Kopan Course No. 07 (1974)

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Kopan Monastery, Nepal, 1974 (Archive #029)

The following is a transcript of teachings given by Lama Zopa Rinpoche at the Seventh Kopan Meditation Course held in November-December 1974. They form an auto-commentary on the course text, The Wish-fulfilling Golden Sun of the Mahayana Thought Training. You can also download the transcript of Rinpoche's teachings as a PDf file.

See also the introductory talks given by Lama Yeshe at this course: The First Clear Step, The Cycle of Death and Rebirth and Illness and Death are Natural.

Meditation Two: Part II: Refuge

Day Twenty
Monday, 25th November

Student: The eight restless stages—what are they?
Rinpoche: New York, Tokyo! I am joking. The eight restless stages means the eight unfree states that we used to think about in the meditation on the perfect human rebirth. It is just a different way of saying, restless and unfree.
Student: Could you say something more about how bodhicitta purifies the dualistic mind?
Rinpoche: That is this. The dualistic mind is an obscuration, so the obscuration can only be purified by creating merits. Bodhicitta is one of the best methods for making quick purification. So like this.
Student: Lama Yeshe referred yesterday to our mandala, saying we all have our own mandala, our embodiment.
Rinpoche: I think there are two types of mandalas—samsaric mandalas and mandalas of non-dualistic mind, two mandalas. Maybe Lama Yeshe was right, each person has a mandala, but perhaps most of our mandalas are maybe samsaric mandala. I am joking. I am not sure. Those pure yogis, meditators, holy yogis, for them the mandala is to take the result of the enlightenment. Our mandala is this, our mandala is to build ignorance.
Student: You said the mandala was to check the result of ignorance?
Rinpoche: I am saying the pure yogis and meditators, their mandala is to take the result, the enlightenment, but our mandala is to take the essence of ignorance, the essence of samsara.

Anyway, in this Milarepa quotation, he is talking with his experience as he followed the path, as he went through the practice of the graduated path. So what he is saying is that if you desire happiness besides in one present life, if you desire happiness in all future lives, especially enlightenment, then this is the fundamental thing what we should do at the beginning.

Paragraph 2

Like this. In regards to this there are two topics for the outline. The first one is taking refuge, which is the holy door of the teaching. Then ... first of all I give just a brief general description. First of all, this is important to understand. For instance, we visualize Guru Shakyamuni ... the main thing is this. The main purpose of taking refuge, the main thing is this. Each individual has the future buddha, and future enlightenment. Each of us has our own future buddha, like this. In order to receive our future Buddha quickly depends on actualizing ourselves to become our future jewel buddha, to quickly become it. This depends on actualizing the jewel of Dharma within our minds and becoming the jewel of Sangha. In order for us to become the jewel of Buddha, we actualize the jewel of Dharma within our minds, and become the jewel of Sangha. Without depending on others’ help, we individuals alone can’t do this, can’t make this possible. Just like this. The person who wishes to become a doctor by going to school, University, and learning the subjects, who wishes to take the degree of a doctor, in order to do that he has to have all the knowledge and understanding of those subjects—writing letters, reading letters, knowing the different subjects taught in school. Then also the certificate, diploma. Then because of all this, because he has the degree, he can be called “doctor.” But even though he wishes to, without depending on others’ help, he can’t do this by himself. He can’t do everything by himself without depending on anything, without depending on others’ help. Just him alone, can he do it or not? He can’t do it. Of course he has to depend on others, on many different teachers, schools and universities, different teachers, professors—he has to depend on many others’ help in order to get all the knowledge and understanding and to get that paper, degree, or diploma. He gets the paper and those things, he receives his education, those things from professors, other doctors who went through the education, who studied those subjects, and also they themselves have also this development. That’s why they have the title.

Just like this, in order for oneself to become the future jewel Buddha and actualize the jewel Dharma by becoming the jewel Sangha, we alone cannot do all this without depending on others’ help. So who or what can help to actualize one’s own three jewels. That is the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. For instance, the Guru Shakyamuni Buddha that we are visualizing. In order to actualize our own Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, we have to depend on others’ help. From whom we can receive that help? Guru Shakyamuni Buddha and his Dharma and him being Sangha. In order to receive help, in order to actualize one’s own these three jewels by the three jewels of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, that depends on taking refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha has and is these three jewels. So in order to receive help or take refuge from them, it is necessary to follow or to take refuge.

First of all, in order to receive help from the three jewels it is necessary to follow them. In order to follow them it is necessary to take refuge. So taking refuge is the fundamental thing. As taking refuge is the fundamental thing, we should know how to take refuge, so that’s how the subject comes. One way of thinking, the main purpose of taking refuge, is mainly to establish, to actualize one’s own three jewels, the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. This is one way of talking about the purpose of taking refuge, why taking refuge is important. Why this meditation is important, why this action is important. So like this.

Without depending on Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s three jewels, without depending on the help of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s three jewels, just we alone cannot actualize our own three jewels. What we have been doing alone without depending on the help of the three jewels, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s three jewels, is this. From beginningless samsaric lifetime we have been always circling around from death to rebirth, from rebirth again to death, and again from that death again to rebirth, always circling around, always circling around, creating karma by continuously following the ignorance. So this is what we alone can do without the help of others. This is what we have been doing from beginningless samsaric lifetimes until now. This alone is what we have been doing and this is what we can do without depending on the help of the three jewels. So without depending on the three jewels there is no way to make it impossible to take rebirth in the evil destinies. Because without depending on the help of the three jewels one doesn’t have the power, the method to guide oneself, to make the rebirth in the evil destinies impossible. For instance, the cause that stops the rebirth of the suffering realm is good karma, and creating good karma depends on the help or the action of the three jewels of other enlightened beings. These things are very important point that you will understand later on more clearly. Also, besides this, even to not be reborn in the evil destinies depends on the action and help of the three jewels, so why not, no question, in order to escape, release from samsara, there is no question, no question. Also, for instance, this is also very useful to think about. For instance, now in the human realm let’s say, for instance, different people have different problems, so many different problems. In one village or city, there are all kinds of problems, if you check through, if you ask each person. They have all kinds in that city, people in that city have all kinds of different problems. Rich people have their own problems, poor people have their own problems—whether old or young people, they have different problems. However just like this. Also in other realms of sentient beings, they also have different types of suffering. So oneself one cannot completely stop, cannot make it impossible to not experience that particular problem again.

For instance, one single problem for a couple, their relationship problem, is just one example, one particular problem. For instance, not satisfying each other is just one particular suffering. Oneself alone can never make it impossible to experience this again. This problem, this dissatisfaction with each other, this problem sometimes becomes very big, sometimes becomes invisible, like this. So when it becomes invisible this dissatisfied mind is a little smaller. At that time there is not much problem. When it gets bigger and bigger, and comes out, again it is a problem in the relationship. However the relationship problem temporarily may stop, even though it happened, it may stop for certain months, years, and certain days. Maybe even though it doesn’t happen in this life, this relationship problem will arise with that same person—a similar problem will come in the future life when this couple meet again in the future life. However, being an animal or human being, when they meet together, as long as the dissatisfied mind is not cut off, not controlled, again there will be a similar problem, a relationship problem due to the dissatisfied mind. Like this. So continuously it comes, continuously it comes. So therefore, just like this, as long as the person is not out of samsara, always there is the dissatisfied mind. However they are born, these persons are continuously going to be in samsara, being born and dying in samsara, and whenever they meet together due to karma, due to previous karma, whenever they meet together, there will always be problems. It just continues.

Oneself alone can never stop even this particular suffering of samsara completely. What I mean is to make it so that it is never experienced again. Oneself alone can never do that. Because oneself alone doesn’t have the method, the control, doesn’t have the knowledge that controls that. So controlling that suffering is knowledge, and that knowledge cannot be received by oneself. That knowledge doesn’t intuitively come within the person’s mind. Same thing, in order to control even that particular suffering, to completely stop that particular suffering, to never experience it again, achieving that controlling knowledge also depends on creating merit or creating good karma. There is no way to create good karma and gain the controlling knowledge without depending on the help of the three jewels of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha or the other enlightened beings. This is just talking about one particular suffering, just one specific suffering or samsara, without talking about the different types of infinite suffering. Thinking like this is very useful. So if one wants to completely stop this one experience of suffering, even to stop this, there is need of the help of other enlightened beings, the three jewels. Then there is no question, in order to stop the numberless billions of samsaric sufferings, there is no question whether we need the help of the three jewels or not. No question. Like this. So the fundamental thing is taking refuge. To take refuge we have to understand how to take it and the purpose and all these things. But if you go through the outlines it is clear; it is not complicated. Taking refuge, which is the holy door of the teaching, has outlines like this: the cause of refuge, recognizing the object of refuge, the reasons why it is a worthy object of refuge, and the definition of taking refuge or the way of taking refuge.

First of all we should know that the most important thing is the cause of refuge. In order to take refuge, it is necessary to have this cause. The cause is this. The first thing is the fear, the fear of samsara, the fear of samsaric suffering, and particularly the suffering of the evil destinies. This is the first cause, this is the cause that makes the person seek refuge. So because of this cause, the person seeks the object of refuge.

The second cause is the devotion that completely relies on the enlightened being, believing that besides being released from all suffering, he has the complete power and knowledge and infinite compassion to be able to guide me from all suffering—from the suffering of evil destinies, from samsaric suffering, like this. Why are these two causes so important in order ... like this. For refuge, why are these two causes so important? That is like this. Without having fear, the person doesn’t seek the object of refuge, there is no thought of seeking refuge. That thought doesn’t come. In this way the person also doesn’t check up, the person doesn’t know, doesn’t understand the knowledge of the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, the power of the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. The person doesn’t check up the complete power and knowledge and the infinite compassion the Buddha has. He doesn’t check up the knowledge of Buddha. So as he doesn’t check up and try to understand, as he doesn’t try to understand, there is no way for devotion to arise. As he doesn’t try to understand, there is no way to receive the understanding of the knowledge and perfect power and infinite compassion of the Buddha. Therefore there is no way for devotion to arise, which completely relies on the Enlightened Being. Completely relying on the fact that besides he himself completely being released from all suffering, he has the complete perfect power to guide me from samsaric suffering, from the suffering of evil destinies. So if there is no devotion to the buddhas having such perfect knowledge and power, if there is no devotion, the person doesn’t observe karma, and the person doesn’t follow the path. Even though it is explained to the person, he wouldn’t follow it. In this way he doesn’t get released from samsara and doesn’t receive enlightenment.

Also one thing is this. In this way we understand a little bit how these two causes are so important—the fear of samsara, the fear of the suffering of the evil destinies or samsara. The fear and the devotion. Having strong devotion also depends on having strong fear.

For instance, if the person doesn’t understand much about samsaric suffering, doesn’t understand the suffering of the evil destinies, as the person doesn’t have that much understanding of the suffering nature, the person doesn’t have that much fear. As the person doesn’t have that much fear, the person doesn’t care about seeking the object of refuge. Even though the Enlightened Being has knowledge, even though it is explained to him by someone that the Enlightened Being has such infinite knowledge, he wouldn’t try to understand that, he wouldn’t put that much energy into understanding more deeply the knowledge of the Enlightened Being, the knowledge of perfect power. So therefore there is not that much devotion. By not having fear of samsara and the suffering of the evil destinies, it disturbs one from seeking refuge, from seeking the objects of refuge, and the arising of devotion and understanding the knowledge of the objects of refuge. So totally like this. Because of not having the devotion for those things, mainly due to not having strong fear of samsara, the person doesn’t follow the teaching of the path as shown by the Enlightened Being. So in this way the person cannot escape from samsara. As the fear is that much stronger, as the fear grows stronger and stronger, the person not wanting to live in samsara, not wanting to get stuck in samsara, not wanting to suffer in the suffering of the evil destinies, so at least, as fear grows, this dislike and aversion for samsaric suffering comes stronger and stronger. Also in this way person, this aversion mind makes the person seek object of refuge more, and take refuge. So in this way also the person tries to understand deeply the knowledge of the Enlightened Being, the object of refuge, and in this way as the person’s understanding grows also devotion grows, devotion in the Buddha having such perfect power, devotion to the Dharma and the Sangha. Devotion to the Buddha who is like the doctor. Devotion to the Dharma which is like medicine. Dharma is the path shown by the Enlightened Being, and the medicine is given by the doctor, so devotion to the sangha, the helper to attain enlightenment, to attain Dharma, is like the nurse who helps to take the medicine and also totally cure the sickness. So if the person has these two causes, the refuge in the person’s mind is that much more pure and stronger. How pure the refuge is in the person’s mind depends on how strong these two causes are. If these two causes are all just words, just mouth, then the refuge of that person is just words. Refuge is not with feeling but refuge is just words, like this. So this depends on these two causes, whether the person has refuge or not also depends on these two causes. Generally, for us ordinary people, generally it depends on having these two causes.

It is useful to meditate like this. First of all you meditate on this, just briefly read it even though you don’t remember, read the suffering of the evil destinies and then read the general samsaric suffering again. Do not just read the words but try to see the feeling, try to figure it out, try to understand the feeling, which is the main thing of the meditation. Not just understanding the words, but trying to understand the feeling. That is the main thing. Whether you use these words or not doesn’t matter, as long as you have the method to understand the feelings of general samsaric suffering, the suffering of the evil destinies, as long as you understand the feelings, and see it, that is the main point. First like this.

Then think, “Just not being reborn in the evil destinies is not enough, not sufficient. I must completely release from samsara, from the whole boundaries of suffering, I must completely release from samsara because at the moment, although we are not born in the evil destinies, we are born as happy beings, it is still not sure, not definite for our minds, if we check up, it is not definite that we will never be born in the evil destinies. It is not sure, not really sure that after two or three months, or one year, we will born as a fish in the ocean, and someone will be fishing and bring us home and fry us. It is not sure, not definite, we can’t really tell. We have all kinds of karma created in this life, as well as numberless karmas in other previous lifetimes. If we check within our minds, we can’t really say—being in the frying pan with hot oil, no way to escape.”

I think in Sydney, in Australia, one day we went by boat somewhere. There was one young boy who was fishing. Lama Yeshe asked how many fish he ate each day, and he said two fish. He went there and went fishing. On the thread he put a piece of very tiny meat, and he threw it in the water and waited for some time. Then I asked him, “How can you understand if it caught a fish or not?” He said it would feel heavy if there was a fish. I think before we left, he found several fish. There was another man with him. As he got the fish he collected them in a plastic bag. Anyway, then my commentary becomes a little complicated.

“I must completely release myself from samsara. For instance, now I am born as a happy being, but still it is not sure that I am not going to be born again in the evil destinies as those suffering beings. However whether I am born in these six realms, I am always born in suffering, born in suffering or born with suffering, same thing.”

Then you read the part of the knowledge of Buddha, knowledge of Dharma, and knowledge of Sangha. After you read this, then visualize Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, who is the total embodiment of all buddhas. He is Buddha and he is the realm of Dharma and he is the Sangha. Then remembering as I talked about at the very beginning, the main purpose is to actualize your three jewels of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. The main purpose is this. Not just releasing from samsara but actualizing one’s own three jewels. Remembering this, doing this depends on the help and guidance of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s three jewels.

Then you do the recitation of the mantra and do purification because one thing is this. The main hindrance, the main thing that makes us not achieve our own three jewels is the obscurations, the delusions, the negative karma, so therefore we need purification.

Day Twenty-one
Tuesday, 26th November

In order to take ordination, it is necessary to put the mind in the Dharma. Besides that it is necessary to cultivate the pure motivation, the precious bodhicitta in order for the action of taking ordination to become the cause of receiving enlightenment. Therefore think briefly like this.

“From beginningless samsaric lifetimes, my attachment that is attached to temporal comfort and the wrong conception of the self-“I,” the self-cherishing thought, these wrong conceptions have been causing me to suffer in samsara, particularly experiencing the suffering of the evil destinies numberless times. So far we are still under the control of these wrong conceptions. Always I have been controlled by these wrong conceptions. So far, because of those wrong conceptions, nothing such as enlightenment, such as the cessation of samsara, nirvana, bodhicitta, and the full realization of absolute true nature, none of these is received. Still if I don’t try to cut off these wrong conceptions, if I still follow these wrong conceptions, these wrong conceptions will continuously cause me to experience suffering in samsara, particularly the suffering of the evil destinies numberless times. Just as we have been suffering from beginningless samsaric lifetimes, just like this, as long as we follow the wrong conceptions, still we will be in the same circle. Besides these wrong conceptions continuously prevent future enlightenment. However, by checking how much it has harming us in the past and future it will follow without end that these wrong conceptions will continuously harm me by preventing me from achieving enlightenment, achieving nirvana, preventing realization, and even samsaric pleasure. By checking like this, we feel these wrong conceptions are just like poison, very frightening things, worse than poison, worse than flames, worse than hot red burning coals. However, as we are very frightened to touch the poison, very frightened to touch the hot red burning coals, just like this, the greater danger is worse to follow and to keep these wrong conceptions.

However, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha received enlightenment by avoiding these wrong conceptions through disciplines such as observing the eight Mahayana precepts when he was following the path. When he was an ordinary being it was the same thing, there is no question why we cannot do this. If this is his experience why can’t it be our experience.

Releasing oneself from samsara is not sufficient, just oneself releasing from samsara will not satisfy, there is still not time to relax, because numberless other sentient beings who are the field of my past, present, and future happiness and perfection are in the utmost need, the principal relative or helper. In order to achieve enlightenment at the beginning of the Dharma practice it has to depend on the kindness of sentient beings, and the same in the middle and at the end of the Dharma practice. However, any pleasure that is in samsara that can be experienced has to be received by depending on the kindness of sentient beings, no such pleasure is received without depending on sentient beings’ kindness. Therefore it is necessary to repay them for their kindness. Also most sentient beings are extremely suffering, extremely suffering by not having a leader leading them in the path to enlightenment, by not having the Dharma, not having the Dharma wisdom eye to know karma, what is right and what is wrong, what is negative karma, what is positive karma. So the lack of the Dharma wisdom eye knows this, so they often create negative karma expecting happiness, which is completely wrong. Therefore, at the moment I have met the leader leading in the path to enlightenment, the teacher, and have met the Dharma and have a little bit of wisdom to know what is negative and positive karma and have the chance to develop wisdom This time while I have such a precious chance, while I have such a possibility, without wasting time, life, I must make all sentient beings release from suffering and receive enlightenment. Now at the moment I don’t have the capability to do that, and the one who has that capability, that perfect power, is the Enlightened Being, so therefore I must achieve enlightenment. That depends on disciplining the speech, body, and mind. Therefore I am going to take Mahayana ordination until tomorrow morning.”

Visualize the object from whom you take ordination as Buddha surrounded by numberless buddhas and bodhisattvas. At the end of the third repetition of the prayer do the visualization of receiving ordination. Visualize receiving ordination in the form of light.


Also repeat the prayer of the precepts thinking, “I am going to observe the precepts for one day as the previous Tathagatas observed the precepts before.”




Dedicate the merits, “Due to these merits, may the meaning of whatever the prayer contains be successful.” Also while you are thinking of the emptiness of yourself, the emptiness of the way you see yourself, the emptiness of the way you see the merit, the emptiness of the way you see enlightenment and sentient beings, while you are thinking this then dedicate the merit, “May I quickly receive enlightenment by receiving the fundamental fully renouncing mind of samsara, bodhicitta, and the full realization of the absolute true nature in order to enlighten all sentient beings by releasing them from all suffering.”

The offering—first prostration, second the offering from the seven limbs. Offering—there are many different ways to offer. Yesterday, that was mentally transformed offering. That was one way for the meditators to practice, and also they create merit by visualizing the person as the bodhisattva Kuntu Zangpo. Inside the hand they visualize a jewel and then the rays come, many rays come from there and on the point of the rays bring the offerings, the different objects of the senses. Then from each of those offerings many rays come and each of the rays make offerings, again make offerings, the different objects of the senses. Again from those offerings many rays come with offerings. Then like this, they fill up all of infinite space. So like this, doing visualization like this has much benefit, it has much benefit.

Making offering to the holy objects doesn’t depend on them actually receiving materials, like we ordinary people actually receive material. If we don’t receive the material in our hand then even though the person has it, not like this, completely different. We ordinary people such as kings, they want to receive it in their hand. Just the other person mentally dedicating renouncing, mentally dedicating the mind renouncing, for ordinary people that is not sufficient, that’s not the thing that makes them happy. What makes them happy is physically, actually giving them material in the hand. But ordinary beings like the king are not happy with mentally transformed offerings because they don’t get anything, that’s why. However, for the holy object, for the Enlightened Being, the actual material thing doesn’t have to be received in their hand, the offering doesn’t have to be like that, like the ordinary people, completely different. Mainly, offering means renouncing from your mind, no matter where the object is, whether it is with you—for instance, one’s body, making offerings then doesn’t have to be like ordinary people, being with them or something, it doesn’t have to be. However, offering is also called puja by Indians, but actually offering or puja means pleasing the gurus, pleasing the gurus or enlightened beings, that is the actual meaning of puja. If it doesn’t please it doesn’t become puja. Anyway, there is much to talk about.

So one fundamental thing that pleases them is this. That is renouncing attachment. That is one fundamental thing that pleases the holy objects—renouncing attachment, anger, and ignorance. So this is the fundamental thing and then according to the person’s practice, pleasing the gurus, the enlightened beings, the holy objects, this has a higher meaning, there is a higher practice, higher things. Anyway, we talk about this fundamental thing. According to Vajrayana practice there is a higher way to understand this, to practice, to please—a transcendental way, a higher way. This is the fundamental thing. Usually like this. When we have memories of past things like friends, like what you did, things that you had, when we have memories, even though we don’t have the actual thing in the present time, even by having them mentally we get attached, and by seeing the picture of them we get attached. So how this does this become offering? How does this help to purify one’s own negativity, one’s negative karma, to stop and purify the negative karma they have been collecting from previous lifetimes? How can this benefit them to receive enlightenment by becoming an offering?

Being attached to these pictures that come in the mind creates negative karma, it reflects again in the mind, it reflects again with attachment. It is involved with craving. However, when we make mentally transformed offerings, that means renouncing the attachment, renouncing the craving that is in those objects, those beautiful objects of the senses. Also the object has to be visualized as beautiful as possible, such as flowers, smells, and incense, if you can visualize as best as possible that you create good karma. Also beautiful sort of goddesses, another way of saying goddess, you can also visualize the female human being carrying the different offerings, playing different music. As much as you can visualize them as beautiful, that much you create good karma. Because you are not visualizing attachment to make it arise but to renounce attachment. You are making offerings to renounce attachment, in order to use it as the opposite of the action of using it for attachment. This is the practice of trying to become the opposite of attachment, the remedy to attachment. So anyway, you transform it like this, and instead of getting attached to this, “I like,” “I want,” the mind completely sinking in the object, that kind of thing, absorbed completely in the object, instead of that you completely decide that without letting attachment arise, to completely dedicate that to the holy object we are visualizing, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha surrounded by infinite buddhas and bodhisattvas, dedicate to them. While you visualize, if there is attachment arising, you think, “I am making offering to them, these belong to the holy objects, so should I be attached to these objects, it is nonsense. I cannot be attached to these things as it is offered to them.” You can think like this.

However, when you give, whether it is a physical offering or whether it is a mental offering, the less attachment that you have for the offering ... I mean perhaps ... if there is no wish, if there is no thought that by making these things offering to Buddha, to the enlightened beings, to create good karma, if there is no wish, no thought, then you don’t do the action. Without the wish, without the thought, you don’t try, you don’t put effort in that, so that is not greed, that is not greed, that is not attachment. There is a difference. Just wishing doesn’t mean attachment. However, for the physically offered or mentally transformed offerings, there is attachment to those offerings, and that much the offering is pure.

So the main thing, the main purpose is to lose attachment. How the mentally transformed offering is beneficial is that it is a method to purify or lose the attachment that is usually attached. Also when the memories of other things, pictures of other things come into the mind because of the attachment that is attached to the object. It is the same thing with the physical offerings, the material offerings—mainly to lose attachment. So the actual thing, the actual offering is renouncing attachment, because these are things—not much material, but these are the fundamental things that please the holy objects. How do these things please the holy objects? Why does the renouncing mind please the holy objects? This is not their negative mind, this is my negative mind, but why are they pleased by me renouncing my negative mind? The whole thing is this. The holy objects, the enlightened beings, even the bodhisattvas, the whole time they are always concerned about other sentient beings’ suffering, always they are concerned to release sentient beings from suffering, the whole time, day and night, always have infinite compassion for each of the sentient beings. They always spontaneously wish to release sentient beings from suffering, to release them from all their negative karma and delusions, all their wrong conceptions. To release sentient beings from suffering and wrong conception and for them to receive enlightenment is their main wish. Usually they wish like that, but from our side we often create the cause of suffering, we often keep ourselves away from the boundless state by continuously creating the cause of samsara. Our work is the opposite of what they wish all the time. This time what we do is, according to what they wish, it becomes harmonious, it becomes the same thing. This work that they wish is enlightening oneself, purifying oneself. So that’s how, mainly because of their infinite compassion wanting all sentient beings, wanting oneself and all sentient beings to release from all suffering and reach enlightenment, because of this renouncing negative mind pleases them. Mentally transformed offerings.

So I think I stop here.

9 am

Think, “I must lead all mother sentient beings to enlightenment by releasing them from all the suffering and cause of suffering. Therefore I must achieve enlightenment. In order to achieve enlightenment I must complete the whole realization of the graduated path. In order to complete the realization of the graduated path to enlightenment I am going to listen to the teaching on the graduated path. It is necessary to listen to the teaching with the right motivation, the thought of bodhicitta.”

The listening subject is the Mahayana teaching that leads the fortunate person to enlightenment. It was well expounded by the two great philosophers Nagarjuna and Asanga and it is a profound teaching, the essence of Atisha and Guru Tsongkhapa’s understanding. This teaching includes the 84,000 teachings shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha and all these teachings are set up for the practice of one person’s achievement of enlightenment.

So, this has four outlines. In order to show the reference, the knowledge of the authors. In order to bring up devotion, the knowledge of the teaching. The way of listening and explaining the teachings and the way of leading the disciple in the path to enlightenment. The last one has two outlines—the way of following the guru who is the root of the path and the way of training the mind in the graduated path to enlightenment. The last one also has two outlines—persuading the mind to take the essence with the perfect human rebirth and the way of taking the essence with the perfect human rebirth. The way of taking the essence with the perfect human rebirth is divided into three—the graduated path of the lower being, the graduated path of the middle being, and the graduated path of the higher being. The graduated path of the lower being has two outlines—bringing up the thought seeking a better future life and following the method that brings happiness in the future life. The last one has two outlines—taking refuge, which is the holy door of the teachings and bringing up the understanding belief in the karma, which is the root of all perfection and happiness.

So part of the subject is refuge. Taking refuge, which is the holy door of the teachings. So this has four outlines—the cause of refuge, the object of refuge, the reasons why it is worth taking refuge, and the way of taking refuge. So like this, four outlines.

Yesterday we talked about the cause of refuge. Like this it is very useful to think. Always when we do meditation on refuge it is useful at the beginning to briefly remember the meditation on suffering, either the suffering of the evil destinies or the general samsaric suffering. It is always useful to remember suffering at the beginning of refuge, because taking refuge afterwards, doing the refuge meditation, taking refuge, becomes more pure and more effective for your mind. If the person can remember the suffering before the refuge meditation, as I said yesterday, if the person meditates on suffering at the beginning or remembers it, then because of that, it makes fear grow and as the fear grows there is stronger devotion, and stronger desire to seek refuge. The stronger devotion that completely relies on the object the refuge, relies on the perfect being, is stronger, not just thinking, not just intellectually thinking, “Oh I am going to take refuge,” not just this. But with this intellectual thought at the same time coming with the feeling, the devotion, that much the fear, stronger fear grows by doing meditation on samsaric suffering. So the devotion is that much stronger and this devotion relies on the perfect being, on the object of refuge.

For instance, like the criminal person. In order to release from punishment, he knows how terrible it is, and he has that much fear. As he has that much fear, as there is that much fear, he tries that much harder to seek someone who has the power to guide him from that problem. Also his taking refuge in that person is that much stronger—it is not just words but comes with feelings. Besides the words, the strong feeling comes in his mind, really serious, the strong feeling. Just like this. The refuge becomes not just mere words, but it becomes, it helps to actually become the pure refuge, that much strong taking refuge.

Then like this. First of all you start the meditation on suffering, beginning with remembering negative karma, because if you don’t ... I think I said it before ... for us beginners, especially we beginners, if we don’t think of negative karma, check through karma, just meditating on suffering doesn’t give much feeling to us because we don’t see, we ourselves don’t have the power to understand the future, we ourselves don’t have it. Now at this time we don’t have the power or the understanding of our future. The power of foretelling, of predicting, of understanding the future, of seeing the future. So therefore we may think these are the sufferings of other sentient beings, these are sufferings for those beings who are suffering, but not for me, never for me, sort of like it is impossible to happen for me. As you check up in the depth of your mind there is a feeling like this. This is for other suffering beings not for me. There is no logic that can prove that I will never experience this suffering, no logic, you can’t find logic in your mind, there is no proof. It is just wrong conception. However the ignorance not understanding karma, the ignorance not knowing the nature of oneself makes you believe that you are going to be always like this, as you are now. Somehow there is feeling that I am always going to be like this. However this is a mind that blocks understanding of the future. So anyway.

At the beginning ... what I am saying is that if you really want to make the meditation effective, helpful to your mind then it is useful to remember the negative karma, then after that do meditation on the suffering and then on the naraks. There are different types of hot sufferings, different ways of experiencing cold suffering—there is cold and hot, any suffering that is in the human realm can never be compared to that. The suffering we experience with this human body is nothing, it is still pleasure compared to the narak suffering. Then the animals, the general animal sufferings, each animal has its own enemies all the time, always. One animal is eaten by another animal, always like this. These are the general animal sufferings. Anyway, I am just mentioning the titles to you, just the titles, the example is clear, we don’t have to repeat it as long as we know the feeling, that’s important. Wherever we travel on the earth, in the sea, even in space, we always see animals attacking and killing each other, all animals have their own enemies, being eaten by another one. They are deeply foolish and ignorant and then they experience the suffering of being eaten by one another, the suffering of being foolish and ignorant, the suffering of feeling cold and hot, the suffering of feeling hungry and thirsty—generally this is how to think of the animal sufferings.

Then again this is general, but again according to the individual animal they have their own different sufferings. For instance, the animals on the earth with people also have different types of problems, sufferings. Those animals in the sea have other problems, like this. Animals have the individual suffering of being used for carrying luggage, for plowing land, in many ways, their skins, their hairs are used, many of them are used, are killed for meat, for certain things, some for bones, for many reasons they are killed. Many things. Individual animals have also different sufferings like this.

Then the general suffering of the pretas is the suffering of feeling hot and cold. Also they have the suffering of feeling hunger and thirst and the suffering of fear, the suffering of being extremely exhausted. For instance, many suffering pretas cannot carry, cannot even walk properly. However there is so much suffering, so generally it is like this. Then there are also three particular sufferings of pretas. For instance, after a long time they see food and drink from far away, and they see it when they come to the place, running with the suffering of feeling great hunger, running to the place where there is food. When they come there the food, the lake that the preta sees disappears, it dries, it is full of garbage, many hairs, and they are unable to drink. Before the preta saw a very calm, blue, very good colored lake, very clean, from far away. With such incredible suffering and craving, he runs to that place, and then afterwards it changes completely. Again this is another terrible suffering, he is disappointed. Even though the food and drink that the preta finds doesn’t change, again there are karmically created protectors, fighting looking protectors, and they chase him away from the food. If the food doesn’t change and if the karmically created protectors don’t do this, even if they get the food, even if they get a little drop of water in the mouth, the mouth that is so tiny like the hole of a needle, the mouth has poison, so even if one drop gets in the mouth it dries up without going in the stomach. It dries up in the mouth. For some better ones, even if the food goes in the stomach, instead of becoming a condition for pleasure, it becomes a condition for suffering, burning the stomach, with many flames coming, like this. Also for the pretas, there is no definite place, even if they go around to seek food—we don’t have the karma to see them, we don’t have the control so we don’t see them. Even if they see us, we don’t see them, like this. But many yogis can see them, higher meditators can see them Also in India it is like this. There is one called “flaming preta” that I saw many times. At night time you can see it, you can see the flame in the forest. The place I lived in India was the forest, that’s why. You can see the light but you don’t see the actual being. From far away you see a person with light going in the forest. Many times I saw this at night time. Also if you go to the place where there is light, if the light is somewhere there, then if you go nearby the light moves to another place, and you don’t see anything there. Somehow it scares them off. Those suffering beings are scared of human beings. They feel very low when they see human beings, and they see them as very pompous, magnificent, and very powerful. This is just a general total descriptions of their sufferings.

When Guru Shakyamuni existed there was one young monk, a novice monk, and his mother was so much attached to the possessions. She had so much miserliness for her possessions so after her death she was born as a preta. Then one day this novice monk somehow had the karma to see this preta, and it was very frightening looking and he was scared, he was trying to get away. All of a sudden his mother was born as the preta, and she talked. “The mother from whom the son was born is me, and now I was born as a preta. It has been twenty-five years and still there has been much suffering of not finding ... much suffering. You don’t need to escape.” So the novice monk went to see Guru Shakyamuni Buddha to ask about this, what to do. The son, the monk found a method, because he was worried about how to help her in order to change her rebirth. He offered a piece of red cloth to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, the sock of the mother. After he offered the piece of cloth to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha and his Sangha, again the mother was born as a preta, and she went there and stole the cloth, and brought it home. Again the monk offered it to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha and his Sangha. Again this mother preta stole it because of such strong incredible mischievousness, and could not give it away. Again she stole the piece of cloth. However by making this offering, before she was a very suffering preta not receiving enjoyments, not having any enjoyments. Afterwards she passed away and then she was born as a very rich preta with so many possessions, due to the karma of the offering. But she was still born as a preta. Even though the offering was made, it was stolen away. There are many stories of pretas.

Then after this you think, “I must escape, now I am not in this suffering but in the future I will suffer this, I will be born in these suffering states, so I must try something to not experience these sufferings, to not have this rebirth. I myself cannot do this, I don’t have the power to guide myself from these sufferings, therefore I must take refuge in someone. I must take refuge in others who have the power to guide me from these sufferings. Therefore I must take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.” Then you think, “I must take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, but in order to take refuge whether I have those two causes, the fear of the suffering of the evil destinies and samsaric suffering, and the second one is devotion, which completely relies on the Buddha having the perfect power to guide me from suffering.” Check up. “I must take refuge but whether I have these two causes in my mind,” like this check up. “Then in order to take refuge I must recognize the object of the refuge.” What is the object of refuge? That is the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Also the relative Buddha, the absolute Buddha. Also the Dharma has the relative Dharma and the absolute Dharma. Also the Sangha has the absolute Sangha and the relative Sangha. The absolute Buddha is Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s omniscient mind, the nirmanakaya that is transformed by this absolute mind—those are the relative Buddhas, the relative jewel Buddha. The absolute jewel of the Buddha and the absolute jewel of the Dharma is the true path and the true cessation of suffering. The jewel Dharma is the real object that we take refuge in, the true path, the true path of the being who fully sees the absolute nature. This true path is the absolute jewel Dharma and this true path leads the being, leads the meditator gradually to the different levels, the cessation of obscurations—there are different levels of cessation of obscurations, like this.

Generally, just to have the general idea. There are five paths, so from the third path, the right seeing path, starting from there that is the first path where the being achieves the first cessation of the obscuration that can be purified by that path. This true path that fully sees the absolute nature removes the obscuration that is the opposite of this path. Then again, he continuously develops the wisdom fully seeing the absolute nature, develops that, and then that reaches the next level. When the meditator reaches the next level that true path that he has dispels and removes the obscuration that is the opposite of that path, that has to be removed by that path. Then again he develops the true path of wisdom fully seeing the absolute nature, still maintaining shunyata, still developing this wisdom, and again reaches the next level. Then another obscuration is removed, which is the opposite of this path, that level of the path. Again by developing the wisdom, the fully realizing shunyata, then again this leads the meditator to the next stage, again that path removes the obscurations and the subject has to be removed or purified by that path. There are many levels like this. By gradually following the path, the obscuration are gradually removed. It is not like this—all of a sudden everything is removed. Not like this. By following the graduated path, the obscuration has to be gradually removed by developing the wisdom fully realizing shunyata. So each time as the person receives each level and removes the obscurations of that path, that meditator achieves the cessation of obscuration. So then when that meditator, when that follower of the path, when he has completely removed the ignorance, he has achieved the complete cessation of ignorance by going through all these five paths, by completing these five paths. Then that being is called an arhat. That is the being who has completely released himself from samsara. This is not one who is in the boundless state, the nirvana state, the state of everlasting happiness, the boundless state, not bound by delusion and karma.

So totally, the different levels of cessation of the obscurations and the true path that leads the meditator to each level of cessation of obscuration, removing the obscuration and the realization of shunyata, these true paths are the absolute jewel of the Dharma.

Student: At the end of this person becomes a bodhisattva, at the end of the fifth path means arhat?
Rinpoche: Generally talking, without talking a specific Mahayana talk, generally talking not specifically talking about a Mahayana path,. Also generally talking about this, also those who achieve enlightenment are also arhats.
Student: So someone finishing the fifth path can also be called a bodhisattva?
Rinpoche: No, the being finishing the fifth path is not a bodhisattva, just finishing the fifth path doesn’t mean the person has the achievement of bodhicitta. The arhat has completed the fifth path but has no realization of bodhicitta.
Student: Do you have to become an arhat before a bodhisattva?
Rinpoche: Doesn’t have to be. It is a different being. It depends on the individual’s fortune. Some follow the lesser vehicle path and become an arhat by finishing that path, then after a long time, many eons, then due to the enlightened being’s they make the arhat understand by showing signs that they should follow the Mahayana path in order to achieve enlightenment. Then by working from that state, from that everlasting happiness, they follow the Mahayana path and they become bodhisattvas by achieving bodhicitta, then they receive enlightenment gradually like this. They don’t have any more delusions to purify but they have still the mental, subtle obscurations to purify by following the Mahayana path. Without following the Mahayana path the subtle obscurations cannot be purified. The delusions can be purified by following the lesser vehicle path. Some fortunate beings who have higher fortune are higher intelligent beings, and all of a sudden without taking the lesser vehicle path they practice the Mahayana teaching and follow the Mahayana path by achieving the fully renouncing mind of samsara and bodhicitta and achieve the full wisdom of shunyata.
Student: They go through the same five stages with different motivations?
Rinpoche: Right. They follow the five paths but there is a difference between motivations. The five paths are the same for the lesser vehicle and the Mahayana path, but those followers, those meditators have different knowledge. The followers of the lesser vehicle path have less knowledge, and don’t have bodhicitta. The followers of the Mahayana path have greater knowledge and also the meditators following the Mahayana path, as they are following this path, he has purified the subtle obscurations and also the delusions, the ignorance. There are many other types of negative mind, so he removed the obscurations, the subtle and gross obscurations at one time by following one path, the Mahayana path, like this. In that way the delusions are also purified and even the subtle obscurations are purified, removed, so as the person completes the five paths, that meditator receives enlightenment.
Student: What is the subtle obscuration? Is that like the “I” concept? Does the arhat still have the realization of an “I”?
Rinpoche: The realization of “I”?
Student: Not a realization—he still perceives an “I”?
Rinpoche: He still perceives an “I” because his “I” exists so he sees “I.” He has the realization of the absolute nature of “I.”
So a noble being or a transcendental being means only those beings, the definition of that is the beings who have achieved the cessation of the obscurations by achieving the true path, the wisdom fully realizing shunyata. These beings are called transcendental beings or noble beings, beings who have not achieved this true path, who haven’t received any of the levels of cessation of obscurations, those are called ordinary beings. In Tibetan they are called so.so gye.wa.

So the absolute jewel Dharma and the relative jewel Dharma. The relative jewel Dharma is the 84,000 teachings shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha that explain about these different levels of cessation, the five paths, and the ten grounds, the levels to receive enlightenment. However, that which explains about this true path and the different levels of cessation and explains about the knowledge of enlightenment and the nature of samsaric suffering, all these teachings and explanations are the relative jewel Dharma. The teaching that explains the graduated path to enlightenment, we can think also that this is the relative jewel Dharma.

Then Sangha the absolute jewel Sangha, that is those beings that I have just mentioned before, those transcendental beings, those noble beings who have the achievement of the true cessation of the obscuration and the achievement of the true path. Those higher beings are the absolute jewel Sangha, those are the real Sangha. Then the relative jewel Sangha, that is just one ordinary monk who doesn’t have these realizations, who doesn’t have the achievement of the cessation of obscuration. Just one of these ordinary monks becomes the relative jewel Sangha. The group of four are called the relative jewel, because without four, according to sutra, there cannot be ordination and confession; they have to be done in a group. There is the need of four monks for ordination, at least four is necessary, and then ten or other numbers. However there are purposes for granting ordination such as the thirty-six precepts and the higher full ordination. If there are two or three, ordination cannot be given.

The absolute jewel Buddha and the relative jewel Buddha has the same meaning as the guru. Also there is the relative guru and the absolute guru like this. This has the same meaning. The omniscient mind is absolute Buddha, absolute Guru, and in order to work for other sentient beings, to help other sentient beings, they take different manifestations, and that manifestation is the relative guru or relative Buddha appearing in different manifestations according to the level of sentient beings’ minds. They are called by different names but the meaning of Buddha and the meaning of Guru—the title is different, but if you are actually talking about the guru it comes to the same point. To be guided from the small, temporal problems, from certain specific dangers, it doesn’t depend on the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, all three jewels, all three refuge objects. For instance, there are many stories about how just by taking refuge in the Dharma, the person gets saved from that danger, from that fear, from that specific danger. Just by taking refuge in the Sangha—there are many stories that happened of beings being saved from the different particular dangers, without taking refuge in all three.

For instance, even just taking refuge in the arhats without taking refuge in all three, the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, just taking refuge in the Sangha, the arhats. There are many stories about how they guided them from different problems and dangers. In previous time there was one king in India. Somehow by magic, weapons poured like rain, by very strong magic from the King of Nagas. So as the king took refuge in one of the arhats, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s disciple, who had incredible psychic powers, all of a sudden all these weapons transformed into flowers and became flower rain. Like this the king was saved from danger. Also there were two brothers, and one of the brothers was called Kung.po, and he took ordination and received the state of an arhat in that life. His brother was going to the Pacific to get jewels. He was in danger, going by boat, by ship, and there was danger on the ocean, the ship was going to collapse. There was great danger. So as he took refuge in this arhat, his brother, he relied on him completely, on the arhats’ help, and at that time he was saved from that danger by his brother. They released him from that ocean, from that danger, because in the ocean sometimes there are also spirits and somehow they wanted to harm him many times. When they dislike those business people they cause very heavy storms, many things, upside down, sinking, like this. Sometimes they give problems like this, offense. Also even in India, many times it happened in India in the Tibetan refugee camp at Mysore. That is the place where there are the most monks these days, and they are completing their study of philosophy and teachings. That is like the center, the main place, the main monastery, the most monks, where there is the chance to study all the different aspects of the philosophical teachings. But there are many dangers in that place. There are elephants, other animals, sort of like a pig, a boar, and they attack people. The wild elephants come many times. There is a very thick forest with so many elephants in the forest, with many dangers, and many animals. The Tibetans have fields, crops, and many times they have to look after the field at nighttime to keep away from the animals eating. Many times there were dangers, to the monks and laypeople, wild animals coming. When they meet them by accident they take refuge. Then as they say the prayer the animals usually just go away very quietly, they back or pass away, they don’t attack like usual. Many times this happened to different people. I haven’t been there but I was told by one guru who recently came from Mysore, from who I received many teachings on sutra and tantra. He explained to me all those different stories.

Also there are so many stories of them taking refuge in Tara many times, who is the female aspect deity. Also taking refuge in Avalokiteshvara, the Compassionate Buddha. Taking refuge with the mind completely relying on one specific manifestation of Buddha. Many stories about being guided from dangers, different problems.

However in order to be guided from all the samsaric suffering and the suffering of the evil destinies it is necessary to take refuge in all three, the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Just like the very heavy patient, the terribly sick patient, he needs all three—the doctor and someone to help and then the medicine. Just like this terribly sick person has to depend on these three, just like this. We also, in order to escape from the fear of samsaric suffering and the fear of the suffering of evil destinies, we have to also take refuge in all these three, the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Otherwise like this. If there is no medicine the doctor can’t help, can’t cure that terribly sick person. If there is no nurse, no person who gives the medicine and takes care the patient it is difficult, he can’t help himself, so he has to be helped by someone besides the doctor giving him medicine. Even if the person has some type of medicine, without the doctor there is a big problem. Without the doctor who knows what his sickness is what medicine should be taken—if he doesn’t rely on such a doctor then again there is a problem. There is the danger that he may take the wrong medicine. However he can’t help himself. Just like this. So you have to take refuge by relying on these three, the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. As I said before, the Buddha is like the doctor who shows the path to release from all suffering. The Dharma is like the medicine because it shows all these three, the graduated path of the lower being, the graduated path of the middle being, and the graduated path of the higher being, to escape from all suffering. The Sangha is like the nurse because it helps to attain the Dharma. So this is just briefly talking about the object of refuge.

Student: If we meet a tiger in the jungle in whom should we take refuge?
Comment: The tree!
Rinpoche: What about making prostration to the tiger! At that time, whatever the manifestation of Buddha that you can think of, that you can remember. In any time when there is danger and you don’t have anything to do, when you are methodless, one most useful thing is bodhicitta. Of course praying to the Buddhas, in the different manifestations of enlightened beings, if you have a specific manifestation of Buddha that you usually meditate on, you can pray to him, by remembering the mind completely relying on him, like this.

Then one of the most useful things is bodhicitta. Dedicating your problems for others ... I don’t mean, I am sorry, I don’t mean give your problems to other sentient beings, but I mean taking other sentient beings’ sufferings, problems on you. That is the most beneficial thing, the most practical beneficial thing. You can do both, praying and also doing this.

For instance, in Tibet there are some people who are going by boat. In Tibet they make boats of animal skin, anyway it doesn’t matter. They have their own boat, then somehow there are some people in that boat, and it will sink, so one person who has a little bit better thinking, who is more concerned about other people than himself, he strongly wishes that he sink on behalf of other people, and that the other people will not sink, not have this danger, but that he may sink on behalf of them. He strongly wishes this, preferring this. This is a thought concerned with taking care of others more than oneself, strongly wishing this when the danger is happening. He is thinking how good it is if I sink on behalf of them, for them to not have the danger, like this. So what happened was this. Because when the boat sank, this man somehow didn’t sink in the water, somehow he didn’t sink, he was just on the surface of the water and he came on the land. Somehow the power of that pure thought—he didn’t have any of those rubber things you tie here! But he had fantastic equipment in his mind. He wasn’t sinking, he was on the surface of the water, and the rest of the other people who were concerned about themselves sank. There are many stories, many experienced stories of the benefits of bodhicitta.

Anyway, this is the power of the pure thought, this pure thought, the thought that is not involved in self. It has that much power. There are so many stories but this takes time. The most practical thing is this. Generally any time in life whenever you have problems, whenever you are experiencing the problems, whether you have the method, when you don’t have the problem, you have the method. The problem is that you don’t have the method, like certain times being in an airplane or a ship where there is no method. However at any time this is very useful, it is always useful whenever the problem is happening, instead of scaring, “Oh, what to do,” being scared and concerned only about yourself, which helps nothing, doesn’t help even one atom. Somehow whether you have to go through that suffering or not, it is very useful, very useful.

Student: Is that relative or absolute bodhicitta?
Rinpoche: Forget about absolute bodhicitta! I am sorry. This is relative bodhicitta, the bodhicitta that we often try to cultivate, the thought of bodhicitta we try to cultivate, this pure thought is the relative bodhicitta. But however it is not important to talk about in this time. Talking about absolute bodhicitta is a Vajrayana teaching.

What I am talking about? Oh yeah, so it is very useful, whether you have to go through that or just for temporal reasons, it is always beneficial to think that at any time. Think, instead of scaring yourself, causing double suffering to yourself, think, “May I experience all the sentient beings’ suffering by experiencing this particular suffering,” especially you see that type of suffering, that particular danger, is not only you, there are many other sentient beings who are suffering like this at the present time. Also there will be many other sentient beings who will suffer like this in the future, so especially you think about those who are in the same danger, those who will experience this danger in the future, “May I experience all this, may I receive or experience all their dangers, problems, on me.” Like this, praying like this, strongly wishing like this and praying like this. So in this way if you understand, if you have a little bit of understanding, if you have usually been making meditation on the graduated path, the brief subject of each path, the meditations that are explained in this book, if you have been making meditation a little bit like this, then at that time you have some idea, you have some power. This energy is due to the understanding of these meditations, especially part of the Mahayana meditation. There is energy, power in your mind. All of a sudden when this danger is happening, also all of a sudden we remember the method to use it, and also if your mind is not so much well trained, has not meditated so much on this, doesn’t have that much understanding, it is difficult somehow to use this method.

For instance, in order to use this method the mind has to be a little bit powerful. There has to be a greater will. The thing is this. If you don’t have that much understanding, if the mind is not trained in this meditation, especially the part of the Mahayana meditation, then even if you know, you can think like this, but somehow in the actual time when the danger comes, you remember and you use this method, and somehow instead of suffering for other sentient beings, using your problem to take other sentient beings’ problems, sufferings, instead of doing this, the mind is so much concerned just to stop this problem. Strongly wishing oneself to be happy, to be released from this problem, this enemy, right away. This thought comes first comes and also the person remembers this method since the mind hasn’t made much meditation and doesn’t have that much understanding even though he remembers the method. Somehow he feels ... he doesn’t have full confidence in it. Even though he remembers the method he cannot practice, think this way, he cannot change completely. The thought wanting to stop one’s own problems is much stronger than wanting to experience others’ problems, wanting oneself to experience other sentient beings’ sufferings. Due to the mind not being trained in meditation, it doesn’t have that much understanding, especially the Mahayana meditation. The mind doesn’t have that much will, strong will, it has less power. So therefore even if the person remembers intellectually, even if the person remembers the method written in the notebook, somehow to do this the person feels afraid, to do this somehow the person feels afraid to practice this. Because there is not so much power and understanding, not making much meditation, so there is not much power and energy in the mind. Actually, this practice of taking other beings’ problems on oneself is great practice, a really great and profound practice, and to practice this profound Mahayana technique and teaching, the person has to have a greater will. That’s why it is called also the Mahayana, great, because this technique signifies that the person who practices has to have great understanding, great will. So the person feels afraid even though he remembers the method, but one side of mind feels afraid. So it is difficult to use. Thinking like this, taking other beings’ suffering, is making a big decision, dedicating yourself, you don’t care, the main thing is you don’t care for yourself, you are using it for other sentient beings, dedicating for other sentient beings in order to give pleasure to the other sentient beings for whom you are dedicating. Then when there is danger like this, it is useful to think, any time. Even though you have the method to cure that problem or even if you don’t have that method, for instance, you are sick, you have diarrhea, whatever problem you have, you are taking the medicine, but while you are taking the medicine you are experiencing suffering. So if you are wise enough, if you have that much will, that much concern for other sentient beings, your suffering, your getting sick, becomes medicine for yourself, becomes medicine to destroy your attachment attached to the happiness of this life. Besides that, it becomes medicine to destroy the self-cherishing thought, it becomes really practical, effective, pure medicine.

For instance, tablets—sometimes certain medicine is so powerful, good, it cuts off pain right away, it is very powerful. But sometimes it is better to take medicine that has less power than a strong one. By taking a strong one sometimes it may cause problems. If you take so many tablets, even though it is good, best quality, if you take so much, there is the danger that it can make your health worse. Thinking it is the best quality medicine and taking so much without following the prescription, checking like this. But this medicine is dedicating yourself for other sentient beings, this medicine is using your suffering to experience other sentient beings’ suffering, to take other sentient beings’ suffering by yourself, to bring pleasure, peace for other sentient beings. This meditation, this technique, how much you do, how long you do it, how strong you do it, there is no danger like the tablets. The subject becomes a little bit strange, just like wind, wind blowing round! For instance, I am sorry! Let’s say if the person ... the second thing is like this. I don’t mean you should die, you should not take medicine, and should die, but even if the person, while meditating, thinking like this, while the person is sick thinking like this, even if the person dying has that many hours, the person has been thinking like this, dedicating, trying to experience other sentient beings’ sufferings, dedicating himself like this, and has that much merit before death that he has created. This has much benefit, so much benefit. If the person dies, and while person was getting sick he was thinking like this, dedicating himself, if the person died while thinking like this, there is no doubt that the person would not be born in the suffering realm, no doubt, no question. Even if the person doesn’t have actual bodhicitta, just even having the similar though that is concerned more about other sentient beings then himself, this definitely helps, guides, brining him less suffering at death time. Also no worries.

So just briefly talking about how to eat food. Generally according to the meditator, there are so many different ways to eat food. There are the Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana ways, according to the meditator—many higher, profound techniques to use. However for the action of eating food to become good karma, besides becoming the path to enlightenment, it is very useful to say some prayer, but a short prayer that is relative to Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. You can do like this. Visualize Guru Shakyamuni Buddha at the heart, on the lotus, sun, and moon, then Guru Shakyamuni Buddha is seated, and think that he is the embodiment of all the Buddhas. Generally it is like this. The reason we generally make offerings is to create good karma, to create merit, and to purify. Generally it is like this. The main purpose is that, one thing is that. Talking about the opposite, if you eat food with attachment, it makes you be born as a preta. If you eat food with ignorance it makes you be born as animal. Anger makes you be born in the narak stage. There are many different types of methods to use in order to stop attachment, to stop ignorance, to stop the negative karma that brings those suffering results, the suffering rebirth. So it is also very good to be conscious and to make even the action of eating, even that small action, beneficial. Try to make the action Dharma. Do virtuous action as much as possible. In that way it doesn’t become negative karma, so you don’t have to experience the suffering result. Then you think, today there is no time to translate the prayer—the prayer is very useful and is relative to the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Today I will just briefly tell about concentration. Thinking, remembering this, the attachment creates the negative karma to be born as a preta, or ignorant as an animal, like this. First you remember the opposite, the negative. If you are not conscious of this it is possible that your mind doesn’t care. The lazy mind, if there is a lazy mind that doesn’t care, have fear, doesn’t dedicate. So think, “I must achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings, therefore I am going to make this offering to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha who is the embodiment of all Buddhas.” Then you think that the food is not mine, is not possessed by me, but is possessed by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, it is for Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, completely dedicated. Instead of thinking that this my food, I should eat it, you strongly feel, think like this, completely dedicating it for Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. Instead of that other feeling of this is mine, I possess this, I am eating for my pleasure. Instead of this, think strongly that I am making offerings to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, as it only belongs to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. So with this motivation, beginning with this motivation of bodhicitta, even if you offer the number of spoons that you take each time, it becomes an offering. Each time it becomes an offering. Each time it becomes an offering as you are concentrating. So in this way it is very good—you see that your action of eating food, because first you remember negative karma, and checking that stops attachment arising for the food, so with no attachment to the food, to temporal happiness, your mind is in the pure thought, it goes in the Dharma. It doesn’t care about pleasure, your mind goes in the Dharma. Besides the mind going in the Dharma, because you are completely dedicating your offering to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, the total embodiment of all buddhas, in this way your action doesn’t involve the self, besides attachment. Also it doesn’t involve the self, it becomes an offering. Also it becomes work for other sentient beings, you are creating this merit making offering for other sentient beings. As you are motivated. It becomes so many things, one spoonful of food, just one thing, becomes so many useful things. So as much as you take, being conscious, a big plate full of food, then the number of spoons is more! Maybe go to get more food! That much benefit you can create. Then you have to be conscious also here. Anyway, I am joking. Like this, it is very useful. Then as you are taking each time thinking, you can think that Guru Shakyamuni Buddha receives infinite bliss, you can think like this and also he is sending much light, radiating light like the sun, radiating and then purifying all your negativity by that light. Also you feel much bliss, you can think like this, and there are also other meditations to dedicate for sentient beings but I think that much is enough.

You can think also like this. If you want to think of sentient beings besides Buddha, if you are concerned with sentient beings, you can also think like this. In Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s heart there is also a lotus, a sun and a moon seat and all the sentient beings are there. All sentient beings are there. You can visualize them in the form of human beings like we are sitting, like this you can think. Then you are dedicating food, making charity for sentient beings, besides making offerings to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. Think that as each sentient being receives this food, it becomes purification, and as they are taking this food, the food that they have received becomes the graduated path to enlightenment. All their delusions, their negative karma, all their obscurations are completely purified. Like this you can think, if you can concentrate like this. If you are concerned about sentient beings, if you think you are missing something, other sentient beings, then you can think, visualize sentient beings at the heart of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. In this way you create so much benefit, besides making offerings, also making charity to sentient beings, and this becomes the bodhisattva’s practice.

3 pm

Before I planned to just only to have one session in the morning, and not have to talk in the afternoon. Somehow Lama Yeshe suggested to amplify a little bit the part of samsaric suffering. Somehow it took a little time to get to that point, but however the fundamental understanding of the samsaric suffering, actually we started from the beginning of the course. I am not sure whether I can explain, amplify that part of the subject—partially from my side I don’t have any knowledge, so however just we make one trip. So the plan changed, so sometimes, maybe not every afternoon, but most of the afternoons, maybe to talk a little bit.

(Page 62)

1. (a)(b) - Nyon.drib, the general meaning is the obscuration that mainly interrupts receiving nirvana, the boundless state of nirvana. She.drib means, as it is explained literally just from the word, obscuring one from fully realizing all existence. Obscuring, drib means obscuring. She means all existence, or it can mean the understanding of all existence. So it means to fully see every single existence. There is obscuration, there is mental defilement that obscures that, there is mental defilement that obscures us from fully realizing every single existence. She.drib. So that mental defilement that obscures us from fully realizing every single existence is called she.drib. The illusive mind that sees the dualistic vision, the illusive mind that sees or projects the dualistic vision has the defect of the impression of ignorance. It is like this. Just to make clear. The ignorance, the delusions, those different gross and negative minds, these delusions leave impressions on the consciousness. They leave impressions on the consciousness, and this impression causes the dualistic mind that projects the dualistic view. Even the higher bodhisattvas who have the full realization of the absolute nature, who realizes the absolute nature of existence, those higher bodhisattvas who have removed the delusions, who have removed the delusions, those who have the full realization of shunyata, even though they see every existence as a dream, even though they see phenomenal things, even though they see existence as a dream, not true, even though they see the phenomenal things as a reflection of moon in water, still they have the dualistic mind that projects the dual vision. It doesn’t mean the higher bodhisattva believes in it, it doesn’t mean that. It is just like the magician who has transformed the piece of wood into a beautiful girl. Just like him, he doesn’t believe that appearance, because he realizes it is not true, he realizes, completely understands, that it is not true. It is just his transformation of the elements, with powers or mantras. He understands that that girl doesn’t exist at all, anywhere, even though he sees that appearance of the girl. So that higher bodhisattva’s mind that projects, the illusive mind that projects this view is called she.drib. This impression that is left on the consciousness is also an obscuration to receive enlightenment and this dualistic mind that came due to the impression is also an obscuration to receive enlightenment. So whenever the person receives enlightenment, the time of completely removing this dual vision, the time of completely ceasing the mind projecting the dual vision, that is the only time when that meditator, that higher bodhisattva, receives enlightenment. The higher bodhisattva, when he is on a certain schedules, in deep concentration of shunyata, at that time he doesn’t have dual vision. When he is in the deep concentration of shunyata, he doesn’t have dual vision. In the break times, when he is out of that concentration, when he is making purification, during that time when he is not in the complete concentration on shunyata, during the break time—during the concentration time he doesn’t have the dual vision but during the break time until he achieves enlightenment there is always dual vision, even though he sees the existence as false, like a dream, like a phantom. By continually doing meditation on the absolute nature, just like putting water on water, by continuously concentrating like this, gradually this dual vision and the illusive mind that projects this dual vision is purified, and gradually it is removed. So to fully realize all existence, to fully realize every single existence, the obscuration is the dual vision, that subtle dualistic mind.

Student: Do you mean by all existence, all relative existence or absolute existence or both?
Rinpoche: All existence, both.

(Page 63)

I A. 1. - Ngo means sort of self. Ngo.wo.nyi.ku is the essence of mind, the nature of the mind. Now at the movement, as we briefly talked about at the beginning, the possibility of receiving enlightenment, at that time we talked a little bit about the clear light nature of the mind.

(Page 3)

At the present time our mind is deluded, ignorant, and obscured by the temporal pollutions. At the present time why isn’t the clear light nature of the mind Buddha, why isn’t it Buddha’s nature? The reason it isn’t Buddha’s nature is because of this. First of all, if this was Buddha’s nature, then that mind that is deluded should be Buddha’s mind. If that were so, then Buddha’s mind should be deluded, Buddha should have the deluded mind. If that is so, then one doesn’t make sense of Buddha, the meaning of Buddha is lost. The meaning of the Enlightened Being is lost. There is no such Buddha that still needs purification. If this mind nature is Buddha’s mind nature, then this mind has to be Buddha’s mind, and then it has to be the deluded Buddha, which doesn’t make sense. One side is calling it Buddha, but one side is deluded. It becomes funny, because then the mind becomes enlightened and non-enlightened, then the mind becomes completely purified and completely obscured. Like this, it becomes funny, it doesn’t make sense, it just makes more confusion.

Student: Before you said the bodhisattvas who were concentrating on shunyata have the absolute nature, yet when doing purification they have the dualistic mind. They merge in and out of samsara.
Rinpoche: They are still sentient beings.
Student: My definition must be wrong.
Rinpoche: Bodhisattva doesn’t mean Buddha.
Student: Isn’t a bodhisattva an arhat out of samsara?
Rinpoche: No, there are bodhisattvas who are out of samsara but some are in samsara. It depends on the level of realization.
Student: But when concentrating on shunyata do they realize the absolute nature, and then they come out of that and have the dualistic mind?
Rinpoche: This is like this—during the break time while concentrating the mind becomes invisible, so during the break time when it is not concentrating, the dualistic mind becomes visible, rises up again, becomes visible. So that’s how the dual vision comes again. Like this.
Nick: He thinks you are saying while in concentration he is enlightened, but out of concentration he is not enlightened.
Rinpoche: I don’t mean this. When the bodhisattva is concentrating he is enlightened and when he is out of concentration he is not enlightened. I hope so! I hope I don’t explain like this. Not like this. When the bodhisattva receives enlightenment, that is the time when the dualistic mind and the dualistic vision is completely purified, ceased, impossible to happen again. It is impossible to have the dual vision again because the cause that projects this has completely ceased, it doesn’t exist, it is completely purified, so it is impossible to have again.

So however, it is possible to get wrong conceptions thinking like this—my mind nature is Buddha’s mind nature, and Buddha’s nature is like this. If that is so, if the nature of the present mind is Buddha’s nature then that mind that has Buddha nature has to be Buddha’s mind, has to be the enlightened mind. If it is the enlightened mind then it has been enlightened from beginningless lifetimes, and then there is no reason why the present mind is ignorant. However, the ignorance, the delusions, don’t come without cause. Anyway those negative minds, for all those different negative minds, there is no reason, no way for it to exist if the mind is already enlightened. There is no way for it to exist within the mind. These negative minds are causative, impermanent. It always depends on the cause. Also it is not independent, it is dependent and non-self-existent, is not self-existent. Also if there is a Enlightened Being who is still deluded, still ignorant, still suffering, still ignorant of the absolute nature of existence, still ignorant of realizing karma, if that is so then what is the purpose—there is purpose to try to receive enlightenment, it is useless if that is so. There is no purpose in following this specific path, no purpose in trying to stop the negative mind, trying to diminish the negative mind, trying to control it. However it becomes funny, totally it happens like this. The enlightened mind and also the non-enlightened mind becomes sort of like this, it doesn’t make sense. However it is the opposite—the non-enlightened mind and the enlightened mind, the meaning is the opposite, the knowledge is different.

Student: Are both enlightened and non-enlightened minds sentient?
Rinpoche: Sentient, is it sentient? Without talking about ignorance it is the same being sentient, it is the same.
Student: So the enlightened mind is not sentient?
Rinpoche: Generally talking about, without talking about ignorance—
Student: Isn’t ignorance non-enlightened mind?
Rinpoche: Yes, all non-enlightened mind is in ignorance. There is so much detail. There are beings who are out of ignorance. Just before I discussed the arhats who are out of samsara, out of ignorance, but who still have mental defilements, subtle obscurations, dualistic mind. They don’t have ignorance and delusions but they are not enlightened yet.
Student: Not ignorant, not enlightened, and still sentient beings. When they become enlightened are they still sentient beings?
Rinpoche: When they become enlightened the sentient beings that we usually talk about, who are living in obscurations, their minds living in obscurations—they are not that kind of sentient being.
Student: Another kind?
Rinpoche: They are living beings.
Student: And as their body dies what happens to the mind, still having sentient nature?
Rinpoche: They don’t have a body that dies, the Buddha doesn’t have a sentient body that dies.
Student: But Guru Shakyamuni dies. This is part of his teaching?
Rinpoche: Then it is interesting. Sometimes you see the animals, and when you touch them they pretend they are dead, not moving, like this. They are like stone, they don’t move for some time. They don’t show that they are alive because they are scared to be killed or something if they try to move around, but that doesn’t mean—you see sometimes you may believe that he is dead but that doesn’t mean he is dead. Sort of like this.

So this part is important that I am talking about because many people have these wrong conceptions so they don’t check up, they just think like this. Somehow anyway, the definition is this, the reason that we try to become enlightened for the sake of sentient beings, if ... one thing is this. If we receive enlightenment then again we become deluded how can we continuously work for sentient beings? If by receiving enlightenment again we become ignorant, deluded like this, it doesn’t make much sense. Also by receiving enlightenment we also cannot continuously, cannot make continual work for sentient beings, because again we would become deluded, ignorant. There is no such thing, therefore it is worthwhile to try to receive enlightenment for the sake of sentient beings because once this is achieved it is impossible again for the mind to become ignorance or to be deluded or dualistic. It is impossible because there is no reason, no cause. Nothing makes the enlightened mind dualistic again, no sort of negative mind can control enlightenment, no negative mind can control the enlightened mind. Negative mind prevents you from receiving the enlightened mind, negative mind prevents the mind from becoming enlightened, but once the mind becomes enlightened the negative mind can never control it. First of all there is no cause—that enlightened mind can never be controlled by the negative mind. If it could be controlled by the negative mind, that means the enlightened mind doesn’t have complete control, the enlightened mind is not completely free. So therefore at the present time the mind nature is not completely free. So therefore the present mind nature is not the Buddha’s mind nature, the present mind is not the Buddha’s mind. There is no such Buddha who still needs purification, who doesn’t have complete control, who is not completely free. So like this.

So far why hasn’t the mind become the enlightened mind? That is because of delusions, mental defilements, subtle obscurations, the she.drib. Because of the continual existence of these obscurations, our mind has not been enlightened yet. So the clear light mind nature, our present clear light nature of mind, even though it is not deeply mixed with the delusions, the obscurations, it is obscured by the temporal pollution, by the temporal obscurations. The clear light nature of mind is obscured by temporal pollution—that means this. Temporal pollution means—it doesn’t mean it has beginning, it means it has an end. It has the possibility to end or finish. It is not permanent so it is called temporal pollution because the present clear light nature of mind is obscured by the temporal pollution, therefore the clear light nature of mind is not completely pure, now. Now like this. By purifying the temporal pollutions, the present mind becomes the dharmakaya, the omniscient mind. By purifying the temporal pollution, the continuity of the present mind becomes the omniscient mind. So the continuity, through purification, the clear light nature of the mind becomes completely pure. At that time the clear light nature of mind, when the mind becomes omniscient, that is the time of becoming the svabhavakaya. That becomes the dharmakaya, it becomes the svabhavakaya. The dharmakaya has two—it is clear, the continuity of the mind that becomes the omniscient mind is also dharmakaya and the clear light nature of that mind is also dharmakaya. There are two dharmakaya—one is the clear light nature of mind, the clear light nature of omniscient mind, and one is omniscient mind.

Student: In Guru Shakyamuni Yoga practice it says we are supposed to merge our mind with Guru Shakyamuni’s in the form of infinite space—
Rinpoche: Then how can our mind merge into Guru Shakyamuni’s mind in the form of space? Right, difficult to understand. It is like this. If you are going to do a show in the theater then before that you have to train, isn’t it. You have to dance, to act as if you are showing in the theater, before that you have to train. You have to do similar things in order to train, to rehearse. That doesn’t mean that you are an actress at that time. For instance, before that you need training, you need to do what is similar to what you are going to perform. Just like this example, similar to this example. Actually, this practice is not easy to understand, this point is not easy. You can understand, try to understand though this example. It is the same thing with armies—before they are in the actual war, they try to train, try to do similar things, try to kill each other, try to do similar things that they are going to do in the future, in that actual time. So that’s how they become clever, that is how they build the skill to be able to cheat and control others. If you think through the example perhaps you can understand. But actually this technique is really a very profound technique. It is quite difficult to understand even though we explain the meaning. This is something that we can understand through purification.
Student: Is it incorrect to say the clear light shines at first in infinite space so first you start with infinite space, then when are sufficiently purified the clear light comes into space?
Rinpoche: Possible. Then I think at night time you do similar meditations to what you did this morning. First of all, if you remember the general samsaric suffering then after that you can start like I talked about this morning, remembering negative karma, then the result of negative karma, the suffering of the evil destinies that is to be experienced in the future. Then also the suffering of the three upper realms, the human realm, the sura realm, and the asura realm—you can remember this by reading the book. Then after you think that you cannot help to escape from these sufferings, then think of the purpose of needing to take refuge and these things, and that the object of refuge that is worthy is only the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Then you check up the cause of refuge, then the objects of refuge—you go through like this as we talked about relative and absolute like this. Then after that thinking of the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha as you have visualized, you can think of Guru Shakyamuni and his realizations and himself being Sangha, like this. And also one purpose is to actualize your own three jewels, the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Then visualize sentient beings. I am not sure whether I discussed this before, visualize also sentient beings, all sentient beings filled up the whole space in the form of human beings, but their nature is suffering. Their form is as humans but as they are suffering now in different realms, the nature is suffering. Like this. This is also one way of doing meditation, you can also think like this. Then do purification. First you make purification of yourself by reciting mantras, then after spending some time, from the heart you request Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, “Please grant me blessings to completely purify starting from the disbelief in the guru down to the subtle dualistic mind, the very last obscuration that prevents me from reaching enlightenment, the subtle dualistic mind, so please grant me blessings to completely purify all the wrong conceptions from disbelief in the guru to the subtle dualistic mind.” This is the first one when you make purification.

The second time receiving the knowledge through the yellow light, you can request, “Please grant me blessings to receive devotion to the guru down to enlightenment right away.” Like this you request. Then you make visualization of knowledge light coming.

Then afterwards when Guru Shakyamuni absorbs in this state, in oneness, you concentrate for some time. Try to concentrate, put whole your energy, whatever there is left! It doesn’t matter even though there is no energy left to carry back to the West. Then try to concentrate as much as possible without the mind being distracted, also feeling infinite bliss. Then after you transform into Guru Shakyamuni Buddha oneness, then again you recite mantra while you are purifying all sentient beings. Then at the end you make the dedication.

I think that’s all.

Day Twenty-two
Wednesday, 27th November

Before taking the ordination it is necessary for the mind to go in the Dharma, and besides that it is necessary for the action of taking ordination to become the cause of enlightenment, therefore it is necessary that it be possessed by the pure thought, the precious bodhicitta. Think briefly like this. “Myself and all sentient beings have been experiencing suffering in samsara, particularly the suffering of the evil destinies, numberless times from beginningless samsaric lifetime. Still myself and all sentient beings have to experience suffering endlessly, being under the control of delusion and karma, due to the wrong conception of the self “I,” believing the non-self-existence of things to be self-existent, believing impermanent things to be permanent, and believing impure things to be pure. For example, believing that changeable things, things that are living in impermanent nature, which don’t last even a shortest second, are unchangeable, and believing that the impurities such as one’s own body—even though it is an impure samsaric body containing all kinds of impurities, and made of an impure cause, a physical cause—continuously believing that it is pure. Such wrong conceptions. However, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha was also an ordinary being, but having met the Mahayana Guru and having met the teachings and observing the eight Mahayana precepts, he received enlightenment. Just as he did, we also have the possibility to receive enlightenment through observing the ordination. However, releasing oneself from samsaric suffering is not sufficient—all sentient beings are the field of our happiness, the place from which we receive our happiness and pleasures as long as we remain in samsara. Even when we are not in samsara, the pleasures, happiness, and peace are received by depending on sentient beings. All peace and happiness, present and future, is received by depending on the kindness of sentient beings, from the field of sentient beings. Also, mother sentient beings are the principal helper, the main helper at the beginning of the Dharma practice, and in the middle and at the end of the Dharma practice. Therefore, I must receive enlightenment in order to enlighten the extremely kind mother sentient beings who are suffering with the dualistic mind, with the delusions, spontaneously creating negative karma, and suffering. Therefore I am going to take the Mahayana ordination until tomorrow.”

Visualize the person granting the ordination as Guru Shakyamuni surrounded by numberless buddhas and bodhisattvas, with joyfulness in the mind, wanting to take ordination to make all sentient beings, each sentient being, release from suffering and become enlightened. With this motivation repeat the prayer and take the ordination.

At the end of the third repetition think that you have perfectly received the ordination in the form of light.


Repeat the prayer of the precepts thinking that, “I am going to observe the precepts until tomorrow as the previous Tathagatas observed the precepts.”


Repeat the mantra reviving broken precepts and keeping the precepts pure.


Dedicate the merits thinking, “May the meaning of whatever the prayer contains be successful.” Also concentrate on the three circles—yourself and the merit and enlightenment, and also sentient beings—in emptiness. This is the way you see these three. Then think, “May I achieve enlightenment quickly by receiving the fundamental realizations, the fully renouncing mind of samsara, bodhicitta, and the full realization of the absolute true nature in order to enlighten all sentient beings by releasing them from all suffering, due to the past and present merits and also the future merits of taking ordination.”

This fundamental motivation that I often repeat was set up by my root Guru, His Holiness T. Rinpoche, who is difficult to repay, so therefore somehow it is very tasty. It has a deep taste in it, and it is very effective for the mind. Sometimes we may find it difficult to keep precepts—for most people fasting can be easy, actually fasting is not usually a Western problem, fasting is sort of common, I think. Even if the fasting is not the problem there are other problems. Like getting up in the early morning, feeling cold, renouncing the warm sleep, the opposite action to attachment, things like this. There is attachment but you have to fight it in order to take the ordination. However, as much as we suffer through meditation, the body feeling uncomfortable, having pains or sickness, having pains from sitting in meditation position, always it is better that there are less suffering sentient beings. The individual, the one who is suffering, is just one person, one person suffering, but there are numberless sentient beings who are extremely suffering, experiencing greater incredible sufferings than the problems that each individual has. The choice is this. It is better that sentient beings not suffer and I suffer, rather than sentient beings suffering and myself being happy. Sentient beings are not in happiness now, it has to be created, has to be made by cooperation from one’s own side and from the side of sentient beings. We have to work in order to lead them to happiness.

So how that should be done. First of all, the only way is for oneself to achieve enlightenment. Without oneself releasing from suffering, from samsara, we cannot be an object of refuge. Whenever we are released from samsara, from suffering, from the dualistic mind, as we receive enlightenment, we become a perfect refuge object for sentient beings. As we become a perfect object for sentient beings’ refuge we can also guide the sentient beings from suffering, with perfect power, perfect knowledge, and infinite compassion. Therefore, now we are disciplining, controlling ourselves by taking the difficulties, in spite of the difficulties of renouncing attachment, renouncing samsaric pleasures, by going through the experience of the temporal problems. So actually whatever difficulty there is, the suffering or the difficulty that we are experiencing taking ordination, doing meditation, that is actually, as you motivated in this way, as I repeat, the whole suffering, the difficulty that we are experiencing is for sentient beings. We are experiencing suffering, we are experiencing the difficulties to bring about the most sublime happiness of enlightenment for other sentient beings. If one person such as me is suffering, and if that can be beneficial for each sentient being, why not? How fantastic that is. The thoughts wanting to do anything without difficulties, with happiness, always with happiness, are plentiful and arise easily. But this thought that may be more serious, wanting to suffer for other sentient beings, is extremely difficult to bring up. That is like a jewel, extremely difficult to bring up, a serious practice of exchanging oneself for others, instead of being concerned about one’s own comfort, being concerned with others’ comfort. Instead of thinking of one’s own comfort and wanting other to suffer, being concerned about other beings’ comfort, not caring about one’s suffering, like this. Exchanging oneself for others. It is necessary to know these things and, if you can, remember these things when your mind get bored or when attachment controls your mind. Instead of attachment controlling you more strongly then necessary, it is extremely useful to think of these things.

There is not much time to talk about the offerings. However, usually if you want to make material offerings, besides mentally transformed offering, you can do the most simple thing. Whether you have an altar or not, some symbolic thing, a picture or something of the Enlightened Being such as Guru Shakyamuni Buddha or whatever, whether you have that or not—if you have it, it is good for the memory and there are many other benefits. If you have an altar or something symbolic, a picture, a statue, each time you see you create benefits, you purify. Each time you see your altar it leaves an impression in the mind to again see more buddhas, to again contact the Dharma in the future lifetimes. As you have an altar you have to see it frequently or even once with devotion. However, whether you have an altar or not, the existence of Buddha does not depend on having a picture of him, having a drawing of him. The existence of Buddha does not depend on having a statue—that’s not the definition of whether Buddha exists in that place.

The simplest thing we can offer without the trouble of the negative mind, attachment, is the water offering. This is the most simple thing. Whether you have seven bowls, six bowls, or one bowl, or one cup, it doesn’t matter. First of all, you have to clean the bowl, just like you want to clean a cup for drinking. Just like when you serve a king you have to clean it. You have to clean it very much, just like this. As you offer food to a king, just like this, when you make offerings to the altar, to the holy objects, you have to offer it with respect, like you offer food to a king. Whether it is one mug, glass, or cup, first of all it is necessary to clean it well. Even just cleaning it creates merits, because the motivation is the holy object to whom you offer. When you clean the bowl you can think, “For myself and all sentient beings, may all wrong conceptions starting with the disbelief in the guru down to the subtle gross mind be purified by cleaning this bowl.” Then whatever you clean the bowl with, think that the realizations from the devotion to the Guru down to enlightenment are cleaned. Like this. Then, you cannot put an empty bowl on the altar. Before putting it on the altar put a little bit, a drop of water inside. I don’t remember the karma of putting an empty bowl on the altar—finding it difficult to receive enjoyments in the future lifetime or being born in the dark eon where there is no buddha existing. I don’t remember but there is some karma like this. Therefore it is necessary to put a little bit of a drop of water in, and then you say this mantra, “OM AH HUNG,” while you put it in. Then you put in clean water—if you can, put in some other element that produces a good color and a smell; that’s also very good. Also when you pour, pour very gently, not making noise. If you make noise when pouring water there is danger that the mind becomes crazy; this creates karma that makes the mind crazy. If you put first of all a tiny bit, then after it doesn’t make noise. Then not completely full but not half, something that doesn’t spill out—leave space the size of a grain of rice, a little bit empty, on the edge inside.

I think I will stop here, the rest I will talk about tomorrow.

9 am

“I must achieve enlightenment for the sake of all mother sentient beings, therefore I am going to complete the realization of the whole graduated path. In order to complete the whole realization of the graduated path I must complete the listening and thinking and meditating, the teaching of the graduated path. Therefore I am going to listen to the teaching on the graduated path.”

The listening subject is the Mahayana teaching that leads the fortunate person to enlightenment and it is a teaching that is well expounded by the two great philosophers Nagarjuna and Asanga. It is a profound teaching, the essence of the great yogis Atisha and Guru Tsongkhapa’s understanding. This teaching includes all the 84,000 teachings shown by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha and all these teachings are set up for the practice of one person’s achievement of enlightenment.

So, this has four outlines. In order to show reference, the knowledge of the authors. In order to bring up devotion, the knowledge of the teachings. The way of listening to and explaining the teachings, and the way of leading the disciple in the path to enlightenment. The last one has two outlines—the way of following the guru who is the root of the path and the way of training the mind in the graduated path. The last one has two outlines also—persuading the mind to take the essence with the perfect human rebirth and the way of taking the essence with the perfect human rebirth. The way of taking the essence with the perfect human rebirth is divided into three—the graduated path of the lower Being, the graduated path of the middle Being, and the graduated path of the higher being. The graduated path of the lower being has two outlines—bringing up the thought seeking a better future life and following the method that brings happiness in the future life. The second one has two outlines—taking refuge which is the holy door of the teaching and bringing up understanding belief in karma, which is the root of all perfection and happiness.

So, the part of this subject that we have been discussing is refuge, the first outline. Whether one has refuge or not, how strong, how pure the refuge that one has is, that can be discovered by checking the cause. Checking whether one has the cause within one’s mind. Through this one can discover whether one has the two causes that is the actual refuge. Since one has these two causes, the person is taking refuge because these two causes cause the person to take refuge. Whether the person recites the prayer, taking refuge, whether the person can say the prayer or not, since one has these two causes—the devotion that completely relies on the perfect being who has the perfect power to guide one from the suffering of the evil destinies and from samsaric suffering, and having the fear of either the suffering of evil destinies or samsaric suffering. This is the actual way of taking refuge. If one has these two causes, this devotion, then one has already taken refuge. So check whether your mind has these two causes, these two understandings. These two causes actually come from right understanding. So check whether your mind is qualified by these two or not. If something is missing, if fear is missing, then you need stronger meditation on samsaric suffering, the six realms, meditating on the suffering of the evil destinies or samsaric suffering, general samsaric suffering. Then if the devotion is not so strong, if devotion is missing, then it is necessary to check, to find out more, understand deeper, make more meditation on the knowledge of the Buddha, the knowledge of the Dharma, and the knowledge of the Sangha. Understanding the knowledge of the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha is the thing that increases devotion. The more we understand the knowledge, the more we study, and the more we meditate. The more we understand his knowledge, it causes devotion to arise, so it is very useful. If devotion is not so strong, this is the method to increase the devotion. So in order to take refuge, first of all one has to recognize the object of refuge. The object was briefly explained before, so we don’t need to repeat.

Yesterday we were talking about the four kayas. Kaya is a Sanskrit word which means holy body. So yesterday we briefly talked about the svabhavakaya—how the present clear light nature of mind becomes svabhavakaya, the completely pure nature of omniscient mind. However, at the present time it is temporarily obscured; the clear light nature of mind is impure because it is obscured by the temporal pollutions, so by purifying the temporal pollutions this clear light nature of mind becomes pure, completely pure. When it becomes completely pure it becomes the svabhavakaya—at the same time this present mind that is obscured by the temporal pollutions is completely purified and become omniscient mind. Like this. Just like this. A white cloth that was dirty before, obscured by temporal dirt, because of temporal dirt becoming dirty, kind of black, because the white color is temporarily obscured by the dirt. When the cloth becomes completely clean of the dirt, at the same time the color of the cloth, which is white, is also cleaned. At the same time when the cloth is cleaned, the color of the cloth becomes clean—before the white color cloth was invisible, temporarily obscured by the dirt, and afterwards when the cloth is completely the white color becomes bright, as there is no obscuration of dirt. Not seeing the color white before the cloth is cleaned doesn’t mean the white color didn’t exist and after it is clean it comes out. It doesn’t mean that. It has always existed, but it was temporarily obscured by the dirt. Just like this, the clear light nature of mind is always there, but the clear light nature of the present mind is obscured by the temporal pollution and the clear light nature of the omniscient mind is not obscured by temporal pollutions. The difference is this. Also our future, each individual’s future clear light nature of omniscient mind is completely purified of temporal pollutions.

So briefly like this. Svabhavakaya is also dharmakaya. This omniscient mind is also called the transcendental wisdom dharmakaya.

(Page 63)
I A. 3(e)

Tsan.zang is the sign of the holy body that signifies that Guru Shakyamuni Buddha is a holy being. Pe means example. There are certain holy signs of the holy body that signify that he has such attainment of realizations, and that is called pe.j’a. To talk about each one, thirty-two and eighty, takes much time and is difficult to translate. It is well explained in the Abhisamayalamkara, the teaching given by Maitreya to his disciple Asanga. The Tibetan title is Do.da.gyen. This philosophical teaching has so much detailed explanation. If we want to study the lam-rim more deeply then we have to study those teachings, such as the Madhyamaka philosophical teachings, which have so many details explaining shunyata, written by Chandrakirti, a follower of the great philosopher Nagarjuna. There are many teachings written by Nagarjuna on shunyata with so much detail, so much logic. By understanding and studying those texts, you can really understand without mistake, so much more clearly, relative and absolute truth. You can understand both what is relative and what is absolute truth. There are six different texts written by Nagarjuna on shunyata, then Chandrakirti, the follower of Nagarjuna, who also had perfect realization of shunyata, wrote the Madhyamaka, which explains about shunyata and includes Nagarjuna’s texts. It has so much detail. Then the Do.da.gyen ...

Student: Is that the Abhidharma?
Rinpoche: Yes, the title is Abhidharma.

Do.da.gyen is a teaching given by Maitreya. Maitreya is the future Buddha, the founder of the Buddhadharma after Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, who will descend into the world and again spread the Dharma. This teaching was given by him to his follower Asanga in the pure realm called Tushita. By studying this you can really get a broad understanding of the knowledge of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. There are so many details to go through. As we talked about yesterday, there are the five paths—just one path has so many details to understand. Within one path there are different levels of realization to achieve, different states to go through, gradually like this, in each of these paths. However, the person needs the understanding of all these paths to really go through it. To fully understand the lam-rim, to completely understand the graduated path, one has to also study those teachings. Without studying those philosophical teachings there is no way to get the complete understanding, no way to get the broad, deep understanding of the path, and also of the knowledge of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. If you want to study the knowledge further and deeper, if you study the Abhidharma, it explains much detail. Maitreya explained so many details.

However practicing any of those teachings is practicing lam-rim. It is still practicing lam-rim; it is not something that is excluded from lam-rim, something separate from lam-rim, it is not like this. In the lam-rim there is nothing missing. It is the teaching that helps one to receive enlightenment, and none of these teachings are missing in the lam-rim. Any teaching that becomes a cause or helps one to receive enlightenment is included in the lam-rim, in the graduated path. Now we are starting. However, even if we don’t know what is explained in those deep philosophical teachings as explained by the great philosophers Nagarjuna and Maitreya, or Manjushri, the Buddha of Wisdom, even though we don’t have that much understanding, even having a little understanding of the knowledge of the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha as we are talking about, as we are going through the explanation, even just having that much little understanding is highly fortunate, better than knowing nothing. It is so much better, the person is so much more fortunate than one who knows nothing about the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, or who, in his lifetime, has never heard of such a thing as the Buddha, Dharma, or Sangha. Even on this earth, hearing that there is Buddhadharma, hearing that the Buddha descended and gave the path showing the Dharma—there are great numbers of human beings who die not even hearing of the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha in their lifetime, not to mention knowing the knowledge of the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. So not hearing, not understanding, not even having a little understanding of the knowledge of the Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, how can they take refuge? It is impossible to take refuge. But at the beginning, as you start to study a big subject with very deep explanations that goes through much logic in the philosophical way, before that, it is necessary first of all to study the condensed summary of the teachings, the simplified condensed teaching of lam-rim. This is necessary at the beginning; it is the most important thing at the beginning.


Student: Is it possible to attain these philosophical realizations through meditation? Must one study the philosophical, the Abhidharma, or can one, through meditation on lam-rim, come to these realizations?
Rinpoche: Whether you study those teachings or not to receive realization you have to practice lam-rim. Without practicing lam-rim, there is no other way to receive realization. But you can’t receive enlightenment without knowing all those teachings; you can’t receive enlightenment being ignorant of the teachings.
Student: What is the name of the text Chandrakirti wrote?
Rinpoche: Madhyamaka. Actually Madhyamaka also includes and explains the teaching written by Nagarjuna, and also the one written by Maitreya.
Student: Is it different from the one Asanga wrote?
Rinpoche: Yes, Asanga, yes—fundamentally it is not different, it is just a way of saying—the way the text is written is different but fundamentally it is the same.
Student: How does one know when one is ready to study those texts?
Rinpoche: My suggestion is that to really benefit your study of those teachings, first of all study lam-rim, which is condensed and simplified, which has the subjects condensed and simplified. First of all study and practice, meditate—study means many things again, it means listening, checking, and meditating, doing these things together. First of all, it is very good to spend some time on the lam-rim and try to have just the general understanding of the subject the lam-rim contains. Actually the lam-rim includes the whole teaching, even though it is only two or three pages, it includes all the teachings. Try to have the general understanding of the fundamental paramita path. Then with this understanding as you are practicing and studying, which means also practicing, then as you start to study those philosophical teachings, whatever you study in those teachings becomes medicine, everything becomes effective and very useful for your mind. Everything helps meditation.
Student: How is the great mirror wisdom and the omniscient mind different?
Rinpoche: That is taken as an example by the enlightened beings ... for instance, it is like this. In the mirror, if you look in the mirror, you can see so many things there, even though the mirror is small. Like when you put up the microscope, you can see so many things, but just the microscope itself is small ... [comment made that Rinpoche actually meant “telescope” not “microscope”] It is not my fault, doctors! I am joking. Anyway, for instance, when we look at an object, at a tangka, at the same time you can see so many colors and things there, just like in a mirror there are so many things together. This ordinary mirror can be transformed—this impure, ordinary mirror light wisdom can be purified and this can become the enlightened being’s, our future buddha’s, mirror like wisdom. Actually it is the omniscient mind—all wisdom is the omniscient mind. The mirror like wisdom that fully sees every single existence all at once, together, like this.

(Page 63)
I A.4

(a) Here different examples are given of the transformations, the possibilities of how the Buddha can manifest.

(b)(c) This is just an example; it doesn’t mean that all the statues, all these transformations are nirmanakaya. Nirmanakaya is only the one who appears in the form of a bhikshu. The aspect that Guru Shakyamuni took when he was born as a prince, in that period, in that life, the aspect he had as a human being in the form of a monk having those holy signs, such as the hair knot and other holy signs—that aspect is the nirmanakaya. But it is possible that the enlightened beings can manifest as statues and those things according to the karma of sentient beings.

So this is the part of the subject that isn’t finished yet. The objects of refuge, the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, each one has a relative and absolute truth, like this.

Then the third one, the causes of refuge and the objects of refuge. Then the question comes, after discussing the objects of refuge, how it is worthy of being an object of refuge? How is the Buddha a worthy object of refuge? There are reasons why it is a worthy object of refuge. There are four total reasons to prove that the Buddha is the perfect object of refuge. First of all, the Buddha is the perfect worthy object of refuge, the Buddha is worthy of taking refuge in because the Buddha himself…if the Buddha himself as not released from suffering, from all fear, he couldn’t guide other beings from fear. Like two people who are both in prison. One person taking refuge in another prisoner can’t be helped. The other prisoner cannot guide him, cannot save him, cannot save the other person from the fear of the prison, from the suffering of being in prison. So not like this. The Buddha is a worthy object of refuge because he himself is released completely from all suffering, all fear. For instance, two people are taken by a river, two people are sinking in a lake. One person asks the other person, “Please guide me from this danger. But that person cannot help because he is also in the same problem, same suffering. So therefore the object in which we take refuge should be out of suffering. If the object of refuge is not released from suffering then even though we take refuge he cannot guide us. Even though we take refuge to release from all suffering, he cannot guide is if he doesn’t have power and complete control. If he doesn’t have complete control the method is missing; if he doesn’t have perfect knowledge he doesn’t have the different perfect methods to show different beings. So because the method is missing, he can’t guide. So the very first thing to check up in whomever we take refuge in to escape from suffering, is that whomever we take refuge in, whomever we rely on for our life, whomever we give our life to, the very first thing, the most important thing is to check up is whether he is completely released from suffering or not. Like this. If he is not released completely from suffering that means he doesn’t have complete control, and it means he doesn’t have perfect knowledge, and that means he has no perfect method to lead other beings, release other beings from suffering.

Guru Shakyamuni Buddha is a worthy object of refuge because he can guide us from all fears, which means from all suffering. Why? The reason he has that much power, knowledge, and method is because he himself is released from all fears, from all suffering. For instance, in previous time when Guru Shakyamuni lived in India, many other people tried to control and destroy him Guru by many sneaky arrangements. There were a hundred thousand maras, evil beings, trying to control Guru Shakyamuni Buddha in many ways. They tired to control Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, tried to destroy Guru Shakyamuni Buddha by throwing all kinds of different types of thousands of weapons, such as shooting arrows, lightening, falling thunder balls, earthquakes—in many ways they tried to destroy him—throwing mountains. In many ways they tried, so many ways. They appeared in the form of very frightening shapes, animals, all kinds of things. They sent spears, so many different types of weapons. Also there are special wheels, chakras, which they use whenever they wish to cut the neck, somehow due to some power the wheel turns around and goes straight to that person and cuts the neck by the power of thought. All kinds of thing like this. They tried many ways. They threw weapons, shooting Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, but instead of making wounds in Guru Shakyamuni Buddha everything became flower rain—for Guru Shakyamuni Buddha it was all like flower rain , like offering flowers, throwing flowers. However, as much as they tried, they could not shake Guru Shakyamuni’s concentration; they couldn’t shake his mind out of concentration. However many thousands of them were around Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, trying to destroy him, they couldn’t harm anything. Later on, those maras thought that since in wrathful way they could not destroy him, maybe in peaceful ways they could destroy him, disturb his concentration. So they tried to manifest in the form of beautiful ladies without clothes on, dancing in the presence of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. But they couldn’t disturb his concentration with a violent method or even with a peaceful method—whatever they tried to destroy him, they couldn’t destroy his concentration; none of those methods could shake his mind out of concentration. Just his life story clearly shows that he has completely released himself from all his own suffering and fear.

Then this subject goes another way, Guru Shakyamuni completely controlled thousands and thousands of maras, evil beings, just by love, with even no movement, without the slightest movement of his holy body, without even moving his body even a little. Just only by his love, his great love, he completely controlled all the evil beings, thousands and thousands of evil beings. Instead of harming them, destroying them, just by having this great Mahayana love, with this he controlled them, without one single movement, one single bullet, nothing. He completely controlled thousands and thousands of evil beings and afterwards they took teachings from Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. They found it very amazing, wonderful, and this became a cause of devotion, because they saw the incredible knowledge that Guru Shakyamuni had. This proves that he has completely released himself from all fears, all sufferings.

Besides that, at that time there was one person called Magreda who always harmed Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, tried to disturb Guru Shakyamuni Buddha all the time. One day Guru Shakyamuni Buddha Shakyamuni Buddha and all his followers, the arhats, came to beg in one country. I think Magreda was Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s cousin. One day he sent a mad elephant, a very crazy elephant. Usually it destroys people when, so he sent this crazy elephant to the place where Guru Shakyamuni Buddha was. The rest of his followers, the arhats, had great psychic powers, and all of a sudden they flew away into the sky—only Guru Shakyamuni Buddha was left on the earth, on the path. But instead of the elephant destroying Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, as the crazy elephant came into his presence, just naturally it became controlled, so humble, respectful-just being in his presence it was completely controlled. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha subdued or controlled the mad elephant, without one single fear of this crazy elephant, like this. This proves he is completely released from suffering or fear.

Also there was one benefactor who had a very strange idea about how to harm Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. This benefactor’s name was Kindu Bumbay. One day this benefactor invited Guru Shakyamuni Buddha for lunch. In those times benefactors invited the Sangha, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, for lunch. So this benefactor invited Guru Shakyamuni Buddha and his followers, the Sangha, for lunch. The benefactor dug a hole outside of the door where there is a path, and put a fire underneath and covered the surface with, dust expecting Guru Shakyamuni and his Sangha to fall down into the fire. As Guru Shakyamuni Buddha stepped over the hole where the fire was, a lotus appeared on the path, like a stone step in water. Then Guru Shakyamuni stepped over the lotus. Instead of sinking into the fire, falling down into the hole, a lotus appeared on the path and Guru Shakyamuni went into the benefactors house. The benefactor couldn’t harm him, and couldn’t harm his followers, the Sangha. Later, in the house, the benefactor put poison in the food and offered the poisonous food to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha and his Sangha. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha sees everything clearly, so no problem. It is just a conception that from the benefactor’s side he sees Guru Shakyamuni Buddha as an ordinary person, in an ordinary aspect. The ordinary way they see, they believe. This again goes to another subject.

Student: If we are only supposed to take refuge in liberated beings, as ignorant human beings we can’t see difference, so how can we know whether to take refuge?
Rinpoche: Like this. When you take refuge in Buddha that includes everything, all buddhas who are in different manifestations. Just taking refuge in Buddha includes all the different manifestations of buddhas.
Student: How can we tell whether that manifestation is actually liberated?
Rinpoche: That recognition is very difficult, very difficult. That’s why we should not trust so much the way we see things. Generally this is not the only reason; but this is one reason why we should not completely trust the way we see things. Because most of the time even though it is a right object even though it is a pure being, a really enlightened being, we see it as an evil person, we see it as a projection of our own evil mind. We can see like this. Also sometimes opposite—actually the other person has wrong understanding, wrong realization, wrong method, but from you don’t recognize this, you think the person good because of your ignorance, not recognizing whether he has the right realization or whether his method is right. Not having this wisdom due to your own ignorance. Many times it is possible to see like this. This is one reason that we should not trust the ordinary aspect that we see, the ordinary phenomena that we see—all the time it is not correct. All the time what we see, what we judge is not correct. This is one way of talking ... I think that subject can come another time.

So Guru Shakyamuni, as he fully realized, told his Sangha, his followers, to not eat first. First of all Guru Shakyamuni transformed the poison into medicine. by blessing it. So nothing harmed him or his Sangha. This benefactor expected that he was a very ordinary being who could be easily killed or destroyed by poison.

There are so many other stories that happened in history; there are so many amazing, incredible stories. However, just this is to help our minds—how Guru Shakyamuni Buddha is completely released from all the fears, his own fears. Therefore he is a worthy object of refuge. The total fear that he is released from is all the gross negative minds, the delusions, and the subtle dualistic mind. Those are the two main obscurations that interrupt receiving enlightenment. Those are the two great fears, and Guru Shakyamuni Buddha is completely released from those two great fears. This example, these stories show that he is completely released from those two great fears, from delusion, and even the subtle dualistic mind. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, besides being released from all his own fears, is also extremely wise in method, in skill guiding other sentient beings from suffering.

The first reason is that he is completely released from all fears, and the second reason is that Guru Shakyamuni Buddha is extremely wise in the skill of guiding the sentient beings from suffering. According to each sentient beings’ karma, fortune, and level of mind, Guru Shakyamuni gives different types of method that fit to those different beings. It is not always an oral teaching; there are all kinds different methods. For instance, there was one king who was called the King of the Violin. He was called this because he had so much pride, thinking he was the best violin player in the world, incredible pride. So Guru Shakyamuni saw the time that he could control this king who had incredible pride thinking this, and who spent all his time playing violin, completely absorbed like ... I think you know. One day Guru Shakyamuni Buddha saw it was the right time to subdue and control him, so Guru Shakyamuni Buddha went outside of the palace in the form of a beggar, in the manifestation of a beggar. Inside, the king was playing with such big pride thinking, “I am the most wise person in the world,” and all of a sudden he heard fantastic, most charming, such sweet music, a violin from outside, someone else playing. He couldn’t stand it, because his wrong conception was that he was the best, that no other person could can play better than that. So all of a sudden he heard this incredible, fantastic sweet music. All of a sudden he discovered, “Oh, there is another one who can play much better than me,” and all of a sudden his pride went down, his wrong conception changed. He saw the beggar playing all kinds of different sounds, up and down, middle and higher, all the sounds, fantastic sounds, with just one string. Just very simple, nothing, he was playing with one string, but like rock music he could produce any sound, more fantastic than the elegant violin of the king. He got a big surprise, and his pride was completely controlled. Through this violin, not just the sound, he understood and explained the teaching, and afterwards he invited Guru Shakyamuni and took teachings.

I think we stop there.

Student: Violin teaching or Dharma teaching?

Next Chapter:

Refuge (continued) »