Sunday, March 31
The very highly realized, great bodhisattva, Shantideva, said in his holy teaching called, Following the Bodhisattva’s Actions, “If bodhicitta is received at one time, in one second, the suffering living beings who are in the bondage of samsaric prison are called the sons of the enlightened beings.”
That means that no matter how ugly one looks, no matter how low his caste, even if he is a beggar having nothing, however poorly he is recognized in the human world, suffering living beings living in samsaric prison—even that living being who is recognized as so ugly, so poor, physically recognized like this by the people on earth, a samsaric being who is in the bondage of delusion and karma, the second that he has the achievement of bodhicitta he becomes the son of the enlightened beings; he is a bodhisattva. Also, he becomes an object of prostration of the worldly people and the samsaric gods. In that second, as he achieves bodhicitta, he becomes a holy object that the worldly ordinary people and the higher samsaric gods make prostration to. That is why he is called a “son of the enlightened being.” There is no need to explain much. He is called “son of the enlightened being” because bodhicitta is created by the cause of the enlightened being, because it is received by depending on the enlightened beings. Just like the son in the ordinary example—the son is created by the father physically, by the parents, and so the bodhisattva arises from the enlightened beings, created by depending on the enlightened beings.
Simply talking, how, for instance, to achieve bodhicitta? You have to receive bodhicitta through purification and creating merits and practicing the teaching shown by the causal refuge, the Guru Buddha. Creating merits and doing purification is also the action of he Guru Buddha or the enlightened beings. So anyway, that’s how it works. That’s why bodhicitta is created by depending on them. It arises from the refuge cause. That’s how a bodhisattva becomes a son of the enlightened beings, like this. Also, if you can understand this, it is also one reason why there is the need of the guru in order to achieve enlightenment, in order to follow the path—this becomes one total reason, if you understand.
So, the achievement of bodhicitta does not depend on any of these external aspects, the way of looking. It has that much knowledge—at the same time as bodhicitta is achieved it becomes a holy object, an object for other living beings to prostrate to and make offerings. So this time, as we received a perfect human rebirth, we should attain the meaning of the human being differently from the animals, lower beings. So the essence, the main thing of the meaning of the human rebirth, is to escape from suffering, in this life or in other lives. To achieve perfect peace, which is the cessation of suffering. And, achieving that is not sufficient. There are infinite sentient beings who are in incredible suffering, and always creating the cause of suffering due to ignorance, as much as they desire to receive peace. And they do not have the possibility to receiving teachings; most of them do not have the possibility to receive and understand the teaching or practice. So for that reason, it is necessary to achieve enlightenment. The quickest way, the principal cause of achieving enlightenment is bodhicitta. Therefore, it is necessary to train in bodhicitta even from this moment. Also, it is necessary that the actions, the works that we are doing, be possessed by bodhicitta, so that they become the cause of enlightenment. They become work for other sentient beings if they are possessed by bodhicitta. Therefore, cultivate pure motivation, bodhicitta—” I must achieve enlightenment right away, in order to release all sentient beings from all samsaric suffering and lead them to enlightenment. Therefore, it is necessary to complete the whole realization of the whole graduated path. Therefore I am going to listen the holy profound teaching.”
So the listening subject is the Mahayana teaching that leads fortunate beings to enlightenment. This is a teaching well-expounded by the great philosophers, Nagarjuna and Asanga. It is a profound teaching like the potential of the highly realized pandits, Atisha and Guru Tsongkhapa’s, holy mind taken out. It is teaching that includes all the essence of the 84,000 teachings shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, and it is set up for the practice of one person’s achievement of enlightenment. The graduated path is the path that all the past enlightened beings achieved enlightenment through.
This graduated path has four topics:
1. First, for reference, the knowledge of the authors of the holy text.
2. In order to have devotion, the knowledge of the teaching.
3. How to listen, how to explain the teachings, which has two objectives.
4. How to lead the disciple in the path to enlightenment. That has two:
a. How to follow the guru who is root of the path.
b. Second, how to train the thought in the graduated path to enlightenment, that starts from the perfect human rebirth. The outlines of the meditation that has been finished is perfect human rebirth. So now, the great usefulness of the perfect human rebirth.
So, as we were talking about yesterday…when there is the danger for confusion to happen, to arise within your mind for an object, then what is the way to stop confusion and problems of attachment? And how to not get upset, feeling hate? These are big problems that we have all the time, so as long as we have to attachment to those objects that we like, also there is always upset, because the object that you like always doesn’t last. So because you have attachment to the object that you like, things always change, so also that’s how upset comes—the mind is not always on the same level, not always happy, in the same place, not middle, up, and down. Sometimes people are so happy in the morning, then afterward the whole aspect changes, they are always not equal. Also, when there is a situation or an object you meet with that you dislike, of course, that time causes danger to one’s life and to others’, because of the anger, hatred, not liking it—causing death to other beings, harm to other beings, and oneself. This is usual.
Even it is possible that when one meets an object that one likes, because of this pleasure, this uncontrolled, suffering pleasure, it can cause danger, death, danger to the life. That has happened many times in the world. Sometimes, people are extremely happy when they see some friends, or receive money—there have been people who have died from that, from being happy. One time, when I was in Darjeeling, these was a horse race. Also, there is another game—you get tickets and a certain number, and you play with a certain number on your ticket and the person puts a number on the blackboard, and according to the number you get money from that. So one Nepali lady, a poor lady in that place, it seems that she won the money, and she was extremely happy for receiving that, and died the second day. I heard that. There are many examples in the world of this, many examples.
This is also a problem of not knowing Dharma. Because of that problem of attachment, one cannot control anything, so there is a danger for that to happen. Besides having no mental control, there is no physical control—you do things by being extremely happy, causing danger. Things can happen.
Once, I think in Tibet, there was a man who worked for a family for a long time as a servant. He worked for a long time, and got a very small in wheat each month from the family. So, after working a year, by collecting the wheat in the sack, he finally had a big sack. So he was very happy, and came back home with his big sack, and tied it to the roof on the ceiling. Then, he was laying down at night time, and the light of the moon came through the window. He was laying down making plans for his life. “Now I have that much wheat, I am so rich, now I can have a wedding; I should get a wife, I should have a wedding. Then if I get that wife, I will have a child. Then, what name should be given to the child?” And he had great trouble finding a name to give that child. He checked, and spent much time. So, later on, he saw the light of the moon coming through the window, onto the floor. So the light of the moon came through the window. As he looked at that, he thought, “I should call him Dawa Thagpa. Dawa means moon; Thagpa means famous. So all of a sudden, by looking at the moonlight, he found this name and he was extremely pleased at finding such a beautiful, fantastic name. All of a sudden he got up from his bed and took a long stick and danced around his room. While he was dancing, the stick hit the big sack. Then the rope tying it broke, so the big sack of wheat dropped on him, and he died. So, first of all he didn’t have time to eat the wheat that he had collected. Secondly, he didn’t have time to have a wedding. Thirdly, he didn’t have the chance to have a baby. Fourth, he didn’t have time to give the name to the baby. So you see, this is also due to not knowing Dharma. It is a problem of being unable to control the attachment. It is a problem of that is caused totally by his evil thought, attached to the pleasure of finding a name.
So also we should not trust very much when there is pleasure. Even this object, pleasure, can cause danger to the life, like that problem. There are many other examples that have happened. So also it is necessary to be careful.
Generally, it is better not to explain these techniques that we have been talking about; they should be explained only principally to those who really practice, sincerely. But generally, like this. Generally, as much as you know in every subject that you know, you cannot explain, show like a movie to all people. You cannot show everything like a movie, even though you know. It should be done according to each level of other peoples’ mind. It doesn’t mean that the person has miserliness in the teaching. Anyway, showing the teaching like a movie, the whole thing, is not skillful. It doesn’t mean that the person, the teacher, has miserliness in his teaching, it doesn’t mean this. No matter how much great compassion, infinite compassion that one has, the methods of teaching should include discipline in giving Dharma; the Dharma should not be shown as a movie. Some people think, “Dharma is a holy thing and always helps other beings, so not showing those secret, high tantric subjects is ridiculous. People have no compassion not knowing my desires.” For instance, a simple example—if you have a small baby, saying that I have such great compassion, and you give it meat, giving it meat only causes problem; maybe the baby dies. It is not wise, not skillful. It better to give milk, light things.
So yesterday as we were talking, when there is the problem of attachment, with interesting, praising words, interesting sounds, praising words, then it is useful to use these techniques. So you see, thinking about the echo, the sound of the rock, the sound that comes due to the rock. The noise made by the person should be like the wind; the words we think are so profound, such as, “You are so compassionate, so generous—” we hear these words and attached arises, we like the interesting sounds and these praising words. But there are no such words, “You are so compassionate, so generous,: that exist by themselves, without depending on the impulse and the creator, and then the palate and the tongue. Without depending on these creators and the breath, without depending on the sound, these words, “You are so generous, this and that" cannot exist; there is no way for them to exist. So there are no such words or talk that exist by themselves. So anyway, this talk blows our mind all of a sudden, causing us to not live in peace, is the creation of the impulse, the tongue, breath, and the palate—depending on each thing. So why there is no point in being attached? Just as also there is a record in the machines, and then we hear things from the machine, and there is nothing to be attached to, what the person says is the same thing, nothing to be attached to. There is no such thing that exists without depending on those creators, and no point to be attached.
For instance, getting angry, being jealous, having pride, this, and that, so many things—the physical aspect changes, the nose gets red, vibrating! I am joking! Only it is giving harm—if you check up, it is ridiculous. Same like this—when you are near a rock, you hear a sound that says you are so bad. Then it is like being jealous, having pride, this and that for the rock, which doesn’t make any sense. It doesn’t make any sense. You are nearby a huge cliff, rock, and by hearing this you make yourself nervous and feel much suffering, much complicated nonsense. In the same way, if that is nonsense, you only make yourself tired, getting angry, getting nervous about the rock. As this only makes you tired, it is the same thing with the person—also this noise, this sound that says you are so bad came by depending on his physical body. This is the same thing as the sound coming because he got angry. If it’s nonsense to harm the rock with a negative mind, in the same way it is nonsense for the negative mind wanting to harm the person to arise.
It is the same thing when you receive material gifts—there is also the danger of bringing suffering to the mind. All of a sudden, as you receive it, your mind gets stuck on it. Your mind gets absorbed into the object. If someone takes it away, your mind follows it, goes together with it if the mind is attached. The evil thought of the worldly dharmas—with the objects, materials, gifts, and things that you receive—the mind is absorbed into it, gets stuck. Then also, when someone takes that away, it is like your mind has gone with the material. It is the same thing with friends that the mind is attached to—also there are many problems, no peace in the mind. It is like this. When the mind gets attached to the object, then the mind becomes a balloon, a rubber balloon, blown up. If it blows up, the mind is like this. Then there is no peace.
Anyway, briefly I told you yesterday how that mind is in suffering. And especially in the temporary moment of suffering, how this causes great suffering in future lifetimes, and birth in the lower realms. Also that mind, the evil thought attached that object, keeps you continuously circling around in samsara, in the bondage of suffering, not only in this lifetime, but also in the future lifetimes. So even at present, in that moment, there is suffering, because there is attachment. Also, because there is attachment to the object and because those pleasures don’t last, because they never bring satisfaction, because there is nothing new since we have been experiencing such samsaric pleasures from beginningless lifetimes until now. Still nothing has happened, still there is no satisfaction—whatever the object of the senses is that the evil thought of worldly dharmas gets attached to, that we think is pleasure, is nothing new. Nothing new.
When there are material things like that that cause danger, problems to the mind, suffering to the mind, it is good to visualize red hot burning iron or coals, like that. Anyway, visualize any object that you do not like, that you don’t have interest in, that you feel attachment for, and change it into that object. Then, try to be conscious ahead of time, and watch as you are receiving—watch your mind. You are like the police, the guard.
Then, thinking, “If this hot red iron or coal touched me, it may burn my body, it may harm a little bit, but it could not cause me to be born and continuously circle in the samsaric realms. It could not stop enlightenment, or disturb the achievement of perfect peace, or the attainment of a better rebirth in a future lifetime. But these materials from beginningless lifetimes until now have been causing me to suffer so much—suffer in the three lower realms. Also, it has been stopping my achievement of enlightenment, all those goals, perfect peace, and realization of the path to enlightenment. Even if it is not causing me problems, it stops the achievement of realizations. Besides this, it will continuously interrupt perfect peace, the realization of the path to enlightenment, and a better rebirth in future lifetimes. This will continuously keep me suffering in samsara, besides being born in the suffering lower realms.”
Like this, check like this. Do checking meditation, this is the most practical meditation. This is the most practical, most strong, most effective for beginners—we who do not have so much understanding, do not have the achievement of realizations. This is more powerful, more stronger, more profound, and more effective than meditating on deities or holy things. During the time when there are problems, even if we to try to meditate on some holy thing, some deity or something, try to make ourselves thoughtless, try to concentrate on this meditation, this cannot help when there are problems. Also, even to make this meditation in such dangerous times is extremely difficult, because your mind is in such a problem. So therefore, these methods are very profound, very effective. They are like the sword that instantaneously helps us to solve the problem, like the sword that cuts things. These techniques can help very much. So by thinking like this, it is the same thing with the food just as it is with the material.
Also with food, when there are so much attachment problems in your mind that cause oneself to be born in the suffering lower realms, in place of sacrificing yourself, giving in to the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, it is useful to use similar techniques. Change the food into another object for which you don’t feel attachment. In order to lose the attachment, in order for this problem not to arise, one very profound thing to do is to look at the form as if it were kaka.
Actually there are two techniques. That is first, changing the aspect, and second is thinking of the shortcomings of the object itself. So these are two ways to fight the attachment, the evil thought, to put down the attachment. First you change the aspect; then secondly, you meditate on the shortcomings of the actual object. Usually, what causes this problem, this attachment, this evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas to arise is the aspect, the form that we see. The other one is the sound that we hear, which we think is beautiful, like this, because of the way it looks—the form, and the way you look at it. This problem of confusion, attachment arises from the way of looking at it. It depends on the way of looking at it. Because usually what causes the mental problems—confusion, mental attachment, and hatred—to arise, are that we always look at the object, people, food, anything, as the deluded mind projects it, like this. It is just like the magician—he transforms things, animals, elephants, tigers, snake, by the power of the material, such as mantra, causing ordinary people’s eyes to see an elephant, a tiger, things like this. The other people, ordinary beings whose eyesight is powered or hypnotized by these techniques see this as real—a real elephant, horse, or beautiful person. So as they see, they really believe in it. They don’t see the actual evolution, the emptiness of that—they see with their eyes, and they completely believe it in as real. Then they see an incredibly beautiful person, and that causes attachment, confusion, and problem to come into the mind.
So, just like this example, usually not time checking. Sometimes, when you are really deeply checking, purely and deeply checking, maybe you can feel the real, the truth of that object, actual existence, the nature of the object, the actual existence of the object, the way it exists. If you really with such acute wisdom, sharp acute wisdom, if you deeply check up with much logics, little by little you will see clearer and clearer the nature of that object, which is completely different from the usual object that we see, the way we see it; the way that you should see. It is like got lost, previous view which you usually believe, got lost. Anyway, it is big difference like earth and sky. So anyway, the usual view of the object hate we always have, always look at, people or anything, things, way we believe and all, the way we believe is something that never existed, never existed anywhere. If a person exists nowhere, not any parts of their atoms, nowhere, so it is all false - the way, the object that we see in our view, and the way we look at it, doesn’t exist; so all our feelings are projections of the deluded mind. So that’s one thing, that’s how the problem as we listen, hear words, we think, people and many things, because of this problem. Anyway, so does not need to talk much at this time.
So if you change the aspect all of a sudden to an aspect for which you don’t have a feeling of attachment, all of a sudden the strong attachment, like blowing a balloon, that all of a sudden goes down—the air goes out, like this. All of a sudden it goes down, and mind realizes, the mind feels peace from the release of the control of attachment. So the mind is happy, no problem, happy; like this. Then also, by thinking like this, by doing checking meditation using these techniques—first you change something such as food into the aspect of kaka or something, then you go through the shortcomings, why this present kaka cannot give harm, cannot cause suffering as the food. “It didn’t cause a problem in the past time, it didn’t stop the achievement of enlightenment, realizations, and it has to been causing me to suffer in samsara continuously, and also be born in the suffering lower realms, and stop realizations and enlightenment until now. Even now it is giving me suffering, hindering my work for enlightenment, my pure Dharma practice, my receiving realizations, and causing me to continuously create samsaric suffering, and be born in the suffering lower realms. So actual food is much more worse than kaka. This is nothing.”
First of all, if you change the aspect, at the same time, your attachment goes down and gets lost. Especially by making different meditations on the shortcomings, doing checking meditation, this stops the attachment from arising. This helps a great deal. We think, for instance, without trying to lose attachment, let’s say we follow it, let attachment arise, let the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas arise, and create negative karma—through this we create negative karma because of the arising of the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas. But if you really have the experience of all the suffering results of this negative karma, it is unbearable; for a long time, it is unbearable if you check up on the suffering result. For instance, we cannot bear even the problem of feeling hungry one day—we find this very difficult, extremely difficult. Why not years and years? Why not? How could we bear eons of suffering of starvation if we were born as a preta? If the suffering is incredible, the results of these negative karmas are incredible. While we are terribly hungry, if someone asks you, “Please practice Dharma, meditate,” we cannot meditate—we first need food, then we can meditate. Check like this, check the result. Otherwise however the mind is suffering in attachment, we don’t feel it, don’t understand it. We don’t understand how the mind is in problem. We always believe the mind living in attachment is a good mind, happy, if it arises you are happy—this is completely wrong.
So it’s good to check up for beginners. Especially, it is stronger as you check through the results and check the result of the negative karma, the suffering of the lower realms—whether you can bear that suffering or not. Whether you have the courage, the will to suffer it or not. Even at this moment, there is hot suffering, and many other different kinds of suffering. Most of the hot suffering is on the hot red burning irons. There are so many ways. In such terrible, incredible heat, I think there is a special name, term, “spring water”—terribly hot, incredible. This is billions of times hotter than our hot water which is in the human Earth. These are karmic creations. It is not something that God creates; it is something created by people, by suffering ignorant beings, by the negative mind. So anyway, one is cooked in a big pot like this. Even burning incense, or a lamp, if it is touched it is incredible—with this body we cannot bear this suffering; it is incredible—touching by fire, with burning incense. So if we cannot even bear this, it is impossible that we will have the courage to bear those heavy infinite sufferings.
Same thing, animal. By checking like this, through the results of the actions, we get frightened—then there is an energy desire, a will, a really strong will. By watching like this, the attachment really completely goes down, loses. So there is no attachment to objects, food, no negative mind arising, or lack of control. By this meditation, by using this technique, you stop experiencing these incredible suffering results in the future lifetimes, which usually have to be experienced for a long time. Not only does it stop the temporal problems from arising in the mind, but it stops all that incredible suffering. During this problem, even if you try to make this exercise, it cannot help, the mind is stuck on the food, you cannot help, you cannot lose the result. Really, this gives us strength to renounce attachment, to renounce these negative actions, negative actions. It is very powerful, it is very important, and it is very good to check like this, using these things. It doesn’t matter if the food gets cold, because food getting cold doesn’t stop enlightenment from being useful. If you are born alive, as something that always has to take cold food, it is better to try not to create the cause that makes us receive such a terrible rebirth.
As the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas is the main problem of our life, for a practitioner living the whole life in the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas is not a Dharma life. Also, no matter whether or not you practice the Mahayana teachings, whether or not you practice tantra, without living in the practice renouncing the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, no practice can become the cause of enlightenment, as long as the mind is involved in this.
Generally, like this—to practice Dharma means avoiding the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, or renouncing this life. Generally, this is practicing Dharma; otherwise, it is not. If I keep saying many times, practice Dharma—if you think you are doing Dharma, it is necessary to check up whether you are doing this or not. If you are not in this practice, if you are practicing the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, then you are doing Dharma, then you are seriously practicing Dharma; like this. Whatever daily life the person has, whether the person meditates, works, or goes to do his job—whatever he does, so as long as the mind is continuously practicing, living in the practice of avoiding the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, he is always in Dharma—no matter whether he is on a mountain or in New York state, inside monastery, or in the town. Anyway, like this.
So then, practicing the Mahayana teaching. That means living in the practice; fundamentally living in the practice, avoiding the self-cherishing thought, always thinking of oneself as more important than other beings, always taking care of oneself more than other sentient beings—this old thought that does not have beginning, that has been continued from beginningless lifetimes. So practicing the Mahayana means living in the practice and avoiding this self-cherishing thought. This is the fundamental thing; avoiding the self-cherishing thought is the fundamental practice of Mahayana teachings, the foundation.
Then, practicing tantra… avoiding the self-cherishing thought is more difficult than avoiding the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, and it is the fundamental practice of the Mahayana teachings, so to practice the Mahayana teachings is more difficult. So practicing tantra is living in the practice of avoiding the impure thought that projects the impure view. This is the fundamental practice: avoiding the impure thoughts that projects the impure view; this is the fundamental tantric practice. If you want to build a house, those practices are the ground. Avoiding the impure thoughts that project the impure view is more difficult than avoiding the self-cherishing thought, so even as it is just the fundamental practice of tantra, it is that much more difficult, harder to practice.
Tantric practice depends on the fundamental Mahayana practice; and Mahayana practice depends on the fundamental Dharma practice of avoiding the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas. So, without going through the practice of avoiding the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, it is impossible to achieve the path, any path to enlightenment, any path to nirvana, cessation of samsara; it is not possible to achieve any path without going through this practice, it is all blocked. There is no way for renunciation to arise, no way for renunciation of samsara or samsaric suffering to arise, no way for these to arise. No matter through which path we want to receive perfect, everlasting happiness—the Mahayana path, the tantric path—there is no way to achieve enlightenment by escaping from this practice, by going round. For instance, if you have to go from one country to another country, if you don’t want to go through the problems of the borders where they check up, then on the land you can go round, you can go to the country the sneaky way, by going around, you can reach the country where you want to go. But it is impossible to play the same thing in this way to enlightenment, impossible. Of course we may like to, but it’s impossible in fact.
It is hopeless, useless, trying that way—expecting to achieve enlightenment with a happy life, without losing this life, without renouncing this life. Having this life happy and also achieving enlightenment—both are not possible. Seeking comfort in this life and at the same time working for enlightenment doesn’t work. You have to renounce one or other. Anyway, it doesn’t work. Because as long as it is done with that kind of mind, then it is extremely difficult for the practice to become pure; however much you spend your life in that, it is extremely difficult for the action to become Dharma, to practice Dharma.
For instance, the great yogi Milarepa’s guru, who was called Marpa, granted the complete teaching receiving enlightenment in one lifetime to his disciple Milarepa—this was his instruction. This was the Guru Marpa’s instruction when Milarepa was going back home, “Son [which means Milarepa], don’t mix up this life’s work, not renouncing worldly life, and the Dharma—if you mix them, then you lose your Dharma.”
It is important to know these points. It is difficult for people who do not know the actual meaning of Dharma to understand these points, these subjects. Those who know Dharma from the mouth have not really found the taste of Dharma, do not really know the actual meaning of Dharma—they wouldn’t know what it means; it becomes a secret taste to them.
“Don’t mix the Dharma and this life’s work without renouncing this worldly life. If it is mixed you will lose the Dharma. Think after that: you, the son, are suffering in samsaric suffering.” Son means Milarepa. “Think that you are samsaric suffering, son, like this. Even if I try to explain this infinite hundreds, thousands of times, over eons, it is unspeakable, it is infinite. Even if I transform hundreds of mouths and tongues to explain the nature of samsara infinite times, numberless mouths with tongues that can explain for that great length of time—numberless, hundred thousands of eons, about the nature of the suffering, saying the nature of suffering is like this. Totally, what I am saying is, one never be finished explaining the nature of the suffering, saying the nature of suffering is like this. Totally, what I am saying can never be explained. So don’t waste ... anyway, it doesn’t matter. Don’t waste the Dharma I explained.”
This is the instruction that was given by Marpa to Milarepa when he was going back home, “Don’t mix this life and Dharma.” This has a big taste. Anyway, such thinking, such practice that is done, mixing with the work of this life, with the work of the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, however much you desire, however much you work for enlightenment, since your practice is mixed, it is meaningless. That action cannot bring the result as you expect it to, so it’s like milking a goat horn. You can never get milk from there, even if you milk it for eons! Completely wrong place, so just like this. For the work of this life and the holy Dharma, attaining both, there is no living being attaining both the work of this life and the holy Dharma. However much we desire to do both without losing one or other, with such expectation, it is only betraying oneself, cheating oneself. Only cheating oneself.
Also, in previous times, one Tibetan Yogi gave instructions to someone like this. This meditator, this great yogi, “No-one can attain both, only cheating oneself. So even though you see me, I have nothing to talk about besides this. At your own place put your speech, body, and mind in virtue. What I am saying is this.”
So worst, most sneaky, worst hindrance to enlightenment, to the achievement of perfect peace, is the thought not renouncing this life. We dare not renounce the perfections of this life. This is the worst hindrance to the achievement of perfect peace and enlightenment.
For instance, let’s say we meditate. When we start to meditate, and we feel tired of doing meditation because the mind is attached to the comfort of this life, to the thought of the eight worldly dharmas, interrupting, taking you down, interrupting your work for enlightenment, your receiving perfect peace, not giving a chance to be close to enlightenment or liberation. So like this. Then laziness arises, and during the meditation you fall asleep—that’s also the interruption of the hindrances caused by these evil thoughts of the worldly dharmas that are attached to the comfort of this life; the hindrance, the evil thought of the worldly dharmas is harming you, disturbing your practice.
Also, when you meditate, if some friend is talking about something, some interesting thing, then your mind is no longer in the meditation, you want to go to listen—it is more interesting to talk, to listen. Giving up meditation in order to listen or talk, or discuss, if there is something that the other person doesn’t know that you know, because of pride, leaving the meditation, and if the evil thought is attached to the discussion then the person goes—so this is also an interruption, also a hindrance caused by the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, not renouncing this life.
Also, not being able to concentrate or do meditation due to little problems, like a bug, an insect biting—if it is a little uncomfortable, one us unable to meditate. This also the hindrance of the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas.
Not only this, but also, if someone talks about the subject, Dharma or something, or science, and teaches or talks, even though it is good work, a positive action, good work, if it is possessed by negative mind, pride, or attachment, that action possessed by the evil thought becomes work for the evil thought of worldly dharmas. For instance, in the case of being attached—if I talk, teach the subject that the person doesn’t know, maybe he thinks I am wise, I am good-knowing; anyway, maybe he will think I am good, many things—expecting reputation, attached to the reputation, attached to food, clothing, attached to the reputation, attached to the temporal needs, and attached to the reputation. Food is not so much trouble—it depends, of course, on the individual, but generally the if person can, that’s a little bit easier. Clothing is a little bit easier than food, then second is food, and thirdly, the most difficult thing, is the reputation—the most difficult to renounce is reputation. So when some people do retreat they put a notice outside saying, “retreat,” “strict retreat,” or “complete strict retreat,” but I am not sure how strict it is in the mind. Telling all the friends up and down, “I am going to do retreat, this and that!”
Anyway, even though with remedies or meditation, you can renounce food and clothing, reputation is difficult. So the mind, the person, himself really not knowing, really not being conscious, then due to not checking himself, not checking his own practice, the mind is attached in meaningless work. Such a little thing as reputation, as much as that person does retreat—even if the doors or windows are closed by mud, like insects living in a hole, with no holes around—due to the mind, if it is attached to such a little temporal life thing as reputation, expecting that people will think good of you, then it is nothing; it only becomes work for the evil thought that likes and is attached to praise and to admiration. So when you practice Dharma, when you do retreat, it is very good, as much as you can do it in secret, it becomes that much more pure, and in place of showing like a movie—that doesn’t make it pure. As much as the person can do the practice secretly, it becomes more pure, that much more helpful to the mind, and pure. It is the same thing with the other one, talking about Dharma, teaching—also if that is involved, if one doesn’t check up on one’s mind, then there is the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, and you are working for it. If you are not conscious, if you are not checking, then there is the danger that what you are doing becomes a service to the eight worldly dharmas, even thought the subject is a Dharma talk. So checking meditation is really of utmost importance.
For instance, during the meditation, first we concentrate on the object, which is Guru Shakyamuni Buddha or something. Then in two, three minutes the mind goes America, jumps to America, reaches home. It sees the people that you like, enjoys the things at your home, goes around, many things—as if you are there, completely unconscious of your body, which is here. Enjoying your home, talking to your friends, seeing people, things like this. Then you spend hours and hours—in actual meditation maybe five minutes—and it then becomes a worldly meditation. It becomes a meditation to create more causes of suffering, you are doing meditation to remain longer in samsara. That’s how it becomes like this. Of course one’s mind is not conscious, there is lack of consciousness—consciousness of the object of meditation, consciousness of recognizing the meditation object, and not recognizing other objects. But mainly it is interrupted by the evil thought, the hindrance caused by the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas. Even when you start the meditation with pure motivation, while you are doing meditation, as you are meditating, this evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas slowly comes like a cat coming into the room. Like a cat comes, there is no noise, only quiet. So some time after, we recognize that the cat took things. So just like this, the evil thought of the worldly dharmas comes very quietly.
First of all, this evil thought usually interrupts making the meditation perfect, the cultivation of the pure motive—generally, this evil thought, attached to the comfort of this life, is a hindrance to making the meditation perfect. It hinders the cultivation of the pure motive, which is the motivation renouncing the comfort of this life. This evil thought interrupts making this action, Dharma, the perfect cause of enlightenment, the action of the meditation. In the beginning this hinders that way—so while you are doing the meditation, even thought you may have started with a pure motive, when you do the action itself, you cannot continue for one hour or two hours—you cannot continue. Sluggishness arises, scattering thoughts, the mind wandering around. This also is the hindrance of he evil thought of the worldly dharmas. Also, it can be hindrance even after the action is finished. The action becomes a Dharma action due to the power of the pure motive. And even if it becomes a Dharma action, this evil thought can hinder and the merits that are created. Anger arises due to not renouncing this life, the evil thought. Anger arising is always a hindrance to the achievement of liberation. Sometimes there are certain reasons—for the benefit of others, there is a way to act or to show; but if you really get angry then it is only a cause of suffering, and will only destroy one’s enlightenment. So it is necessary to be careful. That is always the hindrance of the evil thought attached to the comfort of this life.
Even one who thinks he is a meditator, practitioner, when he gets up, starting from the time—such as me—even from very early in the morning, if he gets up with the mind not renouncing this life, drinking tea with an evil thought, eating breakfast, eating lunch, drinking tea, going to bed, everything. Even going outside, coming inside, washing, putting clothes on, talking, saying things—the whole thing becomes service, becomes the work of the evil thought of the worldly dharmas, the cause of suffering. Someone like me, who thinks of creating spiritual action, having a spiritual life, but not having one... like this. Their whole daily life, a person like this. So you see, the last thing before going to bed—perhaps in that day there is no Dharma action created; it is empty, completely empty, black; only good, quick arrangements are made to be quickly born in the suffering lower realms, to continuously suffer in samsara. Only that—only making arrangements to suffer in samsara, to continuously be born and die in samsara. Even when the person dies, all of a sudden death happens, and there is nothing to expect for the future life, nothing to expect for a better future life, dying with great upset, with an empty mind, going to the future life with an empty mind.
So stop the breathing meditation ... first, start the meditation on Guru Shakyamuni with prayer, and make purification. Then purify sentient beings, and become Guru Shakyamuni and absorb into oneself. Then do as follows. From the Guru Shakyamuni that you have visualized, a similar one comes forth and absorbs into you—but the original Guru Shakyamuni is always there. Then you become one with Guru Shakyamuni, and you purify sentient beings with knowledge rays from you which are Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. Then all sentient beings become Guru Shakyamuni, you, the enlightened being in the essence of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, and all absorb into you. After this, you meditate on perfect human rebirth.
In the second hour you meditate on the usefulness of the perfect human rebirth, or this can depend on the individual—if one doesn’t finish meditating on the perfect human rebirth in the first hour, then continue in the second hour, and meditate on the great usefulness of the perfect human rebirth.
Then it is useful, before going to bed, falling asleep, to check up—starting from this morning until nighttime, until you are in bed—you go through, you check up how much of each action you did with pure motive, and how much you did with the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas—starting from the morning getting up—including listening, teaching, and talking to other people, drinking, eating, all these other things. If any actions are done with a mind not expecting the comfort of this life, with a pure motive, you check up, check up. Then, if you find a more positive action that is done with this pure motive, with the mind renouncing this life, and it is worthwhile to rejoice.
Monday, April 1
From the holy speech of the great bodhisattva, Shantideva, “As the best color of the paint which turns it gold, taking the impure body it can become the king’s holy body which is a priceless jewel; the dirty, impure body can become a king’s holy body, which is a priceless jewel. Therefore, the thought which is called bodhicitta must necessarily be kept firm; therefore, it is necessary to keep the thought which is called bodhicitta firm and strong (which means not losing it, which means keep it continuously without losing it).”
This means this. There is a special paint, color that can turn so many iron pots to gold. Is there something like this in the west? No iron would be left! There is special paint, but this is not easy, not easy. With very little quantity, it can make thousands of irons, and by painting it, it can turn into gold. There is this history with Nagarjuna. Somehow, there was a big famine in India, and at that time there were many monks at Nalanda, the big school. There was big trouble in the economics because of a great famine. At that time, someone asked Nagarjuna to be the manager. So he achieved this power, this special technique, and he turned many pieces of iron into gold, and he sold it and made offerings, then ran the monastery at Nalanda as the manager. During that time he helped so many suffering people who had difficulties, feeding them. Besides that, there are many places in India where there was trouble, people starving because of great famine, so he made much charity by turning iron into gold. Also, he built many temples and stupas, and did many things. There are special techniques and methods to do this, but this does not depends on only material equipment; it depends on mind power. The techniques have to be achieved with mind power—not just with self-cherishing thought, not just with egocentric mind. Perhaps I will tell all the remarkable history, extraordinary history, another time.
So just like this, you see the value of the iron and value of the gold—there is so much big difference, a great difference between the value of iron and gold. As the value of iron is so much more limited than the value of the gold, the value of the knowledge of this dirty impure body is limited to the enlightened being’s body. “King’s body” means enlightened being’s body—”King” is a term from the Tibetan text, but it means enlightened being. So knowledge of the impure body is limited to the enlightened being’s body, so limited. Generally, iron becoming gold is an impossible thing. The same thing, this impure body is living in suffering nature, experiencing much suffering created by the deluded mind, living in the suffering nature, created by the deluded mind—as you think, knowing this, how it is living in suffering nature, how it is impure, when we are thinking all of a sudden, generally it seems an impossible thing, the body becoming an enlightened being’s body without a single tiny suffering. No suffering, no tiny impurity, not even the size of an atom; not one single defect, completely pure, completely clean.
The ordinary being’s connotation for clean is clean of exterior dirt—always there is dirt on the body, also our defects of delusions, not having cleaned even exterior dirt. So mainly the reason that we have to keep washing, cleaning all the time, is because no matter how much we wash always there are dirty things, smells, problems coming—that is because the mind is not cleaned. That is because body is living in defects, and the body has the pollution of the delusions, the defect of the delusions. Because mainly it is due to the mind, that which creates this suffering body, not cleaned of delusions, not cleaned of obscurations. That’s the body is living in suffering, with so many problems, not free—even if you wish, the body doesn’t allow. This is one of the biggest problems in life.
Anyway, totally, as long as the mind is not cleaned of obscurations or delusions, not cleaned of the defects of delusions, until that time, infinite eons, until we clean the mind of delusions, however many rebirths we take, endlessly, we will always have to clean the body of external things—smells, dirt, always cleaning, there is no way it will be finished. This washing will only be completely ceased when the mind is cleaned of delusions and karma. There will be no more problems because there will be no problems with body, with mouth, or hair—they will always be clean.
The enlightened being’s holy body has not one tiny defect or delusion—it is a completely pure, holy body, the creation of a completely pure holy mind, omniscient mind. When we think of the infinite knowledge of the holy body and the suffering and limited value of this body, which cannot compare to the knowledge of the enlightened being’s holy body, all of a sudden it seems impossible that this impure body can become that holy body which has infinite knowledge. When we look at it all of a sudden, it looks impossible that it will become like this. But it is possible. If the individual himself makes it possible, then it becomes possible. If he doesn’t make possible, it doesn’t happen. So what makes it?
You see, the iron that has limited value, not like gold, can be turned into gold by this special paint. The impure body is like iron, and then the gold is like the enlightened being’s holy body, which our body will become. Then what this makes this possible—even though we took this impure body, there is a possibility to achieve the enlightened holy body? Bodhicitta. Bodhicitta is like special paint that turns the iron into gold. The merits that are taken from the potentiality of the bodhicitta, dedicated by the transcendental wisdom, causes the whole suffering, the whole 84,000 delusions, all the dualistic mind, all the illusive mind, to finish. By finishing this, the mind becomes the priceless jewel, the enlightened being’s mind. And by finishing those delusions, the body becomes the priceless jewel, the enlightened being’s holy body by the merits created, by the merits that are dedicated of transcendental wisdom, understanding the absolute true nature. The merits arise from the power of the bodhicitta, from the potentiality or power of bodhicitta. What causes us to achieve enlightenment, all the infinite knowledge of enlightened beings, infinite knowledge of the enlightened being’s holy speech, body, and mind, this infinite knowledge—is bodhicitta.
Bodhicitta has that much knowledge, it has incredible benefits. So therefore, this great bodhisattva, as this was his own experience, he emphasized it for his followers who are living in ignorance, not knowing how to follow, how to seek the method, not knowing how to escape from suffering. By the way, it’s also an instruction to us, not something for some other person—it is an instruction for anyone who wants to seek the enlightened stage, most supreme happiness. Therefore, it is very effective and useful sometimes to remember these instructions. It is very helpful. When you are so tired, exhausted, it is like drinking juice.
Anyway, what I want to emphasize is that bodhicitta has that much great knowledge. Since it has that much great knowledge, why don’t we try? Why don’t we try to follow bodhicitta, to practice bodhicitta? Why don’t we try to keep bodhicitta without losing it ? Therefore, the last part is, “The thought which is called bodhicitta is necessary to be kept firm.”
Anyway, this is just very brief, but there is too much to explain about it—it includes so many subjects. This just a brief thing, like licking the sweets from the cover of the candy. Not the real candy but the plastic paper, licking the plastic, like this. If even licking the paper is that sweet, why not the inside?
So therefore, achieving this beneficial bodhicitta is not something that you can receive right away, all of a sudden. It is not something that you can receive all of a sudden. It takes time, it needs long training, it needs to make a long journey through meditation, starting from perfect human rebirth. There are meditations that lead to bodhicitta. The first, second, third, and fourth of these meditations lead to bodhicitta, make the journey to bodhicitta. Like when someone goes on an expedition, to climb a mountain, they go with very warm sleeping bags, jackets, lots of food, stoves, a special eye glass—so many things. Just like this, to go to the mountain, to be able to reach the mountain without danger, by going on an airplane, trekking, it is necessary to have the realization of these fundamental meditations in order to achieve bodhicitta. Some people may think, “These are not the methods to achieve bodhicitta. The method to achieve bodhicitta is something else, something else.” This is a mistake. If anyone thinks like that it is mistake. So, like this, it is necessary to have the realization of these following fundamental meditations.
The achievement of bodhicitta depends on the mind habituating itself to this pure thought. It should become habituated to this pure thought. This is not a physical thing, it is a mental thing. For the mind to get used to bodhicitta, to become bodhicitta, of course takes time, because it is not a physical thing, it is a mental journey, mental work. So of course it takes time, and requires much training. Therefore, as we received the perfect human rebirth this time, and have the capability, the chance to meet the methods, not practicing, not following, not training in these things is foolish and is wasting the chance that we have received. Therefore, for the action of listening to the teachings to become a cause of enlightenment, in order for the action to work for the other sentient beings, it is necessary to cultivate the pure motive, bodhicitta.
Think, “I, myself, must receive enlightenment to lead all the infinite sentient beings into enlightenment alone. Therefore, it is necessary to receive all the realizations of the graduated path. For that reason I am going to listen to this profound holy teaching.”
The listening subject, the holy teaching, is the Mahayana teaching that leads the fortunate beings into enlightenment, and is a teaching that is well expounded by the great philosophers, Nagarjuna and Asanga. It is a profound holy teaching, like the essence of the great pandits, Atisha and Guru Tsongkhapa’s holy mind taken out. Maybe you don’t understand what that means. It means this: if you think of milk and butter, these teachings which are called the graduated path are the essence of Guru Tsongkhapa and Atisha. The knowledge of the teaching that they have is like infinite space, the Pacific, the ocean—they have that much knowledge, but there is an essence, a totality, which is like a jewel from the ocean, a jewel that is taken out of the Pacific, the most precious thing that is under the ocean. So the essence, the most important thing that leads to enlightenment is the graduated path, this teaching, that essence that was taken out, the essence of the teachings that they know, which they have realized, the knowledge of the teachings that they have, which is like infinite space. So the whole thing means that the essence, the graduated path is a teaching that includes the essence of the 84,000 teachings shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, and is set up for the practice of one person’s achievement of enlightenment. This means that the teaching is not something that someone practicing Mahayana and Vajrayana can never practice. It is a teaching that should and can be practiced by one person to achieve enlightenment.
Anyway, so this gradual path that all the past enlightened beings have become enlightened through has four topics:
1. For reference, the knowledge of the authors, such as Atisha.
2. In order to have devotion in the teaching, the knowledge of the teaching.
3. The way of explaining and listening to the teaching, which has two objectives.
4. Then fourth, how to lead the followers in the path of enlightenment. The last one has two parts:
a. How to follow the guru, who is the root of the path.
b. Second, by following the guru how to train the mind in the graduated path to enlightenment.
It starts with the perfect human rebirth. The second meditation is the great usefulness of the perfect human rebirth. And according to this book, part of this subject is the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas.
So, has anybody seen when there’s a movie through checking last night? Did anybody check up? Did you check up, the person there?
Answer: Pardon me?
Rinpoche: Did you check up your movie yesterday? Have you gone through?
Answer: That’s what I am asking you. I thought so! Anyway, tomorrow I will give you candy and chocolate!
Anyway; maybe it is good to write this down, so that maybe it will help your life.
(A) “In order to take the holy Dharma on the path to liberation, there is no greater hindrance than the evil thought that completely concentrates in order to obtain the perfection of this life. Therefore, it is necessary to always avoid this.”
This what I explained yesterday—how the hindrances arise during meditation, how they interrupt even the meditators who are trying to practice Dharma. If you check up, if you are conscious during the time of meditation, you can recognize how it is the greatest hindrance to Dharma practice. Here, “The holy Dharma on the path to liberation.” The holy Dharma does not mean a book or something; this holy Dharma means your practice, your work for enlightenment. Whatever virtue is done, such as listening, thinking, and meditation, if it is mixed with this evil thought, there’s no doubt that the holy becomes evil, the good becomes bad, the good becomes evil. There is no doubt that good becomes evil, as food of one hundred tastes mixed with vomited food becomes bad. “Food of one hundred tastes” is a traditional Tibetan thing, but anyway, it means good quality food. This is the example. If the work for enlightenment and the work of this life are mixed, you can never achieve enlightenment. It doesn’t become Dharma, it only becomes the cause of suffering. It doesn’t become pure—it doesn’t become Dharma because it is not pure action, just like this example of the good food mixed with vomited food. No matter how good the good food, if it is mixed with vomited food it becomes dirty food, something which is not worthwhile to eat.
(B) “Always quarreling, discussing. Quarreling with leaders, teachers, friends, relatives—quarreling and fighting.”
“Fighting” means fighting with words, body, many things. “Quarreling with leaders”—”leader” means the leader of the country, the village, the society.
“Quarreling with leaders, teachers, friends, relatives, without bearing the negativity. Without bearing negativity, suffering, bad reputation, and obtaining enjoyments with great difficulty. Only this evil thought causes the person uncontrollably to do this. Only this evil thought causes or persuades the person to do this uncontrollably.”
For instance, this is clear, besides the other one. The above one, (A) is how this evil thought disturbs meditators and Dharma practitioners. For those who do not practice Dharma, who don’t meditate, there is no problem of that evil thought interrupting the Dharma practice, because they don’t practice Dharma, so there is nothing to talk about the evil thought hindering their Dharma practice—their Dharma practice is empty. So the lower suffering beings and even the upper living beings who have higher rebirth, even those samsaric gods, human beings who practice, don’t practice Dharma, religious or not—all their problems are the second one. It is so clear.
It is very good to think about how to practice, how this evil thought interrupts Dharma practice, with details—in your daily life experience. It is very useful to think about your common life, and how this evil thought interrupts it. It is very good for the mind. Also, this is best psychology. Because it is only a teaching shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, I am not admiring because of that; I am admiring because it is an experience. This is the best psychology for the problems, the person’s problems. Without knowing, as much as you spend time; as long as you don’t recognize this evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, as much as you think you are an expert psychologist, there is no way to recognize the main source of problems or the method that really helps us to cut the source of the problem. The person will not find it. As long as the person doesn’t realize the actual source of the problem, because the person doesn’t recognize this, the person’s method is to offer service, to work, to love the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, the source of the problems, instead of doing work to destroy the source of the problems, the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas. Like this.
For instance, whatever the person misses, or however the person is suffering without an object, there is no other way. For instance, sometimes a person has a problem of missing a companion, a man having a problem with a desirable object, his wife. This is a common example. So what to do? The mind that is suffering like this comes—he cannot sleep, he feels very lonely, there is no taste for the food—so perhaps the method is maybe to go to a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist may say to find the desirable object, so that the mind will be cured. It will get better by receiving the missing object. But even if the person receives the object, it does not last. The person, with his fickle mind, may stay together with it for some time—sometimes a few days, one or two days sometimes—but it doesn’t last, things change in different ways, not like the first time. This is a common problem. And then divorce, so many things, problems. Then the problems of children, taking away children, so many things. They are unable to take care—first they make children, second they cannot take care of the children—many problems. First of all, your own life problem: then, with children, with husband, wife, other problems, double problems, problem over problem, like this. All these problems, problems with your own life, with the children, with the husband, with the wife, all these problems. Again after that, you find another one; then after that, another one—so many things. Even the person who is over 60 is still not finished working, still not finished. Second round. All these problems are caused by the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, which is attached to the pleasure of this life, the comfort of this life, so many things.
Also, even though everything is all right, they are physically together, there is still so much worry. Always the husband worries about the wife, or the wife worries about the husband—that he or she will taken by other people or used by other people. There is so much skeptical mind, so much suffering. Then, if there is a relationship with other people, the mind becomes so jealous, there is so much pride, so many problems, life problems. All these are mainly due to the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas. They are all caused by the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, attached to the comfort of this life.
Even if things are alright, if they have jobs, there is much worry—about the job, the name, being a member of society. When they get a little name, then there is so much worry about losing the reputation, so much worry. Always with this worry, attachment—there is always that work for reputation. Whatever smart idea you find, whatever fantastic thing you create, you have that fantastic reputation. All these worries, samsaric problems, are caused by evil thoughts attached to the comfort of this life. Also, there is much worry about losing the job—this is also caused by the thought of the eight worldly dharmas. There is worry about losing the job and losing the reputation, worry about receiving a bad reputation—all these sufferings are caused by this.
Then, there are always quarrels, fights, disliking, complaints—so many things for the leaders, the members. These are also caused by this evil thought. For example, there are so many problems on the Earth, in each country; and also in Nepal and India. Everywhere, there are problems with leaders, so many problems. So many times Presidents and so forth get killed. All these problems, from the side of the person who is killing, are due to the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, attached to the comfort of this life. This causes the people to fight, to quarrel, to destroy others. It is the same thing with the teacher in a university school; there are always so many problems. All these problems are caused by this evil thought attached to the comfort of this life; this did it.
So many times there are strikes in the country—everything is stopped because the workers complain about not receiving a higher salary. That problem is also caused by the evil thought of the worldly dharmas. Other people also find problems because of the strike, not receiving things, which is also due to the evil thought of the worldly dharmas.
Also, there are capitalists and socialists. Anyway, there are many problems every time; so many big problems. Capitalists have problems with them and not having problems is also caused by the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, attached to the comfort of this life. The capitalist develops material, builds things, collects money—that is the whole aim—to make this life comfortable and not have trouble with missing material, starvation, physical troubles, difficulties. The main goal is only to make this life comfortable. No matter how brilliant the person looks, no matter that he never works on land, but always goes by plane, his main aim is that, is nothing, is just only that. So he’s doing that because, according to karma, he has the capability to do that.
So the other one, the socialist—as much as he says we need equal material for peace, no matter how much they say the word 'equal', it seems sort of concerned with other beings. But if we really check up the depth of mind, each person is trying to make his own life comfortable. The whole thing is that, no matter what he says—the whole thing is that. The main goal in the depth of his mind is only to make ... also, one thing, he is jealous of others who have position, who could do those works. So the main thing, the whole goal, the depth of mind—it doesn’t mean because of having bodhicitta, great compassion for other beings—the main thing is whatever is relating to other people which makes it quite powerful—but the main goal is not wanting one’s life of suffer, to have physical difficulties. The work is different but the goal is the same thing, same thing; no difference, same thing. For some reason they are fighting. It is like this—the way it looks, if I tell directly, sincerely—”My life is suffering, I don’t have facilities; my life is suffering, so I don’t care for your life, I need your materials.” This is a simple thing, what it looks like—the true, straight, sincere word, if it is taken out of the heart, that’s all. Anyway, they are same, the goals.
So you see, now we know how the problem is caused by the evil thought attached to the comfort of this life. Both problems are caused by one thing; this is clear. So therefore, even if the material is made equal, this cannot bring peace at all; it never brings peace, because the source of problem exists within the mind. As long as there is the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas existing in the person’s mind, as long exists in these people’s minds, there is no peace. However the material is equal, there will be many other problems. Same thing.
There are always problems with the relatives and friends; so many problems. First of all, when you go into the country—just one example—there is the difficulty, the problem of not having friends around, feeling lonely, then suffering. That is caused by the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, attached to the comfort of this life. Then after you have friends to talk to you and stay, then after a few days it become disgusting! You don’t get together any longer, you don’t get along. After, there are so many complaints, “He is no good, he has a bad personality, this and that,” so many things. It always keeps on changing, it never lasts. Then you fight, complaining about each other, so many things. This is clear. All these problems of friendship and after, hating the friend, are caused by the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, attached to the comfort of this life. All this is done with the expectation of the comfort of this life. So when you don’t receive what you expect, when an object arises that you dislike, that disturbs the comfort of this life, then you get angry. There is no peace even at the very beginning, and besides that, there is double suffering.
People in the world who do things such as destroying other countries, other people, others’ perfections without caring, without thinking of this as a negative action—that is also due to the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas. Also, if sometimes people get money, they climb over mountains, take expeditions, no matter how difficult this is. Even though it causes danger to the life, even though he is not sure whether he can really come back from the mountain, he gives up his life for his reputation of getting to the top. All this is caused by the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, attached to the comfort of this life. I am not complaining! We are talking about our own life. We are talking about each other, our own nature, life, because usually we are not conscious.
Also, people, because of reputation or money, promise to kill other people, destroy other people; mercenaries, these things—without thinking, without having understanding of negative action, no understanding of bad karma. No matter how much danger there is, they think, “I don’t care,” because of reputation and money. People doing these things is ridiculous, because they are using their useful human rebirth for such ridiculous actions. This makes no sense, and is meaningless—for a little money, for materials. The life used for materials, thinking that these things are more important than life, like that. Thieves and robbers, for instance, don’t care about the bad name, they bear their reputation, even if they are called robbers they bear it and steal others’ possessions. All these problems are due to the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas. A person is recognized as an evil person, a negative person because he did this and that—he is always a suffering person, always suffering when he hears his bad reputation. Why does he suffer with this? Why does he have to create causes and actions? All this is due to the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas.
So besides, some people may think that the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas is only for people who practice Dharma, but not for we people who enjoy samsara, but it is not like this. If it didn’t disturb samsaric life, then it could not also disturb Dharma practice. Therefore, it is important to recognize this and check up and bring the solutions in this life, while we are human beings, while we have the capability.
As in the morning talk, all of us who are involved in this situation, who are living in the life of the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, spending the life only for the evil thought of the worldly dharmas, also other sentient beings, however much their way of living, way of taking care of themselves looks different, however much they think they are different from each other, higher than others—in terms of caste, from the rich people’s side a beggar thinks they are rich. However they take care of their life in a different way—a businessman takes care of life by cheating oneself and others—cheating other beings means cheating oneself, totally taking cunning action, cheating others, telling lies. The businessman is living life in that way, taking care of his life by working in that way. Sometimes a beggar’s work is more sincere. For one who lives by begging, there is no cheating, his work does not involve cheating and cunning. So, sometimes like this. A very harmful, dangerous action, dangerous work, for other beings and for oneself, is like this. Sometimes the beggar begging is better; in terms of negativity, sometimes this is better. However, the beggar and the rich people, whatever they think in a different way, however they take care in a different way, it is the work taking care of the life and taking care of the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, spending the life for that, both people. The beggar and the rich people are both the same—living life in a negative way, the same. Both works are negative, the same; both works are worldly work, the same.
The student from childhood until death time, until he receives the final degree, the very top degree that he can receive from the university, all the study that is done is mostly done to take care of one’s life, this life. Mostly it is done for that. However the person sees that he is working for the country, for peace, this and that, in the depth of his mind his main goal is to take care of this life, to gain the comfort of this life; only to gain the comfort of this life. For that reason, from childhood he goes to school, studies, spends 30,40, or 50 years. Perhaps maybe he receives a degree, maybe, he is a little lucky, or maybe not. Let’s say even if he receives the degree, maybe—maybe not. Maybe he receives the degree that he has been expecting, if he is a little lucky, maybe not. Let’s say even if he received the degree, all that study, that person’s study, is only work, service for the evil thought of the worldly dharmas. Until he receives the degree, all that study, that person’s study, is only work, service for the evil thought of the worldly dharmas. Until he receives the degree, all that study that he did, the time that he spent, everything is work for the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas. Because his main goal is to take care, have comfort for this life, to not get in problem.
Even after he receives his degree, then he may find a job, something to do—this is also to take care of the comfort of this life, to work for the evil thought of the worldly dharmas. So you see, then maybe he spends three, four years working, five years, a few years. Perhaps then after receiving the degree and working, and finding a job, then the life finishes. One day, the life is finished, that life is finished; then, what’s left that he can carry, what’s left? From working, studying that much, what is left to carry with him? Nothing is left. The money that has been collected can’t be carried with him, his purse cannot be carried with him after death. Sometimes electricity all of a sudden stops due to the lighting, the wind, the storms, just like that, since he was born until death, his entire life was spent for the evil thought of the worldly dharmas, to take care of the evil thought of the worldly dharmas. So all this becomes evil action, the cause of samsara, the cause of suffering; that’s all. That man worked to create the cause of suffering, and his life finished in that way. So if one really checks up, this is a big upset life. There is no profit that he’s made that can benefit him at death time; after the death, nothing. He is dies with great, great worry, and an upset mind.
It is the same thing with the animal, the cow that goes round nearby the home, eating grass and sleeping. He never studies, not even A B C D! This cow who cannot talk, this cow who doesn’t know anything, who never studies or received a degree, this cow who lives maybe 30, 40 years, this cow also tries to find grass, and works to find his food, to go where he can get better grass and water—this cow also works to take care of his life. Since the cow was born until he dies, all that work is done by the cow, all those things are all done only seeking the comfort of this life, to gain only the comfort of this life. So that cow’s work that is done since birth until death, the whole thing is work. The time that the cow spends, all of it is done for the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, the evil thought that is attached to the comfort of this life. So that cow’s whole work is evil work.
So now, if you compare the person who has studied, spending time and money, this and that, so many things, when we check up, the cow and that person together, they come to the same thing. Same life, not different. As the cow’s life is negative, it is same thing also with the person’s life; same thing, not a pure life. The cow’s life is not higher than the human life, and that person’s life is not higher than the cow’s life. At death time, that person dies without having done any higher work than a cow’s work, even though he was born as a human being.
Anyway, the same thing—however wise the person is wise, or smart, or clever, or however much reputation he has—there are all kinds of people—as he is very self-supporting, no matter. Even though he goes under the Pacific, under the earth, goes onto the moon, since his life’s work is done for the evil thought that is attached to the comfort of this life, it is all evil work, all the cause of suffering. Same thing, these works are not higher than those of an animal—the way of doing is maybe a little bit different, but nothing is higher—because all these people’s work is done only for the comfort of this life. Nothing is higher because, as it is the cause of suffering, as it is evil work, the result of this work is only suffering, to keep oneself in a samsaric prison. Same thing for the fool, the dumb animal—the result of their evil work, what they do in daily life, is also suffering. Same thing in terms of result, no difference; both are suffering result. So this is one reason why it is not higher.
Write this down. (C) In order to destroy other’s perfections, the mind and body fight, argue, with great attempt and effort, and cause oneself and others’ to lose their present life and future lives.” Okay, but if there are people who don’t want to listen, please go; it is not necessary to insist, to push oneself. Those who can’t hear can copy from people who are near, who have a little idea of my language. “In these beings’ heart there is the evil thought, the devil, the evil thought is living, staying, residing.”
This is clear, this usual problem in our country. For instance, in schools, universities, always there are problems. For instance, the people are jealous of a person who has more knowledge, more education. They are jealous of the perfection of his knowledge, the education; jealous, jealous. Not liking, hating—people who are jealous, who have covetousness, hate the other people who have a higher education. They don’t want that person to exist. Also, they don’t want him to have reputation, to receive the reputation for oneself or for one’s relatives, whom the person likes. Then, fighting the other person, even though he has no fault—fighting, many things. Nothing helps, it is work done for the evil thought, in order for some of his relatives or friends to get reputation or a degree. Whatever it is, it is all negative action. Nothing brings perfection to the person himself. So this person who is jealous of others gaining higher knowledge, having higher knowledge, receiving such reputation, then with this evil mind in many ways directly and indirectly tries to harm the other person and kill him like this.
It is the same thing, same problem with the leaders. When someone receives a name, receives power by voting, when someone becomes the President, becomes this and that, directly and indirectly others try many ways with jealous minds to cause the person not to exist, to harm his relatives, his possessions, like this. So all these works cause the person, the negative work, his evil thought that is attached to the comfort of this life, so he does this. In that way he creates so much negative karma, which doesn’t help his peace or even his relatives’ peace at all. Then others fight with him or destroy his possessions, many ways trying to harm him, causing danger to his life for other people. So because of this, even if the other person is killed, this person whose mind is jealous, not liking the other one having material possessions, having knowledge, reputation, even though these people could kill him, it doesn’t help bring peace, it doesn’t help at all; it becomes the cause of more problems. Because of this his relatives, other beings, and friends keep in the heart and in the mind that that person gave trouble many times, that that person killed such and such relatives and friends. Then they have negativity directly and indirectly. Then, also sometimes there is the danger for them to get killed by another person—this is common in the world, we have heard about it many times. We have heard about it many times but we don’t know, do not recognize. Both are problems—this type of person harms another type of person, and that’s also a problem—others kill him, giving trouble—both are problems.
We have heard about this common situation many times, but we don’t know what causes other people to take revenge. The whole situation, the root of the problem, we don’t recognize. We see only the physical things, what’s done, but we don’t recognize the root problem. Because of not recognizing the root of the problem, they think that destroying others is the only way to bring them peace, to make their life comfortable. So first of all, other people harming you is because you caused harm before. So all these works—also being jealous of others’ perfections and materials, also being jealous of people having good friends. In the world there are many problems in a couple if the man has a wife who gets attached to another person. Then the mind becomes jealous, wanting to cause harm, to destroy the other man. It is the same thing in another way, vice versa, like this. It is a common situation on the earth. And also this situation is always shown in the movies—it is familiar in the movies, being jealous of each other, having possessions, a husband, wife, this and that. But that’s really funny because people who live in these situations, do these things, watch the movie! This I think is really funny, they themselves are living in the movie. They completely forget, when they look at the movie, they completely forget their life, completely forget what they’re doing, how they are living, what kind of life they have. The completely forget, not conscious; always judging the pictures in the movie, always judging this and that, many things, as if they are not involved in that life, transcended from that life! Many things. The world is full of these people, but they never check up the root of the problem.
So besides that, the other one also has no peace, killing others, no peace in that life. Without talking about the future life, even in that life, a person who kills others has no peace. Because he harmed the other one, he’s always in danger of being killed, receiving harm from other people, his relatives or friends; he has no peace. Also, he has a bad reputation. So because of the bad reputation, he has no peace. Sometimes he gets kicked out of the country, he has no choice but to stay at his home, be put in prison. This is only talking about one life, no peace. So talking about the future life, it is incredible, the suffering results are incredible. Anyway, it is all arrangement to be born in the suffering lower realms. That’s all. It is like specially making the path, specially making lifetimes of suffering and no peace in many future lives, no peace in that life, always harming other beings—all this is caused by the evil thought attached to the comfort of this life.
Then, so just this one example should be compared with many other things. Also, same thing, each other villager, each other family, fights, each country fights, each different caste, nationality fights. Anyway, all these works cause one to lose peace, to lose ones’ own and others’ present life and also future lives. Another way of saying this is that it causes one to lose the present life’s peace and the future life’s peace. All of those suffering problems are caused by this evil thought in his heart. There are so many examples to talk about.
Write this down also. I’m sorry, giving you work!
(D) “Even by keeping the teaching lamp,”—why is the teaching called a lamp? Because the teaching dispels ignorance, suffering, and the cause of suffering. The teaching is just like the example, the lamp that dispels the darkness that causes you to not see objects, things. “Even keeping the teaching lamp in the hand causes us to obscure the thought.” This refers to the person who has an unclear eye, who sees, for example, falling hairs, or two images where there are only one. “The unclear, evil thought obscures the person’s eye—” this eye means wisdom—and “and stepping over the sinful precipice is like falling down, a person stepping down, creating problems for receiving possessions, also for the surrounding living beings.” That means relatives or friends, for subsidiary divisions or groups of people. For instance, like this—there is a big college, fighting, making quarrels, creating problems for the college, because of negative mind, the partial mind that does not care for other colleges or groups, but is attached to one’s own challenge, and fights.
So this sentence means, for instance, the teaching lamp, that teaching that is so precious, like a lamp in the hand—the person knows so many words of the teaching, the person can explain, knows many teachings that explain the nature of suffering, the path to enlightenment, and also knows the words of the teaching, but the mind does not practice, is not made one with the Dharma. So even though the person knows that much, even though person has the teachings that explain all the nature of the problems, how to solve the problems, by not practicing, the mind does not become oneness with Dharma, so his wisdom is obscured by the evil thought, the unclear, the evil thought, and he always creates evil action. For example, evil physical actions, such as physically harming other beings, and also with his speech, agreeing. And there is no need to talk about the mind, mind having evil, pride and jealousy—there are so many things, there is no need to talk about them. The reason he is creating these evil actions is to receive the materials that he desires, and he creates these evil actions for family, for relatives, and for friends. Creating these evil actions for other beings in order to take care of the relatives, family, friends, and the college, that group. For instance, many times there are two colleges fighting each other, a big group of people fighting each other—it means like this. So anyway, because even though he knows that much, he knows holy teaching that explains all this, because the mind has not become oneness with Dharma, because it is obscured by the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, he creates all these problems and harms other beings.
So it is like this. Each time these people create evil actions, it is like stepping—the reason why it is called the sinful precipice—each time he creates an evil action, it is definite, and he is making arrangement to be born in the suffering lower realms. When he creates each of these evil actions, it is like stepping over the precipice. So that’s why it is so important to know this, why it is important to recognize and avoid the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas. Otherwise, as long as one doesn’t recognize it and avoid it, the mind doesn’t become oneness with Dharma—like milk and water, the mind has to become oneness with Dharma. Without the mind becoming oneness with Dharma, there is always this problem, no matter how much the person knows and can speak. This is very important to know. Even though you cannot speak much about Dharma, you cannot talk much, since your mind is oneness with Dharma, it is perfect, no problem. The most important thing is that. On the earth there are many people who can speak so well, who talk about Dharma so well, but who create many causes of suffering also for these reasons—to take care oneself, one’s family, relatives, and friends with partial mind—creating so much negative karma, like this. Totally, the person has no peace at all.
(E) “Even ...write this down! “Even if so much material is given in charity, for the purpose of seeking the reputation of the surrounding people.”
This means this, if you make charity, then a lot of people come to you. You receive so many surrounding people because you make so much charity and can use these people. For instance, rich people have so many people working under them, because they have much material, like this.
“For the purpose of seeking reputation, such as surrounding people, but having a very little result and evil—” this means bad result— “and receiving very little bad result, by making such good charity, it is because it is destroyed by the evil thought.”
Sometimes in the field where there are crops, in very early mornings there is dew, and sometimes it can harm the crops. The evil thought is like this because it destroys. As the person gives that much great charity, a good, beneficial result can arise from that cause. Such a result can be received from that cause, but because of this evil thought, which is like the suffering, negative result, because the person’s purpose is for the comfort of this life.
This is a teaching [quotations (A) to (I)] written by the great bodhisattva Togme Zangpo, a great Tibetan meditator. These are teachings said by him with his experience, knowing the suffering nature, how the problem of the evil thought arises. It is very helpful and very effective to our mind also to recognize the source, the root of the problem, of others’ and oneself.
The reason why, the purpose—not finished yet—that I am asking you to write, is because you are seeking a new method, a new way that you don’t know, that you didn’t do, because of the problem of suffering. So therefore, this is very useful, this answer. This can become like friend, a teacher to answer your problem, to solve your problem. So it is very good to read it frequently; it is very helpful. It makes your mind conscious in your work, makes you remember the Dharma, reminds you that the root of the problem is within your mind. The total purpose, therefore, is because you understand these things, remember these things, then you don’t create, you don’t make your life black, negative—you don’t create negative karma. This helps you to stop creating negative karma. So for this reason, I am getting you to write. In these talks, there are different problems for meditators, those who don’t meditate, all kinds different of beings’ problems—so it is very useful to read frequently. Especially when your mind is unhappy with temporal things.
Then tonight, first thing, do purifying meditation with Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, reciting the prayer and mantra. Then, the figure is emitted from Guru Shakyamuni’s holy body and absorbs into you, and you become oneness, then you purify sentient beings, enlighten them in the essence of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, and then they all absorb into you. Then concentrate a little bit, for a short time, on the thought that your mind is oneness with Guru Shakyamuni’s holy mind, infinite happiness. Concentrate on that by trying as much as possible, not letting other thoughts arise. For a short time, then after, meditate on perfect human rebirth.
When you meditate on perfect human rebirth, before you start the meditation, visualize knowledge rays coming from Guru Shakyamuni’s holy body and purifying you. Then think, “He’s sending me the knowledge rays which are the essence of the whole realization of the perfect human rebirth, the great usefulness of the perfect human rebirth, the whole realization of the graduated path to enlightenment. The essence of the rays is that.” Think that you are receiving this. It is necessary to think like this; there is a point, there is a difference. Then, after visualizing the rays coming, concentrate and meditate on perfect human rebirth; then, on the great usefulness of the perfect human rebirth. Check up. Then also those who can ... I think that’s okay.
If you remember what you have written, according to this bodhisattva’s instructions, then try to find so many examples that you had experienced. Also remember times when you saw other people involved in problems, and try to think that all of these were caused by the evil thought. Try to see the root of the problem. From each these stanzas, certain stanzas which explain different problems, similar to that, try to amplify, try to remember what you saw in life, in different countries, and the way you experienced the problems yourself.
There is someone who said he checked up last night? Who was that? Yes, how was it?
Answer: It is difficult to remember everything. Especially the bad things!
Rinpoche: Yes, that’s also what? You don’t want to think of it, isn’t it. Especially bad things. Thank you, please check up. Thank you.
Also tonight, before you fall asleep, it is very helpful, very useful, and will make you more conscious if you check up, if you discover how much service you did for the evil thought, the evil action, and how much you worked for enlightenment—which job you did more today.
Also by checking, because you are checking at night, it helps you to be conscious tomorrow.
Tuesday, April 2
From the holy speech of the great bodhisattva, Shantideva, “When the one leader of sentient beings checks up well with the infinite mind, because it is precious, because it has great value, the thought that is called bodhicitta should be kept firm.”
The one leader of sentient beings means the Enlightened Being. Enlightened beings are the only perfect leader, leading sentient beings into enlightenment through the path. So that path—the first one, also includes bodhisattvas. When they check up the bodhicitta with their infinite knowledge, with infinite thought—infinite thought means that their holy mind can perceive infinite objects, infinite existence, so that is why it is called infinite thought—when they check up the bodhicitta with this thought, they fully discover that the bodhicitta is the source of all the worldly happiness, the source of the happiness also of the worldly beings. Bodhicitta is also the source of all happiness of the beings who are transcended from the world, who are transcended from the worldly beings, who have no achievement of the full realization of the absolute true nature. Bodhicitta is the source of the happiness of even higher beings, the noble beings who are transcended from the worldly beings, the worldly level. This means the source of the happiness of the higher beings who have the achievement of the full realization of the absolute true nature. So totally, bodhicitta is the source of all transcendental happiness, including enlightenment—the most supreme happiness of enlightenment. Besides, it’s the source also of worldly happiness, totally it’s the source of all happiness. There is not one single happiness that does not arise from bodhicitta.
Every single pleasure that we feel, even the pleasure of the wind blowing—there is no such pleasure that does not arise from bodhicitta. It is all arisen in dependence on bodhicitta. There is logic explaining how it arises from bodhicitta. All the cause of the pleasure is not talking about transcendental happiness, this is talking about worldly happiness, and how it arises from bodhicitta. The cause of every single happiness is not evil action; the cause is virtuous action, either created in this present life or in other previous lifetimes. How is the virtuous action created? The virtuous action is created by the influence of the teachings, due to the influence of the other Buddhas, how they created merits by following the teachings. And also our virtuous creation itself is the action of the enlightened beings, is the knowledge, the action of the enlightened beings. So that action of the enlightened beings is the thing that leads us to enlightenment, so this is the work of the enlightened beings, obliging us to create it.
Anyway, so that is the action of the enlightened beings—enlightened beings arise from bodhicitta. Enlightened beings, who lead us to enlightenment in this way, create virtuous actions, and arise from bodhisattvas. The idea is that the way of going to enlightenment, the process, without first becoming a bodhisattva and following the bodhisattva’s path, there is no way to achieve enlightenment. So an enlightened being arises from bodhisattva, and a bodhisattva arises from bodhicitta. That’s why even all the worldly happiness, transcendental happiness including enlightenment, most supreme happiness, enlightenment—everything arises from bodhicitta. Everything depends on bodhicitta. So this is not an easy subject, this point is not an easy subject, it takes time. It doesn’t depend on only understanding the words—this is something else, some other thing. This is the summary, the brief summary of how it works, how it arises from bodhicitta.
“When the one leader of the sentient beings checks up well with infinite mind, it has great value. Because it has great value, the thought that is called bodhicitta should be kept firm.” So the enlightened beings, bodhisattvas, when they check up with their wisdom, which sees the existence of infinite objects, they discover this. They fully discover that bodhicitta is the source of all happiness; and this has such great, great value. Therefore, it is worthwhile to practice—those who have not achieved bodhicitta, practice; those who have achieved of bodhicitta, continue, keep it firm without losing it.
You see, nothing on the earth, no other phenomenon, no other matter, even we total all the materials, all the jewels—if you compared them, there is nothing to compare. Even the numberless jewels that fill up all of space still can never compare to the value of bodhicitta. They cannot compare, can never compare. There is nothing on the earth, nothing, no phenomena, matter, nothing which has value like bodhicitta. Nothing. If one has the achievement of bodhicitta it is the most precious jewel that one has, that one can carry up to enlightenment. Even after enlightenment is achieved, bodhicitta creates happiness, peace for other suffering living beings, enlightens other suffering living beings, like this. So that’s why the benefits and knowledge of bodhicitta are infinite.
This teaching is not, only for some people; is also for us. Anyway, he gave this teaching to benefit all sentient beings, so that’s how it also is for us. Therefore, at this time, as we are human beings having such a perfect chance, having met the meditation techniques, the teachings of bodhicitta, to receive bodhicitta, when there are all the things, all these necessary things, meditations are gathered, then it is necessary to train. Since the bodhicitta cannot be received all of a sudden, since it depends on long training, since it depends on long thought training, it is necessary to start training even from now, from this moment. It is that fortunate. Before death, we are not sure when death will happen, so before death, as much as we can train the thoughts in bodhicitta, even meditating on bodhicitta, trying to cultivate bodhicitta even once in this life, even meditating once, that being is more fortunate than other beings. Great numbers of human beings die without doing one single meditation on bodhicitta, without leaving even one single impression of bodhicitta, even without hearing anything about bodhicitta. Compared to those great numbers of human beings, even if we meditate on bodhicitta once in this life, one time, still our life is that fortunate, we have left one impression of bodhicitta. So that much arrangement is made for the future life, to receive bodhicitta sooner, so the person is that much closer to enlightenment. By thinking of all these values and benefits, it is necessary to train even from now. Also, it is especially important in order for the action of listening to the teachings to become Dharma and become the cause of enlightenment. For this, it is necessary to cultivate the pure motivation of bodhicitta.
Therefore, “I must achieve enlightenment to release all these sentient beings from their sufferings, from every single suffering—the heavy suffering and the subtle suffering—from every suffering, right away. Therefore I am going to listen the holy, profound teaching.”
The listening subject is the holy teaching, the Mahayana teaching that leads the fortunate being to enlightenment. It is a teaching that was well expounded by the great philosophers, Nagarjuna and Asanga. This holy profound teaching is also the essence of the highly realized Lama Atisha and Guru Tsongkhapa’s holy minds. It is a teaching that includes the essence of the 84,000 teachings shown by Guru Shakyamuni, set up for the practice of one person’s achievement of enlightenment.
So this gradual path, through which the past enlightened beings received Buddhahood, has four topics.
1. For the reference of this teaching, the gradual path, and the knowledge of the authors.
2. In order to have devotion, the knowledge of the teaching.
3. How to listen and explain the teaching, which has two knowledges.
4. How to lead the actual disciple in the path of enlightenment. This last one has two parts:
a. How to follow the guru who is the root of the path, and
b. How to train the thought in the gradual path to enlightenment.
The outlines start from perfect human rebirth, so according to this book—the eight worldly dharmas, mainly talking about the evil thought that is like our master, our teacher, our king, that we always follow work for. This is the last of yesterday’s subject.
(F) “Even if one keeps the moral conduct with effort, he is bound by the rope of the materials he receives, and doesn’t let to go in the path of liberation. The iron chain that binds one in the samsaric prison is definitely in the hand of this evil thought.”
Just briefly talking on this. Even for those who try to observe moral conduct, precepts with effort, it’s extremely difficult to follow the path of liberation. Why? Because he is tied by the rope of the eight worldly dharmas, such receiving material things, the ego-praising words, sounds—many of these different objects. Because of this reason, Guru Shakyamuni gave up the worldly life. His family was extremely rich, they had a great population, and so many incredible possessions, and also reputation, so many things. The king living that life had all the worldly desirable objects. He had the chance to enjoy all this, and also, if he wanted to be with many numbers of princesses, he could do it. There was everything—reputation, everything in terms of material possessions. It was all perfect, so rich, incredible, however, he completely gave it up, just like throwing the rubbish, garbage down. Just like this. The whole point was to not have disturbances or hindrances to the path of liberation, in order to achieve nirvana. The reason he gave all this up was because he was suffering because of not having these things, and because of much suffering of not having these things, he gave it up. Not like this. He had everything; and having everything, he gave it up. This was such a great, great strong thought. He had a renouncing mind, because there was danger that he would be tied with the rope of the eight worldly dharmas.
That’s why also many previous yogis and meditators, at the beginning, while they were in training, lived a very simple life. Great meditators lived a very simple life at the beginning, while practicing; because if the life is not that way, then the practice becomes very difficult because of the surrounding things, and the mind is very uncontrollable. Therefore, especially with these worldly dharmas and having so many desirable objects around, it hinders the Dharma practice because of the uncontrolled mind, the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas. That’s why all these great meditators lived a simple life at the beginning and spent time in solitary places to do strict practice. There were less hindrances arising than if they had the objects around.
So then afterwards, as they had the achievement of the fundamental realization, by renouncing the mind of samsara, as their mind reaches certain levels where there is no problem from these objects, when they have control, when there are no problems arising that become a hindrance to the achievement of enlightenment, then at that time no matter how much they are surrounded by worldly objects, no matter how many objects are near this meditator, nothing can cause problems. Because of mind control, nothing can cause problems. Like this. Those whose mind has completely avoided the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, who has completely given up this life, which means the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, even though he’s in the palace of a king, even though he has all the possessions of a king, even if this person is offered all the king’s possessions, the entire population, golden thrones, animals, jewels, many stores of jewels, many princesses, whatever—for him, it is like he is in a cave. For him it’s not like for us, it’s different.
For us, whose mind is not living in the practice of the avoidance of the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas, it’s different. When we are in the palace of a king, the mind is boiling very much—there is no peace, no peace at all. So much pride and this and that, so many things, many mind problems. For this meditator who’s living in the avoidance of this life, he is like living in a cave. His mind is the same wherever it is, like living in a cave on the mountain. There is no problem arising, no strong attachment to the object, there are not these problems that we have. So the mind is in great peace, always in a solitary place, always great peace. When he is in a solitary place with no problems, at that time also he has no concern for these things. Also, when he is such a place, he has no concern for them, no attachment arising, because of living in the complete renunciation of this life, the evil thought, the attachment to the comfort of this life. Also, that is due to such strong understanding, deep understanding, realizing the shortcomings of the evil thought that is attached to the comfort of this life. Because of this, he has such great thought, great will, that doesn’t cause these temporal problems, these life problems. Also, for those meditators, there is the avoidance of the evil thought and renunciation for this life, so thinking cannot cause problems for the Dharma practice, or for the continuous observation of moral conduct.
Because of these dangers and by having these things, the worldly dharmas, in order to receive liberation, Guru Shakyamuni has given discipline to his followers and disciples—that the mind should be well content, and one should not have many possessions, but have only a few things. The reason that usually monks or nuns, after they take precepts, why they don’t live and work with the family is because those surroundings and works done with this evil thought hinder Dharma practice, hinder the path of liberation. They don’t help, they are more hindrances. Therefore, for that reason they are always in a separate place such as a monastery, away from lay people, not in the village. Anyway, the reason that there has to be separate place like this for them to live, they reason they cannot be together at home working like that is this reason—to not have danger in the path, to receive the path of liberation, like this. I think usually a monastery is a place away from the village or city, I think about 500 arm-spans away from the city. Usually the monastery is separate from the village, the group, the city, the lay people. So the purpose of being separate, away like this, is mainly to continue the practice of observing morality and to not put yourself under the control of the evil thought that is attached to the comfort of this life, to continue the practice of morality like this, and control the evil thought. So if you are in a certain place like that, with so much surrounding, so many things, then because the mind is not controlled, is not so strong, and the negative mind is strong, attachment is strong, then you create negative karma, the cause of suffering, the cause of samsara.. This is due to influence and due to being near the object, and many things like this. The meaning of “monastery” is as Guru Shakyamuni explained in the sutra teachings.
Also, one thing like this. Without talking about following bodhisattva precepts, even following the general precepts of the pratimoksha, of individual liberation—the purpose of these disciplines is to have less things, so greed will not arise. The whole point is that the evil thought of greed, attachment to the comfort of this life will not arise. Totally it is meant to continue the practice of controlling greed and attachment. If there is attachment to things, no matter even if the material is bad, as long as there is attachment and greed, it is the opposite of the precepts. No matter whether the object is ugly, old, or rich, if one really wants to keep the precepts pure, a strong practice of avoiding the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas is greatly needed. Also, an understanding of samsaric suffering. Then one can keep the precepts really purely; otherwise, it is impossible. For a person who does not try to avoid these evil thoughts, the precepts are always like torn clothes, worn clothes, with so many holes.
Anyway, so that’s why this great bodhisattva instructs that those who keep moral conduct with effort may find it difficult to enter the path of liberation, because of the rope of these eight worldly dharmas. So the whole thing depends on avoiding attachment; the whole thing, the root is that. Whether you keep material things or not, the whole thing depends on attachment. Generally when one has no strong renunciation of samsara, no understanding of suffering nature, no strong mind renouncing this life, then it is so easy to have attachment to these things. Then it is so difficult to keep precepts, difficult, difficult. You see, some students, some Westerners who come to the East and become monks or nuns, then when they go back West it is so easy for the ordination, the precepts, to get lost. How, why does this happen? Why it is easy to get lost? This is easy to understand. By thinking that, then even if you are practicing Dharma, feeling samsaric suffering—some people, when they are in the east they feel like meditating more, then when they go back the feeling gets lost, like this. That’s mainly because of the thing, the influence, environment, and surrounding, mainly due to this evil thought. The main reason those things become hindrances to our practice is because of the evil thought in our mind.
So for one living in ordination, in bodhisattva ordination or precepts, besides not being attached to the worldly dharmas—this is the fundamental thing—the main thing, on the basis of not being attached to the worldly dharmas, when with self-cherishing thought you possess things, you think of the objects surrounding you—such as the house, people, possessions, your own body, mind, and speech–with the thought, “This is mine,” with self-cherishing thought, clinging—when this happens it breaks the precepts. This practice is much harder, much more difficult than the other one renouncing this life. You cannot possess anything with the self-cherishing thought. The fundamental bodhisattva practice is to dedicate everything that you have to other sentient beings. You cannot possess anything with self-cherishing thought. This is much harder than the first practice.
Then, tantric practice is even harder, more difficult than bodhisattva practice, as it is a much more profound technique, meditation, and method for enlightenment. It is that much harder to practice, even though it is a shortcut to enlightenment. Shortcut doesn’t mean easy. For those who capable, living in the practice is easy; for those who are not purely practicing, not correctly practicing, it is difficult. So tantric practice relating to these things, to the possessions, has to be done on the basis of this bodhisattva practice, dedicating everything for other sentient beings, not keeping anything with self-cherishing thought. That has to be done on the basis of renouncing this life, renouncing the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas. If the worldly dharmas interrupt the general moral conduct, so of course it hinders the bodhisattva’s practice, as well as tantric practice. Besides, the main interruption to observing moral conduct is discontent and dissatisfaction—the desire for more and the desire for better.
These are the main hindrances to keeping the precepts. So besides not letting you go on the path to liberation, this evil thought, which is like an iron chain, ties oneself in samsaric prison.
The essential cause that leads us to liberation—I think liberation is the word used many times, also in magazines, but I am not sure whether it is the same—the essential cause that makes us receive liberation, is moral conduct. Moral conduct. Whether we say this or give it another different name, totally, putting speech, body, mind in discipline, in correct action, away from negative actions—that’s all. This is the essence of moral conduct, whether we say ordination or not, whether we call it another different name. So, the essential cause that leads us to liberation is moral conduct, observing the moral conduct caused by renouncing mind. That means the renouncing mind of this life, of the worldly life. But we should understand what this means. It is not much to do with the physical things. I think I said this once before.
For instance, the animals living in the mountains, sleeping in the caves—even the animal can do this on the mountains. Nearby the place I was born there are a lot of caves—I think they were used by meditators, but at this time there are not many meditators; most of the people do business! I am joking! Animals do meditation! These days, when I went around, it was full of animal excrement, yaks’ excrement. Anyway, animals also sleep in caves. I think they like that, also. Also, they don’t have anything, only their body; they don’t have anything, no possessions, except their body. So they are that much renounced beings. Physically, if it depended on physical separation, then these animals should be renounced beings. They eat the grass that’s growing, and drink water, sleep in caves, they don’t talk, they are always in silence.
Anyway, so renouncing worldly life does not mean physical separation, does not mean only that. Thinking that it is only that is a big mistake. The main thing in renouncing worldly life is renouncing this life—renouncing the worldly dharmas that are attached to the comfort of this life; the whole thing is this. Observing moral conduct caused by the impulse, observing moral conduct caused by renouncing the mind of the worldly life. Renouncing the mind of worldly life is the impulse of observing moral conduct. That is the fundamental thing.
In order to observe the moral conduct, what is necessary to have? The equipment you should have in your mind is the mind renouncing worldly life. This is not easy to understand. If it depended on the physical, separation from this body—but it is not like this. If that were so it would come to this point, come to the danger of the life. If it meant physical separation, separating completely away from physical things, then when someone had to renounce, then there would be danger to the life ... because one would have to split from the body. So how does going on the path of liberation depend on observing morality? How does the continuity of that practice depend on renouncing this life, and how does the attachment that attached to the comfort of this life interrupt that? For instance, like this.
The actual liberation is liberation, the cessation of greed, ignorance, hatred—all these negative creators. The cessation of these three is the actual liberation. The ultimate or the actual, the perfect liberation, is the cessation of greed, ignorance, and hatred, these negative creators. As long as you create the action of these negative creators, there is no way to achieve the cessation of greed, ignorance, and hatred; they only build more. So in order to achieve this liberation, this freedom, this liberation, the perfect liberation, then it is necessary to not create the negative actions, the evil works, which are the opposite to the virtuous work, the work for liberation. In order to stop this, one must try to not let the negative creators of greed, ignorance, and hatred arise. One should always try to be strong, and one needs to control the negative creators of greed, ignorance, and hatred from arising. So that depends on renouncing, and depends on the deep understanding of the shortcomings of these delusions. Through the deep understanding of the shortcomings, how not to cause suffering, then the strong renouncing mind that does not want to follow these negative minds, the creator of suffering, which wants to avoid, to clean, to purify it arises. So that’s how, because when there is such a strong renouncing mind arising, the person can control and can stop creating negative karma. The person can control the arising of negative minds. So that person strictly follows the moral conduct, the precepts, and the disciplines for the achievement of liberation. You see, now we can see that renouncing the mind of this attachment is of utmost need, so important—that is the actual power, the actual energy, that brings you liberation. So in this way we can see how the attachment that is attached to the comfort of this life interrupts, is a problem. When a little difficulty arises in the mind, all of a sudden we don’t care about precepts; we give up, we take another path. Because of the lack of the strong mind renouncing this life, we choose this, we choose to work for the evil thought, to stop temporal problems, rather than liberation, by giving up the precepts. This is our nature…anyway, it is useful to recognize. It is our life, the nature of our life, but it is important to recognize; otherwise, how can we correct it?
(G) “Even if one makes concentration for a long time ...”
Question: How can I recognize or observe negativity if I use the precepts to prevent them from arising?
Rinpoche: You don’t have to worry, that’s so easy.
Question: Could you explain that?
Rinpoche: There is no need to worry about the arising of the negative mind, about the negative mind not arising. If one doesn’t try, there is no way to recognize it all of a sudden. But if one does not put effort, checking, according to the way it is explained in the teachings—what is the negative mind, what is the positive mind, as it is explained; as it is explained, there you check up. Then, if you check up more and more you can recognize it. Without checking anything, without putting any effort, unconscious of the negative mind, and then expecting rainfall or snowfall, like that—it doesn’t work that way. You have to put your own energy, check up to see the positive mind as it is explained, and the negative mind as it is explained in the teaching. By understanding that, then check up whether you have that type of mind as the enlightened beings explained in the teachings, or whether you have that type of mind that creates negative action. Whether you have that, whether you are involved in that action or not, like this.
Without depending, on one enlightened being’s explanation of the fundamentals, the path to enlightenment, without depending on the explanation of how to flow through the method, without depending on the enlightened being’s teaching, there is no way to recognize all these wrong conceptions instinctively, no way to recognize the wrong conceptions. There is no such thing, without depending on the enlightened being’s teachings; no such thing as instinctive enlightenment, as the realization of the path. No one has achieved instinctive enlightenment without depending on the teaching. So if this is the instinctive thing, then what’s the point of coming to the East, seeking new methods. There is no need, because it will happen. Just creating lot of bad karma, it will come by itself, instinctively. So what’s the point of worry, what’s the point of trying to create virtuous actions—no need. Just create a lot of evil actions. There is no need for disciplines; no need also for the ten commandments, too. Anyway, there is no such thing as this.
To recognize the negativity, it is necessary to check; and for checking, it is necessary to understand the teaching; therefore, it is necessary also to hear. That’s one purpose for why there is need to listen. Also, like this, some people, if they check up as it is explained in the teaching by the enlightened being about negativities, then they see after they listen to the teaching that they have stronger attachment and greed, and have a stronger negative mind than before. It seems that the negative mind becomes stronger, bigger—the person feels it that way, by listening to the teaching he feels that he didn’t have such a strong negative mind before. But this is not a mistake, this is good. This is not bad, this is very good, because that means that the way the person listened to the teachings helped the person; the way he listened to the teachings went in the right way; the way he checked went in the right way. This means it helped. Like when a person shoots arrows, when he strikes the central mark it means it went in the right way; just like a person who feels this. This is not a mistake, it is an effect of the teaching.
As I told you at the very beginning, how to listen the teaching—like a mirror, maybe you think there is nothing wrong on your face. It is a perfect, beautiful face, there is nothing wrong with it; you have pride in it, there is nothing wrong with it. Then, all of a sudden, when you see the mirror, when you recognize marks, ugly things in the mirror, when you check up with the mirror, when you see yourself, then you recognize that you are more ugly, more dirty. Just like this. That’s why at the beginning, the point of explaining how to listen to the teaching is because of that reason. So this is usual at the beginning. However much a person listens, hears, if he has no feeling in the mind, no recognition of himself as guilty, no feeling, no upset feeling that his mind is negative, always thinking, “I am good, I am good, perfect, nothing wrong,” this means that the way he is listening is not correct, so the teaching that he’s listening to does not affect the mind, is not quick to affect, to help the mind. Some people, even just by listening one day, two days, there is a big effect, big change. They recognize themselves so much. This depends on the way of listening to the teaching.
So even for Tibetan meditators, it happened like this. When they listen to the teachings on the gradual path, they see themselves as more negative, more guilty, with more of a negative mind, recognizing themselves personally more. Then, by recognizing how strong a negative mind they had, by recognizing that the negative mind always causes problems, by recognizing these things, they developed the strong renouncing mind of this evil thought. So also if the person, the meditator, realizes these things, he can use the remedies, and that meditator’s Dharma practice will go in the right way. Such recognition is needed at the beginning. The person feeling, “my attachment becomes stronger and greater by listening to the teachings—it seems like it’s getting bigger,” feels this because he is recognizing more.
Like this—if there is a person, a friend, usually, because he’s your friend and smiles and talks well, you always believe that he is not a thief, no matter how much your things get lost. Then somebody comes and tells you, “He’s very bad, because one day he took your things and so on,” more and more, and then you say “Oh.” This is just an example to give you an idea, so then when you see him you feel very, completely different. Before, you liked him very much. Then, because of the talk, then slowly, slowly, your feeling changes. So when he comes to see you, you see him as negative, as a thief. He’s really a thief, because of these reasons, and then you believe that he’s really a thief. He was also a thief before, but you didn’t recognize that. So just like this. He didn’t become a thief—he was one already. If the person recognizes him as a thief he doesn’t become a stronger thief. But anyway, the thing is, you didn’t recognize this before, even though he was a thief. Just like this, when you recognize then, there is such a negative feeling, seeing him as a real thief, his whole body as a thief, and maybe it is not true. So just like this, actually the negative mind is not getting stronger, but you are recognizing it more and more by the mirror of the teachings. This is because of the teachings and the way of listening to them—they go in the right way, which is the point, the purpose.
Also, who is the person who asked the question? I see a great man! Anyway, also, especially when you keep precepts you can see much more the problem of the negative mind arising, you can see more. Because you are in the discipline, so whenever the negative mind arises, your responsibility is to control it, to bring it down, to stop creating negative actions, which means to stop following the negative mind. So your responsibility is like this: you are like the police guarding, watching whether the thief comes or not. Especially because when you are in the discipline, living in the precepts, you can feel the negative mind more; you can recognize it more, you see. Because what you are supposed to do when you have the precepts, your responsibility, the total thing, is to work opposite to the negative mind, work to stop the negative mind from arising. The person can feel stronger, can discover more problems, can recognize more, can feel the problem with understanding. Before, there are problems, but you don’t recognize them. With precepts especially, because keeping precepts and the negative mind arising are in opposition to each other, as are the mind renouncing the worldly life and the negative mind, and creating negative actions and observing moral conduct,. So especially a person in that discipline can recognize, feel the problem more with recognition.
Anyway, there is no need, this is useless worry—by keeping precepts maybe we cannot recognize the negative mind; this useless worry. The useful worry that we should have is the thought that this negative mind causes a hindrance for us to follow discipline and moral conduct, and the path to liberation. We should worry about the shortcomings of the negative mind.
One thing also, some people may think that once the person makes a vow, the negative mind never arises—but it is not like this, not like this. Is not that simple. If that were so there wouldn’t be any hindrances to keeping precepts; no difficulties, no hindrances. There could be instantaneous enlightenment, one second enlightenment—because by taking the vow everything stops.
(G) “Even if one makes concentration for a long time.” This last part of the teaching— “With greed and hatred one fights and argues, admires oneself and abuses others.” If you read this, it will help you in the future. Actually, there is no purpose for you to write, no purpose, but it will be helpful to take care of your mind. “The unpeaceful mind arising by meditating on samadhi.” Samadhi means one-pointed concentration, concentration of mental quiescence. “The unpeaceful mind arising by meditating on samadhi, the concentration of mental quiescence.”
I think it is similar to quiet. Anyway, mental quiescence is like the quiet mind. This means quiet of what? Quiet of the hindrances to concentration, sluggishness, and the scattering thought, quiet of these hindrances. This means that a person who has achieved this does not have these hindrances. So quiescence, the meaning of mental quiescence is quiet, which means peace. Peace from what? Peace from the hindrances to concentration. Generally, by meditating on samadhi a peaceful mind is supposed to arise. If an unpeaceful mind arises when you meditate on samadhi, it is because the evil thought exists.
For example, in a field of potatoes, if there are some other plants growing, weeds—the evil thought, the root of the weeds—even if you do concentration meditation for a long time, with greed and hatred, arguing, fighting, admiring oneself and abusing others, and the unpeaceful mind arises, that is the fault of the evil thought, the root of the weeds. For instance, those who have the name “meditator”, who have been meditating for a long time, for many years in the mountains, solitary places like the Himalayan mountains—I’m joking. Anyway, a person like this who always has problems, making hindrances for oneself and abusing and criticizing others, always fighting, arguing, putting others down, arguing about possessions, reputation, and many things with greed and hatred—this is due to the evil thought. He tries to meditate but still there is the continual problem arising like this. This is because of the evil thought attached to the comfort of this life, because that has not been given up. It is caused by the evil thought, which is like the root of the weeds, and was not taken out. There are always hindrances from the root of the weeds that have not been taken out –no matter how much you take out the plants, the stem, it always grows, interrupts the crop from growing well.
Also, even if he tries to do samadhi meditation, the unpeaceful mind will always arise, even though generally the benefits of meditating on samadhi include the cessation of the unpeaceful mind. This is due to not having given up the evil thought attached to the comfort of this life—due to this thought that is like the root of the weed. So, like this, if the root of the weed is taken out, it cannot grow, in the same way, if the person, the meditator, has given up this life, this evil thought, then there is no problem for greed or hatred to arise, no problem of admiring oneself and abusing and putting down others, or of arguing and fighting. Even during the meditation this unpeaceful, unquiet mind arises. There is no unpeaceful mind arising. Especially, the most important thing, for the person who does meditation on samadhi, the most important practice, the fundamental thing that causes him to achieve samadhi quickly is renouncing the evil thought that is attached to the comfort of this life. This is the main hindrance to achieving samadhi meditation. So anyway, if this root is not removed, or taken out, then it is extremely difficult to really become a perfect meditator. One becomes only mostly a mouth meditator. It is extremely difficult to be a perfect, pure meditator.
(H) “Even if the sickness, spirit offends, or other beings, non-human beings, other living beings, sickness and spirits, the non-human beings' giving offends, causing sickness, offensive spirits…"This should be okay! This refers to spirits causing harm to human beings— “Sickness, offensive spirits, thieves, enemies.” Such enemies are called hindrances to Dharma practice. “If one’s mind is subdued, all these become helpers.” “All these” means sickness, offensive spirits, thieves, enemies, other enemies—there are living enemies and non-living enemies. So if one’s mind is subdued then all become a helper. “This evil thought is a definite hindrance for Dharma practice.”
So this includes what we have been talking about before. All this becomes a helper—this is the thing that I explained before in terms of the temporal problems, how to think about temporal problems. Anyway, there is much to talk about, there are so many different ways to make hindrances that hinder the happiness of our life into helpers for Dharma practice. Instead of letting them disturb our Dharma practice, they can help our Dharma practice—there are so many techniques of ways to make it helpful. All that depends on the key, so the whole thing depends on the mind, whether you recognize something as a hindrance of Dharma practice or whether it becomes a helper for the Dharma practice and a helper to achieve enlightenment. It all depends on your mind, the creator, mind. Just like a radio dial. This depends on turning the mind, so if the mind is not subdued the external things will be problems, there will be that many things that can become a hindrance to your Dharma practice. So as your mind is subdued and controlled, then even hindrances can become a helper for Dharma practice. So it all depends on the power of the mind. The mind is like a switch, the mind can switch. This time there is so much to talk about on this subject—how to make it positive, a helper for the Dharma practice; there are many techniques to talk about.
For instance, for the person who never tries to control or subdue his mind, even many things that do not hinder or disturb others can become disturbances for that person. Even though it doesn’t disturb other people, doesn’t bother other people, it becomes a disturbance for this person. Other people don’t find problems with this, but this person finds a problem, it is a problem. This actual thing that happened to us, that we experience, can be seen by us. Why? Why is this a problem for this person and not a problem for other people, why? Because it is due to the mind, the creation of the mind; it is only created by the mind. For instance, generally, totally, first I say this ... also, people who want to practice Dharma, who wants to do retreat always find problems. The person goes there—and even when they are person in a place, something is missing, something is not right, not okay. There is something that bothers them—either it is cold, or the room is ugly, or there are many bugs. If it is not ugly, maybe there are many bugs. There is always some problem, always something, always unhappy, always a hindrance. Maybe there is a noise. Even if there are no bugs, always there is a hindrance, always something—maybe not good sleep, always something. Then the person tries to go to another place, to give up that place. Then there is another problem, something missing, not right again. Then they go to another place, and again something is not right, not together. Always there are problems. So a person can never continue retreat, cannot continue their practice because there are so many hindrances, disturbances like this. Also, the person whose mind is not subdued, who doesn’t try to subdue his mind, if, finding so many hindrances in the city, he then goes to the mountains to a very quiet place where there are no animals, no other people around, still there are hindrances, still the person finds lot of disturbance, anywhere the person goes.
In opposition, for the person whose mind is subdued, whether he’s on the mountain or in the city, he doesn’t find that many hindrances. As much as his mind is that subdued, there is that much less hindrance to his Dharma practice. Generally, like this—why does the mind have the possibility to turn, to change—why does it hinder some people, and not bother others? Why does the mind have the possibility to become a helper? Because there is no such hindrance existing from the side of the object. There is no such hindrance, no such thing. The object itself is not the hindrance, itself is not the enemy. Saying that bug that has the ability to bite is the enemy—if so, then all bugs here, in America, and in different countries, including Tibet, should be an enemy to you, a hindrance to you. Then if that were so, then all people who are living on the Earth would have the ability to harm you, so all people who are living on the Earth would become a hindrance, an enemy to you. All your relatives, everything would become a hindrance to you. So if there are hindrances exiting from the object, then, without depending on your mind, in order to destroy the hindrance, you would have to kill all people and all bugs. You would have to kill yourself too! And maybe the bug itself was not the hindrance, but his biting is. If that is the hindrance, existing from only its side without depending on your mind creating it, then there would be no possibility. This should be a hindrance to them, to all people. But it is not. Not to all people. Because also even known bodhisattvas can, with their strong wills, beneficial wills, with their techniques, with their profound techniques and meditations, enjoy the bug biting. It becomes a pleasure to them and it becomes charity. By using these special techniques, by doing meditation with a beneficial will, one can also can receive pleasure from that. So this not a hindrance to that person.
Like this, for instance—maybe this is difficult for you. You may think, “It is not our experience, enjoying or seeing is not our experience. What you are talking about?” Then if that is so, there is no person who can become a hindrance to one person, but please another person. Like me—I become a hindrance to some people here, and maybe there are one or two people who hate me, but I am not a hindrance to the person whom I don’t bother, whom I please. So if I am a true hindrance, if I am a hindrance existing by myself, without depending on other people’s minds, then it wouldn’t be possible that the other person be pleased. I would become an enemy to all people. I would never please any person. But this is not true. I hope it is not true! I am not sure! I have to check up! So, like this, it is only a creation. My being a hindrance, or a friend is only a creation of other people’s minds. How they call it up in their minds. So it is the same thing with the bug biting us—this gives pleasure to some people, while some other people think it is pain, think it is a hindrance. So, like this, it is up to our mind. It is only a creation of their mind.
So, it is like this. Exactly like the radio dial—according to where you turn it, it moves the different stations. So anyway, totally, all these hindrances that we think are hindrances, all of these are not the actual hindrance to Dharma practice. How do these things arise as hindrances to that person? Because of the inner hindrances, the evil thought that is attached to the comfort of this life. Because of this the outer hindrance arises.
So, after meditating on the great usefulness of the perfect human rebirth, also according to this quotation do checking meditation. Try to amplify, try to make commentary with your wisdom. Try to make commentary with many examples as it is experienced in your life or as you saw other beings’ problems. By going through the quotations from each stanza, try to explain them to yourself. Try to understand more examples. Then after each problem, think, “This is the fault of the evil thought,” like this. Try to recognize the root of the problem as you remember. As you understand. That’s all.
Wednesday, April 3
From the holy speech of the great bodhisattva, Shantideva, “All other merits are just like a water tree—the result is received and only finishes. The bodhicitta tree always brings fruit and increases unceasingly.”
The first line, “All other merits are just like a water tree,” means all other merits that are created without the motivation of bodhicitta. Those merits are just like a water tree—as the water tree brings fruit once, and then finishes, the merits created without bodhicitta bring the result, the pleasure of the human beings, of the samsaric gods, and then finish. They don’t increase anymore. They bring the result once, and then, once it is enjoyed, it is finished. So the other merits created without bodhicitta do not have so much value and meaning as do the merits created with bodhicitta. The merits created without bodhicitta don’t continuously bring the result.
The merits created with bodhicitta, which are like a wish fulfilling tree, continuously bring the result, the fruit. And as much as these merits created with bodhicitta bring the result, they don’t end, they increase without finishing. Enjoying the result of the merits created with bodhicitta doesn’t cause it to stop arising, doesn’t cause the increase of the results of the merits created with bodhicitta. As the being enjoys the result, that much more it increases. So totally, besides the merits of the bodhicitta bringing the result, the achievement of the path to enlightenment, also by enjoying and practicing this path, one receives enlightenment more quickly. Instead of stopping further realizations, it makes the approach to the higher level of the path quicker. Even when enlightenment is received, still it does not mean that the result of bodhicitta is finished. Even after the achievement of enlightenment, each of the works that is done for each sentient being is the result, the benefit of bodhicitta. It is the result of the enlightened beings’ bodhicitta that he received when he was following the path. The beneficial result of bodhicitta is incredible. Without talking at all about completely purifying all the negativity and wrong conceptions that one has, besides enlightening oneself, that living beings’ bodhicitta, even after he achieves enlightenment, causes him to help and benefit each sentient being. Sentient beings are infinite, so this is incredible. Even after enlightenment is received, there is still the increase of the benefit of bodhicitta, enlightening infinite sentient beings.
Actually, the result of bodhicitta is not a definite thing. It is infinite, infinite. For instance, just a simple example, in this degenerate, poor time, when the world is in chaos, in confusion, when there is more suffering, a time when living beings’ delusions and negative minds are stronger than their virtuous thoughts, in this kind of time people are crazy, intoxicated, crazy with delusions. There are more people that create evil action and negative karma, and the people who create virtuous actions, the cause of peace, are extremely rare, so little. According to personality or your mind, according to many things, it is almost impossible to practice or understand Dharma, to even meet these precious teachings. But at the moment, among these people, now we have met this precious, this profound teaching, shown by the enlightened beings.
At the moment we are in such a time, with the negative mind, so many problems, and on the other hand it is impossible to meet these teachings, to practice. But now that we have met these teachings, these holy profound infallible pure teachings shown by the enlightened beings, we have the chance to try to recognize ourselves, develop the wisdom, recognize what is positive action and what is negative action, and create the cause to achieve enlightenment, to achieve liberation. Why have we received this chance? It is not only because from our side we are trying. Also, this benefits us, this helps us. As a result of Guru Shakyamuni’s bodhicitta, we have the chance to work, to develop our inner wisdom, the chance to discriminate, to recognize positive and negative actions. Even though we have been blind for many previous lifetimes, we have this opportunity in this time of degeneration, this terrible time. This is something almost impossible to have, but by opportunity we have this chance. This is the benefit of Guru Shakyamuni’s bodhicitta, that he created during the time when he was following the path. This happened due to the power of Guru Shakyamuni’s bodhicitta, which he received when he was an ordinary being, and when he was a bodhisattva. As Guru Shakyamuni’s teaching will end as did the period before this, no matter how much we try from our side, how much we seek a new method, how much we go around the world, even if we go around the world three or four times a day, if it finishes before this period of the existence of the teachings does, then as much as we seek there will be no possibility to practice, to listen, to study, to check up, to develop wisdom, to recognize what’s positive and negative actions—like this. The existence of Guru Shakyamuni’s teaching until this time has the power to help and benefit us due to the kindness of the holy, the beneficial thought that he cultivated when he was following the path, when he was a bodhisattva. This was due to his prayers, his pure motivation, his beneficial thought. Totally, due to his bodhicitta.
So, even after the manifestation of the nirmanakaya passed away, his teaching enlightened so many other living beings. Even after he passed away, his teaching led great numbers of other sentient beings, infinite numbers of sentient beings into enlightenment, in happiness. Still, even though that much time has gone, finished, still his teaching benefits sentient beings. These are his works, his help that arose due to his bodhicitta. So you see, there was great benefit, incredible benefit. So it is not easy. Just as the example of how he received enlightenment, how he benefited sentient beings, especially how his bodhicitta benefited. The same thing, also we have the capability to help sentient beings as he did. So also, the purpose of his showing the teaching with his experience, the sole purpose, whatever it is called—Hinayana, Mahayana, Vajrayana—whatever it is called, the sole purpose is being enlightened oneself, to enlighten other sentient beings from suffering. This is the sole purpose. Which means, on the other hand, “I have also made the experiment on this gradual path, and achieved enlightenment by working through Dharma and enlightened so many other sentient beings. So in the same way, you other sentient beings also have the capability to do this, because I tried, so also you other sentient beings can try, can work in this way, can help to lead other infinite sentient beings to the stage of most supreme happiness.” Therefore, it is necessary to practice these profound teachings.
This specific Guru Shakyamuni Buddha is not an eternal Buddha who has no beginning, which means his realization has no beginning and is eternal—not like this. Anyway, in order to have a little idea—the continuity of that enlightened mind, Guru Shakyamuni’s enlightened mind, was not always enlightened mind. Before, the previous continual mind of Guru Shakyamuni’s enlightened mind was an ordinary mind, like the mind we have, a samsaric mind living in ignorance. His achievement of enlightenment was not spontaneous, and did not happen without his following the path, so also, his receiving realizations on the path to enlightenment was not spontaneous, and did not occur without his depending on the teaching. The way he followed the path to enlightenment, by working through the Dharma, by gradually following the different levels of the path, and fundamentally depending on the teaching, the path that was shown by his guru. He gradually decreased and removed the delusions, and in this way he received enlightenment. As his mind gradually received the different level of path by gradually removing the delusions at each level, the omniscient mind, the knowledge of that mind increases each time. Also, at the same time, his mind which would become enlightened mind got bigger and bigger, like the lotus opening, bigger and bigger, like this. Totally talking, simply talking, his understanding got bigger like a lotus. He approached the higher levels of the path, and removed the delusions gradually. By removing the delusions and using the remedy of the path, his understanding gradually opened and developed. So whenever the delusions were completely finished, the path was completed, and at the same time, his understanding and knowledge was also completed. There was no one single existence that he didn’t see, that he didn’t perceive, understand, or fully see—no one single existence left. His holy mind had reached that point where there was not one single object he didn’t understand, and at that time he had the achievement of the complete understanding, omniscient mind, enlightenment, like this.
So, the same thing, gradually, if we listen to teachings, if we start to study and practice meditation, following this gradually, by following these different levels of meditations and achieving realizations, following the path, our understanding develops like a lotus. In this way it is much quicker to realize the infinite, external existence—to really see, to discover what they are, their functions, everything— their natures are much quicker to realize, to discover. By developing the inner wisdom, inner knowledge of Dharma, this is the quickest way to make the experience of even the outer, external object—besides talking about Dharma, the inner subjects of mind. Anyway, something like this.
So anyway, the last of the conclusions of this, like this. If you strongly purify the obscurations, strongly and quickly purify the obscurations, enlightenment is so easy. If you don’t work hard enough to purify obscurations, enlightenment is difficult, like this. Of course it depends so much on many lifetimes of great effort, energy in the Dharma work. Even to understand a little subject, not the nature, but just the relative, even just to know worldly knowledge, to learn only the relative things that you can see, the physical things that you can see, like learning and studying about machines, making rockets, mechanical thing, even if it takes much time, even to do this, to know this, a person needs wisdom and continual effort for study. So if the person puts his energy, works that hard, the person gains that much knowledge. A person who is lazy, who doesn’t work much, who sleeps and talks a lot, anyway, who doesn’t study much, doesn’t gain knowledge quickly, doesn’t gain that much knowledge even in terms of worldly knowledge. Even just to know the relative, physical things, even this is not instinctive. Besides realizing and discovering the inner knowledge, the inner existence, the object of the mind, even just to study the object of the eye, the physical sense object, takes time and energy—even to gain this limited knowledge doesn’t happen instinctively. So why not—if it is impossible for this to happen instinctively, of course it is impossible in Dharma, same thing. What I mean is this. So a person works very hard, and as he studies, listens, looks, and learns, and as he recognizes each relative existence, by that much more the ignorance in that subject decreases. So also there are sometimes people who by studying a little bit, by just looking, listening once, with a little study know so much, gain so much knowledge. And some people study so hard but don’t gain much knowledge—all this is due to ignorance, due to ignorance, due to ignorance. The other person, the person with the little study, gains much knowledge, understands much, and has that much less ignorance in that subject; the other person has that much more ignorance, like this.
But scientists and psychologists may say that this is due to different energy, atoms in the brain—that come sometimes, and don’t come sometimes—but are always there. Anyway, however, the most important thing is, who created, who started these different atoms that produce suffering and knowledge? Who created this at the very beginning? For those who think in this way, it is necessary to check up. Why should these atoms exist? If these original atoms existed by themselves without depending on anything, then all their continuities, the molecules, the tiny, bigger, and gross ones, all of them should be independent. All the continuity of the atoms should be independent; even the atoms that we have now in the brain should be independent. If they are independent, they cannot have color, or shape, they cannot have changes, anything. But they are not independent. Why not? Because they have shape. First of all, they are changeable objects, phenomena. They are not permanent, so why aren’t they changeable phenomena? Because they are physical things, physical particles, so they have color, shape, all these things. If that atom did not have color or shape, all these things, how could your body exist? Impossible. If the atom of this table didn’t have color, shape, this table, this gross form, could not exist. There would be no way for it to arise. If the atom didn’t exist in that way, there would be no way for the molecule to exist. What comes after molecule? Like this.
If that has no shape, nothing, if it is not made of physical things, this atom, then your body is a creation of parts that do not make a group. Without a group, how can this be a body? So an atom has to be impermanent and changeable, and cannot be because of these reasons, because it changes. Totally, without talking about other things, it changes. Therefore there is no way for it to become independent. So without reason, without purpose, it cannot exist—the atom cannot exist by itself, cannot start by itself without depending on other things. So there has to be some dependence, it should have dependence. The atom should depend. So why does it depend? You check up.
As the great bodhisattva Shantideva said in his teaching, also this is important even today in terms of the merits that we create by listening to the teachings. First of all, this is necessary for the action to become Dharma, which brings meaning to our rebirth as human beings, and secondly, just the action being Dharma, or a virtuous action, is not enough—it should be a virtuous action possessed by bodhicitta, which always brings the result and unceasingly increases. This is necessary—just as in the example that we talked about of Guru Shakyamuni and how he benefits infinite sentient beings—in order for the action to become like this, it is necessary to cultivate pure motivation.
So think, “I must enlighten all sentient beings by releasing them from all suffering and the cause of suffering right away. For this reason I must achieve enlightenment. For this reason I must have complete realization of the graduated path. Therefore, I am going to listen the holy profound teaching on the graduated path.” This time it is more important to think, to work on your mind, because how one hour or whatever length of time is beneficial depends on the impulse of the moment. It is not a motivation that you cultivate after finishing after lunch or at night in order to make your past actions become virtuous, not like this. Another simple example, you see—if the plant is upside down, the root up and the tree down, it is difficult to grow because it dies. It cannot bring food down there. It should be like this—the root down, then the tree up. Then, because it is in the right place, it has the power to bring fruit, leaves, and result. Just like this. So first it is necessary, before the work, to make a good root in the mind.
The listening subject, the holy profound teaching is the Mahayana teaching that leads fortunate beings into enlightenment, and is well expounded by the great philosophers, Nagarjuna and Asanga. It is a profound holy teaching, the essence of the great bodhisattva Atisha and Guru Tsongkhapa’s holy mind produced. It is a teaching that includes all the essence of the 84,000 teachings shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, and set up for the practice of one person’s achievement of enlightenment.
This graduated path, through which all the past enlightened beings received enlightenment went through, has four outlines:
1. For reference, the knowledge of the authors.
2. In order to have devotion in the teaching, the knowledge of the teaching.
3. The way of listening and explaining the teaching, which has two objectives.
4. Then the fourth, how to lead the actual disciple in the path of enlightenment; has two outlines:
a. How to follow the guru who is the root of path.
b. Second, how to train the mind in the path to enlightenment by following the guru.
The second one starts from perfect human rebirth, and the outline of meditations is briefly finished. The second one is the great usefulness of the perfect human rebirth. And according to this book, the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas.
The last part of the instruction by this great bodhisattva, Togme Zangpo, is, “It is extremely difficult to attain because of obtaining the perfections of this life. Even if it is obtained it is not definite that it will be enjoyed with freedom. The most definite thing that will arise for me is death, and at that time possessions and surroundings cannot benefit me. Moreover, I will suffer because of releasing them. Thinking like this, avoid the work of this life.” Avoid or renounce, same thing. That’s all, finished. Finished meditation course!
So just a brief meaning of this, what has been written up. “It is difficult to attain because of obtaining the perfections of this life.” It is difficult to attain what? It is difficult to attain Dharma, which includes attaining enlightenment, attaining nirvana, attaining many things. Basically because all of those things depend on attaining Dharma, and it is difficult to attain Dharma. That’s what it means. Why it is difficult to attain or practice pure Dharma? Because we are seeking, working, and obtaining the perfection of this life and comfort of this life. We are suffering because of missing something, so we gain comfort by receiving what we miss, we work for that expectation. The main aim is to gain the comfort of this life, and we work in order to obtain the comfort of this life. So it means this. It is not difficult to recognize this, not difficult. Even one day in our life is full of these examples. Lots of examples, even just nearby.
Forget about practice, there is even no energy, no patience to listen. Besides practicing Dharma, there is no patience even just for hearing the Dharma. In the country, even when there is the possibility to listen to the Dharma, also a great number of people are suffering not having the possibility to listen to or hear the Dharma. As hungry as they are, there are no possibilities to hear it. Also instead of listening, paying attention, listening to the teaching as if it is the method to make you perfect, to make you correct and holy, and correct your behavior, your personality, your mind, we listen to the teachings in a negative way, listening as if they are the cause of suffering, the cause of problems. So the person always has problems—he listens to the teachings, and has more problems in mind. This is not because of the teachings, but because of the way he listens.
For instance, if a person driving a car is not skillful, not wise, and doesn’t know much, and he drives the car on the edge of the road where there is no road, into the jungles, he will be in danger and get killed, or all his hands and legs could get broken. All these things are not fault of the car but the fault of the way he drives. How? Because he doesn’t drive the car in the correct way on the path, so he makes a mistake in the way of driving, so he injures himself. This is not the fault of the car, because that car can be driven by another person as well without endangering himself.
Not having patience is also because of the evil thought. The mind is hung up seeking the comfort of this life. Because of that, we have no patience. A person who listens to a teaching in a negative way, as if it is the cause of suffering and problems, also does so due to the evil thought that is hung up on seeking the comfort, of this life, obtaining the comfort of this life. Like this. It is clear. Actually, further explanation will come afterwards, but actually that person thinks it is the cause of problems, because, that’s all.
Anyway, I think you see a little bit of example. What the teaching says is opposite to that person’s interest. Why it is opposite to that person’s interest? Because that person’s interest is the interest of the negative mind. His interest is not the interest of the positive mind, but the interest of the negative mind, the egocentric mind, the evil thought attached to the comfort of this life. The interest that the person has is that of the evil thought. That’s why he never agrees with the teaching. Why? The negative mind does not agree with the teaching because the teaching is the medicine to destroy the negative mind. So the negative mind does not agree with the teaching, like this. Actually, the person who thinks that the teaching is the cause of problems in life is not correct. The interest he has is according to his negative mind, according to his wrong conception. The feeling that if one practices Dharma, there will be no pleasure or comfort in this life, and fear of this, and shock, means the person does not really understand. There is a way to enjoy pleasure, even in this life, besides talking about the future, through Dharma practice, renouncing the evil thought of worldly dharmas. But that person doesn’t recognize or feel it. He doesn’t understand this or realize this, he cannot figure out this. It becomes a very secret, profound subject. The person cannot figure this out.
But why does the person have to listen with a negative mind to the teaching? Why does he make a choice in that way? Why he makes the decision, chooses to follow the negative mind as the negative mind makes the decision, then following the teaching, what does the teaching say? Maybe someone can answer.
Answer: Because it is the easiest way.
Rinpoche: Why is it the easiest?
Answer: Because you don’t have to follow anything.
Rinpoche: But why is following the teaching not easy? Why difficult, not easy? As the person finds it easy to follow the negative mind?
Answer: It’s like even if you want to take the medicine, sometimes it happens that you vomit.
Rinpoche: Who makes you vomit, whose fault is that?
Answer: The subconscious mind; but it is happening and you try to hold it down.
Answer: Unknown, fear; fear, because it is unknown.
Answer: It is from habit; the negative mind is your habit, you have to practice the habit.
Rinpoche: Because it is attached.
Answer: Our stubborn insistence to not separate from the line.
Answer: In the West we grow up with the ideas that to be moral is something that’s not really desirable and it is important all the time to make as much profit as you can. The idea is that morality is just dull thing. Too much television advertising.
Rinpoche: Anyway, you think this is because of medicine?
Answer: No, no, not at all. It’s like as you are in the jungle, sitting there with your car and you try to figure out how you came here and you remember there were some signs telling you that’s the right way, but somehow you finished in the jungle...
Rinpoche: I didn’t understand, it is so profound. But she thinks it’s the fault of the medicine. That cannot be true, how can it be true? The other person who takes the medicine doesn’t motivate this medicine.
Answer: Could it be that you just don’t have the right perfect human rebirth yet and it is bad karma?
Rinpoche: Anyway ... because, you see, why, those who live in the renunciation of this life, live in the avoidance of the evil thought, with a strong renounced mind and renunciation of samsara, who have the realization of the renunciation of samsaric suffering—for these beings it is not so difficult to follow the Dharma. The reason it is so easy, the reason that the person makes the choice in that way is because the old mind, the person is under the control of ignorance and the old mind, the ignorance from beginningless previous mind. As it is said—because of habit, the person is under the control of ignorance, always under the control of ignorance.