalai lama and many other Tibetan lamas. Some Tibetan lamas tell, some don't tell. This is according to the way they find the person, how they find the person. However, they said that the funny thing is that the Tibetan lamas always said their previous lives were very happy. All the Tibetan lamas who tell about their previous lives always enjoyed, had happy lives. Maybe not hippy life but happy and peaceful, and always peaceful deaths. But all the children that they found who remembered their previous lives, the other ordinary children in the West, also in Asia, and other countries, the ordinary children who remember their previous lives were always sort of killed by another person, in a war—always a violent death. That's what they said.
Also in previous times there was much examining of reincarnation. In previous time they put pandits as witnesses to tell about their lifetimes and to prove reincarnation. They put certain people as witnesses and then they died and afterwards were born in the same country, in the same place to prove to others who didn't believe, like this. Certain pandits tried to prove it like this. This happened many but there was one pandit called Chandragomin. He discussed this with one person who was of the opposite religion and had opposite beliefs, wrong beliefs, who did not believe in the existence of karma, or of past previous lives and many things. The pandit said that there are previous lives and many things. The pandit said that there are previous lives, there are past previous lives, and the other person who became a pigeon due to wrong realizations said there is no such thing. So the pandit asked the King of that country to be the witness, and the pandit told the other person that he would be born to another pandit called Vishisaga in the generation of the King. Then he asked them to put a deep red mark of red powder on his forehead, and the other person put this deep red mark on his forehead with his fingers. Also he put a white jewel, a pearl, in his mouth, then he passed away. Afterwards he was born to this pandit Vishisaga born with a red mark on his forehead and a pearl in mouth and then it was proven to the who had the wrong realizations.
The corpse was preserved in box, in order to check up afterwards when the baby was born. However, the baby was born with the red mark and the pearl in the mouth. Then it was proven and also he believed in the existence of reincarnation, and after this pandit was born from his parents he told his mother, "Mother, didn't you get tired during nine months?" Since he spent nine months in his mother's stomach. The mother thought that a baby speaking right after birth was quite inauspicious, sort of ridiculous, so the mother said, "Keep quiet." Then he kept quiet for seven years, not saying anything. His parents though he was dumb, incapable of speaking or communicating.
Then in that country one of the founders of another religion who has wrong realizations wrote a book in the form of a poem, in verses, contradicting Buddhism and such ideas as reincarnation, karma, many things. It was written in such a deep way. In that country, people found this hard to understand and hard to contradict, hard to answer. One day this book came to this pandit's home and the father got the book and tried to read it in order to understand. Besides giving the answer he didn't understand even the meaning of the subject. So one day the father want out, and this pandit Chandragomin who was over seven read the book and he completely understood the whole meaning of the subject and gave an answer, wrote an answer to dispel the other person's wrong understanding. Later on the father came back home and asked the mother, "Who did this?" The mother said "Oh, our dumb boy." Then the father got a shock, a big surprise. Later on, because the king wanted to have an answer to that book, he gave many gifts, and afterwards this pandit became very famous.
Also, he heard the Abhidharma and the Tripitaka, the three divisions of teachings that explain about natures, about the path to enlightenment, the evolution of beings, universal beings, and all non-living beings and evolution of earth and different planets, and hearing them only once he completely understood. Then afterwards he took tantric Vajrayana teachings from different Gurus and he completely saw the Compassionate Buddha Avalokiteshvara and the deity who is the manifestation of all the buddhas holy actions, called Tara. Afterwards in that country of Bishikara, he married the king's daughter. One day he spent some time with his wife and their servant girl called his wife Tara. All of a sudden he realized that Tara is the name of his deity. He thought, "How can I keep her as my wife?" so he thought to leave. The King said, "If you don't leave with her I will put you in a box and throw you in the river." He accepted—he was put in a box and thrown in the water. The river took him to the Pacific, and when he got very far he reached one of the islands. He was saved by the Compassionate Buddha Avalokiteshvara and Avalokiteshvara persuaded him to take the eight precepts.
Then also he came in Sengali, Ceylon. At that time there was much disease there, much infection that spreads from one person to another, infection caused by naga spirits, a big epidemic. He went there and built a special temple, inside of which was a specific Deity, a different manifestation of Buddha to dispel that epidemic. This means that the buddhas took that specific manifestation in order to dispel other sentient beings' specific suffering. After he built the statue of this manifestation, the epidemic disease disappeared. Also in previous times, many times it happened like this. It was proven like this.
Student: In the story of the pandit's reincarnation in the coffin, was the pearl still there after the child was born? In the corpse, was his pearl also still in the coffin?
Rinpoche: That's possible, that it was still there. Besides that, many Tibetan lamas in their previous lives had certain marks on their bodies, and when they were born as babies in their future lives they had similar marks in the same place. But that doesn't mean that the person took the previous life's body's mark onto this body. It doesn't mean this. If that were possible then he could take the old body besides that mark.
Student: How is it possible for a physical mark to be repeated?
Rinpoche: It can be two things, two ways. Sometimes it can be karma without a person's choice—still that result, that experience not finished yet. This can be possible. Sometimes it doesn't have to depend on karma. For a person with freedom, it can be for a special purpose, in order to prove to others it can be possible to carry on a similar mark. It can be two things like this.
Student: When you mentioned people doing research on reincarnation in America, children dying violently would have marks in the next life's body in the same place.
Rinpoche: That I didn't see, possible, yes. Those are karmic marks.
Student: It would be good karma?
Rinpoche: Maybe you can try. Experience and you will know whether it is good or bad Karma. Those things are due to Karma. Sometimes if the person was killed in a previous life by an animal or by a certain person, in this life when the person sees that type of animal he gets fear, shock. Even if other people don't have that fear of this animal, the person whose previous life was killed by the animal, because of karma, will have shock or fear when killed. Due to that karma when he sees animals, he gets shock, fear. It is similar with people. This is also due to previous life habit and karma.
Student: Earlier you were talking about if there were no living beings at the start of evolution and no purpose or cause to evolution, and you said both were illogical and impossible. There had to be living beings before non-living beings, had to be mind. I don't understand why it must have a purpose, why it can't be random chance, why it can't be hazard.
Rinpoche: Why does there have to be chance. You said chance. Why does there have to be chance. My question is why there has to be chance, this is my question I offer to you. Because of chance, check up you know. You need a little bit of time. Anyway you discuss.
First of all you spend the time thinking deeper between the first second of existence and the second existence. You check up like this, dividing the time. The second second of existence and the rest of things have purpose, have changes, become decayed, many things happen, and those have purpose. Just like the flower, it becomes decayed each time and becomes new each time, it changes. At this second the flower happened because of the previous second of flower, due to the change of that the flower rises right? This first second that rises.
For instance, simple way of talking. Just a similar subject. If you think and you believe that there is a source of the planets, a very original thing that began, that dividing time, the period of existence, dividing the time, the second second and third and fourth, the second, third second, fourth second, the rest, they all have a purpose to change. Because the second second causes the third second's existence. The third second's existence causes the fourth second's existence. As each of those things existence, each of those seconds, depends on the cause, they don't last, they decay in each second. It is the same thing with the second second of existence and the rest of those—they change because the first second of existence changes. The reason the rest change, become decayed, is because the first second of existence changes and becomes decayed, so the rest of those things change. So the way to check up is this, thinking like this. If the existence during the first second of existence doesn't change, doesn't become decayed, you see, there is no reason and no purpose for the rest of the things to change because there is no way for that evolution to happen. It has to start from the first second of existence. The rest of those things cannot change without reason, without purpose, without cause. If all things happen without cause then any of those matters can become decayed, it doesn't have to depend on the element.
It is the same thing just like checking with one example, a flower. First of all there is a seed afterwards due to the elements the continuity of the seed changes, and afterwards it manifests in the sprout and stems, as it brings flowers and leaves like this. First of all it is sort of new, fresh, and afterwards the flower becomes old, no longer giving a green color. Each of these changes has a reason. Even the scientists also describe the reasons for each of the changes. So just like this, it is the same thing with the evolution of the earth. It is the same thing, same thing like this, you can check up with the mind, with the continuity of mind, like this. As we briefly talked about yesterday, today's mind is the continuity from yesterday. Today's body is continued from yesterday's body, and yesterday's body from the day before yesterday. But today's mind continued from yesterday's mind ... just like this going back to the mother's womb continued from the parents and the egg. The body continued from that. From the parents' blood, and the mind which was conceived in the mother's womb, that is not continued from the parents' body and mind. That first second of mind that was conceived in the mother's womb has a cause. The first second of mind that took place in the mother's womb is changeable; it is not permanent, it is changeable, it is causative. As it is causative it has to have a cause. The first second of mind that took place in the mother's womb is changeable and causative so it has to have a cause. If it doesn't have a cause how can it be changeable and causative. Why is the second second of the continuity of the mind changeable and causative. Because that cause causes the first second of mind, the mind that exists in the first second mind. So therefore if the mind exists during the first second, if it is causative and changeable, it has to have cause. That cause cannot be a physical body so that cause has to be mind. Where is that mind that doesn't take place in the mother's womb, the mind that was existing before, before the mind that took place in the mother's womb. That previous mind is the cause. That previous mind is the cause that makes the mind take place in the mother's womb. The first second of mind. Changeable and causative. So think like this. This is also useful, to check in order to discover. This way of checking is useful in order to discover the continuity of the mind.
I think we meditate little bit. You think like this. Today meditate like this. First thing—where does today's mind come from? It came from yesterday's mind and that mind came from the day before yesterday—like this you try to remember, try to remember thinking back on the continuity of the mind. Like last year, wherever you were and then before that, last year's mind continued from the previous year—go back like this. Through all of your earlier life, then go back to the baby time. Then from there also go back to the mother's womb. Try to go back like this. Then from the mother's womb the mind before that mind continued from other previous lives, from other different realms with different bodies. Also that, the mind that had a different body before this life, that mind continued from another body, another mind, which had another different body like this. Try to go back like this.
After the discussion you start the meditation with breathing meditation. First do breathing meditation, then concentrate on the sensations, gradually the sensations of the body—how you feel, the sensations of the ears, you gradually check up, concentrate. Afterward, then you check the continuity of the mind as you tried to meditate now, going back to beginningless lives. Then after that, you just watch your thoughts, thinking, checking your life, going back to previous lives, many other lives, checking like this, being an observer of your lives. After that you just concentrate on observing the mind. Another way of saying, watch the thought, just completely concentrate on it without allowing the mind to be distracted by other things, objects. First of all if you just right away start it is difficult. You see, first of all the mind is checking, observing, checking the life, so who checks the life? The mind checks the life, the continuity of the mind, continuity of life—on that subject you just concentrate and watch all the time. Try to hold that object, not letting other objects appear to the mind and also at the same time if you are not conscious, one method to keep the concentration longer, the actual method, the actual process for the concentration to last, consciousness and remembrance. If those three are missing your concentration can't last. If there is no consciousness there is no way to concentrate on the subject, because there is no consciousness that recognizes the mind is thinking of something else. If there is no consciousness this can happen, distraction. Therefore consciousness very important, consciousness is the one that forces the mind to meditate, to continuously concentrate. And from the consciousness then remembering comes, remembering the object of meditation. Those two are very necessary. At the same time also you are conscious. Your mind is watching the thought but is also conscious that you are watching your thoughts, like this. If you are not conscious of what you are doing, first of all you start meditation, afterwards it disappears, afterwards it is lost in the darkness, afterwards sleeping comes. Like this. You try to meditate, then see what comes, see what happens.
Saturday, 9th November
The present action that we are doing here is listening to the teaching, and the purpose of listening the teaching is to benefit the life. We are listening with the expectation that it can be beneficial for the life and mind. To relieve the mind from confusion and suffering—this is the expectation, this our hope when doing meditation, even fifteen minutes of doing meditation. For the individual action to become beneficial to one's life and mind, it depends on the individual himself. It depends on the creator, the individual's mind. That is like the key. The individual mind which is the creator is like the key. So therefore it is necessary that the action of listening to Dharma become Dharma. It is not enough just that the action of listening to Dharma should become the cause of enlightenment; it should become the cause of receiving enlightenment for the benefit of other sentient beings. Besides the individual action of listening to the teachings just becoming beneficial for oneself, that is not enough, therefore think—I am going to listen to the teaching that is explained by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha in order to receive enlightenment only for the sake of all other sentient beings. It is necessary that the action of listening Dharma be possessed by the pure thought of bodhicitta.
This is another way of saying the pure impulse of bodhicitta.
Yesterday we briefly talked about the beginningless mind. Actually there is much to talk about. What we talked about yesterday was not enough, not enough. However, whether it is explained by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha or whether it is explained by scientists, it is necessary to check up, necessary to check up. The way of checking is whether the subject, the different explanations of the different evolutions of mind described by different people is explained by them with their full experience, with their full understanding. That is the most important thing, the way to check up.
However, the explanation of the evolution of the mind that is explained by one who has full understanding of evolution of the mind, who has the perfect or the full understanding of the nature of the mind, the nature of all existence, not only who explains the present but who can fully see the past evolution and the future evolutions, that explanation done by that living being can be correct. That explanation is pure, perfect. Perfect means without mistakes, a perfect explanation, the explanation given according to the actual evolution of the mind. The way any object exists is not only up to the peoples' belief—it is not that easy. The object changes according to the peoples' belief, not like that. If that were so then whenever we have pain or sickness, if we think there is no pain, it would stop right away. But it doesn't stop. When we think, "I don't have a headache," that doesn't stop the headache. The way the object exists is not up to the person's belief, not only up to the person's belief, even though it is a creation of the person's mind.
However, also check like this. The explanations that prove about one life as are explained in the books, also check up whether these explanations are given with their full understanding of the evolution of rebirth. Check whether these explanations of the mind were given by them with the full understanding of the evolution of death. Whether they have complete understanding of the evolution of mind, how it started from rebirth time. The experiences of mind that has taken rebirth. The experiences of the mind in the mother's womb. The experiences of the mind. The process, the mind evolution at death time. Whether the scientists or anyone who gives those explanations of one life know about these evolutions, the beginning of this life and the end.
If they don't have the experience with their own minds of rebirth time and death time, if they don't know the evolution of their own minds and they don't see other beings' evolution of mind, rebirth time, and death time, how can their explanation of mind be correct? Explaining about their present existing mind—there is no way for it to really become a perfect explanation without understanding the beginning evolution, such as where the mind came from before this life. Most of the time it can be possible that they do not have really full understanding of the evolution of mind, but are just trying to guess through the physical body, through other people's physical body, trying to guess their mind. That way of checking cannot give the perfect solution, the perfect understanding of the mind. This blocks the right understanding of the mind. In this way the person doesn't realize the existence of past and future lives or the mental continuity. Not understanding this becomes the cause of suffering.
Because of this ignorance and not having the wisdom to see this, all the methods, whatever the person does to solve the life problems, arise from ignorance. So all the methods become a mistake, and don't give the perfect solution. That method doesn't cease the whole suffering, whole mental illness.
I think about the mind beginningless, I think that much worry is enough. It is necessary from your side to check up, check up. Your studying, your meditation, this is the best research—your studying, your trying to learn your mind. Your trying to understand your own mind. In this way the understanding of the mental continuity of the evolution of mind is the first door, the gate, opening the wisdom of the Dharma. This is the first method, the first thing, the first foundation to stop the suffering, the mind illness, the delusions. By stopping this, by ceasing this, the rest of the problems and suffering automatically stop. Just like this. By destroying the root of the tree under the ground, the leaves and the tree, the rest of the things that come from the root, do not happen.
The second subject ... this subject has a relationship with the above subject, beginningless mind. For instance, if the mind is beginningless, if there is always continuity, then why we don't remember? We remember only when we were babies, small children, but we don't remember beyond that. If the mind always has been continuing even before that, why don't we remember ? Like we remember yesterday, the day before yesterday—we remember what we were doing but we don't remember what we did in our previous lives, what we were, what rebirth we had. Just like that, we don't remember any of those other previous lives. Why? One reason that we don't remember all those previous lives, all those previous experiences, is mainly due to ignorance. This ignorance is not something that began with this life, it is not something that began with this present life's mind. This ignorance blocks us from seeing and remembering all the beginningless previous lifetimes. This ignorance has been dwelling in the mind from numberless previous lifetimes. As the mind has been beginningless also the ignorance has been beginningless. As at the present time ignorance is dwelling in our minds, in our consciousnesses, so the ignorance has been always rooted, living within our minds from beginningless previous lifetimes. Therefore the beginningless mind that has continued until now has been always ignorant. Just like this.
Sometimes when we tremble, when we become unconscious, we don't remember things. Sometimes when we go into shock we don't remember things. Just like this example, due to the break in life, death happening, the breaks of death and rebirth, due to the intermediate stage, due to the changes and mainly because of ignorance, we forget, we don't remember our previous lives. Even besides that we don't remember how we came from our mother's womb, how we lived in our mother's womb—we don't remember even this. But our not remembering this does not mean we didn't exist in that time. This cannot be a logical reason that proves we don't exist, we don't have mind or consciousness while in the mother's womb. Even things we did in this life we sometimes forget, don't remember—that does not mean we don't have mind.
However then if the mind always has been ignorant and ignorance is beginningless and if ignorance is the cause of all suffering, then is there the possibility to remove suffering by removing ignorance? There is the possibility. There is the possibility to achieve enlightenment by removing suffering and the cause of ignorance, by removing all the mental defects that prevent us from receiving enlightenment. Why is there the possibility to make the mind exist without ignorance, without being ignorant? First of all the mind itself, the nature of the mind itself, is not oneness with ignorance. Not oneness with ignorance. Only the mind is temporarily obscured, temporarily obscured by ignorance. The nature of the mind is not oneness with ignorance.
Just like the white cloth is temporarily dirty, is obscured by dirt so it no longer looks clean, white, it looks black. If the color is oneness with the dirt then there is no way to make color clean—it is foolish to try and clean that because there is no possibility. Because the color itself is the dirt. For instance let's say, how can we clean the dirt from the dirt. Just like this. So it is not easy. Because the white color is not oneness with the dirt, it is temporarily obscured, therefore there is the possibility, therefore it is clever to wash it. There is the possibility for it to become clean by removing the dirt. Just like this, the same thing with the mind. The nature of the mind is clear light but it is temporarily obscured by delusion. If the mind is oneness with ignorance just like the white cloth is oneness with the dirt, then there is no way to achieve enlightenment, to get freedom, to remove suffering—no possibility. In this sense, in this case, if the mind is oneness with ignorance and delusion then what it becomes is like this. We have to stop the mind, we have to remove the mind; the only method that is left is to remove the mind, destroy the mind, no other method.
First of all, it is an impossible thing to stop the mind, to cease the mind. It is a foolish thing to try to cease the mind. As the mind has no beginning it has no end, no period in which it ends—this is quite important to understand because many people think the mind will cease. Many people have the idea that when they receive freedom, when they receive everlasting happiness, that means ceasing your mind, which is completely the wrong idea. Even though it is possible to cease the mind, if that is the solution, if that is the freedom, if that is enlightenment, everlasting happiness, then who achieves that? Because there is no person that time, the mind is finished. There is no physical body of that person because there is no mind. The person is not existing at that time; whenever the mind ceases, the person ceases, the person does not exist—so who gets freedom, enlightenment? Maybe the sky. It is necessary to think like this. There is no possessor of that realization. Usually enlightenment, nirvana, and everlasting happiness are mental states. They are mental states; they are not zero. Not like in space, not like becoming sky. Otherwise it doesn't make sense or peace. As suffering is a feeling, peace and happiness is also a feeling, so they have to have existence of mind.
Also there is one reason—the object of the delusion, the object of anger and greed, is indefinite. Also the anger and the attachment to that object is also indefinite, not permanent. For instance, the object, the person towards whom we get angry in previous times doesn't become always the object of anger. He doesn't always exist in the object of anger. After some time he becomes an object of attachment as the condition changes, as his personality or condition changes. When the other person becomes violent, when he does something we don't like, anger arises, and he is an object of anger. Afterwards he changes that action, trying to please us, trying to act as something we like, and attachment arises. He is then an object of attachment. You see, these negative minds always change, don't last. As your negative mind toward him changes, the object changes, because the negative mind that looks at him also changes. Therefore the object of the anger, the object of attachment, the way we feel is not true, the way we feel and see is not true. If it were a true object then that person should be always the object of the anger. It could never change to become an object of attachment. If that were true that person should always exist as the object of anger. Then even after anger and greed and ignorance cease, the object of greed and anger would exist for that person who has purified greed, ignorance, and anger. But the person who has purified these negative minds doesn't have objects of anger, greed and ignorance, he doesn't have any of these objects. Because this person doesn't have the creator, the negative mind that gets angry and attached to the person, and is ignorant of the object.