Lamrim Meditation Course at Chenrezig Institute

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Eudlo, Australia (Archive #163)

These teachings were given by Lama Zopa Rinpoche at a one-month meditation course held at Chenrezig Institute, Eudlo, Australia, in May 1975. This historic event, attended by 120 students, was the first meditation course at the center. The course was based on The Wish-fulfilling Golden Sun, Rinpoche’s first lamrim book, and includes many checking meditations led by Rinpoche. First edit by Ven. Thubten Labdron (Trisha Donnelly), second edit by Sandra Smith, August 2021.

Go to the Index page to view an outline of topics and click on the links to go directly to the lectures. You can also download a PDF of the entire course.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche doing puja at Chenrezig Institute, Australia, May 1975.
Lectures 1 and 2
Lecture 1

We are so fortunate that we have such a Mahayana center where there is a chance for people to hear and study and actualize something. The center has not been established for a very long time, and such a place is kind of unexpected, it is kind of a dream that such a thing has happened in Australia.

Generally, to meet Dharma is extremely difficult, very rare. If we could count the number of people who have met the Dharma in the world, it would be nothing compared to people who have not met Dharma. This perfect, infallible teaching of Buddhadharma is extremely rare to meet.

Then in all Dharma there are three levels: the Lesser Vehicle path, the Great Path and the tantric path. Especially to meet the Mahayana teachings is extremely rare, extremely rare. Without meeting the Great Path, the Mahayana teachings, there is no way to follow the short-cut path, the tantric path, in order to receive enlightenment. So the Great Path, the Mahayana path, is the fundamental thing.

Usually we think if we are born in that country or even if we go to that place and meet the Dharma, we will become some kind of a holy person. However, it is not like this. Meeting Dharma, for instance meeting the Mahayana teachings, first of all we have to listen. We have to hear the teachings, then try to understand the meaning and then actualize. And then, then the person really meets the Mahayana teachings. It is not easy, not easy.

That's why I am saying it is fortunate that there is the existence of a center where we can study the teachings. Also the people who have helped build the monastery have created incredible good karma, have made great purification. It is fortunate to receive such a chance to do such work, which can benefit a great number of other people. I also think, from my side, it is quite fortunate to talk about the Mahayana teachings at such a place.

To do the meditation course, I'm sure everybody knows quite well, everybody has different reasons for taking the meditation course. But it is very important not to make a mistake at the beginning regarding the purpose of taking the meditation course. The purpose of staying here for one month is very important, especially the reason for following Dharma and practicing meditation. It is so important to really understand, for the new people who did not take a meditation course before, it’s very important for you to understand. If you understand that, there is no danger that you will make mistakes in your actions when you are trying to practice Dharma here.

Those who took one or two meditation courses already, it is still necessary to check up. If you don't check up, you may make many mistakes. That's the most important thing. If there is a mistake, it is necessary at the beginning, before you spend time, to correct, to try to have a pure reason, then all your actions become pure, really sincere. Instead of feeling pride, “Oh, I know this. I have heard this subject before,” such as about mind being beginningless, things like this. “I've heard it before.” Instead of feeling pride like this, check up. If you really check individually, if you really check still there may be doubts in your mind. Not clear, not clear. The less doubt there is, that much more indestructible, unshakable is your understanding. It is that much firmer, you have that much deeper understanding. If you don't check well, if you do not check deeply, just feeling pride, “Oh I know, I heard that subject,” such as this, then many doubts can arise in your mind and then sometimes it’s possible your understanding will change, there is danger.

Anyway, like this, sort of emphasizing, a short introduction especially for new people to understand. For instance, now there are many hardships in the life, when there is rain, much wind, feeling cold, becoming wet, having problems with your tent. I'm speaking of the present experiences. Always there are physical problems. If we don't have this physical body, we don't have to experience all these difficulties. There is no hardship of this kind of life. All these difficulties, physical problems, hardships, are also a product of mind. Why this physical body has problems, is suffering, is because the mind is in suffering. If the mind is not in suffering there is no reason, no way for the physical body to experience suffering. There is no connection, no reason why the body has to experience suffering.

Why is our mind still in suffering? Why? That is because so far we did not realize perfect happiness, even though we might believe in just one life or even if we believe in beginningless lifetimes. Why we have not received ultimate happiness is because we never achieved the path that brings this ultimate happiness; we never tried, never accomplished it. Once we have accomplished it and achieved the ultimate happiness by following the path, it is impossible to change, to fall down or to degenerate, to lose it. It is impossible because there is no cause, no hindrance. Not receiving ultimate happiness, not accomplishing the realizations of the path is mainly due to not realizing that the principal cause of suffering is in the mind, the inner factors. We have always believed the principal cause of happiness is external factors and we are always trying to change the external things, never changing the mind. Even though we try to check, we check the wrong way. Even trying to check inside, we check with wrong conception, which only brings more confusion in the life.

We always believe the external conditions around us are the principal cause of happiness or the principal cause of suffering. For instance, when a person makes us angry, we absolutely believe that they are the cause of our anger, that they are the principal cause of our anger. We absolutely believe that they are the real enemy. This is our nature, this is our experience. If we check up, when we try to remember our past experiences it is clear, it is true.

Perhaps we may feel pride, thinking, “I know that.” But when the situation comes, even if we have read books and heard the teachings, we feel pride, we do not use the understanding, we do not think in that way; when the real situation comes we do not think that way. That means we really don’t understand, we don’t really fully see it. That time our life is like the person who doesn't know, who didn't hear teachings. The mind is the same, ignorant. Then instead of trying to change our own mind, we are only trying to change the other person or harm them by killing, by destroying them.

If the other person is the principal cause of suffering, the unhappiness, then that person should be always our enemy, they have to always be our enemy in all our lifetimes. There would not be any change. Also they would be same to other people; they would always be enemy to other people. But that does not happen; that does not happen. The person definitely changes after certain years, in a month, in a week, in a day. In this life or in the future lifetimes, the person definitely changes, they do not always have the same personality. You know, the person is not always seen by other people as enemy. Depending on their actions, what they do, they become friends or they become enemies. Depending on their actions, what they do to us, they are called enemy or friend by the mind, by our own mind. It changes by those actions which we like or which we don't like.

Now we can see so clearly in this way, with these reasons, that they are not the principal cause of our anger, they are not the principal cause of our unhappiness. The principal cause of our unhappiness, our anger is our own discriminating mind, which discriminates different actions that are done. So you see the whole thing depends on the projection of our mind. Same thing, if we really think clearly in this way, it’s like a film machine projecting the pictures out there on the wall. If we really think clearly, this is very important. Only through the teachings can we clearly understand; through meditation we can really clearly understand, by checking.

For instance, no matter how much time we spend at university or school, we don't understand these things. We are completely ignorant of how things are working, how our perceptions are working and how our conceptions are working. This is just giving an example.

Now we can see it’s a little bit silly, we can see just a little bit it's a silly thing. So like this, we have been doing exactly the same with everything, including non-living things—sometimes we even get angry with the weather when it does not show sun! When we have to go on a picnic or have to do some important things! I'm joking.

Anyway that part of the conception is completely wrong. Even if all sentient beings were killed, still our enemy, our principal cause of suffering is not finished. Even though we alone are existing, still the enemy is not finished, the enemy is not ended. Even though we commit suicide with our body, we split the mind from the body, still our suffering is not finished. Still the mind is living in suffering.

So all these life hardships, all these life problems are caused by the inner factor, the principal cause, which is greed, ignorance and hatred. That is greed, ignorance, hatred. No material possessions, no external factors can cease the principal cause of suffering—ignorance, greed, hatred. Just that method cannot cease these poisonous minds of greed, ignorance, hatred. Therefore there is a need for religion, there is a need for meditation and there is a need for Dharma practice. So this is the main purpose of religion.

As religion exists for this reason, so religion should be used to cut off these three poisonous minds, from where all the suffering arises. If we don't use it that way, then our religion is useless. It does not have any value if it does not benefit this; it does not have any value, it does not have any special purpose.

The perfect, infallible method to completely cease the poisonous minds, from where all the suffering arises, is the Buddhadharma, in which we can have complete trust, which can definitely work, can benefit. The Buddhadharma that's shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha is something that can be experienced by any living being. It's something that can be experienced even by mosquitoes, even by the lower creatures, besides human beings, if it is practiced. It is not something that cannot be experienced or which is experienced only by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, it is not like this.

All the teachings that have been practiced by Tibetan lamas originally came from India, from those famous, highly realized pandits; all these teachings, which are the lineage that has been practiced by Tibetan lamas. First all the teachings are like this: no matter if it is called tantra or Mahayana teachings, whatever it is called, all these teachings were first of all shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, as he had the experience. Then after that his followers, the highly realized, fully experienced pandits, checked up. They checked whether it definitely works or not, like checking gold. When you are checking gold, you check it in many different ways, by rubbing and burning, to see whether it is pure gold or not. Just like this, the teachings that were shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha were checked by his followers, by the fully experienced pandits, with logic, whether there are mistakes or not. After checking, many of the yogis, Indians and also people from many other countries, such as Tibetan yogis, took teachings and practiced and actualized [the path.]

All the teachings are very practical. If we practice, if we put them into action it works. As long as we do not put them into action, like anything, if we do not put something into action it does not work. Even in the worldly way same thing, if we do not take medicine it does not work, it doesn't cure our sickness, it does not do these things, same thing. So the teachings are not just something picked up from the street! Not like this.

In order to cease all suffering, it is necessary to follow the whole graduated path, which leads to happiness. Still that is not sufficient. It is necessary to receive enlightenment, the complete cessation of all dualistic minds in order to benefit, to enlighten other sentient beings. To follow this whole graduated path, to receive enlightenment depends on having a spiritual friend or teacher who is perfect in understanding and who is wise in explaining to the disciples, showing guidance, who knows the path.

Anyway, this time I don't have any experience, I do not know anything. I have such limited understanding of Dharma, like an atom in this earth. Dharma is the earth and my understanding is just like an atom of this earth, so limited. Also I don't think this can benefit your mind because my personality is so poor, how can I benefit others, you know! A person who does only eating, defecating and sleeping! But it is the order of the guru, so there must be something! [Laughter] There must be something, it cannot be completely empty. I'm joking!

Anyway, in order to receive enlightenment we have to completely achieve the Great Vehicle, the graduated path of the higher capable being. Without achieving that, there’s no way to receive enlightenment, the complete cessation of the dualistic mind, the state that is completed in all knowledge. That is the graduated path of the higher capable being, which leads to enlightenment, and that is based on the graduated path of the middle capable being. So even just to escape from the bondage of suffering, which is caused by the poisonous minds—ignorance, greed, hatred—we have to accomplish, we have to actualize the graduated path of the middle capable being. In order to actualize the graduated path of the middle capable being we have to actualize the graduated path of the lower capable being. In order to actualize the graduated path of the lower capable being, we have to receive teachings and understand the meaning of the teachings and we have to practice.

Before that, while we and others have problems—I'm talking about practice—if we want to practice, if we wish to receive enlightenment, to escape samsara, then how to follow the path, how to start? I am talking since we are going to practice. If we talk in a practical way, what we need at the moment, before that there is need of the understanding of the mind.

So, I think I will read the first part: “Mind is Beginningless.”

[Reading from Wish-Fulfilling Golden Sun, pp. 25–26]

If the mind had its beginning ... then what created the original being's mind?

This is another question that has to be checked. This question is very important to check up. Especially those who did not take a course before, it is necessary to check, to try to find answers to these questions. Check within your mind, what your wisdom says.

[Reading from Wish-Fulfilling Golden Sun, p. 27.]

In addition ... is just dreaming.

Anyway, this I just read. If by reading there are any doubts or questions, they can be discussed after supper. There will be a short time for discussion if there is any problem in your understanding or wrong understanding or not understanding! These other students who have been taking courses before and anyone who has understanding about the mind, discuss with each other. And those who do not understand, discuss with the person who has understanding. Whoever has time, Dr. Nick or Ann, or whoever has time will also help. If we talk, if we go through with questions, it takes much time and the subject does not get finished. So this way is easier.

However, as I put the question here in the subject, especially at the points where I put the questions, that is the point, the place where you have to check up. Check up and see what your wisdom says.

There are two ways of checking. First, how it is a mistake believing that mind is caused, the principal cause of the baby's mind is the parents, the combination of the egg and sperm. How it is a mistake thinking the baby's mind comes from the parents’ minds, the father and mother. You know, you put the question to yourself and check. Whatever beliefs you have should have understanding and logical reasons.

The baby's mind coming from the parents' mind, I actually did not hear and read in any book. Actually I did not hear other Westerners saying that but I just put the idea there, just to stop the future wrong conceptions. Usually the conception that is explained in the books and in the science books, I think, also that’s what the doctor says, whom we believe is the doctor, whom we should believe. So usually we say that, even if the parents' bodies are perfect, when the baby has an imperfect body, science says it is because of the atoms. Even if the other babies have perfect sense organs in their body, but one specific baby has imperfect sense organs in the body, then the answer is that certain atoms or certain genes came from the parents, who had imperfect bodies. Other parents, even previous parents, even the grandfather or grandmother, or the parents of parents going back, it is their mistake. So the fault is put on their heads. [Laughter]

Usually we say it is like this. That there is a continuity, that's why this specific baby has met certain atoms. But then, if it is questioned why a specific baby is called, for instance, Rick, Richard, this specific baby, why he met these defective genes or atoms, which make him have an imperfect body or sense organs. If it is questioned, the answer is time; this baby met because of time. The baby received that because of that time. But there is no question why the specific baby has to meet this time. Why not other babies? Why this specific baby? Why not another baby who is called something like Robert? Why not him? Why this Richard? If it is questioned, then it’s difficult. Well, I cannot say difficult, but you check up. Perhaps you may know. I'm sure you have answers, check up, check up. Time, because of time, something like that, but when you say because of time, I think when the person answers “time,” I think sort of it's going zero, his mind is going zero, zero. I'm joking!

I think the way the person is thinking of time, they think time is kind of inexpressible, kind of not created, not a creation, or that maybe time is created by the time, it is created by only time; time is not a creation of mind, not a creation of the living beings. That is my feeling, the person who answers that, if they checked in the depth of their heart, their concept I think it is like that. So they give it to time then it disappears after that. Anyway, check up like this. Check up.

Time has many parts, particles—that the baby is born at such an hour, such a time, such a day—there are many particles. Anyway, check up what or who has created such time, that the baby has to receive such defects, the genes. So like this, check up. It is useful to check how time is a creation, you will understand slowly, it is created by the beings, not by itself. There’s no way it can be created by itself. Anyway, check up like this.

One interesting thing to check up, for instance, is this instinctive feeling of the “I” that we all have day or night, all the time. This is not created by time, this feeling that we instinctively have in our body, which we feel, which we think of. This is not taught by our parents, this is not taught by our teacher; we have it even before the teacher teaches this capital “I” at school. Before that, before our parents, before our teacher teaching the I, this first person, second person, third person, I, he, she; before teaching this, we have this feeling—this is useful to remember—this instinctive feeling of I. “I want this. I am not doing that. I like this and that.” This we have, this is quite clear. Then even this feeling does not depend on our parents teaching I. Does this feeling come after parents said “I” or did this feeling exist before our parents taught us language? Was this feeling already there?

Somebody must have already incredible answers! Do you remember? Was it existing before our parents taught us language? Was it existing or not? Who says yes? Oh, I see. So this feeling was already there when you were a baby, even when you were coming out of your mother's womb? This feeling was already there, wasn't it? Was this feeling already there? When the baby was coming out of mother's womb, that time, was this feeling there? Oh, I see, yeah. So when the baby was in the womb, then was this feeling also there? Isn't it yes? Maybe you are giving silent answer!

Check up like this. Repeat those two questions that are in the book, keep them in your mind and try to understand. When you meditate, try to check, try to find out how it is, which one is right, which one is wrong. This is the method, checking in such a way. Check up. This is a method to develop wisdom in order to discover the nature of mind. So it is not a kind of useless thing, a merely intellectual useless exercise. Do not think in this way.

If you still do not agree, if you don't find any proof, or if you still think it is not true, many babies can tell previous lives; they can remember their previous lives. For instance, in the West, in previous times there are many babies who remember their previous life and who proved the different places, different homes, where they were before and what they did and these things; and so many different stories in the newspapers in different places, things happening. And I think still, even recently, there are many babies who can remember their previous lives. This is happening in different countries in the West, besides Tibet and India in the East. Even though lots of children are experiencing this, because it is not explained in the books that are taught at school, only because of it not being read or explained, that just limits other people’s understanding. It just stops us from understanding or believing that there is such an experience, such a wisdom that can remember previous lives, such a mind that can remember previous lives. Because it is not explained in the books we read or taught in school, even though there are people who have real experience and there is no mistake in their understanding, still we think they are crazy.

In New York before, I met an old lady who can tell future and past lives. She reads hands, she can kind of foretell, she reads hands for fortunes. She wanted to see very badly, so we discussed a little bit and I asked her, with my curious mind, whether she can see, remember any past and future lives. She is quite an old lady and she said she could recognize, she could tell other people their past and future lives. I did not ask her about my past and future life! But she said she usually does not tell people in the West that she knows, that she can tell their past and future lives, otherwise she told me that she would be recognized as crazy person. You know, sort of a sick person, a crazy person although she foretells past and future lives. She said, “Usually, I don't talk about these things, only the present life.” Also she said that she feels a little bit embarrassed, kind of upset. In India, in the East, she found people who have a higher level of mind, she found more realized people than in the West. She said for most of the people in the West, the mind is low level and that's why she feels upset. I'm not sure.

So anyway there are many other examples like this that happened, and also I think many people know also stories from different countries, talking about past lives of different babies, children. And there are many stories in Tibet about reincarnated lamas. Anyway, even though that is mentioned, people would think that it only exists for Tibetan people who practice Dharma, but maybe not in the West. There are examples like this.

The most important thing, when you find it difficult to accept, is to check with these questions, try to check up. Such as the time—who has created, who has fixed such time for the baby. Whether the baby has fixed time or the parents have fixed time and who has created the time, who has created the time, that specific time. That's very important.

And one most important thing to check up is this instinctive feeling of “I.” Check whether this feeling of the I came from our mother or whether this feeling of I came from our father; whether it is a combination of the father's I and the mother's I, or whether it came from both people. Check up like this. Check up like this.

If we think, if we easily agree, if we come to the solution that the feeling of I comes from our parents—possible, possible; if it is seen this way, that's possible. We did not check up so far, but it’s possible to easily believe that it comes from our parents. Then think: if this feeling is part of our parents, the instinctive feeling of I, then this feeling should be our father's; this concept, the feeling would be our father's. Then we would be the father, we would become the father. Same way, if the instinctive I is part of the mother's conception of I, then we would be the mother.

For instance, like this, no matter that parents have that many number of children, all their feelings of I would have come from the parents, part of that. Then all the children would be the parents. They all would be the parents. They would just have different bodies but they would all be the parents. Just with more bodies. Then it looks like the parents are born from parents. We are born from ourselves. This is a very interesting thing and very interesting to check up. So, you can think like this.

When you check up alone the feeling of I, the time, perhaps study like this, how the continuation of today's mind came from yesterday's mind. The continuation of the mind, this present year is continued from the previous year. That previous year, the mind continuity of the previous year, is continued from another previous year. And then you try to go back, try to remember the last year, how you were at that time. Try to remember last year, then after that try to remember before last year. Try to go back if you can remember, year by year. Then try to remember, go back to baby time, when you started to talk. Then try to think of the time you were in your mother's womb. Try to go back.

Then that time ask whether the mind came from your parents, whether your mind came from the previous life; whether the mind came without depending, without being caused by the parents’ mind—like this try to check. Perhaps you can remember your previous lives! Anyway, then again check. If you think the mind came from the previous life, then again think where did the first mind come from, if it came from another previous life, and try to go back like this. Try to see if there is a beginning, a specific time where your mind has begun.

Then also you can check with the feeling of I, where it came from. What makes us to have this feeling, instinctively there, without the need of being taught by parents, taught by teachers. It is already there. What caused it? Try to check like this.

I think especially the new people should try this meditation. Those who have taken courses before—those who have been meditating on the graduated path in daily life, who have been meditating on a different meditation subject—those people can meditate on the graduated path, whatever meditation you usually try to practice, according to the level of your mind. If you are trying to practice the first part, meditation on the perfect human rebirth, then you make meditation on that. Whatever part you are training your mind in, from that subject you can try to meditate.

And then, it can be possible that even if you took courses before, you never tried to meditate during this time. Possibly you forgot the meditation, even though you tried the one-month course before. Then you can do meditation on breathing. The breathing meditation, first breathing meditation then, if you can remember the subject of meditation, you can do meditation on that subject of the graduated path. If you don't do that, if you find that difficult, then just concentrate on the breath, breathing concentration, purifying breathing meditation.

For new people, the first thing is checking, checking the mind’s continuity, like this, as we have just explained. Checking whether the mind came from the parent's mind, whether it was caused by the past or present body, or whether it came from the baby's previous life. And also check the feeling of I.

Lecture 2

Whether religious or non-religious, we are all the same: we all desire happiness and do not desire suffering. The one who desires ultimate happiness, such as enlightenment, has to depend on practicing Dharma. Without depending on Dharma there is no way to achieve any of these goals. Even for someone who is irreligious, who doesn't have any teachings, who doesn't practice the teachings, any happiness that they desire—the happiness of this temporal life, the happiness of having perfect material enjoyments, the temporal happiness of having good reputation, mental pleasures, physical pleasures—any pleasures that irreligious person experiences are all rooted in the Dharma. All those pleasures arise from the Dharma. Another way of saying this is from a positive cause, from a virtuous cause—the action that is virtue and the creator of the action which is the virtue.

Therefore at this time, especially for us, who are not satisfied with temporal comfort, who are not happy with the temporal comfort that we have been enjoying so far and who are seeking greater happiness, greater peace, which is transcendent to the ordinary, temporal happiness, which lasts forever, of course it is extremely important to create the correct cause, which is not mistaken, as we have the chance and as we want to achieve everlasting happiness.

In order to make our suffering less in the future and to have a better and better life, more and more peaceful and happy, and to cease all the sufferings completely; all that depends on our present daily life actions, how we do the daily life actions, how we create the daily life actions, whether all the daily life actions become virtuous or evil. Even if we wish for this or have plans like this, whether it works or not, whether it will happen or not, depends on our action or our practice, how we lead our daily life.

The present action, what we are doing now, listening to Dharma, needs a pure motivation. So it is necessary to have at least a short motivation, like this:

“It is not sufficient that only I am released from the suffering realm, which is bound by delusion and karma. Numberless sentient beings are suffering without having the method to solve the problems, without having guidance. Not having wisdom, Dharma wisdom, to know what the right action is and what the wrong action is. In order to enlighten them and release them from suffering, I must achieve enlightenment first. Therefore, I must complete the whole graduated path to enlightenment. Therefore I am going to listen to the profound teaching on the commentary of the graduated path to enlightenment.”

This commentary on the graduated path to enlightenment is a Mahayana teaching, which leads the fortunate beings to enlightenment and is well-expounded by the great philosophers Nagarjuna and

Asanga. It is a profound teaching, as though the essence of the magnificent, unequaled great pandit Atisha and the Dharma king of the three worlds, the great Lama Tsongkhapa’s knowledge, the essence of the knowledge was taken out. It includes all the essence of the 84,000 teachings shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, without omitting anything. All of these teachings were arranged for the graduated practice of the path to achievement of enlightenment.

This knowledge has four outlines. We have already talked of:

  1. Knowledge of the authors, in order to show the pure reference.
  2. Knowledge of the teachings, in order to arise devotion, the benefits of studying this knowledge, of practicing this teaching, the lamrim.
  3. Listening and explaining these teachings.

I often repeat an explanation of the motivation at the beginning of the teachings. For instance, if you can, try to understand this example of the patient. We have often been patients in our life, we have been patients many times by getting sick, by having different diseases; many times we became patients. Why did we become patients? That problem was not created by God, not created by some other person, it’s not something that happens without a reason or happens without a cause. Getting sick is a causative thing; it is caused by something. It is no-one's fault; it is only our own fault, only the patient's fault, and we can always find something that causes it.

If we check up, if we are fully aware of our actions, especially of our past actions, if we really understand, many times we can find that when we do the action, we are not aware—I'm just talking in a general way, not talking about karma—generally many times we get sick, many times we get a disease, diarrhea or a headache, teeth pain, always something, always there are different things happening. If our mind is a little bit aware, a little bit clearer, then we should think, check back, “What mistake did I make in my actions?” When we check back, we can try to think what caused it; the wrong actions that brought the trouble.

Usually we kind of check up the conditions: “Oh, it’s because I have been eating many candies, drinking many Coca-Colas on picnics, at parties.” Or for a long time walking, wandering around on the ground or mountains, sitting for a long time on cold and wet ground. “Maybe that must have caused so much gas in my stomach! Then maybe it was because at that party I ate a lot of meat; that's why I have pain.” Things like that. Anyway, sometimes we check and find certain things like this, certain actions of which we were not aware at the time but afterwards, when the problem comes, by checking we remember. “That was a mistake.” We check like this.

But what the patient discovers is not the main cause. This is not the main cause that brought the problem, the disease; it’s not the main cause. We didn't discover the main cause; our mind is not aware, is still ignorant. It didn’t mean we fully discovered the principal cause of that disease. Even though we were accurate, it was correct, that was just a condition which brought the problem. It was not the main cause, not the real cause. When we remember something, a mistake in our behavior—eating or sleeping or doing something in our daily life—when we remember something, then we know that it is our own fault. In that way we know, we understand that it is our own fault, our mistake.

Like this example, there are other mistakes. This is not the real mistake; what we usually find is not the real, the worst mistake. The real mistake, which brings the disease, is another cause. There is something else which was created in the past without us knowing, without being aware.

For instance, the suffering. If there is no mind, can suffering exist? Can one experience suffering without mind? How is the body suffering?

Student: How do you mean “one”? Are you meaning that one is the body or one is the mind?

Rinpoche: When you cut your nails do you get pain?

Student: No.

Rinpoche: Why?

Student: You cut them where you know there are no nerves.

Student Two: Are the nerves mind?

Rinpoche: What do you mean by nerves?

Student: The message-carriers in the physical body; whatever it is that carries pain.

Rinpoche: Whatever it is that carries pain? Your body doesn't carry pain?

Student: Yeah, but it travels along certain channels in the body.

Rinpoche: So your body carries pain?

Student: The channels on the body carry the pain to the mind. No?

Rinpoche: Why do you allow your body to carry pain?

Student: Why allow it? If you don't, then you might damage it, damage your ligaments or something.

Rinpoche: Carrying pain; isn't that the problem?

Student: It’s a problem if the body is being damaged; it’s a physical problem.

Rinpoche: I'm saying to damage the body itself is pain, isn't it? So why allow the body to carry pain?

Student: I don't. I always stretch my legs out.

Student Two: I didn't allow my body to carry pain, so that ...

Rinpoche: You didn't allow, let your body carry pain? What about you? Do you allow your body to carry pain?

Student: No, no, I don't. Wait a minute, if I feel pain, I alleviate it. If I feel pain, I take the necessary action to take the pain away. If I'm cold, I put something on.

Rinpoche: But why didn't you try to not have the pain? Why didn't you make to not have the pain, rather than to have the pain and stretch?

Student: Because that takes up too much energy.

Rinpoche: If you don't have the pain, you don't have to stretch your legs too.

Student: Because you have to fight it and that takes up a lot of energy. You have to concentrate on it.

Rinpoche: I'm saying that if you make to not have pain, you don't have to stretch your legs and use much energy.

Nick: What Rinpoche is saying is why do we allow ourselves to be susceptible to suffering pain at all? Why are we vulnerable?

Student: You have to preserve the body to keep it healthy.

Nick: But why?

Rinpoche: Not keeping healthy. Because with the body you have pain it means you are not keeping the body healthy. [Student: That's right.] So you are allowing pain, not taking care means allowing pain. [Student: That's right. No, that's not right!] So, why do you do two things: having pain and stretching the legs? Either leave stretching the legs or leave the pain!

Actually, if you really check up it is a childish thing, or like sleeping. The whole problem of having pain is created by yourself and you put much effort, finding difficulty curing the pain and working very hard to cure the pain. All that is unnecessary double work. If you have made up your mind and body completely to not have pain at all, no sickness at all, then there is no need for medicine, no need to worry about not being cured and such as operations, the many things you have to experience, all these don't have to be done.

So what I am saying is that without the mind, there is no way for suffering to exist. For instance, just now someone said that when we cut our nails we don't feel pain. Didn't someone say that? I’m not sure whether someone said it or I said it. That means, actually, why the physical body suffers is because the mind is in suffering. When a nail is [hammered] into the plants or those non-living things, they don't have pain, similarly, the body has no pain if there is no mind. So the suffering is an internal factor. That internal factor, the principal cause of the suffering, is not matter; that is something that is rooted in the mind.

But then the question: if that is the fault of having mind, then maybe the method is to try to cease the mind, to cut off the mind. But having mind, also that method of trying to cease the mind, trying to stop the mind is a meaningless, effortless, result-less method. It is impossible to cease the mind, to completely cut off the mind, to make it no longer have continuity.

So the actual mistake, the actual cause is in the mind. For instance, some of us, however much we try to be aware in the daily life conditions—eating, going out, taking care of the body with external conditions—however much we take the best care, trying to be aware “this one harms this, this one harms this and that,” however much we try to take care, there are problems, either mental or physical pains. These and other sufferings arise, which we have to experience.

Like this clear example, no matter how much we take care, everyone has to go through death. No matter how much we try to take care from enemies, from the elements, fire and water, and other dangers. No matter how much we try, everyone has to experience this life’s problems of decay, the body becoming decayed. There are many things, many things.

However, what the Dharma offers, the understanding of the word Dharma, how listening to Dharma brings us to everlasting happiness, the cessation of suffering, is because firstly, the foundation, Dharma, is like a mirror. It shows all our mistakes, all our wrong actions, wrong thoughts, which have been causing all these sufferings from beginningless previous lives until now, and also in the future.

Why the general education, worldly knowledge does not offer ultimate happiness, why it does not explain, why it does not show a path, why we cannot solve problems, especially the mind problems, why we cannot cut off problems completely, not to have any more, is because worldly education, worldly knowledge does not offer the knowledge that understands mistakes. That worldly knowledge does not explain deeply the mistakes we make, the wrong thoughts which produce wrong actions and the resultant suffering. So, however much of that knowledge we have, however much we study, we keep on making mistakes in daily life, with wrong conceptions, with a mind full of wrong conceptions, not knowing [our nature], the nature of the mind.

The life is spent like this. No matter how much we spend our life getting educated, because of not recognizing our wrong conceptions, not eradicating our wrong conceptions, the mistaken actions, we keep on making mistakes in this life. Same thing in the future life, same thing in other future lives—we always carry on like this. This life is how we have been from beginningless lifetimes until now. Always we take care of ourselves; we try to solve one problem but then another problem comes. We try to stop this, then again confusion comes. So we are always full of confusion. How we try to stop the problems is temporary; like the disease or any problem, the method that we have been using only helps temporarily but not completely, it doesn't cease completely.

The Dharma first of all reflects just like a mirror. A mirror shows our body, whether ugly or beautiful, whether it has a black spot. Just like a mirror, Dharma shows all the wrong conceptions that we have and all the wrong actions that can be produced by following the wrong conceptions. So, first of all, what Dharma shows is this, by listening to the Dharma we understand this, by thinking and understanding the meaning of what is explained in the Dharma and then by meditating, we recognize, we can really, clearly recognize each of the wrong conceptions. We can clearly recognize how they are false, how all these wrong conceptions are really false.

At this moment, we really think it is true, we believe it is really true; whatever the wrong conception tells us, whatever it says, we believe. We completely trust and believe in it. It is just like our friend

who is a spy, but we don't recognize them as a spy. They want to give us trouble, put us in prison, punishing us or something, but they tell us beautiful words and they behave like a good friend. So we have complete trust in them, we completely believe in them, we completely believe they are our best friend who will never betray us, who can never betray our life. So, very soon we get into problems and our life becomes complicated by being betrayed by our friend, who is a spy.

There are many wrong conceptions, but attachment especially is just like that kind of spy. What attachment does is it only bring unhappiness. Because we don't recognize the wrong conceptions, we don't recognize the shortcomings of the wrong conceptions, how they bring problems; this we don't recognize. Such a person as us, with that level of mind, is completely ignorant in recognizing the different wrong conceptions and the result of wrong conceptions, how they create problems for us.

So what Dharma teaches or shows first is this. Then on the basis of this, Dharma teaches the method, how to cut off wrong conceptions, how to remove them.

This is what I am trying to say, my emphasis is this. So most of the time the Dharma will talk about our life, our mind, our faults or mistakes, and also how to make it beneficial for us.

If you think, for instance, you are looking in a mirror and you see your face is dirty, but you think that it is someone else's face. “My face is not that dirty; it is clean. It is someone else for sure.” Like that kind of example, if you think these teachings—which talk so much about wrong conceptions, so much about the negative things, the wrong actions—are not for you, they are for someone else, that person whom you don't like. Keeping in your mind someone who is your enemy, you think “That is for him,” sort of like that. Dharma is not like this. If it is like this, the teaching doesn't directly benefit your mind; it doesn't make you recognize your wrong conceptions, your faults.

When you listen to teachings, the more faults you find in your mind, the more wrong conceptions you find in your mind, that is the benefit of the teaching, that is the purpose of listening to the teaching. That means you understand the teaching, as you recognize more and more of your mistakes. That is the way, that is the first step, the first thing; to develop Dharma knowledge, to start in the path to enlightenment and everlasting happiness. That is the first thing.

For instance, in order to cure the patient's sickness, without the doctor recognizing what is wrong with the patient, without first recognizing the sickness, how can they give medicine? The first thing in order to cure the sickness, the very first thing, is to recognize the sickness, what type of sickness it is. Then we can take the medicine. So, it is just like this. The attachment is very strong, it doesn't want to be told “You are negative!” It doesn't want to hear negative things. It always expects to hear good things. Correct? Maybe it is only so for me! We always expect to hear something good. “Oh, you are so good, you are so this and that, you are so clever, wise, intelligent.” We always expect good things, we never expect bad things.

That's how attachment cheats us. If we believe what the attachment says, that's how attachment cheats us completely. That's how the attachment deceives us to not receive the ultimate happiness, to not get into the path. It makes us go through the circle, with attachment creating wrong actions, again suffering the resultant confusion, then again with this wrong conception, attachment, we create wrong actions. Like this, it always circles around.

Student: Rinpoche, would we help or hinder each other if we pointed out each other's attachments? Is that a help or a hindrance?

Rinpoche: I think that is fantastic! But many people have the problem of not recognizing what attachment is. So actually, it is useful checking like this: check your own problem, check your own negative mind, check how it is in the nature of attachment, how it is in the nature of pride. As you have a problem, try to recognize it, try to feel it. Try to recognize whether its nature is peaceful or non-peaceful, how it is. It is useful to try to explain to each other, very useful.

I think I'll read the checking meditation, some emphasis on page 26.

Also, one thing for people who listen to the following subject, who have done other courses: it is important when the pride comes, it is important to check up whether you have the realization of the meditation, whether the realization is achieved or not. Even though you have the realization, you cannot have pride. Pride is always the non-peaceful mind; the nature of pride is non-peaceful. This is very clear. You can feel it if you are aware, if you check up. When you have pride you are not happy, if you really check up you are not happy. The mind is really very unhappy, very uncomfortable when you have very strong pride. No matter how much realization you have, how much higher realization you have; actually, how it is supposed to be is that as you have higher realization you should have less pride. That is what has to happen. If there is no realization achieved then that shows the need for practice, the need for understanding.

Also one thing is this: taking a one-month meditation course doesn't mean anything. Of course there will be a difference between hearing Dharma and not hearing any Dharma, but just for one month making meditation, putting effort into meditation, just by that you cannot receive ultimate happiness so easily. Just that cannot cut off all the wrong conceptions. These wrong conceptions are something that have always been in the mind from beginningless previous lifetimes, which don't have a beginning or a certain period when they started. No such thing. So you should not expect, you should not think that they can be very easily removed by doing meditation for seven days, for one month or a short time. For instance, by putting drops of honey on the acid-tasting plant that is growing in the garden, you cannot make it sweet. Putting drops of honey each day cannot make the plant with an acid taste become sweet. So, just like this, you have to make a long-term plan.

Of course generally, how quickly we realize the meditation is not the same for everyone. It depends on our level of intelligence, it depends on our practice and understanding, and it depends also on how much purification we do. Generally the meditation that we do is purification, but it is very helpful to have the Guru Shakyamuni yoga purification, the visualization of Guru Shakyamuni purification. This is very helpful and very powerful; we need help in order to actualize the meditation, to cut off, to remove the wrong conceptions. So it also depends on how much purification we do.

The length of time it takes is not the same for everyone. But generally it’s necessary from your side to make a long-term plan, like: “I'm going to do this, since this negative mind is false and always brings problems. How can I always keep doing this? How can I always be with this? I must cut it off, and by doing one action, by following the path, by practicing the Dharma, I must achieve ultimate happiness.”

Once we receive that [ultimate happiness], we never have to work; we never have to follow from the beginning of the path; we have nothing to worry about. Once we have done this action it is finished, not like the worldly actions, which we keep on doing. Just like when we eat food, the food runs out; then again we eat food and again the food runs out; always circling around, it never finishes, never ends. This life is not the first one. The experience of this life is like eating, we keep on eating and taking out; this is not the first thing, we are always circling, it never finishes. Also working for food never finishes.

Dharma work is not like this, it is completely different. Dharma work, once we do it, once we complete it, it is finished. But the samsaric work, the worldly work, never finishes. Worldly work, which is done with attachment, with the three negative minds, the three poisonous minds, never finishes at any time, however much we carry on in this.

Therefore, it is worthwhile from our side to make long-term plans: “I'm definitely, even if it takes many lifetimes, even though it takes one hundred lifetimes, a billion lifetimes, I have to get out, I have to cut off all the wrong conceptions and receive enlightenment to benefit other sentient beings.” Such a plan, such beneficial thought is necessary for us and for all sentient beings.

Also one thing, during this one month you should try to meditate and put as much effort as possible. Try to put all your energy, physical and mental, mostly mind energy, into meditation. Try very hard during this one month because one thing is this: if you look at your daily life, there is no time from beginning of the day to nighttime, there is no time. When the meditation course finishes, you will have no time to meditate. It’s difficult. For instance, if you check back, after taking those previous meditation courses, whether you have been meditating every day even for one hour a day, even one hour—even to find just one hour to make meditation every day, even that is extremely difficult.

So how can the mind be developed? The whole time goes. The whole time finishes by talking from the morning time, and by eating. Even though we are at home in the morning and nighttime, the time goes like this. There is so much distraction, so much distraction from our side and from other people, but mainly from our side. Many times we make the distracting thoughts. The main cause of distraction is within our mind, so sometimes we make other people distract us, we cause other people to disturb us. Then sometimes maybe we complain also. This is very clear.

For these reasons we should not feel pride and we should put effort when there is a chance to meditate for one day or for one month. Also, thinking of our life, if we have millions of years to live that is something else. Even if we don't achieve complete mind control, even if we are not released from all suffering in this life before our death, we should make some progression in this life. It is necessary to do something good, which makes this life meaningful. We should develop the mind as much as possible and try to make it as pure as possible. What I mean by “develop” is to try to make it as pure as possible. That is the only solution. That is the only way and it is a solution to bring peace either in this life or in our future life, the ultimate happiness or enlightenment.

Student: There is a slight confusion in language, there are three words: pain, suffering and fear. You use the word “suffering” and that either means pain or fear. That produces confusion; I think if you were to use the words “pain” or “fear” instead of “suffering” we would understand it much better.

Rinpoche: I use different words, I just use different words. We have pain, but keep in mind that the whole suffering is pain. Keep that in mind and then it doesn't become confusing.

Student: But that's a physical thing, if you've got your finger in a flame, you've got to pull it out. Everybody knows that.

Rinpoche: I don't mean only pain, you know.

Student: Mental pain is fear.

Rinpoche: I don't mean only the physical pain; I mean mainly the mind illness. That's also pain. But do you recognize all the wrong conceptions? Do you recognize your mind? You don't know? I see.

Without knowing, how do you pull yourself out of wrong conceptions, out of the danger of wrong conceptions?

Student: I reckon that wrong conceptions are all from the root of fear. Not from pain but from fear.

Rinpoche: The usual fear that you have—you mean the fear you usually feel? What they are is all the wrong conceptions.

Student: Well, that's one word to describe all the things that motivate us in the wrong direction. That's the thing to overcome. Wrong conceptions come from fear, attachment comes from fear, wrong conceptions come from fear.

Rinpoche: So why is there fear? Why do you keep fear?

Student: I don't know. That's a good question, I don't know. If we got rid of fear we would be all right, wouldn't we? It’s dangerous but it’s not like pain. If we ignore pain we might damage our body, but if we get rid of fear it might be alright, I don't know.

[General discussion]

Rinpoche: Anyway, you check up. Your meditation is to check up why you have fear, the cause of fear. If you fall down from up there, you have fear. Why are you afraid of that? It would be worth checking, why there is fear.

Anyway, without cutting off the wrong conception, without cutting off the ignorance, without avoiding the negative actions, there is always fear. As long as these two friends of mine are not cut off, there is always fear. Why is there fear? Because of not having mind control is another way of saying it. What the Dharma does, what the Dharma practice or meditation does is, by cutting off all the wrong conceptions, it stops all the fears. There are different types of fears. Anyway, generally saying, fear is produced from the wrong conception, which projects the wrong view.

Also many times in our daily life fear comes by not really recognizing the nature of the object. By believing the projection, by believing the wrong view of the wrong conception, the false view

of the wrong conception, then fear comes. So therefore, in a worldly way, in the worldly life, no matter if we try to stop the fear, it doesn't help; none of those methods cuts off the wrong conception. So, however much we try, the fear never gets stopped; always there is another fear coming. Once the Dharma practice is accomplished, all the fear gets stopped because Dharma completely cuts off the wrong conceptions.

[Reading from Wish-Fulfilling Golden Sun, p. 80]

Checking meditation: We, who lack the wisdom of seeing … the belief that checking meditation is required only while listening to discourses and not during meditation sessions.

Generally, I’ll just talk a little bit about the guru, the teacher, just a little emphasis. To fully follow the graduated path to enlightenment depends on the teacher who has the experience or perfect understanding of the path. Without that, only reading Dharma books—expecting to receive realization, expecting to receive enlightenment—it is impossible to receive enlightenment, it is impossible to receive the whole realization. It is impossible without depending on the guru. Also, not only that; that is the main thing but there are many subjects, much to talk about and it is very deep. There are many levels at which to talk and it is very deep. Why, without depending on the guru you can’t receive the whole realization of the graduated path, you can’t receive enlightenment. Maybe some other time it can be discussed.

Generally, teachings that have been received from the right teacher have more effect on your mind, more benefit to your mind. Also you receive a better, right understanding because you receive the right explanation with the right understanding. If you read by yourself and try to understand by yourself, then as your mind is so much obscured there is much danger of getting wrong conceptions.

Also many teachings are literally written. There are many subjects that you have to understand beyond what the words say, how the words appear. Even these days, many people study Dharma but by not having the right explanations, not having the right teachers, due to their own ignorance, due to many things, people develop wrong conceptions by reading books, by reading different texts.

In the Buddhadharma it is explained that there are different qualifications, and what qualifications are necessary even to follow the Lesser Vehicle path, what qualifications the teacher should have. Also to follow the Mahayana path, what qualifications the teacher should have; and the tantric path, what kind of qualifications the teacher should have. As the path gets higher and higher, so the teacher who shows the path has to have higher and higher qualifications, deeper knowledge. To talk about that knowledge is not necessary now, at this time, and also each qualification, each knowledge involves much explanation. Therefore, this is just an introduction, sort of a very simple way of talking, just to have some idea.

Even the teacher who leads the disciple in the Lesser Vehicle path, if possible, should have the three fundamental, basic qualifications, the knowledge of the three higher trainings:

  1. Conduct, which involves living in the morality,
  2. Having knowledge of concentration such as shamatha, one-pointed meditation; having completed one-pointed concentration, and
  3. Wisdom, which is called vipassana.

You may think vipassana has a different meaning from what I say. Vipassana is based on the realization of shamatha, realizing absolute nature. So it may be different vipassana from what you have been hearing.

These are the fundamental qualifications necessary for the teacher to have in order to lead disciples in the Lesser Vehicle path. Generally, it is like this.

There are about ten qualifications that are necessary for the perfect teacher who shows the Mahayana teaching to have, as is said by Maitreya, the buddha who will come after Guru Shakyamuni Buddha's period of teachings is finished. After the change of a certain eon, after many ages, then Maitreya Buddha, the future Buddha, will be founder of the future Buddhadharma in the world.

Maitreya said in his teaching, the text called Do de gyen:

The teacher is subdued and well-pacified, having greater knowledge, having energy and having many oral, verbal teachings, having compassion and avoiding a tired or upset mind.

Not having a tired mind, not feeling tired when the disciple wants teachings, not feeling so tired, not feeling kind of upset. Avoiding being upset or tired when they are asked to give teachings, because if they have that then the disciple doesn't get teachings; it is a hindrance.

So first, regarding the teacher we should rely on, we should depend on, this is the perfect qualification necessary to have in someone who shows us the Mahayana path, the perfect Mahayana teacher. It is like this.

In order to subdue other people’s minds we have to subdue our own mind. With our own mind subdued then we can subdue other people’s minds, that's how it comes. The first quality, being subdued, means living in the discipline ourselves, therefore our actions of speech, body and mind are subdued.

  • Subdued: abstained from negative actions;
  • Pacified: having a pacified mind away from mental distractions;
  • Well-pacified: having the achievement of vipassana realization;
  • Having great knowledge: the disciple may have these three realizations, living in the disciplines, having those realizations, but the teacher has greater knowledge than the disciple;
  • Having energy;
  • Knowing many teachings, having many verbal teachings;
  • Having realization of absolute nature;
  • Skillful in leading the disciple's mind in the graduated path to enlightenment;
  • Having compassion: if there's no compassion then they don't give teachings, they are not concerned for others, not concerned to release others from delusion, there is no concern to give teachings, therefore it is necessary to have compassion;
  • There can be no tired mind, when they are asked to give teachings.

Whoever has this knowledge is the perfect Mahayana teacher. Then again there is the tantra teacher, the Vajrayana teacher; they have higher qualifications, much deeper. There is so much to talk about and it also contains the subject of tantra.

Generally it is extremely difficult to find a perfectly qualified teacher. Also many times it is difficult because even though they are perfect, many times we cannot see them; our limited mind does not see that they are living in these qualifications. It is difficult for us to see that. How is it difficult to see that they are living in all these qualifications, all these realizations? That is because usually when we see people, we discriminate according to our wrong conceptions. The mind is a projector. Just as when we put on dark glasses, if there is shade, then we see every object, other people, as sort of dark, sort of black. We discriminate everyone is black, every object is not white but black, sort of like this. Usually we ordinary people have this problem. Therefore it is difficult to find a perfect teacher and even if there is, we don't recognize things like this; difficult to find.

If we make a mistake in finding the teacher, the guide on whom we completely rely all our life, on whom we completely rely—when we completely entrust our mind to them and we rely on them, on this method, we completely entrust also our body and all the rest of the things. Therefore that guide, that first thing, to find the perfect, correct, unmistakable teacher is the most important thing because receiving enlightenment, receiving ultimate happiness, the whole thing depends on the guide, the guide whom we have found. It depends on that. If that is wrong then everything becomes wrong, everything that we do by following them all becomes a mistake. On the basis of receiving wrong conceptions and by following the wrong conceptions, it wastes the whole life, not only this life but by wasting this life also many other future lives will be similar, very complicated and continuously having wrong conceptions, and in that way complicated.

[Question inaudible]

Rinpoche: …so that's why it's called degenerated. The Dharma won't exist.

Student: This is going to go on for a long time, is that right? It’s got a lot of degenerating to do yet?

Rinpoche: Yeah, I don't remember exactly, it can be several thousand years. There are a certain number of years; it is explained in the teachings but I don't remember. I can't put in English the total number, but I think several thousand years.

So then the question is, if generally this time is a very degenerated time and so it is very difficult for people to see teachers having that much knowledge and realization, if in so many ways it is difficult, then how to find the teacher? Even if the teacher doesn't have all the knowledge that is explained by Maitreya, even just having five: the first three, conduct, concentration and wisdom, and having compassion—having compassion is very important—and having the perfect understanding of absolute nature. At least how to find a teacher who doesn't lead the life in the wrong way, who doesn't make us mislead the life?

Student: Excuse me Rinpoche, wouldn't it depend on your karma whether or not you ended up with a person who was going to further your development or the wrong one who was going to set you back again? Wouldn't it depend on your past thoughts and your karma, which teacher you ended up with?

Rinpoche: Sure, sure, yes. It depends on karma, yes.

Student: So then it almost negates the necessity to work out which one. Maybe you work to the best of your ability, but the fact is that your fate is leading you towards one.

Rinpoche: Sure. So, even though there is a perfect teacher, we don't see them as perfect, we don't feel anything. Because of our previous times we didn't have contact or there is no karma created to take the teachings from them, even though they are highly qualified. There are many things like this. Lots of times, even though they are enlightened, there are a lot of wrong conceptions, there are a lot of distractions in our mind which disturb us to not take teachings, which find faults and mistakes in them. So, because of that we don't take teachings. That is mainly due to karma, yes.

There are stories, but I don't remember them. There are stories about the great yogis such as Marpa, Milarepa's guru. Marpa came from the upper place of Tibet to take teachings from the great pandit who had achieved very high realizations, the great yogi called Naropa who received enlightenment in the lifetime. I think Naropa, this great yogi had all the realizations and, as he had all the realizations, he had many other initiations and many teachings of the specific deities that he had achieved. So Marpa, somehow he had much strong karma, a strong feeling with this deity called Hevajra. Somehow in Tibet he had such a strong kind of wish to follow these teachings, to meditate and to practice these teachings.

First of all he came to Nepal and took teachings from some other Tibetan lama who went to India and learned Indian language and other things. First of all he studied under him. But that teacher only taught him language and didn't teach him much Dharma. I think that teacher was the same as him, so he came to Nepal and also took teachings from other gurus on the tantra teachings.

When he was coming from Tibet he had a friend who also wanted to go to India to learn Dharma, to receive initiations, but with a different teacher, not Naropa, but some other very highly realized yogi. Marpa asked him if he wanted to take teachings from Naropa. He said, “Naropa used to explain teachings very much before, giving many commentaries and things like this. But now I have heard that he has given up these things and only takes the form of the life eating, sleeping and making kaka and pipi.” This is a specific Tibetan title called Kusulu. He said that Naropa was like this, therefore he was not going to take teachings from him. So that way of thinking disturbed him to take teachings from Naropa.

So they came to Nepal together but Marpa took teachings from other teachers and again there was a kind of similar thing, and his friend didn't get to take teachings or to be at that place. The place where Marpa met the teacher in Nepal, they were having pujas, special tantric pujas and his friend didn't want to go. Even though they came together from Tibet, somehow he didn't have the karma to be there, so he didn't face the teacher. Then they went together to India.

In Nepal, Marpa attended the puja and the friend didn't attend the puja; somehow he had a different kind of thinking. Marpa’s attending the puja became helpful in taking teachings from the other teacher. Then they went to India and Marpa, after taking teachings from Naropa, taking many initiations, explained to Naropa that he had a friend, a companion from Tibet but that the friend had no plans to take teachings from Naropa.

Naropa said, “I have no karmic contact.” Marpa's guru, this highly realized yogi said, “He doesn't come because there is no karmic contact with him; therefore he doesn't come to take teachings.” Anyway, there is much long story. So also how it works, these things depend on karma. Also, with whom you have karmic contact, the teachings, the relationship lasts longer and the teachings are more beneficial to the mind. Things like that are possible.

So to find a guru in the Mahayana way, even though we don't see that they have all the knowledge, at least in such a degenerated time they should have this qualification at least. Even though they don't have all the realizations, all the understanding of the Dharma, they should be qualified by the thought of cherishing others more than themselves, concerned with others more than themselves, thinking others more important than themselves. At least they should have this thought. Then there is no danger of leading the disciple's life in the wrong way, there's no such thing as leading the disciple to create negative karma, leading the disciple to create wrong actions, to waste time or life. Or even though they practice Dharma by being involved with actions for self, which is a hindrance to receiving enlightenment, which is a hindrance to receive the Mahayana path. However, there's no danger if the teacher has this qualification of being more concerned for others than themselves.

At least, the very last thing, the most important thing, the fundamental thing that is necessary: the Dharma teacher should be more concerned for the future life than for this life. If they are only concerned for this life, how to take care of this life, how to do this life, if they are only concerned for the temporal happiness of this life, then the disciple also becomes the same. Whatever influence they receive from the teacher, they also become involved in the same way. So that kind of teacher, who is only concerned for the happiness of this temporal life, makes the disciple also concerned only for the temporal happiness of this life. Then in this way all their life is just the same as an animal’s life or just the same as an ordinary person’s life. It doesn't make any difference; all their actions, all their efforts to gain temporal happiness of this life are all wrong actions. It only increases the negative mind, more attachment. Nothing of this becomes pure Dharma by following that kind of teacher who lets the disciple make business and do all kinds of things like this, only concerned with this life.

On the other hand, meditation is important, following the path is important to receive enlightenment, these things are important. But also in the beginning we need to be sure, to check and to be sure, to be careful, that is the most important thing.


At two o' clock then again do the breathing meditation and watching the mind.

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