Sunday, 1st December
(continued) 9 am
“I must achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all mother sentient beings. Therefore I must complete the realization of the graduated path. Therefore I am going to listen to the teaching on the graduated path.” It is necessary to have such a pure motivation before listening to the subject of the teaching.
The listening subject is the Mahayana teaching that leads the fortunate person to enlightenment and it is a teaching that is well expounded by the two great philosophers Nagarjuna and Asanga. It is a profound teaching that is the essence of the great yogis Atisha and Guru Tsongkhapa’s understanding. This teaching includes all the 84,000 teachings shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha and all these teachings are set up for the practice of one person’s achievement of enlightenment.
This commentary on the graduated path has four outlines. In order to show the reference, the knowledge of the author. In order to bring up devotion, the knowledge of the teachings. The way of listening to and explaining the teachings and the way of leading the disciple in the path to enlightenment. The last outline has two—the way of following the guru who is the root of the path and the way of training the mind in the graduated path. The way of training the mind has two also—persuading the mind to take the essence with the perfect human rebirth and the way of taking the essence with the perfect human rebirth. The last one is divided into three—the graduated path of the lower being, the graduated path of the middle being, and the graduated path of the higher being. The graduated path of the lower being has two—bringing up the thought seeking a better future life and following the method that brings happiness in the future life. The last one has two—refuge which is the holy door of the teaching and bringing up the understanding belief in karma which is the root of all perfection and happiness. So, taking refuge which is the holy door for entering the teaching, that part is finished.
The second one is bringing up the understanding belief in the karma that is the root of all happiness and perfections. Generally there are three outlines. Thinking of general karma and particular karmas and then after that, checking the karma, such as avoiding the negative karma and creating positive karma. Generally part of the subject is included in three outlines. Thinking of the general karma, the first outline also has two outlines—actually thinking of the general karma and thinking of particular karmas. Actually thinking of the general karma that is part of the subject that we have been talking about, such as how karma is definite, is expandable, how the result cannot be experienced without creating the karma, and how whatever karma is created can never get lost. In regards the topic of karma is definite, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha said in his sutra teaching, “Whatever karma is created, the result will be received.” Whatever karma is created, whether it is a cause of happiness, whether it is positive or negative karma, it brings its own result. There is no such thing as creating non-virtuous karma and receiving the result of happiness, or creating virtuous karma and receiving a suffering result—there is no such thing as changing the result like this, no such thing.
For instance, the second one, karma is expandable—just like if you think of the outside example it is easy. For instance, when planting rice, this one seed of rice can bring many hundreds of rice grains, can bring the result of many hundreds of rice grains. Just like this also karma—this is an external example but the inner evolution, the karma, is more expandable then the external example such as this seed. For instance, such as just a small karma, saying to another person, “You look like a dog,” or you look like this—saying this with a negative mind, calling someone a nickname with a negative mind. This karma brings the result that one will be born as a dog in many other lifetimes. For instance, also in previous times it happened that one man was discriminating to a monk who was crossing over the stream on the water. The person said to the monk, “You are jumping like a monkey.” Because of that such small karma he had to be reborn as a monkey for five hundred lifetimes. Even if the karma is created very simply, very easily, just two or three words, it creates, it brings such a result like this that the person has to experience for a long time, five hundred lifetimes, keeping on taking the monkey’s body. For instance, if you think of this example also you can understand how karma is expandable. Just like the external example of the seed. For instance, even a tree, just one piece of small wood planted afterwards becomes a big tree with so many hundreds of branches. It becomes very big, with so many leaves, so many branches, like this. Karma is expandable like this.
For instance, also in previous times when Guru Shakyamuni existed in India there was one family, one mother and father. The father was very wise in debating to control others, to make other people lose in a discussion. So the father debated once and the king wanted to debate with some other person on the philosophies. The father debated and he won the discussion and received many presents, gifts, and possessions from the king. Afterwards the father died and the mother had another son and the mother was scared that the presents, the possessions received from the king may get lost. The mother was scared that they may be taken away by other people. The mother suggested to her son that he should debate, and make the monks, the Sangha, lose. He was encouraged by the mother like this.
One day in the path he met a monk. The monk asked him a question and he couldn’t give the answer, so he was really shocked. He came back home, and the mother asked him, “Did you control, did you defeat him?” The son said, “How can I defeat him? I couldn’t defeat him.” Afterwards the mother suggested to the son that he should go to live in the monastery and take ordination and study deeply all the philosophical teachings. The mother suggested that he try to have all this understanding so he could make them lose by debating, and he could control the Sangha. He did this, he went to the monastery to live and took ordination and did a deep study of the Dharma as suggested by his mother. Then afterwards again his mother, after a long time, she asked again, “You should control them, make them lose.” The son said, “How can I control them, those Sangha are not simple. Besides they have the oral teaching, they have also realizations, how can I control them, how can I debate them?” Then the mother suggested, “You should go to debate them and when you start to lose, call each monk a different nickname—you look like a dog, you look like a lion, you look like a donkey." The mother suggested different names. She said if he did this the people watching the discussion would think that he was controlling them, that he won, and they lost, that the other monks became lost in the discussion. The mother expected mainly a reputation for her son. The son really listened to his mother. He went to the monastery, and they made a big performance, with many people coming to watch and also many Sangha. Then he started to debate them. Afterwards he could not debate anymore, he was starting to lose his debate, so he remembered what was suggested by his mother. He called a nickname to each monk, “You look like a dog, a monkey,” eighteen different names of animals, one to each monk.
Then what happened—after some time in one part of India there was a big river, and there were maybe four hundred fishermen fishing at that place. They put a net out to catch the fish, a very big net, and afterward the net that they put in the big river became very heavy. They couldn’t hold it—even the fisherman were pulled over by the net as they tried to hold it. Other people had to help them hold it because it was so heavy. Afterwards everyone tried to see what was inside the net and afterwards they found an incredible big, huge animal with eighteen different heads—monkeys, dogs, lions, tigers—all kind of different heads. It had one body but eighteen different heads and thirty-six different eyes. The fishermen got such a big shock—this animal was coming through the river and while the fishermen were fishing it got stuck in their net. The other people around there were all watching, and the other animals. At that time Guru Shakyamuni was in some other place working for sentient beings and all of a sudden he discovered that this thing had happened, and he came to that place to predict to the people and the animals. All the people campaigned for Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, that Gautama Buddha is coming to watch—just like people coming to watch a movie, people campaigning like that—Gautama Buddha is coming to watch this scene. They fixed a place for Guru Shakyamuni Buddha to sit down and he sat down near this animal and blessed it to be capable of communicating. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha can bless in this way—animals usually cannot speak the human language but Guru Shakyamuni always blesses the animals and makes it possible for them to communicate in the human language that other people can understand.
So Guru Shakyamuni blessed the animal to be capable of speaking and to remember his previous and future life. He asked, “Who is your invirtuous friend?” That means the person who caused him to take such a rebirth. The animal said, “My mother.” Then Guru Shakyamuni asked, “After that, where were you born?” He said, “I was born in the narak stages.” Then, “Now where are you born?” and he said, “I’m born as an animal.” Guru Shakyamuni asked, “After this where will you be born?” and he said, “Again in the narak stages.” Saying this, the animal was also crying. Then the other people who were watching the animal asked Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, “What is the karma of that animal? How did it happen?" The purpose of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha coming like this is mainly to explain about karma to other people—not only to benefit the animal but also all the people around, to explain karma. In that way those people realize karma and observe karma. It benefits in so many ways.
So afterwards they requested Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, “What is the karma of that animal that made him receive such a rebirth?” Guru Shakyamuni explained the karma that was created by him in previous lifetimes, calling the monks different nicknames. Such a small karma that he created by just calling nicknames made him experience different suffering rebirths for a long time. Again he was born in the narak realms, again born as an animal, again born as a narak—for a long time taking birth in suffering realms and suffering. Also like this, karma increases. If today we killed a little bug, one bug, if we don’t confess, purify it today, in that same day, it increases. Tomorrow it becomes double and the day after tomorrow again it increases like this. So during the fifteen days this negative karma of killing one bug continuously increases. When it becomes fifteen days, the karma becomes as heavy as the negative karma of killing a human being. The actual meaning of how it is increasing is like this.
So briefly like this—how it becomes negative in fifteen days is by increasing into eighteen thousand one hundred and eighty-four, that much negative karma, if it is not purified within fifteen days. Karma is expandable, and the result cannot be experienced without the karma created by oneself. For instance, sometimes people ... for example like this. If there are ten people going on the path in the road, and if there is a golden ring on the road, if somebody has lost a golden ring and ten people go on the road, they don’t all find the golden ring. Maybe the last person finds the golden ring, but the other people who go before don’t see this golden ring. Even though they come at the same time, only the last person coming sees it. Other people, even though they came together, didn’t see it, but the last person finds the golden ring. Many times it happens like this, things like this. The reason all people don’t find as the last person found is because he didn’t carefully look—that is almost something but the main reason is that the other people didn’t create the karma to find that golden ring. As the cause wasn’t created, the result finding that golden ring cannot be experienced. They cannot experience it. The reason the last person found it because he had created the karma to find such a thing. That’s why even though they are looking in the road and going together, one person sees it and another person doesn’t see it. These things happen.
Also many times it happens when we want to get certain materials, things, from another place, and some other people get it, and when we go there it is finished, something happens. Other people get it, somehow we don’t get it. Even many other people can get it. We may talk about time getting late or something, but that is the only thing that we understand, that we can figure out. There is a reason beyond that, deeper, to check up. A deeper cause to find. That is the karma. This is an example of not experiencing the result of the karma that wasn’t created by oneself. Because the karma wasn’t created to find something, receive that material at that time, the result of receiving that material doesn’t happen. So think about this example, which makes the evolution of karma understandable. Thinking about this example makes you understand about karma, and by thinking about karma it makes you understand our usual daily life, the deeper reasons. We understand the situation, that the things that are happening in daily life have deeper reason, causes, than what we think. It is not just because of time, because of things. For instance, sometimes material things in some people’s hands last for a long time—there are many people for whom anything they have lasts for a long time. In some people’s hands somehow things easily get broken, lost, always something happens. This is also because of karma. There is always a reason the person puts, this and this and that, because I dropped it, that is how it happened—but that doesn’t give the full reason. That is not a sufficient answer, not a full reason. The full reason is because the person didn’t create the karma that brings the result of having the possession last.
Student: If you call someone a name, but with affection, only joking?
Rinpoche: Also how the karma is heavy also depends on the object. There can be all kinds of things, sometime joking, calling with a negative mind—if it is joking it depends on the object, if the object is higher, depending on the object, the karma is heavy.
Student: It was a little monk.
[Rinpoche or someone commenting - unclear who said this] If you think it without saying it does still create karma.
Rinpoche: That’s what you thought about your father.
Student: Recognizing the negative mind, is that itself creating merits or is the action of creating merits separate from recognizing negativities?
Rinpoche: Recognizing negative mind can happen, recognizing negative mind is not bad.
Student: Does that itself create merits?
Rinpoche: Not sure. Recognizing negative mind helps—it depends how you do it. If you stop rising negative mind then it is helpful after. If even though you know you are angry, you still carry on, then it doesn’t help.
Student: Can one action have both positive and negative karma, in the sense that we are told of the intention as well as the result that causes karma. For example, in the process of charity one can stand on an animal, killing something. Is karma from the mind only? Irrespective of action, the result turns out or am I confusing things—
Rinpoche: Karma itself is the thought. For instance, there are things like this. The action of mind, also thought and the thought that puts the speech, body, and mind in action, that is also karma. Like this.
Student: You can create karma.
Rinpoche: First of all the mind thinks, then that thought puts the body, speech, and mind in action, movement, like this.
Student: If you create bad karma with calling someone a nickname or hurting them, at the moment if you become aware and apologize and try to make it good, you can work out the whole bad karma?
Rinpoche: It helps much. Your feeling, the stronger you feel repentance, the stronger you feel sorry for making a mistake, that much it helps. You see, to make any negative karma created lighter, smaller, that mainly depends, is mainly done by feeling repentance. The stronger you feel sorry for the negative action, that much negative karma becomes lighter, not so heavy. I will make it a little bit clear in the part on confession. For instance, when a person dies it is also because he has the karma to live that length of time, the karma was created in other lifetimes to live that length of time having a human body. So when that period, when that karma finishes, there is no choice. Why the person has no choice at that time, why the person is not free is because he is under the control of karma, so the karma to exist with a human body is only that many number of years, that length of time, so when that finishes no matter how much he dislikes to separate from the body, there is no choice. Because that person cannot experience the result, even after that length of time, still living with that human body, existing with that human body. There is no choice because the karma that brings that result wasn’t created by him to live after that length of time. That wasn’t created, so therefore there is no choice, his life goes, works according to karma. Even if the karma, even if it has been billions, many billions of eons ago created, as long as it is not purified, confessed, well purified, then whenever the condition is ready, whenever it meets the condition, at that time it becomes ready to experience. No such thing gets lost.
Then, thinking of particular karmas, such as thinking of evil karmas, such as thinking of positive karmas and the part on powerful karmas—thinking of the negative karma, that is, thinking of the ten immoralities, basically thinking of the ten immoralities. Among the ten immoralities also there are some heavy, some are lighter, like this. For instance, killing, stealing, taking misconduct—there are three bodily actions, immoral actions. Which is the heaviest one among these three—taking others’ life, then stealing, then the last one is wrong conduct. Then also there is a way to find out light and heavy in terms of the action of speech and the action of mind. There are three immoral actions of mind and four immoral actions of speech. For instance, in regards action of mind, the heaviest one is heresy. Then ill will, then covetousness. Each of these actions has also to find out like this. For instance, killing has four limbs, the object, the thought, the action, and the goal. Each of these ten immoral actions has four of these things. For instance, just one example, the object whom I kill is not me, different ... separate from me. The thought is the recognition, the object that I want to kill, that recognition, the specific animal that I want to kill, this is the thought. Then the motivation is either with anger, attachment, or ignorance. For instance, animal skins. Something you need from that. Then anger when killing the snake or tiger; anger, disliking mind.
With ignorance, for instance, sacrificing the animal. This immoral action is done with ignorance, not knowing, not having the wisdom eye to know the karma, it is done believing that this is a positive action, done with ignorance not knowing karma, with wrong belief, believing that it is a positive action, that sacrificing is a positive action, an offering to the god, that’s what they think. Many people sacrifice things like this, thinking this is a positive action and making offerings to the god. But they really don’t know. If it is checked up they really don’t know how that pleases the god. If that is questioned, what God is, checked up, there is nothing to prove. And how does that action help them. It is just only their belief but there is not any logical reason. Many people do these things and think that if they don’t do them—some families who think they know a little bit about religion have a little bit of pride that they are a religious person think if it is not done God will not be pleased, God will punish us, God will give us harm and trouble. They think like this. They have such wrong conceptions as this. Before they sacrifice the animal, they throw water on the animal’s body, on the backside, and if the animal’s body shakes it means it is okay to be killed. If it doesn’t shake it means it is not to be killed. That’s what they believe. It would be silly to think that if someone throws water on the killer and they shake, then they are also ready to be sacrificed. There are many silly reasons but they have a really strong belief. Some people have things like this to say when questioned. Many people here, some families do this because they just take the example of the other families, and it is just a custom, their belief doesn’t have any logical reason and also many people do it just as a custom, not so much as a religion. Sometimes they say if you don’t sacrifice at the festival time then the other families complain, so therefore they have to sacrifice. Some people have reasons like this.
In India in one place there was a family and the father sacrificed a cow. After his death he was born as a cow in the same family seven times, and sacrificed seven times by his son. Actually, if you really think, karma is really incredible. You see, oneself, just changing the body, the mind is there, the father is there, because the body temporarily changes, the families don’t recognize—very upsetting isn’t it? The family had a back side to their house, kind of like the Nepalese, some kind of stones, marks where they sacrifice there. The family had behind their house and the father when existed sacrificed a cow. It happens many times. Families die there and are reborn as animals—this happens many times, because of such strong karma. For killing, the goal is the other animal, the object dying before the person dies, before the killer dies. If the object dies before that, then the goal is finished, the goal is actualized. This is just only talking, telling only one action of taking others’ life, the immoral action of killing. But others have each of the four limbs.
Afterwards you can go through with details which makes it more clear. Maybe it is explained in other translations, other books. However, this time explaining all these things takes too much time. The result of the ten immoral actions also is briefly explained in this book, the different types of results that arise from each negative action. It talks a little bit about the karmas created, how the karma becomes heavy through the thought, with what kind of thought and action the karma becomes heavy. For instance, insulting another person with a strong negative mind, with strong anger, with such strong anger. That karma is heavy from the side of the thought. Also in regards to the action, karma becomes heavy from the side of the action, for instance, like this. When a person kills a goat, first of all beating it, torturing it in many ways, and not giving it food, then afterward peeling off the skin, torturing it in many ways, letting the animal suffer for a long time, causing the animal to suffer for a long time by torturing it in different ways—that kind of karma becomes heavy karma from the side of the action. For instance, taking a piece of meat from the body, slowly, slowly, with the animal suffering for a long time—that kind of karma becomes heavy. Some people they burn the animal inside the fire and this causes the animal to suffer for a long time. Also being put in the hot water, boiling water, then cooking, the animal doesn’t leave right away, the animal suffers for a long period. Then it is heavy karma from the object’s side. That is karma.
Insulting, beating those such as our parents, higher objects such as monks, higher objects such as those who have the achievement of bodhicitta, higher realizations, our gurus—the karma is heavy from the side of the object. For instance, even looking with the eye with dislike, with anger, not properly, not looking the right way, showing the part of the white of the eye, glaring. Even this action, such a small action, a very small action, but because of the object this karma becomes heavy—if the object is one’s parents, a bodhisattva, the Sangha, or an object who has higher realizations, the karma is heavier. This is mainly from the side of the object. This is not just opening the big eye, like this. Looking sometimes at people like this, sideways, means this. This is just to explain—the action is small, the action is nothing, it is a very small thing, but this is to explain that also it can become heavy karma because of the side of the object. Then continual action. There is a way that karma becomes heavy by continual action, such as chattering, gossip mongering, always chattering—by always chattering it becomes heavy karma. Chattering with attachment, without any beneficial, important reason, talking with attachment, with negative mind, then gossiping, talking about unnecessary things. So doing this for a long time, the action becomes heavy. There is a way the karma becomes heavy that doesn’t have any remedy, and that is this. The person who never does purification, who never create merits, even one merit, his negative karma is very heavy because there is no remedy. This karma becomes heavy because of not having created any merits, not having any remedies.
This is very useful to understand because this understanding of details clears up much about karma, what is heavy karma, and what is lighter. You can see the difference by understanding. In relation to the results of the immoral actions—ripening ... totally talking there are three types of suffering results. The result of each of these immoral actions, one result, is always to be born in a suffering realm. The first result is to be born in a suffering realm. It is called ripening, like fruit ripening, ripening karma. That is usually taking birth in a suffering realm. Then there is the result of karma that the person has to experience, even if the person is born in upper realm, born in the human realm, in the sura or asura. Besides the first result that makes the person born in the suffering realm, experiencing a suffering result, the person has to experience this even though he was born as a human being. For instance, just one example, taking others’ life, explaining this one immoral action, the first result is the ripening result, being born in a suffering realm, but even though the person was born in the upper realm, because he caused other beings’ life to be short by taking life, besides experiencing suffering in evil destinies, he has a short life as a human being. He is again killed by some other person or animal, like this. One result is this. This is the result experienced according to karma. The person having short life is the result experienced according to karma. He is experiencing the result of that karma.
Then there is another result, a kind of reaction, a habitual action, according to the previous karma. A habitual action similar to the previous karma that is like this. For instance, taking others’ life because the person did an immoral action of taking others’ life in previous lifetimes, so in this lifetime, even after experiencing rebirth in the suffering realms, and besides experiencing a short life, again he kills other living beings, he does the action again. This is the result of the other previous karma. For instance some babies intuitively like to kill insects whenever they see them, and they always kill insects. That is because of the previous habit of the previous karma, the previous action taking others’ lives. So like this it always continues. It is the habit, acting again with a reaction similar to the cause. This is also one result. The same thing even with the little puppies—just after they are born from the mother, after a few days, they know automatically about sexual intercourse, things like this, without being taught by the mother—that is the result of the previous karma. This is doing again which is the result of the previous karma, the previous action, doing sexual intercourse is a habitual action.
The last result of the karma of taking others’ life, the possessed result, that mainly comes from the place where the person lives. It relates to the place. For instance, in the place where the person lives, there are famines, if the crops don’t grow well and there are always problems in the means of living, in regards to getting food, if there is scarcity of food, food becoming less—like this difficult things happen from the side of the place. Each immoral action has a result like this. As I explained with this one action, the action of killing, the different results of this, similar to these four different results, each of the other immoral actions have.
These are very useful, understanding different results. From one negative karma there are four different types of different results to experience. They are very important to know and very helpful to the mind. In this way also we understand, many people question like this, “Why I should do this, why I should do that?” Many people think like this. Somehow they feel something is causing, forcing them to do it and they don’t know why they are doing this and that, they say this. However, by understanding the results of karma, there is an answer.
Then some powerful positive karmas, from the mental side, from the thought, the object’s side, again there is a way to understand this. For instance, in regards charity, the Dharma charity of explaining Dharma, trying to explain about Dharma, making conversation of Dharma--this becomes Dharma charity. This positive karma of Dharma charity is more powerful than the positive karma of just making material charity. However, for instance, in regards offerings, material offerings and the offering of the Dharma practice, which positive action is more powerful—making material offerings or making Dharma practice? Like trying to control your own negative mind, practicing meditation, trying to control your own mind. The offering of practice mainly means, another way of saying, is offering your attainment. So this is higher, more powerful, much more powerful than making material offerings. Just as the great yogi Milarepa said, “I don’t have any material offering, the father guru's offering is offered by my attainment.” What he means is this. The best offering - among the offerings, the best offering to the guru or Buddha whatever, it is the same—that is one’s own Dharma practice. Attainment means attainment of the realization, however, having the realization of the meditation is the highest and best offering. However, generally talking, controlling your own mind, keeping your own mind away from violent negativities. Practicing Dharma is the best offering. That is the best offering that really pleases all infinite buddhas, gurus or all infinite buddhas. That is the main thing that they wish, what infinite buddhas and gurus wish.
Then making the karma powerful from the side of the thought, that is like anything—making one stick of incense, or offering one candle—even a small thing, just one stick of incense, one candle, as long as it is done with the motivation of bodhicitta, that action, that positive karma, becomes very powerful. Offering one candle with bodhicitta motivation is much more powerful than making offerings, light offerings, many hundreds of thousands of light offerings without the motivation of bodhicitta. The other one, making candle light offerings, has much more benefit, is much more powerful, than offering many hundreds of thousands of lights without the motivation of bodhicitta. No matter how much material is offered, it doesn’t become powerful if there is not the motivation of bodhicitta. This is very important to know. There are different ways of making positive karma powerful, so by knowing this you have the wisdom to make—even if you do one positive action, to make it powerful—not just a positive action but to make it very powerful for purification.
In regards objects of offering it is also like this. One’s parents are higher than other ordinary people, and those who are living in ordination, a monk or Sangha, are higher that that. Then higher than ordinary Sangha is those who have the achievement of bodhicitta, the full realization of absolute true nature, such as those who are arhats. As the object becomes higher and higher like this, also the offering action has that much more benefit, becomes that much more powerful. Then making offerings to the bodhisattvas and making offerings to the buddhas has much benefit, because the object is higher. Anyway like this. Then making offerings to the numberless buddhas, making offerings to the guru has higher, double benefits. This is just to have some understanding, some idea, but with details it takes much time.
In the afternoon I think you first do meditation on karma, trying to remember the different negative karmas that have been collected and created in this life, such as from these ten immoral actions. Count each of the actions, how many times it has been done, as you remember, count like this. Then after you went through life, check on the four outlines—thinking that karma is definite, after you found that much was karma created—some people may not find this possible. Also not only thinking of the present life karma but also like this, “Of course I must have been collecting karma in my other previous lifetimes.” Then after checking like this, think how karma is definite—as I explained try to remember as much as you can. With external example as I explained this morning, last night, these examples. Also the stories I explained, also if you can remember them it is helpful, very effective for the mind. The purpose of many times giving stories—sometimes rather than explaining the actual subject, just going straight through the subject, going through the actual stories that happened gives more feeling to the mind, makes it more real, more understandable, to have a deeper feeling in the subject. Otherwise even though the subject is planned straight, somehow there is not so much understanding or feeling. Like this. So also if you can remember the examples and stories it is very helpful.
Then second you check up how it is expandable, like how killing one bug increases like planting rice, and how the result cannot be experienced without creating the karma. Also from your side, you can do all kinds of things, so you may have many more examples. Try to remember, and if you remember use it for meditation. Then any karma—even though it takes many billions of eons, doesn’t get lost, as long as it is not purified, not confessed, not completely destroyed by following the path. Then, if there is still time you can read the part of the Mahayana meditation, how sentient beings have been your mother, that part of the meditation and how sentient beings have been extremely kind.
Also there are differences in regards karma, throwing karma and completing, finishing karma, definitely experiencing karma, and indefinitely experiencing karma. Throwing karma means karma that throws the result. The term sounds a little bit funny but literally saying it straight, taking the word straight from the Tibetan term called penchey le. Pen means shooting like an arrow. Throwing karma—what is thrown is the result. For instance today with virtuous thought we make meditation, listen to the teaching, and we discuss Dharma conversations. However the positive karma was created with virtuous thought, so each time when we create virtuous karma, we create karma which throws the result, meaning it brings the result in the future, same meaning, it brings the result or throws the result. Also as there is positive and negative karma that throws the result, that throws the suffering result. For instance, example like this. In regards positive, if you don’t think about the negative karma we have created today, only talking about the positive karma, then the example is like this. Finishing karma, for instance—today our human life is finishing, today is one day in our human life, and it is almost finished. This is the result of previous karma. This is the result of previous karma, so this karma, today our human life, this karma is finishing, this karma is finishing karma. For instance, today how many pleasures we have received, the result of pleasure, how many times we have experienced it today, that is finishing karma. Because this is the result of previous karma and as we are experiencing this result, the karma is finishing. For instance, each time we are eating, drinking, as these are the result of previous karmas, while we are enjoying this, while we are experiencing this result, this karma is finishing while we are enjoying it. Such karma is finishing so this karma is called finishing karma. However, it is a result of previous karma, so as we are enjoying it, the previous karmic result is finishing. That is easy to understand.
On certain levels of the path there is finishing karma, but there is no throwing karma. That meditator experiences the result caused by the previous karma but the meditator does not create extra negative karma, so that meditator doesn’t create throwing karma. These things happen while the meditator is following the path, on a certain level of path, as we talked about the five paths. Such as definitely experiencing karma, such as an action that is continuously done. Such as negative action that is continuously done for a long time. Actions such as negative karma that are done without feeling, without strong feeling of repentance, without making any purification, without making any confession, actions that are consciously done, purposely done. There are also other details to talk about. However these karmas will definitely be experienced by the person. There is also karma that is indefinite to experience. Even though negative karma is created, without going through much detail, totally talking, if the person makes continual purification or confession, then the person doesn’t have to experience the karma.
So just briefly talking about how to make confession, which will be very useful if you try to understand. By understanding these four faculty of remedies, the confession you make becomes perfect. Generally any virtuous action that you do, whether you recite mantra, make offerings, prostrations, or whether you do meditation on the graduated path, generally anything, like helping other people in the Dharma by explaining the Dharma, reading the holy texts, meditating on certain manifestations of buddhas or deities—generally all this becomes a purifying method. Such as mandala offering. However, whatever the action, a Dharma action or a virtuous action, it becomes purification. Generally it is like this. But if we can, while we are making purification, making prostrations, reciting mantra, or making purification with light nectar, visualizing Guru Shakyamuni Buddha or any manifestation, other deity, if you can think, remember, and make the confession by remembering these four faculties of remedies, the purification becomes incredibly powerful because of the perfect confession. By making just total, the whole way of thinking, the way to make confession, just making it short, also as I have been explaining about the seven limbs, part of the offering is just briefly, something like that.
So now the prostration offering. In the offering it also includes the mandala offering but the mandala offering again it ... also there are so much details to talk about in terms of the meditation on the mandala offering. However, if you want to know about it, it is briefly explained in the meditation course book, how to visualize, what to think. I think I will tell another time generally what possibilities, what you can do in the morning time, things to do in the daily life, what should be done in the morning time when you get up. I don’t mean to do meditation on that, but what is possible, what easy things can be done to create good karma for purification.
So this time I will explain just the confession. This is very useful. As you are making meditation on Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, doing the purification by visualizing Guru Shakyamuni Buddha depends on your time. First of all it is necessary however whether you make one hour or a half hour purifying meditation, or twenty-five minutes, fifteen minutes, whatever, even if you make ten minutes meditation, the motivation is important. To begin with, a pure motivation is the most important thing, as we have been talking about all the time. Then if there is not much time, then you just think of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. If you can think of the meaning of each word it is very powerful, so helpful for the mind. As it comes in the word, first of all “Guru,” then “Shakyamuni Buddha.” First of all the essence comes, the essence of Buddha, the Guru, then Shakyamuni Buddha. Think that he is the embodiment of all infinite buddhas. This is very important. First of all the motivation, then secondly Guru Shakyamuni Buddha being conscious of what you are thinking, and he is the embodiment of all infinite buddhas. Then before you start to say, “La.ma Dron.pa chom.dan.da” and so forth, before you recite this prayer, take refuge in the holy object, thinking briefly thinking like this. First of all I will tell. “I will take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, the three sublime preciousnesses, the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha until I achieve enlightenment.”
Your mind completely relying on Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, what feeling is necessary in the depth of the heart, what feeling is necessary to have pure refuge—the stronger your mind can completely rely on Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, that much more your refuge becomes stronger and pure. Like giving your whole life, depending your whole life on Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, just like the example for instance of the tourist who goes on an expedition to climb mountains because it is very dangerous so he has to rely on a good friend. In order to not get into danger and to have the trip be successful you have to have a good friend, a really trusted, serious, sincere friend who doesn’t cheat. This person doesn’t know, has no idea of that trip, so the other friend who is really sincere and who knows, who has an idea of the trip, has experience, so the other one who doesn’t have experience has to completely rely on him to not get in danger and have the trip be successful. He depends with his whole life on that person. Like this example, the feeling that one should have in the depth of one’s heart is completely dedicating, completely giving, depending with your life on Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. Like whatever happens to me, whatever situation, miserable or happy, happens to me is up to you, is in your hands—if I am born in the suffering realm, the happy realm, it is in your hands, up to you, depending with your whole life on Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. This feeling is necessary. Then saying this prayer, “La.ma Dron.pa Chom.dan.da.” Then you can recite ten, fifteen or twenty times according to the time that you have. According to the time that you have. It is also good to recite this fifteen times. What you should think is what I explained at the beginning of taking refuge, and then it is necessary to make the prayer of prostrating or taking refuge. All these, taking refuge and saying the prayer, includes the first faculty of the holy object. There are four faculties of remedies to make the confession perfect.
The first one is the faculty of the holy object, which includes taking refuge through this form of thinking and saying prayers of prostration and refuge.
Then the second one is the faculty of seeing the delusions and negative karma as a fault, as wrong. If you talk about the feeling, the second one is feeling repentance, a strong feeling of repentance. Feeling sorry. How does the feeling sorry come—by recognizing it as a mistake, for instance, it is very useful to think like this. This is not so long, and it is easy and very effective for the mind. If the person has taken different ordinations or vows, such as the person who took ordination, precepts, the individual liberation, individual nirvana, such as the five precepts, or the eight, or the thirty-six, or the two hundred and fifty precepts, like this. If the person has taken precepts then it is also useful to remember the bodhisattva’s precepts and the Vajrayana precepts. However even though the person has not taken these vows in this life, it can be possible that the person took those vows in other previous lifetimes and broke them, and have the negative karma created by breaking the vow, this can be possible. It is okay to say because it can be possible that we took these things in other previous lifetimes. If you created them in other previous lifetimes, they have to be purified. If you can remember these things it is also very useful. Like this, especially if you have taken them in this life, “I have created so much negative karma by breaking the precepts or the individual nirvana, the bodhisattva's precepts and Vajrayana precepts. I have created so much negative karma by breaking many of these many times.”
Then besides this also remember the ten immoral actions. “I have created incredible numbers of these immoral actions, such as negative karma in this life.” However, whether you are living in these ordinations or not, the general people not living in Vajrayana or bodhisattva’s precepts or ordination, the most important thing to remember in order to receive the strong repentance is the subject of negative karma. For example, the ten immoral actions—then you know how many times you have created them, you have some idea. Otherwise without thinking of the specific actions you feel that it is not that great, not so strong. However, the most important thing to remember, especially for those who don’t have ordination, are the specific things such as the ten immoral actions, those negative karmas. Think, “I have created so much negative karma many times, just even in this life.”
Rinpoche: If you go through the number of precepts you can remember—that’s the purpose of saying it three times in the morning and even the prayer that is to remind us what precepts are broken. Also, remembering what is broken, then confess again to make the vow to keep. This is the main purpose of the prayer. I think I cannot talk on that.
Student: His Holiness did not say this, because Lama Yeshe said this today, I understood because I did not carry on in the ten days I had broken the vow. His Holiness ----- of released us from ----- (Dam Seg) said not do anything for ten days, so everybody broke ----- (Dam Seg) for ten days.
Rinpoche: Did you really understand what His Holiness said, that you should stop? He meant something else, he didn’t mean to not say the usual prayers.
Student: All the logic school, everything, he said you must stop because Goenka went to see him, Goenka asked us not to say mantra just for ten days.
Rinpoche: It must be at the place where meditation was made, but he cannot be in the room, cannot be in the room.
Student: There is a rule to live only in the same place.
Rinpoche: Then if His Holiness has really specified, especially emphasized like that you should not say the prayers, should not think of the prayers, if he really emphasizes this, especially made it clear to not recite, say prayers to not think of the meditation, what the prayer contains, then maybe there is some reason. But he might have meant loudly saying these mantras and prayers. He cannot mean to not ... I am sure he didn’t mean to forget all these things.
After remembering the negative karma such as the ten immoral actions created many times in this life think, “Right at this moment whether I die or not, death is more definite. Is taking rebirth in the suffering realm more definite or not taking rebirth in the suffering realm more definite? Taking rebirth in the suffering realm is more definite. If death happens right away I am definite to be born in the suffering realm."
Also while you are saying this, just not only following intellectually the words without feeling. The most important thing is to have the feeling as you are saying like this, remembering, thinking of the suffering of the pretas and animals. However it is more useful to think of the suffering of the naraks, as if you are seeing the suffering place where you are going to be born. Such an unbearable state, remembering the infinite ground, the hot red burning iron ground. Thinking, “If I am right away born there, what can I do, what can I do?” There is no method. Right away, all of a sudden, right away like this. All of a sudden there in such state, what can I do?
Then thinking, “In this life I have created so much negative karma that makes me experience suffering in the evil destinies, such as in the narak realms, for numberless eons. This is still nothing—from beginningless previous lives I have been creating so much negative karma, such as the five extreme negative actions, heavy negative karma, such incredible negative karma I have created from beginningless samsaric lives. When I look at all these negative karmas it is something that, besides causing me to be born in the suffering realm, it will make it almost impossible to receive enlightenment.” Then think, “However the incredible number of negative karma I have created, I do not desire suffering, I desire happiness, I always want happiness, therefore I have to face this, to purify it, because my desire is like this. Therefore no matter how difficult it is for me to purify I have to purify all this negative karma in other realms—the sura and asura—in other realms it is extremely difficult. Therefore, where there is an easy chance is in the human realm. My human life is not long, my present human life is not long. It is not definite whether I will die or not right this moment, not sure. Therefore I must complete, I must purify, completely purify all the negative karma just before the second of death.” Make such a strong decision, have the strong feeling to make all this karma not exist. Then also request, think of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha as the embodiment of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, the embodiment of all buddhas, and request. “Please grant me blessings to purify right away, right this moment, all the delusions, all the negative karma that has been collected from beginningless samsaric lifetimes.”
Then the next one is making a vow again, which means the faculty of not creating negative karma. However, making the vow like this. For instance, last night I briefly talked about the usefulness of making a vow, a promise, otherwise it is not so much useful. If you don’t make a vow you do the action again, and if you make a vow you are living in discipline, and that helps, that is the main thing that helps the person to not create negative karma, to not create the cause of suffering. You see, if the person doesn’t make the vow, doesn’t make the decision to not do it again, then the person has no discipline. He doesn’t feel responsibility. So if you make the vow, the usefulness of making the vow or decision in the presence of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha is very strong. By making the vow you feel responsibility, and also if you have made the vow you are living in discipline. If you have made the vow, living in the vow, you are living in discipline. Also by making the vow it is not easy to break it because the vow is made in the presence of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, in the presence of the holy object, so therefore from a holy object you have made the vow, the promise, and therefore there is a heavy responsibility, somehow it is not easy to break, to create negative karma again, it doesn’t happen easily. Even if the person is in danger, close to creating negative karma, the person remembers that he has made the vow, this heavy responsibility. Because of remembering this feeling of responsibility, the person doesn’t create negative karma. That’s how it helps, that is the usefulness of making the vow.
Making a vow is more powerful, and it helps more than just your own decision without making a promise in the presence of a holy object. If you just make the decision by yourself, “I am not going to do this again,” without making the promise in the presence of someone, then there is no feeling of shame. And also, even if you have made the decision by yourself, thinking that I am not going to do this again, the feeling is not that strong. You don’t have that strong feeling of responsibility. So after you have made the request to please grant blessings to purify, after that then you make the vow. There are different ways according to the person to make the vow; this depends on your capability, the power of your mind, how much decision you can make. You can make the decision to not do this again in this life, to never do it again in this life, within one year, within one month, or today. Like this you can make the decision or vow. “I will never do today, I will really observe today,” like this making vow. For example, if the precepts are broken, then saying, “Today I will really observe them,” making the really complete decision, making the vow.
This doesn’t mean I am going to do it tomorrow, I am going to break the precepts tomorrow, create negative karma tomorrow, it doesn’t mean this, it doesn’t mean making two vows like this. But making a vow for a short time is to help—even though we break precepts, tomorrow being unconscious, due to certain conditions, if we have made the vow today like this, then even if the vow is not made for tomorrow at least if something happens that karma is not so heavy, is not double. Besides just creating the negative action, then for instance, today I have made the vow, then if I create the negative action again, besides creating the negative action also it becomes telling a lie to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, as the vow is made to observe that day, so if you made the vow for a short period, today, then at least by meeting a certain condition it doesn’t become telling a lie, heavy negative karma. Even though the negative action was created, even though negative karma is not created, the rest of the action observing the karma or precepts is possessed by the present vow. So depending on the power of your mind you can make the decision like this. I think I will stop there.
Student: In the book it has the vow coming after purification. Does that matter?
Rinpoche: That’s okay. Together to think like this is quicker, doesn’t take much time. If the person is going to wait hours until the purification finishes, maybe he will forget. I think ... also for instance, if the vow is made with the continual feeling of responsibility to be conscious, it is important. Then only one thing is left. The faculty of remedy. The faculty of remedy to purify. For instance, in this specific meditation, while you are reciting mantra visualize. First of all purifying with white light, which is the essence of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s omniscient mind, like this you can think. Then purifying. Then the second time again visualize yellow light, whose essence is knowledge, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s knowledge, and receiving all knowledge like this. Then reciting mantra and visualizing, all these go in the faculty of purifying remedy. Generally this includes, as I said before, reciting mantra and visualizing like this, then after that if you start to do meditation on the graduated path that also becomes the purifying remedy. Generally the purifying remedy can be any action, even painting the figure of Buddha, making statues, making stupas, many ways. Putting colors on statues, stupas, many different ways. There are many different forms of purifying remedy. If the person has time, to make it very effective, first of all remember the general samsaric suffering and the suffering of the evil destinies, then remember Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s knowledge, then take refuge, then confession, then make purification. If the person has time it can be done this way. Everything becomes so strong. Then the benefits of confession and each of these four have great benefits. Then there are also signs of how negative karma is purified, things like this. So those can be discussed, explained, tomorrow.
Dedicate the merits, seeing that yourself and the merits and enlightenment and also sentient beings are as a dream, empty of self-existence. While concentrating on this think, due to the past merits and present merits of taking ordination, doing meditation, listening to teachings, and also the future merits, may I quickly become Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, quickly attain Guru Shakyamuni Buddha by receiving the fundamental realization of the fully renouncing mind of samsara, bodhicitta, and the full realization of the absolute true nature in order to lead all mother sentient beings to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s enlightened stage.
Monday, 2nd December
“From beginningless samsaric lifetime due to the attachment that is attached to the happiness of this life, the wrong conception of the self ‘I,’ the self-cherishing thought, due to these wrong conceptions, I have been experiencing suffering by circling round in the six different samsaric realms numberless times. I will experience suffering in samsara by circling round in the six samsaric realms endlessly as long as I follow attachment that is attached to the happiness of this life, the wrong conception of the self-’I,’ and the self-cherishing thought. Besides myself, also other sentient beings who are the field from whom I receive all my past, present, and future happiness and perfections are of the utmost need at the beginning of the Dharma practice, and even in the middle and end. These sentient beings are extremely suffering in samsara, under the control of attachment that is attached to the happiness of this life, the wrong conception of the self-’I,’ and self-cherishing thought. At the moment, mother sentient beings don’t have the capability or the power to receive enlightenment by releasing from all suffering. Who is responsible for making sentient beings enlightened and releasing them from suffering? Me, the daughter or son of mother sentient beings. While the mother is suffering the one she should depend on is her son, and that is me—if I don’t help, don’t benefit, I cannot repay mother sentient beings’ kindness. So for all these reasons I must achieve enlightenment. Receiving enlightenment depends on observing precepts, disciplining speech, body and mind—therefore I am going to take Mahayana ordination until tomorrow morning.”
Visualize the person granting ordination in the manifestation of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha surrounded by numberless other buddhas and bodhisattvas and think, “I am taking ordination in the presence of them.”
At the end of the third repetition think that you have perfectly received the Mahayana ordination.
Repeat the prayer of the precepts thinking, “I am going to observe the precepts as the previous Tathagatas also observed the precepts.”
PRAYER OF PRECEPTS
Due to the merits may the meaning that the prayer contains be successful. While you are concentrating on the three circles yourself, your merits, and enlightenment including sentient beings, as being empty of self-existence, dedicate the merits, “Due to the past merits, present merits of taking ordination, future merits, may I receive enlightenment soon by receiving the fundamental realization of the fully renouncing mind of samsara, bodhicitta, and the full realization of the absolute true nature, in order to enlighten all mother sentient beings.”
Also, in the confession after the request asking to grant blessings to purify right away, it is important as you start to purify by visualizing the purifying light coming from Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. It is important to think that also all the obscurations and all negative karma that have been collected from beginningless previous lifetimes are all completely purified, not existing at all. The empty feeling, the great empty feeling of the obscurations and all negative karma is important. However try to feel that the body is very light, completely deciding that all the obscurations and negative karmas are completely removed, nowhere existing. Purifying the negative karma, with confession, the method of confession, how strongly you purify depends on how strong a confession you make, and that mainly depends on how strong your feeling of repentance for creating negative karma. So how strongly you can generate this feeling, that much it purifies negative karmas. Also as you have that strong feeling of repentance, the will which makes the decision to not do it again also it becomes very strong, also this strong will arises. If the feeling of repentance is not so strong the will making the decision to not do again is also not that strong. If the feeling of repentance is just from the mouth, then making the decision is also just from the mouth. Just from the mouth but not with the feeling, not from the heart.
The benefits of confession are that making confession causes us to receive enlightenment. It purifies all negativities and is the remedy that is the opposite of anger and attachment and ignorance. The first, the powerful remedy is the faculty of the holy object that makes you not experience rebirth in the suffering realms. As I explained karma, negative karma has four different types of result. The ripening result is to take rebirth in the suffering realm. This is stopped by the first practice, taking refuge, which is the faculty of the holy object. The second one is the faculty of seeing the delusions and negative karma as a mistake, with a strong feeling of repentance. The benefits of that are stopping the experiencing result, which is similar to karma. For instance, the example that I mentioned yesterday, the person who, even though he is born as a human being, has a short life to live and even in this life gets killed by other people, animals, things like this. This is an experiencing result similar to the previous karma that he caused for other living beings. He took the other being’s life in a previous lifetime, he caused the other being’s life to be short so in this life the experiencing result is similar to the karma, he receives back the result of that karma. The second one is the faculty of seeing the delusions and negative karma as a mistake, the strong feeling of repentance to stop experiencing the result that is similar to karma.
The third one is making the vow again, making the decision. The faculty to not create the negative karma again. This helps to stop the result, whose reaction is similar to the previous karma. Because the person created negative karma, taking others’ life, because of that karma, in this life even though he is born as a human being he does a similar action again, taking others' life by habit. So this karmic result is doing again that which is similar to the previous karma, and this gets stopped by making the vow again.
The fourth one, the faculty of remedy, the purifying method, that stops the possessed suffering result, such as being born in a horrible place where there is scarcity of food, things like this. The suffering result relates to the place. This suffering result gets stopped by making the purification which is the faculty of the remedy. Making confession, continual confession, can make one completely not experience any of the karmic suffering result. It can completely remove the negative karma that has been collected from previous lifetimes. Just like that, the previous being who killed his father who is a noble being. I don’t remember the name of the person, but he killed his father who is a noble being and had high realizations. Even though he killed such a holy object, through such powerful confession, continual powerful confession, he achieved nirvana in that lifetime. Also, the evil person called So.ne.takpa who killed nine hundred and ninety-nine people. Even though he has that much negative karma created in his life, by making continual powerful confession he achieved nirvana in that lifetime, and was released from samsara. There are also other examples.
The first thing is completely purifying, and the second is the negative karma becoming less powerful. For instance, if there is karma created, if there is negative karma that makes the person experience the suffering in the evil destinies such as the narak realms for hundreds of eons, by making continual powerful confession, instead of experiencing suffering for that many eons in evil destinies, the narak stages, the person may be born in the suffering realm just for a short time, a very short time. Just like one day or two days, a very short time, or sometimes also without needing to be born in the suffering realm, just getting sick in this life, maybe with a headache, some trouble, stomach pain, by having some trouble, experiencing some sickness, the person doesn’t need to be born in the suffering realm and experience this for hundreds of eons. The experience of that karmic result is included in experiencing the temporal sickness. By experiencing that, the person finishes that karma, and doesn’t have to experience the suffering in the evil destinies for that many eons. Also even by making continual powerful confession, the person doesn’t have to go through experiencing the suffering result of getting sick, those things. Sometimes also by having terrible fearful dreams, even a little thing, the suffering result of the karma becomes so small, like that, terrible dreams. Just by that the person’s karma finishes without needing to suffer for a long time. So also it is possible that the person who often make purification, continuously makes purification, confession in this life, gets many different sicknesses, things like that, this is definitely possible. Instead of experiencing the suffering karmic result in the future and for a long time, he experiences that suffering karmic result in this life quickly—it ripens quickly and finishes quickly in such a short time, like this. Also like this is possible.
The benefits of making confession
Making confession makes it less powerful, creating negative karma becomes less powerful, and the person doesn’t have to experience the suffering result for that length of time. So sometimes it is possible when you make continual strong purification that there are a lot of problems, and that doesn’t mean the person is creating so much negative karma, that doesn’t mean the person’s practice is not benefiting him, it doesn’t mean this. When making continual purification there are all kinds of different signs according to how strong the person makes purification, such as the person flying, such as the person seeing the sun and moon rising, such as bathing in the river, cleaning your body, drinking milk or curd, things like that. Also sometimes from the lower door all kinds of stomach worms, creatures coming out. Also seeing gurus, going to the monastery and seeing altars. Then also many other things—receiving teachings from the guru, many other things. Also it is possible sometimes, if you do meditation on Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, that you will see Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. Whatever meditation you concentrate on either you see it as real or you see paintings, like this, depending on the person’s marks and how strong purification he makes, there are many different signs anyway.
In such a time we have received the perfect human rebirth that is useful for working for enlightenment in each minute, besides the lifetime—the year, month, even each minute. Besides with this perfect human rebirth, besides making oneself close to enlightenment by creating incredible merits, even in each minute and second. Also, it has such a precious chance to create incredible merits, to cause sentient beings to be released from suffering and lead them in enlightenment. However in such a short time, with this perfect human rebirth one can do such great beneficial work, one’s own work and others’ work. However all this power that makes the present perfect human rebirth highly useful, to do such unimaginable, incredible work for oneself and others, the main power is the bodhicitta, the practice of bodhicitta. Therefore it is necessary even in the present time to work, one hour, two hours, listening to the teaching, to make it that much greatly beneficial as this perfect human rebirth has the chance or is capable. Therefore it is necessary to have the pure motivation just like bodhicitta, in order to listen to the teachings. Therefore think, “I must lead all mother sentient beings to enlightenment by releasing them from all suffering, therefore I must achieve enlightenment in order to lead all sentient beings to enlightenment, therefore I am going to listen to the teaching on the graduated path.”
The listening subject is the Mahayana teaching that leads the fortunate person to enlightenment and it is the teaching that is well expounded by the two great philosophers Nagarjuna and Asanga, and it is the profound teaching that is the essence of the great yogis Atisha and Guru Tsongkhapa’s understanding. This teaching includes all the 84,000 teachings shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha and all these teachings are set up for the practice of one person’s achievement of enlightenment.
So this commentary has four topics for the outline. In order to show the reference, the knowledge of the authors. In order to bring up devotion, the knowledge of the teachings. The way of listening and explaining the teaching, and the way of leading the disciple in the path to enlightenment. The last one has two outlines—the way of following the guru who is the root of the path and the way of training the mind in the graduated path to enlightenment. The way of training the mind in the graduated path to enlightenment has two outlines—persuading the mind to take the essence with the perfect human rebirth and the way of taking the essence with perfect human rebirth. The way of taking the essence with the perfect human rebirth is divided into three—the graduated path of the lower being, the graduated path of the middle being, and the graduated path of the higher being. The graduated path of the lower being is divided into two outlines—bringing up the thought seeking a better future life and following the method that brings happiness in the future life.
We briefly talked about the graduated path of the lower being, starting from the perfect human rebirth, the usefulness of the perfect human rebirth, the great difficulty of receiving the perfect human rebirth, the shortness of human life and death, and the suffering of the evil destinies and refuge and karma.
I have one thing to make clear regarding the subject we were talking about last night, finishing karma and throwing karma. For instance, there are different things like this. The example didn’t come, I didn’t explain it last night. Like this, for instance, there are animals such as nagas who have very high enjoyments, possessions, and that is result thrown by the previous karma but their life finishes by creating only negative karma. In their lifetime, they only enjoy the result of the previous karma, they don’t create additional virtuous actions, so their life finishes by only enjoying the result of the previous virtuous karma in their lifetime, just only creating negative karma. Also just not animal, also there are different—like those whose life finishes by virtuous action even though the rebirth is the result of invirtuous karma. There are also animals like this, very few animals, and they have a life like this, finishing by virtuous action even though their rebirth is the result of previous invirtuous action. For example, the animals that are used by the bodhisattvas, by highly realized beings, such as a horse used for riding, and other animals. Because the person who used the animal is a holy object, because of the power of that, the animal’s negative karma is purified. This is mainly due to the power of the holy object. Also it is similar for a human being. Also there are both examples for human beings. For instance, a person like, for example, a butcher, his human rebirth is the result of virtuous action created in previous lives, but his life finishes by creating negative action. There are also human beings whose rebirths result from virtuous action and they also finish the life by creating virtuous action.
In regards to karma, it is always useful for the mind, the more we try to understand about karma. Actually it is like this. Among study or research I think the best research is studying karma. The deeper understanding of karma that you have, you have more reason and more answers, and in that way you have unshakeable answers. Not only intellectually answering like the machine type is also making noise, not only yourself using like a machine, not only intellectually, but really having a feeling with it. Not only repeating what the other person says but also yourself having a feeling, having real understanding. In this way we understand ourselves more and more, better and better, deeper and deeper, and also we understand other living beings’ life nature, deeper, clearer. It is like this. By understanding karma more deeply we understand this, for instance. Not only understanding what is on the surface of the ocean, not only seeing this, understanding what is going on the surface of the ocean but understanding what is inside, underneath the ocean. Different types of existences, jewels, animals, anyway, not only understanding what is happening on the surface of the ocean. However, the person has a deeper understanding that way, a deeper understanding about life, about mind, and the more the person understands about karma that much deeper the person understands about mind and also that person who has such a deep understanding about karma and those things, that is a really wise person. Also like this. The person who understands deeply, that much more deeply he understands about karma, and it is always helpful, always helpful, always helpful. It never causes harm and never causes confusion in the mind.
However, without understanding karma, there is no way to understand life, no way to understand yourself, to understand other beings. There is no way to really fully understand, fully see it. No matter how much, how many eons, how many years you study in the universities, those places that have big names, without understanding karma it is like this—most of the conceptions, most of the understanding about life, the philosophy, the understanding that is taught in schools is like this. When they look at the ocean, on the surface of ocean it is just blue, and also inside the ocean there is nothing. If they see the surface of the ocean they think the ocean contains nothing, nothing exists underneath the ocean. Just trying to figure out what they see on the surface of ocean and the same thing inside the ocean. Sort of like this. However, just intellectually guessing it, there is a limitation in the understanding because of the way of checking, the way of studying. It is not involved in realizing, not involved in purifying the mind, not involved in realizing it, realizing with full experience, not involved in these things. So it is difficult to understand about life. However, what I mean, the very useful thing is usually to read more about it. This is very helpful for your life, one very helpful thing—to read books about karma, books explaining about karma—these are really very useful. Because books explaining the teachings that talk about karma explain your life, explain your actual, real life, deeper, beyond what you understand. Usually it is very, very useful, if there are any books on karma translated in English.
However as I said before, the outer cause, the inner cause. It is maybe possible to discover the outer external cause, perhaps that can be easy to figure out, but without understanding karma, realizing the inner cause is difficult. For instance, why does the person have such a beautiful apartment, a beautiful garden? Because they have made a lot of money, that’s why they have got it, because they are very rich. Some people may question, because they have a lot of money, things like this. But usually people don’t see the inner cause. They don’t see or check up the inner cause. They think the reason, the answer is only that. The reason the family should have a beautiful garden all the time, a beautiful apartment. For instance, why this flower has grown. That is not the complete answer for why the flower has to be on this table, why the person left it there, how it happened, the person looking at the flower, the person enjoying the object of the flower, how that chance happened—the answer is not only because the flower exists there.
Student: You say it's good to read books about karma, reading books you find different opinions about karma. How do you know the proper way to understand?
Rinpoche: You check up. If you have doubts then check with someone who understands.
Student: In meditation, is the time of death definite, due to the three causes, the time for life karmically ended or the conditions sustaining life being unavailable or carelessness or ignorance. How do these differ? It sounds like the karma for that life period is ended.
Rinpoche: Different what? ... I see ... that is possible, for instance, even though this in present life there is a certain length of life that is created by previous karma, in this lifetime, for instance, we have created very strong negative karma that makes life short. Then because this karma is very strong, this can be caused by experiencing the result of that karma in this life and the life becoming short. This is possible. Sometimes there is a life hindrance even though the karma is not finished, the length of life not finished, which is caused by karma. Because of such heavy negative karma there is a life hindrance, so it is possible again by making purification, through certain powerful methods, that the hindrance can be stopped and again the person continues living. Like this.
Student: Didn’t that hindrance occur due to karma?
Rinpoche: Of course.
The purpose of doing meditation on samsaric suffering, the total reason, the whole point is that if one doesn’t realize that each of these realms are in the suffering nature—the three suffering realms are easy to understand; what is more difficult to realize is the three upper realms, the happy realms, the human realm and the sura and asura realm. Those are a little bit difficult to see how all the rebirths of these beings are in the suffering nature. That is a little bit difficult to realize; for example, the rebirth of the sura and asura, the rebirth of those samsaric gods, how it is in the suffering nature, this is a little bit difficult to realize. So like this. If you don’t fully see how all the samsaric rebirths are in the nature of suffering, only in the nature of suffering, if you don’t fully see this, then there is attachment, and if you don’t fully see this there is no aversion to all the samsaric realms. If there is no aversion then there is attachment wanting to be born as a sura, attachment wanting to be born as a human being—attachment like this, wanting to be born as an asura, attachment wanting to be born as a beautiful bird. I am sure ... it is possible. Because of this attachment we have been taking animal rebirths numberless times. Many people think, for instance, when they see an animal, how beautiful it is, ”I wish I am that animal.” Beautiful puppies having long hairs, birds, just completely ignoring ... anyway, not knowing about karma. Also sometimes wishing to be a fish, so they can always be in the water, so they can live in the water without coming out. Then you don’t have to put on those things, these things for the feet, flippers. Especially you don’t have to buy those things. You would be naturally born with them. You don’t have to have a surfboard. But then what to do about the rest of the problems the fish has—by being a fish, how can this be fixed, arranged, like this.
If one doesn’t realize that all the samsaric rebirths in all the realms are only in the nature of suffering, then there is no aversion arising, and if there is no aversion arising, then there is the possibility for attachment to the samsaric rebirth to arise. So because of this attachment to the samsaric rebirth, like these examples, which exists at the death time, which continuously exists, and especially rises up and becomes stronger at death time, this attachment obliges the person to take that body, whatever it is, a fish, a human being, and it becomes stronger at death time. That makes the person take that rebirth, like that, continuously circling round in samsara. So like that, just instead of seeing attachment as suffering trying to control attachment, continuously following attachment, then that’s how the being, how we have been continuously been living in samsara. We are still not released from this. We are still not released from this bondage, from the boundaries of suffering, from this circling. If you understand the part of the twelve links, how they work, it is like this.
So in order to control attachment, in order for attachment to all samsaric rebirths to not arise, you need the method, the best method. The method is trying to realize that all samsaric realms of rebirth are in the suffering nature. So by realizing all samsaric realms of rebirth are in the suffering nature, aversion rises for all samsaric realms. If aversion arises, then the renouncing mind of samsara arises. So by receiving the fully renouncing mind of samsara, whenever the person achieves the fully renouncing mind of samsara through meditation on the graduated path of the lower being and the middle being, at the same time the person achieves the fully renouncing mind of samsara and the person enters the path. If the person has bodhicitta that person enters the Mahayana path, and if there is no bodhicitta then either the person enters the Mahayana path, the bodhisattva’s path, or the person enters the Lesser Vehicle path. The fully renouncing mind of samsara is the door of the path to receiving everlasting happiness, the door of the path to enlightenment. Without having the fully renouncing mind of samsara, if one cannot achieve even individual liberation, individual nirvana, the boundless state, if even this cannot be achieved without having the fully renouncing mind of samsara, then how can enlightenment be achieved, the great nirvana, enlightenment—how can that be achieved without having the fully renouncing mind of samsara? So therefore, to have a deeper understanding of how all the samsaric rebirth, all the realms are only in the suffering nature, this is important. So to have a deeper understanding, to have a deep strong understanding, a deeper understanding, it is necessary to hear the teaching and think, try to understand the meaning of what you understand, and as you have understood it, meditate, trying to fully see, fully realize it.
So this part of the subject is the graduated path of the middle being. First of all, what is samsara? The country is not samsara, the city is not samsara, wishing is not samsara, even clothes are not samsara, material possessions are not samsara. So I think we don’t have samsara! We don’t find it. Then is the person himself samsara? If the person is samsara then the person himself has to be suffering nature, has to be suffering. So how could we achieve nirvana? Who achieves nirvana? No one achieves nirvana because to achieve nirvana the person himself has to be cut out, has to be destroyed, because he himself is the suffering, he himself is the samsara. I am joking! However, there cannot be any person who thinks like this, so crazy, I am just imagining.
In previous time it happened like this. One of a high lama’s managers, servant—I don’t remember the name of the lama, he is a very highly realized lama who gives much teaching, who is the owner of the teachings—this manager of that lama went to another high lama, so the other lama felt that because this manager has been living together with the highly realized lama for a long time, then he must have received much teachings from him and have a great understanding of the Dharma. The other lama expected like this, thought like this. Then the lama asked the manager, “What teachings did you receive from him, from your guru?” He said, “I am just released from samsara, just released from samsara.” With such a big surprise, such a big astonishment he said, “I am just released from samsara.” The other lama said, “How?” Then he said, “I have just taken off my pants, laypeople’s clothes,” I think he put some robes on. He had just taken off his pants, so he thought now he is great, he believed that samsara was laypeople’s clothes—the pants, coat, these things. This was his understanding of samsara. He thought that by taking that off it means he was released from samsara, renounced samsara, released from samsara—this was his understanding.
So also many people have the idea that samsara means a country, a city, and that only when they are in the city or market, they are in samsara, but when they are in the monastery they are not in samsara, or when they are in the countryside they are not in samsara. This is a big mistake. There have been people thinking like this, so that’s why the examples are very useful. Examples of people who have made mistakes are very useful for us. Not like this. Even at death time when your body is left on the bed, in your sleeping bag, you are still in samsara, even though your mind is not in the body, the mind is still in samsara, your samsara is still there, like this. There is no such break time for samsara! After death there is no such thing as a break—while you are in the intermediate stage, not having your samsara, only at the time when you take rebirth as a sura, asura or human being, as an animal, narak or preta, only when you take that rebirth, then again you have your samsara, sort of like having a break time between that—there is no such thing. There hasn’t been even one minute of break time from beginningless lifetimes. Also we won’t have even a minute of break time of not being in samsara until we are completely out of ignorance. Your hairs are also in samsara. Some people think it is so easy—you can shave samsara! Anyway, not like this. You can’t shave samsara with a machine.
However, what is samsara—the continuity of the skandhas caused by delusion and karma. That is samsara, that is samsara. To escape from samsara you have to stop continuously taking the aggregates that are caused by delusion and karma. So therefore in order to escape from samsara there is a method. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha has shown the method. The main method is meditation. The person has to make, has to meditate or practice the method that was shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha—the Four Noble Truths, like this. Generally from the cause of sickness, the result of sickness comes. From the cause of the panacea, taking medicine, comes the cure of the sickness. Generally it is like this. Just like this example, generally from the true cause of suffering, true suffering arises, true suffering comes. By following the true path one achieves the true cessation of suffering. Just like this example, by the doctor explaining the sickness that the person has, as the person recognizes the sickness, the person receives aversion to the sickness, and the person checks up on the cause of sickness. So by realizing and checking the cause of the sickness, the person realizes the cure of the cause of sickness. To make the cause of sickness non-existent is peace. So then the person seeks the method to receive that peace, the cure of the cause of sickness. The person then follows the treatment. The person takes the medicine. Just like this, for example, the reason that Guru Shakyamuni Buddha has shown true suffering first, before showing the true cause of suffering, is because without showing true suffering first the person cannot realize true suffering and the person doesn’t seek the cause of suffering, doesn’t check up. By not checking, the person does not realize the cessation of the cause of suffering is nirvana, perfect peace. Also if the person doesn’t realize that it is perfect peace, the person doesn’t have the desire to receive that perfect peace. So by not having the desire, the person doesn’t receive perfect peace. That’s how in that way the person is always suffering in samsara.
So therefore Guru Shakyamuni Buddha has shown true suffering first in order that we will discover true suffering. Realizing true suffering makes us check up the cause of suffering—what is the cause of suffering, what causes it. From this they realize the cessation of that, and make the cause of suffering non-existent. Whenever they don’t have the cause of suffering, they have complete freedom, complete everlasting happiness. By realizing this everlasting happiness, by seeing this, they have the wish, the desire to achieve it. Having this desire to achieve everlasting happiness makes them seek the path, what is the method to achieve this everlasting happiness. So then Guru Shakyamuni Buddha has shown the true path, this is Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s psychological method that brings everlasting happiness.
So first of all the meditation that we are going to talk about is true suffering. It is very useful to do meditation on the eight sufferings. This reason they made a certain number like this is because it is very easy for us to understand, to see the whole thing in the teachings. If there is no fixed number like this, for us it is difficult, for our ignorant mind it is difficult to see the whole thing, to see all suffering. So as explained in the teaching, the numbers make it simple for the ignorant mind, the baby’s mind; this makes it very easy. Doing meditation on the eight sufferings is also very effective, very useful. Most of the eight sufferings are human suffering.
The First Noble Truth: True Suffering
A. The Eight Sufferings
1. (a) The first one is how the rebirth is suffering. How even the rebirth is suffering, experiencing suffering. Such as Nagarjuna said, rebirth in the womb—see the quote on page 81.
Paragraph 4—When the mother runs the baby feels pushed, taken by the wind, also when she jumps it is like falling down. When the mother is lying down it feels like being pressed by mountains, very heavy.
Paragraph 5—Just like when we make fruit juice, when we press the fruit, that is the suffering the baby has when it is coming out. Besides while in the stomach even the very first time when the consciousness takes place, there is suffering. Even when the consciousness takes place in the mother’s womb on the conjunction of the egg, even at that time, there is extremely great suffering. Just like being in hot boiling water, such incredible hot boiling water. Besides during those periods, there is incredible suffering when it is coming out, just like when we make fruit juice, such tight pressing, like this the baby suffers when it is coming out. Because of this incredible suffering it turns sort of blue, and the mother doesn’t even recognize or feel the baby’s suffering. This is the baby’s own karmic suffering, it is his own karmic vision, his own karmic suffering. The baby’s body, skin, is like a raw wound which with very thin skin on top—if anything touches it, he feels pain. When the baby is coming out, the feeling of the baby, the suffering of the body is like this. Whenever you touch there is much pain, incredible pain. Then when it comes in the cloth, even from the parents’ side they try to use a soft cloth, but from the baby’s side his own karmic vision he sees it as falling down, sitting in a thorny place, like this. When the mother touches his hand, the baby’s karmic vision is like his body being cut by a sword, much suffering. If the baby has such karma.
Paragraph 7—Usually what the last sentence means is that the baby has his own karmic suffering because the doctors, parents, and other people don’t feel, don’t see the baby’s karmic suffering, because they can’t read the baby’s mind. If they could read the baby’s mind, they could understand the baby’s karmic suffering, but they can’t read the baby’s mind. So that’s how they don’t fully know the baby’s feeling, what feeling he has. They only judge from the outside, only guessing—we make decisions like this, the baby doesn’t have suffering, the baby this and that. As we see the baby in our view. However as I said before, as long as with this limited mind that even doesn’t know one’s own mind, besides knowing the baby’s mind, not knowing even one’s own mind, with this limited understanding mind whatever we see, how can we say for sure it is definite?
For instance, many doctors make mistakes like this. Because the breathing completely stops they decide that the person is completely dead and they put it in a box. Then afterwards at the cemetery the box makes noise. That has happened several times in different places. The person runs away—there were some stories in the recent year. Last year there were some stories. They don’t know how it happened, how it became again living, how it became alive. After that change they don’t have any answer, no answer. It became a subject that they have to check up. First of all they believed, they really believed as they saw, as they understood, with their limited understanding. But then everything they say, putting logical reasons, for instance saying that it doesn’t exist because they don’t see it, but then everything that they see has to have a logical reason, do they really see, understand. For instance, they talk about conceiving consciousness, conceiving the mind, conceiving the baby in the mother’s womb, but then how? Conceiving the baby that has been always there, how? Anyway, again they use these words but there is no clear explanation, there is no clear understanding.
As before there are five divisions, five different ways to discover how rebirth is suffering. The first one is the suffering of rebirth. As we described this morning, while the baby is in the mother’s womb, during that period, there is so much suffering in different ways. Even when it is coming out it is suffering. Even the time when it is out of the mother’s womb the baby is suffering, suffering from rebirth. The suffering of rebirth is together with the seed of the delusion. It is born with the seed of delusion—the rebirth itself is born with the seed of delusion. Therefore as the rebirth is born, it came with the seed of delusion... another way of saying this is that it is under control of delusion and karma. Therefore it is extremely difficult to use this rebirth and use this body for creating virtuous actions as the person wishes because the rebirth is taken with the seed of delusion, so the person has no control over this body. He is not free from this body, he has no choice, this body is incapable of being used for creating virtuous actions as the person wishes.
For instance, just an example. Even if you want to meditate for one hour without moving, it is difficult. We have to move because we have pains in the backside, in the leg, we can’t sit in that position for a long time even though we wish we could. When we make prostration we get pains. There are all kinds of physical problems that disturb the practice. Even though you want to do it for a long time, make prostrations for a long time, even though you wish you could, your physical body doesn’t allow it. As the body gets tired, exhausted, it is difficult to create merit by making prostrations as you wish, for that length of time, the body is incapable of being used for creating merits as you wish. Why we are not free from this body, don’t have control over it, is because we are not free from delusion and karma. Of course we do not desire to always get sick, tired, and hungry, also we don’t desire having pains after eating ... anyway, all kinds of things. However much we do not desire it, we have to experience these things with this body since we have this uncontrolled body, since we took this rebirth under the control of delusion and karma. If we didn’t take this rebirth being under the control of delusion and karma, all these physical problems wouldn’t happen. Actually it looks like this. The person is the servant of his body. Instead of the body becoming the servant of the person, the person himself becomes the servant of the body because of not being free.
Even though we do not desire to feel anything during the meditation time, even though we want to relax, we wish to relax without being eaten by bugs, there is no choice, you see. However, we have to pay attention while we are meditating—even though meditation is important we have to pay attention. Even though we want to continuously meditate without being distracted by such things, we have choice because we cannot use the body as we wish. So therefore a lot of distraction comes. When the bugs bite we cannot concentrate, ignoring that. When we get tired, even though we try to meditate, we fall asleep. That is because we took the rebirth that is under the control of delusion and karma. Like this, it is easy to think that rebirth is suffering—even in the time while the baby is in mother’s womb or coming out, even in those times it is experiencing suffering.
Rebirth is suffering. The rebirth that is under the control of delusion and karma cannot be used for virtuous actions as one wishes. Rebirth is suffering because it is a place of suffering, it is the foundation of suffering. “Place of suffering” means it is a foundation of suffering. For instance, how the rebirth is the foundation of suffering—if you didn’t have this suffering rebirth there would be no suffering of old age, also there would be no suffering of sickness. If you didn’t take this suffering rebirth, there wouldn’t be all these sufferings of old age and sickness. If you didn’t take this suffering rebirth there wouldn’t be the suffering of feeling cold and hot with a little change, this wouldn’t happen. If you didn’t take this suffering rebirth, suffering with cold, we wouldn’t have to put on thick clothes, and suffering with hot, we wouldn’t have to take off the clothes. If you didn’t take this suffering rebirth there wouldn’t be the suffering of feeling hungry and thirsty. As there wouldn’t be that suffering we wouldn’t be busy, always trying to gain a means of living. There would be no need to worry about food and clothes. Also as there would be no need to worry about food and clothing, there would be no need to make money, no need to have a job. What keeps people busy is the job, working, collecting money. That is because of food and clothing, and reputations.
Also if you don’t take this suffering rebirth there would be no need to worry about this body, because there is no suffering body, no uncontrolled suffering body, and if there is no body, there is no reason for the person to worry about the body. Killing each other, fighting each other, wounding each other—that is also due to this suffering body, due to taking this suffering rebirth. Also there is no reason for those things to happen if you didn’t take the suffering rebirth. For instance, even to travel to another country we have to make money, to meet the expenses for the journey, for the trip. That is also due to this body—if there was no body there would be no need to make expenses for the journey. We don’t have to make money, we don’t need money for our mind. Needing a ticket is also due to taking this suffering rebirth. No matter how much we don’t want to pay, there is no choice, since we have this body, we are not free from it. So even if you go without a ticket, trying to be sneaky, you go to prison, that is also due to this! This is the fault of taking the suffering rebirth. If you didn’t take the suffering rebirth, that wouldn’t happen. Also you wouldn’t have to give bribes, or pay people. Also if you didn’t take the suffering rebirth there wouldn’t be this problem, the physical relationship problem. For instance, if you didn’t take this suffering rebirth, you wouldn’t have to go through treatment such as surgery and operations. The person has no choice, even if the person doesn’t like it, he has to go through this experience. Also due to taking the suffering rebirth, you have abortions—that is also the fault of taking the suffering rebirth, like this. You put many examples when you do meditation on the suffering rebirth, like this. As you can remember, you put many examples, so it makes it more understandable how the rebirth is suffering.
Even during the time of taking rebirth there is suffering, because it is the foundation of suffering, because all these problems come since we took rebirth. During this whole lifetime since we were born until death time, no matter how long we lived, how many years, forty, fifty, seventy, eighty, no matter how long we lived, since we took rebirth until death, there have been all kinds of different problems, physical problems, and all these things are based on taking the suffering rebirth. During the lifetime all these physical problems have come on the basis of taking the suffering rebirth. Rebirth is suffering because it is a basis of suffering. Old age, sickness and uncontrolled death also occur due to taking the uncontrolled suffering rebirth.
For instance, the person has to pay lot of money to get visas or extensions. This is also due to this suffering body. If you were free from it, free from this body, if you didn’t have to depend on this body, all these things would be unnecessary. The person could exist for eons without any papers! Rebirth is suffering because it is the foundation of delusion. If rebirth is taken with delusion, with greed, ignorance, hatred, these three negative minds discriminate objects, seeing one as beautiful, one as a stranger, neither ugly nor beautiful, and one as ugly, like this. As rebirth is taken with these three negative minds that discriminate objects like this, by these three minds discriminating objects differently like this, the anger, attachment, and ignorance increases, having met the object. For instance, attachment increases having met an object of attachment; ignorance increases having met an object of ignorance; anger increases having met an object of anger. So if the rebirth that is under the control of delusion and karma is not taken there wouldn’t be these problems, increasing the negative mind by having met these different objects. Taking the rebirth which is under the control of delusion and karma becomes the foundation of delusions, because by taking that the three negative minds exist already, and they discriminate objects and they increase. All that increasing, during the lifetime and in other future lifetimes, is based on the suffering rebirth. By these three negative minds increasing in this lifetime, they will increase in the future life.
Rebirth also involves the suffering of having to separate from this body without choice, without wish,. If the uncontrolled rebirth was not taken, the uncontrolled death would not happen. So death happening without choice, separating from this body without choice, is due to taking the suffering uncontrolled rebirth. Like this, if you can remember when you do the meditation on the suffering rebirth, if you can think like this and try to find more examples, try to see clearly by yourself, making longer commentary within your mind, this helps a great deal to understand clearly how rebirth is suffering, how rebirth is in the suffering nature and also, this is important, how any samsaric rebirth, not only any human rebirth, but any samsaric rebirth can be seen in the nature of suffering. To see this as clearly as possible, as deeply as possible, is important because this is one of the main things that makes us have no interest, and makes aversion for taking samsaric rebirth arise. If you don’t have interest or aversion, there is no way for attachment to arise, and this is the main thing that cuts off the continuity of samsaric suffering. Without talking about the rest of the problems, just talking only about the beginning, rebirth, only talking about that suffering, it is an unbelievable, incredible thing.
Tuesday, 3rd December
Before taking the ordination it is necessary to possess the pure motivation. Just the pure motivation, just the mind going in the Dharma, is not enough. It has to be the pure thought of bodhicitta, the pure motivation of bodhicitta, which makes the ordination that is going to be taken a Mahayana ordination and the cause of enlightenment. Therefore it is necessary to think briefly like this. To just not be reborn in the evil destinies is not sufficient. That doesn’t mean that we are certain after this life that we will not be reborn in the suffering realms. That doesn’t mean that we will never be reborn in the suffering realms. Even if we are born in the upper realms, such as the human realm, as long as we are born in samsara, in the human realms and so on, we will always experience either the eight sufferings or the six sufferings, totally the three sufferings. Even though one is not born in the suffering realm of the evil destinies, think of the way of experiencing the eight sufferings, such as rebirth, such as old age, such as sickness, such as the suffering rebirth as we talked about—that much incredible suffering rebirth. Just even thinking of the suffering of rebirth, just even hearing about the suffering of rebirth makes us discover that as long as we are in samsara there is no way to find true happiness. Even just hearing of this suffering of rebirth makes the renounced mind, the aversion for all samsaric rebirth, not only the human rebirth, arise. This is something that we don’t want to take again. Just even thinking about this, that nature of the suffering rebirth is something that we have to cut off in this lifetime. So there is no question when thinking of the other sufferings, besides suffering rebirth and old age.
There are many different ways of suffering of old age. There are also many ways of suffering—the body becomes decayed, the senses are lost, the person becomes less beautiful and more incapable of doing things. We can understand this by remembering the examples of old people who are suffering with sickness, such as the eighty-four, the four hundred and twenty-four, all kinds of different types of sickness that are experienced in the lifetime after the rebirth is taken. Even during the lifetime, if there was that much suffering and old age, if that was the only thing—but also there are sicknesses, all kinds of problems. There is also the suffering of death. Besides that, during the life there are so many other problems. Most of the time the life is ended by terrible suffering. If the person had happiness in the end of the life that would be something else, but there is no happy death, the mind is never relaxed. That is extremely difficult. At the beginning of this particular life, beginning with suffering and even in the middle, there are incredible different problems and also this life ends with problems. This is how samsaric life is.
Also besides old age and sickness, during the lifetime there are other problems such as the suffering of meeting ugly objects, dislikable objects, such as enemies. Usually there is the fear of being destroyed by fire, or being destroyed by water. For instance, in a country there are so many floods happening, so many thousands of people dying in floods. There is the fear of being destroyed by fire. For instance, every building has that thing to extinguish the fire. In New York, every time, every day, there is the noise of the traffic siren. There is fear of fire, fear of water, fear of being destroyed by water. Also earthquakes—there are many things, there are many things. Fear of strong wind and besides having the suffering of meeting dislikable objects, like weapons and atomic bombs, the suffering of meeting dislikable objects that are non-living beings.
For people who fly, there is danger, and for people who go by ship there is also danger. For instance, those who are going by car also have to be very careful. There are so many objects, there are so many dislikable objects that we always worry about, always try to stop, always worry that we will meet with. With this worry we try to stop them, try to not encounter these dangers. For living beings there is the suffering of meeting enemies, or thieves, or other people who control us. There are many other different dislikable objects. There is the suffering of meeting fearful animals such as snakes, and other animals, even just little bugs. Even during the lifetime there are problems like this. That is how samsaric life is.
Then even though the person meets a beautiful, desirable objects—first of all the person has to worry, the person has the difficulty of not finding the desirable objects. People are busy, always people worried about finding the desirable object, the material things, finding the beautiful clothes that the person desires, the beautiful material that they see some other people have. You see such possessions and then you also would like to have such a beautiful object and you try to find it. When you don’t find it you worry. Also, in the countries women are finding men, men are finding women, many other problems. First of all, the problem of not finding the desirable objects. Even if they are successful, if they find a desirable object, then again there is another problem. After getting it there are other problems. Even when material things become decayed, and change, the person doesn’t always see it as beautiful, as the person saw it at the beginning. That beautiful view doesn’t last. The person doesn’t see it in the same way every time. The possessions become decayed, spontaneously the person loses interest in that object. Gradually it becomes a dislikable object because the person sees other, more beautiful objects. Things like this. Or always getting tired, fed up with always having that, things like this.
Then again there is the problem of separating from these material objects. The suffering of, even after the person has found it, having to separate from it. For example, it breaks. If you don’t keep it well, people will steal it away—all these worries are suffering. Also in regards possessions, many times because of possessions, other people kill us, torture us, and control us because they want the possessions. Many times there is suffering like this. Even living beings, even if we find the desirable object, the living being, friend, or husband or wife or whatever, the children, whatever, after that when we are together there are other problems—there is a problem of separating, the suffering of separation, always the worry of separation. Even when the parents go away there is worry about the children. When the father or mother becomes very old, and cannot live alone, they always need people around them because they feel very lonely. If they are very old also they are scared of death, not because they want to meditate, not for the meditation reason, but without choice. This is useless fear, nothing helps. The body is nothing to look at, there is no beauty, everything is finished, everything changed, all in essence changes like this.
Anyway, even at the time of when the person becomes very old, there is the worry of separation, that, “These people will leave me.” There are many things. Even during youth, even during middle age, there is much worry about separation. When the husband goes somewhere, to another country, when the husband goes outside, the wife worries. There is much other worry—maybe the husband will be taken by another wife or used by other people. Also the husband has the worry of separation from the wife. There is much worry. Besides the suffering of separation at death time, it exists even during the lifetime, like this. Such as divorce—afterwards the wife leaves the husband, the husband leaves the wife, and they go after other people—that is kind of a samsaric problem. That is a problem that happens during the lifetime.
The biggest problem is dissatisfaction. The worst pain, the biggest pain in life is dissatisfaction. Really check up how this is the worst sickness that makes the life unhappy—the dissatisfaction with material things, the dissatisfaction with the pleasures, the dissatisfaction with friends. If you check up the problem of divorce, for example—there are many other problems with one couple, the children, the parents—there are problems and most of the time the problems are based on dissatisfaction. If the person really checks up the creator of the problem, the mind, that is dissatisfaction, dissatisfaction, dissatisfaction, like this. Even without talking about other sufferings, this is incredible.
Thinking of the eight sufferings, even though there are no details in my talk, just outlines, we are suffering in samsara like this. Also, numberless other sentient beings are suffering like this. In the present time, in this moment, numbers of sentient beings have worse suffering, greater suffering, such as the beings who are suffering in the evil destinies. Besides that, even sentient beings who are in the upper realms have worse suffering than us in this minute. The main thing is that the rest of them don’t have the leader leading them in the path to enlightenment, they have not met the teaching, and they do not have the Dharma wisdom to see what is right and what is wrong. Even those who intellectually understand a little what is right and what is wrong are lazy, and cannot put it into action. However this time we are lucky that we can do something. Besides having the leader leading us in the path to enlightenment, having met the Dharma, having a little Dharma wisdom, that much we can actualize seeing what is the right action, what is the wrong action, what is the cause of happiness, what is the cause of suffering. Besides understanding that, we are also putting it into action, we are working. We have many higher possibilities to escape from samsara, to receive enlightenment, to enlighten other sentient beings. We have such a possibility, and we are also responsible to release mother sentient beings from suffering and lead them to enlightenment. When the mother is in terrible suffering, the son or daughter has to do something, has to follow the method to release the mother from suffering. So in order to receive enlightenment for the sake of mother sentient beings, the fundamental thing is disciplining the speech, body, and mind. Therefore we are going to take ordination until tomorrow. Also visualize the person granting the ordination in the form of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha surrounded by numberless buddhas and bodhisattvas.
At the end of the third repetition of the prayer think that you have perfectly received the Mahayana ordination.
Repeat the prayer of the precepts thinking, “I am going to observe the precepts as the previous Tathagatas also observed the precepts.”
PRAYER OF PRECEPTS
The problems are not heavy, coming in the tent and sitting down and having lots of fighting in the mind, always wanting to send letters to friends, talking to friends, going to the East, sorry, going to the West and seeing friends and doing all kinds of things. All kinds of things are happening, like TV in the mind. We are always distracted, and most of our time is spent in that way. However, perhaps for the actual meditation, when someone is a little bit easy to concentrate on, even though we spend most of our time distracted, even though we have not been doing meditation properly but since that much time we took ordination with such a motivation. Even just taking the ordination for one day has been greatly beneficial, not only for this life, but also for other sentient beings. Somehow due to that power the person somehow can generate energy by taking the ordination, can definitely benefit each sentient being. So however, the time in life has not been wasted. That amount of time that you took ordination from the person, has incredible benefits. Then for instance, during Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s time, taking ordination, discipline like this, helps us to be born as human beings during Maitreya’s time, the time of the future Buddha, when he descends to give Dharma. We will be born human again to practice the teachings during the future Buddha Maitreya’s time, and become surrounding disciples of Maitreya. Also there are the benefits that we will again meet the Dharma. We will be born in the pure realms, or at least not be born in the suffering realms. So there are many benefits.
However many times the person has taken these, has not been lazy, has taken them all the time, the person has created incredible merit even though he didn’t spend the whole schedule properly in meditation like this. For the person who didn’t do this, it is a loss—he has lost that much merit, that much of the collection of merits. That much the person didn’t receive so there is a loss if the person didn’t take the ordination when he had the chance. This is like the example of the person who came to a jewel land and didn’t get any jewels. It is useful to do this sometimes in one month, even in the West, or three times in a month. If you really wish, if you have the energy, taking them once a week is also very good. Whenever you think you are capable, you can keep precepts. If you are not sure, if you feel there will be danger, if you have to go somewhere or do something, if are not sure at the beginning, taking them and then afterwards feeling not serious, having made the vow with an insecure feeling, and then not respecting the ordination and forgetting it—this is no good. This causes problems for ourselves. Whenever you think you are capable—taking it three times or even once in a month—this is very useful. Even though you don’t meditate for the whole month, you don’t have time to create merit for the whole month, taking ordination has incredible merits. However all these are practical methods that can help this life and help all future lifetimes, one’s own future lifetimes. If you want to benefit others this is the best way to benefit other sentient beings, and especially to bring peace in times of wars and atomic dangers, this can really help. Otherwise as much as we create atomic bombs, it doesn’t help, it makes more danger. This can really help, taking ordination can definitely help stop suffering.
In previous time there were many stories of whole countries keeping precepts. The king had the whole country takes the vows on special days, and everything changed in the country. Before there were crops, much hail, many dangerous things, and food was scarce. Afterwards everything changed. Besides that, the people who took ordination cut off all those problems and closed the door of rebirth to the suffering realm. Even after death they were not born in a suffering realm, but born in an upper pure realm, some becoming arhats realizing the mind nature and things like this. Many times it happened like this.
LAMA YESHE—REFUGE & PRECEPTS
As Guru Tsongkhapa said in his holy teaching, “Please grant me blessings to realize that the perfect human rebirth that is received once is extremely difficult to find and that it is highly meaningful and that the thought of taking the essence may arise unceasingly all day and night.”
For the thought of seeking the essence to arise all day and night—what is the best essence, the highest essence that we can think that we should take with this perfect human rebirth that is received once? That is to achieve enlightenment for the sake of all mother sentient beings. The principal cause that brings this enlightenment, this achievement of enlightenment for the sake of other sentient beings, is only bodhicitta. Therefore even if there is one hour, even if there are a few minutes to train the mind in the pure thought of bodhicitta, the person is highly fortunate. Within a minute, a few seconds, the person creates unimaginable merits. In order to create that number of merits we don’t have to rely on machines, we don’t have to depend on external things. It is not a physical action, it is only a mental action. Wherever the person is sitting, wherever it is, whatever the person is physically doing, this is something in such a short period that the person can easily create, it is only an action of mind. It is an action that is easy to do and besides being easy it brings such incredible profit, and brings other sentient beings into peace, besides oneself. Therefore think, “I must achieve enlightenment for the sake of all mother sentient beings, therefore I am going to listen to the teachings on the graduated path.”
The listening subject is the Mahayana teaching that leads the fortunate person to enlightenment and it is a teaching that is well expounded by the two great philosophers Nagarjuna and Asanga and it is a profound teaching, the essence of the great yogis Atisha and Guru Tsongkhapa’s understanding. This teaching includes all the 84,000 teachings shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha and all these teachings are set up for the practice of one person’s achievement of enlightenment. So this commentary has four topics for the outline. In order to show the reference, the knowledge of the authors. In order to bring up devotion, the knowledge of the teachings. The way of listening and explaining the teaching, and the way of leading the disciple in the path to enlightenment. The last one has two outlines—the way of following the guru who is the root of the path and the way of training the mind in the graduated path to enlightenment. The way of training the mind in the graduated path to enlightenment has two outlines—persuading the mind to take the essence with the perfect human rebirth and the way of taking the essence with perfect human rebirth. The way of taking the essence with the perfect human rebirth is divided into three—the graduated path of the lower being, the graduated path of the middle being and the graduated path of the higher being. So the graduated path of the lower being is briefly finished, not just being completely empty.
Now, the part on the graduated path of the middle being. That has outlines also, such as why Guru Shakyamuni Buddha has shown the Four Noble Truths and the actual meditation on suffering and also why Guru Shakyamuni Buddha has shown true suffering first before showing true cause of suffering and before showing true cessation and true path. We people, according our desire, don’t want to hear about true suffering, or the true cause of suffering. We don’t want to know, we just want the true cessation of suffering right away without even following the true path. That is our usual desire. Something that is impossible to happen. Like this.
The graduated path of the middle being, the first outline, is why Guru Shakyamuni Buddha has shown true suffering first and the four noble truths, and after that the actual meditation on suffering. Then after that, the evolution of samsara, how all suffering rises from the cause, from the delusions, and then explaining the actual path that leads to nirvana. Part of this subject is the actual meditation on suffering that includes the four noble truths, the true suffering. So when we do meditation on samsaric suffering, doing meditation on the eight numbers like this is very helpful to the mind. It is very helpful also to not get attached to the human rebirth. So this is mostly human beings' suffering.
Also the asuras have much suffering. As asura is usually like this. Sura means god and asura means non-god. The reason is because asuras minds’ are kind of more cruel than the minds of the suras. Like human beings whose minds are so cruel do not act like human beings. They are very evil, not acting like human beings, not living like usual human behavior. They act differently than usual human actions. They are recognized as almost non-human by people. That person is out of the usual group of human beings. Just like this, the asuras’ personalities and behavior is different from the suras, and that’s why they are called non-gods, asura is a negative word. However, they have terrible suffering of avariciousness, being jealous, extremely jealous of suras, being extremely jealous of suras having such incredible possessions, enjoyments, and powers. They have incredible suffering of jealousy. Just like a thorn, when they see the suras having such high enjoyments, possession, and incredible things, having what they wish, it is like a thorn, a needle going into the heart of the asura, so painful. Most of their suffering is like this. Also they have miserliness for their wives and also many problems of the suras taking their wives away, so much fighting. When they fight each other, the asuras get killed like human beings when their bodies are cut, but the suras are different. When they fight, unless the sura’s neck is cut, as much as the rest of the body is cut, it is reborn naturally. They have karma like this. They don’t die right away, by cutting the body in pieces, only by cutting the neck. So most of the time the suras control the asuras because the suras are more powerful.
The realm of asuras, if you have read the explanation on the mandala, is the Mount Meru jewel that exists due to the karma of those gods. It is their karmic creation. For instance, Mount Meru has eight levels, four levels above ocean, and four under the ocean. The asuras are under the ocean, in the corner of Mount Meru. The suras are situated on the four levels of Mount Meru. And also there are other gods, the gods of senses, and they are situated on the four levels of Mount Meru, out of the ocean, on the top. However this Mount Meru, the mandala, is another subject, but however just saying two or three words—it can only be seen if the person has the karma to see it, or the person is free, or the person has psychic power like an arhat, or, like the suras, was karmically born there. It is a mountain of jewels. On each side there are different colors, because each side of Mount Meru is formed with different jewels. This is explained in the part on the mandala meditation so if you read it you can find the different names of the jewels.
There are four great continents and eight small continents, and the side of Mount Meru that faces the East is the great continent. That part is silver, so in the Eastern continent the sky is white, not blue. That brightness of the silver reflects the ocean and that’s also why the sky is white. It is the same thing for the part of Mount Meru that faces the southern continent, where we are. That part of Mount Meru is, I think, lapis lazuli, a blue color, and that brightness reflects in the oceans, and because of that brightness the color of the sky is blue. The Western side is red and the color of the sky is red, because that part of Mount Meru is made of rubies. That brightness reflects in the ocean, and turns that part of space red. The color of space in the Northern continent is yellow, because the part of the mountain that faces it is gold.
On these different continents, the human beings who live there have different ways of living. They are not like us—they have an exact length of life, they are born at such a time and live for such a time, an exact length of time. On the Northern continent the human beings live for one thousand years. There is no chance to hear Dharma in that continent, however much enjoyment they have. Also they don’t have as many problems as we have in this world. On this specific continent, and for the human beings on other continents, the length of life is shorter than that of the human being on the Northern continent. Also on those different continents there are differences between the lengths of life. Humans on the Eastern continent are twice as tall as human beings who are on this Southern continent. The length of the human body is like four or five times the length of this arm. As the body is double, the life is also longer. So like this. Anyway.
The space in each continent has different colors because of Mount Meru. So even though asuras are intelligent, have higher intelligence, with such strong karma they have no way to realize the mind nature, to realize the absolute nature, because of such strong karma. No matter how intelligent they are, they are so intellectual. The suras have very high enjoyments, enjoying nectars, and all their palaces are made of different types of jewels—even the ground is a jewel ground, made of lapis lazuli, for example. They receive things as they wish as they have very high enjoyments, everything they need, their life passes in distraction, always playing, enjoying, going outside to beautiful parks, surrounded by many hundreds of wives. Life finishes without the chance of practicing Dharma.
The gods of the senses also have many problems and much fighting with the asuras. There are some gods who don’t have that much power, who are controlled by other samsaric gods who have higher possessions, who are more powerful. They are controlled by them and they experience so much suffering being controlled by them. Also sometimes those powerless gods are deported from one place to another place because of not having power, things like this. Their worst suffering is at death time. There are five signs that they have to suffer through. Their one day is a human being’s fifty years. For them it is one day, so they suffer the signs of death for seven days. Before death happens they hear a karmic sound. Then everything becomes decayed, everything changes, they don’t want to sit on their bed, dislike arises. They become like a very unhappy person who cannot relax on the bed. Usually they have flowers to put on the body, beautiful, hundreds of bodies with light around them, beautiful colors, beautiful flowers, and at that time they become decayed. Like if you keep a flower for two days, it becomes old, like this. Usually the flowers don’t change when they are alive, when they are put on, but at that time they change. Then, usually their clothes never smell due to their karma, therefore their clothes don’t become dirty, but at that time their clothes become dirty and the body get dusty. Even though it looks magnificent during the lifetime, at that time it looks very powerless and decayed. Usually in their lifetime they have many hundreds of girlfriends, and they enjoy, all the time playing together, going to beautiful parks, playing music, and at death time when these samsaric gods are going through the signs of death, changing, becoming decayed, their wives or girlfriends, the other gods, don’t want to see them. They don’t come nearby, they look at the far side of the god who is experiencing the signs of death. They don’t even touch them, and besides not touching, they don’t come nearby, close, because they look horrible, ugly, and also there are smells, many things. Sometimes they put flowers on a long stick and give it to the person like this. Then they say, “After this life may you be born in the human realm.” They pray that they will be born in the human realm. Then they give them the flower on top of a stick. The god is very upset, with terrible suffering—the god who is experiencing the signs of death has incredible mental suffering. They do not come close to him, and other friends do not want to see him, there is so much missing. His mental suffering is sixteen times greater than normal beings’ physical suffering.
Not only this, but the reason there is such suffering is because when they are going through the signs of death, they see where they came from, what their previous lives were, and they can see also the future where they will be reborn—as animals, pretas, or naraks. They can see exactly the realm that they are going to be born in, what kind of suffering they will experience. So just before death, at time, there is no choice. The time is finished. So because they see future things, incredible suffering, even though their body is there, mentally incredible suffering, there is so much worry like this. Death is one of the great sufferings for them.
Then in the world of the form and formless gods, they don’t have the two sufferings—the suffering of suffering and changeable suffering. The explanation will come afterwards. However they do have pervading suffering; this fundamental suffering they do have. Their suffering is pervading suffering, even though they don’t have the suffering of sickness, pain, exhaustion, and fighting. They don’t have these kind of problems but they have pervading suffering, because they are still living in delusion and karma, they are born with delusion and karma. Their rebirth is still tied by delusion and karma so even though they don’t have the other sufferings, changeable suffering and the suffering of suffering, they have this suffering, not being free from delusion and karma. Even if the being born in those realms, in the world of the form and formless, during that time in that world of the formless there is no chance to practice Dharma. It is just like complete, deep sleep, the whole lifetime, since the being was born until its death time, it only knows that he was born in the formless world, only remembers the birth time and the death time, but is not conscious during his lifetime. Just like complete deep sleep. After death time, as they are not free from rebirth, as they are not out of rebirth, as they are controlled by delusion and karma, they are not free from death, so after that according to their karma they have to be born in the evil destinies, in the suffering realm.
The cause of being born in the world of form and formless is as follows. The being experiences the enjoyments, the happiness, the pleasures of the beings of the world of senses, and then the being is fed up, tired of the pleasure and then doesn’t want to have pleasure. Then he has a kind of aversion, only aversion, and that aversion is just tired of the pleasure and then wishes to have an indifferent feeling rather than a pleasant feeling. He desires an indifferent feeling, because of aversion for the pleasure of the world of senses. Because of this wish and because of the aversion for the pleasure of the world of senses, still there is attachment, but the thing is this. The reason the person is born again in the world of form, in samsara, the reason the person has aversion for the pleasure of the senses is because the person doesn’t have aversion for samsaric rebirth, the person doesn’t have aversion for all samsaric suffering. The person only has aversion for pleasure that is in the world of senses but doesn’t have aversion for all samsaric suffering. That person, for instance, that person doesn’t have aversion for the samsaric rebirth of the world of form, and the suffering nature of the world of form. The person who has aversion for the pleasure of the world of senses doesn’t have aversion for that, doesn’t have aversion for the rebirth of the world of form and the suffering of the world of form, the indifferent feelings that the being who is in the world of form enjoys and feels. So besides not having aversion for that, there is attachment to indifferent feeling, attachment to having indifferent feeling—no pleasure, no suffering. There is attachment, and this attachment makes him be born in the samsaric realm, in the world of form, even though he has aversion for the pleasure of the world of senses.
Similarly, after the being is born there, again he gets fed up with the indifferent feeling, “Now I don’t want to feel anything, nothing.” Then he wants to believe that nothing exists. He wishes this, he is attached to this. So because of this attachment, then again, even though he has aversion for the indifferent feeling, because there is no aversion for the attachment wanting to become nothingness, wanting nothing to exist, due to this attachment again the person is born in the world of the formless, even though the person had aversion for indifferent feeling, because that aversion was limited and didn’t cover all samsaric rebirths or samsaric suffering. Just like this. For instance, a person does not like Indian food because it is very hot, but that doesn’t mean the person has no attachment for all food, because when there is American food the person doesn’t see it the same way, and doesn’t have the same feeling. Just like this, the aversion for that particular food doesn’t help one to completely stop the attachment. In the world of form there are seventeen categories, and in the formless world there are four categories. Each time they change, their attachment changes, their desire changes, so as their desire changes each of these different kinds of attachment forces them to be born in the next category. However, now we understand that the main thing is attachment, which brings us round and round like this. It is like a rocket that makes us land on the moon, the fundamental energy or food that makes us go so far. Attachment is like this. Attachment is the main thing. So I think that’s all.
Before we were talking about what causes us to be born in the form and formless worlds. If I make the first thing, the first category, clear, there are four in the formless world. The first one is this. Because that being who is in the world of form gets tired, fed up with the indifferent feeling, not pleasure, not suffering, he doesn’t wish anything. So the first category, the reason the person takes birth in the world of formless is called the stage comprehending nothing. No thoughts, thinking, nothing. Just like those meditations trying to stop all thoughts, nothing appearing. This is the attachment that doesn’t want to feel anything, doesn’t want to think of anything, to comprehend anything. Due to this attachment, that being is born in the world of formless, in that category called the stage comprehending nothing. Then there is the stage called infinite space, which is looking at everything as empty as space. There are different categories like this.
However, there is not such strong anger, attachment to those states—in those stages there is no strong attachment, strong anger, no very gross negative minds like we have. Even if the person reaches such a stage, in the world of formless, that person is still in samsara and cannot escape from samsara, because in the person’s method there is something missing. The person’s method doesn’t become the remedy of samsara. So that’s why he can’t cut his samsara. Also through samadhi meditation and much those concentrations, the being receives rebirth in the realms of the gods, the world of form. Even if the person has the attainment of one-pointedness meditation, that doesn’t help. One who has one-pointedness meditation, who can concentrate without any distractions for a month, a year, however just that doesn’t help him to escape from samsara. We have also, many times, achieved this one-pointedness meditation in other lifetimes and have also taken rebirth in those realms of the gods. However, even though many times we have achieved this one-pointedness meditation, we have been reborn in samsara, or in the realms of the gods. Why? Because we don’t have the complete renouncing mind of samsara and the realization of the absolute nature such as bodhicitta. The main thing is we didn’t achieve the fully renouncing mind of samsara—that is the main thing that is missing. So therefore, in order to escape from samsara, we have to have the renounced mind for all samsaric rebirth, all samsaric pleasure. Also, we need to see samsaric pleasure in the nature of suffering and bring up the mind renouncing all samsaric rebirth, doing meditation on the samsaric suffering in six. That is also very useful.
First of all, suffering is indefinite. That is easy, very simple. For instance, the person is happy, enjoying, happy in the morning and suffering in the evening—so nothing is definite. The person enjoying or showing happiness doesn’t mean it is always like this. Nothing is definite. Before many people were very rich, and had a good reputation, but later on, after a few years, they became very poor. The whole thing completely changes, the whole situation completely changes. For instance, there are many examples in the West, and in the East, everywhere of changing. The suffering of being rich is not definite. For instance, when Tibet was independent many people were rich, extremely rich, and then after Tibet was overtaken by the Chinese and the Tibetans fled from Tibet they became very poor, and the people who were poor before became very rich. Like this, nothing is definite, nothing is definite. The main thing is this.
As I have been talking about this morning, this whole thing is trying to look at all this suffering, trying to discover all this as being in the nature of suffering, samsaric rebirth, life. The main purpose of doing meditation, trying to look at the nature of suffering, trying to see the nature of suffering, is mainly to stop attachment, to control attachment. So in order to control attachment there are many other different ways to meditate, different ways to discover the suffering nature. As the situation changes like this—those who were rich before later on becoming terribly poor—there is nothing to be attached to in being rich, nothing to trust. Many times we see people who have a lot of possessions and are enjoying, looking very rich, enjoying that very much, and then after some time, after a few years, it is a completely different situation, the whole thing is changed, and they are having a lot of problems because they are terribly poor. Because it is not definite there is nothing to be attached to in those lives, even though we see that they have everything and that they enjoy the life. Why is there nothing to be attached to? Because it doesn’t last, it is not always like this, we cannot enjoy life like that always. It is just for a short time.
For example, people who have a beautiful apartment, a lot of possessions, cars, many things. This is just like a dream, for short time. When we look at them we think they have such a good life, they have children, a husband, a wife, this and that, all things, everything, they have animals ... I have also animals! Whatever, we see like this. Usually we do not know the nature of life, the nature of their life, that their life is in the nature of suffering. Not discovering this, we get attached and we try to become like that, competitive. Also, some people wear beautiful clothes, a jacket, a woman’s dress, and they are attached to it, and even though they have a lot of clothes to wear, there is no problem of catching cold, because of the attachment to the clothes they want to be like that. However, nothing is definite.
As I said before, some people make so much arrangement, they have lots of things, things they bought, things they fixed, and without having the chance to enjoy them they die. Like this, nothing is definite. It is not definite that the person will definitely get the chance to enjoy it, to use it until it gets finished. Even if the person had much reputation before, a good reputation, after some time he can have a very bad reputation. In some years it can change, and he can have a bad reputation, people complaining about him. Even if people liked him before, afterwards people complain about him. Nothing is definite. It is not always sure that you will have a good reputation even though you have one at present. That doesn’t mean the person will always have a good reputation in life. So therefore there is nothing to be attached to. As many possessions are collected, as much money is collected, nothing is definite. What comes after the collection is the finish. In the beginning is the collection, but what comes after is the finishing—that is its nature—anything that is collected ends by finishing. So therefore there is nothing to trust, thinking that it will last for a long time. As it doesn’t last, there is nothing to be attached to. Even with friends.
From when we first meet, we cannot trust that the friend will always exist, that the friendly relationship will always exist. There is nothing to trust. We begin with meeting the friend, then afterwards we are separated. The nature is that first of all we meet, and then afterwards separate—so it is not sure that we will always be together with our friends, parents, husband, wife, children, or anything. It is not sure. Once we meet, ending by separation is the nature of samsaric suffering. Therefore because of these reasons there is nothing to be attached to. This doesn’t mean, as some person may think, to not be physically together. It means there is no point in attachment arising even though you are together. The main thing that I am trying to explain is that there is no point in attachment arising, the main thing. As long as there is no problem of attachment, it doesn’t matter whether you live together with all sentient beings for numberless eons, whether you become oneness with all sentient beings, with all your family ... anyway. Like this.
If you know the reasons, if you know the nature what comes after meeting, what comes after collecting, if you know this samsaric suffering nature, then whatever things change, whatever happens, there is not much worry, not much upset in the mind. Why? Because there is not that much strong attachment because of understanding the suffering nature. If there is no understanding of suffering nature then there is strong attachment, for instance like this. If there is a divorce, a separation, or some problem even, usually there is much worry about separation, as I said this morning. That is because of not having the understanding of the suffering nature, not having the understanding of the impermanent life’s nature. So therefore there is attachment, always wanting to be together. Not wanting to separate. Because of this attachment there is always worry, upset mind, the mind up and down. For instance, if the person has this understanding, frequently thinking that the time of death is indefinite, whatever changes happen around him, with his relatives, whether they die, whether they exist, whatever happens, the person who has this understanding, who frequently remembers the indefinite time of death, doesn’t have that much worry, that much suffering. Because of that understanding, his mind doesn’t have that much attachment. Because his mind thinks it is their nature that they die, that things happen, separating, always not being together, anything that has happened, his mind has no confusion, no problem, because this change is the samsaric suffering nature.
For instance, many people here sometimes have been rich, sometimes have been poor. Through this we can understand how there is nothing to trust in life, nothing to be attached to in life, because we have gone through this many times. For instance, it is clear. How many people we become friends with, how many times we have experienced it—first of all becoming friends, then becoming enemies. Then, as there is anger fighting with each other. So therefore there is nothing to trust, nothing to be attached to, however many relatives or friends we have. The main thing is that it doesn’t last. For instance, some women even within several years change so many husbands, and some men have many different wives, always changing. These things show the samsaric suffering nature of not being definite.
We were born in these realms of the gods, born as the gods of the senses, and also in the world of the form and formless. We were born there, but again we were born in the evil destinies, in our previous lifetimes. We were born as the gods of the senses, enjoying the objects of the senses, living in palaces made of jewels, with mirror reflections coming from the walls. Such incredible, such beautiful palaces—in places like that we were born. But after that, after finishing that period, we were born in the narak stages, in doorless hot red burning iron houses without even tiny holes to see through, everything completely red, burning, with nowhere to escape until the karma finishes, with nowhere to escape and having to experience suffering in the doorless iron burning house. After enjoying, after we had such possessions, beautiful places, we were born like this in the narak realms.
So therefore nothing is definite, even such high possessions, palaces. Nothing is definite, so therefore there is nothing to be attached to. We don’t have such high enjoyments and possessions now but generally there is nothing to be attached to because we don’t always possess, have it. The same thing, we enjoyed such high enjoyments and nectars, being born as those samsaric gods. We enjoyed such blissful nectars, but again we were born in the narak realms drinking hot iron liquid water that burned our stomach. We were born as pigs, eating garbage. Besides the enjoyments that we have now on the human earth, the friends that we have, besides this, in those realms there are greater, higher enjoyments, everything has a higher quality. When we were born in those realms we were surrounded by many hundreds of friends, many girlfriends, husbands, wives, like this, and we always enjoyed being together, after that we were born in the evil destinies such as the narak places surrounded by the karmically created narak protectors, torturing is, giving us much suffering. Even when we had that many friends, always together, enjoying very much, nothing is definite. Therefore there is nothing to be attached to.
This is briefly how among the samsaric enjoyments, the samsaric happy life, the samsaric body and possessions, nothing is definite, nothing is definite. For instance, even the relationships—this time we have a relationships such as parent and child, enemies, or friends. These are also nothing definite, because we cannot always exist as parents, as enemies, or as friends. So nothing is definite, nothing is definite because things always change, circling round, therefore there is nothing to be attached to.
For instance in previous time it was like this. One of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s disciples, Sharipu, was begging, passing through one family. In that house there was only the son and his wife, their parents were dead. He saw that the son was eating fish and a dog was watching in front of him. He was carrying a baby on his lap. This arhat saw that the son was eating his father’s meat—before, that fish had been his father. Behind the house they had a small lake, and they always used to eat fish. When his father was there, he took the fish from the lake and ate it, so after the father died, he was born as a fish in that lake behind the house. Then the son did the same thing, bringing fish from the lake behind his house. That day he got the fish who was his father. His mother who had died was very attached to the family so she was born as the family dog. The son had an enemy who was attached to his wife, so because of this enemy he was born as their baby. So now what’s happening is that the whole situation is completely opposite. Sharipu discovered that the son was keeping the enemy in his lap, taking care of the enemy as best he could on his lap, and eating his father’s meat and giving the bones to the mother dog. He was also scolding the dog, and telling it to get out. Like this. The whole thing completely changed. Then this arhat Sharipu really saw the suffering nature, the samsaric suffering nature, how nothing is definite. He said some words, how the son was eating father’s meat, beating the mother, and keeping the enemy on the lap, and how this was samsaric nature.
We also have been like this. This is not only that person’s story, but an example. We have been like this numberless times, circling around. That’s how even in relationships nothing is definite. So therefore, as it changes like this, there is nothing to be attached to.
Then second suffering is the suffering of dissatisfaction. Simply thinking like this, for example. For instance in regards parents. Our father is not only our father this time; he has been our father in numberless previous lifetimes. It is the same thing with our mother. Our present mother is not our mother for the first time, she has been our mother numberless times. She has been a mother to me numberless times. It is the same thing with the children we have. This is not the first time that they have been born to us, they have been born to us numberless times in previous lifetimes. Also, we have been their mother and father numberless times in previous lifetimes. This is not the first time. It is the same thing with the husband, this is not the first time he is our husband. He has been a husband to me in numberless previous lifetimes. Also, this is not the first time she has been my wife. She has been my wife numberless times in previous lifetimes. It is the same thing with any other friend—this person has been my friend numberless times in other previous lifetimes. We have all met together, we have met again and again like this without beginning, and it is still not ended. That much has happened, but there is still no satisfaction. The father has been the father that many times, the mother, husband, wife, children, friends—same thing, but still no satisfaction. We think that whatever experience we have with other people it is the first time. But it is not the first time, it is a very old thing. This relationship that we have now is nothing new, it is very old. Like this.
There is not one sentient being who has not been our child numberless times in previous lifetimes, not one sentient being who has not been our husband numberless times, not one sentient being who has not been our wife numberless times. It is the same thing with friends, and the same thing with father and mother. The whole idea of thinking this is the first time happens because the person himself doesn’t see the past, so he thinks this is the first time we have contact, our first meeting. That is a completely wrong idea—nothing of this relationship is new. So therefore there is nothing to be attached to in the experiences that we have with other people, in the relationships or contacts we have with other people, because nothing is new, we have done it numberless times. It is the same thing, for instance, with food—if all the food that we have eaten from beginningless samsaric lifetimes is collected, it doesn’t leave any space. It is infinite like infinite space.
It doesn’t matter if it is Tibetan food, American food—whatever it is, nothing of this experience is new. We think this is the first time we are drinking Tibetan tea, but it is not the first time we are drinking Tibetan tea. As much tea and milk as we drink from animals, from the mother, if it was collected, all the tea and milk we drank—compared to this, the ocean is nothing, the Pacific is nothing. Still we don’t have satisfaction, as much as we had. So therefore there is no reason for attachment to arise. It is the same thing with clothes. There are no new clothes that we never have put on before in other previous lifetimes. There is not one new experience of wearing different clothes, new clothes. Even in regards to clothes, if you collected all the clothes we have put on from beginningless samsaric lifetime, and the same thing with food, it would fill up all of space because our previous life has no beginning. It doesn’t start from this life, the life before that, with no continuity of life—there is still no satisfaction, still there is attachment, so therefore as we have had that many numberless lives, therefore there is no reason for attachment to arise. These are very useful.
I don’t mean you should not eat, or wear clothes, I don’t mean this—otherwise you cannot exist, and there is no way to practice Dharma, so I don’t mean this. What I said before, is that there is no reason for attachment to arise. I am giving you the idea of how to think in order to control attachment. It is very useful sometimes when your mind is so dissatisfied, wanting more and more, when the mind has a big problem. You can relax, you can be happy with that number of possessions, the quality of your possessions. You can relax, be happy, but you don’t make yourself happy, the person creates unnecessary problem, just causing more worry to himself. Sometimes, many times in our life there are many unnecessary words, troubles, the person just creating them by himself. Many times this is done, with not knowing, lack of understanding. There are big problems with possessions and with people, with relatives, and friends, wanting better and more. This is the biggest problem of life.
If you think of yourself, think of other people, your friends, you can see it, all the problems are based on dissatisfaction, wanting a better friend, husband, wife, or possession, same thing, wanting better. Many of the problems are based on this dissatisfaction. So what I mean is that when your mind is so much dissatisfied, in such trouble, it is very useful to think like this, it is very useful to think of the samsaric suffering nature. For instance, if you are attached to one person and your mind cannot be relaxed, cannot stand it, cannot be made happy, but it is suffering, it is very simple to think, “This is not my first time having contact, not my first time seeing him like this. He has been my relative, husband, father, mother, child, friend, he has been these things numberless times in my previous lifetimes. Nothing happened, that much I have been together with him, but it made me be good. So the experience is nothing new.” If you see that your whole experience is not new, the strong attachment for life, with this fickle mind, the wrong idea, thinking that this is the first time, after thinking like this, this attachment rising so strongly, all of a sudden it goes down if you think of the nature of samsaric suffering.
Same thing with possessions, when you miss them so much, not getting them, missing them so much, not receiving what you want. This is very useful when you are so attached, also not only missing things but when you are so attached to the object, it is very useful to think like this. This is not the first time I have had this possession, I had it numberless times in previous lifetimes, but it made me be good. These things didn’t help me to not have to depend on these things any more, they didn’t help in that way, they didn’t do me any good. These experiences are nothing new so why should be I be attached? This mind has less problem, and much more peace thinking like this. This is the suffering of dissatisfaction.
And the suffering of leaving the body again and again. Numberless times in our previous lifetime we received an animal body, and left it. There is not one animal body that we didn’t take, that we have not experienced. Each of the different animals body’s that we see, we took numberless times. As we took them numberless times we left them again and again. Same thing, preta, same thing narak realm, same thing with sura, asura, same thing with the human body—numberless times we took them and we left them. It is kind of a fearful, scary thing—for instance, how many times we took just the human body, numberless times we took it in previous lifetimes. If you collect it, it is greater than mountains, much greater than this whole earth, much greater than this earth, if you collect all our dead corpses. Whatever rebirth, whatever body in samsara is taken, nothing lasts, it has to be left again. No matter how beautiful, it is has to be left again. Thinking like this is also to make attachment to the samsaric body, beautiful samsaric body, not arise, to control attachment by thinking that it doesn’t last and it has to be left again.
Also, the suffering of joining again and again. For instance, can think in this way. The continuity of the mother, this present life’s mother and that mother’s mother, going back like this, doing this has an incredible number—the mother’s mother. Also for instance, the suffering of after death again joining the intermediate stage, and after that suffering, taking the next rebirth and again dying, and again dying from joining the intermediate stage—always going round like this. Always joining like this.
In samsaric suffering, the high become lower. For instance, a president is not a definite person, always the president, always in a higher position. When we see his pictures, it looks like he is sort of a permanent president. This whole idea is completely wrong. However much the person is in a higher position in samsara, nothing is definite. It is samsaric nature—first of all being higher, then ended being lower, coming down. It is the nature of samsara. However, in the country, the king, the president, the person in the highest position doesn’t always last. This time he is the king, then next lifetime possibly he may become a dog. This can be possible. In the next lifetime he may be born as a sweeper. The lowest person. Nothing is definite. It always changes. Even in this life the person can have a higher position in early life, but in later life the person doesn’t have that position. The person becomes lower. Also on the planet beings are that much higher in space, with light on their bodies, karmically created light, but nothing is definite, because soon after also those samsaric gods are born in evil destinies where it is complete darkness, where they can’t even see their own bodies, their own hands or legs. They are in complete darkness. Even if they are that much higher beings on the sun, the moon, these planets, that’s also not definite, not sure, that it will always exist like this. In a time even those samsaric gods will have to be born in the lower realms. Suffering beings go higher and lower again and again, like this.
The next one is the suffering of not having helpers, companions. For instance, when we take birth there is no helper, no other friend who comes with us. We are born by ourselves, and when we die there is no other friend who comes with us, who helps us, we die by ourselves, the mind has to leave the body, just like taking hairs from the body. The body doesn’t come, only the hair when you pull it like this.
So there are about six ways to meditate on samsaric suffering. These are very useful to have in order to see in general the samsaric nature of suffering, and also they are very useful to control attachment. Whenever there is a problem of attachment it is very useful to think of these things according to the specific problem that we have. Remembering this is very useful, very useful.
So I think the first hour do meditation, and then the second hour, a few words.
As there are six different ways to meditate on samsaric suffering, there are also three ways that include all the suffering of samsara in three, and there is a way to meditate on this also. There is a way to meditate on this. Tonight I think we don’t need so much explanation as we have gone through the other sufferings, so tonight I think I quit! It is easy to understand after all this. Just a little bit talk like this. If one does not do meditation on true suffering, one doesn’t receive the full or strong thought seeking nirvana. Like the person who feels thirst. His feeling thirst is that much stronger as he recognizes the suffering of feeling thirsty, that much more there is the strong desire to receive peace, to receive happiness by drinking water. By quenching the feeling of thirst. Just like this simple example.
If the person understands true suffering that much more deeply through meditation, the desire of seeking nirvana, wanting to achieve nirvana, is that much stronger, that much more full. It becomes that much stronger. If our understanding of true suffering is not that deep, as we have such limited understanding of true suffering, also our desire seeking nirvana is also that small, not so strong. As the understanding of samsaric suffering is just intellectual, just words, then seeking nirvana is also just words. Even if one develops the thought seeking nirvana, if one doesn’t check up the evolution, how true suffering is caused by the true cause of suffering, if one doesn’t check up the evolution of the cause of suffering, how cause produces suffering, then one doesn’t know how to cut the root of samsara. Without checking the evolution of the true cause of suffering, how the true cause of suffering produces suffering, without checking, knowing this, the person doesn’t know how to cut the root of samsara. If you don’t desire samsaric suffering, if you want to stop samsaric suffering, you have to cut the root, the cause of samsara. What is the cause of samsara? Delusion and karma. So this what is called the true cause of suffering. This is one way of talking—how karma is caused by delusions. Karma rises from the delusions.
In regards to delusion there are six root delusions, twenty secondary delusions, like this. Just briefly talking like this. However going back to the source, the six root delusions, the fundamental basic thing is first of all like this. The six root delusions are greed, anger, pride, doubt, heresy, and ignorance. However, the fundamental thing, the main source, is ignorance, the main thing is ignorance. It is called jig’ta. This is the philosophical term. Jig’ta means changing, means the skandhas one possesses are always changing. Looking at the skandhas, we believe in a self-existent “I” or “mine,” like this. Jig’ta means this, and this is ignorance. This is just one way of talking. Ignorance is also called ma’rig’pa. Ignorance, the unknowing mind, is also called this. Unknowing what? Unknowing the absolute nature of oneself, unknowing karma. According to the philosophical term the ignorance is mind, the conception that is completely opposite to the wisdom of the absolute nature. This is the main ignorance, the principal ignorance that produces ignorance of karma and others—that is the main principal ignorance that is the ignorance of the absolute nature, the meaning of that conception that is completely opposite to the wisdom of the absolute nature, the wisdom realizing the absolute nature. The reason those two conceptions are different, completely opposite, is because the object that the wisdom realizes, what this conception believes is completely different, opposite, just like this. Just like you see me, some people see me as a little boy, some people see me as a tiger! No interest in only talking about suffering. I am joking! Anyway, sort of like this, completely opposite. Even in one place, on this bed, on the same place, some people see a tiger and some people see a little boy.
If I talk about this ignorance without going into philosophical details, generally there are two things. There are religions that accept that things are self-existent, as this wrong conception perceives, and religious people accept this, besides conceiving of it, they accept it as their doctrine because of the philosophy of that religion. This wrong conception does not depend on the philosophical doctrines, or on that religious philosophy, that wrong conception—otherwise the wrong conception would not exist there. Anyway, there is a feeling of “I,” so incredible big, intuitively all the time there is a strong feeling of “I,” a strong feeling of “I” continually arising, so there is a strong conception intuitively arising. Also the feeling is so important. Something very solid, some very concrete thing. This feeling becomes stronger sometimes when you get fear.
Usually when you check up you don’t realize so clearly, you can’t see clearly. Even though you try to see, it gets lost, you don’t find it clearly. Sometimes when you are in certain danger, like falling down, at certain times when you get shocked, for instance, when a dog barks, then this wrong conception of the “I” becomes so clear, becomes so strong. At that time when it becomes so clear, if you check up, if you are conscious of how you feel with yourself, you can understand a little bit how real ignorance is, how you see your usual “I.” At that time if you are conscious you can see. For instance, at that time you get the feeling of the “I” as the most important thing, more than anything else. For instance, you almost don’t see any other things except the “I.” It is the same thing when someone complains, “You are so bad, terrible,” like this, “You don’t know Dharma, you are creating bad karma.” Anyway, when someone comes and says this, watch how your mind reacts that time. If you are conscious at that time, there is a way to understand how you see yourself, how you see your “I.” Especially when you are proud, when you have very strong pride. You see such an incredibly strong feeling of a concrete, solid “I” and also you are uncomfortable at that time. However, you do not something that you create but something that is there, that is intuitively existing there, that is independently existing there. So strongly you feel it.
Our ignorance feels that the “I” is concrete, sort of very solid, something very strong, something very heavy there, intuitively existing there without depending on a creator. The total feeling is not created by you, but intuitively exists there. The reason you feel sort of heavy, sort of really heavy, kind of concrete, is because this ignorance is a wrong conception and it perceives the “I” as completely independent. Because of this feeling, it feels completely independent. We feel the same thing like this with the body. Our ignorance perceives this body, and when we look at this body, when we feel this body, we feel the same thing—that it is concrete, solid, something real there. That is because mainly the wrong conception sees the physical body as completely independent, and because of the way the wrong conception sees it, it makes it feel kind of real, concrete. It is the same thing with another person. When we look at another person, just in the second when we see the other person’s body, we see something very solid, something that is real coming from the object’s side. We believe this is really Doctor Nick, this is really Doctor Nick. Doctor Nick from his side, only from his side. It is the same thing when we look at any other person, when we see our mother, our real mother, there is something from her side, a real mother, like this. It is the same thing with everything—possessions, anything—they really exist from the object’s side, only from the object’s side. This is the feeling. Also they feel sort of concrete, solid. Why is there this feeling? That is because of the wrong conception that sees the object as completely independent, and self-existent. Because ignorance perceives it this way, you feel the object to be sort of a heavy, solid thing. This is in regards to discovering the way we see objects, discovering briefly like this, without talking much about philosophical logic or details.
It is the same thing when we hear sound, people coughing, sneezing, we have the same feeling. Besides seeing the object that way, when we hear a sound, the same thing. Something is really there, something completely, very solid, completely independent—that is the feeling when we hear sound. We think it is really there, really existing only from the object’s side. It is the same thing when we touch things. Besides perceiving and listening, also when we touch, when we walk, we feel the same thing. When we walk on the ground we feel something very steep, something very concrete, something very steep, from the ground’s side. Then it is the same thing with taste, a similar feeling with taste and sweetness—if you check up sweetness, it is the same thing. Also a similar feeling with taste. Also the object of ear, sound, taste, and also smell. Also these are similar, we perceive them in that way. When there is incense, when you burn incense, when you smell it, the sweet smell, only from the smoke’s side, there is an independent smell. A real sweet smell appearing from the object’s side. It is the same thing whenever we remember things, or people—anything that we remember, the way of perceiving them is the same. It is the same thing when we look at this tent—do you see the tent from your side or from the tent’s side? It is the same thing. Then on the basis of this wrong conception seeing the “I” in the wrong way—your wrong conception is the fundamental thing. Then from this, greed, anger, and pride come, doubt comes, and those other negative minds come. Just like this.
For instance, the different organs of the senses are based on the body. If there is no body there are no different organs of the senses. All the delusions come from the wrong conception, this wrong conception seeing the “I” in such a way, as self-existent. This wrong conception intuitively always arises, day and night, even when you are conscious, working, sleeping—it is always there. This intuitive wrong conception has continued from beginningless samsaric lifetimes. Even during death time and after death, in the intermediate stage, and at the rebirth time, it continually exists. So without this, no other delusions can exist.
Just making it simple, on the basis of this wrong conception of ignorance, there is attachment. For instance like this. When we look at the watch, the wrong conception sees the watch as self-existent even though it is not self-existent. On the basis of that, there is attachment, seeing the watch as self-existent, seeing that which is not there. The attachment discriminates on the basis of that self-existent view, and makes it more beautiful than what is there. When you have attachment, there is the feeling of sort of sinking into the object, like a thorn going inside the flesh. The mind absorbs into the object, like this. Then you do not want to separate from that, you want to have it. That’s how attachment sees the object. This is the meaning of attachment, this is how attachment is.
Many people cut off wishing, in trying to cut off attachment. That is completely wrong. If you cut off this wish there is no way to gain peace, no way to release from suffering because you have cut off the wish. So if you have to cut off everything, all actions, and the wish to control your mind, if there is no wish to control mind, if there is no energy to control your mind, the mind never gets controlled. This person thinks that all wishes and attachment have to be stopped and that all thoughts are bad, that they have to be cut off, because they are the same wrong conceptions. If that were so, then eating medicine and eating poison should be same thing, because eating poison causes problems, so all food, every food should be cut off. According to that wrong conception, it becomes like this. Too much over-judging helps nothing, only creates confusion, makes the person complicated, makes him not know how to live life—attachment means this.
It is the same thing when there is anger toward the object. First of all the wrong conception sees the object as self-existent. Then there is an ugly view, it appears ugly, the opposite of beauty. As this appears anger comes, disliking the object. There are also different types of pride. All these different delusions, these five root delusion, come from the fundamental thing, the wrong conception, the ignorance not knowing the absolute nature of the self. All the twenty secondary delusions also come from this. With these delusions, as this ignorant conception produces the different types of delusion, then the different types of delusion produce karma. As these delusions produce karma, the person suffers continuously, circling round in samsara.
Then in relation to the karma that is produced by these delusions, there is unfortunate karma, fortunate karma, and immovable karma—three different types of karma. Fortunate karma means positive karma that causes one to be born in the upper realms and has the result of happiness. Unfortunate karma is negative karma that has a suffering result. Immovable karma is created by the gods who are in the world of form, the samsaric gods. Their virtuous actions do not change, the result ripens there, it does not take place in another realm. Movable karma is like this. For instance, the animals who belong to people who good care of them, loving so much, giving them all kinds things. For instance, in this lifetime a person does not keep the precepts but makes a lot of charity. So the person is born as a dog in such a family. The rebirth is as an animal, a dog, but they receive food, and have good enjoyments. Instead of charity bringing the result in the upper realms, having the enjoyments of being born as a human being, instead of bringing this result, it brings the result of being born as dog and having those enjoyments, still having good enjoyments. That karma doesn’t bring the result of rebirth in the human realm, making charity, because the other karma of keeping precepts is missing. So the result ripens in the animal realm. This is movable karma, unfortunate karma produced by delusion. Due to this karma, the being takes rebirth in samsara with this wrong conception, with all these wrong delusions, again creating karma, and according to the karma person again takes rebirth as a person born again with wrong conceptions, and all these delusions, and again creates karma.
I think stop there.
The karma of those in the world of form doesn’t ripen in other realms like the other example of a human being who didn’t observe precepts but created good karma making charity. We create this in order to have a better rebirth, in order to have a happy better life in this lifetime or in the future. Instead of this result ripening in an animal realm, it moves, like this.
So as Guru Tsongkhapa said, “If one does not try to think of the shortcomings of true suffering, one does not develop the full thought seeking nirvana.” “Think” means, in this case, understanding or checking. “If one does not think of the evolution, how all suffering rises from a cause, one does not know how to cut the root of samsara. It is necessary to develop the renounced mind, aversion for samsara.” After that one, I don’t remember, sorry ... He said “I have the yogi have practiced in that way. I prostrate to you seeking nirvana, practicing like this.” Now I remember. After the word “It is necessary to develop the renounced mind, aversion for samsara, and have the understanding of what binds one in samsara. I, the yogi practice like this. I prostrate to you seeking nirvana, who should practice like this.”
This is Guru Tsongkhapa’s quotation, from his teaching that explains how to meditate on samsara, and how to receive the renouncing mind of samsara.
So I think that’s all. Then a few drops. Then tomorrow at the time of the initiation in order to make it a little bit clear I can explain tomorrow.
Question: Could you say which commitment is this initiation?
Rinpoche: Commitment. I see. You can never eat food, always sit down, cannot stand up. I am joking! The commitment of the initiation is to become Avalokiteshvara, leave your suffering body and become Avalokiteshvara. That is the commitment. That’s easy. Actually, I am not joking ... the person who does not have that aim doesn’t have to come, I am serious. This is the main aim, trying to release from this suffering body, this samsara. Trying to release from samsara and achieve the compassionate buddha’s enlightened stage in order to lead sentient beings. Not only for your happiness, but only for the happiness of other sentient beings—to lead them to the compassionate buddha’s enlightened stage. If one doesn’t have that aim, it is not necessary to come, better to not come. The fundamental thing is this pure thought of bodhicitta, wishing to receive enlightenment for the sake of sentient beings. We have been always repeating this every day. From your side also you may have repeated it, or you may have thought it. So this is the main thing, the fundamental thing. What is necessary is this motivation, and then we have been saying mantras, making purification with Guru Shakyamuni Buddha—I think we have been doing this with just the mind relying on Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, and that itself is taking refuge, relying on Guru Shakyamuni Buddha in order to achieve enlightenment, to escape from samsara, to achieve enlightenment. The mind relying on Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, that itself is taking refuge. We have already been doing that.
Then one thing is this. The recitation of the mantra—you can recite the short one and the long one. If you can recite the long one it will be very helpful for you. Maybe three times saying this long mantra and then maybe the short one, which has only six syllables, this maybe ... actually there is no reason why the person cannot recite one rosary. So fast, just six syllables. It doesn’t take even five minutes. It can be almost finished in a minute. If you can recite one rosary it is the best thing. If not, then recite this mantra twenty-one times—actually there is no question why we can’t recite one rosary one day. It is just since we have so much time to talk about, many things to do, sleep, so many other things to do, there is no reason actually, we just make it difficult. Like this.
That’s all I think, thank you.
I am thinking to explain, as some people asked how to do it, usually in the mornings in the West, how the meditation should be set up, things like this, but I think tomorrow.