Kopan Course No. 07 (1974)

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

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

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

Refuge (conclusion)

Day Twenty-four
Friday, 29th November

Student: How do you tell what is a projection or is everything a projection?
Rinpoche: Everything is a projection; everything seen by sentient beings is a projection.
Student: So from an enlightened point of view there is no concept whatsoever. In other words would an enlightened person see this tent, would there by any phenomena?
Rinpoche: Just a matter of pure projection and impure projection.
Student: Do enlightened beings see objects?
Rinpoche: There is not even one atom of physical phenomena that enlightened beings don’t see. As we discussed yesterday, like this. Because the mind is not purified, things are perceived in an ordinary way. For the enlightened being, because his mind is completely purified, there is no such impurity that is perceived by them. For them, all the ugliness that we see is perceived only as beauty, the non-tasty, unsweet taste that we perceive, the unsweet taste is perceived as only sweet, only blissful. Only in blissful nature. Same thing with sound—the uninteresting, unsweet sound that is perceived by us is perceived by the buddhas as the blissful nature of sweet sound. It is the same thing with the object of contact.

For instance, with objects we sometimes feel pleasure, sometimes indifference, sometimes suffering. There are different feelings that we get by contacting object—unsmooth, rough, different things like this. Cold and hot, things like that. For the enlightened being, there is no such thing as hot or cold or rough, different things like this. They only feel blissful nature. For the buddhas there is no one single impurity the size of an atom, no such impurity. Why? Because he has completed the whole purification and accumulation of merits. That is the reason there is not one size or atom of impurity for buddhas. That is the result of making the complete purification and the accumulation of merits. At the moment we are ordinary being, so always everything, most of the things that we see, for us are in the impure view, always impure view. They are in the impure view because they are a projection of the impure mind. Also, there is continual purification and creating merits by following the path through meditation, and gradually the person’s impure view and impure mind is purified, and becomes thinner and thinner. Such as, for instance, the great yogi Sakya Pandita, who is recognized as the transformation of the Buddha of Wisdom. Sakya is the name of one of the Tibetan sects. His guru was Takpa Ganzen. His guru took the form of being terribly sick for a long time, and the disciple Sakya Pandita, day and night, renouncing sleep, said prayers for his guru when he was sick, always looking after him, without caring about his own pleasure or anything. He perfectly followed his guru, renouncing his distracting actions. He did this for a long time without caring about the impurities, the dirtiness when his Guru was sick. Then he received the yoga practice, the guru yoga practice of the Buddha of Wisdom, the guru yoga practice through Manjushri. This means the guru yoga meditation to practice with Manjushri, the Buddha of Wisdom. Afterwards, practicing this guru yoga, renouncing even distracting actions such as sleeping and laziness, completely taking care, offering service without discriminating between clean and dirty things, due to such strong purification he quickly achieved the guru yoga practice and he actually saw Manjushri, the Buddha of Wisdom, as his guru Takpa Ganzen. There are many things.

Actually this story is very, very long but the last part is very short. I think most people know it; the story of the great yogi Tilopa and Naropa. Anyway, it is a very long story. For many years, I think about twelve years, the Pandit Naropa had been trying to get teachings. He spent much time trying to find his Guru Tilopa, this great yogi who is the real Vajradhara. Vajradhara is another manifestation of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha actually. Some people may not understand what Vajradhara means. So just to find his Guru Tilopa, he spent much time. First he had very hard time finding him. There is a long story talking about the predictions he got in his dreams. Then after he met his guru, for many years, I think about twelve years, he followed his Guru Tilopa wherever he went. Instead of giving teaching, this story becomes bit long. At the beginning, the very first time he found Tilopa, he had doubt whether it was Tilopa or not, because outside he didn’t look like Tilopa—like I explained Milarepa before, he was very ugly, poor looking. This was his appearance, a naked body, not having good colors, and he didn’t look like a learned person, somehow he just looked very simple, like a beggar. A very poor beggar. Something very simple. So he had doubt about whether this was Tilopa, thinking maybe it was not. Sometimes when he asked Tilopa, sometimes he said yes, sometimes he said no. So he was never sure. But still he tried to follow him wherever he went, so instead of giving teachings, he always gave many problems, much work, not just simple work but work that causes problems between Naropa and other people, work that brings problems and causes fighting, people beating him, things like this, many times. Anyway, he followed Tilopa and again when they met together Tilopa told Naropa to do something. There was a collection, a heap of wood, and he told him to make a fire and ask if anyone can be burned, inside this fire. Then Naropa had to accept that he could burn himself. Then burning himself in the fire, sometimes instead of getting teachings, he got much pain and sickness. Then after some time he recovered. Besides this, also one day he followed Tilopa and when they met he told Naropa to jump out of a building, from the top of a very high house. Tilopa asked Naropa if there was anyone who could jump from there. Again he had to jump from the precipice of the roof. Again as his body fell down there was pain and he could not move, had much difficulty, but he didn’t die somehow. After some time he was cured again, and again he followed Tilopa, and again they got together, and one day Tilopa told Naropa to bring the soup that was cooked in the family’s house, in the pot. So he went to get the soup while it was cooking in the family’s house. Then he had to bring the soup with the pot to Tilopa. As Naropa was going to take it, to bring it, the people who saw him taking beat him. Then after some time as he continuously followed Tilopa, there was a marriage going on, a wedding, and they were bringing the wife in the square carriage. As they met together, Tilopa sent him to catch the wife and wrap the breast. So again he went and grabbed and wrapped the breast. All the people attacked him and beat him, and almost killed him. He got in trouble like this many times, many times. He went through so much difficulty, but somehow he didn’t die. He went through big problems, big difficulties, but soon got cured, the body got better. Once after some time, because it had happened many times, and he had much experience, he thought, “I can do this, it doesn’t matter, I won’t die.” He thought this, expecting his guru Tilopa to bless him and cure him, and when he thought this, his pains didn’t go away quickly. Somehow something was not right in his way of thinking. So that time his pain didn’t go away, it lasted for some time. There were difficulties like this many times—he became so that he could not walk, with pains all over, having wounds, and then after one difficulty was done, again he was cured by the blessing of Tilopa, and again he told him to do another thing, to go through another problem. They again he got sick, got pain, and then again after the blessing he was cured.

Finally, after all these difficulties, one day as they were the ground walking, he asked, “If you want a teaching, first offer a mandala.” There was no water on that ground, so Naropa he peed on the sand and then shaped the sand and used it for an offering mandala. Then his Guru Tilopa threw the mandala in Naropa’s face. All of a sudden, after he threw the mandala in his face, all of a sudden Tilopa asked Naropa to look in the sky, and Tilopa manifested the mandala of the deity Heruka,. Tilopa himself manifested, transformed into the mandala and the deity. He himself manifested in that way and initiated his disciple Naropa. After going through many difficulties, the last thing was this. The essence of the story is that even though Naropa saw Tilopa like that, ugly looking, actually was just a projection, just the way it looks from the other side, from the other peoples view. Tilopa was actually Vajradhara or Heruka. The proof of that was that he himself manifested in the deity’s mandala, as Heruka. Then, showing this clearly to Naropa, he initiated him. However at the beginning he gave him much trouble, not giving teachings always giving him many orders to do this and that, very difficult things. In one way this was checking whether he was a serious disciple and in one way this was purification before giving initiation. The main thing that we should understand is that the views can change, can become more pure and higher, as the level of mind goes higher through purification. There are many stories like this that happened in India and Tibet, stories of those ancient yogis.

The action, the knowledge of the action of the holy speech of the buddha is like this. In the realms of the suras there is no actual buddha in nirmanakaya manifestation giving teachings as happened on the human earth, in this world. It is difficult to have contact as human beings have, seeing Guru Shakyamuni Buddha in the manifestation of the nirmanakaya, really receive teachings like this. But according to their karma they have a drum that doesn’t need anyone to beat. The drum is intuitive, and it makes a sound spontaneously, the sound of explaining Dharma. It talks about impermanence, selflessness, suffering, emptiness—like this, the subjects explained through the drum sounds, such explanation comes, because the suras don’t have the karma to receive the oral teachings directly. Also there are things, sometimes trees, also in previous times it happened like this. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha showed the teaching through the noise of the trees blowing in the wind for certain beings whose level of mind or fortune fits this method. He explained the teaching in that way, through many different methods. Explaining the teaching through the sound of the drum, things like this, persuades those who are a little bit fortunate, suras to create good karma, to be close to nirvana.

The knowledge of the action of Buddha’s omniscient mind causes sentient beings to create good karma by showing the different methods. Sentient beings creating good karma is the action of the Buddha’s omniscient mind. The enlightened beings’ benefit, work for sentient beings by showing different methods without impulse as we do things with impulse, they do these things without impulse, without effort. Just like this. When the moon rises above the earth in reflects in water—all kinds of different streams, lakes, dew on the grass, different types of water—but there is just one moon. As one moon rises it reflects without any effort everywhere, in lakes, streams, rivers, water dew—wherever there is water, it reflects. The reflection of moon comes without effort in numberless bodies of water at the same time. The moon doesn’t have to try to put effort to appear in each body of water. It doesn’t need effort. The way the enlightened beings work for sentient beings is like this. It is impossible to create good karma without depending on the actions of the omniscient mind. At the moment it will be quite difficult to understand, but slowly as we try to understand, we can understand.

The knowledge of the Buddha is just briefly like this.

Now the knowledge of the Dharma. We briefly talked about the knowledge of Buddha who has incredible, unimaginable knowledge of holy speech, body and mind. Even just one tiny part of his holy body, one pore, has infinite knowledge. Where did this infinite knowledge come from? What has created it? It came from the Dharma, from the jewel Dharma. If you want to understand the knowledge of Dharma and the Buddha that we have been talking about, that Buddha is created by the Dharma jewel, it came from the Dharma jewel, from the realizations such as the cessation of the obscurations, suffering, and the true path that leads to the cessation of suffering and the oral teaching that explains about the path and enlightenment and the nature of samsara. The foundation, the nature of suffering. From this Dharma, the Buddha who has infinite knowledge happened. Even just by thinking of this, we can think that the jewel Dharma has incredible knowledge, we can think in this way, understanding the knowledge of Buddha. The more we understand the knowledge of Buddha, that much more we understand the knowledge of Dharma. It is all the power of the Dharma.

Student: Does that mean, is there any way it is possible for Guru Shakyamuni Buddha to not give teachings to anyone who is ready from their side to receive them?
Rinpoche: It is possible that Guru Shakyamuni gives teaching, for instance, to you, whenever you are ready.
Student: Is being ready from my side the most important thing. Is there choice from his side?
Rinpoche: His choice comes with you. His choice comes according to your karma. If that did not depend on karma—our receiving enlightenment, our escaping from samsara is not up to Buddha, it is up to us. Up to the individual. If it were up to the enlightened beings there wouldn’t be any sentient beings left. I wouldn’t have to explain, and we wouldn’t have to take the meditation course.

When we think of the knowledge of Dharma, even if you think like this, make the connection. First of all check up Buddha’s knowledge, where the Buddha who has infinite knowledge came from. This came from the jewel Dharma, the absolute Dharma, the cessation of suffering and the true path that leads to that and the oral teaching that explains the path, explains the suffering nature, the path to enlightenment. Thinking like this is very, very useful, making connections like this. If you think in this way, if you understand the knowledge, you see a little bit of the knowledge of Dharma. Also thinking like this, we see the usefulness of practicing Dharma. Otherwise there is the feeling in the depth of our heart that Buddha’s knowledge was not received from Dharma but is some kind of intuitive, eternal self-existent thing that is always there. Not coming from Dharma, not caused by Dharma, but something that is always there, self-existent. Instead of thinking in that way, it is more useful to think that it came from the Dharma. It just opens our wisdom, makes the benefits of the Dharma, how it is greatly beneficial for sentient beings, and how the Dharma is precious more understandable.

In the part on the meditative action of Buddha’s omniscient mind there is the refuge prayer, La.ma Sang.gya Lama.ch’o, on page nine. This goes together. This has a relationship—by understanding the knowledge of how the Buddha’s omniscient mind works for sentient beings, also you can understand the meaning of that prayer. Actually the meaning of that prayer is very deep, a very profound subject, something that go much deeper. For instance, you can think like this. First of all, the Guru is Buddha, the Guru is Dharma, the Guru is Sangha. Then in the book there is just the literal translation, word for word, that’s why it comes “all creators is the Guru,” because it is literally translated. That means Guru is the three jewels and these three are created by the guru, these three came from the Guru. That is just general thinking, but you can think yourselves. For instance, my Buddha, my Dharma, my Sangha—one’s own individual Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha—to achieve one’s own Buddha one has to actualize the jewel Dharma and the Sangha jewel. Without actualizing one’s own Dharma and Sangha jewel, there is no way to actualize one’s own Buddha jewel. Creating these three, actualizing these three, Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, cannot be done by ourselves. We alone cannot actualize them. We cannot create them without depending on the creator Guru. Actualizing this doesn’t happen right away; we have to build it within our minds gradually, step by step, by collecting merits. Then again gradually as we reach the higher path we actualize the Dharma jewel, the Sangha jewel, and also the Buddha jewel. Like this. So it depends on many things, but the first step is collecting merits. This is also good karma, therefore creating each single karma before that merit is not something we did alone, not something we collected without depending on Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s omniscient mind, the action of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s omniscient mind. So that’s how Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s omniscient mind partially becomes the creator of our merit. So that is the absolute Guru. That’s why in the teachings there is so much emphasis, so much stress, especially at the beginning of any teaching, no matter what sect, the Vajrayana, the Mahayana, all the perfections, all the happiness, including enlightenment, comes from the guru. Usually it is understood like this. But this is not an easy subject to understand right away, it takes time.

Also it is very useful to say this prayer when you make offerings, visualizations of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha as I explained before. It is very good to remember this prayer. There is another prayer but I will explain it afterwards. This prayer is very, very powerful and it contains an incredible subject and is very effective. You can say also this prayer, but the main thing is, of course, the essence of the method is the mind renouncing. But saying the prayer, remembering this, also creates good karma especially if you say it with a pure motivation—just saying the prayer with good motivation creates good karma, makes more understanding of subject, makes the person’s mind more conscious.

3:30 pm

(Page 65)

Sutra quote. I think I said this before, but in terms of talking about the benefits of why we should continuously remember Buddha, is that continuously remembering Guru Shakyamuni Buddha or doing meditation on Guru Shakyamuni Buddha helps a great deal at the death time. One particular benefit helps is that the person easily remembers because of the impressions, because the mind has been trained in remembering, doing meditation on Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, so at the death time, such a dangerous time, the person can easily remember Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. As he remembers Guru Shakyamuni Buddha the danger of suffering at death time becomes much less. He finds a better path for his mind. However at the death time whenever it happens, whatever is the best solution, the best method at death time is to find the better path, to have less suffering at death time and even after death. Whether the person has a Vajrayana method or not, whatever method the person uses doesn’t matter, the essence of the whole method, no matter how profound, without remembering the guru there is no way to do anything. There is no way to use any method, any kind of method, technique, or different meditation. The essence is remembering the guru. So in the most dangerous time, what can help? What can help? The only thing that can help, the essential, method is remembering the guru. If I show the inside totally, the inner method, the inner method is this. Whether aspect, whether wrathful or peaceful, of whatever deity we meditate, the essence is this. Even though you don’t have any particular different aspect of deity to remember, even the ordinary, usual guru from whom the person receive teachings and meditations, that ordinary form of the deity, that guru, even just remembering that helps a great deal in this greatest, most dangerous time. The essence is this. As I told some stories before, talking a little bit before relating to this prayer starting from the knowledge of the Buddha’s omniscient mind, these things. This is part of the subject from guru yoga. Some people will find it difficult to understand why he is talking about such things, but here we have all kinds of people, so that’s why I am hoping it gives a little bit of understanding.

Paragraph 5

Anyway, this discussion will come afterward. It is not necessary I think to read the part of the knowledge of Dharma, this part of the subject. However it is useful to think that all the infinite knowledge that Buddha has all came from the Dharma; that makes it understandable. Thinking like causes the devotion in the Dharma to increase. Generally you can think like this. The jewel Dharma, the precious sublime Buddha, the precious sublime Dharma, Sangha, like this. The precious sublime Dharma, you can think like this. You can think about the absolute Dharma that we discussed, that is the main thing. The cessation of suffering, the true cessation of suffering, the true path, that is the main Dharma that we have to remember when we take refuge.

For instance, when we think of Dharma, when we take refuge by visualizing Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, we can think that all the realizations that Guru Shakyamuni Buddha has are Dharma—all the knowledge of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s holy speech, holy mind, and holy body, like this. We can think that this knowledge is Dharma. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha has the achievement of the complete cessation of all the obscurations, including the subtle dualistic mind, and that is Dharma, that is Dharma. Then think of the path. There are five paths and ten levels. For instance, on the Mahayana path for a meditator it is like this. To achieve enlightenment one has to go through the five Mahayana paths. Then the ten levels are included in the five paths, starting from the right seeing path, part one, from there to the last part including the ten levels. There are ten levels. We can think of those when we take refuge in the Dharma; we can also think of the path when we visualize Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. According to the path, we can think of the five paths, then the ten levels that start from the right seeing path to the end. When the tenth path is completed then that meditator receives enlightenment, like this. Also if you make it simple, instead of thinking of all these five paths, the simple way is to think like this. On the graduated path, everything is included there—the whole path is included in the graduated path, so just think that the graduated path includes everything, all the ten levels, all the other paths, the tantric path, the paramita path, like this. If you think of it all simply as the graduated path, it is helpful to the mind.

The names of the five paths, I think someone asked, just briefly, just the titles.

1. Path of Accumulation
2. Path of Application
3. Right Seeing Path
4. Path of Meditation
5. Path of Fulfillment

You can see that the meaning of the second path is realizing the meaning, actually realizing the meaning. When the meditator is on the first path the meditator creates so much merit and also listens to much Dharma and checks, thinks. Then in the second path that meditator is actualizing in the mind what he thought before, what he listened to—on the second path he actualized the meaning. Application doesn’t mean the Path of Conjunction; this is a path that brings one to the Right Seeing Path. When the meditator is on the second path, he has the realization of that penetrative insight, but this penetrative insight might different from what you understand, this is not easy. This penetrative insight is the realization with shunyata, not a single shunyata realization, but related with samadhi realization—it is a concentration of shunyata and samadhi. Then through continual meditation on shunyata, the absolute nature, in just on one seat, while the person is going through that meditation, his mind reaches the third path, the Right Seeing Path.

When the meditator reaches the third path, the Right Seeing Path, within that there is the Unceaseable Path and the Path of Releasing. The Unceaseable Path becomes the remedy of 180 delusions and 108 mental defilements, the she.drib. When this meditator achieves the Releasing Path in the Right Seeing Path, that much delusion is purified and removed. Then after that, through continual concentration on shunyata, the meditator receives the fourth path called the Path of Meditation.

Then again there are also paths like this. The Unceaseable Path of the Path of Meditation, the Releasing Path of the Path of Meditation, like this. The Unceaseable Path of the Path of Meditation becomes the remedy of 12 delusions and 108 mental defilements, she.drib, like this. Then when the meditator receives the Releasing Path of the Path of Meditation, that much mental defilement, that much delusion is removed.

Then the meditator still continues to do meditation on shunyata, and the meditator receives the fifth path, the Path of Fulfillment. Again there are a certain number of mental defilements like this. Also there is the Unceaseable Path and the Releasing Path of the Path of Fulfillment. Whenever the meditator receives the Releasing Path and the Unceaseable Path of the Path of Fulfillment, it becomes the remedy of the defilements. Whenever the meditator receives the Path of Fulfillment, he receives all realizations and achieves enlightenment.

This is according to the five Mahayana paths. It is useful to think about the knowledge, the benefits of the path. This is just to have a little understanding, a little idea.

Then the knowledge of the Sangha. Even for the followers of the Lesser Vehicle path, the meditators who follow the Hinayana path, there are five paths like this.

1. Path of Accumulation
2. Path of Conjunction
3. Right Seeing Path
4. Path of Meditation
5. Path of Fulfillment

There are five paths like this to receive nirvana. However, even the meditator who has the achievement of the first path has such knowledge. He is able to manifest, transform for the sake of others, and has psychic powers, powers to foretell future things. He has certain knowledge like this. What makes the person enter the Path of Accumulation? The fully renouncing mind of samsara. Whenever the person has this, the person enters the path. If the person doesn’t have bodhicitta, the person enters the Hinayana path, and achieves the Path of Accumulation. If the person has the practice of bodhicitta then because of the fully renouncing mind of samsara, through the practice of bodhicitta, the person can enter right away into the Mahayana Path of Accumulation, which means it is quicker to receive enlightenment.

Then when the meditator receives the second path, as he took teachings on the Four Noble Truths, as he listened, meditated on the Four Noble Truths, he actualizes and receives the realizations of the meditations that he listened to and meditated on before.

Then when the meditator receives the third path, the Right Seeing Path, he fully realizes shunyata. Right Seeing means shunyata, Right means right view. Fully realizing shunyata.

When the meditator reaches the fourth path, the Path of Meditation, there are about eighty-one delusions that this Path of Meditation gradually removes. This meditator who has the achievement of the Path of Meditation has that much knowledge.

Then the one who has achieved the state of an arhat has so much knowledge, such as incredible psychic powers, such as the ability to transform. Incredible knowledge. In previous times, one of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s disciples, an arhat, was giving teachings. The evil beings wanted to disturb the teachings, so they made rain. They manifested in the form of actresses, and they tried to disturb him, and they acted and danced in order to disturb the teaching. However when this was going on, the arhat put a flower rosary on the next of the actress, transforming the evil being, completely destroying it—all of a sudden it became ugly, and didn’t have the power to carry on acting as they had before. Those arhats had so much power, even in seven days, even in a short time, many thousands of people followers that they led in the path realized shunyata—they have that much power. However there is no time.

There are also ten levels and each level has so much knowledge to talk about. On the right seeing path they receive the higher, transcendental practice of charity, the paramita of charity. There are six paramitas like this. Also much knowledge. Also on the path of meditation, the meditator receives the higher transcendental special practice of the paramitas. For the bodhisattva who has the achievement of the first level, there are ten levels. On the first level he can manifest, transform into hundreds of different manifestations. The bodhisattva who receives the right seeing path and has the achievement of the first level can transform into hundreds of different manifestations, and each of the manifestations are surrounded again by hundreds of bodhisattvas who see one hundred eons further what is happening, what happened during those times, everything that happened during those times he can see clearly, this sangha has that much psychic power. Also they have the power to make hundreds of different concentrations, meditations, seeing hundreds of buddhas giving blessings. Like this. Also the bodhisattva himself can manifest and transform into hundreds of the Buddha’s pure realms, and also has the power to give the Dharma in hundreds of different ways, also, such as ripening hundreds of sentient beings’ minds at the same time.

Then this knowledge, this example. The bodhisattva who has the achievement of the right seeing path, who has the achievement of the first level has that much knowledge. Anyway, I am not going to explain the of the other levels. However, making total like this. As this bodhisattva has that much knowledge, he can do everything a hundred times more—ripening one hundreds sentient beings’ minds, manifesting hundreds of different transformations, going to the hundreds of buddha’s pure realms, seeing hundreds of eons in the past and future, like this. In the second level the knowledge increases thousands of times, like this. For example, seeing the things that are happening thousands of eons—before it was hundreds, now it is thousands—in the past and future. Also ripening thousands of sentient beings’ minds, going to thousands of Buddha’s realms, giving Dharma in thousands of different ways—like this it increases. Then the second level of thousands, then the third level hundreds of thousands—that much increases the whole knowledge. Anyway, this increases down to the last tenth level. The knowledge becomes more and more. Whatever it is called, the millions and trillions, such as the ten times million is one che.wa, so a hundred times one che.wa it increases. It increases more and more down to the tenth level. The knowledge of the sangha who has the achievement of the tenth level is incredible knowledge that cannot be imagined. Anyway, these numbers are a little bit complicated in my mind!

Anyway, just for us to first to have a little idea of the knowledge that this path has. You can understand the details if you study the philosophical teachings, you can understand the details, so many details to go through. Then like this. When the meditator, the sangha, the bodhisattva achieves the eighth level, that is the level where he completely purifies all the delusions. Then there are three other paths left. The rest of the paths, the seventh path, is called the impure path. From the first path to the seventh it is called the impure path, and the three other paths are called the three pure levels, and then there are the seven impure levels. That means this. After the seventh there is no more delusion. When he reaches the eighth level there is no delusion, all is completely purified. The delusion only continues down to the seventh level. Down to that there is delusion existing. It has been removed gradually but still it is delusion, even if the sangha has the achievement of the seventh level, when he achieves the eighth level all delusions are completely purified. No delusions, only the mental defilements are left, the she.drib, the subtle obscurations are left. The three other paths are mainly the remedies of the mental defilements, the she.drib, the subtle obscurations. However, the Sangha has that much knowledge, the Sangha who has the achievement of this path, these levels. So briefly this is just a brief explanation on the knowledge of Dharma and Sangha.

Student: Does he determine himself in which level he is in?
Rinpoche: He knows. Maybe you check up what level you are in. Perhaps only one second is left to receive enlightenment!

So this is taking refuge by understanding the knowledge of the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. However, Buddha the meaning, and there is just a difference in the meaning of Buddha. The Tibetan term is called sang.gya or chang.chub. This means fully seeing all existence, relative existence, absolute existence, and all the delusions. All the obscurations are completely purified, having the complete realization, and having complete purity—that is what sang.gya or buddha means. Usually the term buddha is a Sanskrit term. Generally buddha means realizing absolute nature. The literal meaning of buddha is realizing absolute nature, but it is not just realizing absolute nature, it is beyond that, much higher than that. Buddha or sang.gya according to Tibetan term—sang means all obscurations are completely purified. Gya means having completed realizations. Each word is to explain the whole thing that Buddha means, sang.gya.

Dharma is the thing that brings the result, the fruit of enlightenment. Actualizing that within oneself, the result is enlightenment.

And Sangha, the attainer of the Dharma, is like this.

So tonight do meditation, first of all begin with purification, read the part on the twelve links. That part on the evolution of samsaric suffering, the twelve links. Then first of all check how one has been circling around in samsara from beginningless samsaric lifetimes until now through the chain of the twelve links. Then as you see clearly how you have been suffering, compare this to other sentient beings, thinking, “Also they like me have been suffering like this.” Just before you do the meditation you do the visualization of Guru Shakyamuni, and you visualize all sentient beings surrounding you in the form of a human being but in the nature of suffering, as they are suffering now in different realms. Then do the meditation on the twelve. Then after checking on yourself, check others, how other sentient beings are suffering. Try to see that they are more suffering in this present time than you are. Think like this. Then after meditating, checking through the twelve links, then think like this. “Only myself taking refuge, only myself not being born again in a suffering realm, that is not enough, because now at this time I am born as a human being but still I am not sure that I will definitely not be born in a suffering realm. So I must release from samsara. But taking refuge only to release myself from samsara is not enough. Because there are numberless other mother sentient beings who are the field of my past, present, and future happiness, from where I receive all my happiness and perfections, and they are extremely suffering, always circling in samsara through the twelve links.” Think like this.

Then first of all when you think how the sentient beings are the field from where you receive all your happiness, depending on how strong you think that, in the mind somehow a little bit of love comes, depending on how strongly you think of this. In the second time when the person thinks of sentient beings suffering, circling in samsara, being involved in the twelve links, they are extremely suffering, greater than the suffering I am experiencing now. Then because you think, first they are a field of happiness, and you see sentient beings in a kind of beauty, depending on how strongly you think this. Then when you think the second time there is more feeling, a greater chance to bring up a little bit of compassion. Also in this way because you thought I received my happiness from them, the second time thinking of their suffering, somehow there is the mind wanting to take care them away from suffering, wanting to release them from suffering. This mind comes. This is psychological. It is not necessary to explain now. Like this it comes, the mind wanting to keep them away from suffering, wanting to release them from suffering, wishing them to not have suffering, this comes. Then after thinking this, first of all thinking of them as a field of happiness, and the second time thinking how sentient beings’ are suffering more than me, being deeply ignorant. Then there is the thought, how much you strongly think, there is the thought feeling that their suffering is unbearable, wishing sentient beings to not be in suffering. Then thinking, then taking refuge. This time the cause of the refuge is not only the fear of suffering, not only the fear of samsara, but this time when you take refuge the cause of refuge is feeling unbearable that other sentient beings are suffering. Then taking refuge, doing purification, then taking refuge with the unbearable feeling for other sentient beings’ suffering.

So in order to make the sentient beings release from suffering, take refuge. This is the Mahayana way of taking refuge; the other is Hinayana refuge. Since one takes refuge thinking of the unbearable feeling of suffering and takes refuge in order to make other sentient beings release from suffering, there is an unbearable feeling, the fear of other sentient beings’ suffering, then devotion to Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha—these are the cause of Mahayana refuge. So this way of taking refuge is the Mahayana way of taking refuge.

After thinking this, make purification. First of all you start to make the light come and these things, briefly think of the Buddha’s knowledge of the holy body, speech, and mind. Also you can think of the knowledge of the Dharma and Sangha if you can remember. Just try to remember at that time. Then when you stop, after some time when you stop the recitation of mantra for purification, then you think that you are completely purified. While you are thinking of Buddha’s knowledge, you can’t do two things together.

Then in the next hour, without needing to read from the book as you have already visualized your parents here, then enemy, stranger—then you look at them. If you don’t remember any enemy, any present enemy—if you have a present enemy use it for meditation instead of using it for bringing up anger, negative mind. If you use it for meditation then it becomes a helper rather than an enemy. If you don’t have an enemy what you do is this. If you have the problem of not having an enemy, not finding an enemy, then it is easy, very easy, very easy. Usually what you don’t like, for instance if there is so much attachment to words, to reputation, then the person who does the opposite things, tells you bad things, complains about you, easily becomes the enemy. Whatever you are, for instance if you are so much attached to friends and relatives, if someone does something in that way, if your personality is easy to get angry—you check in this way. First of all make the situation up. This is interesting because usually when we are in the actual situation we don’t check up, completely controlled by the negative mind—we don’t check up what’s going on in the mind. But we are making the situation to not get anger or attachment, but to control it. Also it is very nice because your mind is conscious while you are creating the situation of what’s happening in your mental room. One part of mind is checking, conscious, so it is interesting. Just like we see the television. Then check up, create the situation first, whatever makes you easily angry, attached—you create the situation then check how your mind is reacting. Check, try to recognize, how your mind discriminates, what reasons the negative mind gives you to discriminate this and this. Check after you find the reason given by the negative mind, whether it is true or not. Starting from the “I,” the wrong conception, self-attachment, check up like this. Also check up from the object’s side whether it is true. Sometimes it is better if you check like this yourself, your own way of checking is better sometimes than from the book.

Day Twenty-five
Saturday, 30th November

Before taking ordination it is necessary that the mind go in the Dharma. Besides that, it is necessary that the action of taking the ordination become a Mahayana action, the cause of enlightenment, and that has to be created by the pure motivation, the Mahayana thought, the pure thought. It is necessary that the mind be possessed by the pure thought of precious bodhicitta. Due to ignorance, the wrong conception conceiving of the “I” as self-existent, from this, the ignorance in the absolute true nature of the “I,” from ignorance in karma arises. As this ignorance in the absolute nature has no beginning, also the ignorance in karma has no beginning. As it has no beginning, also the ignorance in karma has no beginning. As they have no beginning, we have been circling around in the six realms of samsara from beginningless lifetimes until now. Still there is so much karma that has been collected with ignorance—to be born again in the suffering realms and also in the upper realms, but has not been experienced yet. So there is so much karma created in previous lifetimes and still we are continuously creating the karma with ignorance, still we are creating the karma that causes us to be born continuously in the six realms of samsara. However, as long as we don’t cut off continuously creating karma with ignorance and as long as we follow the ignorance of the absolute nature, the ignorance of karma, we will have to experience the suffering in samsara endlessly because karma is definite, it is definite that it will bring a result. Whatever different karma, negative karma has been created in a previous lifetime, in the present time, it is definite that we will experience the different result. Also, there is no such thing as experiencing the karmic result of karma that wasn’t created by oneself. If one could experience the result of happiness and peace and the cause wasn’t created by oneself, but was created by other people, if there was such a thing, then we wouldn’t have to observe or worry about karma, and we wouldn’t have to purify negative karma—if there was such a thing as experiencing the result of happiness that without the cause being created by oneself. If there was such a thing possible, there would be no reason to suffer, no reason to experience suffering, the cause of which was only created by us. If there was such a thing, also there would be no need of discipline, no need to control the mind. If there was such a thing, then if one living being received enlightenment, all the rest of the sentient beings could also receive enlightenment easily without trying to control and discipline the speech and body and mind. Without needing to put effort, to train the mind in the path to enlightenment, without doing meditation, without following the path, all sentient beings could easily receive enlightenment as there is one living being who receives enlightenment, and that result can be experienced by all living beings. However, such a thing is not possible.

Besides that, besides the fact that karma is definite, karma is expandable. Once negative karma is created, continuously it increases until it is completely purified. Besides the fact that karma is definite we will have to experience the suffering result continuously, as it has been collected from previous lifetimes. As karma is expandable, also for this reason we will have to continuously experience suffering in samsara, because the karma that is expandable is not just one negative karma. We have not finished all the negative karmas yet; we have not finished the experience of the result. Also, without creating the cause by oneself, one cannot enjoy the result. For this reason also it is definite that we will have to experience suffering continuously in samsara. There is no choice to not experience the suffering result of the karma that has been created in the present time and in other previous lifetimes. Also because of that reason there is no result, there is no such karma that, once it is created, is lost—no matter how long it takes, thousands of eons, billions of eons, no matter how long it takes, it doesn’t get lost.

For instance, even now there are so many karmas that we have created before in many thousands and billions of eons and yet we didn’t start to experience those karmas. Thinking like this, thinking of the past, how many times we have been creating negative karma and thinking about the future, thinking about these karmas, the evolution of karma, the nature of karma. “It is almost impossible for life to exist without experiencing karma. It is almost impossible that samsara can have an end. However, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha was also a samsaric being before, and having met the guru and having met the Mahayana teaching and observed the eight precepts, he received enlightenment and enlightened numberless other sentient beings. Just like this, we, the individual, has the possibility to do the same. However, releasing oneself from samsara is not sufficient, because all sentient beings are the field from which I receive all my past, present, and future happiness and perfections. They are of the utmost need at the beginning, middle, and even at the end of Dharma practice. At the present time most sentient beings are extremely suffering without a leader leading them in the path to enlightenment, without having met the Mahayana teachings, without having the Dharma wisdom to see what is to be practiced and what is to be avoided. So they are continuously ignorant of the cause of suffering and happiness, and continuously create the cause of suffering, expecting happiness. However, at this time I have met a leader leading me in the path to enlightenment, I have met the Mahayana teaching, and I have a little bit of wisdom to know what to practice and what to avoid and I have the possibility to develop this, great possibility to practice Dharma as I desire.

“Therefore, as mother sentient beings are suffering while I have such a precious chance, the one who is responsible for helping mother sentient beings is me. As I am the son or daughter of mother sentient beings, mother sentient beings should rely on me. While they are suffering they should rely on me, the son or daughter of mother sentient beings. So the best way to help or repay the mother sentient beings’ kindness, the most sublime way to repay and them is to lead them to enlightenment and release them from all suffering. To be able to do this who has the perfect power, knowledge, and infinite compassion? Only Buddha has it, so therefore at the moment I don’t have any capability, so therefore I must achieve the state of the perfected being. In order to achieve enlightenment for the sake of all mother sentient beings, it is necessary to discipline my speech, body, and mind. Therefore I am going to take Mahayana ordination until tomorrow morning.”

At the end of the third repetition of the prayer, think that you have received the pure Mahayana ordination in the presence of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, surrounded by numberless other buddhas and bodhisattvas. Think that you have received the ordination in the form of light, that the holy body is full of light.



Also think, “I am going to observe the precepts for one day as the previous tathagatas also observed the precepts.”

Repeat the mantra to revive the broken precepts and to be able to purely keep the precepts.



Think, “Due to the merits may the entire meaning the prayer contains be successful. Due to the present merits of taking ordination, and the past merits, and the future merits, may I quickly receive enlightenment by receiving the fundamental realizations, the fully renouncing mind of samsara, bodhicitta, and the full realization of the absolute true nature in order to enlighten all mother sentient beings.

9 am

We were born as human beings this time, and have met the principal cause of enlightenment, the Mahayana teaching that has to be practiced on the basis of the practice of bodhicitta. However the essence of the Mahayana teaching is training the mind in bodhicitta, in realizing the absolute true nature, and not only realizing the absolute true nature, not only the meditation on the absolute nature, but the meditation on bodhicitta. This is the essence, the essential thing of the Mahayana teaching. Because of this the Mahayana path becomes the true path to enlightenment. That is because of the benefits and power of bodhicitta—not the power of the realization of the absolute true nature, not only the power of that. We have met this precious Mahayana teaching, which is more difficult to find or to meet than the general Buddhadharma. As we have met these teachings, the precious Mahayana teachings at this time, not taking the essence even though we have met the teaching—there are many essences, many different ways of taking the essence but the principal essence in the Mahayana teaching and practice is trying to receive enlightenment by training the mind in bodhicitta. This is the essential essence, the best essence, the most sublime essence. However it is quite a loss if we meet this precious method, the teaching that explains about the techniques, that explains about the practice of bodhicitta, the principal cause that brings enlightenment quickly, if we cannot train the mind as much as possible in bodhicitta. There is no greater loss than that, in all the life, among all other losses in the lifetime. Not realizing the absolute true nature is not that as great of a loss as having met the Mahayana teaching and not training the mind in practicing bodhicitta. This is the greatest loss. Because without depending on the Mahayana teaching, without practicing the Mahayana teaching, it is possible to realize the absolute nature, but without depending on the Mahayana teaching there is no way to actualize bodhicitta. Just thinking like this, we can understand how it is important.

For instance, when a person follows the Mahayana path, that person benefits limitless great numbers of other sentient beings. Even before a bodhisattva receives enlightenment, and after receiving enlightenment, he benefits and enlightens numberless other sentient beings. Where does this power come from? If you check up, it comes from bodhicitta—not mainly from the realization of shunyata but mainly from the power of bodhicitta. How? For instance, even before entering the Mahayana path, when the person, the meditator tries to train the mind in bodhicitta, planning to receive enlightenment for the sake of other sentient beings, any movement, any action, even the daily life actions of eating, sleeping, drinking, anything, besides meditation, besides the actual schedule, the actual time of meditation, even the movement of daily life, is always dedicated with this wish, this pure motivation, in order to receive enlightenment for the sake of other sentient beings. Even before entering the Mahayana path, before receiving bodhicitta, while the person is trying to train, to practice, it is always like this. Even before one receives enlightenment, the bodhisattva following the path benefits limitless great numbers of sentient beings as we described yesterday in the case of the sangha bodhisattvas who have the achievements of those paths. Besides oneself achieving enlightenment, one can enlighten numberless other sentient beings by releasing them from suffering. If you check up on this, it is due to the power, the wish that the meditator had, even before entering the Mahayana path, even before receiving bodhicitta. It is the power of that wish—all these are the benefits of that wish, the pure motivation. It is not mainly the realization of the absolute true nature like this.

For instance, even if one has the realization of the absolute true nature, one cannot cut off self-cherishing—still one is not out of self-cherishing thought. Self-cherishing thought has to be controlled by bodhicitta. As long as self-cherishing thought is not destroyed or controlled, even if there is the full realization of the absolute true nature, there is no way for the person to enter the Mahayana path, no way for the person to become a bodhisattva, only concentrating for a long time on the individual nirvana, everlasting happiness, living in that state for a long time, for many eons without working for sentient beings like bodhisattvas. So therefore, with understanding of the benefits of bodhicitta, the importance of bodhicitta, it is necessary to cultivate a pure motivation.
“I must achieve enlightenment for the sake of all mother sentient beings, therefore I am going to listen to the teaching on the graduated path to enlightenment.”

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

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

Refuge has four outlines—firstly the cause of refuge, secondly the object of refuge. The cause of refuge has two things. Each object of refuge, the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, has absolute and relative aspects. Thirdly, the reasons that the Buddha is a worthy object of refuge. There are four reasons, so the way of taking refuge is the fourth reason. So this is taking refuge by understanding knowledge.

We briefly talked about taking refuge by understanding knowledge, the knowledge of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, taking refuge by understanding the differences, such as the meaning of the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Also, taking refuge by understanding the actions, such as that the Buddha is the founder of Dharma, his action is showing the Dharma, and the function of the Dharma is avoiding or removing the negativities. When the Sangha achieves the different levels of the path, other people see that they have the achievement of the path, that the Sangha has knowledge, so they get interested, the mind gets drawn, and the other person follows, tries to achieve similar realizations. That’s how the Sangha helps one to practice Dharma.

Like Westerners studying Dharma, through studying Dharma they discover many new subjects in their own life, their own minds. The more they understand about mind, other people in the West see and understand that by this person going to the East and studying Dharma there is much evolution, the nature of mind, and many things, many other methods to solve problems. So other people also find interest—they see this knowledge that the other person has, and they also try to understand, following the method, trying to understand the meditations, trying to practice like this example. That’s how the other student who studies Dharma in the East can help other people, showing his knowledge, his understanding, showing that he has the method to solve problems, showing that he has a relaxed mind, a calm mind, that the mind changes through the power of the Dharma. Just like that, that’s how the Sangha helps the attainment of the path.

Taking refuge by understanding the different ways of thinking—such as that Buddha is an object to which to make offerings, Dharma is what should be actualized within one’s mind, Sangha is the influence. Living together in order to begin Dharma practice by influencing each other. Taking refuge or making offerings to the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha by understanding the way of creating incredible merits through these practices. Then for the Sangha, incredible merits are created by depending on groups. Dharma is not a living being, but also from Dharma one can create and increase merits by taking refuge and making offering to the Dharma. We take refuge by taking the vow. The Buddha is the founder of the actual refuge. The Buddha is the one who gives actual guidance. What is actual refuge? The Dharma is the actual refuge. The Sangha is the helper to attain the actual refuge. As I gave the example before, they are the doctor, nurse, and medicine. For instance, in the case of the Dharma, as we gradually receive the realization of each level of meditation, gradually our negative mind is controlled. For instance, when we achieve equilibrium meditation, there is no thought of discriminating. No matter whether the person gives you a big sack of gold or a big sack full of kaka, from your side, the side of the person who has the achievement of this realization, there is no discrimination thinking, “He is my enemy,” “He is my friend.” There is no such thing, no such thought as this. The person who has the achievement of the realization always sees both people equally—his mind is not stuck to any of these people—to the person who gives him a big sack of gold he has an equal feeling. As he sees them as equal, he also has an equal feeling.

There is also taking refuge and not telling others. However, it is not necessary to go through the details, it takes much time. But there are certain instructions.

So the essence of refuge. The essence of refuge, whether the person has received it or not, the definition is made by whether the person has these two causes or not. With these two causes when the person takes refuge, relying on the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, then that person has refuge. That person has taken refuge even though the person cannot say any prayers. If his mind is living in that, qualified like that, he has refuge.

So after taking refuge, by taking refuge to Buddha what should one do. There are things that should be done, and there are things that should not be done. There are two practices. By taking refuge the instruction of attainment means that by taking refuge in the Buddha, any statues, any symbolic things of Buddha, statues, paintings of the Buddha, no matter what they are, even if they are not well done, the shape is not well done, even if they are not well painted, very ugly looking, with a very horrible shape, then putting them, putting them in the garbage, and putting the paintings that are well painted up very high. Things like this cannot be done, because both are symbolic figures of the Enlightened Being. Both are symbolic, but just because the painter didn’t do it well, perfectly, it is not the fault of Buddha’s holy body, it is the fault of the artist. There can be no discrimination when taking refuge in Buddha, in any of his holy symbolic things. However it is done, or painted, as long as it is a figure of the Buddha, even if the lines are not straight, not well done, we have to have respect. We have to put it in a higher, clean place, not using it for cleaning things, cleaning tables or cleaning the floor. We cannot discriminate like this. Thinking this is very well done and putting it up, and thinking this is not well done and throwing it out. This cannot be done. No matter how it is done, as long as it is a holy symbol of the enlightened being’s figure, from your mind you have to think of it like that. It is the same thing with a statue, even if it is made of gold, diamonds, mud, plastic—whatever it is made of, as long as it is a symbolic figure of the Buddha, from our side from the person’s, the meditator’s side, he should try to see it as the actual living Buddha. same thing when you see altars, also the way to look at them, the way to see them, try to see them as you are really seeing the living Guru Shakyamuni Buddha—you have to look at it in that way. same thing when you make an offering, like this, with paintings and with statues also like this. From our side we have to respect them like this, without discriminating this is ugly, this is beautiful. Because Buddha himself doesn’t have any ugliness; there is no such thing. Buddha is completely out of all the causes of ugliness so therefore he is also out of the physical ugliness. Mainly it depends on the person’s devotion.

There were many times, many outspoken statues—not outspoken! I don’t know whose language that is! There are many statues, and many meditators and even just laypeople who have very strong devotion, much devotion, who have created much merit, and they see the statues speaking to them predicting. Sometimes they give teachings—like this, many times it happened. Also in India and Tibet, many statues still exist. In many of the monasteries they have speaking statues. There is also one Milarepa statue in Swayambhu that speaks. It was made by his disciple Rechung. Before Milarepa passed away he made this statue and the statue itself said, “This looks like me.” It is very well made. There are many in the monasteries such as many Tara speaking statues, and Avalokiteshvara, and Padmasambhava—many. They also exist in the family houses. This happens depending on the persons’ devotion, because he has created so much merit, mainly due to devotion. So it is possible, if we always try to look at the form of a statue, if we don’t change our view, don’t purify our view, always try to look in that way, then always we see in that way. If we try to see it as a real living Buddha by remembering the knowledge of Buddha then as strong devotion is there, as you try to look at it in that way, it becomes a method quickly to see the actual manifestation of Buddha. Or soon after to see those holy symbolic things as actual living buddhas having communication, like this. Also the previous pandits, such as Shantideva and Atisha, they had statues and painting like this, as real living beings they can communicate—they asked questions and received answers. When there was a big important period, when there was a big debate in the philosophical teachings among thousands of other pandits, when there were doubts and questions, they would ask and receive answers from the holy objects, like this. There are so many stories.

However, whether we see it as ordinary, or see it as actual living, see it with pure view as actual living, that is also the creation of another person’s mind, the projection of another person’s mind— and seeing ugly material is also a projection of another person’s mind. So how you want to see depends on here [pointing to head]. The definition is not only made by the object.

So practice what should be done by taking refuge in the Buddha, and what should not be done, practice ...


Student: You used two Tibetan words to translate clear light nature, but meaning clear light nature. I was wondering if there is any difference, what is the difference in the sense of the two different words?
Rinpoche: Rik means clear light nature; all sentient beings have Buddha’s rik—that means the clear light nature.
Student: Does it mean it is one before it is purified and the other one after?
Rinpoche: It just means the clear light which creates the possibility of receiving enlightenment, the clear light nature that is not defected by the temporal obscurations. Nug is the purified one, that which is not obscured by the dualistic mind, which is not sentient beings’ mind, which each sentient being has not purified. That’s the difference.
Student: Can you explain the five skandhas?
Rinpoche: The five skandhas consciousness. First of all the skandha of form means the body ...
Student: But what does skandha mean?
Rinpoche: Aggregates, groups, like the aggregates of the atom. Each skandha just means group, many numbers together, like this. The skandha aggregates of form means the physical part, the physical body. Then the skandha of feeling is happiness, pleasure, suffering, or indifferent feeling. Cognition—recognizing this is that, this table, cognition is like this. The skandha of volition—there are different types of thoughts, such as wisdom and many other different types energy wisdom, many different types of thoughts. It will come later on, I will give more examples. There are skandhas of compounded phenomena. This is a literal translation from the Tibetan word. Also it can be also volition. Conception, like conceiving this and that, the skandha of cognition, the compounded phenomena. This includes two things. There are different types of thoughts, wisdom and energy and many different types of thoughts that are not included in feeling, consciousness, recognition, and cognition is another thought. But the rest of the thoughts we have all included in the skandha of compounded phenomena; there are many other thoughts besides that.
Student: Is this something intuitive, that can’t expressed in words?
Rinpoche: No, no, it can be expressed. Like wisdom such as energy. These are not feelings, not recognition, not feelings, they are different types of thoughts. There are fifty-one different types of thoughts like this. Taking out the feeling and cognition, the rest of the other thoughts are included in the skandha of compounded phenomena. All that goes in that skandha. Later on when we go in the meditation on samsara, we can have more examples. Also it includes many different types of thoughts and the impermanence of the skandha is also compounded phenomena. But however, this particular skandha of volitional phenomena is also correct. So afterwards when we go through more examples of these different types of thoughts we will have a little bit clearer idea.

So by taking refuge in Buddha, what should be done, practiced. The second one is the practice of prohibitiveness. I will tell the meaning. First of all, by taking refuge in Buddha, once one takes refuge in Buddha one cannot take refuge in the wrong founder. “Wrong founder” means a founder who has wrong realization and who chooses the wrong path. The problem is this. If one takes refuge in the wrong founder who has the wrong path, if one chooses the wrong path with the wrong realization, then one gets a wrong understanding. Getting a wrong understanding misleads is into following the wrong path, and giving wrong understanding and wrong realization. It leads us in the wrong way. Instead of taking refuge to not be born in the suffering realm, to escape from samsara, following the wrong founder only makes create the cause to be born in the suffering realm. It only causes us to create the cause of samsara, so therefore this precept is explained. This precept is explained like this. When doctors give medicine to their patients, there is a certain diet that the person should not take, otherwise it doesn’t help because of the person’s bad sickness. So if the person takes a diet that causes sickness, however much the person takes medicine, it doesn’t help.

For instance, when person has a fever, even if the doctor gives the best medicine, other things that decrease fever, if the person doesn’t follow the doctor’s instructions, if the person doesn’t cut off the bad diet that increases the fever, harms him at that time, then he can’t get cured. He cannot be cured soon. What happens is that he only gets worse and worse instead of getting cured. Just like this example. By following the wrong founder, you get the wrong understanding, and this is how the life is misled, the person is misled, misguided. Also because the person has the wrong understanding, the wrong realization, because of that there is no way to come to the right understanding. As long as there is wrong understanding, there is no way to come to right understanding. To receive right understanding, right realization, wrong understanding and wrong realization has to be removed. Those two cannot exist at the same time in the person’s mind. The problem is this. So because they cannot exist at the same time, as long as there is the wrong realization, it stops us from having the right realization. With wrong realization, wrong understanding, all the actions become wrong actions, the cause of suffering, totally only the cause of suffering. By having the right understanding, the person goes in the right path. By going in the right path the person receives the right result, the perfect right result. Like this. The importance, usefulness, or necessity, the reason that, if the person takes refuge in Buddha, he can’t take refuge in the wrong founder who has wrong realization—if you don’t understand this then it is like the example of the patient and doctor, eating the wrong diet. Like this. The practice of prohibitiveness or stopping the wrong founder, this is the main thing.

Then for taking refuge in the Dharma, again there are two things. By taking refuge in the Dharma, any statue, any form, any Dharma book that explains knowledge of the enlightened beings, the knowledge of the path, or contains meditation in order to receive enlightenment and everlasting happiness, even one page, even one sentence, we cannot put on a lower place than you. We cannot put them under the bed, we cannot use them for cleaning, we cannot use them on just bare ground, or on unclean places. If there is a torn book then put it all together, collect it all together and put it some other place. Or you can burn it with certain mantras or put it outside some other place. Also, even though it is not absolute Dharma, we have to think from the meditator’s side. From our side we have to think that this is the actual jewel of Dharma that guides us from suffering and leads us in the path to enlightenment. Thinking like this, you respect the book, the holy book, the text, even just a torn page, you have to respect, putting it higher onto a clean place like this. Also in the altar you can’t put all kinds of books there, Dharma books and books that contain wrong explanations—it is better for the meditator’s mind to keep it separate. What you keep at the altar keep separate from other books. Keeping it clean and separate like this somehow helps the mind. Somehow the mind is not confused, you will have a clear, calm mind, not complicated. Somehow it helps. Anyway like this.

The way of thinking is like this—think that it is the actual jewel of Dharma, and by thinking like this you show respect. Also by thinking like this you get the feeling. Generally it is like this. We receive enlightenment by controlling the negative mind and we do this by understanding the meanings of what the holy texts explain. Our controlling the negative mind, all these things, actualizing, realizing, comes by depending on the holy texts that explains the knowledge of enlightenment, the path, like this. The nature of samsaric suffering. Therefore it is worthwhile to respect them.

Taking refuge in the Dharma, what one should not do, is to avoid as much as possible harming other sentient beings. This is what should be done once one takes refuge in the Dharma jewel. And once one takes refuge in the Sangha there are two things. Whenever we see any form of a monk, those who have red robes on, no matter whether the other person has realizations or not, no matter what the level of mind of the other person, that monk or nun, as we see them, even if they are not the absolute Sangha we should think like this, “This Sangha jewel, the helper, is my Sangha jewel helping me to receive enlightenment, helping me to actualize the path to enlightenment, like this.” If you can think in this way it is helpful for the mind. Also it stops the discrimination. This is very helpful because thinking like this stops the discrimination which may cause the person to create much negative karma. There is heavy negative karma in discriminating the monk or nun who is living in ordination. Generally if you talk about karma, according to karma, our complaints, our judging, our criticizing the person who is not living in ordination, for instance, who is not living in the five precepts, and doing the same for one who is living in the five precepts—even between these two there is a difference. The one living in precepts is higher; his body, rebirth is higher, more precious than the other one not living in precepts. For the person who complains and criticizes, his action of criticism towards the layperson not living in the precepts—that karma is a little bit light, but the negative karma of action of criticizing the person living in precepts is much heavier, depending on the object, because the object is much higher and more transcendental than the other object. So the person who is living in more precepts, like thirty-six, or two hundred and fifty—that much more the person’s body or rebirth is higher, more precious. So therefore, from our side creating negative karma like getting angry with them is heavier, because the object is more precious, because the object is heavier. So it goes like this. Anyway it will come in the part on karma so it is not necessary to explain now.

For the Dharma of action, the precepts, what one should not do, what one should avoid, is harming other sentient beings as much as possible, because the essence of Dharma is to benefit other sentient beings, not harm them. As we always talk, the essential purpose of practicing Dharma is to enlighten other sentient beings from suffering. Then, by taking refuge in the Sangha jewel also it is like this. If there is a piece of red or yellow cloth on the road, usually the meditators who take refuge, following these precepts, no matter whether that cloth it is actually from a monk’s robes, or from a lay person, from the meditator’s side he has to respect it. With the respect from his side, he creates good karma, creates merit in that way. Not breaking the precepts and doing that on the way he creates merit. So when he sees it, instead of crossing over it, first of all he picks it up and thinks, “The person who wears this robe has a certain knowledge that I don’t have, a certain knowledge to attain that brings everlasting happiness.” From our side, remembering the knowledge of the Sangha, we should pick it up and put it a little big higher above the road, like this. If the person’s mind is conscious in refuge this helps many ways. Then the precepts—since one takes refuge in the sangha jewel, one should not follow the wrong helper who has wrong understanding—there is danger that he will mislead you. The thing is, if you follow him, there is danger that he may give wrong information, wrong understanding, make to lose or degenerate your right understanding, your realizations or your practice. This disturbs the Dharma practice, the fulfillment of the Dharma practice. It doesn’t mean physically being together, but mainly the danger of the mind following his wrong conceptions. These are the precepts that one should do in order to receive the guidance and help from Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, in order to receive the refuge from the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha—from the person’s side this is what he should do.

(Page 66)
Instructions in the Practice of Refuge

For a monk, at the time of taking ordination there are three people like this together. Even though all three monks are taking ordination for the first time, they are higher, elder than those who take ordination in the second hour. In regards time also they have to respect each other.

Benefits of Taking Refuge

There are three worlds, the world of form, formless, and the world of senses. Just like the ocean, the whole Pacific, can be counted by each handful, but the benefits of bodhicitta—I think my future life when I am born as an animal—the benefits of refuge cannot be counted like that. There are eight major benefits of taking refuge. This is just to have total understanding. As the person knows the benefits of bodhicitta by having this thought, the person sees that there are benefits of taking refuge. Therefore these eight are just roughly the total benefits as explained by Guru Shakyamuni Buddha.

1. “Buddhist” sounds like it is made by Westerners, taken from Buddha, because there is the name Buddha that fixed up Buddhism, then Buddhist. I don’t think Buddhist is a Sanskrit word. However it is like this, it means inner being. Usually it is called like this. People who go to a monastery, people who say prayers, who have letters, usually are called Buddhist. They also think, “I am Buddhist.” Usually they are recognized as Buddhist by ordinary people, usually they are called like that. Usually it is called that because the person knows the way to say prayers, the person has some kind of meditation clothes on, just judging from the outside and called Buddhist. In modern times usually people are called that but that doesn’t mean the person is actually an inner being. That is not the definition of a person as an inner being. Anyway, no matter. Besides that, whether the person has a monastery or an altar, none of this becomes the definition of being an inner being, a Buddhist. Even saying the refuge prayer doesn’t mean that he is an inner being, an actual Buddhist—that is not the definition. Even reciting this refuge prayer million of times does not make him the definition of him becoming inner being. Just only that. Even if the person has robes on, that doesn’t mean he is an inner being. Even if the person is sitting on the throne facing down, it doesn’t mean that the person is an inner being, it doesn’t mean that he is a Buddhist, an inner being. Even if the person can explain so well, can explain Dharma for years, still that doesn’t mean that he is an inner being. Having many volumes, thousands of texts that the person learned by heart, that much subject, that many words that can be said by heart, that doesn’t mean the person is an inner being. Inner being doesn’t depend on how one looks outside. Whether one is an inner being or not is something that can only be found within his mind, by checking his mind; it cannot be discovered by checking his body, the way he is dressed. Whatever fundamental thing the person has to have, such as understanding the continuity of the mind and the karma, the life continues. Then having fear—this is generally talking, mostly talking for ordinary being—having fear of samsaric suffering, the suffering of the evil destinies, and understanding the knowledge of the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha—having that fear and having that devotion, completely believing in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha’s knowledge. Such believing in the Buddha’s perfect powers, knowledge, and compassion, like we talked before. Then, with this devotion completely relying on Buddha. Then following Dharma, the actual refuge, and thinking of the Sangha as the helper. Within the person’s mind there should be strong fear that comes from the deep understanding of the suffering of the evil destinies and the deeper understanding of the samsaric suffering nature, and then the unshakable devotion that completely relies on Buddha, on his having perfect power, knowledge, and compassion to guide one the suffering. This devotion and fear, as it is that unshakeable, strong, that much the refuge is pure within the person’s mind. So within the person’s mind, when there are these two causes, that person is an inner being—so whether he is a Buddhist or an inner being or not, that is only defined by his understanding, by his mind. So we cannot really tell who is an inner being.

I think in the afternoon, I think I will try to come tonight. In the afternoon if you do meditation on general samsaric suffering, as you go through this, the twelve links, there are six and eight sufferings, there are six samsaric sufferings, also the meditation on the twelve links, how we samsaric beings are circling in samsara through the twelve links. Then if there is till time then you can do the checking meditation trying to equalize these three—friend, enemy, and stranger. Try to equalize them in your mind.

7 pm

So just a few words on the last part of refuge. Since one takes refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, whatever one drinks or eats, whether it is delicious, whatever one takes, before one enjoys the food and drink it is necessary to always remember to offer it before you take it. This os also what one should do by taking refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. It is good because this is one easy way to create good karma, because food usually is no problem—we always eat, three or four times a day! There is no doubt that we eat, so as we eat many times, ten or fifteen times in a day, whatever, this is an easy way to create good karma, just by the way we eat food. If the mind is not lazy and the person can be conscious of making the offering, then even if the person eats fifteen times or however many times, somehow his effort of eating at that time is not completely empty. However each time, if his mind is conscious, as he made the offering, remembering Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, the knowledge of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, remembering that this is the object in whom he takes refuge. Even if you don’t remember much, all of a sudden when you have the food in front of you, sometimes the mind gets completely occupied by the food and doesn’t remember much—but maybe you can remember afterwards. But sometimes you can’t wait even a minute. Even though you cannot think much, this is very useful, as I said before, visualizing Guru Shakyamuni Buddha inside, at the heart, radiating, thinking that Guru Shakyamuni Buddha is the embodiment of all buddhas. If you think that he is the embodiment of all buddhas, by thinking like this, as you make offerings, it becomes an offering to all the buddhas, all the numberless other buddhas, even though you don’t know the particular names, different manifestations. Just by thinking this, he is the essence, the embodiment of all buddhas, just making clear like this, making very clear. “Guru” is the first word that comes, and “Shakyamuni” is the second name. As “Guru” comes first, this is the essence. The embodiment of all buddhas is the guru. So this essence is the manifestation of Guru Shakyamuni, the manifestation of Shakyamuni Buddha, the manifestation of Lord Buddha. Therefore Guru Shakyamuni Buddha has a very deep meaning. Just these two words have great meaning. Logically just by remembering, even just remembering this title, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, with understanding of the Guru, meaning of the first one, the essence of all the Buddhas, like this if you think in this way it has so much feeling. So much feeling and also the person feels it is more real. Thinking like this, as you make offerings, incredible benefits are created, so much merit by the way. We don’t cook the fool principally for making offerings—if you had to cook it principally for making offering, you would be lazy, not put that much effort. First of all we make arrangement for our own pleasure, but in that time if you can think like this, making offering, then by the way there is incredible merit created by the person. Each time as the person makes offerings, thinking like this, the mind becomes more and more conscious. There is a way to train the mind to make it more and more conscious. First of all of course the person would find it difficult to keep the mind always conscious, because there has not been training, but as the person tries one day, two days, a few days, one month, as the person tries to be conscious more and more, after some time whenever the person receives food or drink, whenever the person receives something, always the person remembers, the mind is conscious, because the mind has been trained. The person has been used to thinking like this, making offerings, trying to remember the object. There is a way, like this, that the mind can become more and more conscious. Also remembering this prayer is also very useful, so useful to meet again the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha in the future lifetimes.

“May I not be separated from the three sublime preciousness,” like this, “May I and all surroundings not be separated from the three sublime preciousness.” That means the three jewels in all the lifetimes. “May I and all surroundings not be separated from the three sublime preciousness in all the lifetimes. And may we always make offerings to the three sublime preciousness and receive the blessings of the three sublime preciousness.” This is a very useful prayer because going through the meaning is like this. All surrounding means your parents—for instance, just the closest person, the parents, then if you have children, any relatives around there, and then the rest of the sentient beings, it covers much—not only oneself but all surrounding means the relatives, then the rest of the sentient beings—not to separate from the three sublime preciousness, the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Because by not separating from the three objects, this is the way our future lives can be always happy and receive happiness and peace, besides receiving enlightenment. In our future life if we can continuously make offerings to Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, we have always the chance to create good karma to achieve enlightenment soon. Then receiving the blessings, that is the most important thing about Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Receiving the realization of the meditations, realizing one’s wrong conceptions, receiving the graduated path, receiving enlightenment—the whole thing depends on receiving the blessings of the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. So this prayer is also very useful to remember, because this is not only a prayer praying for yourself but also praying for other sentient beings, including your relatives, your parents. Then after this you can say this refuge prayer, “La.ma Sang.gya …” Instead of saying “kyab.su.ch’i,” which means take refuge, you say offering, like this, “ch’o.pa.bal.” (Page 9) Then also even in other times when you don’t eat or drink, generally you have to remember the three jewels of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha as much as possible, as much you can remember in the day and night. Also it is very helpful to guide oneself from the fear, suffering, and hindrances.

So in regards refuge, things that should be done are briefly like this. As we stopped at the part of the benefits of refuge, the second one is refuge, the fundamental thing of all ordinations. Without refuge the person cannot receive ordination. That is the foundation—refuge is the foundation of the ordination. Also taking refuge purifies all the negative karma collected from previous lifetimes, no matter how heavy it is. Usually, even in Tibet, not only the monks but even the lay people used to make retreat by doing purification, doing meditation on refuge and also reciting the refuge prayer. They used to recite the prayer one hundred thousand times or four hundred thousand times according to the person who made the retreat, like this. This is very powerful to purify negative karma, any negative karma. Also because of negative karma, the object with whom we create the negative karma is not only sentient being, we create also very heavy negative karma with holy objects many times without knowing this is a highly realized being, many times we create so much heavy negative karma with objects, buddhas, gurus, bodhisattvas, with holy objects who have higher realizations. We created so much heavy negative karma also in other previous lifetimes, therefore especially with refuge, especially doing purification with the meditation on refuge, this can purify all these heavy negative karmas that we have been creating in previous lifetimes. It doesn’t mean that through refuge purification we cannot purify the negative karma created with other ordinary sentient beings. Refuge and purification can also purify those general negative karmas—besides it can definitely purify the heavy negative karma created with holy objects.

The third benefit is finishing the karma and obscurations that have been collected from previous lifetimes.

Then the fourth one, quickly creating incredible merits. As I said before, the example of the handfuls of water from the ocean can be counted, but the benefits of refuge cannot be counted. By thinking like that we can understand. Anyway, generally it has incredible benefits and much to talk about.

Then fifth, the person whose mind is living in refuge cannot be afflicted by other human beings, even evil beings, non-human beings, spirits. There is not much time to talk about the previous stories that were experienced by other people whose minds were living in refuge—there are many stories about how the refuge protects the person, guides one from the fear and danger of life. However this is just one example. In previous times in one place there was a king, and the way the king punished the people in that country was that every time the person was a criminal, did something wrong, there was a cemetery and he left the criminal there. They took him to the cemetery at night time and left him there. Then the hungry ghosts, the pretas, and other spirits ate the body. So at one time the king found one criminal and he was taken to the cemetery and left there and there were a lot of pieces of cloth, torn pieces of cloth in the cemetery, he found a piece of red cloth. Then this person believed that this piece of red cloth belonged to the Sangha, must be a Sangha robe. Believing, thinking that this was a piece of robe belonging to a monk, and being so scared at the cemetery, alone, so scared, with nothing to do, no method, he put the cloth on his head and the whole night he prayed to the three jewels. Usually that place was a very mischievous place—the bodies that were left at night there no longer existed the next day. However, that night there was no fearful vibration, there were no spirits coming. No one disturbed him, nothing happened, and the next day he came back.

There are so many stories about the benefits of refuge that were experienced by other meditators, even by laypeople. Many times people got scared of bed dreams at nighttime. Especially, refuge is the best method to stop fearful dreams. Many times it happens. Many of our monks are experiencing this, for instance like this. Sometimes, I don’t know what it is called in the West, sometimes when you sleep you can’t breathe, you can’t move in your body, sometimes you scream so much. There may not be a name in the West but it is an experience so they can’t really contradict it. Sometime it happens in dreams you are going somewhere, and while you are walking, your body gets stuck, you cannot move, things like that. Also many times you can see that someone is really pressing down, you can’t really move and you can really feel the feeling of heaviness. Sometimes, many times you can see that, and when you wake up you can feel that the spirit has left from some part of the body. However, in those times if your mind quite conscious, just now we are trying to visualize ourselves in the form of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, like that in those times if you can remember to visualize your body as the manifestation of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, that danger will leave right away. Somehow due to the power of the Buddha’s omniscient mind, even just having the visualization of that manifestation, even this great power, that spirit cannot disturb, press down, it leaves right away. This spirit leaves, as well as any other fearful dreams. Besides the dreams, even in the life dangers, fearful other dangers in life, frequently remembering the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha and taking refuge, which means always making contact with the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. This doesn’t mean you have to say prayers, recite mantras—it doesn’t mean this, it means your mind always makes contact with the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Generally it is very beneficial in the life, even in the lifetime, whether there is danger or not.

The sixth, bringing all success. Whatever the person wishes, bringing all success. Such as totally quickly receiving enlightenment, the benefits of taking refuge, like this. After this then the subject of karma comes, after the refuge. The relationship is this—why karma has to come after refuge, for instance, first of all, just like this example. I am the criminal, the guilty criminal, so I go to see the judge and then the judge is going to punish me because I am guilty. I go to see judge and tell the judge with such a strong feeling of sorrow, repentance, “Excuse me this time,” apologizing like this, strongly appealing like this. You see, just that, just appealing, just requesting like this doesn’t help. That doesn’t completely make you never be punished by the judge or not be punished in court. Just only that doesn’t completely stop you from being punished in the future. So in order to help you to not be punished in the future, you should make the vow, make the promise, “I will never do such a thing again.” Make the decision in your mind, “I will never do such a thing again,” in front of the judge say this, and make the decision like this within your mind. Then if you make the decision like this, that is the thing that helps you to not be punished again. That is the main thing that helps you to never be punished again. Just like this, we have been creating so much negative karma that causes us to be born in the suffering realm. Just feeling the repentance of creating the negative karma and just praying without making the decision, without disciplining oneself, making the vow, just praying, that is not sufficient to cause us to never be born again in the suffering realms. So to never be born in suffering realm, besides that what is necessary? We need to make the decision to observe karma. That is the main thing, the main tool, the main method to stop us from being born in the suffering realm. So that’s how karma comes after refuge, the explanation of karma. Then if you talk a few words about karma, for instance, there are some examples given, such as the ten immoralities, the ten invirtuous actions, and the ten virtuous actions. These are just example to have an idea which are negative karma and which are positive karma, so these examples are given. Then the essential way of observing karma, how to observe karma—as there are ten immoralities and ten moralities explained like this, the opposite of the ten invirtuous actions are the virtuous actions. However, how to observe karma—if we understand these things, then we try to avoid the immoral actions, the invirtuous actions as much as possible, as much we can. How much, we can observe, abstain from that, how long we can observe that, that much number we can observe is that much good. It helps one’s own life. That is the essential way of observing karma, that person’s main method, his fundamental method guiding his life. It is not something with which I control you, not like this. These things have to be done with your choice, with your freedom. With one’s own choice or freedom. Karma means action, action of mind which is thought or karma. Also the thought that puts speech, body, and mind in the action is karma. The thought that persuades the speech, body, and mind in the action is karma. So this karma, this action, whenever it is done, this leaves an impression, ability on the consciousness. Whenever the action is taken it leaves an impression, an ability on the consciousness. So the impression, whenever it is ready, when the conditions are gathered, whenever it is ready, then the result comes, whether it is happiness or suffering. So first of all karma is definite—just I will tell the first outline, karma is definite.

For instance, like this. From beginningless samsaric lifetimes until now we have been creating incredible numbers of karma. There are karmas that we have finished, experienced, and there are also incredible numbers of karmas whose result has not been experienced by us yet. So, if there are such incredible numbers of negative karma that have been created before many thousands of eons, many billions of eons, then maybe some of the negative karma, because there are so many negative karmas, maybe some of the negative karma can be lost among those other many negative karmas, maybe it can get mixed up, like we pour milk and water, and it can disappear, lost somehow, mixed with other karmas or something. I have got very interesting karma! [Rinpoche had a cold.] Just like this, such thing cannot be possible—we may think that it can be possibly mixed with other karma so we don’t have to experience the result of that karma, maybe it is possible to get lost in that way, because it took a long time—but there is no such thing. Even though there have been also many positive karmas, maybe some are lost, maybe they become positive karma, and negative karma was created, so maybe it become positive karma, mixed. Such a thing is not possible. Just like this, there is corn, rice, beans, potatoes, all kinds of different grains, many different types of grains. Also different seeds of fruits, plants, like this. If you put all this in one pot, all mixed up, you don’t keep this seed differently, separate, and then throw it on the ground. If you plant this without making it separate like this, just whatever comes you throw it like this, even though there are all kinds of different seeds all together, when it the beans grow with the rice, just because they are together the bean cannot become the seed of rice plant. The bean, when it is ready, will bring its own sprout. The rice, whenever it is ready, will bring its own leaves. Also besides that each of them have their own result, rice from rice, beans from beans, it is the same thing with other different types of grains, and with different types of seeds of fruits and plants. Because it is together it doesn’t mean it gets mixed up. Whenever it is ready it brings its own plant and its own result, whatever the seed was, it brings its own result. If it is an apple, it brings an apple, an orange brings an orange, like this. Even though the seeds were together. Whenever each is ready it brings its own plant. Just like this external example of the inner karma, the collection of karma on consciousness, even there are numberless karmas that have been collected on consciousness, whenever each karma is ready, if it is negative karma it brings its own suffering result, if it is positive karma it brings its own result of happiness, like this. Therefore the karma is definite. Whatever the cause is, it is definite that it will bring its own result.


Then by thinking that you are the creator of the merit and enlightenment, also think of sentient beings’ emptiness of self-existence, then dedicate the merits thinking that due to the past and present merits of doing meditation, keeping precepts, any merit that is created, and also the future merits, may I quickly achieve Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s state, may I quickly become Guru Shakyamuni Buddha in order to lead all sentient beings to his enlightened stage.

In regards the ten immoralities, if you want to know a little more detail, one of our gurus, Geshe Rabten who usually lives in Dharamsala has also been giving teachings for Western students for many years, seven or eight years. He has a short condensed explanation on the Four Noble Truths and on the ten immoralities with a little more detail, so it will be very useful to read that pamphlet. It is very useful to know this, not only knowing the numbers, but also knowing a lit bit of the details of each thing. This is the way we learn about karma, how we recognize, how we understand karma, what is negative and positive action; this is important. Generally such details are explained in the teachings but this time we don’t have time to go through all of it, so if you can read it by yourself it will be helpful for your understanding.

Day Twenty-Six
Sunday, 1st December


From beginningless samsaric lifetimes, myself and all sentient beings have been experiencing suffering numberless times due to the ignorance of karma. If we don’t try to remove the ignorance of karma this time, when we have received a perfect human rebirth, we will have to experience samsaric suffering by circling around in samsara endlessly due to ignorance of karma and continuously creating negative karma with that ignorance. It is necessary to understand, to fully understand each single action—whether it is positive or negative, how it is negative, and how it is positive. Besides that, it is important to know that karma is definite and expandable, and that one cannot experience the result of a cause not created by oneself. Whatever karma has been created can never get lost. So in order to observe karma, there is the need to understand what is negative action, what is positive action, and how karma ties oneself in samsara. Understanding karma in these four outlines. If the person has that much deeper understanding of karma, understanding these four outlines, this strong understanding gives energy. As it gives energy to the mind, as this understanding increases the energy, how this understanding increases energy, as the person has deeper understanding of karma, the fear of creating negative karma increases in the person, the fear of creating the cause of samsara. Due to this deep understanding and the fear that arises caused by understanding karma, the energy comes. It is built within the person’s mind. So as this energy rises more strongly, as it increases, the person can observe karma better and better. The person can discipline himself more and more strictly, purely, without much difficulty, as the person has that much energy, understanding, and fear. If the person doesn’t have deep understanding, deep feeling, or understanding, then there is no understanding of karma, how it is working, the evolution of the understanding of these four ways. If there is not this understanding, the fear does not arise. As fear does not arise there is no energy. As there is no energy the person cannot observe karma well. The person finds it difficult to observe karma and becomes lazy. Even if the person knows it intellectually, the person is lazy because there is no energy, no fear of creating negative karma and understanding, so the person is lazy even though he knows intellectually. Also it is very useful, very effective for the mind to understand karma through understanding stories and examples. Generally the example of the outside seed, the grain, the seed that was planted in the ground, generally there is a chance even though it has the ability to definitely, always there is the chance to take the seed out, to burn the seed, to stop the seed from growing into plants by pouring hot water, by disturbing the perfect condition that causes the seed to produce the plant, that causes it to grow, even though it is definite that it will bring the result if it doesn’t meet the hindrance. So just like this whatever karma has been created, if it doesn’t meet the hindrance, it is definite that it will bring the result, whatever the karma is. If the karma created meets a hindrance then it is possible that it won’t bring a result, that the being, oneself, won’t have to experience the suffering result or the happy result. Even though that much numberless karma has been created there is always the chance to stop it, to not experience the suffering result by completely destroying the karma which is like the seed by destroying its ability. Also we can step experiencing the suffering result by not meeting the condition that makes the seed of karma bring the suffering result. For example, in previous times in India there were two people. There were two beggars, and one beggar was of the caste of kings, and one beggar was of the caste of Brahmin. The beggar who was of the king caste was wise in knowing how to beg, and other one, of the Brahmin caste, was not that wise in knowing how to beg. The person of the Brahmin caste went to beg food from the monastery before the Sangha had lunch, so he didn’t get any food. Just before they started to have food he want to beg, so he didn’t get any food. The person who was of the king’s caste was wise and knew how to beg, so he went to beg food after they had lunch in the monastery. The monks gave a lot of food to this beggar. So this beggar asked the other one, the beggar who was the Brahmin caste, “Did you get food,” and he said they didn’t give him anything. The other beggar who didn’t get any food said, “I wish to cut all these monks necks and drop their heads on the ground.” The other one who got food said, “I wish I were a benefactor and always making offering for the food of the monastery of the Sangha.” They had different wishes like this. However soon after that the other person, who was of the caste of the Brahmin, while he was in the street his neck was cut by the vehicle of the horse cart. As he was sleeping in the street, his neck was cut by the vehicle of the horse cart. The other one was also sleeping in the street. During that time in that country the leader died, and the people wanted a new leader from that country so they found the person who was sleeping in the street under the shade of tree. Usually as the sun goes away, the shade changes, the shade doesn’t stay in one place, but this person was sleeping under the shade of a tree and the shade never moved away—the shade was always there. The people found this amazing, they were really surprised at this person. They thought, “Now we have found such an incredible person who has such power,” and they thought the best idea was to ask him to be the leader of the country. So afterwards he became the leader of the country and became very rich. As he wished, he had the chance to make offerings to the monastery of the Sangha for a long time.

This is how karma is definite. Positive karma was created by this person, and negative karma was created by the other person. Even just by wishing, there is karma, even just different types of thinking, wishing like this have different results, such as the suffering result the person who created negative karma experienced. Besides his neck being cut by a vehicle, also he had to be born in the suffering realms and suffer for many eons, since he had such negative minds towards monks, the higher objects. The other person who created positive karma also had an enjoyable, happy life, and in that life also created much good karma of offering like this, and in many of his future lifetimes he also received a happy life and had many enjoyments as he wished.

Also in previous time there was one monk who lived in the monastery who he didn’t take care of the Sangha’s possessions. There was a bed that they used for meditation in the prayer hall and he spilt tea on the Sangha’s bed, on the cushions. The cushions became black from spilling the greasy tea. So because they became black and he didn’t take care, he did this with a careless mind, in his future lifetime he was born with a black colored back even though the rest of his body was white. He had black marks on his back side. His karma was like this. This was the result the person experiences, even though the cause was a small cause.

Also in a country there was a king. One family lost a cow, and the king pointed to the wrong person saying, “You are the thief of the cow, the one who has stolen the cow.” After the kind died, after a long time, he was reborn as a monk. At that time another family’s cow was lost, so again the king of that country sent the people to search for the cow. As they came along to this monk’s place, the monk was dyeing clothes a red color in a big pot. The people who were seeking the cow came by and they saw the monk, and from their side they saw the monk cooking meat in the pot, and they saw it as real meat, so they pointed to the monk and said, “You killed the cow.” The monk said, “I never killed the cow, I am dyeing cloth not meat,” but the other people didn’t listen. They really saw that the monk was cooking meat, and they couldn’t believe what the monk said. They really believed that the monk had stolen the cow and killed it. As much as the monk tried to tell them, it never helped, and without choice the monk had to go with them and was put in prison for six or seven months. When the monk was king he put this other person in prison for six or seven days. Karma is also like this. From those two sides, the people saw what was in the pot differently; each of them saw completely differently.

But these things are not something that only happens to other people and not to us, not like that. Even now somebody is making lunch, a big lunch to give all of us and each person will take it. When each of us when we take it, some of us find it good, some find it delicious, and some of us hate it. There are different things like this. The food is made in one pot, it is the same food, but when we different people eat it we find a different taste, a different feeling. While some find it delicious, some find it terrible. This proves karma. Just this proves karma. A person experiences the taste according to the person’s karma created in the past, otherwise there is no reason why this has to happen, why different people have to find different tastes. There is no reason because it is the same food. That’s why there is nothing to point out in the food; different people finding it delicious, undelicious is mainly due to the person.

So at the moment oneself has a chance, a little bit of wisdom to know what to practice, what to avoid. By having met the leader leading one in the path to enlightenment, having met the teachings, there is the chance for this wisdom to grow. “Numberless sentient beings are the field from which I receive all my past, present, and future happiness, and all perfections, the sentient beings who are extremely kind all the time, who have been extremely kind from beginningless samsaric lifetimes, even now, even in the future, even after I receive enlightenment they are extremely kind. Numberless sentient beings are extremely suffering, suffering so much in the narak, preta, and being animals. Even right this moment, there is so much suffering, such as naraks, such as the terrible suffering of the body becoming inseparable from ice, and experiencing the suffering of cold, a billion times worse than the suffering of cold we are experiencing. Our experience of the cold suffering in the morning is nothing. Also in the sura, asura, and human realms most sentient beings are incredibly suffering by not having met the leader leading them in the path to enlightenment, not having the wisdom to know what to practice and avoid, and not having met the teaching and always creating negative karma, the cause of suffering. Therefore if I, the son or daughter of mother sentient beings, this time while I have chance, if I don’t help them, if I don’t help them, lead them to happiness and release them from suffering, then who will repay them if I don’t do it, who should do it, who should repay their being kind to me? I must do it. Therefore I must achieve enlightenment first in order to enlighten all sentient beings, therefore I must discipline my speech, body, and mind, therefore I am going to take the Mahayana ordination until tomorrow.”

After the third repetition of the prayer think that you have fully received the Mahayana ordination in the form of light, that your whole body is full of light.


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




Think of the three times buddhas, past, present, and future, “Wherever they dedicated their merits also I will dedicate the merit in the same way.” Seeing yourself and the merit and enlightenment and sentient beings as illusory, dedicate the merits. “May I quickly achieve enlightenment by receiving the fully renouncing mind of samsara, bodhicitta, and the full realization of the absolute true nature in order to lead all sentient beings to enlightenment, due to the merits of taking ordination and past and future merits.”

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Karma and Samsara »