THE FIFTH MEDITATION COURSE
Friday November 16th
I’m sorry—it’s only me sitting on the throne—but I can sit on behalf of you. Before, we didn’t have any pictures of giving such English language meditation courses in our mind, but anyway, I will give you some brief information about how it happened that we came to do such a meditation course.
Our first European student—her American Russian name is Zina Rachevsky—asked many times if I would give such a meditation course for European seekers. She asked me many times but I rejected the idea. Finally, I asked my most venerable Guru Thubten Yeshe, and he instructed me that if it were beneficial, I should do it. So I did it. As there is a need for such a meditation course for modern seekers, he planned that I should give the meditation course twice a year. I think this is the fifth.
Anyway what are we going to do, what are we planning to do in this meditation course? The actions we are doing here are new actions that we haven’t done before—actions of body, speech, and mind. These are not ordinary old actions. This meditation course is a holy method to make our mind, speech, and body holy. So, of course, there are many hindrances—billions and billions of hindrances. There are even great hindrances to do the ordinary temporal work of looking after oneself. If even such worldly action has hindrances, why not this? In general, there are many kinds of hindrances—inner, outer, and secret hindrances.
Therefore, first I am going to do a little puja in order to stop the hindrances to explaining the Dharma and listening to and practicing the Dharma, the holy method. This is a holy method that causes the body, speech, and mind to transcend into the vajra body, speech, and mind—which means indestructible holy body, speech, and mind. Transcend from what? From the impure body, speech, and mind that is the fundamental source of problems and suffering. It is clear that if you don’t have such an impure mind, you don’t have the problems. It is the same thing for the body—if you don’t have the impure body there is no way for physical problems to arise.
Those of you who wish to should visualize the following as I do the puja.
Visualize the person giving teachings as Guru Shakyamuni, as an enlightened being, and from his heart visualize many thousands of wrathful deities emanating and chasing all of your outer, inner, and secret hindrances away. Visualize the hindrances in the form of wrathful spirits, and visualize that the wrathful deities chase all the hindrances away—beyond the Atlantic Ocean, beyond the world—causing them never to return. Outer hindrances, outer spirits are white and black. The black spirits always interrupt positive and virtuous actions, hinder good actions, and force or persuade you to engage in negative actions. The white spirits help to create merit and positive actions in order for you to become holy. The outer hindrances exist and find ways to disturb and hinder you if you have the inner and secret hindrances in your mind. It is because of these two that they find an easy way to disturb you. When these two hindrances are purified in your mind, there is no way the outer hindrances can disturb you—they can be ceased and stopped from doing so. It is totally like this—as long as we are friends with the inner and secret hindrances in our minds, the outer spirits will find a way to disturb us and cause our practice and meditation to be unsuccessful. There are many way in which they do this, including causing mental diseases, craziness, and so forth.
All of these hindrances are only our own fault—they are caused by us. Some people spend years practicing meditation and sometimes they become crazy instead of receiving realizations in the mind. Many things happen due to the three hindrances, due to not purifying the first two—the inner and secret hindrances—in the mind. What is the inner hindrance? It is the ignorance of the absolute true nature of existence, the “I,” and the self-cherishing mind. The secret hindrance is the dualistic mind.
Visualize many wrathful deities coming forth from Guru Shakyamuni’s heart, chasing away the wrathful spirits—who are in essence all your hindrances—beyond this world. Also visualize the ground as a vajra ground, the walls as vajra walls, and the roof as a vajra roof—purely indestructible. Because of this vajra palace with vajra walls and roof, no one can interfere with your practice or the development of the holy mind. The vajra palace is also transparent—don’t think of it as made of iron or stone—it is very transparent like crystal, but indestructible so that no one can interrupt you or interfere with you.
I don’t have any experience or realizations. I don’t know anything about Dharma, but maybe the Dharma recognizes and knows me well. My understanding of Dharma is like one atom of this universe. Therefore, I don’t have any hope that this meditation course can benefit you. But I’m happy to talk about new subjects with new minds—new subjects and new thoughts. As you and I are human beings for such a short time, I think it is fortunate to talk about such a holy thing.
First I would like to give you the introduction to the meditation course. Actually, this whole book is the introduction to the meditation course, so we have to spend one month introducing the meditation course. But maybe if I say a few words to introduce the meditation course—you may have many different connotations about the meditation course, but if I explain my connotations first…
Meditation course or Dharma, in my point of view, has to be the same. Meditation and Dharma have to be agreeable, have to be oneness.
“Dharma”—I think it is not English, I think it is Sanskrit. The Tibetan term is chö. Anyway, the meaning of Dharma, just to have an idea, is guiding or saving the mind from suffering. This is the meaning of Dharma.
But there are all kinds of suffering, thousands and thousands of different sufferings, not just one type. It is like this, another example—there are hundreds and hundreds, all kinds of different medicines, but they are all used for curing sicknesses, to save the patients from suffering. Even within “sicknesses” there are all kinds of different types of sicknesses. As there are different kinds of medicines for the different types of sicknesses, so in the Dharma there are all types of methods. There are numerous different Dharma practices, but they are all Dharma as all the different kinds of medicines are medicines. However, the effect of the chemical, external medicines and the effect of Dharma are as greatly different as the earth and the sky. Exterior medicine is only a temporal method because it cures sickness temporarily, not permanently. For example, if the person has the problem of diarrhea, medicine can temporarily cease but not end the experiences of diarrhea. Even if the suffering of the stomach is cured at that time, in a few months or years it can come back, and the person can again experience suffering. It is the same with other sicknesses. This is easy, it is common to all of us. This example proves that the external chemical method is only temporal, and not the ultimate method. Even if you take medicine continually it causes other problems, other sicknesses in the body to arise. Even when you have sickness and get treatment, this cures one part of the problem, but causes another problem to arise. We can realize this when our wisdom is acutely perceptive. Sometimes even if medicine cures the physical problem it harms the mind. This also proves that it is not the ultimate method.
With Dharma practice, however, there is no problem—no matter how long we practice it always benefits us, we always profit. Dharma practice makes us more holy, more pure, and cleans our body, speech, and mind the longer we practice. There is no danger to the body or the mind. But of course if we practice wrong Dharma it is possible that we may get into trouble.
It is the same thing with drugs. If you carry on taking the drug believing that it will always give the same vision, the same feeling, the same effect, what will happen is that it will only drive the mind crazy or cause danger to the life. This is well-known, common to many people—as the first and second trip felt good, they continue to believe that it will give the same effect, so they carry on with it more and more. This makes the person more unconscious and undisciplined in body, speech, and mind, and also causes dangers to the life. This proves that drugs, as medicine, are not the ultimate method.
But those who meet and practice Dharma do not have to depend on drugs. It can be good, just like medicine, for people who have very limited minds and understanding and no idea of Dharma, of life, of past and future lives, and who only believe in the limited phenomena that they see in front of them.
Even daily life, protecting the body and mind from suffering and problems in the same way that lower creatures do—eating, drinking, wearing clothes, doing a job is also a temporal method. This also is not the ultimate method to completely cease the whole problem of suffering. No matter how much, how high an effort of exterior development is made, only doing that alone can never cease the whole problem. For instance I will give you just one example. In ancient times when there was not such a high development of material method or the mechanical development of modern times, there were problems. Even when the original human beings took root on this earth there were problems—problems in their minds, life problems, suffering, dissatisfaction. These days there is even more confusion, suffering, and fighting—there is more suffering than there is peace. That is what’s happening now. This proves that only exterior development is not the ultimate method to stop the problem—it shows that there is something missing. Only that is not enough, is not sufficient.
A simple example—the country that is not developed materially and the country that has high material development both have problems. This we understand. You understand this better than me. So what is missing? We should not rely only on that. I am not criticizing or judging the scientific method—of course it is good, otherwise you would not have arrived so quickly to take the meditation course. I am not criticizing, I am just telling what is happening.
It is totally like this—why do the medicine, the drugs, the daily life that we do from morning to night not cooperate with the Dharma? The actions of daily life, done only for this short human life from birth until death, similar to what lower creatures do, and the high approach of material development—why is it that all of this does not cease the temporal problem? These methods never effect or destroy the cause of the suffering. This proves two things:
(1) The cause of suffering is not in the external conditions. This is important to understand. If you find this you find the proper reason to take the meditation course.
(2) This method never extinguishes the cause of suffering. Why is it that these external methods cannot cease the whole suffering and cause of suffering? Because the cause is not in the external condition—it exists within our minds. The cause of suffering is not something that is in the factors or in the food. It is within each of our minds. It is the same thing with the lower creatures, the same for us who walk on the earth, or crawl under the earth, or fly. The cause is in all our minds. Even if we go under the earth or land on the moon, physical and mental suffering cannot be ceased—I mean completely ceased, the complete end—that’s what I mean by “ceasing.”
It is like this: without wisdom, we do some other things to cease the problem without trying to cease the cause. For that reason we go to other places, like a person saying he has stomach pain and running around. Instead of getting better, he will become exhausted and hungry. We see this example as nonsense, as childish, but we are involved in the same thing and do not recognize our childish actions. Wherever a sick person may go, trying to escape by plane or train, without trying to recognize the method and the cause of the sickness—which are the body and mind—the problem will never be ceased.
So what method should we practice? What method is necessary to destroy all suffering and its cause? We need the inner method. Dharma is the inner method that can cease all suffering and its cause. The inner method, Dharma, is incomparable to all temporal methods because through practicing and achieving it, this one action, the billions of different sufferings and their causes can be completely ceased. This is like the example of the atomic bomb that can destroy so many things at one time—people, factories, and so forth. These things can be destroyed individually by small weapons, but a small weapon cannot destroy them all.
I think I will stop here.
What is missing in our daily life, in our actions? Following the inner method is what is missing. Lacking, having not achieved the inner method, we are still not released from confusion, from the problem of the sufferings that we have to experience again and again. Relying and depending on an external method in order to extinguish the suffering and cause that is an internal factor is like trying to cut an iron bar with a thread, to use another childish example. Instead of cutting the bar, the bar will break the thread. This is only an exhausting action, and it is meaningless. If you try to cut the iron bar with wood it only causes the wood to finish. Do you understand my words? It is not the English language, and there can be many mistakes, so if you don’t understand please ask. The iron bar should be cut with iron—it cannot be cut by thread or by wood. In the same way, the cause of suffering, which is an internal factor, should be cut off by the inner method—the Dharma, only Dharma. The founder of the Dharma—Guru Shakyamuni, the Enlightened One—has taught three vehicles, three different Dharma methods: the Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana. The total purpose of following these three vehicles is only to achieve enlightenment, the state of highest everlasting peace, the omniscient mind without one single obscuration, without one single suffering. These three vehicles were taught by the Enlightened One according to the different levels of different beings’ minds.
Through this meditation course we practice all three teachings. Actually, this is called a Mahayana teaching, but there is also the practice of the teaching that is shown to the Hinayanist, the lower being. This refers to level of intelligence of different beings minds’—there are those of lower, middle, and higher intelligence. This practice is also fundamental to the Vajrayana Teaching; it is most needed in order to achieve the Vajrayana. However, the fundamental practice of these three vehicles is the discipline of the actions of speech, body, and mind. This means abstaining from the negativity of the actions of speech, abstaining from the negativity of the actions of body, and abstaining from the negativity of the actions of mind. This is the fundamental practice of these three vehicles. It is also called observing karma.
Why haven’t we received perfect everlasting peace, the enlightened stage, the cessation of suffering, the cessation of death and rebirth? The reason that we haven’t achieved this is because we didn’t follow the disciplines of body, speech, and mind enough. To repeat, the discipline is always keeping these three away from negative actions, and always trying to keep your actions positive, to use the body, speech, and mind in a virtuous, meaningful way. By making the actions of these three pure, oneself becomes pure, a holy being with freedom and control over the negative mind of greed, ignorance, and hatred. So the whole thing depends on receiving enlightenment, the highest everlasting happiness—as it depends on creating positive action, virtuous action, good karma, and this depends on motivation. A virtuous action has to be created by mind, so in this way we can see the total purpose. The enlightened state is only created by mind, is only a mental creation. In order for the action to be positive, the cause of enlightenment depends on the creator, the motivation.
What kind of motivation is it necessary to cultivate? There are different levels or degrees of motivation. The first is the lowest motivation of creating the positive action, the virtuous action, the cause of enlightenment in order to benefit future lives or rescue future lives from suffering. The medium motivation is creating the actions in order to release oneself from the uncontrolled cycle of death and rebirth, which is called samsara. The highest motivation, the motivation that makes the action highly meaningful and most beneficial, is creating any action in order to enlighten oneself for the benefit of all other creatures, all sentient beings. This motivation is the cause for receiving enlightenment more quickly.
Some of you may expect that by taking the meditation course you will have some kind of vision, like those you experience from taking drugs, or that you will gain some black magic powers. Basically these kinds of thoughts are concerned only with the happiness of the temporal life, and exist on the basis of attachment to the happiness of this life without concern for seeking the cause of suffering or using the method to cut the cause of suffering. On the basis of this attachment, taking the meditation course and practicing meditation becomes a completely black, negative, evil action. Why is it an evil action? Because the creator of the action, the negative motivation, is evil. Why is it evil and negative? Because the creator of the action is attachment to the happiness of the temporal life. Why is that attachment to the happiness of the temporal life evil? Because that motivation, that negative creator, obliges you to create negative actions that get you into problems, suffering, and confusion. The result is unhappiness, suffering nature, and confusion.
For example, take these things. In the world, people try to make their lives comfortable in the best way. But no matter how they try to make life comfortable and happy—by having many relatives, properties, or possessions—no matter how they try to be as happy as they expect, their lives always end up with problems, and they always suffer with different problems at different times without choice or control. These are the results of negative evil actions. Also, these are the results of the negative mind, such as the motivation of attachment to the happiness of the temporal life. Also, actions created with ignorance of karma, of cause and effect, and actions created with anger or hatred are all negative actions.
As long as we engage in actions of body, speech, and mind during the course while meditating with these three negative motivations, our meditation is meaningless and we are only wasting time and creating the cause of suffering instead of creating the cause of peace and happiness.
My interest in giving the meditation course is for the purpose of rescuing many other future lives from suffering, to stop samsaric suffering, the cycle of death and rebirth, and to attain enlightenment for the sake of sentient beings. For this reason I have interest in giving the meditation course. This is the purpose of giving it, and this is also a good reason to take it.
Thinking in this way, with these three motivations, all the actions—listening to teachings or thinking or meditating—all become meaningful, beneficial, and the cause of everlasting peace. Also, all the actions become Dharma, so that the person practicing meditation with these three reasons is practicing Dharma, attending the meditation course. So taking the meditation course doesn’t depend on what you look like, or how you sit with your physical body—it depends on mind, on the mental practice, as I have just explained. Anyway, the total purpose of the course is to discover distinctly and clearly which actions are the positive actions and which are negative—which are the actions to be avoided and which are the actions to be practiced with the understanding of the reason that we have to observe this.
One fault that we experience is that we have been suffering so far and have not been released from that—we are always finding different problems. Once one is solved another one comes—why are there always life problems like this? This is because we always make mistakes in our actions. Another problem always comes—it has been happening like this since childhood, since the time of conception up to now. This is the nature of samsaric suffering life—the fault of making mistakes in our actions that arises from lack of wisdom, not recognizing the difference between positive and negative actions, and the result of positive and negative actions. If we all really desire to achieve peace, to achieve the cessation of the whole problem, of confusion, then it is necessary to fully realize the actions that are to be practiced and those that are to be avoided.
Actually, it is like this. For people who believe and who are concerned and care about their future lives, of course it is necessary to practice this kind method, which is Dharma. Even for the people who do not believe in past and future lifetimes, who only believe in the existence of this one life, even for those people it is necessary to practice Dharma, to rely on this inner method. These people do not desire suffering; this is the basic thing. They do not desire confusion, problems, or dissatisfaction; they need, they desire freedom, even though they don’t believe in Dharma, the truth, the reality, or the existence of past and future lives.
But they do desire freedom, peace, and not to suffer. So according to their desire, if the suffering has to be completely ceased, they want to achieve freedom, the peace that is freedom from suffering. It is necessary to cease greed, ignorance, and hatred, which are the cause and the source of suffering. There is no other method without depending on Dharma, the inner method; there is no other way to cease suffering. Even though they don’t believe in Dharma but only in the one life, it comes to the point that they have to practice Dharma. This happens even though they think they don’t have problems, that they are happy, that don’t have to practice meditation. They think, “Meditation is only for hippies, not for us, we’re okay.” (I’m not sure if people think like this, but anyway there are many people who think similarly to this, and don’t realize that their mind is in suffering). Even though they talk about confusion and problems, even though their minds are in this state, they say they don’t have problems. That is not recognizing the suffering.
However, there is totally suffering in their minds because there is ignorance in their minds. As long as there is ignorance of karma and of the reality of the absolute true nature, there is always suffering. As long as that mind does not realize, does not see the reality, the absolute nature of oneself, of the “I,” and as long as that person’s mind has the wrong conception that conceives of himself in the wrong way, in a false way, there is always suffering. This is because the source of all suffering is in the wrong conception, in conceiving of oneself and objects in the wrong way with the wrong view, which is opposite to the true nature of the objects and of oneself. So even for the people who say they don’t have suffering, whose minds are involved in the opposite of the reality of the pure view, there is always confusion and problems.
A follower of Guru Shakyamuni, the ancient great Indian pandit called Chandrakirti who achieved the high realization of the absolute true nature, said, “My mind sees that all delusions and sufferings arise from the wrong view, the wrong conception conceiving of oneself, the ‘I,’ in the wrong view—the wrong view that sees the ‘I’ as independent, which is opposite to the factual nature of the ‘I.’ So by realizing this, I, the yogi, will stop the wrong view, which sees the ‘I’ as independent.”
Therefore, the wrong conception conceiving of the “I” in the wrong view, opposite to its nature, is the source of all suffering. So as long as one doesn’t realize the true nature of the “I” there is no way to get out of samsara or out of suffering. Therefore, this great pandit said, “I, the yogi, will practice to avoid, to stop the independent ‘I,’ that doesn’t exist at all.”
However, achieving the total goal of enlightenment through the achievement of the different paths, the three vehicles of the Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana, and using meditation in a practical way, understanding the Dharma, understanding suffering, and understanding the need for the Dharma practice is all based on the fundamental understanding of the mind. If you understand the factual evolution of the mind it is like opening the door to the understanding of the Dharma. Through this, the whole practice of Dharma can be achieved, so it is necessary first to understand the evolution of the mind, and how the mind is beginningless.
Mystic Praise (Page (i))
“Selfless” means “non self-existent.”
I think there is no hurry to explain this “Mystic Praise.” If we try without understanding how the mind is beginningless it only makes us become exhausted and tired.
The Mind Is Beginningless (Page 1)
The point of the first sentence seems quite heavy at first but it becomes clearer. It seems like it is talking in space or in the ocean.
“Birth (rebirth)”—some believe in one life, others in many lives, so both words are correct, we can use both words.
This is trying to say that since the person was born as a human being, until death time every situation of his life, every miserable or happy situation of his life or experience is not an unreasonable thing, so the life is not meaningless. What I am saying is this—the life is not an unreasonable thing, the life did not come into existence without reason. Just as experiences have reason, so does the existence of that type of life. And there is a reason—just as the life has a reason, there is a reason for him to be born as a human being. Taking a human rebirth is not a creation of some other being who is not him; it is only the person’s creation. For instance, my human rebirth is my creation. So the whole reason is my own creation, the reason for taking human rebirth is created by myself. Before I experienced my present human rebirth I had already created the reason—the reason was created before my experience of this present human rebirth. It was created by me, there was me existing before this human rebirth, there was me the creator, the cause, the reason of the result—this present human body. But it doesn’t have to be definite that the me who existed before taking this human rebirth is the me existing now—it can be of different shapes, different appearances, of a different body.
Anyway, as we read further this will be made more clear.
Sentence One: This is the meaning of the mind as explained by Guru Shakyamuni, the Enlightened One.
Last sentence: Maybe you have logic—if there is a reason that the mind began to exist at the time the sperm and the egg conjoined, I would like to hear it. Does anybody have any reason? Can be possible that someone’s mind began to exist at the same time that the sperm and egg conjoined?
Anyway, this means that there is no such mind that began to exist when the sperm and egg conjoined. There is no such specific time that the mind began to exist. For example, it is not correct to say that my mind started to exist some years ago, some periods ago, or some eons ago.
This is talking as if the fertilized egg is the principal cause of the mind. The fertilized egg partially comes from father and mother, and so the mind also has to come from them. Therefore all the rest of the human beings who have that continuity of the blood should have the mind of the other beings who have the same generation of that blood. And the original parents would contain all the rest of the minds of those beings who received the generation of that blood. If this were the case, then there would be no reason to be born again as a human being, as one was already born as human being—the mind already took the human body in the original parents.
Also, within a person, two different personality minds cannot exist or function together. For instance, within one person, one mind that has the personality of patience and another that has the personality of anger—one mind subdued, the other unsubdued—cannot function together. This can be discussed later on, as you understand better, as we read more.
This is talking from the wrong conception that as the blood relationship continues, the mind continues with it, that is, comes from the original parents. For instance, if the grandparents died, according to this wrong conception it is still possible that the mind is with us in our body, and so too with other relatives who have the same generation of that blood. Then it becomes like this: the person becomes dead and also alive, dead and alive because the minds of the dead parents still exists in the human body in other relatives who have the same generation of blood, as it originated from the original parents. For instance like this: I die, my body is burned, this body exists nowhere, but as my relatives still have the same generation of blood, my mind is with them in their body, so I would be dead and also alive. Actually this is not a difficult thing to understand.
Why so much talk about wrong conceptions? This is to help solve the problems of the people who have different conceptions. If you think our minds came from our parents’ minds, originated from their minds without having other wrong conceptions thinking that the mind originated from sperm and egg, it would follow that the knowledge and understanding within the parents’ minds, their realizations, could be transplanted to us. If our minds come from the original parents, all their knowledge would be transplanted to us, so we don’t have to study or make effort to receive the knowledge that the parents have gained. Therefore, in order to achieve worldly or enlightened knowledge we have to make effort from our side, and study.
So if you have answers to that, it should be discussed.
Question: If you applied that argument to bodies then you’d say the original parents contained all the bodies of the blood relationship, so all those bodies should be the same; but they are not, although they should be according to your argument.
Answer: Generally there are bodies that look quite similar to the parents, but we are talking according to the mind as it is explained by the Enlightened Being. In that case the knowledge has to come from parents to children, as the parents had. And also what we should find out is the original reason that causes the original parents to exist, the reason that they came into existence. In this way we can discover deeper, profound, more logical evolution of the mind, such as the existence of the original being’s mind, and why the original being’s mind came into existence.
Also, without trying to check up on the nature of our mind, other experiences, and new existence that we have not discovered yet, and not trying to achieve the wisdom perceiving that, we will always be doubtful of the different methods and the existence of different objects, such as the truth. If you don’t try to achieve that wisdom the mind is always in doubt, never brings solutions, and is always in ignorance. In that way the mind can never be cut off or be relieved of confusion. As the person has doubt, it is necessary to check and try to discover, and that much more quickly the person’s mind can be released from confusion.
Question: Do you have to believe in reincarnation to discover the enlightened state, the truth about oneself?
Answer: Without discovering reincarnation it is impossible to achieve enlightenment; without realizing (forget about “belief”) reincarnation, the evolution of rebirth, and the reason for the existence of birth and rebirth, enlightenment is impossible.
Simply, we were born without choice, we were not born with choice. For instance, you were born in the west as an American, or English, whatever it is. Most of us were born without choice to this different color and different body without choice and without freedom. There is a reason that we took that birth and had to experience such birth, such a life without freedom. This lack of control itself is the suffering. In the same way, the experience of uncontrolled death is also suffering. The suffering of uncontrolled rebirth and uncontrolled death has reason and cause; the cause was created before. The result, uncontrolled suffering death and rebirth, and their principal cause are not born together, just as the mother and the baby are not born together.
Question: Is it karma that causes it?
Answer: Yes, karma.
So the principal cause was created before, the karma was created before. Not only in one previous life but in many previous lives.
So we forget about enlightenment—in order to achieve nirvana, the cessation of suffering, the whole path leading to that goal is based on understanding the suffering nature, and that the mind is beginningless. Without understanding that the mind is beginningless the understanding is limited. With the understanding that mind is beginningless, the understanding of past lives comes on the way. Understanding reincarnation and that the mind is beginningless is of the utmost importance in preparation for realizations. These understandings are most needed for preparation, they are the fundamental thing to discover the nature of the problems. “Believing” in it may not be important, but check whether it exists or not. That is the most important thing—try to clearly see whether it exists or not.
In the break times, as there are questions in the chapter (“Mind is Beginningless”), try to check them within your mind. Use your wisdom try to check up whether it is true or not.
It’s quite interesting and we have to be concerned with the question, “Can one receive enlightenment without believing in the existence of past and future lives?”
If past and future lives are all real objects in existence, then it is nonsense trying not to believe in it. For instance, the clay elephant exists there, and it is nonsense for me to try and not believe in its existence—only ignoring oneself. It’s like covering our eyes in order not to see an object that exists. It only makes our understanding limited. We call the mind that does not perceive the objects that really exist “ignorance.” This is the connotation of “ignorance” to Tibetan lamas, Indian pandits, and Guru Shakyamuni. Ignorance is the main disturbance to receiving enlightenment. The meaning of “enlightenment” is the omniscient mind, the fully knowing mind, a state of mind that fully sees every single existence—all of nominal and phenomenal existence, and fully realizing every past, present, and future existence, without leaving one atom of existence. This stage is the most complete purified stage of omniscient mind and is called “enlightenment.” Further explanation of enlightenment will come, but this is just to have an idea in advance since we will talk about it many times.
What is the purpose of reaching this stage? Not only for oneself, but it is to bring all beings to the state of everlasting happiness by showing different methods and paths as are suitable for different beings’ minds, all with complete understanding of all living beings’ thoughts and desires, without any obstacle to understanding. Anyway, if past and future lives are existent, then the understanding of it is of utmost need, especially for enlightenment. But if we think that these lives are not existent, then there is no purpose to achieve enlightenment in this lifetime—no purpose, no reason. No reason to seek a new method.
If there were no existence of past and future lives then there would be no existence of karma. Karma is any action of mind, and also any action of body and speech. Karma is something that makes the relationship between cause and effect, that brings effect from cause. In other words—concatenation, circling around—this is how karma works. If the life has a beginning, karma should have a beginning, but there’s no such karma. Why does karma have no beginning? Because the creator of karma has no beginning. Negative karma, the karma that causes us to circle round from rebirth and death is created by ignorance, which is beginningless—as the mind is beginningless so ignorance has no beginning. When we take this present human birth, that is involved in karma—that karma was created before by the previous lives’ ignorance and there’s no such karma that we experience that was not created by us, created by some other being that is separate, that is god, that is not me. For instance, it is impossible to experience any karma that is not created by me—it is impossible for me to experience this, since the cause of that result was not created by me. For example, if my father kills a yak and I experience the result for which he created the cause. This is not possible. The suffering result of that karma has to be experienced by himself—whatever suffering he experiences, whatever happiness he experiences, the cause of that is only created by him.
It is good to check up like this: if the mind had beginning, the ignorance and the result that it brings—suffering—would also have a beginning. Then what is the reason for the existence of ignorance? If life has beginning, then karma, ignorance, and suffering too have beginning, and there is no reason to try to find the inner method or to practice meditation, which is different from worldly activities, which transcends ordinary actions and ordinary works. There is no reason to follow the higher, pure actions. No reason, because as it has beginning, it would end by itself. Therefore there is no reason for us to put effort into such practice or to try to achieve new methods.
For instance, if life had beginning karma would also have beginning, then it could be possible to experience karma not created by oneself. But without a creator any existence cannot exist. All existence is creation, therefore without a creator how can creation exist? If this beginning karma is not created by oneself, but created by some other being, by one principal mind, one person, then this example could also be possible: one person eats delicious food and I experience the pleasure. For instance, he could eat steak and even though I don’t eat any I could experience the pleasure. This could be possible if the other is possible. Or, one person could go to the west, to America and enjoy the luxury places, and another person in Nepal could experience the pleasures of whatever the person enjoys there.
It is the same thing with karma—the creator of this present life’s karma is me, and the creator of this present life is me—the karma of this present rebirth was created in the previous lifetime. Therefore, there is existence of my past life. This also works in the same way for the future life.
Also, one thing—if my mind came from my parents’ mind then I should experience the result of the karma created by my parents. Such a thing would be possible if my mind came from their minds. They have created much karma—billions and billions of different actions. Therefore it would be possible that I experience the result of these karmas. For example, physically I should look exactly the same and also be mentally the same. But this is impossible.
Question: Doesn’t the parents’ karma influence the children? For example, if your father taught you that it was good to kill yaks?
Answer: There can be influence, but the suffering of the son is his own fault. If he has wisdom and no ignorance, then the father cannot influence anything, cannot cause any danger. If the person has the understanding of the wisdom realizing karma and full renunciation of the creation of negative karma, he cannot be influenced by the father.
Even if the father influenced the son to do something—whatever action the son does, such as killing an animal—the result has to be experienced by the son himself. In any miserable situation that the son experiences, the karma that he creates is not the fault of the father. The main cause is created by himself, by his ignorance—if there is no ignorance, there is no reason for him to experience suffering since there is no cause of suffering.
The father can be cooperative, i.e. giving influence, but that does not mean that all the suffering that the son experiences is created by the father. If that were so, it would mean that to be released from suffering the son would have to kill the father, i.e. destroy the cause of suffering. Anyway more talk of karma will come afterwards.
The fact that each of us, our parents and ourselves, have different physical shapes proves and shows the result of karma created by us. Each of us created different karma that brings different physical shapes and faces—some have beards, some do not. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. All this proves the karma that we created differently.
Question: Is it also the result of the son’s karma to be born into that family where the father kills yaks?
Answer: Yes—hundreds of yaks. And great stores of yak butter.
But How Is It Possible To Receive Enlightenment? (Page 4)
It is like dirty clothes. The clothes are not one with the dirt—if they are one with dirt, it is impossible to make the clothes clean. Why is it possible to clean them? Because the cloth is only obscured by the dirt. The mind is like the white cloth and the obscuration to the clear light nature of the mind is like the dirt, but the obscuration of mind is temporal, as the dirt obscuring the cloth is temporal. Just like this—while the cloth is very dirty and very black, if one tries to dye it, it cannot take the color. For example, if you try to dye dirty white cloth red without cleaning it, the color doesn’t take. First you need to wash it well until the dirt has gone, and then it becomes very white and can be dyed very red, like a new cloth.
Without trying to clean the mind with method, with the different levels of Dharma practice as shown by the Enlightened One, the mind can never become an enlightened mind because there is no place.
For instance, if you try to plant crops without fertilizing a rocky place well, without making it well conditioned, they cannot grow. Our unsubdued minds are like the rocky place, not well fertilized. As it is necessary to fertilize well to get good crops, so it is necessary to clean well, to subdue the unpeaceful mind by using different methods. For instance, the rocky place has to be fertilized with different tools. First you take out the rocks that prevent planting and growing, then the field has to be well-fertilized by using different tools. So there are different methods for fertilizing the mind.
There is always the possibility as the nature of the mind is eternally existent. Even though the present mind is not enlightened, because the clear light nature is eternally existent, there is the possibility to make it enlightened mind.
Question: What is a “temporary negative mind?”
Answer: Generally there are 84,000 temporary negative minds. Anyway the worst thing is that the source of these is ignorance. Ignorance is the temporary negative mind.
Question: The mind has existence of its own, though, is it eternally existent?
Question: But the temporary negative mind is not separate from the person’s mind?
Answer: Yes, just like the clothes and the dirt.
The Lineage of These Mahayana Teachings (Page 5)
The purpose of talking about the lineage is to prove that the teaching is holy, originating from an enlightened being with his experiences, and handed down to his numerous highly realized and experienced disciples who followed the path shown by Guru Shakyamuni as he experienced, and from those highly realized great pandits handed down to the highly realized yogis—they also experienced the path as shown by Guru Shakyamuni. This is the teaching that originated from Guru Shakyamuni, passed on to the highly realized Indian pandits, and then was handed to the great Tibetan yogis. And at present time the Tibetan monks are practicing these methods that were shown by the gurus, the highly realized Tibetan great yogis, with their experiences.
This is to prove that these teachings are holy, blessed, and undegenerated as they were handed down. It is also to say that these are not new teachings written by myself, which weren’t revealed by Guru Shakyamuni, like a new theory. It is also to show that as they practiced and experienced the teachings and the same freedom, the same thing, it is also possible for present humans.
Maitreya is recognized as a future Buddha—this doesn’t mean he is not enlightened now, but it means he will descend as Guru Shakyamuni at Bodhgaya, having the same history, and performing the twelve deeds, as did Guru Shakyamuni. He will descend as the founder of the Dharma in that future time.
This gives an idea of how these great yogis made practice, how the founders of these teachings followed disciplines.
The Three Prerequisites
In ancient times the great pandits, by having these three things, wrote holy books on tantric subjects and philosophical subjects.
The Four Knowledges
1. This “difference” means this: these three are the path that can be achieved by one person. It is not that the person who follows the Hinayana path cannot practice the Mahayana teaching, or he who follows Mahayana cannot practice Vajrayana. These three paths can be practiced by one person, these three are not different as hot and cold are.
3. Knowledge that one can achieve through the practice of the lam’dun.
Question: Could you possibly comment on the fourth of the great knowledges? It is very strongly worded.
Answer: That is saying, “I am Mahayanist, I am groovy, I do not follow disciplines, that is a Hinayana teaching,” Or, “I am not a Hinayanist, therefore I need not practice Dharma,” or, “I cannot achieve enlightenment by practicing Hinayana.”
Besides influencing oneself it influences others wrongly and it is very heavy karma the result of which has to be experienced for very long time. For such a person it is extremely difficult to find a happy life, to find peace, and to achieve realizations.
Actually, any other religion cannot be criticized—you can talk about it but cannot criticize. This is also a discipline. Also in Buddhadharma, it explains the different theories but cannot criticize.
Tonight we are going to do a short meditation for training the unsubdued mind. During the meditation there is a physical discipline and a mental discipline in order to make the meditation successful. The most important of these is the mental discipline. Of course, the physical is necessary as it is a cooperative cause and supports the mental discipline. But the mere physical discipline, the posture, is not meditation—alone this is not enough, it is not meditation.
As I told you this morning, meditation is a method, an inner method to progress the mind and make the mind transcend from its ordinary level. Meditation pacifies the unsubdued mind. So through this practice, which pacifies the mind, the mind becomes pacified, controlled, and subdued. On the way, the actions of speech and body also become pacified. When the speech, body, and mind are pacified and well trained, they never harm other beings or oneself. They become harmless—any actions of body, speech, and mind become harmless, and they only cause one to approach everlasting peace or nirvana, more quickly. Also, instead of harming other sentient beings, they only benefit.
For instance, take the bodhisattva—maybe it is a new title. A bodhisattva is a holy being whose mind is well trained, well subdued of unsubdued negative minds, such as self-cherishing and the negative mind that harms other beings, causing danger, problems, or degeneration in other people’s perfection and peace. A bodhisattva is a holy being who has achieved the great beneficial mind, only concerned for other sentient beings instead of only concerned for oneself and giving up the interest of others. For those bodhisattvas whose minds are well trained in Mahayana practice, at the same time their speech and body also becomes well trained and well subdued through their practice. So there are many ways. All the benefits of the holy body, speech, and mind cannot be expressed—how much they benefit other beings cannot be expressed—the benefits are limitless, inexhaustible. Even just seeing the bodhisattva makes other people feel relaxed and peaceful and receive good vibrations. Their minds become happy, relaxed, and peaceful, they receive good vibrations and become happy just to see the bodhisattva whose mind is well trained, well subdued by the Mahayana thought training.
However many times this bodhisattva is seen by other beings, due to the power of his bodhicitta, the great beneficial thought, only working for other people to be happy, the other people always have the unsatisfied desire to see such a holy being. This is not like ordinary people who are seen as beautiful with a good personality for a few days, looking very friendly—after a few days the person doesn’t maintain the same personality or the same behavior. If the relationship is carried on together for a longer time, after some time the other person becomes boring. At first he is seen as beautiful and so forth, and then he becomes boring and you don’t want to see him any more, you dislike him, and your feelings toward the person changes and you see them as more and more negative, cruel. But bodhisattvas can always be seen with the same personality, not the same as this ordinary example or relationship. As much as you contact and are together with this bodhisattva, your interest grows, and you develop more and more respect as see more knowledge.
What I am saying is this—the most important thing is the mental discipline that makes the meditation successful and meaningful. Through mental discipline the proper meditation comes, so the mental is more important than the physical discipline.
The Posture During Meditation (Page 40)
There are about seven physical disciplines.
1. As the mental discipline is more important, people who can’t sit cross-legged don’t need to get upset. But this is important if there is no specific handicaps or any troubles. If someone has problems with the legs or certain sicknesses, it is not necessary to follow the discipline of sitting cross-legged.
Also, someone who has not practiced this physical posture may find it difficult but should train slowly, slowly. Those who can sit cross-legged, try to sit cross-legged; those who can’t can sit half cross-legged. If you force it then it may disturb the meditation. You may not get time to meditate if you wait to begin until you can sit cross-legged without pain.
3. The back should be straight, which helps to have clear thoughts, visualization, and meditation. The circulation of the blood inside the nadis, or veins, becomes easier. Due to this physical and mental situation, it becomes easier for the mind to visualize and have clear thoughts. The bones and the vertebrae should be straight. If they are bent the mind can easily be disturbed. Either you fall asleep or you easily get tired, and do not have clear thoughts.
7. The neck should not be bent back, but a little bit down, so that if we dropped a rice grain from the nose it would land at the navel. If the neck is bent back the mind can become disturbed and scattered and develop intense agitation so that you become unconscious of the object of meditation. If the neck is bent too far forward, the mind can also fall into sluggishness and sinking, not having clear thoughts, and drowsiness.
2. The shoulders should be straight and the arms kept loose and not attached to the body. The palms of the hands should face up and the thumbs should be joined together level with the navel.
4. The eyes should not be open because the object of the meditation is not the object of the eye, but the object of the mind. You should visualize and focus on a mental picture such as Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. There are many different possible objects according to the meditation—it is not just looking at the flowers and meditating like this.
It is important if one is going to meditate on Guru Shakyamuni’s holy body to see a good example such as a good statue or a good tangka. The more beautiful, the better shape it has, the more beneficial it will be. As you develop a good picture in your mind, try to remember and focus on it. The eyes should not be completely closed since this can cause the mind to fall into sluggishness and sleepiness—as soon as we close the eyes, we fall asleep. Keep the eyes on the tip of the nose.
5. The teeth should be kept loose and the tip of the tongue should be attached to the upper palate. This helps to stop the spit from coming out. The mouth should be closed when you meditate.
For each of these seven postures there are benefits. Also, if we meditate in conjunction with this physical discipline there is less mental disturbance and it doesn’t cause us to get tired very soon.
This is the posture of one of the Dhyani Buddhas called Vairocana (Tibetan: nam’par nang’che).
Practicing meditation with this physical posture causes us to become enlightened in the essence of the Buddha Vairocana.
Also, this physical posture and discipline is the specific technique of the great Tibetan yogi, Milarepa’s guru, Marpa. This is his specific, profound technique.
Anyway, if you can do this it will bring great benefits. It will help your meditation a great deal and lessen distractions. For instance, even if we see a person just sitting in this physical posture, it makes us feel pleased and happy; it affects our minds just to see the person sitting. It causes devotion to arise and causes the mind to relax.
So, I think if it is possible we can try now.
Concentration on the Breath
This is the preparation for other meditations, clearing the mind of heavy thoughts.
First, check up what you are thinking—if there is tight attachment to the pleasures of temporal life, this is a negative, evil thought.
1. Breathe in through the left nostril, and visualize the air coming in as pure white light from the infinite buddhas, bodhisattvas, arhats, and other holy beings. This is their infinite knowledge and it fills the body with light and the mind with transcendental happiness.
Breathe out through the right nostril and visualize the air coming out in the form of heavy black fog that goes beyond the Atlantic Ocean and away from this world, never to return. This fog is composed of all delusions such as greed, ignorance, hatred, and illusions such as the self-”I” conception and self-cherishing. As it goes, the body and mind become completely empty.
2. Repeat, breathing in through the right and out through the left.
3. Then repeat again, breathing in through the nostrils together and out through both.
Saturday November 17th
Before listening to the teachings, as we have the freedom, such a precious chance, such a fortunate chance to gain such a high advantage, it is important to wake up from our ignorant sleep and try to achieve the highest aim, the most pure goal.
Since we desire happiness and peace, and do not desire suffering, trying to make this temporal life comfortable and happy is not the final goal or the highest aim. It is not human beings’ higher purpose or aim because even lower creatures plan and expect the present life to be happy and comfortable, and not to experience problems. Therefore, we, as human beings, should have higher aims—higher than what animals think. This gives our birth as human beings meaning in this time. This is a time, as we are born as human beings, to act differently than animals, higher than animals. Otherwise it doesn’t make sense to be born human, if we are only going to use body, speech, and mind in the same way as a dumb animal, as insects and lower creatures.
At least we should try to ensure that our future lives are always in higher realms, such as to be born again in a human world. Even having a plan such as this such is higher than the way animals think—this is something that lower creatures do not appreciate, do not think, do not plan, and do not work for, so it is worthwhile to work for this aim. It is not something we are trying to attain that is impossible—rather, it is logical, it can be discovered by discovering the mental continuity and the evolution of mind.
Working for this, using the actions of our body, speech, and mind for this aim is meaningful, and makes the plan useful to other future lives, as the past life that created the cause to bring this present human rebirth is helpful for the present human rebirth. This is the reason that we have the chance to do any actions that bring higher advantage. This is due to the good karma of previous lives and to our positive minds, which are higher than and transcend the thoughts and actions of lower creatures. Through the experience of this present life we can guess how our previous lives worked, how the attempt to create the positive cause that brings such result with much difficulties was created in many other previous lives, and how the present life, and the freedom of happiness of the present life, was created in many previous lives—how there was a cause to bring such a happy, beneficial result. Our responsibility is what our future life will be. It is in the hand of the present life whether our future life will be suffering or will be peaceful and free.
It’s like this: like the radio, when you want to hear music you have to turn the dial to the music or the news and so forth. What comes is up to the dial. In the same way, the present life has much responsibility—it is like the dial of the radio. Whether we hear interesting music or news or boring music, news, or information is up to the dial. So the present life is very important. Even if you want to hear Dharma and such higher subjects, everything depends on turning the dial. Therefore, wasting this life is very dangerous—not only for the present life but for future lives as well.
It’s like this—without an electric company, there is no electricity to any other place, building, or country. There wouldn’t be light; it would be dark everywhere, and there would be no chance to work or to see things. It is the same thing if we waste our present life or use present life in the same way that lower creatures, dumb animals, do—using every action for ignorance, with negative mind, not creating any meaningful actions that bring higher advantage. This makes our future lives dark, black, without freedom and peace. It is the same when the electric company stops, and every place becomes dark.
Still, working for future lives is not the highest goal or the highest advantage, because still it is involved in suffering. It is necessary to escape from suffering. Therefore, to escape from suffering it is necessary to work to destroy the cause of suffering.
Releasing ourselves alone from suffering and gaining everlasting peace is still not the highest aim of human rebirth, of human beings. Not working to release other beings from the suffering they experience now and satisfying only ourselves in peace is selfish. Other sentient beings have the same desires, the same thoughts as we do, and experiencing great suffering. As we have freedom, we have the chance to be able to help them, to release them from suffering. Therefore that work should be done. In order to do that, it is necessary to be enlightened for the benefit of other sentient beings. Therefore the practice of the meditation course, the highest, actual aim of the meditation course is that—to receive enlightenment for the benefit of other sentient beings. Therefore it is necessary to have the purest, highest motivation or motivation for listening to the subject of the meditation course that brings this highest result. This work is the highest meaning of human life.
Right Impulse (Page 43)
It is important to discover how much meditation is useful and beneficial. The meditation you practice depends on motivation. It is a matter of pure motivation and impure motivation.
“Lower realm” means a rebirth as a lower being, a lower creature, but more explanation of this will come later.
“I am a yogi, I am holy, I am perfect.” For instance, just one example—a person who has no understanding of actual peace, no understanding of actual suffering, and no understanding of the methods that lead to ultimate peace does something without understanding. This is like trying to do a meditation and not understanding the actual meditation, not discovering the effect of the meditation, but thinking “I am doing great,” while not having any idea of the root of the practice, the motivation, the root of perfection, of ultimate peace, and thinking that the method is the perfect method to receive ultimate peace. Also this is like not having discipline in terms of our bodily actions, or in terms of the actions of our speech and mind, but trying to act and make the outside look like a yogi, like something special.
Anyway, the whole thing is this—without understanding these important points it is difficult for the whole action to become useful and bring ultimate peace. There is a danger that most of our actions will only create more samsara and more negative mind, planting the seeds to remain in the suffering cycle of death and rebirth longer. Therefore I am emphasizing these points.
Just talking a little bit about bodhicitta, as we talked about the bodhisattva—how much profit the bodhisattva’s pure motive, the Mahayana thought brings. This is the thought which makes more profit, which leads to actions that are more useful, beneficial, and effective, that are more powerful causes for bringing peace to ourselves and to other beings.
This Mahayana thought, this bodhicitta is the thought willing to receive enlightenment in order to enlighten other sentient beings. With the pure thought that is willing to give oneself up in order to enlighten other sentient beings, giving a bowl of food to an animal has much greater benefit, like incomprehensible space, much greater than offering charity or offering a world full of jewels to each sentient being without this bodhicitta. In terms of action, the action of giving jewels to each sentient being looks unimaginable, it seems that no greater charity than that could ever be made—but because there is no pure motive of bodhicitta, no matter how great that action looks, it doesn’t bring as great a benefit as even a small action done with pure bodhicitta thought. The difference is made by the amount of benefit. Discerning which action is more useful and beneficial is dependent on the creator and the motivation. In this way we can understand how the motivation is important, and how benefit does not entirely depend on the action that we do.
It’s like this—the more useful, beneficial, and powerful the actions are, the more quickly the person reaches enlightenment. That’s why Mahayana practice is the shortcut path to enlightenment. Anyway, with individual practices we can discover more; this can be experienced and proven.
This is what we should think when we meditate. In order to have less distractions for the meditation and to make the meditation more practical and more pure we should think this before the meditation.
The thing is this—if we don’t check up the mind before meditation, checking the motivation, there is a danger that we will use our meditation for the happiness of the temporal life, which means we are meditating in order to remain longer in samsara. So this is important, because in that way there is also danger in wasting time and life. Therefore, we should first check before meditating, or before any action in general, and try to be conscious of the thought—ask for what reason you are doing it, this is the most helpful thing. By checking the motivation, the creator of the action, you can make the action correct. You might think the action is positive before you check up. For example, like the thief who takes possessions knows that he is stealing, but doesn’t understand that he is creating a negative action, thinking instead that this is a good action that makes him happy and comfortable. It is possible to make mistakes in actions like this if you don’t check up first.
Actually, whatever meditation you are practicing is supposed to make you correct and pure—not evil, but holy. The practice you are doing is recognized as a holy action because it makes your mind holy as well as your body and speech pure and noble. Therefore, it is clear that it is important not to have mistakes in the action—in any action, and especially in the practice of meditation. Many people meditate but the way of practicing meditation, of making yourself pure, is through correcting your actions, making the actions of body, speech, and mind pure with the help of meditation. And through that you become pure, perfected, holy, noble, and enlightened. That is the purpose of meditation. No matter what meditation you are doing, it is supposed to affect you and work in that way. Whether you meditate on flower, sun, moon, whether you meditate on ego—whatever meditation you do should be beneficial in that way. Then that meditation becomes worthwhile.
Question: Are you saying that there is such thing as a pure thought, a state of pure thinking?
Answer: Yes there is—a lot of pure thinking. It is difficult to make a choice.
First of all it is like this—we want to meditate, but usually underneath, in the depths of our heart, if we check up, our motive is only concerned with our own life, with the comfort of this life and attachment to it. Most of the time we have this, if we check up. Every time we eat, sleep, or meditate we do so with this negative thought. It is quite difficult to recognize it, to see it, but it is there even though we think, “I don’t have negative thoughts, I have a pure motivation, my mind is clean.” However, most of the time this negative thought is underneath. By checking the motivation, first you discover that you have the negative thought. Then what should be done? It should be avoided, you should try to cultivate pure motivation, pure thought, and then you start the meditation and the meditation becomes pure, actual Dharma practice.
For instance, it is traditional all over the world to go to the temple and worship. Usually people think that this is a good action, a pure action, worshiping God. But if you check up on the motivation before you do the action, mostly you will discover that the motivation is impure, because even though you think, “I am doing some good thing,” your reason for doing it is the motivation, “Oh yes, it’s a special day, it’s pleasant to go, it’s nice to do.” Or sometimes your motivation may be to show yourself to other people. The whole point is that actually you are not worshiping God but yourself, because you do it for your own comfort, so you feel happy, pleasant. You are using the objects that you see. Even if you offer something, actually it is used for your own comfort and pleasure. It is the same as going to see the cinema. It is the same because you dress well, as nice as possible. When you go to the cinema, what you see and how you dress is for you own pleasure. It is the same thing going to church with this motive—bringing nice things and so forth are all done for you. From the point of view of the Buddhadharma, this is not recognized as a pure offering, it is recognized as a dirty offering, because it is actually dirty. Even if your offering, whatever the material is, is dirty, that is not the real dirt. The motive is actually dirty, and that inner dirt is much worse than the outer dirt because it is the source of suffering, problems, confusion, and the source of making life unhappy. Also, it is the destroyer of ultimate peace and even ordinary peace for future lives. If you check up with wisdom, it is the same as going to see the cinema—you can see that it is the same—something used for your own pleasure even though you think you are doing something good.
Any action or practice of meditation, even if you are in the toilet or wherever you are, when your action is done with a pure motivation, that is the actual, true worship. This is because the actual purpose of worship, making charity, and offering, is to achieve ultimate peace. That’s why positive actions are the best kind of worship, because these positive actions bring the real peace of enlightenment without causing danger to ourselves or to other beings. Within the two types of worship, the external one causes danger to oneself, and by this it indirectly causes danger to other beings.
Any pure action of body, speech, or mind can be a meditation. These positive actions are the real worship, because these are the actions that the enlightened beings wish us to do—such as following the laws of karma, avoiding negative actions as much as possible and trying to create positive actions as much as possible—this is the best worship and the best offering to the enlightened beings, to the Triple Gem of the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, and to the holy beings. It pleases them if you do these actions as they wish, as they instruct in their teachings. And these kinds of actions, such as observing karma, avoiding negative actions and creating positive actions with pure motivation is also the work of other sentient beings. It also brings ultimate peace for other sentient beings and helps them to be released from suffering.
Anyway, it is not necessary to talk much.
Question: How is it possible to create this positive action when we meditate to become more centered and feel happy?
Answer: If the basic thought that creates the action is detached from the happiness of the temporal life and if the mind is concerned with other beings’ suffering and does the action for that reason, it is not negative. Being nervous with a negative mind is always disturbing to oneself and to other beings, so try to stay away from that nervous negative mind, that’s always good.
When you discover that negative thought in your mind, think like this to change the motivation. In order to change the motivation you have to see it, recognize it as a negative, evil, harmful thought, and as the cause of suffering. If you recognize it in this way then you will have the will to change it, but if you do not recognize it as the cause of suffering then you may continue to do it. This, then, is the method to recognize evil thoughts and deal with them (see paragraph three, page 43).
“... and finish with spiteful, distracted, deluded minds.”
Finish what? For example, imagine that one person is always bothering my attainment of peace, always disturbing me and causing problems. In order to stop the problem, the mind is spiteful of the harmful actions that he does to me, and being spiteful I should want to kill and destroy him. In the same way we should work with the negative mind. This is just an example to show us how to work with the negative mind—I am not saying it is exactly the same. The main enemy, the main disturbance, is not the person but the negative thought. We destroy other people, disturb their perfection and comforts—but instead of doing this we should disturb the negative mind, which is the real enemy. By eradicating this mind we can stop all problems with living beings and with non-living things. With no problems, no confusion, there is freedom. Wherever we go there is always peace—peace doesn’t depend on the place—it is a mental thing, not a country or apartment. Such ultimate peace is a state of mind. Even if a peaceful person is in such a complicated war, still the person is at peace. Even if others are suffering with worries and much confusion, the person who did such work always has peace.
This is the method to recognize the negative though as evil and disturbing. By using this method, dislike and spitefulness toward this negative thought arise. Just as in the example—when we think of the enemy, we think, “He is disturbing me more and more. One day he did this, another day he said that.” We think more and more of this person and what he has done to us, and as we think more and more in this way hatred for this person arises and comes out of here, and as it comes out of here our face changes, we can no longer sit on the bed, but have to do something. It is always worthwhile to work with the evil thought in this way, while the other action [of generating hatred toward the enemy] is never worthwhile. This action never gives harm, always keeps our mind in peace—creating peace in one’s mind without expense.
The person who is checking like this and meditating like this is wise. The ordinary mind being spiteful to other sentient beings instead of with to one’s own negative mind, thinking how to disturb other beings and being angry, is unwise, unskillful, the cause of suffering, and a distraction to other one’s own and others’ peace.
So once the hatred of the negative mind arises, by following this method of remembering the harmful actions of the negative mind, then meditate on the breath.
(Page 43 (a))
It is quite useful when the mind is distracted, or at a very low level, to use this breathing meditation and then meditate on higher subjects.
How does this help? The technique is this—concentration on the breath is easier than concentration on other objects, and there are many other meditations. In order to keep the mind out of distractions, this object is easy for the mind to concentrate upon.
Also, starting to meditate at a time when we are angry or very greedy is very difficult. During that time the mind is not the place for meditation, because that place in the mind is occupied by greed or anger. In this case it is difficult to easily start the meditation.
Even in terms of the person who tries to practice and meditate on patience—when that person is angry it is difficult to accept patience. In the same way the meditation cannot be started straight away in a mind occupied by greed, anger, or other negative, evil thoughts.
Pure thought and impure thought cannot both be at the same place in the mind at the same time, just as two people cannot sit in one person’s place at the same time while this one person is there. In order for one person to sit in another’s place the first person has to get up. Just telling him to get up, “You get up,” will not make him get up, so you have to tell something so that he well get up and leave a place to sit. For example you could say, “There’s some beautiful things happening outside,” or something like that—playing tricky with that person. In the same way we have to play tricky with the negative mind by using the breathing meditation to make a place for our further meditations.
First, recognize the negative thought, then remember the faults, and allow the dislike of negative mind and the desire to avoid these things arise. Then do the breathing meditation. After you do the breathing meditation the mind is not virtuous and not evil—it is in between, like the seat is empty after the person gets up—if you check up, you will see that the mind is indifferent. Then the mind is much more relaxed, more quiet than before and there is space for meditation.
But if the breathing meditation is done with purification it is more beneficial than just the concentration on the breath. If it can be done with purification it is more beneficial. And also, according to your individual faith and devotion to the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, to the bodhisattvas, the arhats, and the holy beings, you can visualize that you are receiving their knowledge in the form of light, and by the practice of this meditation you can receive their blessings in accordance with your individual level of devotion.
What about receiving blessings? What is the reason? The more blessings are received, the more they take in the person’s mind, and the more quickly that person’s realizations can be developed. The person will find it easier to receive realizations. It is possible, like this. In ancient times there were many pagans, many anti-Buddhists, who had many thousands of texts learnt by heart but had no realizations. Still the mind was not purified; it was still very gross and impure.
So anyway, when the breathing meditation is done in this way it becomes more meaningful and more powerful for whatever meditation you are going to do next.
Checking Meditation (Page 44)
This page is about the need for the checking meditation. For instance, the graded path of enlightenment has to be achieved by depending on the two forms of meditation. Checking meditation is meditation that is made with the support of logic, by reasoning, trying to prove, trying to clearly see the object of the meditation through many different types of logic and reasons. For instance, it’s like this—if there is a person who is a thief, then we try to see him as a thief through reasoning. We think, “He’s a thief because in such and such a place, at such and such a time, he took such and such a thing.” By reasoning like this, we see this person as a thief.
For instance, in terms of Guru Shakyamuni, we think that he is truly the Enlightened One because he showed the whole path to great numbers of ancient pandits, and great yogis. They also followed this path; they checked with their wisdom and they followed the path and practiced it. As they did so they received realizations as Guru Shakyamuni explained and experienced. So Guru Shakyamuni’s great number of followers proved that he was truly enlightened because they also became truly enlightened through the path that was shown by him. The great pandits of India and Nepal have also shown the path to the Tibetan yogis by their realizations, and those yogis also achieved the experience of the path. So this proves that Guru Shakyamuni was the enlightened being, and that his teachings are true. Why is he an enlightened being? Because the teachings and path shown by him are true. Even now there are great numbers of beings who are experiencing the result of these meditations that we are going to try and practice.
The other kind of meditation is samadhi meditation, which means focusing on one object without doing the checking, following meditation.
(Checking meditation: Tib. che’gom; following meditation: Tib. zhu’ gom)
It is certain that if we study the teachings shown by Guru Shakyamuni and also practice with the mind, through this, gradually, everything can be proven by yourself, with your wisdom, as Guru Shakyamuni explained. Many things, such as the existence of beginningless life, of absolute nature, of karma, can be proven with your understanding, wisdom, and practice. Study alone is not enough, experience of the realization of the meditations has to come through correct practice. But for us to clearly see as Guru Shakyamuni explained, we should study and listen to the teachings from the guru with correct understanding, and practice them through meditation. In this way we can fully discover as the mind approaches the gradual levels of the path.
Why is there the need for study, listening, practice of the meditation, all these works? Because it is a new subject, a new path that our mind didn’t travel before, a new experience, a path on which our mind has never made a trip. Therefore, the mind has to be familiar, has to be habituated to this path through the practice of meditation.
It’s like this, so without doing all these things, contradicting and saying, “There is no such thing as past and future lives, no such object, no such thing as mind which is formless, not matter, no such thing, no such thing as reality; no such thing as path.” Anyway, this is like this: contradicting like this is like me trying to contradict people who landed on the moon, saying, “They never landed on the moon, they never saw such a place as that.” But if I go in a rocket then I discover. So we have to try anyway, make the experiment; like scientists who made experiments with non-living things, living things, many things—they try to make the experiment and see, they have to work for the experiment, it doesn’t come like that. So just like Buddhadharma, if I talk like that—”They didn’t land on the moon,” you see me as foolish, as deeply ignorant. So it is the same thing contradicting what the Enlightened One explained. It is like this—I cannot contradict because it is their experience to land on the moon. How I contradict their experience? All the new subjects of the Dharma are the experience of Guru Shakyamuni, which his holy, omniscient mind saw. Without reaching the same level as his holy mind, we cannot contradict his experience.
Simply talking like this: without the guru, even though we read a book it is difficult to receive realizations of the meditations. Also, there is the danger that we will make mistakes in the practices if we do not check our experiences. This is necessary also in Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana teachings, whatever the practice. In the Vajrayana it is the most important thing, especially in the guru yoga practice. There is no way to achieve the shortcut without having the guru. For instance, in the Vajrayana teachings one has to receive enlightenment through the practice of the special methods of the different deities, through initiation from the guru—so without the guru enlightenment is impossible, and achievement of the Vajrayana path is impossible.
Also in the Mahayana teaching, the follower has to receive realizations and achieve the goal through teachings from the guru’s experiences. There is much to talk about it, but slowly.
This is a big wrong conception, thinking that any thought is a disturbance, that any thought should be cut off. There’s no way to practice the graduated path by completely cutting thought, never having thought. Practicing by cutting thought is impossible since the mind has to be conscious of something, some object. As the mind is conscious of something there is always thought. Even if you are just thinking about emptiness, the mind is conscious of that object. The cognitionless, sleeping mind is not called meditation—otherwise all those deep sleeps should be called meditation, the states of mind of all those animals. Then meditation becomes easy, and you don’t become tired, don’t need books, or the guru. The animals practice so well—dogs, pigs. It is not possible, actually, living the daily life, working, and cutting all thoughts, not thinking anything. How can this be possible?
Anyway, it is important to check up this kind of meditation that tries to think that nothing exists. It is extremely difficult, anyway, to develop the mind, to develop wisdom with this kind of meditation. It is impossible that such practice can help develop wisdom. Wisdom realizes something, some subtle object beyond matter, beyond what you see. With this kind of meditation, there is no way to make less negative mind. Such method can never destroy negative mind, make less greed, ignorance, or hatred, or destroy the ignorance that is the root of all negative minds.
The total thing is this—the reason that method, thinking that nothing exists, trying to cut off all thoughts, doesn’t eradicate or diminish ignorance is because it cannot help in order to prove that the object of the ignorant mind is not true, is false. For instance, by thinking, “I don’t exist, there is no me,” does that help to solve the problem? You think you don’t exist, but when you are in the problem you think, “I”, “I”, “I.” So that meditation doesn’t solve the problems of daily life—sleeping, eating, working, making pee-pee—all those things that are included in daily life—feeling hungry, thirsty, liking and being dissatisfied, pain, feeling cold and hot, many things. By only thinking this, this problem cannot be cut off.
If it is logical and true, as this practice, these problems should be ceased, cut off, and there is no reason for these daily life problems to arise. Because there is no “I,” how can there be daily life problems? It is not like a miraculous person, such as when a magician transforms an object with the power of mantra. That miraculous person doesn’t exist—it is created by a magician, it doesn’t exist, doesn’t have problems. That lady or man, whatever it is, doesn’t have mind, or life, or problems. We are not like that. That kind of object is seen due to the illusive sense of the eye, powered by the mantra of the magician. It’s like the person whose eye sense organ is defective, and who sees a double moon. The double moon doesn’t exist, because the whole eye, the organ that doesn’t have any defect, can see only one moon.
It is important to check up how whatever action of meditation we do helps the mind. Does it help the mind, that is, decrease the negative mind, decrease greed, ignorance, and hatred? Because by decreasing this we create peace, build peace bigger and bigger in our mind, as we diminish the negative mind more and more. Otherwise, if it doesn’t help the purpose of decreasing the negative mind, decreasing suffering, what’s the point of doing that meditation? Better to do some other thing. For instance, when I get angry with the person, thinking that he doesn’t exist there doesn’t help to diminish or stop the anger; or thinking that I don’t exist doesn’t help to stop the anger.
Anyway, even if we spent eons and eons, ages and ages, in such meditation, we can never harm even a tiny atom of the wrong conception, the ignorant wrong conception of the self-existent-”I”, or of self-”I” consciousness. This is the source of all suffering, all ignorance, all delusions. Any action or meditation that we practice is supposed to be a method to harm or destroy the wrong conception of the self-existent “I” consciousness, either directly or indirectly. As long as it doesn’t harm this wrong conception we can never purify the wrong view of such wrong conception, we can never release ourselves from total suffering, we can never get out of the circle of the problem.
This kind of practice is like this—having a thief in your house stealing food, and always thinking that there is no thief, meditating there is no thief will never help to stop him from stealing. As he steals food there is none left for you—then there is a problem, you are creating a problem for yourself. By thinking this, instead of solving the problem you only increase it. You end up with no food left in the house. For instance, it is the same thing if we are in a place on fire, experiencing much burning and much suffering, and trying to think that there is no fire, no burning, no suffering. This doesn’t stop it, that is not the method. No matter how much time we spend, even eons, thinking like this, the problem of fire burning us will never cease. In order to cease this problem of suffering, which arises from contacting the fire, it is necessary to follow a true method that cuts off the cause of that suffering. It is wise to seek such a method as that which is the experience of Guru Shakyamuni and those ancient great yogis, a method that is explained by them with the experience that they achieved. This is wise.
Maitreya is the buddha to whom Guru Shakyamuni handed down the graded path of extensiveness, which means method. This is Maitreya giving instruction on how to study and practice the Dharma.
Without correctly listening there will not be correct understanding. Without correct understanding there will not be transcendental wisdom, there is no way for the transcendental wisdom to arise. So it’s really important at the very beginning, before you make the decision to follow a certain method, to put your life in that, it is important to check up to see if it is a real method, a true path which leads to the cessation of suffering. Without checking, just following it due to hearing that there is something, method or meditation, without checking it in this way, there is the danger that you will meet the wrong method, and that it will lead you the wrong way and you will waste your life. This is like a dog seeing meat, running to it and just eating it without checking, and then after he gets sick, vomits, gets pain in the stomach, many things. In order to not be like this example, the checking is important.
For instance it is like this: if someone is going to do samadhi meditation, the meditation of quiescence, first it is important to receive the techniques of that meditation correctly from a guru who has the experience of that meditation. Then listen correctly and you check up, make yourself clearly understand the subjects. Then practice it. Without having completely clear understanding of the subject from an experienced guru, even if you go somewhere and try to practice you will always find and not know the cause, you will not achieve the meditation, not know how to develop concentration or treat the mind, not know which method should be used with different thoughts.
Page 44 (a)
This is also wrong conception, thinking that all meditation is like samadhi meditation, that all meditations are one-pointedness, that one specific meditation is the whole meditation. This is like the example of seeing one man and thinking that all lamas are like that.
Also Guru Tsongkhapa, who is a manifestation of the Buddha of Wisdom, Manjushri, and is the founder of one sect in Tibet, and also the author of the teaching that we practice, said, “Picking up one specific meditation like samadhi meditation and saying all meditations are one-pointedness is like picking up one grain and saying that all grains are like this one grain.”
First we do the physical postures as we did last night, the seven forms of the physical posture. First, cross-legged; then back straight; neck a little bent; shoulders straight; the right hand on the left with the palms up; keep the eyes on the tip of the nose; keep the teeth loose and the tip of the tongue contacting the upper palate; keep the breath natural.
Check up your motivation to see if it’s evil, indifferent, or virtuous.
If there is negative motivation, strongly grasping or attached to temporal comforts, think, “This is the source of all suffering, this is the enemy that has been causing all the sufferings in all the previous lifetimes, and it has been always interrupting the achievement of enlightenment, ultimate peace, nirvana, and all the other perfections. While I have received human rebirth and met the Buddhadharma, the Mahayana teaching, and have had the chance to practice and achieve enlightenment, this negative thought, besides causing suffering in previous lifetimes, even now it is disturbing, interrupting the arising of these advantages, it is interrupting and causing me to lose such precious freedom and chance. If I do not destroy this evil thought it will carry on harming me, also causing suffering in the future lifetimes. I will never follow this evil thought.”
Now think, the wrong conceptions of the self-”I,” the self-cherishing mind, dualistic thought, and all obscurations are in the form of fog coming out through the right nostril. Try to feel emptiness in the body and mind—the emptiness of obscurations and delusions—nowhere existing, like the fog went away from the valley, and the fog, the essence of which is the delusions, went beyond this world and disappeared, became nowhere existing.
From all the enlightened beings, bodhisattvas, and arhats, all the holy beings who are in the ten directions, I am receiving all their knowledge and supreme powers and compassion in the form of light, which is coming in the left nostril.
Now your whole body is filled up with light, the essence of which is the knowledge of the holy beings, and think that you have received all the realizations from the guru yoga practice up to enlightenment. Your whole body becomes transparent like light, like a water bubble.
Try to feel infinite pleasure.
Do this two more times, and vice-versa, purifying from the left nostril and receiving knowledge through the right nostril, three times.
Do three times purification through both nostrils, receiving knowledge in the form of white light coming in through both nostrils.
In front of you, straight from your forehead, in space, the same height from the ground as the height from the ground to your forehead, visualize a very large square throne adorned with many jewels, held up by eight white snow lions, two on each side, facing each other. On the throne visualize a lotus, an open lotus, not a closed lotus; and visualize a moon, flat and luminous. Then visualize a sun, flat, round, and shining. Visualize Guru Shakyamuni in the form of bhikshu sitting on it. You can visualize as large as possible, this doesn’t have to be visualized small, and he shouldn’t be visualized as a statue or as an ordinary man. You should visualize his holy body as a body of light with golden color, and wearing robes that do not touch the body but remain four inches from the skin. He is very beautiful looking, with a smiling face and a small little ball on top of the head. His hairs curve from left to right, they are not mixed like ordinary people’s hair, and they are very soft and black, very dark. The eyes are long and small and looking at you. But also, when you look at him you see he is looking at you, but he is looking also at other sentient beings in the different directions, and you can also see that he is looking at them. This is also the power of the Enlightened One that we have not achieved. His legs are crossed, and his left hand is palm up at the navel, holding a bowl in his palm with nectars in it, non-deluded nectars, and his right palm is upside down on the right knee.
He is surrounded by rays, actually beaming, the rays beaming to all the realms of sentient beings in all the universes, but we see the rays as the length of the two hands stretched out, beaming rays that long. And through the rays numberless Guru Shakyamunis the size of atoms or molecules come out of his holy body and to the realms of sentient beings, working for them by showing different methods. And also countless Guru Shakyamunis return to his holy body through the rays after finishing working for sentient beings. It’s like a big office, people coming out and going in, or a bunch of people going in and coming out.
And his holy mind fully sees every living being and every non-living existence, and fully sees every sentient beings’ desire and thought at the same time, the whole time.
And his holy body transforms into countless billions and billions of transformations, and works for sentient beings by showing different methods.
His holy speech has knowledge that can show the Dharma in the native language of different sentient beings and explain the Dharma in their language according to the different levels their minds.
Totally, his holy speech has also power as his holy body and holy mind. Also, his holy body has power of his holy speech and holy mind. And it is the same thing with his holy mind, which means his holy speech can also take many billions of different manifestations. It is the same thing with his holy mind and holy body.
Now visualize light rays coming out of his holy body and absorbing into your body, purifying all the mental defilements. All the mental defilements are dissolved in the form of darkness as the light is received and absorbed in the body. Think that you are receiving all of the knowledge of Guru Shakyamuni’s holy body, speech, and mind in the form of light.
So, repeat the prayer, and the mantra. The prayer includes taking refuge, prostrating, making offerings, and asking the buddhas to grant blessings. Recite the mantra in order to receive the infinite supreme knowledge of his holy body, speech, and mind. Your body becomes oneness with his holy body, your speech one with his holy speech, and your mind becomes oneness with his holy mind.
Repeat this prayer and mantra with the visualization of Guru Shakyamuni as you did before, with the rays coming out of his holy body, the rays that are the essence of his infinite supreme knowledge, great compassion, and supreme powers. You are receiving it, and as you are receiving it you are purifying all your mental defilements that are interruptions to the realizations.
TADYA THA means "it is like this."
OM has many meanings; it is for auspiciousness and success, but totally it includes the whole knowledge of Buddha, the Enlightened One’s holy body, speech, and mind. All the enlightened knowledge is included in the meaning of OM.
Anyway, the meaning of just the OM, if it is going to be explained, it is not something that can be finished within a life. It takes many lives to be able to achieve the teaching of what OM contains, the knowledge of what this syllable letter contains. When we achieve enlightenment we have completed the knowledge that OM contains.
MUNÉ means control or ability. There are two meanings—control, control, which means power or ability.
MAHA means great; MAHAMUNA-YE means great control.
SVAHA means to receive the blessings of his holy body, speech, and mind, and to absorb them within our mind.
This is just a very brief meaning of the mantra so that we have some idea when we recite the mantra.
The first “control” of the three is control over the suffering of the three lower realms; that means the realms of the three lower creatures. There are different types of suffering sentient beings: one type is called preta, and one is animal, and one type is the narak being. “Narak” is a Sanskrit term—in English this means “hell,” the hell beings. There are three types of lower suffering beings, so this means having control of the uncontrolled experience of these sufferings—the sufferings of pretas, animals, and narak realms.
The second “control” is control over samsaric suffering, control over the ignorance that is the root of the suffering.
Three is “great control;” this means control over the dualistic mind, the subtle dualistic thoughts.
Also the three “controls” can be like this:
1. The wrong conception of the self-”I”,
2. The control of the self-cherishing mind,
3. And the control of the dualistic mind.
This means he has complete achievement of the pure stage, not having any defects of these three negative minds. As he has those three total achievements, control, and knowledge, we are requesting him in order to grant these three controls, knowledge, that he has achieved, to us.
So by this we become enlightened as he is, and enlighten other sentient beings as he enlightened other sentient beings.
Anyway the whole teaching, the whole path, the whole knowledge that Guru Shakyamuni has is included in this mantra. All the past buddhas received enlightenment through this mantra as well as the present buddha, and also the future buddha, and enlightenment cannot be received without achieving the knowledge that is included in this mantra. Also, through the practice of the Mahayana thought training, the graded path, we are trying to achieve the different levels of knowledge of the enlightened being that are included in the meaning of this mantra.
Again visualize Guru Shakyamuni as we did before.
Now think, “He accepted and he is pleased as we requested him to grant this infinite knowledge of his holy body, speech, and mind, and as we requested him that our body, speech and mind become one with his holy body, speech, and mind.” The throne, including the white snow lions erecting the throne, gradually absorbs into the lotus, then into the moon, sun, and that is absorbed into Guru Shakyamuni. Now think that Guru Shakyamuni comes down on the center of your head and absorbs into you, and your body becomes one with his holy body, and your speech one with his holy speech, and your mind one with his holy mind. The whole impure body, speech, and mind is completely purified, nowhere existing, like becoming a new being, and the whole body is of golden light as we visualized before.
Try to think that you really became the real Guru Shakyamuni, having all the perfected forms and knowledge, sitting on a throne, lotus, moon, and sun.
Also repeat the dedication prayer:
ge.wa di. yi nyur.du dag
la.ma thub.wang dub.gyur ne
do.wa chig.kyang ma.lu.pa
kyo.kyi sa.la go.par shog
The meaning of this prayer is this: “May I quickly achieve the state of Guru Shakyamuni in order to lead every and all sentient beings to his enlightened stage due to these merits.”
The merit is this—for instance, today we listen to teachings and meditate with pure motivation—any action that is created with pure motivation we dedicate the merits for the sake of all sentient beings.
There are many reasons to dedicate the merits. One reason is that if the merits are dedicated to be able to achieve enlightenment, then any negative thoughts cannot destroy the merits or make the merits incapable of bringing the result, just as the grain burnt by fire has no ability to bring the stems and the results. It is the same thing—if you don’t dedicate the merits, you created many merits, and don’t stop the worst negative mind of anger and heresy from arising, then these can destroy the merits and stop them from bringing enlightenment. So it is important to dedicate the merits also for that reason.
Also in this way the merits that we create are sacrificed, given up for the sake of sentient beings, because we dedicate the merits to be enlightened only for the sake of sentient beings. This action is part of the bodhisattva’s deeds. Anyway, it is a powerful practice for purifying such things as miserliness—we cannot have miserliness for any possession, so besides not having miserliness for any possession we cannot be attached to any possession. Dedicating the merits is a great bodhisattva action.
Generally it is karma that when one does some good thing there is disturbance either from the outside or from our own inside. So one time in the life, taking the meditation course, it is good to try the best we can.