There’s another way of checking Guru Shakyamuni Buddha's holy body which is also very useful, very effective for the mind.
In the world, all the ordinary beings and even the followers of the Lesser Vehicle path [one class of follower is called Pratyekayana, the other Sravakayana], including even these, the followers who have achieved this Lesser Vehicle path. Including all the beings—all their fortunes, making that one big total—gathering all these ordinary beings in the world, even the followers who have achieved those Lesser Vehicle paths, even all their merit and all the ordinary beings’ merits. All the merits collected, multiply that big total by a hundred times, a hundred times the big total. The merits that were created by ordinary people and the followers who have achievements of these Lesser Vehicle paths, totaled and multiplied one hundred times—that much merit becomes the cause to receive one of the pores of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha's holy body, one pore, the tiny place where the hair grows, such a tiny particle of his holy body. A hundred times that collection of merit becomes the cause of just one particle of his holy body, one pore!
Now, in Guru Shakyamuni Buddha's holy body there's a certain number of pores, each created by a similar cause. Each pore is received by creating such a cause, that much merit. So now the cause, that big collection of merit, which brings each of the pores, put together and multiplied a hundred times, becomes a cause of one of the eighty minor holy signs, called pe ja in Tibetan; just one of the minor signs, one sign. It doesn't become the cause of all the minor signs, just one.
There are eighty minor signs, such as the hairs. The teaching about this is in the Abhisamayalamkara, the teachings given by Maitreya to Asanga. Each of these and all the causes are explained in these teachings, also in the commentaries.
Some examples of minor signs are the hairs not flat but standing up, hairs staying up. Even the feet: ordinary people have feet sort of empty here [under the arch] arched like this. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha's feet are not like ordinary people’s feet, they are full, the whole foot is full. The fingers are very long—not kind of fat and short, but very beautiful and very long. The nails are very clear, having the color of copper. The skin is not like ordinary people’s skin—it has golden color and is very thin. This is talking about the form of the sublime body of transformation, which they call cho ki du, the manifestation that Guru Shakyamuni took in the aspect of a monk. There are many examples like this.
So there are about eighty minor signs. Again, I think, a thousand times the cause, all the merit that brings the minor signs, one thousand times the merit that brings each of the minor signs—that much merit becomes the cause of one major sign. There are thirty-two major signs. One thousand times the merit which makes to receive each of the eighty minor signs becomes the cause of just one major sign.
A major sign is, for example, having the chakras, intuitively, the chakras on the hands and under the feet. The hands are not empty between, having webs between the fingers; also having the double crown. There are many other things. So anyway, of the thirty-two major signs, this merit becomes the cause of one of these.
So now, all the merit which makes to receive each of the thirty-two major signs, total that and multiply by a hundred times a thousand [100,000]. One hundred times a thousand of that much merit is the cause of receiving the forehead center hair, which is curled. The center hair, if it is pulled, comes out like rubber, I think about half an arm's length—I'm not sure of the length that comes out—then again like rubber it goes back and stays centered. It is called zol pu in Tibetan, the name for that is zol pu.
I think the numbers were a little mistaken. One hundred times a thousand the total merits that make to receive one of the thirty-two major signs being the cause of the central forehead hair—the number should be ten million, in Tibetan one che wa, ten million.
Ten million—one hundred thousand and one hundred times—the merits that make to receive the double crown, in Tibetan tsuk do. That much merit becomes the cause of receiving the Buddha's holy speech.
Then again the cause—now it becomes so many numbers—the cause, the merit which brings the Buddha's holy speech, many times again that merit becomes the cause of the Buddha's holy mind. So like this.
So each holy sign of Buddha's holy body is the result of so much incredible merit. For instance, just checking the very first one—even such a small thing, one pore, one small particle—even to receive that, we have to create merit hundred times all the merits that are created by all the ordinary beings in the world and even the followers who have attainments. Just to achieve one tiny particle of his holy body, one pore. There are a great number of pores. So to receive each of the pores we have to create each cause. In this way, by checking like this, we can understand that the Buddha's holy body is the result of creating such incredible, unimaginable merit, good karma. It is not easy, like receiving rebirth in the human realm or receiving rebirth in the sura and asura realms. Checking like this, thinking like this is also very useful to discover how much merit we have to create to receive the holy body.
Then the last checking meditation: how our vision is not definite. This is very important. It's so helpful in many ways, in many ways so helpful. Even in our usual daily life, this checking meditation is very useful. By understanding this it stops us from creating so much negative karma. By understanding this we don’t trust [what we see.] When we see something negative going on, when we see someone who is sort of negative or something that causes our mind to be unhappy and we create so much negative karma by the negative mind arising. Then not only the negative mind arises but with that we act, creating negative actions of body and negative actions of speech with that object, with that living being, by believing that object as we see in our view.
We need to remember that our vision is not definite as it is, as we see things. If we remember this, then as we check, as our mind is thinking this, then there is doubt, even though we cannot see right away that it is not their nature, that it is not their mistake but our mistake. We can’t all of a sudden see that, but even though we cannot think in this way—seeing them all of a sudden in purity, faultless and seeing it's only our own fault, only our own mistake—even though we cannot see in this way, we cannot change our view by thinking, by remembering that our vision is not true, not definite. By thinking this, definitely doubt can rise.
We can think, “Maybe it’s not true as I see in my view, the way they act, their negative action, why they do those things to me like this, I cannot be sure, cannot be sure. It doesn't mean that they are negative, it doesn't mean they are negative. Who knows? I cannot realize, I cannot see, I cannot perceive their mind, I cannot realize how their mind is, on what level they are, I cannot see this, so how can I judge? Maybe they are an enlightened being. Who knows? Not sure. If they are an enlightened being, I’m not sure that I see them as an enlightened being. And because Guru Shakyamuni Buddha says in the teaching that he would manifest in different ways according to the level, he even manifests as an evil person, having the aspect of being crazy, all kinds of different aspects, according to sentient beings’ level of mind. Therefore, I’m not sure.”
Also think like this: “If they are an enlightened being, even though they are enlightened it is not sure other people will see them as an enlightened being, because...” then remember the stories of Marpa and Tilopa, as well as Milarepa and Naropa, those things.
Also think of the previous time, when Guru Shakyamuni Buddha was living in India and had a follower called Lekpai Karma, a bhikshu, a monk called Lekpai Karma. He was living with the Buddha, he was always with Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, begging. At the time Guru Shakyamuni Buddha went to beg in the villages he always went with him, always together, but this follower never saw Guru Shakyamuni Buddha as enlightened. He was always together with Guru Shakyamuni Buddha but he didn't see him as an enlightened being. This follower, this monk, always saw Guru Shakyamuni Buddha as false, as a complete liar. He didn't see anything really pure, he didn't see that, even though a great number of other followers, arhats, many great numbers of other beings saw Guru Shakyamuni Buddha as real, in the aspect of sambhogakaya. They saw him as a holy being, as really pure, having infinite knowledge; having not one wrong conception, no delusion, no ignorance; no such thing as creating negative actions, impossible. He was actually an enlightened being, having the appearance of a monk, the sublime holy body of the transformation of all the infinite buddhas. Even though it was like this, Lekpai Karma, this monk who always went with Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, saw the Buddha as a complete liar.
When he went with Guru Shakyamuni Buddha begging in the villages, every time a benefactor offered to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, always Guru Shakyamuni dedicated the merits and, with his omniscient mind, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha would predict the benefactor’s [future life.] As his omniscient mind fully saw the karma, “Due to this karma of offering food, such things, you will be born in such a realm and next time it will be like this,” he always predicted like this. After the benefactor had made offering, the Buddha always told those benefactors this. “You will be born in such a place, you will be born like this and you will meet the Dharma, always born … receive enlightenment,” explaining the future result of that specific karma.
Lekpai Karma, when he went together with Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, always saw him as cheating, telling lies to benefactors. He didn't see that Guru Shakyamuni Buddha had an omniscient mind. He always thought the Buddha was telling lies, all the time. He had another teacher who had wrong conceptions, who was of another religion, not Buddhadharma. So he believed that teacher more, somehow he believed in a founder who was really not true, who was not free of karma and samsara. He had more trust in him. This was due to the evil karma, obscurations.
So like this, just here there are numberless buddhas that we can see right away, just in front of us, just here. But until the mind pollution, the obscurations of the evil karma, are discontinued, while this is not removed, not cleaned, not purified, even though there are numberless buddhas, and even if all the buddhas came to help, if all the buddhas came in front of us, we couldn't see them, we would not see them. We wouldn't see them because there is no karma, no fortune to see them.
If all those obscurations of the evil karma are purified, even just on one grain, on one molecule or atom, we can see all the buddhas. It doesn't depend on changing the place, moving the place, making a journey to travel somewhere. It’s like this example, the monk Lekpai Karma, who was always with Guru Shakyamuni Buddha but never saw him as an enlightened being or pure. There are many other examples.
In previous times in Tibet there was a man who killed many horses in his life, whose name was Aredoba. He came from the lower place of Tibet to Lhasa to see the very, very famous temple in the center of Lhasa, the city. There is an Avalokiteshvara statue formed a long time ago, it is called Jowo Shakyamuni. Poor people and rich people, everyone goes there no matter how difficult it is or how long it takes. Even if it takes months and months to walk there, they come to see this. It is recognized that anyone who sees this statue is very fortunate. Anyway, the statue is so precious, there is such a long story of how it is precious, how it happened, a fantastic story.
However, this man came from a lower place in Tibet to see the statue, Jowo Shakyamuni. Every day in this holy place there is a crowd of people coming from all over Tibet to make offerings and to see the statue, to make butter lamp offerings by carrying much butter and other offerings. It’s always crowded. All the people line up, they come to see it all the time, every day like this. In the presence of the holy object there are many very big, very wide, golden butter lamps, very big golden butter lamps, so many in front and around, with so many jewels, all over the statues and also around.
So this man came to see the holy statue from a very far off place and at first he didn't see anything. He came into the room and didn't see anything, whatever the other people saw, the statue and all those things. He saw just darkness, darkness. He didn't see anything in there, so he felt very upset, incredibly upset.
Then he went to see one very high lama, whose name is Gyaltsen Rinpoche, and he asked the lama to make observation. He explained he went to see the holy statue and he didn't see anything, so he asked what should be done. Then the lama explained to him that he should make confession and purification. So he made much confession and made offerings of butter lamps, much purification and confession. Then after doing like this, again he went to see the holy statue. Still he could not see the statue, he saw only the throne and the golden butter lamps, that's all. He still didn't see the statue. Things like that happen due to karma.
Also another person who had very heavy negative karma came to see the statue, but they couldn’t see the statue. What they saw was piles of dried meat. Instead of seeing the statue on the throne, there were piles and piles of dried meat, heaped up like this.
Because of these reasons, like this we also have not exactly the same heavy karma, but we have obscurations of evil karma, therefore it's not sure what is seen by our mind. We don’t know exactly what's pure or not, an enlightened or unenlightened being. What we see is full of mistakes, and that doesn’t mean it’s true, it’s not always sure.
There's one lama, Sachen Kunga Nyingpo, who was the founder of the Sakya sect. There are four sects in Tibet, and one of these is the Sakya sect. He was a very highly, greatly realized lama, the head lama of this sect. There are so many fantastic teachings of Sachen Kunga Nyingpo. When he was with his teacher, who was sick for a long time, even though he didn't have time for eating food or sleeping, in spite of all this, in spite of all these difficulties, all the time, day and night he was just one-pointedly always serving or looking after his teacher.
Afterwards, his teacher gave him the guru yoga practice of Manjushri, the buddha of wisdom. All the buddhas’ wisdom in one specific manifestation is called Manjushri, the buddha of wisdom. His teacher was called Manjushri, the buddha of wisdom, so his teacher gave him the guru yoga practice of Manjushri. Then he practiced this guru yoga. By practicing this guru yoga practice, even though he didn't see his guru before in the manifestation of Manjushri, after working for a long time, serving like this, dedicating the whole of his life like this—after he received guru yoga practice, by practicing this he saw his guru in the complete manifestation of the Buddha Manjushri, he saw oneness. He gained incredible wisdom. Sachen Kunga Nyingpo, this very high lama of the Sakya sect, gained incredible wisdom.
Even the king of China during those times, who had such strong power, much reputation, even his mind was controlled by Sachen Kunga Nyingpo, this very high Sakya lama. He was invited and gave teachings to the king of China. Many people heard he had gained incredible wisdom. Besides general knowledge, like drama or poems, he also became a highly learned person in the whole philosophical aspect, in all Dharma subjects. He became oneness afterwards by practicing this guru yoga practice, he became oneness with Manjushri. However, all these things, all his knowledge, seeing his guru as oneness with Manjushri, all this knowledge that he gained, Dharma knowledge and all these things, also giving teachings to others, controlling others, even those who have much power, achieving the guru yoga practice of Manjushri—all this was due to purification, due to purifying the obscurations of the evil karma.
It is very useful to think, to remember these examples when we make checking meditation. They are simple examples, simple logic, which prove we should not always trust our views; it’s simple logic. For instance, many times we make mistakes in our views. Like we see something very far away, if there's a rock or something, it looks like there's a person standing there, sort of, many times we see something. When we come nearby, we prove it is completely wrong, “It's not true what I saw before.” Many times it happens like this. So, even just in a simple way of talking.
Also in regards our life, it's impermanent but we often think, “I am going to....” We ordinary beings think like that, even though we are going to die tomorrow. Until that certain death, that condition comes, the idea, “I am going to live for a long time,” many years, thirty, forty years, is always there, until the moment of death, until that time. It always carries on. So there's nothing to trust in what we think, what we believe, because it doesn't happen, it doesn't work in that way, it doesn't work as we believe. That is also a mistake. It also proves that there's nothing to trust as we believe.
Same thing, another way of talking, we ordinary people see everything as independent—we are always independent, always self-existent, always independent. As we see our I, the same thing with every object, we see things as independent. As the object appears, when we look at it, it appears to us as independent, self-existing, existing by itself without depending on anything, any creator, any part, any time, anything, any mind; just existing by itself.
For instance, the new baby we get, it’s given a name, let's say, anyway I'm joking, let's say Maitreya. We call it Maitreya, we believe Maitreya is the baby’s name. We understand this way. We have an intellectual understanding of this name. Now when we think intellectually, we know its name. Then after the name is given, we decided on Maitreya, then we tell other people “Maitreya,” and then parents and other people all believe in this independent, self-existing Maitreya. We believe in an independent, self-existing Maitreya self-entity. That is the feeling, how we perceive it, how we view it, how we believe it, how it appears—independent, self-existing, which means the same thing. Then how we believe is the same because as it appears, we believe. So it is completely a mistake. It's a lack of checking why this belief comes, mainly by not being aware, not realizing its nature, not being aware of it. But if we check it, if we seek the independent self-entity, if we check we cannot find it anywhere, we cannot find any particle, even on the atoms of the baby’s body. We cannot find the independent self-existing baby, Maitreya, anywhere. We cannot find it. Even if the name is given by the parents we cannot find it in their mind. We cannot find anywhere, we can't find anything to point out this is self-existing. The independent Maitreya cannot be found.
Even though it doesn't exist at all, anywhere, we strongly believe in it as self-existing, as it appears to us. Just even in a simple way of talking, this is why our own vision is not definite, things are not always true as we see them. Even with material things, believing impermanent things are permanent, even this we don't realize. The nature is truly there but we don't see it, we don't see it. So it's easy to discover, easy to figure out how difficult it is to see an enlightened being as an enlightened being. From this we can discover, we can figure out from this example of not realizing reality, absolute nature, even if it is there.
These examples that I'm talking about now are very useful. Examples about life and those things are very useful. About absolute nature, not realizing it even if it is there is not the fault of the absolute nature. It’s not the fault of the object; it's only the fault of our mind. It's only the fault of our mind, not seeing that. It's not the fault of the object, it is always there. It's not like this: “Absolute nature, usually it doesn't exist here but when we meditate, by meditating, after making purification, absolute nature comes here.” It's not like this. It's always there. It's just mind, in our mind; it's the fault of our mind not seeing it due to the obscurations of the evil karma. Like this, those stories are very useful, especially for those who want to understand guru yoga.
[We should set a bodhicitta motivation for] the action of taking ordination to become a cause of receiving enlightenment, besides becoming Dharma.
“The evil thought of the worldly dharmas, the wrong conception of the self, I, the self-cherishing thought, this negative mind has been obliging me to experience the whole samsaric suffering without choice, numberless times from beginningless previous lifetimes. There is not one particular samsaric suffering that I have never experienced. If I still follow this wrong conception without removing it, I will have to endlessly suffer samsaric suffering again in the future.”
By thinking of our past experiences and what will happen in the future, the situation is such that, according to this, we dare not stay, we dare not spend even a minute without trying something, without trying to practice Dharma to stop experiencing the future sufferings. If we really try to be aware, if we really check up on our past experience of suffering and what will have to be experienced in the future continuously, there is no time—not even a second or a minute—to create samsaric actions, to do only the actions of this life, to follow the samsaric pleasures even a little, even as small as a sesame seed.
“Releasing myself from samsara is not sufficient, because there are numberless other mother sentient beings who are extremely suffering, having no wisdom and method. They are the field from where I receive all my past, present, future happiness and perfection; even the perfection and happiness of enlightenment.
“At the beginning of my Dharma practice, I have to depend on the kindness of mother sentient beings. Even in the middle of the Dharma practice, I have to depend on the kindness of sentient beings. Even at the end, receiving enlightenment depends on the kindness of the mother sentient beings. Without them there's no way to achieve all this, no way even to hear the Dharma. They are the principal relatives, who are extremely kind.”
Since we took the ordination in the morning, especially by motivating to take the ordination for the benefit of all the sentient beings, we repeat the motivation. If we have really dedicated for that, if we have motivated that way, then during the day if the precepts are broken—even if we’re not motivated for sentient beings but just to purify our own negative karmas, just to not be born in suffering realms, even if there's such motivation like this, because we made visualization of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha surrounded by numberless buddhas, by thinking, “In the presence of all these buddhas I'm taking the vows,” if the precept is broken it becomes telling lies or cheating. As we made a vow, thinking like this, in the presence of them, then it becomes sort of like telling a lie to each of them. Also, especially if we have motivated by thinking, “I'm going to take ordination for the benefit of all sentient beings,” we have made the vow to do this for all the sentient beings. So if we break the precept, it is like cheating all sentient beings, telling lies.
This is whether we are being conscious or not being conscious. Even if we don't have a pre-arranged idea “I am going to do this,” even unconsciously breaking them. But especially if we consciously break the precepts, not caring, in spite of the karma, not respecting the karma, not caring about the karma; not because we are free of karma but because of being ignorant, not understanding karma. Not understanding our suffering nature, not having that much deep sincere desire to seek peace, to seek everlasting happiness, to seek enlightenment. Even if we have a deep wish to seek ultimate happiness, enlightenment, this deep wish, wanting to receive, that makes us careful of the karma, because observing karma is the foundation, like the earth. This is the main foundation, the main thing, the first thing in our practice. It's the very first thing. Just like if we're going to make some paintings, it’s like the base, the paper or cloth or whatever is. Observing karma—without that there's no way we can make a beautiful painting, no way we can paint the different colors, no way to draw.
If we break the precepts consciously it's very heavy, very heavy. The negative karma is very heavy. Consciously breaking them is very heavy, without respecting the karma, very heavy. That's if we purposely breaking the precepts, it's much heavier. We have made a vow, then again purposely broken it. Clearly we can see that's cheating all sentient beings, all the buddhas.
It is necessary to always remember the number of precepts and to be careful. We think it is difficult, but it is not difficult. For instance, if we have not been keeping precepts, we are not keeping precepts to be released from the whole of suffering—all the suffering we know and the suffering that we don't know—to be released from all these sufferings and to receive enlightenment, ultimate happiness. We have not been keeping the precepts since we were born. We have not been keeping precepts. Are we going to keep precepts until death time? No. We're not going to keep the precepts for a whole year, we're not going to keep precepts even for half a year or even for a month. So just for a few days we're keeping precepts for that reason, to achieve that incredible, great, such a high goal.
Actually if we desire to achieve such a goal, it is something for which we will have to keep precepts for many lifetimes, for a hundred lifetimes or thirty lifetimes. The work we do to achieve that goal, keeping precepts for one month or even one year is nothing, nothing. Even keeping them for just one lifetime is not sufficient. So keeping precepts for two weeks or just for a few days is nothing. It's really nothing.
Therefore, even for such a short time as a few days, while we have the chance to take ordination, while we have the chance to keep precepts, it's important to be as careful as possible. Try to be aware, conscious as much as possible. That's very important, very important, very important. Why do we break precepts consciously? No reason. No need to create extra negative karma. We don't have to worry about not creating negative karma, because we continuously create negative karma, day and night, all the time. Even though we cannot avoid creating negative karma, we should not create extra negative karma.
Other people won't experience it. We have to experience it, we have to experience it. For instance, if we don't work for money, then who will suffer? Not other people who have money. We who didn't work will have to go through the difficulties of life. So, it’s just like this, it’s easy, same thing with karma, exactly the same.
If we always make purification, that is something else but to always have the chance to make purification is very difficult, very, very difficult. Therefore it's more skillful to not create the extra negative karma, to not break precepts, as much as possible.
In previous times, even breaking just a tiny precept, such as one monk who was going around a tree that belonged to the Sangha, the monks, and his head knocked a small branch of the tree. Just his head knocked that, he got very angry and he broke—he didn't kill human beings or anything—he just broke the tree that belonged to the Sangha. Because of that, because of such small karma, breaking the tree with anger, after that life he was born as a naga, animal.
One day, when Guru Shakyamuni Buddha was giving teachings to people, his followers, one very, very rich-looking person came in the uniform of a king. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, because of his omniscient mind, fully saw whether it was true or not so, and he asked that being, “You must show your own shape, your own nature, your own shape. You cannot come here by transforming.” So the next day he came in his own form in the presence of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. When he was coming with his actual form, the karmic result, when he was coming inside, the actual shape of his body was a long snake, an incredible, huge snake. Even the head reached in front of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha and the rest of the body, even the tail was very far, even at the village, very far. Such a long, huge snake and in the head there was a tree growing, the tree that he broke before. In the head the tree was growing, such a huge tree was growing and all the roots were in the brain, something very terrible like this. All Guru Shakyamuni Buddha's disciples, to whom he was giving teaching, ran away. They all scattered. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha said there was no need to be scared, so they asked and Guru Shakyamuni Buddha explained, “You don't have to be scared because this is the one who came yesterday in the uniform of king, in the appearance of king. Today he came with his karmic shape, the karmic result, his actual body.”
They asked Guru Shakyamuni Buddha why it was and Guru Shakyamuni Buddha explained the karma, why he had to be born like this. In a previous time he broke precepts—even breaking small precepts, not killing or these four basic things—but just even with anger breaking the branch of a tree.
So karma is not easy. Also the tree was blown by the wind and all the branches were moving. While the tree was blown by wind, when the tree was moving, it stirred his brain, in his head. He always had incredible pain as the tree was blown by the wind, as the tree was moving. That person in a previous lifetime was a monk and in the next lifetime he had to suffer incredibly.
Negative karma is mainly due to ignorance. We create negative karma without being conscious. Also even if we are not creating negative karma consciously, by not fully knowing karma, not really knowing and not having fear of the suffering result, then it’s because we are doing like this, unconsciously doing things. Also we are consciously creating negative actions even when we know it is negative. By doing this we always keep on being born in samsara and suffering—always circling round like this. No matter how much there is a desire for no suffering, to not experience suffering, it comes without a choice. That's all.
From the holy speech of the great bodhisattva Shantideva:
[1:23] Do even fathers and mothers
Have such a benevolent intention as this?
Do the gods and sages?
Does even Brahma have it?
[1:24] If those beings have never before
Even dreamt of such an attitude
For their own sake,
How would it ever arise for the sake of others?
[1:25] This intention to benefit all beings,
Which does not arise in others even for their own sake,
Is an extraordinary jewel of the mind,
And its birth is an unprecedented wonder.
Even the father or mother, do they have such beneficial thought? Or even the gods, Brahma or tsangpa—this is Tibetan name, the Sanskrit title I don't remember, the name of samsaric gods, tsangpa, in whom Hindu religious people take refuge. If even the gods, Brahma and tsangpa, in previous times didn't dream [of such an attitude] for themselves, how can it arise for the living beings? It doesn't happen, it doesn't rise. Thinking to benefit others is the special mind jewel, the most sublime; a wonderful thing is born.
The meaning of this quotation, “Do even the father or the mother have such beneficial thought?” “Beneficial thought” means bodhicitta, which we were talking about yesterday. Bodhicitta, wanting to cure all the sentient beings’ sufferings and wanting to obtain all the knowledge [in order to benefit] the minds of all sentient beings. This quotation follows from that.
The quotation is saying that because there is such great benefit, therefore it is worthwhile to try. Also it is emphasizing how it is rare, how it is difficult for it to arise. Then explaining that even the father and mother don't have such this beneficial thought, do they? Also, even the higher samsaric gods, who also have much material power, who control many other surrounding gods, and even Brahma, the gods such as Brahma, the king of the gods. Brahmins are the type of people who never tell lies and whose speech is very, very powerful. Their speech is very, very powerful, thus whatever they pray for becomes successful because of the power of their speech. They never tell lies. Also Brahmins, the Indian caste, Brahmins, in previous times these people also had much knowledge of foretelling, they could foretell the future and past. Even tsangpa, these samsaric gods, don't have this beneficial thought.
The next quotation [Bodhicaryavatara, 1: 24]: “Before, in previous times those sentient beings didn't even dream ….” These sentient beings, the parents, those samsaric gods, Brahmins, these sentient beings in previous times, in past times, didn’t have the thought wanting to be released from all the suffering even for themselves; they didn't have such a beneficial thought even in a dream. For instance, usually people say, “You must not think to kill your parents, you must never think that and never do such a thing.” Then the person may say, “Besides never doing it, I would never think it, even in my dreams.” This way, saying this, trying to prove it's impossible, saying “I would never do that.” Sort of like that, same thing in the West.
Student: I wouldn't dream of it.
Rinpoche: Yeah, same thing. So, “These sentient beings, in the past they wouldn't …” according to how it comes in the quotation, “Even for their own purpose, didn’t get dream …” So what he is saying is that in past times these sentient beings, the names I've just mentioned, these sentient beings, the beneficial thought wanting release from all suffering—even this they didn't dream of. It is saying this. In past times, those sentient beings haven't even dreamed of the thought wanting to release themselves from suffering. They didn't even dream of it. So, the beneficial thought wanting this for other sentient beings, for others—even just the thought, in the past times, wanting to release themselves from all suffering, they didn't even dream of it—so the beneficial thought wanting other sentient beings to be released from suffering, how can this arise? How can this arise for other sentient beings? It's impossible. How can it arise? It doesn't, it's impossible. It doesn't.
The next quotation [Bodhicaryavatara, 1: 25] is saying that one who is thinking to work for other sentient beings has received the most sublime, wonderful, special thought-jewel. This verse is explaining the objectives of the bodhisattva, the person who thinks to benefit others. Mainly, the main thing it is talking about is how rare it is for this beneficial thought—wanting to release other sentient beings from suffering—to arise. The main subject is how it is rare. Then saying it doesn't arise for the sentient beings, therefore whoever has the thought arising to work for the benefit of other sentient beings, in that person's mind the most sublime, wonderful, special thought-jewel is born, is received.
The same thing, the second way of saying this, the emphasis is that it is very rare. So the sentient being who has this thought is special, remarkable. It’s such a wonderful, most sublime, special thing; it is the jewel of thoughts.
This explanation of what is contained in Shantideva's Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life gives us an understanding of how rare bodhicitta is. Even the sentient beings, those samsaric gods with such material power and high enjoyments, even though they have that much power, and even those Brahmins—even they don't have bodhicitta, not even the thought of releasing others from all suffering. So, by thinking of them, for us even to hear the teaching of bodhicitta is very fortunate, very, very fortunate; and besides hearing the teaching on bodhicitta, having the chance to practice the meditation, the techniques.
However, it is necessary to train the mind in the pure thought of bodhisattva right this moment. Also, for the present action of listening to Dharma to become the cause for enlightenment it is necessary to cultivate this pure motivation as strongly as possible. So it is necessary to think, “It's not sufficient that only I am released from samsara. I must achieve enlightenment in order to enlighten all the mother sentient beings. Therefore, I'm going to listen to the profound teaching on the graduated path to enlightenment.”
The listening subject is a Mahayana teaching, which leads the fortunate ones to receive enlightenment. It is well expounded by the great philosophers Nagarjuna and Asanga. It is a profound teaching. The essence of the knowledge of the great, unequaled, magnificent pandit Atisha and the Dharma king of the three worlds, the great Lama Tsongkhapa, was extracted from this. It includes the 84,000 teachings shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. All the teachings are arranged for the gradual practice of one person to receive enlightenment. This graduated path to enlightenment is the only path through which all the past, present and future buddhas received enlightenment.
This commentary to the graduated path has four outlines. The last one is how to lead the disciple in the path to enlightenment by showing these oral teachings. This has two outlines:
- How to follow the guru, which is the root of the path,
- How to train the mind in the graduated path to enlightenment by following the guru.
The second one has two outlines, of which the last one is how to take the essence of the perfect human rebirth. That one, the method is divided into three:
- The graduated path of the lower capable being,
- The graduated path of the middle capable being,
- The graduated path of the higher capable being.
This part is from the first outline. That has two outlines of which the last one is following the method which brings happiness in future lives. This has two parts:
- Going for refuge, which is the holy door of the teachings, and
- Rising devotion to karma, which is the root of all perfection and happiness.
Refuge has five outlines:
- Taking refuge by depending on what object.
- By what cause taking refuge.
- Definition of taking refuge, with how much understanding.
This part of the subject is from that third outline: Taking refuge by knowledge of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.
We briefly talked about the knowledge of the Buddha's holy body, just like a drop of the ocean. Still, that is nothing. The knowledge of the Buddha's holy body, what we talked about is nothing, the amount of knowledge that the Buddha's holy body has, the infinite knowledge of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha's holy body. Every single knowledge of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha's holy body is not the object of even the higher bodhisattva's mind—besides not being the object of ordinary beings—even though the bodhisattvas have psychic powers, great knowledge to see past, present and future, or to read other sentient beings’ minds. Even many beings have this. Such subtle, every single knowledge of the Buddha's holy body is only the object of Buddha's holy, omniscient mind. The bodhisattvas can see each other, can fully understand each other. Even the higher bodhisattvas who are close to the Buddha, who are close to receiving enlightenment, even they can't see every single knowledge of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha's holy body. It is the same with the holy speech and the same thing with the holy mind.
However, if we wanted to explain about the Buddha's holy body, if we were going to explain each detail, we would never be finished. Also in the teaching, there is so much explanation about the knowledge of the Buddha's holy body. It's something unbelievable, something we cannot comprehend, that we cannot figure out.
Regarding the knowledge of the Buddha's holy speech, it can also function, it can act as his holy body and can also function as the holy mind; it can also be an action of the omniscient mind. Also there are incredible numbers of different manifestations of the holy speech and each of these manifestations of his holy speech can do the actions of his holy mind, his holy body and his holy speech.
Also, regarding the power of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha's holy speech, if each of the sentient beings asks Guru Shakyamuni Buddha a question, he can give an answer to each of the sentient beings according to the level of their question. He gives a different answer to different questions according to the level of their mind, as it benefits. If it doesn't benefit, he doesn't give. If it is not the right time, that which benefits, he doesn't give any teachings, he doesn't give any answer, he keeps quiet without giving an answer, yes or no. So if the time is not right, if the person’s mind is not ready, even if Guru Shakyamuni is asked questions, he doesn't give an answer and just keeps quiet.
However, his holy speech is so powerful that even if each sentient being asks a different question—without depending on giving the right answer, the correct answer, without depending on the knowledge of giving the right answer—he gives the answer according to the level of the other person's mind. The Buddha’s answer is not depending on his knowledge or knowing the answer but depends on the level of the other sentient being's mind.
For instance if someone asks, “What is shunyata?” then the Buddha gives an answer according to the level of that person's mind. He gives the explanation, not the actual meaning, not the real meaning of shunyata—that which cuts off the ignorance by meditating on it. The actual thing, he doesn't necessarily explain the actual meaning of that. Without depending on his knowledge, his understanding of the actual meaning of shunyata, he gives an answer according to the level of that person's mind so that the answer benefits them, that answer benefits their mind.
The actual answer, the answer of the actual subject, which explains the real meaning of the absolute nature, shunyata, because he sees that if it is explained it doesn't fit, that person doesn't understand, they misunderstand, so it becomes hindrance to their Dharma practice, it becomes the cause of rising wrong conception. If he sees this, then according to the level of that person's mind he gives an answer. Slowly, he even gives another answer. He even gives an answer maybe about self-existence. Instead of saying shunyata is non-self-existent, according to the level of the person's mind the Buddha might say it is self-existent. If their mind is not capable and they are not the right person, not the right object to explain the meaning, such as non-self-existent; if it becomes a cause of wrong conceptions and a hindrance to Dharma practice, to leading them in the path to enlightenment, if this becomes a hindrance saying like this, straight; if it becomes a hindrance to following in the path to enlightenment, then he gives whatever method suits them.
Sometimes he said like self-existent. By showing as self-existent, somehow that person doesn't get scared. Because their level of mind is so low, so ignorant, so foggy, they find it easier to accept that things are self-existent. Also, through this, by giving this answer, they understand karma is existing. They don't give up respecting karma. The renounced mind trying to understand the nature of suffering, the samsaric suffering; they don't give up the mind that renounces samsara. They don't give up respecting karma, they accept the evolution of karma. In that way they understand, they find it easy to understand the samsaric suffering, samsara, the nature of suffering and the law of karma. It is easier and also they respect that, so they observe karma in that way.
However, for some highly intelligent people, for that person's mind even this answer is wrong to them, completely wrong. So first, giving an answer that it is self-existent. Then afterwards, they try to understand how samsaric nature is suffering and slowly a renounced mind of samsara arises and also they respect karma. Through this, gradually, slowly the answer that it is self-existent becomes the cause of understanding that the whole of samsara is non-self-existent. The person, enlightenment—everything is non-self-existent. This becomes the cause of realizing shunyata, realizing shunyata by understanding karma and the nature of samsara, samsaric suffering. Then through this—by understanding karma, the samsaric nature, suffering—their mind becomes more and more ready to realize how enlightenment, the whole of samsara, the whole thing is dependent, how it is non-self-existent. The mind becomes more ready. Then, as their mind gradually becomes ready, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha shows the teaching that it is non-self-existent. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha's first answer becomes the cause of realizing shunyata. So it’s incredible how it becomes the cause of realizing shunyata, like this.
For instance, even if we try, we don't know, even by giving an answer in the wrong way, in such a way, we're not sure, we can't see how it will benefit the other person. We can't see the future. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha fully sees the future; how by giving an answer that is actually opposite to what is existing there—absolute nature, what is existing—Guru Shakyamuni fully sees how it works, how it is, realizing non-self-existence.
That's what I mean, he gives an answer not depending on his knowledge, his understanding of what real absolute nature is. He gives the answer according to the level of the other person's mind, whatever benefits. If nothing benefits, he doesn't give any answer. So he doesn't necessarily always give teachings. Not giving teachings doesn't mean he has no compassion; it doesn't mean that at all. Because he has compassion he sees it is better that he doesn't give any teaching. He doesn't give any answer because it is more beneficial that way. Because of that compassion he takes whatever action is more beneficial.
Even if sentient beings ask different questions, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha gives different answers according to the level of the sentient being’s mind. Also the answers don't have to be given at different times. He gives an answer once. When he gives the answers, he gives them at one time. At the same time, he can give answers to each sentient being. He doesn't need to give answers at different times. When we talk at different times, we do not have the power and capability while we answer one thing to give answers at the same time to each of the different people. Guru Shakyamuni can do this, even if each sentient being asks a question. While he is giving one answer, he gives answers to each of the sentient beings at the same time, according to the question, the level of mind, in their own language. Also in their own language, whatever language they have.
Because of the omniscient mind, the buddhas don't have to teach Dharma by giving answers in different languages, in the languages of the different sentient beings. They don't have to go to school and university, things like that. Before receiving enlightenment and following the path, that itself is going to university, school and everything, learning geography, science and language; that itself is learning everything. That is the method of realizing all existence, every single existence. Just by one method it is finished, the whole thing, everything. There is nothing left. There is not one atom left that they don't see, doesn't understand. Not one single existence, not one single existence.
In India, seven days after Guru Shakyamuni Buddha received enlightenment, he requested Kungawo or one of his followers; he realized it was the right time to give teaching. While he was giving teachings in Sarnath—near Varanasi, the holy place at Sarnath—while he was teaching the first wheel of the Dharma on the four noble truths, for the lower capable beings there, at the same time he was giving teachings in Rajgir, for the middle Dharma wheel, for those disciples with that level of mind, subjects such as shunyata. At the same time, while he was giving teachings at those two places, at another place,3 I think quite close to Bodhgaya, maybe around Bodhgaya, at the same time, in that place, he was giving the last wheel of Dharma, for those disciples who had that level of mind, about the Madhyamika subject. The three Dharma wheels—this is not tantra, this is just sutra teaching.
The first Dharma wheel he gave in Sarnath is for lower capable beings. The last Dharma wheel, which he gave in this holy place, [Shravasti], is kind of more profound. The teaching he gave in Rajgir, on the Madhyamika, the middle way, shunyata, those things—that is the main thing, which is the right explanation of the evolution of nature. So generally the way of studying is like this.
As Guru Shakyamuni Buddha gave teachings to various levels of disciples, so the general way of studying is also like this. First of all to try to understand the idea, the philosophy, what Guru Shakyamuni Buddha explained to those lower capable beings at Sarnath. That makes clear, makes it easy to understand the philosophy or the idea, the explanation of the teachings that were given by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. By understanding this it is more profound. Studying this, understanding these ideas, this philosophy, makes it so much clearer to understand the real explanation, which is according to the two truths—absolute truth and the illusory truth—according to their existence. The right explanation of absolute truth and the illusory truth he gave in Rajgir.
By showing these different philosophies, these different explanations of things, of the path of evolution, he even gave different explanations, different philosophies. As I said before, showing first of all even self-existence and afterwards realizing non-self-existence. The disciples first of all understand this, then by understanding the first philosophy they easily understand the second part. By understanding the first philosophy, they easily understand the second philosophy, that part of the teaching. Then by understanding that, the mind becomes much more ready to understand the middle way, the actual thing, the actual answer, the actual explanation, which is the actual way that things really exist, the whole existence. Then through this they realize shunyata, and are gradually released from samsara.
So these three teachings were going on at the same time. At the same time as he was giving three sermons in different places, he was giving tantra teachings in the southern part of India. At the same time, at another place, with a different manifestation, he gave Vajrayana teachings for those followers who had the highest level of mind, in the manifestation, the aspect of the deity called Vajradhara. In tantric deity aspect, sambhogakaya aspect, like those we see in thangkas, having a blue color body, adorned by skeleton bone ornaments. Not in the aspect of a monk, sometimes embracing a female aspect. In such a sambhogakaya manifestation, in the aspect of a tantric deity, he gave teachings to those followers whose mind was ready, who had a higher level of mind.
On the basis of having received the fully renounced mind of samsara, bodhicitta and shunyata, to those who already had these realizations he gave all the Vajrayana teachings and initiations, all of them. All these teachings were given at the same time. So like this, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha has incredible knowledge and with his holy speech, he could give different teachings at different places for different sentient beings’ level of mind.
Also, when he was giving teaching in Sarnath, for those beings who had a lower level of mind, when he gave an answer to one person, Kaundinya, one of the five disciples to whom he had shown the four noble truths for the first time on this earth. Kaundinya was the name of one of the followers. When he said to Kaundinya, “This is impermanent, this is impermanent,” other followers understood “This is existence, this is existence” or “This is true suffering.” And someone else received the teaching “This is emptiness.” So then you see, at the same time, they received different teachings like this.
Also, one time while Guru Shakyamuni Buddha was giving teachings, his follower named Maudgalyayana, who had very high psychic powers, tried to check up with his psychic power how far he could hear Guru Shakyamuni Buddha's teaching. He tried to check up. So Maudgalyayana, no matter how far away he was, he could always hear Guru Shakyamuni Buddha's teaching, which he was giving at one specific place in India. Maudgalyayana, this arhat, even though he tried to go very far he still heard the teaching; even though he went to another planet, the sun, the moon, with his psychic power on the planets, he could still hear the teaching. If the other being's mind is ready, the Buddha’s action is so intuitive, giving Dharma, that his speech can reach even that far.
So that was briefly, the knowledge of the holy speech.
Next, the knowledge of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha's holy mind, the omniscient mind. As I explained, it’s also useful to think that there's no such place which Guru Shakyamuni Buddha's holy mind doesn't cover. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha's holy mind covers all existence and because of that, there's not one tiny atom where Guru Shakyamuni's holy body doesn't exist. Same thing also, Guru Shakyamuni's holy speech covers all existence, as Guru Shakyamuni Buddha's holy mind covers all existence.
Also, talking about the knowledge of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha's holy mind, as his mind covers every single atom, the whole existence, there is no such time, after this omniscient mind is received, no such time, not even one split second, not even a tiny split second that Guru Shakyamuni Buddha's omniscient mind doesn't see the whole existence, because there's no such time that the omniscient mind ceases. There's no such time that the omniscient mind stops or degenerates; there's no such thing. So there's not one split second, not even the shortest second, that Guru Shakyamuni Buddha's holy mind does not see the whole existence. There’s not even one particle in existence, no such time, not even a split second, the shortest time, that Guru Shakyamuni Buddha's holy mind—which sees all existence—doesn't see this tiny atom, something which can be pointed out. It’s impossible. As many existent things as there are—when the object is existent or when it is non-existent—his omniscient mind always sees them.
Also, for instance, we cannot read, we cannot tell another person’s level of mind, what they think. Even one person, we cannot tell what they think, what level of mind they have. We cannot understand, we cannot see that. But Guru Shakyamuni Buddha's omniscient mind fully sees each sentient being’s thoughts all the time. For instance, while Guru Shakyamuni Buddha's omniscient mind is reading, it is fully seeing our thoughts, whatever we are thinking. While his omniscient mind is seeing clearly our thoughts, at the same time he fully sees each of the other sentient beings’ thoughts. So even in a split second, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha fully understands what each of the sentient beings is thinking, even in each split second, in just one tiny second. This is still nothing: the period of a finger-snap can be divided into many, as the scientists even say this can be divided into thousands. However, even each of those thousand thousandths of a second, such a tiny particle of time, even in each of these Guru Shakyamuni Buddha's omniscient mind can read all the sentient beings’ thoughts. He can fully see, without getting mixed up. Without any mistake he clearly sees each one—what level of mind, what they think—at the same time, even in the smallest particle of time.
We think of the Buddha as kind of very far away from us, far away, kind of like a dream—just like talking about last night’s dream. Like something we have a dream of, something we cannot see, something we talk about, which doesn't exist but we can talk about it. Sort of like that, like a fantasy. It is not like this, never like this.
For instance, many people who believe in God talk about God, they talk about God but if they really check in the depth of their mind, if they really check way down, it's like God doesn't actually exist for their mind. If they actually check very deeply. On the surface they believe in God and sort of talk about God but actually, when thinking deeper in their mind, God is like the sky, space, emptiness. Emptiness, space, like that. If it is really checked deeply it comes to the point where God doesn't exist, because there’s no proof, no explanations, no understanding.
However, Buddha is not like this; never like this. When we are meditating, even if our mind is creating a negative action, no matter what is going on in our mind, all the time he sees us. All the time. It’s not like us ordinary beings, who can see by day but at nighttime when it is dark we can’t see anything. Anyway, just joking. There’s no such thing. All the time, no matter even if we think the omniscient mind doesn't exist or the Buddha doesn't exist; no matter what we think, the omniscient mind can see all the time, fully seeing all sentient beings’ thoughts all at the same time, in the smallest particle of time.
It is actually like this. As the omniscient mind is all over our body, the omniscient mind also exists on our mind. So you see, when we eat food, when we visualize Guru Shakyamuni Buddha here, we should not think, “There’s nothing to receive from Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, I am making sort of fantasy,” as if it doesn't have any benefits. We should not think there's no such thing as Guru Shakyamuni Buddha just because we can’t see him. Definitely there's benefit. If we think of the omniscient mind then the place where we make offerings, no matter where it is—it doesn't have to be at the monastery or somewhere special, wherever it is, even in the toilet—we should think there is no place, not even one atom, where the omniscient mind is not existing. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha is all over. Therefore, with this understanding, if we make offerings, visualizing like this, then it feels much better, much more comfortable. There’s more trust and we feel more truth, more real.
Same thing when we make offering in our room, like when we are in meditation, offering incense, light, anything, at that time also Guru Shakyamuni is there, even though we don't see, we don't feel that. Remembering the functions of the omniscient mind, how a buddha sees everything at the same time, how it sees all existence at the same time, by understanding that the omniscient mind is all over, then if we make offering like this, for sure, the feeling of making offerings is more serious and we have more trust in it. It’s not just like playing, not just a custom, not just for the beauty of our room but really offering.
Especially, if possible, visualize Guru Shakyamuni Buddha there, really there, as if you are seeing him, as if he is really there, seated on the throne with moon and lotus. Then you make offering with the understanding of the omniscient mind, this knowledge of the omniscient mind: that the Buddha is existing all over. Then there is much more benefit, much more benefit. Also it gives you energy to making offering. If you don't have understanding, even though you do the offerings, maybe it becomes just like a custom. Maybe in the mind there's no such thing, no such thing, God or no such thing. Buddha maybe not sure, like space, nothing that can be pointed at. If there's no knowledge of the omniscient mind, no knowledge of his holy body, then even though you make offering, it is difficult for the feeling to be pure, so most of the time it becomes a kind of custom or because it's a good decoration. That’s what I do! Things like this.
Also, with this understanding you don't become lazy. Maybe you created merit by doing this once or twice when you were happy, maybe something. Maybe when your parents or other people come to your house, maybe you do that, to show them your room. However, in this way, with understanding, remember this knowledge of the omniscient mind, this knowledge of the holy body. Then you know that Guru Shakyamuni is really in your room. By thinking this more and more, remembering this more and more, then seeing more clearly, clearer and clearer, you can't lie down and you can't do any disrespectful action in your room. It’s as if you are in the presence of a teacher, an important person or something. When you are with important people, you should have respect and behave correctly as much as possible. Like that feeling, the same, the more you think in this way, the feeling becomes stronger and stronger. In this way your room also gets blessed by this. Your room becomes blessed, becomes pure and your mind in that place receives the blessings of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha through this understanding, through this strong feeling. It also gives you energy all the time to make offerings, to create merit; by making prostrations, offerings, creating merit, different things.
There's a definite way the mind can change. Now, our mind doesn't see anything but definitely through the checking meditation, the more we understand the knowledge, also through purification, definitely by checking this and thinking about it more and more, definitely the mind can change, can feel it. Now we don't feel anything but afterwards, by thinking about this more and more, the mind can sort of feel it, exactly as if we're in front of an important person, the guru or some important president or someone; sort of like that feeling. Also in this way, as there's such strong feeling and having this understanding, thinking like this, it makes less distraction, it becomes less of a distraction in your room, also for your mind.
Same thing when you clean your room, think, “This is Guru Shakyamuni's room.” Instead of thinking, “This is my room, and I should have my room clean, for health or maybe if other people come. If other people come, they will see it is dirty and then they would think how I live is dirty, how I am messy,” so you are sort of cleaning for your reputation. The evil thought of the worldly mind, attachment, is coming. Instead of letting the attachment come, think, “Guru Shakyamuni Buddha is in this room and this is his mandala, this is his palace; it belongs to him.” Then if you clean your room it becomes service to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, instead of it becoming service to your negative mind.
The other night Lama Yeshe told the example, the Ben Gungyal story of the thief showing his hand, Ben Gungyal saying that he was stealing. That Kadampa geshe, a follower of Atisha, cleaned his room in the morning on the day that his benefactors were coming. It’s possible he didn't check his motivation as he cleaned his room. First of all he thought, “My benefactors are coming, so I should clean the room then make the offerings very good, very clean, the offering bowls.” Afterwards, he sat down on his meditation bed and checked. Usually this is preparatory, then we make offerings. First we sit down and check our motivation. So he checked up and he found the evil thought of worldly dharmas. All of a sudden he got up and thoroughly covered his offerings with dust, putting dust on the water offerings, in the bowls. All the clean offerings became very messy. There was dust all over.
Padampa Sangye, a great yogi exactly like Milarepa, who had complete control over his mind and body, lived very far away, at a place called Tingri. This great yogi Padampa Sangye had control, knowledge of the mind, the holy mind, thus when he looked at sentient beings he knew what was going on, what was happening. All of a sudden he saw this ascetic geshe do this and all of a sudden, when he did like this, his disciples didn't know what happened, so they asked him. He explained, “This geshe in such-and-such a place put dust in the mouth of the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas.” Then he really admired and respected that geshe, he really was respecting him when he discovered that, and he made prostration with his hands, like this, from his place.
Even though we can't be completely pure like that all the lifetime, it is very beneficial, very good to think like this, having such a motivation, thinking like this—that it belongs to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha's mandala, palace or something. Then you clean. Then you offer service to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. Each time, no matter how much you clean the room, it all becomes good karma; it all becomes Dharma practice, good karma. You are cleaning the dirt by thinking like this, as if you are in service, as if you are sweeping for Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, cleaning Guru Shakyamuni's room. You are doing some physical thing, a physical action, sweeping or something, but also at the same time you are cleaning your mind of the ignorance, the obscurations to the mind. At the same time, by thinking like that, the physical action of cleaning also becomes a method of cleaning the mind, cleaning inside. Like this, there are so many benefits, so many benefits.
The Tibetan lamas, when they clean and sweep, they also repeat this prayer of the arhat whose story I told before, Chudapanthaka, the arhat called “Tiny Path.” The prayer that was shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha was “avoid dust, avoid smell.” In Tibetan du le bam means avoiding dust and du le pam means avoiding smell.
Du le bam, du le pam, also many meditators repeat this while they are sweeping. It is the same thing; Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, gave the method to him but it can be used also by us, with understanding. It can be done also like this, while you are saying this, du le bam, du le pam. We can think like this, it can be interpreted this way: du le bam, avoiding the dust or dirt, whatever it is, that is sort of avoiding the gross negative mind. Du le pam, avoiding smell can be interpreted in the sense of avoiding the subtle negativities, subtle obscurations, subtle illusive thought, she drib. Then visualize the garbage things, all this nyon drib and she drib, as gross delusion and subtle delusion, gross obscurations and subtle obscurations. You can think the broom is the realization of the graduated path to enlightenment, starting from guru devotion up to enlightenment, manifested as the broom, sort of like that. Then cleaning the delusions, those things, you don't have to think they are only yours. You can also think every other sentient being’s delusions, the gross and subtle obscurations of all other sentient beings. The action is then much more beneficial, not only purifying, working for oneself but also for other beings.
Even though this kind of work is recognized as very low in the ordinary world, by ordinary people, even though such action is recognized as low—I'm not sure about in the West but in the East, such as India, it’s incredible, the sweeper is the lowest person, the lowest caste, the lowest person, way down. The lowest person is the sweeper, however, by thinking, by concentrating like this, by doing the physical work that we have to do but with meditation, it becomes rich, it becomes great Dharma practice, it becomes great purification.
By doing things like this, with feeling, understanding that Guru Shakyamuni Buddha's omniscient mind is really here, existing, our mind becomes more and more ready, more and more purified. The feeling becomes stronger and stronger. As we become more purified, the feeling becomes stronger and stronger, more and more real, as he is really there. According to karma it is also possible to see [the Buddha], to really see him and receive teachings, like this.
Even when you make offering to a statue or things like this, you should not think, “I am making offerings to the statue.” This is a limited mind, a limited mind. Instead of thinking, “This is a statue and I'm making offering,” think the statue is really living Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, really living, then you make offering. Then, when you make offering there's some feeling. The feeling becomes much stronger, it doesn't become just playing.
Regarding the knowledge of the holy mind of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, another way of making checking meditation: if all the trees and all the bushes that are on the earth are put into the ocean, the Atlantic or the Pacific—if all the bushes from all the different countries are cut into tiny, tiny, tiny pieces and then put in the ocean, such as the Pacific and stirred, all mixed up—then afterwards taking a very small piece, a very, very small, tiny piece of wood from the ocean, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha can see where it was from, where it was growing, in which place, in which country, how it was growing, at which specific place, even the specific place. If he is asked, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha can explain everything—which country the plant was from, how it was growing, at which specific place—without a single mistake.
Also in previous times in India, the Kundegju, I think they are people who have a certain religion, but I'm not sure which religion. They believed that after this person died, I think their teacher, after he died, again he became alive. All of them believed he came back, so they gave food believing that he came back as the same person. The people who follow that religion all believe that. Then Guru Shakyamuni Buddha said it was not that person, it was a spirit which entered that body. The people didn't believe what Guru Shakyamuni Buddha said, those other religious followers didn't believe it. Around that area people didn't believe what Guru Shakyamuni Buddha said.
Guru Shakyamuni Buddha wanted to prove it, so he said, “Each family should bring wheat, putting a little in a sack and putting the names of the families in the little sack. Cover with a piece of cloth, tie it up and then put your family names inside; like this everyone should bring. Without the names outside, put them inside the sack and tie with a rope.” So all the families, all the people brought these and piled them up. Then Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, to show them that he had the omniscient mind, with such power to see, without opening each of the sacks, without reading the names inside, just taking each sack, he said, “This belongs to this family.” He could also say the names of the grains, the different grains, “… and this belongs to such family, this is such and such.” Then they opened the sacks and each one was exact, exact, no matter how many there were in the pile, there was never a mistake, without one single mistake. Each family received their own name, they discovered that. Without mistake the Buddha mentioned the names of the families who brought each of the sacks. Then all the people in that area really believed Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, that he had the power to see, that it was true.
Not only Guru Shakyamuni Buddha but also in Tibet, the Bön religion, the first religion in Tibet, before Buddhism came. Even when Milarepa was there in Tibet, there were still these religious people, Bönpo. The name of the religion was Bön and the name of the people was Bönpo. These people believe that after people die—they have certain pujas, they draw mandalas and they make pujas, like burning, then they think they are capable, they have the strong belief that they have power, by making puja, for that person to become alive, to come back. They really believe that.
One time, one of Milarepa's disciples, who took initiation from Milarepa, died. Milarepa was there, and the dead person, his disciple, a lay person, the older man was dead. So the family invited the Buddhist people, the great yogi Milarepa and his followers, and also the Bönpos, those followers. They invited both to make puja. First the Bönpos were making puja downstairs. They perform the mandalas and made burning pujas. Then the dead body that they put there became sort of moving. They usually believe they have the power to make the corpse alive. The trouble is that. Milarepa was told by someone, I think by the benefactor, that the Bönpos have the power to sort of make it alive. Then Milarepa told the benefactor, “They are ignorant people, they don't know; he didn't come back. It is not really him; it is not the person. They are ignorant. It is just a spirit, a different type of spirit.”
Afterwards, Milarepa asked the person who became alive and he said, “Actually I am a spirit and the reason I came here is because these people were living in the wrong action, not living in pure morality.” They were ignorant people and they didn't know that he hadn't come back, that it was not really the person. They were ignorant. It was just a spirit, a disciple or something. He checked precisely; he asked and the spirit talked to him. The spirits cannot tell a lie to these powerful, high lamas, the powerful meditators, even though they tell lies to other people. So Milarepa told the benefactor, “The real person I can see, he is a little bit up there on the kind of mountain, up there. The actual person was born as a long white worm in the cow's excrement.”
The long worm was brought to Milarepa. Because the previous life of the long worm took initiation from Milarepa but didn't finish the practice, the purification and things, somehow his karma was not completely finished so he had to take that rebirth as a worm. So the Bönpos asked Milarepa to prove it. Milarepa called his initiation name, the secret name that he received in his initiation before, “Real change, come here.” The worm came up like this when called by that name. Then Milarepa tried to transfer his consciousness. Then white light, his consciousness came there and sank into Milarepa’s holy mind, and then from there a white light came from his body to Milarepa's heart. After a little time such a strong white light came from there. Then at that time his consciousness became oneness, absorbed to Milarepa's holy mind, then from there his consciousness was transferring to the pure realm. So when the white light was coming, the rays were coming, at the same time, as his consciousness was transferring, going to pure realm, he said, “Thank you.” There was a sound in the room while the white light was there but the consciousness could not be seen. The white light was like this, and there was a sound in the room saying, “Thank you, Milarepa, for sending me to the pure realm.”
However, even without talking about Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, even Milarepa’s mind had such power to see the actual person, where his mind actually was. He could see so clearly.
There are many people like this, who believe that a person can come back, but Western doctors, psychologists, they don't know; even though many things like this happen, they can't really tell. Also they can't really say the person comes back and have proof of that. So their mind becomes very confused. There are many times that happened in different countries. After taking the dead body to the cemetery, then thinking, praying. Then something is making a noise and they don't know what to do; nobody can tell. In many instances it happened like this. They put the body in the coffin and it makes a noise. This happened many times in the West. I don't remember exactly the specific place.
Besides the action of Dharma, taking ordination, it is necessary for it to become the cause of receiving enlightenment. Therefore it is necessary to cultivate a pure motivation.
The evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, self-cherishing, the wrong conception of the self, I, the self-cherishing thought: these wrong conceptions have been obliging us to receive the general samsaric sufferings and particularly the sufferings of the three lower realms numberless times, from beginningless samsaric lifetimes. This wrong conception has been obliging us to create negative karma numberless times, so it is definite that we will have to experience the suffering result in the lower realms again a great number of times. As long as we follow these wrong conceptions, these past experiences are again what will happen in the future. It is something that makes tears come up, which really makes us terrified.
There is not even one small pleasure left in samsara that we never experienced, which has not been experienced by us numberless times, just as there is not one small suffering left in samsara that we have never experienced. It has all been experienced by us numberless times. Same thing, there is not even one greater samsaric pleasure left that we have never experienced before, it has all been experienced by us numberless times. Similarly, we have experienced all the greater samsaric suffering and there is not even one single greater suffering that has not been experienced by us; it has all been experienced by us numberless times. So there is no interest in any samsaric experience, existence, nothing to be attached to.
Releasing oneself from samsaric suffering is not sufficient. Being always concerned with oneself is just like the animals, the foolish sentient beings. The wrong conception, the self-cherishing thought, is the base from where all the suffering arises. Cherishing others more than oneself is the base from where all the perfection and happiness arises: the pure thought bodhicitta. So where has this pure thought bodhicitta been received from? Where is it coming from? In dependence on the sentient beings. Therefore, sentient beings are the field from which we have been receiving all our past perfections and happiness, and our present and future perfections and happiness, including enlightenment.
Think, “I have always been discriminating the mother sentient beings as friend and enemy with ignorance, anger and attachment, and in that way creating so much negative karma. How wonderful it would be if all the sentient beings could live in equanimity, which is devoid of attachment and anger, which discriminates close and distant. May they be in equanimity, and I shall make them to be in that equanimity. Guru Buddha, please grant me blessings to be able to do like this.
“However much the mother sentient beings desire happiness, due to being completely ignorant of the cause of happiness they always destroy the cause of happiness. How pitiful it is. How wonderful it would be if all mother sentient beings had all the cause of happiness and all happiness. May they have it and I shall make them have it. Guru Buddha, please grant me blessings to be able to do like this.”
At the same time think like this, dedicating all our body, possessions and merits completely to each of the sentient beings, to become the cause of all the happiness. “Now all the sentient beings have received all the happiness.”
Also think: “No matter how much sentient beings do not desire suffering, being deeply ignorant in recognizing the cause of suffering, they often run, they often create the cause of suffering. How pitiful it is. How wonderful it would be if all the mother sentient beings could be devoid of suffering and all the causes of suffering. I will make them be devoid of suffering. Guru Buddha, please grant me blessings to be able to do like this.”
At the same time think like this, taking all the suffering in your heart, on the head of the self-cherishing thought. Think that they all become devoid of suffering.
“How wonderful it would be if all the mother sentient beings were not devoid of all the happiness of enlightenment. May they not be devoid of all happiness and I will make them to not be devoid of that. Guru Buddha, please grant me blessings to be able to do like this.”
Think: “Just wishing is not sufficient. As the mother sentient beings have been extremely kind, I must take full responsibility to release each of the sentient beings from suffering. I must actually work to do this. I must receive enlightenment. Receiving enlightenment depends on disciplining my body, speech and mind, therefore I'm going to take ordination until tomorrow morning.”
With the visualization of the person granting the ordination as the manifestation of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, surrounded by infinite buddhas and bodhisattvas, repeat after me.
In order to make this action the cause of enlightenment, it is necessary to cultivate the pure thought of bodhicitta. Therefore it is necessary to set a motivation like this:
“Due to the evil thought of the worldly dharmas, the wrong conception of the self, I, the self-cherishing thought, in numberless times and from beginningless samsaric lifetimes, I have been experiencing suffering in the general samsaric realms and particularly in the suffering lower realms. If I still follow this wrong conception, I will continuously suffer the same thing in the general samsaric realms and also in the suffering lower realms. At the moment I have received the perfect human rebirth, I have met the leader [virtuous friend], who can lead me on the path to enlightenment and also the Mahayana teaching. I have the chance to follow the path to enlightenment and to have the Dharma wisdom eye, to know what the right actions are and what the wrong actions are.
“Only desiring to release myself from samsara is not sufficient; it is not right. It is the selfish motivation concerned only with my own comfort, exactly the same as the dumb animals—no difference. Numberless other mother sentient beings are extremely suffering due to these wrong conceptions, the evil thought of the worldly dharmas, the wrong conception of the self, I, the self-cherishing thought. But they have no solution, no method, no wisdom eye to see what is right action and what is wrong action. They don’t have the chance to follow the path, because they haven’t met the Dharma and they haven’t met the leader, leading in the path to enlightenment.
“The mother sentient beings have been extremely kind in the past, are extremely kind even in the present and will be continuously extremely kind in the future. How? Because I received all the past samsara happiness from them, as well as in the present and future. As long as I am in samsara all my future samsaric happiness will have to be received from the sentient beings. Being able to begin to practice Dharma is due to their kindness. Being able to continue the Dharma practice is also through the kindness of mother sentient beings. Even being able to receive enlightenment in the future is due to the kindness of mother sentient beings. They are the field from which I receive all my perfections and all happiness, therefore it is my responsibility to release them from suffering and lead them to perfect peace, the most sublime perfect peace, enlightenment—the best happiness among all the peace and happiness. To do this I must receive enlightenment, therefore I'm going to receive ordination until tomorrow morning.”
The fundamental logic is that which equalizes, which gives understanding so we can see the sentient beings in equanimity. Usually we discriminate. Because we are attached to I, we are also attached to our body and our own pleasure. As we are attached to our own I, we are attached also to “my things, my body.” As there is attachment to pleasure and possessions—our pleasure, our body, our possessions—when someone disturbs our pleasure they are discriminated against by the mind. When someone disturbs our pleasure, that person is discriminated against by the evil thought of the worldly dharmas. When someone disturbs our pleasure, then anger arises, hatred comes. Then we discriminate, seeing the other person as enemy; our anger discriminates against them as the absolute enemy, on the basis of the wrong conception believing that the enemy is self-existent. Similarly, when someone gives us pleasure, the mind discriminates, seeing them as a relative [or friend], as an absolute, permanent relative, thinking this won't change. That's also on the basis of believing. Why do we believe like this? That is also based on the wrong conception believing that the relative is self-existing.
So, how to make them equal? The problem is that between enemies anger arises; we get anger arising. The anger arising itself is creating negative karma. With anger we create negative actions of speech and negative actions of the body. Like this, in many ways we create negative actions of the body. So in many ways we make negative karma. Same thing, when attachment arises for our relative and then we create negative actions of the speech and negative actions of the body. All this is creating negative karma.
Both these types of actions have negative results causing us to be born in the suffering lower realms. Even if we are born in the upper realms there are other suffering results that we have to experience. Even if we have a human body there are other sufferings we have to experience. Not only that, there is a habit which carries on all the time; it carries on and on and on.
We use this life discriminating like this, with attachment and anger arising, and one result is the habit. In the future lifetime we will again have the same habit. Then this carries on and on and on and on in all the future lifetimes, until we cut off the attachment and anger through meditation. If we don’t receive equanimity, the realization of equilibrium meditation, by following the remedies; if we don't stop negative thoughts and discriminating thoughts arising, then they go on and on. However, the details of that explanation will come in the karma section.
There are many dangers—not only being born in a suffering realm—that can cause danger in our future lifetime in many ways. However, the main wrong conception is believing in the absolute permanent enemy and the absolute permanent relative [or friend].
The main thing in this meditation, which we should understand, is not to stop the named existing enemy and the named existing relative; the main problem is the negative mind which arises. When there are different things happening, when there are different people doing different things to us, then the problem is the mind, that which comes in the mind. The mind becomes confused. This is the problem; this is the thing that makes us create the negative karma. This is also the thing that makes us oblige other people to create negative karma. Besides creating negative karma ourselves, we cause other people to create negative karma. By getting angry, by arising attachment—in that way we cause the other person’s attachment or anger to arise and then they do negative actions.
This is easy to understand from our own life situation. The main aim of the equilibrium meditation, the main thing is to equalize the friend and enemy, seeing friend and enemy as equal, then trying to see the rest of the sentient beings in the same way. We try to see the rest of sentient beings as equal in being friend, equal in being enemy—that's the whole point. And by doing that it stops our attachment arising and it stops our anger arising. This is one of the fundamental solutions, the best solution. This is an extremely important way to keep the whole world in peace, actually. To really keep the whole world in peace, our mind needs to be in peace. To really bring peace, such a practice, such a method is needed.
From the material side, we cannot make everyone equal. We cannot make them equal as long as the mind is living in problems. Therefore, by equalizing the discriminating thoughts, by equalizing inside, within our mind, then they become equal. If we equalize our mind, which discriminates others, if we equalize this, we stop attachment and anger arising. If we equalize, our mind has no problems. We have peace because as we equalize our mind, we see all sentient beings in equanimity, so there's no problem, as we do this to bring peace, such peace.
Seeing sentient beings in equanimity is the responsibility of each sentient being. First, talking of this earth, it is the responsibility of each of us to have such understanding, to think in this way, to cease discriminating in such a way. The main point is to stop anger and attachment. The fundamental logic is this.
First of all, when we do meditation, whatever enemy we have we can visualize and whatever friend we have we can visualize. The stranger is in front, then the enemy and friend, like this. If we don't find an enemy—maybe some of us have received bodhicitta and maybe the enemy is difficult to find! Anyway, sometimes we may think, “Oh, I don’t have any enemies. What should I do? This meditation is useless for me.” That's not true, not true; that's only because we don't see the conditions clearly. But it can easily happen by just one word. After a few seconds or a few minutes it can easily happen if we don't have control. However, if we don't find an object to visualize, with which to meditate, then we make up the situation of friend, enemy.
Check if our friend is giving us something, telling us some good things which make our mind high. Then the enemy is disturbing us or something, criticizing us, complaining about us—we have to visualize the enemy as doing something like this. If we don't get bothered by stealing or by having our possessions destroyed, things like this, then we should visualize the worst thing—that which disturbs our ego, the worst thing, whatever it is for us. If it is usually easy for us to get angry, to get bothered by ugly words—we don't care about other things, we are so gentle but the words are sort of like a thorn, so sharp—if this is usually the worst thing to disturb our ego, then we have to visualize that. That thing, whatever is the worst thing for us—it’s not the same for everyone—we visualize that, they are doing like this. Then the friend, whoever we are more attached to, materials and things, whatever we are attached to, they are doing. Whatever we are attached strongly to, we should visualize that they are doing these things.
Then the logic is to check up within our mind. As we visualize what the enemy is doing, check up what is happening here, what is going on, what trip is going on in our mind. Check up what trip is going on with the friend when they do these things to us. Check up whether it is peaceful nature or not. When our mind goes high, is it a peaceful nature or not? Check up—there is no peace at all. So our discrimination is that: “They are very good, very kind because they gave me this and that, they helped give me pleasure.”
Then think like this: “As they did this at the present time, they have also been doing things like this numberless times in my previous lifetimes. Not only that, they have also been harming me in different ways—insulting me, like an animal does, harming me, killing me, destroying me, taking my possessions—they have done many things. The have harmed me in different ways just as this animal does, in numberless lifetimes.”
Now we see they are exactly equal in being friend or being enemy. They are exactly equal in our feeling. When we think of the logic, they have been doing the same actions, both harming and helping, the same number of times in previous lifetimes. The feeling is being detached, no anger, no attachment; we feel relaxed, completely relaxed when we think like this.
Same thing: “This person who my negative mind discriminates as a friend, same thing, the same change in their actions will happen again and again the future; sometimes they will help me and sometimes they will harm me. Sometimes giving help and sometimes giving harm. Like this, same thing, this carries on circling in the future. When I discriminate against them as enemy, thinking they are my enemy because they gave me harm; same thing, this friend has also given me harm; same thing, same reason. They gave me harm in the past.”
If we think, “This friend never gave me harm in this life and this enemy gave me harm in this life, I remember this life, this present time,” Same thing, this enemy giving harm, this certain year, certain month, certain day, certain minute, certain second. It is past action, past. We discriminate as present, but it is in the past. Even if it was done a few minutes ago it is past. Same reason, this friend has also given me harm in the past.
So this friend, to whom we were attached before, becomes equal in being friend and being enemy. “There is no reason for me to be attached to the friend by discriminating thinking ‘they helped me.’ That’s a wrong reason; it isn’t proof.”
Same thing with this enemy: “I discriminate because they bother me, but for all the same reasons as I discriminate the other one as friend, they have been helping me before. They gave me harm in previous lifetimes and also helped me before. They harmed me in previous lifetimes and helped me in numberless lifetimes before—giving me things, helping me, giving me food, clothes, saying good things. All these things they did numberless times, both actions. Therefore there is no reason for me to get angry. They also gave help, same reason.”
So now that anger is lost and the mind is relaxed; it becomes equal, exactly equal. Then think also, now we have checked in the past, we think that the same thing will circle round. Sometimes they are giving help and sometimes giving harm, so sometimes they become enemy, sometimes they become friend—it carries on and on like this as long as we are in samsara. So there’s no reason to get angry.
Now we have equalized these two persons; we have them equal in our mind. This is the best way to make equal.
If we ask people, “Please be equal,” if we go and ask all sentient beings, all human beings, it is difficult. That's not the right way, by sharing materials; that's not the right way. Seeing sentient beings as equal is a conception, so the mind has to create equanimity; the mind has to see all beings in equanimity.
Now these two are completely equal, completely equal, we don't feel anything, the mind is not confused.
Then the feeling we have for the stranger, same thing. Then we do the same thing with the rest of the sentient beings, all the sentient beings that we have visualized around, all sentient beings we have visualized in infinite space.
“All the sentient beings have been giving me harm numberless times and giving me help numberless times; they have been equally friend and enemy. Also in the future they will continuously do this, circling around, continuously harming or helping me.” So all the sentient beings are exactly equal, starting from your enemy, your friend, your parents—what you discriminate with a negative mind—starting from this, just as these two persons became equal so all the rest of the sentient beings are exactly equal in being friend and enemy. Exactly equal—try to get that equal feeling in your mind, try to see that way and try to get that equal feeling.
Then that is the result of your practice, the result of your checking meditation on the equilibrium meditation. That is necessary, it is the essence of this meditation; this is the basic logic. The reason why I emphasize this is that it is very, very, extremely important, so very important. Even the psychologists and the psychiatrists have this problem—their minds cannot see all sentient beings in equanimity. They also have problems of discrimination between friend and enemy. How can they help, since there's no understanding? I'm not criticizing; I'm just saying whatever is there. There's water and fire; fire burns, just like that.
3 Rinpoche may be referring to Shravasti, a city in ancient India, located in present-day Uttar Pradesh. [Return to text]