Tuesday, 12th November
Student: I am having trouble practicing the last part of the meditation concentrating on thought. I am not completely sure how to do it. Sometimes a visual thought starts to move a round, and I look at it from one side—should I see from one side—then it goes out and my eyes turn after it. I don't know if this is right or not.
Rinpoche: What do you see?
Answer: I see a shoe, and it turns and I see the bottom and sides and my eyes start to turn in my head to look.
Rinpoche: When you recognize that, if you concentrate on the thought that projects that shoe, then that view doesn't ... it gets stopped if you concentrate on the projector, the thought that projects the shoe, whatever you see. That way it gets stopped. Even if you recognize what you are seeing, if you are not trying to concentrate on the projector then it is difficult to stop. In that way it is easy if you concentrate on the projector. There is more energy in the projector; not on the object, but the subject, your thought.
Student: When I concentrate on the projector, the minute I focus it becomes the object and I’m back to where I started.
Rinpoche: When you concentrate on that it becomes the object then?
Student: I have the thought and then watch the projector, but when I do that I become aware of the projector; the projector becomes subject ,not object.
Rinpoche: That has to happen, it doesn't matter, that has to happen. Because you who meditate are the owner of your mind. That is not a mistake, that is good. Then once you start like this, then what you are supposed to do is carry on concentrating. First of all, concentrate maybe for a second, then try two seconds—try to make the energy longer, two seconds, slowly if you can concentrate for two seconds, for three seconds—like this you try. Good. Usually it is one way of playing tricky for the mind. Little by little, trying to keep the concentration lasting like this. Then afterwards one can concentrate for a minute, for two minutes, then longer, for one hour. This is one of the meditations to use during the practice of the samadhi meditation.
The last part, number eight of the eight freedoms—the Tibetan term is yul.t'a.k'ob. This is a little bit of a mistake. The Tibetan term is sang.gya me.b'i.na. Yul.t'a.k'ob means a country where there is no Dharma.
If you can think in this way the meditation will be very effective, beneficial for the mind. The whole purpose is this. The purpose of doing this meditation on eight freedoms, on the different beings, the different realms, the different suffering realms of beings, is to discover that there is no chance to practice Dharma in those realms. By realizing this, we realize how much freedom to practice Dharma we have. By realizing the freedom we have, the mind becomes very happy, rejoicing, happy to practice Dharma. Usually even though we have received such freedom, because of not realizing, we don't enjoy or feel happy. Also, the thought of practicing Dharma doesn't arise because of not realizing the freedom, not realizing the suffering realms, the different suffering beings’ existence. So however, this meditation becomes the method to make the life happy mentally without any danger. Usually we try to make the life happy externally by going outside, by traveling around, by swimming in the sea, under the sun, lying down under the sun. Anyway, there is always danger, always danger, always suffering. Somehow something is not right, in the person's mind it is not completely right, not completely perfect—something is missing all the time. I don't have the experience to do like that but there is something missing in the mind, not really happy, whether you are in the water or out of the water, on that piece of plank, the boat [Rinpoche is referring to surfboards]. Anyway, there is danger. But in this cause mentally we are trying to make the life happy, so there is no danger, no danger to hurt the mind or body. Think like this.
For instance, the flame of a stick incense. Even if it touched our body we couldn’t practice Dharma, we couldn’t meditate, we couldn’t watch the thoughts, we couldn’t concentrate. For instance, when we are nearby the fire, surrounded by the fire, it is so hot we can't concentrate, we can't meditate. Just an example. So imagine if I was born as a narak being for a long time, eons, experiencing the suffering of being born in the red-hot burning iron house with no doors or windows, no way to get out. Imagine if I was experiencing suffering in such a suffering place for a long time in that karmically created burning iron house. In such a suffering place how can it be possible to meditate, how can it be possible to practice Dharma in order to get out of suffering? There is no chance even for a minute to release the mind to concentrate without suffering. So first of all think of the example of being surrounded by fire, feeling so hot. For instance, here right now, if we are surrounded by fire feeling very hot, we cannot concentrate. So just like this if I am born as a narak being, then such suffering has to be experienced. If there is no chance to practice Dharma even with some fire around, how can it be possible to meditate there in the burning house, with much suffering?
Imagine oneself being born in a large pot in hot water, boiling liquid, like this. In such a time if I am born like this in the narak realms, how can it be possible to practice Dharma? If I put my finger in hot water for a few seconds I can't stand it, I can't concentrate. If some person put my hand in the boiling hot water and asked, "Meditate, you meditate, please you meditate, you will get enlightened right away, please you meditate,” It is impossible, it is not a possible thing.
Like this, if I am born in the narak realms, suffering like this, there is no chance at all. After thinking of the examples like this, then think, “From beginningless previous lifetimes I have been born numberless times in those narak realms, numberless times. Even when I wasn't born in the narak realms I was born numberless times as a preta…” then you come down like this. First of all you think of the example, then you think of the narak suffering, “If I were born like that, what to do, no chance at all.” After that, you think, “Numberless times in previous lifetimes, even when I was not born as a narak, numberless times I was born as a preta.”
For instance, when we don't get food even one day, breakfast, lunch, or supper, sometimes even we don't get tea at teatime, and we cannot meditate because we are thinking, "Oh, I didn't get tea." Even though you are the meditator you create the meditation. Even one day not getting food, you cannot concentrate. So imagine three, four, or five days not eating or drinking anything—how can we practice Dharma? If I were born as a hungry ghost for many hundreds of years, I would have to experience living in the suffering of hunger and thirst without getting any food, any drop of water, so there would be absolutely no chance to practice Dharma. First of all think of the example, then think of the suffering of the pretas, many hundreds of years without food, even a drop of water, much suffering, not having the chance to practice Dharma. Think, “In numberless times I have been born as a preta, and even when I wasn't born as a preta I was born numberless times as an animal.” Then think of the example.
For instance, even if there is such a profound method to receive enlightenment in one day, if you try to explain to an animal there is no way for the animal to understand and practice it. Even if you tell the animal, the cows, the dogs, “Reciting this mantra is very powerful and helps very much to bring peace in the mind,” they cannot recite the mantra, or understand the meaning. Besides doing meditation, or explaining deep profound teachings, they cannot even recite the mantra. So it is extremely difficult to have the chance to practice Dharma.
Think, “Even when I wasn't born as an animal, numberless times I was born as a long life god.” Then thinking, when there is so much attachment to the possessions, to the things, relatives, surrounding people, and so forth, the mind is always occupied by other objects of the senses, other things, and it is extremely difficult to practice Dharma. If you had certain experiences, try to remember the experiences you had before, like being in certain places and even though you wanted to meditate, never getting time. So if I am born as a long life god, it is not possible.
Just one story that happened in previous times. One day a disciple named Membegawo, who was a doctor, was riding on an elephant and he met his teacher Shariputra. Without taking the time to come down slowly from the backside of the elephant, all of a sudden he jumped down when he saw his teacher Shariputra. Like that, with so much devotion and respect. But afterwards the disciple was born as a god in the sura realm. Shariputra checked up after his disciple passed away with his psychic powers, to find out which realm his disciple was born into. With his power he realized this disciple was born in the sura realm, so with his psychic power Shariputra went to give him Dharma. He found Memebegawo, but the disciple had a very different character than he had in his previous life. When he saw Shariputra this time, he ran away to enjoy life with his friends and relatives. He had no energy or time to listen to Dharma—he just left to play with his friends and relatives. So Shariputra didn’t get the chance to explain Dharma to him. When he was a human being in his previous life it was easy, because the mind was not distracted by so many objects, and it was easy for the mind to understand the nature of suffering, and for the mind renouncing suffering to arise.
Think, “Even when I wasn't born as a long life god, I was born as a barbarian numberless times.” Also think of the places where there is no Dharma, people who have no understanding of Dharma at all, who have a completely wrong idea, whose understanding is completely opposite to Dharma, where there is no chance to receive explanations, no chance to practice. For those people who are in such a country where there is no Dharma, it is difficult to have the chance to practice Dharma. So try to remember if you have, if you know, try to remember certain places and people. Think, “If I am like that, what to do? If I am born like those people, got stuck in that place, always life finishing, passing just in that place, doing the same thing; if I am like that there is no chance for the wisdom to grow, to practice Dharma, or work for enlightenment.”
Think, “Even when I wasn't born as a barbarian, I was born numberless times deaf. For those with foolish minds, it is extremely difficult to completely understand the deep meaning of the Dharma, the deep subject of the Dharma. For those who are deaf, they cannot hear, cannot receive the Dharma explanations. There is no way to communicate orally. Think, “Besides mentally being a fool, if I were now a deaf person who can't hear even the ordinary talk or communication, there would be much suffering. That much the life would be difficult, not to mention practicing Dharma.” So also think like this.
Think, “Even when I wasn't born as a deaf person I was born as a heretic numberless times.” Also thinking that a heretic is a person who has wrong beliefs, wrong understanding. Because of the wrong beliefs, they never try to understand—the wrong belief, wrong understanding stops them from seeking whether there are past lives existing, from understanding the continuity of life. Those who believe there is no absolute nature don’t seek it because of wrong understanding. They don’t try to realize the absolute nature. So in that case they also don't know the actual purpose of practicing Dharma, and therefore they don't practice Dharma, so there is no chance to practice Dharma. Also think, “If I were like that, all these chances would be blocked. With wrong understanding, wrong realization, there is always wrong actions, always creating the cause of suffering.”
Think, “Even though I wasn't born as a heretic numberless times, I was born as a human being in the time when there is no Buddha and no teaching of Buddha.” In this period the teaching of Buddha exists. Even though Guru Shakyamuni passed away, still there is the representative, the highly realized gurus who have the experience of the teaching. Those are the representatives of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. So also there is the existence of teachings, and we are not born in a place and time where there is no existence of Buddha or Buddha's teaching. There are certain periods in which all the teachings of the Buddha have finished, ended, and there is just complete darkness, without the existence of the Dharma, without the light of the Dharma, in which not even the future Buddha has descended. Those are called dark periods. So even though we are born as human beings, sometimes, due to our karma, we get born in those dark periods where there is no light of the Dharma. So if you are born in those times there is no chance; even though you are a human being, it doesn't make much sense because there is no chance to practice Dharma.
Then think, “Now I have the freedom to practice Dharma because I was not born in the narak realms. I have the freedom to practice Dharma because I was not born as a preta. I have the freedom to practice Dharma because I was not born as an animal. I have the freedom to practice Dharma because I was not born as a long life god. I have the freedom to practice Dharma because I was not born as a barbarian. I have the freedom to practice Dharma because I was not born as a deaf person. I have the freedom to practice Dharma because I was not born as a heretic. I have the freedom to practice Dharma because I was not born during a time in which there was no order of Buddha, when Buddha had not descended.”
First of all, check like this, and second, think like this. First of all we may not discover much the freedom that we have received—we may not feel it that strong, but then as we do this meditation once, twice, three times, four times, more and more, as we get a stronger feeling of the freedom, as we discover the freedom that we have and see the more suffering that those realms and those beings have, the joyfulness, the happiness in the mind grows, and one can feel extremely happy. Think, “How fortunate I am, how lucky I am, how fortunate I am this time to be released from the eight realms of unrest. This means the realms where there is no freedom to practice Dharma. It is extremely difficult to be out of these, the eight realms of unrest, of unfreedom. It is extremely difficult to receive such a rebirth that is out, that is released from all these eight realms of unfreedom—it is extremely difficult, so this time, after such a long time, a long eon, a long time, this one rebirth we have received, this one fortunate rebirth with the freedom to practice Dharma. However, as you gradually meditate like this, as you gradually check up like this with each title, that you are not born like this, that you are released from the eight realms, that you are released from more of these unfreedom realms, even though you are not completely released—by checking like this you discover you have the freedom to practice Dharma, and as you discover that much freedom you have by releasing from the unfreedom realms, it is necessary to feel happiness and joyfulness. Again, this is just a brief explanation on that, a short repetition so that it will be clear for those who still don't understand how to do the meditation.
Think first of all that I have been born in the narak realms numberless times in previous lifetimes. First of all think like this. Then remember the example, “If I am surrounded by fire, feeling so hot, I cannot meditate. If the incense flame is put on the body, I cannot meditate. So if I am born in the narak realm, where there is the suffering of experiencing the body burning in the hot red burning iron house for a long period, or born in a large pot, cooking in hot boiling liquid, how can be it possible to have the chance to practice Dharma?” Think like this.
Even when I wasn't born as a narak being, I was born numberless times as a preta. Even one day, two days without getting food, I cannot practice Dharma, cannot meditate. So if I am born as a suffering being, as a preta who suffers for many hundreds of years, not getting any food to eat, not getting even a drop of water, how can it be possible to practice Dharma?
Even when I wasn't born as a hungry ghost I was born numberless times as an animal. If I was born as an animal—a cow, or dog—even if I am taught a mantra or a prayer I can’t say it. So if the meaning of the Dharma was explained, how could I understand? There is no way to understand, there is no chance, no chance to communicate. So if I am born like this animal, this dumb animal, what to do, there is no chance to practice Dharma.
Even when wasn't born as an animal I was born as a long life god numberless times. When I have so many friends around, so many possessions, so many things, because of attachment my mind is always occupied by them, and I find it difficult to meditate. So if I was born as a long life god, how can it be possible to practice Dharma?
Even when I wasn't born as a long life god I was born in a human realm as a barbarian in numberless times—like those people who are born in irreligious countries where there is no Dharma existing, no way to receive Dharma, no chance to practice Dharma. If I was born as one of those people, what to do? There is no chance to practice Dharma. Life just finishes without understanding Dharma or practicing Dharma—life finishes only with old habit, old action.
Even though I wasn't born as a barbarian I was born numberless times as deaf a person, or a person with a foolish mind, not understanding the deep meaning of the Dharma, not having the chance to do the profound practice of the Dharma and also deaf, not hearing. Even if there is an explanation given, there is no way to communicate, no way to listen, no way to hear, so no way to understand. Even just communicating with speech is difficult, with many problems. So if I was like that, what to do? If I was born like that, what to do? I would not have the chance to practice Dharma, no chance to completely understand the Dharma and practice it.
Even when I wasn't born as a deaf person, many times I was born as a heretic. Heretics have wrong beliefs, wrong understanding, not believing in Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, or believing that there is no existence of past and future life, or karma. Those wrong beliefs stop them from understanding and practicing Dharma. Besides that, these wrong beliefs, wrong conceptions always produce wrong actions, which is the cause of problems. If I was born like that, what to do? I would not have the chance to practice Dharma.
Even when I wasn't born as a heretic, numberless times I was born in a place and period where there was no Buddha or teaching of the Buddha. Think of those beings who are born in those times, with no chance to practice Dharma, no way to receive explanation, no one explaining—so no chance to practice Dharma. If I was born in such dark period where there was no order of the Buddha, what to do? There would be no chance to practice Dharma.
At this time I have the freedom to practice Dharma because I am not born in the narak realms. I have the freedom to practice Dharma because I am not born as a hungry ghost. I have the freedom to practice Dharma because I am not born as an animal in this time. I have the freedom to practice Dharma because this time I am not born as a long life god. I have the freedom to practice Dharma because I am not born as a barbarian. I have the freedom to practice Dharma this time because I am not born as a deaf person. I have the freedom to practice Dharma this time because I am not born as a heretic. I have the freedom to practice Dharma this time because I am not born in a dark period where there is no teaching of the Buddha.
Try to feel joyfulness in your mind by thinking of the freedom, thinking of having the freedom of practicing Dharma, the Dharma which brings the most sublime happiness of enlightenment and causes the release of all suffering.
Question: How does one ever have the chance to escape these realms into the perfect human rebirth if he never has the chance to meet and practice the Dharma?
Rinpoche: I see. For those beings who are there, who are in those eight realms it is not easy, not easy to be born with a perfect human rebirth—it is extremely difficult, extremely difficult. Actually the answer comes ... in the third meditation on the great difficulty of receiving the perfect human rebirth, there is the answer. It is possible because the reason we think of the past in this type of meditation, why we think that numberless times that I have been born as this being, is to feel or to make the mind conscious of the previous rebirth, how many times we have been born as those beings who don't have the freedom to practice Dharma. We also have gone through this just as we have been thinking, we have been also going around like this, continuously taking rebirth like this. It is possible that the karma of this present perfect human rebirth, for some of the people here, was created before billions of eons ago, many billions of lifetimes ago. It is possible that before we were born as human beings and created good karma, so little by little it can be possible that we received a perfect human rebirth this time. Creating the cause, the karma, the cause of this perfect human rebirth in many different previous lifetimes little by little, like this, and this time we received the result. It is possible, but there is not so much creating good karma by being born in those evil destinies, these suffering realms such as the animals and pretas, not so much. Mostly the good karma we created was being born as human beings in previous lifetimes. So it is possible that some karma of the present human rebirth was created before this present lifetime or it is possible that it was created before, many billions of lifetimes ago. Like this. Nothing is definite as regards time.
Question: Does that mean Buddha existed billions of eons ago?
Question: Number eight says born during the time ... etc.
Rinpoche: That means that Guru Shakyamuni Buddha took the form of taking the human rebirth, and was born as a prince, and went through the twelve events. First he lived in the family, then afterwards he married, renounced worldly life, and then he saw the suffering nature just by external examples and signs, and then he spent six years in retreat six years in austerity practices such as realizing the absolute nature and receiving enlightenment. He took the form of receiving enlightenment under the bodhi tree at Bodhgaya. “Buddha descended” means this, taking the human body like this, but it doesn't mean there was a period where the Buddha didn't exist. Actually Buddha is just a general name, just like human being, sentient being, is just a general name. Omniscient mind always exists, the fully knowing omniscient mind always exists, so Buddha always exists.
After the discussion I think first you do the breathing ... if the mind is so much distracted, cannot concentrate, first you start with breathing meditation, then three times, then do meditation on the perfect human rebirth checking like this, as you have understood. It doesn't have to be exactly as I said, but as you remember from the explanation. And you can use your wisdom; you can the subject clear with your own wisdom. If you can understand, if you have a better way to think, a deeper way to think, that is excellent—that means in that way you will receive the realization of this meditation more quickly. You will experience this meditation more quickly. However, first do breathing meditation if the mind is distracted, then do perfect human rebirth checking like this. Actually it is checking on yourself. Then, if the mind is not so much distracted, maybe first of all you spend maybe half an hour in concentration watching the thoughts, then you do meditation on perfect human rebirth. Then afterwards, after the meditation, try to feel the great joyfulness, happiness in your mind by realizing the freedom we have received.
Wednesday, 13th November
From the holy speech of great bodhisattva Tenzin Gyaltsen, “When it is checked up—what is the best method to fulfill one’s own purpose and others’ purposes? Realizing bodhicitta is the only best method, and generate it with happiness.”
When it is checked up what is the best method to complete one’s own and others’ purpose? Realizing bodhicitta is only the best method, and generate it with happiness. So what this means is that the best method that brings all success for oneself and for all other beings, which brings all happiness for oneself and other beings, the best method to work for oneself and other living beings is bodhicitta. As much as we try to seek the best method that can benefit oneself and other living beings, without harming anything, without giving one single harm, as much as we try to seek the method, we cannot find a more beneficial method than bodhicitta.
Also Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, who has fully knowing enlightened mind, who has been concerned and checking for many eons the best method to benefit other sentient beings and oneself, has found that the most beneficial method is bodhicitta. Even the enlightened beings they found that this is the most beneficial method, so therefore, because of this reason, it is greatly worthwhile for us to follow this method, to practice this pure thought of bodhicitta. Even though we don't know with our own wisdom what is the best method that can benefit us and benefit other sentient beings.
For instance, Shakyamuni Buddha who achieved enlightenment and enlightened numberless other sentient beings, who is perfect in all the knowledge, and purified all the suffering and the cause of suffering, what method did he follow, what method made him enlightened, having perfect knowledge? That is bodhicitta, which he cultivated when he was following the path. So that's how his bodhicitta benefited to him to bring all success. After he was enlightened, he enlightened numberless other sentient beings and led numberless sentient beings to nirvana, to happiness by releasing them from suffering by showing Dharma. His bodhicitta benefited other living beings and brought success for other living beings. Also even now at this time we have the chance to know about ourselves, to study our own minds, to recognize our own minds, and we have the chance to develop wisdom by listening to Dharma. This is also a benefit of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha's bodhicitta. If he didn't have the achievement of bodhicitta when he was following the path on which he motivated to benefit for such a length of time for such a number of sentient beings, having so many chances to talk about such a precious subject, the Dharma, to realize our own nature, wouldn't happen. However, as this great bodhisattva Tenzin Gyaltsen said in his teaching, by realizing that bodhicitta is the best method, generate it within our minds with happiness—the happiness of understanding, having such a chance, having such a precious method. So this pure thought of bodhicitta cannot be received intuitively without working for it, without training the mind, so therefore it is necessary to train the mind even from this moment. So therefore it is necessary to cultivate the pure motivation, bodhicitta, for the action of listening to the Dharma to become the cause of enlightenment.
Therefore think, “I must achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all the sentient beings, therefore I am going to listen the teachings on the gradual path.”
The listening subject is the Mahayana teaching that leads the fortunate person to enlightenment. It is well expounded by the great philosophers Nagarjuna and Asanga. It is a profound teaching, the essence of the great yogis Atisha and Guru Tsongkhapa’s understanding of the teachings. It includes 84,000 teachings shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha and it is set up for the practice of one person's achievement of enlightenment. This teaching on the gradual path has four topics in the outline as follows. In order to have reference, the knowledge of the authors. In order for devotion to arise, the knowledge of the teaching. The way of listening to and explaining the teaching and the way of leading the disciple on the path to enlightenment. The way of leading the disciple on the path to enlightenment has two—the way of following the guru who is the root of the path and the way of training the mind in the gradual path. The way of training the mind in the gradual path has two outlines—persuading the mind to take the essence of this perfect human rebirth and the way of taking the essence of the perfect human rebirth. So part of the meditation is persuading the mind to take the essence of the perfect human rebirth.
The Ten Opportunities
1. Part of the eight freedoms we briefly talked about yesterday, so today the ten opportunities. The Tibetan term is jor.pa chu. Ten opportunities or ten richnesses means things that are received. In regards to these ten there are five things that are received from the other side and five things that are received from one’s own side.
2. Birth in the center of a religious country. This means places where there are generations of ordinations, different levels of ordinations that can be taken by male and female. So this is a place where there are generations of ordinations. That is recognized as the center of a religious country.
3. If a person doesn't have perfect organs, is blind, unspeakable, sort of dumb, cannot hear, missing legs or hands, has such an imperfect body, that person cannot receive ordination. There is no chance to take ordination.
4. Causing disunity among the Sangha. Sangha means a group of four, a group of ordinary monks. So causing disunity among Sangha can refer to those who don't have full realization of shunyata, the absolute nature. Then four ordinary monks become sangha, but also there are laypeople who are Sangha. Laypeople can be Sangha by having full realization of the absolute nature. Anyone who has full realization of the absolute nature, that person, even though single, is Sangha. So causing disunity among Sangha can refer to a group or even one single person. These five actions are recognized as the worst negative actions, the worst karma.
5. The Vinaya is the teaching that gives the details of all the different level of ordinations and every detail of the precepts. I think it is on Page 12 if you want to know what subject each contains. Vinaya, Sutra and Abhidharma.
6. This means birth where a Buddha has descended, in a period when Buddha has descended.
7. Even if the Buddha has descended, there is a certain period in which the Buddha doesn't give teachings. So this one is, besides being born during the time when the Buddha has descended, being born in a time when the Buddha has shown the teachings.
8. Sometimes there is a period when Buddha has shown the teachings, but it has ended. It no longer exists. So this one is being born when the teachings exist. There are two ways to think. One—the existence of the experience of the teachings, the realizations within the being's mind, the meditator’s mind, and two, the existence of the oral teachings, the explanations.
9. It is not sufficient that the teachings just exist there. From one's side one should follow the teaching. If one does not follow the teaching, even though teaching exists in that place, at that period, it doesn’t help you.
10. Even if from your side you try to follow the teachings, if there is no compassion, if a guru doesn’t have compassion to give you teachings, there is no chance to receive teachings. That’s one way of thinking—receiving the kindness and compassion of others—mainly the compassion of the guru. Secondly, the compassion from other people, so that even if you follow the teachings, even if you practice the teachings, you also receive the temporal material needs and help from benefactors and friends, so you don't have to spend your whole life working. In this way the person finds more time to meditate, to spend his time in Dharma practice and Dharma study.
So the last five from six to ten are the richnesses that are the things that have to be received from outside.
Meditating in this way is effective for the mind. First of all think, “In numberless times I have been born in other realms, not born as a human being in previous lifetimes. This time I have received a human rebirth. Even though I have received a human rebirth numberless times in previous lifetimes, I wasn't born in the center of a religious country. Because of that I didn't have the chance to practice Dharma. Even though I was born many times in the center of a religious country, many times I was evil, creating those extreme negative actions.” It doesn't have to be all five, but it can be one of them such as killing your father or mother, causing disunity among the Sangha—it can be one of them.
Even though in that time I didn't create these extreme negative actions, I was born many times with imperfect organs.
Even though many times I was born with perfect organs I didn't have any devotion to the teachings of the Buddha. Because of these reasons also I didn't have the chance to practice Dharma.
Also in numberless times in previous lifetimes I was born in the period and place that Buddha has not descended.
Even in numberless times I was born in the time where Buddha has descended but born numberless times in the period when Buddha has not shown the teachings.
Even if the Buddha has shown the teachings, numberless times I was born in the period when the teachings ended, no longer existing. Because of this reason also I didn't have the chance to practice Dharma.
Even though the teachings existed, numberless times I was born as a human being not following the teachings. Therefore I didn't receive the chance to practice Dharma.
Even though I tried to follow the teachings, many times not receiving a compassionate Guru and because of that not receiving the teachings, I didn't receive the chance to practice Dharma.
Even if there was a compassionate guru, not having another benefactor or helper helping for the temporal needs, I also didn't have the chance, didn't have the time, to practice Dharma.
This time thinking, “I am born as a human being, and also I was born in a place where different levels of ordination exist. Also I was born with perfect organs, not creating any of these extreme negative actions, I have devotion to the practice of Dharma, the Buddha has descended and has shown the teaching and the teaching exists. From my own side I am trying to follow the path shown by Buddha and receive compassion from others to practice Dharma.” So like this you check up from among these ten how much you have received. According to the individual, check like this, how much you discover that you have received. In relation to that number of richnesses that you have received try to feel joyfulness, happiness—try to feel that you are fortunate. The process of doing this meditation is similar to that on the eight freedoms, checking each one like this, according to time. Then after finishing the whole thing like this, again come back and try to think that I have received a human rebirth, I exist in the center of a religious country, I have received perfect organs—like this. Each one count as you have received. By training in this meditation, each time as you do the meditation deeper with feeling, you can feel that your present rebirth is that precious. The more you discover your rebirth is that precious, the more the happiness in your mind grows. So by training in these meditations continuously, when there is great happiness, joyfulness, it is just like a beggar finding a treasure, a jewel, a diamond in the garbage. Just like a very poor beggar feeling happiness, joyfulness because of finding the diamond—such a precious jewel from the garbage. Just like that incredible happiness and joy. When there is such great joyfulness and happiness arising within our minds, discovering the preciousness of this present human rebirth, then the person has achieved the realization of this meditation. That is the definition of the realization of this meditation.
At the beginning we don't feel much because we don't know much, but as we do the meditation gradually, frequently, it is natural that it becomes clearer and clearer. Your understanding becomes clearer and at the same time as the understanding grows, the feeling of the preciousness of this perfect human rebirth becomes stronger and stronger. That is the effect of this meditation, the way you meditate.
Student: Assuming the fact that should there be one day a nuclear war on this earth and it destroys all sentient beings, given that some of the sentient beings have in past lives generated karma for a perfect human rebirth in next life, what would be the consequence of this holocaust to these beings. Where would they have their perfect human rebirth? There would be no earth left.
Rinpoche: I see ... generally, there is not only one world, there are many universes. This is just one continent. This round earth is just one continent, and there are numberless continents.
Student: Life would be in the same form?
Rinpoche: Even the whole earth, the planets, after a certain period, the stars, the sun, everything becomes empty. So at that time the sentient beings who lived here just before this earth ends, according to their individual karma they will be reborn in other universes, in the other continents again as animals, human beings just like as it is here.
Student: So Dharma definitely believes in the existence of planets like earth.
Rinpoche: Numberless other earths, yes.
Student: I wonder why one of the eight freedoms is to be born not deaf when it seems to us in the West a great disability to be born blind.
Rinpoche: (laughing) To receive all the teachings you don't have to receive through the eyes. The main thing is that even though you are blind, if you can hear, if your mind is not foolish, if you can hear there is the chance to understand the profound meaning of Dharma.
Student: But if you are deaf could you not read the guru's lips?
Rinpoche: Just to understand the profound meaning of the Dharma, just being blind cannot disturb. But if the person is blind, the ordination cannot be granted by the abbot. Just to understand, listen to the Dharma, the blind eye doesn't disturb that much, doesn't prevent that much.
Student: Why is the deaf person so much more handicapped? If he doesn't hear couldn't he watch the lips etc.
Rinpoche: You are thinking very simple. The whole Dharma subject is not that simple. Just like talking, the whole Dharma subject is not that simple to understand. (Nick gave further explanation of the question regarding vibration of sound) Oh, I see, yes, yes ... doesn't work, knowledge of sound, for the Dharma practice. Anyway, the greatest hindrance is not hearing, being unable to hear and also mentally foolish.
Student: I mean in the West people lip read, so they don't hear but they still understand the words said, so why is being deaf so important?
Rinpoche: That's what I am saying. Just simple thinking. Certain foolish, dumb people can understand simple things but profound things are difficult to understand. Simple things like coming and going can be understood but when there is a deep explanation, it is difficult to understand. Just the physical things can be easy to teach, but abstract things, the subject of mind to talk about realization, is difficult in such a way to make the other person understand.
How is this Perfect Human Rebirth Useful
6. I could become the king of many universes through creating good karma—this is mainly through creating much good karma.
(Rinpoche read to the end of Page 40)
The main thing in this meditation is checking on the possibilities that this perfect human rebirth has to attain the high aims. The main purpose of doing the meditation on the usefulness of the perfect human rebirth is checking the different possibilities that the perfect human rebirth has to gain the higher aims.
So I think better to meditate, try to feel it as I explain, as I read it.
“The reason I am still living in suffering, still living in ignorance, is because from numberless previous lifetimes I have been living in the boundaries of suffering, the boundaries of delusion and karma. There wasn't even a minute or an hour that I was out of the boundaries of suffering, delusion, and karma. This perfect human rebirth that I have received now can definitely make me cease the continuous suffering life that has no beginning. This suffering life has been always circling around death and rebirth. The continuous circle of death and rebirth can be stopped by this perfect human rebirth. This perfect human rebirth has the possibility to receive enlightenment by completely purifying all the obscurations and by completing all the realizations. This perfect human rebirth has the possibility to receive enlightenment, the most sublime happiness within the three countless great eons. There is a possibility to receive enlightenment with this perfect human rebirth even within eight great eons. This perfect human rebirth can make me receive enlightenment even after seven lifetimes. Also it has the possibility to receive enlightenment in the second lifetime. This perfect human rebirth can also cause me to achieve enlightenment in one lifetime, within twelve years, even three years. This perfect human rebirth can receive enlightenment that much quicker by perfectly practicing the tantric teachings and receiving bodhicitta and perfectly following the moral disciplines. Also this perfect human rebirth can achieve nirvana, the cessation of suffering, in the future lifetimes or in this lifetime. Besides that, even if I desire to have a better rebirth in the future life, this perfect human rebirth can make me receive a better future life.
For instance, if I want to have a better human rebirth than this life, this present perfect human rebirth can make me receive a better human rebirth in the future, as well as a rebirth of the samsaric gods. How can it be possible that this perfect human rebirth can make me receive a better rebirth in future lifetimes? By purely following morality and charity, creating charity, as I have received this present perfect human rebirth by purely following morality and creating charity in my previous lifetime. And this human rebirth I received in this specific continent is the only rebirth in which ordination can be granted. So therefore this present human rebirth has the possibility to receive enlightenment quicker because it has an easier chance to receive bodhicitta and is the best for generating bodhicitta. In other samsaric realms there is no chance to practice the Vajrayana teaching. Those other living beings who are not human beings cannot practice the Vajrayana teachings, the short cut path to enlightenment. Even the human beings who are in different continents, other continents cannot practice the Vajrayana teachings mainly because of karma and deep ignorance. Also in other human beings’ continents it is difficult to realize suffering nature. The one who can practice the Vajrayana teaching and who can receive enlightenment in one lifetime are the human beings born in this continent who have bodies that are constituted of skin, blood, and flesh and made of bone, marrow, the white thing inside the bone, and seed, the liquid. Therefore this present perfect human rebirth is highly useful.
Even if I don’t receive enlightenment, nirvana, or the cessation of suffering in this lifetime with this perfect human rebirth, there is the chance to receive the fully renouncing mind of samsara and bodhicitta, the full realization of the absolute nature. There is the chance to realize the absolute nature of all existence. Besides all this, this perfect human rebirth has the chance to create infinite merits like infinite space, even within a short minute, within a second, and the chance to purify infinite negative karma in such a short moment. This perfect human rebirth is extremely useful even in each minute or second, so of course why not in each hour, day, and month. It is a great waste if I don't use this present perfect human rebirth in such a meaningful way.
So when you do meditation on this subject, the usefulness of the perfect human rebirth, the total way of checking the possibility of the perfect human rebirth is first of all to divide it in three—very simple. It can be divided in three.
1. Ultimate goal. Attaining the ultimate goal and the
2. Temporal goal. The perfect human rebirth is greatly useful to attain the temporal goal.
3. The perfect human rebirth is extremely useful even in a minute, second.
So the whole thing is divided in three. “Ultimate goal” means enlightenment. “Temporal goal” means attaining nirvana, the cessation of the suffering, such as receiving a better and happy rebirth in the future life. These are included in the temporal goals. So even in a second, a moment, even in a minute the perfect human rebirth is highly useful. When a person makes offerings of incense even in a period of time with the motivation of bodhicitta, that person creates infinite merits like infinite space. At the same time, infinite negative karmas that have been created in other previous lifetimes can be purified. For instance, such heavy negative karma created by doing those extreme negative actions can be purified by bodhicitta in such a short time. These negative actions, negative karmas are extremely difficult to purify by other virtuous actions. So this perfect human rebirth has an easier chance to receive the realization of bodhicitta or to do the practice of bodhicitta. Although there are that many numbers of human beings who have received a perfect human rebirth, they may not have met the Mahayana teaching that explains bodhicitta. So therefore this specific human rebirth that we have received this time, in which we have met the Mahayana teaching, that shows the practice of bodhicitta, is more precious. Generally like this.
On this earth, in this world, there are many human beings, but there are few who have received a perfect human rebirth. The human beings who have received a perfect human rebirth and met the Mahayana teaching are less, much less than the general number of human beings who have received a perfect human rebirth. The greatest number of human beings have not received a perfect human rebirth. Generally it is like this, according to the number. This perfect human rebirth, how does it have the chance to receive the temporal goals, a better rebirth, better future lives, and to attain nirvana, the cessation of suffering? Because this perfect human rebirth has a better chance to follow morality and charity. The human body is the best to keep morality. It has an easier chance. Why does this perfect human rebirth have a quicker chance to receive enlightenment in this lifetime, in seven lifetimes, or after two lifetimes? Because this body that is made of skin, bone, and flesh, the three things, the father's seed, the bone, the liquid, the seed, the marrow, this specific body is used with the Vajrayana techniques, the tantric techniques for the path to enlightenment. It is used for the path to enlightenment with the Vajrayana techniques. So to follow such a shortcut, the Vajrayana technique to reach enlightenment, it is necessary to have this body. There is much explanation, but it is not necessary to explain. Therefore this specific perfect human rebirth is highly useful.
So there are three ways to check up—the ultimate goal and the temporal goal. The ultimate goal is to achieve enlightenment quickly due to Vajrayana practice, which can be practiced only with this perfect human rebirth. The temporal goal is to attain nirvana or a better future rebirth by following morality and charity. And even the perfect human rebirth is highly useful in a short time like a second, a minute, by following bodhicitta through guru yoga practice.
So during the breaktime you read the part of the meditation on Page 41 and 42.
After the discussion if the mind is distracted first you start with breathing meditation. Spend more time in checking meditation on the perfect human rebirth and the ten richnesses and then after that do checking meditation on the great usefulness of the perfect human rebirth, dividing it in three. While you are doing the checking meditation you should not rush. You should take as much time as possible. If you take time by thinking more deeply with your feelings, in this way you can see the subject more clearly, you can understand better. This is the method to quickly actualize the meditation, so if you just rush in the meditation it doesn't become a quick method to receive deeper understanding or to see clearly the meditation subject.
However, you don't have to remember exactly as I told it, but according to your understanding, how much you have understood by remembering, based on that do checking meditation. Also if you don't remember you can read the book. Then do checking meditation.
The mind that does meditation should not feel tight; you should keep it loose, you should make it happy, keep it loose. If your mind is like this, the mind doing meditation, you can't do a good meditation if it is very uptight like this. Then the meditation doesn't become clear, you don't remember.
Also, breathing meditation also helps to relax the mind. If your mind is well relaxed then even though you start to think of something it is easy to come, to clear. I think that's all.
Thursday, 14th November
From the holy speech of the great bodhisattva Tenzin Gyaltsen, “The bodhicitta virtue does not bring only one result; it increases without finishing until the omniscient mind is received. After reaching the state of the omniscient mind, Dharma rain comes from the water holder of the holy body, and develops sentient beings’ planned virtue.”
“Water holder” means cloud. Another way of saying this is that the Dharma rain develops the plan of the living beings’ virtue. The meaning of this is, first of all, that by cultivating the pure thought of bodhicitta, the benefits of that pure thought continuously increase until the omniscient mind is achieved, because bodhicitta is the thought that plans to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of other sentient beings. Even after omniscient mind, enlightenment is received, still the benefits of bodhicitta have not finished. They still continue, still increase. As it is said in this teaching, after reaching the omniscient mind from the water holder of the holy body—in Sanskrit this is rupakaya—the Dharma rain falls. That means after the omniscient mind is achieved then the omniscient mind manifests in the sambhogakaya, the different manifestations of enlightened beings for certain higher bodhisattvas, higher beings. It manifests in nirmanakaya for ordinary sentient beings. By taking different manifestations the omniscient mind shows the Dharma to sentient beings. The holy body means nirmanakaya, such as sambhogakaya.
The rain that comes from the clouds, the water holder, the clouds, the rain falling from the water holder, the clouds, makes the plants grow. By this, the people see happiness, enjoying that. Similarly, showing the Dharma by these holy bodies, the nirmanakaya and sambhogakaya, develops the sentient beings’ virtue. By developing the sentient beings’ virtue within their minds, it pacifies the sentient beings’ suffering. By correcting or pacifying the sentient beings’ suffering, the sentient beings receive happiness. Their happiness is received through Dharma by increasing virtue that always increases until they achieve omniscient mind, the state of the most sublime happiness. So even after they achieve enlightenment, the most sublime happiness, still it does not cease—there is such time that it will cease; it continuously exists. As omniscient mind continuously exists the most sublime happiness, that enlightened stage, always exists, there is no such change. There is no way to go beyond from that, no such thing, no such thing as degenerating again. Why there is no way to go further beyond that? Because there is no reason, not one single subtle obscuration of illusive mind left after omniscient mind is achieved. Therefore there is no higher realization, no higher state than that. So the benefits of bodhicitta are really incredible.
Totally thinking, this not only brings one’s own enlightenment, not only benefits one’s own future enlightenment, but besides this, it benefits numberless other sentient beings and allows them to create virtue, to increase their virtue. By increasing their virtue they receive enlightenment. So actually the benefits of the bodhicitta that we are trying to practice now are something that will always continue until numberless sentient beings achieve enlightenment. Of course the time when all numberless sentient beings achieve enlightenment is not such a time that we can guess, not a short time. Therefore, the length of time in which that bodhicitta benefits sentient beings is very long. It is something that we cannot imagine. Therefore, since this pure thought of bodhicitta has that much benefit, it is foolish that while we have the chance to receive a perfect human rebirth and the chance to train the mind in such a path not to do so. Therefore, as we met the teaching on the method to actualize bodhicitta it is wise and clever, to train the mind. Therefore it is necessary to train the mind in that pure thought even in this moment, besides the action of listening to the Dharma becoming the cause of enlightenment.
Therefore think—I must achieve enlightenment in order to enlighten all sentient beings as quickly as possible. Therefore I am going to listen to the teaching on the graduated path. It is necessary to completely dedicate the action of listening to the Dharma—instead of feeling that it is for me, for my own purpose, it is necessary to strongly feel that it is work for sentient beings, that you are listening to the Dharma for the sake of other sentient beings as if you were a worker, a servant of other sentient beings, like this.
The listening subject is the Mahayana teaching that leads the fortunate person to enlightenment. It is well expounded by the great philosophers Nagarjuna and Asanga. It is a profound teaching, the essence of the great yogis Atisha and Guru Tsongkhapa’s understanding of the teaching. It includes 84,000 teachings shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha and it is set up for the practice of one person’s achievement of enlightenment.
The teaching of the graduated path has four topics in the outline. In order to have reference, pure reference, the knowledge of the authors. In order to cause devotion to arise, the knowledge of the teaching. The way of listening and explaining, and the way of leading disciple on the path to enlightenment. The way of leading the disciple on the path to enlightenment has two—the way of following the guru who is the root of the path and the way of training the mind in the graduated path to enlightenment. The way of training the mind in the graduated path to enlightenment has two—persuading the mind to take the essence of this perfect human rebirth and the way of taking the essence of this perfect human rebirth. Essence means this—just like the essence in the ocean, in the Pacific, the essence, the most precious thing. There are all kinds of things, dirty things, all kinds of things, but what is the most precious thing a person can have? That is the jewel that the person can get from underneath the ocean, the most expensive jewel. So just like this, there are different levels of essence. The fully enlightened stage is the most pure or highest essence, then the boundless stage, or nirvana. Then the lowest essence is trying to receive a better future life, a better future rebirth. That is the essence that can be attained with this present perfect human rebirth.
The specific part of the meditation is persuading the mind to take the essence with this present human rebirth, the method persuading the mind in order to take the essence is meditation on the perfect human rebirth, the great usefulness of the perfect human rebirth, and the great difficulty of receiving the perfect human rebirth. So we briefly talked about the first part of the meditation, the perfect human rebirth. If there is still anything you don’t understand you should discuss it.
Yesterday we talked about the ten opportunities—just a little talk on how we are fortunate to meet the Buddhadharma in this time and how rare and how difficult it is to meet the Buddhadharma. How the Buddhadharma does not always exist on the earth. For instance, when the earth, the whole universe started to evolve, at that time there was no Buddhadharma. When the whole universe started to evolve, it was gradual. It took twenty intermediate eons for the whole universe to evolve. At that time there was no Buddhadharma and when the universe ended, when it decayed gradually, at that time also there was no Buddhadharma. This took also twenty intermediate eons. Also the universe being completely empty, this physical world being completely empty, also took twenty intermediate eons. So at this time how can it be possible to have Buddhadharma, there is no question. There are not even any sentient beings in the physical world. So the Buddhadharma exists only in the period of an existing eon. And even in the period of an existing eon, there is no Buddhadharma, not all the period of the existing eon. So originally human beings, first of all they have an unimaginable length of life that we cannot imagine, such a long life. Then afterwards the life again degenerates, gets shorter and shorter, comes down, shorter and shorter, comes down to the 80,000 ages. Then again that age gradually degenerates, gradually becomes shorter and shorter, then the Buddha descends and the teaching gradually come and are gradually shown. The Buddhadharma carries on down to the one hundred ages then after the period of having the one hundred age, when this degenerates, when life gets shorter and shorter from there, then there is no more Buddhadharma existing after that. Then the life goes down to the ten ages. During that period there is no Buddhadharma, no teaching; it is just a completely dark period. Then from the ten ages everyone has a small body and they only live ten years. Then after a long period, again the age becomes longer and longer, goes up to eighty, gradually increases. When the lifespan increases up to eighty, there is no Buddhadharma. Also peoples’ enjoyments becomes richer and richer; it increases, gets better. So again from 80,000 the life goes up to 80,000. Then again from there it degenerates, becoming shorter and shorter. So it goes up to the 80,000 age, then again comes down to the ten, then again goes up to the 80,000—again and again like this.
There are about twenty corners, and each of these corners is counted as an intermediate eon. About twenty intermediate eons is a great eon of existing universe. The Buddhadharma only comes when it decreases and degenerates down from the 80,000. Then after it passes the one hundred age, there is no more Buddhadharma. So the Buddhadharma only exists for a very, very short period. There is more time where there is no Buddhadharma. The period of the existence of the Buddhadharma is so short.
This time is almost the end. Just like the last flame of a light, like the last flame that is ready to finish. So however, we are fortunate that we have met the Buddhadharma at the very last. By meeting the Buddhadharma we have the chance to create good karma, the cause of happiness, the cause of enlightenment. We have the possibility to follow the method that cuts off ignorance. So this description is just to give you an idea, a little bit of feeling to help a little bit for the meditation on the perfect human rebirth, the ten opportunities. By understanding this, there is a little feeling. Also by understanding this you feel how this specific time of your rebirth, this present rebirth in which you have met the Dharma, is precious. This gives a deeper understanding, deeper feeling when you do meditation on the perfect human rebirth, the eight freedoms and ten opportunities.
Then just short a repetition on the great usefulness of the perfect human rebirth. For instance, there are many yogis in India and Tibet who receive enlightenment in the lifetime. One yogi was renowned in the East and West, very well known to many of the young people who take drugs. Anyway, it is quite interesting taking drugs and reading Milarepa’s book together! These yogis achieve enlightenment in such short periods, such short periods, like three years. There are also many other yogis, I don’t remember their names, but other yogis who achieved enlightenment in such short periods, one lifetime, by doing such hard, pure practice, and experiencing many difficulties in doing the higher practices of the Dharma, dedicating their lives completely. Also there are many other yogis who achieved enlightenment in this lifetime, who achieved the rainbow body. I think it is called rainbow body in the English translation. It sounds funny, but it has happened that the bodies of many yogis who achieve enlightenment become a spiritual body, become light, oneness with light and completely disappear. There have been many of these yogis, certain yogis who reached such attainments, such realization. They only leave the nails and hairs, but you can’t see any body in their cave. The great yogi Ensapa, who achieved enlightenment in that lifetime, attained this realization. Many of the Vajrayana teachings that we practice are explained by those great yogis who achieved enlightenment in that lifetime. There are many other profound methods that have to be practiced on the basis of the meditations. And those great yogis before were like us, ordinary people—they looked uglier than us before. On the outside they looked like the great yogi Milarepa—his name was so famous everywhere and people who went to see him expected to see sort of like an angel, very glorious looking. But when they really saw the actual Milarepa it as a completely big shock, completely different from what they expected, completely opposite. They almost doubted whether this was Milarepa because his body, his skin turned this color blue by living a long time without clothes on. Then also he was skinny—almost easy to be taken by wind. He looked like this outside, but seeing his aspect in such a way doesn’t mean he doesn’t have realizations, mind control, or bodhicitta; it doesn’t mean his mind is not purified. Anyway, one cannot guess the level of his mind just by the way his body looks. He lived an austere life for Dharma practice, not having much, eating nettles, things like this.
However, being human beings, those great yogis who achieved enlightenment in that lifetime, before were also ordinary beings like us. Therefore, even in that case there is no question as to whether we can receive enlightenment in this lifetime. The practice, the teaching, the method that they have used also exists in this time. Still the Tibetan lamas are trying to actualize them, receiving teachings from their gurus, trying to practice with understanding and experience. They still exist in their experience, not intellectually, not in the books, but still in their experience. So there is a chance, from our side being human beings, receiving perfect human rebirths, that the teachings, such profound methods, exist still. There is a chance, a possibility to receive them. If we try from our side there is the possibility to receive them, to practice them, and to actualize them. So therefore there is the possibility to receive enlightenment, even in one lifetime. Why? By following the profound methods, the Vajrayana teachings, the practices of the graduated path. Beings such as the samsaric gods have no chance—in their realm there is no Vajrayana teaching, no chance to practice the Vajrayana . Even in other different continents they don’t have the fortune to practice the Vajrayana teaching. Only beings who are born in this specific continent who have this kind of body made of the parents’ combination of egg and so forth, only this specific human being can practice the Vajrayana teachings. This is the only rebirth in which we can practice the Vajrayana teachings, the method to receive enlightenment in one lifetime, because of this body that is made of the combination of the parents, the egg ... by using this body on the path to enlightenment, enlightenment can be received in one lifetime.
So there is no question about receiving enlightenment. With this human rebirth one can receive enlightenment in the second life, the future life, after several eons—no question. The reason is this—as we receive the perfect human rebirth there are also teachings existing that we can practice. Also with this human rebirth we can receive the boundless stage, nirvana, by following the three trainings—the higher trainings of conduct, concentration, and wisdom.
The last thing, whether we want to be born as human beings, samsaric gods, or as kings in the future life, whatever we want to be born as, we have a choice in this life. We have the possibility to be born as we wish. How is there such possibility? Because this future rebirth, this future happy good rebirth is received through the causes of following morality and charity. With this present human rebirth there is the chance to follow morality and charity. Like this if you check up, thinking of the result and the cause, as you think of enlightenment and the cause of enlightenment, the boundless stage of nirvana and think of the cause, the three higher training, that can be practiced in this life and the future good happy rebirth, this has a possibility. Why? Because it is possible to create the causes, morality and charity. However, in this lifetime we received the perfect human rebirth, mostly due to the kindness of our previous life. We have worked very hard for many lifetimes following morality, keeping precepts, giving charity and praying to be born with a perfect human rebirth. So in the present time, receiving this perfect human rebirth depends on many things, many causes. In many of our previous lifetimes we worked for this present result. In many of our previous lifetimes we prayed to be born like this—besides actually working, making charity, observing the morality. So whatever future rebirth we want, whatever our future rebirth will be, is up to our present life’s hand. It is in the present life’s hand. So if in this present lifetime we are not careful, if we are not wise about how to use this present life, if we are not careful with it, it is also very dangerous. It can be highly useful, and also it can be extremely dangerous. This depends on how we think, how we use our life.
The reason I explain dividing in three like this—the ultimate goal, the temporal goal, and the second, minute—actually this meditation explains how to make the life meaningful, which many Western people do not know and suffer, believing life is meaningless, without purpose. This meditation looks like it is involved in some kind of abstract thing, but actually this meditation explains how to make life meaningful, how this life is precious, and how to make life useful and meaningful. It shows the possibility, the higher possibility, of what one can do. There are many choices—if I cannot do this, I can do this, if I cannot do this, I can do this—many choices that we can choose, try. However, the whole total thing is for the purpose to soon escape from ignorance and suffering. If you don’t understand the meaning of life, the different possibilities and the meaning of life, if you don’t understand them, you don’t make life meaningful, because you don’t have wisdom. Think back to the West, the way people live, think, act in daily life. It is always the same thing, the old thing, the same thing, such a boring life in which they are mostly ignorant of knowing what they are doing. They are doing something but they don’t know what they are doing. They think they are doing something wise but actually they don’t know whether they are doing wise things, creating the cause of suffering. So many times it happens to also people—nothing makes life better, there is no method, so there is nothing new to experience in life because there is no method, so life gets boring and they commit suicide, many times.
Anyway, during the break times I think if you read the following meditation that comes afterwards, if you continuously read it, it will help a lot to understand when I explain the meditations. It will give a better understanding when I talk.
Then after the discussion do meditation on the ... begin with perfect human rebirth then the great usefulness of the perfect human rebirth as I explained this morning. If you can remember by thinking of each of the goals and then thinking each of the causes, how you can do it. Then also read the part of the subject that I didn’t finish, the wasting this precious human rebirth.
If you understand Dharma there is nothing to get bored of in life, because there is a method, a definite method that one can experience, one can practice—there is so much experience, so many methods to attain happiness. You will never get bored, you will always be conscious, always happy, always ... less problems, less dissatisfaction, less busy, less busy for worldly life. So in that way there are less problems.
After doing meditation on this you can also read the next part of the subject we didn’t read—the great difficulty of receiving the perfect human rebirth and think. The main thing is just checking by yourself on that subject and take time to check up with feelings.
Then in the second hour, Lama is going to come to give a lecture on how to make the human life useful.
[Lama Yeshe gave discourse the second hour.]
Friday, 15th November
From the holy speech of the great bodhisattva Tenzin Gyaltsen, “The sun and the moon and the rosary of lightening may illuminate, but how can they dispel the inner darkness? Bodhicitta, however, completely dispels the darkness within sentient beings’ minds; therefore holy beings admire bodhicitta.”
That means that external lights such as the sun and moon, the largest lights such as the sun and moon, and momentary lightening dispel the outer darkness and make it clear, but do not have the power to dispel even a small inner darkness, such as ignorance. So on this earth however much light there is to clarify, to see things, to dispel darkness, however much external light there is, it doesn’t have even the small power of bodhicitta to dispel the inner darkness. It is nothing to compare to the power of bodhicitta. By achieving the inner light of bodhicitta that dispels the inner darkness, one doesn’t have to necessarily depend on external light to dispel the outer darkness. Even though there is outer darkness, the being who has bodhicitta, inner light bodhicitta, for that being the outer darkness cannot obscure the inner light. The outer darkness doesn’t prevent that being from being able to see external existence, because the external darkness stopping the person from seeing things is mainly caused by the inner darkness within the person’s mind.
Therefore it is greatly worthwhile to try to dispel the inner darkness by depending on bodhicitta, which always admired by the holy beings who fully realize its infinite benefits. Therefore it is necessary to train the mind in this pure thought of bodhicitta, even in this moment, as we have the chance. While we have the chance if we don’t train the mind as much as possible in this pure thought of bodhicitta, it is extremely difficult to get such a precious chance again; this is not definite.
Therefore it is necessary to cultivate the pure thought of bodhicitta in order for the action of listening to the Dharma to become the cause of enlightenment, not to become the cause of samsara, the cause of boundaries of suffering. So therefore think, “I must cause all sentient beings to release from all their sufferings and lead them to the most sublime happiness enlightenment as quickly as possible. Therefore I must achieve enlightenment first. In order to achieve enlightenment I must complete the whole realization of the graduated path. Therefore I am going to listen to the teaching on the graduated path.”
The listening subject is the Mahayana teaching that leads the fortunate person to enlightenment. It is well expounded by the great philosophers Nagarjuna and Asanga. It is a profound teaching, the essence of the great yogis Atisha and Guru Tsongkhapa’s understanding of the teaching. It includes the 84,000 teachings shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha and the whole teaching is set up for the practice of one person’s achievement of enlightenment.
The teaching of the graduated path has four outlines. They are: in order to have pure reference, the knowledge of the authors. In order to cause devotion in the teaching to arise, the knowledge of the teaching. The way of listening and explaining the teaching. The way of leading the disciple in the path to enlightenment. The way of leading the disciple in the path to enlightenment has two—the way of following the guru who is the root of the path and the way of training the mind in the graduated path to enlightenment. The way of training the mind has two—persuading the mind to take the essence with the perfect human rebirth and the way of taking the essence with the perfect human rebirth.
First of all, persuading the mind in order to take essence with the perfect human rebirth. This involves the three meditations on perfect human rebirth, the great usefulness of the perfect human rebirth, and the great difficulty of receiving the perfect human rebirth. So at the present time the subject is the great usefulness of the perfect human rebirth.
For instance, if someone gives diamonds to children who don’t know their value, the preciousness of the diamonds, the child who has the diamond and doesn’t know the value of the diamond doesn’t think the diamond is that important, he doesn’t care for that jewel. Therefore he doesn’t have the mind to take care of it, to preserve it, and to make it beneficial or useful for him. There is no thought. There is the danger even that if the child has such a precious diamond, because of lack of understanding of the value, the quality of the diamond, the child becomes careless and there is the danger to lose it.
For instance, animals, horses—we put dust in the ear, he will shake the ear. We put diamonds in the ear, he will shake also the ear. If the animal knew the difference between the dust and the diamond, that one is very precious, it wouldn’t do that. But whether it is precious or whether it is a non-valuable thing, whatever is put in the ear, it shakes. That is mainly because of not knowing that it is a jewel and how it is precious and expensive.
Just like this, we have received the perfect human rebirth, such a precious rebirth, a perfect human rebirth that can be highly useful to attain these different aims, different results, with the possibility to gain any level of happiness that we desire. Not understanding the meaning of the perfect human rebirth, the usefulness of the perfect human rebirth and the preciousness of the perfect human rebirth is like the animal shaking out the diamond—not knowing these things and being careless of them and using them in the wrong way, in a meaningless way that doesn’t bring the result of happiness. So by knowing the preciousness, the usefulness, the meaning of the perfect human rebirth, by understanding this, we know what different aims and results can be achieved, what level of happiness can be achieved. Also by understanding this then the person uses his perfect human rebirth in a meaningful way. Since he does that all the time his life has meaning, he is taking the essence. That other person who doesn’t know the usefulness and preciousness of the perfect human rebirth and who only uses it for meaningless negative actions is like the person who has arrived in the jewel land where he can get jewels but doesn’t know it, and goes back empty handed without taking jewels. He goes back carrying garbage. Like this example.
So anyway, therefore this is also the purpose of first doing meditation in these subjects.
(... own experience of such situations) For instance, when you lose certain possessions like gold, diamonds—you make business, and then you lose hundreds of dollars, and you feel greatly upset. You feel a big loss. If you lose hundreds of thousands of dollars you feel great upset, your mind becomes in a terrible situation. That is because you know the value of that, you know how that is useful. Even the beggar who has only ten dollars, when he loses that he feels such great emptiness, great loss—his mind will be unhappy for many days. That is because he knows how the ten dollars is useful, he knows how much he can enjoy that amount of money. But that value is nothing compared to the value of his human rebirth. Even besides this example, even the numberless worlds full of jewels, even if all those jewels are lost, it is nothing compared to the loss of the perfect human rebirth, wasting the life of the perfect human rebirth. The whole total thing, the whole reason is that even though there are that many numbers of jewels, they cannot solve the life’s problems, they cannot make us receive enlightenment, receive everlasting happiness. They cannot solve attachment, the mind’s problem of attachment. But the perfect human rebirth that is received has the value to bring all these results, to solve all of life’s problem, to cut off all the negative mind. So the value of the perfect human rebirth is incredible. In regards possessions, the most precious possession is the perfect human rebirth that is received now. This is something that is worthwhile to take care of, to be concerned for, rather than to be concerned for external possessions. Actually any possession, jewel, as we have been possessing them in our different previous lifetimes, if someone collected all the materials and jewels, they would fill up all of infinite space. That much we have possessed, but even so, still the mind is living in suffering, not released from the nature of suffering.
In regards part of this meditation, also on Page 41 the part that is numbered 1 - 3 is very useful to think about. In regards usefulness as it is here divided in three, the different aims. Then yesterday, also part of the subject numbered in three, starting from “Wasting this very precious human rebirth ... (top of Page 41)” down to “... because it is of no use in controlling this negative mind.” This is very good to remember during the meditation time. This is just the fundamental subject in order to give you the chance how to think, how to understand the great usefulness of the human rebirth.
The Eight Worldly Dharmas
This Dharma is different. This Dharma is in the sense of all existence being Dharma. There are two meanings for “Dharma”—one is the method that leads to enlightenment, and this Dharma, of the eight worldly Dharma, is the Dharma that keeps ordinary beings in samsara, in the boundaries of suffering. So these two are opposed.
Student: It seems from what you say about Dharma with a small “d” that it keeps people in samsara and seems to be an implication that there is a reason for samsara, a reason to keep people there purposely.
Rinpoche: I don’t think it is a conscious reason, a reason given by conscious mind, understanding mind, but a reason given by ignorance. It is mainly a reason given by ignorance, by attachment, not by understanding mind. True understanding.
Student: But does that ignorance have purpose?
Rinpoche: There is a wrong reason and a right reason. A reason that helps you and doesn’t help you. A reason doesn’t have to be correct; it depends on the individual mind and understanding. It always doesn’t have to be correct or perfect, there can be silly reasons.
Student: In the West there is often the thought of a negative power, negative force—some people might call it the Devil. Whatever the name, is there such a thing in the Buddhist teachings?
Rinpoche: There is negative force.
Student: Does it have will, purpose?
Rinpoche: It doesn’t have pure purpose. Actually the negative force exists mainly because of the ignorance, mainly because of the inner negative mind, ignorance. It doesn’t have a proper purpose, it exists because of ignorance. The negative force exists because of ignorance; ignorance produces the negative force.
Student: Does that mean negative force can be completely eliminated?
Rinpoche: Yes, right. It is the same thing; whenever the negative mind is purified at the same time negative forces are also controlled. There are no more negative force within your mind. No more negative forces that control you, keep you away from enlightenment, away from Dharma practice.
Student: Is it true that the negative forces only exists in the wheel of life?
Student: Can all sentient beings obtain enlightenment?
Rinpoche: Yes, because each of the sentient beings has the possibility of receiving enlightenment, each sentient being has the clear light nature of mind that makes it possible to receive enlightenment. But it is difficult to say that this is a time that all sentient beings achieve enlightenment. That is difficult to say.
[Rinpoche reads the eight worldly Dharmas from the book]
Understanding the eight worldly Dharmas is very important. The more we understand this, recognize this, the more we will know the source of our problems, where they come from. When you come to the East there are problems, when go back to the West there are problems—wherever we go there are problems such as dissatisfaction. Wherever we go there are problems, but the more we understand of this, the more clearly and deeply we understand where the life problems come from, what create the life problems, the individual problem, and the problems of society, the country, and the source of the problems, the more we know what method can help. It is easy to know what method can help. Also it is easy to know what should be done in order to stop the problems, and it is easy to stop the problems. The more deeply the person understands this as this is the source of problem, the easier it is to solve the life problems. It is very easy to make the life happy or peaceful. This is very important, because usually this is the source, the main thing that makes the life go up and down all the time. In the morning time we are happy, after some time in the afternoon we are upset, and then at nighttime again another thing. One day is happy, another day is upside-down, the whole face changes, always up and down, life is not equal. Life is also like this ... for instance, other people that we see are also like this. Why is life not equal, always up and down? Because the mind is not equal. The changes of life—suffering, happiness—the whole thing depends on the mind, the whole thing depends on the creator, the mind. It is all created by the mind. So as Nagarjuna, the great philosopher who has the full realization of the absolute nature, the great yogi, said in his teaching, the eight worldly Dharmas are: feeling happy when material things are received, feeling unhappy when there is no material received; feeling happy when there is pleasure, feeling unhappy when there is suffering: feeling happy when there are sweet sounds, but when there are uninteresting sounds feeling unhappy; when someone admires or praises us, feeling happy, and when someone puts us down feeling unhappy, feeling suffering. Nagarjuna emphasized the need to make these eight things equal in order to stop the life problems, to have a pure Dharma practice. Generally it is like this.
Because there is attachment to receiving the material things, because of the attachment when there are no material things the unhappiness and suffering come. Because there is attachment to the material received, there is dislike in not receiving material. There is dislike or hatred, unhappiness in not receiving material. There wouldn’t be that problem if there was no attachment to the material received. This makes the life go up and down.
For instance, when we receive material, we feel happiness, as there is attachment to that. Afterwards you expect it, and then you do not receive material things. So first the life is up, and then there is unhappiness, the mind changes, not the same as before. The mind is in suffering and unhappiness, dislike because of not receiving material things. For instance, this we can check up—we usually feel when we receive material things that this is real happiness, due to the attachment attached to the object and the object being close. But actually if you really check up, the mind is not really in happiness—if you really check up the nature of that mind. The nature of that mind is not calm, not peaceful. If you check up, it is kind of uptight, like stone, like iron, very uptight, not relaxed—the mind is never a relaxed mind; it is sort of lifted up, not a comfortable mind. I am just expressing the ordinary way that mind acts, what state that mind is in. Even in such those times, even sometimes when you try to concentrate, you cannot concentrate. Why can’t you meditate? Why can’t you concentrate? Because the nature of that mind at that time is not relaxed, not free. You feel as if the mind is sort of sinking into the object when there is such attachment. I am just generally expressing the feeling but you can check up. We don’t have the problem of not having attachment. If you didn’t have attachment perhaps maybe you have another problem, but there is no question.
So it is necessary to check up the nature of the attachment, and then we know how it is negative, how it causes confusion. If we diminish it that much more, if we lessen the attachment, that much more we stop the attachment in the object from rising, and it helps us that much to not allow dislike and unhappiness at not receiving material things to arise. That’s how Dharma practice brings the life into peace, and makes the mind happy, not confused. That is because the Dharma causes attachment to not arise. Even if there is attachment, it causes us to lose the attachment in the object. So when there is no material received, the mind is always in happiness, in peace. There is no life up and down. During those times there are many other techniques, many other way of practicing Dharma in order to lose the attachment.
For instance, checking the shortcomings of attachment. Think, “From numberless previous lifetimes this attachment has kept me in suffering. Still I am suffering from having this attachment. If I follow the attachment, the attachment will continuously exist in my mind in all the future lifetimes. So in this case I will never get out of suffering, never get released from attachment. I will never receive the everlasting happiness that is boundless of attachment. This attachment is my enemy, this has stopped all my past happiness, including enlightenment. This enemy, attachment, stops even my present happiness, such as receiving the most sublime happiness of enlightenment. Also this attachment will be continuously be my enemy, stopping me from receiving my future happiness, including the most sublime happiness of enlightenment.” Think like this. As the person continuously thinks like this, the person continuously see more and more, deeper and deeper how attachment is the cause of suffering, how it prevents his peace or happiness, especially the true happiness of everlasting happiness and the most sublime happiness of enlightenment—especially these two happinesses.
Also, it is very good when you are close to the object, that material thing that causes attachment, mind confusion to arise, at the same time mind try to be conscious—not just letting the mind think whatever it feels or wants. Instead of being ignorant of your feelings, the feeling of attachment, the nature of attachment, try to be conscious of how the mind reacts, how the mind thinks of the object, how it feels. Check up the nature of the attachment, and check also whether there is attachment or not. Check the nature of that mind, whether it is calm and peaceful or not. Like this you check up. Then you can really discover how it is confused mind. You will understand more about the nature. Also in this way the person can understand that there is no real true happiness; this is the wrong conception of attachment.
Also, one useful technique is to change the aspect of the object into something that doesn’t cause attachment to arise. Attachment arising or not arising depends on the aspect of the object. It is dependent. So change the aspect of the object, your visualization of the object. Change it into an ugly form, another aspect that doesn’t cause attachment to arise. This way there are less problems in the mind. You don’t have to break the object or throw it out; it isn’t necessary to do something like this. Because the main confusion is in the mind. The whole thing depends on changing the creator, the mind that looks at the object in a different way. Usually the object of attachment is kind of on the basis of believing that it is independent, self-existent, and seeing the object in beauty even though it is not true. Attachment believes in the beauty and also it sees it as self-existent beauty, but the object of attachment is not true. That’s how attachment is just a wrong conception.
Also, one technique is to check the nature of the object, and see that it is not self-existent, not self-beauty. If the person can see the emptiness of self-beauty and self-existence, then in that case there is no way for attachment to arise, because that time when the person thinks or concentrates on this, the person’s view is changed. The person sees the object as it is exists, differently from the view that the person used to believe in before. That was only a projection of attachment, which does not exist anywhere. To check in this way, you need the understanding of how to check up, how to look at the object. Within the person’s mind, he needs to think how he sees the object in the wrong way, how he sees the object as having self-beauty even though it doesn’t have self-beauty. How he sees the object as self-existent even though object is not self-existent. The person has to have the wisdom of how to check this. So the simple way, the simple method, even though we can’t think in this way, is just to change the aspect of the object into a stone, or wood. Just an ordinary thing, an object that doesn’t cause attachment.
Sometimes it is also very useful visualizing objects, material things like gifts—if someone brings a gift then all of a sudden the mind gets freaked out, and you cannot hold or control the mind, the mind just flies. Anyway, so at that time if you change the aspect of the object all of a sudden into-, something like red hot burning iron, then all of a sudden this incredible attachment that is uptight and makes you not relaxed, not peaceful, all of a sudden it decreases, it goes down. So in this way you control your mind. You make yourself happy and relaxed. In this way you don’t create negative karma. This practice itself is the Dharma, pure Dharma practice. Also think, “This red hot burning iron is actual red hot burning iron, and cannot make me be reborn in the suffering realms, such as the evil destinies. It cannot cause me to continuously suffer in samsara. But that object to which I am attached has been causing me suffering in previous lifetimes until now and it will continuously cause me suffering in samsara.” If the person thinks like this, meditates, it is easy to lose the attachment, to keep him away from the attachment.
Generally there are many other techniques by which to lose attachment. By using these different techniques the mind doesn’t become confused with material objects. The person has the method, even though the person knows just that much, he has the method to handle it, to solve his life problems. In the West there is schizophrenia, which makes the life up and down, and the cause of schizophrenia is craving, attachment, and dislike when there is unhappiness. The main cause is this. Psychiatrists and many people think schizophrenia is very difficult to cure; they think it is an impossible thing. The main thing is that they don’t know the source of schizophrenia, they really don’t know. Because of not knowing what mind has created the schizophrenia, whether it is created by these schizophrenics, whether it is created by mind, what type of mind has created it, because of not knowing this source, this evolution, they are ignorant in the method, so there is no method.
Those are just very simple things. Just to solve that kind of problem you don’t have to have realizations. For just even a small simple thing, the mind problem, there is no method. So actually studying Dharma, doing meditation on this graduated path, studying Dharma, that includes all subjects—this is like studying hundreds and hundreds of different subjects at the same time—psychology, science, physiology, many different things. Different subjects that are given different titles.
This means disliking and feeling unhappiness when there are displeasing words, and uninteresting sounds. Similar techniques can be used also when there are problems such as attachment arising by hearing the interesting sounds. This is also useful—when you hear the sound that causes attachment to rise, if you visualize the sound as a hot red burning wire or needle, a long needle, then check like this, “This hot red burning needle cannot make me be reborn in the suffering realms. This won’t cause me to be continuously reborn in the suffering realms of samsara, but this sound has been causing delusions and attachment to arise in me from numberless previous lifetimes until now and this object will continuously cause delusions to arise, and cause me always to experience suffering even in future lives.” This is a simple way, a simple technique to stop attachment from rising—this also this helps. If you know the real nature, if you can really see the nature of the sound then there is no way for attachment to arise, but that is difficult, you need understanding, you need wisdom, so sometimes if your wisdom is not strong, is not exact, to see the nature of the interesting sound, sometimes it doesn’t work. Not having the deep understanding the nature of the sound, sometimes these simple methods and techniques are more helpful, quicker to stop the attachment. The main problem is not the sound, the main problem is the mind, the attachment—but by using such techniques and methods you can lose the attachment.
Also it is good, as you hear the sound, to check how it exists and how you feel, how you feel with the sound. How do you hear the sound, how do you feel with the sound. As you hear sound, as you feel sound like this, does it is really exist or not and how does it is exist? Checking like this is also useful. Checking like this, besides losing attachment, helps to realize nature of the sound. The main thing to check up is the feeling that we have with the sound, the way we think of the sound—that is the main thing to check up and recognize, whether it is really existing there. In the case of the person who plays guitar, does it exist on the person who plays, on the guitar, on the strings, or the person or that instrument—the leather, the skin, that helps to bring the sound. Checking like this is useful. Does it exist on the person’s hands or fingers—like this checking each piece.
[Rinpoche read to end of Page 41]
Also one can think that there are many problems. One of the most worst problems that ordinary beings have is attachment to admiration, attachment to reputation. Renouncing the attachment to food and clothing is easy, but renouncing attachment to reputation is more difficult. This is one of the biggest list problems, having attachment to reputation.
For instance, all this is our life experience. When there is praise from people for us saying, “How good you are, how generous, how kind, how wise—” when people say things like this the mind gets into problems. Attachment all of a sudden arises just like balloon, blowing a balloon. All of a sudden attachment comes up. So again the mind gets into problems, so again there is the need of methods because the mind is again suffering in another way. So it is necessary to take care of the mind by using the methods. This is useful—all of a sudden you check up when the person talks, you try to be conscious of your own mind, your own thoughts, how it is reacting. Try to be conscious whether attachment arises or not. Try to be conscious. In this way you are studying, learning your own mind. This is the best way of learning your own mind. Just checking. Then when the mind gets into confusion and attachment because of good words that you believe as good words, then check—”I believe the subject that he is talking about is good.” By believing this attachment arises. Check up like this. For instance, a person says, “You are so wise in talking,” and all of a sudden your mind become crazy. Check like this. Each word, “How wise you are,” you think is a good word—by believing this attachment rises. Whether that object that you believe in or that attachment feels really exists—you check up with each word: “how” and “you” and “are” and also “wise.” Just hearing “wise” there is no reason for attachment. Just with “wise” there is no reason for attachment, just the word “wise.” For just the word “you” there is no reason for attachment, no reason. After checking on each word you don’t find anything, no interest.
This is just the same as, “You are so bad.” Saying, “You are so bad, terrible,” doesn’t make any difference. When we believe, “You are so wise in talking,” what we believe doesn’t really exist anywhere. What we believe and what causes attachment to arise doesn’t exist. So after this checking like this we don’t find anything that we believed in before. We don’t find the object we believed in before. When we discover the emptiness of the object that we used to believe in before, at the same time our feeling changes. Our feeling is different than the other feeling. There is no problem in the mind, no confusion—the mind is out of confusion. All of a sudden by checking like this the attachment goes down, and at the same time the mind is so relaxed, happy, much happier than before. Before the mind was very uptight, unsubdued and uptight. Like this the same thing, there is no reason to get angry when someone put you down by criticizing or complaining. Also it is similar when we hear someone saying such terrible bad things. All of a sudden the wrong conception that thinks there is something there in each word, that the truth is there, which bothers us, makes anger arise.
Again you check up, try to discover your feeling—what you feel, how you feel it, how to believe his words. After that, check up each word—do you get angry with the word “you?” There is no point in getting angry. “Terrible?” There is no point in getting angry at the word “terrible.” Just hearing “terrible” doesn’t make us get angry, there is no point in getting angry. Checking each word like this, you lose this wrong conception, lose the anger. You don’t find the object that you believe is truly there; anger doesn’t have an object so it is lost. This way you keep your mind in peace, you become the doctor, the physiologist, the psychiatrist, making your own life peaceful. In this way also you don’t create negative karma. Both ways stop the creation of negative karma, getting angry creating negative karma. If you use this method it helps you to not create negative karma so it is a very beneficial method.
After the discussion, do a short meditation on the usefulness of the perfect human rebirth, then also think about the part on wasting the perfect human rebirth. Then spend more time checking the evil thought of the eight worldly Dharmas. This is the method, the way of studying our own mind and life, to recognize how we spend the life. This is one way of trying to discover the nature of our own mind. Checking like this.
For instance, today, from this morning until now—think back on part of the schedule meditation from that until morning time and then yesterday and the day before yesterday. Then down to the life, the way to live in the West, checking back. For instance, each action ... today starting from this morning, try to remember each action, like eating, talking, getting up, and then think about with what kind of mind you got up, with what kind of mind you talked, with what kind of mind you sat down and listened to teachings. As you remember each action check up the mind. Was the action, each action, done with one of those evil thoughts? Try to check up whether each action was done with these evil thoughts. Then finish today, check for yesterday, and the day before, down to the life from the time of childhood, and if you can remember the previous life, of course. Like this spend more time—this is very useful. This can help very much to understand the existence of Dharma. I think that’s all.
First do the meditation on Guru Shakyamuni yoga practice. The purifying meditation. Then after that do the meditation on the usefulness of the perfect human rebirth, mostly checking on the evil thought of the worldly Dharmas. As I explained before, try to remember each action that you did today starting from this morning and as you remember each action, try to check up, try to see whether this action was done with the evil thought of the eight worldly Dharmas. Totally, another way of saying this is a thought that is attached to only the happiness of this life. The attachment that clings solely to the happiness of this life. Usually there are many other actions done with the pure thought which are not attached, which are attached only to the happiness of this life. There are different kinds of thoughts, evil thoughts and positive, pure thoughts—all kinds of different thoughts. So this way we can easily discover whether life has been positive or negative. How life has been used—whether it has been beneficial, whether it has been meaningful, whether the perfect human rebirth has been used as it has meaning, as it is useful. We can easily discover by checking like this.
Then checking the actions done today and also checking the actions done yesterday. With what kind of mind was each of the actions done. Like this you check back to childhood as much as you can remember. Then as much as you see your actions were done with the pure thought without the attachment clinging to the happiness of this life, the actions done with the thought that is not attached, then that much more you find and feel happiness and rejoicefulness. This is worthwhile to feel yourself happy, rejoicefulness. Because why it is worthwhile, why feel rejoicefulness? Because actions done with no attachment are meaningful actions—that is the action that gives meaning to life, that brings essence to life and that is the action that brings the result of happiness in this life and other future lifetimes.
This whole process of meditation is very useful. Actually this meditation is studying our own mind, our own life, to recognize our life, what we are doing, what types of mind we have. Even if you cannot discover these inner subjects, through this meditation also you easily know how to make the life meaningful, what is the correct way and what is the wrong way. It is something that as much as we study in the West, as much time, energy, and materials as we spend, even though we spend so many years, still we cannot understand. Still we cannot understand these subjects—how to make life meaningful and the meaning of the life. So through this meditation even if one checks up, even if one does meditation for one hour, even for a short time, one can easily learn and discover the nature of one’s own life.
The pure thought and the actions done with such a pure thought detached from the comfort of this life are the causes of the happiness. The opposite, the attachment that clings only to the happiness of this life is the cause of suffering, the cause of samsara, the cause of all problems and confusion. That is the main cause of schizophrenia. For instance, two parents always fighting, every day fighting, families always fighting each other, sometimes silly things, with no meaning, no actual reasons. So all these life’s problem are caused by this evil thought of the worldly Dharmas. For instance, between two persons, sometimes people fight just for breakfast, just a simple example. Just to know how that problem arises from the evil thought of the worldly Dharmas. One desires suji, one person wants bread—it is difficult to remember American food! Anyway, the person doesn’t make bread or suji as the other person likes. At the actual time there are mind problems; the other person who likes bread but doesn’t like suji, his mind is sick. Actually both minds are sick, no one’s mind is well. The other one who is attached to the suji doesn’t like to have suji but likes to have bread—both are sick. So what is the method? The other person who doesn’t get bread gets angry with the other person, then there is a lot of talk and fighting with words and also physical fighting. That is possible; many times such insignificant things happens, little things become a big fight. From the person’s side it looks important—both of them think it is important, very important, each thing, whatever they want. One person thinks his wanting bread it is important. The other person thinks his wanting suji is important. So both of them think it is important. Actually, if some understanding person looks at the situation, it is like children fighting. Children, who don’t have much knowledge, who don’t study that much, also fight with desires like this. Even if the person who misses the bread, whose mind is angry, receives the bread, his mind is still confused, still sick—sick of attachment. When he receives the bread that morning, it doesn’t solve his attachment problem. As much as the person takes, even if he receives bread every morning for breakfast, the problem of attachment doesn’t cease. So during whole his life that problem is not solved. Then without solving that problem, life passes, experiencing continual problems of attachment, and then that person dies. Again in the future life whatever rebirth he takes—human rebirth—whatever is taken, still there is the continual problem of attachment.
So that’s how as much as we follow attachment, the problem of attachment continually exists, carries on in the future. This person’s mind gets angry because of not having bread, and then he makes the other person unhappy by fighting, telling negative words. It is possible also that he breaks things by getting angry—there is also danger that he might harm the bodies. So all these problems, the dissatisfactions of that unhappy life, creating all these negative actions, making the other person unhappy, all these things arise from the evil thought, from the attachment that is attached to that specific food. All of that is the attachment that clings only to the happiness of one life. So all of his problems are creating all kinds of negative karmas, causes of suffering, and all these things, suffering situations, all arise from this attachment. This is the evil thought of the worldly Dharmas, that mind. The other person who makes suji doesn’t want to listen to the first person’s idea. He follows his own desire, making the other person’s mind unhappy by following his own desire and self-cherishing thought, by following his own attachment. So that unhappy situation, that problem is also caused by his attachment that clings to the happiness of life. That is his evil thought; the other person’s evil thought of worldly Dharmas.
For instance, another reason that shows how that is the source of problems—if the person who misses the bread, instead of making a hassle about the whole thing, just accepting the suji, instead of thinking that his own desire is so important than his desire, thought, “I am thinking my desire is important, but also his desire is important.” Just by renouncing this thought, thinking of one’s own desire, oneself is more important than the other person. Easily by checking like this, thinking like this, if the person easily accepts that, by not following the attachment that clings only to the happiness of this life, there is no problem, no hassle, no unhappy situation. Also in this case it doesn’t make the other person’s mind unhappy, so there is no problem. It is just a matter of conception, just changing the way of thinking. Just a matter of conception.
By understanding one’s own attachment as the evil thought of the worldly Dharmas, as the cause of suffering, then forgetting it, renouncing it, the person easily accepts what the other person offers, no problem, so life is peaceful, both minds are in happiness. Then also there is no way for anger to arise, no fighting, no way to create negative karma by anger arising. Checking like this in this way, by changing, by giving up this attachment, the mind is so relaxed. By renouncing this attachment, as the person’s mind accepts the bread, also the mind is relaxed. So the person makes himself happy, and he makes his life happy. By thinking in this way also we can see the attachment that clings to the happiness of this life as the cause of problems. This is a scientific experience, not something that doesn’t work, that doesn’t happen, that you have to believe in—this is not something like this. It is evolution of mind, the way it is working is evolution of mind. However this is just an example, so the same thing just like this, the problem between two persons like this. Between two groups also there are problems caused by the evil thought of the worldly Dharmas.
For instance, some people, if they want to build a house, people have different ideas. Also there is disagreement, different ideas. As there are different ideas, it is difficult, each person wants his own ideas, to do things according to his own idea, so that house is not going to be according to all people’s ideas. It is going to be in one shape, one thing; it cannot be according to each person’s idea. However, each person, those who have different ideas, because of this evil thought, this attachment is rooted in the mind, so any other person doesn’t listen to that idea, doesn’t follow it, and then gets angry. Then also pride, so many other negative minds come. Again there is life confusion between them, unhappiness. Also with this example we can easily see how life confusion comes from the evil thought of the worldly Dharmas. So just like this, also between two countries, the problems are also rooted in the evil thought of the worldly Dharmas, and the attachment that exists such as between teachers and students, these problems are also based on this evil thought of the worldly Dharmas.
For instance, even for the meditators who are unable to control the mind, they cannot concentrate on the object even for a minute, a minute is still long.
You are right. Even for five seconds the mind is so distracted. Many things, objects to which we are attached—friends, places, clothes, things, many times the objects to which we are attached come in the mind. These things appear in the mind many times, and these things disturb the meditation. So mainly we are unable to control the mind, to have one-pointed meditation. That mind cannot concentrate in one-pointedness even for five seconds, even for such a short period. This is also caused mainly by this evil thought. It is also the fault of this evil thought, the worldly Dharma.
For instance, when the person doesn’t care, doesn’t have that much attachment to those objects, by understanding the shortcomings of the faults of attachment, this evil thought, those objects don’t appear in the mind, don’t come up so much. In this way there is less distraction to the meditation. This attachment that clings to the happiness of this life this is also one disturbance to the samadhi one-pointed meditation. It disturbs the mind for the meditators. Even if the meditator tries to meditate, when he finds a little problem around his body, maybe feeling hungry, he easily gives up meditation. That is also mainly due to this evil thought, the attachment that clings to the happiness of this life. And also many times even those who are thinking, “I am a religious person, I am a meditator, a yogi, this and that,” trying to do many things, saying prayers, meditating, doing all kinds of religious forms of actions, actually none of those actions is serious. If it is checked up nothing is pure. None of those actions become pure Dharma when they are really checked up. Most of those actions are done only for gaining the happiness of this life, with that kind of attachment. So even the meditators, the religious person, the yogi, even they become false by creating false action. Believing that they are doing something pure but it becomes the cause of samsara. He becomes a false yogi, religious person—and that is also due to this evil thought, the fault of this evil thought. And most of the time people are doing things, praising Dharma, giving lectures, teaching, yogis, this and that, but nothing serious. From the student’s side, from the teacher’s side, nothing is pure, everything becomes false. All this is due to the evil thought of the worldly Dharma. What makes nothing pure, serious? Is by this evil thought.
So however, as much as those things are done without checking, there is the danger that all these things and actions become the cause of samsara. Just the cause of suffering. This becomes big cheating. Most of the time what makes these works not pure and sincere is the attachment to the reputation. The reputation is the biggest thing for worldly people, for those who think, “I am this and that,” there is danger. It also becomes a problem for those who have big titles.
Anyway, during the meditation, like this it is necessary to check up. So however, I think this time there is no time to do meditation—however the purification is so important. We have this problem, then what to do, what is the best method? It is actualizing, discovering the nature of the negative mind and stopping the negative mind by ceasing the negative mind and receiving the realization of the different levels of meditations. This depends on purification, so therefore, doing this visualization of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha and doing purification with Guru Shakyamuni Yoga meditation is so important, very important.
Now do the absorption of the throne and the lotus, and the sun and moon gradually absorb into Guru Shakyamuni Buddha and Guru Shakyamuni Buddha comes down onto your head and melts in light. You become oneness with Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. All of a sudden as Guru Shakyamuni is absorbed and you become oneness, all of your wrong conceptions, all the delusions, all your wrong projections, the way you see yourself—all become complete emptiness, like space. Your mind is oneness with Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s holy mind in the form of emptiness and space, feeling infinite bliss. One’s mind that becomes oneness with Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s blissful omniscient mind manifests as the throne, lotus, sun, and moon and in the manifestation of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. You are in the manifestation of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. The whole holy body is just the formation of light, but you feel infinite bliss, very glorious looking, radiating and very transparent, with no resistance. If you feel comfortable, visualize the mantra surrounding and radiating, sending purifying light to all sentient beings. If you feel comfortable, if you are not hurting, if you feel comfortable doing this visualization at the heart then visualize this. If this is not comfortable then send purifying light while your mind which is oneness with Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s holy mind manifests in the form of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, in the form of a monk, in the aspect of a monk, and then you send purifying rays from all the pores of your body, which is visualized as Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s holy body. All sentient beings, without excluding even one sentient being, as there are that many sentient beings, each one receives the purifying rays, the light, purifying all their delusions, subtle obscurations, and all their negative karmas that they have been collecting from numberless previous lifetimes. Then also recite the mantra.
Think that all the sentient beings delusions and even their subtle obscurations and all negative karmas have been completely purified. Think, “Now I have enlightened all sentient beings in the nature of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha.” Visualize that all sentient beings as they are in the manifestation of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. Also think, “Wow I have attained as I motivated.”
Just one question. The very last person, that corner one—I don’t know his name! Why is there is negative mind existing? The corner person, you. What is your idea?
Student: Do you want me to ask the question I asked this morning?
Rinpoche: You asked me, I don’t remember! You, yes, right.
Student: Because of ignorance and because of a lack of consciousness so far. Negative mind exists because of ignorance and ignorance is allowed to exist because of our lack of consciousness. Our actions are reactions.
Rinpoche: What makes the ignorance keep on going? The other side person, is that agreeable? Do you agree with what he says?
Student: I didn’t follow what he said.
Rinpoche: I think you are in deep meditation! I meant to ask you, not him, actually before. Does the ignorance keep on going? Does the ignorance keep on going?
Student: What was the question?
Rinpoche: Does the ignorance keep on going as he says.
[General discussion followed—think it was over who was to answer the question.]
Rinpoche: Actually the first question is to you, but that’s all right. What do you think? Do you have any idea, suggestion, any advice, what do you think? (Points to someone else)
Question: Could you repeat the question?
Rinpoche: Did you hear what he says?
Student: I couldn’t understand it.
Rinpoche: Why is the negative mind existing. Maybe you have a different idea. Did you hear?
Rinpoche: Right, okay.
Student: Because of attachment, delusions, and lack of consciousness.
Rinpoche: Good answer.
Question: But why does ignorance persist, go on?
Rinpoche: Somebody answer.
Student: Because we are attached to ourselves.
Rinpoche: That’s right, good answer.
Student: We are attached to ourselves because of ignorance.
Rinpoche: His answer is right, but how does the attachment make the person ignorant?
Student: Because it doesn’t allow us to see things as they really are.
Rinpoche: Yes, you answer, the other person.
Student: I don’t think it exists. I don’t think there is negative mind.
Rinpoche: That’s really excellent. Very good, you don’t have attachment?
Student: I am not saying that. I am saying ignorance would say there is a self-existent negative mind.
Rinpoche: Self-existent negative mind, you’re saying this doesn’t exist. You mean there is a negative existing, negative mind doesn’t exist?
Rinpoche: So no ignorance exists?
Student: No negative mind.
Rinpoche: What is your negative mind. What is the connotation of your negative mind?
Student: One side in other words is negative as opposed to positive. Is that how you are using negative?
Rinpoche: I am asking your connotation
Student: To me negative implies duality, that there is a mind that’s intrinsically negative and one that is positive. The mind by itself being negative implies a duality.
Rinpoche: The mind that sees duality as negative, is that what you are saying?
Student: Making reference to the negative mind implies a duality.
Rinpoche: I see. So no negative mind exists?
Student: No, only ignorance.
Rinpoche: So no ignorance exists because ignorance and wisdom is duality.
Student: I don’t think one implies the other.
Rinpoche: Same thing with ignorance and wisdom. Is that oneness? I am not talking about negative mind, I am saying ignorance and wisdom, is that oneness? Does the ignorant mind exist?
Student: I have to ask what you mean by ignorance.
Rinpoche: No, whether there is ignorance or not, do you have ignorance?
Rinpoche: What do you mean by your ignorance?
Student: Things I am not aware of.
Rinpoche: So ignorance exists.
Student: By that meaning now.
Rinpoche: You believe ignorance exists?
Student: Yes, and yet that’s my wisdom also.
Rinpoche: Your ignorance is your wisdom.
Student: I could say that.
Rinpoche: Your ignorance is your wisdom.
Student: In understanding my ignorance.
Rinpoche: That’s right, that is different, but your ignorance is not wisdom?
Student: Ignorance itself, no.
Rinpoche: Why ... so isn’t ignorant mind negative mind?
Rinpoche: What do you mean by negative mind? Isn’t impure mind the same thing as negative mind?
Student: I think that’s the way you are using it.
Rinpoche: You don’t have impure mind?
Student: Only my ignorance would say that it’s impure. That’s the ignorance that I have that would think of it as impure or as negative or as evil.
Rinpoche: Your ignorance thinks what is impure. What about your ignorance. Is that pure mind or impure mind?
Student: I don’t put it in that kind of duality, pure or impure.
Rinpoche: No such word.
Student: No, I hear what you are saying.
Rinpoche: So there is no such thing as pure and impure.
Student: On a relative level I am hearing an expression but an absolute one, no.
Rinpoche: I am talking relatively. Relatively is there pure mind and impure mind?
Student: Yes, on a relative level. In other words it’s like muddy water, we can say it’s muddy but not good or bad, relative words.
Rinpoche: So there is no such thing as useful and not useful.
Student: There is that too.
Rinpoche: No such thing as beneficial and non-beneficial?
Student: On a relative level all of these things have functions, have uses as words.
Rinpoche: So there is the benefit of things existing, and the non-benefit of things existing. Is the ignorance beneficial or non-beneficial?
Student: I have never heard it used in that way.
Rinpoche: What do you think?
Student: I believe in an absolute way that it is ignorance that talks about it. In a relative way I could talk about my ignorance, my mind not doing what I want it to do, not doing as I will it, but in an absolute way to talk about negative mind, no.
Rinpoche: You don’t think ignorance is a disturbance to ... you don’t think anger is a disturbance to peace?
Rinpoche: So you believe that anger disturbs peace?
Rinpoche: That’s funny. You believe anger is not useful, not beneficial?
Student: I don’t know about the way you are using it but when I get angry I am not doing what I want to do.
Rinpoche: Is anger disturbing you or not? Does it help you?
Student: It helps me to realize my anger but that’s not the lifestyle that I want.
Rinpoche: So anger is useful to you?
Rinpoche: It helps to realize the anger?
Student: To understand my anger, to be in touch with my anger, to feel my anger, but that’s not the way I like to live.