Kopan Course No. 05 (1973)

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Kopan Monastery, Nepal, 1973 (Archive #027)

These notes are a literal transcription of the teachings given by Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche at the Fifth Kopan Meditation Course, and form an auto-commentary on the course text, The Wish-fulfilling Golden Sun of Mahayana Thought Training.

You may also download the entire contents of these teachings as a PDF file.

Meditation One: Part I: Perfect Human Rebirth (continued)

Day 6
Wednesday November 21
9 a.m.

The great bodhisattva pandit Shantideva, who is living in the achievement of the highest realizations said in his teaching called Following the Bodhisattva’s Actions, “Those who desire to cure hundreds of samsaric sufferings and destroy the unhappiness of other sentient beings, and those who want to enjoy the hundreds of pleasures should never give up bodhicitta, any time, the whole time.”

This means that the best cause to succeed as you wish is the practice of bodhicitta. Since we are the people, the followers, seeking enlightenment, wanting to cure the hundreds of samsaric sufferings, and to destroy other sentient beings’ unhappiness, and wanting to enjoy the hundreds of pleasures and happinesses, the essential method for us is the practice of bodhicitta, the development of bodhicitta. So therefore, it is necessary that the action of listening to the teachings be possessed by bodhicitta. So think, “I am going to listen to the teachings on the graduated path in order to receive enlightenment for the sake of the sentient beings.”

The listening subject about the graduated path, the beginning path, is how the perfect human rebirth is highly meaningful and beneficial. I will make a short repetition of what was done yesterday.

The whole aim is included in two things—temporal result and ultimate result.

The temporal result is such as receiving a perfect human rebirth or taking birth in the realm of those samsaric gods. The upper rebirths are called temporal because it is not definite that those beings will never be born in the lower realms as lower suffering creatures—they temporarily have that body but it is not permanent, just as our human life and the body that we now have is temporary, for a few months, a few years, so it is called temporal. It is a good result but it is still temporal.

Becoming an enlightened Buddha, achieving the enlightened stage is the ultimate result, the final goal.

So, as we have perfect human rebirth received now, in this short time now there is much choice to make the achievement of any of those results. Even the achievement of the highest goal, the ultimate goal, is not possible. It is always possible to achieve the temporal goal, the temporal result by creating good karma in this lifetime.

So totally talking—with this perfect human rebirth one can purify negativity created in many eons, one can make purify negativity, such bad karma as was created in thousands of eons. All this can be purified within the lifetime, in a minute, in an hour, in a second. This is the precious chance that the perfect human rebirth has, and which the other living beings do not have, and which they take twenty eons, ten eons, a long time, depending on the other living being, to purify the negativity created in many thousands of eons. So other samsaric beings such as long life gods, animals, and pretas, and especially the lower samsaric beings such as the beings who are in the narak stages take much longer; it takes an unbelievable length of time to purify. Even the samsaric gods, those who have higher enjoyments, those who only enjoy nectars, do not have the precious possibility that the precious perfect human rebirth has. The negativities that human beings purify within a second, within a minute, for other samsaric beings, such as the samsaric gods, takes many eons to purify. There is much to talk about, but it takes much time to go into details. This is just to give an idea of how valuable the perfect human rebirth is to create quickly the cause of enlightenment.

So it is important, such a chance as this, negativities created in thousands of eons can be purified in a second, a minute, with such practice and such power of mind. There is such chance, but it depends on understanding and practice—understanding is not enough without practice. So therefore, understanding the graduated path is the most important thing, the most beneficial thing. There are details to talk about how it is going into quite profound subjects, but we can understand as we open the door of our mind, the door of our wisdom, as we clear the dirty pot of our mind, slowly. Even if I try to explain now, it could be quite difficult—it may not go through the door. If I mention just the name, such as the guru yoga practice, such as the practice of bodhicitta, those are the main methods by which we can purify the infinite numberless negativities, bad karmas, by us. By practicing so, such infinite negativities can be purified in a second, a minute, or a day—by the guru yoga practice or the practice of bodhicitta. So the whole of this thing depends on your skill—there is such a way but there has to be skill in your practice, there has to be wisdom; it is important to have sharpening, acute wisdom, which understands such practical, powerful methods.

For instance, just as the example in the part of the impulse (Page 43), the benefits of the charity of giving one hand bowl of food to an animal with bodhicitta, and the charity of giving universes of jewels to sentient beings who number the grains of sand in the Atlantic. So like the example that we went through, for example, just one example like that—with this perfect human rebirth and the practice of bodhicitta, that much infinite benefit and purification can be made in such a short time. Giving a hand bowl of food to an animal takes a short time, but the benefits of making that action with such a powerful thought, if you check, are infinite—the benefits of such action are not the object of we ordinary people’s minds; they are beyond the object of our minds. As it brings infinite benefits, it purifies that much negativity created in infinite past lives; and as it purifies, it brings us that much closer to enlightenment. So at this moment we have the possibility to create such benefit with such simple action—it is a very simple action, but the benefits are incredible. If we have a realized mind such as the Enlightened Being has, which fully sees every evolution of karma, the cause and its result, gross and subtle (even in karma there is gross and subtle), sees the result of giving one handful of food to an animal, sees the great happiness of the result that can be received from this—if we could see this it would be an object that gives us a big surprise, because our mind is limited in the knowledge of karma, so we don’t feel anything.

So it is important that while we have the chance, we try not to lessen the chance, that we use the chance in the most meaningful way. It is like this—even if the subject, the person who makes the charity of universe full of jewels to each sentient being, even if he is out of samsara and ignorance, but does not have bodhicitta, his action of charity cannot bring the infinite result that the simple action done with bodhicitta can bring. There is nothing to compare to the action that is created with bodhicitta, the action of charity done with bodhicitta, that great charity. If you think that offering universes of jewels to infinite numbers of sentient beings is incredible charity, even if that is done by a being who is out of samsara but does not have bodhicitta, it cannot compare. The action created by this person is still limited, small, but the object of the bodhisattva who does that charity is one sentient being. So thinking like this is very useful to the mind, and to recognize our jewel, the perfect human rebirth, is helpful.

This subject seems quite simple doesn’t it? Seems quite simple. It all sounds like it’s talking a very simple thing. If it is simple, then as you find it simple it is necessary to practice, until the realization is achieved. Then that is the time that you doesn’t have to depend on effort, effort in the meditation that is realized—then it becomes very simple, after you have realized, it becomes really simple. However, not having this beginning, these basic fundamental realizations of this first meditation, there is no way to have the achievement of bodhicitta. Without having understanding and achieving the practice and realization of this meditation, there is no way to achieve bodhicitta or to realize the suffering nature. Without depending on these basic practices and the realizations of these meditations, there is no way to fully discover the suffering nature. Without fully discovering the suffering nature there is no way to escape from it, to achieve the methods. Having the realization of this meditation is important. But now, just your understanding of the words by reading the book doesn’t mean anything—it doesn’t mean that you have finished the work in the meditation, that is not sufficient. Even if one has achieved realization, still it is necessary to remember the progression, the continual progression, and also to support the other higher realizations. So one should check within one’s mind if one has achieved or not.

The Eight Temporal Needs (Page 49)

1. Craving for the temporal pleasures.
2. From the temporal unpleasant.
8. Which is opposite of praise.

(1). The first one, for example, the pleasure of being warm—a person who is catching cold, craves the pleasure derived from heat, being warm. This is just one example. Another is the temporal pleasure of eating.

(2). The second one is unpleasant, suffering. That is when there is suffering such as feeling hungry or tired, dislike arises because there is craving for temporal pleasure, and the dislike of the temporal suffering, the unpleasant. The actions done for gaining such temporal pleasure and just to stop the temporal suffering are recognized as negative actions because they are created with greed and hatred. They are not created to cut off the cause of suffering or for ultimate pace. Any action that is created with the thought of the eight worldly dharmas (this “Dharma” means just the existence) is a negative action, is the cause of the suffering, and those actions are only created for the temporal life.

It’s like this—when there is the pleasure or warmth we are pleased, when there is the suffering of cold or heat we are not pleased, we are unhappy; when there is some sweet sound such as music, songs, we are happy, we are pleased, but when there is ugly sound, non-interesting sound we are unhappy. When we are receiving materials we are happy when we are not receiving materials we are unhappy.

For instance, the material receiving that goes on at Christmas time (if I talk Tibetan way it is difficult to understand, so I talk in our own way). So when there are gifts received, we are happy, even if it is nonsense, the mind is lifted up, mind is like flying in the wind, in space, the mind is not relaxed. When there are no gifts received the mind is not related, unhappy. All this is based on greed. Because of greed there are all those problems, suffering. If there is no greed there is no way for it to arise. It is all based on greed, craving.

For instance before, when at other people’s party or birthday, you gave them a gift. So next time, at your own party or birthday, if you don’t get gifts from those people you are upset due to the expectation from before and the greed. That is a problem, suffering, based on craving. And the action that you did, giving the gift with such expectation, that also is a negative action because is the action of greed.

And we are happy when we are admired or praised—”You are such good person, having such a good mind.” Anyway when we hear such things from other people we are happy. When there is the opposite, abuse, criticism, putting down, blaming, then we are unhappy. This also is caused by craving. Because there is always craving for praise, personal praise, so as long as there is craving for praise there is always suffering when being abused, when someone is blaming you—there is a problem in the mind, suffering, unhappiness.

So these are some of the things that are our experiences of mind. The reason we are talking about it is to clearly see, to fully recognize. Up to now we haven’t fully seen the suffering result of the actions caused by craving, so we often practice to develop the craving, and we are often involved in the action of craving, greed. Even though we, who talk about, who understand a little bit of Dharma, also who try to meditate, still the mind so easily gets involved in the action of carving and greed and finds it extremely difficult not to be involved to give up the action of greed. That’s because of not having fear of the suffering result of the negative actions—not having enough fear of the result of the thought or the eight temporal needs. So the fear of not having fear is lack of, not having enough faith, of understanding of the evolution of karma, the full understanding of the suffering results of the actions created by the thought of the eight worldly dharmas.

This fear is not negative fear, this is positive fear, useful fear. Many people think fear is negative, all fear, any fear is a distraction, a distraction to one’s pleasure. For instance, fear is needed even in ordinary life. An ordinary example—if a child had no fear of fire burning his body, no fear and no recognition of the problem, the suffering, that the fire would burn, then there’s danger that the child might get into the fireplace or touch the fire. So in order to not have the problem of fire burning the body, causing life danger, fear of that problem is necessary.

Question: Isn’t that desire to be free from the temporal unpleasantness?

Answer: The usefulness of the eight temporal needs depends on thought, the creator. Here this is talking about and using the eight temporal objects with greed, with craving, that which is attached to the happiness of this life.

Like this, for the child it is necessary to have fear, so he doesn’t have that problem—so the fear has to come through understanding. This fear is useful, as it protects from the problems that the fire gives by touching it, by going in there. This is an ordinary example.

Just as in this example, it is necessary to have that positive fear of the suffering result of the actions created by the negative thought, such as craving and greed. This positive fear has to arise through the understanding of the suffering results, the evolution of karma. When there is fear of the suffering result there is fear of the creating actions. As there is fear of these creating actions, there is also fear of the negative mind, also fear of greed. At the same time, there is that much fear of greed, that much fear of ignorance and hatred because that person’s mind, that person’s wisdom, realizes that those are creator of the problems, of the negative actions and the suffering result. So that positive fear protects the person, keeps the person away from following the negative mind.

Just as in this example, if there is an enemy who would kill you, then you often hide from him because of fear. There’s no desire to follow him because of the fear that he would cause problems, that he would kill you. So this fear arises from understanding there is an enemy, the existence of enemy, and what it does to you. Without understanding what the enemy would do to you and what problem the enemy would give you, cause you, and that person is the enemy, without having this understanding, without recognizing this, the person is in danger of being killed by the enemy. If he recognizes the enemy and knows the problem that would be caused, he can run away, escape from that.

The reason we are talking about these things is because by realizing greed, ignorance, and hatred as the negative creator that produces the actions and the suffering result, by discovering this, it brings the desire not to follow them, to create no more actions by those negative minds, and there is desire at the same time not to experience the suffering result that these negative actions bring about. So because of that positive fear, the person always manages to escape from it, to control and destroy those inner enemies. Anyway, totally, the person who does this is making arrangement to approach the ultimate peace; he is guiding himself with his wisdom.

For instance, the great bodhisattva, Tibetan yogi, who is the follower of the great Indian pandit Atisha, who re-established the teaching in Tibet, his closest follower Dromtompa, the emanation of Avalokiteshvara, the Compassionate Buddha, asked his guru the great bodhisattva Atisha, “What result do the actions created by greed, ignorance, and hatred, bring?” The great bodhisattva, pandit Atisha answered, “The actions created with these three negative minds only cause one to be born and suffer in the three lower realms.”

In the same way the result created by the actions of the greed in the pleasures, in the sweet sound, in material possessions, in the praise and admiration, as the great Guru Atisha said, is only to be born and suffer in the three lower realms. This is only an introduction. As we continue practicing the meditations and understand the Dharma with more details, we can see clearly how it works.

(Page 49)

Paragraph Two:

“Samsaric higher pleasures” means pleasures of the gods.

“Everlasting happiness” means the Nirvana that is achieved only for the benefit of oneself, and also, “self everlasting” means individual everlasting happiness. That means (in Sanskrit the term is prati (individual) moksha (nirvana), everlasting happiness is achieved by creating the cause of it by oneself, not by any other person. This makes “individual everlasting happiness,” which makes big sense—the cause of nirvana has to be created by oneself. Without creating the cause for oneself, liberation is impossible to achieve. So the individual nirvana is received through the individual creating its cause. Just this title proves that one person reaching nirvana and someone else creating the cause is impossible, so just to understand the title gives one sense and understanding of karma.

“Self-everlasting happiness:” this does not cause us to circle round in the samsara, but the reason it is here is because using the perfect human rebirth for this alone is still not skillful, is still not the most meaningful way of using the human rebirth, because even if one has the achievement of that, still enlightenment has to be achieved, still enlightenment has to be received, still there are mental defects that disturbs the full realization of every single existence.

So using the precious perfect human rebirth for the eight temporal needs and samsaric higher pleasures only causes us to circle in the six samsaric realms also in the future, as it did in numberless previous lives.

When we meditate on these subjects it is good to use not only the word, but to try to imagine your numberless previous lives as you thinks, try to see, imagine them. Then it is effective—what you suffered in such, what you are thinking becomes effective for your mind.

(As written in the book is not literally correct, re: self-everlasting happiness).

3 p.m.

Any questions?

Question: Could you make the differences between three and seven and four and eight a little more clear please? They seem like a little bit like the same thing. (see Page 49)

Answer: Usually, the object that is viewed by the greed does not exist as it is viewed by the greed. For instance, if there’s a beautiful flower, the flower exists, but it doesn’t exist as it is viewed by the greed.

Number three is craving to hear sweet sounds. This is simple, this is like music, sweet sounds. But the enjoyment of the sweet sound is used for greed, for the happiness of the temporal life. We are not complaining about the object, but we are complaining about the mind, the mind that uses it in a negative way. We are not complaining about the object but about the various mental states, because the problem arises from the different negative mental functions, it is generally created by the different negative mental functions.

For instance, there used to be paintings, many people may have seen them, of the war of the maras, I think, the evil beings, the evil spirits. There’s quite a long story about that:. There are twelve events in Buddha’s life story, and one of the events is controlling or subduing the evil spirits, the evil beings, I think this is mara in Sanskrit. So anyway, in many different ways, this is just one example in many ways the maras, those evil spirits, try to control Guru Shakyamuni, try to destroy him in many ways, in peaceful ways and in violent ways, any way they can think of, they try to destroy him in many ways because they were so scared that if he received enlightenment he would control the whole universe, and control them. So the king of the maras discovered this, and so he told the groups of which he was the king. Then they all went together and agreed to fight, to destroy. And just before the time that Guru Shakyamuni was ready to be enlightened, all of a sudden they filled the whole sky with fog and lightning, throwing thunderbolts. They changed the whole place, sent floods, and it completely became dark, very fearful-looking. Many thousands of them tried to destroy him with many different methods—some carrying mountains, others with wheels which, as you think of killing the person, the wheel just goes naturally and cuts the neck. They tried to destroy him in so many ways, but everything they threw at him transformed into flowers.

So, at the very last, they couldn’t do anything, they couldn’t destroy him in a violent way, so as their last means they transformed in the form of ladies, women, dancing in front of him, trying to show all their beauties, whatever they are. This was their very last smart means that they found to betray Guru Shakyamuni, to disturb his concentration. But anyway his concentration was unshakable, indestructible; no matter how they tried to destroy him—in a violent way surrounded by many thousands of demons, maras with weapons. Even as a last means they tried the peaceful way—but they could never disturb his concentration, his holy body never moved, the maras couldn’t disturb even one single hair of his holy body. For such holy enlightenment beings, there is no problem, you see, nothing could disturb his concentration. Even though they tried to disturb him by showing peaceful transformation, there’s was no problem in Guru Shakyamuni’s holy mind, even not arising an atom, just talking size of greed, no problem.

So therefore, the whole point of what I am talking is that is that the whole problem is created by the mind, the negative mental state. The object itself is not the principal creator of the problem. If that is so, then Guru Shakyamuni, when there were many thousands of Maras trying to control and destroy Him, Guru Shakyamuni couldn’t have overcome all those Maras without moving his body, without moving from his concentration. Without moving mentally from his concentration, he overcame the peaceful disturbance and the violent Mara. He overcame by what ? By the great progressive thought through Dharma practice, the Great Love. So his Great Love has that much power. So his Great Love controlling, stopping all the fearful wars subduing the evil spirits, the evil thoughts, making everything peaceful, the whole thing is done by his Realization, Great Love, without depending on even the slightest movement of his holy body, and mentally not moving from his mental concentration.

Actually, if we are going to compare the power of our world countries and his holy mind, just one mind, great love, one cannot compare. All that power, the power of the material possessions, weapons, all that, can never compare to his great love. His great love has the power to pacify, or make peaceful, the problem, the war, to stop such problems without harming one single thing, without bringing any harm, even the size of an atom, to other living beings.

But the countries, with the power of weapons, no matter how rich it is, how much it is developed, instead of using that for stopping suffering, for stopping war, they harm other beings. Without harming other beings it is impossible to stop the war. So all the power of the countries’ material possessions and weapons, cannot be compared to Guru Shakyamuni’s great love—that power is very limited.

Such holy beings as Guru Shakyamuni, whose minds are well subdued, well cleaned by following the path, never have even one single problem such as greed or hatred. For us ordinary people, if the maras did as they did to Guru Shakyamuni, showing us the different transformations, for us it they will always be problems. Showing such forms as that would cause us problems, as our minds are not well-subdued, not well-trained in the disciplines. Those whose minds are not well-subdued, because the mind is not well-subdued, the object can disturb us whether it is ugly or beautiful. Ugly objects cause hatred to arise, and beautiful objects cause greed and attachment to arise. There is always a problem. For us, when we try to concentrate on one object, even if there are no such distractions as Guru Shakyamuni had, even if everything is quiet, the concentration on the object doesn’t last a minute, even half a minute. The mind is that untrained, that unsubdued.

For Guru Shakyamuni, when there is a sweet sound, a beautiful song, he has no craving for those objects. But we have craving for those objects. They cannot cause greed to arise in Guru Shakyamuni, but they can cause greed to arise in us.

The next one, number seven, personal praise, is the same thing.

Guru Shakyamuni has numberless beings making prostration, admiration, and offering to him. This is the case not only in this specific small world, but also in the worlds of the gods who have such higher enjoyments and great numbers of possessions., Guru Shakyamuni is the object of even those gods. But Guru Shakyamuni has not a single attachment, even the size of an atom, no greed even the size of atom existing in his mind.

We, however, don’t have those infinite beings’ admiration, prostrations, and offerings, but we have difficulty with even one person who says we are good, wise. Anyway, there’s a problem—just a small little thing with one person, and there’s a problem in the mind, attachment arises. Also we think, “He is such a nice person, he tells me I am wise, I am good.” This is common, we often think like this.

And if a person mentions some ugly words, saying that you are cruel, made a mistake, a problem arises in the mind and you dislike the person, and you see the person who is telling you that in a different aspect. This is not something the person changed but arises from the mind projecting another aspect, it is only a projection of your mind. So if someone tells you some bad things it is still good that you cannot see the mind—if you could see the mind it would be terrible. It is good that the mind is formless; otherwise, you know, all of a sudden there is like water boiling, just like that it can happen in the mind, boiling (but water has form) then nerves coming out, nerves getting stronger and more powerful.

So even with one person we have so much problem. Even if he says one good thing, there’s a problem; even if he says a bad thing, there’s a problem. It’s funny. No one forces you to have attachment, no one forces attachment to arise. Why does attachment or hatred easily arise, intuitively arise, so difficult to stop, so difficult to press? Even those who are trying to meditate feel this is bad, but they find it is so difficult to keep it down. So difficult to stop it, and so easy to arise, so simple to arise.

Maybe you people have profound wisdom knowing about this, so what causes this? This is our experience, nothing different, it is not something that we don’t have. If you don’t have the experience then I’m sorry. What makes it?

Answer: The ego?

Rinpoche: Where is the ego—inside or outside the body?

Answer: I think it’s a creation of mind.

Rinpoche: How does the mind create it?

Answer: Our own self-concept, the way we think of ourselves.

Rinpoche: What’s your opinion of yourself?

Answer: Attachment to yourself.

Rinpoche: Attachment to yourself, is that how you create ego?

Answer: Maybe it’s the explanation that the mind gives for our existence here.

Rinpoche: But it exists where?

Answer: Just in the mind.

Rinpoche: It exists in the mind?

Answer: Yes, I think so.

Rinpoche: So all the creation of the mind is in the mind? We are all in your mind. So that object that you see is in your mind?

Answer: My mind creates its perception.

Rinpoche: So perception is ego?

Answer: Yes, I think so.

Rinpoche: I see. So your perception is yourself, is it yourself?

Answer: No, it’s a creation of my mind to explain itself.

Rinpoche: It is yourself because it is your ego. So perception is yourself?

Answer: It’s part of myself that I create.

Rinpoche: So it’s part of yourself. It’s part of you?

Answer: Yes.

Rinpoche: So, then part of you is perception? Not all of you, it is part of you. So where is the half of you, the rest?

Answer: Oh! In non-perception.

Rinpoche: Is that mind or body?

Answer: Mind.

Rinpoche: So that is perceiving mind. What is non-perceiving mind?

Answer: (No answer)

Rinpoche: So what do you say ?

Answer: The fact that you have a body is also part of perceiving. The mind cannot perceive if it is not in a body or something. It has to perceive from and it can’t be formless.

Rinpoche: What! Something is going on? He said without form the mind cannot perceive objects. How?

Answer: Are we making a reflection of ourselves somewhere, I don’t know how?

Rinpoche: But the reflection you are making, is that body or mind? Anyway, it doesn’t matter. But who said the ego created the cause that the delusion, the negative mind are so easy to arouse and so difficult to stop. So who obliged the ego to create the cause?

Answer: Isn’t the ego the negative mind, the same thing?

Rinpoche: So I am asking who obliges it? ... Who created the ego?

Answer: My mind.

Rinpoche: Isn’t your mind created by ego?

Answer: I don’t think so.

Rinpoche: Then who created your mind?

Answer: My mind is beginningless.

Rinpoche: Didn’t your mind start at the same time as the two blood combinations?

Answer: No.

Rinpoche: Doesn’t your body begin from it, those two blood combinations?

Answer: Perhaps my body began with beginningless mind.

Rinpoche: Then mind began from something, yes?

Answer: My physical brain began from a physical union of sperm and egg, but my mind is beginningless.

Rinpoche: Didn’t your mind begin from something?

Answer: It couldn’t have.

Answer: Perhaps the question isn’t very important.

Rinpoche: But this is important to know to practice the meditation and to stop our suffering. What causes the arising of the delusion so easily and why is it so difficult to stop it? No one gave a practical answer.

Answer: Ignorance.

Rinpoche: Yes, but why it’s so difficult to stop?

Answer: It’s caused by self-cherishing mind, which creates the ego.

Answer: Because of our past karma that has arisen since beginningless time, due to our past lives’ attachment.

Rinpoche: A similar example, another question. Why do people find it difficult to stop sexual intercourse?

Answer: Could you repeat the question?

Rinpoche: No question ... Why do people find it difficult to stop smoking or sexual intercourse?

Answer: Because they’re not aware of the consequences of the act, they have no fear.

Rinpoche: Yes.

Answer: Because they don’t want to stop.

Rinpoche: It becomes something like this—they don’t want to stop because they are not afraid of the consequences. It’s quite nice, but I’m still not satisfied. Why is it so difficult?

Answer: Ignorance is beginningless—ignorance causes it now, and that comes from previous ignorance.

Rinpoche: Yes. Anyway, good answers. Why is it extremely difficult? Because such action has been created in numberless previous lives, this relates to beginningless ignorance.

We have strong habit as the action was created in beginningless previous lives, so therefore in this lifetime, even one trying to meditate, to practice Dharma finds extremely difficult to diminish it, control it, make it close. That’s why people have problems, being unable to cut off the habit all of a sudden. Also ... this is reason why it takes time for the mind to become oneness with Dharma, not to be separated from Dharma, why the mind doesn’t become pure, sincere. It is because of the habit of the delusions from beginningless lifetime, and the habit of following the negative mind since beginningless lifetimes. It is difficult to control it and for the mind to be pure and sincere. “Pure and sincere” mind means mind that is devoid of the thought of the eight worldly dharmas. That is pure mind, sincere mind, that is oneness with Dharma. This mind is oneness with Dharma, this mind is called sincere. Sincere practitioner from the Dharma point of view is the person whose mind is devoid of the thought of the eight worldly dharmas. This sincere, pure mind, is the real Dharma, this is the most important fundamental of enlightenment and the whole path. If we want to follow the different levels of path and enlightenment this is the fundamental pure ground.

For example, if the person wants to build elevator to go to the moon, the person cannot build the elevator without something to depend on. Without ground the person cannot build the elevator to go to moon. So if you want to go to the moon by this elevator it is necessary to build the elevator on a base. This pure mind is like the base, it is extremely important as the base for the elevators. The path is like the elevator. I think I saw many times in hotels, you can go round and you can go straight; also there are stores like this. The elevator that takes you straight up, that is the shortcut, the tantric path. The steps on which you go round is like following the paramita path, without following the tantric Path, going round on the steps, going up slowly so that you can reach the moon—following the Hinayana or Mahayana path without following the tantric path is like the person taking that way, trying to reach the moon by going up the steps. The person who practices tantric path is like going up quickly in an elevator. But the person who goes to the moon by elevator has to be in that room, in that shaft. Without the shaft he cannot go by elevator; it depends on the shaft. Because the elevator is inside, going in an elevator depends on going in the shaft—just as people following the tantric path, the shortcut to enlightenment, depend on the fundamental Mahayana practice that starts from guru yoga practice and the perfect human rebirth.

Now, this is important. The person who takes the elevator and the person who goes to the moon by taking the steps, both have to be the first ground. From there both people go up. But the very first place is on the ground. In the same way, having the pure mind that is devoid of the thought of the eight worldly dharmas is like the ground. All who practice Hinayana, Mahayana, and tantra should have achievement of this pure thought devoid of evil, devoid of the eight worldly dharmas.

If the subjects, these teachings, causes the negative mind to arise in place of decreasing and destroying it, there is no reason to take the meditation course. If you are experiencing this, if you discover this, then better to leave right away. Also, I have no other Dharma to give to you that wasn’t taught by Guru Shakyamuni. If you are experiencing something else then you can go elsewhere.

First cultivate pure impulse, to perform the action in a virtuous way. Think, “I am going to practice the meditation on the graduated path to enlightenment myself for the benefit of sentient beings.”

Visualize Guru Shakyamuni, with the rays coming out of his holy body and absorbing you and purifying your obscurations and mental defilements, such as the wrong conceptions of the self-existing “I” and self-cherishing thoughts, and the dualistic mind, dualistic vision. All those mental defilements are instantly purified in your body just as a light dispels darkness in a room. Also, your mental defilements disappear in the form of darkness. Visualize the defilements in the form of darkness and that they completely disappear into the rays, which in essence is Guru Shakyamuni’s great knowledge, compassion, and supreme powers.

Then after the mantra, do the breathing meditation, and then meditate on the perfect human rebirth and the usefulness of the perfect human rebirth by remembering the ultimate results and the different temporal results.

Those who can’t meditate on this, who didn’t receive explanation on this, who have no idea of this, if possible, do the breathing meditation. If you cannot, then rather than waste time, try to check up, make research on how you perceives your own “I—” what it looks like, how you see it. This is simple, you don’t need books since all animate beings have the conception of the “I.” It is something every being has and thinks of.

But these who received explanation on the graduated path, better to meditate on that at the moment.

Day 7
November 22

The thought to benefit through bodhicitta covers all living sentient beings. Even parents, even Brahma, the gods called Laxmi or Vishnu do not have such knowledge, such power. Even these samsaric gods who have much power, many enjoyments, do not have this beneficial knowledge or power that benefits, or covers, all living beings. So the benefits of any action that is created with such pure motive, bodhicitta always cover every number of sentient beings, as your impulse imagined and planned. The action done with that motive is for every and all sentient beings. Just as that person who creates such action with this pure motive benefits the numbers of sentient beings, so the benefit is infinite.

For instance, if you really deeply think and aim to create the action of listening to teachings, one hour of work, for sentient beings, and you think like this strongly and purely, not only just words—for instance, that includes all of us, so even if one person in one hour creates benefits from each of those, for example if there are 190 something, then the person creates benefits from each person, from each object, each living being here. When we think of “here” we think a lot, think great numbers because we see the number, but when we say “sentient beings” it doesn’t make any sense, like this. Anyway, even by projecting, creating the action for each sentient being that includes all of us, that includes all American people, that includes the whole country, the whole society, nothing is missing, no government is missing, no society is missing, it is done with impartial mind, no enemy is missing—it includes all beings, including all those here. So when we think of the benefits from each person we think a lot, but it’s really nothing. So since bodhicitta has that great benefit try to cultivate pure motive, thinking; “I am going to listen to teachings on the graduated path to enlighten all other sentient beings.”

We have to train from now on, as we have the time, as we exist now. Little by little, from this the progression can be made. This is not something that your mind received, all of a sudden, not something you received in your mind suddenly.

So the listening subject is on the graduated path, on the subject of “How the Perfect Human Rebirth is Useful (Page 49).”

This is very important in order for us to know clearly about the eight worldly dharmas. If you don’t fully know, discover, recognize, there is no way to make pure Dharma practice; if you don’t recognize the thought of the eight worldly dharmas that we create in our mind, there is no way to become a pure Dharma practitioner—this is the root of the Dharma. The avoidance of the thought of the eight worldly dharmas is the root of the Dharma, the essential Dharmas; this is essential Dharma.

The knowledge of avoiding the thought of the eight worldly dharmas is infinite, if you talk about knowledge. It is very important to know this, not only the words but to recognize it in your mind—what is written on the paper are not your feelings. Feeling is within the mind, not on paper. So this is the introduction of what we have in our mind. It is not because we don’t have, but because we don’t recognize. So it is an introduction to ourselves—it sounds funny.

The practice of avoiding the eight worldly dharmas is really the root, the main power that brings the ultimate peace, the cessation of suffering and enlightenment. This is the principal power, and this has the power to solve not only the present life’s problems but it has the power to solve the problems of many future lives.

For instance, if I tell briefly how it works—a person avoids the thought of the eight worldly dharmas (avoiding the eight worldly dharmas means avoiding the thought of the eight worldly dharmas), such as evil thoughts toward worldly objects. But such feelings as hating the cause of suffering, wanting to renounce the cause of suffering—those are okay, those are not a mistake, those are necessary to have. Without having the feeling of hate for the cause of suffering, there is no dislike of the cause of suffering. Then there is no fear of the cause of suffering. Then the person doesn’t take the cause of suffering as a negative thing, as the enemy. Then the person doesn’t try to destroy it.

Same thing, just like this—if there are two friends, this friend, the other person, as long as this person sees him, takes him in the place of friend, he never gives harm, and always tries to help him. But when the situation is changed, when he becomes enemy, then he wants to destroy him, because he discovers him to be the cause of problems, sufferings, and recognizes him, because he desires peace, to be away from suffering. So this person seeks method with which to destroy him. This person’s destroying the enemy is based on hate. So this makes the person destroy him, and there is no more creator of the harmful actions which he receives, therefore he no longer receives harmful actions.

This is an ordinary example, something that we have been doing since beginningless lifetimes. But we being human beings we are not supposed to do this. We have to discover the cause of suffering and see it as the principal enemy, and as it is recognized, we have aversion to the cause of suffering. Then the person seeks the method to destroy the cause of suffering, the principal enemy. But this is not something that is in the other person’s mind—it is something that exists in my mind and it is worthwhile to have aversion toward it. Actually, you are trying to achieve ultimate peace by destroying the enemy that is in your mind, without harming other sentient beings, even an atom. This is the wisest way, the most beneficial way to gain ultimate peace.

With the ordinary example, trying to make oneself happy by harming other beings, the path of receiving ultimate peace is blocked, it is impossible. It is like this example—for instance a person, a businessman, wants to get jewels from a specific place underneath the ocean, for instance, in part of the East. So instead of shipping to the East, he is shipping to the West, in the wrong direction, where he cannot find any jewels, which only causes him to get exhausted. No matter how many eons he spends shipping around he can never get jewels. Besides not finding jewels, it can only cause him to get tired and exhausted, unsuccessful, and only cause problems.

Just like this example, in this ordinary way, by harming others there is no way to gain ultimate peace. And achieving ultimate peace in your mind without harming other beings even a tiny atom is the holy path, this is the path of the holy beings. There are many degrees, levels, and meanings of “holy” according to Buddhadharma. Anyway, the holy, ultimate peace has to be achieved by your own holy mind, and that holy mind has to be achieved through the practice of the holy teaching.

So you see, what I mean is this—people may think, “He says aversion is good, hatred is good,” without understanding the different points. One may get the wrong understanding, but it is not like this. I am not saying all aversion and hatred is good. There is need for hatred for the cause of suffering, for ignorance. That aversion, that hatred always helps oneself, because that aversion brings fear, and that aversion or fear is the cause of suffering, and this always causes one to try to escape away from it.

But what is missing with us? We often have aversion or hatred for the temporal sufferings that we recognize with our limited mind. But we don’t have aversion for all sufferings, for the cause of suffering; this is missing. Because there is no such energy—aversion for the cause of suffering—that is missing, so therefore we, our minds, still have not approached such a low level of mind, the renouncing mind, the mind renouncing samsara. Since Guru Shakyamuni, countless beings reached enlightenment by following the path, but we, not achieving the aversion for the cause of suffering, have not even approached the low level of renunciation of samsara. The mind is completely empty, not having any achievement; besides being empty, it is dirty. Perhaps not yours, but mine is.

So now you understand how it is. Not having aversion gives us this problem—not having aversion for the cause of suffering, but only for the gross suffering that is perceived by the limited mind. So this aversion is the cause of suffering—why? The proof is this—we have had aversion for the temporal problems and sufferings for countless lifetimes, but we are still not out of samsara, out of the circle of death and rebirth, so this proves that only aversion doesn’t help. By discovering this in this lifetime, we have to change our old mind, our old thoughts. You see, the person who has aversion for the cause of suffering, even if there are temporal problems, he does not find much problem with it, it is not a big shock to him. The person who has deep understanding of the evolution of samsara, of suffering, strong aversion to suffering, doesn’t find the temporal suffering a big shock.

Question: Would you repeat that please?

Answer: I will never repeat!

As I told you before, this person knows he is in samsara, he is not free from that, he knows because of the cause of suffering that he has created, and of course it is definite that he will experience the result. And he knows it is not new for that person, any temporal problem that arises is not new for his mind, and knows that as long as he is in the circle of samsara, he will have to experience as he experienced countless times before, that it is something that is only created by him. And in place of worrying over it, disturbing his mind, causing conflict in his mind, the temporal problems help him, become useful to his practice. Because as he has temporal problems, he thinks deeply of the cause of suffering and it causes stronger aversion to arise, to cut off the cause of suffering. It becomes beneficial to him, and because of his understanding he takes the situation in a useful way, he makes the situation useful with his understanding of the suffering nature of samsara. So he doesn’t get a big shock, great worry, as we ordinary worldly people do.

There is a big difference between the feeling of this person who has deep understanding of the suffering nature living in the practice, and the person who has no understanding of the Dharma, even if the situation is the same. For instance, imagine that both these persons lost their possessions, that they were stolen by other people. The confliction for the practitioner is so small, but for the person who has no understanding of the evolution of the suffering, of the nature of samsara, in this person’s mind the problem is much bigger. For him it is a big shock. One thing is that it has happened unexpectedly, secondly, he has lack of practice, sincere practice, and the deep understanding of suffering nature. Especially for this person, his thinking of the problem makes his mind more sick, but for the other it only helps his practice, especially for the person who is living in the practice of avoiding the thought of the eight worldly dharmas. For this practitioner, whose mind is not involved in the thought of the eight worldly dharmas, for this person however the situation changes, either good or bad, it doesn’t cause his mind to change. For ordinary people, as the situation changes the mind changes; as the situation is good, the mind is happy, as the situation is bad, the mind gets sick. The person who is living in avoidance of the thought of the eight worldly dharmas, however the situation changes, doesn’t change his mind—it never causes his mind to go up and down because of his practice and his understanding. So his mind is always at the same level.

Before there is one proverb, called Dawa Tragpa. There was a person who worked as a servant for a family for a long time. Every month he got a small quantity of grain as his salary. So he worked for the family, and after one year of collecting small amounts of grain, he had a sack. He came back home thinking he had enough and hung the sack of grain from the ceiling. It was nighttime and he thought, “Now I am so rich.” This was because he had a big sack of grain that he had collected as his salary from the family. He thought, “What can I do?” and made plans for his life. “I will marry, then I will have a child. What name should be given to the child?” He couldn’t think of a name for a long time. Then later, moonlight shone through his window, and he thought, “So the child should be called Dawa Tragpa (Moon-Famous). He was extremely pleased to have found a name, so he stood up and danced, waving a stick around, and the stick got caught up in the sack, which then fell on him and killed him. So no marriage, his life ended before that. In place of enjoying what he worked for that whole year… So it happened that way.

What I am talking is this—this is just one example, but something similar to that has happened to us many times. Totally, the problem is caused by craving pleasure. This is also a problem: we think, for instance, he was extremely pleased at finding such a beautiful name, his mind was uplifted so much, and besides the mind even the body couldn’t relax. Actually this is also a problem because that is craving for pleasure, pleasure to have such a life, and to have name for the child.

So we should be careful; sometimes things like that can happen. You see, because, as I said before, in the ordinary example, how the situation changes his mind. Before the example it may have sounded like talking in space, but with the example—his mind found a good situation, marriage, a fantastic name for his child, so the situation changed his mind—because of the craving, the greed for temporal pleasure. If there was no greed, no greed for temporal pleasure, the situation could not change his mind. Before, he was lying down, thinking, relaxed; then, because he thought of such a good situation, due to craving, greed for temporal pleasure, the situation changed his mind and that’s what happened. There are many other examples.

So anyway, both are problems for us ordinary people—when there is no pleasure or when we meet temporal pleasure. When we hear sweet sound, words, receive materials, receive praise or admiration, we are happy in these things, because of these situations. The happiness that arises from these situations is suffering, because this happiness arose because of the craving for those situations, for temporal pleasures, sweet sounds, receiving things, personal admiration. That is also a problem. That happiness that occurred from greed is attachment to those four objects. That is a problem, that is suffering, mental suffering. The suffering that we do not recognize is this, and we think it is happiness—real peace.

Question: What about playing musical instruments?

Answer: But you still hear? Maybe you play without hearing?

If we want to practice Dharma, what we should discover is this—the happiness that arises all of a sudden, when the situation changes, is from greed for temporal pleasures. That is a problem, that is a mental conflict. That is one problem. Another problem is easier to recognize, but that one is difficult to recognize. People who sincerely practice Buddhadharma have to recognize it. They take this happiness that is derived from greed as a problem, as suffering, not as real peace—that which the worldly people not living in Dharma practice think is real peace. They think they are really happy. For example, if they see a friend to whom they are attached, they think, “I am so happy, I received peace.” The person thinks it is real happiness, real peace, but it is not, that mind is in confusion. This happiness does not arise by diminishing greed, this happiness is not derived by fighting or by destroying negative mind, this happiness arises by working for greed, following greed, by being friends with greed. So anyway, the person who meets his friend has temporal happiness, temporal pleasure; this is not true happiness.

So, the easy thing, the easy problem that we can recognize is the mental problem, unhappiness, when we meet suffering, dislike, when we meet ugly displeasing words, the dislike when we do not receive things, unhappiness because of criticism or abusing, other people putting you down. Those four dislikes and unhappinesses are easy for us to recognize as the problem, but the other four we do not recognize as a mental problem.

It is totally like this—craving for the temporal pleasures always cheats oneself, deceives oneself, never helps to achieve the ultimate peace. But the craving for ultimate peace always helps. There is big difference between craving for ultimate peace, everlasting happiness, and the craving for temporal happiness—just as the aversion for suffering is much less useful than aversion for the cause of suffering; this builds energy for the practice. As a rocket needs fuel, such aversion for the cause of suffering creates energy, which is like fuel, to make the high effort to receive enlightenment. So like this, craving for temporal pleasures, caused by greed for temporal objects, doesn’t help, only cheats oneself, only creates suffering. And as long as one follows it, it causes the being only to produce negative actions, because as the person creates negative actions, he is causing suffering, so he cheats himself, he is putting himself in the suffering prison, in the suffering cycle of death and rebirth which is the real prison.

As we talked about yesterday, it is necessary to avoid habit, actions, and behavior that are produced by negative mind, which animate beings find extremely difficult to avoid, to stop even if we think they are negative. These are disturbance to our ultimate peace, but we find it very difficult to stop the action. That is because we don’t fight enough against the craving for temporal pleasure, the craving for those objects. We doesn’t fight enough, we are not strong against that. So even though we think it is necessary to stop, even if we want to stop but finds it difficult, that is because of the craving that we have been habituated to for beginningless lifetimes. This strong craving controls the person and obliges the person to continue producing the negative actions, negative actions that only bring suffering result. So therefore, this is how craving for temporal pleasure only causes the problem.

It is important to understand that the craving for temporal pleasure causes suffering, and that the desire for liberation never cheats you. What we want is ultimate peace—everlasting, unchanging, imperishable happiness—and not to experience suffering. So therefore, it is necessary to follow the path. To follow the path it is necessary to have the wish, the desire, which builds energy to follow the path. We think all desire, all wish, is bad, negative. We think we should cut all desire, that all desire is negative. But the point is that what we want is ultimate happiness—not receiving ultimate peace is not what we want. So therefore to have the wish, the positive desire, for that result and the path is necessary. Thinking all desire is negative only blocks us from seeking the path and ultimate peace.

The great realized pandit, the Madhyamaka philosopher called Nagarjuna restored the sutra and tantra teachings of the Mahayana to prevail extensively in India when they had degenerated. This great pandit lived 400 years. Anyway, he said, “It is better not to have the itching than to have the pleasure of scratching.”

If there is no itching there’s no need to scratch and so no need to make a wound. This is the example, and the meaning is this—it is better not to have the desire for worldly objects than to have the objects of worldly desire. The thing is this, you don’t find your problem from the object if you don’t have desire in your mind, such as the problem of attachment that arises from meeting and contacting the object. This conflict arises because there is desire existing in your mind, the creator, so if there is no desire in your mind there is no way for the problem to arise from meeting the object, and there is no problem. So therefore, giving up the eight worldly dharmas does not mean making these eight objects non-existent. Avoiding the eight worldly dharmas means avoiding the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas. If the thought of the eight worldly dharmas is avoided, no problem. If this evil thought is avoided, given up, and renounced, then there is no problem with the pleasure, and when the pleasure decreases, no problem.

When there is interesting sound, there is no craving, no problem. Even if he hears sweet sounds, there is no craving. Even if he is surrounded by all the possessions that exist in the world, even he has all these possessions, for his mind there is no trouble, no problem of craving, no conflict. For the person who is living in the avoidance of the eight worldly dharmas, there is no way for attachment to arise. For the great yogi, Milarepa, even if he had all the possessions that exist in the world offered to him, there would be no problem in his mind such as the ordinary person would experience. He would have no problem, not any problem—the situation would never change his mind. Beings such as this great yogi always have their minds in a happy state, in peace, which cannot be destroyed by external conditions. But for us, when we are happy—an hour, a day—it always changes, it never lasts, because that happiness arises from the situation, not from the mental control, so it doesn’t last. For instance, one person—first of all he respects you, admires you, and praises you. As he praises you, your mind is lifted up, is happy. Then later on as he blames you, your mind is in suffering. This is not because of the mental control, but it is derived from the situation—our mind power is limited that much, happiness doesn’t last.

The happiness of those pure practitioners, like Milarepa, is not like that. Their happiness arises from mental control, the very first, the very root practice, the fundamental practice—avoiding and controlling the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas. This is the very root, like the first fundamental.

Their happiness always arises from mental control, so instead of changing into suffering their mental peace develops greater and greater, higher and higher. The very first Dharma that those great yogis practiced makes them pure practitioners—that is avoiding the thought of the eight worldly dharmas. The very first practice caused them to become pure Dharma practitioners, pure Dharma people by the practice of avoiding the eight worldly dharmas. So now, the whole point is this—as they did this, for us, as long as life is following or involved in the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, our life is not a pure Dharma life, that person is not a Dharma person. So the definition is made by the practice.

Everywhere in the country, in the world, in the West, many people meditate but still do not understand what the real Dharma is. So even though one does meditation the life is wasted—the life is wasted. Why it is not Dharma even though they spend most of the time in meditation? Because of not having understanding, real understanding, of the suffering nature; not having understanding of the cause of the suffering and of suffering, and of the difference between positive and negative actions. The mind is not aware of these subjects, which are really the most important things to be discovered for the ultimate peace. They think only that the meditation, sitting in some position, is a good action, is a cause that brings peace, but in fact it is the opposite. So that person, those people who meditate but don’t have the wisdom of understanding these important subjects, how do they waste time and life? Because most of their daily life, even the meditation they do for a few minutes or some time, becomes a servant to the eight worldly dharmas, which they think is the cause of ultimate peace.

Like these flies, when they see the light they think it is some good place that will not burn their bodies, they have no fear. If they had fear they wouldn’t jump on purpose. No matter how much we try to stop them, they try much harder to get inside. This tells the mind-nature, animal-mind nature. Anyway, these insects, these creatures, have only the expectation of peace, happiness. They have no desire to suffer, they didn’t plan this for suffering. Why do they goes there? That is because of the lack of fear. Lack of fear is due to the lack of understanding that if they go there it will cause problems to them, lack of understanding of this. It is completely different from the way these creatures think—the fact is that he dies, gets burnt; he forces himself. It is very important to try to discover what makes the animal to do this—this is the real science, the best way of studying science.

So why does animal go there on purpose? The animal, from his side, tries his best to get there quickly there—this is caused by ignorance, by the living being himself, his own ignorance, the mental obscuration of ignorance that stops him from discovering the situation. It is hot and it will burn, and the obscuration, the ignorance makes the animal think in different ways, to perceive things in different ways from the fact. So that’s how, because of this deeply ignorant mind, the body goes there and gets burnt, but some people may think that the animal is enjoying there—can be possible—that he is happy, no suffering there. I am sure there are many people. It is true, because after he goes into the fire, into the lamp, there is no way to escape, in one second he gets burnt. But if we think in this way, that the animal is enjoying there—if he discovered that it is hot before he got burnt, before his legs got burnt, he would run away.

Question: But sometimes they get a bit burnt, and then fall out and go back in?

Answer: You mean they enjoy it there?

Question: Do they forget quickly?

Answer: It’s possible. We also do the same. There are many examples.

The reason I am bringing this example of the lower creature ignorantly bringing suffering to himself is because we people also do many actions like that, that only create suffering. There are many people, also in the West, who think that they are creating the cause of ultimate peace, meditating, sitting in a certain posture; but actually they are creating the cause of suffering, just like these lower creatures.

There’s no way to fully discover, to correct the actions without discovering negative and positive actions—which is the cause of suffering, which is the cause of ultimate peace. That depends on discovering the karmic concatenation. That depends on discovering the existence of the past and future lives. That depends on beginningless mind.

Many people think they know suffering, “Why there is need to talk of so much suffering?” They think they are aware of suffering but they continually work creating cause of suffering. That’s due to not discovering the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas is the cause of suffering, is the creator of suffering. What I mean is, many people think they know the suffering so clearly that there is no need to tell, to talk much about suffering; but the mind is in problem, in the thought of the eight worldly dharmas—when the mind meets an object confusion arises.

I think some people don’t understand in regards the different desires—that which should be avoided and that which is needed, what one should have and what one shouldn’t have. I think we talked a little in the morning, but some people didn’t understand about this.

So the negative desire, that which should be avoided, is the desire for temporal pleasures, the pleasures of this life, only the pleasures of this life, because this desire is the creator of suffering, and just as the desire itself is so, so too is any action that is done for temporal happiness.

The desire, the wish, for enlightenment, ultimate peace, the path, is necessary to have, because that wish makes the person follow the path and achieve the ultimate goal, ultimate peace and enlightenment, peace and enlightenment. For this it is necessary to have the desire, the wish to eradicate the cause of suffering. If there is no willingness, wish, or desire to eradicate the cause of suffering, there’s no energy or wish or desire to follow the path and achieve the ultimate goal. So also, the great usefulness of talking much about suffering, and deeply understanding to clearly see, fully discover the nature of suffering, is this: the clearer and more deeply we see the nature of suffering, the greater the aversion that arises is; and the greater the aversion that arises, that much stronger the desire to reach the ultimate goal to seek the path will arise as well.

Just as in the example, as there is stronger aversion, dislike, for living in the West, as there is that much stronger aversion, not that much interest, feeling disgust, so as there is that much aversion, dislike, there is that much stronger desire to be in the East. So there is that much stronger desire to follow the path to reach the East. So as there is that much stronger aversion, there is the stronger desire to reach the East more quickly. So in that way we take the short cut, the short path, by airplane or something, and we comes to the East more quickly. Totally, what makes us get to the East is our desire. This is just an example. There is a choice to relax or to do things as we wish. So just as that desire is useful for us, having desire for the ultimate goal, for the path, is always useful, always helps, never cause harm to oneself or any other beings, so that’s why it is positive.

So anyway, I want to end this conversation.

In Tibet, in ancient times, one ascetic yogi saw a man who wanted to practice Dharma but didn’t know how to do it. This yogi advised him to practice Dharma. At first that man thought it meant going around the stupa. Then one day he met the yogi who still said, “Practice Dharma.” So the thought that going around the stupa was not practicing Dharma and he started to read books. Again one day he saw the yogi who told him, “Practice Dharma,” so then he started to meditate. And again one day he saw that yogi who still said, “Practice Dharma.” So finally he asked the yogi, “What do you mean ‘Practice Dharma?’” The yogi answered. “Renounce this life.” That was his only answer. So that what is missing in his actions, in his mind.

What this great yogi means is this—this is important to know. It does not mean you escape from this world, leave everything, this entire earth and go somewhere. “Give up this life” does not mean that. One can give up this life even if he possesses all the possessions that exist in the world. So leaving this world is not giving up this life. Your body just being out of your country does not mean giving up this life. Just your body being out of your home does not mean giving up this life. Even if one has no possessions, only the body, living in the cave, it does not mean giving up this life. Then it would be like this—if it depended on the body, on the body separating from something, if it depended on exterior separation, then every time we die we are giving up, because the mind goes away from that body, and that would be giving up this life. At that time there is nothing to give up because the life is finished. There are many other formless beings who haven’t given up their present life. So it doesn’t depend on physical things. It is only mental change. Some young people, when they were coming from the West, they read Milarepa’s book, but because they didn’t have the understanding of giving up this life, how to practice Dharma. So they read this book, but giving up this life includes too much knowledge—it is the foundation of all tantric practice. They see so many powers that one can receive, that one does not have to depend on things. So they thought just giving up possessions was giving up this life, so they just throw them away. After, because of the lack of wisdom, not understanding the real giving up of this life, the person gets into problems. This means that the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas is still there, it is kept in the best way. So that is taken in the best care. So the person always misses things, the mind gets into more and more problems thinking how to get them back again, worrying. So it doesn’t work that way, this way of giving up this life. This is some student’s story, but it is useful for us to understand. See, so the problem continues because there is continually this evil thought.

So what is the actual meaning of giving up this life? That is giving up the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, the eight temporal needs. That is the mental meaning of giving up this life, renouncing this life. No matter even if a person doesn’t look like a monk, no matter how he looks—freaky looking or straight looking—it doesn’t matter. If his mind is living in the avoidance of the eight temporal needs, he is a pure Dharma person, he has pure Dharma mind.

So, the first Dharma practice—if you want to be practitioner, the first is this—practice the avoidance of the eight worldly dharmas. To the person whose mind is in the practice of the avoidance of the eight worldly Dharma, this mind often produces pure actions, always action is created against the negative mind. And those actions created with pure mind continually make the life meaningful, no matter how his outer form looks.

One person tries to become king, with a mind not living in avoidance of the eight worldly dharmas, and another person spends his life in the most meaningful way, which helps for many future lives. The person who wants to become king, whose mind is in the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, even if he becomes king, it is not the most useful way of spending his life. His becoming king and having many possessions is the result of the previous good karma—what this person is doing is only using the result of his previous good karma, he is not making any arrangements for the future life, not making his present life meaningful, trying to bring bigger advantage, he is only using it to finish the result, the enjoyments which come from previous karma, instead of working for meaningful ways to make him better, to escape from suffering.

So this problem is something that we have now within our mind, and they often arise, often come in daily life. They are always within our mind, they often arise in our daily life. So it is necessary, it is important to be conscious of our own emotion and feelings, and as this thing arises we should treat it as we discover this problem arising; with our skill we should try to stop it arising. In this way we guide, we help ourselves, protect ourselves without relying on another person’s help. In this way, we become the savior to ourselves, saving ourselves from problems. And also, we should know that as we are receiving different objects, as they are coming, we should be aware of what effect it has on the mind, what affects it.

Actually it is very fortunate to know this border, the border between what is Dharma and what is non-Dharma, what is Dharma action and what is non-Dharma action, what is Dharma mind and what is non-Dharma mind. Through these subjects we can understand these borders. So how much we suffer during this course, feeling cold, hungry, tried, pains, depends on the person, but we have spent this much life, finished this much life, and since we were born until now we haven’t discovered this, the border. Many times we had the desire to do some good things, but didn’t have the understanding. Many times we made mistakes, trying to meditate, many things. So I think it is very fortunate to know this border between what is Dharma action and what is non-Dharma action. With only understanding of this, even if the person doesn’t understand the other subjects, it is worthwhile to spend the time at the course and experience the suffering. It is like opening a big eye.

6 p.m.

Check your own thoughts—check if the mind is attached, if the present thought is attached to the happiness of the temporal life, if it is one of the evil thoughts for one of the objects from the eight worldly Dharma. Also check up, “For what reason am I going to meditate?”, what your thoughts thinks. If the thought is more concerned with the happiness of the temporal life, it is negative. If the thought is more concerned with escaping from the evil thoughts or avoiding the evil thoughts of the eight worldly dharmas, and receiving enlightenment, ultimate peace, this thought is positive.

Now think, “I am going to meditate on the graduated path to enlightenment only for the benefit of sentient beings,” thinking more of sentient beings, thinking more of other living beings than yourself, taking other beings as more important than yourself.

Then do the visualization of Guru Shakyamuni, with white rays coming out of his holy body purifying your mental defilements, and do this purification with light coming from his holy body during the recitation of the mantra.

Then meditate on the breathing.

Then meditate on perfect human rebirth, checking what you have and what you have missing. As much as you have, try to rejoice as much as possible. If you have some missing, then you have to think you will create the causes to receive a perfect human rebirth again.

After that, then meditate on how the perfect human rebirth is highly meaningful by remembering the different results that can be achieved through Dharma practice in this perfect human rebirth, what higher actions can be created with this perfect human rebirth that other samsaric beings cannot create.

Then those persons who didn’t receive explanation on this, either meditate on breathing or concentrate on your own “I,” the self—how you perceive it, how you see it.

Those who received the explanations on the graduated path meditate on those.

Dedication of merits (Page 156):

Ge. Wa. Di. Yi. Nyur.Du. Dag
La. Ma. Thub. Wang. Dub. Gyur. Ne
Do. Wa. Chig. Kyang. Ma. Lu. Pa
Kyo. Kyi Sa. La. Go. Par. Shog

Second Prayer:

Chang Chub Sem Chog Rinpoche
Ma Gye Pa Nam Kye Gyar Chig
Khog No Khong Du Pe War Shog

The meaning of the last prayer is the request to receive this bodhicitta that has not been received. The complete meaning is, “May the bodhicitta received progress without degeneration, and may the bodhicitta that has not been received be received.”

Day 8
Friday, November 23

The highly realized great bodhisattva, Shantideva said in his teaching called Following the Bodhisattva’s Actions, “If the bodhicitta is received, in one second the poor suffering being, who is in the bound of the samsaric prison, is called the Son of the Buddha.”

It means this—when the poor suffering being who is in bondage, who is bound in samsaric prison, has the achievement of bodhicitta, in that second it receives the great name, and is called “the Son of the Buddha,” and becomes a holy object right away in one second that all other human beings and even those higher samsaric gods prostrate to, respect, and admire. Right away, when such a suffering living being receives bodhicitta, it becomes a holy object of human beings and the higher samsaric gods, a holy object of their prostrations, of their devotion, an object of their respect. No matter how that suffering being looks in outer form, even though he looks like a beggar, terribly poor, because of the power of the bodhicitta received, in one second it causes him to become holy. He becomes a holy object for other living being including those gods who have higher powers, many possessions, and control over many worlds. Even though this poor being who has achievement of bodhicitta doesn’t have as many possessions and enjoyments as the higher samsaric gods, because he has bodhicitta he becomes such a holy object for them. All this is the power of bodhicitta.

Why is he called “Son of the Buddha?” One reason is because he becomes a bodhisattva, because he received bodhicitta from causal refuge. That bodhisattva is born from causal refuge. Causal refuge is the savior from whom he received the methods, the teachings that caused him to become holy, to become a bodhisattva. So the causal refuge that causes him to become holy is his guru. Who is that savior? That savior is his guru, who is oneness with every other enlightened being. So that’s why he is called “Son of the Buddha.” That is one way but this is a profound subject to understand—it takes another month, another meditation course.

So anyway, since it is possible for such a powerful, beneficial, holy mind to be received by living beings without depending on how it looks, without depending on how many possession it has, without depending on exterior things, as we have the time it is important to spend the life in the practice. It is important to cultivate the impulse listening to the teachings. So think, “I am going to listen to the teachings on the graduated path to enlightenment myself for the sake of sentient beings, to release them from suffering.”

So the listening subject is the graduated path.

There are different great lamas and yogis who wrote teachings on the graduated path, such as Guru Tsongkhapa, such as Gampopa (Thag.po.Lharije). Not only did Guru Tsongkhapa write teachings on the graduated path, but other great gurus from other sects also wrote teachings on the graduated path. Actually the graduated path is not only something written by Guru Tsongkhapa—the actual graduated path is what was shown by Guru Shakyamuni. Ancient great pandits, such as Nagarjuna, wrote commentaries on his teachings with great detail. But even that is difficult to understand for ignorant beings, so many Tibetan great gurus wrote commentaries on it in order to make it clearer, and also condensed. Clear and condensed, so that the ignorant people whose minds are not capable of studying that whole extensive discourse of philosophical teachings written by the Indian pandits can study and practice these commentaries. These commentaries were written in condensed and clear form, containing all the subjects explained by Guru Shakyamuni and the Indian pandits and all that. But they were made clear and short for the lesser intelligent beings, so that they would find it easy to develop their wisdom by studying these teachings written by guru Tsongkhapa and many other lamas. Also, by studying these short and condensed teachings on the graduated path, by studying and practicing these, it opens the eyes of the followers’ wisdom to be able to understand extensively the other wide extensive teachings written by Indian pandits, and the teachings shown by Guru Shakyamuni. Anyway, by understanding these condensed short teachings written by great gurus, and by studying and practicing these, it makes other teachings easy to digest without conflict in the mind.

For instance, this great Guru Tsongkhapa, what caused him to write teachings on the graduated path? These meditations, the base, the root is from the commentary on the graduated path written by Guru Tsongkhapa. So I will tell a few words about what caused Guru Tsongkhapa to write commentaries on the graduated path.

At one time he was in a cave called “Lion Rock” or something and he was writing prayers, admiring prayers to the gurus, the lineage of the teachings. Guru Tsongkhapa saw clearly all the disciples succession of the teachings, the indirect lineage of the teachings who passed the teachings from one to another. He saw all these gurus clearly, and also he saw the great yogi who brought the teachings to Tibet, Atisha—this was after Atisha passed away. For one month great Guru Tsongkhapa saw the yogi, the Indian pandit Atisha, and two of his Tibetan disciples, two ascetic yogis, Potowa and Sherawa. Guru Tsongkhapa saw those three for one month; they had contact. It was the time after Atisha and his disciples had passed away, but for Guru Tsongkhapa, due to his great, unshakable devotion, as he was writing admiring prayers he saw great yogi Atisha and two other Tibetan ascetic yogis for one month. And later on, Potowa and Sherawa absorbed into the great yogi Atisha, and the great yogi Atisha put his palm on Guru Tsongkhapa’s head, saying, “You should work for the development of the teaching, and I will help you.”

So indirectly that caused Guru Tsongkhapa to write commentaries on the graduated path down to samadhi meditation.

But Guru Tsongkhapa didn’t write the explanation on shunyata, on penetrative insight. Later on, he was instructed by Manjushri, the Buddha of Wisdom, to write commentary on shunyata, penetrative insight, the absolute true nature, instructed that it would be beneficial—not so great, not so bad, but middle.

That’s all, thank you.

Yesterday we were talking about how the practice of avoiding the eight worldly dharmas, besides helping, benefiting, bringing all happiness in future lives, also brings peace even in this life. How it brings happiness instead of bringing problems in this life, at the same time as it is practiced, is something that can be experienced by the practitioner himself. And that experience, the happiness derived from this practice in this life, is an unimaginable object, unimaginable subject for even us Westerners, who spent much life, much time, studying in the universities, or in science.

Such experience of the present happiness that is derived from this practice is not the object of the eye that can be seen like this—like the bell, the flower. It is the experience of the mind, the knowledge of the mind, a function of the mind, so that’s why, when people hear these four words, “Giving up this life,” they get a big shock. When a person who doesn’t have understanding of giving up this life or of these practices he hears “giving up this life,” it is only destroying himself, causing himself problem. Even if a person living in this practice doesn’t find a problem, the other, by just hearing the words, has a problem, feels frightened.

There is too much to talk about in terms of the benefits of this practice, even in this life, but to give just one example of how the ancient Indian yogis did, how it brings benefits even in this life—this person is the follower of one Tibetan ascetic lama, I think his name is Thagpa Gyaltsen, something, anyway he had an epidemic disease, leprosy, for a long time. He had leprosy for a long time, so because of this he was always out of the group of people. Before he was out because of the disease, only because of that, so he made the decision to make it worthwhile. He made an offering of all the possessions he had. He thought he would beg, spend his life in begging, live life on the road and beg, and only recite mantras, the Compassionate Buddha’s mantra, we call them manis, which has six words OM MANI PADME HUM. So he made the decision to sit on the road and beg and recite mantras; he made the complete decision. Near the road there was a big cliff, so while he was in that cave, when he fell asleep the first night he had a dream. In the dream he was picked out of a river by a white man, saved from the river, and much water came out of his body. Then the next day he woke up and all the pus went out of his body, without treating anything with medicine, and he was cured. He got better by the decision, by such a pure decision made with a pure mind that avoided the thought of the eight worldly dharmas, the pure thought that avoided the evil thought that is attached to temporal pleasures, to these eight objects, which means he didn’t care when he made this decision—whatever of the eight different objects he met, he didn’t care, not being attached.

This is just one example, just to have an idea. So such dangerous sickness, without depending on medical treatment, is cured by his practice. But there are so many stories of ancient yogis, so many things. The best way to experience is through practice. If you want to experience, the best way is through individual practice.

This is also useful, the quote that guru Shakyamuni said, to think of frequently in our daily life, it is also helpful to remember, “If one desires all happiness, then avoid all evil desires. If one avoids all evil desires, one will receive the highest, most supreme happiness. As long as one follows evil desires one will never be satisfied, one becomes never satisfied.” The dissatisfied person, by following wisdom, achieves satisfaction in the opposite. One who is satisfied by wisdom is happier than one who is not satisfied by having evil desire. The one who is satisfied by wisdom is never controlled by craving, never becomes controlled by craving. So the happiness that is received, that is received by enjoying the Dharma practice, the happiness that is derived from Dharma practice, done with wisdom, can never compare to the happiness that is derived from enjoyment with desire that is attached to temporal needs, such as food, drinking, music, and enjoying women. There’s nothing to compare.

For instance, like this—samsaric ordinary happiness that is received with evil desire for these objects doesn’t often arise, permanently arise, it only arises if the object is nearby. But the happiness of the Dharma can be permanently increased, it can be increased at all times without depending on external objects. This ordinary happiness that is derived from external objects doesn’t cover the whole body; but the happiness that is achieved by enjoying the Dharma with wisdom, that covers the whole body, and such pure happiness, the happiness that is derived from Dharma practice, that causes one to receive the transcendental realizations of the noble beings, which are called the possession of the noble beings, in the future of this life (i.e. before death).

And the enjoyment of enjoying the happiness that is received through Dharma practice can never be finished, can never be ended. The pure happiness that is derived from Dharma practice—how can that never be finished by enjoying it? As one approaches the higher path gradually, it increases; and when one achieves enlightenment, the work for Dharma practice, the work for the enlightenment is finished, is ended. But the enjoyment that is received from Dharma practice is never finished; it is continual. When there is the achievement of the ultimate goal, enlightenment, it is not like this, as some people think—becoming nothingness, like space, the being becoming non-existent. It is not like this, not like this, not like this—if so, then there would be no way to help other beings.

So anyway, the highest pleasure, the highest happiness, is that of enlightenment, so when that is achieved the work for enlightenment is finished, the work is ended. And the stage of enlightenment, the stage that is in the nature of supreme happiness, is unchangeable, can never fall down. For there is not one single reason for that to change, to come back—no cause, no reason. That enlightened living being continually exists, exists forever in the stage. Because there’s no atom of delusion, there’s no atom of illusive mind, so there’s no reason to change the stage, to come down. There is no creator that makes it come down, and there’s no higher stage than that, so that the mind would go beyond the stage of enlightenment. Therefore, as the enlightened stage never changes, so the happiness received from Dharma practice never finishes, it never finishes forever. So there’s no way to compare that happiness received from Dharma practice with the impure happiness that is received by enjoying the objects of evil desire.

Contrary to this, samsaric happiness never lasts, it often ends. For instance, we can discover in our own daily life, whatever we do—in the happiness that we receive from objects of evil desire, people, living beings, non-living things such as places, food, many things; people, friends, many things. This we know, this we can see—the pleasure received from the object of evil desire doesn’t last.

So, that’s why we keep trying to work for it, that’s why there are so many problems in the West. Not only in the West, but also in the East. As samsaric happiness, ordinary happiness doesn’t last as does the happiness received from Dharma practice, so the work, the action, the samsaric work, the work of the evil desire, the work that is created by evil desire, which is samsaric work, never finishes. It didn’t finish yet—as it has no beginning it still didn’t end—the work, the action of evil desire. As it has no beginning it still hasn’t ended, didn’t stop. So just as in the past example, it is the same thing in the future—as long as we don’t stop following evil desire it always continues like this. For instance, like this—after we were born, from the first day, we enjoy food, wear clothes, enjoy the temporal needs for only one day in order to cover the whole rest life. Such a thing is impossible—to enjoy food and clothes for one day to cover the happiness of the rest of the life without working for it; spending the rest of the life working for food and clothing and for many things, other pleasures—this is impossible, there’s no such thing.

So why do we keep on working? Because the happiness keeps on finishing. So continually we have kept on working, we are only circling round. It’s like we are running only on a circular road, always, which is not new. The circular road is not new, and the person goes round and round and round. So the samsaric evil desires that the person works with are not new, nothing new.

In terms of Dharma knowledge, happiness always increases and lasts, and the work finishes, but ordinary samsaric happiness always finishes although the work is never ceased; it is completely opposite. The Dharma possessions can be carried, taken to the future life, in the future life; but none of the possessions of the desire that is attached can be carried to the future life. Dharma possessions are happiness such as merits created by Dharma practice. The evil desire, the work of the evil desires only brings the suffering of many future lives, besides the present.

The ordinary pleasures that are received from samsaric action, samsaric work with evil desire, from the enjoyment of the evil desire are merely called, just given the name, “happiness” and “pleasure.” In fact, they are not pleasure. The happiness that is received from the enjoyment of the five senses with evil desire, with the thought of the eight worldly dharmas is just given the name “pleasure,” but in fact it is not pleasure. Just as scratching the leprosy, or itching the leprosy, that disease, scratching the itching where there’s leprosy, is just given the name “pleasure,” but it is not real pleasure. If you scratch once, or three, four, five, six, or seven times, instead of increasing the pleasure you scratch with the belief that it is real pleasure the first time. But as you scratch the second, third, and fourth time and so on, then you experience suffering, then double suffering. Just like this—all happiness, all the ordinary happiness that is derived from the enjoyment of the object with evil desire is just like this. As you try to work harder, in place of increasing happiness, it always turns into suffering, just like this scratching. It is the same thing with food, for the person who feels extremely hungry—at first he finds some comfort and so he thinks it’s real pleasure, so as he thinks this he keeps on eating and eating, and then becomes uncomfortable. There are thousands of examples, thousands and thousands.

So the whole point is this, what one should understand is this, as Guru Shakyamuni said, “If one desires real happiness one should avoid evil desire.” Because what keeps us busy, working every day …

Question: Could you please repeat that.

As Guru Shakyamuni said in his teaching, “If one desires all happiness (this means the happiness of enlightenment, the happiness of the path), then one should avoid all the evil desires.”

What is the reason he said this, why it is necessary to avoid the evil desires? Because the evil desires of the eight worldly dharmas are the greatest disturbance to receive enlightenment, and to the happiness that is received from Dharma practice. Dharma practice comes when the person fights with the desires of the eight worldly dharmas, not when one is following the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas; when the person tries to destroy the thought of the eight worldly dharmas, then there is Dharma practice. Therefore Guru Shakyamuni said avoid all evil desires for the achievement of supreme happiness, the ultimate happiness that is received from Dharma practice.

And also, what causes us to often suffer in worldly problems—problems with societies, with oneself, between two people, a couple, problem with the country, and all these problems that often arise in daily life, problems that cause us not to relax, that keep us always busy in the actions of the daily life, always circling round in daily life. For instance, what keeps us busy working for the temporal pleasures? The creator of all these problems is the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas; this evil thought is the cause of everything. So avoiding this evil thought, living in this practice, causes us to cease, to gradually cease these problems we have experienced without beginning, the problems of daily life. So as Guru Shakyamuni instructed, as we want to practice Dharma it is necessary to experiment, to practice this.

There was one yogi in Tibet who, before in his earlier life was always stealing and harming other people. He had forty fields, and he was always stealing, carrying three or four knives, harming other beings, stealing things. He had many enemies in that country when he has doing that, and he was given the nickname Dik, forty evils. He had forty fields, and Dik means doing all kinds of evil actions, so he had so many enemies in that country. After that he changed his life completely by living in pure Dharma practice. He gave his possessions to the monastery, to the monks, and he lived a beggar’s life, as an ascetic beggar. He looked exactly as a beggar, wearing torn old clothes, which was the opposite of his earlier life. In that country there was much fighting and danger of confiscating possessions from families, so all the people were frightened and buried their possessions in the mountains. So this person wearing just an old yellow robe and walking around that country and bearing only one possession, a vessel for water, a pot, said that this was his possession that had to be buried. At that time no one was an enemy to him. In the same place that he had so many enemies before, later he had no problem. This is because of the power of his sincere Dharma practice—the mind that has no defect of the thought of the eight worldly dharmas.

The great Guru Sambhava, who brought the teachings to Tibet, who subdued and destroyed the evil beings who disturbed the establishment of the teachings of Buddhism in Tibet, this great yogi said, with his experience, “The meditator not realizing his mind is a liar, and goes on wrong path at the time of death.”

If one is really a meditator, there is no danger at the death time, no danger of going on the wrong path. A meditator not realizing his mind is telling a lie, and at the death time goes on the wrong path, when he dies he goes on the wrong path.

As this great yogi said with his experience, understanding mind, the mental subject, mind is what should be discovered. And what is not discovered and leads him on the wrong path at death time? Not discovering the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas as the creator, as the evil thought, the distracting mind; not discovering that the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas is the destroyer of the present peace and the peace of the future lives. If we want to take the right path, get on the right path, if we want to be free at time of death, if we want to be free in our choices at time of death to take the path, the practice of avoiding the evil thoughts of the eight worldly dharmas is necessary, is the most important thing. The evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas is the greatest disturbance at death time. What makes us to go in the wrong way, not be free in our choice of which way to go? That is the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas.

Therefore, as this great yogi said, many meditators, because of not discovering the actual practice, the essential Dharma practice, not understanding and not making the actual Dharma practice are supposed to be free at death time to take the path he desires, but actually go on the wrong path. That is because the practices that they made in their lifetime were created and done with the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, even though the subject they practice is a tantric higher subject, yoga practice, controlling nadis, opening chakras, trying to achieve magical powers such as transforming things, magical powers to fly, there are many things.

Anyway, like this—if I say clearly, it is like this. You have delicious food made in front of you, but you put poison in all the delicious food. So what does it do to you, how does it affect you? Only harm. Just like this example—practicing any of those higher subjects, such as the meditation on flame burning, I think something that is called tum-mo, many people know, even if the subject is a higher subject, because you practice it with a poisonous mind, so your practice is not clean, is impure because the practice is done with impure mind, with the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, and it becomes poison to you, just as the delicious food becomes poison to you. It is the person’s fault, it is no one else’s fault. So instead, this practice, this poisonous practice, in place of gaining profit, making arrangement, and creating the cause for enlightenment in future lifetimes, it is only creating the cause of suffering. I mean the practice such as those subjects of a person whose mind is not living in the practice of avoiding the evil thoughts of the eight worldly dharmas. In other words, a person who practices such higher things, such as tantric subject, such as methods to achieve magical powers, to open chakras, control nadis—there are many other things anyway. Practicing these higher techniques, but with the evil though of the eight worldly dharmas. However high that subject is that the person practices, no matter, it all becomes a poisonous subject, just life. Just as the person who receives delicious food and then puts poison in it and eats the food is harmed, so the practice of the higher practices with the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas becomes harmful. If you don’t practice with a wise mind, if you think, “What is the highest technique, the most fantastic practice?”—something that makes you fly or do something without understanding the fundamental practice or teaching, there is the danger that you will waste your whole life. Not only will you waste your whole life—actually, wasting the life is okay. If one doesn’t do, it is a little better than spending the life creating negative actions—so the person makes the whole life black, only creating the cause for suffering.

But the practice of bodhicitta has no danger at all, it is something with which to work in your mind, it is not something to show to other people. It does not depend on some kind of preparation of your body. The ancient yogis, such as Guru Tsongkhapa, many other great Indian and Tibetan yogis, such as Milarepa, tall practiced those higher subjects on the basis of bodhicitta and the mind renouncing samsara, on the basis of renunciation of samsara, and the realization of the absolute true nature. Then, on the basis of this, any higher tantric subject that is practiced brings no danger, everything becomes so powerful, becomes a powerful cause to receive enlightenment quickly. This is the way that many of those great yogis received enlightenment in this lifetime.

It’s like this—like a baby. As the baby wants to eat meat, without having strong teeth, without even having teeth, as he wants to eat those strong foods that it cannot bite or digest, then in place of helping it may harm the baby, cause danger to the life. So until the baby gets strong enough to eat those heavy foods, it is better to have milk or other foods that he can digest and that do not give harm. It is just like this with the practice. We should not be astonished, excited by the subject; we should be excited by the benefits of our individual practice, by clearly knowing. If our practice is pure, the cause for ultimate peace for the future lives, then it is a subject by which you can be pleased or be excited. But many people never care for the benefits of the actions, they never check up whether it helps or whether it destroys, because such subjects are the object of the mind, not the object of eye, so people have no interest in the benefits, they don’t care, they just continue the subject, excited by how it is done. Such excitement about the subject, about practicing without understanding the essential practice, without understanding the effect of the actions, only creating the cause to destroy the peace of the present life and the future life. If those higher practices, tantric subjects, are practiced on the basis of the fundamental practice, fundamental realization, then even a little action, even if we don’t spend such time doing those higher tantric practices, even if we do short practices, they naturally become a quick cause for the achievement of enlightenment.

It is like this—for instance, a person going to the West, to the States. If he hasn’t got enough money, he can’t go by airplane, he has to go some other way. If he has enough money, which is the first thing he should have, then he can get there quickly. So the fundamental realizations are like the money—bodhicitta, fully renounced mind, and realization of the absolute nature are like the money. Taking an airplane is like taking the tantric path, so the whole thing depends on money. But that example we see clearly. It is important we see this subject clearly since we want to achieve enlightenment, the holy beings’ state of enlightenment. But these three—bodhicitta, fully renounced mind, and realization of the absolute true nature—the realization of these depends on the practice of avoiding the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas. So, in those examples of the ancient yogis that I talked about this morning, the one who had leprosy, for them even the temporal sufferings and temporal problems were cured without depending on external treatments, were cured by this practice. But there are many examples, it is true. Why could those ancient yogis lead an ascetic life in happiness without the mind being in confusion? Why could they make a free choice, not forced by their parents or something? Why could they can make a free choice about how to spend their life? Because of the mind living in the practice of avoiding the evil thoughts of the eight worldly dharmas. This gives you the energy to spend an ascetic life, and by leading that life to achieve the realizations through retreat. There are many stories of ancient Indian yogis, how they lived ascetic lives, how they achieved realizations, many interesting, helpful stories.

So that’s how this practice, giving up this life, giving up the thought of the eight worldly dharmas, brings happiness, brings peace in this life—this is important to know. Many people make mistake, thinking that giving up this life means one only has to spend whole present life in suffering. Some people get a feeling like this—in fact, a person who practices is not like this, it is completely opposite to what they think. From the practitioner’s side, the person who says such things, with such limited mind, is only an object of laughter, an object of ridicule. A practitioner sees it as funny, because his experience is not like that, so he sees what the other says as funny. It’s important not to follow this evil thought, to be conscious in our daily life and to try to stop following the evil thought as much as possible. If we don’t try to stop it, just following the evil thought just like a dog following a man—the man can cause danger to dog, kill the dog for food, but the dog follows because he expects to receive some food, something for his happiness, but is not sure that the person will do that. So if you follow the evil thought without checking it as it arises, then you can make mistake, just as that person dancing and waving the stick did. So you must be careful.

Like this, if you talk about our situation. First, when we meet a person, we are extremely happy, attached, almost like becoming oneness, very happy. But after a few days we are not even talking, we see the person as the greatest monster, as an enemy. First time like that, second time like that. That is, it becomes ... the whole situation is created by the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas. If you check up, it’s true, very true. I’m not telling any stories, now I am talking about our own story. This is because the mind is not being careful, following the thought of the eight worldly dharmas. The second one is confusion; the first one is also confusion, but we don’t think it’s confusion. The whole thing is caused by the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas—you may get bored by this but I am interested in knowing this. It doesn’t matter if you don’t realize it now, but as you continue your practice and meditate you may realize it afterwards.

So some things—I think I am a little bit selfish, spending more time talking about the subject in which I am interested. Actually, if you really understand the subject, we can see our life as a movie—funny, interesting, awful, disgusting—it’s just a matter of seeing somewhere, without electricity, and without screen or film; but we use our remembrance of the life as film.

For instance, it would be useful to use some techniques like this when there is a problem, but the treatment should be used according to the power of your mind. When there is a mental and physical problem such as a headache, stomach pain, feeling empty, whenever there is such a problem, suffering, use this technique. What happens is that even though you are suffering you are making it worthwhile, your experiencing suffering becomes Dharma practice, you are making the situation useful to you and also to other beings. Think, “The wrong conception (if you write this it is useful) of the self-existent “I” and self-cherishing mind. The dualistic mind has been causing me to experience all the different types of samsaric suffering that exist (actually the number of sufferings is infinite). So those three negative minds have been causing me, obliging me to experience, have been giving me all these infinite, different types of sufferings that exist, and letting me suffer from beginningless lifetimes until now, and it has been preventing me from receiving happiness (this happiness is ordinary happiness, samsaric happiness) and enlightenment, ultimate peace, the cessation of samsara, and achievement, realization of the path, such as bodhicitta, fully renounced mind, and realization of the absolute true nature. And these negative minds will continually do the same thing (this means these negative minds will oblige me, will continually give me the whole infinite, different types of sufferings that oblige me to experience, oblige me to suffer) in the future. Besides, these three negative minds also prevent me from receiving ordinary happiness and the higher result, enlightenment, ultimate peace, cessation of samsara and realizations of the path such as bodhicitta, fully renounced mind, and realization of absolute true nature. Besides, these negative minds give me suffering and preventing ordinary happiness and those higher results (which I mentioned twice).” Then, as you are thinking of this, you should feel it. Just using the words, but not really feeling doesn’t make it effective. As you are saying you should clearly see it, try to feel it; as you say the words you should feel as if those three negative minds really gave you suffering and prevented those results and will in the future. These are only few words, but if you really understand how those three negative minds cause all problems, if you understand more deeply, even if you say a few words it will be very effective due to your understanding—the deeper the understanding, the greater the effect to your mind, the more clearly you see those negative minds as the real enemy.

As you see the next person who does something bad to you, the more you think of how he disturbs you, the more that anger and hatred for that person gets stronger and stronger, so you really want to kill him, you don’t want him to exist any more. As soon as you see him, such strong anger and hatred arises. So just as you use yourselves in a negative way, which only harms you and other beings, if just like this you use the real enemy, the inner enemy, experiencing the suffering result of negative actions and negative mind, it only protects you from negative mind and the suffering result. To make such useful practice, this is really a very powerful practice, something that can only be worked by the mind, not depending on hands, legs, or many other things. More hate, more aversion, so the more deeply we think of the reasons, the different kinds of problems it gives in infinite times, that much aversion is stronger, and keeps you away from creating the karma and the suffering result. You guide yourself.

Then think like this—after you think that those negative minds gave suffering, prevented happiness in the past and future and even now, so think seeing the negative mind as the real enemy, “So this suffering that I am experiencing now, they obliged me to experience this suffering, they gave it.” Then think as in the example, you being really angry, hitting, breaking other person, like this, try to think in this way, “Those negative minds, they should really suffer, I am giving the suffering to them, my suffering to them, they should suffer because they caused suffering in all past lives, I should retaliate, I must take revenge.” As you are so angry and strong, emotional, to beat this person, so you should be to the real enemy, the delusions. How effective this practice is to your mind in fighting the delusions depends on how strong your understanding. This thought is never involved in the eight worldly dharmas, so this thought is pure thought and this practice of fighting the delusions is pure Dharma practice. Besides, to experience sufferings becomes the cause of meditation, worthwhile, beneficial to you, to stop the negative mind.

Also, this gives you the chance to meditate, the chance to practice Dharma. First of all the suffering doesn’t disturb Dharma practice because you put the suffering in the Dharma practice. And also, this practice can also cut off the problem—that depends on how well you understand the shortcomings, how strongly you see the delusions as terribly bad, how in beginningless previous lives it gave those infinite sufferings. For instance, like when a person is meditating he may feel thirsty or hungry, something which disturbs the meditation and the Dharma practice. The problem, pain, or whatever it is, is used with this practice, with strong feeling. By using this technique, as you give the suffering back to the delusions, those three negative mind, there is a feeling that it is not yours, you wouldn’t feel as strong as you were feeling before, and it would decrease and soon it would stop, and afterwards you wouldn’t know how it disappeared.

Anyway, if you use such techniques as this, instead of disturbing the Dharma practice these things become useful, and it cuts off the problems, too. Then there is no need to drink water, sitting in one place—the mind found the problem, but cured itself. Such a nice way.

But myself experiencing and you being cured is not possible. The three negative minds, if I repeat once more, the wrong conception of the self-existent “I”, self-cherishing thought, dualistic conception, (dualistic mind)—each one has much explanation. These three, (for instance, this, in Hinayana practice, doing this practice of the lower being and the middle being, as the teaching of the graduated path is divided into the three levels according to the level of the intelligence, for those levels, the main thing to be cut off is the wrong conception of the self-existent “I”. Then in the bodhisattva practice, what has to be cut off is the self-cherishing mind. Then in tantric practice what has to be cut off is the dualistic mind).

Even if we are not practicing tantra, this technique of seeing those three negative minds as enemy and giving the suffering back to them is very useful, and helps a great deal for the practice of bodhicitta and tantra. This is something that helps for all those different levels of practice.

6 p.m.

Check up your own thought, what it’s thinking now—if it is the evil thought that is attached to temporal pleasure, then think that this is the cause of suffering, also check for what reason you are meditating. Think, try to cultivate the pure thought, “Being attached to temporal happiness and to higher samsaric pleasures is the cause of all samsaric sufferings. Therefore, it is necessary to cut off the attachment, this negative desire attached to samsaric higher pleasures, in order to release from samsara. Oneself being out of samsara is not enough because many other beings are in samsaric suffering and they need to be helped, guided from suffering. As I received all past, present, and future happiness, perfection, and realizations by the kindness of all sentient beings, I am responsible to guide them from suffering as they are in suffering and unable to guide themselves. Therefore, I must receive enlightenment to release them from all the sufferings. To receive enlightenment for the sake of all the sentient beings, I must complete the practice of the graduated path, the realizations of the graduated path. Therefore I will meditate on the graduated path with preparation, reciting mantra, visualizing Guru Shakyamuni, meditating on breathing.” Then visualize Guru Shakyamuni and purify with the light coming from his holy body, that which in essence is all his knowledge, supreme power, and great compassion, while the recitation of mantra is made.