Sunday, March 24
All suffering living beings, from tiny insects up to human beings, are hungry for peace. They often desire happiness and peace. There is not one suffering sentient being that does not desire peace. All are equal, the same in not desiring suffering and desiring happiness—but due to ignorance, day and night, the whole time, they always create the cause of suffering in place of creating the cause of happiness that they expect. How we act and what we desire is different, so that’s why no matter how much we work, we are never satisfied. We never finish the work that we do, we human beings, we never finish the work that we do for gaining peace. For instance, in the modern world, in different countries, in order to bring peace in different societies, so many things are managed and set up, expecting that they will bring peace in the world. They try to develop as much as possible materially, in different ways. Always thinking that not bringing peace is due to lack of material progression. Because of this they never point inside, not checking, not pointing inside, instead pointing out what is missing within the possessions. So many things arrange it.
However, none of this causes the problem. There is always a problem in the peoples’ minds—different problems carrying on. Family problems, society problems, country problems—many things. This is so, even if the society or country or family is set up to bring peace, even if people increase the family in order to bring peace, to make themselves happy. Many people have the idea that making a big family is good because it makes them happy. However, so far nothing of this has really helped us to see the truth, nothing of this has helped us to cease the problem, to recognize and cease the problem. That is because of not recognizing the actual cause of happiness, the actual cause of real peace, lacking the recognition of the cause of peace, the actual peace and the cause of suffering and suffering.
Anyway, to bring peace to people in a country, peace has to be received in each living being’s mind. People usually think that bringing peace to the world is building something, making something—a fantastic building, something there, machines or something. They think that bringing peace is making this, bringing peace for the people. Peace is change of mind, is great change of mind—great change of mind from the old, emptiness of the old thoughts, complete emptiness. It is a mental state, the purity of the complicated, confused, ignorant thoughts, wrong conceptions, and delusions. That is peace, so when each living being has received this, has achieved this, then there is no problem for each individual, for each person, no problem. As long as this mental state is not received, there are always problems, even though one has a big family like one the population of one country, however much material one has, it doesn’t matter. Even though a person owns the whole world, becomes the king of the whole world, there is always confusion and problem. Each being has to receive peace, and for each being to receive peace, each being has to receive this mental state. Peace means happiness, and happiness has to do with the mind, not to do with something outside. Not to do with something outside—it is something to build in the mind. Just as in the case of a person who knows how to set up a machine, for instance, a clock—a person who knows how to fix it, where everything goes and so forth, and the person who has no understanding about how to fix it. This is just an example. I think this one is better—take the person who is in the States who doesn’t know the road to get to the place that he wants to go to because there are all kinds of roads. A person who has no recognition or understanding of this always goes the wrong way and takes much time, and never gets to the place that he wants to go to for peace. A person who knows all the roads goes here and there, everywhere. This is just an example—he has no complication; he can go to his place in the States without making a mistake.
So, just one person having that knowledge does not stop other peoples’ confusion or problems of not recognizing the road. In order for the other person to go by himself, he should make himself understand and recognize the road. The other person understanding that and not finding confusion is not enough—one should make oneself understand, recognizing the different roads and the road that goes to the place where one wants to go. Just like this, one person having the achievement of peace is not enough, that is not enough. Just by that, one cannot solve the rest of the living beings’ problems or confusion. Cannot, cannot. That’s because peace is a mental state. That person’s mental state cannot be shared, cannot be transplanted into other living beings’ minds. It cannot be transplanted because it is not physical, it is not matter, is not a physical thing. If it were a physical thing, it could be given as charity. If such thing were possible—there have been so many holy beings who achieved peace by following the right path, so at this time we wouldn’t be in such a state, such a suffering situation. There wouldn’t be any suffering living beings left. So, for those holy beings who have the achievement of mental peace, that state, this is also not transplanted or shared by some other holy being, not like this. It is something achieved through their effort, practice, and following the right path, something that they achieved by dispelling, destroying and purifying the delusions that are interruptions to peace.
Such as the case of the great yogi, Milarepa, whose story most people may know. He was not surrounded by a big family, surrounded by materials, and not surrounded by beautiful apartments. He lived in such a simple cave, with one clay pot to make nettle soup. There was one piece of cloth to tie, to use for meditation, for tantric meditation. One white cloth ... just only a few things. But his mind was in such great peace, unconfused. Although that is the way we see his way of life, comparing his mind to when he was living like that and the modern people, we people who arrange so many things for peace, so many things—materials, peoples, husbands, wives, parents, children—so many things, surrounding us for peace. This mind can never compare to the great yogi Milarepa, during that time of mind. His mind was really in silence. Besides his physical body being silence, physical silence, his mind was in complete silence. These people such as ourselves who try to seek peace with such surroundings, externally, without checking, while inside the inner mind is always confused, always ignorant, not realizing the nature, the purpose of life, evolution and because of having wrong conceptions, wrong belief in evolution, creating wrong actions because of wrong belief. Just like the defective eye, the person who does not have a clear eye, just like my eye, not a clear eye, then because the unclear eye sees the object in the wrong way. Just like one man coming from far sees two men coming, and when he gets to the moon he sees two or three moons, for example.
So because of this wrong conception, like the eye, we produce so much, always creates problems. The reason this always creates problems is because all actions that the person does with this conception for peace is always a wrong action, so always the wrong actions create problems. Maybe just like this, a person who feels very thirsty, so thirsty—a person making a journey, feeling so thirsty, sees a kind of river very far away. He really expects and hopes that he will definitely get that water to quench his thirst, so as he tries with this belief, as he sees with the wrong eye, so with this firm belief he tries to go there no matter how far it is, because he believes he will definitely get it. So as he gets nearer and nearer, he doesn’t see any water. There is no water, because the rays of the sun are striking the sand, so from far away the place looks like a river. Then the person gets disappointed when he gets there, and there is such suffering, great suffering, terrible disappointment, much more suffering. He thinks maybe water is not in this place, but somewhere else. So he goes and goes around and never finds it even as he keeps thinking he is going to the water. Even if someone tells him, “That’s not water, you are seeing it in the wrong way, you shouldn’t be there,” because his wrong beliefs and conceptions are so strong, he has to suffer in his life in that way. There is a reason that he has to suffer in that way, a reason which is created by himself. He never listens, never listens.
Sometimes we are like that person who doesn’t listen. For instance, we expect to receive peace, cessation of problems, by living in such surroundings. Even if we like to be silent, even if we are silent, it does not mean we are not creating negative karma, not creating negative actions. Just not talking does not mean that we are not creating negative actions. For example, we people think if we don’t talk it is spiritual, but we really do not recognize what spiritual is, what negative is, what negativity is. Trying to keep silent, not to talk to the people but ... anyway. The great yogi Milarepa sings the Dharma, explains Dharma by singing; he goes around begging, not silent, but not talking. We who keep silent, not verbally talking, create more negative actions each hour, each day, each time, than Milarepa who is not verbally silent. Even if he talks, if he is not verbally silent, he sings, he is always silent, always silent. Even if his physical body is going around in the world, his physical body is always silent. No matter how much he talks or sings, he is always silent. Of course, there is no way to make the physical body or the speech silent without making the mind silent, without the mind becoming silent from the negative mind arising, without controlling the negative mind, keeping the mind silent by controlling the negative mind. So, even if we stop words, verbally we are always creating negative actions. Even if we don’t go around, don’t wander in the countries outside, even if we live in the house, we still create negative action of body. Sometimes it is also possible to create negative actions of speech even though the person is alone. Of course, there is nothing to talk about the mind—it is very uncontrolled, so the person never protects it, never watches it, never checks up on the mind; the person is under the control of the negative mind. Mind is under the control of person but the person is under the control of the negative mind. So there is always the creation of negative action.
The best way, if we want to be silent for peace, for the cessation of problems, is to try like Milarepa did. That’s best way, the quickest way. However, even if the body is bound by ropes in one place, still a person can create so much negative action, which makes him far from peace. So the point that I am talking about ... physically, in order to receive the cessation of problems soon, this depends on physical silence, keeping the body’s action away from the negative actions of body and keeping speech away from the negative actions of speech, and mind, and observing the mind away from the negative actions of mind. Now in our life everything, our speech, body, and mind, are always under the control of and created by the negative, deluded mind. So in order to receive this goal, the whole thing is rooted in change of mind, observing mind. Negative mind. Therefore, before listening to subjects, in order to make the action of listening to Dharma spiritual, in order to release, to escape from billions of sufferings, it is necessary to have pure motivation. So think, “In order to help other suffering beings release from suffering, confused lives, to bring peace, I must, first of all, myself achieve release from the confused life, sufferings, and delusions. Therefore I must, in order to escape from these delusions and sufferings, follow the path that removes sufferings. Therefore I am going to listen on the graduated path, Buddhadharma, the graduated path.”
The graduated path means—I cannot introduce everything—anyway, the graduated path is not something that can be introduced, explained to you, everything, even I spend my whole life. I cannot, even if I try, I cannot explain everything. Even if I spend my whole life, I could not finish the explanation. Anyway, the graduated path to enlightenment, the path that leads to enlightenment, that leads us to enlightenment through our practice, that path is not just one type of meditation. One type of meditation is not enough, such as samadhi, such as breathing meditation, such as samadhi. Samadhi means one-pointed concentration. Just one technique, one meditation or technique, is not enough. Of course it has power, it can help to lead you to enlightenment, but it is not enough. Just only that does not lead to enlightenment. Why? Why? Because our problems are not just one, not just one. We have so many thousands of problems, different delusions, not just one problem. So therefore the remedy, the path that leads to enlightenment, is also different, as there are different problems. Like people who have different sicknesses have to have different treatments. A person who has a wound, a fever, diarrhea, headache—what else! So he has to take different medicines to cure the fever, diarrhea, the headache, and also bind the wound. Just taking medicine for fever cannot stop the whole problem.
Also, we should not be satisfied with one meditation. This is not skillful, this is not wise, just being satisfied with one meditation. This is not wise; it cannot bring any escape from suffering. It depends on so many things, so many different meditations, different paths. Take the clear example with the patients. They have need of the different medicines, just like this. Therefore also, there will be different meditations, different level of meditations, and also one should not feel, “Why is just one meditation not enough? Why don’t we do one meditation rather than making different kinds of meditation, which make us tired. You should not expect that you will achieve the realization of meditation within a week, within a month, just by doing concentration once or twice. Of course, all people don’t have the same level of mind. We all have different levels of mind and wisdom, different levels of wisdom. All people wouldn’t find this difficult. Not all people—but people will feel different, will have different experiences. Some people, even though we went down the whole book, still people have no understanding of the beginning, that one page. Still there is no feeling, no sense by reading this, even though we have finished all this. It is possible, but I don’t expect that you receive realizations and this and that.
But thinking—this method helps great numbers of beings to escape from suffering, and has been experienced by numberless holy beings, and also present holy beings, not only in the past, but still now meditators are experiencing, receiving realizations. Disciples of our guru experience these meditations, and also they have been helping me a great deal to solve the problems in my life, to recognize the problems. So because of this proof, also I have such definite devotion in this true method. Therefore I am thinking that it is so fortunate for me to have the chance to explain such a precious method to you, and that you have made such a chance. You people arrived in such a time, approached in such a time, and have to rely on seeking such a method, meeting these two things. So my hope is to plant a seed in our mental field, the field of the mind, plant the seed—if planted well, so it will grow. As we plant it so it will grow. If we plant it well, it will grow well.
Please make peepee.
Some people think, “Why put so many questions? Why does he make so many questions with discussions?” Because of lack of understanding, lack of understanding such subjects, not having answers, not having questions, not having doubts. Because of this confused life, still the confused life is not ceased. Still we are living. Also, if you don’t want to understand anything, there is no need to talk, for me to talk, no need to come here because you can be quiet in your house, at your home, at any place. If you want to receive methods without listening you can try in the West, you can try, on your bed sleeping with a comfortable blanket and sleeping bags! I’m joking! There is no need to come to the East; what’s the point? It only finishes the money that you work for.
The story that I was talking about yesterday is also helpful to the mind, the history of this great pandit who wrote many teachings on Buddhadharma, many commentaries. I didn’t complete the story.
The pandit’s name was Tsendra Komi. Yesterday we talked about the fact that he had a discussion with the founder of a theory that posits the non-existence of past and future lives and many other things. This person, the founder who wrote that theory, didn’t fully see the past and future lives, so this pandit put the king of that country as witness, and promised to be born in the generation of that King, to be born to the pandit Vishisava, who is the generation of the king. He promised to be born like this. Then he asked the other person who had different beliefs to put a mark here, with red coloring, and then put a pearl in the mouth, and then he passed away. This pearl was kept by them, put in a box in order to check his incarnation, to check up. So his pearl was kept in a box. Later on, this pandit Vishi-sava was born with a pearl in his mouth. As he came from his mother’s womb, he asked his mother, “Didn’t you get tired during the ten months? Mother, didn’t you get tired?” The mother said, “This is inauspicious, boy. Keep quiet, keep quiet.” So he kept quiet for seven years, never talked, so they really believed he was a fool. Then, the founder of this theory who believed in the non-existence of past and future lives and many other things wrote a poem contradicting the Buddhadharma. This book spread all over, and the king and many other pandits learned it. It spread widely. Then one day the book came to the pandit Vishi-sava, the king, the father at this house. In place of replying, contradicting, or giving an answer, the king couldn’t understand the meaning of that. He went out to work, and the son who was seven read and fully understood the meaning and gave answers, explaining everything. The father came back and asked the mother, “Who came here?” and the mother said, “Our foolish boy, the baby did it.” Then the father asked the baby, “How did you do this?” And he said, “I fully know this subject and I can contradict, I can destroy his wrong conceptions. I have the power to destroy his wrong conceptions.” So they checked up with the corpse and proved his rebirth, because of the mark that came with it. Then the boy changed the mind of the other person who wrote that book, that theory, through discussion. And even though he was seven, very young, he understood such subjects as Abhidharma, a division of philosophical teachings that explains everything about the evolution of birth, the evolution of beings, about planets, different solar systems, different universes, everything. Not only this one specific human earth, but other earths, many other things. These subjects that explain the division of philosophy teachings, that explain about the nature, the nature of suffering, many things about the path. Just by listening once, he had full understanding without doubt. There are also other histories that show his powers as well.
Also, he received tantric teachings from a guru, from other tantric gurus, and as he practiced he saw the deities, the different manifestations of Buddha, as we see people. He saw Avalokiteshvara, the Compassionate Buddha, and Tara. Tara is a female manifestation of Buddha. Then he became learned, more realized. Then Tsendar Komi went to the eastern part of the country, which is called Bakhara, a Sanskrit name, Bakhara. He studied all this knowledge, the knowledge of sound including poems and many things, and the sound of the elements.
At that time he took another king’s daughter called Tara for his wife. And also the king offered him a big place in the village. So one day his servant, called his wife’s name, Tara. All of a sudden he thought, this name is my deity’s, the Buddha’s name, it is similar. So how can I keep her for my wife? He tried to go away from that place, leaving that lady, and when the king understood this he said, “If he does not want to live together with my daughter and make a family, then put him in the box, and throw it in the river Ganges.” This was the order given by the king. As the king gave the order, the people who worked for the king did it.
So this pandit Tsendar Komi prayed to Tara. And when he was thrown into the river Ganges he reached a place where the river Ganges and the ocean meet. He got out there, and he was persuaded to become an upasika. Upasika means a lay person with five precepts. As he was asked by Avalokiteshvara, the Compassionate Buddha, he took the five precepts. So from that time he was called Tsendar Komi. Then he went to Ceylon, Tibetan—Singala, he went to Singala. Then in Singala there were many people who had epidemic diseases of nagas. Nagas are another type of living beings, not human beings, but a type of animal. Those people had epidemics afflicted by the nagas, so he built a temple of one specific manifestation of Buddha that had the power to make this epidemic disappear. And all the epidemics went away, and also in that place he gave many Mahayana teachings. So anyway, much to talk, no need to talk. When he was at Nalanda in India, he wrote many teachings, so many texts.
During that time there was one old mother, a very poor old mother. She had one very beautiful girl, and she wanted to send the girl for a wedding, for marriage. She didn’t have any decorations for the girl, she didn’t have anything, so she was going around to beg for the decorations for the girl to go to the wedding, the marriage. This old mother came to Nalanda, this great famous monastery, to see another pandit called Chandrakirti. He worked as the manager for the school, the monastery, and the old mother asked him for decorations. He said, “I am a bhikshu, a monk, I don’t have any possessions, and even if I had a little they are needed for the other monks in the monastery and temple. There is one person called Tsendar Komi, you go there.” Chandrakirti sent the mother to Tsendar Komi. The mother came to see Tsendar Komi and begged for decorations. At this place, his place, there was a Tara drawing on the wall, the female manifestation of the Buddha drawn on the wall. He requested the drawing of this manifestation of the Buddha Tara, he prayed to it to give the decorations. As he requested the drawing on the wall, the actual living Tara appeared. She appeared in female manifestation with many decorations and jewels, different jewels. She took them off her body and handed them to the pandits, who gave them to the mother. She was extremely pleased. Then the drawing again became a drawing on the wall, but without decorations. So afterwards, it got the name, people called it, “Tara without ornaments.” People called it by this name afterwards.
The pandit Tsendar Komi, afterward, did such extensive work for sentient beings. Then he went, with full control, to the pure realm called Potala, the pure realm of Avalokiteshvara. That is just one specific history of this great pandit, but there are also others' stories, there are so many stories.
This is the lineage of the Mahayana teachings in order to prove that the Dharma, the generation of the teachings which was given, shown by Guru Shakyamuni, has not been ceased. This is to prove that it is the actual teaching, the real teaching shown by Guru Shakyamuni, Lord Buddha, and that the teaching has been continuing, handed down one to one, from Guru Shakyamuni to other followers, like this—with experience and practice and realizations.
Atisha—in regards to going through the general introduction, the outlines of the teaching of the graduated path, the Mahayana teaching for the fortunate beings to receive enlightenment. And also it is the teaching that is well explained or expounded by the two great highly realized pandits, Nagarjuna and Asanga, who were prophesized by Guru Shakyamuni as great philosophers of the teachings of Buddhadharma, that they may prevail in the world. And also, that this graduated path includes all the important, essential points of the 84,000 teachings shown by Guru Shakyamuni. This graduated path includes all the important, essential points of the 84,000 teachings shown by Guru Shakyamuni and also, this meditation, this practice is set up for the practice of one person, for achievement of enlightenment. Each outline has much to talk about and much to explain. So this is like the essence—one can expound all 84,000 teachings, but this is like the butter, the jewel or butter—like milk, you stir it well and then all the essence becomes butter. First, to prove how the reference of this Dharma is logical, how it is true, and for that purpose explaining the knowledge of the author, the pandit, the highly realized being who wrote the commentaries, who wrote the teaching on the graduated path, who wrote the essential teaching on the graduated path that includes the whole essence of the 84,000 teachings shown by Guru Shakyamuni. The name of the path to enlightenment is called, in Tibetan, the chang.chub.lam.dun. So in order to see that the reference of this Dharma is true, for that reason, a little bit of knowledge about the author, the great pandit Atisha.
Paragraph 1 (Page 6)
Actually those are all bodhisattvas who were working in Tibet, and all those beings who were sending and inviting the kings who lived in Tibet, and the people that the king sent to India to invite the great pandit Atisha were all great bodhisattvas, but one king worked to invite the pandit like this. Their whole purpose was to dispel the Dharma in Tibet, to light the lamp of the Dharma by bringing this great pandit, Atisha, from India.
Generally it is good, it is always helpful to pose questions and try to give answers, because through this you prove that you know what you are doing. Through this you know whether it is bad, whether your practice, whether your life is good or not, helpful to you or not—whether your practice is perfect or not. The purpose of checking through question and answer is this, the main reason. Also this is the form of study in central Tibet, in the famous big monasteries, the way the monks study the philosophy of teachings. But that study is not just like study in a university or school. That study is study with practice, not just studying with words, but also practice, together. So like this, through this, through so many learned monks, they always check up. So through this they find out their wrong conceptions. And also they discover which are right. And also the subject. So through this they practice. What they do in their daily life, what they are working for, they see that it’s real because they have so much logic, it is well checked. It is like the pot ...
(started raining, general disturbance)...
Also they know, they fully know what they are doing. In this way they fully know that such practice has meaning and that such practice can bring such a goal, perfect everlasting happiness. It can definitely help them to cease suffering. It helps them in so many ways. If your understanding is wrong, then your practice becomes wrong. You practice as you understand, according to your understanding. So there are many dangers, practice without results. Also, sometimes it is possible, without much checking, without going through checking, you carry on, you do something, meditation, something, to spend years. Then after some time, if someone asks, then doubt arises. Then one gets upset, “I have been using all this time for wrong practice,” terribly upset. Practice doesn’t become firm, strong, unshakeable. Putting the question, if someone says something, your mind is not in a doubtful state, so your practice doesn’t become unshakeable, like this, so many reasons. The reason that such a thing is set up in this course, the purpose is something like this.
For instance, when we go to shop, when we want to buy something, how much do we check up? Material things we use only for two days, maybe for lunch, but we check up, we really check up and try to use our best wisdom. Why not with life practice? Why not? It is worthwhile. If we want to buy an animal, a horse, we check up to see how strong it is, how fast it can run ... we check up in many ways how good it is. Whether it is worthwhile to give that price for the animal. Same thing, also we check up whether it is worthwhile to spend so much time on the practice. The expense is the life.
The present time .... from good checking, understanding practice. This protects, helps bring happiness in so many future lifetimes, so it is important.
No.1 (a) Inner knowledge means knowledge of the Dharma.
No.2 This is second qualification.
No.3 This is the third qualification.
Four Great Knowledges
Tibetan term chang.chub.lam.dun is the text written by the great pandit Atisha that we were talking about this morning, who established the Buddhadharma in Tibet.
Anyway, these three vehicles—Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana—all these teachings were shown by Guru Shakyamuni to different beings who have different levels of mind. But the whole goal is to lead them to enlightenment, the final goal is to lead them to enlightenment, the final goal is to lead them to enlightenment. Just like this. When you have to go back to the West you take airplane from Kathmandu and land in Delhi, India, and from there go to the West. You see three places—here, India, and the West. Then you arrive at your home. Just like this, it is not opposite. Going to Kathmandu is not opposite to going to Delhi, which is something that can be done by one person. The trip. So the whole purpose of going to Kathmandu is to go back to your home. The same with Delhi, landing in the States. That purpose is also to go back to your home. The purpose is the same, the goal is one, because there are different followers who have different levels of mind, so Guru Shakyamuni, as he extremely wise in leading sentient beings into enlightenment, he is extremely wise in skills to work for sentient beings, so he shows the path differently, as it fits their minds. So that’s how these have vehicles happened.
No.2 (Page 7)
The second knowledge of the essential text of all teachings shown by Guru Shakyamuni, the chang.chub.lam.dun, the second knowledge, the knowledge by which we see... (read No.2)
“Pure Views of the Enlightened One”: this is about thirty pages, very little text, but includes all the essence of the path to enlightenment, Vajrayana, Mahayana, and Hinayana; all the essence of the teachings.
Arhat: an arhat is holy being who has achievement of cessation of suffering. Ganges: a famous river in India, used by Indian Swamis to bathe for cleaning their wrong conceptions!
Dromtonpa was the first, is the embodiment of the Compassionate Buddha, Avalokiteshvara. This is also His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s incarnation.
This is commentary chang.chub.lam.rim. Atisha wrote this small text that includes the essence of Guru Shakyamuni’s whole teaching, and because people, ordinary people, find it difficult to fully understand the best meanings of the chang.chub.lam.dun, Guru Tsongkhapa wrote commentary on that, which is called “The Graduated Path to Enlightenment.”
So these meditations are basically formed according to my idea, a little bit different. But basically, the root is from the chang.chub.lam.dun and “The Graduated Path to Enlightenment,” by the great, highly realized yogi, Guru Tsongkhapa, who is the embodiment of the Buddha of Wisdom, Manjushri. There is also much history, fantastic history—about his special signs since birth, and how he studied, how he gave teachings, many things, an incredible, unbelievable history. Also about his achievement of realizations—how he practiced, how he practiced the purifications in a solitary place.
(Torrential rain and thunder)
I think it’s better to meditate. Meditate on thoughts. First you observe the thought that thinks a lot of images, subjects—you catch the thought, then you concentrate on the thought. Try to stop thinking of outside subjects, outside the body, subjects that are disturbing, and keep it inside the body, and then concentrate on the thought, which is mindfulness, concentration. Then if you find the thought, concentrate your mind in oneness with clear light vision and great bliss. These three things together. Great happiness, happy feeling—these three things together. Concentrate as much as possible without interruption, as long as possible.
Thank you so much.
So we, besides having internal problems, also have external problems. It is good that there are much greater troubles than this that human beings are suffering on this earth, having such great fear in knowing how the day and night goes, such as those under our world. Besides talking about other living beings' suffering, even there are human beings who have suffering—terrible, unbelievable on this earth. Compared to those, we people who have diarrhea, who have fantastic diarrhea, have colds, catching cold, wet—this is nothing, nothing really, nothing compared to those other human beings’ terrible suffering. This is still happiness for them. Besides not talking about other living beings, non-human beings. Compared to those we are really extremely happy, having a happy life. For the Dharma practitioners, also sometimes the problem becomes the helper. Instead of it becoming a problem, it becomes a helper. The problem builds energy.
For instance, the present, our suffering with external changes—if you can think in such a way then it becomes helpful to the mind, also for meditation, for Dharma practice. The present suffering that we are experiencing is the result of the cause, that which is called karma. It is created by ourselves, created by the individual who suffers. Also it reminds us that it is useful, the problem is useful, you can make it useful. So checking why we are meeting the different problems proves that without creating the cause there is no reason we have to suffer, in such times—the day before yesterday, warm; today cold.
For instance, remembering the cause and not wanting to experience the present problem means that the person should think that if I do not want to meet this problem, if I still carry on creating the cause of the problem, I will spontaneously experience the suffering result in the future. Therefore, from now on I must be conscious in my actions of speech, body, and mind. I must be careful and conscious—whether I am creating negative actions, whether that action that I am doing is negative or positive; conscious. Then be careful—careful not to get involved in negative action. Thinking this way about problems helps for meditation, for Dharma practice, to be more careful and more conscious in one’s actions, in one’s daily life. It means that there is a long way to go, experiencing these different problems.
Even if one problem is solved, there is another, one after one. Even if the rain stops, you catch cold. Many things. Then feeling hungry, so many different things. If our wisdom checks up, this means that if you don’t want to experience suffering, then you need to recognize that there is need of research its cause. Then following the perfect method, practice meditation, that which is Dharma, bearing the difficulties, without caring for hardships or difficulties. So that’s how it gives energy, because by checking like this, if you meet the problem and check it, it gives the reason why the meditation should be practiced—why I should practice meditation, why I should practice Dharma. By checking like this, with different reasons, that’s how the meditator or Dharma practitioner receives ability, energy.
So, first do breathing meditation. Any temporal sufferings that we meet in different times, one after one, are also the result of the wrong conception of “I”, and the self-cherishing thought, impure mind. Then these are the fundamental roots of the delusions. From these, all delusions arise, those thousands and thousands of delusions arise.
“These negative minds have been causing me suffering from beginningless lifetimes until now. Since I was born until now. And these negative minds oblige me to suffer even now. Also, they will continuously oblige me to suffer in the future. These negative minds are the source of all suffering, so I must extinguish them right away. Also, without extinguishing these negative minds, I will never escape from suffering and I cannot help other beings be released from suffering. Therefore, to be able to do this, I am going to practice the meditation to purify these negative minds”.
With this pure impulse, strong, wanting to renounce these negative minds as quickly as possible, as the meditation is made, the meditation becomes Dharma. Meditation also becomes the remedy of those negative minds. Any methods that become a remedy are like the medicine that is the remedy for the sickness. So any action, any method that becomes a remedy for the negative mind, that is Dharma. Why is it Dharma? Because it destroys the negative mind, it affects the negative mind. If the method, the action does not destroy, if it does not give harm, does not destroy the negative mind, then it is not Dharma. So the reason that I keep on repeating this is, no matter whether we spend one hour, half an hour or fifteen minutes, in order to make the time beneficial to ourselves and other beings and become Dharma—in order to help, in order to become medicine to cure the inner problem. Through this, the external problem can also be cured, because external problems arise from internal problems. With such strong feelings, you do breathing meditation, the purifying breathing meditation.
We are to check up what the thought is thinking. Then concentrate—if you catch the thought, you can concentrate on the thought.
(During this meditation there was an earthquake. During the earthquake Lama Zopa told us, “Necessary to meditate on bodhicitta, to release the suffering of all sentient beings”.)
There are so many good examples, useful for meditation. If you die right away, what do you think? You think you will like it? It’s enjoyable? Not sure, not sure. Just like this example—we didn’t expect to have an earthquake and rain and wet and all these things. We didn’t expect trouble, but it happened. So this can happen at any time. Just like this, death can happen at any time. We often expect, “I will exist”, always we have such a far aim, such a long mind. But that never comes true, it always betrays the person, always betrays Dharma practice. But, like this, death can happen at any time. So therefore, as there are so many problems, we are fortunate to have the practice of such a holy, precious perfect method that can solve the problems. We need continual energy, understanding and practice. As we know, in the world there are numbers of human beings, but if you know about the human beings in different countries, in different places having suffering, it is incredible, just only talking about human beings. Right at that time there are so many human beings dying, getting sick, so many things happening in different places—as well as some people trying to meditate! Maybe physically meditating, and mind around.
Anyway, thank you.
So everybody, please keep warm as much as possible. But it is also necessary to try to keep warm mentally. Only physically keeping warm doesn’t help that much, it needs help from the mind. Mainly if you can keep warm in the mind, even though there are less clothes, you don’t need much physical help. Because things are the creation of mind.
That’s all, thank you.
Monday, March 25
This morning we are trying to listen, trying to seek a new method, trying to do something. The sole purpose that we evil people have is wanting to achieve perfect peace, wanting to escape from all suffering. For this reason we are trying to do something; we are doing something as we understand, as we think, just as those lower beings, non-human beings, are also trying to do something—even the flies are flying around, trying to do something in order to receive peace and not suffer. Our desire is the same as this, but the way of acting, the form of the action, is a little bit different. Wanting to be in peace and not wanting to suffer is the same thing. Even the king of the world, the countries, no matter how much fame he has, how many possessions, how much powerful he is, in fact in terms of desire there is no difference between those tiny insects in regards to not wanting to suffer and wanting to experience peace; it is the same thing. In regards to that, it’s the same thing. At present, the desire is the same thing—there is no difference from the tiny insect, but at this time the other living being is not in the form of a human being—just that makes a difference.
Also, since the king used his daily work in order to take care only of the comfort of this life, thinking only of one life, there is no difference between him and the insect. Because the insect is also working for that life, and has no plans to work for the future life, to make special arrangements for the future life. The insect, also with that desire, with that aim, only takes care of that one life. So it is the same thing. Physically there is a difference, but in regards work, nothing is higher. The king who works for that goal with such desire, working in such a way, his daily life is not higher than the insect’s. The king dresses his best in order to gain the comfort of this life, and the insect dresses in the best way in order to take care, gain comfort. In this case, since the daily life and work in not higher, is not special, is not higher than the insect’s work, then it doesn’t make a difference being born as human being. The insect and that being both create negative actions, evil actions. The king who uses daily life in that way, also creates evil actions to take care of that life. Both create the causes of suffering, evil actions, even though that human life could be used in a higher way, to create higher actions, to attain higher goals than the lower being.
If the life is not used, it is the same thing. Since you are born, if the life is not used to work for the higher goal, to do higher work which is higher than the lower animals' work, it gives meaning to the human life. Then you are acting, then you are acting, you are making the life meaningful. If we are using the life it is meaningful. If you don’t use the present human life for this purpose, it becomes meaningless. To be born as a human being is good, it is fortunate in so many ways, because totally, by being born as a human being there is a chance, a possibility, to escape from suffering by achieving and by following the perfect method. The lower being doesn’t have the chance to make such progression in life. Being an animal, an insect, while they are an insect it’s impossible to escape from suffering by achieving perfect methods, because there is no way to understand Dharma—there is no way to explain and understand. Therefore, what they do is only create negative evil actions which cause suffering with negative minds, and these are carried on their consciousnesses from their previous lives, from beginningless previous lives. There is no way to understand, to recognize the nature of suffering, no way to recognize the mind nature, no way to recognize what is virtuous and what is evil action. So it’s impossible to create positive, virtuous action. No matter how long they live, longer than human beings, they don’t make any profit, they don’t create any cause of peace, their minds are, in many ways, so limited compared to a human being’s. It is extremely difficult, even if they live 100 years, even to create one virtuous action which is the cause of peace or happiness, even one. So, compared to those suffering living beings, we are so fortunate, we have so much possibility, so much chance. Our present body is that precious, so useful for the temporal enjoyments, and the animals’ bodies are so limited for temporal enjoyments, so limited. There is no way they can enjoy like human beings can enjoy, generally speaking.
Besides talking about escaping from suffering, achieving those higher goals, besides talking about that and about having the possibility to make arrangements for better future lives, even for this temporal life, the enjoyments, the possibilities for animals, are so limited. Even thinking in terms of the present enjoyments we have, the body is precious, useful. For these lower beings, non-human beings, it is extremely difficult to know the meaning of what is virtuous action and what is evil, and besides understanding the meaning there is no way to understand, extremely difficult even to know the relative, the name, virtuous action and evil action. There is no way to teach, it is extremely difficult, there is no way to speak, no way to contact them like we teach human beings. Even if you beat them they cannot hear your words, even if you beat them they cannot hear your words, you cannot help them to understand these things.
Question: If animals—you say they don’t know how to commit virtuous actions intentionally—can they do it unintentionally? Can an animal unintentionally perform a virtuous action or not?
Rinpoche: Extremely difficult.
Question: If we can assume at some time we have been another form of life, such as an animal, then how, if we were once an animal, did we have the good fortune to become human if we didn’t know how to commit a good action?
Rinpoche: Because their life is not only one life. If it was one life then you could say it’s impossible to be born as a human being, if it was one life, just one life.
Question: How do you get to be born as a human being?
Rinpoche: The animal consciousness is not started just from the body of tiger; that animal’s consciousness, mind is not started with a tiger, that body came from a previous life.
Question: But how do you get the good fortune to be a human being?
Rinpoche: That’s what I am saying.
Question: You said there was no possibility of virtuous action.
Rinpoche: Yes, yes, yes, yes.
Question: Does it mean the consciousness can come from an animal to another realm?
Rinpoche: Yes, that’s what I am saying.
Question: That means people can become animals again?
Rinpoche: We? Possible, yes, yes! Maybe after a few years, you know, big spider! Crawling there!
Anyway, the further explanation will come afterwards. As we are born as human beings in this present time, it is not definite that we are always born as human beings, it is not definite. Same thing with animals, any other living being—it is not definite to be always born as the same type of living being, not definite. More explanation will come afterwards. But this is a brief introduction.
There is always cause and purpose, always cause, always reason in our evolution, there is always reason in a living being’s life—where they live, the rebirth they took, everything has a reason. The reason, the cause is something that has been arranged in previous lifetimes. In previous lifetimes or in that life, the reason, the cause, is due to different creations, different actions of speech, body, and mind. Virtuous action and non-virtuous action. To be born as a human being.... there are also others, besides human beings, other higher realms, different types of beings that are recognized, called, who have higher enjoyments than human beings. They are called “god,” but they are still suffering.
Question: Can there by other living beings anywhere that have a chance for enlightenment—not human—anywhere?
Rinpoche: Yah yah, no enlightenment, yah, the possibility of enlightenment in the human world with human rebirth, by taking human rebirth.
Question: No other place in the universe where beings can be enlightened without being human?
Rinpoche: Extremely difficult, yes. It is possible that in other universes, in other realms, possible, definitely possible, to achieve other realizations but not enlightenment; this is extremely difficult. Even those beings who are in those realms of the gods, those living beings, wish to be born as human beings because there is much more possibility here to escape suffering, to practice Dharma. Also they pray, they wish to be born in the human world because there is much more possibility to practice Dharma, to escape suffering, to practice Dharma. It is much easier in the human world.
Question: Easier for human beings?
Rinpoche: Easier for human beings, yes.
Question: But still possible for gods?
Rinpoche: Other realizations, lower realizations are possible, but in different realms of gods; but possible, yes.
What I am saying is this. What I want to mention to you, to introduce to you, the essence, main thing to tell you is this—what causes us to be born as a lower being, the animals? Besides animals, there are other lower beings that we see and that we don’t see with our limited ordinary minds, there are different lower beings. There are many other lower suffering realms. More explanation will come afterwards, this is just a brief introduction, just to emphasize, to be careful—to emphasize for understanding and practice.
So now we are human beings, we are born in the upper realm where there is much possibility, so what makes us be born as a lower being? Our evil actions, evil actions. What makes us be born in an upper realm such as that of the gods, who have higher enjoyments, or to be born again as a human being? Positive action, virtuous action. And all the suffering, what causes all the suffering? All suffering is caused by evil action. What causes all happiness, pleasure—including cessation of suffering, enlightenment, even the pleasure that we are having now, this earth, those small pleasures—all pleasures, what causes them? They are caused by virtuous action. Those two are the cause and result. Happiness, to be born in the upper realm, and suffering, to be born in the lower realm, like this.
So this time we have a choice, as we are born as human beings having the chance to hear, to talk, to understand, to meditate, to practice, to experience—as we have so many chances, without great troubles as other human beings have and because of this trouble, not being permitted to do these things, to create these possibilities, to follow such a perfect method, Dharma. If we want to always experience happiness, if you desire all happiness and to be born in the upper realms again, then you need to create the cause, virtuous action, in this life. When we say “this life,” it seems very long, not short. Perhaps three or four hours, perhaps one year, perhaps a few months, perhaps one month. How long we will live, not sure—even a week or even two or three days. From our mind we cannot fully see, so therefore, as we are existing now, as we have the chance now, it is necessary to create this cause, this virtuous action—now, at this moment, because the future is not sure. Then, to do this, we have to recognize what creates evil action, what creates virtuous action—this we have to know. Without knowing, there is no way to avoid evil action and create virtuous action. So we have to know what creates it. How it should be created, what it is necessary to have in order to create the virtuous actions. We need to understand this.
Both evil and virtuous actions are created by mind. Both are created by mind, but by different minds having different functions. The virtuous action is created by virtuous mind, the evil action is created by evil mind, like this. That’s how all happiness, all suffering is the creation of mind. Like the flowers, the fruit—flowers grow from seed, from the cause of the seed—the creation of the seed, flower, fruit, and these things are the creation of the seed. Just like this, so all happiness and suffering are the creation of mind. Therefore, since the cause should be created now, the actions that we do, that we create today should be virtuous action. If these actions are possessed by such thought, impulse, wanting to do these things in order to gain only the comfort of this life, then that mind is an evil mind, and the rest of the action that we do today, talking or listening, meditating, whatever it is, all becomes evil action, if it’s done with that mind that is attached to the comfort of this life. Therefore, it is necessary to think, to cultivate the pure motive which is the opposite of evil thought. This is the purpose of being born as a human being—to help other beings release from all their suffering, confused mind.
“In order to help them, I must release myself from suffering, from the confused mind. I must release myself from these delusions, such as greed that is attached to the comfort of this life. In order to release myself from these delusions I must achieve the perfect methods shown by the enlightened beings. In order to achieve this, I should fully understand. Therefore, I am going to listen to the teaching of the graduated path.”
The Importance of Right Impulse (Page 43)
We are taking the short cut! Because of beginningless mind!
The reason that there are sets of the different prayers (page 10), such as meditations with prostrations (page 14), the offering universe, offering mandala (page 23)—first refuge (page 10), taking refuge to achieve enlightenment; and cultivating bodhicitta (page 13); and prayer, meditation on purifying the meditation place (page 13), invoking (page 13) the enlightened beings and other holy beings, then making prostration (page 14), then offering mandala (page 23), which means offering the universe, including one’s speech, body and mind. There are different ways—three or four different ways of making the mental offering—the outer way, the inner way, then the secret way. The benefits of this are very profound and it is something that cannot be easily understood; it is not something that can be easily comprehended. There are infinite benefits of doing these things, if one does them correctly. Anyway, so totally, the whole purpose of doing these things is to purify the 84,000 delusions and to achieve enlightenment and enlighten other suffering living beings. This is the total purpose. This is the total purpose of saying these prayers and meditating with these prayers. That’s all.
Before, in the first and second course, I started to go through these prayers and even just the first one, the morning prayer, refuge, took three or four days to explain. I think one stanza, the first prayer, the short one that says, “Refuge to the holy guru, total embodiment of infinite buddhas,” just only that took three or four days. Anyway, without understanding these following meditations, these prayers do not make much sense.
The reason that I set up these prayers is because I hope that many people will like to do retreat—so interested to do retreat; it is nice to do retreat. So anyway, many people have problems knowing how to do retreat, knowing what retreat is. So with the little hope that it may help them understand how to do retreat, how it’s done, what arrangement should be done every day before the meditations, what purification should be done before the actual meditation, I set up these prayers.
Then, after that explanation of the posture during meditation (page 40) comes the short meditation to make the motivation pure (page 41). There are three ways of making the motivation pure, three levels: lower, middle, and higher. This is the short meditation on how to make the meditation pure before actions. This is on page 41, and is very helpful, even though one doesn’t have much time to meditate. Before doing anything one can read or think this. If one can make brief meditation on this by remembering it as it is written here, it will be effective and will help a great deal to make the actions pure. So, I will quickly read this.
The Teachings of the Direct Meditations (Page 41)
“Holy teachings…” There are two holy teachings, two divisions. One is realizations, and one is the holy words that explain about the path, about the knowledge of enlightenment, and about the nature of suffering. This time I am not going to give any details of these things, because this brief prayer or this short meditation includes the following meditations.
Lower Being’s Prayer
This is a prayer and also an impulse, the lower being’s positive impulse.
Then the middle pure motivation.
Middle Being’s Prayer
By thinking this we follow the middle pure impulse. This is also the middle being’s prayer.
Higher Being’s Prayer
The next one is the higher motivation. The higher motivation is only concerned for the work of other beings, only concerned with the release of other sentient beings from suffering. The higher motivation completely dedicates all the work for others. Even though the work itself is to purify the delusions, your own suffering, even if the work benefits and affects you that way, any action, meditation, or work that is done with this pure motivation is dedicated and done for only the sake of other beings.
So just like this, this is just an example to have the idea of purification, doing meditation to purify ones’ own suffering or delusions. How can these actions be dedicated, how can they be helpful, how can they be dedicated for other beings? They purify one’s own suffering and delusions, but at the same time, this dedicating for others helps oneself. If the action is performed in that way, it helps others, but without purifying, without solving one’s own problems, we don’t achieve higher wisdom to solve others’ problems. Without achieving this wisdom, it is extremely difficult to help other beings, to release other beings from those thousands of different sufferings.
“..... following the six bodhisattva deeds ...” This means that by following the lower vehicle, by making plans to achieve perfect happiness only for oneself, the being achieves that goal, perfect happiness. As he achieves this goal, in that sphere of perfect peace, this being’s mind exists in this state for so many eons. It completely gets absorbed, it stays in this state for so many eons and also takes much time to release other sentient beings from suffering and to achieve enlightenment. This is because that being, that arhat, who has the achievement of that mental state has not achieved yet the great love, great compassion and great bodhicitta. As he has not achieved this great love, great compassion and great bodhicitta, the will of the enlightenment, the will wanting to receive enlightenment only for the sake of sentient beings, his work for other sentient beings is much more limited than that of a bodhisattva, even though this arhat has incredible, infinite knowledge, power.
Oneself wishing to receive perfect happiness alone, without having such bodhicitta, the great thought to work for and to enlighten all sentient beings from the suffering state is a limited, low, limited, ungenerous thought. Just as in the example of the person who thinks only of himself. Let’s say, just as an example... for instance, if you all drowned in mud, got caught in mud and one person got out, like me, for instance—I tried by myself and got out of the mud and as I released myself from that problem, I never helped you, just myself. Whatever you screamed or shouted, I didn’t listen, I didn’t care about your suffering because I released myself from my problems, so that’s enough. If I did this, I would be very ungenerous to you, cruel, without the great thought, the great will. Just like this in example, when we desire perfect peace only for ourselves alone, without having the great will to work for other beings or to achieve enlightenment for other beings while so many infinite numbers of sentient beings are in incredible suffering, this thought, just as the example, is ungenerous and reflects a small will.
In this way it takes much time to receive enlightenment—the final goal, the highest goal. Again this being, this arhat, has the achievement of perfect peace. This being who is in such deep concentration, such great happiness, in the sphere of great happiness, whose mind is absorbed, exists in that state for a long time, so many eons. When the time comes, the enlightened beings shows him light, signal him to wake from that state. Then the enlightened beings explain Dharma, and then again that being has to follow the Mahayana path, the great vehicle, and achieve great love, compassion and great bodhicitta. Then gradually this being achieves enlightenment, like this.
Paragraph Two (Page 42)
This is the motivation for the practice of tantra.
Each of these motivations are ... compared to the first, the second is more powerful; compared to the second, the third is more powerful—like this. Especially the motivation of practicing tantra must be the most powerful one, the strongest one, the greatest will. In order to practice yoga, the shortcut path to enlightenment, the tantric teaching—but between what you mean by “yoga” and what I mean by “yoga” there is utter confusion! So anyway, the one who is capable, who is deserving, who is a worthy person, the right person who practices tantra has to have the strong motivation, such as these feelings.
Actually, as long as such feelings, such pure motivation is not there, the person is not ready for tantra, for higher practice, to receive those higher teachings, those secret teachings. The person is not ready. Even if the tantric text is shown or given to him, the person cannot practice, cannot feel it, cannot practice well, cannot handle it. Like a baby, a small baby who is given such a big pot, a gold pot full of diamonds, very heavy—the baby cannot hold it because it doesn’t have strength. This is just an example for you to have a little idea.
That’s why practicing tantra is difficult—it is the shortcut to enlightenment, but why is it extremely difficult? It is quicker, but why is it extremely difficult to practice? Besides talking about the actual meditation, the path and practice of the tantric path, just getting ready for that is extremely difficult. So the mind, at least our mind, should be released with this pure motivation or feeling in order to follow or engage in the practice of those higher tantric teachings. Then, with this equipment in the mind, as you practice it really becomes the shortcut to enlightenment for that person. But for the person whose mind is not living, whose mind has not reached this level, who is not equipped with these things, it is not sure that his practice becomes the shortcut to enlightenment. Even though he is trying to practice something, it is not certain that it will become the shortcut to enlightenment. Because becoming the shortcut to enlightenment depends on individual practice. Even without following the tantric path, also there is a way to receive enlightenment quicker through method. Even without following the tantric path there is a way to receive enlightenment quicker, the sutra way—there is a way to receive enlightenment quicker through method. Even though usually it takes longer, according to individual practice there is a quick way to receive enlightenment.
The main thing, the most important thing, is that one's practice be correct. Correct, perfect. Anyway, no need much to talk about that.
If you want to achieve those high physic powers, if you want to be like the great yogi, Milarepa, those ancient yogis, if you want to live life like that, if you want to achieve power as they achieved it, control, if you want to help other sentient beings as they helped them like that, then it is necessary to lay the foundation of this realization, the realization of these following meditations. Without this it is impossible.
“Since we often desire to profit and have no desire to lose, we should know how extremely important it is to have right impulse”. Thank you.
Paragraph 2 (Page 43)
Sentence 2: “Lower thought ...” This means self-cherishing. For instance—the idea, the motive of the practice being the wish to achieve everlasting happiness for only oneself. Even though the motive is detached from the happiness of this life, it still cannot become Mahayana thought, because of self-cherishing. So action done with that motive, even though it’s pure, is still a lower action, not animal, has much more infinite benefit, greater than offering jewels to infinite numbers of sentient beings—they are infinite, numberless. The object of charity, the number of charity, the value of the material doesn’t make difference. It mainly depends on the motive. Regarding the materials, one bowl of food is nothing, is almost nothing, is almost not existing, compared to the world full of jewels that is given to each sentient being.
Checking Meditation (Page 44)
There are many reasons to receive the perfect teaching from a perfect guru or teacher. Many purposes, many purposes. Generally, this path to enlightenment is not an old thing, it is new. Even if you want to trek on the mountain, on the trails, you have to rely on a porter or guide to show you the route—even in ordinary things we are ignorant. So why not in the path to enlightenment, which is new? This is not much to do with physical things, but mainly to do with mind, this new mental path to enlightenment. Of course we need a guide. We need a guide who knows the path or who has experience, who can show us, who can explain the path. Also, there are many other reasons. There is so much to talk about. There are many things, but even if there is a book on meditation, it is different trying to practice it yourself. It is still good of course, it is good if one understands correctly and if one does it correctly—but if you receive this symbol which is written on paper from a perfect guru, then it is more effective. The meditation is more effective for the person because of the relationship, and also becomes more effective, and also there is a continual blessing, because the guru received teachings from another guru, such a lineage of blessings. It is important to receive the lineage of blessings and this becomes very effective, useful for the mind. Especially, generally, there is so much equipment that the guru needs, that the disciple needs, that is necessary—especially because according to the level and strength of the disciple’s devotion, the teaching will be that much more effective and useful to his mind. If I try to talk much on this point at this time we won’t understand much; because of ignorance we may get problems in our mind. But just to have some idea so that it may help when our wisdom gets bigger and bigger—then we will understand the importance, the purpose. And also we will feel it—now we cannot feel it. So in order to help in the future, I mention just the brief benefits of this.
Benefits of Following the Guru
This is the brief explanation in eight numbers. Getting closer to enlightenment, becoming closer to enlightenment and pleasing all the buddhas, all the enlightened beings. One cannot be interrupted or controlled by evil friends, evil beings such as maras or nagas or negative forces from outside or from inside. All the vices. Naturally stopping all the vices and delusions, all the negative actions and delusions and increase the realization of path. Also following the guru in this life, also correctly following the guru in this life makes to not lose, to always meet perfect gurus in future lifetimes. The cause of perfectly following the guru in this lifetime makes to find more perfect, like Guru Shakyamuni, like Buddha wisdom, like Compassionate Buddha. Due to this cause, one can meet such a guru like this in a future lifetime. It makes arrangements to meet a more perfect guru in a future lifetime. Not being empty of the guru in the future lifetimes and not born, following the guru also makes to not be born in the lower realms. Doesn’t make to be born, following the guru makes to not be born in suffering lower being. Also perfectly following the guru makes to bring to all the success. Whatever one wants. It makes to bring all the success. And quickly receive enlightenment.
This is the summary. There are infinite benefits of correctly following the guru but these are the summary, total. Also, because people have heard a lot about Milarepa and read this book, it is good to talk about this yogi again and again. This yogi is also an example of one who achieved enlightenment in this lifetime due to perfectly following the guru. This was the result of the benefits of Milarepa perfectly following his guru, Marpa. Also, in earlier times Guru Shakyamuni was also an ordinary being like us. He is not an eternal buddha, not a self-born buddha. He is not a buddha who exists by himself, without depending on anything. Guru Shakyamuni who is the founder of the Buddhadharma in this period, achieved enlightenment by depending on his guru.
For instance, believing that nothing exists. Many thoughts that check and think of the object is a disturbance, interruption. Why it is a wrong conception? Because just believing that and thinking that doesn’t solve the problem. [It begins to rain.] You see, if you think there is no rain, it doesn’t help to make it go away. The reason that I am saying this is a wrong conception and a mistake is because when there is a thief in the house, merely believing that there is no thief in the house doesn’t solve the problem. For instance—this is an example—believing that there is no thief doesn’t help. By thinking like this and not doing anything, you don’t do anything, you don’t catch the thief, you don’t see the thief, you don’t recognize the thief who continuously steals your possessions. The result of believing that there is no thief is that you lose your belongings and develop problems, and afterwards every possession is taken away—all your happiness, all your enjoyments, all the things that you enjoy are all taken away. So you get into problems. Also there is some danger, and the thief may kill the person. Anyway, the person who thinks that cannot bear the suffering. He doesn’t want to lose his possessions. So merely thinking that the thief doesn’t exist is wrong, illusory. It doesn’t help to solve problems, because the thief exists. The thief exists because there is a person stealing things.
It is the same thing with the person sitting in the fire thinking that there is no fire. Thinking like this cannot help the person not to be burned by the fire. The correct belief, as it exists, always helps, and the wrong belief always gives harm and destroys one’s happiness, like the thief always steals one’s happiness, destroys oneself. So why is the person burned by the fire? Because the fire exists. There is the actual existence of the fire, so however the person thinks, believes otherwise, it does not solve the problem. Those are the examples. Same thing like this: thinking that there is no “I” does not, can never solve the problem. Thinking that there is no “I” cannot stop the delusions, cannot destroy the delusions, doesn’t affect anything. Practicing such meditation in order to get peace is like the person running to kill the enemy, carrying a gun, but keeping the enemy behind him. The person who has this belief, trying to practice this, doesn’t destroy the delusion that he has, which is the source of suffering. The delusion is always kept, always collected, well-kept in the mind.
For instance, how can the person exist without his “I”? There is no way for the person to exist without his “I.” If there is no existence of his “I” there is no existence of him, because there is no existence of the person himself. No existence of “I” means no existence of himself, the person. Of course he exists—he goes, he runs, he eats, he drinks, he suffers, he meditates—if there is no “I” then who meditates? If there is no meditator “I,” who meditates? If there is no meditator, then who meditates? No one meditates. Meditation is not made. Also, some people think that they live the life, their work—they do everything but they are thoughtless, without thinking of words, names, completely unconscious, like sleeping time, the mind is not conscious of any object. This is impossible, impossible. A person who has great achievement, such as an enlightened being, works for every number of sentient beings in different manifestations by showing different methods, while their holy mind is in the concentration of the absolute nature. Also at the same time, they work for other sentient beings by showing different methods and showing different manifestations. That is not unconscious, it is conscious. If you check up like this, then you can only find mistakes in thinking that nothing exists, that the thought of every existence is wrong, illusory, because existence does not exist. If that is so then there is also no suffering to experience, and no existence of the Dharma. Just as the meditator who meditates, there is no meditation. But this is not true. It exists. If the suffering didn’t exist, why should we try even in this worldly way, why we should work every day, keeping ourselves busy, always concerned for how to not suffer in this life? No reason.
Most of the meditations need checking meditation. Without going through checking meditation there is no way to realize the suffering nature, to realize the mind nature. Without checking, the thief cannot be recognized among people. Without checking, one cannot discover what’s wrong and what’s right, what’s negative and positive; there is no way to understand.
Maitreya is recognized as a future Buddha. This means he will descend from a pure realm, Tushita, just like Guru Shakyamuni did in this period, and, just like Guru Shakyamuni, take a princely life. Then there will be the twelve events—the last one is showing the death, the passing into nirvana, which means showing the impermanence and death of other living beings, other sentient beings. The twelve events, the deeds that he did for the benefit of others show the suffering nature and show how to follow the path. In order to show these things, to prove these things, he showed the twelve events. So just like Guru Shakyamuni, this future Buddha, Maitreya, will definitely come to this world and take a princely life and do similar things, including taking the form of receiving enlightenment at Bodhgaya. That means that the future founder of the Buddhadharma will be Maitreya, and the present founder of the Buddhadharma is Guru Shakyamuni, like this. First, cultivate the pure thought, then meditate on breathing.
If you have peepee problem, please!
[Torrential rain overhead]
Maybe a person who is catching very cold, who is very warm, maybe share the warm with the cold; if you are feeling cold, give the warm, then it becomes equal! If that is possible.
Anyway, we should know that we are experiencing this trouble such as catching cold and other things for meditation, for practice, for the practice of meditation, to work for enlightenment. Experiencing the difficulties, troubles is work for enlightenment. Perhaps living the difficulties of the work of enlightenment is only one time. Therefore, there is nothing to feel upset or worried about, because it is greatly worthwhile. We often have difficulties for ordinary work, which is only a disturbance to enlightenment and to one’s peace. From beginningless lifetimes until now we have had many difficulties, much greater than this, in order to take care of one life—we have borne that much difficulty even for ordinary work. So if you have experienced that much difficulty, greater than this, for ordinary work from beginningless lifetimes until now, why don’t we bear troubles, why don’t we experience the problems, for the work of enlightenment? It is greatly worthwhile. We should think that maybe only this time bearing difficulties for work of enlightenment, maybe only in this time, maybe only this month. Not sure.
So, we should not think always, “Catching cold—” this idea makes you more cold, it doesn’t help; it only makes you more cold and upset, it doesn’t help at all. This is the same with the other problems you may have. Also, in terms of bearing the difficulties for the work of enlightenment, even though you catch a little bit, it doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter. Once one life is in the suffering state you are caught in the suffering state, and besides that, you still create the cause of suffering—so of course, why not this suffering? Of course. That is the evolution, that is the evolution. Just as if you put a finger in the fire it will burn; just like this. We create the cause of suffering, we get destroyed by suffering. This is evolution, this is the way it works. One thing is this, what we should know—also, bearing the difficulties for the work of enlightenment becomes a remedy for the negative mind, for the egocentric mind, for delusions, so it is fantastic. It becomes the actual medicine to cure the actual sickness. It is better than chemical medicine, because mentally and physically we are born in the suffering stage, so the nature is always suffering, having different problems. These problems will carry on until we completely extinguish the cause of suffering. Therefore, we concentrate in order to control the mind away from distractions for twenty minutes. Wherever your thought is, concentrate on it.
Dedicate the merits, if there are merits created today. Dedicate, “Due to these merits created in the past time, and in the present time, and also those that will be created in the future, may I achieve enlightenment soon by achieving bodhicitta, the fully renounced mind of samsara, and the realization of the absolute true nature for the sake of sentient beings.”
At least, if one doesn’t know how to think, as he said in the prayer, “May I achieve the same thing, the whole realization that the prayer contains, due to these merits.”
Thank you. Please keep warm, and sleep well.
Tuesday, March 26
The great, highly realized pandit, Shantideva, said in his teaching called Following the Bodhisattva’s Actions, “The perfect human rebirth is extremely difficult to find again. If no benefits are created in this lifetime in order to receive perfect human rebirth working for enlightenment for other sentient beings, how can it be possible to receive it again in the future?”
First, a little history of the great pandit Shantideva, so we can find also a little taste of his holy speech by having some idea of his history. After that, then I will clarify this quotation.
He is one of the great bodhisattvas, one of the pandits among thousands of pandits at Nalanda, the famous school. His usual daily life was very strange, it seemed very strange to the other monks, to other people. What he usually did was sleep and eat and make kaka. Only these three things. What other people, what other monks could see is only this. All day he sleeps, eats, and makes kaka. That’s what other the monks saw.
This great bodhisattva, he was born in the western part of Bodhgaya in central India. When he was over six, he meditated on the Buddha of Wisdom, which is called Manjushri in Sanskrit. This aspect of Buddha is very special in order to achieve wisdom, especially to realize shunyata, the absolute nature of mind. So if one meditates on this special manifestation of Buddha, when one meditates on the absolute true nature, on shunyata, it is very quick to grant realizations. He is a special Buddha in order to receive the realization of shunyata, and besides the wisdom of realizing the absolute true nature, any kind of wisdom. There are many stories that happened in Tibet, and also in India, in which people meditated on this special manifestation of the Buddha of Wisdom. Many pandits and many Tibetan meditators gained much wisdom.
This pandit, Shantideva tried to obtain the Buddha of Wisdom, and when he was over six, he really saw the Buddha of Wisdom through his practice of meditation, and also received the Buddha of Wisdom. He gave many teachings. He was a prince, and after some time his father passed away, and Shantideva was requested by the population to take his father’s place, the king’s throne. Shantideva couldn’t reject the population, and he had to promise to take the father’s place. The night before he was going to be inaugurated to take the place of the king, he had a dream. The Buddha of Wisdom was sitting on the king’s throne, and said, “The one son, this is my bed and I am your guru leading you to enlightenment. We both cannot sit on one bed.” After this dream he woke up. Through that dream he realized that he should not accept the crown, that he should not enjoy the king’s possessions or live as a king. That’s what he realized from that dream. In that same night he escaped to Nalanda to see a pandit. He was ordained by that pandit, and called “Shantideva,” which means God of Peace. For a long time he received extensive teachings of sutra and tantra from both Manjushri, the Buddha of Wisdom, and from his abbot.
Actually, he was a bodhisattva who had attained a very high path, and who, even though he had attained those realizations, spent all his time working for sentient beings in different ways. But the people around him at Nalanda, the monks who were living in the monastery only saw him as eating, sleeping, and making kaka. They never see him reading texts or doing religious actions—other people never saw this. The form that Shantideva showed to other people was as if he was doing nothing. Therefore, as other people saw him like that, they gave him the name Busuku, which means one who does only these three things. So he was called by that name, Busuku.
Other people who didn’t have the mental power to perceive what he was actually doing or what realization he had complained that he doesn’t listen to teachings, that he doesn’t think, doesn’t meditate, that he is just wasting the monks' devotional materials, which means the materials that the Sangha were offered by benefactors, materials that were offered with devotion. The Sangha, the group of monks, are supposed to listen to Dharma subjects to repay the offering of that material. These people who didn’t have mind power saw him as if he didn’t have any of this. They saw that he was just wasting the Sangha’s materials. When the monks do this kind of practice it also helps the benefactor; it doesn’t create bad karma or negativity. If they don’t meditate, don’t practice Dharma, or don’t keep the precepts well and then they use the things offered by the benefactor, they create much negative karma. Therefore, other people made the decision to throw Shantideva out of the monastery, but didn't know how to throw him out. They saw him as useless. But then some people had a very smart idea. The monks have many sutra texts that they have learnt by heart, which they are supposed to be capable of reciting in a group of many monks. So these people thought that if they asked Shantideva to do this, to say all these prayers and teaching by heart, then he would be unable to do so, so they could expel him. (I have many strange words that I have found from newspapers! Before I came to Nepal I was very interested to read newspapers, so I was trying to learn English from Time Magazine!)
So anyway, then the people requested Shantideva, “Please come to such prayers,” so finally he accepted. They put such a very high throne for him to sit on, and people expected that he would be unable to get up on top of it. But when Shantideva came, he sat on the throne without any difficulties. Then he asked the people, “Should I recite a sutra teaching, which was already said by Buddha, or should I teach a sutra which was not said by Buddha?” The people requested, “Please give a teaching that was never explained by Buddha.” And Shantideva gave the teaching which is called Following the Bodhisattva’s Actions. He gave this teaching but it does not mean that the meaning of this was not explained by Buddha. This does not mean that this text Following the Bodhisattva’s Actions is new Buddhadharma. Just the way it is done, the text, the way the subject is set up. Of course the meaning is in the 84,000 teachings shown by Guru Shakyamuni, but this is a particular text in which the subject is set up simply, and is easy to understand.
There are ten chapters, and the sixth is Wisdom, about shunyata. While Shantideva was giving the teaching on that chapter, with his physic powers he flew higher and higher and later on was no longer the eye-object of the people, he was so very high. But despite how physically high he was, even though they could not see him, still his holy speech was there giving teachings, not stopping. Also, many times in different parts of India when there was a big discussion of theories and things like this, many times he controlled things with his psychic powers. Also at places such as Magarda in India, one of the holy places, there were also 500 beings who had wrong realizations, wrong beliefs. He was a servant to those people, and once there was a heavy storm for seven days. During this time, everyone finished their food and drink, suffering very much, struggling very much. The people said that the person who can go to beg will be our leader and we will listen to him. Then Shantideva, who was a servant to those people, went to beg, and received one bowl of rice. He blessed this and then gave it to all five hundred people, shared it with them, and it satisfied them. By that also Shantideva proved that their realizations, their beliefs, were wrong, and he subdued all these wrong beliefs.
Also at that time there were about a thousand beggars in India. There was a great famine and they were near death. This pandit, Shantideva, helped in the temporal means of living and also showed them the teachings and led them to perfect peace.
Once, he was staying near the palace of a king called Aribishina. There was one person who didn’t have enough means to live and who often liked to take food from other people. There was a big group of these people who took things from other people, without compassion and with a cruel mind. One day they came to the palace to take away the king’s possessions. Shantideva, this pandit, promised to protect the king from the danger of these people and he controlled them. Then the king himself and his surroundings all became happy, peaceful, and the other person, who was jealous of Shantideva for doing this told the king, “This person is very cunning and his weapon to protect you is just wood. How can he protect you with only a wooden knife?”
As a result, the king got angry with Shantideva. He said, “Please show me your knife, your sword.” Shantideva said “If I show my sword it will harm you.” The king said “Even if it harms me that’s okay, please show it to me.” Shantideva said, “Hide one of your eyes and look at the sword with the other eye.” Then he showed the king the wooden sword, and all of a sudden much light came from it, such light sparkling that the king’s eye could not look at that sword. The light was like the sun, strong, very precious, like rays. The king couldn’t look at the sword because of the light and then in trying to look at it, he became blind in that eye and was terribly upset. Then the king apologized to Shantideva, and from that time on he took refuge and relied on Shantideva. He took teachings from Shantideva and Shantideva led him in the Dharma path.
So his coming there to the palace was to help the king with these kinds of conditions.
Once in India also there was a founder of people who have wrong beliefs, wrong realizations, wrong theories. This founder of this was also a king named Sanghadeva. He went to debate with the Buddhist pandits, not only debating the words, but also with psychic powers. They decided that the temple of the loser would be burnt by the winner. That was the goal. Like when people play, putting money—what is that called? (Many suggestions given.) Anyway, you understand. So in that period, this king, this founder of this wrong theory wanted to debate, to make a competition with these psychic powers. No one could debate with this king. But at that time the great pandit Shantideva debated with him and Shantideva won, and subdued the king’s wrong realizations. During the competition, the king created the mandala of the mahadeva, their god, in space. Shantideva remained in the concentration of motility, prana, or wind. Then all of sudden, a heavy storm happened and the entire mandala was taken by the wind. As a result the king lost, and since even with his psychic powers he could not compete with Shantideva, he and many of his followers became followers of the Buddhadharma and the path to enlightenment, and they helped to develop the teachings.
This is just a short history of Shantideva in order for you to have some idea, some feeling, when I mention the name of this holy being, this great holy bodhisattva. If you don’t know these realizations, his life, then you have no feeling, and also no feelings for his words.
The quotation says that this perfect human rebirth is extremely difficult to find. If no benefits were created in this life to receive a perfect human rebirth again and work for enlightenment, how can it be possible to receive a perfect human rebirth in the future? This stanza includes so many subjects, so many. A person may think it is not difficult because we have received the human rebirth now. But the reason that we have received it now is because in previous lifetimes there were benefits created. Besides receiving just the human body, we have met such precious holy teachings and have the possibility to listen to them. As I said at the beginning of the course, there is a reason for all this. The reason was created in our previous lifetimes, because in our previous lives, by bearing the difficulties, collecting these merits, we have been born as a human being, having such a chance to work and receive enlightenment, and to follow the precious method. Also in the world there are incredible numbers of living beings who are born as human beings, in a human body, so many. But those who have such a chance to meet this holy teaching which leads to enlightenment are so few, very few—nothing to compare to the number of the human beings who have a human body and do not have such a chance.
By understanding this evolution, understanding that the reason in the present we have such possibilities is because of the previous life’s karma or previous life’s creation of merits, we should make arrangements. As the previous life brought all these possibilities, such as this useful human body, and since we desire to have a better rebirth, a more fortunate, better rebirth in the future lifetimes, a better rebirth that has much wisdom of Dharma for the achievement of enlightenment, then it is important to create the cause in this life by understanding the evolution. If this time the life is wasted, used in the wrong way—that means used for creating negative karma, used for creating the cause of suffering, used to follow negative mind and create negative actions—then even though at this time you are a human being, what difference does it make? Since your life is like that, there is no hope to be born as a human being again, no hope to have a better rebirth in the future life. It will only cause you to take a lower rebirth, to be born as a suffering, lower being. There is no hope to be born again as a human being, even without talking about rebirth as a more fortunate, more perfect being. Even just to be born as a human being there is no hope, since the person doesn’t create any benefits using life in the wrong way.
Usually most of our previous lives [Rinpoche looking around and laughing much]… Anyway, not human being! Not human being! Not human being! If you could remember it would be very scary. If you could remember you would never waste this life, this time, you would dare not waste any time, you wouldn’t sleep. Anyway, for sure, most of our previous lives were not in the form of human beings.
There are different lower suffering realms, such as animals, pretas, naraks, like this. For a short time, for a few minutes, we receive birth in an upper realm which has less suffering than the lower suffering beings. We received a happy rebirth for a short time. But why have we received this? If we create similar actions to those we have been creating from beginningless lifetimes, the cause of suffering, then definitely it is certain that we will be born again as a lower suffering being. So there is no point—it doesn’t make any sense to be born to receive this happy rebirth. It doesn’t make any sense receiving this at this time.
So anyway, the purpose or reason that we are born as a human being this time is not to use life in a wrong way, as I explained before, but to use it in a positive way, in a right way. That is, simply saying, to use the life to destroy the delusions and to create merits. If you do this then this present human rebirth becomes useful and meaningful, because this present human helps us to experience happiness in the future lifetimes, to be born again in the upper realms, to always have enjoyable, happy lives in the future lifetimes. This is lowest... then gradually finding better and better perfect human rebirths and practicing Dharma, achieving the gradual realizations. In this way we achieve enlightenment. This way, if we use the present human rebirth like this, then it becomes useful, meaningful. This is what the question means, the holy speech of the great pandit Shantideva. This is what it means.
The essential method to receive a better human rebirth in future lifetimes, in order to finish the work for enlightenment, Dharma practice, is the practice of bodhicitta. It is necessary to train in that holy thought right from this moment, in ways such as making the action of listening to the teachings positive by making the motivation pure. So therefore, it is necessary to think, “I am going to listen to the teachings on the graduated path in order to achieve enlightenment to release all and every sentient being from suffering and lead them to happiness.”
The general outline, the holy profound subject to listen to is the Mahayana teaching for fortunate beings to receive enlightenment. Also, it is a teaching that is well expounded by the two great philosophers Nagarjuna and Asanga, a profound teaching which is explained by the great bodhisattva pandit Atisha and the highly realized holy being Guru Tsongkhapa. Also, it is a teaching that includes all the important points of the 84,000 teachings shown by Guru Shakyamuni and it is set up in the graduated path for one person’s practice—that means for the person who is practicing this it is not complicated, it is easy to practice because the way it is set up, the levels, different meditations, different practices, is not complicated. If the person tries to attain realizations through this it works well, without complication. It is like this. As the person gradually gets better, there is the need to give different medicines at different times, just like this.
We have finished explaining the knowledge of the authors of these texts on the graduated path. Also, we have briefly finished the knowledge of these techniques, these teachings, in order to inspire devotion in our mind. Now we need the teaching on how to listen to and how to explain the Dharma, and how to lead the students in the path to enlightenment. This part is the section on how to listen and how to explain.
Paragraph 4 and Quotation
These are the benefits of listening, the need, purpose and benefit of listening. From listening arises understanding and from understanding arises the transcendental wisdom fully realizing the right meaning.
The general meaning of meditation means, as explained by Maitreya, making the mind habituated to the object. In order to achieve bodhicitta, for instance, it is necessary for the mind to train in that path, to train in that meditation. Without training it is like taking tablets. We cannot receive bodhicitta. These realizations cannot be achieved all of a sudden, as you think of it, as you meditate for a few minutes, for one time, for a few years. Why don’t we achieve this so easily, so quickly? Because there is a need of much training, a need for the mind to be well trained in this meditation. So as we meditate on the path, on bodhicitta, as we continue these meditations, the mind get used to that, gets trained, and comes closer and closer to this realization. Then afterwards the mind itself becomes bodhicitta. It is the same, for example, in the meditation on the nature of mind—training the mind spontaneously to see the nature of mind. First of all, the mind does not see clearly, but as the practice of the meditation is carried on, the mind begins to see its nature more and more clearly. It sees it more and more truly like this. Training the mind in the subject, making the mind habituated with the subject is meditation; this is the general meaning of meditation. Meditation means training, making habituated.
(a) 1. The graduated path of the higher intelligent beings also includes the tantric teaching.
(c) These are the instructions, the advice for when you do retreat or meditation when the mind is too distracted, when you even find it difficult to bring it back, to keep it on the object of meditation. When there are distractions in the mind it is so much like soup. If you find it difficult to meditate, use these techniques. Breathing is a very useful technique during the meditation time if the mind is distracted. Do these meditations, the breathing meditations, then go back to the other meditations, like this, and make the mind peaceful from the distractions. Without making the mind quiet, the mind cannot concentrate, and also cannot think. This technique is given and is useful because it is a different mind that is concentration on other subjects and concentrated on breathing. Concentrating on breathing is easier than concentrating on other subjects, so that’s why concentration on breathing is given as a technique to make the mind quiet. While there is distraction, lots of distraction, why person cannot put the mind in meditation. Just like two people cannot sit on one bed, or one chair. This is a way of playing a trick in order to make the mind quiet and follow the meditation. For instance, there are two people so both cannot sit on one chair—if one person wants to sit on a chair he tells the other person that outside there is something good, something fantastic happening, and then he can sit on the chair. So just as this example, while there is distraction there is no meditation—both cannot be done. We need to trick the mind, so the breathing meditation is the method. Then after the breathing meditation, because the mind came out of distraction and is concentrated on breathing, the mind is not negative or positive, but indifferent, in the middle. Then you use it—before it was in the negative, then through the breathing meditation, concentrating on the breathing, this mind comes in between, becomes indifferent, not positive, not negative. While the mind is in that state it is easy to use it in a positive way. Then after this then you put the mind in meditation.
Also generally, when you meditate if your mind is angry or very greedy or something, you cannot meditate, so first it is good to do the breathing meditation for a short time, then after doing this, your mind is quiet. As it is quiet you observe it, and then cultivate the pure thought, the pure motivation. Meditate like this.
When there is much sketching thought, so many thoughts come, so many things happen. At the height of the navel, inside the center visualize a tube with a seed inside. Then, for sluggish, drowsy mind, think that you are in that seed. The seed then shoots straight out of the tube, into the sky, then becomes oneness with the sky. That wakes up the drowsy mind, and then afterwards, after a little time, you do meditation. It will be easier than before.
The way of listening to the teaching—one thing, how to make the teaching effective for your mind, how to make it useful to your mind? From the listeners’ side, how to make it useful to your mind? When you listen to the teaching, do not think this is for some other people, not for me, this is for some other people. The teaching usually explains about negative mind and the negative action and the result of these, and about positive mind and positive action and the good results of positive action. Usually a teaching presents the vices, and explains about the bad and good, both. So when we are listening about the bad, we should not think that this is for some other people who have such cruel negative minds, not for me. With the idea that it is necessary to make it effective and useful to our own mind, it is important to listen, as this teaching is for you. Do as the teaching tells you. And use the teaching as a mirror to check up your mind as you use a mirror to check up your face. The teaching is used like a mirror to check up your own mind, to make corrections for the ugly part. If you use the teaching like a mirror, then you find your mistakes. You recognize, you find the negative actions of speech, body, and mind—your own mistakes, wrong conceptions. If you find these mistakes, then try to clean them. If the teaching is not listened to in this way, it is just like listening to a lecture, like listening to information from the radio.
Listening like this, the teaching cannot become effective. If one listens to the explanations of the negativities with the idea, “This is not for me, I am good, I always act good,” thinking that the teaching is for some other people whom I know, who have cruel minds, then the teaching doesn’t become effective for your mind. And you don’t find your mistakes. If you don’t find your mistakes, then you don’t make corrections. It is also necessary to listen.... generally there is certain equipment that is necessary for the teacher who explains Dharma to have, and also for the listener, in order for the teachings to become effective, useful to the mind. The listener should be free from these three faults of the pot. You should not be like a pot with a hole, not like a pot put upside down, so that however much water or milk you pour inside, it always goes out. The pot with the hole means that during the teachings you are in the tent, you are thinking of Dharma, but once you are out of tent in Kathmandu, once you are in the street, you forget Dharma, forget meditation, forget your enlightenment. It becomes meditation of Dharma, the teaching that you are listening to is only to practice in the tent, only for the time you are in the tent but not once you are out. The third is forgetting the teachings, not trying to remember them. The third one is more difficult to avoid. The third one is being like a dirty pot, a filthy pot, a pot that has a bad smell. In that pot even if you pour food it becomes dirty because the pot is dirty, and food doesn’t become good to eat. Because of the pot, the food inside becomes dirty.
That is listening to the teachings with the evil thought of the eight worldly Dharmas. In other words, listening to the teachings with the evil thought that only seeks the comfort of this life, that is attached to the comfort of this life. Listening with such impure motive does not become useful or effective for the person. Also, one of the most important things is to to listen to the teachings without getting mixed with the evil thought of the eight worldly Dharmas. Listening with the evil thought of the eight worldly Dharmas attached to the comfort of this life, the teaching will not become effective for you. So this is the most important thing. That’s why I often repeat the motivations. The teaching that you are listening to, if you listen with the evil thought, no matter how long you spend, even if you spend the whole month, since the action of listening to the teaching is mixed with the poison, the action does not become Dharma. There is no way for it to become Dharma. Usually Dharma in Sanskrit means holding, holding, holding. As something is dropping, holding it. Holding it away from disturbing. If a baby is falling down, is in danger of falling down the precipice, holding it. So what Dharma does is something like that. Briefly talking, from what danger does the Dharma hold, keep, or guide? The Dharma holds the living beings from suffering. This means like this. We practice Dharma and the Dharma that we practice holds us, guides us, holds us from these sufferings.
The lowest is the Dharma that we practice that guides or holds us from falling in the three suffering lower realms. More explanation on this will come afterwards. But this is just to have a little idea. Preta is one type of suffering lower being, animal. Then there are beings who are suffering in the narak stage. Dharma practice guides or holds us from falling in the lower suffering realms.
Second, the Dharma that we practice holds us, guides us away from samsaric suffering. This includes the suffering of the three lower realms, the suffering of the three upper realms, the suffering of the human realm, the suffering of the suras, and the suffering of asuras. Besides the human realm there are two other realms, the sura and asura, who are beings that are recognized as gods. They are not transcendental gods because they are living still under the control of death and rebirth and delusion and karma. They are not transcended from samsaric beings. Samsara includes delusions. When we say samsaric suffering, the vocabulary, the meaning of samsaric suffering includes the whole suffering of the three lower realms, of the three upper realms, and the cause of all the suffering of the three lower realms, the three upper realms, and the cause of the suffering. It includes all this. The action of negative mind—samsaric suffering includes all this. So secondly, the Dharma that we practice guides or holds us from samsaric suffering.
Thirdly, the Dharma that we practice holds and guides us even from the subtle obscurations and from the subtle, illusive mind. So the Dharma that we practice guides us away from those sufferings and obscurations and leads us to enlightenment. So Dharma is not easy. It is not a simple thing. It is a very extensive, infinite subject, the understanding of which can only be completed, finished at the time when one achieves enlightenment. Saying, “I know Dharma,” is also extremely difficult. If it is checked up, it is extremely difficult. So anyway…
If the person explaining and the listener both have good motivation, then it becomes very effective and useful for the mind. So we have to be careful, we have to be careful. From the listener’s side you have to try your best and also from my side I will try the best that I can. I have no practice, but in such degenerate times, even if I can help one person it is worthwhile.
For instance you see if you are going to put a tent together with three sticks like this… I’m sorry, this is a complicated example! It is necessary put your energy, to make those three meet together. Two sticks cannot stay, so if there are three, then by depending on each other they can stay. Then we can put cloth on top and around. There is the chance to put cloth around. There is the possibility to stay inside away from the sun trouble. So the person can enjoy. Therefore, there is the need for three sticks. Only two sticks cannot help this. So, if the goal of my project is the sole achievement of enlightenment for the sake of sentient beings by renouncing attachment to the comfort of this life, and also from the listener's side, the goal of practicing Dharma or listening to the teachings is that essence, that totality, then both from the side of the person explaining and from the side of the listener, the energy is put into one goal. Then it becomes strong. Like those three sticks meeting together, it gives many possibilities. A person can put up the tent and enjoy inside, out of trouble, just like this. From both sides, if there is the will to do the work for that one goal, then it is perfect, then things can work, can help the mind. But if there is a different goal from the listener’s side, a different goal, an opposite goal, then it doesn’t work, it is not harmonious. The will is not put together.
The Perfect Human Rebirth: Paragraph 3
Maybe if you close your eyes, try to feel it. Think this is in the mind. Not just words but with feelings.
First thing, like this … all of a sudden maybe you cannot feel, but think like this, by going back to the previous life before the present life, then each previous life, then each previous life, going back like this. In all those previous lives you have been experiencing the suffering, the narak suffering, the suffering pretas, the animal realms. Also the suffering of human realm, the suffering of suras and asuras, under the control of delusion and karma, the experience of the suffering of the three lower realms and the upper realms. Have no such thinking that it began from such time—it is beginingless. So by thinking this you go back, go down, go way back further and further. Try to imagine the beginningless, just like this, try…think…it is beginningless, try to imagine beginningless, spending life in suffering.
So check up on feeling with this present human rebirth. What you feel after thinking this. For new people this will be quite difficult, but anyway it doesn’t make much sense, but this so important to think about. By thinking like this if there is a shock in your mind, if there is no shock, no feeling, nothing that means you don’t have understanding of samsaric suffering. If one deeply checks up like this, it can really give a big shock, one can really wake up from sleep. Something to do with this life. Something to do. Avoid meaningless actions and use this life to create meaningful actions. Now I have received a perfect human rebirth that has eight freedoms.
1. The freedom that we have not being born in the narak stage, here it says in the hells. The Tibetan term is nyalwa, the Sanskrit narak. Further explanation will come afterwards.
People think, “I hear something ridiculous, I hear the same thing that I heard before about hell, disgusting! I don’t believe in this, I don’t want to hear it! It is said in the Bible by the Roman Catholics.”
How can you say this? Do you really know that what they say is completely wrong, do you really know? Just because of the reason that you don’t see it, such things. Just because you don’t see doesn’t mean anything. I have talked about that before. That doesn’t prove anything. When we were in our mother’s womb, each of us, all the dirt that she ate was collected, and when we were sleeping there were all kinds of covers, sticky that time, like the bathroom. I’m sorry! Anyway, do we remember that we were there? We don’t remember. Did we see that we were there? Did we see ourselves sleeping during nine or ten months in the mother’s womb? Do we remember this? Do we clearly see it? I am not talking about the previous life, that kind of thing, but can you say that we didn’t exist in our mother’s womb? That our brain wasn’t in our mother’s womb? Can we say that? We didn’t see ourselves.
There are so many things that we don’t understand that exist, but that we don’t realize with our limited minds. So many things, incredible infinite existence, more than what we see with this limited mind. We don’t remember even this beginning of life, how can we say that all the religions are wrong about hell and this and that? How can we say that? The person doesn’t fully understand. Besides not remembering inside, we don’t remember even how we came out, how we suffered. Our mind is terribly limited. So forget about judging without understanding, logic, without any understanding, wisdom, judging, contradiction of true existence. Even if we have sickness, let’s talk about just the present time. Even if we have problems inside, we don’t recognize these things. We have to take x-rays. If you know, what’s the point of taking x-rays? We have to rely on a doctor to check the nerves in order to explain the sickness, what problem is there.
Forget about judging others. Without knowing oneself, if there is no logic and you have the achievement of complete understanding, omniscient mind, then if you don’t see it is correct, it is perfect, saying that it doesn’t exist is okay, all right, no mistakes. Once we have achievement of this omniscient mind, complete understanding, as there is infinite existence there is also understanding of infinite existence, understanding of each existence. When we have this omniscient mind then at that time we can really judge. We can really say it is wrong. It doesn’t exist. Otherwise it is only saying like this, believing like this, judging like this. Believing like that. However, it is disturbing to make life meaningful, to cause one to be born in the suffering lower realms even though the present rebirth is as a human being. For such a person there is no way to open the door of wisdom, the wisdom of Dharma. No way to receive realization of path, realization, or realize the mind nature. You see, we don’t remember how we came out, how we came into the mother’s womb—there is absolute darkness in our thoughts if we check up, darkness.
Making the definition of whether things exist or not based on the definition of whether I see it, or whether I remember it is also wrong. Saying that I lived, the parents saying that I lived in the mother’s womb nine or ten months is wrong, completely wrong. Sometimes my mother used to say, when you were born, when you were in my stomach, I never had such pain. With this boy I had much suffering. Anyway, it all becomes a lie. But this we believe, don’t we? We believe it because it is their experience, because they tell us, even though it is not our experience. So also existence, is the experience of enlightened beings. All these yogis who have physic powers—anyway, it is the experience of other beings. How can we contradict that? How can we say no? Anyway, even though we don’t remember, just like we don’t remember being in the mother’s womb, we accept, we believe, as they tell their experience. We believe this is my mother because I came out of her stomach and he is the father because he made it.
Just like this. We have also been suffering in these different realms numbers of times but the problem, the whole problem is ignorance, not remembering, just as in this example. As from beginningless lifetime until now we have been under the control of delusions and karma in the cycle of death and rebirth, so it is for sure that the cause of for us to experience, to be born in such hell or narak stage is created numberless times, so for sure we have been suffering in those suffering realms numberless times. Still we are not free, we have no control. We have not received control over the cycle of death and rebirth, delusion and karma. Still we have not received control over this. Therefore, if we don’t try something in this life, with this body, if we don’t try to receive control, to stop the cycle of death and rebirth, if we don’t manage to stop the cycle of death and rebirth ...
Usually people think, “Why do all beings have to die, why every being? Why does every being, as it is born, have to die? Why does their life have to be ended by death?” Some people say it is because of time. This is an empty answer, empty. Just because of time, time makes it. Empty answer, empty. Who makes the time? Who makes the time to be born and die? Check it. It is necessary to check it in your mind. Some beautiful answer, time. There is nothing to point out you see, so time! Just like pointing in the sky. If it were up to time then what’s the point of trying to make the life longer? If it’s up to oneself, if it were up to time then what would be the point of trying to make life longer? Also if it were up to time, then there would be no possibility to make life longer through treatment, through methods.
Anyway, the narak stage and the suffering stages are not definite places. They are under the earth, and also in the space above the earth. When you have high psychic powers you can see. We don’t see now because of our karma. The only time we see these places is when our karma ripens in the experience of this kind of suffering. Without taking LSD you cannot see those complicated things, but by taking LSD it seems that everything is one...you know I think you know very well! The example is like this.
So for us, until the karma is experienced we don’t see. This is talking about us, the uncontrolled beings who have no power, no mental power to see the past and future. Such uncontrolled ordinary beings see and experience these sufferings only when the karma is ready, when the ability created by the actions is experienced. The reason that we do not remember our previous lives such as the suffering in different realms is because of the mind pollution—due to mind pollution we don’t remember! Due to death and rebirth and mind pollution—mainly mind pollution, not so much death and rebirth, because there are so many beings who can remember previous lives.
Please make peepee—oh, finish!
I think there is a tangka of Guru Shakyamuni. In this break time, maybe if people can see a brief example of the figure of Guru Shakyamuni, the position and the special holy symbolic physical signs that he showed. Just you check up. The positions and general figure is nothing to compare, but just to have an idea. I mean you can make it so beautiful, you know. He can become so beautiful in your mind, but just to have an idea will be helpful for meditation, therefore, it is easier visualizing.
First, do breathing meditation. The wrong conception of the “I” and the self-cherishing thought, the impure mind, delusions such as greed, ignorance, hatred have been causing me suffering, different kinds of suffering from beginningless previous lifetimes until now. Even now, these negative minds are causing me a great number of different sufferings. Even in our meditation time, the pains, the knee, the back—many things besides the mental problems. Stomach pains, diarrhea, colds—so many things, many things. Think whether you like this present trouble or not, this pain and feeling cold, all these different problems, think whether you like it or not, whether you got bored or whether you like these different kinds of troubles that you have. Not having a good place, not finding satisfactory food, I’m sorry! But anyway, it is useful for meditation, problems are useful for meditation, needs, problems in the meditation course. Otherwise there is no understanding of meditation. Anyway I am joking! Things like this, whether you like it or not, such a place, such a situation, and besides that, the mind full of so many confusions, full of ignorance, and then inside the body there is trouble, outside body there is trouble. Catching cold, wet inside, pain, so many things. The mind also in ignorance and confusion. Anyway, like this. Whether we like this suffering or not, what about a worse situation than this? If it is worse than this. Not having a place, homeless, not having a place away from rains or heat of sun, not having clothes to keep warm, not having food. Whether this suffering is worse than this, whether we like or not? If we hate these present problems we should hate the cause of these problems thousands of times more. We should hate the causes of these problems a thousand times stronger.
Isn’t that funny? We hate the results, the suffering results, but we don’t hate the cause of the suffering. We take care of the cause of the suffering best, like we take care of the heart. We should see the cause of suffering as a billion times worse than the present trouble that we recognize. The cause of the problem is many billions times worse than the present trouble. This is logical, this is true—because these present problems do not make us continuously suffer in the different divisions of samsaric beings. These temporal problems do not cause us to continuously suffer in the suffering state of samsara, in these six different realms of samsaric beings. It is experienced in this life and in this time and it is finished—these temporal problems—but now we check up with the cause of suffering. The cause of these sufferings is these negative minds, continuously causing us to suffer in the six different realms of samsaric beings. It is logical that we can hate the cause of suffering as being many billion times stronger than these temporal problems. So that’s how these negative minds are causing suffering even now.
“These negative minds will continuously cause me to experience suffering in samsara, and also in the future. These negative minds are my worst enemy, so if I want to cut off these temporal problems, if I do not desire them, if I wish to cut off, to cause the temporal problems to cease right away, why not the cause of these sufferings, those negative minds? Why not cause them to not exist right away? Also, as long as I am living in suffering, I cannot help other sentient beings to be released from suffering. Therefore, in order to help other sentient beings to release from suffering, it is necessary that I myself receive enlightenment, therefore it is necessary to cut, to completely destroy, to make those negative minds, and that which is harboring, that which is dwelling within my mind non-existent. Therefore I am going to do the purifying breathing meditation.” Then do the breathing meditation.
Doing the visualization of Guru Shakyamuni has great benefit. Generally, seeing any holy, symbolic statues of enlightened beings purifies negativities just by sight; it helps great deal. Also it is the same thing with doing the visualization. Seeing Guru Shakyamuni in this aspect within your mind by imagining it. Even just remembering his holy name affects the mind, it helps the mind. Just by remembering him or his holy name when one is about to create a negative action, because of remembering his holy speech and holy name, the person doesn’t create the negative action; all of a sudden he stops it. So by stopping that negative action, he stops many lifetimes of suffering. Like this. Also, continuously remembering or meditating on Guru Shakyamuni, always blesses your mind. Also, especially at death, if one’s mind is well trained, always concentrating on and remembering Guru Shakyamuni, especially at the death time, when there is terrible fear and suffering, at that time you remember to pray for help to the sole perfect guide, Guru Shakyamuni. So if you remember his holy name, or see his aspect within your mind, that can solve a great problem, such suffering. It can close the door to the lower realms. This means it can stop—if you are going to be reborn in the suffering lower realms, by remembering his holy name, by bringing his picture to your mind, the aspect of Guru Shakyamuni, it can stop you from being reborn in the suffering realms. Anyway, it has much power and benefit.
This is mainly due to his power—the power of his holy omniscient mind, and the power of his great compassion and his love, his bodhicitta, taking care of others more than oneself. And also, with devotion from the person’s side, if the person in this lifetime concentrates on Guru Shakyamuni and always remembers him, as it leaves impressions on the mind, in many future lifetimes it is possible to see the actual Buddha, and again to meet his teachings—many things are possible. So it has so many benefits. Also, besides remembering him, concentrating on him, besides the fact that it helps to stop the outer negative disturbances—the evil forces, the disturbances that are given by evil thoughts or evil beings, the evil spirits—besides that, it can help the negative thoughts not to arise. It can help in so many ways. There is a big difference between visualizing a tree, visualizing a husband or wife, or visualizing your home... big difference, big difference. Someone may think, “Why visualize? One can also visualize rocks, trees—what is the benefit?” Someone may have doubts or thoughts like this. So there is a big difference. There is nothing to compare. Nothing to compare. Visualizing your home or visualizing your friends, your enemy, thinking, remembering your friends can bring problems in your mind. You receive confusion. Either you get angry, or you become attached by remembering these objects. But visualizing an enlightened being’s aspect can never cause negative mind to arise—it always makes the mind peaceful and relaxed, even just seeing his aspect, the way he sits in that position, just that aspect causes the mind to relax. Because you see, even if it’s a statue, without talking about the power, the infinite, supreme power and knowledge of enlightened beings, even just symbolic paintings, figures, even just these have that much power, effect on the mind.
Anyway, if one talks about the benefits there is too much to talk about.
Prayer (Page 19)
Then, the prayer. The purpose of saying this prayer. There is great purpose, great purpose. The total purpose is to purify, to receive blessings and purify; to receive blessings by purifying. And also, reciting mantra, prayer, and concentrating on Guru Shakyamuni—the whole thing is to purify in order to receive blessings and all realizations on the path to enlightenment. Totally, to achieve enlightenment for the sole sake of sentient beings—this is the goal, the total purpose.
Lama Ton.ba: The general term lama means heavy of knowledge. This is just general, the literal meaning of the guru or lama is that, heavy of knowledge. This is the literal meaning, but actually it means the root guru, that which is omniscient mind.
Ton.ba: This means founder. This means Guru Shakyamuni is the guru, founder. Ton.ba means founder. He is the founder of this period of Buddhadharma.
Chom.den.de: Chom means destroyer. He destroyed, he has completely destroyed all delusions and all subtle illusions. He has completed all knowledge. De can also mean passed in enlightenment, passed in nirvana from samsara, or passed in enlightenment from all illusive minds and delusions.
Te.shin Sheg.pa. This means tathagata; fully realizing the absolute nature of existence as it exists.
Da.chom.pa: Da means enemy. Chom means destroy—the enemy such as the wrong conception of “I;” self-cherishing thought; such as impure thoughts which project wrong view, impure view.
Yang.tak.pa dzog.pe sang.gye means fully enlightened one.
Pal means magnificent.
Gyal.wa means king.
Sakya Tub.pa.la: When he was taking the princely life in India, the caste was called Sakya. Tub.pa means control. La means to.
Kyab.su Cho.wo: Go to refuge.
Cho.to: Make offering.
Jin.gyi lab.tu.sol: Asking to grant blessings.
TADYA THA means, it is like this.
OM: Signifies that Guru Shakyamuni symbolizes the entire knowledge of Guru Shakyamuni’s body, speech, and mind. Also, it signifies that it includes all the knowledge of the infinite body, speech, and mind. Even just a one word mantra contains that much knowledge, infinite knowledge. It includes the path to enlightenment and all knowledge of enlightenment. So even to achieve the knowledge that one letter OM contains, it takes many lifetimes, many eons.
MUNÉ: The first munia is control over the lower sufferings, the suffering lower realms. Also it can mean control over the conception of the self-existent “I,” the wrong conception of “I.”
MUNÉ: Control over general samsaric suffering. It means, if I clarify, control over suffering and the cause of suffering. It can also mean control over the self-cherishing thought.
MAHAMUNA-YE: This means great control. The one who has achievement of the great control is only Buddha. Great control means control over every single subtle illusive mind. Also great control means control over the impure mind, projecting impure view.
SVAHA: It can mean receiving blessings, and blessings dwelling within the mind, and being absorbed.
Anyway, this mantra includes the knowledge of the whole path to enlightenment and infinite knowledge of enlightenment or everlasting happiness. So dedicate as follows.
“Due to the merits created in the past, present, and future, may I achieve enlightenment soon by receiving the fully renouncing mind of samsara and realizing the absolute true nature and receiving bodhicitta, only for the sake of mother sentient beings.”
Good night, thank you.
Wednesday, March 27
The highly realized, great bodhisattva Shantideva said in his teaching, Following the Bodhisattva’s Actions, “Just as lightning shows the light in one second in the foggy dark night, by the blessings of Buddha, only a few worldly beings have merits and wisdom in this street, the main road.”
Night without sun. Darkness without light. Darkness without moon. Foggy without clarity. At such a time, by a flash of lighting you can see the object in one second, very quick. Just as this, the worldly beings who have created merits and Dharma wisdom are extremely rare. It doesn’t happen always. It only happens a very few times. Just as seeing an object on a dark, foggy night is very rare, it only happens a few times, the worldly beings have fortune, Dharma wisdom only a very few times in this street—which means in the world, in samsara. It only happens a few times; it is so rare.
The example and the meaning are to emphasize how rare it is. Just as he said in his holy teaching, we put that example for ourselves. Before, it seemed we were talking of other people, but now we put it for ourselves. From beginningless time until now, we have received such a chance, we have not received such a precious chance many times. Most of our previous lives have been like night—dark, foggy, not having met the teachings of Buddha, and not practicing, not following. So therefore, it very rarely happened that we had the fortune, the merits created, that we were born into a rebirth to create merits and envelop Dharma wisdom. However, at this time, from our side, we are born as human beings with much capability to understand the teachings, the meaning of the words, and also the capability also to practice. If there is capability to practice, there is chance, if one does not cheat oneself.
Having met the teaching at this time, in life we are in the time at which we see the object by the lightning. This precious chance that we are having now is not permanent, is not long; it is very, very short, so short. For instance, there are many people among us who never heard Dharma, never heard Dharma explanations, never had teachings before, only in this time. This is short, just like that lightning. While we have such a chance, without wasting time, if we don’t do something, if we don’t try to create merits, create good actions with all of our energy, then after finishing this period it will be just like after the lightning, when you cannot see anything, even though before you saw the objects. After the lightning ends, after that second, you cannot see anything, there is complete darkness—just like this. While there is lighting, if you don’t try to get that thing while you see it, then just after the lightning finishes, there is complete darkness. It is extremely difficult to get it, that jewel, because of many problems—not seeing darkness, so many things. After finishing this period, just like that example, it is extremely difficult to do something, to work for enlightenment, to work for everlasting happiness, to create the cause for everlasting happiness; it is extremely difficult. It is extremely difficult, just like that example after the lightning—due to ignorance and from our side, the deep ignorance from our side.
For instance, from our side, not being born as human beings, not being born as human beings, but being born as animals or other suffering lower beings which have no capability or chance to practice Dharma, to work for enlightenment. Besides that, there is much suffering—besides not knowing, no matter how much you desire happiness and peace, there is much suffering and creating much cause of suffering, only creating the cause of suffering. Even if you are born as a human being, not being born as a spiritual being, a being who practices Dharma. Anyway, like this—for instance, like this. In the country when there will be a strike, food or something will not be sold, will be stopped after a certain month. Then the people worry and try to collect that food as much as possible; they try to buy as much as possible. There is not always that chance to buy, because they cannot get the object after they stop producing it. Just like this, by understanding the rarity of this chance, it is important to make the highest meaningful work. It is important to make the highest meaningful work.
So how do we make the highest meaningful work? The essential way of making highest meaningful work is trying to achieve bodhicitta. Without bodhicitta, any other merits created, even if one has great power, prophecy, telling the future, high psychic powers, having control over the nadis and control over the motilities, what most people call kundalini power, even if one can fly—however much magic power the person has, they cannot purify. The merits that are created without bodhicitta are little merits—without realization of bodhicitta, whatever power the person has, whatever great power and other realization the person has, he or she cannot purify, cannot end the strong, powerful, infinite sinfulness. What can purify this? What can purify the powerful negativity, sinfulness? Only bodhicitta can purify it. No other methods can control or purify the powerful, infinite negativity, except bodhicitta.
So also, Shantideva said in his teaching, just after this quotation, “Therefore, the merits that are created, when one checks the little merits that are created, there is still powerful, infinite sinfulness existing. That cannot be controlled by other methods except by bodhicitta.”
As this great bodhisattva said, so it is necessary to try to train the mind in bodhicitta as much as possible, even from this time. So think, “I must achieve enlightenment for all mother sentient beings who equal space. Therefore, I must complete the realization of the graduated path. Therefore I am going to listen to the teachings on the graduated path.”
The listening subject is the graduated path, the Mahayana teaching for the fortunate beings, which causes the fortunate beings to receive enlightenment, which is the way that is well clarified or well expounded by the two great philosophers, Nagarjuna and Asanga. Also, the very profound, the holy teaching shown by the highly realized pandit, Atisha, and the Tibetan yogi, Guru Tsongkhapa. Also which includes the essence of all the 84,000 teachings shown by Guru Shakyamuni, which is set up for the practice of one person’s achievement of enlightenment.
So we briefly finished the topics showing the knowledge of the authors, the knowledge of the teachings in order to have devotion; and how to listen and explain. Now, this part is the topic on how to lead the actual disciples to enlightenment on the graduated path.
The way of leading the disciple is in two. The first is how to follow or practice the guru, who is the root of the path. Generally, the way it is set up in the great graduated path to enlightenment, the text written by Guru Tsongkhapa, the commentary written by Guru Tsongkhapa, in the Tibetan text, this comes first—but this is the most profound subject, the first part, the first meditation, “How to practice the guru or how to follow the guru.” After some time, when our minds are more relaxed, then we can discuss!
So then after that, the way of training the mind in the path to enlightenment, the very beginning subject in which we should train the mind, what we should discover, what we should find out, what we should realize, is the perfect human rebirth. The first realization that we should achieve is the realization recognizing the perfect human rebirth. That’s why we are studying from this.
I think also in break time, if you read the second meditation that explains about the suffering of the narak, suffering of the three lower realms, then it makes some sense—when you meditate on this you get a feeling, a little idea of how it is, so when you meditate on this you can meditate with feelings. Otherwise it is difficult to meditate with feelings, to do deep meditation.
Anyway, in the narak stages there are all kinds of different sufferings—there is no such definite form of suffering. Something that can be shown, said, is only this type of suffering. All kinds of different sufferings, according to an individual’s karma, according to the individual cause created by himself. Also in the narak realm, there are different stages, different realms. The second realm has much more suffering, stronger than the third realm. The fourth realm has stronger suffering than the third realm, and so on like this.
Anyway, if you compare such suffering—the suffering of three hundred and sixty spears put in the body, if you compare a little, tiny hot suffering of the narak stage and this suffering, it can never compare. This suffering is still nothing—it is like happiness for them. For the beings who are suffering in the narak realms, the beings who are suffering in the realms where the suffering is less strong than other realms, it is incredible. Anyway, further explanation may come afterwards.
Think, “From beginningless lifetime, in numberless times, I was born and suffered in the narak stages. I experienced infinite suffering.” When you think these things, you should not think only about the words, but if you remember the words you should have an idea of the suffering realms. Also remember the suffering feelings and the suffering place. Then your meditation becomes effective for your mind. Think, “In those times even when I wasn’t born in the narak stages, I was born in the preta realm.” This is the realm of another type of suffering being. The way of experiencing suffering, a little example is explained in the second meditation, so if you read you will get some idea. Also in this realm, the beings are experiencing such great suffering, much greater suffering than the suffering that we experience with this human body. The measure of suffering, feeling hungry and thirst, not finding drink, not finding food, for many eons. But it is their karma—they don’t find food for many eons, but they still exist; that is their karma. On the human earth, if you don’t get food for a long time, you die of starvation; but in these lower realms, even if they don’t get food they exist for a long time; but not with happiness—with incredible suffering.
For instance, just a simple example. Usually we cannot exist without eating food for two or three days, many weeks—we cannot live without eating food, generally talking. I am sure there are lots of people who can live here ... but anyway. When we get sick, having a certain disease, we cannot eat food, but we can exist for a long time, months and months. Because of the disease we cannot eat food, but we can live for a long time, suffering with that disease. Some people die very soon of starvation, even if there is no other disease; they die very soon of starvation. The other person, who can exist for a long time with the suffering of sickness, even though he cannot eat food stays long—for that there is a reason. It is not non-causative. There is a reason, a purpose for why he has to suffer like this, and with that suffering he exists longer without food. This is nothing new, this is common. There is a reason, there is a cause. Something has made him to suffer like that and stay longer, even if he cannot eat food—like he is living for suffering, only for suffering. There is a cause, definitely there is a cause that is created by only himself. It is not the fault of the doctors. The cause is only created by him; it is his fault, his own fault. So anyway, what caused him to suffer for a long time, exist for a long time in suffering even though he didn’t eat food? That is created by his karma, his karma and his delusions, the delusions that produced the karma. So anyway, it is the same thing with this example, he same thing with these suffering beings, pretas. Even if they are in incredible suffering, they don’t die, existing for eons and eons, for a long time. However they wish to die, they don’t die. That is because of the power of the karma created by them.
So, we should think, “Even in the time that I wasn’t born in the narak stages, I was born numberless times in the preta realms. And even in those times when I wasn’t born in the preta realm, I was born in the animal realm numberless times.”
Also, there is much to talk about in terms of animal suffering; this is also very infinite. There are different sufferings for different animals, and there are general and particular sufferings for different animals. For instance, without talking about other suffering animals, take the situation of a dog. We close the mouth, bind the mouth with something—or some other person binds it, causing the dog not be able to talk for a long time. We do not have freedom, do not feel free. We cannot bear even this trouble. Binding the mouth, the chain, tying it to the post. If someone tortured us in that way, if we did not having the freedom to talk or to run away, to go to a place as we wish however much rain and hot sun, we could not bear this suffering. Even animals near home are limited in their freedom. That much they have the suffering of not being free. They cannot talk about how much they suffer; catching cold or feeling hot, they cannot talk, cannot explain the troubles they have; however much pain they have, they cannot tell. The person who keeps the pet doesn’t know anything; he only knows if he sees something that is happening physically. There is no way really, however much they suffer, no way to tell, to manage it like we do. Even there is a little thirst, we try to have the best drink. Whenever there is a little suffering, we always have freedom, have the chance to solve it—catching cold, putting on clothes, this and that, so many things. When sickness comes, taking medicine, changing diet—so many things. Even just the animal living around home near people are so limited, they do not have those freedoms.
Visualize yourself as a dog, you cannot speak, have a lot of problems, going round, have a lot of problems, feel hungry, have lots of problems. Put yourself in that situation. For instance, dogs wandering round, having to go somewhere to find food, to live their lives, and going round there is so much fear and interruption. They get kicked by people as they go to get food; they get kicked out, shouted at, beaten. Trying to find food they get into trouble, have suffering, and they have to be so careful—maybe another dog may fight with them, chase them, or other animals, or people. There is fear, terrible fear, great fear. Without going out, they cannot find food, so they go around, and there is so much fear and danger. So many dangers—to be attacked by other dogs, killed by other animals, by people, beaten, many things. It is extremely difficult.
If you are born as an animal such as a pig, you try to find food in a big collection of rubbish, many things, kakas, many things. You try to find food from that, and still you can’t find. Still this is nothing compared to other animals’ suffering. For instance, the animals that are used by people are kept in the shade; they are tied by ropes and put in the shade, in a little house, for a long time. They are not free, they are cold, without the freedom to go outside to enjoy the sun. All kinds of sufferings. These are simple sufferings.
Visualizing—I think you do meditation now—put yourself in the situation of animals, dogs. Then as I explain, he more idea you have of the suffering animals, these animals around your home. Put yourself in that situation, visualizing yourself in that form. Then as you have so many problems, feeling hungry, thirsty, hot, cold, many things, not having freedom as we do to solve those problems as I briefly mentioned, these simple sufferings. So try to see it, feel it—you will have more idea of the suffering, try to feel it, see it.
Also, visualize the animal that is used to load. Visualize yourself in that form, having such heavy loads; and having wounds on your backside, touching this and having great pain. The load is so tight, and there is so much pain because of the wound on the backside, without the freedom to take off the load. And on top of that, you are suffering hungry, thirsty, not receiving water or food at any time, not having any freedom to get food and these things in time, not having the freedom to tell the person. Also besides that, being beaten by people.
Also visualize yourself in the form of worms, long worms, and ants, having so many arms, round eating, biting and bloody, incredibly painful, on all parts of the body.
If you don’t know how to feel, then visualize the flea biting you and make it bigger, and visualize the form of a wound bitten by animals, ants. Taking a piece cut out of your body.
However much you desire to escape from that suffering, you do not have the power, no method, no helper. Only you have to experience all the suffering.
Visualize the fish that is chopped up by people, hooked, caught by people and cut into pieces. First think when a knife cuts your finger or a little part of your body, how painful it is. First think this. From this, then visualize yourself as the fish, being cut into pieces with a knife, held in people’s hands and cut into pieces. How much you would desire to run away from that, to not suffer—no power, no control by the person. No choice. No way to say, “Excuse me,” no way to say, “I’m sorry.”
You see, when we are experiencing problems, how much we can manage in so many ways to get ourselves of that problem. When we break the law, when we do something, when there is danger to caught, to be punished, we try so much, in so many ways try to find the best, smartest idea, how to talk, how to play tricky with people. We try to find many ways to escape that problem—bribes, giving money to the people who would punish us. We try to remember, to think, we try to do this. Also sometimes we can lie, “I didn’t do it,” in the court to the person who will cause problems, will punish us. There are so many ways to talk. When we are in this kind of situation, we have no time even to think. Besides talking about managing with the person. Anyway, such a situation, suffering like this—such a thing is impossible.
The reason that I am encouraging you to meditate is because if I just talk about it, talk about a lot of things, perhaps you may meditate, perhaps you may not—perhaps you may not even think about it. Then your listening will not become effective for your mind, will not help you that much to realize, to experience the meditation. These are just very simple examples. There is much greater suffering for animals.