Lamrim Meditation Course at Chenrezig Institute

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

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

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

Lama Zopa teaching at Chenrezig Institute, Australia, May 1975. Photo: Wendy Finster.
Lectures 7 and 8
Lecture 7

Most of the time it is like this: all our solutions, all our methods, which we use often to stop the physical hardships of life, all the difficulties in life or future difficulties—all the methods we use to stop the different physical problems, many things—if we really check up, they are very confused actions, very confused.

Like, in our daily life: we get up in the morning and then we feel uncomfortable without washing. By washing, by getting wet, we feel clean. Also by not cleaning, by not fixing things and not washing, we look ugly. So just because of these reasons, to stop these problems, these sufferings, we wash. We wash with what kind of mind? With attachment, the eight worldly dharmas, the worldly dharmas. The evil thought of the worldly dharmas. We didn't have any higher, special reason, any pure reason to wash.

Then we have tea. All of a sudden, we think, “I’d like tea,” we have desire for tea, attachment to the tea. That also doesn't have any special, pure reason or pure motivation. Then we just drink unconsciously, we just drink with attachment, with the evil thought of the worldly dharmas. Then going for a walk, and then maybe breakfast—that's also the same, we don't have any pure motivation; again, we do it with attachment, without any beneficial thought. Then also, unconsciously, we eat.

Then we get ready to go to work, and we are very busy with work but there’s no pure motivation, we’re in such a hurry, with attachment. Maybe we think, “If I don't go to work, I'll lose my job and then my life will be unhappy.” We’re only attached to comfort; it’s nothing to do with the practice of Dharma, nothing to benefit other sentient beings, nothing. No pure motivation is involved, something like collecting money for others. Instead our mind is concerned with only one thing, ourselves, all the time. A big I, a great big I—that is what is in the depths of our heart all the time if we check up.

Then, to collect money, with such a poor mind we go to work. We spend some hours there and while we're doing that, also there’s no pure motivation. Maybe when we work there, all kinds of negative thoughts arise, such as hatred, when we see other people who we are jealous of, who we don't like, who we hate or to whom we're attached. There are all kinds of different problems coming in the mind while we are working. Then same thing with the lunch, same thing, no pure motivation, only attachment, working for ourselves. And same thing when we come back, when we drive home, same thing, there’s no pure motivation, it’s done with attachment, with the evil thought of the worldly dharmas. Also, when we have supper, same thing—we eat with impure motivation, with attachment, we’re involved with ourselves, only concerned with ourselves.

Then, maybe we do something like inviting people for a party or something. Again, there’s no pure motivation, nothing is pure. Nothing is pure. Maybe we are attached to someone and therefore we invite them. Or maybe we want to get some material things from the person we invite, we expect to receive something from them, to use them for our comfort, not for enlightenment. It’s for all our comfort, not for our enlightenment; it’s for something else but not for receiving enlightenment. Or there’s nothing to benefit them and inviting them is only to gain our own comfort, only for this life, to have a good reputation. We’re involved with attachment, the evil thought of the worldly dharmas. I think that's nothing pure.

Going shopping, same thing again, with impure motivation, with attachment, sort of deep in our heart, the big I, with attachment. Thinking “I want,” seeking only the comfort of this life when we go shopping. And when we take our supper, same thing, when we go to bed, same thing. At first when we go to bed we’re not controlled; when we go to bed there’s no control! Our mind is very tired after doing many things, and that's why it's difficult to think of something [positive]. Anyway, again there's no pure motivation, unconsciously we think “I'm tired,” and we seek only the comfort of this life, then with attachment we just to go to bed. And then we become like a dead person! I'm joking.

Like this, we’re not doing terrible actions—this is still just talking about the daily life actions that we do. Not even counting the actions that harm others, like killing. Like fishing or hunting, those things. There are many other things. Like fighting other people or things like that; without counting even those things. All these things are done with the evil thought of the worldly dharmas, mostly done with attachment. If we really check up on how we think when getting up, drinking, eating, getting dressed, driving, working, sleeping, all these things are suffering, no matter what we do. Always these are done with attachment, the suffering of attachment, they’re always done with ignorance, there’s nothing conscious. Our mind is never conscious of our actions.

All these actions during the day are done with attachment. All these actions, which are done with the evil thought of the worldly dharmas, such as attachment, do not bring a beneficial result, do not bring happiness. They do not become the cause of happiness. All these actions become the cause of confusion. All this is the cause of suffering; all the results that come from this cause are suffering. So therefore, we are suffering, like this.

These are the karmas. My actual talk on karma will come afterwards but some of the subject came here. So all these are karmas, which cause us to be born in samsara; all these daily life actions are karma, which cause us to be born in samsara again, in the suffering realms. The suffering results of these karmas are experienced in the upper realms and in the lower realms—as a preta [hungry ghost], animal or narak [hell being]. Even if we are born in the upper realms there are certain suffering results which have to be experienced. But my explanation of karma will come afterwards, and then it will become clearer.

That's why I was saying yesterday, from the meditator's side, the person who is living in the Dharma, from their side we ordinary people, no matter how wise we are, thinking, “I know so much,” psychologists, teachers—no matter how much we think, since we are not aware, since we do not know these different types of mind, since we are not really fully aware of our mind, there are always mistakes in our actions. That's why I'm saying, from the meditator's side, we ordinary people—however much we think we're educated, learned—from the meditator's side, we ordinary people are unconscious, completely unconscious; foolish, unconscious in the daily life actions. It’s just like running in a dark room. It’s just like running in the dark in the forest where there are ferns growing and rocks and all kinds of things—it’s difficult running in the dark in such a place, like that.

Then, same thing, also, maybe on Sunday or Saturday, even though we have a holiday we don’t do meditation, there’s no Dharma. We don’t know the purpose of meditation and even if we know the meditation we don’t meditate when we have time. Even if we maybe know, maybe have received meditation [instruction], we never give ourselves time to meditate. We never have time. We have time to do other things, to do things with attachment, like going to see friends or going outside to do other things. We have more interest in doing other things, but we don't spend even fifteen minutes meditating, we don't get time.

So, tonight it is a little bit clearer. We do many things to stop the temporal hardships that we dislike but all the methods we use to stop the difficulties are done with attachment, as I explained, so they all become the cause of suffering.

Actually, how is it unconscious? Instead of following this method to completely finish the arising of daily life difficulties, the method that we use in daily life only brings more and more suffering. It only brings the result suffering. The more we create the cause of suffering it only brings more and more suffering. Therefore the hardships of life, the problems of our life do not finish; of course they do not stop, do not cease in this life.

In this way, by continuing such a life all the time, the daily life problems, the hardships of life that come in our daily life can never end at any time. Just as we experience them as we go through this life, same thing—even though we've been born a billion times in the human realm, similar daily life problems will always come. Why will they always come? It will always continue like this because the causes of those hardships were created in a life such as this, in other previous lifetimes. We think this method is the perfect method, the right method, that it can definitely help to stop the life problems. This is what we think with our wrong conception.

If you don't understand this, if you don't understand what I just explained, then think that by allowing attachment to arise, our deluded actions do not make that attachment stop. Or, by anger arising it does not make the anger stop. By anger arising it only plants more seeds in the mind to continue arising anger. Same thing with ignorance: creating the action with ignorance only plants the seeds of more ignorance. So that will produce ignorance.

One thing, the very first mistake is not knowing karma. We're ignorant of karma. Why we make so many mistakes in our daily life, why we're not aware, is because we really don't know, we're not really aware of the cause of happiness and the cause of suffering. We really don't know. This is the biggest and the first mistake. Then, for some of us, even if we hear Dharma teachings like this, explanations like this, because we don't do continual meditation we don't have much feeling for it, even though we have intellectual understanding. So we don't care, we don't care, and we continuously make mistakes.

[Reading Wish-Fulfilling Golden Sun, p. 88]

Shantideva said:
The perfect human rebirth, the most difficult to find and a greatly beneficial foundation is, however, received by opportunity. If, while having the wisdom to know practice and avoidance, one again leads oneself to the narak, one is purposely making oneself ignorant.

This quotation is not complete. After this quotation he also said it is sort of like having no thought, having no consciousness. Sometimes we say that when someone doesn't act properly or when they make a mistake, like if there are many people eating lunch and one person maybe falls asleep or something, their mind is not conscious, then maybe by mistake they eat from other people’s plates. Anyway, when someone makes mistakes, we sometimes say they don't have a brain, they don't have a human brain, or they’re not conscious. When they do something, when their behavior is outside the usual human behavior we say they’re like an animal, they don't act like human being; we sort of use it in a worldly way, like this.

So Shantideva is saying that even though we have received such a beneficial precious perfect rebirth, which is extremely difficult to receive again, we have received it this time by opportunity, but while we have the wisdom to know what to practice and what to avoid—what is the cause of suffering and what is the cause of happiness; while we have the wisdom to know this and to avoid negative actions and to create the causes of happiness, the positive actions, but all the time we create the causes to be reborn in a suffering life—we are purposely making ourselves ignorant. He's saying that's like not having thoughts, not having mind, compared to the meditator, compared to a person living in the Dharma.

The meditation at two o'clock, I think, is the ten receptacles and their usefulness. We’ll begin with the recitation of the mantra.

[Reading from Wish-Fulfilling Golden Sun, p. 88]

If I care so much about any momentary sufferings and sicknesses why do I not care about the tremendous, continuous suffering of my future lives; why do I not worry about and try to eliminate the true cause of suffering?

This is also true, if we check up. Usually our nature is like this. We're ignorant sentient beings, our nature is like this. Temporal problems, which are not really the big problem, the greatest suffering, we think are the biggest problem. That which is the worst, the greatest suffering, that actual greatest suffering, we don't care about! That [temporal problem] we try to take care of as much as possible. We try to keep it like a jewel in a box. Like keeping diamonds, like keeping jewels in a box! It's like this. When we understand a little bit about karma, if we check up how it is, then it is clear, we see it is really true.

Like this simple example of caring for a wound on the body—the wound is our greatest problem, we think it is the greatest suffering, but actually the greatest suffering is the cause that brings the wound. That is the worst thing. The cause of bringing the wound to the body, the cause that brings such a body, which makes such a body that is in the nature of suffering, which inflicts pain or is wounded—that is the worst thing. That is the greatest suffering. The wound is nothing. If we really think about it, a wound is nothing; even if our hand is cut off, that's nothing. That is nothing. Even if our head is cut in pieces or our brain is cut in pieces! That is just one-time physical suffering. That is still nothing. The worst, the greatest suffering is the cause that brings this, which results in this suffering and which brings a body that is living in the nature of suffering, which gets pain. That is the worst thing.

How is this cause worse than the temporal problems? That is because without this cause there wouldn't be this body, which lives in the nature of suffering. Without this body, how can there be problems? Feeling hot and cold, and in meditation time feeling pain in the back and legs, the body getting tired and things like that. Any problem of this kind comes because this body is living in the nature of suffering. It lives in suffering nature, the suffering realms.

This is a suffering realm, the body, which we always take care of. This is samsara, this is a suffering realm. So, the cause that brings this is the most dangerous, the worst thing. Usually it’s like this. The results which are caused, such as little problems like stomach pains, these things, we exaggerate and we think they are a big problem. We are completely unconscious regarding the cause of this suffering, the main suffering. This is the worst thing. And what we do is, instead of getting rid of the causes, we actually take care of the causes as much as possible.

Actually the subject goes another way. For instance, the wrong conception of the self, I, the evil thought of the worldly dharmas, the attachment, which is produced by it— we take care of all those. We take care so much in our heart. Wrong conceptions stay alive and also the evil thought of the worldly dharmas, the attachment, which is the servant of the wrong conception of the self. We keep them in the heart and always take care, we always try to feed them as much as possible. As they give orders, then they get new clothes, then they put clothes. Then they give orders: “Drink!” Then they get a drink. It's like this. We are the servant. We, the person, are the servant. We follow whatever they order us to do. If they say “Give me candy” then we give candy. We are completely their servant, their slave! We have no control, we are completely controlled by them. Just like a horse caught by the reins—if the horse does not run it gets beaten by the person, even though the horse has to carry so much heavy baggage, so many things.

We are completely controlled, but we think we are free. Free, nothing! Especially some young people think they're so free, they don't have to follow rules, they don't have to follow discipline, those kinds of things. They think they're so free, they can do anything, whatever comes to mind they try to do it. However, if we know what is right or wrong, if we are conscious, if we can recognize that, if we don't allow ourselves to follow the evil thought of the worldly dharmas, if we try to stop following the evil thought of the worldly dharmas and try to follow the positive mind, the wisdom—I think that is free. That's free. If we do that, we can say “I am free.”

Why? It's logical. We are free if we practice like this, no matter if we look very ugly, terrible outside, heavy or whatever. If our mind is living in discipline, trying to stop the evil thought of the worldly dharmas from arising, trying to stop following and serving it, and trying to follow wisdom, the positive mind—wisdom that destroys the evil thought of the worldly dharmas, destroys the wrong conception of the self, I—we are free. We are free, compared with what ordinary people call free in this life because they have all the enjoyments. “I have all enjoyments, whatever I need,” or “I have all the food that I want in my kitchen, all the clothes. I bought this and that, I've got everything.” They think, “I'm free.” That is not really free.

[We can be like] the crazy young man, who is recognized as crazy, but whose mind is living in such a discipline, who is actually trying to stop the evil thought of the worldly dharmas. We try not to follow the evil thought of the worldly dharmas, we try to follow the wisdom. Compared to someone who says they have everything, this and that, we are really free. Why? Because, instead of being controlled by and always following the evil thought of the worldly dharmas, we try to stop it.

Instead of being controlled by the evil thought of the worldly dharmas, attachment, we can try to stop the attachment; we can keep away from the attachment. By following the wisdom, the positive mind, we try to stop attachment, we try to remove it. That is really free. It does not depend on whether other people see us as free, it does not depend on that. We have peace, we really make our life happy. And we have the right method; we are acting in the right way. We are actually creating the real cause of peace. In our mind, there's peace.

Otherwise, we are completely under the control of wrong conceptions, the evil thought of the worldly dharmas, attachment, the wrong conception of the self, I, those wrong conceptions. If we really think, if we really check the movie that is inside, if we check, we have to do this, instead of taking care of and serving the eight worldly dharmas, trying to get things, trying to suit attachment or the evil thought of the worldly dharmas. But there’s not only that problem: when material things are finished, whatever temporal needs, when there's something wrong, when each gets destroyed, lost, finished or something, then again there’s another problem. So we are not really free. Not really free.

The worst cause is the wrong conception of the self, I, and the evil thought of the worldly dharmas, the attachment, which we've been talking about this morning. This is the worst cause.

And also, the negative karma; the negative karma is one thing, the negative karma that is created due to the wrong conception of the self, I, and the evil thought of the worldly dharmas, the attachment. One thing that we don't care about is negative karma. We don't care. We're not aware, we don't understand it, we're not aware. Even if we do understand, we do recognize it a little bit but still, we don't care. This is one mistake, this is one cause.

If we don't abstain from these negative karmas, if we continuously create negative karma, then the negative karma continuously brings all these different kinds of life problems and upsets, in the future life and also in the present life. So if we are conscious of those causes of the sufferings and try to remove them, that is very wise, very skillful.

Instead of trying to stop the temporal problems such as disease or those other temporal problems, instead of curing these by creating the causes of more suffering, by creating another cause of suffering—we should try to cure ourselves of creating another cause of suffering. We should try to remove the cause of this suffering result. Caring more about the cause of suffering than the result, those small problems; caring more about the cause and trying to get rid of that, putting more energy to remove the cause, is much more skillful and wise.

Also, it is logical. If, for instance, we don’t want the temporal, small problems that we are finishing now, if we do not desire them, if we want to get rid of that, same reason: we should get rid of the cause. We should remove the cause of these temporal problems, the cause of our sufferings, which will bring more suffering in the future. What was created in the past and what is created now—same reason, this cause should be removed.

For example, if we are having treatment to cure temporal diseases, it’s the same thing, we should have treatment to cut, to remove the cause of these sufferings. It is the same reason. There is no reason why we shouldn't have treatment to remove the cause and have treatment only to remove the result, the small problems. It’s the same thing.

So, it comes to the point. When we practice meditation, when we practice Dharma, when we try to understand, of course we will find it difficult to understand. When we do meditation and try to practice Dharma, of course we will find difficulties, like physical problems in the meditation time, things like that. What is more worthwhile?

For instance, we experience difficulties and there is always something not right. There's always something not right, such as feeling cold or feeling hungry. Even when we sit, if we check with regard to comfort, we can always find something not right there. Something is not comfortable, either the place, or we itch, we scratch, having lice! You know, the lice are biting or we have pain somewhere. If we sit, we can always find something. In our tent we’re either feeling cold or uncomfortable, not having a soft bed, there’s always something, some problem we can find.

Especially when we practice Dharma, the mind is kind of a little bit more aware of some things. Our mind is a little bit more aware somehow of less comfort, of obtaining the comfort of this life. Usually it is like this, maybe, the more effort and the more energy we spend in meditation, in practicing Dharma. If we seek problems, we will always find different problems. However, we should not be concerned with that, we should not think that our problems are so important. If we care about all these miscellaneous small things, the problems that we find, if we think about them, they become more and more important. The problems get bigger and bigger, bigger and bigger. They get bigger and bigger then, because we are so concerned, we can never find time to practice Dharma, we can never find time to meditate. Our mind is always occupied by attachment, seeking comfort.

It is very difficult, extremely difficult to practice Dharma because of these disturbances. However, without completing Dharma practice, there's no part of life, not even one hour, that we can be completely perfect, physically and mentally completely free. We can’t solve every problem or have complete peace, complete freedom, with not one single problem or suffering physically or mentally; there's no chance of even one hour to be like this as long as we don't complete the Dharma practice, no way. Without depending on Dharma practice, this Dharma treatment, there’s no way.

Therefore, it is more worthwhile to put energy into meditation, to put energy into Dharma practice rather than being concerned with each of the small problems. It’s more skillful, more worthwhile to make ourselves strong, to encourage ourselves, and then continue with the meditation practice, with the Dharma practice, without caring so much about those small problems. In this way, our life is always peaceful and happy, without much distraction. If we don't care, if we forget the problems, if we don't care about them, then they don’t become important; they don't really bother us.

This is the beginning meditators' experience. We should think it's natural. Whenever there's a problem, we should think it is natural. Instead of thinking, “This is new, I've never heard of this before. What to do, oh!” Instead of putting ourselves down, feeling embarrassed, we should think it is natural: “Because I'm living in the nature of suffering, why not? Because I'm living in suffering, because I'm sitting in the fire, why not?” Just like this.

If we don't know we're sitting in the fire then we don't know that is its nature. We have to recognize that the problem is the fault of living in the fire of samsara, that it’s burning, uncomfortable, that all these things are our own fault, by putting ourselves in the fire! Then it makes us aware that we have to get out of that. So, like this, it is very useful, very useful. Very useful. “It is my fault that I am living in the fire of samsara, the samsara fire, it is my own fault; this means that I should escape from this samsaric fire.” And in this way, even though we forgot to do meditation, we then remember our meditation.

If our mind is thinking like this, living in such a way and we’re always correcting ourselves, then we don't get much distraction in our Dharma practice. We lead a pure life and we get less distraction. This is the way all those great meditators do it, how they started their life, how they spent their Dharma practice, how they tried to start to have a pure life is by correcting themselves like this, mainly by understanding the suffering nature of samsara.

So, my emphasis is that because the Dharma is the only method, it is more worthwhile to cut off the cause of the suffering, such as not creating negative karma, such as to not following the attachment, the evil thought of the worldly dharmas, such as the wrong conception of the self. What I'm just talking about actually involves much explanation, so it may come up some time. It is wiser, more worthwhile to cut off the cause, rather than being so concerned about putting all our energy into trying to stop the result, the temporal problems.

What is the method? What is the treatment to cut the cause? That is Dharma. That is only Dharma, the Buddha's psychological method, the Dharma, by depending on the psychology of Buddha, no mistake, no mistake. In this way, by following his psychological method, every single problem that has not been stopped so far, from beginningless lifetimes, can be completely ceased without paying even one paisa. Without paying even one dollar! Anyway, like this. No mistake, no mistake, always useful, always beneficial.

Actually, if we really understand, even without particularly living in Dharma practice, but even if we have an intellectual understanding of these meditation techniques from the graduated path, I think, even though we’re not living in the practice, even though we’re not having realizations, we have a much more beneficial solution than psychologists, generally, to whom we would pay hundreds and hundreds of dollars, who don't know anything about the mind. I don't mean all psychologists but that can be one person who cannot really solve our problems, who cannot really see the nature of the problem. If they cannot see the nature of the problems, how can they really cut them off, how can they really solve the problems? If they don't know where the problems come from, how can they solve them? Even just having intellectual understanding of these meditation techniques is great. Having so much understanding, so much method, is very beneficial.

Especially the part on the bodhisattva practice, the different meditation techniques that the bodhisattvas practice, the bodhisattvas’ actions and practices, those bodhisattvas’ disciplines, their precepts. Especially, that part of mind training, especially that part. That is not only to make our mind happy but also to make other people's minds happy, to bring peace in their minds. The checking meditation is a real psychological method because it really explains the nature of mind, the real nature of each problem. It explains very clearly where it comes from, what causes it, what it does, all the evolution, everything, and it gives us all the methods to cut off, to absolutely, completely cure the root of all our problems.

Of course that doesn't mean just intellectual understanding, that's not enough. We have to go through the practice. We have to go through the experience of this meditation thought practice. Just describing the taste of Coca-Cola, if we really want to feel the pleasure of that, if we really want to know, then we have to go buy Coca-Cola and drink it. Other people experiencing drinking, we cannot experience, we cannot understand the taste without our own experience. Something like this.

I think the meditation is like this:

Starting from the present action, your meditation, the present mind; that’s now, the present mind. What is your motivation? Is it the evil thought of worldly dharmas, attachment, or what is it? Check like this. And before the meditation, “What did I do?” Try to be aware of what you did. Like, if you had talks, with what motivation? “What motivation did I talk with? Did I talk without the evil thought of the worldly dharmas or with the evil thought of the worldly dharmas?” Then check your lunch time, with what mind? Did you have lunch with the evil thought of the worldly dharmas or without it? Try to remember.

Whatever action you did, try to remember whether it was done with the evil thought or not, going back, starting from morning time, starting with checking up morning meditation. Whether you sat down with the evil thought of the worldly dharmas or not. Then you should check up breakfast time and also when you got up. When you got up, whether you got up with the enlightened mind. “How did I get up? Did I get up with the thought of evil worldly dharmas or not?” Check up, try to remember, try to be aware. This is very useful, very useful. Very useful.

“Last night, how did I go to bed?” Try to remember. Then check yesterday’s life, then during the meditation course, the days here, as you can remember your actions, whether they were done with the evil thought or not. Then also check at your home, at your place, each work that you do, like your daily life job, “With what mind, with what evil mind did I do my job, or not? With what kind of mind did I go to work?” Try to remember. And whatever you did—driving your car or staying at home or cooking, whatever you were doing—try to remember the different actions you did, like shopping or doing things, business, and then, after remembering the action, try to remember the mind, what kind of mind it was: whether it was the evil thought of the worldly dharmas or not.

Then check back, this year and last year, the other years, like this. Also if you were traveling to other countries or you did many other things, check up like this. Check up like this back to baby time, as much as you can remember. Even if you remember your previous life, then you can check up, even if you remember beginningless life, you can go back to the beginningless. Anyway, so like this.

Then, if you find one single action, like today, if you find one action that wasn't really done with evil thought of the worldly dharmas, it's really something you can be happy about! Then you can thank yourself!

One follower of Atisha called Geshe Ben Gungyal, when he was in a cave doing practice of thought training, like the graduated path, meditating, at those times, every night he counted his actions, starting from the morning and trying to remember all the actions from the morning. He had stones, kind of pebbles, white and black, to count; one type was to count the negative actions and one was to count the positive actions. Every night he tried to remember his actions from the morning and counted each one. One negative action, done with the evil thought, he was checking and if he remembered, he put one black stone there. And then for every positive action, he put one white stone. In the beginning he didn't find many white, he didn't have much chance to collect white stones, only the black ones. Then gradually as he'd been trying very hard to practice Dharma, the number of black stones became less and less, and white ones increased more and more. Like this. He was a Kadampa, which means he was a follower of Atisha, one who was living in the practice of Atisha's teachings, the practice of mind training, by living a strict life.

As we find actions that were not possessed by the evil thought of the worldly dharmas, as we find positive actions, then that's something that is worthwhile to feel happiness. As those are actions done without being possessed by the evil thought of the worldly dharmas, it is something that makes our life meaningful. The actions done with the evil thought of the worldly dharmas, actions possessed by this thought are wasting time; they are something that doesn't bring any meaning or value to our human rebirth. Because all the non-human beings, all the dumb, deeply ignorant sentient beings, those lower creatures, all their actions are possessed by this.

Lecture 8

From the holy speech of the great bodhisattva Shantideva:

[1:7] All the buddhas who have contemplated for many eons
Have seen it to be beneficial; 
For by it the limitless masses of beings
Will quickly attain the supreme state of bliss.

“Even if it is checked for many eons what can bring benefit and happiness—Shakyamuni Buddha has discovered what brings immediate sublime happiness in the minds of the infinite living beings.”

The meaning of the quotation is that Guru Shakyamuni Buddha checked up for many thousands of eons what is the best thing to benefit sentient beings, what is the best method to bring peace, the sublime everlasting happiness. What Guru Shakyamuni Buddha discovered is only bodhicitta can benefit for sublime happiness, which means enlightenment, in the minds of infinite sentient beings. Even at the present time bodhicitta gives immediate sublime happiness to numberless living beings who are practicing bodhicitta, and also in the future.

“Immediate” means quickly. “The most sublime happiness” means there is no higher, no greater peace, no greater happiness beyond enlightenment. I mean there's no greater peace, greater happiness, there's nothing to gain beyond that, there's nothing to receive that is higher than that, better than that. In order to achieve this most sublime happiness of enlightenment quickly, the only way, the best way is by developing bodhicitta. This has been said by many bodhisattvas and buddhas. As it is definitely possible, we should also try to cultivate bodhicitta.

Firstly, this time, from our side we have received the perfect human rebirth, so we have the chance to practice these precious teachings and to receive enlightenment, especially having met the teaching on bodhicitta, having met the Mahayana teaching which explains the practice of bodhicitta, the meditation on bodhicitta. Therefore, while we have the chance, it is extremely important not to lose it and to take the opportunity, by studying and meditating, to try to reach the level of bodhicitta realization as closely as possible. Even if we do not realize bodhicitta in this life, by making continual meditations, if we can become as close as possible to this realization, to this beneficial thought of bodhicitta, then it is possible that even though it is not achieved in this lifetime, in the next life we are born with compassion intuitively. We are born with compassion, great compassion. We are born with the great beneficial motivation of wanting to benefit others and not wanting to give harm to others; we are born with such a good personality. Then again we meet the teachings of the Buddha, again we meet the Mahayana teachings, the Mahayana guru, and again we continue with the practice of bodhicitta and we easily receive bodhicitta without experiencing many difficulties. So, by trying hard in this life, even though the realization is not received, it becomes so much easier in the next lifetime.

However, there’s one most important thing is in our daily life. We have to try to keep the mind as generous as possible, as pure as possible, as beneficial as possible, all the time. Especially at such times when the thought of bodhicitta is of the utmost need because we want to make this action, this spiritual action, beneficial, pure. Not only is it beneficial to bring temporal comforts such as happiness, just to make today's life happy. It’s not just to make our mind happy for one moment—that's nothing, that mind is so limited, just having a calm mind for one month or something like that. Not like this. We should make these actions infinitely beneficial, in order to be released from all suffering and receive the most sublime everlasting happiness, and lead all sentient beings into that stage by releasing them from suffering.

It is necessary to try to cultivate bodhicitta, this pure thought, as strongly as possible, with great deep feelings. Therefore, it is necessary to at least think like this.

“Only releasing myself from samsaric suffering is not enough, not enough. There are numberless other sentient beings who have extreme suffering, without a guiding method, without the wisdom to stop the suffering, to solve the suffering. Therefore, in order to enlighten them, to release them from suffering, I must achieve enlightenment first. Therefore, I must complete all the realizations of the whole graduated path to enlightenment. Therefore, I'm going to listen to the profound teachings on the commentary of the graduated path to enlightenment.”

The listening subject is the 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 as if the essence of the magnificent unequaled great pandit Atisha and the religious king, the Dharma king of the three worlds, the great Lama Tsongkhapa's knowledge was taken out, was shown. It includes the 84,000 teachings shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. All this is arranged for the graduated practice of our achievement of enlightenment.

This commentary on the graduated path to enlightenment has four outlines. The last one is the way of leading the disciple on the path to enlightenment. That has two outlines:

  1. How to follow the guru, who is the root of the path.
  2. The way of training the mind in the graduated path to enlightenment by following the guru.

How to train the mind in the graduated path to enlightenment has two outlines, which includes persuading the mind to take the essence with the perfect human rebirth. This meditation is included in the first of these two outlines: the usefulness of the perfect rebirth.

As part of this we've been checking whether our life has been useful or whether our life has been wasted, which is the most important thing to check. We really think about all the things we have done every day, since we were born until now, what we have done since the beginning of this life. I think the meditation of checking whether the life has been meaningful or whether it has been wasted—spending one hour or even half an hour on this meditation has greater meaning than any of those other actions done since we were born, like working for food or clothing, working for the temporal life. I really think this. Because by checking back like this, whether it's meaningful or whether it's wasted, by checking like this for twenty-five minutes maybe, it opens our mind, it helps us understand our life, it helps us see our life. Before, we didn't know our life—we tried some things but we really didn't know our life, we really didn't know our life, we didn't know the meaning of life, how to make it meaningful.

Many people don't know the meaning of life, why there has to be life. They're sort of curious, they think it is kind of funny to have life—I'm joking. Anyway, I really think that our spending twenty-five minutes here checking like this is more meaningful than any of the actions we did since we were born, taking care of the temporal life. The deeper we understand the nature of our life, the deeper we understand how it has been wasted, and as we understand it more deeply, the positive thought, the wish, the energy comes to make the rest of our life meaningful, useful, beneficial. It opens the mind and gives us energy. From this then starts the action.

It’s totally like this: we were born, we took this higher rebirth as human beings to do what? To gain higher peace and happiness and to stop the suffering. Not just to stop temporal suffering, not just to stop it temporarily, that's not the meaning of life. Just using the life to gain temporal happiness, to stop the temporal suffering temporarily is not the meaning of life, that's not the meaning of taking this human life. The meaning of the human life is to completely cut off the whole root of suffering and to achieve ultimate happiness, which does not change, which does not end, which does not finish.

But so far, how we've been using our life is to create suffering, only to create more causes for suffering, as if we were especially born to create more suffering. To create more suffering we don't have to be born as human beings. It’s not necessary, not necessary, not necessary to be born as a human to practice greed, ignorance or hatred. Whatever we were in our previous life, when we were lower suffering beings such as the lower creatures, there was no need from there to take a higher rebirth in order to only practice greed, ignorance and hatred. Any of the lower creatures, even the tiniest of them, which we cannot see with the eye, even they practice greed, ignorance and hatred. Even they can create the cause of sufferings.

So now do people have some understanding of what Dharma means or should we carry on for one month? Actually as I explained, the actual meaning of Dharma, the practice of Dharma, what Dharma really means should be the same in other religions. It should be the same not only in the Buddhadharma but these Dharma, how to make it pure. If a person understands it should be the same in any other religion, even in the Christian or Hindu religion or whatever—spiritual action, Dharma or spiritual action. I think if the people understand, it should be the same meaning, it has to be same.

If actions done with greed, ignorance or hatred are pure—if these actions done with negative mind are pure—then anything can be pure, nothing is impure. If that is true, if all the actions done by these three minds are really pure actions, then all this ignorance, greed and hatred, all this should be pure mind. Purified of what? If we recognize the actions done with anger and attachment and such as pure, spiritual actions, then all the minds have to be pure. Then it has to be pure of something.

Student: Self?

Rinpoche: Self? Why self? You mean self is impure? It has to be pure or impure, doesn't it?

Student: Self-existent self is impure. Self-existent I is impure.

Rinpoche: I see. On your way of thinking, self-existent I is not pure, isn't it? You're right. [Laughter] Minds are pure? Our minds are pure. So self-existent I is impure?

Student: The mind that holds on to its self-existent I is one and the same thing. If I hold on to my idea of myself, then I can't say it's separate, I can't say they are two things. A mind that has a wrong conception is wrong conception.

Rinpoche: I see. Mind that has wrong conception is the wrong conception? I see. Are you wrong conception? Are you conception?

Student: I don't know. I wouldn't be here if I knew that.

Rinpoche: You wouldn't be? Are you conception? Are you thought?

Student: Yes, I must be.

Rinpoche: Ah. Quite new—I see. So you have one thought or many different thoughts?

Student: I may have different thoughts, following each other.

Rinpoche: What's your name?

Student: Peter.

Rinpoche: I thought you said “Pretia,” [Laughter] Peter, Peter. I'm sorry. So there are many different Peters? Not another person but just at your place, while you have so many different thoughts, just with that body, there are many different Peters—many different Peters? I see. So hundreds and hundreds of Peters are there, billions of Peters? So if one Peter thinks, all Peters think? When one Peter gets angry, do all the others, billions of Peters get angry?

Student: I'll check up.

Rinpoche: Then you check up. Also you say that, when you're thinking, you can say “My thought, my conception.” Why do you say that? Isn't that a mistake?

Student: Yes.

Rinpoche: Which one is a mistake? Both cannot be mistaken; I'm sure. Anyway, like that. So what I'm saying is this: if you recognize, if you point out without checking that the actions of these negative minds are pure, positive, then that means the creator of these negative minds of greed, hatred and ignorance all have to be pure, all these have to be pure. If they are pure, there is no other wrong conception, no other false thought. Also if it is pure, it should be pure of something else; otherwise there is no way to call it pure. There is no way to call it pure. It has to be pure of something; it has to be pure of the impurity. For instance, if the impurity did not exist in the past and does not exist in the present, then it does not give meaning to “pure.” The meaning of pure is pure of something, free from the impurities. However, it's like this.

Clearly saying, if all these are holy minds, all the minds—greed, ignorance, hatred—are pure, then all the minds have to be holy, pure. Nothing is impure; not one single thought is impure. Everything should be holy and pure. If all sentient beings' minds are pure, then why should there be suffering? Why do we have to suffer? What makes us suffer without choice? There has to be a reason; there has to be an evolution of the suffering. Is it created by God? Is it created by one person? Not by one person? Is it created by God? Yes?

Student: I think the reason for that is because of the nature of life, therefore God has a problem too. In as much as we help ourselves, we get help too.

Rinpoche: I see. Is all this suffering that we experience without choice? Is it something that has a solution to completely cut it off or is it something that does not have a solution?

Student: It has a solution. For every positive development you need a negative aspect. Once in my life I suffered loneliness; that was my suffering. I went into it and I no longer suffer loneliness. My suffering made me conscious.

Rinpoche: Then? You are feeling like any of that suffering is conscious?

Nick: He felt lonely, went into it and it stopped.

Student: If I explain with an example of a raincloud ... [long explanation] In other words, without our suffering there would be no light. Therefore suffering is very necessary to life.

Rinpoche: Yes, I think that is quite a good experience. I think that's what I explained just before; I think that becomes correct. I said before that we were born to create the cause of suffering. That's the same, isn't it, same with your experience?

However, it’s like this. If all our greed, ignorance and hatred, these three main impure minds, are pure then all minds would be pure. There would be no impure mind; all the sentient beings would not have any impure mind. If that is so, then there's no reason for suffering to exist because there is no cause of suffering. There's no cause of suffering. The impure mind—which is the creator, which is the creation? Even scientists don't believe that it is created by God. Logically, just straight talking, if it is created by God, if God has created suffering, then God should stop creating sentient beings. If the God has created sentient beings, then why should he create suffering? Why should he make sentient beings suffer? Why should he make us suffer? Is that a compassionate God or an uncompassionate God? Since God has created the sentient beings, our suffering, how can God have compassion? There's no meaning to compassion, even though we say it is compassion.

If God does not have compassion for each of the living beings, what is the meaning of God? The meaning of God is lost. In that case, any enemy who gives harm, who always criticizes us, who always does something should be God, can be God. There’s no reason why that person cannot be God. They don’t need compassion to be God, they don’t need to have great love, they don’t need to have great love and great compassion, all these things. So all these people who bother us, even the mosquitoes, bugs, all these things that bite, who give problems, can be recognized as God, they are all God and we don't harm them.

I think even if we think in this way—that the sentient beings who are eating us, bothering us, all these things, thinking that they are God, that the suffering is given by God, by his kindness, so we don't give them harm—I think this way is more useful because if we think in this way, we dare not give harm, we don't give harm. We don’t have problems and we also have peace. I think this is a more useful way to think of God. Anyway, it becomes like this.

Then all the enemies become God in that sense; there’s no reason why they cannot be called God. Same thing: they don't need to have knowledge, compassion, love; they don't need any higher knowledge. If they are created by God then God becomes our enemy and God is the source of all our suffering. So in order to stop all our suffering what we should do is destroy that God as much as possible, as quickly as possible. Anyway this is logical, even just straight talking that's how it becomes.

Actually, we should also check up; actually it is clear, it is clear. Why does God have to create the sentient beings? Why? Even just this question, this first question normally people don't check up. I think that is very funny, not checking; I think that is really funny. Even just this very simple question: why has God created the sentient beings? If God is the creator, why has he created them? Better he did not create. If he had not created them, then all these different worlds would not be in conflict, fighting with each other. Same thing with each sentient being, it would be better not to exist. Like India and the world, how some countries are full of problems; it would be better if they did not exist, it would be better if they were not created. It’s very simple. These questions do not depend on having knowledge or anything. Very simple. Anyway, like this. So check up.

Student: If suffering did not exist, then would there be any reason for the Dharma?

Rinpoche: That's right; you're right one hundred percent! Dharma was shown only because there are problems for sentient beings. The sentient beings had problems and that's why Dharma was shown. No other method can see, can completely cut off the problems. That's why Dharma was shown; that's all. You're correct. Once all the people, those who are here, once we have all received enlightenment, there is no need to practice Dharma. There's no need to practice because there's nothing to gain—there's not one single wrong conception, not one single problem. The sufferings are completely finished even before receiving enlightenment. Even before receiving enlightenment the suffering is finished, by following the path. When we receive enlightenment there is not one single wrong conception, not one single dualistic mind; there is no higher realization to gain, no knowledge that has yet to be received.

Student: Have you got any ideas of how we first got out of ignorance? How I first got out of ignorance?

Rinpoche: You mean how to be released from ignorance?

Student: How was the first being, how did the original Buddha come?

Rinpoche: Do you want to find the original Buddha? I think you have to find that by yourself.

Ann: How did the first person enlighten himself?

Rinpoche: I see. Simply talking, there is no such time. Infinite sentient beings received enlightenment before. Does that make it a little bit clear? Infinite sentient beings received enlightenment before. There have been infinite buddhas because infinite sentient beings received enlightenment. OK?

Student: Has it been beginningless? Would you say that buddhas have been beginningless?

Rinpoche: It depends on how you think; this can be answered as “beginningless.” Anyway the answer to this question contains this subject. Therefore, think there are infinite buddhas because infinite sentient beings have received enlightenment. The answer to this subject actually comes when you really understand guru yoga. When you understand the essence of the guru yoga practice, then you can understand; you can find the answer to these questions.

Anyway, therefore, check up as I said before. Usually we imitate what other people do, this and that; we copy and things like this. So now with your understanding of the actual meaning of Dharma—spiritual action, Dharma action, how it is pure—with that understanding, which is not possessed by the evil thought of the worldly dharmas, with that you check up.

In the West, what people actually think—going to church thinking that they are doing some spiritual action, thinking, “I'm a religious person, I'm doing something positive, a spiritual action,” and things like that. Now check up, check up whether we have a real understanding of what is spiritual action, whether we really have an understanding of pure actions. Check up. Since there is no understanding of what is pure and impure, what is really spiritual and what is not spiritual, Dharma—same thing, spiritual action is the English word and Dharma is a Sanskrit word, that's all—without understanding this, how can we live in pure action?

How can someone be a pure religious person? Check up. Really I can't say they are absolutely not existing but if it is really checked, when this point is really researched, checked inside, in one country, like Australia, I'm not sure how many you can find who think that they are religious, always doing spiritual actions, and are really sincerely, purely living in the spiritual life, creating the spiritual actions.

Why I am saying this is that even in other religions, the meaning of spiritual action, the pure action, has to be the action that is opposite to the evil thought of the worldly dharmas, which is not possessed by attachment, the evil thought of worldly dharmas. It has to be.

Why? Otherwise, no matter what the religion is called, any action that is done is the cause of suffering. Any action done with these negative minds—no matter if we recognize that and call them pure spiritual actions, this and that—as long as we have done that action with the evil thought of worldly dharmas, that is the cause of suffering, which does not bring peace. If it does not bring peace, how can that be a spiritual action? How can that be a religious action? Then all the actions of the lower creatures, the animals, dogs, cows, pigs, all those foolish animals, all their actions can be called religious. There's no difference; no difference from those actions done with attachment, no difference from those actions done with anger; all those can be called religious actions. Like this.

This is very important to know. Many of us do like this, thinking, “I'm doing some religious, spiritual something, I'm living in a kind of discipline.” We eat once only, like a diet, having certain discipline with food. Even that does not mean our life is pure, it does not mean that. Fasting, eating only one time, living in that kind of discipline, certain things we eat or don't eat, many things—even if we are living in such a discipline, that does not mean we are a religious person. That does not make our mind renounced of the worldly dharmas. It is possible that we follow these disciplines with the evil thought of the worldly dharmas. It is possible, definitely possible that we are following the discipline with attachment. So how can that be religious action, spiritual action? We are just the same as someone who doesn't follow the discipline. We are doing things with attachment, so same thing. We are just doing another extra action but there's nothing higher. Same thing, both the person who doesn't have discipline, who doesn't fast, same thing as the person who fasts, having external disciplines with regards to food, like no liquid.

There are many things. Many people do like that, making various kinds of disciplines, sort of like not taking liquid or making some sort of other discipline, taking one thing, not taking another thing, perhaps. I don't know how to call it in English, many things like that. But they never check up on that, they only take the action, they copy the action. They never check the mind, which is the creator of peace. They never check up on that; they never check. Such people are completely ignorant.

For instance, we can understand that usually the people who do these things, who think they're doing something, they never talk about the mind. Do they talk about the mind? They don't talk much about mind; they don't talk about attachment, they don't talk about the nature of attachment at all. I'm not sure whether they can even remember, whether they'll think of this ever in their life—the nature of attachment or the nature of ignorance.

So you see, actually it is extremely difficult to be a pure, religious, spiritual person who is living in pure action, without understanding these fundamental things, without renouncing attachment, without understanding the shortcomings of attachment.

The great yogi Milarepa said to his disciples: “Today there are many people who have great fortunes (which means having great enjoyments) and they eat poisonous food; they eat the poisonous food of delusion. They wear their clothes (something like) with attachment. Their actions are done with negative mind and yet they're called Dharma or spiritual. However, they are always running only to obtain the temporal happiness of this life.”

Milarepa gave instructions to his disciples and one of his disciples called Rechungpa asked him, “If one has given up this life, as I said yesterday, if one has renounced the evil thought of worldly dharmas, attachment to the happiness of this life, then is it possible to have enjoyment sometimes? Is it possible to have enjoyment some time if one has renounced the evil thought of worldly dharmas, attachment to the happiness of this life? If one has renounced this then can one have enjoyment sometimes, can one have much enjoyment?”

Then Milarepa said, “It's extremely difficult, extremely difficult. It's OK to have enjoyments while living, by renouncing the evil thought of worldly dharmas. It's OK, but it's difficult, it's difficult.” Then he said: “First of all, it's more important to subdue your own mind before subduing other people's minds, other living beings' minds. Once your mind is well-subdued, enlightened, then since there are infinite sentient beings, you can work for other sentient beings at any time.” What he means is without a mistake, with complete knowledge, with control over the mind.

Just as Milarepa says, if we check, we can never find the same number of the people who go to church, who wear uniforms and who do things that signify “I am a spiritual person, I am this and that.” If we really check, we would never find the same number as it looks like outside. They become much less.

So far we've been trying to check our own life, whether it is higher than an animal, whether we have a higher mind, whether our mind is more pure than the lower creatures, whether our everyday actions have been more pure than animals. You see? It is difficult to find any actions that have been more pure, higher than the actions of the lower creatures, the lower sentient beings. You see, it is difficult to find; we don't find much. By seeing, by carefully checking like this especially, with our mind, the way we lead our lives is exactly like animals, nothing higher.

We think: “I'm human, I'm this and that, I'm wise and clever, I'm so much,” but what meaningful thing did we do in our life? What was the meaning, what gave meaning to our life? You see, we find nothing. Actually, if we check up as I described yesterday or the day before yesterday, if we really check up, it is something that makes tears come out. Life has no essence. What essence is there? All the time we do essenceless work, which does not benefit to receive everlasting happiness.

So just briefly talking on this, from yesterday's talk, generally, we should not have great expectations of the temporary happiness of this life. This is the thing. Great expectation, great attachment to the temporal happiness of this life is what makes our life up and down, always changing, depressing; always the mind is puzzled.

If there is pleasure coming you can use it, you can enjoy the pleasure without clinging. You can take the chance without clinging. The main problem is clinging—not the pleasure but the clinging. When there is pleasure, the useful thing, which makes fewer problems, trying to not cling as much as possible. If there is less grasping then the mind is less confused, not so puzzled. Especially if you expect this pleasure will last longer, believing that you will always receive this pleasure, you know, clinging, expecting the same thing. If it worked like that, if there was pleasure that did not decrease, that would be something else. But it does not work like that. That is the nature of worldly pleasure: it does not work as you expect, as you believe. All the time it is opposite.

You get the feeling the first time, thinking, “Oh, this is fantastic.” Then second time also, “Oh, I'll receive the same,” third time, fourth, fifth time, however, the actual nature of worldly pleasure is that it decreases. It continuously changes, second by second it continuously changes, continuously decreases. It gets worse and worse and worse. It changes, then afterwards, when you discover the great change of feeling, that pleasure is no longer existing, then your life is down, your mind is so depressed, so upset, unhappy. That is how the attachment has betrayed you, cheated you.

Also it is useful to think its nature is change, that the nature of the pleasure that you receive at first does not last, it changes each second, in a split second it decreases. After you realize the indefinite nature of pleasure, that it does not always exist, it is just very temporal, for a very short moment, and even in a short moment it continuously changes and gets worse and worse, it decreases. It decreases, it gets worse and worse, it ends each second. We don't recognize that because we don't check up, we're not checking. We don't have the wisdom to check, so therefore we don't realize that. Actually, it decreases in each second.

So thinking that it is very temporary is useful to not cling; thinking that the nature of the pleasure is suffering is very useful. The main basic technique is to be aware of the nature of the pleasure, which is always suffering. That makes you to not cling, to not grasp. If your wisdom is not aware, if your mind is not aware of the real nature of the pleasure, which is only suffering, when your mind is not aware, if you're not checking, then your attachment exaggerates the pleasure. Believing that you would receive the same pleasure all the time, you keep on doing the action. So, the basic technique is that. When your mind is aware of the nature of the pleasure, that much more you understand; the mind is less complicated, not so much grasping. The mind is in peace.

Actually there are many other techniques, there are so many ways to think in order to not cling, in order to not grasp, to not arise attachment. There are many ways to think, there are so many techniques.

For instance, like this, one idea—maybe it will come after some time in the meditation, the third meditation—this is one very useful, clear understanding. When we carry luggage, we feel so much pain here, we feel so much pain; and then we change to here. When we change, when we put the luggage here, we change here, we feel kind of pleasure. We feel kind of pleasure: the pain decreases, the pain goes down, goes down. Before, there was big pain, so as it goes down a little bit like this, decreasing, that is called pleasure; that is what we call pleasure.

If we really check up, we cannot find a single pleasure there; just the pain is a little bit going down and that we call pleasure. The pain has not even completely ceased. Next time, when we feel pain there, we put it here, then check: again the pain comes. It went down a little bit, it’s not completely finished, ceased—that's called pleasure. Then this a little bit went up; so we move again here, again the base of the pain is here. Before a little bit down, then after we moved here, the pain increases, increases. When it increases more, that's called suffering. That's all, like this, same thing, same thing.

We sit for a long time, feeling pain, getting tired, pains here in the knees and things like this, getting very tired. Bones very tired, very tired. Then, “Oh, it would be better to stand up and walk.” Then we stand up and walk, and all of a sudden we feel kind of light, kind of empty or, not empty but kind of light, you know. Then we start to walk, we stand, and at that time the tiredness decreases. When we stood, that decreased, it went down a little bit, but did not completely cease because the root, the base is there. As it goes down a little bit, that is called pleasure. Then we walk, and at first we think it is so comfortable, so good. Then we walk for hours, hours and hours. Then, maybe it doesn't take even one hour, after a few minutes walking, we find problems with walking. Then again tiredness, pain, tiredness comes. Again we think, “Oh, it is better to sit down, it’s better to sit down again.” Then we sit down, thinking it’s better to sit down, and the tiredness of walking decreases a little bit. That's again called pleasure. So actually, just because it is decreasing, going down a little bit, that is called pleasure.

I'm just giving examples; more details will come afterwards. But somehow this is one clear way to check up. Usually there are many techniques. This is really scientific, really how it is, the real nature of our pleasure. I'm just giving examples but it is the same thing with everything. It starts from the head down to the feet—every temporal pleasure that we recognize, all the samsaric pleasures that we recognize as real pleasure, being really happy.

Same thing with the food, same thing when we feel hot and cold: first of all we feel cold by being inside, so cold. The cool energy is increased and becomes suffering. So when we go outside, all of a sudden when we are outside in the sun, because of the energy of the heat the cold energy decreases a little bit; it goes down a little bit and the cold energy suffering is a little bit decreased—that we call pleasure. We stay longer, saying, “This is really pleasure.” We stay longer and longer, then the heat energy increases more and more. Again there's another problem, another suffering, so then we come inside. As we come in, because the cold energy comes, the heat energy goes down a little bit, so that's called pleasure. That's all.

You know, sometimes there can be sound that can be beneficial for the mind, which causes us to lose attachment, which becomes opposite to the negative mind, which causes us to lose pride, to lose anger; action that becomes a remedy to the negative mind. It can be this way. However, usually as the attachment arises in pleasure—interesting sounds or things like this—it is useful to think, to try to be aware. Usually at any time try to be aware of it, whether attachment is arising and as attachment is coming then think, “My action of listening to this sound with attachment is only a cause of suffering. It never helps to bring happiness. Therefore, there is no reason why I should be attached to this sound, which does not diminish the negative mind.”

We can think in this way: “I'm creating the negative karma of being attached to this sound.” In that way, if we think that we are creating negative karma, the cause of suffering, which will bring the suffering result, then our attachment will go down and it does not grasp the object. So in that way our mind gets peace, by losing the attachment.

Also when there is unpleasant physical suffering, when there are displeasing sounds or things like that, it is useful to think as before: “It's natural because I'm living in samsara. That's why it is natural that I suffer, that I feel unpleasant sensations, hear uninteresting sounds, these things.”

One very, very useful thing to think: “The suffering that I'm experiencing now and these uninteresting words, these things such as not receiving material things, other people criticizing, blaming—all these things, all these problems are the result of my previous karma, my previous negative karma that is created by the evil thought of the worldly dharmas.” In this way we become aware.

These problems are caused mainly by the evil thought of the worldly dharmas. So if you think like this: “These problems are created by the evil thought of the worldly dharmas, so if I dislike these problems, why don't I dislike, why don't I renounce the evil thought of the worldly dharmas? If I dislike these problems, I also should dislike the evil thought of the worldly dharmas, because this is the thing that has brought all these problems. If I dislike these problems, why do I take care of the evil thought of the worldly dharmas? Same reason: I should renounce, I should get clear in my heart.”

Thinking in this way is very useful, very useful. In this way you can see much more clearly how the problems are caused by the evil thought of the worldly dharmas, how it is all the fault of the worldly dharmas. Then in this way you have always energy to renounce the evil thought of the worldly dharmas without difficulty, without difficulty, without problem. You can easily renounce the evil thought of the worldly dharmas.

Sometimes when you have big problems like disease or pains or anything, also thinking like this makes it much less; sometimes it makes you forget, it makes much less. Instead of thinking, “I'm suffering, I'm suffering,” think of karma, this evolution, as I explained.

“From beginningless lifetimes, this evil thought of the worldly dharmas has been obliging me to suffer; always, all the time. Why should I suffer this now? I must give it back, I must take revenge on the evil thought of the worldly dharmas. Let them suffer!” Then give your problem back to the evil thought of the worldly dharmas.

Sometimes you forget, if you are thinking strongly, feeling this very strongly. First of all you think of the problem but when you think like this, you really give it back to the evil thought of the worldly dharmas, you see the evil thought of the worldly dharmas as the enemy; like you are fighting another person, an enemy. Not just joking with the words but seriously, like you are fighting with another person. When you think like that, giving back to the evil thought, it decreases, the feeling goes down, the feeling of this somehow decreases, I'm not sure why.

Sometimes you are meditating and you feel very thirsty, almost you can't stand it without a glass of water or something. Then you think: “Attachment, the evil thought of the worldly dharmas is coming. Who brings this problem, who makes me suffer this? That's the evil thought of the worldly dharmas. Why should I accept this suffering? Why should I put it on my head? Why should I experience it? Let them suffer—give it back onto their head, the evil thought of the worldly dharmas!” Then you completely forget your thirst! It's much better than drinking. If you drink with attachment you again become the servant to the evil thought of the worldly dharmas; it becomes a help, a service to the evil thought of the worldly dharmas.

However, thinking of karma, how it is the fault of the evil thought of the worldly dharmas and by understanding it's the shortcoming of the evil thought, then think, tell yourself: “This is the fault of the evil thought of the worldly dharmas. So therefore if I don't like this, I must renounce the evil.” It's very useful, very useful, even though you can't do it another way, another kind of experience you can't do.

There are many techniques but whatever you understood, the ways to solve the problems, whether you write them down or keep them in your mind, it's very useful, extremely useful. If it is used, if it is practiced it is extremely useful, extremely useful. These kinds of life problems have to be stopped, have to be avoided. It is something that has to be avoided.

After lunch, from two pm, the usefulness of the perfect human rebirth. Especially the last one, how the perfect human rebirth is highly useful even in each second, even in each minute.

How it is useful, that is very important, that is very important. By understanding that, especially by understanding that, it causes us to take care so much of the life, even each minute, how to make it meaningful, how to make it worthwhile, beneficial for other sentient beings—or to receive enlightenment, which is the same. It's very useful, very useful.

Sometimes when I'm lazy, I just think of the usefulness of the perfect human rebirth. It is very useful. Then we dare not waste our time by being lazy or through meaningless actions or even thoughts—doing something that has little meaning, as I said yesterday.

After that, do the Guru Shakyamuni yoga meditation. After the light, doing purification and receiving knowledge, do meditation on usefulness. After that, when you do the absorption, concentrate on the emptiness, being in oneness with Guru Shakyamuni's blissful omniscient mind. At that point, at that stage, concentrate for some time.

Next Chapter:

Lectures 9 and 10 »