Wednesday, March 7
The Perfect Human Rebirth (Page 46)
Numberless times we have been born in the narak stages. Even when we were not born in the narak stages, numberless times we were born in the preta realms. Even when we were not born in the preta realms, we were born numberless times in the animal realms and suffering. Numberless times, even when we were not born as animals still not we did not receive a perfect human rebirth, even if we were born in the upper realms, the realms of the gods. We have been born in these realms many times—the realms of the different long life gods. The formless gods who don’t have a physical body spend their entire life completely unconscious, only recognizing rebirth and death, recognizing that they have been born and recognizing that they have passed from there—”Now I am dead,” only that. But in between, even though these samsaric formless gods exist for many eons, as long as they exist it is useless, like deep sleep. Unconscious, cognitionless.
Even if we are born as formless gods, because of being unconscious, cognitionless, there is no chance to practice Dharma. Even if we are born as gods of the senses, those who enjoy the objects of the senses, who have such high quality enjoyments, much higher, more perfect than the apartments and enjoyments on this earth, in the world, such as in America—there is nothing to compare to the enjoyments they place, nothing to compare in terms of quality. Nothing to compare to the enjoyments of the richest family or man on this earth—nothing to compare. What the richest person on this earth has, compared to these enjoyments the place where he lives is almost nothing, very poor.
Even we who live on this earth, without that many higher possessions, enjoyments, having just a little enjoyments, materials, power, and family, even just due to having a little of these possessions and surroundings, we do not remember to practice Dharma, because the person thinks, “I am perfect, I have everything that I need. There is no suffering; I am not poor, I am not a hippie. I am not a suffering person, so there is no reason for me to practice Dharma. I don’t need to practice Dharma. Dharma is only for poor people, beggars, hippies. I have a husband, children, I have my home.” By thinking like this, even with a little possessions, few surroundings, people, friends, and family, we don’t see our suffering. We don’t recognize our suffering because we think everything is perfect. So by not seeing the cause of suffering, the person does not have the wish to practice Dharma.
Also generally, even people, besides gods, who have a lot of surrounding people and many possessions are always busy taking care of these things. This keeps the life busy to develop more and to not lose. By spending life in that way, it doesn’t permit the person to practice Dharma, to fully see suffering and practice Dharma. Even with a few possessions and having a small surrounding of people, we cannot practice Dharma, we find it difficult. Then why not those samsaric gods who have higher possessions, and are surrounded by many wives and many friends? They always spend their life enjoying objects of desire.
So because of these reasons the gods don’t see, don’t realize, don’t recognize suffering, so they don’t remember to practice, they don’t think of practicing Dharma. Also, their realm is not like the human realm where there are all kinds of different lives that you can see. In the human realm, there are all kinds different people having different lives, having different suffering lives, there are so many examples that you can see, so many suffering lives that you can see. There are also human realms besides this, there are other worlds which have different human beings, different from us, with bodies two times taller. Then another world in which the beings are three times taller. Then taller even than that in a different world. In other worlds, just as the body is more definite, their lifespan is more definite. They may have a definite lifespan of 400 years, or 100 years. But anyway there is not much in terms of examples of suffering, not many examples of suffering. They have a very rich life.
Due to having perfect possessions and not having many examples of the suffering life, and also due to karmic obscurations, it is extremely difficult for these beings to realize the suffering nature, to receive the mind renouncing samsaric suffering. In that way, also it is extremely difficult also to think of Dharma practice. So even if we were born in the upper realms, we had such existence as these long life gods without having a perfect human rebirth.
Even when we were not born as long life gods, we were born as human beings, but born as barbarians, in irreligious countries where there is no understanding of the Dharma. We were born as an irreligious human being, because of the country or the family, so due to these conditions there was no chance to practice Dharma because we didn’t understand Dharma, we didn’t understand the purpose of practicing Dharma.
For instance, there are so many places. If you are born in China, where there is no place to study Dharma, to learn meditation—the world is full of these places. We have even been born as barbarians many times, and as a deaf person. Deaf people cannot hear Dharma, and thus cannot understand the meaning of the teaching. Also a deaf person cannot receive ordination, because there is no way to explain the Dharma, and no way to understand the complete meaning of Dharma.
Even when we were not born as deaf we were born as heretics, without belief in the existence of karma, in the existence of past and future lives, the existence of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, the Triple Gem. We were born without belief in the existence of absolute nature.
In a time or place with no orders of Buddha, many times we were born as heretics, or not born as heretics but in a time or place where there were no orders of Buddha, and no existence of the teachings of Buddha. Being born as a long-life god or a barbarian, as deaf, as a heretic, or in such a time and place, there is no chance to practice Dharma. Even on this earth, the Buddhadharma is not always existent. It exists only for certain times, according to people’s karma and fortune.
There are four great eons. The first is the great eon of evolution, when things start to become. Then there is the great eon of existence—after evolution is finished, then there is existence. Then, the great eon of decay. Then the great eon of emptiness, which means the emptiness of the whole universe. Each great eon has another twenty middle eons. During the evolution of the world, the universe, there is no Buddhadharma. During those twenty middle eons, there is no Buddhadharma. During the great eon of decay, which has twenty middle eons, which are shorter than the great eon, during that time there is also no Buddhadharma. Then nothing to talk about; it is empty. So the Buddhadharma only happens in the time of the eon of existence. Even during the time of existence, the Buddhadharma does not always exist, doesn’t always spread.
Then, like this. First, human life is infinite. It is the life that we cannot guess by our ordinary mind, that cannot be counted by our ordinary mind. Then the Buddhadharma. Life begins with 80,000 years, then it degenerates down. Then around the age of 100, around that time only there is Buddhadharma; around that time, there is the existence of Buddhadharma. Then, after the passing the 100 age, then the Buddhadharma becomes empty; the teaching does not spread, does not exist any longer. The human lifespan goes down to one hundred years, and when that finishes, there is no Buddhadharma existing. So this time is the very last, this period is the very last period, like the very last candle flame. Then the lifespan goes down to ten years old. Then from there, it increases again, and gets higher and higher. As it increases from ten to eighty thousand, there is no Buddhadharma. Only in the time when it degenerates, even if that is around this period, only in the time when it degenerates down, before finishing down to 100 ages. So even though we were born many times, we tried to be born in the upper realm, but many times were born in those dark periods, not having Dharma, in a time or place where there is no existence of Buddhadharma. Our rebirth in those times is useless because there was no chance to practice Dharma.
Totally, like this. In this period, although there is the existence of the Buddhadharma, even that does not exist in all countries, all places; only a few. So from our side we were born this time as human beings, not barbarian, not deaf, not heretics. We were born this time, as human beings, born in a religious country and met the Buddhadharma. So we are very fortunate; this is not easy. It is not simple, not easy. This is something that we have not received many times. Is always extremely difficult to find again, to receive such a chance after this life—from our side being born as a human being, in a religious country, having met the Buddhadharma—it is extremely difficult. It is almost impossible, except at this time.
When you do meditation, think like this as we went through. Then after you get to the last part, then you think, “At this one time I have received a perfect human rebirth, having the chance to practice Dharma, not being born in hell, not being born in a preta or an animal realm, not being born as a long-life god or as a barbarian, not being born as deaf or heretic, in such a time or place where is no existence of Buddhadharma.”
By remembering the sufferings, how one born into them has no chance of practicing Dharma, then think, “How I am fortunate at this time, receiving the perfect human rebirth, having the chance to practice Dharma.” Also think, also meditate like this, “If I were now in the narak stages, what great suffering I would be experiencing. If I were now in the preta realm, what great suffering I would be experiencing, not having the chance to practice Dharma. If I were now born as an animal, besides not having the chance to practice Dharma, there would be much suffering. If I were now born as a long-life god, not having the chance to practice Dharma, my mind distracted by those enjoyments, having great attachment to those pleasures, because of those I would not have the chance to practice Dharma.” Also think, “Now if I were a barbarian, because of not understanding Dharma, not having devotion to Dharma, however much I desired happiness, however much I did not desire suffering, I would always be creating the cause of suffering because of ignorance, having no chance to practice Dharma. If I were now deaf, this situation wouldn’t allow me to completely understand the meaning of the Dharma and also to listen to teachings would be extremely difficult. If I were a heretic, also because of wrong beliefs, wrong realization, I would not be allowed to practice Dharma, so there would be no chance.”
Put yourself in the situation of the heretic, put yourself in that situation and think how extremely difficult it is, not having the chance to practice Dharma because of the way the life is conditioned, because of conceptions, wrong realizations, many things; it is very difficult. Even if the Dharma is told or explained to the heretic, he does not want to listen, does not want to agree because of the wrong realization, the wrong belief. Also think, “If I am in such a time or place where there is no existence of Buddhadharma, it is completely dark, also there is no way to understand Dharma, no way to create merits, the cause of happiness, everlasting happiness. There is no way to create the cause, because there is no way to understand the purpose, the reason.”
Those living beings who are born in such a time always create negative karma, negative actions. So think, “How much, the great freedom that I have now.”
Ten Opportunities (Page 47)
The form of meditation is the same as the one I explained in terms of the eight freedoms. We should think, “In these six samsaric realms, mostly I was born in the lower realm. Even when I was born in the upper realm, I was born as a sura or asura, in those gods' realms, not in the human realm. Even when I was born in the human realm, I was not born in the center of a religious country.”
The center of a religious country that means country where there is the chance to receive different ordinations with different precepts, such as the thirty-six percents, the two hundred and fifty three precepts, the five precepts, the eight precepts—like this. The place where there are people who have the lineage of the ordinations, where there is the chance to take ordination is recognized as the center of a religious country, because following those ordinations, following those precepts is the essence of the teaching.
“Even if I was born in the human realm and with a human rebirth, in a religious country, I was not born with perfect organs. Many times I was not born with perfect organs, such as born deaf or dumb. Then, it is extremely difficult to communicate in Dharma.”
Also, one who does not have physically perfect organs cannot receive ordination, as that is always a disturbance to the teachings. Imperfect sense organs cause you not to understand, not to hear the Dharma teaching; the physically imperfect organs is a disturbance to receiving ordination. That’s why it is mentioned here.
“Many times I was born as human being in religious country with perfect organs, but I created the five extreme negative actions, such as killing my parents.”
These five extreme negative actions are the worst, heaviest negative actions. They are killing one’s parents or an arhat, wounding a tathagata or higher being, or causing disunity amongst the group of monks or nuns.
“Even when I was born as a human being, born in a religious country, with perfect organs, not creating these five extreme negative actions, I did not have belief in the practice of Dharma or in the three divisions of the teachings.”
The three divisions of the teachings are the Vinaya, the Sutra, and the Abhidharma. This means not having belief or faith in moral conduct, or the training in concentration, or the training in wisdom.
“Also, many times, even when I was born as a human being, born in religious countries with perfect organs, not creating those actions, even though I had all this, I was not born in a place where the teachings existed.”
There are two things in regards to the teachings—the realized and the oral teachings. Even if we are born with all those opportunities, and born in such a place where the teaching existed, we did not have a teacher to show us the teaching. Even if we received all those opportunities, and did have a teacher to show us the teaching, from our side, we did not follow the teacher. First, there was no chance to practice Dharma from the point of view of having the teacher to show the teaching. Then, even if there is a person showing the teaching from one side, from our side we don’t follow the teaching. Not following also stops the chance for Dharma practice.
Even if we had all these opportunities, if the teacher had no compassion to show Dharma, it would be extremely difficult to receive the teaching. This interrupts Dharma practice. Also, when studying Dharma, temporal needs such as food and clothing have to be received from someone. We depend on other living beings, like parents, or benefactor. We receive our temporal needs by depending on others. So we depend on others’ compassion—if other people do not have compassion, it is difficult to receive temporal needs. So many times this is a hindrance—because there is no way to receive temporal needs, you have to work, so there is no way to study Dharma, it doesn’t allow the chance for Dharma practice.
When you meditate on these subjects, do checking meditation with each one like this. Then if you check through how much you have received within these opportunities, how much you have within the eight freedoms, then you will see that what you have received is more than what you don’t have, and that is good. If you have received all, it is not sure, it depends on the individual. So if you find that it is something that you have received, then as you were born as a human being this time, try to receive it again. What’s the purpose of making the human rebirth perfect? It helps a great deal to receive enlightenment quickly. The total thing is this.
So check up by yourself when you meditate. Then if you have received all these things, try to rejoice, feel happiness, feel that you are fortunate. If you deeply, carefully check up, the more meditation you do on this subject of the eight freedoms and the ten opportunities the more you will feel fortunate. The feeling comes by checking deeply in this meditation; you will feel more and more fortunate. You will feel that your present rebirth is more and more precious. If you do this meditation with the understanding of the suffering of those realms, the different opportunities of Dharma practice, with deep understanding of these things, in these realms, with this birth, then your meditation becomes effective and strong. And that much also you feel yourself, so rejoiceful of your precious rebirth.
So by doing this meditation continuously, your feeling for the preciousness of this rebirth will increase. And when you experience the realization of this meditation, you will feel such great happiness, rejoicing. Just as the beggar who has no possessions, nothing, finds such an expensive jewel, a precious jewel from the dust, such a great pleasure, happiness—just like a beggar finding a precious jewel. Usually, when the beggar finds the most expensive thing, he becomes extremely, greatly happy. When there is this kind of strong experience, at that time you receive the experience of the next meditation, which is the topic on how the perfect human rebirth is highly meaningful and useful.
In Tibet, usually it is easy to practice Dharma; it is easy because the temporal needs are not difficult, because there are benefactors who offer things. Even when these things finish, they go to beg, and they receive help from their benefactors. So life is easy. They have a great chance to practice Dharma even though they don’t work for money. In some countries, if you beg you are caught by the police and get put in prison, many things. It is not easy. In certain places, in many places, if you don’t work, if you don’t do something, you don’t receive help. So because of this, the people don’t have much chance to study Dharma.
For instance, some Westerners, however much they desire to study Dharma, to practice Dharma, to receive teachings, have to go back to the West to work, many things. Anyway, it is so difficult to find the chance to practice Dharma. Some people get many opportunities, find the temporal needs easily, and don’t need so much worry. All this is due to individual karma created in previous lives.
The first hour, do breathing meditation. Then try to cultivate the pure motivation, bodhicitta, as strongly as possible.
“The wrong conception of the self-existent 'I', the self-cherishing thought, the impure thought, the delusions such as greed, ignorance, and hatred, have been causing me suffering from beginningless, past samsaric lifetimes until now. Even now these negative minds are causing me confusion and much suffering, mental, physical, inner problems, external problems. These negative minds will spontaneously cause me suffering in the future if I don’t extinguish them. Totally, these negative minds are the root of all my past, present, and future suffering. Therefore, I must completely extinguish all these negative minds right away, and make them non-existent. It is not sufficient that oneself achieve the peace and cessation from the bondage of these delusions, because infinite sentient beings are suffering, involved in the bondage of delusions, suffering day and night, all the time. So in order to help other beings be released from all suffering, in order to lead them in the most supreme enlightened stage, I must achieve enlightenment, and I will also be released from all suffering. So these negative minds are the main disturbance to achieving enlightenment. Therefore, in order to achieve enlightenment for the sake of sentient beings, I will purify these delusions. For these reasons I am going to practice these meditations.”
Then do the purifying meditation. Those who have back pain, maybe this is the fault of not keeping the back straight. Then the problem happens. If one keeps the back straight, putting the energy in front—energy or whatever it is!—if you keep it straight it won’t cause pain. Those who have leg pains, forget the leg! So there is no pain.
Maybe tonight we meditate standing. If we can meditate, we can meditate by standing! [Many people standing up to stretch legs during peepee break.] Isn’t it funny. We want to sit down, but then we cannot sit, we get tired of sitting; we stand, but if we stand for a long time we get tired. This is suffering! Nature suffering. You know something outside is with you. When you meditate, if you cannot control your body how can you control your mind? During the meditation, you move your hands like this around, all over the body. It’s okay if the mind is meditating. Also, the body is moving like this [Rinpoche cracking up]. If you have really trouble with your knee, you don’t have to sit cross-legged. You can keep it loose, if it causes much pain. This is not sure, but even physically not moving does not mean the mind is strict in the meditation, it does not mean that; but generally, physical movement signifies that your mind is not in meditation; the physical body tells this. There is a way to get in the habit of that. If one does not make discipline or if one does become strict with oneself, then oneself gets the habit, so whenever there is something going on, something itchy, something around there, one becomes busy! If you wait for comfortable, then when can we meditate? If you want to be comfortable, the best method is meditation. Otherwise, there is no other method to control the interruptions.
Now visualize the aspect of Guru Shakyamuni for purification. Visualize at the same time as I explain. The throne is not on the ground; it is in space, up in space; the height is the same level of your forehead. Not so far, not so close it is attached to you—the space between the throne and you is the length of the arm. It is a large throne, a large, square golden throne, adorned by many jewels. The throne is erected by eight lions, with two lions at each side. Those lions are lifting up the throne from each corner. On the throne visualize a lotus. On the lotus, visualize a sun—like a drum, round, flat, very shiny, very bright. And then on the sun, the moon—the same thing, round and flat, very bright. The pure lotus symbolizes the renouncing mind of samsara; the sun symbolizes the realization of absolute nature; the moon symbolizes bodhicitta. This is according to the sutra explanation, but it has also a deep meaning in relation to the tantric path. There is no need, anyway, to talk about the what is symbolizes in tantra. Anyway, Guru Shakyamuni seated on that means that he has achievement of those realizations.
Guru Shakyamuni is in the form of a monk, with robes on. The color of Guru Shakyamuni’s holy body is golden, very shiny; a beautiful holy body. His legs are crossed, and his left hand is holding a bowl, while the palm of the right hand is on the right knee. The right palm on the knee symbolizes controlling the negative forces. In the bowl there is nectar to destroy the four devils, such as the devil of the Lord of Death, the devil of the deluded body, and the devil of delusion. This means that Guru Shakyamuni has complete control over these four devils. His robes are not like our clothes, they do not touch his body; the space between the cloth and the body is one inch all the way around. The clothes are loose on his holy body. He has a beautiful smiling face, long and tiny eyes. His mouth is red, like a small red fruit, shiny, and his lips are very red. He has long ears and a hair knot on the top. Each hair is curved to the right, and doesn’t mix with the others. His hair is black, very soft, not mixed, and shiny.
When you look at him you see him as if he is looking at you. At the same time, the other living beings who are in the different directions also see Guru Shakyamuni looking at them. He has such power. And the rays emitting from his holy body—in fact, he is sending rays from his holy body to all sentient beings in the different realms, but in our view we see him with rays the length of two arms emitting from his holy body. The rays that he sends from his holy body to all sentient beings who are in different realms are purifying, working for sentient beings, making infinite works for sentient beings. So many numbers of tiny Guru Shakyamuni are coming out through the rays to work for sentient beings who are in different realms. At the same time, infinite numbers of tiny Guru Shakyamunis are coming back through the rays, after finishing their work for sentient beings, and absorbing through Guru Shakyamuni’s holy body. Like a big office, people going out and people coming in.
Perhaps someone may think, “He’s only made it up, it’s not really so, he has no such power to be like this. Actually, this kind of thing doesn’t happen but it’s something that is made up.” This is still nothing. The enlightened being, Guru Shakyamuni, has such incredible knowledge or powers besides this. If you do visualization like this, it creates the cause to become an enlightened being, to work for sentient beings like this. Without effort, having the power to work for infinite sentient beings at the same time, same minute, second.
Then, as you recite mantra, visualize many rays coming from his holy body and absorbing into you, and visualize all your delusions in the form of darkness within your body. Just as the rays strike your body, are received in your body, all of a sudden they completely destroy all delusions, all wrong conceptions. So during the recitation of prayer and mantra, visualize rays coming, so many rays coming from his holy body, sent by him with his great compassion to release you from suffering right away. First you repeat the prayer, the mantra, with your hands in prostration like this—two thumbs like this (bent in and held between hands). This is to symbolize offering jewels and prostrating. Sorry it is so far, but it is interesting to show in the darkness! The repetition is for the new people.
First try to get the picture, the aspect of Guru Shakyamuni. With the visualization of rays, you are receiving the essence of his great compassion, the infinite knowledge of his great compassion, the infinite knowledge of his supreme powers, the infinite knowledge of his omniscient mind. Don’t visualize Guru Shakyamuni’s holy body as a statue, as made of cement—it is a formation of light, like a bubble, very transparent, but without resistance.
(Prayer, Page 19)
(Mantra, Page 20)
Now we say together few more times.
Think, the rays that came from Guru Shakyamuni’s holy body, which are sent by him with his great, unbearable great compassion for your suffering, have completely destroyed all delusions and wrong conceptions. Think that your body is full of light, whose essence is the infinite knowledge of Guru Shakyamuni’s supreme power and great compassion and omniscient mind. Try to feel the emptiness of all the delusions, wrong conceptions, and happiness. And then the lions and throne absorb into the lotus, sun, and moon, and that absorbs into Guru Shakyamuni, and Guru Shakyamuni becomes light melting into light, and that light is absorbed to you, and you become oneness, completely empty of wrong conceptions, impure thoughts, and impure view in the form of space, emptiness. Your mind becomes oneness with Guru Shakyamuni’s holy mind and completely empty of wrong conception, impure thoughts that project the impure view, in the form of emptiness like space. Also, there is great happiness. While in this state, visualize a large throne, lotus, sun, and moon, and yourself in the form of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha—very transparent, the body only a formation of light, in the nature of light, without having all the projections that you saw before. Think as if it were real. In place of thinking of the old person, think that you are the real Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, which means that this body-mind is not yourself, but Guru Shakyamuni’s. Then concentrate on the thought, concentrate on the thought that projects the view. Concentrate on the thought that sees the main picture of the objects.
Dedicate the merits. “Due to these merits may I quickly achieve Guru Shakyamuni and lead all sentient beings to his Buddhahood stage.”
Thursday, March 28
From the holy speech of the great pandit Shantideva, “Guru Shakyamuni has discovered this is beneficial. Guru Shakyamuni, who has been checking for many eons, has discovered that this is beneficial. By this, limitless holy beings become enlightened, attaining the most supreme happiness. By this, limitless holy beings become quickly and fully enlightened, the stage which is most supreme happiness.”
Anyway, this means Guru Shakyamuni. He has been checking for many eons which is more beneficial to benefit, to help other sentient beings and to receive enlightenment, to receive all happiness. Guru Shakyamuni has discovered that only bodhicitta is beneficial. Besides that, by receiving or by practicing bodhicitta, limitless living beings, who cannot be counted by the ordinary mind, become fully and quickly enlightened. This proves that this bodhicitta has such great benefit. It is fully discovered by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, therefore it is something necessary, and because of that reason we should practice it. Also, because of the reason that limitless holy beings received enlightenment, the most supreme happiness, we must practice it. Because of these reasons, spending time or life in this practice does not waste time, does not become resultless. It can never become meaningless. Therefore, as we have time, as we have the chance, it is necessary to train even from now, and necessary that the actions that we are doing now are possessed by bodhicitta in order to become a cause of enlightenment. Also, they will become a cause of achieving bodhicitta. So whatever we call meditation, trying to cultivate such a pure motive, bodhicitta, is the essential meditation.
Think, “I must achieve enlightenment in order to lead all sentient beings, who equal the sky, to release from all suffering. Therefore, I must complete the realization of the graduated path. Therefore, I must understand the meaning of the graduated path. Therefore, I must understand the meaning of the graduated path, I am going to listen the profound holy teaching of the graduated path.”
Through the Mahayana teaching fortunate beings can achieve enlightenment. Also, it is a teaching well expounded by, well-shown by the great philosophers, Nagarjuna and Asanga. Also, the very profound text is the essence of the great holy beings, Atisha and Guru Tsongkhapa’s holy mind. The profound text is like the essence of the highly realized beings. Atisha and Guru Tsongkhapa’s holy mind was shown, taken out, like butter taken out of milk. The essence of these teachings includes the essence of the 84,000 teachings shown by Guru Shakyamuni and set up for the practice of one person’s achievement of enlightenment. It is also the graduated path that all the past Buddhas received enlightenment through. So, there are four outlines.
1. For reference, the knowledge of the authors.
2. Knowledge of the teachings for devotion.
3. How to listen and explain the Dharma, which is true knowledge.
4. The way of leading the disciple in the path to enlightenment. The path is the same. The way of leading disciples in enlightenment, has two outlines:
a) The way of following the Guru who is the path’s root.
b) How to train the mind in the graduated path to enlightenment. That starts from the first meditation, perfect human rebirth.
The Perfect Human Rebirth
The Eight Freedoms (Page 46)
Just one repetition from yesterday’s meditation, the part of the perfect human rebirth, in case there is someone who did not understand how to meditate on this.
So first, at the very beginning, one should think, “From beginningless lifetimes I have suffered in the samsaric suffering realms. Especially, I have been experiencing the suffering of the three lower realms numberless times.”
Then, with details: even when I wasn’t born in the narak stage, I was born in the preta realm and suffered much. Also in numberless times, even when I wasn’t born in the preta realm, I was born in the animal realm and suffered much. Also, numberless times, even when I wasn’t born in the animal realm I was—even when I wasn’t born in the lower realm, I was born in the upper realm, born in the realms of the gods, as long-life gods, where there is no chance to practice Dharma, and the life is used only in rich, higher enjoyments, without recognition of suffering. Even when I was born in the human realm, I was born as a barbarian who didn’t understand anything of the Dharma.” This does not depend on an irreligious country, it mainly depends on the person himself, his condition of mind. “Even when I was born in the human realm, numberless times I was born as a barbarian, and even when I wasn’t born as a barbarian I was born deaf, unable to practice Dharma, to understand its meaning, to communicate. Even when I wasn’t born deaf, I was born many times as a heretic with wrong realizations, disbelief, that didn’t allow me to realize the path, to achieve enlightenment, to practice Dharma, to understand Dharma. That was all caused by the wrong realizations. Even when I wasn’t born as a heretic in the human realm, I was born many times in the place and time where there was no existence of the teaching, Buddhadharma.”
Then, try to rejoice, “How fortunate I am this time; I am out of these suffering realms, in which there are no freedoms to practice Dharma, not receiving this, such as this rebirth as a heretic, a barbarian, deaf; not being in such a time and place where there is no existence of Buddhadharma. How fortunate I am, from my side having received such a precious human rebirth, and with this meeting Dharma, taking rebirth that has the fully ability to practice Dharma. Now how fortunate I am to be able to practice Dharma.”
Then after this, thinking, check up, “If I were now in the hell, how would it be?” Try to remember suffering of hell—because of the terrible suffering not having freedom to practice Dharma. Also thinking, “How fortunate I am, not being in such a suffering realm now.” Then thinking of the preta realm, “If I were born as a preta now, how great their suffering is.” Try to remember the suffering. Think, “How fortunate I am that I am out of this, having the freedom to practice Dharma.” Think of the animal realm, “If I am now experiencing suffering, problems, besides in Dharma practice, it is extremely difficult even to receive the enjoyments of the temporal life. Even this is extremely difficult. So how fortunate I am not being born in that realm, having the freedom to practice Dharma.” Then think about the long-life gods.
For instance, some people who have been studying Dharma for a long time feel that people who are naturally so rich, not practicing Dharma, with their minds completely in other conditions, whose whole life is used to create negative karma, starting morning even till night-time—some of these Westerners feel really fortunate when looking at such people living such a life. That is true, easily true; it is worthwhile to rejoice, it is very true. Even if they are naturally okay, they have enough food, enough of everything, but they have no way to make arrangements, to create the cause to have a better future life in future lifetimes, nothing about Dharma is told, they never listen or understand. They never get a shock, they never listen. Also, the person who explains that is considered completely crazy, as what they are teaching is recognized as the cause of destroying happiness—it is recognized like this by people in such a life. Their minds are completely closed like an iron box with no holes. Anyway, I am joking! Even just with this, we check up how we feel lucky, with this present day example. So it is really true, it is worthwhile to rejoice, it is worthwhile to study Dharma, those people feel it is worthwhile, it is true. So even on the human realm where there is the existence of Dharma, why not? Like a situation such as those people have, living with those conditions, it is so difficult—not paying attention to the Dharma, not trying to understand, trying to close it, trying to be away from Dharma.
Like this, much more, it is the same thing in the realms of gods—because of such high enjoyments, delusions, and karma, and attachment to enjoyments. It is extremely difficult to explain Dharma—even if one tries to explain Dharma to those gods, they won’t pay attention because of distractions. So it is extremely difficult to practice Dharma, difficult to have freedom. If you find how difficult it is to feel Dharma in the realm of the gods, think of those examples existing on earth; even it is easy to feel it.
Then think, put yourself in the situation of a barbarian; try to see the difficulty of not having the freedom to practice Dharma. Then—there are many examples of people who are barbarians—put yourself in that situation. If you are like that, there is no possibility to hear Dharma even in your entire life, even if you exist for one hundred years. There is no freedom to practice Dharma.
Then put yourself in the situation of the deaf and try to see the difficulty of having the freedom to practice Dharma. Then put yourself in the situation of the heretic, try to feel the difficulty of having the freedom for Dharma practice, by thinking of many reasons. Then the same thing, in the time and place where there is no existence of Buddhadharma, where Buddha has not descended. Also try to feel the difficulty of not having the freedom for Dharma practice; try to feel it—this is the most important thing if you want to make meditation effective. Try to feel not only through words, but checking with feeling. This is the most important thing. Also, when you meditate you can think—what I have told you is just a very brief summary, just an idea—but by using your wisdom you should add in many reasons, you should amplify. That is the best way to develop your meditation.
The Perfect Human Rebirth
The Ten Opportunities (Page 47)
“Numberless times in my previous lives I was born in other realms, not in the human realm. But even though I was born in the human realm, I wasn’t born in a religious country. Even when I was born in the human realm and in a religious country, I was not born with perfect organs. Even when I was born in the human realm in a religious country with perfect organs, I created extremely negative actions. Even when I was born in the human realm in a religious country with perfect organs, and did not create the five extreme negative actions, I did not have devotion for the Buddhadharma, in the existence of past and future lives, karma, the Triple Gem, and the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Even many times when I was born in human realm, in a religious country with perfect organs, not creating five extreme negative actions, having devotion in Buddhadharma, but I was born in a place where Buddha has not descended. Even many times when I was born in the human realm in a religious country, with perfect organs, did not create the five extreme negative actions, had devotion to the Dharma, and was born in place where Buddha has descended, there was no teacher showing the Dharma. Many times, even when I was born in the human realm, in a religious country, and did not create the five extreme negative actions, had devotion for the Buddhadharma, was born in a place where Buddha had descended and there was a teacher showing the Dharma, from my own side I didn’t follow the Dharma. Even many times when I was born in such a place where Buddha had descended and the teacher showed the Dharma but there was no existence of the complete teaching—complete teaching means the realizations, the oral teaching and the realizations, the experience—if, even if there were all these things, many times I received them, but did not have a compassionate guru or a compassionate benefactor, and so didn’t have the chance to practice Dharma.
If you check up with yourself, the more you find the more you try to rejoice, “How fortunate I am.” Also, just as before with the eight freedoms, the same thing: you try to think if you were not a human being, how difficult it would be to have the freedom for Dharma practice. It is the same thing with each of these, you check up like this. With each of these you check up—if you were such a person who has no devotion, if you were such a being not following the teaching, there would be no freedom to practice Dharma. The most important thing is putting yourself in that situation. So in this way the meditation becomes stronger, by checking like this. It is like this. So thinking of yourself in that situation, trying to see the difficulty, should make you feel what great freedom you have. It should make you feel the preciousness of this present rebirth.
Also think of other people, the majority of people. For instance, like this: there are more beings in the narak stages suffering than in the preta realm, the animal realm, like this. There are less beings born in the realm of the gods. There are more beings who are heretic, who don’t believe in the Dharma. There are fewer beings who believe in the Dharma, who follow the Dharma, and fewer beings who have teachers showing them the Dharma. Also, there are fewer people who have a compassionate guru or compassionate helpers. Also, think like this. This is also helpful to the mind, in order to see or feel the freedom, the precious freedom that you have.
Then it is necessary to continuously do this meditation until you achieve the experience of such great happiness as a beggar finding a jewel would have.
How Is This Perfect Human Rebirth Useful? (Page 47)
My human rebirth is perfect, but how it is useful, how great it is useful? This meditation is the answer to the question, to realize the usefulness of the perfect rebirth.
1.”... collection of merits ...” Also, when you think of this, if you think with feeling, just thinking this brings such great happiness, rejoicing to your mind. For instance, from beginningless lives until now, the continuity of the cycle of suffering has not ceased. So that which has been experienced unceasingly can be made ceased with this rebirth, this present perfect human rebirth. So isn’t it incredible? Just by thinking of the beginningless continuity of suffering, and this time having a chance, having the possibility to try to cut off that continuity—just even having that possibility is incredible. Therefore, because of that reason we are fortunate, greatly lucky. You see, there is a chance that this continual suffering, continual beginningless suffering can be ceased with this precious human rebirth. If it is not cut off in this life, if the present rebirth is not used, as there is a chance, then it is a great loss, great loss.
There is story that in Tibet there was one family, and the father cooked special food one day for the child, for his body. I think some people may remember that which was eaten on the top of the mountain on Tibetan New Year (mar.zen). The families make this only sometimes, not often. So the father made the mar.zen, made it with butter. I have not that much idea! Anyway, the boy found it very delicious, and as he was stealing some of his father’s food, he hid it behind him. There was a dog behind him, and the dog took the food that he had hidden there, so the child began crying, tears coming out. The father said, “Why, he has eaten his food, why is he crying? Why upset?” Then he complained that the only one time such delicious food that he received, only one time that is eaten, was taken by dog. So just like this example.
Question: Can you explain more about this?
Rinpoche: Do you want a taste! If I explain you won’t hear any other Dharma words. You will only see the bread!
Anyway, so just like this example. This example is nothing, what the boy is feeling is nothing, nothing to compare to the subject, the preciousness of the present human life. So anyway, the purpose of taking this example—as the boy feels for the food, in the same way we should feel the great usefulness and preciousness of the perfect human rebirth. As the boy feels upset about losing the delicious food that he received one time, we can feel a billion times great upset, losing the preciousness of the present, wasting the great useful perfect human rebirth. It is really something that we can feel upset about—losing, wasting the preciousness of the perfect human rebirth, and also to be careful.
Even just by thinking about the first part, we have the chance to completely cut off the bondage of suffering, the continual bondage of suffering, which has no beginning. Even just by thinking this, it is something that we should put our whole energy, energy of this life into, in order to cut off the continual, beginningless suffering. But in order to put our whole energy into this, to use our whole action for this, to put our whole energy into this project, it is necessary to have a great feeling, understanding, of the usefulness of the perfect human rebirth. The more we understand, the deeper we understand, deeper we prove this, as the will gets stronger, that much more your life will be spent to stop the continuity of suffering.
Even in this present lifetime, this rebirth is greatly useful in order to gain temporal works, to gain the work of this life, which is extremely difficult for the lower beings.
For instance, one can enjoy a place, if one desires a house. For temporal enjoyments such as clothing, if one desires one can make them. If one desires food, one can try to get food. If one desires many other temporal enjoyments, as the person wants, the person has chance to try. There are many methods to gain these things, to receive these things. If one wants to make a business, or whatever one wants to do, there is a chance to do it. Such as lower beings, animals, those lower beings—only life finishes in suffering; they never have such freedom as we have, even for the enjoyment of this life. So much freedom—that is because of the usefulness of this human body. In so many ways, even to gain the enjoyment of this life, this present human rebirth is greatly useful.
Also, this rebirth is greatly useful in order to receive better lives in the future lifetimes. Because with this rebirth, the perfect human rebirth, one can create the perfect cause—the perfect cause that causes you to be born again with a perfect human rebirth, in many future lifetimes. If you want to be born as well in a wealthy family, if you want to be born as a person such as a king, having many surroundings, population, also this rebirth can create the cause that brings that. By creating the cause, such as by practicing patience or charity, one can be born as a human being with many possessions or as many surroundings as one desires. Also, with this rebirth, purely keeping the moralities, the precepts, one can be born as a human being having a beautiful shape, a beautiful body, that makes all people pleased. Even if we desire to be born as a human being with a great reputation, also there is a chance, the cause can be created with this rebirth—such as keeping oneself at a lower level and exalting and admiring other beings. Even if you want to be released from samsara and achieve the arhat state in the future lifetimes, also this present life has the possibility to create the cause, to make arrangements. Also, even if you desire to be born as a universal king, a king who controls one world, two worlds, also there is the possibility to create this cause with this rebirth.
Also, if you want to achieve enlightenment, the temporal goals, now this is the ultimate goal. If we want to achieve the ultimate goal:
a. in three countless great eons, there is the possibility to create the cause with this perfect human rebirth. Because of these reasons, the present perfect human rebirth is that useful—for those temporal goals, the present perfect human rebirth is that useful, that much greatly useful. The three countless great eons, by following the path, the length of time it takes, until achievement of enlightenment—from the beginning of the path up until enlightenment. This depends on individual practice—how quick and great the purification is, and the merits are created. In previous times, great practitioners who followed the guru practice correctly didn’t have to take three great eons. In place of taking three eons for those followers, he achieved enlightenment after two great eons, because of making such great, powerful purification, by depending on his guru, the great bodhisattva. So anyway, it is also another long story. Anyway, the length of time of achieving enlightenment depends on individual practice.
The very highly realized yogi, Guru Tsongkhapa, said in his holy teaching, “The perfect human rebirth is much more precious, special, much more precious than a jewel. Receiving this rebirth only occurs at this time, and it is extremely difficult to find, and easy to decay, like sky lightning. By thinking of this, one should realize all the worldly actions are like a popping water bubble. [Discussion on word “popping” followed; some suggested “bursting”—Rinpoche said, “Both are good, both are meaningless.”) A popping water bubble, like this. Please grant me blessings that the thought wanting to take the essence will continuously arise all night and day by thinking this, and realizing all the worldly actions as a popping water bubble.”
These are words said by his holy speech, with his great experience. So this question has much taste—like LSD! Thank you! Like medicine; when you feel well, it is very hot, like a cold drink to cool your suffering. So this affects the mind. So therefore, as Guru Tsongkhapa said, for such as this thought to continuously arise, the thought wanting to take the essence all day and night, that depends on realizing all the worldly actions as a water bubble, which are meaningless. The example is to show that all worldly actions are meaningless. For such a thought to continuously arise, wanting to take the essence all day and night depends on realizing all worldly actions as meaningless, as a water bubble. That depends on realizing the extreme difficulty of receiving this perfect human rebirth, and how it is so easy to decay, like sky lightning. To realize the extreme difficulty of receiving the perfect human rebirth, that depends on recognizing, realizing the preciousness. The human rebirth is numberless times more precious than many billions of jewels. So the whole thing depends on fully recognizing or realizing how the perfect human rebirth is greatly useful, precious. That depends on recognizing, realizing the perfect human rebirth—that one has received the eight freedoms and ten opportunities.
How is This Perfect Human Rebirth Useful? (Page 47)
1(a) So before, we were talking about the usefulness of the perfect human rebirth, that one can create the cause in this lifetime to achieve enlightenment in the future, even without taking three countless great eons. The example that I was talking about this morning, this great bodhisattva, who has the name “Often Crying,” created such great merits—he created the merits of one great eon within seven years by perfectly following his guru, as his guru is as his heart. There are many histories, long stories about how he practiced. Anyway, this even without following tantric practice.
1(b). Also, it is possible to do this with this perfect human rebirth—receive enlightenment after eight great eons—such a thing is also possible to be arranged with this perfect human rebirth.
Also receiving enlightenment after seven years, after seven lifetimes, also that cause can be created, can be arranged with this perfect human rebirth. Also one can, with this perfect human rebirth, even if one wants to achieve enlightenment in the second lifetime, this present human rebirth can create the cause, can do it, can make the possibility.
1(c). Also, even if one desires to achieve enlightenment in this lifetime, this perfect human rebirth has the possibility to do it. It is possible as it became possible for many other great yogis, such as Milarepa. In terms of body he was also a human being, he also has a human body, we have a human body, same, it is equal—we have the same human body. So as he achieved enlightenment in a lifetime, it is possible to achieve enlightenment in the lifetime, it is also possible for us if you use the perfect human rebirth in that way.
1(e). Also, even in the lifetime, it is possible to achieve enlightenment in twelve years and also in three years by following the perfect, holy, profound path that has the power to bring enlightenment in such a short time. And on that basis, keep even the very subtle small precepts, and following the guru, following the orders of the guru as if he is one’s heart or life. Achieving enlightenment in such a short time is possible in this lifetime, after twelve years or three years; it is possible on the basis of this practice. If you try, it is possible. Even though Milarepa, who went through much, who practiced Dharma by surmounting great difficulties of temporal needs, living the external life of a beggar, living only on nettles—we have more possessions, more things than he had, so achieving enlightenment should be possible, should be possible for us.
At least, even though we don’t achieve enlightenment in this lifetime, if we want to achieve enlightenment by being born in a pure realm where there is no heavy suffering, no grosser suffering, such possibility also can be made by this perfect human rebirth.
3. Even if one desires to become an arhat, who is out of samsaric suffering, that can also be made possible by this perfect human rebirth.
2. Becoming a higher bodhisattva can also be made possible by this perfect human rebirth.
4,5. Achieving the realization of the absolute true nature can be made possible by this perfect human rebirth, as well as bodhicitta and the fully renounced mind of samsara.
However, in order to use the life to achieve one of these stages or realizations, it is important to make it a project, like if you want to do something, day and night you work and think of that. Even if you are outside, you think of that; even in the house, you think of that—this is the main thing. Always trying to get many things for that, try to get much equipments. Just like that, try to get equipment in our mind. Day and night we have to work on that project. Not like a cloud, sometimes concerned—when one’s situation becomes troublesome, upset with friends, other people not liking one, becoming unharmonious. If there is trouble in the situation, then we are concerned about Dharma, to do something to escape from suffering. Then when the person has no trouble in the situation, we forget enlightenment, forget release from samsara, forget to think of the nature of suffering. Just like that, the person’s goal for release from samsara or achieving enlightenment is like a cloud. A cloud is sometimes there for a few minutes, sometimes disappears. If one’s practice is like that, nothing happens to that person, nothing is achieved for that person, thinking like that, up and down.
If you want to do something, if you want to make life really practical in order to at least achieve one of these realizations before death, then it is necessary that you are not like that, up and down, but continually study and continually meditating. Continual meditation does not mean you make a schedule and sit with cross legs; it does not mean that. Continual meditation, the essence of this, is correcting your daily life. That is the main thing. Even though you don’t meditate, correcting the daily life, being conscious of speech, body, and mind is the essence of Dharma, the essence of meditation. This person is really meditating, he is in real meditation. This is something, when you die, this is something that can really definitely help also many other future lives. This is the most important thing, whether a person is a layman, monk, or nun, whatever it is. Otherwise, it will be like this: climbing an ice mountain, trying to climbing an ice mountain—for instance, you take a few steps, then again you slide down; again you make a few steps, again you slide down; like this. You never get up, never get on top, it’s up and down, up and down. It takes much time. In so many lifetimes without correcting daily life, even though you do a little bit of meditation like this, not really correcting the daily life, you get nowhere. Like a person trying to climb an ice mountain, up and down, who makes one mistake and slides down. He never gets on top, there is no progression. What makes real progression in the mind? Meditation. What brings progression? Your meditation or your mind. Correcting the daily life can help, that is the best method if one wants to escape from suffering soon, if one wants to achieve enlightenment soon, if one desires to help sentient beings soon, to release them from suffering.
You can study the ten opportunities and these things afterwards. Each thing is a very deep subject, with much explanation.
Paragraph 1 (Page 48)
Also, thinking of these present possibilities, even for doing the worldly actions this body is so useful. With this rebirth there one can lead the life by trying in so many ways. Even if this work is not successful, one can try something else; and even if this is not successful, one can try another thing. Like this, there are so many possibilities in worldly life; for a human being, so many possibilities. So for a human being as they are living, for such beings as animals it is extremely difficult. There is no choice even in worldly life. They don’t have so many ways to try, like, or dance—they use this in order to live life. There are so many ways to try to live to receive temporal needs, the enjoyments. Thinking of this, at the same time think of the limited possibilities of having the karma to be a human being and help to not create that karma which causes one to be born in the lower realms.
1. In his previous life he created much good karma, basically followed morality, keeping morality and charity. In the previous life, he created great charity, extensive charity and followed morality well. Also he made prayers in order to receive a perfect human rebirth in the future lifetime. He created a cause in previous lives for each of the eight freedoms that we have now. The previous life created the cause for each of these, each freedom’s result. It is the same thing, the previous life created the cause for each freedom. Ten freedoms. As freedoms that we have received now, the previous life created the cause for each one. That much work is not easy. So we should not think that this is meaningless, with no purpose. We should not think that. We don’t remember how we tried in previous lives, what great trouble we went through in order to receive this.
About morality, even if one follows precepts, make the vow to follow precepts, if one doesn’t keep them correctly, purely, it cause one to be born in the lower realms. Even if one makes the vow to follow the precepts, if one doesn’t do them correctly, one will be born in the lower realms. So in the previous life we did much work, created much good karma, purely followed morality. In our previous life we prayed to release ourselves from the eight realms that have no freedom and to receive the ten freedoms; in our previous life we prayed for this so due to prayer, much prayer and creating much charity and observing morality purely, this result happened. Because of the past karma, following morality, the result, this human rebirth is received.
So the life, in this time, each of us, however the life is, easy or difficult, however it is, it is the result, the creation of the previous life. If you do not desire this present situation, this present life and situation that was brought by the previous life, if you do not desire it, if you hate it, then it is necessary to create stronger, more virtuous actions, much greater virtuous actions than the previous life created. So from this cause we can have better, happier, more enjoyable, more free, better rebirths in the future.
Of course if we are only concerned about present suffering, not future suffering, that is foolish, not skillful, not wise. It is necessary to be concerned for the future life—more the future than the present suffering. Why is it more worthwhile, more important, to be concerned for the future suffering than the present? Because the experience of the future suffering is much more definite than the experience of the present suffering. Also, the future suffering is much more definite to appear, it is quicker. Why it is more definite that we will experience future suffering? Because finishing this life, ending this life, is definite, so the experience of the future suffering is definite. Why is the present is not sure? Why is it indefinite? Because the actual time of death is indefinite; we are not sure when it will happen. So maybe death can happen before you try to stop the present suffering. Therefore, it is much more worthwhile and definite, important, to work for, to be concerned for the future; to work in order to stop the future suffering.
Because who experiences the future suffering? You. The same person. Not your parents, not your children; you, only you. There is nothing to share. If you cannot share the mind you cannot share suffering. For instance, if such a thing is possible to share, it’s fantastic ... there would be no need for Dharma, no need to seek the truth, no need to seek new methods, no need to control the mind, because the living being who is enlightened could share his realization, his supreme happiness, with all living beings without depending on those other living beings practicing Dharma and purifying. Also, the person who puts on beautiful clothes could share her comfort with others who are jealous of seeing the clothes. If such thing were possible, sharing the suffering or sharing the mind, then this example would be possible. Without having that cloth, the other person can feel comfort. But such thing is impossible. Because in the future time, the suffering which cause was created by ourselves will be only experienced by us. As the cause is created by us, the suffering result cannot be shared.
Also, think like this, meditating, checking to know how long your previous life worked for this, to actualize your present rebirth, to receive this and have these possibilities, in a worldly way and also in a Dharma way. It also helps the mind a great deal to feel, “This present rebirth I have now is not easy. In many of my previous lives, I worked very much, very hard on this, created so many merits by bearing difficulties. So how can I waste this present human rebirth, this present body? How can I waste it?” Thinking like this encourages your mind by thinking like this, building up will and energy.
3. When one meditates on this, thinking like this is also very helpful. Wasting this present life does not mean only losing the present things but by losing this present life, you lose so many things. It makes work done by previous lives have not such great meaning. By not making progression with this rebirth, by again being born, by creating negative karma, again being born in the lower realm, it doesn’t make much sense that the previous life worked very hard to receive this present human rebirth. It is like this—the father worked so hard to buy a golden ring for his son, worked so hard. All the money he received from his job he collected, by spending as little on himself as much as possible. By bearing difficulties, with money that he collected so hard, and bought a golden ring gave it to his to son. But the son throws it in the bathroom. Meaningless, like this. Just talking about the previous life without talking about the future.
First do the purifying breathing meditation. Before that, try to possess the action of breathing with the pure motive of bodhicitta.
“The wrong conception of ‘I,’ the ‘I’-clinging, self-cherishing thought, the impure thought, and the delusions such as greed, ignorance, and hatred, have been causing me suffering from the beginningless of my previous lifetimes until now. These negative minds are still causing me much suffering, even at present.” Think, remember your present problems such as mental confusion, physical problems, many things. “These negative minds will continuously oblige me to suffer, even in the future lifetimes. These negative minds are the source of the whole suffering, past, present, and future suffering. If I do not desire the temporal problems, I must completely extinguish these negative minds, which are the cause of suffering.”
“Oneself receiving peace by releasing from this cause of suffering is not enough, not sufficient. So many infinite sentient beings are in suffering, living in delusion. I must help them to release from suffering and receive enlightenment. But now I have no power even to enlighten one sentient being. I myself am not released from delusions, from suffering, I am strongly caught in bondage of suffering. Therefore, I am going to purify the sinfulness and obscurations in order to achieve enlightenment for the sake of sentient beings.” Then do the breathing meditation.
Do the visualization of Guru Shakyamuni: visualize a large golden throne adorned by many jewels, erected by eight lions. Visualize also that the lions are living, breathing. The throne is not on the ground, it is the same height as the forehead, and the distance between the throne and you is like the length of an arm span. The eight white snow lions symbolize the eight bodhisattvas. On the large throne is a lotus, and inside the lotus is a sun; like a drum, it is flat, round, but very bright, a yellow, golden color. The moon is white, flat, round, and the same size as the sun, not small, very large.
And Guru Shakyamuni is seated on it, in the form of a monk with robes on. His robes do not touch his body even though it looks like he has put them on—there is a one inch space between his holy body and the robes. He is cross-legged, with the palm of his right hand on his right knee; the left hand is holding a bowl in which there is nectar. The nectar controls the four devils. It means that he has the achievement of supreme power to control the four devils, and besides he controlled his own four devils.
His holy body is yellow, golden color, very shiny, very beautiful, and he has a smiling face. He has such a beautiful aspect in which you never find satisfaction. As much as we look at his holy body, having such a beautiful remarkable aspect, just by looking at it, it gives such great pleasure in the mind, much greater than if we see an ordinary statue. His holy body is only a formation of light. So many rays emit from his holy body, and all these rays are sent to the sentient beings who are in the six realms of samsara, but in our general view we only see that the rays are two arm lengths emitting from his holy body. Infinite small holy bodies of Guru Shakyamuni come through rays from his holy body to work for sentient beings, and at the same time infinite Guru Shakyamunis come back through the rays after they finish working for sentient beings, and absorb into Guru Shakyamuni’s holy body—like a big office where there are so many people busy running in and out, people going in different directions, each of them looking at Guru Shakyamuni, seeing Guru Shakyamuni looking at them. Guru Shakyamuni is sending many rays to you with his infinite knowledge and compassion, wanting you to be released from suffering right away, and the rays that he is sending, each essence is the infinite knowledge of his omniscient mind, supreme power and great compassion. And purifying, as the rays go inside your body, just as when one switches on the light in a dark room the darkness immediately disappears, becomes empty, just as the rays come to you, inside the body, all the delusions and wrong conceptions that make you unhappy and confused, not understanding the subjects, are completely purified. Try to feel the emptiness of the delusions and obscurations and feel great happiness. With recitation of the prayer and mantra, visualize the knowledge-rays coming from Guru Shakyamuni and purifying all the negativity.
(Prayer and mantra and meditation)
Think again that all wrong conceptions and delusions are completely purified, completely disappeared, nowhere existing—not in the mind, not in the body, nowhere existing, even in each atom of the body. The eight lions and the throne absorb into the lotus, and the lotus, sun, and moon gradually absorb into Guru Shakyamuni. Guru Shakyamuni melts into light, and that absorbs into you in oneness, in the form of space, emptiness, space. Your mind... the emptiness, space become oneness with your mind, and your mind becomes oneness with Guru Shakyamuni’s omniscient mind, in infinite happiness. Concentrate a little bit. Think that your mind has completely become Guru Shakyamuni’s holy mind; without exception, your mind is Guru Shakyamuni’s holy mind.
From this state visualize a throne, lotus, sun, and moon, and on that you, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, are seated. Think that you have achieved enlightenment in the essence of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha by forgetting your view, which is the projection of old thought. Think that you are sending many rays to all sentient beings from your body, which is Guru Shakyamuni’s holy body, and purifying all sentient beings. All the suffering and causes of suffering instantaneously disappear. Think that the suffering and cause of suffering are completely purified, nowhere existing. Each sentient being achieves enlightenment in the essence of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. Visualize all sentient beings in the form of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. Now all the sentient beings who become Guru Shakyamuni Buddha absorb into you from all directions.
This is a profound technique that causes one to receive enlightenment in the essence of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. Also, it arranges for you, in the future, to enlighten all sentient beings in the essence of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. It is also a profound technique to do quick purification in order to achieve enlightenment.
Watch what your mind is thinking. Hold the mind and concentrate on it.
Think also about the mind that is concentrating, whether it is in the brain or in other parts of the body. Check where you feel it. If you think it is in the brain, check also if it is in the toes.
Dedicate the merits, “Due to these merits may I achieve Guru Shakyamuni soon in order to lead all sentient beings to his stage of Buddhahood.”
Friday, March 29
From the holy speech of the great bodhisattva, Shantideva, “For those whose desire to destroy hundreds of samsaric sufferings and to relieve sentient beings from unhappiness; even those who, besides that, desire to enjoy the hundreds of happinesses, the bodhicitta should never be given up.”
This means that the living being who wants to destroy, relieve any suffering of samsara, any of the hundreds of samsaric sufferings, it is necessary to always practice Buddhadharma. Besides wanting to relieve one’s hundreds of samsaric sufferings, even if one desires to relieve the sentient beings from unhappiness, from suffering, it is necessary, also for that, to have bodhicitta. Even if one wants to receive the hundreds of happinesses of the upper rebirth—that means the human rebirth, the rebirth of the samsaric gods—even one wants to enjoy, to receive the hundreds of happinesses of the upper rebirth and the happiness of nirvana, the cessation of samsara, and the happiness of enlightenment, bodhicitta... for that reason, bodhicitta should never be given up. Which means, for any of these reasons to succeed, any of these aims, it is necessary to always keep bodhicitta. Bodhicitta should never be given up. For any purpose, any of the purposes that we have, this is the instruction from the great bodhisattva, Shantideva.
So if you talk to us, if we desire, if we have one of these aims, either wanting to cease one’s own hundreds of samsaric sufferings, even if the purpose is that, or the goal is that it is necessary to cease the suffering of other suffering living beings, the best way to do this is to keep bodhicitta. Also we, if we want to receive the happiness of upper rebirths in future lifetimes and the supreme happiness of enlightenment, it is necessary to have bodhicitta. It is necessary to not give up the bodhicitta.
Anyway, however, the purpose of listening to the teachings, the purpose of doing meditation, whatever spiritual action that we are trying to do, that we think of as spiritual, it should be done with one of these goals. If that is so, if we are doing these things for one of these goals, why don’t we practice bodhicitta according to the instructions of the experienced bodhisattva, given by the experienced bodhisattva? If we have the time, our mind is capable to use it in that way, it is necessary to train in that way, so it is necessary to train as much as possible. Before death happens, the length of time that we have, we should try to use as much as possible.
Even one minute of having the chance to train our mind in this way is very lucky, greatly fortunate; even one minute of training our thoughts in bodhicitta is very fortunate. Very lucky, because even making meditation, training in that for even one minute, makes arrangement for one, in the future lifetimes, to again practice bodhicitta, to approach the higher path. So even spending one minute is greatly lucky, fortunate, fortunate, fortunate. Even when we think of the number of human beings, there are so many number of people on earth, so many in each country. But if you check, if you think of the number of the people who practice and train the mind in bodhicitta, they are so rare, extremely rare. The number of people, human beings—this is not talking about other sentient beings, only talking about people, human beings who are in irreligious countries, extremely difficult. Even if there are so many human beings born in, but even in that place where the teachings exist, there are beings living with the experience of this and there are so many people. But really training in bodhicitta is so few, so rare, extremely rare, extremely rare. So by sometimes thinking like this it gives you the energy to do the practice—by thinking of the rarity, that the people who practice this is the least, smallest number. So by thinking this, we should try to practice this bodhicitta.
This is a pure thought. The essence is wanting to take care of others more care than oneself. This is the opposite of taking oneself as more important, the person taking more care of oneself. In place of this taking care of others, thinking that others are more important than oneself, thinking that others are more important then oneself. This thought is completely opposite to the self-cherishing thought, always wanting to sacrifice oneself to benefit other beings, to give pleasure to other beings, to release other beings from suffering, to enlighten other sentient beings from suffering, many things. So bodhicitta is worthwhile to be practiced by any being, by any people. It does not depend on caste, color, black, or white, or the way someone is dressed, it doesn’t depend on this. It doesn’t depend on different religious people—it is necessary even for Christians, Hindus, Muslims.... anyway, I don’t remember the names; it gives trouble!
It is necessary to achieve this pure thought, whatever the person is called, because this pure thought never harms oneself or other beings, doesn’t give one tiny atom of trouble, of harm to oneself or other beings. Why is it especially worthwhile, besides not giving even an atom of harm? It always keeps peace, always keeps oneself and other beings in peace. With this pure thought the person can never, there is no way to harm other beings, no way to hurt them. And especially actions that are done for other people, charity, many things, even talks, lectures, any kind of actions done for others that are pure, sincere—pure in order to help other beings to release them from their problems. So every action being sincere and pure, and as it is sincere and pure, there is much more benefit for other beings.
Because of the power of action that is created by the power of mind, bodhicitta, so it is necessary, especially if people in the world desire peace. This is the most important thing, because if the people living in the world have achieved bodhicitta, there is no way to cause trouble to each other—jealousy, pride, to destroy each other, be jealous of other’s possessions, progressions—there is no way for this to happen because of self-cherishing thought. Then it is really possible to have peace. Then it is really possible, definitely possible to have less confusion, cares. Peace doesn’t depend on action, on what you are doing, giving lots of lectures, giving lots of ideas, building so many things, doing so many things—as long as the action is involved in self-cherishing thought, basically, as long as it is done with self-cherishing, any action that the person thinks is done to bring peace in the world, as long as this action is done basically with self-cherishing thought, with delusion, greed, and hatred, this action is not pure. It is not sincere, because the action is done with self-cherishing thought, with deluded mind, and it is not pure. Also, it cannot benefit other beings that much, as it is not pure, not pure, it does not have that much power to benefit. Also, it can cause much care, complication, and it can cause much suffering. It can cause much suffering. Anyway, those actions done with such negative minds are not the cause of peace, are not the cause of happiness—they are only the cause of suffering, because the actions were created with the root of the negative mind.
Also, there is no way for that action to bring happiness to the person himself, because the action created is a negative action, done by following the negative mind. So peace and happiness has to be a positive action, and a positive action has to come through pure mind. If you want to receive peace, to bring peace to all the people in the world, to all the human beings on the earth, you should not put the energy in developing the external objects that we see, but you should put energy into developing changing the mind—one’s own mind and other living beings’ minds. Change the mind from negative, which is the cause of suffering, un-peace. Work for that, to take the root of suffering that is living beings’ minds, work to take the root that is the cause of suffering, out. Work to take the root in other living beings’ minds out. And work to plant the medical root. Work to destroy the root of suffering, those negative minds that are in the living being, that exist in the living beings’ minds and work to build, to grow this pure thought, bodhicitta, in the living beings minds.
This is the practical, quickest way of bringing peace to the world. Otherwise, even though we spend countless eons without working for this, without making any change to the root, the creator, the mind, the mind of the living beings, even if countries or private people, whatever spend time trying to develop the external phenomena, external factors, this never brings peace. This work, besides not bringing peace to other people, can never bring peace to oneself in one’s mind, because of not checking, not working, doing nothing to clean the mind, to wipe off the creator of the problems. That is simple to know—everything, every problem, depends on the mind; it is simple if one checks up.
If one country helps another country, then another country gets upset. This is all created by mind. This problem, getting upset, wanting to give harm, confusion—everything came from mind. This is simple. When one person talks, another person becomes unhappy, gets angry, proud, or jealous. But at the same time another person who looks at the first person feels no jealousy, no anger, nothing, even though the other person looks at the first person behaving in a certain way; and gets angry, feels suffering. But the other person who is looking at him feels nothing, no anger, no pride, nothing, just middle, indifferent.
So that’s how the problem is not in the external things. The problem is in the mind, arising from the mind. Therefore, if the other person doesn’t want that kind of problem—getting angry, jealous, suffering—the method is not to kill the other person, the method is to kill the negative mind, to wipe off, destroy his negative mind. Totally, the whole thing comes to this point—receiving peace does not depend on giving harm, destroying other beings; it never depends on that. It is impossible to bring peace in that way. Peace is only possible by changing, by cleaning the negative mind.
If you want to help, if everybody is concerned about helping bring peace to the world, everybody’s thoughts—not sure the mind is that sincere as the words, but however, if you want the words—to not have world trouble, suffering, if you want to work for that, then it is necessary to first bring peace to oneself, to make peace fir oneself. Otherwise, if your mind is full of kaka, how can you clean other people’s minds?
It is necessary to understand the methods, how to clean one’s negative mind. By practicing this and cleaning one’s negative mind, one can work also for others in a practical way. Also, it has the power to benefit. Otherwise, even if one tries, there is always a mistake in the action, always a mistake. Anyway, for all these reasons, it is necessary to cultivate pure motivation:
“I must achieve enlightenment to release all sentient beings, who equal the space, from all the sufferings. I must achieve enlightenment right away. Therefore, it is necessary to complete the realization of the graduated path. Therefore I am going to listen to the holy profound teachings.” This motivation is necessary to think, to write in your mind.
This teaching is a Mahayana teaching, and through this, fortunate beings can receive enlightenment. And it is a teaching that is well expounded by the great philosophers, Nagarjuna and Asanga. It is also a profound, holy teaching, the essence of the highly realized Atisha and Guru Tsongkhapa’s holy minds taken out. A teaching that includes the essence of all 84,000 of Guru Shakyamuni’s teachings, and is set up for one person’s enlightenment. Also it is the path that all past enlightened beings went through.
This path has four outlines:
1. For reference, the knowledge of the teaching.
2. And in order to have devotion, the knowledge of the teaching.
3. And how to listen and explain the teaching that has two objectives, the knowledge.
4. And the fourth, how to lead the disciples in the path to enlightenment, that has two:
a. how to follow the guru who is the root of the path and,
b. how to train the mind in the graduated path to enlightenment.
There is no need to talk about that (a) at this time. The second one, how to train the mind in the graduated path to enlightenment…we briefly did the perfect human rebirth yesterday.
How is This Perfect Human Rebirth Useful? (Page 47)
Just one brief repetition of the usefulness of the perfect human rebirth, in case some people don’t have it clear in the mind how to do the total meditation. In regards usefulness there are three things:
1. Useful for temporary.
2. Useful for ultimate goal.
3. Perfect human rebirth useful even for a minute, second.
This perfect human rebirth, useful for temporary purposes, how is useful for the ultimate goal, how it is useful for even a second, a minute?
“I have been continuously suffering from beginningless samsaric lifetime until now; the continuity of the suffering has never been ceased up to now. So this present perfect human rebirth that I received now has the possibility to cut off this, to cease the continuity of the suffering that has no beginning. How fortunate I am! How greatly lucky I am! Even in this life, even to have temporal enjoyments such as food, clothing, reputation, food, clothing, reputation, possessions; whatever I want I can try to have, by going thought different means. The lower suffering beings do not have the chance, such freedom for the temporal enjoyments. There is so much suffering because of not receiving the temporal enjoyments they need—such as going around in the country wherever one wants, seeing many things, so much freedom, I have so much freedom to do this as I wish.”
Try to amplify by yourself; this is just an example, try to amplify yourself when you meditate.
“Even for temporal enjoyments this perfect human rebirth is so useful; even for temporal enjoyments, to receive temporal enjoyments, to gain temporal enjoyments. Even if I desire to receive a perfect human rebirth this can make it possible, can create the cause. If I want to be born in the realms of the gods, to be born as samsaric gods, this present human rebirth can make it possible. Even if I desire to be born as a king of the universe, in different worlds, this present perfect human rebirth can create the cause, has the chance. So any kind of upper rebirth that I desire to have in a future lifetime, this present body has the chance to create the cause. Also to have perfect surroundings in future lifetimes, also this present rebirth can create cause, has the possibility. Even if I want to receive perfect enjoyments in future lifetimes this present perfect human rebirth has the possibility to create the cause—perfect enjoyments in the human realm as a king, being born as a king, perfect enjoyments in the realms of gods. Whatever rebirth, whatever upper rebirth, whatever great enjoyments, perfect enjoyments that I desire in the future lifetimes, this present perfect human body can make it possible.”
This is how the perfect human rebirth is greatly useful to gain the temporary purpose. This is the temporary purpose.
2. This present perfect human body is useful to gain the ultimate goal, purpose.
“If I desire to achieve nirvana, the cessation of suffering, in future lifetimes, this present human body can create the cause, can make the possibility. Also, even if I desire to get out of samsara in this life, it is also possible that this present perfect human body can create the cause. To achieve enlightenment in three countless great eons, within seven lifetimes, or after one life, this perfect human body can create the cause, can make it possible. Also even if I desire to achieve enlightenment in twelve years, this perfect human body has the possibility to create cause. Also, even if I desire to receive enlightenment in three years, the present perfect human body can create the cause. It is possible as it was possible for one enlightened yogi, Milarepa. It is possible because we are the same kind of being, a human being having a human body. From one’s side receiving a human rebirth, and there is the existence of the teaching that leads to enlightenment. There is the existence of the teaching for enlightenment in the lifetime, there is the existence of the teaching. There is the existence of the teaching, and also there is the existence of teacher who can show it. These things are existing, these needs are existing, so it’s matter of, from my side, trying and practicing. Receiving enlightenment is possible unless I betray from my side. Also it is possible, if I desire to achieve bodhicitta, to realize the absolute true nature or fully renouncing mind of samsara in this life, this present perfect human rebirth can create the cause, can practice it.”
This perfect human rebirth is greatly useful even in a minute or second. For instance, within a second or a minute one can create merits, one can make great extensive purification. One can crate such extensive great merits, even in such a short time with this perfect human rebirth, such as by meditating on bodhicitta, practicing bodhicitta. Even for a short time, this creates extensive, infinite merits—infinite merits which are the cause of enlightenment. Such extensive infinite merits, the cause of enlightenment, can be created in such a short time with this perfect human rebirth.
For instance, for a preta to create such merits that we create with our perfect human rebirth in a short time, even a minute, or half a minute, it takes eons and eons. Even to create the merits that we create within a minute or half a minute, for those beings it takes many eons. It is extremely difficult for a preta to create even that amount of merit. Most of them never create any merits as long as they exist in such a realm. As long as they exist, not one merit is created, like this.
Beings who are suffering in the narak stage, or animal beings, even the merits that we create in such a short time, even in a hundred thousand eons can never create even this amount of merit. It is the same thing with animals—extremely difficult, and also for those in the realms of the gods, the samsaric gods, it is also extremely difficult for them to create as we do, as we have the chance to create infinite merits, to do such extensive purification in such a short time. It is extremely difficult for them, because of the interruptions and distractions; it is extremely difficult, no matter how long their life is. Even if they live many millions of human lives, it is extremely difficult for those samsaric gods to create the merits that we can create in a short time. So these are just a few examples.
This perfect human rebirth is greatly useful for creating such great infinite merits, great purification with bodhicitta, with holy objects, enlightened beings, who work for our mind. So thinking in this way, it is useful to gain the temporary and ultimate purpose and make every second, hour, and day greatly useful. So your meditation becomes so effective for your mind. It makes you also see how precious your human body is, even in each hour, day, or minute. How the existence of your human rebirth, the existence of such short time is useful, precious. So wasting this present perfect human rebirth is a great waste, worse than wasting many universes, numberless, full of jewels. Because this cannot compare to the numberless universes full of jewels, it has no value as this present human rebirth has. Because the numberless universes full of jewels cannot help us to obtain this purpose, to gain the temporary purpose and ultimate purpose. They have no value to bring any of these results. So many jewels have no power to bring even a result such as receiving bodhicitta, fully renounced mind, or the absolute true nature, as the perfect human rebirth has. So even that much material, such precious material, can never compare to the value of the knowledge, so that’s why I say numberless times, that the precious human rebirth is more valuable and precious than numberless universes full of jewels.
Therefore, usually the ordinary, living beings who are on the earth, in the world, in place of using the present human rebirth to gain a higher purpose, advantage, use the present precious human rebirth to take care of the material things. Using it like this is wrong—the rebirth is sacrificed to keep and produce material things, not to protect the life in order to bring higher purpose. It is completely used in a wrong, meaningless way, such a silly way, like this. This is due to ignorance, due to not understanding these meditations, these teachings.
Why it is much worse to waste this present perfect human rebirth than numberless universes full of jewels? Because by wasting numberless universes full of jewels, one does not waste the previous life, the hard work done in the previous life, the extensive great merits that were created. By wasting these materials one does not lose the previous lives’ hard works. By wasting that many numbers of materials, universes full of jewels, one does not waste obtaining the results, obtaining the higher advantage, the results that can be obtained by the perfect human rebirth. By wasting such great numberless jewels, one done not waste the attainment of the future meaningful results, such as an upper rebirth in the future, such as attainment of enlightenment, attainment of nirvana, or attainment of realizations in future lifetime. Wasting this numberless universe of jewels, one does not waste the attainment of these results. So therefore, wasting numberless universes full of jewels is nothing, nothing. It is the same as wasting this hair, single hair—this has also no knowledge, no value to achieve all these meaningful results and advantages. As the one single hair has no advantage to bring all these things, so wasting that is nothing.
But if you waste this present perfect human rebirth, it wastes many of our previous lives, it betrays all the hard work creating such extensive great merits in our previous lives, because in our previous lives we have created so much merit in order to receive this human rebirth, and, receiving this human rebirth, we practice Dharma and receive the realization of escape from rebirth, so we practice Dharma and receive enlightenment. Therefore, if our present human rebirth is not used in that way, it makes the previous life, the hard works meaningless. Also, if we waste this present perfect human rebirth, it does not bring all these results that could be achieved in this lifetime, such as the attainment of enlightenment in this life, all those different levels of results, or release from samsara. If we don’t use the present human rebirth in that way, we don’t achieve those results, so it wastes so much freedom, and stops us from achieving these things in this lifetime.
Also, wasting this present perfect human rebirth wastes so many other future life’s attainments. It wastes all the meaningful results, such as enlightenment, release from samsara, receiving different levels of realizations such as to receive a better perfect human rebirth, with perfect enjoyments and perfect surroundings. By wasting this perfect human rebirth, it wastes the whole future result, which cannot be received. So in terms of the loss, wasting the present perfect human rebirth is a greater loss.
For instance, one reason is that the material things, like jewels, don’t help in receiving realizations, or even to have a better rebirth in a future lifetime. Certain animals, such as nagas, have so many rich enjoyments, so many stores of jewels, but do not benefit from those jewels, because that being’s body is an animal body, and the rebirth is an animal rebirth, not an upper realm rebirth. They are only enjoying these things, but not creating merits, only enjoying the result of those materials, which are the results of previous karma, previous merits. When they were in the upper realms, born as human beings, for example, they created merits of charity. But because of not following morality purely, they were born as nagas, as those animals. That’s why the body is that of an animal but they have many rich enjoyments, materials; like this. However, an animal has many greater possessions than a rich human being, than people living on earth, but there is nothing to compare. That’s why the value of the jewel is nothing—because even they have that, and still they are living in the animal realm. We, numberless times, were born as nagas and also enjoyed and possessed these materials numberless times. So because of these reasons, actually we possessed infinite numbers of jewels, but nothing happened, nothing helped is to cease the continuity of suffering.
(Rinpoche coughing) I hope I don’t give my cold to you. Even there is no benefit, if I don’t harm.
The very highly realized great philosopher, Nagarjuna, said in his holy teaching, “A living being born as a human being using the human rebirth for creating the sinfulness of negativity is an extreme fool. He is more foolish than that person using a golden pot adorned by many jewels, making it dirty by vomiting food.”
This means making it like the bucket in which we collect all the dirt, in which we sweep all the rubbish. Anyway, that example of using a golden pot adorned by many jewels for a garbage can is nothing compared to using the perfect human rebirth, that is received once, for creating negative karma.
“The living being, since he is born a human being and using it for creating negative karma, is extremely foolish.” This is said by the great philosopher, Nagarjuna, with his realizations. It is said with great compassion, feeling unbearable for other living beings’ suffering.
So, as we discussed this morning about the usefulness of the perfect human rebirth, even in a day, an hour, a minute, like this—since it is that useful, this human rebirth can be used to bring the highest advantage to this life. There is the possibility to work for that, to use this present human rebirth to gain these most beneficial highest results until the time of death. So as the perfect human rebirth is that useful, if it is not used in that way, if it is used as meaningless and it is used for creating negative karma in place of using it for enlightenment, if it is used to create the cause of continual suffering in samsara, to create negative karma to be born in the lower suffering realms—this is a more foolish action than anything else.
Among the mistakes we make in our daily life, this action is the most foolish action. Other mistakes do not betray many future lives, do not cause us to be born in the suffering lower realms, such as making mistakes in our way of dressing, or making food. Even if we make mistakes in these temporal works, these things cannot cause us to be born in the suffering lower realms, cannot betray many future lifetimes. The worst mistake, the most evil action, is that which can betray many future lifetimes and which causes us to be born in the suffering lower realms, such as these evil actions creating negative karma with negative minds—greed, ignorance, and hatred. So this action is the greatest mistake, the most foolish action.
The Eight Temporal Needs (Page 49)
Someone translated, “eight worldly concerns.” The literal translation from the Tibetan word is “eight worldly dharmas.” “Eight” means eight. “Worldly dharma” means the object of these evil thoughts, what the evil thought gets hatred or attachment to. The “dharma” means the pleasure or suffering of material things, of ugly words, displeasing words, sweet words, admiration, slander, or criticism. “Dharma” means those eight objects. “Worldly” means a worldly being; a being who has an evil thought that hates or gets attached to these objects—that is a worldly being. Another way of saying this is one who is not a pure practitioner.
1. Craving for pleasure, happy if there is pleasure.
2. If there is no pleasure, unpleasant, unhappy feeling.
3. Craving sweet sounds such as music, feeling happy, craving them.
4. When there is an uninteresting sound, then feeling hatred—becoming unhappy with the feeling, hating it.
7. Then when someone admires you, when someone puts you up, or admires you, the evil thought gets attached, feels happiness, being attached to the admiration.
8. So when there is someone abusing you, or putting you down, you become unhappy, with the evil thought feeling hatred towards the words that abuse.
There are about eight objects, eight different objects. The great pandit Nagarjuna said, “Pleasure and no pleasure; sweet and harsh [Rinpoche not satisfied with word 'harsh']—uninteresting, but sometimes even the words harsh still can be interesting—receiving materials and not receiving materials; admiring and abusing." There are eight different objects.
So our life is living in suffering. How? Our life is always in the suffering with the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas. Our life is not peaceful, in confusion, suffering with the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas. The whole confusion of this life is caused as our mind is living in the house of the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas. So it often causes suffering to this life. Since we were born until now—just talking about this life—the whole problem, suffering, is experienced with this present body. Since we were born until now, it has been caused by the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas. In order to receive peace in life, it is necessary to make these thoughts equal. Because if our mind is living in the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, so always our mind is up and down. What makes it up and down like this? The evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas. Life is not always happy—if the person, due to something, was happy this morning, then in the afternoon, the night time, the person may be very depressed, upset. Like this, it always changes up and down. To any people, rich or poor, with any problem, the suffering life is confusion, the feelings are not equal, and this is due to the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas—not making equal. If it is made equal, then this up and down feeling does not happen.
The way the previous yogis practice Dharma at the beginning is by equalizing the eight worldly dharmas. For instance, like this:
1. Even if there is pleasure, the mind is not attached…not letting the mind becoming sudden happiness, instantaneously, not letting the mind suddenly become happy.
2. And when there is displeasure, not letting the mind get upset, depressed, feeling unhappiness with it.
So you see, “equal” means the feeling with the objects is equal. For that person, even if there is pleasure, even there is displeasure, for that person it doesn’t make any difference.
3. If there is an interesting sweet sound such as music, the person who is living in the avoidance of evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas has no trouble to the mind; they do not let the mind be attached to that sweet interesting sound.
4. When there is an uninteresting sound the person doesn’t let the mind hate it, so for that person there is no confusion, no trouble to the mind. For that person, whose mind is living in the avoidance of the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, there is no difference between an uninteresting sound and an interesting sound; he doesn’t care; there is no difference.
5. Same thing, the pure practitioner whose mind is living in the avoidance of the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, when there is receiving material he doesn’t let the mind be attached, be happy, feel happy being attached to the material.
6. Even if there is no material that he receives, he doesn’t let the mind be unhappy. So in regards feeling, for that person, whether material is received or not, it doesn’t make a difference, it is equal. So there is no mental trouble. No cares.
7. For this pure practitioner, whose mind is living in the avoidance of the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, when he is admired by other people he doesn’t let the mind feel happy, attached to those admiring words. So his mind is not in the problem of attachment and also there is no sudden feeling of the happiness.
8. Also, when there is abuse, criticism, he doesn’t let the mind hate others. So his mind is not in the state of confusion or suffering. So in terms of the feeling of that person, whether someone admires or criticizes, there is no difference, no confusion, no trouble, only peace; it is equal, because he has made it equal. It is equal for him, like that.
But for an ordinary being:
1. When there is a little bit of pleasure, the mind goes up all of a sudden, and gets attached. As there is pleasure, the mind gets attached because the mind is not controlled. There is an evil thought, it is not controlled. Whenever there is pleasure, all of a sudden the mind gets attached. For a few minutes the mind is happy, up, not suffering. But in reality, it is suffering, not really peaceful.
2. When all of a sudden there is displeasure, the mind comes down, the mind hates it. Still it is the same thing—the mind in suffering because it hates the displeasure. The way of suffering is different but the mind is in suffering.
3. When there are interesting sweet words and sounds, all of a sudden the uncontrolled mind, this evil thought, gets attached to them. The mind feels happy by being attached to the interesting sweet sounds.
If I clarify. The minds that feels happy when attached to the interesting sweet sounds and attached pleasure are both suffering minds. Also, the mind that likes to receive material and is attached to receiving material and the mind that feels happy for receiving material, the mind that likes to receive admiration, to be admired, to be praised by other people saying, “You are good, you are knowledgeable,” making the reputation saying things like this, and saying, “You are wise,” “You are a good meditator,” admiring, “You are a good speaker;” there are many ways to say. The mind that likes to receive this, that gets attached to this, that feels something like this is happiness—all these minds are suffering. This is the mind problem that we have in our life. The reason that we cannot keep the life equal, not up and down, and the reason for all the confusion that happens in this life is that we do not recognize these confusions, and do not have permanent peace in the mind due to not fully realizing this mind that likes to have those things, that gets attached, that feels these things are happiness, not realizing they are suffering.
For instance, when we meet friends, we feel a kind of pleasure. Then, completely believing in this pleasure—we really believe that it is real, true pleasure without realizing, recognizing, that the mind feeling this is suffering—the mind gets so attached to this pleasure, to the friends. We don’t realize that the mind feeling like this is suffering, but we believe that it is perfect or true pleasure, then afterwards ...
First the mind is up, and then something that you don’t like happens, something not interesting, saying something, a complaint or ugly words that you dislike, then there is no pleasure, the pleasure has gone away. Then the mind is again suffering, feeling hate, doesn’t want to keep the friend, wants him to leave, and tries to arrange how to get him out! I’m joking! You see, now the mind is down, another unpeaceful state. Before, also unpeaceful, now the mind is like water bobbing, water boiling. So the pleasure has gone away, the normal pleasure that the person felt before. That’s why that pleasure is not perfect pleasure, it is not true pleasure. The mind that is feeling this pleasure is in suffering because the pleasure is not true and doesn’t last; it is not perfect pleasure. Also that mind, that peaceful mind is suffering, why? Because it is attached to the friends—it is attached to, because attachment and suffering are the same thing, like this. This pleasure is something formed and created by superstition, because of seeing the physical body of the other friend.
Same thing with interesting sound. Because the interesting sound object is close, the mind is attached, and this feeling happiness is called pleasure. Like this. When the interesting sound becomes uninteresting, then there is no more pleasure. Before it was like, now it is dislike, like this. It is the same thing with each of these evil thoughts that likes to have those things. It is all in the suffering mind—just as the example that the mind is attached to the pleasure of the friend, like this. When there are those objects, we like it, we ordinary beings like it; when there are no interesting objects, when there is displeasure, uninteresting sounds, not receiving materials, not receiving gifts at Christmas time, birthday—anyway, you can check up on your birthday! You can practice it on your birthday and Christmas time; if you start from now maybe you can practice at birthday and Christmas, otherwise you may not remember! So we don’t like suffering, we don’t like to not receive material. And there is no need to put an example, we are living these experiences our whole life. When there is criticism, abuse, we dislike it, we don’t like it; another suffering, like this.
So now we can see that we live our whole life in suffering. Through this we can see. We do not really living with a peaceful mind. Even if you think the mind is peaceful when you receive these objects, if you checks up you will clearly recognize an uncomfortable feeling, an uncomfortable mind, because it is in the nature of attachment. Especially when you try to meditate, as you can never meditate because mind is not peaceful.
So anyway, those previous pure practitioners make the object, the eight worldly Dharmas, equal, so there is no trouble, no confusion for the mind. If you would like to try to experience things as those yogis experience them, it is really something that can make life peaceful, happy; really happy. It can not only make this present life happy but also make it meaningful. Also, the practice of making the eight worldly Dharmas equal helps a great deal, besides for this life, it also helps for many other future lifetimes—they become much less trouble, less suffering, and the life really becomes peaceful. Also, there is less disturbance for Dharma practice because you control it; there is so much less disturbance for Dharma practice. So with this fundamental practice, the whole realization of the meditation, the whole thing, enlightenment, up to enlightenment, everything is received much more quickly. That is because of the power of this practice.
Check the reason you have to make the meditation. Try to remember. Whatever you are planning, if you have planned it—if you expect to sit down to make meditation thinking, expecting something to happen, to receive, to feel comfort, to feel some kind of pleasure, to feel good—totally if your thought or motivation is something expecting the comfort of this life, then it’s an evil thought. If you plan to do meditation to destroy the negative minds and to achieve enlightenment, then the reason is positive and your motivation is pure.
If you have an impure motivation, then it is necessary to see, to make the action of meditating, possessed by pure motivation, and by avoiding, stopping this impure motivation, with the understanding and remembrance of the shortcomings of the negative mind, the “I” clinging. In other words, seeing, “The wrong conception of the self-existent ‘I,’ self-cherishing thought, and impure thought, and delusions such as greed, ignorance, and hatred, have been causing me to suffer from beginningless samsaric lifetimes, and still these negative minds are causing me to suffer, and these negative minds will spontaneously cause me to suffer even in the future. So these negative minds are the cause of all suffering. Therefore, I am going to make, to practice these meditations, in order to purify the obscurations which interrupt the achievement of enlightenment.”
First do the breathing meditation.
Visualize Guru Shakyamuni Buddha seated on the throne and lotus, sun and moon. So this time, do the visualization by yourself.
Visualize knowledge rays coming from Guru Shakyamuni’s holy body. Guru Shakyamuni is sending knowledge rays from his holy body with his infinite great compassion, causing you to be released from suffering right away. You are receiving the light, the knowledge, the rays, the essence of the rays, and the infinite knowledge of Guru Shakyamuni’s omniscient mind. All his powers and great compassion are received inside your body, purifying all the negativity, just like light, when we put the light on in a dark room, just as the darkness all of a sudden disappears, not existing anywhere, just like this. The knowledge rays that come from Guru Shakyamuni’s holy body purify all your negativity, all wrong conceptions, all delusions in the form of darkness. Then, with this we say prayers and mantras, which request him to grant the knowledge of his holy speech, body, and mind, and blessings of his holy speech, body, and mind, by strongly concentrating on Guru Shakyamuni sending rays. Then we say prayers.
(Prayer and mantra)
Think that all the delusions and wrong conceptions are completely purified. And try to feel the complete emptiness of all this negativity. The body is full of the knowledge rays. Try to feel very light and infinite happiness.
Think that the body is very transparent, completely clean. Now do the absorption. The throne absorbs into the lotus, sun and moon, and they absorb into Guru Shakyamuni; Guru Shakyamuni melts into light that absorbs into you, becoming oneness, and all of a sudden the impure views disappear. Your impure views, which are the projection of impure thoughts, and complete emptiness, as space and complete emptiness, oneness with your mind and your mind oneness with Guru Shakyamuni’s holy mind. Feel also infinite happiness. While your mind is in this state, your mind which is inseparable with Guru Shakyamuni’s holy mind that appeared in the aspect of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha sitting on a throne, lotus, sun, and moon and think, ‘Now I become enlightened in the essence of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha.’ Think that it is real, forgetting all thoughts that cause you to see separation. Think also that the holy body is in the nature of light, formation of light, very transparent, having no resistance. Also think that you have completely achieved all of Guru Shakyamuni’s infinite knowledge of holy speech, body, and mind.
Think, “Infinite sentient beings are incredibly suffering in these six samsaric realms.” Try to see and feel their different sufferings, their unbearable sufferings, such as the suffering of the beings who are suffering in the narak realms in different ways, that which suffering beings such as pretas, animals, human beings, suras and asuras experience. Think, “If these suffering sentient beings were me, if I were in that situation, the suffering would be incredible, unbearable, even for a minute, a second.”
Now try to feel compassion for these suffering sentient beings, wanting to release them from suffering and to receive perfect peace. Think, “I must cause all these incredible suffering sentient beings to be released from all these causes of suffering, only by myself.”
Then, while you are visualizing yourself in oneness with Guru Shakyamuni Buddha with this compassion, then send rays, visualizing that you are sending rays to all suffering sentient beings who are in all the directions. Think, “The rays that I am sending to all the suffering sentient beings, as they receive them, all their sufferings and causes of sufferings are completely purified, and all their negative minds are completely purified, not existing anywhere.”
Think, “All sentient beings become enlightened in the essence of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha.”
Think, “I have led all sentient beings to the stage of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha.”
Now visualize that all sentient beings, who are Guru Shakyamuni, absorb into you from all directions. Concentrate at the heart without letting the thoughts think of objects. Do not concentrate on the physical heart. Also, at the same time check how you feel. Also think of yourself going down inside, coming down from the head down to the toes, inside from the head down to the toes; think that you are coming down to the toes—not outside, inside.
Do meditation on the perfect human rebirth, checking meditation on the perfect human rebirth. Check on yourself, how much you have received. As I explained, on the basis of explanation, amplify it by yourself, using your wisdom. Try to explain it to yourself being a teacher.
Dedicate the merits that we have created in the past and present, and also those that will be created in the future: “Due to these past, present, and future merits may I achieve the state of Guru Shakyamuni quickly, in order to lead all sentient beings to his enlightened stage.”
Chang chub sem chog rinpoche
Ma kye par nam kye gyur ching
Kye pa nyim pa me pa yi
Gong ne gong du phel bar shog.
The meaning of this prayer is, “May the bodhicitta that is not received be received. May the bodhicitta that is received increase, by developing without degeneration.”
So it is good to think, good to pray that oneself and other sentient beings, those who have not received bodhicitta, receive bodhicitta and develop it without degenerating, without losing it.
When you do these meditations, if you don’t remember, if you don’t do anything, then it’s just wasting time. So in the morning time, if you don’t remember, look in the book and check up, check up. It’s good if one can remember, if one tries to make oneself remember the fundamental subject as it’s set up, especially at night when there’s no light. Generally, it’s better if you can remember, it’s good. Anyway, if you don’t remember, then if you sit for hours and hours with the mind making the old trip, it doesn’t make any difference whether your physical body is out or in, sitting or standing. So if you people want to make the meditation course helpful, it depends on your effort, depends on you. How you work with your mind, how you meditate. So I think in the time of meditation, do meditation. That’s all.
Saturday, March 30
The fully enlightened founder of the Buddhadharma, Guru Shakyamuni, said in a sutra teaching, “All existence has a cooperative cause, has a secondary cause. It depends on the point of the wishes. All existence, secondary causes, depend on the point of the wishes.”
This means that the suffering result, the happy result, depends on those two actions, and depends on the mind. Whatever the action or the result is to be, it depends on the mind, the root, the mind. Just at this time it is something that differentiates us from animals, from lower beings. This is a time to differentiate ourselves as human beings from animals. If this time we were born as human beings, if we use this rebirth for the creation of evil actions, which also the lower suffering beings, animals create, then even if we are born as human beings, we don’t act as the meaning of human beings. Not living in the meaning of the human being becomes unpractical—we are born as human beings and the life becomes unpractical, no purpose. The whole thing has no purpose. It makes no purpose to be born, makes no purpose to have the human rebirth. Because any lower being who is not human can create the cause of suffering, negative actions. They use their rebirth to create the cause of suffering. So for creating cause of suffering, there is no need to be born as a human being, no meaning, no special meaning. It doesn’t have any higher special meaning.
This time, the purpose for which we are born as a human being has a higher meaning. As it has a much higher meaning than the rebirth of animals, lower beings, therefore it is necessary to use the human life for its higher meanings, for higher goals, to create higher actions, than those lower suffering beings’ actions. Therefore, this is a time to differentiate us from animals, by creating the higher action in order to achieve higher goals.
The most practical, beneficial way to use the human life in order to achieve enlightenment and to achieve all the future happiness, the most profound method, quick and profound method, is bodhicitta. Achieving bodhicitta depends on the achievement of the realization of the meditations that should be practiced before bodhicitta, the graduated meditations that lead to bodhicitta. These meditations should be realized in order to receive bodhicitta. These graduated meditations, the realization of which leads to bodhicitta, depend on the achievement of the realization of the first part of the meditations. That starts from the realization of the perfect human rebirth, the meditation on the perfect human rebirth. To have these realizations, it is necessary to practice and understand. Therefore, as bodhicitta is that important, it is necessary to train even from this time, even from this moment, in order for the action of listening to the teaching to become the cause of enlightenment.
Therefore, it is necessary to think, “I must achieve enlightenment in order to release all sentient beings from all the suffering that they experience now. In order to achieve enlightenment, it is necessary to complete the graduated path. In order to achieve the graduated path I am going to listen to the profound holy teaching.” It is necessary to listen with such motivation, bodhicitta, motivation.
The subject of listening to the Mahayana teaching leads the fortunate being to enlightenment. The teaching was well expounded by the great philosophers, Nagarjuna and Asanga. The profound holy teaching, which is like the essence of the highly realized Atisha and Guru Tsongkhapa’s holy mind, taken out, just like essence of butter taken out from milk. This is a teaching that includes all the essence of the 84,000 Guru Shakyamuni’s teaching, and is set up for the practice of one person’s achievement of enlightenment and the graduated path.
There are four outlines to this graduated path, through which all past Buddhas received enlightenment. So the four outlines are:
1. For reference, the knowledge of the authors.
2. For the devotions of the teaching, the knowledge of the teaching, which we read at the beginning.
3. How to explain and listen to the teaching, which has two objectives, knowledge.
4. Fourth, how to lead disciple in the path to enlightenment;
a. How to follow the guru who is the root of the path,
b. Second, how to train mind in the graduated path to enlightenment. It starts from the perfect human rebirth. That was briefly finished, so now we go to the usefulness of the perfect human rebirth.
So, the usefulness of perfect human rebirth. It is useful in this lifetime, useful to gain temporal purpose, and useful to gain ultimate purpose; also it is greatly useful even in a day, hour, or minute. Because other sentient beings such as samsaric gods who are living in those realms can be created with this perfect human rebirth in a minute. In such a short time, half a minute. So the present perfect human rebirth is that powerful and precious. So therefore, because of these reasons, especially this perfect human rebirth is useful, that much greatly useful, precious.
In a short time, we are wasting this precious human rebirth, even a day, hour, or minute. By thinking of the value—how much merit can be done with that, how much work for enlightenment can be done in such a short time, how much merit created for the quick achievement of enlightenment. By thinking of the value of this present perfect human rebirth, it is something that we should never waste; never even in a short time, hour or minute, such a short time; it is a great loss. By continuously meditating, by continuously checking, doing the checking meditation on the usefulness of the perfect human rebirth, even in such a short time, it builds much energy, and makes less laziness. The stronger, the deeper the person, through meditation, understands or sees the value of this human rebirth, that much more the person doesn’t want to waste time.
The more deeply the person sees the value, the more clearly, that much more the person receives the energy to practice Dharma, without caring for any difficulty or problem arising. Any problem that arises, person doesn’t care much. That person who has a deeper understanding, who feels this great value of the human rebirth, sees spending his life in order to stop the problem as insignificant or not important. Trying to stop the temporal problems is seen as insignificant or not important. So that’s how this practitioner who has the deeper understanding of this can continuously do the practice, can continuously create merits, with less interruptions. If he cares, if he thinks it is important, then it becomes an interruption to his Dharma practice; then his Dharma practice cannot continue.
Just like it happens to us, the same situation that happens to us. The reason that we cannot continue, why we often cannot create merits, why we find it very difficult even when there’s a chance, a time that we can create merits, even when there is a chance we find it difficult, we feel that it is difficult to do, then such as laziness arises, the hindrance to the Dharma practice arises, so it is extremely difficult to continue the creation of merits.
By continuously doing the meditation on this, when you receive the experience of this meditation on the usefulness of perfect human rebirth, at that time there is such a great feeling, an unbearable feeling for this human rebirth; feeling that it is unbearable to waste the human rebirth even for half a minute, even for such a short time. What it looks like now is the opposite of the feeling that will be received when you achieve the experience of this meditation. Now we spend most of our time, our life, even one day, in meaningless work. Using this human rebirth, the time, for the work of the enlightenment, for creating merits, is so little—it is so difficult to do. So when we have the achievement of this meditation, the realization of this meditation, the whole thing is completely changed. The time that is used in the human rebirth for creating meaningless work becomes so little. Also, the living being who has the achievement of this experience, this meditation, feels great, incredible great loss, uses this human rebirth in meaningless work, even in such a short time, a half minute.
Anyway, as much we desire, as quick, as much as we desire to achieve enlightenment without depending on such infinite creation of infinite merits, without receiving such a strong will, receiving enlightenment is impossible, it’s impossible.
Also, besides the value and understanding, deep understanding of the value of the human rebirth with feelings, besides this it is extremely important to know, to realize, the shortcomings of such things as the eight worldly dharmas. It is the most important thing, to try to discover the shortcomings of the eight worldly dharmas. There is that much strong energy arising, to renounce the eight worldly dharmas.
For instance, when we meet the objects that we like, the mind is unpeaceful, is in an unpeaceful nature. When the mind likes these objects, has a happy feeling by being attached to them, always the mind up as it is taken like the paper that is blown by wind—not peaceful, not quiet; also, uncontrolled. Also, when there are objects, when we meet the objects that we like, that our mind is attached to, there is much confusion, much suffering. Such as when you receive a gift for instance, just as an example—gifts, food, things that you like—the mind is very suffering, like the mind is attached, like the mind is stuck, completely stuck on that object. Even if the mind is not physically stuck, not to matter, but like when it’s attached, liking objects, it is in suffering, unpeaceful. How? The mind got stuck on the object that you like, such as food, gifts, people, friends, people who say beautiful words to you, admire you, say good things. All of a sudden this is our life, not talking about some other people, this is our experience. If someone says, tells a few dry words, saying, “You know much Dharma,” saying something, saying how good you can talk, so many things—anyway, when things like that happen—all of a sudden the mind is not in a peaceful, not in a peaceful state, another kind of water is boiling at that time. All of a sudden something is good, because the person’s mind is attached to that, all of a sudden, as the mind is uncontrolled, the mind all of a sudden lifts up. That is the feeling, the way it looks. Then feeling happy, feeling happy about being attached to those words. This is another way of suffering. Then recognizing the other person as good, a good person, a good friend. “He’s such a good person, man,” because he was saying how good I am, like this. All this suffering, life suffering. So suffering does not mean only feeling sickness, pain, something, does not mean this. The mind gets attached to these objects that we like, and that is the worst suffering of our life.
For instance, in among the poisons there is the worst poison. This is like poison—sometimes it causes terrible suffering, pain, and sometimes it goes a little bit quicker; sometimes we get much pain, suffering, then sometimes it gets a little quiet; then sometimes again it causes much pain—like that poison that continuously causes you to suffer. All of this is confusion, because of a person saying a few words, then because the mind is attached to the person who is saying things, you want to help him, you want to do something for him. This mind is also a confused mind, because your help to him is not because you concerned more for him than for yourself, or because of thinking that the other person is more important than you—the reason is because of the person saying something good, and then helping. This is also negative. The reason is this—because he did me some good, because he did something that I like, he told me something that I like. Because one’s mind is attached to that, help is given. So anyhow, the whole action is a service to one’s egocentric mind, it is all service to one’s attachment, because that is done according to what the attachment says, what the egocentric mind says. So if that is the only reason that help is not sincere, it is negative.
Anyway, Guru Atisha, the great bodhisattva Atisha, as he was asked by his disciple Dromtonpa, the embodiment of the Compassionate Buddha—he was the one who invited Atisha from India to re-establish the Buddhadharma in Tibet, he is the one who offered service to Atisha while he was in Tibet—so Dromtonpa, this meditator, this yogi, asked Atisha, “What are the results of the actions created with greed, ignorance, and hatred?” Atisha answered, “Actions created with ignorance, greed, hatred only cause one to be born in the lower suffering realms. Greed causes one to be born in the preta realm, hatred causes one to be born in the narak stages, ignorance causes one to be born in the animal realm, and so forth.” Anyway, if our life is used living in these evil thoughts of the eight worldly Dharmas, there is no doubt that we will continuously create negative karma and evil action, there is no doubt. All the time, day and night, all the time, as long as our life is conditioned in the evil thought of eight worldly Dharmas, living in this, there is always so much creation of negative karma. So many times, even when we try to create spiritual actions, spiritual work, it is extremely difficult to become pure. It is extremely difficult for our actions to become actual, real Dharma, spiritual actions.
For instance, just before the death, Atisha passed away. One of his followers, a yogi called Nanjor Chatikchag, which means Yogi Meditator, who was a previous life of Milarepa, told Atisha, “I will meditate on you after you pass away.” Atisha said, “Practice Dharma.” Then he found another idea, because Atisha said, “Practice Dharma.” He didn’t say yes, to meditate on him after he passed away, he said “Practice Dharma.” So this yogi thought that sometimes he would meditate, and sometimes teach Dharma, then again Atisha said, “Practice Dharma.” Then Atisha finally told him, “Renounce this life.” So then he went into the forest. He was walking around in the forest, sometimes staying at this place where he put a kind of tent, a very simple place. Sometimes he was walking around saying the teaching that Nagarjuna said, which I said yesterday— “The worldly mind not receiving material pleasure, non-pleasure, admiration and criticism, interesting sounds, and non-interesting sounds, these are not the object of mind, the mind that should be equal.” This teaching was said by Nagarjuna. Also, the teaching that was said by the great bodhisattva, Shantideva, in Following the Bodhisattva’s Actions, is as follows, “I, who desire, who seek the release from samsara, do not need to be bound by the material giving and receiving and respect. I, who am seeking the release from samsara do not need to be bound by receiving materials and the services.” So this follower goes round in that forest, walking around saying these prayers continuously. By saying these prayers continuously, it makes the mind conscious of the daily life, and makes the actions become pure Dharma, not involved with, not possessed by the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas.
Anyway, this is true, what the great bodhisattva Shantideva said in his teaching, “I, who am seeking release from samsara, need to be bound by material seeking and service.” This means that though other people are working, giving things, respect, many things, one doesn’t need to be bound by that. Because the one who is living in the pure Dharma practice and seriously seeking to release from samsara avoids the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, so that person has no problem, no trouble of attachment. Something missing?
They have no trouble like we ordinary people have, because of discontent and dissatisfied mind. Even if they are not satisfied with the material there is always wanting more, and always missing something; always having the trouble of missing, not having something; always wanting better and more, and always having the trouble of something missing, not having what you like. These practitioners who are living in the pure Dharma practice, seeking the release of samsara, seriously seeking it, not having these problems, have no hindrance to Dharma practice as we have. So, as these practitioners have their life in the avoidance of the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, we don’t need these temporal things, because the mind that is living in the pure Dharma practice is not attached, not expecting, not trying to obtain more and better, not trying to obtain more or better temporal things.
So, as long as the mind is living in the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, it is impossible to do both. Even if we try, it is impossible. When you desire Dharma, the other one has to be given up; and when you do the worldly work of the temporal life, the Dharma has to be given up. Even if you try both, it never works, it never happens, it’s impossible.
For instance, another example—also through this example we can understand. One yogi saw an older man, a person, going around the stupa. So the yogi told him, “It is good going round, but why don’t you practice Dharma?” Then the other person thought maybe what he meant was to read books, texts. So he read books. Again this yogi saw him reading books, and told him, “It is good reading books, but why don’t you practice Dharma?” Then he thought, maybe this meant doing meditation. Then again the yogi saw him doing meditation, and he told him again, “It is good doing meditation, but why don’t you practice Dharma?” So finally he asked the yogi, “How to practice Dharma?” Then the yogi gave the answer, “Renounce this life.”
The reason why that the yogi is emphasizing him like this—no matter whatever action, spiritual action, Dharma action—the reason the yogi emphasizes like this, “Practice Dharma,” totally it means this: without avoiding the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas mind, living in the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, any action—going round the stupa, meditation, reading books—is all negative action, all worldly action. It is not spiritual, not Dharma; it is the opposite of Dharma, that action opposite to Dharma action, that is evil action. So the action itself does not mean that it is Dharma action—that itself is Dharma action, that is work for liberation. It is not Dharma action, it is not liberation, it is not work for enlightenment—that action is only the cause of suffering. So what the yogi is trying to tell the person is to stop the actions to create with the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas. What he tells us is to avoid the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas. What he means by, “Practice Dharma,” is avoiding, renouncing the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas. This is what this yogi means.
This example of what the yogi says to the person does not mean his going round, making meditation, and so forth—generally all of those actions—are not Dharma. It does not mean this. They reason that he keeps saying this is because maybe because the person who is going round, reading books, and doing meditation is doing all of it without avoiding the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas. So there is no way, it is impossible for the action to become Dharma. Maybe that is because his action of going round, reading books, and doing meditation are done with the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas. If these actions are done with the impulse that is not the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, then they are Dharma action, they become Dharma.
So just as in this example, our whole daily life starting from morning until night is spent eating, drinking, sleeping, talking, anything. If all the actions we do in one day, from morning until night, even if the person does not sit all day cross-legged, with closed eyes, but if all the actions of that day starting from morning until night are done with the mind that doesn’t have the pollution of the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, then it is all Dharma, all work for enlightenment, for liberation. It is all Dharma, the whole daily life is Dharma, Dharma life—like this. So that’s why, even if one goes shopping, even if one makes a building, whatever one does in their daily life, in that day, whatever one does, if the mind, the root, doesn’t have the pollution of the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, if it is not involved in the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, then all the actions are pure Dharma. In life, all the actions that one does are real, pure Dharma.
Also, therefore, since we want to seek liberation or peace, this is the most important point to know, rather than knowing the different forms of spiritual actions. Without knowing this, the most important point, the root, like the dial of the radio that has the power to move the different stations, without knowing this, how much different from the spiritual action that we do, how long we do things such as building monasteries, making prostrations until death, whatever we do, is extremely difficult, since the person does not have this understanding, the difference between what is Dharma and what is non-Dharma. There is danger if the person does not have this understanding. There is danger that his whole life, even when he does a spiritual action, that his whole life will become filled with evil actions, the cause of samsara, the cause of the bondage of suffering. There is a great, great danger to cheat oneself, to betray oneself, if there is understanding of this, this difference, this knowledge, between what is Dharma and what is not Dharma.
Also, the reason that many of the previous yogis, at the beginning of their practice, lead a simple life, is not because they are fools, not knowing how to live the worldly life, not knowing how to make business—it doesn’t mean this, not knowing how to live the life in politics, not knowing how to be cunning or smart, it doesn’t mean this. The purpose of choosing that life is to fight the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas. At the beginning of the practice, if one is living in the temporal needs, possessions as one likes, having everything as one likes, then it is impossible, extremely difficult to do pure Dharma practice. Also, the evil thought that is attached to this always harms to the person, always causes suffering—always, even when the person tries to practice Dharma, the evil thought of eight worldly dharmas always hinders.
So totally, what we should understand, no matter whether we practice or not, is that this is very beneficial, useful for our life—how to live life not being confused, how to take care of yourself, not being confused with other people, with yourself, with your mind. This is a need for many people. If we desire such a life, it is important to understand the actual meaning of the Dharma, the different borders of Dharma, and what is not Dharma.
Dharma, the meaning of renouncing this life, the total meaning of renouncing this life, means renouncing the cause of suffering. Another way of saying—when we hear, “Renounce this life” we get shocked, frightened with that word, but another way of saying it is, “Renounce the cause of suffering.” So it is our choice whether we want to renounce the cause of suffering or not. It is a choice, but it is not enough just knowing the words, it is necessary to recognize the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas within you. We don’t have the problem of not finding the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas—our mind is living in it the whole time, we are always working with it. So first, you recognize. If you really want to make a scientific experiment, the experience of enlightenment, then first you recognize. Without trying to recognize, without recognizing, how can you change it to Dharma action? So, first you check up, check up. If your mind is attached to any of the objects, totally, to the comfort of this life, before you start the action, whatever you do, hungry and eating lunch, before you start it, check, check what your feeling is. The mind is like a book in which you can check things. So anyway, check it, check it. Then you can recognize how your mind is.
Also, at the same time as you recognize this, recognize your action. After you recognize the root, then you recognize the action—you are eating lunch, whatever you are doing—whether it will be a negative action or a Dharma action. Without recognizing this you can never discriminate the actions. It is necessary to experiment with the evil thought you have, throwing it ... by understanding, by thinking that it is the cause of suffering, how it is the cause of suffering, then changing it, cleaning it. Then with the mind that doesn’t have the pollution of the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, you start the action. That action becomes the cause of perfect peace, enlightenment. So it is necessary to check. Without recognizing this important point, there is no way to make correction to the life. There is no way to make it pure. So this is something to check up while you are talking to other people; you check also here at the same time. Talking, sleeping, anytime, you check up. Check, because then this is really practicing meditation, practicing Dharma. Even if you know the words, without experimenting, just knowing the words doesn’t help the mind, anything.
As one Tibetan meditator, one yogi said, “Not doing even one’s practice of Dharma, but feeling pride, as I am religious person, isn’t that foolish? Even there is no one practice Dharma, but feeling pride that I am spiritual is foolish, is foolish. So at the very beginning, at very first practice of the Dharma, check up within your mind to see whether there is the thought renouncing this life or not.”
So this is a very interesting, very effective instruction and teaching, said by those yogis, with their experience. They are saying this with their experience means they lived in this practice, in this life, renouncing this life. So, as I said before, just before the lunch, check up. If I say it again, each time you do things, whether you meditate, no matter what the action, whether it is in the form of a religious action, whether it looks a religious action, whatever it is, always check up—if it is done with the mind renouncing this life or not; like this. This is very important. Otherwise, what you are doing doesn’t help for peace, doesn’t bring peace, only suffering. That’s all.
“Renouncing this life.” Many people have lack of understanding what this means, not knowing what Dharma means, the difference between Dharma and non-Dharma, and when they hear “renounce this life,” they get a shock, they hate the Dharma, “I don’t like to practice Buddhadharma—first you need renunciation, renouncing things, I hate this, it’s terrible. I will never do it, it’s terrible.” That’s because of not really knowing what Dharma means. If the person knows, there is no shock, no fear. So these people think that it means sort of to run away from, to give up all physical things, to give up whatever you possess, to leave, to separate from it. It does not mean this. It doesn’t mean that you should not eat food, should not drink, should not wear clothes; it does not mean you cannot be in your home, in the buildings, the house. If you don’t eat food, how can you exist in your body, how can you exist in your life? If the life doesn’t exist, how can you practice Dharma? Impossible. Especially beginners! Without relying on temporal needs, how can it be possible? Unless you are practicing Dharma in a dream! That may be possible—practicing Dharma in a dream with renouncing mind! Maybe that’s easier!
It does not mean this. We should not understand renouncing life in that way. This is a big mistake, a big mistake. Confusion within one’s mind. Not like this. Even in ancient times there have been many bodhisattvas, or kings who are bodhisattvas, but who are living in the pure Dharma practice, having a pure life, even though they are kings. They are living in the avoidance of the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, even though they are doing much, surrounded by, being a king, possessions, like this. So therefore, renouncing this life, renouncing samsara, renouncing this life does not mean that way.
The most important thing is, when our mind is in this situation, suffering with these eight objects, when the mind meets one of these objects and suffers, then at that time it is necessary to be careful with the object, and try to use the Dharma understanding that you have for that to solve the confusion, to not let the confusion with the object arise. This is very important. While you are together with the object, or just before the confusion arises, try to be conscious, ahead of time, before the confusion arises. Just like this, like people who are waiting for the enemy. Before meeting the enemy, they know that enemy is going to come and they wait for it, trying to have equipment, trying to get ready, trying to be careful, trying to make themselves strong, trying to be strong like this. When the enemy comes, they stop the enemy from harming them, and destroy the enemy. Ahead of time they are conscious, knowing that the enemy is going to come.
So just like this, just as we ordinary people do with enemies, like this, it is important, many million times more important, to watch this mental enemy. While this inner enemy is arising, without letting yourself be under the control of it, without letting yourself down, without following it, without letting yourself be under its control, without sacrificing yourself to the enemy, try to be careful and watch, be conscious. Then use your understanding of the meditation to stop the inner enemy, the evil thought, by using the skills, the Dharma understanding and the smart idea as much as possible, as much as you can, in order to stop or destroy the inner enemy.
Because if that is not done, no matter how much Dharma you know, how much meditation you know, you are always creating negative karma. As long as you don’t try to fight, stop, by using your Dharma skills, renouncing the evil thought, giving up, sacrificing the evil thought—that’s what we always do. If you do this, the evil thought of the eight worldly dharma, totally the evil thought that is attached to the comfort of this life—the reason that we should fight this is not only because of suffering nature, attached, confused, but the most dangerous thing—this causes us to be born in the lower realms, in the animal, preta and narak stages, and suffer there for many eons. Even a person born in the upper realms still does not have a perfect rebirth. This not for a short period; for a long period suffering has to be experienced. So this is something that we have to be careful of.
The purpose of practicing Dharma, doing meditation, is also to stop the evil thought and the negative creations, so there is no suffering in the future or in the present. If it is not stopped, if you are under the control of the negative mind, following the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, you are suffering; even at present you are experiencing much suffering. This is worse than losing a billion dollars, more dangerous than a parent dying. These things will not cause you to suffer in samsara, to continuously be reborn in samsara, in the lower realms. But allowing yourself to remain under the control of evil thoughts, yourself being so gentle, obedient to the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, this is the most dangerous thing. This causes you to keep being reborn and dying in each realm, circling always like this, in the six different realms of samsara.
No matter what meditation you are making, or doing yoga or those physical exercises, no matter what you are doing, whatever action that you are doing, if it is not opponent to this evil thought, if it is a service to the evil thought, if that becomes work for the evil thought, then there is no difference between what you are doing and the way an animal lives, no difference. Working for the evil thought is the same thing. Not having the meaning of human life, not having the meaning of a human being has no essence. If one has understanding, if one practices, even a little action such as drinking cup of tea can be a pure Dharma action, can become the cause of liberation. Even eating one spoon of rice—each of these little actions can become, if one seriously practices, even that little specific work that is done, even just this can become liberation, the cause of enlightenment. If this is the beginning of Dharma practice then we have to know it, to practice it, to experiment with this.
Some people may think that they are scared of becoming Buddhist by experiencing these things. Some people may have doubts. If you are scared of this word, you don’t have to be called Buddhist. It’s just a matter of giving a name. Modern scientists, people in the world, try to experiment with new objects, external things, and these experiments are recognized as the development of wisdom, as the method to bring peace. In the same way, experimenting within your mind is much more worthwhile, instead of physically going around making a lot of expenses, physically going around with much confused mind. It is much more beneficial to make experiments within your mind—it is much more interesting and hundreds, thousands, billions of times more beneficial than making experiments outside. It is good, generally, to know; but only doing this, only believing that, only working in that way, cannot cut off the cause of suffering, cannot help to cure your confused mind—besides talking about after death, besides talking of the help to the lives that will come after death. Even the present confused mind cannot help, cannot cure. Check this, check within your mind. This is always very quick—so quick, very powerful, an instantaneous method to solve the confusion, no matter wherever you are.
So far, the people who do research on external phenomena have checked up, but have they found, have they discovered any methods that cause one to completely cut off the anger, hatred, and ignorance? Did they ever discover a method that can definitely destroy the cause of the mental and physical problems, such as old age and death—have they ever discovered the method to cut this, to destroy this cause. These people themselves, of course, do not like to become old, even they themselves do not like death, as wise as they are in science, or psychology, or whatever it is. That is because there is something missing in their work, the way they make experiments. There is something missing, so that’s why they can’t find the cause, can’t recognize the cause of these problems. Not recognizing the cause of the problem, they can’t discover the method that can cut off the problem. If they have discovered this already, there wouldn’t be any old New York ladies or fathers; everybody would be very young, always young looking, as becoming older is one of the biggest problems. So of course, no doubt, if they had found that there wouldn’t be any old people left in the West. But there is no choice—we go through death, old age, these sufferings, we have to go through physical and mental problems.
Also, they think that attachment, such as greed, is the cause of happiness. People think that if you give up greed and attachment, there is no happiness, no way to enjoy pleasure. This is such a big wrong conception. It is like saying if you don’t go to Tibet, you will never reach America.
Also, there are many techniques, and it is important to know the method by understanding the shortcomings of evil thought. When there is pleasure, in order to not be attached, in order to not create the cause of suffering, it is good to think like this, “The pleasure that I am thinking of is what my wrong conception believe, it is not true. This pleasure that I am having is only suffering. It is samsaric pleasure, it is not true pleasure, only suffering. It never gives satisfaction, it never lasts; it never gives satisfaction that never ends; this satisfaction always ends, and doesn’t last. So therefore, being attached to the pleasure, to this samsaric pleasure, will only keep me continuously in the bondage of suffering, in the bondage of samsaric suffering, and cause me to be reborn in three lower realms and to suffer continuously. So I should not be attached to this pleasure. Therefore, this pleasure is trivial.”
Thinking like this with remembering the suffering of the three lower realms, the general samsaric suffering, then your mind does not get so much attached to the pleasure. Even though you have pleasure, your mind is not attached, so there is no confusion. Anyway, if you do this it will be helpful.
It is the same thing when there is suffering, it is the same thing as I was saying before with temporal problems—how to think, it is the same thing. So when there is suffering, displeasure, think, “This is the nature of suffering, the nature of samsara; I am living in the nature of samsara, so of course this has to happen. Until I get out of samsara this problem—suffering, pleasure—has to be continuously experienced by me.” In place of getting upset, making confusion for other people, think like this. If one does not expect the suffering to arise, then there is big confusion; but if one expects it, then there is no shock. For instance, if a person expects to be cold when bathing in cold water, then there is not much shock; but if a person doesn’t expect that much cold, then the unexpected happens, and person gets confused. Similar to this example, generally like this.
If you really check up, we think the temporal pleasure is so good, and we put all of our energy in order make temporal pleasure last as long as possible, but, when there is a temporal problem, we put all of our energy into it in order to get rid of it, to relieve it. Actually, which is more harmful to you, which is more harmful to us? The temporal pleasure is more harmful to us, more harmful. The reason is this—as much pleasure arises, happens, there is that much attachment, continuously wanting more and more, without satisfaction. So there is always the creation of negative karma, and the person is always making arrangements to be born in the suffering lower realm and suffer.
Also, there is a way for the mind to get the habit to be attached to that pleasure. As we are attached to this temporal pleasure, it will be the same thing in our future life, the mind also attached to temporal pleasure. It continuously goes on like this. For instance, one is attached to this life’s pleasure, and this continues from the previous life’s attachment, attachment to the temporal pleasure—carried on like this, continued like this. So as it has been continuous until now, if you still continue, if you don’t try to stop it by following the remedies, then it will continue, unceasingly, in the future, and that would oblige us to circle round in this suffering samsaric realm. Like this. This does not happen all of a sudden, like this. This has been continued from beginningless lifetimes of attachment. So therefore, of course it is difficult, of cause it is difficult to control it, because the mind is so much used to it, trained, in the habit of that. So that’s why making one meditation, two meditations, one year, two years, ten years, thirty, forty years of meditation, doesn’t help that much. Anyway, it is not easy to stop attachment from arising by doing mediation once, twice, few years.
For instance, from beginningless lifetimes until now, we have been working for attachment, our mind always under the control of attachment. In this entire life, as attachment has continuously been arising, the mind has been habituated that long, so therefore, how can we expect that all of a sudden something happens to solve the problem, to relieve the problem of these negative minds in a short time—within a month, within a few years? How can we expect that? Even these things, these habits, such as smoking cigarettes, things like this, even these physical things are difficult to stop. So we should not have a fickle mind to practice Dharma. We should not do meditation for one month, two months, or something, and then, not seeing any kind of new mind, become discouraged, “Oh I tried so much, I did this and that, I did retreat, this and that, I did prostrations a thousand times, many things—still nothing happened.” Then we get discouraged, then again starting the same old life, going down. Then for some time trying to be disciplined, then because of lack of understanding, getting discouraged. So then we think maybe this practice is not serious, something should happen but nothing is happening—maybe the results that it is supposed to bring are true, maybe not true. Putting more kaka in your mind. No progression.
Also, if you feel upset, then the merits that you have created before gets lost as a result of this, if you feel upset with what you did before. Same thing, if you feel upset about negative actions what you created before, that is virtuous, positive. But if you feel upset for doing meditation, doing purification, then it’s negative, evil repentance—that is evil repentance, and the other is virtuous repentance, like this.
So therefore, it is necessary to understand these things, that the mind has been habituated from beginningless lifetimes to attachment and delusions. So of course, you have to expect that it is difficult to control or avoid it. Understanding this is very helpful. By understanding this, there is always continual energy that makes you continuously practice, purify, meditation, even though sometimes you don’t feel good, even though sometimes you feel as if you have received siddhis. Understanding this is very helpful; otherwise it would be very difficult, otherwise there is not much progression coming.
For instance, Milarepa received enlightenment in one lifetime, but he practiced the realization of the absolute true nature and the fully renounced mind in previous lifetimes. His mind already trained in those things in previous lifetimes. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, too, created merits, then achieved enlightenment for the sake of sentient beings. So by creating a little drop, like a drop in the ocean, creating one or two merits, doing retreat or Dharma practice, expecting to instantaneously receive realization, expecting something to happen, how can it be possible? This is the expectation of the little mind. Also, it is useful to think of those beings, such as Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, this yogi, and how they practiced for a long time. This helps confusion not to arise.
There are some techniques, very powerful, beneficial techniques, to use in order for the mind not to be involved in the evil thought of the eight worldly Dharmas, in order to not get confused. Another way of saying this is, as the problem arises, in order to avoid the evil thought of the eight worldly Dharmas. Anyway, if it is used to help you when you suffer, it is helpful. If it is not used, then just words, and this is no help for your confusion, to release your confusion. I am not interested in knowing the words, but interested in the practice, because practice is more interesting. The direct actual thing that helps your mind is the practice. This is not like looking at a movie with these teachings, explanations, and these techniques—it is not like that. If you really try, you can see it for yourself, you can feel the effect. Otherwise, however much you listen, it does not help the mind that much.
For that reason, I am also trying to emphasize a little bit these important points because they are difficult to understand by listening once or twice. Also, even for those who have these things heard before, in another course, it is useful to emphasize these things for remembering and practicing. Otherwise, just go so fast. Even though the whole thing is finished and went down, it wouldn’t be possible to understand what Dharma means. One month doing meditation, not understanding Dharma, how upsetting. So it is necessary to try. It is more important to know correctly what Dharma means. Otherwise, how do you practice, how do you correct your actions, how do you practice Dharma? So, we should not be like that—spending that much time, but not knowing what Dharma means. I think, even though there is not much understanding of the other subjects, even just knowing, even though you don’t know any other subject, if you understand what Dharma means, if you can differentiate the border between what is Dharma and what is non-Dharma, and recognize that, including, recognizing the evil thought of the eight worldly Dharmas which is the cause of suffering, it is worthwhile—just that is worthwhile, coming to the one month course. Just only knowing that is worthwhile, very fortunate.
This is also my essential purpose in giving the course, spending time talking, whether you understand or not, in my most perfect English! Even though you know, even though you don’t know other subjects, even just knowing, just on this point, you have a great chance, however much you want to put your daily life into Dharma practice, however many merits you want to create, you know how to create, you know shunyata, many other things. Even if I teach kundalini yoga—I don’t know how it is, but even if I teach all this, also the chakras! Anyway, if you still don’t understand that, don’t know how to practice Dharma, how to correct your actions, if you don’t have the wisdom to correct your own actions, how can you correct others’ actions? This is the most important point of the practice for the attainment of temporal happiness, for the attainment of ultimate happiness, the happiness of all future lifetimes and rebirth in the upper realms, the happiness of nirvana, the most supreme happiness of enlightenment—this is like this key. Without the key you cannot open the lock, open the door, you cannot get in, get what you want, cannot enjoy in that house.
There are also many people who spend much time doing something, thinking that they are practicing Dharma, always doing positive things, thinking that they are making very high practice, practicing tantra—this and that, so many things. Spending so much time, so many lives, but not really knowing the border between what is Dharma and what is non-Dharma. Anyway, therefore, knowing this, trying to discover, make an experiment, trying to know this within a month—I think it’s very fortunate.
When there are pleasing words, ego-pleasing words, interesting sounds or praise, people admiring, in times such as those, it is important to take care of your mind. In such times, in such dangerous times, dangerous places, it is important to take care of your body, taking care not to receive harm or get hurt, not to be damaged. The most important thing is try to be conscious, “He is saying this,” try to be conscious, “He’s saying this.” Try to be conscious, and at the same time you are hearing it, being conscious of your mind, hold it, take care of it, not sacrificing yourself to the evil thought. It is important to take care, to protect oneself from the evil thought. Then, when there is the danger of attachment arising, it is useful to use these techniques. There are many techniques not written in this book, but if you use them with the understanding wisdom of suffering, it can benefit.
So you think, visualize the praising words that make you be attached like this: like a hot red burning wire, very hot, a red iron, like the sting of a tiny wire, or a long needle, very hot, red iron—these are the interesting sounds or words. Then think, at the same time someone is talking, try to be conscious and think, “I know what’s going to happen now, what’s going to happen in my mind.” Then visualize and think, “This hot red burning needle, if put in my ear or body, could become the cause of death of just the present life, but it could not cause me to be reborn in the suffering realms, the lower realms, and suffer there for a long time, cannot cause. This hot red needle could not hinder the achievement of enlightenment, the escape from samsara, or rebirth in the upper realms. But these words, these sounds, are much more dangerous than the hot red needle, because these will cause at this moment to create suffering and cause me to be born in the suffering lower realms and suffer. They will destroy, and they will hinder enlightenment; they will hinder the achievement of the release of samsara. Also, they will cause me not to be born in the upper realms, to not receive upper rebirth again, and to continuously suffer in samsara. This is the worst thing, so therefore I should not be attached.” Like this.
Also, another way of thinking, another method or technique, when there is a problem, the danger of attachment arising, in order for attachment to not arise by interesting sounds, where there is danger of being attached, think, “The interesting words, sounds, are like the echo, the sound of the rock. If someone makes a noise in front of a rock, because of the wind it comes back as an echo. The echo is because there is a cliff. Someone make a noise, then because of the wind getting there, due to this the person making the noise and the rock and the wind, the element, because of these, the sound happened. But actually, there is no echo that exists by itself, that exists independently. There is no echo that exists by itself, without depending on the rock and the person making the noise and the elements, the wind, the air. Without depending on that the echo cannot happen. There is no such echo that exists separately without relating anything, the rock and these things, the rock and the noise and the air, elements—they cannot separately exist without depending on that. So just the echo is meaningless; it is meaningless, nothing to be attached to. Same thing, this interesting sound, words are like the echo.”
And also, checking what you feel is interesting, it is wonderful—but check the wonderful words that he says. For instance, the other person is saying, “You are so wise, so intelligent.” He is saying that the first thing I say, the words that he says and what we think, the words that exist and the way we believe, the way we feel, never exists. It never exists on you, on him, in words—it is nowhere existing. Because of this wrong belief, it brings confusion to your mind. Anyway, think how the words came from this impulse, then that which is attached is creation of the impulse, and a creation of the tongue, the palate; it is creation of the tongue and palate, just a creation of that. There is no purpose to be attached, what’s interesting in that? Not interesting, not interesting. “He’s so wise—” what’s the point of being attached to that? Isn’t that so funny? There is nothing, nothing to look at. So like that. There is a further way to talk, and also to check up. You see, if you check up like this, there is nothing to be attached to. Also, check up on each word, where you can find this, where is it that you are attached, to which words.
Anyway, that must be enough.