The Teaching of the Fully Enlightened One: The Four Noble Truths (Page 85)
Through the practice of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, one achieves the path, one realizes all of absolute truth and relative truth; through wisdom and by following method one achieves the two aspects. So all existences are included in the teaching, in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha; all existences are included in absolute truth and relative truth; the whole path is included in wisdom and method.
I. True Suffering
The evolution and the way Guru Shakyamuni taught is different. First of all, he introduced the result, the suffering; then by asking his followers to realize this, he showed the cause, because by showing the result, the suffering nature, this is also easier to understand. Their understanding causes them to check the reason that we are in suffering—to seek the reason and the cause. Then, when their minds were ready to understand the cause of suffering, it was explained by Guru Shakyamuni.
So it has four aspects. These wrong conceptions cause us not to discover, not to discover the mental suffering, and only causes us to experience suffering. Therefore, it is necessary to get rid of, to destroy these wrong conceptions and receive these true realizations, their opposite. True suffering has many adjectives—transience, suffering, voidness and non-selfness.
1) Transience: because it changes, each phenomenon changes.
Rinpoche Question: Is there anything in the West, are there any beliefs of permanence? In fact, what I mean is this—do they accept anything as permanent?
Answer: Yes, death.
Rinpoche: So non-existence is permanent? So the tail on my head is permanent? What I am thinking about is the phenomena according to the Western thought—does it mean there are permanent and impermanent phenomena?
Answer: No there isn’t that distinction, phenomena are all impermanent.
Rinpoche: So the connotation of permanence is nothingness, because after death the person is not always dying? ...So the nothingness of the rocket—before, it was permanent; then it causes impermanence.
2) The temporal pleasure that is derived from the external objects is suffering because it is uncontrolled by delusion and karma. So the first realization, that true suffering is transcendent because phenomena change, is to dispel the wrong conception that suffering is permanent. There were wrong conceptions in ancient times, there were many wrong conceptions, so to prove that death is not permanent shows impermanence. One thing is ... permanence has to be existent, both permanent and impermanent have to be existent, they have to be called existence. So the meaning of impermanence, changelessness; the meaning of permanence is opposite to that which doesn’t change. Existence that doesn’t change in a second that is the meaning of permanence.
(b) So the second wrong conception, that suffering is helpless—such as temporal pleasure, such as the temporal pleasure that arises with attachment, that is attached to beauty and happiness, peace. But it is not happiness, it is suffering—suffering because it is samsaric happiness and is under the control of delusion and karma, not free, not peace, happiness. Such as, for instance, such as happiness that is felt by feeling warm when one catches cold—such as those things under the control of the delusions and karma. That pleasure is in nature of suffering. It is the same thing with food in the stomach, it is in nature of suffering because it isn’t true, it doesn’t stay as it is at the time, the person finds it a pleasure—but it doesn’t last, it changes.
3) Thinking that being unconnected from the cause is a wrong conception. True suffering is voidness because it is void of not having any connection to the cause.
3) Non-selfless covers more than (3). Number (3) is not the same as ... everything is void of independent self-existence, but thinking that suffering is unconnected from the cause. So the true suffering is void, is not unconnected from the cause.
True suffering is non-selfness—the wrong conception that true suffering is self, thinking of it as a self-entity, without depending on numbers of objects, parts. Besides the cause, there are many other things that it depends on—paths, times, many things.
(Tibetan for transience—Me.tag pa. Suffering—Dug.ngal. Voidness- Thong. Non-selfness—Dag.me.)
II. True Cause of Suffering
(2) Wrong conception—without depending on cooperative cause.
(3) Wrong conception pointing at a specific being and thinking that it is created by him.
(4) There are also some wrong conceptions of those who used to accept momentarily impermanent things thinking their nature was permanent.
III. True Cessation of Suffering
(1) So, to prove that there is such liberation—that the cessation of ignorance is cessation because it is not tied by delusion and karma, is release from delusion and karma.
(2) Wrong conception—such as sexual happiness recognized as peace.
(3) Wrong conception—such as greed, some delusions are perfect, not negative, thinking that they are needed.
(4) Wrong conception—such as believing that after one is out of the delusions that again they come back again in delusions, which is not logical.
IV. True Path of Cessation
(1) Also there was the wrong conception thinking that there is no path as there was the wrong conception thinking that there was no liberation.
(2) So the way it’s proved is that path, which is knowledge-wisdom, becomes the remedy of the delusion. So following the path causes the delusion to cease, that is how that path leads to liberation.
(3) Wrong conception, such as that done without the wisdom realizing the absolute true nature, or without full renunciation of samsara. Those ordinary meditations, done without depending on those realizations, cannot cut samsara, cannot become the remedies of the delusions, cannot become the remedies of ignorance. Cutting ignorance is done without depending on other realizations; such as kundalini meditations; there are many things—ordinary meditations that are only done to be healthy or to make the body feel light, done only for this life, done without these other realizations such as the full renunciation of samsara, or the wisdom realizing the absolute true nature—without those, you cannot remove ignorance.
This is just an introduction to the four noble truths, but is not an easy subject, there is much explanation, much text. It is something one has to study for long time, and in order to realize them one has to practice.
A. The Eight Causes of Suffering (Page 87)
The Suffering of Rebirth
[From (a) to (e)]
(1) (a) Generally, whenever the rebirth is taken in samsara it is always taken with suffering. Even if one takes a princely rebirth, that being is born with suffering, that living being is born with suffering. In regards that it is equal, it is born with suffering.
There are five sufferings of rebirth, five ways to think.
(b) Because this rebirth was taken ... if this rebirth was ceased there would be no way to increase the delusions, so if this rebirth is taken there is the chance to increase delusion. And it is difficult to control and bring the success of virtuous work, not having control over the delusions.
(c) By taking this samsaric rebirth, this uncontrolled rebirth, it brings the suffering of old age and sickness—if there’s no uncontrolled rebirth there’s no suffering of old age, sickness, death, and no way to get old, look old. So if it is not taken, these things do not arise.
(d) When the continuity of the suffering rebirth is ceased, there’s no problem in subduing the uncontrolled body and mind, no way that the body and mind can become unsubdued and suffering. Such as the mind creating billions of different negative actions, the body creating many negative actions; there’s no way for these to arise if the suffering rebirth is ceased.
(e) There is no choice, no control to stop even a moment without life setting close to the death, even from the time rebirth is taken.
Now, in place of looking at book should try to visualize. Try to visualize yourself in your mother’s womb.
Rebirth in the Womb (Page 87)
The baby’s body suffers by contracting these things. Try to think the baby is very sensitive, so sensitive.
Like the baby is put on a sword. Usual people don’t fully discover this, the baby’s feelings. Also, the reason the baby has such great incredible suffering like this but the mother doesn’t feel exactly what the baby feels—it can’t be experienced by the mother, whatever the baby feels. “What the baby thinks can be experienced by the other,”—but it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t work. The mother doesn’t know; others don’t know when the baby’s mind is conceived, no idea. They only know when this fluid, this combination, is getting bigger—then the mother discovers feelings of discomfort, or the structure of the mother’s body changes; but she doesn’t know when the baby’s mind is conceived, took place. The reason that the mother cannot feel, the baby’s incredible suffering, even though the baby is in the mother’s womb, even though its body is nourished for months, even though it is formed by the mother’s blood and so on? Even so, the mother does not experience as baby experiences because that karma is not the mother’s, but the baby’s. The suffering is the baby’s karma, that is the result of the karma that was created by the baby, not the mother. This also proves that the result of karma that wasn’t created by the mother but was created by the child in a previous life cannot be experienced by the mother. Also, the baby cannot experience the mother’s sufferings, the baby cannot experience what the mother thinks; the baby cannot understand. Like this. Also, one thinks that not remembering these continuations can be caused by intervention, these incredible sufferings.
(2) The Suffering of Old Age
(b) In that time, the power of the senses it is not strong as it was before, in youth. So as it lessens, they do not find a difference in the enjoyment of the taste of food.
(c) There are many; the old men as they get older, also have more worries about life shortening. But many people whose life is full of shortcomings, who think that there will be another life after death, try to do something, try to create good karma, because of the worry. Most of them have no idea of the life that comes, no skill, no methods, however much they worry to make arrangements at the death time to have less suffering, to find a better path. There’s no method to have a pleasant death, to do something; no skill, no methods. So the person thinks he will die, but doesn’t want to think of death, trying to forget it. But, however, it never helps, trying and trying in that way. That time gets closer each second—trying to forget it doesn’t help, it’s not the best skill. During that time, however the person tries before to forget it—trying to distract the mind with other things, surrounding things—when the time of death comes, the lord of death, there is such incredible suffering, worry. Then, however much the person makes noise, opens his eyes in all directions, looking for a guide from suffering, cries, nothing helps, it is too late, finished. So in that way it is finished without creating any merit. That kind of idea, wrong idea, is only cheating oneself—this is a wrong idea. There’s the worry about death but also the lack of wisdom. There’s no method, they do not find the method, do not recognize the method, do not follow the method; many things.
Also, as he gets older and older, the body gets thinner, with more and more wrinkles, even though it was looking very beautiful in the younger day. As he gets older more wrinkles arise and body gets bent, many things are changing—where there were no wrinkles, there’s a wrinkle and veins coming now—the whole thing changes. Then, as the body becomes more and more ugly, also there’s worry, also people do not like him that much, as he was liked during the younger days; people are more detached from him, and there are many problems. As people act in that way, don’t care much, looking ugly, also there is such worry in the mind. Usually people do not like the very old man. Also, when he stands up, sits down, it is very difficult, he has to rely on something, there is not much strength, and it is very difficult to get up. And when he sits down there’s no strength to sit down slowly, as in youth, all of a sudden there’s no power to sit slowly as in youth. When he stands it is like taking up the root of a tree. It is difficult to walk, to walk far. This is the general situation of old age.
It also depends on the family. Those who have old men, old women in the family don’t like it much because it them a lot of work. Later on, they can’t make much pee-pee, kaka, and they also have to give them food—much work, so not much interest, they wish they would die soon, they think how free they would be if they die soon, how good. The body is ugly, and they don’t like it as much as in youth. There are many problems; according to the individual old man, there are many problems. Also depending on the individual old people, it is also difficult to eat strong food, tough food. However much he desires, wishes to eat it, the old man has to eat something different from the young people. According to individual old people there are all kind of different sufferings.
But even old people, even though that much life has finished without creating merits, until death there is the chance to create merits as much as possible. It is possible to practice Dharma until death time, the mind doesn’t have to be discouraged. One example that happened during Guru Shakyamuni’s time—there was one old man who was over 100 years old. He was in such a miserable situation, suffering. As he was greatly suffering, worried, Guru Shakyamuni explained to him the benefits of becoming celibate, a renounced person. (If there’s something wrong please let me know). So as the benefits were explained to him, he told his family, son, and wife that he was going to be ordained. So they all said, as they didn’t like him, feeling really disgusted, they said, “You are very old, so there’s no need; it is time to go very quickly.” They were pleased. This old man went to see Guru Shakyamuni, depending on sticks, and shaking. At that time Guru Shakyamuni was at one place where there were milky plants growing. The old man went there and asked, “Where is Guru Shakyamuni, where does he live?” So the other Sangha told the old man that Guru Shakyamuni had gone to another place to work for sentient beings. So the old man asked, “Who is the highest of Guru Shakyamuni’s disciples?” So they answered, “The Noble Sharipu, the arhat.” The old man went to see him to be ordained, and requested Sharipu to give him ordination. The arhat called Sharipu, he checked up with this old man, Kindang Palden, and he discovered that he was very old, so he could not do those three works—reading, concentrating, and working in the monastery. So he didn’t accept, he sent him back. Then again this old man met Guru Shakyamuni’s disciples called Wusang Chenpo and Upali, all arhats, and he requested them. They said, “If Sharipu didn’t ordain you, how can we ordain you?” The old man was extremely upset. He came back from that place and stood at the main gate outside, and at the gate he made much noise, upset noise, making noises shouting, “I didn’t create any heavy vices, heavy negative karmas since I was born, why didn’t they ordain me? There are other people who created much heavy karma, killing many hundreds of people, and also other people who used to be evil before—even they can be ordained. What negative karma did I create that they didn’t ordain me?” So with his psychic powers Guru Shakyamuni discovered this, and manifested in front of the old man. Guru Shakyamuni asked the old man about the situation. Then Guru Shakyamuni checked up and discovered that that the old man had created some merits to be ordained in that life. But this merit that was created by the old man that caused him to be renounced, ordained, his highest disciple Sharipu hadn’t discovered. So he said it was okay to be ordained. Guru Shakyamuni explained to the old man that Sharipu was not yet fully enlightened through the purification of three countless great eons, through the purification of the obscurations and collecting merits in three countless great eons. He said, “I can let you be ordained, I have created the collection of merits and transcendental wisdom.” The old man was extremely pleased, so he was given to one of Guru Shakyamuni’s disciples, Mongalipu, and he was ordained by the arhat Mongalipu.
So the old man trained in the monastery. But there were many young monks in that monastery and they teased the old man, asking all sorts of question, and teasing him about being very old. So he got very upset again and thought like this—”When I was at home with the family, I was always causing problems for my son, wife, and servants. Now, even though I am ordained, these young monks make me unhappy.” He thought he would jump in the water. There was a big river near the place, and without telling anyone he went there and took off his robes and put them over the tree, and made three prostrations looking at the monastery, at Guru Shakyamuni’s place, and kneeled down with tears in the eyes, making a decision like this, “I didn’t give up the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, but I am giving up just this body.” He made this prayer—”Due to the merits of reading the holy texts and keeping precepts and making charity, may I be born in a very rich family having such power and many enjoyments, and have control over other people, and again meet the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, and have no hindrance to Dharma practice, and again be ordained, and meet a very expert abbot and teacher and receive nirvana.” He made a prayer like this. Then the old man jumped into that very deep and big river.
At that time, his teacher, the abbot, the arhat Mongalipu checked up, “Where is my disciple, the old man?” he checked with his special-powered eyes. All of a sudden he realized that the old man went there and jumped in the river. So all of a sudden with his psychic powers he went to pick up the old man, without going in the river, and he put him on the side. He asked the old man why he had done this thing. The old man felt very shy. He thought that it was not right to tell a lie to his guru, so he said, “Because I was old, and at first, there was suffering with the family, and then second, the monks teased me.” His teacher, the arhat Mongalipu thought that he would frighten this man about recognizing the suffering of rebirth and death. He thought that if he did not frighten him about rebirth, if he had no fear in these sufferings, then there was no reason for him to be a monk. Then he asked the old man to hold his robe, to try not to let go, and they flew up into space. They went to the Atlantic Ocean, very far, and this arhat showed him many of the ordinary narak sufferings—day okay, night suffering, those which are found on earth. He showed these to the old man. Especially, there was an enormous mountain made of the bones of an animal in the Atlantic, so high up that it causes the rays of the sun to stop. Even the oceans nearby are all dark because they do not get sunlight. So they climbed over that and had a conversation about the naraks, sitting on the bones. Finally they started talking about the bones and Mongalipu explained that these bones were his—in a previous time the old man was a religious king who was watching while there was a play going on, and during the play the ministers brought him a man who had created a small criminal action and asked how he should be punished. The king was watching the play and just said to do it according to the law. So they killed the man. The result of that was that the king was born as a huge animal, as a water lion, and these were the bones that were left after the rain, and the sun had worn away the flesh. The old man got very frightened by the narak sufferings and the sufferings of the other rebirths, and thinking of his old body, he did one-pointed meditation, achieved the realization of the fully renounced mind, and also he achieved nirvana in that life time.
The cause that had given him the chance to become a monk was that in a previous lifetime there was a great stupa with animal kaka around, and he was a fly that went around enjoying the smells. Due to this karma that only Guru Shakyamuni could perceive, he had the chance to become ordained and achieve the realizations. The reason I am telling these examples is that there are many times that we think that this is not such a heavy karma, but just by doing it we should create small positive karma whenever possible, not just thinking that it is a small thing and just wanting to do great things. Whenever we have the chance to create even small merits we should do so. Therefore, it is good to understand the examples of karma—from these we can figure out how karma works and what great results can come from them.
The Mahayana Equilibrium Meditation (Page 103)
Do the visualization—think of a present friend, enemy, or stranger now, discriminated by your mind, no matter where he is—in the tent, in the country, in your home. The enemy who you don’t like, who disturbs you, put in front of you, at the left side. And then the friend to whom you are attached, keep at the right side. Then put the stranger in between these two, at the front. Then also visualize all sentient beings who are in the narak, preta, and animal realm, all surrounding you, infinite, like the infinite Atlantic Ocean, which is so far. Like this, visualize all sentient beings around you and in front of you; the enemy at the left, the friend at the right, the stranger in between; and also visualize your parents.
If you don’t have any specific person than you don’t have to worry—is there’s some difficulty in finding an enemy try to think of someone, another relative or someone causing you problems or causing you to get angry. Some people easily get angry, so think what makes you the most angry—someone telling you rude words, whatever gets you angry, you have to raise the problem. If you get angry by the person saying words or destroying your possessions, then visualize in that way. Or if you get angry by someone abusing you, saying you have such limited knowledge, are foolish, then visualize the person in that way. Whatever causes you to get angry, visualize that that person is giving you that problem and you are getting angry, feeling him as an enemy. If you already have someone who you dislike, who you hate, or toward whom you have pride or jealousy, or a man with whom you have a problem, then visualize that. Then for a friend, it can be parents or relations, or anyone you like best, the person to whom you are attached. The stranger is one who is neither friend nor enemy. And surrounded by all sentient beings.
Then you think of the friend; look at the enemy, the friend and the stranger. When you look at the enemy there is dislike. When you look at the friend there is the problem of attachment. Check what feeling comes when you look at each of them.
If you don’t have some specific person in whom you are attached, then try to make it; whatever condition pleases you, visualize the person is doing it. If the person gives you gifts and it pleases you and makes you attached to him, be close to him, then visualize the friend is giving you things. Or if you are attached to the reputation of beautiful sweet words, then visualize the person is saying beautiful words to which you are attached. Whatever makes you happy, visualize the person giving you things or saying beautiful things.
Think of the visualization of the sentient beings and these three people, as I read. As I say this, it has to be checked with the three objects in front of you, in your mind.
7. By changing the conditions—if I do something that the friend doesn’t like, he becomes enemy. If you do something that the enemy likes, he becomes the friend. As these two have changed in the past according to the conditions, so will they change in the future. The friend is not the true friend, the enemy is not the true enemy. Same with the stranger; he is a stranger at the present, but according to the conditions he can become an enemy; also a friend. Also, the stranger has been sometimes a friend and sometimes an enemy in the past, and same thing in the future. So even the stranger is not a definite stranger.
Therefore, there is no reason to retaliate, to label one as definite friend, one as definite enemy, one as definite stranger, due to temporal conditions. What the friend does, what the enemy does, what the stranger does. Think that in a little bit of time all these things change—friend, them stranger. You can think of your parents, the husband or wife at the moment—think that it has been changing; also the friend, all these. At the moment, those who are like this to you have been changing, each of them have been different in past times which have no beginning; same thing, they will change in the future—parents, father, mother, husband, wife and friends.
Think of this present enemy, the parents, the person to whom you are attached—friend, relative, whatever it is, “These relatives or friends have been the enemy, the relatives and friends have been the enemy numberless times in my previous lives. They have been my enemy by disturbing me in many different ways, and their being my enemy has no beginning, no such time before they never became enemy. From one time they became the enemy, there’s no such thing—their being the enemy which has no beginning.” Think this clearly and deeply, and check what feeling comes into your mind, thinking, “As this present enemy kills you, disturbs you, so this friend, husband, wife, or attached person has done this to me in my previous lives in countless times; disturbed me, harmed me.” By thinking back on their killing or harming you in numberless previous lives, after thinking this check what effect comes in your mind, what feeling you have with them at this moment. Also think that, “These people to whom I am attached now will continually change in the future, will continually be my enemy, continually harm me in my numberless future lives.” By thinking this, also check the feeling, what comes in your mind with those present people. If there is a feeling of detachment, loosened attachment, your concentration is acute and practical; if that doesn’t make you feel detached, then your concentration is not acute, nor practical.
Now check with the enemy. “The enemy has been my friend numberless times in my previous lives. I was made happy by them by giving things, by telling, by offering nice words—just as these people made me happy, which makes me think of them, feel closer and attached. This enemy did the same thing, helped me in my numberless previous lives.” Think back, going back many other lives, and check what feelings come into the mind. Also think, “The enemy, numberless times, will be my friend helping me, telling me nice things in all different lives.” Think that the person is going to do many things in different lives, give as many things as you like. Then check the feeling that is in the mind with that enemy. If there is loss of anger and dislike—if you are feeling anger or dislike—if this becomes loose, goes down, is not as strong as before, not as uncomfortable as before, then your concentration worked, became practical. If it didn’t make any change, then it doesn’t work, you didn’t think properly.
Think the same thing, meditate on this stranger. “At the present he is a stranger, but he has been my friend and enemy in my previous lives, and the same thing he will be in the future.” Visualize many of the future and past lives in which the stranger became the enemy and the future and past lives in which the stranger became the enemy and the friend. Think, “The stranger was enemy equal to the number of times as he’s been stranger. Also, the times he was stranger and friend are equal with the times he has been stranger and enemy. The stranger was not more times the enemy and friend, or more times the enemy than stranger and friend, or friend more than stranger and enemy—all three are exactly equal, there’s no such extra number.”
So, same thing, think with the friend you have visualized, “The friend to whom I am attached now has been—the number of times that he has been a stranger is equal to the number of times that he has been friend, numberless times. And his being a friend is equal to the number of times of his being enemy, so all are equal. Being stranger, being friend, is all equal, so it is not a definite friend, one who is always in that situation.” Try to see the person equal of all of these three as you did with the stranger, and check the feeling that comes in your mind. If there’s no attached feeling, uncomfortable dislike, if it is just an indifferent feeling, then the concentration helped, it worked, it becomes practical.
Same thing; think with the present enemy. “He is also equal. The number of times he has been enemy and the number of times he has been stranger is equal to the number of times of his being friend. And the number of times of his being friend is equal to the number of times of his being enemy.” Try to feel by thinking like this.
So just as you worked with these three objects, think with every other sentient being, think of all sentient beings as the three objects equal in those—friend, enemy, and stranger—try to make them similar with all the sentient beings, their being friend, enemy, and stranger, try to have the same feeling with all other sentient beings.
As you visualize like this, also visualize Guru Shakyamuni, and make the request from the heart—”it is not enough that I am born in the upper realms; and even if I am released from samsaric suffering, it is not enough. All these sentient beings surrounding me have been my mother in numberless times, and most of them are in incredible suffering, not having the wisdom eye to distinguish what is positive action and negative action, and always desire peace, but always purposely run to create negative karma. No matter how much they do not desire suffering, they purposely run to destroy the cause of happiness. As I am the son of the mother sentient beings, so I am responsible to take care of them, to release them from suffering, and lead them to everlasting happiness. Therefore, may I be completely purified now and released from samsara, and achieve the great enlightenment, the great nirvana, right now.”
And then visualize the light of knowledge, Guru Shakyamuni’s knowledge, coming from his holy body and absorbing into yourself and all other sentient beings and purifying all the delusions and mental defilements. Think that yourself and all sentient beings—as your mental delusions and defilements are all purified, existing neither inside nor outside, in the same way all sentient beings’ delusions and even subtle defilements are completely purified. Think that from Guru Shakyamuni’s holy body, like so many, many flies coming from honey, so many billions of Guru Shakyamuni’s holy bodies come from his holy body and seat themselves on each sentient being’s head, and absorb, become oneness. All sentient beings become Guru Shakyamuni, having achieved the two aspects of the holy body—dharmakaya and rupakaya. So the center, the main Guru Shakyamuni, comes down and seats himself on your head and absorbs into you, becoming oneness, and also achieves the two aspects of the holy body, dharmakaya and rupakaya. Also, all other sentient beings who became Guru Shakyamuni, all absorb into you from all the directions.
This is powerful. The reason they dedicate the object is beyond our thought, so if you dedicate, wherever they dedicate, it becomes a very powerful, very white, very extensive dedication. It becomes a strong will, such dauntless compassion, as they dedicated with such great understanding, knowledge. Even if our merits are small, they are dedicated the same way they did it.
The last dedication prayer is the bodhisattvas’ dedication prayer; it contains 100,000 countless prayers (see dedication prayer 5, Appendix I).
Tuesday December 11th
At this moment, most of the sentient beings are suffering in the narak stages, suffering hot and cold, and besides that many other sufferings. And great numbers of sentient beings are suffering in the preta realms, and great numbers of sentient beings are suffering in the animal realms, and great numbers of sentient beings are suffering in also the sura and asura realms. Even those beings born in the upper realm are in suffering, the suffering of such distractions, or spending their whole lives unconscious. Even if there’s no fight, the mind is always in distraction; however much they live, they do not have even a minute to study and practice Dharma, even though they live many thousands of human years, they do not have even one hour to practice Dharma, it is extremely difficult. Even in the human realm so many human beings, all the samsaric human beings, are in suffering; besides that, those different human being are suffering difficulties, having different problems—rich people have different problems, poor people have different problems, society problems, country problems, all sorts of problems. Even a king or a president, same thing, he is a man who has much respect, who has also problems; a man who has much education, he has also problems; a man who has no education, he has also problems.
However, on this earth, even in this human realm, in this human world, keeping the eight precepts is very rare, something which has an exact number, which can be easily counted, no matter how many human beings live on this earth. But once we have found the precious chance to take Mahayana ordination and have the precious chance to keep the eight precepts—not three, four, or five, but eight precepts. Therefore, it is necessary to keep them when we have time, as we have found this precious chance. It is necessary to take them with a pure motive, it is necessary to perfectly take them. Therefore, it is not enough to have the pure thought devoid of the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas; it has to be a Mahayana thought in order to take them in a Mahayana way:
“Attachment that is attached to temporal happiness and attached to higher samsaric pleasure is only the cause of suffering. However much we can make this life and the future samsaric life happy and more pleasant, it is only in the nature of suffering. As there’s not one small happiness left in samsara that we never experienced, they have been experienced by us countless times; there’s not one small suffering left in samsara that we never experienced, they have been experienced by us countless times. There’s not one great happiness left in samsara that we never experienced, they have been experienced by us countless times; there’s no one great suffering left in samsara that we never experienced, they have been experienced by us countless times. So nothing of the samsaric pleasure is new, if we remember clearly, we see that as it has no beginning, it is a very old and samsaric pleasure, it is definite that we will have to suffer until we achieve full renunciation of samsaric pleasure. It is definite that we will be in samsara as long as we are attached to samsaric pleasure, and it is definite that we will continually suffer.
It is not enough that oneself be released from this bondage of suffering. There are infinite sentient beings who are in incredible suffering, who have been our mothers countless times and who are also the object from whom we received all our past, present, and future happiness and perfection. Therefore, I am responsible to repay them, and the best way to do this is to guide them from suffering. At the moment I have no capability, only the enlightened being has the capability and great knowledge, power and compassion. Therefore, I must achieve enlightenment in order to lead all sentient beings from suffering. Therefore, it is necessary to gradually achieve the path. Therefore, it is necessary to subdue the body, speech, and mind. The best way is by keeping precepts, therefore, I am going to take the Mahayana ordination.”
From the holy speech of the great guru, bodhisattva [Khunu Lama] Tenzin Gyaltsen, “The bodhicitta, which is the great leading path and which does not allow us to be in samsara and self-everlasting happiness, the everlasting happiness of oneself, which are the two extremes, is worthwhile to depend on the release from these extremes.”
So the whole thing is this—even if one follows the path to enlightenment, if there is no bodhicitta then there is the danger of falling into the everlasting happiness of oneself, and for many eons not receiving enlightenment, just staying in that state, the mind completely being intoxicated or completely absorbed in that state. In such great ecstasy, one doesn’t receive bodhicitta. Therefore, one doesn’t receive enlightenment soon—just completely sinking in that great peace and ecstasy. It is hard to see other sentient beings’ incredible sufferings, to see what the bodhisattva feels. When the living being resides in such great, complete ecstasy, great peace, it is hard, it takes much time, many eons to receive great compassion for other sentient beings. But by achieving bodhicitta one does not experience the two extremes, and only it brings enlightenment more quickly. This is the road, the main way, straight to enlightenment. This is the shortcut compared to first following the lower vehicle path, the Hinayana path, then receiving the state of an arhat, then for a long time following the Mahayana path to enlightenment—this takes many eons, a long time. Compared to that, practicing bodhicitta right at the beginning of the practice is much a quicker to receive enlightenment, receive enlightenment directly. This is a shortcut.
Also, without bodhicitta, even following tantric path one cannot receive enlightenment quickly. Without bodhicitta, however long the person practices there is no way to receive enlightenment. It is the bodhicitta that causes the being to receive enlightenment quickly, so quickly through tantric practice. The bodhicitta makes the tantric path the shortcut; otherwise it does not become the shortcut. This is according to the instructions of Manjushri, the Buddha of Wisdom, to Guru Tsongkhapa—the advice given by Manjushri to Guru Tsongkhapa. Manjushri, the Buddha of Wisdom, emphasized that the renunciation of samsara and bodhicitta are of utmost need, the most important thing. Also, bodhicitta causes one to achieve the tantric powers that make one quickly receive enlightenment. Just like fuel in a plane—without fuel, the plane, even a jet, however fast it can go, without fuel it cannot go. The tantric path is like a jet. But without depending on the realizations of bodhicitta, fully renounced mind, and the realization of the absolute true nature, it cannot be a quick path.
Because of these benefits and reasons, it is worthwhile to practice bodhicitta even though we can’t practice any other things, practice other methods. It is worthwhile to make our one aim the achievement of bodhicitta, and do anything just for that, always attempting to attain this at any time, thinking that our body, speech, and mind are working for this, always thinking, attempting to achieve this. It is greatly worthwhile even though we cannot practice other things at the same time—doing just one practice like this is greatly worthwhile.
Generally, the aim of receiving knowledge, gaining knowledge in the world, is totally to stop suffering. The main aim is to stop suffering. Why there is need of such knowledge? In order to stop one’s own or others’ suffering. Most of the worldly, ordinary people try to receive knowledge, be educated with this aim. So, if you want to be educated, to receive knowledge in order to quickly release yourself and others from suffering, then the best knowledge, the best way to be educated, the best way to be knowledgeable is to practice bodhicitta. Then one can quickly be released from suffering, as I have just explained. Then one can quickly transcend oneself from samsaric suffering and the everlasting happiness of self—the lower nirvana stage. Also, it is not a simple thing of meditating one day, one month in order receive this—not like this. It takes time to achieve the fundamental realizations that have to come before the achievement of bodhicitta. That depends on practice, and that depends on understanding. So totally, it depends on training the mind—even though it is not possible to achieve bodhicitta in a day, a month, or to completely achieve it in a year—how quickly one achieves bodhicitta depends on how strong the practice is, and how continually one trains the mind in bodhicitta. Therefore, it is important for the mind, when doing the action of listening to this teaching for the purpose of receiving bodhicitta, to cultivate the pure thought of bodhicitta. Therefore, think, “I am going to listen to the Mahayana teachings on the graduated path in order to achieve enlightenment to release all sentient beings from suffering.”
The listening subject is the graduated path. If it is divided in three, there are the path of the lower being, the path of the middle being, and the path of the higher being. The path of the lower being is briefly finished. So now, the path of the middle being. The whole thing is involved in meditating on the suffering of each of three upper realms—the suffering of the humans, asuras, and suras, as well as the total, general samsaric sufferings. There are six divisions dividing all the samsaric sufferings, or three divisions of samsaric suffering. Concentrate on those. Also, concentrate on samsaric suffering in terms of the twelve dependent links and the eight causes of samsaric suffering, mainly the suffering of the human realm.
Yesterday we talked about the suffering of rebirth and old age.
The Suffering of Rebirth (Page 87)
The explanation on the suffering of rebirth is just a few ideas, explanations that are explained in the teachings, that were explained by Guru Shakyamuni. If you think of the suffering of rebirth alone, it is incredible—something that makes you vomit if you think of it while you are eating food, instead of being attached to taking birth in the mother’s womb. The whole thing is that karmically the baby’s body is very sensitive and very thin, like a cow with skin peeled off, and whatever touches the body, the flesh it is very sensitive, and there is much suffering. Even things that usually doesn’t cause suffering to skin skin, when the skin is peeled off if those things touch the red flesh they cause suffering. We don’t see this, but for the baby the feeling is like this.
At the moment we are not talking how we see the baby, but how the baby feels, what we ordinary people, even mothers, do not understand, what those who do not have the mental power to see, feel the baby’s mind, level of mind, or nature of mind, what those who do not have the power to receive the baby’s experience feel. It’s just like this, another example is like this—just as we don’t know what animals are thinking in their minds, it is the same thing, we have no idea about the baby’s mind. The thing is this—for instance, when poor people look at rich people they think they are always happy, enjoying—they only judge them from the physical level—having a rich house for many years, enjoying the day and night, counting the physical things and thinking this is a happy life. From the poor people’s level they think this is happiness. As this is not true, it is the same thing with the baby. We think the baby is enjoying the mother’s womb, but this is not true; we think it is warm and comfortable, but we are judging this with the limited mind—it is not true. Briefly something like that.
(2) The Suffering of Old Age
By thinking of that example, there’s nothing to feel discouraged about. Actually there are sufferings like this—as the body changes, gets older, there is less beauty and so many powers are lost. Actually, generally there are sufferings like this, but from the individual’s side, there is nothing to worry about as it is not one time, only this once. As long as we are in samsara, it will be worse than that, greater problems than the suffering of old age have to be experienced continually, again and again. But we get worried and feel upset due to ignorance, which doesn’t helps to stop suffering at all; and then, because of these worries, people dislike it and don’t take care, they want to commit suicide, destroy oneself—this is not a skillful method. This does not mean the person has courage and is not afraid of suffering; he is doing that because he is afraid of suffering. For instance, the man jumping in the river does not mean he is not suffering, doing this with complete freedom—this is done with ignorance, therefore he is not free. Also, there is fear, feeling hung up—the old man doesn’t want to go through that trip anymore, people teased or disliked him and he was extremely upset, feeling unhappiness because of that. Totally his action of jumping in the river is done with attachment to the happiness of this life. He didn’t find any other method, so he jumped in the river because other people disturbed the temporal happiness of his life, teasing him and so on. He didn’t want to carry on because his mind was attached to the happiness of this life. It is the same thing for the person committing suicide—this is done with ignorance, it does not mean there is no fear of suffering.
Sometimes, when we go into the streets of cities we see many other people having problems. We are going, we can do as we like, but others cannot do this—when a person walks, he needs a helper—many things.
As you see this, make it worthwhile, make it useful for meditation, make it useful for your mind. Every time you see the suffering of other beings it is worthwhile—even if you are going once into town—it is very useful, make it meditation. To receive renunciation of samsara it is necessary to understand the suffering of oneself and other beings, and sitting in one’s room, it is limited what the mind will remember in terms of the experience of suffering mind. So when one goes outside there are many examples of suffering, things happening.
We think, “It is their suffering, I am happy now, I have no suffering,” based on the idea of the existence of one life and no changes happening—the conception of no change from a happy life to a miserable life is not helpful, thinking that they are suffering because they are uneducated and so forth, thinking like this is not helpful. In place of that, whatever you see, whenever you go in those suffering places where you can see many things, make it beneficial for your meditation; you can meditate while going in the place. Meditation doesn’t have to be sitting, because meditation a is mental action. Also, you may think that some things that are explained in the teachings are not serious, you may not feel them in the mind, but when you see suffering you can feel them, even if it is small. If you have the key in your mind, everything that you see can be made useful. These are the ways that the previous practitioners practiced meditation, the previous yogis did meditation not just when in the cave meditating, but when in cities too.
So if you meditate like this, even one in a noisy place if you have the method you can meditate, it is in your hand. Whatever you want to do with the mind is not in other people’s hands; if it were then that would be something else. The physical body and the mind are something different—the physical body can be put in prison, can be controlled, kept by other person, can be held, can be taken away. But mind cannot be handled like this. As another person can put the body in prison, he cannot control your mind, put the mind in one place, in something, and not allow it out, because another person has no control over your mind: he has control over your body but not your mind.
In Tibet—just an example that came up—this is about the Panchen Lama, the head of the Tashilunpo Monastery. Three or four years ago, the Chinese, even though they could control the Tibetan people’s bodies, they still could not control the Tibetan people’s minds. They have no easy way to change people’s minds as they have control over their bodies. They find it very difficult to change the mind as they handle the body—however much the physical body is tortured in many different ways, however much this is done, the mind doesn’t go as they instruct, they don’t talk, the Tibetan people’s minds do not become conditioned in the way they desire, project. So, finding it hard to control the minds of the people, they got this idea, method. They asked this high lama to instruct, give a talk complaining about His Holiness in public—with him sitting on the throne in the usual discipline of the teaching. Then Chinese set it up like this, wanting him to complain about His Holiness. They had the idea that if he gave a talk like this, the people’s mind would change, as years of treating the body didn’t change the mind. What happened was, in place of making complaints about His Holiness, although there were armies around, in place of that he instructed the public to pray for the long life of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, and for the holy beings who are the holders of the teachings in the world to have long lives, and for the teachings to exist longer, and instructed them to recite the mantra of Avalokiteshvara. So he gave teachings as usual, without any fear, completely opposite to what they wanted. So right after this he was taken away to Peking. He said, “I can give you my body but I can’t give you my mind. Whatever you want to do, I can give you my body but you can’t have my mind.” So just like this—however much the place is disturbing, not quiet, even if the body is in prison—the mind is in our hand, so there is always the chance of using the mind in a Dharma way.
Anyway, these things also help a great deal to not be attached. When the person walks into the market there is always much negative mind going on—attachment, greed, covetousness, for objects you see in the shops. Each time you walk and see, there are all kinds of things happening in the mind, creating much negative karma. Before going there you plan to use things in this way ahead of time, or else your mind gets a big surprise and your mind is not conscious of itself, whether positive mind or negative mind is arising. Before going to town, you plan exactly, “I’m going to buy this and that, meet these people”—exactly as you plan, you do with mind. Then you know the mind has covetousness, attachment, there is much fun going on in your mind; as you see a lot of things there, you see a lot of things in your mind; as you see ugly things, beautiful things, also you see them in your mind. So like this it is useful.
To stop negative mind, first you must recognize negative mind. Therefore, recognizing that you have more and more negative mind, finding more negative mind is good, not bad. When one practices meditation, trying to stop and recognize negative mind, when one practices the graduated path, one can find many negative minds that the person couldn’t find before. Why? Because he wasn’t conscious of these, aware of what is positive mind and negative mind, always distracted and controlled by outer objects. Also, the person doesn’t think he is negative, thinks he is good, gentle, and has a good personality; but when he practices Dharma—especially the graduated path, which explains and fights negative mind, gives the method to destroy—when one is seriously in this practice, one discovers many other things, many negative minds, garbage, recognizing much garbage in the mind. One sees himself as negative. As we meet each different object and find our negative mind, this is good; this means the meditation that you are practicing is going on in the right way. First of all you have to recognize it, in order to fight it, destroy it. Without recognizing it there is no way.
This is talking about mind. But now, suffering. Before we didn’t think we had suffering, thinking: “I am a very happy boy or a girl,” thinking that, “Suffering does not exist for me, only for poor people who don’t have possessions.” Anyway, however much there is suffering, the person doesn’t recognize it because there is no understanding of the Dharma, because his mind doesn’t recognize it, doesn’t experience the suffering. Later on, when the person practices meditation and Dharma, doing the checking meditation on the samsaric sufferings, one finds more and more suffering within one’s mind, within the person himself. As he finds more and more suffering himself, through the meditation, that means his practice is good, going in the right way; that his meditation is helping him, benefiting him, protecting him.
This is like first of all, in order to get rid of the poison, introducing the poison that you have taken; without recognizing the poison you cannot get rid of it. Just like this, a telescope. The purpose of the telescope is to see far-away things clearly and more, other objects. For instance, armies use telescopes to see how many of the enemy are there. If the telescope has no power, if one doesn’t see those objects, how many enemies, then the telescope is no good—it is not good material or something is wrong. Same thing, if the person’s meditation, Dharma practice—however long, however much the person does things and always thinks he is right—if he does not recognize the negative minds or the samsaric sufferings, that means something is wrong, even if he makes the mistake of thinking he is right—that means something is wrong in his practice, with his meditation, something is not practical.
(3) The Suffering of Sickness
When we meditate on this, whatever horrible patients with terrible sicknesses that you saw in this life, put yourself in their situation and try to see them. Also, when you meditate, remember that even in the human beings, who are much more free than those lower beings with limited conditions, human being have so many things, clothes, houses, and so forth to take care of their lives, to make it healthy. They have so many clothes, so many rooms, so many things, and so many other people taking care of them, such as servants. All these are for the body, things that lower beings do not have. People can do as they want, they make money, buy things that they want—so many things are done to keep the body healthy but eventually the human being will have problems of with sickness, all kinds of different sickness. Think of the different sicknesses in the world, not only counting the number, like poor people counting rich people’s possessions, but think with feelings of the terrible, unbearable sicknesses.
In the break times, read the part on the Mahayana Meditation, and visualize and check in your mind as you read—this becomes checking meditation. Some people may not have read anything, some may have finished the whole thing. Those who have finished, read it again; since enlightenment has not yet been received, start again. Either read the samsaric sufferings or the part on the Mahayana Meditation, either the Equilibrium Meditation or the Seven Techniques.
When you meditate on each of these parts, such as the section on old age, check, try to think of many examples, try to think of the many sufferings of old age. Also, sickness, think of many kinds of sicknesses. Also, many kinds of suffering death.
(5) The Suffering of Release from Beautiful Objects (of Attachment)
Then, when you meditate on the release from attached, desirable objects, don’t just think of the title but of many objects. According to the person there is a different feeling, different level of feelings, just by hearing this. So just thinking of the title doesn’t help much. It is very helpful and makes much more sense if you can think of and check with many examples, such as other people’s suffering from the release of desirable objects, and your own experiences, trying to remember them in the meditation time, trying to recognize your own different sufferings. It becomes useful, remembering one’s own experience of this, to see that these objects are meaningless, trivial, and also understanding these sufferings helps a great deal not to be attached, to lose the attachment.
A few examples, a few ideas. “Beautiful object” can be a living being, a non-living thing, possessions. First of all, the suffering is that the person trying to obtain the desirable object does not obtain the desirable object, not receive the desirable object. Even if it is obtained, there is the suffering of release from those beautiful objects; it doesn’t last because the desirable object does not last. For instance, the parents’ children: they wanted to have children, they like children, the children are a desirable object. But when they have children, it doesn’t last, they cannot live together for a long time, soon there is separation—either the children are separate, released from the parents, or the parents are released from the children. At that time there is worry, the suffering of separation, not being together. When they die there is separation, when they leave home there is the suffering of release, when they die there is release from the desirable object, the children. It is the same thing with the parents in relation to the children. Also, the same thing with the relatives; there is suffering like this. Also with couples, there is suffering like this. First of all they obtain the desirable object, then there is the suffering of release from the desirable object, such as death, such as not being together—there are all kinds of sufferings from release, this is common in the world, easy to recognize. Some people fight because of the suffering of release from the desirable object, such as the husband or wife. They destroy other people, kill other people, even if it costs them their life—they give up their life to kill other people because of this suffering of release from the desirable object. It is the same thing with possessions; when the possession is finished, broken, there is worry; when it is stolen, there is worry, suffering; think of many examples. Even if it is not released yet—possessions, friends, whatever—there is fear that it may be released, fear of release, fear and worry, many things. These are common, easy to understand, usual problems.
In Tibet, in previous times, one man—Indian or Nepali—was invited to make a statue, a very famous statue in Lhasa; he was one of the sculptors. On the full-moon day he cried. Someone asked him why he cried every full-moon day, and he said, “At this time in my home I used to play and enjoy with my wife.” He missed this, so every full-moon he cried. He was asked, “What would you chose, enlightenment or your wife, to meet enlightenment or to meet your wife?” He said he would choose his wife. This is just an example, this is also the suffering of release from the desirable object.
(6) Disliked Object, Ugly Object
Also there are sufferings of meeting, encountering—such as when there are people disturbing you, causing you trouble that cause your negative minds to arise; this is also suffering—the suffering of meeting ugly objects, meeting any object that you dislike; suffering when you meet any disliked object, such as relatives, friends. First of all, there is the desirable object; then after few years, soon it becomes an undesirable object, the suffering of meeting, the suffering of encounters—like this. Same thing, the friend—one who is a friend in one moment then becomes the enemy—again suffering. Before, there was no suffering of encountering the disliked, ugly object; before, it was not a disliked, ugly object. But after, it became that; then there is suffering, but it is the same object. Also with food—when it gets old there is suffering from meeting the ugly object. Same with possessions, clothes, place—when it gets old, torn, there is again the suffering of encountering the ugly object, torn, there is again the suffering of encountering the ugly object. When this person heard ugly words, there is the suffering of encountering the disliked object because the person doesn’t like it, hates it. Also, when the climate changes, when there is much heat, there is also the suffering of encountering the disliked object; when it is very cold there is also the suffering of encountering the disliked object.
(7) The Suffering of Not Obtaining Desirable Objects
There also one can check up with many examples, such as the suffering of not finding, not obtaining desirable jobs, possessions, money, many things, or people. Also there are many people who go round the whole world to obtain desirable objects and still don’t find them. One goes to another country, goes round and checks up, again goes to another country—there are many examples. At least, even if one obtains the desirable object, there’s again the suffering of release; even if it is not released yet there is fear or worry—but the same object—even if it is obtained, there is the fear of release; as it can cause suffering or the encounter with the undesirable object, that object becomes the enemy object of dislike, causing the suffering of encountering it. So with one object the person suffers in three different ways. It is good to check up in your mind in many ways, to make it clear.
(8)The suffering of this body created by delusion and karma.
(a) That is also a problem of the physical body. Because of this body, besides being negative actions created with speech and mind, there are many negative actions created with the physical body—if there is no physical body there would not be negative actions created by the physical body. So because the body is received, there are the extra negative actions, bodily actions. The negative karma makes the future, many future lives’ bodies suffer the result. Also, if there were no continuity of this deluded physical body, if this is ceased this time, then there wouldn’t be any continuity in the future lives, there wouldn’t be any continuity of the deluded physical body, this suffering body; then there couldn’t be any physical body, suffering body, and then there couldn’t be any physical sufferings. So those future physical sufferings are based on the continuity of this present suffering body. Billions and billions of times we will receive the body again—human, animal, whatever shape—all the future suffering bodies are based on the continuity of the present. If the present is ceased the whole future, the infinite continuity of the physical sufferings can be ceased, do not have to be experienced. Then we don’t have to go through the trouble of feeling hot in the day, cold at night; we don’t have to go through this continually.
Answer to question: There can be a pure holy body, there are different levels. As the being approaches different levels of path, the body has less sufferings.
Think of this example that I mentioned, think of the future like this. Thinking like this gives you energy, dislike, to not have attachment. We see the body as the field of suffering, like the field of a crop. One very useful thing is it makes us not be attached. And besides losing the attachment it gives energy, builds the renounced mind of samsara, gives energy to seek the method; it makes us cease the continuity of this experience, the uncontrolled experience of taking the physical body. More and more in this way, deeper we check from this physical body—how the great number of sufferings arise due to this body—the more sufferings we find arising from this body, the more we understand as this is the field of suffering, and within the person’s mind there is be that much more strong renounced mind, renounced mind for the samsaric body. Besides losing attachment, there is that much stronger renounced mind. As there is stronger renounced mind, that much the attachment will be less; when there is less renounced mind for the samsaric body, the attachment will be stronger. So one thing, not only thinking of the present body, but thinking all the samsaric bodies—first of all think of this present human body, then think of all the samsaric bodies—the sura, asura body, the lower beings’ bodies—think of these bodies as the field of suffering. Then meditate in this way, on the whole samsaric body. This brings renunciation for all of it, the desire not to take any samsaric body, however beautiful it is—such as the bodies of those gods—by meditating on it as the field of suffering and by seeing that it causes many future sufferings. The more we think of this, the more renounced mind and less attachment for the body we develop.
The attachment for the body is what makes us continually take the body, keeps us in samsara, taking this body without choice. So what makes us circle round? One thing is the attachment, so this meditation is very useful.
(b) If one wants to think about this, how to think of the suffering of the body? One can think like this. Talking about our own life, always we people worry much about clothes—wearing different clothes, finishing clothes, many worries, not finding desirable clothes to put on the body—if there’s no body, there’s no reason for those sufferings and worries to arise.
Also, we have to feed this body, we have to work our whole life just to take care of this body. The poor people working in the station, being a porter, the rich people who work making big business—both of them are the same, working to feed the body. No matter how much the person has a reputation, a place he is enjoying, a business—it is the same thing as the porter making one rupee a day—both do it to feed the body. The poor person is suffering, experiencing the suffering of being a porter, carrying things, physical suffering, due to his physical load there is suffering—that is done to take care of the body, to keep the body. That job trying to collect the money by working, why does it have to be done? It is the problem of the body. Also to take care of the body, uneducated people use the body for work.
Also, there are numberless, hundreds and hundreds of different sicknesses that arise because of the body, the physical body. Such as coughing, cold suffering—even these small, tiny things are problems of the body, because having this samsaric deluded body.
You see why there are so many problems in the world—wars between countries, societies, classes and races—why are there so many problems in the modern world? Things started off a long time ago but still nothing has been achieved? That is still a physical problem; if there wasn’t the physical body there wouldn’t be all those things, fighting each other, creating negative karma killing others, destroying them. That is also done because of having this body, because of this body. Also, having fear of being killed, being injured, thirst, physical problems—these are problems of the samsaric, deluded body. Also, people that have to make business with drugs and have to be in prison; that is also a problem of physical body. So this is very helpful.
(c) The suffering of suffering is the suffering of injury, wounds, sickness, and so forth.
(d) Changeable suffering is, for instance, when one feels very thirsty, as one drinks water at first it feels good, feels comfortable, but that is also suffering. Actually, why is that feeling of comfort at the beginning of drinking water suffering? Because by drinking more water you get sick in the stomach. Anyway, same thing with food—first you feel comfortable, pleasant—that is not actual pleasure, that is suffering, changeable suffering. If it is true pleasure it shouldn’t change—by taking more food, it should stay there, but by eating more and more food your stomach feels big pain, and afterwards you don’t know what to do.
Also, feeling cold and hot. When there’s the suffering of cold, as the person goes in the sun to get warm, in that moment when there is less cold, there is a momentary pleasure of feeling warm. But soon the heat increases, and again there’s the suffering of feeling hot, and the pleasure becomes cold. Like this—as the cold goes down the heat increases and at that moment it is called pleasure, that evolution is called pleasure. It is not real pleasure, not true pleasure, it is in the nature of suffering—soon it becomes suffering. Same thing, when the person comes in feeling hot, the cold goes up and the heat goes down—for that moment that evolution is called pleasure; there’s no other object that can be called pleasure.
(e) Pervading suffering. Whenever there is that body that arose from the delusions there is suffering. From the head down to the toes it is in suffering nature, the field of problems.
In regards to these three sufferings, the first two are easy to recognize but the third is difficult to recognize, to discover.
How to Stop the Three Negative Feelings (Page 90)
The ancient, far-famed pandit, Palden Chödag. This is a very meaningful quotation, this tells how the evolution is working, about that attachment. I think also a similar thing in the Equilibrium Meditation (Page 103).
The ordinary beings always think of the “I” as a self-entity, an independent existence. This wrong conception causes attachment to the “I” and then also there is the wrong conception of my possessions, my things, my body. So, as there is the wrong conception thinking the independently existent “I,” that causes to attachment to arise for the “I”—then as there is the wrong conception of the independent possessions and body, that causes attachment to arise for my possessions.
Same thing, it works like this for the desirable objects, the wrong conceptions, thinking of the desirable object as a self-entity, independent, so there is attachment. By seeing with this wrong conception, there is attachment to the desirable things. The attachment to the desirable objects interrupts the understanding, the discovery of the faults of ignorance. The attachment explains the object, expresses the object, and it ignores, obscures the understanding of the faults of ignorance, also attachment. When the person is attached to something, as long as the person follows the attachment, the attachment only expresses how good, beautiful it is. The attachment never expresses that if the person follows it in that way he will never discover the faults of the negative mind.
When there are problems like this there are many methods of concentration. This way, it is also helpful because the “I” that we think of, that we perceive, that we feel, doesn’t exist, never exists anywhere, either in the body or outside. This is the fundamental thing of the whole problem, any negative mind: pride, anger, greed, and so forth. So when we do checking meditation on the actual evolution as it really exists, as it is, it doesn’t give a place, there is not that strong wrong view because the checking meditation that the person makes is according to this factual way that the “I” exists. It is completely opposite to the view that the usual, old, wrong mind believes in. So as the person makes the checking meditation in the factual way that the “I” exists, this makes no place for the wrong view that is projected by the wrong projector, the old mind, the wrong conception. What is the reason this view changes, this wrong view becomes false, becomes non-existent, nowhere, as the person usually feels, becomes non-existent anywhere? Because at the time of the meditation, checking the nature of the object, the absolute nature of the “I” is stronger than the wrong conception, then the wrong projector that projects the wrong view—the wisdom is stronger and the wrong conception is weaker. So at that time the view of the “I” is different. With this true view, with this correct view, seeing it as dependent, as it is merely dependent, it never arises, and this makes no place for the other negative minds of greed, pride, and jealousy to arise; so there’s no way for the other problems, the actions of greed, actions of pride, to arise.
Anyway, there is much to talk about in terms of what I was telling you before. There is much to explain about it, many details, there is much to say about it, it is a subject that can be explained for a long time. In Tibet, the monks study the philosophy of these subjects on the absolute nature, they study with much details for years. Anyway, it can be explained for a long time, also it can be explained in one word too. One way or the other—everything can be made into one word, that which is called “emptiness,” or it can be expanded so much that one has to study for many years.
So for us at the moment, without talking much, what is the useful thing when there’s a problem like that, what is the most useful thing to do? If you search the object that you see and the subject, yourself, the “I”—the object, possession, or living being, if you search the object as you see it, the total thing is to search for it, where is it? Doing this when there are problems, searching like this, is powerful, helpful because the mind before was occupied with many problems towards that object, anger, pride, or jealousy. If one searches the object and the subject, the “I,” the mind is occupied by that and the other mind, the negative mind of anger and so on goes down. So the more purely, more deeply you search it ... The thing is this—if you find you can’t solve the problem much, if you don’t find you can’t solve the problems of negative mind, this depends on the way you search, your intelligence.
(2) As I explained before in the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, they way to use the techniques with the object of greed is similar to this. The way of trying to lose the attachment results of the negative mind—how it gave problems in the past, how it will be in the future. Think like this, with feelings, trying to really feel it, the shortcomings of what the negative mind did to oneself, and what it will do in the future.
Using this, remembering the shortcomings proves to the person how the negative mind is the worst enemy, the worst interferer. Anyway, the person gets afraid by thinking the shortcomings, so as he gets afraid the negative mind goes down, and the person doesn’t follow it any more, and the problem gets solved. It is very good thinking like this—it helps a great deal to observe karma—with family, friends, relatives, people you are uptight with, something. It is important since we want to meditate. While meditating, the main thing is observing karma. If one doesn’t observe karma, meditation, it does not make sense—it is the most important thing, the most essential thing—otherwise there is no sense in sitting cross-legged, closing the eyes. Observing karma is very important, very important. It should be observed as a heart, like you take care of your heart. If there is something that is going to happen, to fall, you cover your head with your hands; if someone is going to throw something, you don’t cover your body, you cover your head. So your observing karma—even parents don’t observe karma, they don’t think karma exists—following karma is an individual responsibility, it doesn’t matter. As we recognize karma it is our responsibility to observe it.
As there is negative mind arising for some reason, at that time, especially if your mind is uptight in certain situations or with certain objects, at that time it is so easy for problems to arise. Someone says something with which you disagree, and in a second the negative mind arises and you create negative karma. The negative mind arises so easily, it doesn’t need much effort, it effortlessly arises—not like growing bodhicitta. So those times, the mind should be conscious, that is the most important thing, the mind should be conscious of one’s own life, taking care of one’s own life, being conscious of karma. “Should be conscious of life” means not just one life, but conscious of many lives. Like, at the moment there is a small problem—that is because my mind is attached; then there is a disagreement, then anger, pride arise—this is a small thing, this situation is a little problem. But the negative mind arising is not a small thing—”If I do this, besides destroying the present life it destroys many future lives. Even if I am not born in the lower suffering realms, even if I am born in the upper realms, there is much suffering. Besides I am destroying the cause of enlightenment, the cause of eternal, everlasting peace. This is silly; this, my action that I am doing now, is silly. Due to a little tiny thing I am destroying my many lives by following the negative mind, destroying many lives and destroying the cause of enlightenment, everlasting peace, doing some silly thing.” Try to recognize one’s own vices, mistakes. Also try to think of those shortcomings here—if you can remember them it is good.
Karma is very heavy, it is not a simple thing. Once a little negative karma is created, to destroy the karma that is created, even a little one, is very difficult; and to stop oneself from experiencing the suffering result is very difficult, so difficult. It is something that takes much time to purify. “I couldn’t purify the negative karma that was already created until now, I couldn’t purify; besides not being able to purify, creating negative karma again is silly, foolish, making myself more tired, nonsense action,” think like this.
So when you think of karma, one cause of karma—” There is karma that is difficult to control, a very heavy thing,” that causes you to be under the control of suffering. “Therefore, this little thing doesn’t matter. Why I should be uptight about this for such a small thing? There are much more knowledge, benefits, profit if I give it up (this object, situation, whatever it is), more knowledge, benefit profit if I give it up.” This means you are not concerned with that, not attached to it. This way your mind, which is like a rock coming up, will disappear, will lose it—then you create peace by yourself. Finding the chance to create peace by yourself is the knowledge of understanding karma, of understanding Dharma. This is something you have to work with peacefully in your mind. This way, also, it keeps other people peaceful, relaxed.
Many times there are unnecessary small things, matters of agreement. A person creates much negative karma just because of food, some little thing in the family, clothes, and little things. Problems seem heavy, big things, but they aren’t, yet much negative karma is created for such a tiny thing. The person—whenever there is some kind of problem like this, disagreement, food and clothes, something like that—the person’s mind explodes, the mind all of a sudden—by a little word, an ugly word—all of a sudden the whole personality changes. Before he was enjoying well, and after a few minutes another personality—like that, easily changing the personality, the aspect of the face. So anyway, very uncontrolled—that is because of the practice, when there are things happening like this, the practice is not so active, the person is not well trained in the mind, not much familiar. And also, depending on the practice, if it is not used in the right way, if it is not practiced in your mind, yourself, no matter how much you meditate, these problems will always happen—no change in your mind, in your vices, in your negative personality. So when there are problems, the person who tries to control himself, who tries more and more subdued action, personality—at that time the practice, meditation, or Dharma practice, has helped him—his Dharma practice.
Generally, Dharma can never give harm, disturb, or cause the negative mind to arise—but if your individual practice of the Dharma is not done in the Dharma way, not used in the Dharma way, not done on you, your mind, your practice can cause the negative mind to arise instead of helping. So anyway, when there is such change in the personality, the person becomes more and more subdued, trying to control himself, conscious of karma, that is the real, successful Dharma practice, the actual situation. This meditation is much more powerful than that which you do in the schedule, when there’s no problem. Because the meditation that you do at such an important time protects you from creating negative karma, from creating confusion and fighting with people, making other people unhappy.
Also this is helpful, changing the object, because different objects, being cooperative causes, cause different problems of negative mind. So “changing the object” means you are changing your view; you don’t have to make it a different shape, but change your view of it. If you see it as beautiful and attachment arises, then change your view, see it as ugly; so the view changes, attachment loosens. When, there is a person in relation to whom the mind is attached or uptight, try to change the view, the person, the object, try to see him as a terrible old man, in the form of a terrible old man. Think like this, “The whole evolution, I see like this as he or she is existing by himself; something in beauty. But it was not always like this. This is only seeing the body, not the mind, so the body I see as beautiful was not always like this, what I see is temporal. At the beginning, it was like kaka; at the very beginning it came from the sperm and kaka place, just the combination of the blood which has no beauty, which is like the kaka. Then the shape slowly changed to become this. And it will change again, become ugly and very old.” Try to see it like this, from the beginning to the end, then it helps to lose the uptight feeling, the attachment. It helps, it helps.
Sometimes, another method is thinking about the inside, the skin—seeing separately the bone, flesh, blood—in this way you cannot find the object of the greed—this way is also helpful.
This means thinking of yourself as wood or a rock—the very last method, thinking of something like this that has no anger or greed. Visualize yourself as a huge rock. While you visualize, the mind is occupied, so it doesn’t allow the active mind to arise.
So now, we make another kind of meditation. (The six divisions of samsaric suffering—these are not shown in the textbook).
Do the checking meditation on the sufferings of the samsaric happiness, such as the relationship between enemy, parents, relatives, and stranger—none of this is definite, nothing ever becomes definite, everything changes. Do checking meditation on this; how even in the upper samsaric realms where there is more chance to believe in pleasure, to have a happy life, still it is temporal samsaric pleasure; the pleasant life, the relationships between people are not definite. As it has been changing, it will continually change. Try to do the checking meditation with examples, try remembering your past experiences; try to see them as indefinite, the offering of indefinite, samsaric relationships and samsaric temporal pleasures. Check the changing relationships this life and the changes with friends, also parents becoming the enemy, even in this life, many things, changes in this life. As this happened in the past and will continually happen in the future, cycling round, becoming different. Then check like this—if there’s attachment arising for your friend, whoever you’re attached to, think what feelings you have. Also check with the enemy, what feelings you have for the enemy whom you dislike. The friend is helping you, as you need, desire, the enemy is harming you—check your feelings with each one.
Still there’s attachment to the friend, so think that, “This person will definitely, even if he is helping me now, will definitely become my enemy, and harm me in many different ways, and will kill me in numberless times in the future. Therefore, this temporal friend, the samsaric temporal friend is not definite, is not definite. Therefore, there is nothing to be attached to now just because he is helping me.” Think also, “This samsaric relation, this is like a person who is going to kill me tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, soon, but today pleases me by giving things, saying nice words as I desire. So this person who is going to kill me soon, however much he tries to please me today, tries to make me comfortable, says nice things as in this example, we know the person will soon kill, harm, cause life-danger, soon, today, tomorrow, one month, a year; so there is nothing to be attached, no interest just because he is doing nice things now.” As the person who sees this knows what he is going to do, he has no interest, no attachment in the actions trying to please in the present. So just as this, same thing, this friend who is pleasing me now is definitely going to kill me in the future, it is just a matter of perceiving this clearly; so what he is doing to me now, giving things, there is nothing to be attached to.
For the enemy, if after checking there is still anger, “This is like an example, a person whom I know will be helping me numberless times in the future, even though he is giving me trouble today there is nothing to react to, to hate—this enemy will become my friend numberless times in the future, so there is nothing to react to. So as the friend is not definite, the enemy is not definite.”
(2) Then secondly, do checking meditation on the dissatisfaction for samsaric enjoyments, such as samsaric pleasures, enjoyments, the pleasure derived from food and clothes, not having satisfaction in the possessions. Besides thinking of your own problems with these things, think of the general sentient beings’ suffering. Besides the fact that their relationship is indefinite, they have the suffering of dissatisfaction; other human beings, other sentient beings. For example, many rich people, how much they have. First of all, however many friends they have this is always changing, the enemy is always changing—not definite, not for sure. And however much they have, they have no satisfaction; however much satisfaction, apartment, place, however many of those samsaric enjoyments they have, they do not find satisfaction; just as the beggar does not find satisfaction.
Also there is the suffering of our rebirth not being definite, as we always keep on leaving the body. This present human body we have, we think we are going to have for a long time—but think, this is for some time but again it has to be left for other realm, such as the sura, asura; then left again, and born as an animal, a chicken; then that has to be left, and born as dog; then that has to be left, and born as tiger; and again that has to be left. Also, we have to be born in the preta and narak stages. Mainly should think of the higher rebirth, the more pleasant rebirth—however much we take rebirth always it has to be left. Even if at the moment we are like this, doing everything we wish, food, clothes, where to go, many things as we wish, this has to be left. Then we are born in such narak suffering which is the opposite. Even though the higher samsaric gods who have greater enjoyments, such extreme great pleasure, the pleasure of the senses, only enjoying nectars, great bliss, bodies full of light, having much, living on grounds of diamond, jewel grounds, jewel places, having enjoyment with many thousands of goddesses, having many surroundings, great numbers of surroundings. Anyway, even those, even if we are born as those, again we have to be born in such a place where there’s darkness, where we cannot see our own body, cannot even see our own hands and legs, such as the worst suffering stages, the body becoming one with fire, just like wood burnt by fire. Even if our previous lives have such enjoyment, they have to be left for an opposite place where we are burnt like firewood. That kind of body we experienced countless times—where there’s no darkness as the body had light—numberless times, but nothing happened, we didn’t make it meaningful.
Rinpoche Question: Is there mind in the brain? Is the mind inside the body or outside the body? When you get angry, do you get angry from the feet?
Answer: From the heart.
Rinpoche: From inside the heart or outside the heart?
Answer: Not the organ, the heart.
Rinpoche: So anger is in the heart. When the heart is transplanted, do you get the other person’s anger?
Answer: It isn’t the physical—how could the physical be the mind—like not in the brain.
Rinpoche: So anger and greed are not in the brain. Isn’t their energy in the brain? What about “the energy of the brain is mind.” So greed and anger and so forth are in the heart?
Answer: Not the physical heart, but from that area, it’s a physical center—I don’t know.
Wednesday, December 12th
Before taking the ordination the motive should be devoid of the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas. Besides being a pure thought that is opposite to the evil thought, it should be a Mahayana thought in order to take ordination in the Mahayana way. Therefore, think briefly like this,
“There’s nothing to be attached to in this temporal life; however much it is pleasant, however much we can make it happy, there’s nothing to be attached to. Even the situation that we have now never lasts, it is very temporal, it’s like for a few minutes; this situation, this freedom having many choices, this time is just for a few minutes, there is nothing to trust, there will continually this situation—there is nothing to think about, this is just only for a few minutes. Even just before the death many things can happen, many horrible situations can happen. We are not sure if these situations will carry on until death time. Since we cannot stop the dangers of being born in the suffering realms that come after death, it doesn’t make any difference—even if this present life if surrounded by so many friends, the body living in jewel palaces with many surroundings, many relatives, many desirable possessions, whatever we need; even if we make our body light and we don’t have to depend on material food and those things; even if we have high psychic powers and can fly—however the present situation is pleasant, is rich, is powerful, however much it is, since we cannot close the door of the suffering realm before the death… Now something like this, after death if the person is definitely going to be born for the second time in those horrible suffering narak stages, all of a sudden down there, suffering on red-hot burning iron ground and besides that suffering with different things, sometimes becoming oneness with fire, like firewood—if this is what is going to happen after death, then nothing makes any difference. If we are going to suffer that, for a long time, the length of which is nothing compared with the present life, which is so short it can’t be compared with the narak life, making this life rich and pleasant makes no difference—this is just a few minutes compared to the length of that suffering, and thinking this gives us a very upset feeling. At present the only thing that keeps our mind happy is that we don’t realize, don’t know where our mind will take place after the death. If we could perceive that, there is no way to arise, to want—since it is something we can perceive—attachment to the pleasant life or to things, it is an impossible thing to do. Besides creating negative actions, negative minds arising in the day, even in the dream it is something we are unable to do, if we perceive the suffering realms where we are going to suffer.
“It is not enough that we are to be born in the upper realms and not in the lower suffering realm after death; it is not enough because life in the upper realms is very temporal, just as the present example; and it is only in the suffering nature. Wherever we are in the six samsaric realms, no matter what rebirth we take, it is in the nature of suffering, like being on red-hot iron ground, wherever the person steps it burns. So, it is necessary to release from this suffering. This arrangement should be done following the method in order to release oneself from the bondage of suffering, it should be done when we are human beings. If we can’t do something better, stronger when we are human beings, then when we are born in the lower realms or even in the other upper realms, it is extremely difficult to make arrangements to be released from samsara. So now, while having the perfect human body, it is the right time to work in order to release from suffering the bondage of death and rebirth.
“Releasing myself from suffering is not enough. We are equal—as I desire happiness, all sentient beings desire happiness, as I do not desire suffering, all sentient beings do not desire suffering. Therefore, there is no reason that I am more important than other sentient beings. Also, there is no reason to retaliate with friends, enemies, strangers, because none of this is definite, none of this is true, it always keeps on changing. Therefore, there is no reason to be attached to those who help, to have hatred, to have ignorance toward the stranger. Beside this, all sentient beings have been one’s own mother countless times and therefore have also been kind in numberless times. It is necessary to repay them. The best way to repay them, as they are suffering incredibly—most of the sentient beings, however much they desire peace they always run to destroy the cause of peace—no matter how much they do not desire suffering, they always run to create the cause of suffering, due to the lack of wisdom which fully distinguishes between positive and negative actions, not having a leader leading them in the path to enlightenment, not having received teachings, not having perfect human rebirth; many things missing. At the moment I have received perfect human rebirth and have many chances, having met teachings, many things. Also having a little wisdom that can distinguish between positive action and negative action, the wisdom that recognizes some difference. All the suffering sentient beings in the narak, preta, animal, human, sura, and asura realms should be devoid of suffering, they should develop happiness. Since there is no ability for them, no wisdom, many things missing, while I have chance, capability, as I am their son—just as in the example, when the mother is suffering, blind, eyes blind, suffering by falling from the precipice, not knowing where to go, so the son is responsible to look after her, so mother sentient beings are suffering like that, running to the sufferings. So I am responsible to rescue them from suffering. So, I myself should release them from suffering and lead them into enlightenment. At the moment I have no power, but who has the perfect knowledge, power, and great compassion? Only Buddha has it. So I must achieve enlightenment.
To achieve enlightenment I must achieve the graduated path. So it is necessary, the basic thing is to subdue the three doors of body, speech, and mind.
First of all, subduing the body’s activities and the actions of speech, and then one must subdue the mind—even if the mouth is covered and the body is fastened by ropes and irons, if the mind is not subdued, the body and speech cannot be subdued in that way, even if for the whole life the mouth is covered by something and the arms are subdued. The change in body and speech has to come through the change of mind—if the mind is subdued, the nature of the body and speech is subdued, in the nature of happiness. It works just like, whenever the king goes, also the surroundings, the guards and many things naturally come—if the king is invited, all those other people come without being specifically invited. So it works, by subduing the mind, the speech and body become subdued. The best way of subduing the mind is by following the precepts. “Therefore, for this reason I am going to take the Mahayana ordination.”
Also it helps a great deal, the greater the number of people that take it, the greater the profit to the country. This is the best cause of world peace—it helps stop wars and quarrels, and also helps stop famines and epidemics. There are many stories about how it benefits in that way, in many ancient countries this was proven. Some kings made it law for the people to take them on special days, such as the 8th and 15th, the full moon and the 30th. There were certain kings that made it law for all the population to take it. Where there were no crops, there were crops; where there was famine, there was less famine; when rain came at wrong times, it came at the right times. Also there were less quarrels and wars. This is the best method for world peace. These precepts are also taken for these reasons, which are all mentioned in the first prayer that is repeated three times. But totally it is to receive enlightenment for the sake of the sentient beings.
And also, in ancient times, those who were led by the kings to take precepts like that, even after their deaths they were guided from rebirth in the suffering lower realms, reborn in the upper realm, such as in the sura and also in the human realm, with the chance to practice Dharma.
This is from the same teaching, the holy speech of the great guru, bodhisattva Tenzin Gyaltsen, “One cannot be enlightened without bodhicitta, even there are other realizations of the Dharma.”
Just like the example, if there’s no organ of life then the other organs cannot work, cannot fulfill their purpose. So as having the organ of the life is that important, bodhicitta is also that important to receive enlightenment. Even for instance, if there is realization of the absolute nature, without bodhicitta there is no way to receive enlightenment. Of course, without depending on bodhicitta, other realizations besides the realization of absolute nature—how can these make one receive enlightenment? It’s impossible. Therefore, understanding the importance of bodhicitta, it is greatly worthwhile to always do the practice of bodhicitta, to always take care of bodhicitta, as one always takes care of one’s life wherever one goes. Wherever one goes, travels, whatever one does, he always takes care of his life. Just like this, wherever one goes, whatever one does, one should take care to practice and develop bodhicitta.
We are fortunate to have the time, to have met the Mahayana teachings on bodhicitta, and to have the time to study, listen, and meditate. For instance, if you are born as a slave, as an army man, many things, your whole life is completely occupied by something, and you don’t have time, besides not having met the teachings. So not being like those who have no freedom, who haven’t found the precious chances, not being born as those, using this human body or human rebirth only to create more negative karma in place of creating more positive karma, such as the leader of the armies—creating negative karma even in one day, one hour, half an hour, many thousands people being killed by his by giving orders to the army, one person, however much reputation he has, one person creates incredible negative karma. At the moment we are fortunate not to be a person like that, in such a situation, being in such a place, where we have to create so many negative karmas—if even taking one human life is the worst thing, why not taking thousands of human lives? Anyway, therefore it is necessary to practice, to start even from this moment, to try to habituate the mind in bodhicitta. Therefore, thinking this, try to cultivate the pure thought of bodhicitta even in one day, it helps that much.
So therefore, before listening to the teachings, think: “I am going to listen to the Mahayana teachings on the graduated path in order to receive enlightenment only for the sake of the sentient beings.” The listening subject on the graduated path, and if it is divided into three, the part of the lower being’s teachings is briefly finished; now we are talking about the graduated path of the middle being. That includes the meditations on the sufferings of the human realm, and on the sura and asura realms, and on the general sufferings of samsara, the six divisions, and also meditation on the suffering of the three divisions concentration.
The first of the sufferings of samsara that wasn’t completed last night; the six divisions of samsaric suffering are as follows.
(1) The first is the suffering of indefinite—what? Indefinite samsaric relationships with beings, the samsaric relationships with living beings, mainly the indefinite relationships of the friend, the person to whom one is attached, and indefinite samsaric pleasure, the suffering of indefinite samsaric pleasure, that which does not last. Just as we worked with the friend, also the samsaric pleasure is indefinite, does not last. So as there’s nothing to trust in the samsaric relationship with the friend, there is nothing to trust with the samsaric pleasures.
(2) Second, the suffering of dissatisfaction. For instance, in previous times, during Guru Shakyamuni’s existence one person threw him an offering, I think of beans, and one or two stayed on Guru Shakyamuni’s head. As Guru Shakyamuni was coming along, the person, as an offering, threw beans, one or two thrown as an offering to Guru Shakyamuni, and they stayed on his head. Due to that karma, merits, afterwards he was born as a god—a samsaric god who controls all the four continents, even the realms, even the place of the gods—he had much power and control; but still he didn’t have satisfaction. He wanted to possess the throne of the king of the god realms that were not under his control. Anyway, he never received satisfaction; even though he had that much high enjoyment and materialistic power, he didn’t create merits in that life, only enjoyed the karma created in the previous life, created by the small karma of throwing beans to Guru Shakyamuni. So that good result, having power and enjoyment, that fortune, that luck finished; and again he was born in the lower realms, because his result, his time to enjoy in that realm finished.
Same thing, if you think like this, in the modern countries satisfaction is the biggest problem. One trying to control in another place, another trying to control another, not having satisfaction even if one has one’s own country. This is the same thing. It is not something special, such dissatisfaction, even an animal has, a lower creature has such nature, there is nothing special in trying to control each other—it is very clear, if you watch the dogs, that even the animals know this. It is nothing special for human beings.
So totally, among all the samsaric possessions in any of these realms, nothing is new; even though we don’t possess them here, now—those possessions which are in the sura or asura realm, that which other rich people have—however, it is nothing new. Tibetan people think, usually Eastern people think, that they never enjoyed the Western possessions. Western people think they never had Eastern things—anyway, it is nothing new. Anyway, whoever has the satisfaction, a beggar or a rich man, if the beggar is satisfied with the few things he has, actually he is the rich person. Because by having satisfaction, confusion doesn’t arise, complication, worries, trying to get better, trying to receive more, obtain more, this worry, continually. This person has peace, so he is rich, internally rich. Just as those yogis—there is nothing to look at, their mind is always in great satisfaction, not in confusion like ordinary samsaric beings have. Even though they have only one simple cloth, living in the cave in such a natural place, even though there are not many good things, the mind is always in place. Even if they don’t have gardens, many other things, even they don’t have heaters, air conditioning—if you compare, they have so many things missing on the material level. But their mind is nothing to compare with other people’s mind. The whole reason, what makes those ascetic yogis’ minds happy, not worrying about these things? That is caused by satisfaction.
(3) The suffering of giving up the body frequently, the third suffering—this suffering of giving up the body again and again, the samsaric body. Whatever beautiful body is taken in the samsaric realm, nothing is definite, nothing can be trusted, there is nothing to trust in one’s own body, and nothing to trust in others’ bodies—beauty, having a beautiful shape—even in this life it changes and besides this, after death, we had this body for a very short time, like a few minutes, then another suffering body has to be taken. So therefore, there’s nothing to be attached to in any beautiful looking rebirth with the samsaric body. Even in the bodies of those samsaric gods’ rebirths, there is nothing to be attached to. Because again it has to be left, it is only temporal. Even though one was born as a god, on the planet, moon, and sun, having light all in the body; such, only living, walking in the jewel palace, spontaneous light shining; even though it can give light to many other continents, different earths, even though this can be done, even that doesn’t last. Even if we are born as those samsaric gods who have power like that, whose light can dispel the darkness of the four continents, in a time that has to be left. So, there’s nothing to trust, nothing is definite. All this, besides earth, all these planets have to be destroyed, finished, the whole thing finishes in a time. Where there’s light now in space, it becomes dark. Even if it is like this, again we have to be born, even though we take a rebirth of the gods, after that death we have to be reborn in the lower realms, or take rebirth on the earth, which is completely the opposite to the enjoyment before, very ordinary. So even in such a rebirth of those samsaric gods there is nothing to be attached to, no peace, not definite.
Meditation on these sufferings is very helpful because usually in the world, on earth, people are attached to where they are going, but not to enlightenment and wisdom. They are so much involved in this, this goes with the attachment. What causes the enjoyment, seeing the same thing, having the same power—why is one person trying like that, one family trying like that, one society trying like that, one country trying like that? One thing is, actually, this attachment causes the person to copy and make himself busy trying to obtain same possessions, power—all this is caused by attachment, and this continually keeps the living being in samsara.
Now we are talking about the realms of the gods. Compared the realm of the gods, the possessions and material powers on earth is nothing—like a beggar, compared to them. Therefore, we can’t have interest or attachment to those higher possessions of the gods, their bodies, their beautiful-looking rebirths, possessions, enjoyment, or power. We can’t have attachment to that because it is not permanent, it doesn’t last; even that is in suffering, even that has to be left. So, if we can’t even be attached to that, how can we have attachment to these lower, simple things—the materialistic powers, the different shapes of the human body—to many of these things, how can we be attached, how can we have interest?
Meditating on this helps a great deal to recognize that those who are trying to create suffering by themselves. But those people think they are trying to create peace, doing something good, trying to make the life happy—when what they are really trying to do is trying to have problems, for their life and for the future. Because of the habitual actions, if they are born in the upper realms, again they are attached to other things, to other people, powers, pleasures, possessions, and body, again having habit, trying to have it, again it circles round and round—in the sura realm, in the realm of the gods, even those, even if we are born in those realms, surrounded by thousands of goddesses, enjoying with them, almost inseparable from them, enjoying always together with their bodies. But again there is nothing to trust, it has to be left; after that life the being is born in the lower realm, where there is the opposite. Before, it was a jewel ground, flexible like a soft cushioned bed, very shiny, existing due to their karma like the earth exists due to our karma. It doesn’t exist by someone making it with a hammer, as our earth doesn’t exist that way—so in previous life we were like this, and after that enjoyment, we were reborn on red-hot iron ground. First, the body was enjoying with goddesses, next, the body was suffering and being cut by weapons. So there is nothing to be attached to in those higher pleasures, nothing to trust. Even if those beings enjoy only nectars, receiving higher pleasure, after that rebirth the person is reborn in the lower realm and has to drink coals, extremely hot water, without choice, burning stomach, much suffering, eating coal, hot coal, burning stomach, experiencing much suffering without choice, controlled by those karmically created narak protectors. This is not something we never did; we enjoyed those realms numberless times. So, if there is nothing to look to in those higher pleasures and possessions, how can we be attached to the poor things on earth in the human realm?
(4) The fourth suffering, the suffering of joining frequently. For instance, like this—the continuity of our mother’s mother—the present mother’s mother, the grandmother—then the grandmother’s mother ... counting like this, even if we make small pills, even a whole mountain, such a huge mountain, with its dust we make small pills tiny sized, like beans, from the whole mountain of earth, we make pills from the dust and then count the number of mothers with those pills, still the earth doesn’t cover the number of mothers. As the past is like this, it will carry on in the future.
For instance, talking about our experience of the sufferings ... in these narak stages, there was uncontrollable suffering by drinking those extremely hot drinks and waters—there is a term but it is difficult to translate—our experience of that, suffering from eating the hot coals going through the mouth and stomach. If you collect all of those extremely hot waters or coals or many things, if you collect them, they are much bigger then the Atlantic because we did this again and again and again. So if these sufferings are collected, they are bigger than the Atlantic, infinite. The Atlantic has an end but for the others the beginning is infinite because the experience of the suffering has no beginning. Also in the future as in the past as long as we don’t do something with karma and are in samsara, we may have to go through the experience of drinking those coals more then that.
Our being an animal, always eating dirty things, eating dirty things, putting such dirty things in the mouth, we also went through that experience numberless time. If you are going to pile up all these dirty things we ate, it is bigger than Mt. Meru, the greatest mountain, because the experience is beginningless; there is no such time that it began. So we don’t know how much we will have to go through this in the future, maybe more.
So, joining and joining with those sufferings, again and again. Also, because of these samsaric problems, the tears, however much we cried in countless times, if collected in the ocean, even this couldn’t compare with all the waters in all of the oceans and lakes on the earth; the waters of the Atlantic are nothing compared with the quantity of the tears, the drops of tears from crying in samsara. So in this life, as we cry for each different problems, so the drops of tears for each problem is much bigger than the Atlantic. When we cried we experienced this numberless times, so with each problem we cried. So therefore, even drops of tears with one problem, if they are collected they can never be compared with all the waters that are on the earth. So, this is the suffering of joining again and again—always keep on doing it, experiencing the problem again and again.
Also, killing each other—however much we killed other beings and however much other beings killed us—if all the corpses, the dead bodies are collected, they are bigger than earth, earth is nothing compared with this. It is the same thing in terms of our drinking milk from other living beings; this is also not a new experience, like the tears that cannot compare with all the water on earth, the Atlantic. So we keep on creating karma and keep on taking rebirth, and keep on drinking milk like this.
(5) Samsaric action is like this, the suffering of becoming higher and lower again, frequently like this.
For instance, collection of possessions—first of all we collect, then the end is that they finish. Money, whatever it is, always it is ended by finishing. However high this time is, however the person has a high relative or is in a high position, or is a kind, high leader, there is nothing to trust—the end of that is to become lower. So there is no reason to have attachment and interest to become a high leader, to have high rank, even to be the king of the realm of the gods—it does not last, the end is to be lower, always to fall down. It is of samsaric nature, the end of the collection is finishing and the end of being higher is being lower.
Always joining or meeting samsaric nature—the end of the meeting is separation, always like this. So, because of this samsaric nature, there is no reason to be attached to meeting friends, possessions, anything. Thinking of the separation that will definitely come, there is nothing to be attached to. Meeting is ended by separation. This is samsaric nature. To be alive is always ended by death so there is nothing to be attached to, no way you are going to exist without going through death, no way to be alive without going through death. This is the nature of the samsaric suffering, samsaric nature. For instance, before we met, for instance just the example here—first of all we met, then after one or two days separated, a simple example. Same thing with parents, couples, with any other thing. The whole thing is to fight the attachment, to fight in order to lose the attachment.
For instance, before Tibet was independent, there were so many rich people who had so many servants around, servants of servants, many who only enjoyed the best rooms, best food, everything best, clothes, vehicles, they were served, wherever they walk they ride on something, famous, rich, many things, not easy to invite even, requiring much preparation. But after Tibet was taken by the Chinese, many rich families like this became poor, like beggars, wearing torn clothes, working, eating simple things. And the people who used to be beggars became rich in other countries, in India. So the whole thing changes according to time, like this. In many countries, like this, even in one lifetime the family was rich but after ten or twenty years they became poor. This is also samsaric suffering nature, so there is nothing to trust in life. If it is samsaric nature, the end is suffering.
(6) The suffering without helper. For instance, when we are born in samsara from the mother’s womb, we are born by ourselves, each individual. That suffering, even in the mother’s womb, that has to be experienced only by oneself, there is nothing to share with the mother. Even in life, however many troubles and sufferings there are, the person has to suffer himself, there is nothing to share, it has to be experienced by oneself. As the karma was created by oneself, the result has to be experienced by oneself. When there is trouble like this there is no helper who can take it away—”I have diarrhea, please share it with me.” Therefore, there is no reason to be attached to the helper, to the attached friends. Also, when we did there is no helper, as we were born without a friend alone, we die alone. When we die there is no friend coming with us, each of us has to die alone; even the body that has accompanied the mind that whole life is to be left, the mind has to make the trip alone.
So just as the great pandit Shantideva said in his teaching, Following the Bodhisattva’s Actions, “At birth, born one single, only oneself; also at the death time, dying oneself. There is nothing to share the suffering to others, therefore there is no reason to be attached to the relative or the temporal helpers.”
Thinking of these six different ways of experiencing suffering causes one to feel tired, more and more bored of being in samsara and not having trust or interest in attachment. However the situation is happy, even if the situation changes, you are good, comfortable, there is no attachment, no interest in it. This not having attachment is not suffering—many people think not having attachment, not having greed, is suffering. That is lack of wisdom, not realizing the nature, not seeing the karma. I met some people who think like this—that not having attachment to things is unhappiness, that it is necessary to have attachment and greed. Of course, for them it is their commentary, for them they see attachment as a comfortable mind. When the attachment is working it is kind of, the person has a wrong conception seeing as a pleasure, which is completely opposite to the factual evolution, the factual thing.
By thinking this, by meditating on the suffering more and more, there is less attachment. As we discover more suffering of samsara, there is the stronger desire to achieve liberation and the cessation of samsara. As the person gets more and more bored more and more in samsara, the person wants to finish it quicker. Like a person who is having surgery without a pain-killing injection—just like his feeling, he is tired of that, all he thinks is how it can be ended—same thing. This feeling with samsara is necessary in order to receive the fully renounced mind and nirvana.
In break times read on the sufferings of samsara, the third meditation.
Summarizing the six sufferings.
1. The suffering of indefinite samsaric existence.
2. The suffering of dissatisfaction in samsaric existence.
3. The suffering of leaving the body again and again.
4. The suffering of joining (joining the suffering, the different samsaric sufferings; finishing one thing but creating the karma and again joining with suffering, but creating the karma and again coming to that suffering, so joining) again and again.
5. The suffering of the four ends: the end of being high is to go lower, the end of a collection is when it finishes, the end of life is death, and the end of meeting is separation.
6. The suffering of being without a helper.
Read the meditation on samsaric suffering three times; at the same time also check in your mind, so perhaps you may get out of samsara tomorrow.