III. The Knowledge of Sangha
Absolute Sangha is those who have the achievement of the absolute Dharma.
Relative Sangha is the bhikshus, monks—if there are four, that is called Sangha; if there is one, that cannot be called Sangha.
“Heretics”—evil; cannot follow the evil doers, the evil friends who have wrong conceptions, wrong realizations. “Follow” means this—it doesn’t mean you can’t have compassion with that person—because with his wrong realization he creates negative actions, so you cannot do the same; if you do follow the action you are destroyed, your knowledge is destroyed. What is the way of receiving help, guidance, by taking refuge in enlightened being? By correctly following his orders, the path that was shown by him; that is the way of his saving us from samsaric suffering, that is the way of his guiding us. Through following the path that was shown by him we are released from samsara, this is the way the enlightened being saves and guides us, and this is the way we receive the help. For instance, not doing what he says, not following the path as it was shown by him for us, doing something else; even if the whole time we pray, “Please guide me,” 1,000 times—if the action is done in an opposite nature, not following the path as he says, his order, no matter how much we pray, there is no way to fully receive his guidance, his help. And to guide and save us from samsaric suffering and ignorance is extremely difficult and it takes much time as long as we don’t follow orders and path as shown by him. His responsibility is finished; now it is our responsibility to follow the path—if we don’t, there’s no way for him to guide us, to release us from suffering. Therefore, it is necessary to put our whole life toward correctly doing as he orders, as the path was shown, not doing opposite things, not following evil doers who have wrong realizations.
Then, same thing—the way the Dharma guides. That is the way the enlightened being—called “Buddha” or not, who has that knowledge, in whom we take refuge—that is how he guides us. So Dharma, as we completely rely on Dharma—refuge means this—due to full confidence in its knowledge and fear of samsaric suffering. So the way the Dharma guides us from suffering? This is by following the disciplines, by following karma; basically the essence is following karma. This means avoiding negative karma as much as possible and creating good karma as much as possible. This is what “following karma” means. Avoiding negative karma—the way the Dharma guides. If I talk essentially, by avoiding negative karma as much as possible, that much quicker we receive the help and guidance of the Dharma. Like this. So doing the opposite of the Dharma—harming other beings, not avoiding negative karma—there is no way Dharma can guide us. No matter how much you say prayer, all the time, if your action is opposite to this, there is no way the Dharma can quickly guide us from suffering.
Same thing, the Sangha—if one follows heretics who believe there is no such thing as past and future lives, the Triple Gem, absolute nature, many things; who believe the self is permanent, the person’s self is permanent, there are many things. So if the person follows this, there is no way for the Sangha to quickly, practically guide the being from suffering.
So actually, like this. Our future buddha guides us from all the mental shortcomings, all the defects of the delusions. And our Dharma, following the path, following karma, our Dharma guides us away from the suffering. Our Sangha guides us from suffering, like this. The most practical way to guide yourself is like this.
Rinpoche Question: What is Dharma, the meaning of Dharma?
Answer: The way to unbind yourself.
Rinpoche: Is your keeping precepts the way to unbind?
Answer: Because it develops ...
Rinpoche: Negative mind? (I’m joking). It develops what?
Answer: The pure positive mind to penetrate, perhaps deeper understanding. It gives power.
Rinpoche: How? How does it help receive deeper understanding?
Answer: By concentrating the mental energy.
Rinpoche: Is that agreeable?
Answer: Yes—it is creating good karma and avoiding negative karma. It allows us to avoid the results of negative karma, and to experience good results that allows Dharma practice, and so understanding gets deeper.
Rinpoche: How does keeping precepts help achieve deeper understanding?
Answer: It keeps all the actions positive.
Rinpoche: How does positive action help to have deeper understanding of Dharma?
Answer: Less distractions, less desire for temporal happiness.
Rinpoche: How does decreasing the desire help achieve deeper understanding?
Answer: It’s purification.
Rinpoche: Purifying what?
Answer: The mind.
Rinpoche: Ceasing the mind? Destroying the mind?
Answer: Destroying delusions clouding the mind.
Other Answer: By taking the precepts you voluntarily put yourself into the opposite action of your usual actions of unconscious actions, and by taking yourself out of this one can see these usual actions.
Rinpoche: That is correct, before—it purifies ignorance, so it makes a place for the knowledge. Why is there no enlightened knowledge yet? Because there is no place, because of the opposite, the defilements. It is the quickest way to purify and develop deeper understanding.
Question: Do the precepts prevent the addition of more obscuration or more bad karma?
Rinpoche: Bad karma creates obscuration.
Question: And the precepts prevent occurrence of negative actions?
Rinpoche: Yes. Keeping precepts with pure thought, that is Dharma. Now you answer.
Question: Is it possible for keeping precepts to create delusion?
Rinpoche: There’s no way to create bad karma—keeping precepts means abstaining from the evil
Question: But isn’t the motive for keeping precepts important—say keeping for a day and feeling arrogant after?
Rinpoche: That’s not purely keeping. What makes the possibility of receiving enlightenment?
Answer: Pure motive and development of acute awareness of your actions to differentiate between pure and impure motive.
Rinpoche: How does it lead to enlightenment?
Answer: Once you can differentiate between pure and impure motive, all your actions can become positive and release you from samsara and put you on the path to enlightenment.
Answer: To reach enlightenment, we must be released from samsara.
Rinpoche: So when you have acute awareness of delusions you are out of samsara—so you must be enlightened first to be out of samsara? Delusion has no beginning so how does it end?
Answer: I think it has beginning—it begins with impure mind.
Rinpoche: Why does it exist, does it have a creator or not?
Answer: The impure mind.
Rinpoche: So the impure mind has no beginning? Delusion has beginning but impure mind has not?
Friday, December 7th
To take ordination in the Mahayana it is necessary to be possessed by the Mahayana thought, the pure thought of bodhicitta, besides the action is done with pure motive, that which is opposite to the evil thought of the eight worldly Dharmas. Try to cultivate this pure motive briefly like this.
“The attachment that is attached to the happiness of the temporal life and the higher samsaric pleasure is only the cause of suffering. However much you can make this present life happy, pleasant, even if we will receive a more pleasant life than this, like being born in the realm of the gods, all of these pleasant lives are in the nature of suffering. As there is not one tiny suffering left that we have never experienced and we have experienced all of them countless times; same thing, there is not one tiny samsaric pleasure left that we have never experienced, and we have experienced all of them countless times; same thing, there is not one great samsaric suffering left that we have never experienced and we have experienced all of them countless times; same thing, there is not one great pleasure left that we never experienced and we have experienced all of them countless times. So totally, there’s no samsaric karma that we never created. Therefore, since all of these are not new, since they are old, there’s no reason to have interest, be attached, to try for that. The opposite—we have been trying for that since beginningless lifetimes, now it is time to stop continually being attached to these things—it’s important because by stopping this, one can be released from samsaric suffering.
“But releasing oneself from samsaric suffering is not enough, not sufficient. There are infinite sentient beings in samsaric suffering now. These sentient beings are the objects from whom I received my past, present, and future happiness and enlightenment. At this moment, most of them have not met Dharma, do not have the wisdom eye to know positive actions and wrong actions, and do not have a leader leading them in the path to enlightenment. There are many things missing. As I have this chance, I must repay them in the best way, to rid them of the cause of suffering. At the moment I have no capability, therefore, I must become enlightened. To become enlightened depends on subduing the body, speech, and mind—the best way to subdue these three is by putting them in the disciplines, following the precepts. Therefore, I am going to take the Mahayana ordination.
(Lama Thubten Yeshe)
From the holy speech of the great guru, bodhisattva [Khunu Lama] Tenzin Gyaltsen, “One should cultivate bodhicitta to benefit others—if one desires to benefit others, one should cultivate bodhicitta; if one desires to benefit oneself, if one desires a happy path, also one should cultivate bodhicitta.”
It is for sure that we and every living being desire happiness—no doubt, we desire a happy life, desire a happy path, a peaceful path, and desire the method of peace. The only problem is not recognizing the actual method of peace. It is definite that the work that we do in is either done for oneself or for others, so the best way to benefit others, the best way to benefit oneself, however the work is done, it is necessary to cultivate the bodhicitta. Why? The work is done to benefit either others or oneself. Basically it is for the achievement of the peace, which is devoid of suffering—so therefore, the pure thought of bodhicitta is of utmost need within our mind. Therefore, it is necessary to practice, to train the mind to become bodhicitta.
To practice bodhicitta, to receive this, to practice this in other realms of samsara is extremely difficult, because of the deep ignorance, the karmic deep ignorance, and the life, the way they live, and the limited chances—such as having an enlightened being descend, such as communicating the Dharma thought and speech—it is extremely difficult. In the three lower realms, besides those hindrances, the lack of freedom, the karmic ignorance, and limited chances, there is much suffering. Also, in the upper realms, the realms of the gods, for some of those gods, because of their karma, it is difficult to achieve everlasting peace, and also difficult to practice bodhicitta. In many ways, it is extremely difficult to have the chance to practice bodhicitta, not like such a precious chance that we have now. Therefore, we are in such a precious period, such a precious period, being at such place where there is the existence of the Mahayana teachings, and besides that, from our side we also have the chance to practice, to study, and to discuss about the practice of bodhicitta, the chance to listen, many things. So while there a chance, it’s worthwhile to practice, so in this way we never lose the precious chance—it makes being in such a condition, receiving such teachings and listening to them, meaningful. It is necessary to start training the mind now, even from this minute, since our life is always short. Therefore, before listening to the teachings, the motive of listening to the teachings should be the pure thought of bodhicitta. There’s no actual bodhicitta received but we are training, meditating on bodhicitta, trying to plant the seed of bodhicitta.
So think, “It is not enough for oneself to be released from suffering—I must achieve enlightenment in order to release sentient beings from suffering and lead them in the path to enlightenment. Therefore, it is necessary for me to completely achieve all the graduated path. Therefore, it is necessary to make correct, perfect practice. Therefore, it is necessary to perfectly understand all the meanings of the graduated path.”
So the listening subject of the graduated path, if it is divided into three we are on the path of the lower being. So far, the meditations from the lower path that we have finished briefly are, “Perfect Human Rebirth,” “The Great Usefulness of the Perfect Human Rebirth,” “The Difficulty of Receiving the Perfect Human Rebirth,” “The Perfect Human Rebirth is Very Fragile and Easy to Decay,” “No Other Methods Can Stop Death,” therefore, “Death is Definite.” After death, since even in this life, one year, one day, even in previous lives, more negative karma is created than positive karma, therefore it is more definite that we will be reborn in “The Suffering Lower Realms.” Because there was a mind before the rebirth, there is a mind after the death. So the time of that rebirth is indefinite—”The Time of Death is Indefinite,” so the time of that rebirth in the three lower realms is indefinite, not sure when it will happen—it is something that will happen unexpectedly, without knowing. Even if the person thinks it’s not time, it is not my time of death, whenever there is the karmic arrangement of death, when that is ready, it will happen.
So therefore, since it is more definite that we will be born in those lower realms and suffer, it is necessary to do something, to make arrangement ahead of time, before that danger happens. At present, from our side, we have no power, no great supreme knowledge, no great compassion. We don’t even have the power to guide ourselves from temporal problems—we have to rely on other living beings to even solve temporal problems. So, of course, it is necessary to solve the great problem of rebirth in the three lower realms. To save ourselves from that we have to rely on something, rely on someone. It is greatly worthwhile to rely on someone in order to escape from this. But it is most important not to rely on an imperfect guide, an imperfect leader, not to rely on an imperfect object. That is the most important thing, more than anything else in life. By making mistakes in this way, we lose this life and many future lives. So by finding the correct guide, the perfect guide, and by relying on such a perfect guide, besides being great numbers of profit, the cause of everlasting peace can be created in this life. Besides this, also in many future lives great profit can be made—peace, profit, always less suffering, attachment, always progressing, getting closer to the cessation of samsaric suffering. So what knowledge is necessary to have the object in whom we take refuge, on whom we rely? That I briefly explained, so there is no need to repeat. Anyway, the perfect object should have, as we talked about before, such great, infinite power, compassion, and knowledge, totally impartial compassion for every number of sentient beings. No matter, anyone who has these enlightened knowledges—even if he looks like a hippie, no matter what he is called—that is a perfect object from whom we can take refuge on. Even in many other future lives there is not even the slightest danger of being betrayed or misled. Such as these perfect beings, they achieved knowledge, the infinite supreme knowledge, through the path. There are countless enlightened beings, such as Guru Shakyamuni, for instance, who achieved his knowledge, power, and compassion through the path. How did he become a perfect object that we can take refuge in, rely on? That happened by following the perfect path, the teaching. Therefore, we can also take refuge in the teaching, in the Dharma jewel. And also in the attainer, the Sangha, of the Dharma jewel. The most practical way to guide oneself from these sufferings and to release other sentient beings from suffering is for yourself to become Buddha, for you to achieve the Dharma, for you to become Sangha—that is the most practical way. But to be able to guide yourself by the achievement of the Dharma and by becoming absolute Sangha, this cannot happen intuitively, it needs the guidance of the outer Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Without that it cannot happen intuitively. So therefore, what we are trying is this. Even the very first chapter, subject, we are trying to understand “The mind beginningless”—that is also method for us to be able to achieve our own Buddha, the individual Buddha, our future Buddha, and trying to achieve the Dharma and Sangha to be able to guide our individual selves from suffering and also guide other sentient beings from suffering. Each time we meditate it is for that reason. Even if we are making one prostration, it is also for that achievement.
It is important—this is the last emphasis—it is important, before you put your whole life in that direction, to think about whether this path caused the release of any sentient being from samsaric sufferings, from the circle of death and rebirth? By achieving this path, does any living being enlighten other sentient beings, release other sentient beings from suffering and death into enlightenment? By following the path, does it rescue them from rebirth in the suffering realm? This is important. Why do we follow a path, why do we seek truth? Because there is a problem. Why does the person need to take medicine? Because he is sick, there is a problem. Same as this example—why is he following a path that is not a materialistic method, why is there need of that? This is because of problems. There are problems that we recognize and problems that we don’t recognize; there are problems that we recognize with the ordinary mind—the very gross ones, the heavy ones—there are subtle problems in our minds that we don’t recognize. But without completely destroying these problems that we don’t recognize, there’s no way to stop the problems that we do recognize. So the subtle problems that we don’t recognize can be recognized by the following inner method, following the teachings, following the correct path—so without following the path, without destroying the subtle problems that bring the gross problems that we recognize, these gross problems cannot be destroyed. Anyway, so in regards to the need of seeking truth, seeking path—that is to solve the problem. There are all kinds of problems in our minds, some that we see, some that our limited mind doesn’t see. So it is not enough stopping only the temporal problems that we recognize, and not stopping the problems that we don’t recognize, but which bring these temporal problems. Therefore, the path we are trying to seek, the teachings should be useful to destroy the seed, the whole suffering—even the seed of the whole problem. So it is important to check up first, besides the temporal problems, the problems of this life, besides this, check this path, this teaching. Did any being, by following this teaching, stop rebirth into the suffering realms? Could anyone control samsaric suffering, ignorance, the circle of death and rebirth? By following this path, did anyone enlighten other sentient beings from ignorance, from suffering, from samsara?
Check this by using your wisdom, with logic. If this is clearly proved, that by following that path many living beings, the followers, achieved control over those sufferings, then it is worthwhile to make the trip on that path, and also to take refuge in the founder of that path.
The Benefits of Taking Refuge (Page 73)
Introduction: Paragraph 1
If it were possible for the benefits of taking refuge to appear in form, with color and shape, then it could fill up so many universes. “The three worlds” means a great number of universes—not as written—thousands of galaxies—(“senses, form, and formlessness” as printed is a mistake).
The eight benefits are just the total number, the brief benefits of taking refuge.
1. Just like saying, “bodhicitta.” Many people think “Buddhist” is a name to use for partisanship. Just as there are many names in the world that do not depend on realization or development of wisdom, just taking the name, “I am this and that,” and because of this conception, fighting, putting even the life in danger, not depending on realization, not helping to attain ultimate peace. This is not like this. It is like saying realization, the bodhicitta achieved, and even if people think you are crazy, you are a bodhisattva. If you have control achieved through tantric practice, mahamudra, even though it is looked at as crazy by other people—it doesn’t matter. Even if he is looked at as crazy, it is their problem, the other peoples’ problem—it is alright, he has done his job, he is free in his mind.
So just like that, “Buddhist” is a matter of having realizations, knowledge. This also depends on having that knowledge, just as becoming a bodhisattva depends on having knowledge of bodhicitta. So the equipment, the knowledge that makes the person become an “inner being?” That is strong fear, and full confidence in the enlightened being’s knowledge, power, and compassion and completely relying on it, putting the whole life in his hands. This is not easy, even this is not easy. Besides having fear of samsaric suffering, an unbearable feeling of great compassion, energy, strong compassion for other beings’ suffering is not easy. The other one is more difficult—the fear in the suffering of samsara is more difficult to receive than the fear of the suffering of the three lower realms. Why is the energy to have compassion for other beings’ suffering is difficult? First of all one should feel strong aversion towards one’s own samsaric suffering. To have such strong fear, an unbearable feeling towards one’s own suffering, one should realize what samsara is, the samsaric suffering nature. One should also recognize the suffering of the three lower realms. To have the fear of suffering of the three lower realms depends on understanding negative action and positive action, depends on understanding karma, that different lives are brought by karma. This depends on understanding beginningless mind. So there are many ways to come, it is a long way to come, not easy. But to become inner being is easy. For many people it is easy to become Buddhist, like shaving the hair (like I did today—I thought I would become Buddhist) and thinking this is the way to renounce.
But to become an inner being does not depend on outer change, outer looks. It is only defined by having this understanding, this mental knowledge that I briefly mentioned—this full confidence in the enlightened being’s knowledge, power, and compassion, and fear of those levels of suffering, and completely relying on this perfect being and trying to avoid negative karma and create good karma as much as possible. Since it is only a matter of this mental knowledge, this equipment, this inner knowledge, the inner being can be among laypeople, even if the person never knows any prayers, not having a rosary to put on the hand—anyway, it does not depend on outer looks. Even if the outer look is perfect—head shaved, putting on robes, looking perfect outside—becoming Buddhist depends on mental knowledge. We cannot be sure where the inner being is; not sure who is an inner being, who is not an inner being—it is difficult to judge from outside. It is important to understand this, so we know—to say this is not easy. When one checks up in one’s mind it is funny, mostly empty, like an empty pot. Like this, not sure—even if the person is sitting on the throne.
Question: If one cannot judge from outer appearance, why should one respect any monk or nun as the real Sangha?
Answer: That is the other person’s responsibility; you are talking about respect—we can respect all sentient beings, even the animals—there is much to talk about. It is our responsibility. Anyway, no need to talk much in this subject, by meditating on this subject we can understand, the whole answer is there. But generally it is our responsibility to be humble, taking care of others, respecting others, keeping oneself in a humble place. This is one’s responsibility, and it always gives peace within one’s mind and it always creates the cause of happiness. It is always good knowledge, no matter who the other person is—it is always the opposite of pride, jealousy, and negative mind.
Generally, all sentient beings can be prostrated to, as we prostrate to Buddha, to enlightened being—as we receive enlightenment by depending on him, same thing we receive enlightenment by depending on sentient beings. As we make offering to Buddha, it does not mean all sentient beings are Buddha, all sentient beings are perfect object of refuge—it does not mean this. Because of the reason, why we make prostration to the enlightened being! For this reason, so we can prostrate to sentient beings, as we receive enlightenment by depending on them. But it does not mean that sentient beings are perfect objects of refuge. All sentient beings can be prostrated to by looking at them. But it does not mean that sentient beings are perfect objects of refuge. All sentient beings can be prostrated to by looking at them as a guru or as an enlightened being, as Guru Shakyamuni.
It is true, there are people like this—he becomes a monk so that he doesn’t have to do things like this. It has also two things: one is being scared of creating negative karma, not wanting to kill people, but one is a person who is lazy in worldly ways, doesn’t want to suffer the problem generally, the difficulties. Just as the example thinking, “If I become a monk, put robes on, I will find food easily,” without much idea of future lives and enlightenment, thinking, “If I become a monk, I will find my life easy, I can go to beg”—lazy mind. This is a lazy mind also from the Dharma point of view; as this is a lazy mind from the worldly point of view, it is also lazy from the Dharma point of view. Because he puts robes on, because he is attached to the happiness of this life, he doesn’t want to work, wants to make the life comfortable. So, for the other one there can be two motives—one is being scared of those heavy negative karma. Of course, it is better not to have any bad karma created, not to have any luggage of that bad karma to carry with the person to his next life—it’s better not to have it.
So when you hear the word “Buddhist,” if your mind can remember the knowledge it is useful, very effective for your mind, not thinking it is just a name or partisanship, but thinking of the knowledge that it means.
2. This we understand if we figure out the purpose of taking ordination. The purpose of taking ordination is because of these fears, the three fears—fear of the suffering of the lower realms, fear of samsaric suffering, and the unbearable fear for other sentient being’s suffering—these fears and full confidence in the enlightened being’s knowledge. This causes us to keep the ordination and to take the ordination, and the purpose of taking ordination is to release us from these fears. So, in this way it is easy to understand taking refuge—refuge is the basis of all ordinations.
3. It’s negative karma that person has created, and it can also be purified by refuge—taking refuge has that much power. For instance, in previous time, the king of some place killed his father who had the achievement of the noble path, who was noble. That action was one of those extreme actions, the heaviest negative karma, one of the five extreme negative actions. So by taking refuge, even that heavy karma was purified in his lifetime. There are many other examples. Also, the man who killed 999 beings—how he could purify all that heavy negative karmas? That was also through the power of the refuge. Actually, there are many other stories.
4. For instance, another way of saying three is, a person who has refuge, because he has fear of suffering and is scared of the negative karma he created in his past lifetimes, he always tries to purify through methods shown by the enlightened one—he always tries to diminish it many ways, with many different methods he tries to purify. So with this refuge, because of this fear of the sufferings, the person is obliged always to create good karma. And also, it gives him longing, the wish to create good karma as extensively as possible. There are also many other stories.
5. In previous time, in a country where a king was punishing people, he left the people he punished at the cemetery for the spirits at night, and nothing was left by the next morning. There was one man that the king punished and left at the cemetery. But this man found a piece of old red cloth from a monks’ robe, so while he was at the cemetery he put it on top of his head and strongly took refuge—this means he was relying completely on the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha—thinking of these things and completely relying on and putting his life in the Triple Gem’s hands. All night he took refuge, this is a mental action—mainly it’s a mental action, not mainly an action of speech. So no one hindered him, no one disturbed him during the night, so he could come back. I think it was in Tibet, and he met an animal called teh—it looks like, not exactly a horse, but maybe that wounded him. So later on he met a lama who asked him what happened and he explained. So the lama gave refuge, and later on he met the animal again but the animal didn’t bite him again as before, just smelt him and left.
Even saying a prayer, even the prayer has so much power. Even if there’s not much understanding in the mind, even just saying the prayer has power and benefit. But generally, just saying this prayer, imitating this prayer, does not make an inner being, because an inner being depends on mental knowledge. For instance, a story of how just even the prayer has power. In ancient times, in Tibet, there was a meditator in hermitage—he has a shirt offered by a benefactor, of quite good quality, from India. So a thief came to his hermitage and saw through the hole, and saw the shirt hanging on the wall. So he asked the monk about the shirt—the meditator didn’t let him come in, but the meditator asked him to stretch the hand in and he would give it to him. Instead the meditator tied a rope to his hand and tied it to a pillar. Then he beat the thief with the rope saying, “Go to refuge. Buddha; go to refuge, Dharma; go to refuge, Sangha,” beating him stronger and stronger. So the thief went away and it was becoming dusk, and on the trail was a bridge recognized as a mischievous place, where people are scared to go at nighttime because of the spirits going round. The man was scared and hid under the bridge. Then he thought how good it was there was only three, “Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha,” otherwise he would have been much more exhausted or killed. He didn’t know the meaning, yet as he was very scared and couldn’t find any other thing, he kept repeating that refuge prayer all night—so that night nothing happened to him. There are many other stories about how even just by saying the prayer, people are relieved from dangers. In some families there are mischievous spirits—they go to bed inside the room, but at night the bed comes outside. But when Tibetan laypeople who have taken refuge go inside, this doesn’t happen.
Taking refuge stops rebirth in the three lower realms. For instance, like this—this is easy to understand. In the lifetime, since the person took refuge, the person who has refuge in the mind always creates good karma in order to make arrangements not to be reborn in the three lower realms by always remembering the enlightened beings. Also at death time, if one can remember the enlightened being, this knowledge can help a great deal not to be reborn in the lower realm.
Anyway, starting from the perfect human rebirth up to enlightenment, the whole realization, the whole path, is achieved on the basis of refuge—it’s all received from refuge.
As the person has stronger, more pure refuge—even within the refuge there are levels—those who have achieved renunciation have the purest refuge. Anyway, the more pure refuge one has within one’s mind, the quicker one receives enlightenment.
Also, this prayer that we often say before the meditation, by saying this prayer (page 19) and reciting this mantra (page 20), it purifies 40,000 eons of negative karma. This mantra has the power to purify. This prayer, that which comes before the mantra, includes many things—refuge, prostrations, offerings, and asking for blessing—it is short, but it has many things—this is also a refuge prayer. (Please repeat). By reciting this mantra, it has the benefit of purifying 40,000 eons of negative karma. But the one thing is, there’s no such time that we never created negative karma before this, there’s no such time that we started to create negative karma. There are many other mantras that we started to create negative karma. There are many other mantras that have much power. As our ignorance is beginningless, as our ignorance has no beginning, as our ignorance has always been creating negative karma, just making the pure recitation of this mantra does not purify the whole thing. This mantra and prayer is received from this guru who has the great achievement of bodhicitta, Tenzin Gyaltsen. It is received from him.
Usually mantra has great power—why does mantra have benefit and power? Because of the power of the omniscient mind. Also, through mantra there are many things to stop dangers, to cure disease, such as leprosy, which are difficult to be cured by modern chemical medicines. There are many people, not only monks or meditators, but many laypeople, too, who can cure other peoples’ dangerous diseases by reciting mantra. Especially the diseases caused by the mischievous actions of spirits, which are extremely difficult to be cured by the elements, the medicines. There are many things. Also, there are mantras that can help at the time of death by reciting and blowing on the corpse, the animal, or the person dying. There are those that cure the disease of the poisons. Also mantras that bring success—for many different actions there’s a power of a mantra to bring success for each thing. Anyway, all of the power is the power of the omniscient mind, and is only because of the knowledge of Buddha or the enlightened being. So anyway, if one is going to talk about how the power or benefit or the mantra is great, it can never be finished at any time. It is all because of the power of the omniscient mind, the action of the omniscient mind. Even reciting mantra, helping in so many ways, even that is the action of the omniscient mind.
Whatever meditation you didn’t finish this morning start from that, putting yourself in the evolution of the future death as if it is happening now. Then try to make the experience of the sufferings of the negative karmas that cause rebirth in those different narak sufferings, and the bad karma to be reborn in the animal and preta realms, thinking for sure that you have created those, and thinking as if you are dying now and being born and suffering there—as much as you can remember, try to feel it, then meditate on it in order to get out of these sufferings. After the meditation on suffering, think, “If I am born right away in those realms, there are incredible sufferings like this; if I die right away I meet those incredible sufferings—it is such a great shock. At the moment I wasn’t born in those realms so I must do something. So I must take refuge.”
Then meditate trying to remember the knowledge of Guru Shakyamuni, of the omniscient mind, try to remember the knowledge as much as you remember, his supreme great knowledge, which means omniscient mind, his power and his compassion. In regards to great knowledge, his holy body, speech, and mind have such great knowledge. Same thing, his holy body has power, as does his holy speech and holy mind. Like this, checking the knowledge.
And as this holy being who has this perfect knowledge, this holy object in whom I can take refuge, as all these knowledges are received through Dharma, then Dharma is also a worthwhile object to take refuge. Then check Dharma knowledge. Then the graduated path, following the guru up to enlightenment, the perfect human rebirth up to enlightenment, the whole graduated path—that is also Dharma knowledge of Sangha, the attainer of Dharma, those noble beings who have the achievement of the absolute Dharma.
And think how the Buddha guides, how the Dharma guides, how the Sangha guides; since we take refuge in Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha—checking like this. And also how those three cause you to achieve your individual Buddha—one’s own Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha—and how one’s own Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha guide oneself—check like this. Then so ... like this. The way the Buddha guides is ... as the path was shown by them, the way the Buddha guides me is by helping me to achieve Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, so achieving these three depends on following the path as it was shown by the enlightened being, following the graduated path as it was shown by the enlightened being. The basic thing, the essential way of following the teaching, the path, is observing karma. Without observing karma—that means trying to avoid negative karma, and trying to create positive karma—without observing karma, there is no way to achieve the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha; so then there’s no way that the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha can guide me, there’s no way to achieve Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, and no way that the outer Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha can guide me, save me from suffering.
Then meditate on karma (Pages 74 to 80). First, “Karma is Definite”—that means (more details will come, tonight this is just the introduction of the outlines)—karma is definite. “Karma is Expandable,” “The Result of Karma Which Wasn’t Created by Me Cannot be Experienced,” “Whatever the Karma is Created, However Long it Takes, It is Definite Not to Lose, is Definite to Bring the Result,” whatever karma I have created so far, it is definite that I will experience the result. Relating these things to negative karma is more effective, it helps to achieve the renounced mind of samsara. Think like this about negative karma.
Karma is definite means that from negative karma comes a suffering result. Then you check up—whatever negative karma is created, it is definite to bring suffering result. Just as this—you plant hot pepper, then growing, raising something else—as this is impossible, so is creating negative karma and experiencing peace, a happy result.
And whatever negative karma is created, it is expandable. Just like planting one rice seed it can bring many grains of rice, so by creating one negative karma, the suffering result has to be experienced for a long time and brings many suffering results—from one tiny karma.
And whatever negative karma is created, even if it is billions and billions and billions of eons and the result has not been experienced yet, it is sure to be experienced soon, the result never gets lost. Think before going through this, think, check, try to remember all the negative karma from today, how many negative karmas created, then yesterday, then the past month, the past years, then in the lifetime, going back to the childhood time, try to see this as much as possible. You should not think, “I didn’t kill people, I didn’t do anything like this, I am positive, I am okay, nothing wrong.” We can feel like this since we do not perceive the past things. Try to think that as the deluded mind has no beginning, in my previous lives I have been an animal numberless times, and so much negative karma has been created by being different animals. For an animal, such as a tiger, from the time they are born until death even to show even one positive karma is extremely difficult. Just like this, with many other animals, mostly all black, negative actions. It’s like a dark room where there’s not even a tiny light—all negative actions created in the life means all negative karmas, not even one tiny positive karma can be shown. So our being an animal, not only once but numberless times, means we don’t know how much negative karma we created in previous time. Also, similar to this, as pretas and human beings and also suras and asuras we have created many negative karmas—even though we didn’t kill human beings in this life, we may have killed them in previous lives. We have done the five extreme negative actions, we may have created them in our previous lives.
After all this, think that negative karma will definitely bring a suffering result—then it is also expandable. So each negative karma that I have created and collected up until now, all have a suffering result. There are numberless negative karmas whose results are not finished yet, that were created in great numbers of past lives, for many trillions of eons; but still they are not finished. All these negative karmas have for sure a suffering result that all have to be experienced by me gradually, which may take infinite eons. And for the negative karmas that have been created in each time, each result can be increased, expanded so much more—not just one suffering result that finishes in one time, in only one life, but moreover the result is expandable, so there is much more suffering even though the cause was one. So then, there have been incredible numbers of negative karmas created, and so if the result of each of those is expandable, the suffering result I will experience is incredible. So think like this.
Rinpoche: Did you find out why delusion has beginning or is beginningless?
Answer: Delusion has beginning because it was created in our previous lifetimes by our ego.
Other Answer: Ego is delusion.
Rinpoche: So delusion has beginning? Why should it exist—what made it exist?
Answer: Our imagination—it doesn’t really exist.
Rinpoche: So actually there’s no hindrance to enlightenment—we are just thinking? Is there enlightenment?
Answer: Sure, everybody has enlightenment.
Rinpoche: Is everybody enlightened?
Answer: Yes—not actually, but there is the possibility in everybody.
Rinpoche: But why are you not enlightened?
Answer: Because my mind is still attached and not yet tamed.
Rinpoche: Attached to what?
Answer: Temporal pleasure.
Rinpoche: It’s just a creation of my mind, it doesn’t really exist.
Rinpoche: So you have no attachment? Yourself doesn’t exist. You don’t have a hand?
Answer: I think at the moment it exists, but I’m not sure about it.
Rinpoche: So everything not sure?
Rinpoche: So what really exists?
Answer: Beginningless mind.
Rinpoche: Isn’t your beginningless mind a creation of your mind?
Rinpoche: So it has no creator.
Answer: The beginningless mind is part of the universe.
Rinpoche: So it has no creator?
Answer: It’s a part of God.
Rinpoche: So did God create it?
Answer: It’s beginningless, it always existed.
Rinpoche: So your today’s mind has no creator?
Rinpoche: Isn’t your today mind created by yesterday’s mind, caused by yesterday’s mind?
Answer: There are influences of my mind, the beginningless mind.
Rinpoche: Is all your beginningless mind pure?
Answer: I think so.
Rinpoche: So your present life mind is also pure?
Answer: No, in previous lifetimes it became impure.
Rinpoche: Why did the pure beginningless mind become impure?
Answer: Because of delusion.
Rinpoche: Why was there delusion?
Answer: It’s explained in the book.
Rinpoche: Is beginningless mind pure?
Rinpoche: Pure what?
Answer: It’s pure, but it has delusion sticking to it.
Rinpoche: So it’s impure and pure?
Rinpoche: If beginningless mind is pure, why should it be purified?
Answer: It’s not pure, it has delusion sticking to it. It has delusion in it.
Rinpoche: So it’s like if there’s kaka in the bowl, you don’t know what is kaka and what is bowl.
Answer: Yes, it’s hard to tell ...
Rinpoche: Why does the mind have clear light, clear light nature of mind?
Answer: Consciousness is the ability to perceive and the clear light is the image of that ability—when
it’s void of delusion then it’s clear light.
Rinpoche: Does the flower have clear light because it has void nature?
Answer: I don’t think so, because the flower has no consciousness—it has void nature but not clear light void nature.
Rinpoche: But why is void nature of mind called clear light?
Saturday December 8th
To take the ordination in the Mahayana way it is necessary that the motive be the pure thought, the Mahayana thought, devoid of the eight worldly Dharmas. It is worthwhile to take the ordination with the pure motive, to be very careful in the motive and try to take it with pure motive. This ordination is something that has to be taken and can be taken with great happiness, not something forced—being forced to take ordination by some other person, or being obliged to take ordination because of the meditation course schedule, not being concerned with enlightenment or the Dharma—thinking like this is very limited in power, the power of mind, the power of thought is very limited. It is something that can be taken with great happiness, great pleasure—like a beggar receiving jewel.
For instance, if we are born as a narak being, as those lower suffering beings, as an animal—even if we are born as a sura or asura—for many reasons, suffering and deep ignorance, it is extremely difficult to take this ordination if you are born in those lower realms. If we are born in the sura and asura realms, it is very difficult due to distractions and hindrances. Even if we are born as human beings on earth, in each country, the people keeping these eight precepts is so rare, so rare. For instance, it is also more rare in the West—think of one’s own country—it’s very rare, so rare; perhaps you who are taking the precepts, perhaps you is the only one among the people in that country. And besides taking just the eight precepts, taking the eight precepts in the Mahayana way has more benefits, more profit can be gained, and it becomes a more powerful cause of receiving enlightenment. Also, Guru Shakyamuni, many other beings, received enlightenment by keeping these precepts.
So, “Attachment that is attached to the temporal happiness and the higher samsaric pleasures is only the cause of sufferings. There’s no one tiny happiness left that we have never experienced, we have experienced them countless times. There is not one tiny samsaric suffering left that we have never experienced, we have experienced them countless times. There’s not one greater samsaric pleasure left that we have never experienced, we have experienced them countless times. There’s not one greater samsaric suffering left that we have never experienced, we have experienced them countless times. So for these reasons there is no reason to have attachment to those samsaric pleasures, and, secondly, all these samsaric pleasures are in the nature of suffering. Therefore, we must be released from samsaric sufferings. Only that is not sufficient, not enough. There are infinite sentient begins who are in suffering, who are the object from whom we received all our past, present, and future happiness and perfection. Therefore, we are responsible to repay them and guide them from suffering. Therefore, it is necessary to first to enlighten ourselves. To receive enlightenment it is necessary to subdue one’s body, speech, and mind. The best way to subdue them is by keeping precepts. Therefore, I am going to take the Mahayana ordination.”
This is from the holy speech of the great bodhisattva, Tenzin Gyaltsen, “Without making differentiation between rich and poor, without making differentiation between wise and foolish, and without making differentiation between higher and lower, the bodhicitta which equally benefits all should be cultivated.”
This means, in regards to the pure thought bodhicitta benefiting sentient beings, there is nothing to differentiate like this—like bodhicitta benefiting only the poor and not the rich. Bodhicitta benefits only the foolish, not the wise, bodhicitta benefits only the lower, not the higher. There is nothing like this in regards to the object that bodhicitta benefits—the bodhicitta benefits equally. As bodhicitta is a strong will to receive enlightenment for the sake of others, for the sake of each sentient being, therefore each sentient being, those who are rich, those who are poor, those who are wise, those who are foolish, those who are higher, those who are lower—there is no such thing as these objects having stronger benefits, and other beings having lesser benefits; there’s no such thing. The pure thought of bodhicitta, which can equally benefit without depending on differentiation, if this is received there is no way, there’s not even the slightest way that the bodhicitta would harm others, harm others or oneself. It only benefits every other sentient being, its function is only benefiting each sentient being equally.
So achievement of this bodhicitta is of the utmost need for the achievement of enlightenment. Why is the Enlightened Being, Guru Shakyamuni, obliged to help or have compassion equally to all sentient beings? That is because of the bodhicitta he received while he was following the path, his previous achievement of bodhicitta. Therefore we, since we also want to release sentient beings from suffering, to reach enlightenment it is necessary to have the achievement of this bodhicitta, that allows all sentient beings, every other sentient beings to receive help from the enlightened beings, whether the sentient beings take refuge or not, whether the sentient beings believe in him or not—they still receive help and guidance. That is the kindness of Guru Shakyamuni’s bodhicitta which he received while he was training in the path, such a great, beneficial realization, the pure thought bodhicitta.
Not trying to achieve this precious, pure thought while we have received the perfect human rebirth, such a precious chance, is foolish. So it is worthwhile to train our minds in bodhicitta even from this moment, even from this hour, this minute. If the work, especially the work that we are doing now, is possessed by this thought, it is greatly beneficial to other beings. Therefore, try to think—”I am going to listen to the explanations on the graduated path in order to receive enlightenment for the sake of sentient beings, every other sentient being—those who are suffering in the animal, human, sura, and asura realms, and also for the sentient beings who are not enlightened.”
So the listening subject is the graduated path to enlightenment—if it is divided in three, into the path of the lower being, the path of middle being, and the path of higher being—this is the path of the lower being.
So far, what has been briefly finished by explanation is, “Perfect Human Rebirth,” “The Great Usefulness of the Perfect Human Rebirth,” “The Great Difficulty of Receiving the Perfect Human Rebirth,” “How The Perfect Human Rebirth is Fragile, Easy to Decay,” “No Other Method Can Stop Death,” therefore, “Death Is Definite.” At death time the mind does not cease, as there was mind before the rebirth. It is definite that we will be born in the upper realm or the lower realm. It is more definite, according to the level of the mind, the present situation, our individual present situation, it is more definite that we will be born in the lower realm. In regards to positive karma and negative karma, more negative karma is created—in a month, a year, even in this life—so besides creating more negative karma in previous lives and even in this life, because there are negative karmas created and not purified, there is nothing arranged to prevent the suffering result. Therefore, it is definite that it will bring a suffering result. Therefore, for this reason it is more definite that we will be reborn in the lower suffering realms, and not only is it definite—from one karma, the suffering result is not one type, just one small suffering result as the small negative karma created—the suffering result is not the same as the karma. Even for negative karma, the suffering result cannot be finished in a minute as the karma was created in a minute; the suffering result cannot be finished in a second as the karma was created in a second. The suffering result has to be experienced, according to the karma, for many eons, for many lifetimes, and even that is not just one type of suffering, it is different types of suffering. Therefore, it’s definite that we will suffer longer and more in those lower suffering realms.
So far we didn’t achieve any realizations of any path to cut off the cause of suffering. So therefore, it is definite that we will experience the suffering result of the individual karmas we have created. And it is impossible to experience the true path and the true cessation, nirvana, that are achieved by other people; it is impossible for us to experience by us the true path and the true cessation, the nirvana that was achieved by Guru Shakyamuni or by other living beings. If it is possible that although someone followed the path and achieved it, and we receiving it by not following the path—if this is possible then it is not necessary to follow Dharma—we can experience other beings’ realizations, other beings’ ultimate peace, everlasting peace. If there is such possibility like this, there is no need to practice Dharma, it is not necessary to observe karma. But besides this, one person experiencing another beings’ pleasure of eating food, even this ordinary thing is impossible to do. Our not working for food or eating, and trying to experience the pleasure the other person has is impossible to do. This ordinary thing is impossible, so of course it is impossible to experience another’s ultimate peace. Therefore, experiencing the results of karma not created by us, any result of karma that wasn’t created by us, is not possible; it cannot be experienced, there is no way to experience—as long as we don’t try to do anything from our side with karma, it is definite that we will be reborn in the lower suffering realms. It is more definite that we will be born there and suffer, because any karma that was created from eons and eons ago, trillions of eons ago, can never get lost. So therefore, it is more definite that we will born in the lower suffering realms after death.
So, we should do something ahead of time. The actual time of rebirth and death is not definite, not definite, we cannot trust, cannot think it will not happen in this year, in this month, this week, tonight, tomorrow. Thinking and trusting, “I am happy now, there is nothing wrong, my body is healthy”—thinking this cannot give an answer and is not sure, is never definite. Even if someone is so well, so healthy now, maybe after a certain number of hours, all of a sudden gets disease, gets sick—either with a mental problem or a physical problem. Even if in this minute someone is well, no one knows what will change, so there’s nothing to trust in the present situation.
So as we don’t have the capability or power to save ourselves at the moment, we have need of taking refuge in a perfect object. The Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha are the three perfect objects, so the most practical way, what really guides you from these different levels of suffering is your own Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. This depends on the help of the outer Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Receiving help from the outer Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha and your own Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha depends on following karma; without following karma it is extremely difficult. Therefore, the whole thing depends on karma. Just as in this example. For the patient, the main thing is the patient has to cure himself, he has to; the main, important thing is that the patient cures himself being skillful. But this depends on the wise doctor and the practice, the right, perfect medicine, and the nurse. So the whole thing—the patient himself solving his own sickness, guiding himself, and the patient receiving help and being guided by the doctor, medicine, and nurse—what does this depend on? Whether the patient listens to the instructions or not. If he doesn’t listen, take them correctly, nothing happens; this is simple, easy to understand. So as we understand this, we should understand this evolution. The way refuge works is like this. The whole thing depends on the patient following instructions and advice, that is the most important thing. If the patient takes wrong diet that is forbidden by the doctor, if the person doesn’t follow, doesn’t take the medicines correctly, takes the wrong medicines, not following correctly the instructions at the time they are given, if the person does this, besides curing himself, he gives suffering to himself, no matter how wise the doctor, how rich and perfect the medicine, or how well-qualified the nurse.
So therefore, the whole peace, the ultimate peace, the highest peace—enlightenment, cessation of suffering—and even the ordinary happiness, a single ordinary happiness, even the happiness of feeling cool with the wind blowing when you are hot, all the happiness, the whole happiness is the result of the virtuous karma. The greatest sufferings in the lower realm, even a tiny suffering such as headache, back pain, knee pain, feeling cold, even a tiny suffering is a result of negative karma, of evil karma. Therefore, anyone who desires peace, happiness—for instance, with details like this: of course, for those who desire enlightenment, there is great need to observe karma; and for those who want to receive a better rebirth, the fundamental thing is observing karma. We forget even those things, leave those things; for those who are only concentrated of one life, they also desire peace and happiness, they never want to get sick, to get into any problems; even those beings who are only concerned or believes in only one life, since they desire peace, they have to observe karma. It is not something that someone forces on you—following karma is not something only obliged by the enlightened being. If you check up, to make this work, actually who obliges? We, the suffering beings who have suffering oblige; if we don’t have ignorance there’s no suffering, so there is no reason to create karma or to observe karma in order to avoid suffering. So his suffering is created by himself. As the living being desires peace, wants peace, observing karma is his job. For the person, even the person who only believes in peace, doing this job, observing karma, has to be done. Even if he doesn’t have idea or belief or understanding of Triple Gem, following karma is his responsibility.
There’s no way to receive an uncomplicated life without creating the karma, without ceasing the ignorance of that person. Therefore, as long as he doesn’t recognize that important point, that important subject as important, as long as he doesn’t observe that important point, there is no way to make his life uncomplicated and satisfactory, no way. Why no way? Because as long as the person creates negative karma, as long as the mind is under the control of the collection of delusions, collected from beginningless lifetimes, there’s no way to receive the uncomplicated, satisfactory life.
What happens is this—in modern times with people. During life they never seek this point or try to find out this important point; so when death comes it is finished, and there’s no time after death to seek it, as this is the time of experiencing the suffering result. Even during the lifetime, even if it is explained, even if the person met the method, if it was shown, the person goes away from it, wants to close it, doesn’t want to understand it and gets shocked. Just like in the example, when a person gives food to an animal, the animal escapes away because the animal doesn’t know the situation, doesn’t know about the person; the animal only thinks he is harming, making complicated—that’s why he runs away, making more trouble, the animal himself causing more trouble. Anyway, this is the modern situation, the life of people. Like this.
Karma is not something that only Tibetan people have and Europeans do not have. And it is not something given by the enlightened being, like a material thing given to you in order to keep it. It’s a matter of recognizing and understanding. It’s like this—in Tibet there’s an example—a man had a few animals, several donkeys. He was riding on one, and counted the others, but not the one he was riding. So always one was missing, and again he counted, and again one was missing—such worry! This was a useless complication made by himself—not recognizing the donkey he was riding on. So same thing, the samsaric sentient beings have to observe karma.
For instance, as the impulse is important at the beginning of the meditation, at the beginning of the Dharma practice, the first thing is observing karma. The door of Dharma practice is observing karma. As long as the person doesn’t observe karma, even if the person does retreat his whole life, it cannot help, he cannot guide himself from rebirth in the suffering realms. In previous times there was a meditator who made much long retreat on the tantric deity, and by meditation on this wrathful tantric deity, he achieved certain powers and with that killed so many people. After his death he was born in suffering, in the stage of the narak, even though he was a meditator in his previous life. This is because of not observing karma.
Anyway, whenever we meditate, the meditation is supposed to help us to observe karma. Otherwise, if it doesn’t help us to observe karma, how can it help stop suffering? So the meditation, whatever we are doing, should make it useful to observe karma—then the meditation, whatever we are doing, helps to stop suffering. There is no need for the meditation to create the cause of suffering; there are billions and billions of actions, no need for the extra action, the meditation. So meditation should be made useful to observe karma—observing karma also helps the meditation. So, if we meditate to help observe karma, observing karma helps us to realize the meditation more quickly, to achieve the realization of the meditation more quickly, like this it helps.
In previous times in Tibet, in Tenpo, close to Lhasa, there was a meditator who meditated on the tantric deity called Yamantaka [sic: Yamandansa]. But he didn’t have deep understanding of the Dharma, didn’t have the understanding of the important points of Dharma practice—he was only concerned about the deity, but did not have a strongly renounced mind of samsara, and did not practice bodhicitta. After his death he was born as a preta that had a similar shape to the deity he meditated on before, in his previous life. He was born as something like this—he was born as a preta and he came to his meditator friends of his previous life—he came to beg the smell of burning from his previous life’s friends, the meditators. Usually, the smell of burning meals, there are certain pujas to do—they burn tsampa in the fire and mix it with things and put it outside to make charity to the pretas—there are many ways to make puja, to make charity to the pretas so that they find food. Also it causes the spirits to soon be born in the upper realms. So as he was born a preta in that shape, he came to beg the burning smell. So, if one is not careful with karma, karma can be very heavy. If one does not observe karma, the suffering problem cannot be ceased no matter how much the person is learned, wise, or famous, no matter how much he has magic powers. If the person doesn’t observe karma, he can’t guide himself from suffering.
1. Action done with greed and hatred and meritorious actions done for future lives. But any action that is done for future lives is not necessarily meritorious. If the person doesn’t know what is meritorious karma and demeritorious karma, without knowing exactly is it possible that they are creating negative karma expecting to have a better life in the future?
(a) This “circle of three” means the person himself—for instance if a person is making charity—himself, the object, and the material he is giving, thinking of the absolute nature of himself, the object, and the material, and then giving it—the action being possessed by the wisdom of the absolute nature, the understanding of the absolute nature.
(b) This means meritorious karma that is created, such as keeping morality, precepts, or creating charity to have a better life in the future, even if it is not done with this concentration.
(c) Siddhi—samadhi. Meditating siddhi for the achievement of greater pleasure.
The way karma is explained by the Enlightened Being is exactly the way that the evolution of karma is working—not that Guru Shakyamuni explained one way and the actual evolution is something different—not like this—Guru Shakyamuni explained the factual evolution.
Everything that the enlightened Being explained about the evolution of karma is accurate: what arises from what—what positive result arises from positive karma, and what negative result arises from negative karma.
Even the moon and the sun can possibly become non-existent in a time; even the countries, the earth, can be destroyed; when the color of the sky is not definite, it can change; now it looks blue, in a time in can change. Everything has change. But the order of the Enlightened Being has no change. Even though those phenomena can possibly change like this, the Enlightened Being never tells even one single untrue word. If we can remember, continually, the whole life, the continuity of the whole life, if we can remember—if we can remember, the situation becomes something like this for the person who remembers his past lives—he has to achieve Dharma practice, has to achieve the method to stop it, to stop the cause of suffering, the continuity of suffering. Even though other people insist that he not practice Dharma, as much as other people insist that he doesn’t practice Dharma, he is in such a situation that he has to practice, he has to find a method that ceases the suffering.
This can have a result—such as indifferent feelings—you can check up.
Karma: Principal and Cooperative Causes (Page 75)
For instance—negative actions, the principal cause, impure impulse or the delusions. The thing is this, one thing is—for the continuity of your Dharma practice, of course, it depends on the environment, the place where you are, and the people. If your inside understanding is not deep it easily gets changed by people, influenced by other peoples’ ideas, you easily become controlled by ideas, conflict, the environment, many things. If your inside understanding is strong, unshakeable, then also your practice becomes unshakeable; then you can continue, it is stronger, as it is that much stronger in your mind—the understanding and fear of samsaric suffering, and the understanding of Dharma—your practice will have less disturbance. If your understanding is not strong, if you have disturbance, and you follow the disturbance, the person himself easily follows the interferer. If he has fear of samsara, and of creating negative karma—if this is strong, as much as this mind is strong in that person, that person will be that strong in not following the interferers, the negative influences. He cannot be easily influenced by other people in a negative way, by the people who don’t follow karma, the evil creator people, living beings who are the evil creators.
Especially if you have if one has precepts, if one has made a vow and is keeping precepts, for this person the place is very important, it depends a lot on the people whom you are with. And the main thing that really keeps your precepts, your main protector, the main method that makes you keep your precepts, is the more you understand the nature of samsaric suffering, the more you understand the evolution of karma; the way the evolution, the terrible negative suffering result has to be experienced from the creation of negative karma, and fear, strong fear in karma, in creating negative karma. And samsara—this depends on understanding, which has to arise through your own meditation, the experience of these meditations. If one does not have such strong fear in samsaric suffering, in the creation of negative karma, if there’s no strong fear, then the person’s precepts will easily get broken. As the person is in the situation—in such an environment, with such people, the most main important thing that we should try, the most helpful, main protector, is your understanding, the great fear of suffering, and the understanding of it. This is the main protector that will protect us from suffering, that will protect us from creating negative karma, not breaking precepts; this is the main protector. If this is not strong, then just only running away from people cannot help—this is the main thing, only running away from people cannot help—we cannot exist without seeing people.
The main thing is this—as long as we don’t have this strong protector in the mind, even though other people, surrounding people, do not disturb you, do not disturb your Dharma practice, because this protector is not strong, not strongly achieved, there is much interference inside—the cooperative cause is outside, and in the mind there are negative interferences, and in the mind no strong protection—so the negative interferers are stronger and you disturb your own practice—generally like this, the person disturbs his own peace because he listens to his inner interferer. The reason he listens to the inner interferer and can’t protect himself from not breaking the precept and not disturbing his Dharma practice is because of not having a strong protector, not having a strong protector, the strong fear of the evolution of negative karma and samsaric suffering; totally, samsaric suffering. There’s danger, even though your surroundings are positive, not disturbing, that you will be disturbed by following your own negative interferer—besides disturbing one’s practice there is danger also to make it stronger, more powerful than the inner protector. Totally this—the main disturbance to Dharma practice is the evil thought of the eight worldly Dharmas. The main hindrance is this, also the disturbance. The hindrance, the negative interferers that hinder your Dharma practice, the meditation, keeping the precepts, no matter how much we talk, it is the evil thought of the eight worldly Dharmas. As long as we think this is good, and follow it, there’s no way to make continual Dharma practice, and it is extremely difficult to keep the precepts pure.
If a person who feels that creating negative karma and the evil thought of the eight worldly Dharmas are a poison that can cause danger to life, besides the person being scared to take the poison, he doesn’t want those poisonous things that cause danger to the life around, he is so scared of the suffering the poison can cause. Being extremely scared of this, besides of eating the poisonous food, he is scared of the evil thought of the eight worldly Dharmas as poison. And the same thing with creating negative karma—this is like taking poison, and he can’t be easily disturbed in his Dharma practice, keeping precepts, whatever it is. He cannot be disturbed by his negative interferer inside, and he cannot easily be disturbed by other people, however much other people try to please him by giving him food, by giving him clothes. Anyway, however it is done, his practice, the one who has that much fear of creating negative karma and of the evil thought of the eight worldly Dharmas, his practice becomes that pure and can’t be easily disturbed, and that makes him continue his pure practice, such as keeping precepts and many things.
As long as we don’t have this much fear it is easy to disturb the Dharma practice—we don’t need other people to disturb us—we disturb ourselves before the other people do. The main thing that really makes the person keep, that gives him the energy to continue his Dharma practice, keep precepts, however the situation changes—happy situation, unhappy situation, whatever place he is—the main thing that makes him continue Dharma practice and keep precepts is continual meditation on death and samsaric suffering, trying to see all of samsaric pleasure as suffering. Because, as I said before, the evil thought of the eight worldly Dharmas is the main interferer. The main thing is, one thing is this—lacking deep understanding of the nature of samsaric suffering, he sees samsaric pleasure as a real pleasure. So in that way, due to this wrong conception, he easily gets attached to it. This great yogi, Milarepa said, “..and materials and demons’ spice—give up, don’t trust.” I do not mean you should die of starvation, practice Dharma always, it does not mean this. Because, you see, food and so forth is just one example.
Anyway, even though we try to think in meditation, “Samsaric happiness is in the nature of suffering,” why do we, during life, easily get attached, the opposite of what we think in meditation? One thing is, the meditation is not really made practical. We do not have a strong feeling as we say the words, intuitively seeing it as we say the words, not being conscious, not being continually conscious. So again, what is missing? The fear, it is the lack of fear. The mind easily gets attached because of this cause—the evil thought comes—the person’s protector, guide, police is missing, and because that is missing, the evil thought of the eight worldly Dharmas can come—these two cannot exist together. So sometimes even the meditator doesn’t know, because of not having strong fear and not being conscious, not feeling, discovering that this temporal life is in the nature of suffering. So even if we try to use Dharma, try to meditate, the mind easily gets attached and we don’t realize how the mind easily gets attached, don’t recognize it, even don’t recognize what mind is—the thief, the thought of the eight worldly Dharmas came and got attached. So after a time, then you discover, then you realize that thief, that evil—the eight worldly Dharmas came and stole your inner peace. Because being attached to samsaric pleasure always causes negative karma, and so avoiding that itself is the cause of peace. Avoiding the thief itself is the cause of peace. When the thief comes, he steals the inner peace, the inner freedom—just as a cat sneaks into the room to eat meat. First of all you don’t know the cat came into the room, and then when the meat disappears you realize it. So continually meditate on samsaric suffering and karma, and especially on impermanence—this can become the real protector.
The pure Dharma practice comes if the person continually tries to watch the thief, the evil thought of the eight worldly Dharmas, and tries to fight it. Always watch it, but only watching is not enough. It will be like this—the police standing in the house and letting the thief steal everything. What the police are supposed to do is not only see the thief but stop him from stealing, to destroy the thief, take him out. So, same thing, we should work with our thief, putting ourselves as the police, always watching and trying to fight. Everything comes—pure Dharma practice, successful meditation—everything comes from this. And this helps a great deal with karma; just this itself is observing karma. It helps in many ways.
2. Karma is Cause and Effect
Karma generally means action. It has to be a secondary mind. Within secondary minds, there are fifty-one. Karma itself is a secondary mind but it can depend on action.
For instance, as the action is created, it leaves impressions, some ability on the mind. For instance, a person kills a dog—but how does that make the connection to his future life’s karma? The relationship, how it happens is, the action leaves an impression, an ability, a seed on the mind. So as mind continues, that impression is not destroyed or purified; that seed—like the seed of a grain that is planted, cultivated—the ability ripens whenever the time is ready.
Also, we talked about this before in the example of precepts. This causes loss of the ability of the body, the power of the physical energy, also this becomes a big hindrance to meditation, such as causing us not to have a clear visualization, the mind being easily distracted, the mind not being in a safe place, in a firm place. It is like paper in the wind, easily distracted, not firm, not strong. As it affects the body, it also affects the mind—as the body is the vehicle of the mind, so it affects the mind. The sense base relies on the subtle physical body, so when that very calm physical object or vehicle gets disturbed it also disturbs the senses. So as the ability, the physical energy is lost, it also affects the vehicle, so it affects the mind. Things like that—it can cause many hindrances.
Also, especially in tantric meditations, this is one of the disturbances to not achieve the tantric meditations. This is only telling just one part of evolution, the changes that it causes, without talking of the future suffering result of this karma.
Dul.wa.lung quotation. Generally there are five paths:
1.The path of accumulation.
2.The path of conjunction, which means leading to the right seeing path from the path of accumulation. Without this second path there are four degrees. When one approaches the third degree then that living being is definitely not going to be born in the suffering realm again. It’s not because the seed, the ignorance is destroyed, but because the cooperative cause is stopped, like the elements—if there are no elements, the seed of the rice cannot grow; it’s not because the seed of the rice plant is destroyed, it is because the cooperative cause is not made, so it is not growing. So the being who has reached this third degree of the path is definitely not going to be reborn in the lower suffering realms.
Four Powerful Remedies
When we make confession, if we do so with all these four, it becomes much more powerful. With these four powers it becomes perfect, the confession becomes powerful. The confession done through these four can purify more negativity.
The most important thing from these four is the great fear of the negative karma that was created and making the vow, the promise not to create them again. These two are the most important things in the confessions. As strong as the person’s fear in the negative karma that is created is, the person then makes the vow not to do it again for the rest of life, by fixing a time like this. If the fear in the negative karma created is not so strong, it is also difficult to make the vow, as there is no fear in the negative karma created before. If there is no strong fear, even you have made the vow, in the mind you would feel not sure, you might break it—so the mental decision depends on how strong the fear in the negative karma, the suffering is.
I think I will explain the confession after; now there is no time.
It would be good to understand the outlines on karma and the outlines on the meditations on samsaric suffering, to keep by heart, understanding the total meaning of it. Then it will be useful—when you meditate, there’s something in the mind to meditate on.
Four Powerful Remedies (Page 77)
1. So when you make confession, visualize Guru Shakyamuni as he is all gurus and all infinite buddhas, bodhisattvas, as he is all noble beings. Think, “I go to refuge to Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha,” thinking of him as Buddha, as Sangha, and his realization as Dharma. “I go to refuge until enlightenment is reached.” Also, at the same time think of the meaning of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, taking refuge completely from the heart, completely relying with your whole life on him, not being just doubtful of whether he can guide you or not. This meditation on confession is for those who will use the confession. For those who are not interested, it is not necessary to listen.
2. Then, “Even in one second I have created negative karma that will cause me to experience a suffering result in the three lower realms, one of the three lower realms such as the narak stages, the worst suffering stage, where I am suffering on burning red-hot iron ground, becoming oneness with fire, extremely suffering, for eons. The sufferings, if they could manifest in form, would be something that is infinite.” Also, try to visualize the narak stages at the same time—try to feel the suffering, try to see it—such as getting angry, the negative mind arising with bodhisattvas, noble beings, harming the holy beings, getting angry, giving harm to other, besides to these noble beings, also to gurus; killing Dharma practitioner, creating these five extreme negative actions, the heretical mind arising toward the Enlightened Being’s teachings and the teacher, and the heretical mind arising toward the guru. There are so many other things. Anyway there are many other heavy negative karmas that cause us to be born in those sufferings stages; such as criticizing the holy Dharma and the noble beings who have higher realization. These are examples of the very heavy negative karmas.
“Even one second of negative karma such as those heavy negative karmas—such as anger, such as heretical mind, such as criticizing—causes the result of being born in such suffering stages for eons. And I created those not once, those heavy negative karmas, I created them many times.”
Question: Does this mean speaking out to a person, or just the thought that arises and you try to fight?
Answer: Yes, it can be mental as well as speech. Once you really have the thought, it creates karma.
“Many heavy negative karmas that I know of and that I don’t know of. Even in this life, I have created those that I know of and those that I don’t know of. Some of those heavy negative karmas were created in previous lives, many times. In one day, one month, one year, more negative karma has been created than positive karma (this is generally talking), also in many previous lives, since there’s no such time when I started to create negative karma, no time before which I never created any, there is no such thing. So there’s such a great collection of negative karma.” Then thinking like this, “It is definite negative karma.” Then thinking like this, “It is definite that I will be born in these suffering stages.” At the same time you are thinking this, try to see it as if you are born there, and think, “Sine I desire happiness and do not desire suffering, I cannot live like this, without doing something. Since I desire happiness and do not desire suffering I must cease, I must completely destroy the whole collection of negative karma. Before death happens, I must do it; I must do this before death. So after this second, this minute, death is more sure than existence. Existing or not existing? Not existing is more sure after this second, this minute, so it is more definite to be born in that suffering narak stage after this second, minute. So according to the beginningless, the great collection of negative karma, it seems that I’ll never receive enlightenment and only suffer in these suffering realms, mostly in the narak stages, besides the animal and preta realms. So therefore, right away, right this minute, I must purify all these negative karma that I have created. So therefore, right this minute, second, I must purify all these negative karmas.”
Also try to remember if precept were broken, whatever they were, “I must be purified of this. I must purify now, right this time. I must make it so that I never experience the result, right now.”
3. Then ask the holy object to purify—the third number, penance—to purify negativity by remembering the guru, Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. So, as you have done the visualization of Guru Shakyamuni before like that, then request to purify all those negative karmas right away by completely relying on the holy object, the Enlightened Being. Just like this—as a person is going to be punished or killed, then the person goes to the judge, and the person from the depth of the heart asks for guidance not to be punished. So just like that, as that suffering person makes the request sincerely from the depth of his heart, so should it be done with confidence, not just an imitation or like playing. Sincerely making the request is important.
Then this time, with this you can try the visualization of the knowledge, of the light coming from Guru Shakyamuni’s holy body, absorbing into you and purifying every single negative karma, all the delusions, and every single negative karma that has been created. Try to feel, to think, that every negative karma has been completely destroyed by the light—nowhere existing anywhere, neither inside nor outside the body—and try to feel your body as very light; like when you take a bath, you feel light, sort of clean—more than that, light, as if nothing is left, not one single negative mind or karma is left. All the negative karma, activities of body, speech, and mind are completely purified. Also, after you think like this, as you are completely cleaned, also you have to deeply think that you are really completely purified. “Now all the negative karma that I have created becomes purified, so now I never have to experience all the negative karma created in the past times.” During this confession time, this strong feeling has to arise.
Then you have to make the promise, the vow, otherwise it does not become a perfect confession, there’s one missing from the four powerful remedies if you don’t make a vow, therefore it is not perfect. Therefore, you have to make a vow—for instance, either you think you will try your best to observe—this is still not completely a vow—not as strong as, “I will never do it”—”I will do my best,” is not as strong. For instance like this, as an example—if you have told a lie to some people or if you have cheated, or stolen something, or without knowing you have stepped ever holy books, or such as broken precepts, there are many things—you can make a vow like this, “From now on I will never break it again until death time,” or “ I will never do it again until tomorrow.” So this way, by making the promise until tomorrow—if you make the promise until death time or for long time, but break it after a few seconds, it becomes telling a lie; so in order to create less problems, you make the vow for a short time. You can still observe the action even though you didn’t make the vow for many days. Since you observe the action, tried to observe it, it is not creating that negative action, this action is possessed by the promise, that promise made for one day. So if it is broken after finishing the time of the vow it is less negative karma, and heavier if broken during the time of the vow—it becomes telling a lie and is much more negative karma. This is just a method, a skill.
There are many other methods, but these four are the way of making the confession with the four powerful remedies, which makes the confession powerful. If there is one missing from the four powerful remedies, it doesn’t become such a powerful confession. So with this confession, after thinking this, you can recite mantra, make prostrations; there are many ways to make the purification. After this, then one can make prostrations with concentration, or do recitation of the mantra of different deities, such as the Guru Shakyamuni mantra, according to individual practice and choice. There are many other methods and choices. Also, the mandala offering. There are also ways to make confession by reading; there’s also a way to make confession by reading the profound, holy teachings, such as a text explaining about absolute nature, shunyata. There are many other ways to make purification.
It is necessary for us, who have created great numbers of negative karma, to make the confession every day. Also, it is said in the teaching that if this confession is done with the four powerful remedies, if this confession is done three times each day continually for seven years, so much negative karma can be finished. Also, there is a quicker way of making confession with guru yoga practice—this is not important to explain now.
So, for instance, the suffering result of one negative karma that has to be experienced for many lifetimes gets shorter with my making confession sincerely and strongly and continually. These negative karmas that have to be experienced in many lives finish; just by getting sick it finishes the whole thing. Sometimes it finishes with some temporal problem; sometimes it finishes according to the confession you made. Sometimes none of those negative karmas have to be experienced. Sometimes you get something, shocked in a dream, some fearful dream—just by that, you don’t have to experience the suffering result of a negative karma which would otherwise have to be experienced for a long time with great suffering. Something that finishes by that little event, through making confession. All these are according to how much the negative karma is purified; the whole thing depends on how strong, how powerful, and how long you make the confession.
But one should not think, should not have this idea, thinking, making plans to create negative karma and thinking, “I can make confession.” This only cheats oneself, one only goes round and round in a circle; it doesn’t help to stop negative karma.
First, you do meditation on death and a brief meditation on suffering. Then do meditation on karma. Then do meditation on refuge, remembering the knowledge of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, and how the outer Guru Shakyamuni’s Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha guide you, and how the outer Guru Shakyamuni’s Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha help you to achieve your own Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, and how your own Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha guide you from suffering. Then you remember how to make confession through the four powerful remedies, and then you make confession.
Rinpoche: Do you want to stop the problem of death?
Answer: Yes, I want to stop the problem of death.
Rinpoche: How do you want to stop?
Answer: The problem of death entails suffering in the lower realm, therefore I would like to take refuge in Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.
Rinpoche: How do you seek the teaching to guide from suffering of death?
Answer: I’m not sure I have understanding of what the problem of death is.
Rinpoche: So you can’t escape from the suffering that you don’t see. So you don’t make arrangement to stop the future suffering?
Answer: The only arrangement I’m conscious of is being here.
Rinpoche: You know nothing of the future?
Answer: Not really.
Rinpoche: So you are not sure whether or not you’ll experience suffering in the future?
Answer: No I’m not.
Rinpoche: You see the possibility of problem death, you think it’s possible?
Rinpoche: So do you want to go through or not?
Answer: I have to go through it, I have no choice.
Rinpoche: So you desire not to have the problem of death?
Answer: To stop the suffering—yes.
Rinpoche: So therefore, what method you are seeking?
Answer: Two methods—one is seeking the teaching, the other is to remain in touch with my heart.
Rinpoche: So how do you seek the teaching that can guide from suffering?
Answer: By trying to listen as well as hear, and by meditating and practicing.
Rinpoche: How do you know it can guide you from suffering—is it agreeable that you can be guided from suffering by the teaching? Whatever you think, give a sincere answer.
Answer: We have seen the example of beings who have released themselves from suffering by following these teachings.
Rinpoche: Thank you—but other people who didn’t get the answer should check up.
Sunday December 9th
(No notes taken)
From the holy speech of the great guru, bodhisattva Tenzin Gyaltsen, “When one is humble there is happiness arising, when one is rich the pride is dispelled. Cultivate bodhicitta, which is the only thing that never betrays, never cheats us in samsara.”
Once one has the achievement of bodhicitta, this pure thought, no matter if he is rich or if he is poor, there are much less mental problems; such as pride arising when one is rich, having reputation, possessions. But with bodhicitta, no matter what one is, there is no problem in the mind. Usually, when people are poor there are mental problems, being jealous of others’ possessions, other rich people, jealousy, dislike. And because of feeling hate, jealousy, there is ill will arising to destroy others’ possessions, thinking how to make the others not have the possessions, lose the possessions. This is common in the world, not only with one person but with countries, societies, groups—starting from two people. But with bodhicitta there are none of these problems—even if the person is rich, there is no pride.
Anyway, however much we rely on friends, relatives, family—we can never trust our possessions, they can cheat us; there’s nothing to trust in people, it is possible they can cheat us, as they cheated us numberless times before. As long as we are in samsara, the circle of death and rebirth, it is definite that they will continually cheat us, as long as we are living in ignorance. So therefore, nothing lasts, so there’s nothing to trust. Even our minds, we even cheat ourselves. How? By following the deluded mind, ignorance, we cheat ourselves; even our minds cheats ourselves.
So the one on whom we can completely rely, the one that can never cheat, can only benefit? That is the individual, our own achievement of bodhicitta. Among all the minds, the one that never cheats us is the achievement of bodhicitta. Therefore, this mental medicine, this pure mental medicine is worthwhile to cultivate. Even if one has relatives, friends, billions—it can be possible to be cheated; in place of benefiting, they cheat. It is much more worthwhile to try to achieve bodhicitta in place of trying to have more and more friends, more and more friends in more and more countries so that one can be happy. This is much more worthwhile, trying to find the best friend within your mind, that never cheats, always benefits—this is much more worthwhile than finding billions of friends in the world.
However, between the person who has bodhicitta and who has billions of friends in many countries, there is big difference in the peace in the mind. The one with friends has always problems of attachment; the one with bodhicitta has the best friend in his mind—it cannot be stolen, destroyed, killed, or taken away by other people. Trying to have this is much more worthwhile. Anyway; there is greater peace for this person’s mind; so it is worthwhile since we need friends. For what reason? Not for suffering, of course, but because we desire happiness, pleasure. Therefore, it is worthwhile to try—from our side, friends, many people desire happiness, leisure of this life. So as one goes round in the countries, in order to have less problems and to make the life comfortable, going round trying to make friends, giving things, trying to be well-known, there are many things in the person’s mind—problems, hatred, greed. So for this friend, bodhicitta, we don’t have to give material gifts, we don’t have to pay compliments, there’s nothing to worry about. Anyway, through this, by finding this friend, this mental friend, even if one desires happiness, desires this life’s peace, one can receive greater peace with this. If you are too close with worldly friends, if you live together a long time—they very easily become the enemy for some reason, due to problems of the mind; very soon they becomes the enemy, the creator of problems. But the actual, the inner best friend, however much we live together, only enjoying more peace, greater happiness, it only causes us to subdue the negative minds more, only makes us closer to receiving enlightenment.
Therefore, when we have such a chance, having met the teaching, explaining of the techniques of bodhicitta, the Mahayana teachings; and from your side also, bring intelligent, having time to study, many things coming together, being at such a place—when all these things are practiced without such a pure thought, bodhicitta, it is a big loss; it is wasting a great chance—it is of a foolish nature. So anyway, try; even listening to the teachings we should be possessed by the pure motive, thinking, “I will listen to the Mahayana teachings on the graduated path, in order to receive enlightenment for the sake of sentient beings.”
So far, the subjects we have finished are: “Perfect Human Rebirth,” “The Usefulness of the Perfect Human Rebirth,” “The Difficulty of Receiving the Perfect Human Rebirth,” “The Perfect Human Rebirth is Fragile,” No Method Can Stop Death,” “Death Is Definite,” “It is More Definite to be Reborn in the Lower Realms,” due to karma, and “The Time Of This Rebirth Is Indefinite.” To stop these dangers, what is the main thing? Oneself doesn’t have the power, so one has to take “Refuge” in such a perfect being who has received this knowledge, and attained this path—this is a worthwhile object. So if we take refuge, how do they guide us, how do these three, the refuge and the individual refuge, guide us? By observing karma—without following karma from our side, the path they showed, there’s no way the perfect being can guide us, and also there’s no way the individual Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha can guide us from suffering. Therefore, observing karma is necessary. For this reason karma comes after the refuge—anyone takes refuge and wants to be guided. The way the person is guided is by following karma—so therefore, the explanation of karma comes like this.
Just like this, the example, for instance, like this. Why, if we don’t work from our side, why we can’t be guided by refuge? Like a person in rain never tries to seek cover, never makes effort to work, just sits in the place where there’s no cave in the rain, getting in trouble and making such noise, calling, “Where’s the cave?” So just like this—desiring and calling for the cave doesn’t help save him from the suffering of rain and cold and wet. If you think carefully you can see how to take refuge. Even if you have faith and devotion in their knowledge, and fear of suffering, after having these two it is necessary to put yourself in the action, the action is most important. For instance, this person in trouble in the rain knows the knowledge of the cave, has belief in the trouble of the rain, knows the knowledge of the cave, rain, and problem; he has belief and he also has fear in the trouble caused by rain. But because he himself is not making any effort, not working, being lazy, not finding the cave, he doesn’t get in the cave. So just only desire and knowing is not enough. Therefore, the main thing, the main practice is, as it is necessary in the example for the person to make the effort to find the cave—to do that it is necessary for the person to know about how the cave saves him and have knowledge of the problem of rain. As those two are necessary to put into action, so to observe karma, the fear of suffering and the understanding and developing the knowledge of the holy object is necessary, just like this.
Also same thing, yourself not putting into action and thinking, “God will do anything for me, Buddha will do everything for me,” yourself not making any progression—this is similar to the person sitting in the rain thinking, “The cave will come to me.”
What causes billions of karma to ripen at different times?
If there are karmas created like this, like these things here, which of those karmas would bring the result first after this life? Those are the previous karmas. The karma that is heavier would bring the result first. If all these karma are the same heaviness, whatever is closer, that beings the result first. Closer means closer to ripening. If all are the same in closeness, whichever was done more, more habitually, more trained will bring the result first. Even if all the karma are the same on that level, if the habit is equal, then the karma that was created first, second, third, fourth, like this—that would bring the result first. So this is talking about those billions and billions of karma created in previous lifetimes.
The Ten Immoralities of Body, Speech, and Mind
(b) Means as you created the cause, gave harm to other beings, as other beings suffered in that way, made the life short; so even the person born human has a short life, similar to the cause.
(c) The horrible place where the person is born, he has to live there—that object, place, is possessed by him.
(b) It happens many times, one steals something from other people and it is stolen from one, even without waiting for the future life.
Worst—many things—from a group of monks, a being who has higher realizations, bodhicitta—which can mean higher and lower bodhicitta—but as the being is higher, stealing from him, the karma is more heavy. Also such things as happening in modern times, like stealing monastery things, statues, tangkas, things that belong to the monastery, monks—this is very heavy karma—even if it is a very tiny thing such as a broom, it is very heavy because of the object. The holy symbolic idols, symbolic of the enlightened beings—talking off the cloth they put on the holy objects, the statues; taking out those things such as the holy texts or the cloth that covers them. Things like this. In Tibet, and also in Nepal and India, the texts have covers; not because the book is catching cold, but for respecting the teachings and creating good karma. We also put cloth around the statues. We don’t see the actual Buddha to make offerings to create good karma; so as the statue is symbolic of him, by remembering its knowledge, power, and compassion, and also our suffering, as it is necessary to create good karma, we think of the Enlightened Being and making offer this cloth like this—so whom you are offering to is actually the omniscient mind; whom you dedicate to is the perfect being, omniscient mind. That does not only depend on the object being nearby—mainly it depends on your mind being out of miserliness and attachment. So even though it is done on the table with this thought, it creates much good karma, makes much purification.
Question: If after offering the body to the Triple Gem one does a negative action, it is stealing?
Answer: If it is completely offered and then immediately something is done with self-cherishing thought, of course it is negative, it becomes telling a lie. For instance, if one keeps bodhisattva vows, everything has to be dedicated—body, speech, and mind to the sentient beings. So if one, after making this dedication, uses it with self-cherishing thought after this vow and dedicating like this, it can become telling a lie. It is not stealing but it is telling lie; it becomes cheating.
Also things like stealing things that belong to the holy beings, celibates, create more heavy negative karma than stealing from laypeople. Because if the object, the celibate, is keeping that many precepts, he is that much more pure than the layperson.
(b) You see—actually, there are things that we really see as we tour the world, there are all these problems, or we may have these problems. So it’s good as you see the problem, it is good to remember the cause as it was explained by the Enlightened Being; it helps oneself be careful of karma. Such as some families who always get robbed, no matter how much they try to take care; strange situation. Or some men or some ladies always have problems; they try with another one, again split, another problem. And also they try with another one, again split, another problem, disturbing, many problems with other accusing, always hostile, disturbing.
Worst: That is also because of the object, mother, because it is the mother of this present body. Here it says mother, but also father, and also quite similar thing with brothers.
Siddhi means realization.
The worst object to lie to is a holy being.
(b) Not being harmonious, always having to be away from them.
(c) Such as very low, not a peaceful place, not a beautiful place, very horrible, very down; or sometimes way on top of a mountain, not happy place, but always the people have to suffer much, being in some place like that.
6. Harsh speech.
(b) There are all kinds of people, they are human beings, but unhappy by hearing distressing words—opposite to the beings who rarely hear distressing words, and are always happy.
7. Gossip Mongering
The worst is about religious people, Dharma practitioners. Such as talking to people who want to spend more time in meditation or do some virtuous action, wasting his time just telling stories and unnecessary things that don’t help us to lose the negative mind. That karma is a little heavier than gossip mongering with a person who is not in such a situation. Even if the person has complete control of it, in the time of doing some virtuous action, if you talk about some things that do not help his virtuous action, or your virtuous actions.
Just because the material is good, so attached.
(c) There are some families in isolated places—to buy food they have to go far, experience much difficulty. Karmically they are situated, took root in places such as this.
(a) These are just examples—it cannot be definite—it depends on how strong the heresy was. Heresy can cause us to be born in the narak states; there would be different karmas like this, depending on how strong.
(b) Not allowing, having wrong conception, wrong beliefs; not allowing himself.
(c) Such as heresy in bringing good result from good karma.
There’s a way to also study these things (the ten immoralities) with many details. Even the precepts have many text—it is called Vinaya text. Vinaya—there are five divisions of philosophical teachings to study. So part of explanation of the precepts, the opposite things with much detail, there’s many text.
The Prayer (Page 81)
Ngeng—evil. Song—past of going, i.e. gone. Totally gone in an evil place.
Jig—fear; also destroying. Chog—sublime. Shing—grammatical.
During the break times, go through the following meditations, such as the third and the fourth meditations and try to keep the outlines by heart. Also, do this with the total idea of the meaning of the outline; without this total idea there’s no way to do the meditations.
Anyway, it is good to talk, of course it’s good to hear these higher meditations, of course it’s good—generally. Still, there’s not much understanding of the basic thing, in these first part of the meditation and not much feeling with it, not really feeling it.
Anyway, these subjects are not something you can understand by taking one course. I’m sure the people that attended all the courses, each time they understood a new thing. It is not something that you can fully understand in one time.
In regards to the part about the karma.
First of all, the understanding of how karma is definite. From a positive karma created it is definite that only a happy result will arise; from a negative karma it is definite that only a suffering result will arise. This is the most important thing to understand, as much as possible, and deeper. When the person has the strong understanding of this, then the rest of karma is easy—karma is expandable, no result of karma that wasn’t created can be experienced, etc—the other four are easy to understand if there is strong feeling and understanding for the first karmic evolution.
From negative karma it is definite that only a suffering result will arise. So when there’s the deep understanding of these evolutions in regards to the definite result of each karma, then as there is that much strong fear of the suffering result, there is that much fear of creating negative karma. Then, from this fear arising from understanding comes the decision—”I will avoid the heavy negative karma and create the positive karma.”
Then, through understanding that karma is expandable, we understand that from one small cause there can be many, from one small negative karma comes a suffering result for a long time, of different types and in different realms, as explained before (page 78). So the result experienced in the suffering lower realm is not the last, it has to be experienced for a long time and in different realms and with different types of suffering. With the understanding of the second thing, karma is expandable, the mental decision comes, the mental energy and will to not create even a tiny negative karma as the result can be so great. So with this understanding and fear of suffering the desire comes, before it was—”I will avoid heavy negative karma and create great merits,” but now the desire comes, “I will avoid even the tiniest negative karma and create even tiny merits,” as the good results are also expandable and can be experienced for a long time. Therefore, we shouldn’t think there are preparations—it doesn’t have to be something like killing other beings, some big arrangement.
For instance, like this—also, there’s no such thing as the karma that was created, negative and positive, there’s no such thing as “Perhaps I created that but perhaps it was lost and I don’t have to experience it.” There is no such thing as it getting lost without from our side causing it not to be experienced, without destroying it. It will definitely arise in time. Just like this—in a bowl you put curd and then raisins, then salt and pepper, all kinds of things, so when you eat each thing you taste it; you get raisin, raisin; salt, salt; pepper, hot—but the whole thing gets mixed in the bowl, pepper doesn’t become sweet by putting raisins around it. So all the negative and positive karmas are together, but as the karma ripens at different times—negative karma bringing suffering result, positive karma bringing happy result—it cannot be because one positive karma created making negative karma happy, like raisins can’t be put with peppers trying to make them sweet.
In regards to people whose minds are close to the realization of karma, just by seeing one animal being eaten by another they can have the realization, the experience of the karma. But for people whose minds are sleeping in the thick cover of ignorance and are far from the realization, they need much training, much meditation, much purification—much meditation on karma. In one previous time, one ascetic Tibetan lama, just seeing a small ant eating another insect, he received the experience of karma.
Some examples that happened in previous times—in order for us to be careful by understanding these examples, to be careful in our own actions.
In previous time there was a person called Nyenpa Samden. He had very ugly body but a very interesting, sweet voice. By listening to that voice you wouldn’t believe that he was so ugly—there was no harmony between body and voice. The karma? In previous times, a king was building a stupa; so that person was one of the workers, one of the hired workers. So the man thought—”This stupa is so great, so high; why did he build such a great stupa, it won’t ever be finished.” He complained like this. So after finishing the stupa, he felt much repentance about the words he had said before. So for that confession he offered a bell to the stupa. The reason that he had a very ugly body was because he complained about the stupa—ugly and small; and the reason he had such an attractive, sweet voice, that everybody wanted to listen to—that was the result of offering the bell that had a nice sound. This is to say, the complaint was just words but the result was that even though he was born as a human being, he had very ugly body like this. So it is definite, the suffering result from negative karma and the positive result from positive karma.
Also in previous time, one monk was having butter tea in the prayer hall, where they make puja; so the monks, the Sangha were on the bed. As he was having the tea it spilled on the bed, made the bed black by the butter; just by not being careful, and that thing belonged to a group of monks. Because this karma was not purified, in one of his future lives born as a human being and his backside was very black—it was not something you can wash, it was in the skin.
Example: how the karma is expandable—inner karma is more expandable (the inner karma is the inner cause and result) than the outer cause and result, that is, the outer example, such as the crops. By planting one bean or rice seed it can bring many beans or rice from that one. But the karmic cause and result is more expandable than the outer example. One previous example—in China one person made the complaint that in these modern times the wise persons are like snakes. He wrote a book that was called the Text of the Example of the Snake. From that cause, that karma, the author himself, in that lifetime, had a terrible sickness that struck his body and legs. Slowly it became the body of snake. His head exploded, got cracks. Then the head of the snake came through that. So in his life slowly, slowly, the body changed like that—later it really became a snake. There are many people who are born with usual strong body, but later they cannot move much, walk fast, they are crippled. Anyway, there are many other examples with the physical body like this.
Also in India, in previous times there were 500 fishermen fishing—they caught a big fish that had eighteen different heads. At that time Guru Shakyamuni was there. With his power to foretell, his power of prophecy, he came to the place where the fishermen found the fish with eighteen heads. Guru Shakyamuni came to that place with his psychic power, even though it was far away, to explain the karma of that animal. Guru Shakyamuni asked the animal, “Who you are?” and the fish mentioned his previous names as human beings. Guru Shakyamuni explained the karma. At the time the fish was a man, there was a big debate in a certain place in India when he was very young. His mother told him to debate there, among the many learned people. His mother advised him to call the others different names, saying, “You look like a dog,” “You look like a cat,” “You look like a tiger,” if he lost the debate. So, as he was instructed by his mother, when he lost the debate he called the others names. Later he was reborn as this fish with eighteen heads—with one body and a head for each name he had called them. So it is just words, a very simple thing to create, to do, but brings a very heavy result.
There was a nun called Upli who was a celibate. Before she was ordained as full nun she had two children, one older and one younger. One child was eaten by a wolf, one was taken by the river, and her husband was killed by a snake. Her parents, her family, had died from being burned in a fire. After that, she became another person’s wife and she had another son. The second husband got intoxicated one day and killed the son, and made her eat his meat. She escaped from him and got to another place, and met a person whose wife was dead, and she became his wife. Again, that man died, and the people in that place buried her with her husband’s corpse—but a thief came and dug a hole and she became the thief’s wife. That husband, the thief, was killed by the king, so again she was buried with that corpse, at the cemetery. The karma that brought this all on was this—she was one of the wives of a king in a previous time and she killed her son, and many times she swore an oath that she hadn’t done it.
There are many other texts explaining karma as shown by Guru Shakyamuni. It is helpful to know these stories that happened in previous time. The reason there are so many stories about the previous beings’ karma is in order to help the modern practitioner. They were recorded by Guru Shakyamuni’s followers, the arhats, for the future ignorant beings to realize there is such a thing as karma working like this.
Introduction to Meditation Three (Page 82-85)
The General Sufferings of Samsara
Samsara, “out of samsara,” does not mean being out of the country, being away from this earth, does not mean out of New York City, out of the country, or house; these are not the actual samsara—they are samsaric existence, but not the actual samsara. Even our clothes are not samsara.
The circle of death and rebirth, the uncontrolled circle of death and rebirth is samsara. A part of continuity of the deluded body which goes round in death and rebirth, death and rebirth under the control of delusion and karma—that is samsara. The deluded mind is samsara—the object that is circling the different bodies, the different realms, the different minds of the deluded bodies, of the samsaric beings, circling round on the deluded mind of the body of the different samsaric realms. The subject circling, the mind or the person, the samsaric being, where the subject circles is, at the moment, in this deluded human body; in another life, another deluded body. What causes us to circle round is ignorance, the deluded mind. So the uncontrolled body, the deluded body that we have now, which was born without control and will have to die without control, and which gets sick without control and produces many problems—this is samsara.
Whenever the continuation of taking the different deluded bodies under the control of delusion and karma is broken, stopped, this is the release of samsara, this is nirvana.
Also, if one doesn’t know what the actual samsara is—many people think the country, the field, the houses, things like that are samsara, where the laypeople live are samsara, cities are samsara, the laypeople’s clothes are samsara—many people have an idea like this. This is not a correct idea, a correct understanding of samsara. Even in Tibet the laypeople often make mistakes in their recognition of samsara.
In previous times there was a disciple of a great lama, a highly realized, greatly knowledgeable Tibetan lama. That disciple was a kind of servant for that lama. This servant came to see another ascetic, highly realized lama. So this lama thought he must be special, have some knowledge, as he was with such a highly realized lama. So he asked the servant, “Did you take any teachings from that lama?” The student said, “I don’t know anything but I have just been released from samsara.” The lama asked, “How?” So he said, “Three days ago. I took off my pants.” He had a wrong conception of what samsara really means. So the lama didn’t feel good, he was a little upset—he was expecting some fantastic things. It can happen like this; not like this—it is not that easy, there is a long way to go. One has to completely stop, purify ignorance. Even the seed of delusion has to be completely purified by following the path.
Someone asked me to explain about tobacco, cigarettes. Just a brief talk on that, just brief information about that evolution.
The evolution of the tobacco plant, cigarette tobacco, started 100 years after Guru Shakyamuni passed away. The blood from an evil woman’s menstrual period dropped on the ground, and the plant grew out of that. The evil beings prayed that all other future living beings would enjoy this plant, and that, “When the snake of this earth goes into space, may many millions of the cities of the gods that are situated above the earth be destroyed by the snake going in the sky. And may the power of the smell going under the earth and destroy many places of the nagas.”
In Tibet it is like this—there are many places that people make dirty, make kaka on those places where there are nagas, or put other dirty smells there. This interrupts the nagas, and the person receives mischievous action, gets afflicted, the naga offends them. The person gets different diseases such as leprosy, or wounds that spread, starting from very little. Then as you scratch them, they spread—there are many things when nagas offend people. Sometimes the feet are full of wounds and pus and there is much smell, very horrible looking. There are pujas to do if they are offended by nagas, related to nagas. There are many ways to do pujas, according to the sickness, just as there are many different methods to stop the rain, such as mantras and prayers, as given by Guru Shakyamuni. In his time when there were problems, the common people often asked him and he told them what to do. So there are all kinds of methods to stop temporal problems, and they were preserved. They definitely work, this is a very common experience. Sometimes the medicine and puja together; sometimes the medicine does not cure it, any medicine, and then doing puja can cure it; or else taking medicine after puja. There are all kinds of different things, many different kinds of things—spirits that we ordinary people don’t see. These spirits are not in the West where people don’t believe in them, but are only where people believe—however, their existence is not a matter of belief. For instance, in ancient times, somewhere in India, a man called Shakya died, but the people of that family had the custom of making offerings, giving food to the corpse. So he died but afterwards he became like a real person, with movement. So the people in that family believed that he had really came back, that the person’s mind had become alive again. Guru Shakyamuni existed at that time, and he saw that this man’s body was not the person, but actually the spirit who lives on the enjoyment of smell. The people who lived there didn’t recognize that because it is a mental thing; they didn’t have any power to perceive, to foretell about the mind, to recognize the different minds. Therefore, they thought it was a real person—he became alive. Anyway, there is no need to talk much—that does not prove, does not make them exist.
Also, this evil woman made wrong prayers, “As people are enjoying this, from this may there be continual famines, epidemics, quarrels, fights, and hail storms, due to people enjoying this plant.” So far, this has been spreading much in the world due to the power of her prayers.
Also, there is a story about the great yogi Padmasambhava, who established Buddhism in Tibet, who made the place in Tibet for the establishment of Buddhism. When Padmasambhava came into Tibet to establish the teachings, it was a very mischievous place. The people were like the ancient red Indians who were in America before, living on animal meat. There was no teaching, it was a completely dark place, the beings were so ignorant, like animals. Anyway, this great yogi, Padmasambhava, tried to gain control over nine evildoers who interrupted the teachings. He tried to control them, subdue them was his power, control them under his orders. But one, only one, escaped away—the others were controlled, put under the order. The youngest one escaped away, and the one who escaped away said to the other evildoers, “Don’t worry, I will manifest in the form of cigarettes, the poisonous plant, which is called hala.nag.po.” In other countries, like China, this poison called hala.nag.po grows around Tibet. (We have too much of this growing around on the mountain near the center). The people bring it to the center of Tibet, and all the people enjoy it. So by enjoying that, the deluded mind becomes stronger, heavier, and increases, and they create the ten immoralities and avoid the ten moralities. And the holders of the holy teaching won’t live long. And by the smoke of this plant going under the earth, many cities of the nagas will be destroyed; and on the earth, crops won’t grow and rain will not come as expected and there will be epidemics and catastrophes. Also, it will destroy many cities of the gods by the smoke going into space. Also the comet, the inauspicious comet will appear. The man who enjoys this plant will harm the nerves, and the 424 diseases will increase. Anyone who dies by enjoying this will be reborn in the three lower realms.
Also, it is explained that for the meditators who enjoys this, it is extremely difficult to attain the deity, the deity who is the manifestation of the holy omniscient mind, for many eons. The thing is—it makes you impure, the power of the element blocks the chakras, the knots of the arteries. Besides you making impure, it blocks the chakras, it makes it very difficult to open the chakras through meditation. And it is also very easy for one who enjoys this to get epidemics and disease, because as the body is made impure by this, it causes it to lose power; so it’s easy for even the outer interferers to hinder, to offend.
It is especially important to keep the place where you meditate clean—it’s the place where you invoke numberless buddhas, bodhisattvas, and holy beings—where you meditate, where you visualize. It doesn’t disturb or harm the enlightened beings, for them there’s no problem, as no impurity or dirt can be experienced by them, only pure vision. Even though we see dirt, for the completely purified omniscient mind, all we see as dirty appears pure, completely transcended, pure vision by the enlightened beings, the great yogis. But it is important, although it doesn’t disturb them, it is important to keep the place clean for one’s own Dharma practice, for the achievement of Dharma practice, thinking, as I said before, that the problem is only from our side, not theirs. As they see, as they are always together with us, they always see us, there’s no such place that we can be where they do not exist, where we can escape. Also, there’s no such omniscient mind that has limited power. So as you visualize like that, think of the room as a monastery, a temple, a holy realm, a pure realm of numberless buddhas, bodhisattvas, and holy beings in whom you take refuge, who guide you. And when you clean it, think of their knowledge, of your guide, as if you are their sweeper. This is done without any self-cherishing thought or negative mind; generally, it is done only in a pure realm, as it is a temple; then you clean it. It helps also a great deal in meditation to have a clear visualization and for the meditation to be acute, sensitive, and powerful, because cleaning with such reason is a way of making purification. There are many stories of beings in previous times who received arhathood by doing purification by cleaning such places, following the orders of Guru Shakyamuni. Anyway, there’s no time to talk about those stories. Not smoking cigarettes, keeping the place clean also it gives a good vibration. Actually, there are five benefits of cleaning the room with pure thought:
1. It always makes your mind calm, not sloppy, pleasant.
2. Also, when it is seen by other people it makes them happy.
3. There are also white spirits who look after and help practitioners, also they get pleased. Those white spirits, if there is a bathroom they can’t exist.
4. After death it causes you to be reborn in the upper realms.
5. Since it is done with pure thought it can be the cause of enlightenment.
Also, there are many technical ways, meditations to do while the cleaning the place with brooms, there are many things to think about.
You can say, “This dust is not earth dust, this is the dust of greed; this dust is not earth dust, this is the dust of anger; this dust is not earth dust, this is the dust of ignorance,” and then think that the broom is the whole graduated path and all you sentient beings are cleaning all wrong conceptions, negative mind, greed, ignorance, and hatred. If cleaning is done with such a pure motive it becomes Dharma, another purification. Also, if you feel it is difficult to meditate, lazy, sleepy, then it is good to do other things that does not waste your time, that become Dharma; there are many things to do.
Actually, this story is very long but I am making it short. There was an arhat named Langchenpa. Anyway, his mother had children many times but they all died. He was the last one. So one old mother told her, “If you have a child, let me know.” When she had a child, the old mother told her to take it into the road. So the day she had it she took this last child into the road. She met other people, other religious people. They prayed for the child to live and be auspicious, to have a long life and to be successful as the parents wished. Then Guru Shakyamuni came and she explained all these things to him, so Guru Shakyamuni himself prayed that the child be successful, according to his parents’ Dharma mind. The old mother suggested, “If it is not dead bring it back, if it is dead don’t bring it back.” So it lived, and she brought it back. So he was saved. But at first he was so ignorant—even when he tried to learn two words—when he learned one, he forgot the other, then when he remembered the other, he forgot the first. So Guru Shakyamuni, while has completed all the purposes of other beings, let this young boy sweep outside the monastery. When the boy finished cleaning that side, he started to clean the other side; and when he finished that side, there was dirt on the first side again—back and forth like this. This was Guru Shakyamuni’s skill in order to purify—he had him saying, “This is not dust, this is the dust of greed, ignorance, and hatred.”
So as he followed Guru Shakyamuni’s highly skillful method, he realized the absolute nature, and he received the state of an arhat in that lifetime. So it is good to remember this, cleaning as if it is the holy objects’ pure realm or temple, and thinking that you are cleaning for them. In this way it doesn’t become an egocentric action. And when you become more conscious of their existence, as you are conscious of this, as it gets stronger, also your negative actions, you do not dare to do your wrong behaviors any more, you have to be careful. Even if you’re alone, you are conscious of their existence, and even if you are alone without other people, you don’t do negative actions. It helps a great deal to observe karma. Also where there is temple or shrine-room, there is no doubt of the existence of holy beings. Whenever there are Dharma practitioners trying to purify, besides all the enlightened beings looking at them, there are also many white spirits who are under the orders of Buddha to look after the practitioner, so if there is s bad smell it disturbs them. Also, if one makes a dirty smell in presence of the holy objects, the karma is much heavier.
So now you meditate—I think it is better to think, without looking at the book. Concentrate on the mind—tonight we are taking a vacation from this meditation—concentrate on your mind, without letting thoughts of other objects arise—try to be conscious only of your mind.
Rinpoche: How did you concentrate on mind?
Answer: I couldn’t find it.
Rinpoche: But did you do the concentration on mind?
Answer: I tried.
Rinpoche: Where did you think?
Answer: I thought about what the mind was
Rinpoche: What did you find, how was it?
Answer: I couldn’t decide—I thought I’d have to think about it more.
Rinpoche: But how did you do the concentration on mind? Didn’t you concentrate in the brain?
Answer: (No answer).
Rinpoche: Well thank you.
Tomorrow morning meditate on the general sufferings of samsara the eight sufferings and the twelve dependent links. As you read the book, try to visualize it, not like reading a newspaper.
Monday, December 10th
The action of taking ordination should necessarily be possessed by the pure thought, the opposite of the evil thought of the eight worldly Dharmas. Besides that, in order to take ordination in the Mahayana, is it necessary for the person taking the ordination to have the pure thought that is the Mahayana thought. So briefly think like this, “The attachment that is attached to the happiness of this life and higher samsaric pleasure is only the cause of suffering. However much I can make the temporal life happy or even receive higher pleasures, samsaric life in the future, it is only in the nature of suffering. There’s not one tiny happiness left that I have never experienced, all the small samsaric happinesses I have experienced countless times. There is not one tiny suffering left that I never experienced, all the tiny sufferings I have experienced countless times. There’s not one greatest suffering left that I never experienced, all the greatest sufferings I have experienced countless times. So actually, samsaric pleasure and samsaric suffering both have been experienced countless times, both have no beginning. As it has been like this, as I have been suffering in samsara by being attached to the future, long as I am attached to the samsaric pleasure I will have to remain endlessly in the suffering of samsara. This is its nature. Before, there was nothing to be attached to in samsaric pleasure, in any of the samsaric births. Therefore, it is necessary that I be quickly released from samsara, from the bondage of suffering.
“Releasing myself from the bondage of suffering is not enough. There are infinite sentient beings who desire happiness and do not desire suffering, who are equal to me. Therefore, there is no reason that I am more important than other sentient beings. Also, there’s no reason to discriminate, “This is enemy, this is stranger, this is friend.” There is nothing to trust, there’s no such permanent or ultimate friend, or stranger—by giving harm and not helping, not harming and helping, by this reasoning, I cannot discriminate. The enemy has also helped me numberless times, the friend has harmed me numberless times, the stranger also, has helped and harmed me numberless times. The friend and enemy have also been a stranger, not doing any of those actions, numberless times. Actually, are all equal; there is no way to say, “This is only friend, not enemy; this is only enemy, not friend.” Just as these three are equal, all the sentient beings think in the same way, are in the same situation—it is equal for every sentient being. Therefore, there’s no reason to be angry with the enemy who is giving harm, or to reach the friend who is helping, because it never stays in that situation, doesn’t last, it always changes and goes round in a circle. Besides this, there is also no reason to harm other sentient beings in retaliation, no reason to retaliate, because all sentient beings have been my mother numberless times, as this present mother has been my mother numberless times. As they have been my mother, they have been extremely kind numberless times. At the moment, most of the sentient beings are suffering incredibly. It is necessary, of utmost need, that they be released from suffering and led to happiness and peace. At the moment, however much they desire happiness and peace, they run only for offering, to create the cause of suffering. However much they don’t desire suffering, they try to destroy the cause of happiness as much as possible, they do the opposite. Always like this, always creating negative actions, not having a leader to lead them on the path to enlightenment, not having perfect human rebirth. At the moment I have a perfect human rebirth and the wisdom eye to see these things, so I am responsible, as I am their son, I am responsible to look after, I am responsible to release them from suffering and lead them to happiness. Therefore, it should be done by me, in order to repay their kindness. At the moment I have no ability to be able to do this. Who has the great knowledge, power, and compassion? Only the enlightened being, so I must be enlightened. To be enlightened, I must complete the collection or merits and the allocation of transcendental wisdom. To do this I must subdue the body, speech, and mind, the three doors. Therefore, I am going to take the Mahayana ordination.
The mind rejoicing, happy taking the ordination, thinking that it is impossible to take such ordination in the three lower suffering realms. Also in the upper realm, sura, and asura realms, it is extremely difficult—even in the human realm, to receive the chance of rebirth in the human world rather than another upper realm. Within the human world, the different countries and different human worlds—there are many other human worlds that don’t have this chance—and when on this earth, people having the chance to take this ordination is rare. Therefore, today we become one, a keeper of the ordination.
From the holy speech of the great guru, bodhisattva Tenzin Gyaltsen, “The most supreme among the objects of knowledge is bodhicitta; the best among the practices is bodhicitta. Similar to those, the best among the protections is bodhicitta.”
Therefore, this pure thought of bodhicitta, that has great infinite knowledge has to be practiced. It is necessary to train even from this time, even from this moment. While there is the chance, meeting the Mahayana teaching and having the chance also to practice, to do the action of listening to the teachings, if one can make the motive, the pure motive of bodhicitta for listening to the explanation, then one can also try to cultivate bodhicitta. If this is done at once, it can help a great deal in the training of bodhicitta, it can be a part of it. Besides, thinking of the benefits of cultivating the pure thought, think, “In order to enlighten all the sentient beings from suffering it is necessary for me to be enlightened. Therefore, I am going to listen to the Mahayana teachings on the graduated path.”
The graduated path, if it is divided into three, there are the paths of the lower, middle, and higher being. The chapters we have finished, according to the outlines—”Perfect Human Rebirth,” “The Usefulness Of the Perfect Human Rebirth,” “The Difficulty of Receiving the Perfect Human Rebirth,” “The Perfect Human Rebirth Is Fragile and Impermanent,” “No Other Method Can Stop Death,” therefore, “Death Is Definite,” and we are almost certain to be reborn in the “The Lower Suffering Realm” after death. Even if the physical body is ceased, this heavy physical body, the mind doesn’t cease—it is more definite that we will be reborn in the lower suffering realms. According to “Karma,” there’s more negative karma that has been created. But, the “Actual Time of Death is Not Definite,” therefore even if there is one hour, half an hour left between death and now, it is necessary to try something, to try the best possible thing that one can do, to stop the suffering at death time or after death, to not have to experience those sufferings for a long time. At least, even if there is such a short time, even if a prayer is needed, it is important to try to find any means; whatever is possible for one to do in that time, it is worthwhile. So the fundamental thing that can guide one from suffering is “Refuge” in the perfect object—the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.
So when one meditates on refuge it is important to think more about how the three objects are worthwhile, how the enlightened being is worthy—it is important to check up. Then secondly, to check up the knowledge, to try to understand more extensively the knowledge of the enlightened being, the knowledge of Dharma, the knowledge of Sangha. Further, deeper, knowledge and understanding of this, with more detail and more extensive understanding of the three holy objects, knowledge that can be received by studying other subjects, other teachings. Therefore, other teachings that explained the profound, such as the teachings recorded by Maitreya—there are many other teachings. It is much more extensive, infinite than the ocean, the Atlantic. There is too much to know in the knowledge of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. That which we are taking about is like an atom of this earth. It is worthwhile to study—the more you understand and recognize, that much deeper devotion arises in your mind. Therefore, it is helpful. But to fully understand, to really feel the knowledge of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha is to achieve it—not through study of words but through complete, full understanding of Buddha’s knowledge—full understanding of the Dharma is also attained at the time when you achieve enlightenment. Then meditate as long as possible, and checking the knowledge of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha is good.
And for instance, if one is really going to measure Guru Shakyamuni’s holy signs, even the top knot, is something that even if one goes to many planets, it cannot be measured. There are many stories of previous meditators who had high psychic powers trying to measure it, going to more planets, but couldn’t see the top of the hair knot. When Guru Shakyamuni walks, he never touches the ground, his fingers never touch, he walks in the space, and the animals and insects that are under him, the insects covered by his feet, even those animals, within a week, both mind and body experienced great pleasure, intoxicated by ecstasy, and even after the death of those insects they were born in the upper realm without being born in the lower realm. Anyway, there are so many things of his body’s knowledge. And also check how they guide, how your Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha guide you from suffering. And also it is necessary to do the checking meditation on the benefits of the refuge—when you are in the actual training of the meditation, according to the achievement of the experience—at the refuge part spending more time, five days a week, checking one subject more than the others. Then, as you spend time thinking of the knowledge, great unshakeable devotion arises through the experience of checking the knowledge. Also try to spend some time on the benefits, do three or four days thinking only of the benefits. So through this, the perfect beings having the knowledge and the path, Dharma, and the attainer, Sangha—they are the perfect guides, and others don’t have the knowledge that the perfect being has, they are not the perfect guides.
As there is that much unshakeable, strong devotion that arises through understanding of the knowledge, as there is that much strong, full confidence and devotion, it helps a great deal to observe karma. So, the outlines of karma are: Karma is Definite, Karma is Expandable, The Result That Never Was Created Can Never Be Experienced by That Sentient Being.
For instance, an example; the result of karma that wasn’t created can’t be experienced: in one time, during the existence of the previous Buddha, in one family there was a mud elephant made for karma. In one of his after-lives, when he was born as human being, he had found a gold elephant and became very rich, and even the elephant’s kaka was gold. So the king wanted, confiscated it. When the king received it, it didn’t work in that way, it became a mud elephant, not even kaka gold. So it was returned to the person and was gold as before. Then it went back to the king and then the whole thing changed. This is because the king didn’t create that karma, so the result could not be experienced. Although all people go together to the same place, one person finds things and others don’t—why does that person find the special thing, but other people don’t, although they came to the same place? Because other people didn’t create the karma to find it. For instance, diamonds, diamond ring—why didn’t the other people find it? Because they didn’t create the karma, therefore there is no reason for them to find it, receive it, possess it, therefore there is no reason for them to have it. Why does that person find it? Because he created karma, so he experiences the result. Even though they are mainly based on this, on the karma. For instance, in a town, many people wanted something, there is a desirable object—for instance, people came from the States so they miss something in Kathmandu, but even if they search they never find it, but another person who desires some object finds it easily. But those people who search, have such worry, don’t find it, thinking that Kathmandu is terribly poor—this is because of karma, if the cause wasn’t created in a previous time the result cannot be experienced.
No matter whether the karma is heavy or small, since it is created the result never gets lost. For instance, such a small karma—just one example, the great pandit Nagarjuna, who has received the siddhi of life, who has received the realization of life, that means control of life, undying. However he, in one of his previous lifetimes, while he was cutting grass, on the way he cut a small ant, cut the body in half—so because of this karma, once when he was born a human being a beggar came to him, a beggar who needed his head. Nothing could destroy him because he had achieved this siddhi—but the beggar picked up a tiny blade of grass and hit him on the neck, and just by this he passed away, such a tiny thing. So, even if that karma was not something that is purposely done, the result is something like this, it can never get lost.
In previous times a pig was chased by a dog around a great stupa. So just because the object was a stupa, which is holy, blessed by the omniscient mind of infinite buddhas, this animal created positive karma, merit by being chased. This had nothing to do with impulse, but was only because the object is so holy. Due to these small merits, after death he was born in the upper realms, the realm of the samsaric gods. He was born as a samsaric god. Then at death time—the gods have to suffer for long time; if you count human years they have to suffer more than 300 years before their minds leave that realm, they have this incredible suffering of worry. So anyway, they remember at that time what their previous life was and also they see where they will be reborn; this is a karmic thing, not due to realization through meditation—so just as this being died, he suffered because he sees he was a pig before and he sees that he will be reborn in the worst suffering narak stages. So he had great worry, he couldn’t stand it, so he asked the king of the place, the leader, Vishnu or something, one of these gods, even though he remembered where he will be reborn and what he was before. But that being couldn’t find any means to save him from that future rebirth. So later on he asked Guru Shakyamuni, who gave him some skill, some method to create merit. Than, after his death he was reborn in the Tushita realm. So later on the king or the leader checked where he was born in the lower realm—he doesn’t have much power to check the upper realms, higher than he is, but he could check the lower realms—and he couldn’t find that being anywhere. The karma that caused him to be born in Tushita that small karma that he accumulated when he was a pig chased by a dog round the stupa. So now we can understand from this example—from our side it depends on something, not only on the holy object, it depends on our work. If there are no merits, there is no reason to be born in the upper realms—the reason is always by good karma, merits. So the good karma created when he was pig can result in that much. There’s no way for it to get lost; since it was created it can be experienced, whenever the conditions are right. You can understand this more clearly through the following meditation on twelve dependent links, how karma works.